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Recently the media has been publishing a number of articles wondering why YOUNG PEOPLE are experiencing heart attacks and strokes. It seems that heart attacks and strokes has been firmly planted in our minds as a disease that should only be experienced by OLD PEOPLE. And, the media would make it seem that this is a new, recent phenomenon. Well, sad to say, both those two assumptions are wrong.
Strokes and heart attacks has always been a disease affecting all classes of people at all age levels. Yet, today, and for the past four decades, doctors and researchers have been trying to prove it is one mechanism or another that is the cause. Diabetes? Obesity? Lack of exercise? Sugar? Salt? Fried foods? Drugs? Pharmaceuticals? We may never know the specific cause. But it is hidden in there somewhere. And it has been going on for a long time on the American diet…defined by: high-fat, high-protein, high-salt, high-sugar, and too little exercise. And, it is not a new disease in America!
One of the notable stories, for example, is the experience had by Dr. John McDougall, author of a number of books, books and research which he published resulting from his own research following his own horrible experience with a massive stroke.
At age 18, while an undergraduate, he suffered a massive stroke that left him completely paralyzed on the left side of his body. He admits, even 44 years later he is considerably weakened because of that stroke. This was a pivotal event for him. He turned his attention and his career to discovering the causes of, and developing treatments for, this insidious disease affecting, and killing, hundreds of thousands of Americans annually.
As his career unfolded, he had the opportunity to closely study the clash of two cultures, the Asian culture prior to western food practices destroying their health, and the American culture fully immersed in eating animal products, processed foods and plenty of junk food, while avoiding or minimizing whole-plant-based foods. The “virgin” diet of the Asians resulted in a preponderance of people in Asia living to, or beyond, age 90, in optimized health, free of cancers, artery-related problems like strokes and heart attacks, and other chronic diseases like arthritis.
While under his medical care, he watched as those Asians moved to America and had children who converted to the American diet and contracted the very diseases that every American typically faces: strokes, heart attacks, cancers, arthritis, etc. After thousands of hours of additional research by combing through the medical studies published over the years, he found a preponderance of EVIDENCE that PROVED that eating a STARCH-BASED DIET not only resulted in optimized health, but in many instances could stop or even reverse damage already done from a lifetime of eating salty, sweet, fried, BBQ’d, processed, or junk foods, typically found in American homes.
“…my patients could be cured with one big simple solution: a starch-based diet. ” [Source: Dr. John Mcdougall See end Note 1
Dr. McDougall is not a lone voice out there. Thousands of doctors have joined in calling for the medical profession to recommend their patients to dramatically reduce, even eliminate, animal products, sweets, salty foods, and processed foods in the American diet. Even the recent change to the Canadian Food Guide is acknowledging the importance of crowding animal, processed, salt-laden, and junk food off the plate by piling on much healthier, much more micro-nutrient-rich, whole-plant foods, the fresher the better, [barring some exceptions like mushrooms, which ought to be cooked prior to eating].
After examining the EVIDENCE about the topic of stopping and, in many instances, even reversing many of the chronic diseases, one has to conclude that those children suffering heart attacks, strokes and many of the other chronic diseases, [but not all], can often be related to POOR NUTRITION. And, specifically, “poor nutrition” as defined by a scarcity of foods that contain high concentrations of MICRO-NUTRIENTS. [You get micro-nutrients from vegetables, legumes/beans, fruits, seeds, and nuts.] Unfortunately, the more junk food and animal-sourced products adults feed to their children, the less room in their tiny tummies for the PROVEN healthy foods, food high in micro-nutrients.
One last comment. The big fight between the sugar industry, the salt industry, the animal-food industry, and the pharmaceutical industry, each using selective bits of science and research to convince you and I to consume more of their products will go on forever. Those industries want you and I to take sides. Thus we see ridiculous diets such as all-protein, keto, low carb, or singular foods.
You do not have to take sides and you do not need to unwittingly adopt any of the fad diets. Simply look at the WHOLE picture while letting those factions fight each other.
The whole picture repeatedly proves that by restricting animal, processed, and junk foods, in favour of whole-plant based, fresh foods, one optimizes, rather then destroys, one’s health. For whatever the specific reason, people are, overall healthier on plant-based diets. The literature, and the research, keeps proving this point over and over again.
Let’s use an analogy of a sick, remote village. The population of that village was sick with cholera. Doctors were frantically debating the cause while treating the symptoms of the disease, yet, the population continued to drink contaminated water through a faucet connected to their well and infected people kept mounting. Finally, one doctor thought to destroy the faucet and provide a clean source of water. New infections stopped.
Similarly, the debate about what foods to eat is nonsense. There is too much data to prove that a whole-plant foods diet is the answer to people across all age groups, but especially for young people who have a full life ahead of them. Why? Who really knows? But it works and has worked for thousands of years.
If the American diet is destroying the health of YOUNG PEOPLE faster, than why not turn off the source of the foods doing it? Who cares if it is because there is less fat, less protein, and more micro-nutrients in whole-plant foods compared to what we now serve on the typical American diet?! Whatever the specific, [reductionist approach], mechanism, it is proven repeatedly that many chronic diseases can be addressed by adopting a whole-plant-foods diet. Especially where children and teens are involved.