Diet Terminology: A Patient’s View

Diet Terminology: A Patient’s View

The following is a submission from Vail Symposium audience member Hank Mader regarding his experience with a plant-based diet. He submitted the following message following the “Putting Total Health Back Into Healthcare” with Dr. Jandel Allen-Davis. 

I enjoyed reading Rod Connolly’s (“Health Insights” article) entitled “Positive change in Nutrition can help you lose that weight” (Vail Daily July 26, 2016), especially his motivational discussion on setting goals, and also agree that “there’s a lot of misguided information on nutritional strategies of what to do in creating a healthy nutrition plan”.

What disappointingly caught my attention was his following statement. “Don’t fear the fat” “Dietary fats have been demonized for a long time. Healthy fats such as avocado, olives, coconut, fatty fish, olive oil and coconut oil should be abundant in your lean-out nutritional plan” (same text is under his photo).

Unless athletes have different guidelines for health and weight loss than an average person, I have to disagree with his “don’t fear the fat” comment.

This writer is not a doctor, only a patient who for the last decade has been adhering to a branded “Low fat vegetarian diet” (supplemented by exercise, stress reduction methods and group support) developed by a Dr. Dean Ornish to reverse Heart disease, the U.S. #1 killer. This has been proven effective in reversing heart disease in thousands of patients.

I also stay current with ongoing scientific developments and literature to either support or change my program if necessary.

In his program, developed over 25 years ago he defines his “Very Low Fat Vegetarian diet as one with no animal products since cholesterol is only found in animal products including meats, poultry, fish and dairy………Vegetarian foods are cholesterol free and with rare exceptions are low in saturated fat. The exceptions are avocados olives, coconut, nuts, seeds and cocoa products such as chocolate,” basically the same products that that Mr. Connolly’s article says “should be abundant in your lean-out nutritional plan.”

It would not appear that Mr. Connelly and Dr. Ornish can both be right.

There is now diet terminology, which may be new to some folks. It is “A WHOLE FOODS, PLANT BASED DIET”, (with no added oils, sugar or salt). (This terminology should not to be confused with a similarly named grocery chain.)

Several months ago Vail Daily published a 3 part series on men’s health, the first of which was   “Diet is just as important as exercise to a man’s health” in which Vail’s Dr. Dennis Lipton endorsed and excellently described the benefits of “A Whole Food, Plant Based Diet” (WFPB Diet). (The Ornish diet with only minor differences is the same). Dr. Lipton stated, “Most men don’t get enough fiber in their diets and fiber is found in whole unprocessed plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and legumes, with no fiber in processed food like white bread, chips, desserts, oils or in animal products such as meat, cheese and eggs.”

Dr. John Snyder’s article followed, which correctly stated, “With our current contemporary diet and even with a vegetarian diet we would gain more weight than is healthy.

Vegetarians according to Webster’s definition do not eat meat. (They can however, eat dairy and eggs, none of which contain fiber). A person can be either vegetarian or a more restrictive Vegan and still have an unhealthy diet and become obese.

For example, one can eat a salad (drizzled with olive oil), followed with processed foods, (loaded with oils, sugars and salt) chips and soda or beer, comply with both definitions and still get fat.

“A Whole Food, Plant Based Diet,” (probably first appearing in T. Colin Campbell’s book “The China Study”) clearly tells one what to eat for the healthiest diet.

Other books supporting the WFPB Diet for optimum health and weight control have been published by Drs. Esselstyn, McDougall and Barnard, with the latest by Dr. Michael Greger’s “How Not to Die.”

If you’re not a reader,see the Documentary film “PLANT PURE NATION”, released on July 4, 2015 at theaters throughout the U.S.A. to verify the benefits of the WFPB diet. If you missed the film, just Google “Plant Pure Nation” and see the Trailers showing the dramatic drop in Cholesterol by participants in as short as 10 days of following the WFPB diet.

Since helpful guidance on nutrition is not readily forthcoming from our government, its purpose is to inform people of the Facts, starting a movement from the ground up.

Another source is Created by Dr.Greger who with his staff reviews thousands of nutritional studies, and synthesizes them into a 1-hour presentation, which he gives at the annual meeting of the North American Vegetarian Association’s annual meeting. This website free.

Awareness of the benefits of the WFPB program is growing. This September, the fourth “International Whole Foods Plant Based Health Care” seminar will be conducted for Physicians and other Medical professionals desiring to supplement nutrition information offered in medical school curriculums.

Kaiser Permanente, one of the largest health insurance groups with over 15,000 Physicians and over 8 million subscribers now urges its physicians to recommend plant based diets to their patients and have produced an excellent brochure for subscribers entitled “The Plant-Based Diet: (a healthier way eat).

Dr. Kim Williams, President of the American College of Cardiology recently said he thought he was eating a healthy diet but was concerned with his cholesterol levels. By adopting the above guidelines, his LDL cholesterol level dropped from 170 to 90 in six weeks. He now recommends the HFPB Diet to patients who have high cholesterol, diabetes hypertension and coronary artery disease.

Mr. Connolly mentioned the Motivational techniques he uses. The motivation used to change my diet was easy: Simply survival!

A March 15, 2016 article by Dr. Scott Stoll stated, “Thousands of studies now document the physiologic benefits of eating whole, plant-based food, with the symptoms of innumerable diseases frequently being resolved after applying the key principles of a whole food plant-based lifestyle.”

Finally yet importantly, Kaiser Permanente suggested that more research is needed, but this time it is needed “to find a way to get more people to adopt such a healthy diet.”

Hank Mader

Vail, Colorado

Have you been moved by a program, speaker, topic or experience at the Vail Symposium?  Write an entry into our journal and we’ll publish it here! Please submit any entries to Please give your entry a title, keep submissions under 500 words and include a brief bio about yourself. Thanks!

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