She added that the increased demand for vegetarian food was "noticeable everywhere". Indeed, 37 percent of non-vegetarian respondents said their interest for buying vegetarian food had increased over the past year. Source
According to a recent survey, 10% of the population in Sweden has become vegetarian or vegan! The growth of those favoring plant-based foods was seen the strongest among the 15 to 24 age group with 17% identifying with the diet.
It's wonderful to see so many people trying plant-based foods and it should lead to the creation of flavorful vegetarian and vegan recipes with a strong Scandinavian influence for everyone to experience! Underbart!
This short news video from WDIV Detroit (15 second ad precedes video) describes how one individual reduced asthma and eczema and eliminated medications by switching to a vegan diet! He also carries a card to give to restaurants so that they know which foods he eats or avoids.
One of the most debilitating things that can happen to an individual is to be afflicted by a chronic illness. But, when multiple chronic conditions (MCCs) occur such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and hypertension, it intensifies the hardship by limiting one's ability to carry out daily activities, to work, and to care for family . While this situation affects a broad cross-section of the population, the burden of this condition can impair the lives of the elderly and low-income groups disproportionately since they may have fewer resources to cope.
Research suggests that many of the these illness have been linked to diet, especially the ones mentioned. Therefore, one way to reduce the prevalence of MCCs within a population and remove the burdens produced by them is to improve diet. This abstract from a research report illustrates the scope of the problem:
“Between 60% and 75% of adults aged 65 or older have multiple chronic conditions (MCCs). This burden of MCCs is expected to grow as the large cohort born between 1946 and 1964 age and live longer and as the prevalence of certain chronic conditions increases in the population as a whole (1,2).
According to Dr. Campbell, as explained in The China Study, the underlying biochemistry of many of the chronic illnesses which affect these populations, such as heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, macular degeneration, and even brain dysfunction is the same. Nutrition acts through biochemistry to affect these diseases and diet, therefore, can protect or endanger one from these afflictions. Further, "nutrition that is truly beneficial for one chronic disease will support health across the board" (The China Study, Health Principle # 7, T. Colin Campbell, 2005, pg. 223 - 240). Research even suggests that many chronic illnesses for which these populations are prone can be reversed through nutrition, such as heart disease and diabetes. The work of Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. McDougall in these areas provides compelling evidence.
The diet which has the most profound affect on health is a whole foods, plant-based diet, as advocated by these doctors and nutrition researchers. It therefore stands to reason that one way to reduce MCCs in populations at risk and improve their quality of life, empowerment, and ability to control their future, is to incorporate more elements from plant-based foods into their diet or encourage a complete change. With the burdens of ill health so acute in these cases, focusing on diet can offer a way to overcome the dilemma.
I recently completed a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition offered by the Center for Nutrition Studies which was founded by Dr. T. Colin Campbell who wrote The China Study and Whole. It was a wonderful course which increased my understanding of the linkage between diet and health, the benefits of plant-based nutrition, and the way nutrition research is funded, presented, and used to form public policy. It's an excellent way to learn more about how food affects our well-being and about how this information may be shaped to support industry interests instead of our personal health.
The course advances the hypothesis that a whole foods, plant-based diet promotes health better than any other diet as supported by an overwhelming amount of consistent evidence, and that the public remains confused about the value of this way of eating for many reasons including how public policy is formed and how chronic diseases are treated in the medical clinic. In addition, Dr. Campbell explains his views on nutrition theory in support of "wholism" - the role of all nutrients acting together to promote health - compared to "reductionism" - the role of a single nutrient to protect or damage health.
The class consists of three courses with each course giving students two weeks to complete the material. Each course has six or seven modules and each module has an introduction, pre-recorded PPT lecture by Dr. Campbell (and a few by guest lecturers like Dr. McDougall and Dr. Esselstyn), which is then followed by a reading, short quiz, and a discussion post which is required most of the time, but optional in a few cases.
The classes had a variety of very interesting students from a cross-section of careers and interests, including a couple practicing doctors, and many helpful and cordial TAs. The lectures and discussions (which were like a forum) were engaging and enriching and, in many cases, eye-opening. It was nice to listen to lectures from the leaders in the field as opposed to reading through their books. I also learned quite a bit from the posts of other students as they all shared how they came to seek more information on this subject.
It turned out to be not only just a class, but also an opportunity to join a growing community of very thoughtful and intelligent people. I feel I gained tremendously from the certificate program, even with my previous interest in the subject, and recommend it to everyone seeking a strongly supported baseline of information about nutrition and health. Several future posts will be based on learnings from this course.
The course is provided by eCornell:
A village in the eastern part of Nepal has become a vegetarian settlement. The village is called Itahari Tole and the consumption of meat and fish is prohibited in accordance with their religious philosophy which is opposed to "killing any living organism". Roughly 200 households participate according to this short release from the Himalayan Times. It is nice to read about an entire community dedicated to a compassionate lifestyle! Namaste!
Kale, possibly the trendiest vegetable over the past two years, was mentioned 380 times more often in 2013 than four years earlier, according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor. Source
According to this article, kale, spinach, and arugula, among others are becoming much more popular on menus and moving from side dishes to center stage at restaurants across the country. Demand is so strong for dishes featuring these leafy greens that one restaurant mentioned bought its own farm to keep up with demand. Chefs are generating creative dishes with a variety of ingredients to accompany the greens to the delight of health focused consumers! Hopefully those tasting these great vegetable combinations at restaurants will be inclined to make them at home as well (which is not hard to do!).
The farm to table concept is a wonderful way to eat, especially when it's organic. The freshness of the vegetables we use has such an impact on their nutritional value, flavor, and texture. Growing your own vegetables or purchasing them from a local farmers market are a couple ways to ensure fresh vegetables are always in your kitchen and on your table.
Since consuming fresh plant-based foods has such a positive health impact, applying this concept to those being treated for chronic illness makes great sense. The farm to patient concept is now being pioneered by a hospital and farm partnership in the Phoenix area. Cancer Treatment Centers of America and McClendon's Select have established a 25 acre organic farm next to the hospital with the purpose of delivering the freshest ingredients to the patients!
Per this article, the farm, named Hope Springs, harvested its first crop in 2013 and the hospital hired a well known chef, who participated in the development of the farm, to create meals for the patients with the belief that the fresh vegetables have the power to heal.
Chef Caputo believes they might be the first hospital in the US to establish its own farm, and he thinks it’s a model for others. His passion for food as the embodiment of love and compassion, his commitment to constant improvement and learning, his belief in the advantages of organic, fresh produce over the food service standards used in hospitals and institutions nationwide - these are the core of his conviction and the reason he goes to work each day. Source
It's great to see a hospital adding nutrition as a key element for treating chronic illness. Plant-based nutrition has the power to potentially reverse chronic illness, even in the later stages of disease. If more hospitals and healing centers can integrate the farm to patient practice into their therapy and serve an abundance of all plant-based meals, those striving to return to well-being and the families who care about them will certainly benefit.
McClendon leases the land from CTCA, growing for Chef Caputo’s kitchen on part of it and using the remaining acreage to grow for his farmers market and other wholesale clients. Maxed out at his previous site and unable to meet increasing demand, the farm at CTCA provided the perfect opportunity for McClendon to expand his growing while deepening a relationship that contributes to the healing of hundreds of patients every day. Many of those patients participate in garden activities with their caregivers and a few even help regularly with harvests for the kitchen.
The author of The China Study and Whole, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, who researched diet and health traits among rural Chinese for more than 20 years, talks about the basic observations from the study and nutrition in this interview with Men's Journal.
Is there something fundamentally wrong with getting a lot of protein?
The China Study research hypothesized that there would be a link between diet and chronic disease and more specifically that a link would be noticed between consumption of animal products and cancer and other chronic illnesses. Because of the diet patterns in rural China at the time which were predominately plant-based, the researchers were able to make useful contrasts between those who consumed plant-based foods and those who ate animal-based products.
The study concluded that diseases in more affluent areas tended to be linked with 'nutritional extravagance' which is characterized by higher levels of meat and dairy consumption. It also found that blood cholesterol which was higher in people who consumed animal based products was associated with higher rates of chronic disease. Additionally, it noticed that those who had higher fiber intakes had lower rates of colon cancer.
Per the book, the study was significant because it was the most comprehensive study ever done on diet and disease, it generated a huge amount of data, it was able to make statistically significant contrasts between those who ate plant-based foods and those who ate animal-based foods, and it studied a stationary population which kept lifestyle and diet variables consistent over time.
Interestingly, since the research was published, diets in the rural communities have changed due to the rapid growth of China's economy, leading to more affluence, higher consumption of animal-based products, and increasing rates of chronic illness.
When Mr. Smith received a diagnosis of prostate cancer in 2008, he decided to treat it with aggressive dietary changes under a doctor’s supervision. He began eating only whole grains, nuts, fruits, vegetables and legumes. Scans later showed that the cancerous growth had disappeared.
Five time mayor of Marshall, Texas, Ed Smith, recovered from cancer after switching to a whole foods, plant based diet and has used his experience to inspire many in his town to eat healthier. According this this article from the NY Times, the town's diet was typical of the area where "barbecue and chicken-fried steak" are favorites. Unfortunately, obesity, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease are prevalent, too.
By starting a health festival advocating vegan diets called "New Year, New You", he has promoted a healthier way of eating there and it seems to be catching on. The event motivated monthly vegan potlucks, appearances by influential vegan chefs and speakers, and new vegan menu options at many local restaurants (www.gethealthymarshall.com).
“Before, I thought going vegan was like eating cardboard and hugging a tree,” Ms. VanDeCarr said. “After eating some of her food, I was like, ‘Man, it tastes really good.’ ”
The approach the mayor has used to persuade people to give it a try has been focused on the health message and the taste potential of the food more so than on other aspects of veganism and it has been very effective. Positive psychology is a wonderful way to encourage everyone to make a transition, especially with food. The efforts of Mayor Smith are very impressive and worth repeating in communities everywhere!
According to this article from Beth Israel Medical Center in NYC, good nutrition helps heal wounds quicker and with less pain, discomfort, and scarring.
Although we have many surgical options and topical treatments, wounds will not heal if the patient is not well nourished. Source
The healing process includes three phases all of which need the proper nutrients including adequate calories, protein, and vitamins. Plant-based foods provide an abundance of great nutrients all of which play a role in returning the body to wonderful health.
Make Simple Vegan Meals