This photo is from an old college friend with text above replying to a text from me on the role of animal agriculture and climate change. We all know the talk of food can get quite emotionally charged and yes if it is spiced right and you are accustomed to eating the flesh of animals, it does for some taste delicious but we must not forget it is also addictive and the rate of consumption is out of balance with our internal physiologic and external global health. It’s not your fault, that is how most of us were raised exposed daily from an early age on high fat foods. We must know that all foods without fiber are addictive. We must know that in excess it is literally killing us and is responsible for the leading cause of death in the US.
It is not your fault. For human survival there is a physiologic reward for eating foods with a high fat content. We are rewarded with dopamine, a neurotransmitter in our brain that makes us feel good. Refined sugar does that too. Any high calorie, low fiber per volume food rewards us. Without that immediate reward there would be no primal drive for an infant to expend the energy to consume mother’s milk. So physiologically we get this reward. Works wonders for us in infancy but now in this post industrial era where the once food of kings and queens is now available to all (See old pictures and paintings of kings and queens) it is killing us. Instead of weaning from high fat mother’s milk after infancy as nature and all other species on the planet do, we change to cow’s milk (liquid meat) and high fat animal flesh is introduced. Once a luxury, or on average 2 servings a month in the paleolithic era (contrary to popular belief), we now get a dose 3 times a day. And we are obese – 2/3rds of Americans are overweight and 1/3 are obese. 1/3 of all 10 year old American children have early not yet symptomatic damage to their blood vessels. Instead of healthy, lean and strong peaceful warrior people thriving on starches with only the occasional foods of kings and queens we are weak. We die prematurely, we are ridden with debilitating pain, as our joints, discs, bones and brains are starved of oxygen due to lack of blood flow. We die from heart disease, dementia, cancer, diabetes, autoimmune diseases all due to an excess of foods without fiber. It’s the food!
All foods without fiber are addictive, it is not your fault. If you stop an addictive food you go through withdrawals as you would from withdrawing from heroin and so you go out and get a big gulp or a burger and feel normal again and you come to me and say ‘Doc, I just need my meat, I need that protein’. So we gently and kindly teach about the body, addiction, this reward mechanism that served us very well in infancy but sets us up for a chronically addictive disease ridden & painful life. My prayer for myself is that on the day I pass on from this life that I can stand tall and I have a fully lucid brain. Understanding physiology in addition to my genetics my choices every day will either enable this or inhibit. Will I eat for blood flow today? Will you?
May we eat like our peaceful warrior ancestors, pre-animal agriculture (note the translation for the word war in Sanskrit is ‘the desire for more cattle’) and thrive on whole starch foods – potato, corn, brown rice, quinoa with legumes, vegetables, seeds and fruits. May we run or walk like our ancestors did. We averaged 10 miles a day back then. May we reclaim our innocence, our birthright of full embodiment, fully connected to mother earth where our choices align with the health of our temple, the body and our shared home, this planet (the #2 cause of global warming is animal agriculture). From egocentric addictive states to ecocentric liberating choice. Where what we eat also helps the planet, helps others to also have food to eat. It is a win win win: for planet, personal health and all sentient beings. May are choices minimize unnecessary suffering. May we enjoy optimal health via eating for optimal blood vessel health. As we continue to argue about high protein vs high fat vs low fat we must understand that the only diet proven to repair our 60,000 miles of blood vessels in our bodies is a naturally low fat starch based whole food plant based diet.
It is a myth that we need to give up our joy of eating to be healthy.
I look forward to my overnight oats soaked in homemade hemp seed milk sweetened with dates and vanilla extract with berries, ground flaxseed, cinnamon, ginger, cacao nibs for breakfast. I absolutely love my breakfast! I look forward to our curry potato, brown rice or quinoa vegetables stews for lunch and dinner or burrito bowls with pumpkin seeds, whole grains, beans and hot sauce. I do not feel deprived. I feel light and energized in my body. I am eating for optimal blood flow and loving every bite. With every meal I know I am repairing damaged blood vessels and healing my body.
Eat whole nutrient dense fiber foods!
Shift your plant to animal ratio, your whole to processed ratio.
Perfection is impossible, to be whole is the goal!
Whole foods with fiber: Vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, seeds.
Avoid or keep to 2 servings or less a week “meats and treats” which are foods WITHOUT fiber.
Foods without fiber = meat, eggs, dairy, cheese, oils, white flour, sugar
Eat oatmeal with 1-2 tablespoons fresh ground flaxseed with berries and plant milk
Try “overnight oats” for breakfast:
- Soak 1/2 cup of steel cut oats after rinsing before bed, soak in plant milk overnight in the fridge.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of fresh ground organic flaxseeds, berries, cinnamon
We encourage a large salad with beans, whole grains for one meal a day.
Hemp milk recipe:
- Blend ¼ cup raw shelled hemp seeds with 2 cups water for 40 seconds
- Add a few pitted dates and vanilla extract to taste
- Read to serve, no need to filter.
“The rule of the artery is supreme“
— AT Still, MD/DO, the founder of osteopathic medicine
A word on ‘everything in moderation’
We have a saying that if we could all follow that way we would all be healthy. Foods without fiber are very addictive and for many of us moderation doesn’t work. For me it is much easier to avoid it all as you can imagine someone with a heroin addiction would know not to ever use again. My treats are foods made with white flour & oil ie today we are ordering a vegan pizza. I try my best to avoid sugar as it is my greatest addiction. For me it is very easy to avoid anything from an animal due to my ethical veganism.
So get curious or stay curious about your choices. Notice what is the most difficult to do in moderation ie meats and treats 2 servings or less a week. Maybe the sugar and white flour need to go completely or the cheese or meat. Then stay in choice, what is the next most practical step in the flow of your life to shift next. Perhaps it is time for meditation, time for nature, movement, creativity! Anything you used to love doing that you no longer do? Stay on the path. It is a marathon not a sprint. When you make a choice you know is not ultimately serving the big picture goals just stay curious, go back to body sensations, observe the breath, reconnect, recalibrate at the next meal with whole fiber repair foods. Get curious and reconnect with the breath, heart as you reach for that treat or iPhone 🙂
Take 3 minutes now and slow the breath, down to a 5 count in, 5 count out, place your hands on your heart and feel something you are grateful for, feel feelings of caring, compassion, appreciation to the best of your ability, feel your body! This is a quick way to get the heart and mind reconnected. Ultimately we need to listen to the heart and kindly & respectfully reassign the mind, as the amazing tool it is, out of the master overthinking role.
Watch Forks Over Knives
Look for the new film coming out this fall, The Game Changers
Watch Crazymind on Gaia 🙂
Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman, MD
Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, MD
The Pleasure Trap by Alan Goldhammer, DC and Dougle Lisle, PhD
Finding Ultra by Rich Roll.
Watch this 17 minute talk from the Godfather of a starch based plant based diet John McDougall, MD