Charles R. Attwood is a well-respected vegetarian doctor who at one point owned and operated one of the most lucrative pediatric clinics in the United States. His practice was so successful that he began writing about the achievements in articles published in the Medical Economics Magazine.
The physician eventually penned a book entitled, Dr. Attwood’s Low-Fat Prescription Diet for Kids, leading him on a nationwide book tour that unbeknownst to him would change his career path forever.
“You may ask, ‘Why leave a million dollar practice to go on the road and promote this new lifestyle?’ The answer may surprise you. While researching my book, it dawned upon me that the greatest health risk of my patients was not the ear infections, colds, strep throats and allergies that so filled my daily office schedule,” said Attwood in a second book entitled, A Vegetarian Doctor Speaks Out.
A plant-based diet is the key to longevity, says vegetarian doctor
“The real health risk for children, as well as their parents and grandparents, is a group of preventable, but fatal, chronic diseases. Heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes would account for the adult premature deaths of 75 percent of the children in my waiting room. The same was true of their families. And I knew that it was all basically preventable.”
Attwood says he felt empowered during his book tour to share his knowledge on certain causes of chronic disease.
“Though many people would read my book, something very special seemed to happen when I stood before a group of people to lecture on the life-saving benefits of proper nutrition for them and their children.
“Their attention seemed to be riveted on what I was saying. I felt that I was passing something on to them, over and above what they may have read in my books and essays.”
Regular consumption of meat and dairy is linked to chronic health problems
“By looking into the faces of those attending my lectures, watching them nod with approval, I’ve been able to sustain this mounting load of evidence that our lives are increasingly at risk from a steady diet of meat and dairy products.”
Attwood says that by sharing his knowledge about the cause-and-effect relationship of certain lifestyle factors and the risk for early death, his students would become part of this journey and go on to share that information with people around the world.
The physician maintains that “a plant-based diet is necessarily a part of the ultimate lifestyle for a long and fulfilled life.”
“A plant-based diet is really very simplified calculations. The vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes do it all for you. There’s no need to count calories, grams of fat or protein, or worry about vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, or phytochemicals.
“They’re all there, along with nutrients that have not yet been named, or even discovered, in the proper amounts, not too much, not too little. When you eat more fruits and vegetables to get more beta-carotene, you not only increase your intake of the other antioxidants, but you also get other protective substances that have not yet been fully studied,” writes Attwood.
Young children with high cholesterol levels
Attwood recalls an impacting moment in his career when he observed something incredibly rare. He was a med student at the time, performing his very first autopsy on a 9-year-old girl who had died from bacterial meningitis.
Upon opening up her heart, he noticed a visible yellow streak in the interior wall of the artery. His professor clearly pointed out that it was cholesterol and that finding it in a child of that age was extremely rare – so rare that the “specimen was later added to the school’s collection of medical rarities.”
But Attwood would later learn that the condition wasn’t so rare after all.
“At that same time, unknown to all of us, autopsies were finding far greater deposits of fat in the arteries of the majority of American soldiers killed in Korea, their average age was twenty-one.”
More evidence appeared in a leading medical journal, but was still ignored by doctors, says Attwood.
“When the same findings were reported fifteen years later, during the Vietnam War, again, it was hardly noticed. Here, their Asian counterparts were also examined and found to have clean arteries.”
The results of a 25-year study would soon shed light on the phenomenon. The Bogalusa Heart Study found that children who consume “a typical American diet have fatty deposits in their coronary arteries by age three.
“By age twelve, when most are entering junior high school, 70 percent have coronary fatty deposits. The deposits become much thicker and complex by the mid-teens, and virtually every adult has them by the age of twenty-one.”
Attwood says the high cholesterol was caused by a diet high in saturated fat and animal proteins, thus contributing to the preventable rise in early death.
Following a plant-based diet is much easier when you grow your own food, because you can sleep peacefully knowing that it’s chemical free and therefore more nutritious.