With inflation at a 40-year high, complications from COVID out of control, the healthcare system near collapse, many people feel there’s not much they can personally do to turn things around.
Although there is plenty we may not be able to do much about, all is not lost. There are some simple actions we can take to feel more in control around inflation, COVID and our health.
Lest anyone confuse simple with easy, some of the changes may be difficult, but the immediate, and long-term impact will give people a greater sense of control.
Inflation is on the Rise
Inflation is something the great majority of the U.S. population is being directly impacted by. The numbers are staggering.
The Current Annual inflation for the 12 months ending in December 2021 is 7.04%. Add to this most incomes are not keeping up with this surge and we have the perfect storm for more people falling below the poverty line.
Currently, the national average for those living below the poverty line is 13.4% of the national population. This is equal to more than approximately 42.5 million Americans living below the poverty line.
Granted, there are those who won’t bat an eye at the over 7% increase. These people are in a class all their own.
Due to the wealth level of a small percentage of people, they may not be in touch with what is impacting most people. To them, the increase may not be a big deal, but for most Americans, when you factor in the increase in groceries, gas, utilities, and prescription drug costs, it’s huge.
For those on a fixed income, which is a great majority of the population, this is not good news. Take the over 65-year-old population. At a time when they will likely have an increased need for healthcare, the costs continue to increase.
Medicare Costs Impacted by Inflation
On Nov. 12, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that the standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B would rise to $170.10 in 2022, from $148.50 this year. The 14.5% increase is the largest one-year increase in the program’s history.
That’s the largest bump in 30 years.
Food Bills Increase
Most people are feeling the pinch at their local grocery store checkout lines. Regardless of one’s income level, or the type of market they frequent, inflation has hit hard.
Some of the greatest jumps are with beef, eggs, milk and other dairy.
The price of beef and veal increased 20.1% between October 2020 and October 2021, recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows. It’s far outpacing the increasing price of pork, which is 14.1% more expensive than it was at this time last year.
In the last five years, the consumer price for dairy has increased by 7.4 per cent compared to 11.8 per cent for meat, 20.6 per cent for eggs and 7.7 per cent for fish, according to the CDC. Supply chain issues and poor weather are behind surging grocery prices, experts say.
Sicker by the Day
Add to out-of-control inflation, another area of increase is the number of people suffering from heart disease, diabetes, obesity, respiratory problems, strokes, and various cancers.
For example, the rates of American adults with obesity have continued to increase over the past decade according to researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the years between 2007-2008 and 2015-2016, the report says the rates of obesity rose significantly among adults, from 33.7% to 39.6%.
No one could disagree that obesity is now an epidemic. Much of these increases have to do with lifestyle choices including the consumption of animal and dairy foods.
Although not all diseases being a result of lifestyle choices, there is a direct correlation to what we eat to the increase of negative health conditions.
Yet, when you consider that childhood obesity (not just being overweight, but actual obesity) is on the rise, childhood obesity has reached epidemic levels in developed as well as in developing countries.
Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century. There is a direct correlation between childhood obesity and the rise of many diseases.
The majority of young people experiencing complications due to any of the variants of COVID is directly related to obesity. Obesity is considered to be one of the most prominent risk factors of severe COVID-19, increasing disease mortality, even in childhood.
Obesity puts children and adults alike at risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
With the healthcare system near collapse, we are literally at the edge of the cliff, watching it crumble below our feet.
When you factor in the increase in the number of diseases passed on from animals to humans, we can no longer deny the connection between what we eat and our contribution to the current collapse of so many of our systems.
About 75% of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic; that is, they are transmissible diseases between humans and animals. Zoonoses cause approximately one billion cases of illness in people and millions of deaths every year.
The fact is things are out of control. And people are feeling more frustrated and fearful by the day.
Is there a Solution?
Although not a silver bullet solution, a change in our diet can address many of the current issue impacting millions upon millions of people, including children.
As more and more funding is put into campaigns that address surface level issues, not much is being done to get to the core of the problem.
Rather than programs designed to educate people on the dangers of what they consume in their diet, we are being told the problems with surface level solutions such as masks, vaccines, social distancing and avoiding crowds.
Sure, these steps can help but they will not solve the problem. A complete overhaul in our food production, they type of foods we consume, as well as reduction in factory farming is what absolutely must be addressed.
Take chicken consumption. Every year, Americans consume 8 billion chickens with the greatest one day consumption being Superbowl Sunday.
The National Chicken Council reported that a record 1.42 Billion chicken wings were consumed for Super Bowl Sunday 2021.
When you consider the amount of antibiotics, steroids and other growth promoting drugs used in the farming of chickens, it’s no wonder most people are resistant to many of the drugs designed to combat health problems.
Drug use on factory farms is a leading cause of antibiotic resistance, a serious health threat facing humanity.
Antibiotics on chicken farms not only encourages chickens to grow unnaturally large, unnaturally fast—it also poses a grave threat to human health, in the form of growing antibiotic resistance.
Additionally, excess use of antibiotics in livestock — and in humans — fuels antibiotic resistance: These bacteria are sometimes known as superbugs, which, are a very real threat to human health.
These bacteria can spread to humans from animals and cause illnesses that become increasingly hard to treat over time,
An area that absolutely must be addressed is the current epidemic of food desserts. These are geographic regions where it is easier to get a six-pack of beer and cigarettes than it is to get an apple.
A food desert is essentially an area in which someone does not have access to a food source, such as a supermarket, nearby.
Unfortunately, food deserts are NOT few and far between “It’s estimated there are more than 23 million people, more than half of them low-income, living in food deserts.”
One film that addresses the issue of food desserts and systemic racism in food distribution is They are Trying to Kill Us.
“They’re Trying To Kill Us” is the follow-up feature length documentary to the award-winning film What The Health, focusing on food (in)justice told through the lens of Hip Hop and urban culture, produced by Keegan Kuhn (Cowspiracy, What The Health) and John Lewis (Badass Vegan, Vegan Smart).
The film addresses food access and food deserts, nutritional and environmental racism, diet related diseases, racial disparities of disease, government corruption, animal cruelty, climate change and ultimately how the influence of Hip Hop will save the world.
I highly recommend this eye-opening documentary. Access at www.theyretryingtokillus.com/
Plant Based Eating
Without a doubt, one of the most important steps people can take to combat inflation, healthcare, obesity and complications due to Zoonotic Diseases is to adopt a diet that is void of animal and dairy with a focus on whole food, Plant-Based choices.
Many people erroneously believe that a whole food, Plant-Based diet is too cost prohibitive when in fact, the opposite is true.
It can actually be much more affordable to eat a diet with fruits and vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds than to eat a diet filled with animal and dairy.
There is the short term, and long-term benefits to a diet rich in Plant-Based foods to include not only fruits and vegetables but also beans, legumes, sprouts, nuts and seeds.
Within the Plant-Based movement, there are those who are known for promoting Plant Based Eating on a Budget.
One woman taking this situation head-on is Toni Okamoto. Toni is the author of Plant-Based on a Budget: Delicious Vegan Recipes for Under $30 a Week, in Less Than 30 Minutes a Meal.
Between low-paying jobs, car troubles, student loans, vet bills, and trying to pay down credit card debt, Toni Okamoto spent most of her early adult life living paycheck to paycheck. So, when she became a vegan at age 20, she worried: “How would she be able to afford that kind of lifestyle change?”
Then she discovered how to be Plant-Based on a budget.
Through her popular website, Toni has taught hundreds of thousands of people how to eat a plant-strong diet while saving money in the process. With Plant-Based on a Budget, going vegan is not only an attainable goal, but the best choice for your health, the planet—and your wallet.
Another pioneer in budget friendly, Plant-Based meals is author, Kathy Davis. Her book,
Budget-Friendly Plant Based Diet Cookbook: 3 Whole-Food Meals a Day for Just $7 is a favorite of budget conscious families.
Eating healthy on a budget can be a challenge. Doing so on a whole-food, Plant-Based diet can seem almost impossible. The Budget-Friendly Plant-Based Diet Cookbook proves it’s both achievable and tasty to eat vegan on a budget. Discover more than 75 healthy, inexpensive Plant-Based recipes that will keep your taste buds jumping, your belly full, and your grocery bill in check.
One of my all-time favorites is from Plant-Based chef and author, Felicia Slattery called Plant-Based Slow Cooker Cookbook: 100 Whole-Food Recipes Made Simple.
A cookbook I refer to often, Plant-Based Slow Cooker Cookbook is filled with recipes that are not only easy to follow, but they are also extremely tasty and very healthy.
Slow cookers hold the key to creating healthy, Plant-Based meals that are affordable, flavorful, and practically effortless. This Plant-Based cookbook is packed with slow-cooker recipes for tender, hearty whole-food dishes to serve up even on the busiest days. Brush up on the basics of the three most common Plant-Based diets and the fundamentals of slow cooking before diving into recipes for breakfasts, soups, entrées, desserts, and more―no kitchen experience required.
If you’re ready to take control of your health, minimize the impact of food inflation and do something good for the animals and the planet (and your loved ones) transitioning to a Plant-Based diet, void of all animal and dairy will result in changes that will surprise and amaze you.
On my podcast show, Plant Based Eating for Health, I’ve interviewed men and women from all walks of life who have taken control of their health by making this change.
People like Brian Rogers who not only released nearly 150 pounds of unhealthy weight, but he also reversed several diseases like Type II diabetes. 011: Award-winning BBQ Pit Master Chooses Health Over Meat | Plant Based Eating for Health
Then there is Kristi Davis who let go of 115 pounds and took back her health. A good coach takes you places you never imagined | Plant Based Eating for Health
Or what about ex-Marine, Dennis Jones who let go of 180 pounds with a Plant-Based diet. Semper Fi the Vegan Way with Dennis Jones | Plant Based Eating for Health
Not all results are this dramatic. For many people the fact they are eating foods that don’t harm animals is reason enough. For others, it’s about the increase in focus, clarity and energy that is a life changer for them.
Still others simply want to minimize their carbon footprint by the food choices they make.
Regardless of the reasons, the fact is, a Plant-Based diet give people the edge they need in a world that is experiencing ever increasing inflation, healthcare collapse, out of control diseases, and climate disasters.
We can each do our part by changing what’s at the edge of our forks.
Well, Kathleen, you had me from the word inflation. If this article doesn’t encourage others to explore the whole foods plant based lifestyle I just don’t know what will. It is scary what’s going on out there. I live in an area with a high percentage of tourists; the price of organic produce here reflects this. This said, I would never reconsider going back, not for money, not for anything. I have reaped too many rewards from living this lifestyle, from my physical health of reversing the osteoporosis of a 90 year old to preventing uterine cancer, to reversing sub clinical hypothyroid to normalizing blood work which was previously showed low protein, low calcium, low vitamin D3, low B12, high homocystein and thereby prevented a heart attack. Now, all are well within the normal range, plus I had 3 + high cancer markers, all kicked to the curb and since I was 16 years old I had extremely dense breast tissue on the left and at 61 (now 63), was told it’s no longer dense. I have normal breast tissue. My spiritual well-being and the changes to my mental health have both greatly benefitted from this lifestyle. I was on every conceivable psychotropic drug for almost 30 years; I’ve been drug-free for 5 + years. I benefit from sharing my life with beloved felines and have been rescuing them, and they me, for over 43 years. Yes, I do take pride in my contribution to minimizing this carbon footprint as I have been at this for over 30 years. It took a cat, and the book by John Robbins, “Diet for a New America,” for me to stop eating animal flesh. It took health issues to drive home the whole foods plant exclusive part of this journey. Regardless of one’s reason, the outcome is a win-win for all. Go vegan!
Thank you for sharing so many important aspects of your journey. You DO make a difference and I appreciate all you do.