Category Archives: Health

The pain that won’t go away

It’s called Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy and it really hurts. Ouch!

Many type 2 diabetic patients experience persistent pain in their legs and feet. Later the pain can come from the arms and hands. The pain can come out of nowhere or come from a bump or bruise. It’s often described as burning, pins and needles, shooting, aching, jabbing, sharp, cramping, tingling, or cold.

It’s very hard to treat. No single drug exists to prevent or reverse neuropathic changes or to provide total pain relief. Partial pain relief is often the best that can be hoped for. Sometimes, the pain is so severe that opiates are needed, but they carry the risk of addiction.

Now for the good news. It turns out that a vegan diet, also known as a plant-based diet, can really help.

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Give this book to your doctor!

We understand the problem. For years you’ve recognized the benefits of a vegetarian or vegan diet, and you’ve wanted your doctor to know how to treat you with a plant-based diet, but your doctor didn’t know how. They hadn’t learned about it in medical school, or since they graduated. They don’t feel able to offer a treatment to you that they’re not familiar with, and they want every treatment to have a solid basis in science. We agree with them.

We understand and we have done something about it!

Our new book, The Prevention and Treatment of Disease with a Plant-Based Diet was written just for your doctor. This book gives your doctor the ability to treat patients with a plant-based diet, as an additional option to medication and surgery.  We went far beyond heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The book contains 25 articles we’ve written and had published in peer-reviewed medical journals, including:

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World’s first all-vegan hospital

The first all-vegan hospital has just made history. The honor goes to Hayek Hospital in Beirut, Lebanon. We congratulate them and hope to see many other hospitals follow suit.

The hospital says, “Our patients will no longer wake up from surgery to be greeted with ham, cheese, milk….the very food[s] that may have contributed to their health problems in the first place.” The hospital goes on to say,

“There’s an elephant in the room that no one wants to see:

  • When the World Health Organization classifies processed meat as group 1A carcinogenic (causes cancer) same group as tobacco and red meat as group 2A carcinogenic, then serving meat in a hospital is like serving cigarettes in a hospital.
  • When the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) declare that 3 out of 4 new or emerging infectious diseases come from animals.
  • When adopting a plant-based exclusive diet has been scientifically proven not only to stop the evolution of certain diseases but it can also reverse them.

We then, have the moral responsibility to act upon and align our beliefs with our actions, taking the courage to look at the elephant in the eye. We believe it’s well about time to tackle the root cause of diseases and pandemics, not just treat symptoms.”

It’s long past due that all hospitals come out of denial and recognize the elephant in the room. Patients deserve nothing less.

Chronic Kidney Disease treated by plant-based diet

Kidneys cartoonIt’s National Kidney Month!  Here’s the big news: a plant-based diet helps prevent and treat Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). This is a big deal because CKD is the 8th leading cause of death in the United States and sucks up 20% of the Medicare budget.

Vegans and vegetarians have a greatly decreased risk of kidney disease. One study showed that vegans have better kidney function than meat eaters. This only makes sense since vegetarians and vegans have much lower rates high blood pressure and diabetes, two of the leading risk factors for kidney disease. While this is news to many people and patients, the medical researchers have known this for a long time. Read more

What should vegetarians eat?

The following is an extract from our book, Say No to Meat: The 411 on Ditching Meat and Going Veg

Here’s the secret formula. Vegetarians should base their diet around five key food groups – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (beans) and nuts and seeds. As long as you eat a variety of different foods from these groups, you should get all the nutrition you need. The plate diagram below shows the relative importance of each group. Aim to get several portions of vegetables and at least 3 portions of whole grains, fruits, and legumes every day. Nuts and seeds are healthy foods, but it’s easy to eat too much of these – three times a week is sufficient. 

Don’t forget your nutritional insurance. Life often gets busy and we can’t always pay as much attention to our diet as we need, so we also recommend that you take a good one-a-day type multi-vitamin, for nutritional insurance. Make sure that it contains vitamin B12 and vitamin D.

Be smart with spices. Use herbs and spices to add flavor and variety to your food. Herbs are very healthy, but go easy on the salt since it can raise your blood pressure and forces your kidneys to work overtime.

Moderate amounts of vegetable oils and sweeteners such as maple syrup, rice syrup, sugar or agave nectar, rather than sugar or artificial sweeteners, are OK when called for by recipes. Don’t forget that chocolate is also a vegetarian product and dark chocolate is particularly healthy (in small doses!).

They’re not kidding when they say that our bodies are mostly made up of water. Water is an important component of a healthy diet.  Aim for at least 6-8 cups a day.

See our Frequently Asked Questions, to learn more about basic nutrition and what vegetarians and vegans eat.

After a heart attack

What do you do after a heart attack? Cardiac rehabilitation is the recommended treatment, and the good news is that following a plant-based diet during rehab leads to a better outcome.

OK, so what is cardiac rehab? Cardiac rehabilitation is a medically supervised program designed with the goal of halting or reversing the progression of cardiovascular disease and improving outcomes. It can be an essential component of care for patients with coronary artery disease. Several studies have shown that participation in CR after a heart attack, getting a stent, or coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, significantly reduces the disease, risk of dying, and hospital readmission rates in a cost‐effective manner.

Core components include: (1) patient assessment, (2) nutritional counseling, (3) weight management, (4) blood pressure management, (5) cholesterol management, (6) diabetes management, (7) tobacco cessation, (8) stress management, (9) physical activity counseling, and (10) exercise training.

So how does a veg diet help? Studies show that people treated with a plant-based diet showed significantly better improvements in weight management, blood pressure management, cholesterol management and diabetes management than those on a standard American diet. They also reduced their emotional stress and experienced better quality of life. Depression can commonly follow a heart attack. 80% of people who followed a plant-based diet as part of their rehab showed a reduction in their depression.

In this age of tight budgets, it’s important to know that one study showed that for every dollar spent on rehab with a plant-based diet, $5.55 in medical expenses were saved.

We’ve written before on how a plant-based diet can effectively treat obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. It gets even better. While you’re improving your cardiovascular health, a plant-based diet can also reduce your risk of other diseases such as prostate and colon cancer.

Following a plant-based diet as part of a cardiac rehabilitation program is a wise strategy which will improve outcomes, lower the risk of recurrence, and lower the costs of treatment.

This article is for informational purposes only. Any changes or treatments must be made with your physician. Show our professional level article on preventing and treating heart disease with a plant-based diet to your physician.

Vegans breathe easier

Getting COVID 19 makes it hard to breathe but at least it doesn’t affect many children, and a vaccine is being distributed. There’s no vaccine for asthma, but a plant-based diet helps those who suffer from asthma to breathe easier.

Childhood asthma continues to be a major public health problem worldwide. Adults get asthma too. The western, meat-centered diet, may partly explain the “asthma epidemic” in the United States.

What is asthma? Asthma is a disease in which your airways narrow and swell and may produce extra mucus and inflammation. This can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, a whistling sound (wheezing) when you breathe out and shortness of breath. For some people, asthma is a minor nuisance. For others, it can be a major problem that interferes with daily activities and may lead to a life-threatening asthma attack.

Eating meat increases the risk of wheezing, a symptom of asthma, in children. Meat also increases the risk of disturbed sleep from wheezing and the risk of exercise induced wheezing. Inflammatory compounds found in cooked meat have been found to give rise to a heightened risk of childhood wheeze. These compounds, known as advanced glycation end products, or AGEs for short, are by-products of high temperature cooking, such as grilling, frying, or roasting, with cooked meat being a major dietary source.

What if someone already has asthma? One study on people with asthma receiving long term medication, who were placed on a vegan diet for a year, found that in almost all cases medication was able to be withdrawn or drastically reduced. There was a significant decrease in asthma symptoms with 71% of patients reporting improvement at 4 months and 92% after a year.

However, you can reduce your risk of getting asthma in the first place by eating more vegetables and whole grains. A study lowered the risk of getting asthma by 42% for those eating more vegetables and 54% for those eating more whole grains, while consuming dairy increased the risk by 93% and intake of cured meats such as salami, pastrami and bacon, was associated with worsening asthma symptoms by 76%.

This is not surprising since asthma may, in part, be an autoimmune disease. People who follow a plant-based diet have lower levels of inflammation, and lower risks of other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. It’s time that every doctor recommended that children avoid animal products and that their asthmatic patients try a plant-based diet.

A perfect storm created Covid-19

The COVID 19 pandemic seems to have arisen from a perfect storm. Eating animals, wearing their fur, keeping wild animals in zoos, and having an unnatural relationship with nature have created the perfect storm. With human to human transmission, that storm has become a hurricane.

COVID 19 is a zoonosis. Zoonotic diseases are illnesses that can spread between animals and people. The flu and Ebola are also zoonoses. While scientist are still trying to understand the origin of the virus, it appears that it originated in bats. Bats are eaten in China and so are pangolins. The virus could have infected people directly or through intermediate animals, possibly pangolins or a combination of both. It begs the question, what are we doing eating these animals? Is it worth the amount it is costing us and the rest of humanity?

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Catching Coronavirus from Mink

People have been catching the coronavirus from mink, animals raised to make fur coats. Here’s yet another reason to not buy fur coats as we head into the holiday season! More than 200 cases of coronavirus appear to be linked to sick minks on fur farms in Denmark, according to new data released last Thursday by the country’s public health agency. Worse, there’s worry that the strain of the virus in the mink might make the vaccine ineffective.

Danish officials said that they now want to cull all 15 million mink at the country’s roughly 1,200 fur farms as a precautionary step to protect people from contracting the virus. Mink on at least 220 fur farms in Denmark have already tested positive for the coronavirus.

We may be at risk here too. The United States, too, has confirmed that minks have contracted coronavirus on fur farms in Utah, Wisconsin, and Michigan, although so far there is no evidence that the minks are making humans sick in the U.S. “These investigations are ongoing, and we will release data once available,” says Jasmine Reed, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokesperson.

When people catch a disease such as the coronavirus from animals, it’s called zoonosis. While we’re on the subject, it is important to note as we go into flu season that influenza, the flu, is also a zoonosis, one that is spread from chickens and pigs. Since these diseases come from keeping animals in close confinement, the way to prevent such diseases is to stop confining animals.

Besides the risk to human health, raising mink is very harsh on the animals themselves.  On fur factory farms around the world, millions of rabbits, foxes, mink and other wild animals spend their entire lives in cramped cages, deprived of the ability to engage in natural behaviors—only to be crudely gassed or electrocuted at the end.

Many vegetarians extend their choices to what they wear on their body as well as what is consumed as food. There are many good artificial furs, and there’s really no reason why anyone should choose to wear animal fur.

Reduce your risk of Breast Cancer

A vegetarian diet can help reduce your risk of breast cancer and that’s very important. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, except for skin cancers. Currently, the average risk of a woman in the United States developing breast cancer sometime in her life is about 13%. This means there is a 1 in 8 chance she will develop breast cancer.

The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and American Cancer Society (ACS) cancer prevention guidelines recommend maintaining a healthy weight, undertaking at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week, limiting alcohol consumption, and eating a plant-based diet.

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