What really is the healthiest
way to eat?
Paleo supporters claim that high meat, full fat, and no
grains are what we are evolutionarily designed to eat.
Low carb supporters say that starches are to blame for
our obesity epidemic
Mediterranean diets eat lots of plants and legumes, but
also plenty of fish, oils, and cow and goat milk.
Vegan supporters claim their way lowers disease risk
and one’s carbon footprint, but isn’t it nutrient deficient
More veggies, less processed food! Yes, agreed!
We are moving toward a population of 7.5 B people on Earth. If
everyone ate Paleo we would need 15 planet Earths to sustain the
True paleolithic diets were heavily weighted in plants. Modern
Paleo followers eat significantly more meat and fat by volume and
portion than estimates of true paleolithic man.
Fears over “Anti-nutrients” are unfounded because cooking
neutralizes lectins by 75-80% in just 15 min and lectins have anti-
tumor effects. Phytates are reduced by food prep (even lemon
juice) and while they can slightly decrease mineral absorption they
also protect DNA damage, inhibit tumor growth, are antioxidants,
and decrease risk for Alzheimer’s.
BTW Paleo approved foods like almonds, peanuts, and seeds are
also sources of these so-called fearful phytates and lectins.
Comparing today’s “Paleo” diet VS. a Plant Based Diet
with what anthropologists know about the real paleolithic
man’s diet. (as reported by dietitian
and nutrition researcher Brenda Davis RD)
Vitamins C and E
Carbohydrates and total fat
Paleo and Environmentalists
can at least agree on dairy
Naturally occurring bovine female sex hormones account for
60-80 % of estrogens consumed in the US diet.
Modern dairy farming milks pregnant cows 300 days a year
leading to higher hormone levels. Milk from a late stage pregnant
cow contains 33x as much estrone sulfate and 10x as much progesterone as
a non-pregnant cow
Milk and cheese correlated to testicular, colorectal, and
Cow’s milk is associated with increased expression of auto-
Can turn on and off cancer cells by controlling the amount of
But my body craves dairy and meat so I must be
calcium or iron deficient…right?
Nope….you’re being manipulated by opioids and
little tiny bacteria
“Chemicals in cheese and other dairy are called
casomorphins actually mimic the effects of the real
morphine in our bodies”.
-Dr. Garth Davis
Microbes in the gastrointestinal tract are under
selective pressure to manipulate host eating
behavior to increase their fitness, sometimes at the
expense of host fitness.
“It seems that bacteria within us – which
greatly outnumber our own cells – may very well
be affecting both our cravings and moods to get
us to eat what they want, and often are driving
us toward obesity.” –UCSF
Lack of fiber from too little veggies,
fruits, whole grains and legumes
Dietary factors influencing earlier
puberty and later/ more difficult
menopause influence a lifetime
exposure to estrogen. Female
hormones were lowered by 20-50%
by having girls 8-10 yrs old consume
modestly low animal fat/ protein diet
for several years.
BC survivors consumed less dairy,
animal protein, total protein, and
calcium but more legumes and
carbohydrates than controls
Environmental contaminants such as
PCBs (from industrial pollution but
builds up in fats) other dioxins from
paper bleaching, trash burning etc,
and BPA from plastics.
Decrease alcohol intake
Plant based diets even “plant
slant” diets have been associated
with lower hormone levels in
-The China Study 2006
“Adherence to a plant-based diet
that limits red meat intake may be
associated with reduced risk of
breast cancer, particularly in
-Am J Clin Nutr 2015
Results from reviews of dietary pattern analyses and
risk of breast cancer suggest that patterns
characterized by high consumption of fruit and
vegetables, fish and soy, and a Mediterranean
dietary pattern, legumes, unrefined cereals, fruit
and vegetables, moderate consumption of fish,
dairy products, and low consumption of meat
may be associated with reduced risk of breast
Are Vegetarian and Vegan
Position paper of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics stated that
they are not nutrient deficient and……
“The results of an evidence-based review showed that a
vegetarian diet is associated with:
lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease
lower bad cholesterol (LDL)
lower blood pressure and lower rates of hypertension
lower type 2 diabetes than nonvegetarians
lower body mass index
lower overall cancer rates.”
Turns out the science shows that what
is good for our bodies is also good for
-Dr. Garth Davis
Zone, Atkins, Paleo- most of my patients had
been all of these. Sure they lost weight, but
within a year they were all back at my door, all
the weight regained, plus a few pounds extra.”
-Dr. Garth Davis
Leading doctor in obesity and bariatric surgery.
The macronutrient that has the most clear effect
on allergies, inflammation, obesity, cancer, and
climate change is protein.
WHO Report from the International Agency for Research
on Cancer: 22 scientists from 10 countries. 800 published
studies. Classified “the consumption of processed meat
as carcinogenic”. “Red meat classified as probably
Only 3 ways to get calories in the diet:
carbs, fats, and protein. These are
Excess protein…what’s the problem?
• Excess protein (over the body’s needs) is excess calories, and
any calories not needed can be stored as body fat. Excess
protein doesn’t magically create muscle.
• The body prefers not to use protein as fuel or energy. The body
wants to spare valuable protein for muscle building, making
hormones, enzymes, controlling fluid balance, etc.
• Excess protein means excess nitrogen that must be removed
then eliminated. This can be hard on the kidneys. More
importantly water gets excreted in this process and can
increase risk for dehydration.
• High protein diets can lead to more calcium being lost from the
bones, a big problem for athletes who are at higher than
average risk for stress fractures. Protein overload =
• Eating animal protein has been shown to increase risk for heart
disease, diabetes and certain cancers.
Harvard School of Public Health
“The basic choice of foods has a huge impact on
the environment. Replacing red meat with almost
anything will improve diet and the environment.”
-Dr. Walter Willett Chair of the Nutrition dept of HSPH Harvard Gazette 2013
Research conducted at Harvard School of Public Health
has found that eating even small amounts of red meat,
especially processed red meat, on a regular basis is
linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke,
and the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease or any
Conversely, replacing red and processed red meat with
healthy protein sources such as poultry, fish, or beans
seems to reduce these risks.
How has meat
“I have witnessed changes
in animal agriculture over
the past several decades.
The industrial farm is highly
efficient, but has resulted in
questions about it’s long
term sustainability. “
-John Carlin, Chairman of the Pew Commission on
Industrial Farm Animal Production.
“The type of carbohydrate in the diet is more important than the
amount of carbohydrate in the diet, because some sources of
carbohydrate—like vegetables fruits, whole grains, and beans are
healthier than others.” -Harvard School of Public Health
Recommends that 55-60% of
all daily calories come from
“Carbohydrates are the primary
fuel utilized during high-intensity
exercise. On a per-calorie basis,
carbohydrate needs for athletes
are similar to those for anyone else
(at least 55 percent of total daily
intake of calories).”
“They’re unique in that they eat a lot of
potatoes. Their bean and vegetable
consumption is also high.”
Traditional high carb/ low protein diet’s are
associated with longer and healthier
Compared to Americans:
1/5 rate of cardiovascular disease
1/5 rates of breast and prostate cancer
Less than half rate of dementia
Traditional diet is 80% carbohydrate
High vegetable intake (7 servings/ day)
2 servings of grains per day
2 servings of tofu/ soy/ miso
Eat meat very occasionally usually fish (pork
is eaten occasionally but stewed for a long
time and very low fat)
“Of all the ergogenic aids studied, it
is very clear that carbohydrates
hold the greatest promise for
improving both endurance and
Source: Advanced Sports Nutrition by Dr. Dan Benardot. Dietitian for
the US Olympic team.
"Carbs are good! They fill you up
and give you energy. This equals
less sugar cravings for me!”
-Freya Thomas Bavarian State Ballet,
Graduate of the Royal Ballet School
The Mediterranean Diet has been shown to
reduce heart disease compared to a typical
Western Diet but watch fish intake
From the CDC:
“PCB levels have generally decreased since PCB
production stopped in 1977. People are exposed to
PCBs primarily from contaminated food and
breathing contaminated air. The major dietary
sources of PCBs are fish (especially sportfish that
were caught in contaminated lakes or rivers), meat,
and dairy products.”
“People may be exposed to mercury when they eat
fish or shellfish contaminated with methylmercury.
Methylmercury can pass through the placenta,
exposing the developing fetus. Mercury exposure
could potentially cause developmental delay and
The Adventist Heath Study-2
22,434 men and 38,469 women
Vegans and vegetarians generally have a BMI 5 units
lower than meat eaters and lower body weight
through the lifespan.
“Vegan and vegetarian diets reduce oxidative stress
and chronic inflammation”
Vegans and vegetarians have “substantially lower
rates of Type 2 diabetes in spite of adjusting for
various nondietary factors”
A study of more than 5000 people found that
greater dietary fat and cholesterol intake
tended to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s
disease specifically and all dementia in
-T. Colin Campbell The China Study
“A high cholesterol diet
will promote the
production of the beta-
amyloid common in
-Dr. Neal Barnard Power Foods
for the Brain
Cholesterol is only found in animal
What to eat to stay mentally sharp
Good for brain health Bad for brain health
Nuts/ seeds (flax, chia,
Green leafy veggies Hot dogs (nitrates)
Berries Cheese/ full fat dairy
Beans Pastries and sweets/ sugar
Fish (in moderation if at all) Fried food
Olive oil Butter/ saturated animal fats
Fluids! Alcohol (duh, you already
“Some people think that a
plant-based, whole foods diet
is extreme. Half a million
people a year will have their
chests opened up and a vein
taken from their leg and sewn
onto their coronary artery.
Some people would call that
-Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn MD
There is a mountain of research over years of
time on tens of thousands of participants, a
whole foods, plant based diet lowers risk for
disease and improves longevity.
Is Organic really worth the $$??
Crops: Free of synthetic
pesticides, fertilizers, sewer
sludge, radiation or genetic
Meats: Free of growth
hormones and antibiotics and
must be raised on 100%
organic feed (containing no
encourage soil health, and
May have higher levels of
nutrients (UC Davis)
Don’t be mislead by tricky
The word “natural” is only legally defined when it comes to meat,
chicken, or eggs.
Natural meats: Cannot contain any artificial ingredients or food
coloring, and they must be minimally processed
“Fresh” is also only defined with chicken and basically means it
This is somewhat of a vague term. To use this term legally, the
chickens must have access to the outdoors at some point
How much access are they ACTUALLY getting? It varies
tremendously from farm to farm
Eat Less Meat To Save Planet, Researchers Warn
"Scientists warn that
Westerners need to
cut half of the meat
out of their diet to
The reality is that it takes massive
amounts of land, water, fertilizer, oil
and other resources to produce
meat, significantly more than it
takes to grow other nutritious and
delicious kinds of food.
“We’d each do more good for the
planet if we ate meat-free just one
day a week than we would if we ate
exclusively local foods.”
By 2030, the world will need
millions of tonnes more meat
than it does today. But meeting
that demand with animal
products isn’t sustainable.
Meat is ripe for reinvention.
THE GLOBAL DEMAND
FOR MEAT, 2000 - 2030
Mention wholesome wave
Less packaging = less cost!
Bulk foods cost less
Eat in season
Cook at home (preferably with your kids, put them to work) make them do the salad spinner
Do food prep whenever you can (plan ahead)
Garden with your kids (I have a tiny lot with little sun and I grew carrots, and onions and herbs this winter)
Never shop on an empty stomach
Pull from the 3 page paper on Paleo myths. Legumes and grains in large population studies are predictors of longevity, anti-inflammation and anti-aging
Brenda Davis Registered Dietitian
Auto-immune conditions have a genetic componet :genetics loads the gun environment pulls the trigger”
Is eating behavior manipulated by the gastrointestinal microbiota? Evolutionary pressures and potential mechanisms
Joe Alcock1, Carlo C. Maley2,3,4,* andC. Athena Aktipis2,3,4,5
Last quote is from UCSF https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2014/08/116526/do-gut-bacteria-rule-our-minds
Dietary patterns and breast cancer risk: a study in 2 cohorts1,2,3
Chelsea Catsburg⇑, Ryung S Kim, Victoria A Kirsh, Colin L Soskolne, Nancy Kreiger, and Thomas E Rohan
Use this to put calories in perspective and talk about GMO wheat, feed, corn, antibiotics, high fructose corn syrup grown with glyphosate, and packaging
Tonstad S,et al. Type of Vegetarian Diet, Body Weight, and Prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care; Vol 32 no 5. 2009
Increased demand and consumption of animal-based foods is causing an impact not only on our health, but the health of our planet.
Drought in CA
Things we are usually told to be ‘green’ and sustainable
Environmental crises connected to health crises, such as obesity
CA Governor speaking out against animal agriculture in response to the drought
Environmental organization, the Sierra Club, said that if we reduced our meat consumption not by ½ or even 1/3 but just 20% the environmental benefits would be as if we all switched from driving a regular car to a prius.
Now 20 percent is close to a day a week, which would be the equivalent to a…
And international relief organization Oxfam, which wants to ensure food security as the global population explodes recently encouraged its members to reduce their meat consumption saying,
That’s why it takes about 1,600 to 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef, and only 257 gallons for the same amount of soybeans, 146 for corn, 290 for oats and 34 for broccoli.
global research university that stands among the world's most renowned educational institutions
Bill Gates has weighed in on the topic too…
He recently devoted his whole Facebook page to this issue….
Bill Gates is not only promoting this concept, but putting in his own funds. He said that [ ], and he’s dedicated millions of his own dollars toward moving the food industry in a more plant-based, sustainable direction.
The vast majority of meat, eggs, and dairy products produced in the U.S. come from animals raised in intensive-confinement systems that deny them the ability to engage in important natural behaviors—in some cases, even being able to move around freely. The result is that living creatures are often treated as meat-, egg-, and dairy-producing machines.
Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research - Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (comprised of 15 centers). Annual emissions of 3,000 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. Reducing land clearing to about 2 million square kilometres would reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1,000 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year (Tilman et al. 2011).
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:
The diet scenarios include a reference scenario based on FAO projections (REF), a scenario based on global guidelines on healthy eating and energy intake (HGD), and scenarios based on vegetarian (VGT) and vegan (VGN) dietary patterns. Changes in food-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the dietary scenarios relative to the reference scenario in 2050 by food group and region. **A vegan or vegetarian diet could cut those emissions by 70% and 63%, respectively.
The options are endless. For example, there are familiar favorites like black bean burritos
To avocado tostadas
Beer battered tempeh
More unique fare like Tuscan White Bean Pizzas
hearty protein-packed bean chili
To a variety of indian inspired dishes
And of course there are easy substitutions for virtually any meat product. For example, if you’re using a chicken nugget
Or gardein products, try serving a crispy fishless taco salad. The gardein fish won the award for the best new product of 2015 by Better Homes & Gardens (best new product overall)
We all want to do something meaningful. We have a tremendous opportunity to do that by choosing to eat more plant based options, which is good for our health and the health of our planet.