So one of the comments I hear from people when I respond to what I eat is that my diet is so extreme. Actually I hear that from my family, particularly my Mother. They believe that moderation is the key. For those people, check out the following video which is relatively old news but I keep coming back to it. The shear number of usable quotes, data and information is amazing. It is a *long* video of 1 hour 15 minutes but it is so worth watching.
As you start thinking about your 2016 intentions, you might want to take some time to watch this.
So the video breaks down how going to a whole foods, plant-based diet basically reduces the risk of dying from the top 10 diseases in the United States. When you watch over an hour of data presented like that it's hard to justify not making changes. Rather, not making the change to a plant-based diet is like an ostrich putting their head in the sand( I know they don't actually stick their heads in the sand, its just a saying). Dr. Greger's talk is really enlightening.
I really like the "thought experiment" he does at the end of the talk. He ends the talk with a comparison to cigarette smoking in the 1950s: here. Looking back now at how cigarettes were portrayed and we just accepted to be true. So similar with the misconception that meat is the best source of protein. Or that moderation is the key.
"Moderation is key". That seems like valuable advice. In fact you could argue that moderation helps people eat more healthy thereby reducing their risk factors. More importantly, people don't feel like they have to be giving something up or missing out. The whole Ornish Spectrum breaks foods into 5 categories from the most healthy to least healthy. The most healthy being fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains. (now that's a surprise!) The least healthy foods are "red meat in its various forms, egg yolks, fried poultry, fried fish, hot dogs, organ meats, butter, cream, and tropical oils". I am guessing that the tropical oils is a euphemism for coconut oil so he doesn't get sued. His argument is to eat more of those foods in one or closer to it than those in category 5. Besides being more healthy, obviously, it's is sustainable. A couple of choice quotes from his website:
What matters most is your overall way of eating. I am not saying that you should never consume foods from Group 5 (unless you have a serious health condition). If you indulge yourself one day by eating foods from Group 4 or 5, spend a little more time in Groups 1 and 2 the next day.
If you get on a diet, chances are you’ll get off a diet. Sooner or later. For most people, being on a diet—any diet—is not sustainable.
Even the word “diet” conjures up feeling restricted, deprived, controlled—all the manipulative, fascist feelings that are not sustainable.
It’s not all or nothing.
So his argument, which to a large degree is clearly valid, is that sustainability is the key. However, he is also quoted as saying:
To translate, moderation produces moderate results. Of course moderate results are better than no results at all. So if moderation or the Ornish Spectrum works for you by all means have at it! I am willing to wager that over time you will get closer and closer to how I am. If you look at the total Ornish Spectrum it is really close to what I have done on my own. Whether you want to go full on like I did or just start, anything committed effort to improvement can only be a good thing.