Benefits of Living a Plant-Based Diet
by Dr. Calvin Ng
Doctor of Chiropractic, BS Kinesiology, Professional Applied Kinesiology, Functional Nutrition Specialist, Sacro Occipital Technique, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Functional Range Conditioning Mobility Specialist
Cohn Health Institute
Costa Mesa, CA
Could you tell us a bit about yourself (certifications, where you are from, etc). and your journey to a plant-based lifestyle?
I am a holistic healthcare provider and address the body as a whole, structurally, biochemically, and emotionally. I grew up in San Francisco with Asian immigrant parents who relentlessly worked to secure a better future for my sister and I. My journey of holistic health started when my Dad was diagnosed with Cirrhosis and we were relentlessly trying to find natural remedies and cures because his western medicine doctors said there’s nothing they can do besides medication and organ transplant. In my journey, I have learned that there are three things that cause any disease or disorder, something physical or structural, biochemical, and emotional. My regret is that our family didn’t learn of these concepts in time and my dad eventually did get severely sick, but luckily received a liver transplant. After going through the pain of my dad’s health journey, I vowed to help others find a way to live a high quality of life without having to suffer through chronic illness. I’ve learned that all disease is caused by inflammation and it is an acidic state, so I wanted to find out what would make the body more alkaline. Through researching and personal experimenting, I now promote a plant-based diet for my patients because of anti-inflammatory effects on the body. We live in a world where there are innumerable causes of inflammation and acidity, but by controlling the inflammation through a plant-based diet, we can strengthen the weakest links in the body so it can withstand the environmental causes. I believe that all people deserve to live a life without disease and eating more plants in our diet is critical in that process.
What are the benefits of living a plant-based diet? Why is it worth trying a plant-based diet?
Eating a plant-based diet causes the body to become more alkaline, rather than acidic. In an alkaline body, disease and excess fat does not exist. We know that the in normal physiology, the pH of the blood is slightly alkaline. The Standard American Diet that includes processed products, refined sugars, GMO foods, dairy, non-organic produce, and bad quality meat causes the body to become more acidic due to the inflammation. The leading causes of death in the United States are heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and depression, which are all states of acidity in the body. There’s evidence showing that eating more plants and less meat may help reduce the risk of death from heart disease in the general population. Eating more organic plant-based foods like vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, and seeds, helps the body get back to homeostasis, which is an alkaline state. A plant-based diet helps reduce inflammation in the gut and in visceral fat tissue. Visceral fat is the fatty tissue around organs that build up when we have poor lifestyle habits and they increase the likelihood of chronic illness and disease of organs. When people eat a plant-based diet, the viscera or the organs get a large dose of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients, people may experience an increase in energy, better sleep, less body aches, weight loss, and better mood. This is because the plant-based diet calms the inflammation in the body and promotes health and longevity.
A lot of people might assume that plant-based foods are automatically healthy. What is your guidance for people trying to navigate vegan junk food from healthy eating? Can processed foods be healthy?
Plant-based foods are not the same as vegan or vegetarian. Plant-based means foods that are real, unprocessed, and come from plants. Vegan cookies and ice cream are not plant-based because it’s still processed and likely to have chemicals and sugar in there to make it taste good. What I tell my patients is to eat fresh organic produce and to eat things that are you are grown or harvested. It’s simple and it’s common sense. Cookies and ice cream don’t grow from the ground.
In addition to addressing health issues, what ‘mis-truths’ about nutrition would you like to help dispel, if possible?
There’s no one-size-fits-all diet or way of life. We are all individuals and human beings deserve to be examined and treated as an individual with biodiversity. There are many gurus or experts in the health and nutrition space preaching what works for them is what everybody else should do. I simply point to the data, assess the patient with a comprehensive individualized exam, and allow their body to tell us the answers. The doctor does not have the answers, the patient’s body does. Once we can recognize this concept, we can accept that many different diets and ways of eating work for different people, and that people don’t have a drug or vaccine deficiency. However, with that being said, one thing we know from all cultures and diets is that eating more plants promote better health.
- Mis-truth: you can only get adequate protein from meat.
- Mis-truth: if you don’t eat meat, you’ll be deficient in B12.
- Mis-truth: people who don’t eat meat under-perform in sports performance compared to meat eaters.
So many popular plant-based foods aren’t necessarily grown locally. How do you ensure that the foods you eat are both nutritious and also sustainable?
Always choose organic and shop at the farmers’ markets as much as possible for local and seasonal produce.
Based on your experience in nutrition and current trends, what do you think is the future of the plant-based food system and veganism in the next 10 years?
I think we are going through a major shift in consciousness and awareness about all the things we’ve been doing wrong the whole time. Many people are starting to look into spirituality practice and realizing that we are energetic spiritual beings trapped in a physical body in this moment in time. As the research continues with quantum physics, energy, frequency, and vibration, more people will continue to discover that eating plants will raise our energy, frequency, and vibration. People are seeking for truth and seeking for higher consciousness more so than ever before, and I think a plant-based lifestyle will be an integral part in this transformational process.
Also, the general population is sicker than ever despite the advancements in modern medicine and the food industry. This is already raising a lot of awareness of the fact that people didn’t have a medicine deficiency, but rather a real-food deficiency and chemical toxicity.
What are some simple hacks you suggest to add more plant-based foods into your diet?
- Drink organic plant-based raw vegetables and fruit smoothies or shakes first thing in the morning and in between meals to keep the blood sugar up.
- Replace any processed snack foods with raw vegetables and hummus.
- Replace half the meat and refined carbohydrates with real plant foods.
- Drink organic raw cold-pressed juices
- Instead of ice cream, get superfood smoothie bowls
How can our readers detox on a plant-based or vegan diet? Any recommendations?
- People really need to get checked by a holistic doctor who assesses and treats the body physically, biochemically, and emotionally. Find a doctor who can specifically test the body to see if the body actually needs detox and if it does, what the body needs.
- Plant-based diet is already naturally detoxifying.
- Infrared light beds and saunas are going to be an important part in healthcare in the future for detox, rejuvenation, and anti-oxidizing purposes.
- Juice cleanses and fasts are some of my favorite ways.
How can our readers build up their immune system on a plant-based or vegan diet? Any recommendations?
In addition to eating a plant-based diet, people need to exercise daily, meditate or have a spiritual practice, take cold showers, and get emotionally cleared. Cold showers have been shown to build resiliency, up-regulate natural immunity, and balance hormones. Emotions and stress are a huge part of a decreased immune system because in a state of sympathetic dominance or fight-or-flight, the body releases cortisol, which is inflammatory and will start to break down tissue.
Can you share some plant-based diet recipes? Maybe you have some that are your favorites. Are there any plant-based foods that you like to include on a daily basis?
- I always recommend eating plentiful of greens because it’s one of the most nutrient-dense category of foods, so it’s good bang for the buck.
- I like doing beets and beet leafs because they help the liver and gallbladder detox and flush out toxins that we’re exposed to on a daily basis.
What would be your number one top for anybody looking to adopt a whole food plant-based diet?
Let yourself go slow and learn each recipe and ingredient so you understand what the power and effects are, which makes it more meaningful to you when you eat because you will understand how and why you’re nourishing your body.
Are there any supplements or vitamins that are required when it comes to a plant-based diet?
There are always because it’s impossible to fill in all the gaps in the diet. They supplement the a good diet so take people’s health to the next level. They are also beneficial when someone has issues with their biochemistry that need a boost. However, supplements should always be tested to see whether it’s actually beneficial for the patient. Otherwise, they can be useless or harmful.
Speaking of supplements and vitamins, chlorophyll is the foundation of plants, would you recommend adding liquid chlorophyll + water to your diet? What are the benefits of chlorophyll water?
Yes, I would recommend it because I think most people are deficient in greens and chlorophyll. Chlorophyll
actually helps the functioning of the ileocecal valve (ICV) , which is between the small and the large intestine. The ICV plays an important part in the overall health of the human body because it determines if nutrients have adequate time for absorption or if waste get’s backed up in the gut. ICV issues can cause a myriad of symptoms and it’s commonly called “The Great Mimicker” because so many health complaints can be traced back to having a component of a malfunctioning ICV. A malfunctioning ICV can be caused by stress, physical injury to the area, excess weight, and poor eating habits. Chlorophyll
is one of the oldest ancient remedies for ICV and gut issues.
What are your favorite plant based or vegan books, podcasts or websites you recommened?
- Medical medium
- Rich Roll podcast
- Book: How not to die
- Fork over knives
Where can we find you on social media? (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter)
- IG, FB, Twitter: @DrCalvinNg