Ultraviolet: Go into the Light

Ultraviolet light is kind of a big deal and way more essential to health than you might think. Here’s Dr. Fuhrman on the subject. Have a look:
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that your body makes after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Vitamin D functions as a hormone because it sends a message to the intestines to increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorus…

…Sun exposure is perhaps the most important source of vitamin D because exposure to sunlight provides most humans with their vitamin D requirement. The further you live from the equator, the longer you need to be exposed to the sun in order to generate vitamin D.
Now check out this research on UV light. Apparently it offers a “double whammy” against cancer. Michael Kahn of Reuters reports:
Using ultraviolet light may one day offer a "double whammy" to kill cancer cells by better focusing antibody-based drugs and triggering the body's own defenses to eliminate tumors, researchers said on Tuesday.

In two studies with mice, a British team cloaked antibodies -- the immune system proteins that tag germs and cancer cells for elimination -- with an organic oil that blocked them from reacting until illuminated with ultraviolet light.

The researchers used engineered immune system proteins called monoclonal antibodies. They are made to home in on proteins known to be overactive in tumor cells.

When the light unblocked the organic coating, the antibodies switched on and attracted killer T-cells to attack the tumor, said Colin Self, a researcher at Newcastle University, who led the studies.
Pretty cool information. Kind of knew this already. Remember this quote from Dr. Fuhrman? Here it is again:
In addition to its significant cancer-protective effects, recent studies demonstrate that vitamin D also can inhibit the growth of existing breast and prostate cancer cells. Likewise, it helps inhibit the progression and metastasis of a wide spectrum of cancers, suggesting therapeutic value in the treatment of those who already have cancer.1
Got to love the UV-vitamin D link!
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Kiddie Cardio News

A lot of people don’t realize it—I didn’t either—but heart diseases actually starts to develop at a young age. Hard to believe? Well, it won’t be after this. Here’s an excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Disease-Proof Your Child. Take a look:
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…

… 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
And it seems diet isn’t the only thing upping kids’ risk of heart disease. Check this out. A new study claims too much television raises children’s blood pressure. The man, Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports:
The finding "illustrates the need for considerable physician and family involvement to decrease TV time among obese children," study author Dr. Jeffrey B. Schwimmer, associate professor of pediatrics at University of California, San Diego, said in a prepared statement.

His team's study included 546 participants, ages 4 to 17, who were evaluated for obesity at clinics in California and Ohio from 2003 to 2005.

Information was collected on the amount of time the children spent watching TV, along with their body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure.

The researchers found that both the severity of obesity and the amount of time spent watching TV each day were significant independent predictors of hypertension.
So, what’s the modern medical answer? Improve diet, more exercise, and less TV? No! Instead, why not just give big pharma more money—oops! I mean prescribe heart drugs to young kids. Linda Johnson of the Associated Press reports, More Young Adults on Cholesterol Drugs:
Experts point to higher rates of obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol problems among young people. Also, doctors are getting more aggressive with preventive treatments.

"This is good news, that more people in this age range are taking these medicines," said Dr. Daniel W. Jones, president of the American Heart Association.

Still, he said many more people should be on the drugs that lower cholesterol or blood pressure and which have been shown to reduce risks for heart attack and stroke.

The new data, from prescription benefit manager Medco Health Solutions Inc., indicate use of cholesterol-lowering drugs among people aged 20 to 44, while still low, jumped 68 percent over a six-year period.
Pretty amazing if you ask me! I’m not a parent, but if my kid’s pediatrician prescribed him or her heart drugs I’d take that as a monumental parenting failure. What do you think?
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Chile Pepper Power?

For some reason people are so intrigued with Chile peppers. Check out this report by the Associated Press. Scientists are trying to harness the power of the pepper. Here’s a bit:
Doctors are dripping the chemical that gives chili peppers their fire directly into open wounds during knee replacement and a few other highly painful operations.

Don't try this at home: These experiments use an ultra-purified version of capsaicin to avoid infection -- and the volunteers are under anesthesia so they don't scream at the initial burn.

How could something searing possibly soothe? Bite a hot pepper, and after the burn your tongue goes numb.

The hope is that bathing surgically exposed nerves in a high enough dose will numb them for weeks, so that patients suffer less pain and require fewer narcotic painkillers as they heal.
We’ve seen this before. Remember this Chile pepper investigation? Refresh your memory and most importantly keep in mind this quote from Dr. Fuhrman:
“…hot spices should be used sparingly and should not be considered health foods.”

Booming China, Booming Disease

Here’s some not-so good news from China. First from the AFP, the Western influence on Chinese diet is causing a spike in breast cancer cases. More from the report:
Increasing numbers of Chinese urban women are suffering from breast cancer due to unhealthy diets and a spike in work stress in the rapidly modernising country, state media said Tuesday.

Breast cancer is up 31 percent in the financial hub of Shanghai over the past decade, and 23 percent in the capital, Beijing, according to data from the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention cited by the China Daily.

"Unhealthy lifestyles are mostly to blame for the growing numbers," the paper quoted Qiao Youlin, a cancer researcher at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, as saying.
And now, it seems increased pollution is causing a lot more birth defects in China. Here’s another report from the AFP. Check it out:
The rate of defects appeared to increase near the country's countless coal mines, which produce the bulk of China's energy but are also responsible for serious air and water pollution, the China Daily newspaper said, quoting government officials.

Birth defects nationwide have increased from 104.9 per 10,000 births in 2001 to 145.5 last year, it said, citing a report by the National Population and Family Planning Commission.

They affect about one million of the 20 million babies born every year, with about 300,000 babies suffering from "visible deformities."
My hope is China learns from the mistakes of other heavily industrialized nations…like us!

Wednesday: Halloween Points

Okay ghouls and goblins, the macabre is upon us. So here are some Halloween inspired health points. Read them, if you dare:
Many say the evidence contradicts such stories. "There is no scientific basis to the idea that sugar and/or candy has any major effect on children's behavior, particularly if they eat OK," says Dian Dooley, professor of human nutrition, food and animal sciences at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Others think sugar has plenty of skeletons in its closet. "The bottom line is that the ingestion of too much high-glycemic carbohydrate causes a rapid rise and then fall of blood sugar," says Dr. David Ludwig, professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and director of the Optimal Weight for Life program at Children's Hospital Boston. "This triggers a series of metabolic and hormonal changes that can affect appetite and behavior for hours to come."
If your trick-or-treaters forgo candy for inedible treats, here's what they'll save in calories (same for you parents if you dip into your kids' candy bowls):

20 pieces of candy corn ... 100 calories

2 Brachs caramels ... 80 calories

2 Hershey's kisses ... 50 calories
"M&Ms are 5.01 calories per gram whereas the Smarties are 4.166 calories per gram," he said. "So the Smarties seem to be a better choice.

BUT only slightly. Here is where packaging is important. On the Nestle website (Canada), they show 1 box as only 12 grams, or 50 calories. That's not too bad. Whereas the M&Ms show a serving size of 1.69 ounces or 47.9 grams."
Yet as we all know, you can, and should, eat only so much of the sweet stuff. Besides, knowing what you're going to get is boring. So why not shake it up this year and toss something a little different in your trick-or-treaters' treat sacks?

There is a wonderful array of inedible treats available in local stores and on the Internet. Many cost about the same price as candy and are nearly as much fun. Moreover, they're calorie-free.

At Target, for example, a 25-pack of mini Play-Doh cans is on sale for $3.99. That's just 16 cents each, or about the same cost as a treat-sized bag of Doritos or an individual box of Junior Mints. An eight-pack of those trendy gel pens -- which can write on dark paper -- costs a mere buck.
  • Well, giving out candy might not be doing kids any favors, but, highly doubt passing out pork is any better. Get a load of this article in The Los Angeles Times:
With Halloween just around the corner, I thought you [might] be interested in the fact that October is national pork month," writes Victor Domine of Bender Hammerling Group, which handles public relations for French's mustard and french fried onions. Maybe this is what those kids who wear braces get to eat -- or is Domine suggesting that folks pig out Wednesday night? It's a policy we cannot in good conscience endorse.

Halloween, it seems, is not just about pork. It's also about dairy. "We thought maybe a light and fun story that revolves around scary skeletons, building bones and calcium and vitamin D-fortified snack foods would be of interest to you," writes Kevin Hughes of Peacock Communications on behalf of Precious Cheese. Well, we guess this might go down better with the kids than the healthful celery-sticks-dipped-in-peanut-butter treat suggested by UT Southwestern Medical Center.
Personally, I’ll be giving out little boxes of raisins—sorry kids!

Boxed Rice Blues

Convenience food is tempting. Think about it, after a hard-day’s work, the gym, chasing after kids, the rush-hour commute, or whatever else consumes your time. It’s tempting to succumb to the quick-and-easy allure of convenience foods. Instead, consider this quote from Dr. Fuhrman:
Food manufacturers remove the most valuable part of the food and then add bleach, preservatives, salt, sugar, and food coloring to make breads, breakfast cereals, and other convenience foods. Yet many Americans consider such food healthy merely because it is low in fat.
And the Standard American Diet is chock full of convenience foods; canned pasta, fast food, dried macaroni and cheese, and—relevant to this post—boxed rice dishes. Karen Collins, R.D. of MSNBC agrees they’re convenient, but at a cost. Here’s an excerpt:
Boxed rice may be convenient, but these products offer little more than refined grains and lots of excess sodium. Eating a one-cup portion of rice prepared according to package directions (including the prepackaged seasonings and added margarine) can provide up to 1350 milligrams of sodium. Compare that to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines’ recommended limit of 2300 mg per day and you’re well on your way to sodium overload.

Sodium recommendations are designed to prevent or control high blood pressure and reduce risk of stomach cancer. While the guidelines are set for the general public, people who are more sensitive to the blood pressure-raising effects of sodium — namely black men and women, older adults and those already diagnosed with hypertension — are encouraged to limit sodium even further, to 1500 mg per day or less.
I used to eat a lot of this junk—packets of flavored rice and pilaf mixes—but no more! Why? Well, first let’s consider all that sodium Karen Collins brings up. Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of salt. This quote should give you his lowdown on sodium. Take a look:
High salt intake, and resultant high blood pressure later in life, does not merely increase the risk and incidence of stroke. It also can lead to kidney failure, congestive heart failure, and heart attack. Salt consumption is linked to both stomach cancer and hypertension.1 For optimal health, I recommend that no salt at all be added to any food.
And those refined grains are no better! Even if manufacturers claim they are “enriched.” Dr. Fuhrman explains all this much better than I can—time for another quote! Check it out:
White pasta, white rice and white bread are just like sugar; because their fiber has been removed, these nutrient deficient foods are absorbed too rapidly. This, in turn, will raise glucose, triglyceride, and insulin levels in your blood. Refined grains are undesirable and will sabotage your weight-loss and cholesterol-lowering efforts.
Makes me wonder how in the HECK I used to eat that stuff. My typical dinner used to be a rice-packet with a can of tuna fish thrown into the pot. I know—CRAZY! It’s hard to believe I would eat something like that, especially now that I’ve…to be continued. Continue Reading...

Hide the Veggies?

I like a good practical joke, but, I’m pretty sure if someone messed with my food they’d wake up with a knot on their forehead. Now, in the spirit of Halloween, this article from The New York Times is all about tricking kids into eating healthy food. More from the Well blog:
Cookbooks that teach parents how to hide veggies in food have hit the best-seller lists. But is tricking your kids into eating vegetables really a good idea?

“Deceptively Delicious,” by celebrity wife Jessica Seinfeld, and “The Sneaky Chef,” by Missy Chase Lapine, both offer similar advice about secretly slipping veggies into meals. Both books suggest that parents purée healthy foods like spinach, cauliflower and sweet potatoes and hide them in kid foods like macaroni and cheese or brownies…

….Susan Roberts, director of the energy metabolism laboratory at Tufts University, says parents should aim to improve the quality of the food they serve their kids — making lasagne with vegetables and wholewheat pasta, for instance. But parents shouldn’t give up on serving plain and simple vegetables, even if they have already added pureed cauliflower to the mac and cheese.

“The point of burying veggies in foods, in my view, is not to cram in veggies secretly, but to make recipes healthier so that there isn’t such a huge metabolic difference between indulgent treats and vegetables,'’ said Dr. Roberts.
Honestly, this approach means well, but come on! Is this reliable? I’d say it’s a ridiculous waste of time. Instead, teach kids the joy of eating healthfully. Dr. Fuhrman’s book Disease-Proof Your Child is all about this sort of thing. Here’s a snippet:
Parents are entrusted with the responsibility of securing the selection of healthy foods for the family and preparing the food in a way that makes it desirable. Children are responsible for deciding how much they eat. If they are in an environmental of healthful foods they will have no problem regulating variety and timing. They can choose what they eat, when they eat, and if they will eat. Don’t use food as a reward or punishment. Don’t offer a treat because the child was good or ate well. Offer healthy treats as part of the normal well-balanced diet.

No rules only for children. If the parents are not willing to follow the rules set for the house, they should not be imposed on the children. Don’t argue about what your children should and shouldn’t be eating; discuss this in private. As parents, we must be consistent, but not perfect. Likewise, it is okay for the children to be consistent, but not perfect either. For example, if the parents decide that an unhealthy food or a restaurant meal is acceptable for the children once per week, then that goes for the adults, too. Setting an example supported by both parents is the most important and most effective way for your children to develop a healthy attitude toward food.
Actually, Robin Quivers from The Howard Stern show touched on this a couple weeks ago and she also thought it was a total waste or time. And Robin would know! She recently took charge of her life and adopted a health-promoting vegetable-based diet. Congratulations Robin!

Cleaning Facts

HealthDay News takes a look at some new facts surrounding the safety of certain cleaning products. Robert Preidt reports:
The Hard Surface Hygiene Fact Sheet outlines the safe, proper use of surface cleaning products and disinfectants. It describes surfaces where germs can linger and the types of products available for consumer and institutional use. It also provides brief summaries of common ingredients that make cleaning products effective and tips on safe and proper use, storage and disposal of products…

…"Our Hard Surface Hygiene Fact Sheet gives consumers, educators and public health professionals another information tool on products that help prevent the spread of germs that can make us sick," Nancy Bock, SDA's vice president of education, said in a prepared statement.
If you’re interested, visit the Soap and Detergent Association’s homepage. And for more on chemical hazards, check out Followhealthlife’s toxins category.

My Recipe

Listen up folks. This one is mine—SO YOU BETTER LIKE IT! Seriously, I hope you enjoy it…or else. Take a look:
Zucchini or Carrot Bread
20 dates
1 cup unsweetened soymilk
2 very ripe bananas (3 if small)
1 tablespoon raw sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
2 cups quick oats (blended into flour)
2 cups quick oats
2 heaping teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup raisins
2 cups shredded zucchini (or carrots)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Blend dates, soy milk, bananas, sunflower seeds, and flaxseed until smooth. Add all ingredients into large mixing bowl. Mix well (more oats may be needed to thicken mixture). Spread in baking pan 1 1/2 inches thick (rub pan with a little blended oats to help prevent sticking). Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes then cover edges with foil (like you would a pie crust). Continue baking until golden brown and center is firm. Serves 12 or more, depending on how cut it.

Spray on Pancakes?

I’m usually proud to be an American—but now isn’t one of those times! ParentDish acquaints us with Batter Blaster, pancakes in a can. You have to see it, to believe it:
I guess if you don't mind missing out on all the learning and just want to get to the cooking part, Batter Blaster is the way to go. It's ready-made pancake batter in a spray can -- think Easy Cheese. Now, lest you worry that this is full of chemicals and preservatives, please note that Batter Blaster is an organic product.

Well, at least its better than Baseball’s Worst Burger—right?

Carnival of the Recipes: Tricks and Treats Edition

I's up at Booklore—Libra Simplex. Oh! And not all recipes are Fuhrman-friendly.

Stop Hiding, Go Veggie

Now, Dr. Fuhrman’s approach to diet is not necessarily vegan or vegetarian. Heck, just look at me. I’m an Eat to Liver and I eat fish and I know others who eat eggs and chicken. However there are certainly some advantages to going veggie. From Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live:
The China Project confirmed that there were virtually no heart attacks in populations that consume a lifelong vegetarian diet and almost no heart attacks in populations consuming a diet that is rich in natural plant foods and receives less than 10 percent of its calories from animal foods.

My observation of the worldwide data is supported by studies of American vegetarians and nonvegetarians.1 These studies show that the major risk factors associated with heart disease — smoking, physical inactivity, and animal-product consumption — are avoidable. Every heart attack death is even more of a tragedy because it likely could have been prevented.
Pretty cool—right? Well, the coolness train isn’t about to pull out of the station anytime soon. Get a load of this from AlterNet, “15 Reasons to Stop Hiding from Vegetarianism.” Personally, I could never go total vegetarian—I love sushi too much! But check it out anyway:
1. You'll ward off disease. Vegetarian diets are more healthful than the average American diet, particularly in preventing, treating or reversing heart disease and reducing the risk of cancer. A low-fat vegetarian diet is the single most effective way to stop the progression of coronary artery disease or prevent it entirely. Cardiovascular disease kills 1 million Americans annually and is the leading cause of death in the United States. But the mortality rate for cardiovascular disease is lower in vegetarians than in nonvegetarians, says Joel Fuhrman, MD, author of Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss. A vegetarian diet is inherently healthful because vegetarians consume no animal fat and less cholesterol and instead consume more fiber and more antioxidant-rich produce -- another great reason to listen to Mom and eat your veggies!

2. You'll keep your weight down. The standard American diet -- high in saturated fats and processed foods and low in plant-based foods and complex carbohydrates -- is making us fat and killing us slowly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a division of the CDC, the National Center for Health Statistics, 64 percent of adults and 15 percent of children aged 6 to 19 are overweight and are at risk of weight-related ailments including heart disease, stroke and diabetes. A study conducted from 1986 to 1992 by Dean Ornish, MD, president and director of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California, found that overweight people who followed a low-fat, vegetarian diet lost an average of 24 pounds in the first year and kept off that weight 5 years later. They lost the weight without counting calories or carbs and without measuring portions or feeling hungry.
And yes, it’s always cool to find Dr. Fuhrman quoted somewhere.

(via SoulVeggie)
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Obesity: Women Worse Off?

Here’s a neat little post from the Freakonomics Blog, “Why Are Women More Likely to Be Obese Than Men?” Three reasons why:
1. “Women who were nutritionally deprived as children are significantly more likely to be obese as adults, while men who were deprived as children face no greater risk.”

2. “Women of higher adult socioeconomic status are significantly more likely to be obese, which is not true for men.”

3. “Finally (and more speculatively), women’s perceptions of an ‘ideal’ female body are larger than men’s perceptions of the ‘ideal’ male body, and individuals with larger ‘ideal’ body images are significantly more likely to be obese.”

Exercise: Lose Weight, Boost Brain

According to a new study, exercise helps overweight kids learn. Lose weight and get smarter—one heck of a bargain! Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports:
Three months of daily, vigorous exercise can improve overweight kids' thinking, U.S. researchers report.

Physical activity can also lower their diabetes risk, reduce their body fat, and strengthen their bones, says a team that looked at about 200 overweight, inactive children, ages 7 to 11.

All the children learned about healthy nutrition and the benefits of physical activity. In addition, a third of the children exercised 20 minutes a day, and another third exercised for 40 minutes. During the exercise sessions, the children played running games and used hula hoops and jump ropes to get their heart rates to 79 percent of maximum -- considered a vigorous workout.
When I was a kid I used to run around all day, but I was still a little dummy!

Eating and Headaches

When I was a kid I used to get a lot of headaches—not sure why—but ever since I upgraded my diet I NEVER get them anymore. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I had one. I wonder why? Here’s Dr. Fuhrman on the subject:
The major cause of both tension headaches and migraines is the retention of toxins or tissue irritants within the central nervous system. These chemical irritants may cause an oversensitivity of nerve tissue to other stimuli. It has also been shown that tissue waste, such as nitric oxide and other irritating chemicals, can be released from both the nerves and blood vessels in the central nervous systems.1 These recent findings illustrate the biochemical players associated with detoxification in the central nervous systems. Withdrawal from toxins either taken orally or self-produced within the body is a form of detoxification. This merely means the body is actively engaged in an effort to lower the levels of waste retained in our cells. Sometimes this release of waste from cells can be painful; nevertheless, it has a positive benefit to the body. Our cells and the tissue they comprise must continually strive to maintain their purity to prevent early cellular degeneration and premature cell death.

The relationship between food triggers and migraines has been the subject of much debate, with varying results from medical researchers. Headache specialists such as Seymour Diamond, director of the Diamond Headache Clinic of Columbus Hospital, report that about 30 percent of patients can identify food triggers.2

My experience in treating migraine and severe-headache patients with a more comprehensive nutritional approach has shown that 90 to 95 percent of patients are able to remain headache-free after the first three-month period. These patients avoid common migraine triggers, but also in the healing phase they adhere to a strict natural-food vegan diet of primarily fruits and vegetables rich in natural starches like potatoes and brown rice. These patients must avoid all packaged and processed foods, which are notorious for containing hidden food additives, even though they are not disclosed on the labels. They also avoid all added salt.
Hungry for more headache info? Check out this post from The New York Times blog Domestic Disturbances. Here’s Judith Warner with The Migraine Diet:
All this because I had a migraine. In fact, I was on day six of a migraine that would, by day seven, have me dissolving into tears in between the taped segments of my radio show. (Think Holly Hunter. Think “Broadcast News.” The show went on, seamlessly.)

I was suffering like this because I was Taking Control of my life. I’d recently read “Heal Your Headache,” by the Johns Hopkins University neurologist David Buchholz. And now I was following his “1-2-3 Program for Taking Charge of Your Pain.”

In Dr. Buchholz’s view, chronic migraine sufferers like me — I average around seven to twelve headaches a month — are, very often, victims of their own past treatment successes. Triptans, the new-ish class of drugs that bind to serotonin receptors and can work wonders when taken early in migraine attacks, cause rebound headaches, he says, if you take them more than two days a month. So do over-the-counter painkillers and stronger stuff like codeine and oxycodone.

Step 1 in his plan, then, involves removing such “quick fix” drugs from your life. Step 2 is about recognizing your migraine “triggers” and removing the ones – like certain foods, alcohol and caffeine – that you can do something about. (As opposed to the ones – like changes in barometric pressure, work deadlines and mothers-in-law — that you can’t do anything about.) Step 3 is daily preventive medicine – but the idea, in Buchholz’s book, is that if you do well enough at Steps 1 and 2, you might not have to go to Step 3.
I’m not sure whether or not Dr. Fuhrman would agree with everything Dr. Buchholz’s is talking about, but, its good to see some attention being paid to diet as a cause of chronic headaches and migraines—don’t you think?
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Bad day for beef and toys! First, a Florida firm recalls beef over E. coli fear. Reuters is on it:
A Florida company recalled 8,200 pounds of frozen ground beef because the meat may be contaminated with the debilitating E.coli bacteria, the government's Food Safety and Inspection Service said Thursday.

The FSIS, an office under the U.S. Agriculture Department, said Blue Ribbon Meats of Hialeah, Florida, voluntarily recalled the 10-pound and 20-pound boxes of seasoned beef patties and meatloaf patties.

It was the fifth recall caused by suspected E.coli this month and follows the recall at Topps Meat Co of 21.7 million pounds of beef linked to 30 cases of E.coli-related illnesses, the fifth largest beef or poultry recall in U.S. history.
And, the U.S. has recalled more Chinese-made products for lead in paint. Reuters again:
The recall of roughly 665,000 items announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) includes about 38,000 Go Diego Go Animal Rescue Boats from Mattel Inc's Fisher-Price division.

The boats were sold at retail stores nationwide from June through October, and the CPSC said surface paint contains excessive levels of lead.

Also recalled were about 142,000 Halloween pails sold at Family Dollar Stores Inc from August through October. The CPSC said green paint on the pails contains amounts of lead that violate U.S. standards for lead paint.
When will it be safe to go into the supermarket and toy store again?

Eating to Live on the Outside: The Old Bay

This week Eating to Live on the Outside tangos with The Old Bay. The Old Bay serves up New Orleans inspired creations and, in this case, in all their unglory. Yeah, you guessed it. Its not good, but, we solider on—lets see what we got!

Oh boy. I don’t think the Natchitoches Beef Pies aren't going to cut it. Neither will the Gator Balls or the Three Cheese Baked Bread. Well, the only thing I see on the Sharing Plates that might work is the Wild Mushroom Mini Pizza Forestier. Yeah-yeah, I know what you’re saying, “PIZZA!” Relax, I’m ditching the cheddar cheese, but, I’m keeping the roasted red pepper sauce and the Criminni, Portobello, Shitake and Oyster mushrooms. So, with that being said, the only concession would be the pizza dough. I’m not thrilled about it, but its cool.

Alright, the soups and the classic Cajun dishes aren’t looking good, so I’m skipping over that section of the menu—onto the rest of the main dishes! Okay, the only thing I see—and this is a big concession—is the Vegetarian Zucchini Boat. What is it? Brace yourself. It’s a seedless zucchini “boat” corn floured, fried, stuffed with ratatouille, surrounded by long grain rice, and smothered in a roasted vegetable sauce. Now, this thing has a lot strikes, but maybe if the sun, the moon, and the stars are in line, you might be willing to make this concession. Personally, I wouldn’t. The misgivings with this veggie dish is obviously the frying and any cheese or dairy products that might be used in the ratatouille or sauce. If it turns out its dairy-free and you can deal with the frying. It’s an option, albeit a bad one.

Now, the steaks are next—and we’re done! Moving on. The next viable menu items are the salads, again, no surprises here. You’ve got two options: the Garden Salad of Mixed Greens and Caesar Salad. The Caesar Salad is a big waste of time. I never bother trying to futz with Caesar salads, especially in the face of a house salad. In the case of The Old Bay the garden salad comes with mixed leaf greens, grape tomatoes, carrots, and mushrooms, and your choice of dressing. As always, if you limit or omit the dressing you’ve got a great meal here and possibly concession-free—hard to argue with that!

Okay, confession time. I’ve actually eaten at The Old Bay. So, what did I ordered? Drum-roll please, actually it’s not that dramatic. I had the Garden Salad with a teeny-tiny amount of balsamic vinaigrette. It was pretty good. It’s hard to muck up a salad. My friend I was eating with—she is not an Eat to Liver—ordered the Wild Mushroom Mini Pizza and the Fried Calamari Creole. Now, she ordered the pizza with the cheese, so I didn’t touch it, but it did look good and without cheese I think it’d still be very tasty. I don’t need to talk about the fried calamari do I?

Well, there it is. Eating to Live on the Outside Cajun-style. I’m sure a Cajun restaurant in New Jersey isn’t the best representation of Creole cooking, so maybe it is a lot better than this, but as far as The Old Bay is concerned I doubt it’ll become a hotspot for Eat to Livers. But what do you think? Check out The Old Bay’s menu and let me know how you handle Eating to Live on the Outside. Make a comment or send an email to diseaseproof@gmail.com. Until then, eat well. Peace!

Broccoli Takes on Skin Cancer

Green veggies don’t mess around. They are packed with nutrients! Just get a load of this chart:

And the nutrients in green vegetables are serious cancer-fighters. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Green vegetables have demonstrated the most dramatic protection against cancer. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, collards, arugala, watercress, and cabbage) contain a symphony of phytonutrients with potent anti-cancer effects.

Isothiocyanates (ITCs), which are perhaps the best studied, have been shown to provide protection against environmental carcinogen exposure by inducing detoxification pathways, thereby neutralizing potential carcinogens. These vegetables also contain indole-3-carbinol (I3C). Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer by decreasing estrogen activity.
Important recent studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables and the compounds they contain can do the following:
  • halt the growth of breast cancer cells1
  • dramatically reduce the risk of colon cancer2
  • prevent the replication of prostate cancer cells and induce death of cancerous cells3
  • inhibit the progression of lung cancer4
Now, check out this new report. Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News reports that broccoli may help fight skin cancer:
Scientists have discovered that an extract of broccoli sprouts protects the skin against the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays.

That's not the same as calling the extract a sunscreen, however.

"This is not a sunscreen, because it does not absorb the ultraviolet rays of the sun," explained Dr. Paul Talalay, a professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. "We don't want people covering their bodies with broccoli and going to the beach. They will have no protection whatsoever."

Exposure to ultraviolet or UV rays is the primary cause of most skin cancers. The incidence of skin cancer in the United States is on the rise as men and women who had too many sunburns earlier in life get older and develop the disease.

Talalay started working on skin cancer prevention about 25 years ago. "Cells contain an elaborate network of protective genes that code for proteins that protect against four principal injurious processes to which all of our cells are exposed and which are the causes of cancer, degenerative disease and aging," he explained.
A bunch of green people on the beach would be funny, but we’ve heard this before. Remember this post from The Cancer Blog linking broccoli to cancer-protection. Here’s a bit:
The researchers are convinced that there is a biological mechanism behind the protective effect. It is explained in the article that a compound resulting from the digestion of cruciferous vegetables, and genistein, an isofavone in soy, reduce the two proteins needed for breast and ovarian cancer to spread…

…The study found that when cancer cells were treated with high levels of compounds found in broccoli and soy, the drawing mechanism to the organs was reduced by 80 percent compared to untreated cells.
For more on this topic, give these posts a whirl:
Oh! And if you like broccoli humor, you’ll enjoy these video posts:
Broccoli…hear it roar!

Continue Reading...

The NYC Calorie War Continues

Back in September we learned that a judge stopped the effort to get calorie-content on fast food restaurant menus in NYC. The AFP reported:
"This decision highlights some of the flaws in the New York City Board of Health's regulation," Peter Kilgore, acting head of the National Restaurant Association said in a statement after the ruling.

The rules, which would have applied only to restaurants that already disclosed calorie data, "would have attempted to punish the very restaurants that are already providing accurate and comprehensive nutrition information."
Never say die. According to the Associated Press city health officials are gearing up to give it another try. David B. Caruso reports:
City health officials announced Wednesday that they hope to revive their stalled plan to force fast-food chains to add calorie counts to the big menu boards that hang above their counters.

The city's original effort to put calories on menus was struck down by a judge in September, but Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said the regulation has been reworked and is ready for a second try.

"People deserve to have more information when they are ordering food," he said.
Honestly, while it’s a noble effort, will it really make a difference?

Chocolate Craving Conundrum

Diet Blog takes a look at research examining cravings, specifically those of the chocolate variety. Here’s a taste:
The participants were asked to "either suppress all thoughts about chocolate, or talk about how much they liked it." After this they were told to choose between two brands of chocolates.
Women who had tried to suppress their cravings ate on average eight chocolates, while those who had talked freely about it ate five.

Men did not show the same effect, with the group told to talk about the snack eating more.

So women who were trying desperately hard not to think about chocolate ended up consuming almost twice as much!
I get this. Even I have the occasional chocolate desire. What do I do? I just keep in mind this section of Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live. Check it out:
Can’t I eat chocolate, ice cream, or other junk food ever again?

You can eat anything you desire, on occasion, but just don’t make a habit of it. Try to be very strict the first three months in order to document how much weight you can expect to lose when you eat sensibly. We are all tempted by these treats. It is easier to resist if you get them out of your house completely. All cheats should be done outside of your home. If possible, associate with friends who will support you in recovering your health — or may join you in trying to be healthy.

Once you regain your health and feel great, you are less likely to crave these foods or be so tempted. Then, when you do deviate from a healthful diet, it is likely you will feel poorly, have a persistent dry mouth, and not sleep well. If you go off your diet and eat junk food on occasion, mark it on your calendar and consider it a special occasion that you won’t repeat too often.

Nobody is perfect; however, do not let your weight yo-yo. You must adhere to the plan strictly enough so that you never put back on whatever weight you do take off.
If this isn’t encouraging enough, you can lose your mind and take a Chocolate-Packed Vacation—eek!

Schools vs. Childhood Obesity

According to the AFP, educators and health officials are stepping up the fight against fast food. Virginie Montet reports:
Fast food, television, soft drinks and a sedentary lifestyle are seen as the main culprits of childhood obesity, and schools -- in the absence of action on the part of families -- are beginning to take a stand…

…About 1,800 researchers and general practitioners are taking part in a conference on obesity here, exchanging views on how better to combat obesity at the local or state levels.

A recent CDC study shows that the share of school cafeterias offering their students French fries as the only vegetable item on their menus has dropped from 40 percent in 2000 to 18.8 percent in 2006.

The CDC finances anti-obesity school programs in 23 states, and has seen some positive signs begin to emerge.
Sounds a lot like the move against energy drinks—insert battle cry here!

Rocking to an Early Grave

Come on, all of us want to be a rock star. Let’s face it, Keith Richards, Bruce Springsteen, and Joe Walsh—all cool! But, these cats are hardly the healthiest gents around. Get a load of this study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, entitled Elvis to Eminem:
Objective: This study measures survival rates of famous musicians (n = 1064) from their point of fame and compares them to matched general populations in North America and Europe.

Results: From 3 to 25 years post fame, both North American and European pop stars experience significantly higher mortality (more than 1.7 times) than demographically matched populations in the USA and UK, respectively. After 25 years of fame, relative mortality in European (but not North American) pop stars begins to return to population levels. Five-year post-fame survival rates suggest differential mortality between stars and general populations was greater in those reaching fame before 1980.

Conclusion: Pop stars can suffer high levels of stress in environments where alcohol and drugs are widely available, leading to health-damaging risk behaviour. However, their behaviour can also influence would-be stars and devoted fans. Collaborations between health and music industries should focus on improving both pop star health and their image as role models to wider populations.
Well, when you think about the likes of Motley Crew and The Doors it’s hard to say actually what these musicians should or shouldn’t be doing to improve and extend their lives, but, maybe these tips will help. Here are Dr. Fuhrman’s secrets to longevity, have a look:
Next time you’re at a concert, instead of waving a cigarette lighter in the air, maybe try a copy of Eat to Live!

Obesity and Kids' Hearts

Obesity research is a funny thing. Millions of dollars and lots of effort spent proving something that even the most lay of laymen already know is bad for us, is in fact, bad for us. Anyway, Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports that obesity can harm children’s hearts. Check it out:
The study, by a team at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, included 168 children ages 10 to 18. All of the children had undergone cardiac ultrasound to check on symptoms such as heart murmur, chest pain, acid reflux or high blood cholesterol. Of the children, 33 were obese, 20 were at risk for obesity, and 115 were normal weight.

The researchers used a new tissue Doppler imaging technique called "vector velocity imaging" that can track the movement of the heart's muscular wall.

"In the patients who are obese, the rate of motion of heart muscle changed," Dr. Angela Sharkey, an associate professor of pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine and a pediatric cardiologist at St. Louis Children's Hospital, said in a prepared statement. "As a child's BMIA (body mass index for age) increases, we see alterations in both the relaxation and contraction phase of the heartbeat. Many of these changes that have been seen in adults were assumed to be from long-standing obesity, but it may be that these changes start much earlier in life than we thought."
This study echoes Dr. Fuhrman’s sentiments. According him, it is kind of a no-brainer that heart disease starts young. He talks about it in his book Disease-Proof Your Child. Here’s a quote:
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…

…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
On a side note I was in the supermarket yesterday and I walked past a back-to-school display and in addition to the pens, notebooks, and folders, there were plenty of snack cakes, potato chips, and nachos—unreal!
Continue Reading...

Taking on Energy Drinks

According to EMaxHealth, health experts are preparing for war against energy drinks. Here’s a bit:
Youth gave law enforcement officers and teachers energy drinks, some with alcohol some without, to see if they can tell the difference between an energy drink containing alcohol and one without. "These drinks taste very similar to each other. Most adults we have found can't tell which have alcohol in them," said Mary Kate Foster, chair of the San Diego County Youth Council. "On top of that, the alcohol industry labeling practices make it too hard to tell the difference between drinks that contain alcohol and those that don't. It's not surprising some parents are accidentally purchasing these items for their kids."

Alcoholic energy drinks are prepackaged beverages that contain not only alcohol but also caffeine and other stimulants. Caffeine, a stimulant, masks the intoxicating effects of alcohol. Alcohol is associated with alcohol-related traffic accidents, violence, sexual assault, and suicide. "Alcopops and other products like alcohol-laced energy drinks have special appeal to young people. We know that teenagers and young adults are the core consumer group for these products," says Judy Walsh-Jackson of The California Coalition on Alcopops and Youth. According to a recent report published by The Marin Institute thirty-one percent of 12- to 17-year-olds and thirty-four percent of 18- to 24-year-olds report regular consumption of energy drinks. "Alcohol problems among youth constitute a public health and safety crisis of major proportions. Alcohol in energy drinks creates a dangerous mix," concluded Ms. Walsh-Jackson.

Urban Camo, Junk Food Style!

Oh those zany Japanese are at it again! Next time you’re in Tokyo and you think you’re being followed, just dash behind a corner and unfurl your vending machine camouflage. Oddly, Martin Fackler of The New York Times reports:
Deftly, Ms. Tsukioka, a 29-year-old experimental fashion designer, lifted a flap on her skirt to reveal a large sheet of cloth printed in bright red with a soft drink logo partly visible. By holding the sheet open and stepping to the side of the road, she showed how a woman walking alone could elude pursuers — by disguising herself as a vending machine.

The wearer hides behind the sheet, printed with an actual-size photo of a vending machine. Ms. Tsukioka’s clothing is still in development, but she already has several versions, including one that unfolds from a kimono and a deluxe model with four sides for more complete camouflaging.

Pretty amazing—right? Now, I sent this link to a friend and here’s the brief dialogue that followed. Take a look:
My friend: I can’t imagine that actually working.

Me: Maybe only if the person chasing you is blind, or, eats like me.

My friend: I would love to see someone in action with that outfit.

Me: Well, Halloween is right around the corner.
Be sure to check out the NYT Slideshow for action shots of this torrential brainstorm—egad!

(via the amazing Diet Blog)

Veggies + Music = Waste of Time

Yes, I sat through the whole thing. Not sure why, but now it’s your turn. Take a look:

Salty Salted Salt

Diet Blog takes a look at all the hubbub surrounding salt. Here’s a pinch of it:
Since the late 1970's, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has been asking the FDA to limit the amount of salt in processed food. In 2005, they filed yet another petition, asking the agency to revoke the designation of salt as "generally recognized as safe." Other changes the group requested: to set ceilings on the amount of sodium permitted in processed foods; to require a health warning on packaged salt; and to reduce the Daily Value for sodium…

… CSPI also has an informational pamphlet available, cheerfully titled "Salt: The Forgotten Killer," which points out the huge health problems we have in this country due to our excessive sodium consumption. (Too much salt leads to hypertension, which in turn leads to heart attacks and strokes). And it's not just CSPI, a reliably feisty advocacy group--the American Heart Association also agrees we are eating too much and really need to cut down.

On the other hand, The Salt Institute has compiled a list of studies they believe show otherwise. (Who is The Salt Institute? Well, they're a nonprofit association of salt producers. It's up to you whether you decide to take their advice with... well, a grain of salt).
Well, you certainly won’t find Dr. Fuhrman jumping on the salt bandwagon. Check this out:
Excess salt, outside of what is contained in natural foods, is likely to increase your risk of developing disease. Salt consumption is linked to both stomach cancer and hypertension.1 For optimal health, I recommend that no salt at all be added to any food. The famous DASH study clearly indicates that Americans consume five to ten times as much as they need and that high sodium levels over the years has a predictable effect on raising blood pressure.2
Not to mention that he considers salt one of the worst foods you can eat. Look:
Worst Seven Foods for Health and Longevity
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Potato Chips and French Fries
  • Doughnuts
  • Salt
  • Sausage, hot dogs
  • Pickled, smoked or barbequed meat
But according to Dr. Fuhrman our salt craving has been around a long time. Another quote:
Salt addiction has developed throughout civilization in the last 5000 years, creating a worldwide epidemic of high blood pressure and resultant strokes. Besides fatigue, cravings, and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, salt use gradually deadens your taste.3 The more salt you consume, the more you lose the ability to appreciate the subtle flavors of natural food. As salt deadens taste, it makes you want more and more salt to get back some of the missing flavor.
Truthfully, when you kick salt, food does taste a whole lot better.
Continue Reading...

Women's Health: The Good, The Bad

Okay, let’s start with the good. A new study shows exercise has nice benefits on women’s hearts. More from the prolific Robert Preidt of HealthDay News:
Researchers assessed cardiovascular risk factors and exercise levels in more than 27,000 women, ages 45-90 (average age 55) enrolled in the Women's Health Study who were followed for more than 11 years for new diagnosis of heart attack and stroke.

Women who exercised the most were 40 percent less likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those who did the least amount of exercise.

"Regular physical activity is enormously beneficial in preventing heart attack and stroke," lead author Dr. Samia Mora, instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in the divisions of preventive and cardiovascular medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, said in a prepared statement.
Sadly, there are two sides to every coin, onto the bad news. Another studied has determined that weight-gain increases breast cancer risk. This time Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News reports:
Women who gain weight any time after the age of 18 are more likely to develop breast cancer than women who maintain a stable weight, a new study suggests.

In other words, when it comes to breast cancer, there's no good time to gain weight as an adult.

"We found that weight gain throughout adulthood as well as weight gain at specific stages of life were associated with risk of breast cancer, compared with maintaining a stable weight," said study lead author Jiyoung Ahn, a fellow with the nutritional epidemiology branch at the National Cancer Institute's division of cancer epidemiology and genetics. "Specific stages include during early reproductive years, late reproductive years, and perimenopausal and postmenopausal years."
Well, if all this doesn’t convince you. Here’s Dr. Fuhrman on obesity and exercise:
After carefully examining the twenty-five major studies available on the subject, I have found that the evidence indicates that optimal weight, as determined by who lives the longest, occurs at weights at least 10 percent below the average body-weight tables. Most weight guideline charts still place the public at risk by reinforcing an unhealthy overweight standard. By my calculations, it is not merely 75 percent of Americans that are overweight, it is more like 85 percent…

… Exercise is important for healthy psychological function and to maintain significant muscle and bone mass as we age. It has been shown to improve mental function; to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression; and to improve sleep patterns, aiding healthful cycles of deep sleep.

Bad Beef...We Were Warned

Leading up to the recent beef patty recall, there apparently was a lot of warning signs that something just wasn’t right. Christopher Drew and Andrew Martin of The New York Times investigate:
As output rose, federal regulators said in interviews, Topps Meat factory was neglecting critical safeguards meant to protect consumers. Three big batches of hamburger contaminated with a potentially deadly germ emerged from the plant, making at least 40 people sick and prompting the second-largest beef recall in history.

Topps is now out of business, but the case points up broader problems in the nation’s system for protecting consumers from food-borne illness…

…Additionally, Topps, like many other beef processors, had bought an increasing amount of meat from overseas. Some types of meat from foreign countries — where E. coli has not been prevalent — are not required to be tested for contamination. But the Agriculture Department said the Topps case had prompted it to consider requiring such checks.

In response to the problems, the Agriculture Department directed its inspectors on Oct. 12 to conduct a nationwide survey of what meat plants are doing to fight E. coli., and it plans to send special assessment teams into any plants that seem to be lagging to urge them to adopt more stringent measures.
In my opinion, this is just another example of profit over social responsibility.

Going Soft on Fat?

It seems many health advocates think the government’s new anti-obesity ads are too lenient. Mike Stobbe of the Associated Press reports:
No one is advocating public service announcements that ridicule fat people; experts say such spots would do more harm than good. But critics complain that the three new spots premiering this month are a wimpy attack on the costly and deadly explosion of obesity in America.

"It's so namby-pamby I think people will shrug it off," said Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington-based advocacy organization.

The three new spots are the latest in a series created by the Ad Council and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which try to tackle the nation's obesity problem with ads that encourage healthy snacking and taking the stairs.
I don’t know about the obesity ads. I’m more concerned over the fast food and soft drinks!

Bringin' da Salad!

Spinach Salad
2-6 ounces fresh organic baby spinach
1/4 red onion, finely shredded
2 tablespoons unhulled sesame seeds
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
1 pint fresh blackberries
2 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman's D'Anjou Pear or Black Fig Vinegar, optional
Mix and toss all ingredients together.

Cucumber Radish Salad

1/4 cup unhulled sesame seeds
1 cucumber, sliced
8 radishes, sliced
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1 pear, diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup date sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Lightly toast sesame seeds in a pan over medium heat for 4 minutes, shaking pan frequently. Combine all ingredients and chill overnight.

Jicama Salad
1 medium head romaine, Bibb, or red leaf lettuce
1 large jicama, peeled and thinly sliced
2 Kirby cucumbers, sliced into circles
2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
Arrange lettuce, jicama, cucumbers, and peppers on a plate. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds.

Piggy Diabetes

Newsflash! Embryonic pig cells help diabetic monkeys, may help human diabetics too. The Associated Press is on it:
Dr. Marc Hammerman says the approach has reduced the animals' need for insulin injections and does not call for immunosuppression, which is a major problem in treating diabetes with transplantation.

Before DNA technology enabled pharmaceutical companies to manufacture human insulin in the 1980's, pig and cow insulin were routinely given to diabetic patients.
Yeah, a bacon injection sounds a little frightening. Instead, why not give this a try. Here’s Dr. Fuhrman on Type-2 Diabetes:
Conventional diabetologists are in a bind. They know that high glucose levels accelerate aging of the eyes and kidneys, leading to devastating complications such as kidney failure and blindness. They want to prescribe aggressive insulin therapy to get patients' blood sugars down. The problem is they also are aware that the extra insulin accelerates atherosclerosis (which leads to heart attacks) and weight gain (which eventually makes patients more diabetic)…

…The American Diabetes Association and most dieticians and physicians offer dangerous advice to the diabetic. They give lip service to weight reduction and cholesterol lowering, but since the diets they recommend are ineffective at achieving substantial weight loss and sustained ideal weight, even these recommendations are generally worthless. Typical diabetes care focuses on general glucose control, by monitoring blood glucose to determine when it is necessary to change insulin dosages and when glucose-lowering medication is warranted…

…The best diet for good health and longevity is also the best diet for diabetics. It is a diet with a high nutrient per calorie ratio, as carefully described in my book, Eat To Live. When you eat a diet consisting predominantly of nature's perfect foods—green vegetables, beans, eggplant, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, raw nuts and seeds, and limited amounts of fresh fruit, it becomes relatively easy to eat as much as you want and still lose your excess weight. In my experience, those who follow my nutritional recommendations find that their diabetes disappears astonishingly fast, even before most of their excess weight melts away.
Eating lots of fruits and veggies seems a lot less creepy than being injected with pig—I don’t know, call me a cynic.

Chemicals and Kiddies

This is scary report from CNN. Some new research has determined that children may have higher chemical levels in their bodies than previously thought. More from Jordana Miller:
Michelle Hammond and Jeremiah Holland were intrigued when a friend at the Oakland Tribune asked them and their two young children to take part in a cutting-edge study to measure the industrial chemicals in their bodies.

"In the beginning, I wasn't worried at all; I was fascinated," Hammond recalled.

But that fascination soon changed to fear, as tests revealed that their children -- Rowan, then 18 months, and Mikaela, then 5 -- had chemical exposure levels up to seven times those of their parents…

…"We are the humans in a dangerous and unnatural experiment in the United States, and I think it's unconscionable," said Dr. Leo Trasande, assistant director of the Center for Children's Health and the Environment at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

Dr. Trasande says that industrial toxins could be leading to more childhood disease and disorders.

"We are in an epidemic of environmentally mediated disease among American children today," he said. "Rates of asthma, childhood cancers, birth defects and developmental disorders have exponentially increased, and it can't be explained by changes in the human genome. So what has changed? All the chemicals we're being exposed to."
Not something to be taken lightly; kind of a hot-button issue for Dr. Fuhrman. He insists safeguarding kids from chemical exposure is an important responsibility. From Disease-Proof Your Child:
Young children are the ones most susceptible to toxic exposures, the National Academy of Science has issued warnings and position papers stating that exposure to pesticides in early life can increase cancer rates down the road as well as increasing the occurrence of mental and immune system disorders.1

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 swings sets have been shown to place children at risk. When children are around, we must be vigilant to maintain a chemical-free environment.

The Environmental Protection Agency reports that the majority of pesticides now in use are probable or possible cancer causers. Studies of farm workers who work with pesticides suggest a link between pesticide use and brain cancer, Parkinson's disease, multiple myloma, leukemia, lymphoma, and cancers of the stomach, prostate, and testes.2
Honestly, the older and wiser I get, the more and more this type of stuff worries me. Continue Reading...

New York Times: On Going Organic

Going organic might be a good idea, but, it can be a little difficult. Not to mention expensive. So, maybe these tips from The New York Times will help you out. Here’re my favorites:
Peanut butter: More acres are devoted to growing peanuts than any other fruits, vegetable or nut, according to the U.S.D.A. More than 99 percent of peanut farms use conventional farming practices, including the use of fungicide to treat mold, a common problem in peanut crops. Given that some kids eat peanut butter almost every day, this seems like a simple and practical switch. Commercial food firms now offer organic brands in the regular grocery store, but my daughter loves to go to the health food store and grind her own peanut butter.

Apples: Apples are the second most commonly eaten fresh fruit, after bananas, and they are also used in the second most popular juice, after oranges, according to Dr. Greene. But apples are also one of the most pesticide-contaminated fruits and vegetables. The good news is that organic apples are easy to find in regular grocery stores.
The tip about apples is a biggie. Dr. Fuhrman classifies apples as one of the most contaminated fruits around. Get a load of this chart:

Now, if organic produce isn’t around. Here’s some helpful advice from Dr. Fuhrman. Enjoy:
Wash your vegetables and fruit with water and when possible, use a drop of dishwashing detergent and then rinse well to remove all detergent residues for a little more efficient cleaning. Specialty pesticide removal products have not clearly demonstrated any more effectiveness than mild soap and water.
On a side note, I must say, organic avocados taste A LOT better than commercially grown avocados, seriously!

Health Points: Tuesday

The program, which targets childhood obesity, is in more than 100 New York City schools plus 20 schools in other states and 20 in Cape Town, South Africa, where a non-governmental organization became interested.

The children earn prizes like medals and certificates each time they notch 26 miles — a marathon — and they can track their progress on personal Web pages.

The running club is best known for putting on the New York City Marathon, which draws world-class runners and hobbyists alike on the annual race through the five boroughs. But foundation Executive Director Cliff Sperber said the purpose of the Mighty Milers isn't to raise a new generation of marathoners
Spurred by the growing crisis in child obesity, the nation’s schools have made “considerable improvements” in nutrition, fitness and health over the last six years, according to a new government survey that found that more schools require physical education and fewer sell French fries.

The survey, which is conducted every six years, shows that more schools than six years ago offer salads and vegetables and that fewer permit bake sales. More states and school districts insist that elementary schools schedule recess and that physical education teachers have at least undergraduate training. More states have enacted policies to prohibit smoking at school and to require courses on pregnancy prevention.

Perhaps most striking, 30 percent of school districts have banned junk food from school vending machines, up from 4 percent in 2000. Schools offering fried potatoes in their cafeterias declined, to 19 percent from 40 percent.
The November 29 meeting will consider a request from the Center for Science in the Public Interest to limit salt in processed food and to require additional health information on food labels about salt and sodium content of foods, among other changes.

In 2005, the group petitioned the FDA to reclassify salt as a food additive, rather than its longtime designation as a food "generally recognized as safe."

It has cited the tens of millions of Americans who suffer from high blood pressure. Cutting salt intake can reduce changes of developing and curtail the condition, according to the American Heart Association.
"Calcium deficiency, due either to low calcium in the diet or to vitamin D deficiency, is very common in older women, who are also the population at highest risk of breast cancer and breast cancer bone metastases," lead researcher Dr. Colin R. Dunstan pointed out to Reuters Health. Metastasis occurs as cancer progresses and the cells spread from the primary site to attack other areas of the body.

Dunstan of the ANZAC Research Institute in Concord and colleagues conducted dietary studies in a mouse model of breast cancer growth in bone. The results are published in the journal Cancer Research.

The researchers found that after breast cancer tumor was implanted into the animals, the mice that were feed a diet containing only 0.1 percent calcium showed signs of high bone turnover compared with the animals feed a diet with a normal 0.6-percent calcium content.
It's Halloween and you're watching your fat intake. However, you aren't willing to completely sacrifice the chocolately goodness of the holiday. Which of the following is the lowest fat treat to sneak from the kids loot pile?
  • Butterfinger bar
  • Milky Way bar
  • plain M & M's
  • Snickers Bar
  • Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
  • Kit Kat bar
If you live in an area where shopping for organic food poses a challenge, don't throw in the all-natural kitchen towel! Many Americans in similar circumstances have found the perfect solution: community supported agriculture, or "CSA." First popular in Japan and Switzerland in the 1960s, the CSA movement has -- pardon the pun -- taken root with a vengeance in the United States, where it is sometimes referred to as "subscription farming."

How, exactly, does a CSA work?

By definition, CSAs are composed of "a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community's farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production," according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The spraying is aimed at the light brown apple moth, an invasive species from Australia that has infested 12 California counties stretching from north of San Francisco to Los Angeles. The U.S. Department of Agriculture fears that if the moth, which consumes 250 varieties of plants, crosses into the San Joaquin Valley, the infestation could cause up to $2.6 billion in losses.

Hundreds of residents reported feeling short of breath and sharp stomach pains after spraying began. Environmentalists quickly sued, claiming the state never prepared an environmental impact report to ensure the airborne chemical droplets were safe for residents and aquatic life.

In lifting the ban, O'Farrell found the agriculture department's health-monitoring plan adequate to address concerns of residents. The government monitoring program will "accept and investigate" medical complaints after the pesticide is sprayed, the judge wrote.
British researchers found that among more than 10,000 adults who were followed for five years, women who routinely slept for six hours or less were more likely than their well-rested counterparts to develop high blood pressure.

Compared with women who said they typically got seven hours of sleep a night, those who logged in six hours were 42 percent more likely to develop high blood pressure, while those who routinely slept no more than five hours had a 31 percent higher risk.

There was, however, no clear relationship between amount of sleep and blood pressure among men, the study authors report in the journal Hypertension.

300 Apples

You might have seen the movie, but now—SEE IT WILL APPLES! Be brave:

Biggest Loser Debacle

I don’t watch reality television, so I couldn’t tell you the difference between Big Brother, Survivor, and Amazing Race, but, one show—The Biggest Loser—is making headlines, for all the wrong reasons; not good for weight-loss? Elizabeth Weil of The New York Times reports:
AS if all the thin people on television weren’t bad enough, now dieters must contend with the jealously inspired by contestants on “The Biggest Loser,” the hit NBC reality series. The 18 obese Americans lucky enough to have been picked are sequestered on the show’s campus, work out with a trainer up to five hours a day, vote people off their teams and participate in challenges like who can run faster than a kindergartner…

…Rob Cooper, 39, from Edmonton, Alberta, who dropped to 187 pounds from 475 pounds on his own, said that the show can be counterproductive. According to his logic, if you’re losing two pounds a week and you’re watching “The Biggest Loser,” you probably think your diet is going horribly. If you lose two pounds a week and you’re not watching the show, you probably think your diet is going great…

…The television show “can actually depress a lot of people,” Mr. Cooper said, especially when their steady weight loss cannot compare to the double-digit zingers on the screen. “That’s the opposite of what you want,” he said…

…Most medical professionals say dieters should lose weight slowly. Not only are they more likely to keep it off that way, but shedding more than 10 pounds weekly, as some contestants routinely do, is dangerous.
Maybe I’m ox-minded, but, I don’t turn to television for diet advice. I’ll just stick with my green veggies. They are extra-weight killers. Here’s Dr. Fuhrman:
Green vegetables are so incredibly low in calories and rich in nutrients and fiber that the more you eat of them, the more weight you will lose. One of my secrets of nutritional excellence and superior healing is the one pound-one pound rule. That is, try to eat at least one pound of raw green vegetables a day and one pound of cooked/steamed or frozen green vegetables a day as well. One pound raw and one pound cooked--keep this goal in mind as you design and eat every meal. This may be too ambitious a goal for some of us to reach, but by working toward it, you will ensure the dietary balance and results you want. The more greens you eat, the more weight you will lose. The high volume of greens not only will be your secret to a thin waistline but will simultaneously protect you against life threatening illnesses.
This certainly worked for me. It’s a huge reason why I was able to lose…to be continued, again.

Bye-Bye Kid's Cold Medicines?

We actually might be headed down that road. The FDA is considering banning the sale of over-the-counter cough and cold medicines for young children. Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News explains why:
Such a ban already has the support of safety experts at the FDA, who published a 365-page review last month that showed decongestants and antihistamines have been linked with 123 pediatric deaths since 1969.

Many outside experts are also in favor of restricting children's access to cold remedies…

…"If these medicines are allegedly not effective or materially unsafe, how is the purchase of hundreds of millions of doses by parents to be explained?" asked Dr. George Goldstein, a pharmaceutical industry consultant who is a nonvoting member of the panel. "I don't believe the American caregiver or parent is, in a word, stupid."

Panel chairwoman Dr. Mary E. Tinetti, who is a professor at Yale University, said that many parents must think the drugs work and "are voting with their feet, so to speak."
She added that the number of children who are reported to have died after taking these medicines seemed relatively small compared to the millions given the drugs.
Yeah, why ban the sale of something dangerous when there is money to be made? Geez! Now, Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of these drugs, in fact, he contends they do more harm than good. Check this out from his book Disease-Proof Your Child:
Suppressing the fever and cough with medication can lead to a prolonged illness. In fact, cough suppressants and over-the-counter cold medicines expose children and adults to further side effects without significant effectiveness. We were taught in medical that cough suppressants do not work well, which is good, because if the cough was really suppressed, the mucous would settle deep into the lung and cause pneumonia. The most common cough suppressants contain dextromethorphan and codeine. A head-to-head comparison between placebo and these cough remedies showed that the placebo worked just as well. All children improved significantly by day three, and there was no difference among the three treatment groups in any symptom parameter.1
For more on this, check out these previous posts:
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Hard, of Hearing

I will resist the urge to be a wisenheimer. According to the FDA erectile dysfunction drugs may cause sudden hearing loss. Reuters reports:
U.S. regulators on Thursday said warnings about the risk of sudden hearing loss linked to popular drugs for impotence, including Viagra, Cialis and Levitra, would be added to the drugs' labels.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration was prompted to look into a possible connection after a published report of a man taking Viagra, made by Pfizer Inc, who suffered from sudden hearing loss, a rare condition.
Well, we had see no evil, now we have hear no evil, so all that’s left is speak no evil!

Starbuckets of Caffeine

Let’s see. I haven’t had a cup of coffee in close to two years, maybe more. Why you ask? Well, Dr. Fuhrman considers caffeine one of those nasty foods and a major contributor to disease. Time for a couple quotes:
Caffeine addicts are at higher risk of cardiac arrhythmias that could precipitate sudden death.1 Coffee raises blood pressure and raises cholesterol and homocysteine, two risk factors for heart disease2...

…Caffeine has been a controversial topic for decades. Evidence clearly concludes that heavy coffee drinkers have an increased risk of miscarriage and low birth weight infants, but evidence is not clear for moderate users of caffeine.3 Nevertheless, is wise to stay away from as many potentially harmful substances as possible. The bottom line, if in doubt, don’t do it.
Now, this summer the top-notch Diet Blog showed us The 10 Most Caffeinated Diet Drinks, but get ready for this. Get a load of the SERIOUS caffeine load in many of Starbucks’ java concoctions. From Diet Blog:

Egad! So glad I don’t drink coffee anymore!
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Spudfork, It's What's For Dinner

Have you ever thought about eating your utensils? Look no further! Introducing SPUDWARE! Check it out over at Josh Spear:
Aside from the potential novelty that is eating potatoes with cutlery made from potatoes, Spudware is designed with the earth in mind; while it’s just as durable as plastic disposable utensils, its 80% potato starch/20% soybean oil composition allows the product a biodegration schedule of just 180 days.

(via Diet Blog)

Eating to Live on the Outside: Red Bamboo

As you know, my favorite Eating to Live on the Outside restaurant is New York City’s Sacred Chow. In fact, I was there again this past weekend. Now, this week’s installment isn’t about Sacred Chow, rather, it’s about another New York City eatery right down the road. I haven’t eaten their yet, but, Red Bamboo certainly has some potential. Let’s take a look-see.

Red Bamboo serves up vegetarian cuisine, and, it certainly lives up to its namesake. The only immediate gripe I have about the menu is the tremendous amounts of faux-meat products like tofu chicken, bacon, fish, and seitan. I’ve got nothing deep-rooted against this stuff. I just don’t like them all that much. I rather eat wholesome fruits and vegetables—you know?

Alright, let’s start with the appetizers. I like the steamed Edamame the best, but I’d nix the sea salt. There’re also a few dumplings and rolls that I might give a look. Combined the Asian Dumplings, Spring Rolls, and the Thai Vegetable Rolls are made with spinach, cabbage, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, mixed green salad, soy-ginger dipping sauce, carrots, bean sprouts, soy protein, jicama, basil, rice paper, and soy-lime dipping sauce. Certainly lots of good stuff! I’m not sure about the soy protein and I’d probably go without either dipping sauce—I don’t want all that salt!

And like always, the salads present a lot of opportunity. The House Salad works; prepared with mixed field greens, spinach, tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms, and carrot-ginger dressing. Limit that dressing and you’re good! My favorite—because it is so exotic—is the Sea Vegetable Salad. It includes wakame, sesame hijiki, mixed greens, cucumbers, carrots, onions, bean sprouts, and house dressing. I love me some wakame! Again, watch that dressing. The Roasted Vegetable Salad and the Mediterranean Salad are also neat; combined they’re made with Portabello mushrooms, shallots, green peppers, red peppers, beets, sundried tomatoes, mixed greens, toasted walnuts, sherry-wine vinaigrette, field greens, seaweed, grilled tofu, kalamata olives, and house dressing. Personally, I’d probably ditch the tofu—not really my thing—I’d also can the olives and go easy on the dressing. All and all, pretty good!

There are some interesting vegetable entrees too. My favorite is the Grilled Vegetable Platter. They make it with grilled yellow squash, zucchini, red onions, Portabello mushrooms, and brown or white rice. I’d order it with brown rice, and, I’d just like to say—grilled yellow squash is fantastic! Yummy! The Stuffed Portabello Mushroom is up my alley as well. It’s prepared with a large Portabello mushroom, minced red pepper, garlic, basil, fresh cilantro, and mixed greens. It’s hard to beat Portabellos! Another two options might be the Teriyaki Vegetable Stir-Fry and the Black Bean Ginger Stir-Fry. Now, these are okay if you can get past the whole “fried” thing. I don’t really like fried food, but, I’m a very good boy with my eating, so I might consider one of these. Together they  include zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, sweet teriyaki glaze, garden vegetables, Cantonese black bean, chili ginger glaze, and white or brown rice. Naturally, I’d go with the brown rice for either of these. How do you feel about stir-fried dishes?

Okay, if all this doesn’t turn you on, try this. Honestly, this is an idea that I’m increasingly warming up too. Make a meal out of the sides! And Red Bamboo has some really killer sides. Here are the ones that caught my eye: sweet corn mashed potatoes, garden salad, collard greens, hijiki with carrots, steamed mixed vegetables, and mango salsa. Well, I love collard greens, I eat collard greens many-many times a month—oh, and who doesn’t love steamed veggies? Alright, here’s my combination. I’d order the sweet corn mashed potatoes, collard greens, and the steamed mixed vegetables, and, I’d order the garden salad as an appetizer. What do you think about that?

I been in New York City a lot lately, so, I think the likelihood of me hitting up Red Bamboo is pretty good. And rest assured, if I do, I’ll certainly blog my hot little hands off about it. But now it’s your turn. Check out Red Bamboo’s menu and let me know how you handle Eating to Live on the Outside. And please, make a comment or send me an email at diseaseproof@gmail.com. Until then, eat well! Peace.

Vitamin D, the Right Stuff

The importance of vitamin D is often overlooked. So much so, that many in the United States are teetering towards vitamin D deficiency—not good! I’ll let Dr. Fuhrman explain:
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that your body makes after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Vitamin D functions as a hormone because it sends a message to the intestines to increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. By promoting calcium absorption, vitamin D helps to form and maintain strong bones…

…Because vitamin D increases the absorption of calcium in the gastrointestinal tract and stimulates osteoblastic (bone-building cells) activity, vitamin D has been generating lots of interest lately in the medical literature. Borderline low levels of vitamin D have been found to be very common in the United States and Canada…

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

…It is extremely important for individuals with limited sun exposure to ingest supplemental vitamin D.
So, what kind of supplement should you choose? How about one like this? Check out this study in JAMA, “Fracture Prevention With Vitamin D Supplementation.” Here’s a bit:
Objective: To estimate the effectiveness of vitamin D supplementation in preventing hip and nonvertebral fractures in older persons.

Data Synthesis: All pooled analyses were based on random-effects models. Five RCTs for hip fracture (n = 9294) and 7 RCTs for nonvertebral fracture risk (n = 9820) met our inclusion criteria. All trials used cholecalciferol. Heterogeneity among studies for both hip and nonvertebral fracture prevention was observed, which disappeared after pooling RCTs with low-dose (400 IU/d) and higher-dose vitamin D (700-800 IU/d), separately. A vitamin D dose of 700 to 800 IU/d reduced the relative risk (RR) of hip fracture by 26% (3 RCTs with 5572 persons; pooled RR, 0.74; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.61-0.88) and any nonvertebral fracture by 23% (5 RCTs with 6098 persons; pooled RR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.68-0.87) vs calcium or placebo. No significant benefit was observed for RCTs with 400 IU/d vitamin D (2 RCTs with 3722 persons; pooled RR for hip fracture, 1.15; 95% CI, 0.88-1.50; and pooled RR for any nonvertebral fracture, 1.03; 95% CI, 0.86-1.24).

Conclusions: Oral vitamin D supplementation between 700 to 800 IU/d appears to reduce the risk of hip and any nonvertebral fractures in ambulatory or institutionalized elderly persons. An oral vitamin D dose of 400 IU/d is not sufficient for fracture prevention.
Now, where can you find a gentle oral vitamin D supplement that’ll deliver this dosage? What about these? Take a look:

Dr. Fuhrman’s Osteo–Sun (non-vegan)

Dr. Fuhrman’s Osteo–Sun (vegan)

Something Fishy Here...

A couple of weeks ago a report came out urging pregnant women to eat fish—I know, crazy—but anyway, here’s a refresher. From the Reuters report:
Women who want to become pregnant, are pregnant or breast-feeding should eat at least 12 ounces of fatty fish such as tuna every week to help themselves and their babies, experts will recommend later on Thursday.

Fish including mackerel, sardines, light tuna and salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids -- components of fat known to help brain development. Walnuts, flaxseed oil and leafy green vegetables also contain the compounds.

Women need the nutrients to prevent postpartum depression and babies need them for brain and motor skill development, the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies coalition says.

The coalition, which includes the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says "90 percent of women are consuming less than the recommended amount of fish."

But these fish can also carry high levels of mercury, which is a brain and nerve toxin.
So why is it crazy for pregnant women to eat fish? Dr. Fuhrman talks about it in his book Disease-Proof Your Child. This is a solid quote, here's it again:
Higher levels of mercury found in mothers who eat more fish have been associated with birth defects, seizures, mental retardation, developmental disabilities, and cerebral palsy.1 This is mostly the result of women having eaten fish when they were pregnant. Scientists believe that fetuses are much more sensitive to mercury exposure than adults, although adults do suffer from varying degrees of brain damage from fish consumption.2 Even the FDA, which normally ignores reports on the dangers of our dangerous food practices, acknowledges that large fish such as shark, swordfish, and yellowfin and bluefin tuna, are potentially dangerous. Researchers are also concerned about other toxins concentrated in fish that can cause brain damage way before the cancers caused by chemical-carrying fish appear.
Now, soon after the report came out I began to read some strange things. Like maybe there was another motive here, or maybe, all this was designed to serve a higher master. So naturally I jumped out of my boots when Dr. Fuhrman sent this over. Marian Burros of The New York Times offers up “Industry Money Fans Debate on Fish.” Here’s a bit:
The coalition based its advice on a finding by the Maternal Nutrition Group, made up of physicians, dietitians and nutritionists. It relied on recent research, including a study in the British medical journal Lancet, showing that the benefits for babies of omega-3 fatty acids and other substances in fish outweighed the risks of mercury. Another study showed that fears about mercury had kept some women from eating any fish.

But in an 1,800-word response to its critics, the coalition acknowledged that a member of the Maternal Nutrition Group, Dr. James McGregor, a visiting professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, had gotten the National Fisheries Institute to provide $1,000 honoraria to each of the group’s 14 members, with an extra $500 each to the group’s four executive committee members.

The National Fisheries Institute also gave the coalition $60,000 for its education campaign. The coalition’s leadership said that the public relations firm Burson-Marsteller “facilitated this group sharing its findings” with the coalition and is working to promote the recommendations.

Burson-Marsteller which represents the fisheries institute, had worked for the U.S. Tuna Foundation before it joined with the institute.
Honestly, it’s not all that shocking. America has a chronic problem with lobbyists, in all facets of society. This controversy reminds me a lot of yesterday’s post Medicine, Man, and Big Pharma.
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Obesity and "Modern Life"

Here’s a great way to blame-shift. Obesity isn’t our fault—no way! Our “modern life” is to blame. Get a load of this Reuters report:
Weight gain does not result from people’s actions — such as overindulgence or laziness —alone, and is a far more passive phenomenon than is often assumed, according to Foresight.

It found that the technological revolution of the 20th century has led to weight gain becoming unavoidable for the majority of the population, because our bodies and biological makeup are out of step with our surroundings.

“Stocking up on food was key to survival in prehistoric times, but now with energy dense, cheap foods, labor-saving devices, motorized transport and sedentary work, obesity is rapidly becoming a consequence of modern life,” said Sir David King, the British government’s chief scientific adviser and head of the Foresight program.

The British Department of Health-sponsored project is the result of a two-year-long study into the causes of obesity involving almost 250 experts and scientists.
Phew! For a second I thought they were talking about Rocko’s Modern Life.

Grow Radishes Grow!

Here’s how radishes grow…in less than a minute. Take a look:

Medicine, Man, and Big Pharma

Honestly, I’m not a fan of conspiracy theories, but, I am very suspicious of drug-makers, big businesses, and there ties to doctors, hospitals, and various health organizations—and reports like this make my blood boil! A new study claims medical schools and drug makers share strong ties. Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News reports:
More than half of department chairs at U.S. medical schools and teaching hospitals have financial ties with the drug industry, a new study finds.

These institutional relationships seemed to be just as widespread as those of individual physicians or scientists with industry.

"There is not a single aspect of medicine in which the drug companies do not have substantial and deep relationships, affecting not only doctors-in-training, resident physicians, researchers, physicians-in-practice, the people who review drugs for the federal government and the people who review studies," said lead researcher Eric Campbell, associate professor at the Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

"Drug companies have relationships with everyone," he continued. "They're involved in every aspect of medicine. Someone has to decide which of these is OK."

The study, the first to examine the extent of these institutional relationships, is published in the Oct. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Although Campbell himself reported no financial conflicts, one co-author did report having served as a consultant for drug makers Genentech and GlaxoSmithKline.
I put pharmaceutical companies and diet corporations—like Atkins and South Beach—in the same dubious category; using misinformation and fear to make money at the expense of people’s health. Now, for more on the connections between big pharma and modern medicine, check out these previous posts:
I while ago I asked Dr. Fuhrman for his thoughts on all this, and, he gave up a great quote. It really brings it home. Take a look:
Some day the public will wake up to the medicalization of America and the collusion between the drug companies, the medical profession and the government. They pay doctors millions because it is money well spent. These influential doctors then market the drug to other doctors. It is a form of multi-level marketing.
Heck, Dr. Fuhrman isn’t the only one suspicious of drug companies. Even some pharmaceutical reps are getting wise. Read this post: Pharmaceutical Rep Urges Healthy Diet Over Drugs.

Garlicky Info

Chris Ramirez of The New York Times unlocks the health benefits of garlic. Check it out:
In a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers show that eating garlic appears to boost our natural supply of hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide is actually poisonous at high concentrations — it’s the same noxious byproduct of oil refining that smells like rotten eggs. But the body makes its own supply of the stuff, which acts as an antioxidant and transmits cellular signals that relax blood vessels and increase blood flow.

In the latest study, performed at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, researchers extracted juice from supermarket garlic and added small amounts to human red blood cells. The cells immediately began emitting hydrogen sulfide, the scientists found.

The power to boost hydrogen sulfide production may help explain why a garlic-rich diet appears to protect against various cancers, including breast, prostate and colon cancer, say the study authors. Higher hydrogen sulfide might also protect the heart, according to other experts. Although garlic has not consistently been shown to lower cholesterol levels, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine earlier this year found that injecting hydrogen sulfide into mice almost completely prevented the damage to heart muscle caused by a heart attack.
Dr. Fuhrman digs garlic. According to him garlic does wonders for diabetics. Here’s a quote:
The best diet for good health and longevity is also the best diet for diabetics. It is a diet with a high nutrient per calorie ratio, as carefully described in my book, Eat To Live. When you eat a diet consisting predominantly of nature's perfect foods—green vegetables, beans, eggplant, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, raw nuts and seeds, and limited amounts of fresh fruit, it becomes relatively easy to eat as much as you want and still lose your excess weight. In my experience, those who follow my nutritional recommendations find that their diabetes disappears astonishingly fast, even before most of their excess weight melts away…

…I have achieved marked success with diabetic patients and the success at becoming "non diabetic" or almost "non-diabetic" regularly occurs on the Eat To Live program whether the patient follows a strict vegan diet or not. I describe the diet-style as a "vegetable-based" diet because the base of the pyramid is vegetables, not grains. Even though most animal products are excluded, it is not necessary to adopt a completely vegan diet to achieve the goals.
I love garlic—it’s an Italian thing! Hey, you should give these garlicky recipes a try. Look:
Summer Fresh Tomato Avocado Soup
6 large fresh tomatoes, quartered and seeded
1 avocado
1 tablespoon Dr. Fuhrman’s VegiZest
1/2 teaspoon Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1 cup carrot juice
1/2 bunch fresh basil
Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth. Serve topped with chopped fresh basil. Serves 2.

Creamy Vegetable Soup
4 ounces frozen chopped onions
8 ounces frozen broccoli florets
1 cup frozen edamame beans
3 tablespoons VegiZest or other no salt added seasoning
2 cups carrot juice
3 cups no-salt vegetable juice
4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup raw cashews
16 ounces frozen chopped collard greens
1 15-ounce can white beans (navy or cannelloni), no salt
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Simmer all ingredients, except for cashews, collard greens, white beans, and lime juice, about 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender. In blender, puree cooked ingredients and cashews with just enough soup liquid to liquefy. Simmer greens in remaining broth for 10 minutes. Add pureed mixture and beans to greens and broth. Mix thoroughly and serve. Serves 6.

"Superbug" Woes

It seems that a certain strain of ear infection has become quite the advisory. Serena Gordon of HealthDay News explains:
An emerging "superbug" that causes ear infections in children and is resistant to multiple antibiotics can only be treated with an adult medication, researchers report.

Two Rochester, N.Y., pediatricians report finding a multiple antibiotic-resistant strain of Streptococcus pneumoniae that caused ear infections in nine children in their practice over three years. The only antibiotic that was effective in treating these infections was levofloxacin, which isn't approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in children.

"We found a superbug causing ear infections in Rochester -- the Legacy strain -- that's resistant to all antibiotics approved by the FDA for use in children," said the study's lead author, Dr. Michael Pichichero, a professor of microbiology, immunology and pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and a private practice pediatrician with the Legacy Pediatric Group.

The resistant infections accounted for only 1.5 percent of the ear infections in their practice, Pichichero noted.
Could the problem be the overuse of antibiotics? More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Most doctors want to please their patients and they want to do it quickly and move to the next patient as soon as they can. Patients often expect them for common respiratory illnesses and many doctors comply with their wishes. Antibiotics as a solution work great; they enable the doctor to maintain their important role in the eyes of the patients, reinforce the value of doctor visits, and allow the patient to think their care was indispensable. The only problem is that most prescriptions are either not needed, or not in the best long-term interest of the patients.

Looking at Global Fatness

Diet Blog looks at new information on global obesity. Here’s a little bit:
  • For most developing nations, obesity is a now more serious threat than hunger. Worldwide, more than 1.3 billion people are overweight, while only about 800 million are underweight. These figures are diverging rapidly.
  • Even poverty-stricken nations such as Nigeria and Uganda are facing high obesity rates
  • People in developing worlds are consuming more caloric sweeteners, vegetable oils and animal-source foods. Poorer nations have also experienced an influx of technology that brings activity to a grinding halt.

Bloated Britons 2050

Uh-oh! Apparently our friends from across the pond are going to be in BIG trouble by 2050. Tariq Panja of the Associated Press reports that most Britons could be obese by 2050. Read on:
The government backed Foresight report_ which drew on evidence from 250 experts over two years — concluded that excess weight had become the norm and described Britain as an "obesogenic" society. The number of overweight and obese people in Britain has tripled in the last 25 years. One in four adults are now obese, according to the most recent Health Study for England.

The obesity problem costs Britain 45 billion pounds ($90 million) a year and take 30 years to overturn, the report said.

The study's authors said there was scant proof that current anti-obesity policies worked, and the government pledged to draw up new plans to combat bulging waistlines.
Sadly, obesity is always in the news. Check out Followhealthlife’s obesity category for updates.

South Beach: Vending Junk

Fads love them or hate them—they sell—Beanie Babies, Pokemon, The Atkins Diet, and Slap Bracelets all huge money makers, and in my humble opinion, giant wastes of time. You can certainly add The South Beach Diet to that list too, and, the new South Beach vending machines. Yup, it’s sad but true. Diet Blog is on it:
Kraft Foods is rolling out a vending machine stocked with South Beach Diet branded food.

Apparently the machines are already in service in Florida. The machines are only stocked with foods that are compliant with the Arthur Agatston's South Beach Diet.

This includes: Planters nuts, Breakstone's low-fat cottage cheese, Crystal Light drinks, Jell-O sugar-free gelatin snacks, Nabisco Wheat Thins and the new South Beach Diet lunch wraps.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
Truth be told, I don’t know that much about The South Beach Diet—I’m not into bandwagons—but Dr. Fuhrman considers South Beach to be just another ineffective approach to a healthy diet. Why? He points out a major reason in this post debunking the dietary misinformation of Joseph Mercola, D.O. Check it out:
I am not arguing that a vegan diet is healthier or will lead to a longer life compared to someone who eats a small amount of animal products, such as a little fish or eggs in their diet. But I am arguing that as the amount of animal products increases in a diet-style forcing natural plant foods off the plate to become a smaller percentage of total caloric intake, the modern diseases that kill over 80 percent of Americans (heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes) will occur in greater and greater likelihood in every genetic type. My review of over 60,000 articles in the scientific literature supports the conclusion that animal products if consumed should be held to a maximum of ten percent of total caloric intake, reduced from 40 percent in America today and certainly significantly reduced from 60 percent on the Zone and South Beach diets and 80 percent of total caloric intake on the Atkins type diets, and somewhere in between these level on Dr. Mercola's high protein type diet. Dr. Mercola's recommendation are somewhat similar to the Weston Price Foundation, another group that advocates a diet rich in meats based on distorted science and old scientific views that have been disproven by the preponderance of the evidence.
I’ve said it before, I’m a layman not an expert, but from my experience managing this blog I have learned one important overriding fact: the more animal products you eat, the shorter your life and the higher your risk of disease. Again, this isn’t my opinion. I picked it up from Dr. Fuhrman and the graphs in these two posts clearly illustrate this relationship. Take a look:
The trouble is fads sell…truth doesn’t.

Weight-Loss Surgery, Bad News

Dr. Fuhrman will never give weight-loss surgery his endorsement. Why? It’s risky and full of complications. He talks about it in Eat to Live. Here’s a snippet:

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), wound problems and complications from blood clots are common aftereffects of gastric bypass and gastroplasty surgery. The NIH has also reported that those undergoing surgical treatment for obesity have had substantial nutritional and metabolic complications, gastritis, esophagitis, outlet stenosis, and abdominal hernias. More than 10 percent required another operation to fix problems resulting from the first surgery.1

And some new research confirms Dr. Fuhrman’s concerns. According to Reuters death-risks increase after weight-loss surgery. Michael Conlon reports:

Patients who undergo weight-loss stomach surgery have a higher death rate than is true for the general population, including more suicides, perhaps linked to depression, researchers said on Monday.

The higher risk of death generally is due not to the surgery itself but to the health problems that accompany obesity, and the damage that the condition does to the body before and after surgery, the researchers said.

Dr. Bennet Omalu and colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh said a review of more than 16,000 bariatric operations done in Pennsylvania over a nine-year period found a "substantial excess of deaths owing to suicide and coronary artery disease" compared to normal death rates found in the population at large.

Why not just eat healthfully and exercise?

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Dieting or Exercising?

Well, this is an odd report. Judy Foreman of The Boston Globe asks the question, “Is dieting or exercise better for weight loss?” Let’s find out:
In a small, randomized, controlled clinical trial, Ravussin divided three dozen overweight but healthy men and women into three groups. One group reduced their calorie intake by 25 percent. Another group cut calories by half as much (12.5 percent) while increasing energy output through exercise by 12.5 percent; and the third group made no diet or exercise changes.

The researchers looked at weight loss, body composition, and measures of superficial and deep fat. They found that it doesn't matter whether people lose weight by diet or by exercise or a combination, although exercise has the important benefit of improving cardiovascular health.

"So long as the energy deficit is the same, body weight, fat mass, and abdominal fat will all decrease the same way," said Ravussin, in an e-mail.

Fruit Fights Head and Neck Cancer

New research claims a compound in fruit helps ward off head and neck cancer. Tan Ee Lyn of Reuters reports:
Lupeol, a compound in fruits like mangoes, grapes and strawberries, appears to be effective in killing and curbing the spread of cancer cells in the head and neck, a study in Hong Kong has found.

An experiment with mice showed lupeol worked most effectively with chemotherapy drugs and had almost no side effects, scientists at the University of Hong Kong said in a report published in the September issue of the journal Cancer Research.

"It can suppress the movement of cancer cells and suppress their growth and it is found to be even more effective than conventional drugs (eg. cisplatin)," said Anthony Yuen, a professor at the University of Hong Kong's surgery department.

"It's even more effective if we combine it with chemotherapy drugs, and has very little side effects," he said.
Not exactly new news, Dr. Fuhrman has been talking about this for years. Fruits and veggies have amazing anti-cancer properties. Time for a quote:
Studies have repeatedly shown the correlation between consumption of raw vegetables and fresh fruits and a lower incidence of various cancers, including those of the breast, colon, rectum, lung, stomach, prostate, and pancreas.1 This means that your risk of cancer decreases with an increased intake of fruits and vegetables, and the earlier in life you start eating large amounts of these foods, the more protection you get.
Now here’s a great recipe to go along with this information:
Green Banana Power Blended Salad
2-3 ounces washed baby spinach
3-4 ounces washed romaine lettuce
1 banana
½ avocado
5 medjool dates
1 tablespoon Dr. Fuhrman’s Black Fig Vinegar (optional)
Blend well into a smooth pudding-like consistency in the food processor, Vita-Mix, or a powerful blender by shoving the lettuce down into the blades with a cucumber or carrot used as a plunging tool. Blending raw greens until smooth greatly increase the absorption of nutrients from out digestive tract, delivering a powerful nutrient punch. Serves 2.
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The Skinny on Canned Veggies

Here’s a cool little article talking about canned fruits and vegetables. Its over at MSNBC, take a look:
Canned fruits and vegetables are picked and packed at their peak ripeness, cooked quickly and sealed so nutrients are not lost. Several studies have found that the vitamin content in canned or frozen foods is comparable to fresh produce. Some canned foods such as tomatoes actually top frozen or fresh. With canned beans, the heating process may also make the fiber more soluble and useful to the body than dried beans…

…To keep nutrition locked in, store canned foods in a cool, dry location. Choose fruits packed in their own juices over those packed in syrups. Up to half the sodium in canned vegetables or beans can be washed away by rinsing under water.
Pretty sound advice. Personally, I always buy the low sodium or no-salt canned goods. What about you?

World Health Day USA 2007

In case you didn’t know, today is World Health Day...

My hope is that Followhealthlife does its own small part to help satiate world hunger.

Cereal Killers Carnival of Recipes

Chocolate Milk...is Good?

How do you feel about milk? Well, if you grew up in the US you probably think it’s a wholesome part of the good ole’ American meal. But, the truth is, milk really isn’t fit for human consumption. Dr. Fuhrman tells us why in his book Disease-Proof Your Child:
Milk, which is designed by nature for the rapidly growing cow, has about half its calories supplied from fat. The fatty component is concentrated more to make cheese and butter. Milk and cheese are the foods Americans encourage their children to eat, believing them to be healthy foods. Fifty years of heavy advertising by an economically powerful industry has shaped the public's perception, illustrating the power of one-sided advertising, but the reality and true health effects on our children is a different story. Besides the link between high-saturated-fat foods (dairy fat) and cancer, there is a body of scientific literature linking the consumption of cow's milk to many other diseases. If we expect our children to resist many common illnesses, they simply must consume less milk, cheese, and butter. Dairy foods should be consumed in limited quantity or not at all.
Granted, Dr. Fuhrman’s my boss, but truth be told. I’ve never found anything appetizing about milk, and, I still think it’s gross when people drink a big frothy glass of milk with dinner—yuck! Speaking of gross, get a load of Mutant Milk:

But evidently some “experts” think not just milk, but chocolate milk is a “good-for-you” treat. Yeah, I know, I hit the ceiling too. EMaxHealth has more:
Chocolate milk is a healthy treat in disguise. This Official Drink of Halloween has the chocolaty taste that witches, ghosts and superheroes adore, but behind its tasty chocolaty costume, chocolate milk is packed with calcium and other essential nutrients that growing kids need at Halloween or any time of year.

"Lowfat chocolate milk is one of those rare treats that kids love and moms can feel good about," said registered dietitian and mother-of-two Liz Weiss, co-author of The Moms' Guide to Meal Makeovers. "It's a nutrient-packed form of chocolate that always seems to satisfy. Plus, chocolate milk is such a better alternative than sugar-filled sodas and fruit drinks that contain little or no nutrients."

In fact, chocolate milk may be one answer to help curb the excessive consumption of nutrient-void soft drinks, which some experts say is a major contributor to childhood obesity in this country. Studies have shown that kids who drink flavored milk tend to drink fewer sweetened soft drinks and fruit drinks, which are the No. 1 source of calories and added sugars in a child's diet.
Despite this blather, Dr. Fuhrman makes it very clear. Milk and dairy consumption can set you up for a whole host of diseases. Take Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, and ovarian cancer for example. Take a look:
Parkinson’s disease
Recent studies have shown that men who consume more dairy products and who are big milk drinkers have a higher occurrence of Parkinson’s disease.

Honglei Chen, M.D., of Harvard University reported his findings at the annual meeting of the American College of Nutrition (December 2004) and presented a few other studies, one of which was the Parkinson’s Disease Honolulu Study, that showed the same association. The interesting finding was that it was not the fat in milk and dairy that were implicated. Usually, the high saturated fat content of dairy is blamed for its disease risk. But in this case, according to Chen, fat was “out of the picture.” Calcium and added vitamin D also were unrelated. That means something else in dairy is the culprit. The relationship between Parkinson’s and milk consumption has been suspected for decades1 and was first reported by researchers a few years ago. Chen’s and other recent prospective studies have confirmed the earlier, less definitive findings.

Heart disease
A related recent finding is that deaths from heart disease also are strongly associated with milk drinking in adulthood. Of particular interest is that (as is the case with Parkinson’s) the association is with the non-fat portion of milk. Non-fat and skim milk consumption shows the same association as that of whole milk. Researchers found that heart disease death is strongly associated with circulating antibodies against milk. These antibodies are found to bind to human lymphocytes and platelets, thus increasing the likelihood of clot formation. The researchers also concluded that the non-fat aspects of milk have atherogenic effects (plaque-building) both biochemical and immunological, and the simultaneous attack from all these directions explains why milk was found to have such a strong effect on death rate.2

Ovarian cancer
A recent study of 61,000 women found that those who consumed more than 2 glasses of milk per day had twice the risk of serous ovarian cancer than women who consumed fewer than two glasses. The risk of those who drank two glasses a day was double that of women who rarely drank milk.3 Lactose in milk seemed to be the primary culprit. Again this larger study confirms earlier studies with the same findings.
Heck, who needs dairy! According to Dr. Fuhrman vegetables pack all the calcium you’ll ever need. Here’s more from his book Eat to Live:
Green vegetables, beans, tofu, sesame seeds, and even oranges contain lots of usable calcium, without problems associated with diary. Keep in mind that you retain the calcium better and just do not need as much when you don’t consume a diet heavy in animal products and sodium, sugar, and caffeine…

…Many green vegetables have calcium-absorption rates of over 50 percent, compared with about 32 percent for milk.4 Additionally since animal protein induces calcium excretion in the urine, the calcium retention from vegetables is higher. All green vegetables are high in calcium.
So instead of serving your kids chocolate milk, give this nutrient-dense chocolate smoothie a try. Enjoy:
Chocolate Smoothie
5 ounces organic baby spinach
2 cups frozen blueberries
1/2 cup soy milk
1 medium banana
3 medjool dates or 6 deglet noor dates
2 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman's Cocoa Powder
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
Blend all ingredients in a Vita-Mix or other powerful blender until smooth and creamy. Serves 2.
See, you don’t need milk to have a good time!
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Flaxseed Oil and Fish Oil

Astrid Pujari, M.D. of The Seattle Times insists flaxseed oil and fish oil can help people live longer. Here’s why:
Eating fish at least two times a week seems to decrease the risk of heart disease for people who have never had a heart problem. The research is mostly from population studies, though, which are not considered the gold standard in medicine when it comes to "proving" something.

On the other hand, the data on fish oil is strong for people who have established heart disease. One large study from Italy found that people who took fish oil after a heart attack were less likely to die. Flaxseed oil has not been studied as well as fish oil for heart disease. But it does seem to do things that may benefit the heart based on some small studies. For example, it seems to help increase the elasticity of blood vessels, lower inflammation and make the blood less prone to clotting.

In addition, there have been large population studies that suggest that eating high amounts of alpha-linolenic acid — which is found in flaxseed oil — lowers the risk of heart disease. For instance, one study found that high ALA intake over about six years lowered the risk of a heart attack by as much as 59 percent.
Dr. Fuhrman’s not thrilled about either oil. Take a look:
Flaxseed oil
There is no need to consume flaxseed oil. The best way to get omega-3 fatty acids is to consume whole flaxseed. Plus, when you consume whole flaxseed, not only do you get the best plant source of omega-3 fatty acids, you also get the richest source of dietary lignans. Lignans are converted by bacteria in the intestinal tract to horomone-like compounds called phytoestrogens that have protective effects against hormone-related cancers such as breast and prostate cancer. In fact, consuming ground flaxseed has been shown to have beneficial properties for prevention and treatment of both breast and prostate cancer.

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

Sweet and Fruity Snacks

Chocolate Oat Clusters
2 cups unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup date sugar
2/3 cup raw walnuts, ground
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 teaspoons arrowroot powder
4 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman's Cocoa Powder or other natural cocoa powder
3/4 cup oats
8 dates, pitted and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Blend applesauce, vanilla and date sugar in blender until creamy. In a large bowl, combine the flour, arrowroot powder, ground nuts, and cocoa powder. Add the blended wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in oats, chopped dates and chopped nuts. Bake for 10 minutes. Yields approx. 55 cookies.

Fruity Sandwich Spread

1 cup dried apple
1 cup soy milk
1/4 cup raw Brazil nuts
1/2 cup organic baby spinach
2 medjool dates, pitted
1 banana, sliced
3 whole grain pita pockets or whole grain bread
Soak dried apples in soy milk for at least two hours. Drain off soy milk and blend with Brazil nuts, spinach and dates in a Vita-Mix or other powerful blender. Remove to bowl and add soaked apples and sliced banana to combine. Cut pitas in half and lightly toast. Spread mixture inside. Serves 6.

Mixed Fruit Smoothie
1/8-1/4 cup vanilla soy milk
1 banana
1 cup organic baby spinach
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup frozen peaches
1 cup frozen mangoes
1 cup fresh organic strawberries
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
Blend all ingredients together in a Vita-Mix or other powerful blender until smooth and creamy. Serves 4.

Tomato 101

This guy knows his tomatoes. Here he drops a little knowledge on us. Take a look:

Tomatoes are the real-deal. They’re one of Dr. Fuhrman’s fab five foods. Check it out:
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.

Health Points: Tuesday

J&B Meats Corp. is recalling 173,554 pounds (78.7 tonnes) of frozen ground beef products sold under "Topps" and "Sam's Choice" labels due to possible E. coli contamination, the U.S. government said this weekend.

The Coal Valley, Illinois-based company produced the patties in June and distributed them to retail stores nationwide, the U.S. Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service, or FSIS, said in a statement.
Scientists reported progress yesterday toward one of medicine’s long-sought goals: the development of a blood test that can accurately diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, and even do so years before truly debilitating memory loss.

A team of scientists, based mainly at Stanford University, developed a test that was about 90 percent accurate in distinguishing the blood of people with Alzheimer’s from the blood of those without the disease. The test was about 80 percent accurate in predicting which patients with mild memory loss would go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease two to six years later.
A diverse group of low-income women participated in the study, Dr. Alyson B. Moadel of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York, noted in an interview with Reuters Health. "Our patients really enjoyed the yoga classes, it was very well received by them," she said. "It really fit in with their own cultural interests."

There is mounting evidence that yoga can improve quality of life in both healthy and chronically ill people, Moadel and her team point out in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, while quality of life may be particularly affected for cancer survivors who belong to ethnic minorities and other underserved minority populations.
The ban on phthalate makes California the first U.S. state to impose severe limits on a chemical that is widely used in baby bottles, soft baby books, teething rings, plastic bath ducks and other toys, said Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, the bill's author.

"I think parents will be comforted that when they buy one of these chewy products it will be safe," Ma told The Associated Press on Sunday after the bill was signed into law.
New suspected cases of foot and mouth disease in sheep have been reported in Britain, the environment ministry said on Monday, in another county from the confirmed cases in this year's outbreak.

A three-kilometre (1.8-mile) temporary control zone has been imposed around premises close to the town of Rye, near the southern English coast, after sheep showed possible symptoms of the disease. Tests were being carried out.
Good news for us early birds who grit their teeth to get through the afternoon because our evolutionary bio-rhythms are at their lowest ebb.

Research by Liverpool’s John Moores University has shown that the mere thought of an afternoon siesta can help reduce the risk of a heart attack. The length of the nap is irrelevant as it is in the minutes just before we drop off when the beneficial changes to our body take place.
President Hu Jintao said Monday China would step up efforts to improve food safety and prevent the spread of animal diseases, in a speech opening the Communist Party's five-yearly Congress.

"We will intensify efforts to prevent animal and plant epidemic diseases and improve the quality and safety of agricultural products," Hu said.

Later in the speech, he said: "We must ensure food and drug safety."
A turning point came in 2002, scientists conclude Monday in the annual "Report to the Nation" on cancer. Between 2002 and 2004, death rates dropped by an average of 2.1 percent a year.

That may not sound like much, but between 1993 and 2001, deaths rates dropped on average 1.1 percent a year.

The big change was a two-pronged gain against colorectal cancer.

Asthma: Clean House, Dangerous House?

I wish I could have used this excuse to get out of cleaning my room when I was a kid. According to a new study household cleaners and air fresheners can raise asthma risk in adults. Reuters is on it:
Housework might be bad for your health, according to a study suggesting that tidying up as little as once a week with common cleaning sprays and air fresheners could raise the risk of asthma in adults.

Other studies have linked these types of products with increased asthma rates among cleaning professionals but the research published on Friday indicates others are potentially at risk as well.

Exposure to such cleaning materials even just once a week could account for as many as one in seven adult asthma cases, the researchers wrote in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

"Frequent use of household cleaning sprays may be an important risk factor for adult asthma," Jan-Paul Zock, an epidemiologist at the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona, who led the study, wrote.
For more on chemical dangers, check out Followhealthlife’s toxins category.

How Do I Change My Eating Habits?

Be realistic and flexible; give your taste buds time to adjust to the new food choices. Changing your behavior is the key to success. Moderation, however, does not mean it’s okay to poison ourselves, abuse our body, and then feel guilty. Moderation means recovering quickly when you have slipped up. Some of us need to plan cheats, once a week or twice a month. Keep to those planned times. A cheat every once in a while is okay if it is moderate, and as long as you go right back to the program immediately and then don’t do it again for at least one week.

Many health authorities and diet advisers recommend only small changes; they are afraid that if the change is too radical, dieters will give the whole thing up and gain nothing. I strongly disagree. My work over the past ten years has shown that those who have jumped in with full effort the first six weeks have been the individuals most likely to stick with the plan and achieve results, month after month. Those who try to get into it gradually are the ones most likely to revert back to their former way of eating. Under the gradual approach, they “yo-yo” back and forth between their old bad behaviors and good ones. Change is hard. Why not do more and glean the results you have always been after quickly and permanently?

Jiggle the Fat Away!

The heck with the gym! Diet Blog passes along this diamond in the rough. Let’s all jiggle our way to superior health. Check it out:


Choppin' Broccoli

No one has ever sung about chopping broccoli with more passion than Dana Carvey. Simply breathtaking:

I weeped.

Fat-Cancer Links

I feel like this is Health 101, but, maybe some people still don’t know this—drum-roll please—OBESITY IS BAD FOR YOU! Okay, I’ve said my piece, now here’s Dr. Fuhrman’s. From his book Eat to Live:
Obesity is not just a cosmetic issue—extra weight leads to an earlier death, as many studies confirm.1 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.2 It is a major cause of early mortality in the United States.3
Let’s focus on cancer for the moment. Check out these two new reports linking obesity to different kinds of cancer. The first is from the AFP. Apparently obesity and gullet cancer are joined at the hip—the very fat hips. Here’s more:
The probe, carried out in Australia, looked at 793 people with oesophageal cancer, who were compared with 1,580 counterparts matched for age and place of residence.

Risks of developing this cancer were higher among individuals who had gastric acid reflux, which has long been associated with such tumours.

But another big risk factor was obesity.

Those with a body mass index (BMI, a measure of fat) of 40 or more were six times more at risk than people with a BMI of between 18.5 and 25, which is deemed to be a standard for good health.
Now, after you finish giggling over the word “probe.” Feast your eyes on this report. According to new research obese people have an increased risk of developing esophageal cancer. More from Robert Preidt of HealthDay News:
Obese people are six times more likely to develop esophageal cancer than people with healthy weight, says an Australian study that looked at 800 people with esophageal tumors and 1,600 people without the disease.

People with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more were six times as likely to have esophageal cancer as those with a BMI between 18.5 and 25 (a BMI of 30 is considered the threshold for obesity).

According to a team from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Brisbane, the finding held true even after accounting for other factors known to be linked to the disease, such as high alcohol consumption and smoking.

This suggests that obesity is an independent risk factor for esophageal cancer, said the study authors, who explained that higher levels of fat tissue in the body increase insulin production. This, in turn, boosts levels of circulating insulin-like growth factor.
I’m no scientist, but, I do a lot of reading—I plow through health news like a tazamian devil. And from what I’ve noticed, through my layman eyes, is being overweight or dare I say “fat” is never good; especially for cancer-risk. More proof:
All this is a huge reason why I decided to change my life, slim down, and get super-healthy. In fact, maybe I should share my story with you all one day—wink, wink. To be continued…

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Eating to Live on the Outside: Sage Grill

This week Eating to Live on the Outside heads all the way to California, home of the Sage Grill, and, it’s a toughie. Not the most daunting menu we’ve ever encountered, but not the easiest either. I’d say it’s middle-of-the-road, but, there’s only one way to know for sure—let’s hit it!

Surprisingly there are a couple options under Burgers & Sandwiches. First is the salmon burger. Salmon is a low-risk fish (provided it isn’t Atlantic Salmon), so that’s good. It’s prepared with Muenster, dill aioli, and an Italian herb ciabatta. Well, the cheese is history. After that, the concessions would be the oil and the bread. I’m not thrilled about it, it’s not my first choice, but, at least the salmon has lots of healthy fats.

The Artichoke & Basil Sandwich could work too. It includes artichoke hearts, spinach, basil, tomatoes, parmesan, garlic, capers, balsamic vinegar, and focaccia. Okay, the parmesan and the capers are gone, making the bread the only concession. It’s not a slam-dunk, but it’s an option—I guess.

The salads have the most potential, well, all but Spinach Goat Cheese Salad and the Caesar Salad. In general, an Eat to Liver ordering a Caesar Salad is a big waste of time. My favorite salad is the Sage House Salad; made with romaine lettuce, organic baby greens, cherry tomatoes, Asiago, and champagne vinaigrette. Once I cut the cheese—pun intended—it looks pretty good to me. Provided I go easy on the pesky salad dressing. What do you think?

Other salad options could be the Grilled Tiger Prawn Salad and the Club Salad; combined they’re prepared with tiger prawns, organic baby greens, tomatoes, Pomelo orange, citrus fruits, mango vinaigrette, romaine lettuce, roasted chicken, applewood bacon, avocado, and blue cheese dressing. Alright, if you eighty-six the prawns, chicken, bacon, and blue cheese dressing, I think you’re sitting pretty. Remember just focus on those phytonutrient-packed veggies—yippee!

Outside of the salads, it really gets iffy—I’ve certainly said that before. I originally thought the Miso Black Cod was an option, but, when I checked it out on OceansAlive—wow! Cod isn't exactly safe, so I scratched that idea. The Pan-Fried Buttermilk Catfish also gets the axe, because of the fried and the buttermilk—egad! Even the Saffron Salmon is bad news. Why? Isn’t salmon a safe fish? It is according to OceansAlive, but this is Atlantic Salmon and Atlantic Salmon is an Eco Worst and a Health Concern—screw that!

Now if none of these strikes your fancy, try this strategy. Make a meal out of a bunch of sides. Here’s what I have in mind, a plate of roasted new potatoes, seasonal vegetables, and sautéed organic baby spinach. Hopefully none of these are cooked in any animal products or excessive amounts of oil. If they’re not, I think this is a solid option—any thoughts?

There are also some soups you can toy with, but, in my experience eating out, most soups—even the vegetable soups—are made with chicken broth. Personally, meat broths kind of revolt me. So instead of interrogating the wait staff about it, I usually order something else, most likely a salad. I can say quite honestly, nine times out of ten, when I eat outside my home, I order a salad—stick with what works!

Like I said, not the worst restaurant we’ve encountered, but certainly not a Fuhrman-friendly paradise. I often wonder, if it wasn’t for the inventor of the salad, I’d never leave the house. Okay, your turn. Check out Sage Grill’s menu and let me know how you handle Eating to Live on the Outside. Make a comment or send an email to diseaseproof@gmail.com. Until then, eat well!

The New York Times: Diet and Fat

John Tierney of The New York Times examines the debate surrounding dietary fat. Here’s a bit:

Gary Taubes demonstrates in his new book meticulously debunking diet myths, “Good Calories, Bad Calories” (Knopf, 2007). The notion that fatty foods shorten your life began as a hypothesis based on dubious assumptions and data; when scientists tried to confirm it they failed repeatedly…

…In the case of fatty foods, that confident voice belonged to Ancel Keys, a prominent diet researcher a half-century ago (the K-rations in World War II were said to be named after him). He became convinced in the 1950s that Americans were suffering from a new epidemic of heart disease because they were eating more fat than their ancestors.

There were two glaring problems with this theory, as Mr. Taubes, a correspondent for Science magazine, explains in his book. First, it wasn’t clear that traditional diets were especially lean. Nineteenth-century Americans consumed huge amounts of meat; the percentage of fat in the diet of ancient hunter-gatherers, according to the best estimate today, was as high or higher than the ratio in the modern Western diet…

…To bolster his theory, Dr. Keys in 1953 compared diets and heart disease rates in the United States, Japan and four other countries. Sure enough, more fat correlated with more disease (America topped the list). But critics at the time noted that if Dr. Keys had analyzed all 22 countries for which data were available, he would not have found a correlation. (And, as Mr. Taubes notes, no one would have puzzled over the so-called French Paradox of foie-gras connoisseurs with healthy hearts.)

Yeah, this made me say, “What the—?” So, here’s what Dr. Fuhrman had to say about it:

Amazing how stupid people are. Gary Taubes is a known Atkins' devotee and nutritionally naïve and led by the Atkins' crowd. Now he has his own book. All I can say is that this makes me look like a genius comparatively when I am only stating the obvious. All I can say is:

Health = Nutrition / Calories

Not sure what this means? Well, Dr. Fuhrman explains it in his book Eat to Live. Take a look:

Your health is predicted by your nutrient intake divided by your intake of calories. Health = Nutrition / Calories, or simply H = N/C, is a concept I call the nutrient-density of your diet. Food supplies us with both nutrients and calories (energy). All calories come from only three elements: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Nutrients are derived from non-caloric food factors—including vitamins, minerals, fibers, and phytochemicals. These non-caloric nutrients are vitally important for health. Your key to permanent weight loss is to eat predominantly those foods that have a high proportion of nutrients (non-caloric food factors) to calories (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins). In physics a key formula is Einstein’s E = mc2. In nutrition the key formula is H = N/C.

Every food can be evaluated using this formula. Once you begin to learn which foods make the grade—by having a high proportion of nutrients to calories—you are on your way to lifelong weight control and improved health.

Oh! And for more on the Atkins foolishness, be sure to read these previous postings. Enjoy:

And don’t forget about our friends over at AtkinsExposed.org!

Cold Medicine...Yanked!

The Associated Press passes on a list of children’s cold medicines recently taken off store shelves. Check it out:
Drug makers today voluntarily pulled kids' cold medicines off the market less than two weeks after the government warned of potential health risks to infants.

Products aimed at children under the age of two are being removed from store shelves due to "rare instantances of misuse" that could lead to accidental overdose, a trade group that represents over-the-counter drug makers said.

Cold medicines being withdrawn include: Johnson & Johnson Pediacare Infant Drops and Tylenol Concentrated Infants Drops, Wyeth's Dimetapp Decongestant Infant Drops, Novartis' Triaminic Infant & Toddler Thin Strips and Prestige Brands Holdings' Little Colds Decongestant Plus Cough.

More Lead in Toys

According to Reuters it’s a toxic day for Curious George. Here’s why:
A Curious George doll bought at Toys "R" Us was found to be tainted with 10 times the legally-allowed lead level, and vinyl lunch boxes and backpacks also had high amounts of lead, the nonprofit group Center for Environmental Health said on Wednesday.

The Curious George doll found with high amounts of lead was made by Marvel Entertainment Group Inc, the Oakland, California-based group said in a statement. A Marvel spokesman said he was unaware of the advocacy group's finding and had no immediate comment.

Millions of toys made in China have been recalled over the last three months due to unsafe levels of lead paint, which is toxic and can pose serious health risks, including brain damage, in children.

Veggies Good!

Here’s a quick video reminding us that veggies are good. Check it out:


Kids Can't Keep the Weight Off

The pursuit of weight loss is a big deal. Millions of dollars and a whole-lot of effort are being expended in order drop a few pounds, and apparently, it’s all in vain. At least as far as kids are concerned. According to the Associated Press, kids just can’t keep the weight off. Here’s more:
A team led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that obese children who lost weight kept it off if they were in a maintenance program, but its effectiveness waned over time.

The research involving 150 overweight 7- to 12-year-olds is one of the first large-scale studies to evaluate the long-term effects of weight-loss maintenance strategies in children.

The study, which appeared in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association, also is the first to look at whether heavy kids benefited from being encouraged to play with more physically active peers, cope with teasing, and develop an improved body image.

"We know from the adult field that the biggest challenge is not losing weight — it's keeping it off in the long term," said lead author Denise Wilfley, who heads the weight management program at Washington University.
Now, regarding kids, the answer is clear. It all starts with the parents. Dr. Fuhrman will tell you, you want your kids to eat healthfully and stay fit? It’s all up to you. He talks about it in great detail in his book Disease-Proof Your Child. Take a look:
The number of children who are overweight in the United States has more than doubled during the past decade. Social forces, from the demise of cooking to the rise of fast food, as well as dramatic increases in snack food and soda consumption, have led to the most overweight population of children in human history. Added to this dietary disaster is television, computer, and video technology that entertains our youngsters while they are physically inactive. Unless parents take a proactive role in promoting and assuring adequate nutrition and an active lifestyle, you can be sure the children of American will continue this downward spiral into obesity and ill health. Obese children suffer physically and emotionally throughout childhood and then invariably suffer with adult heart disease, and a higher cancer incidence down the road…

…Parents must be responsible for our health and the health of our children. We parents have a huge responsibility and can help guide and shape our offspring into health and happy adults, or, through abuse, neglect, ignorance, and even convenience, we can damage their future. We know with certainty that the foods we feed our kids during childhood play a large role in dictating their future health…

…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
If this seems hard or too much responsibility, consider these tips, they’ll help you out. Here’re Dr. Fuhrman’s secrets to getting your children to eat healthfully:
1. Keep only healthy food in the house. Every person in the household should have the same food choices available.

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

3. Don't attempt to manage your children's caloric intake. They can do that on their own.

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

5. Educate your children about their nutritional needs and the importance of eating healthfully. Start this when they are young and continue to reinforce their learning, as they will be exposed to more toxic food choices as they get older and spend more time out of their home.
Sure, it might be a little hard work and require some thought, but isn’t your children’s health worth it?
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Fat and Ovarian Cancer

If you read this blog often enough, you’ll soon realize that consuming too much animal products, too often is hardly health-promoting—but don’t take my word for it! I’ll let Dr. Fuhrman explain. Here’s a quote:
There is still some controversy about which foods cause which cancers and whether certain types of fat are the culprits with certain cancers, but there’s one thing we know for sure; raw vegetables and fresh fruits have powerful anti-cancer agents. Studies have repeatedly shown the correlation between consumption of these foods and a lower incidence of various cancers, including those of the breast, colon, rectum, lung, stomach, prostate, and pancreas.1 This means that your risk of cancer decreases with an increased intake of fruits and vegetables, and the earlier in life you start eating large amounts of these foods, the more protection you get…

…In rural China where the diets are nearly vegetarian, the average cholesterol levels are low and you see lower cancer rates, not higher. Those with the lowest cholesterol in the China study actually had the lowest cancer rates as well. Obviously, there is a difference between one who has a low cholesterol because his dietary style earns it, and one whose cholesterol seems unjustifiably low on a modern heart-disease-promoting diet that almost everyone in the west eats…

…Worldwide, there is a linear relationship between higher-fat animal products, saturated fat intake, and breast cancer.2 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.3
Now, if you’re still a non-believer in the power of fruits and vegetables, check out this report in HealthDay News. According to a new study plant fiber and less fat helps prevent ovarian cancer—who would have thought? Read on:
On average, the women had managed to add one serving of fruits or vegetables to their daily diet by end of the six-year follow-up. They had also reduced their daily fat consumption by about 8 percent.

The findings support "the idea that lifestyle changes can be made with intensive help," said Dr. Robert Morgan, section head of medical gynecologic oncology, City of Hope Cancer Center, Duarte, Calif. He was not involved in the study.

Morgan noted that many of his patients ask him about ways they can reduce their cancer risk through diet and exercise. But he said he's found that "it's difficult to change habits, especially if they are longstanding."

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cancer killer of women. Some 20,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with the disease every year, and about 15,000 women will die from it during the same time frame.
Seems like a pretty sweet deal to me. Fruits and veggies taste great, and, they’re great for you! Kind of win-win—know what I mean?
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Poultry Pot Pie Problems

More reason to avoid prepackaged processed foods. Reuters reports that people should avoid eating pot pies linked to cases of salmonella. Here’s more:
The USDA's public health alert applied to Banquet brand turkey and chicken pot pies and store-brand not-ready-to-eat pot pies with "P-9" printed on the side of the package, said USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service.

FSIS said it was investigating a Missouri establishment that voluntarily ceased operations on Tuesday "due to reported illnesses linked to their products." FSIS said it conferred over the weekend with public health officials, who said their work suggested a meat product was a potential source of contamination. FSIS sent investigators to the plant on Monday.

Consumers should not eat the turkey and chicken pot pies covered by the alert, said FSIS, until it determines the source, products and potential production dates of contamination and proper cooking instructions.

Pineapple Cutting

How to cut a pineapple straight from a Hawaiian pineapple farm. Check it out:

Lard Bucket!

Check out this photo of a big ole’ bucket of lard. Not Rural Vegan, the actual bucket—sorry dude. Take a look:

The ingredients are even ickier! Look:

When I used to work at a grocery store I hated stocking this stuff—bleh!

(via SoulVeggie)

Eating Low-Nutrient Foods

The accepted wisdom is that the “average” woman should consume fewer than 1,500 calories daily, and a man fewer than 2,300 calories. To hold to the 90 percent rule, women should not consume more than 150 calories per day of low-nutrient food, or about 1,000 calories weekly. Men should not consume more than 200 calories of low-nutrient food daily, or about 1,500 calories weekly.
100 Calories of Low-Nutrient Foods Equals
  • 2.5 teaspoons of olive oil
  • Half a bagel
  • Half a cup of pasta
  • One small cookie
  • 2 ounces of broiled chicken or turkey breast
  • 3 ounces of fish
  • 1.5 ounces of red meat
  • One thin slice of cheese
  • One cup of 1 percent or skim milk
For those who have a lot of weight to lose, eat less than 100 calories per day of low-nutrient foods.

An Urban Sprouts Fieldtrip

Check it out! The Urban Sprouts are on a little fieldtrip. Just look at all the cool stuff:
In one very inspiring project, the garden offers paid internships for students’ adult family members. The family members cultivate a garden plot using traditional methods from their home countries in order to share their techniques with others. Family gardeners from Africa and the Caribbean had sown crops like hibiscus, okra, and squash, not in straight rows, but in curvy beds that spelled out the word L-O-V-E.

Relations of the Heart

Here’s an interesting report. A new study claims bad relationships can actually cause heart attacks; reminds me of this post on stress cardiomyopathy. More from Reuters:
The study, reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found the stress and anxiety of hostile, angry relationships can boost the risk of developing heart disease. Chances of a heart attack or chest pain rose by 34 percent compared to people on good terms with a spouse or partner.

"A person's heart condition seems to be influenced by negative intimate relationships," researchers wrote. "We showed that the negative aspects of close relationships...are associated with coronary heart disease."

Other research has shown more social connections can mean a healthier life -- the "protective effect" -- but few studies have looked at how close friendships or marriages affect health, said Roberto De Vogli, an epidemiologist at University College London, who led the study.
If this is true—I should be dead by now!

Health's Hard Times

Nicholas Bakalar of The New York Times shows us that economic hard times can actually be healthy times—or at least was the case for Cuba. Take a look:
Using national vital statistics and other sources, the researchers gathered data on energy intake, body weight and physical activity in Cuba from 1980 to 2005. In Cienfuegos, a large city on the southern coast, obesity rates decreased to less than 7 percent in 1995 from more than 14 percent in 1991. As more food became available, obesity increased to about 12 percent again by 2002.

Nationwide, coronary heart disease mortality declined 35 percent from 1997 to 2002. Diabetes mortality was down to less than 10 per 100,000 in 2003 from 19 per 100,000 in 1988. The death rate from all causes declined to 4.7 per thousand in 2002 from 5.9 per thousand in 1982.
I can see it now…The Poverty Diet!

Vegetable Shanghai

Here’s a brief and blurry look at a Shanghai vegetable market. Check it out:

It's Military Week at Grand Rounds

Chewing the Omega Fat

Finding quality sources of omega fat is an interesting pursuit—with lots of conflicting messages. Now, the media tends to beat the fish and oils drum. Take this article by Astrid Pujari, M.D. of The Seattle Times for example. Here’s a bit:
Flaxseed oil has a basic type of omega 3 fat known as alpha-linolenic acid. Your body can use it to make two different types of omega 3 fats known as EPA and DHA.

Now let's say you want a shortcut. Instead of your body making the fats yourself, you go to the store and buy them ready-made. That is what buying fish oil is like…

…So to be sure they are getting enough EPA and DHA, many people just choose to eat cold-water fish or take fish oil. Examples of cold-water fish include salmon, sardines, herring, kipper and mackerel. Shellfish such as oysters, shrimp and scallops contain lesser amounts.

Flaxseed oil also has health benefits that may be different — or even complementary — from those of fish oil. That makes sense because it has a different type of omega 3 fat, alpha-linolenic acid.
Okay, if there’s one thing I learned about this topic is that it’s more complicated than it seems. You’ve got to be really careful about which sources of omega fat you choose. First let’s look at flaxseed oil. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
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.
That was rather blunt—scratch that idea! Alright, moving on. Now what about fish oil? Not to spoil the surprise, but, Dr. Fuhrman has more than a few choices words for most fish oils; quite the fishy predicament. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
One problem with fish oils is that much of the fat has already turned rancid. If you have ever cut open a capsule and tasted it, you will find it can taste like gasoline. Many people complain of burping, indigestion and of fish breath. I have also observed that rancidity of this fish fat places a stress on the liver. Patients of mine with abnormal liver function noted on their blood tests when consuming fish oil have had these tests return to normal when the fish oils were stopped.
Fish oil no. Flaxseed oil no. What’s left? Surely consuming whole fish has got to be a good idea. After all, just last week a health coalition recommended women eat fish while pregnant. Time for Dr. Fuhrman to chime in again, take a look:
Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) that interfere with blood clotting much the same way aspirin does. Once you have significant atherosclerosis, it is helpful to take such anti-clotting agents, especially if you continue a dangerous diet. These fish derived-fats also have some effect on protecting the arterial walls from damage from other fats.

However, the best way to prevent a heart attack or stroke is to follow a high-nutrient diet with little or no animal products, thereby ensuring that such blockages don't develop in the first place. Then eating fish won't matter. In fact, the reason fish-derived fats, EPA and DHA, are not considered essential fats is that almost all people have enzymes to convert the plant-derived omega-3 fat rapidly into EPA and DHA.1

Fish is a double-edged sword, especially because fish has been shown to increase heart attack risk if polluted with mercury.2 It seems that the cardioprotective effects of eating a little fish is lost when you eat lots of fish, most likely because lots of fish exposes you to high mercury levels, which can promote lipid peroxidation.3 Lipid peroxidation plays a major role in the development of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis.
Rather daunting on all fronts. So then, if fish, fish oil, and flaxseed oil all have problems, what are good sources of health omega fats, DHA, and EPA? Rather than beat around the bush, here’s more from Dr. Fuhrman:
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. Keep in mind that the scientifically documented benefits from flax seeds come from raw, ground flax seed, not flax seed oil.

If you were looking for a substitute for eating fish in that article, it was okay to mention flaxseeds as a source of short chain omega-3, but since they only convert about 2.5 percent into DHA, they do not supply what fish do (EPA and DHA) long-chain omega 3. My DHA Purity is a better option to supply what fish could, not flax. My DHA Purity is refrigerated because these oils can go rancid easily and we take extra care to preserve its cleanliness and freshness.

Also, there are other brands of non-fish DHA, but they are not refrigerated the whole time from manufacturing, shipping and storage like ours are. And when I tested the competitive brands in independent analysis they had very high rancidity scores.

You can buy a clean fish oil, a few of the best brands are purified and tested not to have the contamination and mercury that fish does, but that is still a limited resource (over-fishing) not a renewable resource like our DHA made from micro-algae grown under clean indoor conditions.
Clearly, eating healthfully requires some careful thinking and decision making—who would have thought!
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Gorilla Sandwich

This is great! Have you ever wondered what it’d be like to eat like a gorilla, well—WONDER NO MORE! Introducing Gorilla Sandwich. Look, look:

The "Gorilla Sandwich" is not only by its nature a very unique design, but it is also a good representation of what can be designed and how far design reaches into our life.

The Gorilla Sandwich is one of those designs that is a good story, and at the same time it serves as a high-quality example to demonstrate the infinite possibilities when it comes to successfully blending aesthetic design to an object's function, with an end result that most designers wouldn't consider, even in their wildest dreams, could be designed at all.

The raw food market had been growing for a long time, and about two and a half years ago the market place was in need of a good "on the go" raw meal. A few fresh food manufacturers approached me and asked me to create a fast, healthy meal, the equivalent to a sandwich or burger.

Dark Meat or White Meat?

That is the question Diet Blog is pondering. Check out what they’ve turned up:
Dark Meats
Dark meats simply have more myoglobin proteins, the magic stuff that ships oxygen to the muscle cells.

Dark meats must use myoglobins as they transfer oxygen more efficiently to the muscles than glycogen. Muscles used more frequently, get to be dark. This is why non-flying poultry drumsticks are dark meat, while breast meat is white.

When dark meat is cooked it turns the myoglobins to metmyoglobins, which is brown/gray. Metmyoglobins are very high in iron (albeit there is not that much in dark meat in the first place).

White Meat
White meat gets the 'juice' through glycogen. Glycogen is a polysaccharide of glucose, an animal starch. Animal starch is stored primarily in the liver and broken down into glucose when needed by the white muscle.

Nutritional Comparison
Dark meats tend to contain more zinc, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, vitamins B6 and B12, amino acids, iron than white meat. Dark beef meat contains about 11 times more zinc than tuna, and about 3 times as much iron than raw spinach. Chicken dark meat contain vitamins A, K, B6, B12, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, minerals as selenium, phosphorus and zinc.

Even the fats in most of the dark meats have healthy parts. They contain Omega-3, and Omega-6 fatty acids, and other ‘healthy’ fats.

It is the saturated fat content which lowers the true quality of dark meat.
Dr. Fuhrman pretty much just lumps white meat and dark meat together. Here’s why:
Chicken has about the same amount of cholesterol as beef, and the production of those potent cancer-causing compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are even more concentrated in grilled chicken than in beef.1 Another recent study from New Zealand that investigated heterocyclic amines in meat, fish, and chicken found the greatest contributor of HCAs to cancer risk was chicken.2 Likewise, studies indicated that chicken is almost as dangerous as red meat for the heart. Regarding cholesterol, there is no advantage to eating lean white instead of lean red meat.3
Personally, the only differentiation I do is between meat and fish. What about you?
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Dressing Healthy

Pumpkin Seed Pecan Dressing
2 apples
1/4 cup fresh apple juice
2 tablespoons pecans
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon Dr. Fuhrman’s Spicy Pecan Vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Blend all ingredients together in a Vita-Mix or other powerful blender.

Savory Tomato Dressing
1 cup pasta sauce, no or low salt
3 tablespoons almond butter
1-2 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman’s Black Fig Vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dr. Fuhrman's VegiZest (optional)
garlic or onion powder, to taste (optional)
Mix all ingredients together in a blender or blend with a wire whisk. Add any additional seasonings such as garlic or onion powder if you wish.

Fruity Herb Dressing
2 dates, pitted
2 shallots
2 cloves garlic
2 fresh bay leaves
1/3 cup Dr. Fuhrman's Black Fig Vinegar
1/4 teaspoon tarragon
1/2 cup water or soy milk
Mix all ingredients in blender with 1/2 cup water or soy milk.

Green Velvet Dressing
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup raw tahini
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
4 tablespoons raw cashews
2 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman's VegiZest
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon (optional)
2 teaspoons Bragg Liquid Aminos
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Blend all ingredients in a Vita-Mix or other powerful blender until smooth.


This right here should be the mascot for the standard American diet. Its over at A Hamburger Today, take a look:

Vegetarian Carnival - October 8th Edition

The PSA Test Debate

In August a report came out which called into the question the effectiveness of frequent prostate cancer screenings. More from HealthDay News:
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.
So, I guess this tells us prostate screenings are “kinda” effective. Certainly contrary to this study contending that PSA testing is still “valuable.” Dennis Thompson of HealthDay News reports:
The cancer society recommends annual screenings for prostate cancer beginning at age 50 for most men, and at age 45 for men at high risk. Those at high risk include blacks and men who've had a close relative suffer from prostate cancer before age 65.

The screening involves two steps: undergoing a digital rectal exam and testing for PSA levels in the blood.

In the rectal exam, the doctor feels the prostate to see if there are any bumps or hard spots that might signify cancer.

And although PSA is not an indicator of cancer, but a protein created during inflammation of the prostate, doctors have found that highly elevated levels indicate an increased risk for cancer.

Studies now show that the regular testing of PSA levels can indicate cancer risk by showing rises or falls in the protein's levels.
And here’s one more side of the debate. Dr. Fuhrman isn’t sold on PSA tests. In fact, he believes they’re wrought with false confidence. Some of his thoughts:
Incredible as it may seem, the PSA test does not accurately detect cancer. If you are over 60 years old, the chance of having a prostate biopsy positive for cancer is high, and the likelihood you have prostate cancer is the same whether or not you have an elevated PSA. More and more studies in recent years have demonstrated that prostate cancer is found at the same high rate in those with lower, so-called “normal” PSAs as those with elevated PSAs.1 An interesting study from Stanford University in California showed that the ability of PSA to detect cancer from 1998 to 2003 was only 2 percent. The elevations in PSA (between 2 and 10) were related to benign enlargement of the prostate, not cancer.

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

If you want to have your prostate biopsied, radiated, and cut out, go ahead, but you do not need a PSA blood test first to decide. The PSA test is just an excuse to give men a prostate biopsy.
Ultimately it’s your decision, but, all this will certainly have you scratching your head.

Parent's Eating Habits

ParentDish asks an important question, “What kind of eating habits are you passing on to your kids?” Let’s have a look-see:
I grew up hating to cook, mostly because in my family that was what girls/women were expected to do (my father never prepared a meal for our family in my entire childhood.) And only recently have come around to the idea that cooking can be fun.

My husband on the other hand, came from a family of vivacious Italians who love to cook and love to eat. Overrating is an art form at their house. You get your money's worth at buffets. Snacking is a regular night time activity. Food is rich and decadent: fresh sausages with basil; fresh mozzarella; canolis; ricotta; Panchito. My husband is a dream in the kitchen. Give him any five ingredients and he can make a five-star meal.

We want to come to some sort of balance between us: sharing with Bean a vivacious enjoyment of food and food culture; while also modeling the healthful moderate eating habits that lead to lifelong health.
It’s a great question. Dr. Fuhrman will tell you, the way you eat SERIOUSLY influences the way your kids eat. Here’s a quote from his book Disease-Proof Your Child:
As parents, we must be consistent, but not perfect. Likewise, it is okay for the children to be consistent, but not perfect either. For example, if the parents decide that an unhealthy food or a restaurant meal is acceptable for the children once per week, then that goes for the adults, too. Setting an example supported by both parents is the most important and most effective way for your children to develop a healthy attitude toward food.
Who would have thought—kids are easily influenced! No. You don’t say?

Bad Belly Fat--Bad!

This is hardly earth-shattering, but, I guess it serves as an important reminder. Reuters reports belly fat is bad and can up cancer risk. Look:
Postmenopausal women who are overweight or obese appear to have a greater risk of developing, renal cell carcinoma, a common form of kidney cancer, and study findings suggest that a larger waist girth and a history of weight loss and regain further increase this risk.

"Our study suggests that the risk of renal cell carcinoma can be lowered if overweight individuals lose excess central body fat and then maintain stable weight at a more desirable level," Dr. Juhua Luo, of Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden told Reuters Health.

Luo and colleagues analyzed data from more than 140,000 U.S. women, aged 50 to 79 years, enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative study.

They compared associations between the development of renal cell carcinoma, a cancer of the lining of the kidney, and the women's body weight and frequency of weight loss and regain (weight cycling) over an average of 7.7 years.


Listen. I don’t care what McDonalds is trying to hock—I don’t want any of it! But in case you’re interested, Diet-Blog is all over McSalads. Check it out:

If only McDonald's were consistent in their messages; parents are less than impressed with their happy meal advertising.
Well, it does beat McStyle.

Veggie Translation

Know your veggies…in Portuguese. Take a look:

Eating to Live on the Outside: Old Man Rafferty's

I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m a Jersey guy; born and breed. An Italian from New Jersey—go figure! Now, all kidding aside, Jersey is a great place for food. But, in my experience doing Eating to Live on the Outside I can tell you New Jersey is not unlike other states. Sure, we got healthy eateries, like Mesob and Fresh Food Kitchen, but there’s also plenty of IHOP’s, Panera Breads, and Friday’s to go around. This week’s restaurant certainly falls towards the latter.

One of my Jersey stomping grounds is the town of New Brunswick—home of Rutgers University—and, Old Man Rafferty’s is a local favorite. Not of mine, I’ve never been—and thank goodness for that! Because I’m looking at the menu right now and it doesn't look good. It’s positively loaded with all the trappings of the standard American diet; cheese, bacon, beef, bread, chips, etc, etc. But, I’m dedicated to my craft, so, I’m going in. To the Eat to Live mobile boy wonder!

First off, Old Man Rafferty’s has two menus—lunch/dinner and dessert—I’m nixing the dessert menu. I hardly think ice cream, cake, and fudge are Fuhrman-friendly. Onto the lunch/dinner menu! Alright, what do we have here?

I see a few salads I like—I know what you’re thinking, “What a shock!” Hardly, but I’m a big salad guy, so I don’t mind. I’m digging the Italian Country Salad—for obvious reasons—it’s prepared with mesclun greens, poached pears, gorgonzola cheese, candied walnuts, and sherry wine vinaigrette. Ciao cheese and candied walnuts! After you say goodbye to those two unsavory characters, you’re left with a pretty basic salad.

If this is too boring for you, give Rafferty’s House Salad a whirl; made with romaine lettuce, baby lettuce, fresh vegetables, tomatoes, cucumbers, and your choice of dressing. I love cucumbers! Not as much as I love avocado, but they’re great. I’d probably just drizzle some balsamic vinegar over all this which makes it a pretty tasty pile of veggies if you ask me.

Another option is the Tuna Nicoise. Now, I know tuna isn’t the safest fish to eat, considering it high mercury content, but, if I were to order this it would be the first time in long time that I’ve eaten tuna, and, I certainly wouldn’t be in any rush to eat it again! It’s prepared with Boston Bibb lettuce, radicchio lettuce, plum tomatoes, red bliss potatoes, red onion, hard boiled egg, black olives, hearts of palm, grilled tuna, and a lemon & roasted garlic vinaigrette. Lots of stuff! Well, I’m ditching the egg and the olives, and, keeping the dressing to a minimum. Sounds goods, don’t you agree?

Okay, outside of the salads, things get dicey—don’t they always? Maybe the Stir Fry is an option. I say maybe because I’m really not into fried food, but for veggies, I sometimes make an allowance—sometimes. Its prepared white meat chicken or shrimp, assorted vegetables, sesame oil, stir fry sauce, sticky rice, and lo mein noodles. Yeah, it’s a little rough. Well, if you ditch the chicken or shrimp and the noodles. The only things you’re stuck contending with are the noodles and the sesame oil. Now, this isn’t my first choice, but, if the mood struck me, I might consider ordering. Might being the key word—what do you think?

The Grilled Salmon Filet is cool. I like it because it’s served with red bliss potatoes and asparagus—asparagus rocks! In fact, I’ve regularly seen Dr. Fuhrman himself munching on some. Quite a sight, the man is ravenous for his veggies. In addition to the vegetables and the salmon filet, the dish is topped off with a lemon black pepper vinaigrette. Honestly, I can live with the whole shebang. Especially since Dr. Fuhrman considers salmon to be a low mercury risk.

Old Man Rafferty’s also serves up a Veggie Burger. Now, I’m not really into veggie burgers, but this one has intrigued me. It’s made with whole grains, chopped vegetables, and soy beans—very cool! Here’s the problem, it’s served on a hard roll, with fries, coleslaw, and a pickle. I dig the pickle, but everything else makes me gag! So, I’d take the bread hit and keep the roll, but instead of the fries and coleslaw I’d order a salad to go along with it. I think that works.

Now, even though I hangout in New Brunswick fairly often, I can’t say I’ll be dropping by Old Man Rafferty’s anytime soon. Outside of the dishes I mentioned the rest of the menu is no man’s land for an Eat to Liver. But maybe I’m crazy—my mother says I am—so, it’s your turn. Check out Old Man Rafferty’s menu and tell me how you handle Eating to Live on the Outside. Make a comment or send an email to diseaseproof@gmail.com. Until then, eat well!

Breast Cancer Fighting Foods

Lucy Danziger of SELF magazine offers up four varieties of food that fight breast cancer. Check it out:
Cruciferous vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage are powerful cancer fighters and appear to contain chemicals that turn on your body's natural detox enzymes. Eat them raw or slightly steamed (cooking breaks down the protective chemicals). Shoot for five servings a week.

Berries: The more colorful, the better! These fruits are rich in antioxidants, which protect cells from damage, and strawberries and raspberries contain ellagaic acid, which has been shown to protect against breast cancer in lab studies. Sneak these in wherever you can...toss some in your smoothie or even have some with dessert.
She also suggests fish and whole grains—not too sure about that—but berries and veggies—hooray!

Fish: Good for Pregnancy?

I always thought women shouldn’t eat fish when they’re pregnant. Why? Well, remember this little list? From Dr. Fuhrman’s book Disease-Proof Your Child:
  • Caffeine
  • Nicotine, including secondhand smoke
  • Alcohol
  • Medications, both over-the-counter and prescription drugs
  • Herbs and high-dose supplements, vitamin A
  • Fish, mollusks and shellfish, sushi (raw fish)
  • Hot tubs and saunas
  • Radiation
  • Household clear, paint thinners
  • Cat litter (because of an infectious disease called toxoplasmosis caused by a parasite found in cat feces)
  • Raw milk and cheese
  • Soft cheese and blue-veined cheeses such as feta, Roquefort, and Brie
  • Artificial colors, nitrates, and MSG
  • Deli meats, luncheon meats, hot dogs, and undercooked meats
Did you see it? “Fish!” Right there on the list. Makes me wonder what the heck this report is all about. According to Reuters, a coalition recommends women eat fish while pregnant. Here’s a bit:
Women who want to become pregnant, are pregnant or breast-feeding should eat at least 12 ounces of fatty fish such as tuna every week to help themselves and their babies, experts will recommend later on Thursday.

Fish including mackerel, sardines, light tuna and salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids -- components of fat known to help brain development. Walnuts, flaxseed oil and leafy green vegetables also contain the compounds.

Women need the nutrients to prevent postpartum depression and babies need them for brain and motor skill development, the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies coalition says.

The coalition, which includes the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says "90 percent of women are consuming less than the recommended amount of fish."

But these fish can also carry high levels of mercury, which is a brain and nerve toxin.
Eat tuna! Have they gone loony? Dr. Fuhrman is very mercury-phobic—especially for pregnant mothers! And tuna is hardly a safe fish. More from Disease-Proof Your Child:
Higher levels of mercury found in mothers who eat more fish have been associated with birth defects, seizures, mental retardation, developmental disabilities, and cerebral palsy.1 This is mostly the result of women having eaten fish when they were pregnant. Scientists believe that fetuses are much more sensitive to mercury exposure than adults, although adults do suffer from varying degrees of brain damage from fish consumption.2 Even the FDA, which normally ignores reports on the dangers of our dangerous food practices, acknowledges that large fish such as shark, swordfish, and yellowfin and bluefin tuna, are potentially dangerous. Researchers are also concerned about other toxins concentrated in fish that can cause brain damage way before the cancers caused by chemical-carrying fish appear.

Fish with Highest and Lowest Mercury Levels

  • tilefish
  • swordfish
  • mackerel
  • shark
  • white snapper
  • tuna
  • salmon
  • flounder
  • sole
  • tilapia
  • trout
I have one final question. Who writes these reports? Bozo the Clown!
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Brit Kids Shun Healthy Meals

This is discouraging. Apparently British school children have stopped eating school lunch since healthier meals were instituted back in 2006. Kim Murphy of The Los Angeles Times has more:
The Pied Piper, it turns out, he was not. In the wake of an Oliver-inspired national program to provide more nutritious food, students have gravitated away from the cafeteria in a majority of the schools surveyed, according to a government report released Wednesday.

The findings back up earlier reports that more than 400,000 children had stopped eating school lunches since the program debuted in September 2006.

Recalcitrant food service workers and angry "meat pie mums" are chortling with I-told-you-sos. But school officials blamed the exodus on poor marketing, minimal menu choices and a lack of consultation with pupils and parents. They signaled their determination to win reluctant junk food fans over to the merits of salad bars and baked chicken.

The call for more nutritious school lunches has been a mantra across much of the developed world, but Britain made the effort mandatory last year. State schools are required to serve meals heavy in fruits, vegetables and oily fish. Candy, potato chips and popcorn are forbidden. Old standards such as chicken nuggets and processed burgers are served no more than twice a month.
I wonder. Could the meat-pie pushing mamas have something to do with this?

Fat and Meat DON'T Impact Prostate Cancer?

I know. Kind of an unbelievable headline, but by now you’ve got to be used to a certain level of junk science, after all, low-carb diets are founded on it! Anyway, Reuters reports on a new study claiming fat and meat are unlikely to impact prostate cancer risk. Take a look:
In an email to Reuters Health, principal investigator Dr. Laurence N. Kolonel and first author Song-Yi Park of the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, said: "Although diet is likely to influence prostate cancer risk, the intake of total and saturated fat do not appear to be important contributors. However, because high intake of fat can lead to obesity as well as other cancers, the consumption of high fat foods should be limited."

Fat and meat in the diet as potential risk factors for prostate cancer have been the focus of numerous studies, but the results have been inconsistent, the study team notes in a report of their study published in the International Journal of Cancer. Some studies have found a positive relationship between prostate cancer and diets high in fat and meat, while others have found no relationship.

Kolonel, Park, and their colleagues looked for ties between prostate cancer risk and the consumption of different fats (including total, saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fat, and n-3 and n-6 fatty acids), cholesterol, meat (including total, red, processed and poultry), fish and fats from meat in 82,483 men enrolled in a study of diet and cancer. The men were age 45 or older at enrollment between 1993 and1996 and they resided in Hawaii or Los Angeles.
Now, I’d love to rap on this, but, I’m just a snarky blogger. This calls for an expert. “Who you gonna call?” Dr. Fuhrman! Here’s an excerpt from a previous post. Dr. Fuhrman makes it pretty clear that animal products don’t do prostate cancer risk any favors. Check it out:
Men's diets as toddlers and children most powerfully affect the age when they mature and develop facial hair. The prostate gland is essentially a dormant organ until puberty (much like the female breast), when heightened testosterone levels stimulate its development…

…When the death rates for prostate cancer and testicular cancer were examined in forty-two countries and correlated with dietary practices in a carefully designed study, they found that cheese consumption was most closely linked with the incidence of testicular cancer for ages twenty to thirty-nine, and milk was the most closely associated with prostate cancer of all foods.1 Meat, coffee, and animal fats also showed a positive correlation.
Feel free to enjoy the original post: Prostate Cancer: A Growing Disease In Men.
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Diet Blog on Stevia

Diet Blog wants to know, is Stevia safe? Here’s some of the investigation:
Here's how stevia landed in the news recently. The FDA sent a warning letter to Hain Celestial Group Inc. chastising them for using stevia as a food additive in some of their Zinger teas. Though it is permitted as as food "supplement," the FDA considers Stevia an "unsafe food additive." (Apparently unsafe substances are allowed as food supplements but not as additives. Does this seem screwy to anyone else?)

In its letter, the FDA pointed out that there was insufficient data to conclude that stevia is safe. Even more alarming, they said that literature reports have raised concerns about stevia's effects on blood sugar, as well as possible adverse impacts it might have on reproductive, cardiovascular, and renal systems.

Many of us hadn't ever heard there were health concerns with stevia. Doesn't Whole Foods carry it? Isn't it supposed to be healthy and natural and perfectly good for you? (Some of us do complain that it tastes nasty. But to be fair, others swear it tastes just like sugar).
Now Dr. Fuhrman’s thoughts about Stevia, check it out:
Many health gurus recommend substituting Stevia in place of artificial sweeteners. Stevia is natural and its use is permitted in Japan and other countries. Despite its widespread use, there is a surprising lack of human clinical trials evaluating its safety. Unlike with saccharin, no evidence has been reported that stevioside and its metabolites are carcinogenic. However, animal reports of nephrotoxicity do exist, which suggest that Stevia is likely safer than the other sweeteners, but not entirely without risk.1 The extent of risk is unknown at this time.
You decide.
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Red Wine and Diabetes

New research claims a chemical in red wine may help fight diabetes. Get drunk to fight type-2? Sounds too good to be true. Ed Edelson of HealthDay News is on it:
Chinese researchers have outlined the molecular chain of activity that makes resveratrol, a chemical found in the skin of red grapes and in red wine, a promising candidate for treatment of diabetes and other conditions.

The study focused on how resveratrol improved the sensitivity of mice to insulin, an effect that could lead to new treatments for type 2 diabetes, in which human cells lose their sensitivity to insulin.

And U.S. experts said the chemical's effect on a number of different tissues could eventually lead to such dreamed-of medications as an effective diet pill.

The study, by researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai, showed that resveratrol activates an enzyme called SIRT1. This enzyme, in turn, suppresses the activity of a molecule called PTP1B, which ordinarily works to decrease insulin activity. SIRT1 levels were reduced in the animals' insulin-resistant cells. Increasing SIRT1 activity with resveratrol improved insulin sensitivity by acting on PTP1B.
Alcohol and health is a touchy subject. Check out this study Dr. Fuhrman brings up in a previous Healthy Times newsletter. Here:
A few years ago the University of California’s Berkeley Wellness Letter reported on new research about the so-called heart-healthy “benefits” of alcohol consumption. Previous studies had led to a recommendation that moderate consumption of red wine—but not other alcoholic beverages—helped reduce the risk of heart attack. What did the new research reveal?

If we were to rely on the Berkeley Wellness Letter for this information, the latest news would be that moderate consumption of any alcoholic beverage—red or white wine, even beer and spirits—can be heart-healthy. Unfortunately, their latest news is still woefully out-of-date. More recent studies show that even moderate alcohol consumption is linked to significantly increased incidence of atrial fibrillation,1 a condition that can lead to stroke, and to higher rates of breast cancer.2,3
Not-so happy hour.
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Salmon Spread Recall

Wow! A week of recalls, first beef—yuck—and now salmon spread. Why you ask? Oh just a little Listeria contamination. The Associated Press has more:
Jensen's says 936 tubs of its Seattle Style Wild Smoked Salmon Spread Lemon Dill and Onion are being recalled because of the possibility they are contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes — an organism that can cause serious infections in the young, the elderly and those with weak immune systems.

The spread in question is coded "Sell by 10/20/07." It was distributed in retail stores in Western Washington and sold in 7-ounce plastic tubs.
Like fish doesn’t have enough problems? According to Dr. Fuhrman fish is a real catch-22. From Eat to Live, here’re a couple reasons why. Take a look:
Fish is a double-edged sword, especially because fish has been shown to increase heart attack risk if polluted with mercury.1 It seems that the cardioprotective effects of eating a little fish is lost when you eat lots of fish, most likely because lots of fish exposes you to high mercury levels, which can promote lipid peroxidation.2 Lipid peroxidation plays a major role in the development of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis.
Kind of puts a damper on my sushi fascination—darn it!
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Asthma: Pound the Rock

A Pittsburgh basketball camp is doing its part to help kids with asthma. Jill Daly of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports:
It's easy to understand why the children don't participate in sports, said Dr. David Skoner, asthma specialist at Allegheny General Hospital's Division of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology.

"Exercise triggers [asthma] symptoms in 90 percent" of children with asthma, he said. Sometimes parents don't even know why it is their child is not interested in sports, he said.

"We've got to find a way to get these kids exercising," he said. "Not exercising leads to rising obesity and makes asthma worse."

The two camps are recruiting children from throughout the region. Both combine asthma education and basketball skills.

The new camp is a partnership between AGH and the university's DiSepio Institute for Rural Health and Wellness. Other community health organizations are involved as well. Basketball skills are taught by the university's head basketball coach, Bobby Jones, and his players.
For more on exercise and asthma, be sure to check out their categories.


Fast Food News is all over this fashion travesty. Check it out:

What’s funny is, McDonald’s keeps you from fitting into your jeans—poetic justice?

Expensive Fat

Is it ironic or coincidence that bloated bodies are inflating US healthcare expenses? Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News reports obesity is bloating medical bills. Here’s a snippet:
Obesity is a big factor driving soaring rates of chronic disease in the United States, with many more Americans chronically ill than their European counterparts, a new study finds.

It's an expensive problem, too: According to researchers, chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease account for some $100 to $150 billion in health-care spending in the United States each year.

"The United States spends twice as much as European countries on health care," noted lead researcher Kenneth Thorpe, chairman of the department of health policy and management at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health in Atlanta. "Seventy-five percent of what we spend in this country is associated with patients that have one or more chronic conditions and most of the growth is due to obesity."
Not new news, Dr. Fuhrman talked about this in Eat to Live. Check it out:
The number one health problem in the United States is obesity, and if the current trend continues, by the year 2230 all adults in the United States will be obese. The National Institutes of Health estimate that obesity is associated with a twofold increase in mortality, costing society more than $100 billion per year.1

Obesity and its sequelae pose a serious challenge to physicians. Both primary-care physicians and obesity-treatment specialists fail to make an impact on the long-term health of most of their patients. Studies show that initial weight loss is followed by weight regain.2
People complain about the cost of buying fruits and vegetables, but something tells me, in the long run its cheaper than triple-bypasses, dialysis, and statins.
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Harmful, Harmful Cholesterol!

A new study shows us why cholesterol isn’t exactly health-promoting. David Douglas of Reuters is on it:
Cholesterol is known to promote plaque build-up in blood vessels, which raises the risk of heart attack, and other cardiovascular problems. Now, new research suggests that cholesterol does this by reducing the activity of a chemical called transforming growth factor (TGF-beta).

"The finding that cholesterol causes atherosclerosis (plaques) by attenuating TGF-beta responsiveness in...cells could lead to the development of novel and effective therapies for atherosclerosis," senior investigator Dr. Jung San Huang told Reuters Health.

Huang of Saint Louis University School of Medicine and colleagues note that TGF-beta performs a variety of beneficial anti-inflammatory and other functions and that this chemical is believed to protective against the development of atherosclerosis. The new findings appear in the Journal of Cell Science.

In a series of experiments, the researchers found that cholesterol weakened the response of TGF-beta in all cell types studied. Cholesterol also led to the rapid breakdown of the chemical.
For more on the harmful effects of cholesterol, check out Followhealthlife’s cholesterol category.

Salad, Soup, Cookies

Very Veggie Salad
15 ounces or 10 cups mixed greens or baby salad greens
1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 avocado, cubed
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
left over steamed vegetables (optional)
1/2 15-ounce can lentils, drained, or 1 cups cooked lentils
2 medium carrots, grated
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup dressing of choice
Distribute greens, vegetables (except carrots), and lentils on dinner plates. Then distribute grated carrots. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds and pour dressing over salads. Serves 2.

Tomato Bisque
3 cups carrot juice
1 1/2 pounds fresh chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
2 organic celery stalks, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 leek, chopped
1 large shallot, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman’s VegiZest
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1 small bay leaf
pinch of saffron (optional)
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 5-ounce bag organic baby spinach (optional)
In large saucepan, add all ingredients except cashews, basil, and spinach. Simmer for 30 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Remove 2 cups of vegetables with slotted spoon and set aside. Puree remaining soup and cashews in processor until smooth. Add soup vegetables to puree to make creamy bisque with chunks of vegetables. Stir in basil and spinach & let it wilt. Serves 8.

Pumpkin Pineapple Cookies
1 cup fresh or canned pumpkin or sweet potatoes
1 small banana, mashed
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, with juice
3/4 cup date sugar
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups quick oats (not instant)
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Combine pumpkin, banana and pineapple. In a separate bowl, combine rest of ingredients. Stir in pumpkin mixture. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheet and press down slightly. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes 16 cookies.

No Sugar, Sweet Life

New research claims kicking your sugar addiction could help you live a more healthful life. Reuters reports:
They found that restricting glucose -- a simple sugar found in foods such as sweets that is a primary source of energy for the body -- set off a process that extended the life span of some worms by up to 25 percent.

The key was boosting the level of "free radicals" -- unstable molecules that can damage the body and which people often try to get rid of by consuming food or drinks rich in anti-oxidants such as vitamin E, they said in a study published in the journal Cell Metabolism.

Restricting glucose first spurred the worms to generate more free radicals, but then they quickly built up long-lasting defenses against them, said Michael Ristow, an endocrinologist at the University of Jena and the German Institute of Human Nutrition, who led the study.

Incredible Vegetable Hulk

This little marauder just can’t get enough veggies. Take a look:

Actually that’s how I shop at the farmers market!

Meat Recall Expanded

Last’s week’s meat recall has been expanded—so happy I don’t eat beef! Slashfood is on it:
We told you last week that the Topps Meat Company had announced a recall of over 331,000 pounds of ground beef and patties that may contain E. coli. Did that seem like a lot to you? Topps has now expanded that recall to 21.7 million pounds. There's a possibility that total could increase later today.

I didn't think that there were that many pounds of meat in the U.S.

Exercise: Yoga True and False

I’ve been doing Yoga for a few months now and I can tell you firsthand—it’s an amazing work out! If you’re curious about it, Health answers a few questions about Yoga. Check it out:
Claim: Yoga can help you lose weight. | TRUE
How much depends on the type, how often you do it, and your diet (of course). More-athletic styles—most notably ashtanga, a.k.a. power yoga—burn more calories and help build more muscle (which translates into an even higher number of calories torched) than more-meditative versions. A 150-pound woman can work off more than 460 calories during a single hour of power yoga (versus around 170 calories for a traditional yoga session). Many celebrities, including Serena Williams, love how yoga helps them stay in shape.

Claim: Yoga cures asthma. | FALSE
Many asthma patients believe doing certain types of breathing techniques can help reduce their symptoms. But research published in the medical journal Thorax suggests that yogic breathing isn’t one of them: Participants who used a device that mimicked the breathing technique pranayama saw no improvement in their asthma symptoms.
And don’t forget about Followhealthlife’s new exercise category!

Lounging at the Salad Bar

This artist gives us a fresh new look at the salad bar. Hey baby, take a look:

Alzheimer's This and That

Okay busy bees, this should make you feel a lot better about yourselves. A new study claims organized driven people have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Carla K. Johnson of the Associated Press has more:
A purposeful personality may somehow protect the brain, perhaps by increasing neural connections that can act as a reserve against mental decline, said study co-author Robert Wilson of Chicago's Rush University Medical Center.

Astoundingly, the brains of some of the dutiful people in the study were examined after their deaths and were found to have lesions that would meet accepted criteria for Alzheimer's -- even though these people had shown no signs of dementia.

"This adds to our knowledge that lifestyle, personality, how we think, feel and behave are very importantly tied up with risk for this terrible illness," Wilson said. "It may suggest new ideas for trying to delay the onset of this illness."

Previous studies have linked social connections and stimulating activities like working puzzles with a lower risk of Alzheimer's. The same researchers reported previously that people who experience more distress and worry about their lives are at a higher risk.
Couple this with last year’s report showing that exercise helps stop Alzheimer’s and task masters everywhere can rejoice! Now, if you also eat healthfully, you’re in really good shape because Dr. Fuhrman links superior nutrition to Alzheimer’s prevention. Here’s a quote:
Alzheimer’s dementia is an irreversible brain disorder that typically develops in the elderly. It leads to memory loss, personality changes, and a general decline in cognitive function.

With the high incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in our aging population, more and more research is underway to come up with novel treatments for this brain disease. Given the large distortion of brain architecture that occurs in Alzheimer’s, it is unlikely that drug treatment will offer a solution to this debilitating problem.

Green vegetable consumption was low and animal fat consumption was high in the past histories of Alzheimer’s patients.1,2 Japanese studies have found the same relationships: individuals with low consumption of vegetables and high consumption of meat were found to be the ones most likely to develop Alzheimer’s.3

Just as in the case of heart disease, the world’s leading researchers on the subject consider diets high in animal fat to be the major factor in the causation of Alzheimer’s. Oxidative stress to our brain tissue from the combination of a diet rich in saturated fat and low in the antioxidants and phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables lays the groundwork for brain damage later in life. Deficiencies of DHA (a long-chain omega-3 fatty acid) which often are found in Alzheimer’s patients, also have been shown to promote dementia.4 Inadequate intake of omega-3 fatty acids found in flax and hemp seeds, walnuts, leafy greens,and certain fish also are implicated in the etiology of Alzheimer’s.
All this certainly gives you a fighting chance against this often mysterious disease. For more on Alzheimer’s, check out Followhealthlife’s Alzheimer’s category.
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Your Lungs: Ozone, Oh-No!

New research suggests that the ozone in urban air pollution can do significant damage to our lungs. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports:
Ozone, a major component of urban air pollution, shuts down early immune responses in the lungs, which in turn makes the lung more vulnerable to bacteria and other foreign invaders, research shows.

It's known that exposure to ozone is associated with increased cardiovascular and pulmonary hospitalizations and deaths, but the actual mechanisms involved haven't been clarified. This study, by Duke University Medical Center pulmonary researchers, may provide some answers.

They found that mice exposed to unhealthy ozone levels showed amplified lung injury in response to bacterial toxins. The rodents also showed increased "programmed cell death" of the type of innate immune system cells that normally devour foreign invaders and keep the airways clear.

Oh, The Grand Rounds You Will Have!

Breast Milk Good for Preemies

New research reports breast milk really helps premature babies. Reuters reports:
A second study on breast feeding found that it does not raise the risk that children will develop tooth decay later in life, as some earlier research had suggested.

Both reports were published in the October issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The premature infant study involved 773 U.S. babies born extremely underweight -- less than 2.2 pounds (1 kg) -- between 1999 and 2002.

It found that babies in the group given breast milk got higher scores on a test measuring their overall intelligence at 30 months of age, with the highest scores showing up among the children who had received the most breast milk as infants.
Dr. Fuhrman’s a huge advocate of breastfeeding. From Disease-Proof Your Child:
The antibodies derived from mother’s milk are necessary for maximizing immune system function, maximizing intelligence, and protecting against immune system disorders, allergies, and even cancer. The child’s immune system is still underdeveloped until age of two, the same age when the digestive tract seals the leaks (spaces between cells) designed to allow the mother’s antibodies access to the bloodstream. So picking the age of two as the length of recommended breast-feeding is not just a haphazard guess, it matches the age at which the child is no longer absorbing the mother’s immunoglobulins to supplement their own immune system. Nature designed it that way.
I’m no doctor, but, it seems obvious that all this would benefit preemies—right?

Greens in the City

You wouldn’t think Harlem is a great place for farmers markets, but, it is. This group is trying to bring greens to the city. Check it out:

Very cool!

Chew Gum, Lose Weight?

A few years ago I asked a heavy-set friend of mine why he chewed so much gum. His response, “Dude, it totally helps you lose weight.” After I bashed him on the head, I walked away in disbelief. But apparently there’s actually research on gum-chewing and weight-loss. More from Diet Blog:
There are a few shortcomings of such research:
  • The numbers were small - just 40 women and 20 men - of which only 9 were overweight or obese.
  • The results were also skewed by those called "restrained eaters". Those who were good at denying themselves food tended to be the ones who ate less after chewing the gum.
  • This is no double-blind research. Either you were chewing the gum or you weren't. Who is to say how the gum-chewers consciously or subconsciously changed their eating habits?
  • The research was "supported" by an Educational Award from the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company.
Chew tubby! Chew till the pounds melt away—sigh!

Cancer Leads to Divorce?

Obviously cancer is bad, but is it bad for marriage? Hard to believe, but a new study claims divorce-risk increases if one partner suffers from testicular or cervical cancer. Michael Kahn of Reuters is on it:
The research compared divorce rates of 215,000 cancer survivors with those among couples free of cancer over a 17-year period.

However, testicular and cervical cancer seemed to lead to a higher chance of marriages breaking up, the study found.

Women with cervical cancer had nearly a 70 percent greater risk of divorce at the age of 20, a level that fell to 19 percent at 60. For testicular cancer, the divorce risk was 34 percent at 20 and 16 percent at 60, it said.

The reason could be because both diseases affect intimacy and result in decreased sexual activity, said Astri Syse of the Norwegian Cancer Registry, who led the study.
For more on cancer—from the usual to the unusual—check out Followhealthlife’s cancer archive.

Omega-3, Omega-6, and DHA

When we have insufficient omega-3 fat, we do not produce enough DHA, a long-chain omega-3 fat with anti-inflammatory effects. High levels of arachidonic acid and low levels of omega-3 fats can be a contributory cause of heart disease, stroke, autoimmune diseases, skin diseases, depression, and possibly increased cancer incidence.1 Most Americans would improve their health if they consumed more omega-3 fats and less omega-6 fats. I recommend that both vegetarians and nonvegetarians make an effort to consume one to two grams of omega-3 fat daily.

A diet very high in omega-6 fat makes matters worse; your body makes even less DHA fat. We need enough DHA fat to ensure optimum health. The high level of omega-6 fat competes for the enzymes involved in fatty acid desaturation (conversion to longer-chain fats) and interferes with the conversion of alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) to EPA and DHA. Therefore, our high fat intake contributes to our DHA fat deficiency.

Our modern diet, full of vegetable oils and animal products, is very high in omega-6 fat and very low in omega-3 fat; the higher the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, the higher the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and inflammatory illnesses.2
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