In the question and answer section of his web site, Esselstyn refers more than once to the Tarahumara Indians. He says that LDL number is not as important as, like the tarahumara, among whom heart disease is unknown, not eating anything that will build heart disease or damage the endothelial cells. While not arguing Esselstyn's heart diet, he and many others including Nathan Pritikin are under the impression that the Tarahumara do not eat any meat. As a matter of fact they fish, trap small game and hunt deer. I know nothing about the frequency of their game and fish eating nor the amounts but it isn't zero.
I don't think anyone ever meant to say it was zero. It could not be zero anyway, because they would all die of B12 deficiency.
I saw a recent National Geographic article, saying the Tarahumara are now getting salty chips, and getting hypertension. The article didn't mention their status with Pritikin and others. I don't recall if it mentioned their 150 mile kick ball races.
You are quite right, that there are no known native groups that are totally vegan (none that survived, anyway).
Yup, if you read esselstyn's Q and A you will see that he does imply it. And you often hear it said that traditional people got their B12 from unwashed vegetables. McDougall, for one, also says that animals do not make B12 but get it from the herbage they eat (unwashed of course). But ruminant animals like cattle make their own B12 from the bacteria in their own stomachs.
If you read the USDA nutrition data tables you will see that meat like beef and chicken do not contain all that much B12 and I was surprised at the number of ounces of meat it takes to get the daily requirement of B12--I seem to remember around 9 ounces but don't quote me on that. This is more meat than I personally am willing to eat. Clams on the other hand have lots of B12. It is also true that many meat eaters are deficient in B12.
Campbell has a footnote in his book beneath a graph that shows increasing illness (I forget which one) with increasing meat consumption in China. The foot note says something like --except fish. What does this mean? He doesn't explain. Does it mean that people do not get more illness by adding fish to their diet or that he did not study fish in the diet?
While the Japanese are among the most long lived and heart disease free people in the world and the vegan gurus use their diet as a good example, they must know that the Japanese consume fish and occasionally some meat. McDougall cites examples of the first generation immigrants whose old country diet kept them healthy but their grandchildren on the SAD were just as sick as the rest of the SAD eating population.. He cites rice as the staple of their diet but should we believe that they didn't eat any fish which was a common food in Japan? So if they were examples of good health and long life, then why are we supposed to eschew fish?
Sometimes I think devotees of these gurus have turned their diet into a religion.
I could be wrong but I do not think that running has anything to do with clearing blockages from the arteries. I do not know about preventing them. What exercise does is build collaterals which re route circulation around a blockage. However, the collaterals are weaker than the artery. Jim Fixx thought that his running made him impregnable to heart disease despite a poor diet but he was wrong.
In an article in a men's health magazine, the author who spent time with the tarahumara mentions their generosity and the way they help each other. If that is true, then it must be a relatively stress free society. Since stress can produce chemicals in the body which can damage the arteries then this could be one reason, besides diet, why there is no heart disease. While I have no doubt at all that diet plays a major part in the presence or absence of heart disease it is simplistic to say that is the only reason some of these traditional cultures are healthy.
I think I referred people to a woman who was an ethical vegan for 20 years and a raw food vegan for a couple of years. She was feeling sick and despite her ethics put meat back into her diet and felt a whole lot better. I worry about some McDougallers and others who religiously stick to a diet and will not even listen to an opposing opinion. They complain that no one listens to McDougall who is all wise while at the same time refusing to hear another opinion--at least on the website. People are asked not to participate in the discussion or asked not to offer another point of view.
I agree more with Fuhrman than McDougall but the differences are minor.But then I think I need some starches like potatoes and brown rice to fill up on so I agree with McDougall on that.I think Fuhrman is right about the need for fat in our diet and on restricting sodium.I also think Fuhrman is right about certain vegetables (like collard greens) providing a kind of enhanced immunity.
It has always bothered me that Heretic was banned from the McDougall message board,when he was always polite and never insulting.All he did was present contrary evidence.I think we all lost when we did not get to benefit from a debate between Jeff N,Dr McDougall and Hetetic.I wish he would come back to this message board but then who would he debate?.His knowledge level is so far beyond mine or anyone else that has ever posted on this board that it would not be much of a debate.Thats why we all missed out when he was kicked of the McDougall site.
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