Introduction: The Mendocino Lifestyle is predominately “green.” We define it as an effort to bring thoughtfulness, mindfulness, to the small decisions we make every day. This blog concerns chronic diseases. It is also the story of the former owner of this lodge. We are vegan and adopting a vegan lifestyle is the single most important change one can make toward sustainability. This blog is provides another reason for adopting a vegan lifestyle. In addition, many of our guests have wanted copies of the orginal article written in our newsletter. It is here for them.
Diet and Disease
A close friend died as a result of contracting histoplasmosis a disease endemic to the eastern and central U.S. There, as many as 80% of the people test positive for exposure.
Suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, our friend was treated with infusions of two drugs that suppress the immune system. One of the drugs, Remicade, is known to lower resistance to fungal infections. Reviews of the drug include a warning that where histoplasmosis is common, patients and their doctors must consider the benefits and risks before using it. Coastal California is not known for this disease;however, she went to Mexico where the disease is common.
We wondered if a safer product might have been available to prevent such a catastrophic outcome. We read about aspirin, Vitamin D, and more. But most stunning was the role of diet. First, we learned that most autoimmune diseases can be attributed to diet or at best are exacerbated by diet. Second, the most common culprits are proteins found in foods and their interactions with the human immune system. Clues to the role of diet in a variety of diseases include:
1. Lupus is rare in rural Africa, yet African-Americans have the highest incidence of lupus.
2. Albania, Europe’s poorest country with a poor diet by Western standards, has the longest life expectancy in eastern and central Europe.
3. Further, Albanians living in the southwest who subsist primarily on a diet of fruits and vegetables are half as likely to die from heart attack as their countrymen who live in the northeast and subsist on a dairy based diet.
4. People in Asia and Africa subsisting on traditional diets have a very low incidence of the various forms of arthritis afflicting those on a western diet.
5. Multiple Sclerosis is rare in Asia and Africa; however Asians and Africans who have adopted a western diet are as susceptible as are European
6. Atherosclerosis is rare in populations eating traditional diets in Asia and Africa and, again, Asians and Africans on a western diet are as afflicted as Europeans. Other diseases may very well be the result of atherosclerosis.
7. Finally, long ago Jeff was struck by the diets of various indigenous people he studied as an anthropologist. With the exception of Inuit and some northern peoples, most traditional diets were based on seeds, grains and fruit. For example, the Pomo who once occupied Mendocino County subsisted primarily on acorns supplementing their diet with dried salmon, seaweed (for salt), berries and collected shell fish during their seasonal forays to the coast. For many people, meat was for festivals.
Third, we were impressed by the fact that dietary changes can effectively reduce or eliminate the symptoms of these and other chronic diseases. The implications are enormous. A low fat, whole foods vegan diet will often reverse the effects of Multiple Sclerosis according to Dr. Roy Swank formerly the head of the Division of Neurology of the University of Oregon Medical School. Dr. John McDougal and Dr. Dean Ornish recommend low fat vegan diets for treatment of variety modern afflictions including prostrate problems, heart disease, arthritis, and MS.
The process of how diet contributes to allergies is complex. For those who want to know more we suggest that you check out Dr. John McDougal’s web site – http://www.drmcdougall.com. McDougall provides a thorough documented description of the inflammatory process as well as well documented dietary guidelines.
At the Ravens we are challenging ourselves to develop recipes which enhance the immune system at the same time they satisfy our western tastes.
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This article was written by stanford