The Spectrum By Dean Ornish
Dr. Dean Ornish is such a well-known plant-based doctor that he was once the subject of a New Yorker cartoon.Entitled “Dean Ornish’s Fairy Tales,” it pictures a scared child sitting in bed as the lady at his side reads from a bedtime story:“Then the Evil Witch tried to lure the children into a house made of onion rings, barbecued potato chips, and bacon cheeseburgers.”
Blessed with an ability to laugh at himself, Ornish republished this cartoon in his book The Spectrum. He offered this explanation:
Whenever I go out to dinner, people… apologize for what they’re eating… as though I’m going to be the sheriff or the vice principal of the high school waving my finger at them, judging them and shaming them into eating differently.”
He continues, “In reality, nothing could be further from the truth… it doesn’t matter to me what they eat or how they live as long as they’re happy.”
The Spectrum is Ornish’s anything-but-scary celebration of how easy enjoying a healthy life can be for anyone who incorporates its three foundations:
The Nutrition Spectrum ( a range of food choices)
The Exercise Spectrum ( a variety of exercise routines)
The Stress Management Spectrum ( mindfulness meditation techniques)
Readers are free to choose which options from each spectrum will work best for their lives. In his household, however, the nutrition spectrum consists of “mostly healthful foods.” Why?
Because, in Dr. Ornish’s words:“I choose to eat foods mostly from the healthy end of the Spectrum because they make me feel so much better, not because someone told me to do so.”
It’s one way he exercises his free will — and he’s convinced that mind-blowing opportunities are there for anyone else who makes the right food, exercise and stress-management choices. Take heart disease, for example.
As he puts it, “… heart disease still kills more people in this country … than virtually all other causes of death combined [but] it is almost completely preventable for at least 90 to 95 percent of people by putting Spectrum into practice.”
In other words, adopting The Spectrum’s recommended lifestyle changes could let most of us prevent heart disease.
Just like that, Dr. Ornish turns scary into hope!