MegaHealth by Marc Sorenson (1992)

From Word of Wisdom Literature by Jane Birch

See Marc Sorenson’s story: “The results were nearly miraculous”

Sorenson_Mega Health

 

Marc Sorenson, ED.D., MegaHealth (Irvins, Utah: National Institute of Fitness, 1992).

 


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Acknowledgements ………………………………………………………………………….  ix

Preface …………………………………………………………………………………………..  1

Foreword………………………………………………………………………………………… 3

A Word About National Institute of Fitness……………………………………………. 5

Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………….. 7

1. Part 1: Eat and Live; Diet and Die………………………………………………………… 11

Part 2: Resetting the Set Point ……………………………………………………………  47

2. Diabetics, Fat, and Fat Diabetics ………………………………………………………….  85

3. Matters of the Heart: The Prevention and Reversal of Heart Disease ………  109

4. Boning Up…………………………………………………………………………………….. 189

5. The Cancer Connection …………………………………………………………………… 241

6. A Potpourri of “Affluent” Diseases…………………………………………………….. 285

7. Herbivorous By Design ……………………………………………………………………. 309

8. Protein Mythology and Related Fables……………………………………………….. 333

9. A Terrible Trio ……………………………………………………………………………….. 361

10. Salt, Sodium and the Afflictions of Affluence ………………………………………. 381

11. Fitness Can Save Your Life! ………………………………………………………………. 391

12. Life Style and Longevity…………………………………………………………………… 425

13. Looking At the Bright Side………………………………………………………………… 443

14. You Can Make It Work…………………………………………………………………….. 447

15. National Institute of Fitness MegaHealth Nutrition Program …………….. 455

16. Recipes ………………………………………………………………………………………… 467

17. Recommendations for Further Reading………………………………………………. 495

18 A Postscript…………………………………………………………………………………… 499

19. Index…………………………………………………………………………………………… 503


Acknowledgements 

Writing a book on health and fitness is a simple enough project if one simply communicates his views on the causes of various diseases and then suggests life-style changes which might prevent, mitigate, or reverse those diseases. Such a book, however, could be viewed as opinion and might not withstand, in the reader’s mind, the onslaught of differing views existing in the world of health literature.

To avoid that dilemma, I determined to produce a treatise which would be perceived as more than another author’s assumption about health. To accomplish this, I documented (from the best medical and nutrition journals and professional books) nearly all of the statements made in the text, especially those of a controversial nature. It was a monumental task, and had I looked at the scope of the undertaking in its entirety, the project might have appeared overwhelming. Inch by inch, however, the task was completed, due in no small part to the assistance of excellent people and excellent technology.

Kudos to my wife, Vicki, who directed our fitness resort in her usual precise and caring manner while I pounded the word processor. Her support in this project was critical, since the duties of running a successful business cannot be neglected. Not only did Vicki direct the business, but she also cared for our home, thereby creating an atmosphere which was conducive to thought and writing.

Mildred Sorenson, my mother, and her friend Marilyn Staker, deserve a great deal of thanks for months of searching the stacks at the University of Utah medical library to locate and copy the scientific literature necessary to document this work. My mother also proofread the manuscript and offered sugges­tions. I am grateful for her caring and her expertise. Her assistance and her expertise in English were invaluable.

Colleen Cummings, who along with Vicki created many of the recipes and prepared them for taste testing, is deserving (as you will see) of accolades for her culinary efforts. And to her husband, Todd, who enthusiastically supported this project, I also give my thanks.

I am particularly indebted to Ralph Ofcarcik, Ph.D., our resident food technologist who researched and wrote much of the last three chapters. Dr. Ofcarcik devoted months to this project—time which I’m sure he might rather have spent hiking and camping. He also meticulously reviewed the content of this text for accuracy and made many suggestions for improvement. His knack for graphic illustration has added a clarity to this work which would have otherwise been unattainable.

My 18-year-old daughter, Suzanne, deserves my gratitude for endless hours of filing as the spate of research arrived. Her intense interest in human physiology enabled me to share my excitement with her as I discovered new concepts in health and fitness. To my other children, Marc, Katie and Samantha, I give my love for their unwavering support.

It is in order to offer a special word of appreciation to my friend, Dr. Fred Bushnell, a physician who helped set up the Grateful Med software for my Northgate computer system. The program enabled my computer to communicate freely with its counterpart at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland, thereby keeping me abreast of the latest research into the subjects covered.

I am also grateful to Dr. Ethel Nelson and Dr. T. Colin Campbell, who so graciously gave of their time in granting interviews regarding their landmark works in the fields of nutrition and health. And to Dave Beck, a friend and fellow bicycling fanatic, I give thanks for the training sessions which helped me to maintain a high level of physical fitness, and for the words of positivism which helped me stay motivated.

Gratitude is expressed to Dr. John McDougall, a California physician whose painstaking work in his medical/nutritional practices in Hawaii and California have inspired me for years. His philosophy has indelibly influenced the program of nutrition which we use at National Institute of Fitness, and his books have become our nutritional bibles. A statement made by Dr. McDougall as we did a talk show has become the health slogan for our institute: “If people wish to be healthy and slim, tell them to stuff themselves with starch and take a walk.”

Finally, thanks to the thousands of “Niffers” who have attended our resort, spread the word to their friends, and made both our livelihoods and this book a reality.


Preface

by NEAL D. BARNARD, M.D.

When I was in medical school, I was taught that heart disease is largely irreversible, that cancer is mainly due to factors beyond our control, and that diabetes was to be treated with drugs and little else. Well, we were wrong. As Dr. Sorenson has meticulously documented in this unique volume, the power of dietary choices to affect our health is surprising and often dramatic.

Heart disease can often be reversed. Cancer is usually due to identifiable factors that are within our control. Diabetes is very strongly linked to specific nutrient factors. The research world has turned a corner in these and many other areas. The next step is to take the findings to the general public. Medicine has largely failed in this mission. I will never forget the faces of women who died of breast cancer which should have been prevented by dietary changes, of men who were paralyzed by strokes that never had to occur, of children whose cholesterol levels were already rising to dangerous levels because their parents had been sold short in knowledge that should have come from physicians but sadly was never conveyed at all.

The book you hold in your hands will change that. It is readable and informal. It will give you a working knowledge of vital information that is currently known to relatively few people. I hope you will not only read the book but share it with those you love. The information it holds will give them the power to improve their health and vitality and even to add years to their lives.

I wish I had written this book.

Neal D. Barnard, MD.

President, Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine Author of The Power of Your Plate


Foreword

by JOHN McDOUGALL, M.D.

The truth that proper diet and lifestyle are the essential foundations for good health cannot be spoken too often. Dr. Sorenson has helped thousands of people at his live-in program, National Institute of Fitness, follow principles of eating and living that bring about excellent health. He now offers you his well-researched viewpoint in his book, Megahealth.

Many people understand (and find non-threatening) the importance of exercise, clean air and water, adequate rest, and psychological comfort for good health. Even though scientific research established beyond a doubt more than 40 years ago that a diet based on starches with the addition of vegetables and fruits as the best diet for people, dissemination of this information among the sickly American public is still in its infancy.

Greed and gluttony are the two primary reasons for the slow spread of life-saving nutritional information to Americans. Greed: Meats, dairy products, eggs and processed foods are the high-profit food items in the food industry. Also, the medical business is undeniably paid for sickness and therefore has no compelling reason to insist on an immediate change in the American diet. Gluttony: As Americans, we feel it is our birthright to eat the richest foods money can buy; historically, the foods of kings and queens. Of course, the expected con­sequence of all this feasting has to be health problems that were notorious for the royalty of past ages—obesity and gout, at the very least.

The usual consequence of a lifetime of rich foods, sedentary activity, and poor health habits are obesity, heart disease, strokes, cancer, adult-onset diabetes, arthritis, and an overabundance of bowel problems. Knowing the cause of illness allows you to take preventive action, and the result will be a better life for you and your family. If you’re already in trouble, a change in diet and lifestyle means the progress of the disease can be slowed or stopped, and in most cases the healing capacity of the body finally catches up, and “cure” is a common outcome.

Even though the benefits of a healthier diet and lifestyle are established (beyond doubt) for health and healing, few people seem to change even after they have the information. The reason is that change is difficult, and it is a process that takes time and learning experiences. Negative, unpleasant experiences come in the forms of sickness, medications, surgery and hospitalization. The preferable way to help you along the path of better eating and living is through positive, pleasant experiences of feeling good, enjoying new foods, and learning about good health. People, individually and as a nation, are making changes, even if the pace seems slow. Hopefully you will learn soon enough to incorporate these principles before a real tragedy, such as a heart attack or breast cancer, happens to you.

One of the best ways for you to speed your transition from a typical sickly, overweight American to a person enjoying excellent health is to take advantage of learning experiences, such as a stay at National Institute of Fitness, and reading this book. MEGA HEALTH is a comprehensive discussion of scientific research and principles that will someday be the standard by which the health industry advises people to live. You have no reason to wait for the rest of the world to accept these time-honored ideas. Take advantage of Dr. Sorenson’s efforts to help you understand what you can do to avoid illness and regain lost health through these simple, cost-free, self-help practices you can start today.

John McDougall, MD.

Medical Director of the McDougall Live-in Program at St. Helena Hospital and Health Center.

Author of The McDougall Plan, McDougall’s Medicine—A Challenging Second Opinion, The McDougall Program—Twelve Days to Dynamic Health


 A Word About National Institute of Fitness

National Institute of Fitness (NIF), founded by Marc Sorenson, Ed.D., and managed by him and his wife, Vicki, is one of the best-known health resorts in the world and is consistently ranked as one of the top ten “spas” in the United States. The Sorensons do not really consider their resort to be a “spa,” but rather a retreat where guests can learn life-style changes while participating in a low-fat nutrition program and a variety of physical activities. These activities include hiking and walking, tennis, racquetball, aerobic dance, water exercise, swimming and weight training, as well as cardiovascular conditioning on a variety of treadmills, stair climbers and cross-training machines. Although some pampering activities such as massage, facials, manicures and hairstyling are made available, they are definitely not the focus at NIF.

Rooms and meals are provided by the Institute, along with maid service. Food is plentiful and always available in keeping with the “eat more” philosophy of NIF. Weight loss, because of the low-fat, high fiber foods and the aerobic exercise, averages about a pound per day for men and about one-half pound per day for women. Other changes experienced by guests often include dramatic drops in blood pressure, blood sugar, and serum cholesterol levels.

Lectures on a variety of health subjects are given by Dr. Sorenson and Dr. Ralph Ofcarcik. Occasionally, presentations are made by other experts who have been invited by the Soren-sons to address the guests.

Lectures in positive thought and action are also given regularly. Tapes by Earl Nightingale, Zig Ziglar, Dennis Waitley and others are made available to help change thought patterns that may be destructive to happiness.

Many walking awards are given to guests. These awards are given based on the total number of miles walked during a stay. These awards, however, are tied to a requirement for listening to the positive action tapes.

The average stay at NIF is about 41/2 weeks, but rewards of health and fitness accrue even after a one-week stay. Some guests have checked in for a year, during which time they have completely transformed themselves in terms of weight, health, and attitude. This is made possible by a price that has been described as the “best bargain in the industry.” In 1991 dollars, the average stay costs about $550 per week, but some programs cost as little as $425. Other “spas” which offer less charge as much as $3750 per week.

Vicki Sorenson, the Director of Operations, sees that the facilities are maintained in a top condition and that the program structure meets the needs of the guests.

NIF is located at the base of the geologically spectacular Snow Canyon State Park, near St. George, Utah. The area features year-around hiking in a desert climate. (Snow Canyon was named for an early pioneer in the area, not for the white stuff.) Located within a few hours drive are several national parks, including Great Basin National Park (the newest national park in the U.S. at the time of this writing), Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Canyonlands, and Arches. Lake Powell National Recrea­tion Area and Lake Mead are also located nearby.

Those who attend are known affectionately to their peers and to the team at NIF as “Niffers.” There are usually more than 100 Niffers in attendance at any given time, and 70-80% of them are repeaters or have been referred by friends, which speaks well for the reputation of the Institute.

If you or someone you know would like to receive informa­tion on National Institute of Fitness, call 801-673-4905 or write: NIF

202 North Snow Canyon Road, Box 938

Ivins, Utah 84738.


 

Introduction

Health is the crown on a well man’s head, but only the sick man can see it.

—Ancient proverb

During the past 17 years as the owner and operator of the health resort known as National Institute of Fitness (NW) I was privileged to witness many of our guests recover from serious or life-threatening diseases. During those years, myriad tons of weight were lost, scores of people lowered cholesterol to healthful levels, and hundreds saw their diabetes disappear, never to return. Others recovered from various ailments too numerous to mention.

Many of the recipients of these health benefits described their changes as “miraculous.” No miracle, however, was involved. They were simply educated as to the cause of their maladies. They then made the changes required to produce good health and consequently became well.

Not everyone, however, can come to NIF for a healthful vacation and education experience. I therefore determined to produce a manual for the correct care of the human body—a manual which would allow a vastly larger number of people to access the concepts taught at NIF. The book you hold is the end product that determination. It is a book of rules. If you will abide by the precepts herein, you will have the best possible chance to live a long and disease-free life.

The attainment of vibrant health, like all other aspects of success, is indeed dependent on adherence to a set of rules or laws. Just as there are rules for aviation which, if followed, will enable a pilot to fly his aircraft safely without serious incident, there are also rules for protecting and achieving health and well­being.

Some rules are obvious. One shouldn’t step in front of speeding trucks, because to do so would certainly influence health in a less than positive manner. Nor is it a good idea to jump from an airplane without a parachute. In either case, the results of breaking the rules are quick and lethal. Non-adherence to other rules of good health may not produce such quick, dramatic and obvious results, but the consequences of the rule-breaking are equally predictable.

The good news is that adopting a lifestyle based on correct principles can add “life to years and years to life.” This is a book of rules that offers the reader the knowledge necessary to take control of health.

It may come as a surprise to many people that health is a matter of law and not luck. They assume, incorrectly, that poor health (especially in terms of degenerative disease) is an inescapable part of living—a natural process of aging. When they observe someone who has lived a long life, free of debilitating disease, they describe him or her as “lucky,” or they chalk it up to “good genes.”

Many feel that the best they can hope for is a drug that might slow the disease process or palliate pain. Pain, however, is not meant to be the inevitable, chronic companion of humans as they age; rather, it is a warning signal which alerts us that something is wrong—something that needs to be corrected. To mitigate the pain through the use of drugs—without removing the cause of the malady—serves no purpose other than to make people more comfortable as they proceed toward debility and demise. Individuals who rely on such “treatment” may be likened to the man who was awakened in the middle of the night by the wailing of his smoke alarm. Irritated by the noise, he cut its wires and went back to bed while his house burned down. Just as surely, millions are allowing their health to smolder while they remove the annoyances of pain.

Poor health is not our heritage. A simple look at the systems of the body that protect it from accident, injury and disease should be sufficient to convince the most skeptical individual that the natural course of human existence is one of strength and wellness. We possess ears and eyes capable of warning us of imminent danger; immune systems which fight valiantly against encroaching microorganisms; cleansing systems which filter away toxins that find their way into the body through our food, water and air. When injured, our bodies perform the miracle of healing. We also possess brains and central nervous systems which allow us to learn from previous experiences, thereby enabling us to avoid repetitions of injurious situations. The human body possesses no systems that work for early death and illness; rather, it has systems that strive for optimal health and longevity. If one does not overwhelm those systems with a plethora of poisons, health will be the natural state.

Though there are many rules for good health, this book will concentrate on establishing rules in the areas in which there is the most controversy and where there currently exists the greatest potential for positive change: namely, in the areas of proper fuels and proper exercise.

The body must be given proper fuels. As the gasoline engine does not perform well on diesel fuel, neither does the human body function correctly while using fuel befitting a cat, calf, bear or rat. Such fuels are toxins to human beings, and when ingested in sufficient quantities, they damage the body at a rate that over­whelms its capacity to heal.

The body is also meant to move. Without regular, vigorous movement, the body deteriorates and becomes susceptible to a host of diseases. Many texts on health have focused on the influences of nutrition on disease, while excluding (or barely mentioning) the profound influence of proper exercise. Others have focused almost exclusively on exercise while treating nutri­tion as a mere bagatelle. The truth is that neither of these areas can be neglected if optimal health, or MEGAHEALTH, is to be achieved and sustained.

There are other rules, of course, which concern the breath­ing of clean air, drinking of good water, and avoidance of radon gas and other pollutants. These rules, however important, are not the focus of this text. Rather, it focuses on proper foods and proper exercise. It is an extensively documented treatise which leaves little room for doubt as to the path to health and fitness.

A massive, elucidating body of evidence indicates that habits of nutrition and exercise (or the lack thereof) can either extend life and produce optimal health or produce physical, mental and emotional misery while subtracting many years from the normal life span. The presentation of this evidence is my purpose. Then, the CHOICE is yours.

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