Flashback Friday: Plant-Based Diets for Improved Mood and Productivity

Flashback Friday: Plant-Based Diets for Improved Mood and Productivity
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The most comprehensive controlled trial of diet and mood finds that a plant-based nutrition program in a workplace setting across ten corporate sites significantly improves depression, anxiety, and productivity.

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A 2014 systematic review and meta-analysis of dietary patterns and depression concluded that a healthy diet pattern was significantly associated with reduced odds of depression, but out of the 21 studies they could find in the medical literature, they were able to find only one randomized controlled trial, considered the study design that provides the highest level of evidence. It was the study I profiled in Improving Mood Through Diet, in which removing meat, fish, poultry and eggs improved several mood scores in just two weeks.

We’ve known that those eating plant-based tend to have healthier mood states—less tension, anxiety, depression, anger, hostility, and fatigue. But you couldn’t tell if it was cause and effect until you put it to the test, which they finally did. What could account for such rapid results? Well, eating vegetarian does give you a better antioxidant status, which may help with depression.

Also, as I’ve previously addressed, consumption of even a single carbohydrate-rich meal can improve depression, tension, anger, confusion, sadness, fatigue, alertness, and calmness scores among patients with PMS—but what about long term?

Overweight men and women were randomized into a low-carb, high-fat diet, or high-carb, low-fat diet for a year. By the end of the year, who had less depression, anxiety, anger, and hostility, feelings of dejection, tension, fatigue, better vigor, less confusion, or mood disturbances? The low-carb dieters are represented by the black circles, and the low-fat dieters are represented in the white. These sustained improvements in mood in the low-fat group compared with the low-carb group are consistent with results from epidemiological studies showing that diets high in carbohydrate and low in fat and protein are associated with lower levels of anxiety and depression, and have beneficial effects on psychological wellbeing.

But the overall amount of fat in their diet didn’t significantly change in this study, though. But the type of fat did. Their arachidonic acid intake fell to zero.

Arachidonic acid is an inflammatory omega-6 fatty acid that can adversely impact mental health via a cascade of neuroinflammation. It may inflame your brain. High blood levels in the bloodstream have been associated with a greater likelihood of suicide risk, for example, and major depressive episodes. How can we stay away from the stuff?

Americans are exposed to arachidonic acid primarily through chicken and eggs. But when we remove chicken and eggs, and other meat, we can eliminate preformed arachidonic acid from our diet.

So, while high-quality treatment studies investigating the impact of diet on depression are scarce, there is that successful two-week trial, but even better, how about 22 weeks?

Overweight or diabetic employees of a major insurance corporation received either weekly group instruction on a whole food plant-based diet or no diet instruction for five and a half months. There was no portion size restriction, no calorie counting, no carb counting. No change in exercise. No meals were provided, but the company cafeteria did start offering daily options such as lentil soup, minestrone, and bean burritos.

No meat, eggs, dairy, oil, or junk, yet they reported greater diet satisfaction compared with the control group participants who had no diet restrictions. How’d they do though? More participants in the plant-based intervention group reported improved digestion, increased energy, and better sleep than usual at week 22 compared with the control group. They also reported a significant increase in physical functioning, general health, vitality, and mental health. Here’s that represented graphically, where the plant-based group beat out controls on nearly every measure.

There were also significant improvements in work productivity, thought to be due, in large part, to their improvements in health. So, what this study demonstrated was that a cholesterol-free diet is acceptable, not only in research settings, but in a typical corporate environment, improving quality of life and productivity at little cost. All we need now is a large, randomized trial for confirmation, but we didn’t have such a thing—until now.

Ten corporate sites across the country from San Diego to Macon, Georgia. Same kind of setup as before. Can a plant-based nutrition program in a multicenter, corporate setting improve depression, anxiety, and productivity? Yes, significant improvements in depression, anxiety, fatigue, emotional well-being, and daily functioning. Lifestyle interventions have an increasingly apparent role in physical and mental health, and among the most effective of these is the use of plant-based diets.

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.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to JD Hancock via Flickr.

A 2014 systematic review and meta-analysis of dietary patterns and depression concluded that a healthy diet pattern was significantly associated with reduced odds of depression, but out of the 21 studies they could find in the medical literature, they were able to find only one randomized controlled trial, considered the study design that provides the highest level of evidence. It was the study I profiled in Improving Mood Through Diet, in which removing meat, fish, poultry and eggs improved several mood scores in just two weeks.

We’ve known that those eating plant-based tend to have healthier mood states—less tension, anxiety, depression, anger, hostility, and fatigue. But you couldn’t tell if it was cause and effect until you put it to the test, which they finally did. What could account for such rapid results? Well, eating vegetarian does give you a better antioxidant status, which may help with depression.

Also, as I’ve previously addressed, consumption of even a single carbohydrate-rich meal can improve depression, tension, anger, confusion, sadness, fatigue, alertness, and calmness scores among patients with PMS—but what about long term?

Overweight men and women were randomized into a low-carb, high-fat diet, or high-carb, low-fat diet for a year. By the end of the year, who had less depression, anxiety, anger, and hostility, feelings of dejection, tension, fatigue, better vigor, less confusion, or mood disturbances? The low-carb dieters are represented by the black circles, and the low-fat dieters are represented in the white. These sustained improvements in mood in the low-fat group compared with the low-carb group are consistent with results from epidemiological studies showing that diets high in carbohydrate and low in fat and protein are associated with lower levels of anxiety and depression, and have beneficial effects on psychological wellbeing.

But the overall amount of fat in their diet didn’t significantly change in this study, though. But the type of fat did. Their arachidonic acid intake fell to zero.

Arachidonic acid is an inflammatory omega-6 fatty acid that can adversely impact mental health via a cascade of neuroinflammation. It may inflame your brain. High blood levels in the bloodstream have been associated with a greater likelihood of suicide risk, for example, and major depressive episodes. How can we stay away from the stuff?

Americans are exposed to arachidonic acid primarily through chicken and eggs. But when we remove chicken and eggs, and other meat, we can eliminate preformed arachidonic acid from our diet.

So, while high-quality treatment studies investigating the impact of diet on depression are scarce, there is that successful two-week trial, but even better, how about 22 weeks?

Overweight or diabetic employees of a major insurance corporation received either weekly group instruction on a whole food plant-based diet or no diet instruction for five and a half months. There was no portion size restriction, no calorie counting, no carb counting. No change in exercise. No meals were provided, but the company cafeteria did start offering daily options such as lentil soup, minestrone, and bean burritos.

No meat, eggs, dairy, oil, or junk, yet they reported greater diet satisfaction compared with the control group participants who had no diet restrictions. How’d they do though? More participants in the plant-based intervention group reported improved digestion, increased energy, and better sleep than usual at week 22 compared with the control group. They also reported a significant increase in physical functioning, general health, vitality, and mental health. Here’s that represented graphically, where the plant-based group beat out controls on nearly every measure.

There were also significant improvements in work productivity, thought to be due, in large part, to their improvements in health. So, what this study demonstrated was that a cholesterol-free diet is acceptable, not only in research settings, but in a typical corporate environment, improving quality of life and productivity at little cost. All we need now is a large, randomized trial for confirmation, but we didn’t have such a thing—until now.

Ten corporate sites across the country from San Diego to Macon, Georgia. Same kind of setup as before. Can a plant-based nutrition program in a multicenter, corporate setting improve depression, anxiety, and productivity? Yes, significant improvements in depression, anxiety, fatigue, emotional well-being, and daily functioning. Lifestyle interventions have an increasingly apparent role in physical and mental health, and among the most effective of these is the use of plant-based diets.

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.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to JD Hancock via Flickr.

Doctor's Note

Here’s the link for the video I mentioned about the original randomized controlled trial, Improving Mood Through Diet, and the pilot data on workplace interventions can be found in Slimming the Gecko and Plant-Based Workplace Intervention.

Diet can help at home too! See:

Arachidonic what? For background on the inflammatory fatty acid see:

2019 Update: I just did a new series on the CHIP program. Check it out:

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here and to my audio podcast here (subscribe by clicking on your mobile device’s icon).

74 responses to “Flashback Friday: Plant-Based Diets for Improved Mood and Productivity

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  1. What a beautiful rad idea for employers to implement.
    Capture and improve employees’ health via better nutrition while at work.
    Offer an on-site cafeteria/deli with a WFPB diet.
    Intice the unmotivated reluctant employee toward better nutritional habits.
    Positive side effects for both employee and employer; happier healthier more productive workers.
    Simple, effective, and powerful.

  2. This information is very interesting to me because of a theory I developed as a teen regarding vegetarian diets and mood. What I noticed around me at that time was other people who would do strange things like get mad at uncooperative inanimate objects they were trying to work on, often wrecking hours of effort only to have to fix it later anyway. Then on the other-hand, there were different people I knew who would did not fly of the handle so easily. The only thing different I could tell was the ones who got upset easily were all heavy meat eaters. The others preferred more of a vegetarian diet. My theory at the time, and to this day something I still do not think studies have been done on, is that the various hormones and such in the animals was affecting the people eating it.

    Just think about it, animals are fighting for their lives their final moments. Many smell death in the air and are panicked. I think about how I feel in severe situations with all the adrenaline and hormones pumping through my veins. Blood is removed which would take away the adrenaline and hormones in something most people do not eat anyhow, but there is no technology to remove what was already deposited throughout the animals flesh. It is not like the meat industry even acknowledge its presence…..or how it affects humans eating it.

    1. Jimbo, that’s an astute observation. I’ve read that many farm animal meats have plenty of hormones (and also cow’s milk), but I never thought of the hormones produced by fear from the traumatized animals. That would certainly be an interesting research study.

      1. Animals have a much better sense of smell than we do, in general. They can certainly sense the fear and death present in slaughterhouses.

        1. Jimbo, good point! Animals are so much more aware of their environment than most people think.
          They have abilities that we are only becoming aware of, like that elephants can communicate at distance in tones too low for humans to hear. We need to appreciate and respect them more.

    2. Blood is removed which would take away the adrenaline and hormones in something most people do not eat anyhow, but there is no technology to remove what was already deposited throughout the animals flesh.
      ———————————————————————————————————————-
      Interesting theory Jimbo. In thinking about it, I can see a way to possibly prove or disprove your theory if we have the tools to tease out any difference. That would be to compare the meat from a wild animal (deer, elk for instance) that was killed with a clean shot and one that was hit and died later on.

      Sounds cruel I know but these are real life situations and we may as well get the (essentially) free science from the act.

      Which reminds me… I was discussing death with a friend a few days ago and he did not want to be cremated as he didn’t want to feel the burn… as if he could do that after being dead. ‘-) (I blame writers for this misconception as they write ghost stories that have the dead coming back to avenge a horrible death.)

      I then made the comment that if death came in a short time span it didn’t matter if you died traumatically or peacefully… ’cause a short time later you weren’t going to remember it anyway.

  3. I have captured some of the workers’ meals.

    Mostly, the cook isn’t competent enough to feed everybody yet.

    I failed today. I was trying to do the lentil loaf and got through the lentils and sauteed some vegetables, but really couldn’t have pulled it all together in time for lunch, so I put it in the fridge. I will be eating some tomorrow. If it is not good, I will try a different recipe.

    I heard someone on NPR who gets traumatized by decisions and I have a glass loaf pan and a metal loaf pan. I have recipes with oat flour versus bread crumbs. I have some with parsley and some with cilantro and some with other spices.

    I looked around the kitchen and because I don’t know which way would be better, I had my immersion blender and my food processors and multiple instapots and my rice cooker and it seems that I can’t cook if I close the instapot cover. I blew pasta. It said, “12” and I wanted “12” and I couldn’t get it to open and the supergreen rotini was sloop. I have decided that for most of the dishes, having some sloop usually helps the dish become comfort food, but sloop is waaay past al dente.

    Trying to be a good employer and get everybody healthy, but this is going to take a while.

    The good news from today is that my brother’s surgery is a month and 2 days from now and that is enough time to still try to shrink his tumor. Though, currently, I am not sure whether alkaline water with lemon maybe would be a way to go? Or coffee?

    1. My brother and sister-in-law are willing to do WFPB-ish came through tonight, but neither of them wants the extra stress of finding meals or doing meal prep, etcetera. I got two more ideas from them.

      1. I don’t know Deb, but it is my impression that you are making this more complicated than it needs to be. If I was in your brother’s shoes, I would be eating a baked or boiled bright orange sweet potatoe and steamed broccoli plus a big salad with garlicky dressing on it every day. porridge oats in the morning for the butyrate. Maybe a squash cubes / beans chili or soup de jour at lunch that I cooked on weekend. no stress, just pure cancer fighting veggies. Actually, it’s similar to what
        dr McDougall said he would do too.. and he’s an internist. Just a thought anyway..

          1. Lonie, re your post on cysteine, soy foods and oats are very high in cysteine. Maybe avoid those, and meats of course, in kidney cancer?

            1. soy foods and oats are very high in cysteine.
              ————————————————————-
              Marylin, sounds like a good starting point. I noticed thought that they spell the culprit as cystine rather than cysteine… wondering if they are the same thing spelled differently or if they are something altogether different.

              Also, I’m curious about the (apparent) approved drug they mentioned (sulfasalazine) could be of benefit to Deb’s brother as they mentioned it as a drug that blocks cystine uptake.

              Granted this is research done on mice some two years ago, but surely they have continued with this research since then. But even if it has, you’ve still got to find a Dr. that will take you seriously when you come into his or her office with a paper printed out that tells the Dr. about the research.

              Most Dr’s seem to not want to be told how to treat a disease by someone who hasn’t spent 8 or more years becoming a Dr… you know… ego thing.

              1. Cysteine is an amino acid and is regarded as a non-essential amino acid. Cystine is an oxidised form of it and is regarded as a semi-essential amino acid

                A list of the foods highest in cystine is here
                https://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-000085000000000000000.html

                What works in mice doesn’t alway work in people though and, to be fair, trained professionals are often better able to assess the implications of research papers than laypeople. Just look at the number of people who see papers that show that bleach, laetrile and hydrogen peroxide kill cancer cells in a petrie dish and then conclude that these prove that consuming the stuff prevents and/or cures cancer. I suspect that doctors see that sort of thing all too often which is why they are cautious about patients waving around studies about eg rats or in vitro trials. It’s not always because of massive egos. It’s often because we their patients are exhibiting the Dunning-Kruger Effect at worst or we simply overestimate our understanding of the totality of evidence at best.

                1. That’s interesting… the list is primarily pages of animal products, particularly meats of all kinds, fish and seafood, soy and milk. Also, they have coffee listed at 400 mg. and oat and wheat bran too, but no other types of oats made the list. Cystine must just be concentrated in the outer bran layer.

                2. What works in mice doesn’t alway work in people though and, to be fair, trained professionals are often better able to assess the implications of research papers than laypeople.
                  ————————————————————————————————————
                  True Tom, but if I read Deb’s posts accurately, her brother doesn’t have the years necessary to wait for irrefutable proof before undergoing his surgery. Sometimes you just gotta weigh the risk/reward and make an informed decision. I’ve done that many times concerning my health and supplementation and treatments and so far… no regrets.

                    1. Also it is worth bearing in mind that that particular drug may interact with other medications that Deb’s brother is being given. WebMD advises:

                      Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: intestinal blockage, urinary blockage, kidney disease, liver disease, blood disorders (such as aplastic anemia, porphyria), a certain genetic condition (G6PD deficiency), asthma, severe allergies, current/recent/returning infections.’

                      https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-6260/sulfasalazine-oral/details

    2. Deb

      Not sure – does your brother have renal cell carcinoma (RCC)? This might be of interest if he does

      ‘ Statins (inhibitors of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase) that are used for the treatment of lipid disorders, especially hypercholesterolemia, appear to protect against the development of RCC. Horiguchi et al. reported that fluvastatin had a notable inhibitory effect in vitro on tumor growth, invasion, angiogenesis, and metastasis of RCC cells [44],’
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4118156/

  4. Sorry, but I’m trying to get some feedback from the volunteers on this site about this study: https://www.bmj.com/content/362/bmj.k3862 I can’t access the study itself (and therefore have a look at the methodology nor the funding of the research) so if you guys can and can let me know wtf because it just does not jibe with everything else in the world and I would love to know how they managed to get to this conclusion. From what I can tell, a lot of it was self-report but I’d like more info if at all possible.

    Thank you!

      1. It is easy to set up studies in ways which your food becomes a health food.

        I believe he said the candy industry set up a study similarly and it became candy is good for your health, too.

        1. I believe he used the example that being stabbed might be healthier for you than being shot doesn’t make being stabbed truly healthy.

    1. Looking at the first hint is that they use poor countries where they don’t have much dairy and where only wealthy, more educated people get dairy. Starving people aren’t as healthy as fed people.

    2. butwhytho

      I think this refers to a paper based on the PURE study conducted by researchers headed by a team from McMaster University which is a partner of the Canadian dairy industry.
      https://www.dairyfarmers.ca/who-we-are/our-partners

      Dairy foods are high in saturated fat and sodium. The same team has also written other papers based on the PURE study which argue that worldwide dietary guidelines which recommend limiting saturated fat and sodium consumption are too restrictive.

      While some attempts were made to control for income and location, poor people tend to eat the most poor quality carbohydrates and the wealthiest tend to eat more dairy foods, fat and sodium. They also have the best access to clean water, a varied calorifically-adequate diet, affordable modern health care and subsidised genuine pharmaceutical medications. It is not surprising that they enjoy longer lives and better health.

      Some relevant articles on the various papers authored by this team are below (there are quite a few other critical reviews around also):
      :
      https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2017/09/08/pure-study-makes-headlines-but-the-conclusions-are-misleading/
      https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/diet-health-puzzling-past-paradox-pure-understanding-david
      https://www.foodpolitics.com/2017/09/the-pure-study-lets-get-skeptical/
      https://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343(17)31216-0/pdf

    3. Your link was “news” not an actual study. The “news” references the “PURE” study which is nothing to take seriously.

      Dr. Ben

    4. Hello,

      I was able to check out the article and gathered the following info for you. I hope it helps!

      Methodology: The new study investigated dietary intake of dairy products in 136 384 people aged 35 to 70 years from 21 countries across five continents. Participants recorded in country specific questionnaires how often, on average, they consumed particular foods and drinks over the previous year. Dairy products included milk, yoghurt, yogurt drinks, cheese, and local dishes made with dairy, and were grouped into whole fat and low fat. One serving was equivalent to a glass of milk or a cup of yogurt.

      Funding: Population Health Research Institute and other research funders, and included unrestricted grants from several pharmaceutical companies and organisations in different participating countries, including Unilever Health Institute in Brazil, and the SA Sugar Association in South Africa.

  5. I would like it if a researcher did this kind of study. Put people on diets based on the proportion of calories coming from whole animals and whole foods. No oil used. Supplements as required. Put people into eleven categories. Animal:Plant ratios of 0:100, 5:95, 15:85, 30:70, 40:60, 50:50, 60:40, 70:30, 85:15, 95:5, 100:0. Or less categories because it’s more practical. Have a break-in period so that each person can adjust to the new diet. Try it for 12 weeks. See what happens. Customize each person’s calorie requirements according to best practice. Calorie restriction will be built in when eating the calories from whole plants because of the effects of fibre and what not. Hard to adjust for this; maybe add 10-20% more plant food calories for each animal food calorie. Evaluate results and if some proportions are clearly harmful, eliminate those groups. Migrate those groups to the remaining groups and continue the study for as long as possible. See if people genuinely have problems with certain ratios. It would be nice to find out which ratio is practical, sustainable, optimal etc.

    1. Arthur, I ‘spect a project like this would have to be funded by somebody or an outfit of some sort.

      “If you’ve got the money, honey, I’ve got the time.” *tra-la*

      1. LOL YR!

        I have watched historical movies and it always was about the money. Money might have looked like salt sometimes, but the human response was the same.

      2. There would be enough money if researchers didn’t spend it on epidemiology studies. They’re pretty much pseudo-science. Search YouTube for a recent video by the channel ‘Low Carb Down Under’. In the video the speaker (Maryanne Demasi) talks about how the most current nutrition guidelines were formed in Australia. The government made a tender to make the guidelines and they went with a dieticisn’s association. The association had conflicts of interest because of food and drug mulitnationals. Worth watching.

        1. Lonie, I don’t know how my reply to Bob ended up under your post. It wanted to, I guess.

          I’d rather just eat the fish. Am not a fan of gulping pills of any sort.

          “And don’t call me Shirley.” :-)

  6. Which do you want more…to feel better or to have a better brain?

    http://www.ergo-log.com/elderly-fish-eaters-have-better-brains.html

    Conclusion

    Elderly fish eaters have better brains

    “There are two main findings to this study,” the researchers wrote. “First, consuming baked or broiled fish at least weekly is related to larger grey mass volumes (4.3% and 14%, respectively) in areas of the brain responsible for memory and cognition in cognitively normal elderly individuals. Second, although the volumes in these brain regions were significantly related to fish consumption, they were not significantly associated with plasma omega-3 fatty acids.”

    1. Bob, That’s an interesting correlation. But “correlation” doesn’t always mean “causation”. I didn’t read the whole the whole research paper, but the news article does go on to say:

      “It may also be the case that eating baked or broiled fish with some regularity is a marker of a healthier lifestyle, of which consuming fish is only one part. The fact that the participants who consumed fish were more educated than those who were not may also indicate that this study could be measuring a general lifestyle effect, and not necessarily a diet-specific effect.”

      It’s always difficult to tease out cause and effect relationships when there are so many variables involved, not to mention the complexity of all the chemical reactions taking place in the human body continuously. Bottom line for me is that I’m not going to start eating fish again because of this study! :-)

      1. Regarding the repeated “the whole” in my previous post, I don’t know why this editor keeps repeating things on me. It’s done that several times now. Guess I’ll have to proof-read more often :-)

    2. Remember: turmeric + black pepper + flax seeds

      Eat turmeric every day with black pepper. The black pepper multiplies the curcumin absorption of the turmeric. In turn, the turmeric multiplies the ALA to DHA conversion (enzymes) by a lot!

      1. Panchito, thanks for the info. I do eat all three ingredients everyday, but I had never heard of the connection between curcumin and ALA conversion. I would be curious to see the research paper supporting this, if you have a link.

        1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4754352/

          “Taken together, these data suggest that curcumin enhances DHA synthesis, resulting in elevated brain DHA content. These findings have important implications for human health and the prevention of cognitive disease, particularly for populations eating a plant-based diet or who do not consume fish, a primary source of DHA, since DHA is essential for brain function and its deficiency is implicated in many types of neurological disorders.”

    3. I doubt if any of the comparison group were WFPB dieters – they were probably more likely to be eating the SAD, in which case the results would be unsurprising.

      As the researchers themselves noted:

      “It may also be the case that eating baked or broiled fish with some regularity is a marker of a healthier lifestyle, of which consuming fish is only one part. The fact that the participants who consumed fish were more educated than those who were not may also indicate that this study could be measuring a general lifestyle effect, and not necessarily a diet-specific effect.”

      1. “The fact that the participants who consumed fish were more educated than those who were not..”
        – – – – –

        That should tell us something right there. Intelligent people know that fish can be good for us.

        1. Compared to burgers, hot dogs, cheese and bacon it probably is.

          You are equating educated people with intelligent people. Are they necessarily the same thing?

          Also, you eat fish and you apparently believe that Anthony William and Abraham-Hicks are just as good sources of nutritional guidance as the scientific literature discussed on this site. What does that tell us?

          1. Yes, I occasionally eat fish. I also do yoga exercises, bounce on my rebounder and manage to get out every day whatever the weather. Do you? Apples and oranges.

            The latest so-called scientific findings are indeed of some interest — keeping in mind that the research may show other “findings” a month or two from now. One must be flexible as to what one reads or hears via the internet.

            (Hey, “Seth” — via Jane Roberts — had a lot of intriguing things to say too!)

            1. YR, although the research presented on NF indicates that fish is “not good”, I can see where you might still want to eat some. To my understanding, the research is based on “averages”. And since each person may have unique nutritional needs, some people may require something in the fish for optimal health. (Whether the person can obtain that nutrient elsewhere is a different question, since no one may even know what that nutrient might be! It seems to me that the human body, in all it’s intricacies, is probably the most most complicated “system” known.)

              Bottom line, my opinion is that we must all try to obtain the best scientific evidence available, and then make our own decisions on what works for each of us.

              1. “Bottom line, my opinion is that we must all try to obtain the best scientific evidence available, and then make our own decisions on what works for each of us.”
                – – –

                Good thinking, Hal. We’re all different. The older we get *sigh*, the more we are able to understand our bodies and its various “needs.”

              2. Fair enough In the 7th Day Adventist study women ‘pescatarians’ had significantly lower mortality risk than women ‘vegans’, Among men, ‘vegans’ had the lowest mortality risk followed by ‘pescatarians’

                Current mainstream advice seems to be to eat more fruits vegetables and whole grains plus one or two servings of oily fish per week
                https://www.heart.org/en/news/2018/05/25/eating-fish-twice-a-week-reduces-heart-stroke-risk
                https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000574

                However, it is not clear to me (from that AHA advisory) that fish consumption is intrinsically beneficial or if the observed benefits are simply a function of displacing other more unhealthy foods from the diet.

                Also, some studies have indicated greater mortalty risk with high levels of fish consumption at least in women
                https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27601091

                1. However, it is not clear to me (from that AHA advisory) that fish consumption is intrinsically beneficial or if the observed benefits are simply a function of displacing other more unhealthy foods from the diet.
                  ———————————————————————————————————————————–
                  Like YR, I also eat fish regularly… even in the face of the studies saying otherwise.

                  But I also eat fish differently than the way it was served in the studies, I believe. That is, when I eat a tin of tuna, I put it in a bowl (after pouring out the water it is packed in over some dry cat food for them to eat) and then add balsamic vinegar to marinade the tuna. Then I add some finely powdered black pepper and paprika before pouring some guacamole salsa over the top.

                  When I eat herring filets (also packed in water) I pour some balsamic vinegar over the contents of the long oval tin, then sprinkle some Lewis Labs Brewer’s Yeast and some chlorella powder over the top along with some turmeric and piperine (black pepper extract)… then I consume the herring with kalamata olives.

                  I strongly believe that I am able to get the studied nourishment from the fish that I need while possibly (probably) mooting any ill effects that may be present from eating said fish alone.

                  Sometimes our intuition is more accurate than single item studies or observational studies that cannot tease out from the data, the best combination of foods and condiments of a person’s diet.

  7. YR, Edward Casey said to eat fish with the fire coming from above vs below ie broiling vs baking. It was the first thing I thought of when I read the 4.3% vs 14% increase in brain size .. sounded fishy to me!

    1. ‘eat fish with the fire coming from above vs below ie broiling vs baking’

      Sorry Barb but that doesn’t sound anything like broiling vs baking to me. Grilling vs frying or BBQing perhaps. That’s the problem with psychic prophecies and predictions – they are usually so deiberately vague and ambiguous that they coud be interpreted to mean anything

  8. Yes ty YR ! See? My brain is shrinking already! :( That was probably the only thing i remembered him saying, (re broiling) plus the 5 to 1 rule for losing weight.. 5 above ground veggies to each below ground veggie. (which was not news to anyone really, even at the time)

    1. Laughing.

      Yes, some of our brains have shrunk more than others.

      My helper elf, who is helping try to keep my brother alive, was given one set of instructions, make Whole Food Plant Based, no sodium, low to no oil, no sugar, no processed foods, make it spicy, and the main instructions from my brother are: no cauliflower or lettuce and she just texted me saying that she made some buffalo cauliflower for him for tomorrow. Yes, cauliflower was in the instructions and that made it confusing.

      1. Friday, she made curried vegetables with coconut milk for my sister-in-law who hates coconut.

        My grandmother used to do that process, too.

        Just don’t tell them what you hate.

        1. Barb,

          Thank you so much!

          He likes spinach for sure and didn’t notice the kale I used in the vegetable stew, but I used baby kale which is so much easier to not notice. He likes spice so it is easy to not notice greens entirely.

          I used a lot of the adult kale in my wraps. Not sure he could handle raw greens. Cooked greens are fine.

          Iceberg lettuce is what he can’t handle.

          1. Barb,

            You just touched my heart.

            I love that you did that.

            My helper is asking me what to make and I am doing my own dishes but it is hard coming up with enough ideas.

            He is so easy to please as long as things have enough flavor, but he and his wife are doing a process I don’t understand.

            My sister-in-law doesn’t want to change her own eating, so she doesn’t want my brother changing his eating. It is confusing because she doesn’t mind us cooking him meals and she doesn’t mind people cooking them both meals, but she seriously feels threatened by us trying to help him eat this way. She is generally a “take responsibility” and “don’t make excuses” generally, but the other day she made a list of excuses a mile long as to why this isn’t a good idea and none of the reasons were that she didn’t want it. It was “the Bears might eat it” and “our freezer is full” at a food delivery suggestion. She is overwhelmed, but it is like trying to get a 10 year old to take a bath when they don’t want to.

            1. My sister-in-law doesn’t want to change her own eating, so she doesn’t want my brother changing his eating. It is confusing because she doesn’t mind us cooking him meals and she doesn’t mind people cooking them both meals, but she seriously feels threatened by us trying to help him eat this way. She is generally a “take responsibility” and “don’t make excuses” generally, but the other day she made a list of excuses a mile long as to why this isn’t a good idea and none of the reasons were that she didn’t want it. It was “the Bears might eat it” and “our freezer is full” at a food delivery suggestion. She is overwhelmed, but it is like trying to get a 10 year old to take a bath when they don’t want to.
              ——————————————————————-
              Or it may be that she is feeling pushed aside in her own house and is being displaced as her husband’s care-giver?

              Obviously this type of “medicine” is new to her and she may not yet be a believer. Can you think of anything that might make her feel included in the hoped for cure for your brother?

              Just trying to see all sides in the hope it might help the most important person in this undertaking… your brother.

              1. “Or it may be that she is feeling pushed aside in her own house and is being displaced as her husband’s care-giver?”
                – – – – –

                Agree with Lonie. Sometimes sisters-in-law — like some mothers-in-law — are eyed suspiciously, and considered to be meddlers.

                There’s a saying that goes something like “The faults we see in others are the faults we see in ourselves.”

  9. I’m back again. I feel like the elusive stepchild. What kept me away this time? I have had a lung cancer scare and a heart failure scare. Both hypotheses have now been discarded, but not without a hell of a lot of long drawn out commotion and anxiety. I’m almost giddy with relief right now.

    When you go looking intently for things wrong in the body, it seems there’s a good chance you’re gonna find stuff; and it may well not even be related to what started the investigation in the first place. You also might well be falsely alarmed about the potential of having some rather grave conditions. So it was with me.

    You see, I have been trying without success to get to the bottom of a mysterious case of rather debilitating fatigue. It seemingly came out of the blue and it is persistent. It has plagued me for months. It’s like I have a bad hangover all the time. It is not at all likely to be the prostate cancer, as there are no signs of recurrence. Is it possible that my vegan diet is to blame for this? You can probably guess that a lot of “well meaning” others are asserting this. You might also guess that my tendency is to want to choke them. If it IS the diet, how could I have pretty much thrived on it for a good 2 years, including through 9 weeks of pelvic radiation treatments? My PCP doesn’t think it’s my diet, but in full disclosure, I sought him out because he is one of the rare MDs that advocates a WFPB lifestyle.

    I can’t help but wonder if I should introduce a small amount of animal products back into my diet to see if the fatigue abates. So far, I stop short of doing so. To tie this into the current lively (and in places, hilarious) conversation, if I were to add some animal products in, it would definitely be fish. I’d eat fish (the more recommended kinds, like small and fatty) way before I ate dairy or eggs. I don’t have any studies to reference, but I’ve seen a lot of them. That is my somewhat educated but lay opinion. Can “somewhat educated” be dangerous? Undoubtedly!

    So pleased that some of the beloved cast of characters here remains the same. I really value this forum, and in a lot of different ways. I don’t intend to go away again. Just try to get rid of me and see what happens.

    1. Hi Scott, welcome back yet again! Just a quickie. Our minds can lead us into all sorts of trouble, can’t they! Thoughts are SO powerful…”Our cells are always listening” and all that.

      Shhhh….I hope nobody else reads this. :-( Just wanted to say there are many, many former WFPB/”vegan” eaters out there who decided to throw in the towel at some point. Yes, they “did it right,” followed all the so-called rules, but poor health ensued, nevertheless. Just google around, you’ll see what I mean.

      If I were you, yes, I’d definitely introduce some animal foods (fish?) back in your diet. Shhhhhhh….I’ll probably be banned now! :-)

      1. Hi YR, and thanks! You are definitely living dangerously with that kind of advice! Seriously, it’s obviously no secret that you’re not totally vegan, but I was not clear of the rationale behind it.

        There are a lot of people suggesting exactly as you have. I’m not yet convinced it’s the thing to try. For one, there’s that evidence that fish isn’t such a good thing to eat. You are right that there seems to be a lot of former vegans that say they just failed to thrive on a vegan diet. For me, the unanswered question remains of how could I have thrived being vegan for 2 years and then all of a sudden get fatigue from it? I don’t think there were any dramatic dietary changes coinciding with the onset—any other kind of changes either, for that matter.

        Could it be I just need to stop thinking about it so much? Could it be “all in my head”? I am now working hard to introduce the exercise back in that I dropped because of lack of energy. There are some signs that this may help treat my fatigue. I know this is not depression/anxiety caused. I’ve had that kind of fatigue pretty much all my life and this is a lot different.

        1. Scott, some people “thrive” on a no-animal-foods diet for five years or more — even 10 or 12. And then, wham (like you), it suddenly catches up with them. Just saying’.

          Always listen to your Higher Self/Inner Guidance. It KNOWS things. :-)

          Good luck with whatever you do.

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