Transcript: Book Trailer for How Not to Die
It all started with my grandma. So starts the book and so starts my life—my origin story, if you will. The story of her miraculous recovery from end-stage heart disease with diet and lifestyle, after all the open-heart surgeries had failed. That’s why I went into medicine, and that’s why I’m the kind of doctor I am today. Decades later, Dr. Ornish proved what my family already knew: heart disease can be reversed, published in the world’s most prestigious medical journals; yet, medical practice hardly changed, and millions continued to die from a preventable and reversible disease. That was my wake up call that there were other forces at work besides just the science.
Wait a second. If the cure to our number one killer can get effectively buried, the leading cause of death for both men and women, then what else was there in the medical literature that could be helping my patients? I made it my life’s mission to find out. I spent years digging through the stacks, and then more years on the road, trying to inspire future generations of doctors about the power of lifestyle medicine.
Life on the road was not sustainable. Thankfully, some philanthropic entrepreneurs stepped forward and offered to put all my life’s work online, and NutritionFacts.org was born. I can now save more lives in my jammies than I ever could have jet setting around the world. The site now has more than a thousand videos because every day over the last four years, I’ve created new videos and articles on the latest in evidence-based nutrition free for all for all time. The problem is that if you go to the site, it can be a bit overwhelming. I cover nearly every conceivable nutrition topic. Check in any day on NutritionFacts.org and you may find out whether food additive X is harmful, harmless, or helpful, or whether eating pattern Y is better or worse than eating pattern Z, but there’s no one video that really puts it all together. I do have live annual year-in-review videos that go through the science in 12-month chunks, but there hasn’t been one source with all the most compelling evidence in one place: until now.
In the introduction, I talk about the role diet may play in preventing, arresting, and reversing our leading killers. Here are the 15 leading causes of death in the United States, laying to waste millions. If these are the 15 most likely reasons you and your loved ones may die, don’t you think they each deserve their own chapter? “How not to die from heart disease; how not to die from lung disease, how not to die from brain diseases,” and so on down the list, each sharing not only the best available science, but I share personal stories, patient anecdotes—things I never get to do on the website. Fifteen chapters of the most interesting, groundbreaking, and practical science I could find, delivered with as much humor as I could manage in the context of death.
I insisted the publisher include all hundred plus pages of citations, which comes out to be close to 3,000 references, but I didn’t want this to be a book on some Dr. Greger diet; I wanted it to be the best-available-evidence diet. But then, the question becomes how does one translate this mountain of data into practical day-to-day shopping, cooking, and meal planning decisions. That’s something that’s been largely missing from NutritionFacts.org, because I wanted to just stick to the science. Unless there was a peer-reviewed randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial on exactly what to put on your oatmeal in the morning, I didn’t want to go there.
But I’ve always wanted to share so much more: my favorite recipes, my favorite kitchen gadgets, my favorite brands of whatever—all the regular bloggy-type stuff you typically see on on health and nutrition sites. But that's not what the website was made for. It’s NutritionFacts, not nutrition opinions. Interviewers are always asking me, “What do you eat, Dr. Greger?” and I have to say, “it doesn’t matter what I eat; all that matters is what the science shows.” But how do I take all this amazing science I’ve learned and transform it into what I actually feed my family? How do I make it digestible? (literally!) Well, I’ve just never had an outlet to share all those intimate details before: until now. That’s the second half of the book!
I introduce my traffic light system, define what I mean by avoiding processed foods, and explain what “whole-Food, plant-Based” really means. I discuss what the best websites are for recipes; what I eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and dessert; what the checklist on my fridge for all the foods I try to include in my daily diet is; what I mean by serving size; what is the best way to prepare food; what is the yummiest way to prepare food; what about organic; what about gluten; what’s my favorite salad dressing; what are some of the tips and tricks; etc. I have a gazillion videos on how good the spice turmeric is, but how did I come up with my recommendation of a quarter teaspoon a day? I also talk about what to drink, what about alcohol, how much to drink, how much exercise should we get according to the best available science, and more!
I wanted this book to not only be a reference book—the lay reference book, but also a practical guide all wrapped up into one. Is there anyone on your gift list that couldn’t benefit from this book?
All the proceeds I receive from the book go straight to charity, in this case the nonprofit that keeps NutritionFacts.org going. So, please support the site, support my work and buy this book, or ask your local library to buy it. Let this New Year be the year you wrestle back control over your health destiny.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.
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