Chamber Blog

Healthy Diet and Healthy Lifestyle

As a family practice physician for over 30 years, Kamlesh Dave saw a huge surge in heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, cancer and many more chronic diseases.  He saw patients who were overweight, who couldn’t sleep, or who had no energy.  Chronic disease symptoms so limited their quality of life, it was heartbreaking.  And the more he talked with them, the more he saw that a common thread was diet.


So he dug into the research.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined that heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, doing more damage than the top cancers combined. Studies show that a plant-based diet is a powerful tool in avoiding and treating chronic disease, and people even benefit from just increasing their intake of plant-based foods.  In studies, plant-based diets have been shown not only to prevent heart disease and coronary artery disease, but actually reverse them, by preventing heart attacks and strokes and reducing the need for stent placement.  A diet rich in plant-based foods can help delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, lower cholesterol and reduce sleep apnea. It’s perfect for losing weight or maintaining a lower weight, as well as promoting more restful sleep, aiding in digestion and improving mental alertness and acuity.


Despite the abundance of evidence, most people avoid a plant-based diet for a few simple reasons:

  • the belief that plant-based eating means settling for flavorless meals that leave them hungry;
  • the belief that plant-based ingredients are unfamiliar or strange;
  • the belief that healthy eating takes too much time.


Nothing could be further from the truth.  Plant-based meals can delight the palate and satisfy the biggest eater. The more a person explores new ingredients, the less unfamiliar they become.  Lastly, Louisville has many time-saving options for healthy eating.


Dr. Dave recommends gradually adding healthy ingredients to the mealtime menu, as well as trying a variety of international cuisines, to retrain the mind to enjoy a plant-based diet.   Spices from different countries can make food fun and inviting.  Try a new ingredient several times, prepared several different ways, before deciding if you like it.  A London, England study showed children needed to try a veggie 9 or 10 times before they liked it, so don’t quit too early in offering healthy options.


Since knowledge is power but fun seals the deal, have a contest for who can come up with the most facts of how the veggies you’re eating help our bodies.  Run goofy experiments (with clipboards and checklists) to explore the taste or mouthfeel of different greens or beans.  Involve children in food prep or restaurant choice.


If time is at a premium, explore some of Louisville’s fantastic healthful eateries for a plant-based meal on the go.  Consider juices that mix healthy veggies with tasty fruit to replace unhealthy sodas. Lastly, don’t forget the atmosphere.  Enjoy eating with family and friends in a relaxing, beautiful place to maximize the nutritional benefit of your food, rather than eating with loud music or mindlessly in front of the television.


Remember: healthy eating is a journey.  Don’t beat yourself up over occasional junk food binges.  The goal is to increase plant-based eating over time.  Invest some time, try something new, and keep moving forward to health.