The Power of Plant-Based Eating | Dr. Joanne Kong | TEDxUniversityOfRichmond

Translator: Hélène Vernet
Reviewer: Peter van de Ven 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. Health. 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. Certainly, environmentalists
and legislators are rightly focusing
on reducing carbon emissions, and they’re investing in alternative
and renewable energy sources. But all of this would take
decades to implement, be enormously expensive,
in the tens of trillions of dollars, and there’s the complexity
of social, economic and political issues which must be dealt with
at a global scale. Because of this, you need
to know there is one thing that is a major cause
of all of these global problems, and that is animal agriculture. Here are just a few facts. Animal agriculture accounts
for 51% of greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also the number one cause
of species and habitat loss due to deforestation for grazing
and growing of feed crops. In our country, it’s the main
cause of water pollution; it uses half of our water;
70% of our grain; and 80% of our agricultural land is used to feed
the 10 billion land animals that are killed every year for food. By contrast, you can cut
your carbon footprint in half by going vegetarian. The Stanford Environmental Law Journal states that our reliance
on animal products is a leading cause of everything, the one industry
that is destroying our planet. The United Nations Environment Program strongly states that a substantial
reduction of impacts would only be possible with
a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products. While policy leaders
and even environmentalists are largely overlooking this issue, there is something you can do right now. The single most powerful
action you can take to help save our environment
and resources is to shift to a plant-based diet. Compassion. I’m going to tell you the story
of an animal in a factory farm. Worldwide every year,
56 billion land animals and 90 billion marine animals
are killed for food. But I’m not going to show you
any graphic images or videos, you can easily find these on the internet. Instead, I want you to imagine
and visualize in your mind what I have to say. This is the story of a sow. “My entire life, I’m kept
in a meadow gestation crate, in half darkness,
on a graded concrete floor. I can’t even turn around. Confined and unable to engage
in any of my natural behaviors, I suffer depression, frustration,
and neurotic behaviors, sometimes screaming, and biting
at the bars that surround me. My limbs are swollen, I have open wounds, and I’m lying on my own excrement. After giving birth
from being forcibly impregnated, my babies are taken away from me, and I’m slaughtered at the age
of only three to five years old. We pigs, like the other animals
in factory farms, are supposed to be stunned
into unconsciousness before being killed. But many of us are still alive as we are hoisted upside down,
our throat slit, and we are lowered into boiling
water to remove our hair. But did you know?
I have a sense of self, just like you. I’m more intelligent than a dog or a cat,
and even a three-year-old child. I’m a highly social creature,
intuitive and emotional, just like you. I have memories, and I can recognize myself
in a mirror, just like you. And I love to play,
even computer games, just like you. I care for my young with a bond
that’s as strong as any human mother, even singing to my babies during nursing. I am not something. I am someone. I am not pork. I am not bacon. I am a living feeling being,
just like you.” So, how many of you have pets? There must be a lot of you
that have pets. And how many of you love your pets
as family members? I know I do. We all have an innate
compassion for animals. I challenge you to realize
and put at the front of your awareness that every animal in a factory farm,
like the pig I just described, is just as individual a living being
as any of your pets. All animals have the will to live,
the capacity to suffer, and are equally capable
of receiving our love. We may therefore
ask ourselves the question: why love one, but eat the other? Our choices regarding animals and diet
are shaped by perception, the fact that we see
different animals in different ways. And there are
a number of reasons for this, habit and culture, for one. Initially, most of us
didn’t make the choice to eat meat. It was given, right? We continued the habit almost mindlessly,
accepting it as normal. I ate meat for half of my life,
and when I was growing up, I never even gave it a thought,
I never questioned it. It wasn’t until I was well
into my college years that I decided to become vegetarian. Another reason has to do
with a coping process that psychologists call “psychic numbing,” pertaining, in this case,
to loss of life on a massive scale. Even though at some level we are aware that animals
are being slaughtered for food, we avoid the emotional pain
of empathizing with them as individuals. It’s really like a kind of denial, where we disconnect ourselves
from the experience. This is what a slaughterhouse worker says, “I don’t think of farmed animals
as individuals. I wouldn’t be able to do my job
if I got that personal with them.” We simply don’t see the face on the plate. Instead, it’s generic food
or meat, and marketing. Look at these products
from the grocery store shelf. How do these images of happy animals
and pleasant surroundings distance us from the animals suffering? We also accept the eating of meat because what goes on
behind the scenes of meat production is largely invisible. It’s difficult for the public to find the locations
and addresses of factory farms even though – does anyone
want to venture a guess how many farms there are in this country? There are 20,000 of them, 20,000. In our country, 317 animals are killed
every single second. But for these factory farms, their only goals
are efficiency and profit. The animals are seen
only as units of production. So I ask, the next time
you’re in the dining hall, dare to be aware of the animal
that was killed to become someone’s meal. Going green with your diet,
it’s not about giving anything up. It’s not about becoming
a different person. It is about embracing something
that’s already inside of you, your innate sense of empathy,
kindness, and compassion. And you won’t be alone: plant-based eating has been identified as one of the top global trends of 2016. The power of plant-based eating
is the far-reaching and deep impact it can have upon
the direction of the world. It’s up to you,
and you can make a difference. Thank you. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “The Power of Plant-Based Eating | Dr. Joanne Kong | TEDxUniversityOfRichmond”

  1. If you're a non power athlete it may work but these messages just include everyone… Just look at her… She looks malnutrition vs a fitness meat eating woman.

  2. In 3 weeks on plant-based, I have lost 15 pounds. Better yet, migraines and gout attacks that have plagued me for years disappeared within the first week. Will do this for life!

  3. First day of going on a predominantly plant based diet and trying to drastically increase my knowledge in the field.
    This was extremely helpful.

  4. I think it's about time the choice to eat meat and other animal products was taken away, by ending all animal based food production, effectively making veganism compulsory. I mean this really is a no brainer, considering all the terrible effects on health, and appalling animal suffering?

  5. What a beautiful soul this lady is, spreading a heartfelt important message for us all to use and help change our existence to share love amongst humans and animals.
    It's shocking to think some will keep a pet, a dog or a cat for example to love and enjoy caring for yet don't think twice about eating another animal who also has feelings and feels pain just as their pet would.
    We are so indoctrinated with what is a healthy diet, it's always been about profit at the expense of slaughtering animals and also our health.
    This lady's talk should be on mainstream tv to help wake up the masses who are still asleep to what is all wrong.
    Peace to all 😇


  7. You are better off on plant based eating via eating the animals that ate the plants. Its more nutritious and also better for environment

  8. And, of course, this presentation turns to the fact that overpopulation is creating a meat shortage. The masses are told to eat plants.

  9. كلامها ذكرني بحديث محمد صلى الله عليه و سلم( إنما هم أمما امثالكم )

  10. Yeah, im all for the rate of progress weve got going when it comes to diet. I just wonder, all that knowledge that the body has for digesting meat, shuttling this here and that there, is it possible that the body has some really really ingenious processes for digesting meat that wed just be throwing away if we went vegan?

    We should have a competition. One Olympic Village. Participants from around the world compete under 24/7 surveillance for the title of world's healthiest human being by objective measures. I wouldnt be surprised if they ate meat or didn't, and i think its a bad idea to champion veganism when meat might make a great supplement. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, chicken, and fish.

  11. I'm vegan since 2017 when I watched Earthlings, I never want eat meat any animals products.
    I know I must care about my iron and b12 at but is not at all difficult is simple.

  12. Being a vegan is better than eating the so called Standard American Diet, but it’s not sustainable without supplements as it is nutrient deficient. Plants simply don’t have the nutrient density of meat, and unlike meat, plants can still kill you when they are dead.

  13. I have reduced red meat consumption hugely. I eat more veges n fruit. My body is adjusting. I've lost 4 kgs, I look beeter, and I feel way healthier. Thanks for this talk Dr Kong. Awesome. I'm going vegan, again. I love it. No dead animals.

  14. I don't mean to rain on anybody parade when comes to a forum that's pro anything, but there is a lot studies that suggest that meat is not bad for you. The reason that meat eater in the US have a high disease rate is because of the other food that they eat with meat like bread, candy, juice, smoothies, alcohol and drugs, high carbs with empty calories, lack exercise, lack of sleep, and the lack of vegetable and fruit. A lot of meat eaters don't try practicing a healthier diet and that main reason why vegetarian and vegan live healthier lives. PS I have nothing against vegetarian and vegan.

  15. The reason vegetarians and vegans in the US or the West have longer life expectancy is because going that route is a very conscious, well-deliberated decision. So the people that go vegan tend to choose healthier vegetarian options, like they might avoid chips and other processed foods.
    In India, where being vegetarian is the norm for half the country, there's no such increase in life expectancy.
    I agree that veganism can help the environment and I have great respect for people who choose that path, but these half-truths in respect to health benefits to prove a point don't serve a purpose.

  16. It's ironic that all the health institutes she cited in support of vegitarian diets, comes at a time when the Public has awakened to the facts on their own and with the help of good doctors who took it upon themselves to research nutrition's benefits on their own time and started years ago to speak out on the issue of nutrition based health. I know because I have been following their advice into my 80s free of any medications for the myriad dis-eases that plague many of my personal friends , and as I understand it, the population at large…The 3% of you who read can appreciate what I mean by considering the health institutes' new found concern ironic…

  17. After telling the audience that eating animals is one the most terrible things that affect the environment detrimentally (and I agree with this) she then goes on to say she does not want to be judgemental. Is she serious? It is ok to be judgemental…we all do it all the time.

  18. People that eat a plant based diet still eat meat just not that often I think the only ones that do eat meat are VEGANS because vegetarians still eat animal products

  19. I eat fully plant based food… but I had severely low B12 doctors said u ll not be able to walk .. u feel week… but i m nit feeling any weakness.. continuing the same veg diet

  20. Vegetarians live longer than meat eaters – I fear this presenter is just another non-scientist who does not understand the difference between correlation and causation.

  21. Plants are poison. The world’s obesity and diabetes epidemic is due solely to carbohydrates which come solely from plants. Growing plants destroys the ground the plants are growing in by plowing and the use of artificially fertilisers and insecticides. What she says about red meat is an outright lie. The evidence say animal based ketogenic diets can cure cancer and every other diet based disease. Everyhthing this woman says is founded on a lie.

  22. ''Power'' hahaha stahp, You do realise that having the eyes at the front of you head means that we are hunters, we hunt prey for our food, its the same all over nature. Whatever we eat means we are killing it first be it plants or animals.

  23. i will never go vegetarian or vegan (cooked) again last 3 years of eating only fruits changed EVERYTHING

  24. Have you heard of the moon crash….it seems according to scientists the moon is heading towards the earth anytime soon…so please take out your wallets and start donating to politicians and fake gravy train scientists. It's called the moon bounce tax. Come on people shell out or the moon will come crashing down. Money is the only way we can stop this ….your money.

  25. i just started quitting meat last week, not even completely yet, but i can absolutely feel the elevated energy plus compassion toward people and other beings. i have never believed any vegetarian/vegan theory, to me it was just another movement and these people look extreme. recently however, through watching some medical documentaries and studies, i am compelled to give it a try. i cannot even tell you what and how i am feeling since i started eating the foods we are designed to eat. for ones who are considering, yes, give it a try, just for a week and see what it is about. i am a new convert! God have mercy on us all!

  26. I love this woman's delivery – getting the message across with LOVE, empathy and understanding. That's what the lifestyle is all about to begin with. <3

  27. I'm slowly edging off dairy products now. I've been vegetarian for over half a year now and been swapping milk for almond milk. Cheese especially is proving to be difficult to quit because of pizza but in general I'm consuming less dairy products than before.

  28. I am compassionate about plants. All plants have emotions, feelings and are living beings. They also love their offspring and siblings. They have a family. I thus feel that we have no right to eat even the plants. I love plants. They are pets to me.I can communicate with them. They respond to our greetings. So don’t mistake plants as non-compassionate.
    Love all! Any takers!

  29. Meathead: Ha you vegan pussies

    Me: Yikes, someones upset. How you feelin bud?

    Meathead: (dies of heart attack)

    Me: …Bud?

  30. My mum is a vegetarian and I am a recent vegan. Interestingly though, she did it because she just didn't like meat. However, she asked me what I would eat in a hospital stay as the UK NHS apparently doesn't have vegan options. However, due to antibiotic resistance, I think that it is the best thing our NHS could do. Vegetables are less expensive and for goodness sake, even GCSE Biology is where you learn that meat and dairy production uses 25% of antibiotics and promotes antibiotic resistance.

  31. Question : isn't there nutrients in meat that a plant based diet cannot supplement to levels needed for a healthy human ?
    Thanks for your answers in advance !

    I think I'm in the middle here, leaning toward more "green diet" . Our food culture in this country is killing us and we promote and create a society were an unhealthy diet is normalized, while people are not informed . But a steak every week should not be frowned upon . Lol . Basically we need a 180 flip; Plant based diet is the norm and common when you go home to home, and fast food, meat based is more restricted.

  32. Too many cattle everywhere!!!!!! Does anyone know how much water is needed for a cows diet????. It’s crazy!

    That’s where all our water is going!

  33. In trying to become a whole food-plant based diet (vegan), I have received more push back from my family. I wanted to become vegan for my own reasons and had no intent to push my diet preferences on my family. I have found that people accuse me of being judgmental when I could care less how someone eats and make zero opinion about their carnivorous ways.

  34. Several very disciplined well-educated vegan people I know got so sick due to their diets to serous deficiency despite supplementation so that they had to get off. There is a also misleading understanding between correlation and causation. Any change towards healthy eating will have dramatic implications and one of the healthiest blue zones is the mediterranean diet for both health and longevity and yes it does included meat. Vegan advocates presented theirs as a more humane approach but the opposite is true. Due the increasing demands for plant-based foods, lands are being destroyed since it takes more land and also tragically food that poor in third-world countries depended on are so high that their own people suffered to its lack for them. I do believe that we do overeat on meat and that corporate farming of animals is terrible. I advocated a balance approach to where meat plays a much smaller portion of our diets and that we do get more plant-based food. Hopefully you are doing your homework to study all the facts. This lady has little knowledge of what animals experience in the wild which are often lives full of fear and a sudden tragic death. Small family farming both provides a good life and an humane end. There is a cycle of life and its disruption will have drastic implications due to the overpopulation of species due to the lack of meat eating as happened with deer population to horrible disease conditions resulting in slow painful deaths. Please get educated and avoid the echo chambers where you only hear only one side. It was hard to take her seriously at times as she lost her sense of reality between eating an animal and killing a human. Sigh.

  35. The diet that humans and their ancestors have been eating for the last few million years is all wrong. The best diet for humans is the diet that no humans naturally eat

  36. Literally there will be a difference in The amount of carnivores and vegetarians having heart disease. Lol on the counter there’s a lot less vegetarian. Your weighing 97% of the population to 3%on a disease. But most vegetarians are anemic?

  37. As far as red and processed meats being 'bad', I sometimes have to wonder if this blanket statement and belief is self-serving for those who want to promote vegetarian and vegan diets.

    In other words, is all meat bad, or certain types of meats? What about meat, regardless of whether it's chicken, pork, beef or lamb if the animals are humanely-raised…if free-range, fed a vegetarian diet free of hormones and antibiotics?

    What if we ate LESS meat, and if that meat (animals) were all treated and raised humanely? Would it then be ok to eat that meat? Or is the real goal of those promoting a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle to continue to find rationalizations for why we shouldn't eat meat?

    She talks about the poor 'factory farmed' animals, telling the first-person story of the sow. What an obviously self-serving, overly-emotional, purposefully graphic ploy, to try and make all meat eaters feel…guilty?? Again, I'd ask, what about meat that came from animals who were NOT part of a factory farm? It's interesting that throughout this entire video, Dr. Kong only focuses on the worst elements of meat production, but has nothing to say about small scale farms and livestock raising. Which all proves my point that….I firmly believe that for some people, they simply don't want us to eat meat, period. Even if all animals were raised humanely. Even if we figured out a way to ensure that raising so much livestock would not negatively impact the planet. They'd still find another reason why we should not eat meat.

    Maybe some of us just 'like' meat. You know, sorta like so much of the rest of the world….like many indigenous and native peoples? But, when native people eat meat it's normal and a part of their culture, but when modern societies do it it's barbaric, even when done responsibly. Um, ok.

  38. You’re all sheep of big agriculture and to the detriment of our environment. You’re actually you’re own worst enemies.

  39. In america not obesity or cancer
    Now growing day by day increasing spinchord diseases,
    Especially in youth every 10people having 4members having ths spinalchord disease like ddd,herinated, bulging next 10years it will be 10out of 8

  40. Joanne Kong:
    Podemos mudar o mundo através das nossas escolhas alimentares:
    Três razões para virar vegetariano:
    1- Traz benefícios para a saúde
    2- É a favor da sustentabilidade do nosso planeta
    3- Irá alargar o seu círculo de compaixão

    • Grande variedade de nutrientes
    • Fibras beneficias que só são encontradas nos vegetais
    • Antioxidantes
    • E centenas de milhares de phytochemicals, que protegem o corpo e fortalecem a saúde.

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