Mercury, Fish, and More Testing

I really like fish. I also really like chocolate and bread, but like all iffy foods. I carefully limit how much of these I eat. And according to Dr. Fuhrman, when it comes to fish, limitation is a good idea. He explains:
Choose fish over other animal products, but be aware that the place where it was caught, and the type of fish, matters. Don't accept recreational fish from questionable waters. Farmed fish is safer. Never eat high-mercury-content fish. Don't eat fish more than twice a week, and if you have a family history of hemorrhagic stroke, limit it further to only once a month.
This concern about fish is catching on—pun intended. Restaurants and retailers are actually testing the fish they sell and serve for mercury contamination. Marian Burros of The New York Times reports:
A NUMBER of restaurants and retailers in different parts of the country have started testing the fish they sell in response to concerns about the amount of mercury in seafood, and the Environmental Protection Agency is beginning to examine the mercury content in fish sold in the New York City region…

…A chain of five stores in New York, Gourmet Garage, sold tuna that in the Times test had mercury concentrations above one part per million, the Food and Drug Administration’s “action level,” at which the fish can be taken off the market. The company said it would now carry only yellowfin tuna with no more than 0.4 parts per million. Yellowfin tuna is generally lower in mercury than bluefin…

…Hiro Nishida, the president of Food Scope America, which owns Megu, said he was not surprised. The average concentration of mercury in Kindai tuna is 0.6 parts per million, he said, but producers are “trying to decrease the parts per million to 0.2 by different feeding, and they will become much healthier to people who enjoy tuna.”
All this testing is a great idea, but, I’m with Dr. Fuhrman, I’ll continue limit to how much fish I eat, and, I’ll be certain to choose fish with the lowest contamination levels. Here’s a list of Dr. Fuhrman’s best and worst fish. Look:
Fish with Highest and Lowest Mercury Levels

white snapper

I use this little list as my measuring stick. Now, if you’ve got more questions about seafood safety, please check out I’ve been using the site for years now, very helpful.

Food Scoring Guide: Complete Protein

When you hear something over and over from the time you were a young child, it is easy to accept it as true. So it should not come as a surprise that the myth that we need to consume animal products to get adequate protein is still alive and well in America. The myth that plant proteins are “incomplete” and need to be “completed” for adequate protein is still alive, too.

Amino acids are the building blocks that make proteins. All vegetables and grains contain all eight of the essential amino acids (as well as the twelve other non-essential). While some vegetables have higher or lower proportion of certain amino acids than others, when eaten in amounts to satisfy your caloric needs, a sufficient amount of all essential amino acids is provided. Today’s nutritional science has deemphasized the importance of protein because we now know that it is easy to get enough, and that too much is not good.

Scientific studies on human protein requirements demonstrate that adults require 20-35 grams of protein per day.1 Today, the average American consumes 100-120 grams of protein per day, mostly in the form of animal products. This high level of animal product consumption has been linked to not just heart disease and strokes, but to higher rates of cancer, as well.2 We simply don’t need all this protein. Even people who eat a total vegetarian (vegan) diet, which contains no animal products, have been found to consume 60-80 grams of protein per day, well above the minimum requirement.3
Continue Reading...

Congress Going Green...

Going “green” has been in the news a lot lately. Personally, I think it’s great. We live with the planet, not on it. And it seems Congress is starting to think greener. More from Bryan Walsh of Time:
Hours and hours of hearings finally led to a legislative breakthrough in December: the passage out of the committee of the first bill that would put carbon caps on the U.S. economy. Co-sponsored by the Republican Sen. John Warner and the Independent Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the America's Climate Security Act would cap U.S. carbon emissions at 15% below 2005 levels by 2020, with a 70% cut projected for 2050. If enacted, those carbon caps would all but force U.S. businesses to invest in cleaner technology and greater energy efficiency, and would help the country take a leadership role in international climate negotiations…

…Critics like Bush tend to focus on the economic costs of reducing carbon emissions — through increased energy prices — but Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, and many of her supporters, believe that combating climate change can have a net positive effect on the economy. Boxer hails from California, which has already passed the strongest state legislation on climate change, cutting carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Far from hurting the state economically, Boxer notes, the carbon bill has helped California become the center for green innovation in the U.S., with Silicon Valley venture capitalists pouring billions into alternative energy start-ups. Those businesses will create new, green jobs that should make up for the short-term costs of cutting carbon. "The cure for global warming is positive," says Boxer. "That makes it easy for me to approach it with hope."
Take carbon emissions for example, its bad news, why not take more measures to clean it up? Check out these posts for more:
Environmental pollution is a huge deal, there are tons of reasons why in Followhealthlife's toxins category.

Anti-Smoking Plans, Good or Bad?

Admittedly, I’m a skeptic and a cynic. Given the amount of people I see sucking down cigarettes, I’d be the first to say anti-smoking campaigns don’t work, but, apparently I’m wrong. According to Reuters, state anti-smoking plans work. Take a look:
Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and an independent research institute analyzed data on smoking rates and tobacco control spending in all 50 states from 1995 to 2003.

The advocacy group Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said the states will spend about $717 million in fiscal year 2008 on tobacco control and smoking cessation programs.

These programs include advertising on the hazards of smoking, school- and community-based anti-smoking efforts, and steps like creating toll-free telephone lines to help people quit.

The study found that the more states spent on programs, the larger the declines they achieved in adult smoking rates, independent of other factors like higher tobacco prices.
Now, we just got to get some more state anti-weed-smoking plans.

FDA: Clear and Present Danger

Hopefully this doesn’t shock you, but, the FDA is being a little flaky. Apparently no one knows what they need to do their job. Christopher Doering of Reuters reports:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's failure to discuss clearly its strategy and the money needed to better protect the country's food supply could make it harder for a plan to succeed, a congressional watchdog agency told lawmakers on Tuesday.

Last November, the Bush administration proposed stronger rules to better protect the country's food supply. Some of the proposals require approval from Congress.

The Government Accountability Office said while the food safety inspection plan "proposes several positive first steps," it has failed to explain what resources and how much additional funding it will need to implement it.

"Without a clear description of resources and strategies, it will be difficult for Congress to assess the likelihood of the plan's success in achieving its intended results," said Lisa Shames, a GAO director, in a report delivered to a U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
To quote George Carlin, “This is the kind of crap you'd expect from an office temp with a bad attitude.” Not a government agency!

Allergies: The Power of Breast Milk

“Allergies are increasing because women do not breast feed long enough,” explains Dr. Fuhrman and it seems to be the same with mice. Researchers believe breast milk protects mice from allergic asthma. Reuters reports:
Lactating mice that develop tolerance after exposure to airborne antigens appear to be able to transfer this immunity to their offspring though breast-milk.

The tolerance was transmitted to the newborn mice through breast milk and antigen-stimulated allergic asthma was prevented, a French research team reports in the advance online edition of Nature Medicine. Antigens are substances the body recognizes as foreign that trigger the immune system to mount a defensive reaction, which accounts for allergy symptoms.

Dr. Valerie Julia, at Universite de Nice-Sophia-Antipolis in Valbonne, and associates exposed lactating mice to ovalbumin aerosols every other day until their offspring were weaned. (Ovalbumin is the major protein in the white part of an egg.)
I’ll go ahead and add this to the pile of evidence supporting breastfeeding. Now, in case you didn’t get the memo, Dr. Fuhrman thinks breastfeeding is very important. Why? The magic’s in the milk! He explains:
The antibodies derived from mother’s milk are necessary for maximizing immune system function, maximizing intelligence, and protecting against immune system disorders, allergies, and even cancer. The child’s immune system is still underdeveloped until age of two, the same age when the digestive tract seals the leaks (spaces between cells) designed to allow the mother’s antibodies access to the bloodstream. So picking the age of two as the length of recommended breast-feeding is not just a haphazard guess, it matches the age at which the child is no longer absorbing the mother’s immunoglobulins to supplement their own immune system. Nature designed it that way.
I’ve seen the word dozens of times, but I’m telling you, immunoglobulins would be a killer name for a rock bad. “Ladies and gentlemen, The Immunoglobulins!”

UPDATE: Dr. Fuhrman wanted to add his two cents to this article. Enjoy:
Wow, I am amazed that they could find all those women who would let mice nurse from their breasts!! I guess it was a better choice than rats.
I'm still laughing!

Medical Care and Weight

In Dr. Fuhrman’s new Food Scoring Guide, he explains that most people have quit on their health. Check out this excerpt:
Most Americans have given up hope of ever achieving their optimal weight and health. They have failed with diets in the past. They think they can’t lose weight, and they don’t think they can change. So they just throw in the towel.
And maybe this report supports that indictment. From The Washington Post, here’s how to handle your weight at the doctor’s office. Look:
  • If you're sensitive about your weight, ask that your doctor weigh you in a private area -- and enter your weight in your chart without comment.
  • If clothing or equipment doesn't fit or is uncomfortable to use, ask if your doctor can change it. Larger exam gowns, blood pressure cuffs and other equipment are available from many medical suppliers.
  • Be open to respectful discussions of body weight that don't assign blame. Your doctor or nurse may have helpful suggestions you haven't tried.
  • Consider pre-screening physicians.
What about taking control of your health and weight? Back to the Food Scoring Guide, Dr. Fuhrman suggests a positive approach to a healthy diet. Here’s more:
Make this dietary transition an exciting adventure where you learn new great-tasting recipes with high-nutrient plant foods. Design a food plan that uses large quantities of the most powerful anticancer, disease-fighting foods on the planet, make it taste great, and then test it to see what kind of results you get. I can tell you now that the results will astound you!
I guess the point to be made here, is don’t quit, don’t accept—take control!

Wednesday: Health Points

A study published Monday hints that fitness buffs appear to have "younger" DNA than the chronically sedentary. The finding could help scientists understand the effects of exercise and aging at a molecular level.

Previous research has shown that being physically active reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer and other diseases, potentially extending longevity.

Previous research has shown that older people have shorter ends than younger folks. Indeed, biologists say they shrink every time a cell divides.
Some 84 million people risk dying from cancer over the next decade, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said.

The IAEA, the UN atomic watchdog, is involved in the fight agaist the disease through its Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) division, which shares the organisation's knowledge of radiotherapy techniques with other partners in the field.

PACT head Massud Samiei told journalists that "the cancer epidemic will gather pace in developing countries."
About two-thirds of the cases were children who took the medicines unsupervised. However, about one-quarter involved cases in which parents gave the proper dosage and an allergic reaction or some other problem developed, the study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

The study included both over-the-counter and prescription medicines. It comes less than two weeks after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned parents that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines are too dangerous for children younger than 2.
The key is for both spouses to be comfortable expressing anger, rather than one or both suppressing anger, University of Michigan researchers report.

"The key matter is, when the conflict happens, how do you resolve it?" asks Ernest Harburg, PhD, professor emeritus with the University of Michigan's School of Public Health and psychology department. "If you bury your anger, and you brood on it ... and you don't try to resolve the problem, then you're in trouble."

Harburg's team found a higher death rate among married couples in which both spouses suppress anger, compared with other married couples. Their findings appear in the Journal of Family Communication.
Studies in the past have demonstrated that cannabis can cause cancer, but few have established a strong link between cannabis use and the actual incidence of lung cancer.

In an article published in the European Respiratory Journal, the scientists said cannabis could be expected to harm the airways more than tobacco as its smoke contained twice the level of carcinogens, such as polyaromatic hydrocarbons, compared with tobacco cigarettes.

The method of smoking also increases the risk, since joints are typically smoked without a proper filter and almost to the very tip, which increases the amount of smoke inhaled. The cannabis smoker inhales more deeply and for longer, facilitating the deposition of carcinogens in the airways.
Seventh-Day Adventists are credited with creating breakfast cereals. They founded the Battle Creek Sanitarium, where they manufactured and promoted wholesome cereals. Will Keith Kellogg was an Adventist who discovered corn flakes in 1894 when a pot of cooked wheat was overcooked and then dried. Each grain became a separate flake. He introduced Rice Krispies in 1929. The Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company was founded in 1906.

Originally introduced by the Dutch as sweet dough fried in pork fat (known as "oily cakes"), the doughnut has been around a very long time, although its popularity surged with the doughnuts served to solders in World War I. The term "doughnut" either comes from the small balls of dough that looked like nuts, or a recipe from a mid-19th century cook who added nuts to the center of her fried dough and therefore referred to them as dough "nuts." The legend goes on to say that her son, a sea captain, didn't like the nuts so he had them cut out, creating the famous doughnut shape that we know today. Doughnuts remained as snacks, not breakfast -- often served in theaters -- until the doughnut machine was invented in the 1930s. By the 1940s and 1950s, Krispy Kreme and Dunkin' Doughnuts had been introduced, and the pairing of coffee and doughnuts secured their place in the breakfast repertoire. By the 1950s, "drop" doughnuts became very popular and Orange Drop Doughnuts showed up in the Betty Crocker Cookbook. Since no rolling or cutting was required -- just drop spoonfuls of batter into hot oil -- this category of doughnuts caught on quickly.
The number of Americans being diagnosed with and also living with type 2 diabetes is soaring, presenting a major health and economic crisis for the United States, a new study reports.

"What's alarming is we have 47 million uninsured people, but these people [in the study, enrolled under Medicare] are all insured. So in this kind of insured program, we have so many people who are not adhering to the recommended care," said Frank Sloan, lead author of the study published in the Jan. 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Sloan is professor of health policy and management at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.
The ayurvedic menu at Ananda Spa has been designed to balance the three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. The doshas are roughly similar to our ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph body types, but they’re even more detailed, taking into consideration the shape of the face, skin type, hair, eyes, and temperament. Everyone is a mix of the three, but one dosha is predominant. If the doshas are balanced, you’ll enjoy good health, if not, you’re basically screwed…

…Once you know which dosha you align with, your ayurvedic practitioner will help you get in harmony through your food choices. To balance a Vata dosha, for example, you’re apparently supposed to eat mostly warm foods, such as soups, stews, warm milk, warm cereals, and baked bread (cream and butter are on the list too). And Vatas are advised to avoid cold foods, such as salads, iced drinks, and raw vegetables and greens. Hmm … doesn’t sound ideal for someone who is lactose-intolerant and loves her veggies.

3 Banana Smoothies

Creamy Banana Smoothie
1 banana
1 cup fortified soy milk or fat free milk
1 cup frozen strawberries or blueberries
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
Blend all ingredients together in a Vita-Mix or other powerful blender.

Orange Banana Berry Smoothie

2 peeled oranges
1 banana
1 10-ounce bag of frozen strawberries
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
Blend all ingredients together in a Vita-Mix or other powerful blender.

Banana Split Smoothie

1 banana (fresh or frozen)
5 whole strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1 tablespoon Dr Furhman's Cocoa Powder
6 ice cubes
1/4 cup unsweetened soy milk
5 halves walnuts
Blend all ingredients together in a Vita-Mix or other powerful blender.

One Tough Asparagus

Finally, a superhero nutritarians can get behind, introducing—ULTIMATE ASPARAGUS! Oh! There are a couple dirty-words, but it’s worth it. Enjoy:

And don’t forget to check out, How Asparagus are You?

Danactively Sued

Yeah, I don’t buy the “help strengthen your body’s defenses” with yogurt claims, and, neither do some concerned consumers because they’re suing Dannon over their “probiotic” campaign. Reuters reports:
A proposed class action filed on Wednesday in California accuses The Dannon Co Inc of mounting a massive false advertising campaign to convince consumers to pay more for yogurt containing "probiotic" bacteria because of the products' health benefits.

The lawsuit, filed in a Los Angeles federal court, said Dannon's own studies failed to support its advertised claims that its Activia, Activia Lite and DanActive were "clinically" and "scientifically" "proven" to have health benefits that other yogurts did not.

It seeks reimbursement for all U.S. purchasers of Activia, Activia Lite and DanActive, and demands that Dannon engage in "a corrective advertising campaign."

Dannon spokesman Michael Neuwirth said the company was not aware of the lawsuit but stood by "the claims of our products and the clinical studies which support them."

Dannon Co, a unit of France's Groupe Danone has relied on Activia and DanActive to help boost its U.S. yogurt business.
Quite simply, Dr. Fuhrman thinks all this super-yogurt-talk is hogwash. In light of this news, he reminds us to think twice before BUYING into the hype. Take a look:
Consumers should be skeptical and doubt all health claims on food products and supplements in general. Almost every claim is advertising hype, designed to sell products. We have to inspect the scientific research for ourselves with every claim.
Personally, I think Dannon must be insane. How can they claim anything about dairy is a miracle-worker? Here’s a frightening snippet of Dr. Fuhrman on dairy:
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 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.
In the meantime, every time I see a Danactive commercial, I just laugh, laugh, laugh!

Vitamin D and Calcium, Joint at the Hip

Sometimes I wonder about things. Like, why is the sky blue? Why do men have nipples? Why do we park in a driveway and drive on a parkway? Or, why is proper vitamin D intake important to calcium absorption? Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that your body makes after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Vitamin D functions as a hormone because it sends a message to the intestines to increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorus.
Sadly, Dr. Fuhrman had nothing on the whole driveway-parkway thing. Now, check out this parroting of good information. Reuters reports, vitamin D ups calcium's bone-building effect. Here’s an excerpt:
The women were between 70 and 80 years old. After 1 year, bone mineral density at the hip was preserved in the calcium group and the calcium+vitamin D group, but not in the double-placebo "control" group.

However, at 3 and 5 years, only the group that got calcium plus vitamin D group maintained hip bone density, the investigators report in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

They conclude that adequate levels of vitamin D are necessary for calcium to do its job in keeping bones healthy.
Oh dear, now I’m wondering again. Where do get all this “vitamin D?” Well, George Harrison once sung, “Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter. Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here. Here comes the sun, here comes the sun.”

You've Got Lead on the Brain

Earlier this month we learned that exposing monkeys—a close relative of ours—to lead ups their risk of developing Alzheimer's disease later on. The NewScientist was on it:
Monkeys exposed to the heavy metal during infancy may be predisposed to develop the equivalent of Alzheimer's disease.

"We're not saying that lead exposure causes Alzheimer's disease, but it's a risk factor," says Nasser Zawia of the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, whose team discovered the link.

Zawia's team fed baby monkeys infant formula milk laced with low levels of lead, then followed their progress until the age of 23. While the adult monkeys did not show symptoms of Alzheimer's per se, post-mortem analyses of their brains showed that the lead-fed monkeys had plaques and other abnormalities identical to those found in the brains of people with Alzheimer's.
Maybe there’s some proof in this pudding, because new research has linked lead to aging in older brains. Malcolm Ritter of the Associated Press is on it:
That's the provocative idea emerging from some recent studies, part of a broader area of new research that suggests some pollutants can cause harm that shows up only years after someone is exposed.

The new work suggests long-ago lead exposure can make an aging person's brain work as if it's five years older than it really is. If that's verified by more research, it means that sharp cuts in environmental lead levels more than 20 years ago didn't stop its widespread effects.

"We're trying to offer a caution that a portion of what has been called normal aging might in fact be due to ubiquitous environmental exposures like lead," says Dr. Brian Schwartz of Johns Hopkins University.

"The fact that it's happening with lead is the first proof of principle that it's possible," said Schwartz, a leader in the study of lead's delayed effects. Other pollutants like mercury and pesticides may do the same thing, he said.
Alright, even without this news, we know lead is bad news. So, what can we make of all this? Well, let’s start with the kids. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
We must be careful not to expose our children to chemical cleaners, insecticides, and weed killers on our lawns. Chemicals used in pressure-treated wood used to build lawn furniture, decks, fences, and swing sets have also been shown to place children at risk. When young children are around, we must be vigilant to maintain a chemical-free environment.
And maybe when they get older they can protect themselves, then their children and hopefully, this heightened awareness will nip the whole problem in the bud.

The Job, Your Heart, The Strain

“Humans are complicated creatures, and our minds have powerful effects on healing and wellness,” explains Dr. Fuhrman. He insists that being happy, is good for you. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
A positive purpose, loving relationships, self-respect, and the power to control our destiny have beneficial effects on our physiological—and ultimately physical—well-being. Few people have the perfect life without any negative stressors, but it makes a difference if you deal with those stressors with hope and action, rather than resignation and passivity.
That’s why I do Yoga! I’m as cool as a cucumber when I’m practicing and lucky for my colleagues, it carries over when I’m in the office. As Dr. Fuhrman points out being happy at work is important. Look:
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.
This is great to know, especially when you consider news like this. According to new research, job stress strains your heart. Check it out over at CBS News:
The workers, most of whom were men, were 35-55 years old when the study started. They got checkups and reported their drinking, smoking, diet , and physical activity. They also rated their job stress twice during the study.

Stressful jobs had lots of pressure and little control. Some also included social stress from bad bosses and unsupportive co-workers.

Chandola's team tracked new cases of heart disease - based on heart disease deaths, nonfatal heart attacks, and angina (heart-related chest pain) - among the workers for 12 years.

Those problems were associated with job stress, especially in younger workers who were in their late 30s or 40s when the study began.

Young workers who reported work stress twice during the study were 68% more likely to develop heart disease than those who never reported work stress.

The same wasn't true for older workers, perhaps because they retired during the study and no longer had any work stress.
Relax! Let’s return to our Zen-like state. Breathe, in and out, in and out. Better? Okay, here Dr. Fuhrman offers some advice for living free and easy. Have a look:
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.
Yoga sure beats my old way of dealing with stress. I used to inhale a bag of chocolate like a Blue Whale coming up for air.

He's Gone Veggie Crazy!

This dude is out of his gourd! Seriously, he is absolutely nutty over vegetables. See for yourself:

Wow. Even Dr. Fuhrman isn’t that swoon over veggies.

Gonzo Gone Veggie

Kansas City Chiefs tight-end Tony Gonzalez is the enemy—sorry, I’m an Oakland Raiders fan—he is a vegan. Seriously, this 247-pound football player is all about the veggies. Reed Albergotti of The Wall Street Journal reports:
So last year, on the eve of the biggest season of his career, Mr. Gonzalez embarked on a diet resolution that smacked head-on with gridiron gospel as old as the leather helmet. He decided to try going vegan.

Living solely on plant food, a combination of nuts, fruits, vegetables, grains and the like, has long been the fringe diet of young rebels and aging nonconformists. Even the government recommends regular helpings of meat, fish and dairy. Vegans of late have gotten more hip with such best sellers as the brash "Skinny Bitch," and its more scholarly cousin, "The China Study." Both books argue vegans can live longer…

…Professional athletes, especially NFL players, need thousands of calories a day. Many enjoy a high-protein, high-fat smorgasbord of steaks, chops, burgers, pizza, ice cream and beer. Mr. Gonzalez's tight-end job requires him to push around monstrously sized opponents. Occasionally, he gets to catch a pass. Mr. Gonzalez is famous for combining the brute power of an offensive lineman with the acrobatic skills of a nimble receiver. "My biggest thing is strength," he says. "If you lose that strength you get your butt kicked."

Experts say athletes in training need as much as twice the protein of an average person to rebuild muscle. Their bodies also require a big dose of minerals and vitamins, as well as the amino acids, iron and creatine packed into fish, meat and dairy foods. It's fine to be a vegan, says sports nutritionist and dietician Nancy Clark, if you're willing to work at it. "It's harder to get calcium, harder to get protein, harder to get Vitamin D, harder to get iron," she says. "You have to be committed."
Now, despite my hatred for an AFC West rival, I must say, kudos to Tony! He’s certainly one of the few, because as we’ve seen in the past. Many sports stars are a bust when it comes to healthy eating. Here are a few examples:
Now, not to toot my own horn, I’m far from a professional athlete, but, I’m a lot bigger and more physical than most of the meat-heads I see at the gym sucking down protein shakes and bragging about beef, and, I only eat fish a couple times a month—go figure!

Cancer, the Pill, and a Load of Bull

This report sounds like a smarmy guy’s attempt to get his girlfriend on birth-control, but apparently research has determined that “the pill” protects against ovarian cancer. Maria Cheng of the Associated Press reports:
"Not only does the pill prevent pregnancy, but in the long term, you actually get less cancer as well," said Valerie Beral, the study's lead author and director of the Cancer Research UK Epidemiology Unit at Oxford University. "It's a nice bonus." The study was paid for by Cancer Research UK and Britain's Medical Research Council.

Beral and colleagues analyzed data from 45 studies worldwide, covering 23,257 women with ovarian cancer, of whom 31 percent were on the pill. They also looked at 87,303 women without ovarian cancer, of whom 37 percent were on the pill.

In both groups, the women on the pill took it for about five years. The researchers found that in rich countries, women taking oral contraceptives for a decade were less likely to develop ovarian cancer. Without the pill, about 12 women per 1,000 are expected to get ovarian cancer before age 75. But that figure dropped to 8 women per 1,000 in those on the pill.
Now, reports like this spread like wildfire. Actually, they’re more like a nugget that won’t flush. So in keeping up with the media frenzy, I asked Dr. Fuhrman about this research. Here’s what he had to say:
It increases the risk of the most common cancer in women; breast cancer and decreases the risk of ovarian cancer, which is comparatively rare and they are promoting more widespread use of the pill giving the false conclusion that it decreases cancer deaths overall. Pure bull! If people want to really decrease their risk of cancer they are simply going to have to eat lots of vegetables and exercise. How boring!
Honestly, can you make a bigger case for this country’s magical pill obsession? I mean come on! The medication in question is called, “THE PILL.” Perhaps next they’ll tell us it can part the sea and turn water into wine.

The FDA, Keeping it Gangsta

Despite giving people a serious case of the willies—myself included—the FDA is downplaying the long-term impact of cloned animals in the food supply. Christopher Doering of Reuters reports:
Meat and milk products of offspring from the 600 cloned animals in the United States most likely have not entered the nation's food supply, an official with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday, as the agency downplayed the long-term impact of cloning.

The FDA last week said meat and milk from cloned cattle, swine and goats and their offspring were as safe to eat as products obtained from traditional animals. Before then, farmers and ranchers had followed a voluntary moratorium that prevented the sale of clones and their offspring.

"There is no feeling that this will ever become a way of mass producing animals," Stephen Sundlof, director of FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied nutrition, told reporters.

He noted that another reproductive technique used in agriculture, in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer, has been used to create only a small portion of the millions of animals on U.S. farms.
Yeah, that sure gives me that “rest-assured feeling.” Sheesh! Well, at least here the FDA is behaving a little smarter. They’re planning to post overseas food inspectors. The New York Times is on it:
The agency’s commissioner, Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach, said that he wanted to have “boots on the ground” in nations like India and China and regions like Central and South America and the Middle East.

The agency already sends inspectors to dozens of countries each year to inspect pharmaceutical plants and clinical trial sites. But Dr. von Eschenbach said in a briefing with reporters that he wanted the agency’s presence abroad to be on an “ongoing and continuous basis rather than episodic and periodic.”

“Right now, we come, we leave,” he said.

The inspectors would primarily “build capacity and bring others in to do inspections that are certified,” Dr. von Eschenbach said.

The agency has long helped to train foreign food and drug inspectors and even advise in the writing of legislation to empower foreign versions of the F.D.A.

As recently as 1996 in Canada and 1999 in Australia, health regulators did not have the authority to inspect clinical trial sites, said Dr. David Lepay, a senior adviser for clinical science at the agency.
This presents an interesting little debacle; one flaky response and one stringent. Okay, lets consider it a wash—what else you got FDA?

How Asparagus are You?

Who would have thought, apparently asparagus can affect people differently. Yeah, I’m confused too. Let’s check in with Susan Bowerman of The Los Angeles Times:

Asparagus' reputation for producing noxious urine is so widespread that those who produce the odor assume everyone else does too. That's not the case. Studies indicate that about 79% of Americans are "excreters" -- they excrete smelly sulfur compounds in their urine -- as are about half the people in Britain. Non-excreters don't suffer asparagus-eating's effect on urine odor because they don't produce these sulfur compounds. The ability to "excrete" is inherited.

Chemical analysis of the urine of excreters has identified six compounds responsible for the odor. Two, methanethiol and dimethyl sulfide, impart the most aroma, while the other four contribute to the unique and complex bouquet. Their source is from the breakdown of other chemicals present in the fresh vegetable.

A prime candidate is asparagusic acid, a sulfur-rich compound found only in asparagus. In 1987, a study found that excreters who ingested asparagusic acid produced the volatile compounds in their urine -- whereas non-excreters didn't. But researchers have also suggested that other compounds present in higher concentrations in asparagus than other foods could also contribute.

A few studies published more than 20 years ago suggest that the numbers on people who produce smelly urine may be unreliable. It could be, the authors argue, that everyone produces pungent urine after eating asparagus -- but not everyone can pick up the smell.

Don’t you just love talking about pee. Yes my mind is in the toilet and in this case it fits—pun intended. But seriously, asparagus is a great food. Dr. Fuhrman tells us why:

Asparagus is one of the most healthful foods on the planet. It leads nearly all fruits and vegetables in the wide array of nutrients it supplies. Ten ounces (one box of frozen spears) have only 68 calories and 9 grams of protein, yet it is like a vitamin pill, giving you a variety of minerals such as selenium, zinc, calcium, copper, and manganese. Plus, it is very rich in folate.

Asparagus has an exceptionally high nutrient-per-calorie ratio and is the perfect weight-loss food. Anti--cancer compounds that have been shown to prevent tumors and cancers in animals are plentiful in asparagus. Asparagus also contains isothiocyanates, indoles, and sulforaphane, powerful compounds that promote cellular rejuvenation with anti-cancer properties. It is rich in glutathione and rutin, healing compounds for the liver and blood vessels.

I really like asparagus, especially asparagus veggie-sushi rolls! Hey, speaking of food. Here’s a great asparagus recipe for you to try. Check it out:

Asparagus-Potato-Leek Ragout
2 large leeks, white and pale green
1 lb. small red potatoes
2 cups water, seasoned with VegiZest or another dehydrated vegetable seasoning
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally
1/2 lb. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded
1/2 lemon
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
3 Tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
Cut leeks lengthwise and wash thoroughly. Then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Quarter potatoes and steam in a steamer until just tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer potatoes to a bowl. In skillet, water-sauté leeks in seasoned water for 3-4 minutes, stirring until tender. (Add liquid if needed.) Transfer leeks to bowl with potatoes. In skillet, heat more VegiZest water and water-sauté asparagus for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add mushrooms and water-sauté mixture, and continue cooking for about 3 minutes or until mushrooms soften. Combine all ingredients. Before serving, squeeze a little lemon juice over vegetables, stir in mint, parsley, and pepper to taste, and gently toss. Serves 4.

All this talk about asparagus has got me psyched to go out eat some and then, have some wicked stinky pee!

All this Meat, At What Cost?

The New York Times takes a long hard look at the meat industry and what its costing us. More from Mark Bittman:
The two commodities share a great deal: Like oil, meat is subsidized by the federal government. Like oil, meat is subject to accelerating demand as nations become wealthier, and this, in turn, sends prices higher. Finally — like oil — meat is something people are encouraged to consume less of, as the toll exacted by industrial production increases, and becomes increasingly visible.

Global demand for meat has multiplied in recent years, encouraged by growing affluence and nourished by the proliferation of huge, confined animal feeding operations. These assembly-line meat factories consume enormous amounts of energy, pollute water supplies, generate significant greenhouse gases and require ever-increasing amounts of corn, soy and other grains, a dependency that has led to the destruction of vast swaths of the world’s tropical rain forests.

Just this week, the president of Brazil announced emergency measures to halt the burning and cutting of the country’s rain forests for crop and grazing land. In the last five months alone, the government says, 1,250 square miles were lost.

The world’s total meat supply was 71 million tons in 1961. In 2007, it was estimated to be 284 million tons. Per capita consumption has more than doubled over that period. (In the developing world, it rose twice as fast, doubling in the last 20 years.) World meat consumption is expected to double again by 2050, which one expert, Henning Steinfeld of the United Nations, says is resulting in a “relentless growth in livestock production.”

So, I guess you can consider Atkins the SUV dealer of the food industry.

No, Not My Pet Turtle!

Actually, I don’t have a pet turtle, but if I did. I’d apparently be upping my risk of getting a salmonella infection. Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News reports:
According to the report, cases were reported in all but 15 states, with most cases occurring in California, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Two of the infected children included a 13-year-old girl and a 15-year-old girl who became stricken after swimming in an unchlorinated in-ground pool owned by the family of the older girl. Two pet turtles, purchased at a South Carolina pet store and owned by the family of the older teen, were allowed to swim in the pool, the CDC reported.

Harris said many people aren't aware of the risk of Salmonella infections from pet turtles. "Only 20 percent of these cases [in the report] said they were aware there was a connection between Salmonella infection and reptile exposure," she said.

Up to 90 percent of turtles carry Salmonella, Harris said. "This is a very serious infection, especially for small children," she added.

The infection is spread from contact with the turtles, but the contact doesn't have to be direct, Harris said. "We have one case where a baby was bathed in a sink that turtle waste was disposed in," she said.

In some cases, the children put the turtle in their mouth. In other cases, children became sick from just living in the same house with a turtle or other infected family members. Salmonella can live on surfaces for weeks, Harris noted.
Personally, I’m more of a hermit crab guy.

Eating to Live on the Outside: The Flying Biscuit Caf�

When did breakfast become synonymous with bacon and eggs? All the breakfast cafés I’ve been to are loaded with wall to wall eggs, bacon, sausage, cheese, and other griddle thingies, and, The Flying Biscuit Café, pretty much continues the tread.

Clearly, I’ve got my work cut out for me. As expected The Flying Biscuit Café has plenty of omelets, creamy dairy, smoked meat, and bread to go around, but, are they’re at least one or two nutritarian-type dishes to found? Could an Eat to Liver make this work? Let’s see.

First up, is the all-day breakfast. Now, I know Dr. Fuhrman considers eggs to be a cleaner and safer animal food, but, eggs just aren’t for me, but by ditching the eggs, I’m seriously cutting down the menu. So, what’s left? Well, as far as the breakfast goes, not much. The Organic Oatmeal Pancakes might work (provided they’re not cooked on a greasy griddle); three cakes, topped peach compote and served maple syrup. It could be worse! At least the oats are organic, peach is a fruit, and the maple syrup is served on the side—it kind of works.

Alright, onto the appetizers—unless you think I should spend time examining the Pasta, Sausage & Eggs—that’s what I thought, moving on. The appetizers are a little better and by “better” I mean there’s ONE item I’d order without reservation. Take a guess what it is? A salad! Of course it’s a salad. According to the menu the House Salad is field greens tossed with balsamic vinaigrette and a Flying Biscuit. Personally, I’ll make the biscuit fly alright. I’m tossing it out the window, and, getting that dressing on the side. Good idea?

Let’s see what the favorites have in store for us. Okay, this is better. I like the Vegan BBQ Burrito; barbecued tofu, collard greens, mushrooms, sun dried tomato tortilla, and topped with salsa verde. Well, the barbecued tofu does give me pause. It’s probably a little salty and burnt, but since I seldom eat this sort of thing, I could roll with it. Same goes for the tortilla. Overall, not a bad option, I’m definitely digging the collard greens—actually, I’m eating some right now!

Cool, we’ve reached the salad portion of the menu. As we all know, salads are a great place for the panicking Eat to Liver to find refuge. Not all of The Flying Biscuit Café’s salads are winners, but I see two I could work with. First is the Warm Chicken Salad; grilled chicken breast, oven-roasted rosemary potatoes, bleu cheese, field greens, and balsamic vinaigrette. Relax! The cheese and chicken are history. Next I like the Tofu & Tater Salad; tamari-marinated tofu, oven-roasted rosemary potatoes, field greens, feta cheese, red onion, and balsamic vinaigrette. Adios cheese! And you guessed it, dressing on the side.

And to close the show, let’s scope out the sandwiches. Okay, I see two I really like. The Hummus Wrap and The Angel Burger are cool; combined they include sun dried tomato tortilla, rosemary potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, feta, veggie-grain patty, and roasted red pepper mustard. For starters, the bread and tortilla are concessions, but beyond that I’d nix the feta. Provided you can get past the bread, you’ve got lots of yummy veggies to enjoy—hello phytonutrients—nice!

Well, there you have it. The Flying Biscuit Café is certainly in the mold of standard American restaurants, but, they are clearly making an attempt to offer some healthier options. So, despite all the eggs, cheese, bacon, and sausage, I have to give them a little kudos, but what do you think? It’s your turn! I’m putting YOU to work. Check out The Flying Biscuit Café’s menu and let me know how you handle Eating to Live on the Outside. Make a comment or send an email to Until next time, eat greatly! Peace.

Cereals: Poked & Prodded, Wait!

Scott Mowbray is on diet—here’s where it gets scary—according to him, “This diet I’m on has me eating more boxed cereal than I have in years.” Ah! Okay, before I comment. I’ll let him explain some more. From Poked & Prodded:
I have loved cereal since I was knee-high and hold countless memories of corn flakes, malt-flavored Muffets (“the round shredded wheat”), Rice Krispies, Cheerios, and the rare golden fruit of the sacred cereal chalice, Cap’n Crunch. With a big splash of coffee cream and spoonfuls of brown sugar (except on the Cap’n, whose crunch is sweeter than candy corn), it was good fuel for boys. My eldest brother sat across the table, making more noise than a wild boar rooting for grubs in the Tuscan woods. It drove me insane…

…Prowling the aisles now, I see that cereal boxes continue to shrink and prices do not. (General Mills announced a “Right Size, Right Price” box strategy last summer: meaning smaller boxes, similar prices.) Just yesterday I spotted a cute little seven-ounce box of Special K for $3.89, which, as the shelf label pointed out, is $8.89 per pound—a nice price for toasted rice. I am, admittedly, the sort of guy who complains about cereal prices while drinking a $12 thimbleful of obscure Polish vodka made from potatoes (to be clear: not for breakfast), but that is beside the point.
The high cost of this junk is one thing, but Scott, we got to get you off the cereal. Boxed cereals are bad news. They’re not doing your health any favors. Here, check this out. Dr. Fuhrman talks about why boxed cereals should be avoided:
Processed foods and fast foods often contain dangerous trans fats and other additives, but they also can have high levels of acrylamides. When processed foods are baked and fried at high temperatures, these cancer-causing chemical compounds are produced. Many processed foods, such as chips, french fries, and sugar-coated breakfast cereals, are rich in acrylamides. Acrylamides also form in foods you bake until brown or fry at home; they do not form in foods that are steamed or boiled.
And, despite what super glossy marketing-bolstered boxes might say, breakfast cereals are nutritionally bankrupt; even if they claim to be “enriched.” But don’t take my word for it, here’s Dr. Fuhrman on the subject. Take rice for example:
White or "enriched" rice is just as bad as white bread and pasta. It is nutritionally bankrupt. You might as well just eat the Uncle Ben's cardboard box it comes in. Refining removes important factors: fiber, minerals, phytochemicals, and vitamin E. So, when you eat grains, eat whole grains.
Scott, we got to get you eating more natural fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds, and nuts, because these foods hold up well in Americans nutrient-deficient soil. Again, I’ll defer to Dr. Fuhrman. He knows all about this stuff:
Wheat grown on American soil is not a nutrient- dense food to begin with, but then the food manufacturers remove the most valuable part of the food and then add bleach, preservatives, salt, sugar, and food coloring to make breads, breakfast cereals, and other convenience foods. Yet many Americans consider such food healthy merely because it is low in fat.
Contrary to many of the horror stories you hear, our soil is not depleted of nutrients. California, Washington, Oregon, Texas, Florida, and other states still have rich, fertile land that produces most of our fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds. America provides some of the most nutrient-rich produce in the world.
Not to beat up on you Scott. Glad to see you’re trying to get slim and healthy, but the cereal’s got to go! Come on folks. Head over to Poked & Prodded and encourage Scott to ditch the cereal and have some fresh fruit for breakfast.

No Canned Green Beans for Me!

Oh man. This poor lady bought some canned green beans and didn’t realize they came with a complimentary mouse head. Not for the squeamish:

Honestly, I’m not sure what’s creepier, the severed mouse or the reporter. His eyes are freaky. Stop staring at me!

My Banana Cream Pie

Hey folks. Won’t you give my Banana Cream Pie a try? I came up with the recipe and Marian—Dr. Fuhrman’s chef—helped perfect it. Let me know what you think! Take a look:
1 cup oats
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
3 tablespoons raw tahini
1 very ripe banana

2 very ripe large bananas
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla soy milk
12-15 medjool dates
1/2 avocado, peeled and pitted
4 large romaine lettuce leaves (or other lettuce)
1 tablespoon ground flax seed (optional)
1 teaspoon raw sunflower seeds (optional)
1 teaspoon unhulled sesame seeds (optional)
1 teaspoon chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream Topping
1 1/2 cups raw cashews
3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla soy milk
8 medjool dates
unhulled sesame seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Crust: Blend oats into a flour. Blend banana. In a bowl, thoroughly combine blended oats, banana, tahini, and soy milk. Spread dough in a glass pie dish until bottom and sides are covered. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove and cool. Filling: Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender. Spoon mixture into pie crust and bake for 40 minutes. Let cool. Cream Topping: Blend cashews, soy milk, and dates together in a high-powered blender. Spoon over entire surface. If desired, sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serves 8.
And yes, the bananas I used were Dole organic bananas, which I might add. You all should be looking for—hint, hint, wink, wink! Operation Banana Hunt is still on!

Friday: Health Points

Uncontrolled diabetes wreaks havoc on the body, often leading to kidney failure, blindness and death. A new study shows that the nation's unchecked diabetes epidemic exacts a heavy financial toll as well: $174 billion a year.

That's about as much as the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and the global war on terrorism combined. It's more than the $150 billion in damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.

The incidence of diabetes has ballooned — there are 1 million new cases a year — as more Americans become overweight or obese, according to the study, released Wednesday by the American Diabetes Association. The cost of diabetes — both in direct medical care and lost productivity — has swelled 32% since 2002, the report shows.

Diabetes killed more than 284,000 Americans last year, according to the diabetes association.
  • Much to my personal delight, Yoga is growing in popularity. Katie Zezima of The New York Times investigates a boot camp for Yoga teachers. Check it out:
In May 2006, Sue Jones started YogaHope, an organization that teaches yoga at eight Boston-area women’s homeless shelters, substance-abuse treatment programs and domestic-violence safe houses, as well as two programs in Seattle. The focus is on teaching restorative yoga, and though many teachers have completed at least 200 hours of training, it is not a requirement.

Driven by a sometimes missionary zeal and a sense that yoga has become an exclusive pursuit, a small but growing number of yoga practitioners are forming organizations that teach yoga in prisons and juvenile detention centers in Oakland, Calif.; Los Angeles, Seattle and Indianapolis. They are working with the addicted and the homeless in Portland, Ore., and with public-school students in New York City.

Though concern about the cost of yoga is an issue (studio classes can cost $20 for a drop-in session, though some offer free or low-cost classes taught by less experienced teachers), most of the practitioners are motived by a desire to introduce yoga to those who might need it most, but wouldn’t think to do it on their own.
Stop-and-go pushup
Assume a pushup position. Brace your core and lower your chest to the floor. When you’re halfway down, pause 2 seconds before continuing. Then, when your chest is 2 inches from the floor, pause again for 2 seconds before pushing halfway back up. Hold for 2 more seconds, then straighten your arms. Do eight reps.

Stop-and-go split squat
Stand with one foot 3 feet forward and hold a barbell across your shoulders. Rise on the ball of your back foot, then bend at the knees. When halfway down, pause for 2 seconds. Pause again when your back knee is just off the floor. Push halfway up, pause again, and return to the starting position. Do six reps with each leg.
The campaign, to be launched in the summer, will form part of a wider strategy including aspects like food labelling, urban design and the promotion of exercise.

Department of Health officials said it will use simple messages -- such as the "five pieces of fruit and veg a day" slogan -- and be based on research into what actually works to make people change from unhealthy lifestyles.

"Tackling obesity is the most significant public and personal health challenge facing our society," said Health Secretary Alan Johnson as he launched the 372 million pound cross-government strategy.
"A didgeri-what?" you ask. While aborigines in Australia have been playing this long wooden trumpet for centuries, it's just recently been redefined as a modern-day medical device. Researchers reporting in the British Medical Journal evaluated 25 people with sleep apnea--a breath-stealing condition caused by flabby throat muscles--and found that those who took 4 months of didgeridoo (DIH-jeh-ree-doo) lessons had about 31/2 times less daytime sleepiness than the folks who didn't blow their own horns. The newly minted musicians also snored significantly less. Credit this uncommon cure to vibrations that exercise tissue in the mouth and throat, says researcher Milo Puhan, Ph.D. "When these muscles are strengthened, the tongue has less tendency to obstruct the airway."

If huffing on a wooden tube to treat your sleep apnea sounds a tad too weird, then you probably aren't familiar with the alternatives. The most commonly prescribed option is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which involves spending every night hooked up to a machine that pumps air down your throat to keep it from collapsing. The other approach is surgery, and that's only 30 to 60 percent effective. Now are you ready to toot the didgeridoo? You can pick up a beginner-friendly model for about $80 at L.A. Outback ( And don't worry; it's intuitive to learn, says co-owner Barry Martin. You purse your lips and blow into it with the beat.
  • Diet Blog hardly has a glowing endorsement for “Slim Coffee.” Jim Foster thinks it’s nothing but a big scam:
It must be so tempting for unscrupulous entrepreneurs:

Find an obscure weight loss product from somewhere overseas. Re-brand it. Hype it up. Create an infomercial. Make millions.

This time it's Slim Coffee. The claims are impressive: "Reduce appetite. Clinically tested. Lose 5 pounds per week". All from drinking coffee with a few supplements added (or so they say).

The makers of Slim Coffee have been pursued by the FTC - resulting in a $923,000 settlement.
Previous studies had suggested that people living in polluted areas are more at risk of heart disease. For example, a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine last year showed that women in 36 American cities were more likely to develop heart disease if the air they breathed was rich in particles measuring 2.5 micrometres or less in diameter - known as PM2.5s - which are present in car exhaust fumes.

It now seems that a greater hazard may be posed by so-called "ultrafine" particles, about a dozen times smaller at 0.18 micrometres wide. The latest study in mice has shown that they clog up arteries with fatty atherosclerotic deposits, and chemically alter "good" cholesterol, or high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, reducing its beneficial effects.
How does yoga help a professional athlete's game?
Yoga improves balance in the body and works the smaller muscles that normally wouldn't get worked. It also improves range of motion, whether that means swinging a golf club, throwing a baseball or shooting a basketball. It builds stamina through breath control and teaches techniques for relaxing in tense moments. Most important, yoga gives you confidence that your body will do what you want it to do when you need it to.

Meat and Diet Soda, Bad for the Heart

A guy walks into a fast-food restaurant, orders a double-cheeseburger, chicken nuggets, and, a diet soda. Why diet? Obviously he’s concerned about his health! Unfortunately for him, meat and diet soda are being linked to heart disease. Reuters reports:
People who eat two or more servings of red meat a day are much more likely to develop conditions leading to heart disease and diabetes, U.S. researchers reported on Tuesday.

Eating two or more servings of meat a day increases the risk of suffering from a cluster of risk factors known as metabolic syndrome by 25 percent compared to those who had only two servings of meat a week, the researchers reported in the journal Circulation.

The symptoms of metabolic syndrome include excessive fat around the waist, high cholesterol, high blood sugar and high blood pressure.

The study also found that diet soda consumption was linked to these elevated risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, echoing the findings of a study published in July.

"When we found that diet soda promoted risk we were surprised," said Dr. Lyn Steffen, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota.
No surprises here. Consuming too much animal products—like red meat—are consistently linked with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Unlike plant foods that promote the opposite. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
There is a relationship between animal protein and heart disease. For example, plasma apolioprotein B is positively associated with animal-protein intake and inversely associated (lowered) with vegetable-protein intake (e.g., legumes and greens). Apolioprotein B levels correlate strongly with coronary heart disease.1 Unknown to many is that animal proteins have a significant effect on raising cholesterol levels as well, while plant protein lowers it.2
What’s amazing is in light of research like this. Tons of misinformation still kicks around the internet. Speaking of misinformation, let’s check in with the one of the leading sources. Here’s the Atkins take on animal protein:
Protein also plays a role in weight loss or weight management. Compared to carbohydrate, consuming protein has less of an effect on insulin (which drives fat storage), a greater effect on glucagon (which drives fat release) and a considerably greater increase in metabolic rate. Several studies demonstrate greater body-fat loss on a high-protein diet than on a high-carb one. Increasing intake of protein relative to carbohydrates fills you up more, so you wind up eating less. A recent study showed that even eating snacks with a higher protein and lower carbohydrate composition can reduce the amount of food you eat at the next meal by 5 percent. And eating protein boosts your metabolic rate—the technical term is thermogenesis. In fact, one study showed that healthy young women experienced 100 percent higher thermogenesis after eating high-protein meals—even two and a half hours later than when they ate a “conventional” high-carbohydrate meal.
Now, as we know, when Atkins says protein, they’re referring to animal products—i.e. meat—but as Dr. Fuhrman just explained, all this animal protein is not health-promoting. Here’s more from Dr. Fuhrman, take a look:
A recent study showed that after following almost 200,000 Americans for seven years, those who regularly consumed red meat had a double the occurrence of pancreatic cancer.3

Dairy is best kept to a minimum. There are many good reasons not to consume dairy. For example, there is a strong association between diary lactose and ischemic heart disease.4 There is also a clear association between high-growth-promoting foods such as dairy products and cancer. There is a clear association between milk consumption and testicular cancer.5
As for diet soda, honestly, who in their right mind trusts these laboratory-created abominations? Wait, I guess the guy ordering all the burgers and chicken nuggets does. Real quick, here’s Dr. Fuhrman on sweeteners:
Clearly this is a controversial subject because much of the research documenting the so-called safety of aspartame was financed by the aspartame industry, and a huge amount of political and monetary pressure led to eventual FDA approval. My opinion is that the possible dangers of aspartame are still unknown. Utilizing such artificial products is gambling with your health. Aspartame also exposes us to a methyl ester that may have toxic effects. I recommend playing it safe and sticking to natural foods.

Many health gurus recommend substituting Stevia in place of artificial sweeteners. Stevia is natural and its use is permitted in Japan and other countries. Despite its widespread use, there is a surprising lack of human clinical trials evaluating its safety. Unlike with saccharin, no evidence has been reported that stevioside and its metabolites are carcinogenic. However, animal reports of nephrotoxicity do exist, which suggest that Stevia is likely safer than the other sweeteners, but not entirely without risk.6 The extent of risk is unknown at this time.
How about not consuming them at all! Instead eat some sweet and delicious fruit. It’ll help satisfy you’re crazing for sweet, and, supply your body with the important nutrients and phytochemicals it needs. Dr. Fuhrman explains why fruit (and vegetables) are so great:
Increasing your consumption of high-nutrient fruits and vegetables is the key to disease resistance, disease reversal, and a long, healthy life. The potential reduction in disease rates shows no threshold effect in the scientific studies. That means that as high-nutrient vegetables and high-nutrient fruits increase as a major portion of caloric intake, disease rates fall in a dose-dependent manner—the more the diet is comprised of these foods, the better your health will be.7
So, I guess the point to make here is that it’s important to remember that eating lots of animal products is not going to do your health any favors and masking food addictions with diet soda or sweeteners is not a long term approach to good health.
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Diabetes: Stomach Surgery a Good Idea?

If you’re looking to regain your health and lose weight healthfully, popular stomach surgeries are not the answer. From Eat to Live, here’s what Dr. Fuhrman and the National Institutes of Health have to say about them. Take a look:
Wound problems and complications from blood clots are common aftereffects of gastric bypass and gastroplasty surgery. The National Institutes of Health has also reported that those undergoing surgical treatment for obesity have had substantial nutritional and metabolic complications, gastritis, esophagitis, outlet stenosis, and abdominal hernias. More than 10 percent required another operation to fix problems resulting from the first surgery.1
Seriously, stomach surgeries might be all the rage right now. It seems like every time you turn on the TV another celebrity is singing the praises of stomach-stapling, but come on! You’ve got to consider the risks. Check out this chart:

So, when I say this—I hit the ceiling! Apparently a new study favors stomach surgery to treat obese diabetics. No, it’s not April Fools Day. Denise Grady of The New York Times reports:
Weight-loss surgery works much better than standard medical therapy as a treatment for Type 2 diabetes in obese people, the first study to compare the two approaches has found.

The study, of 60 patients, showed that 73 percent of those who had surgery had complete remissions of diabetes, meaning all signs of the disease went away. By contrast, the remission rate was only 13 percent in those given conventional treatment, which included intensive counseling on diet and exercise for weight loss, and, when needed, diabetes medicines like insulin, metformin and other drugs.

In the study, the surgery worked better because patients who had it lost much more weight than the medically treated group did — 20.7 percent versus 1.7 percent of their body weight, on average. Type 2 diabetes is usually brought on by obesity, and patients can often lessen the severity of the disease, or even get rid of it entirely, by losing about 10 percent of their body weight. Though many people can lose that much weight, few can keep it off without surgery. (Type 1 diabetes, a much less common form of the disease, involves the immune system and is not linked to obesity.)

But the new results probably do not apply to all patients with Type 2 diabetes, because the people in the study had fairly mild cases with a recent onset; all had received the diagnosis within the previous two years. In people who have more severe and longstanding diabetes, the disease may no longer be reversible, no matter how much weight is lost.
I’d be curious to see just what kind of “intensive counseling on diet and exercise for weight loss” these patients were given. Because according to Dr. Fuhrman switching to a vegetable-based nutritarian diet is your best bet against type-2 diabetes. He explains:
How can diabetics safely lower the high glucose levels that are slowly destroying their bodies? How can they lower their lipids and blood pressure, lose weight, and avoid taking dangerous drugs, such as insulin and sulfonylureas? They need to adopt a diet based on nutritional excellence.

When you eat a diet consisting predominantly of nature's perfect foods---green vegetables, beans, eggplant, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, raw nuts and seeds, and limited amounts of fresh fruit, it becomes relatively easy to eat as much as you want and still lose your excess weight. In my experience, those who follow my nutritional recommendations find that their diabetes disappears astonishingly fast, even before most of their excess weight melts away.
Now, let’s not forget exercise. Dr. Fuhrman also points out that exercise is an important part of preventing and combating diabetes. Take a look:
The most effective prescription for diabetes is exercise. An essential component of my prescription for diabetes is daily exercise; it is more important than daily medication. Two hundred calories a day of formal exercise on an incline treadmill and an elliptical machine are a great goal to shoot for. It is not an official recommendation of anyone except me.
I’m no health expert and I’m not trying to be overly negative, but, how can researchers and doctors willing endorse elective surgery on someone, especially when there are more effective, proven means of treatment. What do you think?
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Carrot has a Bad Audition

This carrot woke up with stars in his eyes. Little did he know how things would turn out—ouch! Take a look:

Honey, Please Eat Healthy!

I’m not a parent—at least not that I know of—but if was, I’d want my kids to eat as healthfully as I do. How do you do it? Well, Dr. Fuhrman makes it very clear, healthy eating is a family affair. He explains:
No rules only for children. If the parents are not willing to follow the rules set for the house, they should not be imposed on the children. Don’t argue about what your children should and shouldn’t be eating; discuss this in private. As parents, we must be consistent, but not perfect. Likewise, it is okay for the children to be consistent, but not perfect either. For example, if the parents decide that an unhealthy food or a restaurant meal is acceptable for the children once per week, then that goes for the adults, too. Setting an example supported by both parents is the most important and most effective way for your children to develop a healthy attitude toward food.
Now, this is a solid strategy, but if you feel this isn’t enough, check out these mealtime accessories. Honestly, I wish I had dump truck utensils growing up—vroom-vroom! Via ParentDish:

Who knows, maybe they’ll help. Although, I have visions of food being driven around the house, the dog licking it up, and angry parents in tow. If you’re scared of that prospect, give this video a look, its very Fuhrman-ish. Take a look:

The girl that “mostly likes different types of meat” kind of looks like a little vampire—get her some fruits and veggies stat!

Light Therapy and Bipolar Disorder

New research shows that light therapy can help women bipolar disorder. Reuters reports:
Bright light treatment started out as a way to relieve winter depression, but it has since been shown to be effective for seasonal and non-seasonal major depression. It could also benefit people with bipolar disorder, in which moods swing from depression to mania, note the authors of the report in the medical journal Bipolar Disorders.

To see what "dose" of bright light might be best, Dr. Dorothy Sit, of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pennsylvania, and colleagues conducted a small study with nine women in the depression phase of bipolar disorder who were unresponsive to conventional treatments.

The women were given light boxes and used them for 15, 30, and 45 minutes daily, each for 2-week periods. Four patients used them in the morning and five at midday.

Of the four subjects treated with morning light, three developed mixed states; that is, "symptoms of depression and mania that occur at the same time -- racing thoughts, irritability, sleeplessness, anxiety and low mood," Sit explained in a press release.
Dr. Fuhrman is a big fan of light therapy. In fact, he sells therapeutic lights on

The NYC Calorie War Rages On...

First, a judge stymied efforts to get calorie-content published on fast food menus. In response, health officials rallied for another attempt, and now, NYC has revived the vote for calorie-content. Amy Westfeldt of the Associated Press reports:
The city's original effort was struck down by a judge last September. That rule was reworked to make it comply with the court ruling.

The new regulation applies to any chain that operates at least 15 separate outlets, including those that don't currently provide any information on calories. Major fast-food chains make up about 10 percent of the city's restaurants.

Several chains, such as McDonald's and Burger King, have the information available, but don't list it on the menu boards that customers read before ordering.

City officials hope the rule would curb obesity by making people aware of the thousands of calories that can be packed into some of the meals. Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said Monday he hoped the chains would also respond by offering healthier options.

"I don't think we're going to see the 2,700-calorie appetizers that we see now," Frieden said.
Again, just like Tuesday’s post about grilled chicken, people have the right to chose, but, they should be given all the facts, especially if their health is at stake—don’t you think?

Tahini, Gizmos, and Suzanne Somers

Yesterday, Steve a loyal Followhealthlife reader sent me a great email. First he wanted to talk about sesame seeds and tahini. Here’s what he had to say:
I never realized that sesame seeds should actually be dark. WOW! These days I am having trouble even finding raw tahini, I have never seen dark tahini. I guess I am going to have to start doing what you do, just sprinkle them into recipes. I will have to hit the "health food" stores to find them. The health food stores here in Waterloo are basically pathetic, pills and potions and expensive "detoxes", one for each organ in the body it would seem.
Hey! If you know where to find some raw tahini, speak up! Next, Steve wanted to weigh in on ab-machines and other fitness gizmos. Take a look:
I know what you mean about the ads on TV for fitness apparatus. They constantly give the impression that working the abs will reduce belly fat (spot reduction). I don't use an ab machine, but I am sympathetic to these little types of gizmos for working out. I have a minimalist "spare bedroom gym". I have one-ended dumbbells (for wrist exercises), one of those medieval things for working the back of the neck, tubing for hip rotations, and a Dynamic Axial Resistance Device (DARD) which works the oft-neglected shins.
Anyone else have a gripe about infomercial fitness gizmos? Do tell! Finally, Steve explains why he is mad at his town library. Check it out:
One last thing, I am going to chide my local library. I noticed only one Dr. Fuhrman book (Eat to Live), but about six different Suzanne Somers books. Come on! We are supposed to be a world leading "intelligent community", and this just looks bad.
Thanks for the email Steve! Keep reading. Remember, if you ever want to tell me something, just shoot an email to, or, make a comment. I’m always happy to hear from you. Peace.

Stay in Shape, Stay Alive!

Hey, it’s stating the obvious, but it’s still cool. A new study claims the more fit you are, the longer you are likely to live. Jamie Stengle of the Associated Press reports:
The research builds on what is already known about the benefits of exercise and fills in some gaps by addressing the effects of fitness in blacks.

"A little bit of exercise goes a long way," said Peter Kokkinos, lead author of the study. "Thirty minutes a day, five days a week of brisk walking is likely to reduce the risk of mortality by 50 percent if not more."

With 15,660 participants, the researchers said the study is the largest to look at the link between fitness and mortality. The study also sets itself apart by looking at how exercise affects blacks, whose death rates are higher than whites. About 43 percent of the veterans in the study were black.
For more exercise news, check out Followhealthlife’s exercise category.

Cholesterol: Well Blog Encounters a Loon

The shortcomings of cholesterol-lowering medications are all over the news lately, but rather then continue the beat down. Tara Parker-Pope of The New York Times Well Blog wants to know, is it possible to lower your cholesterol without drugs. Here’s a bit:

In fact, many doctors think dietary changes are too difficult for most of their patients. While they typically encourage better eating and a diet low in saturated fat, they also prescribe cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins as a faster way to lower bad cholesterol.

But many people can’t tolerate statins and their side effects. Others simply don’t want to take a pill every day or shoulder the cost of a prescription. For those patients, dietary changes may be a better option.

In 2006, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported on a study of 55 patients with high cholesterol who, over the course of a year, started eating a diet rich in soy proteins, fiber and almonds. All those foods may have cholesterol-lowering properties. Twenty-one patients managed to lower their cholesterol by 20 percent or more by the end of the year. The researchers noted that whether the patient was motivated and actually stuck with the diet most of the time was key.

Kudos to Tara! There needs to be more talk about this, because as Dr. Fuhrman explains, dietary intervention is the best way to lower cholesterol and prevent and reverse heart disease. Check out this excerpt from Cholesterol Levels and Heart Attacks:

Make no doubt about it: lowering your LDL cholesterol below 100 offers powerful protection against heart disease. The evidence is overwhelming today that heart attacks, which kill half of all Americans, are entirely preventable. Heart disease is a condition that is preventable and reversible through aggressive nutritional intervention and cholesterol-lowering.

Now, in this post Dr. Fuhrman points to some specific foods that have well-documented cholesterol-lowering properties. I’ve clipped this snippet from Ideal Cholesterol 199? Have a look:

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

Okay, one last excerpt. In this post Dr. Fuhrman points to the landmark China Study; which illustrated the rarity of heart attacks in plant-food eating rural Chinese. From Can Cholesterol Be Too Low:

Clearly, if we attempt to rival the low cholesterol of populations that eat mostly natural plant foods and do not have heart disease, we are always looking at total cholesterols below 150 mg/dl. The average cholesterol level in rural China, as documented in the massive China Cornell Project, was 127 mg/dl. Heart attacks were rare, and both cancer and heart disease rates plummeted as cholesterol levels fell, which reflected very low animal product consumption. The lowest occurrence of heart disease and cancer occurred in the group that consumed plant-based diets with less than two servings of animal products per week.

Alright, now this is where I feel for Tara. In the comments of her post she encountered the persistent of lunacy of the low-carb consortium. Here’s the comment and Tara’s response from the Well Blog:

Commenter: Alternatively, you and Jane Brody could look at the growing mountain of evidence that the diet you think is “healthful” is actually the problem…evidence which includes Brody’s own health!
Or you could read the most important book on diet in the last century, “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Taubes.

But you won’t; you’ll keep passing out the same old misinformation.

Nor will you publish this comment.

Tara: Of course I will publish your comment, and I think your point, if you strip away the personal attacks, is a good one. Nutrition writers like myself certainly have been complicit in confusing people’s notions about what constitutes healthful eating. (Although I’m curious about what I’ve written that offends you so.) I’m not sure I agree that Gary Taubes has written the most important book on diet (I’m a fan of Pollan as readers of this blog know). However, Mr. Taubes has certainly raised many important issues in his work. I agree, as Mr. Pollan writes, that the culture of nutritionism — viewing food as a sum of its nutrient parts — has been largely detrimental to the nation’s health.

Tara, I feel for you. This nonsense and its lemming-like supporters pollute the information super highway. Before I go any further, here’s Dr. Fuhrman dropping the hammer on Gary Taubes’ “most important book on diet in the last century.” From Nutrition Science and Gary Taubes:

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

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

I think Tara did a great job handling this over-zealous loon and luckily for her he wasn’t as radical as most of them. Just get a load of these vitriolic comments from one of Followhealthlife’s low-carb blog-trolls. Oh! Despite the different names, it’s all the same person:

RN: “STOP lying to people. NOW! Support your contention NOT SUMMARIES of summaries The blind leading the blind…I can and WILL argue this all day because I UNLIKE Dr. Fuhrman CAN back up my views.”


Razwell: “Persons who claim "paradise health" by following a certain diet are CHARLATANS.”

What does all this prove? That no matter how much you back up your claims the crazies, the cultists, and the sensationalists will do their best to disrupt your day—just another day in the life of a health-blogger!

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Antioxidant Eyeballs

Dr. Fuhrman will tell you, antioxidants are strong medicine. In fact, antioxidants and other phytochemicals are profound cancer-fighters. He explains:

The most dramatic finding in nutritional science in the last fifty years is the power of plant-derived phytochemicals to affect health. Phytochemicals, along with the rich assortment of powerful antioxidants found in unrefined plant foods, fuel a defensive system that removes toxic cellular metabolites that age us. Phytochemicals also are required for maintenance and repair of our DNA.

Cancer may be promoted by toxic compounds, but we have cellular machinery, fueled by phytochemicals, to detoxify and remove noxious agents and to repair any damage done. Our body is self-healing and self-repairing when given sufficient nutrient support to maximize efficiency of protective cellular machinery. But, only when we consume large amounts of green vegetables and a diversity of natural plant foods can we maximize phytochemical delivery to our tissues.

And some new research links antioxidants and “rabbit food” to healthy eyeballs. Here’s looking at you kid! Karen Ravn of The Los Angeles Times reports:

Surprisingly, despite their reputation, carrots are probably not near the top of the list. Certainly, the vitamin A they're full of is necessary for eye health, says Dr. Michael Marmor, an ophthalmology professor at Stanford University School of Medicine. "But people are generally not vitamin A deficient in our society, and a high dose doesn't do any more good."

The most useful vegetables, according to new research, seem to be the leafy green ones -- such as spinach, kale and collard greens -- which are rich in the antioxidant carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.

These are also the only carotenoids found in measurable amounts in the eye, says Bill Christen, a professor of medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and Harvard Medical School. "That adds credence to the idea that they could be of benefit," he says.

Christen is lead author of a new study published this month showing that people who eat diets high in lutein and zeaxanthin are less likely to develop cataracts than others whose diets included less of those nutrients. A second new study by Australian scientists that is to be published next month, found similar results for age-related macular degeneration.

But while these studies show a diet-eye health relationship, they do not directly demonstrate cause and effect. Only one study to date has shown specific nutrients can cause reductions in risk for eye disease.

By you’re probably saying, “Where can I get some of those antioxidants?” Here’s a decent list of antioxidant sources from Diana Kohnle of HealthDay News. Take a look:

  • Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits and juices; berries and other fruits; dark green vegetables; red and yellow peppers.
  • Vitamin E, found in vegetable oils, whole grains, and leafy green vegetables.
  • Selenium, found in whole grains, most vegetables, chicken, eggs, and most dairy products.
  • Beta carotene, found in colorful fruits and vegetables like broccoli, spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, red and yellow peppers, apricots, cantaloupes and mangoes.

I’m not feeling the vegetable oils, but I tell you one thing. I love sesame seeds! I sprinkle them on lots of things and according to Dr. Fuhrman they’re packed with antioxidants. Check it out:

Sesame seeds have the highest level of calcium of any food in the world. Interestingly, they not only have a highly absorbable spectrum of vitamin E, they increase the bioactivity of vitamin E in the body.1 Comparing the many forms of vitamin E in sesame seed with the vitamin E in supplements is like comparing a real horse to a toy horse. Sesamin, a sesame lignan, has beneficial effects on postmenopausal hormonal status, raises antioxidant activity in body cells, decreases the risk of breast cancer, and lowers cholesterol.2

Speaking of sesame seeds, here’s a little dialogue Dr. Fuhrman and I had about sesame seeds. And yes, we’re a little nerdy. These are the types of things we discuss. Enjoy:

Me: Are there any significant nutritional differences between regular sesame seeds and black sesame seeds?

Dr. Fuhrman: Regular sesame seeds are hulled, the outer brown cover it removed and along with it 90 percent of the calcium and other minerals. It is like comparing white bread to whole wheat. Brown and black sesame seeds are almost equal nutritionally but the important thing is neither has the hull removed.

Me: Gotcha. I buy raw black and brown sesame seeds from my farmers market. The black have an interesting peppery taste.

Anyone else enjoy black sesame seeds? I find they go great over spinach or blended into seed and avocado-based salad dressings.

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More on Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs

Last week we learned that many popular cholesterol-lowering drugs fail to deliver. Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of cholesterol medications. 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.
Now, some doctors have come to the defense of popular medications. Tara Parker-Pope of The New York Times looks at What That Cholesterol Trial Didn’t Show. Here’s a bit:
“I think this study is being interpreted wrong,” said Dr. Paul D. Thompson, director of cardiology at Hartford Hospital, who personally uses Zetia and (like most of the doctors quoted in this article) has consulted with makers of cholesterol drugs.

He pointed out that Vytorin users did experience a larger drop in cholesterol than the Zocor users. The disappointment was that the decline didn’t translate into a bigger benefit in arterial health. “It didn’t show harm,” Dr. Thompson said. “There were no more cardiac events, no more side effects. There was just no change.”

The fallout from the study was not limited to Vytorin. It has led to a whole new set of questions for scientists about cholesterol drugs. Is lowering LDL, the “bad” cholesterol, all that counts? Or must a drug also raise HDL, the “good” cholesterol, and fight inflammation?

Adding to the confusion, the Vytorin makers dragged their feet on releasing the results, issued the findings in a press release rather than a medical journal and made a lot of people mad.
Okay, this makes me ask… Actually, I’ll shut up. Dr. Petrillo was very eager to drop the hammer on this report. Brace yourself, she’s shot out of a cannon! Check it out:
Here's an idea. Stop gorging on cheeseburgers and you won't have to take Zocor or Zetia or Vytorin! Drug reps love to promote these "combo"-type medications with the argument that you're getting two meds for the price of one and attacking the condition in two different ways. But with asparagus as your sword and broccoli as your shield, you will attack high cholesterol without putting expensive drugs with uncertain effects into your body.

According to this recent study, while Vytorin users saw a greater decrease in cholesterol than Zocor users, there was no difference in plaque formation in the coronary arteries between the two groups. Don't just prevent plaque formation! Reverse it by following a high-nutrient-density diet and exercising and you won't need to rely on pills! Cholesterol comes from animal products (even the ads for the cholesterol drugs acknowledge this), so, to avoid blockages in your coronary arteries, fewer animal products, more veggies, less pharmaceuticals, more exercise, less cow, more kale!
“Asparagus as your sword and broccoli as your shield.” Perfect! Especially since I just saw the movie 300—yes, I’m a little behind on the times—here’s the perfect amalgamation of phytonutrients and battle. Enjoy:

This is Sparta! Oops. I mean…these are Phytonutrients!

Research: Low-Income Obese Kids

A new study attempts to debunk the claim that low-income kids are obese because they’re only eating cheap high-calorie low-nutrient food. Amy Lorentzen of the Associated Press has more:
For the study, the researchers analyzed 1999 data about 1,031 children living in low-income households in Boston, Chicago and San Antonio. They assessed whether the children had enough food for a healthy, active lifestyle, which is called food security by researchers. They looked at the individual child instead of the child's entire household, as previous studies had done.

The researchers asked each child's mother whether she had reduced the size of a meal due to lack of food or money, whether her child skipped a meal because food was not available, and whether her child went hungry because she could not afford more food.

They found that about half of the children in the study were overweight or obese, while only about 8 percent weren't getting enough to eat.

Craig Gundersen, lead author of the study, said children who did not get enough food were not more likely to be overweight, even though the two factors often coexisted in the low-income population they studied.

He said the study shows that if the government tries to expand food assistance programs to help children, officials can move forward without worrying about an increase in overweight children living in poverty.
I got to admit. I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around this study, but Dr. Fuhrman’s colleague Jennifer Petrillo, MD was fired up about it. Here’s what she had to say:
This study is ridiculous. It says poor kids are getting enough to eat so they can't figure out why so many of them are fat! It's WHAT they're eating!
Dr. Petrillo is right. Simply put, I think we’re talking about an issue of quality over quantity. Dr. Fuhrman discusses this paradox in his new Food Scoring Guide. Here’s an excerpt:
Modern America is in the midst of an all-you-can-eat food fest that has us literally bursting at the seams. Clearly, we eat too much and too often, but we also eat all the wrong foods. The standard American diet now consists of 52% processed foods and 41% meats and dairy products. The most healthful foods—fruits and vegetables—make up only 7% of our national diet.

Eating the wrong foods leads us to consume far too many calories. The average American consumes 3600 calories per day, nearly twice as many as wee need. However, because all of these excess calories come from low-nutrient foods, most Americans are significantly undernourished. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that an astonishing 95% of all Americans fail to get the minimum daily requirement of nutrients. When you factor in the sedentary lifestyle most Americans have adopted (three out of ten American adults did not exercise even once last year), you have the perfect recipe for the obesity and chronic illness epidemics that are sweeping the nation.
Well now, this sure seems to address the crux of the problem. It always bothers me when I drive through low-income neighborhoods and see wall-to-wall fast food restaurants.

Grand Rounds Vol. 4 No. 18

Old Drugs, Where to Stick Them

When I quit taking my stomach meds I wasn’t sure what to do with them. So, I just dumped them in the trash. Not good. Group Health Cooperative pharmacies have come up with a program for safely disposing of old drugs. Keith Ervin of The Seattle Times reports:
Old drugs left in the medicine cabinet are too often used by mistake or by someone seeking a high. If thrown in the garbage or flushed down the toilet, they can give an unintended dose to fish and other wildlife.

That's beginning to change here, thanks to the nation's largest program for returning unused drugs.

Group Health Cooperative pharmacies, in cooperation with government agencies and environmental groups, are accepting unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs, then sending them away to be incinerated. By the end of last month, shortly after the program was expanded to 25 Group Health pharmacies in King, Pierce, Snohomish, Kitsap, Thurston and Spokane counties, patients had returned 2 tons of drugs.

It will become even easier to return medications next month when Bartell Drugs puts the first secure drop box in one of its stores and then rolls out the service in more stores. The opening dates for the service and the locations of those stores have not yet been announced.

Walking, Ab-Machines, and Gyms

Maybe we don’t need all the fancy workout machines because new research has determined that simply walking an hour a week can cut colon cancer risk. Reuters reports:
While just an hour of walking a week seemed to protect against the disease, the more strenuously women exercised, the lower their risk, Dr. Kathleen Y. Wolin of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and colleagues found.

"Our findings suggest that participation in lower intensity activities may be sufficient to reduce risk though more vigorous activity provides comparable or perhaps additional risk reduction," they write in the International Journal of Cancer.

Research showing that exercise reduces colon cancer risk has been "consistent and convincing," Wolin and her team say, but questions remain about the intensity of exercise necessary to reduce risk.
An hour a week seems pretty skimpy to me, but don’t go turning to a over-hyped infomercial ab-machine. Diet Blog thinks they’re bupkis. Take a look:
Not true. Here's a reality check.

What the ab machine will NOT do:
  • Give you a fake tan.
  • Reduce your body fat percentage to single digits.
  • Make you look pretty.
  • Give you white teeth.
  • Build massive biceps and pecs.
  • Build muscular thighs and calves.
  • Build shredded deltoids.
  • Increase overall strength.
  • Give you a slender waist.
  • Give you large perky breasts.
To gain the above things, you will need a combination of; months to years of diligent cardiovascular and strength training, a powerful commitment to maintain a fairly strict diet (often with different goal phases of 'bulking' and fat loss), and possibly some cosmetic surgery and other cosmetic work.
Now, if you’re a gym-rat like me. You’ll never give up the gym for an hour of walking or the latest ab-blaster. So for us, Poked & Prodded shares tips for finding the right fitness club. Check it out:
If you are looking to join a new club, keep these smart-shopping tips from CR in mind.
  • Get a free trial. You’ll likely have to listen to a sales pitch, then can work out for one day, or even one week.
  • Ask about membership choices. Seniors or students can usually get special rates; many chains have levels of membership based on club access or amenities.
  • Ask about payment options. You might pay more for a month-to-month plan, but it offers more freedom than a full-year contract.
  • Don’t get pressured by a ‘special.’ Clubs run promotions all the time; about half the clubs had specials on the day Consumer Reports’ survey respondents visited.
  • Try bargaining. Haggling down enrollment fees and even monthly dues worked for some of the Consumer Reports shoppers at big chains.
If you can swing it, joining a gym is well worth the cost. Think of it this way, you’re investing in your health.


Some stashed away studies suggest many antidepressants aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. From the NewScientist:
It's called the "file-drawer problem". A study fails to produce interesting results, so is filed away and forgotten - a practice that might mean antidepressants don't work as well as doctors think.

To get approval for the 12 antidepressants that went on the market between 1987 and 2004, drug firms registered over 70 clinical trials with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But when Erick Turner of Oregon Health and Science University in Portland and his colleagues combed through medical journals, they found that 23 of these studies never made it into a journal. All but one of the unpublished studies concluded that the effect of the drugs was negative or questionable.
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Girls and Puberty, Sooner and Sooner

It’s hard to fathom that an eight-year-old girl might be developing sexually, shouldn’t they be playing with toy ponies and think boys are icky—which we are—but apparently more and more young girls are starting puberty early. Dr. Fuhrman talks about it:
Physicians are seeing more and more girls with precocious sexual development, even before today’s average age of twelve, and medical studies confirm that the trend is real and getting worse. How early are our children developing today? At age eight, almost half black girls and 15 percent of white girls start developing breasts or pubic hair. At age nine, those numbers change to 77 percent of black girls and a third of white girls.1
This is an uncomfortable topic—even for a bull the china cabinet like me—but this is a serious matter and one that the medical community might be taking too lightly. Susan Brink of The Los Angeles Times investigates in Girl, You'll be a Woman Sooner Than Expected. Here’s an excerpt:
What's clear is that physical appearance is getting ahead of other aspects of girls' maturity. They might be perceived as far older than they are, even when they're still rummaging through their mothers' closets to clomp around in oversized high heels.

"My daughter started developing breasts maybe around age 8," says Rhonda Sykes of Inglewood. "She was still into her doll phase and dressing up to play." So Sykes began having frank mother-daughter conversations about curves and changing bodies a bit earlier than she expected.

"Whatever they look like, they know nothing," says Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Research Center for Women and Families. "Eight- and 9-year olds are learning to make change for a dollar. These are children who are learning the most fundamental facts in school. Imagine trying to teach that child the fundamentals of sex. They're not even playing Monopoly yet. They're still playing Candyland."

The medical community calls earlier puberty normal, the trend goes hand in hand with the obesity epidemic, and science has not yet pinpointed the reasons. And yet, when girls who are still children in the minds of their parents start developing breasts, many of their mothers remember that it happened later in their own lives -- and wonder why.
Brinks' report sites diet as a potential contributor to the problem of early puberty. She’s smart to do so. According to Dr. Fuhrman the standard American diet—which is responsible for all the obesity—is a major culprit. He explains:
Diet powerfully modulates estrogen levels. One recent study illustrated that eight-to-ten-year-olds, closely followed with dietary intervention for seven years, dramatically lowered their estrogen levels compared to a control group with dietary modification.2 Clearly, changing the diet of our children after the age of eight is not futile.
This graph might make things a little clearer for you. I scanned it—horribly—out of Dr. Fuhrman’s book Disease-Proof Your Child. It compares sex hormone levels in individuals eating a Western diet and those consuming a more vegetable-based Asian diet. Take a look:

The concern with all these sex hormones centers on lifetime cancer risk. Dr. Fuhrman explains why, check it out:
Early puberty is strongly associated with breast cancer, and the occurrence of breast cancer is three times higher in women who started puberty before age twelve.3
Also, studies have revealed the effects of different varieties of foods on puberty and cancer risk. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Cohort studies, which follow two groups of children over time, have shown that the higher consumption of produce and protein-rich plant foods such as beans and nuts is associated with a later menarche, and the higher consumption of protein-rich animal foods—meat and diary—is associated with an earlier menarche and increased occurrence of adult breast cancer.4
As far as Followhealthlife goes, this is a common conclusion. The advantages of a vegetable-based nutritarian diet are profound. Dr. Fuhrman is stresses this in his new Food Scoring Guide. Here’s a quote:
Increasing your consumption of high-nutrient fruits and vegetables is the key to disease resistance, disease reversal, and a long, healthy life. The potential reduction in disease rates shows no threshold effect in the scientific studies. That means that as high-nutrient vegetables and high-nutrient fruits increase as a major portion of caloric intake, disease rates fall in a dose-dependent manner—the more the diet is comprised of these foods, the better your health will be.5
Granted, the problem is serious and apparently growing, but the good news is there is a solution, maybe the real problem is getting everyone on board.
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The Caffeine-Miscarriage Link

When you’re talking pregnancy, mom’s diet is very important. Even before you’re pregnant, eating healthy is a good idea. He explains in Disease-Proof Your Child:
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.
Now, one of the things Dr. Fuhrman suggests expecting mothers to avoid is caffeine. Caffeine has been linked to miscarriage. Back to Disease-Proof Your Child:
Caffeine has been a controversial topic for decades. Evidence clearly concludes that heavy coffee drinkers have an increased risk of miscarriage and low birth weight infants, but evidence is not clear for moderate users of caffeine.1 Nevertheless, is wise to stay away from as many potentially harmful substances as possible.
Some new research seems to confirm Dr. Fuhrman’s fears; study confirms the link between caffeine and miscarriage. Louise Daly of the AFP reports:
US researchers said Monday they have conclusive proof to show that women who drink a lot of caffeine on a daily basis in the early months of pregnancy have an elevated risk of miscarriage, settling a longstanding debate over the issue.

To be absolutely safe, expectant mothers should avoid caffeinated beverages of any kind during the first five months of pregnancy, the researchers said in a paper published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The concept that pregnant women may be putting their babies in jeopardy by drinking large amounts of caffeine on a daily basis is not new.
I’m not pregnant—the science is not yet available and ramifications would be monstrous—but if I were, I’d avoid caffeine; better to be safe than sorry. What do you think?
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Mevacor, The FDA, and Consumers

You remember the news about the over-the-counter statins right? A bizarre concept indeed! In case you need reminding, here’s some of the article from HealthDay News. Steven Reinberg reported:
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.
Now, let’s ignore the fact that Dr. Fuhrman thinks taking statins are a bad idea. How would the average person know when to take these? I mean it’s not like popping a Tylenol! The FDA seems to agree...kind of; FDA Weighs Cholesterol Drug Mevacor. Here’s a bit:
The government is questioning if too many of the wrong people will take cholesterol-lowering Mevacor if it's sold without a prescription, days before Merck & Co. makes its third try to move the drug over the counter.

Merck says selling a low dose of this long-used medication on drugstore shelves, next to the aspirin, could get millions of people at moderate risk of heart disease important treatment that they otherwise may miss.

A preliminary Food and Drug Administration review released Tuesday agreed that nonprescription Mevacor would be "a reasonably safe and effective" option — if consumers used it as directed.

But when Merck tested if consumers could judge who was a proper Mevacor candidate, only 20 percent answered all the questions completely correctly — 50 percent if researchers counted people who said they'd check some things with their doctor before purchasing, concluded FDA's lead medical reviewer.
What do you think? “If consumers used it as directed.” I’m not sure consumers can be trusted. How many people do you know who take handfuls of Tylenol every time they have a headache?

No More Unhappy Report Card Meals

In December we learned that a school district in Florida was allowing McDonald’s to advertise on report cards. ParentDish was on it:
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.
Luckily some concerned parents prevailed. McDonald’s has announced that it will stop putting its logo on report card envelopes. ParentDish is back on it:
Susan Pagan, a parent in the district, said that her nine-year-old daughter came home with her report card, wanting a happy meal. Pagan noted that "our family does not eat at fast food chains," when she told her no. "And, now I'm the bad guy," she added.

Interestingly, McDonald's chose to pull the ads, rather than the school district. According to McDonald's spokesman Bill Whitman, "It was McDonald's decision to remove our trademarks from report card jackets in Seminole County, Florida, because we believe the focus should be on the importance of a good education. McDonald's, not the school district, will cover the cost to reprint the report card jackets."
So where was the focus before Whitman made this statement? Anyway, kudos to Pagan and the rest of parents that took a stand!

The Onion: Frito-Lay's Healthy Snacks

According to the spoof-news experts at The Onion, Frito-Lay—makers of junk like Munchos, Fritos, Cheetos, and Doritos—are introducing a new line of healthy snacks. Warning! It contains grownup language. Take a look:
"Here," said Frito-Lay CEO Al Carey as he disgustedly tossed a bag of the company's new Flat Earth-brand snack crisps onto the lectern during a meeting with shareholders and members of the press. "Here's some sh*t that's made from beets. I hope you're all happy now that you have your precious beet chips with the recommended daily serving of fruit, or vegetables, or whatever the hell a 'beet' is."

"Mmm, dehydrated bulb things," Carey added. "Sounds delicious."

Carey appeared visibly appalled as Frito-Lay employees distributed Flat Earth snack samples to the audience.

"God help us all, would you look at these flavors," said Carey, gesturing toward a display showcasing the several varieties of Flat Earth chips, including Kauliflower Krunch, Raisins 'N Chives, Cranberry Spinach Explosion, Rutabaga Yum, Tofu Snaps, Eggplant Ecstasy, Broccoloroos, and Watercress. "Look at what you've reduced us to."
Big thanks to Pete for sending this over. The article made me laugh so hard I peed a little.

Fresh Popped Lung Disease

In early September ParentDish blogged about the growing concern over the safety of the butter flavoring used in microwave and movie theater popcorn. Here’s a refresher:
A pulmonary specialist at Denver's National Jewish Medical and Research Center thinks exposure to the fumes from microwave butter popcorn might be the cause of lung disease in one of her patients. She sent a letter to several federal agencies expressing her concerns. "We cannot be sure that this patient's exposure to butter flavored microwave popcorn from daily heavy preparation has caused his lung disease," said Dr. Cecile Rose. "However, we have no other plausible explanation."

Apparently the patient, a unidentified man, consumed "several bags of extra butter flavored microwave popcorn" every day for several years. The ailing patient's condition improved when he stopped making the popcorn.

This may sound far-fetched, but it's not. So-called "popcorn lung" is a real disease that has resulted in lawsuits by workers in food factories who were exposed to diacetyl, a chemical used to create that buttery flavor.
Popcorn lung? Are food-producers REALLY risking the health of their workers and customers for fake butter? The answer is yes. Why else would we have warnings like this? Take a look:

The dangers are real. I searched diacetyl in Wikipedia and here are some of the dangers that came up, for both workers and consumers—scary stuff—check it out:
Workers in several factories that manufacture artificial butter flavoring have been diagnosed with bronchiolitis obliterans, a rare and serious disease of the lungs. The cases found have been mainly in young, healthy, non-smoking males. There are no known cures for bronchiolitis obliterans except for lung transplantation.

While several authorities have called the disease "Popcorn Worker's Lung," a more accurate term suggested by other doctors may be more appropriate, since the disease can occur in any industry working with diacetyl: diacetyl-induced bronchiolitis obliterans…

…Dr. Cecile Rose, pulmonary specialist at Denver's National Jewish Medical and Research Center, in a letter, warned federal agencies or regulators that consumers, not just factory workers, are in danger of suffering the fatal popcorn lung disease from buttery flavoring fumes in microwave popcorn. David Michaels of the George Washington University School of Public Health first published Rose's letter on his blog. However, the only sample data known-to-date is the case where a consumer, who ate at least two bags of buttery microwave popcorn daily for 10 years, became diagnosed with the same disease affecting workers exposed to the substance, bronchiolitis obliterans. His lung problems were linked to breathing the vapors; although rare, the reported man's kitchen also had diacetyl levels comparable to those in popcorn plants.
Of course it’s always easier to relate to something when you attach a face to it. Meet Eric Peoples, a victim of Popcorn Lung. Here he is testifying in front of U.S. House Education and Labor Committee Subcommittee on Workforce Protections:

Unfortunatley for Eric, his story will not have a happy ending. According to Wikipedia the long-term prognosis for bronchiolitis obliterans is poor. Read on:
This disease is irreversible and severe cases often require a lung transplant. Evaluation of interventions to prevent bronchiolitis obliterans relies on early detection of abnormal spirometry results or unusual decreases in repeated measurements.
The whole diacetyl-popcorn lung situation spun Dr. Fuhrman into quite a tizzy. He emailed me his thoughts the other day and he didn’t pull a single punch. Have a look:
Diacetyl should be banned since we know it causes this irreversible and potentially deadly disease, but for some reason this poison is still allowed to be used on popcorn. Even breathing the fumes of the fake buttery flavor they put on the popcorn could damage a person's lungs, especially if you work behind the counter and serve it to people. We likely only know the tip of the iceberg about diacetyl poisoning.
When faced with all this information, I can’t imagine anyone coming to the defense of diacetyl. David Michaels of George Washington University certainly isn’t. He drops this great quote in The Washington Post. Enjoy:
"They're finding it there because they're looking there," said David Michaels of the department of environmental and occupational health at George Washington University. Michaels, assistant secretary of energy in the Clinton administration, accuses OSHA of "regulatory paralysis."

"It's not some carcinogen where you get cancer 30 years from now or something. The people are dying right in front of you," Michaels said. "You can't wait until you have all the evidence. You have to regulate it."
No doubt, a lot of experts are up in arms over diacetyl and bronchiolitis obliterans, but, will anything be done about it? The Angry Toxicologist doesn’t think so. Check it out:
Nothing will be done unless it’s regulated strongly, even by good companies and here’s why: Let say Bob’s Flavor Inc. wants to do the right thing and use an alternative flavoring that won’t hurt his workers. Bob knows, however, that this will drive up his prices and he’ll be driven out of the market by someone willing to do the wrong thing for a competitive advantage. Everyone is tied to the lowest cost operation, so the only way to make it safe for Bob to do the right thing is to level the playing field so that everyone has to do the right thing.
Okay, here’s my question. Is microwave and movie theater popcorn THAT precious? Stop eating it all together, and then, you’ll send one HELL of a message to rogue food producers and fat-cat cost-cutting businessmen—don’t you think!

PCRM Bashes Grilled Chicken

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) wants people to know, that grilled chicken sandwich you’re eating, is full of dangerous carcinogens. More from Reuters reporter Gina Keating:
If it seems consumers have nowhere to turn in choosing a healthy chicken entree, that's exactly the point, said Dan Kinburn, attorney for the Physicians Committee.

"Every day when a parent ... cooks chicken at home for their children they are trying to be health conscious," Kinburn said. "We think if people knew there were carcinogens in grilled chicken they would not choose it as a healthy alternative…"

…The chemical PhIP, which forms when meat -- and especially chicken -- is cooked at high temperatures, is on that list.

The lawsuit, filed on Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, would require the restaurants named as defendants to place "clear and reasonable warnings" about the carcinogen PhIP and would fine them $2,500 a day for each infraction.
Hey, people do have the right to choose, but they should be given ALL the facts. Actually, grilled chicken is loaded with bad news. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Cancer-causing compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are even more concentrated in grilled chicken than in beef.1 Another recent study from New Zealand that investigated heterocyclic amines in meat, fish, and chicken found the greatest contributor of HCAs to cancer risk was chicken.2
I remember when I used to eat grilled chicken and pasta, and, I had the stones to think I was doing my health a favor—EEK!
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High Protein Stymies Hunger

New research illustrates how protein helps keep hunger at bay. Julie Steenhuysen of Reuters reports:
The study, which will appear in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, looked at the effectiveness of different nutrients at suppressing ghrelin, a hormone secreted by the stomach that stimulates appetite.

"Suppression of ghrelin is one of the ways that you lose your appetite as you begin to eat and become sated," said Dr. David Cummings of the University of Washington in Seattle, who worked on the study.

The researchers gave 16 people three different beverages, each with varying levels of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. They took blood samples before the first beverage, then every 20 minutes for six hours afterward, measuring ghrelin levels in each sample.

"The interesting findings were that fats suppress ghrelin quite poorly," Cummings said in a telephone interview. They fared the poorest overall.

"Proteins were the best suppressor of ghrelin in terms of the combination of the depth and duration of suppression," he said. "That is truly satisfying because high proteins are essentially common to almost all of the popular diets."
Now, please don’t use this as an excuse to consume excess amounts of protein. Dr. Fuhrman gives one huge reason why that isn’t a good idea. Check it out:
To make matters even worse, you pay an extra penalty from a diet so high in fat and protein to generate a chronic ketosis. Besides the increased cancer risk, your kidneys are placed under greater stress and will age more rapidly. It can take many, many years for such damage to be detected by blood tests. By the time the blood reflects the abnormality, irreversible damage may have already occurred. Blood tests that monitor kidney function typically do not begin to detect problems until more than 90 percent of the kidneys have been destroyed.

Protein is metabolized in the liver, and the nitrogenous wastes generated are broken down and then excreted by the kidney. These wastes must be eliminated for the body to maintain normal purity and a stable state of equilibrium. Most doctors are taught in medial school that a high-protein diet ages the kidney.1 What has been accepted as the normal age-related loss in renal function may really be a cumulative injury secondary to the heavy pressure imposed on the kidney by our high-protein eating habits.2

By the eighth decade of life, Americans lost about 30 percent of their kidney function.3 Many people develop kidney problems at young ages under the high-protein stress. Low-protein diets are routinely used to treat patients with liver and kidney failure.4 A recent multitrial analysis showed that reducing protein intake for patients with kidney disease decreased kidney-related death by about 40 percent.5
Protein is truly misunderstood. Just read Bodybuilding Diet, Bad Idea.
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Scientists have discovered a way to increase corn’s vitamin A content. Will Dunham of Reuters reports:
Writing on Thursday in the journal Science, the scientists identified a naturally mutated gene that enhances the provitamin A content of maize. Based on this, they developed an inexpensive way to select the parent stock for breeding corn with the highest provitamin A content.

Choosing varieties that have this mutated gene can provide on average three-fold higher levels of provitamin A, the researchers said.

There are thousands of different corn varieties, and they differ greatly in provitamin A levels, the scientists said. White corn does not have provitamin A, but yellow varieties have it in varying levels.

A common existing technique for assessing the provitamin A content of corn varieties can be prohibitively expensive for plant breeders, the researchers said, but the new one is vastly less expensive.
Here’s some more corny information—bad pun, I know—Dr. Fuhrman points out something special about organic corn. Take a look:
The researchers found flavonoids were more than 50 percent higher in organic corn and strawberries. They theorized that when plants are forced to deal with the stress of insects, they produce more of these compounds, which are beneficial to humans.1
Now, Dr. Fuhrman points out what happens to corn once you cook it. Check this out:
Cooking corn also has been shown to significantly boost its antioxidant activity, despite reduction in vitamin C.When the ability to quench free radicals was measured, cooked corn outperformed raw corn by between 25 to 50 percent. Cooking corn releases a compound called ferulic acid, which provides anti-cancer health benefits.
Corn is also a decent source of protein—YES—vegetables have protein. See for yourself:

I guess being corny isn’t so bad after all!

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Pedometers, Cold Weather, and Exercise

I’m not a pedometer guy, nothing against them. I’m just not so neurotic that I need to count every step I’ve taken, but for those who do. New research has concluded that pedometers help you lose weight. Reuters reports:
People who added 20 to 40 minutes of walking a day lost a small but steady amount of weight, the team at the University of Michigan found.

"The increase in physical activity can be expected to result in health benefits that are independent of weight loss," said Dr. Caroline Richardson, who led the study.

"Increasing physical activity reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems, lowers blood pressure and helps dieters maintain lean muscle tissue when they are dieting."

Writing in the Annals of Family Medicine, Richardson and colleagues said they reviewed nine studies involving 307 men and women. They took part in studies of pedometer use that ranged from four weeks to a year.
Now, if you’ve got a pedometer, but you think it’s too cold to go outside and use it, think again. Scientists contend that cold weather is no excuse for not exercising. More from Gina Kolota of The New York Times:
The problem with exercising in the cold, exercise physiologists say, is that people may be hobbled by myths that lead them to overdress or to stop moving, risky things to do.

Some worry that cold air will injure their lungs or elicit asthma symptoms. Or they are convinced that they are more susceptible to injury when it is cold and that they have to move more slowly — forget about sprinting or running at a fast clip.

But lungs are not damaged by cold, said Kenneth W. Rundell, the director of respiratory research and the human physiology laboratory at Marywood University in Scranton, Pa. No matter how cold the air is, by the time it reaches your lungs, it is body temperature, he explained.

Some people complain that they get exercise-induced asthma from the cold. But that sort of irritation of the respiratory tract is caused by dryness, not cold, Dr. Rundell said. “Cold air just happens not to hold much water and is quite dry,” he said. You’d have the same effect exercising in air that was equally dry but warm.
But I hate the cold! Oh well, time to bundle up like an Eskimo—and where’s my pedometer?

Kids and Cold Medicine...Still Dumb

Is cold medicine effective at treating children with coughs and colds? Yes. According to Dr. Fuhrman they’re just as effective as placebos. He explains:
A head-to-head comparison between placebo and cough remedies showed that the placebo worked just as well. All children improved significantly by day three, and there was no difference among the three treatment groups in any symptom parameter.1
Maybe this is why back in October the FDA wanted to ban over-the-counter cough and cold medicines for young kids. HealthDay News was on it:
Such a ban already has the support of safety experts at the FDA, who published a 365-page review last month that showed decongestants and antihistamines have been linked with 123 pediatric deaths since 1969.
And now the FDA has issued a public health advisory stating that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines shouldn’t be given to infants and small children. This time, Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News is on it:
Although concern about the safety of these medications when used in the very young has been widely aired in recent months, FDA officials said they were concerned the public wasn't getting the message.

"We strongly recommend that over-the-counter cough and cold products should not be used in young children under 2, because serious and potentially life-threatening side effects can occur from use of these products," Dr. Charles Ganley, director of the FDA's Office of Nonprescription Products, said during a morning news conference. "We have not come to a final decision on the use of cough and cold products in children aged 2 to 11 and continue to work within [the] FDA to arrive at a decision."

"We were concerned that parents would continue to use these products in children under 2, even with all the publicity," Ganley added.
No doubt, this will certainly be the end of the world for some parents who simply can’t deal with a sniffling child because it interferes with their shopping at the mall Continue Reading...

Eating to Live on the Outside: Souen

In tribute to the Giants surprising trip to the NFL AFC championship game, Eating to Live on the Outside is heading back to the big apple. Let me point out, I’m not a Giants fan, so I’m doing this under protest—GO RAIDERS—alright, time to check out NYC’s own, Souen.

According to their website Souen is an “Organic Macrobiotic Restaurant.” Well, this is certainly a promising start. Oh! If you don’t know what macrobiotic is, just Wikipedia it. In short, people who are macrobiotic eat a lot of whole foods and avoid refined and processed food; its “kind of” Fuhrman-ish. Okay, lets crack this menu open!

First up are the soups. Now, at this past weekend’s event at the Beaver Brook Country Club Dr. Fuhrman pointed out that you should never order soup at a restaurant because most of these soups are loaded with salt. He’s right, but to be honest, most food cooked outside the house is salt bombarded. Hence my whole rap about concessions and not eating out very often.

So, if I felt like enduring a salt hit, I’d go with the Hayato Soup; a big bowl of mixed vegetables in a miso soup. Hey, it’s hard to beat mixed vegetables! Now, there is a Wakame Soup on the menu and I love wakame, but wakame is really salty and this soup has sesame oil too, so, I’ll pass.

Next, I’m skipping the breads and jumping to the Salads. Honestly, they all work. Here’s the two that really turned me on. The Green Garden Salad looks yummy; heaps of greens, watercress, raddichio, endive, daikon radish threads, grated beets, and sesame vinaigrette. Beets! You got to love that. The Cucumber Salad is cool too. It’s pretty basic, just slices of cucumber tossed with akatosaka seaweed, carrot, and sesame vinaigrette. The seaweed might be a tad salty, but I can live with it. Overall, if you go easy on or omit the dressing, these are both solid options.

Now, there’s a bunch of stuff under Small Plates. Most of them are iffy, but, I like the Edamame and the Sauteed Greens. The Edamame is just steamed soy beans in the pod and the Sauteed Greens are dark leafy greens sautéed in olive oil and garlic. Let’s start with the greens. Clearly the olive and sautéing is the concession—I can deal with it. The soy beans might have a concession too. I’ve found that occasionally these beans are salted. Before I’d order them, I’d ask the wait staff, but overall edamame beans are really great.

The Daily Fare looks good. There’s a bunch of things I’d order; the vegetable summer roll, bean of the day, avocado, steamed vegetables, grain of the day, hijiki seaweed, and steamed greens. Heck, I could make a meal out of these and be more than happy about it. I’d probably order the bean of the day, some avocado, steamed vegetables, and the steamed greens. The awesome part about all this is its concession-free—sweet!

I love some of the Vegetarian Entrees, namely the Macro Plate, Broccoli Tofu, Inspired Vegetable Curry, and the Kuzu Stew. Combine they’re made with beans, hijiki seaweed, steamed greens, vegetables, rice, broccoli, vegetables, scrambled tofu, onion, carrot, kabocha squash, white mushrooms, snap peas, a turmeric-curry-ginger broth, cauliflower, snow peas, shiitake mushrooms, tamari, and apple juice. Lots of good stuff! I don’t see really anything alarming here. Do you?

Okay, the rest of the menu is comprised of fish dishes, noodle-based entrees, desserts, and beverages. Now, as I’ve said many times before. I do eat fish, but, when confronted with all these veggie options, I wouldn’t order any fish. Take a moment and acknowledge my continued growth as a nutritarian—thank you, thank you.

But as for the beverages, there are some cool juices. Yes, I know, in one of today’s posts I say I don’t drink a lot of juice. I’m not lying, I really don’t, but sometimes, some very tempting juices do come along. All three of Souen’s are cool; Organic Fresh Squeezed Juice (apple, carrot, beet, ginger, celery, cucumber), Carrot with Ginger, and Carrot with Mixed Vegetables. I wouldn’t binge drink on any of these, but, I’d certainly give them a whirl. How about you?

Well, unlike the Giants this weekend, I like a nutritarian’s chances of finding a great meal at Souen. My friend swears by it. She said she usually orders the Miso Soup and apparently, Souen also offers an incredible Chef Salad that isn’t on the menu. Now that is certainly worth a look! Speaking of looking, it’s your turn. Scope out Souen’s menu and let me know how you handle Eating to Live on the Outside. As always, make a comment or send me an email to Until then, eat well. Peace.

Having a Juicy Diet...

Here’s a question. Is drinking juice a good idea if you’re looking to eat healthfully? Let’s find out. Christine McKinney, MS, RD, CDE of Eat Right, Stay Well discusses juice. Take a look:
Fruit juice can fit into your daily diet if you follow these two rules: Drink only 100-percent fruit juice, and monitor your portion sizes. Read the food label to find out whether a product is 100-percent juice. Beware of terms like "fruit drink," "fruit cocktail" or "fruit punch," all of which may indicate it is not 100-percent juice and is loaded with artificial flavorings and extra sugar.

As for portion size, adults should drink no more than two cups (16 ounces) each day. This may vary depending on your age, body weight and gender, but it's a good general guideline.

Although most adults need about two servings or cups of fruit per day, 100-percent fruit juice can count as one, or even two, of those servings. The problem arises when people drink more than this, and those extra calories turn into extra weight.
I don’t know if “100-percent fruit juice” can ever equal a serving of fruit. What about all the other good stuff fruit contains, like fiber? From Eat to Live, here’s Dr. Fuhrman on juice:
Liquid calories, without the fiber present in the whole food, have little effect at blunting our caloric drive. Studies show that fruit juice and other sweet beverages lead to obesity in children as well.1 If you are serious about losing weight, don’t drink your fruit — eat it. Too much fiber and too many nutrients are removed during juicing, and many of the remaining nutrients are lost through processing, heat, and storage time. If you are not overweight, drinking fresh-prepared juice is acceptable as long as it does not serve as a substitute for eating those fresh fruits and vegetables. There is no substitute for natural whole foods.
Now, Dr. Fuhrman isn’t super ardent about not consuming any juice. Check out his response in the comments of Pomegranate Power. Here:
I do not think a little fresh squeezed fruit juice is bad, just not a good idea for those who are trying to lose weight. Certainly, even a few ounces of pomegranate or red grapefruit juice is not going to blow your diet. Similar to olive oil, people think because my book, Eat To Live encourages the reader to avoid oil, (because all oil is 120 calories a tablespoon and it can add up fast) that I am dead set against using even a little bit of olive oil occasionally. Apply the principles, but it does not have to be that rigid.
I’m with Dr. Fuhrman on this one. Part of my daily eating is a nice sip of pomegranate juice and its not making me fat.
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I Hate New Year's Resolutions!

Permit me to grumble for a second. Actually, I’d forgotten about this particular gripe until I read this article in The Oregonian. Laura Oppenheimer talks about the all newbies that hit the gyms as part of their “New Year’s resolution.” Take a look:
For newcomers, January could make or break a resolution to get fit in 2008. But for gym rats, this is the worst time of year: The invasion of the "Resolution People."

"I have some members that actually stop coming to class in January because it's crowded," says Danielle Ford, fitness manager at Cascade Athletic Club in Gresham. "They hate it."

Gyms add more new members in January than any other month, says the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association.

Cascade Athletic Club, for example, expects to sell 150 memberships at its Gresham location, up from 75 to 100 in a typical month. Plus, regulars spend more time at the gym now that the holidays are over and, for some, the numbers on the scale have inched up.

At Giants Gym in Portland, owner George Kidd says he counts on happy members to advertise for him. So he needs to combat conventional wisdom about New Year recruits: "They come into the gym, they spend all this money and then they fail." Studies show more than half of new exercisers quit within six months.
Honestly, I’m happy for people that want to change their life and use the New Year as a starting point, but the people that don’t stick with it and hog all the good machines, talk on their cell-phones, and simply meander, really do get on my nerves—know what I mean?

Pollan Hits the Well Blog

The New York Times Well Blog has a great Q&A with journalist and author Michael Pollan. Here’s one I really liked. Have a look:
Q: So how should we think about food and health?

A: I think health should be a byproduct of eating well, for reasons that have nothing to do with health, such as cooking meals, eating together and eating real food. You’re going to be healthy, but that’s not the goal. The goal should just be eating well for pleasure, for community, and all the other reasons people eat. What I’m trying to do is to bring a man-from-Mars view to the American way of thinking about food. This is so second nature to us — food is either advancing your health or ruining your health. That’s a very limited way to think about food, and it’s a very limited way to think about health. The health of our bodies is tied to the health of the community and the health of the earth. Health is indivisible. That’s my covert message.
For more on Michael Pollan, check out this Followhealthlife posts:

Eat Healthy at Work

I remember when I was a load. My work food used to consist of chocolate, BLTs, bagels, and cream sodas—egad! So, if you’re caught in this trap. Consider these quick ways to eat healthier at work. They’re over at Diet Blog, here’s a couple:
1. Buy five pieces of fruit at the start of the week – bananas, apples, satsumas – whatever takes your fancy! Keep them on your desk and eat one each day.

2. Set your alarm ten minutes earlier than usual and use the extra time to make a packed lunch. Include whole grains, lean protein and vegetables. It needn’t be complicated: how about a ham and lettuce sandwich on wholemeal bread, with a handful of cherry tomatoes on the side?
And remember. You can always pack a couple of bananas, and, if by some chance they happen to be Dole organic bananas, you can tell me about it—wink, wink, hint, hint.

Bodybuilding Diet, Bad Idea

Diet Blog asks the question, Is Your Bodybuilding Diet Plain Stupid? Here’s a taste:

Bodybuilding diets are stupid because of the underlying motivation. Bodybuilders are concerned with getting big and getting big quickly. If its not about getting big then it is about getting cut and getting cut quickly. Both of these bodybuilding goals fail to address the scared little guy in the corner - your health.

My many years in the martial arts and bodybuilding gyms have shown me that bodybuilders will almost always put their muscle gains ahead of their health. They will try supplements without knowing the side effects, they will use fat burners without understanding how it works and so on.

If you are sitting there saying: "No, no, no... that's not me" then ask yourself this question: "What negative effects does all that protein you are eating have on your body?"

Can you answer it?

Probably not.

I’m inclined to agree. The concept of “getting big” is dangerous. Take power-lifters and linebackers for example. Dr. Fuhrman explains:

Bulking up is dangerous to one's longevity and power lifters and football linebackers often eat in a way that radically shortens their lives. If you were a weightlifter, for instance, you might improve your chances of muscle growth with more animal products then I recommend, certainly. But my point is too much animal products is not conducive to longevity. But if size is your only goal, go for it.

And that’s the point—I’ve seen it first hand—people living to get big are protein obsessed! From hefty amounts of meat to nonsensical protein shakes. More from Dr. Fuhrman:

Unfortunately, most trainers and bodybuilders are influenced by what they read in exercise and bodybuilding magazines. This is worse than getting nutritional information from comic books. Look through any current bodybuilding magazine; what are the vast majority of advertisements selling? Supplements! Most of the pages in these magazines are devoted to pushing worthless powders and pills. Supplement companies slant the opinions of the magazine article writers. The articles in the magazines are geared to support their advertisers.

Our entire society is on a protein binge, brainwashed with misinformation that we have been hearing since childhood. The educational materials used in most schools have been provided free by the meat, dairy, and egg industries for more than seventy years. These industries have successfully lobbied the government, resulting in favorable laws, subsidies, and advertising propaganda that promote corporate profits at the expense of national health. As a result, Americans have been programmed with dangerous information.

Also, eating too much animal products isn’t any better. The risks of consuming too much animal protein and meat are well documented. Dr. Fuhrman again:

For example, Inuit Greenlanders, who historically have had limited access to fruits and vegetables, have the worst longevity statistics in North America. Research from the past and present shows that they die on the average about 10 years younger and have a higher rate of cancer than the overall Canadian population.1

Similar statistics are available for the high meat-consuming Maasai in Kenya. They eat a diet high in wild hunted meats and have the worst life expectancy in the modern world. Life expectancy is 45 years for women and 42 years for men. African researchers report that, historically, Maasai rarely lived beyond age 60. Adult mortality figures on the Kenyan Maasai show that they have a 50% chance of dying before the age of 59.2

Now, the caveman response to all this is, “Ugh! What about complete protein? Me need beef.” It’s a myth. Jeff Novick, MS, RD discusses the Complementary Protein Myth:

The “incomplete protein” myth was inadvertently promoted in the 1971 book, Diet for a Small Planet, by Frances Moore Lappe. In it, the author stated that plant foods do not contain all the essential amino acids, so in order to be a healthy vegetarian, you needed to eat a combination of certain plant foods in order to get all of the essential amino acids. It was called the theory of “protein complementing.”

Frances Moore Lappe certainly meant no harm, and her mistake was somewhat understandable. She was not a nutritionist, physiologist, or medical doctor. She was a sociologist trying to end world hunger. She realized that there was a lot of waste in converting vegetable protein into animal protein, and she calculated that if people just ate the plant protein, many more people could be fed. In a later edition of her book (1991), she retracted her statement and basically said that in trying to end one myth—the unsolvable inevitability of world hunger, she created a second one—the myth of the need for “protein complementing.”

In these later editions, she corrects her earlier mistake and clearly states that all plant foods typically consumed as sources of protein contain all the essential amino acids, and that humans are virtually certain of getting enough protein from plant sources if they consume sufficient calories.

If you put in the time and do the research, you’ll find that plant sources are the optimal and safest sources of protein. Here’s Dr. Fuhrman’s chart from Nutrient Density of Green Vegetables:

It’s really sad. At my gym, on any given day there at least a few gorillas stuttering around, grunting, and sucking down hype drinks and shakes. Crazy!

Continue Reading...

HealthDay News: Shopping Safely, part 3

And now, the conclusion of HealthDay News’ three-part look at food safety in the United States: A Shopping List of Solutions. Amanda Gardner and E.J. Mundell report:
The current hodgepodge of food regulations were simply adopted as the need arose, experts say.

"You have a system that developed organically from the turn of the [20th] century," explained Jessica Milano, who wrote a report on food safety, Spoiled: Keeping Tainted Food Off America's Tables, that was published in September by the nonprofit Progressive Policy Institute. "As economies developed with more commercial food manufacturers and multi-ingredient products, you have some overlaps and redundancies."

Those overlaps and redundancies have left regulators and producers unable to guarantee the safety of all foods sold in the United States, critics contend.

Solutions to the problem fall into two broad categories: government-mandated reforms and reforms generated by the food industry itself. How these reforms would be implemented depends on whether the food is grown domestically or abroad…

…Michael Doyle, a microbiologist who is director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia in Griffin, agreed.

"There really needs to be a single food safety agency so that you don't have all of this ridiculous overlap and duplication," he said. "When you have it split up into different agencies like that, there's a lot of bureaucratic infighting."

Such a merger would also address the current imbalance in agency budgets and responsibilities. The FDA's food inspection division -- which most agree is woefully underfunded -- is charged with inspecting all foods except for meat, poultry and eggs, which are covered by the better-funded USDA.

Although the "superagency" concept has been implemented in other countries, many observers doubt this will happen in the United States.
Be sure to check out the whole series, here are parts two and three:

A Sunny Cancer-Fighter

“Laboratory, animal, and epidemiologic evidence suggests that vitamin D may be protective against cancer,” explains Dr. Fuhrman. According to him a lot of research has shown vitamin D to be a potent cancer-fighter. Take a look:
Epidemiologic studies suggest that a higher dietary intake of calcium and vitamin D, and/or sunlight-induced vitamin D synthesis, correlates with lower incidence of cancer, including lymphoma, breast, prostate, and colon cancer.1 In fact, for over 60 years, researchers have observed an inverse association between sun exposure and cancer mortality,2 and those with more sun exposure had fewer cancers.
Speaking of sun exposure—it’s important! Trust the facts. Being a mole-person is not a good idea. Get some sun, and, check out this study in the NewScientist. Sun-drenched populations are more protected against cancer. Andy Coghlan reports:
Sunshine is regularly blamed for causing fatal skin cancers, but it may help save your life if you develop a different cancer. It seems that sunlight has an overall protective effect as it stimulates the body's production of vitamin D, which helps to combat internal cancers, including those of the colon and prostate.

"A little sun exposure is a little better for you than avoiding sunlight," says Richard Setlow of Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, who co-led the new work. "Vitamin D doesn't lower the incidence of internal cancers, but it prevents more people dying from them."
Now, in case you’re curious or you forgot. Here Dr. Fuhrman explains just what makes sunlight so special. More reason to go into the light:
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that your body makes after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Vitamin D functions as a hormone because it sends a message to the intestines to increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorus.
For a long time I used to be a cave-dweller. I’d stay indoors all the time and hardly ever go outside. Not anymore. Now I drag my butt outside fairly often. How about you?
Continue Reading...

Aetiology on Antibiotic Resistance

Over at Aetiology, Tara C. Smith shares her opinions on a recent study about antibiotic resistance. Here’s a bit:
The current paradigm for antibiotic use is to prescribe relatively high doses of drugs for a few days to a few weeks (or months, in the case of tuberculosis), and patients are cautioned to stay on them until all the doses are finished. However, the new study RPM describes suggests this may be doing more harm than good, looking at what happens with Plasmodium species treated with antimalarials in a mouse model…

…This study doesn't take those into account, which is a limitation--but then again, it seems designed to be more of a paper to get fellow scientists thinking about these ideas in general, rather than an exhaustive test of every potential hypothesis stemming from them.

Either way, antibiotic resistance is certainly a huge problem, and we need to find better ways to preserve the drugs we do have. Reducing their use in this manner (lower and shorter doses) is certainly worth a second look.
For more on the antibiotic issue, check out this post: Antibiotics, Sinus Infections, Placebos, Oh My!

Hormone Therapy and Breast Cancer Risk

According to new research, hormone replacement therapy can raise the risk of an uncommon type of breast cancer. Maggie Fox of Reuters reports:
They found women who took combined estrogen/progestin hormone-replacement therapy for three years or more had four times the usual risk of lobular breast cancer.

Their study, published in the January issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, is one of dozens trying to paint a clearer picture of what dangers might come from taking HRT to treat menopause symptoms.

"Previous research indicated that five or more years of combined hormone-therapy use was necessary to increase overall breast-cancer risk," Dr. Christopher Li of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, who led the study, said in a statement.

Farmers Markets are Good for You!

You can’t beat a good farmers market; fresh produce straight from the field—awesome. Wait, it gets better. According to new research, farmers markets actually boost people’s consumption of fruits and veggies. The New York Times Well blog is on it:
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles tracked the eating habits of 602 area women taking part in the federal W.I.C. program. Some of the women were given $10 in weekly vouchers for vegetable and fruit purchases at a nearby farmers’ market or supermarket, while a control group received coupons for non-food products in exchange for sharing information about eating habits.

After six months, women who shopped at the farmers’ markets were eating about three additional servings of fruits and vegetables a day, compared to the control group. Supermarket shoppers consumed 1.5 extra servings.

It’s not clear why mothers visiting a farmers’ market wound up buying more vegetables than grocery store shoppers, but some women told the researchers that the produce sold at markets seemed to be fresher and of higher quality than supermarket offerings.
Now, I’ve said it before, but I hit the local farmers market every week, and in fact, right here on Followhealthlife we’ve looked at farmers markets from all over the world. In case you missed any, here’s a recap:
In the end, I guess it doesn’t really matter where you get your fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes, just as long as you get them. And what makes plant foods so special? Here’s a great quote from Dr. Fuhrman’s new Food Scoring Guide. Take a look:
There are over 1,000 important phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are the most recently found class of micronutrients, and they are necessary for your cells to remove waste and to maintain normal immune function. Fortunately, phytochemical are present in foods that also are naturally high in vitamins and minerals (i.e., natural plant foods).

For optimal health, you need lots of phytochemicals in your diet. Consuming abundant amounts of micronutrients will help protect you against disease, and if you already are sick, it can help you recover. Vegetables, beans, and fruit are naturally high in micronutrients, but Americans don’t eat much of them. We eat plenty of meat, cheese, chicken, pasta, white bread, oils, soda, and cookies, which are very low in micronutrients and contain no phytochemicals.
You know, looking at all those farmers markets, really makes me want to see the world, either that or flip on the travel channel.

HealthDay News: The Imported Food Alarm, part 2

If you didn’t see it yesterday, HealthDay News has kicked off a three part series on food safety. Here’s the second installment, its about imported foods. E.J.Mundell reports:
According to a FDA report released in 2003, pesticide violations were cited in 6.1 percent of imported foods sampled versus 2.4 percent of domestic products. And a report issued by the agency a few years earlier found traces of salmonella or the dysentery-linked bacteria shigella in 4 percent of imported fruits and vegetables versus 1.1 percent of domestic produce.

And there's more imported food in the nation's supermarkets than ever before. According to the CDC, food imports to the United States have almost doubled in the past decade, from $36 billion in 1997 to more than $70 billion in 2007.

Trouble is, inspections by the FDA -- either at the source of production or at the borders -- can't keep up. The agency is responsible for inspecting all imported foods with the exception of meat and egg products, which are covered by the Food Safety and Inspection Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Overall, "there's been an 81 percent drop [in FDA inspections] since 1972," noted Michael Doyle, director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia, in Griffin. "That's a huge reduction, and, at the same time, compared to 1972, we have a huge amount more of food imports."

In fact, the FDA's own data show that the number of inspectors at its Office of Regulatory Affairs dropped from 1,642 in 2003 to 1,389 in 2005 -- even as food imports rose from 9.3 million shipments per year to more than 13.8 million shipments annually.

The reason for the shortfall is simple, Doyle said: "Reduced budgets."
Oh! And here is the first part: U.S. Food Problems, part 1. Kudos to HealthDay News!

The King, Singing about Salad

Well, I like salad and I like Elvis Presley, I’m not sure about this “Annie,” but, any friend of salad is a friend of mine. Take a look:

In case your curious, here’s Wikipedia’s explanation of Poke Salad Annie and Poke Sallet—EEK! It’s poisonous.

Exercise and Menopause

Pay attention ladies. Some new research has determined that exercise may ease the symptoms of menopause. Reuters is on it:
Researchers found that middle-aged women who exercised regularly had lower levels of stress, anxiety and depression around the time of menopause than those who did not exercise regularly.

The findings, published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Medicine, add to evidence that physical activity can benefit mental, as well as physical, health.

"With the aging population, physical activity represents one way for women to stay mentally healthy," Dr. Deborah B. Nelson, the lead researcher on the study, said in a statement. "Physical activity can help throughout the menopausal transition and afterwards," added Nelson, a public health researcher at Temple University in Philadelphia.

The findings are based on data from 380 Philadelphia women who were 42 years old, on average, and premenopausal at the beginning of the study. Eight years later, 20 percent were menopausal and another 18 percent were in the late transitional phase.
Now, for fellow gym rats like me, Julie from Julie’s Health Club talks about why exercise is her favorite drug. Take a look:
I almost always come back from my workouts slightly high but also more focused, confident, alert and social. Two groundbreaking new books that view exercise as medicine explain why: Physical activity enhances the mind by balancing the brain's neurotransmitters along with other chemicals. Weight loss, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness are simply welcome side effects that come from breaking into a sweat.
"I tell people that going for a run is like taking a little bit of Prozac and a little bit of Ritalin because, like the drugs, exercise elevates those neurotransmitters," Harvard psychiatrist John Ratey writes in "Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain" (Little, Brown, $24.95). "Keeping your brain in balance can change your life."
It certainly did for world-class endurance athlete Christopher Bergland, an ultrarunner who holds the Guinness World Record for running farther and faster on a treadmill than any other human (153.76 miles in 24 hours).
The runner’s high is cool, but sometimes instead of a high, I get a “oh my god, I’m going to drop dead!”

Cloned Meat, Mostly Safe?

What the heck does that mean? Well, as far as the FDA is concerned “mostly safe” is a good enough reason to approve cloned meat and milk. Reuters reports:
A U.S. Food and Drug Administration report finds that meat and milk from cloned animals is, for the most part, safe to eat, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

The newspaper said it had obtained a copy of a long-awaited, 968-page "final risk assessment," from the agency ahead of release.

It said FDA experts measured vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B6 and B12 as well as niacin, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, phosphorous, zinc, fatty acids, cholesterol, fat, protein, amino acids and lactose in meat and milk from 600 cloned animals, including cattle and pigs.

Levels all looked normal.

The agency also found no health effects in animals fed meat and milk from cloned animals for more than three months.

"Food from cattle, swine, and goat clones is as safe to eat as that from their more conventionally-bred counterparts," the newspaper quotes the report as saying.
I just don’t know about this. I think cloning has some interesting implications, but eating cloned meat gives me the willies. Fortunately some people want the FDA's decision to be delayed until more studies can be done.

Grand Rounds: Briefing the Next US President

ParentDish meets The China Study

T. Colin Campbell’s China Study is a big deal here at Followhealthlife. It’s really drives home the point that a vegetable-based nutrient-dense diet is the way to go. In this video Dr. Campbell talks all about it:

Now, if you’re a parent or aspiring to be one, I suggest you give ParentDish a look. It’s a great blog. In this post Kristin Darguzas talks about her recent discovery of The China Study. Here’s a blurb:
I read the China Study. It's not written by an animal rights activist, nor by anyone who could be called insane by any stretch of the imagination. It's written by an extremely intelligent and respected nutritionist and researcher who presents his studies in a logical, methodical, terrifying way. And as I read the last page, I realized, oh no. I don't think I can eat dairy anymore. For me, this book is one of those soul-altering books that has changed the way I see the world, permanently.

Among some of the startling ideas in the book include the suggestion that the Dairy Industry's marketing board has been "educating" children with completely false information on the healthiness of cow's milk for decades, that animal meat causes cancer, that the knowledge (ie. a plant-based diet) is there to prevent heart disease but it's routinely ignored because...well, there is money to be made.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell suggests that he has the answers to America's obesity problem. I tend to believe him. My Dad says it's total hoey, there's a new fad every day... he'd also refuse to read it. My Mom just read it and says she won't be eating meat again. )
For more on The China Study, check out this interview with T. Colin Campbell over at Raw Vegan Radio. Here are a couple great quotes:
“We’ve had inklings and pretty good evidence to show, for example, that consuming vegetables and fruits and grains could help to prevent heart disease. And then it came about that also in the more recent years it was shown also to be associated with prevention of cancer as well.”

“It turns out that plant-based diets not only help to prevent these major diseases, these chronic degenerative diseases like cancer and heart disease, but also consuming that kind of diet, low in fat, low in salt, low in sugar, consuming that kind of diet also can be used to keep under control diabetes, and it can be used to control obesity to a great extent if its done right. Certainly a lot safer way to keep bodyweight down than the really rather silly Atkins nonsense that crept into our vernacular over the last few years.”
I love how the phrase “silly Atkins nonsense” just rolls off the tongue, but seriously, if you’re unfamiliar with The China Study, check it out. From The China Study website:
If you’re looking to enhance your health, performance and your success read The China Study immediately. Finally, scientifically valid guidance on how much protein we need and where we should get it. The impact of these findings is enormous.

Joel Fuhrman, M.D., Author of the bestselling book, Eat To Live
Hey! We know that Joel Fuhrman guy.

HealthDay News: U.S. Food Problems, part 1

This is pretty cool. HealthDay News is kicking off a three part investigation on U.S. food safety issues. More from Amanda Gardner:
More than ever before, Americans are worried about the safety of the food they put in their mouths -- and with good reason.

In little less than a year and a half, the nationwide recalls of tainted products have formed their own peculiar food pyramid: meats, vegetables, salad, snacks, fast food, even dessert items. The various pathogens in those products killed at least three people, sickened more than 1,300 others and touched almost every state in the country as well as Canada.

And even though the number of outbreaks has leveled off over the last few years, it is the variety of outbreaks that most troubles the scientists and government health officials who deal with them: Many of the contaminations are showing up in foods never before associated with poisoning…

…Increasingly today, produce is grown in fields close to cattle and, sometimes, wild animals. The E. coli spinach contamination could have come from cattle or boar feces, or from contaminated irrigation systems, federal officials concluded.

The widening of E. coli cases from protein products to fresh fruits and vegetables is related to "the fact that U.S. agricultural commodities tend to be grown in areas that have cattle, which are reservoirs for bacteria," explained Bruce Clark, a partner in the Seattle law firm of Marler Clark, which represents victims of food poisoning. "As soon as you have manure on the ground, and you have birds and wild animals and water, you have all these vectors for transferring bacteria to fresh fruits and vegetables."

And, most of the time, Clark added, produce is not subjected to the "kill step" (usually cooking), which would eliminate the pathogens. In fact, washing may not even help because of the ability of the organisms to cling to food surfaces.

Food Triggers, Bang-Bang

“It is not easy to change: eating has emotional and social overtones,” explains Dr. Fuhrman, “It is especially difficult to break an addiction. Our American diet style is addicting.” And according to Shari Roan of The Los Angeles Times, environmental triggers might be causing Americans to overeating. Take a look:
To make Americans eat less and eat more healthily, they contend, the environment itself needs to be changed -- with laws regulating portion size, labeling or the places where food can be sold or eaten. That would be much easier, the researchers add, than overcoming human nature. The theory that our society -- not us -- is to blame for our overall expanding waist size is garnering support from health and nutrition experts. To recap the dismal statistics: In the last 25 years, the number of obese Americans has increased from 14.5% to 32.2%. Two out of three adults are overweight, as are 19% of children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Almost everybody is gaining weight in almost all socioeconomic groups. It's not limited to certain people. It's everywhere," says Dr. Deborah A. Cohen, a senior natural scientist at Rand Corp. and the author of a recent paper on the environmental theory of obesity. "Look at doctors, nurses and dietitians who are overweight or obese. If it has anything to do with how much we know about nutrition or how much we're motivated, we would never see people with such expertise be overweight or obese…”

…Eating is an automatic behavior that has little to do with choice, willpower or even hunger, Cohen says. Her paper, with co-author Thomas Farley of Tulane University's Prevention Research Center, was published online last month in Preventing Chronic Disease, the peer-reviewed health journal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cohen and Farley argue that automatic behaviors can be controlled, but only for a short time (the reason most diets ultimately fail). A more effective approach, they say, would be to decrease the accessibility, visibility and quantities of food people are exposed to, and the environmental cues that promote eating.
I don’t agree. In America, this land of plenty, most people have a choice. You don’t HAVE to partake in the endless piles of junk food. Dr. Fuhrman will tell you, it might be tough, but the sooner you kick your emotional attachments to food, the better. Here’s a quote:
Obviously, there are complicated emotional and psychological factors that make it more difficult for some to achieve success at overcoming food addiction. Additionally, some physical changes may initially discourage you. Stopping caffeine, reducing sodium, and dropping saturated fat from your diet while increasing fiber and nutrients may result in increased gas, headaches, fatigue, and other withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms are temporary and rarely last longer than one week. Eventually the high volume of food and high nutrient content will help prevent long-term food cravings.
Honestly, a few days of feeling crappy is well worth a lifetime of feeling fantastic—don’t you think?


No surprise here. A recent clinical trial has determined that the cholesterol drug Zetia failed to show any medical benefits. Alex Berenson of The New York Times reports:
The results will add to the growing concern over Zetia and Vytorin, a drug that combines Zetia with another cholesterol medicine in a single pill. About 70 percent of patients who take Zetia do so in the form of Vytorin, which combines Zetia with the cholesterol drug Zocor.

While Zetia lowers cholesterol by 15 to 20 percent in most patients, no trial has ever shown that it can reduce heart attacks and strokes — or even that it reduces the growth of the fatty plaques in arteries that can cause heart problems.

This trial was designed to show that Zetia could reduce the growth of those plaques. Instead, the plaques actually grew somewhat faster in patients taking Zetia along with Zocor than in those taking Zocor alone. Patients in the trial who took the combination of Zetia and Zocor were receiving it in the form of Vytorin pills.

Dr. Steven Nissen, the chairman of cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic, said the results were “shocking.” Patients should not be prescribed Zetia unless all other cholesterol drugs have failed, he said.
You guessed it! Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of taking needless magic pills. Here he talks about something all physicians should remember. Take a look:
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 not undo the damage or remove the disease.
I’m curious. How do drug-makers market around this debacle? That’s the real magic!

Blogging about Beaver Brook

In case you couldn’t make it. Here’s a bird’s eye view—and by bird’s eye I mean my eye view—of yesterday’s Eat for Health Seminar at the Beaver Brook Country Club in Annandale, New Jersey. Let’s sign in and grab a packet…


Wait, before we check out the presentations, make sure you stock up on any Dr. Fuhrman goodies, books, and vitamins you might need…



Now that your hands are full, Earl—who is also’s friendly tech-support—will be happy to check you out…

Okay, we’re all set, time to—oh, hello. Nice to meet you David! Yup, I’m the blog guy. I’m glad you enjoy it. Thanks for reading! Hey, what are you reading…

I know the new Food Scoring Guide is very cool. Nice meeting you David—okay, time for the presentations, but first, let me grab something to eat…

Wow! Looks like a heard of ravenous nutritarians stampeded through all the grub. No worries, I didn’t come here to eat. Okay, presentation time—hey, how are you…

Thanks for reading Susan! You lost 42 pounds so far? That’s great! Yes, definitely email me about Operation Banana Hunt. See you later—now let me find a seat…


Wow! Talk about a packed house. Here looks good. First up, Dr. Fuhrman’s colleague Jennifer Petrillo, MD is getting ready to give us a research update…

Thanks Dr. Petrillo, lots of great information. Okay, Dr. Fuhrman’s taking the stage, but first, check out my fellow employee Kurt working the camera…

Trust me, he’s not sleeping. He’s just resting his eyes. Now, without any further ado, here’s Dr. Fuhrman talking about his approach to health and nutrition…

Dr. Fuhrman was also joined by a few friends. 


Now, nutritarian Beth takes the stage to share her story…

To close the show, Lisa Fuhrman talks about just how easy it is to be a nutritarian

The day also included some fun and games. Here Dr. Fuhrman staffers Janice and Susan raffle off some prime swag…

Nope, I didn’t win, but then again, when you're a nutritarian, you win everyday. Quick! Let’s head over and get an autograph from Dr. Fuhrman—wait! First, check this out…

I thought that was a nice picture of new nutritarian Billy, leafing through Dr. Fuhrman’s book. Now, back to those autographs…

That was fun! Its great to see so many people taking control of their health. Okay, time to head home—hi there. Wow! All three of you are becoming nutritarians? Cool. Let me get a picture…

Nice meeting you Paloma, Annette, and Marieli! Thanks again for reading the blog, good luck being nutritarians—alright, an exciting day has officially come to an end. I’m out of here. Thanks to everyone who came out! Peace.


Strength Training Good for the Neck

A Danish study has determined strength training exercises can help relieve chronic neck pain. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports:
The Danish researchers found that specific strength training exercises produced prolonged relief of neck muscle pain, but general fitness training led to only a small reduction in neck pain.

The study included 94 women with chronic neck pain who did assembly line or office work -- 79 percent of them used a keyboard for more than three-quarters of their working time. The women were assigned to one of three groups: supervised specific strength training (SST) exercises for the neck and shoulder muscles; high-intensity general fitness training (GFT) on a bicycle ergometer; or health counseling but no physical training.

The women in the two exercise groups worked out for 20 minutes three times a week for 10 weeks. Those in the SST group showed a marked decrease in neck pain with a lasting effect after the training ended, while those in the GFT group showed a small temporary decrease in neck pain after exercise.
Come to think of it. Reading all this health news everyday certainly gives me a crick in the neck!

St. Louis Organic Farmers Market

Here’s a great look at a new farmers market in St. Louis. Enjoy:

And yes, he did say YOGA!

Obesity, a Lifestyle?

Experts believe obesity is a lifestyle choice. More from Karin Zeitvogel of the AFP:
"Obesity is a natural extension of an advancing economy. As you become a First World economy and you get all these labor-saving devices and low-cost, easily accessible foods, people are going to eat more and exercise less," health economist Eric Finkelstein told AFP.

In "The Fattening of America", published this month, Finkelstein says that adult obesity more than doubled in the United States between 1960 and 2004, rising from 13 percent to around 33 percent.

Globally, only Saudi Arabia fares worse than the United States in terms of the percentage of adults with a severe weight problem -- 35 percent of people in the oil-rich desert kingdom are classified as obese, the book says, citing data from the World Health Organization and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Taste This...

Sherry Kale
1 large bunch kale
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup sherry wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon oregano
Strip the kale leaves from the main stem. Chop leaves. Saute' the onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the vinegar, allspice, basil, oregano, and chopped kale and saute', stirring occasionally until kale is tender, about 15 minutes. Serves 4.

Soy & Green Bean Medley

2 cups fresh cut green beans
1 cup frozen soybeans, thawed
1 cup canned aduki beans, no or low salt
2 scallions, chopped
2 tablespoons currants
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons 100% apricot fruit spread
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Steam green beans and soybeans together about 8 minutes or until crisp tender. Remove to bowl and add aduki beans, scallions, and currants. With a wire whisk combine rest of ingredients and toss with bean mixture. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving to let flavors combine. Serves 6.

Hawaiian Sweet Potato Pudding

4 medium sweet potatoes (use organic for a sweeter taste)
1 cup orange juice
canned sliced pineapple (unsweetened), drained well
1 tablespoon date sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prick sweet potatoes with a fork. Bake for 1 hour or until soft. Let cool and peel off skin. Mash sweet potatoes in a food processor or high powered blender with orange juice and date sugar, if desired. Spread mixture into a 9X9 inch glass baking dish. Cover with pineapple slices. Bake at 350 degrees for 1/2 hour. Serves 4.

Eating to Live on the Outside: Main Squeeze Natural Foods Caf�

Whoa! I’m reeling. Between the news that blogging is hazardous to my health and the aftershocks of last week’s Eating to Live on the Outside nightmare, Buffalo's Southwest Café, I’m in need of saving. Oh please, oh please! Let this week’s restaurant be more palatable.

Now, like avenging angels, loyal Followhealthlife readers Jayson and Julie, swooped in and splattered this on my windshield. So, today Eating to Live on the Outside is paying Main Squeeze Natural Foods Café a visit. Well, not literally, via the powers of the internet—BEHOLD!

Main Squeeze is actually looking pretty good. It’s not perfect, but far better than Buffalo’s Southwest Café...of premature death. Now, there are some pesky things to deal with, like cheese, bread, and eggs, but nothing as bad as last week’s grilled pork chop and fried cheesecake. Alright, time to put Jayson and Julie’s recommendation to the test. Let’s hit it!

Okay, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and lucky for me. Main Squeeze has some solid breakfast options, four in fact. I like the Aussie Platter, the Mediterranean Scrambler, the Fruit Salad, and the Low Carb Scrambler—and yes, the name of that last one gave me the heebeegeebees too. Combined, these dishes include scrambled eggs or tofu, steamed spinach, soysage, wholegrain toast or corn muffin, tomato, scallions, spinach, broccoli, Monterey Jack cheese, peppers, onions, Feta cheese, and seasonal or organic fruit. Alright, I’m ditching the eggs—even though Dr. Fuhrman considers eggs to be a safer animal food—the soysage, cheese, and wholegrain toast or corn muffin have also got to go. In the end, you’re left with a nice array of veggies to go with that tofu.

Next up are the soups and salads. Honestly, I like them all. They’re all loaded with tasty veggies—like spinach, beets, sunflower seeds, and almonds—but I really like Nell’s 7 Layer and Babette’s Feast. Nell’s 7 Layer is prepared with lettuce, cabbage, carrot, beet, tomato, cucumber, sunflower seeds, and sprouts. Come on! It’s hard to beat beets. Now, Babette’s Feast is made with spinach, apple, beet, red onion, Swiss cheese, and almonds. Clearly, the cheese is out the window, but other then that, they’re both looking really great. Oh! And I’d be sure to go easy on the dressing.

There are also some options lurking in the sandwiches and wraps. They’ve go some teeny-tiny concession, but nothing earth-shattering. For example, the Super Mario sandwich is prepared on a baguette with hummus, roasted peppers, spinach, tomato, red onion, Feta cheese, and topped with a roasted red pepper dressing. Again, the cheese gets the heave-ho, but, I’d obviously keep the baguette and the hummus. The baguette is a concession because its bread and the hummus most likely has some sort of oil. I can live with both of them, especially if I order the dressing on the side. Two more decent options would be the Good Fortune Wrap and the Garden Burrito; together they include tofu, brown rice, carrot, spinach, cabbage, scallions, sesame seeds, sesame ginger dressing, grilled tortilla, beans, Monterey Jack cheese, beets, sprouts, salsa, and lettuce. For starters, I’m ditching the cheese, but keeping everything else, meaning the concessions would be the tortilla and the brown rice—no biggie!

As for the hot dishes, I’m digging the Buddha Bowl and the Peggy Plate. The Buddha Bowl is made with brown rice, tofu, carrot, broccoli, cabbage, scallions, sesame seeds, sprouts, and sesame ginger sauce. The concession would be the brown the rice, I can deal with it. I’d also order the sesame ginger sauce on the side. The Peggy Plate comes with brown rice, beans, the vegetable of the day, and lemon tahini. Looks cool to me! I’m currently on the edge of my seat thinking about the veggie of the day.

Finally, Main Squeeze offers some fresh juice combinations too. Personally, I’m not that big on juice—aside from my shot of pomegranate juice every morning—but, if you’re feeling adventurous, they all looking pretty nutrient-dense. The Ring of Fire is neat; it’s made with apple, orange, beet, and ginger. The Elvis Parsley is fun too. It’s a blend of carrot, celery, spinach, parsley, and beet—interesting, very-very interesting.

Well, I got to hand it to Jayson and Julie. They picked a winner here. Usually when I pick a winner, I just stick it under my desk. Kudos guys! Okay boys and girls. It’s your turn. Are Jayson and Julie really onto something? Scope out Main Squeeze’s menu and let me know how you handle Eating to Live on the Outside. As always, make a comment or send an email to Until then, eat healthfully! Peace.

Calcium, Exercise; Good for Young Girls

Most people are convinced that milk is the only REAL source of calcium—hogwash! Dr. Fuhrman makes it quite clear, fruits and vegetables—especially green vegetables—are loaded with calcium. He talks about in his book Eat to Live. Take a look:
Many green vegetables have calcium-absorption rates of over 50 percent, compared with about 32 percent for milk.1 Additionally since animal protein induces calcium excretion in the urine, the calcium retention from vegetables is higher. All green vegetables are high in calcium.
In fact, if you break it down per calorie. Many fruits and vegetables contain far more milligrams of calcium than foods like milk and eggs. Check out this chart:

Now, here’s something really cool—ladies pay special attention—new research has determined that a calcium-rich diet and lots of exercise early in life, is a great way to maintain strong bones later in life. Pohla Smith of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports:
Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jan Grudziak likens the process of building bones strong enough to prevent osteoporosis to investing in a retirement fund. But in the case of bones, the fund is built from childhood on by eating calcium-rich foods and doing weight-bearing exercise.

His metaphor is particularly apt for women, who have lower peak bone mass than men, start to lose it much earlier and lose it at a slightly faster rate.

"The best picture is that it's an investment for the future," said Dr. Grudziak, of Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. "With the retirement for bone, the age is 30 to 35. You have to drain the investments." Just like retirement funds, the earlier and bigger the investment, the more bone strength you have to lose…

…"It's been quoted that less than half [of the girls] get the calcium quantities they need," said registered dietitian Cindy Miller, who is part of the clinical nutrition staff of Children's Outpatient Nutrition Counseling Center. "For ages 9 to 12 it might be better. They're younger and parents might have a little more control over them than a teen who goes out to a restaurant and won't order milk. ... They say only 15 percent of teen girls get the required amount of calcium."

That amount is 1,300 milligrams, the high-calcium equivalent of four dairy servings. One serving is 8 ounces of milk or yogurt or 11/2 ounces of hard cheese, Ms. Miller said. Other good sources include pudding; dark leafy vegetables, particularly collard and turnip greens and broccoli; calcium-fortified or calcium-set soy; dry beans; and calcium-fortified foods like orange juice, soy milk or rice milk.
You got to love the kudos being given to veggie calcium—very cool! Another great source of plant calcium is flaxseed. Here’s what Dr. Fuhrman has to say about this neat little seed. Have a look:
Flaxseed is rich in lignans, a type of fiber associated with a reduced risk of both breast cancer and prostate cancer, and omega 3 essential fatty acid, also known as alpha linoleic acid (ALA), which is essential for health maintenance and disease prevention. In addition, flaxseed is a good source of iron, zinc, calcium, protein, potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, and folate.
Now, as far as exercises goes. We all know it’s good for us, but, do you know the proper way to do different exercises? If you don’t, these exercise demonstrations from The Washington Post will get you up to speed. Here’s a couple:

Good thing that guy’s not straining too hard. In that position…bad things could happen—EEK!
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Alzheimer's: Lead Can Make You Coo-Coo

New research has determined that lead’s toxic effects may up the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Andy Coghlan of the NewScientist is on it:
Monkeys exposed to the heavy metal during infancy may be predisposed to develop the equivalent of Alzheimer's disease.

"We're not saying that lead exposure causes Alzheimer's disease, but it's a risk factor," says Nasser Zawia of the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, whose team discovered the link.

Zawia's team fed baby monkeys infant formula milk laced with low levels of lead, then followed their progress until the age of 23. While the adult monkeys did not show symptoms of Alzheimer's per se, post-mortem analyses of their brains showed that the lead-fed monkeys had plaques and other abnormalities identical to those found in the brains of people with Alzheimer's.
Lead’s been in the news a lot lately. Here are some recent posts:

Smoking: U.S. Not Butting Out Enough

Apparently the United States is coming up short in anti-smoking efforts. Maggie Fox of Reuters reports:
The U.S. Congress and President George W. Bush have stymied efforts to tighten regulation of tobacco and discourage smoking and states have not spent nearly enough to battle cigarettes, the American Lung Association said on Thursday.

The group implied that heavy lobbying and spending by tobacco companies was influencing at least some politicians and urged Congress to give the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate cigarettes.

"While many states have failed to make meaningful progress at protecting their most vulnerable citizens, the tobacco companies are spending billions of dollars annually marketing their deadly products," the report reads.

"A report issued by Common Cause and the Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund found that the tobacco industry made almost $3 million in Political Action Committee contributions to federal candidates during the 2005-2006 election cycle, including more than $1.7 million in contributions directly to federal candidates," it adds.

Its Vegetable Man!

This guy must inhabit the nightmares of low-carbers. It’s a hoot! Take a look:

He sounds like Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein.

Meat, a Bad Idea for Breast Cancer

No one wants cancer. In Eat to Live, Dr. Fuhrman explains that the best way to prevent cancer is adopting a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Take a look at this:
Humans are genetically adapted to expect a high intake of natural and unprocessed plant-derived substances. Cancer is a disease of maladaptation. It results primarily from a body’s lacking critical substances found in different types of vegetation, many of which are still undiscovered, that are metabolically necessary for normal protective function. Natural foods unadulterated by man are highly complex—so complex that the exact structure and the majority of compounds they contain are not precisely known. A tomato, for example, contains more than ten thousand different phytochemicals.
Conversely, eating lots of animal products and meat has the opposite effect. Need proof? Check out this study in the International Journal of Cancer. Here’s the abstract:
Meat intake has been positively associated with risk of digestive tract cancers in several epidemiological studies, while data on the relation of meat intake with cancer risk at most other sites are inconsistent. The overall data set, derived from an integrated series of case-control studies conducted in northern Italy between 1983 and 1996, included the following incident, histologically confirmed neoplasms: oral cavity, pharynx and esophagus (n = 497), stomach (n = 745), colon (n = 828), rectum (n = 498), liver (n = 428), gallbladder (n = 60), pancreas (n = 362), larynx (n = 242), breast (n = 3,412), endometrium (n = 750), ovary (n = 971), prostate (n = 127), bladder (n = 431), kidney (n = 190), thyroid (n = 208), Hodgkin's disease (n = 80), non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (n = 200) and multiple myelomas (n = 120). Controls were 7,990 patients admitted to hospital for acute, non-neoplastic conditions unrelated to long-term modifications in diet. The multivariate odds ratios (ORs) for the highest tertile of red meat intake (7 times/week) compared with the lowest (3 times/week) were 1.6 for stomach, 1.9 for colon, 1.7 for rectal, 1.6 for pancreatic, 1.6 for bladder, 1.2 for breast, 1.5 for endometrial and 1.3 for ovarian cancer. ORs showed no significant heterogeneity across strata of age at diagnosis and sex. No convincing relation with red meat intake emerged for cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx and esophagus, liver, gallbladder, larynx, kidney, thyroid, prostate, Hodgkin's disease, non-Hodgkin's lymphomas and multiple myeloma. For none of the neoplasms considered was there a significant inverse relationship with red meat intake. Thus, reducing red meat intake might lower the risk for several common neoplasms.
You just can’t be solid concrete research. Want more? Get load of this study in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention. The PCRM sent it over:
A substudy of the Diet, Cancer and Health study, a prospective cohort study established to evaluate the role of diet and cancer among 24,697 postmenopausal Danish women, was set up to evaluate the relationship between meat consumption and risk of breast cancer. This nested study looked at 378 women who developed breast cancer and matched them to controls who did not develop breast cancer. A higher intake of meat (red meat, poultry, fish, and processed meat) was associated with a significantly higher breast cancer incidence rate. Every 25 gram increase in consumption of total meat, red meat, and processed meat led to a 9, 15, and 23 percent increase in risk of breast cancer, respectively. However, the degree of risk may depend on genetics. Certain genes activate the carcinogens (heterocyclic amines) found in cooked meat. The study showed women with genes that rapidly activate these carcinogens are at particular risk of breast cancer if they eat meat.
Now, for more ways to prevent breast cancer, Dr. Fuhrman whipped up this list of ways women can protect themselves. Have a look:
1. Do not drink alcohol.
2. Do not smoke.
3. Do not take estrogen.
4. Have babies and nurse them for two years each.
5. Avoid dietary carcinogens, which are predominantly found in fatty fish and dairy fat.
6. Eat a high-nutrient, vegetable-based diet as described in my book, Eat To Live. Green vegetables are the most powerful anti-breast cancer food. Take note that a vegetarian diet does not show protection against breast cancer as much as a diet rich in green vegetables, berries, and seeds. It is the phytochemical nutrient density and diversity of the diet that offers the most dramatic protection against cancer, not merely the avoidance of meat or fat.
7. Take a multivitamin to assure nutritional completeness and take at least 100mg of DHA daily.
8. Use one tablespoon of ground flax seeds daily.
9. Don’t grill or fry foods. Steaming vegetables or making vegetable soups should be the major extent of cooking.
10. Exercise at least three hours a week, and maintain a lean body with little body fat.
I’m no doctor, but, I bet these tips would help against all cancers. What do you think?

Fat and Lazy...

New research claims obesity is linked to reduced productivity at work. More from the Armenian Medical Network:
Employees who are moderately to extremely obese have reduced productivity on the job, even compared to overweight or mildly obese workers, reports a study in the January Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).

Led by Donna M. Gates. Ed.D., R.N., of University of Cincinnati, the researchers measured various aspects of productivity in a random sample of 341 manufacturing employees. Most of the workers were overweight or obese, including a 23 percent rate of mild obesity (body mass index [BMI] 30 to 34.9) and a 13 percent rate of moderate to extreme obesity (BMI 35 or higher). Another 43 percent of workers were classified as overweight but not obese (BMI 25 to 29.9).

Workers with moderate to extreme obesity had the greatest health-related limitations at work, or “presenteeism.” specifically, moderately to extremely obese workers had limitations in time needed to complete work tasks and ability to meet physical work demands. These limitations were significantly greater than in the overweight or mildly obese groups.
Oh man. I can relate to this. When I was a porker, I worked like a beached whale, now, I buzz around the office like a coked up bumble bee.

About Vitamin C points out some good sources of Vitamin C. Take a look:
  • Red peppers
  • Papayas
  • Green peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Strawberries
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Citrus fruits (oranges, grape fruit, etc.)
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Tomato Soup
  • Kellogg's Product 19 cereal
  • General Mill's Whole Grain Total cereal
  • Cantaloupe
  • Mangos
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Raspberries
  • Spinach
  • Honeydew Melons
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon
Here’s more info on where you can get your Vitamin C fix. Check it out:
Yahoo Health: 4 Healthy Foods
“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).”

Strawberry, Strawberry, Strawberries!
“Nutritionally strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese, a very good source of iodine and dietary fiber, and a good source of vitamins B2, B5, B6 and K, potassium, folate, magnesium, copper and omega_3 fatty acids.”

Popeye Was Right--Greens Pack a Powerful Punch
“Now, which has more vitamin E or vitamin C--broccoli or steak? I'm sure you are aware that steak has no vitamin C or vitamin E. It is also almost totally lacking in fiber, folate, vitamin A, beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, vitamin K, flavonoids, and thousands of other protective phytochemicals. Meat does have certain vitamins and minerals, but even when we consider the nutrients that meat does contain, broccoli has lots more of them. For many important nutrients, broccoli has more than ten times as much as steak. The only exception is vitamin B12, which is not found in plant fare.”

It's Lime Time
“Nutritionally limes are a very good source of vitamin C, as mentioned before, and a good source of dietary fiber, calcium, iron and copper and they are low in sodium. They also contain the flavonoids called flavonol glycosides which have antibiotic properties and are said to stop cell division in many cancer cell lines. Due to the high vitamin C levels and antibiotic properties they are a natural way to prevent gum disease and to ease bacterial infections and colds. They are also a remedy for indigestion, heartburn, and nausea.”

Milk...has Killed

Three deaths have been blamed on tainted milk coming out of New England. The Associated Press reports:
At Whittier Farms dairy, the fifth-generation owners brag of the quality of their Holstein cows and still deliver milk right to your door, in glass bottles. Customers like the products because they are a hormone-free taste of old New England.

But health officials now say three elderly men have died and at least one pregnant woman has miscarried since last June after drinking bacteria-contaminated milk from the dairy’s plant in Shrewsbury, about 35 miles west of Boston.

All were infected with listeria, which is extremely rare in pasteurized milk. It is more often found in raw foods, such as uncooked meat and vegetables, and processed foods such as soft cheeses and cold cuts.
Instead of lost children, maybe they should start putting a skull and crossbones on milk cartons.

Giant Chinese Vegetables!

China’s “Garden of Eden” is growing HUGE fruits and veggies. Check it out:

Eek! Imagine the price per pound.

Antibiotics, Sinus Infections, Placebos, Oh My!

“Hey doc! I got an ear infection and my sinuses hurt. Give me some antibiotics,” said Joe public. Now, the sadly reality is that this isn’t too far from the truth. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Many patients don't think a doctor is doing his job if he doesn't prescribe antibiotics or other medication. If he doesn't prescribe the medication they want, some patients actually will look for another doctor who will.
If I was a doctor, this little scenario would—quite frankly—piss me off, but, since big pharma has made most Americas pill-starved hypochondriacs, what can you except? More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Drug companies are a big part of this problem. They promote the use of their products through widespread advertising and the practice of giving free samples of the more potent, broad-spectrum antibiotics to doctors.

Most doctors perpetuate this problem because they give in to the pressure to prescribe antibiotics. They like to appear that they are offering an important and necessary service by writing prescriptions.
The scary part is, any self-respecting doctor will tell you antibiotics are useful, but, our overuse of antibiotics is making them less and less effective. Here Dr. Fuhrman talks about when antibiotics should be used:
Antibiotics are the appropriate treatment for severe bacterial infections. These infections include cellulitis, Lyme disease, pneumonia, joint infections, cat bites, meningitis, and bronchitis in a long-term smoker. Bronchitis in a non-smoker is just a bad cold. Almost every viral syndrome involves the bronchial tree and sinuses. The presence of yellow, brown, or green mucus does not indicate the need for an antibiotic.
So, with all this being said. What about sinus infections? Should physicians treat sinus infections with antibiotics? This blurb from Dr. Fuhrman will clear things up—no pun intended—take a look:
Sinusitis is not an appropriate diagnosis for the routine use of an antibiotic. Antibiotics should be reserved for the more serious sinus infections that show evidence of persistent symptoms lasting more than a week, such as continual fever and headache that accompanies facial pain and facial tenderness.
And let’s not forget, recent research already has determined that prescribing antibiotics is not always a good idea when treating sinus infections. The Associated Press reported:
The researchers say the findings are troubling because overuse of antibiotics is leading to more virulent and even drug-resistent bacteria. Their concerns echo those of doctors who've studied the effectiveness of antibiotics on ear infections.

"We don't want to be using up our antibiotics on these people," said Dr. Don Leopold, chair of the University of Nebraska Medical Center's Department of Otolaryngology who worked on the sinus study.

The study, which appears in the March issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology, looked at two national surveys of patient data from 1999 to 2002. They showed 14.28 million doctor visits were for diagnosed chronic rhinosinusitis and another 3.12 million for acute rhinosinusitis.
Let’s explore this more deeply. Remember this report from HealthDay News? Apparently many pneumonia patients receive antibiotics when they don’t really need them. Take a look:
The study, conducted in 2005, followed a group of 152 emergency room patients who met eligibility criteria for receiving antibiotics. Of this group, 65.1 percent received antibiotics within four hours of arriving at the hospital. The remaining 34.9 percent were identified as "outliers," and more than half (58.5 percent) of the outliers did not have a final diagnosis of pneumonia. And 43 percent of the outliers had an abnormal chest X-ray, compared with 95 percent of those who received antibiotics…

…"It was not possible in many of the cases to actually have given them antibiotics because a lot of them didn't actually have pneumonia or got a diagnosis later," said Dr. Jesse Pines, author of an accompany editorial in the journal, and an attending physician in the department of emergency medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He supports the study findings.
Okay, but back to sinus infections. Anahad O’Connor of The New York Times conducts a brief and blunt mini-investigation of the claim that antibiotics will beat a sinus infection. Here’s a bit:
For years, doctors have prescribed what seemed like simple cures: a prescription for an antibiotic like amoxicillin or a steroid nasal spray. They may be the standard medications, but perhaps they are not as effective as once thought. Several studies have examined their effects and found that they are no better at shortening a sinus infection than no medication at all.

The latest study, published in December in The Journal of the American Medical Association, looked at 240 cases. The subjects were assigned to four groups for different treatments: a full amoxicillin course for a week along with 400 units of steroid spray for 10 days, just the spray, just the amoxicillin or just a placebo. The treatments were no better than placebo, a finding shown in studies of children. The reason is not entirely clear, but researchers suspect that antibiotics may not be very good at reaching the sinuses. Experts recommend other approaches like taking ibuprofen, inhaling steam or using salt water to flush the nasal cavity.
Makes sense to me, but in our quick-fix culture, I doubt it’ll catch on. Maybe if people were more in tune with the consequences of taking unnecessary antibiotics, they’d be more cautious. Dr. Fuhrman talks about it in Disease-Proof Your Child:
In every single person who takes an antibiotic, the drug kills a broad assortment of helpful bacteria that live in the digestive tract and aid digestion. It kills the “bad” bacteria, such as those that can complicate and infection, but it also kills these helpful “good” bacteria lining your digestive tract that have properties that protect from future illness.
This topic comes up a lot and people always seem concerned, but, like anything else, we probably won’t do anything about it until pandemonium is at our doorstep.

Diabetes vs. Beans--BRING IT!

Type-2 diabetes is no joke, but luckily for us, a vegetable-based high-nutrient is a great way to prevent and fight it! Dr. Fuhrman points this out:
When you eat a diet consisting predominantly of nature's perfect foods—green vegetables, beans, eggplant, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, raw nuts and seeds, and limited amounts of fresh fruit, it becomes relatively easy to eat as much as you want and still lose your excess weight. In my experience, those who follow my nutritional recommendations find that their diabetes disappears astonishingly fast, even before most of their excess weight melts away.
Pretty cool—right? Wait, it gets better. New research has determined that legumes (beans) are linked to a lower diabetes risk. Stephen Daniells of Food Navigator reports:
The dietary habits of over 64,000 women were assessed and correlated with the development of type-2 diabetes over about five years, and a high intake of all legumes was associated with a 38 per cent reduction in risk of developing the disease, report researchers in this month's American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

An estimated 19 million people are affected by diabetes in the EU 25, equal to four per cent of the total population. This figure is projected to increase to 26 million by 2030.

In the US, there are over 20 million people with diabetes, equal to seven per cent of the population. The total costs are thought to be as much as $132 bn, with $92 bn being direct costs from medication, according to 2002 American Diabetes Association figures.

According to background information in the study, it has been suggested previously that a high intake of these foods can have benefits against the development of type-2 diabetes, although data is limited for this link.
Sweet! This is reason to celebrate. Let’s party over beans until we explode—pun intended—get a load of this great bean information from Dr. Fuhrman. Here:
Your goal should be to eat an entire cup (or more) of beans daily. Beans are a powerhouse of superior nutrition. They reduce cholesterol and blood sugar. They have a high nutrient-per-calorie profile and help prevent food cravings. They are digested slowly, which has a stabilizing effect on your blood sugar and a resultant high satiety index. Eggplant and beans, mushrooms and beans, greens and beans are all high-nutrient, high-fiber, low-calorie main dishes. Throw a cup of beans on your salad for lunch. Eat bean soup. Scientific studies show a linear relationship between soup consumption and successful weight-loss.1 As weight-loss strategy, eating soup helps by slowing your rate of intake and reducing your appetite by filling your stomach.
For info on the benefits of beans, get a load of these previous posts:
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Health Points: Wednesday

To get an extra 14 years of life, don't smoke, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly and drink alcohol in moderation.

That's the finding of a study that tracked about 20,000 people in the United Kingdom.

Kay-Tee Khaw of the University of Cambridge and colleagues calculated that people who adopted these four healthy habits lived an average of 14 years longer than those who didn't.

"We've known for a long time that these behaviors are good things to do, but we've never seen these additive benefits before," said Susan Jebb, head of Nutrition and Health at Britain's Medical Research Council, which helped pay for the study.
Those Type A go-getters aren't the only ones stressing their hearts. Nervous Nelsons seem to be, too. Researchers reported Monday that chronic anxiety can significantly increase the risk of a heart attack, at least in men. The findings add another trait to a growing list of psychological profiles linked to heart disease, including anger or hostility, Type A behavior, and depression.

"There's a connection between the heart and head," said Dr. Nieca Goldberg of the New York University School of Medicine, a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association who wasn't involved in the study.

"This is very important research because we really are focused very much on prescribing medicine for cholesterol and lowering blood pressure and treating diabetes, but we don't look at the psychological aspect of a patient's care," she added. Doctors "need to be aggressive about not only taking care of the traditional risk factors ... but also really getting into their patients' heads."
Low levels of vitamin D, a chronic problem for many people in northern latitudes areas such as Wisconsin and Washington, were associated with substantially higher rates of heart disease and stroke, according to a new study.
In one of the strongest studies to date linking the vitamin to cardiovascular disease, researchers followed 1,739 members of the Framingham Offspring Study for more than five years.

They found the rate of cardiovascular disease events such as heart attacks, strokes and heart failure were from 53 percent to 80 percent higher in people with low levels of vitamin D in their blood.

"This is a stunning study," said John Whitcomb, medical director of the Aurora Sinai Wellness Institute in Milwaukee. He was not involved in the study.
Young people who start smoking may be influenced to do so by movies they saw in early childhood, new research suggests.

What's more, the study found that almost 80 percent of the exposure to smoking scenes in movies came through films rated "G," "PG" and "PG-13."

"Movies seen at the youngest ages had as much influence over later smoking behavior as the movies that children had seen recently," said study author Linda Titus-Ernstoff, a pediatrics professor at Dartmouth Medical School.

"And I'm increasingly convinced that this association between movie-smoking exposure and smoking initiation is real," she added. "That's to say, causal. It is quite improbable that the association we see is due to some other influence, some other characteristic inherent in children or parental behavior. The relationship is clearly between movie-smoking and smoking initiation."
France, Japan and Australia rated best and the United States worst in new rankings focusing on preventable deaths due to treatable conditions in 19 leading industrialized nations, researchers said on Tuesday.

If the U.S. health care system performed as well as those of those top three countries, there would be 101,000 fewer deaths in the United States per year, according to researchers writing in the journal Health Affairs.

Researchers Ellen Nolte and Martin McKee of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine tracked deaths that they deemed could have been prevented by access to timely and effective health care, and ranked nations on how they did.

They called such deaths an important way to gauge the performance of a country's health care system.
China defended its fish farming industry on Tuesday and said it was making progress in curbing use of illegal additives, from pesticides to banned steroids, as the country's food safety record remains in the spotlight.

China has suffered a rash of scares over the safety of its food and manufactured products in the last year which highlighted shoddy oversight and prompted a wave of new regulations and clean-up campaigns from the central government.

Vice Minister of Agriculture Gao Hongbin said the country had made encouraging progress.
Those who perceived they had low subjective social status had a 69% increased odds of having a 2-unit increase in BMI (this is around 11 pound weight increase).

The results were adjusted for a large number of factors including age, race/ethnicity, baseline BMI, diet, television viewing, depression, global and social self-esteem, menarche, height growth, mother's BMI, and pretax household income.

The study highlights yet another piece in the very complex obesity puzzle.
A 2004 study in the journal Science raised concern among fish lovers with news that farm-raised salmon, the type found at most supermarkets, contained higher levels of cancer-causing pcbs than wild salmon. (Banned in the 1970s, PCBs still contaminate the environment. They are released by incinerators and toxic waste sites.) But two more recent studies, one on farm-raised salmon and the other on wild, found that both harbor similar levels of this pollutant. The first study, done with Chilean- and Canadian-farmed salmon, found an average of 11.5 parts per billion PCBs. The second, conducted by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, sampled 600 wild salmon from the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea, and found 8.2 to 10 parts per billion PCBs. It's important to realize that the amount of PCBs being talked about is very small, says Cornell University seafood specialist Ken Gall, who has studied fish safety issues for 22 years. "High doses of PCBs, like the kind of contamination that occurs with an industrial accident, can be dangerous," Gall says. "But it's uncertain whether the tiny amounts of PCBs found in many foods such as fish, meat, or milk can cause cancer."

Real Food for Real People

Here’s a great PSA about eating real food. Take a look:

Personally, I’d wash the carrot first, specially if I was gardening with fertilizer.

Behold...the Salads!

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

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.

Raw Fruit and Vegetables
4 ounces fresh organic baby spinach
1 Granny Smith apple, chopped
6 organic strawberries, chopped
1/2 cup blueberries
Arrange spinach on a plate and top with fresh fruit. Serves 1.

Pecan Maple Apple Salad

3 green apples, peeled and cored
10 ounces mixed baby greens
1/2 cup raw pecans, chopped
1/2 cup currants
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/4 cup Dr. Fuhrman's Spicy Pecan Vinegar
Shred apple into greens using a grater or peeler. Add the chopped pecans and currants. Combine maple syrup and vinegar. Pour over salad. Mix all ingredients together thoroughly. Serves 2.

Grand Rounds - Vol 4., No. 16

Healthy Eating, Americans Want to Do it

New research claims Americans don’t want to diet, they’d rather adopt a healthy lifestyle. Andrew Stern of Reuters reports:
Dieting has fallen out of favor while trying to eat more healthfully is in, a marketing research firm that tracks what Americans consume said on Friday.

Twenty-nine percent of women and 19 percent of men are on diets, based on the responses of 26,000 American adults, compared to 10 years ago when 35 percent of women and 23 percent of men said they were dieting, according to Port Washington, New York-based NPD Group Inc.

"The problem with diets is most people feel deprived, or they're disappointed with the results. Of course, results will come if you stick with it," NPD Vice President Harry Balzer said in a telephone interview. "But people see dieting as not a long-term healthful way to live."

Improving overall health was the prime motivation for 68 percent of those on a diet, according to the survey, which was sponsored by the Milk Processor Education Program, promoter of the "Got Milk?" advertising campaign.
Not surprising, and, it is encouraging, because as Dr. Fuhrman points out in his book Eat to Live, diets fail, at an alarming rate. Here’s an excerpt:
The National Institutes of Health estimate that obesity is associated with a twofold increase in mortality, costing society more than $100 billion per year.1 This is especially discouraging for the dieter because after spending so much money attempting to lose weight, 95 percent percent of them gain all the weight back and then add on even more pounds within three years.2 This incredibly high failure rate holds true for the vast majority of weight-loss schemes, programs, and diets.
For more on why “dieting” is a big waste of time. Check out this podcast: Why All Diets Fail.
Continue Reading...

Blogging, My Health is at Stake!

Folks, I’ll admit. I’m just a dingy blogger. I’m not saving lives, I’m not in harms way, or am I? According to this report in The New York Times, blogging is hazardous to my health—EEK! Dan Frost has more on this startling revelation:
Om Malik’s blog, GigaOm, regularly breaks news about the technology industry. Last week, the journalist turned blogger broke a big story about himself. Mr. Malik, 41, blogged that he had suffered a heart attack on Dec. 28.

“I was able to walk into the hospital for treatment that night and have been recovering here ever since,” Mr. Malik wrote. “With the support of my family and my team, I am on the road to a full recovery. I am going to be O.K.”

His heart attack — and his blogging about it — raises the issue of what happens when a blogger becomes a name brand.

“The trouble with a personal brand is, you’re yoked to a machine,” said Paul Kedrosky, a friend of Mr. Malik’s who runs the Infectious Greed blog. “You feel huge pressure to not just do a lot, but to do a lot with your name on it. You have pressure to not just be the C.E.O., but at the same time to write, and to do it all on a shoestring. Put it all together, and it’s a recipe for stress through the roof.”

Mr. Malik has 12 employees, including a chief operating officer, and editors run some of his blogs, Yet, “It’s his name on the door,” Mr. Kedrosky said. “People want to know what Om Malik thinks. People want to see posts with Om Malik’s byline.”
Sniffle, sniffle. I hope you all appreciate what I’m doing because I don’t know how much longer I’ll be around—no worries—my tongue is firmly in cheek.

Cloned Food Groups

How do you feel about beef, pork, and milk? Not high on it. Neither am I, but, what about cloned beef, pork, and milk? My answer would be no, and, seriously? It’s true. The FDA is primed to accept cloned meat and milk. Rick Weiss of The Washington Post reports:
Having completed a years-long scientific review, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is set to announce as early as this week that meat and milk from cloned farm animals and their offspring can start appearing on supermarket shelves, sources said Friday.

The decision would be an act of defiance against Congress, which last month passed legislation recommending that any such approval be delayed pending further studies…

…Multiple studies compiled by the agency have shown that the chemical composition of those products is virtually identical to that of milk and meat from conventionally bred animals.

Studies in which rodents were fed food from clones have found no evidence of adverse health effects.
But public opinion has been negative, with some saying that not enough safety studies have been conducted and others concerned about the health of the clones, which are far more likely than ordinary farm animals to die prematurely.
Crap, as a staunch advocate of science, I’m not against cloning, I’m certain a lot of good will come from it, but, this gives me the willies. What do you think? Honestly, I wouldn’t eat the stuff anyway. Why? Dr. Fuhrman provides a great reason to go easy on the milk and meat:

When the death rates for prostate cancer and testicular cancer were examined in forty-two countries and correlated with dietary practices in a carefully designed study, they found that cheese consumption was most closely linked with the incidence of testicular cancer for ages twenty to thirty-nine, and milk was the most closely associated with prostate cancer of all foods.1 Meat, coffee, and animal fats also showed a positive correlation.
Although, I had a really good avocado the other day, I wouldn’t mind eating it again. Continue Reading...

Home Fitness

No time to join a gym. Don’t fret, there’s plenty of ways to exercise at home. Madeline Vann of HealthDay News offers up a list. Here are a few points:
  • Check with your doctor to find out if you are able to start a new fitness routine and schedule a visit with a physical trainer to get a baseline measure of your strength, flexibility and endurance.
  • Buy the correct equipment to meet the goals you set once you know what your baseline health and fitness levels are. Buy hand weights to build tone and strength. On the other hand, a treadmill will help with heart health and endurance, said Colleen Greene, wellness coordinator with MFit, the University of Michigan Health System's health promotion division.
  • Creative use of household items may cut costs. A can of soup can be used as a weight for repetition. Certain fitness programs focus on using your own body to provide resistance.
  • Get outside. Many outdoor activities, from cross-country skiing to playing with children, are great ways to increase physical activity.
  • Get support from friends and family. According to Greene, it is helpful to have a friend to work out with -- and just as welcome to have a family member who is willing to watch the baby or wash the dishes while you take a walk.
Growing up, my mom used to do aerobics while holding cans of corn, at the time I just figured she was a nut, turns out she was cutting edge—who knew?

Exercise, Coca-Cola Helps?

When I think Coca-Cola, I think unhealthy beverage, liquid sugar, caffeine addiction, and most vividly—DON’T DRINK—but, ExerciseTV thinks coke is an exercise ally. Diet Blog is on it:
Exercise TV – a video on-demand network that produces workout videos and other training tools is partnering with Coca Cola. In the agreement, numerous brands from Coca-Cola’s portfolio of beverages will be featured through a variety of integration channels.
Coca-Cola continues to make great strides in educating the public about the importance of exercise, and how its broad range of products can benefit health-conscious consumer.
Said Jake Steinfeld, founder of ExerciseTV.

Try as I may, it is difficult for me not to be bothered by this marriage.

Coke’s recent introduction of “healthier” beverages to the market notwithstanding, you can never separate the pod from the mother ship. Coca Cola’s core product will always be… Coca Cola. It’s the same as if it were to be sponsored by a fast food chain. After all, fast food chains do sell salads.
I’m with Diet Blog on this one. When I think about this marriage, I smell bull poop; especially when you consider soft drinks’ role in the obesity boom. Remember this from Soda Surcharge, Will it Work? Take a look:

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

Coca-Cola’s exercise advocacy sounds like the work of highly paid corporate spin doctors to me. What do you think?

Bad Foods that are Actually Great for Your Waist?

What the hell does that mean! The obviously coo-coo, Camille Noe Pagán of Health thinks red meat, ice cream, eggs, pizza, and Canadian bacon are getting a bad rap. Here’s some of this harebrained article:
Even burgers and meatballs can be light fare if you make them with ground sirloin, says Bonnie Gluck, M.S., R.D., a clinical dietitian at New York Methodist Hospital in New York City. "Lean red meat -- lean being the operative word -- is a great choice for women who are trying to shed pounds," she says. "It's an excellent source of protein. And protein takes longer to digest, helping you feel full and cutting the likelihood that you'll snack later on…"

…Not all studies support the dairy-aids-weight-loss claim. But Gluck feels there's more evidence for than against, even if full-fat dairy's secret is simply that it's more satisfying. "Many women find that low-fat versions of dairy products like ice cream and cheese just aren't satisfying," she says, "so they may eat a lot of them -- downing hundreds of calories in the process, trying to fulfill their craving -- when just a little bit of the full-fat stuff would have done the trick…"

…After years of being barred from the average American diet, things are looking sunny-side up for eggs. According to a study from Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, overweight women who eat egg breakfasts lose twice as much weight as women who start their days with bagels. Researchers say the protein in eggs increases satiety and decreases hunger, helping women eat fewer calories throughout the day. "Eggs are a perfect protein source because they have all eight essential amino acids," Dave Grotto, R.D., author of "101 Foods That Could Save Your Life" says. "And recent research debunks the idea that they have adverse effects on the heart…."

…You already know you can enjoy some mozzarella on your favorite pie and still drop pounds. But there are other ways you can make that slice even healthier. To hike the diet-friendly fiber, choose a whole-wheat crust and top your pizza with veggies like peppers, artichokes, and broccoli. "Like protein, fiber is digested slowly and helps keep you feeling full, longer," Gluck says…

…Unlike a regular strip of crispy pork fat, Canadian bacon -- which comes from the loin, one of the leanest parts of the pig -- is a dieter's best friend, with a third less fat than regular bacon. If that isn't reason enough to put Canadian bacon on your plate, a recent study from Purdue University shows that women who eat a diet rich in lean pork and other protein keep more lean body mass during weight loss than women who eat a low- calorie diet with little pork and other protein sources. An added bonus: Women who eat meals rich in protein from pork report that they feel satisfied, in spite of the fact that they are on reduced-calorie diets, and say they're happier overall.
Okay, there’s no need to beat a dead horse here. Readers of this blog know that foods like this aren’t health promoting, so, I’ll make this a quick and decisive execution. First, here’s Dr. Fuhrman commenting on red meat. Take a look:
A recent study showed that after following almost 200,000 Americans for seven years, those who regularly consumed red meat had a double the occurrence of pancreatic cancer.1
Next up, dairy, yuck, just the thought of it makes me have to run to the bathroom. While I make a pit stop, you guys check out Dr. Fuhrman’s thoughts on dairy. Here:
Dairy is best kept to a minimum. There are many good reasons not to consume dairy. For example, there is a strong association between diary lactose and ischemic heart disease.2 There is also a clear association between high-growth-promoting foods such as dairy products and cancer. There is a clear association between milk consumption and testicular cancer.3
Okay, all better. Now, onto eggs and this might surprise you, but, Dr. Fuhrman isn’t that down on eggs. Here’s what he has to say:
If you choose a limited amount of animal products to be included in your family’s diet, I favor eggs over fish or dairy, because of the potential for transmission of chemicals, mercury, and PCBs in the fish and dairy. Eggs, because they are virtually pollution-free, would be favored choice over other animal products to add to an otherwise vegan diet.
I admit, sometime I forget about this because I don’t eat eggs. Here’s another thing I don’t eat, cheese. So, just what does the good doctor have to say about cheese? See for yourself. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Dairy fat is also loaded various toxins and is the primary source of our nation’s high exposure to dioxin.4 Dioxin is a highly toxic chemical compound that even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency admits is a prominent cause of many types of cancer in those consuming dairy fat, such as butter and cheese.5 Cheese is also a power inducer of acid load, which increases calcium loss further.6
Finally, the dreaded bacon, this one is easy, but, I’ll give Dr. Fuhrman a breather with this one. Check out this report linking the consumption of cured meats to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). HealthDay News reported:
Using data compiled as part of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the study authors found a statistical association between people who ate 14 or more servings monthly of cured meats and the incidence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This held true even after the researchers factored in such variables as age, smoking, and the amount of fruits and vegetables in the subjects' diets.

"People who eat 14 or more servings of cured meat per month have about an 80 percent increased odds of COPD versus people who don't eat cured meat at all," Dr. Rui Jiang, an associate research scientist at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City said.

And, the more cured meats a person eats a month, on average, the higher the risk of COPD, the study said.
So, with ALL this being said, I hardly think there is anything great about gobbling up large amounts of meat and dairy. Camille Noe Pagán would do well to check her sources—don’t you think?
Continue Reading...

Traffic Bad for Babies

Traffic might be the single most annoying thing in the world—next to telemarketers of course—but the fumes from traffic are especially bad for babies’ brains. The NewScientist reports:
When Shakira Franco Suglia at Harvard University and her colleagues studied 200 children in nearby Boston they found that scores on verbal reasoning, visual learning and other tests were lower in those exposed to more traffic fumes. The IQ of children from areas of the city with above-average pollution levels was 3 points below those in cleaner areas, even after controlling for socio-economic factors (American Journal of Epidemiology, DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwm308).

That puts the impact of soot on a par with lead and other toxic substances that damage brain development, says Franco Suglia.
That’s it, I’m buying a rickshaw!

Citywide Diet

Well, this is certainly ambitious. Oklahoma City's mayor wants the city to drop 1 million pounds as its New Year's resolution. Sean Murphy of the Associated Press reports:
Prompted in part by his own struggle to lose weight, Cornett wants to end Oklahoma City's dubious distinction as one of America's fattest cities.

"The message of this obesity initiative is that we've got to watch what we eat," Cornett said Thursday. "Exercise is part of it and the city is trying to change into a city that is less sprawling, has more density and is more pedestrian friendly, but you're not really going to take on obesity unless you acknowledge that we eat too much and don't eat the right foods."

As part of the initiative, residents can sign up and track their weight loss on a new Web site, More than 2,600 people had registered by Thursday. They've lost more than 300 pounds.

Besides a body mass index calculator, the site includes recipes and links to metro-area fitness centers. Plans call for expanding the site to include the opportunity to blog and network with other participants, Cornett said.

"It's always easier if you're doing something hard if you have other people to do it with," he said.
Can they do it? I don’t know. They’ve only got 359 days to go! Although, what might help is bulldozing all the fast food restaurants. I don’t know, just a thought.

Veggie Sushi, So Simple

Like every red blooded America, there’s nothing I like better than some rare and tender—SUSHI! Honestly, sushi is one of my favorite foods, but nowadays I don’t eat a lot of raw fish. Instead, I’ve grown quite fond of veggie sushi, and, here’s how you make it. Enjoy:

I’ve actually debated going to school to become a sushi chef—obsess much! Oh! And the rice is the concession.

Grand Rounds

Eating to Live on the Outside: Buffalo's Southwest Caf�

Have you ever been punched in the stomach? I mean really had the wind knocked out of you. Well, in case you haven’t. Just check out the menu for this week’s restaurant. Without question, Buffalo’s Southwest Café is a Mike Tyson sized wallop to the gullet—Wham!

Even a casual Eat to Liver would be hard-pressed to find SOMETHING acceptable on this menu, but, let’s knuckle up, strap on our helmet, snitch up our gloves, and step into the ring. Oh man, this has all the symptoms of a David versus Goliath rematch.

Okay, the World Famous Wings and the Starters aren’t exactly cutting the mustard. They might however, help you cut the cheese, because they’re loaded with ooey-gooey mozzarella, pepper jack, and white cheese. Not exactly nutrient-dense eating!

Now, beyond the appetizers and wings, it’s not going to get any better. The Steak & Favorites, Sweet Stuff, Outlaw Burgers, Lunch Stampede, Hand Helds, and the Mixed Grill are quite simply the antithesis of healthy eating. In fact, this stuff is the food of nightmares.

But hey, maybe I’m wrong. What do you think? Is there something redeeming about a grilled pork chop topped with bourbon roasted apples and brown sugar—those poor apples—or what about fried cheesecake wrapped in a flaky tortilla, topped with ice cream and raspberry sauce? If you think either of these are an option, please sit quietly and hang your head in shame.

Alright, I had to dig deep here, but, I think there might be a couple Fuhrman-friendly options under Soups & Salads and Southwest Specialties. However, before I proceed, let me say this, I don’t think they’re slam dunks, just the best this hellish menu has to offer.

The best salad I see is the Buffalo’s Cobb Salad; fresh greens, crisp bacon, cheddar jack cheese, black bean & corn salsa, bleu cheese crumbles, fresh tomato salsa, and chicken. The word “best” is relative here. Clearly, the bacon, cheese, and chicken have got to go, and, I’m skipping the dressing entirely. After that you’ve got something that at least resembles healthy food.

Another option might be the Sonora Salmon Salad. It’s made with grilled salmon, mixed greens, tomatoes, bacon, bleu cheese crumbles, and chipotle-ranch dressing. Well, the bacon, bleu cheese, and dressing are history, and, I’d probably go with a little vinaigrette dressing. Overall, it’s not great, but, it works. Oh! And if I got the fish, I’d wait a few weeks before I’d eat fish again.

Onto the Southwest Specialties, I could go with either the Black & Bleu Salmon or the Chimayo Mahi-Mahi; combined they include salmon filet, southwest seasoning, chipotle sauce, bleu cheese, steamed veggies, rice, mahi-mahi filet, jalapeno butter, and black bean & corn salsa. Now, after I nix the chipotle sauce, bleu cheese, and jalapeno butter, I could go with either of these, but again, I’d wait a while before I’d dine on fish.

Well, I feel like I just went twelve rounds with Evander Holyfield. My head is spinning, and, my stomach is turning. Buffalo’s Southwest Café is a standard American disaster. Lots of junk, “good ole fashioned America food,” and we’ve seen how good this stuff has worked out. I can’t image ever eating at a place like this.

Restaurants like Buffalo’s Southwest Café are a shining example why so many Americans are having heart attacks and are hopped up on statins and blood pressure medications, but, maybe I’m wrong. After all, I’m just a loony blogger. Tell me what you think. Check out Buffalo’s Southwest Café’s menu and let me know how you handle Eating to Live on the Outside. Make a comment or shoot me an email at Until then, eat well, or at least try to. Peace.

Happy, Happy, Health

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that feeling good is an important part of good health. Don’t believe me? Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Humans are complicated creatures, and our minds have powerful effects on healing and wellness. A positive purpose, loving relationships, self-respect, and the power to control our destiny have beneficial effects on our physiological—and ultimately physical—well-being.
Now, get a load of this new report. New research has determined that upbeat people have lower levels of the “stress” hormone cortisol. Amy Norton of Reuters reports:
In a study of nearly 3,000 healthy British adults, lead by Dr. Andrew Steptoe of University College London, found that those who reported upbeat moods had lower levels of cortisol -- a "stress" hormone that, when chronically elevated, may contribute to high blood pressure, abdominal obesity and dampened immune function, among other problems.

In the study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, women who reported more positive emotions had lower blood levels of two proteins that indicate widespread inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is believed to contribute to a range of ills over time, including heart disease and cancer.

Researchers have long noted that happier people tend to be in better health than those who are persistently stressed, hostile or pessimistic. But the reasons are still being studied.

One possibility is that happier people lead more healthful lifestyles, but not all studies have found this to be the case, explained Steptoe.
So, how do you go about staying happy and healthy? Dr. Fuhrman points out that it’s all about how you react to occurrences in your life. Take a look:
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.
Okay, so I guess banging your head against the wall when your football loses isn’t a “healthy emotional response.”

Inactivity Bad for Obesity

Here’s a stunning revelation, if overweight and obese people exercised even a little bit, they’d be healthier. Jack Kelly of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports:
According to a study published in Science magazine in 2003, the typical American aged 20 to 40 has been gaining about 2 pounds a year. That could be prevented if we burned just 100 additional calories per day. We could burn an additional 100 calories each day by walking briskly for 10 to 15 minutes, dancing for 20, or doing housework for 30.

The Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit group financed mostly by restaurants and food manufacturers, who have a vested interest in keeping us (over) eating. But the CCF's report is partially supported by two recent studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

About two-thirds of American adults are overweight, and half of these are obese, according to the National Institutes for Health. Obesity is defined by the NIH as having a body mass index of 30 or more. A person with a BMI of 40 or higher is considered morbidly obese. Body mass index is a ratio of an individual's weight (in kilograms) divided by the square of his or her height (in meters). A BMI of from 18.5 to 25 is considered optimal.

In the first study, published in JAMA Nov. 7, Katherine Flegal and her collaborators found that people who are overweight, but not obese, are at a lower risk for death than are people of normal weight. (Underweight people and the obese are at a significantly greater risk.)

In the second study, published in JAMA Dec. 4, Dr. Xuemei Sui and his collaborators found that senior citizens who keep fit are at a substantially lower risk for death, even if they are overweight.

Oil is Fat

And I did mean F-A-T fat, not P-H-A-T phat. Dr. Fuhrman will tell hands down, olive oil is not health food. He talks about it in Cholesterol Protection for Life. Here’s an excerpt:
I know you were told that olive oil is health food. It is not. Keep in mind, oil is processed food, it is not a natural whole food. Oils, even if they are monounsaturated, should not be health food because they are low in nutrients and contain 120 calories per tablespoon, promoting weight gain.

Sure, olive oil and almond oil are improvements over animal fats and margarine, but they still are a contributor to our overweight modern world. Overweight Americans consume and average of three tablespoons of oil in their daily diet, adding and extra 360 calories to their food each day. You need to reach a thinner, ideal weight to achieve maximum protection against heart disease and to reverse heart disease. Use oil, even olive oil sparingly or not at all; certainly, do not have more than one teaspoon per day.

As an alternative to oil, you can make great tasting salad dressings from raw nuts and seeds, such as walnuts, pecans, cashews, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pistachios and avocados.
Sadly, many food producers continue to try and dupe us into thinking that olive oil is a health savoir. Now, in this video Jeff Novick, MS, RD, LD, LN and his lively cousin further dispel the olive oil myth. Take a look:

Clearly food producers have figured out just how gullible most people really are.

Bottled Water, the Problem...

HealthandMen has a rather impassioned take on bottled water. Take a look:
Bottled water is a controversial thing to begin with because a lot of the companies claim that its filtered and purified when in reality they are filling the bottle normal like everyone else. The purification comes from the actual plant that the water has been sent through the first time, so technically they aren’t lying. I’ve tasted “spring water” that tastes like they filled it out of a toilet. Evian to me tastes terrible and the Stewarts Franchise in NY sells “Spring water” that to me tastes even worse than Evian…

… The real problem is everyone is saying that we need to do something about it but no one wants to create programs on a large scale to recycle. The only ones wanting to “Do something” about it are the sellers of water filters that look at this as a grand opportunity to sell their filters and slap a sticker on their box saying how toxic your faucet water is and how goody-goody they are because they are trying to help the environment by using a filter instead of plastic bottled waters. We need large scale recycling programs and we need them now. Sure some states have them but if they really wanted to help they would make it mandatory for all plastic bottles be recycled. In some states they charge a 5 cent deposit on every can or bottle, glass or plastic and even Canada refills bottles. These are just a few incentives for people to recycle. I rarely buy bottled water and when I do I buy a bottle and use the same bottle over and over by refilling it at the water fountain at work.

Tainted Milk...

“…Now I'm going to pack my things and go. Tainted milk, tainted milk…” That song might be tearing up the charts soon, because two people have died in Massachusetts from tainted milk. The Associated Press reports:
Dr. Alfred DeMaria, the state director of communicable disease control, said that could mean the listeria bacteria that sickened four people in Massachusetts entered Whittier Farms' milk supply after it was pasteurized. Two of those victims, a 78-year-old man and a 75-year-old man, died in June and October. Another elderly man and a pregnant woman survived, although the woman miscarried.

"My understanding is they did everything right," DeMaria said. "That could happen. You could do everything right and something bad could happen."

The Shrewsbury dairy has suspended operations and is cooperating with state officials trying to pinpoint the source of contamination, DeMaria said. The farm delivered milk mostly to homes in the Worcester area.
Wait! Milk is dangerous? No, you don’t say. Now, just in case you didn’t know milk is more foe than friend, give this video a watch. It’ll get you up to speed. Here:

So then, why are Americans so enamored with milk? Dr. Fuhrman offers a brief explanation. Check it out:
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 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.
“No milk! But what will I dunk my cookies in?” Grow up and get over your emotional attachments to food. Oh! And don't forget yesterday's post Milk Linked to Prostate Cancer.

Young Adults on Heart Meds

This is unreal! Here’s a look at the facts and figures concerning young adults and heart medications. Via The Los Angeles Times:

America, We're Number Two!

Now this is something we can be proud. According to a new report Americans are the second biggest fast gluttons. Great Britain edged us out. More from the AFP:
The survey of 13 countries also confirmed growing concern over obesity worldwide, but noted different priorities and strategies in different parts of the world for tackling it.

"People are inherently contradictory and nowhere is it more obvious than on such a sensitive and important issue as their weight," said Steve Garton of polling body Synovate, who produced the survey jointly with the BBC.

"The results show there's a world of people who cannot deny themselves that hamburger or extra piece of pizza, but probably make themselves feel better by washing it down with a diet cola."

In terms of fast food, Britain 45 percent of Britons agreed with the statement "I like the taste of fast food too much to give it up" ahead of 44 percent for Americans and Canadians at 37 percent.
It’s a sad day when we can’t lead the world in something we invented. First baseball, now this—sigh!

Little Sleep, a Lot of Fat

Sleep is important. One thing I’ve learned from Dr. Fuhrman is getting adequate undisturbed sleep is paramount. Here he explains why:
During sleep, your body removes the buildup of waste in the brain. Sufficient sleep is necessary for the normal function of your nervous and endocrine systems. Most civilizations in human history recognized the value of mid-afternoon naps. The desire for a rest, short sleep, or “siesta” after lunch should not be seen as an abnormal need, but rather a normal one. People who “cover up” their lack of sleep by using drugs (such as caffeine) as food and/or food (such as highly processed, sugary foods) as drugs sometimes claim (even boast) that they can get by with very little sleep. As you begin to live more healthfully, you may quickly recognize that you need more sleep than you previously thought.
Honestly, you can’t beat a solid eight hours. Now, according to this report sleep is REALLY important for kids. New research has determined that insufficient sleep can turn into extra fat. Nicholas Bakalar of The New York Times is on it:
The study, being published Tuesday in the journal Sleep, also found that short sleep duration was associated with mood swings. The researchers had followed the subjects — 519 children in New Zealand — since birth, making periodic health and developmental assessments and interviewing their parents…

…Using sleep monitors, the scientists discovered some other patterns in the 7-year-olds. On average, the children stayed awake for 48 minutes after they went to bed, and slept about a half-hour longer on weekdays than weekends. They slept the least in the summer: 40 minutes longer on winter nights, 31 minutes longer in the fall and 15 minutes longer in the spring. Having a younger sibling cost a 7-year-old an average of 12 minutes of sleep per night.
So, maybe missing the school bus is healthier?

A Broccoli Change of Heart

This odd looking bunny hated broccoli, but, after some singing and dancing…she loves it! Enjoy, well, at least try to enjoy it. Look:

Milk Linked to Prostate Cancer

Reuters reports, low-fat or nonfat milk may be linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer. Take a look:
A total of 82,483 men from the study completed a quantitative food frequency questionnaire and various factors, such as weight, smoking status, and education levels were also noted, Park's group said.

During an average follow-up period of 8 years, 4,404 men developed prostate cancer. There was no evidence that calcium or vitamin D from any source increased the risk of prostate cancer. This held true across all racial and ethnic groups.

In an overall analysis of food groups, the consumption of dairy products and milk were not associated with prostate cancer risk, the authors found. Further analysis, however, suggested that low-fat or nonfat milk did increase the risk of localized tumors or non-aggressive tumors, while whole milk decreased this risk.

In a similar analysis, Dr. Yikyung Park, from the National Cancer Institute at National Institutes (NIH) of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues investigated the relationship of calcium and vitamin D and prostate cancer in 293,888 men enrolled in the NIH-American Association of Retired Persons Diet and Health Study, conducted between 1995 and 2001. The average follow-up period was 6 years.

Exercise: A Great New Year's Resolution

Yoga induces a feeling of well-being in healthy people, and can reverse the clinical and biochemical changes associated with metabolic syndrome, according to results of studies from Sweden and India. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, obesity and high blood sugar.

Dr. R.P. Agrawal, of the SP Medical College, Bikaner, India, and colleagues evaluated the beneficial effects of yoga and meditation in 101 adults with features of metabolic syndrome. In the study, 55 adults received three months of regular yoga including standard postures and Raja Yoga, a form of transcendental meditation daily, while the remaining received.
The most important part of pulmonary rehabilitation is aerobic exercise, which boosts your endurance and strengthens your muscles, lessening your symptoms and improving your tolerance for activity. It usually involves walking on a treadmill or cycling on a stationary bicycle. The particular exercises you do will depend on your tolerance for exercise and the condition of your joints, bones and muscles.

If you can't walk due to severe breathlessness, you may start off on a stationary bicycle or make cycling motions while sitting in a chair. If you can walk but have little endurance, you may use the treadmill, slowly increasing the time and intensity of your workout. Many rehabilitation programs also offer strength and flexibility training. That's because people with COPD often have weak arm, leg and trunk muscles that limit physical activity. Strength training may be done by lifting weights, using weight machines or pulling on elastic bands. Flexibility training consists of stretching exercises.
Increasing exercise and or losing weight are often the most popular New Year’s resolutions – and lack of time is the most stated reason for not exercising…

…If you have your own office, consider keeping a resistance band or a couple of sets of dumbbells at your desk. You can squeeze in some quick upper body exercises while you are on the phone. If you work in a cubicle or don’t want people to see you exercising at your desk, a full water bottle can be your dumbbell.
Local malls open early for walkers to stretch their legs before shoppers arrive. Some malls have partnerships with health care agencies, which provide seminars and equip walkers with pedometers, T-shirts or bottles of water.

"Here walking is very, very popular. You see the numbers increase as it gets colder," said Cheryl Rouse, director of mall marketing at Southridge Mall.

As much as walking is a healthy choice, it's also a social gathering for the walkers.

"You see a lot of unity out there," Rouse said.
1. Join a fitness center that is convenient to your lifestyle. “It’s great if you see that a fitness center across town is all new and sparkly, but if you have to fight cross-town traffic to get there it’s probably not a good choice,” advises Greene. It is also important to make sure the center’s hours mesh with your schedule, if it offers child care or other programs you may need and that it has a qualified staff.

2. Ask questions. Don’t be shy about learning all that the fitness center has to offer, says Greene. Most gyms have specialists and personal trainers that can help you navigate equipment and devise the best plan for your fitness needs. You should also get the OK from your doctor as you begin a new workout routine, and ask any questions that you may have about your health.

3. Try things you’ve never done before. “If you think Pilates is something for dancers only or if you think yoga means standing on your head, most gyms will have some sort of special drop-in rate for either the first week or first few sessions of a class,” says Greene. “Go ahead and try it! You may find that you like it.”
1. Cardio

"Basically anything that uses your full body to get your heart pumping." said Holland.

— At least 30 minutes of moderate cardio exercise a day

— This includes brisk walking, running, swimming, biking, or exercise videos

— If you don't have time in your day for the full 30 minutes, try three 10 minute bouts of exercise throughout the day

2. Strength training

"As we get older the muscles are getting smaller and losing the ability to contract," said Holland. "We can change this by strength training. The other thing we see is that mature adults have higher fat content. There is more diabetes due to lower muscle mass, so strength training is essential to regulate glucose metabolism."

Work those muscles twice a week for 30 to 45 minutes by doing exercises such as:

— Pushups (if you're a beginner, do them against a wall to start)

— Using a resistance band which is light weight and inexpensive

— Bicep curls and tricep extensions

— Modified squats and lunges which works many muscles at once

And make sure you leave 24 to 48 hours between strength training because your muscles need time to bounce back and rest. You don't want overuse injuries.

The Truth Behind 99% Fat-Free

Dr. Fuhrman’s colleague Jeff Novick, M.S., R. D. drops the hammer on the whole “99% fat-free” nonsense many food producers employ. Take a look:

Here’s a few of Jeff’s posts:
He doesn’t look it, but, the man’s a pit-bull!

A Smoke Might Make You Choke

Okay guys, this might be the best reason of all to quit smoking. New research has determined that men who smoke are prone to impotence. Serena Gordon of HealthDay News is on it:
In fact, emerging research shows that men with a pack-a-day habit are almost 40 percent more likely to struggle with erectile dysfunction than men who don't smoke.

"Smoking delivers nicotine and other vasoconstrictors that close down the blood vessels" of the penis, explained Dr. Jack Mydlo, chairman of urology at Temple University School of Medicine and Hospital in Philadelphia.

Erectile dysfunction -- also called "ED" or impotence -- is the inability to achieve or sustain an erection on repeated occasions. It's estimated that about two of every 100 American men have erectile dysfunction serious enough to warrant a doctor's visit, according to the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders. As men age, the risk of erectile dysfunction increases.

A recent study of more than 8,000 Australian men between the ages of 16 and 59 found that those who smoked less than a pack a day had a 24 percent increased risk of erectile problems. And, as the number of cigarettes smoked went up, so, too, did the chances of erectile dysfunction. Those men who averaged more than 20 cigarettes a day increased their risk of erectile dysfunction by 39 percent, reported the study, published in the journal Tobacco Control.
Eek! And smoking isn’t the only thing that’ll knock you out of whack. Thank your mom for not eating beef while she was pregnant with you. From Beef Bad for the Boys:
"In sons of 'high beef consumers' (more than seven beef meals a week), sperm concentration was 24.3 percent lower," the researchers wrote in their report, published in the journal Human Reproduction.

The team at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York studied data on the partners of 387 pregnant women in five U.S. cities between 2000 and 2005, and on the mothers of the fathers-to-be.

Of the 51 men whose mothers remembered eating the most beef, 18 percent had sperm counts classified by the World Health Organization as sub-fertile.
Okay, I need to watch some football—STAT!

Desserting Health Food

Bluevado Pie
10 date/coconut rolls (remove almonds)
1 1/2 cups Familia, original swiss baby muesli, no added sugar (found in supermarkets)

10 ounces frozen blueberries
10 pitted dates, chopped
4-5 bananas
1 Haas avocado
1 teaspoon unsweetened shredded coconut
Crust: In a bowl, thoroughly blend the date/coconut rolls and muesli. Transfer mixture to pie plate, pressing down to make pie crust.

Filling: In a high powered blender, blend all filling ingredients, except for coconut, until smooth. Pour into the pie crust. Sprinkle with coconut. Cover and freeze for at least 3 hours before serving.

Easy No-Bake Thumbprint Cookies
3 1/2 cups rolled oats
8 medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1 1/3 cups unsweetened soy milk
1 1/2 cups raw almond butter
3/4 cup coconut, reserving 1/4 cup (optional)
100% all-fruit preserves
Grind oats slightly in a high-powered blender. Pour into a bowl and mix with dates, soy milk, almond butter, and coconut. Form into balls and press down in middle with thumb and place a small amount of fruit preserves in the indentation or roll in reserved coconut. Refrigerate before eating.

Healthy Chocolate Cake

1 2/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons baking soda
3 1/2 cups pitted dates, divided
1 cup pineapple chunks in own juice, drained
1 banana
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup shredded beets
3/4 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup shredded zucchini
3 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman's Cocoa Powder or other natural cocoa powder
1/2 cup currants
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Chocolate Nut Icing:
1 cup raw macadamia nuts or raw cashews, unsalted
1 cup vanilla soy milk
2/3 cup pitted dates
1/3 cup brazil nuts or hazelnuts
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a small bowl. Set aside. In blender or food processor, puree 3 cups of the dates, pineapple, banana, and applesauce. Slice remaining 1/2 cup dates into 1/2 inch thick pieces. In large bowl, mix sliced dates, beets, carrots, zucchini, cocoa powder, currants, walnuts, water, vanilla and flour mixture. Add the blended mixture and mix well. Spread in a 9.5" X 13.5" nonstick baking pan. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Icing: Using a high powered blender*, combine all icing ingredients until smooth and creamy. Place a dollop over warm cake and serve. If desired, you may spread on cooled cake instead.

Phytonutrient Music?

Happy New Year! I’m taking it easy today—meaning I’m off to the gym—but in the meantime, enjoy these fruit and veggie inspired musical creations. Pump up the volume:









Now, I hope you all appreciate just how long it took me to find fruit and veggie music. Seriously, I’m bleary-eyed. Again, Happy New Year!