The ability of a plant-based diet to prevent and reverse disease has been known, and ignored, for centuries. Over 2,500 years ago, Hippocrates, the “father of medicine” whose Hippocratic Oath is taken by every doctor graduating from medical school, said: “Let food be thy medicine.”
Heart attacks are the number one killer throughout the world, yet in 1989 research was published in the Lancet, one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world, showing through cardiac imagery reversal of arterial plaque in coronary arteries after conversion to a plant-based diet. Multiple sclerosis (MS) destroys millions of lives, yet in the 1950s and again in the 1970s the leading researcher of MS ran clinical trials showing that MS symptoms were fully dependent on animal-based food consumption.
The scientific literature contains thousands of articles demonstrating the significance of plant-based foods in human health, yet the vast majority of healthcare professionals and institutions seem not to care. Why?
The simple answer is that this is how humans deal with new discoveries and revelations in every field. As a 19th century philosopher said: “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”
To see this in another context, consider smoking. For most of the 20th century, physicians generally did not speak out against smoking. In fact, in the first half of the century, many doctors recommended smoking as a health aid to reduce stress. Even after thousands of research articles showed irrefutable evidence of the dangers of smoking, even after the Surgeon General of the United States had a warning label placed on cigarette packaging, even after millions had suffered or died from smoking, doctors did not generally urge their patients to stop smoking until the 1970s. In fact, the medical field had one of the highest percentages of smokers of any profession. Today, however, almost all doctors urge their patients to cease smoking and relatively few physicians smoke themselves.
We are on a similar path involving whole plant food lifestyles. While almost every physician will agree that fresh fruits and vegetables are better for health, very few physicians will support the idea that a whole food, plant-based diet will reverse chronic disease. To do so would run counter to everything they learned in medical school and subsequently. To do so would diminish the enormous revenue generated by healthcare today.
Medical schools teach little or nothing about nutrition, especially about whole plant food nutrition. Medical schools and hospitals receive huge funding from drug and medical device companies, so that is what they teach – drugs and medical devices. These are generally proprietary products that generate huge profits for their manufacturers. But there’s no big money in whole plant foods that can be passed on to medical schools. There is nothing proprietary about a peach.
These days, the COVID-19 pandemic is on everyone’s mind. Hundreds of millions of people have gotten infected and millions have died. In June 2021, one of the leading medical journals in the world, the British Medical Journal, published a landmark research article that showed COVID-19 frontline workers on a plant-based diet were 73% less likely to get moderate to severe COVID-19 as compared to those on a standard diet. Yet, this news was not widely publicized. It is probable that those in a position to widely disseminate this scientific discovery are not plant-based themselves.
Looking at the books, articles, websites, and reports of the seemingly miraculous ability of a whole plant-food diet to reverse chronic disease, it is impossible to dismiss or minimize this trend. This knowledge is spreading. More and more physicians, though still a tiny minority, are adopting this lifestyle themselves and urging their patients to do the same. There are so many benefits to this lifestyle that they cannot be ignored. All that is needed is an open mind and a willingness to try it.
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