By Dr. Dawit Mengistu
"A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings." -Hippocrates
What a true saying!
There is just one problem: Too many of us do not have the slightest idea of how to maintain good health. When illness strikes, we rely on our doctors to cure us. What we fail to realize is that "the cure" truly comes from within. Socrates once said: "There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance." This statement should guide us in all our actions, especially those that concern our own health.
Our modern lifestyles, filled with fast foods (mostly animal-based), alcohol abuse, a polluted environment, drug dependencies, and high-tech stress, have gotten us off the right track. Human beings are naturally designed to function at their fullest potential when we fuel our inner healing force with the right kinds of plant-based natural substances. However, because most of us have a profound "lack of knowledge" regarding what our bodies need to properly function, we find ourselves out of balance and susceptible to all sorts of preventable illnesses.
Again, we can look to great philosopher for words of wisdom. As Seneca once stated, "More people are killed through the stomach than by the sword." Hippocrates similarly observed: "Your food is your medicine." These words have proven truer today than when they were written about two thousand years ago. The food we eat acts as either our friend or our foe; it either kills us or it keeps us going. When it comes to prevention and the reversal of chronic degenerative diseases, a plant-based diet is indeed the true medicine. Meanwhile, research has repeatedly proven that the consumption of flesh- and animal-based products is responsible for serious conditions such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity.
In fact, a large proportion of the so-called non-communicable diseases responsible for death and suffering-heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity-are potentially preventable through a healthy diet and lifestyle. Several of these conditions are actually reversible without recourse to drugs or surgery. The work of the late Denis P. Burkitt must be among the most important, if not the most important, medical observations of the last 30 years. In his study of the concept of Western chronic degenerative diseases, Burkitt predicted that many of these diseases would be largely preventable once their causative factors in Western lifestyle were identified, then reduced or eliminated.
As Burkitt and many others have long realized, our food choice is a major factor in longevity and good health. Besides, as the famous vegetarian Dr. Kellogg once said: "When we eat plant-based food, we don't have to worry about what kind of disease the food died of. That makes a joyful meal!"