A plant-based diet could save your life in more ways than one! A plant-based diet has an awful lot of health-benefits my friends, but perhaps the most significant health benefit is reducing your risk of dying from heart disease. A build-up of plaque in your arteries (Atherosclerosis), is the number-one killer in America. The build-up of this plaque can take years and years, which is why it’s prudent to start making healthy dietary choices as early as you can. And this is why I strongly believe that a plant-based diet could save your life! And, it’s never too early to start eating this way. Studies have found that a build up of plaque can begin in childhood.
BTW my definition of a whole food plant-based diet is: A diet that is mostly without meat, fish, dairy, and heavily processed foods.
But why have all these articles and blogs come out recently implying that meat and butter are actually really good for you! Well, first off, we are being led astray by silly, incorrect, and frankly irresponsible messaging coming from agencies such as the USDA and the HHS (Department of Health & Human Services). The new 2016 Dietary Guidelines, which have just been unveiled, do not aim to protect our health, because they have in interest in promoting meat and dairy. And this interest comes in the form of millions of dollars being paid out my the meat industry. Dr. Marion Nestle, author of Food Politics and former chair of the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University, when speaking about the new guidelines (she was on the advisory board), said: “I was told we could never say ‘eat less meat’ because USDA would not allow it.”
Dr. William Clifford Roberts, MD is the head of Baylor’s Cardiovascular Institute, he’s authored a mere 1,387 scientific publications, written more than a dozen textbooks on cardiology, and has been the editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Cardiology for 25 years. He argues that there is only one true risk for heart disease and that is Cholesterol. He believes that you need to get your LDL cholesterol level down to at least 70mg/dL, and that there are just 2 ways to achieve this: drugs like Lipitor, or a plant-based diet. And the latter comes without side-effects!
So my Number one reason why a plant-based diet could save your life is that eating a 100% plant-based diet can dramatically reduce your LDL levels. Only 4 weeks of eating a plant-based diet can significantly reduce your body mass index, lower your blood pressure, and your LDL cholesterol.
What about eggs? Eggs raise LDL Cholesterol, and any studies you hear to the contrary may have been funded by the egg industry – ugh!
My number two reason for avoiding meat is to avoid something called Endotoxins, which can stiffen your arteries just hours after consuming a meaty meal. This stiffening of the arteries is caused by inflammation from bacterial toxins known as “endotoxins”. Meat harbors this bacteria, and it cannot be killed by cooking, or stomach acid.
My number three reason is that most people who eat a whole food plant-based diet, eat a lot of nuts. And nuts/legumes (peanuts, walnuts, and almonds), not only improve good to bad cholesterol ratio, but they have also been found to inhibit platelet adhesion because of a compound called arginine. Nuts may be high in fat, but most of the fat is monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, and thus considered a good fat.
I have to finish the blog post with a note about butter and cheese because it’s a pet peeve. About a year ago, “scientific” studies started to surface about how butter and saturated fats aren’t bad for you. The media ran with this (of course it made good news), and there was even an article in Time Magazine, with a photo of a swirl of butter on the cover. But, it turned out that the dairy industry funded these studies (of course!), and that the latest guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology recommend dramatically reducing both trans-fats and saturated fats.
To conclude, my gorgeous friends, a whole food PLANT BASED diet could go a long way to saving your life. Aside from being preventative against heart disease, remember that plants also contain the anti-cancer compounds that nature intended for us to consume on a daily basis. At the very least, fill your plate with 80% veggies and fruits, and 20% animal protein.