Food-wise, there was “meat…for health defense,” or “nourishing bacon,” or “doctors prescribe… meat”, or soda for that matter. “Thank heavens, Trix are habit forming”.
Now, just like there were those in the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s on the vanguard trying to save lives, today there are those turning ads about what you can do with pork butt to what the pork can do to your butt: The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s “Meat is the new tobacco” campaign. As Dr. Barnard tried to get across in an editorial published in the American Medical Association’s Journal of Ethics, plant-based diets can now be considered the nutritional equivalent of quitting smoking.
How many more people have to die, though, before the CDC encourages people not to wait until open heart surgery to start eating healthy, as well? How long’s that going to take, though?
Just like we don’t have to wait until our doctors quit smoking to quit ourselves, we don’t have to wait until our doctor takes a nutrition class or cleans up their own diet before changing our own eat habits. Look, it’s not your doctor’s fault, writes a group of prominent physicians. There is a severe deficiency of nutrition education at all levels of medical training. We were just never taught it.
We know a whole foods, plant-based diet has been proven to reverse our #1 killer, and protect against type 2 diabetes and cancer. So, how has this knowledge affected medical education? It hasn’t. Despite the neglect of nutrition in medical education, the public considers physicians to be trusted sources, but if doctors don’t know what they’re talking about, they could actually be contributing to diet-related diseases. To stem the surging tide of chronic illness, physicians need to become part of the solution. But we don’t have to wait for that to happen. No longer do patients have to be so patient.
Doctors no longer hold a professional monopoly on health information. There’s been a democratization of knowledge, and so until the system changes, we have to take responsibility for our own health and for our family’s health. We can’t wait for society to catch up to the science, because it’s a matter of life and death.
In 2015, Dr. Kim Williams became President of the American College of Cardiology. He was asked why he follows his own advice to eat a plant-based diet. “I don’t mind dying,” Dr. Williams replied. “I just don’t want it to be my fault.”