Just before Game 7 of the World Series, Dr. Oz hits a home run in the studio.
And It’s time to give credit where credit is due; and, today, my hat’s off to Dr. Oz. His “prehistoric diet” segment, that led off the 10-28-11 airing of his show, was one of the most powerful twenty minutes that I have ever seen on television. He called it his “most extreme experiment ever” in an effort to find the answer to this question:
Could a “prehistoric diet” save your life?
With an objective of lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and weight; they recruited three complete strangers (all female) and had them reside in a zoo and consume Dr. Oz’s “prehistoric diet” for 48 hours. Checking into their tent quarters at the Turtle Back Zoo in New Jersey, Dr. Oz himself delivered their rations: ten pounds of raw vegetables and fruit per day.
The good news is that they all survived — the bad news is that they missed their favorite foods and all agreed that they wouldn’t be able to stick with that diet in the real world. Even though Oz called it the diet that our ancestors lived on; hence (in other words, the natural diet for our species), they all agreed (including Oz) that it was too extreme for most Americans.
The even better news is that the next half of the segment was all about turning that near 100% whole plant-based eating into a reasonable, delicious and sustainable diet-style — one that they could easily maintain for the rest of their life.
The numbers. VERY impressive. In just 48 hours, here are the average results for the three women living in that tent at the zoo:
- Blood pressure: 128/91 was lowered to 115/72
- Triglycerides: 138 down to 88
- LDL cholesterol: down an average of 37 points
- Weight: average loss was 4 pounds.
With numbers like these, the three women AND the studio audience were all amazed — yet probably no one there would have wanted to be in their shoes while eating the raw veggies at the zoo. Great results, but too tough to sustain. What to do?
Enter Julieanna Hever. ”The Plant-based Dietitian” joyfully demonstrated how one could easily get all the protein and other nutrients from whole, plant-based foods. Looking like a million bucks, she congratulated the group and acknowledged how difficult it must have been; then quickly shifted to the positive, saying cheerfully:
That is so not how it has to be. It is vastly easier in the real world to follow a whole foods, plant-based diet and still reap those phenomenal benefits that you guys saw in such a short amount of time. I see it every day.
Of course, they began with the “Where do you get your protein?” question and quickly moved through a list of other vital nutrients — all of which are conveniently found in whole plant foods. Then she went through a huge chart on the wall showing many nutritious fruits and vegetables grouped by color:
- Brown. Whole grain pasta, whole grain breads, and quinoa
- Blue/purple. Blueberries, plums, and beets
- Green. String beans, limes and pears
- Yellow. Bananas, squash and lemons
- Orange. Oranges, carrots and mangoes
- Red. Strawberries, apples and tomatoes.
Food prep & tasting. Answering two key questions:
- How do you prepare the foods conveniently?
- How do you make this wonderfully healthy food taste great?
Once again, Julieanna takes them one at a time, preparing a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner along with each of the three women. I picked up a few tips myself, such as adding frozen bananas to a breakfast smoothie that also included lots of leafy green vegetables. As she said, the addition of the bananas makes it impossible to detect the green veggies in the smoothie.
The Big Question. This is where the rubber meets the road — and Dr. Oz handled it perfectly. Acknowledging the life-saving benefits on the chart behind him, he looked all three of them in the eye and asked the $64,000 question very slowly:
Do – you – think – that – you – could – stay – on – these – kind – of – foods – for – the – rest – of - your – life?
The answer. A unanimous chorus of ABSOLUTELY along with big smiles and thumbs up all around. What more do we need to know? The benefits are amazing, the foods can be delicious and it will cost far less money in the long run — particularly if you factor in the vast array of “disease care” costs that you’ll be avoiding. This is very important information that people everywhere need to know.
As such, this is the message that Dr. Oz should be leading off every program with FOR — THE — REST — OF — HIS — LIFE. This is life-saving and world-changing information that should be shared by every health care provider on every visit with every patient. Then maybe someday this crucial information will even be taught in our schools. What a novel idea that would be.
You can do this.These three women proved that anybody can do this. After understanding the awesome power of eating this way and seeing the dramatic results, they then learned just how delicious and enjoyable this way of eating can be. Want to get this process started in your company, church or school? Give everybody two books for starters:
Our book, Healthy Eating — Health World, for all the powerful reasons (beyond health benefits) for shifting to a whole foods, plant-based diet. A compelling read that helps people decide that that they can and will take action NOW.
Julieanna’s book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-based Nutrition. Since getting my copy a few weeks ago, I began promoting this book as the ideal companion to our book. A great guide to making this diet-style happen in your life with a plethora of great recipes along with critical information about every vitamin, mineral and nutrient known to man. Everyone should have this book in their house.
One more thing. If Dr. Oz actually starts consistently taking a stand, I will become his biggest fan. But, no matter what he does, I will be telling this exciting zoo story every chance I get. Here are a few more earlier blogs that are relevant to this one:
- Oz takes “confusion over clarity” to a new level – TIME
- Dr. Oz – back to the same old fad diets…
- Oz shares colon story; “cancer screening $$ business” gets bigger
Six from Hicks —for your health, your planet & the future of our species
- The movie that’s changing the lives of millions: Forks Over Knives DVD
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The ”big picture” about food (our book)
- An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell
- Dr. McDougall’s latest book, The Starch Solution, with lots of great recipes
- Dr. Campbell’s new book: WHOLE, Rethinking the Science of Nutrition
- ENVIRONMENTAL Bonus. Comfortably Unaware by Richard Oppenlander. Eating for your own health is also best for the sustainability of our ecosystem.
Why should we be eating mostly plants? The “big picture” in 4 minutes.
Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Survey. It takes 2 or 3 minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to email@example.com
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—J. Morris Hicks, board member since 2012; click banner for more info: