Eating to Live on the Outside: Lonni's Sandwiches

Alright, I may be a lot of things, but a coward isn’t one of them. After all, just look at all of the standard American nightmares I’ve braved over the past year: Carino's Italian Grill, Huddle House, Cosmic Ray's Starlight Café, Indigo Joe's, Don Pablo's, Fazoli's, and Denny's.

I feel battled tested to say the least. And I’m going to need all my skills to tackle this week’s restaurant, Lonni’s Sandwiches. I mean come on! Any restaurant with the word sandwich in the title is a major asterisk for the fickle Eat to Liver—hell hath no fury like bread’s scorn.

Upon brief inspection, a lot of the menu is bad news, but, I’m sure I can find something—just in case I’m duped, bonked on the head, tied up, thrown into the back of a Cadillac, and revived by a bucket of cold water, only to find myself chained to a table in Lonni’s Sandwiches. So, lets have at it!

No surprise here, the menu is packed with sandwiches. Okay, no egg salad for me—I actually just threw up in my mouth a little. Yuck, ham and cheese! And I’ll definitely pass on Cecil’s Sunrise. This heart attack bomb is made with egg slices, ham, Swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, and potato bread—eek! What to order, what to order? Here are a couple ideas.

First is the Custom Vegetarian. It can be made with Swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, cucumbers, alfalfa sprouts, sweet onion, lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise, black olives, sunflower seeds, and dressing. Well, that is a lot of veggies. If I were ordering this thing, I’d start with whole wheat bread—the grainer the better—and I’d take everything but the cheese and the mayo. So that would make my concession the bread, the salty olives, and the tiny bit of dressing I’d use. I’m not too worried about—that’s a ton of plant matter!

The only other sandwich I’d entertain would be the Mango Breeze, but, I’d first do some renovations. Here’s why. It comes with brie, avocado slices, dried mango chutney, alfalfa sprouts, mayonnaise, and wild rice bread. Even after ditching the brie and mayonnaise, I still think it’s a pretty interesting meal. Oh, and the concession here would be the bread…again.

In addition to sandwiches, Lonni’s Sandwiches also offers soups, salads, desserts, and drinks. Well, the soups aren’t looking too Fuhrman-friendly. Maybe the Wild Rice Soup, but who knows if it’s made with chicken broth or not. If it isn’t, it’d be a solid an option; wild rice, tomatoes, carrots, celery, and corn. The only concession would be the rice—no biggie.

Okay, the desserts and drinks aren’t worth it—onto the salads! I like two of them, but despite their high veggie count, they’ve both got plenty of undesirables that need to be dealt with. Let’s start with the Chef’s Supreme. It’s made with Romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce, tomato, egg slices, cucumber, radishes, celery, summer squash, sweet onion, ham, turkey, Swiss cheese, and cheddar cheese. I know, what a way to ruin a good thing! The egg, meats, and cheeses are toast—no thank you! Now provided I go easy on the dressing or omit it altogether, this salad is looking pretty good.

The next salad is the Very Vegetarian, which is funny, because the Very Vegetarian comes with cheese and egg—what the heck is vegetarian about that? Anyway, it’s made with Romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce, tomato, egg slices, cucumber, radishes, celery, black olives, Swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, sweet onion, alfalfa sprouts, garbanzo beans, artichoke hearts, and sunflower seeds—certainly a lot of veggies! Like I said, the cheese and the egg are getting the boot. After that, the only concession would be the black olives and maybe some salad dressing.

You could also give the Wild Rice Salad a try. It’s prepared with wild rice, sliced almonds, celery, onion, green peas, lettuce, egg slices, sweet mustard dressing, and a poppy seed muffin. Once you ditch the eggs and the muffin it’s a little more Fuhrman-friendly, but, that’s too much rice for me. I’d prefer one of the other salads in stead. Personally, I’m leaning towards the modified Very Vegetarian—how about you?

So, is Lonni’s Sandwiches as bad as I originally thought? I mean I was able to find a handful of dishes that an Eat to Liver could sneak by with. The answer is yes. It is still a rough place for a health concession person. In my humble opinion, the menu is way too bogged down with standard American ooey-gooey junk foods, but what do you think? Check out Lonni’s Sandwiches’ menu and let me know how you handle Eating to Live on the Outside. Make a comment or shoot me an email at

Gardasil, Still a Dumb Idea

Yeah, Dr. Fuhrman isn’t a big fan of Gardasil. Here’s what he had to say on the topic of mandatory HPV vaccinations:
Remember this is not about arguing about the effectiveness or value of vaccines, just whether we should mandate medical care and take another freedom away from Americans. We no longer have the freedom to take or not take medications. Sounds like the Taliban to me.
Not only do mandatory vaccinations seem very un-American, but, Gardasil is hardly the saving grace Merck’s marketing team paints it to be. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Gardasil, the new Merck HPV vaccine, protects against 4 types of HPV and these four types were only found in 3.4 percent.
  1. 44 percent of women studied aged 20 – 24 had infections with HPV.
  2. The virus disappears and does not cause a problem in 90 percent of infected women.
  3. 100 strains exist, the vaccine protects against only 4, but they include the two strains associated with seventy percent of cervical cancers 16 and 18.
  4. The vaccine has not been studied for long-term effectiveness and the protection may wear off in 5 – 7 years.
  5. Conclusion, most HPV infections and about 50 percent of HPV related cancers will not likely be helped by the vaccine because its effectiveness will likely wane with time, other strains can also cause disease.
Get ready. It gets worse. The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) recently issued a report linking Gardasil to Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS). More from Medical News Today:
The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) today issued a new report on HPV vaccine (Gardasil(R)) safety analyzing adverse event reports to the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). The analysis gives evidence for a reported association in VAERS between Gardasil and Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), with a statistically significant increased risk of GBS and other serious adverse event reports when Gardasil is co-administered with other vaccines, especially meningococcal vaccine (Menactra(R))…

…GBS is a disorder in which the body's immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system, and can cause total paralysis. "Our analysis of Gardasil reports to VAERS indicates there was a two to 12 times greater likelihood that serious adverse events, such as GBS, were reported when Gardasil was given in combination with Menactra rather than given alone," said Vicky Debold, PhD, RN, NVIC director of patient safety. "Accepted scientific standards indicate that these findings are statistically significant and cannot be dismissed as coincidence. In particular, the available VAERS data show there was a more than 1,000 percent increased risk of GBS reports following Gardasil administration when Menactra was given at the same time."
No worries. I’m sure Merck will come out with flowery commercials that’ll soothe everyone’s nerves.
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Acrylamides Not So Bad?

We all know acrylamides are bad news, but just in case you need a refresher course. Check this out from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Disease-Proof Your Child:
Acrylamide turns up in all kinds of tasty foods, including french fries, potato chips, breakfast cereals, cookies and crackers. But it's difficult for consumers to figure out how much acrylamide is in a particular meal or snack…

…Not only do processed foods and fast foods often contain dangerous trans fats and other additives, but they also can have high levels of acrylamides. When processed foods are baked and fried at high temperatures, these cancer-causing chemical compounds are produced. Many processed foods, such as chips, french fries, and sugar-coated breakfast cereals, are rich in acrylamides. Acrylamides also form in foods you bake until brown or fry at home; they do not form in foods that are steamed or boiled…

… Never eat browned or overly cooked food. Burnt food forms harmful compounds. If by accident something is overcooked and browned, discard it. Avoid fried food and food sautéed in oil. Experiment with low heat cooking to prevent nutritional damage to the food and the formation of dangerous heat-generated compounds.
So when you consider this, it makes a headline like this one seem pretty outrageous; Studies Dispute Acrylamide-Cancer Link. WebMD reports:
New research involving 100,000 women found no evidence of a link between consumption of acrylamide, a chemical found in french fries and other foods, and breast cancer…

…Acrylamide is produced naturally when foods including starchy foods are exposed to high heat during cooking. The chemical is commonly found in processed potato products such as french fries, breads, and cereals. It is also present in coffee and cigarette smoke. In the U.S., 30% of calories consumed contain acrylamide, according to the researchers…

…But while acrylamide is known to promote cancer at very high doses in rats and mice, none of the human studies reported to date have shown dietary levels of the chemical to be cancer causing, epidemiologist Lorelei Mucci, ScD tells WebMD.
Whenever I’m confronted with research that makes me say, “What the—.” I run it by Dr. Fuhrman. And here’s what he had to say:
My thoughts are that junk food does cause cancer, but these studies will always show nothing because once you smoke 10 cigs a day, your risk does not increase significantly more if you smoke 40. But the main reason is that breast cancer is a disease caused by what we ate in our childhood.
On that note, here’s some info on breast cancer from Disease-Proof Your Child:
Worldwide, there is a linear relationship between higher-fat animal products, saturated fat intake, and breast cancer.1 However, there are areas of the world even today where populations eat predominantly unrefined plant foods in childhood and breast cancer is simply unheard of. Rates of breast cancer deaths (in the 50-to-70 age range) range widely from 3.4 per 100,000 in Gambia to 10 per 100,000 in rural China, 20 per 100,000 in India, 90 per 100,000 in the United States, and 120 per 100,000 in the United Kingdom and Switzerland.2
For more on acrylamides, see Acrylamides are Bad News.
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Calcium the Veggie Way

Perhaps the strongest argument against dairy products in our diet: lots of us are lactose intolerant. Those lactose-intolerant folks, who don’t digest dairy well, are continually barraged with information that makes them believe they will lose their bones if they don’t consume dairy products in some way. They may be better off without it.

You do not need dairy products to get sufficient calcium if you eat a healthy diet. All unprocessed natural foods are calcium-rich; even a whole orange (not orange juice) has about 60 mg of calcium.

Government health authorities advise us to consume 1,500 mg of calcium daily. This is a tremendous amount of calcium. So much is recommended because of all the factors mentioned above. Even this high level of calcium will not prevent osteoporosis, but in a population with so many factors that cause osteoporosis, the extra calcium will make the negative balance less negative and partially slow the rate of osteoporosis. However, the only way to prevent osteoporosis and have strong bones is to exercise and to stop the causes of high urinary calcium excretion.

Since bok choy is packed with calcium, give these recipes a try:
Bok Choy and Bean Medley
2 pounds bok choy, chopped
1 15-oz can no salt pinto or kidney beans
1 15-oz can no salt aduki (adzuki) beans
1 cup prunes, soaked in water (just to cover) for at least 1 hour, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2 cup lightly toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds
Including the prune soaking water, saute' the first six ingredients for 10 minutes. Before serving sprinkle toasted nuts over top. This may be served as a side dish or over brown rice, quinoa or bulgar for a main dish. Serves 6.

Doubly Delicious Greens
1 large bunch bok choy, chopped
1 large bunch Swiss chard, chopped
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes (no salt)
2 cups shiitake and/or baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning
Place bok choy, Swiss chard, onions, and garlic in a large steamer and steam until almost tender, about 10 minutes. In a large pot add tomatoes, mushrooms, steamed greens mixture, and seasoning. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serves 8.

Friday: Health Points

The recalled spinach was distributed throughout the 48 states and Canada and sold in both retail and food service packages.

It covers 8,118 cases of spinach, although the company said more than 90 percent of that was on hold and would not be released.

While only a single sample from one of three packing lines tested positive for salmonella, the company said it moved to recall all the spinach packed that same day as a precaution.
In comparing soy-eating Japanese women with American women who eat very little soy, researchers find lower rates of breast cancer in the Japanese women. But in a test tube, soy's plant estrogens can speed cancer cell growth. Maybe soy behaves differently in the body than it does in a tube. Or maybe soy has both negative and positive effects on breast cancer. Perhaps it's not soy at all. It could be that the populations eating soy are benefiting from not eating something else, like meat -- the saturated fat found in red meat has been linked to higher cancer rates. Replacing steak with something else may be the protective key.
Taking samples from the respiratory tracts of 24 smokers, non-smokers and ex-smokers, Canadian researchers from the British Columbia Cancer Agency anaylsed gene activity using a powerful technique called "serial analysis of gene expression" (SAGE).

What they found is not encouraging for ex-puffers who thought they had escaped the dangers of lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death in the world.

While certain undesirable genes changes triggered by tobacco were reversed, some DNA repair genes were permanently damaged by smoking, and others that have the potential to help combat lung cancer development remained switched off.
  • Community education classes tend to follow the school year. Try something new with a friend.
  • Brisk air and crunchy leaves invigorate the senses on a fall hike.
  • Work fitness into your kid's routine by walking while you wait for them at practice.
  • Enjoy your favorite fall TV shows -- on a treadmill or exercise bike!
Perhaps it was naive of me to assume that soy yogurt would be, you know, non-dairy. But I guess you can’t trust a company who makes the bulk of their money from selling milk. Needless to say, there’s no way I’ll be buying any of their products going forward and they’ll definitely be receiving a call at 1-800-PRO-COWS (happy milk!) tomorrow. Might I encourage you to do the same to register your displeasure? And spread the word?

This is either a new thing or something they just decided to start divulging, as I definitely don’t recall seeing this on the label before.
"The risk of skin cancer is marginally increased among people with rheumatoid arthritis," said lead researcher Dr. Frederick Wolfe, a clinical professor of internal medicine at the University of Kansas School of Medicine. "But it's nothing that anybody should be worried about," he added.

For the study, Wolfe and his colleagues collected data on 13,001 patients with rheumatoid arthritis included in the National Data Bank for Rheumatic Diseases and the U.S. National Cancer Institute SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End-Results). The researchers found a total of 623 cases of skin cancer and 537 cases of other cancers.

They also found that anti-TNF-alpha medications were associated with a slight increased risk of skin cancer. But, they did not find any increased risk for other cancers, according to the report in the September issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.
I've often joked that maybe KFC have some very large extractor fans rigged in such a way as to maximize that distinctive KFC smell.

KFC have realized this, and have been trialling a new form of advertising that uses the "smell factor".

KFC has targeted corporate offices, and has managed to place a $2.99 plate meal on "the actual mail carts that pass the offices of hungry workers."
“This is a slice of heaven,” said Ryan Howell, 31, as he cradled his Combo Plate, which, for the record, consists of one battered Snickers bar, two battered Oreos and a battered Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup — all deep-fried in oil that is trans-fat free, thank goodness.

“This was an issue we wanted to tackle,” said Cindy Hoye, executive director of the fair, which spent the winter months testing various oils and, despite the fears of some concessionaires about possible changes to taste or costs or tradition, concluded that trans-fat-free oils created what Ms. Hoye called a better product.

National fair officials say Indiana and at least one other fair, the Western Washington, have led the way on a health issue that is only now creating a buzz in the fair industry. During a national convention of fair officials in Las Vegas this November, Indiana representatives are to offer a workshop, “Going Trans-Fat Free,” which, the convention program promises, will answer the question “What is all the craze about?”

Not-So Confident about PSA Tests

Some research calls into question the effectiveness of frequent prostate cancer screenings. Apparently there’s not much difference between two- and four-year tests. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News explains:
The researchers looked at more than 17,000 men who had prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing every two years or every four years. Among 4,202 Swedish men screened every two years, the overall incidence of prostate cancer diagnosis over 10 years was 13.14 percent, compared to 8.41 percent among the 13,301 Dutch men who were screened every four years, said the researchers from Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

The total number of interval cancers -- those diagnosed based on symptoms during the years between screening tests -- was 31 (0.74 percent) among the Swedish men and 57 (0.43 percent) among the Dutch men.

The differences in the interval cancer rates and aggressive interval cancer rates between the two groups were not statistically significant, the study authors said. This indicates that two-year screenings don't reduce the number of interval cancers, as might be expected.
Wait! A money-making medical test might not actually be as good as they say it is—no! You’re joshing me. Dr. Fuhrman is hardly awed by PSA screenings. He shares his thoughts in a previous post:
Incredible as it may seem, the PSA test does not accurately detect cancer. If you are over 60 years old, the chance of having a prostate biopsy positive for cancer is high, and the likelihood you have prostate cancer is the same whether or not you have an elevated PSA. More and more studies in recent years have demonstrated that prostate cancer is found at the same high rate in those with lower, so-called “normal” PSAs as those with elevated PSAs.1 An interesting study from Stanford University in California showed that the ability of PSA to detect cancer from 1998 to 2003 was only 2 percent. The elevations in PSA (between 2 and 10) were related to benign enlargement of the prostate, not cancer.

Remember, the pharmaceutical/medical industry is big business. Too often, treatments are promoted from a financially-biased perspective, leading to overly invasive and aggressive care without documented benefits.
Here’s the entire post: Positively False Confidence in PSA Tests.

High Fructose and Diabetes

Surprise-surprise, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) may increase diabetes risk. The Diabetes Blog is on it:
Not surprisingly, the food industry has always defended HFCS against claims that it is harmful. But here's the latest contradiction of that claim: a recent study found that HFCS is "astonishingly" high in reactive carbonyls, which are thought to contribute to the development of diabetes. The study was led by Dr. Chi-tang Ho, head of Rutgers University's Department of Food Science, and colleagues. They concluded that one can of HFCS-sweetened soda contains five times the reactive carbonyls that are normally found in the blood of a person with diabetes.

A news release by the American Chemical Society, announcing Dr. Ho's findings, notes that previous studies have already linked HFCS to cell and tissue damage. They suggest that HFCS consumption may raise the risk of diabetes, not to mention obesity. Say's Dr. Ho: "People consume too much high-fructose corn syrup in this country. It's in way too many food and drink products and there's growing evidence that it's bad for you."
You’re not going to find any love for HFCS here. Dr. Fuhrman considers it unnatural and should be avoided. From Disease-Proof Your Child:
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.

Smoking Scare Tactics

Anti-smoking campaigns always come off as mamby-pamby. Why don’t we just shut down tobacco producers? Oh the heck with that idea! Instead, let’s put revolting pictures on packs of cigarettes. The AFP reports:
All packets of cigarettes and other tobacco products sold in Britain will have to feature graphic photographs showing the effects of smoking from next year, government ministers said Wednesday.

The move was unveiled by Health Secretary Alan Johnson, who said it would shock more people into quitting, while a spokeswoman for the Department of Health confirmed it came about following a European directive in 2001.

Belgium was the first European Union member state to publish warning photos on cigarette packets, but Britain is going a step further by applying the rule to all tobacco products.
Surely you’re curious. Here’s one of the pictures:


Stop-Motion Veggies

Just some mushrooms having a good time—stop-motion style. Take a look:

Don't Eat Dog Food

Okay daredevils, pay attention. There’s been an outbreak of 66 salmonella infections in humans across 18 states—the culprit? Dog food. So don’t go accepting cash for stupid stunts anytime soon. More from The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Yesterday the CDC announced it is continuing to collaborate with health officials in Pennsylvania and the other states and with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to investigate the infections involving the strain of Salmonella Schwarzengrund. One case linked to the outbreak was reported in Allegheny County in June 2006.

Mars Petcare, based in Franklin, Tenn., voluntarily recalled its Red Flannel Large Breed Formula in 50-pound bags and Krasdale Gravy dry dog food in 5-pound bags Aug. 21. Its Everson plant is closed for inspection and cleaning, the company said in a news release Monday.

Dunkin' Donuts Kills Trans Fat

Well, I guess America doesn’t run on trans fat because according to Reuters Dunkin’ Donuts plans to banish trans fat from all its menu offerings. Take a look:
Restaurant company Dunkin' Brands Inc. said on Monday that all menu offerings in its Dunkin' Donuts restaurants will have zero grams of artery clogging trans fat by October 15 this year.

The company also said all ice cream products at its Baskin-Robbins chain will have zero grams trans fat by January 1, 2008.
And what’s so bad about trans fat—or should I say—hydrogenated fat. Dr. Fuhrman talks about it in his book Eat to Live:
Hydrogenation is a process of adding hydrogen molecules to unsaturated fats, thereby turning these oils, which are liquid at room temperature, into harder, more saturated fats such as margarine. Hardening the fat extends its shelf life so the oil can be used over and over again to fry potatoes in a fast-food restaurant or be added to such processed food as crackers and cookies. While hydrogenation does not make the fat completely saturated, it creates trans fatty acids, which act like saturated fats. Evidence is accumulating to implicate the harmful nature of these man-made fats in both cancer and heart disease. Avoid all foods whose ingredients contain partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated oils…

…Trans fats do not exist in nature. They are laboratory-designed and have adverse health consequences. They interfere with the body’s production of beneficial fatty acids and promote heart disease.1 As trans fatty acids offer no benefits and only clear adverse metabolic consequences, when you see the words partially hydrogenated on the side of a box, consider it poisonous and throw it in the trash.
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Childhood Obesity: Steelers and Eagles Team Up

Between dog-fighting, gambling referees, and drug allegations, professional sports have been getting a lot of bad press. Here’s some good news. Nate Guidry of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Steelers and Eagles are teaming up to tackle childhood obesity. Read on:
The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles announced yesterday that they are teaming up with the state of Pennsylvania to fight childhood obesity in middle schools statewide.

The partnership -- called "What Moves U?" -- is designed to motivate students to become more physically active…

… Participating schools can compete to earn prizes, including tickets to NFL games, autographed merchandise and player visits to their schools.

Dr. Calvin B. Johnson, state health secretary, said the program and other initiatives are "long-term investments that will be paid back when our children grow up to be healthy adults."
Sure beats 162 Beef Sticks!

Richie, Eat Your Vegetables!

This is certainly an unusual way to get your kid to eat his vegetables. Take a look:

America, as Fat as Ever

Yesterday we learned that Mississippi is the fattest of the fifty states, but don’t worry Mississippians, America in general just keeps getting fatter and fatter. Kevin Freking of the Associated Press reports:
Indeed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study last year noting a national obesity rate of about 32 percent — a higher rate than was cited for any of the states in the Trust for America's Health report. The CDC's estimate came from weighing people rather than relying on telephone interviews, officials explained.

Generally, anyone with a body mass index greater than 30 is considered obese. The index is a ratio that takes into account height and weight. The overweight range is 25 to 29.9. Normal is 18.5 to 24.9. People with a large amount of lean muscle mass, such as athletes, can show a large body mass index without having an unhealthy level of fat.

A lack of exercise is a huge factor in obesity rates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found last year that more than 22 percent of Americans did not engage in any physical activity in the past month. The percentage is greater than 30 percent in four states: Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky and Tennessee.
I don’t know about you, but I take pride in not being part of the bloated bell curve.

Acrylamides are Bad News

For a while there was worldwide alarm in the scientific community after researchers announced that many of the foods we eat contain a potent cancer-causing compound called acrylamide. Acrylamide causes genetic mutation, leading to a wide range of cancers in lab animals, including breast cancer and uterine cancer.

Acrylamide forms in foods that are fried, baked, roasted, grilled, or barbequed, but not in those that are steamed, or boiled. The safest way to cook foods is steaming.

Frying and overcooking leads to the highest levels of acrylamide, the highest of which are found in fried chips, such as potato chips and French fries. Acrylamide is one of the most potent cancer-causing agents. It is found in highest amounts in carbohydrates cooked at high temperatures. European governments permit 10 parts per million (ppb) of acrylamide in packaged foods, but U.S. standards are more lax. For example, Kellogg’s Rice Crispies contain 110 ppb and Pringles original crisps contain 1,480 ppb. Sugar-coated breakfast cereals have even higher levels than Rice Crispies.

Much has been said and written about whether authorities should attribute thousands or millions of deaths to acrylamide consumption. However, this argument is almost irrelevant because toxic agents, nutritional excesses, and nutritional deficiencies act in concert to establish a cellular environment favorable for cancer development. Acylamide is not the only toxic substance we come in contact with. So, when we add it to all the others, the combination becomes a serious problem contributing to our nation’s dismal cancer statistics.

For years I have been advising my patients to avoid highly processed breakfast cereals, refined foods, and oils. Hopefully, science will catch up with this simple, common-sense recommendation.

Super-Fancy Healthy Desserts

Super Fruit Tart
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup dried apricots, unsulfured
1/2 cup Goji berries
4 tablespoons Gac Juice or a natural fruit blend juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Tart Shell
1/2 cup walnuts, ground
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, ground
1/2 cup pecans, ground
1/2 cup oatmeal, ground
8 dates, pitted or 4 date/coconut rolls
3 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut

Fresh Fruit & Coconut Topping
1 cup organic strawberries, sliced in half
1 cup blueberries
2 cups kiwi fruit, sliced
2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
Simmer the water, apricots, and Goji berries on low heat, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until the apricots are plump and tender, stirring regularly to keep from sticking.
Place water, apricots, Goji berries and juices in a blender and blend until smooth and pudding like.

Tart Shell
Make the nut crust by kneading the ground nuts and oatmeal with the dates and coconut and pressing them into the bottom of a glass or ceramic pie or tart pan.

Spread filling evenly over crust and chill. Attractively arrange sliced fruit on top of chilled filling and sprinkle with coconut. You can also make this in individual tart pans. Feel free to use any fresh berries or sliced fruit. For the tart shell: if using the date/coconut rolls you can eliminate the shredded coconut. Serves 8.

Tropical Rice Pudding Parfaits
1 cup short grain brown rice (preferably brown sweet rice*)
2 cups water
2 cups unsweetened soy milk, divided
1/2 cup canned unsweetened light coconut milk*
1 cup date sugar*
4 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted, reserving 1 tablespoon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Fruit Layer
2 cups chopped fresh pineapple, drained
2 cups chopped fresh organic strawberries
1 tablespoon date sugar
Cook rice in water according to package directions. Bring 1 cup soy milk, coconut milk, and 1 cup date sugar to boil in medium saucepan and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Whisk arrowroot powder into remaining soy milk and add to boiling mixture. Simmer and whisk until thickened. Remove from heat. Toast coconut over medium heat until lightly browned, shaking pan occasionally. Fold in cooked rice, coconut, and vanilla. Pour into bowl, cover and refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours. Mix chopped pineapple and strawberries with 1 tablespoon date sugar.

Spoon a layer of rice pudding into each of 6 clear parfait glasses. Top each with a layer of the fruit mixture. Repeat layers with remaining pudding and fruit mixture. Sprinkle reserved lightly toasted coconut on top. Serves 6

Produce Power

The Los Angeles Times takes a good long look at the power of produce and how eating lots of it kicks cancer in the pants. More from Anna Gosline:
Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and scores of phytochemicals that scientists are just beginning to understand, and studies have shown that people who eat more fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes -- and some kinds of cancer.

Since its inception in 1991, the 5 A Day campaign, led by the National Cancer Institute and Produce for Better Health Foundation, has upped its daily recommendation to as many as 13 servings under a new campaign name.

And in bestselling health books and the popular press, the talk of fruits and vegetables is sometimes breathless. Pomegranate juice is a "miracle medicine"! Blueberries are "the super berry"! Kale can keep you alive! Tomatoes for life everlasting!

Eat or drink this produce, we are told, and the powerful clout of super-antioxidants and tumor-fighting chemicals they contain will bash that cancer before it gets going.

In fact, the anti-cancer clout of fruits and vegetables is nuanced and complex, and a story still evolving in labs across the country. At times the science has proven to be murky. Small studies that rely on what people remember of their diets from years past often find a strong preventive effect of eating lots of fresh produce.
All you got to do is sift through Followhealthlife’s health food archive to see just how powerful fruits and veggies really are.

Duh, Smoking Bad

I know, this might be hard to believe, but, smoking heightens risk for head and neck cancers. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News explains:
The analysis revealed that smoking increased head and neck cancer in both women and men, but appeared to have a greater impact in women. Smoking was attributed to 75 percent of such cancers in women, compared to 45 percent of such cancers in men, the study said.

"Incidence rates of head and neck cancer were higher in men than in women in all categories examined, but smoking was associated with a larger relative increase in head and neck cancer risk in women than in men," the researchers concluded.

The Cardio Blog on Fiber

If you eat lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes—you get a lot of fiber! And that’s a good thing. According to Dr. Fuhrman, not only is fiber vital for superior nutrition, but, it can also help you shed those unwanted pounds. More from Eat to Live:
Because meats, dairy, and oils are so dense in calories, it is practically impossible for us to eat them without consuming an excess of calories. These calorie-rich foods can pile up a huge number of calories way before our stomachs are full and our hunger satisfied. However, eating foods higher in nutrients and fiber and lower in calories allows us to become satiated without consuming excess calories.
And Dr. Fuhrman isn’t the only one showing fiber some love. The Cardio Blog offers up four good reasons to get your fiber. Check it out:
Cholesterol Reduction. By trapping bile acids that would otherwise be absorbed and converted into cholesterol, fiber can help reduce cholesterol and triglycerides.

Improved Protein Absorption. Eating foods high in fiber while eating foods high in protein will slow down the breakdown of that protein, thereby allowing for greater absorption.

Better Colon Function. This one you are likely aware of already. I'll leave it at that.

Prevents Body-Fat Storage. Soluble fiber helps the body use carbs for glycogen synthesis and energy production, rather than storing them as fats. Also, just as fiber slows down the body's processing of proteins, fiber can slow down how fast your body metabolizes carbs. For you, this means that your insulin levels will not spike as a result of eating a high-carb food, which is yet another way to help prevent body fat storage.
Now here’s something I bet you didn’t know. Nuts and seeds are loaded with fiber. Dr. Fuhrman talks about in this post, Nuts & Seeds Protect Against Heart Disease:
Raw nuts and seeds are packed with nutrients. They contain lignans, bioflavonoids, minerals, and other antioxidants that protect the fragile freshness of the fats therein; they also contain plant proteins and plant sterols that naturally lower cholesterol. And because nuts and seeds supply certain fibers, phytochemicals, phytosterols, and bioactive nutrients not found in other foods (such as polyphenols and arginine), they have other beneficial effects that prevent blood vessel inflammation.

Diet Mask

You have to see it, to believe it. Head on over to Diet Blog for more.

Don't Swallow Your Gum?

Here’s a fun story. What happens when you swallow your chewing gum? Does it sit undigested in your stomach for years and years? Anahad O’Connor of The New York Times reports:
This is, for the most part, an old wives’ tale. Swallowed chewing gum typically passes through the digestive tract without harm and is eliminated at the same rate as other foods.

But rare complications can occur. The medical literature contains several case reports of people, mostly small children, who developed intestinal obstructions because they had a habit of swallowing their gum. A 1998 study in the journal Pediatrics, for example, described three children who came to a clinic with intestinal pain, constipation and other symptoms, and were found to have small masses of chewing gum in their guts. One was a 4-year-old boy who “always swallowed his gum after chewing five to seven pieces each day.” Another was a 4-year-old girl.
I still think it’s a good way to keep your kids from swallowing their gum, although, you might not want to burst their bubble about the whole Santa Claus thing just yet.

Mississippi Fats

Not exactly a proud day for Mississippians. According to new obesity research, Mississippi is the fattest state in the nation. Emily Wagster Pettus of the Associated Press reports:
According to a new study, this Deep South state is the fattest in the nation. The Trust for America's Health, a research group that focuses on disease prevention, says Mississippi is the first state where more than 30 percent of adults are considered obese.

Aside from making Mississippi the butt of late-night talk show jokes, the obesity epidemic has serious implications for public policy.

If current trends hold, the state could face enormous increases in the already significant costs of treating diabetes, heart disease and other ailments caused by the extra poundage.

"We've got a long way to go. We love fried chicken and fried anything and all the grease and fatback we can get in Mississippi," said Democratic state Rep. Steve Holland, chairman of the Public Health Committee.
Don’t fret Mississippi. With the way this country eats, you’ve go plenty of company. For more news on obesity check out Followhealthlife’s obesity archive.

Member Center: Not Losing Weight and Feeling Low Energy

Over at this member is having a little trouble losing weight. Here’s the Q&A with Dr. Fuhrman. Have a look:
I am 53 year old female who is 5'3" and I have been in a 12-step program for compulsive overeating for a decade. I used to weigh 220 lbs, lost 100, and slowly gained back 40 and now weigh 160. I have eaten a no sugar, no flour plan during that decade, though obviously I relapsed which explains the weight gain. I had a heart catheterization in late March where they found a 44% blockage in my RCA and that is when I found out about you through a friend. I have followed your aggressive weight-loss vegan plan since April 3rd and have lost 3 lbs only. I have been pristine oils save for one teaspoon of fish oil daily. 1 cup legumes and less than a cup of starchy vegetable or grains every other day. The rest is salad, steamed veggies, and fruit. What am I doing wrong?

I also am feeling very low energy and not operating mentally at full function. Should I get bloodwork done to see if I have a deficiency and if so, what should I be looking for (B complex and D?).

Dr. Fuhrman:
You must have a really slow metabolic rate. In any case, since you did lose some weight and did not report on the amount of exercise you are doing, I would start there. One teaspoon of fish oil (5 grams) is a little overkill. Not that it will make much of a difference in your weight, but I still think that it is too much.

So the first thing is to look at your exercise mix and make sure you are doing both the caloric burn and the muscle building type because you likely need more muscle density to increase your metabolism and that can take some work in the gym for a few months.

Next, try to eat only when hungry and get in touch with your body's signals for food. You may be able to take in even less food while still feeling satiated.

The Talented Tomato

This little tomato can do a neat trick…once. Take a look:

Aspirin a Day?

We’ve all heard the “take an aspirin daily” edict. Supposedly this is some sort of home remedy for preventing a heart attack. But here’s a question. If you’re living and eating healthfully, is this really necessary? Dr. Fuhrman talks about it in The Popular One-Aspirin-Per-Day Myth:
I am aware that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recommended that individuals at high risk of heart attacks take aspirin as a preventative. But even if I agreed with their theory that taking aspirin was an effective way to prevent premature death from heart disease, I wouldn’t recommend it to as many people as they do. According to the Task Force, those at high risk include: men over forty years of age, postmenopausal women, and younger individuals who have high blood pressure or high cholesterol or who smoke. That is quite a broad definition of high risk. It includes almost everybody I know, except my wife and children…

…Five studies to date have examined the effects of daily or every-other-day aspirin use for primary prevention for periods of four to seven years.1 Most participants were men older than 50 years. Meta-analysis of the pooled data from all of the studies show that aspirin therapy reduced risk for coronary events by 28 percent, but with no decrease in mortality. In other words, aspirin use did not result in longer life. There was no reduction of death due to heart attack or stroke. Further, there was evidence of an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke and a two- to four-fold increase in gastrointestinal complications, including ulcers and bleeding…

… For healthy people, the risks outweigh the benefits. That is why, in contrast to typical physician recommendations aimed at reducing risk, I recommend that people eliminate their risk factors. Daily aspirin consumption is for those satisfied with mediocrity and willing to gamble with their lives.
Makes you wonder how 43 million Americans would be willing to pop an aspirin a day. No, I’m not making that figure up. According to Reuters most of the 43 million take aspirin because they really-really believe it’ll stave off a heart attack:
An estimated 43 million U.S. adults take an aspirin every day or almost every day, according to a U.S. government survey, a figure that accounts for a fifth of the adult population.

Most are taking the pills for their health -- such as to prevent heart attacks or strokes -- the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found…

… More than half of the estimated 26 million U.S. adults who were told by a doctor that they had heart disease said they took an aspirin regularly, the survey found. And 48.5 percent aged 65 and older said they took aspirin regularly.
Lulling 43 million people into a regiment of aspirin is very big-brother-like if you ask me. Now, if you’re like Dr. Fuhrman and don’t want to settle for this health mediocrity, take charge and Defeat Heart Disease Now! Continue Reading...

Monday: Health Points

A recent study indicates pediatric type 2 diabetes is still relatively infrequent, experts are concerned about the trend and the impact the condition, particularly its complications, might have on affected children and families.

"It does exist and it's increasing," noted endocrinologist Dr. Silva Arslanian, director of the Weight Management and Wellness Center at Children's Hospital. "It's increasing because more and more children are becoming obese."
I just yesterday came across research (from a 2007 Ohio State study) involving a certain variety of orange tomato called a Tangerine Tomato. Evidently, people are able to better absorb the antioxidant lycopene from this particular type of tomato than from the more typical red tomatoes.

If you have trouble finding Tangerine Tomatoes at your grocery store, try other kinds of orange tomatoes or gold heirloom varieties. But, whatever kind, color, brand, or type of tomato you choose, always be sure to cook your tomatoes in order to receive the greatest absorption of lycopene.
While obesity has long been suspected of hampering a woman's ability to conceive, the University of Adelaide research is said to be the first to find a direct scientific link.

Researcher Cadence Minge said experiments on female mice showed that fat has an impact on the egg before it is even fertilised.
The teacher announced daily snacks must be healthy. Juice boxes were not allowed. A water bottle was fine, but the drinking fountain even better. Geez, I was starting to really like this school. Fruit and vegetables were strongly suggested, but no cookies, mile-high frosted cupcakes or sugary fruit snacks. I nearly stood up and clapped, but I didn't want to freak out a roomful of mommy strangers. After reading Allie's recent post on water, I will definitely pack a water bottle…

…Think fruits and vegetables. Don't throw those sugary graham crackers in your shopping cart. Stay away from the processed carbohydrates. This is your chance to develop healthier habits for a lifetime. Hey, you might not even need to be the fall guy -- hopefully it's "school policy."
''Children could actually blame their mothers for this,'' said Jane Wardle, director of the Health Behavior Unit at University College London, one of the authors of the study in this month's American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Wardle and colleagues asked the parents of 5,390 pairs of identical and non-identical twins to complete a questionnaire on their children's' willingness to try new foods.

Identical twins, who share all genes, were much more likely to respond the same way to new foods than non-identical twins, who like other siblings only share about half their genes. Researchers concluded that genetics played a greater role in determining eating preferences than environment, since the twins lived in the same household.
  • Now, I’m not sure if this is a joke or not, but Diet-Blog is all over something called “The Diet Fork.” Judge for yourself:
The following features will (apparently) lead to weight loss...
  • Shorter and dulled teeth inhibiting user from grasping larger pieces of food at any one time.
  • Smaller triangular shaped surface area allowing dieter to hold less food than many other forks.
  • Uncomfortable grip compelling user to put fork down between bites, slowing the user's eating speed.

Eating to Live on the Outside: Samba Room

I’m a city guy. I’ve always been fascinated by the culture, architecture, and general dynamic of big cities—growing up near NYC has that effect—and one of the places I’ve always wanted to visit is Chicago. Well, I kind of get to do that today. This week Eating to Live on the Outside examines Chicago’s Samba Room.

At first inspection Samba Room looks pretty middle of the road. Not outstanding, but not terrible. The dishes are relatively basic and have a fresh feeling. I’ve found from doing all these reviews that being basic and fresh usually up a dish’s chances of being Fuhrman-friendly. So, let’s see if it holds true. Time to rock and roll!

Alright, first up are the Plantain Chips. They’re an appetizer and served with a black bean and tomato salsa. Provided the chips aren’t fried, I’d order them. If they are—heck no! Not just for health reasons. Fried foods have always grossed me out. That yucky feeling greases your whole mouth and throat—gag!

Okay, next up are two salads—surprise-surprise—the Latin Chopped Salad and the Caesar Salad. The Latin salad needs a little work; it comes with grilled chicken, tomato, red onion, avocado and bacon-cabrales dressing. Cabrales is a type of cheese, so I’m ditching that. Also, the chicken has got to go. In the end you’re not left with much, but hey, it’s still an option!

The Caesar is a lot better—well maybe. According to the menu it comes with chipotle-lemon mojo and toasted pumpkin seeds. I’m not sure what mojo is in food terms, but I have a hunch it’s veggie-based. Clearly the pumpkin seeds are cool. Now here’s the catch. I can't tell if this is like a regular cheesy Caesar salad just mixed with all this stuff or not. So, before I’d order it, I’d ask the wait staff. Cheese, gross!

Next in line is the Marinated Heart of Palm and Jicama, served over sliced tomatoes and fresh citrus. Well, provided that palm and jicama aren’t marinated in bacon fat—which I doubt they are—this looks like a good one. Another option worth trying is the Brazilian Black Bean Soup. If it’s not made with animal broth—cool-cool!

Now, even though I’ve kicked all meat. I still eat fish. Not often, but I do enjoy it. My favorite fish is mahi-mahi—how lucky for me that it’s on Samba’s menu! The Plantain Crusted Mahi-Mahi is prepared on coconut rice, mango-mojo, and with maduro salsa. Well, the rice is a concession, but I can deal with it, especially since mahi-mahi is an Eco Best. Sweet! Also on the menu is Chilean sea bass and red snapper, two words—Eco Worst.

Another thing to try is the Grilled, Mashed & Crisp Vegetables—the title kind of says it all—it includes yuca, marinated onions, portabella mushrooms, and potatoes. I’m not sure you can go wrong with all this. Mushrooms are great. I know Dr. Fuhrman recommends them as a nice chewy substitute for meat. I grew up on mushrooms. I love them, even if they do grow on poop.

It might have been a short—imaginary—trip to Chi-Town, but certainly not uneventful. I’m pretty confident in saying that Samba Room has real potential. Outside of the dishes I mentioned the menu is rough, but if you keep it tight, you can have yourself a decent—healthy—meal. But tell me what you think. How do you handle Eating to Live on the Outside? Check out Samba Room's menu and make a comment or send an email to In the meantime, go eat some lettuce!

A Carrots Life

Here is the boring and awkwardly animated life of a carrot:


Kobe Beef or Kobe Vegetables

Kobe Bryant is probably one of the most popular athletes in professional sports. His image is a powerful one. In the past he used to use it to hock fast food, but, it seems his diet has hit an upswing—veggies! Michael Lee of The Washington Post reports:
Bryant has instead placed all of his energy into representing his country, and said he probably pushed his body hardest in preparation for this event. He lost about 19 pounds before the minicamp in July, and has stayed away from pepperoni pizza and fast food so long that he said he "can't remember the last time" he had some. His diet has mostly been limited to fish and vegetables.

"You start knocking on 30, the reality sets in a little bit. Your metabolism isn't what it used to be," said Bryant, who turns 29 on Thursday. "It's a part of trying to figure out how do you stay in tip-top condition or stay ready to play. If that means not eating fast food all the time, that's what you've got to do."
Well, it’s a start! Guys like Tank Johnson, Bernard Berrian, and Richard Hamilton should take a page out of Kobe’s book. These guys are eating diets lacking in nutrients and high in junk. Not exactly the blue print to health. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
If you have been living in a cave for the last five years and haven't heard, a diet is considered healthy only if it gets the majority of its calories from natural plant foods, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, avocado, raw nuts, seeds and other nutrient-rich foods. When one bases their diet from a combination of animal products and processed foods a deficiency of plant-derived phytochemicals leads you down the road to cancer later in life.

Friday: Health Points

Unscrupulous vendors in Thailand have been selling meat of the deadly puffer fish disguised as salmon, causing the deaths of more than 15 people over the past three years, a doctor said Thursday.

Although banned since 2002, puffer fish continues to be sold in large quantities at local markets and restaurants, said Narin Hiransuthikul of Bangkok's Chulalonkorn University Hospital.
A group of Clemson chemists have found a new mechanism for antioxidant activity according to a recent presentation at the 234th American Chemical Society national meeting. According to the researchers, antioxidant bind naturally to iron and copper in the body, preventing the formation of reactive compounds that can damage DNA.
A new study shows that even low levels of weekly exercise - below currently recommended levels -- has major health benefits. In the study, 30 minutes of brisk walking three days per week was enough to drive down blood pressure and improve overall fitness in a group of healthy sedentary adults.

For optimum health, adults are currently recommended to engage in 30 minutes of moderately strenuous exercise on at least five days of the week. But few people achieve this level of weekly activity, often citing lack of time as the reason.
But buying produce directly from local farms is only one aspect of this emerging trend. Another is the large number of farmers markets cropping up around the region, and so popular that Governor Deval Patrick has proclaimed this week Farmers Market Week because, he said, they are "essential to the vitality of Massachusetts farms." The US Department of Agriculture had named Aug. 6 to 11 National Farmers Market Week, noting that such markets have increased by 18 percent across the country since 2004.
  • The obesity epidemic, what’s your take on it? Not sure? Well Freakonomics Blog has compiled a whole bunch of different opinions on it. Check it out:
Similarly, the idea that obesity is itself a disease or causes disease is based largely on correlations in large epidemiological studies, not on any clear causal link between excess weight and disease. With the exception of a few minor conditions (like osteoarthritis), we don’t have any good evidence that adiposity causes any physical harm. By the same statistical criteria used to call obesity a disease, one could also claim that being male, being overly tall, or even being black is a disease (i.e., all correlate with early mortality and morbidity). The fact that we choose to demonize fatness rather than these other traits illustrates how concerns about obesity are rooted far more in political and cultural standards than scientific ones.
Little is known about how chemicals in clothing can affect people. But concern over pesticides and chemicals in fabric has sparked consumer interest in organic baby clothes that can be purchased everywhere from small boutiques to Target.

Formaldehyde is used to give clothes a "permanent press" look. Exposure to it in concentrations of 20 parts per million (ppm) can cause eye, skin and nasal irritations, respiratory problems, asthma and cancer.

More Cruciferous Power

From the July 2007 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

The Hormonal Connection
Your body produces hormones that function as chemical messengers to help control its function. These messengers can take many forms—beneficial or harmful, depending on how well or how badly we eat. The consumption of cruciferous vegetables has been shown to shift hormonal balance to more favorable hormonal compounds. Isothiocyanates form compounds such as diindolylmethane (DIM), which help the body transform estrogen and other hormones into forms that are more easily excreted from the body. Estrogen and testosterone have a functional role in the body, but too much of them and too much of the wrong type can be disease-promoting (such as increasing the risk of breast and prostate cancer). Postmenopausal hormonal replacement therapy has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer and heart disease.

Cruciferous Vegetables and Cancer
Cruciferous vegetables have been shown to have a direct effect on human cancer cells, and these effects have been confirmed by numerous animal studies and with human cell lines. Juicing cruciferous vegetables is strongly recommended and has been shown to markedly inhibit the growth of breast cancer with significant death of cancer cells occurring at higher concentrations of cruciferous juice. Isothiocyanates (ITCs) also have been shown to promote cell death in most common cancers, such as colon cancer, cervical cancer, and prostate cancer.

There are various ITCs such as phenylethylisothiocyanate (PEITC), diindolylmethane (DIM), and indole-3-carbinol (I3C) that all work synergistically at different cellular loci to promote excretion of carcinogens and induce killing of cells that are dysplastic or that have cancerous changes. Isothiocyanates also have been shown to have other important immunologic benefits. They ameliorate systemic lupus in mice, inhibit herpes virus replication, and inhibit human papilloma virus.

Some ITCs with Known Biologic Anticancer Activity
ITCs with known biologic anticancer activity include: sulforaphane, PEITC, allyl isothiocyanate, indole-3- carbinol, and 3, 3-diindolylmethante.

One should be cautious of trying to use supplements of these compounds instead of the whole food source. For example, indole-3- carbinol, which is converted to other beneficial metabolites such as DIM, can produce other metabolites that may be tumor promoters if taken in isolation. Taking a supplement of this compound outside of the food containing it could have untoward effects, especially if one has cancer.

The Thyroid Connection
Isothiocyanates were in the past considered goitergens (anti-nutrients) that inhibit the uptake of iodine by the thyroid gland. However, this no longer thought to be significant in humans. Nutritional excellence Lastly, while everyone eventually jumps on the “cruciferous vegetables are good for you” bandwagon, let’s not forget H = N/C (Health = Nutrient intake divided by Calorie intake). In other words, besides all of their unique features, green cruciferous vegetables still contain more vitamins and minerals per calorie than any other foods.

High Blood Pressure in Kids?

What a frightening world we live in. Imagine this, kids on the playground talking about high blood pressure and cholesterol. It might not be that far off. Lindsey Tanner of the Associated Press reports that over 1 million young kids in the United States have undiagnosed high blood pressure:
Roughly 2 million U.S. youngsters have been estimated to have high blood pressure; the study suggests that three-quarters of them have it but don't know it. The numbers are driven at least partly by rising rates of obesity, which is strongly linked with high blood pressure.

Untreated high blood pressure can cause health problems in adults, including heart disease, strokes, artery damage and kidney disease, problems that usually take years to develop. Its effects in children are less certain, although there is some evidence that it might contribute to early artery and heart damage in young patients, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
I guess we shouldn't be surprised when heart disease starts young.

Crackdown on Energy Drinks

Personally, I adamantly avoid energy drinks. In fact, I just gave my brother a tongue lashing about them yesterday. Dr. Fuhrman makes it very clear caffeine doesn’t do our bodies any favors. He talks about it in his book Eat to Live:
Halting stimulating behavior such as overeating unmasks the fatigue that was always there. The power reserve in a battery is proportional to its use. The less we use it, the more life it has and the stronger it remains. Likewise, when there is continual stress on your body from stimulating foods and caffeine, it gives the false sensation that we have energy, when actually we are using up our nerve energy faster. This ages us. The fatigue is hidden by the stimulating (aging-inducing) effects of sugar, caffeine, and toxic protein load. Now that you are eating in a health-supporting manner, you may be in better touch with the sleep your body needs, and sleep better as a result.
Looks like Dr. Fuhrman isn’t the only one bashing caffeine. According to this Reuters report states want the federal government to crack down on energy drinks. Take a look:
The attorneys general of 28 states, Washington D.C., and Guam asked the federal government on Tuesday to crack down on the makers of energy drinks with alcohol and caffeine, arguing their advertisements don't warn of health and safety risks.

"Combining alcohol with caffeine hardly seems healthy - and that false claim is what we seek to halt," said Connecticut's Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

The group targeted Miller Brewing Co, Anheuser-Busch Cos Inc and Charge Beverages, saying each runs ad campaigns that might include potentially misleading health-related claims.

In a letter to John Manfreda, the administrator of the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, the state officials said the beverage makers are wooing young people with "outlandish" and "outrageous" health-related claims.

Anheuser-Busch says its Bud Extra allows drinkers to "Say hello to an endless night of fun" and "Stay around for every twist of the ride."
Alcohol and caffeine? Another stroke of marketing genius—unreal. Oh, in case you learn better with pictures, here’s a video report on this story from ABC News. Enjoy:

Diabetes, Diabesity

The Diabetes Blog has an interesting little ditty about diabetes. Maybe we should eat less and exercise more? Check it out:
These days we live in houses, and consume more than we need to sustain homeostasis and beyond. We walk very little and we all put on weight as we get older, especially around our waists. As we continue on this path of least resistance, and most convenience -- diabesity is becoming a mainstay in our lives. If eating healthy and walking more became an easy and convenient option for everybody -- could this be an automatic resolution to an unforgiving problem?
The plain truth is you don’t have to settle for diabetes.

Cruciferous Phytochemicals at Work

From the July 2007 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Cruciferous vegetables contain phytochemicals that have unique abilities to modify human hormones, detoxify compounds, and prevent toxic compounds from binding to human DNA, preventing toxins from causing DNA damage that could lead to cancer.

Cruciferous vegetables are unique in that they are rich sources of sulfur-containing compounds known as glucosinolates. It is the presence of glucosinolates that makes a vegetable earn the designation of cruciferous. There have been over 120 glucosinolates identified. These compounds help produce other healthful compounds, which is important since humans do not absorb glucosinolates well.

Myrosinase is an enzyme that is compartmentalized (separated) in the cell walls of cruciferous vegetables. It is released only when the cell walls are damaged (for example, via chewing, chopping, blending, or juicing), at which point it catalyzes the conversion of glucosinolates into isothiocyanates (ITCs) such as indole 3-carbonole. These ITCs are well absorbed and have potent and diverse beneficial effects in humans and other animals.

Myrosinase is deactivated by cooking. The more the food is heated, the more is lost. As a result, fewer isothiocyanates are produced when we cook and overcook these vegetables. Maximum levels of these highly potent anticancer compounds are available from raw vegetables that are somewhat bitter, such as broccoli sprouts, watercress, and arugula.The very high levels of isothiocyanates (ITCs) produced by these foods give that “bitter” taste. However, myrosinase also is produced by the gut flora, so absorption of compounds derived from cruciferous vegetables is still possible from cooked greens.

Sulforaphane, broccoli’s much studied compound, is an isothiocyanate that has a unique mechanism of action. This compound blocks chemical-initiated tumor formation and induces cell cycle arrest in abnormal cells, meaning that it inhibits growth and induces cell death in cells with early cancerous changes in a dose-dependent manner (i.e., the more you eat, the better). Recent studies show that the amount of sulforaphane derived from eating a reasonable amount of broccoli can have dramatic effects to protect against colon cancer.

Don't Come Down Hard on Lead?

This next report will blow your mind. Kevin G. Hall of The Seattle Times reports that the Bush administration and China have blocked efforts to make stricter regulations on lead. Prepare to get angry:
Consumer advocates say the Bush administration has hindered regulation on two fronts. It stalled efforts to press for greater inspections of imported children's products, and it altered the focus of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), moving it from aggressive protection of consumers to a more manufacturer-friendly approach.

"The overall philosophy is regulations are bad and they are too large a cost for industry, and the market will take care of it," said Rick Melberth, director of regulatory policy at OMBWatch, a government watchdog group formed in 1983. "That's been the philosophy of the Bush administration."

Today, more than 80 percent of U.S. toys are made in China and few of them get inspected.

"We've been complaining about this issue, warning it is going to happen, and it is disappointing that it has happened," said Tom Neltner, a co-chairman of the Sierra Club's national toxics committee.
Too expensive for the industry? Tough!

Dark Vegetables

No, that’s not the name of a horror movie. Rather, some really great veggies that’ll help you ward off disease. The Cancer Blog investigates new research that claims dark fruits and vegetables help fight colon cancer. Take a look:
I'm of the mind that blueberries harness one of the best arsenals of natural cancer-fighting nutrition known to the planet, so it's good to see a new study reiterate this fact. Ever try fresh blueberries on top of 100% whole-grain waffles? Makes an excellent breakfast, while at the same time giving your body a shower of anti-cancer nutrition.

Evidence has shown in the past that anthocyanins (the dark color compounds in some fruits and veggies) can slow the growth of colon cancer cells by 50 to 80 percent. This just in -- they taste fantastic as well.
Here are a couple more dark-powerhouses. From Ten Super Foods to Use in Your Recipes and Menus:
Blueberries/Blackberries are packed with tannins, anthocyanidins, flavonoids, polyphenols, and proanthcyanidins that have been linked to prevention and reversal of age-related mental decline. They also have powerful anti-cancer effects. Use frozen organic berries in the winter when fresh ones are not available.

Carrots/Beets are colorful root crops that add beauty and flavor to dishes. Shredded raw in salads, cooked, or in soups, they are high in fiber and antioxidants compounds such as cartonoids abd betacyanin, a powerful cancer protective agent found to inhibit cell mutations.

Fat-Fat Pets

You know its getting bad when even your pets are bloated. Evidently it’s so bad in the U.K. that they’ve started launched a website to help Fido slim down. The Cardio Blog is on it:
The website, called Pets Get Slim, has facts about pet obesity and hints to help curb food intake. Inglis is excited about the site, saying, "Whether your pet is obese or slightly overweight - it matters. A weight problem can affect a pet's quality of life and lead to straining of the joints, causing arthritis, as well as internal illnesses like diabetes, liver disease and heart disease."

Helping your pet get back in shape is not only healthy four your small best friend, but it can also help the family members get in shape. Taking the family dog for a walk rather than sitting in front of the television is a help for everybody.
For more pet inspired posts, try these on fore size:

Cholesterol, Statins, and Choice

I was at the gym the other day and I overheard a couple of middle-aged tubby guys complaining about their cholesterol. To make a long story short, one was listening attentively while the other bragged about his statins—made me cringe. Why? Well, in Cholesterol Protection for Life Dr. Fuhrman talks about their side-effects, pretty scary stuff. Check it out:
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.
Now, I doubt my two tubby guys will heed a warning like this. After all, they belong to a gym and are still fat. But I guess they represent the millions of people that just aren’t willing to do the hard work. They’d rather pop a pill and continue eating poorly. Recently New York Times reporter Jane E. Brody was faced with this very decision—guess what she did? See for yourself:
Now it was time to further limit red meat (though I never ate it often and always lean), stick to low-fat ice cream, eat even more fish, increase my fiber intake and add fish oils to my growing list of supplements. But the latest test, in early June, was even more of a shock: total cholesterol, 248, and LDLs, 171.

My doctor’s conclusion: “Your body is spewing out cholesterol and nothing you do to your diet is likely to stop it.” I was not inclined to become a total vegetarian to see if that would help. The time had come to try a statin, one of the miraculously effective cholesterol-lowering drugs.

By studying the effects of statins in thousands of people who already had heart disease or were likely to develop it, researchers finally proved that lowering total and LDL cholesterol in people at risk was both health-saving and life-saving. I’ll know by fall if the low-dose statin I now take nightly will do the trick, or if I’ll need a higher dose.
Wow. That quote from the doctor is amazing. Talk about throwing in the towel. Brody is no better. I mean why wouldn’t she at least try ratcheting up her diet further? My guess is she’d be pleasantly surprised by the results, and, it’s a lot better than being saddled with statins for the rest of her life. According to Dr. Fuhrman superior nutrition would set her straight. From Eat to Live:
A vegetable, fruit, nut, and bean-based diet has been shown to be the most effective cholesterol-lowering dietary approach in medical history. This newsworthy data with the potential to save millions of lives has been ignored by the mass media. With this dietary approach, most patients drop their total cholesterol below 150 and LDL below 100, without the need for medications…

…In areas of the world where people eat a diet of unrefined plant foods, people have total cholesterol levels below 150, and there is zero incidence of heart disease in the population.1
A couple years ago when I was sick with gastritis and my doctor wrote me a bunch of prescriptions, I made a choice. I said I could either be beholden to drug companies for the rest of my life, or, I can beat this thing on my own terms. For me, the carrot was mightier than the prescription pad.
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Obesity--THE VIRUS!

“Boss? Yeah hi. I can’t come in today. I’ve got a bad case of fat.” Here’s more wacky news on the obesity front. New research claims obesity might at least be partly caused by a common virus. Alan Mozes of HealthDay News reports:
The roots of obesity are probably complex and various, the U.S. team stressed. However, their lab tests showed that exposure to adenovirus-36 (Ad-36), which causes respiratory and eye infections, also causes stem cells to develop into fat cells.

This is the first time anyone has identified a viral "fattening effect" in humans, said lead researcher Dr. Magdalena Pasarica, an obesity researcher with the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

The same team was also the first to have shown that Ad-36 is much more prevalent among obese people than among leaner men and women. In that earlier work, the virus was spotted among 30 percent of obese individuals compared with just 11 percent of non-obese people.
What a perfect opportunity for drug-makers to come out with an obesity vaccine—Money, money, mon-ey—MONEY!

Cruciferous Defense Against Cancer

From the July 2007 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Compounds derived from cruciferous vegetables are our best defense against cancer-causing chemicals in the environment. They inactivate chemical carcinogens before the initiation of cancer can occur, and they enable the removal of these substances from our tissues by a synergistic enhancement of detoxifying enzyme activity. They also can block the formation of tumors initiated by chemicals in lab animals and kill cells that have demonstrated DNA damage, protecting against non-cancerous conditions, such as fibroid tumors, as well.

Cruciferous vegetables help detoxify carcinogens and other toxins, rendering them harmless. They also up-regulate the liver’s ability to remove toxins, remove free radicals, prevent oxidative and DNA damage in cells, transform hormones into beneficial compounds inhibiting hormone- sensitive cancers, enhance and protect against the age-related loss of cellular glutathione, and enable cell death in cells that have abnormal mutations and DNA damage.

A perfect example is a study on prostate cancer showing 28 servings of vegetables per week decrease risk of prostate cancer by 33%, but just 3 or more servings of cruciferous vegetables per week decreased risk of prostate cancer by 41%.

The National Cancer Institute of the National Institute for Health recommends 9 servings of fruit and vegetables per day. I recommend 6 fresh fruits per day and 8 servings of vegetables, with at least 2 servings of cruciferous vegetables per day (one raw and one cooked). Do you eat green cruciferous vegetables daily?

NY Times: Fat to Diabetes to Heart Disease

Maybe I’m wrong on this—chances are I am—but I think most people compartmentalize disease. I don’t think they realize having one disease can lead to another and so on and so on. Take this guy for example. Mr. Smith didn’t realize his diabetes was setting him up for a heart attack. Gina Kolata of The New York Times reports:
Mr. Smith, a 43-year-old pastor in Fairmont, Minn., tried hard. When dieting did not work, he began counting carbohydrates, taking pills to lower his blood sugar and pricking his finger several times a day to measure his sugar levels. They remained high, so he agreed to add insulin to his already complicated regimen. Blood sugar was always on his mind.

But in focusing entirely on blood sugar, Mr. Smith ended up neglecting the most important treatment for saving lives — lowering the cholesterol level. That protects against heart disease, which eventually kills nearly everyone with diabetes.

He also was missing a second treatment that protects diabetes patients from heart attacks — controlling blood pressure. Mr. Smith assumed everything would be taken care of if he could just lower his blood sugar level…

…Mr. Smith, like 90 percent of diabetes patients, has Type 2 diabetes, the form that usually arises in adulthood when the insulin-secreting cells of the pancreas cannot keep up with the body’s demand for the hormone. The other form of diabetes, Type 1, is far less common and usually arises in childhood or adolescence when insulin-secreting pancreas cells die.

And, like many diabetes patients, Mr. Smith ended up paying the price for his misconceptions about diabetes. Last year, he had a life-threatening heart attack.
Apparently it never dawned on him that his fatness might be setting him up for diabetes either. To get the full effect of this article, check out the video report. There are a couple dopey quotes from the doctors they interviewed. Take a look:

You’ve got to love it when medical professionals downplay just how much diet factors into the development of diseases. It makes you wonder where they're getting their doctorates from—Hamburger U! Now, back to reality, we all know that diet is a major determinant of disease, especially when you’re fat like Mr. Smith. Dr. Fuhrman talks about it in Eat to Live:
Overweight individuals are more likely to die from all causes, including heart disease and cancer. Two-thirds of those with weight problems also have hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, or another obesity-related condition.1 It is a major cause of early mortality in the United States.2 Since dieting almost never works and the health risks of obesity are so life-threatening, more and more people are desperately turning to drugs and surgical procedures to lose weight…

…As a good rule of thumb: for optimal health and longevity, a man should not have more than one-half inch of skin that he can pinch near his umbilicus (belly button) and a woman should not have more than one inch. Almost any fat on the body over this minimum is a health risk. If you have gained even as little as ten pounds since the age of eighteen or twenty, then you could be at significant increased risk for health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. The truth is that most people who think they are at the right weight still have too much fat on their body.
So, with that being said, maybe Mr. Smith should spend less time in church and more time in the gym. Not to mention snagging a copy of Eat to Live so that he can get rid of all those pills and syringes.
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Prescription Drugs vs. Your Body's Nutrients

Nutrients, you don’t have to be a health guru to realize they’re the building blocks for superior health. So you wouldn’t want to consume anything that robs your body of them—right? Then you might want to avoid these drugs. The Cardio Blog investigates some nutrient-robbing drugs:
Vasodilators or Beta-Blockers: You may be taking these to help regulate your high blood pressure. If it's helping, great! Keep taking them. But, beware that your consumption of the vasodilators are causing a reduction of vitamin B6 and the beta-blockers are sapping some Coenzyme Q10.

Statins: Yes, statins are a great way to help lower your cholesterol, so do keep taking them if they are working and your doctor suggests that you stick with them. However, please know that the statins also deplete your body of Coenzyme Q10, which can lead to muscle soreness, fatigue, or even elevated liver enzymes.

Diuretics: A popular treatment for hypertension or congestive heart failure. The downside is that they deplete your body of magnesium, zinc, and potassium, which can cause a weakened immunity.
Not all that surprising really. Dr. Fuhrman makes it clear, even though some medications can help us out. All drugs are toxic. That’s why doctors shouldn’t be too quick to prescribe them. He talks about it in his book Fasting and Eating for Health:
In the first pharmacology lecture that I head in medical school, the physician impressed on us that all drugs are toxic and we should never forget this. We were taught that medications work because of their pharmacologic properties—properties that enable the substance to interfere with, block, or stimulate an activity of the body. Drugs typically modify the way the body expresses the signs and symptoms of disease, but in chronic disease states, they do no undo the damage or remove the disease.

Of course, medications can be lifesaving in emergencies and in the case of severe infections, such as pneumonia or meningitis. However, the modern drug approaches to chronic degenerative illnesses fail to offer a safe, effective solution for most chronic medical problems.

Zero Trans Fat or Not?

When you eat mostly fruits and vegetables, you don’t worry about trans fat. Last time I checked kale doesn’t come with partially hydrogenated oils, but some trans fat-free foods do! Stephanie Nano of the Associated Press reports that  zero trans fat doesn't always mean zero:
Federal regulations allow food labels to say there's zero grams of trans fat as long as there's less than half a gram per serving. And many packages contain more than what's considered one serving.

"The problem is that often people eat a lot more than one serving," said Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian of Harvard School of Public Health. "In fact, many people eat two to three servings at a time."

Those small amounts of trans fat can add up, said Michael Jacobson of the consumer advocacy Center for Science in the Public Interest. To find out if there might be some trans fat, he said shoppers can check the list of ingredients to see if partially hydrogenated oil - the primary source of trans fat - is included.

"When it says zero grams, that means something different from no trans fat," said Jacobson. His group has urged the government to bar food producers from using any partially hydrogenated oils at all.
You’ve got to love loopholes—ridiculous. This article reminds me a lot of Jamba Juice’s idea of non-dairy.

Microwave Safe

ABC News takes a look at putting plastic in the microwave. Apparently, you’ve really got to be careful about what you put in there. Check it out:

Here are a couple more posts on potentially dangerous cookware:

When Salad Bites Back

This’ll make you think twice the next time you’re about to munch on a plate of steamed veggies. Check out  FrameBox:

(thanks TrueHoop)

Game over man. Game over!

Cruciferous Vegetables

From the July 2007 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

With the growing popularity of nutritional supplements, more and more Americans are looking for accurate information about the nutrients that can make a real difference in their health and longevity. The reality is, however, that the most powerful thing you can do to improve your health is to eat more green vegetables. Americans eat a piddling amount of greens. If they ate a lot more, disease rates of all types would plummet. Not only are vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals, they also contain thousands of phytochemicals that are critically important for our health.

As researchers have looked more deeply into nutritional science, it has become widely known that eating a whole-food, plant-based diet is a far better way to get your nutrients than fiddling around with supplements of various individual nutrients. And the very best way to get the benefits of this superior nutrition is to harness the power of high-nutrient super foods. Not all vegetables are created equal, and one of the most fascinating areas of research in the last 10 years has been the therapeutic value of cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables are those in the broccoli and cabbage family and include such foods as bok choy, radishes, and watercress.

Close to 300 case-controlled studies have shown a protective effect of vegetable consumption against cancer, and cruciferous vegetables have the most powerful anticancer effects of all foods. Studies have shown that eating fresh fruits, beans, vegetables, seeds, and nuts reduces the occurrence of cancer. If consumption of plant food intake goes up 20% in a population, cancer rates typically drop 20%. But cruciferous vegetables have been shown to be twice as effective. As cruciferous vegetable intake goes up 20% in a population, cancer rates drop 40%.

Most of the phytonutrients we hear about (vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene) function as antioxidants in your body, meaning that they neutralize free radicals, rendering them harmless. The phytochemicals in cruciferous vegetables do this and more; they also activate your body’s own built-in antioxidant control system.

When you take in otherwise natural antioxidants such as vitamin C and E in the form of isolated supplements, they fight little one-on-one skirmishes against free radicals, but not much more. Their beneficial effects are gone in a few hours. Synthetic or isolated fractions of vitamin E, beta carotene, or vitamin C are even less effective and also can cause pro-oxidant behavior, creating more of the free radicals that you are trying to fight.

The benefits of the glucosinolates in whole green vegetables are vastly superior. Instead of getting short-lived benefits (or outright harm), the unique compounds in cruciferous vegetables cycle over and over, protecting your body for 3-5 days after consumption. They fuel numerous bodily systems already in place, enabling them to function more effectively. These systems defend not only against free radicals, but many other types of damage, as well

Dumb Science: Isolated Vitamins NOT Magic Pills

If you spend most of your time reading health news, you’ll soon realize that for every good piece of science, there’s a broad confederacy of junk science. Take this one for example. A new study has determined that taking vitamin C, E, and beta-carotene supplements won’t prevent heart disease in high-risk women. Carolyn Colwell of HealthDay News reports:
"Antioxidants are clearly not the magic bullet for heart disease prevention," said Dr. JoAnn E. Manson, the study's principal investigator and chief of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, in Boston. "We didn't see an overall benefit or risk for these vitamins and cardiovascular disease."

The study shows that vitamins C, E and beta-carotene supplements are no substitute for conventional cardiovascular medications with proven results, added Dr. Nanette K. Wenger, an associate professor in the division of cardiology at the Emory University School of Medicine.

Women patients, in particular, seem to "love their antioxidants, and sometimes, for some reason, stop life-saving medications and start taking them," added Wenger, chairwoman of the data safety and monitoring board for the study.

The findings also mean "we have to redouble the efforts on conventional prevention" such as healthy diet, exercise, weight control and avoiding tobacco, Manson said. "One problem is that occasionally, if there is an expectation of benefit from popping a pill, people are less vigilant about controlling established risk factors and much more difficult lifestyle modifications," she added.
Okay, I’m not a doctor, I have no medical background, and honestly, I’m not that bright, but even I know that adding vitamins to a rotten diet isn’t actually going to help improve your health. To quote some farmer, “Y’all can put a pig in a dress, but, it’s still a pig.” When I asked Dr. Fuhrman about this study, he pretty much had the same reaction:
People that still think that individual vitamins like C and E and beta carotene are an answer to improvements in health, should put away their typewriters and white out, and take a ride in their Edsels. But, there is lots of worthless research being done out there.
On a side note, and maybe it’s because I’m too young, but I had to Google Edsels. Okay, back to the junk science at hand. In his work Dr. Fuhrman makes it crystal clear that vitamins and pills alone aren’t the way to superior nutrition. The basis of our health and longevity can be found in the fruits, vegetables, seeds, and legumes around us—eat them! More from Eat to Live:
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
And that’s only the tip of the iceberg!
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Cow's Milk an Invader?

TryVeg offers up a short article on why humans shouldn’t drink cow’s milk. Check it out:
Our bodies treat cows' milk as an invader, and including milk and other dairy products in our diets is linked to many health problems.

Milk is touted for building strong bones, yet some research shows otherwise. Harvard School of Public Health's Nutrition chairman Walter Willet, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H., writes: "Interestingly, many long-term studies have now examined milk consumption in relation to risk of fractures. With remarkable consistency, these studies do not show reduction in fractures with high dairy product consumption. The hype about milk is basically an effective marketing campaign by the American Dairy industry."

(via My Life as a Vegan)

Monday: Health Points

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, a government advisory body, has drawn up healthy eating guidelines for both government and privately run schools to follow, said Sandhya Bajaj, a commission member.

"The number of overweight children in schools is growing," Bajaj said in a telephone interview. She said that the commission was getting complaints from parents who said that their children were buying unhealthy food from school cafeterias.
Chronic kidney disease patients who are also obese are much more likely than normal-weight patients to have a condition called hyperparathyroidism, which raises their risk of heart problems and death, U.S. researchers say.

Hyperparathyroidism involves elevated levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH). Normally, parathyroid hormone plays an important role in maintaining normal bone structure. Elevated levels of the hormone can lead to bone abnormalities and increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death. Decreased kidney function is the main cause of hyperparathyroidism in chronic kidney disease patients.
Research shows that watermelons stored at room temperatures have much higher levels of antioxidants (beta-carotene and lycopene) than those kept chilled in the fridge. Warm watermelons are even better than fresh-picked melons.

One caution: once cut, watermelons must refrigerated. So try to enjoy your watermelons as soon as you slice and dice them. Then keep your leftovers cool.
This phenomenon is known as "assortative mating" - when men and women tend to select partners according to nonrandom attributes such as height, religion, age and smoking habits.

Researchers have suggested that assortative mating by obesity could increase the already high prevalence of obesity by helping to pass on genes promoting excess weight to the next generation.
A new study highlighted the summer weight-gain phenomenon among young children. Researchers in the Midwest looked at the body mass index, which relates height to weight, of 5,380 students. They followed them for two years, from kindergarten through first grade, and found the average index grew more than twice as quickly over the summer than during the school year.

Children of the working poor may be especially at risk because they are left indoors while their parents are at jobs. While at home, kids eat and drink what they want, says Dr. Jennifer Bass, a pediatrician who chairs a national pediatricians special-interest group on obesity. Bass estimates as many as 30 percent of her patients are overweight.
The report, issued on Thursday, also urged changes in public and private insurance policies to encourage doctors to spend more time counseling patients on how to stay healthy by eating right, exercising and avoiding tobacco.

Federal, state, and local policies have actually made healthful foods more expensive and less available, have limited physical education in schools and created an environment that discourages physical activity, the report said.

More Misleading News Reports about the Atkins Diet

From the December 2002 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

As much as I hate to keep talking about the high-saturated-fat, low-antioxidant-nutrient Atkins diet, I am forced to because his diet continues to make front-page news and stays on the tips of everybody’s tongues.

A study reported at [a previous] American Heart Association (AHA) annual scientific session compared the Atkins diet to an AHA diet. The study found that the Atkins diet was not quite as bad as the AHA diet, when considering weight loss and lipid levels. The study was funded by the Atkins Foundation.

But instead of using the results of this study to warn consumers about the documented problems associated with these unhealthful diets, the press simply reported that the Atkins diet “beat” the AHA diet, which suggested that this high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet has favorable qualities.

Had I written the news report on this study, the story would have been very different. My headline would have read: Recent Study Showed Atkins Diet Almost as Bad as AHA Diet. The subtitle would have read: Neither diet showed significant lowering of cholesterol levels.

Two Terrible Diets

Imagine the ignorance of the researchers actually comparing two low-nutrient, low-fiber diets. It is like staging a prize fight between two over-the-hill, washed-up, has-beens. In this corner, we have the Atkins diet featuring 65-85 percent of calories from fat and loaded with dangerous levels of artery-clogging, cancer-causing, saturated fat and cholesterol. In the opposing corner, we have the junk-food-filled AHA diet, a diet that has already failed the scrutiny of multiple studies and is documented to be a proven failure. Can we change the channel, please?

More than a dozen studies have shown that the majority of patients following the AHA’s typical diet find that their conditions worsen with time.1 Comparing the Atkins diet to the ineffective AHA diet proves nothing. It’s like evaluating the purchase of a new car by comparing it to a junkyard wreck.

It is true that both groups lost weight—thirty-one pounds on the Atkins diet and twenty pounds on the AHA diet. But LDL (the bad cholesterol) did not change significantly on either diet. Triglycerides went down considerably more on the Atkins diet as expected from eliminating refined carbohydrates and grains.

The Healthful Alternative
When we look at the research done on the cholesterol-lowering effects of the type of diet that I recommend, we see an average drop of 33 percent in the cholesterol level and triglyceride level. These drops in both cholesterol and triglycerides compare favorably with the most powerful cholesterol-lowering drugs.2

By contrast, researchers have noted for 50 years, with data collected from thousands of studies, that diets low in fresh fruit increase cancer risk. This recent Atkins study—an attempt to evaluate the weight loss-and other short-term effects of a low-fruit (and, therefore, cancer-causing) diet—illustrates the nutritional naiveté of its researchers. If it had not been for the funding from the Atkins Foundation, it is hard to imagine why anyone would choose to evaluate effects of such a diet.

Weight Loss Not Enough
This study is almost as absurd as studying the weight-loss and cholesterol-lowering effects from snorting cocaine three times a day. That practice also would show some cholesterol lowering, but who would be willing to conduct such a study and proclaim the results to the press?

Imagine the headlines—“Snorting Cocaine Causes Weight Loss and Lowers Cholesterol Better than the AHA Diet.” Fortunately, we already know that even dangerous weight loss schemes like the Atkins Diet lower cholesterol a bit because lowering weight lowers cholesterol.

The real question to ask about a diet is this—What are the long-term effects to your health?

Hurrying the Undertaker
Any diet high in animal products and low in fiber, fruit, beans, and yellow vegetables is going to shorten life span significantly. If Robert Atkins follows his own dietary advice, he is a perfect example of what you would expect from such unhealthful dietary recommendations. He is overweight and has developed heart disease. Do you think he needs to eat more cheese and pork rinds to thin up a bit, as he recommends; or do you think he just might be better off on a diet rich in raw plant foods, beans, steamed greens, carrots, and fresh fruit such as berries and peaches?

Unfortunately, when you eat healthful food, calories and exercise do count. When you attempt to trick nature with gimmicks, like appetite suppressants, metabolic boosters, radical surgical procedures, and risky diets like Atkins to gain some metabolic advantage, you always will pay a price. You don’t get something for nothing, and you can’t escape the laws of cause and effect forever. Atkins and his followers desperately need to read my book, Eat To Live.

Never forget my recurrent admonition: do not be satisfied with mediocrity. Nutritional mediocrity just might cause your death. Marginal cholesterol lowering—from a high level down to a moderately high level—is inadequate. Only a cholesterol level below 150 and an LDL level below 100 are satisfactory. Atkins devotees never reach these ideal levels, while those following my recommendation routinely do. Don’t gamble with your health. Go for superior health.
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Floating Lettuce

I saw this on television a few months ago. Here’s how they grow hydroponic lettuce:

Eating to Live on the Outside: Harvest Thyme

A name can say a lot about a restaurant. For example, The Heart Attack Grill; home of the single, double, triple, and quadruple bypass burgers. That is standard American restaurant for—DON’T EAT HERE! Luckily Harvest Thyme’s name is a little more inviting.

Harvest Thyme is certainly an upgrade over abominations like The Heart Attack Grill, but, it’s not without its own problems. Harvest Thyme does offer plenty of enticing veggie-based options, but the menu is also tempered with lots of typical ooey-gooey standard American favorites. Let’s check it out.

I’ll start with the breakfast menu. Ham and cheese omelet—no! Bacon, egg, and cheese bagel—pass! Fruit cup—now we’re talking! And Mom’s Oatmeal also looks good. Mom prepares it with bananas and raisins. So, provided there’s no milk in it. I’m cool with the oatmeal. Okay, breakfast was easy.

The lunch menu is a little tougher, but workable. The Favorites, Wraps, and Deli Sandwiches are out—too much cheese and meat—but, the Soups & Salads, Veggie Lovers, and Fresh Fruit are another story. Personally, this is where I’d focus all my efforts. So that’s exactly what I’ll do!

For starters, I like the Harvest Thyme Salad; includes greens, tomatoes, sprouts, carrots, cucumbers, onions, and homemade croutons. I’d limit the dressing and axe the croutons. That’d leave me with a nice wallop of phytonutrients—what do you think?

Next up is the Mother Nature’s Best. It’s a big fruit plate and nice a mix of banana, pineapple, granny smith apples, cantaloupe, honeydew, grapes, strawberries, granola, and frozen yogurt. Minus the frozen yogurt, it’s a solid option. Although sometimes I think I eat too much fruit—I love fruit!

There’s another neat option under Veggie Lovers. The Homemade Hummus Pita; prepared with lettuce, tomato, sprouts, carrots, and cucumbers. The concession here would be the pita bread and the oil used in making the hummus. I’m okay with it, but I still like the fruit plate the best.

Lastly the Farmers Market Pita could work. Just like the hummus pita it’s made with lettuce, tomatoes, sprouts, carrots, and cucumbers, but, also includes melted jack and cheddar cheese. If you ditch the cheese, the only concession would be the pita—focus on the veggies!

Do you dig shakes and smoothies? Harvest Thyme has a whole slue of them, but there are a few glitches. Some of them contain milk and protein powder—no thank you! Although, the Berrylicious looks tasty; a blend of orange juice, bananas, strawberries, and pineapple.

Now, I’m not a big juice guy—with the exception of my morning sip of pomegranate juice—but I do like the Later Gator. This one’s made with mandarin papaya, strawberries, banana, and coconut. Eating the whole fruit might be better, but man, these look good!

Okay, that wasn’t too bad, especially after last week’s horrible excursion through Carino's Italian Grill. But now the responsibility is in your hands, check out Harvest Thyme’s menu and let me know how you handle Eating to Live on the Outside. Make a comment or send me an email at

Answers to Common Questions about Flaxseed

From the December 2002 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Why is flaxseed considered so healthful?

Flaxseed is rich in lignans, a type of fiber associated with a reduced risk of both breast cancer and prostate cancer, and omega 3 essential fatty acid, also known as alpha linoleic acid (ALA), which is essential for health maintenance and disease prevention. In addition, flaxseed is a good source of iron, zinc, calcium, protein, potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, and folate.

Where can I buy flaxseed?
You can buy whole flaxseed and packaged ground flaxseed at most health food stores. Increasingly, supermarkets also are selling flaxseed, in their bulk food sections.

Which is better for me, whole or ground flaxseed?
Ground flaxseed provides more nutritional benefits than does whole flaxseed. That’s because the seeds are very hard, making them difficult to crack, even with careful chewing. Grinding breaks the seeds up, making them easier to digest when eaten. If whole flaxseeds remain unbroken, they may pass undigested through the body.

How can I grind the seeds?
Flaxseed is easy to grind, and you likely have the right tool in your kitchen. Grind flaxseed at home using a coffee grinder, VitaMix, food processor, or blender. Like coffee beans, you can grind flaxseed coarsely or finely. Most recipes call for finely ground flaxseed.

What is the difference between brown and golden flaxseed?
Brown and golden flaxseed provide the same nutritional benefits.

How should I store flaxseed and for how long will it keep?
Whole flaxseed comes in Nature’s own finest packaging—its natural hard hull keeps it fresh. You can store clean, dry, good quality, whole flaxseed at room temperature for up to a year. Some people keep a jar of flaxseed handy on their kitchen counter. Ground flaxseed (like all foods that are high in vegetable fat) requires a little more care in handling and storing. It’s best to grind whole flaxseeds as you need them to ensure freshness. After grinding, you should refrigerate or freeze the ground flaxseed in an airtight, opaque container. Handled this way, it will keep for up to 90 days.

Is flaxseed high in calories?

One tablespoon of whole flaxseed (11 grams) contains about 50 calories, 2.5 grams of protein, 3.5 grams of fiber, 23 mg of calcium, 33 mcg of folate, and 2.5 grams of essential omega 3 fatty acid. Although flaxseed is over 82 percent fat, over half (57 percent) of the fat in flaxseed is in the form of the omega 3 essential fatty acid.

Are flaxseed oil and flaxseed oil supplements as good as ground flaxseed?
No. I do not recommend the use of flaxseed oil or flaxseed oil supplements. Flaxseed oil is pure fat and virtually devoid of all or most of the nutrients (except for vitamin E) found in ground flaxseed. Also, flaxseed oil is a polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA), and there is evidence that extracted PUFA oils may suppress the immune system, and possibly increase the growth rate of certain cancers and/or tumors. If you want the benefit of flaxseed, eat the ground seeds and avoid the oil.

Are there any downsides to consuming the whole seeds?
Yes. Like all nuts and seeds, flaxseed is very high in calorie density. Therefore, if you are going to use flaxseed, you must do so in moderation and be careful about the portion size. One-and-a-half tablespoons of ground flaxseed will provide an adequate amount of omega 3 fatty acids and has only about 50 calories. I wouldn’t recommend that anyone consume more than 2-3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed in a single day.

What’s the easiest way to use it?
You can add the ground flaxseed to your morning oatmeal or other cereal. I blend ground flaxseed into a fruit smoothie each morning. Some people like to eat the ground flaxseed by itself. They say it has a sweet, nutty flavor.

Busting Fitness Myths

Colette Bouchez of WebMD busts nine major fitness myths. This one about abdominal fitness is really good. I’m sure some people will be getting red-faced. Take a look:
Fitness Myth No. 2: Doing crunches or working on an "ab machine" will get rid of belly fat.

Don't believe everything you hear on those late-night infomercials! Harr says that while an ab-crunching device might "help strengthen the muscles around your midsection and improve your posture," being able to "see" your abdominal muscles has to do with your overall percentage of body fat. If you don't lose the belly fat, he says, you won't see the ab muscles.

But can doing ab crunches help you to lose that belly fat? Experts say no.

"You can’t pick and choose areas where you’d like to burn fat," says Phil Tyne, director of the fitness center at the Baylor Tom Landry Health & Wellness Center in Dallas. So crunches aren't going to target weight loss in that area.

"In order to burn fat, you should create a workout that includes both cardiovascular and strength-training elements. This will decrease your overall body fat content," including the area around your midsection, he says.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Milk?

From the people that brought us Bionic Burgers. Beware of Mutant Milk:

High-Fat Foods No Good for Colon Cancer

Dr. Fuhrman makes it pretty clear. If you’re looking to prevent cancer, eating lots of animal products is a bad idea. Take intestinal cancer for example. Here’s a graph from Dr. Fuhrman:

And here’s some more news to support the link between animal foods and colon cancer. Randy Dotinga of HealthDay News reports that red meat, poultry, and dairy may raise colon cancer risk:
New research suggests that a nutrient in red meat, poultry and dairy products may contribute to the development of intestinal polyps, which can lead to colon cancer.

The study, which involved women only, was preliminary, and no one is yet suggesting a change in diet as a result.

However, the research into the nutrient, called choline, could ultimately lead to new dietary recommendations, said Eunyoung Cho, an epidemiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.
Good thing the research mentions poultry because a lot of people think grilled chicken is some sort of savior. It's not. Dr. Fuhrman explains in Eat to Live:
Red met is not the only problem. The consumption of chicken and fish is also linked to colon cancer. A large recent study examined the eating habits of 32,000 adults for six years and then watched the incidence of cancer for these subjects over the next six years. Those who avoided red meat but at white meat regularly had a more than 300 percent increase in colon cancer incidence.1 The same study showed that eating beans, peas, or lentils, at least twice a week was associated with a 50 percent lower risk than never eating these foods.
But this next report muddies up the water a little bit. Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News reports that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, poultry, and fish lowers the risk of recurring colon cancer:
Colon cancer patients who eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, poultry and fish can significantly lower the risk of their cancer returning, new research suggests.

"We know a lot about how certain dietary things affect the risk of developing colon cancer in the first place but we didn't know, before this study, how diet affected persons who already have cancer," explained study author Dr. Jeffrey A. Meyerhardt, an assistant professor of medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

Although the findings, which appear in the Aug. 15 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, need confirmation, colon cancer patients might want to consider improving their eating habits.
Okay, the fruits and veggies are golden and we just talked about chicken, but remember, consuming too much fish is not without its problems either. In Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman brings up a scary risk:
Today the link between animal products and many different diseases is as strongly supporting in the scientific literature as the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. For example, subjects who ate meat, including poultry and fish, were found to be twice as likely to develop dementia (loss of intellectual function with aging) than their vegetarian counterparts in a carefully designed study.2 The discrepancy was further widened when past meat consumption was taken into account. The same diet, loaded with animal products, that causes heart disease and cancer also causes most every other disease prevalent in America including kidney stones, renal insufficiency and renal failure, osteoporosis, uterine fibroids, hypertension, appendicitis, diverticulosis, and thrombosis.3
So, what are the best foods for cancer-prevention? The answer should be obvious by now. Dr. Fuhrman’s favorites: fruits, vegetables, seeds, and beans. These posts will help fill you in:

Waking Up to the Effects of Caffeine

Written by Dr. Fuhrman’s colleague Jeff Novick, M.S., R. D. for the December 2002 edition of Healthy Times:

Believe it or not, according to a study presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress, the amount of caffeine in just one cup of coffee could be enough to harden a person’s arteries for several hours afterward. Hardened arteries put extra pressure on the heart and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

“After drinking a cup of coffee, blood pressure can rise up to 5 or even 10 millimeters of mercury,” said Dr. Charalambos Vlachopoulos from the Cardiology Department of the Henry Dunant Hospital in Athens, Greece. Increases of this magnitude can increase a person’s risk of suffering from a stroke or a heart attack.

Elsewhere, Dr. M. O’Rourke and colleagues at St. Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, Australia, presented data at the 22nd Congress of the European Society of Cardiology linking caffeine consumption with alterations in the aorta, the main artery supplying blood to the body. Their study showed that caffeine led to a loss of aortic elasticity and raised blood pressure. The elasticity of the aorta is linked to heart function and coronary blood flow.

In a Finnish study reported in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, Dr. Maarku Heliovaara of the National Public Health Institute in Helsinki and colleagues found that people who drank four or more cups of coffee each day had twice the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, compared with people who drank less coffee. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s defenses attack its own tissues, resulting in a chronic destruction and deformity of the joints. Smoking, high cholesterol, being overweight, and certain dietary factors also have been linked with a higher risk of the disease.

Too much caffeine also has been shown to raise women’s risk for incontinence. According to a report in the July 2000 issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, women who drink more than four cups of brewed coffee a day—or consume a lot of caffeine from other sources, such as tea, cola, or cocoa—may be more than twice as likely to suffer incontinence from a weakened bladder muscle as women who consume less caffeine.

A study reported in the February 2002 issue of Diabetes Care, found that moderate consumption of caffeine reduced insulin sensitivity by 15 percent. The researchers also found that caffeine increased catecholamines, plasma-free fatty acids, and both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The moderate consumption of caffeine caused a fivefold increase in epinephrine. Epinephrine increases the production of glucose in the liver and interferes with the ability of muscle and fat cells to use glucose.

Found in coffee, tea, and soft drinks, caffeine is the most widely used drug in the world. In the Western world, 8 out of 10 adults consume caffeine in some form.

Do yourself a favor—wake up to the negative effects of caffeine and avoid it.

Thursday: Heart Points

The researchers measured blood levels of a protein called C3, a marker for the inflammation that is a risk factor for cardiovascular illnesses. After controlling for other variables, the scientists found that those in the highest one-quarter in hostility, anger and depression showed a steady and significant increase in C3 levels, while those in the lowest one-quarter had no increase.
A new generation of faster, wilder roller coasters can make the heart race up to 155 beats a minute and spur dangerous changes to heart rhythm in some people, according to a study released today.
Experts have long suspected a link between the blood vessels in the neck and back and a person's blood pressure and heart rate, and now they've found the proof. Due to a newly discovered neurological pathway it's now known that slouching at your desk, or neglecting to stand up straight, can end up raising your blood pressure and putting your health at risk.
For example, 8.5 percent of people with diabetes who have severe heart attacks die within 30 days, compared to 5.4 percent of those who do not have diabetes. After compensating for factors such as age -- older people are more likely to have diabetes -- that translates to an 80 percent increased risk of death within one month, according to the researchers.
All healthy adults aged 18 to 65 need moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity for at least 30 minutes on five days each week, or 20 minutes of intense aerobic activity at least three days a week, the AHA and the ACSM said.
Want to drip sweat and amp up your level of fitness? Try lunging on the treadmill. It's tricky and tough. In fact, you should have good cardiovascular endurance, balance, strength and flexibility.


People in Utah must be crazy? This woman thinks she grew a strawberry inside a tomato. The Associated Press is on it:

My favorite part is the old man, “That is a strawberry, irregardless of what they say. That’s a strawberry.” He needs to get out more. Anyway, in the event that strawberries and tomatoes do meld. They’re both nutritional heavyweights. Dr. Fuhrman explains in Disease-Proof Your Child:
Berries: Add berries to morning cereals. Make dessert sorbets from frozen berries. My kids love frozen strawberries blended with an orange or orange juice. We usually add a slice of dried pineapple and use our Vita-Mix to make a smooth and delicious strawberry sorbet.

Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a wonderful food in their own class. Whether you consider them a fruit or vegetable, it matters not. Slice them into pita pocket sandwiches. Mash some almond butter with a fork into some tomato sauce to add to the vegetable-tomato-sprout avocado pita pocket. What a great school lunch.
And in fact, Dr. Fuhrman considers tomatoes and strawberries two of the best foods you can eat. Here’s the complete list:
Top Seven Foods for Good Health and Longevity
  • Black raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Flax Seeds
  • Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli sprouts

Potato Dance Party

I guarantee this strange song will be stuck in your head. Get down potato—get down! Take a look:

The Popular One-Aspirin-Per-Day Myth

From the December 2002 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

There have been so many misleading media reports stating that taking an aspirin every day is a good way to prevent heart attacks that most people are starting to believe it. Here is an example of the typical conversation I have with other physicians on the subject.

“Dr. Fuhrman, do you take an aspirin every day to prevent heart attack?”

“No, of course not,” I respond.

“Haven’t you read the reports about it in the New England Journal of Medicine?”

“I’ve read them.”

“Then why don’t you practice what you preach.”

“Don’t you mean, ‘Why don’t I practice what you preach?’ I don’t recommend taking aspirin. I recommend eating so healthfully that taking aspirin is not necessary.”

At that point, the fireworks usually begin. Since I don’t enjoy arguing, I’ve decided to describe my thinking here. That way, the next time I’m at a meeting with other physicians, I can hand them a copy of this newsletter and avoid inciting a riot, where I might get attacked with flaming shish kebabs or doused with blazing hot cheese fondue.

Leading Cause of Death

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Every year, more than one million Americans die of heart attacks. The saddest aspect of this enormous suffering is that virtually all of these deaths are unnecessary. With very few exceptions, nobody is predestined to have a heart attack. Heart disease is easily preventable, but not by taking aspirin.

I am aware that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recommended that individuals at high risk of heart attacks take aspirin as a preventative. But even if I agreed with their theory that taking aspirin was an effective way to prevent premature death from heart disease, I wouldn’t recommend it to as many people as they do. According to the Task Force, those at high risk include: men over forty years of age, postmenopausal women, and younger individuals who have high blood pressure or high cholesterol or who smoke. That is quite a broad definition of high risk. It includes almost everybody I know, except my wife and children.

Increased Sudden Death

Aspirin for prevention of heart attacks was first touted after the landmark Physicians Health Study1 found that aspirin decreased the heart attack rate in asymptomatic physicians during a five-year period. That sounds like good news until you realize that overall mortality (death) was not decreased and sudden death was increased. Oops. Sudden death is not a desirable side effect.

The British did a similar study in 1988, which also found no reduction in mortality. After the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force reviewed this and other data, they modified their guidelines and noted that no added benefit, only added risk, has been documented in doses of aspirin greater than 75 mg per day.

Five studies to date have examined the effects of daily or every-other-day aspirin use for primary prevention for periods of four to seven years.2 Most participants were men older than 50 years. Meta-analysis of the pooled data from all of the studies show that aspirin therapy reduced risk for coronary events by 28 percent, but with no decrease in mortality. In other words, aspirin use did not result in longer life. There was no reduction of death due to heart attack or stroke. Further, there was evidence of an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke and a two- to four-fold increase in gastrointestinal complications, including ulcers and bleeding.

Based on this unimpressive data, and in spite of pooled data that shows for most adults, aspirin therapy causes more harm than good,3 most Americans take it for granted that taking an aspirin every day will prevent heart disease.

Advice on aspirin for prevention against heart attacks and stroke must be based on each individual’s cardiac risk. For those at very high risk, with known risk factors such as the conventional, high-saturated fat, low-nutrient diet, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and overweight, the benefits of aspirin may outweigh the risk. But for those of us who eat healthfully, exercise and don’t smoke, taking aspirin will increase our risk of cerebral hemorrhage and other bleeding complications.

For healthy people, the risks outweigh the benefits. That is why, in contrast to typical physician recommendations aimed at reducing risk, I recommend that people eliminate their risk factors. Daily aspirin consumption is for those satisfied with mediocrity and willing to gamble with their lives.
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No Diet Plans for the Obese

Clunky doctor-patient relationships don’t surprise me anymore. Given the amount of medical misinformation out there, you’ve got to question the exchange. Here’s what I mean. A new study found that obese patients don’t receive formal weight-management plans from their doctors. Amy Norton of Reuters reports:
The researchers reviewed the medical records of 9827 patients seen at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, between November 2004 and October 2005. A total of 2543 of these patients were obese.

Principal investigator Dr. Warren G. Thompson, and his colleagues, found that only 505, or about one in five obese patients had their condition formally documented. However, patients who did have a formal diagnosis of obesity were 2.5 times more likely to be given a plan of treatment, such as diet changes and exercise goals.

Obese patients who were older or male were less likely to have their condition documented, whereas patients who were morbidly obese, had diabetes mellitus, or obstructive sleep apnea, were more likely to be formally diagnosed, according to the study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings journal.
I’m a layman, so maybe I’m missing something, but as a doctor, if you have an obese patient, how do you overlook their girth? What do you do, skip it and move on to something easier to fix? Maybe so, check out this quote from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live:
For most people, illness means putting their fate in the hands of doctors and complying with their recommendations—recommendations that typically involve taking drugs for the rest of their lives while they watch their health gradually deteriorate. People are completely unaware that most illnesses are self-induced and can be reversed with aggressive nutritional methods.
I guess this is part of the same paradox as doctors who smoke.

Wednesday: Health Points

"It's clear in all the literature that the more days of school you miss, it really sets you up for such negative outcomes: drugs and AIDS and (teen) pregnancy," said Andrew B. Geier, lead author of the study. "At this early age to show that already they're missing school, and missing school is such a major setup for big-time problems, that's something school policy people have to know," he said.
I hate it when I fit the mold for some not-so-great research finding. Like the recent news about how women with early-stage cancer of the left breast (that's me) who are treated with radiation following lumpectomy (me again) face an increased risk of developing radiation-related coronary damage.
The new recall involves 18.2 million magnetic toys globally, including 9.5 million in the United States. All have magnets or magnetic parts that can be dislodged.
Vegetarians and fish eaters are getting a 6% discount on life insurance premiums by Animal Friends Insurance. The company's managing director told The Guardian that "The risk of vegetarians suffering from some cancers is reduced by up to 40% and from heart disease by up to 30%, but despite this they have to pay the same life insurance premiums as meat eaters.
People who smoke are about four times more likely to develop a leading cause of severe vision loss known as age-related macular degeneration, Australian researchers reported on Monday.
Hey, don't work so hard! Researchers recently found that moderate exercise, like 30 minutes of daily walking, may actually be better than rigorous exercise in preventing heart disease and diabetes. Lead author lead author and exercise physiologist Cris Slentz said the studies "show that a modest amount of moderately intense exercise is the best way to significantly lower the level of a key blood marker linked to higher risk of heart disease and diabetes. More intense exercise doesn't seem to do that."

Pot Bellies are Bad?

Brace yourself. Here comes some earth-shattering news. Ready? Pot bellies are bad for the heart! Shocking—that was sarcasm. Alan Mozes of HealthDay News is on it:
Banish the belly, not just the pounds: That's the heart-healthy advice from a new study that finds that "pot" bellies may be a big indicator of future heart disease.

"What we're seeing is a quite strong association between the pot-belly, apple shape among a relatively young group of people and the build-up of plaque in the arteries," said study co-author Dr. James A. de Lemos, an associate professor of medicine and director of the Coronary Care Unit at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

"Ten to 15 years down the road, this can lead to major cardiac problems, such as a heart attack," he said.

The findings are published in the Aug. 21 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), more than 870,000 Americans die from heart disease each year, making it the leading killer of both men and women.
I guess a lot of people don’t realize how harmful even a little extra weight can be. That’s why Dr. Fuhrman encourages patients to keeping losing weight. Even if friends tell them they’re thin enough. From Eat to Live:
I often have patients tell me they think they look too thin, or their friends or family members tell them they look too thin, even though they are still clearly overweight. Bear in mind that by their standards you may be too thin, or at least thinner than they are.

Healthy Eating Sticks with Kids

From what I’ve noticed, kids and veggies mix like oil and water. Remember this video? This little girl is hardly enthusiastic about her nutrient-rich green beans. Take a look:

I’m sure for some parents this video is like a Vietnam flashback. Make’s it hard to believe Dr. Fuhrman would say something like this. From Disease-Proof Your Child:
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
But, I’m inclined to believe him—yeah, I’m brownnosing a bit—because a new study claims diet advice given to children early on, stays with them as they grow up. The Associated Press reports:
The study of children in Finland found that those who were taught to focus on healthy fats -- those found in fish, nuts, seeds and oils from plants -- had slightly lower cholesterol levels compared to those who ate an unrestricted diet.

The researchers have been following the 1,062 children since the age of 7 months. About half of the children and their families were counseled to shift fat intake from animal-based saturated fats to healthier unsaturated fats. The rest did not get specific diet advice. The new study reported the results on the children at age 14.

Dr. Harri Niinikoski, lead author of the study done at the University of Turku in Finland, said children begin forming their eating and lifestyle habits in childhood.

"We think that this lifestyle change can be started early," he said.
Interesting, take me for example. All my life my mother drummed into my head, “Fast food will kill you.” As a result, to this day I can count on my fingers how many times I’ve had McDonalds.

Sterols: Plant Nutrients, Heart Helpers

More good news for vegetable-based diets. Prevention Magazine reports that plant sterols help to protect your heart. Julie Upton has more:
Sterols and stanols are found naturally in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and oils. Adding 2g of either to your daily diet can help lower your total cholesterol by about 10% — often within 2 weeks, according to numerous studies published in both American and European medical journals. That may not sound like a substantial reduction, but it could translate to a 20% lower risk of heart disease — which is the number one killer in the United States, says Joseph Keenan, MD, a professor of family medicine and a joint professor of food science and nutrition at the University of Minnesota.

Our primer will help you better understand how these unique compounds work, how they can protect your health, and the easiest way to incorporate them into your diet…

…Plant sterols and stanols act very much like cholesterol itself: Soft and waxy, they serve as building blocks for hormones, vitamins, and cell walls. These structural similarities give them their cholesterol-lowering capabilities. As sterols travel through the digestive tract, they compete with cholesterol, so some of the sterols are absorbed into the bloodstream instead of artery-clogging cholesterol. The bonus: Studies show that sterols and stanols don't affect artery-protecting HDL cholesterol.
Clearly not new information, but its still great to hear this echoed. So, are you looking for a good source of sterols? Dr. Fuhrman thinks eating nuts and seeds are a smart move. From the March 2007 edition of Healthy Times:
Raw nuts and seeds are packed with nutrients. They contain lignans, bioflavonoids, minerals, and other antioxidants that protect the fragile freshness of the fats therein; they also contain plant proteins and plant sterols that naturally lower cholesterol. And because nuts and seeds supply certain fibers, phytochemicals, phytosterols, and bioactive nutrients not found in other foods (such as polyphenols and arginine), they have other beneficial effects that prevent blood vessel inflammation.

Perhaps one of the most unexpected and novel findings in nutritional epidemiology in the past five years has been that nut consumption offers such strong protection against heart disease. Several clinical studies have observed beneficial effects of diets high in nuts (including walnuts, peanuts, almonds, and other nuts) on blood lipids.1 A review of 23 intervention trials using nuts and seeds demonstrated convincingly that eating nuts daily decreases total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.2 Not only do nuts and seeds lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol, they can help normalize a dangerous type of LDL molecule (the small, dense LDL particles that damage the endothelial cells that line the blood vessels).3
But remember, oils aren’t the best source of sterols. Dr. Fuhrman would rather you get them from the whole food and not oil. From Cholesterol Protection for Life:
Do not use oil: Instead, use nuts and avocado to flavor dressings and sauces. Oil is a high calorie food, with the vast majority of nutrients lost. In comparison, the use of raw nuts and seeds such as flax, walnuts, and sunflower seeds have shown remarkable protective effects for both heart disease and cancer. When you consume your fat in nature's protective package, (nuts and seeds) in place of extracted oils, you get the lignins and flavonoids and other valuable nutrients that support excellent health.

For example, flax seed oil is also oil and just like other oils it contains 120 calories per tablespoon. Ground flax seeds contain lignans, flavonoids beneficial fibers, sterols and a host of other beneficial substances and only has 30 calories per tablespoon. Eat the food not the extracted oil. Excessive amounts of oil are not favorable. Even too much of the benefical oil in flax is linked to higher rates of prostate cancer.4
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Veggies + Fruits

Acorn Squash w/ Apples and Pecans
1 acorn squash
1 medium apple, chopped
1/2 cup raw pecans, chopped
1/4 cup raisins or currants
cinnamon, to taste
Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Place face down in a baking pan. Add 1/8 inch of water. Cover pan loosely with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, mix apples, pecans and raisins together in a small bowl. Take squash out of oven and place apple mixture in hollowed out bowl of squash. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Cover loosely with foil and bake another 30 minutes, or until squash and apples are soft. Serves 4.

Green Beans Almondine
1 pound green beans, washed with tips removed
1 teaspoon almond oil
1/4 cup almond meal
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon slivered almonds
Steam green beans until crisp tender. Meanwhile, toast slivered almonds for two minutes in a 200 degree oven or on the lightest setting in a toaster oven. When green beans are done toss with almond oil, almond meal, and garlic powder. Sprinkle with toasted almonds. Serves 4.

Asparagus with Orange Dressing and Walnuts
2 pounds asparagus
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated organic orange zest
4 tablespoons fresh orange juice
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons V-8® vegetable juice, low sodium
1/2 tablespoon Dr. Fuhrman's VegiZest
2 teaspoons date sugar
1/4 teaspoon arrowroot powder
1/2 orange, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons walnuts, finely chopped
Break off woody ends from asparagus. Steam asparagus until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, over low heat, whisk together remaining ingredients, except orange and nuts, until slightly thickened. Drain asparagus well in a colander. Transfer hot asparagus to plates. Spoon orange sauce over top and sprinkle with nuts. Serves 4.

Iron-Rich Plants

According to this Reuters report, iron deficiency is a major global issue, but some Swiss scientists have a solution. Grow plenty of iron-rich plants. Here’s more:

Growing iron-rich plants may be the best way to combat iron deficiencies in people around the world, Swiss scientists said on Thursday.

With genetic engineering and selective breeding of such plants, growers can make strides against a problem that affects two billion people worldwide, they wrote in the Lancet medical journal…

… Iron-rich meat is too costly for many in the developing world, they said. Iron supplements in pill form are difficult to distribute in those nations, and many people are reluctant to take them.

While fortifying foods such as wheat-flour or rice with iron has worked well, genetically enriching these plants would preserve more of the mineral during processing.

That’s why I eat a ton of Romaine lettuce! In Nutrient Density of Green Vegetables Dr. Fuhrman points out that green vegetables are packed with iron. Check it out:

Nutrients Present in 100-Calorie Portions (Iron)
  • Broccoli: 3.5 mg
  • Sirloin Steak: .7 mg
  • Romaine Lettuce: 7.7 mg
  • Kale: 5.8 mg

More iron than steak and cheaper! Seems like a no-brainer.

Canada, No Light Smokes

Canadian officials want to put the kibosh on the term “light” or “mild” cigarettes. Reuters reports:
Already last November, three of Canada's largest tobacco companies agreed to change their labeling in anticipation of the federal regulations, saying they would stop using such terms by the middle of this year.

Use of the terms has also been eliminated from marketing in the European Union and Australia, but not in the United States despite recommendations in May by an expert panel.

Canadian Health Minister Tony Clement announced the proposed regulations, which will carry a 75-day comment period.

"Research has shown that many smokers incorrectly believe that smoking 'light and mild' cigarettes is less harmful to their health," Clement said in a statement.
I like the idea. I think most people believe light cigarettes mean the same thing as diet soda. Time to kill that misconception—don’t you think?

Free Fruit Fridays

Here’s an idea. Want school children to eat more fruit? Give it away for free! The Diabetes Blog explains:
Australia has its own problems with rising obesity and diabetes, and this fiber-loaded funding is more than just good stuff on Fridays. Premier John Brumby stated the Victorian plan is more comprehensive than a UK free fruit program that resulted in limited impact, per a published study last month in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Brumby explained Free Fruit Friday is part of a broader strategy, pairing with other programs such as Go For Your Life, another government program touting healthy eating and physical activity. He believes the effort will create behavioral change. Bold statement. I'll be curious to read the program evaluation results down the line. You can't help but like the idea of kids scooping up free fruits and vegetables in schools. The initiative suggests schools purchase locally -- fresher produce and support of the small farmer.
Well, if Aussie kids are anything like American kids, this should work. People love free stuff. Either way, it sure beats a pen.

More on HPV Vaccinations

Sanjit Bagchi of The Heartland Institute breaks down the cons of the HPV Vaccination Gardasil. Check it out:
Gardasil, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine that several state legislatures are considering mandating girls must receive to attend school, may be more dangerous than consumers have been led to believe, a public-interest group reported in late May.

After obtaining information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through a Freedom of Information Act request, Washington, DC-based Judicial Watch reported 1,637 adverse events involving Gardasil, including three deaths related to the vaccine.

"As of May 11, 2007, the 1,637 adverse vaccination reactions reported to the FDA via the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) included 371 serious reactions," Judicial Watch reported in a news release. "Of the 42 women who received the vaccine while pregnant, 18 experienced side effects ranging from spontaneous abortion to fetal abnormalities."

The three deaths were caused by heart problems or blood clots after the patients received Gardasil.
In this post Dr. Fuhrman gives his thoughts on HPV vaccinations: Dr. Fuhrman on HPV Vaccinations.

Convenience Junk Foods

Processed foods might be the crème de la crème of junk foods—real villains. Judith Groch of MedPage Today explains convenience foods save little time and—as we know—lack nutrients:
Commercial foods, as the term is used in this study, are either purchased as ready-to-eat (hot dogs) or prepared by the home cook according to package directions (macaroni and cheese). These foods are more or less synonymous with so-called "convenience foods."

Of the 64 weeknight dinners, 70% were home-cooked, although not necessarily from the beginning. Most of these evening meals included moderate amounts of packaged commercial or convenience foods.

These included stir-fry mixes, potstickers, chicken dishes and barbecued ribs, as well as canned or frozen vegetables, specialty breads (ready-to-eat, parbaked, or from a mix), canned soup, commercial pasta sauce, bagged salads, and hot dogs.

Fewer than 15% of the families ate dinners consisting mainly of takeout or fast foods, and only 5% combined takeout food with food prepared at home, the researchers noted. Only about 10% were completely home-cooked.

Home-cooked meals with a moderate assist from commercial foods required an average of 34 minutes "hands-on time" and 52 minutes "total time" to prepare.

Bottled Water Bopping the Earth?

Last month we learned that bottled water is basically tap water, and, I learned that the plastic bottles actually pose a health risk. A commenter filled me in:
Oops! The word is "don't reuse those bottles". Guess there's some danger of leaching of bad plastic from those if reused. As my son the chemist told me, "Get yourself one of those bottles especially made for holding water while hiking". It's also better for the environment. "Water-mining" is lowering the water table in some areas changing natural water supply. Plastic bottles, even if recycled aren't exactly eco-friendly.
Now, there might be something to this. The New York Times reports that plastic water bottles aren’t doing the planet any favors. Alex Williams explains:
In the last few months, bottled water — generally considered a benign, even beneficial, product — has been increasingly portrayed as an environmental villain by city leaders, activist groups and the media. The argument centers not on water, but oil. It takes 1.5 million barrels a year just to make the plastic water bottles Americans use, according to the Earth Policy Institute in Washington, plus countless barrels to transport it from as far as Fiji and refrigerate it.

The issue took a major stride into mainstream dialogue earlier this summer, after the mayors of San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Minneapolis and New York began urging people to opt for tap water instead of bottled.

This added momentum to efforts by environmental groups like Corporate Accountability International and Food & Water Watch, which have been lobbying citizens to dump the bottle; environmental organizations had banded together in several states to pressure governments to extend bottle bills to include bottled water. Several prominent restaurateurs, like Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., made much-publicized moves to drop bottled water from their menus.

AND so people who had come to consider bottled water a great convenience, or even a mark of good taste, are now casting guilty glances at their frosty drinks.

Daphne Domingo Johnson, a life coach who also works for a nonprofit organization in Seattle, said she used to keep a case of bottled water “in my trunk for all times, just because I know the importance of water.” Ms. Johnson, 35, said she thought of reusable plastic Nalgene bottles — recently reborn as urban status symbols — as “just for backpackers or athletes.”

Kids, Obesity, and Heart Disease

A chubby-cheeked kid might look cute, but, it’s hardly a sign of good health—now and in the future. New research has determined that childhood obesity boosts a person’s lifetime risk of heart disease. Alan Mozes of HealthDay News reports:
Compared to healthier youngsters, school-age children with the condition face a 14.5 times greater risk of cardiovascular disease when they reached their 30s and 40s, the study found.

Components of the syndrome include high blood pressure, high body mass, high blood pressure and high triglycerides (blood fats).

"I wasn't exactly shocked, but this is the first time we have shown that children who have this constellation of factors known as metabolic syndrome are at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease in their adult years," said study lead author John A. Morrison, a research professor of pediatrics who also works in the division of cardiology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in Ohio.

The findings are published in the August issue of Pediatrics.

According to the American Heart Association, more than 50 million Americans have the metabolic syndrome. The condition is typically diagnosed on the basis of having at least three of the following characteristics: abdominal obesity; high blood pressure; insulin resistance (in which the body can't process insulin or blood sugar properly); a high risk for arterial plaque build-up due to high levels of triglycerides, low HDL ("good") cholesterol and high LDL ("bad") cholesterol; and a high risk for clotting and inflammation as indicated by the elevated presence of certain blood proteins.
Sound familiar? Other than this being a painfully obvious conclusion. In Disease-Proof Your Child Dr. Fuhrman maintains that heart disease starts young:
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.

When we study people who died young of coronary artery disease, we find that the highest risk of an earlier death occurs in those who were above average weight in childhood.2 Findings from the famous Bogalusa Heart Study show that a high saturated fat intake early in life is strongly predictive of later heart disease burden and the higher blood pressure in childhood and adolescence is powerfully predictive of cardiovascular death in adulthood.3

A low-fiber, high-saturated-fat diet with lots of animal products, dairy fat, white flour, and sugar creates a heart attack-prone person with high cholesterol levels. The anti-cancer lifestyle, a healthy diet style for the entire family, started early in life, will have the added benefit of making it easier for children to become heart attack-proof. A diet high in plant fiber shows a protective effect against developing high cholesterol, obesity, and elevated insulin levels. Eating more of the natural high-fiber plant food in childhood has a powerful protective effect on preventing later-life heart problems, even for those a strong family history of heart disease.4 For those whose family genetically predisposes them to heart disease, early-life dietary excellence can make the difference between a long life free of heart disease and a heart attack in one’s forties or fifties.
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A Peach Returns to the Earth

Watch as this peach slowly melts back into the earth from whence it came. Take a look:

The Bribe Diet

Weight loss would be a lot easier if someone kicked you a sawbuck every time you dropped a few pounds. Well, one Italian town likes the idea. The mayor of Varallo Italy is paying residents who lose weight. Reuters reports:
Men living in the northwestern Italian town of Varallo will receive 50 euros ($70) for losing 4 kg (9 pounds) in a month, Mayor Gianluca Buonanno said. Women will get the same amount for shedding 3 kg (7 pounds).

If they can keep the weight off for 5 months, they will get another 200 euros ($280), he told Reuters.

"Lots of people are saying, 'I really need to lose some weight but it's really tough.' So I thought, why don't we go on a group diet?" said Buonanno, who said he was about 6 kg (13 pounds) overweight.

Eating to Live on the Outside: Carino's Italian Grill

The Darth Vader theme song should be playing. Because get ready! Here comes another standard American restaurant. Now, without even getting into it, I can sense that Carino’s Italian Grill is going to be a commercialized-Italian food nightmare for even the most liberal Eat to Liver.

That being said, I’m not surprised. Just look at Fazoli’s faux-talian food and Carrabba's Italian Grill. These pseudo-Italian restaurants really annoy me. Io sono Italiano and I can tell you first hand, I’ve never sat down to eat a plate of my nonna’s “Italian Nachos” and “Skilletini.”

To paraphrase comedian Nick Di Paolo, these places call Baloney Alfredo authentic Italian cuisine—mamalukes! But be that as it may. With out any further ado, let’s crack open Carino’s menu and see what it’s got to offer—biting my tongue.

Well, the appetizers are tutto male—all bad. Something about the aforementioned Italian Nachos just doesn’t do it for me. Maybe its the oodles of cream and cheese? I wonder. The Sicilian Fire Sticks are another abomination; bacon, sausage, cheese—oh my! 

Moving past the appetizers brings me to a familiar menu section, the salads. My old adage holds true yet again. Salads are a bastion of hope for an Eat to Liver. Granted, most of Carino’s salads are more than iffy, but, there are a couple options worth running to.

The first is the house salad. It doesn’t say what’s in it, but I’m assuming it comes with lettuce, tomato, and onions—nothing wrong with that. Plus, Carino’s offers one of those never-ending salad deals; which is good, because if you’re like me you can plow through salad like a ruminant.

I might be persuaded into ordering the Honey-Pecan Salmon Salad; salmon with a honey-pecan crust, romaine lettuce, sun-dried tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, red onions, and lemon-caper vinaigrette. Truth be told, this isn’t a horrible dish; especially since salmon is on Dr. Fuhrman’s list of less-contaminated fishes. If I limit the dressing, I’d escape this meal relatively unscathed.

Okay, time to leave the comfort of the salads. Onto the rest of the menu—oh boy—well, if you’re feeling fishy you’ve got a couple more options. I’m talking about the Jalapeno Garlic Tilapia and Salvatore’s Fish Positano. Together they include tilapia, garlic, Roma tomatoes, jalapenos (how Italian), spinach, lemon butter cream sauce, pasta, green olives, black olives, capers, and white wine lemon sauce. To make these work I’m ditching the sauces. But even with those two unsavories gone, they’re not perfect. The salty olives and capers are a big concession and the pasta is a rough mission too. I’d opt for a salad. Oh, and Dr. Fuhrman recommends Tilapia as a safer fish as well.

You probably guessed by now. Even though I’m Italian, I rarely eat pasta—non mi piaciono gli alimenti raffinati. Making these next two dishes a big waste of time, but, maybe you’re more liberal than me. So, here goes. The Stuffed Roasted Vegetable Rigatoni includes rigatoni stuffed with portabella mushrooms, red peppers, yellow peppers, onions, asparagus, spinach, squash, and a creamy-cheesy marinara vegetables sauce. Ciao creamy-cheese sauce! Insert regular sauce. That’s what I’d do, but I’d still be left with the pasta concession. Now, given the amount of veggies in this dish, there’s a slight chance I’d order it, which would mean extra gym-time for me—bad Gerry, bad!

And finally, the Angel Hair with Artichokes has some potential. It’s made with artichoke hearts, Roma tomatoes, garlic, capers, basil, black olives, parmesan cheese, and angel hair pasta. Yup, a few problems here! First the capers are going bye-bye, then the olives, and then the cheese. What are you left with? Some veggies, pasta, and probably a bunch of olive oil—eh, if I went with pasta, I’d prefer the Vegetable Rigatoni. But again, a regular-old salad is probably the safest bet.

So there you have it—un dolore nel collo! Yet another standard American restaurant sliced and diced. There’s actually a Carino’s Italian Grill close to my house, but I doubt I’ll be visiting it anytime soon. But in the odd chance that I do, rest assured, I’ll be primed and ready to squawk about it. As for right now, check out Carino’s menu and let me know how you’d handle Eating to Live on the Outside. Shoot me an email at, or, make a comment. Until next time!

Flavonoids and Bioflavonoids

From the July 2007 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Flavonoids and bioflavonoids mean the same thing. I will refer to them as flavonoids only. They refer to phytochemical compounds in plants that are absorbed by the body but then rapidly excreted as if they were a foreign substance, but without causing damage. Flavonoids do not function like conventional hydrogendonating antioxidants, but have an interesting hodgepodge of effects inside the cells. The hallmark of their unique properties is that they do not stay in the body very long and induce phase II detoxification enzymes in the liver, while at the same time attracting other toxins in the body to be expelled simultaneously. Flavonoids are like dust mops for toxins that get thrown out along with the dust that they collect.

Too Much of a Good Thing
Taking extra large amounts of supplemental flavonoids could be harmful, not helpful.Too many flavonoids, and especially too much of a single flavonoid, may not be health favorable.

For example, the potent antioxidant activity of epicatechin found in test tube chocolate may have very little, if any, antioxidant activity in the body because it is a flavonoid that is rapidly excreted by the body. The resveratrol found in grapes and red wine and the potent catechins in green tea may have powerful and beneficial effects, but if taken in concentrated dosages in a supplement form may do more harm than good.

Important Flavonoid Study
A team of University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley) scientists led by C.F. Skibola and M.T. Smith has found that high concentrations of flavonoids in supplements sold at health stores actually may promote cancer formation. In a study of the impact of flavonoid intake on the cell, scientists found that excessively high levels of flavonoids in the body can damage the chromosomes and DNA in cells, leaving them more susceptible to cancer. Their study was published in the scientific journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine.6

Populations living in Japan show the highest levels of flavonol intake due to their high green tea consumption.“ Flavonoids found in foods are for the most part very beneficial for a variety of reasons,” Skibola said. “They can possess antioxidant, antiinflammatory, [and] anti-proliferative activity.”

The ingredients in tofu and soybean that are thought to decrease the rate of cancer are the isoflavones genistein and diadzein.Populations in Asian countries consume approximately 20-80 grams of these isoflavones each day,while those in Western countries consume approximately one-three grams. Genistein is believed to have anticancer effects because it can act as an estrogen antagonist, which inhibits the reaction that estrogen has on cells.

“Soy contains phytoestrogens which are compounds with weak estrogenic activity,” Skibola said. “We know that individuals who have more soy in their diets—typically individuals of Asian descent—have lower risk of hormonally-related cancers such as breast and prostate cancer.”

At low levels, estrogenic compounds, such as the phytoestrogens in soy, act like the estrogens synthesized naturally by the body. They outcompete the estrogens, thereby lowering the possibility for the estrogen to promote breast cancer. The phytoestrogens in soy compete with endogenous estrogens and inhibit a number of enzymes involved in estrogen metabolism. This is protective—by enhancing estrogen clearance through the body and altering the circulating forms of estrogen in the body to more favorable forms.

Supplement Problems

Along with the rising popularity of flavonoids has come a rise in production by the supplement industry, which has rushed to package and market flavonoids in the form of pills. At low concentrations, flavonoids help the body get rid of harmful free radicals and also promote the inhibition of enzymes like protein kinase, which is necessary in cell division. The effects of flavonoids are thought to be potentially anticarcinogenic because flavonoids can block and inhibit the excessive cell division characterized by cancer. Certain flavonoids can inhibit enzymes, such as protein kinases, that are involved in cellular proliferation and tumor progression. This is one reason flavonoids can be considered anticarcinogens. But even with all of the benefits that flavonoids provide the body, a great danger lies in overconsumption of the chemicals, the UC Berkeley scientists said. Although phytoestrogens are not as potent as endogenously produced estrogens, excess amounts of these compounds can actually promote breast cancer and feminize males.

According to the scientists, the average person in the United States consumes approximately 500-1000 milligrams of flavonoids each day in his or her diet. Popular flavonoid supplements, such as ginkgo biloba, usually contain 10-20 times more than the amount recommended for the human body in one pill. There exists a common misconception that if something is good, then much more is better. This false understanding may cause individuals who are looking for health benefits to ingest dangerously high levels of these compounds in isolated forms. The high levels and the unnatural delivery may create imbalances and effects that are unexpected. “At high concentrations, certain flavonoids can act as pro-oxidants and become mutagenic, meaning that they could cause oxidative damage and cause DNA and chromosome damage,” Skibola said. “They also can inhibit a number of enzymes that can alter normal body functions. They can interfere with the metabolism of drugs and with mineral absorption in our bodies.”

When consumed in excessive quantities, flavonoids act as mutagens and contribute to free radical formation. They can damage DNA, break chromosomes, and act as endocrine disrupters, inhibiting enzymes such as DNA topoisomerase, which could lead to DNA breaks that potentially lead to cancer. “Thus,” the researchers said,“ in high doses, the adverse effects of flavonoids may outweigh their beneficial ones, and caution should be exercised in ingesting them at levels above that which would be obtained from a diet rich in high-nutrient plant foods.”

Natural Not Necessarily Safe
Just because something comes from a natural source doesn’t mean it can’t hurt you. For example, Skibola and Smith found that excessive intake of flavonoids may dangerously harm a growing fetus in a pregnant woman’s body because flavonoids are small and readily cross the placental barrier between a mother and the child in her womb.

All fruits and vegetables contain flavonoids. If your diet were 100% from flavonoid-rich fruits and vegetables, you would get only the beneficial effects. The problem lies in using flavonoid concentrates produced by pharmaceutical and nutriceutical companies who are producing supplements of these substances in amounts 20-100 times as high as could be achieved from natural foods. The amount of flavonoids consumed by even strict vegetarians eating all healthful plants comes nowhere near the dangerous concentrations in supplements, the scientists said.

“There is no evidence that a veggie diet is harmful,” Smith said. “You can’t eat enough onions, soy, etcetera to harm yourself.” In light of the research, Smith and Skibola hope to convey a message to the supplement industry about the potential harm of excessive flavonoid uptake. “The supplement industry needs to stop selling these potentially harmful products,” Smith said. “Until these supplements are shown to be safe, they should not be sold. If I were the FDA, I would ban them. One of the mainstays of medicine is ‘first do no harm.’”

Combining Whole Foods
Combining cruciferous vegetables with other whole foods maximizes their beneficial effects. Scientific studies show that eating whole foods is more effective at fighting cancer than consuming extracts or individual components of those foods. The effectiveness is increased further when a variety of whole, nutrient-rich, natural foods is eaten at the same time. A recent study on rats illustrated this concept when a compound made of tomatoes and broccoli was compared to feeding them the powders made from extracts from either tomatoes or broccoli. The combination of tomatoes and broccoli was dramatically more effective at shrinking the prostate tumors (52% shrinkage) and showed the power of using food over supplements for cancer prevention and treatment. The group given lycopene (in powder form derived from tomatoes) showed an insignificant effect.7

Optimal benefits will occur from a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables. Include them in both raw and cooked forms from a variety of foods. These benefits cannot be duplicated by taking any one pre-formed compound or supplement. A consensus has been building for over a quarter of a century that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, beans, and seeds is associated with lower risks of developing various types of malignancies.

The evidence is now overwhelming that cruciferous vegetables play a major and unique role in the widely recognized protective effects of natural plant foods against cancer— and are the most important player in this arena. The increased production of these biologically active compounds from raw vegetables is consistent with the studies that show a dramatically lower risk of cancer in those consuming more raw greens in their diet.8 For those in the know, these foods are the most important nutritional factors to prevent common human cancers.9
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Quinoa, Quinoa, Quinoa!

Ever tried quinoa? Don’t worry. I haven’t either, but I’ve heard it’s great! And Diet Blog offers up five good reasons to give quinoa a try. Here are a couple good ones:
3. Quinoa is a good source of protein.
A ½ cup serving of dry quinoa has approximately 11 grams of protein. When cooked, one cup of quinoa is about 254 calories and has almost 9 grams of protein.

4. Quinoa is loaded with minerals.
Quinoa contains potassium, magnesium and manganese. Of these three minerals, magnesium is one of the most common mineral deficiencies in the body. Magnesium helps regulate the absorption of calcium, energy production and aids with muscle contraction.
Now, when you’re ready, give these recipes a whirl: Get Your Quinoa On.

History of Sweet Tea

I’m not a tea drinker, so I’m certainly not a sweet tea drinker, but if you’ve ever been down south you know how popular it is. Sweet Tea’s on almost every menu ya’ll! Ever wonder how the southern fascination with ice tea got started? Jeffrey Klineman of Slate tells the tale:
Sugar worship might account for much of sweet tea's popularity, but I think its appeal lies in the ice. Southerners seem to have a particular fascination with ice. This may stem, most obviously, from the fact that the Southern climate is often steamier than a Rat Pack schvitz. In an early essay about Southern cuisine published by the American Philosophical Society called Hog Meat and Cornpone: Food Habits in the Ante-Bellum South, Sam Hilliard wrote that a container of cool—not even cold—water, pulled from a nearby spring, was a delicacy at the table. Tea was mostly a drink for the upper class, and early on, it was the rich who had access to the ice that came down on ships or in wagons, at least until icehouses were built in cities (Southern farmers had to wait for the arrival of the Model T). If ice was a luxury, then putting out a pitcher of ice-cold tea must have been quite a bit of hospitality. One historian, Joe Gray Taylor, wrote in Eating, Drinking, and Visiting in the South: An Informal History that the rural electrification—and, consequently, refrigeration—wrought by the Tennessee Valley Authority in the 1930s was "probably more appreciated for the ice cubes it provided … than for any of its other services."

Offering up a glass of sweet tea on a hot day in the South is as welcoming a gesture as passing the doobie at a Phish show. It's so ingrained in the Southern DNA—Marion Cabell Tyree included the recipe in a cookbook called Housekeeping in Old Virginia as early as 1879—that people now post videos online of their infants sampling the stuff. It's a frequent menu item for the condemned, as well as a centerpiece at church suppers. As an April Fools' Day prank in 2003, Georgia State Rep. John Noel introduced a bill that would have made it a misdemeanor for a restaurant owner not to include sweet tea on the menu. Most Southerners can easily tell the difference between fresh sweet tea and the stuff from concentrate—and unless their sugar jones is too strong that day, chances are they'll send the latter back.
Sugar worship—I don’t like the sound of that!

Bananas vs. Cats

These cats are having a tough time with a gang of rabid bananas. Take a look:

Wait, aren't they’re Siamese cats. Don’t they know karate?

Can't Beat Those Z's

The Diabetes Blog is all over research linking lack of sleep to obesity and type-2 diabetes. Check it out:
The study found that sleep loss reduced glycogen release from the liver. Since the patient was still awake, requiring energy (and none was being supplied) - the islets withheld production of insulin to sustain existing blood sugar. The aftermath of this suspended glucose metabolism resulted in increased hunger. Yikes.
I’m definitely the pot calling the kettle black here. I know I should be getting more sleep—anyone else an ultra-busy taskmaster? And I’m not exactly doing myself any favors by skipping out on bed time. According to Dr. Fuhrman sufficient sleep is an important part of long-term health:
Adequate sleep is a necessary component of good health. Our modern society stays up late into the night and wakes in the morning to an alarm clock—long before sleep requirements have been fulfilled. To make matters worse, most Americans partake in stimulating substances—such as caffeine and sugar—to remain artificially alert during the day.

During sleep, your body removes the buildup of waste in the brain. Sufficient sleep is necessary for the normal function of your nervous and endocrine systems. Most civilizations in human history recognized the value of mid-afternoon naps. The desire for a rest, short sleep, or “siesta” after lunch should not be seen as an abnormal need, but rather a normal one. People who “cover up” their lack of sleep by using drugs (such as caffeine) as food and/or food (such as highly processed, sugary foods) as drugs sometimes claim (even boast) that they can get by with very little sleep. As you begin to live more healthfully, you may quickly recognize that you need more sleep than you previously thought.

We need to avoid stimulants in order to be in touch with our body’s need for sleep, and only by meeting these needs can we maximize the body’s tremendous capacity for ongoing repair and regeneration of cells.
Remind me to kill my alarm clock.

Chinese Seafood Worries

Justin Pritchard and Adam Goldman of the Associated Press report that a bunch of potentially hazardous Chinese seafood made its way to American dinner tables, without ever being screened. Read on:
The frozen shrimp, catfish and eel arrived at U.S. ports under an "import alert," which meant the FDA was supposed to hold every shipment until it had passed a laboratory test.

But that was not what happened, according to an AP check of shipments since last fall. One of every four shipments the AP reviewed got through without being stopped and tested. The seafood, valued at $2.5 million, was equal to the amount 66,000 Americans eat in a year.

FDA officials stuck the pond-raised seafood on their watch list because of worries it contained suspected carcinogens or antibiotics not approved for seafood.
Not what you want to hear. Especially when you consider all the dangers surrounding certain types of seafood.

Healthy Eating or Food Reich?

Diet Blog examines the differences between healthy eaters and food Nazis. Here’s a peak:
  • Healthy eaters do their best to make good choices - and concentrate on looking after their own bodies.
  • Food Nazis not only control their own diet - they tell everyone else what to do as well.
  • Healthy eaters realize that personal responsibility and education are keys to eating right.
  • Food Nazis want to ban everything.
What are you? I think I’m a little of both.

Wait, Diet Foods are Junk?

Yeah. I know, hard to believe. New research has determined that low-calorie diet foods and drinks can actually contribute to obesity in children. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports:
The study found that animals learn to associate the taste of food with the amount of caloric energy it provides. The researchers speculate that children who eat low-calorie versions of foods that normally have a high calorie content may develop distorted connections between taste and calorie content, resulting in overeating as the children grow up.

"The use of diet food and drinks from an early age into adulthood may induce overeating and gradual weight gain through the taste conditioning process that we have described," lead author and sociologist Dr. David Pierce, of the University of Alberta, said in a prepared statement.

In a series of experiments published Aug. 8 in the journal Obesity, the researchers found that young rats started to overeat when they received low-calorie food and drink. Adolescent rats did not overeat when given low-calorie items.
You mean the standard American definition of low-calorie and all the misinformation it entails doesn’t work? No way! That was heavy sarcasm folks. Skip the low-cal junk food and try making your kids healthy snacks like these. From Followhealthlife’s recipe category:
Pita Apple Bake
2 apples, chopped
¼ cup raisins (optional)
2 tbsp. water or apple juice
1 tbsp. ground flaxseed (optional)
¼ tsp. cinnamon
1 whole-wheat pita, split and separated
Heat the apples, raisins (if desired), and water or juice over a low flame for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and mix in flaxseed and cinnamon. Cut pita in half and fill with apple mixture. Toast in the toaster oven on high for 3 minutes. Try it with other fruits, like pears or peaches, too.

Blueberry and Flax Yogurt
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
½ cup regular soy milk
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
3 medjool or 6 Deglet Noor dates
Blend until smooth. Chill and serve. Great for school lunches too.

Fuhrman Fudgsicles
2 ripe bananas
1 cup cashew nuts
2 tablespoons carob powder
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Blend ingredients together in blender or food processor. Spoon out into ice pop tray and freeze. Rinse outside of popsicle outside of popsicle tray with hot water to pull the pops out of the tray easily.

The Path to Health Enlightenment

In a society awash with diet gimmicks and weight loss drugs, it seems the tried-and-true is still the way to go. The Cardio Blog passes on information claiming diet and fitness are the proven path to heart health. Take a look:
Its advice that we hear all the time, whether we choose to follow it or not: diet and exercise can prevent heart disease. But when you see the statistics, the numbers are staggering -- 80% of heart disease and 90% of type 2 diabetes could be prevented simply by making lifestyle changes.

So why aren't more Americans doing it then? Health experts say there are hurdles to cross, such as:
  • lack of information and misinformation
  • deeply ingrained old habits
  • lack of awareness and lack of planning
Agreed, the solution is pretty simple, but how come so many people are still dying from heart disease? I think healthy diet and fitness are being consumed by junk food and laziness.

Diet Drug Refunds

I think all drug-makers should be held to this. If the toxins you peddle don’t work, give people their money back. Julie’s Health Club talks about the refunds being offered for the diet drug Xenadrine EFX. Take a look:
The FTC alleged that Xenadrine EFX was advertised with false and unsubstantiated weight-loss claims, and its settlement with the marketers of Xenadrine EFX included money for consumer refunds.

The refund is good through Sept. 15 and the amount will depend on the number of consumers who request refunds.

And while I like to see the FTC cracking down on false advertising, the "additional notes" on the company's Web site (below), should have been enough to discourage anyone from taking it in the first place. (Not surprisingly, the clickable categories "testimonials" and "clinical studies" are currently unavailable.)
Government mandated refunds, yet another reason to be leery of drug-makers. Dr. Fuhrman certainly casts them a suspicious eye. From Eat to Live:
New drugs are continually introduced that attempt to lessen the effects our nation’s self-destructive eating behavior. Most often, our society treats disease after the degenerative illness has appeared, an illness that is the result of from forty to sixty years of nutritional self-abuse.

Drug companies and researchers attempt to develop and market medications to stem the obesity epidemic. This approach will always be doomed to fail. The body will always pay a price for consuming medicines, which usually have toxic effects. The “side” effects are not the only toxic effect of medications. Doctors learn in their introductory pharmacology course in medical school that all medications are toxic in varying degrees, whether side effects are experienced or not. Pharmacology professors stress never to forget that. You cannot escape the immutable biological laws of cause and effect through ingesting medicinal substances.

Bad News Bionic Burgers

What makes people eat McDonald’s? Why is garbage food so tempting? Maybe McDonald’s uses enchanted wrappers, because according to new research food in a McDonald’s wrapper tastes better—even veggies! The Associated Press reports:
Anything made by McDonald's tastes better, preschoolers said in a study that powerfully demonstrates how advertising can trick the taste buds of young children.

Even carrots, milk and apple juice tasted better to the kids when they were wrapped in the familiar packaging of the Golden Arches.

The study had youngsters sample identical McDonald's foods in name-brand and unmarked wrappers. The unmarked foods always lost the taste test.

"You see a McDonald's label and kids start salivating," said Diane Levin, a childhood development specialist who campaigns against advertising to kids. She had no role in the research.

Levin said it was "the first study I know of that has shown so simply and clearly what's going on with (marketing to) young children."
Anyone else befuddled? I am. I think I may need to hit myself in the head with a frying pan to comprehend this one—WHACK-WHACK! Okay, all better. Here’s something even more amazing. McDonald’s hamburgers are immortals. Get a load of this video:

This picture is worth a thousand words:

Can’t believe what you’re seeing? Try the frying pan thing, or, check out The Burger Museum for more—Egad!

Coumadin, Vitamin K, and a Plant-Based Diet

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

I have been asked by multiple individuals to give a complete answer with guidelines for patients on Coumadin (Warfarin is the generic name) who have been told by their health professionals to avoid green vegetables because of the interaction between Coumadin and vitamin K.

This subject is of interest to me because I am a physician and author who advocates a green vegetable-rich diet for both weight loss and disease reversal and longevity. As a proponent of a diet rich in leafy greens, broccoli, and other foods rich in vitamin K, my dietary recommendations often contradict the advice of dietitians, nurses, and doctors who advise their patients taking Coumadin to avoid vitamin K-containing foods.

The reason health professionals recommend that their patients on Coumadin avoid vitamin K containing foods is because Coumadin produces its anticoagulation (blood thinning) effects by interfering with the activation of a vitamin K-dependent enzyme that is needed to build clotting factors.

When you ingest more vitamin K from green vegetables, you can decrease the effectiveness of Coumadin. A higher dose of the drug will then be required to maintain the recommended degree of blood thinning. The term “blood thinning” is a lay term that means a reduction in the natural ability of the body to form a blood clot.

The following definitions are important in order to understand this issue:

Coagulation: refers to the formation of blood clots formed by clotting factors and platelets, a normal body reaction when, for example, you cut yourself. Coumadin (Warfarin) is called an anticoagulant because it works against the formation of blood clots.

clots formed inside the blood vessels, typically to seal a defect in the vessel wall. These clots, when formed in the blood vessels that supply the heart with oxygen, cause heart attacks. Thrombus is singular; thrombi is plural.

a traveling clot, usually caused by a thrombus that breaks off and travels to a distal portion of the artery where it is narrower, occluding it, leading to a stroke, pulmonary infarction, or heart attack. A traveling thrombus is an embolus. Embolus is singular; emboli is plural.

In many cases, Coumadin is used as a preventive treatment to reduce the chance of forming emboli that could cause a stroke. Coumadin is most often prescribed for patients with atrial fibrillation, a common irregularity in the heart rate. When you have this irregular heartbeat, the turbulent flow of blood increases the likelihood of the formation of an embolus that can travel to the brain and cause a stroke. Coumadin therapy also is used by people who have experienced a serious blood clot.

Serious Side Effects
Since Coumadin is a drug given to prevent clots, the major side effect is bleeding. When you are taking Coumadin, you will not stop bleeding easily if you are cut. If you get in a car accident, you will more likely bleed to death. If you have a stomach ulcer or a broken blood vessel in your digestive tract while taking Coumadin, you can bleed to death.

The main problem with this medication is its very narrow therapeutic range—too much, and you can suffer from a major bleeding episode; too little, and it is ineffective at preventing embolic events. Patients have to be closely monitored with blood tests and their dose adjusted accordingly to make sure they are taking the correct amount.

According to current estimates, 70 percent of patients on Coumadin tend to stop taking the medicine because of frustration with blood tests, dosage changes, and side effects. While Coumadin monitoring is a medical necessity, many times the demands of heavy patient loads can make it very challenging for busy physicians to follow patients as closely as necessary.

Besides the risk of a major bleed, another serious but more infrequent complication of Coumadin therapy is drug-induced limb gangrene and skin necrosis. Other adverse reactions that occur infrequently include white blood cell diseases, hair loss, allergic reactions, diarrhea, dizziness, hepatitis and abnormal liver function, skin rash, headache, nausea and/or vomiting, and itching.

Physicians treat patients with Coumadin primarily to decrease the occurrence of thrombo embolism. They perceive that this risk has a greater clinical impact than the risk of Coumadin induced bleeding. However, only recently has the extent of the risks of bleeding been thoroughly investigated. A recent meta-analysis that pooled data from 33 separate studies examined the bleeding rates of patients who received at least three months of anticoagulation therapy. Major bleeding occurred at a rate of 7.22 per 100 patient-years, and fatal bleeding occurred at the rate of 1.3 per 100 patient-years.1 That means if 10 people were put on Coumadin therapy for ten years each, seven out of the ten would have suffered a bleeding event and one would have died from taking Coumadin.

Only for High-Risk Patients
Before 1990, Coumadin therapy for the prevention of stroke for those who had atrial fibrillation was limited to those who also had additional risk factors, such as rheumatic heart disease and prosthetic heart valves.

In recent years, however, hundreds of thousands of patients with atrial fibrillation, including those without significant accompanying risk factors, have been placed on Coumadin to decrease the risk of embolic stroke. Medical studies have shown that patients with atrial fibrillation, who also have other risk factors for strokes, did have a survival advantage and a reduced risk of strokes when Coumadin was prescribed. The results were considerably better than those in high-risk patients who only used aspirin, but not considerably better in patients who had only atrial fibrillation and no other serious risk factors.

Younger patients with atrial fibrillation and those without cardiac risk factors have not been demonstrated to have lived longer as a result of taking Coumadin. Aspirin does just as well in this low-risk group mainly because strokes are more infrequent.

The American College of Cardiology recommends aspirin, not Coumadin, for those patients with atrial fibrillation who have a relatively low risk for embolic stroke. That includes patients who do not have diabetes, advanced atherosclerosis, poorly controlled blood pressure, an enlarged heart, a recent embolic event, obesity, or who smoke. In other words, it is standard practice that treatment with Coumadin be guided by the risk of thromboembolic events and not be used for those patients at relatively low risk.

Eat more healthfully and stop taking Coumadin. The main problem with the studies that show that patients at risk of stroke benefit from anticoagulation with Coumadin is that they tested mostly high-risk patients on the typical disease-creating American diet, not low-risk patients on a vegetable-heavy, plant-based diet. As one’s diet changes to include more vegetation and less and less animal products and refined foods, one’s cholesterol drops, one’s blood pressure typically decreases, and one’s risk of a heart attack or embolic stroke plummets.

A high-nutrient, plant-based diet already has been demonstrated in medical studies to have a powerful effect at decreasing the risk of embolic stroke as well as heart attacks. In fact, in the Nurses Health Study a mere 5 servings per day of fruits and vegetables reduced risk of embolic stroke by 30 percent (and this is still a poor diet by my standards). 2 Another study looking at the consumption of greens, vegetables, and daily fruit consumption found a dramatic decrease in stroke incidence (approaching 50 percent) when they compared high and low fruit and vegetable consumption.3 My dietary recommendations, extremely low in salt and offering the equivalent of more than 10 servings per day of stroke-protecting produce, have been demonstrated to dramatically lower cholesterol and offer a much greater resistance to both strokes and heart attacks than Coumadin therapy. For people following my nutritional advice, the use of Coumadin becomes ill-advised. The use of this dietary intervention quickly drops people from a high-risk to a low-risk status. In most cases, Coumadin is no longer needed.

Most people on Coumadin would be much safer if they ate an ideal diet with lots of vitamin K containing greens; took an aspirin, EPA/DHA fatty acids, and LDL protect daily; and stopped taking the Coumadin. The risk of all causes of death would decrease precipitously. Eating right will not cause you to bleed to death. Instead, it can save your life.

Natural anticoagulants to consider instead of Coumadin are tomato juice, pomegranate juice, fish oil, vitamin E, horse chestnut seed extract, and ginkgo biloba.

Is Coumadin the Only Hope?
For those who absolutely must take Coumadin, because of a recent thrombotic event, the danger of not eating a healthful diet exceeds the risk of increasing the Coumadin dose slightly to accommodate the healthier diet. As long as the amount of greens you eat is consistent, your doctor can adjust your Coumadin dose to accommodate it.

For the patient who must stay on Coumadin, the diet must be consistent from day to day to avoid fluctuations in the effectiveness of the drug. To keep the vitamin K amount constant, it is sensible to eat one large raw salad a day and one serving of dark green vegetables such as asparagus and string beans, but leave out the dark green leafy vegetables, such as steamed kale, collards, and spinach. Adding some of those to a soup is okay, however. The goal is to keep your vitamin K level stable, so the amount of blood thinning does not swing into a danger zone. A dangerous level of blood thinning can occur if the dose of Coumadin is adjusted to a high vitamin K intake and then suddenly the patient does not eat many vitamin K-containing foods for a few days. In other words, the main goal is to eat the same amount of vitamin K-containing foods every day.

In summary, the evidence indicates that both Coumadin and aspirin are effective for prevention of emboli in patients with atrial fibrillation. Coumadin is more effective than aspirin in those very high-risk patients, but is associated with a higher rate of serious bleeding. The advice of the typical healthcare provider to severely limit vitamin K-containing foods does not consider the risk reduction that occurs from the dietary improvements. A diet high in processed foods and animal products, although low in vitamin K, will increase your risk of a heart attack and stroke. Instead, eat even more of those high-vitamin K foods and, if at all possible, get off the Coumadin.
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Toxic Detergent

Maybe clean, isn’t so clean. That’s Fit points out some laundry detergents are toxic. Look:
Putting on your clean clothes when they are still just a little warm from the dryer is such a guilty pleasure, and the fresh scent evokes all things cozy.

But did you know that scent that you love so much may be toxic? And the chemical residues left on your skin from the detergents can be causing an array of health problems for you, some as serious as cancer.

Gross! There is a negative impact on the environment, as well. Bacterial mutations in fish, unbalanced ecosystems and other toxic effects on fish and mammals are caused by the chemicals you use to clean your clothes.

Seems a bit counterproductive, doesn't it? Clean the clothing, poison the environment and your self.
(via The Cancer Blog)

Fruity Desserts

Fruit and Berry Compote
2 cups cubed fresh pineapple
1 cup fresh organic strawberries, halved
1 cup frozen cherries (pitted), thawed
1 cup dried fruit of choice, chopped (optional)
1/4 cup orange juice
2 oranges, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
1 pear, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
Combine all ingredients except coconut. Chill for a couple of hours or allow to sit overnight in refrigerator. If desired, sprinkle with coconut for garnish. Serves 4.

Strawberry Freeze
1/3 cup vanilla soy milk
2 frozen bananas
1 cup frozen strawberries
dash vanilla extract (optional)
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds (optional)
Ahead of time, peel and freeze ripe bananas in a plastic bag or kitchenware. This is a good way to make sure no bananas go to waste—just freeze the ones that start to get too ripe. Serves 2.

3/4 cup water
1 1/3 cups raw cashew pieces
1 banana
1 orange, peeled
Place water and cashews in blender and blend until very-very smooth. Add a little more water if needed to assist in blending. Then add banana and orange and blend until all is smooth. Pour in popsicle molds and freeze. Serves 8.

BPA Baby Bottles

Raising kids is hard work—not that I know firsthand or anything, I’ve seen it done on television—you feed them, clean them, shelter them; basically, you do all you can to ensure they grow up strong and healthy. Now, add this to list, protecting your kids from the harmful chemical BPA—found in baby bottles! I’m serious. This ABC News report will fill you in:

The sad truth is our world is a playground of hazardous chemicals, but don’t take my word for it. In Disease-Proof Your Child Dr. Fuhrman points out the dangers of early childhood exposure to harmful chemicals, and, how it’s the parent’s job to safeguard their children. Take a look:
We must be careful not to expose our children to chemical cleaners, insecticides, and weed killers on our lawns. Chemicals used in pressure-treated wood used to build lawn furniture, decks, fences, and swing sets have also been shown to place children at risk. When young children are around, we must be vigilant to maintain a chemical-free environment.
Here are some more posts on the topic:

Barry Groves and Low-Carb: Junk Interview, Junk Science

LivinLaVidaLowCarb interviews Weston Price lackey and low-carb lemming Dr. Barry Groves. If you like nonsense and misinformation, here’s a snippet:

3. This sounds like a trick question, but I'm curious to know what you think based on your studies and experiences. What's wrong with a low-calorie diet? Why do you believe the low-fat, low-calorie, portion-controlled diets have literally monopolized dietary recommendations for what is considered "healthy" for so many decades?
No, it’s a good question. Low-calorie, low-fat diets have monopolized weight loss diets for the simple reason that the hypothesis that cutting down on energy intake or burning up more by exercising is plausible. But as Mark Twain once said, "For every problem there is a solution, neat plausible and wrong!" What is wrong with it is that it doesn't take into account how our bodies work. Starvation, which is what low-calorie dieting is, is unsustainable. It is bound to fail.
4. As a highly-respected and reliable source for information related to diet and nutrition, you've written many extensive columns and traveled all over the world talking about what you have discovered in your own empirical study of the scientific data about this subject. Do you see any meaningful progress happening anywhere that gives you hope that a major paradigm shift is about to happen? What's it going to take to wake up government and health leaders around the world to the low-carb answer to obesity and disease?
When Robert Atkins’ second book was published in 1999, it took the dieting world by storm. Studies, some funded by Atkins, showed that low-carb dieting worked, and conventional nutritionists were looking at litigation from people whose health had been compromised by their "healthy" advice. Unfortunately, this sparked a massive backlash by the diet dictocrats and, backed by governments and the all-powerful "health industry," they seem to be winning the debate. At this point, I think it will take a strong population-led revolt to make a meaningful difference.

Honestly, at this point I hope no health-conscious person even remotely entertains the low-carb lies. Now, back to Barry Groves. Dr. Fuhrman has addressed his drivel in the past. Here’s an excerpt from The Misinformation of Barry Groves and Weston Price:

Dangerous Advice
I realize the web allows a forum for people with potentially dangerous advice, but I think most intelligent people can see through his straw arguments, so I welcome the opportunity to comment again to his skewed nutritional viewpoints and unsubstantiated claims. Each time Barry Groves reports on a medical study he gave a different conclusion to the data than the researchers do, and the studies are usually some poorly done old study. It is typical stuff for the Atkins crowd and the Weston Price Foundation to find one research paper they can claim makes their argument legitimate, but even when they hand pick one study, they typically don't report the research accurately.

Fortunately we have a comprehensive body of knowledge today with over 15,000 articles written since the 1950's documenting the link between a diet high in saturated fat and low in fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetable and beans and the increase risk of cancer and heart disease. Thousands of research scientists don't agree with Barry Groves' meat-centered diet recommendations and the platform of the Weston Price Foundation.

For more on the problems with low-carb, check out these previous posts:

Sowing Seeds of Good Health

From the March 2007 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

In addition to being tasty and healthful, nuts and seeds are portable, making them important foods to take on along when traveling. How else can you carry half a day’s calories in a little pocket in your computer case? Nuts and seeds are tiny packages of high-calorie, high-nutrient goodness that can enable you to climb a mountain on an all-day hike without eating any of the high-calorie, low-nutrient junk food everyone else is consuming.

Seeds are particularly wonderful foods. They have all of the advantages of nuts and more. They are higher in protein than nuts and have many additional important nutrients. Each seed is a living food that, if stored under favorable conditions, can still germinate after as long as 200 or more years.

Flaxseed is more that just a terrific source of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids; it also is rich in anticancer lignans. Plus, it contains mucilage that lubricates and eases bowel movements. While you can buy ground flaxseed, it is best to grind your own fresh at home. The best flaxseed grow in low cadmium soils, such as where Northern Edge brand flaxseed is grown. In studies involving women who have breast cancer, those who were given flaxseed had reduced tumor growth compared with those who were not.1

Sunflower seeds are exceedingly rich in vitamin E, selenium, iron, and other minerals. With 22 percent of calories from protein and rich in tryptophan, sunflower seeds are the healthiest way vegans can make sure they get sufficient protein. Pumpkin seeds are high in phytochemicals, calcium, and iron, and are another good source of omega-3’s.

Sesame seeds have the highest level of calcium of any food in the world. Interestingly, they not only have a highly absorbable spectrum of vitamin E, they increase the bioactivity of vitamin E in the body.2 Comparing the many forms of vitamin E in sesame seed with the vitamin E in supplements is like comparing a real horse to a toy horse. Sesamin, a sesame lignan, has beneficial effects on postmenopausal hormonal status, raises antioxidant activity in body cells, decreases the risk of breast cancer, and lowers cholesterol.3
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Legal Drug-Pushers

Melissa Healy of The Los Angeles Times investigates the forced entry of drug manufactures into the doctor-patient relationship. Take a look:
Drug manufacturers do everything in their considerable power to ensure that their brand-name prescription medications are on the lips of patients and in the minds of physicians every time the two meet across an exam table. A growing chorus of critics says their efforts have begun to rewrite the dialogue between patient and doctor, influence physicians' judgments and open the act of prescribing to forces more profit-minded than sacred.

In 2006, drug-makers spent almost $5 billion to reach out to consumers with direct advertising. But the glossy magazine ads and buzz-generating TV spots are just the most visible parts of a campaign to build and nourish markets for brand-name prescription products. The world's pharmaceutical companies spend an estimated $19 billion annually to woo doctors. They sponsor teaching programs and research at universities across the country, gaining goodwill along the way. They give money to patient groups. They hire public relations firms to share patient stories of illness and triumph.

In a nation that consumed $279-billion worth of prescription medications in 2006 -- spending 80% of that on brand-name products -- their efforts appear to be paying off. Americans filling a prescription choose brand-name products 37% of the time, even though three-quarters of all prescription drugs in the U.S. are available in cheaper generics.

Refrigerator Raider

Here’s a great post from Diet-Blog. Are you or is someone you love a refrigerator raider? Check this out, and you decide:
Are you a refrigerator raider? Do you raid your fridge numerous times throughout the days, and even more times in the evening and night?

Do you open your fridge, hoping, and half-expecting that new things have appeared from the last time you opened your fridge, just 15 minutes ago?

If you are one of these compulsive refrigerator checkers, you might just want to ask yourself what in the heck you are doing.
I’m not proud to admit it, but I’m guilty of raiding the fridge. Granted, I’m only fetching things like grapes, berries, and baby carrots, but still! I’ve got to stop!

Chocolate-Packed Vacation

Parents looking to feed their kids healthfully might want strike Hershey Park from their list of vacation destinations. Why? The oodles and oodles of free chocolate bars! Freakonomics Blog talks about a certain chocolaty perk offered at the Hershey Lodge:
My 5-year-old daughter, Anya, had heard from a schoolmate that Hershey Lodge gave away free Hershey bars — big ones — whenever you wanted and as many as you wanted. My wife and I were pretty sure that this was 5-year-old wishful gossip — but, lo and behold, we were handed four candy bars when we checked in, and when Anya went back to the registration desk five minutes later and asked for another couple of candy bars, they obliged.
It gets weirder, check out what they sell in snack shop:
The strangest part was that the shop was selling Hershey bars, stacked up next to the cash registers. Granted, these were not the same standard bars available for free a few steps away — one was an “antioxidant” bar, the other a “whole bean” coffee-flavored bar — but still, I wondered how they could get away with selling something in one location that was free of charge a very short distance away.

The clerk was a nice teenage kid, so I asked him about it. “Yeah, nobody ever buys them,” he said, laughing. “Well, sometimes kids do because they don’t know about the free ones at the desk. Their parents never tell them.”

(via TrueHoop)
Wow! Wheeling and dealing free candy to kiddies, and, covering their tracks by selling “health” food—sounds like a sweet game of bait and switch to me! Now, admittedly I am a chocolate-freak. So how do I beat the craving? Chocolate Pop’ems for starters and this handy piece of advice from Dr. Fuhrman:
You do not have to stay off chocolate, you can purchase raw cacao buds and make smoothies and sauces and healthy puddings with that chocolate flavor. All the beneficial compounds, antioxidants and flavonoids in the raw cacao make it a valuable food, even with minimal exposure to toxic components such as caffeine. I have no problem with you powdering some cacao in the VitaMix and making some chocolate style treats occasionally. Spinach, kale, banana, cacao powder, macadamia nuts and dates make a great, healthy chocolate pudding.

Deadly Dietary Myths

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

In my book Eat To Live, I have warned readers about adopting fad diets such as The Atkins Diet, The Zone Diet, and Eat For Your Blood Type because the scientific data is so clear about the fact that eating more than a few small portions of animal products each week is associated with a host of serious diseases.

Conclusive scientific warnings notwithstanding, people continue to flock to diets like these because a) they reinforce existing bad habits, and b) numerous organizations encourage this behavior. One of the more influential of these organizations is the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF).

The Weston A. Price Foundation is named in honor of a Cleveland dentist, author of the book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. In the 1930s, upon observing that a large number of his patients had poor dental health, Dr. Price traveled to remote regions of the world and found that people in those areas who were still eating diets consisting of unprocessed foods had healthier teeth than his patients, who were eating large amounts of processed foods. He concluded that poor dental health was the result of nutritional deficiencies.

WAPF is a relatively small non-profit with a modest budget, but its leaders and members have been very effective in advocating a meat-centered diet, with lots of butter and whole, raw milk. Unfortunately, although some of its recommendations are laudable (such as the admonition to avoid highly processed foods, and the warning that most popular vegetarian and vegan diets are not ideal), many others are entirely out of step with modern nutritional science. They promote a range of irresponsible and potentially dangerous ideas, including:

  • Butter and butter oil are “super foods” that contain the “X factor” discovered by Weston Price.
  • Glandular organ extracts from animals promote the health and healing of the corresponding human organs.
  • Poached brains of animals should be added to other ground meats for better nutrition.
  • Raw cow’s milk and meat broth should be fed to newborns who don’t breast-feed, rather than infant formula.
  • Regular ingestion of clay (Azomite Mineral Powder) has detoxifying effects because the clay particles remove pathogens from the body.
  • There are benefits to feeding sea salt to infants and babies.
  • Fruits and vegetables should be limited in children’s diets.

There are plenty of organizations offering woefully out-of-date and inaccurate dietary advice, so I do not want to give the impression that WAPF is alone in this regard. But there is limited space in a single newsletter, and a review of some of the WAPF recommendations offers an opportunity to point out examples of nutritional misinformation readily available in books and on the Internet.

How to Feed Your Baby
WAPF advocates a severely deficient and dangerous diet for infants and children that has the potential to cause a lifetime of medical problems, reduced brain function, and an early death from cancer. Infants have their best chance of developing normally when they consume breast milk from well-fed mothers. But contrary to a plethora of scientific studies indicating that breast milk should be the only food for the first six months of life, Sally Fellon, founder and president of the WAPF and coauthor (with Mary Enig) of the book Nourishing Traditions, says that pureed meat (including organ meats) is an excellent early food for babies.

What does WAPF recommend?

One WAPF baby formula mixes cow’s milk with heavy cream and other oils, while another is made from cow’s liver, beef broth, whey powder, and various oils. It is well established in the scientific literature that a diet high in saturated fats and low in fruits and vegetables in early childhood is the leading cause of adult cancers. Infants fed cow’s milk instead of breast milk or formula do not get sufficient iron, vitamin C, linoleic acid, or vitamin E, and take in excessive amounts of sodium, potassium, and protein,which can lead to dehydration and kidney damage. For many years, the American Academy of Pediatricians has warned against the use of any whole cow’s milk during the first year of life after it was found that infants given cow’s milk developed iron deficiency and occult (silent) bleeding of the digestive tract.1 The resultant iron deficiency seen in children raised on cow’s milk in early childhood leads to long-term changes in behavior and loss of intelligence that can not be reversed even with correction of the iron deficiency later on in life.2 In other words, permanent brain damage can occur from the feeding of whole cow’s milk to babies.

Good Intentions Gone Awry
How can an organization offer nutritional advice so out of step with the world’s scientific literature? Part of the blame can be placed at the feet of those who remain loyal to some of the original observations of Weston Price rather than his original intent.

When Dr. Price traveled to remote areas, his intent was to find healthful solutions for his dental patients. When we look back with 70 years of scientific hindsight, we can see that his examinations and conclusions were flawed.When he touted the health of primitive peoples, he was not aware of their short life expectancy and high rates of infant mortality, endemic diseases, and infection.

It can be argued that few scientific researchers in the 1930s would have understood the complexity of multifactorial causation of health, disease, and longevity, and Price should not be held to today’s higher standards. But the same cannot be said for his followers today.To advocate eating a diet high in saturated fat is to ignore all of the nutritional research—especially of the past 40 years—that links this diet to shorter life spans and higher rates of heart disease and cancer is unconscionable.

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Fat Aussies, Big Problems

Like a lot of so-called “Westernized” countries, Australia is getting fatter and fatter. So fat, that Australian mortuaries are having a difficult time accommodating all the dead weight. Reuters reports:
Pathologists are calling for new "heavy-duty" autopsy facilities to cope with obese corpses that are difficult to move and dangerously heavy for standard-size trolleys and lifting hoists.

The bodies presented "major logistical problems" and "significant occupational health and safety issues," according to a separate study, which found the number of obese and morbidly obese bodies had doubled in the past 20 years.

Specially designed mortuaries would soon be required if the nation failed to curb its fat epidemic, providing "larger storage and dissection rooms, and more robust equipment," said Professor Roger Byard, a pathologist at the University of Adelaide.

"Failure to provide these might compromise the post-mortem evaluation of markedly obese individuals, in addition to potentially jeopardizing the health of mortuary staff."
For more on the endless roll of obesity news, check out Followhealthlife’s obesity category.

Breast-Feeding Rates Increase

Reuters reports, breast-feeding rates in the United States have hit a record high. Check it out:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 74 percent of American women who gave birth in 2004 breast-fed their babies for at least some period of time, continuing an upward trend since the early 1990s.

"We've made quite a bit of progress," CDC epidemiologist Dr. Celeste Philip, lead author of a CDC report on breast-feeding, said in a telephone interview.

Breast-feeding rates just about reached the government's target of 75 percent, the report showed. But many women did not stick exclusively to breast-feeding in the first months after birth as recommended by experts, turning instead to baby formula, the report showed.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that women who do not have health problems exclusively breast-feed their infants for at least the first six months, with breast-feeding continuing at least through the first year as other foods are introduced. The CDC backs these recommendations, Philip said.
Here’s more great news about breast-feeding: The Lancet: Breast Feeding Saves Lives.

Puff-Puff, Do it--Do it!

This should make you angry. According to HealthDay News cigarette additives make smoking more addictive. I know, hard to believe—rolling my eyes. Randy Dotinga reports:
More than 100 of 599 additives that might be in cigarettes are potentially harmful, with some making cigarettes even more addictive and others making it difficult for people to detect tobacco smoke in their midst, a new study contends.

Trade secrecy about the ingredients in cigarettes makes it impossible to know how many of the additives that appear on a 1994 list are actually in tobacco products today. Still, there's plenty of reason to be alarmed, said study lead author Dr. Michael Rabinoff, an assistant research psychiatrist at the University of California, Los Angeles.

"They're making people less aware of tobacco [smoke] and making the cigarette more addictive," he said. "There is so much going on with these additives that it's an uncontrolled experiment on billions of people around the planet."

Contrary to what smokers might assume, cigarettes aren't simply tobacco rolled up in pieces of paper. "They're highly engineered by the industry to smoke in certain ways and taste in certain ways," said James Pankow, a professor at Oregon Health & Science University who studies cigarette smoke and tobacco additives.

Powerful Flax

The Cancer Blog knows flaxseed is one heck of a super food. Take a look:
Flax, also known as Common Flax or Linseed, is an annual plant that grows to 120 cm tall, with slender stems. Native to the region extending from the eastern Mediterranean to India, its leaves are green, its flowers blue, its fruit round and containing glossy brown seeds. Grown for both its seeds and its fibers, parts of this plant are used to make fabric, dye, paper, medicines, fishing nets, and soap. The seeds, like what sit in my refrigerator, come in two forms -- brown and yellow or golden. The yellow, golden variety is the one most often consumed.

Consumption of flax seed is good for several reasons, thanks to lignans that power it with nutrition. It contains beneficial levels of omega-3 fatty acids, promotes heart health, lessons the severity of diabetes, and has anti-cancer properties. A series of research studies at the University of Toronto have shown that flaxseed can reduce tumor growth in mice, particularly the tumors found in human post-menopausal breast cancer.
Dr. Fuhrman’s down with flax too. From Disease-Proof Your Child:
Flax seeds are rich in lignans and omega-3 fatty acids, and scientific studies have confirmed that flax seeds have a positive influence on everything from cholesterol levels and constipation to cancer and heart disease. Use ground flax seed in oatmeal, or add them to whipped frozen bananas, stewed apples, and cinnamon and nut balls. Keep in mind that the scientifically documented benefits from flax seeds come from raw, ground flax seed, not flax seed oil.

Eating to Live on the Outside: Veg Out

Alright, this week Eating to Live on the Outside hits the west coast—the way west coast! We’re heading to Hawaii to chow down at Veg Out. With a name like that, it should be good. Let’s hope so, because after enduring Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse, I could use a breath of fresh nutrient-dense vegetable-based air. Okay, synch up your grass skirt and let’s crack this menu open!

I’ll start with the appetizers and beverages first. Veg Out has a bunch of juices that might interest you. Personally, I’m not a big juice guy. I drink a little pomegranate juice every morning and that’s about it, but, I might try the Carrot Juice with beets. As for the appetizers, I’m either going with the Edamame beans or the Steamed Veggies—can’t go wrong with these!

Next up are the salads. Well, they all look good to me, but, there’re a couple alterations to be made. Take the Greek Salad for example. It’s prepared with Romaine lettuce, cucumber, tomato, red onion, Kalamata olives, and feta cheese. As usual, the cheese gets the axe. I’m also ditching the olives because they’re salty. So, after dropping these two things, I’ve got a pretty decent meal in front of me. The Veg Out Salad is an even better option; made with Romaine lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, cabbage, mushroom, tomato, red onion, and sprouts. You really can’t complain about this one. And finally, the Etsalada Salad; includes Mexican beans, seasoned tofu, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion, cheese, olives, salsa, and guacamole—wow, that’s a lot of stuff! Okay, I’m killing the cheese and provided the guacamole—AVOCADO!—isn’t made with sour cream, I’m keeping everything else. Not to shabby if you ask me. Oh! And as always, I'm keeping the salad dressing to a minimum.

Now, onto the Sandwiches and Wraps, this stuff is a little more hit or miss. For those of you that like garden burgers or veggie burgers, Veg Out has got a couple of them—they’re not really my thing—but, the Falafel Wrap looks pretty cool; prepared with lettuce, tomato, green onion, tahini sauce, hummus, and wrapped in a tortilla. Clearly, the concession is the tortilla. I can live with it. I hardly ever eat bread anymore, so I’d consider it a treat—hey, at least it better than downing a gallon of ice cream! Veg Out also makes an Avocado Wrap, but apparently it isn’t always available. So I’m not sure what’s in it, but remember I’m an AVOCADO FREAK. Meaning there’s a real-real good chance I’d order it. Sorry, I’m an addict.

Diversity should be Veg Out’s middle name, because there’re all sorts of different foods on this menu; including pasta, Mexican, Far East, and pizza entrees. But here’s the problem. None of these are all that Fuhrman-friendly. I’m bailing on the pasta dishes because there aren’t enough veggies to compensate for the pasta. Pizza is obviously out. I don’t do dairy, period. Now, the Old Mexico Entrees and the Far East Entrees are a little better. I like the Fajitas; made with sautéed bell peppers, onion, tofu, beans, rice, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and flour tortillas. Again, the cheese is out and the flour tortillas and sautéed peppers are concessions. I'd really prefer a salad over this. I feel the same way about the Yellow Curry; it’s prepared with tofu, seasonal vegetables, and your choice of rice, noodles, or flatbread. The noodles or the bread would be the concession here. I still want that salad.

While not perfect, Veg Out could work for an Eat to Liver. I admit, given Hawaii's love affair with spam, I was a little worried, but, Veg Out has potential. If push came to shove, you can make it work. I just find it interesting that week after week, the best options are almost always a salad—go figure. Okay, it’s your turn. Check out Veg Out’s menu and let me know how you handle Eating to Live on the Outside. Make a comment or send an email to

Nuts & Seeds Protect Against Heart Disease

From the March 2007 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Raw nuts and seeds are packed with nutrients. They contain lignans, bioflavonoids, minerals, and other antioxidants that protect the fragile freshness of the fats therein; they also contain plant proteins and plant sterols that naturally lower cholesterol. And because nuts and seeds supply certain fibers, phytochemicals, phytosterols, and bioactive nutrients not found in other foods (such as polyphenols and arginine), they have other beneficial effects that prevent blood vessel inflammation.

Perhaps one of the most unexpected and novel findings in nutritional epidemiology in the past five years has been that nut consumption offers such strong protection against heart disease. Several clinical studies have observed beneficial effects of diets high in nuts (including walnuts, peanuts, almonds, and other nuts) on blood lipids.1 A review of 23 intervention trials using nuts and seeds demonstrated convincingly that eating nuts daily decreases total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.2 Not only do nuts and seeds lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol, they can help normalize a dangerous type of LDL molecule (the small, dense LDL particles that damage the endothelial cells that line the blood vessels).3

Ellagitannins (ETs) are dietary polyphenols with potent antioxidant and other cancer chemopreventive activities that are found in berries, nuts (especially walnuts), and seeds.4 Walnuts can reduce Creactive protein and harmful plaque adhesion molecules, two significant markers of inflammation in arteries. The result is improved, and even restored, endothelial function (which includes the elastic property of arteries that allows dilation when necessary to meet an increased demand of blood).According to the researchers, walnuts are the first food to show such cardiovascular benefits.5

Eating nuts provides more benefits than simply lowering cardiovascular risk factors, such as lowering blood glucose or cholesterol levels. Studies on nuts show that they actually decrease the end point of cardiovascular death and increase overall life span.6 So far, five large prospective cohort studies (the Adventist Health Study, the Iowa Women Health Study, the Nurses’ Health Study, the Physicians’ Health Study, and the CARE Study) have examined the relation between nut consumption and the risk of atherosclerotic heart disease, and all have found a strong inverse association.

Notably, the protective effect of nut consumption on heart disease is not offset by increased mortality from other causes. In fact, nut consumption has been found to be inversely related to all cause mortality in all tested populations, including whites, blacks, and the elderly. Eating nuts and seeds offers a well-documented intervention for increasing longevity.

The beneficial effects of nut consumption observed in clinical and epidemiologic studies underscore the importance of distinguishing the differences between different types of fat. Most fats in nuts are mono and polyunsaturated fats that lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. However, the favorable fat issue does not alone account for the health benefits of nuts and seeds. Most importantly, these powerful health benefits are not achieved when nut or seed oils are substituted for whole nuts and seeds as a caloric source.

Based on the data from the Nurses’ Health Study, it was estimated that substitution of the fat from one ounce of nuts for equivalent energy from carbohydrate in an average diet was associated with a 30% reduction in heart disease risk, and the substitution of nut fat for saturated fat was associated with 45% reduction in risk.

Frank Hu, M.D., possibly the leading researcher on the value of nuts in the American diet and an associate of Walter Willett at the Harvard School of Public Health, says, “Our epidemiological studies have shown that eating about one ounce of nuts a day will reduce the risk of heart disease by over 30 percent.”

How Dr. Willett, who co-authored many of the studies that documented the value of eating nuts and seeds, can put oil instead of nuts at the base of his food pyramid, is beyond comprehension. Clearly, even respected research physicians make recommendations based on social, economic, and political motivations even when the science says something completely different.

Powerful Findings
The Physicians Health Study is the most fascinating and perhaps most important of the studies. It found that nuts and seeds do not just lower cholesterol and protect against heart attacks; components of nuts apparently have anti-arrhythmic and anti-seizure effects that dramatically reduce the occurrence of sudden death.7 These beneficial rhythm stabilizing effects of nuts and seeds are not merely due to the amount of omega-3 fatty acids they contain, but also to other beneficial qualities of these natural foods.

When 21,454 male participants enrolled in the U.S. Physicians’ Health Study were followed for an average of 17 years, researchers found a lower risk of sudden cardiac death and other coronary heart disease end points after controlling for known cardiac risk factors and other dietary habits. When compared with men who rarely or never consumed nuts, those who consumed nuts two or more times per week had reduced risks of sudden cardiac death by over 50 percent.8

Sudden cardiac death is not a heart attack. This means that the consumption of nuts powerfully reduces the chance of having a life-threatening cardiac arrhythmia called ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia. People who have heart disease do not always die of heart attacks; they die of an irregular heartbeat that prevents the heart from pumping properly. Removing nuts and seeds from one’s diet may actually increase the risk of one of these fatal rhythm disturbances.

Witnessing Success

During my 16 years of medical practice, the most common reasons patients have come to see me have been high blood pressure, high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, angina, diabetes, and being overweight. People following my nutritional advice have seen dramatic improvements in their conditions. They have lost weight, their blood pressure and cholesterol have normalized, and their atherosclerosis has reversed itself in impressive and often dramatic fashion. All of these individuals were advised to include raw nuts and seeds in their diets Continue Reading...

Icky-Sticky Soda

I admit, when I was younger I used to drink a lot of soda. But now—I don’t touch the stuff! I don’t know, something about sugar water just doesn’t appeal to me anymore. Here's more reasons to avoid soda. Water for Life USA Blog breaks down soda one drop at a time. Take a look:
pH of Soda = pH of Vinegar
For one, soda, no matter who makes it, is the most acidic beverage you can buy, with a pH of about 2.5, about the same as vinegar. Why does that matter? Acid oxidizes whatever it comes in contact with. If you put soda or vinegar on metal, it will rust it quickly. Check out this table of acid levels of your favorite sodas.

Drink Soda, Leach Calcium
If you drink soda, which also contains high levels of phosphorous, you will leach calcium from your bones. Dr. Michael Murray from the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine concluded, “It appears that increased soft drink consumption is a major factor that contributes to osteoporosis.” Furthermore, Dr. Elson Haas, author of The Detox Diet states, “Tooth loss, periodontal disease, and gingivitis can be problems, especially with a high phosphorus intake, particularly from soft drinks.”

Soda Will Dissolve your Tooth Enamel
Weak bones is just the beginning. According to Dr. James Howenstein. author of A Physician’s Guide to Natural Health Products That Work, the high sugar content of soda is awful. He states, “”In an interesting experiment the sugar from one soft drink was able to damage the white blood cells’ ability to ingest and kill bacteria for seven hours.” Dr. Marion Nestle from his book Food Politics states, “Sugar and acid in soft drinks so easily dissolve tooth enamel.”
(via ParentDish)

Tips for Eating Out

In the spirit of Eating to Live on the Outside, The Cardio Blog offers up some pretty sound tips for eating out. Here’s a few I liked:
  • Preview the menu, if possible, and make a healthy choice in advance. The key here is sticking to your choice -- no backing out last minute for the Alfredo-covered steak
  • Ask questions on how it's prepared, how big the portion is and what's in it.
  • Order the dish with the most vegetables, and of course choose the veggies or salad over the fries as a side
How about that first one. Sound familiar?

It's Like Totally a Gym!

I didn’t realize it until I read this article, but gyms aren’t really setup for teenagers. Take my gym for example. It’s got lots of classes and amenities for adults, childcare, and seniors programs, but not much for teeny-boppers. What a great business opportunity. Make gyms “cool” for teenagers. Nora Isaacs of The New York Times reports:
Conceived for teenagers, Overtime Fitness has a rock-climbing tower, a lounge area with a flat-screen television and a study room with Internet access and books like “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens,” where teenagers can get academic tutoring and attend seminars on health, stress management and relationships.

Harried parents head to the gym with a purpose: to get in a solid block of cardio, then get out. Quick.

Teenagers think differently. They want a place to chill after school with pals, where they can go online, watch reruns of “The Munsters” and maybe even break a sweat. After a snack.

“Sometimes in the middle of our workout, we head down to the 7-Eleven to buy a hot dog,” said Suliman, a sophomore at Los Altos High School.

Until recently, health clubs passed over the hard-to-please teenage set and even had policies to keep them out. After all, what club manager wants to herd cats? But in the last year, smaller gyms have started wooing the MySpace generation. Most of the effort so far involves adding a teenagers-only lounge and Internet access, and creating centers with workout equipment, foosball tables and juice bars.
Heck, some of that stuff sounds cool to me, well, not everything. That mid-workout hotdog’s got to go. Gag!

Weightlifting and Health

Considering I spent thirty-minutes lifting weights this morning, this report makes me smile. Howard Schneider of The Washington Post explains weightlifting is an important part of everyone’s workout. Read on:
You can now add weightlifting to the creeping set of obligations. It's not explicit in the government's overall guidelines, but the more detailed suggestions from agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a couple of rounds of resistance training each week. (And that includes you cardio junkies out there because aaaallllll thaaaaatttt time on the treadmill won't guarantee that you can sit up straight when 27 becomes 77.)

This won't make a lot of us happy. The basic exercise recommendations are pretty easy to cope with: Take a walk. Ride a bike. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Weightlifting, on the other hand, conjures the threat of being stuck next to some grunting mesomorph who will one day be governor. The chance of injury is greater. The advice gets confusing and may include a lecture about how, if you don't disrupt the Z lines between your sarcomeres, it's a waste of time.

It's manageable, however, if you understand some basics. The reason there is so much varying advice -- over what exercises to do, how frequently and how intensely -- is that this is an enterprise that should be tailored to your goals and your body. Cardio focuses on training just one muscle, the heart. There are more than 600 others that need attention.
For more on exercise, enjoy these posts:

Lots of Caffeine

Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of caffeine. So I doubt you’ll find him sipping on any of these. Diet-Blog lists The 10 Most Caffeinated Diet Drinks. Here’s the top two:

Nutrition Facts on Beer?

Well, it might seem strange, but, it’s probably a good idea. According to the Associated Press the United States is looking to require detailed nutrition labels on packaged alcohol. Lauren Sheppard reports:
According to the proposed rule being published Tuesday for public comment, labels on all alcoholic beverages , from beer cans to wine bottles , would include a statement of the drink's percentage of alcohol by volume.

The labels would also include a "serving facts" panel, which would list the number of calories, carbohydrates, fat and protein for a standard serving size.

Companies could also choose to disclose the amount of pure alcohol, or ethyl alcohol, per serving.

Currently, labels on all liquor and on wine with more than 14 percent alcohol by volume must disclose at least the alcohol content, but that information is not required on beer labels, except in some states. However, if a brewer wants its beer to be labeled as a "light" beer, the label must show its caloric content and the percent of alcohol per volume.

Guy Smith, executive vice president at Diageo PLC, which sells brands including Smirnoff, Jose Cuervo and Guinness, called the proposal "a giant and very positive step in the right direction" for the alcohol industry.
For Dr. Fuhrman’s thoughts on alcohol, check out Alcohol and Your Health.

Skip the Chemo, Canadian Style

Two Canadian parents will not be forced to give their 3-year-old son chemotherapy. Instead, they plan on combating his cancer with vegetables. The Cancer Blog is on it:
The boy, Anael L'Esperance-Nascimento, was diagnosed with cancer in late 2007 and underwent an operation. After an initial chemo treatment, his parents have decided to treat him with an alternative treatment based on diet, including a focus on raw vegetables.

The province did not intervene according to officials because the boy's illness is not currently life threatening. Healthcare providers at the hospital, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, say that chemotherapy is the boy's best chance to prevent the cancer from spreading, but that they will not pressure government authorities to force the boy to receive the chemo.
I applaud them and their ability to resist the Chemotherapy Mentality.

Drug Sleepy Kids?

The world of prescription drugs just got darker. Apparently kids that have trouble sleeping are being prescribed medication, even though no sleeping pill has been approved for use in children—unreal! Alan Mozes of HealthDay News reports:
"The concern with sleep medications is that we don't know how much to use and how long to use these drugs for children," explained study co-author Milap C. Nahata. "This is because many drugs used for pediatric care in general -- including sleep medications -- have been well-studied and approved by the FDA but have not been studied for effectiveness and safety among children."

Nahata is a professor of pediatrics and internal medicine and a division chair at the Ohio State University College of Pharmacy in Columbus. His team's study is being published in the Aug. 1 issue of Sleep.

The new findings complement a 2004 National Sleep Foundation poll that revealed that sleep difficulties are extremely widespread among the young.

That survey found that 60 percent of American boys and girls under the age of 11 experience some kind of trouble getting shut-eye at least a few nights a week, while nearly three-quarters of parents indicated that they would like to alter something about their child's sleep behavior.

Nahata and his colleagues noted that, in the United States, about 75 percent of all prescription drugs are not labeled for pediatric use, and not a single insomnia drug is indicated for use among young patients.

Heart Disease: Prevent, Prevent, Prevent!

I eat a vegetable-based diet, I spend hours at the gym, and, I avoid harmful foods like red meat and dairy. Why do I do all this? I’ll tell you why. I don’t want to be a statistic! I don’t want to be another American who dies prematurely. I don’t want heart disease! And as Jane E. Brody of The New York Times reports taking preventative measures is still the best way to avoid a heart attack:
While patients and their loved ones are no doubt extremely grateful for the ability of modern medicine to keep people alive and often well when their hearts are on the verge of giving out, the therapeutic approach to curbing the coronary death rate is like shutting the barn door after the horse has escaped. A more economical, not to mention less terrifying, approach is to prevent the development of this life-threatening and costly disease.

According to the new analysis, about 44 percent of the decline in coronary mortality during the 20 years studied was due to improvements in risk factors for heart disease: reduced cholesterol levels, better control of high blood pressure, a decline in smoking and a small rise in physical activity.

These changes have occurred largely through the seriously underfinanced efforts of public health advocates who for decades have championed the cause of primary prevention of heart disease. They started in the early 1960s with campaigns against smoking, continued with efforts to curb saturated fats, cholesterol and salt in the American diet and moved on to still-lagging efforts to get more Americans to be physically active.
Speaking of prevention—is it true? Is heart disease really preventable? Isn’t getting old, sick, and having heart attack a natural part of aging? After all, everyone’s doing it. No, Dr. Fuhrman makes it perfectly clear, declining health and premature death is not normal. Dr. Fuhrman elaborates in Is Heart Disease Totally Preventable:
If we do a careful look at the scientific evidence at our disposal, we can make some claims with a strong degree of certainty. It is my belief that every heart attack death is an appalling tragedy because that person did not have to die. I believe every bypass surgery, every angioplasty, and every emergency treatment for heart attack could have been prevented. If all cardiac patients, heart-disease sufferers, and even those who will soon die of cardiac arrest were given the option a few years ago to choose to eat and live healthfully in order to be free of heart disease, what do you think they would have chosen to do?

I am convinced that if all of these individuals had been convincingly informed that heart disease and premature death could be avoided and that health could be improved dramatically with changes in diet and lifestyle, they would not have chosen suffering and premature death. Faced with this sober choice, diet and lifestyle changes would seem a delightfully enjoyable choice.
Here’s more from Defeat Heart Disease Now:
Fortunately, we can win the war against heart disease by making a few simple, but profound, dietary and lifestyle changes. By following the recommendations in my book Eat to Live, virtually everyone can improve their heart health. In fact, if you start in time, you actually can make yourself heart-attack proof. I believe all people should be informed they have a choice to protect themselves.

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

Following this approach, you can achieve positive results simply by making the right diet and exercise choices—consistently, without the use of drugs or surgery. Almost everyone can achieve protection against heart disease by reaching the following goals:
  • Achieve an LDL cholesterol of 100 or lower.
  • Achieve a homocysteine level below 10.
  • Achieve healthful weight and blood pressure.
Now, if you’re still hungry for more. Check out these posts:

The U.S. Department of Meat, Milk, and Cheese

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

Using weight instead of calories in nutrient-analysis tables has evolved into a ploy to hide how nutritionally unsound many foods are. The role of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) was originally to promote the products of the animal agriculture industry.1 Over fifty years ago, the USDA began promoting the so-called four basic food groups, with meat and dairy products in the number one and two spots on the list. Financed by the meat and dairy industry and backed by nutritional scientists on the payroll of the meat and dairy industry, this promotion ignored science.2

This program could be more accurately labeled “the four food myths.” It was taught in every classroom in America, with posters advocating a diet loaded with animal protein, fat, and cholesterol. The results of this fraudulent program were dramatic—in more ways than one. Americans began eating more and more animal foods. The campaign sparked the beginning of the fastest-growing cancer epidemic in history and heart attack rates soared to previously unheard of levels!

For years and years the USDA resisted lowering cholesterol and dietary fat recommendations in spite of the irrefutable evidence that Americans were committing suicide with food. Heavy political pressure, lobbyists, and money blocked the path to change.3

Promoting nutrient analysis of foods by weight instead of by calorie became a great way to keep excess calories, cholesterol, and saturated fat in the diet—a terrific strategy to create a nation with an epidemic of obesity, heart disease, and cancer. Some foreign enemy out to destroy America could not have devised a more effective and insidious plot. How ironic that this was the program designed by our own government, promoted with our own tax dollars, and justified on the ground that it served the public interest.

With all the scientific data available today, including massive investigational studies on human health and diet, you would think that people would know which foods are best to eat and why—but most people are still confused about diet and nutrition. Continue Reading...

School Kids Win Better Veggies

When I was in school, I remember wondering if that slop ice-cream scooped onto my plate still had a pulse—yeah, scary. Let’s face it, for many of us, school food is still a painful memory, but what if we didn’t something about? That’s exactly what a group of students at William V. Wright Elementary School in Las Vegas did. They took on the lunch ladies—and won! CNN reports:
"A little boy said, `Anything, anything, I'll even eat broccoli,"' said Connie Duits, the lunch lady. "So that one touched my heart."

The children were careful to offer praise as they expressed their concerns.

"Dear Mrs. Duits, The food is so yummy and yummy. But there are one problem. It is the green beans," wrote Zhong Lei.

"We love the rest but we hate the green beans," wrote Viviann Palacios.

The Las Vegas students undertook the exercise in mini-democracy after the class read a book called "Frindle," in which a boy contemplates organizing a boycott of the cafeteria.

"I asked the kids, 'Is that a respectful way of doing it?"' Christopulos said. "And they said, 'Oh, not at all."'

As a result of the students' campaign, the food service department of the Clark County School District sent staff to the school to see what alternatives they preferred.

With a handful of reporters watching, two dozen students sat down Monday to a veritable salad bar of cooked, frozen and canned vegetables, from baby corn to cherry tomatoes, and filled out a survey.

Because of cost restrictions, the children's only real choices were between canned and frozen green beans, corn, cooked or raw carrots and cooked or cold peas.

Corn and carrots were popular; cooked peas, not so much.
Very encouraging if you ask me! Hey, I just realized, this is basically the opposite of those zany Meat Pie Pushing Mamas.

Booze and Bowel Cancer

Well, I doubt the local frat-boys are worried about this, but, new research links alcohol to the development of bowel cancer. The Cancer Blog is on it:
The research concluded that people who drink one or two glasses of beer or win per day increase their chances of developing rectal (bowel) cancer by 10 percent. Is that number such a big deal? Absolutely.

Sound like a low amount? It's not -- and the researchers apparently looked at more than 500,000 people in the study, so the results are quite statistically significant. Out of that population, 18,000 people were found to have bowel cancer and the researchers dug in deep until they found out the correlation(s) with certain lifestyle choices.
For Dr. Fuhrman’s thoughts on alcohol, read this post: Alcohol and Your Health.

Dog Attacks Cabbage

Well, the cat wasn’t interested, but the dog had no problem ripping into some cabbage. Take a look: