I suppose that anything we eat would be referred to as a ‘diet’ but most of us know that ‘diets’ simply do not work. Wasn’t one of the latest diets the Cookie Diet? I could come up with a myriad of diets and names for them and probably make a bunch of money if I was so inclined to mislead the public, but I’m not. One of the worst ‘diets’ out there and still going strong is the Atkins Diet. Way too much protein. Check out the prior article, “What Can Vegans Eat?”
Any ‘diet’ will work as far as losing weight goes. Simply cut the calories and lose weight. It’s a given. This is not health! I have a friend who is a diabetic and is determined to eat what she pleases. This means not eating at all a lot of the time, eating a lot of meat and goodies as she pleases. This is not a person who is the picture of health to say the very least. I have watched her move in pain day after day. I have watched her face contort because of the pain in her body. She is overweight. I’m sure we all know people like this.
Seventy percent of Americans are overweight and twenty percent of Americans are obese. As other countries eat more of an American diet the same thing is happening along with a tremendous rise in diabetes, heart disease and cancer not to mention osteoporosis, kidney problems, liver problems and on and on. YOU CAN HAVE HEALTH…NOT BY CHANCE BUT BY CHOICE. So, instead of using the term Plant Based Diet how about using the term Healthy Lifestyle or Whole Foods Lifestyle or better yet, you come up with a good term that fits your lifestyle. The lifestyle that can keep you fit and trim, keep you away from disease and give you that “joie de vivre.”
Plant Based does not mean that the only thing you are going to eat are plants. It simply means that plants are the basis for what you are eating. Vegetables are plants, fruits grow on trees, grains grow in fields.
There are thousands of studies showing that a plant based lifestyle is a very viable way to live. The benefits are huge while eating a diet of animals is harmful. Along with the diseases that everyone fears such as breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, heart disease, prostate cancer and obesity there several other diseases affected by diet. These are diseases that are not often fatal and are looked upon as inevitable as we age. This does not have to be the case.
Let’s look at one of these diseases… OSTEOPOROSIS. Did you know that Americans consume more diary products per person that most populations in the world? We are told that we need all this milk and dairy for the calcium and protein it provides, right? Wrong! American women aged fifty and older have one of the highest rates of hip fractures in the world. More milk is consumed in Australia and New Zealand and those countries actually have a bit higher rate of hip fractures. A reliable indicator of osteoporosis has been the rate of hip fractures. Dairy products are especially rich in calcium and we see advertising all over the place promoting these products. Drink more milk…have stronger bones!!! Don’t do it! Animal protein increases the acid load in the body meaning our blood and tissues become more acidic. The body likes to be more alkaline and so starts to fight the acidity. Consequently the body uses calcium to neutralize the acid pulling the calcium from the bones. Guess what…this calcium loss weakens the bones and causes more fractures. The evidence is there and has been for over 100 years that animal protein decreases bone health.
Everything the human body requires for excellent health can be found in a plant based diet.
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The China Study: a scientific study of the benefits of a plant based diet
T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., author of The China Study, grew up on a dairy farm where milk was the center of his existence. He grew up believing that good nutrition mean’t lots of protein and animal products. He studied pre-veterinary medicine at Penn State and eventually arrived at Cornell University obtaining his Ph.D. researching better ways to make cows and sheep grow larger. “Good nutrition” was synonymous with higher protein. His ideas began to change when Campbell took a position at Virginia Tech and was assigned to the Philippines working with malnourished children.
There was an unusually high prevalence of liver cancer in the children. The aim was to feed these children as much protein as possible to avoid this disease. Well, guess what…”Children who ate the highest-protein diets were the ones most likely to get liver cancer.”
Dr. Campbell is a person who has always followed the rules of good science. After 10 years of research in the Philippines and then continuing his research on protein related to cancer the results were astounding. In fact, “Dietary protein proved to be so powerful in its effect that we could turn on and turn off cancer growth simply by changing the level consumed.”
Campbell went on to direct the most comprehensive study of diet, lifestyle and disease ever done with humans in the history of biomedical research. This was the massive human study that surveyed a vast range of diseases, diet and lifestyle factors in rural China and was deemed by the New York Times the “Grand Prix of Epidemiology.”
For more information on a Plant Based Diet
I recommend that you read The China Study. It will open your eyes and change the way you eat.
Best plant based protein
People, for the most part, believe that not only do they need a great deal of protein but that the only way to get it is to eat animal products, specifically meat, dairy and eggs. Protein does not come from these animal products. It comes from plants. Protein is the result of the interaction of sunlight on plants. Cows eat plants to get their protein and we eat the cows consequently getting full of cholesterol and saturated fat. Chickens eat grains and these grains came from fields waving in the breeze under the sun. When carnivores eat herbivores they are eating the protein that came from the plants in the first place. The U.S. Government tells us that we must eat beef, drink a lot of milk and eat plenty of eggs. There are huge industries out there with enormous lobbying power. There is a Meat Industry, a Dairy Industry and an Egg Industry. This is not about our health…it is about money and nothing else.
Spinach and broccoli have more protein than steak. In a cup of chopped chard there are 175 grams of protein while in an ounce of navy beans there are 28 grams. Mother’s milk contains 5% protein so why in the world do we need a huge amount of protein? We don’t and that large amount of protein (20%) can cause a lot of very severe problems. Unless someone was eating nothing but junk food or was starving it would be impossible not to get enough protein.
Benefits of a plant based diet
These are some of the many benefits of a plant based diet:
- No heart disease meaning, of course, no open heart surgeries etc.
- Many cancers simply do not happen, especially breast and prostate. Obesity simply cannot exist without all the junk food and animal products with their large amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat.
- Diabetes, especially type II could be a disease of the past along with arthritis and osteoporosis.
- Teenagers living in other countries who eat a whole foods, plant based diets do not have acne.
- In order to be healthy and live a long and disease free life we must have a good immune system. This is totally impossible on the typical American animal based Diet filled with refined and processed foods. It is not only possible but probably that on a whole foods, plant based diet we will have a superb immune system.
What foods can I eat on a plant based diet?
The whole foods, plant based lifestyle can be a very exciting one with an enormous diversity of foods to eat. All the vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds offer a great variety of meals. There are a great many vegan cookbooks. I probably have around 20 of them and love going through them trying new recipes all the time. Every recipe I try I put a comment beside it whether it’s excellent or not so excellent. It’s fun to experiment and as you become a better and better whole foods cook your imagination can run wild. There are marvelous dishes from around the world.
What do I think of starting gradually?
There is a popular campaign called “meatless Mondays” and Oprah says that she is “veganish”. Some people are simply not able to jump right into a dramatic lifestyle change unless their life is threatened. What can be more important than our health? We can have all the money in the world but what good is it if we have some horrible disease that could have been avoided in the first place. So, it is certainly better to make changes slowly rather than not to make them at all. There are a couple of programs available that could help tremendously. One of those programs is Dr. John McDougall’s 5 day and 10 day Program held in California and another is the CHIP Program that has thousands of graduates throughout the world. CHIP stands for Coronary Health Improvement Program and is run by Dr. Hans A. Diehl.
I consulted with a woman who worked with me for a month. She lost 20 lbs. and eliminated 4 medications but decided meat was more important and doing whatever she wanted was more important. I still hear the statement from her, “I am mostly vegan.” I suppose, but either you eat animals or you don’t. You either feel your health is important enough to change your lifestyle from animals to plants or you don’t. I also feel that this doesn’t mean you absolutely cannot eat anything that resembles an animal but use as much moderation as possible and eventually those animal, refined and processed products won’t be so appealing.
Bill Clinton became a vegan and is eating a plant based diet.
As we all know Bill Clinton was a great junk food eater. It certainly was no secret nor was it a secret when he went into the hospital for his first by-pass surgery. I believe letters were sent to him by Dr. John McDougall and T. Colin Campbell telling him that he could avoid hospitals and future heart surgeries if he changed his eating habits. Clinton apparently decided that he would rather stay as far away from hospitals and open heart surgery as possible. Giving up the junk food was a small price to pay. Listen to Clinton himself talking about his current lifestyle and what it’s done for him.
Bill Clinton’s changed his diet and so can you by switching to a plant based diet.