Posts tagged LDL cholesterol

The Top 10 Blood Tests for Vegans by Dr. J.E. Williams

This was sent to my email by Frederic Patenaude and it is important information to know what blood tests are crucial for those who are vegans.

The Top 10 Blood Tests for Vegans by Dr. J.E. Williams

I started my own personal experiment with vegetarianism and vegan lifestyle in 1972, and I also conceived and raised children as vegetarians (until they were pre-teen). I have 30 years of clinical experience in natural medicine, and for 25 years, I was a busy clinician in Southern California. Thus, I have earned my credentials and have seen it all.

I know through all of this that if you want to get your cholesterol and LDL (“bad” cholesterol) down to bare bones levels, go vegan. If you want to boost your folic acid and antioxidant levels to new heights, eat more plants. It is the same with reducing your risk for a heart attack to zero, and preventing many types of cancer. But, if you want to have strong vitamin B12 levels, and enough iron and albumin, vegetarians and vegans are vulnerable.

Today I want to discuss the basic laboratory tests most important for plant-based diets. Let’s look at the 10 most helpful ones for evaluating deficiencies and the consequences of not having adequate levels of certain nutrients.

1. CBC – Complete Blood Count with Differential and Platelets: This group of tests tells if you are anemic, immune deficient, or have an infection or allergies. Low RBC (red blood count), hemoglobin, and hematocrit are signs of anemia. The CBC helps determine your general health status. If have fatigue or weakness, or suspect an infection, this test can help determine what is the cause.

2. CMP – Comprehensive Metabolic Panel: The CMP is a group of 14 tests that provides information about the status of your kidneys, liver, and electrolyte and acid/base balance, as well as of your blood sugar (glucose) and blood proteins (total protein, albumin, and globulin).

Abnormal results, especially combinations of abnormal results, indicate a problem that needs to be addressed. Total protein below 6.5 and albumin below 3.9 are signs of protein deficiency. Glucose (blood sugar) is also tested in this panel. It is uncommon for plant-based eaters to be diabetic. Some times, however, glucose can be too low, suggesting hypoglycemia.

3. Ferritin: This test helps assess iron stores in the body. It is useful in combination with an iron and TIBC to evaluate the severity of iron deficiency or overload.

4. Folic Acid: This test gives an idea of your level of folate. It is rarely low in plant-based diets. However, higher than normal levels, common in vegetarians and vegans, combined with low vitamin B12 levels, magnifies vitamin B deficiency in the body. The amount of folate inside the red blood cell (folate, RBC) may also be measured and is normally higher inside the cell than in the serum.

5. Homocysteine: An elevated homocysteine level helps determine B12 or folate deficiency. Elevated levels of homocysteine (above 10 micromoles/liter) are associated with atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries) and suggest an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, blood clot formation, and Alzheimer’s disease. I want my patients to be lower than 9 micromoles/liter and optimally less than 6 micromoles/liter.

6. Iron – total and TIBC (total iron binding capacity): Vegetarians can have adequate iron levels if they eat quantities of iron-containing vegetables and fruits, like spinach and raisins. However, raw vegans often show low levels of red blood cells and iron deficiency in their tests. Early iron deficiency causes no physical effects, so you may not know you levels are going down; but, as hemoglobin levels drop below 10 g per deciliter, things can get challenging. As the iron-deficiency progresses, symptoms begin to develop, including fatigue and tiredness, weakness, dizziness, and headaches. As iron reserves continue to be depleted, you can experience shortness of breath, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), drowsiness, and irritability.

7. Lipid Profile: This group of tests measures your blood fats (total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides) to determine risk for coronary heart disease. Vegetarians typical have normal lipid profiles, but vegans may have cholesterol levels that are too low (less than 135 mg/dL). Cholesterol is essential for life. A waxy substance manufactured from raw materials supplied in the diet, it is used to produce hormones and cell membranes and is transported in the blood. Cholesterol is the primary building block for steroid hormones like estrogen and testosterone, and adequate levels are required for health.

8. MMA – Methylmalonic Acid, serum: MMA, along with homocysteine, help diagnose an early or mild B12 deficiency. If MMA and homocysteine levels are increased, then vitamin B12 deficiency may be present, indicating less available B12 at the tissue level. If only homocysteine is elevated, then folic acid may be low or not being metabolism properly. If MMA and homocysteine levels are normal, it is unlikely that there is a B12 deficiency.

9. Vitamin B12: Both B12 and folate are necessary for normal red blood cell formation, tissue and cellular repair, DNA synthesis, and for nerve health. A deficiency in either B12 or folate causes macrocytic anemia. Also called megaloblastic anemia, this type of anemia is characterized by the production of fewer – but larger – red blood cells called macrocytes, leading to fatigue, weakness, and all the other symptoms of anemia. If your levels are below 400 pg/mL, suspect B12 deficiency. I like my patients to be at least 600-900 pg/mL.

10. Vitamin D, 25-Hydroxy: This test determines vitamin D3 status. It tells if you are susceptible to bone weakness, bone malformation, or abnormal metabolism of calcium. Since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and absorbed from the intestine like dietary fat, low-fat diets are prone to vitamin D deficiency. Also, people with conditions that interfere with fat absorption, such as cystic fibrosis and Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and Celiac disease are not able to absorb enough Vitamin D.

Dr. Williams’ Suggested Panels for Vegetarians/Vegans

Complete Blood Count with Differential and Platelets
Comprehensive Chemistry/Metabolic Panel
Ferritin
Folic Acid
Homocysteine
Iron, total and IBC
Lipid Panel
Methylmalonic Acid, Serum
Vitamin B12
Vitamin D3, 25 Hydroxy

What’s Next?

You need to be able to understand your tests. For that we highly recommend the Complete Blood Test Blueprint, by Dr. Williams.
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The program features 35 beautiful graphics that show you clinical, desirable and optimal ranges for blood tests and what to do if your levels are high or low.

Blood testing, if done correctly, can be your best ally in determining the right diet, the right supplements and the perfect health for you.

He also covers what to do when you get your tests back to bring your levels into optimal ranges.

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These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All Rights Reserved. Advice and recommendations given in this website or in personal consultation by phone, email, in-person, online coaching, or otherwise, is at the reader’s sole discretion and risk. You should see a qualified, licensed doctor before starting any skin care, nutritional, diet, stretching, and/or exercise program. Information presented on this website is not to be interpreted as kind of attempt to prescribe or practice medicine. These statements and information have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. No product offerings are intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. You should always consult with a competent, fully-informed medical professional or health practitioner when making decisions having to do with your health. You are advised to investigate and educate yourself about any health related actions and choices you make.

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Why No Oil? by Frederic Patenaude

Check out the great deals below on products from Frederic.
The special offers are subject to change at any time.

Why No Oil? by Frederic Patenaude

One of the most common questions that I get is: why don’t you recommend oil?
What about coconut oil? Or extra-virgin olive oil? Or flax seed oil?

Why I Don’t Recommend Any Oil, Including Olive or Coconut Oil

I follow the lead of excellent doctors and researchers such as Dr. Esselstyn, McDougall, Barnard, Campbell, Klaper, Goldhammer (and many others) in my stance against oil.

I don’t use any oil, including olive or coconut — and never eat any except in circumstances where I’m not in full control of the food that I’m eating.

Once you’ve experienced going oil-free, you don’t want to go back. The benefits of eliminating oil from the diet are numerous, and you will feel many of them immediately.

You’ll have more energy. Oil is 100% pure fat with no protein or carbohydrate, and very few other nutrients. Fat is twice as concentrated in calories as carbohydrates, containing nine calories per gram vs. four for carbohydrates. You’ll have more energy eliminating oil because you eliminate a concentrated source of calories. You will replace those calories with foods that give more energy, such as fruit, healthy starches, vegetables, and whole nuts and seeds or avocados.

Your mood will improve. Again, consuming liquid fat means consuming fewer carbohydrates and healthy sources of protein. Whole carbohydrates contribute positively to serotonin production.

Your digestion will improve. Oil makes digestion sluggish. Liquid fat takes a lot more time to digest than carbohydrates. On an oil-free diet, your digestion will be excellent! You will never feel too full or experience discomfort after a meal, even if it is big.

You’ll lose body fat. You might think that eating so many carbohydrates makes you fat. But in reality, it’s the combination of carbohydrates and fat that promotes fat gain. Carbohydrates are burned as energy whereas fat can be stored directly as body fat. If one consumes both carbohydrates and fat in significant quantities, the carbohydrates will be used as energy and the fats will be stored as body fat (as long as total calories exceed what the body needs). Liquid fat (oil) are the easiest types of calories for the body to store as body fat.

Your blood sugar will improve. I used to check my blood sugar every day. Eating fat and especially meat has always caused the greatest spike in blood sugar. That’s because a high-fat diet lowers insulin sensitivity. In fact, beef causes more insulin production than white sugar.

Why No Oil?

Here are some more reasons to avoid oil:

1) Oil is a refined product and the most concentrated source of calories available anywhere. One tablespoon of oil contains 120 calories of pure fat with almost no other nutrients. Refined sugar is only 50 calories per tablespoon.

A few splashes of olive oil here and there can quickly add up to hundreds of extra calories that you don’t need. Worst of all, those calories are missing all the fiber and essential nutrients and are empty.

Multiple studies have found that adding fat to food makes people over-consume calories without realizing it because fat has a very low satiety factor compared to carbohydrates or proteins. Many of these fascinating findings are described in the book “Salt, Sugar, Fat.”

Remember: it takes 24 olives to make 1 TBS of olive oil. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never once added 24 olives to a single serving of salad.

2) Vegetable oils contribute to inflammation. Omega 6 fats contribute to inflammation in the body while omega-3 fats reduce it. But most vegetable oils have a ratio that dramatically favor omega-6 fats. We should seek to a dietary ratio of no more than four times the omega 6s vs. 3. Olive oil contains over ten times the omega-6 as omega-3, and many other oils are worst.

3) Olive oil doesn’t lower LDL cholesterol, in fact, it increases it. It’s a myth to think that olive oil is “heart healthy.” Studies have only shown that it lowers LDL cholesterol when it replaces animal fats like butter. But to add olive oil (and other vegetable oils) to an otherwise healthy diet increases LDL levels. If you want to raise your LDL levels even faster, then eat some coconut oil. As Dr. Williams recently pointed out in an article published on Renegade Health, vegans tend to eat too much coconut oil, and it does raise their LDL levels. There’s a lot of hype around coconut oil, but in my opinion it’s just another good way to get to a heart attack faster. (For the lowdown on coconut oil, watch this video by Dr. Greger.) Note: whole coconuts are healthy. You can eat them.

4) Olive oil injures the inner lining of the arteries (called endothelium). A study conducted by Dr. Robert Vogel and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology showed that a meal containing olive oil caused severe constrictions in arteries, contributing to heart disease. Consuming olive oil reduced blood flow by 31% in this study. It’s worth noting that canola oil or salmon didn’t cause this problem (however, all vegetable oils are unhealthy to some degree).

What studies found was that the protective components of the Mediterranean diet appear to be fruits and vegetables and nuts, and NOT the olive oil. Greek people only got away with eating olive oil because they consumed a lot of fruits and vegetables. They also replaced animal fats like butter with olive oil. But olive oil in itself isn’t healthy. (Note: Greece currently has the highest obesity levels in Europe and has the highest per-capita consumption of olive oil).

5) Oils release toxic compounds when heated. Many oils become carcinogenic when heated. And yes, every type of oil can withstand a different level of heat. But don’t believe for a second that nothing is happening to your oil when you start heating it. Udo Erasmus, one of the world’s most well-known experts on fats, always recommended to never heat any fat. He said: “If health is what we want, water is the only oil appropriate for frying. We’re back to steaming, poaching, boiling, or pressure cooking our foods. Or, even better in most cases, eating them raw.”

What about essential fats?

It’s true, we need some fats for good health. But all whole foods contain them to a certain degree, and in the perfect omega 3/6 ratio.

What’s my favorite source of essential fats? Green vegetables. Although the percentage is low, it contains omega 3s in the perfect ratio.

Additional fats should come from whole foods such as nuts, seeds, avocados, etc. Those foods contain fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein, and so many other critical nutrients that are missing from liquid fat calories.

I only take two tablespoons of ground flax seeds every day. I have tested my Omega-3 levels using a blood test, and I’m getting optimal results. My theory is that removing oil in the diet improves the omega-3 ratio because there’s no omega-6 to compete with the omega 3s. The body can fully convert the small amount of fatty acids naturally found in every whole food, including vegetables. Including flax seeds and walnuts or hemp is a good idea.

How to Transition to an Oil-Free Diet

Now, does that mean you can never have a splash of olive oil? If you’re very active and burn a lot of calories, a bit of olive oil probably won’t hurt you. But it’s better to go without it. Try giving it up and you’ll notice that your taste for oil will disappear. If you crave something fatty, have whole nuts and seeds instead, or even some nut butter. Eat some avocado. And whole coconuts contain ALL of the benefits of the coconut. Coconut oil is just pure fat. What could be tastier than a fresh, young coconut?

When I make a batch of hummus, I only use some tahini, but I don’t add any oil. The traditional recipe for hummus doesn’t contain any oil. I stopped purchasing the tahini brands that contain oil (most of them).

When I eat a salad, I usually eat it plain or with a simple seasoning of balsamic vinegar and maybe nutritional yeast. But I don’t add olive oil to it. I might add some diced avocado.

When I make rice and beans, or marinara sauce, I don’t stir-fry the onion and garlic in olive oil. I dry-sautee the onions and garlic until a little brown and then deglaze it with vegetable broth. No oil.

My taste buds have adapted to this oil-free diet. I now enjoy my food more without oil. It takes about 60-90 days for a person used to a diet of 30+% fat to adjust to lower-fat diet. Then when the transition is over, you will start to dislike oil and enjoy the taste of real, unrefined foods without added liquid fat.
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The Dangers of NOT Eating a Vegan Diet by Frederic Patenaude

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The Dangers of NOT Eating a Vegan Diet by Frederic Patenaude

Many articles have been written about the dangers OF a vegan diet.

Many of the points made in those articles are valid and need to be raised. They’re also blown out of proportion and taken out of context.

Eating an unbalanced vegan diet can lead to some health problems related to deficiencies. However, deficiencies are not a very common problem compared to diseases of excess.

We live in a world of abundance. By far, the biggest problems we face are caused by eating too much of the wrong foods rather than not enough of the right foods.

That being said, the human psyche is wired to worry about lack rather than abundance. As we evolved on this planet, the biggest danger we faced was famine. That’s why we like fatty foods.

When a group of early humans came across extremely rich fatty foods, those who ate them survived. Our brains are programmed to like concentrated sugars and fats. This program worked well in the context of a world where those foods were rare and helped us survive by providing the calories we needed, when few calories were available.

In the world we live in today, we experience the opposite problem. Yet, we still worry about lack.

Are you going to get enough?
Are you sure you’re going to be okay?
Are you sure you’re not going to run into deficiencies?
Those are the types of questions we get asked by our parents, nutritionists, and so on. Does this diet contain every nutrient? Are you sure you’re getting all your vitamins? Are you sure you’re getting all of your protein?

The Dangers of a Vegan Diet

I purposely use the word “vegan” because it’s a little offensive. A vegan diet applies to plant-based diets in general. The word “vegan” implies more of a life philosophy, but it is actually the proper term to describe a diet that does not contain any animal protein.

Plant-based is more politically correct, but it implies that the diet could have a lot of plants in it while not being completely vegan. Let’s stick with the word “vegan” for now because it describes a diet devoid of animal protein.

Are there any dangers to following such a diet?

Well, if you’re getting enough calories from fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans (with a little nuts and seeds for Omega 3s), then the dangers are quite limited—in fact, widely exaggerated.

B-12 can be a problem. B-12 is found in animal products, but that’s because it’s made from bacteria and we don’t live in the type of environment where we get exposed to unwashed foods and fecal matter and other nasties. So, we take a B-12 supplement. Most vegans know that they have to take a B-12 supplement and do. Not a big deal.

What about vitamin D? Vitamin D is contained in animal products, but vitamin D is not specifically a product made by animals. Vitamin D is not specifically a product that we have to get in animal foods. It is made by our bodies through sun exposure. Granted, if we don’t get enough sun, we could run low on vitamin D and eating certain animal foods could be beneficial, but whether you take the vitamin D from an animal or from a supplement, the end results are the same. Running low on vitamin D is not a vegan problem per se.

What about Omega 3s? We’ve heard that we must eat fish for Omega 3s, but where do the fish get their Omega 3s? Plant foods; namely algae. Are vegans low in Omega 3? No lower than anyone else. The human body can make its own DHA and EPA from other Omega 3 fats that are found in plants. Still, some people have concerns that they’re not getting enough Omega 3s. In that case, you can take a supplement of Omega 3.

Finally, we have the question of protein, which has been a debate in the nutrition world for a long time and is still being advocated as an important part of our diet. Vegan diets contain plant-based protein and there are many advantages to consuming proteins from plants rather than animals.

Recent research by Italian researcher, Dr Luongo, found that a lower protein diet, in general, is the best for cancer prevention.

Vegan diets contain almost the same percentage of protein (by calories) as omnivorous diets. The big difference is that the protein is coming from plants, not animals. And no credible research has ever shown that consuming plant proteins leads to health problems. In fact, quite the contrary.

Vegans get plenty of protein, more in fact than what is recommended, as long as they eat a wide variety of foods from the categories I mentioned previously. If you get enough calories from those foods you will get enough protein, even the foods we typically don’t associate as protein sources. For example, brown rice and even green vegetables.

We have a few nutritional concerns regarding the vegan diet, which is normal because the human brain is wired to worry about deficiencies.

But let’s ask a more important question. What are the dangers of NOT eating a vegan diet — in other words, of NOT eating a diet that is largely plant-based? I think those dangers are much, much bigger.

One can run low on B-12, and fix the problem almost instantly if it is discovered early.

However, when we create other problems in our health such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, they are much harder to reverse.

Diets rich in animal protein have been linked to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and a wide range of other health problems.

To me, the two things that are most worrisome and lead me to prefer a vegan diet are heart disease and cancer.

Heart Disease: The scientific consensus is that saturated fats in our diets raise our cholesterol levels, and high LDL cholesterol levels create hardening of the plaque in the arteries, leading to heart disease. This is an established scientific fact. I know, I know… you’ve heard differently via blogs and diet books. But think about who you should trust: a blogger or dedicated scientists that have painstakingly researched this issue for decades? A paleo blogger or a cardiologist like Dr. Esselstyn that is actually getting results actually reversing heart disease?The bottom line is that we know for sure that elevated LDL levels cause heart disease. They are one of the most identifiable causes of heart disease and diets rich in animal protein DO generally raise LDL cholesterol levels in most people.

Cancer: This is actually a little scarier. This idea that animal protein drives cancer growth isn’t just shared by a few lunatic researchers, but is becoming more widespread in the scientific community, especially with the latest research done on fasting by Italian-born Dr Longo. This is also the view of Dr. T. Colin Campbell, an actual biochemist and other of over 300 scientific papers. Oh but wait… His China Study also has been “debunked” by a blogger. I will admit however that the case for “animal protein driving cancer grown” is a little less solid that that of heart disease. But I certainly don’t think it’s a coincidence that all long-lived cultures of the world eat a plant-based diet (in most of these cultures, meat is a “treat” or a “condiment” but never a main part of the diet.).

I’m not going to review other potential health problems caused by animal products, as this has been covered extensively in many excellent books by respectable authors. In fact, that’s not even the point of my article.

The point is that the so-called “dangers” of a vegan or plant-based diet are largely overblown. But because our brain is wired about deficiency, we tend to worry about those “dangers,” instead of worrying about the potential health cost of not ditching animal products.

**************************************************************************
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
How to Heal and Prevent Dental Disasters
This program has been created by OraMedia and is the only
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Normally, the program costs $37.
The price is $20 if you use coupon code: MINDYDENTAL

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Why No Oil, Even Olive Oil? by Frederic Patenaude

My friend, Frederic, has offered my readers some great deals on his products that will be offered for a limited time. Please don’t delay! Check them out below this article.

Why No Oil, Even Olive Oil by Frederic Patenaude

Here’s a quick summary of the reasons why you should do your best to avoid all vegetable oils (as well as other refined fats). I’ll focus on olive oil because that’s where the source of the confusion comes from, but most of these points apply to most other oils as well.

One teaspoon of olive oil on a salad once in a while won’t hurt, but the regular habit of using oil can be very negative for health. Why?

1) Oil is a refined product and the most concentrated source of calories available anywhere. One tablespoon of oil contains 120 calories of pure fat with almost no other nutrients. Refined sugar is only 50 calories per tablespoon.

The fat you eat is the fat you wear, and a few splashes of olive oil here and there can quickly add up to hundreds of extra calories that you don’t need.

Worst of all, those calories are missing all the fiber and essential nutrients and are empty.

It’s been found in multiple studies that adding fat to food makes people over-consume calories without realizing it, because fat has a very low satiety factor compared to carbohydrates or proteins.

Remember: it takes 24 olives to make 1 TBS of olive oil. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never once added 24 olives to a single serving of salad.

2) Excessive fat consumption lowers insulin sensitivity. The higher in fat your diet is, the least effective your insulin becomes. If you combine a high fat diet with a high sugar intake, you have a recipe for disaster that will lead to many health problems.

3) Vegetable oils contribute to inflammation. Omega 6 fats contribute to inflammation in the body, while omega 3 fats reduce it. But most vegetable oils have a ratio that dramatically favor omega 6 fats. We should seek to a dietary ratio of no more than 4 times the omega 6s vs. 3. Olive oil contains over ten times the omega 6 as omega 3, and many other oils are worst.

4) Olive oil doesn’t lower LDL cholesterol. It’s a myth to think that olive oil is “heart healthy.” Studies have only shown that it lowers LDL cholesterol when it replaces animal fats like butter. But to add olive oil (and other vegetable oils) to an otherwise healthy diet actually increases LDL levels.

5) Olive oil injures the inner lining of the arteries (called endothelium). A study conducted by Dr. Robert Vogel and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology showed that a meal containing olive oil caused severe constrictions in arteries, contributing to heart disease. Blood flow was reduced by 31% in this study. It’s worth noting that canola oil or salmon didn’t cause this problem (however, all vegetable oils are unhealthy to some degree).

What this study found was that the protective components of the Mediterranean diet appear to be fruits and vegetables, and NOT the olive oil. Greek people only got away with eating olive oil because they consumed a lot of fruits and vegetables. They also replaced animal fats like butter with olive oil. But olive oil in itself isn’t healthy.

6) Oils release toxic compounds when heated. Many oils become carcinogenic when heated. And yes, every type of oil can withstand a different level of heart. But don’t believe for a second that nothing is happening to your oil when you start heating it. Udo Erasmus, one of the world’s most well-known experts on fats, always recommended to never heat any fat. He said: “If health is what we want, water is the only oil appropriate for frying. We’re back to steaming, poaching, boiling, or pressure cooking our foods. Or, even better in most cases, eating them raw.”

What about essential fats?

It’s true, we need some fats for good health. But all whole foods contain them to a certain degree, and in the perfect omega 3/6 ratio. Additional fats should come from whole foods such as: nuts, seeds, avocados, etc. Those foods can be consumed in smaller quantities and people who want faster results should avoid them completely.

Should you believe what I say about olive oil and other vegetable oils?

Here’s a partial list of doctors that agree with this no-oil approach:

T. Colin Campbell? – Dr. John McDougall? – Dr. Douglas Graham? – Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn? – Dr. Neal Barnard? – Dr. Joel Fuhrman? – Dr. Michael Klaper

I could list even more, but if you want more information, you can start
there.

If you’re very active and burn a lot of calories, a bit of olive oil won’t hurt you. But try giving it up and you’ll notice that your taste for oil will disappear. If you crave something fatty, have a whole food like a bit of nut butter, for example.

Ditch the oil and your taste buds will adapt! You’ll eventually find it strange to add oil to a salad, for example…

But always remember to enjoy your food!

Frederic

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