You need to get your protein from meat, calcium from milk and omega-3 from fish oil! Although you are surely familiar with these statements, are you fully aware of where this information comes from and what the real motive is? In recent years – but particularly since the 1980s – we have been seeing a shocking rise in health problems including heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, arthritis and autoimmune disease. We may technically be living longer, but our health is poorer – and disabilities and mental illnesses more prevalent – than ever before.
According to Dr John McDougall, around 70% of research on food is exploited by the food industry, who exert great influence over the media and government officials to maintain consumer confidence. Medical professionals who once warned about the dangers of high-fat diets, such as Dr David Perlmutter (Grain Brain) and Dr William Davis (Wheat Belly), are now advocating them by vilifying carbohydrates, particularly those refined and processed. As a result, biased businesses are promoting and thus profiting from the very foods that are contributing most to our ill-health: animal foods. Animal foods such as meat, fish, dairy and eggs contain no fibre, no carbohydrates (the body’s primary and preferred source of energy), are high in cholesterol, highly acid-forming, very low in antioxidants and – being high on the food chain – prone to animal-borne diseases. They usually have concentrated amounts of individual nutrients, such as protein, while being deficient in others.
Contrastingly, plant foods contain a wide variety of nutrients in natural and balanced amounts. All minerals come from soils and are taken in by the roots of plants. 11 of the 13 essential vitamins can only be synthesised by plants, the exceptions being Vitamin D from the sun and Vitamin B12 from bacteria. Plant foods contain no cholesterol (the body makes all the cholesterol it needs) and are high in naturally occurring carbohydrates such as fructose and starch (the “good” ones), high in fibre, considerably more alkaline-forming and low on the food chain.
Let’s now go back to the original statements. Protein can be found in meat, but there is an undeniable link between animal protein consumption and higher rates of disease. In our Western society, the problem is protein excess, not deficiency. Excess animal protein strains the liver and kidneys and, among other things, can lead to the formation of kidney stones. Instead, you can easily get adequate protein from natural plant sources including beans, grains, nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables. Nations that consume the most dairy products have the highest rates of osteoporosis. Again, this disease is not a result of too little calcium, but rather too much calcium derived from acid-forming animal protein including dairy. This is because alkaline substances such as calcium are leeched from the bones to restore the body’s natural pH balance, which is slightly alkaline. It is therefore advisable to get minerals such as calcium from Mother Nature instead of mother cow’s baby calf milk.
Essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6) can only be found in plants. The only reason why fish oil supplements contain them is because fish eat krill, who eat algae. Fish oil is therefore an indirect source of these fats, and entails the added risk of environmental toxins such as mercury. With this in mind, dietary supplements are isolated, concentrated nutrients that create harmful hormonal imbalances and can lead to health problems. Similarly, vegetable oils are isolated, concentrated compounds that are 100% fat, very calorie dense (9 calories per gram) and devoid of nutrients found in their respective natural form (think olives vs olive oil). As with almost every other nutrient, essential fatty acids can be sourced from plants, including nuts and seeds, and in their ideal ratio. If the African elephant can make all the fat its body needs by only eating plants, we as mammals certainly can as well!
It is believed that no more than 20% of our ill-health is down to our genes. This means that the vast majority of us are suffering from preventable diseases. A major issue, however, is detrimental lifestyle choices and habits, which often run in the family. Compared to drugs that treat symptoms at best, the food we eat is the most powerful way to heal as well as prevent and reverse disease – this has been scientifically proven and stated unequivocally in the medical literature.
The best solution for our health is a whole food (meaning unprocessed), plant-based diet. With this dietary approach, Dr Dean Ornish proved over 30 years ago that heart disease could be reversed. Furthermore, type-2 diabetes can be fully reversed by following a low-fat diet to reopen fat-clogged insulin receptors, and antioxidant-rich foods are the most effective way to destroy free radicals to fight cancer. I encourage you to take a holistic approach towards your health by always considering food first. The truth is always simple and easy to explain – eat more plants!
Lis Horwich Empowerment Coach with thanks for assistance from her son, Adam Horwich.
The Holistic Life Coach
Holistic & Natural Solutions for Health and Wellbeing