Eating More Fruits & Vegetables: Radical Indeed!

cut open red pepper

When I was a little boy, I used to love to skateboard with my friends.  We once built a huge ramp and tried all sorts of crazy tricks. When somebody successfully pulled off a great stunt, we called it “radical”. There was no higher praise.

Now, nearly 40 years later, I am sometimes described as “ radical”, in reference to the foods that I eat, which are quite different than the Standard American Diet (SAD – high in animal based foods, refined carbohydrates, saturated fats, trans fats, and sugar).  About 95% of my diet is fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans and only 5% is fish and chicken (any change of your current diet in the direction of more plant based whole foods and less animal based and refined foods is generally good with many potential health benefits).  I did not stumble into my dietary pattern. The preponderance of clinical research strongly supports that this approach will optimize my health, minimizing chances for chronic disease and early death.  For example, it is the only healthful way to obtain a total cholesterol of less than 150, so that my heart attack risk is basically 0.

I actually do not consider my diet to be “radical” at all. For hundreds of years, human beings throughout the world have eaten mostly plant based foods and thrived.  It is a relatively recent development that the great majority of our protein (in Western Cultures) has been derived from animal based foods.  Contrary to popular belief among Americans, plants have plenty of protein and are a more healthful source of protein and many other nutrients than animal based foods as evidenced in The China Study.

Here are some things that I consider to be more radical than a plant based diet: