Category Archives: Health

Saving Americans trillions!

Let’s save the country trillions of dollars! How you ask? By adopting a vegan diet. Here’s why.

Diet is the number one risk factor for the disease and disability burden in the United States, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. That’s number one! According to cardiologist Dean Ornish, “More than 75% …of the annual U.S. healthcare costs (mostly sick-care costs) are from chronic diseases, which can often be prevented and even reversed by eating a plant-based diet, at a fraction of the costs – and the only side-effects are good ones.”

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Med school teaches vegan!

This is a first. A medical school now requires all of its med students to learn about the health value of a whole food vegan diet. Wayne State University School of Medicine is the first medical school we know of to acknowledge the many health benefits of a vegan diet to prevent and treat disease and then to act upon it. According to the med school, “this is the first exclusively mandatory plant-based nutritional intervention undertaken at a medical institution in the United States.” They go on to say, “The strategy presented here may serve as a model for similar initiatives at a variety of institutions and settings.” Let’s hope other med schools follow their lead.

This long overdue change makes total sense since diet is the number one risk factor for disease and disability in the United States. We’ve long been puzzled at the number of medical schools that say there’s no room in their curriculum for teaching med students how to prevent and treat a wide variety of diseases with a vegan diet.

Wayne State acknowledges that, “Advances in preventive medicine have demonstrated the crucial role of whole-food unprocessed plant-based nutrition in reducing disease burden.” The net result will be the prevention of much patient suffering and many lives lost and that is no small thing.

Here at Vegetarians of Washington, we’ve been playing our part in the effort to help doctors learn how to treat their patients with a plant based diet. We hold an annual medical seminar for doctors where they learn from other doctors how to treat their patients with a plant based diet, we’ve written 29 articles that have been published in mainstream medical journals and now we have even written a textbook for doctors.

We’re excited to see the growing interest in the health benefits of a vegan diet in the medical community.

Vegan diet means less meds for seniors

Seniors who follow a vegan diet need 58% less medicine than others. That’s what a new study shows and it’s good news for older Americans. We all know that seniors generally need more medical care. This translates to more money spent on drugs and a higher risk of side effects.

According to the study’s authors, “Our results show that eating healthy, especially a vegan diet, may be protective in leading to a reduced number of pills taken, either by preventing the development of risk factors and/or cardiovascular disease or by helping on the controlling of such conditions,”

We’ve written before about how a vegan diet reduces the risk of many of the common diseases that seniors get such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney disease, colon cancer and other digestive diseases such as gall stones and diverticulitis.

Polypharmacy (taking several medications at once) is relatively common in older populations. But it comes with potential health risks, researchers say. They point to data showing that individuals who take more than five medications a day carry an 88 percent higher risk of side effects. So, a vegan diet reduces the risk of side effects and adverse drug interactions.

People age 65 and older make up 12 percent of the U.S. population, but account for 34 percent of all prescription medication use and 30 percent of all over-the-counter medication use. This translates to a lot of money spent on drugs. But those following a vegan diet can save a lot of money for themselves and if all seniors followed a vegan diet the savings on a national basis would be enormous.

Rheumatoid Arthritis – Veg Diet helps

Rheumatoid-Arthritis handsRheumatoid Arthritis (RA) hurts. Nearly 3 million Americans suffer from it. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can affect more than just your joints. In some people, the condition also can damage a wide variety of body organs, including the skin, eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels. An autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body’s tissues. There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis. There are treatments, but many have significant side effects.

Following a plant-based diet can reduce your chances of getting RA. One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, comparing those who followed a vegetarian diet to those who ate meat but otherwise followed a healthy lifestyle, showed that those following a vegetarian diet reduced their risk of getting Rheumatoid Arthritis 50%. Read more

What am I to believe?

man-biting-dog

Man Bites Dog!

Are you confused about nutrition and health? If you are, you’re not alone. We’re flooded nutritional information these days.  Websites, articles in the newspapers, new books being published, scientific studies on the benefits or harm caused by one ingredient or another – it’s hard to keep up with it all, and so much of it seems contradictory or just doesn’t make sense.  Many of us wonder just what to believe!  So we’d like to share with you some pointers to help you sift through the minefield. Read more

Thinking about zinc

Let’s think about zinc! Zinc is an essential mineral that is naturally present in some foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplement. According to a new study, low or deficient zinc levels in the body increase the risk of severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in patients who are ill with the coronavirus. However, studies of giving extra zinc to people who are not deficient in zinc have not shown a benefit. So to be very clear, zinc is NOT a substitute for the COVID 19 vaccine.

Frequent intake of zinc in our diets is required to maintain a steady state because the body has no specialized zinc storage system. It is involved in numerous aspects of cellular metabolism, and also supports normal growth and development. Zinc deficiency is characterized by growth retardation, loss of appetite, and impaired immune function.

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Reduce your risk of stomach cancer

Medical studies show that a vegetarian diet reduces the risk of stomach cancer while meat increases it.

Cancer is often most easily treated when detected early, but some cancers aren’t easy to catch early. One of them is stomach cancer.  Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, begins when cells in the stomach start to grow out of control. By the time it’s detected it has usually spread to other parts of the body. Treatment is most often ineffective or of limited benefit in these cases.

So when it comes to stomach cancer, prevention is even more critical. What can be done to reduce the risk? It turns out a vegetarian diet can reduce the risk of stomach cancer. For instance, one study showed that vegetarians have a 63% reduced risk of getting stomach cancer. Another study showed that vegetarians had 56% reduction in the risk of dying from stomach cancer.

Results from several studies suggested that a diet rich in vitamin C was particularly protective. Sources of vitamin C include fresh produce, such as green and yellow vegetables and fruit. Several studies have also reported the protective role of allium vegetables, such as onions and garlic, in preventing gastric cancer.

There’s another advantage vegetarians have when it comes to stomach cancer. Most cases of stomach have a bacteria, H.Pylori, as one of the causative factors. However, a vegetarian diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help prevent or suppress infection with H. Pylori.

While a vegetarian diet reduces the risk of getting stomach cancer, processed meat such hot dogs and bacon increase the risk, as does red meat such as steaks and hamburgers. The choice for prevention is clear. Put a healthy vegetarian diet to work to reduce the risk of stomach cancer.

A plant-based diet helps fertility

We want to have children, but we’re vegan! Some people wonder how being vegan will affect their ability to conceive. The good news is that a healthy plant-based diet can actually help fertility.

Let’s start with the men. Meat, especially processed meat, has a detrimental effect on male fertility. The more meat a man eats, the fewer and less active his sperm. To dispel a myth, vegan men have the same testosterone levels as meat eaters. To dispel another myth, consuming soy does not affect testosterone levels in men. Boys raised on soy protein formulas showed no breast growth, no early puberty, no changes in their bones and no other signs of hormonal abnormalities. Vegan men have much less risk factors for erectile dysfunction. Vegetarian men produce 29 million more sperm per milliliter and the sperm are more active compared to meat-eaters, so a veg diet can definitely help with fertility.

Vegan women too have hormone levels comparable to those of meat-eaters. Vegan pregnancy has some advantages too. For instance, pregnant vegan women have a reduced risk of complications such excessive gestational weight gain, gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and gallstones. Pregnant women following a well-planned plant-based diet also have a reduced risk of an infant being born with spina bifida, whereas a high meat diet doubles the risk of a baby being born with a cleft palate.

What about those turning to invitro fertilization? It turns out that eating plant protein increases the chance of pregnancy in IVF. Also a Mediterranean diet, rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and olive oil and low in red meat, has been shown to increase the chance of a successful pregnancy, so a healthy plant-based diet can make a big difference.

Many vegan men and women are fertile and give birth to healthy babies. Congratulations to them all!

Raising meat is a threat to produce farmers!

Raising meat poses a threat to crop farmers, their produce and our health!

Even at a distance, raising meat poses a danger to human health. A new report by the FDA highlights the danger of farm animal operations located close to produce growing fields. Bacteria from farm animals that cause food poisoning can travel over to the produce by water, dust in the wind or via the farmworkers. All kinds of produce are vulnerable to bacterial contamination.

Food poisoning, also called foodborne illness, is illness caused by eating food contaminated with disease-causing bacteria or the toxins produced by the bacteria. These are intestinal bacteria and originate from the guts of animals, since only animals and humans have intestines. Given the large numbers of animals on a factory farm, and the waste they produce, it’s trouble waiting to happen. Bacteria that can cause food poisoning include Salmonella, Staph and E. Coli.

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