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Opinion: Switching to whole-food, plant-based diet is wise

It was with great interest that I read Greg Dennis’ column in the Dec. 3 issue, “How to talk about climate change?” with most of which I agreed. But after a second and third reading to make sure I did not miss anything, I was quite amazed. Did he forget or purposely omit for political or economic reasons what many scientists think is one of the most important causes of our climate change: our SAD diet (Standard American Diet), which includes so much meat of all kinds and all types of dairy products?
While I admire the efforts and resolve of the 50 or more hardy people who stood out in the chill on the Middlebury green to call for action at the Paris climate talks, both Mr. Dennis and I agree that “shivering in the dark is no solution to climate change.”
So what I am (a non-medically or scientifically trained professional) proposing? The answer is a whole-food, plant-based diet. Many scientists now believe that there is enough strong evidence to include this as one way of improving our environment. This switch from animal- to plant-based diet, already being followed by many people throughout our country, is often now referred to as Forks Over Knives, a way of life for the 21st century, a phrase and concept created by the famous T. Colin Campbell, author of “The China Study,” and the equally famous former doctor at the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.
Although radical and difficult as this may sound, with all its many different factors involved in the meat and dairy industry, it does have merit, and I think it at least warrants a thoughtful discussion. Yes, for Vermonters who love our Ben and Jerry’s, it is as Mr. Dennis says, “a heavy lift.”
Therefore, before I am soundly criticized and maybe “put into a pillory” out on the same green, please give this diet change consideration and read/watch at least some of the following books, quotes, newspaper articles, etc., among hundreds of others found on the Internet: “Healthy Eating, Healthy World,” by J. Morris Hicks; “The China Study,” by T. Colin Campbell, PhD; “Whole,” by T. Colin Campbell, PhD; “Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows,” by Melanie Joy, PhD; The recent Dec. 2 article in The New York Times, “Seven Simple Guidelines for Thinking About Carbon Emissions; and the DVDs “Forks Over Knives” and “Cowpiracy.”
Pat Davies
Middlebury

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