Vail Daily letter: Choosing your diet | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily letter: Choosing your diet

I commend Dr. Fred Distelhorst's efforts in sending Mr. Judson Haims (My View, Tuesday's Vail Daily) the book written by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, one of several books that explain the facts as to what one should eat to live a long healthy life.

Mr. Haims correctly states, "There is no shortage of guidance, and lots of conflicting advice on dietary options," and correctly stated that "changing one's health and quality of life needs to be more a way of life than a diet."

There is, however, in my opinion, a definite shortage of honest, factual guidance on this subject.

Mr. Haims quite nicely described the Paleo and Mediterranean diets but erred by including them as being "variations of healthy lifestyle diets," since recent research has proven them not to be healthy.

The "plant based diet" is a healthy one, but should more accurately be described as a "low-fat, whole-foods, plant-based diet."

This terminology is described in a brochure produced by Kaiser Permanente, the largest managed care organization in the United States for distribution to over 15,000 participating physicians and 11 million subscribers as one that includes "plant foods in their whole unprocessed form, such as vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, whole grains and small amounts of healthy fats. It does not include animal products, such as meat, poultry, fish, dairy and eggs. It also does not include processed foods or sweets."

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Note that many foods recommended in the Paleo, Mediterranean and other "fad" diets are not permitted in the low-fat, whole-foods, plant-based diet.

Mr. Distelhorst, this writer and others from Vail attended the recent fourth annual Plant Based Nutrition Healthcare Conference in Anaheim, California, a conference attended by over 800 physicians and other medical professionals desiring to supplement the nutrition information offered in medical school curriculums.

Some facts learned at this meeting: Animal protein is not a healthy protein; added oils are harmful; casein, a component in the fat in cow's milk, promotes cancer growth; plus other facts too numerous to list here.

These facts are documented by research by Drs. Dean Ornish, T Colin Campbell, Caldwell Esselstyn, John McDougal, Neal Barnard and others.

A co-founder of the conference, Dr. Scott Stoll, stated, "Thousands of studies now document the physiologic benefits of eating whole, plant-based food, with the symptoms of innumerable diseases frequently being resolved after applying the key principles of a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle."

What one eats is obviously a personal choice and switching from the SAD diet (standard American diet) may not be easy, but knowing the facts and knowing that the above diet has now been proven to prevent, arrest and even reverse diseases such as heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes, and many autoimmune diseases, the reader certainly has the option of choosing what or what not to eat.

Hank Mader

Vail