We are a country in crisis. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is killing us at rates faster than previously seen in the tobacco industry! Since 2017, diet has been the leading cause of premature morbidity (early death) and mortality (death) in the United States, surpassing tobacco! ~ The American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. The SAD is high in added salt, sugar, and saturated fats leaving only 1 in 10 US adults getting the recommended number of servings of fruits and vegetables and over 50% of them consuming ultra-processed foods. The special formulation of salt, sugar, and fat make these "food-like" choices addictive.
If you are like most Americans, you likely have a chronic disease. 6 of 10 adults have at least 1 and at least 40% of adults are living with 2 or more. And like most people suffering with a cascade of symptoms from their chronic disease(s), you likely have medications to help you deal with the symptoms. These medications are not a cure. (Never stop or change your medications without first consulting with your healthcare practitioner.)
Have you ever considered using food as medicine? Have you ever considered preventing, arresting, even halting disease in its tracks with food? What if I told you "eat as much as you like" of whole-foods that are plant-based with no added oils. Consume beans, greens, fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains without counting calories. Would you do it? Would you take a leap of faith in the hopes that following this protocol might actually help you to reverse disease states in your body?
That's exactly what participants of the January 2020 South West Plant Based Diet Challenge did. This challenge, developed by Stephen and David Flynn (a.k.a. The Happy Pear), was offered to 150 health professionals (50% family physicians) in the SW of England. 95% of the challengers were not already eating a plant-based diet and most were eating processed meats and red meats. The age range of the challengers was from 24-71 with median age of 49.
In just 28 days of following a whole-food, plant-based diet (WFPB), challengers with hypertension
dropped their systolic measurements (top number of blood pressure reading) by 13.7mmHg.
lost an average of 7 lbs
maximum weight loss was 21 lbs
average reduction of High non-HDL cholesterol was 26.5%
risk of heart disease, stroke, Type 2 Diabetes - all REDUCED!
By the end of the 28 day challenge, challengers committed to dietary changes moving forward and were looking a lot more like the Blue Zones populations with
98% no more processed meat
91% no more red meat
74% no more poultry
21% became whole-food, plant-based
To learn more about this challenge and how 100 health professionals reduced their cardiovascular risk in just 28 days, follow Dr. Alan Desmond on Instagram at @dr.alandesmond. Dr, Desmond states, "Only a WFPB diet gives the body all the protein and amino acids it needs to survive." Meat alone cannot do that. With no cholesterol, low saturated fat, high fiber and rich in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, plant protein is an ideal option for those looking to use their food as medicine in an effort to reverse disease.
According to the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, "The whole-foods, plant-based dietary pattern has been shown to prevent and reverse multiple chronic medical conditions. Research indicates that 80% of chronic diseases are preventable with simple lifestyle changes, such as tobacco cessation, improved diet, moderate exercise, and maintenance of a healthy weight." I'm not saying you must go 100% WFPB, that may be too extreme for you. What I am saying is that if you suffer from a chronic disease (or risk of disease), shouldn't you consider shifting your dietary eating pattern to one that is organically designed by nature to help your body heal and thrive?
CHALLENGE YOURSELF: Try starting with just one WFPB meal a day for one week. Then bump it up to two meals a day for another week. Challenge yourself to really dig deep and watch your numbers (your typical lab work) and monitor your blood pressure to see what kind of a difference is being made. If you need support with structure, SMART goals, accountability, education, and guidance, feel free to reach out to me for a 30 minute, Complimentary Discovery Call by clicking the button below. I look forward to hearing from you and learning what you have tried so far, why you think it isn't working, and how we can together create an action plan for success on your journey to optimal wellness! After all, you have this one life, you may as well give it all you've got! You've got this, and I've got you!