Here is the full transcript of Dr. Joanne Kong’s TEDx Talk: The Power of Plant-Based Eating at TEDxUniversityOfRichmond conference. This event took place on October 19, 2016.
Listen to the MP3 Audio: The Power of Plant-Based Eating by Dr. Joanne Kong at TEDxUniversityOfRichmond
Dr. Joanne Kong: Good evening. What if I told you that we can change the world through our food choices?
I challenge you in the next 12 minutes to open your minds and your hearts to the power of plant-based eating, and the fact that animal agriculture, the raising of animals for food, has grown to become one of the most damaging industries on our planet.
But I want to make clear that my intent is not to be judgmental, but instead, to increase your awareness and give you important information which you may not know. Going greener with your diet could be one of the most powerful and transformative decisions you’ll ever make in your life, for three significant reasons: It has tremendous benefits for your health. It’s critical to the sustainability of our planet. And it will widen your circle of compassion.
We’ve all heard the saying: “You are what you eat.” The number one cause of death in our country, you guessed it, it’s our diet. Our standard American diet, also known as “SAD,” has put our country at the top of the list in the world for obesity, which increases the risk for serious health problems.
Overwhelming scientific evidence links the consumption of meat and meat products to numerous diseases. Health costs related to meat consumption in our country have skyrocketed to a staggering 50 billion dollars every single year, and the World Health Organization now places red and processed meat at the same danger level as cigarettes and asbestos.
Meat is the new tobacco. This was last November’s issue of Time Magazine. More and more studies over just the past few years are contributing to the public’s growing awareness that we need to become more critically aware of how meat can be harmful to our health.
So you may ask: why are plant-based vegetarian and vegan diets the healthier choice? There are so many reasons: a wide range of nutrients, beneficial fiber found only in plant foods, antioxidants, and hundreds of thousands of phytochemicals that protect the body and support good health.
Overall, vegetarians have a longer life expectancy and substantially lower rates of heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, cancer, obesity, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s – and the list goes on.
But don’t just take my word for it. Support for vegetarian diets comes from numerous organizations including the American Cancer Society, American College of Cardiology, the Mayo Clinic, Harvard School of Public Health, and the National Institute of Health, which says, “Vegetarians may be missing out on grilled hamburgers at picnics, but they also tend to miss out on the major health problems that plague many Americans.”
Just take a look at the difference in heart disease, the number one killer of Americans, between those who eat meat and those who are vegetarian and vegan. The progression of many diseases not only can be halted but reversed, sometimes in as little as just two to three weeks by switching to a plant-based diet. Reducing and eliminating the consumption of meat and meat products with a greener diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains will lead to a healthier world.
The Earth. It’s not only the health of our bodies that’s at stake, it’s the health of our planet. This is what we’re facing now at critical levels: climate change and global warming, deforestation, depletion of our resources, soil erosion, species and habitat loss, ocean dead zones, water and air pollution, and world hunger. These are not things we can put off dealing with. We must now urgently reverse imminent catastrophic environmental damage.