Fine Veggie Dining

San Francisco area restaurants are whipping up some decadent vegetarian dishes! Gregory Dicum of The New York Times reports:
Eric Tucker, the chef, is highly regarded for a polyglot style that marries ingredients and techniques from diverse cuisines with a sense of how best to celebrate Northern California's vegetable bounty. Millennium's menus are famously involved and difficult to parse — when I ate there with three friends, we were confronted with ingredients ranging from papazul to tempeh picadillo to sambal.


I have a soft spot for huitlacoche — the mushroom that grows on ears of corn and resembles distended, blackened kernels — so I ordered the masa pibes ($22.95), a steaming construction of savory, chewy hominy rounds beneath a mound of ragout made from the aforementioned fungi. The dish was set off with colorful accents: a cream of sweet corn and lobster mushrooms, plus roasted poblano emulsion and tangy, cilantro-spiked avocado-heirloom tomato salsa fresca.

Such is Mr. Tucker's skill that the food at Millennium attains a gustatory cohesion not suggested by the eclectic ingredients. The shredded Indian Red peach salad ($8.95) — which, besides tender peaches, included baby heirloom lettuce, green papaya, chili-dusted peanuts, and the sweet zing of a light Thai lime leaf dressing — blossoms on the tongue like a bouquet.
Oh, oh! Check out the slideshow too. The food looks so good! Take a look:


To Catch a Vegetable

Can the Potato P.D. solve this old-time veggie mystery? Find out:

Get Those Omega-3s!

Diet Blog passes along some tips to help you get your Omega-3 fatty acids. Here are a few good ones:
  1. Grind up flaxseeds and sprinkle them on salads or add them to oatmeal, protein shakes or morning cereals. Alternately, supplement with flaxseed oil; 1 tbsp is equivalent to 3 tbsp flaxseeds (use as a supplement; Not for cooking)
  2. Snack on walnuts, which contain modest amounts of omega 3 fats (other types of nuts and seeds can also contain significant amounts of omega 3 fats)
  3. Increase your consumption of leafy greens which contain small amounts of omega 3 fats.

Rickets, Milk, and Lack of Exercise

New research claims not enough milk, exercise, and sunshine is causing rickets in some children. Lauran Neegaard of the Associated Press reports:
It's not just that they don't drink fortified milk. Bodies make vitamin D with sunlight. With teen computer use, urban youngsters without safe places to play outdoors and less school P.E., it's no wonder D levels are low. Because skin pigment alters sun absorption, black children are particularly at risk.


Rickets marks the worst deficiency, where bones become so soft that legs literally bow. Rickets was once thought to have been eradicated with milk fortification, but "I am now treating rickets in a way that I never treated it 20 years ago," says Tosi, who diagnoses rickets or super-low D levels in children every month at a bone clinic she runs for mostly inner-city children.

Doctors who've never seen rickets can miss it. Charlene Bullock repeatedly asked her 5-year-old's doctor why his leg was bending inward and he could no longer run with his playmates. It took a trip to Tosi's special clinic to learn Na-shun had rickets — the once energetic child had quit running because his bones ached like an old man's.

Fortunately, rickets caught early is easily cured with high-dose infusions of vitamin D and calcium, and Bullock's son quickly rebounded. "He's doing everything with that little leg."
I wasn’t sure how to approach this report. So, I asked Dr. Fuhrman for his input. Here’s what he had to say:
I saw plenty of kids with rickets in my medical school and residency days in the inner cities. Clearly, lack of exercise and sunlight, especially in those with darker skin is creating an epidemic of bone disease. Milk is fortified with Vitamin D, and can be the only D and calcium source in people who do not eat vegetables. I agree that the public needs to be better educated in these important nutritional issues.
Now, in regard to milk, exercise, and sunshine, these posts should explain things. Take a look:
Regular Exercise Pays Big Health Dividends
“As we condition our muscles and gain strength, our bones thicken and strengthen along with the muscle. Without regular exercise along the way, your bone structure can deteriorate as you get older. Some people survive with weak bones, but their quality of life suffers when they are immobilized by arthritis and osteoporosis.”


Cow's Milk and Kids Aren't Made for Each Other
“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.”

Importance of Vitamin D
“Sun exposure is perhaps the most important source of vitamin D because exposure to sunlight provides most humans with their vitamin D requirement. The further you live from the equator, the longer you need to be exposed to the sun in order to generate vitamin D. Season, time of day, cloud cover, smog, and sunscreen affect UV ray exposure and vitamin D synthesis.”
In a nut shell—good, bad, good.

High-Carb Diet Icky-Sticky for Diabetes

I don’t subscribe to "carbophobia", but, refined grains, rice, and cereals are bad news. Here’s a brief lowdown from Dr. Fuhrman. Take a look:
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…


…White or "enriched" rice is just as bad as white bread and pasta. It is nutritionally bankrupt. You might as well just eat the Uncle Ben's cardboard box it comes in. Refining removes important factors: fiber, minerals, phytochemicals, and vitamin E. So, when you eat grains, eat whole grains…

…As we change food through processing and refining, we rob the food of certain health-supporting substances and often create unhealthy compounds, thus making it a more unfit food for human consumption. As a general rule of thumb: the closer we eat foods to their natural state, the healthier the food.
So, it shouldn’t surprise you that a new study has determined that a high-carb diet raises women's diabetes risk. More from Robert Preidt of HealthDay News:
Black American women and Chinese women who ate foods high on the glycemic index -- which measures the effect of carbohydrates on blood glucose levels -- were at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, two new studies found.


One of the studies also found that eating more cereal fiber may be associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes in black American women…

…Women who ate high-glycemic index foods or ate a diet with a high glycemic load were more likely to develop diabetes. Women who ate more cereal fiber were less likely to develop diabetes.

"Our results indicate that black women can reduce their risk of diabetes by eating a diet that is relatively high in cereal fiber," the study authors wrote. "Incorporating fiber sources into the diet is relatively easy: A simple change from white bread (two slices provides 1.2 grams of fiber) to whole wheat bread (two slices provides 3.8 grams of fiber) ... will move a person from a low fiber intake category to a moderate intake category, with a corresponding 10 percent reduction in risk."
The answer? Stick to wholesome natural nutrient-dense foods. Dr. Fuhrman explains that plant foods are the real diabetes-fighter. Check out Starch-Based Diets No Answer for Diabetics for more.

Grand Rounds 4.10

Money, Medicine, and Influence

One psychiatrist realizes that being on a pharmaceutical company’s take can influence your judgment. More from The New York Times:
I had already prescribed Effexor to several patients, and it seemed to work as well as the S.S.R.I.’s. If I gave talks to primary-care doctors about Effexor, I reasoned, I would be doing nothing unethical. It was a perfectly effective treatment option, with some data to suggest advantages over its competitors. The Wyeth rep was simply suggesting that I discuss some of the data with other doctors. Sure, Wyeth would benefit, but so would other doctors, who would become more educated about a good medication…


…Michael Thase, of the University of Pittsburgh and the researcher who single-handedly put Effexor on the map with a meta-analysis began by reviewing the results of the meta-analysis that had the psychiatric world abuzz. After carefully pooling and processing data from eight separate clinical trials, Thase published a truly significant finding: Effexor caused a 45 percent remission rate in patients in contrast to the S.S.R.I. rate of 35 percent and the placebo rate of 25 percent. It was the first time one antidepressant was shown to be more effective than any other. Previously, psychiatrists chose antidepressants based on a combination of guesswork, gut feeling and tailoring a drug’s side effects to a patient’s symptom profile. If Effexor was truly more effective than S.S.R.I.’s, it would amount to a revolution in psychiatric practice and a potential windfall for Wyeth…

…When it came to side effects, Effexor’s greatest liability was that it could cause hypertension, a side effect not shared by S.S.R.I.’s. Norm Sussman showed us some data from the clinical trials, indicating that at lower doses, about 3 percent of patients taking Effexor had hypertension as compared with about 2 percent of patients assigned to a placebo. There was only a 1 percent difference between Effexor and placebo, he commented, and pointed out that treating high blood pressure might be a small price to pay for relief from depression.
Now, psychotropic medications are probably a bit of a grey area, but there’s no question. Doctors and patients are too drug-conditioned. This pharmaceutical rep remarks:
This is the problem with our society today. It's easier for physicians to just throw medications at patients, rather then really consult with them about diet and exercise.


That being said, those that do consult with these patients--a lot of the patients are not compliant. It's like asking an alcoholic to quit drinking. These behavioral patterns are embedded early into these patients.
Here’s Dr. Fuhrman’s hope for this dubious relationship, “Some day the public will wake up to the medicalization of America and the collusion between the drug companies.” Hopefully.

Fruit and Veg Ban?

It seems some bureaucratic red tape might be closing this fruit and veggie stand in Croydon England. Healthy Eating & Nutrition News is on it:
"Most council's would be delighted at a healthy eating project like this that is not only saving them money but paying them for the priveledge!" she says Kurdish Jawher Ahmad Mohammed and Salam Hassan have worked hard over the years to start a fruit and veg stall at East Croydon Station after finding a businessman to lend them the thousands of pounds they needed to start up. Then they had to find more thousands to pay Croydon Council for planning permission, council tax, business rates, and street traders licences. Then there's solicitors fees.


"Croydon Council are obviously trying get themselves nominated for the Christmas Carol Ebineezer Scrooge Bah Humbug award for callousness. They plan to ruin Jawher Ahmad Mohammed and Salam Hassan's business making them unemployed 2 weeks before Christmas. Because they are self employed they probably won't even be entitled to benefit!" says a horrified Yvonne.
Instead, how about giving these dudes a tax break!

Too Costly to Eat Right?

Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News reports that many Americans can’t afford to eat healthfully. Here’s some of the article:
One study shows that low-income Americans now would have to spend up to 70 percent of their food budget on fruits and vegetables to meet new national dietary guidelines for healthy eating.


And a second study found that in rural areas, convenience stores far outnumber supermarkets and grocery stores -- even though the latter carry a much wider choice of affordable, healthy foods.

"I think it's a matter of raising awareness among health professionals -- and that could be dieticians or diabetes educators or even doctors -- that when we typically give people a recommendation to eat more fruits and vegetables, that is actually so much more complicated in a rural environment," said Angela Liese, study author of the second report and an associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

"There needs to be some thought given to how do you make these recommendations," Liese said.
Kind of hard to argue with this when we live in a country with fast food dollar menus and fruits and veggies cost a few dollars a pound…sigh.

Onions...Shocking!

Next time your iPod dies unexpectedly, don’t fret, grab an onion. Seriously, you can charge it with an onion. Get a load of this video:


Talk about phytonutrients!

Followhealthlife's Latest Hits

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I’ve taken the holiday off—time for reruns! Here’s a collection of my favorite posts from the past few months. Enjoy:
Caffeine Buzzed Chi-Town
“Chicagoans eat more chocolate and drink more cola than other U.S. urbanites, and are among the top consumers of energy drinks and coffee. They are also likely to say caffeine is good for you, according to the poll conducted by Prince Market Research.”

Atkins...The Worst

“Deep down to your bones satisfied feeling?” What the heck does that have to do with good nutrition? Marijuana gives you that feeling—so they say—so is smoking weed healthy? Hardly! Sounds like an emotional attachment to food to me.


Boxed Rice Blues
“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.”

The NYC Calorie War Continues
“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.”

Something Fishy Here...
“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.”

Tomato 101
“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.”

Kids Can't Keep the Weight Off
“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.”

Gorilla Sandwich
“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.”

Brit Kids Shun Healthy Meals

“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.”

Cancer Leads to Divorce?

“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.”

Omega-3s and Type-1 Diabetes

“Optimal health depends on the proper balance of fatty acids in the diet. The modern diet that most of us eat supplies an excessive amount of omega-6 fat, but often too little omega-3 fat. This relative deficiency of omega-3 fats has potentially serious implications. Also, the consumption of too much omega-6 fat leads to high levels of arachidonic acid (AA). Higher levels of arachidonic acid can promote inflammation.”

The Perfect Waistline?
“What did you weigh at age 20? As it turns out, that’s when your body probably settled into its ideal weight. By 20, almost everyone has stopped growing, and the pounds gained in the years following are mostly fat, says Dr. Walter Willett, a nutritional epidemiologist at Harvard University.”

Goofing Up Breakfast with Low-Calorie

Clearly Platkin’s recommendations are more harebrained than health-conscious, but he’s not alone. IateApie has concocted the list of the top ten low calorie breakfast cereals. Yeah, because refined cereals are loaded with nutrients—sigh.

The World's Oldest Man
“The world's oldest man celebrated his 112th birthday Tuesday with a healthy Japanese breakfast of rice, miso soup and seaweed, saying he wanted to live forever.”

American Food Not Good for Immigrants
“Within months, Adrian was in trouble. He'd packed on 30 pounds. Doctors said he had hypertension, high cholesterol and was at high risk for type 2 diabetes.”

More Meat, More Disease
“When it is consumed in significant volume, animal protein, not only animal fat, is earning a reputation as a toxic nutrient to humans. More books are touting the benefits of high-protein diets for weight-loss and are getting much publicity. Many Americans desire to protect their addiction to a high-fat, nutrient-inadequate animal foods. These consumers form a huge market for such topsy-turvy scientific sounding quackery.”

Food Additives and Hyper Kids

"Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is an increasingly common problem, and theories abound to account for that," said Dr. David Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine. "Among them is the notion that food additives induce hyperactivity."

Shaping Up School Cafeterias
“Food and beverage companies have scrambled to offer healthier alternatives in school cafeterias and vending machines, and some of the changes have been met with a shrug by students. The whole-wheat chocolate-chip cookies? “Surprisingly, the kids have kind of embraced them,” said Laura Jacobo, director of food services at Woodlake Union schools in California.”

Gardasil, Still a Dumb Idea
Not only do mandatory vaccinations seem very un-American, but, Gardasil is hardly the saving grace Merck’s marketing team paints it to be.

America, as Fat as Ever
“A lack of exercise is a huge factor in obesity rates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found last year that more than 22 percent of Americans did not engage in any physical activity in the past month. The percentage is greater than 30 percent in four states: Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky and Tennessee.”

Kobe Beef or Kobe Vegetables
“Kobe Bryant has instead placed all of his energy into representing his country, and said he probably pushed his body hardest in preparation for this event. He lost about 19 pounds before the minicamp in July, and has stayed away from pepperoni pizza and fast food so long that he said he "can't remember the last time" he had some. His diet has mostly been limited to fish and vegetables.”

Crackdown on Energy Drinks
“The attorneys general of 28 states, Washington D.C., and Guam asked the federal government on Tuesday to crack down on the makers of energy drinks with alcohol and caffeine, arguing their advertisements don't warn of health and safety risks.”

Obesity--THE VIRUS!
What a perfect opportunity for drug-makers to come out with an obesity vaccine—Money, money, mon-ey—MONEY!

Cow's Milk an Invader?

“Our bodies treat cows' milk as an invader, and including milk and other dairy products in our diets is linked to many health problems.”

Answers to Common Questions about Flaxseed

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

High-Fat Foods No Good for Colon Cancer
New research suggests that a nutrient in red meat, poultry and dairy products may contribute to the development of intestinal polyps, which can lead to colon cancer.

Free Fruit Fridays

“Australia has its own problems with rising obesity and diabetes, and this fiber-loaded funding is more than just good stuff on Fridays. Premier John Brumby stated the Victorian plan is more comprehensive than a UK free fruit program that resulted in limited impact, per a published study last month in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.”

Bottled Water Bopping the Earth?
“Oops! The word is "don't reuse those bottles". Guess there's some danger of leaching of bad plastic from those if reused. As my son the chemist told me, "Get yourself one of those bottles especially made for holding water while hiking". It's also better for the environment. "Water-mining" is lowering the water table in some areas changing natural water supply. Plastic bottles, even if recycled aren't exactly eco-friendly.”

Barry Groves and Low-Carb: Junk Interview, Junk Science
"Each time Barry Groves reports on a medical study he gave a different conclusion to the data than the researchers do, and the studies are usually some poorly done old study. It is typical stuff for the Atkins crowd and the Weston Price Foundation to find one research paper they can claim makes their argument legitimate, but even when they hand pick one study, they typically don't report the research accurately."
Now, while you’re enjoying this stroll down memory lane, I’ll be huffing and puffing through my first ever…to be continued.

Thanksgiving Veggie Humor

Veg Blog’s pulled some great veggie-based comic strips. Here’s one:


CNN: Fast Food Ban, Healthy Fats, and Mandatory Vaccinations

It’s certainly a noble idea. Especially when you consider how bad trans-fat is for you. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Hydrogenation is a process of adding hydrogen molecules to unsaturated fats which makes plant oils that are liquid at room temperature, solidify. An example is margarine. These fats are also called TRANS FATS. The hardening of the fat extends its shelf life so that the oil can by used over and over again to fry potatoes in a fast food restaurant or be added to processed foods, such as crackers and cookies. While hydrogenation does not make the fat completely saturated, it creates trans-fatty acids, which act like saturated fats. These fats raise cholesterol and increasing evidence is accumulating demonstrating the harmful nature of these man-made fats and their relation to both cancer and heart disease. Avoid all foods whose ingredients contain partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated oils.
The link between omega fats and mood disorders has long been established. In case you need a refresher, here’s Dr. Fuhrman:
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 non-vegetarians make an effort to consume one to two grams of omega-3 fat daily.
This is utter insanity! Rest assured, drug-makers companies make enough money without mandatory vaccinations. Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t like it either:
This is not about arguing about the effectiveness or value of vaccines, just whether we should mandate medical care and take another freedom away from Americans. We no longer have the freedom to take or not take medications. Sounds like the Taliban to me.


Continue Reading...

Peas with Attitude

I’m not sure we should give these peas a chance. Take a look:

Teeth Too

We probably don’t talk about it enough here on Followhealthlife, but your teeth are pretty important too. HealthDay News passes on some tips to keep your teeth in tip-top shape. Check it out:
The American Dental Association offers these guidelines for proper hygiene:
  • At least twice a day (and after meals when you can), brush with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Use an antimicrobial mouthwash.
  • Floss at least once each day. If possible, floss after every meal to remove food particles from between teeth.
  • Get a new toothbrush at least once every three months, or whenever the brush's bristles become frayed and worn.
  • Limit sugary meals, drinks and snacks.
  • Visit your dentist twice a year for a cleaning and checkup.
Admit it, there is no greater shame than being told you have a cavity—grrr!

Union Square Veggies

Here’s a look at the famous Union Square farmers market in New York City. Enjoy:

Eat Those Blueberries!

This doctor reminds us that blueberries are a real super food. Take a look.

Thursday: Health Points

In California, 86% of the women who gave birth in 2006 nursed their newborns in the hospital, according to a report being released today by the UC Davis Human Lactation Center and the California WIC Assn., a federally funded nutrition program for women, infants and children.

Half of them -- 43% of the total -- fed their newborns only breast milk. The other half supplemented with formula.

The gap between breast-feeding a little and breast-feeding exclusively in the first 24 to 48 hours that mothers typically spend in the hospital matters because that's when a mother's milk supply is established. The act of nursing causes milk-producing hormones to be released. The more the baby nurses, the more milk the mother will produce, and vice versa.
  • Lacks scientific evidence to support claims, instead relying on glowing testimonials (which may or may not be authentic)
  • Claims you can lose weight without exercising or making dietary modifications.
  • Claims to remove fat from certain areas of your body (can you say “thigh master?”)
  • Uses terms such as “miracle”, “scientific breakthrough”, “secret formula” and “revolutionary” to describe their product.
“The answer is no, because the risky fat is inside the abdominal wall, in and around the organs,” said Dr. Louis Aronne, director of the comprehensive weight management program at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York.


A tummy tuck or liposuction “removes superficial, subcutaneous fat, which has little or no risk,” he said. “In such procedures, there is no change in what we call cardiometabolic risk factors, like insulin activity, blood sugar, triglycerides or any of the lipid parameters.”
Synthetic hormones have been used to improve milk production in cows for more than a decade. The chemical has not been detected in milk, so there is no way to test for its use, but more retailers have been selling and promoting hormone-free products in response to consumer demand.


State Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff said advertising one brand of milk as free from artificial hormones implies competitors' milk is not safe, and it often comes with what he said is an unjustified higher price.

"It's kind of like a nuclear-arms race," Wolff said. "One dairy does it, and the next tries to outdo them. It's absolutely crazy."
The CDC said about 20.8 percent of American adults are smokers, with 80 percent, or 36.3 million, of them smoking every day. That rate has been unchanged since 1984.


The county smoking rate was not available, but Health Director Dr. Bruce Dixon said he knows the problem of smoking and its effect on health remains a concern.

"We don't have really good numbers to say [how many county residents smoke], though we do look at high-risk groups, minorities, youth," he said, adding, "Sales to youth are off" but they still find ways to purchase.

"The marketing has not backed off ... I think we still have a disproportionate level of smoking among pregnant women and minority groups."
  • Staphylococcus seems to be the countries newest boogieman. Julie’s Health Club discusses an interesting way to stop it—garlic. Read on:
Garlic, well known for its natural antibiotic properties, contains an ingredient that has been shown to effectively kill methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a virulent microbe that wreaks havoc in skin and soft-tissue wounds, several studies have shown.


The nasty superbacterium that now defies most drug treatments infected more than 90,000 Americans last year and killed 19,000, making it a significant public health problem, according to a new federal report. Though 85 percent of the staph infections were in hospitals or other health-care facilities, MRSA also is marching into schools, health clubs and other crowded places.
After hearing that contestants on the recent series of The Biggest Loser have been advised to chew gum in a bid to suppress their appetites, I decided to look around to see if I could find a study to back it up. I couldn't find the actual details of the study but here is a section of a press release:

"A separate study, carried out by researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University and the Wrigley Science Institute, found that chewing gum can be a good appetite suppressant. The study found that by chewing gum before an afternoon snack, one would consume 25 less snack calories. While that is not a high number, according to nutritionists, even a slight reduction in caloric intake can have significant effects in the long term. This study was comprised of 60 adults between the ages of 18 and 54. Each participant consumed a sweet and salty snack after either chewing sweet gum or not chewing gum at all. Hunger, appetite, and cravings were then monitored throughout the remainder of the day. Along with reducing caloric intake, participants reported feeling an improved mood due to reduced anxiety and stress, and increasing contentment and relaxation. "
About three-quarters of the people of Utah are Mormons, and many of them fast for a day every month. Benjamin Horne from the Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, asked 515 elderly people undergoing X-ray examinations for suspected heart disease about their lifestyle. Those who fasted were 39 per cent more likely than non-fasters to have a healthy heart. The results were presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions in Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday.
The report, called Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective, urges people to stay at a healthy weight, which means having a body mass index (or BMI, a ratio of weight to height) between 18.5 and 24.9. And it recommends regular physical activity as a way to control weight.


"The recommendation reflects what the science is telling us today," says W. Phillip T. James, MD, DSc, a member of the panel that wrote the report. "Even small amounts of excess fat, especially if carried at the waist, increase risk."

The report also makes recommendations for eating more healthfully to reduce cancer risk. It says people should eat mostly foods from plants, limit red meat and alcohol, and avoid processed meats like bacon, sausage, and lunchmeat.

Beta-Carotene and Dementia

Beta-carotene has received some mixed press over the years. Lots of hoopla over one little vitamin, Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Years ago, high doses of betacarotene were shown to increase the risk for cancer and death in smokers. In the last few months, beta-carotene has gotten more bad news. Six years after a study was halted early because a risky association between high-dose beta-carotene supplementation and heart disease and cancer was detected, follow-ups showed that for women, the bad effects lingered. The participants took 30 milligrams per day of beta-carotene plus extra vitamin A.


Researchers found that the increased risk of heart disease and cancer disappeared when the men in the study stopped taking the beta-carotene supplements, but the risk for women continued. Before the study was halted, the participants who took the supplement had a 28 percent greater incidence of lung cancer and 17 percent more deaths from all causes compared with those who didn’t take the beta-carotene. In the follow-up, women were 30 percent more likely to develop lung cancer, 40 percent more likely to die of heart disease, and 30 percent more likely to die of all other causes.

This lingering increased risk for women may be because beta-carotene and vitamin E are both fat-soluble, allowing any excess to accumulate in fat-cell membranes. This could explain the adverse effects of beta-carotene in women, who have more body fat than men. Vitamin C is water-soluble, and any excess leaves the body via urine.
And today, there’s some good news. Ed Edelson HealthDay News reports that beta-carotene may protect us against dementia. Take a look:
Taking supplements of the antioxidant beta carotene for a long time -- 15 years or more -- appears to lessen the decline in thinking ability that comes with Alzheimer's disease, a study finds…

…The idea that antioxidants such as beta carotene can help protect against Alzheimer's disease is not new. But the idea remains controversial, because a number of studies have not produced positive results. This latest trial, which started as the Physicians Health Study II, stretches back to 1982…

…The idea that long-term use of the supplements is necessary "is certainly plausible, given that the neuropathologic changes underlying clinically significant impairment appear to take years, if not decades," Dr. Kristine Yaffe, professor of psychiatry, neurology, epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California wrote. But evidence for that concept would be difficult to obtain, since it would require trials lasting 25 to 30 years, she said.
Now, if you’re curious about veggie sources of beta-carotene, here’s a list from Dr. Fuhrman. Check it out:
Dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, beet greens, broccoli, and asparagus); deep orange fruits (apricots, cantaloupe, mango, and papaya); deep orange vegetables (squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin).
You can’t beat a nice ripe cantaloupe—so good!

Cost: Salads vs. Big Macs

Grand Rounds - Volume 4 number 8

Achy Joints, Breaky Heart?

A new study claims being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis ups your risk of developing heart disease. Alan Mozes of HealthDay News reports:
Those screening checks include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, older age, and family history of cardiovascular illness. And people diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) should be screened using those risk factors as soon as possible following their diagnosis of RA, the study authors said.


"The bottom-line is that RA patients are at increased risk of heart disease," said lead researcher Dr. Hilal Maradit Kremers, a research associate with the Mayo Clinic Department of Health Sciences Research in Rochester, Minn.

"But we need to know how can we predict which RA patients are at a higher risk than others, so that we can then put more effort in the prevention of heart disease in these people," she added. "And so, here we attempted to do just that, by using a typical cardiovascular risk profile to predict heart disease among these patients."
Okay then. What if there was a diet that could help treat arthritis, and, reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Dr. Fuhrman on rheumatoid arthritis:
Working with patients with autoimmune diseases such as connective tissue diseases, myositis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus is very rewarding. These patients had been convinced they could never get well and are usually eternally grateful to be healthy again and not require medication.


An aggressive nutritional approach to autoimmune illnesses should always be tried first when the disease is in its infancy. Logically, the more advanced the disease is, and the more damage that has been done by the disease, the less likely the patient will respond. My experience with inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis is that some patients are more dietary-sensitive than others and that some patients have very high levels of inflammation that are difficult to curtail with natural therapy. Nevertheless, the majority benefit—and since the conventional drugs used to treat these types of illnesses are so toxic and have so many risky side effects, the dietary method should be tried first.
Now, what about heart disease? Is there a diet out there that protects your ticker? I once again turn the microphone over to Dr. Fuhrman. Take a look:
Make no doubt about it: lowering your LDL cholesterol below 100 offers powerful protection against heart disease. The evidence is overwhelming today that heart attacks, which kill half of all Americans, are entirely preventable. Heart disease is a condition that is preventable and reversible through aggressive nutritional intervention and cholesterol-lowering.


The latest recommendation from most medical authorities and medical organizations such as the American College of Cardiology is to lower LDL cholesterol level below 100. This is in accordance with what has been observed for years in epidemiology studies. People in countries who ate a more simple plant-based diet did not have heart attacks and those populations are always found to have much lower cholesterol levels than was thought to be acceptable in the past. For instance, the average total cholesterol in rural China was 127 and the average LDL was below 80. Heart attacks in rural China were exceedingly rare. The same thing was observed in multiple interventional and population studies, such as the Harvard Health Study; those with LDL’s below 100 were not observed to have heart attacks. Medical authorities are now finally in agreement that much lower cholesterol levels are needed to be truly protective.
Pretty cool—right? This type of disease-prevention was one of the major reasons I decided to…to be continued.

Crunchy Cruciferous Canine

Charlie the dog just loves his lettuce…crunch-crunch! Take a look:

100 Mile Diet

Here’s an interesting diet. Only eat food produced within 100 miles of your home. More from The York Times Well blog:
Eating local often means you can meet the people who produce your food because they are selling it themselves at the local farmers’ market. You can ask questions about pesticide use and farming methods, and sometimes you may even be able to visit the farm or dairy where your food is grown or raised.


Most people who follow the 100-mile diet do so because they like fresh food and because they want to help the planet. Buying locally means less fuel burned to transport food, which means less pollution. Local farmers often are organic producers who employ earth-friendly farming methods or raise free-range animals. Recently, the concept of the 100-mile diet has gained attention after the release in April of the book “Plenty: One Man, One Woman and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally.” The book chronicles the efforts of authors James MacKinnon and Alisa Smith to eat foods produced within 100 miles of their Vancouver apartment.
Surely local fast food restaurants don’t count.

Salad Bar Schools

Some San Francisco elementary schools plan on opening salad bars real soon. CBS News reports:
According to San Francisco Unified School District, parents and students have been pushing for more fresh food to be available in school lunches, so a pilot program was initiated in three schools last year. The pilot schools performed so well that 15 new schools will have salad bars available this year. Another 10 campuses are expected to open their own salad bars by the end of the school year.


The salad bar will provide fresh greens, seasonal raw vegetables as well as fresh fruit and whole-grain breads and muffins, according to the district. The salad bar will be offered with the regular hot lunch at no additional charge.

"This is an important addition to our meals," Ed Wilkins, SFUSD director of Student Nutrition Services, said in a statement. "Not only will students have fresh vegetables at every lunch, but also a large variety to choose from."
(via Urban Sprouts)

They've Got No Bananas!

Just some puppet fruits and veggies singing about bananas. Enjoy:


Try getting that our of your head...sorry

Eat Real Food!

Here’s a thought. Instead of eating all that processed, deep-fried, double-battered, and extra-cheesed standard American junk-food, why not try some real food? The Well Blog helps make a case for wholesome food. Here’s a bit:
After several vitamin studies have produced disappointing results, there’s a growing belief that food is more than just a sum of its nutrient parts. In a recent commentary for the journal Nutrition Reviews, University of Minnesota professor of epidemiology David R. Jacobs argues that nutrition researchers should focus on whole foods rather than on simple nutrients. “We argue for a need to return to food as the source of nutrition knowledge,'’ writes Dr. Jacobs with co-author Linda C. Tapsell, a nutrition researcher at the University of Wollongong in Australia.


Dr. Jacobs believes that nutrition science needs to consider the effects of “food synergy,'’ the notion that the health benefits of certain foods aren’t likely to come from a single nutrient but rather combinations of compounds that work better together than apart. “Every food is much more complicated than any drug,’’ said Dr. Jacobs. “It makes sense to want to break it down. But you get a lot of people talking in the popular press about carbohydrates and fats in particular as if they were unified entities. They’re not. They’re extremely complicated.’’

The narrow focus on the health effects of simple nutrients stems from the earliest days of nutrition research. In 1937, two scientists won a Nobel Prize for identifying vitamin C as the essential component in citrus fruit that prevents scurvy. The finding sent the scientific community on a quest to identify other biologically active nutrients in foods.
This must really agitate the vitamin-makers! But hey, a lot can be said for actually eating whole foods. Healthy foods like fruits and veggies are loaded with good stuff. And according to Dr. Fuhrman they help fuel our human machine. Check it out:
We have cellular machinery, fueled by phytochemicals, to detoxify and remove noxious agents and to repair any damage done. Our body is self-healing and self-repairing when given sufficient nutrient support to maximize efficiency of protective cellular machinery. But, only when we consume large amounts of green vegetables and a diversity of natural plant foods can we maximize phytochemical delivery to our tissues.

Feeding Michael Pollan

Those Urban Sprouts are at it again. They recently feed famed New York Times journalist Michael Pollan the “The Perfect Dinner!” Take a look:

The premier event on Oct. 26th, "The Perfect Dinner", featured journalist Michael Pollan, (author of The Omnivore's Dilemma) and included veggies grown in Urban Sprouts' gardens! Pollan and others munched on kale and cucumbers grown by students at Excelsior Middle School, June Jordan School for Equity, and MLK Middle School. Pollan is a great advocate for locally grown, organic food and we feel honored to have participated in this event!
Here’s a link to all Michael Pollan’s stuff blogged about on Followhealthlife. Enjoy!

Lettuce Makes it All Better

Next time you feel sad. Just grab yourself an iceberg and a smile. Have a look:

Collard Green Dragon

This lizard loves his collard greens, smart little guy. Take a look:

The Pride of Washington...Blueberries!

Apparently blueberries are quite the booming business. Lynda V. Mapes of The Seattle Times reports:
The state's blueberry crop surged to $30 million in 2006, compared with $16 million just two years ago — and a meager $7,769 a decade ago. Acreage harvested has more than doubled to 3,400 acres, and some experts predict another doubling in five years.


The reason?

"We call it the health halo," said Dave Brazelton of Fall Creek Farm and Nursery in Lowell, Ore., the world's largest blueberry nursery, where the wait can be up to 18 months for new plantings of the hottest varieties.

Brazelton has watched blueberries boom as reports of the berry's health benefits have multiplied. From improving urinary-tract health to packing a powerful punch of antioxidants, blueberries are often touted as a superfood.

So growers are enjoying both rising production and prices, a double marvel that in agriculture is like defying the law of gravity.
Good news! Because according to Dr. Fuhrman, blueberries are a real super food. From One of Nature's Best Foods:
Native to North America, blueberries have been part of the human diet for more than 13,000 years, long before being formally recognized for their healthy and anti-cancer effects Blueberries are among the best foods you can eat, and I recommend eating them everyday. I have created easy healthy recipes, diet recipes, smoothie recipes – using blueberries, soy milk, ground flax seed, and other natural foods – that give my patients a variety of ways to enjoy this wonderful fruit.


Since blueberries contain flavanoids and other specific phytochemicals that help protect against vascular instability, I instruct my diabetes and heart disease patients to eat fresh blueberries every day and to eat frozen blueberries in the wintertime.

Cut Fat, Lower Cancer Risk

Seems like pretty sane advice—right? Okay, before we get into this report. Here’s some info from Dr. Fuhrman. It’ll help refresh your memory about cancer-risk and fat consumption. Take a look:
Study after study has shown that as protein consumption goes up, so does the incidence of chronic diseases. Similar studies show that the incidence of chronic diseases also goes up when carbohydrate and fat consumption go up. This is because if the consumption of any of the macronutrients exceeds our basic requirements, the excess hurts us. Americans already get too much protein (and fat and carbohydrates), and this is reflected in soaring increases in the diseases of excess—heart disease, high-blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and numerous others…


…Protein, fat, and carbohydrate are macronutrients. In fact, they are the only macronutrients that exist. Macronutrients are the nutrients that contain calories; calories supply us with energy. Vitamins, minerals, and fiber are a few of the many micronutrients. Micronutrients do not contain calories; they have other essential roles to play. When it comes to designing a healthful, weight loss diet, micronutrients should be the focus of your attention, not macronutrients.
Alright, now check out this article in The New York Times. A new study has determined that a low-diet may lower the risk of ovarian cancer. Nicholas Bakalar is on it:
Researchers randomly assigned 19,541 women to a low-fat regimen reinforced with behavioral modification that included 18 group sessions in the first year and quarterly maintenance sessions after that, along with careful recording of food intake…


…For the first four years, there was no difference in cancer rates. But for the next 4.1 years, women on the low-fat diet had a 40 percent reduced risk for ovarian cancer. Although that is a substantial percentage difference, the absolute risk for ovarian cancer is not great. Over the eight years of the study, 57 women in the diet group and 103 in the comparison group got ovarian cancer.
Now, you don’t have to be a nutritionist to know that too much fat and animal products in your diet is a bad idea. Let’s check back with Dr. Fuhrman on this. Here’s more:
There is a relationship between animal protein and heart disease. For example, plasma apolioprotein B is positively associated with animal-protein intake and inversely associated (lowered) with vegetable-protein intake (e.g., legumes and greens). Apolioprotein B levels correlate strongly with coronary heart disease.1 Unknown to many is that animal proteins have a significant effect on raising cholesterol levels as well, while plant protein lowers it.2


Scientific studies provide evidence that many animal protein’s effect on blood cholesterol may be significant. This is one of the reasons those switching to a low fat-diet do no experience the cholesterol lowering they expect unless they also remove the low-fat animal products as well. Surprising to most people is that yes, even low-fat dairy and skinless white-meat chicken raise cholesterol. I see this regularly in my practice. Many individuals do not see the dramatic drop in cholesterol levels unless they go all the way by cutting all animal proteins from their diet.
Okay-okay, back to The New York Times report, I wanted to get a comment from Dr. Fuhrman on it and here’s what he had to say:
Interesting that the group with 40 percent lower risk of ovarian cancer only improved their fruit and vegetable intake by one serving a day. So they were still on a very poor diet and still saw that reduction from the diet that was even worse. Imagine the protection against cancer they’d receive if they all adopted a vegetable-based nutrient-dense diet!
Not sure what Dr. Fuhrman’s talking about? It’s true! Fruits and veggies offer excellent protection against cancer. This should help explain it. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
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…


…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.3 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…

…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.4 Lactose in milk seemed to be the primary culprit. Again this larger study confirms earlier studies with the same findings.
Kind of lays it on the line—don’t you think?
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Green Bean Farming

Growing, harvesting, and processing green beans—scintillating! Check it out: