Eating well has become a revolutionary act. Millions of people have been
inspired by documentaries such as
Over Knives and
PlantPure Nation, which argue that a diet consisting primarily of whole, plant-based foods
is not only better for our health, it’s the only compassionate and
sustainable way to eat for our planet.
The message is getting loud and clear: According to the Vegetarian Resource
Group, about 5% of Americans—close to 16 million— are vegetarian,
and half of those declare themselves vegan. Even more impressive, 33%
of people in the U.S. are eating vegetarian/vegan meals more often, though
they are not vegan or vegetarian. That’s more than 100 million people.
And about 42% of those who don’t eat or use animal products say
they went vegan after seeing an educational film.
The films are powerful indeed, and Torrance Memorial Medical Center’s
“Eat Clean & Green” Plant- Based Living Group (PBLG) was
created to support those inspired by these documentaries, or by any other
factors. Research shows that people are adopting more plant-based eating
and lifestyles for a number of reasons including concern for the planet,
sympathy toward animals and how they are treated in the commercial farming
system, and for health and weight loss. Concepts such as“Meatless
Monday” and “Tofurky Tuesday” have taken hold across
the country. The Torrance Memorial PBLG shares ideas, resources and strategies
for eating out, grocery shopping, recipes and any other challenges its
participants might be encountering.
One of the toughest hurdles for some people is simple adherence, that is,
making a decision to choose whole, plant-based meals, then sticking to
it. Neal Barnard, MD, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible
Medicine (PCRM), and one of America’s leading health advocates,
came to Torrance Memorial earlier this year as part of the
Graziadio Wellness Lecture Series.
In his talk, Dr. Barnard presented his research, made an immutable case
for a whole foods, plant-based (WFPB) diet, and outlined a free 21-day
vegan kickstarting program that PCRM offersat21daykickstart.org.Thecourse
is based on Dr. Barnard’s research and is live on the first through
the 21st day of each month. Participants get a 21-day meal plan, tips
from celebrities such as Kris Carr, nutrition webcasts, a community forum
and daily email messages, as well as a restaurant guide. More than 450,000
people have already participated.
For people who don’t like to cook, there is now a meal delivery jumpstart
program offered though plantpurefoods.com. And
The New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman came up with one solution, which he outlines
in his book,
VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health... For Good. His plan: For breakfast and lunch he eats no meat, dairy or animal products.
Fordinner, if he wants, he can gowhole hog. After four months, Bittman
lost 30 pounds, reduced his cholesterol, stabilized and lowered his blood
sugar levels and cured his sleep apnea.
Eating a WFPB diet can reduce your risk for a wide range of chronic diseases,
and sometimes can evenhaltor reverse them, including Type 2 diabetes and
heart disease. It’s also a far more environmentally sustainable
way of eating. It takes an enormous amount of resources to grow the grain
and forage products required to feed livestock for human consumption.
Some studies have concluded that animal-based farming is the single biggest
contributor to global warming, to say nothing of other issues such as
topsoil loss, water depletion and pollution. And finally, eliminating
animal products produced by large factory farms helps to alleviate the
suffering of the other creatures sharing our planet with us.
“No matter where you are on your journey toward adopting a whole
foods, plant-based diet,” says PBLG organizer Erin Hoffman, “this
group will meet you where you are and help you along the way.”
The Torrance Memorial “Eat Clean & Green” PBLG group meets
twice a month—second and fourth Mondays—at 6:30 p.m. in the
West Tower Auditorium. For more information, call 310-517-4711 or go to