For nearly two decades, I have been honored to be a presenter at one of my favorite yearly events, the North American Vegetarian Society’s Summerfest (NAVS), held at Johnstown University in Pennsylvania. I always come home with new information from doctors and researchers whom I admire and trust to keep me informed and up-to-date in the field of vegan nutrition.
Some of the many noted presenters each year include people like Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Michael Greger, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Michael Klaper, and coauthor of my book, Raw Food Revolution Diet, Brenda Davis, RD.
My contribution at Summerfest is sharing my talent for making raw vegan foods taste delicious, but always with an eye on nutrition, so it’s essential for me to stay informed. Plus, as part of our California culinary school licensing requirements, we are committed to continuing education for our instructors.
I clearly remember hearing Howard Lyman speak about mad cow disease in the early 90s, long before he appeared on the Oprah show and the general public learned about it. I returned home and told people about this horrible plague that was killing cattle and tainting their meat, but I was met with a great deal of disbelief. Even vegans thought it was propaganda to get people to stop eating meat. The information was so “hot off the press” that no one could quiet wrap their minds around it. It was at least two years before newspapers were carrying articles about this dreaded new plague. That’s the kind of information we learn at Summerfest.
The Health Hazards of Eating Chicken
This year, many physicians were talking about the dangers of eating chicken. So many people think they’re doing themselves a favor by cutting back on red meat and replacing it with chicken. Now it seems that chicken is no better at all. In fact, studies now show that eating ¼ of a chicken breast (steamed, boiled, baked or fried) triples your risk of cancer.
One of the many problems with chicken, besides the pathogens they contain, is the antibiotics and hormones they are routinely fed. This has a much greater impact on our health than was earlier reported.
Also, as with all animal proteins, raw or cooked, organic or conventional, ingesting meat protein causes leukocytosis, which is very similar to what happens when you get an organ transplant. Your body recognizes the DNA protein signature as a foreign invader, and it does everything it can to reject it. An animal product has a protein DNA signature that’s biologically different from ours, but it’s close enough to our flesh tissue for our body to recognize that it’s not ours, so it raises the white blood cell count. Basically this means your body considers itself under attack, just as if you had an infection or had consumed poison. This puts a tremendous amount of stress on our body and ultimately leads to disease.
Benefits of a Vegan Diet
Here are a few other interesting facts I picked up:
- Of the top 15 killers, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, kidney failure, respiratory infection, blood infection, liver failure, and high blood pressure, only accidents (as a cause of death) could NOT be avoided on a vegan diet.
- According to Dr. Greger (nutritionfacts.org), prescription drugs are actually the 6th leading cause of death! (Most could be avoided on a nutrient-dense raw vegan diet.)
- What are the side effects of the vegan diet? Less disease and far fewer deaths! Cancer, for example, is 8 times less likely on a vegan diet.
- Less animals lives lost (about 75 millions animals a day are killed for food in the U.S.)
- More sustainable (one day on a pure vegan diet is equal to eating local/seasonal for an entire week!).
- One in seven people who are admitted to hospitals for their care are harmed or killed by their treatment there!
- The number of deaths that are a direct result of hospital error in one year is equal to four jumbo jets crashing every week!
Some Healthy Recommendations
Here are Brenda Davis’ most recent recommendations:
- Eat more fresh raw plant foods
- Achieve a healthy body weight
- Eat more nutrient dense foods (like green juice and green smoothies)
- Eliminate animal proteins
- Reduce (or eliminate) refined carbohydrates, like bread and pasta
- Eat plenty of fiber (at least 35 grams)
- Replace oils and unhealthy fats with healthy fats from nuts and seeds
- Boost your intake of antioxidants (eat all the colors of the rainbow)
- Minimize harmful chemical residues (buy organic)
- Moderate your use of sodium (foods should not taste salty)
- Be picky about beverages (especially sugary drinks and alcohol)
- Meet your nutritional needs for things like B12; Vitamin D2, iron, zinc, Vitamin C, and calcium (see Raw Food Revolution Diet for how)
Nearly all the experts at NAVS this year recommend eating more organic raw vegan foods. All health leaders, doctors, dieticians, and researchers, recommended we at least take meat off the menu.
Here is a fantastic video of a short speech given by Australian philanthropist Philip Wollen, a top corporate player and former vice-president of Citibank that Dr. Michael Klaper showed in one of his talks. He gives plenty of reasons why we should eliminate animal products from our diets. I highly recommend watching it (click here).
Bottom line: Eliminate animal proteins from your diet if you care about your health, the health of the planet and the welfare of animals.
Don’t depend on others to keep you healthy! Learn to make absolutely delicious health promoting raw vegan food at Living Light—it’s not just for professional chefs, it’s for everyone! Go to the Raw Food Chef for free recipes.
* * *
Picture courtesy Martin Cathrae via Flickr.com.