It’s the age-old question, “How can you live longer with more health, less disease, and nutritional stress?”
The answer, despite what media outlets report, has never changed. With proper nutrition.
The reason we’re so confused about nutrition is simple: the media and food industry thrive on altering data, to maintain confusion. Confusion drives consumerism and in a Capitalistic society, confusion is a precious commodity.
I’ll share Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s 8 principles of Food and Health and my explanation of each principle, based on years of research as a chef, author, and public educator.
- “Nutrition represents the combined activities of countless food substances. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
Phytochemicals are a powerful part of the plant kingdom neither isolated, nor completely understood. Research shows there are at least 4,000 phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables. Phytochemicals are plant (phyto-) substances (-chemicals) that fight disease in plants; when consumed, they pass those healing qualities to the animal or insect ingesting them.They work synergistically to produce health benefits and isolating compounds through OTC supplements can be dangerous. You can read more about the risks of dietary supplements in this article from the American Cancer Society.There’s a reason the cliche “eat the rainbow of foods” exists… we can’t achieve optimal health by eating or drinking just greens. The rainbow of fruits and vegetables provides multiple nutrients for the healing of our cells. Isolating lycopene as a dietary supplement does not have the same benefits as eating a whole cooked tomato; multiple other chemicals in the tomato create a chain reaction that make lycopene accessible and beneficial.
- “Vitamin supplements are not a panacea for good health.”
As stated in the previous principal, optimal health requires us to eat the rainbow of fruits and vegetables. Taking a supplement of iron can cause a dangerous imbalance in the body if it’s not properly monitored. An overload of iron produces free radicals and increases the need for Vitamin E as an antioxidant. Conversely, an excess of Zinc and Vitamin E interfere with iron absorption. You see how tricky supplements are. NOTE: Unless you are a trained professional, please exercise caution with supplements. Get your vitamins and minerals from plants.If you require supplements, let’s discuss your mission. Only high-quality, whole-food supplements allow your body to assimilate the nutrients. Centrum may seem cheaper than a whole-foods alternative at first, but if your body can’t use it, it’s a guaranteed 100% a waste of money. Opt for whole food supplements, such as Standard Process, which was offered at the chiropractors office I worked for in 2007.
Luckily, eating a varied diet of fruits, vegetables, grains and plant-based protein, affords us little or no need for supplementation; it’s also the cheapest route to optimal health. If you notice your body feels “off,” have a complete blood profile performed and check the actual levels in your body. Take the results to a qualified nutritionist or naturopath, as most physicians are not educated in nutrition or supplementation.
- “There are virtually no nutrients in animal-based foods that are not better provided by plants.”
As a whole, the average plant provides more beta-carotene, fiber, vitamin C, folate, vitamin E, iron, magnesium and calcium than animal products. In addition, they lack only slightly less protein, but much less fat and cholesterol. (Some nuts and seeds contain more fat by weight than animal foods, but the fats are less acid-producing and provide Omega 3 oils, rather than inflammatory Omega 6’s.) Forget the protein myth that pervades our country; plants have plenty of protein to maintain body health. Artichoke hearts pack in about 3 grams per ½ cup and green peas provide 4 grams per 1/2 cup. Grass-fed protein vs. factory-farmed? While it’s a better choice for the planet, animal, and your health, it’s not ideal for optimal health. Nor is it “safe to eat,” due to the nutritional profile of animal flesh itself. Dr. Campbell further explains his extensive research on the reaction of animal protein and our body in his book, The China Study.The largest mammals and vegan body-builders/athletes operate perfectly fine on a plant-powered diet. James Cameron’s 2019 documentary, The Game Changers proves the health benefits of plants.
- “Genes do not determine disease on their own. Genes function only by being activated, or expressed, and nutrition plays a critical role in determining which genes, good and bad, are expressed.”
You can no longer blame your body fat on your parents. You learned their food habits, but genetics are not the problem. Research in genetics vs epigenetics shows lifestyle is responsible for 95% of gene expression. Your genes are responsible for only 5% of diseases.
A plant-powered diet is the only diet that reduces and eliminates every disease of affluence.
This means choosing a healthy lifestyle is a preventative measure against disease. Heart diseases, diabetes, and multiple forms of cancer run in my DNA… I live a lifestyle as a defense to these diseases. 20+ years of research backs up one fact: a plant-powered lifestyle is the one lifestyle that reduces or eliminates the risk of all those diseases.
Genes are complex entities not yet understood; you are ultimately responsible for your own health. Genes are “switched on” by improper nutrition, GM-foods, lack of exercise, and increased negative stress patterns (eat, play and rest!). Consider viruses that lie dormant for many years, showing up during periods of stress. The best way to avoid genetic diseases is to follow a plant-based diet and stay active!
- “Nutrition can substantially control the adverse effects of noxious chemicals.”
Proper nutrition is imperative to your health… it’s actually your most important offense weapon. You can exercise 4 hours each day but without nutrient-dense food, you won’t have vibrant health. Studies show a healthy diet with less-than-ideal exercise regimen is more beneficial than vice-versa. Proper nutrition performs disease-killing maintenance, unlike an overly-active exercise regimen.The media and medical profession report scientific studies that benefit BigPharma, confusion, and fad DIEts. For instance, a study on Long Island showed an increased risk of breast cancer and the link between the chemicals in the water and land. You’ll find articles explaining the high risk, instilling fear on the population.But all the facts weren’t reported. The study didn’t consider the population of Long Island (close to 8 million), so it’s impossible to NOT have higher rates of cancer versus an area with only 20,000 inhabitants. The study also linked cancer to specific chemicals, rather than taking patient’s diet into consideration. Would we have less breast cancer, if everyone followed a plant-based diet? Even if they were exposed to dangerous chemicals? Let’s face it… each of us comes in contact with noxious chemicals every second. Our first line of defense is proper nutrition–the second is proper sleep.
- “The same nutrition that prevents disease in its early stages (before diagnosis) can also halt or reverse disease in its later stages (after diagnosis).”
Believe it or not, it’s never too late to start eating better. There’s no excuse for not eating a healthy diet, no matter what your age.
- “Nutrition that is truly beneficial for one chronic disease will support health across the board.”
I mentioned this in Principle 4, as it’s my personal (health) reason for a plant-powered lifestyle. Just as there is no single nutrient you should focus on, there is no specific disease to focus on (unless you’ve been diagnosed with it). The same diet that heals cancer is the same diet that cure heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and many others. Eat your veggies and whole grains!
- “Good nutrition creates health in all areas of our existence. All parts are interconnected.”
You exercise naturally and more frequently when you eat better. You meditate easier. You have a different outlook on life. You’re more motivated. You sleep more soundly. Need I say more? Your nutrition plays a huge role in your everyday life.
The side effects from a healthy lifestyle are having more energy, and a host of healthy metabolic changes you don’t have to worry about.
The China Study, by T.Colin Campbell PhD & Thomas M. Campbell III
Health and Nutrition Secrets That Can Save Your Life, by Dr.Russell Blaylock
Complementary Medicine Options, Cancer.org