Vegward...the move towards a healthy plant-based whole-foods diet.
Are you, like many people, resigned to the inevitability of a life cut short by heart disease, cancer or diabetes (the top 3 causes of death in developed countries)?
If so then please read below as there is something very simple you can do about it.
There is now available a vast amount of scientific research which shows that improving your "diet" (diet = what you eat) can greatly reduce the likelihood of these top 3 causes of death, as well as many other common diseases. It turns out that the healthiest diet for our bodies is also the healthiest for our planet and it is this fact, along with our compassion for all life, that has made us determined to pass on the information below to as many people as possible.
All 4 of the books we have quoted from below have excellent reviews (a 4-5 star rating out of 5 stars on Amazon). As they are all very popular books, they may be available from your local library. Otherwise, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need to borrow a copy as we are now operating a free book exchange.
For further online information and practical support for moving towards a healthy plant-based diet, you may also want to take a look at the web site of our favorite charity, EarthSave www.earthsave.org.
Our top recommended book is the fascinating story of the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted:
The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University
One could compare the potential influence of this book for our time now in the 21st Century to the enormous influence that Charles Darwin's classic book "The Origin of Species" has had from the late 19th Century onwards.
Below are some interesting quotes from "The China Study" (please read the full book for more complete information):
Page 21: "So, what is my prescription for good health? In short, it is about the multiple health benefits of consuming plant-based foods, and the largely unappreciated health dangers of consuming animal-based foods, including all types of meat, dairy and eggs."
Page 77: "As a developing population accumulates wealth, people change their eating habits, lifestyles and sanitation systems. As wealth accumulates, more and more people die from "rich" diseases of affluence than "poor" diseases of poverty."
Page 79: "To give a couple of examples at the time of our study, the death rate from coronary heart disease was seventeen times higher among American men than rural Chinese men. The American death rate from breast cancer was five times higher than the rural Chinese rate." [all rates are correctly age-adjusted i.e. the same age distribution is compared]
Page 359: "This was the first and only large study that investigated this range of dietary experience and its health consequences. Chinese diets ranged from rich to very rich in plant-based foods. In all other studies done on Western subjects, diets ranged from rich to very rich in animal-based foods. It was this distinction that made the China Study so different from other studies."
Page 23: "One of the more exciting benefits of good nutrition is the prevention of diseases that are thought to be due to genetic predisposition."
Page 71: "The authors of a major review on diet and cancer, prepared for the U.S. Congress in 1981, estimated that genetics only determines about 2 to 3% of the total cancer risk."
Page 233: "What happens to cause some genes to remain dormant, and others to express themselves? The answer: environment, especially diet."
Page 233: "Genes do not determine disease on their own. Genes function only by being activated or expressed, and nutrition plays a critical role in determining which genes, good and bad, are expressed."
Page 348: "Published data show that animal protein such as casein (the main protein of cow's milk) promotes the growth of cancerous tumors."
Page 6: "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. What protein consistently and strongly promoted cancer? Casein, which makes up 87% of cow's milk protein, promoted all stages of the cancer process. What type of protein did not promote cancer, even at high levels of intake? The safe proteins were from plants, including wheat and soy."
Page 66: "A pattern was beginning to emerge: nutrients from animal-based foods increased tumor development while nutrients from plant-based foods decreased tumor development."
Page 275: "The closer a population gets to consuming a plant-based diet, the lower its risk of breast cancer."
Page 85: "Do the data from these studies mean that we can lower our rate of breast cancer to almost zero if we make perfect lifestyle choices? The information certainly suggests that this could be the case."
Page 174: "The data clearly show that a whole foods, plant-based diet can dramatically lower colorectal cancer rates."
Page 119: "The study suggests that the more animal protein you eat, the more heart disease you have. In addition, dozens of experimental studies show that animal protein (e.g. casein) dramatically raises cholesterol levels, whereas plant protein (e.g. soy protein) dramatically lowers cholesterol levels."
Page 151: "All of these findings support the idea that both across and within populations, high-fiber, whole, plant-based foods protect against diabetes, and high-fat, high-protein, animal-based foods promote diabetes."
Page 349: "A broad range of international studies shows that Type 1 diabetes, a serious autoimmune disease, is related to cow's milk consumption and premature weaning."
Page 210: "To minimize your risk of osteoporosis, eat a variety of whole plant foods, and avoid animal foods including dairy. Plenty of calcium is available in a wide range of plant foods, including beans and leafy vegetables."
Page 216: "These two eye conditions, macular degeneration and cataracts, both occur when we fail to consume enough of the highly colored green and leafy vegetables. In both cases, excess free radicals, increased by animal-based foods and decreased by plant-based foods, are likely to be responsible for these conditions."
Page 218: "Because free radical damage is so important to the process of cognitive dysfunction and dementia, researchers believe that consuming dietary antioxidants can shield our brains from this damage, as in other diseases. Animal-based foods lack antioxidant shields and tend to activate free radical production and cell damage, while plant-based foods, with their abundant antioxidants, tend to prevent such damage."
Page 230: "There are virtually no nutrients in animal-based foods that are not better provided by plants. Plant foods have dramatically more antioxidants, fiber and minerals than animal foods."
Page 349: "We now have a deep and broad range of evidence showing that a whole foods, plant-based diet provides the best protection against heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases (e.g. multiple sclerosis)."
Page 236: "The same nutrition that prevents disease in its early stages (before diagnosis) can also halt or reverse disease in its later stages (after diagnosis)."
Page 239: "Furthermore, it turns out that if we eat the way that promotes the best health for ourselves, we promote the best health for the planet. By eating a whole foods, plant-based diet, we use less water, less land, fewer resources and produce less pollution and less suffering for our farm animals."
Page 238: "Good nutrition creates health in all areas of our existence. All parts are interconnected."
Page 240: "Our food choices have an incredible impact not only on our metabolism, but also on the initiation, promotion and even reversal of disease, on our energy, on our physical activity, on our emotional and mental well-being and on our world environment. All of these seemingly separate spheres are intimately connected."
Page 347: "Never before have we affected the natural environment to such an extent that we are losing our topsoil, our massive North American aquifers, and our world's rainforests. We are changing our climate so rapidly that many of the world's best informed scientists fear the future. Never before have we been eliminating plant and animal species from the face of the earth as we are doing now. Never before have we introduced, on such a large scale, genetically altered varieties of plants into the environment without knowing what the repercussions will be. All of those changes in our environment are strongly affected by what we choose to eat."
Page 305: "There is nothing better the government could do that would prevent more pain and suffering in this country than telling Americans unequivocally to eat less animal products, less highly-refined plant products and more whole, plant-based foods. The government is turning a blind eye to the evidence as well as to the millions of Americans who suffer from nutrition-related illnesses."
Page 349-350: "The idea that a whole foods, plant-based diet can protect against and even treat a wide variety of chronic diseases can no longer be denied. No longer are there just a few people making claims about a plant-based diet based on their personal experience, philosophy or the occasional supporting scientific study. Now there are hundreds of detailed, comprehensive, well-done research studies that point in the same direction."
Page 350: "I believe that the world is finally ready to change. We have reached a point in our history where our bad habits can no longer be tolerated. We, as a society, are on the edge of a great precipice: we can fall to sickness, poverty and degradation, or we can embrace health, longevity and bounty. And all it takes is the courage to change."
We also highly recommend the following three books:
Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
Quoting from Page 7: "Your health can be predicted by your nutrient intake divided by your intake of calories. This is a concept I call the "nutrient-density" of your diet: H=N/C (Health=Nutrients/Calories)."
Page 61: "Leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, kale, collards, Swiss chard, and spinach are the most nutrient-dense of all foods. Most vegetables contain more nutrients per calorie than any other food and are rich in all necessary amino acids."
Page 15: "Americans have been among the first people worldwide to have the luxury of bombarding themselves with nutrient-deficient, high-calorie food, often called empty-calorie or junk food. By "empty-calorie", I mean food that is deficient in nutrients and fiber. More Americans than ever before are eating these rich high-calorie foods while remaining inactive - a dangerous combination."
Page 43: "My clinical experience over the past 10 years has shown me that all the major illnesses are reversible with aggressive nutritional changes designed to undo the damage caused by years of eating a disease-causing diet."
Page 26: "We need to eat foods with adequate nutrients so we won't need to consume excess "empty" calories to reach our nutritional requirements. Eating foods that are rich in nutrients and fiber, and low in calories, "fills us up", so to speak, thus preventing us from overeating."
Page 48: "The reality is that healthy, nutritious foods are also very rich in fiber and that those foods associated with disease risk are generally fiber-deficient. Meat and dairy products do not contain any fiber, and foods made from refined grains (such as white bread, white rice and pasta) have had their fiber removed."
Page 70: "Researchers found that as the amount of animal foods increased in the diet, even in relatively small increments, so did the emergence of the cancers that are common in the west. Most cancers occurred in direct proportion to the quantity of animal foods consumed."
Page 48: "For anyone to consider his or her diet healthy, it must be predominantly composed of high-fiber, natural foods. It is not the fiber extracted from the plant package that has miraculous health properties. It is the entire plant package considered as a whole, containing nature's anti-cancer nutrients as well as being rich in fiber."
Page 55: "To date, researchers have discovered more than ten thousand phytonutrients (phyto means "plant"). No supplements can contain a sufficient amount - if they did contain sufficient amounts of all these nutrients and other essential substances (such as fiber), we would have to swallow a soup-bowl full of pills and powders! Thankfully, you can get all these nutrients today by eating a wide variety of raw and conservatively cooked plant-based foods (such as steamed vegetables)."
Page 60: "The biggest animals - elephants, gorillas, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, and giraffes - all eat predominantly green vegetation. How did they get the protein to get so big? Obviously, greens pack a powerful protein punch. In fact all protein on the planet was formed from the effect of sunlight on green plants ...animal products are not necessary for a diet to include adequate protein."
Page 138: "Green vegetables such as broccoli or leafy greens (e.g. spinach) have more protein per calorie than a cheeseburger or sirloin steak."
Page 140: "When you meet your caloric needs with an assortment of natural plant foods (vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, raw nuts and seeds), you will receive the right amount of protein - not too much, not too little."
Page 143: "For most people, illness means putting their fate in the hands of doctors and complying with their recommendations - recommendations that typically involve taking drugs for the rest of their lives while they watch their health gradually deteriorate. People are completely unaware that most illnesses are self-induced and can be prevented or treated through superior nutrition."
Page 174: "Most chronic illnesses have been earned from a lifetime of inferior nutrition, which eventually results in abnormal function or frequent discomfort. These illnesses are not beyond our control, they are not primarily genetic, and they are not the normal consequence of aging. True, we all have our weakest links governed by genetics; but these weak links need never reveal themselves unless our health deteriorates. Superior health flows naturally as a result of superior nutrition. Our predisposition to certain illnesses can remain hidden."
The Pleasure Trap by Douglas J. Lisle, Ph.D. and Alan Goldhamer, D.C.; Foreword by John McDougall, M.D.
Quoting from the Foreword by Dr. McDougall (Page X): "Probably 98% of the people I see in my practice tell me they have "bad eating habits" - and therein lies the problem. They think of their troubled relationship with food as a "simple little habit" rather than a "life-destroying addiction". In reality this is a behavior that causes pain and suffering greater than tobacco addiction, alcoholism and heroin dependence combined. Eating the wrong kinds of foods is the leading cause of death and disability in the Western world."
Foreword (Page IX): "Since 1976, I have known how people can lose weight without ever being hungry; cure most cases of arthritis, diabetes, and hypertension; and reverse serious heart disease. Furthermore for over three decades it has been no mystery to me how one can prevent cancer, osteoporosis, heart attacks, and strokes. The common denominator is the modern Western diet - rife with foods so rich in high-calorie refined ingredients that before industrial times they were consumed only by kings and queens. This diet must be replaced with one consisting of whole, natural plant foods. Add to this seemingly simple step a little daily exercise, and you now have a medical tool more powerful than bypass surgery and drugs."
The Food Revolution by John Robbins; Foreword by Dean Ornish, M.D.
John Robbins was the heir to Baskin-Robbins, the world's largest ice cream company, but he rejected it to live according to his own values.
Quoting from Page 1: "My father was grooming me to succeed him. I was his only son, and he expected me to follow in his footsteps. But things did not develop that way. I chose to leave behind the ice cream company and the money it represented, in order to take my own rocky road. I walked away from an opportunity to live a life of wealth to live a different kind of life, a life in which, I hoped, I might be able to be true to my values and learn to make a contribution to the well-being and happiness of others. It was a choice for integrity. Instead of the Great American Dream of financial success, I was pulled forward by a deeper dream."
Page 95: "A cultural shift towards a plant-based whole foods diet would have enormous benefits. For the vast majority of people, it would mean far healthier lives. It would not only mean less heart disease, fewer cancers, and far less obesity; it would also mean far more vibrant, thriving, energetic, creative people. It would mean there was less fear of growing old and fewer families broken apart by the premature death of loved ones. For immense numbers of people, it would mean less suffering and more joy."
Page 383: "I often reflect on what the future will bring us, not only as individuals, but as a country, as a species, and as a planet. Will we look at the natural world and other life forms as commodities having value insofar as we can convert them into revenue? Or will we live with reverence for life on this planet, seeing it as a community of which we are a part and to which we owe our lives?"
Page 384: "Will we continue to house animals destined for human consumption in conditions that violate their biological natures and frustrate their every instinct and need? Or will we widen the circle of compassion to include these creatures who draw breath from the same source we do?"
Page 385: "When each of us comes to the end of our lives, what will matter is not what our social standing was, or whether the world thought we were important or influential. What will matter, what in fact always matters, are the values we uphold and the principles and possibilities we stand for. What will matter then, and what matters now are the quality of the love we share with the world and the statements we make with our choices and our lives."
The below quote is from Dr. Dean Ornish, a graduate of Harvard Medical School, whose simple lifestyle plan, involving a plant-based whole foods diet and moderate exercise, has resulted in amazing success at reversing heart disease in over 80% of his patients. No expensive surgical treatments or drugs programs have ever come close to this high success rate, and even the large medical insurance companies agree - previously sceptical about any so-called "natural" treatments, most now cover his program. He writes in the foreword of The Food Revolution:
"In the final analysis, of course, all of us are destined to die. The mortality rate is still 100%, one per person. So the most important question, to me, is not just how long we live but also how well we live. When we look back on our lives, how much distress did we cause? How much suffering did we help alleviate? How much love did we give, and how much did we receive? How many people did we help? These are profoundly spiritual questions; as such, they are often the most meaningful. To the degree we can change our diets, we may be able to enhance our health, enjoy our lives more fully, and reduce the suffering in our wake. We face a spectrum of choices every day; it's not all or nothing. You may not want to give up eating animal protein or fatty foods completely, but you may be able to consume them less frequently if you understand the benefits of cutting back, how quickly they may occur, and how far-reaching they may be."
We hope that the above quotes inspire you to find out more about wellness and nutrition, and to pass on this important knowledge to your friends, family and anyone else who seeks your advice. By so doing, you will be contributing to a brighter future for all your fellow inhabitants on this earth and the generations to follow.
We leave you with the enlightening words of the great physicist and Nobel Prize winner, Albert Einstein (1879-1955):
"A human being is a part of the whole, called by us the 'Universe', a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security."
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