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Whole Foods for Whole Health

  May 01, 2019
Submitted by Dignity Health Center for Diabetes Management

Did you know that there are places around the world where diseases that are prevalent in the US are almost non-existent? People who live in some of these areas have been eating a plant-based diet for centuries, and many of them live into their 90s and beyond.

We need doctors in times of trauma or after we get sick, but the drugs they prescribe are only a bandage for most diseases and don’t always cure the root cause. Many people are getting sick because their diet and lifestyle may be enabling disease, not because they are low on cholesterol medication.

Whole Food Plant-Based lifestyle
Eating Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB) means just that. Eating whole food the way nature packages it, and not eating processed foods. Food manufacturers hire chemists to create products in “the bliss zone.” They use a precise balance of refined oils, sugar, fat, and salt to addict you to their products, to keep you coming back for more. Eliminating these processed foods, dairy, and meat is a founded method for
improving bodily health.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could prevent so many of the diseases that are plaguing us before they even start to happen? Imagine being able to avoid the very unpleasant side effects of prescription drugs so that we can live more enjoyable lives. Make food your medicine. As Dr. Mark Hyman explains, “food is not just calories, it is information. It talks to your DNA and tells it what to do. The most powerful tool to change your health, environment, and entire world is your fork. Food has the power to heal us. It is the most important tool we have to help prevent and treat many of our chronic diseases.” Dr. Mark Hyman, the Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, is a practicing family physician, an internationally recognized leader, speaker, educator, and advocate in his field.

Only three to four percent of disease is actually attributed to genes alone. I have gleaned from T. Colin Campell’s book, The China Study, that while genes can determine vulnerability to disease, they do not cause disease without external factors “activating” those genes.

Nutrition, as one of the largest external factors that influence our bodies, plays a major role in determining which genes — healthy or unhealthy — are expressed. According to Consumer Health Digest “some studies have demonstrated the results of plant-based diets are not only able to prevent people from getting sick but also enhancing the healing of specific severe conditions. Improving the cure of chronic disease is something that the medication for these illnesses has failed to do as it is designed only to manage the symptoms and not the cause.” This is why it is so important to instill healthy habits into our children by feeding them organic food, unplugging the video games, and getting them out onto the soccer field. Collectively, we can stop this health crisis with better habits.

Food for healing
A half century of research — both mine and that of many others — has convinced me of the following:
  • What you eat every day is a far more powerful determinant of your health than your DNA or most of the nasty chemicals lurking in your environment.
  • The foods you consume can promote health, reducing the need for expensive prescription drugs and extreme surgical interventions.
  • Healthy food choices can contribute toward the prevention of cancer, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, macular degeneration, migraines, erectile dysfunction, arthritis, depression, anxiety, ADHD, dementia, diabetes, thyroid disease, hormone imbalances, obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol — and that’s only the short list.
  • It’s rarely too late to start eating well. A good diet can reverse many of those conditions.
Eating a diet of plants is nutritious and nourishing, without undesirable side effects. Some cite nutritional concerns when considering a switch to a WFPB diet, with proper protein intake being a frequent question. You can get all the protein you need from plants, like broccoli and legumes, with proper nutritional planning. Large-scale adoption of a WFPB diet could also create a more sustainable model for farming — the resource-intensive livestock farming that fulfills the bulk of protein needs now could reach critical capacity as the world population expands.

Consumer Health Digest lists the five major health benefits to eating a plant-based diet:
  • Regulated blood pressure
  • Balanced blood sugars
  • Reduced cholesterol levels
  • Weight loss
  • Lower rate of cancer
Other benefits reported by many people who have transitioned to a WFPB lifestyle include the following:
  • Improved energy
  • Better sleep
  • Reduced brain fog
  • Fewer migraines
  • Hormones in better balance
  • Decreased risk of Alzheimer’s
  • Reduced risk of heart disease
  • Less acid reflux
If you think all this sounds amazing, wait until you are feeling the benefits for yourself! Are you thinking “I can’t do it” or “It’s too complicated, I don’t know what to cook or have time to cook” or “I am already too sick, it won’t help me”? Leading a plant-based lifestyle is easier than you imagine.

Transitioning to a WFPB lifestyle isn’t as daunting as you might think, although it does require some organization and dedication. To get started, try some of the suggestions below:
  • Know your numbers. Get a blood panel from your doctor so you have a baseline.
  • Gradually eliminate dairy, meat, processed foods, refined sugar, and oil from your diet.
  • Begin building meals around organic, plant-based foods. Start with a meatless Monday and experiment with a new recipe every week.
  • Take a favorite dish and revise it into a healthier, plant-based
  • Explore farmer’s markets or grow a garden. Buy organic when
    you can.
  • Look into a tower garden if you are in a hot climate or live in small space.
  • Try batch cooking: prep or cook one day of the week so you can put together nutritious dinners for your family in 15 minutes after work.
I’ve included a couple of my favorite recipes with some helpful tips. With a little effort and dedication, before you know it, you’ll be feeling better, have more energy, and be on your way to a healthier lifestyle.

About the Author: Noelle Kostraba is a WFPB Nutrition Coach, certified by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She is the owner of The Plant Priority and is helping people transition to WFPB eating through her six-month program with one-on-one coaching. She has committed to WFPB eating, which resulted in her reversal of diabetes, significant weight loss, lower cholesterol, and relief from reflux, joint pain, migraines, asthma, allergies, and freedom from taking medications.

Contact Noelle at Visit for more information on WFPB eating.

To talk to a certified diabetes educator about incorporating WFPB options into your meals call Dignity Health  Center for Diabetes Management at 480.728.3535. Back to Top

May 01, 2019
Categories:  Feature
Keywords:  Feature Story


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