We’re coming up on the 100th anniversary of one of Albert Einstein’s most important ideas: the Unified Field Theory.
If it’s been a while since your last physics class, here’s a refresher: This is the theory that ties the four basic forces of nature together — strong interactions, weak interactions, electromagnetic interactions and gravity. In other words, it's the idea that everything is connected.
That same concept can also be applied to health. For example, I recently read "Total Heart Health," by Dr. Robert Schneider, which suggests a “Unified Field Chart for Total Heart Health." The approach is based on the Maharishi Vedic tradition and focuses on the mind, body and environment together.
Inspired by Dr. Schneider's book, I started to scribble down some ideas of my own. I wanted to apply the same theory to "clean eating," and adapt a similar holistic view.
I’m calling this the “Unified Theory of Clean Eating": the idea that clean-eating diets, in addition to promoting physical health, are also sensitive to the environment and animal rights. Just like in Einstein's theory, everything is connected.
There are many different “clean” diets, but the term generally means an emphasis on whole foods raised close to nature and an avoidance of processed foods full of added sugars, oils and salt. Clean eating augments health by focusing on nutrient-dense foods rich in minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and phytonutrients, and lower in potentially carcinogenic additives. In that way, it's generally superior to the standard American diet, with its excess of calories and chemicals.
But clean eating isn't just a smart choice for one's health, vitality, and longevity. It's also the ethical choice for the planet.
Why should we care about environmentally-friendly eating patterns? With the recent announcement that the world population will reach nearly 10 billion by 2050, agencies such as the United Nations and even the USDA have emphasized the impact of food sources on the environment.
So it’s important to consider that while all clean eating patterns are healthy options, those that contain meat, fish and eggs — like the Mediterranean, DASH, Pegan, and pesco-vegetarian diets — consume far more resources than plant-based plates.
The bottom line: There are many paths to healthy eating, but we also must live responsibly for future generations.
I’m particularly inspired by the words of Thich Nhat Hanh: “As a population, if a large number of people make even small moves to eat less meat and more plant-based foods, the livestock industry will shrink. Over time, farmers will find other crops to support their livelihoods. Through such collective awakening we can make a difference in our world.”
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Photo Credits: Shutterstock, Dr. Joel Kahn