I have read so many great books on plant based eating since I made my transition for better health. I’ve learned a lot but there is always something new to learn. I learned so much from the book How Not to Die by Dr. Michael McGreger. In this book he dedicates many chapters to very familiar chronic diseases many people face in this country. For example, there are chapters on: heart disease, lung disease, brain disease, digestive cancers, infections, diabetes, high blood pressure, liver disease, blood cancer, suicidal depression, prostate cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and Iatrogenic causes. That is a LONG list of problems and they can all be helped (or even eliminated) by eating a plant based diet.
Dr. Greger’s story started with his grandmother who was diagnosed with heart disease at the age of 65. She was sent home to die after several failed surgeries. However, she went on a plant based diet and got better. In fact, she lived another 31 years because of her diet and lifestyle changes. This fascinated Dr. Greger and is the reason why he wanted to become a doctor. When he entered the medical profession, he was dismayed by the status quo of using pills and procedures to cure disease. He knew there was a better way through nutrition. Thankfully, Dr. Greger became one of the leaders in plant-based nutrition.
Each chapter in the first half of book is dedicated to a disease. Dr. Greger gives scientifically based research into why a plant based nutrition approach is the best. Page after page gives irrefutable evidence that shows eating plants can alleviate or reverse these diseases. It is really hard to argue with great research. While some of these research studies can be a bear to get through, Dr. Greger summarizes them in an easy to read format that anyone can understand. This is a large book, but very well written and so interesting, you just want to keep reading.
He also includes little nuggets of information tucked into each chapter. For example, he talks about using Brazil nuts to control cholesterol, using saffron to treat Alzheimer disease, reversing rectal polyps with berries, and even how to test your own pH using purple cabbage. Again, these little side notes are well written and give easy tips anyone can try at home.
Dr. Greger sprinkles information throughout the book about misinformation we have been given regarding our health. He calls out many government agencies for being more concerned about profits than human health. For example, he talked about the FDA and their role in giving misinformation about anti-depressants. The FDA claimed that “published” studies proved that pharmaceutical drugs are effective for treating depression. The key word there is “published.” When independent researchers filed a Freedom of Information Act request to get all the studies — published and unpublished — they learned that placebos were just as effective as the drugs. The FDA was protecting Big Pharma by not releasing all the studies. They were more concern about their pocketbooks than in public health. As an American citizen, I want to know this information and Dr. Gregor provides it.
In the second half of the book, Dr. Greger discusses how to eat a better diet. He outlines his daily dozen foods people should eat everyday and also gives food a label of Green (unprocessed plant foods), Yellow (processed plant foods/unprocessed animal foods) and Red (Ultra-processed plant foods/processed animal foods). Like a stop light, he recommends that green light foods be maximized, yellow light foods be minimized, and red light food be avoided. He provides oodles of information about beans, berries, cruciferous vegetables, greens, flaxseeds, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices, whole grains and beverages.
If you are suffering from any of the diseases listed above, or know of someone who is, please consider reading this book. You will not regret the information you will learn. Dr. Greger also has a website called nutritionfacts.org. This website is full of information as well. There, you can subscribe to his video blogs for even more information. I wish you the best of health as you start, or continue, your journey into plant based nutrition.
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