THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
With a Foreword by Beyonce, and an Introduction by Dr. Dean Ornish
A groundbreaking vegan program designed to transform your mental, emotional, and physical health in just 22 days.
Founded on the principle that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit, The 22-Day Revolution is a plant-based diet designed to create lifelong habits that will empower you to live a healthier lifestyle, to lose weight, or to reverse serious health concerns. The benefits of a vegan diet cannot be overstated, as it has been proven to help prevent cancer, lower cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of heart disease, decrease blood pressure, and even reverse diabetes.
As one of today’s most sought-after health experts, exercise physiologist Marco Borges has spent years helping his exclusive list of high-profile clients permanently change their lives and bodies through his innovative methods. Celebrities from Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Jennifer Lopez, and Pharrell Williams, to Gloria Estefan, and Shakira have all turned to him for his expertise. Beyonce is such an avid supporter that she's partnered with Borges to launch 22 Days Nutrition, his plant-based home delivery meal service.
Now, for the first time, Borges unveils his coveted and revolutionary manifesto, featuring the comprehensive fundamentals of starting a plant-based diet. Inside, you’ll find motivating strategies, benefits and tips for staying the course, delicious recipes, and a detailed 22-day meal plan. With this program, you will lead a healthier, more energetic, and more productive life—helping you to live the life you want, not just the one you have.
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Marco Borges is an exercise physiologist, founder of 22 Days Nutrition, author and plant-based living advocate. Passionate about guiding people to develop healthier lifestyles, he has spent the last 20 years as a lifestyle coach and touring the world empowering others with tools for ultimate wellness. He is also the author of Power Moves: The Four Motions To Transform Your Body For Life. He lives in Miami with his wife and their three sons.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
ALSO BY MARCO BORGES
CONCLUSION: TART YOUR REVOLUTION TODAY!
I WAS BORN AND RAISED in Houston, and if there’s one thing we love in Texas, it’s good food. Food has always been at the heart of my family, and it played a big role in my upbringing. We celebrated, bonded, commiserated, and loved one another through food—and not necessarily the healthy kind. Our hometown favorites were fried chicken, fajita tacos, BBQ burgers, BBQ ribs, fried shrimp, and po’boy sandwiches. Growing up, I was always on the move and didn’t always make the right choices when it came to food and may have even developed some habits around it that were silently sabotaging my health as I grew older.
After having my daughter, I made a conscious effort to regain control of my health and my body. But I didn’t want to do a crash diet. I was a mom now. I needed to change my ways and set an example for my child. So I turned to no one other than my good friend and fitness and nutrition confidant, Marco Borges. I’ve worked with him for years to keep me on-track, motivated, and ahead of the health game. Yet, as much as I follow and trust his advice, when I would hear him talk about the amazing benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, I would think, that sounds amazing. I would love to experience those benefits, and while I can incorporate those good foods into my life, I knew I could never eat that way. I love food too much. Something needed to happen for me to come around. I needed to be ready.
A year later (around November 2013), my husband and I decided we wanted to try a completely plant-based diet with Marco. I had lost my pregnancy weight with his help, through an exercise-and-nutrition program, and was ready for another challenge. I decided I wanted to take a more proactive role in my health, and knowing all the amazing benefits, I knew this was the one. I was ready.
And so the journey began that helped me get into the best shape of my life. Little did I know the long-lasting effects it would have. I thought, like with most diets, I would feel deprived and hate food, that I would miss out on restaurants and celebrations, that I would get headaches and be irritable, etc. I was wrong about all of that. It took a few days to adjust, but what I discovered was increased energy, better sleep, weight loss, improved digestion, clarity, and an incredibly positive feeling for my actions and the effects it would have on those around me and the environment. I couldn’t believe how much of our health we can control with food. And that I could still love food but this time it would love me back (like the walnut tacos you’ll find in here, oh my!!). We even celebrated my husband’s birthday with an all-vegan party. I can still see the reaction on our friend’s faces. Some were extremely excited while others had some reservations, but in the end, we all enjoyed it immensely. My greatest discovery was that I would benefit from the best gift I could give myself and my family—my health.
I’m sharing my experience because I want the best for everyone, and I would like for anyone who thinks that this isn’t for them, even though they may know of the incredible benefits, that they can do it. You deserve to give yourself the best life you can. Empowerment starts within you and your decisions. You can control the quality of your life with the food you eat. The truth is that if a Houston-born foodie like me can do it, you can too—you just need to try it for 22 days.
I WELCOME THIS OPPORTUNITY TO write the introduction to this important book, as awareness is the first step in healing.
For almost four decades, my colleagues and I at the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute and the University of California, San Francisco have conducted clinical research proving the many benefits of comprehensive lifestyle changes. These include:
In short—eat well, move more, stress less, and love more.
Many people tend to think of advances in medicine as high-tech and expensive, such as a new drug, laser, or surgical procedure. We often have a hard time believing that something as simple as comprehensive lifestyle changes can make such a powerful difference in our lives—but they often do.
In our research, we’ve used high-tech, expensive, state-of-the-art scientific measures to prove the power of these simple, low-tech, and low-cost interventions. These randomized controlled trials and other studies have been published in the leading peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals.
In addition to preventing many chronic diseases, these comprehensive lifestyle changes can often reverse the progression of these illnesses.
We proved, for the first time, that lifestyle changes alone can reverse the progression of even severe coronary heart disease. There was even more reversal after five years than after one year and 2.5 times fewer cardiac events. We also found that these lifestyle changes can reverse type 2 diabetes and may slow, stop, or even reverse the progression of early-stage prostate cancer.
Changing lifestyle actually changes your genes—turning on genes that keep you healthy, and turning off genes that promote heart disease, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and diabetes—more than five hundred genes in only three months. People often say, “Oh, it’s all in my genes. There’s not much I can do about it.” But there is. Knowing that changing lifestyle changes our genes is often very motivating—not to blame, but to empower. Our genes are a predisposition, but our genes are not our fate.
Our latest research found that these diet and lifestyle changes may even lengthen telomeres, the ends of your chromosomes that control aging. As your telomeres get longer, your life gets longer. This was the first controlled study showing that any intervention may begin to reverse aging on a cellular level by lengthening telomeres. And the more people adhered to these lifestyle recommendations, the longer their telomeres became.
This is a different approach to personalized medicine. It’s not like there was one set of dietary recommendations for reversing heart disease, a different one for reversing diabetes, and yet another for changing your genes or lengthening your telomeres. In all of our studies, people were asked to consume a whole-foods, plant-based diet like the one described in this book. It’s as though your body knows how to personalize the medicine it needs if you give it the right raw materials in your diet and lifestyle.
It’s not all or nothing. In all of our studies, we found that the more people changed their diets and lifestyles, the more they improved and the better they felt—at any age. If you indulge yourself one day, eat healthier the next.
These lifestyle changes are part of the most influential trend in medicine today—what is known as “Lifestyle Medicine,” which is lifestyle as treatment as well as prevention.
And what’s good for you is good for our planet. To the degree we transition toward a whole-foods, plant-based diet, it not only makes a difference in our own lives; it also makes a difference in the lives of many others across the globe.
The crises in global warming, health-care costs, and energy resources can feel overwhelming: “What can I do as one person to make a difference?” This may lead to inaction, depression, and even nihilism.
However, when we realize that something as primal as what we choose to put in our mouths each day makes a difference in all three of these crises, it empowers us and imbues these choices with meaning. If it’s meaningful, then it’s sustainable—and a meaningful life is a longer life.
More than 75 percent of the $2.8 trillion in annual U.S. health-care costs (mostly sick-care costs) are from chronic diseases that can often be prevented and even reversed by eating a plant-based diet at a fraction of the costs.
For example, in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study, patients who adhered to healthy dietary principles (low meat consumption and high intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain bread), never smoked, were not overweight, and had at least thirty minutes a day of physical activity had a 78 percent lower overall risk of developing a chronic disease. This included a 93 percent reduced risk of diabetes, an 81 percent lower risk of heart attacks, a 50 percent reduction in risk of stroke, and a 36 percent overall reduction in risk of cancer, compared with participants without these healthy factors.
Another recent study of more than twenty thousand men found that those who didn’t have much belly fat and who had a healthy diet, didn’t smoke, and exercised moderately reduced their risk of a heart attack by 80 percent.
It’s not just low-fat versus low-carb. A new study found that animal protein dramatically increases the risk of premature death independent of fat and carbs. In a study of more than six thousand people, those aged fifty to sixty-five who reported eating diets high in animal protein had a 75 percent increase in overall mortality, a 400 percent increase in cancer deaths, and a 500 percent increase in type 2 diabetes during the following eighteen years.
At the same time that the power of comprehensive lifestyle changes is becoming more well documented, the limitations of high-tech medicine are becoming clearer.
For example, randomized controlled trials have shown that angioplasties, stents, and coronary bypass surgery do not prolong life or prevent heart attacks in most stable patients. Only one out of forty-nine people with early-stage prostate cancer and PSA levels below ten may benefit from surgery or radiation. Also, type 2 diabetes and prediabetes are pandemic, affecting almost one half of Americans, yet drug treatments to lower blood sugar do not prevent the complications of diabetes nearly as well as lowering blood sugar with diet and lifestyle. United Health Care estimated that if current trends continue, the costs of type 2 diabetes will be $3.3 trillion by 2020, which is clearly not sustainable.
Lifestyle medicine is cost effective as well as medically effective. Our research has shown that when comprehensive lifestyle changes are offered as treatment (not just as prevention), significant cost savings occur in the first year because the biological mechanisms that control our health and well-being are so dynamic.
For example, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield found that overall health-care costs were reduced by 50 percent in the first year when people with heart disease or risk factors went through our lifestyle program in twenty-four hospitals and clinics in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Nebraska. In patients who spent more than $25,000 on health care in the prior year, costs were reduced 400 percent in the following year. In another study, Mutual of Omaha found that they saved $30,000 per patient in the first year in those who went through our lifestyle program.
Because of these findings, we are grateful that Medicare began covering our program of lifestyle medicine in 2010. If it’s reimbursable, it’s sustainable. (For more information, please go to www.ornish.com.)
Many people are surprised to learn that animal agribusiness generates more greenhouse gases than all forms of transportation combined. The livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire global transportation chain as measured in carbon dioxide equivalent (18 percent versus 13.5 percent). More recent estimates are that these numbers are even higher—that livestock and their by-products may actually account for more than 50 percent of annual worldwide greenhouse-gas emissions (at least 32.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year).
It is also responsible for 37 percent of all the human-induced methane, which is twenty-three times more toxic to the ozone layer than carbon dioxide, as well as generating 65 percent of the human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the global-warming potential of carbon dioxide. Nitrous oxide and methane mostly come from manure, and fifty-six billion “food animals” produce a lot of manure each day.
Also, livestock now use 30 percent of the earth’s entire land surface, mostly for permanent pasture but also including 33 percent of global arable land to produce feed for them. As forests are cleared to create new pastures for livestock, it is a major driver of deforestation: some 70 percent of forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing.
More than half of U.S. grain and nearly 40 percent of world grain is being fed to livestock rather than being consumed directly by humans. In the United States, more than eight billion livestock are maintained; these livestock eat about seven times as much grain as is consumed directly by the entire U.S. population.
Producing one kg of fresh beef requires about thirteen kg of grain and thirty kg of forage. This much grain and forage requires a total of 43,000 liters of water.
So, to the degree we choose to eat a plant-based diet, we free up tremendous amounts of resources that can benefit many others as well as ourselves. I find this very meaningful. And when we can act more compassionately, it helps our hearts as well.
We’re always making choices in our lives. If what we gain is more than what we give up, then it’s sustainable. Because these underlying biological mechanisms are so dynamic, if you eat and live this way for just 22 days, you’re likely to feel so much better, so quickly, you’ll find that these are choices worth making—not from fear of dying but from joy of living.
For all these reasons and more, this is the right book at the right time. It can help transform your life for the better.
Marco Borges embodies the core values that he writes about in this book. What he describes here can make a powerful difference in your health and well-being.
The Harvard Health Professionals Study and the Harvard Nurses Health Study followed more than thirty-seven thousand men and eighty-three thousand women for almost three million person-years. They found that that consumption of both processed and unprocessed red meat is associated with an increased risk of premature mortality from all causes as well as from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
And it’s not just the arteries in your heart that get clogged on a diet high in red meat. Erectile dysfunction—impotence—is significantly higher in meat eaters. In men forty to seventy, more than half report problems with erectile dysfunction.
Good news: according to the Massachusetts Male Aging Study, eating a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains and fish—with less red and processed meats and fewer refined grains—significantly decreased the likelihood of impotence.
It’s not all or nothing. Start with a meatless Monday (or Tuesday or Wednesday). To the degree you move in this direction, there is a corresponding benefit.
You’ll look be...
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