My Journey to Better Health

I haven’t posted in a while as I felt I was getting “preachy”.  Perhaps too much information about the dangers of animal protein, diet soda, sugar and dairy.  But it is hard not to share what I’ve learned about nutrition and health.  To me it seems so basic — healthy eating leads to a healthy body, and I want everyone to know the information that is out there and to live healthier lives.

 But, frequently I am met with comments such as the one I heard recently, “Yeah, I know all about what is good to eat and what isn’t, I’m just not going to eat that way.”  I simply said OK and stopped talking.  What I wanted to say was, “What???  You’d rather get sick and take pills that may or may not lea to ther problems??  Do you think it will be easier to eat healthy once your doctor ‘orders’ you to??”,  Oops, there I go again….

Rather than spew statistics about dairy consumption and cancer rates, meat and hear disease, or broccoli and it’s cancer preventative properties, I will share with you my real life experience.  Maybe it will give someone encouragement to take nutrition seriously!

I always ate “healthy”, that is I ate a  healthy Western diet — not too much red meat, plenty of chicken, fish and dairy, fruit and vegetables, and not too much dessert.  But I had gained 10 extra pounds that I wasn’t losing and more disturbing, my indicators for heart disease weren’t good:

  • Cholesterol 220 (healthy range is under 200)
  • Triglycerides  a whopping 182 (healthy range under 150)
  • C-Reactive Protein (a measure of inflammation in the body) 5.5 (low cardio-vascular risk is under 1.0!)

So I made some changes.  As with any new situation, the first place I turned was some reading material.  I highly recommend Super Immunity by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, The China Study by Dr. T.Colin Campbell, and the documentary, Forks Over Knives.    I also started seeing a physician who practices not only conventional medicine, but also integrates complementary medicine, balancing medicine with healthy nutrition, lifestyle and exercise.  (Shout out to Sage Integrative Medicine and Dr. Marney Roemmelt, MD).

Now, 18 months later, after eating a near-Vegan diet of mostly veggies, beans, grains, fruits, nuts and no dairy (no milk, cheese, butter or eggs),  my health is substantially better.  I lost those pesky 10 pounds easily, and my risk for heart disease has gone down dramatically:

  • Cholesterol 180
  • Triglycerides 78
  • C-Reactive Protein 0.5

Plus, my sports performance has improved.  (check out No Meat Athlete for information on athletic training and performance on a vegan diet).  I also have more energy, am more alert and have far less colds than before.

While this approach may not work for everyone, the research clearly shows that people in countries who eat less meat and dairy have far less incidence of heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and auto-immune diseases that are so prevalent in western countries.  And, before you say, maybe it’s in their genes; research shows that when people from those mainly plant-based cultures move to our western meat and dairy eating countries, within 1 generation their incidence of the “western diseases” matches those of the native population.

So, I encourage everyone to at least incorporate more vegetables and fruits into their diet, to cut way down on meat (including chicken, pork and fish), perhaps to only 3 times a week, and a small portion at that (3 oz) — substitute other protein sources such as quinoa, tofu, tempeh, beans, more vegetables (yes vegetables have protein) and nuts, and cut out dairy!

October is Unprocessed Foods Month!

Did you know that October is Unprocessed Food Month?  Read up on it here and take the Unprocessed Food pledge.   What do you have to loose?

Andrew Wilder, who thought up this challenge is defining unprocessed food as:

“Unprocessed food is any food that could be made by a person with reasonable skill in a home kitchen with whole-food ingredients.

I call it “The Kitchen Test.” If you pick up something with a label (if it doesn’t have a label, it’s probably unprocessed), and find an ingredient you’d never use in your kitchen and couldn’t possibly make yourself from the whole form, it’s processed.

It doesn’t mean you actually have to make it yourself, it just means that for it to be considered “unprocessed” that you could, in theory, do so.”

There are even some ideas on how to organize your pantry posted here.

The basic idea is not to eat any processed foods, or at least cut down on processed foods.

Let me know if you are going to give it a try.  You can do it for the month, a week, a day, whatever works for you.  Any little bit helps!

 

The Protein Myth

I’ve written a little on protein, how we only need 0.8 gm of protein per kilogram of body weight (weight in lbs. divided by 2.2 x 0.8), and that there are excellent non meat sources of protein.

But still, the most common response I get when I say I don’t eat meat is, “How do you get your protein”.  I have finally found a terrific response:

Did you know that the strongest animal in the world is vegetarian?

elephant

 

Enough said!

photo from http://sharathpandukal.blogspot.com/

The Dangerous Success of the Dairy Industry

I have spent 30 years in the field of advertising and marketing, and so I milk know the power of advertising.  One of the most successful marketing campaigns over the past 50 years has been that of the dairy industry.  They have convinced us that drinking milk is essential to our health.  However, the more research I do, the more I realize that this is totally untrue!  Casein, the protein found in milk and other dairy products is in fact detrimental to our health.  Did you know that:

I strongly recommend that you read The China Study and read or watchForks Over Knives for more information.

For more information and references please refer to my earlier post on this subject.

Preventing the Leading Causes of Death in the US

I wanted to share this powerful video on how we can prevent the leading causes of death.  Important stuff, right?  I highly recommend watching all (or at least part) of this video.  To summarize and hopefully encourage you to watch it, Dr. Michael Greger presents scientific facts on how we can prevent 14 of the 15 leading causes of death. In the US, the 15 leading causes of death (in order) are:

  1. Heart Disease
  2. Cancer
  3. Respiratory Disease, (COPD, Emphysema)
  4. Stroke
  5. Accidents
  6. Alzheimer’s Disease
  7. Diabetes
  8. Kidney Failure
  9. Influenza
  10. Suicide
  11. Blood Infection
  12. Liver Disease
  13. High Blood Pressure
  14. Parkinson’s Disease
  15. Pneumonia

And interestingly enough, the medical system, when you look at side pill-bottles-684648effects from prescription drugs, medical mistakes and hospital acquired infections, results in 187,000 deaths per year making it the 3rd leading cause of death in the US!  (Good reason to avoid unnecessary doctor visits).

CSA 2 ALL of these leading causes of death, with the exception of accidents, can be prevented or combated with a strict vegetarian (i.e.: vegan) diet.

Don’t worry if you are a devoted meat eater.  Small changes in your diet like adding in greens at every meal and cutting out meat a few days a week will still have a positive influence on your health.

But, for me, I have found the vegan route to be the best option.  For example, in one year, my cholesterol has dropped 38 points, and my triglycerides (the measure of fat in the blood) dropped 104 points!  That’s proof enough for me.

Here is the link to the video   http://nutritionfacts.org/video/uprooting-the-leading-causes-of-death/