January 16, 2018

Eat Plant-Based Food, And Less Of It

It looks like eating as entertainment, and competitive calorie consumption, may be off the menu some day soon. Gluttony is not only unhealthy, but also increasingly socially unacceptable. This will usher in healthier alternatives, like caloric restricted ways of eating, or "eating for need, not for greed".

Shortly after restaurant average portion-size increases were reported, along came news that mindful eating may help one avoid an early death.

As reported in Science in July 2009:
"In a population of rhesus macaques maintained at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center, moderate calorie restriction (CR) lowered the incidence of aging-related deaths. At the time point reported, 50% of control fed animals survived as compared with 80% of the CR animals. 
Furthermore, CR delayed the onset of age-associated pathologies. Specifically, CR reduced the incidence of diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and brain atrophy. These data demonstrate that CR slows aging in a primate species." source

Such research results have been consistent since the 1930's, and with a variety of species. The Calorie Restriction Society International thinks that people who follow a careful diet of fewer calories, while maintaining adequate nutrition will experience similar benefits.

The following list from their website gives a small serving of the type of food consumption they are advocating:
  • Avoid simple sugars and flours.
  • Eat both green leafy (salad) and other vegetables.
  • Carefully select your protein and fat sources.
  • Make sure your protein intake is sufficient, but not overly abundant.
  • Make sure your proteins are complete and balanced.
  • Non-animal proteins can be balanced by combining different food families
  • Select monounsaturated fats, avoid saturated fats, and consume some Omega-3 fats
Do caloric restricted diets improve longevity in humans? Maybe, maybe not. But would it matter if such a diet saved you money, cut your ecological footprint, and made you feel better? Longevity, when seen this way, would be an added bonus to what looks like a good thing anyway.

As in any diet, it is important to make sure one gets enough nutrients to promote good health. Such diets need to be planned carefully, and assessed on an ongoing basis.

While we don't strictly follow any particular kind of diet, Linda and I are intrigued by the idea of eating differently than the standard western diet, which has been shown to be detrimental to health via metabolic syndrome. For us it boils down to, "eat yummy, nutritious, plant-based food, and less of it".

Goodbye gluttony, hello eating just enough for good health and a long life.


  1. Anonymous1/17/2018

    The whole food plant based diet is the best diet for the environment. The current scientific consensus is that there is no need to worry about mixing protein groups, just eat a varied diet. For optimal health high carb, low fat and low protein. Omega 3 is good in the form of nuts and seeds. Reducing Omega 6 intake will help as there is optimal ratio between the two. It is also important to take a b12 supplement.
    Calorie restriction appears to have benefits, but is hard to do. Occasional fasting and intermittent fasting may be more practical.
    For useful information on the environment check out:
    And for diet check out Dr McDougal and nutrition facts.

    1. Alex,

      That is good info for vegetarians and vegans. When we started eating vegetarian our doctor asked us about iron, but not b12. I have never had a doctor that is interested, or had the time, to talk about diet. I bookmarked the video for watching later, and spent some time on Dr. McDougal's website - very straight forward and essential information there. We love to learn more about diet and nutrition, so your additions are appreciated.

    2. Anonymous1/20/2018

      Just a point about iron. A vegetarian diet may cause problems with iron uptake due the negative effect of dairy on absorption. This is not a problem on a fully plant based diet when there is no dairy consumption. Other benefits of plant based diet regarding iron include only absorbing the non oxidising non heme iron and lighter periods for women.

    3. I had some very negative results from eating a similar diet to what you describe Alex. I wasn't as strict as you describe so it wasn't all that particular diet. I ate that way for 33 years. Granted I was vegetarian irresponsibly, not much nutritional information was out there at the time. I had serious protein and B12 deficiencies. After I changed diets, it took a long time, years actually to recover. There were some other complicating factors going on and I was not 100% on the diet you describe, but not that far off from it either. I suspect I'll have some problems that will remain for the rest of my life. The damage to organs from not getting enough protein is in part irreversible. Now how much protein one person needs vs another person might be open to debate. Certainly monitoring to make sure you are getting enough protein, B12 and iron like you seem to is important to avoid problems like I've experienced. But it's very clear to me that I did not eat enough protein on a plant based diet. I've come to understand that not all diets are good for all people it seems.

      The medical doctors I was seeing at the time did all kinds of tests to figure out what was wrong with me, why I was so weak, could hardly hold my head up. They didn't consider my diet at all. But I did, finally. Again, there were some other things going on but there is no question my diet contributed to the things that were going on.

      I now eat a variety from most the food groups. Only small amounts from some food groups though. I feel more human. I don't feel dull like I did as a vegetarian. I feel more alive now. It really changed me to change diets. I've just started reading a book by Judson Brewer called "The Craving Mind." In a talk I heard by him, he briefly described a diet with bland food. Like steamed vegetables. I'm not certain what all he suggests, but am interested in his research and what will be revealed in his book. I like steamed vegetables and salad without dressing. I don't eat many sauces, so eating bland won't be that hard for me as I already mostly do it. I don't eat condiments.

      Everyone has to find their own way through the maze of contradictory information being fed to us about diet and nutrition. The food industry (money makers) are intimately tied into the available information so it can't be fully trusted. I thankful for choices. Keeping my diet simple verses elaborate is working for me right now.

  2. Anonymous1/17/2018

    Diet: a way of eating

    As a traditional naturopath, I have studied many, many "perfect" diets. And they all have flaws insofar as every human being on the planet is unique and requires a unique diet. Some do well on an all-raw, vegan diet. And some thrive on mostly meat. And there are myriad shades that exist between these two extremes.
    While I personally eat a plant-based diet with some raw foods (less of these in the winter months), not everyone would thrive eating this way. I find that the ancient sciences of Ayurvedic Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine are very valuable in guiding the modern human in how to eat for their unique constitution.
    Intermittent fasting has many benefits, but many fasts can do more harm than they do good, especially if the faster has tired adrenals.
    And vitamin and mineral supplementation is a must, given our foods contain about 20% of the nutrients they did just a few decades ago! Considering aware doctors of the 1930s were already suggesting supplements to their patients due to poor soil quality, today's soils are a shadow of what they once were. Soil is the key to health in so many ways.
    I think it is ridiculous that so many people write books on the perfect diet (for them), then shill them to make a buck. I steer clear of these books. They are crazy-making, and probably why so many people say f-it, it's so confusing, I might as well eat what I want, when I want.
    May all humans awaken to the beauty of their bodies, treating them with reverence and respect. Healthful food eaten with gratitude, along wit awareness of one's biochemical needs, is a wonderful byproduct of such awakening.
    Food for thought. - Erin

    1. Anonymous1/17/2018

      The evidence for the plant based diet is overwhelming. The places with longest life expectancy and best health eat mainly plant based. Western chronic disease is clearly linked with the consumption of animal products. Fasting isn't recommended for everyone like most people wouldn't mediate daily or practice cold water immersion these are specific practices.
      I have a degree in Chinese Medicine from a Chinese university and can read medical Chinese. The medical system is a 1950's communist revision. Older teachings in China suggest eating plant based as a form of cultivation.
      The reason why people get confused is because the food industry actively encourages confusion by funding conflicting studies. This is from the big tobacco playbook and has been used to mislead the public since the 50's.
      There is no evidence for adrenal fatigue, but chronic stress will effect the amygdala and the functioning of HPA axis.

    2. Erin,

      The fact that the industrial food production system has managed to reduce the quality of our food that much is scary. Less nutrients - costs more. Not sure if it is sheer stupidity, or some sort of nefarious plan in conduction with the "sickness care" industry. I am working hard to build up the soil in our garden in an attempt to grow food that still has a bit of a kick to it.

      I think that an awakening is happening, the likes of which the world has never seen. Perhaps it will be clearer in hindsight. So much is happening right now that it is hard to keep track. Thank you for sharing an alternative view of things. We need such views as the mainstream continues to fail on its lofty promises.

      Reverence and respect? Need more of those in the world.


      Big tobacco should have been a big red flag. Instead, the story of that whole fiasco became the "how to" book for all other exploitive and harmful industries.

      Once again, thanks for all the interesting info. So much to learn, so little time. We can learn so much from ancient cultures such as China and India. I am fascinated by both, and not so into my own.

    3. Anonymous1/18/2018

      The China Study book is interesting as it goes through China geographicaly looking at diets. Sichuan and Guizhou have the healthiest diet and are for the most part plant based. My wife is from rural Sichuan and ate 99% plant based growing up and only saw all the meat consumption when she arrived in Beijing as a student. She is interested in classical theory of health and is now 100% plant based.

    4. Erin, your comments about diet seem sane and inclusive of people's uniqueness. I had no idea you were a traditional naturopath! Thank you for these comments, I heeded every one. Terri

  3. I follow Japanese Hara Hachi Bu _ __Eat until you are 80 percent full. Very simple .Saffron

  4. Philip Morris bought General Foods and Kraft in the 1980's, so it is no wonder that the same tactics are used.

  5. Anonymous1/18/2018

    Merchants of doubt is a interesting documentary on how industry uses pseudo scientific stooges.

    The thing I can't understand is if the plant based diet is good for:

    The planet - reduced ocean dead zones, methane, water, carbon and deforestation.

    Health - why take statins and just stop ingesting another sentient being’s cholesterol, as Dr Gregor said the WFPB diet should be the standard treatment for heart disease as it’s the only diet to reverse heart disease. Even the biome adjusts as good bacteria takes over and stops producing TMAO.

    Sentient Beings - stops the killing of sentient beings and polluting rivers and oceans.

    Why is there such resistance to a solution for so many problems?


  6. Anonymous1/19/2018

    I'm so happy to see this post. My family of 3 has been eating a plant based diet for around 6 years now. My 9 year old son barely remembers eating differently. We aren't vegan, for various reasons, but animal foods are consumed in our home only around once per month. My son is allowed to order whatever he wishes when we eat out at restaurants. This has been such a great way to work things for my family.

    I moved in this direction because of a previous career at my state's Department of Environmental Quality. Part of my job was testing the groundwater around large farms for overflow and other contamination. It was heartbreaking to receive a sample from a creek that was basically liquid manure. I knew I didn't want to contribute to what is clearly an unsustainable way of eating. We slowly started adding meat free meals and over time we also dropped dairy and eggs. I was in my early 30s when we went though this process, with no serious health issues, and yet my health dramatically improved.

    And for those that are concerned about how a growing child does on a plant-based diet, I can only comment on one child, but that child is thriving. He's in the 90th percentile for height and the 70th for weight. He's never needed antibiotics and we wouldn't hesitate to give them to him if they were truly needed. He's completely healthy and strong with no extra weight on him. He's never had an ear infection, strep throat and never been constipated. These are all very common problems that I see with the children in our large circle of friends.

    Thankfully the medical community is starting to catch up with this way of eating. My husband is a PA and was having a conversation recently with a local cardiologist. Apparently this man and six of his colleages have all gone plant based and are going to start recommending it to their patients.


    1. Anonymous3/19/2018


      That is all so wonderful to read! I like that the allopathic world is becoming more aware of the HUGE role diet plays in determining health and wellbeing.

      And is reply to a previous comment: I've read many times that as long as one gets enough calories daily, protein requirements are automatically met on a WFPB diet. With the carbs, it is important to note that these are nutrient-dense carbohydrates (tubers, roots, some grain (not wheat), fruit, all other veggies), not processed, "dead" ones.

      Happy (North American) spring, all! - Erin


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