The Antiperspirant Debate

by Angie Smith

The concern surrounding the use of antiperspirants has been debated for years. Scientists have wrestled with a possible link in the product’s key ingredient, aluminum, and its connection to several major diseases. In a recent broadcast, CBS brought forth the issue once again, but for many people the question still remains – are they safe?

Antiperspirants contain aluminum because it has the ability to form a temporary plug within the sweat duct that stops the flow of sweat to the surface. Therefore they reduce the amount an individual sweats as well as helping to reduce odor. The major concern with this process is that the body absorbs whatever is put on the skin. After daily use of antiperspirants for many years, the chances of an illness-related disease due to aluminum build up increases dramatically.

Some diseases that have come out in the aluminum debate are Alzheimer’s and breast cancer. There are also warnings for people who have kidney disorders to avoid aluminum because it is the kidneys that flush out excess metals in the body. If the kidneys are not working properly, there is a chance that the aluminum could build up in the body faster than with the average individual. But it is possible for anyone to have an excessive amount of aluminum – often stored in the brain.

Many individuals see sweating as a negative bodily reaction, but sweating is a natural and necessary activity. It serves to cool and lubricate the skin, especially in areas that may rub against other areas of skin, such as under the arms. Sweat glands are also utilized in the body’s natural cleansing process, so to restrict sweat means that toxins can get trapped in the skin instead of being released.

There are many choices on the market for natural deodorants, which only fight odor, they do not block sweat. If an individual is concerned about excessive sweating, they should see a health practitioner because it may be caused by an imbalance in the body. Regular exercise and bi-yearly cleansing can help maintain a normal and healthy amount of bodily sweat. Be sure to stop by your local Down to Earth store and check out the natural deodorant and cleansing products available.

Diabetes and Diet: A Crucial Combination for Health

by Angie Smith

With the rise in Type II diabetes over the last couple of decades, many people have taken notice of the dangers that are associated with its development as well as some of the potential causes. But many people have yet to understand what leads a body to have difficulties absorbing sugar and what options they have for regaining their health.

The growing concern is in the connection between the rising obesity epidemic and its link to Type II diabetes. About 80 percent of Type II diabetics are obese. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has said that the new approach to treating diabetes focuses on fat consumption instead of the old method, which made the elimination of refined sugars and starchy foods the main goal. They explain this by saying that the more fat there is in a diet the harder time insulin has getting sugar into the cells. As of yet, there is no known cause for this, but it has been proven that by reducing fat intake as well as excess body fat, a person can help their body’s insulin maintain a proper sugar balance.

Modern diabetic treatment programs, according to the Committee, drastically reduce meats, high-fat dairy products, and oils, while at the same time increase grains, legumes, and vegetables. One study they illustrated found that 21 of 23 patients who were taking oral medication for diabetes, and 13 of 17 patients on insulin were able to get off their medications after 26 days on a near-vegetarian diet and exercise program.

The benefit to a vegetarian diet for those who have or are at risk of diabetes, is that most vegetarian diets are low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Saturated fat is most commonly found in meat, eggs and dairy products and it has been linked to high cholesterol levels as well as weight gain. Unsaturated fat, which is found in olive and canola oil as well as nuts and seeds, is much healthier for the body and can help to keep weight and cholesterol levels down.

It is estimated that 17 million people have diabetes and around 95 percent of those cases are Type II, which most commonly affects adults over the age of 40. According to Jay B. Lavine, M.D., a Diplomat of both the American Board of Ophthalmology and the National Board of Medical Examiners, Type II diabetes is associated with obesity, inactivity, family history of diabetes and ethnicity.

Lavine said that the difference between Type I and Type II diabetes, is that Type I generally requires insulin treatment and it was formerly known as juvenile diabetes. Type I appears to be an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. In Type II diabetes, however, the body still produces insulin, but the body is resistant to its effects and so the sugar is unable to easily absorb into the cells where it is needed, and backs up in the bloodstream. Lavine said that both types of diabetes though, develop the same complications.

The good news for Type II diabetics, Lavine said, is if they change their lifestyle by adopting healthier eating habits, described as a high fiber, plant-based diet, and lose their excess weight, the diabetes can often be reversed and the need for medication eliminated.

Footnotes: 

Sources:

  1. Lavine, Jay B. “Diabetes and Diet.” October 2003. http://www.vegparadise.com/otherbirds312.html
  2. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. ”Diet and Diabetes.” October 2003. http://www.pcrm.org/health/prevmed/diabetes.html

The Steps to End World Hunger

by Rebecca Saltzberg

There are many reasons why people choose to adopt a vegetarian diet, including their personal health, the health and well-being of animals, and the health of the planet. Another profound, yet often overlooked, reason for going vegetarian is for the sake of the millions of people who starve to death each year.

Many people were told by their parents as children to clean their dinner plate because “there are starving children in Africa." From a young age, we were taught that to waste food was sinful and cruel when there are many less fortunate children around the world. Yet our well-intentioned (but misinformed) parents and educators were blind to the reality that there is no grosser waste of food than taking 15 to 20 pounds of healthful grain and using it as feed to produce one pound of animal flesh. They neglected to realize that the simplest and most important step each of us can take to end world hunger is to stop eating meat.

On this planet, a child dies of malnutrition every two seconds. Malnutrition is the principal cause of death for infants and children in developing nations. In fact, never before in history has starvation been so prevalent amongst the human species - approximately 25 percent of the world's population is malnourished.

Meanwhile, as more and more people experience the gnawing pains of hunger, there is simultaneously an unprecedented percentage of the population that is overweight and obese. The United States has the honor of being one of the fattest countries in the world. A greater and greater percentage of American children are overweight, and many more children are already showing signs of hardening of the arteries by the time they are teenagers.

In order to support the demand for meat products, the world's limited resources are being squandered. Raising animals for food consumption is so wasteful and inefficient that it simply is not possible to feed the world on a meat-based diet. The amount of land that it takes to feed just one meat-eater could sustain 20 vegetarians.

Overall, the grains and soybeans fed to American livestock each year could feed the more than 1.3 billion people going hungry. Jeremy Rifkin, President of the Foundation on Economic Trends, comments, "Cattle and other livestock are devouring much of the grain produced on the planet. It need be emphasized that this is a new phenomenon, unlike anything ever experienced before."

Following the lead of the United States and other westernized nations, many developing countries are beginning to focus their agriculture more and more around the production of meat. Consequently, third world countries that were once self-sufficient in their production of grain must now import it from the United States, but 75 percent of their imports are then fed to animals.

Every individual makes a difference. When just one person adopts a vegetarian diet, that action frees up land to feed as many as 19 other people. If just 10 percent of American meat-eaters adopted a vegetarian diet, there would be 12 million more tons of grain to feed to humans, enough to support the 60 million people who starve to death each year.

The Rise of Food Poisoning in America

Every day in the US about 200,000 people become sick, 900 are hospitalized and 14 die due to food borne illness. According to the Center for Disease Control, about one quarter of the American population suffers from food poisoning each year. Despite the government's attempts at implementing food safety standards, food borne illness has become an increasingly frequent and widespread problem in the United States.

Just three decades ago, food poisoning occurred mostly in small outbreaks at social events like family reunions, picnics, and parties and was caused by improper food handling. Today we are experiencing a whole new breed of food poisoning; it is now possible for thousands of individuals from all corners of the nation to contract identical food borne illnesses. In 1993 more than 700 people in four different states became sick from E. coli 0157:H7 contaminated Jack in the Box hamburgers. In August of 1997, Hudson Foods, a major hamburger supplier for Burger King, recalled 35 million pounds of ground beef (the largest food recall in the nation's history), as a result of a major E. coli 0157:H7 outbreak. In the past eight years about half of a million Americans have become sick from E. coli 0157:H7.

The drastic rise of food poisoning in America can be largely contributed to the centralization and industrialization of food production. Most of the beef consumed in the U.S. originates in one of thirteen massive packinghouses. While the consolidation of meat-processing plants conveniences the nation's food chains, the sheer size of these "food factories" renders them exceptionally conducive for the spread of disease. In such a processing plant, if a single food animal is infected with a dangerous microorganism it can contaminate thousands of pounds of meat.

In 1996, a nationwide study by the USDA found that 78.6 percent of ground beef contained microbes spread primarily by fecal matter. Many apparently healthy animals carry dangerous pathogens such as E. coli 0157:H7, Campylobacter Jejuni, Cryptosporidium Parvum, Salmonella, etc. Recent studies have found that when such pathogens are ingested by humans, the result may not only be a short lived bout of diarrhea and upset stomach, but possibly long term illnesses like heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, neurological problems, autoimmune disorders, and kidney damage.

Despite the drastic rise of food poisoning outbreaks across the nation, it is still not a well known fact that today's meat processing plants are much more dangerous than they used to be. The "all American diet" can no longer be eaten without caution because it has begun to take a toll on the lives of its people. The easiest way to avoid these food related dangers is to simply leave such foods out of one's diet. A plant based diet is much healthier, cleaner, safer, and in the end, it can lead to a higher quality of life.

Footnotes: 

*The information in this article was taken from "Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schlosser.

What’s good for your health is good for the planet!

October is Vegetarian Awareness Month, so it is fitting and proper that we take time to reflect on vegetarian values and what they mean to individuals, and to our environment.

For many, it means giving up meat and fish due to moral objections to killing animals, or objection to the brutal and inhumane ways in which animals are kept, treated, and killed for food, merely to satisfy unnecessary cravings to eat flesh and blood. With increasing interest in healthy food, many people are also becoming vegetarian because it is compatible with the low-fat, high-fiber diet recommended by dieticians and doctors. Concern about the environment is another factor, as people become increasingly aware of the negative environmental effects of raising animals for meat. This is particularly so as people become increasingly aware that going vegetarian is the best way an individual can reduce global warming.

Against this backdrop, many people prefer an organic, natural foods lifestyle because the best tasting and healthiest foods are free of pesticides and artificial chemicals, which also means they’re best for the environment. That’s why organic and natural foods, supplements and body-care products from Down to Earth are all-vegetarian, free of artificial flavors, color, and preservatives; and why they are minimally processed.

In short, what’s good for your health is good for the planet!

So, this month is the perfect time for vegetarians—and those moving towards plant-based diets—to think about and celebrate healthy, compassionate food choices. Perhaps it will stir the hearts and souls of those thinking about vegetarianism to give meatless fare a try (even for a day) and learn about its many benefits.

The simple act of choosing vegetarian meals is a powerful force for positive change, not only for the individual but also for friends, family, our community, and our entire planet. Therefore, recognizing and celebrating Vegetarian Awareness Month is a wonderful opportunity to help others learn about the many benefits of vegetarianism, such as:

  • Saving animals from suffering in factory farm conditions and from painful slaughter
  • Reducing the risk of major killers like heart disease, stroke and cancers
  • Reducing global warming (According to the United Nations, raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gases than all the cars and trucks in the world combined.
  • Offering a viable answer to feeding the world's hungry, through more efficient use of grains and other crops
  • Conserving vital, but limited freshwater, fertile topsoil and other precious resources
  • Preserving irreplaceable ecosystems, such as rainforests and other wildlife habitats

Here are a few suggestions for how vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike can celebrate Vegetarian Awareness Month:

  • Host a meatless meal or potluck for your vegetarian or non-vegetarian friends
  • Eat meat-free for a day or throughout the month
  • Learn more about how a vegetarian diet can benefit you personally
  • Discuss vegetarianism with your family and friends
  • Eat meatless meals more regularly
  • Try the meatless options available at Down to Earth’s vegetarian deli
  • Attend one of Down to Earth’s free vegetarian cooking classes or vegetarian nutrition classes (for info call 947-3249)

Vegetarian Awareness Month was founded by the North American Vegetarian Society in 1977 and it was endorsed by the International Vegetarian union in 1978.

Footnotes: 

“Livestock a major threat to environment,” United Nations FAO Newsroom, Nov. 29, 2006: http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2006/1000448/index.html

Organics Rid Your Body of Pesticides, Study Shows

Common sense suggests that fruits and vegetables grown without the use of hazardous pesticides and insecticides are safer to eat. This is particularly true of organic produce, which is grown without using conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.

While this is a very important point of differentiation with conventional produce, it is one of the least understood and most important considerations in choosing healthy food. A recent study published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Science shows why parents should be concerned about this difference.

The peer-reviewed study found that the urine and saliva of children eating a variety of conventional foods from their local grocery stores contained traces of organophosphates (this is the family of pesticides derived from nerve gas agents created in World War II—including malathion and chlorpyrifos). According to Chensheng Lu, the principle author of the study, "It is appropriate to assume that if we are exposed to (this class of) pesticides, even though it's a low-level exposure on a daily basis, there are going to be some health concerns down the road."

In light of this study, it is undeniable that organic produce is a safer choice. When the same children ate organic fruits, vegetables and juices, signs of pesticides were not found. And when switching from conventional food to organic, the pesticides that were previously measured in the urine disappeared within 36 hours. Not surprisingly, the pesticide levels immediately returned when the children went back to the conventional diets.

While the EPA insists that "dietary exposures from eating food crops treated with chlorpyrifos are below the level of concern for the entire U.S. population, including infants and children," others beg to differ. Chuck Benbrook, (chief scientist of the Organic Center, a nationwide, nonprofit, food research organization) says that this statement by the EPA is simply "not supported by science.” Pointing to “the almost daily reminders that children are suffering from an array of behavioral, learning, neurological problems,” he questions, “doesn't it make sense to eliminate exposures to chemicals known to trigger such outcomes like chlorpyrifos?"

So what’s the solution? The gut reaction of some parents might be to limit the consumption of fresh produce, but that would be a big mistake. According to Lu, “It is vital for children to consume significantly more fresh fruits and vegetables than is commonly the case today." While it may not be practical for some people to switch to a 100% organic diet, parents should at least avoid conventional produce with high levels of pesticide residue (peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, nectarines, strawberries and cherries are among those that most frequently have detectable levels of pesticides).

For over 30 years, Down to Earth has been offering our customers a wide selection of organic and locally grown, fresh produce. While many of you already know that organic foods are safer, tastier and more nutritious (not to mention better for the environment), we hope that you’ll share this information with your family and friends.

At the end of the day, most people are very sensitive to the safety of the food they and their families eat and want to be confident that the food they consume is wholesome and will cause no harm. Going “organic” is an important step in the right direction, and they will appreciate information to help make healthy choices.

Aloha!

Organics Safer for Your Health

September is a time of year when people across the country are celebrating Organic Harvest Month. Sponsored by the Consumer Trade Association, this annual event highlights organic agriculture and the growing organic products industry. It’s a great theme for this month’s newsletter as we endeavor to increase understanding and acceptance of the importance of living a healthy lifestyle based on organic and natural products.

In the case of produce, the arguments are rather compelling. According to the Organic Trade Association, based in Greenfield, Mass., there is mounting evidence to suggest that organically produced foods may be more nutritious. Research documented on their website shows that, “…organically grown fruits, vegetables and grains may offer more of some nutrients, including vitamin C, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, and less exposure to nitrates and pesticide residues than their counterparts grown using fertilizers and synthetic pesticides.”1 This is important for good health because many EPA-approved pesticides were registered long before extensive research linked these chemicals to cancer and other diseases.

In the long run, organic farming techniques provide a safer, more sustainable environment for everyone. Basically, however, common sense suggests that fruits and vegetables grown without the use of hazardous pesticides and insecticides are safer to eat. This is particularly true of organic produce, which is grown without using conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. While this is a very important point of differentiation with conventional produce, it is one of the least understood and most important considerations in choosing healthy food.

A recent study published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Science shows why parents should be concerned about this difference. The peer-reviewed study found that the urine and saliva of children eating a variety of conventional foods from their local grocery stores contained traces of organophosphates. This is the family of pesticides derived from nerve gas agents created in World War II—including malathion and chlorpyrifos, which is one of the most widely used organophosphate insecticides in the United States and, many believe, the world. According to Chensheng Lu, the principle author of the study, "It is appropriate to assume that if we are exposed to (this class of) pesticides, even though it's a low-level exposure on a daily basis, there are going to be some health concerns down the road."2

In light of this study, it is undeniable that organic produce is a safer choice. When the same children ate organic fruits, vegetables and juices, signs of pesticides were not found. And when switching from conventional food to organic, the pesticides that were previously measured in the urine disappeared within 36 hours. Not surprisingly, the pesticide levels immediately returned when the children went back to the conventional diets. While the EPA insists that "dietary exposures from eating food crops treated with chlorpyrifos are below the level of concern for the entire U.S. population, including infants and children," others beg to differ. “This statement by the EPA is simply not supported by science,” says Chuck Benbrook, chief scientist of the Organic Center, a nationwide nonprofit food research organization. Pointing to “…the almost daily reminders that children are suffering from an array of behavioral, learning, neurological problems,” he questions, “doesn't it make sense to eliminate exposures to chemicals known to trigger such outcomes like chlorpyrifos?"3

So what’s the solution? The gut reaction of some parents might be to limit the consumption of fresh produce, but that would be a big mistake. According to Lu, “It is vital for children to consume significantly more fresh fruits and vegetables than is commonly the case today." While it may not be practical for some people to switch to a 100% organic diet, parents should at least avoid conventional produce with high levels of pesticide residue. Fruits that most frequently have detectable levels of pesticides include peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, nectarines, strawberries and cherries.

Organic agriculture minimizes children’s exposure to toxic and persistent pesticides not only in the foods they eat, but in the soil in which they play, the air they breathe, and the water they drink. Choosing organic products is an easy way to help protect yourself and your family. At the end of the day, most people are very sensitive to the safety of the food they and their families eat and want to be confident that the food they consume is wholesome and will cause no harm. Going “organic” is an important step in the right direction, and they will appreciate information to help make healthy choices.

For over 30 years, Down to Earth has been offering customers a wide selection of organic and locally grown, fresh produce. While many already know that organic foods are safer, tastier and more nutritious (not to mention better for the environment), we hope you will share this information with your family and friends.

Footnotes: 
  1. “Conclusive study finds big nutritional benefits for organic” Organic Trade Association, http://www.ota.com/news/press-releases/110
  2. “Harmful pesticides found in everyday food products,” Seattle PI.
  3. Ibid.

Warnings About Pain Remedies

In the not-so-distant past, Aspirin was virtually the only non-prescription pain reliever on the market. It was the solution for anything from headaches and fever to cramping and arthritis. Then acetaminophen and ibuprofen came along to challenge the pain reliever monopoly, giving the world new options for their pains and fevers. These days, there is a new category of pain relievers known as COX-2 inhibitors. These drugs were designed to avoid the gastric bleeding that is a concern with drugs like aspirin. But these new drugs come with their own set of side effects and complications, which is why they are now under close scrutiny.

A few well-known examples of these drugs are Celebrex, Vioxx, and Bextra. Millions of Americans take these drugs for rheumatoid and osteoarthritis as well as common headaches and muscle tension. Most people who watch television have seen the ads for these drugs and heard the long list of side effects at the end. But many people have eagerly sought out and taking these prescriptions despite the potential harm. However, the FDA is alerting consumers to be aware of these side effects and to take the warnings seriously.

Vioxx was recently taken off the market when a study showed that it doubled the risk of heart attack and stroke. Celebrex, a very similar drug, is currently under careful evaluation. A December 2004 study of Celebrex by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reported a 2.5 fold increase in the risk of major fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular problems for participants taking Celebrex compared to those on a placebo. Even over the counter naproxen pain relievers like Aleve and Bayer have been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular problems.

The warnings of the potential dangers of Celebrex listed on the FDA’s Web site include: stomach ulcers that bleed, stomach bleeding in general, liver damage, kidney problems, fluid retention, swelling, headache, indigestion, upper respiratory tract infection, diarrhea, sinus inflammation, stomach pain, and nausea.

The FDA has recently told doctors to limit prescriptions for Celebrex and Bextra, while encouraging alternative therapy. If a patient is continuing to take either of these drugs, the FDA advises that the lowest effective dose be used.

It is easy to overlook the side effects of a drug when it helps you feel better, but exchanging a headache for a heart attack may not be worth it. Luckily, there are natural alternatives for pain relief. Down to Earth can help you find alternatives to be pain relief, so be sure to drop by for a visit and inquire about the natural choices available.

Shintani Seminar

Down to Earth recently co-sponsored a health workshop hosted by well-known Hawaii physician Dr. Terry Shintani and his non-profit organization, the Hawaii Health Foundation.

The workshop, called “You Can Reverse Disease in 10 Days,” was held at the Toho No Hikari building, formerly known as the MOA True Health Center in Honolulu. It was attended by over 100 people seeking help with different health problems or concerns. At the workshop, they learned how much of their health problems are diet-related and how easy it is to reverse following a plant-based diet.

Dr. Shintani shared nutritional weight-loss research that helps individuals lose weight and control blood sugar levels by eating more of the right kind of carbohydrates.

He spoke of the Hawaiian Paradox. “In Hawaii, the healthiest state in the union, the Native Hawaiians have the worst health in the nation.” Ironically, his research showed that the healthiest cultures ate a diet similar in macronutrient content to that of the ancient Hawaiians, and also practiced lifestyle principles similar to those of ancient Hawaii. Their diets consisted of large volumes of unrefined carbohydrates, moderate amounts of protein (mostly from vegetable sources), and few fats.

Dr. Shintani showed attendees how to:

  • Identify the "good" carbohydrates, from whole-grain pasta and pita bread to sweet potatoes and brown rice, as well as an array of vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables
  • Use a plant-based diet to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and control blood sugar levels to help prevent the onset of osteoporosis, cancer, stroke, and other serious illnesses

With cooking demonstrations presented by Dr. Shintani and Tandis Bishop, workshop participants learned how to make quick, healthy, wholesome dishes.

“People were amazed at how easy it is to eat “healthy,” said Bishop. “It was a very practical workshop because not only did Dr. Shintani elaborate on the nutritional benefits of the meals being demonstrated, but there were plenty of samples to go around, proving the point that healthy foods can be quite tasty,” she explained.

Dr. Shintani also discussed common unhealthy lifestyle habits, how to make easy changes, and other topics such as “Calories & Fat: Controlling Weight and Cholesterol”, “Carbohydrates and Proteins”, how to correct chronic conditions and, of course, the importance of a plant-based diet.

“The workshop was a huge success,” added Bishop. “It equipped everyone with the tools they needed to get started on the path to better health through a plant-based diet, including the knowledge, recipes, and coupons from Down to Earth.”

Down to Earth’s co-sponsorship of Dr. Shintani’s health workshop supports the company’s mission to promote a healthy lifestyle to island communities. Since its founding in Hawaii 1977, Down to Earth has been working with hospitals, schools, and numerous groups and organizations to help educate the general public about how easy it is to improve their health and the health of their loved ones through a vegetarian lifestyle.

Terry Shintani, MD is the author of the “Eat More, Weigh Less Diet", "HawaiiDiet”, and “The Good Carbohydrate Revolution.” He has been featured in Newsweek, on CNN and CBS News, ABC national radio, and Dateline NBC. Dr. Shintani received his master’s degree in nutrition from Harvard University and both his medical and law degrees from the University of Hawaii. After medical school and studying nutrition at Harvard University, Dr. Terry Shintani returned home to Hawai'i with a sense that local people needed to return to their traditional native diet for both health and spiritual reasons.

Dr. Shintani is board certified in preventative medicine and is a member of the national advisory board of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Associate Chair of the Department of Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the University of Hawaii School of Medicine.

Hawaii Health Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to promote world health. For over 10 years, they have conducted 700 community programs and presentations on health to tens of thousands of people.

Teenage Tidal Wave

Out in the not too distant sea of eating, the food industry caught sight of a swelling wave moving towards the shores of the consumer market. Those in the National Cattlemen's Beef Association tried to say that it was nothing, just a passing trend. Now, as this tidal wave of change is breaking, America's beef producers are shaking—in their cowboy boots. America's youth is quickly losing interest in supporting an industry of slaughter and suffering and the numbers of those embracing a vegetarian diet is on the rise, particularly among teenage girls.

The younger generation, no doubt one of the greatest influences on consumerism, is vying for politically correct food choices. Gone are the days when grabbing burgers or going out for pepperoni pizza was just innocent fun. Due to the work of many concerned people making public the atrocities occurring daily in the meat industries, many teens and college students are making the switch to vegetarianism out of concern for the animals. Another contributing factor is seeing 50% of the population suffering from chronic diseases like heart problems, various types of cancers, diabetes and obesity. Surely this is making its mark in the minds of young people.

College campuses are finding that between 15-20% of their students are requesting vegetarian foods on the menu. Even high schools across the country are catering to students who would like to eat without meat. A pole from Teenage Research Unlimited reported that one out of every four teens thinks vegetarianism is 'cool'. Because vegetarianism has become more wide spread and accepted, parents are able to find ways to work out a family menu that suits everyone. Some nutrition experts concur that adopting a vegetarian diet does promote health consciousness, something often not found in teenagers. With the plethora of information available on the web, through books, and even local doctors, it has become easier than ever to learn about and maintain a vegetarian diet.

Down to Earth is currently sponsoring a television show airing on Oceanic Cable channel 16 at 6:30 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays called "Tasty and Meatless." The show provides tips on how to cook simple and tasty meatless meals, where to shop for meatless products, which restaurants offer vegetarian fare, and what health experts have to say about eating meatless. This show can definitely help anyone wanting to know about a meatless lifestyle for themselves or for the youngster in their family!

For some, vegetarianism is about health, for others it comes from a place of ethics and compassion, for the younger generation they can see that it encompasses both—and it is their opportunity to better the world, one bite at a time.

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