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There’s something incredibly moving about a powerful quote. A string of well-chosen words has the ability to open eyes, minds, and hearts to a cause. They can also add fuel to your fire, giving you the momentum, you need to continue toward a goal. Whether used to motivate, inspire, or shed light, words are a powerful tool.

In this post, I’ve rounded up some of the most powerful quotes about food and nutrition. These are some of the words that made me stand up and take notice. Some affected me so deeply that they’ve become words to live by. Words that guide my actions and keep me on course. So, let’s get to it, 10 powerful quotes that will change the way you think about food.

Quote #1

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We should all be eating fruits and vegetables as if our lives depend on it – because they do.

-Dr Michael Greger

This powerful quote, from his book “How Not to Die” is one that resonated so deeply with me. For those of you who may not know, Dr. Greger is the creator of nutritionfacts.org. He and his team pour over every English language study published on nutrition each and every year. They then take the findings and distill them down into short videos that even those without a science degree can understand and implement.

If there’s anyone out there who can make such a bold claim as this, it’s Dr. Greger. The fact is, a large body of evidence exists that demonstrates the importance of fruits and vegetables (and the nutrients, antioxidants and phytochemicals they contain) to human health and longevity. It may sound like common sense (and surely it should be), but it’s advice that few actually take to heart.

One of the best things you can do for your health is to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. They flood your body with necessary nutrients, fight inflammation and oxidative stress, support immune function and so much more. The list of benefits is endless. Your mother was right folks, eat your vegetables (and fruits)!

Quote #2

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Drinking milk for the nutrients is like inhaling cigarette smoke for the oxygen.

– Dr. Milton Mills

This powerful quote is from his interview in the documentary “What the Health”. What he’s getting at here is that while consuming milk, you’re also consuming substances that are harmful to your health and increase your risk for disease. Any nutrients found in dairy products can also be found in plants, and thus, consumed in a healthier way.

Dr. Milton Mills talks about how dairy products are unnatural foods for humans to consume. We are the only species on the planet that drinks milk beyond weaning age, and from another mammal. A strange phenomenon considering that about two-thirds of all humans are lactose intolerant. Meaning they lack the enzymes to properly digest and tolerate milk.

He goes on to mention that “if you look worldwide, those nations that consume the most dairy foods also have the highest incidents of osteoporosis.” Suggesting that dairy consumption is not keeping our bones strong and healthy, as marketing by the dairy industry would have you believe.

Quote # 3

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Genetics load the gun, lifestyle pulls the trigger

Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn

This is one of my favourite quotes because if you stop for a minute to unpack the meaning, it’s a very empowering message. We live in an age where rates of disease are constantly on the rise, many of which are directly related to lifestyle. But many will point out that these diseases have a genetic component.

While this may be true, that is only one part of the story. Genetics do play a role in our lives and our health, but to what degree certain genes are expressed or activated depends on our lifestyle choices. In fact, some of the leading chronic diseases today can be halted and even reversed with positive lifestyle changes. This may be more challenging than taking a pill, but it offers significant benefits to quality of life and longevity.

Instead of leaving our health destiny up to fate, we have the power to make choices that can significantly reduce our risk for certain diseases, whether or not they exist in our family tree.

Quote #4

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First, nutrition is the master key to human health. Second, what most of us think of as proper nutrition–isn’t.

Dr. T Colin Campbell

This powerful quote, from the book “Whole – Rethinking the Science of Nutrition” is so poignant and true. While many are starting to come to the realization that nutrition plays a huge role in our overall health, some are still sadly oblivious to this fact. Failure to recognize the role that nutrition plays leaves people walking around believing they are victims of their genetics or just bad luck. This is terribly sad because we do have a large amount of control over our health destiny.

The sadder part still is that even for those who do recognize that nutrition is important, it is exceptionally difficult for them to get good, consistent nutritional advice. Most of what society believes about nutrition comes from marketing. Messages like “Milk does a body good” are not rooted in truth, they’re simply slogans designed to sell you a product. Similarly, we receive nutrition messages from ‘gurus’ trying to sell us on the newest fad diet, or a product they have for sale. It’s all part of a sales strategy. For example, someone writes a book warning people about the dangers of lectins (thoroughly debunked, for the record). Then they offer a solution, a specialized line of ‘lectin-blocking’ vitamins.

This problem even extends into the government issued nutrition guidelines. In the western world, the meat and dairy industries drop millions of dollars on lobbyists. The lobbyists are tasked with ensuring their products make it into the dietary recommendations and blocking any legislation that would hurt their profit margins.

These actions muddy the waters enough that most people get frustrated and have no idea what guidelines to follow. We have to remember that these industries are concerned about profits, not the health of consumers.

Quote #5

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Mother Nature’s powers cannot be stuffed into a pill.

-Dr. Michael Greger

I can’t even express in words how much I love this powerful quote. Succinct and to the point, it highlights an issue rampant in the health and wellness space today. Have you ever noticed how much of a health food store is dedicated to supplements and pills? Typically, more space is allotted to these products than actual health foods themselves. Why? Because there’s a lot more money to be made from those pills and powders than from whole foods like broccoli and berries.

It also speaks to society’s desire for a quick fix or a magic pill. Many of us live at an almost constantly frenetic pace. The idea of trying to fit healthy eating habits into that kind of lifestyle is overwhelming. This makes us far more susceptible to the marketing of these products, promising us wonderful results if we take their pills or consume their powders. It’s a lot easier than adopting a healthy lifestyle, right?

Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for supplements, but they aren’t the magic pills they are marketed to be. When it comes to nutrition, we have to remember that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. When we try to identify and isolate beneficial compounds in whole foods, we rob ourselves of all of what that food truly has to offer. The health benefits of a food item are not related simply to one compound or another, but all of the components acting together in synergy. So, we need to start viewing supplements for what they are, an inferior imitation of the real thing. Whole foods are far superior and cannot be mimicked in a factory.

Quote #6

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The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.

– Ann Wigmore

I’m not sure there is a time in history where this is truer than today. You can’t go anywhere without encountering multiple fast-food restaurants hocking highly processed food-like items. They’re high in calories but practically void of any real nutrients.

The supermarket isn’t much better. Sure, you’ll find real food there, but only in a fraction of the store. The rest of the shelves are packed with packaged and processed foods. These are loaded with fat, salt and sugar that gets us hooked and eventually makes us sick. Not to mention the chemical additives and residues that help accelerate this process. They really can be considered a form of poison.

On the other hand, natural foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, have repeatedly been shown to offer us immense health benefits. Not only to help avoid disease but in many cases, reverse it too. Something worth considering as you peruse the aisles of the grocery store.

Quote #7

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The beef industry has contributed to more American deaths than all the wars of this century, all natural disasters, and all auto-mobile accidents combined. If beef is your idea of “real food for real people” you’d better live real close to a real good hospital.

– Dr. Neal Barnard

This powerful quote speaks to the fact that many people still believe that red meat is an important part of their diet. However, the science suggests otherwise. Eating red meat has been shown to increase your chance of death in general, death from cardiovascular disease and death from cancer. This is, in part, due to the saturated fat and cholesterol it contains, as well as the byproduct TMAO that is produced when you digest it.

The IARC has also tagged red meat as a group 2A carcinogen. This means that there is evidence to suggest that it probably causes cancer in humans. Processed meat, on the other hand, was tagged as a group 1 carcinogen. This means that there is sufficient scientific evidence to suggest that it does cause cancer in humans.

While society still seems to believe they require protein from meat to be healthy, it’s actually robbing them of valuable years. Why take the risk with meat when you can get more than enough protein from plants. Beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, nuts and seeds are all rich in protein. You’ll also find it in whole grains and some vegetables. These foods are also associated with numerous health benefits. This is due to the fact that they are free from cholesterol, contain lower amounts of fat (especially saturated fat) and are high in fibre.

Quote #8

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Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.

– Albert Einstein

Interesting to see that even in Einstein’s time, there was some understanding that meat was not an ideal food for human health or for the planet. This powerful quote speaks to that. Today, the meat industry continues to try and sew confusion. They do this by funding studies that are designed to make their products look less harmful. It’s important to note that studies funded by industry are not required to disclose findings that would paint their products in a bad light.

If we look at the production of meat, it takes more space, more natural resources and leaves behind more pollution and destruction of the earth. In fact, animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all forms of transportation combined.  The water it takes to produce one hamburger could provide 2 months of showers. The land used to produce 375 lbs of meat, could instead produce 37,000 lbs of plant-based food. Simply put, it’s not a sustainable way to feed the planet.

Quote #9

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Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.

-Hippocrates

An old notion by Hippocrates himself, but a powerful quote that still rings true. Too often these days an ailment or even a mild symptom is instantly treated with pills. Think about it, when was the last time you left the doctor’s office without a prescription?

This is often due to the limited time a doctor has with each patient. It’s a lot faster to hand over a slip of paper than to counsel a patient on proper nutrition. Often ailments can be treated with some tweaks or additions to the diet. Real foods are far more powerful than we give them credit for.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for prescription medication. In some cases, they can legitimately save your life. We just tend to be too dependent on them for everything from a stuffy nose to sore muscles. It’s important to remember that they come with side effects. As such, they shouldn’t be the first option for minor issues.

Quote #10

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Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.

– Jim Rohn

This powerful quote is pretty direct and to the point, which I love. All too often we forget this simple concept as we continue to indulge in foods that offer our body nothing, all because they taste good.

When you stop to think about it, your body is pretty amazing. Every minute of every day it is working hard to keep you alive. It’s completing processes that you don’t even have to think about and probably aren’t even aware of.

Given the right fuel, our bodies have the ability to ward off disease, heal from illness, mend broken bones and damaged tissue, and even create new life. Pretty impressive stuff.

So, when you stop to think about how much your body is doing for you, the least you can do is to lend a helping hand by giving it all it needs. What it requires is nutrients from real food, physical activity to keep it strong, adequate rest to allow it to heal and stress relief methods to keep things running smoothly.

The Bottom Line

I hope you enjoy these powerful quotes. They were definitely thought-provoking for me and changed the way I thought about food in general. Perhaps you’ve found some inspiration here to lead a healthier life, or motivation to keep going. It’s an empowering feeling when you learn how much control you have over your health. Confidence then comes from fueling your body well and feeling great.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it on your favourite social media platform. Together we can make plant-based living easier for everyone.

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