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Scientific evidence says this works

Bill FoxBy Bill Fox/Columnist

For the last two columns, I have written about Forks Over Knives, both the book and the movie. There is scientific evidence from many sources that this whole food, “plant-based diet is more powerful at preventing and treating chronic diseases than any medication or procedure.” In the book, the authors (both doctors) say that the following are six of the life-changing results you may expect if you follow their recommendations, including not eating any meat or digesting any dairy products.

  1. Prevent and reverse the leading chronic ailments. “A whole food, plant-based diet can prevent, halt and even reverse heart disease and diabetes.” There is also scientific evidence that shows that by following this diet, you may reduce the risk of diverticular disease, gallstones, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and kidney disease. Studies have shown an improvement in the ailments associated with such things a headaches, asthma, sexual dysfunction, reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, Alzheimer’s, MS, insomnia, etc.
  2. Reach your ideal weight. Humans and their domesticated pets are the only creatures that suffer from being overweight and obese. All of the other animals eat foods that are appropriate to their species. For example, what other animal drinks the milk of another species?
  3. Improve mental clarity. A whole-food, plant based diet resulted in most people saying that they had greater clarity of thought, improved ability to concentrate and better memory. It is believed that following this diet protects against Alzheimer’s and dementia.
  4. Experience only positive effects, not side effects. In every doctor’s office, you will find a large blue textbook. This is a list of all the drugs currently on the market. I recall, after a bad bout of asthma, my hands began to shake as a side effect of the puffer I was using. I mentioned this to my doctor and he directed my attention to the big blue text. He challenged me to find any drug that did not have some side effects. There were none. Following the diet, people have experienced a better overall mood, sounder sleep, improved bowel function and more vibrant skin. You will have more energy and may even want to exercise more. Although unintended, medical procedures and medications can have all sorts of major negative consequences.
  5. Have a sense of well being and empowerment. The doctors insist, “You can live with less fear that a heart attack can happen at any time or that you will be struck by the same chronic ailment from which other members of your family have suffered”. In short, you are now in control of your health as never before.
  6. Save time and money. Although this book is an American text, they insist that you will save by not having to pay out of pocket for some of your health care and will have fewer trips to your doctor and fewer pills, allowing more money and time spent in other areas of your life.

The text basically focuses on your first four weeks following their plan and they insist:

  • By week one, you will begin with following this diet for breakfast and will learn how to stock your refrigerator to support this new way of eating.
  • In week two, you will move to following the eating plan for lunch and learn the basics of meal planning.
  • In week three, you’ll reimagine dinner and find out how to combat cravings…I already have less sugar and chocolate cravings…substituting oranges for chocolate.
  • By week four, you will “master all tricks and tips you’ll need for the long haul, including how to eat on the go and how to snack healthily.”

Both my wife and I are gradually getting into this way of eating and I’m pleasantly surprised at how well our new food and recipes taste.

I’m not yet an expert, but you can contact me at bdfox@rogers.com with any questions.