Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease

Whether you read this book cover to cover or dip in to references online, it is well worth a look. It has changed the way I look at food and my food choices. We follow the daily dozen which is a great guide to a balanced diet. I will never look at saffron the same way again.

4.8/5.0 from 484 reviews on Amazon and wide scale endorsement:

“This book brims with valuable insights. Dr Greger tends to rely on the gold standard of medical research randomised controlled trials rather than the latest fads. Vegetarian or not, this book is a great way to improve your diet.” -Financial Times

“”How Not To Die” is one of the most important books on health ever written. Dr. Greger shows us how to prevent and sometimes reverse all the major diseases that are killing us. We have the genetic potential to live disease free lives full of health and vitality until we are past 100. This book is the scientific road map we need to do exactly that.” -John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Markets

“We strive to make the best of our lives by maintaining our physical health and mental happiness. As food is the fuel for our survival, how healthily we survive and how well we recover from illness may also depend on what we eat. Michael Greger’s How Not to Die suggests different preventative and curative measures for tackling ailments we are all vulnerable to. I hope that this book may help those who are susceptible to illnesses that can be prevented with proper nutrition.”  –His Holiness the Dalai Lama

“An absolute rhapsody of informational wisdom on how to achieve a life of health and longevity without disease.”–Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. M.D., author of “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease”

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Only 3% of us get enough fibre

Whilst most of us worry about getting enough protein or calcium the reality is the biggest deficiency in our diets is fibre. 97% do not get enough fibre. Fibre only exists in plant based foods, vegetables, grain, fruit, beans etc so with our western diet revolving around animal based products is causing us to face an uphill battle. It is recommended that we get at least 30g per day, but most of us get around half of that. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/spotlight-high-fibre-diets

This leads to worrying health risks including diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, diverticular disease, colon cancer and heart disease. Also a little know fact is that a fibre rich diet can aid weight loss http://www.eatingwell.com/article/15696/is-fiber-good-for-weight-loss . I can vouch for that, since converting to a plant based diet I am never hungry.

Adopting a plant based diet as part of your move to becoming an ethical omnivore will naturally increase your fibre intake. A win/win all round.

 

Calcium and the dairy debate

Whether you are interested in health, animal welfare or both the topic of milk and dairy is well worth exploring. With lots of information about zero grazing dairies, the use of drugs in diary and the health implications of consuming dairy it is good to know your options.

Do we need to consume dairy for calcium? The simply answer is no, despite having been raised on the idea that we do. Ask people where calcium comes from and the majority will say milk or dairy. This is correct but our perception that it is an essential source or the only source of calcium is incorrect. There are lots of other quality non-dairy sources of calcium available to us.

It is also incorrect that calcium intake is a way to ensure strong bones. It is also important to build and maintain bones through exercise https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/healthy-bones/Pages/exercises-for-strong-bones.aspx . We also need vitamin D to regulate calcium and milk is a poor source of vitamin D. (it is fortified in other countries but not in the UK) https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-d

There are also a lot of studies that show calcium via milk isn’t good for bones or general health for example https://nutritionfacts.org/video/is-milk-good-for-our-bones

Getting a clear answer is challenging, there is lots of conflicting information with people defending or criticising dairy. https://www.iofbonehealth.org/facts-statistics loaded with facts about bone health without not biased towards either dairy or a vegan diet. The global dairy industry is worth around £7.5 / $443 Billion, so their power, influence and budget for marketing it quite large!

What is clear is that calcium is essential for our overall health. Almost every cell in our body uses calcium in some way, our nervous system, muscles, heart and bone. Our bones store calcium in addition to providing support for our bodies. Surprisingly few people question calcium intake relating to a diet that contains dairy, however mention cutting out or reducing dairy and the sirens go off. The reality is whatever your diet choice you should consider your calcium intake. Having the knowledge gives you the choice, did you know spring greens contain the same amount of calcium as milk.

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Beans beans good for your heart…

We can’t talk about a plant based diet and beans without taking about wind, farts, flatulence. A lot of people are talk to have a great fear of beans and their supposed ability to blow a hole in their designer jeans. Below is a great article I have reposted from Michael Greger site https://nutritionfacts.org explaining the facts.I can personally vouch to the finding, it does take time for your body to adjust (to the correct amount of fibre) and it is essential to prepare and cook beans correctly to deal with undigestible sugars but the good news is you can eat beans without the fear of bending over in public.

Beans & Gas: Clearing the Air

More than a decade ago, the Quarterly Journal of Medicine published a review entitled: “Vegetarian Diet: Panacea for modern lifestyle disease?” The answer was in the affirmative, noting those eating vegetarian appear to have less obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, cancers, kidney disease, maybe less stroke, less age-related vision loss, less diverticulosis, fewer gallstone and of course, less constipation. But after going through the laundry list of benefits, the researchers did identify two drawbacks of a plant-based diet: 1) the risk of vitamin B12 deficiency, which I’ve covered previously, and 2) increased intestinal gas production. So on one hand, we have half of the top 10 causes of death in the United States, and on the other, flatulence.

Let me start off by saying that intestinal gas is normal and healthy. When patients present to physicians complaining of too much gas, they are typically instructed to go home and keep track for a week. “Although this may sound complicated,” wrote researchers in a gastroenterology journal, “we have found that patients rather enjoy keeping such a record.”

Americans report passing gas an average of 14 times a day, with the normal range extending up to a frequency of 22 times daily. Many people who think they have too much gas fall well within the normal range, concludes famed flatologist Michael Levitt, M.D., “and they simply have to be informed of their ‘normality.’”

Wondering who funded this research? You may be surprised that the real ground-breaking work in this area was done by NASA in the 1950s—our grandparents’ tax dollars hard at work. NASA was genuinely concerned that astronauts might suffocate, or some spark would ignite the methane. So papers with names like “Recent Advances in Flatology” represent space age research! As one NASA research scientist recommended, “it may prove advantageous to select astronauts…who do not normally produce large quantities of flatus.”

I’ll never forget the first time I lectured on the subject. I asked if anyone in the auditorium cared to venture a guess as to how many times a day the average person passes gas. I was expecting the students would posit maybe 5 or 10 and then I could wow them with the fact that no, the norm is more like once every waking hour, up to 22 times a day. But the first guess? 200. OK, so maybe some people do have too much gas! For those wanting to cut down on emissions, here are some tips (I’ll try not to be too long-winded :).

Flatulence come from two places: swallowed air, and fermentation in the bowel. Things that can cause you to swallow extra air include gum chewing, ill-fitting dentures, sucking on hard candies, drinking through a straw, eating too fast, talking while you eat, and cigarette smoking. So if the fear of lung cancer doesn’t get you to quit smoking, maybe fear of flatulence will.

The main source of gas, though, is the normal bacterial fermentation in our colon of undigested sugars. Dairy products are a leading cause of excessive flatulence, due to poor digestion of the milk sugar lactose, though even people who are lactose tolerant may suffer from dairy. One of the most flatulent patients ever reported in the medical literature was effectively cured once dairy products were removed from his diet. The case, reported in the New England Journal of Medicineand submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records, involved a guy who, after consuming dairy, experienced “70 passages in one four-hour period.” Cutting the cheese, indeed.

Other poorly digested sugars include sorbitol and xylitol in sugar-free candies. The fizziness in soda is carbon dioxide, which gets absorbed by our gut, but the high fructose in the soda’s corn syrup may be another culprit. Cruciferous vegetables may also contribute (kale-force winds?). Some grains can do it—the word pumpernickel stems from Middle German and means, roughly, “goblin that breaks wind.”

Beans have been christened the musical fruit, but could it just be a lot of hot air? A randomized controlled crossover study published last week, “Perceptions of flatulence from bean consumption among adults in 3 feeding studies,” concluded “People’s concerns about excessive flatulence from eating beans may be exaggerated.”

Noting that “An increasing body of research and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans supports the benefits of a plant-based diet, and legumes specifically, in the reduction of chronic disease risks,” they started people on pinto beans, black-eyed peas, or vegetarian baked (navy) beans. During the first week, 35% reported increased flatulence but that fell to 15% by week three, 5% by week five, and 3% by week eight. Much of the bad rap for beans grew out of short-term studies in the 60’s that didn’t account for our body’s ability to adapt.

Long-term, most people bulking up on high-fiber foods do not appear to have significantly increased problems with gas. In the beginning, though, “A little bit of extra flatulence,” reads the Harvard Health Letter, “could be an indication that you’re eating the way you should!” The buoyancy of floating stools from trapped gasses can in fact be seen as a sign of adequate fiber intake. The indigestible sugars in beans that make it down to our colon may even function as prebiotics to feed our good bacteria and make for a healthier colon.

Even if at first they make us gassy, beans are so health-promoting that we should experiment with ways to keep them in our diet at all costs. Lentils, split peas and canned beans tend to be less gas-producing. Tofu usually isn’t an offender. Repeated soakings of dried beans and tossing the cooking water may help if you boil your own. Worse comes to worst, there are cheap supplements that contain alpha-galactosidase, an enzyme shown to break up the bean sugars and take the sail out of your wind.

Odor is a separate issue. The smell appears to come primarily from the digestion of sulfur-rich foods, so to cut down on the stench, experts have recommended cutting back on foods such as meat and eggs (hydrogen sulfide is called “rotten egg gas” for a reason). In “Contribution of Dietary Protein to Sulfide Production in the Large Intestine” researchers found that meat-eaters generated as much as 15 times the sulfides as those eating vegetarian.

There are healthy sulfur-rich foods, such as garlic and cauliflower. If you’re about to embark on a long trip in a confined space after a big meal of aloo gobi, Pepto-Bismol® and generic equivalents can act as a windbreaker by binding up the sulfur in your gut to eliminate odors, but should be used only as a short term solution due to the potential for bismuth toxicity with chronic use.

Then there are the high tech solutions, such as carbon fiber odor-eating underwear (cost: $65),  which were put to the test in an American Journal of Gastroenterology study that included such gems as “Utilising gas-tight Mylar pantaloons, the ability of a charcoal lined cushion to adsorb sulphur-containing gases instilled at the anus of eight subjects was assessed.” Assessed, that is, by a panel of fart-sniffing judges. And the name of the charcoal lined cushion? The “Toot Trapper.”

To reiterate, though, intestinal gas is normal and healthy. No less than Hippocrates himself was quoted as saying “passing gas is necessary to well-being.” As one chair of gastroenterology wrote in a review of degassing drugs and devices (and yes, Dr. Fardy is a real name), “Perhaps increased tolerance of flatus would be a better solution, for we tamper with harmless natural phenomena at our peril.”

 – Michael Greger, M.D.

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Antibiotics – superbugs

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Antibiotics are given to intensively farmed animals on a daily / routine basis. Why? Well cram thousands of animals into a small space and the only way to prevent an outbreak of disease is to give them regular antibiotic treatments. Not when they need it, but because the environment is so disease friendly.

Yes it is true! See this NHS article and report by the Chief medical officer:

http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/12December/Pages/Antibiotic-use-in-farm-animals-threatens-human-health.aspx

The super bug threat is a ‘ticking time bomb’. A report by the Chief medical office claims the concern is agricultural antibiotic use is driving up levels of antibiotic resistance, leading to new “superbugs”.

Google it: antibiotics used in farming

In simple terms the viruses mutate, they fight back. We have a limited amount of antibiotics to fight disease. Give it a laboratory environment (factory/intensive farming) to practice in and we create a super bug – An antibiotic resistant superbug.

See a study done at Harvard university:

A cinematic approach to drug resistance

Two main risks to humans: a) resistant bacteria makes it into the food chain b) you get an infection for example from a minor operation which can’t be treated by Antibiotics.

Hmm that bacon sandwich doesn’t taste quite so good now does it?

What can you do? The more intense the farming the greater the use of antibiotics, the use of antibiotics underpins the factory farming system. By buying intensively rearer meat you are funding the problem. Buy free range meat or better still buy organic meat that restricts the use of antibiotics to an ‘strictly as needed’ basis.

The Ethical omnivore.

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