Why Live a Whole Food Plant Based Lifestyle
I have always had a fascination with food. As a child the kitchen was my favourite place to be and in my late teens I was reading about nutrition and health. I studied hotel management and catering at college. I raised three boys on home grown, home made food with an innate understanding that what we put into our bodies is the foundation of good health.
One of my sons is an avid, health conscious young man with a passion for surfing. One day he and a few friends decided to paddle out to an island close to the North Cornwall coast in England. One of the surfers paddled effortlessly and speedily to the island. My son asked how he had so much energy. “I am a vegan” was the response. From that day on my son adopted a vegan diet and I began to thoroughly study its benefits which then led to my passion for creating simple recipes for an elegant whole food plant based lifestyle.
I prefer to use the term whole food plant based lifestyle instead of vegan, it seems to be less scary for people and invites more curiosity. And it is the word whole that is the key! Eating whole complete foods as nature designed provides our bodies with the full array of nutrients essential to our health.
I work with many people all over the world leading retreats and workshops about personal transformation, body consciousness and nutrition. I find that people ask questions about nutrition and yet are not willing to commit to a healthier plant based diet until their health breaks down, believing that it is too weird or time consuming. In order to change how we eat, we have to change how we think.
The degree to which the industrialization of food production and food processing is damaging our health has escalated in the past 150 years. Initially, these practices that at first seemed like a blessing, have now been shown to damage soil, deplete the nutrient content of our foods, expose us to pesticides and herbicides, encourage mono-plant cultures as well as genetic modifications. In addition they are causing incredible cruelty to animals. Yet because of entrenched cultural and economic forces, these destructive practices have become the standard for most of the world. It is a kind of malignancy that has metastasized everywhere.
The massive expansion of the meat and dairy industries arose out of the belief that the consumption of animal products, specifically animal protein from meat and dairy, provided good nutrition. This assumption that we need to consume large amounts of protein each day for health and proper brain development has lead to the increase in the so called diseases of affluence, e.g. Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer.
High quality, peer reviewed scientific studies have now exposed the protein myth. The average adult needs only 12% of their daily calories from protein which is readily obtainable from a whole food plant based diet. A triathlete needs only 15% of their calories from protein. A baby whose brain is growing the fastest of all consumes breast milk which has only 5% of its calories from protein. It is now clear that Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity are lifestyle choices and could virtually vanish if all of us were eating a whole food plant based diet. Some studies suggest that a WFPB diet would cut the incidence of cancer by as much as 65%. To learn more about this research I highly suggest reading T. Colin Campbell’s book, The China Study.
Finally, the energy used to raise animals for human consumption in the USA is estimated to be equal to that utilized by the whole transportation sector. Moving to a WFPB lifestyle profoundly cuts CO2 production, saves on water usage and additionally protects the environment from slurry and nitrogen effluent which are polluting our rivers and oceans.