This is the first issue of my five-part series examining animal and plant-based diets.
My goal with this series is to provide you with information that you will hopefully find helpful when it comes to making healthy food choices for you and your family.
Because, as we all know, the health choices we make today have a huge impact on our quality of life tomorrow.
“Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.” – Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates
Norway 1939. World War II.
The German army begins their occupation of Norway. The Germans confiscate all the livestock for their own troops. This forces the Norwegians to eat plant-based foods.
Later, it’s discovered that something unexpected happened as a result of this dietary shift: The Norwegian mortality rate from circulatory diseases drops significantly over the next six years.
It only starts to rise again after the war is over and meat and dairy are reintroduced into their diet.
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn tells this story in the documentary film Forks Over Knives.
Of course, the above story is just one story. More proof would be required to draw any firm conclusions from it.
And in addition, you might want to consider other opinions. For example, someone by the name of Denise Minger published a lengthy article online pointing out discrepancies in the above story.
Neither a doctor nor a scientist, Minger has turned her bashing of Forks Over Knives, and the book that inspired it, The China Study, into a cottage industry for herself.
She points out, among other things, that while the dairy and meat consumption did go down, so did sugar consumption. Plus fish consumption went up.
And she notes that the drop in deaths went from 30 deaths per 10,000 to 24 deaths per 10,000, a drop of only 6 deaths per 10,000.
Do these additional insights mean everything stated in Forks Over Knives and written in The China Study is bunk?
Not necessarily. Especially when many other researchers have come to a similar conclusion: that by eating a whole food’s plant-based diet, many of our most crippling conditions could be greatly reduced, if not completely irradiated.
Or in other words, if you shift to a plant-based diet, you dramatically lessen your chance of acquiring heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, high cholesterol and diabetes.
Which, of course, will substantially reduce, both now and down the road, your need for expensive drugs and corrective surgery.
Meaning, you’ll have a much better quality of life…and you’ll live longer. And who doesn’t want that?
But do you really have to give up red meat completely to achieve it?
In a way, the “war” between meat eaters and vegetarians is similar to the “war” between opposing sides in politics in that important data is sometimes ignored on one side (or the other) in order to avoid diluting one’s argument.
And, of course, there are a lot of politics involved when it comes to food. Governments and corporate lobbyists are all too willing to support what’s best for them economically, which often turns out to be to the detriment of people’s health and well-being. Doctors and big pharmacy often appear more interested in the money available to them through treatment, rather than prevention.
So what’s a person to do?
One thing is certain; it’s too serious an issue to not investigate fully for yourself.
First, let’s look at some important facts: According to the World Health Association, obesity has nearly doubled since 1980. In 2008, more than 1.4 billion adults, 20 and older, were overweight.
Of these, over 200 million men, and nearly 300 million women, were obese. 35% of adults aged 20 and over were overweight in 2008, and 11% were obese. More than 40 million children under the age of five were overweight in 2011.
Nationmaster.com published the results of a study about obesity by country. What they found was that the United States was the most obese country with 30.6% of the population being obese.
Next came Mexico (24.2%) followed by United Kingdom (23%), Slovakia (22.4%), Greece (21.9%), and Australia (21.7%).
New Zealand, Hungary, Luxembourg, Czech Republican, Canada and Spain rounded out the top 12.
Note: If anything, these figures are too conservative, as children are included in the above numbers.
That’s it for today. Next time I’ll take a look at the problem a bit more thoroughly all in an effort to give you the information you need to make healthy choices for you and your family.
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