There’s nothing new about the idea that cutting back on meat will benefit our health and environment if you have been reading my posts and Q&A’s at World Wise Beauty. I’ve interviewed the most highly respected doctors and experts in the world, and most of them interesting enough, follow a plant based Mediterranean Diet. Why should this matter to you? Well, I am going to share a very good article published this month in the New York Times by Jane Body, who explains succinctly why you might want to consider a plant based diet. While the books I am featuring today mainly promote vegetarian diets, I think there are many ‘flexitarians’ who can adopt a Mediterranean Diet because it is so flexible. But first read Jane’s article entitled ‘Tackling Inflammation to Fight Age-Related Ailments–Body-wide inflammation is tied to most chronic diseases, limiting people’s health and longevity. If you don’t want to leave this post to read her article. Here are the takeaways…
( NYT ARTICLE)
- Body-wide inflammation is tied to most chronic diseases, limiting people’s health and longevity.
- Chronic inflammation progresses slowly, it is the cause of most chronic diseases and presents a major threat to the health and longevity of individuals.
- Chronic inflammation, which can last indefinitely, results from the failure of the immune system to completely shut down its response to an illness, insult or injury. Among the factors that cause it are the body’s failure to eliminate an inflammation-inducing agent like a bacterium or fungus; exposure to a foreign substance, like asbestos or silica dust, that can’t be eliminated; and the presence of an autoimmune condition like rheumatoid arthritis.
- Recent studies have identified measures potentially available to everyone that can minimize the potency of chronic inflammation and stymie — and possibly even reverse — its progression
- Diet is your first line of defense. Adopt a wholesome diet, get regular exercise, avoid or reduce excess weight, get adequate quality sleep, minimize stress and don’t smoke. Dr. Hu ( see next paragraph for credentials) recommends frequent consumption of foods known to have an anti-inflammatory effect. They include green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and collards; fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines; fruits like strawberries, blueberries, apples, grapes, oranges and cherries; nuts like almonds and walnuts; and olive oil. The recommended plant foods contain natural antioxidants and polyphenols, and the fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, all of which counter inflammation.
- Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, strongly recommends limiting or eliminating consumption of foods known to have a pro-inflammatory effect. These include all refined carbohydrates like white bread, white rice and pastries; sugar-sweetened beverages; deep-fried foods; and red meat and processed meats. They are the very same foods with well-established links to obesity (itself a risk factor for inflammation), heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
- The bottom line: the less processed (think packaged foods and fast food) your diet, the better.
Please don’t be discouraged if you are battling an auto-immune disease or have a chronic inflammatory condition. The good news is you can manage your symptoms better, and you may even reverse your condition. Work with your doctor, but also know you have tremendous power over your health when you practice lifestyle as medicine principles. In review, the secret to good health and longevity is to adopt a wholesome diet, get regular exercise, avoid or reduce excess weight, get adequate quality sleep, minimize stress and don’t smoke. They left out alcohol here, but moderation is the key to the Mediterranean Diet and it applies to your alcohol intake as well.
Now for the inspiration, wisdom and tools! To get started I have selected three books for your 2020 Healthy Epicurean Lifestyle, and all of them embrace plant based diets. All three will get you well on your way to healthier eating, and will inspire you to live life well with healthy epicurean pleasure! After you read these books, you will be cooking like a gourmet chef and your doctor will be taking notes from you! I say this because unfortunately there are still some doctors who aren’t as trained in nutrition ( as they are in prescribing drugs). They’re getting better though, and today you might even find a doctor who works with a nutrition coach. Wellness culture is breaking through! Something to celebrate in 2020! Have a very Happy New Year and here’s to finally taking control of your health and enjoying every moment of the journey.
P.S In terms of saving the planet –scientist have pretty much ALL agreed that dramatically changing the food we eat, as well as the way it is grown and produced, humans can help stop the devastating impacts of climate change.
More than 100 scientists from 52 countries put together the report, which was published by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It takes a look at how land-use practices have impacted the planet and finds that deforestation, agriculture and other human activities threaten the world’s ability to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees celsius, the goal of the 2015 Paris climate agreement. ~TIME Magazine article . For more, just google the topic, and you will find in depth articles from respected media outlets like National Geographic, and Scientific American.
WWB Healthy Epicurean Pick: The proof is in the pudding my friends. Read this book and you will realize just how important culture is to your health and well-being, which can be good or bad depending on where you live. Besides the worldly secrets to longevity, you will also find a plethora of delicious ‘Blue Zone’ recipes to try for your next pot luck dinner, book club or dinner party.
Currently on the New York Times Best Seller List, the Blue Zone’s Kitchen fuses scientific reporting, National Geographic photography and 100 recipes that may help you live to 100. This book captures the way of eating that yielded the statistically longest-lived people and explains, in some detail, why that food has enabled populations around the world to avoid the chronic disease that has befallen Americans.
New York Times best-selling author Dan Buettner has traveled the world and visited tiny kitchens from Ikaria to Okinawa to document the recipes and dietary traditions he learned along the way. Stunning photography from National Geographic photographer David McLain accompanies the stories and recipes passed down from the longest-lived people in the world.
WWB Healthy Epicurean Pick: The best title ever –‘How Not to Diet’ and the book will finally set you free from ‘trendy’ diets. Nutrition science at your fingertips, this book will also save you thousands of dollars in a weight loss program and will dispel all the myths and arguments about plant based diets. See my Q&A with him discussing his first book.
Author of the mega bestselling How Not to Die, Dr. Greger now turns his attention to the latest research on the leading causes—and remedies—of obesity.
In his new book, Dr. Greger hones in on the optimal criteria to enable weight loss, while considering how these foods actually affect our health and longevity. He lays out the key ingredients of the ideal weight-loss diet—factors such as calorie density, the insulin index, and the impact of foods on our gut microbiome—showing how plant-based eating is crucial to our success.
But How Not to Diet goes beyond food to identify twenty-one weight-loss accelerators available to our bodies, incorporating the latest discoveries in cutting-edge areas like chronobiology to reveal the factors that maximize our natural fat-burning capabilities. Dr. Greger builds the ultimate weight loss guide from the ground up, taking a timeless, proactive approach that can stand up to any new trend.
Chock full of actionable advice and groundbreaking dietary research, How Not to Diet will put an end to dieting—and replace those constant weight-loss struggles with a simple, healthy, sustainable lifestyle.
WWB Healthy Epicurean Pick: This book will make you want to be a vegetarian if you are not yet! A definite addition to your WWB Healthy Epicurean Kitchen library. A feast for the eyes and the stomach, the gorgeous presentation and delicious recipes will transport you to a beautiful Mediterranean locale. A beautiful gift to the chef in the family!
Another NYT bestselling author transports readers to Europe, with recipes inspired by her exploration of the cultures and cuisines of France, Portugal, Spain, and Italy during an extended family trip. Reimagining the flavors and signature dishes of this part of the Mediterranean, the author presents 100 vegetarian recipes for creating effortless, unforgettable meals. Filled with atmospheric images of coastal villages, charming watercolor illustrations, and mouthwatering food photography, The Forest Feast Mediterranean is an irresistible escape from the everyday, no matter where you might live.