Monkeying with Calorie Restriction

If you thought yesterday’s post about calorie restriction was interesting, you’ll love this report—it’s got monkeys! Everyone loves monkeys. Especially a healthy looking social monkey and an overweight lethargic grumpy one—the primate odd couple!

The New York Times introduces us to Canto and Owen, two rhesus monkeys on totally different sides of the calorie restriction spectrum. Canto who eats 445 calories a day is healthier and much younger looking than his buddy Owen who consumes 885 calories daily—Owen doesn’t appear happy about it. Some scientists believe the plight of Canto and Owen sheds serious light on the benefits of calorie restriction for humans. Michael Mason reports:
Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have been tracking the health of small groups of calorie-restricted dieters. Earlier this year, they reported that the dieters had better-functioning hearts and fewer signs of inflammation, which is a precursor to clogged arteries, than similar subjects on regular diets.

In previous studies, people in calorie-restricted groups were shown to have lower levels of LDL, the so-called bad cholesterol, and triglycerides. They also showed higher levels of HDL, the so-called good cholesterol, virtually no arterial blockage and, like Mr. Linksvayer, remarkably low blood pressure.

“Calorie restriction has a powerful, protective effect against diseases associated with aging,” said Dr. John O. Holloszy, a Washington University professor of medicine. “We don’t know how long each individual will end up living, but they certainly have a longer life expectancy than average.”

Researchers at Louisiana State University reported in April in The Journal of the American Medical Association that patients on an experimental low-calorie diet had lower insulin levels and body temperatures, both possible markers of longevity, and fewer signs of the chromosomal damage typically associated with aging.
Anyone else want a pet rhesus monkey now?

Announcing Radio Fuhrman

“Nutritional Wisdom” with Dr. Fuhrman will debut Wednesday, November 15, 2006 at 11 a.m. E.S.T. on the VoiceAmericaTM Network,, the world’s leading live Internet Talk Radio Broadcasting company.

Each week, Dr. Fuhrman will discuss vital health topics that will put you in control of your own health destiny. He will speak with guests, including patients, who have had successful recoveries utilizing his nutritional and natural methods. Dr. Fuhrman will also answer questions from listeners during the broadcast and conclude each show with a scrumptious nutrient-rich recipe.

For years, Dr. Fuhrman has been advising clients through a simple scientific formula: Health = Nutrients / Calories. Through this simple formula, Dr. Fuhrman’s advice has helped individuals reduce their need for medications, lose weight faster than ever thought possible, and dramatically improve their overall health.

VoiceAmerica Network, online since 1999, is a world-renowned live internet talk radio broadcasting company. Monthly listeners on the VoiceAmerica Network as a whole currently stand at over 550,000 listeners.

Tune in weekly, Wednesdays at 11 a.m. E.S.T. to to listen to “Nutritional Wisdom” with Dr. Fuhrman. Also for your convenience archived shows are available on the network.

Check out the list of upcoming shows:

SHOW #1 Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2006
Topic Title: Nutrition Can Win the War on Cancer

SHOW #2 Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2006
Topic Title: Nobody Should Die of Heart Disease

SHOW #3 Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2006
Topic Title: Food Addiction – the Cause of Obesity

SHOW #4 Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2006
Topic Title: The secret weapon for permanent weight loss

SHOW #5 Wednesday, Dec.13, 2006
Topic Title: Don’t Control Your Diabetes – Get Rid of It!

SHOW #6 Wednesday, December 20
Topic Title: Childhood Diets Create Adult Cancers

SHOW #7 Wednesday, December 27
Topic Title: Nutrition Can Defeat Autoimmune Disease

SHOW #8 Wednesday, January 3
Topic Title: Banish Your Headaches

SHOW #9 Wednesday, January 10
Topic Title: Why Eat to Live – The Basics

SHOW #10 Wednesday, January 17
Topic Title: Nutrition Beats Drugs for High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

SHOW #11 Wednesday, January 24
Topic Title: Feeding Kids Right

SHOW #12 Wednesday, January 31
Topic Title: Strong Bones for Life

SHOW #13 Wednesday, February 7
Topic Title: Why All Diets Fail

The Happy Housewives Club, episode 3

Gaining Weight During the Holidays

Believe it or not, but the holidays are fast-approaching and you know what that means? Lots and lots of eating. Believe me I know, I’m Italian and we eat at the drop of a hat—birthdays we eat, Christmas we eat, somebody’s born we eat, somebody dies we eat—bottom line, we eat!

How about you? Do you up the eating around the holidays? If you do, you’re not alone. Anahad O’Connor of The New York Times reveals that most people gain one pound due to holiday feasting. Not too bad considering the popular belief is five to ten pounds. Here’s more on this:
According to most studies on the subject, the average person gains one to two pounds from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. One of the most recent and thorough studies to examine the idea, published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2000, followed a diverse group of about 200 adults, half men.

Although this isn’t the same for everybody, O’Conner points out that some studies indicated ten percent of people gained more than five pounds during the holidays—that ten percent is probably coming from my family.
So, what do you do if you’re an Eat to Liver and you’re worried about weight-gain, but you don’t want to miss out on holiday festivities? Remember this excerpt from Eat to Live? It should help you manage your cheating ways:
We are all tempted by treats. It is easier to resist if you get them out of the house completely. All cheats should be done outside of your home. If possible, associate with friends who will support you in recovering your health—or may join you in trying to be healthy.

Once you regain your health and feel great, you are less likely to crave these foods or be so tempted. Then, when you do deviate from a healthful diet, it is likely you will feel poorly, have persistent dry mouth, and not sleep well. If you go off your diet and eat junk food on occasion, mark it on your calendar and consider it a special occasion that you won’t repeat too often.

Nobody is perfect; however, do not let your weight yo-yo. You must adhere to the plan strictly enough so that you never put back on whatever weight you do take off.

Is Heart Disease Totally Preventable?

From the November 2003 edition of Dr. Fuhrman’s Healthy Times:

If we do a careful look at the scientific evidence at our disposal, we can make some claims with a strong degree of certainty. It is my belief that every heart attack death is an appalling tragedy because that person did not have to die. I believe every bypass surgery, every angioplasty, and every emergency treatment for heart attack could have been prevented. If all cardiac patients, heart-disease sufferers, and even those who will soon die of cardiac arrest were given the option a few years ago to choose to eat and live healthfully in order to be free of heart disease, what do you think they would have chosen to do?

I am convinced that if all of these individuals had been convincingly informed that heart disease and premature death could be avoided and that health could be improved dramatically with changes in diet and lifestyle, they would not have chosen suffering and premature death. Faced with this sober choice, diet and lifestyle changes would seem a delightfully enjoyable choice.

Here is the preliminary evidence and experience we have accumulated so far:

1. The Eat to Live vegetable, fruit, nut, and bean-based diet has been shown to be the most effective cholesterol-lowering dietary approach in medical history. This newsworthy data with the potential to save millions of lives has been ignored by the mass media. With this dietary approach, most patients drop their total cholesterol below 150 and LDL below 100, without the need for medications.

2. During the two years that the Eat to Live vegetable, fruit, nut, and bean-based diet has been under research study by the University of Southern California, patients have shown an average weight loss of forty-nine pounds, the most sustained weight loss ever recorded in a medical study in history.

3. In areas of the world where people eat a diet of unrefined plant foods, people have total cholesterol levels below 150, and there is zero incidence of heart disease in the population.1

4. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., M.D., of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation followed a group of eighteen patients with advanced heart disease who adopted a plant-based vegetarian diet, with the addition of cholesterol-lowering drugs to maintain cholesterol levels below 150. These individuals experienced no heart attacks and no cardiologic interventions over the next twelve years, whereas in the eight years prior to the study, these patients had experienced forty-nine coronary events. Adherence to the diet was the key factor determining the absence of future cardiac disease.

5. My experience with thousands of patients over the past thirteen years, utilizing a high-nutrient, plant-based approach to diet, with the addition of natural cholesterol-lowering therapies when needed to assure adequate cholesterol-lowering, corroborates Dr. Esselstyn’s observations. No cardiac events have occurred in my patients, even patients with advanced disease, who were long-term-compliant to this cardio-protective lifestyle. Both Dr. Esselstyn’s and my patients report that their physician’s commitment to the same dietary approach was a powerful aid to patient compliance.

6. Combining modest dietary changes (as suggested by the American Heart Association and conventional physicians and dietitians) with medications to aggressively lower cholesterol lessens risk but does not result in the elimination of cardiac disease.2 To be 100 percent effective in preventing cardiac death, you need both cholesterol-lowering and adherence to the protective diet outlined in Eat to Live.

7. Aggressive dietary intervention alone significantly lessens risk, but does not preclude the possibility of cardiac disease. You need to assure cholesterol-lowering in conjunction with a protective diet to ensure maximal effectiveness. You also need to assure homocysteine levels are normalized, with supplementation if necessary.

8. The vegetarian diets typically suggested by leading vegetarian authors and advocates do not lower cholesterol or triglycerides or improve lipid profiles to the extent that the vegetable-based Eat to Live approach does. Neither do they result in the dramatic protection and dramatic reversal of atherosclerosis seen by my patients. My approach emphasizes the consumption of cholesterol- lowering fibers and nutrients found in natural foods—greens, fruits, beans, and nuts. The Ornish studies, which demonstrated reversal of coronary artery disease in the majority of patients, likewise did not see the dramatic benefits I routinely observe.

9. Attempting risk factor reduction with drugs while patients continue to eat the toxic American diet results in only marginal benefits because patients remain overweight and glucose intolerant, and have low levels of protective phytochemicals. Since the dietary causes of disease are not eliminated, chronic illness advances. Medications can result in dangerous side effects, including muscle and liver damage, memory loss, and—in some rare cases—death. Lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar with medications while giving patients permission to continue their toxic dietary habits is unacceptably inferior care—care that results in patients gradually growing sicker and sicker.

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Salmonella in Our Food

Evidently food contamination is this year’s next big thing. First it started with spinach, then carrot juice, and now health officials believe a recent salmonella outbreak is linked to lettuce and tomatoes—the salad industry must be annoyed. Mike Stobbe of the Associated Press has more:
Health officials think the bacteria may have spread through some form of produce; the list of suspects includes lettuce and tomatoes. But the illnesses have not been tied to any specific product, chain, restaurants or supermarkets.

No one has died in the outbreak, which stems from a common form of salmonella bacteria. Eleven people have been hospitalized, health officials said.
The CDC discovered the outbreak using a national computer system; the states involved are Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

Eat to Live Italiano

Zucchini & Mushrooms
2-4 zucchini
1 cup mushrooms
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 Tbsp. lightly toasted sesame seeds
Steam the zucchini and mushrooms just until they are soft. Sprinkle with onion powder, lemon juice, and sesame seeds.

Scallion-Eggplant Dip
1 eggplant
3 scallions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. mixed Italian herbs
Bake the eggplant until soft. After it has cooled, scoop out the soft inner flesh and blend it with the remaining ingredients. Serve with raw vegetables.

Portobella Mushrooms and Beans
1/2 tsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic gloves, chopped
2 large portobella mushroom caps, sliced thin
1/3 cup red wine (or vegetable broth)
1 large tomato, diced, or 8 halved cherry tomatoes
1 (15-oz.) can garbanzo beans, juice reserved
Heat oil and spread to cover the bottom of a skillet. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, then add the mushrooms and the red wine or broth. Cook for 5 more minutes. Add the tomatoes and garbanzo beans, plus half the juice from the can. Cook for another 5-10 minutes.

Halloween Grand Rounds

Giving Calorie Restriction a Whirl

Ever heard of calorie-restrictive diets? If you read Eat to Live you’ll probably remember Dr. Fuhrman saying, “Reduced caloric intake is the only experimental technique to consistently extend maximum life span. This has been shown in all species tested, from insects and fish to rats and cats.” Intriguing, right?

Recently Julian Dibbell of New York Magazine played the part of journalist/guinea pig as he assumed an ultra-extreme calorie restrictive diet for two months. What he uncovered is fascinating.

Most impressive is after two months of CR (what the cool kids call calorie restriction) he dropped over twenty pounds, going from five-eleven 178 pounds to his high-school weight of 157. One thing Dibbell points out that really grabbed my attention was the “high” a calorie restrictive diet can create. No, I’m not kidding. Apparently CR actually induces a bona fide chemical high. Check it out:
Had I noticed the manic gleam in Paul’s eye before this? Maybe not, but there is no mistaking it now, and as I contemplate his peculiar fervor for the food he isn’t eating, I am brought face to face at last with a question that’s been taking shape within me from the moment I met him: Dude, are you high?

I don’t put the question to him in quite those terms, but his answer, basically, is yes: He is high, and chemically so. “When you fast for seventeen hours at a low glucose rate, brain-derived neurotrophic factor is released, which is a chemical which creates optimism,” says Paul. “This brain-derived neurotrophic factor is actually a natural part of the chemical thing that happens to me every day … I feel pretty exhilarated right now.”

I believe him, but only because I’ve felt something like it myself.

It’s no secret. From mystics to anorexics, people who go for long periods without eating often report feeling more awake and energetic, even euphoric. It’s nice for a while, but even the calorie-restricted can get too much of it. When April started CR, she often went long stretches between meals and eventually decided something was a little off. “It makes you feel like you’re on drugs; I got too euphoric,” she says. “You know, thinking you’re in love when you’re not.” She switched to a more consistent, balanced eating schedule, came back down to Earth, and that, she says with a shrug, was that:

“It’s like, ‘Eat something! You’re not in love.’ ”
Dibbell also points out that CR in some cases can heighten sex-drive (it can also reduce do it too). CR sounds pretty appealing to me—you lose weight, get high, and have lots of sex—where do I sign up?

Complementary Protein Myth Won't Go Away!

Written by Dr. Fuhrman’s colleague Jeff Novick, M.S., R. D. for the May 2003 edition of Healthy Times:

Recently, I was teaching a nutrition class and describing the adequacy of plant-based diets to meet human nutritional needs. A woman raised her hand and stated, “I’ve read that because plant foods don’t contain all the essential amino acids that humans need, to be healthy we must either eat animal protein or combine certain plant foods with others in order to ensure that we get complete proteins.”

I was a little surprised to hear this, since this is one of the oldest myths related to vegetarianism and was disproved long ago. When I pointed this out, the woman identified herself as a medical resident and stated that her current textbook in human physiology states this and that in her classes, her professors have emphasized this point.

I was shocked. If myths like this not only abound in the general population, but also in the medical community, how can anyone ever learn how to eat healthfully? It is important to correct this misinformation because many people are afraid to follow healthful, plant-based, and/or total vegetarian (vegan) diets because they worry about “incomplete proteins” from plant sources.

How did this “incomplete protein” myth become so widespread?

No small misconception

The “incomplete protein” myth was inadvertently promoted in the 1971 book, Diet for a Small Planet, by Frances Moore Lappe. In it, the author stated that plant foods do not contain all the essential amino acids, so in order to be a healthy vegetarian, you needed to eat a combination of certain plant foods in order to get all of the essential amino acids. It was called the theory of “protein complementing.”

Frances Moore Lappe certainly meant no harm, and her mistake was somewhat understandable. She was not a nutritionist, physiologist, or medical doctor. She was a sociologist trying to end world hunger. She realized that there was a lot of waste in converting vegetable protein into animal protein, and she calculated that if people just ate the plant protein, many more people could be fed. In a later edition of her book (1991), she retracted her statement and basically said that in trying to end one myth—the unsolvable inevitability of world hunger, she created a second one—the myth of the need for “protein complementing.”

In these later editions, she corrects her earlier mistake and clearly states that all plant foods typically consumed as sources of protein contain all the essential amino acids, and that humans are virtually certain of getting enough protein from plant sources if they consume sufficient calories.

Amino acid requirements
Where did the concept of “essential amino acids” come from? In 1952, William Rose and his colleagues completed research that determined the human requirements for the eight essential amino acids. They set the “minimum amino acid requirement” by making it equal to the greatest amount required by any single person in their study. To set the “recommended amino acid requirement,” they simply doubled the minimum requirements. This “recommended amino acid requirement” was considered a “definitely safe intake.”

Today, if you calculate the amount of each essential amino acid provided by unprocessed plant foods and compare these values with those determined by Rose, you will find that any single one, or combination, of these whole natural plant foods provides all of the essential amino acids. Furthermore, these whole natural plant foods provide not just the “minimum requirements” but provide amounts far greater than the “recommended requirements.”

Modern researchers know that it is virtually impossible to design a calorie-sufficient diet based on unprocessed whole natural plant foods that is deficient in any of the amino acids. (The only possible exception could be a diet based solely on fruit.)

Pride and prejudice
Unfortunately, the “incomplete protein” myth seems unwilling to die. In an October 2001 article in the medical journal Circulation on the hazards of high-protein diets, the Nutrition Committee of the American Heart Association wrote, “Although plant proteins form a large part of the human diet, most are deficient in one or more essential amino acids and are therefore regarded as incomplete proteins.”1 Oops!

Medical doctor and writer John McDougall wrote to the editor pointing out the mistake. But in a stunning example of avoiding science for convenience, instead of acknowledging their mistake, Barbara Howard, Ph.D., head of the Nutrition Committee, replied on June 25, 2002 to Dr. McDougall’s letter and stated (without a single scientific reference) that the committee was right and “most (plant foods) are deficient in one or more essential amino acids.” Clearly, the committee did not want to be confused by the facts.

Maybe you are not surprised by this misconception in the medical community. But what about the vegetarian community?

Behind the times
Believe it or not, an article in the September 2002 issue of Vegetarian Times made the same mistake. In a story titled “Amazing Aminos,” author Susan Belsinger incorrectly stated, “Incomplete proteins, which contain some but not all of the EAAs [essential amino acids], can be found in beans, legumes, grains, nuts and green leafy vegetables.... But because these foods do not contain all of the EAAs, vegetarians have to be smart about what they eat, consuming a combination of foods from the different food groups. This is called food combining.”

A dangerous myth
To wrongly suggest people need to eat animal protein for nutrients will encourage them to add foods that are known to contribute to the incidence of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and many forms of cancer, to name just a few common problems.


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Health Points: Monday

More than two dozen "food detectives" fanned out in the quest to determine where the contamination had occurred along the greens' journey from field to fork. They collected spinach leaves from processing plants. They frightened cows near fields of greens to induce defecation and collect their manure. They dipped beakers into water used to irrigate farms or wash the spinach.
  • Wait, no more trans fat? Time to run out and eat Kentucky Fried Chicken—not! Well, I guess it’s still a good thing that KFC is switching to no-trans-fat soybean oil. But you still won’t find an Eat to Liver hanging with the colonel anytime soon. David B. Caruso of the Associated Press has more:
KFC's systemwide rollout is to be completed by April 2007, but the company said many of its approximately 5,500 restaurants already have switched to low linolenic soybean oil, replacing partially hydrogenated soybean oil.
  • Why—since obesity is so bad—are there so many obese people in this country and abroad? That’s a complicated question, with probably no single answer, but one thing’s for sure there’s more than just one drawback to being obese—like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Robert Preidt of Healthday News explains:
Overweight and obese women are five times more likely than lean women to have polycystic ovary syndrome, a new Spanish study finds.

Polycystic ovary syndrome, which decreases fertility, occurs when the ovaries malfunction and levels of the hormone androgen in the body are unusually high. Symptoms include acne, excess hair growth, and irregular or no menstrual periods.
The idea of using economic incentives to help people shed pounds comes up in the periodic calls for taxes on junk food. Martin B. Schmidt, an economist at the College of William and Mary, suggests a tax on food bought at drive-through windows. Describing his theory in a recent Op-Ed article in The New York Times, Dr. Schmidt said people would expend more calories if they had to get out of their cars to pick up their food.
  • I’m hardly trendy—text messaging, reality television, and the Atkins diet are all totally wasted on me. So it shouldn’t shock anyone that energy drinks don’t turn me on either. Although many doctors have taken notice because as Carla K. Johnson of the Associated Press reports caffeine overload is dangerous:
Nutritionists warn that the drinks, laden with caffeine and sugar, can hook kids on an unhealthy jolt-and-crash cycle. The caffeine comes from multiple sources, making it hard to tell how much the drinks contain. Some have B vitamins, which when taken in megadoses can cause rapid heartbeat, and numbness and tingling in the hands and feet.
Nuts and chocolate: Dr. Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. "They might be cashews or almonds or something like that," he says. Not peanuts, though, because of the issue with allergies. He doesn't think sugar candy is a better nutritional choice. "That sounds like a little bit of lingering fat phobia," he says. "Sugar candy has zero nutrition. Chocolate does seem to have some health benefits."

Why NFL Players Shouldn't be Nutritionists

When Chicago Bears wider-receiver Bernard Berrian isn’t torching defensive-backs—and my fantasy team—he occasionally shares dietary advice with school children. His number one recommendation? Bacon and maple syrup. I know what you’re thinking—what the? Yeah, I’m calling a foul on this one too.

Yesterday during ESPN’s Mayne Event he shared some dietary advice with bunch of school kids. Here’s how it went:
Bernard: Hello kids.

Classroom: Hello!

Bernard: Do any of you know what it takes to make it in the NFL?

Redhead freckle-faced ginger-kid: Four-three forty speed?


Bernard: That always helps, but first you have to lay a foundation—make your body strong. Do any of you know how to do that?

Pretentious kid with overly dramatic delivery: Massive amounts of jumping-jacks?

Bernard: No, I’m talking about diet—the food you put in your body. Before ever game in college I used to eat bacon and syrup, and I brought some with me. Come on everybody let’s eat!

And the crowd goes wild.
What ensued was a melee of animal fat drizzled in hearty helpings of liquid sugar. Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t these the types of things school food reforms are trying to knock out? It gets worse, here’s my favorite—well not-so-favorite—quote from Bernard:
It’s the perfect combination, you should eat it everyday and you’ll be in the NFL too.
Now, I’m not so Fuhrman-ized that I don’t realize this piece is intended for humor. I know Bernard Berrian isn’t really campaigning to make bacon and syrup one of the food groups, but still, what kind of a message does it send?

Especially—as Dr. Fuhrman puts it—a lot animal products aren’t exactly longevity-promoting:
For athletes, as I explain in Eat to Live, I recommend much more nuts and seeds, and a diet mugh higher in fat. Because keep in mind that bulking up is dangerous to one's longevity and power lifters and football linebackers often eat in a way that radically shortens their lives. If you were a weightlifter, for instance, you might improve your chances of muscle growth with more animal products then I recommend, certainly. But my point is too much animal products is not conducive to longevity. But if size is your only goal, go for it.
NFL players aren't the only ones with twisted diets, take a look at what Detriot Pistons' shooting-guard Richard Hamilton is eating.

Carnival of the Recipes Halloween Edition

Morning Coffee & Afternoon Tea hosts this week's carnival of recipes. Be sure to check out Dr. Fuhrman’s post  Soups and Stew. *Don't forget, not all recipes in the carnival are Fuhrman-friendly.

Score a Goal, Eat a Cupcake

I admit, I’m more than eager to trot this story out again-again, but do you remember last week’s post about England’s meat pie pushing mothers? You know. Those uber-moms who started selling hamburgers to students outside of schools in spite of the recent initiatives to improve school food. You got to appreciate that kind of caring—and degree of mental illness!

Well, here’s an example of some homegrown, good old-fashioned American dietary dopiness. How many of you remember the post-soccer-game orange slices? You do, good. But what about the post-game chips, juice-boxes, Ho Hos, and Hawaiian Punch? No? From The New York Times Op-Ed section, Harlan Coben tells us all about it—and he’s none to happy:
Are none of us reading about the obesity of our young people? Do you think it helps their well-being that after every sporting event our children gorge themselves Fall-of-Roman-Empire style on extra calories, extra sugar, extra hydrogenated fat? I recently sat down with Annette O’Neill, a registered dietitian and bona fide nutritionist, and asked her, “Do you think it’s a good idea for our kids to have Cheetos and Kool-Aid after a sporting event?” Her response: “Uh, no.”
Coben certainly is amazed with our cultures propensity to incorporate snacking into every facet of our lives. I guess that’s one reason why it can be so hard to teach kids the importance of healthy eating, especially since—as Coben puts it—every classroom celebration involves softball-sized cupcakes.

If you’re fed up like Coben, check out this podcast where Dr. Fuhrman offers up tips on getting children to eat well.

How to Burn Sugar Calories

Sugary treats like "peeps" will never find a place in Dr. Fuhrman’s heart. Good thing has figured out what to do with them. I wonder if it'll upset PETA? Poor sweet little yellow bunnies, they don't make a peep!

Eating to Live on the Outside: Ruby Tuesday

I’m not so sure how “ruby” any day of the week would be for an Eat to Liver dining at Ruby Tuesday—it’s a tough one. Now, you’ve probably heard me say this a bunch of times, but if this weekly series has taught me anything, its that many standard American restaurants are nightmares when it comes to responsible eating. Ruby Tuesday isn’t much better—lots of burger, steak, and cheese-oriented food. Oh goody! I can feel my arteries hardening already.

No surprise here, but the safe-haven on the menu is the “Salads, Soups & Sandwiches” section—although not with out its problems. The first item I don’t have too many hang-ups about is the Garden Vegetable Soup. Now, it’s not perfect. After all it is prepared with chicken broth, so this may discourage some Eat to Livers. As for me, I eat meat once a week, so if my weekly meat intake was simply chicken broth, well, I’m not exactly going to beat myself up over it. Besides the chopped tomatoes, roasted corn, and green beans make me feel a whole lot better about. If this doesn’t suit your fancy, Ruby Tuesday does have a Fresh Garden Bar. This is a great fallback option, why take your chances with the chef’s creation? Grab a dish and pile-high the veggies!

Evidently Ruby Tuesday is known for their burgers—and there’re a lot of them! Most of them don’t interest me, especially the ones drowned in cheese and topped with bacon. But surprisingly a few did catch my eye. I like the Turkey Burger, the Portobello Swiss Turkey Burger, and the Veggie Burger. Okay, all three burgers come served on a bun with lettuce, tomato, and pickles. Not bad, the bun would be my biggest concession. The other thing is, each burger can come topped with cheese—now I don’t care if it’s Monterey Jack or Swiss cheese, I’m ditching both. Diary and I went through a nasty divorce, so I don’t go anywhere near cheese. Also, I guess I could just eat the burger without the bun, but I don’t want to be mistaken for a low-carber—dread the thought!

Finally, and we’ve seen this come up before, Ruby Tuesday has a decent selection of side dishes. So I think another great option would be to construct a meal out of the healthier sides they have available. For example, the premium baby greens, sautéed Portobello mushroom slices, fresh steamed broccoli, and plain baked potato all look good—just think of all the phytonutrients in the broccoli and baby greens. The creamy mashed cauliflower also caught my eye, but before I’d order it, I’d want to ask the waiter if there’s really cream in it. If so, that would certainly ruin a good thing.

Overall I’m not very impressed with Ruby Tuesday. So much of the menu is devoted to standard American urges: ribs, steak, cheese, fries, bacon, etc. They do provide the menu’s nutritional information online, but little good it does you when you’re seated at the restaurant. And, lets be honest, just because people know how unhealthy the food is, doesn’t mean they won’t eat it—after all McDonald's is still selling burgers!

Okay, you know the drill—we want your feedback! Check out Ruby Tuesday’s menu and let us know how you Eat to Live on the Outside? Leave a comment or email us at

Dietary Restriction, Health Eating, and Anorexia Nervosa

Adapted from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Disease-Proof Your Child:

Some parents fear that adopting dietary guidelines for health and discussing proper weight with their children could lead to anorexia nervosa, particularly in girls. This myth should be dispelled.

While kids on one extreme are getting bigger, a small percentage of children (usually teenage girls) suffer from eating disorders that can cause dangerous malnutrition. Such low calorie and nutrient levels can be harmful and even fatal.

We should not forget that the most common eating disorder is the high-calorie, empty-nutrient diet that most teens eat, leading to an epidemic of overweight adolescents. We know that overweight adolescents have double the chances of heart disease and dying of prematurely of their non-overweight peers.1 The fear of discussing healthy eating and the importance of a healthy, slim weight should not be discouraged due to an unfounded fear of causing anorexia. We know that anorexia is not the result of teaching and encouraging healthy eating to achieve an ideal weight.

Anorexia nervosa is a serious problem, potentially life-threatening mental disorder, manifesting itself as a failure to maintain a minimal body weight. It occurs predominantly among adolescent females, the majority of whom have underlying depression and anxiety.

This condition stems from psychiatric issues; anorexia is not simply a nutritional problem and its management is difficult and challenging. In many cases the disturbed eating pattern represents a coping effort to manage anger, sadness, and frustration. It is recognized that dysfunctional family dynamics are frequently involved and need to be addressed. This disorder is often preceded by parental psychopathology, maladaptive parenting, childhood maltreatment, and other childhood adversities.2
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Health Points: Friday

Samples taken from a wild pig, as well as from stream water and cattle on the ranch, have tested positive for the same strain of E. coli implicated in the outbreak, Dr. Kevin Reilly of the California Department of Health Services said in a conference call with reporters.
For state officials and environmentalists, the notice, released in the form of an official advisory urging children and women who might be pregnant to eat Puget Sound chinook no more than once a week, served as "another sign that Puget Sound is sick and we must take action now," said Gov. Christine Gregoire, who is pushing for a new plan to clean up the Sound.
Chapman screamed for her husband and called 911. She ran upstairs to put on clothes for the ambulance ride and passed out in her bedroom. When firefighters arrived, they almost beat down the door before a groggy Randy Chapman turned the knob.
At Cheesecake Factory Inc., "we're known for our generous portions" and the value they offer, said Howard Gordon, a senior vice president of the chain whose signature dish is dozens of varieties of cheesecake, the ultimate sin dessert.
The incident was the latest in a string of mass food-poisoning outbreaks since August, all but one of them in schools. The cases appear to be unrelated.
"The trick is that you still have to give them candy," Aquafresh senior brand manager Tom Baxter said with a laugh. He handed out the contradictory combination of candy and toothpaste from his house in Pine last year, the first Halloween the company tried it, and he will do so again next week.
Allergic reactions differ from one person to the next and can occur within minutes to as long as eight hours after eating a peanut. A mild reaction might include an itchy rash or a tingling feeling on the lips, tongue or roof of the mouth, or nausea or stomach cramps. A more severe reaction, known as anaphylaxis, may include swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, collapse or drowsiness.
''I think that parents, when they realize they just can't roll down the (vehicle) window to protect their children from second hand smoke ... will stop smoking in their cars,'' said Action on Smoking and Health director Becky Freeman.

Veggies Not Great for Cancer Protection?

In Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman says he considers cancer a disease resulting from fruit and vegetable deficiency. Here are his reasons:
  • Vegetables and fruits protect against all types of cancers if consumed in large enough quantities. Hundreds of scientific studies document this. The most prevalent cancers in our country are mostly plant-food-deficiency disease.
  • Raw vegetables have the most powerful anti-cancer properties of all foods.
  • Studies on the cancer-reducing effects of vitamin pills containing various nutrients (such as folate, vitamin C and E) get mixed reviews; sometimes they show a slight benefit, but most show no benefit. Occasionally studies show that taking isolated nutrients is harmful, as was discussed earlier regarding beta-carotene.
  • Beans, in general, not just soy, have additional anti-cancer benefits against reproductive cancers, such as breast and prostate cancer.1
I point this out because today there’s a video on CNN stating that fruits and vegetables just don’t offer the big-bang for cancer protection that researchers once thought. Now, I’ve watched the video a few times and I still don’t understand their claim.

They say fruits and vegetables aren’t the saviors many thought them to be, but the report still recommends people eat a diet heavy in diverse plant matter. Hard to know what to make of that.
Continue Reading...

Getting Their Garden On

Remember The Edible Schoolyard from earlier this year? The program designed to help counter childhood obesity by teaching kids the importance of growing and eating natural food. It’s the brainchild of Alice Waters, restaurateur and founder of the Chez Panisse Foundation. Well it appears The Edible Schoolyard isn’t the only game in town—or should I say garden.

Today I discovered Urban Sprouts School Gardens, a nonprofit organization that uses school gardens to encourage young people to grow, harvest, prepare, and eat fresh vegetables. That ought to cure the notion that food magically appears in grocery stores.

Here are a few posts of note:

Dr. Fuhrman's Diet Advice for Prostate Health

From the July 2005 edition of Dr. Fuhrman’s Healthy Times:

1. Eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, rich not only in lycopene but in thousands of other protective compounds. Each year, researchers find another carotenoid that has powerful beneficial effects and reduces cancer. Spinach was this year’s recipient of the anti-prostate cancer award, with researchers in Japan finding neoxanthin compounds (a class of carotenoids) that powerfully inhibit prostate cancer. In the past, pink grapefruit, watermelon, cooked tomatoes, pomegranate, cruciferous vegetables, red peppers, berries, figs, and many other foods all have been shown to inhibit the development of prostate cancer.

2. Drink a glass of fresh squeezed vegetable juice daily.

3. Have a bowl of soup made with cruciferous greens, leeks and beans almost every day.

4. Limit or avoid animal products to less than 5 percent of total calories, and don’t drink milk or eat cheese or butter. Do not take flaxseed oil; studies suggest it may worsen prostate cancer. Limit the use of all oil, using avocado, whole nuts, and seeds as the main source of fat in your diet and in sauces and salad dressings.

5. Take a multivitamin daily to assure adequate selenium, iodine, B12, and other trace minerals.

6. Take a small amount of DHA fat daily or a few times a week, to assure ideal omega-3 status.

7. Get a blood test for vitamin D every few years to assure you do not need additional supplementation. At the same time, check blood for homocysteine and MMA (methylmalonic acid) to assure that B12 and folate status are ideal.

World's Strongest Delivery Man

To be honest this article seems like an idea for a beer commercial—postal workers, FedEx drivers, and contractors the same as professional athletes? It’s not as crazy as it sounds. Bradley Melekian of The New York Times explains many blue-collar workers are getting fit to better endure the rigors of their jobs:
But today, a growing number of men and women whose jobs are unrelenting marathons of exertion have realized that they have more in common with professional athletes than deskbound professionals…

…To be able to run up flights of stairs with a hundred pounds of roofing material on his back, John Entrekin, a self-employed contractor in Cherry Hill, N.J., hired a personal trainer. Several nights a week, he undergoes a cross-training regimen at a branch of Velocity Sports Performance, a nationwide personal-training facility.
Melekian explains that many employers are embracing this trend and hiring on-site athletic trainers to help these “industrial athletes” develop exercise routines.

Even though this still makes me think of construction workers in plaid flannel downing cold ones after a hard day’s work, I totally relate to the trend. Having worked on my feet during most of my adolescence, I can honestly say I was never more fit than when I was stocking shelves and unloading boxes. And to make my job easier, I did a lot of exercising.

FDA Rejects Petition to Further Limit Mercury

In short, Dr. Fuhrman considers mercury a bad mama-jama. Try searching the word mercury on Followhealthlife, check out how many posts come up urging avoidance of it—a lot! Whether it’s from contaminated seafood or used in drug-making, according to Dr. Fuhrman it’s all bad news. Here’s what he had to say in a previous post, Six Steps to Protect Your Family from Avian Flu:
The injection of even this small amount of mercury repeatedly year after year from multiple vaccines can cause neurotoxicity (brain damage). The American Academy of Pediatrics and the US Public Health Service have issued a joint statement calling for the removal of mercury from vaccines. Chronic low dose mercury exposures may cause subtle neurological abnormalities that rear their head later in life.
You’d think that if even trace amounts of mercury used in vaccine production are harmful, the government would stop at nothing to ensure drug manufacturers stop using mercury entirely. Not so. The Associated Press explains that the Food and Drug Administration recently shot down a petition seeking new restrictions on the use of mercury in vaccines and other medicines:
A group called the Coalition for Mercury-free Drugs petitioned the Food and Drug Administration in 2004 seeking the restrictions on thimerosal, citing concerns that the preservative is linked to autism. In a reply dated Sept. 26 but made public only Tuesday, the FDA rejected the petition.
Startling. The report does point out that since 2001 the restrictions against thimerosal have tightened for vaccines administered to children, and in some cases phased out completely, but thimerosal can still be found in flu shots.

For more take a look at all the Followhealthlife posts tackling the issue of mercury.

Aspirin Use Linked to Pancreatic Cancer

From the November 2003 edition of Dr. Fuhrman’s Healthy Times:

A study released from findings gathered from the longitudinal Nurses Health Study at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital found women who had taken at least two aspirin tablets per week for twenty years or more experienced a 58 percent higher risk of pancreatic cancer than women who did not use aspirin. The increased risk for pancreatic cancer ranged from 86 percent among women who took fourteen or more aspirin tablets a week, a 41 percent increased risk for taking six to thirteen tablets per week, and a 29 percent increase for four to six tablets per week.

The Nurses Health Study, initiated in 1976 at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, is the longest-running major women’s health study ever undertaken.

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of death from cancer. Very few survive for five years after this diagnosis. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2003 about 30,000 will die from this disease. Other factors, such as eating a diet low in fruits and vegetables and high in meat, cheese, and processed foods, also have been shown to be associated with pancreatic cancer.

Utilizing drugs to combat the effects of a disease-causing diet, rather than removing the dietary causes of disease, will always be less than optimally effective, and for some, it will be deadly.

Health Points: Wednesday

Antioxidants, like those found in fruits and vegetables, may help prevent damage to sperm that causes them to become sluggish and lose the ability to fertilize an egg, Dr. Vivian Lewis, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y. said.
Some 1.7 million cars could be filled with gas for an entire year using the 938 million gallons of fuel that could be saved by trimming down the weight of drivers and passengers, Sheldon Jacobson, a computer science professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign said.
  • Since we live in a country with a significant obesity, it should surprise anyone that many of our pets are battling the bulge too. Surprise-surprise it’s not good for them either. Dawn Fallik of The Philadelphia Inquirer explains:
It's not so cute anymore. With 40 percent of animals over the age of 4 regarded as overweight, veterinarians say they are seeing more diabetes, joint problems and other health issues similar to those of their heavy humans. And they are calling on owners to step up to the plate, so to speak, and put their pets on a diet.
  • Just this morning, I jumped out of bed and wondered out loud—we need purple tomatoes damn it! Well today must be my lucky day, because according to the Associated Press scientists have struck gold, purple gold:
Oregon State University researchers are fine-tuning a purple tomato -- a new blend of colors and nutrients. The skin is as dark as an eggplant. But it doesn't just look cool -- it could be better for you.
  • Convincing kids that smoking isn’t cool has got to be a tall order. Heck, I grew up thinking it was cool. A new strategy aims at discouraging teens from picking up the habit—anti-smoking messages in DVDs. Reuters reports:
"These messages will fight false film images of healthy and hip smokers with the real hard truth of addiction and disease," Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said in a statement Tuesday announcing the agreement.
After statistically adjusting for age, body mass index, physical activity, alcohol intake and other factors, they found that the more cola women drank, the lower their bone density. Compared with those who drank none, those who drank cola daily had reduced bone density at the hip ranging from 2.1 percent to 5.4 percent, depending on the exact site of the measurement.
The study found that dronabinol relaxes the colon and reduces post-eating contractions and cramping. The effect was most apparent in women.
This isn't the first time Cocaine has been yanked. Some stores in the New York area pulled the drink after local politicians complained. It's all part of the company's plan to stand out in the fast-growing energy drink market.

Wednesday: Vegan Points

Nobody loves fruits and vegetables like vegans...
The boys were VERY excited to see each other, and we wanted to run some energy out. Well, they ran around, but still had lots of energy! We got back to Clay's house, and made pizza for supper, then the boys danced around crazy to some techno-dance music that Lucas brought over. They all had fun.
The researchers found that a low-fat vegetarian diet may be even more effective at treating Type 2 diabetes symptoms than the standard diet recommended by the American Diabetes Association.

Check out the news report: Vegan Diet Can be Beneficial

Okay, so I'm not 100% there yet. I've been at it for about 3 months now (more like 2 1/2) and the transitioning process for myself and my family is going okay. I've hit some bumps along the way but it's getting there. My husband still comes home from the grocery store with what he thought were some good vegan buys, and lo and behold, there's something in it like whey or casein. He's not that great at reading labels.
Cholesterol is only found in foods sourced from mammals, birds or fish, and since oats are a grain product they do not contain cholesterol. An easy way to remember which foods contain cholesterol is to ask yourself whether the product came from something that used to walk, fly or swim. If so, it contains cholesterol.

Here's the link to Quaker Oats Canada.

ADHD Over-Diagnosis and Treatment Options

When I was a kid, as far as I was aware, not one of my classmates had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). In fact, it wasn’t until high school that I realized lots of grade school children had this condition. Now, many years later, it seems ADHD is everywhere.

In Disease-Proof Your Child Dr. Fuhrman says, “The diagnosis and treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder has skyrocketed in recent years, with a tremendous increase in the percentage of our elementary school children who are taking amphetamines and stimulants such as Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, Cylert, and others.” So as a layman, I wonder—what's going on here? Is this some kind of epidemic?

Dr. Flea, a doctor-blogger offers some evidence for the over-diagnosis of ADHD. He references an article in The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice (SRMHP):
ADHD is diagnosed and treated differently in communities across the United States, as evidenced by the 30-fold variation in per capita rates of Ritalin use. The probability that ADHD is diagnosed appropriately in some communities should not serve to dismiss concerns about overdiagnosis in all communities. Rates of treatment are consistently highest among younger (i.e., under age 10), nonminority, and male school-age children. The evidence of ADHD overdiagnosis is obscured when findings are reported without respect to geographic location, race, gender, and age. The fact that ADHD is clearly overdiagnosed in some communities and among some groups of children (e.g., one in every three white elementary-aged boys in southeastern Virginia) is lost in nationwide estimates of ADHD drug treatment. It is essential that mechanisms be established to track rates of child mental health diagnoses and psychotropic drug treatment and its outcomes among American children. Until we have a better understanding of these issues, it is appropriate to be judicious in our use of psychotropic medications and cautious about dismissal of concern about ADHD overdiagnosis.
In Disease-Proof Your Child Dr. Fuhrman explains that, “As many as 9 percent of school-age children show symptoms of ADHD such as inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, academic underachievement, or behavioral problems.”1 He goes on further to explain that stimulants and amphetamines are unnecessary for treating these children, and that nutritional excellence is a better option:
These medications with their reported adverse effects and potential dangers were simply unnecessary for so many children whom I have seen as patients. I have witnessed consistently positive results when these children followed my comprehensive program of nutritional excellence. The scientific studies lending support to a comprehensive nutritional approach to treating ADHD are ignored by physicians, and drugs are generally the only method offered.

Most new cases of ADHD are of the inattentive subtype. Inattentive ADHD are the children who have a short attention span, are easily distracted, and can appear to be a brain fog; they do not have hyperactivity. Research on the use of psychostimulants in these patients has shown high rate of nonresponders, and although medications showed a short-term decrease in symptoms, they did not improve grade point averages.2

Before a parent begins to consider the pros and cons of starting their inattentive child on stimulants such as Ritalin, they should give nutritional excellence a trial. Nobody knows for sure the long-term dangers of these stimulant drugs or if taking them for a long period of time during childhood increases one’s later life risk of cancer. There certainly is some risk, especially because they can cause cancerous tumors in mice.3

What has been shown to be highly effective in some recent studies is high-nutrient eating, removal of processed foods, and supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids.4 The difference between my approach and others is that it changes a poor diet into an excellent one, supplying an adequate amount of thousands of important nutrients that work synergistically as well as removing those noxious substances such as chemical additives, trans fat, saturated fats, and empty-calorie food that place a nutritional stress on our brain cells. I believe this comprehensive approach is more effective; the scientific literature suggests this, and I have observed this in my practice with hundreds of ADHD children who have see me as patients.
Check out this previous post for George Grant’s success story: Children, ADHD, and Nutrition
Continue Reading...

Soups and Stew

Carrot Cream Soup
20 carrots, washed, peeled, and cut into large chunks
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
3 onions, peeled and chopped
2 cups soy milk
2 cups water
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root (optional)
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon dehydrated vegetable instant soup mix or VegiZest
¼ cup raw cashews
¼ cup raw almonds
Make this quick, thick, and creamy soup by adding all the ingredients except the nuts to a pot and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. Then puree the cooked soup with the nuts in a food processor or good blender until smooth. Serves 4-6.

Tomato Tornado

½ cup pinto beans
4 cups fresh tomato, chopped
2 apples, cored
1 onion, sliced
1 cup unsweetened soy milk
½ cup corn kernels
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon VegiZest, or another dried vegetable soup base
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or raisin vinegar
Blend pinto beans, 2 tomatoes, apples, onion, and soy milk in food processor or blender. Add 2 chopped tomatoes, corn, tomato paste, VegiZest, and vinegar. Simmer on low heat until tomatoes are soft. Serves 2.

Moroccan Vegetable-Almond Stew
8 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 large onions, chopped
4 carrots, sliced
3 parsnips, sliced
12 oz. bag frozen peas
4 celery stakes, chopped
3 Tbsp. raw almond butter
2 small zucchini squash, diced
1 large eggplant, diced
2 cups currants
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ground fennel
¼ tsp. ground oregano
1 can unsalted chickpeas
1 cup white mushrooms, sliced
½ cup almond slivers
3 cups water
Drain liquid from can of chickpeas and mix with currants and spices. Make sure all the vegetables are cut into very small pieces, and mix all ingredients in tightly covered pot or pressure cooker on lowest flame possible. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with lightly toasted almond slivers sprinkled on top.

The Happy Housewives Club, episode 2

Vegetables and Brain Health

A staple topic for Followhealthlife are the many benefits of eating leafy green vegetables—just look at all the posts:
I’m sure in a few months we’ll have double that! And news like this will certainly help get us there. According to the Associated Press new research shows eating green leafy vegetables including spinach, kale, and collards may help slow the mental decline associated with getting older. Lindsey Tanner reports:
On measures of mental sharpness, older people who ate more than two servings of vegetables daily appeared about five years younger at the end of the six-year study than those who ate few or no vegetables.
Researchers believe that the healthy amounts of vitamin E contained in leafy greens help fight chemicals that damage cells. Behold the power of the green!

Dangers of High-Protein, Low-Carb Diets

From the January 2004 edition of Dr. Fuhrman’s Healthy Times:

Proponents of high-protein diets such as the Atkins diet have brought dangerous fad-dieting to new heights, in spite of mounting reports of deaths attributed to them. High protein diets—those in which calories come predominantly from animal foods—increase the risk of cancer and heart attack and have been linked to cardiomyopathies, electrolyte imbalances, and kidney damage. Dr. Robert Atkins himself had a heart attack from a cardiomyopathy a year before his death, and his autopsy results still remain hidden from the public.

In addition to increased risk of disease from Atkins and other animal-food-heavy diets, research has shown that these faddish eating plans are not very effective—most adherents do not achieve long-term, permanent weight loss. Unfortunately, this has not lessened the popularity of these diets. Well-funded publicity campaigns have succeeded in getting the media to “report”glossed-over, one-sided information. Until news outlets begin to report more accurately, more and more tragedies are going to occur.

Girl dies while dieting

Most recently, a sixteen-year-old girl who had no history of medical problems died after two weeks on the Atkins diet. When the paramedics arrived, she was pulse-less, and the electrocardiogram revealed ventricular fibrillation (a usually fatal loss of normal heart rhythm). Her emergency room evaluation showed electrolyte imbalances that occurred as a result of eating a diet of meat, cheese, and salads for two weeks. She was doing the diet together with her mother.

An ongoing tragedy
Sadly, even as additional dangers are revealed and reported, more and more people misled by one-sided advertising and publicity—are being put at needless risk. At the same time, proven healthful weight loss recommendations are being ignored. Unless Americans quickly learn the facts about these harmful diets, many pointless deaths will continue to occur.

For more on the Atkins Diet check out Followhealthlife's week-long investigation:

Also, be sure to visit for studies discounting the merits of the Atkins Diet.

Grand Rounds 3.5: A Visual Tour

The latest Grand Rounds is now up on Health Care Law Blog. This week includes Followhealthlife's post Gone Fishing Again.

Health Points: Monday

Doctors say it is good news that the number of pounds gained is less than the widely believed 15, but bad news that "Generation XL" kids seem to be learning patterns of gradual weight gain that could spell trouble way beyond graduation.
  • Okay fellow gym rats, how many of you get stiff or sore from working out? It certainly happens to me from time to time. Jeannine Stein of The Los Angeles Times explains the right stretches can help get you right:
Your stiffness and soreness might be due to the fact that although weight-lifting increases the size of the muscle, it does nothing to make the muscles more flexible, according to Suzanne Martin, an Alameda-based physical therapist, Pilates instructor and author of the book "Stretching." For that, you need to stretch.
But a now-ponderous stack of research has shown that trans fats raise heart disease risk four to five times more sharply than do saturated fats. Trans fats both raise "bad" cholesterol, or LDL, and cause "good" cholesterol, or HDL, to drop, while saturated fats only raise LDL. Moreover, trans fats are linked to ailments such as diabetes and dementia, said Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at Harvard University's School of Public Health.
Scientists pointed to numerous factors that contribute to 32.7 percent of boys under 10 and 27.8 percent of girls being overweight: massive portions at meals, the "energy density" -- calories per gram -- of food eaten, children being drive rather than walking to school, and ethnic group, among others.
Obesity -- which affects one in every three Americans -- and the illnesses associated with it cost the United States some 90.7 billion dollars a year in health care costs, a University of Pennsylvania researcher said.
  • I don’t think this will alarm too many Eat to Livers, but we have an egg salad crisis. The Associated Press reports suspected contamination caused a particular brand to be recalled from seventeen states:
Ballard's President David Ballard said the company has temporarily suspended producing egg salad while it investigates the contamination. Consumers can return the 12-ounce containers of egg salad for a refund.
"There is an overwhelming number of studies that show a link between obesity and breast cancer," Cheryl Rock of the University of California, San Diego said at the annual conference of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity (NAASO).

Hospital Food Woes

Having worked at a hospital, I can tell you—the food is pretty iffy. But to be fair it wasn’t all that dissimilar from other cafeteria fare I’ve encountered. It looked a lot like the grub brooding lunch ladies used to ice-cream-scoop onto my tray in high school—probably the same half-life too!

Now, I’m not the only one to call into question the biology of hospital food. UroStream, the friendly urologist, was on call this weekend, meaning she was stranded at the hospital—and hungry! What did she do? The real question is what did she encounter? I’ll let her explain:
The soup today was something called "Chef Special Gumbo". After stirring the pot, I'm convinced it's an amalgamation of all the leftover soups that were prepared during that week. I'm seeing some chicken, beef, rice, beans, tomatoes, okra and other unidentifiable veggie parts swimming in a brownish broth. The main entree, labeled "Chef Surprise" looks like meat in a heavy sauce. I think the surprise is in guessing what this mystery meat is. At least the fries are fresh, and you can't really mess up coffee and sodas.
I’m a little concerned, aren’t you? Amalgam soup and meat with heavy sauce? Poor UroStream.

I point this out not only because it’s a funny story, but because the quality of hospital food never ceases to amaze me. The hospital, the place most people consider tabernacles of health—serving French fries, brownish broths, and mystery meat? I don’t get it. You’d think hospitals would be the strongest pushers of fruits and veggies.

Not so, at my old job I repeatedly saw coworkers flooding out of the cafeteria with lunch trays piled high with soft drinks, desserts, burgers, and just about every form of "al fredo" you can imagine. And to make matters worse, many of them were a little more than pleasantly plump!

To be honest, I don’t find stories like UroStream’s so surprising anymore, with so much obesity news out there it almost seems logical that hospitals would at least be partially responsible too. I guess in some respects they are just as guilty of working around obesity (that was a pun) than trying prevent it. Want an example?

Earlier this year the Associated Press reported that some hospitals are buying larger more heavy duty equipment to accommodate the needs of obese patients; items like bigger hospital beds and lifting contraptions. Like I said in April, more evidence of our band-aid approach to controlling obesity:
Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis [is] finding better ways to deal with the growing number of very obese patients, an issue for many U.S. hospitals. Barnes-Jewish is replacing beds and wheelchairs with bigger models, widening doorways, buying larger CT scan machines, even replacing slippers and gowns.

Last year, patient care director Colleen Becker decided to check the numbers. She looked at a daily hospital census — about one-third of the 900 patients weighed 350 pounds or more.
And as for UroStream, hopefully next time she ventures into the hospital cafeteria there will be at least a few desirable items for her to choose from—maybe some identifiable veggie parts!

Eating to Live on the Outside: Boston Market

If I had to equate Eating to Live on the Outside to an amusement park ride, it’d be a rollercoaster. Why? Because there are the ups, health conscious restaurants like Just Salads, Chipotle, and P.F. Chang’s, and the downs, like Denny’s, IHOP, and Sizzler. After months of doing this series I can honestly say this rollercoaster is more often than not, barreling downward—which makes sense when you consider the state of obesity in this country.

The U.S. landscape is littered with standard American restaurants—menus teeming with bacon cheese fries, deep-fried green beans, and full-slab spare ribs—and this week’s restaurant certainly falls in line with all that. Say hello to Boston Market. While not as bad as other eateries I’ve examined, it’ll definitely make an Eat to Liver cringe. Tighten your boot straps, we’re going in.

The first section of the menu entitled “Individual Meals” won’t appeal to non-meat eating Eat to Livers; lots of turkey, chicken, and beef. To be honest, even though I eat meat, I’m not exactly ecstatic about it either. The All Beef Meatloaf and Roasted Sirloin are history because I don’t eat red meat, under any circumstances. I don’t trust the Chicken Pot Pie because the menu says it includes a touch of cream—that touch of cream is enough to give me a touch of gastritis! So what’s left? Basically just the rotisserie chicken, rotisserie turkey, and roasted turkey—I’ll take the roasted turkey. For both the rotisserie chicken and turkey the portion sizes are too big for me, I’ll eat chicken or turkey, but I don’t want ¼ of a bird. I’d probably also go easy on the poultry gravy too.

Now, if meat isn’t your fancy, and it isn’t always mine, Boston Market does have a couple salads you can choose from—I say a couple because there are only two. Just the kind of health variety you’d expect from a standard American restaurant (tongue in cheek). The first option is a Caesar Salad, not for me, too much cheese and dairy—not worth the risk! The Market Chopped Salad would be my safest bet. It doesn’t tell you exactly which vegetables are in it, all the menu reads is, “More fresh veggies than a farmers market! A wondrous collection of crispy vegetables, mixed green lettuce, and flavors mixed with Craisins [dried cranberries], and crumbled blue cheese. Tossed with our signature champagne vinaigrette.” If you want you can add chicken, turkey breast, or hot sirloin—I’ll pass! I’m also ditching the blue cheese and of course I’d go easy on the dressing, no sense sabotaging my salad.

Okay, Boston Market’s problems really become evident when you take a look at the “Soups & Sides” section of the menu. In total there are eighteen offerings, I only flagged four as potential candidates, but I can only order one of them with a somewhat straight face. The Seasonal Fresh Fruit Salad is the most Fuhrman-friendly out of them all; a fresh mix of melon and seedless grapes. Remember this one because everything else is iffy, at best. The Fresh Steamed Vegetables sound like a good idea, but they’re tossed in olive oil, salt, and pepper—this kind of compromises the broccoli, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, and green beans. I’d still order it, but it’d be so much better without the toss-job. I might also consider the Cinnamon Apples, but they come with brown sugar. Also, the Cranberry Walnut Relish could be a nice alternative to gravy, if I decided to order meat.

At first glance there are other sides on the menu that grabbed my attention, but if you read the fine print, they’ve got problems—especially for me! Take the Sweet Corn and Greens Beans for example, I love them both, but they’re both seasoned in a garlic butter sauce, and butter is a major no-no! And the sides that aren’t prepared with butter have cream in them, this doesn’t bode well either. So despite the vast offerings, and Eat to Liver would find this list pretty limiting.

So, if you were to ask me if Boston Market has any redeeming characteristics, I’d probably point to the nutrition facts. Every item on the menu has them, so at the very least you can maintain damage control because you’ll know exactly how many calories, sodium, fat, etc. are in what you’re eating. A small consolation I know.

Don’t forget, we want your feedback! Check out the Boston Market menu and let us know how Eat to Live on the outside? Leave a comment or email us at

Monday: Vegan Points

Urea—Urea comes from urine and other "bodily fluids." It’s used to "brown" baked goods, like pretzels. Um, yeah. And the oven is for ??
My Monstera fruit finally ripened. This is really not a good fruit for someone who is impatient. From all accounts, if you wait until it's not fully ripened the black stuff you see in the center can be toxic. Not lethal or anything, but it might cause a reaction.
I have been mostly off Eat to Live in the last week as money is really tight because of tires, brakes, and new “used” clothes so I couldn’t splurge on fruits and vegetables as I have been doing in the last few weeks. And I am having such a hard time finding great fruit ! I don’t know what is happening but the last two batches of nectarines were so awful that nobody ate them. It’s apple season and that is mostly what I have had for fruit. It gets boring rather quickly. I still don’t eat vegetable oil though. BUT, the BUTT is still there, and I am stuck at 164. I eat bread, pasta, and I don’t limit the amounts.
"Many foods contain goitrogens, compounds that interfere with thyroid function (and in extreme cases can cause an enlarged thyroid, called a goiter). Along with soyfoods, millet, cruciferous vegetables and other foods contain goitrogens. Generally, these foods cause problems only in areas where iodine intake is low since this mineral is important for thyroid function. The effects of iodine deficiency can be made worse if the diet is high in goitrogens."

Pediatric Grand Rounds, Volume 1, Edition 14

Carnival of Recipes #114

Nerd Family hosts this week's carnival of recipes. Be sure to check out Followhealthlife’s Healthy Eating for Two. *Don't forget, not all recipes in the carnival are Fuhrman-friendly.

Gone Fishing Again

Obesity and weight-loss are incredibly popular and often reoccurring topics in health news, but another one that comes up a lot is fish. Is it good for us? How much should we eat? What about mercury contamination? The list goes on and on. There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding fish, but one thing is for sure, the mass media message to consumers is mixed.

A recent article in The Los Angeles Times points out that even the Environmental Protection Agency acknowledges the confusion over fish consumption. Here’s an excerpt from reporter Marla Cone’s article:
The scientists, assigned the task of balancing the benefits of seafood with the dangers posed by contaminants, echoed the 2004 guidelines of the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency. But they said the message to American consumers had been fragmented and confusing, and they advised the agencies to develop new tools for informing the public.
So, you’re probably asking, “What’s been done about it?” To answer that I’ll reference the title of Cone’s report, Scientists Say Seafood's Benefits Outweigh Risks. You can’t say it any clearer. According to scientists Americans do not eat enough fish. And since fish is high in protein, low in saturated fats, and contains omega-3 fatty acids, we should overlook its contamination issues and gobble up suggested “safe” amounts. What are they you ask?

According to Cone’s report adults, children, and people at risk of heart disease should eat two three-ounce servings a week. Children under the age of thirteen and women who are or may become pregnant, or who are nursing, should eat the two weekly servings, but should avoid larger predatory fish. How’s that sit with you? Let’s see what Dr. Fuhrman has to say about all this.

Dr. Fuhrman recognizes the confusion fish consumption can create. In a previous post entitled Fish: Pollution Risks, he expounds:
Fish and shellfish contain high concentrations of protein and other essential nutrients, are low in saturated fat, and contain the valuable omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. These food factors are thought to contribute to heart health and to children’s proper growth and development (there is overwhelming evidence confirming the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids), which is why fish and shellfish are considered to be an important part of a well-balanced diet. Unfortunately, in addition to EPA and DHA, nearly all fish and shellfish contain mercury and other pollutants. Since these toxins in fish have potential health risks, wouldn’t it make sense to look for a cleaner, safer source for our omega-3 fats?
Okay, so what about the idea of acceptable levels of mercury and consuming so-called safe amounts of fish? More from Dr. Fuhrman’s post:
EPA makes recommendations for what it considers an acceptable level of mercury in a pregnant woman’s body. As the recognition that mercury damages the brains of our children has increased in the last two decades, EPA has had to lower the “acceptable” level more than once…

… No fish is completely free of mercury and other pollutants. If you eat fish regularly, your body is undoubtedly high in mercury. You cannot remove the mercury from the fish by trimming the fat or by cooking because it is deposited throughout the fish’s tissues. I’ve observed that a person’s mercury level correlates exceptionally well with the amount of fish consumed, and medical studies back up this observation. Individuals eating fish a few times a week have been found to have blood mercury levels exceeding the maximum level recommended by the National Academy of Sciences, which is a blood level of below 5 micrograms. Women eating seafood more than twice per week have been found to have 7 times the blood mercury levels compared with women who rarely eat fish, and children eating fish regularly were found to have mercury levels 40 times higher than the national mean.1,2
By now you’re probably wondering what Dr. Fuhrman’s recommendations for eating fish are. In Fishing for the Truth he gives his bottom line:
Choose fish over other animal products, but be aware that the place where it was caught, and the type of fish, matters. Don't accept recreational fish from questionable waters. Farmed fish is safer. Never eat high-mercury-content fish. Don't eat fish more than twice a week, and if you have a family history of hemorrhagic stroke, limit it further to only once a month.
And in case you’re interested, in Ten Super Foods to Use in Your Recipes and Menus Dr. Fuhrman provides an alternate source of omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseeds:
Flax Seeds are rich in lignans and omega-3 fatty acids, and scientific studies have confirmed that flax seeds have a positive influence on everything from cholesterol levels and constipation to cancer and heart disease. Use ground flax seed in oatmeal, or add them to whipped frozen bananas, stewed apples, and cinnamon and nut balls. Keep in mind that the scientifically documented benefits from flax seeds come from raw, ground flax seed, not flax seed oil.
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Health Points: Friday

A billion people out of the world's six billion population are now considered overweight, compared with 800 million who do not have enough to eat.
Researchers said the drug appeared to slow children's growth rates. They grew about a half-inch less in height and weighed 3 pounds less than expected, based on estimates of their growth.
"Hazardous electronic waste is flowing to Africa on container ships every day. It's not as dramatic as was what happened in Ivory Coast, but over the long run it will have more of an environmental impact," Jim Puckett, founder of the Seattle-based environmental watchdog, Basel Action Network, told The Associated Press by telephone from London.
Women who underwent high-dose radiation therapy to their uterus seem to be the most likely to have problems. The authors of the study, published in the Oct. 18 issue of the Journal of the
National Cancer Institute, found that half of babies born to a sampling of these women were premature, compared to roughly 20 percent among their sisters.
In an article published in The Journal of the American Medical Association on Oct. 11, Dr. Daniel Menzies, a clinical research fellow in the Asthma and Allergy Research Group at the University of Dundee, said the study showed that the smoking ban “has led to a rapid and marked improvement in the health of bar workers.”
  • Keep all windows and doors to the house locked to keep her from wandering outside.
  • Don't let her sleep in a bunk bed, and put baby gates in front of stairs.
The researchers assessed the effects of modern shoes on gait and lower extremity joint loads in 75 patients with knee OA [osteoarthritis]. Their mean age was 59, their mean body mass index was 28.4, and 59 of the 75 were women.
Researchers also found that participants who were taking insulin were six times more likely to die from infectious diseases or kidney failure than non-diabetic participants. Women treated with insulin had a particularly high mortality risk.
"There are people who have been dropped to their knees" by trigeminal neuralgia, said Alana Greca, a registered nurse and director of patient support for the Trigeminal Neuralgia Association. "That's how intense and how horrendous the pain can be."
Researchers say those consuming the highest amounts of bread doubled the risk for kidney malignancy, compared to those eating the smallest amounts.
Full-time working mothers were suffering the most with 59 percent saying they were not getting enough sleep. Half of the working mothers said they were getting six or fewer hours sleep a night.
Smoking will be banned in government offices, shops and halls from January. But the ban will not be applied to bars and other places of entertainment until 2009 to give them time to adjust.
"In mice and rats ghrelin triggers the same neurons as delicious food, sexual experience, and many recreational drugs; that is, neurons that provide the sensation of pleasure and the expectation of reward," the researchers write in Friday's issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Ugly Veggie

Now, I know this is pretty neat, but still, these people have too much time on their hands. Ladies and gentlemen, The National Trust is proud to present the winners of The Ugly Veg Competition. It’s those zany English again—well at least it’s not as loony as hustling meat pies:
We are happy to announce that a parsnip grown in Bedfordshire, but resembling a creature from the abyss, is top of the crops in our Ugly Veg Competition to find the ugliest veg in England.

The overall winner, grown by Mrs. Hilary Nellist in Bedford, stood out from the rest of the vegetables, its tangled shape giving it an uncanny similarity to a creature from the depths of the ocean.
I think the parsnip is going to have some self-esteem issues.

Blood Pressure: Don't Worry Be Happy

And according to a new study there’s good reason too. Research conducted by the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston suggests that having a positive outlook may help lower blood pressure in adults. Seem pretty logical to me. More from Reuters:
There is evidence that positive emotions can help keep a person's chemical and neural responses in balance, and help people handle stress better, Ostir and his team note in the latest issue of Psychosomatic Medicine.
The report makes clear that targeting people's emotional well-being could be an effective way to help control their blood pressure. I wonder what feeling good, plus a nutrient-dense would do for you, hmm...

Are You Ready for Some Weight-Loss?

The National Football League has joined the fight against childhood obesity. Recently giving 1.5 million dollars to fund the What Moves You program, designed to address the decline of physical education in schools. Karen Matthews of the Associated Press reports school children in Manhattan recently got quite the surprise visitor:
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning dropped by a Manhattan public school this week where he showed eighth-graders how to add some exercise to their math class. He had them perform squats, then count their own heart rates for 15 seconds and multiply by four to calculate their heartbeats per minute.
The program is pretty far reaching. According to Matthews 25,000 middle schools from all over the country will receive lesson plans intended to broaden students’ physical activity.

Clearly this program has good intentions, but the irony is that many NFL players—who are professional athletes—have a high risk of developing metabolic syndrome, according to a June 5th article in HealthDay News. Reporter Steven Reinberg described metabolic syndrome as the group of risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar.

For more on this issue read Weight-loss, Grief, and the Gridiron to learn why Philadelphia Eagles right guard Shawn Andrews decided to change his life around.

Do Microwaves Kill Your Food?

Anahad O’Connor of The New York Times investigates the concern that microwave ovens destroy the nutrients in food and vegetables. Studies contend that microwaves actually do less damage than conventional ovens because microwaves use less heat and require shorter cooking times:
In studies at Cornell University, scientists looked at the effects of cooking on water-soluble vitamins in vegetables and found that spinach retained nearly all its folate when cooked in a microwave, but lost about 77 percent when cooked on a stove.
O’Connor does mention in the piece that not all cooking compromises the nutrients in veggies. He points out that a study published in The Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture determined broccoli when steamed retained most of its nutrients.

Dr. Fuhrman has tackled this topic on Followhealthlife before. In a previous post, The Cold Truth About Raw Food Diets, he examines the question, “Are cooked foods really dead foods?” Here’s an excerpt:
It is true that when food is baked at high temperatures—and especially when it is fried or barbecued—toxic compounds are formed and important nutrients are lost. Many vitamins are water-soluble, and a significant percent can be lost with cooking, especially overcooking. Similarly, many plant enzymes function as phytochemical nutrients in our body and can be useful to maximize health. They, too, can be destroyed by overcooking…

…In many cases, cooking destroys some of the harmful anti-nutrients that bind minerals in the gut and interfere with the utilization of nutrients. Destruction of these anti-nutrients increases absorption. Steaming vegetables and making vegetable soups breaks down cellulose and alters the plants’ cell structures so that fewer of your own enzymes are needed to digest the food, not more. The point is that this “cooked food is dead food” enzyme argument does not hold water. On the other hand, the roasting of nuts and the baking of cereals does reduce availability and absorbability of protein.

Healthy Eating for Two

Tomato-Bean Soup
6 tomatoes
2 leeks, washed and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup adzuki beans
3 cups bok choy, chopped
2 Tbsp. VegiZest
1 tsp. Mrs. Dash seasoning
3 cups water
Place ingredients in a pot; cover and simmer for two hours on a low flame. Purée the tomatoes, onions, and leeks, and then stir back in with the other ingredients. Leave all other ingredients in small chunks. Serves two.

Garlicky Spinach
1 large (16 oz.) bag of frozen spinach (defrosted)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup oil-free tomato sauce
Mix the spinach and chopped garlic into a pot with the oil-free tomato sauce. Simmer on a low flame for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serves two.

Peachy Apricot Sorbet
1/4 cup soy milk, plain
2 cups frozen peaches
2 dried apricots, unsweetened and unsulfured
Blend all ingredients in a Vita-Mix or other high-powered blender. Serves two.

Australia's Health Budget Getting Fat

Dr. Fuhrman will tell you, being overweight or obese takes a costly toll on your health, but its costs aren’t only biological. According to the AFP the obese living in Australia cost their health system 21 billion dollars last year. Not exactly a g'day mate:
"What the figures show is that it should make all of us review our lifestyle choices, and it also shows that these costs are getting bigger, not smaller," government senator Guy Barnett told Channel Nine television.

"We've got a tsunami coming towards Australia in terms of a health crisis, and it's going to swamp us if we stay the same course."

School Food Reforms: The Meat Pie Pushers

Last week The New York Times took a look at how students were reacting to recently enacted school food reforms in tri-state area schools. If you remember, some students were encouraged by the new menu offerings, but others were more resistant. Marcelle S. Fischler explains:
“It’s a good idea because obesity and all that is a serious problem,” Max Gold-Landzberg a senior at John Jay High School in Cross River, N.Y. said. He wasn’t enticed, though, by the healthier choices on the hot food line like herb-roasted chicken and stir-fried veggies.
Fischler points out that those students uninterested in the healthier cafeteria food simply brown-bag their lunch. I very passive protest indeed—I mean its not like they had their moms hustling burgers through chain link fences outside the school. That would be crazy, who’d do a thing like that?

The English. You’d expect something more dignified out of our friends from across the pond, but it’s true. According the Sarah Lyall of The New York Times students in England are not accepting school food reforms without a fight, and neither are their parents:
“They shouldn’t be allowed to tell the kids what to eat,” Mrs. Julie Critchlow a parent at Rawmarsh, a high school in south Yorkshire hills, said of the school authorities. “They’re treating them like criminals.”

Mrs. Critchlow has become a notorious figure in Britain. In September she and another mother — alarmed, they said, because their children were going hungry — began selling contraband hamburgers, fries and sandwiches to as many as 50 students a day, passing the food through the school gates.

The mothers closed their business after they were vilified in the national news media as “meat pie mums.” Mrs. Critchlow now feeds her children lunch at home.
Apparently Mrs. Critchlow thinks “meat pies” and “chip butty’s” (a French-fries-and-butter sandwich doused in vinegar) are better nutritional options for children than low-fat pizza and beef curry; two of the new “healthier” menu options Fischler cites in her article.

Wednesday: Eat to Live and Veggie Points

Breakfast: smoothie
Lunch: romaine with blood orange vinegar, baby carrots
Dinner: Dr. Fuhrman's Anti-Cancer Soup with broccoli raab
Exercise: 45 min w/Maya, 15 min bike
  • Veggielicious is detoxing. She’s trying stay on the Eat to Live bandwagon, but seems to be having a difficult time doing it:
I had a smoothie at 9am and it's 11am and I'm craving something (it's more of a detox thing than real hunger). I'm also feeling pretty tired- laying down on the couch sounds great-- but I'm at work. I sort of want Starbucks but I don't want to have to keep going through this detox over and over so I'm going to try and stay away. I'll probably snack on some of my lunch (raw baby carrots, snap peas and steamed asparagus with homemade hummus and an apple) soon to avoid that. I'm stressed but I'm trying not to make my food about that. I need to step up my game at work and at school before I get myself into a serious pickle. So on that note, I need to get back to work!
So I'll be training pretty much every day in order to get into shape! Speaking of getting into shape, I've lost 8lbs following a modified version of Eat To Live. I really admire the E2Lers who gave up sugar. I've tried and tried and I don't want to say I can't but it's so hard. But I have been consuming a lot less of it, which I am extremely proud of myself for. I've never really gave cooking the time of day, but when I went vegan I knew I needed to cook. Of course I would primarily cook sweets. Now that's changed. I still make sweets, but very rarely and usually for someone else (doesn't mean I won't eat any though :D). I've upped my veggie intake so I'm eating them at every meal, even for breakfast!! I'll usually eat a salad for breakfast now.
Hubby, the economist, thought that if we followed Eat to Live, we would be spending a lot of money on food (and our food budget is currently a big source of contention). So, I set off to determine how much it would cost the average American to follow Eat to Live.
i can't believe i've made it almost 3 weeks already this is a miracle honestly. i wanted to make it this far when i first started it up again, but i didn't have much faith in myself...i was taking it one moment at a time, now i'm getting more comfortable with being able to not eat stuff, because i have my goal in mind. right now there's apple pie on the counter, i don't even want any! how is that possible!?! it's amazing.
am i cured already from my unhealthy habits? my energy is amazingly high. i hardly feel tired anymore...i wake up refreshed.. it's madness.. complete and utter madness..
They actually remind of the raw bars I purchased once at Natural Zing. I'll probably make them on a regular basis. I found that eating one while I was on the bus going home prevented me from being ravenous when I got home, which is a good thing.

The Happy Housewives Club, episode 1

Eat to Live and Dietary Recommendations for Children

Adapted from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live:

How do you modify your recommendations about superior nutrition and disease prevention for children or those not needing to lose weight?

I believe the diet we currently feed our children is the reason we are seeing so many frequent infections and such high levels of allergies, autoimmune disease, and cancer in this country. Unfortunately, what we eat early in life has a more powerful effect on your eventual health (or ill health) than what we eat later in life. I have three daughters and understand the difficulties of trying to raise healthy children in today’s insane world. It seems we are in an environment in which parents are enthusiastically and purposely breeding a nation of sickly and diseased adults.

In my community, parents and neighbors unknowingly attempt to poison their children at every opportunity. They don’t merely feed their own children a diet chock-full of sugar and trans fat, but at every birthday, athletic event, and social occasion they bring sugar-coated doughnuts, cupcakes, and candy for the entire crowd. The public schoolroom in my community also serves as another avenue for parents and teachers to regularly supply our children with junk food. I would expect, as parents, we all have the same goal of trying to get our children to eat more nutritious foods: more vegetables, fruits, raw nuts and seeds, and legumes and beans. However, no child will eat healthfully if he is allowed to eat unhealthy foods on a regular basis.

The only way to have a child eat healthfully is to clear all unhealthful foods out of the house, so when the children are hungry they are forced to pick from healthy choices. They will at least eat healthfully when they are home if they are presented with only healthy food choices.

Nevertheless, the dietary rules in Eat to Live would be too calorie-restricted and too fat-restricted for a child or thin athlete. However, the principles for healthy eating and longevity do not change. All that has to be done to increase the caloric density and fat density of the diet is to add more wholesome sources of fat and calories, such as raw nuts and seeds, nut butters, and avocados. Starchy vegetables and whole grains can be consumed in larger amounts, and vegetable and grain dishes can be flavored with sauces and dressing made with nuts and seeds.

If you want to gain weight, eating more—or eating differently to bulk up—will add mostly fat to your body. It is exceptionally rare for a person to gain more muscle just from eating more food. Forcing yourself to consume more food than your body wants is not in your best interest. If you want to gain weight, lift weights to add muscle; then the exercise will increase your appetite accordingly. When you eat a healthful diet, nature has you carry only the mass you need; your muscles will enlarge only if additional stress is placed on them. Of course, Eat to Live is designed for those who are overweight and desirous of losing weight. Those who are truly excessively thin, and need to gain weight, may have to modify this eating plan somewhat to meet their individual needs.

Slap a Mickey on that Banana

Last month the Associated Press reported that Disney was licensing its characters to farmers to help them market fresh produce to children; part of an initiative to improve childhood nutrition. Disney’s head of food products licensing had this comment:
"We're doing it predominantly because it is the right thing to do, but secondarily because it is the right business to be in," said Harry Dollman, head of food products licensing for Disney.

"Concerns about the right nutrition for kids is not a fad; it's not something that will be overtaken by another trend," he said.
Today The Los Angeles Times has a nice follow story that provides more details on the move. Times staff writer Joseph Menn explains Disney has tightened guidelines for which foods Mickey Mouse and the gang will populate:
In its licensing deals, which reach more consumers, by 2009 Disney will limit portion sizes and in most cases refuse to tie its brand to foods that get more than 30% of their calories from fat, more than 10% from saturated fat or more than 10% from added sugar. Exceptions will be reduced to 15% of Disney-related foods by 2010.
Menn’s article also points out that Disney failed to renew a 10-year, $1-billion promotional pact with the McDonald's Corporation. Disney felt a relationship with McDonald’s would be difficult to justify as the corporation made stronger inroads in the fight to prevent childhood obesity.

Like yesterday’s post Get Crafty With Your Veggies, I don’t think Dr. Fuhrman would be hip with everything Disney is up to. After all, according to Menn’s report, Disney would still allow their characters to endorse refined foods like Cheerios and Rice Krispies (and 30% of calories from fat is a lot) but, once again, it’s a start!

Smoking and COPD

It seems pretty obvious to me that smokers will likely encounter lung problems down the line, but a new study has concluded that one in four smokers will develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Robert Preidt of HealthDay News explains that this percentage is higher than what was originally thought:
Overall, 25 percent of the participants developed moderate or severe COPD over the 25 years. Persistent smokers were six times more likely to develop COPD than non-smokers.

During the 25 years, there were 2,900 deaths in the study group. Of those deaths, 109 were directly attributable to COPD, and nearly all those deaths were in people who were active smokers at the start of the study. Only two non-smokers died of COPD.

NY Times: Puberty in Preschool

In Disease-Proof Your Child Dr. Fuhrman discusses the onset of early puberty in children consuming the Western diet. No one wants to think about preschoolers going through puberty, but a recent article in The New York Times investigates and the information is startling. Darshak M. Sanghavi reports:
Increasingly — though the science is still far from definitive and the precise number of such cases is highly speculative — some physicians worry that children are at higher risk of early puberty as a result of the increasing prevalence of certain drugs, cosmetics and environmental contaminants, called “endocrine disruptors,” that can cause breast growth, pubic hair development and other symptoms of puberty.

Most commonly, outbreaks of puberty in children are traced to accidental drug exposures from products that are used incorrectly.
In addition to these potential causes Sanghavi cites a study from The Lancet that connected breast enlargement among hundreds of Italian schoolchildren to estrogen contamination of beef and poultry.

Much of Disease-Proof Your Child describes the trend toward earlier puberty--which correlates with later cancer risk--and makes specific recommendations. Dr. Fuhrman describes how a diet heavy with fruit and vegetables, especially starting at a young age, can play a major role.
Worldwide, there is a linear relationship between higher-fat animal products, saturated fat intake, and breast cancer.1 However, there are areas of the world even today where populations eat predominantly unrefined plant foods in childhood and breast cancer is simply unheard of. Rates of breast cancer deaths (in the 50-to-70 age range) range widely from 3.4 per 100,000 in Gambia to 10 per 100,000 in rural China, 20 per 100,000 in India, 90 per 100,000 in the United States, and 120 per 100,000 in the United Kingdom and Switzerland2…

…Fat cells produce estrogen, so excess fat on the body during childhood results in more estrogen production. A large volume of high fiber from fruits and vegetables in the gut serves to lower circulating estrogen naturally. The high fiber and the resultant healthy bacteria that colonize the gut of a person consuming a high produce diet conjugates (binds together) estrogens so they are more readily excreted in the stool. As estrogen cycles into and out of the digestive tract, a person eating more animal products and less high-fiber vegetation reabsorbs more estrogen from the digestive tract, rather than losing more in the stool.

Diet powerfully modulates estrogen levels. One recent study illustrated that eight-to-ten-year-olds, closely followed with dietary intervention for seven years, dramatically lowered their estrogen levels compared to a control group with dietary modification.3 Clearly, changing the diet of our children after the age of eight is not futile. It will lower the risk of developing cancer, even when the most sensitive years affecting growth and age of puberty have passed. The good news is that we are not helpless after childhood to reduce the risk.
For more on this topic, check out these previous posts:
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Michael Pollan on American Farming

All this talk about spinach, E. coli, cow poop, and processing plants can really make your head spin. But, in case your brains aren’t fried yet, take a look this recent article by New York Times writer Michael Pollan. Maybe the problem isn’t just the E. coli, it might be our farms, pastures, and just are whole food chain in general:
If industrial farming gave us this bug, it is industrial eating that has spread it far and wide. We don’t yet know exactly what happened in the case of the spinach washed and packed by Natural Selection Foods, whether it was contaminated in the field or in the processing plant or if perhaps the sealed bags made a trivial contamination worse. But we do know that a great deal of spinach from a great many fields gets mixed together in the water at that plant, giving microbes from a single field an opportunity to contaminate a vast amount of food. The plant in question washes 26 million servings of salad every week. In effect, we’re washing the whole nation’s salad in one big sink.

Get Crafty With Your Veggies

If you sniff around the Followhealthlife’s recipe category you’ll see many of the recipes call for preparing veggies in unconventional ways, like the Green Banana Power Blended Salad and Dr. Fuhrman’s Famous Anti-Cancer Soup. How many people do you know who blend their greens?

Hey, if that’s what it takes to get people to eat their spinach—blend away! This kind of culinary creativity is catching on. In fact, Reader’s Digest has a great article about ways to include more veggies into your diet. Ever try pureeing veggies with tomato sauce? No? Take a look:
5. Once a week, have an entrée salad. A salade niçoise is a good example: mixed greens, steamed green beans, boiled potatoes, sliced hard-boiled egg, and tuna drizzled with vinaigrette. Serve with crusty whole grain bread. Bon appétit!

6. Fill your spaghetti sauce with vegetables. We typically take a jar of low-sodium prepared sauce and add in string beans, peas, corn, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and more. Like it chunky? Cut them in big pieces. Don't want to know they're there? Shred or puree them with a bit of sauce in the blender, then add.
Now I don’t know if Dr. Fuhrman would appreciate all of the suggestions, some of them include using salt, sugar, and artificial sweeteners, but, it’s a start.

Dr. Fuhrman on the Happy Housewives Club

Stay at home moms, working moms, dads—all sorts of parents play an important role in raising kids, especially when it comes to teaching healthy eating. How do I know this? Dr. Fuhrman wrote a book about it, Disease-Proof Your Child. Here’s an excerpt:

Here is the most important: No rules only for children. If the parents are not willing to follow the rules set for the house, they should not be imposed on the children. Don’t argue about what your children should and shouldn’t be eating; discuss this in private. As parents, we must be consistent, but not perfect. Likewise, it is okay for the children to be consistent, but not perfect either. For example, if the parents decide that an unhealthy food or a restaurant meal is acceptable for the children once per week, then that goes for the adults, too. Setting an example supported by both parents is the most important and most effective way for your children to develop a healthy attitude toward food.

Darla Shine of has taken a real shining to Disease-Proof Your Child, as a result once a week she’ll be broadcasting a podcast with Dr. Fuhrman. So, if you’re a stay-at-home-mom and you want you’re kids to grow up disease-proofed head over to, sign up, and start listening.

Fish Oils and Mood Disorder Prevention

From the March 2006 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

In addition to adequate micronutrient intake, fatty acid balance also plays a critical role in mental health. Low fish consumption has been found in multiple studies to be a statistically significant finding in those with depression. For example, this study showed that rates of depression increased more than twofold in women who were rare fish consumers compared with regular fish eaters.1 Research scientists consistently found a reduced level of omega-3 fatty acids in patients with mood disorders and mental illness. There is overwhelming evidence that omega-3 fatty acids are important to mental health.

The two main omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), have important biological functions in the brain. DHA is a major structural component of neuronal membranes, and changing the fatty acid composition of neuronal membranes leads to functional changes in the activity of receptors and other proteins embedded in the membrane phospholipid. EPA has important physiological functions that can affect neuronal activity. Clinical trials have suggested benefits from DHA and EPA treatments in borderline personality disorder, bipolar or manic-depressives, schizophrenia, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Our bodies have the ability to make these important fats from the short chain omega-3 fats found in leafy greens, walnuts, flax, and hemp, but some people do not fabricate sufficient DHA from the shorter length precursors as well as other people do, predisposing them to neurological problems. These individuals have a greater need to supplement their diets, especially since fish today is so polluted, and farm-raised fish is no longer a dependable source of DHA and EPA. Using a DHA supplement or a purified fish oil is cleaner and more dependable.

Documented benefits
The following interesting observations are found in the scientific literature:
1. Both lower DHA content in mothers’ milk and lower seafood consumption were associated with higher rates of postpartum depression.2

2. Depressed patients have lower levels of DHA in their fatty tissues compared to normals.3

3. Multiple studies indicate that in depression and schizophrenia, one gram a day of the EPA component is more effective than DHA, and a higher dose does not add additional efficacy.4
Depression is related to low levels of these long chain omega-3 fats in the brain, and it is apparent that supplementation with DHA and EPA have beneficial results in patients with mood disorders. Since studies have shown that EPA is even more effective than DHA for alleviating depression in the short run, and DHA is more important for structural normalcy to maintain long-lasting results, I recommend real fish oil containing both EPA and DHA for those with depression and related mood disorders. About two grams of fish oil usually contains about one gram of active ingredient (EPA + DHA) appropriate for those with mild mood disorders. With major depression, use about 3 grams to achieve the one gram of EPA that has documented clinical efficacy for depression. Look for an oil that gives the most active ingredients (EPA + DHA) per gram of oil. At my office, we have highly purified and concentrated fish oil in stock.

Other natural remedies for depression have only minor value.
DHEA—DHEA is a hormone in the steroid family produced by the adrenal glands. It has been shown in scientific protocols to have value in aiding mildly depressed elderly patients, since a fall in DHEA later in life may contribute to the development of depression.5 It is not without side effects or risks.

St. John’s Wort—Some studies show slight benefit; others show none.6 I do not recommend St. John’s Wort for major depression.

SAMe—SAMe is a methyl donor involved in the synthesis of various neurotransmitters in the brain. A small number of clinical trials have shown that, at doses of 200-1600 mg/d, SAMe is superior to placebo in alleviating depression.7 Most individuals require dosages of 600-1200 per day. I do not recommend it often as it is expensive and only mildly effective.

Tryptophan—A comprehensive metanalysis of all studies on 5- hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) and tryptophan showed 108 trials, but of all these studies, only two trials, involving a total of 64 patients, were of sufficient quality to meet inclusion criteria. The evidence suggests these substances were better than placebo at alleviating depression; however, the evidence was of insufficient quality to be conclusive.8 The bottom line is that very few studies of quality exist, but it is likely to have mild beneficial effects.

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Monday: MD and RN HealthPoints

As the patients' panic calls begin to pour in, I do my best to quell fears, subdue the masses, and fight to get my hot little hands on enough vaccine to inoculate the thirty or forty most vulnerable of my caseload. Failing my ability to adequately meet my patients' needs, I punt, sending them to any and every flu clinic that I can locate in the city.
The White Rabbit: These patients actually don't request me specifically, they just want to be seen ASAP by the first available physician (which oftentimes is me). They don't seem to be aware of the concept of Time Management and Planning, and are always running late but wanting to be seen now.
Part of you is gone at the moment, but I'm here, I know you now. You trusted and let me in, you opened your belly to me, and I entered with force. I'll stay until it's right. It's what I must do. You think you'll never touch me so intimately as I've touched you. But you have. You have.
Tonight is one of those nights I leave-no run from--the department and never want to show my face there again. It was so busy, with very sick (and might I add, heavy) patients. It was one of those nights when I felt I was just putting out fire after fire but not really taking great care of my patients. I hate that feeling.
I mean, if somebody says he cannot make out a word you say because of your heavy accent, don’t take it personally. it is more likely the truth, and although truth usually is hard to accept, it does not change the fact that it is still the truth. what is so wrong if another person does not clearly understand you? is that supposed to be embarassing? next time, speak clearly, ask if you are getting through, and acknowledge the fact that you will never be able to speak and sound like an american, because you were not born here.
We humans are not alone in superstitious beliefs. Superstitious behavior has been documented in modern apes by anthropologists Jane Goodall and R. Schaller. And psychologist, B.F. Skinner noted superstitious behavior in pigeons he studied. Interesting, huh?

It's Carnival Time! Hope you're hungry

Blabber Heads hosts this week's carnival of recipes. Be sure to check out Dr. Fuhrman’s Recipe Beet Down! *Don't forget, not all recipes in the carnival are Fuhrman-friendly.

Eating to Live on the Outside: Luby's

This week Eating to Live on the Outside takes a look at Luby’s. Now, prior to today I’d never heard of Luby’s, so I didn’t know what expect. When I first visited their website it seemed to me that Luby’s was just another restaurant along the same lines as Friday’s, Perkins, The Office, Bennigan’s, etc., but, a closer examination revealed something different.

Something better? Well Luby’s is no Baja Fresh or Just Salads, but it certainly doesn’t deserve to be lumped into the same category as Sizzler, Friendly’s, or Denny’s. So if standard American restaurants are on one side and healthy eateries like the Go Raw Café are on the other, I’d put Luby’s a few clicks down from the healthy. Luby’s looks like what would happen if a typical America restaurant were to ratchet up the healthiness of their food. The best way to explain what I mean is to take a look at menu, so, let’s check it out.

The first two menu items that snagged my attention were the Pan Grilled Tilapia and the Lemon Basil Salmon, under the “Classic Combos” section. Now if you’ve been keeping up with this series you know that I am not hardcore anti-meat. I eat meat once, occasionally twice a week, and it’s usually fish, but when fish isn’t around I’ll substitute chicken or turkey. I’m sure some Eat to Livers might not agree with this, but it works for me. In this case salmon and tilapia certainly work for me because, as I’ve mentioned many times before, Dr. Fuhrman regards salmon and tilapia as a low risk for mercury contamination.

Now even though these fish sound tasty, what really caught my eye were the sides that come along with them. Unlike many of American restaurants, Luby’s actually lets you pick the sides that accompany your dish, this way you’re not at the mercy of the chef. Trust me, this is a good thing. Luby’s sides, for the most part, are pretty health conscious. Here are the ones I’d order: broccoli, carrots, cabbage, corn, spinach, pinto beans, pineapple, fresh green beans, black-eyed peas, mixed field greens, mixed melons, and marinated cucumbers. Compared to the sides of many standard American restaurants, Luby’s offerings kick butt!

In fact, if you didn’t feel comfortable ordering an entrée, you could easily put together a nutrient-rich meal from just the sides. And guess what? Luby’s encourages this! If you flip over to the “Salads & More” section of the menu you’ll see special prices if you order three or four sides as your meal. Pretty cool right? As much as I like fish I think this is the way to go. So if I were piecing together a four-side meal I think I’d go with broccoli, spinach, fresh green beans, and pineapple. What would you do?

Perhaps the best thing about Luby’s is the section of the menu entitled “Healthy Eating.” Here they give you suggestions to make your meal even healthier, like “Choose poultry and remove the skin” and “Ask for sauces and gravies on the side.” This is really wonderful, it tells me Luby’s is a place that cares about their patrons’ health, and they don’t just want you to gorge yourself silly on Potato Skinny Dippers, Fried Green Beans, Fried Macaroni & Cheese or whatever else most standard American restaurants spend time concocting—hats off to you Luby’s!

And don’t forget the feedback! Tell us what you might have done differently or what you agree with. Check out Luby's menu and let us know how you Eat to Live on the Outside? Leave a comment or email us at

Californian Cattle Feces Tests Positive for E. Coli

The spinach-E. coli debacle rages on. Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News reports cattle fecal matter from a ranch in the Salinas Valley has tested positive for E. coli bacteria. The same strain that caused three deaths and sickened 199 people:
It's not certain that the ranch was the source of the outbreak, but it's an important lead in the continuing investigation, U.S. and California health officials said during a Thursday evening teleconference.

"We do not have a 'smoking cow' at this point," said Dr. Kevin Reilly, deputy director of the prevention services division for the California Department of Health Services. "We do not have a definitive cause-and-effect, but we do have an important finding."
Smoking Cow, isn’t that a rock band? Even though officials aren’t ready to label this location as the point of origin, Gardner does point out that contaminated fecal samples were found only a mile (and some areas less than mile) from the produce fields—and there a many possibilities as how the spinach was exposed, including wandering livestock, substandard worker hygiene, irrigation practices or even wild boar.

Friday: Vegan and Veg Points

During the whole e. coli outbreak, the most interesting thing I read was this. Did you realize that the e. coli couldn't have been washed off? That it got into the leaves through cut stems from a contaminated blade? Do you know what that means?
This new research in the journal Diabetes Care says that people with diabetes should avoid animal products such as meat and dairy. They also say the vegan diet is superior to the diet recommended by the American Diabetes Association, WebMD reports.
The whole of the beetroot plant is nutritious. The greens contain vitamins A and C, beta-carotine, iron, potassium and calcium being very similar to spinach in nutrition. The roots are an excellent source of folate, potassium, vitamin A and manganese, they also are a good source of vitamin B and C, dietary fiber, magnesium, tryptophan, iron, copper, boron and phosphorous. Although high in sugars they are low in calories.
There are many types of vegetarians – pesco/semi vegetarian, lacto, lacto ovo, ovo, vegan, fruitarian and macrobiotic.
WebMD says that hummus protein is a big yes. Hooray! Apparently, when you combine legumes and seeds, a complete protein source is established. You can go to the article to read about all the fancy terminology and the names of the different proteins.
I am not convinced anymore that a vegan diet is the optimal choice regarding health and nutrition. It may still be the optimal diet for peacefulness, compassion, and achieving advanced spiritual realms although I am going to explore this topic as well. I am certainly not giving up my levels of consciousness and awareness only to indulge in meat. I do not even crave meat. I am open to eventually concede either outcome.

Big Problems with Meat-Based Diets for Diabetics

From the September 2003 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

So-called “high-protein,” animal-based diets are particularly dangerous for diabetics. Many diabetes “experts” and authors recommend that diabetics limit their intake of refined grains and simple sugars. As a result, most people have accepted the faulty logic that if sugar and refined grains and other high-glycemic foods raise blood sugar and triglycerides, we should eat more protein instead of carbohydrate. They attempt to overcome the triglyceride-raising problems seen in those eating typical high-carbohydrate diets by recommending a diet based on animal products.

Short-term benefits

Carbohydrate-restricted diets rich in animal products, often called “high-protein diets,” offer some short-term improvement in glucose control and weight loss. The problem with them is the increased protein intake promotes the progression of diabetic kidney disease, and the higher saturated fat intake raises cholesterol and promotes heart disease. I have observed numerous diabetic patients over the years who caused significant damage to their kidneys attempting to improve diabetic control with such high-protein, carbohydrate-restricted diets.

Long-term dangers
High-protein, carbohydrate-restricted diets also are heart unfriendly. One comprehensive study on the Atkins’ approach showed that after one year on the diet, blood flow to the heart diminished by an average of 40 percent and inflammatory markers that predict heart attacks increased.1 The low levels of plant fiber, phytochemicals, and antioxidant nutrients on these unbalanced, low produce diets expose the diabetic patient to additional risks. So-called “high-protein diets” may be short-term diabetic-favorable, but they are long-term dangerous.

Long-term benefits

The low-glycemic benefits of “high-protein” diets are achieved by the high-fiber, vegetable/bean/ nut-based Eat to Live (ETL) approach that I recommend, without the health problems linked to eating so many animal products. In addition, because the overall ETL diet contains high levels of fiber and micronutrients that cause triglycerides and blood sugars to fall dramatically, diabetics on this program can consume small portions of fruit safely, allowing them to enjoy the nutritional benefits of these healthful foods. The ETL program is the healthiest way to reverse diabetes.

For more of Dr. Fuhrman's thoughts about
meat-based diets and diabetes, check out these previous posts:


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Influenced to Eat

Did you know on the average we make well over 200 hundred food decisions everyday? I would have thought no more than ten. Not so according to Prof. Brian Wansink director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab. His elaborate research has shown people are seduced by food more than you might think. Kim Severson of The New York Times reports:
“We don’t have any idea what the normal amount to eat is, so we look around for clues or signals,” he said. “When all you see is that big portions of food cost less than small ones, it can be confusing.”

Although people think they make 15 food decisions a day on average, his research shows the number is well over 200. Some are obvious, some are subtle. The bigger the plate, the larger the spoon, the deeper the bag, the more we eat. But sometimes we decide how much to eat based on how much the person next to us is eating, sometimes moderating our intake by more than 20 percent up or down to match our dining companion.
It kind of makes sense when you consider that eating for many people is also a social event. I know, I grew up in an Italian family—“You full? You no full? Eat’a more! You skinny.” Wansink’s research, which has included a bottomless bowl of soup and tubs of five-day-old popcorn, really illustrates that many people just don’t know much to eat.

This concept sound familiar? It does to me. Dr. Fuhrman refers to this phenomenon as people’s inability to recognize true hunger. A common problem discussed in his book Disease-Proof Your Child:
We teach our children to eat when not hungry. We encourage it. Many parents actually think it looks health for their kids to be plump and bigger than average. They continually encourage them to ignore their bodies and eat when not hungry. The children learn to eat for a taste thrill; it is recreational eating, akin to recreational drug use. They do it for a thrill and pay a price for it later. These children and adults have overeaten their whole lives, so that they have no recollection of what true hunger feels like.

Sugar Pills for Alzheimer's?

Not really, but according to a new study they’re just as good at treating Alzheimer’s disease as commonly prescribed antipsychotic drugs. Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News reports:
Antipsychotic drugs, which are commonly prescribed to treat psychosis, agitation and aggression in Alzheimer's patients, are essentially no more effective than a sugar pill, new research suggests.
Gardner’s report does point out that two of the drugs tested in the study did combat some symptoms of the disease, but severe side effects outweighed their advantages.

Followhealthlife’s Alzheimer’s archive has more.

New York Times On Banning Trans Fat

One of the more lively debates going on in the health world right now is whether or not banning trans fat is a good idea. Personally, I’m torn—one day I think it’s a smart move and the next, I’m not so sure. Michael Mason of The New York Times examines the issue:
Trans fats aren’t good for you, that much most experts agree on. But whether banning them is a necessary — or even highly beneficial — solution is a subject of some debate. Some scientists say it might not save as many lives as one would expect. And for preparing certain kinds of foods, there are few alternatives besides the saturated fats that have long been high on the list of artery-clogging foods.
I admit its pretty mind blowing to consider saturated fat a “healthy” alternative to anything. Especially if you know Dr. Fuhrman’s position on saturated fat, here it is from Eat to Live:
Some naturally occurring fats are called saturated fats because all the carbon are single bonds. These fats are solid at room temperature and are generally recognized as a significant cause of both heart disease and cancer. Saturated fats are found mainly in meat, fowl, eggs, and dairy. Coconut and palm oil are largely saturated and are also not desirable. The foods with the most saturated fat are butter, cream, and cheese.
Now back to Mason’s article. One of the more poignant items—that makes me think the ban is a good idea—are the statistics generated by Dr. Walter Willett, a nutrition researcher at Harvard University. According to his calculations a ban on trans fat could prevent up to 228,000 hearts attacks in this country each year.

That’s a pretty striking number. If Willett is right, who knows how many of those 228,000 heart attacks would have been fatal. But it's a massive tragedy by any standard. Consider how many died in the World Trade Center attacks (2,973), Pearl Harbor (2,400), Hurricane Katrina (1,836), and The Vietnam War (58,000).

When you think about it like this it’s hard to stand against the ban. But America is the land of personal freedoms, telling people what they can and cannot eat, doesn’t seem right. The Center for Consumer Freedom would agree. Remember them from last week’s post? They’re the Washington-based group against the ban:
The Washington-based Center for Consumer Freedom is spending $125,000 to put the commercial in heavy rotation this week on CNN and the Fox News Channel.

Sarah Longwell from the center said the spot shows food being snapped from consumers' hands because "that is exactly what the New York City Board of Health proposes to do."
I’m still on the fence about this, although later today I’ll probably have an opinion one way, and more than likely tomorrow I’ll feel differently. What do you think?

Longevity Experts Agree

Written by Dr. Fuhrman’s colleague Jeff Novick, M.S., R. D. for the January 2003 edition of Healthy Times:

The most powerful anti-aging tools available are diet and exercise. It is fair to say that just about everyone is looking for the fountain of youth—the secret to longevity. But most of us are not just looking for a long life, we want a long healthy life. After all, what’s the purpose of living long if you can’t enjoy it?

These days, we are bombarded with product after product promising to be the fountain of youth. There are even claims that aging is a disease that can be “cured.” Advertisers say that aging is caused by a decline in certain hormones (such as melatonin, testosterone, human growth hormone, DHEA, and a host of others).They say that if you just take these hormones (which are very expensive), you can stop the aging process. People are running to them in droves and spending huge amounts of money on them.

But is aging caused by a decline in these hormones? Or is the decline in hormones a normal part of the normal aging process? Here is what a few experts on longevity had to say about the subject. The PBS television show, “Closer to Truth,” is a series of discussions by leading scientists on the fundamental issues of science. Segment 108 dealt with the question, “Can you really extend your life?” The host of the show was Robert Lawrence Kuhn, Ph.D., and the panel of experts featured Roy Walford, M.D., professor at UCLA Medical School and author of The 120-Year Diet and The Anti-Aging Plan; W. French Anderson, M.D., Director of the USC Gene Therapy Laboratories and known as the “Father of Gene Therapy”; Arthur S. De Vany, Ph.D., professor of economics at University of California at Irvine and the author of Evolutionary Fitness; Sherwin Nuland, M.D., clinical professor of surgery at Yale University, where he also teaches medical history and bioethics, and author of the bestselling books, How We Die and How We Live; and Gregory Stock, Ph.D., Director of UCLA’s Program on Medicine, Technology, and Society, where he focuses on genetic engineering.

Drawing on all of the expertise and experience of this panel, it would be reasonable to expect that they would reveal a multitude of chemical, biological, and technological advances that might enhance longevity. But their recommendations were entirely physiological. They did not recommend any new products or technologies, but stated, in essence, that our longevity is entirely up to us. Here is what they recommended:
Eat a plant-based diet that is low in calories but high in nutrients; take low-dose supplements; exercise vigorously and regularly; and stay mentally and physically active.
Sound familiar?

Health Points: Wednesday

"We are relieved that all results were negative, and we are confident our product is safe," company president Tom Nunes said in a statement.
Much of the research is showing real promise. Knowing that heart disease is twice as likely to strike diabetics, it would behoove many of us to take a chance with a few cloves of garlic every day. What have you got to lose? Studies suggest that fresh garlic may prevent blood clots and destroy plaque.
The operation involves breaking the patients' legs and stretching them on a rack, and has led to several cases of disfigurement, the Xinhua news agency said, citing the health ministry.
Cola consumption (4 colas a week or more) was linked to a lower bone mineral density in three hip sites (but not the spine) - and the association was only with colas and not other carbonated beverages.
Based on their findings, the researchers predict that 1 out of 623 people with severe psoriasis in their 40s will have a heart attack related to their psoriasis each year, Dr. Joel Gelfand of the University of Pennsylvania said. For mild cases, 1 in 3,646 people in their 40s would have a heart attack each year.
Sleep disturbance is a well-recognized feature of acute psychiatric illness, and is included in the diagnostic criteria of many of the affective and anxiety disorders. Recent research has found that disrupted sleep and sleep complaints are common in patients with affective disorder even between mood episodes.
A week after Bolthouse Farms issued a continental recall of its carrot juice, at least 10 Toronto businesses still had the product on their shelves over the long holiday weekend, prompting health officials to call on the media to warn households and shopkeepers to throw away the juice.

School Food Reforms In Action

Few would argue that our nation’s obesity epidemic is not wreaking havoc on public health. In fact, just this month numerous articles hit the wire illustrating the consequences and complications of being obese. Don’t believe me? Check out Followhealthlife's obesity archive for posts like these:
All this worrying about obesity has brought prevention of childhood obesity to the forefront. Prompting many schools to overhaul the food they serve to their students. Gone are the potato chips, ice cream, and white bread; replaced by things like baked chicken nuggets, whole wheat bread, and stir-fried veggies. Marcelle S. Fischler of The New York Times examines some of menu changes occurring in tri-state area schools:
In many lunchrooms, school food directors have taken up the challenge. French fries are baked, if they haven’t disappeared entirely. Vending machines are being restocked with bottled water and juice instead of Gatorade. Snacks like baked soy and fruit chips are replacing deep-fried potato chips. Soft pretzels are shrinking; frozen-fruit bars fill the Chipwich racks.
Some of the students interviewed in Fischler’s article appear optimistic about the changes, they themselves are cognizant of the obesity epidemic, but others miss their deep-fried goodies or complain that smaller portion sizes aren’t enough to satisfy them—and some avoid the changes altogether by brown-bagging food from home.

Now you have to applaud the efforts of the school system, even though Dr. Fuhrman would hardly call baked chicken nuggets and stir-fried veggies the pinnacle of healthiness, but it sure seems like a step in the right direction. How many of us can recall classmates wolfing down trays of fries five days a week? Heck, I knew kids in college that still did that.

According to Dr. Fuhrman the best way to ensure your children are eating healthfully and getting the proper nutrition, might be to send them to school with a bagged lunch full of nutrient-rich food. He talks about it in this post from a couple of months ago: Packing A Lunch For School
Some children are happy to eat healthfully, but when it comes to school lunch they don’t want to look different from the other kids. Packing fresh fruit and a healthy bread with some nut butter and unsweetened fruit spread can be a quick option. My children love raw cashew nut butter. If using peanut butter, purchase a brand without salt and other additives. My daughters also like to take peeled orange or apple slices with their lunch. We cut the apple into four sections around the core, most of the way through, keeping the apple intact, and then wrap it in silver foil. This way it stays fresh, without discoloration, and they can easily separate it into slices.

Reverse Heart Disease Aggressively!

From the November 2003 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Most people are not aware that the development of heart disease is very likely a death sentence—especially for women. Not only does heart disease kill more women than men, women die more quickly from it. Thirty-nine percent of women who have heart attacks die within a year, compared with 31 percent of men. During the first four years after a heart attack, the rate for a second heart attack is 20 percent for women, 15 percent for men. Clearly, physicians are not doing enough to intervene in this disease process and are not giving heart patients the information they need to protect themselves.

Once significant heart disease develops, we know that the likelihood of this patient having future cardiac problems is great. Twenty-five percent of patients who undergo coronary bypass surgery die within ten years. One study compared a group of patients who had a heart attack and then underwent bypass surgery with a comparable group of heart attack patients who did not undergo bypass. Both groups had comparable coronary artery disease. Seventy percent of the patients who underwent bypass surgery had heart attacks or other cardiac problems necessitating hospital admission within five years, compared with 49 percent for the control group.1

These statistics are disappointing and avoidable, since aggressive medical management that successfully achieves optimal levels of cholesterol and blood pressure can prevent about half of all cardiac events.2 Unfortunately, most patients do not achieve optimal levels of cholesterol and blood pressure even with aggressive medical management. Aggressive drug therapy is certainly better for many patients than little or no therapy, but it is still not ideal.

A safe, effective approach

When you normalize your blood pressure and LDL cholesterol with nutritional intervention rather than drugs, you accomplish even greater risk reduction. As your weight drops, your blood sugar, triglycerides, blood pressure, and cholesterol also drop dramatically. Your body is flooded with nutrients that protect your blood vessels from disease and rupture. This approach provides maximal protection and offers benefits beyond merely lowering cholesterol.

The dietary program I recommend for heart-disease reversal utilizes natural cholesterol-lowering therapies instead of drugs, which eliminates the risks of drug side effects. And because my dietary program is richer in fiber and nutrients than the typical vegetarian diet, my patients achieve spectacular reductions in cholesterol, body weight, and blood pressure. Fortunately, this approach also can help those who already have heart disease. They can avoid future heart attacks and reverse and remove atherosclerosis. It is never too late to make the delicious and lifesaving change to the Eat To Live diet.

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Recipe Beet Down!

From the November 2003 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Beet-Apple-Walnut Salad

2 beets, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup walnuts
2 apples, peeled and sliced very thin
2 medium heads romaine or other dark-leaf lettuce
2 oz. raw cashews or raw cashew butter
1/4 cup unsweetened soy milk
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup dried currants or raisins
Slice lettuce into small shredded pieces and mix in bowl with beets, apples, and walnuts. Blend cashews with soy milk and applesauce to make the dressing, or use raw cashew butter and mix until smooth. Mix currants into the dressing and pour over the top of the salad.

Beet Carrot Cake

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup raw beets, peeled and shredded
1-1/2 cups raw carrots, peeled and shredded
3 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup date sugar
1 cup applesauce (no sugar added)
1 cup pineapple, blended
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup currants, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour and baking soda in a bowl. In a larger bowl, beat date sugar, blended pineapple, mashed banana, and applesauce together. Stir in the vanilla and mix thoroughly. Add the flour mixture along with the chopped walnuts and mix. Now add the shredded carrots and beets. Mix well. Spread in a nonstick baking pan. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Beet Sweet Potato Soup
4 cups water
1 can (2 cups) vegetable broth, low sodium
4 cups carrot juice
1 cup celery juice
3 beets, with beet greens (If you can’t get beet greens, use one bunch spinach.)
2 medium onions
3-4 medium-sized sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp. VegiZest
Put water, broth, VegiZest, carrot and celery juice in a pot and simmer. Grate beets and onions with food processor and add to the pot. Then add the bite-sized pieces of sweet potato and the sliced greens. Cook on low heat for one hour. Blend half the soup, leaving some chunky parts, so it becomes creamy, yet hearty.

Defeat Heart Disease Now!

From the November 2003 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Today, when Americans’ concerns about external threats to our safety and security are at their highest levels, there is a surprising lack of concern about the very real dangers posed by homegrown threats to our well-being.

Each day, the media presents horrific news of death and destruction caused by war, terrorism, and other violence. It virtually ignores a silent but much more deadly enemy that is causing untold suffering to families and undermining the health and economic well-being of our country. I am talking about the many deadly diseases—especially heart disease—we bring upon ourselves through our unhealthful diet.

When we consider the recent losses of thousands of lives in events here and around the world, we experience a tremendous sorrow. We also experience a desire for steps to be taken that will prevent these tragedies from happening again. What should our response be to the millions of unnecessary deaths caused by preventable illnesses? Let’s look at the most deadly of these diseases—heart disease.

A deadly enemy

More than 1.5 million people will have a heart attack this year, with about 1 million deaths due to heart attacks. That amounts to a death every 30 seconds. (As you read this article, three more people will die.) In 1997, the direct medical costs attributed to heart disease came to $58 billion—more than any other medical condition—and 17 million new cases of heart disease were diagnosed that year.

Are we helpless against this onslaught? The answer is an emphatic “no.” But, if we are to put an end to this health nightmare, people need much better diet and health information than they currently are receiving.

Dangerous misinformation

When it comes to combating heart disease, most information sources promote drugs and surgery as the only viable lines of defense. As a result, the demand for high-tech, expensive, but largely ineffective medical care is high, causing medical costs and insurance rates to skyrocket. This chase for “cures” is both financially devastating and futile. Morbidity and premature mortality from heart disease continue to rise, with no sign of abating.

Interventional cardiology offers only partial benefits, since these procedures do not remove the causes of the problem. Attempts to intervene with invasive procedures or surgery after the damage already has been done have not been shown to offer a significant reduction in cardiac deaths. We need to keep in mind that angioplasty and bypass surgery have some significant adverse outcomes, including heart attacks, stroke, and death. These invasive procedures only attempt to treat a small segment of the diseased heart, usually with only temporary benefit. Patients treated with angioplasty and bypass surgery continue to experience progressive disability, and most still die prematurely as a result of their heart disease.

The average person is not aware that there are safer, more effective options available. Unfortunately, government agencies often are slow to respond to new scientific information and continue to advocate outdated recommendations. Economic and political forces also make it difficult for Americans to be clearly informed that heart disease is nutritionally-induced and totally avoidable by eating a nutritionally-excellent diet. For example, six of the eleven members, including the chairman, of the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines Committee in the Year 2000 had financial ties to the meat, dairy, and egg industries. Not surprisingly, the foods these industries produce figure prominently in government dietary recommendations in spite of their documented links to increased health risks. Similar problems exist in recommendations by non-profit health organizations. Sadly, even the American Heart Association advocates a diet that actually has been shown to increase heart disease.1

Accurate information
Fortunately, we can win the war against heart disease by making a few simple, but profound, dietary and lifestyle changes. By following the recommendations in my book Eat to Live, virtually everyone can improve their heart health. In fact, if you start in time, you actually can make yourself heart-attack proof. I believe all people should be informed they have a choice to protect themselves.

There is no magic to heart health. Educating yourself with the latest scientific findings and eating a diet of delicious, natural, unprocessed food allows you to protect yourself and your family from the heart disease tragedies you see all around you.

Following this approach, you can achieve positive results simply by making the right diet and exercise choices—consistently, without the use of drugs or surgery. Almost everyone can achieve protection against heart disease by reaching the following goals:
  • Achieve an LDL cholesterol of 100 or lower.
  • Achieve a homocysteine level below 10.
  • Achieve healthful weight and blood pressure.
These are realistic goals. All who truly desire to protect themselves can do so, without expensive and risky prescription drugs. Self-care is more effective and overwhelmingly less expensive than conventional care. My high-nutrient, vegetable-based diet has enabled patients to achieve remarkable reductions in these cardiac risk factors. Furthermore, by adding natural side-effect-free nutritional supplements for those who do not reach an LDL under 100 from dietary changes, we can enable almost everyone to achieve this protective level without medications and their risky side effects.

Lifesaving dietary facts
The following dietary facts will give you some idea of the powerful heart-protective qualities of the diet I recommend in Eat to Live.
1. A diet that is based on vegetables, beans, nuts, and fruit has been shown in scientific studies to lower cholesterol more powerfully than drugs.2

2. People who adopt this dietary approach—consisting primarily of natural plant-foods do not develop heart disease.

3. Studies have shown that people with advanced heart disease who combine a plant based diet with cholesterol-lowering therapies are able to reverse their heart disease and totally prevent the future occurrence of heart attacks.3

4. When needed, natural (side-effect free) substances are effective at lowering cholesterol further, making an LDL cholesterol below 100 obtainable without (risky) medications for almost all patients.

5. The same diet that helps protect you against heart disease reverses obesity, high blood pressure, and adult diabetes also protects against cancer.
Firefighters’ heart disease
Heart disease is a much bigger problem than most people think. Consider a recent study on firefighters who die in the line of duty.

We think of firefighters as courageous, highly-trained men and women who risk their lives to save others. We imagine that they are at greatest risk when rushing into emergency situations and natural disasters where they are surrounded by dangerous conditions. Recent findings suggest otherwise.

All on-duty firefighters’ deaths are investigated by the US Fire Administration with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. During the decade between 1990 and 2000, 44 percent of all on-duty deaths were due to cardiovascular disease. Among firefighters aged fifty-five to sixty, 76 percent of all on-duty deaths were due to heart attacks.4

I believe that firefighters—like all other Americans—could stop dying needlessly if accurate diet and health information from respected sources were readily available to them.

Dangerous eating habits take away the lives of hard-working men and women every day. Americans simply have not been adequately informed about the deadly health risks of donuts, bagels, cheese, hot dogs, luncheon meats, and other “fast” foods. Would people commit what amounts to slow suicide by diet if they knew the importance of making more healthful food choices? I think not.

My Heart Disease Reversal Program
My book Cholesterol Protection for Life is designed to be distributed quickly, easily, and relatively inexpensively to many people. In about seventy-five pages, it clearly outlines the methods I recommend to people who want risk reduction naturally, without risky medication and surgery. It explains that cholesterol-lowering drugs, angioplasty, and bypass surgery are not the answer and do not offer real protection against future heart attacks.

Cholesterol Protection for Life supplies the plan and the evidence necessary to show how this program can work to prevent heart attacks with 100 percent effectiveness. Accurate dietary and health information can make a huge difference in your health and longevity. Information is the most powerful artillery we have to save lives. Continue Reading...

Obesity and Back Surgery

This seems like a no-brainer to me, but new research shows obesity increases the risk that patients will endure complications during spinal surgery. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports:
Extremely overweight and obese patients were much more likely to suffer complications such as blood clots, wound infections, heart problems, and deep vein thrombosis, according to study author Dr. John Ratliff, assistant professor of neurological surgery and orthopedic surgery at Jefferson Medical College.
Dr. Ratliff thinks this study should be a message for obese individuals planning to undergo elective spinal surgery to put off surgery and lose weight first.

Eating Seeds

Sure, you can plant seeds—but is eating them a good idea? Today New York Times report C. Claiborne Ray investigates whether or not seeds make a good snack:
In some cases, yes, but in others, factors like the expense of the research and the inherent value of the seeds as just that — seeds for the propagation of the next generation of plants — have led scientists to ignore their nutritional potential, says Joseph H. Hotchkiss, professor and chairman of the department of food science at Cornell.
In the article Hotchkiss explains that the bitterness of most seeds is designed to dissuade predators (humans or animals) from eating them—but what about the ones that don’t taste bitter? After all, in a previous post Dr. Fuhrman called nuts and seeds “a natural part of the diet of homo-sapiens.” Here’s more:
They are perfectly adapted to the taste and ability of humans to pick, dry, store, and crack. No wonder study after study shows raw nuts and seeds not only lower cholesterol, but protect against common diseases of aging. I recommend almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios, macadamias, filberts, and walnuts; and sunflower, sesame, flax, and pumpkin seeds. These delicious natural foods are high in nutrients and healthful unsaturated fats.
Need more convincing? In his book Disease-Proof Your Child Dr. Fuhrman includes flax seeds and sesame seeds in his list of the ten super foods to use in your recipes and menus:
Flax Seeds are rich in lignans and omega-3 fatty acids, and scientific studies have confirmed that flax seeds have a positive influence on everything from cholesterol levels and constipation to cancer and heart disease. Use ground flax seed in oatmeal, or add them to whipped frozen bananas, stewed apples, and cinnamon and nut balls. Keep in mind that the scientifically documented benefits from flax seeds come from raw, ground flax seed, not flax seed oil.

Sesame Seeds are one of the most mineral-rich foods in the world and a potent source of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, manganese, zinc, vitamins, and fiber. They are also rich in anti-cancer lignans that are uniquely found in sesame seeds alone. Grind some unhulled sesame seeds into a powder to sprinkle on salads and vegetables. Toast lightly and mix with eggplant, chickpeas, scallions, and garlic for a healthy and delicious dip.

E. Coli's Deep Impact

It’s hard to believe that the Spinach-E. coli outbreak has been in the news for over a month now. Equally hard to believe is that the news never seems to get better. Like this item from yesterday. Rachel Konrad of the Associated Press reports that some lettuce has now been recalled over contamination concerns:
"We're just reacting to a water test only. We know there's generic E. coli on it, but we're not sure what that means," Tom Nunes Jr. president of Salinas-based Nunes Co. Inc said. "We're being extra careful. This is precautionary."
In the report Nunes goes on to point out that it is unlikely that the bacteria found in the lettuce shares the same source as that of the spinach.

Now, the theory of contaminated water supply is certainly nothing new. Remember this Reuters report from a couple weeks ago: E. coli found in cattle feces near spinach fields
The bacteria could have been transmitted by irrigation water, fertilizer, farm equipment or workers, livestock and wild animals, or it could have contaminated the spinach inside processing plants, during transport or on store shelves.
Oh Spinach-E.coli, what a complicated web you weave. Complicated is certainly the word for it because according to the Associated Press E. coli contamination is exposing a lot of complications in the American food chain. Libby Quaid reports:
"When you open a bag of spinach, do you wonder how many different plants are in there, and how many different fields it came from?" said Dr. Robert Tauxe, chief of foodborne diseases at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Towards the end of the report Tauxe remarks that it took the meat industry a while to “get a grip” on their own contamination issues, so produce companies will also need time to get it right. At what cost? I wonder.

In case you’ve fallen behind on the spinach E. coli news, here are some recent Followhealthlife posts:

Pediatric Rounds, Spell It G-R-A-N-D!

The new Pediatric Grand Rounds is up on Emergiblog. Included in the mix is Followhealthlife's post The Flu Is Coming.

Carnival of the Recipes, #112

Kicking Over My Traces hosts this week's carnival of recipes. Be sure to check out Dr. Fuhrman’s recipes for Chocolate Smoothies, Pomegranate Cocktails, and Pomegranate Poached Pears with Chocolate & Raspberry Sauces. *Don't forget, not all recipes in the carnival are Fuhrman-friendly.

How Safe Are Protein Drinks And Powders?

From the May 2003 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Q. I went to the gym and started working with a personal trainer. He advocated I eat more protein and advised I consume about 150 grams of protein a day, including the use of protein drinks with whey protein. Is this advisable?

A. Unfortunately, most trainers and bodybuilders are influenced by what they read in exercise and bodybuilding magazines. This is worse than getting nutritional information from comic books. Look through any current bodybuilding magazine; what are the vast majority of advertisements selling? Supplements! Most of the pages in these magazines are devoted to pushing worthless powders and pills. Supplement companies slant the opinions of the magazine article writers. The articles in the magazines are geared to support their advertisers.

Our entire society is on a protein binge, brainwashed with misinformation that we have been hearing since childhood. The educational materials used in most schools have been provided free by the meat, dairy, and egg industries for more than seventy years. These industries have successfully lobbied the government, resulting in favorable laws, subsidies, and advertising propaganda that promote corporate profits at the expense of national health. As a result, Americans have been programmed with dangerous information.

Proteins are made up of amino acids, and help build muscles, blood, skin, hair, nails, and internal organs. There are twenty amino acids required for growth by the human body, and all but eight can be produced in an adult body.

These eight amino acids are called essential amino acids and must be supplied by the foods we eat. The twelve “non-essential” amino acids are manufactured within the body, but both essential and non-essential amino acids are necessary for the synthesis of tissue proteins. Almost all Americans get more than enough protein each day.

Protein myths at work

The average American consumes about fifty percent more protein than the recommended daily amount. Yet we often see—in addition to misinformed athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and bodybuilders—businessmen and women, homemakers, and those seeking to lose weight turning to protein powders, drinks, and nutritional bars in their quest for even more protein.

It is true that resistance training and endurance workouts can break down muscle protein and increase our need for protein to fuel repair and growth. But the increased need of protein is proportional to the increased need for calories burned with the exercise. As your appetite increases, you increase your caloric intake accordingly, and your protein intake increases proportionally. If you meet those increased caloric demands from heavy exercise with an ordinary assortment of natural plant foods—vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts, which contain more than 50 grams of protein per 1000 calories—you will get the precise amount of extra protein you need.

Plant proteins
A typical assortment of vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains supplies about 50 grams of protein per 1000 calories. Keep in mind, green vegetables are almost fifty percent protein, and when you eat more vegetables it does not promote cancer or heart disease, like it does when you increase consumption of animal products. Plus, the additional calories from plant food will give you much more than just protein; they will supply you with the antioxidants that can protect against the increased free radicals generated by the exercise.

Whey too much protein
Consider that the maximum muscle mass the human body can typically add in one week is about one pound. That is the upper limit of the muscle fiber’s capacity to make protein into muscle; any protein beyond that is simply converted to fat. It also is not necessarily advisable to gain a pound of muscle per week. Although athletes have a greater protein requirement than sedentary individuals, this is easily obtained through the diet. The use of protein supplements is not merely a waste of money, it is unhealthy.

Studies on supplemental amino acid consumption have not supported claims that such supplementation increases growth hormone or provides other touted benefits. In fact, increased whey protein added to the diet of rats increased tumors and cancers.

Little safety assurance
Nutritional supplements can be marketed without FDA approval of safety or effectiveness. Athletes who choose to ingest these supplements should be concerned with the safety of long-term use. They are low-nutrient, low-fiber, highly-processed, high-calorie “foods,” whose consumption reduces the phytochemical density of your diet.

Ingesting more protein than your body needs is not a small matter. It ages you prematurely and can cause significant harm. The excess protein you do not use is not stored by your body as protein; it is converted to fat or eliminated via the kidneys. Eliminating excess nitrogen via your urine leaches calcium and other minerals from your bones and breeds kidney stones.

Bad amino acid trips
Vegetable foods are alkaline. Animal products are acidic foods that require a huge output of hydrochloric acid from the stomach for digestion. This acid tide in the blood after a high-protein meal requires an equally strong basic response by the body to neutralize the acid. The dietary-derived acid load from high-protein animal foods must be buffered, and to do that your bones dissolve and release phosphates and calcium. The alkaline phosphate then buffers the acid. This is a primary step in bone loss that leads to osteoporosis. High salt intake also contributes to flushing your bone mass down the toilet bowl. Excessive stimulation of bone turnover also causes an increase in bone breakdown and remodeling, which can lead to osteoarthritis and calcium deposits in other tissues. The presence of this bone material in the urinary tract also lays the foundation for calcium-based kidney stones.

Exercise—not extra protein—builds strength, denser bones, and bigger muscles. When you artificially stimulate growth through overfeeding and excessive animal product consumption, you may achieve a heightened body mass index unobtainable by other means, but you will add fat to your body as well. Let me remind you that higher body mass index, even if that additional body mass is a mixture of extra muscle and fat, is a strong indicator of premature death.

Racing to the grave
Out of more than 600 Olympic athletes on the East German 1964 Olympic team, fewer than 10 are still alive today. Promoting muscular growth with supplements and steroids doesn’t seem too wise in that context. Excessive body mass, and even excessive muscular development, gained by gorging on high-protein animal products is a risk factor for heart attacks and other diseases later in life.

Measuring relative physical size is not a good way to measure health. Health must be judged by measuring strength per body weight, resistance to serious illnesses, longevity potential, and maintenance of useful vigor into your later years.

Eating to Live on the Outside: Lake Side Caf´┐Ż

“My kind of town, Chicago is…” Old Blue Eyes was onto something when he sang these lyrics because this week Eating to Live on the Outside takes a look at Chicago’s own Lake Side Café—and it’s a good one! No way is this place a standard American restaurant; healthy eateries like P.F. Chang’s, Just Salads, and California Pizza Kitchen just gained a new ally. So let’s see what’s cooking!

First off, their fruit smoothies caught my eye. All three flavors sound good to me: Banana Cinnamon, Blueberry Banana, and Strawberry Banana. Now, you have the option of ordering any of them with soy milk, rice milk, or regular milk. For me dairy is not an option and I prefer soy milk over rice milk, so if I had to pick, a Banana Cinnamon smoothie with soy milk sounds good to me. There are also a few interesting juice creations on the menu too, but I’m not that into juice, I prefer my fruit with a little more substance—and fiber!

Okay, onto the munchies. I really like the Italiano Toasted Sandwich—and no it’s not because I’m Italian—it’s because I love artichoke hearts! In addition to artichoke hearts this dish comes with pesto, cucumber, tomato, and mozzarella. Mozzarella! Relax, Lake Side Café gives you the option to veganize the cheese and that’s exactly what I’m doing. Also, since this is a sandwich, I’d ask the wait staff if you can get whole-wheat bread. No sense spoiling all these veggies in between two slices of white bread. So if you do all this, you’re left with a pretty Fuhrman-friendly meal, your only concessions would be the bread and the olive oil used to make the pesto, but the side salad should quell your apprehension.

Lake Side Café also offers up a couple interesting salads as well. Naturally they’ve got a Simple House salad that’s prepared with lettuce, carrot, peppers, tomato, onion, and sesame seeds—pretty cool right? But the one I really like is the Greek Islands. It’s not very fancy, but I’m a sucker for balsamic vinegar. In addition to the balsamic it comes with red onions, olives, peppers, tomato, cucumber, olive oil, and feta cheese. Now, I’m not sure if you can veganize the feta, if you can that’s great, but I take no chances with dairy so it’s gone. I’d also ditch the olive oil in this case because balsamic vinegar is all I need to top off a salad. It’s got more than enough flavor for me.

If you’re an Eat to Liver with a lust for pizza, check out Lake Side Café’s Thin Crust Pizzas. Both of them look great to me. For starters you can order both of them on a wheat-free spelt crust, so that should calm your refined grain worries a little. And you can pretty much veganize both dishes if you so choose. The Organic Garden Pizza is prepared with broccoli, mushroom, green pepper, red onion, mozzarella, and red sauce. Once you’ve swapped out the dairy cheese, this is a pretty good line up of veggies. The Mediterranean Pizza is nice looking too; red onion, artichoke hearts (yes!), feta, mozzarella, and pesto sauce. Clearly I’d skip the feta and once again veganize the mozzarella, even after these alterations I still like what’s left. Probably even tastes good cold the next morning—oh you’ve done it too!

All and all there’s lots of neat stuff on Lake Side Café’s menu, these were just the ones that caught my eye, check out their menu and let us know what got your mouth watering. And give us your feedback too! Leave a comment or email us at Let us know how you Eat to Live on the Outside!

Health Points: Friday

The toddler died Sept. 20 in Salt Lake City after developing a type of kidney failure caused by E. coli. Health officials had to wait for the results of genetic testing on the bacteria to determine whether his illness was from spinach.
A study published this week in the British Medical Journal suggests that the advantage of breastfeeding on baby's intelligence could be explained not by the effect of breastmilk on the infant's developing brain, but by the fact that women who breastfeed are more likely to have higher IQs.
Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in California found that marijuana's active ingredient, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, can prevent the neurotransmitter acetylcholine from breaking down more effectively than commercially marketed drugs.
There are few if ANY people in this world who have a true biological disposition toward massive accumulation of aesthetically excessive lean body mass--regardless of the intensity and volume of training. Professional bodybuilders are NARCISSISTIC FREAKS who utilize absurd training schedules, wacky nutrition practices and illegal substances to create unnatural amounts of lean body mass.
Nearly half of medical school students nationwide are now female, and as they enter the profession, they are making patient care friendlier and therefore may be less likely to get sued than male physicians. Women physicians also are more likely to serve minority, urban, and poor populations and are twice as likely to go into primary care.
It was just last week that Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler disclosed his fight against hepatitis C, a viral infection that causes liver damage. According to published reports, Tyler went through 11 months of treatment with the drug interferon. He now says the virus has been reduced to extremely low levels in his bloodstream, calling it virtually "nonexistent." Tyler's admission may help raise awareness of the potentially fatal disease.

Cold Weather Means Fattier Food?

Apparently this happens every year, as the temperature begins to drop and our clothes get bulkier, so do our meals. Susan Yara of Forbes explains restaurants hone in on this annual trend—meaning the weather gets crisper and foods get fattier:
"In the fall, we get into more of the game meats, squash and the root vegetables. And we're usually using sweeter ingredients," says John Greeley, executive chef at the ' 21' Club. "It's what the season is all about--you're starting to pack on the pounds because you're wearing sweaters."
Yara warns that even though these foods pack extra flavor and richness, they’ll also do a pretty good job of packing on the pounds. On the bright side, that baggy sweater will fit better—kidding.

This article made me think of a previous post, A Life Plan for The New Year, in it Dr. Fuhrman talks about the importance of making strong dietary changes in your life. And that minor alterations will only thrust you back into the dreaded diet yo-yo effect:
Many health authorities and diet advisors recommend only small changes; they are afraid that if the change is too radical, dieters will give the whole thing up and gain nothing. I strongly disagree. My work over the past ten years has shown that those who have jumped in with full effort the first six weeks have been the individuals most likely to stick with the plan and achieve results, month after month. Those who try to get into it gradually are the ones most likely to revert back their former way of eating. Under the gradual approach, they “yo-yo” back and forth between their old bad behaviors and good ones. Change is hard. Why not do more and glean the results you have always been after quickly and permanently? Be realistic and flexible; changing your behavior is the key to success.
Check out the link at the bottom of Yara’s article for pictures of the Fall’s Most Fattening Foods. I think they're there as a deterrent.

Prostate Cancer Facts

From the July 2005 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Debunking exaggerated claims about risks and treatment benefits. With the exception of skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the United States. Medical autopsy studies show that by age seventy, 70 percent of men who die from accidental deaths are found to have prostate cancer.

The simple fact is that if you are a male and you eat similarly to other Americans, you eventually will get prostate cancer. No one can escape from the biological laws of cause and effect, and the Standard American Diet (SAD) is powerfully cancer-promoting. The good news is that only an extremely small number of men eventually die from their prostate cancers. The prostate cancer death rate is 226 per 100,000 male deaths over age sixty-five, which is a pretty small death rate.

All of the biopsies, treatments, and surgeries done in the hope of helping men with prostate cancer live longer cause significant side effects, such as incontinence, rectal bleeding, and impotence.

It is reasonable to ask if men actually benefit from such invasive intervention, including the destruction of part of the prostate or its removal. Are the side effects balanced by clear-cut advances in life expectancy?

Long-term side effects
The side effects of prostate cancer treatment are debilitating and demoralizing, and the percentage of patients who suffer from them is shockingly high.
Erectile dysfunction: over 50%
Bowel dysfunction: over 10%
Urinary dysfunction: over 20%

PSA screening
In spite of being heavily marketed to patients by physicians, PSA (prostate-specific antigen) screening and the resultant treatments that follow have never been shown in medical studies to prolong life. In my “Why Prostate Screening and Treatments Don’t Work” article on page 3 of this newsletter, I explain some of the complicated issues regarding testing for and treatment of prostate cancer, to help you understand why it might be wiser to reject PSA screening for prostate cancer.

After a comprehensive review of the scientific studies available on this important issue, my conclusion is that men who are found to have low-grade prostate cancer would be better off not knowing about it because it is extremely unlikely to be their cause of death. Low-grade prostate cancer results in only 6 deaths per 1,000 patient years (number of patients with the disease multiplied by number of years they live after their cancer diagnosis), seen after 20 years of follow-up care.1

Men who are found to have high-grade prostate cancer do not benefit from surgery or radiation to their prostate, either. Invariably, this type of prostate cancer already has spread outside of the prostate when it is first diagnosed, and whether CT scans and bone scans show cancers outside of the prostate that are visible on these tests or not, it is still there. There is no technology to measure cancer at the microscopic level. So bone scans, CT scans, and MRIs cannot offer reassurance that the cancer has not spread. Cutting out, radiating, burning, and freezing the prostate with this more aggressive type of prostate cancer is futile. Yet, thousands of prostate operations and procedures are performed all over the country, every day, without probable benefit.

When it comes to the treatment of the higher-grade forms of prostate cancer, typically distinguished with a high Gleason score, only nutritional excellence and hormonal therapy— which can treat the cancerous cells that have already left the prostate, as well—are worthwhile.

For the majority of men treated for prostate cancer, it appears that their lives would have been much better off if their prostate cancer had never been diagnosed, since it is most likely that the side effects experienced from the treatment are not balanced by an increase in life span.
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Flu Shot: Supply Demands Demand

The most effective artillery we have to protect ourselves against the potential damaging effects of influenza and other infectious disease is nutritional excellence. Micronutrients—-meaning vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals—-fuel various clever host defense mechanisms.
This from Dr. Fuhrman, but U.S. health officials would disagree, according to them our best defense against influenza is an annual flu shot. Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News reports that there are plenty of shots to go around:
Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said 26 million doses of flu vaccine were distributed in September and another 50 million will go out in October. The extra supply is largely due to increased manufacturing capacity: This year four manufacturers instead of two are making the vaccine. A fifth may be added later in the season, if needed.
Gardner explains that officials expect the vaccine to be available more this year than ever before; seems to coincide nicely with the expanded group of people authorities recommend should get vaccinated.

Dr. Fuhrman is not against flu shots in every case. Check out this post for Dr Fuhrman on the risks associated with the flu vaccine:
All medical interventions have a benefit-to-risk ratio. One has to weigh the potential risks with the supposed benefits. Often the long-term risks of medications are not clearly delineated and the supposed benefits are exaggerated by doctors and pharmaceutical companies (because after all, medicine is still a business to make money).

Flu vaccines have benefits and risks too. If you read about the flu vaccine in the information supplied by the manufacturer you will learn it contains formaldehyde and 25 micrograms of thimersol (mercury) per dose, used as a preservative. The injection of even this small amount of mercury repeatedly year after year from multiple vaccines can cause neurotoxicity (brain damage). The American Academy of Pediatrics and the US Public Health Service have issued a joint statement calling for the removal of mercury from vaccines. Chronic low dose mercury exposures may cause subtle neurological abnormalities that rear their head later in life.
For more info take a look at Followhealthlife’s Cold and Flu archive.

Exposing Diet Myths

Over on Joy’s Health Bite she is debunking some popular diet myths, here’s one of note:
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables are more nutritious than frozen.
Not necessarily. Frozen can be a great produce option (just avoid varieties with added salt, sugar, and sauce). Frozen foods are picked in the peak of ripeness, then frozen. You can eat them as you need them -- and most of the nutrients are locked in. On the other hand, fresh fruit and vegetables are typically harvested before they ripen, and can have nutrient variability. Also, the longer fresh produce sits around in your fridge, the less nutrients it will contain.

Bottom line: Buy both fresh and frozen and eat as much as you can.

FBI Raids Spinach Plant

According to the Associated Press the FBI has raided two spinach plants suspected of not taking all the appropriate steps to ensure that their spinach was safe for interstate commerce. This news coming off the heels of the FDA’s declaration that fresh spinach is now safe for consumers to resume buying. More on the raid:
Federal officials do not think anyone at the plants deliberately contaminated spinach with the virulent bacteria, which has killed one and sickened more than 190 others in 26 states, and the searches do not mean there is an ongoing or new threat to public health.

“There is no indication there was any tampering of willful contamination or anything like that,” said FBI spokesman Joe Schadler.
The article goes on to explain that Natural Selection plant operators continue to point the finger at the growing fields as the source of the contamination, and they claim that proper measures have taken to prevent another E. coli outbreak from originating at their plants.

It seems there may be some credence to the accusation that the farms were the source of the contamination. A Reuters piece from a couple days ago reports E. coli was found in cattle feces on pastures near farms being investigated as possible sources of contamination:
The bacteria could have been transmitted by irrigation water, fertilizer, farm equipment or workers, livestock and wild animals, or it could have contaminated the spinach inside processing plants, during transport or on store shelves.
Quite the mixed message, one day spinach is ready for a return—and now this! No wonder why some people are leery about jumping back on the spinach bandwagon. I know I’ve referenced it a few times already, but in spite of all this controversy Dr. Fuhrman still insists people go green. After all, spinach isn’t the only leafy green:
Interestingly spinach and kale are the two highest nutrient foods on the American landscape and spinach is the healthiest food that Americans eat in any significant quantity.

During this crisis, I recommend people eat lots of frozen spinach—you can mix some defrosted frozen spinach on top of a salad. Of course you can shred cabbage, carrots, bok choy, and beets on top of lettuce salads to add substance too.

The risk of not eating greens is a significant risk to the health of Americans and there has not been one recorded case of E-coli from other greens in this timeframe. So bump up the other greens right now to make up for it. I encourage you to go green.
In case you’re not into frozen spinach, check out this previous post for other nutrient-rich greens: Nutrient Density of Green Vegetables

Acid Suppression Medication Increases Hip Fracture Risk

From the September 2005 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

A good example of doctor-induced (iatrogenic) hip fracture results from the use of medications to suppress stomach acid production in the treatment of indigestion, esophagitis, and gastritis. The typical doctor is unaware that these diseases are caused by poor nutrition. Likewise, these doctors also are blind to the positive health effects of nutritional excellence and unaware that high cruciferous vegetable consumption prevents Helicobacter zylori (bacteria that causes gastritis and pyloric ulcers) from setting up housekeeping in the stomach. Most doctors only know one option— acid-suppression drugs.

According to a recent study, long-term use of acid suppression therapy with medications (H2 blockers or proton-pump inhibitors) increases the risk of hip fractures. These medications interfere with calcium absorption, leading to osteoporosis and increased fracture risk. The study followed over 500,000 adults over the age of 40 for 15 years and found, in general, those on chronic therapy with these medications had about double the risk of hip fractures. Interestingly, the risk of hip fractures associated with these medications was even higher for men than for women.1

Remember, bone strength is directly proportional to muscle strength, and bone health requires a lifetime commitment to regular exercise and physical activity. Inactivity or bed rest can be disastrous to the bones. Go to the gym, walk, wear a weighted vest, do back exercises, work in the garden, and stay involved with sports or fitness pursuits appropriate to your ability and health. Nutritional excellence is vitally important, and cannot be replaced by supplements. Taking supplements is merely an adjunct to other critical lifestyle factors that reduce risk.

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Reduce Your Pesticide Exposure By 90%

From the July 2004 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Powerful steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones!

If you avoid the top 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables or only eat them when purchased organic, you can reduce your pesticide exposure by almost 90 percent. The four worst fruits are: peaches, nectarines, strawberries, and apples. The four worst vegetables are: peppers, spinach, celery and potatoes.

The pesticide contamination tests were performed on washed produce. If eating any foods from the 12 most-contaminated list, always peel them; washing is not sufficient to remove the residue. Wash all inorganic produce with soap.

We cannot rely on authorities or the U.S. government for protection. The EPA is mired in complex legal issues (delaying tactics) with chemical companies and is not an effective watchdog for our safety. Rather than preventing exposures and putting the burden of proving safety where it belongs (on pesticide and toxic chemical producers), most dangerous pesticides remain on the market with no threat of regulatory action. People are exposed to hundreds of chemical compounds in their diet every day. We will never have 100 percent accurate data on the potential risks from such consumption, so the consumer is wise to minimize exposure to pesticides whenever possible.

Video: Spinach Welcomed Back?

The industry needs to step up to the plate and to do more to correct the problem, and demonstrate to consumers that they’ve done more, because that’s what’s going to restore consumer confidence.

That from Dr. David Acheson of the Food and Drug Administration when asked about consumers’ willingness to start purchasing fresh spinach again. This CNN video report examines whether or not people are wary about spinach’s return to many supermarket’s shelves. As you’ll see, some people aren’t exactly in a hurry to resume buying the leafy green.

Check out Monday’s post for Dr. Fuhrman’s thoughts on the spinach-E. coli crisis: Spinach is Back

Stadium Food and You

I think we can all agree that some of the unhealthiest foods are found at sporting events; take Baseball’s Worst Burger for example. But amidst a roster of hotdogs, burgers, cotton candy, and nachos, are their any healthy options? Charles Stuart Platkin of The Seattle Times takes a look.

Platkin starts off by rounding up a list of the usual suspects; foods like peanuts, Cracker Jack, pizza, French fries, beer, chicken tenders, fruit cups, etc. Then he compares groups of them to determine what the best low-calorie option would be—as if calorie content is the only important factor. Here’s an example:
Hot dog vs. pizza vs. sausage and peppers
A regular hot dog with mustard is your best bet, totaling about 290 calories: 180 for the 2-ounce dog, 110 for the bun and virtually no calories for regular yellow mustard. Sauerkraut adds another 5-10 calories (2 tablespoons), ketchup adds 30 (2 tablespoons) and relish another 40 (2 tablespoons). Just be aware of the foot-long hotdogs sold at many stadiums, which can have double the calories in both frankfurter and bun, bringing the grand total to 580 without any toppings. Pizza at the stadium is a bit larger than a typical slice, about one-sixth of a 16-inch pie (rather than one-eighth), which comes to 435 calories per slice. And the sausage-and-pepper sandwich is about the same — 430 calories for 5 ounces, including the bun.
Okay, so maybe using Platkin's logic a singular hotdog is "better" than pizza or a sausage and pepper sandwich, but if I had to choose, I’d skip all three! Let me put on my Eating to Live on the Outside hat for the remainder of this post.

Of all the food selections referenced in Platkin's piece I’d only order the healthiest ones, regardless of their calorie content. I don’t care if peanuts are high in calories. At least they have some nutrition. I’d sooner eat an entire bag of them before I'd indulge on greasy chicken tenders or cheesy nachos. I think in this situation it’s less about choosing the better of two horrible foods, and more about making the best choice overall. What do you think?

To Platkin’s credit he does offer up some good tips to help you limit your intake of unhealthy stadium food, like eating before you head off to game. That seems like the smartest idea to me.

Health Points: Wednesday

The drug, known as MK-0557, was designed to focus on a "hunger-stimulating factor," which has long been considered a potential target for anti-obesity therapy. And while the drug was well tolerated by the 832 obese people who finished the trial, they only lost an average of 7.5 pounds during the 12-month study, compared with people taking a placebo who lost an average of 4 pounds.
they give other nurses report, unnoticing the meds that were not started, although ordered hours ago, because they can’t get over the fact that the doctors did not order a CT to confirm a diagnosis. they say they forgot to order your dose of tube feeding, or that they had no time to insert a catheter, because they can’t believe how pointless it was to send a patient for MRI when a different, much appropriate diagnostic test could have been done. they bombard the outgoing nurses with pathphysiology issues, unconcerned about the patient’s present needs.
Sam Farr made his remarks in front of an empty bowl that he had hoped to fill with spinach. He had intended to eat some and feed it to reporters, but said his attempts to buy spinach at two local grocery stores were unsuccessful. Both stores had signs that said they were not selling spinach, according to a Farr aide.
Over time, various changes to this effective document have been proposed by meddling management types, certainly with the best of intentions but unfortunately lacking the benefit of reason. For a few months we had a little red stamper the triage nurse had to stamp on this sheet and check off yes/no boxes relating to TB warning signs. Fever? Night sweats? Weight loss? I'm not sure who authorized the discontinuation of that initiative, but probably someone finally realized that we just don't have enough TB cases where I work to justify such an aggressive screening program during triage.

Now we have a little box in the corner for the triage nurses to check documenting that they have asked the patient "if anyone has threatened them." Yes/No. I'm not sure what we do with that answer, but the box remains. Sometimes checked, sometimes not.
Gyms are all too eager to tap into people’s fear of decrepitude. Walk into a Bally in the next month and you may be asked to fill out a RealAge questionnaire about everything from activity to cholesterol count to blood pressure. Then comes the bad news: Your body is on the verge of retirement though you’re actually only 45. The good news for horrified test-takers? A personal trainer would love to help chip away at that ghastly number.
I have been asked by patients to pray with them. I consider that an honor that a patient would ask me to join in what for them is a very sacred moment, and usually only say, “I would be honored to stay here with you and hold your hand.” I have never been asked my religious affiliation by a patient prior or after doing this.

Maybe We're All Food Addicts

I think this has happened to everyone. Have you ever felt stuffed after a big meal, and for some reason you’re compelled to eat more? A new study claims this response is the same thing that occurs in the minds of drug addicts when they think about drugs. Maggie Fox of Reuters reports:
"We saw a lot of activity in all areas of the brain, especially in the hippocampus. That region is related to learning, memory and is also related to a lot of things such as sensory and motor impulse and emotional behavior," Dr. Gene-Jack Wang of Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York said.
Wang believes this information will help researchers learn more about the connection between emotions and the desire to eat.

Got Pomegranate?

From Dr. Fuhrman’s newsletter Healthy Times:

Chocolate Smoothie

5 oz. organic baby spinach
½ cup soy milk
½ cup pomegranate juice
1 medium banana
1 Tbsp. natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups frozen blueberries
1 Tbsp. flaxseed, ground
First, liquefy spinach in soy milk and pomegranate juice in the blender. Add all remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Serves 2.

Pomegranate Cocktail

1 oz. pomegranate juice
4 oz. orange juice
1 cup diced pineapple
Splash of lemon
4 ice cubes
1 pitted date
Blend ingredients in a blender or Vita-Mix and serve.

Pomegranate Poached Pears with Chocolate & Raspberry Sauces
Poached pears:
6 medium pears, ripe (still firm)
2 cups pomegranate juice
1 whole cinnamon stick
6 whole cloves
2 Tbsp. Goji berries (optional)
Chocolate sauce:
1 cup frozen blueberries
1Tbsp. Goji berries or 1 tsp. turmeric (to adjust color)
1 generous Tbsp. cocoa powder (or more for darker, stronger sauce; use natural cocoa powder, nut Dutch processed)
1-1/2 cups soy milk
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup pitted dates
2/3 cup raw macadamia nuts, unsalted (or wash salt off)
Raspberry sauce:
10 oz. frozen raspberries (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 Tbsp. maple syrup (optional)
Poached pears:
Peel peas, leaving stems intact. Slice a little off the bottom of each pear so that they stand up. In a large saucepan, place pears standing up snuggly together. Pour in pomegranate juice and add cinnamon, cloves, and Goji berries. Gently simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes, until pears are tender. Remove pears and refrigerate until ready to serve. Reduce poaching liquid until it becomes syrup.

Chocolate sauce:

Place all chocolate sauce ingredients in blender. Blend until very smooth and creamy. Add more soy milk, if needed.

Raspberry sauce:
Defrost raspberries and blend until smooth. Push through sieve to remove seeds. Add poaching syrup and sweeten if necessary with maple syrup.

Pace a generous dollop of chocolate on dessert plate. Place pear on chocolate and drizzle Raspberry Sauce over pear. Serves 6.

Leave Trans Fat Alone?

Trans fat is a reoccurring topic on Followhealthlife, and lately the proposed New York City ban is garnering trans fat extra attention. Some people, like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, are in favor of the ban and others, such as the Center for Consumer Freedom, don’t like the idea of a “food police.” Lisa L. Colangelo of The New York Daily News reports the group is funding an ad campaign to encourage leaving trans fat alone:
The Washington-based Center for Consumer Freedom is spending $125,000 to put the commercial in heavy rotation this week on CNN and the Fox News Channel.

Sarah Longwell from the center said the spot shows food being snapped from consumers' hands because "that is exactly what the New York City Board of Health proposes to do."
Colangelo explains many New York officials and restaurant owners are in favor of the ban. Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden likened the ban on trans fat to the city’s ban of lead paint. What do you think? Given all we know about the ills of trans fat, should it stay or go?

To help you make up your mind, check out these previous posts on trans fat:

Diet Influences So Many Aspects of Health

Tired of arthritis pain? Looking for an alternative to pricey medications? Well, grab a box of raisins, and a bottle of gin. I’m not kidding! Apparently white raisins soaked in gin are a popular home remedy for arthritis. Anahad O’Connor of The New York Times explains:
“You get some gin and get some white raisins — and only white raisins — and soak them in the gin for two weeks,” she said Teresa Heinz Kerry. “Then eat nine of the raisins a day.”
O’Connor points out that no rigorous studies have been conducted to prove the validity of the claim. However grapes do contain compounds that reduce inflammation, but most are lost during the drying process.

I don’t think you’ll see a recipe for gin soaked raisins popping up in one of Dr. Fuhrman’s book anytime soon. According to him alcohol isn’t exactly the health promoting substance it is sometimes reported to be. Here’s a quote from a previous post:
A few years ago the University of California’s Berkeley Wellness Letter reported on new research about the so-called heart-healthy “benefits” of alcohol consumption. Previous studies had led to a recommendation that moderate consumption of red wine—but not other alcoholic beverages—helped reduce the risk of heart attack. What did the new research reveal?

If we were to rely on the Berkeley Wellness Letter for this information, the latest news would be that moderate consumption of any alcoholic beverage—red or white wine, even beer and spirits—can be heart-healthy. Unfortunately, their latest news is still woefully out-of-date. More recent studies show that even moderate alcohol consumption is linked to significantly increased incidence of atrial fibrillation,1 a condition that can lead to stroke, and to higher rates of breast cancer.2,3

Moderate drinking is defined as a maximum of two drinks for men. Consuming more than this is associated with increased fat around the waist4 and other potential problems. For example, alcohol consumption leads to mild withdrawal sensations the next day that are commonly mistaken for hunger, which leads people to eat more than is genuinely necessary, resulting in weight gain.
In Eat to Live, Dr. Fuhrman explains arthritis is one of many diet-sensitive conditions:
Patients are told that food has nothing to do with the disease they develop. Dermatologists insist that food has nothing to do with acne, rheumatologists insist that food has nothing to do with rheumatoid arthritis, and gastroenterologists insist that food has nothing to do with irritable and inflammatory bowel disease. Even cardiologists have been resistant to accept the accumulating evidence that atherosclerosis is entirely avoidable. Most of them still believe that coronary artery disease and angina require the invasive treatment of surgery and are not reversible with nutritional intervention. Most physicians have no experience in treating disease naturally with nutritional excellence, and some physicians who don’t know about it are convinced it is not possible.

Not only are common disorders such as asthma associated with increased body weight and our disease-causing diet, but in my experience these diseases are also curable with superior nutrition in the majority of cases.5 Asthma is an example of a disease considered irreversible that I watch resolve regularly.

My patients routinely make complete and predictable recovery from these illnesses, predominantly through aggressive dietary changes. I am always delighted to meet new patients who are ready to take responsibility for their own health and well-being.
Dietary-Caused Illnesses with High Prevalence
acne allergies angina
appendicitis asthma arthritis
atherosclerosis constipation colonic polyps
diabetes(adult) diverticulosis esophagitis
fibromyalgia gallstones gastritis
gout headaches hemorrhoids
high blood pressure hypoglycemic symptoms indigestion
irritable bowel syndrome kidney stones lumbar spine syndromes
macular degeneration musculoskeletal pain osteoperosis
sexual dysfunction stroke uterine fibroids

Continue Reading...

Grand rounds volume 3 number 2.

The latest Grand Rounds is now up on RDoctor. This week includes Followhealthlife's post Ear Infections and Antibiotics.

More Western Diet Woes

Last month the Associated Press reported that obesity is rapidly becoming the marquee problem threatening global health. The report cited Thailand as an example:
Thailand's Public Health Ministry, for instance, announced Sunday that nearly one in three Thais over age 35 is at risk of obesity-related diseases.

"We are not dealing with a scientific or medical problem. We're dealing with an enormous economic problem that, it is already accepted, is going to overwhelm every medical system in the world," said Dr. Philip James, the British chairman of the International Obesity Task Force.
So here we are close to a month later and now the AFP is reporting another nation is joining the battle of the bulge. The number of obese people in Malaysia has doubled over the past ten years. Researchers attribute the earmarks of the Western diet to the increase:
The doctors, who said it was the first formal study to show obesity was rising in Malaysia, attributed the change to sedentary lifestyles, overeating and a fondness for fast food and carbonated drinks.
The report points out that Malaysian officials are concerned this lifestyle shift will usher in the woes of Western living; i.e. heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

This phenomenon has happened before. In his book Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman talks about the people  of Crete. And how their “healthy” Mediterranean diet was pushed aside.

I'm Turning Yellow!

From Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live:

My doctor noted that my complexion had turned yellowish and told me to cut back on foods containing carotene, such as mangoes, carrots, and sweet potatoes.

The slight yellow-orange tinge to your skin is not a problem; it is a marker that you are on a healthy diet. On the contrary, any person who does not have some degree of carotenemia in his or her skin is not eating properly, and such an eating pattern places him or her at risk of cancer—including skin cancer. I drink no carrot juice; however, my skin has a slight hue, especially when contrasted with the skin of people eating conventionally. When my patients eat a nutritionally packed diet, their skin changes color slightly as well. Tell your doctor it is he who has the dangerous skin tone. However, I still do not recommend taking a vitamin A or high doses of betacarotene from supplements.

Spinach is Back

Consumers can now resume buying and eating fresh spinach, the Food and Drug Administration said”; this from William Yardley of The New York Times. Given the recent hubbub about tainted spinach, I decided to ask Dr. Fuhrman for his thoughts. Here’s what he had to say:
Interestingly spinach and kale are the two highest nutrient foods on the American landscape and spinach is the healthiest food that Americans eat in any significant quantity.

During this crisis, I recommend people eat lots of frozen spinach—you can mix some defrosted frozen spinach on top of a salad. Of course you can shred cabbage, carrots, bok choy, and beets on top of lettuce salads to add substance too.

The risk of not eating greens is a significant risk to the health of Americans and there has not been one recorded case of E-coli from other greens in this timeframe. So bump up the other greens right now to make up for it. I encourage you to go green.
Growers are certainly hoping people are still willing to go green. Because as Juliana Barbassa of the Associated Press reports many farmers are worried that consumer confidence for spinach has been shaken:
During the two-week warning about E. coli in fresh spinach, growers said they re-examined the safety of their operations, anguished over the suffering of the 187 people sickened and one who died, and weathered significant losses as they watched crops go to waste.
Barbassa explains many farmers have staked their claim on spinach devoting significant acreage for growing the plant. Low consumer confidence could result in decreased harvest value and heavy losses for farmers.

Health Points: Monday

1) You walk pasta da bakery;
2) You walk pasta da candy store;
3) You walk pasta da ice cream shop;
4) You walk pasta da pizzeria;
5) And you walk pasta da fridge.
Researchers had 15 people with lab-confirmed rhinovirus colds spend a night in individual rooms at a nearby hotel and, after they checked out, tested 10 items they said they had touched. About one-third of the objects were contaminated with rhinovirus.
Of course, the best way to bring attention to something is to file a lawsuit, right? So that's what they've done. They're suing McDonald's, Burger King, Chick-fil-A, Chili's, Applebee's, Outback Steakhouse and TGI Friday's because they identified the PhIP in their chicken products.
Researchers have proposed that shorter sleep duration may affect levels of two weight-control hormones: reduced levels of leptin, a hormone associated with satiety, and increased levels of ghrelin, associated with hunger.
Let me encourage all my non-veg readers to find a vegetarian they know and ask them questions about the way they eat. Ask them why they are veg, or if its boring to be veg, or if they only eat vegetables or if they miss meat, or what they could eat if you went out to a particular restaurant together.
"There is clearly an association with abdominal obesity in these younger patients. Obese adults patients are at risk for this disease after 20 years of age," researcher Dr. Barry Daly of the medical center's radiology department said in a prepared statement.

Carnival of the Recipes Harvest!

BookLore hosts this week's carnival of recipes. Be sure to check out Dr. Fuhrman’s recipes for An Eat to Live Dinner. *Don't forget, not all recipes in the carnival are Fuhrman-friendly.