Plant Power and Optimum Health

by James O’Donovan

 

Optimum Health is something that emerges when it is supported by a whole range of healthy choices.  These include choices we make in how we manage stress, the quality of our relationships, our levels of physical activity, how much time we spend in nature, and also importantly the food we eat. In the last 30 years the general health of the Irish population has improved, but huge progress can still be made.  The leading causes of death in Ireland are cardiovascular disease and cancer, both of which are made significantly worse by obesity.  According to diabetes.ie there are now 225,000 people in Ireland living with diabetes.

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2013, AGES 65 AND OVER.  Source:  Central Statistics Office.  Note:  Data are provisional.

 

Fortunately there is now an unassailable mountain of data showing the remarkable health benefits of a whole food plant based diet and this information is now widely available to the public.  For example, the following is an excerpt from the book “Whole”, authored by T. Colin Campbell:

“The ideal human diet looks like this:  Consume plant-based foods in forms as close to their natural state as possible.  Eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, raw nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, and whole grains.  Avoid heavily processed foods and animal products.  Stay away from added salt, oil, and sugar.  Aim to get 80 percent of your calories from carbohydrates, 10 percent from protein, and 10 percent from fats.  It’s called a Whole Food Plant Based Diet.

Just how healthy is the WFPB diet?  Let’s pretend that all its effects could be achieved through a drug.  Imagine a big pharmaceutical company holding a press conference to unveil a new pill called Eunutria.  They unveil a list of scientifically proven effects of Eunutria that includes the following:

  • Prevents 95% of all cancers including those “caused” by environmental toxins.
  • Prevents nearly all heart attacks and strokes.
  • Reverses even severe heart disease.
  • Prevents and reverses Type 2 diabetes so quickly and profoundly that, after three days on this drug, it’s dangerous for users to continue to use insulin.

What about the side effects, you ask?  Of course there are side effects.  They include:

  • Gets you to your ideal weight in a healthy and sustainable fashion.
  • Eliminates most migraines, acne, colds and flu, chronic pain and intestinal distress.
  • Improves energy.
  • Cures erectile disfunction.

There are also environmental side effects:

  • Slows and possibly reverses global warming.
  • Reduces groundwater contamination.
  • Ends the need for deforestation.
  • Shuts down factory farms.
  • Reduces malnutrition and dislocation among the world’s poorest citizens.

How healthy is the WFPB diet?  It’s hard to imagine anything healthier – or anything more effective at addressing our biggest health issues.  Not only is WFPB the healthiest way of eating that has ever been studied, but it’s far more effective in promoting health and preventing disease than prescription drugs, surgery, vitamin and herbal supplementation, and genetic manipulation.  If the WFPB diet were a pill, its inventor would be the wealthiest person on earth.  Since it isn’t a pill, no market forces conspire to advocate for it.  No mass media campaign promotes it.  No insurance coverage pays for it.“

In every issue of Vegan Sustainability Magazine we will be bringing you the best books and sources of information so that you can be well informed about your food choices and the steps to achieving optimum health.  We will be selecting from a range of books including:

  • The China Study and Whole by T Colin Campbell
  • The Campbell Plan by Thomas Campbell
  • Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell Esselstyn
  • The Reverse Diabetes Diet by Neal Barnard
  • The Spectrum by Dean Ornish
  • The Starch Solution by  John MacDougall,
  • Beat Cancer by Jane Plant and Mustafa Djamgoz

As well as two books from Irish authors advocating a WFPB lifestyle:

  • Stop Feeding your Cancer by Dr. John Kelly
  • Eat Yourself Well by Bernadette Bohan

In the meantime, if you want to find a brilliant source of peer reviewed scientific information online then www.nutritionfacts.org is the place to go.  You can search specific questions like “Is peanut butter healthy?” or “Is organic food healthier?” Or you can start with the excellent one-hour annual talks which you can find on the bottom of the home page.

 

 

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