Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Quesnel Observer.

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Quesnel Observer.

FOREST INK: A healthy body especially your lungs may your best line of defence against COVID

Jim Hilton pens a column for the Quesnel Cariboo Observer every week

Now that we are discussing the option of living with COVID, I will be interested in what the research tells us about how any different these new viruses are from the flu.

I did get my three doses of vaccine for COVID but I will be following the results of herd immunity versus vaccination here and around the world before I make a decision since I have never been vaccinated for the flu in the past. What I will be looking at is the most natural way of keeping in good health especially my lungs since that seems to be the main area of concern.

I found a free book at the Seniors Activity Centre and the section on lung diseases were very informative. The lead author of the book “How Not to Die” by Dr. Michael Greger decided to go into medicine because of his grand mother who at age sixty five was sent home to die because the hospitals in Florida could not do anything more for her. The severe scarring from her many by past operations prevented any more help from the invasive practices of the past. After being sent home in a wheel chair with severe chest pain she heard of new clinic in California opened by Nathan Pritikin who had some success in reversing terminal heart disease using a strict plant diet and exercise program.

“Frances Greger from North Miami Florida arrived in Santa Barbara at one of Pritikin’s early sessions in a wheel chair. Mrs Greger had heart disease, angina, and claudication, her condition was so bad she could no longer walk without great pain in her chest and legs.”

Within three weeks she was not only out of the wheel chair she was walking ten miles a day. Thanks to a healthy diet and lifestyle she went on to enjoy another 31 years on this earth with her six grandchildren. A special event for Dr Greger was when his grand mother was able to attend his graduation from medical school. Despite the success of his grandmother and many other patients whose recoveries had been well documented the medical practices were changing very little because he realized there were other forces at work in the medical system besides science. The US health care system runs on a fee for service model which doctors get paid for the pills and procedures they prescribe , rewarding quantity over quality. They don’t get paid for counseling patients about the benefits of healthy eating. If doctors were instead paid for performance there would be a financial incentive to treat lifestyle causes of disease.

The authors also describe the influence of big pharmacy and the corporations who produce, process and distribute most of our medicines and food also rely on our bad habits, addictions and desire for cheap easy to prepare food. Dr. Greger stresses the Simple 7 approach: not smoking, not being obese, getting half hour exercise a day, eating healthier by consuming more fruits, veggies, and whole grains and less meat, having below average cholesterol , having normal blood pressure, and having normal blood sugar levels. The first part of the book explores the role diet can play in the prevention, treatment and reversal of the fifteen leading causes of death in the USA (probably similar in Canada) while the second part describes the way to best prepare and eat the wide variety of whole foods.

Dr. Greger used his medical practice as well as gathering research on the benefits of whole foods and exercise and then spent many hours of his own time to educate young doctors about his findings. Realizing the ability of mass media to spread the word faster than lecturing on the road he was instrumental in establishing “Nutritionfacts.org” which contains thousands of bite sized videos and articles on many facets of nutrition. There is no advertising on the platform, everything is free and any profits from his publications is donated to charities. Now that there are thousands of research trials every year on nutrition Dr. Greger has a dedicated staff and many volunteers to help him read and organize the mass amount of material for presenting to the public.

Jim Hilton is a professional agrologist and forester who has lived and worked in the Cariboo Chilcotin for the past 40 years. Now retired, Hilton still volunteers his skills with local community forests organizations.

READ MORE: FOREST INK: Making forest policy changes can be painfully slow

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Be Among The First To Know

Sign up for a free account today, and receive top headlines in your inbox Monday to Saturday.

Sign Up with google Sign Up with facebook

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Reset your password

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

A link has been emailed to you - check your inbox.

Don't have an account? Click here to sign up