Note: this post has been updated in March 2021.
The State of Health in the United States
One might assume that a country as big as the United States would have the lowest rates of health-related diseases due to its economic status. However, even a large country with its many resources can suffer nutritional inadequacy. In the United States we have high rates of obesity, cancer, Type 2 Diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and a list of other chronic illnesses related to eating and nutrition. That is a reason to follow a plant-based whole food diet.
Does the food we eat directly impact our health? You bet it does! Feeding your body foods with the highest nutritional value is one of the best things you can do for your health. In fact, diet is responsible for some of these problems and one of the easiest things to change, but is often overlooked. Here are some reasons why a plant-based whole food diet is better than the Standard American diet we have been used to.
Doctors Don’t Have all the Answers
Doctors spend years and years in medical school studying the various diseases and conditions that affect the population. They learn how to diagnose illness and treat patients using a combination of surgery and prescription medications. However, in all those years spent learning, they were never taught how food affects the body and how eating the right foods can help prevent some diseases. In fact, less than 1/3 of the schools require nutrition courses as part of their doctors training programs. See How Much Nutrition Education Do Doctors Get?
So while we are taught to eat the food pyramid in grade school, as adults our diets go off the charts with all the pre-packaged convenience foods and takeout services at our disposal 24/7.
Our diets have gone from bad to worse, and more and more people are dying from conditions that could be prevented with the proper nutrition and healthy foods. What we have been taught about food and health has been completely wrong.
The truth is, you don’t have to suffer from diabetes and obesity. There is a solution that has been right in front of you the whole time. You can change your health by what you choose to put on your plate. It’s time we started eating the way we were intended to all along. Now you can see why a plant-based whole food diet and lifestyle may be the answer to our health and nutritional problems.
What is wrong with the way we eat?
It’s odd to think that one of the richest nations in the world could have starving people in it. But it is true. People in this country are malnourished because the food we eat has little to no nutritional value to it. Our food is laden with chemicals, preservatives, fat, cholesterol, and calories. The standard American diet has always been meat and potatoes but in today’s society that has changed to mean burgers and fries. Fast food meals have replaced many of the home-cooked meals we used to enjoy.
Choosing what to put in your mouth is one of the most important decisions you can make for your health and the health of your family. Diabetes, heart disease, cancer, hypertension, kidney failure, obesity, and high cholesterol are all diet-related diseases, which means they can be prevented through proper nutrition and a plant-based whole food diet and a healthy lifestyle.
Does the Food we eat determine how healthy we are?
Does the food we eat really determine how healthy we are? Yes, it really does. When you eat healthy food with all the nutrients, antioxidants, and amino acids the body can function the way it is supposed to and we as people thrive. The point is that we don’t have to accept disease and death as a prognosis for our lives. We have tremendous power over our health destiny and longevity. Many of these conditions are preventable and manageable through diet.
Smoking used to be the number one cause of death in the United States but has now been bumped down to number 2. Know what has replaced it? It is our diet – namely food-related diseases like obesity, diabetes, and conditions related to it like high blood pressure. The Global Burden of Disease Study, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—indicates the number one cause of death in the United States is the way we eat. Smoking kills a half million Americans every year, but hundreds of thousands more die from food-related conditions. NutritionFacts.org
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Are You Sick and Tired?
How do you feel? Overweight, tired, and feel rundown by noon? As a nation, we should be tired of being sick and tired. We function on less sleep than we used to, eat more takeout food, and take more prescription medications than most other countries. If you are eating the Standard American Diet, which is linked to poor Nutrition and health, this could be the reason for how you’re feeling.
Malnutrition is as big a problem in the US as it is in third-world countries. If the food you are eating is not rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fats you can easily become malnourished. It’s not about not having access to food, it’s about eating food with no nutritional value. We eat around our schedules, often stopping for convenience food rather than a sit-down dinner.
What would it feel like to be healthy and vibrant again?
Answer the following simple 4 questions and do you see yourself?
- Are you open to changing your diet if it could improve your Health?
- Do you want to love weight?
- Do you want to feel better?
- Do you want to improve, stabilize, or even reverse a chronic condition such as heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, or high blood pressure?
If you answer “Yes” to any of these questions, then a whole foods plant-based diet may be for you. This way of eating incorporates whole foods into your diet that provides you with the essential nutrients that you may have been missing this whole time. Many people report that they have much more energy and can think clearly after starting a plant-based diet. Brain fog (the inability to think clearly, confusion) is one sign related to malnutrition, although it has other causes as well.
Why a Plant Based Diet is Better
Making the transition to a whole foods plant-based diet is not that difficult and there are resources that can help answer a lot of the questions you may have regarding nutrition and how to get enough protein. Protein should not be an issue if you are eating a balanced plant-based diet. Some of the plant-based sources of protein include lentils, chickpeas, red beans, walnuts, almonds, peanuts, chia seeds, hemp, tofu, and seitan. You will not have to worry if you are getting enough protein.
Essential nutrients like Vitamin A, C, D, calcium, magnesium, and zinc come from vegetables like spinach, broccoli, kale, tomatoes, potatoes, beets, bok choy, edamame, bean sprouts, and more. If you are a fan of Asian cuisine, you might be surprised to know that seaweed (wrappers used in sushi) and kimchi (spicy fermented cabbage) are very high in nutrition and good as probiotics for digestion and gut health. This could be one reason that Asian people are some of the healthiest people in the world.
I am interested - what is my next step?
To be successful in any endeavor or undertaking you must "Find your why" why do I want to do this! To find your why is one of the most important things we do when we set goals to make changes in our lives. It is important to have a very clear understanding of why do I want to do this.
For example: Do you want to love weight? Do you want to feel better? Do you want to improve, stabilize, or even reverse a chronic condition such as heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, or high blood pressure?
If you know your "Why" and ready to change your lifestyle, it makes the transition to a whole food plant based diet much easier.
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