Plant-Based Treatment for Angina

Plant-Based Treatment for Angina
4.82 (96.32%) 38 votes

Even without an exercise component, a plant-based diet can reduce angina attacks 90% within 24 days.


The Dean Ornish program that led to the improvement in artery function and the dramatic drop in angina attacks is not just about putting people on a plant-based diet. It also involves recommendations for moderate exercise and stress management, and we know exercise alone can improve endothelial function. So, how do we know diet had anything to do with it?

If you go back to Ornish’s first publication, he put cardiac patients on a quasi-vegan diet, with no added exercise—just diet and stress management— and got a 90% reduction in angina attacks within just 24 days. And Dr. Esselstyn was able to improve angina using a plant-based diet as the only lifestyle intervention. We have published case series going back to the 1970’s documenting this. Angina and Vegan Diet: like Mr. F.W. here. Chest pain so severe he had to stop every nine or ten steps. He started on a vegan diet and months later, he climbed mountains with no pain.

We know plant-based diets can reverse heart disease, dissolving plaque away, opening up arteries, in some cases without drugs, without surgery, but that doesn’t happen in 24 days. The improvements in anginal symptoms are too rapid and too great to be explained by the gradual regression of the atherosclerotic plaque. So, maybe it’s this improvement in endothelial function that’s doing it.

What is it about plant-based diets that improves our arteries’ ability to dilate? Is it macronutrient differences, simply the lack of the deleterious effect of meat? Maybe it’s the drop in cholesterol? Endothelial function improves if we lower our cholesterol low enough, by any means necessary. This study took PET scans measuring blood flow to the heart before and after three radically different ways to lower cholesterol. The first method used drugs, the second a low-fat diet – a really low-fat diet, and the third, no diet at all. 90 days without food. They had a central line placed to basically drip enriched sugar water straight into their blood stream for three months. These researchers were not messing around. And no exercise or stress management treatments; they wanted to isolate out the effect of cholesterol lowering on cardiac blood flow.

They started out with miserable cholesterol levels, and the diminished blood flow to their hearts to prove it. The dark blue areas represent so-called perfusion deficits, areas of the heart muscle that aren’t getting adequate blood flow. After cholesterol-lowering, the cholesterol was still terrible, but with the improvement, there was an improvement in blood flow, and their angina attacks were cut in half. And when they stopped, and their cholesterol went back up, the blood flow to their heart muscle went back down. So, cholesterol lowering itself appears to improve blood flow to the heart, and they think it’s because when cholesterol goes down, endothelial function improves.

There’s a new category of anti-angina drugs, but before committing billions of dollars of public and private monies to dishing them out, maybe we should take a more serious and respectful look at dietary strategies that are demonstrably highly effective for treating angina, and that have also been shown to reduce subsequent cardiac disease. To date, these strategies have been marginalized by the ‘drug pusher’ mentality of orthodox medical practice; presumably, doctors feel that most patients will be unwilling or unable to make the substantial dietary changes required. While this may be true for many patients, it certainly is not true for all. And, in any case, angina patients deserve to be offered the Ornish or Esselstyn diet alternative before being shunted to expensive surgery or to drug therapies that can have a range of side effects and never really get to the root of the problem.

In response, a drug company executive wrote in to the medical journal, “Although diet and lifestyle modifications should be a part of disease management, many patients may not be able to comply with the substantial dietary changes required to achieve a vegan diet.”  So, of course, everyone should go on their fancy new drug, Ranolazine. Costs thousands of dollars a year to take it, but the side effects aren’t horrible, and it works. Collectively, the studies show that at the highest dose, Ranolazine, sold as Ranexa, may prolong exercise duration as long as 33-and-a-half seconds. It does not look like those choosing the drug route will be climbing mountains anytime soon.

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 OpenClipartVectors via Pixabay.

The Dean Ornish program that led to the improvement in artery function and the dramatic drop in angina attacks is not just about putting people on a plant-based diet. It also involves recommendations for moderate exercise and stress management, and we know exercise alone can improve endothelial function. So, how do we know diet had anything to do with it?

If you go back to Ornish’s first publication, he put cardiac patients on a quasi-vegan diet, with no added exercise—just diet and stress management— and got a 90% reduction in angina attacks within just 24 days. And Dr. Esselstyn was able to improve angina using a plant-based diet as the only lifestyle intervention. We have published case series going back to the 1970’s documenting this. Angina and Vegan Diet: like Mr. F.W. here. Chest pain so severe he had to stop every nine or ten steps. He started on a vegan diet and months later, he climbed mountains with no pain.

We know plant-based diets can reverse heart disease, dissolving plaque away, opening up arteries, in some cases without drugs, without surgery, but that doesn’t happen in 24 days. The improvements in anginal symptoms are too rapid and too great to be explained by the gradual regression of the atherosclerotic plaque. So, maybe it’s this improvement in endothelial function that’s doing it.

What is it about plant-based diets that improves our arteries’ ability to dilate? Is it macronutrient differences, simply the lack of the deleterious effect of meat? Maybe it’s the drop in cholesterol? Endothelial function improves if we lower our cholesterol low enough, by any means necessary. This study took PET scans measuring blood flow to the heart before and after three radically different ways to lower cholesterol. The first method used drugs, the second a low-fat diet – a really low-fat diet, and the third, no diet at all. 90 days without food. They had a central line placed to basically drip enriched sugar water straight into their blood stream for three months. These researchers were not messing around. And no exercise or stress management treatments; they wanted to isolate out the effect of cholesterol lowering on cardiac blood flow.

They started out with miserable cholesterol levels, and the diminished blood flow to their hearts to prove it. The dark blue areas represent so-called perfusion deficits, areas of the heart muscle that aren’t getting adequate blood flow. After cholesterol-lowering, the cholesterol was still terrible, but with the improvement, there was an improvement in blood flow, and their angina attacks were cut in half. And when they stopped, and their cholesterol went back up, the blood flow to their heart muscle went back down. So, cholesterol lowering itself appears to improve blood flow to the heart, and they think it’s because when cholesterol goes down, endothelial function improves.

There’s a new category of anti-angina drugs, but before committing billions of dollars of public and private monies to dishing them out, maybe we should take a more serious and respectful look at dietary strategies that are demonstrably highly effective for treating angina, and that have also been shown to reduce subsequent cardiac disease. To date, these strategies have been marginalized by the ‘drug pusher’ mentality of orthodox medical practice; presumably, doctors feel that most patients will be unwilling or unable to make the substantial dietary changes required. While this may be true for many patients, it certainly is not true for all. And, in any case, angina patients deserve to be offered the Ornish or Esselstyn diet alternative before being shunted to expensive surgery or to drug therapies that can have a range of side effects and never really get to the root of the problem.

In response, a drug company executive wrote in to the medical journal, “Although diet and lifestyle modifications should be a part of disease management, many patients may not be able to comply with the substantial dietary changes required to achieve a vegan diet.”  So, of course, everyone should go on their fancy new drug, Ranolazine. Costs thousands of dollars a year to take it, but the side effects aren’t horrible, and it works. Collectively, the studies show that at the highest dose, Ranolazine, sold as Ranexa, may prolong exercise duration as long as 33-and-a-half seconds. It does not look like those choosing the drug route will be climbing mountains anytime soon.

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 OpenClipartVectors via Pixabay.

Doctor's Note


See a comparison of the arterial function of vegetarians versus omnivores in my Plant-Based Diets and Artery Function video. How about comparing the Arteries of Vegans vs. Runners? If those on plant-based diets aren’t getting a regular, reliable source of vitamin B12, though, their artery health can suffer. See Vitamin B12 Necessary for Arterial Health.

Cholesterol may do more than just impair the function of our arteries. Check out the images in my video Cholesterol Crystals May Tear Through Our Artery Lining. For even more, watch How Do We Know That Cholesterol Causes Heart Disease? and Optimal Cholesterol Level.

Does Cholesterol Size Matter? Watch the video to find out.

Three things increase our cholesterol level: Trans Fat, Saturated Fat, and Cholesterol: Tolerable Upper Intake of Zero. What about moderation? Well, how moderate do you want your disease? See Everything in Moderation? Even Heart Disease? to learn more. And, be sure to check out How Not to Die from Heart Disease.

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

281 responses to “Plant-Based Treatment for Angina

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  1. Hello, I’m a family doctor, volunteer website moderator, have been eating totally plant based for about 7 months, working to educate my own patients (and family/friends); I will be available for the next couple of hours for questions, comments.

      1. It is not easy; is a long process. I start by giving them a little “prescription”, a little 3×5 card provided by the Plantrician Project, which has a list of resources, including “Forks Over Knives”, and I tell them if they are intrigued by those resources, then they should look up the additional three listed practical nutrition websites from the Plantrician Project.

        But it’s true that most patients and doctors are looking for a pill to solve medical problems. That’s how we’ve been “brain-washed”.

        1. I’ve seen this in my own family. I have a brother who is 71 and has had high blood pressure and diabetes since his early 60s. He’s on medication for both and his doctor has bumped up his diabetes meds twice. I’ve offered a few times over the years to help him try a vegan diet and walk 20 mins/day. His responses have been, “I’d rather take a pill”, and “I don’t need to watch what I eat. That’s why my doctor gave me a pill”.

          If his doctor had told him in a worried voice about the risks of having just those two conditions and that meds only treat the symptoms, I think might have tried a vegan diet for one month to see the results.

          I’d love to see the percentage increase of patients in general who would try a vegan diet if doctors would show before & after pictures of arteries, diabetes diseased limbs, and impacts of stroke and diabetes on eyes (blindness), etc. I think more would be inclined to try strict 30-day trial diet to compare their own before and after lab results. On followup they could be shown their reduction in risk and talk about any difference in how they feel.

          Dr Jon, I applaud you for what you’re doing!
          Mark G.

          1. Thank you, Mark. I am slowly putting together useful information for my patients. However, you probably know that it’s not just information that people need. They have to, somehow, have the motivation. Unfortunately, that big motivation boost often doesn’t come until someone has suffered a very bad health consequence — such as a heart attack! Part of the answer is that we doctors need to work in a team with people like nutritionists, who might have more time for following up, and giving people the support they need.

            1. My health care provider is Kaiser, which, overall, I love. And they advocate a plant based diet. I’m looking forward to the day when they start prescribing that people go to a class to learn about these things in depth and to maybe offer a support group. I’ve often thought about starting a support group to discuss a healthy diet and offer people solidarity, even though I had any metabolic diseases. I should check into it.

              1. I think the idea of a support group, preferably one recommended or lead by a doctor, is great. I think a big part of the lack of motivation to try a plant based diet is a feeling that they wouldn’t find things or be able to make things to eat, but the great thing about gathering people together is that food can be part of it. Support can mean potlucks and recipe exchanges and restaurant suggestions. It’s one thing to tell people that a plant based diet is good for them, it’s another to show them that it’s enjoyable and can fit into their life, possibly even making their life tangibly better on a day to day basis. I’ve watched my Mom, and now her boyfriend convert their diets slowly to more plant based ones, and it was basically a matter of exposure to good recipes, and eating them and consistently feeling good afterwards. Another idea that could work great is mentoring.

                1. Right. If I were to do it I’d want to focus on the fun, like sharing success stories, feeling better, but mostly just having fun learning about how to make healthy tasty easy to make meals.

                2. Hi Becs, totally agree with your comments but I feel that a support group does not need to be run or recommended by a doctor – there are plenty of health professions that are more than qualified and passionate to be able to run a support group. :)

                  1. Lizzy, I agree with you. I also know that a great many people would have more confidence in health/nutrition recommendations if their doctor were on board. The doctor wouldn’t really need to participate in such a group, but would be nice if (s)he were at least supportive, and could give answers to medical questions.

                3. Great ideas and comments, Becs. You sound like you know a lot about support groups. I hope you get one started in your area.

                4. Finding a support group for people transitioning to a whole-food, plant-based diet may be a bit of a challenge, but you can probably find one if you look hard enough. I have co-facilitated CHIP (complete health improvement program) which gives step-by-step guidance on improving health through diet and lifestyle. You can search for one in your area. They also have an online version of the course if you can’t find an in-person course locally. You may also want to sign up for for free WFPB recipes and nutrition tips emailed to you. Both of these above programs are great, but be careful of nutrition advice you find that claims quick-fixes or anything other than WFPB, evidence-based nutrition. From the research I’ve done, there is WAY TOO MUCH bad nutrition info published. I hope this helps you!

            2. Plantitrician? You prescribe plants for diseases? That sounds really motivating. I love how society uses plants. Plants as medicine is a very young way to do medicine, but ancient in its routes.

              1. It’s been shown over and over that plant based diets cure metobolic diseases and prevent cancers and arterial plaque. Why wouldn’t that be motivating? If rather try that than meds that only treat the symptoms and have harsh side affects.

                1. Yes it is very motivating. Many diseases are an overlap of deficiencies, which can be corrected by appropriate diet. Processed food removes much nutrition. Plant based diets are superior clearly. Medicine in its parts might be extensions of nutrition out of desperation, and too weak.

            3. Dr. Jon, thrilled to hear a family doctor’s perspective/ideas.
              (An aside: would love to know why you personally made the change to
              plant-based). In conversations with people about their health problems, I always ask, “Has your doctor advised you
              on making any dietary changes?” Most people tilt their head and get this strange look of disbelief on their face when it’s suggested that diet could have an effect on their most serious health issues such as heart disease, gout, diabetes, etc. I have so many people eating oatmeal now (in many different forms and flavours). Most enjoy the proactive nature of contributing to their improved health through tasty food.

              As you stated, if
              people are not motivated, why would they change… True, but I posit, if one’s primary healthcare provider unequivocally states that a WFPB diet is a potential cure as opposed to medication – then the patient would
              be making a better-informed decision – to eat or not to eat plants. Most patients believe that their prescriptions are ‘fixing’ their
              condition or disease. Perhaps the conversation needs to start with drugs and their role,
              instead of with dietary and lifestyle changes. For example: “I am prescribing these
              pills to slow your disease’s
              progression until the next set of symptoms arise, in hopes of preventing
              your premature demise – but with no guarantees. Oh and one more thing, you could stop your disease’s progression or even reverse it, in as few as two weeks, with these
              dietary/lifestyle modifications.” Empower the patient.

              Prescribing small bites: I
              have been working (loosely) on a three day, WFPB eating program (easy, delicious nutrition) to show
              how quickly and painlessly WFPB nutrition can transform. After the three
              days, one feels lighter (notice weight loss), has better mental clarity, improved sleep
              and more energy. Maybe a three-day, plant-based eating
              prescription would be much easier to digest (pun intended) than the
              prospect of a major lifestyle change. ;-) Creates a stepping stone with
              immediate results.

              I’m a marketing communications strategist and
              a plant-based culinary professional with certification in plant-based
              nutrition from Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s Center for Nutrition Studies
              (from Calgary AB, now living in Victoria, BC, Canada).

              1. Wow! I would love to have the help of someone like you around here. I am seriously thinking of ways to change my practice to be MUCH more oriented to prevention — focusing mainly on diet, exercise, and stress reduction. But I lack some of the skills you seem to have, in translating good information into practical solutions for people. Thank you for your long comment, which will likely get lots of people thinking!

              2. PS: I started my own switch to plant-based nutrition immediately after seeing one of Dr. G’s year-in-review videos, ~2 years ago. I had fairly high cholesterol. Initially I kept eating fish and eggs; went “all the way” about 6 months ago, and have had several great health results: much lower cholesterol, no more reflux, big drop in my urine calcium — hence less risk of another kidney stone and less calcium loss from my bones, and lost a few pounds (though that wasn’t a big issue). Also, I’m concerned about climate change; also I believe in “voluntary simplicity” and in prevention in general. So it just worked on many levels.

              3. I LOVE what you’re doing! Unfortunately, a large part of the problem stems from the fact that healthcare providers are not taught the benefits of WFPB diets in school. (I’m speaking as a physician assistant who learned all about the “conventional” western medicine “treatments” in school, and later did my own learning of real health improvement and disease reversal through diet and lifestyle.) In school and in the bulk of continuing education material, we’re taught to use various medicines or procedures to “treat” illness. In several places I have worked, drug reps are coming through the offices touting the “benefits” of a new product. Unfortunately, there are no kale and carrot reps coming to medical offices or inviting us to free lavish dinners to learn about their benefits. I don’t think we can fully blame medical professionals for not promoting WFPB diets, because most of them are just doing what they have been taught.

            4. I find that if people can make one change and get used to it, they can keep going. Like try eating some nuts instead of some meat/fat. Most people like nuts. Then go to some other low hanging fruit, in this case, “FRUIT”. Try fruit instead of ice cream for dessert once a week. Try green or black tea instead of 5 beers during the sports game.When they think I’m pushy, they fight back. When they think I’m sharing something that tastes good and makes them feel good, they’ll try it.

            5. Dr. Jon, I think most people have absorbed the idea that they can not really help themselves, that diseases just happen and there really is little besides “eating better” that they can do about it. And if they do get a disease like heart disease or diabetes we should take our bodies just like we take our cars to a pro to be repaired. Sure there are some people who can repair themselves just like there are some people who can repair their own car, but those are exceptional people. And so us ordinary people put our health in the hands of a pro, and we expect that pro to do something actively to fix the problem. Just like we don’t want our car mechanic to tell us that he can keep repairing the engine but the real solution to our car troubles is for us to stop racing then engine and putting old watery gas in the tank, we don’t want our doctor to keep banging on about eating healthier (whatever the hell that really means). We want them to fix it! As a result when the pro can do little more than help manage symptoms, we figure out that well that is that, our fates are sealed, that we got dealt a bad hand.

              So I think the only way that people will take real ownership is if there is a way to help them understand that their disease is indeed because what they choose to eat and not eat and because of that they only way to cure them is for them to cure themselves. That as a doctor you are powerless to cure their disease because you can not get at the root cause of their disease, only they can. But what you as their doctor can do is inspire them with confidence and work to help them find the support that they need to make a big scary change and then continue to support them.

              Given the centrality of diet to the majority of the diseases that plague us, perhaps every group practice should have a plant-based dietitian/lifestyle coach on staff that new patients are referred to along with a support group of other patients to offer peer advice and support.

              1. Sounds like a great idea. In order to get support (i.e. funding) for that, we first need to reach a critical mass of (re)educated doctors, NPs, PAs, nutritionists, dieticians, culinary experts, and of course, the general public. So spread the word!!

          2. I too have a love one with diabetes. When she decides to lose some weight she turns to the Atkins diet, time and again, then goes back to eating pretty much the same diet that gave her the diabetes. I think people with diabetes are in fundamental denial. Years ago, her doctor told her she was prediabetic. Then when she finally got full-blown diabetes she was miffed because her doctor hadn’t “told” her. Maybe, instead of hanging anatomy posters in doctor’s offices, they should post pictures of end-stage diabetic feet.

            1. Sunflower seeds, rich in thiamine, were effective in treating diabetes in one study. Some medicines have diabetes as a side effect.

            2. If she is eating atkins I hope it’s at least plant based atkins. Check this Nutritionfacts video out! Risk of mortality goes down on plant based atkins while it goes up on regular atkins compared to a regular diet I think they said. Whatever a “regular diet” means..

          3. Have you considered Selenium (brazil nuts), Magnesium, and MSM (Suflur, very fresh vegetables) for your high blood pressure? Have you considered thiamine (sunflower seeds) for diabetes? Vegan diets are hard to sustain.

            1. You mean would my brother consider it? No. He loves his junk food and would say those things would make him fatter. I have been vegan for years. I don’t find it hard at all. And my vegan friend feel the same. It’sa little harder when you travel, but for me, I love the simplicity of a vegan diet. What I hated was cooking meat all the time. And I never found it appealing. I always worried that I was eating a diseased animal. It creeped me out.

              1. Given that the majority of commercial chicken is contaminated with disease causing bacteria (salmonella, campylobacter, etc.) it is likely that you were eating diseased meat even if it wasn’t coming from an animal that had an active disease itself. But the bacteria was in the meat before it the animal was killed or just on the meat after the animal was killed makes little difference.

          4. Thank you! I’m just seeing this now. I have now started a business:, where I try to be the kind of doctor I’ve always dreamed of being!

            1. Kudos! That’s wonderful to hear. I have a lot of respect for you for doing that. I’m sure you’re already finding it personally rewarding. We need more like you.


      1. At the risk of “intruding” on your conversation, I’ll answer your question since I’m the moderator on-duty now. Dr. Greger has published previously that an optimal LDL (bad) cholesterol level is below 70mg/dL. You can also check out some of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn’s (another giant in the field of heart-health through WFPB diet) peer-reviewed research to see that an ideal total cholesterol level is below 150 mg/dL. The research shows that nobody has had a heart attack or stroke with a cholesterol level below 150, even though the current accepted guidelines in the medical community state that a total cholesterol level below 200 is ideal. I hope this answers your question.

    1. Do you have any suggestions of how to approach the subject of WFPB diet to patients? As NP it bugs me to no end to see us recommend dairy and meat to patients. Yesterday I saw two patients who at long term survivors clinic (pediatric cancer survivors) and literally 3 out of 4 patients ranging in age from 9 years-old to 21 years-old, were obese. Two of those patients had growth charts which were not even curved, more like vertical projections. When I did my ROS with them and their families, the themes of meat, dairy, and junk food snacking all emerged. They were all very resistant to the suggestion that they reduce snacking, so you can imagine how they would take at recommendation that they change their diets.

      1. Such a great question. Sorry for my delayed response — I usually am only able to check this site carefully on Tuesday evenings and Wednesdays. I wish I had the perfect answer, but I don’t. My approach is usually that I first admit that it’s difficult to know what to do when there is so much conflicting information out there about nutrition. Then I say that I am completely convinced after reading a lot about it that the WFPB diet is the way to go. I sometimes mention that I am trained in epidemiology and am used to reading studies critically. I think people hear my passion about it.

        I just saw a patient today who actually did almost exactly what I asked him to do, 5 months ago, and his cholesterol levels have dropped dramatically, and his HgbA1c (measure of average glucose level, as I’m sure you know) also dropped from pre-diabetic range to normal. That really made my day! I spent about an hour with him at that previous visit, which a lot of doctors can’t do, so that helped a lot.

        For your average overweight patient who eats a lot of junk food, it is very difficult. I think the best way to go is use motivational interviewing — the crux of which is to get the patient involved in setting their own goals — so that the health care provider doesn’t have to brow-beat anyone. This is a very complex issue, but I’m glad you raised it!

      2. Movie nights watching Nutritionfacts, John McDougall, Esselstyn, Ornish, VegSource videos? Forks vs Knives and so on..? Education is key..? Imagine being a doctor and watching movies/videos with patients, teaching them how to shop + cook and so on. How fun would that be! Get them to watch these videos and take notes..? Do some homework.. It should be their responsibility to take care of their health and you’re there to help not do all the work? Get them to jot down reasons they want to change and their “Why” and obstacles they might face and how to overcome it..? When people don’t have enough reasons behind doing something especially change in diet/lifestyle it’s just going to lead to excuses later on or laziness or resuming old habits? If someone was serious they’d plan for obstacles and how to deal with them? We can help them with that??

    2. Hi,
      I just recently bought a food dehydrator and I’ve been sprouting brocolli seeds, dehydrating them and making a powder with my NutriBullet. I was wondering if you knew if any of the nutrients are spoiled after 3 hours in the dehydrator at 100 F.

    3. My friend has arterial fibrillation Is there a plabt based diet that can help him with his heart racing and abnormal heart beats?

      1. Hi! I’m Dr Anderson, a cardiologist/heart rhythm specialist and volunteer with Dr Greger. Several recent studies have found that achieving a healthy weight and treating sleep apnea (associated usually with overweight and obesity) greatly improve control of atrial fibrillation. When my patients adopt a whole food plant based no oil diet, they lose excess weight, lower blood pressure substantially, improve sleep apnea, and usually achieve far greater control of a variety of abnormal rhythms, including atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, and rhythms from the bottom chamber of the heart including premature ventricular contractions and ventricular tachycardia.

        I vigorously counsel my rhythm patients to adopt a whole food, plant based, no oil diet for rhythm control plus reduction in coronary disease/heart attacks, angina, cholesterol lowering, high blood pressure, diabetes, and improvement or reversal of most every chronic illness I treat.

      1. Dear Rhonda; You will find a complete explanation of angina at this link which can also help distinguish between angina and a heart attack: Because you’ve indicated you’ve been diagnosed with angina, I’m assuming you are working with your doctor who has checked that you did not have a “silent” heart attack causing heart damage in the past. However since angina can be a precursor to a future heart attack, you certainly should be eating a heart healthy whole food plant based diet. Rely on this site for encouragement and advice on how to improve your diet to keep your cardiovascular system functioning as well as possible. You can use the SEARCH box and type in Heart health for more information. This is especially important to you since your body is trying to give you a warning!

  2. Hi, I have a question about a topic that is mostly unrelated to this video but which is recurring in many NutritionFacts videos.

    I have been trying to cut out animal products out of my diet because of all the health benefits. However I find myself going back to eating meat sometimes because I just like the taste and texture so much. I tried tofu, TVP, seitan to replace it but it is just not comparable. So far, a lot of vegan food I’ve eaten has been kind of bland and unsatisfying, while I really love meat.

    Anyway, do you think that there is a safe amount of meat to eat? Is it really detrimental to eat meat on only one day a month or so compared to never eating meat ever?

    1. Your biome has different bacteria that digest what you eat and their survival may well feed your craving. If you give yourself several months without any animal products you may reduce the craving because you have knocked down that biome to the point where it doesn’t raise it’s little bacterial head. That being said, one of my favorite quotes comes from the author of the Blue Zone books, Dan Buettner. He said when he was on the Bill Maher show, “Treat animal products as if you are being exposed to radiation and determine just how much exposure you want.”

      The dead things do smell good when you’re driving past a restaurant that has a big grill don’t they though? So at those times, you could wonder just how your pet cat or dog would smell on a grill as well. It is odd that some animals are okay to eat and other ones aren’t, isn’t it?

      1. Not really looking for a moral lecture. I’ve heard all the arguments for veganism. Radiation is hardly comparable to meat. It has nutritional value and is enjoyable, unlike radiation, but has medical drawbacks.

        It’s also not about cravings. I don’t crave meat. I just miss the taste and texture. I know the difference between craving something and just liking something. If that were the case I’d just add whatever nutrients I’m craving. I make sure that all my nutritional requirements are satisfied with cronometer.

        I was hoping for a response from a health point of view.

          1. Neither will eating meat regularly kill me instantly. I’m also young so not at risk for many things yet. More thinking about a possible reduction of lifespan later.

            1. It sounds like you have your answer?

              When I first came to I was still eating meat a few times per week. After so much informations on the negative aspects of meat I just decided to stop eating the poison. (With some encouraging words from my friends.)

              1. I would love to see a page some day on NF where people can post before and after lab test results for cholesterol, BP, glucose, and triglycerides and maybe weight too. I was an ill informed vegetarian/vegan for way too many years. About 12 years ago I cleaned up my act, went strictly vegan, stopped eating junk food. I’m 5’9″ and weighed 176. Just by dumping the junk and dairy, and starting moderate exercise, I quickly fell to my college weight 137, a 40 pound drop. I lost it so fast that people at work thought of doing an intervention for me. hahaha. I said, do you see how much I eat for lunch? I’m not anorexic.

                Anyway, I really just meant to congratulate you and to thumbs up “ friends.”
                Mark G

            2. Drema, I’ve read your recent posts and you have a very good set of questions. You like the taste and texture of meat, which is very understandable. I agree with Thea that you should find a good Vegan cookbook. The one I chose first was “Isa Does It”, (available via Amazon; and no, I don’t get any sort of kickback for this). She has a number of vegan recipes which taste a lot like meat, such as “Tofu-Mushroom Stroganoff”, and “New England Clam Chowder”. Those both taste a lot like their meat-based counterparts. The only slight concern I have about this cookbook is that she uses vegetable oil (especially olive oil) fairly liberally; I have cut back or cut out the oil content.
              I do agree with other commenters that it gets easier as you go. What helped me was just thinking of all the hormones and antibiotics and pesticides that are contained in most of the meat and dairy products you can buy. Also, you don’t have to give up everything at once. I kept eating fish and eggs for the first year and a half after I quit eating other meat. (However, I didn’t get big reductions in my cholesterol until I went completely vegan).
              If you are at all interested in global warming, and in the environmental impacts of the meat and dairy industry, it might help you to know that 21 to 50% of all greenhouse gas is directly or indirectly attributable to those industries. (Closer to 50%, from my reading).

              1. What I don’t understand is why there are not any good vegan restaurants where I live that are reasonably priced and accessible. I live in the CA SF Bay Area on the mid-peninsula where one would think there would be many choices for vegan, but the places I have gone are very expensive and really bad. They seem to me to be all about exploiting a market, not fulfilling a need for good healthy food.

                1. GREENS in Fort Mason, NOURISH on 6th Avenue and Clement, HERBIVORE Valencia Street (and other places), LOVING HUT (chain and cheap), CHA-YA, ANANDA FUARE. These are just a few vegan restaurants in San Francisco, some cheap, some fancy. Most cheap, in fact. Most restaurants in SF have vegan OPTIONS. You can even get a vegan bowl or burrito at CHIPOTLE, although they use a lot of salt.

                  1. Thank you, Sandy! Seems like there could be an opportunity for some enterprising person to come up with a web-based list of good vegan restaurants (and grocery stores?) around the country.

                    1. Dr. Jon: Great idea! And one already shared by others. Check out: Happy Cow

                      I don’t know if they have grocery stores or not (I haven’t spent a lot of time on the site as I already know what is available in my area), but I know lots of people use the site and use it for finding restaurants. And it can be very helpful when traveling.

                    2. No need to repeat what’s already there! Simply Google “vegan restaurants in____” and you will get a list. Also YELP has the same with reviews.

                    3. Sandy (and Thea) — Thank you. I am showing my age. I sometimes forget how simple it is to find out the answer to virtually any question via Google.

                    4. “HappyCow”, isn’t that quite a mis-nomer for the Millions of Cows and many other Animals who are on their way to the Slaughterhouse to satisfy the “cravings” of those who must have their Big Macs etc., regardless that it is made from Murder?

                2. I quit eating out when I lost 110 pounds during the process I found it was too difficult because of the social cues to eat what they want us to eat. If I eat out now, Taco Bell “Taco Salad” with no meat and extra beans is what I get. If I were pure, I would ask for them not to put the teaspoon of cheese and sour cream (they are not generous). Traveling is not easy.

                3. I lived on the lower peninsula (MP) for 15 years and last year moved to Berkeley and I share your opinion. There are more vegan restaurants here, but they are just like what you describe. Overcooked veggies and food in a pool of oil. In addition to not tasting good, they are loaded with oil, and as soon as you say you’re vegan people lump you in as gluten intolerant.

                  One place I asked if their pasta was whole wheat and free of eggs. She immediately started listing all of their gluten free desserts. I said I don’t eat desserts but I do eat wheat and repeated my question. This repeated two more times. Finally she paused and said. Oh, wait, you eat wheat. This is an extreme example, but I run into this kind of thing all the time. Vegan? No problem, here are all the oil-laden foods and high fat & high sugar desserts we offer. It’s crazy.

                4. I agree the vegan specialty restaurants are a poor value. I live in the East Bay and eat 96% plant-based. I am not a strict vegan because studies to date of Seventh Day Adventist pescatareans and Okinawan centarians eating 96% plant based show both groups live longer than strict vegans. 96% plant-based allows me to eat a much wider variety of foods while still keeping my fat intake and cholesterol very low. I often eat out at economical Chinese restaurants and order the stir fried tofu or black bean vegetable dishes. Chipolte has both mixed vegetable and sofrito butrrito choices at low prices. Indian restaurants near me offer economical lunch buffets and night time Thali dishes which are vegetarian, but with some dishes containing very small amounts of dairy. I hope that helps.

                5. Vietnamese cuisine is a good alternative. Look for a Tofu House or Vietnamese Bakery. You can get great sandwiches and spring rolls with homemade tofu, but it will not be organic. It will also have soymilk that can be straight milk or sweetened and flavored with pandan leaves (I think) and it is fricken addictive.
                  I am surprised to hear that the Bay Area is lacking in restaurants that are vegan, I expect to have to search for vegan on a menu here in New Mexico. It’s Mayberry in every way.

            3. Drema, your dilemma is an extraordinarily important one. From your description, I will assume that you are in your late 20s. When I was in my 20s I was immortal. And that attitude can readily persist well into the 30s and 40s. Then we must make adjustments or go into denial about aging.

              This was one of the good parts of my developing t1 diabetes. I started to become more and more aware of the associated hazards (such as waking up with a paramedic on my chest trying to keep me from hurting myself from spasms from insulin shock). Still I well remember being immortal and always being able to do things right in the “future.” Then I developed psoriatic arthritis and had to change my diet to avoid supressing my immune system with drugs. As I read more and more, first here then elsewhere, I became more and more aware of the benefits of a plant based diet and the dangers of the animal products to the point where I now have an actual revulsion reaction to the idea of eating any animal product.
              Oh it probably helped that I watched my sister die with colon cancer, my father die with stomach cancer, my mother in law and father inlaw die from lung cancer and we all have had growing autoimmune issues with each passing year. So I understand that I have had some severe provocations that have actually helped me.

              So back to your dilemma; first the high protein needs are a common myth. I do strength training daily and run daily. Then I go to work and then I dance.(OK I don’t dance every day>) I probably consume at least 30 to 50% less protein than I once did and there has been no ill effect. It is almost impossible to get too little protein without a severely calorie restricted diet.

              My recommendation is to keep studying nutrition and the culinary arts. It does not need to be in a formal sense but ya gotta keep reading. Seems like you already do this though. Faux meats such as tofurky and others can help. They aren’t the healthiest but they are significantly better than meat so I use it. Just keep in mind that over time you become more and more vulnerable to the problems of animal eating. I now console myself with the hope of reversing those effects I accumlulated over
              the years. My success will never be complete so now is so much better.

              1. Yeah, I know that there is still risk even in my twenties. I’m 29 years old. That is also part of why I wanted to start going with a plant based diet. I talked about protein intake below in a response to Thea.

                It seems that, for optimal muscle growth and maintenance, you do need a lot of protein, according to the research. Thea gave a link that lists research on this:
                The article cites research that says that athletes need 1.6/1.7 grams per kg of bodyweight. That’d come down to around 150 grams for me. I talked a bit about it in a response to Thea below.

                But I’m not convinced that it’s just a myth that people that exercise a lot don’t need a lot of protein. There’s legit research that says otherwise.

                1. You might want to google vegan body builders or look at some of Rip Esselstin’s short little videos on youotube. I don’t think you’ll need more muscle than that. You might also listen to a few of Dr McDougall’s youtube videos or search his site regarding protein and see what he has to say about excess protein and the myth of protein deficiency. Too much protein robs our bodies of calcium (weakening out bones) and put excess stress on our kidneys. You’re lucky that it’s so much easier now to get info than when I was your age (I’m 60). But you still have to figure out the right from the wrong info. And a lot of the historical stuff is just dead wrong. Good luck!
                  Mark G

                2. Drema,
                  I would also check out a bunch of different mushrooms. They have a texture like meat, and they are very good for you. Check out Dr. G videos on them.

            4. Drema, I applaud to your decision to try to get of animal products, and everybody knows how not easy it actually is.
              From health point of view, almost everybody will say how much energy they get, how light they feel, how the sleep improves , how the constipation goes away , how many many health conditions resolve – gout, gall bladder problems, indigestion, smelly breath – and so on! Everything is true ! But if you are not ready and still find arguments agains it – it is really hard to convince you. I think the best advice – give it a try for 21 days ( Dr.BArnard 21 – day kick start program ) and you see how the taste for meat is fading away. It is actually addiction – through many chemical ways.
              You also mentioned that you still young – well Dr.Mcdougal got a stroke at age of 19 !!! People are dying from aneurism at age of 30 in their sleep or the same with heart attacks. Unfortunately, your age is not going to guarantee to be heart attack proof.
              Even one badly cooked burger patty can kill – and it did – 3-yr old children died as far I remember some articles. I personally had twin girls patients who got food poisoning from cheeseburger and one of them died at age of 21 due to initially organ failure and onset of terrible type 1 diabetes due to tis infection. Very sad – so you decide what fits your lifestyle and health issues and convince yourself.

              1. People who are young and thinking about their demise may also want to consider the higher rate of infertility linked to poor nutrition. I was a hospital chaplain for 11 years. Infertility happens for some people when they are 13 years old, or 22 years old. High FSH is common with poor nutrition and high stress. Women on average are pretty young when they have hysterectomies. Women are supposed to have periods that are pink in the toilet and no clots. No one tells this to women. Cramps also improve with a plant based diet as long as vinegars, yeasts, molds and caffeinated foods/beverages are no longer used. I wrote the book Fertile Prayers: Daily Fertile Prayers (Authorhouse) and I have an article about yeast infections, including research on a blog I wrote when I was an adjunct faculty member at Mercer University.

            5. Tastes for food do change over time, especially if you cut out those animal foods and oils totally for a few weeks. I may be wrong, but it sounds to me like you’re trying to eat things as a substitute for meat instead of eating plant based for its’ own delicious flavors. What I’m saying is, meat substitutes usually don’t taste very good and would likely be disappointing. I do better just enjoying the flavors of beans, grains, veggies and fruits.

              There are lots of bloggers out there developing recipes for plant based meals. Some use oils, so you learn to use water or veggie broth instead. Google plant based whole food recipes and you’ll find some delicious resources.

            6. Drema, I would choose one or two kinds of meat that are healthier and that you like the most. I gave up eating beef 30 years ago. The kinds I liked the most were roast beef and flank steak. I don’t want to eat them, but if for some reason I had to, that is what I would eat. Maybe wild salmon from Alaska?

          2. yet that is what you say, and when i might call you on it you delete my posts.
            you are a major a-hole with no point to your life but these pathetic posts.

          3. Here is what you said…

            >> You need animal products for cancer to grow in your system.

            Is that the equivalent of saying that vegans will never get cancer, because then …

            you made a statement that vegans never get cancer,

            then when I called you on it, you deleted my post, and yours and

            sent me a nasty smart reply, which you also deleted.

            fuck you.

            1. Brux I don’t believe you meant to say this to me. I am not sure who made that comment but either way yikes on your response!

        1. It’s not a moral lecture, I’m sorry if you took it as such.

          Meat and other animal products are not good for you, they cause many diseases. You need animal products for cancer to grow in your system. You need animal products to get diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimers, and you need them to harden your arteries.

          I thought you were looking to diminish your cravings and I was just offering some ideas.

          It’s funny that you said that radiation is hardly comparable to meat because that is what Bill Maher said. It was a knee jerk response on his part because he just couldn’t believe it is that bad for us. But he and you are both wrong. Meat is that bad for you.

          You said, “Radiation is hardly comparable to meat. It has nutritional value and is enjoyable, unlike radiation”

          We use radiation everyday in medial settings and it has greater use than animal products. The only thing that meat can be said to do is fulfill you desire to taste it. It comes at a cost to your health and to our environment.

          I will give you a comment from another author, Dr. Colin Campbell, “If you must eat meat, then use it as a condiment and minimize your intake.”

          Is that better?

          1. >> You need animal products for cancer to grow in your system.

            Is that the equivalent of saying that vegans will never get cancer, because then we all know what the truth value of your preaching is?

              1. Remember to check those IP addresses volunteers! Make sure you aren’t talking to just one soul when they are pretending to be several.
                And you remember the RICHO Act, Brux.

              2. Here is what WFPBrunner did …

                >> You need animal products for cancer to grow in your system.

                Is that the equivalent of saying that vegans will never get cancer, because then …

                He made the statement that vegans never get cancer,

                then when I called him on it, he deleted my post, and his own and

                sent me a nasty smart reply, which he also deleted.

                that is what this site is all about.

            1. Today, AICR advocates a predominantly plant-based diet for lower cancer risk because of the great work Dr. Campbell and just a few other visionaries began twenty-five years ago.” —MARILYN GENTRY, President American Institute for Cancer Research

              This is at the beginning of The China Study by Dr. Campbell. How many quotes do you want me to find, Brux?

            2. I don’t believe that anyone has implied that vegans will never get cancer. We know that some cancers are caused by viruses: HPV and anal, vaginal, throat cancer; Hepatitis C and liver cancer. New research is now making the connection between breast cancer and Bovine Leukemia Virus found in cows/milk. But we do know that limiting animal protein intake can reduce our body’s ability to grow cancer, The research is clear on that.
              I don’t think anyone is preaching here. Many if not most people on this site are simply doing their best to live a healthy life, to their individual ability, and share what they can to help others. The science offered on this site helps all of us make informed decisions about how to do that. I don’t think its any more complicated than that.

          2. Every time we go out in the sun we made vitamin D. Thank you radiation. Is that were “looking radiant” comes from? Probably not. ;-)
            Mark G

        2. Hi Drema-
          Not to speak for 2tsaybow, but what I thought he meant, and what I would have said, is that your desire for meat will likely change over time as your gut biome changes, and reduces cravings for more of what you were eating and goes for what you are now eating. And that it might get to a point where just the smell of it makes you sick (this actually happened to me). Also, mental attitude influences pleasure. So negative associations can help.

          Another point of caution that I would offer (having eaten a LOT of processed-soy products like hotdogs, lunch meats, etc) is that textured soy protein isolate has been shown to be as harmful as meat and maybe even more so. Dr Greger has some videos on this and Dr McDougall speaks about it also if you search on his site.

          What I found to be helpful for myself was to not go for things like imitation burgers, but to eat things like garden patties made of smashed plants (potatoes, beans, carrots, onions, mushrooms, etc. and your favorite spices) There are lots of recipes on youtube. Also really good is either portabello mushrooms (or brown crimini mushroom which are just baby portabellos). Just cook them up in the microwave with a tiny bit of water to moisten them, pour them on a whole wheat or Engine 2 brand burger bun, top with lettuce, mustard*, onions, etc and enjoy. If you like a cheese flavor, There is an organic nutritional yeast with no additives (including no synthetic vitamins) that you can buy on amazon. I love it. It’s something like Siri brand or something close to that.

          Good luck with your transition. I’m sure it will work out fine.
          Mark G
          *I get Whole Foods Market brand of organic mustard: apple cider vinegar (acv), mustard seed, turmeric, and other spices. And they have various flavors. Dr Greger says he tries to sneak acv into his family’s meal every chance he gets. This is one way to do it. Thought I’d mention it as a tip, if you didn’t know.

        3. “Not really looking for a moral lecture. I’ve heard all the arguments for veganism.”

          The holocaust is a moral argument too. As long as you are not interested, you could use ear plugs and make your own stories and live happy in a world of bloody zombies. Who cares.

        4. I stayed totally away from meat for a few weeks and after my system cleared….any kind of meat simply added to a stew smelled rotten…this was CAFO chicken and wild caught salmon….both.

          I notice that a lot of meat is smothered in spices.

          I think that once your system has cleared “meat”…you will notice the difference. Now I need to learn to stay away from the dairy…cheese and yogurt.

          Meat basically has a lower vibratory nature.

      2. My issue is not meat. My issue is sugar/fat laden chocolate hyped every Christmas, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Halloween. One bite and that is all I want to eat. Forget about all the green and healthy veggies. I lost 110 pounds and now I have gained 80 pounds back struggling with saying no and losing. I know I need magnesium. It helps. The marketing of the chocolate is what is the hardest for me. I am a chocolate addict who eats too much too often and I know it is my ratiation/Achilles’ heel. Do you know anything I can do to stop chocolate?

        1. You surely need to add a lot of fresh and dried fruits in your diet not greens that taste like crap, need sweet things and ripe and dried fruits are perfect and wont make you fat + we have a frugivore digestive system like a recent nutritionfacts video showed.
          Every kids and a lot of adults love ice cream that is just a ripe fruit imitation, not a coincidence.

          1. I am allergic to mold/yeast and anything that feeds mold/yeast. Dried fruits can kill me. Eating fruits high in sugar causes me to bloat and want to eat a dozen doughnuts. I wish you knew more. You don’t know enough to help me. In fact, the guy who helped me most is Robert O. Young. Even Doug Kaufman included cream cheese on his plan. I couldn’t eat a teaspoon. I had to eat 16 ounces of it because of the reaction to it that I had. Vitamins with yeast, and B vitamins are many times made with yeast, will cause me to lose my voice and cough a lot. ER visits have been common in my life when I ate incorrectly. A cardiologist who I at one time considered a friend told me I could eat chocolate (fermented) and anything as long as I weighed my food and only ate 32 ounces a day of food. He didn’t know enough. I am finally old enough to understand you have never tasted sweet snow peas, sweet onions, sweet mints, and never sweet kudzu. You have never tasted the organic food from your yard/garden. Not yet, anyway.

            1. Yikes! I didn’t realize your had allergies! I deleted my comment from yesterday because I didn’t want to encourage you to eat even one bite of anything that would make you sick. Those brightly colored chocolate displays during holidays throughout the year must make it really tough for you. Steer clear of what makes you sick and focus on what makes you well. If you think you have a magnesium deficiency, you might try some magnesium oil or gel on your skin. (But remember, just a little bit on a few square inches of skin — look up the side effects of too much magnesium online.)

              1. HOW to give up chocolate? Find another “comfort food”. Potatoes work pretty good for me. Don’t add any fat. Just take leftover baked potatoes and slice in half lengthwise. (Smaller potatoes like those little Yukon Golds work best but remember to bake them first.) Add some salt and pepper and place halved potatoes under a broiler till nicely browned. I pick them up with my fingers and dip them in ketchup. If you can’t have ketchup, some fresh homemade salsa would be good. I’ve even added hot, mashed pinto beans.

                1. Chocolate is sweet so need a healthier sweet food to give up this addiction, potatoes wont do it, its starch, need ripe sweet fruits obviously and guess what its best food by taste and for health for humans. ;D
                  Dr. McDougall crave chocolate/candy/sweet foods for a reason…

            2. It seems your body cries for carbs if you want a lot of doughnuts and it seems you fear them from fresh ripe fruits(ripe is important, not a random unripe yellow banana) for some reasons which is best and most attracting food for humans, thats too bad…

              I did eat all these vegetables foods, i was talking more about leafy greens but still most vegetables taste damn bland and not sweet enough(because they lack simple carbs) compared to the best food for humans, ripe fruits ideally tropical fruits like mangoes, papaya, especially when your diet is based on them which is ideal~

              Ever tried water fasting to heal all these weird things that are probably digestive problems? it seems this need some rest and you wont get “allergic” reactions if you dont eat…

              1. Yes I have tried water and green drink fasting. Leafy greens like horseradish are bland? Sugars make me want to binge. I cannot drink even a little orange juice. What you describe with sugar makes me think what you eat is not for me. If you weigh your food and only eat 908 gr a day, you will not overeat. 32 ounces in American weight.

                1. It is normal to crave carbs and binge on them temporarily since you seems to avoid them since a long time, thats our first and best physiological fuel especially simple carbs like in fruits, not fat and even worse protein, forget juice if you want satisfaction…

                  1. I will eat more low sugar fruits. Thanks for the suggestion! I am going to take that suggestion seriously. I do eat a variety of foods. I do weigh my food before I eat it so I do not eat more than 32 ounces of food a day. I never lose weight if I eat fruits.

                  2. Another reason is emotional. My parents died. Every holiday is a reminder. I tried weighing food and eating 32 ounces of food a day and using a lot of fruit every day. Fruit is a gateway for chocolate and coffee for me. I crave the doughnuts, the chocolate, the coffee if I have high sugar fruits. For me and many, many, people high sugar fruits are not healthy or make us healthy.

                    1. High carbs food is not that good for many peoples because they eat too much fat(above 15-20% of caloric intake) which is bad for insulin and glycemia, thats simple~

                    2. Yeah nothing against eating a lot of sweet fruits and meals of fruits, its perfect food, it shouldnt be a desert or snack, high carbs, high nutrients/water, very low fat, frugivore digestive system like bonobos who eat tons of them, all ripe fruits are alkalinizing.

                    3. Diabetics cannot eat all fruits. High sugar fruits are dangerous for people with any issues for blood sugar. It is not a perfect food and will kill people who have cancer, diabetes, and many other health issues.Julot, you don’t know enough.

                    4. I was borderline type 2 and 3 years ago started having a smoothie at every breakfast that had either. blueberries, strawberries, mango, pineapple, dark sweet cherries or combination of more than one. My health, glucose, arthritis, have continued to improve, lost 20 pounds. I am 82, 152 lb, 5ft 7in.

                    5. He uses volume. The accurate way to discover what is the correct size is weight. He did mention grams in one study. There is no long term studies of 10 servings or 20 servings of fruit a day. No mention of weight for these servings. No mention of problems other than overly large bowel movements.

                2. We are not sensed to weigh our food to be healthy normally especially on a low fat whole plant food based diet with a lot of fruits to satisfy our natural sweet tooth.

        2. You have unfortunately noticed what happens with the unique combination of fat, sugar and salt – your tastebuds get hijacked! I find it almost impossible for myself, and many of my clients, to eat “just one”. I have chosen to avoid eating mass produced candy (which I used to eat in abundance) because of this. I do allow myself a special indulgence from time to time, like Dr G suggests, make the calories really matter and get as great a piece of chocolate as possible and savor every bite. Have you tried the practice of Mindful Eating? It can really work well!

        3. Years ago I was a chocoholic and tried to quit cold turkey. I was told that if I had date pieces or something sweet in the house it would help stop the chocolate cravings when I had the urge. But it didn’t. In fact, I ate everything in the house until I would finally get in the car, drive to the store and have just one bite of chocolate and then be done.

          Here’s what finally worked for me.
          – I tapered off little by little.
          – I ate only high quality organic chocolate with very high dark chocolate content (to make it as healthy as I could)
          – I ate a small pieces and waited a few mins. I would stop when the craving stopped.
          – I would try to go a little longer between cravings each time and to use less to stop the cravings each time.
          – When I got to a certain point I was able to stop eating chocolate bars and instead got high quality non-fat organic cocoa power (Wonderslim brand on amazon). I’d mix a little bit with just enough water to moisten and just enough sugar to sweeten and eat that, and really savor it.

          Within a few months my cravings were gone and I was off chocolate. Now I can take a little cocoa or leave it. Mostly I leave it. I am totally indifferent to it. Oh, and one more important point. Be sure not to beat yourself up over the addiction. You’re not weak. You’re addicted, but that will change.

          Good luck!
          Mark G.

          1. For what it’s worth, Wondercocoa is Dutched (alkali treated) and its 99.7% caffeine-free claim seems equivalent to any cocoa, .23% caffeine. Also, I don’t see how they removed all the fat, ¾ gram per tablespoon, unless it’s by the magic of rounding down.
            Since its label gives 20 Calories per tablespoon and USDA gives 12, I think it’s the latter.

            1. DrGreger buys the dutch kind and says if you’re looking for the benefits of the cocoa powder you just need to use a little more. I looked at all brands I could find and this was the best. And as I explained, I only used it to break my addiction to chocolate, which is what I was recommending it for. And as I mentioned, now I pretty much never eat it. I think it served me well.

        4. You could try magnesium creams and oils to put on your skin. They’re supposed to be absorbed transdermally. Maybe you’re partly addicted to the reward/celebration aspect of chocolate. This treat is probably healthier than a factory candy bar: Put 1 TABLESPOON real maple syrup in a mug. Add 1 teaspoon organic raw cacao powder (from the health food store) and 1 teaspoon organic creamy peanut butter. Microwave for 5 seconds. Stir till smooth. Cut a ripe banana in half. then slice it lengthwise and stack the 4 pieces log-cabin-style on a fancy plate. Drizzle your chocolate sauce over the banana. Just taking a few seconds to cut the banana in special way makes it seem more like a celebration. Savor every bite. Note: Try to stay away from all chocolate when you’re feeling depressed. Try taking a walk instead. Then reward yourself with just one treat. Still depressed? Maybe your walk was too short. Try a longer walk. If you live in a city and can find a way to walk in nature, all the better.

        5. I put unsweetened cocoa powder with almond milk and it’s delicious. It is rich and chocolatey, but not particularly sweet. It also doesn’t cause cancer or diabetes. I would try that.

          1. How do you know it doesn’t cause cancer or diabetes? Is it fermented? I read in several places that all chocolate is fermented. I used to use carob. I happen to want the shiny package that the milk chocolate comes in and to have the sugar. To have almond milk and cocoa powder, even with stevia, might be a gateway for me. Some people cannot eat chocolate, and I am one of them I do believe.

            1. It doesn’t have sugar in it, which leads to both diabetes and cancer. Yes, chocolate is fermented before you ever get it. I’m sorry that it’s such a challenge. Happy eating.

              1. The challenge is the marketing and the lie that it doesn’t cause cancer or diabetes without the sugar as though this might be the only bad thing in the world. Contraindications matter. Contraindications are difficult to find for chocolate, vinegar and coffee.

              2. Chocolate is very rich in fat(and its not whole plant fat so its much worse) which lead to insulin problems on the long term and diabetes eventually…its worse with sugar of course.

                1. This is just cocoa. Not cocoa butter, not chocolate, with sugar, etc. in it. I think you’d be surprised at the studies on the positive effects of cocoa without sugar in it. I’ve heard from many of the leading nutrition doctors (like 5 of them) that without sugar, it is clearly good for you. They ask for at least 70% cacao-this is 100%. It’s the only ingredient.

                    1. I’ve said my piece. Find someone else to argue with. I’ve seen the videos and we disagree. You are not my mom.

            1. That’s what my wife says about vampires. I told her I couldn’t do much for that. Explains the success of “Twilight”, etc. :)

            1. I don’t understand why you are prohibiting me from saying what causes cancer. Sugar causes cancer. There. I just said it, so apparently I can say it.
              John S

        6. Me too, sugar was my radiation. I know not to buy any chocolate bars or chocolate covered nuts because I will eat them till they are gone.
          Cocoa Powder is my crutch. Remember cocoa=good; chocolate with fat=bad.

          One trick is that I put cocoa powder on almonds. I toast my almonds slowly in a skillet and then pour a mixture of Erythritol and water (2 or 3 tablespoons to 1/4 cup water) over the almonds and stir that down until it’s almost cooked off and then I put the almonds in a bowl or tray and throw a couple of tablespoons of cocoa on the almonds. It sticks to the almonds and makes what I call “Poohy Almonds.” Everyone says they’re pretty good, and since I will eat the whole bowl if I’m by myself, I think they’re pretty good too.

          I also add the cocoa powder to my smoothie and if I get a craving at night and I’m too lazy to cook, I throw cocoa on frozen blueberries and eat that. For some reason I it’s sweet enough for me but if it’s not for you then put some Erythritol on them too.

          Hope that helps!

        7. I too am a chocoholic. I say you have to go cold turkey and never look back. There is no such thing as moderation for people with an addiction. No one ever tells a smoker to have cigarettes in moderation or an alcoholic to have alcohol in moderation. Perhaps there are people out there who can have one piece of chocolate and be satisfied. I’m not that person and from the sound of it you’re not either.

    2. Drema do you cook? I can’t say that I agree with you about plants being bland and for me WFPB is very satisfying. I would recommend finding a cookbook of the kinds of foods you like to eat. But tofu, seitan etc isn’t the same so forget about that. The farther you get away from eating meat the easier it becomes.

    3. Drema: If vegan food is tasting bland, I say it is time to find some new cookbooks! Vegan food is as tasty and spicy as you want it to be.
      Are you really only having meat once a month? If so, then I would say whether that amount of meat is harmful to you or not depends on your situation. There are many people who dramatically cut back on their animal products at one point who report that their health problems did not fully clear up until they got rid of the animal products 100%. That hints that for some people, even small amounts of animal products can be harmful, perhaps in the context of a body that dealt with larger amounts of animal products for many years prior. Also, in some of the videos on this site, you will see that there were some measures or studies where there was no amount of animal product where you could not get even better health returns if you ate less.
      But having said that, I think the general consensus is that for many people, eating a tiny amount of animal products is not going to be a health problem. The problem for many people is that having meat every month makes it difficult to impossible to lose the taste/texture for meat, making it harder to stick to a healthy diet and often quickly becoming a slippery slope where more and more meat slips in over time. If you don’t think you are one of those people and if you think you are generally a very healthy person, then I would guess that eating a small amount of meat once a month would not be a problem for you.

      1. Maybe my sense of taste just needs to change? By depressingly eating food that I barely enjoy for a few months. I come from a background of eating pretty much half or more of my calories as meat for a decade. Meat has always been my favorite kind of food.

        I’ve gone through many vegan recipe websites. Most of the time I don’t really like what I see and even if I do, the recipe is complicated and I have to stock a lot of (expensive) ingredients to make them and then spend an hour preparing food. My sense of vegan cuisine is that you have to spend a lot of time on meals to make something that is not completely bland and boring.

        My biggest problem is protein though. I’m a tall and heavy (not overweight) and I exercise a lot so I need lots of protein. Going vegan has disrupted my workout routine due to the dietary changes. Going with 1-1.2 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight I need about 110 grams of protein a day. With meat this is easy. 500 grams of chicken covers this easily. If I want to do it with beans I need to force over a kg of the bland stuff (~9 grams of protein per 100 grams of beans) down my throat. This also has a lot more calories than 500 grams of chicken (1100-1200). I tried doing some other stuff with beans like making hummus and mixing it with some vegetables, but didn’t like it. Other sources like bread and rice (which I’ve disliked my entire life) are even far worse in terms of protein per calorie ratio and I’d have to eat close to my daily allowance of calories to get the right amount of protein. I’ve noticed a lot of vegan bodybuilders using protein powder, but I would like to limit my diet to whole foods.

        1. Dreema: Thank you for the clarification. That helps me to see where you are coming from. And now we have much more interesting things to talk about in my opinion.

          I started saying, “No! No!” when I read this sentence: “By depressingly eating food that I barely enjoy for a few months.” I’m a huge advocate of people really enjoying their food. There may need to be 3 weeks of adjustment if you are trying to cut out salt or something, but in general, most people are able to find plant dishes that they honestly enjoy.

          I think it is very helpful to break out the distinction between taste and texture. If you boiled meat in water to cook it and then tried to eat it just like that – without any seasonings or sauces at all, most people would think it tasted incredibly bland. That boiled meat would hardly taste like anything at all. So, I don’t think it is the taste you are missing. You can use meat seasonings like say teriyaki sauce or poultry seasoning on say soy curls (check them out! and get the “taste of meat.”

          What I really think is missing for you right now is the texture. I think that because of what I said about the taste of unseasoned meat and because of your helpful comment about how much meat has historically been part of your diet. I think you would miss the texture of meat less and less if you a) abstained from eating any of it (though Dr. Jon’s point about maybe weaning yourself over time is also a good one), and b) found super tasty and nice textured plant dishes. Some ideas of dishes to experiment with: Hearty vegan chilies. Whole grain pasta and vegetable dishes with soy curls, dried mushrooms, and/or a Gardein like product to give you an experience that is close to that “meaty” texture you are missing. Maybe don’t worry about transition foods like faux meats while you are trying to transition over. Also: Dense vegan casseroles. There is a book called Vegan Casseroles that I have used to feed omnivores who found the dishes delicious!

          As for how long it takes to cook the food: It can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. There are all sorts of vegan cookbooks that say something like, “In 30 Minutes…” I don’t like cooking much myself. There are all sorts of shortcuts. Jeff Novick has a DVD series called Fast Food. Get the first one in the series and learn how to make very tasty food in under 20 minutes (he says in 10 minutes, but I’ve never done it in 10 myself) that is healthy and super easy and makes enough food for easy leftovers to heat up the next day. Chef AJ once shared the idea of a baked sweet potato with beans and salsa poured all over it. I add mushrooms. It is an incredibly hearty and filling dish with very little work and lots of toothsome satisfaction for me. And you can use whatever salsa type appeals to you. There are so many brands and tastes that you can really mix it up and get different dishes just by changing the salsa.

          I love the protein comment because it allows me to share my favorite article for understanding protein needs. I really hope you will take a serious look at this page: Pay special attention to the charts. I agree that protein powders are not the best of ideas for the majority of people. However, if I were choosing between a say hemp based protein powder and meat, I’d go with the hemp based protein powder as the more healthy by far for a multitude of reasons: saturated fat, cholesterol, animal protein (with it’s link to cancer), and various contaminants to name a few.

          Hope that gives you some helpful ideas. I personally appreciate your interest in grappling with this issue. I hope you will keep at it until you find that magic combination that works for your life. I wish I had started when I was much younger. You are way ahead of most of us!

          1. Thanks, I’ll look into the recipe recommendations. I’ll think about cutting out meat entirely. It’d be a lot easier to do it if I enjoyed my replacement diet.

            I went to that protein site that you linked and for me the calculator recommends about 71 to 101 grams of protein because I’m active. If I weren’t active it says I would need about 47 grams. Later in that same article it cites research that shows that athletes may need between 1 and 2 g, like 1.6/1.7. This would be about 153 grams. That would come down to about 2 kg of beans.

            The article keeps saying that I can get my protein needs as long as I satisfy my daily caloric intake.

            Basically if I had a choice, my preferred diet would just be one large serving of steamed vegetables and the rest of my calories would be fruit like bananas, oranges, pears which I actually like. I punched in the numbers in cronometer and the protein amount does not even get up to the recommended sedentary protein amount of 47 grams even though I meet my daily recommended calories. It comes up to 32 grams.

            So that thing that many people keep saying, including that website, that “if you just eat enough calories per day you’ll get enough protein” is not true.

            Perhaps its better to just drink a protein shake every day then and get it over with? Never liked the idea of eating processed food, would much rather get everything from whole foods.

            1. Drema,

              You might also want to check out other websites such as: and as well as

              NutritionFacts is great for people who are looking to recover their health, but it is primarily focused on extremely low fat eating. As a vegan for over 25 years I don’t think that for a healthy young person like you transitioning that you need to eat low fat. I consistently eat 30% to 35% fat and I feel great. My blood work shows the same.

              As Jack Norris RD and Ginny Messina RD indicate, a lot of times when folks are craving meat or enjoy meat it is not always about the protein but about the fat content as most of the meat eaten by us is high in fat too. Anyway, check out those other sites and see if that helps.

            2. For flavor try spices: garlic, rosemary, oregano, winter savory, and also flavorful plants like dandelion, Alexander’s, mint, basil.

            3. Quick and easy whole foods protein shake: 1 cup Edensoy unsweetened (12 g protein) + 2 TB almond butter (7 g protein) or 1/4 cup hemp seeds (13 g protein). Add dates and/or banana for sweetness, and cocoa powder and vanilla extract for flavor. You can also freeze this mixture in an ice cream maker for a frozen treat.

        2. Drema, I’d recommend you take a look at the 300PoundVegan website. href=”.“>David Carter</a is an NFL player who become vegan a few years ago. He is a big guy, although he lost 60 pounds in ONE MONTH when he went from a traditional meat eating diet to a vegan! He recently spoke to my class at Arizona State University and his approach to eating enough to get bigger is really useful for bodybuilders, athletes, those who are focused on eating more protein. Have you experimented with a diet of .8 g/kg of protein? I wonder how you'd feel with a little less.
          You can concentrate on those foods with higher protein contents, like tofu, tempeh (which is delicious in a stir fry), as well as just edamame, the soy bean itself. One cup of edamame beans has 16 grams of protein. You can make a soup, throw in a cup of edamame, as well as another pulse type food (lentils, peas, chickpeas) and get a tremendous protein boost. Instead of protein powder in a smoothie, how about one made with soy milk (7 grams of protein per cup), some coconut water, and some silken soft tofu? You can get 14 grams of protein from 2/3 of a cup and the Silken Tofu has little taste, adds a nice texture, and is protein dense. With those two ingredients you've got 22 grams of protein, without counting the other delicious things you can add – almonds, almond or peanut butter, fresh or frozen fruit, even higher protein vegetables like kale, spinach, collards. Yum. I'm making myself hungry!

        3. WFPB simplified:
          NO: animal products, processed or SOS (salt, oil, sugar).
          HOW TO:
          1) Reset the old tastebuds; takes 3 to 6 months.
          2) The extra work and time that food preparation takes to avoid blandness by making sauces and dressings
          takes is easily cancelled by no greasy oily dishes, oven or kitchen to clean.
          3) The four point formula for each meal is:
          1) Starch: potato, sweet potato, rice, quinoa or starchy veg like corn, squash, chickpeas,
          2) Veg: All colours throughout the week
          3) NB – Sauce/dressing: Use blender/liquidiser often
          4) Dessert: sweet fruit

    4. This topic is a fraught one on this forum (in my opinion) because many people become vegan for reasons beyond health. With no intent to offend anyone, here are my thoughts.

      It is a fact that though there are a number of plant based traditional or ancestral cultures, none were/are vegan. Supplementation and/or fortification of food (for B12, at a minimum) is a modern phenomenon that makes a healthy, solely plant based diet possible. The amount of meat to meet the B12 need is minimal, but I think the B12 issue makes it a stretch to claim that eating any amount of animal product is harmful.

      However, as has been mentioned in comment sections previously here, there is also a difference between eating to heal (if one has CVD for instance) and eating as a healthy person. Dr Esselstyn is unapologetically extreme in his diet recommendations because his patients are at risk of dying. Dr Ornish treats a wider variety of patients and so offers a spectrum of diet guidelines depending on the health of the patient. The sicker the patient, the more plant based the diet. If you’re healthy Dr Ornish says, you can experiment.

      1. Thanks for your response. I do not think this is a good argument because humans used to get B12 from the Earth. B12 bacteria live in the soil, and that is also how animals get it. We just don’t get it with our vegetables anymore because our food is cleaned.

        1. Drema, just a suggestion but it sounds to me like you might benefit from “changing your current relationship with food”. In other words, to think in terms of eating to live, and not so much of an “event” in your life. In other words, just using your food to just “fuel the system”, rather than being an event in itself. What is surprising me is how much spare time I am gaining for other important things in my life when food isn’t a motivating factor other than the quality of that fuel. I now only want “Hi Test Fuel” with no additives for my body! Its a way of changing your relationship and the way you think about food.

          Coming from a family that was “Food/Meat Focused”, I watched both parents and a 1 year older brother die of diabetes at 52. Then I contracted the disease myself. The only thing that kept me from getting it earlier in life was my passion for Tennis 7 days a week. When I stopped doing that because of work demands, over the years I’ve since had a stroke, a heart attack, and now on meds up the ying yang. But now I’m just sick and tired of being sick and tired. And the role of food in my life needs to be revised, or I likely won’t be alive too much longer. Hell, I’m writing this for you, as well as for myself. Wish me luck too,….but I don’t believe I’ll need luck now. That insulin injection needle 3X’s everyday is enough. Hope this helps. Thanks for listening.

          1. Sigh. What a journey. I’m sorry for your suffering, but so very glad that you are finding a way that works for you. Regaining your life through plant based diet and exercise is thrilling. I wish you the best, and thank you for your honest and open post. Here’s to being less sick and not tired!

      2. Well said, this is a finer point that never really gets said here because maybe of the enthusiasm of people who have gotten to a 100% vegan diet and think that everyone should do what they do.

      3. LWC, I’m afraid I’m going to have to take respectful issue with your statements:
        “It is a fact that though there are a number of plant based traditional or ancestral cultures, none were/are vegan,” If you are going to quote facts, please also cite your references. This is, afterall, a science-based site and discussion. Citing Dr. Campbell’s (P. Colin) research, there were and still are traditional vegan diets alive and well today. These are the exact diets that Dr. Campbell’s team found in China: their traditional diets that they have been eating for generations. Completely without meat, whole food, plant based. Vegan.
        Others have addressed the B12 issue so I won’t repeat that here.

        1. I am not aware of any vegan cultures– even in China. Vegetarian or near vegan, yes. My comment and opinion was based on my own reading and was certainly not intended to convince anyone to avoid veganism.

          As for the B12 issue, I didn’t answer Drema because, again, my point was not to argue against veganism, but I will comment here:

          I write now as the mother of a 19 year old daughter transitioning to veganism– with my full support. Eating dirty produce is not a safe, reliable, nor adequate source of B12. One of the reasons I read here and reference this site is that Dr Greger is direct and unequivocal regarding B12 and the need for vegans to supplement (or eat fortified food) to get it. It is easy, inexpensive and essential for vegans to do.

          1. Let me quote you: “”It is a fact that though there are a number of plant based traditional or ancestral cultures, none were/are vegan,” If it is a fact, please cite your resource.

            Just because you are not aware of a vegan culture does not mean there aren’t any.

            If your information was based on your reading, let me suggest that you read Dr. Campbell’s work cited above. His book synopsises his entire 30+ years of research at Virginia Tech, MIT and Cornell as well as director of The China Study. His book, The China Study, will explain to you the many varieties of dietary practices found in China some of which are vegan. He references all of his statements with the scientific research (facts) supporting his statements. Give it a read. If you’re helping your daughter transition you might find it extremely helpful to you both. Then read Esselstyne, Fuhrman, McDougall, Barnard.
            Dr. McDougall short video here on B12:

            Incidentally, . .even meat eaters can develop B12 deficiency. Nursing homes are well known to find the elderly with severe B12 deficiencies. When an elder person is thought to have dementia or alzheimers the first thing they check is the B12 level.
            Have fun!

        2. Hi GEBrand, refer to Jim Felder’s comment above please. He does a wonderful job of discussing Dr. Campbell’s work. Specifically, he states, “Professor Campbell in his study in rural China…No population studied consumed no animal foods, so the disease rates for a purely plant based diet couldn’t be directly determined.” He also goes on to make a wonderful explanation regarding those comments.

          Just wanted to clarify this, so that we all understand that it is important to understand the science behind our beliefs. Sometimes we get caught up in an idea that doesn’t align with our own and we lose sight. Additionally, demanding a scientific citation is not a means to getting a point across and demanding that everyone involved in the forum use a scientific citation creates a daunting atmosphere. We want to create an open atmosphere where individuals can come together from different backgrounds to discuss topics, even if those topics don’t match our own ideals. If in the context of that discussion a reference is needed, then that is a time to produce such a thing. The science is important, but we need to make sure we have a clear understanding of what it is saying. My best.

    5. Hi Drema
      I am 49 yrs old very active, healthy eater, drink a couple craft beers a week and non smoker, I had a 5 bypass last year and followed all the rules prior to it, healthy living is as much about your mental state as your diet and your physical health,
      Veganism is a choice more over for the moral ethical pursuit of vegans rather than the health benefits, I come from a non medical background which is an easy target for the defenders of anti animal protein ingestion but I would rather have an open un jaded agenda and give solid advice from which you ask.
      My diet consists of green leafy veg, carbs in the form of plant carbs and 1/3 lean protein, ( chicken breast/ Turkey breast), fatty meats or red meats I limit to 500g / week, all process foods i try to avoid.
      this was the suggestion from a highly qualified cardiothoracic surgeon and cardiologist, my sugars are plant based (fruits) and I eat as many red berry type fruits that are available, this is a great form of antioxidants too.
      exercise is a key to any healthy lifestyle, and as i pointed at the beginning mental health is vital, I have on good authority from a veru well respected dietitian that 1/3 portions of my diet ( 1/3 meat,including red meat 1/3 veg, 1/3 carbs) is a very healthy diet as long as exercise is included in your lifestyle, walking 30 mins a day etc.
      My suggestion would be eat what makes you feel good, understand your self and listen when you are not 100% sure
      good luck

    6. Professor Campbell in his study in rural China still found a highly significant correlation between the diseases of excess (heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc.) and animal food consumption for populations that even at the highest levels eat substantially lower amounts of animal foods than is common in developed countries. No population studied consumed no animal foods, so the disease rates for a purely plant based diet couldn’t be directly determined. But he did observe two things. One the trend line of the plot of disease rates versus percent of calories from animal foods never flattened out so there was no level below which further reduction in animal foods didn’t have a positive effect on health and two the trend line crossed the axes at the zero-zero.

      My two take-aways from that is that one minimum disease risk occurs with zero consumption of animal foods and two the disease risk from consuming animal foods isn’t binary. You aren’t going to suddenly jump to the current rates of heart disease if you have just the tiniest amounts of meat. Rather the amount of risk incurred is proportional to the amount of animal food consumed. Like 2tsaybow says, we all have to determine our tolerance for risk and make our dietary choices accordingly.

      1. Did you know that the Chinese have 500 million heads of Pork? I thought that was a mistake, that that was the Americans of Chinese ancestry here who have that much pork because America makes a lot of pork. I read the book. It said the Chinese eat less meat and have less disease. You have access to his study? The people who do not eat meat in China are very poor. There is no way to say the poor are healthier than the rich because they are not. I think eating less meat is healthy. It is not reasonable to think people will choose to eat less meat. Most people do so here in response to a mental illness, for which it might not be an effective treatment. Vitamins or Orthomolecular medicine might be the best one. Niacin treats mental illness. Many mental health doctors tell their patents not to eat foods containing Niacin, such as nuts, rice, cereal, and others. Milk as an allergy can cause mental health problems. To spite them, people should eat those their favorite foods and stop drinking milk.

        1. Poor or not, the portions of the country that don’t traditionally eat much meat have much lower rates of diseases that plague our country, namely heart disease, cancer, obesity and T2 diabetes as well as much lower rates of autoimmune diseases. The poor in China have much higher rates of infectious and parasitic diseases. They are also more susceptible to periods of malnutrition where they simply can’t get enough calories to eat or have to subsist on a very narrow range of foods that don’t give them all the nutrients they need.

          But the key correlation is that regardless of other health challenges that they might have, those who eat the lowest amounts of animal foods had the lowest rates of chronic diseases with rates of those diseases rising in proportion to the amount of animal foods in the diet.

          Also realize that this was the rural China of the 1980s. The 500 million head of pigs would be for today’s China, which is radically different food environment than China of 30 and 40 years ago. In fact there have been studies published that show that the rates of “western” diseases is skyrocketing in China in lockstep with the increasing amounts of animal foods. The correlation there is also remarkable.

        2. Campbell was studying the China of 30+ years ago. The China of today is radically different food environment. So even if that figure of 500 million pigs is correct, that doesn’t mean that is an indication of what Chinese as a whole, let alone rural Chinese of the 1980s were eating.

          The correlation was between those who ate less animal products and chronic western diseases. It was not between overall health and animal consumption. Campbell clearly noted that those populations who ate less meat also tended to be the poorest and suffered from much higher rates of infectious and parasitic diseases (diseases of poverty). They also tended to be in parts of the country that received less medical care than the wealthier parts of the country (just like our own country). So Campbell wasn’t saying that the poor were healthier than the rich in China.

          And why is it not reasonable for people to eat less meat? And what does not eating meat have to do with mental illness? I don’t see a majority of the people who post here and contributing their stories to other websites talking about going plant based to address their mental health issues. There are some, but not many. The vast majority of people are doing it for their physical health and/or to not partake in animal cruelty. That said many do report that they have much better mood and less depression and “brain fog”. So plant based diets are certainly better for the mind as well as the body.

    7. I’m happy with once per week. I enjoy the benefits of 5 or 6 days free of animal/processed products free every week. Once per day wouldn’t work for me. Once per day wouldn’t give your body much time to recover from the complications of meat eating. Once per day might keep your gut confused and from properly re-configuring itself for plant-based eating.

      Forget finding a “meat substitute” except maybe for transition. You will always know the difference and “pretending” isn’t that satisfactory. Once you make the leap, your gut will change and your brains will reflect your gut and you won’t find meat so attractive anymore. This happened to me after 49 years of daily AP consumption and being “good cook” with all things Southern. It only took 3 days for me to feel changes for the better, which gave me the motivation to stay AP free for a few weeks before adopting a 5/2 plan.

    8. On a personal note, we were like you. When my wife agreed to try a plant based diet her one stipulation was that she could still fix her Grandmother’s brisket recipe for Christmas. I can attest it is incredible and in fact is what moved me from vegetarian to meat eater when my wife and I first started dating. 5 years plant based and we have held to this, having meat in the house only once a year to make Christmas brisket. The first 4 years it was as good as I remember it being, but this last year after we finished my wife and I just looked at each other and when “Meh”. It was good, but nothing like as good as we remembered. We concluded it was the really high fat levels that used to be the big appeal but now is a big turn off. And the brisket certainly was not as good as the “beef” stew we make using Butler Soy Curls and dried porcini mushrooms which is just packed with umami flavor from the mushrooms and the firm chew of the soy curls, but none of the fat.

      So taste change and evolve, not overnight, but eventually.

      1. That beef stew sounds yummy – I recently purchased Butler Soy Curls but haven’t tried them yet. Do you have a certain recipe that you recommend?

        1. I use the “beef” stew recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s cookbook Isa Does It. I double the recipe and use a whole bag of soy curls and a small can of tomato paste. My wife doesn’t like fennel seed, so I skip that. But a nice addition to this recipe would be to cook mushrooms with the seasoning that traditionally goes in sausage (sage, fennel, marjoram/oregano, garlic, maybe pinch of cloves). Cook them until they are browned and chewy. Between the chewiness of the mushrooms and the seasonings and you will swear that there is sausage in the stew. I would stir them into individual bowls so the sausageness doesn’t get lost. The mushroom trick also works great for vegan “sausage” lasagne.

            1. Oh, if you use her recipe, I wouldn’t just toss the dried porcinis directly into the pot like the recipe calls for. Maybe I just got a sandy bunch of mushroom, but I don’t like grit in my food. So I soak the ounce of the porcini mushrooms (two ounces if you double the recipe) in a cup (or two) of hot water and then strain it through a coffee filter to get the grit out. Put both the strained mushroom broth and minced mushrooms into the pot. And I buy the porcini mushroom by the pound online (Amazon). They are way too expensive buying them by the little 1/2 ounce bags at the grocery. My double recipe would take $25 in dried mushrooms alone! On line I get them for about $2.50/ounce.

              And if you don’t have any Soy Curls, this recipe also is great with tofu that has been first frozen and then thawed and cut up into cubes (though I don’t see why they couldn’t be cut up then frozen then thawed). But either way, freezing tofu forces all the water into ice crystals that form little pockets throughout the tofu. When you thaw it the water drains away leaving basically a tofu sponge that is very chewy and like its appearance suggests immediately soaks up any liquid it is placed in. No need to marinade in advance.

      2. I LOVE this post, Jim! It shows how one can be successful with a major change through permission and boundary setting. Deciding what really mattered, this special once a year meal, and then honoring that commitment, allowed you and your wife to decide if it really mattered to eat the brisket. Your tastes changed, and your lack of rigidity with your approach permitted you to be open to a different outcome. Really nice story!
        I have to try some of those Butler Soy Curls, haven’t heard of them! Vegan meats have come a LONG way from a few years ago when much was just not very good.

        1. They are nice because what they provide is what the meat in most meat dishes provides and that is the texture and chew. Even with meat most of the flavor comes from all the herbs and seasonings you put in with the meat. If somebody doubts that invite them to eat a plain boiled chicken breast and then tell me that they would miss the flavor that comes from the meat.

          So I don’t look at them as vegan meat so much as just another path to the same overall pleasurable gastronomic experience, just without the artery and soul crushing ingredients.

        1. Lisa: I love soy curls. I think they have a texture similar to shredded chicken, and you can do so many things with them. As you found, there are restaurants that incorporate soy curls into dishes. But if you are interested, you can also buy the soy curls themselves to use in your own cooking. They are sold in grocery stores where I live, but you can also get them on Amazon. It’s always fun to have more options. Eating vegan has expanded my food adventure dramatically.

          Great post. I love NutritionFacts too!

        2. Butler Soy Curls are that wonderful exception to packaged food in that it only has a single ingredient, cooked, dried soy beans. Processed doesn’t get much less processed than that. They even recommend while you can keep them at room temp they last better if you refrigerate or freeze them. I am sure that they could have (and most food companies would have) just stuffed a bunch of preservatives in to keep it fresh on the shelf. So it is nice to see that they resisted temptation. Soy Curls in a crockpot with a homemade BBQ sauce for 8 hours makes just killer BBQ sandwiches. Just have to make sure to drain them really well before putting them in the crockpot to keep the results from being more like soup.

          And the 24 Carrots is only 7 miles from my old house! Sadly it is 2000 miles from my new house! :-( But my Dad and Sisters still live in the area, so I might have to give it a try when I am back to visit the Valley of Eternal Heat, I mean Valley of the Sun.

    9. Drema, I completely understand. I, too, loved the taste and especially the chew-factor of meat. After 7 years I still miss it at times and I use store-bought fake meats to keep me on a plant based track when the urge hits. Like you, I found a lot of it lacking overall but helped me out in a craving-pinch. I have found a very good product, Sweet Earth Chipotle Style Seitan – – that is pretty good. Put on a toasted bun with your favorite bbq sauce, thin sliced red onion, pickle, etc and it’s heaven. I’ve served this to heavy meat eaters who have really liked it.
      The trick is to find ways to flavor the food of course. But its also the texture and chewiness that is sometimes missing for me. I’ve been experimenting with some home made seitan and getting some really good results. Much better than what the stores offer. If there is a way for us to be in touch I’d gladly share recipes with you if you cook.
      Otherwise, my thinking on having meat one day a month is this: We know from the research that the body has an amazing ability to clear out the buildup of ich-factors over time. My opinion is that if eating meat once a month keeps you good the rest of the time, then you’re giving your body a 99% chance of keeping itself healthy. It’s better than not trying at all. I say cut yourself some slack and do the best you can. I fell off the wagon as I was changing my diet and I just got back on again at the next eating opportunity. And over time the meat craving has all but disappeared. I didn’t, and don’t, beat myself up if I’m less than perfect upon occasion. I try for 100% each day but accept the best that I can do today. But keep at it and feel good about what you’ve accomplished.

      1. Dr Greger says that when people tell him they can’t go vegan because they don’t want to give up X (pizza, burger, whatever) he replies: ‘Then don’t. Improve your diet as much as you can and get the benefits of that. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.’

        Dr. McDougall’s has observed that people seem to do best when they make a 100% switch.

        So those are the two views. People should choose what they think will work best for them.
        Mark G

        1. They aren’t really in conflict. The fear of the unknown is really what keeps most people on the sidelines. Getting their feet wet is all that it really takes for a lot of people. Once they come to understand that a plant based diet won’t suck all the joy and pleasure out of their lives, and in fact they feel so much better eating this way, then they can start to entertain moving towards 100% plant based. So encouraging those contemplating making a change to only go as far as they are comfortable while still encouraging them to keep pushing further will get a lot of people to make the switch when a message that the only way is to dive headfirst into the deep end and go immediately 100% will scare a lot of people and so they never try.

          The one exception to this I would say is folks with advanced disease, especially heart disease, T2 diabetes, PAD. A 30-day boot camp approach of going all in can make such an enormous and mind-blowingly rapid improvement in their conditions in as little as a week or two that they will clearly see their motivation to stick with the dietary changes. For these folks a gradual change won’t make such profound and easily detectable changes to their disease and so can be counterproductive. They might give up on it before the more gradual changes finally start to show noticeable effects on measurable an unmeasurable aspects of their disease.

          In the end though it is what the individual will do. Some folks are like me. I tend to be a person who dives in head first and so a complete and immediate switch appeals to me while for my wife the slow and cautious route worked best. I nearly queered the deal by trying to transition too fast.

          But for the long term I would agree that for long-term success for most people the closer to 100% folks can get the better. 90% becomes 85%, becomes 70%, becomes 50%, becomes Oh hell, why bother! And if not 100%, then clear demarcations where and where meat will and won’t be eaten. If not every being able to eat out again is a worry, then stay strictly plant based at home and only eat animal when eating out. Or like my wife, giving up on very special family traditions, so we eat a little turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving and brisket at Christmas.

        2. No pizza? why? you can do awesome vegan pizzas.

          Pizza doesn’t equal cheese.
          Go for whole or semiwhole base, top with your fav tomato sauce, oregano, red onions etc.

      2. Hi, hopefully you’ll still see this. I would love to see your seitan recipes and if you did anything to alter them to improve them I’d like to know as well.

    10. Hi Drema,

      I want to also agree with all the comments you have already received on this question. Again, don’t let the idea of perfection keep you from making healthy choices. If getting meat once a month is what you need to keep you on a whole-food, plant based diet the rest of the time then go ahead and have that meat. When you decide to have the meat, listen to the way your body feels. How full are you? Do you feel light and full, or heavy and full? Do you feel energized, do you feel groggy? How does your gut feel? How was that bowel movement the next day?

      I think that is one way you can start creating the change you want, to understand the way food makes you feel. A lot of heavy meat eaters are accustomed to that bloated heaviness that comes after a meal, whereas plant-based meals often provide us with a lighter feeling of satisfaction. You will find that you may start to slowly shy away form those heavier meals and crave the lighter option once you dig deeper into your bodies signals. Or you may be perfectly happy to get your meat once a month, which is okay as well.

    11. Have you ever tried to eat steak, or ground beef, or chicken without any seasoning? It’s very bland. If you are finding issues with bland vegan food it is up to you to season it. Tofu itself absorbs flavors very much , on it’s own it has very little taste.
      If places like Vegan Butchers or Gardein can make mock meats that come close to or match animal product textures and flavors, you can do the same at home.

    12. The actual number of vegetarians approaches zero upon any challenge. Yet so many have a milk allergy. The Greek Orthodox eat a vegan diet on Saint days, which are most days. They are unusual. If you are mostly a vegetarian, the amount you fast is extraordinary!

    13. If you’re eating meat once in a while and in small quantities then maybe you’re eating like the Blue Zones people or should try to eat like them..? The longest living groups on the planet… Check them out and the research on them? They eat little to no meat.. Those who do eat it in tiny quantities or on special occasions. A diet centred around plants though.. Which I guess would undo any negative impact of the meat/fish on their health..?

      Pretty sure Dr.John McDougall said in a video that he eats turkey maybe once a year to show people he’s not vegetarian (because you can be unhealthy and vegetarian with all that dairy/fish/eggs..) haha or something like that.

      Here’s some great recipes btw if you want ideas for delicious plant based meals! (Physician’s committee for responsible medicine)

  3. I have recently watched some presentations from Dr Terry Wahls about her cure for MS. She maintains that the myelin sheath is a fat based tissue so we need cholesterol to support it. If this is so, how can we support our hearts and myelin at the same time? Comments anyone?

    1. I read her stuff originally about 6 years ago. She has changed her tune. It used to be about the veggies and stopping the junk with no mention of cholesterol. Also some advise about an electrical stimulation machine she used in therapy. (Which is not accurate also–there is no such data to suggest e-stim is a cure for MS)

    2. Our bodies make all the cholesterol we need. This statement is from the result of Dr McDougall’s MS study:

      “…Disease activity, as reflected by “enhancing lesions” found on MRI brain tests, is positively associated with both LDL and total cholesterol levels. Furthermore, research shows that more rapid disease progression and worsening disability is found in patients with higher LDL and total cholesterol levels.”

    3. Cholesterol is absolutely essential to human health. So essential in fact that your body will make every single bit of it it needs and never leave to chance that enough would be present in the diet. The amount of cholesterol required for human health is very low. LDL in newborns and in wild chimps and gorillas runs less than 70 mg/dl. People with LDL as low as 20-30 mg/dl live perfectly healthy lives.

      The trouble is that the body’s mechanism for making cholesterol is sensitive to excess fat and especially saturated fat in the diet. Excess fat stimulates the body to make too much cholesterol. Also dietary cholesterol is readily absorbed into the blood, so after a meal with cholesterol the blood cholesterol level shoots up. After 7-8 hours the body is able to bring the cholesterol back to the liver where it is broken down, so blood cholesterol returns to baseline after this time (which is usually when cholesterol levels are measured)

      Summary: The body makes all the cholesterol it needs. The amount required is lower than people are actually able to achieve, so there is no danger of have too low a cholesterol level. Saturated fats cause the baseline cholesterol level to rise. Dietary cholesterol causes peaks to rise off of the elevated base cholesterol for an extended period. People live most of their lives in the highest cholesterol state (baseline + dietary) except for the very short period after an overnight fast when most doctors will measure cholesterol.

      1. Here is the reply to Dancer80,

        I just looked at at the article (from The Telegraph, 3/30/2016), and at the full text of the article referenced (from Molecular Biology and Evolution, published 3/29/2016). Yes, the headline is atrocious (“Long term vegetarian diet changes human DNA, raising risk of cancer and heart disease”). The scientific article is looking at the prevalence in an Indian population of a certain gene allele; this is NOT about vegetarian diet mutating human DNA, which is what the title implies. Furthermore, the crux of the article is here:

        individuals with I/I genotype having higher metabolic capacity to convert precursors to longer

        chain PUFA may be at increased risk for proinflammatory disease states as they efficiently

        convert LA to ARA. Put another way, individuals with the I/I genotype may be vulnerable to illhealth

        when adopting a diet rich in n-6 LA which severely reduce synthesis of anti-inflammatory

        n-3 LCPUFA because n-6 competes with n-3 to access the Δ-6 desaturase enzyme.

        So, all this is saying is that this “l/l genotype” — which MAY be more common among vegetarians (there is no evidence presented to support this), should avoid diets rich in n-6 LA (linoleic acid). This is what is present in corn and cottonseed and other common vegetable oils, whereas the beneficial n-3 fatty acids are present in nuts, seeds, and fish.

        1. What is so amazing about this is my own experience providing dietary counseling following health screenings at a large employer with a significant population of East Asian men from India. It seemed that shortly following their immersion in American culture, rife with the abundant supply provided by the employer of standard american diet food (especially hamburgers and fries), said employees developed metabolic syndrome due to their genetically low levels of HDL and their abundant intake of Omega 6 fatty acids. Some cultures of origin have different genetic structures that make them vulnerable to harm from eating Omega 6 (long chain) fatty acids, abundant in cooking oils, fried foods, red meat and chicken. It wasn’t the vegetarian diet for these employees – it was the SAD diet!!!

        2. Great job Dr. Jon! Here’s the actual paper:

          As you can see it says nothing of the sort. They compared a genetic marker in a population in India (most of which ate meat) to a U.S. population and found higher rates of a gene variant that facilitates the elongation of omega 6 fatty acids. They found higher rates in India, which they speculated may have come from natural selection of generations of a population which historically has been about 40% vegetarian. Says nothing about the health of U.S. vegetarians (or Indian vegetarians for that matter). Even if you have this gene variant, you’d just avoid omega 6 rich oils like sunflower, safflower, and cottonseed oil, which is a good idea anyway. Classic man bites dog story media nonsense sadly.

          1. Three grams of Omega three oils daily were therapeutic for schizophrenia. The brain is more than 70 percent fat. Why would people from the cold need Omega threes? Perhaps the middle bond is more resistant to the cold. Why would plants make fats good for the animals of their environment? Maybe the fats are resist to cold bending fundamentally. People in Canada eat fast food filled with Omega sixes from beef from Argentina. They are very sick. People are very sick mentally with deficiencies. There is a mental health crisis. People don’t like to be sick. People who have mental health problems feel hopeless and useless. They are superior people though. Most people who are vegetarian are trying to treat a mood disorder, according to one expert. The plants can help. Do you ever think that sickness can be stopped? Would we notice if we were better?

      2. Thank you for your response, as I was just about to post a rebuttal myself, putting to good use the things I remember from graduate biostatistics and health research classes.

        The sad thing is this study is making the rounds of all the British newspapers, and the comments from anti-vegan or anti-vegetarian crowd are quite sad, as this provides positive reinforcement of animal protein-heavy diet. The writers of these articles go out of their ways to distort the study and its questionable conclusions.

  4. Anyone who watches Dr. Greger’s videos and agrees with him and understands the science has a moral obligation to share this information with the “sheeple” by sharing this link on their FaceBook page or e-mailing the link to people on their address book. There are millions of people who are in desperate need of this information, but they have never come across it, and need to be shown the “light”.

      1. Its a derisive term, and really only applies when people have access to information and choose to ignore it.

        In lifestyle medicine, the problem is that patients and many of their healthcare providers either aren’t informed or are confused by all of the self-interested viewpoints cherry-picking to support some agenda. From an uninformed viewpoint, Dr. Greger might be suspected of this, and it takes a lot of independent study to discover that he usually reports the consensus view of the best informed researchers in the field.

  5. It’s is amazing to see what can happen when patients drink the water after given the information on plant-based diets. I have had two that did and have had their angina pain go away within a few weeks. One, who was on maximal medical therapy and still had another heart attack, was able to get off his oxygen during the day. Four years later he is doing great, no angina ever. He says he’d likely be dead now if he didn’t starting eating the low-fat vegan diet.

  6. Dr. Greger, I follow you every week and I go at least twice a year to True North Health Center to “renew my vows” to vegan eating. I also have been taking RANEXA (Ranolazine) for 17 years. It is true that when I am 100% compliant, and when I lose weight, I have fewer or no angina attacks without the Ranolazine. But, I have to tell you that the RANEXA does indeed allow me to climb mountains without angina pain. The mere 13 second extension on exercise is simply wrong.

    1. Sandy, congratulations on your annual vow renewal! It is remarkable that you are doing so well, even thriving, with your vegan eating and Ranexa therapy. It does appear you are in the minority with your ability to climb mountains without angina pain. The study cited by Dr G (in 2006) is a Meta analysis, where the researchers looked at the clinical results of 9223 symptomatic patients with stable coronary artery disease. Across multiple studies, the average improvement in exercise duration is 33 seconds. The fact that you have done so well is fantastic- maybe it is your dietary intervention?

      1. Lisa, I have been taking Ranexa for 17 years and climbing on uphill hikes. I have only been trying to be vegan for 5 years. I don’t think my case is that exceptional. Perhaps you should get statistics from cardiologists who prescribe Ranexa. Besides, what side effects are there from my taking Ranexa? I haven’t experienced any.

        1. Maybe costs and risks you haven’t personally experienced (with your Rx drug) do exist and prevent others from your great success. Exceptions make bad rules. There may be exceptions to the rule that plant-based eating is the easiest, cheapest, and most effective way to be or BECOME healthy and experience the highest quality of life.

          I am not familiar with those exceptions and have no desire to be. The general rules work for me, and most everyone like me- who gets over their upbringing (if Western).

      2. Are you eating a lot of nitrites in your diet? I wonder if you would notice a difference by consuming more beets, beet greens, spinach and the other greens that increase nitrites. You might want to search nitrites on NF and watch a few videos. It would be interesting to hear back from you if it seems to make a difference over time.

        Mark G

  7. Off Topic: So one of my friends swore that eating raw was healthier than eating cooked vegetables. I told him that it was both and that there were advantages to eating raw and cooked. He then mentioned that vegetables overcooked into disgusting stuff can’t be good as all the nutrients and fiber would be destroyed. So I was wondering what are the pros and cons of eating overcooked foods? Is it something to avoid eating(aside from the taste)?

    1. Overcooking destroys vitamins and fiber. Normal cooking destroys some nutrients and makes other ones bioavailable. If vegetables become mushy that just means he cooked them too long.

      Objectively I think the best way to eat vegetables is steaming. NF once had a video about it. It works the best in making nutrients bioavailable while destroying as little as possible. Cooking and raw had about the same, but the steamed veggies had significantly more.

      1. Dr Greger has done some videos on the best cooking methods, usually by food type. But most often boiling and microwaving retain the most nutrients. Steaming comes in close behind. I would have thought that boiling would have been third. Go figure. It’s been awhile, so my memory if failing, but I think one was on broccoli, one was sweet potatoes and I can’t remember about other stuff.

    2. Dude just needs to learn to cook if the only cooked vegetables he has experienced are cooked to the point of mush. Since it is spring (at least here in the Northern Hemisphere) it is asparagus season and there is nothing better than a lightly steamed or grill plate of asparagus.

    3. Cooking helps to reduce toxins in certain foods. For example, mushrooms have a toxin in them that won’t kill you, but puts a strain on your body’s immune system when you eat them. Reducing it’s ability to fight off other things like colds and flu. There are certain compounds in cruciferous vegetables that can be too much for the thyroid if eaten to excess. Cooking neutralizes it. (DrMcDougall cautions that he feels they should never be eaten raw).

    4. Some plant foods are better eaten cooked. For example, beta-carotene in carrots and lycopene in tomatoes are better absorbed if eaten cooked – with some oil. But some nutrients, like vitamin C and many polyphenols are heat sensitive. Some nutrients, like sulforaphane in cruciferous vegetables and alicin in garlic, don’t form if you cook them without first chopping and waiting. Then there’re the toxins in plant food. mbglife has mentioned mushrooms. Bean, peas, and lentils have lectins, which are mildly toxic in humans, so they’re safer eaten cooked. Many plant foods, like flaxseed, have cyanogenic glycosides, which break down to give cyanide ions in the gut but are destroyed by heat. They’re safer eaten cooked.
      So it depends on the food.

    5. In addition to the video linked below by another moderator, Dr. Greger also talks a lot about foods to eat raw v. cooked and things to do with certain foods before you cook them in his book How Not To Die.

    1. Just to add something to this. 1) It is not necessary to take a statin to simply lower cholesterol. If you change to a plant-based whole foods diet, your cholesterol will get lower. 2) Whether someone needs a cholesterol-lowering medication depends on many different factors. If you’re 35 and have a total cholesterol of 250 with an LDL of 130, you probably don’t need a statin, but you do need to change your diet to keep you from having problems in the future. However, if you are 55 and have known heart disease, the recommendation would largely be to include a statin medication…but, with whole food plant based diets a lot of times you can get a way with a lower dose of a statin. Hope this helps.

      1. Here is what you did asshole …

        you made a statement that vegans never get cancer,
        then when I called you on it, you deleted my post, and yours and
        sent me a nasty smart reply, which you also deleted.

        fuck you.

      2. Here is what you did asshole …

        >> You need animal products for cancer to grow in your system.

        Is that the equivalent of saying that vegans will never get cancer, because then …

        you made a statement that vegans never get cancer,

        then when I called you on it, you deleted my post, and yours and

        sent me a nasty smart reply, which you also deleted.

        fuck you.

    1. This article has been referenced in several comments today so I will address it. The Telegraph makes some assertions that simply aren’t true (and are not part of the research they are discussing). “Many vegetarians also struggle to get enough protein, iron, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and calcium which are essential for health. One study found that vegetarians had approximately five percent lower bone-mineral density (BMD) than non-vegetarians.” First, folks consuming a plant-based whole foods are getting plenty of protein. I’ve yet to meet a vegan with Kwashiorkor. Also, beans and greens are jam packed with all the iron and calcium we need. Vitamin D deficiency is just as common among vegans as it is among non-vegans…I see it everyday, and both D and B12 can be taken care of with a single supplement. It’s also worth mentioning that there is a lot we don’t know about vitamin D. It’s deficiency has many associations but what it does we truly don’t know. We aren’t even sure what levels in our body are considered deficient. They also state they found ONE study that shows vegetarians had an approximately 5% lower BMD, but fail to mention that populations that consume the highest amount of dairy products also have the highest rates of osteoporosis.

      As to the study itself mentioned in the article, the researchers point out that societies that have traditionally been plant-based (for generations and generations) there is a certain mutation that has been selected for that allows plant fatty acids to be more easily broken down and their thought seems to be that this may lead to problems if they are eating too much of certain fatty acids…the type of fatty acids found in bulk in things like vegetable oils. From what I gather, their thought is that folks with the mutation who eat foods high in linoleic acids will increase their risk of having chronic inflammation leading to things that chronic inflammation leads to (heart disease, cancer, etc). Thus they are suggesting that if you have the mutation, avoid those foods (i.e. avoid vegetable oil). I can’t argue with avoiding vegetable oil…it’s nothing but artery clogging fat. The largest sources of linoleic acids in the American Diet? Chicken (because we cook it in oil), potato chips, salad dressings, french fries, breads, etc…all stuff we add oil too.

      I’m not a geneticist or a researcher, but my overall take as a physician and how this research applies to us here in the U.S. and our American Diet, is that ultimately, this research doesn’t tell us much. We don’t have the mutation because our family traditionally do not come from generations of plant eaters. If we do (or if after many, many generations of eating a plant-based diet our descendants) have the mutation, then the message seems pretty clear, don’t eat oil. An adage we should be following.

      1. > First, folks consuming a plant-based whole foods are getting plenty of protein.

        The problem with that is that not all people who say they are vegan/vegetarian eat the same thing or as conscientiously as the model that is held out here. What you get is mostly smart remarks pointing at the ideal and then comments ignoring or disavowing unhealthy vegans/vegetarians as outside of the scope of what you are talking about.

        It works in the reverse when you refer to meat-eaters, then you include healthy or unhealthy eaters and pile them all together and call meat toxic, and make nasty (not you personally, but plenty here) comments about it.

        What I like and respect about Dr. Greger is his objective attempts to be science-based, but that seems to get really undercut by comments by some of the people here … I don’t know if they officially represent or not, but it is disconcerting when someone gives medical advice that may have no medical experience or no connection with NF.

      1. Here is what you did …

        >> You need animal products for cancer to grow in your system.

        Is that the equivalent of saying that vegans will never get cancer, because then …

        you made a statement that vegans never get cancer,

        then when I called you on it, you deleted my post, and yours and

        sent me a nasty smart reply, which you also deleted.

        fuck you.

    1. What a misleading article. It assumes all Vegetarians eat Omega-6 heavy oils and that’ss why they claim veg life is unhealthy? Give me break. That’s a false assumption and typical of the baseless anti-veg posts that pop up around here from time to time. Make no mistake about it, there are ‘vegan haters’ that come here who doesn’t like what Dr G posts about meat. That blog post and many like it are deliberate attack posts directed towards vegetarians for the express purpose of spreading false propaganda about the plant based lifestyle. Should be deleted.

      1. I agree. Though it is tough to refute all people tend to believe what they want to. I saw another article on net attributed to US depart of Agriculture.
        Cholesterol is finally officially removed from List
        The US government has finally accepted that cholesterol is not a ‘nutrient of concern’, doing a U-turn on their warnings to us to stay away from high-cholesterol foods since the 1970s to avoid heart disease and clogged arteries.
        This means eggs, butter, full-fat dairy products, nuts, coconut oil and meat have now been classified as “safe” and have been officially removed from the “nutrients of concern” list.
        The US Department of Agriculture, which is responsible for updating the guidelines every five years, stated in its findings for 2015: “Previously, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended that cholesterol intake be limited to no more than 300 mg/day.
        “The 2015 DGAC will not bring forward this recommendation because available evidence shows no appreciable relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and serum (blood) cholesterol, consistent with the AHA/ACC (American Heart Association / American College of Cardiology)
        The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee will, in response, no longer warn people against eating high-cholesterol foods and will instead focus on sugar as the main substance of dietary concern.
        US cardiologist Dr Steven Nissen said: “It’s the right decision. We got the dietary guidelines wrong. They’ve been wrong for decades.”
        “When we eat more foods rich in this compound, our bodies make less. If we deprive ourselves of foods high in cholesterol – such as eggs, butter, and liver – our body revs up .
        The Real Truth about Cholesterol
        The majority of the cholesterol in you is produced by your liver. Your brain is primarily made up from cholesterol. It is essential for nerve cells to function. Cholesterol is the basis for the creation of all the steroid hormones, including estrogen, testosterone, and corticosteroids. High cholesterol in the body is a clear indication
        which shows the liver of the individual is in good health.
        Dr. George V. Mann M.D. associate director of the Framingham study for the incidence and prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and its risk factors states: “Saturated fats and cholesterol in the diet are not the cause of coronary heart disease. That myth is the greatest deception of the century, perhaps of any century”
        Cholesterol is the biggest medical scam of all time.
        There is no such thing as bad Cholesterol!
        So you can stop trying to change your Cholesterol level. Studies prove beyond a doubt, cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease and it won’t stop a heart attack. The majority of people that have heart attacks have normal cholesterol levels.
        ONLY 15% OF CHOLESTEROL IS BEING DONATED BY THE FOOD WE EAT. If the fat content is less in our food we eat, our liver
        Got to work more to maintain the level at 950 mg. If the cholesterol level is high in our body, it shows the liver is working perfect.
        Experts say that there is nothing like LDL or HDL.
        ………….. Cholesterol is not found to create block any where in human body.

    1. Interesting for sure. I think when you are looking at a finite population, genetics certainly play a role. We all know those families who have people who consistently live to be in their 80s or 90s and don’t necessarily live the “model lifestyle”. That being said, most of us here in the U.S. don’t seem to carry those genes, and if we do…how do we really know we have “those genes” since we aren’t even really sure what those genes are? You can roll the dice with the standard American diet and, more than likely, end up with the standard American health problems, or you can chose to eat smart and be active and better your chances for the future. Just a thought.

  8. The Shute Brothers very carefully found that high dose Vitamin E, up to 1,200 IU a day would treat Angina quickly. There work was subverted by research at Harvard that said Vitamin E caused Pancreatic cancer. There is little doubt to those who are familiar with Vitamins that Vitamin E is the cure to Angina.

    1. “is the cure”? What sort of health improving program is that? Why not fix it AND ALL SUPPORTING systems of the entire body with diet? The same way of eating works against EVERY disease of affluence Western society has eaten itself into. Does mega-dosing vitamins do that?

      1. The Shute Brothers cured many thousands of patients of Angina. Their work was covered up. It became evident from their work only a vitamin would cure many diseases. Medicine was founded on Iodine for goiter. There is no drug in nature and the body was not made to be sick. Dr. Pauling said any disease could be cured with minerals or vitamins. Perhaps even anxiety with Selenium. Perhaps even Autism with D3, magnesium, and B6. It was clear vitamins work. They are effective, safe, beneficial, cheap, long lasting, natural, repeatable, and fundamental. I had a lifetime of plaque wash out of my heart on high dose D3. I would just love to use my health to reset people who are not so fortunate. Yes, I think megadosing vitamins can attack the underpinnings of any systematic disease. The beneficial phytonutrients of plants are a bonus. The government, with its fortification program, is assuming people are getting more nutrition then they are. Americans are eating much less meat. These are great successes. The idea that vitamins as a curative will not be a part of medicine suggests medicine will fail, based on its truly uncanny success. It is perhaps the Vitamin E in a Vegan diet that makes it curative to Angina.

  9. Still think it is the phyto-chemicals in plants that have the greatest effect….that’s why pomegranate….pine bark extract…etc have shown indications of helping to clear out arteries..that is reverse conditions?

  10. Last year, I became fascinated with the role of the intestinal microbiota in chronic inflammation, and I think it ties in with endothelial dysfunction and angina.

    Controlled trials have long demonstrated that systemic endothelial dysfunction, and angina pectoralis when that dysfunction occurs in occluded coronary arteries ()

    , is a postprandial (after meal) phenomenon.

    postprandial angina

    1. Darryl,

      Could you summarize what you’ve told us elsewhere about the various types of saturated (e.g., palmitic, stearic, lauric) and unsaturated fats (mufas, pufas) and how they impact health?

      I’ve been reading about de novo lipogenesis (your body making fats from excess sugars) and about inhibiting FASN enzymes/ fatty acid synthesis as a means of reducing body fat and cancer’s spread, and there are apparently several foods, or components of foods, that can inhibit FASN. ALA (plant-based omega 3s) is one of them. But adding palmitic, stearic or even oleic acid seems to reverse that process and promotes de novo lipogenesis. Hmm, I thought Mufas were good.

      Your take?

  11. More support for longer overnight fasting.

    In mice who are fed high-fat diets, long overnight fasting – about 16 hours – has been found to protect against blood sugar problems, inflammation and weight gain. All those conditions are tied to poor cancer outcomes, the authors note.

    To see if the length of overnight fasting is linked with breast cancer recurrence or death, the researchers tracked 2,413 participants in the Women’s Health Eating and Living study.

    None of the women had diabetes, but they had all been diagnosed with breast cancer between ages 24 and 70.

  12. On another note, 2 yrs ago I turned down getting a colonoscopy for fear of them infecting or poking a hole in me.
    Now all over my local news is a story about the Raleigh county health clinic here in WV may have infected people that got their cardiac stress test over the last couple yrs. They sent 2,300 people a notice in the mail that they need to get tested for hepatitis B, C and HIV.
    Man, I never figured they could mess up a stress test that badly. You just never know nowadays.–HIV-at-Raleigh-clinic-373360481.html

  13. If everyone in the US goes vegan, GDP drops by 50% ! 90% of restaurants, supermarkets shut down. 80% of doctors become unemployed. 70% of hospitals have to shut down. That would be disaster !!

  14. Way to go, Carol! I’m a CHIP facilitator and love hearing CHIP success stories. Thanks for following. Congrats to you!

  15. I’ve had chest pains for as long as I can remember. I’m 16 now, and run on my school’s cross country team. The pain is much worse when I run, to the point where last fall I had to lie down in the middle of a race course for a few minutes until I could stand up again. I went to my doctor, and she wants me to get tested for a heart defect next year if they continue. It has continued, and while I’d like to see my doctor now, I can’t because of my family’s financial situation. My doctor also suspects that it could be the medicine I’m taking, 36mg methylphenidate. Although I got the same chest pain when I was younger, before I started taking that medication a few years ago. I’m not overweight, normal blood pressure, not diabetic, etc. There’s no reason to suspect that I have clogged arteries or heart disease. The chest pain happens sometimes during exercise and sometimes not during it, it seems to be random. It’s usually so severe that I have pain breathing and can’t move. I want to know if you have any idea as to what I should do until I can afford a doctor’s visit next year.

    1. Chest pain can have many causes, some dangerous and some just an irritation. It’s very important you see a doctor as soon as possible to find out which it is! I’m so sorry finances are keeping you from being able to receive healthcare. The system is really letting you down there. I would strongly recommend stopping all running (and intense cardiovascular exercise) until you get clearance from a doctor. Perhaps you could talk to your pharmacist about the medication. Good luck!

  16. Dear Dr. Greger and Colleagues,

    Recently, I watched a video in which Dr. Greger was asked:

    “Would you recommend a certain macronutrient ratio?”

    To which Dr. Greger responded:

    “I would not recommend a certain macronutrient ratio. All that matters is whole plant foods – high fat, low fat, any kind of fat – as long as it’s whole plant foods.”


    I was surprised to hear Dr. Greger — an icon in plant-based nutrition — stating that a high-fat would be fine, provided it’s from whole plant foods. This seems to go against other plant-based Physicians like Dr. McDougall, Dr. Esselstyn, and Dr. Barnard, to name a few.

    Might you be able to help me understand why there is disagreement about the amount of dietary fat (even plant fat) among such brilliant Doctors? Surely, “science” cannot support both sides of the issue. Or, can it?


  17. Hi and what a great question on this apparent controversy.
    Dr. Esselstyn has been indeed a promoter of low fats plant based diets for decades, and I am aware of the low fat amongst other things, Dr. McDougall’s program.
    There is however an increased body of evidence on the health benefits of plant based fats, particularly sourced by the integral plant. Examples are avocado, nuts and seeds and particularly flax seeds; please see excellent articles at: and
    Extracted oils, though preferable to animal fats, have lost some of the benefits of the integral plant, so the hesitation of the good doctors becomes understandable. An article on the benefits of the Mediterranean diet by Dr. Greger is also in agreement:; even more, the section on olive oil at seems to favor whole foods such as nuts and seeds to extracted oils.
    In addition, while everyone agrees that animal based fats are not an option, some very popular and media active doctors today are also starting to promote the health benefits of plant based fats, please see Dr. Hyman’s Eat Fat Get Thin and Dr. Mercola’s Fat for Fuel recent publications.
    I hope this helps, have a great day, Daniela

  18. Hello.

    My name is Paulo and i’m from Portugal. I heard about Dr. Greger a few months ago and i’m reading his book. In the past 3 months i’ve reduced the consume of animals products in my diet. But my worry is about my father. In december 2017 he had stay one week in hospital, in cardiology. The doctors said that he suffered several hearts attack and he’s been diagnosticated with Prinzmetal’s Angina. He returned home and has pills to take all days but some times he has that pain in the heart and has to put the nitroglycerine pill under his tongue.
    I would love thtat he could try a veggie diet but it’s hard to convinced my parents. I would love to know if you think (and Dr. Greger) if one month with that diet can have any result. I think i can convinced them to try for one month that diet, hopping that he can see the results.

    Thank you!

    Paulo Chaves

  19. We’re sorry to hear about your father’s difficulties. Plants might make your father feel better, but all changes like this should be done under the supervision of a doctor of your choice that understands the research. I can tell you that my father had the same type of chest pain and need for nitroglycerin. He noticed that when he stopped eating processed food like bread and all animal products, and then switched over to eating nothing but raw fresh fruit and raw vegetables, that his chest pain went away.

    Dr. Ben

  20. Unfortunately it’s not easy to discover in Portugal a doctor that understands that. I’m researching but iy’s not easy. I want to convince my father to change his diet but without same profissional help it’s complicated.
    Thank you for the answer.

    Paulo Chaves

  21. Hello,
    My name is Margaret Phillips and I am a nurse practitioner student. I am completing my degree requirements and am writing a research paper on the reversal of heart disease with a plant based diet. I know that Dr Gregor is an avid researcher, so I am reaching out in the hopes that he will have a few minutes to share some of his knowledge. I have referenced several studies on the reversal of heart disease from Esselstyn and Campbell, but am having trouble finding studies from more recent years. Do you know of any credible research studies that I can include to support a plant based diet in the reversal of heart disease? I have tried PubMed, CINAHL, Cochrane Libraries, National Clearinghouse and TRIP. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Kind Regards,

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