In a time where our obesity rates and general health is getting worse, it’s time people own up and take a serious look at what’s on their plate. The meat and dairy they think is ‘making them healthy’ is actually the cause of diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. Neal Barnard recommends certain power foods that can do away with the medication and treat these illnesses with food.
It will help you move away from taking 3 or 4 different pills, keeping you alive and instead you’ll be able to thrive on a plant-based diet. Many people are ignorant to the idea simply because they ‘love their meat and cheese too much’. After reading this and more about the topic, I can assure you that you’ve got to have something seriously wrong with you not to make the change to a plant-based diet.
What are the power foods that should be on everyone’s shopping list?
The foods you want to get, of course, are the vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans. Why those foods? First of all, they don’t have bad fat. They don’t have saturated fat, to any substantial degree. They don’t have trans-fats. And that’s really important because research has shown that people who reduce the “bad fats” have dramatically reduced their chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease. But these foods at the same time give you the protein and the calcium and so forth that you need. I might also say a word about Vitamin E-containing food. Foods like walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds bring you Vitamin E. You don’t need a lot; just as a topping on your salad or pancakes, an ounce or so. Also, blueberries and grapes have both been shown to be memory boosters in studies at the University of Cincinnati. And in Okinawa, where there are more centenarians than anywhere in the world, the dietary staple there is not fish. And it’s not rice. It’s actually sweet potatoes. So sweet potatoes are front and center on my own shopping list. So those are a few foods I like to recommend.
And in your research, when someone starts eating these foods, what happens? How do they feel?
Several things are going to happen. First of all, on day one, you’re likely to feel a little more energetic. A little bit lighter. If you have any kind of digestive problems, they sort themselves out within a day or so. I’m talking about people who have constipation for years. It often gets dramatically better very quickly. Weight loss usually begins the first week. If you are a normal weight, you’re not going to lose any weight. But if you are overweight, whether it’s 15 pounds or 215 pounds, you’re going to start losing weight. And this occurs slowly and steadily as the months roll out.
If you have a high cholesterol level, that starts to diminish. If you have high blood pressure, that comes down. If you have diabetes or high blood sugar, that starts improving. And that causes me, by the way, to encourage people to let their doctors know they are doing it. Not that it’s in any way unsafe, but if you are on medicines, your doctor will want to work with you to ratchet you down on your medicines as you don’t need them any more, and it’s good to do that in a careful way.
What I found interesting about Power Foods, although the focus is on preventing Alzheimer’s, was that your plan helps everything: weight loss, better heart health, more energy, diabetes prevention.
That’s the beauty of it, in my view. Everything works together, unlike what happens with medication. We see a lot of patients now with diabetes. And they’re taking one thing for their cholesterol. But the cholesterol pill doesn’t do anything for their blood pressure. So they’re on something for their blood pressure, too. And they’re on something else for their diabetes, and they’re taking these 3, 4, 5 pills. So if I’m able to encourage them to change their diet, a plant-based diet helps all of those things simultaneously.