Plant Based Nutrition: Julieanna Hever at TEDxConejo 2012


Translator: Sarah Braun
Reviewer: Denise RQ What if I told you
that I had a magic elixir? One that could prevent and reverse
almost every chronic disease? One that could solve
the health care crisis. One that would bring
more compassion into the world. What if I explained that my elixir
could help heal the planet’s devastation? That it could save billions of animals
a year and prevent their pain? That it could feed the hungry
throughout the world? That it encourages peace,
community, and benevolence? This potion, it’s free of cost,
and there’s plenty for everyone. Would you believe me that it exists? Would you be shocked at its simplicity? Mesmerized by its obviousness? Eager to try it? Would you be frustrated that nobody had
told you this information prior to now? Like I myself was. When as a teenager, I randomly stumbled
into this brilliant book by John Robbins called “Diet for a New America”. It changed my life for ever. Indeed, this elixir exists everywhere. It’s perhaps one of the sole commonalities
we share amongst all the living on earth. It is readily available to most,
and I know with confidence, that it is the most potent possibility
we have to save our future. That of our species, the planet,
and life as we know it. OK, granted, that may
seem a little hooky, I agree. At first glance, my proposal
may seem implausible. But hear me out. And then decide. Eating a whole food plant based diet
is this magic elixir. The secret ingredient
to all these extraordinary outcomes. Sustaining yourself on vegetables, fruits,
whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds can and will provide
all the aforementioned benefits. You are what you eat. At a cellular level,
an immunological level, in a holistic sense. You are also connected to nature,
and other humans, and even other species
via the food you consume. You are what you eat refers to food
once it has entered the body, so let’s break it down
to the cellular level. You are composed of approximately
10 to 50 trillion cells, give or take several trillion,
most of which regenerate. A constant state of dynamism,
flowing, moving, changing. Even the bones, we think of the bones
as dead, and stagnated hard, but even the bones
are in a constant state of flux. Exchanging, releasing, absorbing minerals. OK, a caveat, the brain, heart,
and kidneys do not, unfortunately, regenerate. But think of the possibilities if you are constantly reinventing
most of yourself all of the time. We now have an abundance
of irrefutable scientific data in the literature confirming
that a whole food, plant based diet is ideal for optimal health,
that eating plants can help your cells, your organs, your body,
stave off chronic disease, achieve, and maintain
your ideal body weight, enhance exercise performance,
and thrive throughout the life span. I’ve seen this in the last five years since I implemented this protocol
into my nutrition counseling practice. In the last year, I’ve had two very,
very special opportunities to see this on a larger scale. The first of which was last spring when, as Executive Director
of EarthSave International, we took 21 food bank clients,
that live in the middle of a food desert, and we’ve put them on a whole food,
plant based nutrition program. We taught them how to go shopping
and how to prepare their food, even how to exercise, but all of it
was in a very sustainable way. After 28 days, all the participants
finished the challenge, with enthusiasm, I might add,
and on average, they lost 17 pounds, their total cholesterol dropped 18%,
their LDL, bad cholesterol dropped 22%, blood pressure went from 138 over 83
to 121 over 77, without medications. In fact, we had an 84% reduction
in total prescription medication use. There was an increased sense of energy,
right, it’s exciting, it’s amazing! That doesn’t happen every day! They had a decrease in chronic
non specific complaints like abdominal discomfort, headaches,
heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, migraines, joint pain. The results were astounding. My second opportunity was in October when I was invited
to be on the Dr. Oz Show. There, we took three women who had
high blood pressure and high cholesterol. We put them on the “prehistoric diet”. They spent two days in a zoo
eating raw fruits and vegetables. And then, when they went home,
I added back cooked vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. In only four or five total days,
they lost an average of four pounds, they reduced their LDL,
the bad cholesterol, by 42 points. All three of them had high blood pressure
– it was normalized. Four or five days. (Applause) Yes. Thank you. You are indeed what you eat. But you are also how you eat. Let’s break that down in a logistical way. Most people consume about three meals
a day, give or take a snack or two. Thinking about food before we consume it
is not something most of us spend a lot of time doing
as we rush to grab a quick bite, as we eat on the run,
as we forget to chew well enough, as we eat larger than ever portions
hence the epidemic success of the fast and convenience
food industries. We tend to eat reactively. Contemplating perhaps
how delicious a meal was or complaining of feeling full
or having heartburn. Further down the line, you may end up
with high blood pressure, gout, type 2 diabetes, all of which
are food born illnesses. However, what if we ate proactively? Conscious eating, intentional eating,
thinking about everything that goes into the making of your food,
all the way from the seed to the plate. If you plan your meals and relish
your food as you prepare and consume it, you are eating proactively
instead of reactively. I argue that eating a whole food
plant based diet is innately, inherently proactive, and that it is the most powerful tool
we have to control so may variables, your health, the state of the planet,
the suffering of animals, and on and on. It’s something we can do
an average three times a day. Food. Food is culture, tradition, history, love, family, nourishment, comfort, medicine; essentially food
unifies mind, body and spirit. “I’m in the mood for,”
“I feel like having”, “I want”; but it is so much greater
and grander than just the self. Food also unifies the earth,
sun, water with you. The seed is planted, the sun,
the water helps it grow, it ends up on your plate, you consume it, it goes through
your gastro-intestinal tract and into your blood stream
where it becomes a part of you. And ultimately, it ends up
back in the earth in a beautifully, harmonious,
symbiotic and cyclical way. Food also unifies people. We enjoy meals together,
we make business deals over food, we teach our children social norms
and customs while feeding them. We celebrate holidays with festive foods,
we unite cultures with cuisine. Breaking bread. This term has many historical
and even biblical connotations, but simply put,
if you look it up in the dictionary, breaking bread is defined
as eating together. Dining together. Imagine breaking bread
with every bite you consume, knowing the multiple levels and layers to which you’re interconnecting
simply with your fork. I challenge you all to consider not only
what you eat but also how you eat. To eat with intention,
awareness, consciousness. Change your world
and your inter connectivity with others by basing your diet on whole plant foods. Thank you. (Applause)

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