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Journey to Health
This week I would like to share a letter that I sent to my daughter who is an Emergency Medicine physician…
Hi My Daughter,
Recently, my mind has been bending toward focusing more on saving our planet from climate change…
I have spent the last 9 years of my life attempting to alert our population about the poisoning of individuals in our world. The poisoning that is caused by our calorie-rich and processed foods that have resulted in world epidemics of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, renal disease, and the whole gamut of chronic diseases that plague our planet. But trying to convince people that what they choose to eat determines their ultimate health has been an uphill climb as our culture has so bought into the concept that it is our genes that determine our health. …not our lifestyle. So… no matter how much evidence I might attempt to show…most people find the transition to healthier food choices difficult to accomplish. If it were not for the many testimonials of people improving their lives and the lives of those they love by making this transition…I might think that I have been wasting my time on this earth.
So I have been coming to the realization that the real threat to humankind is not the illnesses they will suffer from….but rather it is the warming of our planet and the climate change that will ultimately wipe us off the face of the earth. I understand Greta Thunberg and why she wants no more gifts, chooses not to fly, and insisted that her parents become vegan. I understand why Jane Fonda wears her red coat and gets arrested for attempting to awaken our society to the fact that the world climate change crisis needs to be dealt with immediately… like putting out a fire. It is not enough to just talk about climate change. For our children’s and grandchildren’s sake, we actually need to do something about it. We need to change as a culture what we choose to eat, what energy sources we depend upon, and how we live our lives. The current pandemic brings us an opportunity to refocus our attention on what is most important to us and what we can each do to heal our planet before it is too late.
How we have been raising animals for our food source is one of the root causes of the destruction of our planet. So instead of focusing on eating more Whole Foods that are plant-based for our individual health…I will be focusing more time on how we can save our world resources by using less water, land resources and create less air pollution and global warming by eliminating animal foods from our diet….so that we will improve the health of our world.
We need to eliminate the use of fossil fuels to make our planet go. This will take quite an effort to combat the powerful interests of the coal and oil industry. But it must be done…And done more quickly. How we accomplish this transition should be at the top of our thought list.
Taking action can ward off the depression and anxiety that might arise from feeling helpless to influence change that is required to ensure our survival on this planet. So today I will be talking with medical students about spending some time thinking about what they can do to save our planet.
Hope you find moments of joy as you continue on your journey of caring for the world.
Let’s talk about food!
What we choose to eat has a tremendous impact on our personal health and the health of our planet.
Who is at the greatest risk of dying from COVID 19? Those with chronic diseases including obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disorders, and renal disorders. We used to believe these problems resulted from bad genes. We now know that our lifestyle choices have a much greater influence than our heredity. A diet composed mainly of Whole Foods that are plant-based and not highly processed has been demonstrated in two studies (Ornish and Esselstyn) to reverse heart disease. Diabetes mellitus type 2 has been shown to be reversible with the same food choices. And the other chronic diseases have often been reversed by healthy food choices. So by choosing healthy foods you reduce your risk of having or developing the diseases which place you are the greatest risk of dying from COVID 19.
Also, consider the origin of our last viral pandemics. They all have come from live animal markets. Raising animals in close cramped quarters is a set up for the continuing spread of newly mutated viruses.
Many people do not realize that their food choices significantly impact the environment. Raising livestock for our food contributes more impact on global warming than all the transportation services in our country. Substituting been for red meat would cut our greenhouse emissions by over 70%. Water resources are being depleted by our food choices. It takes between 2500 to 5000 gallons of water to raise one pound of beef. Our dependence on livestock as the main food source has contributed to the loss of land and creating dead zones on our shores. The World Health Organization in 2010 declared that the world cannot sustain a Western Diet (meat/sweet) past the year 2050…..that is only 30 years from now!
What Can We Do?
We can choose healthy foods that are foods as grown in nature….not the highly processed packaged goods.
We can choose to eat mainly Whole Foods that mainly plant. Yes, we will get enough protein! Remember that amino acids, the building blocks of protein, all come from plants.
We can eat more natural fiber. Fiber is a food source that keeps our microbiome healthy. We feed our good bacteria and these bacteria feed us back with…butyrate (anti-inflammatory and signal reduce our desire to eat), serotonin (neurotransmitter reducing anxiety and depression), and melatonin (sleep hormone). Fiber is found in all plant foods. There is no fiber in any animal food. For every 10 grams of fiber we ate to our diet, we get a 10% reduction in heart attack risk and colon cancer risk.
We can avoid highly processed foods like sugar and white flour.
How to start?
www.pcrm.org has a free 21-day kick start program
Download a free app on your smartphone “Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen” and check off the recommended food choices every day until you are comfortable with your new food choices.
Attend free online classes …..contact Charles Ross DO firstname.lastname@example.org or 541 680-0361