Pesticides, Asthma, and Farm Women

New research suggests that women on farms who come in contact with some pesticides have a greater risk of developing allergic asthma. Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News reports:
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, non-allergic asthma is caused by factors not related to allergies. But allergic asthma -- the most common form of asthma, affecting more than 50 percent of the 20 million asthma sufferers in the United States -- is characterized by symptoms that are triggered by an allergic reaction. Some typical triggers for allergic asthma include dust mites, pet dander, pollen and mold.

Experts already knew that growing up on a farm minimizes the risk of allergic disease, that pesticides have been associated with respiratory symptoms in farmers, and that farmers are at increased risk for respiratory diseases -- including asthma -- due to exposure to grains, animals, dust and other factors.

Little research, however, has delved into respiratory risk factors for farm women.

Hoppin and her colleagues examined data on 25,814 such women in North Carolina and in Iowa who are participating in the Agricultural Health Study, a large government-funded look at the effects of environmental, occupational and other factors on the health of the agricultural population.

Where's the Beef?

Sorry, I just couldn’t resist. The United States Department of Agriculture has issued a public health alert for about 14,800 pounds of missing ground beef that may be contaminated with E. coli. Reuters reports:
The alert came after a trailer containing the ground beef was reported stolen by Texas American Food Service Corporation, the USDA said in a statement.

The firm, based in Fort Worth, Texas, does business as American Fresh Foods. A company spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment.

Symptoms of E. coli 0157:H7 illness, the strain associated with the alert, include potentially severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and dehydration. Children, the elderly and people with poor immune systems are most vulnerable.
You know, over the past couple of years E. coli has gotten a lot of press. It’s about time we learn more about it, especially since it apparently runs wild in our food supply. Here are some highlights—or should I say lowlights—from Wikipedia. Take a look:
Escherichia coli (pronounced E. coli), is a bacterium that is commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded animals. Most E. coli strains are harmless, but some, such as serotype O157:H7, can cause serious food poisoning in humans, and are occasionally responsible for costly product recalls…

…E. coli normally colonizes an infant's GI tract within 40 hours of birth, arriving with food or water or the individuals handling the child. In the bowel, it adheres to the mucus of the large intestine. Wild-type E. coli has no growth factor requirements; it can synthesize all the components of its cell from glucose. It is the primary facultative organism of the human GI tract. As long as these bacteria do not acquire genetic elements encoding for virulence factors, they remain benign commensals…

…Certain strains of E. coli, such as O157:H7, O121 and O104:H21, are toxigenic (some produce a toxin very similar to that seen in dysentery). They can cause food poisoning usually associated with eating unwashed vegetables and contaminated meat (contaminated during or shortly after slaughter or during storage or display). O157:H7 is further notorious for causing serious, even life threatening complications like Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). The usual countermeasure is cooking suspect meat until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit (70 °C), or is "well done"; the alternative of careful inspection of slaughtering and butchering methods (to make sure that the animal's colon is removed and not punctured) has apparently not been systematically tried. This particular strain is linked to the 2006 United States E. coli outbreak of fresh spinach.
In keeping with today’s science lesson, here are a couple pictures of the E. coli bacteria. Enjoy, well, not really. Just have a look:

I see, it’s all so clear now, E. coli, the classic love-hate relationship.

Healthy or Costly?

The gripe that healthy food is more expensive than unhealthy food is debatable, but usually, the proof is found in the pudding. So, get a load of this chart from the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, via The Los Angeles Times:
Personally, I think it’s easy to live within your means and eat healthfully. The problem is $0.99 snack cakes and fast-food value menus are far more accessible and have million-dollar marketing campaigns behind them. What do you think?

Italian Vegetable Garden

Even if you don’t understand what he’s saying, the way this man describes his garden, still sounds poetic. Take a look:

Eating to Live on the Outside: Extreme Pita

The holidays are nearly over. Hopefully you’re all staying on track. Saying, “It’s the holidays. I can have one more cookie,” can’t last forever. So, if the yuletide is getting the best of you. Sit down and get ready for this week’s Eating to Live on the Outside—EXTREME VERSION!

Well, it’s not really extreme. It’s just that today we’re taking a look at Extreme Pita. Now, Extreme Pita claims to be healthy, fresh, and fast. This may very well be true, but, there’s only one way to find out. Saddle up folks. Its time to crack this menu open—CHARGE!

First let’s take a look at the Freestyle Pitas. Clearly, if we are going to go for a pita, concession number one is the pita, i.e. bread. Okay, the only one I’d consider ordering would be the Market Fresh Veggie; lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, mushrooms, onions, and cucumbers, and, I’d order it with the light Italian dressing. Now, not only are veggies great, but, if you check out the nutrition facts, you’ll see it’s your best bet, by far.

Alright, I’m skipping the Extreme Pita Creations and the Flat Baked Pitas, both are very meat and cheese oriented; not my thing. Onto the salads, and the salads—as they usually are—are a great refuge for the bleary eyed Eat to Liver trying to figure out what the heck to order.

There are two salads I’d go with. The first is the Fresh Veggie; lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, mushrooms, green peppers, and black olives. I’d keep everything but the olives, that way I could avoid the salt hit. I’d also get the Light Italian dressing, on the side of course. The other salad is the Traditional Greek. Now, it’s a tad mysterious because they don’t say what’s in it, but from the photo on the menu. I’d guess it comes with lettuce, black olives, tomatoes, Feta cheese, and the Greek Feta dressing. Well, after I ditch the cheese, olives, and switch the dressing. It makes more sense just to stay with the Fresh Veggie Salad. Don’t you think?

Outside of the Fresh Veggie Pita and Fresh Veggie Salad, you’re pretty much out of luck. Extreme Pita may advertise itself as a healthy fast food and yeah, compared to the likes of Burger Hut and Pizza King, they’re a better choice, but it’s no landslide victory.

Outside of these two options, the menu is slathered with cheese, lunch meat, and daunting condiments, but what really knocked me for a loop is the Just for Kids section of the menu. Here are the selections: Chicken Pita, Ham & Cheese Pita, 6” Pepperoni Flat Baked Pita, 6” Cheese Flat Baked Pita, and Chicken Nuggets & Dip—WHAT!

At least most of the adult menu sections have at least one “healthy” offering. Why is the kids menu loaded with the worst of the worst; cheese, processed meat, and, lunch meat! If you ask me that gives kids all the tools they need to make dopey food choices later in life, but then again, I doubt Pizza Kings’ kid’s menu is any better. So, on second thought and as far as standard American fast food restaurants go, it sure seems like Extreme Pita is par for the course.

But hey! Maybe I’m crazy. Heck knows I have been called it before. That’s why I need you. You people are the brains of the operation. Check out Extreme Pita’s menu—be sure to check out the nutritional information too—and let me know how you handle Eating to Live on the Outside. Make a comment or send an email to Until then, eat greatly! Peace.

Cooking Veggies...No Big Deal

I admit. For a long time I thought cooking vegetables killed them. Not so according to Dr. Fuhrman. He explains:
The raw-food movement continues to make converts, thanks to a devoted group of individuals and celebrities who embrace the belief that an all-raw food diet is the best diet. The idea that stirs the most enthusiasm for this diet is the contention that cooking both destroys about fifty percent of the nutrients in food, and destroys all or most of the life promoting enzymes.
Now, what about these enzymes? More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Contrary to what many raw-food web sites claim, the enzymes contained in the plants we eat do not catalyze chemical reactions that occur in humans. The plant enzymes merely are broken down into simpler molecules by our own powerful digestive juices. Even when the food is consumed raw, plant enzymes do not aid in their own digestion inside the human body. It is not true that eating raw food demands less enzyme production by your body, and dietary enzymes inactivated by cooking have an insignificant effect on your health and your body’s enzymes.
And here’s an interesting factoid, cooking can actually be beneficial. Dr. Fuhrman again:
In many cases, cooking destroys some of the harmful anti-nutrients that bind minerals in the gut and interfere with the utilization of nutrients. Destruction of these anti-nutrients increases absorption. Steaming vegetables and making vegetable soups breaks down cellulose and alters the plants’ cell structures so that fewer of your own enzymes are needed to digest the food, not more. The point is that this “cooked food is dead food” enzyme argument does not hold water. On the other hand, the roasting of nuts and the baking of cereals does reduce availability and absorbability of protein.
Get a load of this. Some new research has also determined that cooking vegetables might not damage their nutrient-load. More from CBS News:
The University of Parma's Nicoletta Pellegrini, PhD, and colleagues bought freshly harvested carrots, zucchini, and broccoli at a local market.

In their lab, the scientists measured levels of various antioxidants in the raw vegetables. Then they boiled, steamed, or fried the vegetables. Lastly, they measured antioxidant levels in the cooked vegetables.

Raw vegetables were loaded with antioxidants. After cooking, their antioxidant levels were a mixed bag.

In some cases, the veggies lost antioxidants to cooking. But not all antioxidants decreased when cooked -- and in some cases, certain antioxidant
levels rose when cooked.
Okay, this post isn’t intended to bash raw food—heck, Dr. Fuhrman eats plenty of raw veggies—in fact, he’ll tell you first hand, raw food is wonderful! Here’s one last quote:
Certainly, there are benefits to consuming plenty of raw fruits and vegetables. These foods supply us with high nutrient levels and the smallest number of calories. But the question we are looking at is this—Are there advantages to eating a diet of all raw foods and excluding all cooked foods?

Clearly, the answer is a resounding “No.” In fact, eating an exclusively raw-food diet is a disadvantage. To exclude all steamed vegetables and vegetable soups from your diet narrows the nutrient diversity of your diet and has a tendency to reduce the percentage of calories from vegetables, in favor of nuts and fruit, which are lower in nutrients per calorie.
I should point out, I’m eating a raw fruit and veggie chocolate pudding right now—YUM!

Kids: More on Phantom Obesity

Yesterday it was reported that many parents don’t realize that their children are overweight. In case you missed it. This Fox News video report will get you up to speed. Take a look:

Now, if you’ve actually caught yourself describing your child as “husky” or “big-boned,” you might want to ponder this quote in the AP report from Dr. Matthew M. Davis. Here it is:
"When I see a child that is obese at these younger ages, I take that as a sign of ways nutrition can be improved, a child's activity level can be improved."
Me thinks the good doctor might be onto something. From one doctor to another, Dr. Fuhrman explains why it shouldn’t be a surprise that all Americans, including kids, are getting fatter. Check it out:
Weight has increased in America simply because total calorie consumption has risen and activity or exercise has fallen. Our diets are more nutrient-deficient than ever.
Isn't acknowledging the problem is the first step?

Master Cleanser, Hogwash?

More fog surrounding the “Master Cleanser.” EMaxHealth is on it:
Some critics point to lack of essential nutrients in this fast, citing a deficiency of protein, vitamins, and minerals. As a result of these deficiencies, individuals on the diet may experience dizziness, delirium, and fainting in the short term, with possible damage to the body occurring in longer-term applications. Dr. Joel Fuhrman attributes these effects to detoxification, which he says passes after the toxins are eliminated.

Many authors assert the benefits of fasting are related to its lack of nutrients, particularly macronutrients.

Dr. Ed Zimney has asserted that, while toxins (such as mercury from the ingestion of fish) do accumulate over time, lemon juice and maple syrup could "not in any possible way eliminate any of these toxins."

People with intestinal conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome may experience added discomfort while on the cleanse. However note that this is in fact one of the treated conditions of the fast.

There is a risk that the saltwater "flush" may remove both beneficial and harmful bacteria from the body. A no-food diet may cause the gut to stop passing food, resulting in constipation, or may make the consumption of food immediately after the fast painful. These are the important reasons to follow the fasts' instructions correctly.
For more of Dr. Fuhrman’s thoughts on the Master Cleanser, check out: Master Cleanser Redux.

We Should All Cut the Salt...

Reminds me of that Bob Dylan song, “Everybody must get…” You know how it goes, but seriously, Madelyn Fernstrom, Ph.D. thinks we all should cut back on the salt. Jill Daly of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports:
The hidden store of salt lies in processed foods, says Madelyn Fernstrom, Ph.D., nutritionist and director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Weight Management Center.

That's where most people double their recommended daily dose of 2,300 to 2,500 milligrams of salt.

"Ten percent comes from table salt; 75 percent comes from processed foods, like ketchup, soy sauce," she says, adding that by putting soy sauce on sushi, a healthy dish becomes a hazard.

She says a quick reading of a product's label reveals the high salt content of condiments, canned soups, rice and noodle mixes, macaroni and cheese, frozen foods, cereals, breads and deli meats.

Among those urging FDA action to reduce excess salt in food at a recent hearing in Washington, D.C., was the American Medical Association.

"The need for immediate action is clear," said Dr. Stephen Havas, AMA vice president for science, quality and public health. "The deaths attributed to excess salt consumption represent a huge toll -- the equivalent of a jumbo jet with more than 400 passengers crashing every day of the year, year after year."
Great quote by Dr. Havas. Now, I’ve talked about it before, but, it always bears repeating. Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of salt, and, he also thinks we should do our best to avoid it. Here’s a conglomeration of his comments on salt. Enjoy:
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 taste1…

…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.2 For optimal health, I recommend that no salt at all be added to any food…

…High salt intake also contributes to flushing your bone mass down the toilet bowl. Excessive stimulation of bone turnover also causes an increase in bone breakdown and remodeling, which can lead to osteoarthritis and calcium deposits in other tissues. The presence of this bone material in the urinary tract also lays the foundation for calcium-based kidney stones.
Salt content, is a major reason why I hardly eat any processed or canned foods—Yuck!
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"Exercise-Friendly" Daycare?

Robert Preidt of HealthDay News takes a look at mixing exercise with childcare. Here’s an excerpt:
"Childhood obesity is an epidemic that threatens the future health of our nation. We know that about 57 percent of all 3- to 5-year-olds in the United States attend child-care centers, so it's important to understand what factors will encourage them to be more active, and, hopefully, less likely to become obese," study co-author Dianne Ward said in a statement. Ward is director of the intervention and policy division in the nutrition department at University of North Caroline at Chapel Hill School of Public Health.

In their study, Ward's team evaluated the physical activity levels of children at 20 child-care centers in North Carolina.

They found that children did more moderate and vigorous physical activity if the child-care center: had more portable play equipment, such as balls, jump ropes, hula hoops and riding toys; offered more opportunities for indoor and outdoor active play; and provided physical activity training and education for staff and students.
Clearly, the TV is not a good babysitter.

Secondhand Smoke-Allergy Risk

New research suggests that young children who have been exposed to secondhand smoke have a higher risk of developing allergies. Reuters is on it:
Experts have known that exposure to secondhand smoke either prenatally or early in life can raise a child's risk of developing asthma symptoms. But the evidence regarding allergies in general has been mixed.

In the new study, Swedish researchers found that 4-year-olds who had been exposed to parents' smoking during early infancy were at greater risk of allergies to indoor allergens like dust mites and cat dander. They were also at greater risk of food allergies.

It's possible that secondhand smoke triggers inflammation in the lining of young children's airways, which may sensitize them to allergy-triggering substances, according to the researchers, led by Dr. Eva Lannero of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

Stump the Doctor

This is a great post from The New York Times Well blog, Medical Myths Even Doctors Believe. I was shocked by a couple of them myself. Here they are:
3. Hair and fingernails continue to grow after death.
The claim has been repeated in movies and talk-show monologues, but it’s not true. The growth of hair and nails requires “a complex hormonal regulation” that stops after the body dies. The reason for the long-held belief may be that dehydration of the body after death, and subsequent shrinking of soft tissue, can create the illusion of growth of hair and nails.
6. Eating turkey makes people especially drowsy.
This myth stems from the fact that turkey contains tryptophan, a chemical also made by the human body. Scientific studies show that sleep and mood are affected by tryptophan.

However, turkey does not contain an exceptional amount of tryptophan. Chicken and beef contain about the same amount, and pork and cheese contain more tryptophan per gram than turkey. Because turkey is consumed with other foods, absorption of tryptophan from turkey is minimal, noted the authors. The myth likely stems from the fact that everyone feels drowsy after eating a large meal because the body is using energy to digest food and blood flow and oxygenation to the brain decreases. Large meals in the United States usually occur around Thanksgiving and Christmas, holidays during which turkey is often served.
Number 6 gives you plenty of reason to kick your lazy uncle off the couch on Thanksgiving!

Centenarians, Healthy at 100

Here’s a great video from Dr. Fuhrman’s colleague John Robbins, author of the book Healthy at 100. He breaks down just what it takes to be healthy at and beyond 100 years of age. Check it out:

For reference, here are Robbins’ four healthiest societies. And no, Americans didn’t make the list. Have a look:
1. Abkhasia: Ancients of the Caucasus
Where people are healthier at ninety than most of us are at middle age.

2. Vilcabamba: The Valley of Eternal Youth

Where heart disease and dementia do not exist.

3. Hunza: A People Who Dance in Their Nineties

Where cancer, diabetes, and asthma are unknown.

4. The Centenarians of Okinawa
Where more people live to 100 than anywhere else in the world.
Well, I might be an Italian-American, but, I’m shooting for 100…and beyond!

Alcohol, Calories, Bellies

The alcohol-Eat to Live conundrum. It’s a puzzling one. As Eat to Livers we want to eat and live healthfully, but, how does booze fit into the equation? Does it even? Dr. Fuhrman discusses alcohol in his book Eat to Live. Here’s a snippet:
It is much wiser to avoid the detrimental effects of alcohol completely and protect yourself from heart disease with nutritional excellence. For example, even moderate alcohol consumption is linked to higher rates of breast cancer and to occurrence of atrial fibrillation.1 Avoid alcohol and eat healthfully if possible, but if that one drink a day will make you stay with this plan much more successfully, then have it.
Reasonable advice—works for me. I don’t drink a lot, but I do drink. When you’re young and single, not drinking can become a social handicap. Now, the reason why I don’t drink very often is because I’m firmly aware of the adverse health effects. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Dietary Factors That Induce Calcium Loss in the Urine2
animal protein
refined sugar
aluminum-containing antacids
drugs such as antibiotics, steroids, thyroid hormone
vitamin A supplements
15 Common Migraine Triggers
dairy and cheese
salted or pickled foods
fermented foods
smoked meats
monosodium glutamate
nuts food
hydrolyzed protein
baked goods
For most people, the worst side effect of booze is consuming all those excess calories and in Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman explains, they go right to your gut. Check it out:
Moderate drinking has been associated with a lower incidence of coronary heart disease in more than forty prospective studies. This only applies to moderate drinking—defined as one drink or less per day for women, and two drinks or less for men. More than this is associated with increased fat around the waist and other potential problems.3 Alcohol consumption also leads to mild withdrawal sensations the next day that are commonly mistaken for hunger. One glass of wine per day is likely insignificant, but I advise against higher levels of alcohol consumption.
Now, it’s always cool when Dr. Fuhrman’s points get echoed somewhere else. Like this report for example. Anahad O’Connor of The New York Times investigates the claim, Calories From Alcohol Go to Your Midsection. Take a look:
In general, drinking causes weight gain primarily because alcohol slows the body’s ability to burn fat for energy, not to mention that it increases appetite. The effects of alcohol on the midsection are complicated, but studies show pretty clearly that beer, wine and spirits have a greater effect on belly fat in adults who drink sporadically than in people who drink regularly but in small amounts.

In one study published in The Journal of Nutrition in 2003, a group of scientists followed more than 2,300 drinkers and nondrinkers and found — after controlling for a number of variables — that those who averaged a single drink per day had the lowest levels of abdominal fat. Those who drank occasionally but had four or more drinks in one sitting had the greatest levels. Several studies have shown similar results.
The investigation concludes that excessive drinking is the likely to cause unsightly belly fat. So, with all this being said, next time your out with friends and one of them offers to buy you a drink, at least you’ve got the facts. Personally, I’ll take a gin martini on the rocks!
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The Broccoli Must Die!

Not only is this baby genius plotting the untimely death of broccoli, but, he can also cut a rug. Take a look:

Here’s the back story to this insidious plan: Baby Genius vs. Broccoli.

Eat to Live Chicken, Fish, and Turkey

Thai Chicken Stir-fry
2 cups cooked brown rice
2 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
4 cloves garlic, cut in half
1/2" slice fresh ginger root
1/2 bunch chopped fresh mint
12 fresh basil leaves
1/2 bunch chopped cilantro, optional
2 1/2 cups carrot juice
2 1/2 teaspoons arrowroot powder
2 bags oriental frozen vegetables
1 whole onion, sliced
1/2 pound sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 bag broccoli florets
1 can bamboo shoots, drained
2 teaspoons Spike seasoning, or other no salt seasoning
2 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman's VegiZest
1/2 teaspoon curry powder, optional
3 tablespoons natural peanut butter, no salt
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1/4 cup raw cashews, chopped
Cook brown rice according to directions and set aside until ready to serve. Very thinly slice chicken. Lightly brown chicken over high heat. Turn down heat to medium and cook until done. Do not overcook chicken; when pricked with fork and juice runs clear the chicken is cooked. Remove to a plate and set aside. In food processor, finely chop garlic, ginger root, mint, basil, and cilantro, reserving some for top, if desired. Mix carrot juice w/ arrow root powder. Place all ingredients (except for peanut butter, coconut milk, and cashews) into a wok or large skillet. Cook on high heat, covered, stirring often, until vegetables are just tender and chicken cooked through about 10-15 minutes. Push vegetables aside and add peanut butter, stirring to blend with liquid. Toss to distribute. Add coconut milk and heat until hot. Place chicken on the brown rice, cover with vegetable mixture and top with chopped cashews. Also delicious topped with the fresh herbs. Serves 4.

Salmon Salad Nicoise
1/2 cup wild salmon, canned or left over, flaked
2 cups green beans, cooked
1 cup cooked and cubed potatoes
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
1/2 cucumber, cut into small cubes
1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
2 cups mixed salad greens or baby greens
2 cups romaine lettuce, torn in small pieces

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons Dr. Fuhrman's VegiZest
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Prepare all salad ingredients. Whisk dressing ingredients and toss with salad mixture and serve. Serves 2.

Baked Apricot Garlic Turkey Tenderloins
4 apples, quartered
2 oranges, quartered
1 onion, peeled and quartered
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
20 fresh sage leaves
2 whole turkey tenderloins or 6 turkey scallops, sliced very thin
1/2 cup apricot spreadable 100% fruit
2 teaspoons Bragg Liquid Aminos
3 teaspoons Spike seasoning (no salt) or other no salt seasoning
6 cloves garlic, pressed
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut apples in quarters and slice core out leaving flat. In baking pan arrange apples, oranges, and onion close together. Lay herbs on top of fruit. Place tenderloins on top of fruit, onion, and herb mixture. If using turkey scallops, fan out three scallops on top of each other and place over apple, orange, onion and herb mixture, and do the same for the remaining three. Mix apricot spread, liquid aminos, Spike and garlic. Generously spread turkey with sauce. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 30-35 minutes until turkey juices run clear when pricked in center with a fork. Serves 6.

He's Not Fat, He's Just Big Boned

As a kid I heard that one, and, that I was “husky.” Nice way to boost a child’s self esteem, first tell him he’s go abnormally giant bones. Then, confuse him into thinking he’s part dog. Maybe all this cliché is why many parents can’t realize their kids are fat. The Associated Press reports:
That is worrisome because obese children run the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol problems and other ailments more commonly found in adults. And overweight children are likely to grow up to be overweight adults.

"It suggests to me that parents of younger kids believe that their children will grow out of their obesity, or something will change at older ages," said Dr. Matthew M. Davis, a University of Michigan professor of pediatrics and internal medicine who led the study, released earlier this month.

"When I see a child that is obese at these younger ages, I take that as a sign of ways nutrition can be improved, a child's activity level can be improved."
I have a thought of my own—well, it’s not really my own, I heard Dr. Fuhrman say it once—maybe the reason why parents can’t realize that their children are fat, is because they themselves aren’t exactly the spitting image of health. Here’s what Dr. Fuhrman had to say about all this:
If children are in an environmental of healthful foods they will have no problem developing a healthy attitude toward food. Setting an example supported by both parents is the most important and most effective approach.
Personally, I started exercising a lot when I was a teenager because I saw how much mom worked out. Parents are the key—who would have thought!

Pondering Polycarbonate

Polycarbonate is a compound found in many plastic water bottles. Never heard of it? Well, it’s quickly gaining the reputation of a nasty little hormone mimicker. Ben Dobbin of the Associated Press has more:
Worries about a hormone-mimicking chemical used in the trendy sports accessory led a major Canadian retailer to remove Nalgene and other polycarbonate plastic containers from store shelves in early December.

"It's definitely a concern but I'd like to learn more before I make any decisions about my water bottles," McHugh, 26, a business manager for a reggae band, said with an easy laugh. "For now, I'll probably keep using my Nalgene until it breaks. It's indestructible, I've heard…"

…There is little dispute that the chemical can disrupt the hormonal system, but scientists differ markedly on whether very low doses found in food and beverage containers can be harmful. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration sides with the plastics industry that BPA-based products do not pose a health risk.

However, an expert panel of researchers reported at a U.S. government conference that the potential for BPA to affect human health is a concern, and more research is needed. The panel cited evidence that Americans have levels of BPA higher than those found to cause harm in lab animals.
Now, toxic water bottles are a bigger issue than you might realize. Just get a load of these previous posts:
Kind of scary.

Dogs, Cats, Fruits, Veggies

Yup, I’m still gone—well, sort of—I hope you all are enjoying the holiday. One thing’s for sure. These cats and dogs are enjoying their phytonutrients! Check them out:

So cute, I’m going to explode—KABOOM!

Fruity and Veggie Videos

I’m gone for the holiday. In the meantime, enjoy these strange and mysterious fruit and veggie videos. Take a look:

Eating to Live on the Outside: Blossom

Okay, I’ve got a surprise for you. Usually I pick the restaurants for Eating to Live on the Outside—with the occasional reader suggestion of course—but today, we’re getting a special treat. This recommendation comes straight from the top. That’s right, Dr. Fuhrman himself!

He suggested Blossom after having a nice meal there with his friend Peter Max. So, you know what that means. If Dr. Fuhrman’s eating there, it’s got to be good—right? Sorry Joel, there’s really only one way to know for sure—let’s do it, to it!

I love New York City restaurants! Partly because I love New York City, but mainly because I can actually go there and experience the food firsthand, which brings me to an interesting idea I’ve been kicking around. I’m thinking about…to be continued…yes more “to be continued” stuff!

Now back to Blossom. Alright, this is good. According to the website Blossom is a gourmet organic vegan restaurant. That’s a great start! Vegan can be hit or miss, but ORGANIC is always a good thing—enough filibustering—on to the menus!

This is interesting. Looks like Dr. Fuhrman picked a winner here. You could conceivably order anything on the menu. None of the concessions would be that traumatic. The only things that give me pause are some of the soy-foods, oil, and salt, but, these are pretty minor. No worries.

So, since I’ve done this before. I’ll do it again. Here are my favorites—first up, the lunch menu. As far as the appetizers go, I really dig the Black-Eyed Pea Cake; a Yukon gold potato cake, black-eye peas, and chipotle aioli. Potato good, black-eyed peas good, but the chipotle aioli is a concession. I can live it. The rest of appetizers have a lot of faux soy-meat. Not really my thing.

Alright, the salads look good, but I’d nix the croutons that come with the Cesar Salad. I’m not feeling the breakfast options, again, too much soy-meat. Okay, there are a couple sandwiches I’d be cool with. I like the Portobello Ciabatta and the Avocado Sandwich; together they include grilled Portobello mushroom, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, vegan mozzarella, fresh avocado, sprouts, tomato & chipotle mayonnaise, grain or ciabatta bread, and fries or a salad. This is easy. I’m dropping the vegan cheese and going with the grain bread and a salad. Since the caramelized onions are probably sautéed in oil, that’d be a concession, along with the bread. As for the mayonnaise, vegan mayonnaise sounds worth investigating. I’d just order it on the side.

The entrée I’d order is an easy choice. I really like the Vegetable Stir Fry; stir fried vegetables served with brown rice or cous cous. I could go with either cous cous or brown rice, but either way they’re both a bit of a concession and so is the stir frying. It’s cool. I’m not worried about it.

Now, let’s scope out the dinner menu. The Beet & Tofu Salad looks like a nice starter. I’m cool with tofu just as long as it not overly messed with. This little salad comes with roasted beets, baked sweet & spicy tofu, daikon radish, and a sherry reduction. The sherry reduction is probably the concession. Its alcohol, but, I’m a twenty-something, so I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t imbibe from time to time.

Oh! Blossom has a great dinner salad, and why is it so great? AVOCADO! The Avocado Mango Salad is made with Romaine lettuce, avocado, mango, chick peas, sunflower seeds, and topped with a chili lime dressing. I have a feeling that dressing is oil-less. So let the good times roll!

The dinner entrees are pretty cool. I see two I like. First, the Stuffed Portobello with Cashew-Tahini Sauce; prepared with Portobello caps, herbed tofu-walnut stuffing, apricot cous cous, steamed asparagus, and a cashew-tahini sauce. Looks good to me—what do you think? The Dancing Curry is also pretty neat; tofu and seasonal vegetables, curry sauce, black rice, and papadum. The papadum is a concession and rice is a tiny one too, but otherwise, I dig it!

Now, another option is just go for the side dishes. Blossom has a bunch of really good ones. You could certainly make yourself a nice plate out of them. Here’s what they got: garlic spinach, grilled asparagus, Swiss chard, braised tofu, mashed potatoes, broccoli rabe, grilled Portobello, braised Miso tofu, and fresh cut fries. Let’s see, what would I do with this? I got it! I’m going with the broccoli rabe, grilled Portobello, and the grilled asparagus—I’m on a bit of an asparagus kick lately.

I think Dr. Fuhrman found a good restaurant in Blossom. I’m planning a trip into the city in a couple weeks and if I don’t get sucked in the by the siren song of Sacred Chow, I’ll give Blossom a look-see. But now—you know the drill—it’s your turn! Scope out Blossom's menus and let me know how you handle Eating to Live on the Outside. Make a comment or send an email to In the meantime, keep eating to live. Peace.

A REAL Indian Veggie Market

Yesterday I flaunted my less than super geography skills. See for yourself:
Me: Here’s a look at vegetable market in what I think is India.

Commenter Guri: As the subtitle says, it's Kathmandu. Kathmandu is in Nepal.

Me: Clearly geography is not my strength. I didn't realize Kathmandu was spelled like that...I'll go and sit quietly in the corner.
Damn it. So, to redeem myself—I now present an actual Indian farmer’s market. Enjoy:

Thanks Guri! Om shanti.

Counting Calories...Still Stupid!

Do you count calories? I hope not. I don’t. Big waste of time if you ask me, but, I’m just a dopey blogger, what do I know? Here Dr. Fuhrman talks about calorie-counting:
With calorie-counting and point-counting and having to weigh, measure, and calculate amounts eaten, you are following a diet. Who wants to diet and measure portions forever? I enjoy eating. I eat the way I advise all my patients to do, yet I am not overweight. Why? I enjoy eating lots of great tasting stuff and not having to worry about my weight or my health. Intellectually, I know that I am doing the right thing to prevent heart disease and other medical problems from developing in my future. Dieting and measuring out thimble-sized portions of food for the rest of one's life is not something that fits in naturally and permanently into anyone's lifestyle.
And it seems those calorie-counting meters on gym equipment are no better. In fact, many experts think they’re pretty inaccurate. Gina Kolata of The New York Times reports:
You can use your heart rate to gauge your effort, and from that you can plan routines that are as challenging as you want. But, researchers say, heart rate does not translate easily into calories. And you may be in for a rude surprise if you try to count the calories you think you used during exercise and then reward yourself with extra food.

One reason for the calorie-count skepticism is that two individuals of the same age, gender, height, weight and even the same level of fitness can burn a different amount of calories at the same level of exertion.

Claude Bouchard, an obesity and exercise researcher who directs the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., found that if, for example, the average number of calories burned with an exercise is 100, individuals will burn anywhere from 70 to 130 calories.

Part of that is genetic and part is familiarity with the exercise. The more familiar you are with an exercise, the fewer calories you use at the same level of effort, he found in a research study. Subjects rode stationary bicycles six days a week for 12 weeks. They ended up burning 10 percent fewer calories at a given level of effort after their training. The reason, he said, is that people perform an exercise more efficiently as they become more accustomed to it.

There also is a seldom mentioned complication in calculating calories burned during exercise: you should subtract off the number of calories you would be using if you did nothing. Almost no one does that, Dr. Bouchard said. But for moderate exercise, the type most people do, subtracting the resting metabolic rate can eliminate as much as 30 percent of the calories you think you used, he added.

Resting metabolic rates, though, differ from individual to individual and also differ depending on age, gender, body mass, body composition and level of fitness, so guessing at your resting rate also is fraught with error.
Personally, I could care less what those meters read. I go for duration and intensity. Whatever the calories will be, will be—how about you?

Safe Toys for the Holidays

Whether your holiday is over or you’re getting ready celebrate it, buying safe toys is important, especially in light of all the recent toxin-scares. Dennis Thompson of HealthDay News has more:
Holiday toys are supposed to surprise and delight. But this year, toys are threatening to cause more worry than joy.

Millions of toys made in China have been recalled in recent months by toy companies, many because they were decorated with lead paint. The recalls involve popular brands, including Hot Wheels, Barbie, and Thomas the Tank Engine, among others…

…Prevent Blindness America offers these other suggestions:

Read all warnings and instructions on the box.
  • Avoid toys with sharp or rigid points, spikes, rods or dangerous edges.
  • Buy toys that will withstand impact and not break into dangerous shards.
  • Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off…
…Finally, parents should avoid buying one of the most common -- yet one of the most dangerous -- items on the toy market: latex balloons. Balloons and pieces of broken balloons can block a child's airway and should never be given to children younger than 8.

Fitness vs. Fatness

According to new research it’s good to be fit even if you’re overweight. Will Dunham of Reuters reports:
Men and women who were fit, as judged by a treadmill test, but were overweight or obese had a lower mortality risk than those of normal weight but low fitness levels, the study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed.

Exercise expert Steven Blair of the University of South Carolina and colleagues tracked about 2,600 people age 60 and up, examining how physical fitness and body fat affected their death rates over 12 years.

Those in the lowest fifth in terms of fitness had a death rate four times higher than participants ranked in the top fifth for fitness.
Here’s some pictures form the slideshow that accompanied the report—should be no surprise why I picked them—take a look:

Let me know what exercise activities you’re into and I’ll keep an eye out for related news!

Soda Surcharge, Will it Work?

San Francisco’s mayor wants to charge stores a fee for selling soft drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. Jesse McKinley of The New York Times reports:
In a move he says is necessary to trim the city’s waistline, the decidedly slim mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, has proposed charging big stores a fee when they sell sugar-sweet soda.

The proposal, which was reported by The San Francisco Chronicle on Monday, would put an as yet-to-be-defined surcharge on all drinks with high-fructose corn syrup, which puts the sweet pop in most nondiet sodas and many other food products. The syrup also puts on the pounds, something city officials say strains the health care system…

…Mr. Keane said that if Mr. Newsom really wanted to fight the fat, he would take on computer and video game companies, which Kevin Keane, a senior vice president of the American Beverage Association, said lured children inside when they should “be outside burning calories.”

Mr. Newsom, a Diet Coke man who exercises regularly, already earned the ire of beverage companies with a ban this year on bottled water at City Hall, where staff members now drink filtered and cooled tap water. The soda proposal will be introduced to the Board of Supervisors early next year, Nathan Ballard, a spokesman for the mayor, said, and would affect only large retailers, not mom-and-pop stores. As for levies on other child-friendly delicacies, Mr. Ballard added, “The mayor has no intention of imposing a fee on pizza.”
Let’s start with the easy issue first. You don’t have to be a medical expert to know high-fructose corny syrup (HFCS) is a scourge. Dr. Fuhrman explains in Disease-Proof Your Child:
Obesity rates have risen in tandem with soda consumption in the United States, and in the last twenty years the consumption of soft drinks by teenagers had doubled.1 Twelve to nineteen-year-old boys consume thirty-four teaspoons of sugar a day in their diet, and about half of that comes from soft drinks. Children start drinking soft drinks at a very young age, and advertisements and promotions by the soft drink manufacturers are aggressively marketed to the young.
The claim that obesity numbers parallel the rate of soft drink-consumption certainly bolsters Mayor Newsom’s proposal. With that being said, this chart is a must read:

Source: Data from the National Soft Drink Association, Beverage World,
published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (

Now, the heart of the matter is will this additional fee dissuade customers from buying soft drinks; logic would tell you that if retailers are paying a surcharge they will no doubt pass the cost onto consumers—sounds similar to cigarette taxes. Check this out from Tobacco Free Kids:
Studies, and experience in state after state, show that higher cigarette taxes are one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking among both youth and adults. Every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes will reduce youth smoking by about seven percent and overall cigarette consumption by about four percent.
We all know the proof is in the pudding. Feast your eyes on this chart. It’s certainly in the same vein as the obesity-soda consumption chart above. Take a look:

This surcharge doesn’t sound like an unfair proposition, especially when you apply the cigarette-tax-logic, which most people seem to agree with. Now, Water for Life USA Blog provides other reasons why soda is bad, here’s three:
pH of Soda = pH of Vinegar
For one, soda, no matter who makes it, is the most acidic beverage you can buy, with a pH of about 2.5, about the same as vinegar. Why does that matter? Acid oxidizes whatever it comes in contact with. If you put soda or vinegar on metal, it will rust it quickly.

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

Soda Will Dissolve your Tooth Enamel
Weak bones is just the beginning. According to Dr. James Howenstein. author of A Physician’s Guide to Natural Health Products That Work, the high sugar content of soda is awful. He states, “”In an interesting experiment the sugar from one soft drink was able to damage the white blood cells’ ability to ingest and kill bacteria for seven hours.” Dr. Marion Nestle from his book Food Politics states, “Sugar and acid in soft drinks so easily dissolve tooth enamel.”
And just like soda, cigarettes also pose dangers outside of the most salient, that being cancer. breaks down a list of other smoking hazards. A few of note:
  • Carbon monoxide binds to hemoglobin in red blood cells, preventing affected cells from carrying a full load of oxygen.
  • The carcinogen benzo(a)pyrene binds to cells in the airways and major organs of smokers.
  • The body produces antioxidants to help repair damaged cells.
  • Smokers have lower levels of antioxidants in their blood than do nonsmokers.
Clearly, it’s pretty hard to classify soda as less harmless than cigarettes. So, if a tax helps reduce the number of smokers, then why not impose a penalty fee on soft drinks. All indications seem to favor its success. And after all, the cigarette companies are still making millions.
Continue Reading...

Finance before Fitness

According to a new study, Americans want fit finances before a fit body. Reuters is on it:
After a year of record mortgage foreclosures and slumping home prices, Americans are more determined to shape up their flabby finances in 2008 than their bodies, according to a study released by Countrywide Bank on Tuesday.

Some 67 percent of the 1,002 adults surveyed nationwide said that becoming financially fit is a top New Year's resolution, while 57 percent are committed to becoming physically fit in 2008.

"The results of the survey are an indicator that people are finally putting financial health on par with physical health," said clinical psychologist Dr. Melody Alderman in a statement from Countrywide.
This is certainly a tough call. I mean if you’re broke, that would seem to take priority. What do you think?


Dr. Fuhrman will tell you, “Mushrooms make a great chewy replacement to meat. Exploring their varieties is a great way to add interesting flavors and texture to dishes.” But, did you know mushrooms are also potent prostate cancer-fighters? More from the AFP:
Researchers at the university in northern Israel said they found molecules in the Ganoderma lucidum mushroom, commonly known as the reishi, which help supress some mechanisms involved in the progression of prostate cancer.

"We already knew the mushroom could impede the development of cancer by affecting the immune system. The in-vitro trials we have done show that it attacks the cancer cells directly," chief researcher Ben Zion Zaidman told AFP.

"These results give rise to hope about developing medication to treat prostate cancer," he said of research carried out to date only in Petri dishes. The research still has to be tested on animals.
Mushrooms are one of my favorite foods! In fact, I’m debating adopting one of those truffle-sniffing dogs—kidding. But seriously, mushrooms are the real deal. Here Dr. Fuhrman explains why they’re especially good in the fight against cancer. Take a look:
Even though they are a fungus, and not a real vegetable, mushrooms contain a variety of powerful phytochemicals and have been linked to decreased risk of chronic diseases, especially cancer.
And for you mushroom-haters out there—you know who you are—eating mushrooms does not have to be an icky experience. Check out these amazing mushroom recipes:
Doubly Delicious Greens
1 large bunch bok choy, chopped
1 large bunch Swiss chard, chopped
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes (no salt)
2 cups shiitake and/or baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning
Place bok choy, Swiss chard, onions, and garlic in a large steamer and steam until almost tender, about 10 minutes. In a large pot add tomatoes, mushrooms, steamed greens mixture, and seasoning. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cabbage Mushroom Soup
15 oz. carrot juice
10 oz. celery juice
20 oz. water
6 onions
1 head green cabbage
3 stalks broccoli rabe
6 leaves collard greens
4 cups mushrooms, chopped (shiitake preferred)
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Salt-Free 17 Seasoning (Lawry’s)
1 tsp. Mrs. Dash
1/4 cup unhulled raw sesame seeds
1/4 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup red kidney beans
1/2 cup white beans
Cook all ingredients (except the sesame seeds and cashews) on a very low flame in a large covered pot. Remove the cabbage, broccoli rabe, and collards when soft and place in a blender or food processor. Ladle in a little of the soup liquid, purée, and pour the entire mixture back into the soup. Next, put the sesame seeds and cashews into the blender, ladle in some of the soup, purée until silky smooth, and pour the mixture into the soup. Continue cooking until the beans are soft, for about 2 hours. (The basic recipe can be made with any types of greens and beans.)

Veggie Market, Far-Far Away

Here’s a look at vegetable market in what I think is India. Check it out:

If it is India, Om Shanti.

Predicting Fitness Trends 2008

So what will be the most popular fitness crazes for the new year? Jack Kelly of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette breaks them down. Take a look:
The most important fitness trend for 2008 will be the availability of "educated and experienced fitness professionals" to run health clubs, conduct exercise classes, and serve as personal trainers, said the American College of Sports Medicine, an organization that certifies fitness professionals.

Increasing the number of fitness professionals nudged out programs to fight childhood obesity and personal training for the top spot in the ACSM's second annual survey of what its more than 20,000 members worldwide think will be the top fitness trends for the new year. Programs to fight child obesity topped the list in last year's inaugural survey.

Personal training jumped from seventh in last year's survey to third.
Yoga clocked in as number ten—yippee!

Seasonal Affective Disorder, the other SAD

We all know that SAD is short for standard America diet, but it also refers to Seasonal Affective Disorder. Never heard of it? Here’s how Wikipedia defines it:
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as winter depression, is an affective, or mood, disorder. Most SAD sufferers experience normal mental health throughout most of the year, but experience depressive symptoms in the winter or summer.
It might sound silly. Getting the blues because it’s dark outside, but Seasonal Affective Disorder is very much a part of the animal kingdom, and that includes humans. Richard A. Friedman, MD of The New York Times investigates:
Once regarded skeptically by the experts, seasonal affective disorder, SAD for short, is now well established. Epidemiological studies estimate that its prevalence in the adult population ranges from 1.4 percent (Florida) to 9.7 percent (New Hampshire).

Researchers have noted a similarity between SAD symptoms and seasonal changes in other mammals, particularly those that sensibly pass the dark winter hibernating in a warm hole. Animals have brain circuits that sense day length and control the timing of seasonal behavior…

…A major biological signal tracking seasonal sunlight changes is melatonin, a brain chemical turned on by darkness and off by light. Dr. Wehr and Dr. Rosenthal found that the patients with seasonal depression had a longer duration of nocturnal melatonin secretion in the winter than in the summer, just as with other mammals with seasonal behavior.
Dr. Fuhrman understands the challenge SAD can present. That’s why he recommends people use therapy lights. He sells them at Here’s why:
This Therapeutic Light contains the features that medical literature demonstrates are critical to the effectiveness of light therapy for Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymia, Bipolar Depression, Seasonal Depressive Disorder, PMS, Insomnia, ADHD, ADD, and Bulimia Nervosa. Studies show that light therapy may also be helpful in Fibromyalgia and Post-partum Depression as well. It is recommended by the non–profit Center for Environmental Therapeutics (CET), and used exclusively in a new light therapy clinical program at Columbia University’s Presbyterian Hospital. In 2005 a meta–analysis of all randomized, controlled trials of light therapy found dawn stimulation with a bright light to be as effective for major depression as medications. Also, the results occur much more rapidly than drugs, with results noted in as little as one week.
In fact, Dr. Fuhrman will tell you firsthand. There are a lot of natural—non-pharmaceutical—therapies for depression. From Treating Depression Naturally:
With over a million prescriptions for antidepressants being filled each week and annual sales of 11 billion dollars at stake, it is unlikely that a new protocol for depressed people will emerge in America. Money usually dictates direction in the medical/drug/insurance industry. However, the conflict and controversy over the dangers of psychotropic medications used for depression, and the recent cardiac-related deaths from Ritalin prescribed for ADHD, are calling attention to the all-too-cozy relationship between government agencies and the drug industry. The public no longer can trust the validity of drug-related information that comes from even such formerly respected sources as medical journals and universities. These institutions depend increasingly on pharmaceutical dollars (advertising and grant monies), and this has led to numerous instances of inaccurate reports that conceal evidence and promote drug use…

… Natural therapies are surprisingly effective. Recent advances in non-pharmacologic treatments for depression can help people feel better—and even assist them in making total recovery—without dependence on medications. Researchers doing the studies in this field have been surprised to find that natural therapies can have very high success rates, rivaling those of drugs. Of particular interest is the fact that these non-pharmacologic treatments get results faster than drug treatments. Now is the time for all people with depression to give these safe, natural treatments a try. By combining the most promising facets of these approaches, the likelihood of improvement and recovery is greatly enhanced.
On a personal note, when I was a big fat load I loved the winter—a welcomed break from all the sweating—but now, I hate it! In fact, this fall was the first time I experienced some Seasonal Affective Disorder, so, despite the artic temperatures lately, I make sure I get plenty of sun.

Sunlight Fights Cancer

Wait, sufficient sun exposure helps prevent disease—NO—you don’t say? Pardon my smart-alecky tone, but this factoid is an old hat for Followhealthlife. Let’s review. Alright, remember this report, Sunlight in Youth Might Shield Against MS? Here’s a refresher:
"Evidence is building up that something in relation to sunlight and/or vitamin D exposure during childhood may play a protective role," said study co-author Dr. Thomas M. Mack, of the department of preventive medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles. "It's now been suggested by several different studies that this is the case, and if it's true, it would be important."
Okay, okay. That’s Multiple Sclerosis, but what about cancer? Is it possible that something as simple as basking in the sun can reduce our risk of developing something as insidious as CANCER? More learning tree time, remember Ultraviolet: Go into the Light? Take a look:
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.
Still not convinced? Alright, I’ve got a new report for you. Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News brings this to the table, under the catchy title, Sunlight Helps Put Lung Cancer in the Shade. Lung cancer too? Yup, lung cancer too! For real, from the report:
A new study finds that lower levels of the sun's ultraviolet B (UVB) rays are associated with a higher incidence of lung cancer across 111 countries.

Still, that doesn't mean that spending more time in the sun will ever offset the risks that come with smoking, according to the study, which is published in the January issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

It's also not an excuse to trade skin cancer for lung cancer.

"The problem is that people might over-interpret this and stay in the sun for hours," said Cedric Garland, study senior author, professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and participating member at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center in La Jolla.
“For over 60 years, researchers have observed an inverse association between sun exposure and cancer mortality,” explains Dr. Fuhrman,” And those with more sun exposure had fewer cancers.” See, not exactly new news, but how many people listen? That’s the question!

Stressing Women, Hidden Fat

This CBS video report claims that stress can cause dangerous fat to build up around women’s internal organs. It’s pretty interesting. Check it out:

Scary! More reason for women to stay active and—for the sake of men everywhere—RELAX!

Cancer...Globally Lethal

You don’t like reading stuff like this—you just don’t. Its official, 2007 saw 8 million cancer-related deaths worldwide. Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News reports:
Cancer continues to cut a deadly swath across the globe, with the American Cancer Society reporting 12 million new cases of malignancy diagnosed worldwide in 2007, with 7.6 million people dying from the disease.

The report, Global Cancer Facts & Figures, finds that 5.4 million of those cancers and 2.9 million deaths are in more affluent, developed nations, while 6.7 million new cancer cases and 4.7 million deaths hit people in developing countries.

"The point of the report is to promote cancer control worldwide, and increase awareness worldwide," said report co-author Dr. Ahmedin Jemal, director of the society's Cancer Occurrence Office.

The number of cancers and cancer deaths around the world is on the rise, Jemal said, mostly due to an aging population. "There is increasing life expectancy, and cancer occurs more frequently in older age groups," he noted.
I wonder how many of those could have been prevented. The “on the rise” part is the most daunting.

Diet Blog's X-Mas List

Diet Blog’s come up with some interesting holiday gifts for the health conscious member of your family. Here’re a couple neat ones:
A Heavy bag combo set:
Everlast's 40-Lb Martial Arts Fitness set features a heavy bag, hand wraps, bag gloves, and a jump rope. A 70 pound kit is also available (if you think you can handle it). Rocky Soundtrack sold separately.

Adjustable Dumbbells:
Or not – you could also get sets of weights according to your needs and space constraints. The adjustable kinds where you don’t have to unscrew anything are easy to use and take up little space. They do push past the $100 mark once you get higher than 25lbs though.
I have both of these. I used them a lot when I was teenager. I really recommend the adjustable dumbbells. Makes life A LOT easier! Oh! And be sure to read Diet Blog’s disclaimer—priceless!

Grand Rounds

Diet and Acne...Uh Duh!

In the spring ParentDish blogged about research suggesting that milk consumption can actually make teenage acne worse. Here’s a bit of the post:
According to the research, teens who drank a pint of milk or more a day were nearly 50% more likely to develop pimples that those who rarely or never drink milk. Analysis of over 47,000 teenage diets revealed that skim milk drinkers were at most risk for acne (raising the risk by 44%), followed by whole milk drinkers who were 12% more likely to develop the unsightly stuff.
For more, get check out this excerpt from The Daily Mail. It broke the story in May. Take a look:
The US researchers looked at the teenage diet of more than 47,000 women and then compared dairy product intake with cases of acne.

Analysis of the results revealed a clear link between milk and skin problems.

Worst off were those who regularly drank skimmed milk, with two half-pint glasses a day raising the risk of the condition by 44 per cent.

Those who drank a pint of whole milk a day were 12 per cent more likely to develop acne, while semi-skimmed milk increased the risk by 16 per cent.

Overall, those who regularly drank milk were 22 per cent more likely to have suffered from acne than those who rarely or never drank the white stuff.
Clearly, diet has A LOT to do with the development and severity of acne, but, not everyone agrees. Get a load of this commenter to the ParentDish post:
I can't believe that we are still discussing dietary issues relating to acne. I thought that went out in the 60's. If the Harvard researcher doesn't believe in human consumption of milk that's his choice. We have teenagers allready drinking too much soda and other empty caffeine bererages. I had serious acne as a teenager my brother didn' tand we ate the same diet. Acne is genetically related as to the size of the pores and amount of oil secreted. Nurse in Dairyland.
Yeah—spell check much! That’s all we need is more talk about diet having nothing to do with disease, and, the genetics is all to blame. Very silly thinking! I now quote Dr. Fuhrman:
Patients are told that food has nothing to do with the disease they develop. Dermatologists insist that food has nothing to do with acne, rheumatologists insist that food has nothing to do with rheumatoid arthritis, and gastroenterologists insist that food has nothing to do with irritable and inflammatory bowel disease. Even cardiologists have been resistant to accept the accumulating evidence that atherosclerosis is entirely avoidable. Most of them still believe that coronary artery disease and angina require the invasive treatment of surgery and are not reversible with nutritional intervention. Most physicians have no experience in treating disease naturally with nutritional excellence, and some physicians who don’t know about it are convinced it is not possible.
Sounds a lot like the “Nurse in Dairyland.” Dr. Fuhrman will tell you, genetics are a factor, but, they’re not all that. He explains:
Both patients and physicians act as though everyone’s medical problems are genetic, or assumed to be the normal consequence of aging. They believe that chronic illness is just what we all must expect. Unfortunately, the medical-pharmaceutical business has encouraged people to believe that health problems are hereditary and that we need to swallow poisons to defeat our genes. This is almost always untrue. We all have genetic weaknesses, but those weaknesses never get a chance to express themselves until we abuse our body with many, many years of mistreatment. Never forget, 99 percent of your genes are programmed to keep you healthy. The problem is that we never let them do their job.

Most chronic illnesses have been earned from a lifetime of inferior nutrition, which eventually results in abnormal function or frequent discomfort. These illnesses are not beyond our control, they are primarily genetic, and they are not the normal consequence of aging. True, we all have our weakest links governed by genetics; but these links need never reveal themselves unless our health deteriorates. Superior health flows naturally as a result of superior nutrition. Our predisposition to certain illnesses can remain hidden.
Now, how about some current events? Followhealthlife reader Anet sent this article over. Dermatoligists contend diet has nothing to do with acne, but, research seems to prove otherwise. Cynthia Graber of The Boston Globe investigates:
Dr. William Danby, a dermatologist in Manchester, New Hampshire, and an assistant professor at Dartmouth Medical School, had been conducting his own investigations. From 1973 to 1980, he kept a detailed log of his patients' diets in a quest to understand the root of their acne. After compiling thousands of patient surveys, he noticed a trend: Those who consumed the most dairy also had the most severe acne. "I had some serious cases," he says. "One was a gal who was an identical twin. She and her sister were raised in Scotland. She took the creamy top of everything; she loved milk and had awful acne. Her sister would drink minimal amounts of the bottom and had no acne."

Without waiting for a peer-reviewed scientific study - though that, too, would come - Danby began counseling patients by the late 1970s to avoid all dairy for six months. Danby says it has worked for many of his patients: "Another guy was 61, the son of an ice cream dealer. He had acute acne all over his back at 61. When I told him he had to stop dairy, he nearly cried. A year later, he was free of fresh lesions…"

…SO WHY HAVE DOCTORS been taught for so long that there's no link? The anti-diet hypothesis that Treloar and Danby struggle against arose solely from two studies from the late 1960s and early 1970s. "I got the papers, and I reviewed them," says Treloar, "and they wouldn't be published today. They just don't meet the standards."

One compares real chocolate bars with fake ones and was conducted at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine with funding from the Chocolate Manufacturers Association. But that's comparing sugar with sugar, as Treloar says, and the fake chocolate bars were also loaded with trans fats known to trigger inflammation. The other study examines sugar in the diet of a small group, but, Treloar says, does not take into account what we know now about how glycemic loads from other foods such as white flour and potatoes affect insulin levels.

At the time, the studies seemed to debunk two popular theoretical culprits - chocolate and sugar - and so they stuck. By the 1970s, all dermatologists were being inculcated with the prevailing view that food has no relationship to acne. Since then, most research about food and acne other than the dairy studies has been conducted outside the United States.
Hey, I’m just a know-nothing blogger, but dairy farming is big business and we all know how big business influences government—right? I don’t know, just saying.

Healthy Child Healthy World

Here’s a great site Dr. Fuhrman tipped me off to. Healthy Child Health World is all about…well, I’ll let them explain. Check it out:
Healthy Child Healthy World is dedicated to protecting the health and well being of children from harmful environmental exposures. We educate parents, support protective policies, and engage communities to make responsible decisions, simple everyday choices, and well-informed lifestyle improvements to create healthy environments where children and families can flourish.

Healthy Child Healthy World exists because more than 125 million Americans, especially children, now face an historically unprecedented rise in chronic disease and illness such as cancer, autism, asthma, birth defects, ADD / ADHD, and learning and developmental disabilities. Credible scientific evidence increasingly points to environmental hazards and household chemicals as causing and contributing to many of these diseases.

As a national leader for nearly two decades, Healthy Child Healthy World has become the nation's leading organization of its kind. We help millions of parents, educators, health professionals, and the general public take action to create healthy environments and embrace green, non-toxic steps.
The website also offers some great features. I really liked these ones:
And like a lot of great organizations, they need your help. Here’s where you can make a donation:
Yes, I want to make a donation to support HCHW's work to protect children's health, environmental sustainability, and healthy communities.

Once you donate, you will receive a confirmation e-mail that includes a link to download our free electronic handbook: The Household Detective.
Helping kids…never bad.

Listeria con Queso

It seems Peregrina Cheese Corporation might have a cheese contamination on their hands. EMaxHealth is on it:
Commissioner Patrick Hooker today warned consumers not to consume certain “Queso Fresco, Fresh Cheese,” made by Peregrina Cheese Corp., 342 Ten Eyck St., Brooklyn, New York 11206 due to possible Listeria contamination.

The product is contained in a foil wrapped, 14 oz. net weight package with a code of 3973. The consumer warning affects all packages with this code.

A routine sample of the cheese, taken by an inspector from the Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services on November 27, 2007, was subsequently tested by the Department’s Food Laboratory and discovered to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.
I just threw up in my mouth a little—EGAD!

Salads O' Fun!

Coconut Fruit Salad
1 cup cantaloupe, cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup honeydew melon, cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup pineapple, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup green grapes, cut in half
1/2 cup red grapes, cut in half
1 pint organic strawberries, cut in half or quarters
1/2-1 pint blueberries
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, divided
Mix all ingredients together, reserving 1/4 cup of coconut. Sprinkle the reserved coconut over the top for a beautiful looking fruit salad. Serves 6.

The Big Chopped Salad
Savory Tomato Dressing
1 cup pasta sauce, no or low salt
3 tablespoons raw almond butter
2 tablespoons your choice of Dr. Fuhrman’s Vinegars, balsamic or any other vinegar
1 tablespoon Dr. Fuhrman's VegiZest (optional)

Salad Vegetables
20 ounces or 10 cups bunches romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and shredded
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup garbanzo beans, cooked or canned
3 stalks organic celery, chopped
1/4 purple onion or sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/2 medium cucumber, cubed
1 medium tomato, cubed, or grape or cherry tomatoes halved
1 medium avocado, cubed
Whisk the four dressing ingredients, blending thoroughly. Toss dressing with salad ingredients and serve. Serves 2.

Spinach-Strawberry Salad
3 ounces romaine lettuce
5 ounces organic baby spinach
12 ounces frozen strawberries, thawed, reserving juice
Pile the lettuce and spinach leaves on a plate and lay the defrosted strawberries on top. Pour the juice from the thawed strawberries over the greens. Serves 2.

Flu Shots: New Jersey Goes Un-American!

Let’s see. We fought communism, we willingly help the world defeat dictatorships, and currently, we’re embroiled in a war against terrorism, but, who will save us from ourselves? Abraham Lincoln once said this about our fine nation:
America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.
And here is a profound example of America’s unexplainable desire to do away with our own civil liberties and freedoms. New Jersey has become the first state to require mandatory flu shots for all preschoolers. The Associated Press reports:
New Jersey on Friday became the first state to require flu shots for preschoolers, saying their developing immune systems and likelihood of spreading germs make them as vulnerable to complications as the elderly.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Fred M. Jacobs approved the requirement and three other vaccines over the objections of some parent groups.

Starting in September, all children attending preschool or licensed day care centers will have to get an annual flu shot, Jacobs said…

…Some parents support proposed legislation that would give families a right to skip required immunizations by lodging a "philosophical objection," as some other states allow. The bill has been sitting in a committee without action for several years.

New Jersey does grant an automatic exemption on religious grounds and allows exemptions for medical reasons.
Do not be mislead! This is not a victory for our children. It is solely a victory—another victory—for big pharma, and, a blow to freedom. When we allow legislation like this, how can we then differentiate ourselves from our enemies? Here again, is my favorite quote from Dr. Fuhrman:
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.
Personally, I am tired of our country’s love affair with magic pills, and, I am doubly sickened by the twisting influence of pharmaceutical companies in politics, but, until voter turnout exceeds that of American Idol viewership, I doubt we’ll do anything about it. Another quote from Dr. Fuhrman:
The drug companies hold the politicians in their financial pockets. People are led to believe in drugs and the exaggerated benefits of medical care and they do; the new religion in America—In Drugs We Trust.
So, I guess pretty soon all us who DON’T want mandatory injections will have to wear armbands and congregate in secret.

Christmas Lights...with Lead

No matter what holiday you celebrate. If you’re putting lights up around your house, you might want to read this report. Apparently some Christmas lights contain lead. More from CNN:
CNN's "American Morning" purchased samples of four common brands of Christmas lights and asked an independent New Jersey-based testing organization, Quantex Laboratories, to check for surface lead. Quantex analyzed three strings of lights from each brand.

The lab followed the Consumer Product Safety Commission's standard wipe test for lead in polyvinyl chloride products, including mini blinds and toys, to see how much lead in the cords' PVC coating would come off on someone's hands.

"You don't realize there's lead in it, you eat a cookie, you eat something without washing your hands, that exposure builds up in your body over time," said Dr. James Menoutis, who runs the lab at Quantex.

In the four brands of lights tested, Quantex found surface lead levels far exceeding the CPSC's recommended children's limit of 15 micrograms.

Wal-Mart brand lights had the highest levels of surface lead, with levels ranging from 86.6 to 132.7 micrograms. GE lights showed surface lead levels from 68 to 109.1 micrograms. Sylvania had surface lead levels from 59 to 70.3 micrograms. Levels of surface lead in the lights made by Philips ranged from a low of 3.2 -- well under the 15 microgram limit -- to 107.2 in another sample.
Quite the toxic world we live in—scary.

Minnesota Minuses Makeup Mercury

Minnesota has banned retailers from selling cosmetics that contain “intentionally added” mercury. Retailers in violation of the ban would suffer hefty penalties. The Associate Press reports:
Minnesota apparently is the first state in the nation to ban intentionally added mercury in cosmetics, giving it a tougher standard than the federal government.

Retailers who knowingly sell mercury-containing cosmetics in Minnesota could face fines of as much as $700. Penalties could reach $10,000 for manufacturers who fail to disclose mercury on product labels, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

"Mercury does cause neurological damage to people even in tiny quantities," said Sen. John Marty, the Democrat from Roseville who sponsored the ban. "Every source of mercury adds to it. We wanted to make sure it wasn't here."

Obesity and Gum Disease

Some new research has determined that obesity increases susceptibility to gum disease. The NewScientist is on it:
Salomon Amar at Boston University Medical Center in Massachusetts and his colleagues infected both lean and obese mice with Porphyromonas gingivalis, a bacterium that causes gum disease, and then studied how their bodies coped. Some of the mice were infected directly in the gum area; others had the bacterium injected into their bloodstream. In both cases, fat mice were slower to kill the bacterium because their immune response was blunted: immune cells called macrophages produced fewer cytokines - chemicals that would usually draw in other immune cells to fight off infection. Within 10 days of infection, obese mice infected at the gum also showed 40 per cent more bone loss in their tooth sockets.
For more obesity news, be sure to check out Followhealthlife’s obesity category.

Holiday Broccoli

The veggie music man is back! And this time he’s playing a familiar holiday song using…broccoli. No joke. Check it out:

Cruciferous and harmonious!

Eating to Live on the Outside: Zen Palate

Eating to Live on the Outside is back! After getting bumped last week for my success story's teaser-post—yes, I’m evil—the weekly series dedicated to helping Eat to Livers survive the gloomy swamp of standard American restaurants has returned and this week, Zen Palate is in my sights—click, click, BOOM—let’s hit it!

Clearly, given my love for Yoga, anything with “Zen” in its name is going to pique my interest. At first glance it looks pretty good. It’s a vegetarian place so that automatically ups its chances of being Fuhrman-friendly, but, it’s got a few quirks and trips we’ll have to work through.

“No soup for you!” Well, almost no soup. Restaurant soups make me nervous—salt can be an issue—but I love wakame seaweed, so, I’d be willing to give the Miso Soup a shot; made with white miso broth, wakame, soft tofu, and scallions. If it’s not too salty, I'd order it, wakame is a seriously tasty green—Wakame What?

Next up are the salads. I like all of them but the Spinach Linguine Salad; I prefer to avoid pasta whenever possible. My two favorites are the Kale & Seaweed Salad and the House Salad; together they include mesclun leaves, cherry tomatoes, red onion, enoki, soy vinaigrette, wakame, kale, soft tofu, and soy dressing. Well, if you go easy on the dressing or skip it altogether I don't see much of a problem with any of this. What do you think?

Alright, the appetizers don’t exactly have my heart in races, but here is a couple I’d consider ordering. First, the Peanut Basil Moo-Shu Rolls; prepared with jicama, carrot, mushroom, soy, basil, ginger, peanuts, and rice paper. The rice paper is the only iffy thing here. Eh, I can live with it. Now, the Edamame are a nice option; steamed in the pod and salted. Just ask the wait staff to hold the salt and you’re all set!

Now, I’m not digging the sandwiches—a lot of faux-meats and stuff—onto the rice and noodles and the prix fixe. I’m not thrilled about this section of the menu either, but maybe these options work; if you don’t mind enduring a rice, noodle, or stir-fry concession that is. I like the Stir-Fried Whole-Wheat Noodles with Soy & Vegetables; includes cabbage, mushrooms, carrots, basil, and snow peas. I mainly like it because of the cabbage. The Mango Halo is also kind of interesting; made with mangos, cherry tomatoes, gingko nuts, snow peas, soy nuggets, and sweet kung pau sauce. Personally, I’d ditch the soy nuggets and go easy on the sauce. Also, for both of these I’d go with brown rice over the noodles. How about you?

Under prix fixe I like the Felicity Mushroom and the Eggplant Zentastic. They both come with some sort of roll and rice and combined they’re prepared with shiitake mushrooms, button mushrooms, basil, bamboo shoots, carrots, eggplant, shanghai bok coy, and garlic sauce. Okay, the Felicity Mushroom involves sautéing and both come with rice. So, if you can deal with the sautéing, maybe order brown rice, and nix the rolls, you’d be in decent shape. Works for me!

Whenever I walk into an Asian restaurant I know chances are I'm going to have to deal with rice, oil, and salt—kind of par for the course. Now, as I’ve said before. I don’t eat out very often, but when I do it’s almost like a treat, so I’m more willing to bend the rules than I would be at home. Basically what I’m saying is I can pretty easily deal with all the aforementioned concessions. When you're and Eat to Liver and you're eating out I've got to have low expectations—most of the time.

Oh! And a friend of mine recently paid Zen Palate a visit, here's what she had to say:
I found the tea to be delicious, nectar of the gods, the salad and entree were bland, the presentation beautiful, but the portions were huge.
Okay, so there you have it. Does Zen Palate pass the test? I think it does. Granted, it’s not a slam dunk, but, it’ll do. An Eat to Liver could certainly survive the menu. But what do you think? Your turn! Check out Zen Palate’s menu and let me know how you handle Eating to Live on the Outside. Make a comment or send an email to Until then, eat well. Peace.

Over-the-Counter Statins?

I guess the news about the “ideal cholesterol” level is fueling this fire. Merck really-really wants the FDA to approve the first-ever over-the-counter statin. Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News reports:
For the third time in seven years, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel has been asked to recommend making Merck & Co.'s statin drug Mevacor available over the counter.

But with groups such as the American Medical Association, Public Citizen and Consumers Union lined up against it, experts think Merck's proposal is likely to be rejected once again when the panel meets on Thursday.

"The third time is not the charm," said Dr. Steven E. Nissen, chairman of the department of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. "It's time to move on."

Merck's proposal is being presented to a joint meeting of the FDA's Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee and its Endocrinology and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee. The FDA does not have to follow the advice of its advisory panels, but it usually does.
I mentioned it the other day, but it bears repeating. Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of statins, especially their side-effects. He points them out in his book Cholesterol Protection for Life, check it out:
The known side effects for various statins include hepatitis, jaundice, other liver problems, gastrointestinal upsets, muscle problems and a variety of blood complications such as reduced platelet levels and anemia.
In general, Dr. Fuhrman feels doctors should not be too quick to prescribe medications for diseases and conditions that can be treated without. He explains why:
In the first pharmacology lecture that I head in medical school, the physician impressed on us that all drugs are toxic and we should never forget this. We were taught that medications work because of their pharmacologic properties—properties that enable the substance to interfere with, block, or stimulate an activity of the body. Drugs typically modify the way the body expresses the signs and symptoms of disease, but in chronic disease states, they do no undo the damage or remove the disease.
Unfortunately our society suffers from magic pill syndrome. So I doubt this will resonate.

Not So Tipsy Pregnant Ladies

Eureka! Scientist have discovered why big-bellied pregnant women don’t tip over—scintillating! Miranda Hitti of WebMD is on it:
The study, published tomorrow in Nature, explains that women's spines are built differently from men's spines.

The study shows that the lower part of a woman's spine is built to curve more during pregnancy. That adjustment helps women hold their center of gravity while pregnancy pushes their waistline way beyond their hips.

"Pregnancy presents an enormous challenge for the female body," researcher Katherine Whitcome, PhD, says in a news release.

"The body must change in dramatic ways to accommodate the baby, and these changes affect a woman's stability and posture. It turns out that enhanced curvature and reinforcement of the lower spine are key to maintaining normal activities during pregnancy," says Whitcome, who is a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University's anthropology department.
I don’t know about you, but I can sleep more easily now.

Improved Access to Fruits and Veggies

The U.S. Department of Agriculture wants moms to encourage their kids to eat more fruits and vegetables. More from EMaxHealth:
The Canned Food Alliance (CFA) commends the USDA for recognizing the importance that canned foods play in providing nutrition to American families through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), which serves millions of low-income mothers and children across the country.

The changes (reflected in federal regulations published today) ensure that a wide choice for fruits and vegetables is included in food packages for women and children. Participants will receive a monthly allotment for the purchase of fruits and vegetables in a variety of forms - canned, fresh and frozen. This is the first time in 30 years that the food packages include an emphasis on fruits and vegetables.

In addition to adding canned fruits and vegetables, the ruling now allows specific types of canned beans and peas as a substitution for dry, mature beans and peas. Canned light tuna will continue to be allowed and the new regulations include a variety of other canned fish as approved alternatives.
Provided they’re pushing salt-free canned goods, it seems like a good thing!

Come see Dr. Fuhrman...

If you’re going to be Jersey next month, why not stop and hear Dr. Fuhrman speak at the Beaver Brook Country club in Annandale, New Jersey. If you do, side effects may include:
  • Fat “melting” off your body
  • Dramatic lowering of LDL cholesterol
  • Looking and feeling years younger
  • Blood pressure plummeting
  • Headaches and allergies vanishing
  • Increased energy levels
  • Strong cravings for fruits and vegetables
Now, if you want to come—you better hurry up—seats are limited! Activities start at 9:30 AM and conclude at 4:30PM. Seats are $99.00 per person or $150 for two seats.

So, for reservations please call: 1-800-474-WELL

Ideal Cholesterol 199?

Alright, I’m convinced. This nation has gone loony-tunes! First, New Jersey went off the deep end with mandatory flu injections, and now, a new government report insists that a total cholesterol level of 199 is ideal. What! Mike Stobbe of Associated Press reports:
Results from a national blood test survey found the average total cholesterol level was 199. Doctors like patients to have total cholesterol readings of 200 or lower…

…The survey collects data in two-year intervals. The new results are based on a national sample of about 4,500 people 20 and older from 2005-06. The new 199 level compares with 204 in 1999-2000…

…Researchers also found that the percentage of adults with high cholesterol, of 240 or higher, dropped to 16 percent, down from 20 percent in the early 1990s.
The report cites the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs as the main reason for the reduction. Yeah—because that’s a good! In case you forgot, Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of using medicine to lower cholesterol. Take statins for example:
When resorting to medical intervention, rather than dietary modifications, other problems arise, reducing the potential reduction in mortality possible, as these individuals are at risk of serious side effects from the medication. The known side effects for various statins (the most popular and effective medications to lower cholesterol) include hepatitis, jaundice, other liver problems, gastrointestinal upsets, muscle problems and a variety of blood complications such as reduced platelet levels and anemia.
But what about this “ideal” cholesterol level, is a score of 199 really healthy? Okay, you decide. In Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman discusses the cholesterol levels of populations consuming a plant-based diet. Here’s an excerpt:
A vegetable, fruit, nut, and bean-based diet has been shown to be the most effective cholesterol-lowering dietary approach in medical history. This newsworthy data with the potential to save millions of lives has been ignored by the mass media. With this dietary approach, most patients drop their total cholesterol below 150 and LDL below 100, without the need for medications. In areas of the world where people eat a diet of unrefined plant foods, people have total cholesterol levels below 150, and there is zero incidence of heart disease in the population.1
I guess if you’re consuming the standard American diet 199 is healthy—relatively speaking—it’s probably a miracle you’re surviving at all. Okay, let’s cut to the case. Here are the total cholesterols levels of people following Dr. Fuhrman’s nutrient-dense diet. Look:
These are numbers worth bragging about! Dr. Fuhrman will tell you himself, flirting with a total cholesterol number around 200 is by no means ideal. In fact, Dr. Fuhrman explains the lower your cholesterol, the better! From Can Cholesterol Be Too Low:
Typically, those individuals promoting the myth that low cholesterol levels are dangerous and the topsy-turvey "science" that saturated fat and high cholesterol are not bad, but good, are those individuals and health advisors advocating diets high in animal products, such as the Atkins devotees. Unfortunately, this advice is not merely incorrect; it is dead wrong for hundreds of individuals who heed such dangerous advice and die of heart attacks every day.

When it comes to coronary artery disease, there may be no such thing as lowering total blood cholesterol levels too far. Another recent study, published in the journal Circulation, found that the arteries in male patients with a total cholesterol level as low as 155 mg/dl benefited significantly from cholesterol-lowering medication as well.1 Both regression of atherosclerosis and a dramatic reduction in heart attacks were seen in the group treated.

While some research in the past has raised questions about the safety of very low cholesterol levels, no danger has been proven in larger, more dependable investigations.
So, in the event that someone—so overjoyed by their 199 score—decides to streak gleefully naked down your street. Politely hand them a towel and a copy of Eat to Live.
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Mammogram Misses

Mammograms are practically the poster-child for breast cancer, but, Dr. Fuhrman contends they’re not all they’re cracked up to be. He talks about it here:
The American Cancer Society, The American College of Radiology, and the National Cancer Institute still support the discredited notion that mammograms “prevent” breast cancer. Mammograms are entrenched in the practice of conventional medicine. The politics and economics within the world of medical policy-making govern the messages that are disseminated to the public. The fact is—at best—mammograms detect, they do not prevent. To use the word prevent in the same sentence as mammograms is a tremendous distortion of reality. The only proven approach to prevention of breast cancer is the adoption of lifestyle modifications that help stop cells from becoming cancerous in the first place.
And now this, it seems that even top doctors are missing the signs of breast cancer on mammograms. Kyung M. Song of The Seattle Times reports:
Researchers examined nearly 36,000 mammograms read by 123 radiologists and found that a woman's odds of getting accurate results vary widely depending on who is doing the reading. The worst radiologists missed nearly 40 percent of the tumors and misidentified 8.3 percent of their patients as having nonexistent cancers.

The top performers tended to be doctors at academic medical centers and those who specialized in breast imaging. But even then, the cancer went undetected in one of five women who turned out to have cancer, while 2.6 percent had false-positive results…

…"Mammography is not perfect. But it's still the best thing at detecting breast cancer," said Diana Miglioretti, an associate investigator at the Group Health Center for Health Studies and the study's lead author.

Traditional mammograms, taken with low-dose X-rays, are notoriously difficult to read. Benign and malignant lesions can look alike. A speck of tumor can be hard to discern from the surrounding breast tissue. Accurate readings rest largely on a radiologist's skill.
Again, Dr. Fuhrman is not thrilled about mammograms. In fact, he believes all the hubbub about mammograms is largely based on fear. He explains:
More than a decade ago, the American Cancer Society recommended that women get a baseline mammogram at age thirty-five, followed by annual screenings beginning at age forty. The campaign to position mammograms as the key weapon in the fight against breast cancer was initiated by the American Cancer Society, with a number of medical groups joining the fray. Instilling fear about breast cancer was a campaign strategy. To achieve this, the American Cancer Society used greatly exaggerated numbers and faulty math to overstate breast cancer risk. They admitted they did this—and continue to do it—to promote mammograms.1 They still trumpet the claim that women face a one-in-eight chance of developing breast cancer during their lifetimes.
He’ll also tell you that the idea of “early detection” is essentially a myth, but don’t take my word for it. Here’s more from Dr. Fuhrman:
Mammograms never detect “early” breast cancer. By the time a cancer is visible to the human eye on a mammogram, it is already teeming with over a hundred billion cancer cells—which have been there for at least eight years—and it already has had ample time to spread to other parts of the body. In the majority of cases, the cancer has spread outside the breast, but the small groups of cells that have traveled to other parts of the body may be undetectable for years.
Now, to make matters worse, according to Dr. Fuhrman, mammograms might actually CAUSE breast cancer. Here’s a quote:
Unfortunately, mammography can be the cause of a woman’s breast cancer. When calculating its supposed benefits, we need to include in the equation the percentage of women whose breast cancer was promoted by the radiation exposure from the mammograms themselves. The younger you are when the mammograms are performed, the greater the risk of radiation-induced cancer.2,3 According to Michael Swift, M.D., chief of medical genetics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, between 5,000 and 10,000 of the 180,000 cases of breast cancer diagnosed each year could be prevented if women’s breasts were not exposed to radiation from mammograms. Over a million American women carry the gene for ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T), which makes them unusually sensitive to the ionizing radiation in X rays and five times more likely to develop breast cancer.4
Personally, if I had boobies, I’d think twice about getting them squished—EEK!
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Cruciferous Mistletoe

Mistletoe might be a leafy green, but, it’s hardly health-promoting. Anahad O’Connor of The New York Times insists eating mistletoe is a bad idea. More from the report:
In studies of hundreds of cases of accidental ingestion over the years, there were no fatalities and only a handful of severe reactions. One study published in 1996 looked at 92 cases of mistletoe ingestion and found that only a small fraction of patients showed any symptoms. Eight of 10 people who consumed five or more berries had no symptoms, and 3 of the 11 people who consumed only leaves had upset stomachs…

…Mistletoe is not deadly. But it can be hazardous, so don’t eat it.
Since the holiday season is upon us, just how did all this mistletoe kissing stuff get started? This video answers the question:

Darn, and I was going to toss some mistletoe in my salad—fizzle sticks!

Allergies: Too Scared for School

School children from Vaughan, Ontario are too scared to go to school. Why? Eggs and peanuts. ParentDish is on it:
St. Stephen Catholic School had been screening students' lunches to make certain that none of these foods were brought to school, but stopped. The school board contends that it is impossible to check every child's lunchbox, but the parents of the allergic students say that the school had been doing just that, ever since it opened in 2002. They just want the school to reinstitute the checks it was doing previously.

"At school," said one eleven-year-old, "I'm afraid because I don't really know some of the food with eggs and milk look like, and most of the time the kids won't spot it because if it's like a candy or something, they'll just eat it." A complaint has been filed with the Ontario Human Rights Commission claiming discrimination against the kids.

Bad News for Toxins

Will Dunham of Reuters reports, smoking increases your risk of developing diabetes. Here’s more:
Here's another reason to throw away the cigarettes: Smoking, already known to cause lung cancer, heart disease and stroke, also raises one's risk for the most common form of diabetes, researchers said on Tuesday.

Smokers faced a 44 percent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes when compared to nonsmokers, the Swiss researchers found.

Dr. Carole Willi of the University of Lausanne in Switzerland and colleagues analyzed 25 studies exploring the connection between smoking and diabetes published between 1992 and 2006, with a total of 1.2 million participants tracked for up to 30 years.
High ozone levels seem to explain why some residents of Sydney Australia had sudden cardiac events. Reuters reports:
A sudden spate of urgent cardiovascular syndromes resulting in severe chest pain that required emergency department visits among residents of Sydney, Australia, in 2005 has been traced to high solar radiance and ozone levels.

Surveillance data indicated an increase in urgent visits to city hospitals by individuals with chest pain assessed as "imminently or immediately life-threatening on arrival" in April and May 2005, Dr. Robin M. Turner of New South Wales Department of Health in North Sydney and colleagues report in the journal Environmental Health.

Emergency department visits increased from 4.0 per day in 2004 to 5.7 per day for the 8 weeks of April and May 2005.

Meat Ups Lung Cancer Risk

Alright, if you Eat to Live, you probably get this question a lot, “So, what are you vegan?” For me, the answer is no—I eat fish—because according to Dr. Fuhrman a near-vegetarian diet and a vegetarian diet are pretty similar. Here’s a quote:
Is a vegetarian diet healthier than a diet that contains a small amount of animal products? We do not know for sure. The preponderance of evidence suggests that either a near-vegetarian diet or a vegetarian diet is the best, especially for patients with heart disease. In the massive China-Oxford-Cornell Project, reduction in heart disease and cancer rates continued to be observed as participants reduced their animal-food consumption all the way down to 1.7 small servings per week. Under this level, there is not enough data available.
And, meat isn’t all bad. Vegans you might want to pay attention to this post, The Healthy Way to Integrate Meat Into Your Diet, it’ll help you figure out what supplements you need to ensure you’re probably nourished. Some points of interests:
  • Plant foods do not contain B12 (all vegans should take B12).
  • Some people have a need for more taurine, and may not get optimal amounts with a vegan diet. (Some vegans need to take a taurine supplement, or they could get a blood test to assure adequacy).
  • Some vegans may not produce ideal levels of DHA fat (from the conversion of short-chain omega-3 fats) found in such foods as flax and walnuts, if they don't eat fish. I advocate that vegans and people who do not eat fish should supplement with DHA or get a blood test to assure adequacy.
But the problem is—and Dr. Fuhrman would agree—people go berserk with the whole protein thing, especially animal protein. So, this begs the question, Do You Need Animal Protein? Dr. Fuhrman discusses it here:
Today, the average American consumes 100 to 120 grams of protein per day, mostly in the form of animal products. People who eat a completely vegetarian diet (vegan) have been found to consume sixty to eighty grams of protein a day, well above the minimum requirement.1 Vitamin B12, not protein, is the missing nutrient in a vegan diet.

In modern times, the plant foods we eat are well washed and contain little bacteria, bugs, or dirt, which would have supplied B12 in a more natural environment such as the jungle or forest. To assure optimal levels of B12 in our diet, we require some form of B12 supplementation when eating a diet with little or no animal products.
Now eating too much animal protein—or meat—can usher in a lot of serious health problems; most notably cancer and heart disease. Dr. Fuhrman briefly talks about the cancer-heart disease-meat connection here. Take a look:
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.2

A 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.3
Dr. Fuhrman isn’t the only one talking about the link between various cancers and consumption of animal products. Get a load of this new study, apparently meat raises lung cancer risk. Maggie Fox of Reuters reports:
People who eat a lot of red meat and processed meats have a higher risk of several types of cancer, including lung cancer and colorectal cancer, U.S. researchers reported on Monday.

The work is the first big study to show a link between meat and lung cancer. It also shows that people who eat a lot of meat have a higher risk of liver and esophageal cancer and that men raise their risk of pancreatic cancer by eating red meat.

"A decrease in the consumption of red and processed meat could reduce the incidence of cancer at multiple sites," Dr. Amanda Cross and colleagues at the U.S. National Cancer Institute wrote in their report, published in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Medicine.
Aren’t you happy you avoid red meat? In the end, I guess it’s important to remember, that while you don’t necessarily have to be vegan or vegetarian, according to Dr. Fuhrman, its best to limit how much meat you eat. One more quote:
Today the link between animal products and many different diseases is as strongly supporting in the scientific literature as the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. For example, subjects who ate meat, including poultry and fish, were found to be twice as likely to develop dementia (loss of intellectual function with aging) than their vegetarian counterparts in a carefully designed study.4 The discrepancy was further widened when past meat consumption was taken into account. The same diet, loaded with animal products, that causes heart disease and cancer also causes most every other disease prevalent in America including kidney stones, renal insufficiency and renal failure, osteoporosis, uterine fibroids, hypertension, appendicitis, diverticulosis, and thrombosis.5
So, when people ask you if you miss the proverbial standard American double-cheese burger, you shouldn’t have to fake a sigh and pretend that you do—I don’t!
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Santa Image

Here’s an interesting question. Diet Blog wants to know, should we keep Santa Claus fat? More from the post:
About this time every year, a few people get a bit hot under the collar about Santa's girth.

They claim Santa is a bad role model and sets a bad example for children…

…I don't think I've ever seen a 12 year old girl walking around in a red velvet suit. Not have I heard of a kid binging on hamburgers because they saw a picture of Santa.

I would argue that those who are idolized by children tend to be celebrity types who - more often than not - tend to be slim (and surgically-enhanced).
And here’s a ho-ho-hilarious comic—sorry, bad joke—take a look:

The entire comic is over at CalorieLab.

High Blood Sugar and Polyps

“White pasta, white rice and white bread are just like sugar,” Dr. Fuhrman explains, “These nutrient-deficient foods are absorbed too rapidly, which raises glucose, triglyceride, and insulin levels in your blood.” And high blood sugar is bad for polyp recurrence. Megan Rauscher of Reuters explains:
People found to have elevated insulin or blood sugar levels at the time of colonoscopy to remove polyps face an increased risk of developing recurrent polyps, including advanced polyps -- the type with a high likelihood of progressing to cancer, research shows.

What's concerning is that the levels of blood sugar that produce this increased risk are actually not very high; they are "right at the border" of what doctors would consider "pre-diabetes," Dr. Andrew Flood of University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, noted in comments to Reuters Health.

For this reason, doctors and patients may want to consider more aggressive management of blood sugar than they might otherwise among people who have already had one or more polyps removed, Flood said.
I hate to sound like a low-carb lemming, but, it sure seems like a good idea to avoid all that refined bread-like junk—egad!

Kitty Loves Lettuce

This cat is very fond of the green stuff. Take a look:

A Soup-er Good Time!

Tomato Vegetable Pot Soup
6 cups water
4 tablespoons lentils
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman's VegiZest
3 garlic cloves, chopped
8 tomatoes, chopped
1 broccoli stalk, chopped
2 onions, chopped
4 potatoes, chopped
1 pound carrots, chopped
1 cup green beans, chopped
1 cup cabbage, chopped
1 organic celery stalk, chopped
Place all of the ingredients in a large soup pot. Cover and simmer on low heat for one hour or until vegetables are tender.

Tuscan Beans & Greens Soup
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, no salt, with liquid
1 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary
1 15-ounce can white beans, no or low salt, with liquid
3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
6 cups chopped collard greens
1 tablespoon Dr. Fuhrman's Black Fig Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in soy milk overnight to get soft. When ready to make soup, chop the tomatoes finely. Set aside. Open the can of diced tomatoes and drain some liquid into a large soup pot. Heat over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; lower heat, cover and cook for 5 minutes, until onions are soft. Add more liquid to keep from sticking. Stir in sun-dried tomatoes, soy milk, basil, oregano, and rosemary. Add the beans, diced tomatoes, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Add the greens, lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Before serving, stir in the vinegar and black pepper.

Sweet Beet Soup
3 cups water
1 16-ounce can low sodium vegetable broth
2 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman's VegiZest
4 cups carrot juice
1 cup organic celery juice
3 beets with greens
2 medium onions
3-4 medium sized sweet potato or yams, peeled and diced
Put water, broth, VegiZest, carrot and celery juice in a pot and simmer. Grate beets and onions with food processor and add. Then add the bite-sized pieces of sweet potato and the sliced beet greens. Cook on low heat for one hour. Blend half the soup, leaving some chunky parts, so it becomes thicker and still has chunks of potato.

Mandatory Flu Shots: 6108032618 Goes Insane!

I can’t say that I’m proud to be a Jersey guy right now. Evidently my home state has lost its freaking mind. The Public Health Council wants to make flu shots mandatory for all children attending preschool. Before your head explodes, Linda A. Johnson of the Associated Press reports:
Parents concerned about possible vaccine dangers and government intrusion are trying to block New Jersey from becoming the first state to require flu shots for preschoolers.

The Public Health Council on Monday is set to consider whether New Jersey should require flu shots as well as three additional vaccines. If approved, New Jersey would become the first state to require annual flu shots for children attending licensed preschool or day care centers.

State health department officials also want to require a pneumococcal vaccine for preschoolers, a booster shot to fight whooping cough for sixth-graders, and meningitis shots for school children as young as 11.
This is unreal in my opinion, un-American and outlandish. What right does the government have to intrude on this parental decision? The answer is, ZERO RIGHT! Dr. Fuhrman once said this about mandatory HPV vaccines and it certainly applies here, look:
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.
I know, I use that quote a lot, but come on, Dr. Fuhrman’s on the money! This is essentially the opposite of freedom and it’s doubly stupid when you realize that flu shots aren’t the wonder drugs that pharmaceutical companies market them to be. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Three antiviral drugs, amantadine (Symmetrel), rimantadine (Flumadine), and oseltamivir (Tamiflu) are available in the US for influenza. These medications are only partially effective and not effective at all unless they are started within the first two days of symptoms. All are prescription drugs and have serious potential risks. Besides the more common side effects of nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and insomnia, rare but serious adverse reactions have been reported including depression, suicide, and a potentially fatal reaction called Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome, which involves a high fever muscle rigidity and mental status changes. I cannot recommend the general use of these medications given their poor benefit-to-risk ratio. However these medications would be appropriate in the event of an outbreak in a nursing home or hospital where immunologically weakened, high risk people are in close contact with one another.

Another drawback to Tamiflu and the others is that it takes time to diagnose the flu and by the time one gets to a doctor for an accurate diagnosis, you have passed the window in which the medications are effective. Hundreds of thousands of doses of Tamiflu will be prescribed and in more than 90 percent of instances, it will be used after the period when it has any potential to help. People will be increasing their risk of medication-caused side effect, without any potential benefit.

All medical interventions have a benefit-to-risk ratio. One has to weigh the potential risks with the supposed benefits. Often the long-term risks of medications are not clearly delineated and the supposed benefits are exaggerated by doctors and pharmaceutical companies (because after all, medicine is still a business to make money).

Flu vaccines have benefits and risks too. If you read about the flu vaccine in the information supplied by the manufacturer you will learn it contains formaldehyde and 25 micrograms of thimersol (mercury) per dose, used as a preservative. The injection of even this small amount of mercury repeatedly year after year from multiple vaccines can cause neurotoxicity (brain damage). The American Academy of Pediatrics and the US Public Health Service have issued a joint statement calling for the removal of mercury from vaccines. Chronic low dose mercury exposures may cause subtle neurological abnormalities that rear their head later in life.

Considering all the vaccines that children get already, adding the flu to the mix and giving it each year, is something I am not ready to recommend in healthy children, fed a nutritionally sound diet. That does not mean I would not recommend it to an elderly person or one with a reason for compromised immune function.

The flu vaccine itself has not been evaluated for carcinogenic or mutagenic potential and animal reproductive studies have not been performed. Adverse reactions to the vaccine including arthralgias (muscle aches) lymphadenopathy (swelling of lymph nodes) itching, angiopathy, vasculitis, and other events reflective of toxicity. Allergic reaction, hives, anaphylaxis, neurological disorders such as neuritis, encephalitis, optic neuritis, and demylenating disorders (such as MS) have also been temporally associated with influenza vaccine.
These New Jersey officials should get a clue! Hopefully commonsense prevails, but I doubt it, after all, we are talking about government. Now, here’s a great NEW quote from Dr. Fuhrman on all this insanity. Enjoy:
It seems that lawmakers do not understand that freedom should include freedom from forced medications for ourselves and our children. The fact that we grant religions the right to do anything, but if not under a religious umbrella, those with strong science-based, philosophical-based or strong-personal belief get no such rights, I think this is unconscionable.

Especially when we are talking about vaccines with their known dangerous side-effects and potential unknown negative effects down the road. Here in New Jersey, home of the drug industry, we have no rights for personal medical savings accounts, no rights to purchase catastrophic health insurance, and no rights to refuse mandatory vaccinations. The drug companies hold the politicians in their financial pockets. People are led to believe in drugs and the exaggerated benefits of medical care and they do; the new religion in America—In Drugs We Trust.
Oh no he didn’t!

Unhappy Report Card Meals

Whoa boy! This is real bad. A school in Seminole County, Florida promises free HAPPY MEALS for kids who get good grades—egad! ParentDish isn’t too happy about the ADVERTISING ON REPORT CARDS either. Take a look:
In Seminole County, Florida, McDonald's is doing their part to help ensure kids get good grades. They've agreed to give kids a free happy meal if they get good grades. It says so right there on the report card envelope. Wait, what? Yep, you heard that right. McDonald's has arranged to put their ad offering free food for good grades on the envelope the school district uses to send report cards home.

In exchange for putting their ad, complete with a picture of a Happy Meal, on the envelopes, McDonald's paid for the printing of the report cards. Sounds like a fair deal, eh? Actually, it sounds like a great deal for McDonald's -- reaching 27,000 kindergarten through fifth-grade students for next to nothing.
Rewarding little scholars with cancer-food? The parents in this school district should grab pitchforks and torches and storm the principles office. Dr. Fuhrman makes it clear. Food shouldn’t be a reward, especially bad food. From Disease-Proof Your Child:
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.
Buy the kid a toy, take him to the movies, or read her a story, but fast food! Shame on McDonalds for going along with this—oh, wait—its all about the Benjamins, not the little Bens and Bettys.

Bacteria Gets Popular

Foods with so-called “healthy” bacteria are all the rage lately. Dairy-based foods containing probioics are everywhere. Lindsey Tanner of the Associated Press reports:
These products contain probiotics, or "friendly" bacteria similar to those found in the human digestive system.

There are supplement pills, yogurts, smoothies, snack bars and cereals, even baby formula and chocolate. Sold by major names like Dannon and Kraft, they're spreading like germs on grocery store shelves and in supermarket dairy cases.

And they come with vague health claims of "regulating your digestive health" or "strengthening your body's defenses."

Experts say probiotics are generally safe, and in some cases might be helpful. More research is needed, and it's a hot new area, reflecting a growing understanding of the role that naturally occurring intestinal bacteria play in health. This week, the National Institutes of Health is hosting a conference where top scientists will discuss recent advances.
Personally, I don’t buy into the hype. Actually, this reminds me of a mind-boggling conversation I overheard at the gym. Okay boys and girls. Grab a seat, its story time. Here’s what happened.

I was at the gym a few months ago, running on the treadmill and next to me were these two portly guys about my age. I'm running along minding my own business, while they're let’s call it, “power-walking,” because at twenty-something jogging was evidently too taxing.

So I overhear them talking and the larger of the two mentions he's on the Atkins Diet, which isn't surprising because he's doughy and unhealthy looking. So naturally I'm ignoring most of the gibberish coming out of his mouth, but all of a sudden he tells his buddy, "Dude you got to eat butter. Butter is like so important. It’s like the only source of a certain bacteria that allows us to digest normally."

What! Ah yes, I can see the evolutionary chart now: ape, ape walking upright, caveman, modern man, modern man churning butter. Unbelievable! People’s general level of nuttiness and gullibility never ceases to amaze me.

When I told Dr. Fuhrman about this, he just sighed and said, “Nonsense.” I’m inclined to agree, how about you?

Rocket Fuel in Breast Milk!

HealthDay News reports that a chemical used in explosives and rocket fuel is showing up in human breast milk—scary. More form Carolyn Colwell:
Scientists have discovered the mechanism by which a chemical known as perchlorate can collect in breast milk and cause cognitive and motor deficits in newborns.

Used since the 1940s to manufacture explosives and rocket fuel, the contaminant is still widely present in the water and food supply, experts say.

And high concentrations of perchlorate in breast milk can be passed to an infant and affect it's ability to manufacture essential thyroid hormone, the new study suggests. Perchlorate can also lessen the amount of iodide available to a mother to pass on to her infant, and a baby needs iodide to produce thyroid hormones.

"The deficit of thyroid hormone is particularly delicate if it's at the beginning of life because the central nervous system has not completely matured," said study author Dr. Nancy Carrasco, a professor of molecular pharmacology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in New York City.

Water Bottle Blues

Wow! You might want to think twice before you drink water out of a plastic bottle. Julie’s Health Club rounds up the BPA situation. Here’s a bit:
It's true that BPA is in all of us and that very low doses have been shown to affect animals. If it is shown to be hazardous to humans, we're out of luck; fixing our toothless chemical regulatory system will be a Herculean task. The U.S. produces more than 6 billion pounds of the chemical every year…

… About 80 percent of academically and government-funded research found that bisphenol A is harmful in laboratory animals. Most of the industry-funded studies found there was no harm.
For awhile I didn’t know much about BPA. Which is more than evident in this comment-discussion in this previous post, from Bottled--TAP—Water:
Teresa: 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.

Me: Wow Teresa! I didn't know that...Hmm... What to do with all those bottles now...I know...I'll make a raft for my hamster...oh wait...I don't have a hamster.
I still don’t have a hamster, but, I ditched the plastic bottles.

Grandrounds 4.12

How Much Water Does It Take...

Hopefully this will help you make more informed food choices. Virtual Water shows us just how much water it takes to make many typical American foods. I found these two very startling. Take a look:

UK: Maternal Deaths and Obesity

This is sobering. New research has determined that more than half of British mothers who died during child birth were overweight. Reuters is on it:
The Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health (CEMACH) said maternal-related deaths in Britain are at a two decade high.

In its annual report, "Saving Mothers' Lives: reviewing maternal deaths to make motherhood safer", it found that of the almost 300 women who died during childbirth between 2003 and 2005 from pregnancy-related conditions, more than half were obese. The deaths left 520 children motherless, it added.

Obese pregnant women are more at risk of dying, suffering heart disease, miscarriage, diabetes, infections and blood clots.

Although the death rate has not changed significantly since 2000, it has risen by around 40 percent since 1985/87, the study showed.
Gaining baby-weight is one thing, but, staying healthy while pregnant is important. More on this from Dr. Fuhrman—take a look:
The time to begin paying attention to a child’s health is long before birth. Even the mother’s diet twelve months before conception can influence the child’s future health. It is important to eat healthfully prior to conception as well as once pregnancy has begun. Proper nutrition and good health habits are more important than ever during pregnancy and can help in maintaining good health for both mother and baby.
Also, be sure to check out this post: Don't be Fat and Pregnant.


“Exercise is important for healthy psychological function,” claims Dr. Fuhrman. Well, is he right? I venture to say yes, but see for yourself. According to new research exercise may boost the brain's natural antidepressants. Reuters reports:
The findings, published in the journal Nature Medicine, point to potential new ways to treat depression in people.

Studies have found that exercise can help ease depression symptoms, but the reasons for the benefit have not been clear. For the new study, scientists used a tool called a microarray to examine how exercise changed gene activity in the brains of mice.

They focused on a brain region known as the hippocampus, which has been implicated in mood regulation and in the brain's response to antidepressant medication.

The researchers found that mice that had a week's worth of workouts on a running wheel showed altered activity in a total of 33 genes, the majority of which had never been identified before.

Radish Boogie Down

These radishes certainly know how to have a good time. Enjoy:

Carnival Of The Recipes - Cooking On A Budget Edition

It’s over at A Penny Closer. *Remember, not all recipes are Fuhrman-friendly.

Fat Ballin'

“Bulking up is dangerous to one's longevity,” Dr. Fuhrman replied when I asked him about the immense size of football players, “Linebackers often eat in a way that radically shortens their lives.” And it’s starting younger and younger. Check out this New York Times report:

Two studies this year, one published in The Journal of the American Medical Association and another in The Journal of Pediatrics, found that weight problems among high school football players — especially linemen — far outpaced those of other male children and adolescents.

Now coaches and researchers fear that some young athletes may be endangering their health in an effort to reach massive proportions and attract the attention of college recruiters…

…Another study of 650 football players in Michigan youth leagues from ages 9 to 14, published last month in The Journal of Pediatrics, found that 45 percent were overweight or obese, with the problem more prevalent among linemen, who are typically the biggest players on the team.

“That’s staggering,” said Robert M. Malina, a professor emeritus of kinesiology at Texas and the lead author of the Michigan study. “Youngsters are already being rewarded for being big and overweight before playing big-time football.”
It’s sad if you ask me, but, I don’t blame the kids. I blame the league. They must redirect the trend! Encourage teams to stress athleticism and speed and not motionless mountainous size. That’s why my favorite NFL players are guys like this:

Terrell Owens

Dallas Cowboys
Height: 6-3 Weight: 218 Age: 33

Bob Sanders

Indianapolis Colts
Height: 5-8 Weight: 206 Age: 26

Torry Holt
St. Louis Rams
Height: 6-0 Weight: 190 Age: 31

Rodney Harrison
New England Patriots
Height: 6-1 Weight: 220 Age: 34
These dudes are lean, quick, and agile. They’re not massive. They’re functionally or “deceptively strong.” That’s my fitness goal. Not to be Goliath, but rather, a fit and healthy David. Especially since, as Dr. Fuhrman points out, leaner people live longer. From Eat to Live:
In the Nurses Health Study, researchers examined the association between body mass index and overall mortality and mortality from specific causes in more than 100,000 women. After limiting the analysis to nonsmokers, it was very clear that the longest-lived women were the leanest.1 The researchers concluded that the increasingly permissive U.S. weight guidelines are unjustified and potentially harmful…

…Dr. I-Min Lee, of the Harvard School of Public Health, said her twenty-seven-year study of 19,297 men found there was no such thing as being too thin. Among men who never smoked, the lowest mortality occurred in the lightest fifth.2 Those who were in the thinnest 20 percent in the early 1960s were two and a half times less likely to have died of cardiovascular disease by 1988 than those in the heaviest fifth. Overall, the thinnest were two–thirds more likely to be alive in 1988 than the heaviest. Lee stated, “We observed a direct relationship between body weight and mortality. By that I mean that the thinnest fifth of men experienced the lowest mortality, and mortality increased progressively with heavier and heavier weight.”
Hopefully aspiring football players and the NFL awake up and put the health and longevity of athletes ahead of winning championships.

Another Milk in the Wall

Get a load of this. In one school there are actually lunch wardens patrolling the lunchroom to make sure all kids finish their milk. A concerned ParentDish is on it:
I had a parent ask me for some advice about a situation at her daughter's school. The girl, a kindergartener, eats lunch in the cafeteria most days, where she gets the same amount of food and milk as kids twice her age. While she likes milk and is used to drinking it at home, she doesn't always finish it.

The problem is, there are staff members who wander around the cafeteria shaking milk cartons and telling kids to finish their milk. The mother is concerned because she attributes, at least in part, her own weight issues to always being told as a child to finish everything on her plate. Naturally, she doesn't want her daughter to develop the same sorts of issues.
“We don’t need no thought control…Teachers leave them kids alone,” goes the classic Pink Floyd song. I don’t like the idea of a totalitarian cafeteria and the fact that it surrounds milk—double-yuck! As Dr. Fuhrman explains, milk is way overrated:
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.
How do you feel about these milk-pushers? I don't like it one bit!

Fitness and Longevity

New research has determined that fitness gives a better indication of lifespan than bodyweight. The AFP reports:

People over 60 who exercise and are fit live longer than their sedentary peers, regardless of weight and body mass, researchers said in a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Earlier research showed that obesity and sedentary habits increased the risk of death in middle-aged adults. The study carried out by University of South Carolina researchers tested the premise for the first time among older adults.

"We observed that fit individuals who were obese ... had a lower risk of all-cause mortality than did unfit, normal-weight, or lean individuals," said the study's lead author Dr Xuemei Sui.
Not that surprising. Exercise is important, regardless. Check out this brief quote from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live:
Despite the well-known benefits of exercise, only about 15 percent of Americans engage in regular physical activity. In people of all body weights, poor aerobic fitness is an independent risk factor for all-cause mortality.1
To me, I see this as a reason to get slim AND get fit—don’t you think?
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More and More Dangerous Toys

Given the season, this is hardly encouraging. A report in The Wall Street Journal explains that A LOT of toys are getting low marks for mercury, lead, and other chemical contaminations. Reuters has more:

The study also showed that jewelry products were most likely to contain high lead levels, and it uncovered a variety of tainted items, including bedroom slippers, bath toys and card-game cases, according to the Journal.

Certain toys had more than five times the standard safety level, including a Hannah Montana card-game case, which had a lead level of 3,056 parts per million, the Journal said.

Millions of toys have been recalled this year, with most involving Chinese-made products.

Boston Farmers Market

Well, we had a New York farmers market and now, a Boston farmers market. Check out bean-town:

Grand Rounds is here!

Acrylamides...Still Bad

Honestly, at first I thought an acrylamide was some sort of prehistoric crustacean, but actually they are nasty compounds that develop from…wait…I’ll let Dr. Fuhrman explain:
Frying and overcooking leads to the highest levels of acrylamide, the highest of which are found in fried chips, such as potato chips and French fries. Acrylamide is one of the most potent cancer-causing agents. It is found in highest amounts in carbohydrates cooked at high temperatures. European governments permit 10 parts per million (ppb) of acrylamide in packaged foods, but U.S. standards are more lax. For example, Kellogg’s Rice Crispies contain 110 ppb and Pringles original crisps contain 1,480 ppb. Sugar-coated breakfast cereals have even higher levels than Rice Crispies.
Clearly avoiding them is a smart move, and, here’s more reason too. A Dutch study has determined that heavy cooking causes cancer. We Like It Raw is on it:
The Dutch study followed the 120,000 volunteers - 62,000 of whom were women - for 11 years after their initial questionnaire, during which time 327 of them developed endometrial (womb) cancer, and 300 developed ovarian cancer…

…Analysis of these findings suggested that those who ate 40 micrograms of acrylamide a day - equivalent to half a pack of biscuits, a portion of chips or a single packet of crisps - were twice as likely to fall prey to these cancers compared with those who ate much less acrylamide.
Now, before you freak out. Dr. Fuhrman reminds us that acrylamides are just one of many cancer-causing compounds we’re exposed to. He talks about it:
Much has been said and written about whether authorities should attribute thousands or millions of deaths to acrylamide consumption. However, this argument is almost irrelevant because toxic agents, nutritional excesses, and nutritional deficiencies act in concert to establish a cellular environment favorable for cancer development. Acylamide is not the only toxic substance we come in contact with. So, when we add it to all the others, the combination becomes a serious problem contributing to our nation’s dismal cancer statistics.

Corn Syrup vs. Table Sugar

Diet Blog is all over an interesting study comparing how table sugar and corn syrup affect appetite. Check it out:
They took 31 young men and gave them various sugar blends - such as High Fructose Corn Syrup, table sugar, and other glucose and fructose blends.

All sugar mixtures had the exact same number of calories.

One and a half hours later, the men were told to eat as much pizza as they wish.

The outcome: There was no difference in food intake or reported appetite whether they consumed the corn syrup or table sugar. These results are similar
Now, they’re both garbage foods, but, it’s interesting nonetheless. Here Dr. Fuhrman talks about why sugar and corn syrup are bad. Take a look:
Regrettably, our human desire for sweets is typically satisfied by the consumption of products containing sugar, such as candy bars and ice cream—not fresh fruit. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration estimates that the typical American now consumes an unbelievable 32 teaspoons of added sugar a day.1 That’s right, in one day…

…Summarizing fifteen epidemiological studies, researchers concluded that diets containing refined grains and refined sweets were consistently linked to stomach and colon cancer, and at least twelve breast cancer studies connect low-fiber diets with increased risks.2 Eating a diet that contains a significant quantity of sugar and refined flour does not just cause weight gain, it also leads to an earlier death…

…Refined sugars include table sugar (sucrose), milk sugar (lactose), honey, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, corn sweeteners, and fruit juice concentrates. Even the bottled and boxed fruit juices that many children drink are a poor food; with no significant nutrient density, they lead to obesity and disease2…

…High fructose corn syrup is not only fattening, but this inexpensive and ultra-concentrated sugar has no resemblance to real food made by nature. It is another experiment thrust upon our unsuspecting children with unknown dangerous consequences.
Yuck to both of them! I don’t touch either of them anymore. All part of my…to be continued…soon!
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Holiday Heart Attack?

Well, I thought ‘tis the season for snowmen, fruit cakes, and mistletoe—NOT—heart attack season, but evidently December through January is prime time for coronaries. Lauran Neergaard of the Associated Press reports:

But what may make the Christmas coronary more deadly than the same-size heart attack in, say, August, is a double dose of denial. It's not uncommon for people to initially shrug off chest pain as indigestion. Research suggests they're even more reluctant for a run to the emergency room when it means disrupting a holiday gathering, or if they've traveled to a strange city — meaning they arrive sicker.

Minutes matter.

"You have only a short window of opportunity to save heart muscle," warns Dr. William Suddath of Washington Hospital Center in the nation's capital — where a cardiac team on-duty 24 hours a day aims to start clearing victims' clogged arteries within 15 minutes of their arrival in the emergency room.

I guess it makes sense in this season of excess.

Los Angeles Times: Breast or Bottle

The Los Angeles Times investigates the advantages of breastfeeding. Here’s a rather convincing excerpt. Take a look:
The researchers found that breast-fed babies had fewer ear, gastrointestinal tract, and severe lower respiratory tract infections than formula-fed ones and were less prone to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), obesity, Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, childhood leukemia, early-childhood asthma and atopic dermatitis (a skin disorder that causes eczema).

Though the reductions were as large as 72% (for severe lower respiratory tract infections), the report states that none of its findings imply causality.

This inability to prove cause and effect is a problem that plagues virtually all breast-feeding research. The problem is that women who breast-feed, as a whole, are very different from their bottle-feeding counterparts: wealthier, older and more educated, for starters. Although researchers are able to adjust their results for such factors, there's no way to adjust for every difference. Women who breast-feed are probably more health-conscious in numerous ways, which could explain why breast-fed children tend to be healthier.

The evidence is more suggestive in some areas than in others. "It's well proven that breast-feeding is effective at reducing infections in the newborn period, as long as children continue to be breast-fed," said Dr. Lawrence Gartner, past chairman of the AAP's breast-feeding group. The reason is that breast milk contains antibodies and other agents that prevent bacteria, toxins and viruses the baby has swallowed from attaching to the lining of the throat and gut.

He said that the research was "not nearly as good" for the other claims. One reason is that fewer studies have been done; another is that how breast milk might offer protection is less clear.
I think its best to reiterate Dr. Fuhrman’s point from yesterday’s post on peanut allergies. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Allergies are increasing because women do not breast feed long enough...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.
In the end, it’s the mother’s choice.

Veggies Caring and Sharing

The Peanut Gallery on Peanut Allergies

“Allergies are increasing because women do not breast feed long enough,” Dr. Fuhrman responded when I asked him to comment on this report claiming peanut allergies in children are on the rise. Andrew Stern of Reuters has more:

Allergies to peanuts and other foods are showing up in children at younger ages for reasons that are not clear, researchers said on Monday, and some urged parents to postpone exposing susceptible children to peanuts.

In a study of 140 children with peanut allergies, the median age of the first allergic reaction was 14 months among those born between 2000 and 2005, compared to 22 to 24 months among allergic children born between 1988 and 1999.

"There's a valid reason to delay introduction to products containing peanuts," said Dr. Todd Green of the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Fuhrman couldn’t agree less. “It is not delaying peanut introduction that will solve this problem, it is delaying the unhealthful cessation of breast feeding at too young an age,” Dr. Fuhrman points out. He talks more about it in 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.

What really surprised me is according to Dr. Fuhrman roasting peanuts actually increase their allergen potency. Maybe it’ll make parents think twice before they slather peanut butter and jelly on two slices of white bread and shoo their kids off to school.

Exercise: Lead, Your Kids will Follow

“No rules only for children,” Dr. Fuhrman points out in Disease-Proof Your Child, “If the parents are not willing to follow the rules set for the house, they should not be imposed on the children.” This not only applies to diet, That’s Fit shows it applies to exercise too. Take a look:
Too lazy to roll up that purple yoga mat, my kids were greeted with a bright, squishy rectangle this morning. They also spotted the battered yoga tape lying next to the TV. The clutter elicited a positive response -- my three-year-old daughter put in the tape and immediately began gentle spinal twists, sun salutations and a Namaste gesture. She used to be my yoga buddy. She'd missed it, too.

I saw the proof this morning. Modeling fitness to your kids is a promotional strategy. So leave the 3 pound barbells and yoga mat lying around. Invite your kids to occasionally workout with you. Until puberty, they pretty much want to be with you most of the time.
Kudos to That’s Fit, but who would have thought…kids imitate their parents? No! You don’t say. Now, obviously I’m geeked about Yoga mention and I’m doubly-geeked about this link. Check out ABC-of-Yoga for animated step-by-step Yoga instruction. It’s really cool. Look:

Yoga rules! As you’ll soon see—hint-hint, wink-wink—Yoga really helped me…to be continued.

Soy Foods and Heart Disease

New research has determined that women who regularly eat soy-based foods lower their risk of heart disease. The AFP reports:
Soybeans -- eaten as tofu, miso soup or Japanese fermented beans known as "natto" -- have a high amount of isoflavones, a natural source of estrogen similar to the female hormone, the study found.

The risk of heart attacks or strokes for a woman who consumed soy at least five times a week was 0.39 compared with 1 for a woman who consumed the least, it said.

The results were even more striking among women past menopause, with the risk falling to 0.25, said Yoshihiko Kokubo, chief doctor of preventive cardiology at Japan's National Cardiovascular Center.
Soy—or edamame—beans are great! Tofu is cool too. But as Dr. Fuhrman points out, soy foods might be tasty, but don’t go overboard. From Eat to live:
Studies have shown soy's beneficial effects on cholesterol and other cardiovascular risk factors. However, there is no reason not to expect the same results from beans of any type--it's merely that more studies have been done on soy than on any other beans…

…I always recommended the consumption of a broad variety of phytochemical-rich foods to maximize one's health. Beans are no exception--try to eat different types of beans, not just soy.
This report is very similar to an earlier one claiming soy nuts can lower blood pressure in postmenopausal women. Nicholas Bakalar of The New York Times was on it:
The first group followed the same diet without soy. The second ate a half-cup a day of soy nuts while reducing protein intake from other sources. When hypertensive women were on the soy diet, they averaged a 9.9 percent decrease in systolic blood pressure (the top number in the reading) and a 6.8 percent decrease in diastolic pressure. Those with normal blood pressure also benefited from the soy diet, reducing systolic and diastolic readings by 5.2 percent and 2.9 percent respectively.
Now, this is a great time to note that not all soy foods are homeruns. As Dr. Fuhrman explains soy nuts aren’t so great. Take a look:
You should be aware that soy nuts, soymilk, and other processed soy products do not retain many of the beneficial compounds and omega-3 fats that are in the natural bean. The more the food is processed, the more the beneficial compounds are destroyed.
Lucky for us—and the women in the AFP report—Dr. Fuhrman still considers tofu and frozen or canned soybeans are a good source of omega-3 fat and calcium.

Keeping Junk-Food Out School...Problems

Well, officials want to get junk-food and soft-drinks out of schools, but the road to doing so is not so clear. Kim Severson of The New York Times investigates:
They are optimistic about their chances because there is more public interest than ever in improving school food and because leaders in the food and beverage industry have had a hand in creating the new standards.

But that intense corporate involvement, along with exemptions that would allow sales of chocolate milk, sports drinks and diet soda, has caused a rift among food activists who usually find themselves on the same side of school food battles.

“This pits ideals about what children should eat at school against the political reality of large food corporations insisting their foods be available to children at all times,” said Marion Nestle, a professor at New York University and the author of two recent books on food politics and diet. “The activists want vending machines out of schools completely.” Dr. Nestle has taken no public stand on the measure.

The nutrition standards would allow only plain bottled water and eight-ounce servings of fruit juice or plain or flavored low-fat milk with up to 170 calories to be sold in elementary and middle schools. High school students could also buy diet soda or, in places like school gyms, sports drinks. Other drinks with as many as 66 calories per eight ounces could be sold in high schools, but that threshold would drop to 25 calories per eight-ounce serving in five years.
I’ve got a question—why the heck, is there any corporate involvement here! You can’t trust corporations to have kids’ best interests at heart. One word, McDonald’s.

The Breakfast Bunch

Healthy Pancakes
1 cup great northern beans (no or low salt), drained
2 egg whites
1 cup unsweetened soy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
10 pitted dates
1/2 cup oat bran
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup blueberries or 1 banana, sliced
pure maple syrup
Blend beans, egg whites, soy milk, vanilla, and dates in a blender until smooth. Add oat bran and buckwheat flour and blend. Fold in blueberries or banana. Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a hot, non-stick or lightly oiled griddle. When bubbles form on top of pancakes, flip. Cook until golden. Serve with pure maple syrup. Serves 2.

Wille's Wild Blueberry Hot Breakfast

2 cups frozen wild blueberries
1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup currants
1 banana, sliced
Heat frozen blueberries and soy milk until warm. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Serves 1.

Pomegranate Muesli

1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1/4 cup oats, steel cut or old fashioned (not quick or instant)
1 apple, peeled and grated
4 raw cashews, coarsely chopped
4 raw hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup halved grapes
1/2 cup cubed cantaloupe
1/2 cup sliced fresh organic strawberries
1 tablespoon currants
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
Soak oats in pomegranate juice overnight in refrigerator. Oats will absorb the liquid. In the morning, combine oats with remaining ingredients. You may add or substitute any fruits you desire. Serves 2.

Yahoo Health: 4 Healthy Foods

Joy Bauer, MS, RD, CDN of Joy's Healthy Bite tells us about four healthy foods we should be eating. Check them out:
Beets are one of the best sources of folate, a nutrient which lowers your blood levels of homocysteine, an inflammatory amino acid produced by the body…

…Part of the cruciferous vegetable family, one cup of chopped cabbage contains 20 calories, two grams fiber and is loaded with sulforaphane, a cancer fighting chemical that's been shown to decrease cellular damage throughout the body…

…Guava is a tropical super fruit. One cup provides 110 calories, 376 milligrams Vitamin C (that's more than 300 percent of the daily value), 699 milligrams potassium and nine grams of fiber!Guava also provides a hearty dose of lycopene - an antioxidant that appears to fight prostate cancer (when it comes to lycopene, most people only think about tomatoes)…

…Studies have shown that eating foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin can increase the pigment density in the macula-and greater pigment density means better retina protection, and a lower risk of macula degeneration. One cup steamed Swiss chard provides only 35 calories.
I doubt Dr. Fuhrman would argue with this list. Speaking of lists, get a load of Dr. Fuhrman’s fab five healthy foods:
Berries: Add berries to morning cereals. Make dessert sorbets from frozen berries. My kids love frozen strawberries blended with an orange or orange juice. We usually add a slice of dried pineapple and use our Vita-Mix to make a smooth and delicious strawberry sorbet.

Greens: Make steamed greens with a cashew butter cream sauce. Kids love it. We blend raw cashews and a few dried onion flakes with some soy milk and make a great sauce for chopped kale or broccoli.

Seeds: Seeds are super nutritious wonder foods. Try sprinkling some lightly toasted unhulled sesame seeds and sunflower seeds on salads and vegetables. We like to grind some into a powder and use it like salt on food.

Beans: Beans are fiber and nutrient packed. They give soups that chewy goodness and long-lasting satiety. Add a mixture of split peas, lentils, and adzuki beans to soups and simmer over low heat for about three hours.

Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a wonderful food in their own class. Whether you consider them a fruit or vegetable, it matters not. Slice them into pita pocket sandwiches. Mash some almond butter with a fork into some tomato sauce to add to the vegetable-tomato-sprout avocado pita pocket. What a great school lunch.
They all sound great to me!

US Restaurants Going Small

In light of last week’s report claiming chefs could be to blame for America’s fatness. A new report suggests the contrary. Apparently small portions are all the rage in US restaurants. Reuters explains:
A poll by the National Restaurant Association found that small is now big on restaurant menus, according to 1,282 professional chefs questioned for its second annual "What's Hot...What's Not" food and drink survey.

Other hot trends cited by the chefs, all of whom were members of the American Culinary Federation, included alternative-source ingredients, ethnic flavors, and specialty alcohol.

"The trend of small plates is definitely hot, including offering tasting menus of small portions of food, wine or other alcohol beverages," chef John Kinsella, president of the American Culinary Federation and senior chef instructor at Midwest Culinary Institute in Cincinnati, said in a statement.
Dr. Fuhrman is rather blunt on this topic. To him, smaller portions and counting calories is kind of dumb. He talks about it in his book Eat to Live. Here’s an excerpt:
It is meaningless to compare foods by weight or portion size. Let me provide an example to explain why this is the case. Take one teaspoon of melted butter, which gets 100 percent of its calories from fat. If I take that teaspoon of butter and mix it in a glass of hot water, I can now say that it is 98 percent fat-free, by weight. One hundred percent of its calories are still from fat. It didn’t matter how much water or weight was added, did it?

Working Late and Cancer-Risk

According to a new study, working the late shift has been linked to an increased risk of cancer. Maria Cheng of the Associated Press reports:
If the shift work theory proves correct, millions of people worldwide could be affected. Experts estimate that nearly 20 percent of the working population in developed countries work night shifts.

It is a surprising twist for an idea that scientists first described as "wacky," said Richard Stevens, a cancer epidemiologist and professor at the University of Connecticut Health Center. In 1987, Stevens published a paper suggesting a link between light at night and breast cancer.

Back then, he was trying to figure out why breast cancer incidence suddenly shot up starting in the 1930s in industrialized societies, where nighttime work was considered a hallmark of progress. Most scientists were bewildered by his proposal.

But in recent years, several studies have found that women working at night for many years are indeed more prone to breast cancer, and that animals who have their light-dark schedules switched grow more cancerous tumors and die quicker.
This doesn’t surprise me. In my supermarket days I used to work overnights a lot and after a few days of that—I felt like crap! Not good according to Dr. Fuhrman:
A safe and satisfying work environment, a happy marriage, a satisfying social and/or family life, and activities you enjoy are all related to positive health outcomes. Emotional wellness starts right here your finger tips end. As you respect and appreciate the value in the world around you and develop interests in other people and in such things as art, music, entertainment, sports, nature, and physical activity, you can respect yourself more for your ability and desire to appreciate the value of things not yourself.

In other words, as you learn about and begin to care for things, you gain a legitimate reason to be pleased with yourself. A healthy emotional response to life hinges on your ability to grant value and importance to things that are deserving of it. This ability and desire to interact in a fair and equitable way with the world around you forms the basis of your emotional contentment and self-esteem.
Although, now I often find myself blogging in the middle of night…stupid!

Vita-Coffee for Kids?

Here’s the stupid item of the month. Let’s get kids hooked on folic acid-fortified coffee! ParentDish is all over this nonsense. Take a peek:
Voyava Republic has joined forces with the Mexican coffee producer La Selva to deliver folic acid-fortified coffee to underprivileged elementary school students in Chiapas, Mexico.

Apparently, many poor children in that state already drink one or more cups of coffee each day, so why not give them a little nutritional boost along with their caffeine? After all, folic acid is good for kids, right? Yeah, but coffee isn't.

"It doesn't seem like a good idea, given that coffee isn't an adequate drink for children," the Chiapas state health department said in a statement. "It's well known that high levels of caffeine can cause problems like nervousness, irritability and anxiety."
I weep for the children of Mexico.

Broccoli Kitty

This tuxedo cat just loves some broccoli. Take a look: