6 Lessons on Eating Plant-Based from Dr. Greger’s Book "How Not to Die"

6 Lessons on Eating Plant-Based from Dr. Greger’s Book "How Not to Die"

At So Good So You, we are all major advocates of plant-based eating, working more fruits and vegetables into our diet whenever we get the chance.

So when we first got our hands on How Not to Die by Gene Stone and Dr. Michael Greger, we felt as though we’d finally found our true food bible.

Using groundbreaking scientific evidence, How Not to Die offers advice on a wide array of physical and mental health topics, closely examining the fifteen top causes of premature death in America (the ones that claim the lives of 1.6 million Americans annually). Authors Stone and Greger share their simple truth, arguing most doctors know how to treat acute illness, but struggle with preventing chronic disease. The book provides evidence-based advice on which foods to eat in order to live a longer, happier life.

Although we highly encourage everyone to purchase a copy for themselves, we wanted to share a few of our favorite lessons learned after reading How Not to Die. Our goal is not to tell anyone what they can or cannot eat, but rather to shed light on the importance of eating plant foods and the positive impact they can have on your health and longevity.

On genes:

“Whatever genes we may have inherited from our parents, what we eat can affect how those genes affect our health. The power is mainly in our hands and on our plates” (Stone and Greger 14). The power is in fact in our hands, and the state of our health is not 100% determined by our genes.  

On a balanced diet:

“Ninety-six percent of Americans don’t eat the minimum recommended daily amount of beans, 96 percent don’t eat the measly minimum for greens, and 99 percent don’t get enough whole grains. Nearly the entire U.S. population fails to eat enough whole plant foods—the only place fiber is naturally found in abundance.” We must set ourselves up for success, incorporating adequate amounts of beans, greens, and whole grains into our diets.  

On avoiding chemicals and toxins:

“The best way to minimize your exposure to industrial toxins may be to eat as low as possible on the food chain, a plant-based diet” (230). Pollutants that find their way into the soil will eventually work their way up the food chain. When you eat meat from an animal, you must consider the thousands of pounds of (potentially contaminated) plants it consumed before being slaughtered. Avoid these pollutants entirely by eating lower on the food chain.  

On iron:

“The healthiest sources of iron are whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and green, leafy vegetables. Avoid drinking tea with meals, as that can inhibit iron absorption. Consuming vitamin C–rich foods can improve iron absorption. The amount of vitamin C in a single orange can enhance iron absorption as much as three- to sixfold, so those trying to boost their iron absorption should reach for some fruit instead of a cup of tea” (71). Iron is an essential mineral to your body and vital for proper functioning. Not only do the foods you eat affect your iron consumption, but also how well your body is able to absorb iron. Improve iron absorption by consuming vitamin C rich foods in addition to iron-rich foods.  

On lowering blood pressure:

“A 2014 meta-analysis (a compilation of many similar studies) showing that vegetarian diets may be particularly good at lowering blood pressure. And the more plants, perhaps, the better. Meat-free diets in general 'confer protection against cardiovascular diseases, some cancers and total mortality,' but completely plant-based diets 'seem to offer additional protection for obesity, hypertension, type-2 diabetes, and cardiovascular mortality'” (132). Eating plant-based and cutting out meat, eggs, and dairy is shown to lead to lower hypertension rates.  

On depression:

“Fighting the Blues with Greens… Here’s a statistic you probably haven’t heard: Higher consumption of vegetables may cut the odds of developing depression by as much as 62 percent. A review in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience concluded that, in general, eating lots of fruits and veggies may present “a non-invasive, natural, and inexpensive therapeutic means to support a healthy brain” (203). Studies show that eating 7 servings of fruits and 8 servings of vegetables on a daily basis makes individuals happier, calmer, and more energetic.  

We would be doing you all a disservice if we didn’t mention that So Good So You products are packed with all kinds of powerful plant ingredients. This is why it is no coincidence that we treat How Not to Die as the closest thing to our food bible.

Hurry, better head over to your local book store (or order online) followed by a trip to your grocery store for some shots!

To find a So Good So You retailer near you, use our store locator.


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