My talk title at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship was “From Harm to Harmony: How to eat to heal yourself and the world.” The main idea is that when we choose to eat a diet of mostly unprocessed plant foods, our bodies and our planet begin to heal, reversing many of the problems we’re now experiencing.
The discussion after my presentation was lively. I enjoy learning where the sticking points are so that I can address them. My decision to write this post came after one person’s comment showed me a gap in my explanation.
“Although I agree with much of what you’ve said, I tend to be suspicious when someone says they have a solution for everything —- heart disease, cancer, diabetes . . . and even global warming, water pollution, and deforestation. It starts sounding like snake oil!”
This comment makes a lot of sense — I’d be suspicious too — coming from the perspective of treating symptoms. And this is the existing paradigm. We use one kind of medicine to treat high cholesterol, another for high blood sugar, and yet another for high blood pressure. How can I say my “medicine” will fix all three?
If my solution were only treating symptoms, and I said it would fix whatever ails you, then I agree: snake oil!
However, what we’re actually dealing with is not snake oil — we’re dealing with a completely different paradigm.
Just imagine having a car that could do all these things! Or any other mechanical or physical thing.Too bad we take our amazing bodies so much for granted!
However, in order for our bodies to do all these amazing self-regulating and self-healing processes, we need to provide for their basic needs. We need the right food, water, rest, activity, and a healthy emotional and spiritual life. When we do NOT provide what our bodies need, over a period of time, things start to go wrong.
One of the main things that has gone wrong is our food. Over 85% of the food we consume is processed food and animal products. Less than 10% of our food is fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans.
Grocery aisles filled with processed "food".
Not only is our diet not providing what our bodies need, our food is actively harming us as well!
So our self-regulating system gets messed up and we can end up with high blood sugar or low blood sugar. We might have IBS, GERD, or at least constipation. Our arteries are getting clogged and our circulation is sluggish, making us feel tired and unable to think clearly. We may have headaches and other aches and pains, as inflammation results from eating the wrong foods.
Then, what happens when we change from the Standard American Diet (SAD) to a healthy diet of unprocessed vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, and a few nuts and seeds?
This healthy diet stops harming us and supports our self-healing and self-regulating systems to do what they are designed to do. So within days, everything starts to get better. We’re not treating any specific symptoms. We are supporting our body in doing what it is supposed to do. So blood sugar begins to normalize, whether it was high or low. Your bowels begin to work properly, correcting both IBS and constipation. People who are overweight OR underweight will find their weight shifting toward a healthy weight.
We are NOT TREATING SYMPTOMS! We are supporting our amazing bodies to do what they are supposed to do: to self-regulate and heal themselves.
“When the food is wrong, medicine is of no use.
When the food is right, medicine of of no need.”
But wait — there’s more! What about the planet?
Well, it turns out that our planet is also self-regulating and self-healing, just like we are. This is great news because right now our planet is quite sick. But if we stop harming it, it will heal itself.
Animal agriculture is causing a huge amount of harm to our planet:
It is extremely wasteful of the earth’s resources.
It is the biggest contributor to global warming.
It causes huge amounts of air pollution and water pollution.
It is responsible for over half of our fresh water consumption.
It causes dead zones in the ocean from runoff of wastewater and fertilizer from huge farms.
It is the primary cause of deforestation.
It causes untold suffering of 10 billion land animals in the U.S. alone.
When we stop consuming animal products, we stop supporting animal agriculture. When we stop harming the earth with animal agriculture, it allows our self-healing earth to recover.
So the really, really great news is that when we make the healthiest choice for us, it is also healthiest for our planet. Nope — not snake oil. It’s just about supporting our amazing self-healing bodies and self-healing planet to do what they are designed to do.
I invite you to watch this beautiful 11 minute video: A Life Connected.
You can learn more about HOW to eat a healthy plant-based diet in my online course or my next live classes in Anchorage.
Delisa is a plant-based nutrition and cooking instructor in Alaska. She believes that we are designed to be slim and healthy.