Everything I Learned About Nutrition I DIDN'T Learn In Medical School

I’m an orthopedic surgeon, yet I received no nutritional education in medical school. Sadly, this continues to be the practice to this day. I had no strong thoughts about the the impact of my diet on my overall health, except that I knew I should watch my weight and try to eat “right.” 

I assumed that, with my strong family history of heart disease, that I was a prisoner of my genes. The best I could do was to watch my weight and try to prolong the inevitable as long as possible.

All that changed when I was 53 years old and told I needed triple bypass surgery. As fate would have it, a colleague of mine suggested I read The China Study prior to my arteriogram, the procedure I had done to determine I needed the bypass surgery.

I was blown away. I had never heard this information, ever. I read even more books and went back to my physician and canceled my surgery. I opted for a no-added oil, whole-foods, plant-based lifestyle. My wife and I dove in headfirst and never looked back. Initially, I was scared, but that was four years ago and I feel better than I’ve felt since being a college athlete.

I have made it my life’s mission to study the science behind nutrition and to educate my patients.

Today, my basic message is that you either Feed your disease or you Fight it with what you put on your fork. The Standard American Diet (otherwise known as SAD) is only getting us the Standard American Diseases and we’re dying the Standard American Deaths.

We all know someone who has or will die of heart disease, cancer or diabetes. With medical students still not being educated on the science of nutrition, it’s time for the general public to take their health into their own hands. Clearly we know the evidence behind what smoking will do to the body and people may make the INFORMED decision to continue to smoke.

The evidence behind what animal protein, animal fat, and added oil does to the body is less known by the general public and what they do hear is funded by big business. There is so much conflicting information presented that no one knows what to do, so they do nothing. Unfortunately, there is no money to be made off healthy people, so many physicians are not motivated to learn or educate their patients.  I find this not only sad but infuriating.

In order to educate more people at one time, about a year ago, my wife and I started holding quarterly seminars free to the public. My wife cooks a no-added oil, whole-foods, plant-based dinner and I go over the science of how to Feed or Fight disease. I know full well how hard the transition can be! That's why, after we bombard them with all this science, we try to leave them with some tips on how to get started.

Here are some tips to start using food to fight off disease: 

1. Remove all processed foods, fat and dairy from your diet from the beginning. 

2. Slowly start filling your plate with more plants. 

For instance if you cook tacos, use black beans spiced with taco seasoning as the “meat” and opt for corn tortillas over flour, ditch the sour cream but keep the guacamole. Sauté vegetables such as onions and bell pepper in a pan on medium heat with a lid to sweat out the moisture and you will typically not need to add anything.  If you cook with a lot of garlic like we do which can be sticky you might add a small amount of vegetable broth, white or red wine or just a little water.

3. Opt for GBOMBS: Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries, and Seeds/Nuts. 

You can get greens and berries in your morning smoothie, greens, seeds, onions and mushrooms in your salad at lunch or dinner. Fill in the rest with whole grains, beans and MORE veggies!

4. If you want to continue to eat some meat, make it a side dish and make sure it’s grass fed, antibiotic-free and hormone-free.

Eventually a totally whole-foods plantbased diet is the goal but it can take time for some people to get there. If you’re facing any sort of disease with current significant issues my suggestion is always to go full steam ahead and cut out ALL animal products and fat! There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain!

Our seminars continued to grow to the point that we now hold them every month. They are still free.  If you’re interested in the benefits of a plantbased lifestyle I would encourage you to research Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Michael Greger and Dr. Joel Fuhrman who are just a few of the experts in the field of plantbased nutrition.

Here’s to Fighting for your health!

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