Beyond Vegan

Each day we are bombarded with conflicting recommendations regarding the ideal diet. From Paleo, Mediterranean, Vegetarian, Raw to Vegan, one can become utterly lost in a sea of information, much of which is misinformation and delivered from non-credible sources. Where then can you turn for the most accurate dietary recommendations?  What initially comes to mind would be someone who has the most knowledge and understanding regarding the human body, how it functions, and what it needs to thrive; that someone being your doctor. Sadly, this is not typically the case since most doctors lack even a basic understanding of nutrition. Which begs the question, why is nutrition excluded from most medical school curriculums if it has proven to be one of, if not the most, pivotal keys in the prevention of most chronic disease?

According to the CDC, as of 2005, 4 out of the 6 leading causes of death in the United States are diet related.1 Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2013, the association of dietary risk factors with death is greater than when compared to smoking.2 How have we allowed this to happen?

If we know that upwards of 80% of all chronic diseases can be circumvented with lifestyle modification,3 of which diet holds the most “weight,” why is there a lack of action on behalf of our medical system and its key players to emphasize this in practice?

Simply understanding the magnitude of this statistic alone can save millions of lives each year from premature death and disability.

Most diets have a specific objective, whether for weight loss, brain health, gaining muscle mass, or ones that are solely geared towards a specific disease process like diabetes, heart disease or inflammatory bowel disease. With hundreds of diets to choose from, how do you begin to choose the right one for you?

What then is the most ideal diet? My simple answer is none.

What would you give for a magic pill that allows you to lose weight, delay aging, improve the look of your skin, experience a daily surge of energy, reduce or even eliminate your need for medications, prevent or reverse your chronic disease, reduce your risk of developing cancer, eat without feeling restricted, heighten your taste buds to a whole new level of sensitivity and save you money on your healthcare expenses. This so called magic pill I’m referring to is whole food plant-based (WFPB) nutrition. The best part is that it’s not even a diet, it’s genuinely a lifestyle; one that’s rooted in awareness and pure consciousness and is revered by some of the longest-living people on earth.

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I define this lifestyle as one that promotes and supports optimum health and wellbeing while emphasizing prevention and the reduction of chronic disease. A WFPB lifestyle centers around eating mostly plants, including all types of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, seeds, sprouts, herbs and spices, non-dairy living probiotics, nuts and from the fungi kingdom, mushrooms. The focus is on decreasing total body inflammation by eating a variety of real food that is organic, non-GMO and whole in nature. It discourages eating processed, refined, fried, or synthetic food; or what I like to call food-like products, which contain ingredients you can’t pronounce, additives, fillers and other chemicals that may pose great health risks.

You may think this sounds a lot like a Vegan diet, but I can assure you it’s not. Sure, it’s what I refer to as Vegan by default since it is completely devoid of any and all types of animal products, including but not limited to, meat such as chicken, fish or beef and dairy such as cheese, milk or eggs. However, a Vegan diet primarily focuses on exclusion, which is fantastic on one hand, although on the other hand it unfortunately leads some people to consume an abundance of processed vegan products, refined sugar, soda, oil and alcohol, all of which may ultimately diminish one’s optimal health. In contrast, a WFPB lifestyle places more emphasis on the inclusion of nutrient-dense food and prioritizes the totality of human health and wellbeing above all else. Either way, a transition to this lifestyle is a win for all! The benefits inevitably extend beyond human health to animal welfare, the environment and the sustainability of our planet in its entirety.

What would be your incentive to adopt this lifestyle? How valuable is your health? Well, that’s just it, it’s entirely up to you.

If you knew that with each bite you take you are literally transforming the very destiny of your cells, would you think twice before taking it?

How much is your health, or lack thereof, holding you hostage? What do you have to lose? Nothing! You only have everything to gain! Each step toward a WFPB lifestyle gives your body what it needs to heal and thrive. You help create the environment and your body will reward you. If only you had a magnifying glass that would allow you to visualize the inner workings of what your food does to you in your body, perhaps then you’d reconsider what you put in your mouth.

The fate of your health begins with your fork. It’s all about choice, so choose health and find meaning with every bite!

In my opinion this lifestyle is nothing short of a miracle and is literally the only nutrition regimen that has proven to reverse heart disease; the #1 killer in the United States. If solely based on this fact alone, we should all aim to adopt such a lifestyle. With sincere dedication to all the lives I’ve ever had the privilege of encountering throughout my medical career, I wish I had known about and shared this with everyone sooner. Perhaps I could have saved so many lives. It’s not too late however, for me to share this life saving information with you. Regardless of your genetics, culture, gender, age or the status of your health, it’s not too late for you to make the change.

Remember, this is a journey and definitely not a destination. Living each day consciously will maximize your chance of achieving optimum health.

Based on abundance rather than deprivation, a WFPB lifestyle truly exceeds any diet, so join me on this journey and I’ll show you how! I lovingly welcome you to make this commitment to yourself and embark on a lifelong journey to health!

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Your prescription for health,
Dr. Justyna Sanders

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  • The State of US Health 1990-2010, JAMA, published on-line July 10, 2013
  • Six Leading Causes of Death in the United States - All Ages, CDC, NCHS, 2005
  • Healthy Lifestyle Habits May Be Associated with Reduced Risk of Chronic Disease, Archives of Internal Medicine, August 10/24 2009
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