Is a plant-based wholefood diet the new hand washing?

Dirty infected hands are fine while dealing with infectious diseases? In the 1800s, Austrian Dr Ignaz Semmelweiss advocated hand washing between patients to keep hospitals clean and hygienic. He was branded a disgrace by the medical profession. A large number of surgeries were complicated by infection, there was a high risk of death due to poor hygiene practices and hospitals earned a reputation as death houses. However, once hand washing was widely accepted, death rates for infectious diseases in hospital wards dropped by 90%. Initially though, this radical idea was greeted with scepticism, ridiculed for being extreme and was ignored by most doctors of the day.


‘Cancer should not be a death sentence anywhere in the world as there are proven ways to prevent and cure many cancers’
Dr Oleg Chestnov, WHO Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health, Russia.


Eat more plants, eat less meat

The authors of many large and peer-reviewed meta-analysis study projects covering millions of people studied from all across the world, have commented that, ‘eating far more plants and far less meat’, is one of the key steps for health and longevity. The groups and the studies include the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), the International 2013 GBD Study, the 2010 Heart and Stroke Statistics report as published by the American Heart Association (as compiled by an international consortium of nearly 500 scientists from 187 countries globally), the Harvard School of Public Health, the most comprehensive report ever issued on cancer: the 351-page World Cancer Report as issued by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and the WHO.


‘When these patients commit to plant-based nutrition, they can not only halt but they can arrest and on occasion there will be significant evidence of disease reversal. It’s getting to the point where it will be unconscionable for patients with cardiovascular disease not to be informed that this option exists’
Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Retired Heart Surgeon, Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, January 2013.


‘This research is staggering and shows clear evidence that regular meat consumption contributes substantially to premature death. By simply replacing meat with other foods, 10% of male deaths and 8% of female deaths could be prevented’
Dr Frank Hu, Harvard School of Public Health, USA, commenting on the 28-year study covering 120,000 people, March 2013.


The World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research had independent scientists at Imperial College in London review all the 1012 ‘cancer and diet’ studies in the medical literature. This was the most comprehensive, evidence-based research on cancer and diet ever undertaken. Following that, another Independent Expert Panel reviewed the results and made judgements. What did they recommend? ‘Consume a plant-based diet. On meat, the clear message that comes out of our report is that red and processed meat increases risk of bowel cancer and that people who want to reduce their risk should consider cutting down the amount they eat’.


Teresa Nightingale, General Manager of WCRF said, ‘Many people feel confused about cancer prevention because it can seem like a new study is published every week that suggests that a new substance either causes or prevents cancer. But this takes the latest scientific findings and adds them to the existing body of evidence in a way that ensures our advice takes the latest research into account. This means people can be confident that our recommendations are up-to-date as well as being the most evidence-based information on cancer prevention available anywhere in the world. This latest report shows that there is enough evidence to recommend that people can reduce their bowel cancer risk by consuming less red and processed meat and alcohol, having more foods containing fibre, and by maintaining a healthy weight and being regularly physically active. This report confirms that bowel cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer and we estimate that about 43% of bowel cancers cases in the UK could be prevented through these sorts of changes. That is about 17,000 cases every year’16


The combination of eating a plant-based wholefood diet, making lifestyle changes and regular intelligent fasting is the most powerful thing I have seen, witnessed, done, followed, experienced and been a part of — ever. There are studies going back 100 years involving millions of people from all over the world on this subject. They all say the same thing. Eat better, eat less and change what you do every day.


Simple isn’t it?


Why are we not doing it?


Simple changes will probably add a few decades of wonderful health and vitality to your life, and may just save your life.


However, the process requires (wait for it, take a deep breath, hold on!); changing our attitude and our behaviour.


Written by Jason Shon Bennett from

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