There is something so appealing about a salad made with a rainbow of fruits and vegetables that radiates with vibrant, ripe color. These colors are directly linked to the chemical nutrients within these plants. And while these colors are found in animal products, they are only to the extent that they consumed them and stored it in their own tissues. Would you rather get first hand or second-hand nutrients?
A Colorful Diet: More Than What Meets The Eye
Eating plants is equivalent to eating pure energy. Through photosynthesis, electrons transform sunlight into chemical energy: simple sugars, complex carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. In The China Study, Dr. T. Colin Campbell compares the high power environment within the plant to that of a nuclear reactor. The chaos created when electrons stray creates free radicals- which are the equivalent to leaking radioactive materials- which are dangerous to the plant. Plant cells need insurance against potential disasters during this intense process, so they create a protective barrier.
This barrier is equivalent to a shield made of antioxidants to keep everything in line and absorb disasters. The chemical property that sponges up the out-of-control electrons creates visible color: a spectrum of attractive hues. Beta-carotene produces yellow, which gives lemons their color, and lycopene is red, such as in tomatoes. An example of a colorless antioxidant is ascorbic acid or vitamin C.
Why Does This Matter?
Humans, like plants, also create free radicals, which cause tissue break-down and aging. These pesky, rampant chemicals are part of the processes that cause diseases of old age, arthritis and artery hardening. In our bodies, there are no built-in mechanisms designed to combat this havoc in our systems. Ill-equipped for battle, we do not produce any antioxidants on our own. However, the antioxidants in plants work them same way in our bodies as they do in plants. When we eat a colorful diet, we use their shields for our own health.
What about supplements?
In many cases, supplements do not work in the same way. According to Campbell, it is the whole plant food, with its fiber and other nutrients working with our complex systems, that create the protective effect. Ingesting abnormal amounts of a single vitamin is not the same as eating the whole food with its fiber and nutrients that come along with the antioxidant in its natural state. It is more advantageous to get vitamins and nutrients from its source, fruits and vegetables, not from a manufactured pill.
In addition, meat and animal products lack antioxidants as well as fiber. Any trace amounts are derived from plants that they had consumed in their lifetime. Would you rather attempt to get your antioxidants second-hand from what another animal ate or simply eat it yourself? Why would one eat another being in order to attempt to obtain nutrients when eating the source of the nutrients is more beneficial?
Eating fruits and vegetables directly eliminates the need to kill and consume other beings. There is no reason that we need to put other animals in our own bodies. We produce free radicals and need protection. Plants have those shields we need. There is no simpler way to see that, according to nature, we are meant to eat plants. Consuming your vitamins from another sentient being who ate it first is not optimal, healthy, sustainable, or efficient.
Start taking advantage of the beautiful gifts that nature gives us to thrive. Make a conscious decision to eat more whole plant foods and grow stronger mentally and physically as a result.