January 6, 2020

AdventHealth physician prescribes plant-based diet to help patients combat chronic disease

When Dane* was diagnosed with diabetes, the idea of taking pills and getting insulin shots depressed him. He still considered himself a young man with a lot...

When Dane* was diagnosed with diabetes, the idea of taking pills and getting insulin shots depressed him. He still considered himself a young man with a lot of life left to live, but junk food was his weakness. As a person of faith, it was the knowledge of a loving God that led Dane to push past his food addictions and, with the help of George Guthrie, MD, MPH, incorporate a plant-based diet into his lifestyle.


“Many people who embrace the plant-based lifestyle will need less medication, and more than a few eventually may not need medication at all,” said Dr. Guthrie.


Dane is a living testament of that transformation and has said himself, “It is much better to be an evangelist than a diabetic.”


In the U.S., about half of deaths caused by Type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease are the result of poor dietary habits, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Dr. Guthrie, an AdventHealth physician who specializes in lifestyle medicine, is determined to help reverse this trend.


Whole Food, Whole Health


Dr. Guthrie uses whole-food, plant-based diets as one of his most common lifestyle prescriptions, an approach he describes in his new health transformation book, Eat Plants Feel Whole. In the book, he shares scientific evidence coupled with his years of expertise to help people understand what to eat more of and the reasons why.


“We now have enough evidence and science to understand the body’s miraculous ability to heal itself through whole-person health,” Dr. Guthrie said. “This includes proper nutrition emphasizing plants and whole foods, as well as movement and the social and emotional dimensions of life.” 


Rather than prescribing only medications to manage certain health issues, Dr. Guthrie has found success in addressing the underlying cause of the disease and, in some cases, reversing certain chronic diseases. He uses an approach consistent with CREATION Life, which aims to find balance in eight key areas of whole-person health: Choice, Rest, Environment, Activity,Trust in God, Interpersonal Relationships, Outlook and Nutrition.


Focusing on the Good


Dr. Guthrie’s prescription of a plant-based diet is less restrictive than some may expect. Plant-based does not always equate to strictly vegetarian or vegan but is instead guided by a focus on plants and whole, unprocessed foods as the majority of one’s diet.


Inspired by Romans 12:21, which tells us to not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good, Dr. Guthrie hopes to encourage people to move more toward the good rather than build guilt around the bad and list what is forbidden. The focus of his message is to help individuals make positive and healthy choices.


“Choosing a whole-food, plant-based diet means choosing foods that are lower in calories and higher in water, fiber and nutrient density,” Dr. Guthrie wrote. “With this diet and other healthy behaviors, we avoid lifestyle diseases. Importantly, we also age more slowly, and live longer and healthier.”


Eat Plants Feel Wholeis available for purchase from Amazon.com, in Adventist Book Centers and at EatPlantsFeelWhole.com.


*Name was changed to preserve patient privacy

Ingrid Hernandez, AdventHealth Senior Communications Specialist

Eric Farlow, AdventHealth Communication Specialist