I recently completed the eCornell T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutritional Studies Plant-Based Nutrition certificate program. One of the things I learned is that like everything else in the world even “nutrition” can be a victim of information overload. It is overwhelming to try to separate fact from fiction when researching dietary choices when a google search of the word “diet” yields 1 billion returns, 887 million returns for “nutrition”, and 2.4 billion returns for “plant-based”.
In an attempt to simplify the chaos of nutritional information overload, the T. Colin Campbell Plant-Based Nutrition course provides science-based research and lectures from over 20 leading experts and studies, including The China Study, a 20-year research project that linked the consumption of animal food sources to chronic illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and dementia. As an antidote, an increase in the consumption of plant-based whole foods and a decrease in animal-based and processed foods provides the nutritional foundation to both avoid and reverse disease.
In addition to human health, consuming a plant-based diet is healthier for the planet and the economy as well, as for example, it takes 4 million gallons of water to produce 1 ton of beef. In addition, livestock generate anywhere from 15% to 51% of all greenhouse gases, depending on which study you reference and whether you count “all in” such as livestock feed, burning/clearing forests, nitrous oxide from fertilizers etc. More information overload!
After 6 weeks of coursework and billions of sources of digital information available for reference, I realized there was a very simple message worth following, a great filter to apply to all the nutritional information overload noise. It all comes down to lifestyle choices that each and every one of us makes every day. Everything that really matters, our personal health and wellbeing, the health of our planet, and even the health and sustainability of the economy all comes down to what is at the end of our fork, what we put in our mouth each day. Ask yourself, is this the best choice I can make all things considered? Keep it simple and essential, filter out the information overload, and choose wisely.