We rely on energy to live, grow, and accomplish any task. Even now, reading these words requires your body to burn energy as muscles move your eyes and the information is sent firing down nerves to be processed in the neurons of your ever active brain.
We require that energy. Every cell cries out to be fed and to be fed well. So, we eat and then we complain about fatigue and lack of energy while blaming our jobs, our lifestyles, or insufficient time to eat well or exercise. When we do eat well, we focus on counting calories, fad dieting, and burning fat.
But the majority of this constant eating, dieting, and complaining misses the mark. We seem to have forgotten where all that energy, locked up in calories, really comes from. It doesn’t originally come into existence in our bodies. Humans don’t make it. It doesn’t come to us as cheeseburger manna from heaven. Pigs, cows, and chickens don’t produce it.
The truth is, all the energy we eat comes to us initially from the sun. Each bite we take is made from sunlight. Even the elements that make up our bodies were born in starfire. This light energy comes flying through the cold void of space from a ball of gas burning over ninety million miles away and is then captured, in a near magical way, by the plants on our planet.
This captured energy then makes its way up the food chain, but each step through that chain results in loss. The energy and material decreases with each step, creates more waste product, becomes less and less efficient the further from the source. Generally, only about 10% of energy survives the transfer from one level to the next.
There are a million arguments as to whether humans are herbivores, omnivores, or carnivores. It doesn’t really matter. We are capable of eating plants, so why not eat low on the food chain? That is where the energy is at its peak, concentrated in the purest form, and before most of it can be lost in the digestion process, burned away as heat or simply discarded as waste.
That is the essence of plant-based nutrition. Relying on plants as our major food source takes us closer to the original sunlight energy that has made life possible. Whether you choose to become vegetarian, vegan, or not, adding more plant-based foods to your diet is a good idea if you want to be healthier, raise your fitness level, and feel more energetic. Start your transformation here and now, even if it is just the smallest of steps in the right direction.
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Photo credit: Andreas Krappweis