The mountain of evidence continues to grow.
Shortly after our book came out in 2011, I was asked two questions in an online interview for a magazine. As an introduction to this blog post, I have provided those two questions and my answers:
What piece of information did you come across that surprised you the most while writing the book? The overwhelming preponderance of evidence supporting a whole foods, plant-based diet for humans—coupled with the almost unanimous belief within the western world that we truly need to eat animal protein to be healthy.
Are you optimistic that we as a world population will be able to solve the environmental and nutritional crisis’ we face? My feeling is that in the long run, a return to the natural diet for our species (whole plants) is inevitable. The question is whether we’ll make that transition voluntarily or if we’ll have to be forced. It will probably be a little of both. I’m optimistic that millions of people will start moving in the right direction once they are provided with the necessary information. Unfortunately, I think that the masses will have to be forced to change — either by the cost or simply to avoid starvation in a world where the population grows by 200,000 people per day and we’re losing a chunk of arable land about the size of South Carolina every year.
Preponderance of evidence. Oftentimes, people will take issue with one or two minor aspects of plant-based eating. They will say things like:
- We’ve evolved to eat meat as hunter-gatherers and we need to eat some meat to be healthy.
- What about the absence of B12 in a plant-based diet? Surely we can’t believe that we should eat only plants if that diet is missing at least one essential nutrient.
- Without eating animals, we would not have developed the superior cognitive niche that we have today.
While there are generally simple explanations for all of these these kinds of objections, I choose to focus primarily on the preponderance of evidence supporting a whole foods, plant-based diet. Note there is no such “preponderance” supporting our continued consumption of meat, dairy, eggs and fish.
My Top Five List — Preponderance of Evidence for a Plant-based Diet
- Entire cultures of people in many regions of the world who eat mostly whole plants—suffer almost none of the chronic diseases that plague the wealthier nations.
- Migrant studies show clearly that when the above “peoples” move to the west that, after adopting our diet-style, they soon experience the same frequency of chronic diseases as we do.
- The animals in the wild with DNA almost identical to human (gorillas and chimpanzees) eat nothing but raw plants.
- There is a mountain of clinical and scientific evidence proving disease prevention and/or reversal of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers.
- Not only is eating lots of meat, dairy, eggs and fish taking its toll on our health, it’s also extremely wasteful of our natural resources and harmful to our environment—well on its way to destroying the delicate harmony of nature that provides life. For all of these reasons, it is simply unsustainable: not enough land, not enough water and not enough energy.
In the following 3-minute video, Dr. Michael Greger reviews a Dr. Dean Ornish paper describing the “convergence of evidence” for mostly plants—including the fact that whole plants contain 100,000 phytonutrients that are found ONLY in plants.
For your convenience, I have provided a few of my earlier blogposts on this
- My own “blinding flash of the obvious” in 2003
- Health, Hope and Harmony — and the food we eat
- “Natural” Diet — Exactly what do I mean by natural?
- SIMPLICITY — Essential for explaining the “big picture”
Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com
- 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 new book, The Starch Solution, with lots of great recipes.
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Blogging daily at hpjmh.com…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.
—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation