The formula to disease free, healthy living is so very simple it's mind blowing we're in the health crisis we are in, standing at $3 trillion in just the U.S. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) estimates that 80% of our medical costs are lifestyle related with diet comprising the largest chunk. That $3 trillion number could be cut by more than $2 trillion if more citizens started eating a whole foods plant-based (WFPB) diet. It's that simple! That's not even including exercise! It has been scientifically and clinically proven that a WFPB diet can literally reverse most of the diseases we see in westernized civilization such as diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and many other cancers, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and many other autoimmune diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, allergies, asthma, Alzheimer's disease, just to name a few! "Coronary artery disease is an absolute toothless paper tiger that need not ever exist; and if it does, it need not ever progress." ~ Caldwell Esselstyn M.D., Cardiologist at The Cleveland Clinic.
Everyone likes to blame their genes for their disease(s)..."oh it runs in my family" "this was inevitable", etc... Well doesn't this just turn everyone into a helpless victim?! Yes! Furthermore, people can justify their poor choice of lifestyle by using their "genetic fate". It sounds something like this..."It's going to happen anyway, heart disease runs on both sides of my family so I might as well live it up, enjoy life and eat what I want". The truth of the matter is, it's not about our genes! While some of us may be genetically predisposed to certain diseases, those genes need never be turned on, unless we are putting crap into our body! Some don't want to admit this or believe this because that would make them accountable for their own illness. And as many of us know, people aren't very good at holding themselves accountable for anything. Personally, I think it is the best possible news ever because people don't have to "settle" for the deck of cards they were handed at birth. They control whether or not those genes get turned on. People are not helpless victims to their genetics!
Just to claritfy....A whole foods plant-based (WFPB) diet consists of 4 food groups:
c) legumes, beans
d) whole grains, carbohydrates, potatoes, corn
**Little to NO animal based products (meat, cheese, yogurt, butter, cream, cottage cheese, ice cream, milk) and absolutely NO processed (fake) food...basically the entire middle area of a grocery store. Of course, the multi-billion dollar food industry, dairy industry, cattle industry, etc...don't like this concept of health at all. It's bad for business. And the USDA's (U.S. Department of Agriculture) board members are made up of former executives from Monsanto, the Dairy industry, Cattle industry, and Pork industry; therefore they bow to agriculture. It's not about public health whatsoever. This is a sad truth, especially since the USDA is responsible for making our food guide pyramid and determining what the children eat at school for lunch. Lobbyists from all of the industries listed above, as well as the medical device industry and the pharmaceutical industry have a heavy foothold in government because they largely support the presidential campaign and fund many government affairs. No one wants to piss off the hands that feed them. And the same hands that feed our government are the hands that feed the media/TV/radio, medical societies, medical journals, and not-for-profit societies (like the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Society to name a couple). The citizens have gotten so caught up in their jobs, working longer and longer hours just to barely break even, making less and less money, trying to keep up with bills and insurance plans that keep increasing their premiums, all while the powers that be are getting richer, that they are completely blind to the paradigm that plagues our country and people have completely forgotten that the media and its reporters are NOT medically trained healthcare professionals. Commercials have no basis in solid, clinically proven, medical science. There are but a few industries, which I can count on one hand, that own the television networks. If you guessed the food industry as one of them, a gold star for you! We can't even rely on research studies from the American Heart Association, American Diabetic Association, American Cancer Society, etc...because these non-profit organizations that are hurting for money receive funds from the food, dairy, pharmaceutical and cattle industries. So, not all of their studies, but many of them are bias and thus poorly designed in order to get the results that make the product being studied look good when it's really not. Then, that research gets in the hands of the media networks, owned by the food industry, and bam! Suddenly cholesterol in the diet isn't bad for you anymore. Don't skip the bacon at breakfast, don't pass on the butter and cheese at dinner...a little cholesterol doesn't hurt anyone. Remember recently Time magazine...there was a picture of a slab of butter on the cover of one issue following this horribly designed, biased study stating cholesterol isn't bad for you. Boy did that boost sales for the dairy and meat industries!! They saw a HUGE bump in sales after that advertisement. And now the public is even MORE confused about what they should and shouldn't eat for healthful living. Eventually people just throw their hands up in the air and say, "screw it, I'm gonna die of something, might as well eat whatever I want" which is exactly what the food and meat/dairy industries want...a confused public. This also boosts sales for the medical device industry, hospital industry and the pharmaceutical industry because America keeps getting sicker and sicker...the more people sick, the more people need surgery, like open heart (big money for hospitals), the more medications get prescribed, and it's an industry-wide win-win at the expense of people's health and wellbeing!
Have you ever wondered why "free screenings" are offered everywhere you go?? It's not about your health or catching disease early so you'll have better outcomes. This is how doctors and hospitals get more clients, it's how the pharmaceutical industry gets more customers, and so on and so on! It's a method intrinsically woven into the way our system operates. And it's completely broken!
What we have is a 'disease-care system', not a 'healthcare system'. A disease care system treats the symptoms of disease rather than the cause. Oftentimes it turns symptoms into new diseases that all of a sudden require treatment and/or drugs (in just a few decades, ICD-9 codes have gone from 800 diseases to over 8,000 diseases). It also turns otherwise healthy people into sick people. How does it do this? There are committees that set diagnostic criteria for various diseases. The pharmaceutical industry makes up these committees (this is not a hypothesis, or me guessing, this is a known public fact). The head of the panel that redefined diagnostic parameters for diabetes was a paid consultant to 7 companies that make diabetes drugs. 9 of the 11 people who redefined the criteria for diagnosing hypertension had ties to drug companies that make drugs to treat it. 8 of the 9 panel members who changed the criteria for defining "high cholesterol" worked for companies that make drugs to lower cholesterol. The diagnostic criteria for osteoporosis was developed in partnership with the Osteoporosis Foundation; the advisory board for this group includes 31 drug and device companies. This is a recipe for disaster! Changing criteria pays off for drug companies. It has resulted in a 14% increase in the diagnosis of diabetes, a 35% increase in the diagnosis of hypertension, an 86% increase in the diagnosis of hyperlipidemia, and an 85% increase in the diagnosis of osteoporosis. In 1997, the criteria for diabetes was lowered to a fasting glucose of 126 mg/dL (down from 140 mg/dL). This resulted in 1.6 million more people being diagnosed with diabetes, and more aggressive treatment for diabetics. What's even worse, this did not lead to better health outcomes. A study comparing diabetics treated aggressively to lower blood sugar levels versus those who were treated with standard diabetes therapy ended early due to safety concerns. Those in the aggressive treatment group were 25% more likely to die! (BMJ 2008;336:407) Not exactly the results the pharmaceutical industry was hoping for!
A disease-care system starts with the wrong question all the time...profit - how can this disease or treatment or condition or cure, etc...be turned into profit. I'm not saying the people asking these questions are bad people. I'm not saying anyone is bad. But everyone is trapped inside the paradigm that comprises our disease-care system. The word paradigm itself suggests a prison of closed-mindedness. Anything that falls outside of this perceived paradigm of care is very quickly dismissed. A perfect example of this is with nutrition. A disease-care system will only talk about nutrition when a profit can be made from it. For example, the billion dollar supplement industry, which believes, and has convinced the public, it can isolate specific vitamins found in whole foods, synthesize it in a lab, encapsulate it, put it in a bottle and bam! Now you don't have to eat whole foods, you can eat your unhealthy, processed surgery foods as long as you take your vitamins...and, they've even gone so far as to "fortify" the surgery cereals for the children to contain "11 essential nutrients as a part of their complete breakfast". It's a multi-industry win-win. The major problem here is, vitamins don't work that way and neither do our bodies. You cannot isolate vitamin C from an apple, synthetically make it in a lab, and expect it to behave the same way in your body as it would if you ate the actual apple. For one, let's say you have a gala apple in each hand. The apple in your right hand could contain 1,000 mg of vit C and the one in your left hand could contain 75 mg of vit C. No 2 apples are the same for various reasons, for instance 'where' they were grown, the condition of the soil they were grown in, length of time in the produce section, handling, etc... Furthermore, if you ate the apple in your right hand for breakfast (1,000 mg vit C) and the apple in your left hand for lunch (75 mg of vit C), you could NOT conclude that your body had 1,075 mg of vit C. Our bodies are so complex, far beyond what our brain is capable of understanding, they don't run based on simple math. Our body is so incredibly efficient at taking what it needs and eliminating what it doesn't need from the food we eat because its primary goal is to keep us alive. Furthermore, the needs of our body change on a minute to minute basis. So you can see now why you cannot say between the two apples you ate, your body got 1,075 mg of vit C and you certainly can't derive that conclusion from a synthetic supplement. In fact, supplements have shown to be harmful as they increase inflammation, free radicals and oxidative stress because our bodies weren't designed to digest nutrients that way. Here's the other critical point in understanding all of this, how much vit C you get from an apple depends on all the other chemical properties that make up that apple. When consumed whole, all the parts work in perfect symphony with one another inside our bodies. When taken in a pill (supplement) form, you lose all the parts that make the vit C work the way it does in your body. Make sense?? The biggest issue in nutrition, and nutritional research is, scientists look at nutrition through the eyes of reductionism...which assumes that the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. We break things down into smaller and smaller parts, conduct research on those parts, and repeat this process until nothing even makes sense anymore. The concept of the whole has been completely lost. So in nutrition, the sum of the parts is NOT greater than the whole. This is called wholistic thinking, and nutrition requires wholistic research. That's not to say studying the parts isn't important, we need reductionism in order to understand wholism (the 'w' in wholism is intentional). Unfortunately, our disease-care system doesn't acknowledge nor do they fund wholistic research. Why? Because who is going to make a profit by saying the answer to most of our health problems lies in eating a more WFPB diet?? Not the dairy industry, not the cattle industry, not the food industry, not the pharmaceutical industry, not the medical device industry nor the supplement industry. This is exactly what is keeping us sick, and what will continue to keep us sick so long as a profit is being made. And these industries have completely lost sight of the forest through the trees.
Scientists will NEVER fully understand all the workings of the human body. It's just too complex. Therefore, reductionist studies are, I'm not going to say pointless because they're not, but they will never point to an accurate solution like wholistic thinking will. We know for a fact that people who eat a whole foods plant-based diet live much longer, healthier lives. And we know for a fact people who eat a Westernized diet have fatty streaks in their coronary vessels by the age of 10. Whole, plant-based foods work together, like a perfect symphony in our bodies. We should eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains, because the nutrients and vitamins in one food changes the way the nutrients and vitamins in another food behave in our bodies when eaten together, in their whole form. When whole foods are eaten together, in variety, an entire cascade of trillions of chemical reactions so beautifully and so perfectly unfold in our bodies, we can never fully wrap our minds around it. And we can't understand it by breaking it down into smaller and smaller parts because then we lose sight of the whole. Shoot, even quantum physicists have abandoned reductionist thinking, accepting the fact that the universe is just too vast to fully comprehend it in its entirety. Well guess what, each and every human body is like its own universe.
We see this type of reductionist thinking in the medical industry all the time. Doctors treat the symptoms of disease, and the disease, but not the patient. That's what they were taught in medical school to do, so you can't, or shouldn't, blame them. They were also never offered one nutrition class in medical school. I digress....patients are treated through the eyes of reductionism...isolating each and every symptom, sometimes coming up with a new disease for a given symptom, then prescribing a pill for that symptom, which always comes with side effects causing a new symptom for which another pill is prescribed. And the disease mongering begins...once you get caught up in the disease-care system's "disease mongering", it's very difficult to get out.
Healthcare reform as I'd like to see it will never come from the top down as long as we operate in a disease-care system. While I've seen lots of promising things come from the top down recently, there will never be a NEWS FLASH stating the TRUTH...that a WFPB diet prevents the majority of westernized diseases, and within just 3 weeks, people can come off of their diabetic medicine, their statins, their blood pressure medicine, they can literally reverse their disease process, rendering surgical procedures completely unnecessary (which they aren't worth a crap today unless you are in an acute trauma situation); in fact, a WFPB diet has significantly outperformed every pharmaceutical product ever brought to market; never in the history of mankind has any treatment option worked as effectively to prevent and reverse disease as a WFPB diet...in fact, there isn't a pharmaceutical drug on the market that has proven to reverse disease, and the only side effects of a WFPB diet are weight loss, positive health outcomes, and increased energy and vitality. We will never hear these truths from the powers that be. We will probably never see a WFPB diet written in any treatment guidelines, although I'll fight for that till the day I die. There's way too much money at stake, too many jobs on the line, too many people who've invested their entire careers in the disease-care system, etc....
So the only way to move towards a healthier society is to educate the people that are open to receiving this information...much of what is exactly opposite to what they were raised believing. It won't be a top down effort, it has to be a grass roots effort. The more educated the public, the better decisions they are able to make regarding their own health and the planet. Change will arise when enough people stop contributing to the very industries that are keeping us sick and start demanding healthier, more affordable options! This is the gap I passionately intend to fill in our disease-care system. And it's already starting to work! More grocery stores are offering healthier, organic options, more restaurants are starting to add whole, plant-based food options to their menus. We are a planet of 7.2 billion people. There are 320,090,857 people living in the U.S. I don't care how much money these industries have, they NEED US! We DON'T need them!
So if you're ready to begin a journey to better health, I'm here to help and support you in every possible way I can! ❤