Drop that burger because there are healthier, more sustainable and more humane choices. Eating a burger is not only unhealthy for your expanding waistline, but it’s really bad for the environment too. And sustaining a vast system with animal brutality at its core undermines values you say you embrace.
by David Stone
Why eating burgers is bad for your soul
Burgers were automatic when I was a kid in Upstate New York. Nothing was more delicious than a cheap meal of burgers and fries in Carol’s parking lot. As Carol’s faded, McDonald’s and Burger King filled the gap.
Another thing growing at a rapid pace was The Age of Ignorance. When I saw my uncle sell off one of his cows – he couldn’t breed her successfully – my heart ached, knowing she would be slaughtered for dog food. Or so I thought.
While part of the dairy herd, she was people-friendly and enjoyed being petted. She didn’t pull back when you reached toward her face as most of the others did.
But simple economics said, if you can’t breed, you can’t provide milk – or live a long life.
I was as completely ignorant as most of us were about the machinery of inhumane slaughter emerging as factory farms overwhelmed the dairy farms Americans romanticized.
As a nation, we overthrew the birthplace of family values so we could power down cheap, unhealthy burgers.
The coup was so swift and silent, we never knew what hit us.
…and for your health.
Eating burgers may seem like a harmless indulgence, but it can have severe effects on your health. It increases saturated fat and cholesterol levels, putting you at risk of heart disease.
Burgers are also high in sodium, and eating large amounts of salt leads to increased blood pressure and a higher risk of stroke.
And eating too much beef has been linked to cancer risks and higher levels of inflammation. These effects accumulate over time, unlike car crashes that take fewer lives but get more media coverage.
There’s stealth involved in the catastrophic assault on your health if you don’t drop that burger. It sneaks up on you with little warning. It’s The Age of Ignorance, and admit it, you don’t even know how it gets from forced, artificial insemination to your plate.
Taking healthy steps such as eating fewer – or no – burgers, and substituting with leaner proteins, goes a long way towards improving your overall well-being. And it means that fewer trapped animals will spend there lives in daily abuse.
So, why not drop that burger today and lose the risks?
How Do Factory Farms Abuse Animals?
Factory farms are devastating animal cruelty operations that need to be addressed.
Every animal on a factory farm is treated as no more than a commodity in the process of food production and, as such, faces some of the most horrendous conditions imaginable.
The overcrowding, lack of clean water, and limited access to sunlight and fresh air all lead to anxiety, depression, illness and premature death for these poor creatures who have no way of defending themselves.
With so little environmental enrichment, the animals – who, like us, need care and kindness – have no way of leading anything close to happy lives.
High-fat, sodium and preservatives: The burger story
Unhealthy artificial ingredients are often found in burgers. Factory Farms add them in making their foods tasty and easy to distribute. So, it’s not really the beef you’re enjoying; it’s a product based on beef with a dose of animal cruelty.
The 10 Most Toxic Ingredients Lurking in Fast Food
- Natural Beef Flavor.
- Potassium Bromate.
- Propylene Glycol.
- Calcium Sulfate.
- Phosphate Additives.
- Propyl gallate.
Source: Eat This, Not That
The unfortunate truth, though, is that these unhealthy components can be extremely harmful if they are consumed regularly. And the industry gets a mostly free pass from agencies that are supposed to protect us.
Why? Follow the money. It’s as true as it ever was.
Luckily, there are healthier alternatives that can replace unhealthy ingredients. Grass-fed, free range beef, for example, is better because it’s leaner and contains more omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fats reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure.
Many of us opt for fish alternatives, and smart consumers find vegetable-based burgers – like Beyond Burgers – a tasty and healthier choice. But you needn’t go vegan to make better, healthier choices.
And don’t forget about cultured meats. They’re on the way and far better for you and the animals from any angle.
Next time you’re thinking about ordering a burger, consider a healthier and more sustainable option instead – your body will thank you. And you may be adding years to your life. And that’s also a life with fewer chronic ailments.
Overall, burgers are not only unhealthy for our bodies, but they are also bad for the environment. They require large amounts of water and other resources. Eating the usual burgers exacerbates climate change, resource depletion and other environmental problems.
Once a beef burger reaches your plate, it has done substantial damage to the environment and wildlife. Meat production causes habitat loss, land and water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions; furthermore, millions of wild animals are killed every year at the behest of the livestock industry.Burger Facts
To be a more responsible consumer, start by ditching the burger and making healthier choices instead. There are plenty of delicious, nutritious options out there – you just have to look for them.
Many restaurants add them to their daily menus.
Drop that burger for alternatives that are just as tasty
Everyone can enjoy a burger now and then, but why should you, considering the universe of harm it depends on? Why put your life at risk when tasty foods with healthier ingredients are on the same menu and on the same grocery store shelves?
Instead of automatically reaching for the burgers, why not switch things up and try something new?
Alternatives like portobello mushrooms and veggie burgers are great ways of making sure everyone can enjoy a tasty meal without worrying about their health. Not only are alternatives just as appetizing, but they also provide new flavors that expand the universe of your pleasures.
With recipes out there for almost any burger alternative you could imagine, you won’t have to worry about coming up with something new – it’s already done for you.
Drop that burger and make healthier choices
Eating healthier can seem intimidating at first, but so many delicious options are available that make healthier choices fun and easy to try.
From new lean proteins and nutritious grains to lower-fat dairy products and heart-healthy snacks, embracing healthier eating habits doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor or enjoyment. It just requires being mindful and selecting more nutritive choices.
With a few simple swaps like replacing white rice with quinoa or swapping out regular chips for ones with less fat and salt, you make a huge difference. Every little more nutritional choice counts. So, why not make healthier choices part of your daily routine?
In my minds eye, I still see that sweet, dark brown cow being led up the ramp and into the truck that took her to an early death. It left a sad mark, and I can only wish I’d learned the lesson sooner.
But it wasn’t in any textbook then and probably isn’t now. The Age of Ignorance does not serve you or the animals well or honestly.
Despite being a classic American favorite, burgers have some serious consequences for your health. You may live a shorter life plagued by chronic digestive issues.
Between the high-fat content, sodium levels and preservatives, burgers increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.
But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on deliciousness – pan-fried fish and veggie burgers are healthy alternatives that are just as scrumptious.
The next time you’re feeling a burger craving, think about your health and the devastating animal cruelty and opt for health and happiness. Your body will thank you.