The word is out. The healthiest diet for humans is plant-based. Whole food plant-based to be specific. Decades of research has shown that focusing on plant foods leads to better health and a much lower risk for heart disease, cancer, arthritis, diabetes and other chronic illness. It may seem like a miracle "cure", but the scientific literature is recognizing that a plant-based diet is best.
Our digestive tract is designed for plant foods. We are not carnivores, as much as we may wish to believe that. True carnivores have long sharp incisors and claws that are designed to rip open the hide of their prey. We have small incisors and fingernails that are great for biting into an apple or carrot. Carnivores have short and highly acidic intestines perfect for consuming raw flesh. We have a long and winding road of intestines that is common among herbivores. And we do not have blood lust. Driving down the road, if we see a dead animal we're not thinking "Lunch! Let's stop and eat!"
If you're thinking there is no way you will ever stop eating meat, that is something I understand and respect. I grew up on a farm, where every fall we would select a steer for slaughter, and the chickens we raised were also killed. It was what we knew, it was tradition. I'm asking you to think about changing that tradition to at least reduce the amount of meat in your diet. It's for your health and well being.
If you can go from consuming meats and other animal products at every meal, and instead make a commitment to eat no more than 4 meat-based meals per week, that is a huge change for the better. Or you could do what I did when I transitioned to plant-based: I removed dairy 100%, and then I ate plant-based Monday to Friday, and allowed myself meat and eggs on weekends.
I did that for nearly 3 months, until Sunday, April 29th, 2012. I went out for brunch and ate 2 poached eggs with 2 strips of bacon. When I left the restaurant, I felt as if a Mac truck had just hit me. The air felt like molasses, and I walked slowly back to my car. When I got home, I did a search for vegan lifestyle, and after watching a few videos, made the decision that I was done with meat. No more chicken, beef, turkey, fish, shrimp, lobster, eggs, pork, bacon, etc. My health improved. My high blood pressure improved. Health concerns that disappeared were pre-diabetes, fatty liver, and arthritic knee pain. All of them, gone.
If you are reading this and you have health issues, the first thing I encourage you to look into is to move to eating a more plant-based diet. Watch the films "The Game Changers" and "What the Health" on Netflix. Watch Dr. Michael Greger's amazing lecture "How Not to Die" that is on youtube. You may not wish to be 100% plant-based, but if you can eat primarily plant-based and stay with an 80% to 90% plant-based diet, you will be doing amazing things for your health. And according to environmental scientists, you'll be reducing your carbon footprint. Helping the environment is a good and selfless act, and a beautiful way to try to help the world and slow down climate change.
Judith Fiore, ND
September 15, 2019