Headaches and Migraines: Knock Them Out

Headaches are just awful. They can ruin your day before it even gets started. One of the pluses of Eating to Live is you hardly ever get a headache. At least I don’t. How about you? And here’s a good reason to stay headache-free. Apparently migraines are being linked to brain damage. Maggie Fox of Reuters reports:
People with migraines also may be suffering from some brain damage as brain cells swell and become starved of oxygen -- a finding that may help explain why migraine sufferers have a higher risk of stroke, researchers reported on Sunday.

Similar brain damage can occur with concussions and after strokes, the researchers said in this week's issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience.

They said their findings suggest that migraine sufferers should not simply get pain relief but should take drugs that prevent the migraine, which is often preceded by "aura" -- a series of visual disturbances that can include flashes of light or black spots.
Now, for years I thought headaches were just one of those things. Don’t know what causes them, just got to deal with them. Not so, according to Dr. Fuhrman. He’ll tell you, nutrition excellence knocks headaches and migraines right out of the box. From Eat to Live:
Recurrent headaches are not much different. They are almost always the result of nutritional folly and, like other reasons that keep doctors' offices busy, are completely avoidable.

The relationship between food triggers and migraines has been the subject of much debate, with varying results from medical researchers. Headache specialists such as Seymour Diamond, director of the Diamond Headache Clinic of Columbus Hospital, report that about 30 percent of patients can identify food triggers.1

My experience in treating migraine and severe-headache patients with a more comprehensive nutritional approach has shown that 90 to 95 percent of patients are able to remain headache-free after the first three-month period. These patients avoid common migraine triggers, but also in the healing phase they adhere to a strict natural-food vegan diet of primarily fruits and vegetables rich in natural starches like potatoes and brown rice. These patients must avoid all packaged and processed foods, which are notorious for containing hidden food additives, even though they are not disclosed on the labels. They also avoid all added salt.
I don’t know about you, but, I’d rather eat lots wholesome natural food instead of popping handfuls of high-dose ibuprofens any day of the week. Now, Dr. Fuhrman has had a lot of success treating headache and migraine suffers with nutritional excellence. Here are couple stories:
Still want to know more? Back in January Dr. Fuhrman discussed banishing your headaches on his radio show Nutritional Wisdom. Here’s the show summary:
You can travel to one headache specialist after another and try a hundred different remedies. But if you want to understand why you get headaches and how to beat them forever listen in to this fascinating show! Dr. Fuhrman explains how eating a high-nutrient diet can alleviate headaches, which are usually associated with other health-related problems.
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Grape of Wrath

This poor cocker spaniel can’t quite negotiate a grape:

Cancer: Humans Need Plant Matter

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

There is still some controversy about which foods cause which cancers and whether certain types of fat are the culprits with certain cancers, but there’s one thing we know for sure; raw vegetables and fresh fruits have powerful anti-cancer agents. Studies have repeatedly shown the correlation between consumption of these foods and a lower incidence of various cancers, including those of the breast, colon, rectum, lung, stomach, prostate, and pancreas.1 This means that your risk of cancer decreases with an increased intake of fruits and vegetables, and the earlier in life you start eating large amounts of these foods, the more protection you get.

Humans are genetically adapted to expect a high intake of natural and unprocessed plant-derived substances. Cancer is a disease of maladaptation. It results primarily from a body’s lacking critical substances found in different types of vegetation, many of which are still undiscovered, that are metabolically necessary for normal protective function. Natural foods unadulterated by man are highly complex—so complex that the exact structure and the majority of compounds they contain are not precisely known. A tomato, for example, contains more than ten thousand different phytochemicals.

It may never be possible to extract the precise symphony of nutrients found in vegetation and place it in a pill. Isolated nutrients extracted from food may never offer the same level of disease-protective effects of whole natural foods, as nature “designed” them. Fruits and vegetables contain a variety of nutrients, which work in subtle synergies, and many of these nutrients cannot be isolated or extracted. Phytochemicals from a variety of plant foods work together to become much more potent at detoxifying carcinogens and protecting against cancer than when taken individually as isolated compounds. Continue Reading...

America Digging Organic

This country loves a good band-wagon, but who would have thought so many people would be jumping on the organic food band-wagon. It’s true, Americans love organic. Charles Abbott of Reuters reports:
Organic food sales grow by as much as 20 percent a year and were forecast for $16 billion during 2006, or nearly 3 percent of all U.S. food spending, the Organic Trade Association said at a pair of congressional hearings.

"In the United States, the buzz about organic has become a steady hum," said Lynn Clarkson, an organic farmer and member of the OTA board. "Organic foods are increasingly sold in mainstream retail establishments, which together represent roughly 46 percent of sales."

Clarkson told a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on Tuesday that organic production was climbing "but not at a rate to meet the consumer demand" so imports are rising. Mark Lipson of the Organic Farming Research Foundation presented a similar assessment at the House of Representatives Agriculture subcommittee hearing last week.

Meat: Grill, Fry, or Broil it?

It seems neither. A new study claims that grilled, fried, or broiled meat contain toxins called "advanced glycation end products" (AGEs). And, Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports that AGEs can lead to a myriad of serious health problems, like diabetes and vascular disease. Here’s more:
Grilled, fried or broiled animal products such as meats and cheeses contain a class of toxins called "advanced glycation end products" (AGEs), which have been linked to inflammation, insulin resistance, diabetes, vascular and kidney disease, and Alzheimer's disease, say a team from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City…

…"AGEs are quite deceptive, since they also give our food desirable tastes and smells," senior author Dr. Helen Vlassara, professor of medicine and geriatrics, and director of the Division of Experimental Diabetes and Aging at Mount Sinai, said in a prepared statement.

"So, consuming high amounts of grilled, broiled or fried food means consuming significant amounts of AGEs, and AGEs in excess are toxic. People should be given information about AGE intake and be advised to consider their intake in the same way they would think about their trans fats and salt intake. They should be warned about their AGE levels the way they are about their cholesterol levels or cigarette smoking," Vlassara said.
Dr. Fuhrman makes it pretty clear. Too much meat and other animal products can contribute to serious health problems, namely cancer and cardiovascular disease. Here are couple posts that highlight this connection:
Okay, back to cooking foods. Does it really matter how we prepare our food? Be it animal or vegetable-based. Well for starters, Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t thinking frying is a good idea. He explains why in Disease-Proof Your Child:
Water-based cooking is the preferred way to cook because you can avoid cancer-causing acrylamides that are created when foods are browned by baking or frying.

Never eat browned or overly cooked food. Burnt food forms harmful compounds. If by accident something is overcooked and browned, discard. Avoid fried food and food sautéed in oil. Experiment with low heat cooking to prevent nutritional damage to the food and the formation of dangerous heat-generated compounds.
Now, recently I asked Dr. Fuhrman if acrylamides show up in other foods, like cooked meats, specifically barbecued meat. No surprise here, his answer was yes. Actually, he pointed out that acrylamides form in all foods. Check out this study from the Scandinavian Journal of Nutrition, it sheds some light on the development of acrylamides:
The exact chemical mechanism(s) for acrylamide formation in heated foods is unknown. Several plausible mechanistic routes may be suggested, involving reactions of carbohydrates, proteins/amino acids, lipids and probably also other food components as precursors. With the data and knowledge available today it is not possible to point out any specific routes, or to exclude any possibilities. It is likely that a multitude of reaction mechanisms is involved. Acrolein is one strong precursor candidate, the origin of which could be lipids, carbohydrates or proteins/amino acids. Acrylamide is a reactive molecule and it can readily react with various other components in the food. The actual acrylamide level in a specific food product, therefore, probably reflects the balance between ease of formation and potential for further reactions in that food matrix. There are indications in support of that the Maillard reaction being an important reaction route for acrylamide formation, but lipid degradation pathways to the formation of acrolein should also be considered.
At this point it kind of seems like a basic math equation. If too many animal products are bad and eating overly cooked food is also bad, then putting the two of them together has got to be really bad, right? Well, it sure seems that way. In Disease-Proof Your Child Dr. Fuhrman considers barbequed meat (and cheese) one of the worst foods you can eat for health and longevity. From the book:
Worst Seven Foods for Health and Longevity
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Potato Chips and French Fries
  • Doughnuts
  • Salt
  • Sausage, hot dogs
  • Pickled, smoked or barbequed meat

Foods high in saturated fat and trans fat are consistently associated with high cancer rates. Cheese and butter typically contain over ten times as much saturated fat as fish and white meat chicken and turkey.

Add the carcinogenic potential from heated and overcooked oils (usually trans containing) delivered in doughnuts and fries with the powerful cancer inducing properties of carbohydrates cooked at high heat (acrylamide formation) and you have a great cancer potion.
So, will people heed these warnings and cut back on the amount of animal products they eat and be careful not to dangerously cook their food? My guess, probably not, especially with this kind of rhetoric kicking around the blogosphere. Like LivinLaVidaLowCarb’s ringing endorsement of frying meat in butter—sadly, I’m not kidding. Proceed with caution:
I agree with the advice to shun the fried foods specifically because of the breading. But if you want to fry up your meat in a pan full of butter, then knock yourself out. It’s a healthy way to enjoy that succulent protein-loaded food.

While it’s nice to bake, broil, and especially grill meats, don’t fall for the illusion that cooking these ways is any healthier than cooking meat in fat. Avoid the trans fats, of course, but you shouldn’t worry about saturated fats as long as you are livin’ la vida low-carb.
Take a moment to note that butter is also on Dr. Fuhrman’s list of the seven worst foods. Okay, it gets worse. Check out this quote from Carbohydrate Addict, apparently this Atkins dieter thinks grilled-cheese is fabulous—sigh. Here it is:
I think one of the reasons Atkins was so perfect for me was because I was on low fat/low cholesterol for sooooo many years. All of the forbidden foods suddenly became okay to eat without guilt and my cholesterol is finally FABULOUS. I'm still on a high when I eat them! Egg salad, bacon, chicken wings, mac and cheese, grilled cheese.... YUM!
Yum? For bacon and egg salad? Whoa! What a world we live in. Reading rants like this makes me think about the opposite. What does eating a lot of fruits and vegetables do for us? Well, when you’re talking health and disease-prevention, Dr. Fuhrman explains they’re the best! From Fruits and Veggies vs. Diabetes and Colon Cancer:
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
And here’s more, from Is Heart Disease Totally Preventable? Take a look:
The Eat to Live vegetable, fruit, nut, and bean-based diet has been shown to be the most effective cholesterol-lowering dietary approach in medical history. This newsworthy data with the potential to save millions of lives has been ignored by the mass media. With this dietary approach, most patients drop their total cholesterol below 150 and LDL below 100, without the need for medications.

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

In areas of the world where people eat a diet of unrefined plant foods, people have total cholesterol levels below 150, and there is zero incidence of heart disease in the population.5
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One Cat, One Apple Core

This cat is taking the pet food recall to extremes. He’s gone vegetarian. Watch him go to town on this apple core:

Blueberries, They Rock!

Despite their tiny size, blueberries are nutritional heavyweights. Dr. Fuhrman considers them one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Actually, he calls blueberries one of nature’s best foods:
Native to North America, blueberries have been part of the human diet for more than 13,000 years, long before being formally recognized for their healthy and anti-cancer effects Blueberries are among the best foods you can eat, and I recommend eating them everyday. I have created easy healthy recipes, diet recipes, smoothie recipes – using blueberries, soy milk, ground flax seed, and other natural foods – that give my patients a variety of ways to enjoy this wonderful fruit.
So how about those healthy recipes? Well, there are a lot of them here on Followhealthlife. Check it out:
And Dr. Fuhrman isn't the only one extolling the benefits of blueberries. Get a load of this video. The blueberry farmers must be very happy. Enjoy:

Now, in Disease-Proof Your Child Dr. Fuhrman makes it very clear, blueberries and other dark berries are packed with health-promoting nutrients. He explains:
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.

The Salad Debacle

Salads, arguably the staple meal of Eat to Live, but, that depends. What kind of salads are we talking about? If we’re talking about salads like Dr. Fuhrman’s Indian Mango Salad or his Pecan Maple Salad, then we’re good. But, if we’re talking about many of the standard American restaurant concocted salads, well, those are no friend of an Eat to Liver.

And what is a standard American salad? Let me paint you a picture. Take some phytonutrient-rich lettuce and maybe some tomato and onions. Then, bombard them with cheese, grilled chicken, croutons, bacon, crispy noodles, more cheese, lunch meat, and finally, drown it in as much oil or cream based dressing that you can get your hands on. And what are you left? A meal formally known as healthy.

Need some real world examples? Thankfully the Eating to Live on the Outside series has become a virtual library of unsavory food selections. So, here’s a couple of all-star—insert sarcasm here—standard American salads:
Lonestar Steakhouse
Like usual my eyes gravitate towards the salad section of the menu; it’s like the Alamo, a safe haven in the middle of hostile territory. The Cobb Salad has some promise, but I’m making a couple alterations—goodbye cheese and adios bacon! Now, I can deal with the chicken and egg, I only eat meat once a week anyway, so I don’t really mind this concession. Overall my favorite thing about this dish is the avocado. I have bit of an avocado fetish.

Carrabba's Italian Grill
No surprise here, but the next dishes I’d consider ordering are salads. First you’ve got your basic house salad, which is usually a safe option (provided you limit or omit the oily dressing), but I’m also intrigued by the Insalata Fiorucci and the Insalata Carrabba. Are they perfect? Oh no, there’s some nit-picking to do. Sure, between the both of them you’ve got field greens, artichoke hearts, roasted red bell peppers, grilled eggplant, tomatoes, black olives, carrots, celery, and red onions. But there’s also plenty of stuff to make an Eat to Liver head for the hills; a hazelnut goat cheese medallion, and mozzarella and romano cheese, not to mention the vinaigrette. For me the solution is pretty clear, I’m cutting out the cheese, I can go either way with the chicken (of course some of you might prefer to ditch it), and I’d use just a teeny tiny bit of vinaigrette. See with a few alternations you’ve got a decent meal, take a moment and ponder all the phytonutrients.
If you consider all this, this next article shouldn’t really shock you. The Los Angeles Times reports that lots people can’t pick the healthy meals on restaurant menus, even though many of them boast "wholesome" options—the problem? Part of it seems to be those pesky standard American salads. Mary Engel explains:
The four-question quiz — which focused on food served at Denny's, Chili's, McDonald's and Romano's Macaroni Grill — was commissioned by the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, a nonprofit group based in Davis, and conducted by Field Research Corp. The findings were the same, regardless of education or income levels.

Even the center's executive director, Harold Goldstein, flunked the test, despite holding a doctorate in public health.

"More and more fast-food restaurants are claiming that they are providing healthy choices, and commonly the choice will have a word like 'salad' in it," Goldstein said. "But you could be blindfolded throwing a dart at the menu board, and you've got a better chance at making the healthy choice."

The findings do not bode well for a state in the middle of an obesity epidemic, said Alecia Sanchez, a Sacramento-based spokeswoman for the American Cancer Society. More than half of California adults are overweight or obese and at risk of diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. One in three cancer deaths is related to poor diet, inactivity or obesity, Sanchez said.

Goldstein's center is using the survey results to lobby for a bill, introduced by state Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) that would require chain restaurants in California to include nutritional information on their menus, much as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires nutritional labeling for food sold in grocery stores.
This whole situation makes me think of the heavyset woman who walks into McDonalds, orders a Big Mac, large fries, apple pie, and then a Diet Coke.

Eat Broccoli, Wiggle Hamster Feet

Time for more animals eating veggies, but be careful. This one comes with an extreme cuteness warning. It’s in the feet—the feet I tell you! Proceed with caution:

Nutritional Wisdom: Dancing and Dining With the Stars

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 Dancing and Dining With the Stars, for a special interview with Heather Mills. And if you've missed an episode click the Nutritional Wisdom category for previous episodes.

Why We Don't Eat Healthy Food

Diet-Blog offers up five reasons why Americans don’t eat healthfully:
Despite all the campaigns to promote fruit and vegetable intake - only a third of Americans eat two or more pieces of fruit per day. 25% don't eat any vegetables at all (ref).

Why not?

Recent research from Mintel shows 5 reasons for not eating healthy:
1. Availability
2. Cost
3. Confusion
4. Time constraints
5. Taste concerns

Talking About Organic

How do you feel about organic produce? Personally, I dig it. But, I don’t bend over backwards to get it. Only about 20% of my weekly vegetation intake comes from organic produce. Why only 20%? Well, according to Dr. Fuhrman the benefits of just eating more fruits and veggies outweigh many of the commonly worried about non-organic risks, like pesticide residue for example. From Disease-Proof Your Child:
The Environmental Protection Agency reports that the majority of pesticides now in use are probable or possible cancer causers. Studies of farm workers who work with pesticides suggest a link between pesticide use and brain cancer, Parkinson's disease, multiple myloma, leukemia, lymphoma, and cancers of the stomach, prostate, and testes.1 But the question remains, does the low level of pesticides remaining on our food present much of a danger?

Some scientists argue that the extremely low level of pesticide residue remaining on produce is insignificant and that there are naturally occurring toxins in all natural foods that are more significant. The large amount of studies performed on the typical pesticide-treated produce have demonstrated that consumption of produce, whether organic or not, is related to lower rates of cancer and disease protection, not higher rates. Certainly, it is better to eat fruits and vegetables grown and harvested using pesticides than not eating them at all. The health benefits of eating phytochemical-rich produce greatly outweigh any risk pesticide residues might pose.
Organic and non-organic is always a hot topic of conversation. Even though I’m not a strict buyer of organic produce, I do think that we’d be better off if all our food was organic. What do you think? And here, to help fuel the discussion, check out this report by Amy Spindler of CookingLight.com. In it, the experts weigh in on organic verses conventional:
What's best for the environment is hotly debated among experts. "There is no scientifically accepted evidence that organic foods are better for the environment. Organic production allows natural pesticides, which can be toxic to humans and wildlife," says Alan McHughen, Ph.D., professor of botany and plant sciences at the University of California, Riverside. Organic fertilizers may also contain harmful bacteria, such as E. coli. Plus, organic farming yields only 75 to 90 percent of the crop of conventional systems, meaning that more land must be planted in order to have an equal return.

Organic advocates counter that chemicals used in conventional farming spread far beyond the fields where they are applied and have unintended consequences. "Synthetic pesticides have been linked to developmental and neurological problems," Benbrook says. "Organics eliminate synthetic pesticides and the damage they do to farmers, land, and drinking water."
Although, once the marketers hook into the organic idea, I’m sure they’ll be rolling out organic Big Macs, Chalupas, and Double Whoppers. Continue Reading...

Go Outside and Hunt!

A British reality show has figured out how to get kids slim. If they’re hungry, make them hunt for their food. Alison Godfrey of The Daily Telegraph reports:
In Fat Kids Can't Hunt 10 fat youngsters will live with Aboriginal tribesmen in Australia for a month.

If the children want to eat, they must follow the strict rules of the Aborigines, eating plants, grasses and fruits as well as trapping, killing and cooking any animals or insects they find.

If they do not eat the bush tucker, they go hungry.

Made by made by Big Brother producer Endemol, Fat Kids Can't Hunt is designed to help overweight children tackle overeating problems
Just another reason why I hate reality television.

Parrot vs. Grape

My quest for videos of animal eating fruits and veggies continues. Watch as this parrots mauls a grape:

Anti-Cancer: Broccoli and Soy

The Cancer Blog passes on a report exploring the anti-cancer effects of broccoli and soy. Check it out:
The researchers are convinced that there is a biological mechanism behind the protective effect. It is explained in the article that a compound resulting from the digestion of cruciferous vegetables, and genistein, an isofavone in soy, reduce the two proteins needed for breast and ovarian cancer to spread…

… The study found that when cancer cells were treated with high levels of compounds found in broccoli and soy, the drawing mechanism to the organs was reduced by 80 percent compared to untreated cells.
Dr. Fuhrman has been talking about the anti-cancer properties of cruciferous vegetables for a long time. Here’s a post about it. From "A Symphony of Phytonutrients" from Cruciferous Vegetables:
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
What makes these studies even more fascinating is the discovery of the gene/diet interaction, which has shown that high intake of greens and cruciferous vegetables provides the food factors necessary to interact with--and prevent--genetic defects from creating disease. This gene/diet interaction activates a battery of many genes, initiating DNA repair and other protection mechanisms.
Makes me feel good about my baby spinach addiction.
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HealthDay News: Veggies Good, Cured Meats Bad

Here are a couple of great reports from HealthDay News. First up, Jeffrey Perkel explains that cured meats have been linked to the development of lung cancer:
Using data compiled as part of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the study authors found a statistical association between people who ate 14 or more servings monthly of cured meats and the incidence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This held true even after the researchers factored in such variables as age, smoking, and the amount of fruits and vegetables in the subjects' diets.

"People who eat 14 or more servings of cured meat per month have about an 80 percent increased odds of COPD versus people who don't eat cured meat at all," Dr. Rui Jiang, an associate research scientist at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City said.

And, the more cured meats a person eats a month, on average, the higher the risk of COPD, the study said.
Not exactly new news for Followhealthlife, in a previous post Dr. Fuhrman calls pickled, smoked, and barbecued meats one of the worst foods you can eat for health and longevity:

Worst Seven Foods for Health and Longevity

  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Potato Chips and French Fries
  • Doughnuts
  • Salt
  • Sausage, hot dogs
  • Pickled, smoked or barbequed meat
Now, in related news, Serena Gordon of HealthDay News reports that fruits and vegetables help fight off cancer. Read on:
A trio of new studies presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research on Sunday found that vegetables and fruits help lower your chances of getting head and neck, breast, ovarian and pancreatic cancers.

One of the studies even found that just one additional serving of vegetables or fruits could help lower the risk of head and neck cancer. Still, the more fruits and vegetables you can consume, the better.

"Those who ate six servings of fruit and vegetables per 1,000 calories had a 29 percent decreased risk relative to those who had 1.5 servings," said Neal Freedman, a Cancer Prevention Fellow in the division of Cancer Prevention at the National Cancer Institute and author of one of the studies.
Again, this is not exactly earth-shattering research for Followhealthlife. In this next post Dr. Fuhrman explains that cancer is a disease resulting from fruit and vegetable deficiency. Here’s more:
Vegetables and fruits protect against all types of cancers if consumed in large enough quantities. Hundreds of scientific studies document this. The most prevalent cancers in our country are mostly plant-food-deficiency disease.
In the end, it’s still cool when the media echoes what Dr. Fuhrman has been saying for years.

Super Cinnamon?

The Diabetes Blog passes on new research claiming cinnamon is some kind of diabetes super spice. Have a look:
In a landmark study on the effects of cinnamon pre-diabetic subjects, researchers from The Ohio Research Group discovered that regularly using this spice (it is a spice, right? I mean, I keep it with my spices. I have no idea, I'm a guy) significantly reduced fasting blood sugar and systolic blood pressure.

Cocker Crunches Celery

This cocker spaniel loves his celery—just listen to all the crunching! Take a look:

Dogs Love Cactus Pears

I’ve seen dogs do a lot of things. Jump through hoops. Learn sit, stay, and roll-over. But, I’ve never them stand up and beg for cactus pear. Until now, check it out:

For more on cactus pears, don’t forget Freaky Fruits: Cactus Pears.

Mango Cutting 101

Mangoes can be pain to cut. They’ve got a tough skin and huge freaking pit! Good thing this guy is here to show us the proper way to cut into one. Take a look:

Nutritional Wisdom: "Healthy to 100: Achieving a Long Healthy Life"

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 “Healthy to 100: Achieving a Long Healthy Life” with guest John Robbins. And if you've missed an episode click the Nutritional Wisdom category for previous episodes.

Clamping Down on Asthma

We live in an age of disease. It seems like everyone is popping a pill nowadays. And kids are taking the brunt of it. From ADHD and to ADD—surely, something is wrong with your child! But all these new-fangled conditions are overshadowing traditional maladies like asthma. Just like a Hollywood agent, “Sorry baby, you ain’t hip anymore.”

Maybe that’s why new federal guidelines are coming out this summer urging doctors to pay closer attention to children with asthma. Lauran Neergaard of the Associated Press has more:
Federal guidelines due this summer are expected to urge doctors to more closely monitor whether treatment is truly controlling everyday symptoms and improving patients' quality of life — and to adjust therapy until it does.

Already, a campaign is under way to teach patients to recognize they need better help, and to tell them how to convey that to a doctor. If the doctor's happy that you've had no flare-ups but doesn't know you had to quit playing soccer to do it, you're not achieving good control.

Too often, physicians don't realize how severe symptoms are, says Dr. Jill Halterman, a pediatric asthma specialist at the University of Rochester. With children, their own parents may underestimate symptoms.

It's more complicated than denial: When wheezing while running or waking up at night coughing has been routine for years, people may not know to complain.

"It may be part of what they view as normal," says Halterman, who is studying the control gap. "We're hoping we can change that so the goal can really be for the child to have no symptoms and no limitations on activities."
Now, I’m sure every kid with chronic asthma wants to live without symptoms and have no limitations, but what if they could go one step further? What if they could knock their asthma out of the box? Impossible? Not so according to Dr. Fuhrman. In Disease-Proof Your Child he explains that nutritional excellence is a sure-fire way to shake asthma at its foundation:
Eating protein-rich and fat-rich foods of animal origin—meat, cheese, fried food, and saturated fat—is associated with a higher prevalence of both allergies and asthma.1 Eating in fast food restaurants and eating a lower intake of vegetables and other fiber-rich foods has been implicated by numerous studies. The same studies also show that the children in the lowest third of vitamin E intake were found to have three times the incidence of asthma compared to those children in the highest third of vitamin E intake.2 Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin found in greens, raw nuts, and seeds; it is not found in animal products. The consumption of white bread, butter, and margarine has also been noted to be strongly associated with asthmatic symptoms.3

The same pattern emerges. What is needed to battle the development of asthma allergies is the same adequate intake of omega-3 fat as well as diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Eating high antioxidant- and phytochemical-containing foods is related to lower occurrence of childhood allergies and asthma.4 Nutritional excellence can normalize an excessive inflammatory response. The inflammatory cascade release chemicals that attract white blood cells and fluid into the area, which results in the tightness and swelling that create the symptoms of asthma. When nutrient intake is low, the lung tissues become overly sensitive to irritating stimuli.
In a previous post Dr. Fuhrman talks about a young asthma sufferer who achieved great results with nutritional excellence. From Asthma Can Often Be Controlled With Proper Nutrition:
Jonathan was an excellent student and was keenly interested in learning how what he ate affected his health and his breathing problem. At the initial visit to my office, Jonathan was instructed on using a spacer with an inhaler and was taken off his three times a day nebulizer treatments. I told him his recovery hinged on the amount of green vegetables he was capable of eating. He was more than cooperative. This eight-year-old said to me, "I will eat dirt if you can fix my breathing." So I said, "How about if I give you great-tasting real food to fix your asthma. You can be a lot better within a year." Jonathan is now in fourth grade. It took about eight months until he no longer required any medication. He is now the picture of health and uses no inhalers or other asthma medications.
Also, according to Dr. Fuhrman breastfeeding is an important part of stopping the development of asthma in children. Here’s a couple of posts talking about that:
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Eating Together is Better

Growing up we never watched television and ate dinner at the same time. Now that I live alone I still don’t. And it’s a good thing. Because according to a new study, you eat better when you’re not watching the tube. Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News reports:
For this study, more than 1,300 parents or guardians of children participating in New York's Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children were surveyed on how many days a week the family ate dinner together, the number of days each week the TV was turned on during dinner, and how often fruits and vegetables were served.

More fruits and vegetables were served on the nights families ate dinner as a unit. Servings of fruits and vegetables decreased each night the TV was turned on during the meal. Neither eating together nor having the television on seemed to have any relationship with servings of milk.

Fruits and vegetables are important components of any healthful diet and have been associated with decreased cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.

Strange Veggies: Daikon

This strange veggie isn’t much of a stranger at all. In fact, it’s a mainstay of traditional Japanese cuisine. But for many people living in this country, daikon probably sounds more like the name of a comic book villain than something you eat. So for the benefit of the uninformed, let’s see what we can turnip—I mean turn up—about this versatile root vegetable.

Versatility certainly sums up daikon. According to Wikipedia daikon can be prepared and eaten in many different ways; shredded, grated, dried, and with sushi, just to name a few. Not mention, it’s believed that Buddhist monks once pickled daikon to help preserve it through the winter. For more on that, let’s check out daikon’s Wikipedia page:
Shredded and dried daikon is called kiriboshi daikon, literally cut-and-dried daikon. Pickled whole daikon, called takuan in Japanese and danmuji in Korean, often takes a bright yellow color. Takuan is used in sushi and as a garnish for white rice. It is claimed, but not historically supported, that a Buddhist monk called Takuan Soho first made this pickled daikon to preserve vegetables for the long winter.

Fresh leaves of daikon can also be eaten as a leaf vegetable but they are often removed when sold in a store because they do not adjust well to the refrigerator, yellowing quite easily. Daikon sprouts, known as kaiware, are a popular garnish for salads and sushi.
Now you won’t find that kind of versatility with baloney! Maybe that’s why daikon in Japanese means “great root.” But as Bill Daley of The Chicago Tribune points out, some people want to call it “wonder root” as well. Why? Well, it’s believed that daikon also has some medicinal properties. Bill Daley explains:
For not only is daikon a natural digestive rich in vitamins A, C and E, but the root is a "marvelous" natural remedy for a hangover. "A cupful of grated daikon should do the trick," writes Barber in "Japanese Light."

Daikon is refreshingly crisp with a slight peppery kick.

One of the most common ingredients in Japanese cooking, daikon is most frequently used finely grated, according to the classic, just re-released book by Shizuo Tsuji, "Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art." So ubiquitous is the grated root that there are even special daikon graters.

Given that daikon is thought to aid digestion of oily foods, it is no surprise that it often is found in the dipping sauce used with tempura and other fried foods.
So, what does daikon look like? To be honest it kind of looks like a big white carrot. Here’s some fresh picked daikon courtesy of Bookish Gardener, take a peek:

Now, I’m not exactly sure which type of daikon it is because if you check EverGreenSeeds.com, you’ll see that there are well over a dozen different varieties of white oriental radishes. Some have a green neck, others are better for pickling, and while the rest are just pretty basic. Take these for example:
Daikon Radish, Miyashige Green Neck
Long and large Daikon with green neck and white flesh.

Oriental Radish, Hybrid April Cross
Pure white and straight shape radish. Excellent quality.

Daikon, Hybrid Minowase Summer Cross

Excellent quality Daikon radish for cooking, pickling and salad.
Alright then, let’s not forgot the most important question of all? How does daikon stack up nutrition-wise? Sure, it looks promising and sounds tasty, but how good for us is it? Unfortunately, it’s not exactly a nutritional heavy weight. I found these produce Nutrition Facts on Whole Foods’ website. Look how daikon compares to kale and fellow strange veggie kohlrabi:




Personally, this won't discourage me. As many of you know, there are a lot worse nutrient-low foods you can eat. Now, as I mentioned in last week’s Eating to Live on the Outside: Health in a Hurry I’ve never tried daikon, but, now that I know a little more about it, I’m a man on a mission. In the words of Blue Oyster Cult, daikon, “I’m burning-I’m burning for you.”

And remember, strange veggies and freaky fruits are everywhere—keep your eyes peeled, you never know when one might come out of the woodwork.

Wait, Americans aren't Healthy?

Okay, you might have to sit down before you read this next report. Because apparently, most Americans don’t eat right, or, exercise enough. WOW THAT’S SHOCKING NEWS! So what do the experts think? We need to eat more fruits and vegetables and get more exercise. HOW INSIGHTFUL! WE’RE SAVED! Will Dunham of Reuters is on it:
"These results underscore the need to promote diets high in fruits and vegetables and regular physical activity among all populations in the United States and among racial and ethnic minority communities in particular," U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers said in a report.

The CDC tracked the percentage of Americans who eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily and engage in moderately intense exercise for at least 30 minutes five days per week or vigorous exercise for at least 20 minutes three days per week as recommended by the government.

Lady, Leave the Fruit and Go!

Mental note, when in the wild and out numbered by monkeys, don’t dilly-dally with the fruit:

Older Ladies: Getting Moving

Alright, let me apologize for pairing the word “old” and “ladies” in the same phrase—please, I’ve already been hit with too many purses in my life! Anyway, two new reports are out claiming that exercise is a great way for women to stay healthy as they age. First up, Margie Mason of the Associated Press explains that exercise may fend off arthritis in women:
An Australian study suggests the more time older women spend exercising, the better their chances are of staying pain-free from one of the biggest chronic conditions plaguing developed countries.

Even exercising as little as one hour and 15 minutes a week now can make a difference over the next three years, according to findings recently published in the journal Arthritis Research & Therapy.

"I don't think the results are suggesting that you should just become this maniac exerciser," said lead author Kristiann Heesch from the University of Queensland, Australia. "What it does suggest is that just adding some walking and moderate activity to your life can make a big benefit."
And get a load of this one. Eric Nagourney of The New York Times reports that increased physical activity aids menopausal women. Have a look:
For the study, the researchers took 164 women and divided them into three groups. For four months, one group walked, one did yoga and one remained inactive…

…In this study, the women taking part in the walking and yoga programs also said the problems associated with menopause decreased and their overall quality of life improved. “Interestingly,” the researchers said, “yoga participants also appeared to benefit in the sexual domain.”
As an admitted gym-rat, I love news like this. I think exercise is one of life’s most simple pleasures.

Dr. Fuhrman on Fasting

So we all know Dr. Fuhrman is a huge advocate of a nutrient-dense vegetable-based diet for superior health, longevity, and disease protection. But did you know he is a strong supporter of fasting too? In fact, he wrote a book about it. Here’s a little bit from Fasting and Eating for Health:
Therapeutic fasting accelerates the healing process and allows the body to recover from serious disease in a dramatically short period of time. In my practice I have seen fasting eliminate lupus and arthritis, remove chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, health the digestive tract in patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, and quickly eliminate cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure and angina. In these cases the recoveries were permanent: fasting enabled longtime disease suffers unchain themselves from their multiple toxic dugs and even eliminate the need for surgery, which was recommended to some of them as their only solution.
Until I started working for Dr. Fuhrman I thought fasting was something that happened by accident, i.e. not having a job. And you certainly don't hear the modern medical community talking about it, so to say the least I was pretty surprised when Dr. Fuhrman emailed me this article.

Susan Seliger of WebMD investigates whether or not fasting is healthy. And you’ll see she tapped a familiar source. Take a look:
"Fasting is not a weight loss tool. Fasting slows your metabolic rate down so your diet from before the fast is even more fattening after you fast," says Joel Fuhrman MD, author of Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Plan for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss and Fasting and Eating for Health.

Fasting for weight loss carries other health risks as well.

While fasting for a day or two is rarely a problem if you are healthy, "it can be quite dangerous if you are not already eating a healthy diet, or if you’ve got liver or kidney problems, any kind of compromised immune system functioning, or are on medication -- even Tylenol," says Fuhrman, a family physician in 19126, N.J..

Even worse for dieters is that fasting for weight loss "distracts people from the real message of how to lose weight: lower fat intake, eat five fruits and vegetables a day, drink water and stop drinking other liquids, walk 30 minutes a day, and get more sleep," says Fernstrom, an associate professor of psychiatry, epidemiology, and surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

In addition, other practices that are often combined with fasting for weight loss, such as colon cleansing, carry their own risks.

Veggie Eating Dragons!

When I first saw this video I imagined droves of Japanese people fleeing a city. But now worries, Godzilla has got nothing on these veggie eating reptiles. Take a look:

I wish I knew how to spell Godzilla’s roar. It would be fitting right here.

Pomegranates, Exciting!

Pomegranates are getting more and more popular—and for good reason! Dr. Fuhrman considers them to be quite the all-star. Here’s a quick list of their health benefits from Pomegranate Power:
Features of Pomegranate

1. Most powerful anti-oxidant of all fruits
2. Potent anti-cancer and immune supporting effects
3. Inhibits abnormal platelet aggregation that could cause heart attacks, strokes and embolic disease
4. Lowers cholesterol and other cardiac risk factors
5. Lowers blood pressure
6. Shown to promote reversal of atherosclerotic plaque in human studies.
7. May have benefits to relieve or protect against depression and osteoporosis
Pretty cool, right? And Dr. Fuhrman isn’t the only one excited about pomegranates. In this video CNN’s Dr. Bill Lloyd crows about this nutritional superstar, coincidently also named Pomegranate Power.

Now for more on the health benefits of pomegranates check out these previous posts:

Health Tips from Diet-Blog

Diet-Blog offers up some pretty good tips for people looking to live healthier and maybe drop a few pounds, take a look:
1. Drink more water (and eliminate the need to consume lots of sweetened drinks).
2. Bring fruit to work instead of hitting the vending machine.
3. Exercise - start small and be realistic.
4. At dinner-time replace some of the rice/pasta/potatoes with vegetables.
5. Eat breakfast.
For the most part, anything encouraging people to eat more fruits and veggies is a good idea—heck, it’s a start.

Wow, Magic Foods!

Aren’t we lucky? We live in a time where vitamins can be found water. Wondrous yogurt cultures set our digestive tracts straight. And cooking oils are infused with health-promoting substances. Just how did people survive before all this? Who cares! That was then and this is now.

Okay, I know. The sarcasm was a little over the top, but given the number of magic foods on supermarket shelves and how many millions of people buy them everyday, clearly someone has to think they’re a good idea, right? But are these products really worth it? E.J. Mundell of HealthDay News investigates the merits of “functional foods.” Take Danone's "Activia" for example:
Other functional foods are populating the dairy aisle. Danone recently introduced its Activia line of flavored yogurts enhanced with their own specially developed strain of "friendly" gut bacteria, Bifidus Regularis. The bacteria's name announces the purpose of the Activia line: To encourage frequent, on-time bowel movements…

…"In fact, many yogurts will have 'contains L.acidophilus' or something like that on the label, because they know there's a niche market of consumers looking for that," said Sanders, past president of the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics, who is based in Centennial, Colo…

…"Remember, if people just ate more fiber in their diets, more fruits and vegetables, they'd probably have bowel movements more frequently, anyway," Mary Ellen Sanders one of the nation's leading experts on bacteria-enhanced "probiotic" foods pointed out.
You’ve got to love that quote! Even though it doesn’t say it, it pretty much implies that it’s easier to convince people to consume engineered/heavily marketed “super foods” than it is to get them to eat regular-old fruits and veggies. “Waaa! But I don’t like broccoli Mommy!” That’s what it sounds like to me.

Dr. Fuhrman knows all about this kind of thinking. Some people are very standoffish when it comes to natural food and they’d rather eat all these manufactured foods and hope that their million dollar claims hold up, than to abandon their food addictions and start eating to live. From, Eat to Live:
The social and economic forces that are pulling our population toward obesity and disease will not be defeated by one book preaching about achieving superior health with nutritional excellence. The “good life” will continue to bring most Americans to a premature grave. The Eat to Live plan is not for everyone. I do not expect the majority of individuals to live this healthfully. However, they should at least make that decision being aware of the facts rather than having their food choices shaped by inaccurate information or the food manufacturers. Some people will choose to smoke cigarettes, eat unhealthfully, or pursue other reckless habits. They have that inalienable right to live their lives the way they choose.
Now I realize that I crow-barred that quote in there, but even still, I think it crystallizes the issue here. Instead of teaching people to change their ways and give up emotional attachments to food. We spend tremendous amounts of time—and money—trying bend proper nutrition to our will, in the hope that we won't have to give up all the junk we’re accustomed to eating. Does anyone else think this is bizarre? Not to mention a giant waste of time…and money.

Organic Q&A

Do you buy organic food? I do. Actually, I buy a mix of organic and non-organic. I’m not too anal about it. Why? Well I wash my fruits and vegetables carefully before eating them and according to Dr. Fuhrman that’s really good way to protect myself from pesticide residue. He talks about it in Is Organic Food Safer:
Organic food is certainly your best bet, to further limit exposure to toxic chemicals. No one knows for sure how much risk exists from pesticide residue on produce, but here's what we do know: the younger you are, the more your cells are susceptible to damage from toxins. It seems wise to feed our young children organic food whenever possible.

Of course, wash your vegetables and fruit with water and when possible, use a drop of dishwashing detergent and then rinse well to remove all detergent residues for a little more efficient cleaning. Specialty pesticide removal products have not clearly demonstrated any more effectiveness than mild soap and water.
Now, if you’re still hungry for more information on organic food. Check out this article in The Seattle Times. Astrid Pujari and M.D. answer some common questions about organic versus non-organic:
Q: What foods have the highest level of pesticides?
A: Animal products probably have the highest levels overall. In a Romanian study, meat was six times higher in total pesticides than vegetables. Milk products were three times higher.

Remember that animal products often have hormones and antibiotics in addition to pesticides, which is another issue entirely. If you want to avoid all this, I recommend getting certified organic meat, eggs and dairy products. Note that "free range" and "natural" meat is not the same as organic; you need to look for the actual word "organic" on the label.

In terms of pesticides on vegetables and fruits, the worst are apples, celery, cherries, nectarines, peaches, pears, spinach, strawberries and sweet bell peppers. In my opinion, though, it's probably safest to eat everything organic if you can.
Good thing I barely eat meat anymore.

Freshening Up School Food

Articles like this are great. A new trend has local farmers selling their crops directly to schools. Adam Gorlick of the Associated Press reports:
"I care about what I eat, so I'm happy the school is doing what it can to help make meals healthier," said Joe Levering, a sophomore at Clark University who was surprised that the carrots he had at lunch Thursday came from a farm in Lunenberg, about 25 miles from the campus.

"And it's a great idea to support local farms so they could stay in business," he said.

Clark is one of about a dozen colleges in the state participating in the Massachusetts Farm to School Project, a three-year-old program that helps eliminate the middleman in food distribution by having more farmers bring their fruits, vegetables, and dairy products directly to campuses.
I don’t know about the dairy though.