Tag Archive: vegetarian


How to Eat

All right, now many of my patients have come to me with questions about how to eat. If your digestion is great, energy great, and you have no weight-loss concerns, no family history of heart disease, etc. then keep doing what you’re doing, and ignore this blog post 🙂

As always, keep the cautions at the top of this page in mind.

Otherwise…

In Chinese medicine, the ideal diet is one designed just for you, because each food has its own kinds of properties, and will affect people differently depending on their energetic pattern. However, there are some generalizations we can make.

First, let’s start with the Western, scientific side of things, which I’ve been intensely studying for some time now. This is an enormous pain, because you have to cut through misreporting of studies, ideological bias, and deliberate, industry-funded obfuscation. There’s many diets out there that are dramatically different, from low carb diets (including Paleo and Keto), to low fat diets, vegan diets, a blood-type diet, the WFPB (Whole Foods Plant Based) diet, to a way of timing your meals as in intermittent fasting. It’s quite a mess, so a good source for high-quality information is crucial.

IMO, the best source for information about the latest science on diet is nutritionfacts.org. It’s a nonprofit site run by Dr. Greger that goes through every study on nutrition published in English every year, and takes no corporate money. Dr. Greger also has several books out, including How Not to Die, How Not to Diet, and a How Not to Die cookbook, all of which I recommend.

In addition, I like the YouTube channel of Mike the Vegan, who shows a good understanding of both the basics and some of the more confusing points, and includes links to all his sources: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGJq0eQZoFSwgcqgxIE9MHw

To make a very long and confusing story short, the best proof, from multiple lines of evidence, points to a WFPB low-to-no-added oil diet as being the healthiest.

“But wait,” I hear some of you saying, “what about when I lost all that weight on Keto/Paleo/Low Carb, and my cholesterol and blood sugar got better? Doesn’t that show these other diets are just as good?” Well, here’s the thing: any diet that restricts calories enough to cause weight loss has beneficial effects, so is it the food you’re eating or just the total calories that’s causing the benefits?

This very question was tested with a WFPB diet, where the participants were weighed and required to eat more if they started losing weight. So what happened?

“Diets were designed to be weight-maintaining. Participants were weighed every day, and if they started losing weight, the researchers made them eat more food. In fact, so much food some of the participants had trouble eating it all… so, there was no significant alteration in body weight despite restrictions of meat, dairy, and eggs, and enough whole plant foods—whole grains, beans, vegetables, and fruit—to provide 65 grams of fiber a day…The control diet they used was the conventional diabetic diet… So, how did they do? With zero weight loss, did the dietary intervention still help?…Overall, insulin requirements were cut about 60%; half were able to get off insulin altogether, despite no change in weight. So, was this after five years, or seven months, like in the other studies I showed? No, 16 days.

“So, we’re talking diabetics who’ve had diabetes as long as 20 years, injecting 20 units of insulin a day, and then, as few as 13 days later, they’re off insulin altogether, thanks to less than two weeks on a plant-based diet… And as a bonus, their cholesterol dropped like a rock, in 16 days. Just like moderate changes in diet usually result in only modest reductions in cholesterol, asking people with diabetes to make moderate changes often achieves equally moderate results, which is one possible reason why most end up on drugs, injections, or both.”

From https://nutritionfacts.org/video/diabetes-reversal-is-it-the-calories-or-the-food/

In addition, considerable evidence shows the low carb approach has many problems, especially long-term. From Dr. Greger: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/flashback-friday-paleo-diets-may-negate-benefits-of-exercise/ (meat protein causes as much insulin release as pure sugar, and the low carb approach raises LDL, the bad cholesterol), https://nutritionfacts.org/video/low-carb-diets-and-coronary-blood-flow/ (low carb diets impair arterial blood flow), https://nutritionfacts.org/video/does-a-ketogenic-diet-help-diabetes-or-make-it-worse/, https://nutritionfacts.org/video/keto-diets-muscle-growth-and-bone-density/ (keto diets lead to bone loss, muscle shrinkage and reduced ability to exercise), https://nutritionfacts.org/video/are-keto-diets-safe/ (keto promotes heart disease), https://nutritionfacts.org/video/keto-diet-theory-put-to-the-test/ (the theory behind Keto found to be false experimentally).

From Mike the Vegan: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLGVn4OYJByrvbq9oX68FyCknhnCIbmJk5 In particular, I’d like to draw your attention to this one: https://youtu.be/MyOACAdvAsE where he shows most of stored fat comes from ingested fat.

That’s the highlights, you can check those sources for many more details.

With regard to heart disease, the causes and benefits should be well-known, but often aren’t. For the causes of heart disease, see https://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-do-we-know-that-cholesterol-causes-heart-disease/, and Mike gives an excellent explanation of the mechanisms here: https://youtu.be/MsFWeC-DeLo

But what about all that hoopla about studies that show dietary cholesterol is no problem? See https://youtu.be/vBtfzd43t8o (the tricks used by the meat industry to cause confusion on this).

As you might expect, plant-based diets can prevent or reverse heart disease: https://www.pcrm.org/health-topics/heart-disease, https://nutritionfacts.org/video/arteries-of-vegans-vs-runners/, https://nutritionfacts.org/video/plant-based-treatment-for-angina/

Ok, I can go on and on citing evidence but that gets old; let’s get to the heart of the matter: what should you eat? A WFPB diet includes veggies that are minimally processed, whole grains, legumes, herbs and spices, and whole fruits. No meat, no dairy, no eggs, and no seafood. In addition, things like sodas, white sugar, white potatoes, and white flour are avoided, since they’re not whole foods. Last but not least, the evidence shows that, especially for weight loss, don’t cook with or add any oil (https://youtu.be/LbtwwZP4Yfs, https://youtu.be/50KCPqOEjfU); note this doesn’t mean avoid eating fat, as things like olives, avocados, nuts, etc. are whole foods and good, it means don’t add any oil to your food or cook with it. I would add that supplements are often a good idea; a B-complex plus iodine and vitamin D every week, and zinc, selenium, and DHA once a month is what I personally do. See Dr. Greger’s Daily dozen list of foods to eat every day here: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/dr-gregers-daily-dozen-checklist/

Does this diet sound too strict, too difficult? You don’t have to jump head-on into it, but transition towards it in a way that works for you. For example, if you’re used to eating a lot of meat, start by substituting some of the fake meats (Beyond Meat, Chao, Follow Your Heart, or Kite Hill vegan cheese, non-dairy milk like Ripple, Flax Milk, etc.) a few times a week into your favorite dishes, and adding more foods from Greger’s Daily Dozen in. Then start adding in more and more WFPB meals as you find ones you enjoy. Your tastes will start to change.

So what do people on a WFPB diet eat? I recommend the How Not to Die cookbook, as well as Mike the Vegan’s cookbook at https://micthevegan.com. Online I like: https://www.forksoverknives.com/recipes/you-wont-believe-these-tasty-vegan-recipes-are-totally-oil-free/,

https://www.forksoverknives.com/plant-based-primer-beginners-guide-starting-plant-based-diet/,

https://cleanfooddirtygirl.com/the-mother-of-all-whole-food-plant-based-resources-for-plant-based-newbies/,

https://blog.fatfreevegan.com

A couple of quick recipes to get you the feel of things:

Basic Veggie Burger

1 can beans or lentils

1 1/2 cup chopped veggies (mushrooms, onions, beets, etc.; you can get frozen organic veggies already chopped, then warm them up in the oven)

4-6 cloves chopped garlic

1/2-1 cup chickpea flour or oat flour, 1/4 cup ground flaxseed

3-4 tsp spices (whatever you like: smoked paprika or liquid smoke and marmite make a meaty taste, or add curry powder or curry paste, or bbq sauce, whatever tastes good to you)

1/4 cup beet juice

Preheat oven to 350. Mix the flaxseed with the beet juice. Mix the rest of the ingredients except for the flour in a food processor until well combined. Add the flax/beet juice mixture, then the flour, and let sit for 10 min, then form into patties. If it’s too wet add more flour, if too dry add more beet juice. Put patties onto parchment paper or silicone baking mat on a baking sheet, and bake for 30-40 min or until fully cooked, turn halfway through. Enjoy on a whole wheat bun with your favorite condiments.

Veggie Soup

2 chopped onions

2 chopped carrots

2 stalks chopped celery

2 finely chopped sweet potatoes

1 pound lentils or other beans, rinsed well

15 ounce can (be sure it’s BPA-free) Fire-toasted tomatoes, diced

8 cups vegetable broth

1-2 cups leafy greens (spinach, mustard greens, kale, chard, etc.)

Sauté the onions, carrots, and celery in a 1/4 cup vegetable broth for 5-6 minutes. Then add everything except the leafy greens and simmer gently for 2 hours or until everything’s well done. Add the leafy greens in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Enjoy with some whole grain bread.

Basic Veggie Bowl

Cook some whole grains you like- quinoa, brown rice (from India, not the US because of the arsenic issue), or whole wheat noodles, and fill up 1/4 of your bowl with it. Take some cooked legumes, spiced in a way you like (Indian Dal, or southern black-eyed peas, etc.), and fill up 1/4 of your bowl with it. Then take some cooked vegetables of your choice, spiced as you like – curried, stewed, baked, whatever – and fill the rest of your bowl with it. You can make up whatever sauce or dressing you’d like, you can make very tasty ones without oil (BBQ sauce for example often is fat free).

As an example, see this recipe (leave out the oil, and instead of sugar use date syrup or monkfruit):

https://www.veganricha.com/2015/08/masala-chickpea-bowl-with-chana-masala-spice-chickpea-dressing.html

Basic Snacks

Cook some blue potatoes and sweet potatoes, cut them into thin slices, and dry them in a dehydrator. Make a tasty dip by using silken tofu – blend with an onion dip mix and veggie bullion, or whatever spices you enjoy. Enjoy chips and dip 🙂

Another choice is hummus, made without oil, and chopped veggies or whole wheat pita to dip in.

Fruit, fresh or dried; assorted berries with nondairy milk and date syrup or monkfruit sweetener.

OK I think this post is long enough! I’ll continue with the Chinese medicine approach to diet in my next one. Let me know if you have any questions, and good health to you this winter!

PS in case anyone was wondering, I have no affiliation or financial interest to any of the people or sources I referred to in this post 🙂

Here’s my version of an argument first presented by Nozick, Singer, and others: what I call the Alien Challenge.

The Greathans have come. The Greathans are a race of beings far more advanced than humans in every measurable respect. To them, the intellectual capacities of humans are roughly analogous to what we consider those of cattle to be. Greathan scientists debate over whether human communication is even complex enough to be called language. The Greathans swiftly take over Earth, and humans are rounded up and placed in pens and similar housing.

Having a taste for meat, Greathan chefs experiment with a variety of human recipes, and the new book _To Serve Man_ quickly becomes a bestseller. “Leg of Man” and “Grilled Human Breast with Mango Salsa” are favorites on Greathan cooking shows.

Unable to resist the superior Greathans with force, you and a few humans try to reason with them. Curious about your attempts to communicate, a Greathan farmer brings you before a Greathan scientist. You explain to it that you think it’s wrong for them to eat humans.

The Greathan shrugs its tentacles. “What could be wrong with it? You are not Greathan, but another species altogether. You aren’t entitled to Greathan rights. Besides, if we recognized your rights to life, what would prevent us from having to also recognize the right to life of all other earth creatures, such as dogs, pigs, and even insects or crustaceans? Plus, your claim is hypocritical: you freely eat other such creatures who you believe yourselves to be superior to, but now complain when we do the same thing to you.”

You’re taken aback by the Greathan’s reply, but thinking quickly on your feet you answer that, “look, other earth creatures don’t have language, but we do. That’s a big distinction! Surely the fact that we can talk together about these matters shows that we’re different from other creatures. We can both eat and farm these other earth creatures, but surely you shouldn’t eat us.”

The Greathan waves its tentacles idly, unimpressed. “You have a far greater opinion of your abilities than is accurate,” it responds. “You may call what you are doing using language, but we don’t. Your ‘language’ is a very primitive form of communication without telepathic content, and so is not true language. Your dogs, primates, cetaceans, and even bees do as well or better than you when it comes to communication. How we’re communicating now is for me nothing more than grunting and pointing.
“So I return to my original contention that it is perfectly right for us to eat humans and have a thriving business of farming humans, and it is hypocritical of you to say otherwise.”

The Greathan looks at you with its multiple eyes. How would you answer it?

The Ethics of Meat Eating

So a brief interlude here to talk about the ethics of meat eating, something most people don’t think or reflect about much. My basic argument is quite simple and rests on 3 premises:

(1) most animals that humans eat in the industrialized world such as cows, pigs, chickens, etc. are creatures that are sentient and capable of feeling pleasure, pain, and likely other emotions as well.

(2) You should not (it is morally wrong to) kill (or torture) a sentient creature unless you have a reason strong enough to override its right to exist. Killing someone because you need to in order to survive is one such reason, killing someone because you like the way they taste is not. Another way of putting this is, it is wrong to kill or torture a sentient being for the sheer pleasure of it.

(3) Most (probably all) people in industrialized societies do not need to kill sentient animals in order to survive.

Conclusion: it is wrong for most or all people in industrial societies to eat meat. It amounts to the killing (and often, torture) of sentient beings for nothing other than the sheer pleasure of it.

There are many other reasons to refrain from eating meat that rely on self-interest, but my basic moral argument is the one above. Many people resist it with all kinds of twisted and tortured arguments because they don’t want to believe that they are the kinds of people who do what the conclusion describes, but I believe the argument is sound.

From self-interest, there are two main lines of argument: health reasons (everything from BGH to E coli to mad cow, etc. in addition to the negative effects on cholesterol and the inflammatory effects of arachidonic acid), and environmental ones (the widespread effects of industrial animal agriculture on the water table, the amount of methane produced, the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the amount of grain that could be used for other purposes – if the U. S. reduced it’s meat consumption by 10% this would free up enough grain to feed 60 million people). Much has been written on these subjects already.

I welcome your comments!