This is probably the most important section on this site. Many people in “alternative” circles believe mainly in supplements. And there’s a lot of truth in that. They are cheaper, easier to control, and, above all, it takes seconds to sip a handful of pills, and sometimes hours to prepare several healthy meals during the day.

Nevertheless, it has to be said, not everything can be supplemented. Food is hundreds, thousands of nutrients, of which we actually know only a few dozen. Every now and then there is a description of a new “miraculous” substance present in plants that is supposed to cure diseases of civilization, of course, for fat money available in capsules… The second thing is the harmful excess of many substances. Some people accuse me of “but why do you recommend a diet for which you need to take pills, are you sure it’s healthy?”. First of all, in our “natural” environment, such a way of nutrition did not require any pills, because the missing ingredients were simply in the dirt and bugs. And secondly, if something is missing from our way of eating, it can be supplemented. However, if we have too much of any one ingredient, there is a real problem.

Only one way of eating has been clinically tested with satisfactory results. Usually we are bombarded with information that diet X led to a decrease in the concentration of substance Y in the blood, or diet A changed the outcome of test B. Unfortunately – or fortunately – such studies are worthless. The effectiveness of a diet is assessed holistically, one must not look at whether a particular fraction of cholesterol fell, for example. The question “did the number of heart attacks decrease” or “did the cancer regress” must be answered. So far, only one scientist has succeeded in both of these tricks.

The man in question is, of course, Dr. Ornish, President Clinton’s personal physician (incidentally, he saved him from major heart surgery by reversing the lesions with his diet). The diet he proposes involves the almost complete elimination of saturated fat and heavily processed foods. It is almost veganism, with small amounts of meat allowed. The principle to be followed is “try to eat plants as they are found in nature.” Of course, in addition to this, the therapy included several supplements.

Everyone is certainly familiar with skinny and sickly vegans, hence the question may arise “so where are the advantages of this diet?”. The whole trick is the right combination of nutritious foods and supplements, correcting deficiencies of those 2-3 nutrients with which on meatless diets there is a problem. Most vegans are strongly ideologically committed, so they will argue that their way of eating is “natural” and does not require any supplements. They also don’t eat very healthy. I know many of them, and very often a meal looks like “cola plus fries,” supposedly vegan, but is it healthy….

Clinical trials have produced truly stunning results – a group of people with severe heart disease after 5 years had the risk of heart attack reduced to practically zero, their arteries simply cleared, something that medicine thought was impossible. A similar “miracle” happened in a group with early-stage prostate cancer – the disease regressed, the tumors shrank. More interestingly, it also proved to be effective with diabetes, the patients were able to reduce the dosage of medication or even stop it altogether.

It sounds like an excerpt from a sci-fi story, but you can look it all up in the PubMed database. Dr. Ornish really does exist, he really is an employee of a leading university, he really did cure a U.S. president of severe heart disease, and he really did this research. And that we don’t hear about it? Usually you don’t hear about things that aren’t profitable for anyone to sell. After all, who’s going to make money if we eat differently? The lettuce seller?

You may come across information that Dr. Ornish “treated” Steve Jobs, leading him to die of prostate cancer. This is a gross lie. Ornish tried to convince Jobs to undergo surgery.

With such a diet comes the need to take several supplements. First, vitamin B12, without it you can’t move. It is not found in plant foods, very little is in dairy. No animal produces it in the body, herbivores just get it from the dirt, where it is abundant, and from all kinds of vermin. We have introduced hygiene into our lives, which allows us to avoid epidemics, but has also led to several problems, including B12 deficiency. You should take a tablet every day, or even twice a day. As a curiosity, I will add that most (yes, most!) meat eaters have low levels of this vitamin.

In most countries, it is necessary to supplement iodine and selenium. We have very little of these elements in our soils. In fact, as a species, we are not adapted to live in places far away from sea and anywhere outside of equator. We survive by being able to “supplement” heat with fire, clothing and housing. Nevertheless, iodine is scarce in the air, so it’s not in the food either. Selenium might not be a problem if it weren’t for the gradual depletion of soils and the great popularity of highly concentrated foods, such as white flour and fatty meat, which have very low nutrient content per calorie. It’s true that one broccoli has less protein than one pork chop, for example, but what if we compare 1,000 kcal of broccoli to 1,000 kcal of pork chops? Suddenly we find that broccoli has more protein.

Dr. Ornish also eliminated fish, replacing it with a concentrate in the form of omega 3 capsules. Perhaps decades or hundreds of years ago this would have been a mistake, but today the seas are already so polluted with heavy metals and pesticides that eating fish is more like a chemical experiment than a meal.

To put it bluntly: we are eliminating or severely limiting all animal products, eliminating anything that is heavily processed, anything that has more than 5 grams of saturated fat per serving. We eat as many plants in as unprocessed a form as possible. Here I recommend making “shakes” in a blender, which is very simple, takes just a few minutes and provides a rather tasty meal. Just throw a few apples, 2 bananas, 3 carrots into the blender, add water, turn on for a minute or two – done.

Dr. Ornish’s full dietary recommendations can be found on his website:


Studies have shown that limiting one of the amino acids, methionine, has a very strong effect on longevity, literally extending youth. As it happens, Dr. Ornish’s diet is very low in it, which is an added advantage.

It is very much said that long-lived people never overeat. “Never get up from the table full,” “I remember always going hungry, sometimes several days I didn’t eat anything,” this is regularly repeated in their statements. But it’s possible that the issue here is simply methionine, that by not overeating, they have necessarily reduced the supply of this amino acid. It’s hard to answer this question, as there is no relevant research done here.

If someone doesn’t feel up to it (which is understandable, it’s very hard to switch to a completely new way of eating), I recommend the method of small steps, i.e. making small changes in the way of eating, for example, first eliminate eggs for breakfast and replace them with a mix from a blender, when after a few weeks this becomes a habit, replace meat in lunch with legumes (making cutlets from beans takes the same amount of time as classic “ground” and I guarantee that they are not inferior in taste! ), then substitute dinner… and you’re almost done.

Finally, I would caution against the “miracle” diets sometimes described on the Internet, especially the “paleo” or “keto” varieties of various kinds. The studies purporting to prove their efficacy usually involved some one particular disease in which the diet actually helped, but on this principle one can argue that antibiotics or chemotherapy are healthy because they help with some condition.

Studies on healthy people usually just gave appalling results, for example, several thousand (!) times higher risk of kidney stones in children.