MANILA, Philippines–This will be the year of the sheep, and with it are the resolutions to stay sound in body by eating this or that. But many of the so-called “healthy” diets are really “wolves in sheep’s clothing” fads that can either do nothing to alleviate or prevent the alarming increase of killer lifestyle diseases, or even hasten their onset.
For many health experts, scientists and nutritionists, there is only one diet guaranteed to keep you as far from suffering lifestyle diseases as possible all year round.
Creating plant-based dishes paves the way for all the beneficial nutrients of fresh fruits, vegetables, grains and beans to work their wonders in our immune systems. Being creative in the kitchen using only plant-based ingredients also makes us not miss meat products—pork, beef, chicken, eggs, dairy, cheese, milk and fish—that, as shown in various studies, have been linked to dreaded lifestyle diseases such as stroke, heart attack and cancer.
The British Journal of Urology in 1970 (Robertson WG, Peackock M, et al.) showed that high animal protein consumption increased calcium in the urine and the risk of calcium stone formation; the Lancet in 1976 (Cunningham AS) showed that countries with more animal protein consumption among their populations showed more cases of lymphoma. The International Journal of Cancer in 1975 (Armstrong B., Doll R.) showed that increased animal protein consumption increased the risk of cancers of the breast, colon, prostate, kidney and womb (endometrium).
Preventive health expert Neil Nedley, MD, said in his book “Proof Positive” that animal protein does increase cancer risk.
Experts like the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, T. Colin Campbell, a Jacob Gould Schurman professor emeritus of Cornell University’s nutrition biochemistry, Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., MD, author of “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Program,” Dean Ornish, MD, author of Program for Reversing Heart Disease, and John McDougall, MD, have recommended a plant-based diet and have urged the public to get rid of animal protein.
Campbell said that the benefits of a healthy lifestyle are enormous: “I want you to know that you can: live longer, look and feel younger, have more energy, lose weight, lower your blood cholesterol, prevent and even reverse heart disease, lower your risk of prostate, breast and other cancers, preserve your eyesight in your later years, prevent and treat diabetes, avoid surgery in many instances, vastly decrease the need for pharmaceutical drugs, keep your bones strong, avoid impotence, stroke, kidney stones, and Alzheimer’s, keep your baby from getting type 1 diabetes, alleviate constipation, lower your blood pressure, beat arthritis, and more …”
Campbell extensively discussed in “The China Study” book that there are virtually no nutrients in animal-based foods that are not better provided by plants, and even showed the nutrient composition of plant- and animal-based foods (per 500 calories of energy).
Ornish, meanwhile, dedicated half of the book for “heart recipes” featuring mouth-watering dishes.
“One look at the recipes in this book (Program for Reversing Heart Diseases) and you will let go of any preconceived ideas you may have had about the incompatibility of healthy, meatless, low-fat eating and gastronomic pleasure. This is not a diet of deprivation; it is, on the contrary, a diet vibrant with colour and rich with the flavours and textures of many different foods—fresh vegetables, tangy herbs and pungent spices, chewy, wholesome grains, savoury beans, elegant pastas, and sweet enticing fruit dishes,” wrote Shirley Elizabeth Brown, MD, and Martha Rose Shulman who added that “vegetables, grains and dried beans are the backbone of the diet.”
Aside from googling such nutritious, yummy recipes, one can also check out vegan dishes and vegan communities in Facebook pages in your country or province. For Filipino readers, there are the Pinoyvegs and Manila Vegans Facebook pages. Online directory happycow.net can lead you to vegetarian-friendly stores and restaurants.