In November 2011, I made the decision to progress towards a plant-based diet and lifestyle. Since then, I have learnt so much about where our food comes from, and what it does to our bodies and the environment. Along the way, I have encountered many obstacles and challenges. I have also been asked lots of questions, most of them valid and a few off them more than a little odd. One of the aims of my blog is to chronicle my experiences as a plant-based traveller. So, hopefully these Plant-Based Pauses will provide a little more explanation and maybe answer some questions that my readers may still have.
‘There are, in effect, two things: to know and to believe one knows. To know is science. To believe one knows is ignorance.’ – Hippocrates
Every year, we spend billions on treating diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. As a species, we seem to have grown to accept this as our fate. We assume that a certain percentage of us will fall victim to these terrible conditions, and there is nothing we can do about it. Rather than simply treating the symptoms of such diseases as a bandaid measure, however, I believe that they can be tackled from the source.
The doctors and other healthcare professionals who pioneered the plant-based movement did so after realising that people who lived in rural areas of the world, where animal products were not eaten due to lack of availability, were much less likely to develop cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses. City dwellers who ate a typical western diet, however, suffered more from these diseases of affluence.
Handily, in the early 1970s, Chou EnLai, the then premier of China, conducted a nationwide survey that would prove this theory. After discovering that he himself was dying of cancer, Chou EnLai wanted to understand more about the disease and how it affected his country. They compared death rates for different types of cancer over 2,400 counties and inlcuding 880 million (96%) of China’s citizens. The China Study provided T. Colin Campbell and his scientific team with vital information about how eating plant-based can help us all to lead longer, healthier lives.
Every day, more and more evidence emerges to prove that living plant-based is better for us. Apart from a few exceptions, animal-based foods contain a lot more fat than plant-based foods, and higher fat intake increases the chances of developing cancers such as breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Just as animal protein contains things that we don’t need, plant protein contains things that we do. Antioxidants, for example, protect our bodies and are exclusively found in plants.
You only need to browse the Forks Over Knives website to find lots of testimonials from plant-based vegetarians who have used their diet to overcome diseases, leading healthier lives and coming off their conventional modern medication. Unfortunately, though, that is not enough evidence for a lot of people. My mum has Type 2 diabetes. She argues with me every time she sees me that eating plant-based is not a solution. I’ve challenged her to prove me wrong. All it will take is 5 weeks. After that time, if she’s not feeling better and off her medication then I’ll admit defeat. So far, she hasn’t taken me up on the challenge.