Optimal Diet: Just Give It to Me Straight, Doc

Optimal Diet: Just Give It to Me Straight, Doc
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Why is there a reticence to provide the public with guidelines that will spare them from preventable disease and premature death?


Why is there reticence to provide the public with guidelines that will spare them heart disease or its progression? The National Research Council position was that a dietary fat recommendation lower than 30% would be too frustrating for those attempting to achieve a significant reduction. Although it is uncertain to what extent people will adopt the advice, it is nevertheless scientifically and ethically imperative to inform the public what constitutes an optimal diet. We must tell the public the truth about what is best for their health, and let them decide their degree of compliance.

When a panel of experts was challenged to answer the question, “What do you tell the patient who says, ‘I’ll do anything, but I never want to have heart disease,’ or, ‘I’ve had a heart attack, and I never want another. Period.’?” Answers ranged from “Have them eat beans, beans, and more beans,” to it is “time for the public to embrace a plant-based diet.”

This is not vegetarianism. Vegetarians often consume all sorts of junk. Vegans too, for that matter. This new paradigm is exclusively plant-based nutrition. Whole plant foods. Why exclusively? Because, as reported in the Cornell China Study, there does not appear to be a threshold beyond which further benefits did not accrue with increasing proportions of plant-based foods in the diet. It appears the more plant-based foods and the fewer animal-based foods, the better.

Now, Esselstyn is acutely aware of the castigation that accompanies recommending a plant-based diet—namely that the recommendation will be met with skepticism and hostility on the part of the general public, though less so these days as millions jump on the plant-based wagon. But that hostility is peculiar, because many cultures sustain themselves with such a diet, enjoying its taste, texture, and variety, as well as its health-promoting qualities. However, dietary preference is deeply personal, and one can easily be offended. Nevertheless, the public has a right to know the truth as understood by experts in nutritive biology about what constitutes the safest and healthiest diet. Some criticize this exclusively plant-based diet as extreme, or draconian. Webster’s dictionary defines draconian as “inhumanly cruel.” A closer look reveals that “extreme” or “inhumanly cruel” describes not plant-based nutrition, but the consequences of our present Western diet. Having a breastbone sawed in half for bypass surgery, or a stroke that renders one an invalid unable to speak, can be construed as extreme, and having a breast, prostate, colon, or rectum removed to treat cancer may seem inhumanly cruel. That’s extreme. Eating a bean burrito is easy.

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 Jeff Eaton via Flickr

Why is there reticence to provide the public with guidelines that will spare them heart disease or its progression? The National Research Council position was that a dietary fat recommendation lower than 30% would be too frustrating for those attempting to achieve a significant reduction. Although it is uncertain to what extent people will adopt the advice, it is nevertheless scientifically and ethically imperative to inform the public what constitutes an optimal diet. We must tell the public the truth about what is best for their health, and let them decide their degree of compliance.

When a panel of experts was challenged to answer the question, “What do you tell the patient who says, ‘I’ll do anything, but I never want to have heart disease,’ or, ‘I’ve had a heart attack, and I never want another. Period.’?” Answers ranged from “Have them eat beans, beans, and more beans,” to it is “time for the public to embrace a plant-based diet.”

This is not vegetarianism. Vegetarians often consume all sorts of junk. Vegans too, for that matter. This new paradigm is exclusively plant-based nutrition. Whole plant foods. Why exclusively? Because, as reported in the Cornell China Study, there does not appear to be a threshold beyond which further benefits did not accrue with increasing proportions of plant-based foods in the diet. It appears the more plant-based foods and the fewer animal-based foods, the better.

Now, Esselstyn is acutely aware of the castigation that accompanies recommending a plant-based diet—namely that the recommendation will be met with skepticism and hostility on the part of the general public, though less so these days as millions jump on the plant-based wagon. But that hostility is peculiar, because many cultures sustain themselves with such a diet, enjoying its taste, texture, and variety, as well as its health-promoting qualities. However, dietary preference is deeply personal, and one can easily be offended. Nevertheless, the public has a right to know the truth as understood by experts in nutritive biology about what constitutes the safest and healthiest diet. Some criticize this exclusively plant-based diet as extreme, or draconian. Webster’s dictionary defines draconian as “inhumanly cruel.” A closer look reveals that “extreme” or “inhumanly cruel” describes not plant-based nutrition, but the consequences of our present Western diet. Having a breastbone sawed in half for bypass surgery, or a stroke that renders one an invalid unable to speak, can be construed as extreme, and having a breast, prostate, colon, or rectum removed to treat cancer may seem inhumanly cruel. That’s extreme. Eating a bean burrito is easy.

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 Jeff Eaton via Flickr

Doctor's Note

So what should the cholesterol guidelines be for the prevention of our #1 killer? See the previous video: Everything in Moderation? Even Heart Disease?      

For more on lifestyle approaches to chronic disease—which can sometimes not only be cheaper and safer, but more effective than pharmacological or surgical approaches—see some of my other videos, such as:

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

219 responses to “Optimal Diet: Just Give It to Me Straight, Doc

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  1. But it’s NOT easy finding a tortilla for those bean burritos that don’t have added oils or shortening! I just eat the beans lately with some salsa.

    1. Maybe it’s because of where I live, but I find had hand made corn tortillas at Trader Joe’s and Sprouts even has blue corn tortillas. So maybe a bean taco instead of burrito.

        1. Not sure I’d go this far, but an MD that I heard a talk by recently, even discouraged intake of any corn or corn based products re. precautionary concerns over possible longer term effects of the BT toxin, combined with the fact that it’s difficult to guarantee against cross fertilization of crops.

          1. That is scary and they want to make it illegal to label GMOs.

            I don’t recall seeing any videos on GMOs here. I’d like to know what they think about GMO foods.

            1. Yeah, the dark act, such a lovely title. I would like to hear some more about the actual science behind GMO’s too because I find it hard to believe that genetically messing with the biology of organisms makes them at all “equivalent” to their natural forebears, altering all kinds of metabolic pathways, etc. in the new “product”. We have no clue the effect on natural systems when this stuff is released into the environment nor the effect on us guinea pigs that get to ingest them. And what scares me more than the mutant creation itself is the way it gets shrugged off by the people we were told would protect us from these kinds of things!

              1. You can start with the website AlteredGenesTwistedTruth.Com and the addition information link.

                The book is amazing. I learned so much. For one thing they call it genetic engineering, and gene splicing, but it is hardly that. To get genes into any organism they have to physically shoot them in in some way, which causes genomic shock. They have no control over where those genes are going to end up, or what they are going to break when they end up in the nucleus. The whole process is a lie.

                I have been interested in this for decades and never found a good reference for what they do. You are right,these organisms are not genetically equivalent to the natural organisms in any way. This book explains all of this, and how at this point in the average supermarket up to 90% of what is in there has GMO ingredients, and they will not let us know about it … by law. How American is that?

                1. If your getting your information from that link your part of the problem of spreading mis-information. Stick to real scientific sites not quake sites like that and Mercola and Mike Adams. Jeez!

                  1. http://alteredgenestwistedtruth.com/additional-content/executive-summary/

                    Altered Genes, Twisted Truth – EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

                    NOTE: All these points are solidly documented within the book. They will form the first part of the Executive Summary. The second part (which is not yet completed) will provide a chapter-by-chapter summary.

                    Key Points

                    • Numerous scientists (including those on the US Food and Drug Administration’s Biotechnology Task Force) have concluded that the process of creating genetically engineered (GE) foods radically differs from conventional breeding and entails greater risk.

                    • Consequently, not only has there never been a consensus within the scientific community that GE foods are safe, many eminent experts have issued cautions, as have respected scientific organizations like the Royal Society of Canada and the Public Health Association of Australia.

                    • In contrast to the experts who counsel caution, many of the scientists and scientific institutions that promote GE foods have systematically suppressed evidence and distorted the truth in order to advance them.

                    • In fact, the GE food venture has been chronically and crucially reliant on such deceptions and could not have survived without them.

                    • For instance, GE foods first achieved commercialization only because the US Food and Drug Administration covered up the extensive warnings of its own scientists about their abnormal risks, lied about the facts, and deliberately violated federal food safety law by allowing them onto the market without having been proven safe through standard testing.

                    • Yet, the FDA and other GE proponents have created so much confusion that although US food safety law in regard to GE foods is much stricter than EU law, most people are under the illusion it’s weaker – and don’t realize that these inadequately tested foods have entered the American market, not due to the law’s failings, but to the FDA’s failure to obey it.

                    • Moreover, not only did GE foods gain entry to the market through a major fraud, their continued marketing has depended upon its continuation – and its augmentation by a stream of misleading statements from scientists and scientific institutions that have likewise abused their positions of authority.

                    • Through this disinformation, the manifold problems caused by GE foods have been obfuscated; and if they had instead been openly and accurately reported, the agricultural bioengineering enterprise would have collapsed.

                    • For example, most people are unaware that, contrary to the claims of biotech advocates, humans have indeed been harmed by consuming the output of genetic engineering – and that the technology’s first ingestible product (a food supplement of the essential amino acid L-tryptophan) induced an epidemic that killed dozens of people and seriously sickened thousands, permanently disabling many of them. Moreover, the evidence points to the genetic alteration as the most likely cause of the unusual contamination that rendered the supplement toxic.

                    • Nor is it widely known that numerous laboratory animals have also suffered from eating products of genetic engineering and that well-conducted tests with GE crops have yielded many troubling results, including intestinal abnormalities, liver disturbances, and impaired immune systems.

                    • Additionally, besides being unsound from the perspective of biological science, the GE food venture is unsound (and outright reckless) when examined in light of computer science; and compared to the careful manner in which software engineers revise life-critical information systems, the radical way in which biotechnicians alter complex cellular information systems is not really “bioengineering” but biohacking.

                    • Thus, contrary to the assertions of its proponents, the massive enterprise to reconfigure the genetic core of the world’s food supply is not based on sound science but on the systematic subversion of science – and would implode if subjected to an open airing of the facts.

                  2. I hqve been subscribed to the 2 sites mike and mercola, the info they post I follow up to further read. I like Mike’s heavy metal lab research from his finding i qas able to avoid supplement that sprouts sells.

              2. Unlike other man-made drugs that must be tested & proven safe, GMO plants are safe unless and until proven beyond a reasonable doubt that they are not safe. At least that’s what all the supporters of GMO foods always argue. Show me proof that it’s not safe ! Also don’t forget that livestock commodities in the US are also GM.

                1. Did you read Altered Genes, Twisted Truth, that is one of its main points.
                  You should if not.
                  In the GMO testing that has been done, and all GMOs should have been tested
                  per US Law and FDA regulation … animals that have been fed GMOs have had
                  greater disease than animals that have not.
                  You can start with that book and like up two simple cases, the Flavr-Savr tomato
                  and K. Planticola.

                  If you want to contemplate a very serious scientific and statistical evaluation
                  look up http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/pp2.pdf

                  The author of “The Black Swan” wrote a statistical risk assessment of GMOs
                  entitled: “The Precautionary Principle (with Application to the Genetic Modification of Organisms)”

                  On EVERY score GMO foods fail any rational test of use, and this is proven in the book “Altered Genes, Twisted Truth”

                2. I know it isn’t very scientific to say I think it is just twisted to play God, create mutant organisms, and assume they are okey dokey to feed the clueless masses…especially the children, but come on! Guess I’m just one of those “conspiracy theorists” who dares to doubt the powers that be to be ethical, honest, and use good judgment? Me thinks any conspiracy is on the side of the “mad scientists” who assure us they know it all! If their product is so wonderful, why are they spending fortunes to prevent us from knowing? Nah, they aren’t hiding anything! Yep, lucky me lives in Florida where we can grow food year round, so I am learning what grows here in our anemic (sand) soil that I don’t have to lavish extremes on…and there are a ton! Food forest, here I come! What a cool adventure, I guess I should thank the idiots at Monsanto etc. for being such deceitful, greedy, creepy, lying scumbags. Oh, gee, did I say that? I meant…never mind, I shouldn’t use that language here!

                3. The real point is that by FDA law written in the 50’s nothing is supposed to go on the market until it is proven safe.

                  That bar could never be met with GMOs, so they ignored it and started putting out the lie that Ray seems to have swallowed hook, line and sinker.

                  When they produce GMOs they cannot control where the new genes go … they more or less shotgun in them into thousands of cells along with viral promoters, genes from viruses that kick the protein synthesis into overdrive and some other things include genes to give immunity to antibiotics to the cell. They do this because otherwise they would have no way to tell the GMO changed cells from any others. So the sprinkle the whole lot with anti-biotic and take the cells that still alive, and then grow them.

                  The reject the ones that come out mutated or gnarled, or looking completely weird, and then they grow what is left.

                  Now, when you do this and you grind the plant up and analyze it many things happen due to the genetic shock of having random genes inserted into cells. The gene can be inserted into a place that breaks or degrades something else, or it can be put into a place that breaks the control codes for something else. It can also cause what is called genomic shock and kick the plant into producing things wrong, or producing things that it should not produce, or producing things that are toxic.

                  Many, a significant proportion of the small number of tests that have been done on GMOs have killed or sickened test animals. The worry is that since those tests were hushed up and not completed that people could be eating toxins that might give them cancer at some point in the future.

                  So, Ray, doesn’t have a clue what he is talking about.

                  Livestock is a different matter since they are not likely to blow their genes all over the world’s forests and fields but the same thing can apply.

                4. Myriad scientific studies mostly from Europe where peer reviewed science still reigns, have shown that glyphosate modified organisms are NOT safe.

                  Remember, Monsanto invented genetically modified organisms as a way to continue to sell massive amounts of their herbicide after their patent ran out.

                  Regardless of what rhetoric they promote, it’s all about force feeding the planet their chronically toxic herbicide(s).

                5. There is nothing safe about GM crops or pharms that are safe. With the pharms, you can read about the clinical effects. Not so with the crops that are herbicide resistant. But, various scientists around the world have looked at the patents of Monsanto and did independent studies finding results that are completely different than given in the patents.

                  Modern medicine has not caught up with the effects, yet. Perhaps, because of the powers that be which hold the purse strings in Congress.

            1. Well, sure, I do that anyway, though I’m not sure that addresses in any way the concerns that the MD I heard, had about corn – and as I tried to imply, I can’t make any terribly educated assessment about those concerns other than feeling that that MD was a somewhat credible source (not mentioning the name because I don’t want to be the cause of them getting torpedo by GMO industry trolls, even though they probably already deal with that).

            2. Even if you eat a plant based diet, your health problems are not minimized with GMO’s and herbicide resistant agriculture.
              Monsanto, Dow, Bayer are changing the dna of plants such as soy, corn, cotton, canola, enzymes, vitamins including B-12, potatoes, notably the white potato, and Bayer just came out with the GM eggplant.

              The plan is to genetically engineer everything in the world to sell more pesticides. The corporations are putting seed companies out of business by trespassing and contamination of their fields, then threatening litigation against organic farmers. Organic agriculture is not about GMO’s or any petrochemical pest controls. It is also not about synthetic fertilizers. Everything Monsanto and allies including the Koch Brothers create is fundamentally opposed to organic agriculture.

                1. GMOs are not allowed by law in organic food. But, organic agriculture can become contaminated with GMOs, just as they can be contaminated by herbicides. Check on whether the organic food you have eaten is certified organic or just labeled organic. Also check on the certification company.

                  There is nothing to stop pollen from genetically modified crops from contaminating organic or non-organic crops. Listen to your body. Sometimes my body tells me that the certified organic crops like soy that I’ve eaten (in the past) have been contaminated either with the GMOs or with Glyphosate. Again, by law, these processes and chemicals are not allowed, but that does not mean it is not occurring. The USDA is NOT vigilant in protecting organic agriculture!

                  1. That is all true Susan.
                    But we do live in a world of probability. And IMO, it is highly likely that fewer GMO’s are ingested by purchasing certified organic foods at the marketplace.

          2. if not many people is allergic to gluten as people appear to be allergic flour.. and i wonder way people is allergic to flour have to be with the GMO or pesticides? seems to be a very high number of people allergic to that part of the burrito

        2. Monsanto, the king of genetic modification “science” and proliferation, has a VERY old, silent and deep relationship with your government. During the Vietnam war, actually through the 60s, Monsanto produced Agent Orange for our military. In addition, Monsanto has developed and distributed Roundup, DDT, PCBs, dioxin, aspartame, rBST, rBGH milk posilac shots and an near-endless list of pollutants (and proven carcinogens) internationally, that have provided the framework for numerous spin-off industries. This may help to explain why the corrupted FDA, congress and other governmental entities are suspiciously supportive of Monsanto, or at least quite silent when Monsanto is attacked in courts. After all, cancer itself is a 200 billion dollar per year industry. Indeed, this IS a dark corporation that has generated a lot of money for a lot of people – all the right people. There’s no telling how much political and economic power Monsanto has generated and at what levels that power exists. With that kind of power, what services can they have performed? Who’s that knocking at my doo…………………..

          1. These evil corporations own & control not only the 3 branches of government but also the “Free Pre$$” with adverti$ing controlling and censoring key information and to some extent they also control science & research to support their profits.

            1. Since I changed my diet and experienced so much amazing healing…diabetes, arthritis, fibromyalgia, (too many issues to list), I was blown away that in all my 60 years not ONE doctor ever hinted that what I eat could eliminate the ills, or that a dietary intervention might even HELP them….except the vague “lose weight” advice…be it diet pills or starvation…heck, even illness was an aid to that end, didn’t even matter, just lose weight! Apparently a skinny corpse was an acceptable outcome…which is kinda ridiculous since isn’t the goal of getting thin supposed to be IMPROVING your health? And still, I bought into all the double speak, blatant myths and nonsense in my sheeple-zombie guise. In any event, my “big awakening” after a health crisis that Dr Pharma made much worse, was the start of this unstoppable quest for the truth, first in relation to health, but becoming a mission to reexamine all the “facts” learned because we are truly so misled by the powers that be! Talk about falling into the rabbit hole! We are the ones being controlled, manipulated, lied to, experimented on, shafted in so many ways, yet when we try to question any of it, we are conspiracy theorists or some other paranoid, mocking, or delusional sounding label. And “THEY” ($$$) are invulnerable! Here is just a recent example of the kind of things I mean and you referenced: http://articles.latimes.com/1999/feb/18/news/mn-9173

      1. I make my own corn tortillas so they are a bit bigger than typical corn sized tortillas. They are also probably the best thing ever and pretty easy to make too.

          1. No special machine needed. Get some non-gmo, organic masa from Gold Mine Foods. Mix 2 c with 1 1/4 c water. Press a tangerine size between two wax-paper lined dinner plates (or a tortilla press). Cook in a hot, flat pan for about a minute on each side. These are soooo delicious.

          2. I just watched some youtube videos by the experienced makers, they roll them out in perfect circles in a flash. Ha ha, now YOU try it! Mine looked sorta amoeba like…but they tasted great! lol

    2. I’m lazy, so I often make an organic burrito bowl: canned beans, frozen diced onions, some cilantro or something green, frozen corn and salsa or pasta sauce. Mix it up. Microwave it. Top with a few small avocado wedges and voila! I often put on steamed or microwave warmed organic corn tortillas.

      1. Hah..i thought i was the only one. Actually I do this with alot of my meals. Instead of separating each side I just usually mix everything together. Looks gross though

      2. Heh heh, sounds familiar! One night I was craving the carbs so I got some masa harina (that they make the corn tortillas with) and just mixed it with a little beer…(tastes awesome and gives it a little rise if you do it quick and don’t mix too much), slop spoonfuls on top of the already hot and cooked other ingredients, cover and nuke for a couple minutes until they are firm. Tortilla dumplings? lol

    3. Corn tortillas. Yes they’re usually small, but they generally have no added oils or shortening, they’ve delicious lightly toasted, and the best ones (found in a few refrigerated sections) can have as few as two ingredients: corn and lime.

    4. Food For Life’s Ezekiel makes sprouted fat-free tortillas, but I have yet to find a way to make them soft and easy to wrap as a burrito (so I usually just put all my burrito fillings on one, more tostada-style, and cut it up and eat it that way). Another good option is to use a big collard leaf (or big lettuce leaf) instead of a tortilla.

        1. I haven’t tried steaming them, but have done the water/microwave trick and it works – but doesn’t stay soft for long. By the time I’ve built my burrito and try to wrap it, the tortilla is stiff again. Will try the steaming trick next time, thanks!

      1. I like and use both those options and have been enjoying the collard leaf option a lot lately – I’ve been experimenting and finding that it makes interesting combinations with various kinds of stuffing.

    5. Corn tortillas are usually a safe bet. I know what you mean though we’ve all seen the giant white flour tortillas in the store that can last for like 2 months due to the hydrogenated oil. Some stores will sell more fresh tortillas or whole grain ones. Those made with sprouted grains like Laloofah mentioned below are also a good choice. Beans and salsa alone is fine, too :-) Sometimes adding a sliver of avocado really brings out the flavors!

      1. The best no-fat wheat burrito tortilla substitute that I have found is at WholeFoods Mkt. It is an organic whole wheat Lavash flat bread that has only two or three ingredients. It is very soft when warmed slightly and wraps a burrito nicely. I also use it for tortilla chips after I crisp it up in a toaster oven. Strong enough for use dipping use in hummus and bean dips. Plus I use it for thin crust pizza. I pre-crisp one half of a flat bread lavash (about a 6 x 10″) piece and then put the toppings on and re-bake. I forget the brand name but it is kept in a refrigerated cabinet and sells out quickly.

        It is by far the most useful product that I’ve found. I like all the Eziekel products too including their tortillas, but they are not practical for burritos or even simple tacos based on my experience.

    6. A little organic masa flour with warm water, mix to right consistency – not wet not dry – flatten with a book or a tortilla maker, put on a hot skillet, turn when the edges start to dry out. When it starts to puff up, it’s ready. SO much better than tortillas bought in a plastic package! It takes a little practice, but once you get it it’s really not difficult and you’ll love the results.

        1. You can find them online for about $20. It’s just a press. I’m sure you can find the correct proportions online, too, so you don’t have to do too much guessing at first. Look for tortilla maker or tortilla press. I have a cast iron one and love it. I cut out a plastic bag (from the grocery store) to match the size and put one on the top and one on the bottom, that makes it much easier to remove it. You could probably use waxed paper. I just do it the way my Mexican friend showed me!

      1. Penny: This sounds delicious. I’m curious, are you able to make this work without any oil on the skillet? If so, what kind of (what metal/surface) skillet are you using?

        1. Hi I just discovered this! I use a nonstick pan (teflon) for this. I have a nice pan that I bought that is made from titanium and something else. I bought it from Young Living but I think it’s made in Germany. I don’t use a nonstick pan for anything else and it’s possible my other pan would work.

    7. I crisp corn tortillas in the oven and top them with seasoned, mashed beans, pico de gallo, etc for a bean tostada. Oven crisped are waaaaay better than fried, plus, the vomit-y tasting cheese isn’t missed one iota. For some reason, I don’t find it radical…

      1. When the grandkids were here and wanted tacos, I improvised and hung fresh corn tortillas over two slats of the oven rack and baked on low until crisp. The kids got a big kick out of it because their tacos could “stand up” with the flattish bottoms.

    8. A large, naked (no burrito) ((VEGAN, u have to explain it to them at least 12 times and most still don’t get it)) Art Vandalay with tons of each type of salsa, WITHOUT CHIPS (yes I know they taste great, but watch them remove them from the deep fat fryer and u will quickly lose your desire) from Moe’s is about the best commercial salad available.

  2. This point of view, of optimizing rather than just improving, heart attack avoidance is golden. Optimal should be the place everyone starts in considering his own plan. This compendium is most comprehensive. But it misses the key point of optimizing fatty acid metabolism, per Dr. Greger’s previous snippet, “Forty year old vegan dies of heart attack”.

    1. Snippet? What’s the snippet message? I’ve watched his full video of that title on YouTube and it’s an hour or more long. I thought the take away there was to lower homocystine with with B12, folate, and B6(?), while keeping omega fatty acids (n~3 to n~6) with in a 1:4 ratio or better (optimal being 1:1).

  3. Great points. Some other reasons why doctors may not prescribe a whole foods plant based diet: 1) Ignorance 2) Incentives from pharmaceutical companies 3) They make more money off of sick people.

    1. 35 years ago when I tried to share my cholesterol lowering diet achievements with my doctor and suggested he offer coronary patients the option to read a McDougall or Pritikan diet book, he said, no, those are dangerous diets. I asked how they were dangerous. He thought for a few seconds and said, because they are too hard to stick with, people will give them up. (Huh?) So for him, better to just let people fail 100% of the time through lack of knowledge than to have some people change or maybe modify their diets. Through the years I’ve been verbally attached by friends and strangers not for advocatinga vegan diet, but just for ordering one at a restaurant or bringing one to a potluck or social function. Thankfully, as a whole, people’s attitudes are much different now, especially here in the San Francisco bay area where vegan restaurants are common, along with vegan options at many SAD restaurants.

      1. I wonder what percentage of, say, cardiologists eat plant based diets? I’m guessing part of why docs don’t recommend WFPB eating is that they don’t eat them and would consider it extreme to give up their pork chops or whatever.

        Don’t you love how things are changing over time? I went from the only one in my family eating veg . . . my veg burger was the only one on the grill. Now there are 4 of us in our extended family who abstain from meat burgers. Yay!

        1. That’s great. (Btw, love your handle.) My nextdoor condo neighbor for five years was a young cardio surgeon who loved my sending him NF.org videos. He wanted to east better and tried but find it hard to give up the flavors he liked, even though I encouraged him to keep the causes and spices and substitute the animal products for plants. Haven’t talked to him in a few years but he always said he was evolving.

          Conversely, my brother with two heart attacks finally went vegan and loved it and normalized his sugars and BP and dropped his medications. He got so inspired that he searched for a plant based diet doctor near Grisham Indiana. Finds some guy who even has plant based diet add on a video loop in his waiting room. But the first thing he does is sell my brother vitamins and tell him to add meat to his diet because his years showed he’s not allergic to it and he needs meat as a source of lean protein. (How are meats leaner than plants?) After three visits my brother is back to eating cheese burgers (but only the good quality kind, you know, from better burger places.) What’s the emoticon sign for gag me?

          1. mbglife: The story of your brother is so sad. I was sure there was going to be happy ending and then… Well, if your brother converted once, he could do it again. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

          2. Thanks mbglife–I truly do eat a lot of seeds, hence, my handle. Sad about your brother’s doc who was an advocate of plant based but then advocated meat. A bunch of acupuncturists who otherwise recommend healthy diets often urge their patients to eat meat for proper qi or something like that. I guess they don’t bother to research protein requirements and how a vegan diet can meet the requirements just fine. Sigh . . .

            1. Ok so I am on plant based whole food diet but because I am trying to lose weight, it is a restricted calorie diet of about 1300 calories a day (I am 5’5″. Though I incorporate beans and soy milk daily , I am unable to reach the 42 grams protein that Dr. H recommends. Suggestions welcome.

              1. Eat less fat and eat more beans and grains and maybe a few more calories. Dr McDougall and other health promoting doctors say that as long as a person eats a WHOLE food plant based diet that is impossible to not get enough protein. I am pretty sure that 42 grams of protein on 1300 calories is a high percentage. McDougall recommends 7-10% of calories from protein and the World Health Organization says 5%.

                1. Well 42 grams is around 12.3% of calories from protein which is more than the 10% he recommends but I figured this was the minimum protein one needed. I am pretty sure I have seen a video by Dr.G that talks about that.

        2. I’m presently struggling with my cardio to get off my statin… after a 4 month statin vacation, my total cholesterol is still 118 and LDL is still 61. Will be interesting to here his thoughts.

          What was troubling last time after telling him that I am a no-oil vegan, he shared with me how he manages to keep cheese in his life by using a microplane to shave 20 g of cheese onto his pastas and salads… while 5/7 of an ounce is admirable, zero trumps it and has no unhealthy fats at all.

          My real frustration is I don’t feel heard or trusted. Next struggle to wage is dropping my lisinopril given that my BP runs at 103/68 and I have to be careful not to stand up too quickly. I’d like to find a WF-PB cardiologist but even in Los Angeles I’ve only found two and they are 40-50 miles away.

          1. Congratulations on your remarkable improvement in cholestetol nimbers.
            I was never put on statin but my LDL is 123 which I want to bring to 70. Over the last 8 months of eating WFPB diet, my HDL has significantly improved and triglycerides have dropped but LDL has not budged. My total cholestetol to HDL ratio has certainly improved but have not had the dramatic results that many claim. Still this lifestyle makes sense and I am committed to it. Plus my BP is much better and is in a similar range as yours.

            1. Kudos on your progress as well. I feel like your alter ego… while I’ve had success on the LDL & Total cholesterol fronts, I & my family run low on HDL and my triglycerides are “borderline” high. But, from what I’ve read from Dr McDougall (and Greger, too, I think), if one’s LDLs are low, there’s less need for HDL to transport what LDL is present back to the liver. Regardless, I figure to stick with the program. While some remarkable results manifest themselves in remarkably short order, I’m undoing the effects of 50+ years of the SAD. As my weight continues to drop, I imagine that will help with the triglyceride and the HDL levels.

      2. I have always been interested in prevention but plead guilty to being one of the physicians who didn’t follow up on patients who suggested I look into the McDougall diet. John McDougall who practiced less than 100 miles from my location in Sacramento… I know since I have had the pleasure of seeing patients with John and and his well trained staff in his program over the last five years. I worked for the The Permanente Medical Group which is physician group partnered with the Kaiser insurance plan in northern California. We used mainly generic drugs and had extremely limited contact with drug representatives although had the option if we wanted. So my list of reasons is slightly different from VegGuy. The first is most physicians don’t know. I have given over 50 CME presentations to physicians/NP’s/PA’s and other health care professionals. They are very appreciative. The second is they are incredibly busy. The third is they work in systems which don’t encourage, support or reward preventing and/or reversing/curing chronic diseases. Fourth they aren’t supported by their colleagues. Anyone who had tried to change a group of highly educated colleagues appreciates how difficult that is. Fifth they don’t see their patients getting better. Those are the main ones… another related one is that they generally like to believe they are practicing what they preach and would be required to change their own habits. How many smoking physicians do you know? So I would encourage patients practicing the current best science based dietary habits to encourage their physicians by example… with some patience thrown in. Encourage them to subscribe to NutritionFact.org. I consider myself lucky to have stumbled on prescribing WFPB diet over the last 9 years. Initially thanks to recommending Neal Barnard’s book on Reversing Diabetes and Colin Campbell’s book the China Study for my patients. Since then there are many other great resources that are available. Additionally my family and I have benefited from better health.

        1. Dr F, thanks for your background. I’ve been w/ Kaiser since I was 4 (now 59). And I lived in Sacramento 30 years and was likely there when you were. I’m sorry I didn’t run across you. It seems K is now trying to encourage a plant based diet, but their hospitals still serve SAD diet, white bread and all, with little or no alternatives for “special” diets, like whole food or vegan. Still, it seems they are making slow progress. Your post explains much of what I’ve always wondered about. They pride themselves on being progressive and doing cutting edge research. I don’t know why their practice arm lags their research arm. For years their tacit policy was to give out antibiotics for viruses, just to make people happy, even though it hurt jeopardized long term tools to fight serious problems. Finally they’ve stopped this and now hand out educational flyers to educate people. It will be nice when they do this with plant based diets, which they now mention in their ads.

          1. Thanks for post. “K” is really two organizations. Kaiser does offer vegan diets in their hospitals. It is up to the physicians to order. It would be nice if the dietitians would recommend it as well. Having one article written by 3 docs and 1 RD from the Southern California Permanente Medical group and teaching some classes in Plant Based Nutrition or handing out material they have developed is a very small step in the direction of the best medical care. There is alot of good programs and work being done within the KP programs and one of the programs you alluded to is the overuse of antibiotics. However that must be put in the context that most antibiotics are used in CAFO’s (Concentrated Animal Feed Operations). We heard alot about the problems with MRISA(methicillin resistant staph) infections but almost nobody is talking about the connection of MRISA with concentrated pork operations. It would be nice if Kaiser and the Permanente Medical groups would lobby for changes in those areas but large organizations as a general rule oppose regulation. An example I was supporting John McDougall on getting his bill through the California legislature. It would have required 12 hours of Nutritional education for physicians. The bill was opposed by the California Medical Assn, California Orthopedic Surgeons and California Family Practice Organizations. Kaiser and Permanente refused to support and didn’t want to publicly come out against it. Getting back to hospital food. It is up to the patients to ask for plant based diets or if unavailable to have family and/or friends bring in appropriate food. I would also follow up with a complaint to hospital if the food was unavailable. If the physicians start ordering the food the hospital will serve it… taste and quality are another issue. Of course most hospitals food is done off site. The best way to avoid hospital food is to keep yourself healthy!!!

            1. I’ve had two surgeries w/overnight stays in the past few years. The first one planned, the second one an emergency. The first in redwood city, where I couldn’t get anything arranged ahead of time so I bright my own meals which the nice staff was happy later serve me. The emergency one was in the new facility in Vacaville. I got lucky because they had two Amy’s brand vegan frozen dinners. That a staff searched for and found. They just happened to have them as they require staff to make a special trip to the store for a one-off purchase. I’ve spoken to members services about my feelings. Hopefully they’ll improve. on a previous surgery, a kp nutritionist came to see me to tell me to eat Knox gelitan for protein. I declined.

              Overall I like Kaiser. I’m just waiting for them to improve in this area.

  4. Another great video Dr G! Can’t wait to see the recipes section startup. I have a few good ones to contribute like my spinach, brown rice, black bean, mushroom enchiladas with verde sauce. Yum! Eatin’ plant based can be delicious but in my experience you have to roll up your sleeves and learn to cook… Now I love to cook, It’s like a new hobby I wish I started long ago.

    1. I asked this as a generic question but since you specifically mentioned recipes a quick question for you .

      Are the tortillas in the enchilada you mentioned or the burrito mentioned by the good Docyor still considered WFPB though they are made of flour?

      1. gp65: After seeing your post, I did a quick review of the recipes in the books Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Esselstyne and Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes. I believe that both of these doctors are generally considered WFPB promoters. And both books have recipes with tortillas (corn and fat free wheat flour). The diabetes book even has a recipe that includes whole wheat buns.

        My 2 cents on this matter has been: avoiding flour-based products as much as possible is general good sense since a flour-based product is not going to be as healthy as a product made out of intact grains. However, having the occasional say tortilla or bun, as long at the product is made with whole grains and is as low fat as possible, can very much be part of a healthy diet. I’m not an expert. But that is a reasonable conclusion to draw after reading books such as the ones mentioned above as well as others.

        1. I have personally had a strange experience of eating both whole wheat and millet-flax bread and having my face break out. (I am in my late 60’s so it’s not adolescent acne!) This never happened when I was younger. My dermatologist says I have rosacea. I’ve stopped eating bread, but am not absolutely positive that that’s what caused it. Nowadays I have some really miniscule breakout issues–more visible to me than others, I think. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated because I see this as a sign that my diet is not optimal in some way. A question in my mind is: does flour somehow cross the barrier in the gut and cause issues?

          1. Check out the SCD diet (specific carb. diet), and try a vegan version of it. Go through the list of legal and illegal foods, give it a few months. Works wonders for many, apparently.

          2. Johanna, though the “grain brain” idea is nonsense that makes a great fad but for some there can be an element of truth in it. Some grains can cause problems. This is not limited to celiacs. I had a gluten sensitivity that caused psoriatic arthritis and eliminating all gluten did work,, partially. I still had flair ups and residual symptoms when any contamination occurred. A whole foods plant based diet did eliminate the arthritis completely and now there is no gluten sensitivity. Turns out this is fairly common.
            However,, many are not so lucky. Any number of things from some grains, to nightshade to citrus can cause the problem even with an otherwise healthy diet. MacDougal’s elimination diet might be in order for you to determine exactly what is the problem. And yes you might be one of those very small minorities for whom gluten free is appropriate.
            Good luck.

          3. Johanna: Sorry I didn’t reply sooner. If memory serves, someone else replied and you found their reply helpful. I am glad of that.

            My 2 cents is that for every food out there, no matter how healthy in general, you can find at least one or two humans who have a bad reaction to that food. So, I fully believe you that you find that eating a certain bread caused your face to break out. It also seems reasonable to me that food sensitivities can develop as we get older (just like people can develop allergies as they get older). So, it wouldn’t surprise me if you are experiencing problems with bread that you had not experienced before.

            Having said that, it doesn’t sound like you are 100% sure that bread was/is your problem. And I would personally be mindful that bread can often have other ingredients in it besides just a flour made from a particular grain. So, you could do some testing like eating say whole wheat berries in a dish for a while and see if you have the problem you had with eating whole wheat bread. That might help you narrow down the problem.

            re: “… I see this as a sign that my diet is not optimal in some way.” There’s certainly plenty of evidence to back up this statement. NutritionFacts has some videos on this very topic. (I presume you are not eating *any* dairy?) But I am also mindful of another poster who said that for *years* she had tried to figure out what the problem with her diet was that was giving her acne. Eventually she figured out that she just needed the right skin care/cleaning products. I believe she mentioned Paula’s Choice’s products as finally doing the trick for her. (This is a long time, well respected poster. She doesn’t work for Paula’s Choice, and I’m sure other brands would work too. I’m just relaying the gist of the conversation.) So, you could be right about it being about diet, but I wouldn’t rule out other issues too. Or maybe it is both.

            I’m no expert. Those are just my thoughts. I hope you are able to figure it out and that maybe something in my thoughts will be helpful to you.

            1. Thea, thank you very much for your thoughts. I’ve seen your other comments and think you do a great job commenting. Thanks again!

    2. One of the things I love about eating low fat vegan is that you get to eat more of everything you like. :D

      Can’t wait to try your enchilada recipe!

  5. The scocial isolation aroubd meals ..has felt a little draconian at times lol i’m the only vegan I know. …also the only anti-theist, and the only one to have a close encounter with a ufo…

    1. Sleepy Dwarf: I don’t know where you live, but I have a suggestion for you: Check out the website: Meetup.com. Meetup is all over America and looks to be in other parts of the world as well. Meetup is a way for people of similar interests to get together. I my smallish area alone, there are two different Meetup groups for plant based eaters and one for atheists. You don’t have to give up all your old friends, but it is very important to also socialize with people who can support your lifestyle, especially when it comes to eating. I hope you find a group or two you can participate in.

      1. I want to add one more thing: If a Meetup group doesn’t already exist in your area, consider starting one. While I have some issues with the application, one thing those people get very right is advertising. My veggie meetup group always asks people how they heard about our group. And it is very common for people to say that they found out about us via an internet search or Meetup search. We get a ton of people who are new to town because one of the first things they do is look up to see what veggie meetup groups are in the area. Our group has grown quite a bit over the last coupe of years. Thus, it would be my guess that while it might be better to start with a group of friends, it could very well be possible to start a meetup group of 1 and grow significantly from there in a reasonable amount of time. No promises of course. Just seems like something worth trying if you can’t plug into an existing group. Good luck!

      2. While I agree with you that is a great idea to meet persons with the same interest and who will support the lifestyle, I also think we should keep going normally with not vegans, otherwise we are allowing them to stigmatize us and also, it would serve them perfectly if we tend to self marginalize. Instead, keep pushing it, show that is perfectly normal, that the food is great (greater than what they are eating in fact), and that there is nothing otherwordly about it. Just great food, that they in fact might like, show it. :)

        If they have issues might be with their consciences, not with other people.

        1. Thule: Absolutely! I did not mean to imply otherwise. I’ve long felt that having both types of people in our lives are important. On one hand, most of us *need* social support, and that usually comes from hanging out with people who are already eating healthy (and ethically). If someone doesn’t already have that kind of moral support from friends and family, it can be very important to seek it out.

          On the other hand, one of the best gifts we can give our unhealthy family and friends is to be a good role model, which is the term I use to sum up the points you made. I often bring in various types of food for my co-workers to eat. And I’m certain that being a role model and preparing food for my parents did as much to help them start eating healthy as sharing Dr. Greger’s videos and getting them to watch Forks Over Knives. It is all important.

          I’m glad you are keeping up the good fight.

          1. >> I often bring in various types of food for my co-workers to eat. And I’m certain that being a role model and preparing food for my parents did as much to help them start eating healthy as sharing

            That is totally the best idea. Role model and exposing people to new ideas. Often one silly little type of food will appeal to someone who might never think to eat it, and lead to a whole world of improved eating and nutrition. Great point.

            Someone should make a documentary about some nutritious things that are fast and easy to make but that pack a punch and lead somewhere.

    1. I think it depends on what’s in the tortilla? There is a tortilla convo at the bottom of this thread. Check it out! So many great suggestions about the best tortilla. I typically consider anything made with whole flour to be “WFPB”

      1. Hey Joseph, different question. Trying to get a hold of one of the moderators. Anyway the email them directly? Haven’t seen a post for awhile.

          1. Thanks Joseph,
            Hemodynamic MD had some interesting posts.. He is in a similar situation to myself. Just interested if he is still working in lifestyle medicine. I appreciate your help.

        1. Thanks Joseph,
          Hemodynamic MD had some interesting posts.. He is in a similar situation to myself. Just interested if he is still working in lifestyle medicine.

    2. Grind up those wheat berries in your Vitamix, mix with a little blue corn flour and you’ve got a tortilla. Or, if you’ve got no time, then make it an organic corn tortilla. Most corn tortillas are make without oil. If your homemade tortilla isn’t fluffy enough add some ground flax.

    3. Ezekiel bakers has a sprouted grain tortilla (available in the deli case at most Whole Foods Markets. Avocado St Bakers makes a great wheat berry one too (same stores) but theirs has too much safflower and sunflower oil in it for me.

      1. In Whole Foods markets, their 365 brand of corn tortillas are orgainic and made with only corn, water and lime. Alvorado Street Bakers has oil-free sprouted grain breads, but as you noted, their tortillas all have oil. Food for Life, which makes the Ezekiel brand, has organic corn tortillas with just corn, water and lime. Finally, the Engine2 brand of corn tortillas also are made organic with no oil. Their brown rice tortillas will stay flexible enough to roll and fold into a burrito (if only lightly toasted or heated in a pan.) They also make a multi-grain version that I like. This brand is sold only at Whole Foods Markets currently.

        If going for whole foods, one can use brown rice or quinoa as the base for beans. It’s also a great place to slip in a middle layer of dark leafy greens or a veggie medley of carrots, zucchini, broccoli florets, etc.

    1. All boys have a secret lego obsession. First it begins as just a toy but, after seeing their mother step on one in bare feet and bounce hilariously around the room, it seals the deal and moves into the obsessive category.

      1. I must be old …. it was Meccano that ruled when I was a boy, not Lego. But then I am from Meccano’s home town. I think it is now branded as Erector Set in the USA.

      2. And girls, at least back then, when I was one. I had Lego since I was very little. Nowadays they are targeting it just to boys, we are going backwards.

  6. Back in 2001, I met a rather curmudgeonly old cowboy from Idaho who, when learning I was vegan, shared this story with me. He’d been diagnosed with prostate cancer and when going over his treatment options with his doctor, asked if there was anything else he could be doing on his own to improve his prognosis. His doctor hesitated, then said, “Yes, Jim, there is – but you’re not going to like it!” Jim basically replied with the “Give it to me straight, doc” title of this video, so his doctor said, “Stop consuming meat and dairy.” Jim told me his doctor was right – he didn’t like it! Nor did he buy it. So he went to the library and started doing research, and said to me, “Damned if my doctor wasn’t right.” So Jim stopped consuming meat and dairy right then and there (no mention was made of eggs). I always had mixed feelings about that doctor – kudos to him for telling his patient the truth even though he rightly suspected it wouldn’t be warmly received (but wrongly assumed it wouldn’t be acted upon!), but shame on him for not taking the initiative and volunteering the information without being prompted. Had Jim not asked that question (and how many patients would, I wonder? Especially older patients?), the decision would have been made for him, based on his doctor’s preconceived notion about how Jim would deal with the information. And that’s just unfair and wrong.

    1. No worries :-) You can read the transcripts if you’d prefer. Just click “view transcript.” I might respectfully disagree because I really dig his voice! You can hear his passion for nutrition!!

  7. I think we’d all love to see big changes in everybody’s diets, and Dan Buettner, author of the Blue Zones books, is doing better than anybody I know of in accomplishing this. After studying healthy centenarians in pockets of the world where there are far more of them than other places, he and his team of scientists discovered it is more than just the food. The food has to be readily available. There must be a social structure that encourages healthy eating. There are actually nine things he finds that work to bring about healthy changes. In other words, most of the time it doesn’t work for people one at a time. Instead, when he helps bring about many of those changes, he gets amazing results in entire communities. He understood that he can’t just be a guy coming in from somewhere else telling people how to eat. He and his team find local volunteers who are respected in their communities to help carry out the needed changes. He gets restaurants to add healthy choices and do things like serving burgers with either a salad or vegetable unless the customer ASKS for fries. This small thing has increased the eating of veggies over fries.

    Reading his book, Blue Zone Solutions, has been an eye opener for me, because he is bringing about healthy changes on a large scale. Everybody isn’t becoming vegan, but they are lowering their bad numbers and getting off meds. They are eating more plant based and less animal based. They are forming social groups and walking groups, because science shows that if your best friend is obese, you are likely to be obese, too. They are getting cities to become more walker and bicycler-friendly. In other words, they are helping people do the healthy things in a more natural way and it is working.

    He started with a small town in Minnesota, then worked with three California beach towns, next in the pork state of Iowa. His approach is one of baby steps, so people don’t really put up resistance, yet overall, large numbers of people are getting healthier, losing weight, and feeling happier.

    He took his cues from changes that were made in an area of Finland where they used to have the highest heart attack rate in the world. They scarcely knew what a vegetable was. Yet the changes brought about, largely by one man, have been so seamless that people are eating much better and don’t even realize they’ve changed anything.

  8. >> Why is there a reticence to provide the public with guidelines
    >> that will spare them from preventable disease and premature death?

    So, no vegan has ever had heart disease or died prematurely ?

    1. You could ask the reverse question, which is more enlightening. Go to a hospital and ask the patients who is vegan. My guess is none. Hospitals are full of non vegans ;)

      1. >> Go to a hospital and ask the patients who is vegan. My guess
        >> is none. Hospitals are full of non vegans ;)

        Great … please ASAP publish a study based on your guess that tells
        us all what to eat, that is just what the world needs! ;-)

        Can you guess where the stock market will be next year?

        1. Since you demand studies from my reply, why don’t you make the effort and publish a study yourself? Why should others hold the responsibility to bring you studies while you seat and wait?

          1. I wasn’t asking you to publish a study pauncho, I was using sarcasm with ridicule to poke fun at your reliance on your guessing to support your world view.

  9. It is good to hear about controversies and contradictions from establishments. My favorite one is that the third cause of death is the licensed medical establishment itself. They deal with bad by hiding the facts from the public and carry on without raising any suspicious alarms that would unmask the huge joke.

  10. Recently watched a documentary (Netflix) called….Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. About a guy that was way overweight and sick who goes on a strict fruit/veggie smoothie diet. Highly recommend this documentary. If I were someone with more guts or really sick I’d do it. Probably should anyway….

    1. I watched that documentary and could really relate with the truck driver. I had watched Forks Over Knives about a year before watching Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. After watching Forks Over Knives I tried to go to a strict vegan diet with no added oil. I just couldn’t do it, I made it a couple of weeks. After watching Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead I bought a juicer and juiced for 10 days. It was truly difficult, especially the first 5 days. I treated it like boot camp, a shock to the system. I went straight from the juicing to the Vegan, no oil diet. My weight had gone from 379 to 265 in a year and my cholesterol went from 275 to 147. But then, for some damn reason I started to eat a little oil, and then a little cheese and little by little I became what I would call a crapatarian. Turns out the crapatarian diet is about as healthy as it sounds. After a two years of the crapatarian diet I was back up to 359lbs. I went back to the plant based diet, which I am happy to report I am still on and my current weight is 259 and weight just effortlessly come off. I don’t focus on weight loss though, just on health. By reframing my focus from weight loss to health, it changed the focus from a problem to a solution. It just turns out that eating healthy has a few nice side effects like weight loss and low cholesterol. The juicing was hard, actually so hard that even when I was a crapatarian, I couldn’t make myself juice again, even though I definitely should have. It probably would have refocused me right away when I had derailed. I sure hope I never derail again, but if I do, I hope I find the strength quickly to do whatever is necessary to get back on track.

      1. Mike S: Inspirational story. Not everyone “makes it” the first time. One of my personal theories is that that converting to healthy eating for some people is a lot like the process that smokers can often go through to quit smoking. It can take several tries before it sticks. Your story shows that even if someone hasn’t been successful in the past, that doesn’t mean that they won’t be successful if they start trying again now!

    1. Vegans – can – consume all kinds of junk, is a more apt way of phrasing it. Deep fried Oreos are vegan, (yes, Oreos are vegan!) thus the preference to describe this lifestyle as plant-based.

  11. I skip the burritos – i just put my beans with brown rice with a few veggies mixed in and go at it. Usually in the fall and winter i have a side dish of fresh organic Kale, Collards or other greens out of my garden. Eat like a king !!!! No better than most kings.

  12. Thank you Dr. Greger. Plant-based whole foods is the healthiest way to eat. But that means whole foods, and that means no processed foods, like sweeteners (all sweeteners) and…flour. Flour spikes Insulin levels just like sugar, and over time Leptin resistance sets in.
    My gurus on this are Dr. Greger (you), Dr. Colin T. Campbell, Dr. Esselsyn, Dr. Robert Lustig, and most of all, Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson — who happens to be my daughter.
    Joseph in Missoula

  13. I forgot to mention this. There is a huge problem in simply providing information on unhealthy eating habits and exactly what it is about our Western diet that needs to be changed, although information is as essential as you had just mentioned. The problem is Willpower. It gets in the way. The trick is automaticity, that is, making healthy eating habits as automatic as brushing teeth twice/day. Yes, it’s difficult in the beginning, and one needs lots of support to get the job done, but Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson is on a mission to provide that support @ happythinandfree.com. She provides a ton of free information, just as you do. You’re really on the same mission, tackling different aspects of this enormous problem.
    Joseph in Missoula

  14. As always, great video summary!
    I try to keep a healthy plant based diet, but normally fail to keep it fully, my bad…
    I wonder about how bad is low fat yogurt? (it is one of my most loved snacks and deserts)
    Thanks for the great work!

    1. Here’s an infographic from PCRM.org. http://www.pcrm.org/media/infographics/cancer-prevention-infographic

      It shows that you have a 33% increase in cancer risk with the consumption of dairy protein. I have been looking for another one on pcrm.org that I found that showed that women are 3 times more likely to get ovarian cancer if they consume yogurt but I can’t find it.

      I make a lovely pudding jello concoction by mixing water, agar agar powder, almonds, a few dates, erithrytol, and a teaspoon of almond extract together. It has a lovely creamy quality and it’s very easy to make. After it solidifies you can put any type of fruit over it. Agar agar can be found at any Asian market. It has some great qualities.
      As a last resort you could try soy yogurt.

      1. 2tsaybow: Great post! I love how you backed up your point with stats and links to PCRM and gave examples of positive replacements.

        I’ll also add that this site has lots of info on the harmful impacts of dairy and animal protein. So, BrokenRaven could learn a lot here too.

        My experience with commercial yogurts: Soy yogurt works for me when baking, but is not something I personally enjoy just eating by itself. Same with almond yogurt (yuck – at least the one I tried). But I really like the coconut yogurt I have tried. So, playing around with commercial brands until you find one you like can be a good idea. Or put another way, don’t give up just because the first one you tried is not to your liking.

        There are also ways to make your own vegan/safe/healthy yogurt. My Instant Pot has a yogurt maker option, though I haven’t used it yet. And the book Artisan Vegan Cheeses has a recipe for yogurt in it. Yumm. I like that one. I also like your pudding-jello idea. Sounds great! Thanks for sharing.

        1. Thea, I hope you’ve used your Instant Pot by now to make soy yogurt; I’ve used mine several times now with great results. Though I do make my own soy milk (now unfiltered), I have better results using plain organic soy milk from EdenSoy or WestSoy, made from only organic soybeans and water. The easiest recipe I’ve found is to use a vegan starter culture, add it to a quart of soy milk and shake, shake, shake. Pour out into jars, and incubate at 110F for about 12 hours. I like to add a bit of maple syrup to mine before incubating. Also, I can use about 1/2 of a packet of starter culture that says it makes 1 quart (belle bella vegan yogurt starter), then use 2 T of this batch of yogurt within 6 days to make the next batch. Repeat with the remaining 1/2 packet of starter culture. That way, I can stretch one packet of starter culture to make 4 quarts of soy yogurt.

  15. I’ve been following this site for a while now, and been mainly looking at the information related to blood pressure.

    I noticed a trend and was wondering if perhaps Joseph, Dr. G himself, or anybody else can shed some light.

    There seem to be a few general reasons why foods may help blood pressure:
    Diuretic to get rid of excess water (i.e. Hibiscus, Celery, Etc)
    ACE Inhibiting to prevent overly constricting the vessels (i.e. Hibiscus)
    NO Producers/Vasodilators to help vessels relax and open up (i.e. Beets, Dark Leafy Greens)
    Antioxidants to prevent free radicals from gobbling up NO (i.e. basically everything on this site)
    Odds and ends like flax/brazil nuts/cocoa which honestly I don’t know the mechanism of.

    However, in basically every study, the beneficial effects wear off after sometimes a VERY short while. So while foods are FAR FAR preferable to drugs, I feel they are doing the same thing, masking the symptoms.

    Why is it that when you have less diuretics, one’s vessels have more volume than perhaps another? Why without an ace inhibitor are there so many “aces”? Why without extra NO is our endothelium not producing enough (although that one can probably be attributed to the degradation of the endothelium due to the SAD). Why are there so many free radicals that constant antioxidants are needed?

    I know that a healthy diet is basically required for things such as constant NO and antioxidant, but why would one need ace inhibiting power, or extra diuretic power? Not even sure how cocoa and flax work – but why would one need that extra power.

    Do any of the studies have a longer term look, to see what, for example, 2 months of hibiscus, or 2 months of flax, do over all? Or are the effects basically gone right away?

    1. I, too, S. Slavin, wonder how we can so improve the function of our endothelial cells that the underlying cause (if that is one possible one) can be removed. I have been nearly 100% WFPB for 3 years and love it, but, while my pre-hypertension BP has come down some, I am far from low enough. I had thought my Endotheial cells would have been in better shape by now. My weight is right, but tension and stress seem to overwhelm my vessels. I would love an article on the long term healing goals and means.

      1. Well if your numbers have been pre-hypertension 3 years ago and you’ve been working on it, you must have decent numbers by now – even if not 110/70 or whatever your goal is.

        I know for myself that every time I CHECK my blood pressure I get nervous and that itself raises the numbers (I can physically feel my pulse go up so I am imagining that the anxiety/stress is raising the BP as well).

        It makes it hard to know if the methods are helping or not – but you have to believe that losing weight, eating right, and being active is only helping things, and not making them worse.

        If it’s not anxiety and your numbers are still up, you always have all the ‘shortcut’ foods mentioned in my post, maybe those can help, but yes, it would be nice to know how to fix the real underlying cause (which very well may be stress)

  16. Separate question than my last, I randomly came across Coq10, and in the past disregarded it as one of those “in” supplements that aren’t really needed, but based on this:


    Which says “We conclude that coenzyme Q10 has the potential in hypertensive patients to lower systolic blood pressure by up to 17 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by up to 10 mm Hg without significant side effects.”, it seems that this can have quite a strong effect on lowering BP. 17 points down in systolic??” Any comments/warnings about this? I wonder if it’s worth taking just to see how it goes.

      1. Been moving toward plant based although by no means vegan.

        Have very little to no dairy (very little meaning maybe I’ll have a yogurt once a week – if that), still have meat (chicken) maybe once or twice a week – working on that. No white flour, very limited added sugar (almost all my sugar comes from whole foods).

        Very conscious of salt intake, pretty much no processed food that I can think of. Been trying to also look at the flipside and be conscious of potassium intake – although it’s possible I don’t get enough.

        Breakfast is usually plain oatmeal with blueberries and walnuts (maybe 4-5 halves). It used to be green smoothies but lately I don’t have time to chop the stuff up – I might try and get back into that.

        Lunch is usually some sort of salad – with a green leafy base, things like peppers/tomatoes/beans (maybe a cup of beans)/ and any other handy healthy toppings – NO dressing at all – I use avocado if available as my dressing by just mixing it in. If no avocado available I admit I will use maybe a tsp of olive oil as the ‘fat’ for the mineral absorption. I’ll usually have a whole wheat roll with that.

        Supper has lately been rice and bean based, with some small variations. Caved last night and had pizza – but that’s the first time in a month.

        I have been having Hibiscus lately as well, due to the fact that it seems to be an ACE inhibitor, a diuretic (THAT I can confirm!), AND a great source of antioxidants – so I figured if I’m gonna sip something – it may as well be that, Otherwise I drink water. Off coffee for a while now.

        However I have not been on this path TOO long (on and off since July – determined to be more strict with it now) – which is why I was fascinated by the seemingly “quick” fixes of the foods I mentioned, but was always concerned about how stopping the “tricks” seems to put numbers right back to where they started.

        The other issue I have is that I get anxious around the whole BP thing – my mom has issues with it for years – so my readings are always high at first and then come down on the 2nd and 3rd reading, so it’s a bit hard to get a real feel for what the numbers truly are. If I’m really nervous they can be 15x/9x, but then they normalize to 13x/80. It’s also getting cold now and taking BP while nervous and in a cold room will NOT yield normal numbers…

        I guess you’ll say that a WFPB diet leads to normalized BP, and indeed Dr. G has cited tons of data showing vegans vs vegetarians vs omnivores etc, but is there some study where they test a WFPB diet the way they test the “tricks”? I.e. have a control group, and a WFPB diet group, and see the BP trends over time? It could be these were mentioned but it’s hard to keep track of all the things on here.

        I did lose about 15lbs so far just by cutting out the junk that is “normal” nowadays, so hopefully I am doing SOMETHING right..

        Sorry for the lengthy comment…but where someone is willing to listen I’m willing to talk.

        1. Not a problem. Sometimes we are a little short until we find out if commenting with “friend or troll”. I am not familiar with such a study, but then as hypertension has never been a big deal in my immediate family or myself, so I don’t put much effort into that barometer of health.

          Few more comments while I’m here though: Unless you’re making your own breads, they generally have sugar and often oils added, as well as a lot of healthless white flour. A counter-example: I made pancakes of whole wheat and flax seed this morning with just a little plain flour and the least possible bit of oil on the pan (iron). Had a tablespoon or less of honey in place of syrup. I’m out of molasses and the honey is free and local. I’m no vegan. Back to bread, most of my “bread” is made of corn flour and water these days, nothing else. Thick or thin Tortillas go with everything.

          The big overall picture I get _and_ live by now is that human health and performance is generally optimized to the maximums of genetics and conditioning by eating whole plant foods, that practically every negative affect that can be attributed to diet is related to the unavoidable human inflammatory response to consumption of animal products and also the incomplete/depleted nutrition “vacuum” created by heavy processing of plant foods.

          But I don’t talk about it much any more, people get all freaky about food… 8-P

          Best of your research and understanding and getting you circulation in order.

          1. How do you make your bread?
            I like bread. I like bread, but most store bought bread I don’t really
            like. If I eat it, it is too dry makes we feel sick, even if I drink a lot of
            water. I like the idea of simple corn bread, but I would would also like
            to be able to make my own pumpernickel, or wheat/walnut bread.
            Any ideas?

            1. I’m not a bread expert but can give you a quick run down on what I know. Two basic kingdoms of bread, yeast and quick bread. Yeast bread gets puffed up by the action of yeast consuming sugar and carbohydrate in the dough. Quick breads (biscuits, pancakes, cornbread) are puffed up with baking powder as they cook. “Quick” because there’s no resting or rising necessary before baking. Flat breads are quick breads without the leavening agents. Cake is quick bread with sugar overload.

              Flours and/or meals are the basic components of any bread. Corn flour and water is how I make tortillas, pressed and cooked on stove. Then bake for tortilla chips (or deep fry-for the SAD sort of chip).

              I’ve never used machines, mix and knead all by hand. I like the process of making things. Bread is quite simple enough. Also, many of the styles of quick breads may have eggs or oils traditionally added to them. BUT one can omit those items if he chooses to. I don’t use milk in any of my breads either, simply not necessary. And there is some quantity of ground flax seeds mixed in water that can be substituted where eggs are called for. That’s a HUGE nutritional swapping out for the better.

              There are all sorts of gourmet and connoisseur flours and bread enthusiasts around. I had a friend and his wife get “INTO” bread for a while, wound up with a personal grain mill to grind their own wheat.

              I’d probably find a group or two of those folks online and see what I could learn there. That’s my approach to most things. I learned to press tortillas from a gal on youtube.

              Now I’m hungry.

              1. Thanks, great tutorial. I had heard something about how you did not need yeast because there are bacteria in the air and all over that will do the same thing … or maybe that was about yogurt making. I agree with you on the eggs and oil, not interested in them, though maybe if I was making a cake. Flax seeds sound good too. I like rye bread and pumpernickel, but have not really had good of either since I was a kid. What I get in the west here in CA is kind of blah. Just a little bit of bread now and then is nice. And walnut bread is really great.

                1. You don’t have to use yeast to make wine or other fruit-based alcoholic beverage because the skins of the fruits have wild yeasts on them. This is the traditional French way. Bread I’m afraid might sour before the natural yeasts took off. And also you do want different yeasts for bread than for wine/beer/meade for for best results.

    1. I don’t think the evidence is clear that large mammalian carnivores don’t sometimes do better on a plant-based diet, though, to say nothing of the more omnivorous types. Herbivory itself, which is a difficult sort of label to apply to a technological species that has changed its environment rapidly with time, is not a necessary condition for having an optimal diet that is plant based to a large degree. Please don’t jump the gun and intrude unskeptically on many fields of science just to make yourself feel good about your (presumably good) habits.

      1. Your “Opinion” is just that. Facts are Facts. Horse is a Herbivore and Lion is a Carnivore. That is a fact. We are Herbivore based on physical evidence and science. But your opinion is that science is not exact and we are whatever you want to “Believe” we are. Of course there are billions of Muslims and Christians who believe in their stuff. Everyone is entitled their opinion and belief system. But there is only one fact.

        1. And dogmatic beliefs are dogmatic beliefs. It isn’t my belief that “we are whatever [I] want to ‘Believe’ we are”, but you haven’t presented particularly solid evidence that we are ‘herbivores’, for some definition of herbivory that jives with the term’s use in biology and that somehow necessarily entails doing best on a plant based diet. That’s an extremely grand claim to make, and one can easily believe that humans do best on a plant-based diet without insisting that “we are Herbivore”.

          What’s up with that nonstandard capitalization, by the way? It looks like a self-important gesture from my point of view, and makes you seem less credible.

          1. I am not your teacher & even if I was you would not believe me and I already know you are “Committed” to your belief just like I am. Yes very true. I am very happy & proud to be a “Herbivore” and I am very emotionally attached & totally devoted & committed to this belief (it’s like my religion). The fact that a mountain of obvious physical evidence and scientific data supports my belief is an extra bonus. And yes there are is a mountain of physical evidence & scientific data (such as this video for example) that shows that eggs, dairy & meat are not healthy for humans and I take that to mean that I am a Herbivore. In my opinion that is plain common sense.

          2. As all the other great apes, we are herbivores. There is nothing dogmatic about it.
            But you’ll see that for cultural reasons this fact tends to be omitted.

            Omnivores and carnivores never get arteriosclerosis, no matter how much cholesterol and saturated fat they ingest. But we get it as all the other herbivores when fed the wrong diet.

            1. Guess you don’t know so much about the great apes as you think …

              The Predatory Behavior and Ecology of Wild Chimpanzees

              >> We know that although chimpanzees have been recorded to eat more than 35 types of vertebrate animals (Uehara 1997), the most important vertebrate prey species in their diet is the red colobus monkey. At Gombe, red colobus account for more than 80% of the prey items eaten. But Gombe chimpanzees do not select the colobus they will kill randomly; infant and juvenile colobus are caught in greater proportion than their availability (Stanford et al. 1994a, 1998a); 75% of all colobus killed are immature. Chimpanzees are largely fruit eaters, and meat composes only about 3% of the time they spent eating overall, less than in nearly all human societies. Adult and adolescent males do most of the hunting, making about 90% of the kills recorded at Gombe over the past decade. Females also hunt, though more often they receive a share of meat from the male who either captured the meat or stole it from the captor.

              1. Chimps are extremely aggressive, are know for attacks of all types, among themselves and to other species, from there you get their “hunting” but despite those attacks, aren’t omnivores.

                They would flee from the real omnivores tho, as you would if dropped just as you are, without any tools or weapons, in the middle of the jungle or the savannah.

                As you take a peek of any predators around, you’ll be scrambling to climb a tree as fast as you can… there with some luck you’ll find other apes chewing on fruit, leaves or seeds… who will look at you puzzled wondering what you were doing down there.

                And there you too, using your hands (notice, perfectly evolved for the precision picking of fruits, leaves and seeds) Not claws, pitiful jaws, nor great sense of smell to locate prey, nor any great speed … you won’t outrun pretty much anything, but have good eyesight in particular for colours, to locate fruits among the vegetation.

                We are at the top of the food chain, thanks to our brain. And so we can act as if we were natural predators, but that doesn’t make us one of them.

                And we know it, just pretend otherwise because of narcissism, reinforced by culture.

                We turn a blind eye to the situations in which we are confronted with real omnivores, as in this case, without our tools or weapons. Folks try to flee, exactly… as prey.

                See a pretty small bear (notice, no aggressive display) there with cubs, see what happens:


                I could go on, no matter from what angle we look at it.

                1. Thanks for your own idiosyncratic ill-informed opinion, but I’d rather go with Jane Goodall who has spent her life intelligently observing chimps. This is the kind of irrationality that unnerves me about some vegans, your reasoning process overrides your good sense. Why would you bother with this 3 days later? I think what i said was bothering you and you had to reply to me to reassure yourself in your “faith”

  17. Has anyone else experienced severe cramping throughout both the back and front of their entire torso from either drinking apple juice or eating dried pineapple chunks? I have seen where people online complain of such painful, aching cramping (which can last about 10 minutes) from both apple juice and dried fruit, and the responses are varied: sensitivity to fructose, sulfur dioxide, kidneys, liver, gas! I would like to know specifically what the problem is, because the pain comes on suddenly. I think it may be sudden gas, but it isn’t just in the stomach – it is in the back and clavicle area, etc. I do not know what chemicals may or may not have been in the apple juice, but Motts, which we usually have, only has ascorbic acid added and does not contain sulfur dioxide as the dried pineapple has.
    Again, I don’t need a lecture on ‘drinking juice” or “eating dried fruit with a bit of sweetener”; I want to know what causes this weird, intense pain and whether I am harming any area of my body because of something wrong with me.
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Not me, but the only apple juice I drink is full apple fresh … the cloudy kind. I love apple juice. I don’t drink it a lot because I try to stay away from juice, but every time I drink apple juice I just feel good. Why don’t you experiment and get a juicer and some organic fresh apple and see if you have the same issue, or just buy fresh juiced apple juice and see if it affects you the same way?

      1. That’s a good idea. I’m not even sure if apple cider affects me like apple juice does! Tests with me as experimenter and experimentee are in order!
        Fresh apple juice does sound good!
        I don’t drink much either, but 1/2 cup can set off this pain that makes me feel want to crawl into a hole!

  18. Who are the “millions” who are jumping on the WFPB diet? Unhappily, they are not among our friends. Where are they? We would love to see a profile of the WFPB movement. We are Kaiser members and were thrilled to see the 2013 paper by Dr. Phillip Tuso, et al and your video saying that Kaiser planned to train its 9 million patients and 15,000 docs to adopt the WFPB diet, but we see little if any movement in that direction.

    1. I had to deal with more than one healthcare provider recently (not in relation to my own health), and heard comments straight from the twilight, such as “if you don’t eat animal protein, you have to combine proteins”, “you need animal protein because the body cannot make certain amino acids”, “some studies show that saturated fat does not harm vascular health”, and “a mother shouldn’t breastfeed past 2 years”. Some dietitians associations are also stating that cholesterol is not a concern for human health. Health publications handed to the public urge vegetarians specifically to consult a nutritionist to balance their diets.

      You’re really being stigmatized for living according to good science and good principles, and following a diet style that has been proven to work. When the system itself stigmatizes plant-based eating and other healthy practices, you really have to wonder how the rest of society will ever become receptive. Maybe that’s why this has to start grassroots. Otherwise, one might say like Dr McDougall says in one interview, “most people don’t stand a chance” (here is the clip): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cvf5rf19GhY

      1. (Sorry I quoted Dr McDougall out of context. In this interesting interview, he actually states insurance companies getting on board could be a solution.)

    2. Gayle: Are you familiar with the group VRG (Vegetarian Resource Group)? That group does a lot of good things, including conducting some pretty good polls. They are savvy when they do their polls. For example, they don’t just ask, “Are you vegetarian”, because people have all sorts of different definitions. (I once had lunch with a mother and her daughter who both claimed to be vegetarians and then ate the fish…) Instead, VRG asks something more like, “Do you ever eat meat, including fish?” VRG does these polls periodically and thus we can get a sense of where America is going diet-wise.

      VRG has a website and also a printed, glossy magazine (with articles, research, reviews, and recipes) which goes out to donors. (I contribute because I’m a huge fan of their work/the solid information and help that they provide.) It just so happens that they were reporting on the results of one of their polls in the latest magazine issue. VRG commissioned a Harris Poll and surveyed 2,017 adults. Based on the answers, they estimate that there are about 8 million true vegetarians in the US. (This number includes vegetarians and vegans together.) That represents 3.4% of the population.

      I bring that to your attention since the start of your post was, “Who are the millions…?” I thought you would be interested in VRG’s poll.

      I don’t know about “movement.” My sense is that more and more people are moving to plant based eating, but of course, we still have a long way to go.

      A thought for you: I think it is good to keep one’s current friends, but it i also great to hang out with people who already “get it”. You might want to check out a local vegan/vegetarian group in your area.

      1. Sorry to butt in, but Thea, you mention checking our a local vegan/vegetarian group, do you have any suggestions as to how would one find something like that in an area? Thank you.

        1. Brux: Glad you asked! One of my favorite tips is to use the website called Meetup.com. You can search by topic/interest and zip code (or probably other ways since I think they are around the world and not just in the US?) to find a group that has events/meetups on that topic. Meetup seems to have a bazillion vegetarian groups all over.

          Another idea is to find vegetarian or vegan restaurants and carts in town and start asking the employees and patrons for groups. I have been surprised to find the number of groups in my smallish area (such as vegan potluck groups and social arms of animal activist groups). Each group you clue into can open the door to learn about more.

          Finally, a generic internet search might surprise you. A lot of people who have found the vegetarian Meetup group that I belong to have said that they found out about us by simply doing a web search when they moved to town. You never know what might pop up with a just few minutes of work.

          How’s that for getting started? Does anyone else have any ideas?

          1. Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s website membership allows one to see a map with other “Nutritarians” in your area. In mine, a couple of years there was one. I live just North of San Francisco, California. That site is a very good one and very interactive and supportive with many recipes and very helpful member comments and variations on the recipes. I second the MeetUp.com searches. If there is no group near you, you could start your own right there on the site.

      2. Thank you, Thea. Your responses are so thoughtful and interesting. You are a fabulous part of this fabulous site. We have attended probably 8-10 times in about 3 MeetUp groups. Most have a heavy dose of righteousness to them —shades of prayer meeting. I keep hoping to find groups that focus on fun, dancing, and intellectually stimulating topics besides nutrition. There are more groups to visit, and we shall.

        1. Gayle: Thanks for that nice feedback. You made my day!

          re: meetups and their tones. I have heard that that can be a problem. The meetup group I belong to does not have that “preaching” culture. We work hard to make everyone feel comfortable in our group, regardless of what they eat at home. By not being judgmental, I think it creates a safe place for people to explore diet choices and envision other options. I think that makes the group a community service and more effective than we would be otherwise.

          I don’t know how you would change the culture of an existing group that is already down the path you describe. I hope you will be able to find a really fun group. Good for you for not giving up easily. Most people would have given up after trying 8-10 times. I’m impressed.

  19. This morning during our treatment team meeting as I was sipping my soy latte I noticed my colleague to the left pouring an orange-colored beverage into a cup. Must be having his morning OJ, I thought. Then he set the bottle on the desk and I saw that it was actually orange-flavored Fanta. Curious, I tried to sneak a peak at the ingredient label. I couldn’t quite make it out so I donned my reading glasses and pretended to look at the patient record in front of me. What I saw so amazed me that I removed my glasses, took a moment, and then put them back on to be sure I had really seen what I thought I had. Sure enough: SEVENTY-THREE GRAMS OF HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. Apparently he was carb-loading before facing patients.

  20. Hi I am new to the site and its very interesting! I am from Canada and we do have some differences in farming, especially dairy. But I have started looking into healthy diets and I found this. So a couple things I was wondering about. You hear talk of Paleo and how some seem to do great on it, though not everyone. I was wondering if science had looked into why we can’t process meat. Is it because of all the pollution, etc or is it really our dna? Also, some groups like the Innu in the Arctic traditionally were very healthy surviving on mainly meat and seafood (caribou, whale, seal, etc) and very limited plant matter. Have studies been done to see why? Are certain meats ok (eg wild game) or not? Are certain groups of people biologically ok with meat, or are we all in the same boat? Is it plant based is best at this time in our history because of what we’ve done to the planet, or has it always been the best diet? Just some things I was wondering science had looked into as I like to know as much as possible if I decide to change the way I eat (which does include meat). Please keep up the great work! I hope you can answer these questions! Thank you!


    1. Janet: Glad you are finding this site helpful. I’m not an expert, but let me take a crack at some of your questions.

      You write, “I was wondering if science had looked into why we can’t process meat. Is
      it because of all the pollution, etc or is it really our dna?” I would say both! There is plenty of evidence on this site about the problems with contaminants in the animal food supply. The reason animals products are such a problem is a phenomenon called (I think) bio accumulation. I may have the term wrong, but the concept is a well known biology concept: Contaminants accumulate in greater densities the higher you go up the food chain. I think the following page will go a long way to addressing the ‘dna’ part of the equation: http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/natural.html. Dr. Forrester, a volunteer on this site, says that humans are hind-gut fermented herbivores.

      You also wrote: “…some groups like the Innu in the Arctic traditionally were very healthy surviving on mainly meat and seafood…” I question your assumption that they were very healthy. The paleo people would have you believe this, but I don’t believe the evidence supports this belief. The website Plant Positive contains a long series of videos with a very scholarly work on this topic as well as many others presented by the paleo proponents. It may take a while to make your way through those videos, but you would learn a whole lot. Here is the main page:
      And if you search on that page for say, Inuit, then you can find links to videos on specific topics.

      Finally, Dr. Greger has some videos and articles on the paleo diet. If you don’t want to go through Plant Positives longer videos, you may want to start right here. For example, here is one of my favorites from some guest blogger who I also follow: “Will the Real Paleo Diet Please Stand Up?”

      And here are other videos and articles:

      Hope that helps.

  21. I’ve been following a WFPB diet for about 10 months. It’s been going well mostly. Did get lax and revert to some old junk food habits, albeit vegan this time, but am now back on track. I have now lost a big patch of hair on the front of my head. It’s about the size of large cucumber slice. I should note that I’m 36 and female. People are already commenting on my diet as a culprit…but I know this can’t be true…I’m seeing my GP this week but he’s not fully on board with this lifestyle. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  22. I’ve been following a WFPB diet for about 10 months. It’s been going well mostly. Did get lax and revert to some old junk food habits, albeit vegan this time, but am now back on track. I have now lost a big patch of hair on the front of my head. It’s about the size of large cucumber slice. I should note that I’m 36 and female. People are already commenting on my diet as a culprit…but I know this can’t be true…I’m seeing my GP this week but he’s not fully on board with this lifestyle. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Going to your doctor is a must, but wouldn’t it make sense to you to first look at the most recent changes you have made in your life as the causes of anything different in your body? That would seem to be a reasonable place to at least start. Like so many people just saying vegan diet will get lots of people here clapping for you, but they have no idea what you are really eating either and why should they care as long as you validate their ideas? I’d listen to my doctor if I had something as significant as you describe.

  23. I have been eating to live about 95% of the last 15 years.
    I’m tired of these goofy smoothies that appeal more to taste than health. Even the Mayo basic smoothie appears wimpy.
    Let’s some of us get together online and design a 10 day CANCER (diabetic, heart, etc.) SUPER menu (like dr. Mc, E, O, etc) and RECIPES for meals and blended (not juiced) smoothies with plenty of spices watered down with hibiscus tea made from Kangen water (dr. G says u can get the ph by adding baking soda but the k water makes water taste so good u won’t ever go back to tap water.). Let’s design it based only on the highest nutritional value, not taste. Just adding the kale, red cabbage, Apple (skin, seeds and all), garlic, sour kraut, sprouted broccoli and wheatgrass and spices and nuts and ground flax seeds, rejuvalac, etc makes over A HALF GALLON AND TAKES ONE HOUR FROM washing the veggies to clean up (it wrecks the kitchen) even if u mix up the 12 or so spices in advance!!!!! I funnel it into 20 ounce recycled soda bottles and freeze what I can’t drink in one day. Next day, toss a couple in the gym bag and out the door. Plus, the recipe gets complicated: u have to add pepper to the turmeric, cook the tomatoes and broccoli, let the garlic sit for ten minutes, etc, etc. Then u have to stop by the grocery store every other day and need a second fridge. Girls won’t put up with this very long. If I still had kids and a job I could not manage.

    It is strange that u can get vegan and veggie meals in most jails and prisons but not n hospitals: They r called religious diets (I guess they r, why not?). The international food service providers and states and counties have been sued enough times by inmates that the word gets around. Too bad the doctors that run hospitals and idiots that run pubic schools are not smart enough. Maybe some do know but understand it is bad for business.

  24. Hello, thanks for taking the time to read this.

    I have been struggling for some time now to come up with what guidelines are actually valid when building a diet. I don’t mean “eat a lot of vegetables!” but as in actual quantites and what vitamins and nutrients are essential and how to ensure my diet covers everything in the broad spectrum that is required for good health. I’ve been looking around but have been quite confused.

    Thanks so much and I’m sorry if this is a repeat question, I just was confused by it all.

  25. Dear Pro-Noob: As a moderator for NutritionFacts.org I’d be glad to address your nutrition confusion. Actually Dr. Greger does it best the book he authored: How Not to Die which is easily available for purchase or probably in your library.He gives some specific advice on what to eat throughout the book but especially on pages 272 to 391. He summarizes this with his recommendations for his “Daily Dozen” foods which you can find listed in the book or you can obtain an app. or view in several places. one of which I’ll include here: I think this will give you excellent advice to zero in on what the specifics you are looking for.
    I hope that’s helpful. Keeping track of how closely you follow the Daily Dozen will give you specific goals to reach that diet that will enhance your health. And continuing to follow this website will reinforce the why and how. Best of health to you.

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