Plant-Based Diet

8 New Medical Reasons to Never Eat Meat

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Some people are drawn to the plant-based lifestyle for the impact it makes on protecting the environment and some to avoid harming animals. Most of us hope that we also may derive some health benefits from skipping animal products, even if it is occasionally hard on holidays and travel to find appropriate meals. You are probably aware that plant-based diets have been shown to prevent and reverse heart disease and patients may actually get their insurance plans to pay for education programs teaching these diets.  There are new data that further reinforce the argument that eating only fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes is optimal for your health. Here are 8 new reasons to never eat meat.

  1. Type 2 Diabetes: In a long term study from Finland of over 2,000 men followed over 19 years, replacing even 1% of calories from animal proteins with plant proteins lowered the risk of developing diabetes by 18%.
  2. Liver disease: A growing health concern is called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD. In an analysis of over 3,000 subjects in the Netherlands, increased dietary proteins from animal sources (meat) were associated with a greater risk (reaching 50% higher) of developing NAFLD.
  3. Asthma: In a study of processed red meat consumption and asthma symptoms, eating cured red meat over 4 times a week increased the odds of having worsened asthma by 76%.
  4. Colon Cancer: The world was caught off guard in October, 2015 when the World Health Organization announced their results of a comprehensive analysis demonstrating that processed red meats like bacon and hot dogs cause colorectal cancer. In a more recent analysis, 400 studies were examined. They found that the risk of colorectal cancer increased by 12% for each 100 gm/day eaten of red and processed meats. Whole grains and vegetables decreased the risk.
  5. Depression: In an analysis of 21 studies examining diet and depression, eating red and processed meats increased the risk of depression by over 25% while fruits and vegetables had the opposite relationship.
  6. Stomach cancer: Researchers combined 42 studies relating diet to stomach cancer and found that higher intake of red meat increased the risk by 70% while processed red meat increased it by 80% over those that shunned meats.
  7. Head and neck cancer: In a study from the Netherlands of over 120,000 subjects followed for over 20 years, consumption of processed red meat was associated with developing cancers of the head and neck. The risk was increased as much as 50% compare to the low or non-meat eaters studied.
  8. Gestational diabetes: Developing diabetes during pregnancy, known as gestational diabetes, can complicate pregnancies and have an impact on the health of the offspring. In a recent analysis, the highest red meat consumption of any kind increased the risk of gestational diabetes by over 2 fold. Once again, processed red meat also increased the risk by about double over low meat eaters.

Avoiding meat is one of the most important health decisions you can make. Whether meat comes from cows raised on grass or corn, whether you know the farmer or not, meat is an inflammatory food that inherently has a chemical structure that drives reactions in the body that promote cancer growth. Unlike the new data that the more servings of fruit and vegetables you eat, the more likely you will avoid chronic diseases and delay death, eating meat has the opposite result, leading to disease and early death.  These 8 new medical observations should keep you on track for a long and healthy life.

6 Ways to Kick Off a Plant-Based Diet

By | Dining, Plant-Based Diet, Uncategorized | No Comments

You’ve decided to avoid animal products and jump into the world of plant-based eating but you’re wondering what your three meals a day and snacks are going to look like. How will you order at restaurants? What do you need to stock up on at home?

I’ve discussed this process with thousands of patients because plant-based diets have been shown to reverse heart artery disease and prevent heart attacks. I routinely use these 6 resources to guide my patients through this transition and I hope it will help you too.

Check out free starter guides.

Here are some organizations with some great free resources to help you get started on a plant-based diet:

  • Kaiser Permanente The largest managed care organization in the USA provides strong medical support for a whole foods plant-based diet, as well as pages of practical tips in their downloadable resource.
  • Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) This organization, led by Dr. Neal Barnard, maintains high standards and does original research. For example, PCRM has found evidence that diabetes mellitus in adults can be treated and reversed with plant-based diets. Their Vegetarian Starter Kit is excellent.
  • People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) This group does great work exposing animal cruelty and their Vegan Starter Kit to eating is an important resource, offering a two-week meal plan, tips to make the transition, and a list of foods to eat.
  • Vegan Outreach This non-profit organization does wonderful work on college campuses reaching almost a million students a year. Their guide to cruelty-free eating is excellent; it features dozens of recipes, plus information about vegan philosophy and nutrition.

Watch Forks Over Knives.

Forks Over Knives I ask all of my patients to watch this documentary with their family. It makes a bigger impact on deciding to eat a healthier diet than any other resource I’ve found. The film’s website has a guide to eating that is another great resource.

Watch What the Health

What the Health is a new documentary that has gone viral and is changing lives for the better. Find a night and sit the family down to watch it together. You may never drink dairy again. 

Learn About Animal Rights

Animals Deserve Protection Today and Tomorrow (ADAPTT) This is a website created by animal liberation activist Gary Yourofsky and features his viral speech making the case for a vegan diet. The site has great resources for changing to plant-based nutrition. For some people, considerations of the plight of animals is even a more powerful reason to maintain a plant-based diet than health concerns alone.

Find full nutrition plans.

PCRM offers a 21-day complete vegan program called the Vegan Kickstart. It’s free and includes celebrity tips, meal plans, webcasts, restaurant guides, daily messages, and a community forum. It is run beginning the first of every month, is free, and is even available in several languages. I highly recommend signing up.

PETA offers a complete two-week nutrition plan for free including what to eat, what to make, and where to eat. I have found this to be a helpful resource.

Find Travel Apps to Succeed.
Eating a plant-based diet at home is one matter, eating one on the road another. Familiarize yourself with apps like Happy Cow and you will increase the odds that you will succeed long term.

While diet is a personal matter, increasing scientific evidence drawn from longitudinal studies such as the Adventist Health Study, the EPIC-Oxford Study and other large databases indicate that the lowest rates of chronic diseases occur in people who don’t eat meat, eggs and dairy and instead consume mostly plant-based foods.

The resources above can be of use to anyone hoping to improve health, reverse disease, or manage weight. Eating a plant-based diet reduces damage to the planet and animals while making you healthier.