Is health a personal choice?
Of course it is. Every individual has the ability to decide whether or not they value a healthy life.
However, that doesn’t imply our personal choices don’t have an effect on the world around us. The majority of our decisions have an impact on at least one other person other than ourselves.
I immediately connected with this quote by Gwendolyn Brooks. It hints at all of the reasons individuals should decide to follow a plant-based lifestyle. Brooks points out that health is for our own wellbeing; our family, friends, peers and acquaintances around us; the future generations and for mother earth.
I have already gone over the personal benefits of a plant-based diet such as increased life quality, greater happiness, and decreased risk for chronic disease. I understand that humans are selfish. For some, being plant-based for personal gains is enough to spur the change to a healthier, more sustainable diet and lifestyle.
I remind you that you are not the only one affected by your diet and lifestyle. Individuals you both interact with and don’t know are affected by your decisions. Your diet impacts how you interact with others in your life. Your health can decide whether or not you are there for your son’s baseball game, your daughter’s college graduation, the birth of your first grandchild. Your lifestyle choices change how you interact with the people around you and in turn how they interact with you according to your weight, health status and emotional state.
Children are affected by their parents’ choices starting in the womb. Caretakers influence their children’s’ attitudes towards health. Life paths are altered by the decision of whether or not kids are fed healthy, plant-based food or unhealthy, processed foods. In addition to making marks on the health of children, individuals also impact the world that their and others’ children will reside in. Eating a plant-based diet is the most sustainable diet for this planet. Methane, a greenhouse gas more detrimental than carbon dioxide, is released in the production of various varieties of meat. Greenhouse gasses are one of the causes of climate change among many. Choosing to eat a meat-heavy diet is choosing a warmer, less-stable climate for future generations.
The progress of the world is a sum of all the points previously highlighted. Your lifestyle choices make an impact on you, your fellow inhabitants of earth and the earth itself. All of these aspects add up to the progress the world can achieve. If individuals are sick, they spend time and energy fighting disease instead of improving the world. Sick people take away time and resources from potential discoveries by others. Individuals eating a diet that negatively impacts the environment reduces the quality of all life on earth.
Help yourself. Help your friends. Help your children. Help the world. Eat a plant-based diet.