The Next Big Thing In Medicine: Part 3
Obviously a whole foods plant-based way of eating is something anyone with any of the illnesses or medical conditions we discussed last time should consider. The list of conditions it can help with is truly immense, and more wide-ranging than anything any of the other advances in medicine has to offer, even the indisputably great ones we agreed upon. If the benefits stopped right there, we’d say we have something that could help a huge number of people improve their quality and quantity of life.
Guess what? There’s even more. There’s a number of other great things that people who make the transition toward a plant-based way of eating report experiencing, whether or not they had a medical condition in the first place. These are the best, because they’re what will make you really notice that it’s working and make it a change that you want to keep going with. Although there’s many ways to change your diet to lose weight, for example, most of them end up making you feel hungry, less energetic, and deprived.
The reason that I keep going with eating plant-based is not because I have a condition to treat or anything that I’m particularly concerned about getting in the future. It’s more because it makes me feel and look my best on a day-to-day basis. I’ve noticed that my energy is better, my recovery from exercise is better, my stamina is increased, my skin looks better, my concentration is better, and I have a leaner and more muscular appearance since I started eating this way. And I’m never hungry – whenever I feel like eating, I eat! Plus the fact that I know everyday I’m making the best contribution to protecting the environment and avoiding climate change that I possibly can also makes me feel good. This is what Dr Ornish refers to as the ‘joy of living’ and to be honest I do believe that it’s the only way any big changes we make in our lives can be maintained.
It’s actually what we’re all interested in, I’ve found, even people who you’d expect to be really motivated to change for health reasons. While you can’t see or feel any change in your blood pressure or cholesterol, you certainly notice the difference when you feel lighter and more energetic during the day. Modern medicine has become obsessively focussed on measuring and treating numbers rather than on really helping people to feel better. The tests and measures used, our toolkit, as it were, is really only capable of saying whether someone has a disease or not, rather than whether or not they are healthy. This is why I generally don’t recommend blood tests or other medical tests for the purpose of measuring health.
So what kinds of improvements might you can expect when you decide to eat more (or ideally, only!) whole foods from plants?
Sharper memory and more focus
Faster recovery from exercise
Weight loss 0.5-1kg a week
Yup, it’s actually that good. There’s probably other things as well, but these are the ones that spring to mind that people report experiencing. So you can really see that this change is going to make a least a few big improvements for you, and you’re likely to notice a lot of these pretty much right away!
It’s this effectiveness in so many areas that really makes a plant-based diet sound too good to be true. But these results are consistent. I’m yet to hear of anyone who has started out on a plant-based way of eating that doesn’t feel great from it. Why does it work so well?
I’m only guessing but my suspicion comes back to the fact that our closest relatives in the animal kingdom eat almost entirely whole plant foods. We can clearly survive eating quite differently, but nowadays it’s quite clear that we do not thrive doing so, nor can our planet sustain our current way of eating. Simply put, a plant-based diet appears to be proving itself to be closest to our ancestral ways.
Just as we’d all agree that it’s not ‘natural’ to spend all day indoors, seated at a desk, nor is it ‘natural’ to be fuelling our bodies with highly processed and animal foods three times a day, seven days a week. Although we don’t all have the power to change our work situation, what we choose to eat is the biggest decision we can make to change how we look and feel, and the health of our planet.
So when you consider all of these things together I hope you can see how a plant-based way of eating will revolutionise medicine. I’d challenge you to give it a try for yourself and to use your experience to inspire your friends, family, and doctors!
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