Why the President of the American College of Cardiology Eats a Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet
First off – apologies for my many months hiatus from writing! It’s been a long winter here in New England (at least for me!) and I’ve been hunkered down working on developing an online plant-powered course (more to come!) and teaching plant-based nutrition to women in recovery from addiction in the Boston area. This work has been incredibly rewarding and I plan to write more about that later this spring……but first I wanted to talk about the many perspective on nutrition that you will find on the internet. It can be a crazy, confusing place!
When you scan the nutrition landscape – particularly online – it’s a maze of conflicting and confusing information. Which way do you go? Vegan, vegetarian, paleo, traditional/ancient, low-fat, high-fat, eat lots of grass-fed butter (seriously!!!???), combine foods for the best nutrition (again – seriously ??!!). What’s a health conscious person to do??
Well – the first thing I do is look at the source. WHO exactly is espousing WHAT and WHY. Without getting into conspiracy theories and addressing big food and agribusiness, my red flag goes right up when a doctor, health coach or other health service provider is selling nutritional supplements or powders on their web site. Providing a service, information and guidance is what those of us in the health and nutrition field do (whether you are a doctor, nurse, nutritionist, health coach, etc.). And this can include a book or cookbook, meal plans, health coaching, one-on-one support, etc. – all extensions of that service. But when someone tells you that you NEED their supplement or powder for optimal health – that’s when I get suspicious.
Believe it or not, you can get absolutely, positively all the nutrition you need from a varied, whole-food, plant-based diet – with the exception of one thing: Vitamin B12. When you eat a high-fat diet loaded with processed foods you get increased risk for chronic disease like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and more. And supplements and powders aren’t going to help you that much. My common sense kicks into overdrive when a doctor like Mark Hyman recommends eating butter – albeit grass-fed. Seriously? What doctor would actually recommend their patients eat more butter?
Outgoing American College of Cardiology President Kim A. Williams, MD embraced a whole-food, plant-based diet in 2003 and recommends this diet for optimal health. Many other reputable doctors (Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. John MacDougall, Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Joel Kahn, Dr. Mark Fuhrman……need I go on?) and health experts recommend this way of eating to help reverse the obesity and chronic health disease epidemics we face today. And, when you eat this way you have more energy and naturally achieve a healthy weight. So hit up the farmers markets once they open (soon!!) – and leave the grass-fed butter and dairy products for the baby cows.