Food Scoring Guide: More Healthful Eating Habits

No one wants to have a heart attack, suffer a debilitating stroke, or develop cancer. But lots of people die from these conditions every day…UNNECESSARILY.

Nutritional science has a made a dramatic advances in recent years. The overwhelming accumulation of scientific knowledge points to a dramatic conclusion—THE MAJORITY OF DISEASE PLAGUING AMERICANS ARE PREVENTABLE. Using the information gleaned from scientific studies, it is now possible to formulate a few simple diet and lifestyle principles that can save you years of suffering and premature death. You have an unprecedented opportunity in human history to live healthier and longer than ever before.

But living healthier and longer comes at a price.

How much would it be worth to you to guarantee that you would never have a heart attack or a stroke? What would it be worth to you to see your children and grandchildren grow healthfully and happily? What would you be willing to pay for the assurance that you would not leave your spouse or your children all alone?

Fortunately, the expenditure is infinitely affordable—little more than the effort needed to establish new, more healthful eating habits.

Farm of the Future...

In 1984, one author had this vision of the future of the farming. From Paleo-Future:

(via TreeHugger)

Well, it’s certainly better than this interpretation of 1984:

Eek! That movie still gives me the creeps.

600 Pound Pumpkins

Wow! This farmer is perfecting the art of growing GIANT pumpkins. Check it out:

We’re going to need a whole lot of pie crust!

Food Scoring Guide: Misconceptions about Protein

The most common question people are asked when they switch to a nutrient-rich diet is, “Where do you get your protein/” In a diet that is chock-full of vegetables and fruits, and short on animal products, it might seem like a reasonable question. But it isn’t.

It is an old myth that a diet needs to contain lots of animal products to provide enough protein and be nutritionally sound. Adding to the confusion are diet books and magazine articles that promulgate another myth—that eating more protein is weight-loss favorable and eating carbohydrates is weight-loss unfavorable. Another common misconception is the notion that you need to maintain a fixed ratio (percentage) of fat, carbohydrate, and protein. There also are plenty of self-appointed experts ready to tell you that the ideal diet should be based on your heritage, skin tone, eye color, blood type, or the spelling of your mother’s maiden name. Some recommend high-protein, others low-protein; some recommend very low-fat diets; others recommend much higher levels of fat. But regulating the macronutrient content of a diet is not the critical factor you should be concerned with, and here’s why.

If you are overweight, you consumed more calories than you have utilized. Micromanaging the percent of fat, protein, or carbohydrate isn’t going to change the amount of calories very much. You need to consume fewer calories. Therefore, almost all overweight individuals need to consume less of all the macronutrients—less protein, less fat, and less carbohydrate. These are the source of all calories. Don’t worry about not consuming enough of these. Unless you are anorexic, it is very rare to find an American who is deficient in fat, protein, or carbohydrates.

There is protein in all foods, ESPECIALLY VEGETABLES, not just in animal products. The fact is, protein deficiency is not a concern for anyone in the developed world. It is almost impossible to consume too little protein, no matter what you eat unless your diet is significantly deficient in overall calories. If it is, you’ll deficient in other nutrients as well.

It is a big mistake to put emphasis on trying to get enough of something (protein) you are undoubtedly getting too much of it in the first place. Hundreds of studies show that as protein consumption goes up, so does the incidence of chronic diseases. Is protein bad for us? No, incidence of chronic diseases goes up when you increase the consumption of carbohydrates and fat, too.1 Most Americans simply don’t need to increase eating any macronutrients. Increasing the consumption of protein (or fat or carbohydrates) is good if you need more calories because you are anorexic or are chronically malnourished, like a starving person in a troubled area of the world. But it is bad if you are already getting too much. If any of these nutrients exceed our basic requirements, the excess is harmful. Americans already get too much protein, and it iss hurting us.2

The problem is that people in modern societies like the United States eat diets that are deficient in micronutrients.
Continue Reading...

Grapefruits Cause Breast Cancer?

The New York Times investigates the claim that GRAPEFRUITS can INCREASE breast cancer risk—what the heck? More from Anahad O’Connor:
The British Journal of Cancer that found an increased risk of breast cancer among postmenopausal women who ate large amounts of grapefruit. In the group of women, more than 46,000 over all, those who ate about a half a grapefruit every other day had a 30 percent higher risk of breast cancer than those who ate none, even after other risk factors were taken into account…

…That analysis used data from the Nurses’ Health Study, which followed more than 77,000 women 30 to 55 over many years. The scientists looked at intake of both grapefruit and grapefruit juice and found no rise in breast cancer risk, either among women over all or among postmenopausal women.
I don’t know, but I have a hard time believing any fruit or vegetable causes cancer—what about you?

UPDATE: Here's what Dr. Fuhrman had to say:
This is not new. I have been advising women on not to consume too many grapefruits, not more than 2 weekly for the last year or so just to play it safe. The issue is a compound in grapefruit that interferes with the breakdown of estrogen. Whereas green vegetables aid in the breakdown of estrogen for easy excretion of excess by the body.

Lots of Tomatoes!

First, we were taught the basics about tomatoes. Now, let’s learn more about ALL the different colors of tomatoes. Take a look:

Dr. Fuhrman is very pro-tomato. Tomatoes are one of his top seven foods. Check it out:
  • Black raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Flax Seeds
  • Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli sprouts
Seriously, tomatoes are wonderful foods. Read this about prostate cancer. From Dr. Fuhrman:
Eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, rich not only in lycopene but in thousands of other protective compounds. Each year, researchers find another carotenoid that has powerful beneficial effects and reduces cancer. Spinach was this year’s recipient of the anti-prostate cancer award, with researchers in Japan finding neoxanthin compounds (a class of carotenoids) that powerfully inhibit prostate cancer. In the past, pink grapefruit, watermelon, cooked tomatoes, pomegranate, cruciferous vegetables, red peppers, berries, figs, and many other foods all have been shown to inhibit the development of prostate cancer.
Very cool! And I’ve got a tomato inspired surprise up my sleeve for the spring…to be continued.

Nutrient Density of Swiss Chard

Yeah, I use this chart a lot. Why? Because it’s great! Check it out:

Now, That’s Fit recently did a little investigation on Swiss chard:
I must admit I'd never heard of Swiss chard before this week when I came across a page in a women's magazine cheering on its merits. I'm a pretty standard veggie girl. Give me broccoli, peas, green beans, squash, a good salad and I'm happy. Swiss chard? Never did sit on a plate of mine. Yet I'm intrigued by this item. Here's what I'm learning about it…

...Swiss chard, with its plentiful nutrients, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and more helps prevent digestive tract and colon cancers and can also protect the kidneys of those with diabetes. It's good for bone health, lung health, heart health, vision, immune systems, and mental clarity. The list goes on and on. It's time to get cooking then. Check out these recipes for Swiss chard, which incidentally does not come from Switzerland -- a Swiss man did name it, though.
Okay, and now the nutrients found in 35 calories of Swiss chard:
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 7 grams
  • Calcium: 102 mg
  • Iron: 4 mg
  • Magnesium: 151 mg
  • Phosphorus: 58 mg
  • Potassium: 960 mg
  • Sodium: 313 mg
  • Vitamin C: 32 mg
  • Folate: 15 mcg
Let’s compare. After some quick calculations, here’s what I came up with:

Well, Swiss chard certainly ranks up there and steak still sucks!

Oh Flu You!

“Almost every year flu season seems to bring with it extraordinary anxiety and fear,” laments Dr. Fuhrman. And Allegheny County, Pennsylvania is REALLY freaking out. They’ve had “a record flu season.” David Templeton of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports:
"I think we've peaked, although we're still at a fairly significant level in the number of cases over the last two weeks," he said. "It's still hanging on."

In the past two weeks, Type B Yamagata has become the predominant strain of influenza. Like Type A Brisbane, which predominated for most of the season, Type B Yamagata is not included in this year's flu vaccine.

"It's different than what's in the vaccine, so we're still seeing a significant number of cases, and it opens up the possibility of people getting the flu twice," Mr. Cole said.

For that reason, he said, the flu's persistence could repeat what occurred in 2004-05, when the season continued into mid-May.

The number of confirmed cases in the past two weeks was 141, which is only a slight decline over the previous two-week total of 149 cases. That brings this season's total number of confirmed cases, as determined by positive laboratory cultures, to 478. That tops the 2004-05 record of 395 confirmed cases.
Not to sound all high and might, but, if residents of Allegheny ratcheted up their diets, maybe things wouldn’t have been so bad. Here are a couple flu-proofing tips from Dr. Fuhrman. Take a look:
Eat Nutritious Food: Unfortunately the majority of Americans eat a diet style that weakens their normal resistance to simple viral infections. In spite of advances in science that reveal the critical importance of thousands of protective micronutrients in the natural plant kingdom, much of the modern world consumes a diet rich in processed grains, oils, sweets and animal products. In the United States, for example, less than five percent of total calories consumed come from fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts. These are the foods that are richest in micronutrients. A healthy diet should include:
  • At least four fresh fruits a day.
  • Four servings of vegetables a day, of which at least two are green vegetables.
  • Some raw nuts and seeds.
Practice Good Hygiene: Viruses are primarily spread via hand-to-face contact. They can also be spread when a sick person coughs or sneezes, aerosolizing the viruses so others can inhale it. A person can be contagious the day before they develop symptoms and for seven to ten days after symptoms first develop. Here are some steps to take to minimize the likelihood of catching the flu:
  • Wash your hands after you touch something that other people have touched like a doorknob or gas pump.
  • Keep you hands away from your face, especially in public.
  • When you get home after being in public, wash your hands.
  • If you use a public bathroom, use a paper towel to turn off the water knobs and then to open the door to leave the bathroom, to keep your hands clean.
  • Keep young children at home, away from child care settings with large numbers of other children with runny noses. The last place you want to be with a sick child is an emergency room or a doctor's office because if you don't have the flu already, these places will certainly increase your chances of getting it or some other infectious disease.
Yeah, as for the public bathroom stuff, I’m like a cat in water when using a restroom—EEK!

A Walk in the Body

Alright, I know this is interesting and fascinating—I really do—but, “Corpus” gives me the creeps. More from the Associated Press:
Strap on 3-D glasses and watch holograms of cartoon sperm sprinting to fertilize an egg. Climb inside a gigantic nose, enjoy the smell of fresh hay, then feel the wind blast on your neck when it sneezes. Walk across a bouncy rubber tongue complete with taste buds and realistic burping noises in the background.

This all might sound weird or flat-out gross. But the makers of "Corpus," a new attraction in the Netherlands, are hoping that a combination amusement park and health education museum will encourage kids to take better care of their own bodies.

Even before Corpus officially opened March 20 in Oegstgeest, 21 miles southeast of Amsterdam, it was already a local landmark. The building incorporates a 115-foot high seated human figure into its structure. But the roughhewn Corpus exterior isn't much to look at: all the detail is on the inside.
As for those insides, here are some photos. Take a look:

Those pictures are trippy—reminds me of my college days.

Plant Foods, They Rock!

We all know fruit and vegetables are nutrient powerhouses, but, in case your forgot. Yahoo Food offers up the Top 10 Detox Foods. Here are three really great ones:
Green leafy vegetables: Eat them raw, throw them into a broth, add them to juices. Their chlorophyll helps swab out environmental toxins (heavy metals, pesticides) and protects the liver.

Garlic: Add it to everything -- salads, sauces, spreads. In addition to the bulb's cardio benefits, it activates liver enzymes that help filter out junk.

Sesame seeds: They're credited with protecting liver cells from the damaging effects of alcohol and other chemicals. For a concentrated form, try tahini, the yummy sesame seed paste that's a staple of Asian cooking.
No doubt, these foods are fantastic! Dr. Fuhrman certainly approves. Check it out:
Green vegetables and especially the leafy greens are rich in vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids, as well as thousands of other important nutrients that research scientists are beginning to identify as being essential for optimal health. These plant-based substances, called phytochemicals, support our immune system and protect us from cancer…

…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…

…Nuts and seeds are tiny packages of high-calorie, high-nutrient goodness that can enable you to climb a mountain on an all-day hike without eating any of the high-calorie, low-nutrient junk food everyone else is consuming.
Neat! Yesterday I ate all three of these, plus lots of fruit too!


Spring is right around the corner. So, in the spirit of nice weather, enjoy all these bright and colorful veggie pictures:

Speaking of vegetables and nice weather, I got a surprise for all of you come springtime…to be continued.

Food Scoring Guide: Plant Protein and Micronutrients

Eating more plant protein is the key to increasing our micronutrient intake. It is interesting to note that foods such as peas, green vegetables, and beans have lots of protein—even more protein per calorie than meat. But what is generally considered is that foods that are rich in plant protein are generally the foods that are richest in nutrients and phytochemicals. By eating more of these high-nutrient, low-calorie foods, we get plenty of protein, and our bodies get flooded with protective micronutrients simultaneously. Animal protein does not contain antioxidants and phytochemical; plant protein does. Plus, animal protein is married to saturated fat. Excesses of saturated fat are not favorable to good health.

No complicated formulas or protein supplements are needed for you to get sufficient protein for growth, even if you are a serious athlete. Exercise drives an increased hunger, and as you consume more calories to meet the demands of exercise, you will naturally get the extra protein you need.

Health Points: Tuesday

Of 216 reported cases so far, 68 have been confirmed by lab results, public information officer Jim Shires said. Nine people have been hospitalized, but only one was believed to still be in the hospital, Shires said.

Shires is part of a nine-person incident management team from Jefferson County that arrived to help Alamosa officials respond to the outbreak, which health officials said may be caused by the municipal water system.
Children who take vitamin D supplements may be less likely to develop type 1 diabetes later in life, according to researchers who analyzed the findings of five previously published studies.

The researchers found that children who were given additional vitamin D were about 30 percent less likely to develop type 1 diabetes than children who didn't receive vitamin D supplements. The evidence also indicated that the higher and more regular the dose of vitamin D, the lower the risk of developing diabetes.
It is tempting to look for a quick fix to cellulite, especially when so many advertisements claim to provide a solution. Unfortunately, there is no overnight cure. Nothing can get below the surface of the skin and rearrange the connective tissue or fat cells underneath. Because fat is compressible, some procedures, such as body wraps, may appear to provide a solution to smoothing the skin. But any visible effects will be temporary -- unlikely to last more than 24 hours…

…You can diminish the appearance of cellulite or reduce the chances you will get it with regular exercise, especially strength training. A good strength-training program will increase your chances of maintaining lean muscle as you get older, and this in turn reduces your chances of increasing the size of your fat cells.
But as I think about it more, I realize that when organic really pays is when this money—the very money we raised the other night—goes to fund new research that then gets into the hands of the people who really need it, such as a mom who learns that feeding their children organic foods can reduce their dietary pesticide exposure by 97 percent, and then makes the immediate switch to organic baby food. Or, people who learn that of the 11 most important nutrients, organic foods contain, on average, 25 percent higher concentrations of these nutrients, and then switch to organics in order to feed their bodies more nutrient-dense foods. How about the farmer who learns that even very low levels of organophosphate insecticides can disrupt developing brains and nervous systems, and then immediately stops spraying his crops for the sake of the health of his grandbabies growing up in a house across the field. Or a diabetes sufferer who learns that eating vegetables rich in fiber, antioxidants, and magnesium could lead to a 28 percent lower risk of Type-2 diabetes, and then starts serving his children more vegetables, so they don’t have to suffer the way mom and dad did.
"Just what the world doesn't need is another way to get as much food as they want whenever they want it," said Jeanne Goldberg, a professor of nutrition science at Tufts' Friedman School of Nutrition.

The unlimited quantity has turned some sporting events into games of can-you-top-this in the stands, with fans competing to see who can shovel the most hot dogs down their gullets. But for the most part, the scene is the same as in any other section.

"People knocking that stuff back isn't exactly the prettiest thing to watch," Drew Nurenberg, 30, of Malvern, Pennsylvania, who bought all-you-can-eat seats with his wife for a Philadelphia Flyers game last month, said. He added: "People looked like they were taking advantage of it, but not overly taking advantage."
The problem of obesity cannot be reduced simply to genetics, the researchers said, and it also cannot be blamed solely on our environments or learned behaviors. Media coverage, they advised, should highlight that the obesity epidemic is the result of a variety of factors, and that change requires a comprehensive approach that tackles the problem from all sides.

"Obesity's not rocket science," said Dr. Diane Finegood, director of CIHR's Institute for Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes. "It's a lot more complex."
Is this news? Not to T. Colin Campbell, author of the book "The China Study," which details the connection between nutrition and heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

"I get frustrated when I see articles like this--time and time again--being published by researchers who know not that much of their findings have already been shown before," Campbell said, when I asked him if he'd seen the study.

"These earlier results are simply ignored, thus awaiting rediscovery by some future researcher or medical practitioner. This is the main question for so many similar reports...why haven't we heard this before?"
It used to be that the only teens seen at a gym were students on athletic teams, intent on additional training.

But in recent years, some Chicago-area gyms have become preferred hangouts for a growing number of high school students who want to be fit and healthy. Many also have discovered that gyms provide something equally important: a place to gossip, flirt and socialize with peers.

How to Cut Broccoli...

I love broccoli, but, I have no idea how to cut it. Good thing this guy can show us how. Look:

Now that we can cut broccoli, why not give these broccoli inspired recipes a whirl. Enjoy:

Tomato Vegetable Pot Soup

6 cups water
4 tablespoons lentils
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman's VegiZest
3 garlic cloves, chopped
8 tomatoes, chopped
1 broccoli stalk, chopped
2 onions, chopped
4 potatoes, chopped
1 pound carrots, chopped
1 cup green beans, chopped
1 cup cabbage, chopped
1 organic celery stalk, chopped

Place all of the ingredients in a large soup pot. Cover and simmer on low heat for one hour or until vegetables are tender.

Fast Black Bean Vegetable Soup

2 15-ounce cans black beans, no or low salt
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
2 cups frozen corn
2 cups frozen chopped broccoli florets
2 cups carrot juice
1 cup water
1 cup prepared black bean soup (preferably no salt)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
1/8 teaspoon no salt southwestern or chili powder, or to taste
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
2 avocados, chopped or mashed
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds (lightly toasted, if you like)
Combine first 9 ingredients in a soup pot. Bring to a boil and simmer on low for 30 minutes. Stir in fresh tomatoes and heat through. Serve topped with avocado, green onions, and pumpkin seeds.
And hey, broccoli kicks major butt! At least Dr. Fuhrman seems to think so. Check it out:
Sulforaphane, broccoli’s much studied compound, is an isothiocyanate that has a unique mechanism of action. This compound blocks chemical-initiated tumor formation and induces cell cycle arrest in abnormal cells, meaning that it inhibits growth and induces cell death in cells with early cancerous changes in a dose-dependent manner (i.e., the more you eat, the better). Recent studies show that the amount of sulforaphane derived from eating a reasonable amount of broccoli can have dramatic effects to protect against colon cancer.
Okay, that’s it. I’m buying more broccoli right NOW!

Food Scoring Guide: Smart Choices

Since the foods with the higher nutrient scores are low in calories and do not contain saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, or added salt, you need not give these unhealthful foods factors much thought once your start choosing foods that have the highest nutrient density. For example, all natural foods contain less than half a mg of sodium per calorie.

It is only when you include prepared foods, processed foods, and restaurant foods in your diet that excess sodium becomes an issue (because of the risk of high blood pressure and strokes). When eating foods from lower-nutrient categories, the sodium levels need to be considered.

Try to avoid foods with more salt than calories. Foods that contain more sodium (in milligrams) than the number of calories cannot be considered healthful. As the sodium number gets higher and higher, the food becomes more dangerous to include in your diet. Ideally, your total daily intake of sodium should be under 1000 mg.

Picking a Persimmon

Not sure when to buy your persimmons. This video makes it perfectly mushy—oops—I mean, perfectly clear. Take a look:

The persimmon stuff was cool, but she lost me with the Romaine lettuce.

Manly Food: I Say Tomato, They Say Beef

“Man food” really agitates me. This concept that the American male only qualifies as such if he craves beef, barbeque, and beer, is asinine. Yet, it’s true. A recent survey determined that men prefer meat and women want veggies. The Associated Press reports:
The study of eating habits of American adults -- called the most extensive of its kind -- was a telephone survey of 14,000 Americans. It confirmed conventional wisdom that most men eat more meat than women, and women eat more fruits and vegetables.

But there were a few surprising exceptions: Men were much more likely to eat asparagus, brussels sprouts, peas and peanuts. They also were bigger consumers of frozen pizzas, frozen hamburgers and frozen Mexican dinners.

Women are more likely than men to eat eggs, yogurt and fresh hamburgers.

Men also showed a little more of an appetite for runny eggs and undercooked hamburgers -- two foods that health experts say carry a higher chance of contamination that can make you sick.

Women were more likely than men to eat only one risky food, raw alfalfa sprouts, which in the past 15 years have been linked to outbreaks of food poisoning.
Now, I’ve talked about this before, but look at me. I lift weights, watch sports, love action movies, play fantasy sports, and, I regularly forget “important” anniversary dates, but, here’s what I ate yesterday. Check it out:
Chocolate pudding made with bananas, flaxseed, sesame seeds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, coco-powder, avocado, spinach, Romaine lettuce, dates, and unsweetened almond milk. Plus my morning shot of pomegranate juice.

Carrots sticks and one head of Romaine lettuce with mashed avocado spiced with onion and garlic powder, and, a cactus pear.

Sautéed cabbage, peas, and sliced garlic with a tablespoon of olive oil and seasoned with dill and rosemary. Also, one nectarine later in the evening.
And, a couple hours after dinner I was the only guy sitting in my Yoga class—surrounded by a room full of hot chicks—now, does this make me any less of a man? No! But yes, if you think DISEASE is manly. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
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 cancer1…

…Researchers from the American Cancer Society followed 79,236 individuals over ten years and found that those ate meat more than three times per week were much more likely to gain weight as the years went by than those who tended to avoid meat2…

…If you eat the typical American diet, you will likely die of typical American diseases. In the typical American diet 40% of calories come from animal foods such as dairy, meat, eggs, and chicken, and 50% of calories come from processed foods such as pasta, bread, soda, oils, sugar, puffed cereals, pretzels, and other adulterated products. Cancer and heart disease is the consequence.
So, this idea that you’re only a man if you like steak, grease, and heart disease is ridiculous. Now, I’m a peace monger, but, if any one calls me a Yoga-doing, meat-avoiding, tree-hugging wuss, I’ll gladly feed them a Grade A knuckle sandwich.
Continue Reading...

Food Scoring Guide: Your Commitment to Health

Educating yourself with the latest scientific findings and eating a diet of delicious, high-nutrient food allows you to protect yourself and your family from the health tragedies you see all around you—and not just the big tragedies like heart disease. Allergies, joint pain, fatigue, headaches, mental clarity, and digestive problems all can dramatically resolve though nutritional excellence.

Those who truly desire to protect themselves can do so, without expensive and risky prescription drugs. Proper self-care is more effective and overwhelmingly less expensive than conventional care.

It is not an exaggeration to say that you are in a fight for your life. Don’t let food manufacturers and fast food establishments take your health away. Fight back against junk food and food addiction.

Good information is the most powerful artillery you have to save your life and the lives of loved ones. Be a fighter. Learn and encourage others. Working together, we can change the nutritional landscape of America, save lives, and save our economy that is slowly being destroyed by out-of-control healthcare costs. Join the growing army of Americans who are choosing nutritional excellence, and reclaim your right to a long life of health and happiness.

Shopping Tips from Michael Pollan

Julie’s Health Club passes along some great food shopping tips from Michael Pollan. Take a look:
Rather than a rating system, what we need is common sense. And Pollan, thankfully, has provided some logical rules of thumb to help you find the kind of food you should eat: real food that doesn't lie to your body.
  1. DON'T EAT ANYTHING YOUR GREAT-GRANDMOTHER WOULDN'T RECOGNIZE AS FOOD. No Go-Gurt Portable Yogurt tubes. (She wouldn't be able to identify high-fructose corn syrup, modified corn starch, kosher gelatin, carrageenan, tricalcium phosphate, natural and artificial flavors, etc.) No "protein waters," "nondairy creamers" or foods that never grow stale.
  2. AVOID FOOD PRODUCTS CONTAINING INGREDIENTS THAT ARE A) UNFAMILIAR, B) UNPRONOUNCABLE, C) MORE THAN FIVE IN NUMBER, OR THAT INCLUDE D) HIGH-FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. Pollan's example: Sara Lee's Soft & Smooth Whole Grain White Bread, which fails every test proposed by this rule. "If not for the indulgence of the Food and Drug Administration, (it) could not even be labeled "bread," he wrote.
  3. AVOID PRODUCTS THAT MAKE HEALTH CLAIMS. If a food has a health claim, it probably has a package and that means it's very likely processed. Moreover, the FDA's "qualified" health claims" are all but meaningless.
  4. SHOP THE PERIPHERIES OF THE SUPERMARKET AND STAY OUT OF THE MIDDLE. "Processed foods products dominate the center aisles of the store while the cases of ostensibly fresh food--dairy, produce, meat and fish--line the walls," Pollan wrote. Be careful though, because high-fructose corn syrup lurks in the dairy case.
  5. GET OUT OF THE SUPERMARKET WHENEVER POSSIBLE. "You won't find any high-fructose corn syrup at the farmer's market. Also look into CSA (community supported agriculture), in which you can subscribe to a farm and receive a box of produce.)"
Hey, you know I’m loving the one about community supported agriculture—come on spring!

Going Nuts!

Personally, I’m beyond nuts—probably certifiable at this point—anyway, MSN Health & Fitness tells us why nuts are great for our health. Take a look:

Almonds: A June 2006 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed an ounce of almonds provides as many flavonoids—compounds that fight free radicals and reduce inflammation—as a 1⁄2-cup serving of broccoli or a cup of green tea.

Walnuts: Walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fat linked with reduced risk of heart disease, improved glucose control and, most recently, stronger bones. In a study of 23 overweight people published earlier this year in Nutrition Journal, increasing intake of ALA via walnuts and flaxseed oil decreased the rate of bone breakdown.

Pecans: Last year in Nutrition Research, researchers from Loma Linda University reported that pecans contribute significant amounts of gamma-tocopherol, the major form of vitamin E in U.S. diets. Pecans also provide notable amounts of zinc, a mineral most often found in animal-based foods.

Pistachios: Research presented earlier this year at an Experimental Biology conference suggests that lutein, an antioxidant in pistachios, helps protect "bad" LDL cholesterol from oxidization by free radicals. Oxidized LDL contributes to the development of plaque in arteries.
Fantastic! All four of these are delicious. Now, We Like it Raw passes along this awesome video. Here’s how to make your own nut milk. Enjoy:

I’m a big fan of nut milk. My favorite is almond milk. In fact, here’s the one that’s in my refrigerator right now. Check it out:

Here’s the official write-up about Almond Breeze:
Almond Breeze is a non-dairy beverage made from real almonds, all natural, smooth and creamy with a hint of almonds. Almond Breeze is a great tasting non-dairy beverage without the thin, chalky after taste of rice and soy beverages.

Almond Breeze won the 2004 Best Taste Award from the prestigious American Culinary Institute (ACI). ACI is an independent, chef based judging organization.

Enjoy Almond Breeze chilled by the glass and on your cereal. You will love how it froths in coffee drinks, enhances fruit smoothies, and blends cup for cup in your favorite recipes.
  • Gluten, cholesterol and lactose free
  • Excellent source of calcium, vitamins D & E
  • Good source of vitamin A
  • A refreshing alternative to soy and rice non-dairy beverages
Do any of you drink almond milk? Ever try this one?

Alzheimer's: The Five Million Mark

Preventing age-related mental decline is actually pretty easy. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Japanese studies have found the same relationships: individuals with low consumption of vegetables and high consumption of meat were found to be the ones most likely to develop Alzheimer’s.1
Apparently we didn’t get the memo. According to a new report more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's. Reuters reports:
An estimated 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, and it could steal the minds of one out of eight baby boomers, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Alzheimer's Association.

The report found there were 411,000 new cases of Alzheimer's in 2000, a number expected to grow to 454,000 new cases a year by 2010. By 2050, 959,000 people will be diagnosed with the disease every year, the report predicts…

…That includes 16 percent of women and 11 percent of men in that age group.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of cases.

It starts out with mild memory loss and confusion but escalates into complete memory loss and an inability to care for oneself. There is no cure and the handful of drugs that can treat Alzheimer's only slow its progression for a short time.
Now, Dr. Fuhrman makes it perfectly clear. Eating well is our primary defense against Alzheimer's and dementia. Check it out:
Just as in the case of heart disease, the world’s leading researchers on the subject consider diets high in animal fat to be the major factor in the causation of Alzheimer’s. Oxidative stress to our brain tissue from the combination of a diet rich in saturated fat and low in the antioxidants and phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables lays the groundwork for brain damage later in life. Deficiencies of DHA (a long-chain omega-3 fatty acid) which often are found in Alzheimer’s patients, also have been shown to promote dementia.2 Inadequate intake of omega-3 fatty acids found in flax and hemp seeds, walnuts, leafy greens, and certain fish also are implicated in the etiology of Alzheimer’s.
Makes me feel great about the walnuts and leafy greens I had with breakfast!
Continue Reading...

Bad Diet, Good Diet: Sugar vs. Vegan

According to a new study eating a diet rich in sugar and sweets has been linked to asthma in kids. Charlene Laino of WebMD Medical News is on it:
Sugar might do more than just plump up our children, it could also help give them asthma, animal research suggests.

Asthma now affects nearly 9% of children and teens, a figure that has doubled since the 1980s, according to a study published last year.

Poor eating habits, including frequent consumption of candy and other sugary foods, are among factors blamed for the increase of asthma in children and teens, says Sonja Kierstein, PhD, of the Nestle Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Kierstein and colleagues hypothesized that a sugar-rich diet may prime the immune system of the airways to allergic inflammation. The inflammation, in turn, can cause a narrowing of the airways and mucus production, resulting in asthma symptoms, such as wheezing and shortness of breath.

Kierstein, who performed the study while at the University of Pennsylvania, presented the findings here at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
Okay, better news. Research has determined that a plant food rich vegan diet may help ease rheumatoid arthritis. Reuters reports:
A gluten-free vegan diet full of nuts, sunflower seeds, fruit and vegetables appears to offer protection against heart attacks and strokes for people with rheumatoid arthritis, Swedish researchers said on Tuesday.

The diet appeared to lower cholesterol and also affect the immune system, easing some symptoms associated with the painful joint condition, they said.

The study suggested diet could play an important role for people with rheumatoid arthritis who are often more prone to heart attacks, strokes and clogged arteries, said a team from Sweden's Karolinska Institute.

"These findings are compatible with previous results of vegetarian/vegan dietary regimens in non-rheumatoid arthritis subjects which have shown lower blood pressure, lower body mass index and lower incidence of cardiovascular disease," the researchers wrote in the journal Arthritis Research and Therapy.
Don’t eat sugar, and, eat lots and lots of fruits and vegetables—sounds like a fantastic idea!

Food Scoring Guide: Multifaceted Needs

Keep in mind that nutrient density scoring is not the only factor that determines good health, and you should eat some of your diet from lower-nutrient categories. For example, if you only ate foods with the very highest nutrient density score, your diet could be too low in calories or too low in fat.

The percentage of fat intake can vary from 15-40% on a healthful diet, depending on the percentage of higher-fat fare such as avocados and raw nuts and seeds eaten as a percentage of total calories. Eating more of these higher-calorie, higher-fat foods is necessary for an active, thin person, athlete, or growing child. If an avid (or professional) athlete ate only the very highest-nutrient foods, she would become too full from all the food volume and fiber, and so satiated from the micronutrient fulfillment, that it could keep her from meeting her caloric (macronutrient) needs. She could become too thin. This, of course gives you a hint at the secret to permanent weight control. “Dieting” is not needed to maintain a healthful weight. You only need to eat more high-nutrient food and less low-nutrient food. The most healthful way to lose weight is to increase the overall nutrient density of your diet. The more high-nutrient foods you eat, the thinner you get.

There's No Crying in Onions

For some of you this video might be a heaven sent. Here’s how you chop onions without shedding a tear. Enjoy:

Red onions are my favorite and I’ve noticed they aren’t bad tear-jerkers either.

Think You Know Your Organics...

Here’s a great find by Diet Blog. Jim Foster passes along the origins of many of your favorite organic food brands. Via Good Magazine:

Better yet, check out Dr. Philip H. Howard’s Organic Industry in motion. The results will shock you. See for yourself:

Now, earlier today my buddy Tara Parker-Pope from Well called Dr. Howard. From her post, When Big Business Eats Organic, here’s a bit:
“These relationships aren’t very apparent,'’ said Philip H. Howard, assistant professor in the department of community agriculture, recreation and resource studies at Michigan State University and the creator of the graphic. “If you look at a product, a lot of times this ownership is not at all noted, even on the Web sites at times.'’

Obviously, there’s nothing inherently wrong with a big company buying an organic brand. But Dr. Howard notes that many consumers seek out organic foods, in part, because they don’t want to buy foods from multinational food companies.

“Often organic consumers are interested in supporting smaller scale farms and food processors,'’ Dr. Howard said. “In the marketing of a lot of these organic brands the firms try to evoke that image of a small pastoral farm.'’
Could this simply be junk food producers trying to CASH in on the organic food trend, or, a sincere effort? You decide.

Outbreaks Aside, U.S. Eating More Greens

No doubt, the E. coli outbreak scared the heck out of people, but apparently not THAT much. Because according to this report Americans are actually eating more green vegetables. Maggie Fox of Reuters explains:
An increase in the number of foodborne illnesses caused by contaminated spinach or lettuce over the past 35 years cannot be explained by increases in salad consumption over the same period, U.S. government researchers said on Monday.

They said the findings reinforce the need for local, state and federal health authorities to monitor preparation of leafy green vegetables from the point of harvest all the way through the food preparation process…

…U.S. leafy green consumption rose 17 percent during 1986-1995 compared with the previous decade, but outbreaks of foodborne disease caused by leafy greens increased by 60 percent in that period.

In the 1996-2005 time frame, leafy green consumption rose 9 percent over the prior decade, but foodborne diseases outbreaks increased by 39 percent.
Hey, you got to love news like this. Especially since green veggies are nutritional superstars. Did you know leafy greens sock it to cancer? Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Green vegetables have demonstrated the most dramatic protection against cancer. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, collards, arugala, watercress, and cabbage) contain a symphony of phytonutrients with potent anti-cancer effects.
Just feast your eyes on all these nutrients:

So, why not give these salads a try, a delicious way to get your dose of phytonutrients. Check them out:
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.
But, be sure not to sabotage these salads with oily dressings. Not a good idea! More from Dr. Fuhrman:
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.
Try these salad dressings instead:
Orange Cashew Dressing
2 peeled navel oranges
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup raw cashews
2 tbsp. of blood orange vinegar or pear vinegar
Blend ingredients until silkly smooth. Use liberally on salad or as vegetable dip. Serves 4-6.

Pistachio Mustard Salad Dressing
1/3 cup raw shelled pistachio nuts
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
2 tbsp. Vegi-Zest or low salt vegetable seasoning
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
Blend all ingredients until smooth in a high powered blender. Serves 4-6.
Now, if these don’t strike your fancy—or you’re just feeling lazy—why not pay one of these Eating to Live on the Outside favorites a visit:
Personally, I go through more Romaine lettuce and spinach then any rabbit I know!

Great Shots from TreeHugger!

TreeHugger’s rocking some awesome veggie-friendly pictures, like this one about gardening. Take a look:

Roger Doiron, the director of Kitchen Gardeners International, has a great suggestion: "We give tax breaks to people to encourage them to put hybrid cars in their garages and solar panels on their roofs, so why not a tax break to encourage environmentally friendly and healthy food production?" He likened his plan to deducting the square footage of a home office: the bigger your garden, the better the tax break.
Supermarket owners know, customers are freaked out by meat recalls—the solution? Print out a sign. Check it out:

We already know that meat has a huge carbon footprint, but the United States Olympic Committee is making it worse by shipping 25,000 pounds of Tyson Foods meat to Beijing for the athletes to eat, suggesting that Chinese standards applied to meat are lower than in the USA. A caterer describes Chinese chicken: “We had it tested and it was so full of steroids that we never could have given it to athletes. They all would have tested positive.”

I love these things. If I didn’t live in a rinky-dinky apartment, I’d get one. Introducing the AeroGarden:

Though gardening season is just about upon us, if you don't have a plot or a green thumb, and prefer the idea of growing with air in your kitchen to getting dirt under your fingernails, then perhaps the AeroGarden is for you; you may recall we covered it when it first became available a few years back. But how do you substitute your own seeds? Which model grows the best tomatoes? Can anyone recommend the upgrade package?
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So, by my calculation, we’ve got 3,000 words—right?

That'sFit: Health from Head to Toe

That’sFit is on the money today. Here’s a cool post about carrots. Evidently carrots are nutritional rock stars. See for yourself:
Even small amounts of carrots do the body good with their essential oils, carbohydrates, and nitrogenous composites. Well-known for their sweetening, healing, diuretic, remineralizing, and sedative properties, carrots are important for their three most powerful elements: Beta-carotene, Alpha Carotene, and Phytochemicals. Beta-carotene gives us vitamin A which strengthens immune systems, keeps the skin, lungs and intestinal track in order, and promotes healthy cell growth. Alpha Carotene helps inhibit tumor growth. And phytochemicals may reduce the risk of cancer and strokes, hinder the aging process, balance hormonal metabolism, and promote antiviral and antibacterial properties. Combine these three elements and carrots are yes, nutritional heroes. Just look at some of what they can do.
  • Boost immunity, especially in older people
  • Reduce risk of heart disease
  • Improve muscle, flesh, and skin health
  • Fight anemia
  • Reduce acne
  • Improve eye health
  • Heal minor wounds and injuries
  • Fight infection
Now, we go from carrots to your peace of mind. Chris Sparling of insists you got to find time to just chill out. Take a look:
These days, it seems almost un-American to not be stressed. It's not that we want to be mentally and emotionally fried all the time, it just ends up happening anyway. Methods of battling back against these unwanted feelings frequently involve time commitments (i.e. joining a yoga class, meditating, exercising, speaking with a therapist, etc.), which can itself lead to more stress. Because, time? Who has any of that to spare?

Find some time. Make some time, if need be.
Look at all the wonderful plant sources of vitamin B. Honestly, I didn’t know there are this many B’s. Check it out:
I'll start today with some the many types of vitamin B and their respective health benefits.
  • B1 - Found in whole grain bread, pasta, rice, and pork. This type of B vitamin helps release energy from food and also keeps nerve and brain cells nice and healthy.
  • B5 - Found in fish, meat, poultry, whole grains, legumes, milk, fruits, and vegetables. This vitamin helps with the metabolizing of carbs, proteins, and fats.
  • B6 - Found in chicken, pork, fish, liver, whole grains, nuts, and legumes. Great for keeping serotonin levels where they should be.
  • B9 - Also known as folate, this can be found in many fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, and beef liver. It helps break down fatty acids and has also been shown in some studies to reduce the progression of cancer in some cases.

Food Scoring Guide: Low-Nutrient Foods

Just as eating large amounts of micronutrient-rich natural plant foods is of great benefit to your health, eating large amounts of micronutrient-deficient animal foods and processed foods leaves you very susceptible to disease. That is why the standard American diet (SAD) results in diseases Americans get.

Neither animal products nor processed foods contain antioxidants, bioflavonoids, carotenoids, folate, vitamin C, or those thousand of phytochemicals that are essential for cellular normalcy. Many of the animal products consumed, such as cheese and red meat, are exceptionally high in saturated fat. High saturated fat intake increases the risk of certain cancers and promotes high cholesterol, leading to heart disease. To add insult to injury, many of the processed foods we eat are high in trans fat, a man-made fat that is linked to cancer and heart disease.

Artichokes the Easy Way...

Preparing artichokes isn’t nearly as complicated as it looks. Check it out:

Artichokes, tasty and prickly—just like me! Kidding, not really.

Food Scoring Guide: Permanently Maintaining Healthy Weight

Temporary weight-loss techniques (what we all call “dieting”) serve no purpose. There is no health benefit to losing weight and then putting it back on again soon afterwards. Health benefits only occur when the weight loss is maintained FOREVER. That means that the only dietary change that can work is one that you stick with permanently. If the change you make to your diet is permanent, you are not on a diet; you merely have changed your eating habits.

Eating more high-nutrient food is the only way to lose weight permanently, and eating more nutrients leads to permanent improvements in your health. Knowing these important facts and PUTTING THEM INTO PRACTICE is your key to health and longevity. Fortunately, eating more high-nutrient foods helps control food cravings and overeating behaviors, making it easier to reach your ideal weight. This knowledge can guide you for the rest of your life. It is not a fad, and it will never go out of style. High-nutrient eating is the way of the future, but you can enjoy it now. It can be your fountain of youth.

A Farmer's View

This farmer shares his thoughts on organic and non-organic produce. Check it out:

Always nice to get perspective from people on the frontlines—so to speak.

Health Points: Monday

When he became a psychiatrist in the 1970s, John Ratey didn't expect to evolve into an exercise buff. But today, the Harvard University professor and expert in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder calls exercise the single most important tool people have to optimize brain function…

…Exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, can improve cognitive performance, soften the effects of stress, help fend off addiction-related cravings and tone down the negative consequences of women's hormonal changes, Ratey says. When it comes to psychiatric disorders, he calls exercise "one of the best treatments we have."
Bacteria can cause rhinosinusitis -- an inflammation of the sinuses -- but a virus such as the common cold is often a more likely culprit so antibiotics seldom work, the researchers reported in the journal Lancet.

Yet doctors still dole out the drugs more than they should. In the United States, for instance, 80 percent of sinus patients are prescribed an antibiotic while the proportion ranges from 72 percent to 92 percent in Europe.

"What tends to happen in practice is when patients have had symptoms for a while and go see their family doctor, the doctor assumes they have a bacterial infection and gives them antibiotics," said James Young, a statistician at the University Hospital Basel, who led the study.
In the new study of about 5,000 adults, the college-educated with household incomes of more than $75,000 a year had much less of a blood protein linked to heart disease than did the poorer or less educated - as long as they weren't overweight.

But as weight crept up, so did C-reactive protein in the blood, a sign of inflamed tissue that can lead to blocked coronary arteries, says Cathy Bykowski, a psychologist at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

That's not surprising, because excess body fat is known to increase the protein, she says.
New research suggests that people who don't get enough sleep tend to weigh more -- and that sleep can affect levels of the appetite-regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin.

"There is a dynamic balance between proper sleep and proper health. Sleep deprivation affects weight and a lot of other things. If you cheat sleep, there are a number of consequences, including affecting your hormones, appetite and mood," said Dr. Patrick Strollo, medical director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Sleep Medicine Center.
At first glance, the $45 session just looked like a bunch of boys having fun, not surprising since Lego Club members have good language skills and average or above-average intelligence. In contrast, children at the severe end of the autism spectrum may be mute and have catatonic behaviors.

But signs of problems were soon evident. A boy wearing a long-sleeve T-shirt stood amid the hubbub, staring at the floor, obsessively pulling the hem of his shirt - until leader Greg Shugar gently drew him into an activity. At a table, Lily Brown, another leader, helped two boys revise their "script" - a sheet of lined paper covered with angry scratch-outs and scribbles.

Jonathan Shanahan, 13, of Riverton, rocked from foot to foot and acknowledged that earlier that day, in school, he threw a pencil at a classmate.

"He's my archrival," Jonathan declared, holding a winged Lego beast he had created.
Breast-fed babies appear to be less likely to develop type 2 diabetes when they reach adolescence, according to findings published in the medical journal Diabetes Care.

"Dramatic increases in childhood obesity and the emergence of type 2 diabetes in youth motivate research to identify lifestyle approaches to primary prevention of both conditions," write Dr. Elizabeth J. Mayer-Davis of the University of South Carolina, Columbia, and colleagues.
Use: To improve heart health

Why it works: Folate and other B vitamins help break down excess homocysteine -- an amino acid that can damage the inner lining of arteries -- possibly reducing the risk of heart disease.

Daily intake: 400 mcg

Best food sources: 1/2 cup cooked asparagus (134 mcg), 1 cup raw spinach (58 mcg), 1/2 cup cooked lentils (179 mcg)
Type 1 diabetes occurs because of pancreatic beta cell damage. These cells are responsible for insulin hormone production. The disease is becoming more common and it is expected to increase by 40% in 2010, compared to 2000.

The study showed that those suffering from type 1 diabetes have lower levels of vitamin D and are common in countries with less sunlight. It is well known that sunlight exposure stimulates vitamin D production and that supplement intake without sunlight exposure doesn't mean anything.

Lack of vitamin D is previously linked to autoimmune disorders, and this new study shows another key role of vitamins in health.
Breast cancer patients who are overweight have more aggressive disease and are likely to die sooner, U.S. researchers reported on Friday.

A dangerous type of breast cancer, known as inflammatory breast cancer, was seen in 45 percent of obese patients, compared with 30 percent of overweight patients and 15 percent of patients of healthy weight.

"The more obese a patient is, the more aggressive the disease," said Dr. Massimo Cristofanilli of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, who led the study.

School Food: Making the Grade?

Given the ever-expanding girth of our nation’s obesity epidemic, there’s been a tremendous push to shape up school cafeteria food. Just get a load of these previous reports:
Keeping Junk-Food Out School...Problems
“The nutrition standards would allow only plain bottled water and eight-ounce servings of fruit juice or plain or flavored low-fat milk with up to 170 calories to be sold in elementary and middle schools. High school students could also buy diet soda or, in places like school gyms, sports drinks. Other drinks with as many as 66 calories per eight ounces could be sold in high schools, but that threshold would drop to 25 calories per eight-ounce serving in five years.”

School Kids Will Eat Well
“While serving better meals does entail higher labor costs, the study found, that's offset by lower costs for more nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables compared with processed foods. However, many districts need to upgrade their kitchens and train their staff to prepare these foods, the researchers said.”

Salad Bar Schools
“According to San Francisco Unified School District, parents and students have been pushing for more fresh food to be available in school lunches, so a pilot program was initiated in three schools last year. The pilot schools performed so well that 15 new schools will have salad bars available this year. Another 10 campuses are expected to open their own salad bars by the end of the school year.”

Schools vs. Childhood Obesity
“Fast food, television, soft drinks and a sedentary lifestyle are seen as the main culprits of childhood obesity, and schools -- in the absence of action on the part of families -- are beginning to take a stand.”

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

School Kids Win Better Veggies
"A little boy said, `Anything, anything, I'll even eat broccoli,"' said Connie Duits, the lunch lady. "So that one touched my heart." The children were careful to offer praise as they expressed their concerns.”

Shaping Up School Food
"’The alarming increase in childhood obesity rates has galvanized parents and schools across the nation to find ways to improve children's diets and health, and we hope our report will assist that effort,’ said Virginia A. Stallings, chair of the committee that prepared the report.”

Soda Expelled From Schools

“The deal follows a wave of regulation by school districts and state legislatures to cut back on student consumption of soda amid reports of rising childhood obesity rates. Soda has been a particular target of those fighting obesity because of its caloric content and popularity among children.”
So keeping all this in mind, Emily Sweeney of The Boston Globe takes a look at local schools and sees how they’re ratcheting up their menus. Here’s a bit:
Lunch starts early at Weston High. Every day at 10:15 a.m., the first wave of students swarm into the school's sun-filled cafeteria for their half-hour lunch period. All of the food is cooked in the kitchen, staffed by seven women wearing dark crimson, collared shirts and black aprons. There is a full soup and salad bar, a broad assortment of Celestial Seasonings tea (cinnamon apple, cranberry apple, mint medley, orange and spice, lemon), and a deli where sandwiches are made to order on a variety of breads (multigrain, oat bran, honey oatmeal, and marble rye, to name a few)…

… Students pay $3 for a complete meal. The lunch menu changes every day, and can include a variety of dishes, such as quiche, Asian rice bowls, Normandy vegetables, Parker House rolls, and Cosmic Potatoes (baked potatoes cut into star and moon shapes). On Feb. 29, the featured dessert was "Leap Year cake" - a square piece of fluffy white cake topped with vanilla frosting - and the entree was baked salmon, wild rice, and warm spinach cooked in olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Well, I’m not exactly seeing drastic improvement here—tea, salt, and deli sandwiches—maybe another school is better. What about this one:
Today, students can choose from five lunches every day. They offer prepackaged Smuckers Uncrustable peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Bagel pizza. Salisbury steak and brown rice. Turkey nuggets. French fries. Fresh tossed salads.

The school's cafeteria staff tries to provide students with home-style cooking. Hall and her team make the salad dressing from scratch, by combining oil, vinegar, sugar, oregano, and garlic. They slice pita bread into triangles, brush them with oil, sprinkle them with oregano and garlic, and bake them in the oven until they are crispy. They prepare other dishes, such as Dominican rice, that often reflect the diverse student body. Sixty percent of East Boston High's enrollment is Hispanic.
Yeah, I’m failing to see the goodness here—pizza bagels, Salisbury steak, and French fries—okay, one last school. Here:
The cafeteria at Foxborough High school is staffed by six women, all of whom live in town. The head cook and manager is Nancy Siracusa, a 25-year cafeteria veteran who takes her job seriously, prides herself on the cleanliness of the school kitchen, and doesn't mince her words. "School lunch gets a bad rap," she said, recalling the time she watched a "Dateline" exposé on NBC in which former host Stone Phillips visited school lunchrooms…

…Siracusa and her team cook and serve 600 lunches a day. The meals are served on foam plates and cost $2. They have "Taco Tuesdays" and "Pasta Wednesdays." When the Globe visited March 3, the featured entree consisted of chicken nuggets with dipping sauce, rice pilaf, fresh celery stalks, carrot sticks, broccoli, fresh fruit, and milk. In addition, the staff prepares eight to 10 different hot sandwiches every day including chicken, spicy chicken, hamburgers, and cheeseburgers. They also make miniature, personal pan pizzas.
What the heck! Sure, the carrots, celery, and broccoli are good, but cheeseburgers, personal pan pizzas, and chicken nuggets. Sorry New England schools, you got more work to do!

Keep Your Asparagus Snappy!

This chef tells us how to keep asparagus nice and fresh—yum! Take a look:

Honestly, asparagus has rapidly become one of my FAVORITE foods.

Food Scoring Guide: Key to Superior Health and Your Ideal Weight

When you eat to maximize micronutrients in relation to calories, your body functions will normalize; chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol melt away; and you maintain your youthful vigor into old age. Heart disease and cancer would fade away and become exceedingly rare if people adopted a lifestyle of nutritional excellence. But in the here and now, what is exciting to so many people is that when your diet is high enough in micronutrients, excess weight drops off at a relatively fast rate. It’s like you had your stomach stapled. You simply don’t crave to overeat anymore. In fact, it becomes too difficult to overeat when you eat your fill of high-micronutrient food.

The mistake of focusing on the “importance” of protein in the diet is one of the major reasons Americans have been led down the path to dietary suicide. For too long, we have equated protein with good nutrition and have thought that animal—products in spite of the fact that they are deficient or devoid of most micronutrients—are highly favorable foods simply because they are rich in complete proteins. This miscalculation has cost us dearly. By favoring a dairy- and meat-heavy diet, instead of one rich in fruits, vegetables, and beans, we have brought forth an epidemic of heart attacks and cancers.

Health Points: Friday

The Food and Drug Administration listed poor sanitation and other deficiencies in 47% of 199 inspections from January 2001 to February 2007, according to a report by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. None of the cases was referred to the FDA's enforcement arm for further action.

E. coli bacteria in bagged spinach from California killed three people and sickened at least 205 in 2006. The spinach may have been tainted when feral pigs roamed through cattle feces at a nearby ranch and crossed into the spinach fields, investigators from the FDA and California said last year.
The best that Dr. Julie Gilchrist, a medical epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and one of the study’s authors, can offer is a few guidelines and observations about why studies have yet to answer the stretching questions.

If your goal is to prevent injury, Dr. Gilchrist said, stretching does not seem to be enough. Warming up, though, can help. If you start out by moving through a range of motions that you’ll use during activity, you are less likely to be injured.

In fact, Dr. Gilchrist said, in her review of published papers, every one of the handful of studies that concluded that stretching prevented injuries included warm-ups with the stretches.
The legislation is aimed at curbing the fallout from Americans' unhealthy eating habits, seen in rising rates of obesity and Type 2 diabetes. The hope is that the labels will help people make healthier choices when they're eating out.

But dozens of studies have produced mixed results on whether nutrition labeling improves consumers' eating habits. It can't hurt to make the information available, nutritionists say, however, the truth is, if people want a Big Mac for lunch, knowing that it has 540 calories and 29 grams of fat probably isn't going to stop them.
Scientists said they, too, are concerned about the findings of the water testing commissioned by the Associated Press, but several said that there is no need for people to stop drinking tap water.

The contaminants present are "in the parts-per-billion level and essentially at homeopathic doses," said Phyllis Gardner, a Stanford University physician and pharmacologist. "It can't possibly have an effect."

The fact that the substances are in tap water at all concerns Gardner and others. "I wish they weren't there," said Mary Vore, a professor of toxicology at the University of Kentucky. "But I will keep drinking the water."
New rules announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will tighten air quality standards set a decade ago, reflecting a growing amount of research indicating that smog poses greater health risks than previously thought.

The air in Chicago, which met federal smog standards for the first time last year, will fail again under the new limit.

Under the regulations outlined by top EPA officials, the allowable level of smog in the air will be 75 parts per billion, down from the current standard of 85 parts per billion but higher than 60 parts per billion recommended by pediatricians and environmental groups to protect children and the elderly.
A recent study of the PACE (People with Arthritis Can Exercise) program by researchers at the University of North Carolina showed significant improvements in reducing pain and fatigue among those who completed the eight-week course, with benefits persisting for up to six months after completion of the course.

"I liked it because it's not just an exercise program," said Laurie Maietta, who taught the PACE course last fall at Panther Physical Therapy in Hampton. "You have the exercise program, an educational program, and a relaxation component as well."

Arthritis sufferers tend to be less fit than seniors who don't suffer from this condition. Which is too bad, said Dr. Moira Davenport, director of sports and emergency medicine for Allegheny General Hospital, because "exercise can definitely help people suffering from arthritis. It strengthens the muscle around the affected joints, and takes away some of the pressure and pain."
The study, by researchers at the U.S. National Cancer Institute, found that men and women who were severely obese were 45 percent more likely than normal-weight adults to develop pancreatic cancer over five years…

…Pancreatic cancer is difficult to catch early, and 95 percent of patients die within five years of being diagnosed. Because of this dismal prognosis, researchers consider it particularly important to pinpoint the modifiable risk factors for the disease.
In many ways, pediatricians do know more than parents. When your doctor says your newborn needs to ride in a rear-facing car seat, don't argue. When he says your 2-month-old with a 105-degree fever needs to get to the doctor's office -- and fast -- you'd better listen.

But there are far more areas that are gray and have no science, or not very good science, to back them up, says our panel of pediatric experts. They say that sometimes, this means your pediatrician is giving you his or her opinion, not medical fact.

"There are several ways to approach many issues in pediatrics. There isn't one clear-cut way," says Dr. Robert Needlman, co-author of the latest edition of "Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care." "Pediatricians really should make a distinction between what's based on research and what's based on our own particular beliefs."
The U.S. federal standards for acceptable levels of pharmaceutical residue in bottled water are the same as those for tap water -- there aren't any.

The Food and Drug Administration, which regulates the $12 billion bottled water industry in the United States, sets limits for chemicals, bacteria and radiation, but doesn't address pharmaceuticals.

Some water that's bottled comes from pristine, often underground rural sources; other brands have a source no more remote than local tap water. Either way, bottlers insist their products are safe and say they generally clean the water with advanced treatments, though not explicitly for pharmaceuticals.
Tests on mice show that diacetyl, a component of artificial butter flavoring, can cause a condition known as lymphocytic bronchiolitis, said the team at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health.

The condition can lead to obliterative bronchiolitis -- or "popcorn lung" -- a rare and debilitating disease seen in workers at microwave popcorn packaging plants and at least one consumer.

At least two microwave popcorn makers -- ConAgra Foods Inc and Weaver Popcorn Co Inc -- have said recently they would stop using diacetyl.

Fear of Carbs: A Myth Debunked...Again!

Yeah, Followhealthlife is no fan of the low-carb fad. Most people know it’s just a big money-making scam. Now, fear of carbs is one of the nutrition myths Maggie Vink of That’sFit decided to debunk. Take a look:

Eating carbohydrates causes weight gain. MYTH! The anti-carb crusade has really gotten out of control. Calories make you gain weight. Carbs are actually your body's preferred choice of fuel. The trick is to choose healthful complex carbs such as fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Simple, refined carbs like candy offer little to no nutrition and are just empty calories.

Quite frankly, it’s unnatural to avoid carbs. “Our bodies need carbohydrates more than any other substance. Our muscle cells and brains are designed to run on carbohydrates,” explains Dr. Fuhrman. Here’s more:

When you eat high-carbohydrate foods, such as fresh fruits and beans, you eat more food and still keep your caloric intake relatively low. The high fiber content of (unrefined) carbohydrate-rich food is another crucial reason you will feel more satisfied and not crave more food when you make unrefined carbohydrates the main source of calories in your diet. Carbohydrate-rich foods, when consumed in their natural state, are low in calories and high in fiber compared with fatty foods, processed foods, or animal products.

The real culprits are refined carbohydrates and animal products—i.e. meat, fat, and dairy—are not saviors. Of course, you’re really goofing up if you find yourself consuming both of these. Dr. Fuhrman talks about it:

The combination of fat and refined carbohydrates has an extremely powerful effect on driving the signals that promote fat accumulation on the body. Refined foods cause a swift and excessive rise in blood sugar, which in turn triggers insulin surges to drive the sugar out of the blood and into our cells. Unfortunately, insulin also promotes the storage of fat on the body and encourages your fat cells to swell.

And yes, I feel like a bully picking on the low-carb nonsense—but it’s just so darn easy!

Veggies: Tasty, Easy...

Okay, I’m no artist. Honestly, I’m not even that bright, but, inspired by last week’s fruit chart, I whipped up my very own veggie chart. What do you think:

No doubt, DaVinci is spinning in his grave, but, how did I do with my veggie placements? Mind you, these are just my opinions.

Fruit: Power of the Tropics

“Antioxidants fuel a defensive system that removes toxic cellular metabolites that age us,” explains Dr. Fuhrman. Here he tells us why antioxidants are an important cornerstone of good health. Take a look:
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.
Now, it seems tropical fruits are a major source of antioxidants. Emily Sohn of The Los Angeles Times tells us all about mangosteens, açaí, noni, pomegranates, and goji berries. Check it out:
There are many thousands of plant-based antioxidants, called phytochemicals, and these compounds appear in various combinations in different types of produce. Blueberries, red wine and açaí, for example, are high in anthocyanins. Tea has lots of catechins. Mangosteens are rich in xanthones. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids.

Plenty of studies now show that eating a variety of fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of chronic disease and might even help us live longer. So, companies that market superfruits often tout the high antioxidant concentrations of their star ingredients. Their findings are sometimes at odds with each other.

In several studies published or presented at meetings, for example, Pom Wonderful (which has poured $23 million into researching the 'Wonderful' variety of pomegranates that the company grows on orchards in Central California's San Joaquin Valley), found that its 100% pomegranate juice had more antioxidant activity than more than a dozen other beverages, including blueberry, grape, açaí and orange juices. The next nearest competitor, red wine, had 17% fewer polyphenol antioxidants and neutralized 54 fewer free radicals than the juice did.
Okay, this is all well and good, but, we shouldn’t consider one or two exotic fruits as miracle cures. Dr. Fuhrman talks about it:
Juices and extracts of exotic fruits and vegetables such as mangosteen, gogi berries, Chinese lycium, acia, Siberian pineapple, cili, noni, guarana, and black currant are touted as wondrous super foods with a myriad of health claims. Certainly, eating exotic fruits from all over the globe can add valuable phytochemical compounds with the potential for beneficial effects. I see no reason why these fruits and their juices should not be used as part of a varied diet with a wide assortment of phytonutrients. Broadening our variety of health-supporting nutrients from exotic foods has value in building a strong immune defense against cancer.

The confusion arises when marketers claim that the juices can cure cancer or kill cancer cells on the basis of studies that show that some component in the juice or other part of the plant has been shown to kill cancer cells. Just because a concentrated chemical derived from a food can kill cancer cells in a test tube does not make that food a cure for cancer.
For more on this, be sure to brush up on Ineffective Anti-Cancer Remedies: Exotic Tropical Fruit Juices.

A Health Tip from Poked & Prodded

Julie Upton, RD of Poked & Prodded scoured the country for good health tips. Here’s a great one from Gayle Lanphier, RD. Enjoy:
Make this soup! It’s quick to make using broth, frozen vegetables, canned beans, etc. Low cost, low calorie, high fiber! I take this soup to work for lunch. It is a tasty way to consume vegetables and the high fiber prevents my afternoon hunger snack attack. —Gayle Lanphier, RD, CSSD, LDN; York, Penn.
Vegetable and Bean Soup
1 small onion
2 ribs of celery
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 quart of broth (vegetable, chicken, or beef)
1 pound package of frozen mixed vegetables
1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can of black beans or kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
Salt, pepper, spices, to taste
Chop the onion and celery into small pieces. Sauté in olive oil. Add broth, frozen vegetables, canned tomatoes, salt, pepper, and spices. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes. Add beans and simmer one minute longer.
Hey, kick the salt and maybe the olive oil too and it’s looking mighty good—don’t you agree?

Eat Your Fruit PSA

Check out this vintage PSA from the 1980s encouraging kiddies to eat their fruit. Take a look:

A young Gerald Pugliese probably watched this—in between watching Transformers and picking my nose of course.

Food Scoring Guide: Macronutrients

Macronutrients are nutrients that contain calories. There are only macronutrients—fat, carbohydrates, and protein. Macronutrients give us the calories we need for energy and growth. All natural foods contain a mixture of fat, carbohydrates, and protein, although some (primarily animal products) contain only two of the three. For example, a banana is mostly carbohydrate (93%), but it does contain some fat (3%) and protein (4%). Spinach, like all dark leafy green vegetables, contain approximately equal amounts of carbohydrates (40%) and protein (43%), along with a lesser amount of fat (7%). Sirloin steak is all fat (44%) and protein (56%) and contains no carbohydrate.

With Americans gaining weight at such a fast pace, there seems to be an endless stream of diet books that focus on manipulating the amounts and the percentages of the macronutrients—carbohydrate, fat, and protein—that we eat. But fiddling around macronutrient percentages is not the way to lose weigh or improve health. In fact, the only way to slow the tidal wave of increased chronic disease and obesity is for people to eat less of all three macronutrients.

It is a simple equation. Macronutrients are where all of the calories come from. If you overconsume macronutrients (regardless of the percentages of each), you will get too many calories. If you consume too many calories, you will experience excess weight gain, various chronic diseases, and premature death.

To lose weight and improve health, forget about the macronutrients percentages, and focus on providing yourself with the highest quality diet. Nutritional excellence is achieved by eating foods that have the highest levels of micronutrients.

Grow Your Veggies...

Hey, spring is just around the corner. What a great opportunity to grow your own organic vegetables and this video shows you how. Check it out:

Interesting, I’m actually thinking about growing some tomatoes and peppers this year—not too Italian of me!

Nutrition: Beef, Very Wimpy

Julie Upton, RD has grown leery of beef. She’s not eating it anymore, and, she recently discovered that as far as nutrients are concerned, beef doesn’t measure up—even when compared to burger alternatives. From Poked & Prodded:
The chart below shows that an 80% lean ground chuck broiled burger doesn’t measure up to eight popular meat-free patties (made from soy and/or veggies): The vegetarian options are a calorie and fat bargain and offer a good dose of fiber. Their only significant downfall: sodium. There’s less protein too, but most people who eat a balanced diet get plenty.

Red meat is a nutritional lightweight—with more cons than pros. Now, Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t recommend eating too many meat alternatives, but he’s all for eating lots and lots greens and in terms of nutrition, green veggies trounce beef. Check it out:

It really makes me mental when people insist red meat is an amazing source of nutrients. Sure, its got nutrients, but it’s far from the Holy Grail, more like a Dixie cup.

Food Scoring Guide: Micronutrients

Micronutrients are essential nutritional substances that do not contain calories. The three main micronutrients are vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. (Some researchers consider fiber and water to be micronutrients, too.) Micronutrients are extremely important for your health.

Micronutrients are needed for your body to manufacture the materials it needs for normal function, to rid itself of waste, and to repair damage. Without micronutrients, you quickly would get sick and die soon afterwards. Americans eat too few micronutrients, and we would live longer if we ate more.

There are 13 vitamins and 25 minerals know to be important for human health, and the importance of adequate intake of them for overall health cannot be overstated. Their impact on overall health is broad and vast; the effects of deficiencies are devastating. The human body requires large amounts of some of them, and trace amounts of others. Natural foods have been shown to contain the right types of them in the right proportions for human survival and good health.

Health Points: Wednesday

"Using technology to modify television viewing eliminates parental vigilance needed to enforce family rules and reduces the disciplinary action needed if a child exceeds his or her sedentary behavior limits," the authors concluded. "Perhaps most important, the device puts the choice of when to watch television in the child's control, as opposed to a rule such as 'no television time until homework is completed.'"

Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University School of Medicine Prevention Research Center, said the study, "shows the upside to this ominous mix -- reducing screen time can help prevent childhood obesity by several mechanisms. Less screen time may be even more important to dietary pattern than to physical activity pattern. But by either means, the ends here are encouraging and highlight the importance of this strategy."
Investigations comparing caffeine with water or placebo seldom found a statistical difference in urine volume, the author wrote. “In the 10 studies reviewed, consumption of a caffeinated beverage resulted in 0 to 84 percent retention of the initial volume ingested, whereas consumption of water resulted in 0 to 81 percent retention.”

Another study, in the same journal in 2005, involved scientists following 59 active adults over 11 days while controlling their caffeine intake. They were given caffeine in capsule form on some days and on other days were given a placebo. Researchers found no significant differences in levels of excreted electrolytes or urine volume.
They're not the first; several other states have similar laws on the books, including Arkansas, which was the first in 2003.

Children will be weighed twice a year, in private. Their BMI will be tracked but kept confidential. "Sally, step into the office, step up on the scale, that's about as invasive as it gets," said Senator Joseph Carter, who sponsored the bill. "The presence of childhood obesity is staggering," he added.

Not everyone is a fan of the idea, however. Senator Preston Smith wants to keep the government out of the weight loss business and worries that pressure from schools will do more harm than good. "Come on, pick it up fat kid, we're not going to get money if you don't!" he said, mimicking what he thought school officials would say.
  • Seat Belt Pillow: There are new and cool ways to go incorporate green and recycled materials into your house. These pillows are made of end-of-the line seat belt webbing otherwise destined for the landfill. A little expensive at $114, but very innovative.
  • Recycled glass bowls and vase from Pier 1: You can take the green theme to other parts of your home. And one great way to do this is to decorate green. Pier 1 has a new line of hand-painted glass bowls and vases that are made from 100 percent recycled glass. They are beautiful and eco-conscious.
  • Cork Bowls: This bowl is made 100 percent recycled cork (reclaimed waste material from the bottle-stopper industry). Cork is also a great choice for flooring, and made of tree bark, which is an eco-responsible alternative to petroleum-based vinyl flooring and slow-growing hardwoods such as oak.
The researchers cautioned that further studies were needed to consider factors such as diet, exercise, cholesterol levels and smoking habits that affect the risk of heart disease.

The study focused on more than 65,000 workers employed between 1946 and 2002 at four sites operated by British Nuclear Fuels plc and its predecessors. The team analyzed non-cancer death rates and cumulative radiation exposure using the workers' personal dosimeter badges.

Comparing the some 42,000 workers exposed to relatively high levels of radiation to office workers and other employees pointed to an increased heart disease risk, the researchers said.
Drinking alcohol, even moderate amounts, may boost blood pressure more than previously thought, British researchers said on Tuesday.

People with a genetic mutation that makes it difficult to consume alcohol had significantly lower blood pressure than regular or heavy drinkers, the researchers found.

People without the mutation who had about 3 drinks per day had "strikingly" higher blood pressure than people with the genetic change who tended to drink only small amounts or nothing at all.
The study involved 2,216 adolescents in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area of Minnesota whose eating patterns, weight and other lifestyle issues were tracked for five years. They were just under 15 years old when they entered the study, which was published in the journal Pediatrics.

The more regularly the teens ate breakfast, the lower their body mass index was, according to the study. BMI is a measure of body weight relative to height. Those who always skipped breakfast on average weighed about 5 pounds more than their peers who ate the meal every day.
Their study involved 77,721 people in Washington state ages 50 to 76, tracking their use over the prior decade of supplemental multivitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E and folate to see if this would offer protection from lung cancer.

None of the vitamins looked at in the study was tied to a reduced risk of lung cancer. In fact, people who took high doses of vitamin E, especially smokers, had a small but statistically significant elevated risk, the researchers said.
Originating in the Mediterranean and then spreading to the United States and Europe, rosemary was used for centuries to treat nervous system ailments, says Discovery Health. Healthwise, it's used today in aromatherapy to enhance senses and boost memory and it just happens to contain those magical antioxidants -- carnosol is its strongest -- which help prevent cancer and high cholesterol. It also helps stimulate the immune system, increase circulation, and improves digestion, according to The World's Healthiest Foods site. It contains anti-inflammatory compounds, increases blood flow to the head and brain, and improve concentration. Whew. That's some pretty good stuff.
  • There is an ideal range of flexibility in each joint. People who are too flexible may be just as susceptible to injury as those who are too tight as they often lack adequate stability.
  • Relative flexibility is a key factor: Often when we are tight in one joint, the adjacent joint is too flexible. The key is to try and stabilize what is too loose and release what is too tight.
  • Asymmetry of flexibility is a more likely cause of injury than tightness (i.e. if one hamstring muscle is far tighter than the other).

10 Fruits and Veggies

This’ll bring back memories. Learn the number 10 fruit and veggie style. Thanks Sesame Street:

…and ten apples for dessert!

Five Cholesterol-Fighting Foods

MSN offers up a list of foods that fight cholesterol. I liked these three. Check them out:

Oatmeal: You’ve seen the commercials with people proclaiming dramatic drops in their cholesterol numbers thanks to a daily serving of this hot cereal. Those great results are due to the high levels of soluble fiber found in oatmeal.

Almonds: Studies have found that eating just a quarter cup of almonds a day can lower your LDL by 4.4 percent, according to dietitian Leslie Bonci, who is also the director of sports nutrition at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “Eating nuts, especially almonds, which are high in good-for-you monounsaturated fat, is better than simply eating a low-fat snack like pretzels,” says Bonci.

Soy: Soybeans, soy nuts and edamame, plus any products made from soy (like tofu, soymilk, etc.) can help to reduce the production of new cholesterol.
HealthandMen rounds out the rest of the list. Take a look:
Fish: Another no brainer. Omega 3 fatty acids.

Red Wine: Red wine contains Flavanols which have anti-inflammatory properties that help to lower cholesterol and fight heart disease. Once again, moderation.
I’m a little leery of these two. Here’s what Dr. Fuhrman has to say about fish:
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.
And now, Dr. Fuhrman talks about wine:
A few years ago the University of California’s Berkeley Wellness Letter reported on new research about the so-called heart-healthy “benefits” of alcohol consumption. Previous studies had led to a recommendation that moderate consumption of red wine—but not other alcoholic beverages—helped reduce the risk of heart attack. What did the new research reveal?

If we were to rely on the Berkeley Wellness Letter for this information, the latest news would be that moderate consumption of any alcoholic beverage—red or white wine, even beer and spirits—can be heart-healthy. Unfortunately, their latest news is still woefully out-of-date. More recent studies show that even moderate alcohol consumption is linked to significantly increased incidence of atrial fibrillation,1 a condition that can lead to stroke, and to higher rates of breast cancer.2,3

Alcohol is not actually heart-healthy. It simply has anti-clotting effects, much like aspirin.
I think MSN might want to revisit their list—got to look at the whole picture—you know?
Continue Reading...

Community-Supported Agriculture and Me

Nicole Teed of ParentDish is trying to decide whether or not she wants to participate in the local Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA). Here’s her thoughts, take a look:
The basic idea is this: at the beginning of a growing season, you buy into a share of a farm. In exchange, you receive a basket of fresh products weekly. Most farms focus on fruits and vegetables, but some also include meat, eggs, milk, and anything else that can be harvested locally. (One farm in my area also has a shrimp boat, and includes fresh shrimp in their CSA!)

It's a win-win for the farm and the consumer. Farmers get a guarantee that their produce will be sold, so they can focus on what they do well: growing it. As a CSA member, you get food that is fresh and local. Some farms use organic methods, and many encourage visits and provide public education about their farming practices. I'm thinking that a weekly trip to the farm to pick up our bushel would make an excellent family outing.

The one catch, as I see it: you don't generally get any control over what ends up in your basket. If you've got a family of picky eaters, or you aren't willing to try new recipes, that could mean that a bunch of fresh vegetables end up in the trash.
What a coincidence, I signed up for a CSA a few months ago. I’m an official shareholder of Honey Brook Organic Farm in Pennington, New Jersey. Check this out:

I can’t wait to get my hands on some fresh berries and lettuces—come on spring!

Pollan Sighting

Jenna Watson of TreeHugger recently caught Michael Pollan on the Canadian leg of his book tour. She blogged about it, here’s some of her post:

I won’t get into the nitty gritty details of every single word he said, but he was inspiring, engaging, funny and real. A must-see if you have the opportunity. One of the interesting points he makes is our lack of “food culture” in North America. We eat to get nutrients and "fuel-up", instead of eating to enjoy time with our families and savour the flavours of the stuff we put in our mouths. His eloquent words really made me think...

It is amazing and saddening that some families don’t eat together. My parents always had us sit together at the table and we weren't allowed to watch TV while we ate. It’s an important time to catch up with one another and just have some family moments. Having come back to Toronto for 6 months (from my regular home of Barcelona), I do notice the lack of food culture, or better yet how the characteristics that Pollan says we should aim for are definitely things that we do in Spain.

Sometimes it seems like ALL we do is eat - it's a social thang. We sit down for breakfast, lunch and dinner (in my house at least). When we get together with friends we meet at a café, bar, restaurant or somebody's house to eat and/or drink.
Michael Pollan is a wonderful advocate of wholesome food. Here’s what Dr. Fuhrman has to say about him:
Many of Michael Pollan’s points are interesting and valid, but some discourage people to look to science as motivation to direct healthier eating styles and lifestyles. It almost seems as if his statements support a false view that what you eat does not matter much, when in fact, we have tremendous control our health destiny via nutritional excellence. As I always say, “Nutrition is the prescription.” And Michael Pollen, I think, would support that high nutrient natural foods, not supplements is the key to good health.
And my buddy Tara Parker-Pope of Well digs Michael Pollan too. In fact, she mentioned him in our recent interview. Check it out:
I think Michael Pollan makes a good point when he notes that this culture of nutritionism has taken much of the pleasure out of eating. Now when I put salmon on my plate in the cafeteria I swear I think to myself "mmm, omega 3s..." There's something really wrong with that.
Hey, as a writer and healthy-eater, I admire him a lot.

Fruit: Tasty, Easy...

Check out this gem Diet-Blog got his hands on. Presenting fruit, the easy, the tasty, and the in-between—enjoy:

Very cute, I’d love to see the veggie-equivalent of this—any artists out there?

Food Scoring Guide: Unnatural Foods

Knowing that the right micronutrients in the right proportions are easily available to us in whole, natural foods is wonderful. But we not longer get our foods in natural form from the wild. Most of the food we eat is concocted in factories. These processed foods do not contain the level and diversity of the vitamins and minerals we get in natural foods. For example, the fruits and vegetables that primates eat in the wild are loaded with micronutrients, giving these primates a diet far richer in many essential vitamins and minerals than the diets consumed by any humans in the modern world.

A study of monkey diets carried out at the University of California, Berkeley, by anthropologist Katharine Milton found, for instance, that the average 15-pound wild monkey takes in 600 milligrams per day of vitamin C, 10 times more than that 60-million recommended daily allowance (RDA) for the average 150-pound human. Differences on that order also were found for intakes of other micronutrients, such as fiber, magnesium, potassium, and beta-carotene. The monkey’s diet is amazingly rich in nutrients. The foods that primates in the wild eat include green leaves of many kinds of fruits such as figs, plums, berries, and grapes. The study also reported that the dark green vegetables the monkeys eat contain the complete array of essential amino acids, similar to meat.

The RDAs set by the government were determined by investigating the foods modern humans eat, and they should not be considered representative of the amount of nutrients that would be found in an ideal diet. Unfortunately, most people don’t even take in the very low levels recommended in the RDAs. The researchers in the monkey study concluded that “throughout history, humans have suffered all sorts of diet-related diseases. If we paid more attention to what our wild, primate relatives are eating today, perhaps we could learn new things about our own dietary needs that would help reduce health problems throughout the world.”

The modern diet, especially the one most Americans eat, is too low in minerals and not even close to what we should be consuming for optimal health. Despite consuming almost twice as many calories (macronutrients) as we need, fewer than 18% of adults and 2% of children consume the minimum daily requirements of micronutrients recommended.

Grow Your Own Asparagus

This Aussie sure knows his asparagus. Check it out:

I love asparagus—asparagus sushi rolls with brown rice are to die for!

Box o' Persimmons

“The farmers market is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” Check out what I found this week:

A box of super tasty persimmons:

All lined up and ready to eat:

Actually, this one looks ripe:

Oh yes, it was good. One down, eight to go—YUM!