Oliver's BlogTuesday 14th January 2020
Why Eat A Plant-Based Diet?
The world is shifting at an incredible pace, and that is being reflected in what advice is given for the healthiest way to eat. When I got into macrobiotics in the 1980’s the medical establishment was recommending daily meat and dairy consumption, plus as much sugar as you liked – looking back this seems unbelievable to us now.
In the 1980s it was realised that a diet high in saturated fats from meat, dairy and processed foods was the main cause of heart disease and strokes. In the noughties it became increasingly clear that a poor diet is the main cause of many if not most types of cancer, and the present obesity epidemic, and the resulting expansion of diabetes from affecting about 1 in a 100, to 1 in 50 people, and now approaching 1 in 10 people in many countries of the world.
The diet recommended by the UK’s NHS (National Health System) has shifted enormously, and is now plant-based – read more here.
And here is its Eatwell Plate, advising eating less meat and more beans and regular fish instead, saying that dairy foods are optional and can be replaced with alternatives, and refined sugar has been moved out of the ‘necessary’ foods altogether.
When these recommendations came out about three years ago I almost fell off my seat! I was really excited, here was confirmation of what we have been banging on about for decades in the macrobiotic movement. If everyone in the UK (or in the whole of Europe, north America, India, China etc) adopted this way of eating, there would be a dramatic drop in many degenerative illnesses.
It's so simple, no extra costs, no research needed, better health, less strain on the health systems of the world, more food to go around, and this would be an enormous contribution to reducing all of our carbon footprints as well.
One of the reasons I feel so strongly about this is that I see so many people and give a lot of health consultations to people with a wide range of health problems, I see a lot of suffering from painful, debilitating, life-limiting illnesses, which in most cases is just unnecessary. Until recently the predominant thinking about illness is that if you get ill, its just hard luck, there’s nothing you could have done to prevent it, and there is nothing you can do yourself to help your own healing. The only option is to seek out someone else who can offer a drug or treatment to ‘cure’ you.
And yet the opposite is true, our health is mostly in our own hands, and when we do become ill, there is often a lot we can do to get ourselves well again. Many people are realising the truth of this now, and are seeking out ways of taking better care of themselves, though changes in eating, exercise and lifestyle. As I see it this trend is going to grow and grow in the coming decades, with more and more people seeing the sense of taking care of their own health. And I urge everyone to take this step now, rather than waiting until you get a real health scare to motivate you. If you want to take a good step in the direction of a plant-based diet, do come to one of our 2 day Love Health Love Cooking courses, in which you will learn lots of plant-based recipes to use at home. You do not have to dramatically change everything you eat at one time, rather every step you take towards eating a more plant-based diet will bring you benefits to your health.
Here are a few of the benefits that I have heard a lot of people give on changing to a plant-based way of eating.
Plant-Based Benefit One: Increased Energy
These days so many people struggle with low energy, and even with chronic fatigue. Eating a plant-based diet centred around whole grains, beans and vegetables creates deep energy and stamina in the body. And this can happen at any age, I have seen a lot of people in their 50s, 60s and 70s report an increase in their energy from making changes towards plant-based eating.
Plant-Based Benefit Two: Have A Healthier Heart
Numerous scientific studies have now shown that eating less animal fats and more cereals and vegetables greatly reduces the chances of developing coronary heart disease, still the most common killer in modern society. Statins may seem like an easy answer, but rather than taking a drug with known side effects for the rest of your life, why not change the cause of the problem and enjoy healthy food and healthy arteries.
Plant-Based Benefit Three: Have A Healthier Brain
With people living longer in developed countries, the rate of dementia is on the increase. If you have experienced the loss of memory and mental decline in a parent or relative, you will know that this is one illness which it would be good to avoid! Modern research is discovering that the steps to protect our heart also keep our brains healthy, and there is increasing evidence that keeping our blood vessels and circulation in top condition helps to prevent dementia.
Plant-Based Benefit Four: Come To Your Natural Weight
Much easier than counting calories is changing to a plant based diet, with some but not too much whole grains like brown rice, millet and quinoa, mostly vegetable sources of protein which don’t come with the saturated fats that animal foods do, and plenty of vegetables. You can eat lots of variety of tasty satisfying food, and nearly everyone’s weight will move to their natural weight. Even on our 5 day Looking After Your Health course some people lose several kilos in this short time.
If you want to support your body and mind by developing a more plant-based way of eating, check out our short courses. And if you want to deepen your journey into a way of eating and living for optimal health and wellbeing join our one year Holistic Nutrtion course. We have been running this course for 16 years and seen hundreds of people transform their health, get in touch with who they really are more deeply, and create a happier and more fulfilling life for themselves.