POSTED ON FEBRUARY 6, 2013:
No, Seriously, Eat Your Veggies
An irrational conversation worth having
What happens when the people of a nation in crisis divide themselves into two equal parts, both equally well-funded, and both equally staunch in their beliefs?
In spite of every effort we have given our growing healthcare crisis, we've still got one. At some point, it started with someone attempting a sane and reasonable conversation that maybe veganism would help alleviate it. But, from there, it descended quickly into ridiculousness. Battle lines quickly drawn; we stopped listening, and started accusing. Nose-to-nose, screaming, blind hostility now prevails. Of course, we could dance around in circles for another decade or two, trying to convince the opposing camp to "be reasonable." Or, we could try the one thing we've haven't yet: a completely irrational conversation.
I mean, we all know nutrition and lifestyle have absolutely no connection whatsoever to health, right? So the reason the Huffington Post reports, year after year, that the United States is the sickest nation on earth, despite having the highest per capita cost of healthcare, has nothing to do with the standard American diet.
Well, that should be fairly easy to prove. Just look for the healthiest and longest lived people groups on the planet and compare their diets to ours. How does that work out? John Robbins, author of Health at 100 has found three population groups that are just that, healthy and robust, even into extreme old age. Where are these places? They are the Abkhazia of the Caucasus in south Russia, the inhabitants of the Vilcabamba valley in Ecuador, and the Hunza peoples of Central Asia. In fact, a careful examination of the globe turns up a few more healthy indigenous population groups, such as in the Papua highlands of New Guinea, or rural China, or Central Africa, or the Tarahumara Indians of Northern Mexico. Their diets look just like ours, don't they? Sure. They eat hundreds of different types of beans, dozens of kinds of whole grains, endless varieties of fruits and vegetables, small amounts of assorted nuts and seeds; with zero processed foods, near zero animal foods, and very low levels of oils or sugars. Sounds exactly like the American diet to me. The fact that they are climbing up and down rugged, mountainous terrain daily, well into their 80s and 90s, as contributing members of their communities, and suffer none of the diseases of western culture must simply be a coincidence.
Speaking of the diseases of western culture, those have been fairly consistent for a few decades. The top three causes of death in the United States have routinely been heart disease, cancer, and diabetes for the past several years. And we all know those don't have anything to do with diet or lifestyle. It just wouldn't be worth the effort to try preventing or reversing them with diet.
I guess we'd better tell that to Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn of the Cleveland Clinic, author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, with more than 150 peer reviewed publications to his credit, and who for more than 20 years has been reversing heart disease with plant-based diet paralleling that of healthy indigenous populations. Those hundreds of angiogram-proven arteries opening up are just another coincidence. That Dr. Dean Ornish has been doing the same thing must just be a fluke.
While we're at it, we'd better tell Dr. T. Colin Campbell of Cornell University, who has done the largest human study of nutrition, spanning decades and including thousands of documents, and which he detailed in his book, The China Study, that he's been misinformed as well. After repeatedly demonstrating that cancer growth can be switched on or off by merely feeding or withholding animal based foods, he thought that maybe he could be wrong as well. The fact that his peers are able to successfully repeat his outcomes must be just be dumb luck. We all know how stupid those scientist-types are.
Then when Dr. Dean Ornish demonstrated a causal effect between prostate cancer and dairy consumption as conclusive as that between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, he must have been deluded. Poor man; I'm sure he just doesn't get it.
Maybe we should do something really scientific, like some sort of double-blind, placebo-controlled study? Well, that's going to be really difficult. I mean, what kind of placebo do you place against plant-based diet? How about standard American diet?
The Pritikin Research Foundation did just that. They tried dripping the blood of people eating a standard American diet over prostate cancer cells in a Petri dish, and doing the same with that of those following a vegan (plants only) diet. They discovered the plant eater's blood was more than 8 times more effective at killing cancer cells. They must have been seeing things.
Why not try it again? This time with breast cancer cells, and this time with women who had only been following a vegan diet for just two weeks. In just 14 days, the fact that newly veganized blood was already more than twice as effective at wiping out cancer cells -- there's gotta be a flaw in the data.
Well, if we're going to inform those doctors, we might as well fill in Dr. Neal Barnard as well. He's the founder and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, author of more than a dozen books, including, Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes, as well as more than 50 published research papers on nutrition and its impact on human health. This guy probably doesn't have a clue, either. So I guess all those diabetics he treated with low fat plant foods who no longer have diabetes were faking it. And Dr. John McDougall's ability to reverse diabetes with a low-fat, starch based diet is just a joke.
Occasionally, the answer to a complex and overwhelming problem is so simple, it's mindboggling. We know what the problem is. And we know the solution. The fact that it's being left off the discussion table altogether is unconscionable. We're more willing to fall off a fiscal cliff, spend billions of dollars subsidizing the problem, and billions more on failed solutions than we are to confront the truth. We must fix our diets.
We could go on for another few decades circling each other, screaming. Or, we could try something completely irrational: Hand everyone in America an 89 cent bag of beans.
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