Michael Greger, M.D. is a physician and the author of the New York Times bestselling book How Not To Die. In this book Dr. Greger goes over the 15 common and preventable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer and how they can be prevented through changes in our diet. I had the chance to attend his lecture and book signing at Choices Café in Coconut Grove, FL.
During his lecture he showed many studies that prove how eating a whole-food plant-based diet can prevent many diseases that lead to premature death. According to Dr. Greger, it is up to each one of us to make our own decisions as to what to eat and how to live. We should make these choices consciously by educating ourselves on the consequences of our unhealthy eating habits.
If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of plant-based nutrition and its effects, you can read Dr. Greger's book or books by other physicians who have studied this topic and published their findings. For a list of these books go to my resources page where I posted my favorite ones.
For a crash course on Dr. Greger's teachings from his lecture on preventing disease related premature death just read below.
5 Lessons on How Not To Die From Disease
1. Switch to eating a whole-food plant-based diet
There are numerous studies that show eating plant-based foods not only prevents disease but many times reverses it. Plant-based foods contain high amounts of fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. These nutrients are essential for optimal health as well as killing and preventing disease cells from growing in your body. Dr. Greger recommends eating a variety of the healthiest foods everyday in order to benefit from the different types of nutrients found in all kinds of natural foods.
2. Give your body the chance to heal itself
Our bodies have the capability of healing themselves without the need for surgery or medication, but only under the right conditions. As we sleep every night our bodies undergo the healing process but if we continue to eat foods that clog our arteries and promote cancer cell growth, we interrupt that process. Once we stop harming ourselves by eating nutritious foods the next step is to get out of the way and let our bodies work their healing magic.
3. Avoid eating animal based proteins at all costs
Animal based proteins increase your IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor) binding protein levels which is one way your body protects itself from cancer. Our IGF-1 levels must be low in order to prevent cancer cells from growing excessively. The longer you eat healthy plant-based foods, the more time your liver has to remove the excess amounts of IGF-1 that are still circulating in your system from the last time you ate animal protein. This allows your body to also neutralize the acid that forms in your body when eating animal foods. The lower the IGF-1 and acid levels in your body the better you will feel.
4. Stop thinking moderation is acceptable
Moderation in all things is not necessarily good. Eating animal protein or processed foods in moderation still affect your body by causing inflammation whether you eat a small or large amount of it. Moderate changes in diet can only lead to moderate results. We must make complete changes in our eating habits, not just some changes, in order to truly live a disease free life.
5. Follow Dr. Greger's Daily Dozen
The daily dozen is Dr. Greger's checklist of the foods and activities we should try to incorporate into our daily lives. Foods such as beans, berries, fruits, cruciferous vegetables, greens, other vegetables, flaxseeds, nuts, spices, whole grains and beverages (water and tea) need to be consumed on a daily basis. This checklist can be used as your shopping list when buying groceries. He also recommends doing 90 minutes of moderately intense exercise everyday.
For more information on Dr. Greger's book and nutrition check out his website NutritionFacts.org.