Whole, plant-based foods (the natural diet for our species) is the answer
Since I first began studying this topic in 2002, Dr. Campbell has been my hero. Not only did he have the finest Cornell educational credentials; he also had an incredible track record in nutritional research coupled with decades of experience in food policy at the highest levels.
And unlike the vast majority of nutritional researchers, Dr. Campbell focused on the “big picture” of what goes on in the human body. He has described it as a “symphony” of millions of chemical processes working together to promote health. In his Huffington Post article of 10-25-2010, he explains the importance of whole, plant-based foods:
If we are to understand the true value of nutrition, we must begin by considering the health value of whole foods, not the nutrient parts extracted from them. In that context it is whole, plant-based foods that express an effect that is far more than the sum of its parts.
In a nutshell, that single paragraph defines exactly why we decided to emphasize the importance of maximizing the percentage of calories from whole, plant-based foods in our 4-Leaf Program. Most vegetarians and vegans place the primary emphasis on “what they’re avoiding,” which misses the point.
While avoiding all animal products, many of them are loading up on highly-processed foods; heavy in fat, sugar, white flour and sodium. And that’s why they’re not enjoying the vibrant health and effortless weight-loss that only the natural foods for our species can deliver. What could be simpler? Two words — Whole Plants!
Dr. Campbell continues in the article as he talks about one of his favorite topics, the almost total absence of nutritional research funding at the National Institutes of health:
The National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is the most influential research funding agency in the world, is comprised of 27 institutes, centers and programs and not one is named the Institute of Nutrition. Research funding is a mere pittance in a couple of the institutes and most of this is dedicated to the study of individual nutrients that I consider pharmacology, not nutrition.
So, where is the average citizen supposed to learn the truth about nutrition? Although a handful of prominent scientists (like Dr. Campbell) and physicians (like Dr. Esselstyn) have been speaking out regarding the importance of whole plants for over twenty years, the “system” that controls that kind of information in this country hasn’t changed very much. That means that the medical schools and the schools of nutrition still have not embraced the wisdom of health-promoting whole plant foods. As he says…
There is not a single medical school in the country that teaches nutrition as a basic medical science. At best, a few may have an elective course that treats the subject in a most superficial manner. Public citizens, therefore, are left to fend for themselves against the hyped up claims of the food and drug industries.
In their recent movie, Forks Over Knives, Dr. Campbell and Dr. Esselstyn and others do an outstanding job of explaining the world-changing power of plant-based nutrition. But our “system” is still rolling along doing its best to maintain the status quo. Meanwhile, millions of Americans are suffering the consequences of the failures of that “system” to properly inform the citizens of this nation. As Dr. Campbell pointed out in the article:
When done right, advanced heart disease can be cured, type 2 diabetes stopped and reversed, cancer can be prevented and, with some newer evidence, controlled after it appears. The range of diseases that can be prevented is more than impressive. The breadth and rapidity of the nutritional effect not only prevents disease but actually treats many of these diseases while restoring and maintaining health. The totality of these health effects are far more than almost anyone knows.
It is terribly frustrating when I know these effects, I know the savings in health care costs that can be had and I know the personal responses that virtually everyone experiences when they try this for a week or so. I also know that, historically, we have been slaves to a nutrition-less health information system that, in effect, is designed to keep us in mental chains, thus to maintain the status quo.
Light at the end of the tunnel. In the article, he wraps up talking about former President Bill Clinton on CNN with Wolf Blitzer. Influenced by The China Study and the heart-disease reversal work of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and Dr. Dean Ornish; Mr. Clinton told his truly impressive results to the world on CNN.
Dr. Campbell concludes the article by saying, “I am not sure he knows how far reaching is his contribution. It is time for the rest of the public to get to know this as well. This information is on the right side of history! Mark my word.”
For the complete article on Huffington Post, see link below.
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—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at HealthyEatingHealthyWorld.com
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