I hear that from so many people that I talk to….I eat healthy. In the meantime, diabetes, cardio-vascular disease, high blood pressure, etc, etc, are rampant in the USA. I also hear people say a lot about this person or that person told them something is good or bad. So many voices, so many TV commercials, so many well intentioned people and usually none of it based on science of any kind. Even medical doctors have little if any nutrition training, as little as two credit hours.
So here are the questions:
- Who do I listen to?
- What do most dieticians and nutritionists agree on?
- What does the science really say?
My entry into this arena happened with my son was about two years old and diagnosed with allergy triggered asthma. I wasn’t happy with all the steroids that were being handed out so I did my own digging. Happy to say that at this point he runs marathons and is medication and inhaler free! Dietary changes are largely responsible for that.
My second big push in natural health and nutrition happened when I was 40, right at the time my daughter was born. There is a lot of bad health in my family, especially on my father’s side. My dad died at 50 from cancer (he smoked) and his father before him died at 55 (cardiovascular disease, he also smoked). At the time I weighed 210 pound. At 5’ 9”, that is pretty hefty. I had a 38 inch waist. I set a goal of at least being able to live long enough to watch my daughter graduate from high school and college and walk her down the aisle when/if she got married. I knew I had work to do.
Along the way, I took courses in Naturopathy, herbalism, and every other ism and ology I could find. I also became a NYS licensed massage therapist and studied nutrition at the master’s level.
So who do I listen to? At the prompting of my friendly neighborhood Wegman’s Nature’s Marketplace manager (with whom I had many a debate regarding healthy eating) I read a book calld The China Study.
This introduced me to the LARGEST study on how food affects health ever done. The man behind it, T. Collin Campbell, is a PHD researcher from Cornell. Next up I watched a video called Forks Over Knives, featuring the research of Dr. Campbell and others like Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, a surgeon from the Cleveland Clinic.
Another great video is What the Health. My ultimate go-to for fact based health and nutrition research is Dr. Michael Gregor and his website https://nutritionfacts.org/. There is a short video there on almost anything you can think of health related and is all based on studies.
What do most dieticians and nutritionists agree on? Basically, Americans eat way too much protein and are severely deficient in dietary fiber, magnesium, potassium, etc. Most would agree to eating foods as close to nature as possible (as little processing as possible) and eat more plants.
The science very much supports that a vegan diet is the best. To me eating animal based foods isn’t so much the issue as what you ARE NOT eating because of eating animal based foods. Meat, chicken, fish, etc, don’t have any fiber and are relatively lacking in vitamins and minerals.
Eat more plants folks. That works best.