An Alternative Approach to Health II – The Power of Plant Foods

  In the last issue we talked about 4 cultures around the world (in Hunza, Vilcabamba, Abkahasia and Okinawa) that have been found to enjoy extraordinary longevity and radiant health, which has been attributed, among other factors, to their largely plant based diets. The topic of diet and nutrition is hugely complex and controversial. We are constantly bombarded with (often conflicting) claims from the media and advertisers, that certain foods are good or bad for us. So much so that many of us feel totally bewildered about what constitutes a healthy diet and usually resort to letting our taste buds make the decision or eating whatever is most convenient. If there is one point about which all the ‘experts’ agree, however, it is that fresh fruit and vegetables are good for us. The weight of scientific evidence for the health-giving properties of plant foods is now too overwhelming to ignore. Dr Colin Campbell in his book ‘The China Study’ presents possibly the most compelling evidence. In the 1980s top Chinese and US scientists joined together to compile ‘The most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted’ and made some startling and revolutionary discoveries. To summarise very crudely – they found major correlations between all of the major killers in Western countries (heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancers, autoimmune diseases, bone, kidney, eye and brain diseases), and the consumption of animal fats and proteins. Conversely, they found that the higher the proportion of plant foods in the diet, the lower is the susceptibility to these diseases. By this reasoning, adhering to the NHS ‘Five a Day’ recommendation is only a minor step in the right direction since as Dr Campbell states: “It’s not enough to make a few small changes to prevent cancer. A major shift towards plant-based foods and away from animal-based foods is likely to produce much greater benefits.” So why is it such a struggle to persuade us to eat fresh fruits and vegetables when we know that they are good for us? Well… we can’t underestimate the power of the meat, dairy, fast food, processed food and pharmaceutical industries. They do a pretty good job of clouding the issue and convincing us that we need their products. However, we also have to recognise that their products are so popular partly because they are very tasty! The rich tastes to which we have become accustomed make it very difficult to break old habits. Slowly but surely, however, attitudes are changing. Whilst the NHS struggles to cope with the growth (to epidemic proportions) of some of the diseases mentioned above, the evidence that all is not well with our lifestyles and diets becomes increasingly clearer. More and more high profile politicians, athletes and celebrities are joining the trend towards taking responsibility for their own well-being and demonstrating the effectiveness of plant based diets through improved performance, fitness and appearance. At the same time, examples now abound of delicious recipes and diets based on plant foods. In the last issue we also talked about plans to open a healthy food cafe in the town. Problems with the venue however, have meant that these plans have been put on hold. In the meantime, Home Grown Hornsea are running a series of ‘Taster Events’ which include talks and demonstrations to increase awareness and gauge the level of demand for this type of food in the town. The first ones will take place at the Parish Hall on Wednesday 30th September at 7pm, The Town Hall on Sunday 11th October at 4 pm and Tuesday 3rd November at 1pm. Everyone is welcome. The group aims to demonstrate the power of plant foods not only to prevent disease, but also to heal, as well as spreading the message that everyone can benefit from eating more of them, especially fresh, locally grown ones, no matter what our condition may be. One of the most inspiring examples of this is a lady called Ruth Heidrich. At the age of 47 while suffering from breast and lung cancer and losing both her breasts, she adopted a fully plant based diet. By the age of 63 she had run over 100 triathlons, 67 marathons and was named among the 10 fittest women in America! Why not come along to a session and find out how you can become part of the health revolution! If you would like to get involved with the project please ring Paul on 0795 829 8365Eat your Way poster jpeg

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