Dr. Jam Caleda N.D. Integrative Naturopathic Medical Centre Naturopath YVR
3 min|Dr. Jam Caleda

Global Wellness: The Link Between Your Health and The Environment (+ 3 Tips to Sustainable Eating)

Nutrition, Health, Uncategorized
Our planet operates as an interconnected system, reminiscent of the human body. The oceans act as our respiratory system, trees and soil function like kidneys, filtering our water circulation. The atmosphere, similar to our skin, shields us from extraterrestrial threats, while volcanoes resemble vents to Earth's core.

Being an avid diver, I've witnessed the negative impact of human actions on marine life. Having spent my childhood in Indonesia, it's disheartening to observe the transformation of the Indian Ocean over the years. Bali, once a sanctuary of vibrant marine forests, now grapples with pollution, contaminants, and challenges brought on by shifting global temperatures.

The Vulnerability of Coral Ecosystems

Coral reefs, which sustain some of the most biodiverse marine life, are at risk. A temperature change as subtle as 2 degrees Celsius could irreparably damage coral health. Climate change consequences, like coral bleaching, are intensifying around the equator. Numerous reefs are becoming ghostly white due to their essential symbiotic organisms deserting them, revealing their white calcium structures¹. Current research links this to rising sea temperatures and nutrient density shifts in water.

Overfishing has resulted in a staggering 90% decline in fish populations since the 1950s². As populations boom, and with projections hitting 10 billion by 2060, our current methods of consumption are unsustainable. Vast tracts of forests across continents are being felled for monocrop agriculture and cattle farming.

Ultimately, our health is rooted in the quality of the air, food, water, and earth.

Rethinking Beef Consumption

For many, the allure of a juicy steak is undeniable. Red meat offers numerous nutritional benefits. Historically, consistent meat consumption might have propelled human evolution. However, each delicious bite today carries an environmental cost.

Western mass cattle farming practices are highly unsustainable. Just consider the resources required for a 10 oz steak³:
  • 1,557 sq ft of pastureland
  • 36,000 calories of feed (occupying 75% of all US croplands)
  • 434 gallons of water
  • 9.6 kilograms of CO2 emissions due to cattle digestion.
Furthermore, the way we raise and feed cattle can impact our health, with hormone injections and antibiotic usage altering meat properties.

Still, for those who cherish beef, there are sustainable ways to indulge:

1. Moderation: Limit steak consumption. Opt for alternative protein sources like eggs, poultry, or fish.
2. Sustainable Sourcing: Familiarize yourself with sustainable meat guidelines³.
3. Local and Grass-fed: Minimize carbon footprints and ensure cattle consume a natural diet.

By making informed choices, we can bolster our health and protect our planet.

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