Up until around 10,000 years ago, people ate a plant-based, whole-food diet, with a very small amount of meat when it was available. No grains or (of course) processed foods. Chronic diseases were unknown because they fed themselves the way Mother Nature intended.
With plenty of food choices and a world of knowledge, you would think we would be able to make eating decisions that would keep us all slim, trim and healthy.
But today we are fatter and sicker than ever.
The Standard American Diet, Big Agribusiness and some in the medical profession have let us down. But a return to a plant-based, whole-food diet will change the world.
We’re talkin’ ’bout a revolution!
The acronym SAD stands for “Standard American Diet.” Rarely have I seen a more apt acronym. To be quite honest, with so few fruits and vegetables on our plates, the Standard American Diet is a disgrace.
We live in the so-called “land of plenty” but have some of the sickest people on Earth. Our dependence on meat, meat and more meat, fast food and “manufactured food” to feed ourselves, consuming things our bodies were never meant to deal with, has brought us to our current state of SADness.
Here are just a few of the reasons your shopping cart shouldn’t contain any processed or manufactured “foods”:
Processed foods are loaded with preservatives, unnatural coloring, added flavoring and other unappetizing substances. If consumed regularly over time, such foods harm a person’s health. This contributes to serious health issues, for example, the above-mentioned scourges — obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancers, as well as strokes.
And it’s not as simple as adding a little lemon juice to a muffin mix, or a lot of sugar to canned fruit (which is bad enough). Most processed foods have a list of ingredients more similar to what you would find in a can of paint, if that sufficiently whets your appetite.
Why do we even consider defiling our bodily temples by consuming these things?
Mother Nature did not design our bodies to make use of these chemical-laden, so-called “foods.” If you can’t pronounce the ingredient, that is probably a sign that your body won’t recognize it either!
Processed foods severely hamper the body’s digestive system and typically are almost totally devoid of the natural micronutrients required in trace amounts for the normal growth and development of living organisms — like the human body!
Government policies being controlled by Big Agribusiness lobbyists — whose interests have nothing to do with the welfare and well-being of the people — have “richly” contributed to this SAD state of affairs. It’s all about them making their corporations and the stockholders more money. The health of the people be damned.
Switching to a plant-based, whole-food diet is just what Mother Nature ordered. And this movement to veganism isn’t just about hippies getting back to nature — although that is a big part of what it is and I am about!
This revolution has sound scientific backing.
For one thing, it is simply a myth — perpetuated by the meat and dairy industries — that only meat, eggs and dairy products can provide us with the complete proteins we need.
According to an article in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Volume 109, Issue 7, July 2009, Pages 1266-1282:
“It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.
“Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes. A vegetarian diet is defined as one that does not include meat (including fowl) or seafood, or products containing those foods.
“This article reviews the current data related to key nutrients for vegetarians including protein, n-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, iodine, calcium, and vitamins D and B-12. A vegetarian diet can meet current recommendations for all of these nutrients.”
According to the Physicians Commitee for Responsible Medicine:
“A variety of grains, legumes, and vegetables can provide all of the essential amino acids our bodies require. It was once thought that various plant foods had to be eaten together to get their full protein value — otherwise known as protein combining or protein complementing. We now know that intentional combining is not necessary to obtain all of the essential amino acids that our bodies need.”
Speaking about one of the scourges brought on us by the overabundance of meat in the Standard American Diet, Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the just-mentioned Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine states:
“Diabetes is not, and never has been caused by eating a high-carbohydrate diet or too much sugar. It is caused by a diet that builds up the amount of fat in the blood — a typical meat-based, animal-based diet. Eating all those animal products causes tiny particles of fat to build up on muscle cell walls, which then causes insulin resistance.
“What this means is the sugar in your food naturally can’t get into the cells where it belongs. It builds up in the blood, and that’s what diabetes is.”
(Quote from the companion book to the documentary, What the Health.)
And on top of that, it turns out that cheese is quite the bad boy as well.
Casein protein — the main protein in cheese — breaks down into morphine-like compounds that go to the brain and attach to the very same receptors that heroin attaches to. They are not as strong as morphine, but strong enough to make you go back for more and more, despite the fact that you are gaining weight and are as unhealthy as you’ve ever been. (Paraphrase of Dr. Barnard)
Extra! Extra! Read all about it:
It is not necessary, nor is it healthy, to eat animal tissue to get the protein your body needs!
All protein is made by plants.
Only plants have the ability to take nitrogen from the air, break those molecules apart and incorporate them into amino acids, the building blocks of protein.
And let’s not fool ourselves. Actual carnivores have teeth and digestive systems designed for the consumption of meat. We humans have teeth and digestive systems tailor-made for fruits and vegetables.
Some of the biggest, strongest members of the animal kingdom are frugivores (think gorillas) and herbivores.
Have you ever seen a moose, elephant, rhinoceros or giraffe chowing down on a big hunk of meat?
Any protein you get from an animal is simply recycled plant protein. You want to get your protein from plants because plants have a much more beneficial effect on our physiology.
Our protein needs are easily met as long as our diet contains plenty of fruits and vegetables, legumes and a variety of healthy grains like quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat. Eating this way keeps us a lot healthier than an animal-based diet.
Plant protein is perfectly packaged along with an abundance of phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber — all of which are critical components for optimal health and disease prevention.
Animal protein, on the other hand, is wrapped in unhealthy saturated fat and dietary cholesterol. Animal products are also devoid of phytonutrients, antioxidants and fiber, and are very low in, if not totally devoid of, most vitamins and minerals.
We don’t have to just take the good doctors’ word for it, either. Back in 1998, Howard Lyman wrote and published, Mad Cowboy: Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won’t Eat Meat.
Lyman’s straight-forward words about what goes into that processed-meat sandwich or steak you are feeding your children will make you have serious second and third thoughts.
It makes me shudder to think that I used to consume that animalistic stuff.
Forget, “Where’s the beef?” What I want to know is —
Where is my next fruit smoothie and awesome salad?!
Read more about three of the integral ingredients in Mother Nature’s Herbal Cocktail!
Come on now. It’s never too late to start feeling better than ever!
The Standard American Diet is literally sad. Watching documentaries regarding health is empowering. At times it makes my blood boil to find out how the food industry and their lobbyists have sabotaged our health. The documentaries I write about on this page are a good way to start to educate ourselves about what/how we eat, how we got to such an unhealthy state of affairs and the way out of this bad situation.
An extremely important documentary to watch is Forks Over Knives. It shows how much of a difference can be made in the quality of our health by cutting out meat, dairy and eggs, and switching to a plant-based, whole-food diet.
From the film’s website: “The major storyline traces the personal journeys of Dr. T. Colin Campbell, a nutritional biochemist from Cornell University, and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, a former top surgeon at the world renowned Cleveland Clinic. Inspired by remarkable discoveries they made, these men conducted several groundbreaking studies. Their separate research led them to the same startling conclusion: degenerative diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even several forms of cancer, could almost always be prevented — and in many cases reversed — by adopting a plant-based, whole-food diet.”
“‘What the Health’ is the groundbreaking follow-up film from the creators of the award-winning documentary ‘Cowspiracy.’ The film follows intrepid filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the secret to preventing and even reversing chronic diseases — and investigates why the nation’s leading health organizations don’t want us to know about it. With heart disease and cancer the leading causes of death in America, and diabetes at an all-time high, the film reveals possibly the largest health cover-up of our time.”
The film exposes the collusion and corruption in government and big business that is costing us trillions of health-care dollars and shows how the health-care industry profits from keeping us sick as opposed to helping us regain our good health.
According to Shannon Brownlee, a medical journalist who appears in the documentary:
“What we have here in the USA isn’t a health-care system, it’s a disease-care system. It doesn’t want you to die and it doesn’t want you to get better. It just wants you to keep coming back for more and more,” so they can “care for” your chronic condition.
Which, unfortunately, is how it is. And way too many people — enabled by our disease-care system — think that heart disease, cancer and diabetes are simply inherited. They believe they inevitably will end up suffering with the “passed down” condition and be forced to live a compromised life.
While some people do have a susceptibility for developing these conditions, they don’t realize that the more insidious things they have actually inherited are the poor eating habits of their parents and grandparents, which they have all the control over.
Lifestyle choices like diet and (lack of) exercise are responsible for a large percentage of deaths in this country. Diseases that kill millions can be prevented, or even reversed with a plant-based, whole-food diet.
A very good, inspiring documentary to view is Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. It shows how an Australian, Joe Cross, who weighed 310 pounds, was taking multiple medications, and felt like he “was a hamburger away from a heart attack.”
Extremely concerned about his health, he decided to go on a vegetable-juice diet. Cold turkey.
Now, it’s not advisable to go on such an extreme diet cold turkey, but Joe was desperate. Fortunately, it worked out very well for him — he lost 90 pounds in 60 days. No exercising, no solid food, just the vegetable juice. He lost that much weight, which helped him to feel great, and he was able to stop taking his medications.
An excellent documentary film that everyone needs to watch is Escape Fire.
Featuring input from Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Dean Ornish, Escape Fire does a very effective job of interweaving several dramatic personal stories with the efforts of leaders battling to transform health care at the highest levels of medicine, industry, government and the U.S. military.
Back in 1995 — over 20 years ago! — Dr. Ornish wrote of the importance of switching to a plant-based, whole-food diet. But he found that big fat reimbursement checks are a lot more important to the “health-care” industry than are healthy patients.
Another documentary that shows the difference we could make to the health of our planet by going vegan is the aforementioned Cowspiracy. This is a sobering and highly recommended look at how our over-the-top consumption of animal products is seriously injuring not just our health, but that of our planet.
Are we not humane? We are vegan!
If you want to go deeper, there are many well-researched books out there that help make the case to drop from your diet:
Not having these things in your diet will help bring about a supremely positive health transformation.
The book Super Immunity by Joel Fuhrman M.D. describes in detail the need to switch to a plant-based, whole-food eating system. He shows how switching to that diet can help cure a whole host of chronic illnesses. These are conditions/illnesses brought on by lifestyle decisions that are totally controllable by the decisions we the people make!
Among other things, do you want to feel safe about not getting a flu shot? Strengthen your immune system by consuming the vegetables listed in his book. Just a few of these cruciferous vegetables are:
And there are many more cruciferous vegetables. Consumption of these will strengthen your immune system and greatly lessen the chances that the flu bug will zap you. And if it does make a visit to your body, the symptoms will be very light and short-lived, without the need for a flu shot.
Mother Nature’s wonderful vegetables are more than just cruciferous in nature, too. There are a number of varieties and can be classified into biological groups or “families,” including:
Health-giving fruits are usually eaten raw, although some varieties can be cooked. They also come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and flavors. Common types of fruits that are readily available include:
Dr. Michael Greger, author of the book How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease, has an excellent, very informative website (non-profit, meaning no corporate ads) with lots of short educational videos regarding the importance to our health of switching to a plant-based, whole-food diet. Dr. Greger helps drive home the point that the lowest-tech approach — diet and lifestyle — can undeniably reverse heart disease, which is our leading killer.
He writes about how his grandmother had undergone open-heart surgery so many times that there were no more options. Her doctors basically sent her home to die at the age of 65.
She somehow made the trek to Dr. Nathan Pritikin’s health center in California. There she was put on a plant-based, whole-food diet and in three weeks was not only out of her wheelchair but walking 10 miles a day!
Given the right conditions — i.e., fed the right kind of food — the body heals itself!
Dr. Greger's grandmother lived to the ripe age of 96 and was the inspiration for him going to medical school. This is just one example of how drugs, drugs and more drugs, and surgery after surgery are not the answers.
A plant-based, whole-food diet is the answer!
And along with fruits and vegetables, let’s not forget legumes. Legumes are some of the most underrated foods on the planet.
These very important members of the Herbal Cocktail are excellent sources of dietary fiber, protein, B vitamins and many other important vitamins and minerals.
There is good evidence that they can help reduce blood sugar, improve cholesterol levels and help maintain a healthy gut.
As mentioned, beans and legumes are a great source of vegan protein, which is very environmentally friendly when compared to the ugly environmental footprint left by the meat industry.
Add legumes to soups and salads or just eat them on their own for a delicious and nutritious vegan snack.
Here are nine members of the family Legume that should be a part of your eating system:
A good book to help find out more regarding legumes is Legumes: The Super Foods That Should be Regulars on Your Plate.
Closing out the book section is Gary Taubes. He penned two great books I have read. They will inspire you and help get you off the weight-gain train and back to healthy living. I heartily recommend both these books. They are Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It and The Case Against Sugar.
Remember the wisdom of Hippocrates — “Let thy food be thy medicine.” Fruits, vegetables, legumes and herbs are what will save us.
Let us not be SAD! Let us be GLAD we won’t get fooled again by food-industry lobbyists and agribusiness.
Many world-class athletes — including body builders — aren’t fooled by the propaganda and have gone vegan. Check out this site. One vegan, world-class athlete left off that list, for some reason, is Venus Williams.
And check out my Herbal Cocktail Blog regularly for more information on how to stay healthy, wealthy and wise — because our good health is our wealth.
Come on now. It’s never too late to start feeling better than ever!