Take That Drug Ads!

As someone who studied marketing, I can tell you, marketing is predicated on fear. In Marketing 101 they call it need, but let’s face it, they mean fear. For example, Billy wants those new basketball shoes. Why? Because all the other kids have them, and, the commercials say they’ll help improve his game. So if Billy doesn’t get them?

Well, he won’t fit in, his peers will tease him over his knock-off shoes, and his game will suffer. Naturally, Billy thinks he needs those shoes. Again, why? Because he’s afraid of all the bad things that will happen if he doesn’t get them. See how easily it is to market fears as needs.

Human emotion is a powerful thing, especially when that emotion is fear. Scare a person the right way and you can get them to do almost anything. So obviously, I think it is highly unethical to toy with people’s emotions. Of course this doesn’t stop marketers, after all, there’s plenty of money to be made in fear.

Now I’m not asking you to believe me. Do a little reading and you’ll see what I mean. Consider this report by HealthDay News. According to Randy Dotinga, new research claims that televised ads for prescription drugs are riddled with emotional appeals and lack helpful information on the disease itself:
"The ads really use emotion instead of information to promote drugs," said the study's lead author, Dominick Frosch, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. "The question we have to ask ourselves is: (Should buying) prescription drugs be the same as buying soap?"…

… Ninety-five percent of ads made "emotional appeals," and 78 percent implied that use of the medication would result in social approval. Fifty-eight percent of the time, products were depicted as medical breakthroughs…

… Of course, even if patients are wooed by an ad, they can't get prescription drugs on their own. But, Frosch said, it's not enough to rely on doctors to make the right decisions about drugs that patients should take.

Doesn’t that sound like fear-marketing to you? Personally it’s a pet-peeve of mine and crystallizes my gripe with the industry. But I digress. Rather, let’s focus on the influence of pharmaceutical companies on medical care. Dr. Fuhrman addresses it in Eat to Live:
Drug companies and researchers attempt to develop and market medications to stem the obesity epidemic. This approach will always be doomed to fail. The body will always pay a price for consuming medicines, which usually have toxic effects. The “side” effects are not the only toxic effect of medications. Doctors learn in their introductory pharmacology course in medical school that all medications are toxic in varying degrees, whether side effects are experienced or not. Pharmacology professors stress never to forget that. You cannot escape the immutable biological laws of cause and effect through ingesting medicinal substances…

…Both patients and physicians act as though everyone’s medical problems are genetic, or assumed to be the normal consequence of aging. They believe that chronic illness is just what we all must expect. Unfortunately, the medical-pharmaceutical business has encouraged people to believe that health problems are hereditary and that we need to swallow poisons to defeat our genes. This is almost always untrue. We all have genetic weaknesses, but those weaknesses never get a chance to express themselves until we abuse our body with many, many years of mistreatment. Never forget, 99 percent of your genes are programmed to keep you healthy. The problem is that we never let them do their job.

Diabetes Still a Big Problem in NYC

If you read enough health news, it’ll start to seem like obesity and diabetes go hand in hand. This correlation is pretty evident in New York City’s diabetes epidemic. According to the AFP, one in eight adults in NYC has diabetes and all the while, obesity rates continue to climb:
The New York City Health Department found that the number of diabetics in the city of eight million people had doubled in the past 10 years and said the dramatic jump mirrored an increase in obesity…

… "New York City is getting healthier by almost all measures, but the twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes are getting worse by the year," Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said, unveiling the new data.
So, what do we do about it? Turn to drugs? After all that seems to be the American way. Well one diabetes rep doesn’t think that’s a good idea. From Pharmaceutical Rep Urges Healthy Diet Over Drugs:
I am personally a pharmaceutical rep and promote a diabetic medicine. It is interesting to me the corelation between diabetes and eating. You would also be amazed at the offices I call on. When I order healthy, vegetarian lunches for offices, they complain that it's not some deep fried chicken choice! And these are the same people who are telling their patients to eat well…

… I want to tell you thank you for all the good work you do. If more people followed [Dr. Fuhrman’s] advice, we would find Americans would be living much healthier, productive lives. Let's face it: diabetes and cancer are expensive! Seeing the typical diabetic will be on about six medicines, if not more!
Perhaps people just need to be better educated on the development of Type 2 diabetes? And then maybe they’ll be more receptive to other ways of treating the disease. In Understanding the Development of Type 2 Diabetes Dr. Fuhrman does just that:
As little as five pounds of excess fat on your frame can inhibit the ability of insulin to carry glucose into your cells. When you have twenty pounds of extra fat, your pancreas may be forced to produce twice as much insulin. With fifty or more pounds of excess fat on your frame, your pancreas may be forced to produce six to ten times more insulin than a person who is lean…

… When you give an adult diabetic who has been suffering from the damaging effects of excess insulin for years more insulin to drive her sugar level down, you create additional problems. Giving the diabetic patient insulin increases appetite, which causes significant weight gain (often more than 20 pounds), which makes the patient more diabetic. Thus, the administration of insulin creates a vicious cycle that cuts years off a person's life.
Okay, since we’re discussing diabetes and New York City, you might want to check out The New York Times coverage of NYC’s diabetes epidemic from last year. Here are Followhealthlife’s posts on the series:

Another Hit Put Out on Trans Fat

The Associated Press is reporting that Los Angeles wants restaurants to start voluntarily phasing out trans fats. Wow, trans fat has really become public enemy number one. More from the report:
The voluntary plan is supported by restaurants, said Andrew Casana, spokesman for the California Restaurant Association.

"I haven't received one call from a restaurant saying it doesn't want to make a change," Casana said. "I get more phone calls a day from restaurants that say they've never used it."

Charlotte Austin-Jordan, who runs an M&Ms Soul Food near downtown, said her restaurant eliminated trans fat four years ago.

"It's a health issue that restaurants can't ignore," she said.

The Standard American Shockwave

Now, if you’re looking for praise of the standard American diet, you’re at the wrong place. Need proof? Here’s a few of my favorite Followhealthlife bashings of the standard American diet. Oh how sad it is. Enjoy:
Well if those didn’t get your dander up, this sure will. According to new research the wonderment (sarcasm) that is the standard American diet has wreaked havoc on what used to be one of the healthiest groups of people in the world, the Okinawans. Diet-Blog’s got the skinny:
This has all changed - and I was shocked to read that Okinawa Island now has the highest rate of obesity in Japan (almost double that of the rest of Japan). Diabetes affects 8.2% of Okinawans compared to 5.7% nationally (via am New York).

After World War II Okinawa was under US administration for 27 years, and during that time a number of large military bases were established. Along with the military came American food - burgers, soda, and french fries.
The Okinawan’s aren’t the only ones ravaged by the introduction of Big Macs and Krispy Chicken. In Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman tells the sad tale of the Cretans:
In the 1950s people living in the Mediterranean, especially on the island of Crete, were lean and virtually free of heart disease. Yet over 40 percent of their caloric intake come from fat, primarily olive oil. If we look at the diet they consumed back then, we note that Cretans ate mostly fruits, vegetables, beans and some fish. Saturated fat was less than 6 percent of their total fat intake. True, they ate lots of olive oil, but the rest of their diet was exceptionally healthy. They also worked hard in the fields, walking about nine miles a day, often pushing a plow or working other manual farm equipment.

Today the people of Crete are fat, just like us. They're still eating a lot of olive oil, but their consumption of fruits, vegetables, and beans is down. Meat, cheese, and fish are their new staples, and their physical activity level has plummeted. Today, heart disease has skyrocketed and more than half the population of both adults and children in Crete is overweight.1
For more on the Okinawan research, visit The Okinawa Study.
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Extra Weight Heavy Burden on Kids' Feet

I wasn’t exactly the thinnest kid when I was little—growing up in an Italian family comes with that liability. “Gerry eat’a more! You’a so skinny.” And according to Reuters, extra pounds in childhood can take a heavy toll feet. Anne Harding reports:
As few as 15 to 20 extra pounds can contribute to flattening of the arches and inflammation of the growth plate in the heel, according to Haycock, who says he used to only see this type of foot pain in very active children, but is seeing it increasingly in overweight kids.

It's difficult to determine whether children are obese because they have foot problems in the first place, which make it painful for them to be active, or whether the obesity is causing the changes in foot structure, Dr. Darryl Haycock, a foot and ankle surgeon in private practice in Lima, Ohio added.

Nutritional Wisdom: Strong Bones for Life - with special guest John Abramson, M.D.

Dr. Fuhrman’s radio show Nutritional Wisdom airs live Wednesdays at 11am EST with an encore presentation Thursdays at 3pm EST on VoiceAmerica. Here’s a peek at this week’s episode:

Don’t take your bones for granted! If you are going to live longer you might as well have the bones to enable you to do it pain free. Find out about the most effective way to strengthen, build, and maintain normal bone mass as you age. Calcium is simply ineffective at preventing and reversing osteoporosis. Too much supplemental calcium may actually be harmful. If you have a skeleton then you must tune in to the show as Dr. Fuhrman welcomes his guest John Abramson, M.D.

Check out the Nutritional Wisdom category for previous episodes.

More Love for Veggie Calcium

For a long time I thought the only place you could get calcium was milk and since I’m lactose intolerant, well, I thought I was screwed. So I panicked, I used to take calcium supplements the size of horse pills. Sometimes I still have flashbacks that I’m grazing in a meadow, odd.

But now, even though I avoid dairy products like the plague, I’m not worried about my calcium. Why? I eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Greens like kale and romaine lettuce, not to mention hearty portions of sesame seeds; both of which Dr. Fuhrman considers great sources of calcium.

In fact, in a previous post he explains that vegetable calcium is absorbed better than animal calcium. From Choose Vegetable Calcium Over Animal Calcium:
Green vegetables, beans, tofu, sesame seeds, and even oranges contain lots of usable calcium, without problems associated with diary. Keep in mind that you retain the calcium better and just do not need as much when you don’t consume a diet heavy in animal products and sodium, sugar, and caffeine.
So if you’re system kicks back dairy like mine, here’s a thought, hit the produce isle with a vengeance! And it seems, this idea if being put to the test. The Los Angeles Times reports nutrition scientists are feeding older women with osteoporosis prunes in hopes that it will yield measurable restoration in their bone mass. Susan Bowerman explains:
Although that study was too brief to measure changes in bone density — something the new study will allow — the women who ate 10 dried plums daily had significantly higher blood levels of two compounds (the hormone IGF-1 and the enzyme BSAP) that are associated with greater rates of bone formation.

What do prunes offer that other dried fruits don't? Various substances, and scientists don't yet know which among them is most important. Prunes contain small amounts of calcium and magnesium — both bone-building minerals — and some natural acids that could improve mineral absorption.

They are a rich source of antioxidant polyphenols, which also could be bone protective. They're also rich in boron, a bone-building mineral that is often lacking in the diet. (Boron prevents excretion of calcium and magnesium, which allows these minerals to be deposited in bone tissue.)
It is kind of funny that prunes, a food already associated with old people, are good for them for a reason outside of, “Prunes, prunes, a wonderful fruit, the more you eat, the more you toot. The more you toot, the better you feel, so eat some prunes at every meal!” And yes, I know that song is really about beans, but it works!

For a couple charts on the calcium content of fruits and vegetables, check out these posts:
And here’s another interesting tidbit about fruits and veggies. Did you know that some vegetables have a more protein per calorie than meat? Oh I’m not making it up! Dr. Fuhrman explains Vegetables Deliver Protein with Micronutrients:
It is interesting to note that peas, green vegetables, and beans have more protein per calorie than meat. But what is not generally considered is that foods that are rich in plant protein are generally the foods that are richest in nutrients and phytochemicals. By eating more of these high-nutrient, low calorie foods we get plenty of protein, and our bodies get flooded with protective micronutrients simultaneously. Animal protein does not contain antioxidants and phtyochemicals, plant protein does. Plus, animal protein is married to saturated fat, the most dangerous type of fat.
As we saw yesterday in Michael Pollan’s article about nutritionism, the stuff that lurks in plants might be the best dietary recommendation of them all. Hey, maybe this Dr. Fuhrman guy is onto something. You think?

McDonald's Ditches Trans Fat from Fries

Okay, I know no one reading this blog eats French fries, or McDonald’s for that matter, but I still think its interesting to point out that even McDonald’s is rallying against trans fat. Now if we can only get them to throw the rest of their menu in the garbage. Dave Carpenter of the Associated Press reports McDonalds has selected a trans-fat-free oil for their fries:
McDonald's Corp. has finally selected a new trans-fat-free oil for cooking its famous french fries after years of testing, the fast-food chain said Monday.

While it has developed a healthier new oil, the company is still not saying when it will be used in all 13,700 U.S. restaurants. It already trails competitors in committing to a zero-trans fat oil.

Spokesman Walt Riker said the oil is currently in more than 1,200 U.S. restaurants after extensive testing, but declined to provide details on timing or locations.
Ah yes, the secret life of “healthy” oil.

Even Dumber Doughnuts

Well, if the report about “healthy” doughnuts didn’t make you get up and slam your head against the wall, this one sure will. Drum roll please. Ahem, now introducing Buzz Donuts, the sugary deep-fried pastry with a caffeine kick. Yup, I’m convinced, there is another epidemic infecting this country—the stupidity epidemic! More from SlashFood:
Buzz Donuts and Buzzed Bagels are the first of what will probably be many caffeinated pastries. Dr. Robert Bohannon originally had some difficulty in disguising the taste of the caffeine, which has a very bitter flavor on its own, but once he got the flavoring under control, he was able to add quite a lot of caffeine to his products. Each one contains the equivalent of two cups of coffee, or about 100mg per pastry.

Veggie Fare for You

Mexican Lentils
1 cup lentils, uncooked
1 cup frozen or fresh corn
1 cup nonfat tomato sauce
1 onion, chopped
Mexican seasonings to taste (crushed red chili peppers, garlic, and dill)
Boil the lentils in 2 cups of water for 30 minutes and drain. Combine the remaining ingredients and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

Broccoli with Garlic
2 large bunches of broccoli or three boxes of frozen broccoli
4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
Steam broccoli for 5 to 7 minutes or defrost frozen broccoli. Remove from heat and cut up in pieces in large salad bowl. Mix the oil, garlic, and mustard together and toss the broccoli with the mixture. Return to steamer to cook for another 5 minutes. The dressing in this recipe is delicious on other green vegetables as well. Try it with okra, asparagus, green beans, and string beans.

Apricot Brown Rice
2 cups brown rice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup dried apricots (organic sun-dried)
3 cups water
1/2 sunflower seeds
Cook brown rice, spices, and dried apricots with 3 cups water on low heat for 35 minutes. Add sunflower seeds and simmer for 10 more minutes. Remove from flame. Toss with one tablespoon flax seed oil and serve.

NY Times: Michael Pollan on Nutritionism

Hopefully you had the opportunity to read Michael Pollan’s recent article in The New York Times Magazine. In it, he proposes lots of reasons for America’s dietary indiscretions; misinformation, bad science, and the rise of industrialized food, to name a few.

Needless to say, my Fuhrman-senses were tingling. Especially concerning the concept of “nutritionism.” According to Pollan, “The term nutritionism refers to the widely shared but unexamined assumption that the key to understanding food is indeed the nutrient.” Meaning it’s up to scientists to discover the hidden healthful particles (nutrients) in food and then this will help us make informed decisions about which foods appropriately fuel our bodies and give us sustained health. Sounds good, right?

Well, as Pollan explains, historically these types of scientific discoveries—and their good intentions—tend to get mucked up along the way and ultimately become misconstrued. One might even argue bastardized. More from the article:
This is a great boon for manufacturers of processed food, and it helps explain why they have been so happy to get with the nutritionism program. In the years following McGovern’s capitulation and the 1982 National Academy report, the food industry set about re-engineering thousands of popular food products to contain more of the nutrients that science and government had deemed the good ones and less of the bad, and by the late ’80s a golden era of food science was upon us. The Year of Eating Oat Bran — also known as 1988 — served as a kind of coming-out party for the food scientists, who succeeded in getting the material into nearly every processed food sold in America. Oat bran’s moment on the dietary stage didn’t last long, but the pattern had been established, and every few years since then a new oat bran has taken its turn under the marketing lights. (Here comes omega-3!)

By comparison, the typical real food has more trouble competing under the rules of nutritionism, if only because something like a banana or an avocado can’t easily change its nutritional stripes (though rest assured the genetic engineers are hard at work on the problem). So far, at least, you can’t put oat bran in a banana. So depending on the reigning nutritional orthodoxy, the avocado might be either a high-fat food to be avoided (Old Think) or a food high in monounsaturated fat to be embraced (New Think). The fate of each whole food rises and falls with every change in the nutritional weather, while the processed foods are simply reformulated. That’s why when the Atkins mania hit the food industry, bread and pasta were given a quick redesign (dialing back the carbs; boosting the protein), while the poor unreconstructed potatoes and carrots were left out in the cold.

Of course it’s also a lot easier to slap a health claim on a box of sugary cereal than on a potato or carrot, with the perverse result that the most healthful foods in the supermarket sit there quietly in the produce section, silent as stroke victims, while a few aisles over, the Cocoa Puffs and Lucky Charms are screaming about their newfound whole-grain goodness.
Now if you ask me, Pollan hits the nail right on the head. All this time and money wasted on figuring out which nutrient is going to be today’s fountain of youth. And when one is discovered, food-marketers from across the country just want to know one thing, “How can we use it to make people believe our mass-produced junk food is healthy?” Meanwhile fresh fruits and vegetables are staring us right in the face. Go ahead, let out a little sigh.

If you’re familiar with Michael Pollan’s work you know that he strongly supports a vegetable-based diet for health, disease-prevention, and longevity. So I kind of figured Dr. Fuhrman would agree with him here. And he does for the most part, but, unlike Pollan, Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t feel our grandparents were the best eaters. From the article, here are Pollan’s comments:
The sheer novelty and glamour of the Western diet, with its 17,000 new food products introduced every year, and the marketing muscle used to sell these products, has overwhelmed the force of tradition and left us where we now find ourselves: relying on science and journalism and marketing to help us decide questions about what to eat. Nutritionism, which arose to help us better deal with the problems of the Western diet, has largely been co-opted by it, used by the industry to sell more food and to undermine the authority of traditional ways of eating. You would not have read this far into this article if your food culture were intact and healthy; you would simply eat the way your parents and grandparents and great-grandparents taught you to eat. The question is, Are we better off with these new authorities than we were with the traditional authorities they supplanted? The answer by now should be clear.
Personally, despite this little disparity, I still think Michael Pollan is onto something—something good. For me, it all comes down to filtering out bad information. And yes, that takes steely resolve. You have to differentiate junk science from good science, marketing from the truth, and perhaps most important of all, learn to ignore dangerous reactionary claims. Dr. Fuhrman’s thoughts on Pollan’s piece should help explain where I’m coming from:
I think in the future more and more intelligent people will realize the message is clear. And certainly there will be more and more examples of others parroting a similar message to mine.

Eat less, eat mostly plants, don't eat processed foods. We agree. These are the main points.

I still don't think our grandparents ate too great, so we can do better than ever before with what we know about nutrition today. Too bad there are so many nuts out there confusing this issue, (Atkin's, Weston Price, Zone, Eat For Your Blood Type, Dr. Mercola's Metabolic Typing, Glycemic Index) leading the addicted masses into more and more confusion, so they miss the main points.
Maybe that’s what’s happening? All these fad diets get the press because they fly in the face of conventional thinking. And why not? It’s common knowledge that the standard American diet isn’t working. Don’t believe me? Just look at the obesity rates in this country, or the prevalence of cancer and heart disease. If you read these types of news reports for too long, you’d want to try something radical too!

In Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman remarks that he doesn’t feel everyone will embrace his vegetable-based diet, mainly because of the influence of outside factors. After all, why meet the problem head on when you can devour an entire box of “enriched” chocolate breakfast cereal or have some doctor write you another prescription? I felt now was an appropriate time to mention this:
The social and economic forces that are pulling our population toward obesity and disease will not be defeated by one book preaching about achieving superior health with nutritional excellence. The “good life” will continue to bring most Americans to a premature grave. This plan is not for everyone. I don not expect the majority of individuals to live this healthfully. However, they should at least make that decision by being aware of the facts rather than having their food choices shaped by inaccurate information or the food manufacturers. Some people will choose to smoke cigarettes, eat unhealthfully, or pursue other reckless habits.

Research: For Your Information and Health

Here’s some new research from one of Dr. Fuhrman’s friends at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Some of them already hit the newswires earlier this month, but if you’re like me, you have an insatiable desire to learn more. So, take a look:
Girls Most Likely to Become Overweight Before Teen Years:
The most vulnerable time for girls to initially become overweight is between ages 9 to 12, and being overweight in childhood was associated with a much higher risk of high blood pressure and unhealthy levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. In a study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, researchers measured weight and health indicators in 2,379 girls starting at age 9 until age 23. They found that girls were 1.6 times more likely to become overweight from ages 9 to 12 than during the teenage years. At every age, African-American girls were 1.5 times more likely to be overweight than Caucasian girls. Overweight girls were 10 times more likely to have high systolic blood pressure, 3 times more likely to have high diastolic blood pressure, 6 times more likely to have abnormal HDL levels, 3 times more likely to have abnormal LDL levels, and 3 times more likely to have abnormal triglyceride levels. In addition, overweight girls were 11 to 30 times more likely to be obese as young adults.1

Raised Blood Glucose Levels Responsible for Over Three Million Deaths Each Year:
Higher-than-optimum blood sugar levels are not only a risk for diabetes – they also contribute to heart disease and stroke. A group of researchers collected data from 52 countries to determine the health effects of raised blood sugar levels. Their findings showed that in addition to the 959,000 deaths due to diabetes, high blood sugar levels resulted in 1,490,000 deaths from ischemic heart disease and 709,000 from stroke.

Therefore, 21% of heart disease and 13% of strokes can be attributed to high blood sugar. Overall, over 3 million deaths each year are directly attributed to raised blood sugar levels, comparable to deaths from smoking (4.8 million), high cholesterol (3.9 million), and obesity (2.4 million), and putting this condition in the top five causes of worldwide mortality. These findings suggest that we should not just be concerned about diabetes, but also about increased blood sugar levels that high enough to be classified as diabetes, and provide another reason for the importance of healthy lifestyle changes including healthy eating and physical activity.2

Rising Health Care Costs Create an Increasing Financial Burden for Families:
Health care costs have continually risen over the past several decades. In 1980, health care spending represented 9.1% of the gross domestic product. This increased to 16% by 2004. As a result, families are now spending a greater percent of their income on health care costs. A survey of about 19,000 people in 1996 and almost 29,000 in 2003 was conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The survey included both insured and uninsured people under age 65. From 1996 to 2003, the percent of people living in families who spent more than 10% of their family income on health care increased from 15.8% to 19.2% (48.8 million people). The amount spending more than 20% increased from 5.5% to 7.3% (18.7 million people). Poor people, older people, and those with chronic medical conditions were the most likely to be spending a greater percent of their income on health care costs. In addition, families with private non-group coverage (that is, private insurance not provided by an employer) showed the greatest burden of health care costs – approximately 3 times that of families with employer-provided insurance.3

Red meat intake increases the risk for hormone receptor–positive breast cancer in premenopausal women:
The incidence of hormone-receptor–positive breast cancer has been increasing in the United States, especially among middle-aged women. Some components in red meat (such as exogenous hormone residues, heme iron, and heterocyclic amines in cooked meat) may promote the development of breast cancer by influencing hormone receptors. In this study of 90,659 premenopausal women aged 26 to 46 years followed over 12 years, those eating more red meat were more likely to develop hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. During the 12 years of follow-up, 1021 cases of invasive breast cancer occurred. As meat consumption increased, the risk of developing hormone-receptor–positive breast cancer increased. Women eating more than 1.5 servings of red meat a day were twice as likely to develop this type of cancer than those eating 3 or fewer servings a week. Red meat consumption was not associated with hormone-receptor-negative breast cancer.4

Reducing Salt Consumption Lowers Blood Pressure in Children:
An analysis of 10 different studies looking at the effect of reducing salt consumption in children concluded that a modest reduction in salt intake results in an immediate fall in blood pressure in children. The researchers used a technique called a meta-analysis, which allows them to combine the results from many studies for a better estimate of the effect of reducing dietary salt. The 10 studies included at total of 966 children, with an average age of 13 years. The reduction in salt consumption was 42%, and the average length of the study was 4 weeks. The researchers found that reducing salt intake resulted in an immediate decrease in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. These findings indicate that reducing the amount of salt in a child’s diet may prevent the development of hypertension in adulthood, substantially reducing strokes and coronary heart disease.5

Vegetable Consumption Slows Rate of Cognitive Decline:
In a 6-year study of older adults, those eating a greater amount of vegetables showed a smaller decline in cognitive functioning than those eating fewer vegetables. A total of 3718 adults age 65 and older provided information on foods eaten and participated in tests of cognitive functioning over a 6-year time period. Those who ate 2.5 or more servings of vegetables per day slowed their rate of cognitive decline by about one-third compared to those who ate less than 1 serving per day — a decrease that is equivalent to about 5 years of younger age. In this analysis, the researcher statistically controlled for differences in sex, race, education, cognitive activity, physical activity, and alcohol consumption, so the findings were not affected by differences in these characteristics. The vegetables showing the highest association with cognitive functioning were green leafy vegetables. The amount of fruit consumption was not associated with cognitive functioning.6
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The Ethnic Veggie Market

I shop at a local farmers market every Saturday, and let me tell you, it’s a treat. Sure it’s crowded, there are wood shavings all over the floor, and hardly anyone speaks English, but, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Besides, where else could I get fresh broccoli raab, Chinese eggplants, cactus pears, and quality avocados?

Not to mention, as a full-blooded Italian, I love to overhear older Italian couples bickering about which head of escarole smells fresher. “No stupido! Questo e piu fresco.”

So naturally I think this next report is great. According to Associated Press, America’s ethnic population is having significant influence on farmers. Causing more and more farmers to grow traditionally non-American produce. Janet Frankston Lorin reports:
The explosion of immigrant populations is fueling the growth of ethnic vegetables like cilantro and bok choy, giving farmers new, and potentially more profitable, revenue streams to add to their American staples of corn, sweet peppers and tomatoes. They'll have less competition for this narrow niche, crops that an ethnic population would have consumed in their home country, now growing in small quantities in the U.S.

"Cilantro is widely used almost everywhere today," said John Formisano, whose family has been farming for nearly a century. "When we first started, most people hadn't ever heard of it."

Today, the American public may not recognize Chinese eggplant's long, slender purple shape, or aji dulce — small, colorful sweet peppers — two vegetables commonly used in Asian and Hispanic cooking.
Anyone else adore those eggplants? I buy them every week.

The Mouth Revolution

Attention! The mouths of the world have united. They are no longer willing to sit idly by and consume things like trans fat, GMOs, pesticides, and artificial ingredients—cue Twisted Sister’s We’re Not Gonna Take It—they want real food! Quick, check out this public service announcement from The Mouth Revolution, and viva La Mouth-olutione!

Carnival Of The Recipes

Right Wing Nation hosts this week's carnival of recipes. Be sure to check out Dr. Fuhrman’s submission Healthy Soup and a Salad. *Don't forget, not all recipes in the carnival are Fuhrman-friendly.

Eating to Live on the Outside: Green Light

“Roxanne! You don't have to put on the red light.” Okay, I don’t know anything about the red light, but this week Eating to Live on the Outside says hello to Green Light, a Pure Vegetarian Restaurant located in my home state of New Jersey. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “This place is a vegetarian, it’s got to be good, right?” Not totally. You’ll see that surprisingly, it has some issues. Here’s what I mean.

Take a gander at the lunch specials. Here’s a few of note: Chicken with Broccoli, Kara’s Rib Tip Wrap, and a Cheese Steak Hoagie? What the heck is vegetarian about them? Chill, obviously it’s all soy meat. And there in lies the problem. For starters, as I’ve said the past, I’m too fond of processed soy foods. Sorry, but faux-chicken doesn’t really do it for me. And remember, Dr. Fuhrman does warn against going overboard on these types of food. Check this out, from Too Much Soy:
This brings to mind my basic theme of nutritional biodiversity—eat a variety of plant foods, and do not eat a soy-based diet.

Most of the processed soy products can be tasty additions to a plant-based diet, but they are generally high in salt and are not nutrient-dense foods, so use them sparingly.
Oh man, what a fine pickle I’ve gotten myself into this week. What should I order? Let’s see. Well, the Avocado Wrap looks good. For starters, it comes with avocado and I’m a total mark for avocado! And, it’s served on a wheat wrap with tomato, greens, and onion. Not bad, the only concession I’d be making would be the wrap—I can live with it. The Veggie Sub also looks like a solid option. Sure the bread is a sacrifice, but come on! It’s prepared with grilled peppers, yellow squash, zucchini, broccoli, and carrots. I don’t know about you, but all those veggies make me forget about the bread.

Okay, the rest of menu is pretty tough. There’re still plenty of menu items centered on processed soy foods. Again, stuff like soy mozzarella, soy shrimp, and soy salmon just don’t appeal to me. So that rules most of the second page, but I’m in luck! Green Light does have a salad that certainly appeals to my taste buds, the Tasty Avocado Salad. As an avocado fiend, this makes me smile—from ear to ear. Now it’s pretty basic, but intriguing none the less; its avocado on a bed of fresh greens and veggies. Can’t beat that, in fact, if places like Fazoli’s, Denny’s, and Lonestar Steakhouse offered something like this, I’m sure more Eat to Livers wouldn’t immediately vomit at the mention of their names.

Now if you’ve got an aching sweet tooth, Green Light is the place to go. They’ve got a bunch of fruit smoothies that’ll help set you right. Kai’s Carob Milk Shake really caught my eye—especially since anything chocolate flavored draws me in like a black hole. It’s prepared with soy milk, banana, carob powder, and honey. The honey would be my concession here. Rashads Pina Colada is also looking mighty tasty; coconut milk, pineapple chunks, and banana. I’m not a betting man, but I’d wager that the coconut milk is sweetened—there you have it, another concession. But overall, if I were craving something sweet, I wouldn’t feel too guilty about downing one of these smoothies. In the past it would have been an entire bag of peanut M&Ms. Which one sounds like the better idea to you?

Here’s another thing worth mentioning. If you’re like me and the processed soy foods aren’t really your thing, and none of the options I’ve mentioned suit your fancy, you can also take this familiar course of action. Make a meal out of sides. Green Light has four sides that could certainly make a nutrient-dense, concession-free meal; steamed cabbage, steamed vegetables, steamed broccoli, and a side salad. What would you choose? I know I can’t resist steamed broccoli.

So there you have it, that’s what I’d order if I found myself smack-dab in the middle of a place that sells a lot of processed soy food. What would you do? Check out Green Light’s menu and email me at diseaseproof@gmail.com.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Nuts

I grew up with a fear of nuts. I can still hear my mother saying, “Don’t eat too many. They’re very fattening.” As a result, I pretty much only ate nuts after Christmas dinner—it’s an Italian thing. So even though I now know better, I still get a little jumpy when I read things like this. Carolyn O'Neil of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution expands on the benefits of consuming nuts:
As we enter this new year with state-of-the-art nutrition in mind, it's important to note that one of the best things you can do is work on ways to add super-nutritious foods — like nuts — to your diet rather than focusing on deprivation. Tossing an ounce of roasted almonds into a salad or coating baked fish in a thin layer of crushed peanuts certainly adds a lot of flavor and a pleasant nutty crunch. But you're also increasing your intake of protein, fiber and various vitamins and minerals, including disease-fighting antioxidants. So there's more than just fat in the nut mix.
I know, its sounds silly to get nervous about a food that’s so good for us, but trust me, I’m over it. It’s just that old beliefs are hard to shake. If for some reason you have the same feelings I did, check out this post, hopefully it’ll quell your worries the same way it did mine. From Nuts and Seeds Are Excellent Foods:
Nuts and seeds are a natural part of the diet of homo-sapiens. 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.
And be sure the check out the comments. In them Dr. Fuhrman addresses the claims made by some people who insist nuts and seeds should be avoided. Here’s a taste:
Almost all raw nuts and seeds are rich in micronutrients and protective food substances. They are not just a fat source, and they are also rich in plant proteins with favorable effects. We should aim to meet our requirements for both short and long-chain omega-3’s, but it is healthy, not unhealthy, to get most of your fat intake from foods such as almonds and sunflower seeds which are rich in mono and polyunsaturared fats and micronutrient powerhouses, instead of extracted oils and animal products, which do not have comparable micronutrient density. This has already been well documented. It is good to consume a little ground flax seeds and walnuts daily because they are rich in those omega-3 fats that are otherwise low in the American diet that is overly rich in animal products (largely omega-6 and saturated fats).

Rusty Pipes and Drinking Water

Here’s something that you probably don’t spend a lot of time wondering about, but are rusty pipes putting our drinking water at risk? According to this report by the Reuters, it’s a bigger problem than many of us realize. Christine Stebbins reports:
More than 170,000 public water systems are at work to keep tap water flowing into American homes and meeting the standards of the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974.

But after the extensive purifying process, water ends up in your glass after traveling through pipes laid under city streets 50, 60 or 100 years ago.

Those pipes -- made mostly from iron until plastic was introduced 30 years ago -- span almost one million miles in the United States.

As the iron pipes corrode and break, not only does water escape, but also diseases get in, experts say.

But it Says it's Good for Me

Diet-Blog wants to know, can people be fooled by food packaging? No! People can’t simply be fooled by the wrapper something comes in—sorry, just laying down some heavy sarcasm. Yup, it seems people can be fooled, fooled real good. More from Diet-Blog:
The Health Halo
Brain Wansink, author of Mindless Eating calls it the "Health Halo". He tested the theory by giving away two types of nutrition bars. One had some writing on the label stating the bar contained soy and would help reduce the risk of heart disease. The other bar was exactly the same but without the health claim.

Consumers believed the "health claim" bar would not only reduce heart disease but would also reduce risk of cancer and diabetes. Some even thought the bar would reverse damage caused by other junk foods! All from just one small "healthy" claim on the label.

No Squirrel for You!

Every once and a while a news report comes along that makes you question man’s title as the most sophisticated creature on planet earth. Well my friends, this is one such report. According to the Associated Press New Jersey officials have warned SQUIRREL HUNTERS about consuming SQUIRRELS because they could be contaminated with lead from a nearby toxic waste dump. Finish your double-take, and here’s more:
A lead-contaminated squirrel was found in the area two months ago, prompting the agency, along with the state Department of Environmental Protection, to send out letters advising that adults eat squirrel no more than twice a week and even less for children and pregnant women…

…Residents and many environmental activists believe the lead comes from toxic waste, including paint sludge, dumped in the area by the Ford Motor Co. during the 1960s and early 1970s, from its now-closed car manufacturing plant in Mahwah.
Squirrel hunters? Eating squirrel? Something tells me that the evolution of our species might still need some tinkering with.

Red Meat, Heart Disease, and Diabetics

Now I’m not a red meat eater, and haven’t been for several years. Why? Well it’s one of those foods, along with bacon, potato chips, and doughnuts that I simply don’t trust. And according to Food Navigator there’s another reason to be suspicious of it—especially if you’re diabetic. New research has determined diabetics who eat lots of red meat increase their risk of heart disease by fifty-percent. Check it out:
The research looked at the effects of red meat and dietary iron intake on the incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD) among the 6,161 women with diagnosed type-2 diabetes enrolled in the Nurses Health Study…

… After adjusting the results for confounding factors such as age and BMI, the researchers report that high intake of heme iron from red meat, poultry and seafood was associated with a significantly increased risk of CHD for these diabetic women.
Issues surrounding red meat are no stranger to this blog. In fact, this past November a new study determined a link between red meat and cancer. Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News was all over it:
"We found that higher red meat intake may be a risk factor for hormone receptor-positive breast cancer among premenopausal women," said lead author Eunyoung Cho, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. "The majority of breast cancer is hormone receptor-positive, and the incidence of hormone receptor-positive tumors has been increasing in the United States," she added.
And let’s not forget this University of San Diego School of Medicine press release claiming milk and red meat contain a unique molecule which promotes diseases. More from the release:
The study’s senior author, Ajit Varki, M.D., UCSD professor of medicine and cellular and molecular medicine, and co-director of the UCSD Glycobiology Research and Training Center, said that although it is unlikely that the ingestion of Neu5Gc alone would be primarily responsible for any specific disease, “it is conceivable that gradual Neu5Gc incorporation into the cells of the body over a lifetime, with subsequent binding of the circulating antibodies against Neu5Gc (the immune response), could contribute to the inflammatory processes involved in various diseases.”
Some other posts worth taking a look at:

Organic: May the Farm be with You

Organic food, it’s a smart move according to Dr. Fuhrman. Remember this post, Is Organic Food Safer? In it Dr. Fuhrman explains that eating organic produce is the best way to ensure you limit your exposure to toxic chemicals. Don’t believe me? Here’s more from the post:
Organic food is certainly your best bet, to further limit exposure to toxic chemicals. No one knows for sure how much risk exists from pesticide residue on produce, but here's what we do know: the younger you are, the more your cells are susceptible to damage from toxins. It seems wise to feed our young children organic food whenever possible.
But, what Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t tell us, is that a war is being waged. The organic rebellion versus the dark side of the farm, who will you stand with? Quick jump on board the Millennium Scallion, Princess Lettuce and Chew-Broccoli need your help! Take a look:

The farm is strong with you.

Depression: Getting Tweaked

As someone who struggles with clinical depression, I feel for Head Nurse. In this post she talks about coming to grips with her depression and the drawbacks of mood medication. Read on:
Y'know, the hardest thing to deal with when you're a freshly-diagnosed or freshly-re-medicated depressive is this: You will have to do this for The Rest Of Your Life. Santa ain't gonna put normal brain chemistry into your stocking some Christmas. We are all stuck with the brains we have; some require more tweaking than others, and it's the thought of tweaking at intervals until I'm dead that daunts me.

But tweaking is better than depressed. Depressed is boring as hell; tweaking at least is interesting.

Side effects suck, too. I mean, I'm 40 pounds heavier than when I started this whole shebang; just tapering from 150 to 137.5 mg of Effexor showed me that the antidepressant is mostly to blame. My appetite is gone.
Stories like this make me proud of my decision to combat my depression with healthy diet, exercise, and therapy—no drugs for me. Not a bad idea when you consider Tuesday’s post about antidepressants and bone breaks.

Since depression is a popular topic, here are all of Followhealthlife’s posts on the subject:

Your Child is Obese

More proof that the global obesity epidemic is on everybody’s mind. Reuters reports that primary schools in the United Kingdom should starting informing parents if their children are overweight. What’s worse? Being chubby or getting a D in chemistry. While you mull that over, check out the report:
Information on four and 11-year-olds has already been gathered as part of the department's weighing and measuring program begun last summer…

… The committee called for a multi-pronged approach to tackling obesity, which would include the government departments of Health, Education and Skills, and Culture, Media and Sport.

Families would be persuaded to change their behavior and encouraged to adopt healthy eating and to take up sports and activities.

Carnegie Mellon University wants to Ban Smoking

It’s been a while since I blogged about smoking, but I’m pretty sure it’s still bad for you. Well it looks like Carnegie Mellon may give smoking a kick in the butt—now that was a dumb pun! Yup, CMU is looking to totally ban smoking from their campus, indoors and outdoors. Bill Schackner of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports:
A campus task force is recommending that smoking be banned indoors and out across the 10,000-student campus by 2010 and that sale of tobacco products and placement of tobacco-related ads in school publications be prohibited.

The idea is in its early stages of discussion and already is sparking a range of reactions. If adopted, the new policy would go well beyond those of the city's other major universities and would put Carnegie Mellon among several dozen campuses nationwide that have enacted complete bans.

Stressed to Eat

A vegetable-based diet is a big part of my life, in fact, for dinner last night I had beets, spaghetti squash, and a mound of broccoli rabe. Not too shabby, right? But, I must admit I do have my dietary hangouts—most take place when I’m stressed. After all, my ultimate vice? Food! Take my sushi folly for example:
I just had sushi for lunch—and now I’m annoyed with myself! Looks like no more fish for me this month, and there goes my day off from the gym this week. Me and my bright ideas, next time I get another bright idea I’ll try keeping this quote from Homer Simpson in mind, “Shut up, Brain, or I'll stab you with a Q-tip!”
When it comes to food, stress can bring out the worst in me. Come on, I know I’m not alone on this one. How many of you have perpetrated a stress-related dietary detour? Be it sushi, chocolate, salty snacks, or—heaven forbid—worse. Well, according to Sally Squires of The Washington Post stress eating is a major problem in this country, and, it has some experts perplexed:
For others, working long hours is the trigger. "I'm a junior in college and often find myself craving salty snacks when I'm stressed and working late into the night," a Lean Plate Club member in Annapolis noted in a recent e-mail…

…"Fight-or-flight is the normal response to stress," notes Tatjana van Strien, professor of psychology at Radboud University in the Netherlands. "All the blood goes to the muscles so that you're ready for action and not for eating…So stress eating is highly unadaptive and highly strange." What's more, when people are under great stress, such as the death of a family member, they tend not to eat.
Now, even though I’m guilty of occasional stress eating and cheating, I still think all this could just be another byproduct of toxic hunger; as described by Dr. Fuhrman. Check out this excerpt from Eat to Live and let me know if you feel the same way:
It is our unhealthy tendency to eat without experiencing true hunger that contributed to our becoming overweight to begin with. In other words, to have become overweight in the first place, appetite, food cravings, and other addictive drives that induce eating have come into play. Poor nutrition induces these cravings (addictive drives), and nutritional excellence helps normalize or remove them.
Dr. Fuhrman explores the stress-hunger-obesity connection further in "Stress Hunger"--The Cause Of Obesity. Here’s some of it:
Most people never experience the healthy sensation of feeling hungry. In fact, most people desire to avoid feeling hungry. I think feeling hunger is good to experience periodically. Hunger is important to aid in our enjoyment of food and get the precise signals from our body to know the amount of calories we need to maintain our lean body mass. When we eat when we are hungry food tastes much better and we are physiologically primed for proper digestion. Hunger, in the true sense of the word, indicates to us that it is time to eat again.

Gridiron Gluttony

I’m a huge football fan, but according to this report, huge is the problem with football. Here’s a question. Where do mammoth NFL linemen come from? If you guessed, big kids, you’re onto something. Because a new study revealed that almost fifty-percent of linemen playing on Iowa high school teams qualify as overweight. Todd Dvorak of the Associated Press explains:
"These are 15- and 16-year-old boys that have a weight and body-mass ... that as they enter adulthood puts many at a very adverse health condition," said Dr. Joe Eisenmann, co-author of the study and a professor in pediatric exercise physiology at Iowa State…

…For years at the pro and college level, teams have sought bigger, stronger linemen who are harder to budge. Players have responded by adding weight and muscle mass, making the 300-pound lineman fairly common, sports medical experts said.
Personally I’ll take speed and skill over size any day of the week, but the issue of bulky lineman is more than just coaching preference. According to Dr. Fuhrman, it’s about health:
Bulking up is dangerous to one's longevity and power lifters and football linebackers often eat in a way that radically shortens their lives.
That’s why things like Chicago Bear Bernard Berrian’s bacon and syrup diet should make your head explode—especially since he's a fleet-footed wide receiver! Now, if a skinny wide out eats like that, imagine what the dietary habits of players like Sam Adams, Ted Washington, Langston Walker, and Jonathan Ogden must look like. For non-football fans, they’re all NFL lineman and all well over three-hundred pounds.

Playing professional football might be a dream come true for these guys, but a long healthy life seems like the ultimate win to me. For more on the potential dangers of “bulking up” check out these previous posts:

Hungry Girl: Light Foods Heavy Lies

Now here’s something interesting from a few days ago. The “Hungry Girl” Lisa Lillien puts the screws to many “healthy” dining and snack options that comprise the standard American food lexicon. No surprises here, as it turns out a lot of it is still junk:
Arby's Market Fresh Santa Fe Salad
(1 salad without dressing: 500 calories, 23g fat, 1,231mg sodium, 41g carbs, 6g fiber, 5g sugars, 30g protein)

While we're on the subject of salads, don't let the fancy description on this fast food salad fool you. It throws around terms like "fresh" and "all-natural," but it's basically as bad as a burger. In fact, once you add in the nutritionals for the Santa Fe ranch dressing that comes served on the side, the numbers soar to 796 calories and 54 grams of fat! Yikes! That's more fat and calories than practically anything on their menu! If you've got to grab a bite at Arby's, go for their Martha's Vineyard Salad instead. That has just 276 calories and 8 grams of fat. And while none of their dressing options are really guilt-free, their Light Buttermilk Ranch is your best option (1 serving = 112 calories, 6 grams fat) -- and we recommend using just half of the more than 2-oz. serving they give you.
Who would have thought, something at Arby’s is unhealthy? Duh! But then again, we’re a nation who considers light potato chips a wise choice. Yeah, because when I see Ruffles Light Cheddar & Sour Cream Flavored Potato Chips, I think healthy—we’re doomed!

Ineffective Anti-Cancer Remedies: Exotic Tropical Fruit Juices

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

Juices and extracts of exotic fruits and vegetables such as mangosteen, gogi berries, Chinese lycium, acia, Siberian pineapple, cili, noni, guarana, and black currant are touted as wondrous super foods with a myriad of health claims. Certainly, eating exotic fruits from all over the globe can add valuable phytochemical compounds with the potential for beneficial effects. I see no reason why these fruits and their juices should not be used as part of a varied diet with a wide assortment of phytonutrients. Broadening our variety of health-supporting nutrients from exotic foods has value in building a strong immune defense against cancer.

The confusion arises when marketers claim that the juices can cure cancer or kill cancer cells on the basis of studies that show that some component in the juice or other part of the plant has been shown to kill cancer cells. Just because a concentrated chemical derived from a food can kill cancer cells in a test tube does not make that food a cure for cancer.

For example, some of the non-tasty parts of these plants have been shown to cause the death of human cancer cells in test tubes. But there have been no experiments with actual cancer patients (or patients with other diseases). It's likely that many exotic fruits are highly nutritious, but there is also the possibility that some of the touted benefits seen in scientific studies arise from the medicinal effects, which are toxic. These medicinal effects are often confused by marketers with the nutritive effects of the fruit.

If something is beneficial against cancer, then one or more of the following conditions must be met:
1. The substance must be a compound that is more toxic to cancer cells than normal cells (similar to chemotherapy, which can shrink cancerous tumors and kill rapidly growing cancer cells because these cells are more sensitive to the effects of poison than normal cells);

2. It must supply nutritive substances that increase the person's defenses against the disease, thereby curtailing the spread of cancer via immunostimulating or immunosupportive means and increasing cancer survival (typically by slowing the spread of cancer);

3. It must have hormonal blocking effects that lessen the effect of the body's endogenously produced hormones that promote the spread of cancer.
When we look at the studies presented on these natural foods, we have to attempt to differentiate between a medicinal (toxic) effect due to a noxious compound in the plant and a nutritive effect due to the phytonutrient content. Promoters of these fruits and juices tend to lump all of the studies together, trying to make their product look like a magical food that can promote wellness and also kill cancer cells. But just because the toxic part of the plant has the ability to kill cancer cells in a test tube does not mean the substance will be an effective agent against cancer.

For example, one reason why I hesitate to recommend noni juice for healthy people is because of its ability to seemingly increase one's energy and to reduce pain. For a product to have such powerful medicinal effects, it must contain natural compounds with toxic properties. As a result, it isn't wise to consume these compounds continually over a lifetime. It is too much like a drug.

Noni juice may be good as an aid for elderly people who lack energy or who regularly experience discomfort. But it is inaccurate to claim that these benefits come from the nutritive components. The drug effects come from the toxic components. Natural substances with strong medicinal effects should be avoided unless you have a medical condition that warrants this type of therapy.

Nutritional Wisdom: Feeding Kids Right

Dr. Fuhrman’s radio show Nutritional Wisdom airs live Wednesdays at 11am EST with an encore presentation Thursdays at 3pm EST on VoiceAmerica. Here’s a peek at this week’s episode:

Learning more about optimal childhood nutrition is a must if you want your child to maximize their intelligence, have better success in school, and dramatically reduce the risk of allergies and autoimmune disease. Dr. Fuhrman will share tips and recipes from his book, Disease-Proof Your Child. Also, meet with parents that have turned their family’s bad eating habits around thanks to a dose of Nutritional Wisdom.

Check out the Nutritional Wisdom category for previous episodes.

More Bad News for Bones

Well if today’s post about antidepressants and bone-loss wasn’t bad enough, check out this report by HealthDay News. Apparently a new study has found that a certain cancer medication caused bone loss and promoted tumor growth in the bones of mice. Robert Preidt reports:
G-CSF helps restore white blood cell counts after chemotherapy, which can destroy white blood cells. Low levels of white blood cells increase the risk of infection in patients.

In the study, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis gave G-CSF to mice for eight days.

They found that the mice lost bone mass. The rodents also showed increased bone tumor growth when they were injected with cancer cells.

Cholesterol Levels and Heart Attacks

Adapted from the revised version of Dr. Fuhrman's book Cholesterol Protection for Life:

There is irrefutable evidence that high cholesterol levels are associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Make no doubt about it: lowering your LDL cholesterol below 100 offers powerful protection against heart disease. The evidence is overwhelming today that heart attacks, which kill half of all Americans, are entirely preventable. Heart disease is a condition that is preventable and reversible through aggressive nutritional intervention and cholesterol-lowering.

The latest recommendation from most medical authorities and medical organizations such as the American College of Cardiology is to lower LDL cholesterol level below 100. This is in accordance with what has been observed for years in epidemiology studies. People in countries who ate a more simple plant-based diet did not have heart attacks and those populations are always found to have much lower cholesterol levels than was thought to be acceptable in the past. For instance, the average total cholesterol in rural China was 127 and the average LDL was below 80. Heart attacks in rural China were exceedingly rare. The same thing was observed in multiple interventional and population studies, such as the Harvard Health Study; those with LDL’s below 100 were not observed to have heart attacks. Medical authorities are now finally in agreement that much lower cholesterol levels are needed to be truly protective.

It would be foolish for anyone not to maintain an LDL cholesterol below 100 or total cholesterol below 150 mg/dl. Less than 10% of the adult population in America, however, actually has cholesterol levels that meet these newest recommendations, designed for more significant reduction in cardiac deaths.1

Recent medical trials reinforce the importance of maintaining LDL levels below 100 for significant protection and have led medical authorities to recommend cholesterol-lowering drugs to the vast majority of Americans.

When resorting to medical intervention, rather than dietary modifications, other problems arise, reducing the potential reduction in mortality possible, as these individuals are at risk of serious side effects from the medication. The known side effects for various statins (the most popular and effective medications to lower cholesterol) include hepatitis, jaundice, other liver problems, gastrointestinal upsets, muscle problems and a variety of blood complications such as reduced platelet levels and anemia. Continue Reading...

Antidepressants: Bones at Risk

It’s always a bit unnerving when you read stuff like this, especially since so many people in this country take antidepressants. But according to a new study, many top-selling depression medications might increase the risk of bone breaks in older people. Lindsey Tanner of the Associated Press reports:
People aged 50 and older who took antidepressants, including Zoloft, Prozac and other top-sellers, faced double the risk of broken bones during five years of follow-up, compared with those who didn't use the drugs, the study found…

…Research in animals suggests that the pills might have a direct effect on bone cells, decreasing bone strength and size, said Dr. David Goltzman, an endocrinologist at McGill University in Montreal and colleagues said.
Goltzman stresses the serious implications of these findings because millions of people take antidepressants, and, older people are already at risk for osteoporosis, a bone-weakening disease—quite the dubious double-whammy.

Now, this reminds me of all the reports from back in December linking acid suppression medication to heightened risk of hip fractures. Here's one from ScienceDaily:
Potent acid suppressive medications such as PPIs have revolutionized the management of acid-related diseases. Millions of individuals have been using these medications on a continuous or long-term basis, according to background information in the article. Some research has shown that PPI therapy may decrease insoluble calcium absorption or bone density in certain patients. These factors could increase the risk for hip fracture, which has a death rate during the first year after the fracture of 20 percent. Among those who survive this period, 1 in 5 require nursing home care and often an emergency department visit, hospitalization, surgery, and rehabilitation, with huge health care costs.
So, in case you’re worried about the potential dangers of acid medication, consider Dr. Fuhrman’s thoughts on the matter. From September 2005 edition of Healthy Times:
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.
Okay back to the issue involving antidepressants. Is there a safer way to help treat depression, one that doesn’t emphasize the popping of pills? More from Dr. Fuhrman’s Healthy Times, this time the March 2006 edition:
Nutrition and Mood Disorders
With over a million prescriptions for antidepressants being filled each week and annual sales of 11 billion dollars at stake, it is unlikely that a new protocol for depressed people will emerge in America. Money usually dictates direction in the medical/drug/insurance industry. However, the conflict and controversy over the dangers of psychotropic medications used for depression, and the recent cardiac-related deaths from Ritalin prescribed for ADHD, are calling attention to the all-too-cozy relationship between government agencies and the drug industry. The public no longer can trust the validity of drug-related information that comes from even such formerly respected sources as medical journals and universities. These institutions depend increasingly on pharmaceutical dollars (advertising and grant monies), and this has led to numerous instances of inaccurate reports that conceal evidence and promote drug use.
Treating Depression Naturally
It is clear that people are more prone to depression and other diseases when their intake of high nutrient-containing plant food is low. It also has been shown that the response to medication and other therapeutic intervention can be suboptimal when antioxidant nutritional status is inadequate.1 Whenever we measure low levels of vegetable-derived nutrients, we find depression more prevalent. For example, low folate intake and low folate blood levels have been shown to correlate with depression.2 Low folate in the bloodstream is a marker for low fruit and vegetable intake. Deficiencies of folate, vitamin B12, iron, zinc, and selenium tend to be more common among depressed than non-depressed persons.3

Natural therapies are surprisingly effective. Recent advances in non-pharmacologic treatments for depression can help people feel better—and even assist them in making total recovery—without dependence on medications. Researchers doing the studies in this field have been surprised to find that natural therapies can have very high success rates, rivaling those of drugs. Of particular interest is the fact that these non-pharmacologic treatments get results faster than drug treatments. Now is the time for all people with depression to give these safe, natural treatments a try. By combining the most promising facets of these approaches, the likelihood of improvement and recovery is greatly enhanced.
Continue Reading...

Declining Cancer Rates: A Mom's Perspective

No doubt you read one of the reports talking about the declining cancer rates in the United States, like this one from The Los Angeles TimesCancer Deaths Drop for 2nd Year. Now, is this good news? Well that depends on who you ask. The Cancer Blog has more:
This week has been kind of emotional for me. I'm not going to spend a lot of time writing about me, because I am kind of angry right now. Yesterday, as I was watching the news while getting ready for work, there was a spot that they were talking about how excited they were that deaths from cancer showed a tremendous decrease last year. I agree, it is good news - however, the only cancers they talked about and showed the figures for were ADULT cancers (breast cancer, colon cancer, prostrate cancer, etc). Where are the numbers on childhood cancers? And - until the number is 0, I see no reason to get really excited.

Healthy Soup and a Salad

Russian Corn Salad
5 ears of corn, steamed and cut off the cob
1 can black beans
3 red peppers
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 scallions
1 peeled orange
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 tsp. Mrs. Dash
1 pinch chili powder
2 Tbsp. spicy pecan vinegar
10 raw pecan halves, chopped
Roast peppers at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then chop in small pieces. Blend the orange, tomatoes, scallions, garlic, Mrs. Dash, chili powder, and vinegar to make the dressing. Toss the corn, beans, pepper, celery, and pecans with the dressing.

Tomato Leek Greens Soup
20 oz. tomato juice, freshly squeezed
10 oz. celery juice
15 oz. water
1/2 cup lentils
1/2 cup adzuki beans
3 onions, diced
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in water and then diced
4 plum tomatoes, diced
3 stalks leeks, stripped lengthwise and washed
3 zucchinis
3 parsnips, peeled and diced
4 large collard leaves
8 leaves (one head) bok choy
1/4 cup fresh chopped dill
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 fresh basil leaves
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. Mrs. Dash or other vegetable seasoning
Cook all ingredients on a very low flame in a large covered pot. Remove the leeks, zucchini, collards, and bok choy when soft and place in a blender or food processor. Ladle in a little of the soup liquid, purée, and pour the entire mixture back into the soup. Continue cooking until the beans are soft, for about 2 hours. (The basic recipe can be made with any types of greens and beans.)

Toxins: Heavy Metals and Your Home

Toxins are a constantly reoccurring topic on Followhealthlife. Not all that surprising, considering the increasingly synthetic world we live in. But as HealthDay News reports, sometimes dangerous heavy metals can lurk in not-so obvious places. Robert Preidt explains:
Potential household sources of lead include: old painted surfaces; tableware such as leaded crystal, pewter and some glazed pottery; fumes when soldering stained glass projects; and pottery glazes with white or yellow finishes. Dietary supplements, especially those from China, can also be a source of lead exposure. And some jewelry from China may be made from lead.

Certain kinds of fish or shellfish may contain high levels of mercury, including shark, swordfish, tuna, pike, walleye, bass, and Atlantic salmon. While concerns have been raised about mercury in dental fillings, no firm link has been established between metal dental fillings and changes in the central nervous system, the article said.
Like I said, this is an all-too-familiar issue for Followhealthlife. Take a look at these earlier posts and you’ll see what I mean:

It's a Bird, It's a Plane...

It’s Captain Vegetable! Hailing from his secret garden somewhere in New Jersey, Captain Vegetable teaches little Andy and Eddie the importance of eating crunchy veggies—by the bunch! Behold his awesome power:

Crunch, crunch, crunch!

The Problem with Weight Watchers and other Calorie Counting Diets

From the library of DrFuhrman.com:

Weight Watchers and other similar diet plans have dismal failure rates. To appeal to the mainstream, who presently are eating a diet predominating in “fake” low-nutrient processed foods, they must perpetuate the same nutritional mistakes that lead people down the path to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

The leading cause of death in the modern world today is heart disease. Most people consume a diet rich in processed foods and high saturated fat animal products that guarantees them a future destiny with heart disease. It is this same style of eating that fuels the obesity epidemic. To end these unnecessary tragedies, to get real results in the weight-loss arena and to save lives, we need to eat much differently.

When you support the status quo and attempt to motivate people to consume smaller portions of disease causing foods, you give people all the same addictive foods that caused them to become overweight to begin with. Unhealthy food is addicting. When your diet is still centered on disease causing foods, you will always feel ill and have addictive food cravings. Unless your body is flooded with all the nutrients it needs, you will simply crave more food than you need, and it will be almost impossible to achieve and maintain an ideal weight.

Diets such as this fail over 90 percent of the time simply because they are structured around dangerous foods and do not ensure adequate nutrient intake. Studies performed on subjects undergoing the Weight Watchers program have shown that after 6 months the average weight loss was less than 5 pounds.1

In comparison, a group of 100 overweight people following my Eat to Live approach, who were tracked for two years, showed a weight loss of 49 pounds after their two year follow-up. The reason my approach is so successful is that it is not merely a weight-loss diet. It encourages you to eat large amounts of vegetables, beans and fruits, the most powerful anti-cancer foods on the planet. Food is rated, not by calories but by nutrient levels to encourage recipes and menus that make you disease-resistant. You learn how delicious healthy eating can be, but as a result by eating more healthy food, you can lose the cravings and temptations to eat greasy, sugary and unhealthy food. When you are so filled up with nutrient, fiber and volume, you simply lose your “toxic” hunger and food cravings.

With calorie-counting and point-counting and having to weigh, measure, and calculate amounts eaten, you are following a diet. Who wants to diet and measure portions forever? I enjoy eating. I eat the way I advise all my patients to do, yet I am not overweight. Why? I enjoy eating lots of great tasting stuff and not having to worry about my weight or my health. Intellectually, I know that I am doing the right thing to prevent heart disease and other medical problems from developing in my future. Dieting and measuring out thimble-sized portions of food for the rest of one's life is not something that fits in naturally and permanently into anyone's lifestyle. Besides, anything you do temporarily gives only temporary benefit.

A key (and always overlooked) element in my Eat to Live approach is understanding “toxic hunger.” Most people feel abdominal spasm, stomach discomfort, headaches, and weakness driving them to eat for relief. They do not recognize these symptoms as withdrawal symptoms from their nutritionally inadequate diet. When one eats a high-nutrient diet these symptoms of toxicity melt away, and you are put back in touch with true hunger, that mouth and throat sensation that makes even simple food taste great. True hunger leads you to the precise amount of calories that you need to maintain your ideal weight, no more and no less. When you achieve this, you no longer have to try to figure out how much is the right amount to eat; you eat as much as you desire. It is the secret to maintaining your long-term weight control.

Weight Watchers does some sensible things, like encouraging exercise and the consumption of healthier food choices such as fruits and vegetables. However, it is essentially a calorie counting diet with group support which then lets you eat anything you desire. Instead of counting calories, they have counted them for you and grouped foods by points. You look up the point value of all foods, and they tell you how much of it that you are allowed to eat and how many points a day that you can consume.

Consider these typical Weight Watcher's solutions: “Love strong-flavored crunch? Try some ranch flavored chips or cheddar “Goldfish” crackers. Want something chocolaty? Enjoy a small piece of very rich chocolate or a small fudgy brownie. Need a longer-lasting sweet? Opt for butterscotch hard candies or a chocolate lollipop.” This is the solution for you if you are willing to sacrifice your health, maintain your food addictions, and stay a dieter struggling with weight and health issues the rest of your life.

Restricting portions is an obsolete approach with a dismal tract record. When you restrict calories you wind up having to eat such tiny portions in order to lose weight. It doesn't satisfy our desire to eat; it leaves us unsatisfied, hungry and suffering. Our food cravings continue, and we live frustrated, trying to follow a diet. Try to breathe less air for a few minutes. Soon, you will be gasping for air. Likewise, diets that can't be maintained naturally forever don't usually work. People lose and then gain, yo-yoing their weight, which is not healthful.

Rethink this dieting philosophy, and you can lose a spectacular amount of weight in the process. My patients lose an average of 15 pounds the first month, and then about 8 – 10 pounds a month thereafter. But even more dramatic is you can gain the health advantages, radically dropping cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar as you lose the weight. The results are impressive and lasting when you choose to Eat to Live.

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More Kids Ditching Junk Food

Well, I guess pigs learned how to fly. Because according to the Associated Press more and more students are getting hip to healthy eating, and shunning traditional junk food like fries and hamburgers for carrots and apples. Janet Frankston Lorin has more:
As choices on the lunch line change, many children are accepting them, said Martha Conklin, an associate professor at Penn State University who conducts research about school nutrition programs and school food service.

"If you present these healthy offerings to children, they may turn them down the first time, but you can't give up," she said. "Children will adapt. Choice is important, but they can make those selections from healthy offerings."
Pretty encouraging news, but you know the meat-pie-pushing mamas would have a problem with it.

Get Some Veggie Calcium

From the March 2005 edition of Healthy Times, here is Dr. Fuhrman’s list of the most healthful sources of calcium based on their calorie-to calcium ratios:
Calcium Content Per Calorie
Milligrams (mg)
 Bok choy, cooked
 Turnip greens, cooked  6.9
 Mustard greens, cooked
 Collard greens, cooked
 Romaine lettuce, raw
 Kale, cooked
 Sesame seeds, raw
 Broccoli, cooked
 Tofu, raw firm
 Green beans, cooked
 Soy beans, cooked
 Almond butter, raw  0.4

*Based on U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

For more on veggie-nutrient density, check out these previous posts:

UroStream the Foodie

UroStream shares her thoughts on food, and how Americans differ from Asians and Europeans when it comes to eating:
I'm spoiled in that my husband is an excellent cook and we strive to go to the market daily to pick out fresh organic produce. It's something that the Asians and Europeans are used to doing, but Americans are not. We are used to the convenience of a mega-supermarket and we are so much more "removed" from our food source than other cultures. It is slowly changing, with more farmers markets cropping up because of increasing awareness from consumers demanding fresher produce, but we are far from anything resembling the other countries.

The New Carnival of the Recipes is Up!

Diabetic Recipes hosts this week's carnival of recipes. Be sure to check out Dr. Fuhrman’s submission Feel Good Snacks. *Don't forget, not all recipes in the carnival are Fuhrman-friendly.

Eating to Live on the Outside: Panera Bread

Yeah, we’ve got a toughie on our hands this week. In case you’ve never heard of Panera Bread—and the name didn’t tip you off—this place is very bread-centered. In fact, there’s more dough on this menu than in an entire mafia money-laundering operation—not that there’s such a thing as “The Mafia.” Hopefully we don’t end up sleeping with the fishes with this one. Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s make like Sonny Corleone and hit it.

Now if you view the PDF version of the online menu you can pretty much ignore the first page. Unless of course, you think Artisan Bread, Four Cheese Egg Souffles, Brownies, and Caramel Lattes are Fuhrman-friendly. You don’t, right? Good, lets move on. So what does the second page have to offer? Well as far as Eat to Livers go, not much. There are a few things, but they all come with concessions and could certainly use some alterations. And even then, I’m not exactly confident about them, but, I’ll solider on.

Okay, let’s start with the Signature Sandwiches, more specifically the Tuscan Chicken Sandwich. And yes, right away we’ve encountered a major concession—sandwich bread! If this is too much for you, please look away. Aside from this refined grain concession, there are two other concessions to consider. First you’ve got the chicken. Now I admit. I don’t like ordering chicken at restaurants anymore. It always comes out looking like a piece of white rubber with black griddle marks on it—not exactly yummy. The other concession is the garlic aioli, which means garlic and oil. The garlic is great, but oil isn’t exactly health food. So if you were to order this sandwich, and even though it does come with field greens, tomatoes, and red onions, you’d still be embarking on a serious deviation from your Eat to Live lifestyle. But then again, it’s a heck of a lot better than the PepperBlue Steak, Bacon Turkey Bravo, and Asiago Roast Beef sandwiches. I told you this place was tough.

Personally, I think the Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich is a safer option. It’s prepared with feta cheese, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cilantro hummus, and Peppadew piquant peppers. Just like the Tuscan Chicken Sandwich you’ve got to deal with the bread, but if you throw the feta cheese out the window, than the bread is you’re only concession. After that, stay focused on the veggies and all their phytonutrient goodness.

Alright, if the bread is bumming you out—it’s bumming me out—what about a soup or salad? Well as far as soups goes, you’ve got one option. I’d go with the Low-Fat Vegetarian Garden Vegetable. Who knows exactly what’s in it, it doesn’t say. My guess, it’s probably pretty run-of-the-mill; carrots, peas, onions, celery, potatoes, and, it’s loaded with salt! Again, Panera Bread requires a lot of concessions. I’d order this soup, but I’d definitely be mindful of the salt content. Although, not like being mindful of it will lessen its impact. Might not be a bad idea to check out the nutrition facts for all the food.

But honestly, if I really found myself at Panera Bread, I would just go straight for the salads—better to be safe than sorry. And at least with the salads, I’d have some options. Here’s what I mean. Every salad on the menu has potential, most require ditching something like cheese, chicken, or wonton strips, but overall, there’re plenty of veggies in them to quell my worries. Take the Fandango Salad for example. It’s prepared with field greens, romaine lettuce, walnuts, Gorgonazola, Mandarian orange slices, and fat-free raspberry dressing. Obviously I’m dropping the Gorgonazola and going easy on the fat-free dressing. So, if I do that, I don’t exactly end up with a terrible meal. Same pretty much goes for the rest of the salads, like the Asian Sesame Chicken and the Greek Salad. The Classic Café Salad and the Fresh Fruit Cup appear to be the only ones that I’d order alteration-free. What do you think?

So, do you agree? Panera Bread, not so easy? I look forward to your reactions on this one. Check out Panera Bread’s menu and let us know how Eat to Live on the Outside? Leave a comment or email us at diseaseproof@gmail.com.

Trans Fat Free Brings New Problems

Who would have thought? Franken-snacks might be problematic. New research has determined that replacing unhealthy trans fats by modifying fat in commercial products can raise blood glucose and depress insulin in humans. The Diabetes Blog is on it:
The study demonstrates the process of rearranging molecules in the fat adversely affect human metabolism of fats and glucose. The metabolism of unmodified natural saturated fat is healthier, in comparison. The trans fats are replaced with interesterified fat, which is a modified fat that includes hydrogenation followed by rearrangement of fat molecules by the process called interesterification. The rearranged fats are then enriched with saturated stearic acid. Experts on human lipid metabolism noted this study shows the specific location of individual fatty acids, particularly saturated fatty acids, seems to make a difference on fat and glucose metabolism.
Maybe it’d just be easier to avoid most commercial products altogether.

Dr. Fuhrman on YouTube

Okay, so if you haven’t noticed, I’ve been on a bit of a YouTube kick lately. I give you exhibit A: Do Cows Drink Soy Milk? And, exhibit B: Why I Don't Eat Lamb. Dr. Fuhrman noticed my new found obsession and asked me to search his name on YouTube. Sure enough, he’s on there. Here’s what I turned up:

Nutrient Density is the Key to Good Health

What's the Healthiest Diet?

Nutrient-Dense Pizza?

Go ahead. Finish your double-take. Then quietly mouth the phrase, “What the?” Don’t worry, I had the same reaction, and so did Diet-Blog. Apparently both Glamour magazine and Men's Health recommend Domino's Pizza as “health food”. Diet-Blog isn't buying it:
Domino's list the following "facts" about their pizza:
  • Pizza is essentially a meal in itself, as you can find foods from the four basic food groups in one slice.
  • A crunchy thin crust Domino's pizza contains less than half the carbohydrates of Domino's classic hand-tossed pizza.
  • None of the core products on Domino's menu (pizza, bread side items, chicken) contain trans fats.
  • Customers seeking a healthier pizza have the option of ordering their pizza with a lighter portion of cheese.
  • The tomatoes in pizza sauce contain lycopene, which helps protect against prostate cancer. Tomatoes are also an excellent source of vitamins A and C.
I had to laugh at the first "fact" - it reads like a joke.

Burning Calories

Have you ever been exercising or doing some yard work and you say to yourself, “I wonder how many calories I just burned?” That’s a tough one to figure out. Sure, most treadmills have a calorie-counter, but pulling weeds is harder to gauge. So hopefully this chart from the January 2003 edition of Dr. Fuhrman’s Healthy Times will help give you a better idea:

Report: Ear Tubes Hit or Miss

Now I had ear tubes, I don’t really know why? I was little at the time and don’t remember much about it. According to my mother I used to get a lot of ear infections and my doctor at the time thought it was the best course of action. And back then it didn’t seem that usual because almost all my classmates were getting them. It was kind of like a first grade rite of passage.

Of course I’m older now and regularly exposed to alternative points of view; most notably Dr. Fuhrman’s. So to say the least, I wish my parents hadn’t fed me milk—especially since I later found out that I’m very lactose intolerant. Maybe if they skipped the milk I might have avoided some of those ear infections that led to my tubing. Disease-Proof Your Child has more on this:
Ear infection, or otitis media is the most common medical problem for children in the United States, and it is the most common reason for prescribing antibiotics for infants and children. Not only do nine out of ten children develop at least one ear infection each year, but almost one-third of these children develop chronic congestion with fluid in the middle ear that can lead to hearing loss and make the child a candidate for myringotomy, or tube placement by a specialist.

Babies who drink from a bottle while lying on their backs may get milk and juice into their eustachian tubes, which increases the occurrence of ear infections. Children who are breast-fed for at least a year have been shown to have much fewer infections than those weaned earlier.1
So as you can imagine, this next report compelled me. According to Reuters a new study found that children who didn’t receive tubes suffered no additional developmental difficulties than children who underwent the tubing procedure. Gene Emery reports:
But a new long-term study challenges that practice, saying it does nothing to help most youngsters with fluid-filled ears develop normally.

In a study to be published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday, researchers from several institutions studied hundreds of otherwise-healthy children up to 11 years old in the Pittsburgh area. They tested the benefits of a procedure that once was the second-most common surgery in the United States and found none.

Even when it doesn't cause pain, an ear infection can cause fluid to build in the middle ear, muffling hearing. Because hearing is essential to speech development, doctors and parents worried that persistent middle ear infections could cause developmental problems.
Now, since I’ve grown up to become the kind of person who doesn’t like going to the doctor, popping pills, or undergoing medical procedures, news reports like this make me curious. Was there a better way? Did I really need tubes? Maybe if my parents paid better attention to my nutrition I could have avoided the whole thing. Just makes me wonder, you know what I mean?

For more on tubing and ear infections, check out these previous posts:
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Know Your Winter Squash

Well, its winter. What better time to learn more about winter squash. And Vegan Grandma provides all the background you’ll need. Its worth a read, you certainly won’t be gourd—oops, I mean bored. Take a look:
Squash are the fruits of various members of the gourd family, which fall into two classifications, summer squash (such as zucchini, crooknecked squash, pattypan squash) and winter squash (such as acorn squash, pumpkin, butternut squash, and hubbard squash).

Squash got its name from the Native American, Narragansets, who called summer squash "askatasquash", meaning "to eat raw or green". This name works for summer squash, but winter squash must be cooked.

Winter squash come later in the growing season than do summer squash. Summer squash are more perishable than winter squash because summer squash have a high water content. Unlike summer squash, winter squash can be kept for several months, if kept in a cool dry place.

Osteoarthritis: High Nutrient Supply

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

High cholesterol levels and other blood markers of heightened cardiovascular risk are a documented risk factor for both knee and generalized osteoarthritis.1 It is not difficult to understand why osteoarthritis is related to meat and cheese consumption, since sufferers of both conditions are more likely to have high cholesterol and high triglyceride levels. These are typical signs of a diet that promotes atherosclerosis, impaired circulation, and subsequent cartilage compromise.2

Populations with lower rates of heart disease, such as the Chinese, correspondingly have lower rates of osteoarthritis in the same age bracket. The elderly in Beijing, China were found to have 80-90 percent less osteoarthritis than elderly Americans.3 Radiographic signs of arthritis in the age range of 60-89 were found in only about one percent in the Chinese portion of the study, and the percentage did not increase with age.

Cardiac risk factors also are risk factors for arthritis, but there is more to the story. Marginal nutrient intake also can interfere with the chondrocytes’ ability to make structurally strong cartilage. Contrary to the view held for many years, in osteoarthritis the cartilage does not passively erode away; in fact, the body works hard to protect itself. In the early years when the joints are stressed by improper nutrition, the body increases the production of cartilage in an attempt to compensate. The production of cartilage matrix has been observed to increase as much as six times the normal amount in the beginning phase of osteoarthritis.

The problem lies in the production of poor quality cartilage. Without optimal nutrition, DNA synthesis goes on, but does not perform singing the best tune. As time goes on and the disease advances, the chondrocytes start to die and collagen synthesis falls.

Mounting research has pointed to the fact that a high intake of carotenoids, particularly lutein and beta-cryptoxanthin, found in colorful vegetables, is necessary for high-quality cartilage.4 Studies also have shown that low levels of boron, selenium, glutathione, and sulfur are related to osteoarthritis incidence and exacerbation.5 The good news is that if osteoarthritis is caught early—before much loss of cartilage and death of chondrocytes—and nutritional excellence is initiated, most of the damage still can be reversible.

Fish oil supplements, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), glucosamine, and chondroitin have been shown to be helpful in retarding the advancement and reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis.6 Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and DHA have anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce joint inflammation, and glucosamine and chondroitin can supply nutrients needed for cartilage synthesis. Keep in mind, however, that just as with other diseases, supplements alone are not all that is necessary for optimal results. However helpful supplements may be, without the adoption of a superior diet containing the full concert of healthful phytochemicals and antioxidants that results in low cholesterol, one cannot expect maximum healing and maximum protection against OA. Once excellent nutrition is instituted, the body adequately produces its own cartilage precursors, and supplements have little effect.

Here’s more on osteoarthritis:
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California Cold Hurts Citrus Crops

So, to say the least, the weather has been a little screwy lately. The midwest is being pounded by record snowfall and the northeast is reporting record warming—what the heck? This can’t be good, right? Well in this case, no. According to Olivia Munoz of the Associated Press the icy weather in California is wreaking havoc on citrus crops. And avocados too—NO! Here’s more:
Growers say more than 70 percent of this season's oranges, lemons and tangerines were still on the trees as nighttime temperatures in California's Central Valley dipped into the low 20s and teens beginning Friday. The fruit is threatened whenever the mercury falls below 28 degrees.

"Limited amounts were harvested before the freeze, so it's not like the markets are going to dry up suddenly," said Claire Smith, a spokeswoman for Sunkist Growers Inc., a Los Angeles-based cooperative owned by some 6,000 growers in California and Arizona.

Still, the diminished supply is bound to drive up prices, Smith said. Sunkist may import oranges and other fruit from South Africa and other countries.

Tomato-Broccoli Power!

Like tomatoes? What about broccoli? Ever eat them together? Well if you have, you’re doing your prostate a service. Because according to a new study eating broccoli and tomatoes together is more effective at protecting against prostate cancer than consuming them separately. Don’t believe me? Robert Preidt of HealthDay News explains:
University of Illinois researchers fed a diet containing 10 percent broccoli powder and 10 percent tomato powder to a group of rats that had been implanted with prostate cancer cells. Other groups of rats received either tomato powder or broccoli powder alone; a supplemental dose of lycopene (the red pigment in tomatoes believed to be an anti-cancer agent); or finasteride, a drug prescribed for men with enlarged prostates. Another group of rats was castrated.

After 22 weeks, the researchers found that the combined tomato/broccoli diet was the most effective at prostate tumor reduction. Of the other treatments, castration was the only one that came close to being as effective.
Now I don’t know about you, but I’ll happily choose tomatoes and broccoli over wearing a cone around my head for two weeks. Ouch! Okay, so the power of tomatoes and broccoli shouldn’t surprise you. After all they’re both in Dr. Fuhrman’s Fab Five:
Greens: Make steamed greens with a cashew butter cream sauce. Kids love it. We blend raw cashews and a few dried onion flakes with some soy milk and make a great sauce for chopped kale or broccoli.

Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a wonderful food in their own class. Whether you consider them a fruit or vegetable, it matters not. Slice them into pita pocket sandwiches. Mash some almond butter with a fork into some tomato sauce to add to the vegetable-tomato-sprout avocado pita pocket. What a great school lunch.
And, let’s not forget Dr. Fuhrman considers tomatoes and broccoli two of the best foods for health and longevity:
Top Seven Foods for Good Health and Longevity
  • Black raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Flax Seeds
  • Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli sprouts
Oh man, all this talk about tomatoes and broccoli has made me hungry. How about you? Check out this Italian-inspired creation from Disease-Proof Your Child, it certainly packs a tomato-broccoli punch:
Vegetable Lasagna

1 pound firm tofu
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup sesame tahini
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 cups diced carrots
1 medium zucchini
1 medium yellow squash
1 bunch of broccoli, chopped
1 cup unsalted tomato sauce
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 cup chopped scallions
1 package whole-wheat lasagna noodles, boiled per package instructions
1 cup shredded soy cheese.

Blend the tofu, lemon juice, tahini, shredded coconut, nutritional yeast, and parsley in a good processor and put aside. Blend all the vegetables with the tomato sauce and the oregano, Italian seasoning, and scallions to make a thick veggie paste. Place a small amount of sauce in the bottom of a large casserole pan. Make layers of cooked lasagna noodles by spreading tofu mixture on top of the noodles, then another layer of noodles, and then the veggie mix. Put the last layer of noodles on top, sprinkle the shredded soy cheese on the top, cover the top of the dish, and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serves 4.
And for more on broccoli’s anti-cancer prowess, take a look at this Georgetown University Medical Center press release from last year:
Although the health benefits of eating your vegetables—especially cruciferous ones, such as broccoli—aren’t particularly new, this study is one of the first to provide a molecular explanation as to how eating vegetables could cut a person’s risk of developing cancer, an association that some population studies have found, says the study’s senior author, Eliot M. Rosen, MD, PhD, professor of oncology, cell biology, and radiation medicine at Georgetown’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Why I Don't Eat Lamb

And after seeing this movie trailer, I think I need to seriously consider ruling out wool too. Be prepared, the Black Sheep are coming. Now if bad low-budget horror films from New Zealand make you squeamish, you might want to exercise caution when viewing. Baa!

Now, last time I checked fruits and veggies don’t attack people, unless of course you count the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.

The Washington Post on Multivitamins

I’m sure we all know lots of people who pop vitamins like Tic Tacs. Personally, I’m not much of a vitamin guy. Lots of fruits and vegetables suit me just fine. But in case you’ve got questions about vitamins, Sally Squires of The Washington Post provides this investigation:
"If you're taking a multivitamin, there's no reason to stop," notes Paul Coates, director of the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. "But if you're not taking a multivitamin, there's also no reason to start taking one, either…"

… And it's just one measure of the many complexities of scientific debate concerning multivitamins and minerals. "Most people assume that the ingredients in multivitamin supplements are safe," the panel concluded in its report. "There is evidence, however, that certain ingredients in multivitamin supplements can produce adverse effects."
I’ve heard this kind of talk before. Check out this report by Reuters back in May:
Many people may assume that because vitamins and minerals are vital for health, that more is better. But some are toxic at high levels, including vitamin A and iron, and others are simply excreted in the urine.

Osteoarthritis: Joint degeneration

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

Currently, the pathogenesis of OA is explained by various contributing factors that adversely affect cartilage cells. In simple terms, the chondrocytes (cells that produce cartilage) become stressed, overworked, injured, and eventually die. This destruction of the chondrocytes makes it impossible for your body to keep up with the production of high-quality collagen needed for normal wear and tear. As the cartilage erodes, the joint becomes inflamed, and lytic (caustic) enzymes can further degrade the cartilage matrix. As cartilage wears away on the ends of the bones and cushioning is lost, the intensity of pain may increase. Pain may become quite severe if the cartilage has completely deteriorated.

Surprisingly, physical inactivity can be more harmful to the joints than overuse. Joint activity signals for the delivery of nutrients to the joints. A lack of exercise or varied movement can weaken the muscles that support the joints, and an underused joint may become stiff, painful, dysfunctional, and prone to injury and osteoarthritis.

Joints, because of their somewhat unusual blood supply, are extremely sensitive to negative nutritional influences compared with other parts of the body. When we abuse our body with poor nutrition, we not only raise our blood pres sure and increase our risk of heart attack and stroke, but we also damage our joints. In fact, OA and degenerative bone disease of the spine could be early warning signs of heart disease in years to come.

The reason why joints have an increased susceptibility to damage from dietary folly is because of their indirect blood supply. Instead of direct oxygenation and nourishment from being bathed in blood (such as with muscles and organs), cartilage is nourished from the fluid in the joint capsule. Oxygen comes from tiny capillaries that surround the joint capsule and diffuses across the joint capsule membrane and into the joint fluid. With normal microcirculation and good nutrition, plenty of oxygen and nutrients bathe the cartilaginous surface of the joints.

This intricate and fragile system can be vulnerable to nutritional stresses. The nourishment to the cartilaginous surface of the joint can be curtailed even by the smallest impediment to normal blood flow. When atherosclerosis is present, the delivery system can be easily disrupted by as simple a thing as eating a high-fat meal. Even the earlier stages of atherosclerosis can impede oxygen delivery to the joint, revealing itself in joint problems that occur decades before the heart problem is diagnosed.

When you eat a piece of high-fat food—such as cheese pizza, bacon, or steak—the saturated fats thicken the blood and make the red blood cells sticky. This clumping together of red blood cells makes them too large to enter the small capillaries that surround and nourish the joint capsules. Atherosclerotic deposits thicken the walls and narrow the vascular bed, further impeding delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the joint area where most cartilage and bone remodeling takes place. Defective remodeling then occurs, with gradual destruction of the joint.

Here’s more on osteoarthritis:

Feel Good Snacks

Avocadole Guacamole
2 avocados
2 tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons onion flakes
1/2 cup currents or raisins
1 tablespoon coriander leaves
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon date sugar
In a quality blender or food processor, blend all ingredients until smooth. Serve as a dip for vegetables or toasted pita, or serve over brown rice or cut-up baked or steamed potato chunks. Serves 4-6.

Healthy Potato Fries

6 white potatoes, scalloped or cut into strips
2 cups apple juice
Olive oil in spray bottle
Mix the potatoes well with the apple juice and let sit for 5 minutes. Toss again and pour off the juice, leaving the wet slices of potato. Spray a light coating of olive oil on a nonstick baking tray and spread out the potatoes. Add a few more sprays of the oil over the top of the potatoes and bake in the oven at 325 degrees for 15 minutes on one side and 7 minutes on the other. Serves 3-4.

Whipped Cream and Strawberries
1 1/3 cups of macadamia nuts
1 cup soy milk
2/3 cup dates
Blend nuts, soy milk, and dates to make the best-tasting whipped cream. Eat with fresh or frozen strawberries (defrosted). A variation on this theme is to soak dried mangoes in the soy milk overnight and use fewer dates.

Nutritional Wisdom: "Nutrition Beats Drugs for High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol"

Dr. Fuhrman’s radio show Nutritional Wisdom airs live Wednesdays at 11am EST with an encore presentation Thursdays at 3pm EST on VoiceAmerica. Here’s a peek at this week’s episode:

For everyone who wants to know how to protect themselves against heart disease and strokes without the use of drugs or surgery, this is the show for you! Listen in and you may be able to throw away your medications.

Check out the Nutritional Wisdom category for previous episodes.


The New York Times on DHA

Personally, when I think Dr. Fuhrman, I think DHA. You’ve heard of it right? Docosahexaenoic acid. A very important nutrient according to Dr. Fuhrman, but one that most people’s diets are extremely deficient in—not good when you consider the consequences. From Disease-Proof Your Child:
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a long-chain omega-3 fatty acid. About half of the brain and eyes are made up of fat, much of which is DHA, which is an essential nutrient for optimal brain and eye function.1 Children’s diets today are notoriously low in the beneficial omega-3 fats found in foods such as walnuts, flax seeds, soybeans, leafy greens, and certain fish.

Deficiency in DHA fatty acids has been linked to:
  • Impulsiveness
  • Aggressiveness
  • Dyslexia
  • Depression
  • Reduced intelligence
  • Sleep problems
  • Temper tantrums
  • Alcoholism
  • Schizophrenia
  • Manic depression2
So given our nation’s DHA-ignorance, I was elated to read this article in The Sunday New York Times. Gary Rivlin conducts an investigation on DHA and how one bioscience corporation wants to put it in many of our foods:
Martek Biosciences, which is based here, between Baltimore and Washington, says it has made that most magical of food discoveries: an essential nutrient that can be added invisibly to the diet without any appreciable impact on taste or eating habits.

Martek has had considerable success adding an omega-3 fatty acid called docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, to infant formula. And, on paper at least, DHA also sounds like the perfect supplement for Americans, who seem to grow more obsessed with healthy eating the more poorly they eat.

If food makers would only sprinkle some DHA into everything from the milk people put in their coffee each morning to the chocolate bars they snack on at night, Martek’s scientists say, consumers would end up with healthier hearts, sharper minds and better vision.

But the country’s big food companies have not exactly embraced DHA the way that Martek executives figured they would — or should. For several years, the company has spent hundreds of millions of dollars increasing its production capacity in anticipation of a deluge of orders that have yet to materialize.
Now, remember how I told you that Dr. Fuhrman and DHA are practically synonymous? Check out what he had to say about Martek:
Martek is the company that supplies the DHA in my DHA Purity. What makes our DHA product unique is that we are the only company that packages the product in glass and keep it refrigerated. When it is made, we have it shipped to us in refrigerated trucks, right from the day of manufacture, assuring no rancidity. Other DHA supplements we have tested have had a surprisingly high rancidity stores and they taste foul if you cut open the capsule. Once these oils are packed, shipped, stored, in distribution centers and then distributed to health food stores it is no longer fresh.
For more on DHA, take a gander at these previous posts:
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Dietary Iron: Eat Your Pots

Looking for a quick and easy way to increase your iron intake? Well look no further. Just eat your cast-iron cooking pots. Sound crazy? Well, as it turns out it’s not totally without merit. Here’s how I heard about it.

A friend of mine told they were watching a television program on health and the host explained that cooking with iron cookware is a great way to give your food an iron boost. Evidently the iron leaches out of the pots and into whatever you’re cooking.

Okay, this sounds logical, but is it really a good idea? My hunch is there’s got to a better way to get sufficient iron. Unless of course your name is Michel Lotito, a French entertainer who actually consumed an entire Cessna 150—I’d hate to see the plumbing in his house.

So rather than continuing to speculate, I decided to run this by Dr. Fuhrman. Yup, you guessed it. You won’t find cast-iron pots with a cashew cream sauce turning up in his next book. Here’s what he had to say:
It is true that cast iron pots can leach their iron into the food. Many people are not aware that green vegetables are rich in iron and are a complete source of all essential amino acids, too. I would rather get my iron from greens, seeds and beans and not pots. Keep in mind, too much iron is heart disease promoting. It is not health favorable to be exposed to too much iron. For example, the extra highly absorbable type of iron in red meat (heme iron) could be an additional reason why red meat is heart disease promoting.
Alright then, what about those veggie sources of iron? Check out the Nutrient Density of Green Vegetables. You’ll see that kale, broccoli, and spinach pack quite the punch when it comes to iron:
100-Calorie Portions
  • Broccoli 3.5 mg
  • Sirloin Steak .7 mg
  • Romaine Lettuce 7.7 mg
  • Kale 5.8 mg
And as for the potential dangers of iron, in the member center Dr. Fuhrman points out that too much iron can actually be toxic:
Certain minerals are toxic and if consumed daily with even as little as 5 to 10 times the recommended daily allowances (which is found in some supplements) can have detrimental effects. These minerals with a narrow therapeutic range are primarily chromium, selenium and iron.

Beyond Oxymoron: Healthy Doughnuts

Okay, now I’ve never been a doughnut eater. Even in my pre-vegetable-based diet days I avoided fried pastries like the plague. In my humble opinion there’s nothing redeeming about doughnuts. Lots of vegetable oil, sugar, refined flour, and dairy aren’t exactly a winning combination, right?

So I was a little surprised to read that there are actually “healthy” doughnut makers out there. And what exactly constitutes a health doughnut? Well according to Curt Woodward of the Associated Press it’s a doughnut made without trans fat. Oh we’re knee deep in healthiness now:
"My feeling is that the whole trans fat issue is a calorie distraction," Marion Nestle a nutrition professor at New York University said. "You think that because it's trans-fat-free, it doesn't have any calories. And whatever the substitute is going to be, it's going to have just as many calories."

Becky Anderson, a Mighty-O regular in Seattle, said her loyalty owes in part to the store's natural recipe -- a better fit with her vegetarian diet. But she concedes that they're still doughnuts.

"I'm not saying this is good for you," Anderson said as she watched a stream of sizzling blobs of dough bob across a pool of organic palm fruit oil. "But it's definitely not as bad."
Honestly, all the palm fruit oil in the world isn’t going to change my opinion on this one. Doughnuts are junk, period.

Osteoarthritis: Understanding and Preventing our Nation's Primary Crippler

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

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a nearly universal degenerative condition, affecting both men and women as they age. OA is the most common type of arthritis, affecting more than 28 million adults in the United States.

In OA, the cartilage cushion in the joints breaks down, which eventually can cause the bones to rub together. Pain, stiffness, and sometimes the formation of bone growths, called spurs, result. OA can affect any joint, but it is most common in the hands, feet, spine, and in large, weight bearing joints such as the hips and knees. OA of the hip and knee represents the leading cause of pain and disability in adults in the U.S. OA is often referred to as the “primary crippler” of adults, and the percentage of the population with these symptoms has been increasing in recent years.1

OA also is called degenerative joint disease (DJD) or ordinary arthritis. It differs from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) as it does not involve an immune system-mediated attack on the joints as is the case with RA.

Despite its prevalence and the fact that it worsens with age, OA is not the inevitable consequence of aging. Recent scientific advances have enabled us to better understand the contributory factors that promote arthritis, dispelling the myth that joint degeneration is merely an age-related phenomenon.

Here’s more on osteoarthritis:

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Carnival of the Recipes #125

New Hampshire State of Mind hosts this week's carnival of recipes. Be sure to check out Dr. Fuhrman’s post There're Dates in My Salad Dressing! *Don't forget, not all recipes in the carnival are Fuhrman-friendly.

Can Flaxseed Oil Cause Prostate Cancer?

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

There is no need for flaxseed oil when whole ground flaxseed provides more benefits and no risk. It seems that everyone you ask about flaxseed oil and prostate cancer gives a different answer. And to be fair, this is a complex subject that I will just briefly address here.

Recent studies have suggested that flaxseed oil may contribute to increased prostate cancer risk. Fortunately, there is no need to consume flaxseed oil. The best way to get omega-3 fatty acids is to consume whole flaxseed. Plus, when you consume whole flaxseed, not only do you get the best plant source of omega-3 fatty acids, you also get the richest source of dietary lignans. Lignans are converted by bacteria in the intestinal tract to horomone-like compounds called phytoestrogens that have protective effects against hormone-related cancers such as breast and prostate cancer. In fact, consuming ground flaxseed has been shown to have beneficial properties for prevention and treatment of both breast and prostate cancer.

When you consume the whole seeds, not the oil, the results show significantly reduced growth rate of cancer cells, and increased death rate of cancer cells. Another way to safely and effectively contribute to your omega-3 intake is to eat a few walnuts and lots of leafy green vegetables. When you get your essential fats from whole natural foods, you get powerful disease-fighting nutrients in the process that are not found in oils.

When it comes to omega-3 fatty acids, my recommendation is to consume about one tablespoon of ground flaxseed per day, and forgo the oil. I also recommend a small amount of DHA from a vegan source (about 200 mg per day) to assure nutritional adequacy (but not as your only source of omega-3s).

Not everyone requires DHA, but taking a small dose (not 3000 mg as some have recommended) will assure almost everyone gets an adequate amount, without the negative health risks (including suppression of immune function and risk of hemorrhagic stroke) associated with too much fish or fish oil.

Pediatric Grand Rounds - January 13, 2007

The new Pediatric Grand Rounds is now up at Parenting Solved, check it out. Included in the mix is Followhealthlife's post American Healthcare Making Us Sick?

Eating to Live on the Outside: Time to Recap

Now you might not have realized it but Eating to Live on the Outside is into it’s eighth month—that’s seven months longer than any relationship ever I’ve been in. During these eight months we’ve covered a lot of ground and put many standard American restaurants on notice.

So I figured this is a good time to look back at all we’ve done—in case you missed anything along the way. And for our new readers, well, consider this a good time to get caught up. Okay, so here you go, every post dating back to this past May in the order that they were published. Dig in:
"The Friday’s menu is filled with good looking dishes, but most of them aren’t going to compute with Eat to Live. With every dish you’re probably going to have to make some concessions, but don’t fret, even Dr. Fuhrman acknowledges that there are adjustments to be made when eating away from the home."

"You might be tempted by the Spinach salad. What could be more healthy than that? But check out what comes with it: "hickory smoked bacon pieces, tomatoes, shredded Parmesan cheese, Bleu cheese crumbles and diced, crispy-fried chicken. Tossed in a delicious honey mustard dressing and served with toasted garlic bread." That leaves you with a bowl of spinach and tomatoes--or the the vast majority of your calories from those things up at the top of Dr. Fuhrman's pyramid that are best eaten only "rarely.""

"Burrito bol with cilantro-lime rice, vegetarian black beans, and guacamole or fajita-style with sautéed vegetables, black beans, and guacamole. I could eat that, or a salad. The vegetarian salad comes with sautéed peppers, onions, vegetarian black beans, and guacamole. You can get fresh tomatoes as an extra. They even say they're happy to customize any dish as you wish, so I imagine you could get more fresh veggies piled on top. Think they have actual avocado back in that kitchen? That would be especially good."

P.F. Chang's
"The Ginger Chicken and Broccoli really caught my eye. Check out the picture, there’s a mound of broccoli there, and broccoli is a real nutritional heavy weight. I like the Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Steamed with Ginger too. Steaming is an oil-free way to cook and you get a nice dose of green vegetables with the bok choy and the asparagus. If you’re looking for greens Buddha’s Feast Steamed is also a solid choice."

Outback Steakhouse
"Now if you’re feeling fishy, the selections under the menu heading “Botany Bay Catches” are very intriguing. You get a side of fresh steamed veggies with the Atlantic Salmon and the Botany Bay Fish O’ The Day, very encouraging. And neither dish is prepared too unhealthfully. You might want to stay away from the Boomerang Shrimp, the words “battered” and “breaded” are red flags. I'd also consider the Hearts of Gold Fresh Catch: You get Bronzed fresh filet, sautéed artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes and green onions. Although you might want to ditch the lemon Alfredo sauce."

Baja Fresh
"Hmm what to order? The majority of the dishes include some sort of tortilla and unless you go for a soup or salad, this is a concession you’re going to have to make. I like the Grilled Veggie Burrito a lot, there’s tons of good stuff in it: grilled peppers, Pico de Gallo, chilies, onions, black or pinto beans, and lettuce. I bet there’s plenty of nutrients in all that. It also comes with sour cream and a couple cheeses, I’d ditch those."

"Okay, time to flex my powers of guess-timation. This week I’ll being taking a look at the ironically named Friendly’s menu. After a few minutes of perusing the menu sweat actually began to bead up on my forehead. This restaurant is a tough sell for an Eat to Liver—-just lots of good-old fried goo smothered with cheesey American goodness! But surprisingly, you do have some options."

Lonestar Steakhouse
"Like usual my eyes gravitate towards the salad section of the menu; it’s like the Alamo, a safe haven in the middle of hostile territory. The Cobb Salad has some promise, but I’m making a couple alterations—goodbye cheese and adios bacon! Now, I can deal with the chicken and egg, I only eat meat once a week anyway, so I don’t really mind this concession. Overall my favorite thing about this dish is the avocado. I have bit of an avocado fetish."

"The first part of Sizzler’s menu is loaded with burgers and sandwiches, I almost skipped it (since I don’t eat red meat), but the Grilled Chicken Club caught my eye; although it isn’t without its flaws. Now your level of concessions may vary, but as for me, I’m ditching the bacon, Swiss cheese, and mayonnaise. I’d probably swap the mayo for mustard."

"If you are in the mood for chicken, the Rosemary Grilled Chicken and the Chicken Stir Fry are other intriguing options. Both dishes boast a nice amount of veggies, but I’m a little leery about the rosemary demi sauce and Tangy Asian sauce. I wonder if they are oil or cream based."

The Office
"As I’ve admitted numerous times I love avocado (I have a three 'cado a week habit), so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I’m into the Turkey & Bacon Wrap. The sandwiched consists of roasted turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado, and avocado mayonnaise, all on warm flat bread. Obviously the bacon is out the window—look, pigs do fly! Now I’m torn, as El Presidente of The Avocado Fan Club I’m curious about the avocado mayonnaise, but my inner Eat to Live is telling me to veto it. What would you do?"

California Pizza Kitchen
"Generally I’m not much of a soup guy, but the Dakota Smashed Pea and Barley Soup could change my mind. It’s pretty basic and cheese-less, so I don’t think you’d be making a huge concession by ordering it. Besides, it’s made with some really savory ingredients: split peas, barley, carrots, onions, herbs, and chopped scallions. I think it could be a nice alternative for someone with dairy sensitivity; myself included."

Ground Round
"The Ground Round also has a couple of sandwich wraps that I’d feel comfortable ordering. I really like the Roasted Vegetable Wrap (given the amount of meat on this menu the word vegetable is a godsend in itself), its ingredients include roasted red peppers, zucchini, summer squash, mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, caramelized onions, and sun-dried tomato pesto mayonnaise. Sounds pretty interesting right? Other than the flour tortilla the only thing that really gives me pause is the mayonnaise, but I really like sun-dried tomatoes and pesto, so I would be willing to make this concession and keep it."

Just Salads
"The Immunity Bowl looks cool too. It’s made with Mesclun, wild salmon, diced roasted butternut squash, and pomegranate seeds. Actually this one sounds really tasty. I’m digging the pomegranate seeds (we all know how healthy pomegranates are) and the butternut squash, not to mention the salmon. If I were to stick with the salmon I’d make sure I didn’t eat fish again for a while. Even though salmon isn’t overly contaminated, I’d rather be safe than sorry."

Go Raw Café
"For starters I like the aforementioned Kale Salad, I like it more because there are avocados in it. In addition to the bestest fruit on the planet this salad also includes red bell peppers, onions, cucumbers, and is served with buckwheat bread. Buckwheat bread? Sounds interesting. You do have the option of house dressing with this salad, which I’m not totally against, I’d would just go easy on how much I used, but if you’re totally against oily dressing the Go Raw Café gives you the option of cilantro instead. Pretty cool hunh?"

"After much consternation here’s what I’d order if I found myself staring down the barrel of a gun. Oops! I mean thumbing through the menu at Houlihan’s. No surprise here, a nice safe option might be to order a basic salad or a “Tossed Simple Greens” as the menu proclaims. I’m not sure what simple greens are maybe greens that scored poorly on their SATs, but in the world of Eat to Live, any green is good. I’d probably top these “greens” with a few drops of the balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing. Your other options are cheese and cream based. Egad!"

Paru's Indian Vegetarian Restaurant
"Okay the names of the dishes are tough to decipher, looks like someone blew up a scramble board (Paru’s glossary should help), but they still look pretty darn appetizing. Being that this place is already vegetarian, and in some cases vegan, I don’t think an Eat to Liver is going to have a hard time choosing a healthful meal. Personally, I the only things I would outright avoid are the few dairy selections and foods prepared with hot spices. That’s double trouble for me."

Perkins Restaurant & Bakery
"So if I were really hard up for breakfast, and in the mood for animal, I’d probably order a basic omelet. Perkin’s gives you the option to create your own omelet anyway, so I don’t think you’ll get a dirty look from the waitress. I’d probably order the omelet prepared with mushrooms, tomatoes, onion, celery, and green peppers—just trying to get some phytonutrients! Oh, and I’d ask to have it cooked with as little oil as possible."

Carrabba's Italian Grill
"After a few seconds of scanning the menu you’ll notice it’s primed with cheese, butter, olive oil, and prosciutto—Italian bacon! Damn you bacon! Is there no escaping your greasy stranglehold? Sorry, I had a moment. I’m better now, let’s continue. Personally I’m going to be especially vigilant about the cheese, butter, and obviously the prosciutto, a.k.a. bacon. I’m more lenient about the olive oil, but I’ll do my best to limit my exposure to it."

"Now here’s one of Denny’s surprising redeeming qualities. If you check out the menu heading “Fit Fare” you’ll see they give you some nutritional information; carbohydrates, fat, calories, and fiber. I didn’t expect to see this from such a vilified restaurant. So, if you’re an egg-eating Eat to Liver, you might consider ordering the Veggie Omelette. “Might” is the important word here because, again, who knows what that griddle looks like, and it’s not exactly loaded with a lot of veggies any way; only mushrooms, green peppers, onions, and tomatoes. But if you do order it, at least you’ll know what’s in it: 38 g Carbohydrates, 332 Calories, 8g Fat, and 5g Fiber."

Desert Moon Fresh Mexican Grille
"I’m going to start off easy—well easier—with the salads. At a glance the Tossed Green Salad looks like the best option (I say that loosely). It comes with tossed greens, pico de gallo, sliced olives, cheese, garlic croutons, and lime cilantro vinaigrette. Clearly the cheese and garlic croutons are getting the heave-ho, going easy on or ditching the vinaigrette is a good idea, the greens are cool, and I’m keeping the olives and the pico de gallo. In case you don’t know what pico de gallo is, check out this Wikipedia link; you’ll find it to be very veggie-friendly."

Lake Side Café
"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."

"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!"

Boston Market
"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."

Ruby Tuesday
"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."

Tony Roma's
"Okay, back to the menu. I like the Chicken Club Salad and Tony’s Asian Salad, but both need significant tweaking. For the Chicken Club Salad I’m ditching the smoked ham, bacon, cheddar cheese, and croutons. I’ll also pass on the egg. I’m okay with the chicken, especially since after you remove all that stuff, you’re really not left with much. Now, for Tony’s Asian Salad I’m chucking the fried won-ton noodles, and I’ll probably top that with salmon—I’m a sucker for seafood! And of course, I’m going very easy on the dressing."

Bonefish Grill
"Let’s start off easy. I wonder what lurks under Soups and Salads—cool, check out the Bonefish House salad! It’s prepared with chopped greens, tomatoes, Kalamata olives, hearts of palm, pine nuts, and citrus herb vinaigrette—sounds pretty tasty to me. And since there’s no fish, you don’t have to worry about chemical contamination. Olives are oily and salty, but all in all, not bad. The Florida Cobb Salad is looking good too, but I’d probably make a couple alterations. For starters, the blue cheese is out—no dairy for me! And second, while I don’t mind occasionally eating chicken, spicy anything is a problem for me, so adios jerk chicken! The great thing about this salad is it comes with avocado, and as many of you know, I’m a total avocado mark!"

The French Laundry
"Now pour le final dish that caught my eye—did I just speak French again? Sacre bleu! I’ve never heard of Hen-of-the-Woods Mushrooms before, but I really like mushrooms and I’m willing to taste test almost anything, so what the heck! The mushrooms come with French Laundry garden heirloom carrots, Tokyo turnips, spring garlic, and “Jus de Legumes Rotis.” Which from my best estimation is juice from Rotis beans, but I could be wrong. Since this dish is entirely veggies, there’s got to be some phytonutrients in there. I’d ask the wait-staff for confirmation on the Rotis juice because as it stands right now I don’t see myself having to make any concessions—which is definitely a good thing! You won’t find that Denny’s."

"Fazoli's? Actually, this place should be called Faux-zoli’s because the menu is loaded with faux-talian food. Yup, you guessed it, loads of cheese, meat, and rich sauces. Yum! Get ready for a heaping helping of standard American food—or should I say—standard American “Italian” food."

Don Pablo's
"Now I want everyone to know I tried really hard to come up with some more menu selections, but as I mentioned earlier, Don Pablo’s menu is no joke. Sure, it’s better than The Desert Moon, but it’s hardly a picnic. Now I could have opted for a couple of the chicken-based dishes, but after months of doing this I find myself less and less drawn to chicken. This shouldn’t be a shocker to regular Followhealthlife readers because as I’ve admitted, the older I get the less I desire meat. I’m sure a lot of you can relate."

"Can I be honest for a second? I’ve never had Ethiopian food, and before I discovered Mesbo, I wouldn’t have had much to say about it. How lucky am I that Mesbo is only about an hour away from where I live? I think a visit is in order. I’ll keep you posted—that was a blogging pun in case you missed it. In the meantime if you have any Ethiopian cuisine stories, please let me know, and maybe I’ll blog about it."

Angelica Kitchen
"For starters, I like the Thai Mee Up—go ahead, get your giggles out. Raw fanatics will really like this one because according to the menu it’s all raw. Not to mention there’s a lot of good stuff in it too. Things like delicate strands of daikon radish, butternut squash, carrots, Thai Tahini sauce, and garlic-lemon marinated kale. Can you say phytonutrients? I can."

Happy Buddha
"A couple salads also caught my eye. The Papaya Salad includes shredded green papaya, peanuts, basil, and lime dressing. And the Watercress Salad is made with watercress, tomatoes, onions, and vinaigrette dressing. Now, I guess to play it safe I could order the dressing on the side and limit the amount I consume, but all those phytonutrients extinguish my worries about a little salad dressing. Also, I don’t eat out very often, so it’ll take more than some vegetable oil to make me uptight."

Sacred Chow
"Scared Chow has a lot of tapas options. So many that it looks like they actually encourage you to make a meal out of them. Three for twelve bucks is a pretty good deal if you ask me. So if I had to pick three, what would I order? Okay, first I’m going with the Dijon Marinated Raw Kale. As Dr. Fuhrman’s blogger, I think he would personally strangle me if I didn’t pick the kale—so that one’s a keeper. Next I’m going with the Sautéed Shiitake Mushrooms with Toasted Sunflower Seeds. I like mushrooms and I like sunflower seeds, so I’m going out on a limb here, but I think this combination will be nothing but good times."

Alive Vegetarian Restaurant
"Soup is one of those foods that often goes overlooked in these series. Not due to any personal biases on my part, its just most menus don’t really have a lot of soups. Well, Alive offers four, and they all look pretty good. Two in particular caught my eye. Ever heard of astragulus? Me neither. But I’d be willing to try it. So I’d definitely check out the Astragulus Miso Yam Soup. It’s made with astragulus, miso, yam, seaweed, fresh vegetables, and shitake mushrooms. Sounds kind of interesting, right? The Seaweed Shitake Mushroom Soup also looks pretty cool. It’s prepared with wakame, sea palm, Atlantic dulse, and Shitake mushrooms. I hope you like Shitakes, they’re everywhere."
And let’s not forget the Eating to Live on the Outside extras:
Sara Eats to Live on the Outside
“Now, Sara and her husband are quite the travelers. Check this out. She also told me how the two of them managed to Eat to Live during a recent square dancing weekend at the Nevele Grand Resort & Country Club in the Catskill Mountains.”

Lost in Translation: The French Laundry
How’d I discover my lingual shortcomings? Well actually, I didn’t, and I probably never “would have because foreign languages aren’t exactly my strong suit. Put it to you this way, I’m full-blooded Italian, most of my family speaks fluent Italian, and in fact my mother was born in Italy, but I barely managed to eek by with a B- in Italian I & II. Did I mention my mother did all my homework too? So I wasn’t the least bit surprised when I received this email from Amy.”

Dr. Fuhrman: Eating to Live on the Outside
“Choose restaurants that have healthful options, and how the places that will cater to your needs. When possible, speak to the manager or chef in advance. When traveling, look for restaurants that have salad bars. This is not an all-or-nothing plan. Every person exposed to these ideas can improve over his or her current diet. People have a tendency to like best the foods to which they have become accustomed to. So, keep in mind that eventually you will lose the desire for some of the unhealthful foods you are eating now and you will enjoy the pleasures of healthy, natural foods more. (From Eat to Live.)”

Eating to Live on the Outside: Vegas Style
“Because last week I hit the strip, the Las Vegas Strip that is. When I wasn't beating my bank account into submission, I sat down for a bite to eat at a couple Eating to Live on the Outside’s favorite restaurants, P.F. Chang’s and The California Pizza Kitchen.”

NPR: Why is Chinatown's Produce so Cheap?

Have you ever noticed how inexpensive the local farmer’s market can be? Heck, I drive twenty-five minutes out of my way to go to one. In my opinion large superstores lack variety and quality—I’ve seen avocados at the supermarket that you could drive nails with!

NPR’s Lisa Chow takes a look at why local markets are so cheap in this report on New York City’s Chinatown: Chinatown Vendors Ripe for Bargains.

Do Androids Lift Electric Weights?

Now in this ever-wonderous age of technology we live in, I’ve noticed something. Gyms are being invaded by cyborgs! I see it everyday. At my gym everyone and I do mean everyone, comes wired with some sort of battery powered device. Be it a mp3 player, cellphone, or one of those blackberry thingies—sometimes all three!

And, in the odd chance that someone is not toting a gadget they are usually utterly transfixed by at least one of the dozen television screens. That in most cases are actually mounted to the treadmills. Personally I don’t mix entertainment and exercise. For me, music and TV are just background noise. I like to focus on what I’m doing, I don’t know, something about holding heavy weights above my head makes me want to pay attention, call me crazy.

Well according to this article by the Associated Press my attitude might be a good thing. It seems some experts believe all these gadgets can distract us from listening to our bodies. As the report points out this can be potentially hazardous. Michael Hill has more:
But are those distractions good or bad for exercisers? Researchers say it cuts both ways. Yes, a dose of video or audio can inspire better workouts. But distractions can also hurt performance. In a way, music can add some static to the mind-body connection…

… In a 2005 study, British researchers put 18 undergraduates on stationary bicycles to pedal either to silence or to "popular electronic dance music" on headphones. Participants worked about 13 percent harder to the up-tempo music compared to silence. One of the researchers, Sam Carr, suggested in an e-mail interview that music competes with an exercisers' awareness of how hard they're breathing, or how much their legs ache.
Okay, I admit it, the Rocky theme song makes me workout a little harder. But how many of you have been running and all of a sudden that Eye of the Tiger song comes on? Then you crank the treadmill up real high only to bring it down real low before the song is over, while exaggerating some kind of ache. Guilty!

Ineffective Anti-Cancer Remedies: Coffee Enemas

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

The coffee enemas of the Gerson or Gonzolez cancer protocols are examples of treatments that have no documented benefits. While these programs offer patients a diet rich in vegetable juices and healthful organic foods, they also offer a smorgasbord of therapies that have not shown any benefits for cancer patients.

According to Gonzalez, cancerous tumors are collections of abnormal cells. So when therapy causes cell breakdown (necrosis),abnormal molecules of tumor waste are released into the blood, filtered and detoxified by the liver, and excreted through the bile ducts from the liver to the small intestine. The walls of the bile ducts are composed of smooth muscle that caffeine in coffee causes to relax, allowing ducts to "open wide," allowing tumor toxins to pass into the small bowel.

Gonzalez's explanation sounds scientific, but it is inaccurate. First of all, cancer cells are not in themselves toxic. They are harmful to the body because they multiply in a rapid and uncontrolled fashion. When cells die, whether cancerous or not, they do not overwhelm the body with toxins. But even if they did, toxins are excreted directly into the blood from the liver; they do not traverse the bile ducts.

Caffeinated beverages delivered rectally are not health-supporting and cannot detoxify your body any more effectively than rinsing your mouth with them and then spitting them out. At least two deaths have been linked to coffee enemas, attributed to hyponatremia and dehydration. There is also a risk of contamination from unsanitary equipment used to administer enemas. For example, one outbreak of Campylobacter sepsis occurred among clients at a border clinic in Mexico that offered coffee enemas, and an outbreak of amebiasis was also linked to fecal contamination of an enema-delivery system.

Report: Cold Medicine and Babies Don't Mix

An infant with the sniffles might keep you up at night, but according to a new study giving them a shot of cold medicine can be a dangerous quick-fix. In fact, government research shows it could be deadly. Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News reports:
"Cold and cough medications, especially medications containing pseudoephedrine [a nasal decongestant], have never been shown to have any beneficial effect on children less than 2 years of age, yet they clearly can have significant harmful effects," said Dr. Michael Marcus, director of pediatric pulmonology, allergy and immunology at the Maimonides Infants & Children's Hospital in New York City.

"There are no studies to support the use of cold medicine in infants," said Dr. Gwen Wurm, director of community pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "The thing to keep in mind is that colds go away. Kids might benefit from a humidifier by the bed and saline nose drops, but this kind of loving care is all most kids need."
Remind me to thank my father for not giving me cold medicine when I was a baby—although I’m not sure putting a close pin on my nose was great parenting either.

Trans Fat: The Great Debate

Trans fat has become quite the hot topic. Not all that surprising really. We’re a desperately fat nation, so of course we’re scrambling for a quick fix! Why not ban trans fat? Why not? Good question. And for me it’s not one with an easy answer.

Sure, it does make sense to ban a reportedly harmful substance, but what about choice? Shouldn’t you have the freedom to consume trans fat if you really want to? Do we need government intervention here? This is why, believe it or not, I’m both for and against the ban on trans fat. And no, I’m not normally a fence-sitter. It’s just this one has me stumped.

Now some people have stronger convictions than me. As you’ll see, not everyone sits on the perch of indecision. Here are some reader opinions from the numerous Followhealthlife posts on trans fat. And in case your like me, maybe they’ll help you decide:
NYC: Trans Fat is Toast
Louise: You're torn? I can't believe it! The Harvard School of Public Health and Wageningen University has found that removing trans fats from the industrial food supply could prevent tens of thousands of heart attacks and cardiac deaths each year in the U.S. The public depends on the government protecting them from harmful consumer products, especially food and drugs. Maybe you're in favor of legalizing drugs as well?

It's better for society if laws conform to benefit the human organism.

New York Times On Banning Trans Fat
Jackie Danicki: Look, the way you get people to take responsibility for their health is not to revoke the degree to which they must take responsibility for their health. It is sad that so many people choose to eat themselves to death - which they could do without trans-fats, as it happens - but the ugly truth is that it is their choice to make.

My choices are what led me to being very overweight, and my choices have brought me down by more than 100 pounds. No amount of interfering from the government would have made a difference. How many people do you know who are obese because of trans-fats alone? Or is it more realistic to say that people become obese because they don't have active lifestyles, they have sedentary existences, and they overeat in huge quantities? It is the latter, of course. Unless you plan to start forcing people to exercise by law, under threat of jail and fines, it makes no sense to start using jail and fines to dictate what food people can eat.

Leave Trans Fat Alone?
Helena: I think trans fat should go, obviously, but I am not sure a ban will accomplish major health benefits. I think the dangers of trans fat are grossly overrated. Sure, the stuff is evil, but trans fat free French fries are still evil. I cringe every time I see those "heart healthy" fries advertised around here and I am not even sure that soybean oil fried fries are that much healthier than trans fatty fries. In the end, I really do not think it matters much.

Howard Stern On Trans-Fat
Diana: It has to be BANNED because otherwise most restaurants will continue to have trans-fats in much of what they serve, and they won't be forced to eliminate it. That leaves very few options for people that would like the CHOICE of eating healthy when out.

They don't NEED to use it! Food does not taste better with trans-fats!
Clearly there is no shortage of opinions on trans fat. Obviously it’s a big deal. Heck, according to The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles is planning to study other cities’ bans on trans fat. Maybe another ban is the horizon. Read on:
Public health officials will be asked to review the issue with the restaurant industry and community health organizations, and to study whether the county can regulate trans fats at restaurants countywide or just in unincorporated areas.

Jot Condie, president of the 22,000-member California Restaurant Association, said he's open to suggestions but believes banning something widely used in homes "has more cons than pros."
Sound off on this one. We could always use more viewpoints for the pile.

The Cow's Milk Crohn's Disease Connection

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

Crohn’s disease is a chronic debilitating inflammatory disease of the bowel with an increasing incidence in modern societies. Accumulating evidence has implicated a bacterium that is transmitted via pasteurized cow’s milk in the etiology of this tragic disease. It was discovered that a bacteria called Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis (MAP) found in dairy products survives the heat of pasteurization and causes inflammatory bowel disease in a variety of animals, including monkeys and chimpanzees. In the last few years, this same bacterium has been detected in a large percentage of humans who have Crohn’s disease.1 To quote the most recent of these referenced medical journal articles, “The rate of detection of Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis in individuals with Crohn’s disease is highly significant and implicates this chronic enteric pathogen in disease causation.”

An unexpected finding from all this research on Crohn’s disease was the revelation that patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome may also be affected with MAP from dairy product consumption.2 The problems caused by the MAP bug, transmitted from dairy products, may be a severe public health issue, as millions of people suffer with these unfortunate diseases.
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Do Cows Drink Soy Milk?

How do you feel about soy foods? Stuff like soymilk, tofu, and soy-burgers? Personally, I agree with Dr. Fuhrman, “Soy products can be tasty additions to a plant-based diet.” But, he points out that biodiversity is key. Humans should eat a variety of plant foods and not just a soy-based diet. That’s why I limit my soy consumption to soymilk and the occasional slab of tofu.

Okay, so we know how humans should approach soy, but what about animals? More specifically, cows. Do cow’s drink soymilk? Oh I’m not crazy. According to these new ads by Silk Soymilk, cows drink soy. They also walk upright. Wear pants. And talk! Take a look:

For more information on soy, check out these previous posts:
And sorry I don’t have any more info on these talking cows. Better call the MythBusters.

UPDATE: CowsforSilk has all you need know about the soymilk drinking cows. Moo!

The Brave UroStream

So you think you had a tough day? Well my friend, you don’t know the definition of a bad day. Check out this harrowing tale from UroStream. In my opinion, both her and her patient had a rough go of it:
I also did something a "ridiculous" in clinic yesterday, when I accompanied my patient into the toilet to watch her urinate with a pen light. She was complaining of a "strange stream", and I felt the only way to assess the situation thoroughly was to observe the act. Ahhh, the things we have to do... enough to put a smile on my tired face.

Healthy Cooking Tips: Hit and Miss

Do you watch cooking shows? I do, mainly because I have a crush on Rachael Ray, but that’s beside the point. Now, have you ever heard the host call something healthy, when in fact, it’s just the opposite. It usually sounds a lot like this, “The great thing about these smoky chicken cheese fritters is not only do they great taste, they’re good for you!” Yeah—not so much.

But given the amount of nutritional misinformation out there, this isn’t all that surprising. Heck, before I learned about Dr. Fuhrman even I thought a bag of pretzels was a “healthy” snack—needless to say I’ve come around. But sadly, many people in the culinary industry are still hit or miss when it comes to healthy recipe recommendations.

Take Brandy Rushing of CookingLight for example. She offers up 20 Tips to Make any Dish Healthier. As you’ll see, you’ve got to take the good with the bad here. First some good:
Study the recipe. Closely examine the original to see where changes can be made. "You can't just wing it, no matter how familiar you are with the recipe," says Test Kitchens Professional Kathryn Conrad. "Look at each ingredient to see where you can take away, add, or substitute…"

…Puree vegetables to add body. For example, mash some of the beans in a chili or the potatoes in a chowder.
And now some bad:
Reduce portion sizes. When plating, start with a smaller amount and see if that satisfies you…

… Opt for leaner meats, such as center-cut or loin meats and skinless, white-meat poultry. "For example, a slice of center-cut bacon has slightly less sodium and fat than regular cured bacon," Assistant Food Editor Kathy Kitchens Downie, R.D. says. In some cases, pork can be a leaner option than chicken.
Yeah, you won’t exactly find Dr. Fuhrman lending his support to the portion-control theory any time soon. More on this from Eat to Live:
It is meaningless to compare foods by weight or portion size. Let me provide and example why this is the case. Take one teaspoon of melted butter, which gets 100 percent of its calories from fat. If I take that teaspoon of butter and mix it in a glass of hot water, I can now say that it is 98 percent-fat-free, by weight. One hundred percent of its calories are still from fat. It didn’t matter how much water or weight was added, did it?
And he doesn’t think chicken is all its cracked up to be either. A little more from Eat to Live:
Red met is not the only problem. The consumption of chicken and fish is also linked to colon cancer. A large recent study examined the eating habits of 32,000 adults for six years and then watched the incidence of cancer for these subjects over the next six years. Those who avoided red meat but at white meat regularly had a more than 300 percent increase in colon cancer incidence.1 The same study showed that eating beans, peas, or lentils, at least twice a week was associated with a 50 percent lower risk than never eating these foods.
Okay, I don’t need to talk about bacon, do I? So if you’re looking for healthy recipes, that are truly good for you, check out Followhealthlife’s recipe archive. You’ll find things like these:
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.
Tomato Barley Stew
1 cup celery juice
1 medium onion
2 carrots, diced
1 zucchini
1 baked or boiled potato (no skin)
¼ cup unrefined barley
6 tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
8 oz. white mushrooms, chopped
Heat 1 cup of water and the juice on a low flame. Add the onion, carrots, zucchini and potato. Let simmer about 1 hour and then blend in blender or Vita-Mix. Return pureed mix back to the pot and add the barley, tomatoes, dried tomatoes and mushrooms and simmer for another 45 minutes.
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More Mad Cowboy Stuff

SoulVeggie found some more clips of Howard Lyman’s new documentary. Now, you have to weed through some stuff, but it’s worth it—especially the interview! Oh and be careful, some scenes are a little graphic. Take a look:
Documentary Clips/Howard Interviewed
If you’re looking for more on the Mad Cowboy, check out these previous posts:

Nutritional Wisdom: "Why Eat to Live - the Basics"

Dr. Fuhrman’s radio show Nutritional Wisdom airs live Wednesdays at 11am EST with an encore presentation Thursdays at 3pm EST on VoiceAmerica. Here’s a peek at this week’s episode:

There is a formula to health and longevity. Join Dr. Fuhrman as he explains how to “Eat to Live” for a healthy, long life. Stop dieting and “Eat to Live”. You can add 25 quality years to your life.

Check out the Nutritional Wisdom category for previous episodes.

Silicone in Again?

I’m not sure how to react to this report. Apparently silicone breast implants are making a comeback, despite the health risks. It seems appearance is the driving reason why. Ladies, please weigh in on this one. Carey Goldberg of The Boston Globe reports:
"American women now have a choice," said Dr. Foad Nahai , president-elect of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. "Right now, in our practice, it's about 50-50" between saline and silicone, the Atlanta surgeon said. "But when I talk to my European colleagues, it's 90 percent gels."

The FDA banned most silicone implants from the United States in 1992 amid concern that the majority of implants eventually rupture, and leaking silicone could pose serious health dangers ranging from cancer to auto-immune diseases. (The implants were not banned in Europe.) Many implants also caused pain and damage to the breast. Dow Corning, an implant manufacturer, faced so many lawsuits that it went bankrupt and in 1998 offered more than $3 billion to settle them.

Eating for Prostate Health

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

My approach to prostate cancer is dramatically different from the conventional medical approach. It is built on a foundation of preventive nutrition and self-responsibility. Armed with modern science, I have designed a diet that makes it possible for you to virtually cancer-proof yourself by making intelligent choices in your kitchen.

Nutritional excellence, started as early in life as possible, is the only way we will win the war against cancer. As billions of dollars are being wasted on what is called “cancer research,”which would more accurately be called “drug research,” we continue to lose the battle to save lives. The emphasis must be shifted to nutritional education, now.

I advise all men to prevent the occurrence of prostate cancer—and to prevent existing low-grade prostate cancer from becoming aggressive—by adopting my program for nutritional excellence (check out Dr. Fuhrman's Diet Advice for Prostate Health).

If a hard prostate nodule is found during a digital rectal exam (DRE), I recommend that the patient get one year of hormonal treatment for prostate cancer. A hard nodule has a 90 percent chance of being prostate cancer, and there is also an increased likelihood of it being a later stage (higher Gleason score), riskier grade of prostate cancer.

For men who have eaten the Standard American Diet (SAD) for most of their lives, I recommend PSA testing twice yearly after the age of 60 to determine PSA velocity (the rate of increase of PSA over time). If your PSA is increasing at a rate of 2 ng/ml per year (shown to be a sensitive indicator of prostate cancer)1 then short-term hormonal therapy for prostate cancer can be pursued.

If you already have prostate cancer—and a Gleason score of 7 or higher or a palpable nodule identified by DRE—nutritional treatment alone does not offer enough of a guarantee of success. In these cases, a customized hormonal approach makes the most sense and has been shown to be very effective.2 Seek out a doctor well versed and experienced with triple hormonal blockade, who has the willingness and capability to customize a medical regimen for each individual patient. Triple hormonal blockade consists of a LH (luteinizing hormone) agonist, an anti-androgen, and finasteride. This treatment is usually performed for about a year and long-term suppression of cancer growth has been evident in scientific studies.

Quite a few enlightened physicians and urologists agree with the treatment options I describe in this newsletter. They no longer recommend local treatments (such as radiation and prostate surgery) directed at destroying the prostate. Instead, they have become experts in hormonal blockade. However, my approach goes farther than this because I add a nutritional protocol to prevent and treat cancer, which includes most of my general dietary recommendations for excellent health in general.
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Biased Studies: What to Drink?

Thirsty? Bones feeling a little weak? Worried about osteoporosis? Have a glass of milk, right? Yeah—not so fast! Because according to Dr. Fuhrman milk isn’t exactly programmed for human consumption. Cow's Milk and Kids Aren't Made for Each Other has more:
Americans encourage their children to eat, believing them to be healthy foods. Fifty years of heavy advertising by an economically powerful industry has shaped the public's perception, illustrating the power of one-sided advertising, but the reality and true health effects on our children is a different story. Besides the link between high-saturated-fat foods (dairy fat) and cancer, there is a body of scientific literature linking the consumption of cow's milk to many other diseases. If we expect our children to resist many common illnesses, they simply must consume less milk, cheese, and butter. Dairy foods should be consumed in limited quantity or not at all.
Still thirsty? Okay, well what about juice? Can’t beat a big glass of juice—not totally! Dr. Fuhrman recommends people only drink an ounce of fruit juice a day. In Pomegranate Power he further explains his position on fruit juice. From the comments:
I do not think a little fresh squeezed fruit juice is bad, just not a good idea for those who are trying to lose weight. Certainly, even a few ounces of pomegranate or red grapefruit juice is not going to blow your diet. Similar to olive oil, people think because my book, Eat to Live encourages the reader to avoid oil, (because all oil is 120 calories a tablespoon and it can add up fast) that I am dead set against using even a little bit of olive oil occasionally. Apply the principles, but it does not have to be that rigid.
Now, this might seem like a dumb question (actually it is a really dumb question), but are soft drinks a good idea? Yeah, Dr. Fuhrman isn’t a fan. He elaborates in Disease-Proof Your Child:
Soft drinks and processed foods are full of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). HFCS is not only fattening, but this inexpensive and ultra-concentrated sugar has no resemblance to real food made by nature. It is another experiment thrust upon our unsuspecting children with unknown dangerous consequences. Besides sugar, corn syrup, and chemicals, these drinks often contain caffeine, an addictive stimulant. Children crave more and more as they get older. By adolescence most children have become soft-drink addicts. It is no surprise that six out of the seven most popular soft drinks contain caffeine. Contrast this high level of sugary “liquid candy” with the meager intake of fresh produce by children and teenagers, and it is no surprise that we have an obesity epidemic beyond all expectations.
So why bring all this up? Well apparently some studies are being skewed to make milk, soda, and juice seem like good ideas. Now this is by no means my discovery. Marilynn Marchione of the Associated Press reports the beverage industry may have significant influence on medical research. Read on:
Biased science can affect consumer behavior, doctor recommendations and even federal regulation of marketing claims for such products, Dr. David Ludwig, an obesity specialist at Children's Hospital Boston who led the work, said.

"I don't blame researchers for this problem. I think most are highly ethical and dedicated to science. The problem is that when government underfunds nutrition research, industry money becomes hard to resist," he said.
This is very gangster-like if you ask me.

Positively False Confidence in PSA Tests

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

The use of the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test has become widespread in the U.S. Based on results of the test, physicians establish detailed treatment recommendations—which typically involve surgery, radiation, and other invasive techniques—in an attempt to decrease the likelihood of a premature death from prostate cancer.

Prior to the widespread use of the PSA test, prostate cancer was detected only via digital rectal exam (DRE). Digital does not, in this case, refer to modern computer technology; rather it refers to a doctor’s finger, a digit. Unfortunately, once a lump in the prostate is detected via DRE, the prostate cancer is already at a later stage, and any potential benefits of early intervention are reduced. Currently, clinical practice guidelines recommend the use of both DRE and PSA in men over 50 years of age.

Incredible as it may seem, the PSA test does not accurately detect cancer. If you are over 60 years old, the chance of having a prostate biopsy positive for cancer is high, and the likelihood you have prostate cancer is the same whether or not you have an elevated PSA. More and more studies in recent years have demonstrated that prostate cancer is found at the same high rate in those with lower, so-called “normal” PSAs as those with elevated PSAs.1 An interesting study from Stanford University in California showed that the ability of PSA to detect cancer from 1998 to 2003 was only 2 percent. The elevations in PSA (between 2 and 10) were related to benign enlargement of the prostate, not cancer.

Remember, the pharmaceutical/medical industry is big business. Too often, treatments are promoted from a financially-biased perspective, leading to overly invasive and aggressive care without documented benefits.

If you want to have your prostate biopsied, radiated, and cut out, go ahead, but you do not need a PSA blood test first to decide. The PSA test is just an excuse to give men a prostate biopsy.

If you are a male over 60 who has eaten the Standard American Diet (SAD) your entire life, you should assume you have prostate cancer. If you are convinced (and if you are, it won’t be because of anything in the scientific literature) that you will enhance and prolong your life by undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, you might as well get the treatment without even bothering with a PSA test first. If standard treatment actually enhanced the quality of life and extended it, it would make sense to get the treatment before age 50, when your prostate cancer would surely be confined to the prostate. I am not seriously suggesting either of these approaches. But they make more sense than the present standard, especially since populations who get regular PSA tests, compared to populations who do not, show no reduction in prostate cancer-related deaths.2

My recommendations revolve around protecting ourselves from cancer with nutritional excellence, staying as far away from doctors as possible, and enjoying life without medical interference, testing, fear, and futile treatments. However, I recommend nutritional excellence for everybody of both sexes and of all ages, for overall disease protection and for the maintenance of youthful vigor, wellness, and mental acuity as we age. Nutritional excellence is not just for cancer or heart disease prevention or treatment. Continue Reading...

Health Points: Tuesday

According to the report of the study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, overweight rates increased through adolescence from 7 to 10 percent in the Caucasian girls and from 17 to 24 percent in African American girls. Girls were 1.6 times more likely to become overweight between 9 and 12 years of age than in later adolescence.
She said she’d skip the wine but would take the cheese. Then she grabbed a handful of cheese cubes off the food platter and stuffed them into her mouth. After she swallowed, she looked at me, smiled, and said she wanted to die if she couldn't eat what she wanted. I called the doctor and my patient was treated for a sharp rise in her blood pressure.
The problem was the letter Karlind discovered, tucked inside her report card, saying that she had a body mass index in the 80th percentile. The first grader did not know what “index” or “percentile” meant, or that children scoring in the 5th through 85th percentiles are considered normal, while those scoring higher are at risk of being or already overweight.
My best advice is to keep the food that you want on hand and keep the types you don't out of the house. Start your children with healthy eating habits as soon as possible. Read labels and make informed choices.
The effects of the green-tea drinks go beyond those of caffeine-laden zero-calorie sodas, the manufacturers of Celsius and Enviga say. An antioxidant found in green tea — epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG — significantly increases metabolism, they say, which boosts the body's ability to burn fat.
Soft drink consumption:
  • All Americans: 6.4% of total caloric intake.
  • Teenage boys: 10%
  • Teenage girls: 9%
  • Will an online fitness tracker help people get people exercising? The American Heart Association sure hopes so. More from Jamie Stengle of the Associated Press:
The group hopes its new free Start! program will inspire Americans to follow through on those resolutions to get in shape. With its online fitness and nutrition tracker, participants can enter what they eat each day and how much exercise they get, then get a summary of calories in and calories out.
  • Ever heard of the Swine Flu? Sounds like something you order at a bar. Aetiology enlightens us:
The main swine viruses circulating are of serotypes H1N1, H3N2, and H1N2. (The news report doesn't identify the serotype this person was infected with). Some of these viruses are combinations of human, swine, and avian influenza viruses, and swine have previously been implicated in the generation of pandemic influenza viruses due to their ability to serve as a "mixing vessel" for avian and human-type influenza viruses. And since they're so closely related to humans (well, much more closely related than, say, birds, anyway), there is concern that a swine virus (or an avian virus that becomes adapted to mammals by infecting a pig) could enter the human population and wreak havoc. So, in a nutshell, that's one reason why we're so interested in swine influenza, even though "bird flu" has recently been so dominant in the news. And though this news report shows a fairly simple scenario so far, it raises a lot of unanswered questions.

There're Dates in My Salad Dressing!

Ginger Almond Dressing
1/2 cup raw almond butter
1/4 cup unsweetened soy milk
1/4 cup water
2 tsp. tahini (pureed sesame seeds)
2 medjool dates, pitted
2 small cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
Blend all ingredients together in a Vita-Mix or other powerful blender until creamy. Serves 3.

Seeded Carrot Juice Dressing
8 oz. fresh carrot juice
2 medjool dates, pitted
1 Tbsp. sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp. unhulled sesame seeds
1 Tbsp. walnuts
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Blend all ingredients. Serves 3.

Apricot Tahini Dressing
2 cups almond milk
1 cup dried unsulphured apricots
1/3 cup tahini (pureed sesame seed)
2 Tbsp. unhulled sesame seeds, lightly toasted
4 medjool dates, pitted
1/4 cup water.
Soak apricots in almond milk overnight in refrigerator. Lightly toast sesame seeds in a pan over low heat for four minutes, shaking pan frequently. Pour soaked apricots and almond milk, along with rest of ingredients, into Vita-Mix or blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Serves 6.

Are the Inuit Healthy?

The Inuit, know anything about them? Personally, I don’t know much, just that they’re Eskimos. So, ever the good student, I decided to do a little Wikipedia search. Sure enough I turned up some interesting information. Here’s the introduction:

Inuit (Inuktitut syllabics, singular Inuk) is a general term for a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic coasts of Siberia, Alaska, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Quebec, Labrador, and Greenland. Until fairly recent times, there has been a remarkable homogeneity in the culture throughout this area, which traditionally relied on fish, sea mammals, and land animals for food, heat, light, clothing, tools, and shelter. Their language, sometimes incorrectly called Inuktitut, is grouped under Inuit language or Eskimo-Aleut languages.

Okay, if animal foods are an integral part of Inuit society, then I’ve got a question. How is their health? What’s the answer? Well, that depends on who you ask. For example, this report was emailed to me by a reader. According to Margaret Munro of The Vancouver Sun a new study links the Inuit’s game rich diet to “remarkable” protection against heart disease and cancer. Take a look:

While accelerating environmental and social meltdown is putting huge stress on Arctic communities, the study of almost 1,000 Inuit in northern Quebec shows the diet rich in game continues to offer remarkable protection, says lead researcher Dr. Eric Dewailly of Laval University.

"The study shows that they still have huge benefit and protection," says Dewailly. He and his colleagues presented the results of the on-going study here yesterday at the annual scientific meeting of ArcticNet, a northern research consortium.

Now this report is troubling, because if you remember from a previous post the Inuit, and other primitive people, aren’t exactly tipping the life-expectancy scale. More on that from Do Primitive Peoples Really Live Longer:

Inuit Greenlanders, who historically have had limited access to fruits and vegetables, have the worst longevity statistics in North America. Research from the past and present shows that they die on the average about 10 years younger and have a higher rate of cancer than the overall Canadian population.1…

…We now know that greatly increasing the consumption of vegetables, legumes, fruits, and raw nuts and seeds (and greatly decreasing the consumption of animal products) offers profound increased longevity potential, due in large part to broad symphony of life-extending phytochemical nutrients that a vegetable-based diet contains. By taking advantage of the year-round availability of high-quality plant foods, we have a unique opportunity to live both healthier and longer than ever before in human history.

So what’s the deal with this report? Or more specifically, is the study flawed? I don’t know, but here’s what Dr. Fuhrman had to say about it:

The research did not show that the Inuits live a long time or are healthy. The statements in the article made conclusions not supported by the research. The research merely was tracking the declining health of the Inuits since the spread of processed junk food among younger people. We can’t look to this group as an example of long-lived healthy people.

Now for all my fellow nerds out there, Dr. Fuhrman also recommended checking out John Robbins’s book Healthy at 100. In it he lists the world’s healthiest people, and surprise-surprise the Inuit didn’t make the cut. From the online table of contents, here is the list:

1. Abkhasia: Ancients of the Caucasus
Where people are healthier at ninety than most of us are at middle age

2. Vilcabamba: The Valley of Eternal Youth
Where heart disease and dementia do not exist

3. Hunza: A People Who Dance in Their Nineties
Where cancer, diabetes, and asthma are unknown

4. The Centenarians of Okinawa
Where more people live to 100 than anywhere else in the world
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More Veggie E. Coli Fallout

Given the severity of the recent E. coli outbreak, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that it’s still in the news. I’m sure people still want to know what’s being done to ensure something like it never happens again. Or why it happened in the first the first. Denise Grady of The New York Times investigates the aftermath of E. coli:
Last August, the F.D.A. announced a “lettuce safety initiative” in response to recurring E. coli outbreaks. It began with last fall’s lettuce harvest and included visits by inspectors to farms and cooling and packing facilities. But the spinach and Taco Bell outbreaks happened anyway…

… Scientists think most contamination lies on the surface of crops, but studies have shown that it is possible for bacteria to be taken up through root systems and actually wind up inside the plants, where no amount of washing could get rid of it. In any case, E. coli 0157:H7 tends to be sticky and is difficult or impossible to wash off, even when it’s only on the surface of produce.

Ineffective Anti-Cancer Remedies: Laetrile Amigdalina B17

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

Laetrile is a drug made from a component in bitter almond (or apricot pits) called amygdalin. It can be broken down into glucose, benzaldehyde, and hydrogen cyanide. Laetrile has been marketed as an alternative cancer drug for about 50 years. However, studies in animals and humans have not shown benefits in treating any type of cancer. When it was losing favor as an alternative treatment after multiple studies showed it did not work, the laetrile promoters came up with the idea of calling it a vitamin (B17). Laetrile is still actively promoted on the internet, and stories are circulated about how its value has been suppressed by the medical- drug establishment.

Scientists have tested substances called "Laetrile" in more than 20 animal tumor models as well as in numerous humans and found no benefit either alone or together with other substances. After each negative trial demonstrated its ineffectiveness and its dangers, proponents varied their claims about Laetrile's mechanism of action and therapeutic effects. At first they claimed it could cure cancer. Later, they claimed it could "control" cancer. When the "vitamin" theory was developed, it was touted as a cancer preventive. It also has been claimed to be effective in relieving pain associated with cancer and in facilitating treatment with chemotherapy. Many people, unaware that toxic substances can have stimulating effects, still take Laetrile to prevent cancer. They think because it gives them a temporary "lift" it must be healthy. They are slowly poisoning themselves.

Carnival of the Recipes #124

Elementary Chef hosts this week's carnival of recipes. Be sure to check out Dr. Fuhrman’s post Stone Cold Snacks. *Don't forget, not all recipes in the carnival are Fuhrman-friendly.

Eating to Live on the Outside: Alive Vegetarian Restaurant

Alright, lately Eating to Live on the Outside has been on quite a roll. I’m starting to think that there is hope for the health conscious diner. Sure the American landscape is littered with woeful restaurants like Friday’s, IHOP, Ground Round, and Sizzler, but just this month we’ve seen that healthy restaurants do exist; Mesob, Angelica Kitchen, Happy Buddha, and Sacred Chow.

Now don’t worry. The streak isn’t dying this week. In fact, Alive Vegetarian Restaurant has some serious Eat to Live potential—I mean the place actually has gojiberries on the menu! You won’t find that at Sizzler, unless of course they could deep-fry and smother them with cheese. And gojiberries aren’t the only interesting thing Alive has going for it. So what do you say? Let’s take a look.

For starters, Alive’s appetizers have some serious mojo. Okay, you all know I love avocado, so you shouldn’t be too surprised by this selection. The Avocado Salad is prepared with diced avocado, tomato, olives, basil, and veggie crackers. Now, I’m skipping the veggie crackers, but I’m keeping everything else. Yes, I know the olives are probably a little salty, but I don’t eat them very often, so I can deal with it. The Shitake Mushrooms and Gojiberries is another nice option. So is the Sting Beans with Tahini and Miso. I don’t think you need me to explain what’s in them, their names kind of tell the tale. By the way, how many gojiberries eaters do we have out there?

Soup is one of those foods that often goes overlooked in these series. Not due to any personal biases on my part, its just most menus don’t really have a lot of soups. Well, Alive offers four, and they all look pretty good. Two in particular caught my eye. Ever heard of astragulus? Me neither. But I’d be willing to try it. So I’d definitely check out the Astragulus Miso Yam Soup. It’s made with astragulus, miso, yam, seaweed, fresh vegetables, and shitake mushrooms. Sounds kind of interesting, right? The Seaweed Shitake Mushroom Soup also looks pretty cool. It’s prepared with wakame, sea palm, Atlantic dulse, and Shitake mushrooms. I hope you like Shitakes, they’re everywhere.

Alive’s entrees are no slouches either. The three that snatched my attention seem to be Italian inspired creations—given my last name, that shouldn’t be too shocking. I like the Fettuccine Alfredo. Relax. This isn’t your typical Alfredo! Alive’s concoction is made with cashew cream sauce (Dr. Fuhrman would be proud), bell peppers, onions, and shitake mushrooms. And next, this isn’t your typical lasagna either. The Marinara Lasagna is prepared with zucchini, shitake mushrooms, marinated baby spinach leaves, sun-dried tomato marinara, macadamia cheese, and pinenuts. Man, this dish took all sorts of creativity! Although, my favorite has to be the Ravioli. Why? Well lately I’ve been on a beet kick. And the Ravioli is made with raw beet ravioli filled with macadamia nut cheese, cashew cream, and shitake mushrooms. Beety enough for you?

Finally, and this doesn’t happen very often, Alive offers up a some interesting desserts that I think even the strictest Eat to Liver would be hard-pressed to resist. The Chocolate Cheesecake with raw cacao looks pretty good to me, so does the Pear and Almond Cream Tart—which also has gojiberries in it. How about you? Would you be bold enough to order a dessert too? Drop me a line and let me know.

Oh, and don’t forget, we want your feedback! Tell us what you might have done differently or what you agree with. Check out Alive’s menu and let us know how you Eat to Live on the Outside? Leave a comment or email us at diseaseproof@gmail.com.

American Healthcare Making Us Sick?

If you’ve been following Followhealthlife’s mini-series The Mammogram Debate, you’ve probably noticed that modern healthcare sometimes isn’t all its cracked up to be. In fact, it often appears as if there are other motivations at work, and not just a patient’s best interests. This is a rather controversial topic and, Dr. Fuhrman would agree, not readily covered by mainstream media.

So, to say the least, I was surprised to encounter this essay in Tuesday’s New York Times. H. Gilbert Welch, Lisa Schwartz, and Steven Woloshin contend that American medicine more often than not simply facilitates a precarious epidemic of diagnoses and not simply the pursuit of successful treatment. I’ll let them explain:
This epidemic is a threat to your health. It has two distinct sources. One is the medicalization of everyday life. Most of us experience physical or emotional sensations we don’t like, and in the past, this was considered a part of life. Increasingly, however, such sensations are considered symptoms of disease. Everyday experiences like insomnia, sadness, twitchy legs and impaired sex drive now become diagnoses: sleep disorder, depression, restless leg syndrome and sexual dysfunction.

Perhaps most worrisome is the medicalization of childhood. If children cough after exercising, they have asthma; if they have trouble reading, they are dyslexic; if they are unhappy, they are depressed; and if they alternate between unhappiness and liveliness, they have bipolar disorder. While these diagnoses may benefit the few with severe symptoms, one has to wonder about the effect on the many whose symptoms are mild, intermittent or transient.
Now, I’m a layman, this type of issue is a little over my head. So I asked Dr. Fuhrman for his thoughts, and here they are:
Our modern medical care delivery system is a big money making machine and has very effectively increased the need for medical services and drugs, but it does very little to foster better health in the population. From cholesterol lowering drugs, antihypertensive medication and diabetic medications to chemotherapy, Americans get disease care, not health care. Except in some unusual cases such as childhood cancers, medical care for chronic disease (which is usually drug care) is not the best way to prevent disease, reverse disease and prolong our life. Modern science has given much evidence (largely ignored) that lifestyle modification and nutritional excellence is much more effective than drug care. Nevertheless, the economic system funds and drives the population to respect and believe in our drug-centered medical delivery system and gives an economic disincentive to pursue lifestyle medicine as a field of research, study and practice.

If many doctors had the chance to observe what happens when nutritional excellence, exercise, light therapy and structural balance is taught as the foundation of health care they would see headaches, asthma, adult diabetes, blood pressure and heart disease resolve easily without the need for high tech surgical interventions and drugs. Lifestyle medicine is very rewarding work because we see people get well and they are able discontinue their drugs. How many asthmatics have most doctors seen recover? Lupus patients? Arthritis patients? Are they mostly increasing medications for their patients or decreasing them? Medical students, residents and other physicians have rotated and observed these routine occurrences, in my office and the body of research is slowly growing, but most doctors are skeptical and disinterested, or they will claim insufficient research. The bottom line is that the best health care is the right type of self-care, it is delivered in people's homes and kitchens and we really need less medical care and intervention, not more of it.

Food Face-Off

What does 200 calories of food look like? Actually, that’s kind of a trick question because it depends on the food. According to Dr. Fuhrman small amounts of some foods like meat and diary are more calorie-dense than larger amounts of fruits and vegetables. Check out the chart in Foods That Make You Thin for more

Of course, if you prefer pictures, take a look at what’s going on over at WiseGeek. You’ll see that the portion size of 200 calories worth of celery, baby carrots, or broccoli, dwarf what you get from 200 calories of canola oil, uncooked pasta, or cheddar cheese. Gee, I wonder, which foods help you lose weight? Now that’s not a trick question!
WiseGeek: What Does 200 Calories Look Like?

The Mammogram Debate: Cause or Cure?

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

Unfortunately, mammography can be the cause of a woman’s breast cancer. When calculating its supposed benefits, we need to include in the equation the percentage of women whose breast cancer was promoted by the radiation exposure from the mammograms themselves. The younger you are when the mammograms are performed, the greater the risk of radiation-induced cancer.1,2 According to Michael Swift, M.D., chief of medical genetics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, between 5,000 and 10,000 of the 180,000 cases of breast cancer diagnosed each year could be prevented if women’s breasts were not exposed to radiation from mammograms.Over a million American women carry the gene for ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T), which makes them unusually sensitive to the ionizing radiation in X rays and five times more likely to develop breast cancer.3

The decision to screen for breast cancer using mammograms should not be made lightly or based solely on emotions. Intuition, hope, and compassion can lead to the conclusion that screening mammograms should save the lives of young women, and it is frustrating that science has demonstrated otherwise. Our desire to help a loved one by “doing something about it” is instinctive. When it comes to breast cancer, the question is not whether to do something or not, but rather what to do about it. It is wrong to instruct patients to depend on mammograms, knowing that they will inevitably undergo the anxiety and frustration of repeated exams, callbacks, biopsies, and unneeded surgeries for nothing but a false sense of security. As caregivers, we need to tell our loved ones and all women that there are proven steps they can take to help prevent cancer from ever developing in the first place. (See Ten Ways to Help Prevent Breast Cancer.)

All the misleading publicity devoted to mammograms undercuts the urgently needed efforts to teach women that dietary and lifestyle changes are their best weapon in the fight against breast cancer. Women are continually urged by doctors, private and government agencies, and the media to undergo mammograms. How much better it would be if the same amount of effort would be put into telling women that those who eat four to five servings of vegetables per day have a 46 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those eating only one to two servings per day, and that women who eat six fruits per day have a 35 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those eating fewer than two fruits per day.4

For more on The Mammogram Debate check out these posts:

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Sara Eats to Live on the Outside

Do you read Followhealthlife’s series Eating to Live on the Outside? That’s a trick question—of course you do! You do, right? Well, Sara does! And recently she emailed me to explain how she employed her Eat to Live know-how at Wong’s Gourmet in Philadelphia. I think she did a good job:
We went out to dinner on my mother's birthday at a Chinese restaurant in Northeast Philadelphia that was about as good as it gets in a restaurant. It was Wong's Gourmet. They have a "Create Your Own Dish", with a list of vegetables, tofu, and mushrooms. You get to choose four items and specify whether you want steamed or sauteed. They will serve the sauce on the side and have brown rice available. They also have a Japanese section on the menu (appetizers and sushi) which includes a green salad with ginger dressing as an appetizer. The salad was romaine with grape tomatoes, cucumber, onion, grated carrot and a carrot-based dressing. Salad in a Chinese restaurant is quite unusual. (Gerry - there's an avocado salad listed on the menu too.) We also had vegetarian wonton soup.
Avocado! Can I get an amen? Now avocado aside, Wong’s Gourmet looks like a nice choice for the discerning Eat to Liver dining in the birthplace of American independence. But too bad they don’t have a website, although you can check out the Wong’s Gourmet page on HappyCow’s Vegetarian Guide.

Now, Sara and her husband are quite the travelers. Check this out. She also told me how the two of them managed to Eat to Live during a recent square dancing weekend at the Nevele Grand Resort & Country Club in the Catskill Mountains. Here’s what she did:
I gave the organizer of the event a note describing what we eat. We were lucky this time because most of the meals were buffet. It was repetitious but they actually had something we could eat: vegetable medley (broccoli, string beans, pepper and yellow carrots), salad (lots of green leaf lettuce with so-so tomatoes) and fruit salad consisting of honeydew, grapes and citrus (the citrus likely from a jar). Breakfast was oatmeal and the same fruit mix. There usually was some kind of potato at each meal. We even got balsamic vinegar without too much trouble. For the served dinner we got a baked potato and vegetables, with a bowl of fruit for dessert (the same fruit mixture). There was plenty of salad since we got most of it to ourselves.

So that's how we've managed to eat to live on the outside. Now I think we will stick to our own cooking for quite a while.
Hey, she’s dedicated! But I don’t know about all the square dancing—just kidding Sara! Although this rootin’ tootin’ square dancin’ cowpoke did have some disagreeing words for my praise of Eating to Live on the Outside favorite Baja Fresh. Now I’ll just sit here and growl quietly, in the meantime take a look at what she said:
By the way, I can't understand why you consider Baja Fresh a particularly good choice. When we were on vacation we checked it out and found that if one didn't eat chicken it wasn't very good and we weren't that desperate.
Well Sara, if I ever see you on thoroughfare at high noon with the tumbleweeds blowing by, you better be a quicker draw than me—just fooling! Thanks Sara for your wonderful stories and feedback, its always appreciated.

If any of you have an Eating to Live on the Outside story you’d like to share please email us at diseaseproof@gmail.com.

Childhood Allergies and Soy-Nut Butter

Now we’ve all seen those packaged “soy-nut” snacks. Did you ever stop and wonder, “What the heck is a soy-nut!” I mean I thought soy was a bean, right? Well not long ago Dr. Fuhrman discussed the origins of this pseudo-nut in the member center. He also provided tips for how to handle childhood allergies to real nuts, and I’m not talking about the members—kidding! Take a look:
My son (3 years old) has severe allergies: dairy, nuts, chickpeas, and lentils. I often feel like his diet is too heavily grain based, and it's a challenge to feed him a balanced diet. His weight has been at 30 pounds for about eight months, and I get a lot of slack from our pediatrician about his "limited" diet, due our choice not to eat animal products. Are nut allergies likely to be life-long? My son has "soy-nut butter" a lot on sandwiches, but it seems like a fairly processed product to me. Are there any alternatives for those with nut allergies? And is allergy testing really reliable? Food trials seems scary to me, as sometimes the reactions are bad (swollen lips, face, and full body hives). No fun!

Dr. Fuhrman:
Soy-nut butter is junk food. There is no such thing as a soy-nut anyway. That is like saying string-bean-nut butter. Soy-nut butter, you burn the food so it has no food value and is full of cancer-causing acrylamides, then you mix it with oil to make it into a unhealthier version of an unhealthy food.

No kid is allergic to every nut and seed. A positive blood test or a skin test is not a definitive test for food allergy. When you do a food trial you start with such a tiny speck of the food, so if he has a reaction it is mild, and then you increase the amount very slowly. Do this with the knowledge of your doctor and that the right medications are available (Epipen Jr. and Benydryl).

In the meantime, while you work out which nuts he can eat, use seeds and avocado. If he does not like avocado then you mash some avocado into everything he eats and feed him an avocado rich diet; smoothies with avocado, soups with avocado, dressings and dips with avocado and mashed banana with avocado. Use the seeds like that too. You may need to talk to me further to make sure he is getting everything he needs in his restrictive diet. Obviously, your primary goal should be to raise a healthy child, allowing him to reach his potential, so we have to make sure he is getting enough of these healthy higher fat foods or it will be necessary to add some animal products into his diet.

The Mammogram Debate: Facts vs. Vested Interests

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

The business of medicine is rarely deterred by facts. The findings of the Danish researchers did nothing to change the position of the American Cancer Society, The American College of Radiology, and the National Cancer Institute. These institutions still support the discredited notion that mammograms “prevent” breast cancer. Mammograms are entrenched in the practice of conventional medicine. The politics and economics within the world of medical policy-making govern the messages that are disseminated to the public. The fact is—at best—mammograms detect, they do not prevent. To use the word prevent in the same sentence as mammograms is a tremendous distortion of reality. The only proven approach to prevention of breast cancer is the adoption of lifestyle modifications that help stop cells from becoming cancerous in the first place.

Controversies in the medical literature rarely reach the public. In the case of mammography, doctors almost never admit to patients that the benefits from mammograms, if any, are marginal at best. This does not mean that some women will not be diagnosed with breast cancer early enough to have a curative lumpectomy. For that woman, the mammogram will have extended her life. However, for every woman whose life is extended, there are almost an equal number who would have lived longer had their breast cancer not been discovered and treated. For those women, the medical treatments will shorten, not lengthen their lives.

For more on The Mammogram Debate check out these posts:

Thursday Health Points: What's in the Papers?

The idea of preventing Alzheimer's and other forms of mental decline is immensely attractive -- and there is some early evidence that this may be possible. Recent research, including an article published two weeks ago in the Journal of the American Medical Association, shows that boosting mental skills with simple exercises can help slow the rate of decline as people age.
Dr. Lleras-Muney and others point to one plausible explanation — as a group, less educated people are less able to plan for the future and to delay gratification. If true, that may, for example, explain the differences in smoking rates between more educated people and less educated ones.

Smokers are at least twice as likely to die at any age as people who never smoked, says Samuel Preston, a demographer at the University of Pennsylvania. And not only are poorly educated people more likely to smoke but, he says, “everybody knows that smoking can be deadly,” and that includes the poorly educated.
In January 2006, a group of residents concerned about the town's health started a free program called "Get Lost in Jackson." Over the next year, participants checked in at monthly weigh-ins; attended classes on fitness, nutrition and health; and began exercising.
“In 19th Century China, being heavy was a sign of great wealth and success, both for men and for women. So this is really a change in the sense that . . . China has been a very poor country, and people are just very, very thin. Now, of course, China is doing very well, and many people have a very reasonable lifestyle and are not suffering at all, but it's not just something the eye is accustomed to seeing and the cultural norm is just that smaller is better.”
The legislation is part of a handful of sweeping bills that Kennedy and others will seek to pass as Democrats begin running Congress. Republicans like Tom DeLay , the former House majority leader who helped to thwart tobacco regulation, are no longer in office.
Low dietary calcium and vitamin D: Milk and other dairy products can provide a major source of bone-building calcium to most diets. Leafy green vegetables and soybeans are also high in calcium.
While some pundits rank radical feminism among the top threats to American manhood, James Rutz says we should shift some blame to tofu.

That's because tofu is made of soy. And soy consumption, writes the Megashift Ministries founder and religion columnist for conservative news site WorldNetDaily.com, "commonly leads to decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality."
Red tomatoes contain lycopene, which not only is good for your heart but also fights cancer and could boost prostate-gland health too.

Blue and purple fruits such as blackberries, black currants and plums promote urinary-tract health and memory function and could thwart the development of cancer. Cranberries have been shown to increase HDL, or good cholesterol, and they act as powerful antioxidants
Losing weight because you want to look good is an extrinsic motivation and one that usually won't take you very far. "Aesthetics can't drive it hard enough, like wanting to fit into your skinny jeans," Dixie Douville, a certified fitness trainer and co-founder of Active Weigh Health and Weight Loss Coaching in Flanders said. "The biggest reason it doesn't work is, a lot of people are unreasonable with the goals they set."

The Problem with Acrylamides

Food, it keeps our human machines running. Without it, we’d be dead. But if food is so precious, how come so many edibles are loaded with dangerous compounds? Need examples? Consider mercury contamination of fish, or what about PCBs found in animal fat, trans fat ring a bell, and let’s not forget pesticides on produce. In fact, you only have to look at the recent E. coli outbreak to realize that in many cases food is our worst enemy. Did I mention the obesity epidemic too?

So this next report shouldn’t surprise you. It’s about acrylamides. Know what they are? No? Well you’re not alone, according to Libby Quaid of the Associated Press not many people do. They also don’t know just how dangerous these compounds reportedly are and that they can be found in many of the foods we feed to our children. More from the article:
Acrylamide turns up in all kinds of tasty foods, including french fries, potato chips, breakfast cereals, cookies and crackers. But it's difficult for consumers to figure out how much acrylamide is in a particular meal or snack…

… Acrylamide also forms in plenty of other starches, like the toasted oats in Cheerios, the flour in hard pretzels or even the sweet potatoes in Gerber Tender Harvest organic baby food.

But compared with other worrisome chemicals in food, such as mercury in fish or benzene in soda, relatively little is known about how acrylamide forms, how it affects people or what to do about it. High levels of acrylamide in food were first reported by Swedish researchers in 2002.
Hopefully your attention is thoroughly piqued. Now, for more on acylamides check out this section of Onlyourhealth Your Child. According to Dr. Fuhrman acylamides have been linked to both breast and uterine cancer. Read on:
Not only do processed foods and fast foods often contain dangerous trans fats and other additives, but they also can have high levels of acrylamides. When processed foods are baked and fried at high temperatures, these cancer-causing chemical compounds are produced. Many processed foods, such as chips, french fries, and sugar-coated breakfast cereals, are rich in acrylamides. Acrylamides also form in foods you bake until brown or fry at home; they do not form in foods that are steamed or boiled.

There was worldwide alarm in the scientific community in 2002 after researchers announced that many of the foods children eat contain high levels of these potent cancer-causing compounds. Acrylamides cause genetic mutations, leading to a wide variety of cancer in lab animals, including breast and uterine cancer. It has not been definitively shown that acylamides are a major factor in the development of human cancers, but most cancer experts working in this field presume that it does.1 This offers another reason to avoid consumption of overly heated and processed foods.
Okay. I don’t know about you, but hearing that something “might” cause cancer is enough to make me seriously limit my exposure to it. If not avoid it altogether. In Onlyourhealth Your Child Dr. Fuhrman offers some advice for avoiding acylamides when cooking at home. Time to get out your steamers:
Steaming vegetables and making soups is called water-based cooking. Water-based cooking is the preferred way to cook because you can avoid cancer-causing acrylamides that are created when foods are browned by baking or frying.

Never eat browned or overly cooked food. Burnt food forms harmful compounds. If by accident something is overcooked and browned, discard it. Avoid fried food and food sautéed in oil. Experiment with low heat cooking to prevent nutritional damage to the food and the formation of dangerous heat-generated compounds.
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Weight-Loss Articles Cause Eating Disorders!

How’s that for sensationalism? Not good enough? Try these on for size: "Get the body you want" and "Hit your dream weight now!” Carla K. Johnson of the Associated Press reports headlines like those might actually influence unhealthy dieting behavior in young girls later in life. This according to a new study:
Teenage girls who frequently read magazine articles about dieting were more likely five years later to practice extreme weight-loss measures such as vomiting than girls who never read such articles, the University of Minnesota study found.

It didn't seem to matter whether the girls were overweight when they started reading about weight loss, nor whether they considered their weight important. After taking those factors into account, researchers still found reading articles about dieting predicted later unhealthy weight loss behavior.

The Mammogram Debate: On the Ship of False Hope

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

On the ship of false hope Mammograms in all age groups are a very poor screening tool. About 5 percent of mammograms are abnormal or suspicious, and of these 80 to 93 percent are false positives that cause unnecessary anxiety and further procedures, including surgery. If that were not enough to question the reliability of mammograms as a diagnostic tool, consider the unfounded reassurance that results from the false negatives that occur in 10 to 15 percent of women who already have breast cancer that will manifest clinically within one year.

In the October 2001 issue of The Lancet, the Nordic Cochrane Centre of Denmark published a follow-up report on its groundbreaking 2000 analysis of the efficacy of screening mammograms in reducing breast cancer death.1 The new report confirmed the earlier findings. After reviewing the seven largest mammography-screening trials, no benefit attributable to mammograms was found for any age group. The new research focused on the ability of mammograms to reduce total mortality because, as stated by the report’s authors, this is the only “reliable” measure of benefit.2

The Danish researchers found numerous flaws in the mammography-screening trials. They found that the studies under review did not tally fatal cases that were misclassified or that were triggered by cancer treatment such as radiotherapy. For example, none of the leukemia deaths and cardiac deaths occurring as a result of chemotherapy for breast cancer and none of the increased cases of fatal lung cancer caused by radiation to the breast during diagnosis and treatment were ever considered in prior studies. Lung cancer is a known late-stage side effect to breast cancer radiation,3 and congestive heart failure is a known late side effect of the cardiac toxicity of chemotherapy.4 The Cochrane researchers found that the studies’ claims that mammograms reduce breast cancer deaths by 25 to 30 percent were invalid, since those investigators did not consider all other deaths related to breast cancer treatments.

The researchers also found that the studies that claimed to show some benefit from mammograms for women in their fifties and sixties were 1) biased in favor of screening and 2) incorrect because they only looked at breast cancer mortality, not all-cause mortality. Based on this highly respected review, The Lancet editors concluded, “There is no reliable evidence from large randomized trials to support screening mammography at any age.”

The recent reassessment of the 2000 Cochrane analysis also confirmed that breast cancer screening with mammograms creates an overuse of aggressive treatments. The authors reasoned that the mammograms detect lots of slow-growing tumors that will never progress to cancer within the patient’s lifetime and classify these as cancer. These account for the mammograms’ so-called “successes.” There are cellular changes that may be histologically cancerous but biologically benign. Carcinoma-in-situ may be treated by bilateral mastectomy even though they do not progress to invasive disease—ever. The flawed studies count these as mammogram successes, when they are not. At the same time, the cancers that are truly invasive are not really caught early enough to make a difference. The patient only appears to live longer because the disease is diagnosed earlier. As stated previously, the same percentage of women are dying at the same ages they were before the widespread use of mammograms. The inescapable conclusion drawn from these carefully performed investigations is that mammograms do not provide a survival benefit in any age group. Those who benefit are balanced out almost equally by those who are hurt.

For more on The Mammogram Debate check out these posts:

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Nutritional Wisdom: "Banish Your Headaches"

Dr. Fuhrman’s radio show Nutritional Wisdom airs live Wednesdays at 11am EST with an encore presentation Thursdays at 3pm EST on VoiceAmerica. Here’s a peek at this week’s episode:

You can travel to one headache specialist after another and try a hundred different remedies. But if you want to understand why you get headaches and how to beat them forever listen in to this fascinating show! Dr. Fuhrman explains how eating a high-nutrient diet can alleviate headaches, which are usually associated with other health-related problems.

Check out the Nutritional Wisdom category for previous episodes.

Starbucks Bounces Trans Fat

Well you can add Starbucks to the list of restaurants saying no to trans fat. According to Curt Woodward of the Associated Press, Starbucks is cutting trans fat from their doughnuts, muffins, and other treats. More from the report:
The world's largest specialty coffee retailer has been working to eliminate trans fats from its food menu for about two years, spokesman Brandon Borrman said today.

"This is just something we have been working on, and our focus has always been on providing our customers with healthy and nutritious food options," Borrman said.

Trans fats, listed on food labels as partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, are believed to be harmful because they wreak havoc on cholesterol levels.
For a recap of places giving trans fat the axe, check out this post from last week: Trans Fat: Another One Bites the Dust

Feed Your Family Right

Want your kids to eat healthier? Is hubby downing too many nachos and not enough veggies? Wife hooked on bonbons and chocolate? Need a solution? Well according to Dr. Fuhrman, healthy eating should be for the whole family. That way everyone eats better. From Disease-Proof Your Child:
Parents are entrusted with the responsibility of securing the selection of healthy foods for the family and preparing the food in a way that makes it desirable. Children are responsible for deciding how much they eat. If they are in an environmental of healthful foods they will have no problem regulating variety and timing. They can choose what they eat, when they eat, and if they will eat. Don’t use food as a reward or punishment. Don’t offer a treat because the child was good or ate well. Offer healthy treats as part of the normal well-balanced diet.

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.
Lead by example sure seems like a good idea. Especially when you consider what might happen if you slack off on family nutrition. For starters, according to HealthDay News filling baby’s sippy cup with sugary drinks is a one way street to cavity town:
"Sippy cups were created to help children transition from a bottle to drinking from a regular cup, but they're too often used for convenience because they reduce spills. When kids sip sugared beverages for extended periods, they are exposed to a higher risk of (tooth) decay," Dr. Philip H. Hunke, AAPD president, said in a prepared statement.

Between 1988-1994 and 1999-2002, there was a 15.2 percent increase in cavities among kids aged 2 to 5 in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If pricey cavities aren’t enough to get your family on the healthy eating bandwagon, what about this report claiming adults living with children consume more fat. More from the AFP:
The University of Iowa and University of Michigan health system study found that adults living with children ate an extra 4.9 grams of fat daily, including 1.7 grams of saturated fat. Adults living with children also were found to be more likely to eat high-fat foods and snacks.

"Adults with children in the home ate more of those snacks and other foods that we considered convenience foods," said Helena Laroche, a researcher at the University of Iowa.
I don’t know about you, but establishing a healthy family diet seems like the way to go.

Stone Cold Snacks

Strawberry Ice Scream
1 cup orange juice
2 slices dried pineapple
12 oz. frozen strawberries
Place all ingredients in a blender, food processor, or VitaMix. Blend until creamy smooth. If you do not have a VitaMix, you may have to soak the dried pineapple in the orange juice overnight to soften sufficiently to blend in a regular blender or food processor.

Watermelon Ices
5 cups seedless watermelon
1/2 cup raisins
Blend watermelon and raisins in a blender, food processor, or VitaMix until they form a creamy liquid. Pour into paper cups and freeze for one hour only. Remove partially frozen treat from the freezer. Blend again, spoon the mixture back into the cups, and place back in the freezer until served.

Macabanana Popsicles
1 cup raw macadamia nuts
2 bananas
2 medjool dates
1 tsp. cinnamon
Blend all ingredients in a blender, food processor, or VitaMix. Pour into popsicle trays and freeze until hard.

Health Points: Tuesday

This year, farmers planted about three-quarters of a million acres of low-linolenic soybeans, about a third to a half of what is needed to meet the demand, said Steven W. Poole, a spokesman for Qualisoy, an association that researches and promotes soybeans with enhanced traits.
Ultimately, Mr. Poole anticipates that as many as five million acres of low-linolenic soybeans could be planted in the United States as more partially hydrogenated oils are replaced.
I've always liked fresh corn and peas. Each brightly colored, with a crisp sweetness, and both best when cooked very gently. Sit those kernels on a plate, they make a nice visual statement as well. Slopped between loops of intestine, stuck above the liver, soiling the hidden spaces around the pancreas and duodenum, filling the pelvis, some of the sensual pleasure of what may have been a nice meal gets lost, and dealing with it puts me off the feed for a while. Doesn't smell all that great, either. If it's embarrassing to get a drop of soup on your tie, imagine how it'd feel to see your omentum harboring a whole salad. Hanging down from the transverse colon like a wet apron, it can hide lots of cranberries in its crannies; getting them loose requires individual plucking, and can take a while. The upside is that a person with a perforated ulcer is generally in a lot of pain, and sewing up the hole, cleaning out the food, and copiously irrigating away the acids means s/he is likely to wake up with a smile. I can put up with a little personal unpleasantness when it produces results like that.
One 45-year-old professional writer -- who asked not to be named in order to speak more candidly -- described how she lost nearly 100 pounds over three years after doing some heavy soul-searching. "I had to think, 'Why do I do things that aren't so healthy?' and think about what motivates me, not only to be healthy but also what motivates one to not be healthy. What was I getting out of that?"

It is when people fail to develop healthy coping mechanisms that they fall back on bad habits such as smoking, according to John Banzhaf, George Washington University law professor and executive director of the District-based anti-smoking group Action on Smoking and Health. "And then a cigarette is no longer enough, so you go to alcohol. And on and on."
At times like this, you need beauty. Doesn't matter if it's a sunset or Body Worlds or a good bottle of wine; you need beauty.

And getting next to it can be enough. Getting to hear fetal heart tones coming from the belly of a woman who's had successful emergency surgery can be enough. Seeing one person walk that you never thought would is enough. Having a patient who's well enough to eat the food his family brought in for Eid ul-Adha is enough.
New guidelines from the industry are due in April on how to prevent contamination throughout the food chain, from before greens are planted until they reach the dinner table.

Members of Congress are asking federal agencies to report on what went wrong and how to fix the problem. Some lawmakers want to replace the patchwork system of federal food regulation with a single agency in charge of what people eat.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now estimates that one in three children born in the U.S. five years ago is expected to become diabetic in their lifetime. The number of diabetics has grown by 80% in the past decade.
As 2007 dawns, there are no wildly popular weight loss fads sweeping the country on the scale of Atkins or South Beach a few years ago, or, to a lesser extent, the Sonoma and Shangri-la diets of last year.
Bah! You're hardly meat. But you are quite popular, and people aspire to taste like you. You're probably quite skinny and free of vices. Except letting people eat your eggs.

The Mammogram Debate: Multibillion Dollar Industry

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

Mammograms have been positioned as the centerpiece of women’s health care, and they are the most prevalent “medicine” delivered to our female population. Women shuffle from their doctors to radiologists and back, and if their mammograms show abnormalities, they are transferred to surgeons for needle biopsies and excisional biopsies. Today’s woman goes to doctors to get yearly mammograms and breast exams with little thought given to the medical literature on these subjects and the shocking facts it reveals. Suffice to say, gynecologists whose practices revolve around giving postmenopausal women estrogen replacement therapy (a disproved and dangerous practice) and ordering mammograms will have little left to do if women become better informed about the risks associated with mammograms.

Mammograms help detect breast cancer, and they help detect it earlier than other diagnostic tools. But in the process, they cause a lot of fear and result in countless unnecessary breast biopsies. In order to uncover cancer and not give false reassurance, radiologists are forced to advise biopsies even when the findings suggest the chance of cancer is small. More than 80 percent of all breast biopsies are negative for cancer.1 In addition, these mammograms with false positive results (sent for biopsy and then found to be negative) occur most frequently in the forty to fifty age range. By the time a woman has nine mammograms between the ages of forty and forty-nine, her chance of having a false positive result that requires her to have a biopsy is 43 percent.2 Nearly half of all women getting mammograms are eventually sent for biopsies to evaluate “suspicious” findings. When a woman with risk factors (such as a family history of breast cancer) gets nine or ten mammograms between ages thirty-five and fifty, her chance of the radiologist finding something suspicious and sending her to get a biopsy that returns negative for cancer rises to 98 percent.

The problems caused by false positives and unnecessary biopsies might be acceptable if the increased use of mammograms saved women’s lives. But it does not appear from the statistics that many lives are being saved by this so-called “early detection.”

Between 1970 and 1990, as more and more women got mammograms at the urging of the medical profession and health authorities, breast cancer rates rose 24 percent. As expected, more cancers were being detected, and they were being detected “earlier.” Five- and ten-year survival rates improved, and it appeared that women were living longer with their cancers. But those figures were misleading. Sadly, the exact same percentage of women still died of breast cancer at the same age as they did prior to the widespread use of mammograms. (See chart below.) Increased use of mammography has accomplished little more than giving an increasing number of women the painful knowledge that they have breast cancer.

For more on The Mammogram Debate check out these posts:
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Heart Disease: Still Hitting the South Hard

Maybe heart disease should be considered an epidemic. Have you watched television lately? Every other commercial is for some sort of cholesterol-lowering medication. Goes to show you, there’s a lot of money to be made in disease. Well then, the pharmaceutical companies must be making a fortune in the south because according to the Associated Press, heart disease is still a big problem in the southern states. Tom Breen reports:
Mississippi had the highest fatality rate from cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease, at nearly 406 deaths per 100,000 people.

Oklahoma was next, with nearly 401 deaths per 100,000; Alabama, with 378 deaths; Tennessee, with nearly 374 deaths per 100,000; and West Virginia, with 373.

There were twice as many angioplasties recorded in Southern states as compared to other regions, and the report found similar ratios of bypass surgery, open-heart surgeries and pacemaker implants.

The Mammogram Debate: A Campaign of Fear

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

More than a decade ago, the American Cancer Society recommended that women get a baseline mammogram at age thirty-five, followed by annual screenings beginning at age forty. The campaign to position mammograms as the key weapon in the fight against breast cancer was initiated by the American Cancer Society, with a number of medical groups joining the fray. Instilling fear about breast cancer was a campaign strategy. To achieve this, the American Cancer Society used greatly exaggerated numbers and faulty math to overstate breast cancer risk. They admitted they did this—and continue to do it—to promote mammograms.1 They still trumpet the claim that women face a one-in-eight chance of developing breast cancer during their lifetimes.

Where does this one-in-eight figure come from? It is a cumulative probability derived from adding up all the chances a woman has of developing breast cancer between birth and age 110. Since women do not generally live that long, this figure is not based on reality. More sophisticated risk assessment gives the actual risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer before age sixty as about one in 500. Even women in their eighties do not face a one-in-eight chance of developing breast cancer. For example, at the age of seventy, the risk of developing breast cancer during the next ten years is one in twenty-three. In their zeal to help women, the American Cancer Society and other groups have created an epidemic of fear. Unfortunately, that fear has not been used to direct women to prevent breast cancer—by avoiding the causes of breast cancer. Rather, it has been used to convince women to think that using mammograms to find cancer after it already has developed is their best hope for survival.

For more on The Mammogram Debate check out these posts:
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Carnival of the Recipes - Say Goodbye to 2006 Edition

BookLore hosts this week's carnival of recipes. Be sure to check out Dr. Fuhrman’s post Too Weird Veggie Recipes. *Don't forget, not all recipes in the carnival are Fuhrman-friendly.