I’m currently reading Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Eat To Live and I am so blown away by a whole new set of information that I felt compelled to share. There are several approaches to eating a whole foods, plant based diet, and your personal approach may be whichever one makes the most sense to you. You can look at is as an elimination diet where you simply avoid all things animal related. You can look at it as a plant based diet where you fill up on fruits, veggies, legumes, and whole grains. You can look at it as a rationally natural diet where you’re eating the way your body was anatomically intended to. Or you can think of it as a nutritarian diet where you’re selecting the very best foods to help your body fight disease and maintain optimal health.
Dr. Fuhrman’s perspective is one that’s really easy for me to jibe with. His formula for eating is H=N/C Health = Nutrients divided by Calories. It’s all about nutrient density – eating the most nutrient packed food per calorie. “The key to permanent weight loss is to eat predominantly those foods that have a high proportion of nutrients (noncaloric food factors) to calories (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins)”.
Using this formula, there is more protein in 100 calories of broccoli than 100 calories of steak. I’ll repeat that – for the same caloric (energy) value, you’ll get more protein from eating broccoli than from eating steak. And it should go without saying, that you get more fiber with the broccoli, more vitamins and minerals, and less fat, cholesterol, and negative consequences.
We’ve heard it said that diseases like diabetes and heart disease and some cancers are so closely linked to diet that they are almost completely avoidable and in many cases reversible. Dr. Fuhrman explains in Eat To Live that the protective antioxidant properties of fruits and vegetables are so powerful that cancer is a disease of fruit and vegetable deficiency. So in choosing the broccoli over steak, you’re not only avoiding all the negative aspects of red meat, but you’re loading up on some serious anti-cancer fuel!
Here’s an excerpt from the chapter about Cancer Is a Fruit-and-Vegetable-Deficiency Disease:
Fruits and vegetables are the two foods with the best correlation with longevity in humans. Not whole wheat bread, not bran, not even a vegetarian diet shows as powerful a correlation as a high level of fresh fruit and raw green salad consumption. The National Cancer Institute recently reported on 337 different studies that all showed the same basic information:
1) Vegetables and fruits protect against all types of cancers if consumed in large enough quantities. Hundreds of scientific studies document this. The most prevalent cancers in our country are mostly plant-food-deficiency diseases.
2) Raw vegetables have the most powerful anti-cancer properties of all foods.
3) Studies on the cancer-reducing effects of vitamin pills containg various nutrients (such as folate, vitamin C, and vitamin E) give mixed reviews; sometimes they show a slight benefit, but most show no benefit. Occasionally studies show that taking isolated nutrients is harmful, as was discussed in chapter three regarding beta-carotene.
4) Beans in general, not just soy, have additional anti-cancer benefits against reproductive cancers, such as breast and protate cancer.
Most Americans would prefer to take a pill so they could continue eating what they are accustomed to. Can you imagine a pill made by a pharmaceutical company that could reduce cancer rates by 80 percent or more? Wouldn’t that be the most financially successful pharmaceutical product of all time? You would be crazy not to take this life extending gift.
Fortunately, we don’t need to wait for a magic pill. As far as I’m concerned, we know the cure (at least the prevention) for cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. It’s so simple many people will ignore its unbelievable potential: H=N/C. Fill up on on a tasty whole foods, plant based diet loaded with nutrient dense foods. Consume plenty of raw vegetables and fruits. Avoid animal products with a low nutrient density. Repeat.