“Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand…. Simplify, simplify!” –Henry David Thoreau
A very consistent theme that emerges when you explore healthy, sustainable diets is simplicity. The irony is the tougher life gets the simpler we eat. The normal diseases of affluence; obesity, diabetes, heart disease, virtually disappear.
A recent article in The Atlantic outlined a very interesting study conducted on 6,000 Cuban citizens, between 1991 & 2011. When the Soviet Union pulled out in early 1990’s the Cuban economy collapsed.
Cubans became virtual vegans overnight, as meat and dairy products all but vanished from the marketplace.
The economic meltdown should logically have been a public health disaster. But a new study conducted jointly by university researchers in Spain, Cuba, and the U.S. and published in the latest issue of BMJ says that the health of Cubans actually improved dramatically during the years of austerity.
The data showed that, during the period of the economic crisis, deaths from cardiovascular disease and adult-onset type 2 diabetes fell by a third and a half, respectively. Strokes declined more modestly, and overall mortality rates went down.
Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease, by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, outlined a similar study done during WWII in Norway. When the Nazi’s occupied Norway meat & dairy virtually disappeared from the diet as the Germans confiscated livestock for their own use. In that period of abstinence health conditions improved dramatically. It was not until the war ended and the meat & dairy reintroduced that mortality rates spiked back up.
During these tough times people were forced to become vegans, living largely on the food items they could grow, catch and pick for themselves. Meat & Dairy was simply not affordable. In Cuba, the diet reverted to beans, corn & rice. Including high fiber fresh produce and fruits.
This “abrupt downward trend” in illness does not appear to be because of Cuba’s barefoot doctors and vaunted public health system, which is rated amongst the best in Latin America. The researchers say that it has more to do with simple weight loss. Cubans, who were walking and bicycling more after their public transportation system collapsed, and eating less (energy intake plunged from about 3,000 calories per day to anywhere between 1,400 and 2,400, and protein consumption dropped by 40 percent). They lost an average of 12 pounds.” – The Atlantic
During the period of the economic crisis, deaths from cardiovascular disease fell by a third.
Not surprisingly, the diseases of affluence made a comeback as well. Diabetes increased dramatically, and declines in cardiovascular disease slowed to their sluggish pre-1991 levels.
Occam’s razor is the law of succinctness. According to Occam’s Razor, all other things being equal, the simplest theory is the most likely to be true.
Based on the simplest theory:
No Money, No Meat, No Milk, No Heart Disease, No Obesity, No Diabetes