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the best "food as medicine" resource  RSS feed

 
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actual results from scientific studies ... before the results get sanitized for public consumption. This is truly the best "food as medicine" resource I've ever found.
https://nutritionfacts.org/
 
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Yes, I agree.

Michael Greger is a great source.  I'm not vegan but I love his videos.  
JOhn S
PDX OR
 
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He is a vegan activist. I don't know any healthy vegan. Can't people just eat normal, potatoes vegetables, meat? That is probably the best. A diet where you need extra vitamins like B12 can that be healthy?
 
John Suavecito
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I know a lot of healthy vegans.  The vegans I know are healthier as a group than the other people.  The only relatively unhealthy vegan I knew recently disclosed to me that he has been eating a pizza with pepperoni on it for dinner every night for 6 months.

I can see that Greger is a little biased, but everyone has a point of view. I just take his stuff with a grain of salt, like anyone else.

Many people don't eat meat because the processes for raising meat for 97% of the meat are cruel, bad for you and terrible for the environment. CAFOs.   I try to only eat pastured meat. I realize that I don't actually succeed in doing that 100%.  

Most people could adjust their diets to be healthier. I for example could forgo cheesecake on my birthday, but I really like it, so I eat it once a year.

I think that most people do best by gradually deciding to change what they are willing to do normally, so it doesn't feel like a temporary sacrifice diet, but a new regular way of life that they can enjoy.

"Normal" is processed food, sugar, flour, cheap meat, and fat.  Rarely any fruit or vegetables.  A great way to die early and feel and look terrible doing so.  

My two cents.

John S
PDX OR
 
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I've done a lot of reading and research on the subject and, from my understanding of how the body works, vegan diets aren't suitable for the majority of the popluation.  I found this statement on the site:

Why does the site seem biased against certain foods?
For the same reason that the website of the American Lung Association probably seems biased against tobacco. The Philip Morris Corporation has come up with more than a hundred studies showing the health benefits of smoking.  

 
This is the issue I have with studies, and it is just as applicable for the studies that support veganism, HFLC, caffeine or chocolate use.  I only trust sources that can back up their claims and, for diet and nutrition, that means published papers.  I'm not a statistician, but I do have a decent understanding of statistics and, more relevant, a career of R&D.  There's a saying that statistics lie, and they sure can.  We've based our nutritional guidelines in part on a study where, it turns out, the 'researcher' just removed all the data that didn't fit his hypothesis.  There's a lot of that crap that goes on, so it's in your best interest to understand the basis for claims, especially claims about nutrition.

Type 2 diabetes is caused by the body's increased insensitivity to insulin.  Insulin is the body's way of getting glucose into the cells.  If you have more glucose than your body needs, it gets converted to fat, which increases your insulin insensitivity.  It now takes more insulin to do the job, increasing your insensitivity yet again.  It's a circle that doesn't stop.  At some point, your body can't produce enough insulin to force that glucose into your cells, so it floats around in your bloodstream and your doctor notices it (after about 13 years) as high blood sugar.  Conventional treatment is to give you drugs to boost your insulin production, thus lowering the blood sugar, until you progress to having to take insulin shots.  However, if you eat a high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet, your body won't have glucose to store, so your insulin levels drop and you can regain your insulin sensitivity.  If you keep eating carbs, you'll never stop the cycle.  About 10-15% of the population is 'carb adapted', and they can eat carbs with far fewer issues, but that doesn't work for the vast majority of the population.  

A couple of years ago I was faced with the prospect of insulin shots.  Until then, I'd followed the medically suggested diet and I just kept gaining weight and my diabetes kept getting worse.  I dived in to researching how our bodies worked to try to see if I could make changes to get myself healthy again.  I've got over 1000 hours of reading and watching videos about diet, from all approaches.  It really clicked when I came across this site Intensive Dietary Management from the guy who wrote The Obesity Code.  The doctor who runs the site deals mostly with diabetic patients.  Dr. Fung in incredibly good at coming up with analogies for how the body works.  He's written a couple of books, but I think you can get all the info from his blog, though there's a lot to it.  Dr. Fung takes a critical look at how any trials are carried out and, most importantly to me, he cites all his sources, so you can go and read the actual published research papers.  I get that that isn't everyone's cup of tea, but you can determine for yourself if the study had scientific merit.  

One of the other great resources is the trail for professional misconduct of Dr. Timothy Noakes, a pre-eminent research physician in South America.  Here's the link to the Youtube playlist.  It's about 80 videos and about 40 hours in total, but it's all gold.  For the record, he was exonerated.

I don't want to die for a long time, so my health is kinda important to me.  The most valuable part of my post-secondary education was learning how to learn, and I've applied that skill to many disciplines, most importantly my health.  When I was doing my diet and nutrition research, I looked at many approaches, but the high fat, moderate protein, low card diet is what is best supported by dietary studies.  I can also tell you that it works amazingly well for both people and dogs.  

I tried a vegan diet but went off it when my blood sugar levels spiked.  I'm sure it works for some people, but my conclusion is that it's detrimental to the majority.  If you're struggling with weigh, diabetes, inflammation or auto-immune issues, I'd highly recommend looking at a high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet.  Here's another resource about a physician who seems to have reversed MS with such a diet: The Wahls Protocol.
 
John Suavecito
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I love Jason Fung's work.  I have read his books, and watched several videos. I have also watched innumerable videos and read innumerable books.  He advocates fiber as an antidote to too much carb. If you don't eat any carb, you can't eat fiber. You don't get fiber from fat or meat.  

This is a very controversial topic, even among doctors who advocate lifestyle medicine.

Timothy Markus wrote "When I was doing my diet and nutrition research, I looked at many approaches, but the high fat, moderate protein, low card diet is what is best supported by dietary studies.  "

I understand that it is your opinion, but it is an opinion that is not accepted by the majority of doctors advocating a lifestyle approach to health.  There are actually no long term studies advocating a high fat diet as beneficial in the long run. There are many problems with high fat diets in the long run.   Several health oriented doctors looking at these questions have mentioned that there are no civilizations in which people live long healthy lives with high fat diets.  There are no Blue Zones in which people eat high fat diets.  

Insulin dependence is also created when too much fat is in the diet.  The cell can't get the glucose (the locks are jammed up-can't get the key in), and is a major cause of diabetes.  

Dr. Greger cites published studies in every video he makes.  He has made hundreds and has been doing it for years.  A vegan diet is the only one known to reverese heart disease.  

I don't have a problem with you being an advocate of these diets. I don't want that to be presented as "the truth".  It is still quite a controversial area of the science.

John S
PDX OR



 
Timothy Markus
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Hi John,

First, thanks for being kind and not jumping on me for coming across as the only truth.  I didn't mean to say that it's the only conclusion to be drawn, so I apologise.  I think that there are people for whom a high carb diet works, but there are many for whom it doesn't.

To me, the opinion of the majority of doctors isn't very important.  Research is quite a different animal from medical practice, so I look to medical researchers for verification.  Permaculture isn't accepted by the majority of farmers, but that doesn't mean it's wrong  I love my doctor but I think it was Dr. Fung who said that Canadian doctors get about 10 hours of instruction on nutrition, which is understandable.  Most doctors just go by the published nutrition guidelines.  On his blog I think Dr. Fung goes into the history of the accepted North American diet and the lack scientific evidence to support it.  I would believe that there aren't any civilizations now where people live long, healthy lives with high fat diets at this time, but there were in the past.  My understanding is that fat can definitely cause health issues, but that's when it's consumed with a lot of carbs.  It's the combination that causes most of the issues, so I think the best option would be a high carb, very low fat diet, or a high fat, low carb diet.  I've tried both for extended periods of time and, for me, there's no comparison.  

What I've read about fat and insulin insensitivity is that it's the fat stored in your body that's an issue, not the fat in your diet.  The fat in your body (stored fat, not dietary fat in the bloodstream) blocks the insulin receptors, reducing the glucose uptake. I eat about 60% of my calories from fat, so I've got a lot of dietary fat.  What I experienced is the opposite of what you've said.  I was able to get off all diabetes meds and reverse my diabetes with a high fat, low carb diet.  

I didn't look at Dr. Greger's videos, so I didn't see any citations, but I'd caution anyone to take any study at face value, from either side of the issue.  Studies are skewed all the time, results without statistical significance are often found, they are often not double-blind studies, and study population selection can have a large influence on the results.  I'm not saying that's the case with Dr. Greger's citations, and I think people should question any study to determine if the results are valid.  I haven't read Dr. Fung's books as it's all in his blog, so I don't know if he gets into statistics or meta-analysis in the books, but he does on his blog.  I'm certainly not a statistical expert, but I've taken engineering statistics, both undergrad and grad, and I've got experience with R&D, so I am able to read the papers and get a feel for the quality of the study.  It's pretty dry stuff, for sure, but Dr. Fung does a great job of explaining study bias in his blogs.  I think we all should take an active interest in our own health instead of just believing what we're told.  

I really like that we can discuss such important issues with respect here.  If anyone feels I'm not doing that, please let me know, as that's not my intention, I'm just an asshole by nature
 
John Suavecito
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Great post! Thanks for clarifying, Timothy.

Dr. Greger goes into depth on a lot of his videos about why one particular study or another isn't really helpful. Why another study sponsored by, say, the cheese council is unwilling to look at possible negative impacts of dairy fat.  Much of it is about the validity of various studies.  

I know there are a lot of studies on short term benefits of high fat diets.  In fact, vegan doctors will admit that in the short term, high fat diets can help.  It's in the long term that they are concerned.

I know some people only look at double blind long term controlled studies, but there are almost exclusively done by large pharmaceutical companies to promote their products, and they only show the ones that show the benefit of their products.  Other sources mostly don't have the money to fund these types of studies.

I have read many blogs by functional medicine practitioners what have explained the intricacy of what was happening in many cases. You would never understand the process from a study, because it is too complex.  I value that information as well.  Many have been doing this work for decades and see patterns in their work that also won't show up on studies.

I agree that the majority of doctors won't really get what's going on.  They are replacing hips or some other isolated, high volume, high paying practice and don't pay attention to the nutrition details.  I was referring earlier to doctors that focus on lifestyle medicine-nutrition, exercise, sleep, social interaction-why aren't people healthy in general.

One of the reasons I enjoy these discussions is because I learn a lot from other people's reasoning, such as yours.

I agree and have seen data on the combo of fat and high (net) carb being really damaging.  The sources I've seen that fat can jam the insulin sensitivity didn't say just in the body. They included in the diet, so I will have to look at that aspect more closely.  I agree that going mostly one way or the other is better.  BOth high fat and vegan doctors emphasize that fasting can be quite helpful.  Dr. Fung wrote a book about it, which I read.

There does seem to be quite a bit of individuality about what works best. I have read countless stories of people who tried the high fat diet and just got sick and much less healthy, then went vegan or close and got really healthy.  I have also heard about many people like yourself who got much healthier on a high fat diet.  Dr. Mercola, for example.  

Dr. Joel Fuhrman is another doctor who has looked into the incidences of cancer, heart disease and healthy longevity and concluded that vegan or near vegan is the way to go.  He has tirelessly pored over the studies and written many books on the topic.  

I am currently eating a high fresh fruit and veg diet, mostly from my food forest, with a lot of sprouted legumes and some whole grains.  I eat small high omega 3 fish and a small amount of meat.  I respectfully look at all the major points of view, and I take them all with a grain of salt and just monitor how I'm doing.

Thanks for contributing to the discussion and keeping an open mind to others' experiences.
John S
PDX OR

 
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There is a very long term study done on a man  that went to live with Eskimos for many years.  The Eskimos live almost exclusively on meat and fat with fat being preferred.  After returning from his Eskimo- life stint,  the man (the name escapes me currently), underwent a battery of tests and was found to be in excellent health.  Eskimos living on that same traditional diet live without many of the diseases found in people on "civilised diets". Of the three dietary components, fat,  protein,  or carbohydrate,  carbohydrates are the only one not necessary to live.  

Vegetarians that follow the diet for any length of time will developed a deficiency of vitamin B12 without supplementation.  That fact alone is enough to prove to me that the diet is not what nature intended for humans.

I know a few vegetarians and all of them object to animal products on moral grounds.  That stance is appropriate and commendable in my mind.  That stance that the diet should be adopted for health reasons is not.

Man's name was Dr Stefansson. He lived with the Inuit. His story is pretty fascinating and he was studied after living with the Inuit, and participated in studies after returning dealing with no carb and nearly no carb diets.
 
John Suavecito
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Weston Price, a dentist from 100 years ago, did ethnographic studies on populations around the world about 100 years ago, and found that people that followed their traditional diets, whether they be high fat, high veg or in between, not only avoided cavities, but most chronic diseases that modern civilizations have, as Trace alluded to.  Once they started following modern diets with flour and sugar, they suffered greatly. This was even before our modern era of superprocessed foods, artificial ingredients, and widespread toxins.  

All of the vegetarians and vegans I know supplement with vitamin B12. Dr. Michael Greger and other vegan doctors also suggest supplementing with long chain omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D.  

I know many vegetarians who eat that way for health or for taste, not just for ethical reasons.  It helps people get more nutrition, less fat,  lose weight, and the vast majority of adult Americans are overweight.  Our modern food system is slowly converting the world to obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer's disease.  I think your distinction makes sense Trace.  I also know some people like myself, who don't like to eat meat from confined animal feeding operations, like 99% of our meat comes from.  Some of them are hunters.  Obviously, not opposed to eating meat, but opposed to cruelty, unhealthy meat, and damaging environmental practices.

John S
PDX OR
 
John Suavecito
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Hi Angelika,
I am not vegan, nor vegetarian. Nor I have I ever been.  I don't eat very much meat, and I try to eat wild or pastured.  The vegans and vegetarians I know supplement, and they are on average, much healthier than other people.  My wife, the vegan, makes and eats pizza for dinner that we all enjoy.  It has a lot of nutritious vegetables on it.  People who practice vegetarian cooking make delicious, healthy meals.  Vegetarians live on average, 8 years longer than others.  If done properly, becoming a vegetarian is, in my opinion, one of the best choices that you can make for your health.  Many of my coworkers call me a vegan, because they rarely see me eating meat.  But a vegan or vegetarian eats no meat.  
John S
PDX OR
 
Trace Oswald
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The longevity studies I have read,  and that is certainly not all of them,  do show vegans live longer.  My own opinion is that this is one of those times that correlation isn't necessarily causation.  The same studies show that vegans exercise more,  smoke less,  and drink less.  It seems to me that being vegan also means you care more about your health than the average American. I believe you would find the same thing if you did longevity studies on people that follow the paleo diet,  the whole food diet,  or pretty much any other diet that cuts out processed foods,  sugar,  white flour,  alcohol,  cigarettes.  At the very least, I think most people agree that any of those diets are healthier than the standard American diet and will help people live longer.
 
Timothy Markus
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I wonder if strict adherence to any diet would result in healthier people and longer life spans.  Regardless of what diet you choose, you're aim is to be healthy, so I would think that you would take better care of yourself in general, and that might be the real cause of people on any diet living longer in today's society.  

One of the great things about being alive today is that we have unprecedented access to information, so we can each make up our own minds.  We've got lots of people trying lots of diets and reporting to anyone who's interested.  Not scientific, sure, but you can learn a lot if you're discerning.  

edit: didn't see Trace's comment, too slow...
 
John Suavecito
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Alan Savory has shown how regeneration of soil and ecosystems works better with animals.  Some vegans have animals on their homesteads. Some treat them as pets, others as natural wildlife that are a part of the ecosystem.  Some are limited in mobility, but others are not.  Cattle can be useful ecologically, even if they aren't eaten.  Some cattle are fenced and can move with electric movable fences to different parts of the property.  There are many possibilities for human food medicine to create health in our bodies and in the ecosystem in both vegan and non-vegan systems.
John S
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I think the key to overall health is eating a healthy, balanced diet using quality food regardless of an eating style like veganism, paleo, vegetarian, etc. Oreo cookies for example are "vegan", and Big Macs minus the buns are "paleo", but in my opinion neither are examples of a healthy diet that promotes health.

I have a really tough time developing eating habits that are healthy long term, despite knowing that my health down the road is greatly influenced by my eating habits today and each day going forward. Getting away from an industrialized diet, reducing the processed ingredients, and trying to get vitamins and minerals from the food instead of from a pill seems to me good objectives. Ethical food production should be just as important, and I think as you move away from the industrial food system that goes way up.
 
John Suavecito
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One resource that I really like is John Douillard.  He's a chiropractor, but he was in charge of Deepak CHopra's health institute in India for about 8 years.  His main deal is investigating Ayurvedic medicine to see how it jibes with modern scientific research. I find his stuff fascinating:

https://lifespa.com/

John S
PDX OR
 
John Suavecito
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Another great food as medicine resource is Green Med Info.
http://www.greenmedinfo.com/

Sayer Ji, the founder is a researcher. He has pored through the Public Medical information, PubMed, that we pay for as taxpayers.  He has found a lot of information about which foods are helpful, when, and why.  He also uncovers a lot of studies that are sponsored by the corporation selling the product, misleading studies, and some that we'll never hear about in the media, because there is no one sponsoring them.

John S
PDX OR
 
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