How Not to Die-It’s Never Too Late

how-not-to-die

Does a book entitled “How Not to Die” make a good present? Of course! Will your loved ones read it? Who cares? If they don’t, you can borrow it and read it yourself! You deserve it, don’t you?

When I first heard the title, I thought it might be off-putting to those who were not familiar with Dr. Greger’s work. Some of my family and friends thought it was not in good taste when I presented it to my mother (who is approaching 90) last Christmas.

I was disappointed—but should not have been surprised—that Mom has read little of it, and I will try to find someone more excited about improving the quality of their remaining years.

As someone who has binge-watched Dr. Greger’s NutritionFacts.Org videos for fun, and has attended his lectures in person on 3 occasions, I understood right away why he titled his book “How Not to Die.”

For the past several years, Dr. Greger has been around the country (even circling the globe!) lecturing about the role of a plant-based diet in prevention, treatment and even reversal of the top 15 killers, or contributors to premature death.

When “How Not to Die” came out a year ago, it became an instant New York Times Best Seller. Incidentally, 100 percent of all proceeds Dr. Greger receives from his books, DVDs, and speaking engagements are donated to charity.

Recently, I set out to read the book for myself. Although 562 pages appeared intimidating, thankfully the last 150 pages contain references to Greger’s research. No surprise for someone whose life’s work is poring over fact-based nutrition research.

I expected “How Not to Die” to rehash everything I learned from having followed Dr. Greger since he lit up the internet by publishing a new nutrition video everyday beginning in 2011.

Part 1 of the book covers the 15 “killers” Dr. Greger enumerated:

  • Heart Disease
  • Lung Disease
  • Brain Disease
  • Digestive Cancers
  • Infections
  • Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Kidney Disease
  • Breast Cancer
  • Suicidal Depression
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Iatrogenic Causes

While a lot of Part 1 did have a familiar ring, it was interesting and informative nonetheless, thanks to Dr. Greger’s tongue-in-cheek delivery. However, Part 2 added a few bonuses that made “How Not to Die” as entertaining and practical as I’ve come to expect from Dr. Greger.

Part 2 addresses the most common question Greger hears: “What do you eat everyday?” For this, he created two simple tools to help you integrate everything he learned into your own daily life:

1. Traffic Light system to quickly identify the healthiest options:

  • Green-light foods: unprocessed plant foods that should be maximized
  • Yellow-light foods: processed plant-foods and unprocessed animal foods that should be minimized
  • Red-light foods: ultra-processed plant foods and processed animal foods that should be avoided

2. Daily Dozen checklist to help you incorporate the foods Dr. Greger considers essential to the optimum diet

Eating is a zero sum game,” Dr. Greger says. “When you choose to eat one thing, you are generally choosing not to eat another….So everything we choose to eat has opportunity cost.”

The “Daily Dozen” checklist (which Dr. Greger began as a game played with his family on their refrigerator white-board) consists of:

  • Beans (3)
  • Berries (1)
  • Other Fruits (3)
  • Cruciferous Vegetables (1)
  • Greens (2)
  • Other Vegetables (2)
  • Flaxseeds (1)
  • Nuts (1)
  • Spices (1)
  • Whole Grains (3)
  • Beverages (5)
  • Exercise (1)

Note: Numbers in parentheses indicate the “number of servings” of each.

Dr. Greger concludes “How Not to Die,” by saying he hopes to persuade readers that “nutrition is not the state, lifeless subject your middle school home-economics class may have led you to believe. It’s vibrant and overflowing with opportunity for the betterment of your life.”

As I mentioned in my 2012 post “Who Do You Trust for Nutrition Facts?”, with the never-ending explosion of conflicting information from so many so-called nutrition experts, we have to place our trust in someone. Dr. Greger’s unbiased perspective has persuaded me time and time again.

Consider giving “How Not to Die” to someone you love. For a last-minute Christmas present, birithday, or for no reason but to show someone you care. In the worst case, you’ll get it back, and share it again, until it resonates.

Note: This article contains links to Amazon products for which I receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site!

Vegan Aloha at KCC Farmers Market: Acai Bowls, Natto, and More!

Vegan Acai Bowl at Daizu-Tei (hold the honey!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While most Honolulu locals shop for their fresh local produce, tourists flock to farmers markets for the prepared foods-of which few are vegan-friendly, and a lot are plain unhealthy: Fried this, or fried that!? Even the T-shirts sold by the Hawaii Farm Bureau are adorned with pigs–signifying the ubiquity of meat and other animal products. 

Until the day when there are Vegan Farmers Markets, fortunately there is Daizu-Tei, specializing in acai bowl, kim-chi, and natto using vegan, local, and organic ingredients. Owner Kaori Yoshioka must be doing something special, judging from the long lines at her stand at the Kapiolani Community College (KCC) Saturday morning market (7:30am-11:00am).

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Costco’s Top 5 Vegan and Healthy Favorites

Harmless Harvest says "It’s ok to be pink"Is there anything in Costco’s warehouse for a high-raw, whole foods plant-based vegan diet?

Until a few years ago, I would have scoffed “don’t be ridiculous!”, but these days there are more than a few items that may make a Costco membership worthwhile for you.

Of course, the trend to carry vegan and organic items elsewhere is growing, too. Little coincidence that it was just reported that Costco has surpassed Whole Foods Market as the biggest purveyor of organic foods in the U.S.!

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Enlightened Vegan Dining at Satori Hawaii

Satori Hawaii is a vegan pop-up at Soto Mission

A year ago, Megumi Odin left Peace Cafe, the much-loved restaurant she started almost five years ago, to follow her creative inspiration to the next level.

In September, the chef behind the first vegan restaurant in Honolulu began Satori Hawaii, a “pop-up” in the Soto Mission of Hawaii (1708 Nu’Uanu Ave) serving Contemporary Shojin Ryori (Buddhist Cuisine) meals that are vegan and gluten-free.

Megumi says opening a vegan restaurant in the U.S. was her mission, but she didn’t believe Americans were ready for Japanese style vegan food back when Peace Cafe opened. Continue reading

Honolulu Organic Juice Bars-Few and Far Between

Mike and Stacy, Extract Juice Bar (Bishop St).If you’ve had really fresh juice made from local organic vegetables and fruits, you know there’s nothing that compares.

This is why people travel to rejuvenation centers and spend thousands of dollars to consume nothing but fresh green juice, wheatgrass shots, and low-glycemic raw food to detox and heal their body and mind. If you’ve not taken such a vacation, isn’t it time you did?

If Green Juice’s So Good for You, Why Not Drink It Every Day?

If you have a little time to shop for produce, it’s easy to juice at home. Begin by juicing equal amounts of organic cucumbers and celery for 80 percent (the base) of your juice, and make the remaining 20 percent out of organic leafy greens (i.e. kale, spinach, cabbage), lemon, ginger, turmeric, apple, carrots, beets, etc.-whatever vegetables and fruits you’d like. Or for those who can’t stand vegetables (I know you’re out there), use vegetables you hate the least! Continue reading

Is HPP Juice Worth Your Gold?

Evolution Fresh Hits HonoluluJust a year after receiving my Starbucks Gold Card, recently the  company emailed me that my Gold rewards status had fallen back to green and I had “lost all my Stars.” Dear Me! 

A life-long coffee lover, I stopped drinking coffee around the time I began practicing a mostly raw vegan diet, though I still enjoy the aroma and the occasional sip of coffee while borrowing Starbucks’ internet.

Recently, when Evolution Fresh juices arrived on Starbucks’ shelves in Honolulu, I thought I had found a new way to restore my coveted “Gold” status: Juice!

I wrote about Starbucks acquiring Evolution Fresh a couple years ago for its Cold-Pressed and High Pressure Processing (HPP) juice technologies. In addition to Evolution Fresh, there are many other national brands using HPP, such as Suja Juice (carried by Whole Foods), and more to come!

What is Pascalization?

At first I thought “HPP” was something new, but when I learned that another term for HPP was “Pascalization” (named after 17th century French scientist Blaise Pascal) I knew it must be pretty old!  Continue reading

Soak Your Nuts-All In Good Taste!

Soak Your Nuts: Karyn's Conscious Comfort FoodsAfter perusing “Soak Your Nuts: Karyn’s Conscious Comfort Foods” you will understand why people travel hundreds of miles to eat at Karyn Calabrese’s restaurants in Chicago: TASTE!

With a provocative title that no man could get away with, this book is actually two books in one: One half contains raw vegan recipes (95 pages) and the other cooked vegan recipes (77 pages).  Karyn’s first book in the series was entitled Soak Your Nuts: Cleansing With Karyn: Detox Secrets for Inner Healing and Outer Beauty (2011). She explains on her blog that the attention-grabbing title came to her while meditating.

Though Karyn, an accomplished entrepreneur, has practiced a raw vegan diet for over 40 years, her book’s aim is to help people transition to healthier plant-based eating-whether cooked or raw. Judging from the 100‘s of approachable easy-to-follow and tasty mostly one-page recipes, her aim has been achieved.

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A Vegan World-Imagine That!

Healthy Vegan Breakfast of Chia Seeds and Colorful FruitsI recall when the “Imagine a Vegan World” Support Group began meeting last year in Honolulu. I loved the ‘Vegan World’ part but I’d been vegan 8 years and didn’t feel like I needed support as such.

“Why attend?” I thought! It’s held during supper time but nowhere near any vegan eateries! Whose brilliant idea was that?! Looking back, I realize I was being selfish.

Imagine a Vegan World was started by Terry Bear in early 2013. The group’s founder and visionary went vegan 3 years ago influenced by her vegan daughter.

Terry considers everyone a vegan or on the way to becoming one.  “First I was vegan for “the health of it,” says Terry, “but after reading Will Tuttle’s ‘The World Peace Diet,’ I was completely transformed to a passionately compassionate, ethical vegan.”

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Hot Yoga: Juicy and Habit-Forming!

One Week Free Hot Yoga-Go For It!

I must have a secret desire to wash piles of sweaty laundry, because somehow I’ve become hooked on hot yoga. 

Heated Argument

Just as “you can’t bend steel without heating it,” so it goes in yoga, according to many hot yoga practitioners. Debate rages on regarding the benefits of hot yoga –increased metabolism, detoxification, flexibility–vs more traditional non-heated yoga. Yet this much is certain: once you get used to hot yoga–it’s hard to quit!

I’ve found CorePower Yoga (4211 Waialae Ave) the ideal place for me as I recover from running injuries incurred while training for my 4th Honolulu Marathon last December. Traditional yoga–which I practiced as a form of stretching and relaxation–was great to alternate with my running training. But yoga alone wasn’t enough by itself to take the place of running.  Continue reading

Soup Beats Raw Food-Even in Honolulu

Pho Vietnamese Soup Loving Hut HonoluluAs I’ve discovered over this past winter especially–even in Hawaii–soup is not only a great pleasure but an absolute necessity for me. And I’m so grateful whenever I can guide others toward healthier vegan alternatives for their favorite comfort foods, too.

Recently, I received a request from a reader in Honolulu: “My roommate wants to eat healthy tonight,” she said, “and I seem to remember passing a vegan restaurant on Kapiolani. Can you recommend a good place to eat and also what to order?”

Obviously, she was referring to Greens and Vines (909 Kapiolani Blvd.), but with the weather in Honolulu as cold as it was (OK–cold is relative), I didn’t think raw vegan food would exactly win them over to plant-based eating. Continue reading