Transitioning to a whole-foods, plant-based diet has many healthy benefits.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 46 percent of adults suffer from a chronic disease. It is estimated that chronic diseases cause seven out of every 10 deaths in the United States, the majority of which are from heart disease or cancer. As a board-certified Internal Medicine Specialist, Dr. Daniel Pourshalimi, M.D., treats a broad and comprehensive spectrum of illnesses that affect adults. In his role as a personal physician, he performs examinations, makes diagnoses and treats acute as well as chronic illnesses. Because of the long-term relationships that he develops with his patients, he believes in the importance of educating them on disease prevention and how they can lead healthier lives.
“I feel connected to my patients and truly want to do my best to help them become well,” Dr. Pourshalimi says. “Many of my patients suffer from chronic diseases and conditions such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension or cardiovascular illnesses. Because most of these are linked to lifestyle choices, they can sometimes be prevented or reversed. Patients who eat a healthy diet, avoid tobacco and excess alcohol, and stay physically active, can better manage their illnesses, avoid complications and prolong their lives.”
In order to prevent and reduce cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer and other chronic diseases, Dr. Pourshalimi advises that his patients move toward a whole-foods, plant-based diet. “The standard American diet is typically high in animal fat and animal protein, which research has found can be very damaging to human health,” he says. “This type of diet leads to many chronic and degenerative diseases whereas a whole-foods, plant-based diet promotes optimal overall health and longevity.”
Although there are numerous medical studies that promote the benefits of a whole-foods, plant-based diet, patients often get confused about what is considered healthy eating. To ensure that his patients are getting the right information, Dr. Pourshalimi has prepared his own dietary guidelines in what he calls “The Pourshalimi Diet.” Here are some of his recommendations.
Fill half or more of your plate with vegetables or salad (all fruit and veggies are good).
Follow these protein guidelines:
Eat plenty of plant proteins (quinoa, lentils, beans) and nuts (walnuts, almonds).
Avoid red meat or limit red meat consumption to two times per month.
Limit poultry intake to (turkey or chicken breast without skin) to three times per week.
Decrease the eggs in your diet (even egg whites) to less than two times per week.
Eat low-mercury fish (salmon, catfish) up to four times per week.
Eat carbohydrates in moderation, and avoid high-fructose corn syrup and white rice. Instead choose date sugar, brown or wild rice and whole grains.
Avoid dairy, including milk and cheese. You can drink soy (or preferably almond) milk and eat dairy-free cheese.
Avoid all sodas and juices, even diet drinks. Instead drink water, sparkling water, tea and coffee (without added sugar and creamer).
Use grape seed or canola oil for cooking and avoid saturated fats (butter, mayonnaise, fried foods, hydrogenated oils).
“During my residency, I saw too many bad things that could have been prevented,” Dr. Pourshalimi says. “When I began my medical practice, I began to teach patients about basic nutrition. It was then that I noticed, especially in my older patients, that those who were active and had a healthy diet were on less medication than the others. I saw how simple lifestyle changes led to a decrease in the need for medications and an overall better sense of wellbeing. I truly believe a lifestyle with quality plant-based foods can prevent, treat and reverse many major diseases, and improve overall health.”
After earning his medical degree from the University of California in Los Angeles, Dr. Pourshalimi completed residency at Los Angeles County and the University of Southern California Medical Center. With more than nine years of experience, Dr. Pourshalimi continues his practice because he enjoys helping others, and, through his knowledge of whole foods and plant-based diets, he is able to see the benefits of diet over medication when it is appropriate.