This month we review a book that says the best prescription of all is a whole-foods, plant-based lifestyle.
The Empty Medicine Cabinet:
the Pharmacist's Guide to the Hidden Danger of Drugs
and the Healing Powers of Food
By Dustin Rudolph, PharmD
Pursue a Healthy You, LLC, 2014
Dustin Rudolph is a Doctor of Pharmacy who would rather advise people to eat a whole-food, plant-based diet instead of popping medications to cope with chronic diseases. Rudolph, who is quite versed in medications, is unusual because he has become a champion of lifestyle changes to help people avoid or wean themselves from prescription medicines.
The uniqueness of The Empty Medicine Cabinet is to find a knowledgeable and trained professional pharmacist counseling readers on how to "avoid the pill trap." Instead, he recommends a healthy lifestyle to avoid the necessity of taking medications to alleviate the consequences of a poor diet.
Rudolph sums up the theme of the book when he writes, "I've said it before and I'll say it again: human beings will never be able to outsmart Mother Nature when it comes to providing for your health. Fresh air, clean water, nutrient-rich plant-based foods, regular physical activity, quality sleep, and loving relationships are all that is required to achieve and maintain an optimal state of health."
In separate chapters the author deals with chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. In each instance, a lifestyle change that emphasizes a whole foods, plant-based diet can be more effective in reversing or alleviating the condition than prescription drugs. He cites examples of doctors like Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., Joel Fuhrman, and John McDougall who practice lifestyle medicine and have achieved success in reversing chronic conditions in their patients.
In the second half of the book Rudolph presents his Food for Health Program. Here he details foods to include: Vegetables, Fruits, Legumes, Whole Grains, and Nuts and Seeds. He follows with a list of foods to avoid: Meat, Dairy, Eggs, Processed Foods, and Refined Carbs or Sugars.
Since so many Americans are obsessed with gluten-free food, Rudolph turns his attention to this phenomenon in a chapter called The Gluten-Free Diet Craze. He presents a chart showing which grains contain gluten and which do not. In discussing When to Go Gluten-Free, he says that the prevalence of gluten-related disorders "is blown way out of proportion when looking at the population as a whole."
In Supplement Wisely the author says, "There are no 'miracle pills' out there." Supplements may do more harm than good. He does recommend vitamin B12 by writing, "Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin requiring supplementation when following a whole foods, plant-based lifestyle."
In the third section of the book, Delicious Eats and Cool Treats, Rudolph offers 32 pages of recipes that "contain little or no added salt, sugar, or fat." He admits this whole-foods plant-based way of eating can be a challenge until the taste buds adapt to it.
Rudolph concludes the book with a section of resources and an extensive list of references to support his statements. The book's only shortcoming is that it contains no index.
When asked why he would write a book that would put him out of business, Rudolph responds, "I wrote this book because I have a deep sense of love and compassion for my fellow human beings. My purpose in life is to do the greatest amount of good for the most amount of people. I've chosen to do this by entering the field of healthcare, helping others achieve the best health they can get."
In The Empty Medicine Cabinet Dustin Rudolph presents a lifestyle plan that almost guarantees people will achieve health improvement by following principles he advocates. His prescription is a whole-food, plant based journey that will decrease the need for medications recommended by his colleagues. He has created a healthy lifestyle handbook that should be embraced by people seeking positive health outcomes.