Doctor's Note

How amazing the human body is if we just treat it right! This reminds me of videos like Lifestyle Medicine: Treating the Causes of Disease or How Many Meet the Simple Seven? where simple changes can lead to tremendous differences in health outcomes. So please don’t allow the perfect to become the enemy of the good. Any movement we can make towards improving our diet can help. Though the earlier the better: See Heart Disease Starts in Childhood and Back in Circulation: Sciatica and Cholesterol.

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  • b00mer

    Biochemical systems can be the most seemingly ingenious, efficient, and sophisticated works of art. Like a finely choreographed ballet that’s been continually honed since our ancestors were nothing but primordial soup. When allowed to function as it should, the body has a remarkable capability for healing.

    This video reminded me of the analogy in Table to Able. It’s never too late in life to stop whacking your shin on the coffee table. Can you imagine being convinced otherwise, while the entire medical establishment does nothing to inform you of the “radical” alternative to your harmful behavior (or more accurately to inform itself of the alternative)? Unfortunately in our culture that attitude, that it can be “too late” when it comes to chronic disease, is far too prevalent. All the nutrition information in the world won’t make a difference if people don’t think their actions will make a difference. Great video with an important and often overlooked message.

  • PBDs (plant-based diets) are a great start and fortunately, scientists are starting to unravel the important nuances. How you choose and use, including how you cook various plants, is key. Some plants have more health-promoting properties than others. Some may even be detrimental. New research on peanut butter, for example, shows that in lab animals, it helps cancers that are already in the blood to spread even further.

    How can we citizens help direct funds to the reputable scientists studying nutrition and disease? Shall we organize a campaign to lobby our leaders? Who wants to take charge?

    • The best group at effectively advocating for improved nutrition among the politicians in Washington is PCRM. If you join they send out emails with links to send messages to legislators. They also provide expert testimony when able. Beyond that I think individuals can vote with their buying and eating habits. Keeping up with the best science is important so encouraging friends and family to subscribe to will provide them with the best science on which to base their decisions.

    • You’d have a hard time convincing Walter Willett at the Harvard School of Public Health that peanut butter is an unhealthy food.

      Lectins! Ahhhhhhhhhh!!! (Hiding in the corner cowering in fear.

      • Frozenveg

        I think you are referring to Lectoids from Planet 10, not Lectins! :)

        • Haha!!! Good one.

          Being afraid of lectins which are eaten in abundance in the centenarian-rich Blue Zones is just about as silly as fearing fictional creatures from the 8th dimension.

          • Merio

            When i read Harriet Sugar Miller’s post i make a quick (very quick) search and found out that there are many studies in vivo about potential prometastatic effect of a component of peanut, but there was another article focused on epidemiology and the results were the opposite.

            So as usual i think that this is another issue to search better.

            But it’s really strange to me that peanut could help cancer.

          • Aflatoxin is a real problem, a mycotoxin from a fungus which can affect more than just peanuts.


            The toxin can also be found in the milk of animals that are fed contaminated feed.

            Dietary context has s bearing here, as does age. In fact, Dr. Campbell observed the incidence of liver cancer was higher in Philippino children of more well-to-do parents whose diets included greater amounts of animal products and fewer plant foods.

            My flippancy about lectins in peanuts comes from the unreasonable position of Paleo gurus who indict all grains and legumes as unhealthful because of their lectin content. Cooking deactivates these so-called anti-nutrients, so make sure your peanuts have been roasted.

          • Merio

            I know that. :-)

    • Psych MD

      Wow! Great find on peanut butter. My current jar will be my last.

    • Darryl

      Bear in mind, peanuts also contain cancer preventative compounds like β-sitosterol. Moreover, only some cancers express MUC1, the cell surface molecule that forms aggregates with peanut agglutinin. So this news may have more relevance to those with diagnosed metastatic cancer.

      • Yes, as I pointed out in my comment above and in the article I wrote, the news is particularly relevant to those with metastatic cancer. The authors of the peanut study also point out that their research is relevant to all cancers that originate in epithelial cells (which account for 85-90 percent of cancers, they say.) As a survivor following the precautionary principle and weighing the likelihood as well as gravity of risks, I’ve ditched the peanut butter.

      • Psych MD

        That is reassuring as I think I am about as cancer-proof as one can get with respect to lifestyle. I bounced over to Pub Med and did find a fair number of studies regarding aflatoxin in peanuts. However I further read that, at least as of 2011, there had never been a case of aflatoxicosis reported in the US. I think I’ll continue to enjoy my Kirkland (Costco) organic peanut butter.

        • Veganrunner

          And the study being refered to isn’t even published yet if I read it right. I will hold judgement until I am able to read it.

          • It has been published. Here is the link:

          • Veganrunner

            Thank you Harriet. Yes it appears from this study that if you have metastatic cancer it is not a good idea to ingest peanut butter. Nice find for those with metastatic cancer.

            I do think a problem can occur from this message if people take this to mean peanut butter is bad for everyone. Trust me….we will read that somewhere based on this study.

    • jj

      Almond butter is so much tastier. Would not like for it to be found detrimental to health.

  • BB

    I just returned from visiting my mother-in-law who has terminal ovarian cancer. She has always been a big consumer of animal products, especially butter and ice cream. The whole family is overweight. Several have diabetes and are classified as disabled and unable to work. My husband and I who have been vegan for over 10 years are healthy and thin. They just will not make the connection because they are afraid of change and not enjoying their regular comfort foods. It was very hard to see my mother-in-law consuming milk shakes and in the hospital they gave her milk to bring up her blood sugar. Her diabetes is also out of control. All my husband and I can do is set the example and give the facts about nutrition when appropriate. Hopefully, some of them will start to think about their health and maybe later in life make the needed changes.

    • KWD

      BB, thanks for sharing. I hope your good example helps motivate your loved ones.

    • Leading by example is a great first step. Dr. McDougall has articles in his newsletters that can help… see Dec 2009 on diabetes and Nov 2009 on blood pressure. Folks on medication need to work with their physicians. PCRM has excellent resources for patients with type 2 diabetes. It would be nice if physicians would inform patients that it is possible to stabilize, reverse and cure chronic diseases such as diabetes. You might show them some video’s pertinent to their individual situation. You might start with… Good luck… it is frustrating to watch loved ones eating themselves to poor health. I had the same experience with my parents.

      • Matthew Smith

        Dear Dr. Forrester, this site offers hope to millions of people who have sickness from lifestyle and makes some specific recommendations for treatment for diabetes: hibiscus tea, cinnamon. flax seed meal, amla, beans

        Thule has produced another list of recommendations from this site:
        Indian Gooseberries (amla), coffee, soy, flaxseeds, green tea, pulses (dried beans), Chamomile tea, purple potatoes, sprouts, whole grains, vinegar, beans

        This site also makes some recommendations for high blood pressure: beets, hibiscus tea, seaweed, grapefruit, beans. brazil nuts, whole grains.

        Thank you,


        • Matthew Smith

          Taking fenugreek supplements (it’s a spice) with a little bit of exercise could really cut down on body weight.

        • Thule


          If you are referring to me, I must say I don’t remember giving any specific list of recommendations, but anyway everything you recommend is a great idea.

          Still I would always take cocoa over coffee. :)

          (I seem to be allergic to coffee, and never was a fan of it anyway) Also from a health point of view cocoa is vastly superior, in particular raw cocoa.

          • Ben

            No such thing as raw cocoa, it’s a sales gimmick. In order for cocoa to have the flavor it has it needs to be cooked.

          • Thule

            Actually to develop the flavour, it needs to be *fermented*, not cooked. Cocoa can be processed at very low temperatures, so for all purposes can be keep raw. Yet the fermentation process takes a toll to the total amount of antioxidants.

            And yet they remain sky high, an integral part of the best food in the world. :)

      • BB

        When we discuss the information from, the family members take it in and do add some healthy foods, but they won’t give up the toxic foods. It is habit, tradition, and they love their comfort foods. They are convinced they must consume dairy products and meat and their doctors are not telling them anything different. My mother-in-law’s doctor told her she was healthy enough to take the chemo and possible surgery. I felt that was irresponsible and unethical. She has had diabetes and heart disease for decades. If a doctor did sit down with her and explain the harm of animal products and direct her toward a healthy plant-based diet, she might follow his directions, but she is not getting that advice, just drugs and more drugs.

      • Wyman Kingsley

        Hi Don, i agree, in my experience though there are more psychology issues and cognitive behavior that prevent a person from those choices and making steps to right choices. Beliefs are of most importance and trust even more so, I have found that Genesis 1.:29 and 3:18 to be very convincing and now today all the science confirms this right choice. God bless, Wyman

        • WW

          Yes, but unfortunately there’s Genesis 9:3.

    • Gadea

      My grandmother, her daughters were obese, all died from diabetic complications.
      They went blind, had their feet and then their legs amputated.
      Like your mother in law, they never stopped eating their comfort foods.
      Cooking with lard, plenty of salt, sugar in everything.
      It took a terrible toll on their lives and they paid with their lives.
      Heart Attacks, diabetes, terrible skin conditions, size 20 dress.
      They became a burden to their families, themselves and society.
      Their legacy was interrupted because their children did not follow in their footsteps.
      The example of the terrible effect that their diet had on their lives, turned their children
      into very health conscious adults. The daughter of my aunt, Margaret, who cared for her
      mother when her mother went blind and had to have her left leg cut off, scared Margaret.
      She radically modified her diet and the diet of her children. Incorporated lots of vegetables, fruits, etc.
      She told me, at her mother’s funeral, that she just did not want to go through that or have her kids go through it.

      • Joseph Gonzales

        What a powerful testimony, Gadea! It sounds like the children were deeply inspired by their parents’ illnesses and wanted to create a better future for their kids. It’s unfortunate we must endure so much pain and suffering for our loved ones; however it gives me hope younger generations are learning and creating healthier lifestyle choices.

        Thanks for sharing! Best to you and your family.

        • Gadea

          Thank you. Their diets and the havoc it wrecked in their lives, was a lesson to us all. What you eat is really what you are. All that illness, suffering could have been averted if they just fell in love with vegetables,stopped all that sugar, salt and lard. But they didn’t listen and paid with their lives.

    • Matthew Smith

      Dear BB, for cancer (or at least cancer prevention) this site recommends
      white button mushrooms
      black raspberry
      tumeric with pepper
      brussels sprouts
      white tea with lemon

      I hope you will recommend some of these foods to your mother-in-law. One-quarter of those who get cancer will change their life style upon diagnosis. For many of them, it is an effective treatment plan that adds years to life. The only effective treatment plan for you is the one you are on. I hope you will use any of these foods for health with the consult of the oncologist. Particularly fenugreek, flax seed meal, garlic, broccoli, kale, spinach, beets, walnuts, pecans, chamomile tea, have been effective in vitro at treating cancer.

      • val

        Matthew, you forgot BROCCOLI…huge cancer fighter! ;-)

        • Matthew Smith

          Thank you, I should have included Broccoli, correctly spelled. Broccoli was recommended by this site as the number one most effective treatment for those on cancer for reducing cancer incidence, recurrence, and extending lives. Broccoli could extend lives of many cancer patients, according to this link.

        • Ben

          even bigger then that, GARLIC!! But Matthew is amazing how he can remember and organize info.

      • Gadea

        Thank you, excellent list.

    • Bucky

      Too bad they don’t know they are addicted to their foods…Then perhaps they could simply begin adding live foods to their regular diet and then at some point the live nutrient dense foods would begin to crowd out the crap. Keep being an example!

  • cc

    How many meet the simple 7 is a broken link. fyi.

    • abible

      Looks like missing dash (-) after “How” and “Simple” in the URL

      • Tommasina

        Fixed. Thanks! :)

  • Karen

    After my Mother was diagnosed with colon cancer and thankfully survived, my best friend was sadly not as lucky, I decided to really take control of my own health and adopted an organic and vegan diet years ago and feel amazing. I found that so many Doctors don’t treat the cause, but treat the symptom thus creating more toxicity in our bodies so this is wonderful to see this information and the change in the medical industry. In addition to what we put IN our bodies, I hope in the future Doctors will also guide us to using only safe products ON our bodies as our skin is our largest organ and absorbs up to 60% of what we use on it. With that said, most people use 8-12 products daily and since the US bans only 11 ingredients from our Health & Beauty products all that work of eating right needs to be in conjunction with using SAFE products. There are some great options, but I personally joined Beautycounter after much research as they work directly with The Environmental Workings Group to provide the safest and most effective products and I can also get most of what I need for myself and family in one place with an estimated 25 more products currently in development to release this year(deodorant and hand soap topping the list). Please steer people towards safe products and feel free to send them to

    • Thea

      Karen: Good for you for taking your health into your hands!

      Since you mentioned products used on the body, I thought I would share that I have been experimenting with home-made deodorant made out of baking soda, coconut oil, and some kind of starch filler like corn or potato starch. Some people have reactions on the skin to baking soda. So, then you may have to combine the home-made deodorant with swabbing your underarms with vinegar first or the night before.

      What I can say so far is: The home-made stuff I have been using for the past 4-5 months is at least as effective as normal deodorants/antiperspirants that you get in the store, and a bazillion times more effective than the “natural” (aluminum-free) store bought products I have tried.

      Just a thought for you. If interested, do a search on “coconut oil deodorant” and you will get ideas for several variations on the recipes. I put mine in an empty store-bought deodorant container and so I get convenient application too!

      • Thule

        I am only using natural products as far as is possible (by the way, for anyone reading this, natural products, like argan oil, rosehip oil and a few others, are far better than any commercial creams — they don’t get the same promotion than commercial products, because they cannot be patented) Instead people get stuff with Hyaluronic Acid, which is being used pretty much in everything, and worse, is being injected as filler in cosmetic surgery… Which is for me beyond belief, people don’t know/don’t care about this?

        In some cancers, hyaluronan levels correlate well with malignancy and poor prognosis. Hyaluronan is, thus, often used as a tumor marker for prostate and breast cancer. It may also be used to monitor the progression of the disease.[10][11]

        As shown in Figure 1, the various types of molecules that interact with hyaluronan can contribute to many of the stages of cancer metastasis, i.e. further the spread of cancer.

        Hyaluronan synthases (HAS) play roles in all of the stages of cancer metastasis. By producing anti-adhesive HA, HAS can allow tumor cells to release from the primary tumor mass, and if HA associates with receptors such as CD44, the activation of Rho GTPases can promote epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) of the cancer cells. During the processes of intravasation or extravasation,the interaction of HAS produced HA with receptors such as CD44 or RHAMM promote the cell changes that allow for the cancer cells to infiltrate the vascular or lymphatic systems. While traveling in these systems, HA produced by HAS protects the cancer cell from physical damage. Finally, in the formation of a metastatic lesion, HAS produces HA to allow the cancer cell to interact with native cells at the secondary site and to produce a tumor for

        Hyaluronidases (HAase or HYAL) also play many roles in cancer metastasis. By helping to degrade the extracellular matrix surrounding the tumor, hyaluronidases help the cancer cell escape from the primary tumor mass and play a major role in intravasation by allowing degradation of the basement membrane of the lymph or blood vessel. Hyaluronidases again play these roles in establishment of a metastatic lesion by helping with extravasation and clearing the extracellular matrix (ECM) of the secondary site.[52] Finally, hyaluronidases play a key role in the process of angiogenesis. HA fragments promote angiogenesis and hyaluronidases produce these fragments.[53] Interestingly, hypoxia also increases production of HA and activity of hyaluronidases.[54]

        The hyaluronan receptors, CD44 and RHAMM, are most thoroughly studied in terms of their roles in cancer metastasis. Increased clinical CD44 expression has been positively correlated to metastasis in a number of tumor types.[55] In terms of mechanics, CD44 affects adhesion of cancer cells to each other and to endothelial cells, rearranges the cytoskeleton through the Rho GTPases, and increases the activity of ECM degrading enzymes.[56] Increased RHAMM expression has also been clinically correlated with cancer metastasis. In terms of mechanics, RHAMM promotes cancer cell motility through a number of pathways including focal adhesion kinase (FAK), Map kinase (MAPK), pp60(c-src), and the downstream targets of Rho kinase (ROK).[57] RHAMM can also cooperate with CD44 to promote angiogenesis toward the metastatic lesion.[58]

        Remember, we all have cancer cells in our bodies, I think little else needs to be said. And the industry not happy just putting this in the skin of hundreds of millions of people, is also being injected massively.

        I wonder how this is not common knowledge by now when this stuff is everywhere, I see it even in products that are labelled as “natural” :/

        Besides this, there is the matter of natural and vegan makeup, is out there too, but limited choice, at least where I am, but you take what you can.

        • Thea

          Thule: Great post! And certainly well taken by me. I am so often scratching my heat (when I’m not pulling hair and screaming) over what our society allows as non-criminal.

          • Thule

            Thank you Thea.

            What puzzles me is that no one seems to care, this is not some hidden information — you can see it right away with the most basic of searches, yet people only seems to care if this is “effective”. I am afraid the public is lulled in a false sense of security, thinking that governmental agencies would never allow anything dangerous to be commercialized; instead of taking care themselves. Pretty much what we see here every day.

      • Charzie

        Interesting Thea, I have been just “dusting” with a mix of baking soda and cornstarch for years, but have been using the coconut oil as my go-to skin lotion, I’ll have to check it out! I also shampoo with about a heaping tsp of baking soda in a cup of water. I was very reluctant to try this because I have always had kind of an oily, flaky scalp and was convinced only “special” shampoos would suffice, but was really trying to cut the chemicals from my life. It was very disconcerting at first to have no lather or other feedback to convince me I was actually washing my hair, so I just went through the motions anyway. It did feel kind of “slippery”, but no suds. When I’m done I rinse as with shampoo, and then use at least a tsp of my own home made apple cider (rosemary infused) vinegar in the same 1 cup of water and pour that on like a final rinse, rub it in a bit and let it sit a minute, and then rinse it out under the shower. If you are into scented hair products I suppose you could add a few drops of essential oil to the final rinse, but I’ve been told afterwards by others my hair smells clean, not like a salad! LOL! I even brush my teeth with baking soda. The only “specialty” product I still buy and use is a mild glycerin soap, and though there may be ways around that too…I dunno how I’d feel about going totally no soap!
        It’s so funny, I share my home with a platonic male friend, and his bathroom looks like an advertisement for male toiletries…he has all kinds of various stuff everywhere from multiple bottles of shampoos, rinses and deodorants to shaving lubricants, skin lotions, liquid soaps, oral products, you name it! Not to mention all the various appliances and apparatus that goes with it! My “girl bathroom” the diametric opposite of what one might expect, looks spartan in comparison, with a jar of coconut oil, a pretty blue bottle of vinegar, a cute container with baking soda inside, another of cornstarch, and my toothbrush, taking up at most a square foot of space, and a clear bar of soap and 2 little stacked cups (add ingredients just before showering) that sit inside the shower! (Not that there aren’t books, magazines and asst clothes taking up space however! LOL) We always joke we are gender mutations because we don’t fit any stereotypes..(.which to me is a good thing!)
        The point is, we get so hung up in what we do by habit, but because of exposure to advertising. STOP! They want to make sales and money vs you want to be healthy and meet an end. Often these two objectives can be mutually exclusive! In my personal quest to remove chemicals and pollution from my sphere, I have learned that simple basic products are often much more effective, safe, versatile, inexpensive, easy, and sustainable. I live on a tight budget and it is liberating in so many ways and on so many levels to eliminate so many totally unnecessary products from my life!

        • Thule

          While I try to use natural products too, I am loyal to antibacterial soaps, I know the debate about they being good or not, but I just don’t trust washing hands with anything else. A few other products are convectional, but I try to go with as few chemicals as possible when the product is going to keep in contact with the skin for a long time.

          • Charzie

            Thule, please do some more reading! At this stage of the game I think the only positive press that can be had for antibacterial products is by their advertisers. We are victims of a germophobic culture and are brain-washed. Pun intended! We are all here only because our ancestors did it right, prior to any of our amazing science! Antibacterial soaps are a huge scam that are not just ineffective, but can be outright dangerous. All the speculation aside about it increasing bacterial resistance, (which makes perfect sense because bacteria always find ways around whatever we throw at them) the fact is, it has been shown that they are no more effective than good old soap and water, just more expensive, with ingredients that have negative health implications,(just google triclosan and read the search titles) so why would you want to expose yourself to that? Oh, and it does NOT kill viruses, which are what most people are most afraid of! Too bad it isn’t nutrition related, I’d love to see Dr G do a warning on this stuff!

          • Thule

            When I was in the US yep, I certainly used products with triclosan, but the product I am using now, only have lactic acid as antibacterial agent. Lactic acid favor good bacteria and creates an hostile environment for the bad ones.

            The rest of the ingredients I see are pretty neutral, would be more worried in this would be something that would keep in contact with the skin for long period of time, like lotions or cosmetics.

            In the other hand I use a 100% natural toothpaste, even if I wanted to use something more conventional, I cannot. (My mouth reacts to them badly, I became progressively sensitive to them)

          • Charzie

            Huge difference, glad to hear it! See it? Whatever!

        • Thea

          Charzie: Great addition to the discussion. Thanks for sharing other similar do-it-yourself ideas. I’ve already changed my shampoos and soaps to much more natural products, but am still buying pre-made stuff. That may be my next project.

    • If you think your skin is big as organs go, you should see your gut lining. Your innards have the same area-wise capacity as a tennis court. That is the largest interface we have with our environment. Skin comes next.

  • Kal

    I’m rather disappointed by the occasional video that show the good doctors clear bias (even though I share that bias ;) )
    The tag line says “Since many tumors take decades to grow it’s remarkable that cancer risk can so dramatically be reduced even late in life.” but the evidence cited for reversal of disease risk points toward reversal in cardiovascular disease risk, not cancer risk!
    The only cited study which is implied as saying cancer incidence is reduced by a switch in diet (Effect of the vegetarian diet on non-communicable diseases) for the most part shows only a minor improvement in hazard ratio of vegetarians and vegans of unspecified dietary history and only a moderate improvement for lifetime vegetarians.
    No evidence was presented showing a reversal of cancer risk.

    • Interesting, Kal. Got links to the studies you have in mind?

      • Kal

        They are up in the sources cited tab by the video ^
        Although, the full text of ‘Effect of the vegetarian diet on non-communicable diseases’ is only available to people that subscribe to that journal. Basically what I meant by minor improvement in that paper is around 8-18% less risk, and moderate was 23% less. Its just a short summary of numbers from other studies, like the adventists study. The abstract barely mentions cancer and the full text shows no reversal of cancer risk by change of diet, just lower risk in vegetarians and vegans.

    • Julot Julott

      Eat a raw fruit based diet and you will reverse most cancer~ :D

      • cat

        many fruits have a high glycemic index so how could that be good and like vegank said pancreatic cancer, which no doubt is sensitive to HGI blood suger, insulin probs etc

        • There is a difference in how the body deals with industrial sugar versus the same chemicals (i.e. glucose, fructose, sucrose(glucose+fructose)). To help understand this further see… The connection between industrial sugar and cancers may be due to the association of being over fat to cancers. So it helps to maintain ideal body weight. As recent science is showing there are many factors associated with being overweight ranging from hormones to viruses to caloric density.

        • Julot Julott

          Thats totally wrong and against science:

  • vegank

    I am wondering if cancer of the pancreas can be preventable in the same way.

    • Darryl

      Greater consumption of fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, nuts, and green tea, and lower consumption of doughnuts, candy, and soft drinks have been associated with a lower risk of pancreatic cancer. Mother was right.

      • vegank

        yes mom’s are always right !

    • I like to think in terms of avoiding rather than preventing. It is all about lowering risk. Agree with eating correctly and the points made but other lifestyle considerations include not or quitting smoking, avoiding exposure to carcinogens (e.g. whole food plant based diet is important here) and avoiding heavy consumption of alcohol. Pancreatic cancer is something best avoided. The treatments are getting much better with the efforts of researchers such as Dr. Vincent Picozzi.

      • vegank

        Yes I like the term avoiding better , it is much wiser! My father was the post war generation and probably went for excess in terms of eating rich food, smoking and drinking as well as over-working because they went through childhood in semi starvation. Then at age 60 it caught up with him, he was not obese before, but seeing him reduced to a stick like figure dying from pancreatic cancer put me right off alcohol and smoking. It was sad to lose him so early and so quickly (within 6 months from diagnosis) but it was an unforgettable lesson in terms of the choices we make.
        What I am wondering is, if it is known yet in the medical world whether someone could have a genetic make up which makes him/her susceptible to or have the disposition to develop pancreatic cancer if they are exposed to the wrong things , but stays “dormant” if they live a healthy life style, to put it in layman’s term.
        There were other men of my father’s generation who had a similar life style but didn’t develop pancreatic cancer (Although they probably developed something else). My paternal grand father on the other-hand lived a much more traditional and healthy/active life style, and didn’t die from pancreatic cancer . My paternal grand mother did even better, she did not consume meat or dairy, didn’t smoke or drink, was active and lived independently right up to her late 90s.

    • Matthew Smith

      This site shows that the vegan diet is good at preventing pancreatic cancer, as are legumes, dried fruits, and veggie burgers. For the cancer, this site recommends tumeric with pepper, fenugreek (it’s in the cited source on the video on fenugreek), nuts, beans, matcha, berries, whole grain, fresh fruits, and veggies.

  • Gadea

    My grandmother, her daughters were obese.They all died from diabetic complications.
    They went blind, their feet and then their legs had to be amputated.
    First one leg, than the other leg.
    They were wheelchair bound, using adult diapers.
    Skin discoloration, their legs were purple. So fat they could not take a bath without help.
    They never stopped eating their comfort foods, plenty of White rice, cooked with salt and lard.
    Roasting Pork Roast in the oven. They especially loved the crispy crackling pork skin.
    Liberal use of salt and sugar in everything. Plenty of butter, lard.
    Fried pork chops, steak, chicken with the skin on. It was really gross.

    In the last decade of their lives became a burden to themselves, their families and society.

    Not only did they get diabetes, my grandmother also got Alzheimer.
    She could not recognize anyone, not even her own children.

    They never made the connection between their
    carb, salt, lard rich diet, lack of vegetables,fruits and their size 20 dresses.

    Very fortunate for us, one of her daughters, my mother rejected that way of eating.
    My mother threw out the white rice, instead used brown rice and in small amounts.
    My mother served spinach, dandelion roots, brussel sprouts, broccoli, onions, squash, radish, beets.
    My mother used raw garlic, onion, dill, oregano to season meat. Never fried anything, broiled everything.
    She also made meat a small portion of the meal, not the center of the meal.
    Plenty of oatmeal, oat bran, plain yogurt. She brought strawberries, bananas, blueberries and blended them into yogurt.
    Threw out the salt and sugar, just did not buy it so it was never in the house.
    My mother gave her children a gift, the gift of knowing that what you eat affects your body, your health.
    I buy nothing without reading the label and that is my mother.
    I taught my children the same way and they in turn taught their children.
    The example my mother set, has made a very positive difference in my life and the lives of my children and the lives of their children.
    Because we followed her example and taught it to our kids.
    What you put in your mouth has a direct affect on the state of your health.

  • Matthew Smith

    This video shows that it is never too late to benefit from a vegan diet. Is there any way to fake it or get some of the benefit until you’re ready to make the plunge to not eat meat? To balance out meat consumption? Dr. Greger has another video that shows being a vegan longer is better. This site recommend beans, nuts, matcha, berries, whole grains, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and cocoa. Maybe nori sheets, mushrooms, flax seed meal, amla, dark chocolate, and walnuts in particular can help improve heart health while anyone eats meat. This site, world’s healthiest foods,, has a list of the healthiest plant foods, each of which should be eaten several times weekly. The video has an editorial asking if we should all of us be vegetarians? Evidently, with some the data, the answer is yes. If you are not able to, perhaps you should consider being married, going swimming, going to religious services, mediating, flossing, or doing any of several activities that each alone add ten years to your life, like being a vegetarian.

  • Frank

    In his book, “Whole”, nutrition researcher Dr. T. Colin Campbell says that he believes up to 95 percent of all cancers can be prevented by eating a whole foods, plant-based diet. He believes that only about 5 percent of cancers are caused by genetics, and the remainder caused by the western diet, smoking and other lifestyle factors. He found that cancer promotion can be turned on or off by certain foods. So there is hope that cancer growth already present in the body can be halted or reversed by diet modification. Obviously there is a lot more research that can be done in cancer prevention or treatment through diet.

  • jason

    I wonder if I’m reading this right? The Adventist Health Study found that:

    Vegetarians in general had a Hazard Ratio (HR) of 0.88 compared with non-vegetarians (omnivores), meaning they had a 12% lower chance of dying. Specifically:

    Lacto-ovo vegetarians had a HR of 0.91, indicating a 9% lower chance of dying, compared with omnivores.
    Vegans had a HR of 0.85 (indicating a 15% lower chance of dying, compared with omnivores).
    But…Pesco-vegetarians had the lowest HR of all: 0.81, indicating a 19% lower chance of dying, compared with omnivores.

    So the way I read it, it’s best to be Pesco-vegetarian, then vegan. Being Lacto-ovo vegetarian is only about half as good as being Pesco-vegetarian.

    Must be the Omega-3 and Vitamin D in the fish?

    • mbglife (Mark)

      In Dr Greger’s 2003 video, entitled, Forty Year Old Vegan Dies of a Heart Attach, he explains research findings to explain why vegans were dying at a higher rate than meat eaters, from all causes. It’s a long video and I wish he’d make a short version. But it comes down to taking B12, a balanced ration of 1:4 or less of omega-3 to omega-6 fats, B6 and folate (although not the synthetic version: folic acid). The video is available on youtube at this link or by searching youtube for the title.

      • jason

        Thanks. I already watched this video–in fact, it was about the second video of Dr. Greger’s I watched, after the 2012 summary (Uprooting the Major Causes of Death).

        What’s particularly revealing about these Adventist statistics is that:

        1. Vegans did quite well, compared to Lacto-ovo vegetarians and omnivores, indicating that Omega-3 and Vitamin B12 are not such big issues anymore. Perhaps word has gotten around to the vegan community that they should ensure they’re getting adequate amounts of these two nutrients. (Probably wise to include Vitamin D here as well).

        2. Pesco-vegetarians did so much better than L-O vegetarians (0.81 compared with 0.91 HR). Part of the reason may be in the definition. Some studies term somebody a ‘Pesco-vegetarian’ if they eat not only fish, but eggs and dairy products–in other words, if they’ll eat anything that isn’t meat (e.g., beef, pork) and fowl (e.g., chicken, duck, turkey, etc.).

        But it’s possible to call someone a Pesco-vegetarian who only eats fish (fin and shell-fish) among all animal products–in other words, someone who abstains from meat, fowl, eggs, and dairy. That variety of vegetarian probably eats more fruits & Vegetables and less saturated fat & cholesterol than other types of vegetarians–let alone omnivores. So there would be a logical reason for the Pesco-vegetarians coming out on top–they get the best of both worlds. The only question in my mind is: How Much fish? One serving a day? One serving a week? One serving a month?

        It no doubt depends on the individual’s needs.

      • vegank

        If I remember correctly there was something about DHA , i.e. Vegans need to take vegan DHA as well as the other things mentioned.

        • jason

          Is it not possible for strict vegans to make their own DHA (convert it from ALA)? I read somewhere on this blog that if you have the proper amt. of Omega-3 relative to Omega-6 fatty acids–what mbglife was talking about with the 1:4 ratio–, you’d be able to make this conversion internally. If you are eating too much Omega-6, you wouldn’t.

          Maybe that’s an oversimplification?

          I think I also read that getting DHA from animal sources–say, from a fish oil supplement–hurts our ability to manufacture our own DHA.

          • vegank

            It seems that there are views out there that although vegans can get DHA and EPA by eating a wide variety of whole food including nuts etc. On the other hand, some think that we don’t always make enough of our own.
            Because DHA and EPA is so important for our brain function , I choose to take supplements because I try to be a strict vegan for health reasons.
            This research below shows the symptoms of DHA deficiency , and how imperative DHA is for health and brain function.

            Another good read I found was and some articles at too.
            It is possible to get vegetable sourced DHA , made from lab grown algae (so there are no toxins) from Amazon or any other online pharmacy. I have not looked up EPA but it is probably available too. I hope this helps.

    • largelytrue

      It is pretty much entirely wrong to interpret the results as having the credibility that you have given them. There is a reason why the study limits its conclusions to a claim that vegetarian patterns were associated with better outcomes than the nonvegetarian pattern in this cohort. They simply do not have the statistical power that they would need at this time in order to comment confidently about which vegetarian groups are doing better than others:

      “This analysis is limited by relatively early follow-up. If dietary patterns affect mortality, they may do so with moderate effect sizes,
      via complex pathways, and with long latency periods. Early follow-up analysis may thus have bias toward the null, and true associations may remain undetected. Observed mortality benefits may be affected by factors related to the conscious lifestyle choice of a vegetarian diet other than dietary components. Potential for uncontrolled confounding remains. Dietary patterns may change over time, whereas the analysis relies on a single measurement of diet at baseline. Caution must be used in generalizing results to other populations in which attitudes, motivations, and applications of vegetarian dietary patterns may differ; dietary pattern definitions used may not reflect some common uses of these terms.

      Further study of the possible association with mortality of specific foods and nutrients that characterize the different diet-pattern groups is a major future goal of the AHS-2 study. Later follow-up may yield more statistically robust results; allow direct comparisons between vegetarian groups and enable subgroup analysis, particularly by race/ethnicity; and allow for analysis by more specific causes of mortality.”

      If you really want to conclude that it “must be” the fish, you not only need to attribute unusually high credibility to the given HR estimates, but you also need to unpack the various differences between the vegan and pesco-vegetarian groups and show that the fish is likely the most powerful effect. The dietary information which they present is too sparse at this stage to tell us what accounts for the differences between vegetarian groups.

      • jason

        I agree that the population was not statistically large enough and that there are too many potentially confounding factors to make a straight dietary inference from this study alone. However, as these results pretty much affirm what we already knew from other epidemiological studies, that have shown that populations consuming more fish and less saturated fat (e.g., the Japanese) generally were longer lived than their meat and dairy-eating counterparts in similarly developed nations, I think it is fair to assume that being Pesco-vegetarian is more healthful than being Lacto-ovo vegetarian, and that any type of vegetarian would be better off than an omnivore. Of course the latter result might be attributed to what Taubes refers to as the ‘Girl Scout effect’–namely, that people who are careful enough to avoid eating meat probably are also careful to avoid most other harmful behavior–so they probably smoke and drink less, do Yoga, meditate etc.

        This all came up in his review of the Harvard Meat and Mortality Study–the principal investigator of which was Walter Willett, who is on the record warning about meat, but not fish. Of course Dr. Greger has warned us of the environmental toxins in fish, so it’s important to realize that fish is potentially harmful, and should not be consumed in great quantities, or perhaps very often. But at least it apparently WAS healthful, as reflected in epidemiological studies. Either one gets uncontaminated fish or eats it very sparingly, I suppose. And we should also consider the environmental impact of our fish consumption, and the dwindling fish stocks in the ocean. I can certainly understand the impulse to become 100% vegan. But I don’t think that eating one or two fish meals per month is going to break the (environmental) bank. But would that be enough, or do we need the artificial sources of DHA, EPA, etc? We probably couldn’t get enough B12 unless we ate fish at least a couple times per day, though only very small amounts of shellfish would be necessary. Since many people living in temperate climates already need to supplement their Vit. D, it probably makes sense to also supplement B12, and perhaps DHA as well.

        • jj

          If they are truly following the Adventist guidelines the only fish eaten would be fish with both fins and scales. Shellfish is prohibited because it is a scavenger.

        • largelytrue

          “But at least [fish] apparently WAS healthful…”

          This invites an all-important question in nutritional epidemiology. It was associated with health when compared to WHAT?

          One thing that the 10-year-followup did show with about 95% confidence is that combined mortality for the vegetarians seems to be better than that for non-vegetarians. This is significant because in context some of the usual “Girl Scout” confounders are not available to explain this difference. The entire population is health-conscious in the sense that they avoid smoking and drinking at very high rates.

          I also wouldn’t be so certain that this Adventist 2 vegan cohort is in accord with basic recommendations for implementing vegan diets healthfully. For example, take this 1999 study of vegans (mean age 36) connected with Loma Linda University. In a sample that has been fully vegan for only 4.2 years on average, 10 out of 25 showed some sign of B12 deficit:

          • jj

            If you want to see what some of their cooking class recipes are have a look at the link below. Some people eat healthier than this but this is the main stream stuff. Full of soy margarine, oils, vegan sour cream etc products, vege burgers, franks, sausages. A lot of processed junk. There is a lifestyle center in California that is after the McDougall model diet called Weimar but most people think that cutting out oil is really radical and not necessary.

            Each week on 3ABN you can find delicious, healthy, vegan vegetarian recipes presented by talented cooks. Below is a collection of recipes from our 3ABN Today cooking segments.

          • jason

            Thanks for the link. Interesting study, though very tiny sample (45) and some arbitrary exclusions–e.g., they didn’t include anyone who exercised more than 7 hrs/wk, drank more than 7 drinks/wk, smoked, were > 20% over ideal body weight or older than 60, etc. Not sure what we can conclude from this small study. 40% having B12 deficiency after 4.2 years average abstention from animal products sounds scary, but remember–many of these same people had been vegetarians for 12 years on average prior to becoming vegans and only 9 (out of 25) of them took B12 supplements. I’m sure that lots of vegetarians also aren’t getting enough B12 unlerss they supplement. In fact, since we can only absorb about 1.5 mcg. per meal and need about three X this amt. daily, probably lots of omnivores are deficient in B12. Ironically–pace Gary Taubes–it was the omnivores who tended to take supplements (7/20) more than the vegans (4/25). So maybe the omnivores were the ‘Girl Scouts’ here?

            I never gave much credence to Taubes’ Girl Scout effect, since not only this Adventist study contradicts it, but the Harvard Meat & Mortality study to which Taubes applied this epithet explicitly took account of all kinds of factors: not simply smoking, drinking, and drug use, but for example the education level of spouses. It was a pretty thorough study, and quite huge (millions of person-years), therefore highly significant–unlike this very small Adventist study.

            It is noteworthy that so many of the vegans (9/25) were extremely slim (BMI < 19). I'm not sure this healthy. A 20 year old with a BMI of 18 is fine, but with a 40 or 50 year old, there could be something wrong. One can be TOO thin, and optimum BMI's (associated with the lowest mortality rate) are generally located between 20 and 25 until age 65 or so, when being slightly overweight (e.g., BMI of 26) seems to confer lower mortality status. Not sure why this is.

            I meant that eating fish used to be healthful before the oceans and streams got so polluted with toxins. I say 'healthful' because it was associated with longer lifespans, relative to populations that ate more meat/dairy (e.g., almost all Europeans and N. Americans) and also longer relative to populations which mainly ate vegan out of economic necessity (e.g., most of the poor in developing nations). True, many of these poor vegans probably died prematurely from infectous disease, and so are a poor comparison.

            Bottom line: I think vegan eating probably is best for most people, given a reasonable variety and attention to nutrition, and it is certainly the best for the environment. But the optimum amt. of fish consumption may not be zero, since large populations around the Mediterranean and Japan seem to thrive on it. However, due to both environmental and pollution concerns, it should be very limited, I think. There doesn't seem to be any need or justification for meat, fowl, or dairy except in very small amounts or very occasionally unless we are living in Arctic climates.

      • patcee14

        I don’t think longevity should be the strongest reason for eating a whole foods, plant-based diet. The idea is to be healthy and happy, no matter how long we live. Statistics do prove that a plant-based diet results in better health, including organs, skin, hair and the whole body. Heart patients at death’s door have improved their health and lived many more years following this diet. It’s true that it’s not the quantity but the quality. I made the decision to follow this lifestyle at an old age – not because I am necessarily seeking a much longer life, but because I don’t want to be sick while I’m living it.

  • Bill Misner

    Dr. Greger…Would you kindly set a time frame for how long minimum-to-maximum time frame it takes for plant food lifestyle to reverse health issues. Sidebar: Esselstyn’s research points to a minimum of 30-months to reverse cardiovascular pathology when the whole plant food lifestyle is strictly followed. Your thoughts sir!

    • Matthew Smith

      I am also interested in this question. Dr. Greger frequently sites Dr. Ornish, whose research reports regression after one year on this diet. The longer the better, the sooner the better. Dr. Greger has also sited research that there are immediate health benefits from quiting smoking, and after say 20 years, the health damage is eliminated. I think the plant based diet is just as reassuring, perhaps more so. The idea that one piece of meat a week is so damaging to health perhaps is cutting into the benefits from a mostly plant based diet.

    • Matthew Smith

      According to this video, the benefits of a plant based diet are in as little as 12 days.

    • Darryl

      The pilot trial evidence is that plaque reductions are visible during angiography after 1 year (in the 1990 Ornish study) or 2-5 years (in Esselstyn’s first study) of a very low fat plant based diet. However, case reports from these and other lifestyle medicine doctors report that symptoms of angina (chest pain) and claudication (leg or arm pain during moderate exercise) are dramatically reduced within weeks, and the dramatically reduced incidence of cardiovascular events in those first years suggest risks are reduced even before plaque reductions become visible.

      The modern consensus on the cardiovascular disease is that the major danger arises not because plaques progressively occlude the artery, but because the fibrous cap of even minor plaques can rupture, with the cap flopping into the stream while spilling contents and clot forming agents downstream. Sometimes the precipitating cause is unaccustomed physical exertion or even emotional stress, but the weakening of the plaque is caused by inflammatory activity of immune cells (macrophages), which release compounds like proinflammatory cytokines like IFN-γ which inhibit collagen formation, or proteases like MMPs and cathepsins which digest the collagen matrix of the cap. These processes are essential to the tissue remodelling of wound healing, but deadly when they occur in a coronary or cerebral artery.

      Many medical interventions that reduce cardiovascular risk do so at least in part by reducing inflammatory signalling, and low fat, plant based diets appear to do the same. Partly this is due fewer dietary inflammatory compounds like saturated fats and endotoxins, partly its due to modulating gut microbiota, and partly because a number of plant compounds, particularly polyphenols and isothiocyanates in berries, citrus, cocoa, spices and cruciferous vegetables, inhibit inflammatory signalling at a cellular level.

  • When everyone is eating more and more meat …

    shall soon die out the chimpanzee.

    The population explosion and the famine on earth has also led to the breeding of animals solely for consumption. Genocide, the accelerated extinction of species, and Ecocide, large environmental damage are the consequences.

  • Dr Greger is a brilliant life style medicine doctor. He translates very well with modern insights to the general public what Albert Einstein already have told before.

    “Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”

    — Albert Einstein

  • diane

    I cannot access any of your videos. The screen is all black and blank. Not just video but all of them. Thanks

  • patcee14

    I have made the decision to eat a plant-based diet even though I am elderly. I have congestive heart failure and nothing I read ever addresses whether a plant-based diet can delay the progress of this disease. I have been vegan only 6 weeks, but I have not noticed any weight loss and I still have periods of holding fluids. Is there any published information on this specific condition and the effects of a plant-based diet? I am wondering if I should cut the amount of whole grains and nuts and just concentrate on vegetables.

    • Cody

      Hi I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. While there sometimes aren’t studies done specifically on congestive heart failure, and Dr. Greger hasn’t specifically mentioned them in most of his videos, congestive heart failure can typically be lumped in with other cardiovascular diseases in that a whole food, plant-based diet can help significantly. Possibly the most important thing with congestive heart failure is cutting out as much added salt as possible. This not only included adding salt to food, but also almost any processed food in the grocery store. Try to find low-salt or no-salt added beans, nuts, and other whole plant foods. A heavy focus on fruits and vegetables would certainly be beneficial as well. Remember that a vegan diet does not necessary mean that it is a healthy diet. We have to eat real, whole plant foods with little to know additives to really see significant benefits sometimes. I hope this helps! Good luck!

    • danieltb

      Consider what Dr. Sinatra has to say on the issue of CHF / heart health (some diet is covered):

      In addition, I’ve found 80g Bromelain every 5 hours helps with my pulmonary edema.

      As always, consult with your doctor.