How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease

Read in Jul 2017
Book by Michael Greger published in 2015

I try my best to write a short summary/review of the books I read, and this is one of them. I typically publish them on Goodreads, but also sync them to here.

Since learning the environmental impact of the meat industry, e.g. 2/3 of feed grown in the US providing feed for animals, and that it takes 8 pounds of feed plus thousands of liters of water per pound of beef—I've been more interested in experimenting with a casually vegan diet at home. I like to experiment in the kitchen, and not cooking with meat is an interesting constraint. This book argues for the health side of the equation. In the past, I've primarily stumbled upon the environmental impact of animal-based products. I still find meat delicious and will eat it out, but will make an attempt to cook little meat at home and assert the health impact (e.g. more/less energy, athletic performance, etc).

Dr. Gregor kept coming up in my research, and this book is a good summary of his findings here. This man is a voracious reader of nutrition papers, to say the least, it's unbelievable what he's been able to consume. I sampled a couple of the papers he referenced, and I would be somewhat more comfortable if more of them had been meta-studies. That said, through my research, it's quite difficult to find credible studies that advocate for the inclusion of animal-based products in a healthy diet. I'll continue my search, but I wish Gregor would include a chapter on this (it's clear he's convinced, but how did he get so convinced?) with a more nuanced view. I like that he doesn't outright reject the consumption of these foods, but see them as an opportunity cost to eat something much better for you (and points out how). I got fatigued from the amount of "this reduces cancer" in this book, so I mostly skimmed the chapters on reducing various types of cancer and spent more time on the nutritional recommendations. Since I love setting constraints for myself in the kitchen, I'll likely attempt to adhere to some of his guidelines over the coming weeks to see how I like it—but I'll need to consume more information to know if this has the claimed health impact.