Dr. Tom Cowan, MD
Getting More Vegetables In the Diet; the More Diverse the Better
Dr. Tom Cowan discovered the work of the two men who would have the most influence on his career while teaching gardening as a Peace Corps volunteer in Swaziland, South Africa. He read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston Price, and a fellow volunteer explained the arcane principles of Rudolf Steiner’s™ biodynamic agriculture. These events inspired him to pursue a medical degree. Tom graduated from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine in 1984. After his residency in Family Practice at Johnson City Hospital in Johnson City, New York, he set up an anthroposophical medical practice in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Dr. Cowan relocated to San Francisco in 2003.
Dr. Cowan has served as vice president of the Physicians Association for Anthroposophical Medicine and is a founding board member of the Weston A. Price Foundation™. During his career he has studied and written about many subjects in medicine. These include nutrition, homeopathy, anthroposophical medicine and herbal medicine. He is the principal author of the book, “The Fourfold Path to Healing”, which was published in 2004 by New Trends Publishing and is the co-author of “The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care,” published in 2013. He writes the “Ask the Doctor” column in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the Foundation’s quarterly magazine, and has lectured throughout the United States and Canada.
-Health of traditional populations was based on diverse vegetable intake.
-Cowan’s 3 Food Group Plan – 1) full fat whole animal products, 2) seeds, nuts or grains, 3) vegetables and fruit.
-The book Tending the Wild, by M. Kat. Anderson, is a detailed account of what Native American Californians ate. 120 different plants per year, 15-20 per day, as a combo of wild, perennial, root, leaf, fruit, all colors. Didn’t eat a huge amount of one vegetable at a sitting. Supplied vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants. An effective disease prevention and treatment strategy.
-Impractical in our society to get the diversity of vegetables needed for good health. Vegetable powders to the rescue – a practical way to get small amounts of a diverse amount of vegetables.
-95% of nutrients retained in dehydrated vegetable powders, 65% of Vitamin C.
-Different vegetables require different processing techniques to maximize nutrients. E.g. kale – a quick blanching or steaming followed by dehydrating, leek greens – dehydrated raw, tomato – higher dehydrating heat to release lycopene.
-Powders produced with an emphasis on nutrient content and flavor. Packed in miron jars. Are foods, not supplements. Many of the vegetables are heritage strains. Vegetables grown by a network of small farmers.
-Weston Price found no successful vegan cultures. An untested, unproven, and suspect way of eating.
3 parts of a plant – root, stem and leaf, and fruit and flower. Certain properties belong to each part. To eat the perfect plant, you need to eat equal amounts of each part. 3-fold Savory Kale Blend combines different vegetables to get a balance of all 3 parts of the plant.
-Nightshade vegetables – might be an issue for people with arthritis, but contain many nutrients.
-Beta-carotene vs. Vitamin A retinols. Plants are a great source of many nutrients but not Vitamin A.
-Want nutrients from food. Food is more complex than what is found in supplements.
-The green part of the leek is a great source for supporting the microbiome. Leek powder is 80% green and 20% white parts.
-Sprouts, powders, fermented vegetables, fresh vegetables – all have something to offer and contribute to diversity.
-Vegetarian diets can be successful, if using cultured, full-fat, hormone free products from pasture-raised animals.
-Upcoming heart book in October. Will have list of foods healthy for the heart.
dr thomas cowan m.d. and eat your vegetables, really eat lots of them, september 1, 2016