There is a pandemic in the United States. It is the rampant disease of malnutrition but not in the usual sense. Malnutrition in regards to bad nutrition or non-sustainable food choices. The leading cause of death in this country and in most parts of the world is cardiovascular disease or diseases related to the heart and blood vessels. Over 600,000 people die from heart disease in the United State each year. Obesity is estimated to account for over 300,000 to 400,000 deaths per year. This is a tragedy because heart disease and obesity are for the most part preventable. Not only are they preventable, thy are also reversible. How can this be? Well the answer is simple but not effortless. Heart disease as well as obesity, diabetes and some cancers are lifestyle related diseases that improve with simple, gradual, intelligent, empowered, stepwise changes in what, where and when we eat and how we move.
What proof do we have that this is true? Well there are many indigenous groups of people around the world that have very low evidences of these diseases. Research shows that the traditional, plant-based rural diets of Asia produce much lower rates of certain cancers, heart disease, obesity and, in some cases, osteoporosis and other chronic, degenerative diseases than the rates seen in the United States.
The Asian diet is composed mainly of rice, whole grains, minimally processed whole foods, large amounts of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds with small amounts of vegetable oil and a moderate consumption of plant-based beverages mainly tea. It is a tasty and sustainable diet. Plants are packed with the phytonutrients we seek out in vitamins and supplements. Plants are where we derive anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber, anti-inflammatory agents, immune supporters, rejuvenating substances and cholesterol lowering agents. How convenient that these amazing health promoting chemical are found in something we need to eat daily, food.
The Asian diet is the polar opposite to SAD, standard American diet consumes 90% more animal protein, twice the fat and 3 times less fiber. Unlike Western diets, meat is rarely the main dish of any meal but rather an accent or garnish.