Fighting Fat, Stricter Labels

As obesity rates continue to climb, the Europeon Union wants to tighten the rules on food labeling and advertising. More from the AFP:
The European Commission said Wednesday it was considering tightening food advertising and nutrition labeling rules if companies failed to improve consumer awareness about unhealthy foods.

In a new drive against obesity, EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou said he wanted to "encourage" food companies to provide consumers with full information about the health risks associated with their products.

But if they failed to improve the information available to consumers, he said "we cannot exclude the possibility" of setting tougher advertising and labelling rules on companies.

"What consumers eat is up to them, but they should be able to make informed choices, and have a range of healthy options to choose from," said Kyprianou.

Pesticides and Parkinson's

Scary stuff right here. New research has linked pesticides with Parkinson’s risk. The AFP reports:
Research on nearly 1000 Parkinson's sufferers in five countries -- one of the largest such studies to date -- showed that high-level [of pesticide] exposure upped the risk of contracting the debilitating brain disease by 39 percent.

Lower-level exposure, consistent with hobby-gardening use of pesticides, corresponded with a nine-percent increase, said Finlay Dick, the lead author of the study, published in the British journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Parkinson's is an incurable, degenerative disease of the central nervous system that causes uncontrollable shaking, along with impaired speech and movement. In approximately one third of cases it also results in dementia.

Weight-Loss: Eat Your Fruits and Veggies

Dr. Fuhrman makes it very clear, you want to lose weight? Eat lots of fruits and veggies. They’re low in calories and heavy in bulk—meaning? You feel full, without consuming a lot of calories. Take green vegetables for example, according to Dr. Fuhrman eating plenty of green veggies will actually make you thin:
Green vegetables are so incredibly low in calories and rich in nutrients and fiber that the more you eat of them, the more weight you will lose. One of my secrets of nutritional excellence and superior healing is the one pound-one pound rule. That is, try to eat at least one pound of raw green vegetables a day and one pound of cooked/steamed or frozen green vegetables a day as well. One pound raw and one pound cooked--keep this goal in mind as you design and eat every meal. This may be too ambitious a goal for some of us to reach, but by working toward it, you will ensure the dietary balance and results you want. The more greens you eat, the more weight you will lose. The high volume of greens not only will be your secret to a thin waistline but will simultaneously protect you against life threatening illnesses.
Now, this next item shouldn’t be all that surprising. Researchers at Pennsylvania State University have determined fruits and vegetables are an essential part of weight-loss. Diet-Blog is on it:
Their study included 658 healthy men and women divided into two groups.
  • Group 1: Told to eat 9 to 12 daily servings of fruits and vegetables and 2 to 3 servings of low-fat dairy.
  • Group 2: Told to reduce calorie intake, but were not given goals for fruit, vegetable and dairy intake.
Those who made the greatest reductions in the energy or calorie density of their diets lost an average of 13 pounds over 6 months. Those who made the smallest reduction in energy lost 5 pounds over the same period.

I try to include as many fruits and vegetables in my diet because I like the filling sensation. I also believe that consuming more more fresh foods will increase the intake of fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Beer for Kids!

No, I’m not joking. Here’s a Japanese commercial selling a fake BEER FOR KIDS! That’s all we need, little Tommy slurring through show and tell. Take a look:

(Via ParentDish)

Asia Braces for More Cancer

According to the Associated Press Asia will soon face surging cancer rates as more and more of the population adopt the bad habits of the West; poor diet, smoking, and drinking. Margie Mason reports:
Smoking, drinking and eating unhealthy foods — all linked to various cancers — will combine with larger populations and fewer deaths from infectious diseases to drive Asian cancer rates up 60 percent by 2020, some experts predict.

But unlike in wealthy countries where the world's top medical care is found, there will likely be no prevention or treatment for many living in poor countries.

"What happened in the Western world in the '60s or '70s will happen here in the next 10 to 20 years as life expectancy gets longer and we get better control on more common causes of deaths," said Dr. Jatin P. Shah, a professor of surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, who attended a cancer conference last month in Singapore.

Kid's Menus a Blessing?

Most parents would probably say that they are. Portions are smaller—kid-sized if you will, but, are they really a heaven-sent or just an easier way for kids to eat the same junk that their parents are already busy killing themselves with? David Kamp of The New York Times investigates:
For restaurateurs there are advantages, too. Marc Murphy, the chef and an owner of Landmarc in TriBeCa (and its new sister operation in the Time Warner Center), says doing a children’s menu has helped the bottom line at his bistro, which is known for its neighborhood clientele and value-priced wines.

“It totally drives that early seating for us,” he said. “The kids eat what they eat, and with our wine program, the parents can have fun.” Landmarc serves up the requisite greatest hits — the fingers, the burger, the grilled cheese — and throws in some curveballs, like “green eggs and ham,” flavored and colored with pesto sauce…

…I grew up eating what my parents ate, at home and at restaurants. Sometimes, the experience could be revelatory, as when I tried fish chowder for the first time on a trip to Boston, or when my mother attempted Julia Child’s Soupe au Pistou.

Other times, dinner was merely dinner, not transcendent but comfortingly routine. And then there were those bummer meals that I just didn’t care for, like stuffed cabbage, but that I endured because my parents offered no other choice. It was all experiential grist for the mill, and it made me — like millions of other Americans of my generation who were raised the same way — a fairly adventurous eater with a built-in sense of dietary balance.

It pains me that many children now grow up eating little besides golden-brown logs of kid food, especially in a time when the quality, variety and availability of good ingredients is better than ever.
I think the answer is pretty obvious. While a novel idea, most kid’s menus just seem like training wheels for the standard American diet. But don’t take my word for it. Linda Popescu is a Registered Dietician, and, she works in Dr. Fuhrman’s office. Here’s what she had to say on the topic:
Don’t underestimate your kids! Most children are very interested in nutrition and want to learn more. Give them the facts about how food choices can affect their health now and in the future. You’ll be surprised and impressed by the healthy and adventurous choices they make!

Seize the Tomato

Do you like tomatoes? I do. Honestly, I eat them almost everyday—I love those hard slicing tomatoes. Now, tomato devotion isn’t exactly a bad thing. Dr. Fuhrman considers tomatoes one of his top ten super foods for health and longevity:
Top Seven Foods for Good Health and Longevity
  • Black raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Flax Seeds
  • Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli sprouts
Cancer protection—a good idea! The Cancer Blog seems to think so too. Check out this post talking about the anti-cancer properties of this special veggie—oh, I mean fruit. Look:
Tomato fruits (yes, they are not vegetables) contain lycopene, a pigment and phytochemical that is extremely healthy and can even be found in higher-end nutritional supplements and holistic cancer-preventing compounds. Is it really that good?

From all I've read, yes it is. Just like blueberries, tomatoes are excellent and natural ways to help ward off cancer while being tasty and ultimately nutritious at the same time.
Pretty cool—right? Dr. Fuhrman gives tomatoes more praise in this post. From Ten Super Foods to Use in Your Recipes and Menus:
Tomatoes have been a hot topic in recent years because their consumption has been linked to dramatic reduction in the incidence of common cancers. One of the tomatoes' heavily investigated anti-cancer phytochemicals is lycopene, which has been shown to be protective against cancer, including prostate cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, lung cancer, and colorectal cancers.

Frito-Lay Has Gone Insane

Sure, we’ve got an obesity epidemic, but, insanity might be just as far-reaching. Apparently Frito-Lay—maker of uber junk food—believes its new products should be classified as health food. From The U.S. Food and Drug Administration:
On January 24, 2007, the FDA received a notification from Frito-Lay, Inc. (Frito-Lay) submitted pursuant to Section 403(r)(3)(C) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 343(r)(3)(C)) and regarding a health claim for the relationship between dietary substitution of saturated fat with unsaturated fatty acids (UFAs) and reduced risk of heart disease (the January 24 notification). The 120-day period from the date of submission of the Frito-Lay notification is May 24, 2007. Therefore, after this date, manufacturers may use the claim specified in the notification, as modified by the notifier in a letter to FDA dated May 11, 2007 (The May 11 letter), on the label and in labeling of any food product that meets the eligibility criteria described below, unless or until FDA or a court acts to prohibit the claim.

The following statements from the 1989 NAS report titled Diet and Health: Implications for Reducing Chronic Disease Risk listed in the January 24 notification are considered authoritative statements.
"Clinical and animal studies provide firm evidence that omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids when substituted for saturated fatty acids result in a lowering of serum total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol and usually also some lowering of HDL cholesterol levels."

"Clinical studies indicate that substitution of monounsaturated for saturated fatty acids results in a reduction of serum total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol without a reduction in HDL cholesterol."
The claim language proposed by Frito-Lay was modified in the May 11 letter to read as follows:
"Replacing saturated fat with similar amounts of unsaturated fats may reduce the risk of heart disease. To achieve this benefit, total daily calories should not increase."
(via Diet-Blog)

Fat Babies, Fat Later On

According to Reuters, new research has determined that heavy infants have a higher risk of being obese later in life. Tan Ee Lyn reports:
Obesity has long been associated with a person's lifestyle and dietary habits, but the study shows it might just as well be dependent on "epigenetics" -- factors such as genes, and the eating habits and lifestyle of parents and grandparents, said researchers at the University of Hong Kong.

"You tend to assume it's just your lifestyle, but what people are realising is it's not just what you are doing now, but what people have done in your family in the past," said Mary Schooling, assistant professor at the university's School of Public Health.

New born infants would be considered heavy if they weigh 3.65 kg (8 pounds) and over.

Excess weight and obesity pose major risks for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke and some forms of cancer.
All the more reason to upgrade the eating habits of the whole family.

Fat Accidents at Work

Not a heavy concept here—no pun intended—but new research has concluded that obese employees are at greater risk of work-related health problems. Eric Nagourney of The New York Times reports:
Published online in May in The American Journal of Epidemiology, the study said that workers who weigh too much were at risk for a variety of problems.

It is not just conditions caused over time by excessive stress on the overweight body, like carpal tunnel syndrome. The researchers, led by Keshia M. Pollack of Johns Hopkins University, also found a significantly higher risk of traumatic injuries from single incidents.

The study is based on a review of the medical and accident records of more than 7,600 people employed by an American aluminum manufacturing company at eight plants.
You know this already, but it’s worth mentioning. In Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman explains that obesity is the number health concern in the United States. From the book:
The number one health problem in the United States is obesity, and if the current trend continues, by the year 2030 all adults in the United States will be obese…

…Obesity and its sequelae pose a serious challenge to physicians. Both primary-care physicians and obesity-treatment specialists fail to make an impact on the long-term health of most of their patients. Studies show that initial weight loss is followed by weight regain.1
And obesity—especially childhood obesity—can line you up for a host of health problems, take cancer for example. Dr. Fuhrman explains in Disease-Proof Your Child. Check it out:
Obesity increases the incidence of many common cancers. For example, a carefully designed study that tracked more than one million women for twenty-five years found that women who were heavier and taller as youngsters were 56 percent more likely to develop ovarian cancer.2
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Broccoli Dog

This dog would terrorize your vegetable garden. Watch her gobble up some nutrient-rich broccoli:

The Fat Agency

Facing a serious obesity crisis, New Jersey has formed a new agency to help combat the problem. Linda A. Johnson of the Associated Press reports:
The Garden State has the highest percentage of overweight and obese children under age 5, at 17.7 percent, according to a 2004 survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New Jersey also has many black and Latino youth, who are more likely to be overweight than white kids.

Dr. Fred M. Jacobs, commissioner of the state Department of Health and Senior Services, said young people are a crucial target for the new agency because it's easier to instill good diet and exercise habits to prevent obesity in young people than it is to reverse weight problems in adults; adults almost always gain back any weight they lose — and then some.

Healthy Barbecue?

Barbecued meat, not exactly high on Dr. Fuhrman’s list of health-promoting foods, in fact, he considers barbecued meats some of the worst foods you can eat for health and longevity. In Disease-Proof Your Child he points out that even browned food is a bad idea. Take a look:
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.
But this is America, the land of apple pie, bloody steak, charred burgers, and wonder pills. So, if you have friends or family that simply must have barbecue, HealthDay News shares some tips to make barbecue “healthier.” Robert Preidt reports:
The longer the cooking time and the higher the heat, the more HCAs, say experts at the University of California, Davis, Cancer Center. That means that barbecuing produces the most HCAs, followed by pan-frying and broiling. Baking, poaching, stir-frying and stewing produce the least HCAs.

The UC Davis experts offer the following advice for limiting HCAs:
  • Before you barbecue meat, partially cook it in the microwave and then throw out the juices that collect in the cooking dish. Finish cooking the meat on the grill. Precooking a hamburger for a few minutes in the microwave reduces HCAs by up to 95 percent.
  • Flip hamburgers often. Doing so every minute reduces HCAs by up to 100 percent. This is likely because constant flipping keeps internal meat temperatures lower.
Another important thing to keep in mind when eating overcooked food are acrylamides.

Healthy Sweet Treats

Cashew Cream
1 1/3 cups raw cashews
3/4 cup vanilla soy milk
2/3 cup dates
Blend all ingredients together in a Vita-Mix or other powerful blender.

Pears L'Orange
6 pears of choice
1/4 cup orange juice concentrate
1/4 cup white grape juice concentrate
1/4 cup pineapple juice concentrate
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup currants
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
Peel, seed and slice pears. Put juice concentrates and 1 cup of water in a pot. Bring to a boil. Add fresh cranberries and currants, return to a boil for 3 minutes. Reduce heat. Mix ¼ cup cold water with arrowroot until smooth. Add to cranberry-currant mixture and stir until sauce thickens. Lay pears in a baking pan and cover with the sauce. Bake covered at 350 degrees until tender, about 35 minutes.

Macadamia Cream

1 1/3 cups macadamia nuts
1 cup soy milk
2/3 cup dates, pitted
frozen (thawed) or fresh organic strawberries, sliced, or other berries/fruit
Blend nuts, soy milk, and dates together in a Vita-Mix or other powerful blender to make the best tasting whipped cream. Serve over strawberries or other berries/fruit.

Organic or Not

Now this is perplexing. How could something be called organic—if not all of its ingredients are organic! Yes, the USDA has lost its mind. As part of a new proposal the USDA is willing to allow non-organic ingredients into organic products, and—here’s the kicker—they can still be labeled “organic.” Unbelievable—right? Diet-Blog is all over it:
The Organic Consumers Association has been petitioning against a proposal to allow non-organic ingredients to be labeled as organic.

The USDA proposal is essentially this:
“Nonorganically produced agricultural products may be used as ingredients in or on processed products labeled as "organic" when the product is not commercially available in organic form.”
That strikes me as being oxymoronic - and with products like hops in the list - I can almost smell some brewer lobbying.
Big news, especially if you consider the big difference between organic and non-organic. Dr. Fuhrman talks about it in Is Organic Food Safer:
There is another reason to feed our children organic food when possible. Organic food usually has more nutrients than conventional.1 One study performed at the University of California at Davis found that foods grown organically had higher amounts of flavonoids, which have protective effects against both heart disease and cancer. The researchers found flavonoids were more than 50 percent higher in organic corn and strawberries. They theorized that when plants are forced to deal with the stress of insects, they produce more of these compounds, which are beneficial to humans.2 Overall, organic foods taste better, and organic agriculture protects farmers and our environment.
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Carnival of Recipes: Farmers Market Edition

The Expatriate's Kitchen hosts this week's carnival of recipes. Be sure to check out Followhealthlife's submission Non-Vegetarian Nutrient-Dense Dishes. *Don't forget, not all recipes in the carnival are Fuhrman-friendly.

Bunny Munch Kale

I’m not sure this bunny knows much about nutrient density, but, he sure loves that kale. Enjoy:

Eating to Live on the Outside: Down to Earth

I admit, last week I got a little excited about Arnold’s Way—it was so good! Sorry about that, perhaps I need to come back down to earth again. How convenient, this week’s restaurant is actually called Down to Earth—perfect, just what the doctor ordered! Especially since Down to Earth only offers vegetable-based cuisine—pretty cool, right? Okay, enough with the jibber-jabber, let’s crack this menu open.

Do you like soup? I do. I’ll eat it in warm weather, cold weather, and every type of weather in between. That’s why I like the 3 Bean Chili—I know, not technically a soup, but close enough! It’s prepared with pinto beans, black-eyed peas, and black beans, tempeh, tofu sour cream, and served with cornbread. Beans! I like beans—my friends don’t like that I like beans—but I like beans. Okay, I’m not big on processed tofu imitation foods, so I’ll drop the sour cream. For me tempeh falls into that category too, but, I don’t eat it very often, so it can stay—and the cornbread? No thank you. The Soup of Day is another nice option, but I’d have to interrogate the wait staff about it first.

Down to Earth has got some killer salads too—no there’s no meat in them. Check out the Gado Gado. It’s made with red cabbage, greens, toasted peanuts, carrots, sunflower sprouts, smoky tofu strips, and a cilantro peanut dressing. For starters, the smoky tofu strips are out. Since I stopped eating meat, that smoky taste just doesn’t do it for me anymore. The rest of the stuff looks cool—yes, even the cilantro peanut dressing—my only worry is the toasted peanuts. Hopefully they’re not burned to a crisp. Don’t want any Acrylamides! The House Salad and the Glorious Green also look really nice; between them you get field greens, carrots, red cabbage, green cabbage, daikon, and sprouts. All really good—provided I take it easy with the salad dressing or ditch it all together.

There are some interesting “live” foods on Down to Earth’s menu as well. I really like the Raw Plate. Lots of good stuff in here; marinated vegetables, sprouts, sprouted grains, and a raw dressing. You just can’t beat the feeling you get after you’ve eaten a whole bunch of raw veggies—although they sure do taste good cooked too. The Leaf Wraps are also pretty cool. Down to Earth stuffs sundried tomato, black olive nut paté, guacomole, chopped tomato, shredded lettuce, and a raw nut cheese all into a green leaf wrap—hello phytonutrients! I think the only concession here would be the saltiness of the black olives, but I think the rest of dish more than makes up for it—especially if you are already limiting your salt intake.

Down to Earth’s entrees are also looking mighty good. Take a look at the Love Bowl—I hear the velvet tones of Barry White. The Love Bowl is made with seasonal greens, brown rice, black beans, and tempeh or tofu, sesame seeds, and your choice of black bean sauce, peanut sauce, or mushroom gravy. Loving the sesame seeds! I honestly, I think I eat sesame seeds almost everyday—sorry, that just dawned on me. I guess the only concession might be the brown rice—I’m ditching it. The black beans and the greens are all I need. I’d also ask the wait staff if any of the sauces have oil. That might deter you too—doesn’t bother me so much. I also like the Falafel. It comes with baked chickpea patties, a whole wheat wrap, lettuce, tomato, onions, tahini dressing, and a side salad. Clearly the whole wheat wrap is the concession, but I’m sticking with it. I’ll just focus on the extra phytonutrients I get with the side salad.

Finally, like a lot of these natural cafes and restaurants, Down to Earth offers a bevy of fruit juices and smoothies. I’ve said this before, but, I’ll say it again. I’d rather eat the whole fruits and vegetables, but these things can be tasty and they’re certainly better than a glass of supermarket isle “100% juice.” So, I like the Immune Booster juice and the Bugs Bunny smoothie. The Immune Booster is made with carrots, ginger, garlic, lemon, a green mix, beets, and apples. I don’t know, sounds interesting—doesn’t it? Now, the Bugs Bunny is made with carrot juice, vanilla soy milk, and crushed ice. I mainly like this one because growing up Bugs Bunny was my hero—oh you thought he was the greatest too!

So what do you think? Are you digging Down to Earth? I am. But let me know what you think. Look over Down to Earth’s menu and let me know what you’d order or what you’d stay away from. What would you do different? What would you do the same? Either way, make a comment or email me at

Examining Frozen Sugar Water

Personally, I’ve never looked at a snow cone or Italian Ice and said, “Gee, what a nutritious fat-free snack.” It’s frozen sugar water! Sugar plus water isn’t exactly the blueprint for nutrient-density. But in case you didn’t know that, Kimberly Garrison of The Philadelphia Inquirer examines a Philly tradition, the water ice:
There are nearly 300 calories and 17.25 teaspoons of sugar in a typical 12-ounce serving. That's about five teaspoons more sugar than is found in a typical 12-ounce can of soda.

A 150-pound woman would have to walk at a pace of 3 mph for an hour to burn off that treat. If she's pressed for time, she could simply jump rope vigorously for about 30 minutes.

For the record, when my mom was growing up, she recalls that water ice came in a 4-ounce cup. That's half the size of today's kid's cup at local water-ice stands.

To quote a late-'80s song by Public Enemy, "Don't, Don't, Don't, Don't believe the hype" when you see the phrase "Fat Free."

Don't be misled by our national fat-free fixation. Sure, you'll save a few calories because the fat has been removed. But, fat free, I repeat, is not calorie free!

Remember that the next time you order a large water ice. Which, by the way, is nearly 19 ounces and 450 calories. That's a lot of excess calories, and it doesn't even include the "fat-free" pretzel many people get with their water ice.
When I read about sugar I always think about soda or soft drinks. Let’s face it, what’s the difference between a can of Sprite and a snow cone—thirty-two degrees? So with that in mind, check out this information on soda consumption and obesity. From Disease-Proof Your Child:
Obesity rates have risen in tandem with soda consumption, and in the last twenty years the consumption of soft drinks by teenagers had doubled.1 Twelve to nineteen-year-old boys consume thirty-four teaspoons of sugar a day in their diet, and about half of that comes from soft drinks. Children start drinking soft drinks at a very young age, and advertisements and promotions by the soft drink manufacturers are aggressively marketed to the young…

…Soft drinks and processed foods are full of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). HFCS is not only fattening, but this inexpensive and ultra-concentrated sugar has no resemblance to real food made by nature. It is another experiment thrust upon our unsuspecting children with unknown dangerous consequences. Besides sugar, corn syrup, and chemicals, these drinks often contain caffeine, an addictive stimulant. Children crave more and more as they get older. By adolescence most children have become soft-drink addicts. It is no surprise that six out of the seven most popular soft drinks contain caffeine. Contrast this high level of sugary “liquid candy” with the meager intake of fresh produce by children and teenagers, and it is no surprise that we have an obesity epidemic beyond all expectations.
But I understand, the weather is getting warmer and the temptation is there, so, if you simply must have a frozen sweet treat, give these a whirl. From Followhealthlife’s recipe category:
Strawberry Ice Scream

1 cup orange juice
2 slices dried pineapple
12 oz. frozen strawberries

Place all ingredients in a blender, food processor, or VitaMix. Blend until creamy smooth. If you do not have a VitaMix, you may have to soak the dried pineapple in the orange juice overnight to soften sufficiently to blend in a regular blender or food processor.
Watermelon Ices

5 cups seedless watermelon
1/2 cup raisins

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

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Less Smoky Houses

This is good news. The number of smoke-free households increased 29% from 1993 to 2003. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports:
The proportion of American households that forbid smoking increased from 43 percent in 1992-93 to 72 percent in 2003, a new government report shows.

However, rates of smoke-free households varied widely among states. In both 1992-93 and 2003, Utah had the highest rates of smoke-free homes (69.6 percent in 1992-93 and 88.8 percent in 2003), while Kentucky had the lowest rates -- 25.7 percent and 53.4 percent, respectively.

The study is in this week's issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, which is published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"In the past decade, we've seen tremendous declines in secondhand smoke exposure in the workplace and public places. However, millions of children and nonsmoking adults remain at risk, because their homes are not smoke-free," CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding said in a prepared statement. "The single best step that smokers can take to protect the health of nonsmoking family members and their own health is to quit smoking."

The Wrong Dose of Chemo

Wow! This article made my head spin. According to Reuters, children with cancer often receive the wrong dosage of chemotherapy and these errors can lead to the need for additional treatment—because that’s actually what someone with cancer wants, more invasive treatment! Unreal. Julie Steenhuysen reports:
The problem has a lot to do with lack of common standards for delivering these life-saving, but highly toxic, drugs, said Dr. Marlene Miller, director of quality and safety at Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore.

Miller and colleagues evaluated data on medication errors collected in a national database from 1999 to 2004.

They looked at a total of 829,492 errors reported in 29,802 patients.

Of the errors, 310 involved kids on chemotherapy. Of those mistakes, 85 percent reached the patient, and nearly 16 percent of those were serious enough to require additional care.

Miller likens the problem to the issues most parents face when trying to figure out how much of the analgesic ibuprofen to give a child because the dose must be calculated based on weight and age.
If you ask me, it makes me wonder if chemotherapy is even an option worth pursuing. Is chemotherapy really all its cracked up to me? Dr. Fuhrman talks about it in Diet, Chemotherapy, and the Truth: How to Win the War on Cancer:
Our technologically-advanced society is suffering from the highest rates of cancer ever seen in human history, rates that are also much higher than in less developed parts of the world. Since 1999, cancer has surpassed heart disease and has become the leading cause of age adjusted mortality for Americans younger than 85. Despite more than a hundred billion dollars in cancer research-- invested largely in the development of drug chemotherapy and screening and detection techniques--we have lost the war on cancer. While there has been a slight reduction of cancer-related deaths in the last 25 years, this is largely the result of the decrease in lung cancer deaths that has resulted from a reduction in cigarette smoking during this timeframe. Mortality rates for most cancers have stayed remarkably steady.

Chemotherapy has contributed to the progress made against cancer deaths from fast-growing cancers, such as leukemia, lymphoma, testicular cancer, and childhood cancers such as osteogenic sarcoma. But for the major cancers affecting most adult Americans, chemotherapy adds less than one year of disease-free life to those treated.
Here are a few more posts of note:

Get that Raspberry

This turtle gets into a dogfight with a raspberry:

Kids Will Eat Their Veggies

Here’s another great article from Susan Bowerman of The Los Angeles Times. You want your kids to eat more veggies? Feed them more veggies! From the report:
In a report published in the journal Appetite in 2003, for example, researchers at University College London randomly assigned children ages 2 to 6 and their parents to one of three groups for a two-week study. In one group, parents offered their child a daily taste of a vegetable for which the child had indicated a low preference ranking.

In a second group, parents received only general nutrition information about how to increase fruits and vegetables in the diet. The third group served as a control — receiving neither dietary recommendations nor literature.

The kids who received daily exposure increased their liking and consumption of the food, and increased the ranking of the vegetable in question significantly more than children in the other two groups.

And, a majority of parents in the "exposure" group felt that the intervention could have a lasting effect on their children. In some cases, foods their youngsters previously wouldn't touch had actually become their favorites. One parent commented that her child looked forward to the daily tasting, because it had "made food more fun."
Dr. Fuhrman agrees—kids will eat their veggies! Don’t believe me? Just check out this excerpt from Disease-Proof Your Child:
It is not uncommon or abnormal for a child to prefer a narrow range of foods at a young age. It is also not unusual for parents to be in an ongoing battle to coax their child to eat in a manner they feel is appropriate. Fortunately, it is possible to put an end to the food wars and solve the problem of how to get your child to eat a healthful diet…

… It is not necessary to coax them to eat or to eat healthfully. In fact, battling about food with your child is counterproductive. The trick here is to adhere to this one most important rule: only permit healthy food in your home. Children will eat whatever is available. They will not starve themselves to death; they will adapt easily and learn relatively quickly to like the food that is offered.
Of course, you could always try a veggie sneak attack.

Healthy Diet: Premium Gas

Eating lots of fruits and vegetables is great, but, if you’re not used to it—get ready for an interesting few days! In fact, you might want to quarantine yourself. Why? Check out this article in The Los Angeles Times. Susan Bowerman examines why healthy food makes us so darn gassy:
Certain foods, such as beans or Brussels sprouts, have a reputation for causing gas, but, in reality, any carbohydrate-containing food is potentially "flatu- logenic," to use the technical term. Fruits, vegetables, grain products and legumes all contain the gas-causing culprits — a variety of short-chain carbohydrates known as oligosaccharides, some of which escape complete digestion as they pass into the lower intestine…

…Because people respond differently, trial and error is the best approach. But also consider this: Since many of the gas-promoting culprits in our foods are healthful, we may need to think about what "gas price" we're willing to pay, in the form of short-term discomfort, in exchange for long-term health benefits.
“Sorry honey, I don’t mean to be gross. It’s just my healthy diet at work.” Yeah, I don’t think that excuse will keep you from sleeping on the couch that night. But regardless, Dr. Fuhrman insists increased gassiness is an all too common part of adjusting to a healthy diet. He talks about it in Cholesterol Protection For Life:
When you change your diet to one that is so much lower in salt and higher in nutrients your blood pressure will drop significantly and you will begin a detoxification process that can be compared to stopping additive drugs. You may actually feel worse, not better for a week or two.

During this temporary adjustment period that usually lasts less than a week, and rarely more than two weeks, you might feel fatigue, headaches, gassy, or other mild symptoms as your body withdraws from your prior toxic eating habits. For example, stopping dangerous but stimulating foods, including caffeine, causes temporary fatigue and headaches.
Alright, so you’ve got two weeks to use up some great “pull my finger” jokes.

Asthma Hits the Obese Harder

Obesity seems to make everything worse. Here’s what I mean. New research claims that serious asthma is more likely to develop in obese individuals than the non-obese. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports:
In their study, a team at Emory Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta examined data from the U.S. National Asthma Survey.

"Our analysis showed that out of more than 3,000 patients with asthma, obese patients were 66 percent more likely to report continuous symptoms, 36 percent more likely to miss more days of work and 52 percent more likely to be classified as having either moderate or severe persistent asthma when compared to non-overweight people," Dr. Brian Taylor, a pulmonary fellow, said in a prepared statement.

These findings held true after the researchers adjusted for factors including gender, race, age, smoking status, and family history of asthma.

Taylor said he and his colleagues, "noted that obese patients were more likely to have less education, be unemployed and be African-American."

They also found that obese people with asthma made more frequent emergency room visits and used daily controller and as-needed rescue medications more often. The association between obesity and asthma severity seemed slightly stronger in women than in men, which has been noted in previous studies.

Cat vs. Carrot

This cat just can’t figure out how to get the phytonutrients out of his carrot. Take a look:

More Good News for Exercise

Yesterday we learned that exercising early in life really pays off later in life—very cool! And now, Reuters is reporting that exercise after breast cancer treatment improves quality of life. Read on:
Previous studies have shown that exercise improves physical and psychological health for breast cancer survivors, but it has been unclear if the benefit came from the exercise itself or from the increased attention women got from participating in the programs.

To isolate the effects due to exercise from those due to attention, Dr. Amanda J. Daley, from the University of Birmingham, and her associates designed a study that included not only an active exercise group but also a placebo exercise group as well as a usual-care group.

The participants were 108 women who had been treated for breast cancer between 1 and 3 years before, and who were physically inactive.
You just can’t beat some good old-fashioned exercise!

Mad Cow, Bird Flu: Response Improving

Well, I guess its good news—even if you don’t eat cow or bird. According to the AFP the veterinary response to mad cow and bird flu is getting better. Read on:
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said its International Committee, meeting here until Friday, "confirmed the world situation for highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 (has) stabilised" but urged continued vigilance.

OIE Director General Bernard Vallat told a press conference that countries where there had been renewed outbreaks of bird flu were now "well prepared and react swiftly."

He pointed to Hungary and Japan as countries that had responded well to recent outbreaks, but noted that bird flu remained endemic in Egypt, Indonesia and Nigeria.

"The virus is currently stable" as far as the risk for humans is concerned, said Vallat. "There is a risk that it may mutate, but it hasn't happened yet."
You still won’t find me eating either anytime soon.

Where's Your Banana From?

You’ve heard this before. Ask someone where their food comes from and they’ll probably respond, “The supermarket.” Even if you buy your fruits and veggies at a farmer’s market, you still can’t be sure where the stuff is grown—until now.

Dole Organic Program actually gives you the ability to find out which farm grew your produce. Give it a try. Type in the farm number on this banana:

(Via Vegetarian Organic Life Blog)
And here’s what comes up:
In the heart of La Guajira desert with a great view of the snowed peaks of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Dole Colombia operates a farm called Don Pedro. This farm has over 310 hectares of organic bananas and was established in 2005. This farm is currently certified under EU and NOP organic rules, ISO 14000 and SA 8000. Don Pedro promises to be one of the best producing organic banana farms in Latin America.
Some nice pictures too:

Now I wonder. If fast-food restaurants offered something similar, would the pictures be of a warehouse filled with barrels of artificial flavorings and trans-fat?

KFC: A Little Truth in Advertising

What if Kentucky Fried Chicken's ads looked like this?

(Via Diet-Blog)

"I’ll take a two-piece and a double-chin please!"

Exercise Early, Healthier Later

New research claims that exercising when you’re young pays high dividends as you age. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports:
Staying trim and healthy in younger years can lead to a healthier, more mobile old age, U.S. researchers say…

…Reporting in the International Journal of Obesity, they found that women and men who were obese at ages 25 and 50, as well as at the time of the study, scored significantly lower on physical performance tests than those who were normal weight at those ages…

…Women who were overweight but not obese at ages 25, 50 and between 70 to 79 also had lower physical performance test scores than those with normal weights at those ages.

The study also found that men and women who were overweight or obese in early- to mid-adulthood had lower scores than those who became overweight or obese in late-adulthood.
Good news for all you lifelong gym-rats out there.

Diet-Blog Looks at Nourishing Traditions

Diet-Blog is pondering the information in Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions, which promotes the benefits of saturated fat. Here's more:

Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions has been in Australia promoting her book. Fallon promotes the benefits of saturated fats (from research undertaken by the Weston Price Foundation).

Fallon has come under heavy criticism from the Dietitians Association of Australia:

"She's basing her ideas on observations of primitive populations in isolated areas who eat traditional diets, and it's so far removed from Western civilisation," [...] "In a population that is sedentary there is no need to consume saturated fats." (The Age)

So what is the truth? Are there any real answers to this controversial and ongoing debate?

The truth? The truth is to ignore this book! Dr. Fuhrman believes Nourishing Traditions is a sad commentary on nutrition. He lays it on the line in Fanciful Folklore Is No Match For Modern Science, take a look:

Nourishing Traditions is full of bad science and illogical reasoning and its appeal is dependent on people’s ignorance about nutrition. Fallon and Enig perpetuate long-held nutritional myths by referencing the same people who started the myths in the first place.

Nutrition is a complicated subject, and it takes familiarity with a comprehensive body of scientific studies and articles to devise recommendations to prevent disease and promote longevity. Science is not perfect, but evidence builds on prior studies, and ongoing research attempts to test each hypothesis and check validity in an unbiased manner. Today, we have a comprehensive body of knowledge with over 15,000 articles written since the 1950s documenting the link between a diet high in saturated fat and low in fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and beans and the increased risk of cancer and heart disease.

While Nourishing Traditions has over 200 references, many are antiquated, with poor observations. For the most part, the authors reference their own articles and those of other Weston A. Price Foundation authors. Only fourteen of the references are from peer-reviewed journals published in the last ten years, and for most of those fourteen, the authors misrepresented what was stated in the articles. By contrast, my book Eat to Live contains over 1,000 medical references to peer-reviewed medical journals.

Asthma: Fish Good During Pregnancy?

Now, this next report gave me pause. Apparently a new study claims consuming fish during pregnancy is a good idea. Juhie Bhatia of HealthDay News reports:
Researchers from the Netherlands and Scotland have found that eating apples throughout pregnancy may protect against wheezing and asthma in 5-year-old children, while fish consumption may lower the risk of eczema, an allergic skin condition. The findings were to be presented Sunday at the American Thoracic Society's International Conference in San Francisco.

"To our knowledge, we are one of the first studies evaluating the influence of maternal consumption of so many different foods and food groups during pregnancy on childhood asthma and allergic disease," said study author Saskia Willers, a doctoral student at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

Previous studies in the same group of children, part of the SEATON birth cohort conducted at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, found that maternal intake of vitamins E and D, and zinc during pregnancy may also lower the risk of asthma, wheezing and eczema. For this study, the researchers looked at how eating different foods, rather than individual nutrients, during pregnancy impacted these children.
Okay, eating apples is great, but, according to Dr. Fuhrman consuming fish while pregnant can be risky. From Disease-Proof Your Child:

Clearly, there are a lot of dangerous habits to avoid before pregnancy, and there are also a lot of fears women have that are not found in science or logic.

The real concerns are not microwave ovens, cell phones, and hair dryers. The things we know to be really risky for you and your unborn children are:

  • Caffeine
  • Nicotine, including secondhand smoke
  • Alcohol
  • Medications, both over-the-counter and prescription drugs
  • Herbs and high-dose supplements, vitamin A
  • Fish, mollusks and shellfish, sushi (raw fish)
  • Hot tubs and saunas
  • Radiation
  • Household clear, paint thinners
  • Cat litter (because of an infectious disease called toxoplasmosis caused by a parasite found in cat feces)
  • Raw milk and cheese
  • Soft cheese and blue-veined cheeses such as feta, Roquefort, and Brie
  • Artificial colors, nitrates, and MSG
  • Deli meats, luncheon meats, hot dogs, and undercooked meats

Breastfeeding and Type-1 Diabetes Risk

The Diabetes Blog passes on new research claiming that breastfeeding can reduce the risk of type-1 diabetes. Take a look:
The study showed that children who were breastfed exclusively for longer periods of time may have natural protection against developing diabetes. It was particularly true in children who were breastfed exclusively for longer than five months.

The Harvard study also found that breastfeeding helped protect children from diabetes regardless of whether their mothers were overweight or had health problems. This certainly will be another reason to breastfeed babies for longer periods of time, as the Harvard study also indicated that babies that were breastfed for at least a year had the best protection.

One possible explanation considered by both studies is that breastfed babies have a steadier and slower growth, while formula fed babies have growth spurts. Breastfed babies are also more likely to be fed on demand rather than on a schedule.

Microwaves and Bacteria

Did you know microwaves aren’t really that good at killing harmful bacteria on food? I didn’t. Anahad O’Connor of The New York Times looks at a new study examining the microwave-bacteria connection:
One study, by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was published in The American Journal of Epidemiology. It looked at a salmonella outbreak after a picnic where dozens of people ate reheated roast pork. Of 30 people studied, all 10 who used a microwave oven became sick, compared with none of the 20 who used a conventional oven or skillet.

Another study, in the journal Epidemiological Infections, looked at six people who contracted salmonella at a buffet after eating a dish consisting of chicken and vegetables. The scientists found that the food had been heated in a 500-watt microwave oven for five minutes before it was consumed — which apparently was not enough.

Our Broken Food Supply

The recent E. coli outbreak and the melamine scandal have left me wondering, are we doing enough to protect our food supply? The answer seems to be no because former FDA Commissioner David Kessler is calling our food-safety system broken. Nancy Shute of the U.S. News & World Report has more:
Keeping homegrown food safe, too, requires diligence, from the field through the processing shed and factory, all the way to the supermarket. Farmers are legally bound to produce food that doesn't pose a health risk; so are manufacturers and retailers. Costco, for example, uses its own labs to test food samples for microbes and hires third-party auditors to inspect suppliers' farms and factories. Whole Foods, which increasingly looks abroad for its organic products, requires growers to shun pesticides allowed in their countries but not here. But with little oversight, human error or expediency can cause disease and death. "Our food-safety system is broken," former FDA Commissioner David Kessler told a congressional hearing this month. Last week, the USDA declared that 56,000 pigs fed melamine-tainted feed are safe for human consumption.

Non-Vegetarian Nutrient-Dense Dishes

Moroccan Chicken
8 ounces chicken breast, cut in strips
1 onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 dates
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman's Riesling Raisin Vinegar
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
3 tomatoes, cut up
8 ounces kale
8 ounces broccolli rabe
Cook chicken in skillet with 1/2 inch of water. Remove from pan. Add the onion, carrots, garlic to skillet and cook. In blender, blend the dates, lemon, vinegar, cinnamon and tomatoes. Pour blend into skillet and continue to cook. Return chicken to skillet. Pour over steamed greens and mix. Serves 4.

Wild Salmon Chowder
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 leeks, chopped
1 cup organic chopped celery
2/3 cup bell pepper (red, green, and yellow), chopped
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
5 cups water
2 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman's VegiZest, or other no salt seasoning
2 bay leaves
8 ounces wild salmon, canned, or fresh, cut into bite sized pieces (if canned, rinse and remove skin)
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup unsweetened soy milk
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Cover and simmer potatoes, leeks, celery, bell peppers, carrots, white wine, water, VegiZest, and bay leaves for about 15 minutes until vegetables and potatoes are tender. Discard bay leaves. With slotted spoon, reserve about 1 cup of cooked vegetables. Blend other cooked ingredients and broth in the blender to liquefy. Return thickened potato/vegetable stock to saucepan and add cooked vegetables, salmon, peas, and corn. Simmer for 5 minutes until salmon is cooked. Add soy milk and warm for 1-2 minutes. Serve garnished with parsley. Serves 6.

Green Bean Phobia

I’m not sure, but, I don’t think this little girl cares how many phytonutrients are in green beans. Warning, proceed with caution:

Yup, that settles it—I’m never having kids!

Pancake Recipes Carnival of the Recipes

Pancake Recipes hosts this week's carnival of recipes. Be sure to check out Followhealthlife's submission Fantastic Fruit Salads. *Don't forget, not all recipes in the carnival are Fuhrman-friendlyespecially this week!

Hot Dog + Squid = Fun for Kids?

Can’t get your kids to eat calamari? Don’t know what to do? Silly—just cut up a hot dog to look like squid. From Parenting Dish:

But how, you ask, do you turn an ordinary, everyday hot dog into a deep-sea monster meal? With the Octodog Frankfurter Converter, of course. This handy-dandy device that no well-equiped kitchen should be without takes an ordinary hot dog and turns it into a tentacled horror ready to ravage your green bean casserole while delighting your kids.
Yeah, because eating hot dogs is a good idea—that was sarcasm! No doubt Dr. Fuhrman is pulling his hair out over this—not sarcasm. Why? Dr. Fuhrman considers hot dogs one of the worst foods you can eat. Look:
Worst Seven Foods for Health and Longevity
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Potato Chips and French Fries
  • Doughnuts
  • Salt
  • Sausage, hot dogs
  • Pickled, smoked or barbequed meat

Picturing Worldwide Obesity

Who’s the fatest country? Sorry to rain on your parade, but, Uncle Sam is on statins. Don’t believe me. Check out this illustration over at The Wellington Grey blog:

(Via Diet-Blog)

Healthy Diet: Why Bother?

I guess that’s the attitude many Americans have because as HealthDay News reports only a fraction of the people with high blood pressure are following a healthy diet. Granted, it’s the diet prescribed by the standard American healthcare system, but still. Ed Edelson explains:
The fact that so few people with hypertension -- just 22 percent in the group studied -- are following some simple dietary measures indicates a breakdown somewhere in the American health-care system, said lead researcher Dr. Philip Mellen, an assistant professor of internal medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C.

"We don't know where it broke down," Mellen said. "We don't know whether their physicians have been telling them to do it or whether physicians don't feel they know enough to counsel them. We have evidence from other sources that there are problems all along the chain..."

…Mellen's study, which was to be presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hypertension, focused on people who had been told they had high blood pressure.

"Presumably, the guidelines should have prescribed their lifestyle changes," Mellen said. "They did not. Presumably, this would mean that changes in the population have overwhelmed the DASH diet recommendations."
Are you surprised by this? I’m not. And here’s why. Remember this quote from last fall. From Will America Ever Eat Better:
Who the hell cares about the veggies anyway? You don't need them and there is absolutely nothing essential about them. Don't let the acculturated veggie sympathizers tell you otherwise.
Whoa! Can you say, “Grow up!” Now, in Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman acknowledges many of us are creatures of comfort food and will continue to eat poorly—no matter what:
The “good life” will continue to bring most Americans to a premature grave. 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.

NYC: Healthy Food Not Always Available

This topic gets rehashed in the news every few months. The problem, many neighborhoods in big cities don’t have access to healthy foods like fresh fruits and veggies. So what happens? A growing number of residents develop tragic health problems—diabetes, obesity, heart disease, etc.—due to the abundance of junk-food that somehow manages to find its way into the neighborhood.

Last year The New York Times focused on the diabetes epidemic in New York City. These articles make it pretty clear that limited access to nutritious disease-preventing food and wide-spread availability of inexpensive convenience food contributes greatly to the risk of type-II diabetes. Take a look:
Today the Associated Press examines Harlem and how its food retailers and restaurants are less likely to sell healthy food than other areas of Manhattan. Colleen Long has more:
In Harlem, fast-food restaurants are more prevalent than shops selling fresh vegetables, according to a city health report.

Food stores in the area in upper Manhattan are mostly bodegas, and the small groceries are half as likely to carry low-fat dairy products as their counterparts in swankier neighborhoods and seven times less likely to sell fresh vegetables, the report said. Only 3 percent of corner stores in Harlem sell leafy green vegetables, compared to 20 percent on the nearby Upper East Side, it said.

"Large health disparities exist between Harlem and other New York City neighborhoods, but we can close those gaps," said Dr. Andrew Goodman, associate commissioner of the East and Central Harlem District public health office, a division of the health department.

In addition, one in six restaurants in Harlem is a fast-food joint. All this adds up to serious health problems for neighborhood residents, who are three to four times more likely to be obese or have diabetes than people who live on the Upper East Side, Goodman said.
Most of the news on this topic seems to be just about blowing a lot of hot air and not really doing anything to fix the problem.

EU Wants More Fruit in School

We’ve all eaten in a school cafeteria. So you probably noticed—there’s milk everywhere! Stacks of plastic crates, packed with tiny cartons of 1%, skim, and chocolate. Gag! Sorry, I just had a flashback of kids washing down a hamburger and fries with a thick swig of milk—bleh!

Now, Dr. Fuhrman makes it clear—milk is not the health savior it’s marketed to be. But yet, the dairy producers practically pump it into our classrooms. Okay then, I got a question. What if fruit—a genuine health-food—was heavily pushed in schools like milk. Surely a lot more kids would be eating it. That’s exactly the hope of the EU’s new initiative to get more fruit into schools. Jeremy Smith of Reuters reports:
Earlier this year, EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel unveiled plans to overhaul the EU's vast fruit and vegetable industry, revising or scrapping many of the annual 1.5 billion euros ($2.03 billion) of subsidies paid to farmers.

As part of the negotiations that EU governments will hold on her reform plan, due for next month, Fischer Boel will propose using EU subsidies to distribute fruit in schools as part of a compromise reform deal. But EU countries would have to help.

"The only outstanding thing at this stage is the financing and I am exploring whether we can find some money outside the fruit and vegetable reform budget," she told reporters on the margins of an informal meeting of EU agriculture ministers.

"We might need around 100 million euros a year and I think we need to co-finance it so member states would have to participate," she said, adding that could mean up that to half the cash needed to be match-funded from national coffers.
Dr. Fuhrman will tell—all fruits are good for us, but here’re couple all-stars of the fruit-world:

Watermelon Dingo

Seeds and all, this dog gulps down some watermelon. Check it out:

Eating to Live on the Outside: Arnold's Way

Okay, coming off the heels of Eating to Live on the Outside’s first birthday bash–I’m still enduring a phytonutrient hangover—let’s head over to Arnold’s Way for this week’s installment. I’m excited! Arnold’s Way heralds itself as a Vegetarian Organic Raw Café—come on—with that handle, it’s got to be good. Right?

Yeah, it’s pretty nice. Arnold’s Way gives you a lot of options; soups, salads, desserts, wraps, entrees, and fresh vegetable juices. I spent a few minutes scanning over the menu and there’s plenty of good stuff to choose from. So, here are the dishes that really caught my eye and any alternations, omissions, or concessions I might have to make. Onward!

The soups have definitely got it going on. No surprise here, but the Rich Greens made my motor run. Why? AVOCADO! It’s been a while since I mentioned it, but, I’m still an avocado-fiend—I eat some avocado everyday. In addition to the avocado this soup also comes with zucchini, pumpkin seeds, broccoli, and lettuce—all sound good to me. I’m also digging the Borscht; prepared with almonds, sunflower seeds, beets, celery, and wheat grass. Beets! Dr. Fuhrman thinks beets are an excellent food, check out this post to see why: Beets and Toilet Humor. The only concession I see with these soups is the olive oil—I can live with it.

Now, the salads—thumbs up here too. I really like The Honeymoon Is Over—no, not because it reminds me of my love life—because it comes with carrots, red pepper, broccoli, and tomato. I love tomatoes and lately I have been warming to the taste of raw peppers. The Contrarian Contrast also looks cool. It comes with pumpkin seed, red peppers, apple, beet, and zucchini. Again with the beets! I like the apple being in there, kind of seems out of place. I wonder how it tastes. Probably the coolest thing about Arnold’s Way’s salad menu is it says this right at the top, “Our Salads are so fresh and finely mixed that they require no dressing at all.” Somewhere out there, Dr. Fuhrman is weeping with joy. This post should help explain why: Don’t sabotage your weight-loss goal with oily dressings and sauces.

The dessert menu intrigues me. Take the Apple Sauce for example—very Fuhrman-friendly—it’s made with organic apples, raisons, lemon juice, and a hint of cinnamon. I defy you to find something wrong with that! Now, despite my Eat to Live ways, I’m an admitted chocolate freak. From time to time I must indulge. Well, here’s a way for me to do it without feeling terrible afterwards. Introducing the Chocolate (like) Pudding; made with ripe bananas, dates, and carob. Okay, I’ve experimented with carob myself, and I bet this tastes pretty darn close to chocolate. It’s certainly worth a try. Have you ever played around with carob before?

The wraps, this is tough. They all look so good. Oh, what the heck—I’d order all three! Not all at once mind you. First up is the Original; prepared with avocado, carrot, celery, tomato, zucchini, and green olives. Next, the Mediterranean; made with mushroom, zucchini, red pepper, onion, and green olives. Lastly, the Spring Green; includes broccoli, tomato, carrot, celery, zucchini, red pepper, green olives. Wow! That’s a load of phyonutrients. The cool thing about these wraps is Arnold’s Way uses Nori seaweed as a wrap instead of a tortilla, and, “No dressing other than the juices of the freshly cut vegetables.” Hey, if you cut out those salty green olives, you’ve got a pretty nice sandwich in front of you—don’t you think?

And if all this food wasn’t good enough, Arnold’s Way hits you with their entrees—lots of great stuff here too. This one really sucked me in, The Raw Veggie Burger Platter. Here’s how the menu describes it, “ Almonds, Carrots, Zucchini, Celery, Mushrooms, & Green Olives combine to form the closest thing to a burger that is actually good for you. Served with Broccoli, Red Pepper, and Mushroom on a bed of Mixed Greens.” I love that line, “That is actually good for you.” I think many of you would agree. It also comes with a red sauce, I’d probably ask the wait staff what’s in it, but, I hardly think its going to be bad give this place’s resume so far.

Okay, the juices. Generally I’m not a huge juice-drinker. I like the mouth-feel of food, especially veggies. After all, a vegetable-based diet means your jaw gets quite the workout. But if I had to pick a juice, I’d probably go with a Blueberry Smoothie. Why? Well, according to Dr. Fuhrman blueberries are heavy-hitters in the world of nutrition—the Alex Rodriguez of nutrient density if you will. Peep this post to see why: Blueberries, They Rock!

So there you have it. Followhealthlife’s first Eating to Live on the Outside since last week’s anniversary—and—I think we struck gold this week. I’ll have to go back and confer with the judges, but, I think Arnold’s Way might be the best restaurant I’ve examined thus far. If not, it’s certainly up there. Now it’s your turn, check out Arnold’s Way’s menu and let me what you’d order. Make a comment or send me an email at

The E. Coli Outbreak: Still a Mystery

Evidently the exact cause of last year’s E. coli outbreak can join the ranks of the loch ness monster, the gunman on the grassy knoll, and leprechauns—all a mystery. As Stephanie Smith of CNN reports, its many months later and there is still no definite answers as to why the E. coli outbreak happened. Read on:
California produce, it seems, has a problem with E. coli 0157:H7, which is most commonly found in cattle feces. Since 1995 there have been more than 20 outbreaks of E. coli in lettuce and leafy greens traced back to farms in that state.

"You'd think that after so many outbreaks, the government and the leafy green industry would do something about this," said Bill Marler, a Seattle, Washington, attorney specializing in food-poisoning cases.

Marler has been at the helm of several lawsuits against the leafy green industry. He says investigations are traditionally slow, and he still does not have a report from a 2005 outbreak in Dole lettuce.

The FDA told CNN that the investigation into lettuce is on hold. It was derailed in part by recent investigations into melamine contamination in pet food, fish, swine and other foods.

"The FDA has to do what it can with the resources that it has," said David Acheson, assistant commissioner at the FDA Office of Food Defense, Communication and Emergency Response. "When there is an outbreak, investigators drop what they're doing and respond."

Slicing a Kiwi...Badly

Kiwis are great, but peeling them can be a pain. Well have no fear! This woman wearing mouse ears will show you how. Take a look:

Now, I’m no chef, but, it looked like a lot of the kiwi was left in the fruit. How is this any easier than just peeling the darn thing? Then again, you could always put the excess at the bottom of your fishbowl—it’s an inside joke, see Kiwi Piranha.

Applebee's Swats Trans-Fat

Yup, Applebee’s is the latest standard American restaurant to drop trans-fat. More from The Seattle Times:
Restaurant-chain operator Applebee's International Inc. said Thursday that it is no longer using trans fat frying oil at its more than 1,800 domestic restaurants.

Trans fat is made when hydrogen is added to liquid cooking oils to harden them for baking or a longer shelf-life. The process turns them into "partially hydrogenated oils", which may increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other ailments.
The company, which started looking for replacement oils three year ago, is now using a blend of two soybean oils it claims do not compromise the taste, texture or quality of its food.

"After extensive testing with our guests, we found that our foods cooked in zero trans fat oil still have the great taste out guests have come to expect from Applebee's," said Dave Goebel, the company's chief executive officer, in a statement. "In some cases, the oil even enhances the flavor of the menu item."
This is a little surprising because late last year Applebee’s was one of the restaurants opposed to New York City’s ban on trans-fat. I blogged about it here, Trans Fat is Toast:
The city's move has been opposed by representatives of chain restaurants, such as Domino's and Applebee's, and by restaurant industry groups. Charles Hunt, executive vice president of the New York State Restaurant Assn., said he hoped to fight the ban through legislative or legal channels.
Now I wonder, did they jump on the ban-bandwagon because it is the socially responsible thing to do, or, is it just a good P.R. move?

If You Grow It, They Will Eat It

U.S. researchers report, children who regularly eat homegrown fruits and veggies eat twice as much healthy food as kids who occasionally eat garden vegetables. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News has more:
The study, by a team at the Saint Louis University Medical Center, involved interviews with about 1,600 parents of preschool-aged children in rural southeast Missouri.

The team found that children who grow up eating homegrown produce prefer the taste of fruits and vegetables to other foods.

"It was a simple, clear finding. Whether a food is homegrown makes a difference. Garden produce creates what we call a 'positive food environment,'" study author Debra Haire-Joshu, director of the university's Obesity Prevention Center, said in a prepared statement.

She and her colleagues found that garden-fed children were more likely to see their parents eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and that people in homes with gardens had access to greater variety of produce.
Makes sense to me. Growing up both my grandparents had huge gardens—with all the trimmings! String beans, peas, fig trees from Italy (black and white), eggplants, hot peppers, sweet peppers, strawberries, escarole, tomatoes—yes, I could go on and on. Now, since I grew up eating all this good stuff, transitioning to a vegetable-based diet like Eat to Live was pretty easy—Creamy Curry Pumpkin Soup sounds good to me!

But, I think gardening is a lost art. I drive by my old neighborhood and it seems like fewer and fewer people have potted tomatoes and fresh herbs on their porch. That’s why programs like Urban Sprouts School Gardens are so great. Just look at all the great stuff they’re growing and cooking:
Garden crops are ready to harvest! We've got greens, lettuces, strawberries, onions, broccoli, and fava beans galore! Have a taste in the garden before the gophers get it all!

A few weeks ago, 6th graders at Martin Luther King Jr., Middle School made a delicious stir fry with Urban Sprouts' educator Herman Yee. Special thanks to Herman's mom, Eleanor, who helped out too!
According to Dr. Fuhrman this kind of involvement is crucial. In Disease-Proof Your Child he shares some secrets to getting your kids to eat healthy. Dr. Fuhrman makes it very clear, healthy eating is a family affair:
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.

4. If you, as parents, do not demonstrate proper respect for your own bodies by eating healthy, exercising regularly, and engaging in other healthful lifestyle practices, don't expect your children to do any better than you, now or in the future.

5. Educate your children about their nutritional needs and the importance of eating healthfully. Start this when they are young and continue to reinforce their learning, as they will be exposed to more toxic food choices as they get older and spend more time out of their home.
So just imagine what the results could be if you’re kids were actually helping you grow the fruits and veggies you feed your family.

FDA: Farmed Fish Okay

If the FDA says its okay, then it must be good—right? Yeah, that’s debatable. Anyway, remember how it was reported that farmed fished had been also exposed to the pet food contaminate melamine? No worries, the FDA now claims the fish is fine to eat—very fishy if you ask me. Randolph E. Schmid of the Associated Press reports:
The two fish farms that used the feed kept their fish off the market until the tests could be completed.

Dr. David Acheson, assistant commissioner for food protection, said fish being raised at Kona Blue in Hawaii and American Gold Seafoods in Washington state were found negative for the chemical melamine.

The questionable feed was also sold to 196 fish hatcheries. Because those fish are small and the feed has been recalled, Acheson said the FDA believes there no longer is any public health concern from them.

The FDA on Tuesday cleared for use 56,000 pigs given feed that included scraps of pet food contaminated with melamine.

BK Getting Sued

A nutrition advocacy group is suing Burger King because they have yet to eliminate trans-fat from their menu. Nichola Groom of Reuters reports:
In court papers filed in Washington, D.C. superior court, the Center for Science in the Public Interest said Burger King is the only leading restaurant chain that has not yet committed to eliminating trans fats from its menu.

"Burger King not only sells food cooked with this harmful ingredient, it does so without warning its customers about life-threatening consequences," the suit said. "Consumers have no way to guard against the risk of consumer trans fats."

Trans fat increases the low-density lipoprotein -- so-called bad cholesterol -- in food, and U.S. health officials have advised Americans to consume as little trans fat as possible.

Restaurants are not legally required to disclose the amount of trans fat in their foods, but CSPI attorney Stephen Gardner said the risks associated with eating trans fats make the products unsafe.

"Given the current state of knowledge... the deliberate use of trans fat, which is completely nonessential, makes those foods deleterious," Gardner said.
This is a little surprising because back in February we learned that Burger King had begun looking into trans fat alternatives, but, sometimes you just need to light a fire under someone’s behind—I wonder if it’ll leave flame-broiled griddle marks?

A Discussion Among Fruits

These four fruits hash out what they should call each other—not to mention they sing and dance too! Enjoy:

I wonder how you say phytonutrient in Spanish? El phytonutriento!

Cut Your Calories, Increase Your Life

From time to time news about calorie restriction (CR) hits the newswires—and for good reason—everything I’ve read about CR seems to imply that eating less food leads to a longer life. Even Dr. Fuhrman touches on it in Eat to Live. Have a look:
The evidence for increasing one’s life span through dietary restriction is enormous and irrefutable. Reduced caloric intake is the only experimental technique to consistently extend maximum life span. This has been shown in all species tested, from insects and fish to rats and cats.
Now, CR is a fascinating concept. In our society we associate well-fed—maybe even over-fed—with health, so the idea that strictly limiting our caloric intake is better for us, kind of flips the script—don’t you think? Julian Dibbell, a reporter for New York Magazine, found this out firsthand when he gave calorie a restriction a whirl this past October. Here’s some of his report:
It’s no secret. From mystics to anorexics, people who go for long periods without eating often report feeling more awake and energetic, even euphoric. It’s nice for a while, but even the calorie-restricted can get too much of it. When April started CR, she often went long stretches between meals and eventually decided something was a little off. “It makes you feel like you’re on drugs; I got too euphoric,” she says. “You know, thinking you’re in love when you’re not.” She switched to a more consistent, balanced eating schedule, came back down to Earth, and that, she says with a shrug, was that:

“It’s like, ‘Eat something! You’re not in love.’ ”
Again, very amazing, but, how about some proof? Sure, being told CR’s benefits is great, but what about a real-world example. Okay then, take a look at this. Late last year The New York Times shared with us the plight of two monkeys, Canto and Owen. Canto was enjoying a healthy life due to his calorie restrictive diet, and Owen—eating much more—was not so happy. Be sure to check out this graphic—priceless.

So, why all this talk about calorie restriction? Because The Diabetes Blog relays some new research linking calorie restriction to longevity. Here, it’s worth a read:
Researchers have found that persistent hunger promotes long life and identified a critical gene that specifically links calorie restriction (CR) to longevity. Genetic evidence has finally emerged in labs to explain the increased longevity in response to calorie restriction. This link was also identified between calorie restriction and aging. Of course this discovery immediately provoked the scientists to ponder the potential of the next generation of drugs to bestow the health benefits of calorie restriction without the discipline.

Fasting dates back as far as ancient Greek philosophers. Heck, even Mark Twain was a firm believer in fasting. In one of his essays he wrote, "A little starvation can really do more for the average sick man than can the best medicines and the best doctors. I do not mean a restricted diet; I mean total abstention from food for one or two days."
In my opinion, the evidence for this style of eating is overwhelming—I’ve even toyed with the idea of giving CR a try. And fasting? Well, Dr. Fuhrman has been talking about the benefits of fasting for years. From his book 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.
It’s funny, in this age of modern medicine. Many of us won’t try something as simple as eating less, but, we’ll pop a magic pill in a heartbeat.

Chromium in the Water

Oh man, this’ll give you the heebeegeebees. Reuters reports that Chromium found in drinking water causes cancer. It just gets harder and harder to maintain a toxin-free environment. More from the report:
Environmentalists, who have been fighting for decades for tighter limits on how much chromium can be present in drinking water, said the findings offered a basis for such restrictions.

High doses of chromium 6 given to rats and mice in drinking water caused malignant tumors, the two-year study by the NIH's National Toxicology Program or NTP found.

"In the rats we saw oral cavity tumors," said Michelle Hooth, who worked on the report. "In the mice we saw tumors in the small intestine."

Kiwi Piranha

“Argh Captain. The waters be dangerous.” Heck yes they are! Just check out these piranha—oops, goldfish—going to town on this slice of Kiwi fruit. It’s gruesome:

Multivitamins Linked to Prostate Cancer

Wow, this’ll make you think twice about downing those Flintstone vitamins. New research claims taking too many multivitamins may increase the risk of prostate cancer in men—eek! More from the Associated Press:
Government scientists turned to a study tracking the diet and health of almost 300,000 men. About a third reported taking a daily multivitamin, and 5 percent were heavy users, swallowing the pills more than seven times a week.

Within five years of the study's start, 10,241 men had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Some 1,476 had advanced cancer; 179 died.

Heavy multivitamin users were almost twice as likely to get fatal prostate cancer as men who never took the pills, concludes the study in Wednesday's Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Here's the twist: Overall, the researchers found no link between multivitamin use and early-stage prostate cancer.

The researchers speculate that perhaps high-dose vitamins had little effect until a tumor appeared, and then could spur its growth.
Kind of a damning indictment—don’t you think? But this begs the question, how safe are multivitamins? Could they actually lead to health problems? In Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman explains that multivitamins containing high-dose vitamin A and beta-carotene do elevate cancer-risk. Take a look:
The main concern with taking a multivitamin is that it may contain a high dose of vitamin A or beta-carotene. Ingesting large amounts of these nutrients may interfere with the absorption of other carotenoids, such as lutein and lycopene, thus potentially increasing the risk of cancer.1 10-1 There is also concern that supplemental vitamin A induces calcium loss in urine, contributing to osteoporosis.
Now, Dr. Fuhrman isn’t against vitamins. According to him very few people eat perfectly, which makes supplementing a good idea—it’ll help make sure your body gets all the important substances it needs. So considering all this cancer-talk, what kind of multi should a person take? More from Eat to Live:
There are multiple vitamins available today with natural mixed carotenoids in place of vitamin A and beta carotene that also contain extra plant-derived phytochemicals. Look for this type of multiple.
Continue Reading...

Exercise: A Little Goes a Long Way

As a gym rat, I love reading reports like this. U.S. researchers have determined that even as little as ten minutes of exercise can help overweight inactive women. Reuters explains:
Tests on overweight and obese women, many of whom had high blood pressure, showed that even small amounts of exercise improved their fitness and toned them up enough to lower their overall risk of early death.

The study is the first to reinforce using hard medical data what other studies have suggested -- that exercise does not have to be an all-or-nothing venture, Dr. Timothy Church of Louisiana State University and colleagues said.

"This information can be used to support future recommendations and should be encouraging to sedentary adults who find it difficult to find the time for 150 minutes of activity per week, let alone 60 minutes per day," the researchers wrote in their report, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Kind of a no-brainer I know, but, just goes to show how vital exercise really is.

Diabetes Risk: Cereal Good, Veggies Not?

Okay, I have to admit. This article made me say, “Henh?” According to new research cereal fiber and magnesium can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, but, fruits and vegetables don’t. Yeah, I don’t get it either. Reuters reports:
The findings stem from an analysis performed by Dr. Matthias B. Schulze and colleagues from the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke, Nuthetal. The study involved over 25,000 adults, between 35 and 65 years of age, who were followed from 1994 to 2005 for diabetes. A food-frequency questionnaire was used to assess the participants for the amounts of dietary fiber and magnesium.

During follow-up, 844 subjects developed type 2 diabetes, the report indicates. Compared with the subjects with the lowest cereal fiber intake, those with the highest intake had a 28-percent reduction in diabetes risk.

Fruit and vegetable fiber intake, by contrast, did not affect the risk. Magnesium intake also showed no effect in this study.
Obviously this flies in the face of a lot of the things we discuss here on Followhealthlife. So for rebuttal, I decided to call in heavy reinforcements. Here’s what Dr. Fuhrman had to say about this study:
The reason for the findings is a huge variance in the amount of whole grain fibers consumed from none to a significant amount. This does make a big difference, especially since people who do not consume whole grains generally live on sugar and white flour. But since the level of vegetable consumption in the highest quintile was still relatively low by our standards there was not really a representative group with a high consumption of green vegetables.

So all this means is that whole grains are better than refined grains and that that change in a person's diet has a major implication for diabetic causation and treatment. It does not mean that green vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds are not likewise protective because the population tested still did not eat much of these foods.

Fruits and Veggies Beat Up Lung Disease Risk

Surprise-surprise, a diet rich in fruits and veggies helps prevent lung disease. Let’s hear it, a big collective—duh! Even though we all know it, it’s still worth a read. Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News reports:
People who follow a "Mediterranean" diet rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains and fish cut their risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by half, researchers report.

COPD, a lethal combination of emphysema and bronchitis, is expected to become the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2020.

Smoking remains the primary cause of COPD, according to the report in the May 14 online edition of the journal Thorax.

Therefore, "The first message is that people have to stop smoking," said lead researcher Dr. Raphaelle Varraso, from INSERM, Villejuif, France. "And then, that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fish may help to reduce risk of COPD."

And, if healthy food can cut the odds for COPD, unhealthy eating could do the opposite, he said. "In smokers and ex-smokers, a diet rich in refined grains, cured and red meats, desserts and French fries may increase the risk of COPD," Varraso said.

His group collected data on almost 43,000 men who took part in the U.S. Health Professionals Follow-up Study, which started in 1986. The study included more than 50,000 U.S. health care professionals ages 40 to 75.

Every two years, the men were asked about their lifestyle, including smoking and exercise, diet and medical history. Detailed diet information was gathered every four years.

Good for Your Eyes: Omega-3 and Vitamin D

Yup, omega-3 and vitamin D are being linked to eye health. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports:
Eating plenty of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids -- such as tuna and salmon -- may reduce the risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration, a new study says.

The study findings are published in the May issue of the journal Archives of Ophthalmology.

A second study in the same issue of the journal found that people with higher blood levels of vitamin D may reduce their risk of early stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of blindness among older adults in the United States. AMD occurs when the macula, located at the back of the retina, deteriorates over time.
Of course, fish isn’t your only source of omega-3. Dr. Fuhrman talks about this in today’s post Fatty Acids and Fish Oil. And as far as vitamin D goes, just check out the Importance of Vitamin D:
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.

Blood Pressure a Global Crisis

Okay, I guess if obesity is a worldwide epidemic—which it is—then it would make sense if high blood pressure was also running rampant. And today, the Associated Press reports 1 billion people across the world have high blood pressure. Take a look:
It's not just a problem for the ever-fattening Western world. Even in parts of Africa, high blood pressure is becoming common.

That translates into millions of deaths from heart disease alone. Yet hypertension doesn't command the attention of, say, bird flu, which so far has killed fewer than 200 people.

"Hypertension has gone a bit out of fashion," says Dr. Jan Ostergren of Sweden's Karolinska University Hospital, co-author of a first-of-its-kind analysis of the global impact of high blood pressure.

The idea: to rev up world governments to fight bad blood pressure just as countries have banded together in the past to fight infectious diseases.

International heart specialists welcome the push.

"Even in the U.S., the majority of people with high blood pressure are not treated adequately," says Dr. Sidney Smith of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who advises the World Heart Federation. "Look at China, look at Africa, go around the world. It is a major risk factor."
Here’s the weird part—maybe there’s more. Because according to Dr. Fuhrman you might have high blood pressure, even if your doctor says you’re fine. Here’s why. Check out this previous post, Your Doctor Lied: You Do Have High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol:
I know you were told that if your blood pressure is below 140/90, it is normal. Unfortunately, this is not true, either. It is average - not normal. This number is used because it is the midpoint of adult Americans older than sixty. The risk for strokes and heart attacks starts climbing at 115/70.

In societies where we do not see high rates of heart disease and strokes, we don't see blood pressure increase with age. In rural China the healthy elderly had the same low blood pressure readings as they did when they were kids. Almost all Americans have blood pressure that is unhealthfully high. At a minimum, we should consider blood pressure higher than 125/80 abnormal.

Numerous scientific investigations have shown that the following interventions have some degree of effectiveness in lowering blood pressure.1
Continue Reading...

Fatty Acids and Fish Oil

From the library of

Food sources of omega-3 fats.

The American diet is unquestionably low in Omega-3 fat and too high in Omega-6 fat.

Omega 3 fats are healthy fats that reduce inflammation, inhibit cancer development and protect our blood vessels. The basic building block of omega-3 fat is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA can be found in most nuts and seeds, but are particularly rich in flaxseeds, hempseeds, walnuts and leafy green vegetables. Most people do not get enough (ALA) in their diet.

Flaxseeds and hempseeds are the foods with the highest concentration of this much-needed fat. Besides omega-3 fats, these seeds also contain very high levels of photochemicals, anti-oxidents and fibers that have been shown to have beneficial effects that inhibit prostate, breast and colon cancer. However, these protective nutrients and cancer-fighting lignans are not present in significant quantity in the oil, only in the whole seed.

The whole seeds are tiny and difficult to chew, if ingested whole they typically pass through the body undigested, causing their beneficial nutrients to be lost. Therefore, it is best to buy ground flax or hemp seeds or grind the whole seeds before eating. Ground seeds are also susceptible to rancidity. In my house, we grind a pound at a time using our VitaMix and then store the ground seeds in the freezer to maintain stability of the fats until use. Every morning we just scoop what we need out of the container and put the rest back into the freezer. If you are buying ground seeds, once you open the vacuum sealed package, store it in the freezer. Flax seeds or hemp seeds can also be ground in an inexpensive coffee grinder.

The short-chain Omega-3 fats found in seeds, nuts and greens are the building block of the longer chain fat DHA, that our body needs for proper functioning of our brain, nervous system, and immune system. Besides our own production, DHA is also found in fish and fish oil.

EPA and DHA are highly beneficial.

Proponents of fish have long touted the benefits of docoshexanoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid shown to exert significant health benefits. DHA has been shown to protect against dementia, depression, inflammatory diseases and have benefits for the heart, including anti-arrhythmic effects.

Low DHA levels are associated with:
  • Heart Disease
  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Cancer
  • Anxiety/Panic
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Hyperactivity
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Dyslexia
  • Allergies
  • Autoimmune Illnesses
  • Dermatologic Disorders
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Scientists have known for many years that humans can convert short-chain omega-3 fat (ALA) from seeds and greens into the valuable DHA. The question is can we achieve optimal levels without the consumption of fish?

Studies show that people have varying ability to convert ALA into DHA, and apparently the answer is that some people eating sufficient ALA from greens, flax and walnuts can achieve adequate levels and others, even if careful to consume more ALA cannot. Conversion of ALA by the body to these more active longer-chain metabolites is inefficient: < 5-10% for EPA and 2-5% for DHA1. Men generally convert less than women.

The less fish eaten the more reliant on this conversion and the higher levels of ALA (short-chain fat) is required to produce sufficient levels of DHA. Thus, the total n-3 requirements are higher for vegetarians and those who do not eat any fish.

Because of the higher Omega-3 fat requirement for vegetarians and those not eating much fish, nutritional advisors typically encourages the consume high amounts of flax seed oil to permit the conversion of enough DHA. I do not agree with this advice. First of all oil is empty calorie food with little or no vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and flavonoids that were present in the original seeds. To encourage health seekers to consume three tablespoons of flax oil a day is adding 360 low nutrient calories to your daily diet. Furthermore we have a significant collection of data that indicates that the consumption of high doses of ALA from flax oil may increase, not decrease the risk of prostate cancer2. Whereas flax seed consumption has been shown in multiple studies to lower the risk of both breast cancer and prostate cancer3; in contrast, flax oil and high ALA consumption has been linked to increased risk.

Should we consume fish and/or fish oil?

The amount of DHA can vary significantly in various fish. Some salmon (especially farm raised) has very little DHA, for example. More importantly, several studies have indicated that both fish and fish oil supplements are prone to contamination with toxic materials. For example fish and fish oils have been shown to contain large concentrations of dioxins and PCBs because the dumping of toxic waste and raw sewage into our oceans has taken a toll. Lipid peroxide contamination occurring with aging of the oil further complicates the supposed health benefits of fish oil consumption. Fish and fish oils also contains mercury. Data from the Center for Disease Control indicates that one in 12 women of childbearing age in the United States has unsafe mercury levels, and their threshold for safety is high. The major contributor to body mercury load is fish and fish oils, not dental fillings. Multiple studies have illustrated most of the body's mercury load is from the consumption of fish.

In spite of the toxicity and risk of consuming fish, most health authorities still advise the regular consumption of fish. This is because they consider the health benefits demonstrated from an avalanche of scientific studies showing benefits from DHA on the prevention of various diseases, including cancer and heart disease.

Not all the studies on people who consume more fish are favorable. Mercury levels from consuming fish have been linked with infertility, neurologic and mental disorders, high blood pressure, and endocrine disorders. Mercury levels from fish consumption have also been directly linked to the risk of heart attack. In an international case controlled study, mercury levels were assessed in 684 European men within 24 hours of a first myocardial infarction and in 724 control subjects without a heart attack. A strong dose response pattern was observed with a more than doubling of the risk for heart attack patients in the highest fifth of mercury levels compared to the lowest. Mercury containing fish and fish oil is obviously not the ideal way to decrease ones risk of heart attack. So epidemiologic data on fish intake and fish-oil consumption is contradictory and inconsistent; with some studies showing a worsening of cardiac events that increase as fish consumption increases.

Given the contamination issues with both fish and fish oils and the rancidity of fish oil we cannot consider fish or fish oils, health food. The studies showing an anti-cancer benefit from consuming fish are marred by other studies showing an increased risk of cancer, such as cancer of the breast from eating more fish4. This referenced study was huge and compelling; they followed over 23,000 women and found a doubling of breast cancer in women eating more fish compared to those consuming little or no fish. These inconsistencies and the data linking fish consumption to breast cancer is explained by the pollution in fish and some populations obviously consume more polluted fish than others.

DHA is definitely a beneficial fat, but we have to reconsider the source of how we find it. Fish are highly polluted, compared to other foods. We have to seriously take a closer look at the typical recommendations of health authorities to consume more fish. After many years of reviewing the evidence and recording mercury levels in patients that invariably correlate well with their fish consumption, I recommend consuming little or no fish and advice strongly against consuming any of those species of fish notoriously high in mercury such as shark, swordfish, mackerel, pike and bluefish.

If you avoid fish and instead consume fish oil, you may still have a problem. One problem with fish oils is that much of the fat has already turned rancid. If you have ever cut open a capsule and tasted it, you will find it can taste like gasoline. Many people complain of burping, indigestion and of fish breath. I have also observed that rancidity of this fish fat places a stress on the liver. Patients of mine with abnormal liver function noted on their blood tests when consuming fish oil have had these tests return to normal when the fish oils were stopped.

Searching for a healthful alternatives to fish oil.

When I draw blood tests for fatty acid analysis on many of my patients, I find that a large percentage of individuals who do not eat fish regularly do not have optimal levels of DHA. I often see patients eating otherwise excellent diets with itchy dry skin, seborrheac dermatitis and other signs of DHA deficiency. How can we assure optimal production of DHA fat for all, if we are hesitant about recommending and consuming fish or refined oils?

Fortunately, vegetable derived DHA is an alternative. Laboratory cultivated DHA is made from micro-algae and is a pure form of DHA without rancidity. It is grown in the laboratory, not collected in the wild. It has no mercury or other toxins.

Even algae-derived DHA can develop rancidity. Over the last few years, I have worked with a manufacturer to eliminate rancidity and, improve taste and digestibility of these oils. Out of necessity for my patients, I made DHA derived from freeze dried algae to preserve freshness.

Dr. Fuhrman's DHA Purity contains 30 ml of pure, all vegan, DHA concentrated liquid. The DHA comes from algae grown under sanitary laboratory conditions. In conjunction with a high nutrient, plant-based diet, I advise all people take one of these supplements daily.

Other Supplement Recommendations:
  1. My recommendations regarding nutritional supplementation are clear and simple:
  2. Take one tablespoon of ground flax seeds per day
  3. Take 0.5 ml DHA Purity liquid per day
  4. Take two Dr. Fuhrman's Gentle Care Formula per day
This keeps the supplemental recommendations simple and inexpensive for most of my patients who follow my Eat To Live plan. One bottle of my Gentle Care Formula lasts 3 months, and one bottle of my DHA Purity lasts 2 months. This is a small price to pay for health security assuring all your nutritional bases are covered from minimal supplementation. Continue Reading...

Fantastic Fruit Salads

Blueberry Salad
2 stalks organic celery, chopped
3 cups blueberries
1 head romaine lettuce
Put blueberries and celery on a bed of romaine lettuce.

Tropical Fruit Salad
2 cups cubed pineapple
1 cup cubed mango
1 cup cubed papaya
2 oranges, peeled and sliced
1 banana, sliced
2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
Toss together and serve.

Fruit Plate Salad

1 peach
1 cup raspberries
1 orange
1 cup blueberries
romaine lettuce leaves
2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
Place fruit on top of romaine lettuce leaves and sprinkle with ground flaxseeds.

Kids and Heart Disease

It’s kind of an obvious point, but, I don’t think a lot of people realize this. Heart disease—which reeks havoc on millions of adults—starts young. According to Dr. Fuhrman the seeds of cardiovascular disease are sown way before adulthood. He talks about it in Disease-Proof Your Child:
There is considerable evidence that the lipoprotein abnormalities (high LDL and low HDL) that are linked to heart attack deaths in adulthood begin to develop in early childhood and that higher cholesterol levels eventually get “set” by early food habits.1 What we eat during our childhood affects our lifetime cholesterol levels. For many, changing the diet to a plant-based, low-saturated-fat diet in later life does not result in the favorable cholesterol levels that would have been seen if the dietary improvements were started much earlier in life.

As a result of the heart-unfriendly diet, blood vessel damage begins early. Not only does the development of coronary atherosclerosis develop in childhood, but earlier development of atherosclerosis and higher serum cholesterol levels in childhood result in a significantly higher risk of premature sudden death relatively early in life. Sometimes the effects of childhood dietary abuses can be seen relatively early, with premature death or a heart attack at a young age.
And now, it seems there is a movement to test children early on for the risks of heart disease. Karen Pallarito of HealthDay News reports:
Obesity, inactivity and cholesterol are closely linked, and data from the latest U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) finds that 17 percent of U.S. teens are overweight. Just one in four high school students packs enough physical activity into their day, and 12 percent get little or no daily exercise, reports the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So, measuring kids' cholesterol in a really detailed way may make sense.

"There is growing scientific evidence indicating that cholesterol levels in childhood and adolescence have an effect on the development of plaque in the arteries, which is a clear indication of cardiovascular disease risk," explained study leader Ian Janssen, an assistant professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queens University in Ontario, Canada.
We’ve seen these types of initiatives before. A couple years ago the American Heart Association announced plans to target the very young.
Continue Reading...

Our Food: What Will Anthropologists Say?

Mark Di Ionno of The San Francisco Chronicle wants to know, when we’re all dead and buried, and anthologists start digging up our bones—what will they think? Why did we eat so much junk? Is that what killed us? Or were we marketed to death? Here’s the report:
So what will future anthropologists say about us? What conclusions will they draw from the super-sized coffins and the skeletal remains with missing toes, amputated by diabetes?

What will they derive from cemeteries that reveal a sudden downturn in American life expectancy when our junk food generations begin dying of heart disease and arteriosclerosis in middle age?

Or from the ruins of all the red and yellow plastic roof restaurants sunken by global flooding, or buried under nuclear dust, or volcanic ash or whatever else does us in?

What poisons will show themselves in their chemical analysis of our bones?

We already know the answers. Trans fats. Refined sugars and carbohydrates. Sodium.

This is why the $500 million initiative recently announced by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to combat child obesity is so important. It's putting their money where our mouths are.
So, will museums of the future have to add a fat dude holding a bag of fast-food and a prescription for statins at the end of the exhibit depicting man evolving from ape-kind to humankind?

No Milk for Acne

Last week we found out that milk is no good for weight-loss—despite the million-dollar marketing campaign. Now get a load of this. ParentDish passes on a research claiming kids with acne should stop drinking milk. Read on:
I had huge acne when I was a teenager. My acne was the kind that hurt, under the skin stuff that felt like a revolting beacon on my nose, forehead, chin. I remember being told: Stay away from chocolate! Grease is bad for zits! Try this product. I spent nearly all my bussing tips on special potions and lotions and creams, to no avail. Perhaps, suggests a recent study done by Harvard University, I should have just stopped drinking milk.

According to the research, teens who drank a pint of milk or more a day were nearly 50% more likely to develop pimples that those who rarely or never drink milk. Analysis of over 47,000 teenage diets revealed that skim milk drinkers were at most risk for acne (raising the risk by 44%), followed by whole milk drinkers who were 12% more likely to develop the unsightly stuff.
No doubt the dairy mongers are all up in arms—“But, but, what else can I dunk my cookies in?”

A Look at Fat-Camp

You always hear about fat-camps—are they real? Or just ominous boogiemen used to keep overweight children on their toes? Well, apparently they do exist. Ibby Caputo of The Chicago Tribune offers up an in depth look at one weight-loss camp in upstate New York. Take a look:
There are dozens of camps scattered about the country. Most take both boys and girls, and all insist that they provide as much fun as regular camps.

At Camp Shane, for instance, traditional activities such as hiking, swimming and arts and crafts are augmented with nutrition and cooking classes, as well as a cognitive behavioral therapy program that strives to teach campers tools for successful weight management.

Campers learn to record their food intake and amount of exercise, as well as keep a journal about their thoughts and feelings in the process.

Many kids who go to these camps have spent agonizing years being picked on by their peers and sometimes even their siblings and parents. Often, they internalize these comments, something that does not help them take off the weight.

"We create who we are by the reaction of others toward us," said Larry Larsen, a child psychologist in Andover, Mass. "If our peers tell us we are fat, it becomes part of our self-concept of who we are."

But at weight-loss camps, kids join others who are dealing with the same issues. This exposure, camp officials say, often leads to creation of a supportive community.
I’m torn. On one hand, I think fostering a nurturing supportive environment is a good thing, but, I’m not really in favor of carting overweight children off to a place for the purposes of “fixing” them. And I’m not so sure Dr. Fuhrman would think this is a great strategy either.

In Dr. Fuhrman’s opinion the best place to teach kids to eat right and live well is at home. Why? Because it’s good for the whole family! Here’s more from Disease-Proof Your Child:
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.

4. If you, as parents, do not demonstrate proper respect for your own bodies by eating healthy, exercising regularly, and engaging in other healthful lifestyle practices, don't expect your children to do any better than you, now or in the future.

5. Educate your children about their nutritional needs and the importance of eating healthfully. Start this when they are young and continue to reinforce their learning, as they will be exposed to more toxic food choices as they get older and spend more time out of their home.

It is important to realize that it is never too late to teach your children the importance of eating healthy. As you learn, share enthusiastically with them. Work on improving your diets together. If your child is a teenager, let her read what you are reading. You may want to add that it will help their complexion and body shape. Even teenagers will make beneficial improvements in their diets when presented with compelling reasons. I have lectured to high school assemblies many times and am always impressed by how interested, enthusiastic, and willing to make changes teenagers can be. Research supports this willingness of adolescents to make significant dietary change when presented with accurate compelling information.1
This approach makes more sense to me. Sending your children to some camp so that strangers can fix a problem you can’t—or don’t want to be bothered with—seems like irresponsible parenting to me. After all, no one likes fat-camp. Especially Homer Simpson:

And don’t forget about Dr. Fuhrman’s podcast on Getting Children to Eat Well.
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Cruciferous Lizard

Now, this iguana knows what’s good for him. He’s gobbling up a whole bunch of collard greens and mustard greens. Check it out:

Eating to Live on the Outside Turns 1

Brace yourself. Because today, Eating to Live on the Outside celebrates its first birthday! Hip-hip hooray, for he’s a jolly-good fellow, Feliz Navidad, and all that jazz. Yup, exactly one year ago today, Followhealthlife began its weekly look at the daunting abyss that is the American restaurant landscape.

Over the past year I’ve read dozens of menus. Some, from well known fixtures of Americana like Fridays, IHOP, Sizzler, and Denny’s, and other not-so well known eateries like Just Salads, Go Raw Café, Pure Food and Wine, and Mesob. And what have I learned? Well, I tried to think of some long-winded thoughtful proclamation, but, I’m not one to gush—so I took the easy way out. I asked Dr. Fuhrman for his thoughts on Eating to Live on the Outside, and here’s what he had to say:
Eating to Live on the Outside makes the point that you can't beat home cooked meals and since it is impossible to follow my dietary recommendations in America, we should all move to Fiji.
Now believe me. As Dr. Fuhrman’s blogger I constantly walk the thin line between brownnosing and support. But in this case, I totally agree with him. I mean come on. You’ve read his books and you eat your fruits and veggies. How the heck can any standard American restaurant—even one the “good” ones—really stack up against a true nutrient-rich vegetable-based diet? You probably are better off just eating at home—this should explain why I always say, “I don’t eat out very often.”

Okay, let’s talk about me for second—I know, I know, this is Dr. Fuhrman’s blog and the all the focus should be on him and his work, but go with me on this for a second. When I first started doing this series I was still fairly new to Eat to Live. Meaning, I was applying a lot of its principles to my life, but not all the way with it. For example, check out these earlier installments of Eating to Live on the Outside. Just look at what I said I’d order:
I'd go with the Shanghai Chicken Salad, even though the Santa Fe seems healthier. The spiciness might be an issue for some people, myself included. If you skipped the appetizer or ordered a house salad, you might want to keep the chicken on this dish, if not ask the waiter for no chicken. Just remember to go easy on the Cilantro-Lime dressing.

At first I was thinking I might order the Tuna Roll, but given the amount of mercury in tuna, I'd avoid it. A basic soup and a salad is a decent choice, although stay away from the cream based soups and definitely not choose the oily or creamy salad dressings. Speaking of salad, the Oriental Chicken Salad and the Chicken Caesar Salad look good. I like the Oriental Chicken salad a lot because you get a nice array of plant matter: mandarin oranges, roasted almonds, and mixed greens. Just remember to go easy on the dressing. I'd easily take this over the Chicken Caesar Salad.
Chicken! What was I thinking—chicken! This brings me to my point. For a year now I’ve been the guinea pig. I’ve been the one telling you what I’d order if I found myself at any of these restaurants. And if you read all the posts from start until now, you’ll see that my sensibilities have changed—or more appropriately, evolved—as I’ve become more and more comfortable with my Eat to Live skin.

Nowadays I’m basically a vegetarian. Although, I don’t identify as a complete vegetarian because I still eat fish a couple times a month, but just consider all the stuff I don’t eat anymore: meat, cheese, bread, dairy, and caffeine. Sure, from time to time I might snag a few Peanut M&M's or eat a little too much sushi, but overall, my diet has made a total 360 from what it used to be many moons ago.

Even though I’ve only actually eaten at a handful of the restaurants I’ve examined, just the weekly act of reviewing all these menus has helped me acquire the skills necessary to give myself a fighting chance in the land of standard American restaurants—insert battle-cry here.

My hope is that this series gives you a starting point for your own Eating to Live on the Outside adventures. And, hopefully watching me evolve as an Eat to Liver has been at least mildly entertaining, because believe me, it’s been a blast sharing a part of me with you in this series—and there’s no end in sight!

Now, in case you’ve missed any installment, I’ve gone ahead and listed every post below—and of course you can always find past blog posts in the Eating to Live on the Outside category as well. Enjoy:
And let’s not for get all the Eating to Live on the Outside extras too:
Oh, and on a side note. Since I blogged about it a few weeks ago, I’ve eaten at New York City’s Sacred Chow numerous times, and, I’m making plans to eat at Pure Food and Wine real soon—as always, I’ll keep you posted!

Dairy Ousted for Weight-Loss

In what warped reality would dairy actually be associated with weight-loss? Oh wait! Here, in this country. Well actually, not anymore. Kim Severson of The New York Times reports that the dairy industry’s national advertising campaign that links dairy consumption to weight-loss has been dumped. Why? Because the science doesn’t support the claim! Now that is some gangster-like lying right there, more from the report:
The assertion that there is a link between weight loss and dairy consumption has long been contested by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine [PCRM], an advocacy and research group that promotes a diet free of animal products.

The group petitioned the F.T.C. in 2005 to argue that the advertisements were misleading. In a May 3 letter to the group, Lydia Parnes, director of the agency’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said Agriculture Department representatives and milk producers and processors had agreed to change the advertisements and related marketing materials “until further research provides stronger, more conclusive evidence of an association between dairy consumption and weight loss.”

As of Thursday, the National Dairy Council still had a section of its Web site devoted to the weight-loss claim. But the site, along with some of the advertisements, will be changed, said Greg Miller, who is executive vice president of the council and has a doctorate in nutrition.
It’s a good thing the PCRM has some sense—oh, and in case you didn’t know—Dr. Fuhrman is a member of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. But truth be told, The PCRM is only doing a public service. Because according to Dr. Fuhrman dairy products and milk should never be confused as a health food. He explains in 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.

Dog Eat Melon, Cat Eat Melon

Yes. It’s endless. My search for animals eating fruits and veggies will never end! Get a load of this dog and cat munching on some melon:

Dr. Fuhrman on Getting Off Prednisone

Here’s a jewel I found in the Member Center of This member wanted to get off Prednisone and Dr. Fuhrman helped show her the way. Take a look:
I have an appointment to see you in 3 1/2 weeks but I'm writing hoping I can start doing something now. I am looking for help in getting off my Prednisone. I am a 59 year-old woman who was in good health, but under tremendous stress due to family crises (caregiver). I came down with pericarditis on Aug. 13, 2006, had a pericardial effusion and tamponade on Aug. 24th and emergency surgery - a pericardial window - the same day to drain the fluid. I began Prednisone 40 mg on Aug. 25th with a taper schedule. The pericarditis has persisted. I have not been able to taper down on the Prednisone. I have had 4 flare-ups since Aug. 25th. In the 78 days I have been on Prednisone, the majority of the time I have been on 30 mg and the rest of the time between 30 mg - 40 mg or 15 mg - 25 mg, depending on where I was with the taper. I am currently on 25 mg Prednisone, Colchicine 0.6 mg 2 x day, Motrin 600 mg 3 x day, Metoprolol 25 mg 2 x day (I had one episode of afibrillation 2 days after the surgery, but no past or current heart problems), Protonix 40 mg 2 x day, Synthroid 25 mcg (Hashimoto's disease, hypothyroidism, ongoing for 8 years).

I have read 'Eat to Live' and am reading 'Fasting and Eating for Health.' I did not eat sugar, white flour, meat or simple carbohydrates and recently went off wheat.

I was wondering whether you could tell me if there was anything I could be doing right now towards helping me get off the Prednisone in the period while I wait for my appointment with you.

Dr. Fuhrman:
You should start my dietary protocol right away. Eat the light diet described below and nothing else until you see me and do not drink any water. Do not use any salt or any product containing any sodium. Don't try to decrease the prednisone faster than 2.5 mg per week and do not start tapering further until following this protocol for at least a week.

Breakfast: Kiwis, berries, green apple and a glass of fresh squeezed carrot, beet, parsley, kale juice.

Lunch: Green lettuce, tomatoes, shredded red cabbage, watercress, shredded carrots and raw beets, with a dressing made from sesame seeds, orange and lemon. Eat two tablespoons of raw sunflower seeds. And a bowl of soup made with vegetable juice, leek, collards, kale, bok choy and zucchini.

Dinner: A blended smoothie made with banana, avocado, lettuce spinach and kale. Steamed green vegetable such as brussel sprouts, broccoli, baby bok choy, artichokes or asparagus. You can have a small amount (less than one ounce) of raw almonds, Brazil nuts or raw pistachio nuts. You can have one fresh fruit, such as papaya, mango, melon, apple or pear and another glass of fresh vegetable juice with dinner if you like.

Thank you so much for your reply and for giving me your protocol for me to start. I started the protocol yesterday. Really happy to be on it.

I just wanted to ask you one question now. I have a hypothyroid and the cruciferous vegetables in their raw form are goiterogenic. Is it OK if I steam them before using them in the parts of the diet where they would normally be eaten raw?

Dr. Fuhrman:
Please forget about the idea that raw cruciferous vegetables are goiteragenic. That does not happen in real life with real people and I assure you that the amount of raw greens you can eat will not hurt your thyroid.

Your Inner Fat

I’ve never read anything like this before. Apparently you can be thin on the outside, but fat on the inside—interesting. Maria Cheng of the Associated Press has more:
"Being thin doesn't automatically mean you're not fat," said Dr. Jimmy Bell, a professor of molecular imaging at Imperial College, London. Since 1994, Bell and his team have scanned nearly 800 people with MRI machines to create "fat maps" showing where people store fat.

According to the data, people who maintain their weight through diet rather than exercise are likely to have major deposits of internal fat, even if they are otherwise slim. "The whole concept of being fat needs to be redefined," said Bell, whose research is funded by Britain's Medical Research Council.

Without a clear warning signal — like a rounder middle — doctors worry that thin people may be lulled into falsely assuming that because they're not overweight, they're healthy.

U.S. Schools Eating Healthy?

Not really. But some schools and communities are making positive strides. Take this school in Somerville Massachusetts. These kids were part of a research program that in the end helped them maintain healthy bodyweight, and, actually got the whipper-snappers to eat broccoli. Don’t believe me? Maggie Fox of Reuters reports:
A program that pulled a whole town into helping its children eat better and exercise more helped stop the kids from gaining too much weight, U.S. researchers reported on Thursday.

The children of Somerville, Massachusetts gained, on average, just less than a pound (half a kg) less than children who did not take part in the program, the researchers at Tufts University's school of nutrition in Boston found.

And it got them to eat broccoli.

For young children still growing rapidly, this was a significant success, study leader Christina Economos said in a telephone interview.

"All children are gaining weight because they are growing," she said. "We want to prevent weight gain over and above what they need to for development."

They did, Economos and colleagues report in the journal Obesity. Children who were overweight lost weight, or stopped gaining, and those who were lean continued to grow at a healthy rate.

Economos hopes the seeds of life-long healthy habits have been planted in these children.

Obese Kids: Talk to Them

Here’s a good idea. Worried your kids are gaining too much weight? Talk to them about it. According to Reuters training healthcare professionals with special interviewing techniques designed to motivate parents of overweight kids could help children stay fit and trim. Anne Harding reports:

The technique, motivational interviewing, involves asking open-ended questions (for example, "could you tell me how you feel about your weight"), listening and repeating the interviewee's answers, and encouraging them to recognize what is holding them back from making changes, Dr. Robert P. Schwartz of Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the study's lead author, told Reuters Health.

"What you want to do is get the patient to take responsibility for their behaviors," Schwartz said in an interview. "What motivational interviewing does is help people get unstuck from their ambivalence."

Motivational interviewing has been used successfully to help people with substance abuse problems, but employing the approach to address physical activity and nutrition is something new, he added.

Talk to your kids—who would have thought?

Sneaky Veggies

Want your children to eat more veggies? But no matter what, they just won’t eat them—go covert. ParentDish relays a sneaky way to ensure your kids are getting enough vegetation. Have a look:
A new study from Penn State University indicates that sneaking vegetables into kids' meals is a valid part of your overall healthy eating plan. As part of their study, researchers came up with two pasta dishes to test on children. A low calorie dish with broccoli and cauliflower blended into the sauce and another with no vegetables and more calories.

Kids didn't spot the vitamin-packed ringer, liking both equally well. "The kids could not really tell the difference and ate a consistent weight of pasta," according to lead author Kathleen E. Leahy. Leahy did point out, however, that this should only be a part of your meal strategy -- children should be encouraged to eat whole vegetables in order to develop a taste for them. "You not only want to increase their vegetable intake but also want to ensure that your kids will acquire a taste for vegetables," she said.

Nutritional Wisdom: Removing Disease Causing Chemicals from Your Home

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 Removing Disease Causing Chemicals from Your Home, with special guest Deirdre Imus. And if you've missed an episode click the Nutritional Wisdom category for previous shows.


Girls Gonna Get Fat

Sorry ladies, but new research says girls are more likely to become fat than boys. Mattias Karen of the Associated Press has more:
As every Western nation struggles with child obesity, the Swedes are puzzled by an unusual blip in the data: Why are little girls more likely to be fat than little boys? A recent study by researchers at Sweden's Uppsala University showed that today's 4-year-old girls were six times as likely to be obese compared to 20 years ago - a bigger jump than among boys.

"This indicates that there is a relatively recent change in our lifestyles that is behind this," said Ulf Holmback, the lead researcher for the study published in the April issue of Acta Paediatrica. "But it's difficult to say what that is."

The weight increase itself was expected - Swedes, along with most other Europeans, have been getting heavier.

But obesity experts are scratching their heads over the gender difference that emerges in obesity rates. In 1982, just 1 percent of all 4-year-olds were deemed obese. By 2002, 2 percent of the boys that age were obese, but 6 percent of the girls were. The discrepancy was similar for 10-year-olds.

Bad News for Portion Control

This country is weight-obsessed. Despite our staggering rate of obesity, it seems like everyone is scrambling for ways to keep the weight off. And so enters the landslide of fad diets. Take portion control for example—ever heard of it?

The idea is you’ll lose weight by restricting the amount of food you eat. Sounds like a good idea—right? Although, if people were really capable of limiting how much they eat, then why do we have an obesity problem to begin with? Yeah, Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t buy this approach to maintaining a healthy bodyweight either. He talks about it in Eat to Live:
It is meaningless to compare foods by weight or portion size. Let me provide an example to explain why this is the case. Take one teaspoon of melted butter, which gets 100 percent of its calories from fat. If I take that teaspoon of butter and mix it in a glass of hot water, I can now say that it is 98 percent fat-free, by weight. One hundred percent of its calories are still from fat. It didn’t matter how much water or weight was added, did it?
Portion control sounds more like a clever marketing scheme than a legitimate weight-loss plan to me. Now, Dr. Fuhrman isn’t the only non-believer of portion control. A new study shows eating slower and in smaller portions is really nothing more than dietary busywork. Jeffrey Perkel of HealthDay News reports:
A team at Children's Hospital Boston gave 18 teens a fast-food meal comprising chicken nuggets, French fries and a cola delivered in one of three ways on three separate occasions: either as a single large serving; divided into four portions served at one time; or divided into four portions served every 15 minutes.

The authors found that the teens -- four males and 14 females, all of who were overweight -- ate the same amount of food (about 1,320 calories worth, nearly 50 percent of their daily energy requirement) regardless of how it was presented. Importantly, none of the subjects finished the meal they were given, suggesting they ate until they were full, not until they ran out of food.

"It didn't matter if we divided [the meal] into four smaller portions and gave it at the same time, or if we divided it into portions and distributed it at 15-minute intervals to slow down intake," said Cara Ebbeling, co-director of obesity research at the hospital. "They ate the same amount of total calories in each case. So, the conclusion is that portioning and eating rate did not affect calorie intake."
Talk about using people as guinea pigs. Did they have to use fast-food? Yuck! But the research does identify the critical flaw in this form of dieting. We’re a country of chronic overeaters. We simply eat way more than we should—clearly we lack will power—so how will reducing the amount of food we start with help us lose weight? Won’t we just seek out more food once we devour our tiny portions?

Again, Dr. Fuhrman isn’t buying it. In Eat to Live he points out that its not just about how much we put into our bodies, but also what we put into our bodies. Take a look:
If food’s weight were important, it would be easy to lose weight, we would just have to drink more water. The water would trigger the weight receptors in the digestive tract and our appetite would diminish. Unfortunately, this is not the way our body’s appetite—the brain center in the hypothalamus that controls food intake—is controlled. Bulk, calories, and nutrient fulfillment, not the weight of the food, turn off our appestat. Since the foods Americans consume are so calorie-rich, we have all been trying to diet by eating small portions of low-nutrient foods. We not only have to suffer hunger but also wind up with perverted cravings because we are nutrient-deficient to boot.
Dr. Fuhrman goes on to explain that giant portions of certain foods can actually contribute to weight-loss. Who would have thought? Eat more, lose weight. Back to Eat to Live:
We must consume a certain level of calories daily to feel satisfied. Now I ask you to completely rethink what you consider a typical portion size. To achieve superior health and a permanently thin physique, you should eat large portions of green foods. When considering any green plant food, remember to make the portion size huge by conventional standards. Eating large portions of these super healthy foods is the key to your success.

Invasion of the Sugary Drinks

Diet-Blog’s got another great post cooked up. Check out The 7 Most Sugar Filled Drinks. Here are a couple well known ones:

Sweetened drinks and soda consumption are vexations for Dr. Fuhrman—makes him angry. You’ll see why in this post, from Warning Labels from the Surgeon General on Soda:
Obesity rates have risen in tandem with soda consumption in the United States, and in the last twenty years the consumption of soft drinks by teenagers had doubled.1 Twelve to nineteen-year-old boys consume thirty-four teaspoons of sugar a day in their diet, and about half of that comes from soft drinks. Children start drinking soft drinks at a very young age, and advertisements and promotions by the soft drink manufacturers are aggressively marketed to the young.
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A Juicy Question

Do you drink fruit juice? I do—wait, wait, wait—relax! I know Dr. Fuhrman isn’t big on people downing tall glasses of fiber-less fruit juices. That’s why I only drink pomegranate juice, daily in fact, and even Dr. Fuhrman thinks that’s a good idea. From the comments of Pomegranate Power:
I do not think a little fresh squeezed fruit juice is bad, just not a good idea for those who are trying to lose weight. Certainly, even a few ounces of pomegranate or red grapefruit juice is not going to blow your diet. Similar to olive oil, people think because my book, Eat to Live encourages the reader to avoid oil, (because all oil is 120 calories a tablespoon and it can add up fast) that I am dead set against using even a little bit of olive oil occasionally. Apply the principles, but it does not have to be that rigid.
But, Dr. Fuhrman does make it pretty clear that you’re better off eating the whole fruit instead of just consuming the juice—although, news reports can confuse us. Like this one about a new study claiming there is no link between childhood obesity and drinking 100% fruit juice. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports:
"We did not find a relationship between 100 percent juice consumption and overweight among children. Even among the children who consumed the most juice, we found no association at all with the children being overweight or at risk for overweight," Dr. Theresa Nicklas, a child nutrition researcher at the United States Department of Agriculture's Children's Nutrition Research Center at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said in a prepared statement.

The findings were expected to be presented today at the Pediatric Academic Societies' annual meetings, in Toronto, Canada.

Drinking 100 percent juice also had no impact on the amount of milk kids consumed, Nicklas said.

The mean daily consumption of 100 percent juice among the children in the study was 4.1 ounces (about 1/2 cup), which is in keeping with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

About 13 percent of the children consumed 12 ounces or more of 100 percent juice a day, but this increased consumption was not associated with overweight or increased risk for being overweight.
Now stop me if I’m rambling, but doesn’t this study give off the wrong impression. I’m no scientist, but even I could have guessed that only a small number of children consume 100% fruit juice. Have you seen 100% fruit juice (it looks like these Nutrient-Dense Juices)? It’s thick and heavy, not clear and watery like the trendy “all natural” beverages sold in supermarkets and advertised between Blue’s Clues and Sesame Street.

So I wonder. If your average person reads this report will they be able to differentiate between fruit juice and 100% fruit juice. Hold on, let me shake my magic 8-ball…”Outlook not so good.” Because it doesn't surprise me that 100% fruit juice won’t increase the risk of obesity, but, if all those pseudo-juices did, let’s just say I wouldn’t be shocked.

How do you feel about this research? Did you get the same impression as I did?

Meet Monkey-Cat

Personally, I eat a lot of bananas—they’re great right after a workout! This cat thinks they’re a good idea too:

More Melamine Madness

I don’t eat pet food. So when the contaminated pet food story broke I wasn’t too nervous. I also wasn’t freaked out by the tainted pigs and chickens, but, contaminated fish? Now that’s a different story. I eat fish. And darn it! HealthDay News now reports that some farmed fish also ate the toxic compound melamine. Steven Reinberg is on it:
Levels of melamine in the fish are probably far too small to affect human health, stressed officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The FDA has so far not disclosed which fish farms received the contaminated food, or how many fish, of what type, may have eaten it.

"We have a preliminary list of fish farms, but I can't share it with you," Dr. David Acheson, the FDA's assistant commissioner for food protection, told reporters at a teleconference.

It's also not clear how much of the potentially tainted fish -- if any -- has made it to supermarkets. But Acheson noted that at least one firm's fish had not yet reached a size suitable for sale.

In addition, he said, the contaminated material used in the pet food and imported from China turns out to be wheat flour, not wheat gluten or rice protein concentrate, as had been widely reported.

"We have discovered that the wheat gluten and rice protein was mislabeled," Acheson said. "It actually contained wheat flour contaminated with melamine and melamine-related compounds. These are from the two Chinese firms we have already identified."
Like there isn’t enough reason to be mindful of fish as it is. Not sure what I’m talking about? Dr. Fuhrman discusses fish in this previous post. From Fishing for the Truth:
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.1 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.2 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.
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No Cocaine for You

Well, who would have thought? Any energy drink called COCAINE wouldn’t fly in the market place. The Associated Press reports that the beverage has been yanked nationwide due to concerns over its name. Gee, you couldn’t see that one coming. Read on:
The FDA cited as evidence the drink's labeling and Web site, which included the statements "Speed in a Can," "Liquid Cocaine" and "Cocaine -- Instant Rush." The company says Cocaine contains no drugs and is marketed as an energy drink. It has been sold since last August in at least a dozen states.

"Of course, we intended for Cocaine energy drink to be a legal alternative the same way that celibacy is an alternative to premarital sex," Clegg Ivey, a partner in Redux Beverages LLC, said. "It's not the same thing and no one thinks it is. Our product doesn't have any cocaine in it. No one thinks that it does. We think it is most likely legal in the United States to ship our product."

Ivey said the FDA did not order the company to stop marketing the drink, but officials were concerned about possible legal action. They will announce a new name within a week and hope to have the product back on store shelves within a few weeks.

"What we would like to do is continue to fight to keep the name because it's clearly the name that's the problem," Ivey said. "What we can't do is distribute our product when regulators in the states and the FDA are saying that if you do this, you could go to jail."

Veggie Colors

According to The Sacramento Bee the color of your veggies matters, for different reasons. Dan Vierria explains:
White produce is the color for heart disease. Eat white, such as bananas, cauliflower and garlic, and you'll lower heart disease risk, according to Each of the five produce color categories targets different ailments.

Blues and purples: Keep memory sharp and reduce risk of several kinds of cancer, including prostate. Plums, eggplant, blueberries, blackberries, purple grapes (and raisins).

Wal-Mart: Trans-Fat Out

Before you know it, trans-fat is going to be a collector’s item. More and more retailers and restaurants are giving it the boot, and now Wal-Mart is the latest to nix trans-fat. Reuters reports:
The switch to the healthier oil affects more than 2,400 delicatessen locations within Wal-Mart's Supercenter and Neighborhood Markets in the United States. While food selections vary from store to store, anything fried on-site at the delis will use the trans-fat-free oil, the company said.

The switch started in January and is now complete, Wal-Mart said.

Wal-Mart's announcement follows similar moves by restaurant companies, including Wendy's International Inc., Yum Brands Inc.'s KFC and Taco Bell chains and Starbucks Corp..

Member Center: China Study Talk

Here’s a brief dialogue between Dr. Fuhrman and an Eat to Liver over at’s member center. Yup, I love me some low-carb bashing. Take a look:
I am just finishing reading The China Study after the mention of that study in ETL. It brought up a couple of questions for me about the nutrition knowledge of doctors and nutritionists.

First, it mentioned again the small amount of nutrition information included in medical schools. It profiled two doctors who had learned through their experiences the power of nutrition as they used it to treat their patients, just like you have. I was wondering if you are aware of the number of other doctors in the U.S. that use nutrition like this. It seems like like-minded doctors would know of each other, but maybe not. Any idea of how many there are? And is there any medical school that seems to be teaching doctors this way?

Secondly, it mentions the greater number of hours of nutrition classes that nutrition majors get in their education - either undergrad or graduate. My question is do you think that their nutrition classes would echo what you have learned, so that they would agree with you and the other doctors who use nutrition to prevent and reverse disease? Many times doctors (who don't know much about nutrition) will refer patients who need to lose weight, etc., to nutritionists. I am just wondering if the information they supply would be accurate according to what you have found in your research and experience.

I appreciate so much the knowledge I have gained since I was directed to your book and website. I must admit though that it is a strange feeling when I realize that I think I know more about preventing/reversing many diseases than the doctors I have seen. Thanks for all you do to educate us!

Dr. Fuhrman:
I agree with you. Just because the nutritional education might be increased by a few hours does not mean a doctor will be adequately trained or offer effective advice.

Look at all the terrible advice given by tons of so-called nutritionally aware doctors like Atkins and South Beach. Consider all the worthless advice given by most RD's.

Nevertheless, there are good nutritional programs at Cornell, Loma Linda and a few other places around the country and lots of physicians who have contacted me stating "you are the guy who finally got it right" But those number of really clear thinking and knowledgeable physicians and researchers are unfortunately relatively few.

Nutrient-Dense Juices

Raw Vegetable Cruciferous Juice
6 cauliflower florets
1/2 head broccoli with stems
1/2 bunch watercress
1 bunch kale
6 medium carrots
2 apples, cut in fourths
Run all ingredients through a juicer. Serves 4.

Refreshing Sunrise Juice
2 cups fresh pineapple or 20-ounce can pineapple, with juice
1 cup mini carrots
1/8 slice lemon, without rind
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon Goji berries (optional)
1 cup ice cubes
Blend all ingredients together. This is a very colorful and refreshing drink! Serves 2.

Food Medicine

If food is medicine then I’m a first class junky. I love to eat—especially healthy, hearty, wholesome natural food—and that’s a good thing! Because according to Dr. Fuhrman eating lots of unfooled-around-with natural food is absolutely vital. From Eat to Live, here’s his rule of thumb:
The closer we eat foods to their natural state, the healthier the food.
Now, in Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman makes it pretty clear that the key to health is not relying on heavy regiments of pills and drugs, but rather a nutrient-rich vegetable-based health-promoting diet. More from the book:
When you eat mostly natural plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and beans, you get large amounts of various types of fiber. These foods are rich in complex carbohydrates and both insoluble and water-soluble fibers. The fibers slow down glucose absorption and control the rate of digestion. Plant fibers have complex physiological effects in the digestive tract that offer a variety of benefits, such as lowering cholesterol.1
So, in the spirit of all this, check out Diet-Blog’s 10 Reasons to Choose Food as Medicine. Here are a couple of my favorites:
Mother knows best
Natural wild foods are generally far more nutritious than many modern foods. These low nutrient density, high glycemic modern foods are leaving us nutritionally bankrupt and so more susceptible to disease as a result. Of course, natural doesn't necessarily mean edible or healthy. But just like any animal, humans have a natural diet and our bodies work best with the best quality human food--fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and animal foods in the right proportions.

The scientific journals are literally heaving with evidence of the benefits of nutrition and lifestyle measures and there are countless case studies of folks regaining their health through nutrition. Clinical trials of nutritional regimes for specific diseases though, are few and far between. Trials are incredibly expensive, who would fund them? Where is the money to be made?

Unsurprisingly, most of the cutting edge ideas are coming from independent organizations outside the medical profession where necks don't have to be stuck out quite so far, livelihoods are not on the line and free-thinking is much more acceptable. If governments and science were to really get behind this idea of optimum nutrition as medicine, amazing things could be achieved.
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Dieting and Aging

What do you think? Should you try dieting after a certain age? Think about it. If you’re older, why bother? You’re not long for this world anyway. Man—that’s some lousy thinking! Isn’t it? And scientifically stupid too, check out this report in HealthDay News to see why:
Older, overweight women who diet do not experience reduced physical function and should feel free to try to lose weight by reducing their calorie intake, U.S. research shows.

"Our results suggest that losing weight through calorie cutting won't lead to increased disability in older women," lead researcher Dr. Jamehl Demons of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, said in a prepared statement.

When older, overweight women diet they may often gain back some of the weight. But they are still better off than before, noted Dr. Mary F. Lyles, also at Wake Forest and the lead investigator of a second project that examined how dieting affects body composition.
This story really struck me because a few members of my own family have pretty much given up on enjoying a healthy long-lived existence. Why? I don’t know. And I probably never will. Maybe this excerpt from Eat to Live will shed some light on this type of apathy:
Why should you wait until you are faced with a life-threatening health crisis to want health excellence? Most people would choose to disease-proof their body and look great now. They just never thought they could do it so easily. Picture yourself in phenomenal health and in excellent physical condition at your ideal body weight. Not only will your waist be free of fat but your heart will be free of plaque.

Still, it is not easy to change: eating has emotional and social overtones. It is especially difficult to break an addiction. Our American diet style is addicting, as you will lean, but not as addictive as smoking cigarettes. Stopping smoking is very hard, but many still succeed. I have heard many excuses over the years, from smokers aiming to quit and sometimes even from failed dieters. Making any change is not easy. Obviously, most people know if they change their diet enough and exercise, they can lose weight—but they still can’t do it.

Type 1 Diabetes: What to Do?

We talk a lot about Type 2 Diabetes here on Followhealthlife, but what about Type 1? What about all those young children diagnosed with the chronic disease everyday? Stephanie Dunnewind of The Seattle Times tells the tale of one such child. Meet 4 ½-year old Kyle Hughes:
There's no easy time to be diagnosed with diabetes — kids deal with school issues; teens can be rebellious risk-takers — but toddlers rank up there as the most challenging. It's nearly impossible to reason with them, and they can barely talk.

Kyle ended up at Children's Hospital & Regional Medical Center when his pediatrician diagnosed diabetes at his 18-month checkup. Christy slept over every night during his weeklong stay. They got a crash course in needles, drugs, meters and all the terrible things that can go wrong.

With no family history of the autoimmune disease, "It's not something I ever expected to know about," Christy Hughes [Kyle’s mom] said.

In the hospital, it took two people to give Kyle his shots. "You sweat, your hands shake — you don't want to do it," Christy said. "Unfortunately, to keep your child alive, you have to do it."

Even when they got home and Kyle stoically accepted the "pokes" — rotated around the fatty areas of his legs, bottom and upper arm to avoid scar tissue — "Every time I'd give him a shot, I'd walk away to cry," Christy said.

"Diabetes makes you feel helpless as a parent," Kurt said. "All day long, you're taking guesses."
Seems unfair, doesn’t it? But good thing for Kyle, his parents are definitely proactive—and that’s what it takes. Now, even though Dr. Fuhrman admits a person with Type 1 Diabetes will never stop taking insulin completely, he insists there is still a lot you can do. From Hope for Type 1 Childhood Onset Diabetics:
I find that when type 1 diabetics adopt the ETL program, they can lower their insulin requirements by about half. They no longer have swings of highs and lows, and their glucose levels and lipids stay under excellent control. In other words, it is not Type 1 diabetes itself that causes such negative health consequences. Rather, it is the combination of the diabetes and the typical nutritional “advice” given to these patients—advice that requires them to take large amounts of unnecessary insulin.

The extra insulin and the high glucose levels raise lipids, accelerate atherosclerosis, and damage the body. With this in mind, it should be clear that while the Standard American Diet (SAD), which has spread to all industrialized nations, is dangerous for everyone, it is particularly deadly for diabetics.

With a truly health-supporting lifestyle, including exercise and real food designed by nature, the type 1 diabetic can have the same potential for a long, disease-free life as everyone else. Even though the type 1 diabetic still will require exogenous (external) insulin, they will no longer need excessive amounts of it.

Organic Economics

Here’s a different take on organic farming—could it help the poor? Nicole Winfield of the Associated Press reports:
Farmers who go back to traditional agricultural methods would not have to spend money on expensive chemicals and would grow more diverse and sustainable crops, the report said. In addition, if their food is certified as organic, farmers could export any surpluses at premium prices.

The researchers plugged in data on projected crop yields and commodity prices until 2020 to create models for the most optimistic and conservative outlooks.

Alexander Mueller, assistant director-general of the Rome-based U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, praised the report and noted that projections indicate the number of hungry people in sub-Saharan Africa was expected to grow.

Considering that the effects of climate change are expected to hurt the world's poorest, "a shift to organic agriculture could be beneficial," he said.

Nadia El-Hage Scialabba, an FAO official who organized the conference, pointed to other studies she said indicated that organic agriculture could produce enough food per capita to feed the world's current population.

The Cruciferous Canine

Cleary, this pooch knows all about nutrient density. Watch him tear through some leafy greens:

Recipe Carnival: International Edition

Trinity PrepSchool hosts this week's carnival of recipes. Be sure to check out Followhealthlife's submission Salads of Power. *Don't forget, not all recipes in the carnival are Fuhrman-friendly.

Eating to Live on the Outside: Fresh Food Kitchen

I’m a Jersey boy to my soul, so, it’s only a matter of time before Eating to Live on the Outside jumps back on the Turnpike and drops in for a bite to eat. This week we’re taking a look New Jersey’s own, Fresh Food Kitchen. I drive by this place a lot and even though I’ve never eaten there, everyone I know raves about it. So, let’s dust off our wing tips, pluck our collars, and hit it.

Okay, let’s start with the Breakfast Menu. They’ve got hearty offerings of eggs, cream cheese, baked goods, and yogurt. Yeah, not exactly Eat to Live fodder. Breakfast definitely looks tough. My best option would probably be the Fruit Cup, not bad, considering that 99% of my breakfasts consist of fresh fruit anyway. I might give the Hot Oatmeal a try, but only if it’s not made with dairy or sweetened or artificially flavored. Clearly breakfast is doable, but let’s see if the other menus offer a little more variety for the discerning Eat to Liver.

The Soups, Salads, Paninis & Wraps Menu is looking better. Yeah, there are more options here. Right off the bat, the soups look good. These ones caught my eye: Vegetarian Bean Chili, Vegetarian Lentil Soup, and the Vegetable Soup. Now, even though I don’t consider myself a vegetarian—because I still eat fish—when I see the word vegetarian on a menu, nowadays I go right for it. So, provided these soups aren’t overly salty, I think they’re all good choices—not to mention they’re served with fresh fruit!

There are also a couple sandwiches worth giving a look—yes, the bread is the concession. The first one to snatch my eyeballs is the Vegetarian Panini—surprise, surprise. It’s made with sweet peppers, squash, zucchini, mozzarella, and cilantro pesto sauce. Not bad, but, I’m dropping the cheese. So, what am I left with? A lot of hearty vegetables—hopefully not overly cooked, don’t want any acrylamides! With that being said the only concessions I’d have to deal with would be the bread and the oil in the pesto sauce, it’s manageable.

The wraps on the menu also have some good potential, provided you can deal with the tortilla—I can. Okay, I like a bunch of Fresh Food Kitchen’s wraps, so here they are, shotgun style: The Salmon Salad; made with poached salmon, onions, carrots, celery & dill mustard, and low-fat mayonnaise. The Four Seasons; prepared with portabella mushroom, mozzarella, tomato, green leaves, and glazed balsamic vinegar. The Vegetarian; put together with grilled Portobello mushroom, green peppers, onions, black olives, sprouts, tomatoes, lettuce, lite Swiss, balsamic vinegar, and Italian dressing. And finally, The Veggie Delight with Tofu; which is made with grilled braised carrots, eggplant, roasted peppers, roasted onions, broccoli, Portobello mushrooms, sesame tofu, basil, garlic, and sun dried tomato paste. Quite a few options, right? Okay, here’s what I’d drop from all the dishes: the low-fat mayonnaise, the mozzarella, and the lite Swiss. Again, if you can get past the bread, the oil used in the creation process, and limit or omit the salad dressing—they’re all very workable. What do you think? Oh, and the fish! You know the drill. Class, how do we handle fish? “Dr. Fuhrman says not to eat it more than a couple times a week, especially if it runs the risk of high mercury contamination.” Good job class.

Alright, let’s zip on over to the Mexican Specialties Menu. Honestly, Mexican food makes me a little nervous—my system kicks back spicy food like a mule. So, let’s see what’s cooking here. Okay, there are a few vegetarian options, but they come with a lot of cheese and sour cream. I’d strip them out of there, but I don’t think it’s worth the effort—nix that idea! What do you think about The Portofino? I could make that work. It’s prepared with grilled chicken strips, grilled eggplant, roasted peppers, mozzarella, basil, and rosemary. Bye-bye chicken, adios mozzarella! Yeah, that looks a lot better now. Don’t you agree?

Alright, Fresh Food Kitchen has a lot of not-so Fuhrman friendly ingredients on hand, but, they’ve also got a lot of good things going on if you work on it a little. But, if all these alterations prove too tedious, you can always do what I do in most situations—order a salad. Good thing Fresh Food Kitchen boasts a Fresh Tossed Salad Bar—rock on! So come one people, check out Fresh Food Kitchen’s menus and let me know what you think. Make a comment or send me an email at

Vitamin D and the Elderly

Do you get your Vitamin D? Hopefully you do because according to Dr. Fuhrman it’s a pretty important vitamin with a very vital function. He explains in the Importance of Vitamin D:
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.
Not to mention it’s instrumental in the maintaining of strong healthy bones. Dr. Fuhrman talks about this further in Can Your Bones Last a Lifetime: Benefits of Vitamin D:
Medical studies show taking vitamin D is more effective than taking extra calcium for osteoporosis. In a recent 3-year prospective multi-center study, 622 women with osteoporosis, 50 to 79 years of age, who had one or more compression fractures of their spine, were randomly assigned to receive 25 mcg of calcitriol (900 IU vitamin D) or 1000 mg calcium for three years. In the third year, the vitamin D-supplemented group had 9 fractures per 100 women, and the calcium-treated group had 31.5.The difference in effect also was evident after two years.
Apparently he must be on to something because new research links Vitamin D intake to physical performance levels in the elderly. Eric Nagourney of The New York Times reports:
The researchers, led by Denise K. Houston of Wake Forest University, drew on data from an Italian study in which more than 900 people 65 and older were tested for vitamin D levels and asked to perform several tasks. The researchers looked at how fast they walked, how quickly they could get out of a chair and how well they could balance.

By some estimates, about a quarter of elderly people do not get enough vitamin D. But it is not purely a matter of diet, the researchers said, because much of the body’s vitamin D comes from exposure to sunlight. Older people may be less likely to be in the sun, said the researchers, who also pointed out that skin produces vitamin D less well as it ages.
Now, it isn’t just older people who need to be mindful of how much Vitamin D they’re getting. Dr. Fuhrman insists everyone should make sure they’re getting enough. From Vitamin D and Cancer:
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.
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Demure Dogs Digs Berries

This dog politely sits and waits for some blueberries and grapes:

Contaminated: Pet Food, People Food

It all started with the contaminated pet food. Then we learned about the tainted hogs and chickens, and now, it seems the plot thickens even more. The Associated Press is reporting that the FDA plans to examine manufacturers of people food that might have used the contaminated batches of wheat gluten and rice protein. Randolph E. Schmid has more:
There is no evidence that any of the two contaminated batches of wheat gluten and rice protein from China ended up as an ingredient in human food, "but it's prudent to look," said Dr. David Acheson, assistant FDA commissioner for food protection.

Acheson said the inspections began this week, covering both human and pet food manufacturers to raise awareness of how important it is to know their supply chain and to make sure none of the contaminated products remain in stock.

The number of facilities to be visited could be in the range of hundreds, Acheson said, based on knowledge of what ingredients go to which manufacturer.

"This is going to go on until we feel satisfied we've got it covered. We're not setting the bar at 50 or 100 or 1,000. We're going to keep doing this until we're confident that we've got our arms around it," he said.

America's High Blood Pressure

Here’s one of those “uh duh” news stories. It seems most Americans don’t have their high blood pressure under control. Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News reports:
Although most Americans with high blood pressure are taking steps to combat the potentially deadly condition, only 30 percent have it under control, a new federal study found.

That means the 70 percent of adults with uncontrolled high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, must do more to bring those levels down, including changing their diet, exercising and sticking to their drug regimens.

If they don't, they face an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the study authors from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Most people with high blood pressure (98.1 percent) are doing something to lower it," said lead author Clark Denny, an epidemiologist with the CDC. "But there is still room for improvement.

"Almost everyone with high blood pressure can have it controlled through medication and lifestyle change," he added.

Nutritional Wisdom: Dangers of the Atkins Diet

I admit. It’s easy to poke fun at the low-carb lifestyle. What can I say? I’m a sucker for low-hanging fruit. But truth be told, Dr. Fuhrman makes it pretty clear that carbohydrate restrictive diets—like the Atkins Diet—are no way to achieve optimal long-term health. You only have to check out these posts to see why:

But despite all this, millions of people pledge allegiance to a fad diet centered on animal fat. A huge concern for Dr. Fuhrman because—as he points out in the posts above—any diet where the majority of calories come from animal products increases your risk of cancer, heart disease, and a whole host of life-shortening maladies.

As you’ve seen, I’m quick to knock low-carb living. And so is Dr. Fuhrman, but, he’s smarter than me—yes, a little brownnosing here—so when he takes Atkins-type diets to task, he really exposes them for the over-hyped danger zones that they are.

Curious to hear what that sounds like? You’re in luck. Because it just so happens this week’s episode of Nutrition Wisdom is on that very subject. Here’s a bit I transcribed from the show. In it Dr. Fuhrman talks about how dangerous an Atkins-type diet can be for children and others. In fact, it can have deadly consequences. Take a look:

In recent years with the skyrocketing popularity of the Atkins Diet, there’s been a proportional skyrocketed increase in sudden cardiac death in young women. That parallels the increase in ketogenic diets. Right now we know that sudden cardiac death means irregular heart beat, as in cardiac arrhythmia. There has to be a warning on the Atkins Diet! There must be a warning that severe carbohydrate restriction—restricted ketosis—when you go into ketosis because of severe carbohydrate restriction, as a weight control method. There could be a traumatic increase in sudden death.

There was an important study in the Southern Medical Journal about a sixteen year-old girl who died after two weeks of following an Atkins Diet. They found that she was in profound acidosis, with about a twenty point base deficit because undeniably keto-acidosis caused acidosis in the blood. In other words, you can become highly acidic. We get dramatic lowering of potassium levels, especially when you first start out on the diet.

The continual denial of the dangers by the people who embrace and promote this ketogenic diet—it’s understandable why—because people are often economically invested with their egos and their food preferences into this diet. But, the risk of carbohydrate restriction ketosis is very powerful and with a lot of studies done on children who were put on ketogenic diets for seizure disorders and they use this for people who have seizures that are retractable—meaning they can’t be helped any other way—and they warn the parents of these children that it increases the risk of kidney stones, kidney failure, increases the rate of infection, and sudden cardiac death, including cardiomyopathy and cardiac-arrhythmias. For example, one study following children put on ketogenic diets—like an Atkins-type diet—they showed fifteen percent developed cardiac enlargement and dilated cardiomyopathy. Of course the diet had to be stopped.

Another study followed 129 children and found that seventeen developed severe complications and four people died out of the 129; two of sepsis because of the increased risk of infection, one of cardiomyopathy, and one of lipoid pneumonia. The point is when doctors are very careful they know these are dangerous diets, and they advise people of the dangers, but if a person wants to try it it’s their right. But the claims made by the Atkins people, for example, Atkins himself used say prevent breast cancer with butter, reverse heart disease with fillet mignon, it’s all the lying and misinformation and lack of telling people the risks of a diet that has such a great amount of dangers.

Lying? Of course they’re lying. There are millions of dollars at stake here. Can’t let unsightly truths get out—politicians have known this for years, but fortunately the truth does eek its way out every once and a while. For example, get a load of this study in European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Dr. Fuhrman emailed it to me the other day. Apparently prolonged consumption of a low-carbohydrate–high-protein diet is associated with an increase in total mortality. Read on:

Subjects methods:
Follow-up was performed from 1993 to 2003 in the context of the Greek component of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and nutrition. Participants were 22 944 healthy adults, whose diet was assessed through a validated questionnaire. Participants were distributed by increasing deciles according to protein intake or carbohydrate intake, as well as by an additive score generated by increasing decile intake of protein and decreasing decile intake of carbohydrates. Proportional hazards regression was used to assess the relation between high protein, high carbohydrate and the low carbohydrate–high protein score on the one hand and mortality on the other.

During 113 230 persons years of follow-up, there were 455 deaths. In models with energy adjustment, higher intake of carbohydrates was associated with significant reduction of total mortality, whereas higher intake of protein was associated with nonsignificant increase of total mortality (per decile, mortality ratios 0.94 with 95% CI 0.89 –0.99, and 1.02 with 95% CI 0.98 –1.07 respectively). Even more predictive of higher mortality were high values of the additive low carbohydrate–high protein score (per 5 units, mortality ratio 1.22 with 95% CI 1.09 –to 1.36). Positive associations of this score were noted with respect to both cardiovascular and cancer mortality.

But sadly, this won’t phase the low-carb lemmings of the world. They’ll just yammer on and on about how much weight they lost and how great it feels not to give up their emotional attachments to fatty foods. “Whaa-whaa-whaa! Why can’t I eat steak wrapped in bacon and fried in butter every night—but I want it!”

Master Cleansing

Eye of newt, claw of monkey, dash of Worcestershire sauce—that’s what I start thinking when I hear about the “Master Cleanser.” Hocus pocus and double, double toil and trouble. Not familiar with the Master Cleanser diet? Well, Karen Matthews of the Associated Press has got a whole story on it. Take a look:
Devotees of the diet eat no solid food but drink up to 10 daily glasses of the lemon juice cocktail and round it off with saltwater in the morning and laxative tea at night. They are supposed to stay on the cleanse for at least 10 days, then ease back into normal eating with orange juice and vegetable soup.

The main drawback: You never want to be too far from a toilet. The cleanse produces very liquid and copious bowel movements. As for other side effects, some say they are always hungry.

Medical authorities say they have yet to see any evidence of harm from the Master Cleanse, though experts generally caution against extended fasting and other extreme diets.

They say those who try the Master Cleanse to lose weight will just gain it back. And they dispute the claim that the Master Cleanse or any other diet can "detoxify" the body from the effects of red meat, sugar, fried foods or alcohol -- or that the body needs to be detoxified at all.
Okay, we’ve talked about this before, but, Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t believe in magic potions either. Here’s what he had to say about the Master Cleanser. From Master Cleanser Redux:
Taking maple syrup (sugar) during a fast weakens and even removes the longevity benefits of fasting. Empty calories or low-nutrient calories prevent the cells from dumping lipofuchen and other toxins. It speeds up the utilization of glutathione in liver and retards detoxification. The Master Cleanse is a master farce. Using sugar and pepper as stimulants to give you energy, while fasting is robbing the body of its opportunity to maximally heal. The power in the battery is proportional to its charge and reduced by the utilization of its energy. These stimulants (irritants) rob the body of its healing powers and significantly reduce the healing and rejuvenating potential of fasting. Lemon is not much of a problem.
Now, Master Cleanser aside for the moment. Why would experts “caution against extended fasting?” In our modern gluttonous age, fasting gets a bad rap. But in Dr. Fuhrman’s book Fasting and Eating for Health, he contends fasting is an incredibly useful tool:
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.
For more on fasting and the Master Cleanser diet, check out these previous posts:

Mad Cows...Again

Those crazy-zany mad cows are at it again. Canadian authorities have confirmed the country’s first case of mad cow disease since 2003. The Associated Press reports:
In the latest case, the disease was discovered in a dairy cow in the western province of British Columbia. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said no part of the animal entered the human food or animal feed systems.

The agency said it appears the 5 1/2-year-old cow was infected during its first year of life. It is now checking other animals born around that time to try to track down the source of the infection.
Like eating sane beef wasn’t bad enough? Check out this previous report, Beef Bad for the Boys.

Tainted Pet Food: Chickens Too

First, tainted hog meat entered the food supply, now, the FDA reports that millions of chickens that also ate some of the pet food contaminated with melamine hit the U.S. market back in February. E.J. Mundell and Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News have more:
Up to 3 million broiler chickens were fed melamine-tainted pet food and then sold on the U.S. market beginning in early February, U.S. health officials said in a press conference held late Tuesday.

The contaminated pet product made its way into poultry feed at 38 Indiana farms, 30 of which produced broiler chickens destined for restaurants and supermarkets, said officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Approximately 2.5 million to 3 million chickens fed contaminated pet food have already been sold, Kenneth Peterson, assistant administrator for field operations at the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, said during the teleconference. "That's out of a total of 9 billion broilers processed in the U.S. each year," he noted.
Experts from both agencies downplayed any potential threat to human health.
If ask me, heads should roll over this. Our food supply is precious and should be protected.

E. Coli Vaccine

Look, another opportunity for the drug companies to stick us with needles! Afraid of E. coli? Time for another hyper-marketed super-vaccine. According to Andrew Pollack of The New York Times an E. coli vaccine is on the horizon:
Shousun C. Szu, a scientist at the National Institutes of Health, says the best way to prevent people from being poisoned by deadly E. coli would be to vaccinate all infants against the bacteria.

Graeme McRae, a Canadian biotechnology executive, says it would be more practical to inoculate cows instead.

Vaccines for people and for cattle are just two approaches under development to prevent or treat food poisoning by the strain E. coli O157:H7.

Right now, scientists can do little medically to fight the pathogen, which was responsible for two severe outbreaks last fall, one from contaminated bagged spinach and a second from tainted lettuce served in chain taco restaurants.

The main approach has been to try to prevent contamination through careful handling, rigorous inspections and government regulation.
Clearly more fallout from the spinach E. coli crisis—fear, a powerful thing.

New Research: Cut Salt, Cut Cardiovascular Risk

Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t think consuming salt is a good idea. In fact, he’d have you cut it out completely. And research proves that’s a smart move. A new study shows ditching salt can also reduce cardiovascular risk. Eric Nagourney of The New York Times reports:
It seems obvious that it would, but in a new study, researchers offer what they say is some of the first good evidence that it really does.

The study, which appears online in The British Medical Journal, looked at two groups of people more than a decade after they were asked to reduce their salt intake for up to 48 months. There were more than 3,000 participants, 30 to 54, all of whom had a condition that put them at special risk for high blood pressure.

The researchers, led by Nancy R. Cook of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, found that those who had significantly reduced their salt intake had a 25 percent lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Their risk of death from the disease was also cut, by as much as a fifth.

Sunflower Seeds with What?

Okay. Nuts and seeds, great for health, right? Well, as I reminded everyone earlier in the week—when we found out pistachios can help lower cholesterol—Dr. Fuhrman insists nuts and seeds are an essential part of human nutrition. Here, I’ll remind you again. From Nuts and Seeds Are Excellent Foods:
Nuts and seeds are a natural part of the diet of homo-sapiens. They are perfectly adapted to the taste and ability of humans to pick, dry, store, and crack. No wonder study after study shows raw nuts and seeds not only lower cholesterol, but protect against common diseases of aging. I recommend almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios, macadamias, filberts, and walnuts; and sunflower, sesame, flax, and pumpkin seeds. These delicious natural foods are high in nutrients and healthful unsaturated fats.
But, the food industry couldn’t leave well enough alone. You’ve heard of honey-roasted peanuts and chocolate-covered cashews, right? Get ready, introducing the latest bastardization of mother nature—energy-infused sunflower seeds! What’s that mean? I’ll let Dirk Lammers of the Associated Press explain:
Baseball players and truck drivers who chew sunflower seeds at work no longer have to down a cup of black coffee or a Red Bull for an extra energy jolt. A South Dakota company is infusing sunflower seeds with caffeine and other boosters commonly found in energy drinks.

"A lot of people chew sunflower seeds to stay awake and give them energy, and we just thought we'd combine the two of them," said Tim Walter, president of Carpenter-based Dakota Valley Products.

Sumseeds, so-named because they add ingredients to seeds, have been in development for about a year. The seeds are grown in North Dakota and Kansas and shipped to the company's Willow Lake plant, where caffeine, taurine, lysine and ginseng are added.
Ah, the human mind at work. Caffeinated sunflowers seeds—good idea or waste of brain-power? Personally, I think the latter. Especially since Dr. Fuhrman considers caffeine an all-around bad idea. More from 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
Although, maybe I’m wrong; maybe there is real opportunity to change the world here. Well then, if anyone needs me I’ll be in my basement inventing a hybrid combination of broccoli and bacon fat. It’s a mad-mad world!
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Little Cat, Bowl of Fruit

This cat has his sights set on a bowl for fruit—and he loves him some grapes! Check it out:

Snack Addiction

Heck, even I’m guilty of it sometimes. But, like most Eat to Livers, if I snack it’s usually on stuff like peanuts, berries, or grapes—very different from the rest of the country. Because, as Regina Nuzzo of The Los Angeles Times reports, Americans love our snack food. Read on:
About three-quarters of American shoppers are now trying to eat more healthfully, according to a recent survey by Information Resources Inc., a market analysis research group. About two-thirds are trying to replace high-calorie snacks with healthier options or eat snacks with more nutritional value. And 57% are flat-out trying to snack less often.

These trends have certainly caught the eye of the snack food industry, even being called "growing concerns" in a state of the industry report at Snaxpo, the annual meeting of the Snack Food Assn. in March.

So food manufacturers, always responsive to society's needs (or, more accurately, the changing marketplace), are scrambling to expand into the fastest-growing niche in the snack market: healthful snacks.

Well, not-so-unhealthful snacks.

No longer just the stuff of hippie health food stores, new better-for-you snacks are likely to be comforting favorites — or familiar variations thereof — rejiggered and repackaged to reflect the latest health concerns. Trans-fat free. Whole-grain goodness. Or fortified with flavanols.

But be forewarned: Some nutritionists question whether the new snacks will actually make consumers healthier. Unnecessary calories are unnecessary calories — whether they're "free of trans fats," made with "real fruit juice" or stuffed with vitamins most people get plenty of anyway.

Rejiggered? Great word. But I agree, and I think Dr. Fuhrman would too. Nutrient-rich foods aren’t manufactured in sterile clean rooms. They’re growing all around us and have been for millions of years. So, why must we constantly futz with nature?
Who knows? But as Dr. Fuhrman discusses in Eat to Live, you can’t just engineer wholesome food. From the book:
Refining foods removes so much nutrition that our government requires that a few synthetic vitamins and minerals be added back. Such foods are labeled as enriched or fortified. Whenever you see those words on a package, it means important nutrients are missing. Refining foods lowers the amount of hundreds of known nutrients, yet usually only five to ten are added by fortification.

As we change food through processing and refining, we rob the food of certain health-supporting substances and often create unhealthy compounds, thus making it more unfit food for human. As a general rule of thumb: the closer we eat foods to their natural state, the healither the food.

Salads of Power

Asparagus Shiitake Salad w/ Creamy Sesame Dressing
2 medium beets, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 pound fresh asparagus, cut 2" on diagonal
1 tablespoon Dr. Fuhrman's VegiZest or other no salt soup base seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 cup water chestnuts, sliced
4 cups watercress sprigs
2 cups mung bean sprouts
Creamy Sesame Dressing
1 cup soy milk
2/3 cup sesame seeds, lightly toasted
2 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman's Riesling Raisin Vinegar or seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon raw cashew butter
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
7 pitted dates, or to taste, soaked in water 30 minutes (reserve soaked water)
1/2 clove garlic
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted
Lay beets in a baking pan and add 1/2 cup water. Cover and roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover and continue roasting until tender. You may need to add more water to keep beets from drying out. Meanwhile, water sauté' mushrooms over high heat for about 7 minutes, using only enough water to keep from scorching. When mushrooms are tender and juicy add asparagus and water sauté' until slightly tender, but still has crunch. Toss in VegiZest and garlic powder. Remove from heat and toss with bell pepper and water chestnuts. Blend all dressing ingredients, except for the 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, until smooth and creamy. Stir in remaining sesame seeds. Use soaking water from dates to thin if needed. Place watercress on plate & then pile vegetable mixture on top. Drizzle dressing over all and top with a pile of bean sprouts. Arrange roasted beets around the sides. Serves 4.

Assorted Mixed Greens and Chopped Fresh Fruit w/ Orange Cashew Dressing
15 ounces or 10 cups assorted mixed greens
2 cups fresh fruit , coarsely chopped
Orange Cashew Dressing
2 oranges, peeled and seeded
2 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman's Blood Orange Vinegar
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
Blend all dressing ingredients until smooth and creamy. Add lemon juice, if desired. Toss with mixed greens and fruit. Add some orange juice to thin, if necessary. If trying to lose weight, substitute 12 raw cashews for the 1/2 cup. Dressing will be thinner, but still tastes good. Serves 2.

Southern California Dirty-Dirty

Unfortunately for Los Angeles, it looks like there are more smog jokes on the horizon. The American Lung Association has once again fingered Los Angeles as having the most polluted air in the country. The Associated Press reports:
The news wasn't all bad for Los Angeles. Despite the dubious distinction, the number of days residents breathed the nation's worst ozone levels was fewer than in previous years.

"Nobody is surprised that LA has an air pollution problem," said Janice Nolen, the association's assistant vice president for national policy and advocacy. "The problems there are one of the reasons we have the Clean Air Act. But it is important for folks to know that there has been some improvement."

The organization based the rankings on ozone pollution levels produced when heat and sunlight come into contact with pollutants from power plants, cars, refineries and other sources. The group also studied particle pollution levels emitted from these sources, which are made up of a mix of tiny solid and liquid particles in the air.
Pollution and chemicals are a scary. According to Dr. Fuhrman they can bring on things like asthma. He goes into more detail in Disease-Proof Your Child:
Living in an urban area around pollution is an important contributor. Non-dietary risk factors include exposure to day care before four months of age, and exposure to wood smoke, oil smoke, or exhaust anytime from birth to age five all increase asthma risk by 50 percent.1
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Spaniards, Bloated

Another setback in the global battle against obesity, the AFP reports that more and more Spaniards—including children—are overweight or obese. More from the report:
"Fifty two percent of the adult population and 27.6 percent of children are either overweight or obese," the ministry said as it unveiled the results of a 2006 study into the state of the nation's health.

The results, based on the height and weight of respondents interviewed in 31,000 households nationwide, showed that 15.5 percent of men and 15 percent of women were obese and that 44.4 percent of men and 30.3 percent of women were overweight.

Pistachios, Cholesterol, and Health

High cholesterol, not exactly a ticket for extended health and longevity—but don’t take my word for it! I’m just a blogger. According to Dr. Fuhrman, keeping your cholesterol down is a good idea, especially if you plan on living a longtime. From Disease-Proof Your Child:
Heart disease begins in our youth and is not easy to reverse. No one should eat more than five grams of saturated fat a day. Over this level, disease rates climb.

All food derived from animals contain cholesterol and tend to be high in the thick, heavy fats called saturated fats. Most plant foods are very low in saturated fat, except for some tropical plant oils like palm and coconut oil that are naturally saturated.

Reducing the consumption of animal foods reduces the consumption of cholesterol and saturated fat. Low intake of cholesterol and saturated fat leads to a leaner body, clean arteries, and reducing risk of developing heart disease and many other diet-related diseases such as stroke, breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, and obesity.
So then, how do you keep your cholesterol within a healthy range? Expensive medications and invasive procedures? Well, Dr. Fuhrman wouldn’t recommend this approach. He talks about it in Invasive Cardiology Procedures and Surgeries Are Not Effective:
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.
Apparently pills and drugs aren’t really miracle workers either. Dr. Fuhrman elaborates in his book Cholesterol Protection for Life:
When resorting to medical intervention, rather than dietary modifications, other problems arise, reducing the potential reduction in mortality possible, as these individuals are at risk of serious side effects from the medication. The known side effects for various statins (the most popular and effective medications to lower cholesterol) include hepatitis, jaundice, other liver problems, gastrointestinal upsets, muscle problems and a variety of blood complications such as reduced platelet levels and anemia.
Okay, if medications and procedures don’t cut the mustard, what does? Well, it seems wholesome natural food will do the trick. Just check out this report. HealthDay News reports that pistachios have similar heart-healthy effects to leafy green vegetables. Pretty cool, right? Robert Preidt has more:
"Pistachio amounts of 1.5 ounces and three ounces (per day) -- one to two handfuls -- reduced risk for cardiovascular disease by significantly reducing LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels, and the higher dose significantly reducing lipoprotein ratios," study author Sarah K. Gebauer, a graduate student in integrative biosciences at Penn State, said in a prepared statement.

The multi-week study, which received funding from the California Pistachio Commission , concluded that three ounces of pistachios a day reduced LDL levels by 11.6 percent, total cholesterol levels by 8.4 percent, and non-high density lipoproteins (non-HDL) by 11.2 percent. Levels of non-HDL are considered reliable predictors of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk.
This is great news, but hardly new news. Dr. Fuhrman has been talking about the healthful properties of nuts and seeds for years. More on that from Nuts and Seeds Are Excellent Foods:
Nuts and seeds are a natural part of the diet of homo-sapiens. They are perfectly adapted to the taste and ability of humans to pick, dry, store, and crack. No wonder study after study shows raw nuts and seeds not only lower cholesterol, but protect against common diseases of aging. I recommend almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios, macadamias, filberts, and walnuts; and sunflower, sesame, flax, and pumpkin seeds. These delicious natural foods are high in nutrients and healthful unsaturated fats.