An all too familiar headline, “Another Hollywood Star Dies Way Too Young.” Was it drugs? Suicide? (The usual suspects.) Or was it diet?
Michael Clarke Duncan passed away at age 54 on Monday, September 3rd, 2012 after suffering a myocardial infarction on July 13th and never fully recovering. In more simple terms, a myocardial infarction is a heart attack, which results from the obstruction of blood supply to a part of the heart, causing the heart cells to die.
Three months ago, one of my friends who happens to be a vegetarian, sent me a video of Duncan touting the benefits of going vegetarian in a video for PETA. I think her intentions were to show me how a big, muscle pile could both be strong and not eat meat at the same time.
She knew how I liked being a muscle pile myself and how I often touted the benefits of eating a paleo diet, so this would be the perfect video to change my perspective.
What bothered me most about the PETA video was it’s description: “Oscar-nominated actor Michael Clarke Duncan explains how he reversed serious health threats by going vegetarian.”
It bothered me at the time (since there was NO real proof of actual health changes) and it obviously infuriates me now that Duncan aka Bear from Armageddon has passed away.
It hasn’t even been four months since Bear “reversed” his serious health threats and now he’s gone from this earth.
Here is Bear’s PETA video talking about his switch to a Vegetarian Diet. (The number of views have doubled in the past two days.)
When I first saw the video I wanted to make a post going point by point into Bear’s video about how a lot of his “positives” about vegetarianism are completely wrong. Now that he’s passed, scrutinizing the video seems trivial.
What isn’t trivial though is misinformation. It’s everywhere and it’s killing our seemingly healthy friends and family.
I’m sure as more news stories come out on Bear’s death, most will assume that he had bad genetics, or it happened because he was just “too big” (whatever that means).
No one will dare to ask the question I’m asking now, and ask every day of my life when I encounter someone with a health problem, IS IT DIET?
I’m not going to say Duncan died from being a vegetarian, because he only ate this way for the last three years of his life. I’m sure many vegetarians would argue that he did too much damage during the 51 years to REVERSE his problems.
While it’s tough to speculate without knowing exactly what Duncan ate, I’d argue that it definitely played a role in his myocardial infarction. Duncan was clearly misinformed, both as a meat eater and as a vegetarian.
The “common sense” answer to Duncan’s death would say he ate too much saturated fat and cholesterol and clogged up his arteries. Obviously if he had eaten as a vegetarian for three years, his dietary intake of both these things should have gone down and he should have turned into a healthy horse.
This theory of the correlation between fat intake and heart disease is known as the diet-heart hypothesis and our country has wrongly followed it for the past sixty years. Our surging rates of heart attacks and strokes are due to our following of this faulty idea.
This short clip from the movie FATHEAD shows us in a comical way how this hypothesis came about.
You may also want to look up Gary Taubes, and read his books Good Calories, Bad Calories, or Why We Get Fat. Both break down the diet-heart hypothesis and show you how its completely faulty.
The third resource I recommend getting back to the vegetarian portion is Lierre Keith’s story about how she left a life of living as a vegan for two decades. She is the author of the book “The Vegetarian Myth”, and this is a must read for vegetarians, vegans, and everyone who knows or loves one.
Ok, back to the PETA video…
Duncan was drawn towards vegetarianism via his love for animals, but PETA and fellow vegetarians sell a pipe dream that this way of eating is somehow less harmful to the environment and kills less living organisms. They don’t examine the entire ecosystems that become ruined due to our agricultural system. In-deliberate killing is still killing.
It’s very much possible Duncan felt better after going vegetarian. Most converted vegetarians feel a short term benefit to eating this way because they start to actually eat some REAL FOOD. They cut out the true crap crap and tend to eat a lot cleaner. They still fail to realize how harmful grains, legumes, dairy can be on the body. They don’t realize the long term detrimental effects they are causing.
I think the Paleo Diet and Vegetarianism have a lot of good parallels going between them. Contrary to the tone of this article, I do not believe all vegetarians are un-informed and not all paleo-ers are informed. Both groups can learn a lot from each other if they just opened their ears and minds.
After viewing the sources above and doing some of your own research, you might be convinced Duncan’s vegetarian diet caused his myocardial infarction.
It also might make you think about someone you know who has debilitating health or died from another disease like cancer or mental illness and think, HOLY CRAP, THIS STUFF REALLY MAKES SENSE.
As a tribute to Bear, help inform someone who needs the correct health information that the mainstream media or government isn’t willing to give you.
Just a short personal story in remembrance of Bear:
When I was a senior in high school, 2002 to be exact, I was a huge fan of Bear and had seen all his movies. I admired how he had such a commanding presence but at the same time was one of the nicest guys you’ve ever met.
I had the nice guy thing down pretty good but I was only about 155 lbs with shoes, hardly a commanding presence. I got pushed around by the bigger guys in the early years of high school and I wanted to be able to stand up to anyone.
I saw an interview with Bear on a talk show where he revealed his secret to growing so big. He talked about how he always ate as much as he could and made sure he ate a PB&J sandwich with a glass of milk every night before bed.
I probably used this advice more as an excuse to eat before bed, but one year later after following the Bear diet, I had put on 25 lbs of muscle. By the way, bread, peanut butter, jelly, and milk are all NOT paleo. They were also the reason how I developed such horrible acid reflux and ibs problems in college.
Nonetheless my goals to become a “gentle giant” like Bear were somewhat fulfilled as I became a much stronger and confident person. I was still only 5’9’’ but I grew a lot more on the inside.
We will miss you Bear.
Michael Clarke Duncan – Leavin’ on a Jet Plane from Armageddon