After hating cooking all of my life, 7 years ago, as a young mother, came face to face with my commitment to nourish and nurture my children to health and fitness through the food they eat. My commitment turned out to be stronger than my dislike of anything to do with the kitchen and I signed-up for an Ayurvedic Cooking Course (Health through Food) with Art of Living to learn what to do in the kitchen besides telling the cook what to make.
My commitment held me for 7 long years, which is the time it took me to travel from dislike to disinterest to curiosity to deep interest and engagement in nutrition and its implementation through cooking the food we eat. The journey has taken me through Ayurveda, Naturopathy and Western scientific research.
The more I study, the more I am moving from deep interest towards loving the science of food not only for fulfilling on the primary reason of getting started on this journey but also for self-preservation and for supporting my clients. After all, my clients can only lead their business to deeply fulfilling success and impact when they are at their optimum level of health and fitness.
Couple of interesting observations before I move forward towards the reason I started this article:
1. Love is the inspiration but it is commitment that gets you to take action inspite of the resistance to stepping out of your comfort zone.
2. Results only get created in the magical space just outside your comfort zone.
3. There is no overnight success. You can create any results you can dream of as long as you are willing to make a long-term commitment to creating those results. I have a lifetime commitment to the well-being of my kids, a lifetime commitment to impact the world through coaching and a lifetime commitment to play the game of mastery in all that I do. What are you committed to?
4. Kids are the biggest personal development and growth program you can invest in. I have grown, evolved, learnt so much more as a 13-year old parent.
5. Though, if I hadn’t invested massively in my own growth and development with numerous master coaches, I wouldn’t have known that being a parent is the opportunity that God gives us to grow our own self - physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
The real reason I started to write this article was to make a summary of the key ideas from the book I read recently: How Not to Die (prematurely) - Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease. I strongly recommend reading this book to take your health and fitness in your own hands. Doctors and modern medical science may help you control and manage the symptoms of your body but healing yourself to perfect health and well-being is something only you can do.
The book covers the food that we should eat and the food that we should avoid to prevent and / or reverse:
i. Heart Disease
ii. Lung Diseases
iii. Brain Diseases
iv. Digestive Cancers
vii. High Blood Pressure
viii. Liver Diseases
ix. Blood Cancers
x. Kidney Disease
xi. Breast Cancer
xii. Suicidal Depression
xiii. Prostate Cancer
xiv. Parkinson’s Disease
Dr Greger also lists the 12 things to eat daily for optimum health, fitness and well-being. The list is an eye-opener and helps you to take your and your family’s health in your control.
Here are few excerpts from the book to get you interested enough to start your own journey towards greater productivity, performance, effectiveness, creativity, innovation and mastery because the pre-requisite for all this is your perfect health and fitness. Reminding you once more that disease is a choice we make and is not the default outcome of going around the sun for more number of years.
1. Now, however, we know that as soon as we stop eating an artery-clogging diet, our bodies can start healing themselves, in many cases opening up arteries without drugs or surgery.
2. There may be no such thing as dying from old age. … Until recently, advanced age had been considered to be a disease itself, but people don’t die as a consequence of maturing. They die from disease, …
3. Back in 1903, Thomas Edison predicted that the “doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patient in the care of the human frame in diet and in the cause and prevention of diseases.
4. The pandemic of chronic disease has been ascribed in part to the near-universal shift toward a diet dominated by animal-sourced and processed foods - in other words, more meat, dairy, eggs, oils, fizzy drinks, sugar and refined grains.
5. To see what effect an increase in meat consumption might have on disease rates, researchers studied lapsed vegetarians. People who once ate vegetarian diets but then started to eat meat at least once a week experienced a 146 percent increase in odds of heart disease, a 152 percent increase in stroke, a 166 percent increase in diabetes and a 231 percent increase in odds for weight gain. During the 12 years after the transition from vegetarian to omnivore, meat-eating was associated with a 3.6 year decrease in life expectancy.
6. Even vegetarians can suffer high rates of chronic disease if they eat a lot of processed foods. Take India, for example. This country’s rates of diabetes, heart disease, obesity and stroke have increased far faster than might have been expected given its relatively small increase in per capita meat consumption. This has been blamed on the decreasing “whole plant food content of their diet”, including a shift from brown rice to white rice and the substitution of other refined carbohydrates, packages snacks and fast-food products for India’s traditional staples of lentils, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds. In general, the dividing line between health-promoting and disease-promoting foods may be less plant- versus animal-sourced foods and more whole plant foods versus most everything else.
7. … it wasn’t the weight loss and it wasn’t the exercise that reversed cell aging - it was the food.
8. It turns out a more plant-based diet may help prevent, treat or reverse every single one of our 15 leading causes of death.
A heart-healthy diet is a brain-healthy diet is a lung healthy diet. The same diet that helps prevent cancer just so happens to be the same diet that may help prevent type 2 diabetes and every other cause of death on the top 15 list.
Unlike drugs - which only target specific functions, can have dangerous side effects, and may only treat the symptoms of disease - a healthy diet can benefit all organ systems at once, has good side effects, and may treat the underlying cause of illness.
The one unifying diet found to best prevent and treat many of these chronic diseases is a whole-food plant-based diet, defined as an eating pattern that encourages the consumption of unrefined plant foods and discourages meats, dairy products, eggs and processed foods.
Treating the cause is not only safer and cheaper but it can work better. So why don’t more of my medical colleagues do it? Not only were they not trained how, doctors don’t get paid for it. No one profits from lifestyle medicine (other than the patient!), so it’s not a major part of medical training or practise. That’s how the current system works. The medical system is set-up to financially reward prescribing pills and procedures, not produce.
9. The primary reason diseases tend to run in families may be that diets tend to run in families.
10. Three hours after eating 50 grams of broccoli sprouts, the enzyme that cancers use to help silence our defenses is suppressed in your bloodstream to an extent equal to or greater than the chemotherapy agent specifically designed for that purpose, without toxic side effects.
11. In the Gene Expression Modulation by Intervention with Nutrition and Lifestyle (GEMINAL) study, Dr Ornish and colleagues took biopsies from men with prostate cancer before and after 3 months of intensive lifestyle changes that included a whole-food, plant based diet. Without any chemotherapy or radiation, beneficial changes in gene expression for 500 different genes were noted.
Within just a few months, the expression of disease-preventing genes were boosted, and oncogenes that promote breast and prostate cancer were suppressed.
Whatever genes we may have inherited from our parents, what we eat can affect how these genes affect our health. The power is mainly in our hands and on our plates.
12. Such lifestyle medicine pioneers as Nathan Pritikin, Dean Ornish and Caldwell Esseltyn Jr. took patients with advanced heart disease and put them on the kind of plant-based diet followed by Asian and African populations who didn’t suffer from heart disease.
… Their patients' heart disease started to reverse. These patients were getting better. As soon as they stopped eating an artery-clogging diet, their bodies were able to start dissolving away some of the plaque that had built up. Arteries opened up without drugs or surgery, even in some cases of patients with severe triple-vessel heart disease.
This suggests their bodies wanted to heal all along but were just never given the chance.
Let me share with you what has been called the “best kept secret in medicine”. Given the right conditions, the body heals itself.
… But what if you kept whacking it in the same place 3 times a day - say, at breakfast, lunch, and dinner? It would never heal.
13. Dr Ornish reported a 91% reduction in angina attacks within just a few weeks in patients placed on a plant-based diet both “with” or “without” exercise.
14. Plant-based diets are the nutritional equivalent of quitting smoking.
15. Research suggests a few extra daily servings of fruits and vegetables can reduce both the number of cases of asthma during childhood and the number of asthma attacks among people with the disease.
16. Foods of animal origin have been associated with increased asthma risk. A study of more than 100,000 adults in India found that those who consumed meat daily, or even occasionally, were significantly more likely to suffer from asthma, than those who excluded meat and eggs from their diets altogether. Eggs (along with fizzy drinks) have also been associated with asthma attacks in children, along with respiratory symptoms, such as wheezing, shortness of breath and exercise-induced coughing.
Removing eggs and dairy from the diet has been shown to improve asthmatic children’s lung function in as few as 8 weeks.
17. Researchers out of Australia tried removing fruits and vegetables from asthma patients’ diets to see what would happen. Within two weeks, asthma symptoms grew significantly worse.
… Researchers repeated the experiment, but this time increased fruit and vegetable consumption to 7 servings a day. This simple act of adding a few more fruits and vegetables to their daily diet ended up successfully cutting the study subjects’ exacerbation rate in half. That’s the power of eating healthfully.
18. Supplements don’t appear to work. Studies have repeatedly shown that antioxidant supplements have no beneficial effects on respiratory or allergic diseases, underscoring the importance eating whole foods rather than trying to take isolated components or extracts in pill form.
19. … the key is starting early. High cholesterol and high blood pressure may begin hurting your brain as early as your twenties. By your sixties and seventies, when the damage can become apparent, it may already be too late.
20. … regardless of the carcinogens that could be lurking in the environment, your greatest exposure may be through your diet.
21. India’s gross domestic product (GDP) is about 8 times less than that of the United States and about 20% of its population lives below the poverty line, yet cancer rates in India are much lower than in the United States. Women in the United States may have 10 times more colorectal cancer than women in India, 17 times more lung cancer, 9 times more endometrial cancer and melanoma, 12 times more breast cancer. Men in the United States appear to have 11 times more colorectal cancer than men in India, 23 times more prostate cancer, 14 times more melanoma, 9 times more kidney cancer and 7 times more lung and bladder cancer.
Why such a discrepancy? The regular use of the spice turmeric in Indian cooking has been proposed as one possible explanation.
… The low cancer rate in India may be due in part to the spices they use, but it may also stem from the types of foods they are putting the spices on. India is one of the world’s largest producers of fruits and vegetables, and only about 7% of the adult population eats meat on a daily basis. What most of the population does eat every day are dark green, leafy vegetables and legumes such as beans, split peas, chickpeas and lentils, which are packed with another class of cancer-fighting compounds called phytates.
… High phytate intake has been associated with less heart disease, less diabetes and fewer kidney stones.
22. Humans evolved eating huge amounts of fibre. … Because plants don’t tend to run as fast as animals, the bulk of our diet used to be made up of a lot of bulk. … Our bodies were designed to expect an ever-flowing fibre stream, so it dumps such unwanted waste products as excess cholesterol and estrogen into the intestines, assuming they will be swept away.
But if you aren’t constantly filling your bowels with plant foods, the only natural source of fibre, unwanted waste products can get reabsorbed and undermine your body’s attempts at detoxifying itself.
23. Interestingly, the immune boost provided by the cruciferous vegetables like broccoli not only protects us against the pathogens found in food but also against pollutants in the environment.
24. … there’s already something that can boost your immune system for free and by so much that you can achieve a 25-30 percent reduction in sick days.
… What is it?
25. Funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Global Burden of Disease Study involved nearly 500 researchers from more than 300 institutions in 50 countries and examined nearly 100,000 data sources.
The results allow us to answer such questions as “How many lives could we save if people around the world cut back on fizzy drinks?” The best answer! 299,521. So soft drinks and their empty calories don’t just fail to promote health - they actually seem to promote death.
But apparently soda isn’t nearly as deadly as bacon, ham and hot dogs. Processed meat is blamed for the deaths of more than 800,000 people every year. Worldwide, that’s four times more people than those who die from illicit drug use.
The study also noted which foods, if added to the diet, might save lives. Eating more whole grains could potentially save 1.7 million lives a year. More vegetables? 1.3 million lives. How about nuts and seeds? 2.5 million lives.
Worldwide, if humanity ate more fruit, we might save 4.9 million lives. That’s nearly 5 million lives hanging in the balance and their salvation isn’t medication or a new vaccine - it may be just more fruit.
26. The two most prominent dietary risks for death and disability in the world may be not eating enough fruit and eating too much salt. Nearly 5 million people appear to die every year as a result of not eating enough fruit, while eating too much salt may kill up to 4 million.
… Humans are genetically programmed to eat ten times less sodium (salt) than we do.
27. Higher consumption of vegetables may cut the odds of developing depression by as much as 62 percent. A review in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience concluded that, in general, eating lots of fruits and veggies may present “a non-invasive, natural, and inexpensive therapeutic means to support a healthy brain.”
Trusting the excerpts from the book interested you enough to take a conscious look at what you eat and pick up the book to figure out how to eat healthfully so that you immensely enjoy your life and contribute much more through your work on account of delightful levels of health, fitness and well-being.
Here’s me wishing you a deeply fulfilling joyous journey of discovery towards greater health, productivity, performance, innovativeness and creativity.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.