• Glenn Wilson

    It all started with my grandma. I was just a kid when the doctors sent my grandma home in a wheelchair to die. Diagnosed with end-stage heart disease, she had already had so many bypass operations that the surgeons essentially ran out of plumbing. Confined to a wheelchair, crushing chest pain; her doctors told her there was nothing else they could do. Her life was over at age sixty-five.

    But then she heard about Nathan Pritikin, one of our early lifestyle medicine pioneers, and what happened next was documented in Pritikin’s biography. It talks about Frances Greger, my grandma. It was a live-in program where everyone was placed on a plant-based diet, and then started on a graded exercise regimen. They wheeled her in, and she walked out. Within a few weeks, she was walking 10 miles a day—and went on to live another 31 years, until age 96, to continue to enjoy her six grandchildren, including me. Her miraculous recovery not only inspired one of those grandkids to pursue a career in medicine, but granted her enough healthy years to see him graduate from medical school. So, it’s really all thanks to her. ...

    There is only one diet that’s ever been proven to reverse heart disease in the majority of patients—this plant-based diet. If that’s all a plant-based diet could do—reverse the #1 killer of men and women—shouldn’t that be the default diet, until proven otherwise? And the fact that it can also be effective in treating, arresting, and reversing other leading killers, like high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, would seem to make the case for plant-based eating simply overwhelming.

    Most deaths in the United States are preventable, and related to nutrition. According to the most rigorous analysis of risk factors ever published—the Global Burden of Disease study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation—the #1 cause of death in the United States is our diet. The #1 cause of disability is our diet, which has now bumped tobacco smoking to #2. Smoking now only kills about a half million Americans every year—but diet now kills hundreds of thousands more. ...

    It’s like smoking in the 50s. We already had decades of science linking smoking with lung cancer, but it was largely ignored because smoking was normal. Most doctors smoked. The average per capita cigarette consumption was 4,000 cigarettes a year—meaning the average American smoked a half a pack a day. The American Medical Association was reassuring everyone that smoking—in moderation—was just fine. There was this same disconnect between the science and public policy. It took more than 25 years, and 7,000 studies before the first Surgeon General report against smoking came out in the 60s. You’d think maybe after the first 6,000 studies, they could have given people a heads up or something? It was a powerful industry.

    More at NutritionFacts: How Not to Die: An Animated Summary.

    More in the category Health and Medical.

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  • Zoe
    One disciple of Pritikin was Ross Horn, a former pilot who lived in Australia. As Ross spread the word he noted that while people were healing their heart issues, a lot of them were also getting arthritis.

    What he eventually came to understand is that the Pritikin diet allowed for a range. Those that went heavily onto the grains developed bone issues. Those who tended towards the veggies didn’t.

    Ross’s book was available free on the internet … but I can’t find it today.
  • Glenn Wilson
    Dr. Greger's grandmother and her experience with Pritikin and a whole food plant based diet described in the video was a motivating factor for Dr. Greger going into medicine and starting NutritionFacts. (I do volunteer work for NutritionFacts.org).

    NUTRITIONFACTS.ORG is a strictly non-commercial, science-based public service provided by Dr. Michael Greger, providing free updates on the latest in nutrition research via bite-sized videos.

    We believe that a significant part of the problem is that individuals who want to make the correct dietary choices for themselves and their families are faced with a deluge of confusing and conflicting nutritional advice. The goal of this website is to present you and your doctor with the results of the latest in peer-reviewed nutrition and health research, presented in a way that is easy to understand.

    I do not know the Pritikin diet in detail, nor what Horne is advocating in detail but they seem pretty similar. From a quick scan of a Ross Horne book it appears he suggests modifying the Pritikin approach by eating raw food and more fruit and no grains. So, basically a whole food, plant based raw diet. Some excerpts from his book:

    Eleven years ago I was Nathan Pritikin's best disciple and staunchest supporter.

    I had observed the Pritikin diet achieve what appeared to be absolute miracles in restoring people who were literally dying back to good health, my own wife being one of them.

    Today I still firmly believe in the principles to which Nathan Pritikin devoted the last twenty seven years of his life but I have discovered that the Pritikin diet is far from the best way of implementing those principles.
    In regard to my criticism of the Pritikin diet in the chapters which follow, I wish to make it very clear, here at the beginning, that despite our differences in opinion, my gratitude and respect for Nathan Pritikin, the man, remain undiminished. In my eyes, Pritikin still stands as one of the great Americans of the 20th Century.
    Ross believes that the cooking of food is an unnatural process, damaging to the nutritional value of the food, and in the long run damaging to the people who eat the food, as he has explained so ably in his books and substantiated in his own case studies. Going further, his research and keen observations have led him to believe that grains may be one of the culprits in setting the stage for cancer.
    There is no doubt that the cooking of food is an unnatural process invented by man comparatively recently in his evolutionary development. Although cooking may render certain foods, such as cereals, more readily assimilable to human digestion, and render some foods more palatable, generally it is a destructive process which seriously depletes the nutritive value of food.
    Improving On Pritikin: You Can Do Better

    But, I'm pretty sure that either approach is far better for most people than the Standard American Diet (SAD). :smile:
  • Zoe
    I didn't want to hijack Pritikin and this sounds so pious. But I will post it anyway ...

    I started with what my parents taught me:

    SAD: Eat food … mostly processed … all the time

    With growing awareness, I modified my diet.

    Me: Eat real food … mostly plants … not a lot

    Now it is mostly raw. Mostly organic. Oodles of veggies, nuts, seeds. Seasonal fruit in the morning. Besides big salads, I also juice green things.

    What I don’t eat are processed foods, grains, sugar. I actually asked the land lord to remove the stove so my huge refrigerator fits.

    After checking out out the Blue Zones and the work of Dr. Westin-Price I began making my own fermented foods (pickles) and added in bone broth. Often as a base for sweet potato soup in the evening. I choose the occasional fish. I have a free range egg, raw, most mornings.

    Cheese is my down fall. Goat seems the better choice.

    Unlike Pritikin and Horne ... I have lots of fats. Coconut oil. Walnuts. Avocado. Grass fed butter. (Though I don't know how one feeds grass to butter?)

    And I enjoy intermittent fasting. Meaning … I begin eating around 11 and stop around 5. Obviously I don’t fit in well !!! And I've lost nearly 70 pounds.

    A few months ago I began walking 30 miles a week. And I feel better now than I did 25 years ago. No medical issues. No pain. Nothing to complain about.
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