Maintaining an organic, plant-based diet has a number of health benefits, but there is one in particular that could impact millions of people worldwide.
A study recently published in the British Medical Journal found that people who have diets high in read meat are more likely to develop cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease, diabetes and other life-threatening illnesses. The study spanned nearly two decades and tracked the eating habits of more than half-a-million adults between the ages of 50 and 71.
The negative impacts that red meat can have on our health are quickly making headlines. And while I’ve been a Pescatarian for years, my real wake up call about the dangers of red meat – and even fish – came when I meet the Indian humanitarian and spiritual leader, Amma.
“Mother” Says Eat Your Vegetables
Amma, which means “mother” in different languages, is a Hindu spiritual leader and guru. She believes in the power of love and compassion and has hugged more than 31 million people worldwide to share her healing energy.
While Amma is well known for her healing embraces and embodiment of pure love, the spiritual leader is now hoping she can help heal millions of people suffering from cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
Amma was recently in the San Francisco Bay Area to speak with a select group of individuals on the healing properties of an organic, plant-based diet.
“Diet is one of the main causes for many food challenges,” Amma said. “A lot of anxiety, mental disturbances and temper problems are caused due to an improper diet. When people adopt an organic, vegetarian diet though, they become much calmer and feel better.”
Amma shared a list of fruit juices that she recommends drinking each morning. The list included fruits such as pomegranates, pineapples, watermelon, cranberries, lemons, oranges, strawberries, blueberries and dates. She believes that starting each day with fruits such as these will help prevent and even help cure illnesses like cancer.
Amma also elaborated on the healing benefits of turmeric and Indian Tulsi (holy basil). Both of these herbs are preventers of cancer. In Hindu mythology, Tulsi means “matchless,” as Amma explained that there is no medicine in the world that is equivalent to Tulsi.
One of the first proponents of eating organic food was Max Gerson, MD, who instructed his cancer patients to eat organic fruits and vegetables, starting in the 1920s. Interest in organic food dramatically increased in the 1960s, when several pesticides and fertilizers were found to be toxic for humans or animals.
Today, many people choose organic foods because they believe that these options are more nutritious and contain fewer toxins from additives and pesticides. Yet, there is no clear evidence that organic foods are more effective in reducing the risk of cancer when compared to foods produced by other farming methods.
Amma, however, strongly believes in the importance of growing one’s own organic produce.
“Growing organic fruits and vegetables on one’s own is a practical step we can all take to help restore the lost harmony between humanity and nature,” Amma explained.
In February 2013, Amma launched an initiative to promote the cultivation of organic food in Kerala, India. Volunteers distributed free seeds to 10,000 women so they could grow organic vegetables to feed their families.
Now, Amma is looking towards the San Francisco Bay Area to continue growing fruits and vegetables to help heal those in need. California’s temperate weather makes the area an ideal location to grow organic produce.
Rafael Galiano and John Martin are the owners of Park Winters, a country estate located in Winters, California (right outside the San Francisco Bay Area). Rafael and John grow a variety of organic produce to serve their guests during farm to table dinners at Park Winters.
“At Park Winters, we grow organic vegetables and fruit. In order to serve food at it’s peak ripeness, we pick it the on the day of our Farm Dinners. Guests are blown away by the exquisite taste and freshness. In today’s world, this very basic concept has become novel. The most normal thing is for people to pick ripe food and eat it, but with all the commercialism we’ve lost the connection with nature and growing food. When people experience this, it truly feeds the soul,” Rafael explained.
Park Winters serves as a prime example of what Amma hopes to see more of in the future – people who grown their own organic produce, not only for health benefits, but also to help reconnect with the earth.
You Are What You Eat
No matter where we live in the world, Amma ultimately believes that cancer can be prevented – and even cured – through an organic, plant-based diet. Eating organic fruits and vegetables, and incorporating herbs such as turmeric and Indian tulsi, can help us stay healthy and feeling our best.
“Health is the greatest development. If we are physically there, then we can do so many things,” Amma said with a smile.