Food & Movement Therapy

the future of health care in America

 

Jeff Hush, founder

Jeff Hush in Guerrero Negro in Baja, Mexico

Jeff Hush in Guerrero Negro in Baja, Mexico

 

Rachel Hedrick, founder

Rachel Hedrick on Cape Cod

Rachel Hedrick on Cape Cod

 

Steven A. Macri, Director of Communications

img_0070 img_0067

Steven A. Macri at Sitting Bull Burial Site, Fort Yates, ND

 

 The scientific consensus about food is clear: eat a large variety of fresh fruits and vegetables (both raw and cooked), eat whole grains and beans, eat raw nuts and seeds. Avoid all processed and refined foods (white rice, white pasta, white flour breads and pastries, potato chips, most breakfast cereals which are loaded with sugar, bottled salad dressings, sodas, including diet sodas, packed with toxic chemicals which damage your metabolism and make it hard to lose weight). Cut back dramatically on the amount of meat and dairy you eat (the healthiest diet, scientifically, has no meat and no dairy: vegan). Eat as little sugar as you can (if you have a sweet tooth, like me, eat fruits instead or dark chocolate 70% or higher: remember how sweet dried dates and figs are!). Don’t go into fast food restaurants; this helps you avoid being tempted. Buyer beware! Be aware that the food industry is constantly trying to deceive you about how “natural” and “healthy” its products are; these words mean nothing on a product. “Low fat” products still usually have too much fat or unhealthy fats or a lot of sugar, so they are not a good option. Long lists of ingredients hide sugars and bad fats and toxic chemicals under various strange or innocuous names. Buy foods that have no lists of ingredients—these are the whole foods you need.

The health care system in America is broken. But we can fix it. One body at a time.

Start with your own body. Face the fact that your choices create your body. Starting right now you can remake your body and rebuild your health by changing your habits. This is doable if you begin with small steps (eliminating toxic foods from your diet and replacing them with fresh fruits and vegetables and raw nuts); then build on that foundation. Making the right choices matters. Action now matters. The food you eat and the way you move determine your health.

If you feel sick or weak a lot of the time, you have let your body down. And, most likely, an unhealthy body accompanies a troubled, chattering mind.

Fortunately for all of us, since about 1970, small groups of pioneering doctors and scientists, investigative journalists, deep thinkers like Ivan Illich and Frances Moore Lappé, and courageous patients have all redefined “health” in America; they have done this by shifting the focus away from drugs and surgery and placing it squarely on food and movement. We are in the middle of this revolution.

You may not have heard of this health care revolution. But it is out here among us, in every corner of the USA—helping millions of people every day. (It has nothing to do with pink ribbons or the “war on cancer” or “breakthrough technology” or “minimally invasive surgery” or “blockbuster drugs” or “miraculous cutting-edge gene therapy.”) The media never talk about this health care transformation as a coherent movement or an ongoing revolution. This is because almost all of their health news comes from press releases created by the PR arms of the pharmaceutical and food industries. Money talks. Loudly. And we are all forced to listen.

But you can hear the whispers from this Food & Movement Revolution in certain key words that keep sounding on the fringes of the media: organic farming, farmers’ markets, community gardens, food deserts, GMO labeling, soil erosion, crop rotation, micronutrients, plant-based diet, whole foods, phytochemicals, vegetarian, vegan, whole grains, nutrient density, yoga therapy, tai chi, Pilates, mindfulness, adrenal fatigue, stress reduction, meditation, somatic quieting, gene expression (or activation or promotion), microbiome, fecal transplants, good gut research, metabolism, functional medicine, etc. The truth often comes in whispers.

Famtusa.org brings together these whispers, and amplifies them, so you can hear the clear booming voice of the Food & Movement Revolution, “the future of health care in America.” We give you the information you need to use food and movement as therapies to heal yourself, your family and your friends. Little by little, you will come to understand how to use the insights of the current health care revolution to benefit those you love.

The doctors you meet in our forum have helped their patients avoid surgery and reduce or eliminate their medications (this includes Type 2 diabetics). These doctors use food and movement to heal. Commonsense, science and experience combine to set their healing agendas. They learn from each other. They have moved far away from the drug-pushing approach, learned in medical school, to create their own unique practices.

If you have a chronic condition and are expecting to take meds until you die, you should be seeking out a medical doctor who can help you eventually get off your meds. As every medical school teaches: “all medications are toxic to the body to varying degrees and often result in unintended consequences” (Mark Hyman, M.D., UltraMetabolism, 2006, pp. 135-6). Because “special messages in food act on the same places in your cells as medication,” foods should be used first, before drugs—because drugs act to “block” your normal functioning. Why interfere with and damage the balanced functioning of the immune system, when you can boost it with the right foods?

Conservative and wise medical practice demands you “do no harm,” so start with the harmless medicines—like food and movement—and only if these don’t work, then move on to the harmful drugs, surgery and radiation. That is prudent.

Two medical doctors who have used “plant-based” whole foods to “prevent and reverse heart disease” are Dean Ornish and Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. Their work with patients and their research go back to the 1980s. Both of them credit the lifelong nutrition research of T. Colin Campbell at Cornell University with underpinning their clinical work and discoveries. “Everyone in the field of nutrition science stands of the shoulders of Dr. Campbell, who is one of the giants in the field,” wrote Dean Ornish, M.D., on the cover of Campbell’s revolutionary book, The China Study (co-authored with Thomas M. Campbell II: 2006).

Campbell’s research shows that “the benefits produced by eating a plant-based diet are far more diverse and impressive that any drug or surgery used in medical practice. . . . Those in science or medicine who shut their minds to such an idea are being more than stubborn; they are being irresponsible” (The China Study, pp. 22-3).

Dr. Esselstyn stresses the dangers of eating the Standard American Diet (SAD), filled with animal products, refined industrial foodlike substances, toxic chemicals, bad fats and processed carbohydrates laden with empty calories: “most of America’s health dollars are spent on the late stages of heart disease, strokes, hypertension, diabetes, and the common Western cancers of the breast, the prostate, and the colon. Like heart disease itself, these others are part of the bitter harvest of the toxic American diet,” (Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, 2007, p. 95).

Joel Fuhrman, another doctor who chose “to pursue a career where nutrition became the centerpiece of my medical practice,” has helped “many thousands of people reverse their conditions and get well, without medications.” Dr. Fuhrman describes why he focuses on plant-based nutrition with his patients instead of on medications: “the American diet couldn’t be better designed to create cancer and heart attacks had we designed it for that purpose. Right now it’s degenerated to the point that 62 percent of calories are from refined foods and about 26 percent come from animal products. Of the 10 percent of calories that remains from unrefined plant food, half of that comes from white potato products, which are not exactly nutrient-rich. Americans are just not consuming fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds. They’re not consuming sufficient quantity of natural plant foods with a broad assortment of protective micronutrients,” (Voices of the Food Revolution, by John Robbins and Ocean Robbins, 2013, pp. 50 and 53).

Again and again doctors and scientists have found that plants have “protective micronutrients” unique to them (called “phytonutrients” or “phytochemicals”) that lower inflammation in the body. By bringing down chronic inflammation, we eliminate the fertile ground that allows diseases to flourish in us. Lowering this constant state of inflammation does several things: 1) it stops the genes from promoting cancer; 2) it stops the arteries from building up plaque, protecting the heart; 3) it allows the immune system to function normally, preventing autoimmune diseases from developing or progressing; 4) it protects the joints from arthritis; 5) and, lastly, it starts to relieve chronic pain without using drugs.

Animal proteins and fats (both meat and dairy) do the opposite: they encourage inflammation in the body. Even if they are “organic.” (Remember also that dietary cholesterol only exists in animal products.) Dr. Mark Hyman writes: “if you eat only animal fat and protein, you will miss out on the most important and powerful compounds for healing and healthy metabolism known to science: phytonutrients” [only in plants], (UltraMetabolism, p. 48).

Brendan Brazier, an Ironman triathlete and champion, switched solely to plant-based whole foods (vegan) when refined carbs and animal products sapped his energy and strength. Tennis great Venus Williams, who struggled with an autoimmune disease, praises this way to peak performance: “Brendan’s plant-based nutrition concepts . . . will get you in the best mental and physical shape of your life. Thrive Fitness [2015 edition] is truly the way to unleash your full potential.” Brazier follows the lead of Dr. Fuhrman and prefers foods with the highest ratio of nutrients to calories: “nutrient density.” “The term ‘nutrient density’ does not refer to macronutrients [protein, carbohydrate, and fat] but to micronutrients [‘vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and carotenoids’],” (Thrive Foods, 2011, p. 17). The foods with the most nutrient density are all plants. Brazier continues, “the World Health Organization . . . [refers] to micronutrients as the ‘”magic wands” that enable the body to produce enzymes, hormones and other substances essential for proper growth and development.’”

The scientific consensus about food is clear: eat a large variety of fresh fruits and vegetables (both raw and cooked), eat whole grains and beans, eat raw nuts and seeds. Avoid all processed and refined foods (including white rice, white bread and white pasta). Cut back dramatically on the amount of meat and dairy you eat (the healthiest diet, scientifically, has no meat and no dairy: vegan). Eat as little sugar as you can (choose real fruits instead of fruit juices). Buy foods that have no lists of ingredients—these are the whole foods you need.

People ask me often how it is possible to live without meat: “don’t we all need protein, and isn’t meat the best source?” No, the answer is clear: meat is the most dangerous source of protein. People (everywhere in the world) who eat the most meat and dairy have the highest rates of heart disease and cancer; people who eat no meat and no dairy have the lowest rates of most diseases.

Yes, we all need protein, but we need much less than the average American eats now. Meat protein and dairy protein promote the chronic diseases that harm and kill most Americans. Plant proteins, on the other hand, do no harm: vegetables have protein, beans have protein, whole grains, nuts and seeds have protein. If you eat a whole foods diet with a good variety of plants, you get plenty of protein without even thinking about it. My muscles, bones, joints and blood are stronger and healthier than 99% of people my age (or even those 20 years younger). I am 58, and I haven’t eaten any meat since 1979. Also I exercise as hard as anyone who isn’t a professional athlete (several times every week I teach and practice hardcore yoga and Pilates, do strenuous interval training on a recumbent bike and circuit training with weights). Instead of driving, I walk everywhere in my town to do my errands and my teaching. I never feel a lack of protein or energy from my plant-based diet. I don’t use medicines or vitamin supplements of any sort; I never have. In the past nearly forty years, since I became a vegetarian, I have almost never been sick, getting the flu or a cold perhaps three or four times in all those decades, even though I have traveled extensively through more than 20 countries, including remote regions of Turkey, Sri Lanka, and Mexico.

Fortunately we have the nutritional research done for decades by T. Colin Campbell at Cornell University; his studies show how animal proteins promote cancers, heart disease, and autoimmune diseases—and, more importantly, they show how 100% plant-based diets eliminate most of these diseases. But Campbell is not alone in his work; hundreds of other scientists and doctors have come to the same conclusion, and these results are given in The China Study: “there are over 750 references in this book, and the vast majority of them are primary sources of information, including hundreds of scientific publications from other researchers that point the way to less cancer, less heart disease, fewer strokes, less obesity, less diabetes, less autoimmune disease, less osteoporosis, less Alzheimer’s, less kidney stones [sic] and less blindness,” (pp. 2-3).