Eating to Live on the Outside: Taco Del Mar

Okay, I’ve been on the fence about this restaurant for a month now. Why? Well, it smacks of fast food. I nasty stigma I know, but, one not without merit. McDonald’s junk, Burger King junk, Arby’s junk, Wendy’s junk—do you see where I’m going with this? Clearly, a fast food restaurant would never be on an Eat to Liver’s radar. Or would it?

Do remember Chipotle? What about Baja Fresh? Both of these eateries are basically fast food restaurants, but, each received a glowing recommendation by me. The reason why? Well, they’re not your typical Kentucky-fried, double-whoppered, extra-cheesed standard American fast food restaurants. And as you’ll see, Taco Del Mar isn’t either, at least not totally.

Taco Del Mar’s menu is pretty short. In fact, you’ve only got five selections to choose from; Mondo Burritos, Tacos, Platters, Taco Salads, and Quesadillas. Okay, I know what you’re thinking—QUESADILLAS! Relax, these cheesy monstrosities are hopeless. So we’ve only got four items to pick from.

Let’s start with the burritos. According to the menu they come with tortilla, beans, meat, cheese, and pico de gallo. The beans are good and so is the pico de gallo, but the problem is everything else. I don’t eat dairy, so the cheese has got to go and refined flour tortillas aren’t exactly nutrient-dense, but I’d be willing to make that concession. Now, onto the meat, the menu boasts a bunch of different options; Carne Asada Steak, Ground Beef, Shredded Beef, Seasoned Pork, Braised Chicken, and Fish. Honestly, I wouldn’t order any of them. Maybe the fish, but who knows what kind it is and what the level of mercury contamination might be. So what should I do?

Well, Taco Del Mar’s menu also gives you the option to order your food vegetarian or vegan style. A great option for me, but the burritos don’t really come with a lot of veggies, so what’s the point? If I walked into Taco Del Mar, I wouldn’t be eyeballing the burritos. Let’s move onto something else, shall we?

Next up are the tacos. They’re prepared with tortilla, meat, cheese, lettuce, and pico de gallo. Again, the cheese is out the window and so is the meat. If I do that, I’m left with a totally veggie taco. Then my only concession would be the tortilla. This isn't terrible, especially for a fast food restaurant.

Okay, I just spent a few minutes starring at the Platters, and, I didn’t like what I saw. The Platters are a basically a dish of enchiladas and after I make all my Eat to Live modifications, well, it’s just not worth it. So I’m skipping that one and moving right onto the Taco Salads.

Salad is a great word if you’re a responsible eater. To me, salad means phytonutrients. And if I were eating at Taco Del Mar the Taco Salads would be my bastion of refuge. They’re made with a tortilla shell, beans, lettuce, cheese, pico de gallo, and meat. Alright, if you haven’t caught on by now, I’m basically applying the same logic over and over again. So—WHAM!—after I ditched the cheese and meat, I’m left a bunch of lettuce, beans, and pico de gallo inside a giant corn chip. Provided I go easy on the dressing and not nibble the tortilla, its not a bad option for an Eat to Liver stranded in a fast food restaurant.

In the end, Taco Del Mar isn’t a slam dunk for an Eat to Liver, nor is it as good as Chipotle or Baja Fresh. But, if I had to eat there—let me rephrase that—if you HAD to eat there, a veggie-fied taco or taco salad wouldn’t leave me feeling too upset with myself. Although, I still hold out very little hope for typical standard American fast food places, which explains why I haven’t even set foot into a fast food restaurant in many-many years.

So, how’d I do? I think I took on a tough challenge this week, one that I won’t be quick to do again. Have you ever been brave enough to try tackling a fast food restaurant? If you have, spill the beans. Email us at or leave a comment. Also, be sure to check out Taco Del Mar’s menu and tell us how do you Eat to Live on the outside?

Arthritis in the News

For a long time I thought arthritis was just one of those things that accompanied getting older, along with an AARP card, early-bird specials, and white shorts with suspenders. But, like a lot of degenerative diseases, Dr. Fuhrman insists they don’t have to be a part of your life. You can do something about it. In Eat to Live he talks about how nutrition impacts arthritis:
Working with patients with autoimmune diseases such as connective tissue diseases, myositis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus is very rewarding. These patients had been convinced they could never get well and are usually eternally grateful to be healthy again and not require medication.

An aggressive nutritional approach to autoimmune illnesses should always be tried first when the disease is in its infancy. Logically, the more advanced the disease is, and the more damage that has been done by the disease, the less likely the patient will respond. My experience with inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis is that some patients are more dietary-sensitive than others and that some patients have very high levels of inflammation that are difficult to curtail with natural therapy. Nevertheless, the majority benefit—and since the conventional drugs used to treat these types of illnesses are so toxic and have so many risky side effects, the dietary method should be tried first. Modern drugs often contribute to the disability and misery of patients with an autoimmune illness and increase cancer risk. Studies show that the long-term outcome is poor after twenty years of taking such medication.1 A recent study in the British Journal of Rheumatology showed the major drugs to treat rheumatoid arthritis, such as azathioprine, cyclophosphamide, chlorambucil, and methotrexate, increases the likelihood that the person will die of cancer.2
It’s too bad you don’t hear about more doctors embracing this approach. Well, sometimes they come close. In this study researchers have identified a protein that leads to development of arthritis. That kind of sounds like nutrition, right? Janice Billingsley of HealthDay News is on it:
By identifying a protein that appears to be one of the culprits in the unhealthy buildup of this fluid, which is called synovial fluid, Dr. Yasushi Miura and her colleagues at Kobe University School of Medicine hope that a new, targeted medication can be developed to treat the disease.

"The protein Decoy receptor 3 (DcR3) is one of the pathological factors of RA and can be a new therapeutic target for treatment," said Miura, an associate professor in the division of orthopedic sciences at the medical school.

Her findings are in the April issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, the journal of the American College of Rheumatology.

DcR3 is a member of the large tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR) "super family," which has been identified in the last decade as important in the regulation of cell growth and cell death, fundamental processes in biology, said Dr. Robert Hoffman, director of the division of rheumatology and immunology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida.

"We have known of the importance of cell growth and cell death in studying cancer but more recently have found that it is also important in autoimmune diseases like RA and lupus," he said.
Continue Reading...

Food Research Revealed

Ever wonder what’s involved in food research? Well look no further. Stephen Smith of The Boston Globe examines the process:
Now, gold-standard studies into food and its effects on our health require culinary mastery rivaling anything whipped up by a five-star restaurant, with dietitians spending months perfecting research menus that are both palatable and scientifically sound. (That means, for instance, not including too many olives or too much tarragon. People, it turns out, don't want olives and tarragon every day.)

Then there are the volunteers. They must pledge to never indulge their weaknesses and to always clean their plates, and, along the way, yield samples of blood, stool, or urine to measure the consequences of a particular vitamin or a whole diet.

"All of a sudden, you can't grab your favorite food anymore. They hate us because we did that to them," said Helen Rasmussen, a gregarious dietitian at Tufts whose job is to make science tasty. "I ask them how they respond to nagging from their mother -- at least they appreciate the warning."

Typically, the studies begin with a well-informed hunch. Researchers might know, for instance, that a certain nutrient has been shown in the lab or anecdotally to provide a health benefit.

Strawberries and the Hamster Dance

This little hamster munches on a strawberry, claps his hands, and then, charges the camera. Oh, and I’m issuing another extreme cuteness warning. Take a look:

Hooray for Blueberries!

Do you like blueberries? I do. Dr. Fuhrman is a big fan of blueberries too. He shows them some major love in One of Nature's Best Foods:
One cup of blueberries contain 80 calories and a whole pint gives you about 225 calories. Like all other foods, the calories in blueberries come from its macro nutrients - 56 grams of carbohydrate, 1.5 grams of fat and 2.7 grams of protein. But it is blueberries' micro nutrient content that packs the most impressive wallop. Blueberries are packed with tannins, anthocyanins that have been linked to prevention - and even reversal - of age related mental decline and anti-cancer effects.
And here are some more good words for blueberries. HealthDay News reports blueberries may help curb colon cancer. Juhie Bhatia is on it:
Blueberries, already touted as a super food because they may protect against memory loss and heart disease, could help stop the development of colon cancer, a new study finds.

The study showed that a natural compound called pterostilbene -- found in blueberries and other fruits -- helped prevent pre-cancerous colon lesions in rats.

"Pterostilbene is an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory agent that is mostly found in blueberries and blackberries," said study leader Bandaru Reddy, a research professor at Rutgers University's Susan Lehman Cullman Laboratory for Cancer Research, in Piscataway, N.J. "We tested it using a rat model that is very similar to the human situation. Several other compounds tested using this model in the past are already in human trials."

The study was conducted by researchers at Rutgers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and was funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute. The findings were presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Chicago.

Beef Bad for the Boys

Hey mom! Where’s the beef? Hopefully not on her plate because according to a new study women who eat a lot of beef while pregnant may give birth to sons who grow up to have low sperm counts. Good thing my mom has never eaten a lot of red meat. I have enough problems with women as it is. More form Reuters:
They believe pesticides, hormones or contaminants in cattle feed may be to blame. Chemicals can build up in the fat of animals that eat contaminated feed or grass, and cattle are routinely given hormones to boost their growth.

"In sons of 'high beef consumers' (more than seven beef meals a week), sperm concentration was 24.3 percent lower," the researchers wrote in their report, published in the journal Human Reproduction.

The team at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York studied data on the partners of 387 pregnant women in five U.S. cities between 2000 and 2005, and on the mothers of the fathers-to-be.

Of the 51 men whose mothers remembered eating the most beef, 18 percent had sperm counts classified by the World Health Organization as sub-fertile.
I have to admit, this report makes me a little nervous. Now every time I drive past a burger joint I’m afraid it’ll have the same effect as a cold swimming pool. Okay, all kidding aside, meat can be a rather troublesome food. And its not just beef, in Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman talks about some of the problems with chicken:
Chicken has about the same amount of cholesterol as beef, and the production of those potent cancer-causing compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are even more concentrated in grilled chicken than in beef.1 Another recent study from New Zealand that investigated heterocyclic amines in meat, fish, and chicken found the greatest contributor of HCAs to cancer risk was chicken.2 Likewise, studies indicated that chicken is almost as dangerous as red meat for the heart. Regarding cholesterol, there is no advantage to eating lean white instead of lean red meat.3
Continue Reading...

Why We Are Losing the War on Cancer: Causes vs. Results

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

For those of us who live in developed countries with running water, flush toilets, electricity, refrigeration, and modern transportation methods, the three leading causes of death for the past seventy-five years have been heart disease, cancer, and stroke. Recently, cancer has been declared the leading cause of death for people under eighty years old.

Infectious disease incidence and death rates from infections plummeted in developed countries soon after refrigeration, plumbing, and flush toilets were introduced. Dramatic increases in average life span in many developed nations also occurred as a result of the decline in deaths of women in labor and the decline in deaths from infant and early childhood deaths that came about with advances in sanitation, obstetrical, and perinatal medical care.

It is critical to note that heart attacks, stroke, and cancer are not causes of death. They are the terminal results of a disease process that began years earlier. The primary causes of these three deadly diseases are poor diet, smoking, alcohol consumption, and physical inactivity.

A 1993 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association1 ranked the actual causes of death in the 1990s as follows: 1) tobacco, 2) poor diet and physical inactivity, and 3) alcohol consumption. Fast forward 15 years to the present, and we have even greater problems, with an explosion of obesity, diabetes, and other diseases of nutritional ignorance.

The problem we are seeing today is the occurrence of obesity and diabetes at an earlier age and in much greater proportions of our population. It forebodes an explosion in heart disease and cancer in upcoming years. This will likely be the first generation of children in modern history whose average life span will be significantly shorter compared with their parents. With the dramatic increase in soft drinks, cheese, convenience foods, and fast foods, the future health of America and our economic system could be severely compromised due in part to rapidly sky rocketing medical costs. Many American companies are already in financial difficulties and are being forced to move overseas secondary to rapidly escalating health-care costs.

Here's more on this topic:
Continue Reading...

Pizza for Health?

Every week or so a report comes out that makes me want to bash my head against the wall. Like this one for example. Blogging Baby passes on new research claiming pizza can be healthy, yeah, I said pizza. Take a look:
If your kids -- or you, even -- are overly fond of pizza, there is good news coming out of Maryland. food chemists at the University of Maryland have found that by optimizing baking and fermentation methods, they can increase the levels of antioxidants in pizza dough. Bonus points if you like the deep-dish, Chicago-style pizzas -- their thicker crust and longer baking times "may have the potential to deliver higher levels of antioxidants in comparison to other pizza styles," says study co-author Jeffrey Moore.
Now I know I’m defying my Italian blood on this one, but, Dr. Fuhrman makes it pretty clear that cheese, is far from health-promoting. In fact, he considers cheese one of the worst foods you can eat:
Worst Seven Foods for Health and Longevity
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Potato Chips and French Fries
  • Doughnuts
  • Salt
  • Sausage, hot dogs
  • Pickled, smoked or barbequed meat
In Eat to Live he points out that dairy products, including cheese, are also loaded with harmful compounds called dioxins:
Dioxin is a highly toxic chemical compound that even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency admits is a prominent cause of many types of cancer in those consuming dairy fat, such as butter and cheese.1
Now the crazy part of this report is we’ve heard this before. A few months back Domino’s tried to convince us that pizza is actually a health food. No bull! From Nutrient-Dense Pizza:
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.
Tisk, tisk, tisk.
Continue Reading...

Television Ads and Junk Food

Get a load of this next report. New research has determined that most of the commercials that kids are exposed too are for junk food. Not a real shocker here. Growing up some of my most vivid T.V. memories are Cinnamon Toast Crunch and McDonalds advertisements—robble, robble! Kevin Freking of the Associated Press reports:
For years, health officials have warned that kids were being inundated with commercials about not-so-healthy foods. Now, researchers have put numbers to those warnings in the largest-ever study of commercials aimed at children.

"The vast majority of the foods that kids see advertised on television today are for products that nutritionists would tell us they need to be eating less of, not more of, if we're going to get a handle on childhood obesity," said Vicky Rideout of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which conducts health research.

Overall, the foundation's researchers monitored 13 television networks. The viewing took place primarily between late May and early September 2005. They saw 2,613 ads featuring food and drinks that targeted children and teens.

Children ages 8-12 see the most food ads on TV — an average of 21 a day, or 7,600 a year. Teenagers see slightly fewer — 17 a day, or about 6,000 a year; and children ages 2-7 see the fewest — 12 a day or 4,400 a year.

Healthy Mushy Desserts

Avocado Currant Pudding
2 avocados
1 medium banana
4 cups (about 4 ounces) organic baby spinach
1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
1/2 cup date sugar
1/2 cup currants or raisins
1 tablespoon unsweetened, shredded coconut, for garnish
Blend all ingredients, except currants and coconut, in a Vita-Mix or other powerful blender until smooth and creamy. Pour into bowl and stir in currants. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Stir and sprinkle with coconut. Serves 3.

Apple Pecan Pudding
2 cups dried apples
2 cups soy milk
2 cups pecans
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon cinnamon
5 medjol dates
Soak dried apples in soy milk overnight. Blend with remaining ingredients in the morning and place in muffin pan or a few small ceramic ovenware bowls. Bake at 200 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool in refrigerator before serving. Serves 5.

Strawberry Parfait
1 banana
1 frozen banana
1 ounce walnuts
3/4 cup unsweetened soy milk
2 cups strawberries
Make layer 1. Put both bananas, walnuts, 1/2 cup of soy milk in blender and blend. Pour half of the mixture out into two glasses. Cut off the tops of the strawberries and cut into bite-size pieces. A teaspoon works well for this. Add them to the "vanilla" ice cream layer.

Make layer 2. Put the rest (except 2 for garnish) of the “de-topped” strawberries in the blender with the rest of the soy milk. Blend. Put on top of the "vanilla" ice cream. Swirl with a spoon. Garnish with a strawberry. Serves 2.

Grand Rounds

The new Grand Rounds is up! It’s over at MedViews. Make sure you check out Followhealthlife’s submission High-Fat Diet Ups Breast Cancer Risk.

Have a Drink, But Which One?

Here’s a curious little report from The New York Times. Last year, the Unilever Health Institute published a “Beverage Guidance System” in order to help people make more informed beverage choices. It’s worth noting that Unilever also owns Lipton Tea, keep that in mind. Jane E. Brody reports:
Coffee, Tea and Caffeine
Here the news is better. Several good studies have linked regular coffee consumption to a reduced risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, colorectal cancer and, in men and in women who have not taken postmenopausal hormones, Parkinson’s disease.

Most studies have not linked a high intake of either coffee or caffeine to heart disease, even though caffeinated coffee raises blood pressure somewhat and boiled unfiltered coffee (French-pressed and espresso) raises harmful LDL and total cholesterol levels.

Caffeine itself is not thought to be a problem for health or water balance in the body, up to 400 milligrams a day (the amount in about 30 ounces of brewed coffee). But pregnant women should limit their intake because more than 300 milligrams a day might increase the risk of miscarriage and low birth weight, the panel said.

Mice prone to an Alzheimer’s-like disease were protected by drinking water spiked with caffeine equivalent to what people get from five cups of coffee a day. And a study of more than 600 men suggested that drinking three cups of coffee a day protects against age-related memory and thinking deficits.
Okay, Unilever’s research does a nice job bashing sweetened drinks and alcohol, but—and Dr. Fuhrman would agree—it goes way too easy on milk, and, pulls a lot of punches when it comes to caffeinated beverages. Again, a major tea-producer is behind this report. Now I’m no lawyer, but in the court of life, shouldn’t this research be thrown out the window?

So, allow Followhealthlife to provide objective criticism on caffeinated beverages, and what the heck, milk too. Let’s start with caffeine, Dr. Fuhrman talks about it in Eat to Live:
Caffeine addicts are at higher risk of cardiac arrhythmias that could precipitate sudden death.1 Coffee raises blood pressure and raises cholesterol and homocysteine, two risk factors for heart disease.2
And a little more on caffeine from Disease-Proof Your Child:
Caffeine has been a controversial topic for decades. Evidence clearly concludes that heavy coffee drinkers have an increased risk of miscarriage and low birth weight infants, but evidence is not clear for moderate users of caffeine.3 Nevertheless, is wise to stay away from as many potentially harmful substances as possible. The bottom line, if in doubt, don’t do it.
I agree with Dr. Fuhrman on this one. I used to drink a lot of coffee, which contributed to intense bouts with gastiris—that often landed me in the hospital! But, since I ditched the coffee/caffeine cold-turkey and began eating my weight in fruits and veggies, I haven’t had a problem since. Okay, now what about milk? From Disease-Proof Your Child:
The leading cause of digestive intolerance leading to stomach complaints is dairy products. Many kids have subtle allergies to cow's milk that perpetuate their nasal congestion, leading to ear infections.

Milk, which is designed by nature for the rapidly growing cow, has about half its calories supplied from fat. The fatty component is concentrated more to make cheese and butter. Milk and cheese are the foods 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.
Pretty scary stuff, right? Now this report makes me wonder. For example, what if Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch, Lipton Tea, and The American Dairy Association had all gotten together to publish this beverage guide? Seems to me that all four beverage choices would have received a glowing endorsement—aren’t hidden agendas grand! That's why I drink water.

Curious about alcohol and soft drinks, check out these previous posts:
Continue Reading...

The Sugar-Blocker Diet

Fad diets are like rabbits, look way for second and—BAM—there’s another one. Now introducing a medicinal herb that promises to make all senses of sweetness disappear—PRESTO CHANGE-O! Jamie Talan of Newsday is on it:
An ingredient of a plant used for centuries as a medicinal herb in India can block receptors in the mouth from tasting sweet foods. Using a concentrated form of this ingredient, a company has developed a tablet that, when sucked or chewed, rapidly makes all sense of sweetness disappear for up to 30 minutes…

…George Kontonotas, president of Genotec Nutritionals Inc. in Commack, N.Y., says it helps overweight people resist sugary snacks and removes the sweet taste from tobacco smoke.

He says cigarette manufacturers put at least 20 substances into cigarettes, including cloves and apple juice extract, to make smoking more palatable. When sweet receptors on the tongue cannot sense those tastes, "the true taste of tobacco is awful."
Now that’s marketing at its finest, “Well, well, the cigarette companies do it. So why can’t we?” I actually feel stupider after reading this report. One more of these and you’ll find me curled up in the corner sucking my thumb.

High Blood Sugar and Cancer

The Diabetes Blog relays new research linking high blood sugar to cancer risk:
Researchers identified 2,478 incident cases of cancer from records of 33,293 women and 31,304 men who participated in the study. Participants were recruited in the mid-1980s at age 40, 50 and 60 and the study covered a 13-year period. The records included levels of glucose in the blood when fasting and after receiving an infusion of glucose. Researchers calculated the cancer risk relative to blood glucose while adjusting for: age, year of enrollment, fasting time and smoking status. Women with blood sugar levels higher than normal have a total higher risk for cancer while for men the risk was unchanged at higher blood sugar levels. The overall risk of developing cancer for women in the top 25% of fasting blood glucose levels was 26% higher than those in the bottom 25%. Women with high fasting glucose levels had a higher risk of pancreatic, breast and endometrial cancers, while the increase in risk for malignant melanoma was two times higher.

Farmers Markets, That Float

Now I enjoy shopping at the local farmers market, but this might keep me away:

Unless of course, I could wear water-wings.

The Myth of Anti-Aging Hormones: An Expensive Bad Habit

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

Real growth hormone is very expensive—treatment costs about $1,000 per month. It can stimulate growth in children, but children treated with growth hormone are more likely to develop diabetes and heart disease at younger ages.

Taking hormones cannot take the place of superior nutrition. The most effective way to maintain excellent health is to work to maintain your fitness and good health. People who exercise, stay fit, and maintain a lean body mass are less likely to see a dramatic reduction in growth hormone as they age. Giving growth hormone to adults who are overweight and in poor physical condition has not been shown to significantly increase exercise capacity or reduce body weight. No studies have shown that taking growth hormone actually enhances or lengthens life.

It is vitally important that people know that growth hormone has been shown to raise blood pressure and serum glucose, increase insulin levels, and promote or worsen the tendency for diabetes. Higher insulin and glucose are well-established to speed aging and accelerate heart disease. Taking growth hormone for its slight muscle building properties seems foolish, at best, since raising your glucose level is very likely to shorten your life, not lengthen it.

All the e-mail spam promoting amino acids that supposedly increase natural secretion of growth hormone is nothing more than a scam. The claims that their products can build muscle, reduce body fat, improve sex life, enhance sleep quality, improve vision, restore hair growth and color, and turn back your biological clock are false. The only claim they make that is accurate is that it won’t make you rich.

These marketers aren’t actually selling growth hormone. They are selling amino acids (arginine) that they falsely claim will raise growth hormone levels. Intravenous arginine, not oral arginine, can raise growth hormone slightly—for less than an hour, but even this rise is insignificant. These products are just fakes. Fortunately, because they don’t raise growth hormone levels, they are unlikely to be as dangerous as if they actually did. The best anti-aging medicine is superior nutrition in conjunction with regular exercise. The good news is you can get this without a prescription; the bad news is you actually have to earn good health—you just can’t buy it.

Here’s more on this topic:

Diet-Blog on Portion Sizes

At most restaurants portion sizes are borderline monstrous. It’s basically a badge of courage to over eat. Diet-Blog talks about it:
An entree alone can set you back about 2,000 calories – the average amount you would need in an entire day.

What are restaurants' interests in continuing to serve such huge portions?

One could argue that if restaurants cut back on the amount of food served, they would automatically save money – just from the diminished need to buy large quantities of food.
But is that what would really happen?

Americans have come to expect the large volume of food served at restaurants. They are hungry and seem to assume this is a “normal meal.”

If restaurants started serving smaller meals, I believe Americans would just find something else that suited them better – namely, more food. Business would wane, and various eateries would have no choice but to start serving more food again.

What's a Flavonoid?

For starters, it’s the not thing in the Domino’s Pizza commercials from the 80s—that’s the Noid. Flavonoids are a little different. According to Dr. Fuhrman flavonoids are important health-promoting antioxidant phytochemicals found in a variety of plant foods. Here are a few notable sources:
Pomegranate Power
“Pomegranates' potent antioxidant compounds have also been shown to reduce platelet aggregation and naturally lower blood pressure, factors that prevent both heart attacks and strokes.1 Pomegranates contain high levels of flavonoids and polyphenols, potent antioxidants offering protection against heart disease and cancer. A glass of pomegranate juice has more antioxidants than red wine, green tea, blueberries, and cranberries.”

Ten Super Foods to Use in Your Recipes and Menus
“Blueberries/Blackberries are packed with tannins, anthocyanidins, flavonoids, polyphenols, and proanthcyanidins that have been linked to prevention and reversal of age-related mental decline. They also have powerful anti-cancer effects. Use frozen organic berries in the winter when fresh ones are not available.”

It's Lime Time
“Nutritionally limes are a very good source of vitamin C, as mentioned before, and a good source of dietary fiber, calcium, iron and copper and they are low in sodium. They also contain the flavonoids called flavonol glycosides which have antibiotic properties and are said to stop cell division in many cancer cell lines. Due to the high vitamin C levels and antibiotic properties they are a natural way to prevent gum disease and to ease bacterial infections and colds. They are also a remedy for indigestion, heartburn, and nausea.”
Now these are only the tip of the iceberg. Dr. Fuhrman points out that flavonoids can also be found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli. From Popeye Was Right--Greens Pack a Powerful Punch:
Now, which has more vitamin E or vitamin C--broccoli or steak? I'm sure you are aware that steak has no vitamin C or vitamin E. It is also almost totally lacking in fiber, folate, vitamin A, beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, vitamin K, flavonoids, and thousands of other protective phytochemicals. Meat does have certain vitamins and minerals, but even when we consider the nutrients that meat does contain, broccoli has lots more of them. For many important nutrients, broccoli has more than ten times as much as steak. The only exception is vitamin B12, which is not found in plant fare.
So why list all these foods? Because of America’s tendency to romanticize magic beans and miracle cures, that’s why. From ginkgo biloba to protein bars, to ephedra and diet soda, we love quick fixes. And this next report only perpetuates that love affair. According to HealthDay News flavonoids in dark chocolate can boost the function of blood vessels. Robert Preidt reports:
Cocoa is rich in a group of antioxidant compounds called flavonoids, which are also found in fruits and vegetables, wine and green tea. Research suggests that consumption of foods rich in flavonoids may decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The study, conducted by researchers at the Yale Prevention Research Center in Connecticut, included 45 healthy people with a body mass index (BMI) between 25 and 35 kg/m2. The participants were divided into three groups that ate either eight ounces of cocoa without sugar; cocoa with sugar; or a placebo.
Here’s a question. Why bother with the candy? Sure, dark chocolate might have this healthful property, but why risk it? Instead of trying to dupe yourself into not feeling guilty about downing a bag of chocolate, wouldn’t it be smarter to get flavonoids from more health-promoting sources? Like maybe one of the ones Dr. Fuhrman mentions. What do you think?
Continue Reading...

Angioplasties Not the Answer

You never like to read news like this, but, this is the sad state of modern medicine. According to the Associated Press a new study has determined that a lot of angioplasties preformed every year are unneeded:
More than half a million people a year with chest pain are getting an unnecessary or premature procedure to unclog their arteries because drugs are just as effective, suggests a landmark study that challenges one of the most common practices in heart care.

The stunning results found that angioplasty did not save lives or prevent heart attacks in non-emergency heart patients.

An even bigger surprise: Angioplasty gave only slight and temporary relief from chest pain, the main reason it is done.

"By five years, there was really no significant difference" in symptoms, said Dr. William Boden of Buffalo General Hospital in New York. "Few would have expected such results."

He led the study and gave results Monday at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology. They also were published online by the New England Journal of Medicine and will be in the April 12 issue.

Angioplasty remains the top treatment for people having a heart attack or hospitalized with worsening symptoms. But most angioplasties are done on a non-emergency basis, to relieve chest pain caused by clogged arteries crimping the heart's blood supply.

Those patients now should try drugs first, experts say. If that does not help, they can consider angioplasty or bypass surgery, which unlike angioplasty, does save lives, prevent heart attacks and give lasting chest pain relief.
Now, Dr. Fuhrman is not about to subscribe to the “try drugs first” adage, but, he’s no fan of the angioplasties either. In fact, he discusses their problems in Cholesterol Protection For Life:
Bypass surgery and angioplasty only attempt to treat a small segment of the diseased heart, usually with only temporary benefit. Since atherosclerotic plaque blankets all the vessels in the heart, bypassing or removing the most diseased portion, still does not address all the shallow and non-obstructive lipid deposits. The major burden of disease is left intact and therefore the potential for a deadly heart attack is largely unaffected. The vast majority of patients who undergo these interventions do not have fewer new heart attacks or longer survival. The procedures themselves expose the patients to more risk of new heart attacks, strokes, infection, encephalopathy, and death. In addition, the symptomatic benefits erode with time.

Since these mechanical interventions do not address the cause of the disease and only treat the symptoms it is not surprising that the patients undergoing bypass and angioplasty experience disease progression, graft shutdown, restenosis, and more procedures because their heart disease continues to advance. The vast majority of these treated patients needlessly die prematurely from heart disease because their disease remains essentially untreated.

Broken Heart, Drug

Oh no, bad news. It’s a sad day for big pharma. It seems Pfizer’s new heart drug isn’t all its cracked up to be. Marilynn Marchione of the Associated Press reports:
Heart specialists have been anxious to know whether the problems extend to all such drugs and doom this approach.

"A lot of people think it's the next big thing, and we'll need to understand what went wrong with torcetrapib to move forward," said Dr. Steven Nissen, a Cleveland Clinic heart specialist who is president of the American College of Cardiology.

The new studies, reported at the group's conference, gave a mixed answer. The Pfizer drug seems uniquely risky, but other drugs have problems, too.

And even though they and the Pfizer drug raised HDL good cholesterol as intended, that made no difference in the odds of heart attacks or deaths, or key measures of cholesterol buildup in arteries.

The Myth of Anti-Aging Hormones: Doctors Repeating Mistakes

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

Hormone-replacement therapy is one of the few areas of medicine where research on men lags behind that on women. Doctors prescribed estrogen for women for twenty years, until about three years ago when comprehensive data was compiled that showed it increased the risk of heart attacks, strokes, embolisms, and breast cancer. Today, women are being weaned off their estrogen. Unfortunately, now men are being put on testosterone. Doctors are doing to men what they did to women for so long—prescribing treatment without sufficient data to reach a firm conclusion on all of the potential benefits and risks.

Indicating a startling trend, a recent study on testosterone by the Institute of Medicine found that prescriptions written for “treatment” of middle-aged and older men whose hormone levels were near normal were rising rapidly. More than 1.75 million prescriptions for testosterone products were written in 2002, a 170 percent increase in three years.

Many studies have shown that higher testosterone levels, promoted by a diet rich in animal products, are strongly linked with both breast and prostate cancer. This link is stronger than the link between estrogen and its related health problems. For older men, studies indicate that higher levels of testosterone fuel the growth of prostate tumors, which is why chemical castration is one means of treating the disease in the advanced stages. The problem is that prostate cancer begins many years before it can be detected by blood tests or examination. So, taking testosterone can change an indolent (hidden and slow-growing) cancer into a more aggressive one.

Aging does not guarantee that a particular man’s testosterone will decline to a level that affects how he feels. Men who maintain the body weight they had in their twenties and eat healthfully may have very little falloff. When a person eats a healthful plant-centered diet, their hormonal levels (this is true of both testosterone and estrogen) will be lower, not higher, throughout life. Then, as they get older, the percentage of decline will be less dramatic. Additionally, since the body is accustomed to lower than average levels for all those years, the hormonal receptors are increased in number, so the effects of the age-related decline in hormones are hardly noticed.

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved testosterone therapy for men who suffer from hypogonadism, a condition in which the body makes very little testosterone, it has not passed it for other uses. Their concern is that, unless there is a profound testosterone deficiency, the disadvantages may outweigh the advantages. Yet this is not the way testosterone is being prescribed today. Doctors are prescribing testosterone for men who are experiencing a normal age-related decline in testosterone in an attempt to enhance their virility and strength. It is rarely successful.

Testosterone replacement may be warranted in the very small subset of men with markedly decreased testosterone levels and symptoms or signs suggesting hypogonadism, and these individuals may experience an increase in the quality of their lives. But even they must be informed that the long-term safety of testosterone supplementation remains uncertain.

Here’s more on this topic:

More Low-Carb Junk

Have we entered a parallel universe or something? Because why the heck have low-carb diets been in the news so much lately? Maybe the early daylight savings time is throwing off people’s better judgment. Any way, get a load of this new study singing the praises of the low-carb fad. Reuters is on it:

After 12 weeks on the low-carb plan, study participants had lost an average of 4.9 kilograms (10.8 pounds), compared to 2.5 kg (5.5 pounds) for their peers on the low-fat diet.

However, after the weight-maintenance phase of the study, which lasted another 24 weeks, differences between the two groups in weight loss and fat mass remained, but were no longer statistically significant.

The findings confirm that the low-carb diet tested in the study is a "reasonable alternative" to cutting fat and controlling portions in order to maintain a healthy weight, Dr. Kevin C. Maki of Radiant Research in Chicago and colleagues conclude.

The approach Maki's team tested -- a reduced-glycemic-load (RGL) diet -- required people to restrict their carbohydrate intake and eat more low glycemic index (GI) foods, meaning foods that produce a relatively small, gradual increase in blood sugar levels. Low GI foods generally are rich in fiber, consist of more complex carbohydrates, and include vegetables, beans and whole grains.

What amazes me about low-carb news is you never get the whole story. For example, according to Dr. Fuhrman high-fat low-carb diets like the Atkins fad come with an increased risk of cancer, funny how you never hear about this. More on this from Increased Risk of Cancer Associated with The Atkins Diet:

Atkins recommends that you eat primarily high-fat, high-protein, fiberless animal foods and attempt to eliminate carbohydrates from your diet. Atkins's menus average 60-75 percent of calories from fat and contain no whole grains and nor fruit. Analyses of the proposed menus show animal products make up more than 90 percent of the calories in the diet.

Hundreds of scientific studies have documented the link between animal products and various cancers. Though it would be wrong to say that animal foods are the sole cause of cancer it is now clear that increased consumption of animal products combined with the decreased consumption of fresh produce has the most powerful effect on increasing one's risk for various kinds of cancer. Atkins convinces his followers that he knows better than leading nutritional research scientists who proclaim that "meat consumption is an important factor in the etiology of human cancer."1

So then, what foods decrease your risk of cancer? I’ll let Dr. Fuhrman explain, more the from post:

Atkins devotees adopt a dietary pattern completely opposite of what is recommended by the leading research scientists studying the link between diet and cancer.2 Specifically, fruit exclusion alone is a significant cancer marker. Stomach and esophageal cancer are linked to populations that do not consume a sufficient amount of fruit.3 Scientific studies show a clear and strong dose-response relationship between cancers of the digestive tract, bladder, and prostate with low fruit consumption.4 To the surprise of many investigators, fruit consumption shows a powerful dose-response association with a reduction in heart disease, cancer, and all-cause mortality.5 There is also a striking consistency in many scientific investigations that show a reduction in incidence of colorectal and stomach cancer with the intake of whole grains.6 Colon cancer is strongly associated with the consumption of animal products.7 And these researchers have concluded that the varying level of colon cancer in the low-incidence population compared with the high-incidence population could not be explained by "protective" factors such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals; rather, it was influenced almost totally by the consumption of animal products and fat.


Continue Reading...

Mercury in Fish, Better Alert the World!

Mankind has a lot of nasty habits. Arguably the worst is our tendency to pollute. We pollute the air with smog, television with American Idol, and the ocean with Mercury. And, mercury contamination probably goes unrealized by millions of people everyday. This report by EurekAlert confirms it:
The health risks posed by mercury contaminated fish is sufficient to warrant issuing a worldwide general warning to the public — especially children and women of childbearing age-to be careful about how much and which fish they eat. That is one of the key findings comprising "The Madison Declaration on Mercury Pollution" published today in a special issue of the international science journal Ambio.

Developed at the Eighth International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant last August in Madison, Wis., the declaration is a synopsis of the latest scientific knowledge about the danger posed by mercury pollution. It presents 33 principal findings from five synthesis papers prepared by the world's leading mercury scientists and published in the same issue of Ambio. The declaration and supporting papers summarize what is currently known about the sources and movement of mercury in the atmosphere, the socioeconomic and health effects of mercury pollution on human populations, and its effects on the world's fisheries and wildlife.
Dr. Fuhrman has been screaming about the dangers of mercury contamination for a long time. He issues a lot of warnings in Eat to Live, take a look:
Fish is a double-edged sword, especially because fish has been shown to increase heart attack risk if polluted with mercury.1 It seems that the cardioprotective effects of eating a little fish is lost when you eat lots of fish, most likely because lots of fish exposes you to high mercury levels, which can promote lipid peroxidation.3 Lipid peroxidation plays a major role in the development of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis…

… Higher levels of mercury found in mothers who eat more fish have been associated with birth defects, seizures, mental retardation, developmental disabilities, and cerebral palsy.2 This is mostly the result of women having eaten fish when they were pregnant. Scientists believe that fetuses are much more sensitive to mercury exposure than adults, although adults do suffer from varying degrees of brain damage from fish consumption.3 Even the FDA, which normally ignores reports on the dangers of our dangerous food practices, acknowledges that large fish such as shark, swordfish, and yellowfin and bluefin tuna, are potentially dangerous. Researchers are also concerned about other toxins concentrated in fish that can cause brain damage way before the cancers caused by chemical-carrying fish appear.
Now, I barely eat any animal products anymore, but, from time to time I do like a nice piece of fish. So, what’s safe and what’s not safe to eat? Back to Eat to Live:
Fish with Highest and Lowest Mercury Levels

  • tilefish
  • swordfish
  • mackerel
  • shark
  • white snapper
  • tuna
  • salmon
  • flounder
  • sole
  • tilapia
  • trout
Okay, even though Dr. Fuhrman points to these five varieties of fish as safer choices, he still warns that people shouldn’t eat fish more than twice a week.
Continue Reading...

Invasion of the Veggie Eating Squirrels

Not only are these tiny squirrels very cute, but, they’re also quite the veggie enthusiasts. Enjoy:

For more veggie loving animals, check out these previous posts:

Obesity: The Dutch to the Rescue!

Isn’t ironic that the people responsible for some of world’s richest chocolates are now on a mission to invent foods that prevent obesity? That’d be like Marlboro coming out with a line of dietary supplements! Anna Mudeva of Reuters explains:
The Top Institute Food and Nutrition (TIFN), funded by the Dutch government and food groups like CSM Anglo-Dutch Unilever, is also developing food ingredients which can stop an obese person from developing diabetes.

"We are working on certain food ingredients, which provoke more satiety than others do on the long run, so that our partners can use them in food manufacturing," said Professor Robert-Jan Brummer, program director at TIFN.

"These products should trigger satiety and stop us eating more and more. They should also meet our dietary requirements, have a very good taste and be enjoyable to eat," he told Reuters.
Brummer declined to give details, saying it was a commercial secret, but added these nutrients could eventually be used in any kind of food from drinks to spreads and bread.

Several other research centers in the world are working to develop nutrients that could prevent obesity but Brummer said that none of them, including his own, had achieved big breakthroughs so far.
Didn’t mother nature already invent obesity-preventing foods? Aren’t they called fruits and vegetables? Uh duh!

Your Job Can Make You Fat!

Add it to the list. Not only can work make you crazy, manic, irritated, annoyed, and just plain angry, now it seems your chosen profession can also make you fat. Reuters reports:
The more job strain men and women reported, the more likely they were to become obese, Dr. Eric J. Brunner of the Royal Free and University College London Medical School and colleagues found. Higher stress levels were also tied to excess fat around the middle, which is particularly harmful for health.

Chronic stress has been linked to heart disease and the metabolic syndrome, a constellation of symptoms including excess belly fat that increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, Brunner and his team note. They hypothesized that job stress might make people more likely to develop obesity during adulthood as well.
I can speak from experience on this one. I used to have a miserable office job, by the time I quit, I bloated to the size of a baby elephant—a very surly baby elephant.

"Dinner and a Movie" - Carnival of Recipes

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

Eating to Live on the Outside: Wholly Tomato!

Hopefully the altitude doesn’t bother you, because Eating to Live on the Outside is heading to Colorado, Denver to be exact. What’s in Denver? Wholly Tomato! No, I’m not trying to sound like the old Batman television show. Wholly Tomato is actually the name of this week’s restaurant. So, if there’s a veggie in the name, it’s got to be good, right? Well, let’s see.

For starters, Wholly Tomato’s menu is pretty cool. It’s actually divided into two parts, Carnivore and Herbivore. Now, if you’re like me, you’re going straight for Herbivore. Why? Because the Carnivore section isn’t exactly loaded with foods Dr. Fuhrman considers health-promoting. Yeah, last time I checked bacon, cheese, and sausage don’t rank too highly on the Fuhrmometer. So let’s just pretend this portion of the menu doesn’t exist, shall we?

Okay, back to the Herbivore dishes. Honestly, they’re not perfect. Some of them need a little work, especially the ones with cheese, but, they’ve got potential. Alright, the first one I’d order would be the Nebuchadnezzar sandwich. And right off the bat there’s a concession. It’s a sandwich, so there’s bread, but let me cushion the blow. I’m going with the Agave whole wheat bread. Given the feel of this menu, I’d bet that this bread is very rustic and full of whole grains. So I don’t feel too bad about it. And, once you get past the bread you’ll see it comes with things like avocado, tomato, sprouts, roasted garlic hummus, and swiss cheese. Yeah, you guessed it—adios cheese! Now clearly I’m excited about the avocado, but, the hummus gives me pause. Why? Well I suspect that it’s made with at least some olive oil, again, according to Dr. Fuhrman not exactly a healthful food. Although I’ll stick with it, but I’m invoking my standby justification—I don’t eat out very often, so I can deal with a little olive oil. What do you think?

The other sandwich to catch my eye was the Barbar-Bella, although it also needs a little tweaking. First off, the melted swiss cheese is going out the window. I don’t do diary—no exceptions! So, once you’ve ditched the cheese and relaxed about the whole wheat bread, you’re left with roasted portabella mushrooms, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and a light dijonaise. The portabellas look good, so do the tomatoes and romaine lettuce, but the dijonaise also has to hit the bricks. Why? Well, to the best of my knowledge dijonaise is a mix of mustard and mayonnaise—I could be wrong on this—if I am wrong, the dijoniase can stay, but if I’m right, I’ll repeat what I said last week. I’d rather lick a Manhattan sidewalk on a hot summer day than eat mayonnaise. If you know what dijoniase is made with, please give me a heads up.

Moving on, a couple of the Bowls are looking real good, in particular the Quin Kong and the Acropolis. Let’s start with the Quin Kong. It’s made with quinoa, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, green peppers, light olive oil, and tamari sauce. Quinoa! You don’t find that popping up on too many menus. Actually, I’ve never eaten it before, so this would be a great opportunity to give it a whirl. Clearly the veggies are great, but the tamari sauce and the olive oil give me pause. Since the tamari sauce is loaded with salt, I’m ditching it. And for the sake of adding a little more flavor, I’ll keep the olive oil, which will be my concession. Now the Acropolis, it comes with roasted vegetables, brown rice, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, cucumbers, capers, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and feta cheese. Okay, I’m tossing the capers, feta cheese, and the olive oil. Capers are salty, I don’t eat cheese, and since Acropolis includes balsamic vinegar, I don’t need the oil for added flavor. So with that being said, the brown rice would be my only major concession—I just have to make sure I run an extra mile at the gym to make up for it.

Wholly Tomato also offers up a variety of salads. Salads are usually a great safe haven for an Eat to Liver. Let’s see how Wholly Tomato’s salads stack up. Well, they look okay, but each requires some futzing with. Like a lot of restaurant salads they’re prepared with things that don’t look so good, like cheese and various bread or pasta strips. Take the Asian salad for example. It comes with Asian vegetables, mixed greens, fresh pineapple, a light sesame dressing, and rice noodles. I’m digging the veggies and of course I’m going easy on the dressing, but rice noodles? Why ruin a salad with refined pasta? Yup, you guessed it, sayonara rice noodles! The other salad to snatch my attention is the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean is made with roasted vegetables, mixed greens, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, artichoke hearts, capers, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and pita slices. Okay, kiss the capers, olive oil, and pita slices good bye. Then you’re left with a good looking salad. Personally, I love artichoke hearts, so when I see them in a menu selection, I’m most likely going to order it. Do you eat artichoke hearts too?

Not bad, right? Wholly Tomato certainly has some potential. Sure, you’ve got to work around the cheese and other animal products, but if you give it a little thought you can make almost any dish work. So, while it’s not a home-run, Wholly Tomato is certainly on the right track. And hey, don’t forget to check out  Wholly Tomato’s menu and let us know how you Eat to Live on the Outside? Leave a comment or email us at

The Ties that Bind: Doctors and Drug Makers

Usually you have to rent a good Mafia movie to watch people take bribes, but, some doctors are just a guilty as Tommy Two Chins or Joey Bag of Doughnuts. Gardiner Harris and Janet Roberts of The New York Times examine the link between drug makers and doctors:

There is nothing illegal about doctors’ accepting money for marketing talks, and professional organizations have largely ignored the issue.

But research shows that doctors who have close relationships with drug makers tend to prescribe more, newer and pricier drugs — whether or not they are in the best interests of patients.

“When honest human beings have a vested stake in seeing the world in a particular way, they’re incapable of objectivity and independence,” said Max H. Bazerman, a professor at Harvard Business School. “A doctor who represents a pharmaceutical company will tend to see the data in a slightly more positive light and as a result will overprescribe that company’s drugs.”

In an e-mail message, Dr. Allan Collins [President of the National Kidney Foundation and director of a government-financed research center on kidney disease] said he personally received in 2004 less than $10,000 from Amgen for educational presentations. “The contract amount of $1.9 million from Amgen was paid to the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation (MMRF) for the research contract, on which I am the designated senior researcher,” Dr. Collins wrote. He wrote that he did not work for or serve on the board of directors of the foundation. Dr. Collins discloses on his Web site and research papers that he is a consultant to Amgen, among other companies.

This issue drives Dr. Fuhrman crazy. So, instead of grabbing a Tommy Gun, a long trench coat, and taking care of business Eliot Ness-style. He simply shares his thoughts on the subject:

Some day the public will wake up to the medicalization of America and the collusion between the drug companies, the medical profession and the government. They pay doctors millions because it is money well spent. These influential doctors then market the drug to other doctors. It is a form of multi-level marketing.

ADHD Drugs for Obese Kids

Got noisy neighbors? Do they keep you awake at night with their incisive banjo playing? Here’s an idea, try taking a drug that lists hearing loss as a potential side effect, that’ll fix your problem in a jiff. Sounds pretty ridiculous, right? Not to one doctor, who prescribed an ADHD drug to a teenage patient who couldn’t lose weight. Why? Because the ADHD drug Adderall comes with a risk of weight loss—the teenager didn't even have ADHD! Elizabeth Cohen of CNN reports:
Their pediatrician didn't know either, so she referred Lisa and Hank Veith to Dr. Fuad Ziai, a pediatric endocrinologist in nearby Oak Lawn, Illinois. In the summer before Alex entered sixth grade, Ziai prescribed Adderall, an amphetamine used to treat attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Alex didn't have ADHD, but one of the drug's common side effects is weight loss. And that's what happened to Alex.

"You should have seen everyone when I went back to school the next year. They didn't believe it was me," says Alex. "It was a great feeling to be a thin kid."

Ziai's approach to treating obesity -- he says he has prescribed Adderall for weight loss to about 800 children and teens -- raises an important ethical question: Has the obesity epidemic among children become so severe that it's OK to prescribe a drug not approved for weight loss when the drug can have serious, sometimes life-threatening side effects?

The Veiths say they'd give their son Adderall again. Now 17, Alex is a normal weight after being on the drug for more than four years -- from age 11 until about 18 months ago.
Now I’m no doctor, but treating patients with side effects seems crazy to me, especially when you consider all the issues surrounding the diagnosis of ADHD and the usage of ADHD drugs. Dr. Fuhrman discusses this in a previous post. From ADHD Over-Diagnosis and Treatment Options:
These medications with their reported adverse effects and potential dangers were simply unnecessary for so many children whom I have seen as patients. I have witnessed consistently positive results when these children followed my comprehensive program of nutritional excellence. The scientific studies lending support to a comprehensive nutritional approach to treating ADHD are ignored by physicians, and drugs are generally the only method offered.

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

No More Hijacking of the FDA?

You only have to look at the American political landscape to see that money talks—grease the right wheels and anything’s possible. Same goes for the Food and Drug Administration. Why do I say that? Well, why else would this happen?

Gardiner Harris of The New York Times reports that under a new mandate advisors to the government that receive cash from drug and device makers would be disallowed from voting on the approval of that company’s products. More from the article:
Indeed, such doctors who receive more than $50,000 from a company or a competitor whose product is being discussed would no longer be allowed to serve on the committees, though those who receive less than that amount in the prior year can join a committee and participate in its discussions.

A “significant number” of the agency’s present advisers would be affected by the new policy, said the F.D.A. acting deputy commissioner, Randall W. Lutter, though he would not say how many. The rules are among the first major changes made by Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach since he was confirmed as commissioner of food and drugs late last year.

Advisory boards recommend drugs for approval and, in rare cases, removal, and their votes can have enormous influence on drug company fortunes.

“The $50,000 threshold is something that we think strikes an appropriate balance between” getting smart advisers and reassuring the public that their advice is not tainted, Dr. Lutter said.
Okay, it’s a start, but, I’m very suspicious of the $50,000 threshold. It seems like they’re saying it’s alright to be just a little corrupt. What do you think?

The Myth of Anti-Aging Hormones: Profitable Myths

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

In 2001, NBC’s Dateline sent a perfectly healthy investigator to an anti-aging medicine clinic in Las Vegas where she posed as a patient. After undergoing $1,500 worth of tests, the investigator was told she needed hormones and a 40 pill-per day supplement program that cost $1,500 per month.

There is no such thing as anti-aging medicine. Medicines and hormones have never been demonstrated to have anti-aging effects. Only nutritional excellence and avoidance of harmful substances can retard the aging process.

Five factors determine your health and your rate of biological aging, and none of them are medical specialties.
  1. Adequately meeting your nutritional, emotional, and sleep needs
  2. Avoiding all excesses, especially excess calories
  3. Avoiding toxic substances
  4. Adequate exercise or activity
  5. Consuming a high level and diversity of plant-derived phytochemicals
Here’s more on this topic:

High-Fat Diet Ups Breast Cancer Risk

According to Megan Rauscher of Reuters a new study links high-fat diets to increased breast cancer risk. Take a gander:
Using a more precise 24-hour dietary recall questionnaire, "we found a 32-percent increased risk of breast cancer" among women with a high level of fats in their diet, study chief Dr. Anne C. M. Thiebaut from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, noted in a telephone interview with Reuters Health.

The increased risk of breast cancer associated with a high-fat diet was seen for all types of fat (saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) and seemed to be confined to women who were not using hormone replacement therapy at the start of the study.
Now, normally I’d look for some of Dr. Fuhrman’s work supporting the study and link to it, but, I’m not going to do that. Instead, check out Dr. Fuhrman’s thoughts on this specific study. He makes some very important points worth remembering:
The suggestion that hormone therapy mediates the association between dietary fat intake and risk of breast cancer should be studied further, the authors suggest

The downside of these studies is that people keep arguing about the relationship of fat to breast cancer and fail to remember that breast cancer is multi-factorial (like other diseases)

It occurs from a witch’s caldron of causes such as eye-of-newt, claws of cats, and salamander tails.

In reality, it is our low-nutrient diet, centered on animal products, oil, sugar, corn syrup, white bread, pasta and the lack of vegetables, beans, seeds, fruits, and nuts that lead to a cancer epidemic. So your pasta dinner also contributed to breast cancer, not just the cheese melted on top.

It will take a major shift in America's dietary consumption pattern to see cancer rates drop significantly because American's only eat about 5 percent of their total caloric intake from unrefined produce.

This is indeed a central purpose of this blog; to get the message out to America that we can win the war on cancer, heart disease and stroke, not by going on a "low-fat" diet but rather by adopting a high-nutrient diet with a high phytochemical index score and high micronutrient score. See chart in the library at for food micronutrient scores.
And here it is:

Fruits and Veggies vs. Diabetes and Colon Cancer

In this age of modern medicine patients and doctors alike are quick to throw themselves at the altar of prescription drugs and invasive procedures, often ignoring rudimentary causes and cures for many of the common afflictions that plague this country.

Take diabetes and cancer for example, big pharma has indoctrinated us into believing that lifelong dependency on medication and chemotherapy are our only hopes. Now, if you read this blog you know, this is foolhardy to say the least. And Dr. Fuhrman makes it very clear. You have other options.

Does a diagnosis of Type-II Diabetes mean a life sentence of insulin shots? Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t think so. From Understanding the Development of Type 2 Diabetes:
How can diabetics safely lower the high glucose levels that are slowly destroying their bodies? How can they lower their lipids and blood pressure, lose weight, and avoid taking dangerous drugs, such as insulin and sulfonylureas? They need to adopt a diet based on nutritional excellence.

Fortunately, the best diet for good health and longevity is also the best diet for diabetics. It is a diet with a high nutrient per calorie ratio, as carefully described in my book, Eat To Live. When you eat a diet consisting predominantly of nature's perfect foods—green vegetables, beans, eggplant, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, raw nuts and seeds, and limited amounts of fresh fruit, it becomes relatively easy to eat as much as you want and still lose your excess weight. In my experience, those who follow my nutritional recommendations find that their diabetes disappears astonishingly fast, even before most of their excess weight melts away.
And what about cancer? In Diet, Chemotherapy, and the Truth: How to Win the War on Cancer Dr. Fuhrman talks about how vegetable-based nutrition hits cancer where it hurts:
While fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of nutrients, the consumption of vegetables is more helpful in reducing cancer because they contain much higher amounts of cancer-protective compounds-- especially green vegetables. Among these green vegetables, the cruciferous family has demonstrated the most dramatic protection against cancer. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, collards, arugala, watercress, and cabbage) contain a symphony of phytonutrients with potent anti-cancer effects. Isothiocyanates (ITCs), which are perhaps the best studied, have been shown to provide protection against environmental carcinogen exposure by inducing detoxification pathways, thereby neutralizing potential carcinogens.

These vegetables also contain indole-3- carbinol (I3C). Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer by decreasing estrogen activity. Important recent studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables and the compounds they contain can do the following:
  • Halt the growth of breast cancer cells1
  • Dramatically reduce the risk of colon cancer2
  • Prevent the replication of prostate cancer cells and induce death of cancerous cells3
  • Inhibit the progression of lung cancer4
Now, Dr. Fuhrman has been talking about this for years, but it’s still cool to read about it in the news. Like this report from Reuters. Apparently a new study has determined avoiding meats and fatty foods and eating plenty of salads and cooked vegetables reduces the risk of developing Type-II Diabetes. Michelle Rizzo explains:
There was an inverse association observed between the Salad and Vegetable pattern and diabetes. The Meat pattern was positively associated with diabetes. No association was observed between the Fruit pattern and diabetes risk.

"Our results suggest that avoiding an eating pattern including meat and fatty foods, and favoring a pattern high in salad and cooked vegetables could reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes," Dr. Allison Hodge, of the University of Melbourne, Australia, said in an interview with Reuters Health.
Okay, call it coincidence, but here’s another Reuters report worth checking out. It seems new research has determined that people who eat a diet high in fruit and low in meat reduce their risk of developing colon cancer. Have a look:
Gregory Austin and colleagues analyzed the answers and found there were three groups -- people who ate a lot of fruit but little meat, people who ate a lot of vegetables and a moderate amount of meat, and people who simply ate a lot of meat.

The people who recalled eating large or moderate amounts of meat were 70 percent more likely to have had a polyp than those who said they ate a lot of fruit but little meat.
So then, all this begs the question. Why don’t more doctors and patients seek out this kind of information? Oh, that’s right, there are no pushy sales reps and million dollar advertising campaigns behind your local farmers market.
Continue Reading...

Be Careful with that Chinese Food

College kids, lonely bachelors, and deadline-pressed reporters might want to take a few deep breaths before reading this next report. Libby Quaid of the Associated Press explains that those endless cartons of Chinese food pack a lot—a whole lot—of salt:
The battered, fried chicken dish with vegetables has 1,300 calories, 3,200 milligrams of sodium and 11 grams of saturated fat.

That's before the rice (200 calories a cup). And after the egg rolls (200 calories and 400 milligrams of sodium).
Looking back on it, I can’t believe how much Chinese food I ate in college—what was I thinking?

Curious about salt? Check out this earlier post:

Roasted Nuts and Trans Fat

C. Claiborne Ray of The New York Times investigates the question, “Is it true that the “good oil” in nuts turns to a trans fat when the nuts are roasted?” The answer is pretty obvious:
Some trans fat is produced by ruminant animals, Ms. Stark said, and so ends up in butter and meat. But most of the trans fat we eat comes from a manufacturing process in which liquid vegetable oil gets hydrogenated, in the presence of a metal catalyst, so that its chemical structure more closely resembles a saturated fat. The body treats this partially hydrogenated fat like a saturated fat, raising the risk of heart disease.

Nuts are obviously high in fat, she said, but mostly the “good” kind, either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated.
If you’re still curious about nuts, take a gander at these previous posts:

Just Get Kids Exercising, a Little

Fifteen minutes of exercise might not seem like a lot, but in this age of Sony Playstations and Mp3 Players, it’s a start. A new study claims 15 minutes of moderate exercise makes children 50 percent less likely to become obese than inactive children. Reuters reports:
A study of 5,500 children who agreed to wear a motion sensor device showed that those who exercised more were less likely to be obese -- and that short bursts of intense activity seemed to be the most helpful…

…"Our data suggest that higher intensity physical activity may be more important than total activity," Andy Ness of the University of Bristol and colleagues wrote.
Are there kids that actually play outside nowadays? When I was a kid we had Nintendo, but still, if I couldn’t get outside to play a game of wall-ball once a day, my head would explode.

The Myth of Anti-Aging Hormones

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

Not a day goes by without my e-mail inbox being flooded with spam, including countless advertisements for supplements (amino acids) that supposedly can raise your growth hormone levels. The ads boldly proclaim:
Lose weight while you sleep!

100 percent proven to reverse the aging process!

As seen on NBC, CBS, CNN, and Oprah!

As reported in the New England Journal of Medicine!

Forget aging and dieting forever—and it’s guaranteed!
The supplement industry, multilevel marketing companies, and internet advertisers often make exaggerated—sometimes ridiculous—claims about their products, using pseudoscientific terminology to impress the ill-informed and appeal to those desperate to find the mythical fountain of youth.

Although the search for the fountain of youth is not new, the rapidly-growing sales of all types of substances with exaggerated and misrepresented claims are creating a new, multi-billion-dollar industry. The promise of restored youth is enormously attractive to the ever-expanding ranks of flabby, middle-aged Americans.

Doctors, not wanting to miss out on this monetary bonanza, are prescribing DHEA, testosterone, estrogen, and growth hormone—the so-called “anti-aging hormones”—in record numbers. Treatments with these hormones now constitute the core practice of physicians who call themselves “specialists in anti-aging medicine.”

These physicians prescribe nutritional supplements and hormones in an attempt to enhance the health, youthfulness, and vitality of a gullible public that is ever on the lookout for magic formulas that will enable them to buy back their health. The sad truth is that these treatments are risky and experimental in nature, and evidence suggests that taking these hormones to reclaim lost youthfulness will increase cancer rates and shorten lifespan. In fact, it is possible that—far from being a cause for concern—lower growth hormone levels actually are an indicator of health and a necessary part of living longer.

Here's more on this topic:

Splenda: Big Business Protecting its Interests

Personally, I don’t trust artificial sweeteners. If you can drink zero calorie diet beverages and not question what the heck is in them, well, do the world a favor and don’t reproduce. Sorry, but artificial sweeteners are too shrouded in mystery for me to feel comfortable consuming them. Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t think they’re a good idea either. From Eat to Live:
Clearly this is a controversial subject because much of the research documenting the so-called safety of aspartame was financed by the aspartame industry, and a huge amount of political and monetary pressure led to eventual FDA approval. My opinion is that the possible dangers of aspartame are still unknown. Utilizing such artificial products is gambling with your health. Aspartame also exposes us to a methyl ester that may have toxic effects. I recommend playing it safe and sticking to natural foods.

Many health gurus recommend substituting Stevia in place of artificial sweeteners. Stevia is natural and its use is permitted in Japan and other countries. Despite its widespread use, there is a surprising lack of human clinical trials evaluating its safety. Unlike with saccharin, no evidence has been reported that stevioside and its metabolites are carcinogenic. However, animal reports of nephrotoxicity do exist, which suggest that Stevia is likely safer than the other sweeteners, but not entirely without risk.1 The extent of risk is unknown at this time.

Bottom line: try to enjoy your food choices without sweeteners. Fresh fruit and occasionally a little date sugar or ground dates is the safest way to go. I recommend dropping colas, sodas, sweetened teas, and juices. If they don’t contain artificial sweeteners, they are loaded with sugar. Eat unrefined food and drink water. Melons blended with ice cubes make delicious, cooling summer drinks.
So, maybe the jury hasn’t made a definitive decision on the safety of all artificial sweeteners, but remember, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Apparently the makers of Splenda are buying up domain names like,, and I wonder why? Diet-Blog has more:
Splenda is the brand name for Sucralose - an artificial sweetener created by UK food processing company Tate & Lyle. The product was co-developed in the US by Johnson & Johnson - and is now sold under the umbrella company McNeil Nutritionals.

According the Sustainable is Good blog, Johnson & Johnson, and Tate & Lyle embarked on a two-pronged campaign to stifle any negative press.
  1. Find any negative websites about Splenda, and buy up all similar names. (I checked one site I know of - This is owned by blogger Joey Goldman. I then checked the site -- and found it was owned by Johnson & Johnson).
  2. Register any domain name they can think of that might be used to write negative information. (see the Sustainable blog for a bigger list).
Isn’t big business grand!
Continue Reading...

More Bad News for Obesity

Again, the news for obesity is never good. Now it’s being linked to a higher risk of death in men with prostate cancer. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports:
The study, by researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, included 752 recently diagnosed prostate cancer patients who were followed for about 10 years. Of the men in the study, 50 died of prostate cancer, and 64 died of other causes.

"I was very surprised by the findings. We found the prostate-cancer-specific mortality risk associated with obesity was similar regardless of treatment, disease grade or disease stage at the time of diagnosis," senior author Alan Kristal, associate head of the Cancer Prevention Program in Hutchinson's Public Health Sciences Division, said in a prepared statement.

Trashing the Flu Shot

Oh no, those poor pharmaceutical companies. Since we had a “mild flu season” millions of expiring flu shots are set to be destroyed. The good news is they don’t expire until June 30th. That means there’s plenty of time for the media to over-hype a new Bird Flu scare. More from Marilynn Marchione and Mike Stobbe of the Associated Press:
Millions of doses of flu vaccine will expire at midnight June 30, unsold during this year's mild flu season and written off as trash. Still perfectly good, and possibly useful for a few more years, the vaccine will wind up being destroyed. This annual ritual is supposed to ensure that Americans get the most up-to-date vaccine, but the leftovers -- more than 10 million of a record 110 million doses produced -- will be destroyed before a new supply is guaranteed.

An Associated Press examination of this long-standing practice raises questions about its consequences. For years, policymakers have talked about letting doctors keep unused vaccine until new doses are in hand, donating leftover supplies to poor countries, or pushing back the expiration date. Wasted vaccine means lost money for drug companies and one stopped making flu shots because of it -- setting the stage for a flu shot shortage in 2004.

Not Inspecting School Cafeterias?

Okay parents, time to get mad—really mad! How would you feel if your local school’s cafeteria wasn’t being inspected? I hope your reaction would be, “I’d grab a large blunt object and go ‘talk’ to the principle.” BloggingBaby is all over a new report claiming some school cafeterias are not being monitored for violations:
School cafeterias are required by congress to be inspected twice yearly, but of the 94,132 schools reporting for the 2005-2006 school year, only 61% of schools met that requirement. Almost 30% were only inspected once and 10% percent were not inspected at all. These inspection rules apply to schools that participate in the federal school lunch program, which is nearly every public school in the US. Of the 60 million students attending these public schools, half of them eat a lunch that was prepared at their school.

These missed inspections are not the fault of the schools themselves; state and local health authorities are charged with this task and many health departments are understaffed, especially those in small towns and rural areas. School cafeterias are not the only facilities missing required inspections. The recent spate of food poisonings in products such as peanut butter is another indication that the Food and Drug Administration isn't doing its job. According to a recent AP analysis, their inspections have fallen off by half between 2003 and 2006.

Baby Boomer Health Problems

For as long as I can remember I’ve heard people talk about the impending wave of destruction aging Baby Boomers will bring upon this country. I never paid it much attention, but maybe the critics are onto something. According to Gary Rotstein of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Baby Boomers are now encountering lots of health problems, for lots of reasons:
Studying data from the U.S. Health and Retirement Study, she and her colleagues found that people in their early to mid-50s were reporting more health problems than people that age had described previously.

Significantly, fewer such middle-aged people in 2004 than in 1992 rated their health highly. More of them rated pain as a regular problem. And a higher percentage had trouble climbing stairs or walking a few blocks…

… Dr. Richard Suzman, director of the National Institute on Aging Behavioral and Social Research Program, said most news about today's older adults has bred optimism that the 78 million baby boomers approaching old age won't overwhelm the health care system. He wants to see more research before making any assumption that such a huge population is either worse now, or will be worse in the future, than projected.

"If it's true, it's pretty important," he said.

He and others speculated that if there's actual health decline, obesity is a top suspect. Carrying excess weight contributes to the likelihood of diabetes and other disease, as well as to creating lethargy that can affect how people rate their health.

Exercise Your Mind

We all know exercise does a body good, but can it work wonders for our minds too? The answer seems to be yes. Eric Nagourney of The New York Times reports on new research claiming exercise helps fight natural memory loss:
Now a new study suggests a possible explanation for why this is so. The report, which appears online in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, says working out may stimulate the growth of neurons in a part of the brain associated with memory loss.

The researchers, led by Dr. Scott A. Small, an associate professor of neurology at the Columbia University Medical Center, looked at changes in the brains of volunteers who worked out on exercise equipment.

Cats Love Celery Too

Last week we saw that some dogs love celery. So, it’s only fair to show how much cats love it too. Warning, warning cuteness alert! Proceed with caution:

Nutritional Wisdom: Nutritional Wisdom:

Dr. Fuhrman’s radio show Nutritional Wisdom airs live Wednesdays at 11am EST with an encore presentation Thursdays at 3pm EST on VoiceAmerica. Be sure to check out this week’s episode Raising your child’s IQ. And if you've missed an episode click the Nutritional Wisdom category for previous episodes.

Dr. Fuhrman on Dietary Misinformation

Dr. Fuhrman responds to many of the common criticisms of his nutritional recommendations and he addresses some of the dietary misinformation circulating around the internet:

Followhealthlife is intended to promote, engage and support people in discussions about nutritional excellence, but, it is often flooded by people with dissention from other school of thought about what constitutes an ideal diet. Obviously, the high protein, “saturated fat is good, not bad” camp, Atkins and Weston Price enthusiasts have a large following of supporters on the web that will vehemently defend those views. So I decided to make another post on this subject and not let all their comments go unchallenged. I simply do not have the time to post as much as these guys can.

The most typical rebuttal to my recommendation to eat a diet that gets the vast majority of its calories from high-nutrient plant material is that we need lots of meat and lots of saturated fat. Then they attempt to cite logic and science to prove me wrong. These people hold dearly the message that a diet that gets the majority of their caloric intake from animal products including red meat, butter and whole milk is lifespan and health promoting. This is their consistent message and other members of their group has often used this to obscure research, quoting their own writers in footnotes to attack the mass of evidence accepted by most nutritional scientists to bolster their apparent agenda that places no limit on the amount on animal products in a healthy diet.

The Weston Price Foundation members and supporters often bring up the Inuit’s or the Masai (short-lived populations) as examples of healthy, long-lived population surviving almost totally on foods of animal product origin in support of their “saturated fat is good and the more animal products eaten the better” message. Of course the majority of meat and cheese eating Americans are looking to embrace messages that support their food preference and addictions and, as the intense popularity of the Atkin’s diet showed, will buy into the even the most fraudulent and unsupported claims.

These groups and their supporters would have us believe that a diet with 80 to 90 percent (or more) of calories from animal products is health supporting. It could take years to see the ill effects but a sudden stroke, heart attack or cancer diagnosis is too big a price to pay for a misinterpretation of nutritional science.

The American diet contains about 40 percent of calories from animal products and as I have explained in the past, with so much calories coming from animal products (and processed foods) the diet people eat is dangerously low in phytonutrients found in unrefined plant products. I recommend that animal products be held to less than ten percent of total calories for a diet to offer dramatic protection against heart disease, strokes and cancer. I base my advice on a rigorous review for more than 25 years of the world’s scientific literature as well as my own experience treating patients for the last 15 years with nutritional excellence and watching not only heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes melt away but also having my patients make complete recoveries from migraines, autoimmune diseases, allergies and asthma. My patients and other people who have been following my advice have not only made dramatic recoveries from advanced heart disease and other severe life-threatening diseases, but also seen them live fit and healthy into their elder years. Nutritional excellence works.

I teach and promote a diet of natural foods, which considers the micronutrient per calorie density of a diet to assure it is naturally rich in an assortment of antioxidants and phytochemicals. This interprets into a diet with an emphasis on green vegetables, beans, fruits, nuts and strongly restricts or admonishes against the consumption of processed foods which include sweeteners, white flour, salt and oils. Not only do I want health-seekers to reduce animal food consumption but I also recognize that the type or animal product matters (fish and white meat is better than cheese, luncheon meat or barbequed burgers). I also modify diets, including recommendations to increase or decrease animal products depending on individual needs, digestive impairment, medical condition or age, but still, I recommend much lower level than Americans presently consume.

I insist that American’s eat too many animal products because as animal products hold a larger and larger share of calories of your daily allotment, there is insufficient room to intake our requirement of foods that are antioxidant and phytochemicals rich. Therefore I consider a bagel similar to a piece of chicken in that they are both relatively low in micronutrients in relation to their caloric load. If one’s diet is rich in chicken, pasta and olive oil, it will be low in vegetable, beans, seeds, fruits and nuts. So we need to eat less of those foods that make up the American plate and eat more foods naturally rich in protective phytochemicals.

While the Atkin’s diet and the Weston Price dietary patterns get higher amounts of calories from animal products compared to the American norm of 40 percent, I claim we need less animal products in our diet, not more. Since I am putting a figure of 10 percent of calories as a suggested upper limit, the voices on this blog speaking on behalf of the Weston Price camp and sometimes from the Atkin’s high protein camp chime in occasionally against this advice. And some of those comments especially by Mr. Chris Masterjohn sound scientific and even intelligent. Even though Mr. Masterjohn’s comments are scientific, polite and he sounds like a sincere nice guy, I can’t let the discussions go completely unchallenged because I do not want people to be confused or have their health harmed following imprecise advice.

It is an interesting phenomenon to me to view these individuals searching to find small pearls of dissent in the scientific literature to support their views as they ignore thousands of well-performed studies, I wonder why they are so attached to their diets or views that they can’t accept the preponderance of evidence and modify their stance. I attempt to have Mr. Masterjohn, who seems so reasonable, to at least agree that in today’s society the majority of calories should come from unrefined plant foods and the amount of animal products recommended should not be unlimited. I would ideally like Mr. Masterjohn to consider our diseased population and the foods they consume and agree that it seems downright irresponsible to not advise a significant limitation on animal product consumption.

He and many of the people that believe his point of view keep bringing up the nutrient values of wild chickens and wild eggs of yesteryear compared to those factory farm produced. I heartily agree that wild animal foods from a pristine environment would not have all the ill effects of those available to the masses in the modern world. But so what? It may be true that those better quality animal products would not be as harmful and more of them may be safe to eat in a diet than the 10 percent of calories limit, I impose. But that still is almost irrelevant; those foods are virtually non-existent in today’s polluted world with factory farms. We already have a vast body of knowledge compiled from all types of studies to show that in today’s world with the quality of animal products available, people develop life threatening diseases when they eat too much animal products and not enough fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds.

So if someone wants to point me to numerous interventional studies that document the effectiveness of a diet rich in saturated fat and animal products to promote heart disease-reversal and enhance lifespan, I would be grateful to review them and modify my advice. I did write a few books, Eat To Live and Disease-Proof Your Child, which contain over 2000 different references supporting my advice. In the last 25 years I have made it my business to read all the nutritional journals and almost all the relevant scientific papers. I have also posted additional supportive studies here to counter some of the ridiculous claims made by Barry Groves of the Weston Price Foundation and other people who are angry with me for my contradictory advice. I take such comments seriously as it is important to me that people are not hurt by listening to dangerous nutritional advice that may allow or promote even a few unnecessary deaths. I would not feel this way if in their support of the virtues of consuming animal products these individuals put a recommended upper limit on their consumption and tried to support a minor role of these foods in an otherwise nutrient rich diet, but this is not the case.

When comparing the long lived Okinowans to the general population of Japan the animal product intake is lower (and it is mostly fish), the vegetable intake is higher and the salt intake is lower and of course their diet is not as high in white rice. The most important beneficial aspect of the Okinowan’s diet is that it is lower in calories. So the Okinowan’s have in the past eaten somewhat healthier than other areas of Japan and most other areas of the world. But their average age of death is not spectacular and with better nutritional advice to eat better than the Okinowan’s we should expect to have a much longer average lifespan than the 81.2 years of the Okinowan’s and the 75 years of the Americans. And when looking at any population eating a diet high in fish we must consider the source of that wild fish, the amount of pollutants such as mercury and the quality of the fish available today to the American consumer, which may be very different.

There are a few important points we should make when looking at the Japanese. Even though overall their health and longevity is comparatively better than Americans, they eat lots of salt, lots of white rice and because of this significant morbidity and mortality from stroke. The minute you consider a high salt diet that promotes strokes as a leading cause of death, you have to consider that nutritional modifications that decrease sodium consumptions will be lifespan favorable. This was the main finding from the studies on the elderly in Japan. If you look at some of the original research in their entirety, salt intake and increasing the intake of any food that was low in salt is lifespan favorable in the elderly.

But when trying to interpret the results of a claim made about one study it would be wise to place it in the context of multiple other studies testing the same and other variables. The totality of these studies make some interesting points:
1.The most critical and reliable predictor of elderly survival was adherence to a diet-style rich in anti-oxidant vegetation and adherence to a “Mediterranean Diet” was measure by the amount of serum carotenoids which is a good marker of vegetable intake. And high consumption of meat was associated with higher mortality (early death).

Diet and mortality in a cohort of elderly people in a north European community. Int J Epidemiol. 1997; 26(1):155-9. Osler M ; Schroll M. This study showed that a higher meat consumption meant higher mortality and higher vegetables lower mortality.

Diet and overall survival in a cohort of very elderly people. Epidemiology. 2000; 11(4):440-5. Fortes C ; Forastiere F ; Farchi S et al. This study showed that a higher meat consumption meant higher mortality and higher vegetables lower mortality.

Does diet matter for survival in long-lived cultures? Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2005; 14(1):2-6. Wahlqvist ML ; Darmadi-Blackberry I ; Kouris-Blazos A ;et al. Adherence to a diet rich in a variety of plant materials like the older Mediterranean type extended lifespan.

2.Legume or bean intake recurs as an important variable promoting long life. The conclusions of an important longitudinal study shows that a higher legume intake is the most protective dietary predictor of survival amongst the elderly, regardless of their ethnicity in multiple cohorts or populations studied. The study found legumes were associated with long-lived people in various food cultures such as the Japanese (soy, tofu, natto, miso), the Swedes (brown beans, peas), and the Mediterranean people (lentils, chickpeas, white beans).

Legumes: the most important dietary predictor of survival in older people of different ethnicities. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2004; 13(Suppl):S126. Blackberry I ; Kouris-Blazos A ; Wahlqvist ML ; et al.

3.Over the age of 80 nutritional factors that predict lifespan change somewhat. As people pass this age absorption and assimilation of protein decreases related to overall level of health and well being and albumin may gradually lower, especially in the sickly or with the premature signs of aging, increasing the need for a diet with a better quality or percentage of protein if this occurs. However, plant protein should still be emphasized as the major protein source. Care should be taken to eat sufficient high protein plant foods such as sunflower seeds, beans and greens, not to have a rice, sweets, oil or bread centered diet. Individuals have varying needs and animal products or protein supplements may have to be increased in the diet somewhat if blood tests illustrate abnormally low levels.

Mediterranean diet and age with respect to overall survival in institutionalized, nonsmoking elderly people. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000; 71(4):987-92. Lasheras C ; Fernandez S ; Patterson AM.
Nutritional factors on longevity and quality of life in Japan. J Nutr Health Aging. 2001; 5(2):97-102 Shibata H.

4.High saturated fat intake not only increases risk of cancer but is strongly associated with shorter lifespan in people already diagnosed with cancer. I already published numerous enough articles disputing the high saturated fat intake does not cause heart disease argument. Heart disease is ubiquitous in the modern world at all common ranges of saturated fat intake because most of the modern world today eats a diet very low in protective foods; vegetables, beans, seeds, nuts and fruit. I have never seen a person following my nutritional recommendations develop coronary artery disease and the heart disease they do have melts away. I am not the only physician to observe this.

Cancer of the prostate: influence of nutritional factors. General nutritional factors. Presse Med. 2001; 30(11):554-6. de la Taille A ; Katz A ; Vacherot F ; Saint F ; Salomon L ; et al.

Dietary fat and breast cancer risk revisited: a meta-analysis of the published literature.Br J Cancer. 2003; 89(9):1672-85. Boyd NF ; Stone J ; Vogt KN ; Connelly BS ; Martin LJ ; Minkin S. Combined estimates of risk for total and saturated fat intake, and for meat intake, all indicate an association between higher intakes and an increased risk of breast cancer. Case-control and cohort studies gave similar results.
Looking at the three groups of the most healthy and long-lived populations well-documented in recent human history that John Robbin’s discussed in his book, Healthy At 100 we see that all these very long-lived and very healthy populations ate a diet almost exactly like my recommendations described on Followhealthlife, in my books and newsletters and embellished on in the member center on The overwhelming similarity of these groups were the high consumption of unrefined plant materials that were nutrient rich including fruits, nuts and vegetables. These were not societies living mostly on white potatoes or grains such as wheat and rice, and all of them only consumed animal products in limited amounts. Here is a chart from John Robbin’s book and I strongly recommend his book, it is well researched and well written and does not merely promote a vegan agenda. By the way, I highly respect John Robbins as a man with integrity, intelligence, honesty and kindness. He is a person to emulate.

Giving John Robbins a large margin of error here, it still looks like the super long-lived human societies ate much higher amounts of natural plant material.

I tried to make it clear in Eat To Live, I have no strong health view against the consumption of clean animal products in small amounts in a good diet. The emphasis of the book was not to demonize animal products, but to claim that we had to wipe a good proportion of them off our plate, along with processed food and oil, to leave room for the large percentage of high-nutrient plant material that is necessary to adequately reverse the diseases of nutritional extravagance seen in America. Clearly I make the point that consuming a large amount of high nutrient vegetation is what will enable protection from disease, not only the exclusion of animal products. I consider most vegans to be on very unhealthy diets; including those fat phobic people who won’t have a drop of fat in their diet but who eat a diet that gets most of its calories from sugar, pasta, bread and other processed foods.

The idea proposed by Chris Masterjohn and others from the Weston Price Foundation is that we need to eat dairy fat and cannot get satisfactory levels of Vitamin K with a diet heavy in green vegetables could not be further from the truth. Studies have already found that the absorption and use of Vitamin K from greens is very high. For example Dr. Booth led a study at Yale University School of Medicine to compare the absorption and use—known as bioavailability—of vitamin K from broccoli and from oil fortified with the vitamin from animal products. For 5 days each, volunteers consumed a helping of broccoli or fortified oil along with a base diet. This increased their phylloquinone intake to around 400 µg/day—five to six times the RDA. "What's really exciting," Booth says, "Is to look at the functional markers for vitamin K status. There were no differences between vitamin K from broccoli and vitamin K from oil overall. That's good because green leafy vegetables contain so many other nutrients." And when the volunteers ate broccoli, blood levels of an important carotenoid—lutein—increased compared to when they ate the base diet only.

But always keep in mind, as these points are debated, free radicals are produced whenever you digest and metabolize food. The number of calories you consume affects your level of free radical production and all longer lived societies eat less food than Americans. Inhabitants of Okinawa and the neighboring islands of Amami consume a diet that is 20 percent lower in calories than those in the rest of Japan. Most practice a dietary philosophy known as "hara hachi bu" (eight parts out of 10), which means to eat until you are 80 percent full. Research in animals has proven the calorie restriction (CR) theory time and time again. Eat less, you live longer.

So when talking about the optimal diet, the first thing that comes to mind is the realization that the most proven technique and method of life extension is caloric restriction and we have to meet our nutritional needs, but not overeat on fat, carbohydrate and protein. Americans eat too much of all three sources of calories and we have to eat less protein, less fat and less carbohydrates; but those calories we do eat should be as nutrient rich as possible.

What makes my advice unique—aside from the delicious high-nutrient recipes and healthful eating style—is that I teach and show that low-nutrient eating leads to the desire to consume too many calories.

Chemical Exposure at Work

You hate to read news like this, but according to new research workers exposed to some chemicals may have an increased risk of stomach cancer. More proof that it’s hard to make a living in this world. Check out The Cancer Blog:
An article recently published in the International Journal of Cancer says that airborne exposure to some occupational carcinogens appears to increase the risk of noncardia gastric cancer among men.

Noncardia gastric cancer refers to cancer that is in the middle or lower part of the stomach. Researchers from Sweden recently conducted a clinical study to evaluate potential occupational airborne exposures that may be associated with the risk of developing noncardia gastric cancer. This study included over 256,000 men with 200 different jobs.
This is a very important topic on Followhealthlife, here are some earlier posts on the subject:

Boomer has Diabetes

With baseball season right around the corner, Padres pitcher David Wells caught some bad news. Boomer has Type-II Diabetes. As a Yankee fan I’ve got plenty of love for David Wells, but, if you know anything about him, it shouldn’t be all that surprising. Yahoo Sports reports:
Wells was diagnosed two weeks ago, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported in Monday's editions…

…The 43-year-old old signed a one-year contract in January to return to his hometown Padres as the No. 5 starter. The 6-foot-3, 248-pound Wells has often battled his weight, and was scratched from a start late last season due to gout in his right foot.
Now to say the least, Boomer is one of those guys who “enjoys” life. His weight is a good indication of that. And clearly that’s part of the problem because according to Dr. Fuhrman weight-gain is a huge contributing factor to the development of Type-II Diabetes. From Understanding the Development of Type 2 Diabetes:
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.

What do you think occurs after ten or twenty years of overworking the pancreas? That's right, it becomes exhausted and loses the ability to keep up with the huge insulin demands. As time goes on, even though your overworked pancreas may still pump out much more insulin than a thinner person might need, it won't be enough to overcome the effects of your disease-causing body fat.

The pancreas's ability to secrete insulin continues to diminish as the diabetes and the overweight condition continue year after year. Unlike with type 1 (childhood onset) diabetes, total destruction of insulin-secreting ability almost never occurs in type 2 (adult onset) diabetes.
And here’s a recent article claiming obesity poses a larger diabetes risk than inactivity. Reuters was on it:
Researchers monitored 68,907 women taking part in the Nurses' Health Study, a large ongoing study that is evaluating women's health over time. The women in the current trial had no history of diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer at study entry. During 16 years of follow-up, there were 4,030 incident cases of type 2 diabetes.

After allowing for age, smoking, and other diabetes-associated factors, the risk of type 2 diabetes increased progressively with increasing body mass index (BMI - the ratio of height to weight often used to determine if someone is overweight or too thin). The risk also increased with waist circumference, and decreased with physical activity levels.
Hopefully Boomer will start taking positive steps towards striking out his diabetes, and, if he’s got anything left, I’d love to see him hurling for the Bronx Bombers again!

So, how can you defeat Type-II Diabetes? Check out these previous posts:

Antibiotics: Not Always for Sinus Infections

Over the past month antibiotics have really made the headlines. First the FDA restricted a particular antibiotic due to incidents of severe liver problems. Next, HealthDay News reported that many pneumonia patients receive antibiotics when they don’t really need them. And finally, it seems some chickens possess antibiotic resistant bacteria—all very scary stuff.

Well, it gets worse. According to the Associated Press new research has determined that antibiotics commonly prescribed for sinus infections might not be a good idea because most cases are caused by a virus rather than bacteria. Timberly Ross reports:
The researchers say the findings are troubling because overuse of antibiotics is leading to more virulent and even drug-resistent bacteria. Their concerns echo those of doctors who've studied the effectiveness of antibiotics on ear infections.

"We don't want to be using up our antibiotics on these people," said Dr. Don Leopold, chair of the University of Nebraska Medical Center's Department of Otolaryngology who worked on the sinus study.

The study, which appears in the March issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology, looked at two national surveys of patient data from 1999 to 2002. They showed 14.28 million doctor visits were for diagnosed chronic rhinosinusitis and another 3.12 million for acute rhinosinusitis.

Beany Soups

Fast Black Bean Vegetable Soup
2 15-ounce cans black beans, no or low salt
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
2 cups frozen corn
2 cups frozen chopped broccoli florets
2 cups carrot juice
1 cup water
1 cup prepared black bean soup (preferably no salt)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
1/8 teaspoon no salt southwestern or chili powder, or to taste
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
2 avocados, chopped or mashed
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds (lightly toasted, if you like)
Combine first 9 ingredients in a soup pot. Bring to a boil and simmer on low for 30 minutes. Stir in fresh tomatoes and heat through. Serve topped with avocado, green onions, and pumpkin seeds.

Tuscan Beans & Greens Soup

1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, no salt, with liquid
1 cup chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon fennel seeds or powdered fennel
1 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary
1 pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
1 15-ounce can white beans, with liquid
3 cups vegetable broth (or 2-15 oz. cans)
1 cup chopped collard greens
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, adding more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Open the can of diced tomatoes and drain some liquid into a large soup pot. Heat over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, lower heat, cover and cook for 5 minutes, until onions are soft. Add more liquid to keep from sticking. Stir in basil, oregano, fennel, rosemary and red pepper flakes.

Add the beans, diced tomatoes and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil. Add the greens, lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Before serving, stir in the balsamic vinegar and black pepper. Makes 6 cups. Freezes well.

Variations: use other types of beans and/or seasonings. Substitute kale as the green, using about 3 cups chopped and cooking only 8-10 minutes. Or spinach or Swiss chard, cooking 4-5 minutes.

Quick and Creamy Vegetable White Bean Soup
4 cups prepared tomato soup, natural or organic, no or low sodium
2 cups frozen broccoli florets
2 cups frozen chopped organic spinach
2 cups carrot juice
1 cup frozen chopped onions
4 cans cannellini beans or other white beans, no salt
3 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
4 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman’s VegiZest
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Italian seasoning, to taste
1/2 cup raw cashew nuts (optional)
1/4 cup pine nuts
In soup pot, combine all ingredients, except cashews and pine nuts. Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes.

Optional-blend 1/4 of soup mixture with cashew nuts. Serve with pine nuts sprinkled on top.

Carnival of the Recipes - Irish Edition

Sun Comprehending Glass hosts this week's carnival of recipes. Be sure to check out Dr. Fuhrman’s submission Super Healthy Oatmeals. *Don't forget, not all recipes in the carnival are Fuhrman-friendly.

Cow Farts

We’ve all heard someone say that mass flatulence from livestock is harming the environment, but is it true? To the casual observer it might seem like an urban legend. But sadly, unlike a good fart joke, it’s no laughing matter. Take a look at this report Dr. Fuhrman emailed me from The UN News Centre, pretty scary stuff:
Cattle-rearing generates more global warming greenhouse gases, as measured in CO2 equivalent, than transportation, and smarter production methods, including improved animal diets to reduce enteric fermentation and consequent methane emissions, are urgently needed, according to a new United Nations report released today…

…The livestock business is among the most damaging sectors to the earth’s increasingly scarce water resources, contributing among other things to water pollution from animal wastes, antibiotics and hormones, chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and the pesticides used to spray feed crops.
Another great thing about this report is it’ll give you a glimpse at how the “magic” happens here at Followhealthlife. Check out the brief email exchange between me and Dr. Fuhrman regarding this article:
Dr. Fuhrman:
I am sending it over to Gerry, he may want to blog about it. I know he loves things related to flatulence.

Yes, I do fancy myself a bit of a fart connoisseur.
Hey, not all our collaborations can be winners!

Obesity-Link: High Fructose Corn Syrup

FoodNavigator is all over new research claiming to have found a link between fructose syrup and obesity. Stephen Daniells reports:
The study could increase pressure on formulators to remove the ingredient from their products, with the use of high fructose corn syrup specifically accused of playing a major role in the rising obesity epidemic.

Researchers from the University of Barcelona report that, according to their rat study, liquid fructose changes the metabolism of fat in the liver by impacting a specific nuclear receptor called PPAR-alpha, leading to a reduction in the liver's ability to degrade the sweetener.

"Because PPAR-alpha activity is lower in human than in rodent liver, fructose ingestion in humans should cause even worse effects, which would partly explain the link between increased consumption of fructose and widening epidemics of obesity and metabolic syndrome," wrote the authors in the journal Hepatology.
You won’t find high fructose corn syrup getting any love here. Just take a gander at these previous posts:

Fruit Salad Wiggle Wiggles

Here’s the Wiggles take on fruit salad:

“Fruit salad, yummy, yummy!” Oh man. How lame. Sorry.

Bad News for Franken-Corn

Call me crazy, but I think futzing with Mother Nature is foolhardy. Apparently millions of years of natural evolution aren’t good enough for us. Well, here’s what we get. It now seems some genetically modified maize is showing signs of health risks. More from Stephen Daniells of FoodProductionDaily:
The study, performed by French researchers from the independent CRIIGEN (Committee for Independent Research and Genetic Engineering), based at the University of Caen reports that rats fed the maize for three months showed signs of liver and kidney toxicity, as well as differences in weight gain between the sexes.

"Our counter-evaluation show that there are signs of toxicity and that nobody can say scientifically and seriously that consumption of the transgenic maize MON863 is safe and good for health," lead author of the study, Professor Gilles Eric Séralini told France's TF1 television station.

MON863 is a transgenic maize genetically modified to express the Bt-toxin (Cry3Bb1) which enables the plant to be insect repellent against the corn rootworm pest. It is different from other GM corns of the market since these express the Cry1Ab toxin which is toxic to the European corn borer.

Examining the Twinkie

Long before my vegetable-based diet days I used to eat junk food, but, I can honestly say, I’ve never had a Twinkie. I guess that makes me un-American. And why was I never tempted by an over-processed, industrialized, snack-cake? Maybe its 39 ingredients have something to do with it. Anne Underwood of Newsweek takes a look at a new book examining the Twinkie:
If you've ever puzzled over why packaged foods contain "polysorbate 60" or "mono and diglycerides," Steve Ettlinger's new book, "Twinkie, Deconstructed," is a treat you'll want to try. Chapter by chapter, Ettlinger—the author of previous food books like "Beer for Dummies"—decodes all 39 ingredients in the little crème-filled cakes. He explains their uses and the processes by which raw materials are "crushed, baked, fermented, refined and/or reacted into a totally unrecognizable goo or powder with a strange name," which then appears on a label full of other incomprehensible and barely pronounceable ingredients. Unraveling it all was a major undertaking—and Ettlinger received no help from Hostess and its parent company, Interstate Brands Corp., despite appealing directly to the Vice President of Cake.

Eating to Live on the Outside: Gumbo Shop

Maybe I’m a masochist and I don’t realize it, but, for some reason I've picked another tough restaurant for this week’s Eating to Live on the Outside. Go ahead. Say it, “Dummy!” Maybe so—I've got a laundry list of ex-girlfriends that would second that dummy, and, follow it up with at least a few expletives. Anyway, that’s beside the point, what do you say we dig into this week’s restaurant? Gumbo Shop.

Now, I’m assuming the name didn’t stump you. Gumbo Shop, if you’re looking for New Orleans cuisine, this is the place. But, how does it stack up health-wise? Could an Eat to Liver find refuge here? Yes. No. Kind of. Not really. Told you, it’s going to be tough. At first glance I can already tell—they’ll be concessions! Hope you like fish. Alright, let’s have at it.

Luckily the menu isn’t huge, so narrowing it down should be pretty quick. Let’s start with the most Fuhrman-friendly menu items—mind you, I say that loosely. First up is the Vegetarian Dish of the Day. What’s in it? Well according to the menu it’s a creation of hearty beans or peas, plenty of seasonings and lots of local flavor, served with rice or pasta. Okay, if you can get that prepared with brown rice and no- or low-salt you’ve got a pretty good meal. Sure the rice isn't exactly the most nutritious thing on the planet, but as I say all the time—focus on the veggies!

Next up is the Veggie Po’Boy. If you’ve never had a Po’Boy, it’s basically a sandwich. And like all sandwiches, it’s not inherently Fuhrman-friendly. Besides the bread, you’ve got plenty of ingredients you might want to omit. For example, most Po’Boy’s are made with mayonnaise. Personally, I’d rather lick a Manhattan sidewalk on a hot summer day than eat mayonnaise. Clearly the veggies are good, but I’d interrogate the wait staff before I ordered this menu item. What do you think?

Okay, before we ponder the fish-based dishes, these two options are certainly worth a mention. The Seasonal Green Dinner Salad and the Fresh Fruit Plate, these are probably you’re best choices if you’re planning to walk away from Gumbo Shop concession-free. For me, it would depend on my mood. Sometimes I’m more willing to bend than others, but, if I was feeling particularly anal I’d simply order one of these and call it a day. Heck, I might even order both!

If you keep up with this series you know that when I eat out I am willing to deviate from Eat to Live a little. Why? Quite frankly, it’s because I don’t eat out that often and I watch my diet closely 99% percent of the time. So, going a little “crazy” on that rare occasion that I’m actually eating outside the house is fine with me. And with that being said, let’s check out the fish dishes.

Well, there’s only two I’d consider ordering and their loaded uncertainty. The Fresh Fish Florentine and the Fresh Fish Creole. And why do I say uncertainty? Well, who knows what the fish is? It could be good or it could be bad. According to Dr. Fuhrman, if its something like tilapia or flounder your risk of mercury contamination is low, but, if its tuna or mackerel—you’ve got problems! So it’s a tough call. Sure the veggies in both dishes are great, but if you’ve got a bad piece of fish, why bother? Now if I were to go with the fish, rest assured, it’d be a while before you'd catch me eating fish again. Oh, and one more thing, the hollandaise sauce on the Fresh Fish Florentine—got to go!

See, I told you, a little tough. If I wanted to play it totally safe it can be done, but, with a little tweaking and some tolerance for concessions, you can make Gumbo Shop work. Not too bad, right? And as always, we want your feedback! Scope out Gumbo Shop’s menu and let us know how you Eat to Live on the Outside? Leave a comment or email us at

Tips on Preventing Childhood Obesity

Obesity is a big deal—no pun intended—and arguably it’s an even bigger deal with children. In Disease-Proof Your Child Dr. Fuhrman points out obesity is the most common nutritional problem facing kids in the United States:
The number of children who are overweight in the United States has more than doubled during the past decade. Social forces, from the demise of cooking to the rise of fast food, as well as dramatic increases in snack food and soda consumption, have led to the most overweight population of children in human history. Added to this dietary disaster is television, computer, and video technology that entertains our youngsters while they are physically inactive. Unless parents take a proactive role in promoting and assuring adequate nutrition and an active lifestyle, you can be sure the children of American will continue this downward spiral into obesity and ill health. Obese children suffer physically and emotionally throughout childhood and then invariably suffer with adult heart disease, and a higher cancer incidence down the road.
As a result, there are a lot of “tips” out there promising to help parents avoid obesity with their own kids. Like these from the American Academy of Family Physicians. Diana Kohnle of HealthDay News reports:
  • Don't force him to eat when he isn't hungry -- he shouldn't have to clean his plate if he's already full.
  • Don't use food as a reward, or as a comfort when he's upset.
  • Feed your child a healthy, balanced diet -- one that includes fast food no more than once a week.
  • Limit your child's TV watching and encourage physical activity, like playing outside. Offer to play outside with your child.
  • Encourage your child to get regular exercise, so that he continues to exercise into adulthood.
All these make sense to me, but “one that includes fast food no more than once a week?” Yeah, I don’t know about that. How about no fast food? Why? Because it’s junk! Better yet, check out Dr. Fuhrman’s Secrets to Getting Your Children to Eat Healthfully. Here’s a few:
1. Keep only healthy food in the house. Every person in the household should have the same food choices available.

2. Offer and feed a wholesome diversity of natural foods, vegetables, beans, raw nuts, seeds, and fresh fruit, while giving each child as much latitude as possible to eat what they prefer.

3. Don't attempt to manage your children's caloric intake. They can do that on their own.
Of course if words are too intimidating, have listen to Dr. Fuhrman’s podcast on Getting Children to Eat Well.

Flax Gets Some Love

Do you eat flaxseed? I do, at least one tablespoon a day. Why? Well, according to Dr. Fuhrman flax is packed with health-promoting nutrients. There's more in Disease-Proof Your Child:

Flax seeds are rich in lignans and omega-3 fatty acids, and scientific studies have confirmed that flax seeds have a positive influence on everything from cholesterol levels and constipation to cancer and heart disease. Use ground flax seed in oatmeal, or add them to whipped frozen bananas, stewed apples, and cinnamon and nut balls. Keep in mind that the scientifically documented benefits from flax seeds come from raw, ground flax seed, not flax seed oil.

Dr. Fuhrman isn’t the only one singing flaxseed’s praise. Cheryl Koch of Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center shows it a little love as well:

So why is flaxseed gaining popularity on the shelves of the local grocery store? Well, maybe people have begun to hear about the reported benefits that flax has on heart health, including lowering cholesterol and triglycerides levels, reducing blood pressure, and decreasing platelet aggregation (clot forming). In addition, flaxseed is an excellent source of fiber.

Researchers have found that flaxseed is rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a polyunsaturated fat. It is this essential fatty acid that confers flaxseed's potential heart-healthy benefits and that is helping this ancient crop make an appearance beyond the local health food store.

Now this is great, but, Koch goes on to say that flax seed oil is also a wise choice. Dr. Fuhrman’s not about to job on that bag wagon. In Can Flaxseed Oil Cause Prostate Cancer he recommends sticking with whole ground flaxseed if you’ve got a hankering for flax. And for good reason, take a look:

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.

Hey, be sure to give these recipes a try: Flax to the Max.

Soap and Plastic Making Us Fat?

Hazardous chemicals aren’t exactly man’s best friend. But could they be making us fat? New search sheds light on dangerous chemical compounds called phthalates. Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News reports:
The chemicals, known as phthalates, have already been implicated in male reproductive problems including low sperm counts and low testosterone levels. However, it's too soon to know whether they are actually causing these health problems, cautioned the researchers and others.

"It's premature for folks to be alarmed," said study author Dr. Richard Stahlhut, a resident in preventive medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry in New York.. "What is more alarming is the reason we are doing studies like this. Another study showed that testosterone levels had dropped about 22 percent in men, and that sperm counts had dropped to levels that are considered subfertile or infertile."

"It's an important observation that chemical exposures could be contributing to obesity and diabetes in the general population," added Dr. Ted Schettler, science director for the Science and Environmental Health Network. "This is one more example of a family of chemicals that may be contributing to this problem, but this study has obvious limits that the authors acknowledge in great detail."

Dog vs. Celery

Okay, we’ve seen a dog chow down on baby carrots and we can all agree, very cute. But what about dog versus celery—let’s get ready to rumble! Have a look:

What are the Health Risks of Too Much vitamin D?

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

Vitamin D toxicity can cause nausea, poor appetite, constipation, weakness, confusion, and weight loss. Sun exposure does not result in vitamin D toxicity. Vitamin D toxicity is only a possibility from high intakes of vitamin D from supplements. The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine has set the recommended upper intake level to 50g (2,000 IU) for children, adults, and pregnant and lactating women. Vitamin D is one of those vitamins where the right amount is essential—not too much and not too little.

For more on vitamin D, check out these previous posts:

Eating Raw

Over the past couple of years it seems like rawfood diets have exploded into the mainstream. But, do you really have to omit cooking to maintain a healthy diet? Dr. Fuhrman discusses this in a previous post:
Are cooked foods really dead foods?
It is true that when food is baked at high temperatures—and especially when it is fried or barbecued—toxic compounds are formed and important nutrients are lost. Many vitamins are water-soluble, and a significant percent can be lost with cooking, especially overcooking. Similarly, many plant enzymes function as phytochemical nutrients in our body and can be useful to maximize health. They, too, can be destroyed by overcooking.

Enzymes are proteins that work to speed up or “catalyze” chemical reactions. Every living cell makes enzymes for its own activities. Human cells are no exception. Our glands secrete enzymes into the digestive tract to aid in the digestion of food. However, after they are ingested, the enzymes contained in plants do not function as enhancements or replacements for human digestive enzymes. These molecules exist to serve the plant’s purpose, not ours. The plant enzymes get digested by our own digestive juices along with the rest of the food and are absorbed and utilized as nutrients.

Contrary to what many raw-food web sites claim, the enzymes contained in the plants we eat do not catalyze chemical reactions that occur in humans. The plant enzymes merely are broken down into simpler molecules by our own powerful digestive juices. Even when the food is consumed raw, plant enzymes do not aid in their own digestion inside the human body. It is not true that eating raw food demands less enzyme production by your body, and dietary enzymes inactivated by cooking have an insignificant effect on your health and your body’s enzymes.
Okay, even though Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t advocate a strict raw diet, he does insist that eating lots of raw vegetables is a good idea. More from The Cold Truth About Raw Food Diets:
Benefits of raw food.
Certainly, there are benefits to consuming plenty of raw fruits and vegetables. These foods supply us with high nutrient levels and the smallest number of calories. But the question we are looking at is this—Are there advantages to eating a diet of all raw foods and excluding all cooked foods?

Clearly, the answer is a resounding “No.” In fact, eating an exclusively raw-food diet is a disadvantage. To exclude all steamed vegetables and vegetable soups from your diet narrows the nutrient diversity of your diet and has a tendency to reduce the percentage of calories from vegetables, in favor of nuts and fruit, which are lower in nutrients per calorie.

Unfortunately, sloppy science prevails in the raw-food movement. Rawfood advocates mistakenly conclude that since eating processed and cooked carbohydrates is harmful for us, all cooked foods are harmful.
If you’re still interested in raw food diets, The Philadelphia Inquirer has a pretty good Q&A with raw food advocate Cherron Perry-Thomas. It’s worth a read. Here’s a bit of the piece:
Q: Define raw foods and the distinctions between raw, vegan and vegetarian.

A: There is a lot of confusion. But there is nothing new about eating a raw-food or a plant-based diet. The important thing is for people to have fresh fruits and vegetables in their diet every day. Here are the definitions:

Raw foodists do not cook or heat food above 116 degrees and eat only a plant-based diet (fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouts, sea vegetables).

Vegans do not eat or use any animal-based products. There are also vegetarians - lacto or ovo-lacto [they consume dairy, or dairy and eggs].

Nutritional Wisdom: Preventing Sarcopenia: The Major Cause of Age-Related Disabilities

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:

Strength training is essential for long term health. Learn how to protect yourself against muscle loss, frailty, falls and fractures by preventing sarcopenia. Join Dr. Fuhrman as he welcomes guest Steve Reis, one of the original Master Trainers of the SuperSlow Exercise Guild and owner of Santa Rosa Strength, a health facility teaching strength training programs based on Progressive Resistance Exercise.

Check out the Nutritional Wisdom category for previous episodes.


Laugh for Longevity

Who doesn’t like to laugh? Nobody! Whether it’s a great knock-knock joke or a person awkwardly slipping on ice—don’t lie, you laugh at that—funny is funny. And according to new research, having a good sense of humor might help you live longer too. Marilyn Elias of USA Today reports:
Adults who have a sense of humor outlive those who don't find life funny, and the survival edge is particularly large for people with cancer, says Sven Svebak of the medical school at Norwegian University of Science and Technology…

…The greater a role humor played in their lives, the greater their chances of surviving the seven years, Svebak says. Adults who scored in the top one-quarter for humor appreciation were 35% more likely to be alive than those in the bottom quarter, he says.
This seems logical to me. Laughing makes you feel terrific, so, why wouldn’t it be good for your health? Heck, even Dr. Fuhrman believes a good emotional environment is important for a long healthy life. He elaborates on this in An Emotionally Satisfying Environment is Vital:
Humans are complicated creatures, and our minds have powerful effects on healing and wellness. A positive purpose, loving relationships, self-respect, and the power to control our destiny have beneficial effects on our physiological—and ultimately physical—well-being. Few people have the perfect life without any negative stressors, but it makes a difference if you deal with those stressors with hope and action, rather than resignation and passivity.

A safe and satisfying work environment, a happy marriage, a satisfying social and/or family life, and activities you enjoy are all related to positive health outcomes. Emotional wellness starts right here your finger tips end. As you respect and appreciate the value in the world around you and develop interests in other people and in such things as art, music, entertainment, sports, nature, and physical activity, you can respect yourself more for your ability and desire to appreciate the value of things not yourself.
Oh, and if you’re looking for a good laugh, just internet-search the phrase low-carb—tons of belly laughs!

Measuring Vitamin D Levels in Your Blood

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

Assessment of vitamin D status is usually made by measuring 25-hydroxy-vitamin D; however, the optimal serum concentration is somewhat controversial. The data sheets from most blood laboratories list 20 ng/ml as the cutoff for vitamin D deficiency. However, recent studies have demonstrated that parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels begin to rise as 25-hydroxy-vitamin D falls below 30, and recently there has been a growing consensus that 30 ng/ml should be used as a cutoff for the diagnosis of vitamin D inadequacy. As pointed out by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., in The China Study, it may be true that vegetarians and those eating little animal protein have a more efficient conversion of the 25-hydroxy-vitamin D into its biologically active form, 1,25-dihydroxy, and perhaps a blood level below 30 is not so bad in a vegan or vegetarian. I do not think there is enough evidence to take a chance with running a D level below 20, unless your level of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D comes out on the blood test above 40. Otherwise, I think a blood level of at least 25 ng/ml is still advisable in those who consume little or no animal products.

Recently, a large study assessed the vitamin D status of postmenopausal women receiving therapy to treat or prevent osteoporosis. Amazingly, they found that 52 percent of the 1,536 women had inadequate vitamin D levels—and these were women being treated with drugs for osteoporosis. We know that vitamin D levels are inadequate in the vast majority of American women, and that this deficiency is a major cause of disability and death.

For more on vitamin D, check out these previous posts:

Oil and Health

Growing up cooking oil was always a subject of debate in my family. Is it good or bad? Oh that’s right, canola oil is bad and olive oil is the good. Or is it the other way around? Truth be told, it can get pretty confusing. Take me for example. For a long time I thought eating plenty of grilled chicken, olive oil, and pasta was a good idea. Now clearly I’ve wised up.

But in regard to oil, I think a lot of people still don’t get it. I mean just look at all these deep-fried creations, surely someone is eating them. Although, there are others—like myself—that do our best to avoid oil and fried-foods. So then, what’s the deal with oil? Should we eat it? Dr. Mao of attempts to answer to that question:
Oils that originate from vegetable, nut, and seed sources provide the essential fatty acids that are critical for our nerve and brain functions. The typical vegetable oils that can be found at supermarkets have undergone chemical and heat processing that destroy the quality of the oil — bleaching, cooking, defoaming, distillation, extraction, refining, and the addition of preservatives. Additionally, many of these oils are exposed to light and air and are even potentially filled with pesticides.

All of this causes the formation of free radicals, which undermine the health benefits of consuming essential fatty acids. To ensure that you are receiving all of the possible benefits from your oil, buy organic, cold-pressed, minimally processed oils at your local health food store. Be sure that you consume oil within three months; to prevent it from becoming rancid, store your oil in the refrigerator in dark glass containers.
Now after reading this, I’m not so sure Dr. Mao is telling the whole truth about oil. Sure, certain oils might have some nutritional elements to them, but, in this weight-conscious culture of ours, are they really a good idea? Dr. Fuhrman talks about oil in his book Cholesterol Protection for Life, take a look:
I know you were told that olive oil is health food. It is not. Keep in mind, oil is processed food, it is not a natural whole food. Oils, even if they are monounsaturated, should not be health food because they are low in nutrients and contain 120 calories per tablespoon, promoting weight gain.

Sure, olive oil and almond oil are improvements over animal fats and margarine, but they still are a contributor to our overweight modern world. Overweight Americans consume and average of three tablespoons of oil in their daily diet, adding and extra 360 calories to their food each day. You need to reach a thinner, ideal weight to achieve maximum protection against heart disease and to reverse heart disease. Use oil, even olive oil sparingly or not at all; certainly, do not have more than one teaspoon per day.

As an alternative to oil, you can make great tasting salad dressings from raw nuts and seeds, such as walnuts, pecans, cashews, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pistachios and avocados.

Antibiotics, Bacteria, and Chickens

I’m sure happy I stopped eating chicken. Friday we learned about the arsenic-chicken feed connection. Pretty scary, right? And now, HealthDay News is reporting that antibiotic resistant bacteria can be found in chickens on antibiotic-free farms and even in chickens raised in pristine laboratory conditions. Robert Preidt explains:
Dr. Margie Lee, a professor in the University of Georgia's College of Veterinary Medicine, said her findings suggest that when poultry arrive at farms, they already harbor antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which may be acquired as they're developing in their eggs.

This means that reducing or eliminating the use of antibiotics on poultry farms will have little or no impact on lowering rates of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can pose a threat to human health.

"The resistances don't necessarily come from antibiotic use in the birds that we eat, so banning antibiotic use on the farm isn't going to help. You have to put in some work before that," Lee said in a prepared statement.

Diet Food or Junk Food?

Have you walked through a supermarket lately? Isles and isles of packaged food proclaiming their ability to keep you slim, but, are they all they’re cracked up to be? Diet-Blog doesn’t think so. In fact, maybe all these weight-control foods are just one big oxymoron:
Here's the reality check: Every food is a weight control food. The only requirement is that we as consumers exercise control over how many forkfuls we put in our mouths.

Some of us need to put down the fork - others can practice moderation. In the case of some food items - it may be better to leave the fork in the drawer and bypass the foods altogether.

Please Mr Big Food - no more gimmicky food products. What next? 6-pack-ab Sandwiches? Flat Tummy Fajitas? Muscle Maintenance Mac 'n Cheese?

Singing Fruit

More like singing fruitcakes! No, this isn’t a shameless plug for underwear. Instead, fulfill your curiosity for fruit singing the blues:

I’m not sure this is good PR for apples and grapes.

Vitamin D and Cancer

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

Laboratory, animal, and epidemiologic evidence suggests that vitamin D may be protective against cancer. Epidemiologic studies suggest that a higher dietary intake of calcium and vitamin D, and/or sunlight-induced vitamin D synthesis, correlates with lower incidence of cancer, including lymphoma, breast, prostate, and colon cancer.1 In fact, for over 60 years, researchers have observed an inverse association between sun exposure and cancer mortality,2 and those with more sun exposure had fewer cancers. The inverse relationship between higher vitamin D levels in blood and lower cancer risk in humans shows a significantly lower risk among those with the highest vitamin D intake.

In addition to its significant cancer-protective effects, recent studies demonstrate that vitamin D also can inhibit the growth of existing breast and prostate cancer cells. Likewise, it helps inhibit the progression and metastasis of a wide spectrum of cancers, suggesting therapeutic value in the treatment of those who already have cancer.3

Interestingly, one dermatologist, Dr. Michael Holick, even wrote a book, The UV Advantage, advocating a moderate dose of sunlight. He was promptly kicked off the faculty of the Boston University School of Dermatology. Dr. Boni E. Elewski, president of the American Academy of Dermatology, maintained that even a few minutes of sun can be dangerous and promote skin cancer. Dr. Holick’s critics pointed out that the Indoor Tanning Association contributed $150,000 to his research.

In Dr. Holick’s defense, we must consider the keynote address that was presented at the meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, where Dr. Edward Giovannucci, professor of medicine and nutrition at Harvard, said that his research suggests that deaths from cancer in cases where vitamin D would have been of benefit outnumber skin cancer deaths 30 to one. “I would challenge anyone to find a nutrient or any factor that has such considerable anti-cancer benefits as vitamin D,” he said.

Avoiding sun damage or not should not be the point here, because even a little bit of sun, as
Dr. Holick suggests, is not really necessarily going to guarantee you an ideal blood level of vitamin D. Most of us simply need to supplement with an appropriate dose of vitamin D. The RDA of 400 IU may be an appropriate dose to obtain a normal blood level in many people, but there is still a significant portion of people who need more. To be safe, you should take more vitamin D or measure the vitamin D level in the blood to assure you are taking enough. While common sense might lead you to think that the vitamin D your body produces from sunshine is superior to the vitamin D from supplements, the documented beneficial effects of both sources are the same, and with supplements you don’t risk damaging your skin.

For more on vitamin D, check out these previous posts:
Continue Reading...

Are You a Compassionate Cook?

Now that I think about it, I might be. The only meals I know how to make are vegetable-based—I guess it comes with the territory—but now, time for a real compassionate cook. Colleen A. Patrick-Goudreau runs a really cool organization called Compassionate Cooks. Dr. Fuhrman thought they were worth a mention, take a look:
Compassionate Cooks is dedicated to empowering people to make informed food choices and to debunking myths about vegetarianism and animal rights through cooking classes, podcasts, workshops and lectures, articles and essays, and cooking DVDs.

FDA: New Produce Guidelines

You remember the spinach crisis, right? Sure you do! It was all over the news this fall. That darn E. coli really threw a monkey wrench into the whole operation. And Followhealthlife was there, here are a handful of posts about it:
So, in response to all this, the FDA is planning new safety guidelines for fresh-cut produce. Not a bad idea if you ask me, especially since the overwhelming majority of my diet is fresh fruits and vegetables! Know what I mean? Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News has more:
In light of contaminated produce scares that have rattled American consumers since September, U.S. health officials on Monday released a draft of proposed guidelines for commercial processing of fresh-cut vegetables and fruits.

The voluntary guidelines from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration suggest ways that food industry processors can minimize contamination of ready-to-eat produce by harmful bacteria that are common in the processing of these products.

"The recent outbreaks indicate that clearly more needs to be done to further minimize the risk of food-borne illness," Dr. David W.K. Acheson, director of the Office of Food Defense, Communication and Emergency Response at the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said during an FDA teleconference. "The vast majority of food-borne illnesses are, in theory, preventable."
And they better get this right! If not Followhealthlife’s new series Freaky Fruits and Strange Veggies is doomed. Did you miss the first two installments? Well, what are you waiting for? Check them out:

Eyesight and Beta Carotene

I guess a lot of people have been popping beta-carotene supplements in the hopes of staving off vision loss, but, apparently that doesn’t work. New research suggests that beta carotene pills are powerless against a common variety of vision loss among older people. Carla K. Johnson of the Associated Press reports:
An earlier large study had shown that beta carotene — when taken with certain vitamins and zinc — could slow or prevent vision loss in people with age-related macular degeneration. Commercial formulations of the eye-protecting combination vitamins are sold over the counter.

But the new study found no benefit for beta carotene supplements alone against the disease.

That may be a comfort for smokers with signs of macular degeneration. Smoking is a risk factor for the condition, but beta carotene has been shown in other research to raise the risk of lung cancer in smokers. So eye doctors have advised smokers concerned about macular degeneration to find a vitamin regimen without beta carotene.

Vitamin D and Osteoporosis

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

It is estimated that over 25 million adults in the United States have, or are at risk of developing, osteoporosis. Adequate storage levels of vitamin D help keep bones strong and help prevent osteoporosis in older adults. Vitamin D deficiency results in diminished calcium absorption, and has been linked to a higher incidence of osteoporosis-related bone fractures seen in post menopausal women and older Americans.

In a review of women with osteoporosis hospitalized for hip fractures, 50 percent were found to have vitamin D deficiency.1 Daily supplementation with 20g (800 IU) of vitamin D has been shown to reduce the risk of osteoporotic fractures in elderly populations with low blood levels of vitamin D.2 The Decalyos II study examined the effect of combined calcium and vitamin D supplementation in a group of elderly women who were able to walk indoors with a cane or walker.

The women were studied for two years, and results showed that supplementation significantly reduced the risk of hip fractures, and that vitamin D was more effective than calcium.3 Clearly, any woman being counseled or treated for osteoporosis should have her vitamin D status checked with a blood test and appropriately supplemented to assure a normal level.

For more on vitamin D, check out these previous posts:
Continue Reading...

Super Healthy Oatmeals

Cinnamon Fruit Oatmeal
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup blueberries
2 apples, chopped
1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1/4 cup raisins
In a saucepan, combine water with the cinnamon and vanilla and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and stir in the oats. When the mixture starts to simmer add the blueberries. Turn off heat when berries are heated through. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes until thick and creamy. Mix in apples, flaxseeds, nuts, and raisins. Add more cinnamon if you like. Stir and serve. Serves 2.

Special Oatmeal

1 3/4 cups water
1 cup rolled oats
6 pitted dates, chopped
2 tablespoons currants
1/4 teaspoon coriander
2 bananas, sliced
1 cup chunks or grated apple
1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
In saucepan, bring water to a boil and stir in all ingredients, except blueberries and flaxseeds. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in blueberries and flaxseeds. Cover for 2-3 minutes before serving. Serves 4.

Fruits & Nuts Oatmeal
1 2/3 cups water
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tablespoons currants
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 banana, sliced
1 apple, chopped or grated
2 tablespoons walnuts, chopped
In a saucepan, combine water with the cinnamon, oats, and currants. Simmer until oatmeal is creamy. Add blueberries and banana, stirring until hot. Mix in apples and nuts. Serves 2.

Freaky Fruits: Cactus Pears

Now, if Scientology, Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches, Pokemon, and the Ice Capades didn’t tip you off, we live on a strange planet—with strange inhabitants. And I’m not just talking about Britney Spears. Take kohlrabi for example. You remember kohlrabi, don’t you? The unusual beet-looking vegetable loaded with fiber and minerals, enjoyed by humans and K9s alike.

Kohlrabi was Followhealthlife’s first Strange Veggie, a new series dedicated to shedding light on extraordinary vegetables you may or may not have heard of. And now—drum roll please—get ready for the first Freaky Fruit, Cactus Pears, or, as they’re known to some, Prickly Pears. Actually they also called Opuntia and Nopalitos. As you’ll see, this spiny fruit has a lot of history and loads of intrigue. Here’s a little introduction from Wikipedia:
Prickly pears, classified in the subgenus Opuntia, typically grow with flat, rounded segments that are armed with two kinds of spines; large, smooth, fixed spines and small, almost hair-like spines called glochids that easily penetrate skin and detach from the plant. Many types of prickly pear can grow into dense, tangled structures. Prickly pears species are found in abundance in the West and Southwest of the United States and throughout much of Mexico. Prickly pears are also the only types of cactus normally found in the eastern United States. They are the most cold-tolerant of the cacti, extending into northern Canada; one species, Opuntia fragilis var. fragilis, has been found growing along the Beatton River in the province of Alberta, southwest of Cecile Lake at 56° 17’ N latitude and 120° 39’ W longitude.
Okay, I’m sure some people hear Cactus Pears and wonder, “How the heck do you eat something with spines?” Trust me, they’re not that intimidating. How do I know? Check out this bunch I bought at the local farmers market the other day. My apologies for the shady looking webcam photo:

In a few days they’ll be ripe and ready for the sacrifice. And they sure are tasty, but, are they good for you? As you know, Dr. Fuhrman makes it clear that fruits and vegetables are packed with health-promoting nutrients. So, how do Cactus Pears stack up? GourmetSleuth breaks down their nutritional information. Just look at all the minerals they contain:

Cactus Pears have also grabbed the attention of scientists. According to ongoing research Cactus Pears might be helpful in controlling conditions like viral infections and cholesterol. From WiseGeek:
The pads and fruits of the prickly pear are useful in stabilizing blood sugar because they are rich in slowly absorbed soluble fiber. Because prickly pear cactus contains significant amounts of vitamins B1 and B6, it is also sold in capsule form as a supplement. Research is ongoing to determine whether cactus is helpful in controlling cholesterol, obesity, gastrointestinal disorders, skin problems, and even viral infections.
Wikipedia also has more on the possible medicinal effects of Cactus Pears:
The stem of Opuntia spp. is used to treat type II diabetes, diarrhea, and stomach ache. However, usefulness of Opuntia (also known as Nopal or Nopalitos in Spanish) in treating diabetes is not at all clear at this time. Although some researchers have shown a glucose lowering effect of Opuntia streptacantha,[1] another study of three other species of Opuntia (Opuntia lasiacantha, O. velutina, and O. macrocentra) showed no such effect.[2] Another study of Opuntia megacantha raised concern about toxic effects on the kidney.[3] It may be that certain species are effective and useful in diabetes while others are not but this needs to be clarified with further research before recommending its use. Furthermore, when buying Nopalitos in the market it is impossible to know which species one is buying and therefore whether or not it is useful in treating diabetes.

Alcohol hangover
Opuntia ficus indica may have a reducing effect on alcohol hangover by inhibiting the production of inflammatory mediators. Studies have yielded differing results, with some studies witnessing significant reductions in nausea, dry mouth, and loss of appetite as well as the risk of a severe hangover[4] while others witnessing no compelling evidence suggesting effects on alcohol hangover.[5]
With credentials like that, it's no wonder why Cactus Pears have their own island. Back to Wikipedia:
Prickly Pear Island, Antigua, has 12 residents, all of whom were born on the island.

Despite the name, prickly pears are not the island's only source of wealth. Tourism contributes substantially to the island's income.

Despite the above description - the prickly pear Island, which is just off the Northern coast of Antigua, is uninhabited. It is run by Miguel and his family as an island where you can take a day trip out - have a simple buffet meal with local foods, help yourself to drinks, and enjoy the sun.
Now, if Antigua is too far. Mexico boasts many vareites of Cactus Pears, from white to yellow, to green, to purple—oh my! The Small Farm Center at The University of California explains:
Individual taste preferences will dictate which varieties to choose for eating fresh and which for cooking. In Mexico alone, there are over 100 species with edible fruits. Sam Williams, a cactus enthusiast in Carmichael, California, says that while all the fleshy fruit kinds are edible and none are poisonous, only a few are palatable and even fewer taste really sweet. They range from juicy to dry and sweet to acid. Cantwell-de-Trejo says that the acidity and fibrousness of the fruits are called "xoconochtlis" and are used in certain traditional Mexican stews and other dishes.

Fruit size, shape, and color vary from small and round like a walnut to three inches long and two inches wide like a rounded cylinder. Skin and flesh come in a rainbow of colors (white, green, yellow, orange, red, purple, and brown. White-skinned varieties are the most popular in Mexico, says Cantwell-de-Trejo, while the sweetest varieties generally available in this country have dark reddish-orange or purple skins and deep red-purple flesh. The fruit contains about one-half the amount of an orange. According to Cantwell-de-Trejo, this is its most important use in the diet of rural Mexicans.
See, despite their freaky namesake Cactus Pears pack quite the nutrient-rich punch, and, they happen to be one of my favorite fruits. Have you ever eaten them before? If you have, I’m sure you can relate to discovering a tiny spine in your finger hours later—ouch! Try rubbing them vigorously with a paper towel before cutting them open, that usually does the trick. If not you’ll find yourself driving down the highway, riding the subway, or at the movie theater wishing you had a pair of tweezers!

I hope you enjoyed Followhealthlife's first Freaky Fruit. And, like I said before, keep your eyes peeled, freaky fruits and strange veggies are all around us. You never know when one might pop up. Now, if you’ve got something to say about Cactus Pears we’d love to hear it. Just make a comment or email us at

Continue Reading...

Dr. Fuhrman on Copper

Last week new research came out linking copper to the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Dr. Fuhrman knows a thing or two about dietary copper. Here’s what he had to say:

I thought I would mention that I do NOT have copper in my Gentle Care Formula and do not recommend people take copper. Copper (rich in animal products) is sometimes considered a marker for a high-protein diet. Higher intake of copper is linked to increased cancer and overall mortality and increased risk of Alzheimer’s dementia. The absence of copper (and beta carotene, iron and Vitamin A) is a key feature that makes my multi unique.

So I guess my suggestion not to eat a steaming plate of pennies was a good idea—kudos to me. Dr. Fuhrman also emailed me some studies that help crystallize his position on copper, take a look:

Zinc, copper, and magnesium and risks for all-cause, cancer, and cardiovascular mortality.
Epidemiology. 2006; 17(3):308-14 (ISSN: 1044-3983)

Leone N ; Courbon D ; Ducimetiere P ; Zureik M
Unit 744 National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), Lille Pasteur Institute, Lille, France.

BACKGROUND: Experimental data suggest that zinc, copper, and magnesium are involved in carcinogenesis and atherogenesis. Few longitudinal studies have related these minerals to cancer or cardiovascular disease mortality in a population. METHODS: Data from the Paris Prospective Study 2, a cohort of 4035 men age 30-60 years at baseline, were used to assess the association between serum zinc, copper, and magnesium and all-cause, cancer, and cardiovascular disease mortality. Serum mineral values measured at baseline were divided into quartiles and classified into low (1st quartile, referent group), medium (2nd-3rd quartiles), and high (4th quartile) values. During 18-year follow up, 339 deaths occurred, 176 as a result of cancer and 56 of cardiovascular origin. Relative risks (RRs) for each element were inferred using Cox's proportional hazard model after controlling for various potential confounders. RESULTS: High copper values (4th quartile) were associated with a 50% increase in RRs for all-cause deaths (RR = 1.5; 95% confidence interval = 1.1-2.1), a 40% increase for cancer mortality (1.4; 0.9-2.2), and a 30% increase for cardiovascular mortality (1.3; 0.6-2.8) compared with low values (1st quartile). High magnesium values were negatively related to mortality with a 40% decrease in RR for all-cause (0.6; 0.4-0.8) and cardiovascular deaths (0.6; 0.2-1.2) and by 50% for cancer deaths (0.5; 0.3-0.8). Additionally, subjects with a combination of low zinc and high copper values had synergistically increased all-cause (2.6; 1.4-5.0) and cancer (2.7; 1.0-7.3) mortality risks. Similarly, combined low zinc and high magnesium values were associated with decreased all-cause (0.2; 0.1-0.5) and cancer (0.2; 0.1-0.8) mortality risks.

CONCLUSIONS: High serum copper, low serum magnesium, and concomitance of low serum zinc with high serum copper or low serum magnesium contribute to an increased mortality risk in middle-aged men.

High dietary iron and copper and risk of colorectal cancer: a case-control study in Burgundy, France.
Nutr Cancer. 2004; 49(1):66-71 (ISSN: 0163-5581)

Senesse P ; Meance S ; Cottet V ; Faivre J ; Boutron-Ruault MC
Registre Bourguignon des Cancers Digestifs, Faculta de Madecine, Dijon cedex, France.

Several hypotheses have been proposed for colorectal carcinogenesis, including formation of free radicals. A case-control study compared nutrient intake in 171 colorectal cancer cases versus 309 general population controls, using a detailed face-to-face food history questionnaire. A food composition table enabled us to determine the mean composition of the diet in macro- and micronutrients. Dietary intakes were separately categorized into quartiles by gender. Logistic regression models were adjusted for age, sex, energy, exercise, and body mass index. High energy, copper, iron, and vitamin E intakes were associated with an overall increased risk of colorectal cancer. The odds ratios associated with the fourth quartile of intake were 2.3 (95% confidence interval, 1.3-4.0), 2.4 (1.3-4.6), 2.2 (1.1-4.7), and 1.8 (1.0-3.4) for energy, copper, iron, and vitamin E, respectively. There were no significant associations with dietary fiber, folate, calcium, or antioxidant vitamins other than vitamin E. These findings regarding iron and copper suggest that free radicals play an important role in colorectal carcinogenesis, while the findings regarding vitamin E are so far unexplained

Trace elements and cognitive impairment: an elderly cohort study.
Arch Gerontol Geriatr Suppl. 2004; (9):393-402 (ISSN: 0924-7947)

Smorgon C ; Mari E ; Atti AR ; Dalla Nora E ; Zamboni PF ; Calzoni F ; Passaro A ; Fellin R Second Department of Internal Medicine, University of Ferrara, Via Savonarola, 9 - 44100 Ferrara, Italy.

Dementia is one of the most pressing public health problems with social and economic implication. The form called cognitive impairment non-dementia (CIND)represents a subclinical phase of dementia. Different studies have shown a possible effect of micro- and macro-nutrients on cognitive function. Trace elements, being involved in metabolic processes and redox reactions in the central nervous system (CNS), could influence the cognitive functions. This study evaluated the presence of an eventual correlation between serum trace element concentrations and cognitive function in a group of subjects with CIND and manifest dementia (Alzheimer dementia = AD, and vascular dementia = VaD), and compared them with a control group. Thirty -five patients were enrolled in this study. Each patient underwent a clinical and biochemical examination. We also performed a neuropsychological and functional assessment (the Milan overall dementia assessment = MODA, activities of daily living = ADL, and instrumental activities of daily living = IADL), and a computerized tomographic (CT) cerebral scan. Patients were than divided in 4 groups according to the obtained diagnosis (Controls, CIND, AD, VaD).The presence of any acute or chronic conditions, affecting cognitive functions, was considered as exclusion criteria. A blood sample was collected to determine iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn), selenium (Se), cobalt (Co), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu),molybdenum (Mo) and aluminium (Al) serum concentrations (chromatographic,spectrophotometric methods). In our cohort we found a positive correlation between cognitive function, expressed as the MODA score, and Se, Cr, Co and Fe serum levels,while a negative correlation was observed between MODA score, Cu and Al serum levels.Moreover, some statistically significant differences in Se, Cr, Co, Cu and Al concentrations were found among the groups. According to these results, we may suppose that Se, Cr and Co protect cognitive function, Cu influences the evolution of cognitive impairment, while Al contributes to the pathogenesis of AD.

Antibiotics: Not Always Necessary?

Go ahead, search the word antibiotic on Followhealthlife. You’re bound to come up with quite a few posts discussing the over use of antibiotics. It’s a hot topic, and one that is slowly getting more and more attention. Like this report, according to a new study many pneumonia patients receive antibiotics when they don’t really need them. Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News explains:
The study, conducted in 2005, followed a group of 152 emergency room patients who met eligibility criteria for receiving antibiotics. Of this group, 65.1 percent received antibiotics within four hours of arriving at the hospital. The remaining 34.9 percent were identified as "outliers," and more than half (58.5 percent) of the outliers did not have a final diagnosis of pneumonia. And 43 percent of the outliers had an abnormal chest X-ray, compared with 95 percent of those who received antibiotics…

… "It was not possible in many of the cases to actually have given them antibiotics because a lot of them didn't actually have pneumonia or got a diagnosis later," said Dr. Jesse Pines, author of an accompany editorial in the journal, and an attending physician in the department of emergency medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He supports the study findings.

The Carnival of the Recipes: Company Dinner Edition

The Porch Light hosts this week's carnival of recipes. Be sure to check out Dr. Fuhrman’s submission Different Dishes. *Don't forget, not all recipes in the carnival are Fuhrman-friendly.

Eating to Live on the Outside: Veganopolis

Okay, the past couple weeks have been up and down for Eating to Live on the Outside. Two weeks ago we all bore witness to the nightmare that is Indigo Joe's, an ooey-gooey super-cheesy standard American restaurant—certainly not for the faint of heart! But last week we redeemed ourselves with Thai Kitchen, a much healthier option for the discerning Eat to Liver. Not perfect, but miles ahead of other Eating to Live on the Outside flops like Denny’s, Friendly’s, and Houlihan’s. So, what does this week have in store for us?

What if I told you things like avocado and tofu regularly show up on this menu? Not mention, the word vegan is actually in the name of restaurant! Alright, I’ll stop trying to build suspense. This week Portland Oregon’s Veganopolis goes under the microscope. And as you’ll see, it’s a great place for an Eat to Liver to grab a quick bite to eat. So what do you say? Let’s crack this menu open!

I’ll start with the breakfast menu. First up, I’m really digging The Garden breakfast sandwich. It’s prepared with raw organic tahini, wheat toast, cucumber, tomato, spinach, and avocado. Obviously this dish appeals to me because of the avocado—I’m a total avocado mark—but the tahini also caught my eye. Tahini is made from sesame seeds and Dr. Fuhrman considers sesames seeds to be one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Of course the other veggies are great too. Okay, I’m sure you’re saying to yourself, “What about the bread?” You’ve just met the concession. Sure, eating bread isn’t exactly high up on Dr. Fuhrman’s list of smart things to do, but I’m okay with it. I’ll just have to make sure I don’t eat anymore bread for a while, besides, the sandwich comes with a side of fresh fruit. That should make you feel better about eating a little bread.

Now here’s an interesting dish, Red Flannel Hash. It’s made with yams, turnips, rutabagas, onions, kidney beans, dill, and spices. A very unique assortment, don’t you think? I’m sure most people—especially standard American dieters—would head for the hills if someone presented them with this, but not me. I’d give it a whirl! Would you?

It’s time to move onto the lunch menus. The Roasted Eggplant sandwich is looking mighty good. Again, the bread—in this case a ciabatta roll—is the concession. In addition to the bread it includes eggplant, tomatoes, spinach, roasted red pepper sauce, onions, and soy mozzarella or almond feta. Personally, I’m going with the almond feta instead of soy mozzarella. It sounds more interesting. I’d also ask the wait staff about the red pepper sauce. It might be prepared with some sort of oil, which might deter you. Although this wouldn’t bother me too much, as I’ve said a bunch of times, I don’t eat out very often, so that makes me more willing to bend a little. The Roasted Eggplant sandwich also comes with a side of potato chips or roasted potatoes. Between to the two, I’d obviously pick the roasted potatoes, but, since I’d be already be eating bread, I’d just skip the both of them. At the risk of sounding like a low-carb lemming, too many carbs!

And the last menu item to catch me eye is the Marinated Grilled Tofu salad. It comes with spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, peapods, rice vinegar, and organic tofu marinated with tamari. What’s tamari? Soy sauce, which brings me to an important side note, a few days ago I received an email from a concerned reader. He wanted to know why I selected dishes from Thai Kitchen’s menu that had a potentially high salt content, like ones made with soy sauce. Now my answer is pretty simple. I’m aware that soy sauce and a lot of the sauces used to prepare Asian-style cuisine can be very salty—then again most restaurant food is salty—so I just kind of deal with it. If you’re eating out, most of the time it’s unavoidable. Take me for example, I know if I’m eating outside my home I’m going to have to make some allowances, but, I try my best to limit them. And if I do eat something that might be on the salty side, I make sure that I’m vigilant not to do it again for a long while. Unfortunately the standard American dietary frontier is not easily conducive to an Eat to Live lifestyle, so you better be prepared to roll with the punches.

Now don’t forget to check out the Veganopolis menu and let us know how you Eat to Live on the Outside? Also, be sure to weigh in on the problem of salty restaurant food. How do you approach the whole situation? Leave a comment or email us at

Nutrient-Rich Soda?

My stupidity meter pegged when I read this report. Apparently Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are rolling out brand new lines of “healthy” sodas. Oh I’m serious. These carbonated soft drinks promise to be full of vitamins and minerals—not to mention fairy dust and pixie tears. Andrew Martin of The New York Times has more:
A survey by Morgan Stanley found that only 10 percent of consumers interviewed in 2006 considered diet colas a healthy choice, compared with 14 percent in 2003. Furthermore, 30 percent of the consumers who were interviewed last year said that they were reluctant to drink beverages with artificial sweeteners, up from 21 percent in 2004.

Even so, several industry analysts said soft drink makers were smart to experiment with new types of carbonated diet soft drinks to stimulate sales. Besides the vitamin-fortified diet sodas, PepsiCo is introducing Diet Pepsi Max, with increased caffeine and ginseng, and Coca-Cola has started a new marketing campaign for Coke Zero, emphasizing how closely it tastes to Coke Classic.
What do you think? Will America buy into the hype? Personally, I can already see the billboards in Times Square and every other yahoo on the subway smugly sipping one of these concoctions.

Toxic Chicken Feed

It seems the pursuit of bigger plumper chickens might be biting—or should I say pecking—us in the behind. Apparently arsenic added to chicken feed since the 1960s poses a serious contamination risk. Don Hopey of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports:
Organic arsenic is added to the feed of some 70 percent of the 7 billion roasters grown annually in the United States. The inorganic arsenic is found in poultry waste, which is used as fertilizer.

That increases the risk that the inorganic arsenic will contaminate surface water and groundwater drinking supplies in farming areas where the chicken litter fertilizer is spread repeatedly, said John Stolz, professor of biology at Duquesne and co-author of the study reported in January in the peer-reviewed Environmental Science & Technology Online News.
Gee, who would have thought? Arsenic bad? What a revelation! Good thing I don’t eat chicken anymore.

Importance of Vitamin D

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

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that your body makes after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Vitamin D functions as a hormone because it sends a message to the intestines to increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. By promoting calcium absorption, vitamin D helps to form and maintain strong bones.

Vitamin D also works in concert with a number of other vitamins, minerals, and hormones to promote bone mineralization. Research also suggests that vitamin D is important to maintain a healthy immune system, regulate cell growth, and prevent cancer. Vitamin D has been shown to protect against the development of autoimmune disease such as inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. It also has been shown to be helpful in decreasing disease severity for those suffering with autoimmune disease.1

Sun exposure is perhaps the most important source of vitamin D because exposure to sunlight provides most humans with their vitamin D requirement. The further you live from the equator, the longer you need to be exposed to the sun in order to generate vitamin D. Season, time of day, cloud cover, smog, and sunscreen affect UV ray exposure and vitamin D synthesis. For example, sunlight exposure from November through February in Boston is insufficient to produce significant vitamin D synthesis in the skin. Recent data have demonstrated that getting sunshine during the summer months is simply not enough; besides, most adults work indoors for the majority of the day, avoiding the sun. Sunscreens block UV rays that produce vitamin D, so they could contribute to our epidemic of vitamin D deficiency.

It is extremely important for individuals with limited sun exposure to ingest supplemental vitamin D. I still recommend that you routinely use sunscreen to help prevent skin cancer, wrinkling, and aging of the skin, especially because the ozone layer has been depleted. The risk of skin damage and skin cancer is real.

Americans age 50 and older are at increased risk of developing vitamin D deficiency. As people age, skin cannot synthesize vitamin D as efficiently, and the kidney is less able to convert vitamin D to its active hormone form. It is estimated that as many as 30-40 percent of older adults with hip fractures are vitamin D insufficient.2 Therefore, older adults especially benefit from supplemental vitamin D.

Melanin is the pigment that gives skin its color. The high melanin content in darker skin reduces the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D from sunlight. It is very important for African-Americans and other populations with dark-pigmented skin to consume recommended amounts of vitamin D. Some studies suggest that older adults in these groups, especially women, are at extremely high risk of vitamin D deficiency. It is thought that the main reason prostate cancer is so prevalent in black men is because of increased need for vitamin D.

For more on vitamin D, check out these previous posts:
Continue Reading...

Processed Junk

Diet-Blog laments about all the stuff crammed into processed foods:
Recently I was offered a "truffle" - not a real truffle - but some kind of chocolate looking thing. I accepted the offer and proceeded to enjoy the delicious looking morsel. The texture was odd to say the least, and about half way through my indulgence, I turned the package over to look at the food label.

I wished I hadn't.

The first ingredient was Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil. The second ingredient was sugar. The "truffle" was simply a dollop of sweetened trans fat.

Copper for Your Health

According to HealthDay News new research shows dietary to copper can be used to treat cardiovascular disease. Ed Edelson explains:
But adding copper to the animals' diets reversed the overgrowth of their hearts, the researchers reported. They attributed the beneficial effects to increased production of cardiac blood vessels and to improved function of vascular endothelial growth factor, a molecule involved in function of the delicate lining of those blood vessels…

… The first evidence that suggested copper might be important for the heart came about 75 years go with reports of animal illnesses such as "falling disease," in which Australian cows simply keeled over and died because of a copper deficiency, Dr. Leslie M. Klevay, an unabashed copper enthusiast said.
Now before you prepare yourself a steaming dish of pennies with a side of nickels, check out these veggie sources of copper:
Eating Seeds: Sesame Seeds
Are one of the most mineral-rich foods in the world and a potent source of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, manganese, zinc, vitamins, and fiber. They are also rich in anti-cancer lignans that are uniquely found in sesame seeds alone. Grind some unhulled sesame seeds into a powder to sprinkle on salads and vegetables. Toast lightly and mix with eggplant, chickpeas, scallions, and garlic for a healthy and delicious dip.

It's Lime Time
Nutritionally limes are a very good source of vitamin C, as mentioned before, and a good source of dietary fiber, calcium, iron and copper and they are low in sodium. They also contain the flavonoids called flavonol glycosides which have antibiotic properties and are said to stop cell division in many cancer cell lines. Due to the high vitamin C levels and antibiotic properties they are a natural way to prevent gum disease and to ease bacterial infections and colds. They are also a remedy for indigestion, heartburn, and nausea.

Strange Veggies: Kohlrabi
Kohlrabi can be eaten raw as well as cooked. The low-calorie plant is high in dietary fibers and contains the dietary minerals selenium, folic acid, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and copper.

Asparagus: Real Health Food
Asparagus is one of the most healthful foods on the planet. It leads nearly all fruits and vegetables in the wide array of nutrients it supplies. Ten ounces (one box of frozen spears) have only 68 calories and 9 grams of protein, yet it is like a vitamin pill, giving you a variety of minerals such as selenium, zinc, calcium, copper, and manganese. Plus, it is very rich in folate.

Aspirin and Colon Cancer

The Cancer Blog is all over new research discouraging the use of aspirin for colon cancer prevention:
The risk of intestinal bleeding, stroke, kidney failure, and other health problems led the US Preventative Services Task Force to conclude that taking more than 300 milligrams per day of drugs like Motrin, Advil, and Aleve is just too risky to outweigh the potential benefits of preventing cancer. And while taking less than 100 milligrams of such drugs can reduce the risk of heart disease, it does nothing to lower the rate of colon cancer.

Super Tomato Power

Some scientists devote their lives to unraveling the mysteries of the universe, while others invent super tomatoes—foliate-rich super tomatoes that is. Ed Edelson of HealthDay News has more:
"We used the tomato, because it is a very good model to work with," explained study co-author Andrew D. Hanson, professor of plant biochemistry at the University of Florida at Gainesville. "Now we want to move the strategy we have developed into cereal and tuber crops such as sweet potatoes..."

… The work is just beginning, he emphasized. "We have produced a few experimental plants," Hanson said. "This is a proof-of-concept study. With just two genes, it is possible to substantially increase the folate level of fruits. This is a demonstration that it can be done."

Swedish Fat

According to the AFP the number of obese people in Sweden has doubled over the past 25 years:
The problem has increased most among young women, non-labour workers and rural residents, though Swedes across all social groups registered weight gains during the period.

Obesity, blamed on changes in diet and lifedtyles, has long been a problem in the United States and is on the rise in many European countries. In France, nine percent of people are considered obese, compared to 12 percent in Germany and 23 percent in Britain.

In the News: Atkins Good?

Go ahead, roll your eyes. Quite frankly I get tired of talking about the Atkins diet, but, like all fads people can’t get enough of it. And to make matters worse, yesterday it was reported that Atkins beat out other diets like the Zone and the Ornish diet. Lindsey Tanner of the Associated Press covered it:

Overweight women on the Atkins plan lost more weight over a year than those on the low-carb Zone diet. And they had slightly better blood pressure and cholesterol readings than those on the Zone; the very low-fat, high-carb Ornish diet, and a low-fat, high-carb diet similar to U.S. government guidelines.

Stanford University researcher Christopher Gardner, the lead author, said the study shows that Atkins may be more healthful than critics contend.

But the study isn't a fair comparison because by the end, few women were following any of the diets very strictly, critics argue, although those in the Atkins group came the closest.

The study "had a good concept and incredibly pathetic execution," said Zone diet creator Barry Sears.

Now, I’m sure this whipped all the low-carb lemmings into some sort of frenzy. No doubt they’re flaunting their junk science and kissing the feet of the new low-carb diet expert of the month. Take Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb for example:

While low-carb weight loss success stories like mine are interesting and important in communicating the message that the Atkins diet really works for people, the real difference in our culture will come when more and more research like this one today is brought to the attention of family doctors and those who work directly with overweight and obese patients. People trust their doctors and will heed their advice about diet. Now if we can only get the healthcare community to absorb this research.

If that happens (and I believe it will at some point), then it could very well bring about the much-needed paradigm shift within the world of diet, health, and nutrition that has been needlessly dominated by what has been proven in another JAMA study last year to be the high-carb, low-fat lie for far too long. Keep the low-carb research coming because sooner or later the truth will break through. Hopefully, not before it's too late.

Just keep rolling your eyes. Even still, I wanted to ask Dr. Fuhrman what he thought about all this. His answer gets right to the point. He said, “This shows that all these diets stink and people desperately need to Eat to Live.” Now, at the risk of sounding like a brownnoser, Dr. Fuhrman’s absolutely right. Pitting Atkins against these diets is like comparing a bucket of rotten eggs to pile of garbage, they both stink.

The truth is Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat to Live diet style puts them all to shame, but since it involves eating lots of veggies and giving up our emotional attachments to food, you’ll never hear about it. Just take a look at how other diets—including Atkins—fail to stack up against Eat to Live when it comes to lowering cholesterol. From the library of

And here, check out how Eat to Live’s nutrient content seriously overshadows that of the Atkins diet. Short and Long-Term Dangers of High-Fat Diets has more on this:

Okay, so I think I’ve wasted enough of your time proving a point that research already has. But, in the off chance that you’re still on the fence about the Atkins diet, take a gander at Followhealthlife’s Diet Myths category and you’ll find plenty of posts refuting the lunacy that is the low-carb lifestyle.

Continue Reading...

Nutritional Wisdom: You Don't Have to Be Sick - The Miraculous Self Healing Body

Dr. Fuhrman’s radio show Nutritional Wisdom airs live Wednesdays at 11am EST with an encore presentation Thursdays at 3pm EST on VoiceAmerica. Be sure to check out this week’s episode You Don’t Have to Be Sick – The Miraculous Self Healing Body. And if you've missed an episode click the Nutritional Wisdom category for previous episodes.

Should We Know More about Drug Safety?

Personally, I think the more we know the better, although drug companies disagree. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News has more on this:
Changes need to be made to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's policy regarding the confidentiality of drug safety data from clinical trials, say researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

Current rules allow drug companies to keep data secret, which prevents the public from learning about dangerous side effects of drugs, the researchers said. Allowing greater public access to this data would enable outside experts to independently evaluate the data and perhaps detect risks sooner.

Going Ape Over Organic

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

Primates at Copenhagen Zoo are going ape over organic bananas and other fruits, rejecting traditional foods left in their cages,zookeepers report.“For one reason or another, the tapirs and chimpanzees choose organically grown bananas over the others,” keeper Niels Melchiorsen told the magazine Ecological Agriculture.“ Maybe they are able to tell the difference, and their choice is not at all random.The chimpanzees are able to tell the difference between the organic and the regular fruit. If we give them organic and traditional bananas, they systematically choose the organic bananas, which they eat with the skins on. But they peel the traditional bananas before eating them.”

Copenhagen Zoo, which hopes to be awarded a “green label” as an environmental zoo, began last year feeding its animals at least 10 percent organic products.

Dr. Fuhrman comments:
My kids do the same thing in our house. Now, if someone can tell me how to get them to stop swinging from the chandelier.

Carrot Eating Dog

Okay, yesterday we witnessed a rabbit eating a bunch of salad. Which of course makes sense, but, a dog eating baby carrots? No! Actually, yes! Take a look:

Obesity Bad

You don’t have to be a doctor to know that being obese isn’t exactly conducive to health. Need proof? How about this study linking obesity to early puberty? HealthDay News is on it:
The study of 354 girls from 10 different regions in the United States found that increased body fat in girls as young as age 3 and large increases in body fat between the age of 3 and the start of first grade were associated with earlier puberty, defined as the presence of breast development by age 9.

"Our finding that increased body fatness is associated with the earlier onset of puberty provides additional evidence that growing rates of obesity among children in this country may be contributing to the trend of early maturation in girls," study lead author Dr. Joyce Lee, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of Michigan, said in a prepared statement.
Still not convinced? Well how does this strike you? According to Reuters an obese woman went to the hospital with stomach pain only to find out she was carrying a full-term fetus. I’m not kidding. More from the report:
Doctors discovered the baby as they took X-rays of Branum's abdominal area and referred her to UCI Medical Center in the nearby city of Orange, California, for prenatal testing, said Susan Mancia, a spokeswoman for UCI Medical Center.

No defects were detected and two days later on February 28, Branum gave birth by caesarean section to a healthy, 7-lb 7-oz (3.4 kg) boy named Walter Scott Edwards III.
Yeah, you probably want to know if you're pregnant or is that just over-thinking? Okay, clearly obesity is really a hot topic in health news. Be sure to check out Followhealthlife’s obesity archive for more posts on the subject.

Kids and Adult Drugs

Now this is a scary report. According to new research almost 80 percent of children hospitalized in the United States are given drugs that have only been approved for adult patients. Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News reports:
"Any time you prescribe a medication, you ideally think the benefits outweigh the risks," said Dr. Samir S. Shah, lead author of the study and an attending physician in pediatric infectious diseases at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "The problem when you're using a drug off-label is, oftentimes, there may not be enough evidence to help you make that decision in an informed way. We think the benefits outweigh the risks, but we don't have enough evidence."

Using drugs "off label' for conditions other than their original approval is perfectly legal but causes concern among some experts. A 2001 U.S. government report concluded that, overall, about 21 percent of prescribed drug use was for conditions not indicated on the label.

Rabbit + Veggies + Music

Ever wondering what a cute rabbit eating vegetables set to music would look like, well look no further:

Different Dishes

Apple-Stuffed Peppers
1 medium apple
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
1 red pepper
Chop apples. Mix with cinnamon and nutmeg. Cut top off of pepper and remove core and seeds. Stuff pepper with apple mixture and bake in oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Serves 1.

Broccoli fra Diablo

10 ounces bag frozen broccoli, thawed
14 ounces can diced tomatoes, no salt
8 ounces can tomato sauce
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 dash dried hot pepper flakes
1-2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (no salt)
In large saucepan over medium heat, sauté garlic in 1/4 cup water for 3-4 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, and hot pepper flakes to taste. Simmer 5-10 minutes. Add broccoli and serve. Serves 2.

4 medium potatoes
1 large bunch of kale, chopped
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon Dr. Fuhrman's VegiZest
1 large onion, chopped
1/3 cup plain soymilk
Colcannon is an Irish dish of mashed potatoes and cabbage, usually seasoned with butter, but this healthier version is delicious, too. Wash potatoes and cut into fourths. Boil or steam until tender, about 15 minutes. Wash kale, remove tough stems, and chop leaves. Steam until tender and drain well. Mix 1/4 C. water and VegiZest in a nonstick skillet and sauté onion until soft. Remove potato skins and mash potatoes well, adding soymilk for a good consistency. Stir in kale and onions and re-warm over low heat, if necessary. Serves 4.

FDA: Drugs Under Scrutiny

In my opinion the FDA is hit or miss. Sometimes they’re right on the money. And other times, like with the cattle drugs, they’re in La La Land. Well, maybe this redeems them a little. According to Miranda Hitti of WebMD Medical News, the FDA has pulled 15 migraine drugs off the market:
The FDA today announced that it has ordered 15 unapproved migraine drugs containing ergotamine off the market.

Those drugs, sold only by prescription, lack a required "black box" safety warning and haven't been reviewed by the FDA for safety and efficacy.

The unapproved ergotamine drugs are unrelated to migraine drugs called triptans such as Imitrex, Zomig, and Maxalt.
And they’re not stopping there. Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News reports that the FDA will review children’s cold remedies because of their potential health risks:
Dr. Charles Ganley, the FDA's director of the Office of Nonprescription Products, said the agency has been "looking into the issue of safety of children's cough medicine since the middle of last year." He noted that when these medicines were originally approved, in some cases several decades ago, there was no mandate that the effectiveness, safety or dose be determined for children; rather, the guidelines were extrapolated from studies done with adults.

"We have not established a dose that is safe for children 2 and under," Ganley said during a teleconference. "We hope to have our review done in several months and then make recommendations."
Now this is all well and good, but I’m sure some day soon they’ll approve the sale of diet pills linked to chronic stupidity—wait, that might have happened already.

Dairy Soon to be Even Scarier

How do you feel about dairy? Personally, I don’t like it. Of course this wasn’t always the case. As a kid I loved my morning cereal, but, puking it up ten minutes later was no picnic. Yes, it took a while before the family realized I was lactose intolerant. Now I barely touch the stuff, actually I can’t remember the last time I knowingly ate any dairy.

But for lots of people avoiding dairy is total blasphemy. After all, just last week it was reported that diary foods help with fertility. Not to mention people like BellaOnline's Low Carb Editor Lisa Shea consider foods like cheese to be a delicious and nutritious snack:
Cheese is a delicious, nutritious food. It is in essence milk from a cow (or sheep, goat etc.) that has been processed and solidified. Therefore, cheese is full of calcium and can make just about any meal very tasty. It's a perfect snack, too! Just don't put it on bland bread. Try it on a slice of cucumber, or on a pepperoni ring!
So then, how can dairy be bad for us? Come on, America grew up on dairy. Cookies and milk, whip cream on pumpkin pie, and what about sharing a strawberry shake with your sweetheart? Not a good idea according to Dr. Fuhrman.

Maybe it’s our emotional connection with milk and ice cream, but it sure seems like people ignore the dangers dairy. In a previous post Dr. Fuhrman points out the link between Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, ovarian cancer, and dairy consumption. From Milk: Does It Do A Body Good:
The relationship between Parkinson’s and milk consumption has been suspected for decades1 and was first reported by researchers a few years ago. Chen’s and other recent prospective studies have confirmed the earlier, less definitive findings…

…The researchers also concluded that the non-fat aspects of milk have atherogenic effects (plaque-building) both biochemical and immunological, and the simultaneous attack from all these directions explains why milk was found to have such a strong effect on death rate2…

…A recent study of 61,000 women found that those who consumed more than 2 glasses of milk per day had twice the risk of serous ovarian cancer than women who consumed fewer than two glasses. The risk of those who drank two glasses a day was double that of women who rarely drank milk.3
Dr. Fuhrman is especially worried about cow’s milk and children. In Disease-Proof Your Child he explains that consuming milk puts children at risk for a whole bunch of issues, including Crohn's disease and multiple sclerosis. Here’s a bit of the book:
Milk and cheese are the foods 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.
When I read stuff like this I don’t feel ashamed about not eating dairy. Although my friends still think its weird that I can walk into a pizzeria and not order a slice. In fact, I’m probably the only full-blooded Italian that orders a salad at the local pizza joint.

So, if all this daunting research isn’t enough to make you think twice about downing that glass of milk, check out this report by The Washington Post. Apparently the FDA is about to approve a cattle drug that could put humans at risk. Rick Weiss has more:
The American Medical Association and about 12 other health groups warned the Food and Drug Administration that giving cefquinome to animals probably would speed the emergence of microbes resistant to that important class of antibiotic, as has happened with other drugs. Those supermicrobes could then spread to people.

Echoing those concerns, the FDA's advisory board last fall voted to reject the request by Intervet of Millsboro, Del., to market the drug for cattle.

Yet by all indications, the FDA will approve cefquinome this spring. That outcome is all but required, officials said, by a recently implemented "guidance document" that codifies how to weigh threats to human health posed by proposed new animal drugs.
You’ve got to love the FDA. They’ve always got our best interests at heart—that was sarcasm folks.
Continue Reading...

Baby Genius vs. Broccoli

Not everyone shares Dr. Fuhrman’s appreciation for cruciferous vegetables. Witness Stewie’s war against broccoli:

“Well then, my goal becomes clear. The broccoli must die!”

The Carnival of the Recipes: Happy Food Edition

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

Martha Stewart: Antioxidant Salad

I wonder if she picked up this recipe in the slammer. Sorry, bad joke, I couldn’t resist. Anyway, the domestic dynamo offers up a very Fuhrman-friendly salad recipe—provided you go easy on or omit the dressing. Take a look:
Antioxidant Salad
Serves 6

1 head romaine lettuce, trimmed and torn into pieces
1 small bunch arugula, torn into pieces
1/2 cup fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley
6 freshly chopped basil leaves
1carrot, thinly sliced crosswise
1stalk celery, thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 cup radish sprouts
1bulb fennel, trimmed and thinly sliced crosswise
1 teaspoon ground flaxseeds
Lemon-Lime Olive Oil Dressing

Combine lettuce, arugula, parsley, basil, carrot, celery, radish sprouts, fennel, and flaxseeds in a large bowl. Drizzle with enough dressing to lightly coat. Toss to combine.

Vending Machine History

If you’ve ever worked in an office you know how tempting the vending machine can be. Boss driving your crazy? E14. Phone won’t stop ringing? A6. Just annoyed that it’s Monday? C2. Diet Blog presents the evolution of the vending machine, in pictures. The outcome might surprise you.

Eating to Live on the Outside: Thai Kitchen

After a week of rest and relaxation the swelling on my forehead has finally gone down. If you forgot why I was repeatedly bashing my head against the wall, please, revisit last week’s Eating to Live on the Outside: Indigo Joe's. How people can eat that much cheese, bacon, and ranch dressing is beyond me. Good thing today’s restaurant is way more Fuhrman-friendly. I’m not sure I could take back to back standard American restaurants—ouch!

So, how do I know Thai Kitchen is Fuhrman-friendly? Well, I’ve eaten there! I’m a big fan of Thai food. And if you’ve ever eaten Thai, you know most dishes are loaded with a variety of vegetables. Which beats the pants off of salads topped with bacon or deep-fried green beans. Okay then, time for a little change in protocol. Usually I talk about what I might order if I found myself dining at one of these restaurants. But, since I’ve actually eaten at Thai Kitchen, I’ll tell you what I have ordered.

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t eat out very often, once maybe twice a month. So when I do, I tend to stick with what works. In my case it’s the Pad Kra Tiem. This is pretty much my go-to dish. And I only order it veggie-style, which means it’s prepared with sautéed garlic, onions, baby corn, carrots, broccoli, tofu, and white pepper. It’s very tasty and they don’t over cook the vegetables. To be honest, most of the time the veggies are still a little raw, which is fine by me—veggies al dente! Okay, now I know what you’re saying to yourself, “What about what it’s cooked in? That stuff can't be good for you.” You know what? I’m not going to argue with you on that one and that’s why the cooking mixture or sauce is my concession—a concession I can live with.

That’s pretty much the way I approach Thai Kitchen. I know that it’s not perfect, but every dish—even the ones with noodles and meat—come with lots of vegetables, and, the portion sizes are perfect. So, as a person that doesn’t eat out a lot, I can live with this tiny shortcoming. In my opinion a big part of Eating to Live is allowing little moments where you can let yourself off the hook. And I hardly think a steaming plate of veggies with a little brown sauce is worth beating yourself up over, especially if you practice nutritional excellence 99% of the time.  What do you think?

Now before I pinpointed my standby dish, I used to graze the menu. In the past I’ve ordered the Pad Preow Wan, which comes with pineapple, bell peppers, baby corn, celery, cucumbers, and tomatoes. And it’s all sautéed in sweet & sour sauce. Not a bad meal, but, I’m not the biggest fan of sweet & sour, so that one didn’t last. I’ve also given the Pad See Eue a whirl. It’s a pretty basic dish, made with stir fried broad rice noodles, Chinese broccoli, and soy sauce. Again, I realize the concessions here. The rice noodles are nothing more than refined grains and the soy sauce is loaded with salt. Needless to say I only ordered this once.

The first dish I ever tried at Thai Kitchen was the Pad Thai. In fact, this was well before my Followhealthlife days, meaning I was still a standard American dieter. The Pad Thai is prepared with sautéed Thai noodles, shrimps, eggs, crushed peanuts, scallions, bean curd, and bean sprouts. Definitely a few concessions there! Don’t worry, I haven’t ordered the Pad Thai in years.

Okay, now I’m giving you a homework assignment. Check out Thai Kitchen’s menu and pick a dish you’d like me to order. Try to select one that I haven’t already tried and post it in the comments. Then next time I’m at Thai Kitchen I’ll give it whirl and I promise I’ll tell you all about it. Oh, please no spicy dishes. I’ve got a wimpy stomach and I don’t really feel like blogging from the fetal position. Well, what are you waiting for? Get to work on that menu!  And remember, you can always email us your Eating to Live on the Outside story at

Germany Gives Smoking Das Boot

More bad news about smoking, actually, bad news and smoking kind of go hand in hand. Anyway, the AFP reports Germany has banned smoking in rail stations, public transport, and federal buildings. Also the government will raise the legal age for buying tobacco to 18:
"We regulated what we could at the federal level," health minister Ulla Schmidt said after the vote.

"I think that a lot of people can now literally breathe a sigh of relief."

Consumer Affairs Minister Horst Seehofer said the law would mark "a big leap forward" in protecting Germans from second-hand smoke after attempts to allow facilities to introduce voluntary bans proved ineffective.

A federal study released Monday showed that only 11 percent of restaurants have created non-smoking sections, far below the 60 percent the industry agreed to maintain in March 2005 if the government refrained from passing legislation.

The French Crackdown on Junk Food

Can you blame them? Just look at what junk food has done to this country. It shouldn’t surprise you that the French government wants to put the screws to processed snacks and fast food. Marie-Laure Combes of the Associated Press has more:
This from a nation where just slightly more than 9 percent of the 63.4 million citizens are obese and fewer than a third are overweight, according to government figures. In the United States, by comparison, one-third of adults are obese, about two-thirds are overweight. Several Mediterranean and Eastern European countries have similar statistics.

The ad restrictions fly in the face of the image of the trim and cuisine-conscious French, perpetuated by books like Mireille Guiliano's best seller "French Women Don't Get Fat." The book argues that the French can eat croissants and foie gras without ballooning because they take time to savor flavors and eat judiciously.

Nutritional Wisdom: Art and Life - Think like an Artist for Life Extension

Dr. Fuhrman’s radio show Nutritional Wisdom airs live Wednesdays at 11am EST with an encore presentation Thursdays at 3pm EST on VoiceAmerica. Be sure to check out this week’s episode Art and Life – Think like an Artist for Life Extension” with special guest Peter Max. And if you've missed an episode click  the Nutritional Wisdom category for previous episodes.

Growing Your Own

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

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an advisory about the risks of raw sprouts prompted by several outbreaks of serious food-borne illness linked to eating raw sprouts. Young children, elderly, and those with reduced immune function should especially avoid sprouts. Since 1995, raw sprouts have emerged as a recognized source of food-borne illness in the United States. These illnesses have involved the pathogenic bacteria salmonella and E. coli O157. Alfalfa and clover sprouts have been involved most often, but all raw sprouts may pose a risk.

Dr. Fuhrman comments:
The small sprouts are difficult to wash and rinse during sprouting as the roots mat together. Commercially-grown alfalfa and broccoli sprouts can be safely added to soups, because the cooking temperature kills any harmful bacteria. You reduce the chances of bacterial contamination considerably if you grow your own.
Continue Reading...

The Happy Housewives Club, episode 4

Dairy: Ice Cream for Fertility?

Dairy has been crammed down our throats for decades. School lunch trays across America sport that familiar mini-carton of milk and college students basically survive on a diet of grilled cheese and breakfast cereal. And if you don’t eat dairy people act as if something’s wrong with you. Having a lactose intolerance is like being branded with a scarlet letter. But don’t worry. According to Dr. Fuhrman avoiding dairy isn’t exactly a bad idea. From Eat to Live:
Dairy is best kept to a minimum. There are many good reasons not to consume dairy. For example, there is a strong association between diary lactose and ischemic heart disease.1 There is also a clear association between high-growth-promoting foods such as dairy products and cancer. There is a clear association between milk consumption and testicular cancer.2 Dairy fat is also loaded various toxins and is the primary source of our nation’s high exposure to dioxin.3 Dioxin is a highly toxic chemical compound that even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency admits is a prominent cause of many types of cancer in those consuming dairy fat, such as butter and cheese.4 Cheese is also a power inducer of acid load, which increases calcium loss further.5 Considering that cheese and butter are the foods with the highest saturated-fat content and the major source of our dioxin exposure, cheese is a particularly foolish choice for obtaining calcium.
So then, I imagine articles like this only confuse the heck out of people. The Associated Press reports that ice cream might help fertility. I wonder what the magic ingredient is, the chunks of cookie dough or the hot fudge? Marilynn Marchione explains:
Researchers found that women who ate two or more low-fat dairy products a day were nearly twice as likely to have trouble conceiving because of lack of ovulation than women who ate less than one serving of such foods a week.

Conversely, women who ate at least one fatty dairy food a day were 27 percent less likely to have this problem.

Even the researchers say women should not make too much of these results, which are based on reports of what women said they ate over many years - not a rigorous, scientific experiment where specific dietary factors could be studied in isolation.

"The idea is not to go crazy and start to have ice cream three times a day," said the lead author, Dr. Jorge Chavarro, a research fellow at Harvard. "But it is certainly possible to have a healthy diet with low saturated fat intake by having one serving of high-fat dairy a day."
Now when you weigh all the risks of consuming dairy, is it really worth it? I’m sure millions of people read a report like this and use it to justify loading up on Double Chocolate Chip Mint, Oreo Snickers Cookie Surprise, or whatever other concoction they’ve come up with now.

A lot of people eat dairy because they believe it’s essential for getting adequate calcium. Not so according to Dr. Fuhrman. In fact, check out these posts for great sources of veggie calcium:
Continue Reading...

Bad Press for Antioxidants

Yesterday garlic supplements were dragged through the mud and now it looks like antioxidants are next. New research claims antioxidants won’t help people live longer. Carla K. Johnson of the Associated Press is on it:
Antioxidant vitamins taken by tens of millions of people around the world won't lead to a longer life, according to an analysis of dozens of studies that adds to evidence questioning the value of the popular supplements. The large review of separate studies on thousands of people found no long-life benefit from vitamins A, E and C and beta carotene and selenium.

However, some experts said it's too early to toss out all vitamin pills — or the possibility that they may have some health benefits. Others said the study supports the theory that antioxidants work best when they are consumed in food rather than pills…

… But some researchers now believe antioxidants work only when they are in food, or that people who eat vitamin-rich food are healthier simply because they take better care of themselves. And beta carotene supplements have been found to increase lung cancer risk in smokers.
Reports like this are interesting because they expose the insanity of America’s desperate belief in magic pills. Millions of us eat a horrible diet and don’t exercise, but to make ourselves feel less guilty about it, we pop some advertised wonder pill. But then, we’re surprised when we still get sick. And who do we blame? The lazy glutton? No, the wonder pill!

Dr. Fuhrman would agree. This is part of the thinking that gets millions of American’s in trouble. That’s why I like the last part of this report encouraging people to get antioxidants from food. This makes sense because Dr. Fuhrman’s vegetable-based biologically-diverse diet will ensure you get plenty of nutrients, especially antioxidants. From Ten Super Foods to Use in Your Recipes and Menus:
Carrots/beets are colorful root crops that add beauty and flavor to dishes. Shredded raw in salads, cooked, or in soups, they are high in fiber and antioxidants compounds such as cartonoids and betacyanin, a powerful cancer protective agent found to inhibit cell mutations.

The Drama Club on Cucumbers

Not sure why you should eat cucumbers. Well, this video—which has all the symptoms of the high school drama club—will help enlighten you:

Grey Salmon, Anyone?

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

The European Union is requiring salmon farms to cut the dose of pigment found in salmon feed. The pigment, called canthaxanthin, has been found to damage human eyesight by accumulating in the retina. Most of the salmon in the wild get their pink hue by eating lots of shrimp, but in the farms they would be grey if not artificially colored.

United States and Canada list canthaxanthin as “generally recognized as safe for human use” and do not restrict the use of these pink dyes in fish farms.

Dr. Fuhrman comments:
Considering that farm-raised salmon also has been found to be high in cancer-causing polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) levels and are the most PCB-contaminated source in the current U.S. food supply, it does not seem to be the “health” food most people think. Fish raised under such crowded conditions are treated with drugs, pesticides to ward off parasites, and toxic chemicals to keep nets free of algae.
Continue Reading...