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Dr. Oz talks Forks Over Knives: the benefits of a plant-based diet

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Dr. Oz isn’t a vegan, nor is he a vegetarian.

He is, however, fairly sensible and did a a pretty cool, but unfortunately short segment on his show yesterday highlighting plant-based eating and how that can help prevent cancer and heart disease. Instead of focusing on the word diet, or vegan, Oz talked about a lot of good, commonsensical approaches to a healthier lifestyle.

Inspired from just having seen Forks Over Knives — a film that examines whether most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict mankind can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting both animal-based and processed foods — the famous doctor hosted a few of the film’s stars, in addition to the authors of The China Study.

Since the show airs in the middle of the day, here are the takeaway points in case you missed it:

3 food groups everyone avoid:

 

1. Meat & Eggs – it was summarized as ‘if it has parents and a face’ then it shouldn’t be eaten.

Oz proclaimed he doesn’t eat much meat, especially since his wife is a vegetarian, but does like to eat fish. Most people proclaim they may not eat red or white meat, but do eat fish for the healthy fats, but on the show they said most of the fat in fish isn’t omega-3’s and is completely unnecessary for our bodies.

As HealthyBodyDaily.com also notes,

Animal protein, including fish, delivers a mondo dose of saturated fat and cholesterol, which can put you at risk for heart disease. Saturated fats raise your cholesterol and, over time, attack arteries leading to strokes and heart attacks. As a source of omega-3 fatty acids, fish has long been touted as one of the staples of a healthy diet, however 15-30% of fish is saturated fat.

Additionally, fish meat contains no healing properties, fiber, nor vitamin C. Oz and company suggested substituting whole grains, beans, nuts and vegetables as primary protein sources.

2. Dairy – includes cheese and yogurt – highlighted because it’s the highest source of “bad fat.”

Most people are concerned when they cut down, or eliminate dairy that they won’t get enough calcium, potassium or vitamin D. Their suggested substitutes are:

a. Calcium: green leafy vegetables, like kale, collard greens and spinach.
b. Potassium: fruits, like bananas, dried dates and papayas.
c. Vitamin D: sunlight on your skin is the natural vitamin source. Vitamin D is actually an added nutrient to milk, so eliminating milk from your diet doesn’t make a difference to this nutrient if you’re getting enough sunlight. Also, like cow milk, most alternative milks like soy, hemp and almond have vitamin D added.

3. Processed foods – these should be eliminated from the diet since they’re stripped of nutrients and injected with sugar, salt and trans-fats, all substances that lead to obesity, diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Processed foods can easily be replaced with whole grains (bread & pasta) and seeds. Instead of processed sugar, opt for fresh fruits.

Interestingly, they considered oils to be processed foods, including our beloved olive oil.

Rip Esselstyn, author of The Engine 2 Diet then came on the show. He is also featured in Forks Over Knives, and is confident that if an entire firehouse can do this diet, so can any house in America.

5 foods everyone should have on-hand (aka cancer fighters):

  1. Nutritional Yeast – a superfood replacement for cheese. Rip says it has ‘all the good and none of the bad’ components of cheese. Not only does it mimic that cheese taste, but also boasts good fiber (4g per 2 tbsp) and protein in each serving.
  2. Freeze-dried strawberries – have ten times the amount of antioxidants than normal strawberries. This was proven in an Ohio State University study released earlier this month.
  3. Rhubarb – is a great cancer fighter. A Sheffield, England study revealed when rhubarb is cooked for 20 minutes it magnifies the polyphenols, which are protective against cancer.
  4. Escarole – an often overlooked green, escarole is a leafy cruciferous veg, just like spinach and kale. Except this specific green ranks highest for nutritional density, Rip strongly urges folks to up their intake of this green as it’s loaded with everything that will help fight cancer and make bodies healthier: water, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals all come to the rescue to take health to the next level.
  5. Banana ice cream – a tasty, dairy and sugar-free treat that Angela from Oh She Glows has been evangelizing “banana soft serve” from Choosing Raw for years. Angela uses her soft serve in heaps of different ways. To make it:
    1. You’ll need one ripe banana per person (the riper the banana = sweeter taste).
    2. Peel and slice bananas, and throw them in the freezer.
    3. Remove from freezer and place the frozen banana(s) in a strong blender, juicer or food processor (I use the latter) with 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. It comes out creamy and delicious. Sprinkle to your liking with nutmeg or cinnamon and sliced berries.

So again, I was really impressed with the overall explanation of health and nutrition on Dr. Oz’s show, but I do wish instead of dedicating only half a show to the topic that Dr. Oz spent the whole show exploring the benefits of a plant-based diet.

Oz was dialed into the heavily stigmatized word: vegan, as he didn’t use it once, yet that’s exactly what the diet he was discussing is. Perhaps there’s something to that idea; avoid all the stigmas of veganism of naysayers by not labeling it?