Big PictureThink

Lions, Tumors, and Terrorists, oh my! – What do you have to be afraid of?

Taking a closer look at the leading causes of early death.

Are you afraid of terrorists? Lightning? Lions? What about what’s on your dinner plate? You may be surprised to learn you are 15,800 times more likely to die from high blood pressure (Heart Disease) than from a terrorist, if you are a civilian.

What’s really causing early deaths. This graph may make you reconsider what you have to be afraid of. Research and graphic by Sister Reya.
But these facts are rarely discussed. Mainstream media chooses to promote an agenda of fear-mongering over personal empowerment and cooperation because drama and conflict get people to tune in
Chapman University’s annual Top 10 Fears list. People are a little worried about affordable health care, but what about affordable health food?
With hours of your attention distracted by a sentence someone said ten years ago, or a single shooting with colors to provoke hate, your fears are stoked leaving no space for discussing the solutions we most desperately need. Our biggest enemy – which we all have in common – may be our obesity epidemic, mental health crisis, single mother family crisis, poverty and inequality.
Being a single mother myself, I have looked up the statistics before just to feel not so alone when experiencing my own feelings of isolation and desperation. Nearly two thirds (63%) of suicides nationwide are individuals from single-parent families and single mothers are four times more likely to commit suicide than married mothers and 70% more likely to suffer premature death.
This 21-year-old single mother, Jade Rees, hung herself leaving behind her young son after her boyfriend left her four months pregnant with another child. Sixty percent of children living in a single mother homes live at or below poverty and these children are more likely to commit suicide, do drugs, and go to jail. But the converging crisis of social, mental, and physical health are buried beneath media-inflated fears of the government, surveillance, and terrorists. (photo source: CFC Counseling)
Most crimes are committed by individuals from single parent households. Meanwhile we see the wealthiest people get more wealthy as the people with less have even less. But rather than address solutions to the health and inequality crisis (not to mention the war being waged on animals and the environment), the media would rather keep people fighting each other to the death by promoting stories that distract us and breed feelings of hate and separation.
Artist Alex Grey’s paintings remind us that underneath the skin all humans look the same with the same wiring. All people are equally affected by the ills of consuming unhealthy foods.
The truth is the human family is faced with a common enemy that kills us equally without regard for skin color, religious practice, political beliefs, or sexuality. This enemy is improper diet and it is the leading cause of over a million preventable deaths each year. Many more people are dying from hamburgers, steaks, and cheese than from guns or terrorists. The graph shown at the top is annual U.S. preventable deaths by cause of death and is a reality check. A plant based diet had been shown to completely reverse and heal many of these conditions and greatly decreases the odds of developing these conditions in the first place. There is much good news if we open our eyes, ears, and maybe a book or a blog. We can take responsibility for our own health and wellness, and we can focus our energy on the solutions to heal ourselves. If we each heal ourselves, we just might together heal the world.

Reya Steele Andrews

Reya (Steele) Andrews is a holistic health writer, educator, and publisher at Healing With Plants. Reya is a certified Holistic Nutritionist (AFPA), is certified in Plant-based Nutrition, and teaches nutrition science and healthy food preparation. Find her book, The Frugivore Diet, on Amazon.

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