WFPB(NO) – Part 1

If I told you there’s a miracle drug that can eliminate most cancers and cardiac disease, do away with auto-immune disorders, and reduce the severity of many other illnesses, would you take it?

If I said this drug could eliminate obesity, diabetes, chronic illnesses like fibromyalgia, and inflammatory and auto-immune diseases. Would you take it then?

What if I told you this miracle drug could remove the threat of viruses similar to Sars-Cov-2? That if universally adopted it would remove 50% of greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere, not only helping to cure us, but the planet as well? Would you ingest this drug every single day? I certainly would. In fact I do. Every day.

“There’s no such miracle drug,” you say. “Speaking of drugs, I wonder what he’s on?”

I hear your skepticism. I was there myself two years ago. When I began taking this ‘drug,’ within 6 months my weight dropped from 175 pounds to 135. (true story) I had the deeply weird dilemma of needing to buy smaller pants! Since my heart attack and stent in January of 2018, I’d been on the standard regimen of medications—blood thinners, statins, beta-blockers. But after a year of ingesting this new drug, based on my lab values my cardiac doc took me off all those others! Today, in addition to this miracle drug, I take one 40 mg Nexium a day for GERD. Plus a vitamin B-12. That’s it.

I’m not making this up. By now those of you still reading are scratching your head, wondering where this is going. One final comment, and then I’ll tell you: I never preach about this drug. I encourage people to try it, certainly, but I’m not dogmatic about it. I only know that it works for me, and it will work for you as well.

This ‘drug’ isn’t in your medicine cabinet; it’s in your refrigerator. It’s in your pantry. It’s in the produce aisle at your grocery store. It’s the food!

The miracle drug is a whole food plant-based (WFPB) meal plan. (Notice I didn’t say ‘diet.’ We don’t deny ourselves anything; in fact, we’ve never eaten better in our lives.) Eating WFPB exposes us to well-prepared, extremely tasty, incredibly satisfying meals that can and does accomplish everything I mentioned above. There are hundreds of amazing recipes available, so many we’ll never get to all of them. In fact, one benefit we’ve found to eating WFPB is the change in our tastes, and in our appreciation for the foods we’ve discovered that we never would have tried otherwise. (We have a lentil loaf to die for! Ditto our un-tuna. And our cashew cream is a substitute for lots of things. We even make our own milk with it.)

Note: We’re not Vegans. Commendably, Vegans focus on animal cruelty. We have no issue with that; we, too, feel that it’s time to stop eating animals. But our primary focus is on our health. I’m happy to tell you that our WFPB meal plan is working amazingly well, and we’ve stopped eating animals into the bargain.

The WFPB meal plan works. My wife and I now eat plants. Period. We eat no animal protein, no fish, no meat, no chicken, no tuna, no dairy or eggs, nothing but plant-based protein. We’re healthier, thinner, weigh less, have more energy (out of bed and, ahem, in bed), we enjoy meals that are absolutely delicious and filling, and gorgeous in their presentation. And we’re strangely satisfied that we’re doing our part, albeit a very small part, to address the climate crisis.

Let me address the first question we always get, the one that automatically slips out when we tell others about our WFPB meal plan: Q: “Where do you get your protein?” A: “We get our protein the same place cows, and elephants, and chickens, and great apes do.”

What’s the last time you saw a horse eating a hamburger? Have you ever seen a cow chewing on a steak, or a chicken leg? A goat munching a hot dog?

No, you never did. That’s because they don’t need animal protein, and neither do we.

The point is, humans DO NOT need animal protein. Robust studies show that plants are much more efficient in filling our need for protein. Plant protein is more readily available, and much gentler on the planet than feedlots, pork barns, and factory-farmed chicken, turkey, and other fowl. Factory farms and feedlots damage the environment. They’re cruel to animals, and they put family farms out of business.

Humans are not carnivores. We’ve become carnivorous, that’s true, but we’ve also begun acquiring heart disease, cancers, and the illnesses I mention above. Heart disease now kills an American every 36 seconds! In 2020 there were 1.8 million new cases of cancer. In the U.S., children as young as 10 are presenting with type 2 diabetes! The U.S. rate of obesity now stands at 42%! Obesity costs the U.S. economy 147 Billion dollars per year. For the first time in human history, poor people are fat! They’re fat because of the crap they eat: the processed, over-sugared, hyper-carbed, fat, and chemical-injected garbage that’s been proven to be addictive, thus lucrative, which is why this society has adopted it. Do you want to know why America leads the world in cancers, cardiac illness, obesity, and autoimmune disease? It’s the food!

As I wrote above, we’re not dogmatic about our new miracle drug. We’re happy to share our experience with it, and our advice about it if asked, but we’re not the soapbox type. There are things about eating WFPB that we didn’t anticipate, such as the way our new meal plan changes our social interactions. There’s an increased meal preparation time and a different shopping style. Grocery shopping can be a bit more expensive, but certainly doesn’t have to be.

Would we go back to the so-called Standard American Diet? Never. The SAD is named appropriately; the way we eat is killing us. It’s the food!

In part 2 I’ll share our journey to this new way of eating. I’ll mention the research we did, the books and scientific studies we read, the documentary movies we’ve watched. I’ll list a starter-kit for anyone interested in eating WFPB: Kitchen tools, spices, websites, utensils, shortcuts, NTK tricks, recipes, ways to respond to the trolls and skeptics, and how to read a food label. Changing to a WFPB meal plan is more than just eating differently; it’s a lifestyle change, so you need to understand that.

The caveat is this: Anyone who decides to alter the way they eat needs to know that it affects more than the food. It will improve your health, trim your waistline, raise your energy level, and enhance your feelings about yourself. For us, those changes have all been positive.

Stay tuned for part 2.


Byron Edgington
Byron Edgington
Byron Edgington was a commercial & military helicopter pilot for 50 years. An award-winning writer, he is the author of several books including The Sky Behind Me: a Memoir of Flying and Life, A Vietnam Anthem: What the War Gave Me, Waiting for Willie Pete, a Novel of Vietnam, PostFlight: An Old Pilot’s Logbook, and recently released Journey Well, You Are More Than Enough. Edgington served in the U.S. Army as a helicopter pilot, including a yearlong tour in Vietnam. As a commercial pilot, he flew all over the world, including 20 years of air medical flying in Iowa, news & traffic in several U.S. cities, a stint as a corporate pilot, and three years flying tours on the island of Kauai. After retiring from aviation in 2005, he returned to college and received his Bachelor's Degree in English and creative writing from The Ohio State University at age 63. In 2012 Edgington won the prestigious Bailey Prize in non-fiction from the Swedenborg Foundation Press for his essay titled ‘Lift Off.’ Byron Edgington is married to his best friend, Mariah. He has three daughters, and six grandchildren. Recently returned to the U.S. after living in Medellin Colombia, he now lives and writes in Iowa City Iowa.

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    • Charlotte: Thank you for responding. It’s not easy at times to avoid the preachy bit, but we know it does no good, and could entrench attitudes, and no one needs more of that these days. Especially here in Iowa, folks are wedded to the SAD. They look at our plates and say ‘that’s what food eats’!
      Thanks again for reading.