Food Over Medicine: The Conversation That Could Save Your Life
About the book (from Amazon website)
“Nearly half of Americans take at least one prescription medicine, with almost a quarter taking three or more, as diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and dementia grow more prevalent than ever. The problem with medicating common ailments, such as high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol, is that drugs treat symptoms—and may even improve test results—without addressing the cause: diet.
Overmedicated, overfed, and malnourished, most Americans fail to realize the answer to lower disease rates doesn’t lie in more pills but in the foods we eat.With so much misleading nutritional information regarded as common knowledge, from “everything in moderation” to “avoid carbs,” the average American is ill-equipped to recognize the deadly force of abundant, cheap, unhealthy food options that not only offer no nutritional benefits but actually bring on disease.
In Food Over Medicine, Pamela A. Popper, PhD, ND, and Glen Merzer invite the reader into a conversation about the dire state of American health—the result of poor nutrition choices stemming from food politics and medical misinformation. But, more important, they share the key to getting and staying healthy for life.
Backed by numerous scientific studies, Food Over Medicine details how dietary choices either build health or destroy it. Food Over Medicine reveals the power and practice of optimal nutrition in an accessible way.”
I was elated when I found out about this book. I absolutely loved the conversational format, as it was easy to follow, and understand. I was a little hesitant at first, as I thought it would be “over my head”, based on the fact that the conversation was with a Doctor. I am glad I picked it up, as it covers a tremendous about of information that everyone should be aware of. It is a book that I will refer to often.
About the author (from Amazon website)
“Pamela A. Popper, PhD, ND, is a naturopath, an internationally recognized expert on nutrition and health, and the Executive Director of The Wellness Forum. The company offers educational programs designed to assist individuals in changing their health outcomes through improved diet and lifestyle habits; to assist employers in reducing the costs of health insurance and medical care for employees; and to educate health care professionals about how to use diet and lifestyle for preventing, reversing, and stopping the progression of degenerative disease.
Dr. Popper is the author of several books; her most recent is solving America’s Healthcare Crisis. She is the Founder of The Wellness Forum Foundation, which offers programming in schools designed to improve children’s health through better nutrition.
Dr. Popper serves on the Physician’s Steering Committee for the Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington D.C.. Dr. Popper works with Whole Foods, one of the largest natural foods grocers in the world, as part of Rip Esslestyn’s team, charged with helping employees improve their health with plant-based nutrition and better lifestyle choices. Additionally, she is part of Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s teaching team at eCornell, teaching part of a certification course on plant-based nutrition. She has been featured in many widely distributed documentaries, including Processed People and Making a Killing and appears in a new film, Forks Over Knives, which opened in major theaters in May 2011. She is one of the coauthors of the companion book which was on the New York Times bestseller list for several months.
Dr. Popper is one of the health care professionals involved in the famed Sacramento Food Bank Project, in which economically disadvantaged people were shown how to reverse their diseases and eliminate medications with diet.
Dr. Popper is also a lobbyist and public policy expert, and continually works toward changing laws that interfere with patients’ right to choose their health provider and method of care. She has testified in front of legislative committees on numerous occasions, and has testified twice in front of the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.
Dr. Pam Popper is a straight-talking professional who is not afraid to criticize national health organizations, government agencies, medical professionals, pharmaceutical companies, agricultural organizations and manufacturing companies, many of whom have agendas and priorities that interfere with distributing truthful information and promoting public health.
Everyone who is interested in health should hear her speak. For some, their lives may depend on what she has to say!
Glen Merzer is coauthor with Howard Lyman of Mad Cowboy, and with Howard Lyman and Joanna Samorow-Merzer of No More Bull!, and with Chef AJ of Unprocessed, and Better Than Vegan. Merzer is also a playwright and screenwriter, having most recently completed a screenplay from Mad Cowboy. He has been a vegetarian for 40 years and a vegan for the last 20.
Del Sroufe‘s passion for cooking began at eight years old and never faded. In 1989 he went to work for one of Columbus’ premier vegetarian restaurants, the King Avenue Coffeehouse, where he honed his craft as a baker and chef. Sroufe opened Del’s Bread, a vegan bakery, before beginning vegan meal delivery service in 2001, serving eclectic plant-based cuisine to Columbus residents. During this time, he developed what became a very popular cooking class series, sharing many of the delicious recipes he had created over the years.
In 2006, Sroufe joined Wellness Forum Foods as co-owner and chef, where he continued the tradition of delivering great tasting, plant-based meals to clients in Columbus as well as throughout the continental U.S. Sroufe also joined The Wellness Forum as a member where, after a lifetime of yo-yo dieting, he has lost over 200 pounds on a low-fat, plant-based diet. He continues to teach cooking classes at local venues like Whole Foods, Community Recreation Centers, and The Wellness Forum. Sroufe is the author of Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook, a vegan cookbook companion to the acclaimed documentary Forks Over Knives, and Better Than Vegan“
Dr. Pam Popper was generous, and answered some of our questions:
PBJ: Thank you for taking time out for the PBJ Family. What would you like to share with those thinking about starting a plant-based diet, but are frightened or unsure if they will be able to succeed?
Pam: “First, it is normal to be hesitant any time you get ready to change a habit, particularly one you have had for a long time like the way you eat. The good news is that today it is much easier to adopt a plant-based diet than it was even 5 years ago. Healthy food is available in every restaurant, once you know how to ask for it; all grocery stores carry healthy foods; even airport restaurants have healthy offerings now!
One useful tool is to try not to think about eating differently for the rest of your life, but just get started and have an adventure with food! Agree to eat optimally for a few months and if you really want to go back to your old diet you can. Most people choose not to – they find that they like the increased energy, looking better, being leaner; and if they were sick when they started this diet, they do not miss diseases like diabetes, hypertension and joint pain, or the drugs they were taking to control these conditions.”
PBJ: What is your response to those folks that say they could never give up their meat, dairy, or processed foods? Also, any suggestions for those that say they are not big fruit or veggie lovers?
Pam: “Nature has given all living creatures a marvelous gift, which is the ability to like new foods after eating them for a few weeks. This is an adaptive mechanism that allowed humans and other beings to eat foods that were available as they moved from place to place and as a result of changing seasons. Studies have shown that even fruit flies start liking new foods after eating them only a few times. What this means for people who are converting to a plant-based diet is that within 4-12 weeks after changing their diet, they will prefer the new foods and some of the foods previously eaten will not be as tasty. In fact, people routinely report to us that after deciding to splurge and eat something they have not had for a while (like a big steak or an ice cream cone), it did not taste as good as they remembered, and they did not feel well after eating it.
Also, when people state that they are not ready to give up certain foods, I tell them not to make that decision until they learn more. I recommend books (like mine) and taking our Wellness 101 course, which explains the science behind plant-based eating. The time to make a decision about what to eat or not eat is after reviewing this information. I advocate taking control of your health, which is not doing what I tell you to do, but rather gathering enough good information to make an informed decision about what you are going to do.”
PBJ: What has been your most rewarding benefit from living, and teaching this lifestyle?
Pam: “I love living this lifestyle because it is so freeing! Most of the people my age (I’m 57) are spending a lot of time in doctors’ offices, they are taking medications, and some are having procedures and surgery. The last time I made a health insurance claim was in 1994! I love feeling great, being healthy and being able to fully enjoy life.
I love sharing this with other people and watching them lose weight, and helping them eat their way out of their diseases. I never get tired of doing this, and there are so many people who need our help and just don’t know that this option is available.”
PBJ: Who is Pam Popper? What are your hobbies, and what do you like to do with your free time?
Pam: “I’m an avid reader and belong to a book club. I love exercise – The Wellness Forum has a hot yoga studio and a gym, so that’s a great for me. I love to run – I’ve completed a few marathons – I love fitness boxing, yoga, weight training and anything that involves movement. I love dance – at one time I taught ballet and danced with a local group – so I attend every dance concert I can. I love music, eating out, movies, travel, and my guilty indulgence is fabulous wine. I love to have fun with friends and family, and one of the greatest gifts for me has been that my father is 83 and eats a diet almost exactly like mine. So he’s healthy and energetic and we can do lots of things together.”
PBJ: You have helped, and saved so many people from self-destruction. What message/legacy would you like to leave for everyone, that would best describe your passion? How would you like to be remembered?
Pam: “When I’m really, really, old (I plan to live to be over 100!) I want to look back and think that I played a part in changing healthcare in this country and perhaps even throughout the world by teaching people that the secret to health is not diagnostic testing, drugs, and procedures, but how you live your life – diet and lifestyle! If we can get this message out to everyone, we can improve quality of life for most people and we can also get rid of most of the $2.7 trillion we are spending on sick care in this country. So simple, but so effective. And I’m confident that we will live to see this happen.”
Pam, thank you so much for the wealth of information, in your life-changing book Food Over Medicine. You have touched many lives, and are changing the world, one person at a time. The PBJ Family is grateful for you, and we appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule, for us today.
Check out Interview with Vegalicious, and Dr. Pamela Popper here:
Sample a taste of
Twice-Baked Potatoes, by Chef Del Sroufe
Reprinted with permission from BenBella Books
CLICK HERE for recipe
I just so happened to sample a few more recipes:
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