1. Plants Have All the Nutrients People Need to Thrive
A common objection to a plant-based diet is concern over inadequate nutrition, but this concern is not founded in science. Rather, observed nutritional deficiencies in vegetarians and vegans are attributed to diets high in unhealthy processed foods and low in nutrient-rich, whole, fresh plant foods. Still, the food industry, specifically the meat and dairy industries, have worked hard to maintain the myth that meat and dairy are essential for nutrition. They market their products as good for, and even essential for, your health. But simple nutrition facts reveal that plant foods are the most nutrient-rich and healthiest food choices.
I was only very slightly worried that my children might be deficient in vitamin B12 when I took them in to the doctor for a routine physical which included blood work. My children have never tasted animal flesh in their life and have been mostly free of animal products through their entire lives, but strictly vegan for the last five years. As I am a strong believer that whole plant foods contain all the nutrients we need, I have never given them a supplement. They have never had protein powder, protein bars, or a chewable multivitamin. We do however start each day with fresh fruit either on a plate, in a bowl, or blended into a smoothie or other fruity beverage. They eat a variety of plants from the entire rainbow and their blood tests reveal this has given them all the nutrients they require. They were not deficient in any vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients including protein and vitamin B12. All their numbers were well within the healthy range. I already felt they were healthy with no signs of deficiency before their test, but getting the science-backed results certainly helped give me peace of mind. Plants really do have all the nutrients that frugivores like us need to thrive.
Plant foods generally contain all five macronutrients – protein, fat, carbohydrates, water, and fiber in varying amounts. Plant foods also are the most nutrient-dense food choices containing large amounts of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that help protect the body from illness. A common misconception is that animal products are needed to provide adequate nutrition but this is false. Some older people who have practiced a whole-food, plant-based diet for many years are living testimony of the age-defying and health-promoting diet. Some of the world’s top performing athletes and body-builders compete and thrive on a vegan diet.
I have not consumed meat in 22 years and have been largely vegan for that time, and strictly vegan for the last five years. I have been through two pregnancies and have two happy healthy children who are thriving on the Frugivore Diet. Like many others practicing this diet, I can say our family doesn’t experience sickness like we used to when we included our neighbors’ eggs, some dairy, and some processed foods in our diet.
2. A Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet Reduced Risk of Disease
A whole-food, plant-based diet is the best health insurance policy known to Man. Science has clearly demonstrated the protective power of eating whole-plant foods. The more energy people consume from whole plants, the more protected they are from heart disease, cancer, diabetes, weight issues, and other disease. Simply eating a diet of whole plants eliminates the great amount of risk that eating animal foods and processed foods pose to your health. Science and basic nutrition facts empower us with the knowledge to chose the right foods for a human, which maintains our health well into old age. Disease is not our destiny, and right nutrition can keep us on a path of wellness and thrivation.
The data supporting the health benefits of a whole-food, plant-based diet can be found at nearly every level and perspective. Vegan diets have been shown to help in maintaining a healthy weight, are linked to healthy cholesterol levels and a healthy blood pressure, produce healthier guts, reduce stress and anxiety, protect against heart disease and cancer, and protect against obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Another way to see the connection between food and disease is to look at the diets and disease rates of large populations for evidence. Countries that consume the greatest percentage of calories from unrefined plant foods also have the lowest rates of heart disease and cancer. The reverse is true: countries who consume the most calories from animal foods and processed foods have the highest rates of chronic disease including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The epidemiologic evidence is further proof that our natural optimal diet is plants.
Besides reducing the risk of disease, a whole plants diet has been shown to reverse and heal numerous ailments. In the Healing With Plants master database are nearly 500 such testimonials of people curing numerous autoimmune disease, various types of cancer, skin conditions, diabetes, obesity, and inflammatory conditions simply by eating more fruits and plant foods.
The American Cancer Society acknowledges the role of diet in preventing cancer. In their “Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention” they say:
“Evidence suggests that one third of the more than 500,000 cancer deaths that occur in the United States each year can be attributed to diet and physical activity habits, with another third due to cigarette smoking. Although genetic inheritance influences the risk and cancer arises from genetic mutations in cells, most of the variation in cancer risk across populations and among individuals is due to factors that are not inherited.”
Specifically when it comes to eating for cancer prevention they recommend to:
“Eat a variety of healthful foods, with an emphasis on plant sources.
Eat five or more servings of a variety of vegetables and fruits each day.
Choose whole grains in preference to processed (refined) grains and sugars.
Limit consumption of red meats, especially those high in fat and processed.
Choose foods that help maintain a healthful weight.”
The American Heart Association’s “Dietary Guidelines” also emphasize the importance of a plant-rich diet for preventing heart disease. They say:
“The AHA (American Heart Association) strongly endorses the consumption of diets that include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables throughout the day, both as meals and snacks. Fruits and vegetables are high in nutrients and fiber and relatively low in calories and hence have a high nutrient density. Dietary patterns characterized by a high intake of fruits and vegetables are associated with a lower risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and hypertension. Habitually consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables (especially those that are dark green, deep orange, or yellow) helps ensure adequate intakes of micronutrients normally present in this food group.”
The AHA acknowledges that excess weight is directly linked to developing heart disease and an important principle of maintaining a healthy weight is to consume enough dietary fiber. Whole-plant foods are rich in dietary fiber and fill up the volume of the stomach triggering a full and satisfied feeling that regulates healthy eating.
3. Eating Plants Can Heal Diseases
The most common chronic diseases that plague people today have a simple cure: plants! The Frugivore Diet of 100% whole-plant foods has been known to heal diseases including obesity, overweight, diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, inflammation, chronic fatigue, psoriasis, arthritis, many cancers, and other conditions. Most of the various diseases known to Man today have their root in the same problem: improper nutrition for the human animal. We wouldn’t feed a house cat broccoli and expect it to stay in good health. That’s because we know that cats are carnivorous animals. But most people do not extend the same basic logic to themselves. The human animal is a frugivore and if we do not consume our natural diet, we will suffer the consequence of ill health.
4. Brain Power is Boosted by Plants
The human brain runs on carbohydrates from plants. Although people can survive for a while on a high-fat/low-carb diet, cognitive function will no-doubt suffer. People who follow low-carb diets often report feeling foggy headed. When people switch to a 100% plants diet they often report experiencing a much clearer mind. Science has backed up this phenomenon by showing that eating carbohydrates from plants boost brain function and academic performance. It’s no coincidence that many of the leading thinkers and inventors of recent history have practiced a purely or mainly plants diet. In The Frugivore Files I present evidence that suggests our large human brain developed over time thanks to our natural affinity for fruit-eating. Our natural frugivore diet is good for our brains.
5. This Diet is Backed by Professionals
While modern schooling from primary school all the way through medical school contains a noticeable lack of nutrition education, the professionals who have dedicated their careers to the subject are mostly in agreement. The American Dietetic Association states:
“It is the position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada that appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.”
Even the United States Dietary Guidelines includes this statement supporting a plant based diet as healthy for humans,
“Vegetarian diets can be consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and meet Recommended Dietary Allowances for nutrients.”
The USDA has also come out with a Healthy Eating for Vegetarians guide. If only they went a step further with stronger language recommending a plant-based diet and warning against the dangers of meat and dairy consumption. But individual doctors and health practitioners are stepping out of the box more with strong endorsements for a whole-foods, plant-based diet.
Dr. Kim Williams, president of the American College of Cardiology says he became vegan after doing the research. Now a plant-based diet is his number one prescription for reversing and preventing heart disease. In an interview with the New York Times, he says after his own experience with diet and throughly reviewing the best science available,
“I recommend a plant-based diet because I know it’s going to lower their blood pressure, improve their insulin sensitivity and decrease their cholesterol.”
Dr. Michael Greger, MD has dedicated his professional career to staying on top of the latest nutrition research and relating this important information to the public. His perspective as a doctor and nutrition researcher:
“The balance of scientific evidence suggests that the healthiest way to eat is a vitamin B12-fortified diet of whole plant foods. For optimum nutrition, we should be sure to include in our daily diet not only an array of whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, fruit, and as many vegetables as we can eat, but also specifically dark green leafy vegetables, berries, and white (or green) tea.”
While many doctors have not spent time studying nutrition, there is a growing number who have taken up a passion for uncovering the truth in nutrition studies. These doctors, nutritionists, and scientists are helping dismantle food industry propaganda so that the simple truth can reach people – humans are designed to thrive on plants.
6. Easily Maintain a Healthy Weight
With 72% of American adults now clinically overweight, maintaining a healthy weight is a concern facing most of the country. Fortunately the Frugivore Diet, the diet of whole-plant foods that we are biologically designed for, helps regulate weight effortlessly. Whole-plant foods are full of water and fiber that fill up our stomachs, and they are also full of nutrients which help us feel satisfied after eating. These foods are the perfect cocktail of nutrients to give us all we need to thrive and helping us feel satisfied so we don’t overeat. When people fill up on processed food lacking fiber, water, and micronutrients, they are left unsatisfied and still hungry. What they are really hungry for is real nutrition, but oftentimes they will eat more junk food which further perpetuates the problem. People who follow a diet of primarily whole-plant foods are able to maintain their ideal weight effortlessly over the years well into old age. It is not our destiny to get fatter and sicker as we age. Maintaining a healthy weight is well within our control if we simply stick to whole plant foods.
7. Give Your Family the Gift of Wellness
Is it not the job of a parent to give their children the best shot at a successful life? A practice of healthy eating, exercise, and mindfulness can be a pathway to a lifetime of wellness. As a mother, I believe that teaching my children how to live healthfully is one of the greatest gifts I can give them for their future happiness and success. If they were to grow up eating nutrient-poor junk foods, it’s likely they would be sick often and would be susceptible to numerous diseases. With a healthy body and mind, the possibilities are nearly limitless for what they can do with their lives. Good health makes it possible to walk, run, bike, lift things, make things, have a clear mind to solve problems and develop ideas. As a mother, I have wanted nothing more for my children than to be healthy and happy. Over the years researching, writing about, and practicing a holistic health lifestyle, I have learned just how important good nutrition is to the wellness equation.
My children are nine and eleven years old and have never tasted animal flesh in their lives. When they were little we still ate cheese, eggs, and dairy, but gave these foods up for a fully, 100% plants diet when my son was six and my daughter was four. My children are very healthy, almost never get sick, are very creative, bright, and are good students. They have always been ahead of their classes in math and reading and test a couple grades above their grade level in standardized tests. What’s more, my children love the food I prepare for them and they always have. I have always supplied them with copious amounts of fresh, raw, seasonal fruits. They frequently request the smoothies featured in this book. They are also big fans of the potatoes, beans, and rice dishes that grace these pages. As a mother I am happy to please the palates of my children, but even more happy to know I am giving them the gift of wellness through the food I prepare.
8. The Most Affordable Diet Ever
Many people think that eating healthy means spending a lot of money when this couldn’t be further from the truth. While it’s true that public policy has favored animal products and processed foods, making them artificially cheap, it’s also true that whole-plant foods are still the cheapest way to eat. While it’s definitely possible to spend a lot on fancy, rare plant foods, making your grocery bill extra large, it’s also possible to focus on foods that are in large supply, seasonal, and very affordable.
Most of the recipes I share in this book are made from ingredients that are very affordable—
potatoes, rice, bananas, oranges, apples, and beans are staple foods in our house. These are some of the cheapest foods available. I can buy a large bag of potatoes for $5 that will be the bulk of several meal. A couple bunches of bananas may cost a couple bucks and are packed with delicious energy and loads of nutrients. If you look at the places in the world where people have the least financial wealth, you will find people eating primarily plants. A whole-food, plant-based diet doesn’t have to break the bank and is accessible for anyone who shops smart and focuses on seasonal plants and affordable staples.
9. Food is Attractive and Tasty
Is it any surprise that our natural human diet is also the diet that is most naturally attractive to us? There is a reason why fruit bowls are the most common subject of still life paintings throughout history. Fruits are beautiful to us. Whole-plant foods are naturally attractive. Science has shown that people eat with our eyes first, and so filling our plates and bowls with a rainbow of whole fresh plants is not only nutritious and delicious, but also adds beauty to our lives.
10. Experience Greater Energy
Anyone I have ever talked to who has switched to a diet of whole-plant foods reports feelings of greater energy. These foods are the easiest for our body to digest and so leave more energy available for our mental and physical functions.
My friend’s daughter has become sick with a mysterious illness and couldn’t get out of bed. She lacked the energy to get up and go to work and had been unable to support her young son. After I counseled her about nutrition and recommended a whole-food, plant-based diet, it wasn’t long before she messaged me that she had so much more energy eating this way. In a short while she was able to get out of bed and got a new job. She lost ten pounds in just a couple weeks and thanked me telling me she was definitely going to stick with it.
A high school wrestler was struggling with extra weight and trying on fad diets had left him feeling foggy and lethargic. After my counsel and switching to a whole-food, plant-based diet he told me he had more energy and was getting better grades at school. I met with his mother to share recipes and their whole family was ready to make a switch. Any person I’ve ever talked to that has switched to this diet has told me they feel great with an increased energy to move through their day.