DISCLAIMER: Everyone’s dietary needs are different based on a number of factors including lifestyle, diet, medications and more. To find out if these* (i.e. diet, etc.) needs are met/need changing, consult your doctor – and better yet, read the scientific studies and make an informed decision regarding your personal health & wellness.
This article was originally published on my YourTherapy website to introduce my friends, family and clients to the changes I was (and still am) making with my diet. It has been a couple of months since then, and now, I’d like to share it with my CombativeCorner family. I want to make it clear that I’m not trying to “convert” anyone to a particular diet, because I am also a believer that “variety is the spice of Life.” However, I do wish to fuel your brain and stoke your awareness to “healthy, nutritional eating” and to reinforce what you already know- that “greens are good” and the majority of people are not getting enough.
THE RHINOCEROS IN THE ROOM, whether at a dinner party, family function or even posting on Facebook, seems to be diet & nutrition. Especially here in The South (which really isn’t any different from any other U.S. state), they look at you like you’ve got a spike growing out of your face when they find out that you don’t eat animals. When they find out that you don’t eat dairy either, [which is what veganism IS]- most just laugh and wish you well on your insane quest. Some people stamp you as “holier than thou” crusaders, while others think you either made up the term or just really into science fiction.
It’s pronounced “vee-gan.” And although Jenny and I have chosen this lifestyle & diet, we understand that it’s not for everyone and certainly, everyone is entitled to their own opinions – especially when it comes to health. A problem remains, however, that a lot of opinion is based on myths, years of mis-education & conditioned eating habits.
As someone who cares about his students, clients, family and friends… As someone who is concerned with the state of the World (North America, in particular), I’d like to offer this article as an insightful reference for anyone interesting in improving their health and happiness through diet.
THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION…
helped greatly in the direction of our diet and we hope that it will help illuminate the importance of a plant-based diet for you. We’re not saying that you can never have meat, dairy or oils ever again – but it is important that everyone has a firm understanding of the benefits and risks associated with any form of health choice. Each statistic, research finding, quotation will be cited at the bottom of the article. And remember,
“It’s not that some people have willpower and some don’t. It’s that some people are ready to change and others are not.” (James S. Gordon, MD, 1)
HITTING SOME HIGH POINTS
“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”
-Thomas A. Edison
“…We have an unpresidented opportunity in history to live happier than ever before. We don’t have to become demented, have a heart attack, get strokes and we can dramatically reduced the risk of cancer… Permanent results only come from permanent changes in lifestyle and diet style.” (Dr. Joel Fuhrman, 2)
“The same foods that inhibit fat on your body, stop cancer in their tracks… It’s not just calories in, calories out, either – it’s the bio-chemical effects that these foods have to prevent cellular growth… When you eat a lot of animal products, it promotes insulin factor 1 (IGF-1) and that promotes fat storage, dementia, aging, and cancer.” (Dr. Joel Fuhrman, 2b)
WAS MANKIND MEANT TO EAT MEAT?
Irrelevant. Anybody can go back and forth with this question. What did God, nature, evolution intend? When it comes to health, longevity, and overall wellness, we need to look at recent scientific evidence and make an informed, personal decision – period. If you continue to eat meat after reading this article, I would hope that you opt for meat like: salmon, talapia & haddock which are have some of the lowest levels of mercury as well as beneficial Omega-3; and deer meat (venison), organic chicken, or bison, which are some of lowest in saturated fats. If you’d like to dive more into this question, here’s a link I enjoyed. | Powered by Produce | Another interesting link examines the digestion of cellulose. | Dartmouth Journal of Science |
“Every 30 seconds on this continent, Canada included, someone grabs their chest and falls over with a heart attack… When you send this (the report) over to a pathologist and you get them to analyze it, the report always comes back ‘saturated fat & cholesterol.’ It’s animal fat. The pathology report never ever ever contains the words ‘remnants of broccoli, rice & tofu.’…The good thing is that when you stop eating animal fats, this stuff (plaque) melts away, off the artery walls and the arteries can open up.”
“Animal fat comes in 3 flavors in the N. American diet. It comes in the form of red meat, the yoke of hen’s eggs, and it comes from cow’s milk…(regarding cows milk) There is absolutely no reason to run butterfat through your bloodstream at any time… cow’s milk is for baby calves! You have no more need for cow’s milk than you do for giraffe’s milk, horse’s milk or rat milk.”
(Dr. Michael Klaper, 3)
WHAT IS THE DIFF. B/W PLANT & ANIMAL PROTEIN?
“While the precise mechanisms need to be elucidated, animal and epidemiological studies, as well as the brachial artery tourniquet test, confirm that animal protein accelerates both atherosclerosis and cancer, whereas plant protein does not.” (Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., 4)
“I don’t especially like dwelling on the finer structural and functional characteristics of animal and plant proteins as being of great importance. Rather, my views are more along the lines of asking what are the consequences–both biologically and socioculturally–of our enormous reverence for protein, especially our unreasonable reverence for ‘high quality’ animal protein. It is on this path that I find some unusually significant gems.” (Dr. T. Colin Campbell, 10)
DO VEGETARIANS/VEGANS GET ENOUGH PROTEIN?
“Ignorance sickens and kills people. Misinformation leads to disastrous outcomes. People with serious health problems like heart disease, type-2 diabetes, MS, and inflammatory arthritis that can be easily resolved by a diet based solely on plant foods. However, advice to make this dietary change may be withheld from you or a family member because of the erroneous fear that such a diet will result in a greater catastrophe, like a nutritional collapse from protein deficiency.”
“Since plants are made up structurally sound cells with enzymes and hormones, they are by nature rich sources of proteins. In fact, so rich are plants that they can meet the protein needs of the earth’s largest animals: elephants, hippopotamuses, giraffes, and cows. You would be correct to deduce that the protein needs of relatively small humans can easily be met by plants.” (Dr. John McDougall, 5)
DOES THIS DIET GIVE ME ENOUGH VITAMINS?
“A multi-vitamin is a reasonable way to be sure to obtain the full spectrum of vitamins, but my preference, especially if one is easting copious amounts of green leafy vegetables, is to limit supplements to Vitamin D as needed to maintain blood level in the normal range and Vitamin B12.” (Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., 4)
“[Esselstyn’s Recommendation] for those with a plant-based/vegan diet comes from Vit. B expert (Dr. Neal Bernard) at the Cleveland Clinic: Take 1000 mcg of Vit. B12 a day.” (Dr. Neal Barnard, 6) Preferably sublingual and before meals/on empty stomach (for better absorption). (Dr. Ralph Carmel, 11)
“Vitamin D (the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’) assists in the absorption of calcium and promotes bone mineralization, which may prevent or slow the progression of osteoporosis. It also helps to strengthen the immune system and protect against a number of serious diseases, including rickets and osteomalacia. Research suggests vitamin D may also provide protection from hypertension, psoriasis, several autoimmune diseases (including multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis), and reduce the incidence of fractured bones. In addition, growing evidence has demonstrated its important role in defending against cancer (studies link a deficiency of vitamin D to as many as 18 different cancers).” (Dr. Andrew Weil, 7)
“…Another concern is that many vegetarians may not have ideal levels of all essential fatty acids. Fish supply two conditionally essential fatty acids (EPA and DHA) that have been shown to have beneficial effects, offering protection against both heart disease and aging of the brain. To assure that vegetarians get sufficient levels of these omega-3 fats, people on vegetarian diets need to consume foods such as flax seeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts on a regular basis… Some individuals may still not have optimal levels of long chain omega-3 fats, even with the consumption of a well designed vegetarian diet utilizing these seeds and nuts, therefore I recommend vegetarians and those not eating fish regularly consume a DHA+EPA supplement.” (Dr. Joel Fuhrman, 2c)
MORE ON VITAMIN D
“The sunshine acts on the skin and converts cholesterol into this very essential vitamin called Vitamin D. That’s where you get the vitamin D; the sun… admittedly too many people have low vitamin D levels – this is because people often wear too many clothes, they stay inside an office building, more dark-skinned people have moved North, like New York or London – so their skin requires a greater intensity of ultraviolet light because their skin has adapted to the Equator environment.”
“50-90% of people (vegans-carnivore’s alike) ‘flunk’ the vitamin D level test…. Most people flunk because of current standards. The response of the doctor should be ‘You should get more sunshine!’ – but that’s rarely communicated to the patients.” (Dr. John McDougall, 5b) |video link|
GOOD EATING REQUIRES DEEP POCKETS
Eating well costs more. This is both true AND false. It has been my observation that the majority of Americans have horrible habits: fast-food, emotional, and television eating (to name a few). I’m guilty of this also (just the last two!). However, consider the price of a burger combo at any of the various fast-food chains; an average of $5.50. Preparing food at home might require more time, and the price may be comparable, but the true cost is in the calories, fat, and sodium which takes approximately 4 hours for your liver to “clean up”. This, on a continuous basis will leave you feeling sluggish, cause weight gain and possible digestive issues – not-to-mention it paves the way to illness and disease.
An interesting thing I picked up while watching the documentary film Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, is the body feels satiated much easier with less (calories) when it comes from foods that are micronutrient-rich. Micronutrient-rich being: vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans & legumes. Macronutrient being; everything else. (see image to the right)
Remember that fast-food average of $5.50? With that amount, you could swing by any grocery store and pick up the ingredients to make a juice, smoothie or salad. Cut out fast-food for the month, take the money saved and put it towards your health. Yes, it takes some forward planning, but as my mentor, Rener Gracie says, “…unless they (people) actually feel the impact and translate it into their own Life, they don’t fully understand… Technique, patience, control – efficiency on the highest level… People always say ‘It takes too long, it takes too long.’ NO! You’re not patient enough.” (Rener Gracie, 8)
“Spend more, eat less. Americans are as addicted to cheap food as we are to cheap oil. We spend only 9.7% of our income on food, a smaller share than any other nation. Is it a coincidence we spend a larger percentage than any other on health care (16%)? All this “cheap food” is making us fat and sick. It’s also bad for the health of the environment. The higher the quality of the food you eat, the more nutritious it is and the less of it you’ll need to feel satisfied.”
“Shop at the farmers’ market. You’ll begin to eat foods in season, when they are at the peak of their nutritional value and flavor, and you’ll cook, because you won’t find anything processed or microwavable. You’ll also be supporting farmers in your community, helping defend the countryside from sprawl, saving oil by eating food produced nearby and teaching your children that a carrot is a root, not a machine-lathed orange bullet that comes in a plastic bag. A lot more is going on at the farmers’ market than the exchange of money for food.” (Michael Pollan, 9)
WHY SHOULD I CHANGE? MY HEALTH IS GREAT
“No one escapes in the end – eventually the traditional western diet guarantees some form of disease in all of us. While it may not be heart disease at the moment, eventually it will be or hypertension, diabetes, stroke, obesity, gall stones, diverticulitis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, or a greater likelihood of breast, prostate, colon, ovarian and uterine cancers. Even erectile dysfunction and dementia. The world famous Framingham Heart Study now approaching its 60th year looked at 1,000 people at age 50 who had normal blood pressure. They looked at the same group at 70, and 90% now had high blood pressure. But there is something you can do now to stop the cascading events that occur in the body and lead to disease. You can change your diet and begin safeguarding your health for the future.” (Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr., 4)
APPEARANCES: DO YOU LOOK HEALTHY?
On this subject, I do not have to defer to the experts. Looks can be deceiving. We know this! Someone who looks healthy might kill over with a heart attack at any point. How can someone who drinks bourbon and eats pork bellies live to 109 and a fitness guru like Jack LaLanne can only make it to 96? There are too many factors to consider here and everyone’s body is different – inside and out. Now for the ‘out’, the exterior, the view that the world sees and to which they respond – external ‘beauty’!
Of course ‘beauty’ is subjective, but if we were to go with what society deems attractive, it would just so happen to be that those celebrities most devoted to a plant-based diets are high on the ‘Hot List.’ In no particular order: Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, Portia de Rossi, Olivia Wilde, Orlando Bloom, Alyssa Milano, Anne Hathaway, Emily Deschanel and Kristin Bell. Some do it for health reasons, like Bill Clinton (who went vegan after heart surgery) and others did it well before it became the ‘trendy’ thing to do, like Betty White (currently at age 91) – she’s been vegan for over 30 years. But whatever the reason, I think it is insanely wrong to link a vegetarian/vegan diet with poor appearance – if anything, it aids in their appearance and youthfulness. For a massive list of celebrities musicians and athletes, here’s a link. |HappyCow|
HOW DO YOU KICK THE HABIT?
“With any habit, three weeks is a magic period. It allows you to feel a bit of the benefit. You might doubt it at the beginning, but after three weeks, you notice your weight is coming down, your energy is better. It also gives your taste a chance to change. For example, when people change from whole milk to low fat or skim milk, they hate it at first—it tastes watery. But then after some time, they taste whole milk again and it tastes like heavy cream.” (Dr. Neal Barnard, 6b)
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT
Changing your diet, especially ‘radically’ changing your diet is obviously going to be difficult at first. The ‘magic period’ is a transition period and some people will conquer this phase easier than others. You’ll certainly have cravings, and there will be social pressures imposed on you – but remember “permanent results only come about by permanent changes in lifestyle and diet style.” Another obstacle that you may encounter is gas, bloating and diarrhea. This is natural! As your choice of diet changes, it’s only realistic to imagine that the internal environment of your gastrointestinal (GI) tract will change as well. Once you get over this hump, your body will be more efficient and you’ll truly be able to FEEL the difference. I lived a relatively health life before switching to a vegan diet and even I could notice a major difference – particularly in my mental clarity, muscle/pain recovery time* and energy levels.
Written, Researched & Compiled by:
*Stay tuned for my upcoming article relating nutrition & lifestyle with pain management and muscle recovery.
Michael Joyce is a licensed massage therapist (NC#6096), self-defense instructor (Out-Foxxed™) and is a health & safety enthusiast. He has a BS in Exercise & Sport Science and stays on top of the current research; particularly nutrition and exercise performance. He and his wife Jenny went vegan in February of 2013 after watching several great documentaries including Forks Over Knives, Vegucated and Food, Inc.
Information on this website is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.
Gordon, James S. MD. 1 – Quotations Page. Motivational 5/15/2013. website [link]
Fuhrman, Joel PhD. 2 – Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. Documentry Film. (2010)
Fuhrman, Joel PhD. 2b – The Dr. Oz Show. Originally aired Sept. 18, 2012
Fuhrman, Joel PhD. 2c – Online Library. What You Need To Know… [link]
Klaper, Michael PhD. 3 – Foods That Kill. Lecture/Documentry (1993)
Esselstyn Jr., Caldwell B. PhD. 4 – Interview. HeartAttackProof.Com
McDougall, John, PhD. 5 – Newsletter vol.6, no. 4 (2007) [link]
McDougall, John, PhD. 5b – MCD Sunshine & Vitamin, YouTube video [link]
Bernard, Neal, M.D. 6 – (PCRM) http://www.nealbarnard.org/ [link]
Barnard, Neal, M.D. 6b – Article: SmartPlanet by Melanie Kaplan [link]
Weil, Andrew, M.D. 7 – Supplements & Herbs. http://www.drweil.com [link]
Gracie, Rener 8 – Renergy Sandwich 2.0 video. [link]
Pollan, Michael 9 – Six Rules For Eating Wisely. Time June 2006
Campbell, Colin T. PhD. 10 – Animal vs. Plant Protein.
Carmel, Ralph PhD. 11 – HappyHealthyLongLive.Com