“We are what we eat” as Hippocrates once said, but what does this really mean?
Our diet is increasingly dominated by animal protein, sugar and processed food while lacking whole plant-based foods. These food choices have an impact that goes beyond the number we see on the scale*. They affect our energy levels, our humor and they are at the chore of a variety of symptoms and, of course, diseases.
The obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer numbers continue on the rising. But did you know that, for example, less than 10% of all cancers can be attributed to genetics? In fact, in most cases, we are not hostages to our genes. As shown by epigenetics, our genes are more a predisposition that is confirmed or not according to factors such as diet and lifestyle. Let me give you my personal example. During most of my life I had extremely high cholesterol and I would always hear the talk “oh, it´s hereditary.” I changed my diet and my cholesterol was never so good as it is now!
We prefer, however, medicines to solve our problem rather than food because this messes with habits, memories and, in some cases, it can even mess with the notion we have about ourselves. That´s why we desire to be given a magic pill that will cure us from the pain we suffer even if we have to take it for the rest of our lives. However, drugs don´t go to the root cause of the problem and, unfortunately, there is still just a few doctors aware of the impact of diet on our health as this subject is rarely studied in medical schools. Moreover, did you know that 20% of all new drugs have serious and unknown side effects and that more than 100.000 Americans die each year from correctly taking their properly prescribed medication?** What is more, this is one of the main causes of death in the United States.**
In The China Study**, the most comprehensive epidemiologic study about the impact of food and lifestyle on health, Dr. Colin Campbell shows us how the consumption of animal protein (meat, fish, eggs and dairy) is behind the development of a number of chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, breast, prostate, colon and rectal cancers. To deal with these chronic diseases and, of course, prevent them, Dr. Campbell advocates a whole plant-based diet, a diet that has changed many and many lives that seemed condemned. For example, heart disease can the reversed just with changes in diet!
Regardless of whether you have (or if you know someone that has) a chronic disease, I would like you to know that yes, there is hope, and the power is, most of the times, in our hands. You just need to want to change!
In memory of my Aunt Céu.
*By the way, I don´t like scales and I have none at home. I consider them a prison.
**CAMPBELL, Colin and CAMPBELL, Thomas (2005). The China Study: startling implications for diet, weight loss and long-term health. Dallas: BenBella Books.