MSN Health: Bad Foods for Cholesterol

“Saturated fat is the element of the modern diet that shows the most powerful association with high cholesterol and premature death from heart attacks,” explains Dr. Fuhrman. And, MSN offers up 5 Foods That Feed Cholesterol:

Whole-milk Dairy Products: Saturated fat, which clogs arteries and increases LDL levels, is the No. 1 cholesterol-boosting culprit.

Processed Meats: Bacon, sausage, liverwurst and the like are also wonderful sources of artery-clogging saturated fat.

Fast-Food Fries: The main source of trans fats are partially hydrogenated oils, and that’s exactly what most fast-food restaurants are still using to cook their fries.

Tropical Oils: Palm kernel and coconut oils are two of the fattiest of oils—100 percent of the bad-for-you saturated variety.

Baked Goods: All baked goods—even those that are homemade—are high in saturated fats, thanks to the butter and shortening.
No doubt, these are terrible foods. Here’s a montage of Dr. Fuhrman railing against them. Take a look:
Milk/Dairy Fat
Besides the link between high-saturated-fat foods (dairy fat) and cancer, there is a body of scientific literature linking the consumption of cow's milk to many other diseases.

Bacon/Animal Fat
Today the link between animal products and many different diseases is as strongly supporting in the scientific literature as the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer.

Fried Food
Never eat browned or overly cooked food. Burnt food forms harmful compounds. If by accident something is overcooked and browned, discard it. Avoid fried food and food sautéed in oil.

Cooking Oil
While hydrogenation does not make the fat completely saturated, it creates trans fatty acids, which act like saturated fats. Evidence is accumulating to implicate the harmful nature of these man-made fats in both cancer and heart disease.

Baked Goods
Baked goods, cold breakfast cereals, pretzels, and other snack foods, we are getting heart-disease-promoting trans fats and a high dose of acrylamides. Acrylamides are toxic, cancer-promoting compounds produced when foods are baked or fried at high temperatures.
Yeah, I think MSN is right on target with this list—don’t you agree?
Continue Reading...

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!

Fruit Fury!

Good Morning Juice
6 ounces baby carrots
1/8 lemon, without rind
1 20-ounce can pineapple (in its own juice)
2 cups ice cubes
Combine the ingredients in Vita-Mix in above order. Start with variable speed, moving quickly from 1 to 10, and then switch to high. Blend for 1 minute on high or until smooth.

Pear Apple Smoothie

1 ripe pear
1 ripe apple
1 frozen banana
1 cup water
1 teaspoon ground flax seeds
Peel the ripened pear and apple and place in Vita-Mix with banana and water. Blend to smoothie consistency. Mix in flax seeds. Note: Peel your ripened bananas and store in freezer bags in the freezer. You can decrease the banana to 1/2 if you prefer a lighter drink.

Mango Riesling Compote

1 10-ounce bag frozen peaches, thawed and cut into small pieces
3 fresh ripe mangos, or frozen mangos, thawed and cut into small pieces
1 cup unsulfured dried apricots
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup soy milk or almond milk
1/4 cup Dr. Fuhrman's Riesling Raisin Vinegar
Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate overnight in a closed container. Notes: This recipe should be made one day in advance. Frozen mangos and peaches are easier to cut when partially thawed rather than thawed completely.
Tags: Has Arrived...

Awesome! I just got my stuff from AllergyKids. Check it out:

Big ups to Robyn O’Brien for sending me more than I bargained for!

Followhealthlife Invades Diet Blog...and Reuters!

Hey guys, head over to Diet Blog for a familiar surprise…

Big thanks to Jim Foster of Diet Blog for the opportunity. Keep up the great work Jim!

Yup, the post just got picked up be Reuters too!

Eating to Live on the Outside: Naked Fish

The other day I was thinking, “Do you guys think I’m a vegan?” Not that it would be a bad thing, but, I’m not. I’m a true-blue nutritarian. My diet is vegetable-based; which means I eat plenty of fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds, and beans, but, I do eat some animal products.

Now, in the beginning I used to eat a lot more animal foods. Just check out these previous Eating to Live on the Outsides: Friday’s, P.F. Chang's, Lonestar Steakhouse, and Sizzler. I’d like to think I’ve evolved because now the only animal I eat is fish.

I don’t eat it all the time, a couple times a month—tops! And when I do, I only eat the fish Dr. Fuhrman’s considers to be low in mercury: salmon, tilapia, sole, flounder, and trout. My favorite fish is Steelhead Trout. Now, thanks to Oceans Alive we can examine these fish further:

See, it’s tricky. Even with the good fish you’ve got to make sure it’s the right kind. So, let’s test ourselves. This week Eating to the Live on the Outside heads to Naked Fish. Obviously this place is a fisherman’s dream, but, is it a nutritarian nightmare? Only one way to find out!

Okay, let’s start with the Starters. Alright, I don’t like shrimp and I’m not into blazing peppers and ham slivers, but, the Steamed Prince Edward Island Mussels might work; prepared with tomato laurel broth or white wine and leeks. Yes! I know mussels aren't on Dr. Fuhrman’s list, but Oceans Alive gives them high marks:

Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I had mussels, so I wouldn’t be too hung up about ordering them. Oh! And I’d probably ask for the tomato broth with the leeks and pass on the wine.

Next up are the Sandwiches. I’m going with the Vegetable Wrap; roasted tomatoes, peppers, onions, mixed greens, tomato lavash bread, with avocado aioli spread. Clearly, the bread is the concession—I can deal with it—although I can’t deal with the side of fries.

Speaking of sides, since I’d be ditching the French fries, I’d ask if I could sub in one of these: Roasted Garlic Red Bliss Potatoes, Sauteed Golden “Maduros” Plantains, Grilled Asparagus, Grilled String Beans, Stir Fry Vegetables, and Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Bananas. The mashed potatoes are cool—provided they aren’t made with any cream or butter—but my first choice is either the asparagus or the string beans. And hey, why not just make a meal out of the sides?

Moving on to the Salads. The Chopped Salad is a good option—although the menu doesn’t say what’s in it—but be sure to nix an undesirables, like croutons and order that dressing on the side or skip it altogether. Now, maybe the Salmon Salad is a nice choice; made with grilled salmon, seasonal greens, red onion, diced orange, and lemon vinaigrette. As along as that salmon isn’t Atlantic Salmon, I’d be sitting pretty.

As for the Grilled Seafood and the Sauteed & Roasted, I’m digging the Tilapia, Mahi Mahi Fillet, and the Pan-Seared Mahi Mahi. The Tilapia is cool, that’s easy, but what about the mahi mahi? Again, it’s not on Dr. Fuhrman’s list. Let’s check back with Oceans Alive:

Yeah, it’d be a good idea to ask the wait staff about the mahi mahi, but in the end, I really wouldn’t have any regret ordering either of these; especially if I were to pair these up with one of those great sides.

In the end, I think Naked Fish is certainly a decent place to eat if you’re looking to have a nutrient-dense meal, but remember this piece of advice from Dr. Fuhrman. Pay attention now:
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.
I felt a post like this was long overdue. As a fish eating nutritarian, you got to know what to eat and what to stay away from! But tell me what you think. Check out Naked Fish’s menu and let me know how you handle Eating to Live on the Outside. Make a comment or send an email to Until then, eat well! Peace.

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...

Health Points: Friday

Imaging technology shows that people who practice meditation that focuses on kindness and compassion actually undergo changes in areas of the brain that make them more in tune to what others are feeling.

"Potentially one can train oneself to behave in a way which is more benevolent and altruistic," said study co-author Antoine Lutz, an associate scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

How far this idea can be extrapolated remains in question, though.
FDA said it is reviewing reports of mood changes, suicidal behavior and suicide in patients who have taken the drug, which was Merck's best-selling product last year.

In the past year Merck has updated the drug's labeling four times to include information on tremors, anxiousness, depression and suicidal behavior reported in some patients.
The runner’s-high hypothesis proposed that there were real biochemical effects of exercise on the brain. Chemicals were released that could change an athlete’s mood, and those chemicals were endorphins, the brain’s naturally occurring opiates. Running was not the only way to get the feeling; it could also occur with most intense or endurance exercise.

The problem with the hypothesis was that it was not feasible to do a spinal tap before and after someone exercised to look for a flood of endorphins in the brain. Researchers could detect endorphins in people’s blood after a run, but those endorphins were part of the body’s stress response and could not travel from the blood to the brain. They were not responsible for elevating one’s mood. So for more than 30 years, the runner’s high remained an unproved hypothesis.

But now medical technology has caught up with exercise lore. Researchers in Germany, using advances in neuroscience, report in the current issue of the journal Cerebral Cortex that the folk belief is true: Running does elicit a flood of endorphins in the brain. The endorphins are associated with mood changes, and the more endorphins a runner’s body pumps out, the greater the effect.
People who have big bellies in their 40s are much more likely to get Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia in their 70s, according to new research that links the middle-age spread to fading minds for the first time.

The study of more than 6,000 people found the more fat they had in their guts in their early- to mid-40s, the greater their chances of becoming forgetful or confused or showing other signs of senility as they aged. Those who had the most impressive midsections faced more than twice the risk of the leanest.
Dr. Carol Byrd-Bredbenner of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and colleagues found that many college students engaged in eating behaviors that could make them sick, like eating raw homemade cookie dough or runny eggs.

While people are becoming increasingly aware of food safety issues, Byrd-Bredbenner and her team note, surveys still show a substantial proportion run the risk of food poisoning by eating raw eggs, undercooked hamburger and other foods that may harbor harmful bacteria.
The disclosure of hidden tobacco money behind a big study suggesting that lung scans might help save smokers from cancer has shocked the research community and raised fresh concern about industry influence in important science.

Two medical journals that published studies by Weill Cornell Medical College researchers in 2006 are looking into tobacco cash and other financial ties that weren't revealed. The studies reported benefits from lung scans, which the Cornell team has long touted.
The IARC has labeled these occupations as "probably carcinogenic to humans," a classification the agency reserves for those exposures backed by fairly strong evidence. In 1993, the IARC found that hairdressers and barbers were probably exposed to cancer-causing substances, but at that time, evidence of an increased cancer risk in this population was "inadequate." This week's report, published in the Lancet Oncology, is based on a review of epidemiological studies published since that time.

Some of the products used by hairdressers and barbers--such as dyes, pigments, rubber chemicals, and curing agents—have been found to cause tumors in rats in laboratory studies or have been known to cause bladder cancer in humans. In some studies, increased risk has been associated with permanent dyes and use of darker-colored hair dyes.

Musical Fast Food

This burger is too upbeat to be singing about fast food. Enjoy:

Thanks to Followhealthlife reader Mike for sending this over!

Shape Magazine on Fitness Myths

Deputy Editor of Shape Magazine Janet Lee takes some time to debunk fitness myths. Here’s a couple from The CBS Early Show:

TRUTH: Crunches won't get rid of body fat. You have to do cardio to do that. Crunches will firm up the underlying muscles, though. Also, there is no such thing as "lower abs." The six-pack you're going for is actually one long muscle, called the rectus abdominis, that extends from below your chest to your pubic bone. To work your abs, you should do exercises to target all four muscles: the rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques and the transverse abdominis.Getting a six pack is more about genetics first and percentage of body fat second. To try to get there, do a range of moves that target your entire midsection (all 4 muscles in the abs) and do cardio to burn fat.


TRUTH: Muscle doesn't turn to fat-ever! Some people that are very muscular and stop working out without changing their diet may put on fat though and their muscles will lose tone after 4 to 8 weeks. If you have a to take a gym break, try to work in activity in other ways (walk more, take the stairs, etc.) and cut back on what you're eating. Muscle and fat are different types of tissue, and one can't morph into the other. What can happen when you stop exercising is that you put on fat, so those once-flat abs will turn distinctly flabbier. Also, when you don't use muscle it starts to atrophy, so it's not as firm as it was.
That’s why I run, run, run! Oh, if you like video better. Check this out:

Now, here are fitness tips you can trust. Dr. Fuhrman serves up some back strengthening exercises. Check it out:<
  1. Seated cable row: With knees slightly bent, lean forward, then pull the handles back to your chest with elbows wide as your back comes to vertical.
  2. Wide cable pull downs: Pull down the cable to your chest with elbows wide as you lean back to a sixty-degree angle.
  3. Back extensions: Lean over exercise ball, and arch your back up like a reverse sit up, or use a back extension chair made for this exercise.
  4. Superman: While lying on your stomach, lift trunk and legs up off the ground like a bow.
  5. Alternate Superman: Use alternate arm and leg to perform the superman.
  6. Weighted backpack: Wear a weighted backpack for a few hours per week. Normal activities of moving around and getting up and down with a weighted backpack on strengthens the back.
In Yoga they call the alternate superman, warrior three, and the superman, peacock pose. As for the seated cable row, the most I’ve ever done is 200 pounds—ever try any of these?
Tags: Protecting Children with Food Allergies

Do you know about AllergyKids? No! Well, recently I had the opportunity to chat with founder Robyn O’Brien—she ROCKS—here’s a little about her website:

Our goal is to make it easier to identify a child with life threatening food allergies through our universal symbol for food allergies and to provide comprehensive independent research so that you can make the best choices for your family.

Did you know that for the last ten years, food allergy research has been funded by the processed food industry?

At AllergyKids, we felt that it was time to take food allergy research out of the box, because we believe that there is a cure for food allergies. Not just a vaccine, but a CURE. Period.

Today, one out of every three American children now has allergies, asthma, ADHD or autism, with 20 million children now affected by one of these conditions.

As the first independently funded food allergy organization, AllergyKids highlights previously undisclosed research addressing the recent introduction and engineering of allergens, proteins, food additives and dyes into our food supply.
Robyn’s a big deal. Recently Kim Severson of The New York Times wrote a great article on Robyn and AllergyKids. Here’s a bit:

Ms. O’Brien was also the kind of mom who rolled her eyes when the kid with a peanut allergy showed up at the birthday party. Then, about two years ago, she fed her youngest child scrambled eggs. The baby’s face quickly swelled into a grotesque mask. “What did you spray on her?” she screamed at her other children. Little Tory had a severe food allergy, and Ms. O’Brien’s journey had begun.

By late that night, she had designed a universal symbol to identify children with food allergies. She now puts the icon, a green stop sign with an exclamation point, on lunch bags, stickers and even the little charms children use to dress up their Crocs. These products and others are sold on her Web site,, which she unveiled, strategically, on Mother’s Day in 2006.

The $30,000 Ms. O’Brien made from the products last year is incidental, she said. Working largely from a laptop on her dining room table, she has looked deep into the perplexing world of childhood food allergies and seen a conspiracy that threatens the health of America’s children. And, she profoundly believes, it is up to her and parents everywhere to stop it.

Her theory — that the food supply is being manipulated with additives, genetic modification, hormones and herbicides, causing increases in allergies, autism and other disorders in children — is not supported by leading researchers or the largest allergy advocacy groups.
No doubt, Robyn’s an inspiration. Hey, she inspired me. I can’t wait to get my AlleryKids wristbands:

Now, Robyn’s got a special offer for all Followhealthlife readers! Here, I’ll let her tell you about it:
I’ve set up the coupon for your site so that your readers can protect their little ones with the universal symbol for food allergies, as seen on CNN! AllergyKids features lunch bags, stickers, wristbands, medical carrying cases and more – emblazoned with the bright green octagon and exclamation point, so that caregivers, teachers and school nurses will be able to quickly identify your child’s medicine in the case of an emergency! Enter coupon code FUHRMAN at checkout to receive 20% off of all orders placed at
So, show AllergyKids some love and support this great cause!

Rodents Love Junk Food

This does not speak well for our population. Apparently, mice love high-calorie sugary foods. Mind you, these mice lack the ability to taste. Randy Dotinga of HealthDay News reports:
Fattening foods taste good, but a new study suggests you might also like them because you subconsciously realize they're full of calories.

Scientists report that mice without a sense of taste still developed a preference for sugar water compared to ordinary water. The finding suggests the mice had a way of sensing that the sugar water had calories -- energy for their bodies -- and the other water didn't.

Humans, of course, could be different.

Still, it indicates that "taste isn't the only reason we like high-calorie foods," said study author Ivan E. de Araujo. "Even in the complete absence of taste, it's possible to develop a preference for high-calorie foods."

De Araujo, an assistant fellow at The John B. Pierce Laboratory at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., and his colleagues at Duke University reported their findings in the March 27 issue of Neuron. De Araujo was at Duke when the research was conducted.
“Humans, of course, could be different.” That’s an interesting line. Not sure I agree. Consider this video from Dr. Fuhrman’s friend Jeff Novick, MS, RD. Take a look:

Notice how food producers added sugar and salt to make “fat-free” food more appealing. Maybe we are mice—blind mice—because despite the facts, most Americans continue to eat bad food. From Dr. Fuhrman:
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…

…Since more than 40 percent of the calories in the American diet are derived from sugar or refined grains, both of which are nutrient-depleted, Americans are severely malnourished. Refined sugars cause us to be malnourished in direct proportion to how much we consume them. They are partially to blame for the high cancer and heart attack rates we see in America.
Millions of people just gorging themselves on garbage—aren’t lemmings a rodent?

Clothes for "Chubbies"

Well, times have certainly changed. Ladies, how do you feel about this brand of marketing? Jim Foster of Diet Blog passes it along:

But, with all the anorexic movie star worship are we really more evolved nowadays? Seems like we went the other way with it.

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!

You Wear What You Eat...

Girls always say, “Oh, that stuff always goes straight to my hips.” Well ladies, this food not only goes to your hips, but also your shoulders, legs, and tummy. Take a look:

(via joykampia)

I’m no fashion connoisseur, and, I doubt anyone here is eating burgers and ice cream, but these are fashion nightmares—right?

Fitness, Cheating, Neighborhoods, and Eli

A new study has examined how the neighborhood you live in might influence your activity level. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports:
The researchers found that people who live in neighborhoods with higher levels of poverty, lower levels of education, and more families headed by women are less likely than others to exercise. But this doesn't mean that poorer people are least likely to exercise, said the researchers, who found that individual income wasn't as important as neighborhood in determining exercise levels.

"We can't encourage people to exercise more without looking at the neighborhood environment in which they live," study co-author Christopher Browning, an associate professor of sociology at Ohio State University, said in a prepared statement. "Some people may have the personal resources and desire to exercise but don't live in a neighborhood in which they feel comfortable to go outside for activities."

Neighborhood-related factors that influenced exercise levels included: amount of trust among neighbors, perceived violence in the community, and beliefs that neighbors help each other. The study also found that neighborhood was more important for women than men in determining exercise levels.
Interesting, but regardless of how much or how little you exercise—don’t cheat at it! More from Chris Sparling of That’s Fit:
When you "cheat," it basically means that you have passed the point of technical failure and are now calling upon other muscles to help the muscles that are being trained. For example, if you're banging out a set of bench press and you start arching your back to push the weight up for a few more reps, that's cheating.

But, unlike relationships, cheating isn't always a bad thing. Forcing out a few more reps can tax the muscle beyond its comfort zone, resulting in an increased "pump." This, over time, will lead to sustained muscle growth. The trick with cheating is to make sure you are not putting yourself at risk of injury. This is why forcing out those extra reps is okay to do once and a while, but for the most part your goal should be to reach, and stop at, the point of technical failure.
Personally, I never work to muscle failure—don’t like harming my body—but what do I know? I’m an idiot. So, maybe you prefer getting your fitness tips from Super Bowl winning quarterback of the New York Giants, Eli Manning. From The Washington Post:

All I can say is—BOO! JaMarcus Russell is the man. Just win baby! Oh! And JaMarcus, stop eating—PLEASE!

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!

Parents Reject Vaccinations

As concern and skepticism mounts. It seems more and more parents are opting NOT to get their children vaccinated. More from Jennifer Steinhauer of The New York Times:
The parents who objected to their children being inoculated are among a small but growing number of vaccine skeptics in California and other states who take advantage of exemptions to laws requiring vaccinations for school-age children.

The exemptions have been growing since the early 1990s at a rate that many epidemiologists, public health officials and physicians find disturbing.

Children who are not vaccinated are unnecessarily susceptible to serious illnesses, they say, but also present a danger to children who have had their shots — the measles vaccine, for instance, is only 95 percent effective — and to those children too young to receive certain vaccines…

…The parents who objected to their children being inoculated are among a small but growing number of vaccine skeptics in California and other states who take advantage of exemptions to laws requiring vaccinations for school-age children.

The exemptions have been growing since the early 1990s at a rate that many epidemiologists, public health officials and physicians find disturbing.

Children who are not vaccinated are unnecessarily susceptible to serious illnesses, they say, but also present a danger to children who have had their shots — the measles vaccine, for instance, is only 95 percent effective — and to those children too young to receive certain vaccines.
Here’s a noble idea. Regardless of what these vaccinations do or don’t do. Shouldn’t parents ALWAYS have the right to choose?

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.

Eat These Veggies, or Else!

Zucchini Skillet
3 cups diced sweet potatoes
1/3 cup water
2 cups diced zucchini
1 cup diced red onion
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup green onion, sliced
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
In a covered large skillet, saute the sweet potatoes in water for about 10 minutes. Add zucchini, red onions, corn, green onions, red peppers, green peppers, and garlic. Saute in water until vegetables are tender. Add remaining ingredients and allow flavors to blend. Serves 6.

Super Summer Vegetable Blend
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon dill weed
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
4 zucchini, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
1/2 medium red pepper, sliced
1/2 medium yellow pepper, sliced
1/2 medium orange pepper, sliced
2 cups shiitake, cremini, or oyster mushrooms, stems removed and chopped
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
1 tablespoon Dr. Fuhrman's VegiZest
1 tablespoon Dr. Fuhrman's Black Fig Vinegar
2 teaspoons water
In a large skillet add 3 tbsp water, thyme, dill, oregano, basil, zucchini, garlic, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Cover and cook over medium/high heat for 8 minutes. Meanwhile mix arrowroot, VegiZest, vinegar, and 2 teaspoons water together in a small bowl. Add sauce to simmering vegetables and cook 4 more minutes or until sauce boils and thickens and vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Serves 5.

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

Eating to Live on the Outside: Salad Works

Sometimes healthy restaurants smack you right in the face. Earlier this week I was sitting in traffic, and, after I finished banging my fists against the steering wheel. I looked up—and like a message from the beyond—I saw a billboard for Salad Works. A nutritarian’s dream!

Salad Works is along the same lines as Eating to Live on the Outside all-stars Just Salads and Salad Creations. I mean heck, they all have SALAD in their name—they got to be good! But there’s only one way to know for sure. Let’s crack this menu open stat!

Well, pretty much anything on Salad Works’ menu is workable. Sure, some of the salads harbor nasty things like bacon, croutons, and cheese, but, if you nix these things, you’ll be in good shape. So, here are my selections for the “best” choices—tallyho!

As for the Signature Salads, the Garden Salad and the Mandarin Chicken are solid choices; together they include iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, cucumber, mushrooms, carrots, onions, chicken, mandarin oranges, craisins, and chow mein noodles. Alright, the Garden Salad is completely without problems, but in order to make the Mandarin Chicken concession free. You got to de-chicken it and while you’re at it, toss the noodles too. What do you think? Good move?

Now, you’re probably wondering about the dressing. Salad Works has a bunch of them. Here are the ones that caught my eye—yes I’d order them all on the side—Balsamic Vinaigrette, Lite Balsamic Vinaigrette, and Vinaigrette Italian. The others are very creamy, and, I don’t do creamy—at all!

Okay, if for some bizarre reason I didn’t feel eating a SALAD at a SALAD JOINT, there’s a couple wraps that look interesting. I could go with either the Oriental Wrap or the Veggie Wrap; combined they’re prepared with a “fresh spring mix”, chicken, mandarin oranges, cucumbers, carrots, oriental sesame dressing, lettuce, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, and your “favorite” dressing. What’s got to go? The chicken—go cross the road! Now, no matter what dressing I ordered, it’s definitely going on the side.

Next up is the Grilled Panini. I’ll pass, there’s nothing worth investigating here. Alright, if you feel like taking a salt hit—can’t imagine why you would—you could go with the Tuscan Bean Minestrone; made with vegetables and white beans. Or, maybe you like the Vegetarian Vegetable, prepared with lots and lots of vegetables! On face value, these soups look cool, but chances are—like all prepared soups—they are salt-heavy. I’d double-check with the wait staff, but why bother. The salads are great!

Yeah, Salad Works is an awesome place for a nutritarian. Now, here’s the really awesome part. There is one practically down the road from my apartment, so very soon I’ll haul my butt over there, eat some delicious nutrient-dense food, and tell you all about it. But, as for right now, its time for you to check out Salad Works’ menu and let me know how you handle Eating to Live on the Outside. Then, make a comment or send an email to Until then, eat greatly! Peace.

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!

Some Strawberry Sweets!

Strawberry Banana Nut Freeze
4 bananas, peeled and frozen in advance
1/4 cup soy milk
1/2 bag frozen strawberries (or frozen blueberries)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons ground flax seed
4 tablespoons crushed walnuts
Add frozen bananas, soy milk, strawberries, and vanilla to Vita-Mix or food processor with S blade and blend into a smooth ice cream consistency. Mix in the flax seed and walnuts. Serves 4.

Strawberry Pineapple Sorbet

1 10-ounce bag frozen strawberries
1/2 cup orange juice or soy milk
4 slices dried pineapple, unsweetened and unsulphured
3 pitted dates
1 cup fresh organic strawberries, sliced
Blend all ingredients except fresh strawberries in a high-powered blender. Pour into sorbet glasses and top with sliced fresh strawberries. Serves 2.

Strawbeany Ice Cream

1 1/4 cups medjool dates, pitted
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 15-ounce pinto beans (no or low salt), drained
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup sliced fresh organic strawberries, divided (1/2 cup optional)
1/2 cup fresh blueberries (optional)
To make ice cream: blend dates, frozen strawberries, cashews, beans, vanilla, and water in a Vita-Mix or other powerful blender until well blended. Pour into a bowl and stir in 1/2 cup sliced fresh strawberries. Cover and freeze for about 8 hours until almost set. May be served as is or layered with the berries in a parfait glass. Serves 4

Bike Rides and Big Weight Loss on Eat to Live!

I’d like to extend a big CONGRATULATIONS to Scott Cutshall who went from 501 pounds to 232 in under three years thanks to Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat to Live. The Minneapolis Star Tribune tells his tale:
The rebirth of Scott Cutshall began Thanksgiving day 2005, a bowl of vegetable soup for breakfast kicking off a new life where nothing would be the same. Cutshall, living in Jersey City at the time, weighed 501 pounds. He was having breakfast. And then he was getting ready to go on a bike ride…

… Back up to 2004. Cutshall, a freelance jazz drummer, husband and father, 38 years old, was not sure if he'd live to see 40. He wore size XXXXXXXXXXL pants and could not tie his own shoes. He could walk only nine steps at a time. Breathing was sometimes difficult. A doctor said he would be dead in six months without stomach-reduction surgery and heavy medication…

…He ate essentially the same thing every day, three base meals developed off research from the book "Eat to Live" by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, a New Jersey physician. The food equaled a daily dose of about 1,200 calories and provided all the nutrients, protein and vitamins essential for good health, though nothing more, Cutshall said…

…Cutshall emphasizes that this meal plan is not a diet. In fact, don't even say that word around him. After years of trying fad diets to lose weight, the D-word no longer exists in the Cutshall nomenclature. "It takes a total lifestyle change, with food being one part of a larger picture," he said.
But as they say, the proof is in the veggie-based pudding. Here’s Scott before:

Now get a load of Scott after:

Hey Scott, from one Jersey guy to anothergreat job dude! Here’s to your newfound health and happiness! Keep it up and enjoy every bike ride.

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!
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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!

Bad Foods, Bad!

Well passes on a list of The Worst Foods in America. More from Tara Parker-Pope:
The book, “Eat This, Not That!” by Men’s Health editor-in-chief David Zinczenko, has become one of the hottest selling nutrition guides in book stores.
  • Worst Fast Food Meal: McDonald’s Chicken Selects Premium Breast Strips with creamy ranch sauce. Chicken sounds healthy, but not at 830 calories.
  • Worst Drink: Jamba Juice Chocolate Moo’d Power Smoothie. With 166 grams of sugar, you could have had eight servings of Ben & Jerry’s.
  • Worst Supermarket Meal: Pepperidge Farm Roasted Chicken Pot Pie. One pie packs 64 grams of fat.
  • Worst “Healthy” Burger: Ruby Tuesday Bella Turkey Burger. With 1,145 calories, not a very healthy choice.
  • Worst Airport Snack: Cinnabon Classic Cinnamon Roll. Packed with 813 hot gooey calories and 5 grams of trans fats.
  • Worst Kids’ Meal: Macaroni Grill Double Macaroni ‘n Cheese. With 62 fat grams, it’s the equivalent of 1.5 full boxes of Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese.
  • Worst Salad: On the Border Grande Taco Salad with Taco Beef. A salad with 102 grams of fat and 2,410 mg of sodium.
  • Worst Dessert: Chili’s Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream. At 1,600 calories, it’s like eating the caloric equivalent of three Big Macs.
Who eats this garbage—YUCK!

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.

No Trans-Fat: Friendly's Friendlier?

Believe it or not, but its been almost two years since I reviewed Friendly’s for Eating to Live on the Outside and I’ve worked hard to block it from my memory—it’s bad, real bad—here are some lowlights. Proceed with caution:
One minute you’re at home checking out Followhealthlife (shameless plug) and the next you’re at a restaurant with friends—-totally dumbfounded by the menu! It may be Friendly's, bit it's not looking very Fuhrman-friendly! You’re scared. Your initial reaction is, “Oh man! I gotta get out of here. I can already feel myself getting fatter.” Don’t worry, you're not alone. We'll stare down this menu together. Although feel free to curl up into the fetal position if you need to…

…Okay, time to flex my powers of guess-timation. This week I’ll being taking a look at the ironically named Friendly’s menu. After a few minutes of perusing the menu sweat actually began to bead up on my forehead. This restaurant is a tough sell for an Eat to Liver—-just lots of good-old fried goo smothered with cheesy American goodness! But surprisingly, you do have some options…

…Another dish that is certainly worth a try is the Vegetable Fajita Quesadillas. You Eat to Livers know what I mean, you see the word vegetable on a menu and your eyes snap to attention. Now, it's not perfect, but you can work with it. The flour tortillas are a problem, but an acceptable concession if you skip the Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese. Then you’re left with baby portabella mushrooms, sautéed onions, and red peppers and green peppers—-I’m a sucker for portabella. Yes, I realize cheese is high on Dr. Fuhrman's list of evil foods.
Eek! Not good, and, I actually go on to recommend ordering a chicken dish. This was WAY before my healthy lifestyle. Now, onto current events, its being reported that Friendly’s is going trans-fat free. More from The Boston Globe:
Friendly Ice Cream Corp., once an iconic New England venue for family restaurant meals heavy on burgers and sundaes, could become the latest restaurant chain to switch over to using trans fat-free oil.

Friendly's, a Wilbraham-based chain of about 500 restaurants, said it expects the change-over to be completed by the fall.

Trans fat has been linked to heart disease in humans and to diabetes in experiments with animals.

Although Friendly's said it has been working on the initiative for over a year, the chain came under fire yesterday from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, or CSPI, a Washington, D.C., advocacy group that crusades on behalf of such issues as nutrition.
Well, nixing the trans-fat is great, but, what about the cheese, bacon, mayonnaise, ice cream, and other garbage? It’s a start, but I hardly think this move is going to skyrocket Friendly’s out of the Eating to Live on the Outside reject list. Sorry Friendly’s, try again.

Chemically Scared, Babies Getting Glass Bottles

With concern mounting over chemicals found in plastics, some parents are opting for glass baby bottles instead. The Associated Press reports:
Meg Robustelli had heard reports that a chemical in most plastic baby bottles could be dangerous, but she had not done anything about it. That's when her mother stepped in and bought her glass bottles…

…Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a man-made chemical used in polycarbonate plastic, the material used to make most baby bottles and other shatterproof plastic food containers. Americans are widely exposed to BPA, but opinions about its safety are mixed.
Hey, better to be safe than sorry—you know?

Calorie Burning Tips...

Ali Hale of Diet Blog offers up ten tips to help you burn some unwanted calories. I thought these were pretty cool:
  1. Roll up your sleeves and spring-clean a room for twenty minutes
  2. Do an extra ten minutes on the cross-trainer or the rowing machine at the gym.
  3. Stroll to the local shop (fifteen minutes there and back) instead of driving.
  4. Each time the ad breaks come on, do a three-minute exercise blast: crunches, press-ups, jogging on the spot.
Just ask my friends, I am notorious for parking at the back of the lot and power-walking to the store—yes, I’m a dork!

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.

Food Scoring Guide: Silent, Invisible Damage

We continually are being told that heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and even dementia are inevitable consequences of aging. So it is not surprising that most people assume that we have to expect these things as they are. We also are told that they are primarily the result of genetics and, therefore are beyond our control. The statistics seemingly bear this out. Over 90% percent of elderly Americans require medications for high blood pressure or other heart conditions. But these diseases are not the consequence of aging; they are the consequence of consuming a low-nutrient diet over time.

We don’t see the harm as we hurt our bodies in tiny increments, day after day, by eating a low-nutrient diet. Children, teenagers, and young adults “seem” to get away with years of poor nutrition. But after enough time goes by, the damage is easily seen. Then, we blame it on aging.

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.

Eating to Live on the Outside: Firkin Pub

Eek! We got a Firkin nightmare on our hands this week. As you’ll soon see Firkin Pubs will quickly join the ranks of Eating to Live on the Outside rejects: Hobee's, Carino's, and Huddle House. I’ve said it before, you got to take the good with the bad. So, let’s see if this standard American restaurant has SOMETHING that a nutritarian MIGHT considering eating.

Whoa! This is going to be tough sledding. I’m no nutritionist, but, I’m pretty sure there is NOTHING nutrient-dense about breaded chicken fingers, bacon wrapped scallops, and barbequed beef brisket—EGAD! I just threw up in my mouth a little.

Okay, with a “liberal” eye let’s search this menu. Well, the Vegetable Stir Fry is kind of an option. Obviously the FRY part sucks—frying, a great way to ruin a good thing—if you can get passed the frying, it’s made with mixed vegetables, basmati rice, and sesame teriyaki sauce. HELLO CONCESSIONS! The frying, the white rice, the oil, and the salty sauce—I wouldn’t eat it!

Maybe the Veggie Burger? I guess it’s your standard veggie burger amalgamation; prepared with sautéed mushrooms, onions, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickle, and your choice of sides (the best being the grilled vegetables). Even with the grilled veggies, I’m not eating it. Processed meat substitutes aren’t my favorite thing, they’re okay, but I usually pass—what about you?

Alright, if by some complete miscarriage of fate you found yourself in a Firkin Pub, just head for the salads. That’s your best bet. The safest option is the House Salad; made with seasonal vegetables, greens, and your choice of dressing—I’d go with the Balsamic Vinaigrette on the side. Go on. See for yourself, the House Salad is really the ONLY option.

Now, if you were feeling naughty, you might want to give the Greek Salad a whirl; includes mixed greens, feta cheese, tomatoes, onions, Kalamata olives, and “Firkin” dressing. Well, like I said, if you were feeling risqué, you might want to drop the cheese, keep the olives, ditch the Firkin dressing, and swap in the Balsamic Vinaigrette. Maybe those salty olives would give you a cheap thrill. Personally, I’ll stick with the House Salad.

Hopefully by now you’ve realized just how much of a train wreck Firkin Pub really is. With that being said, if none of these entice you—which wouldn’t be all that surprising—maybe you could ask for a double side order of grilled vegetables. That’d be a decent option, especially if you pair it up with a little salad. At this point, it’d probably be easier to just walk out the Firkin door!

I’d like to close on a high note—I really would—but Firkin Pub is just another junk food restaurant. It might be fun to watch a football game there, but eating a Firkin meal is gambling with your health, and, I don’t think you have to be a nutrition guru to make that statement.

So, another restaurant bites the dust, but hey! Maybe I’m crazy—believe me, it’s a possibility—maybe Firkin Pub is a fantastic place to eat. You decide! Check out the Firkin menu and let me know how you handle Eating to Live on the Outside. Make a comment or send an email to In the meantime, eat your veggies! Peace.

Mixed News on Caffeine and Pregnancy

“Proper nutrition and good health habits are more important than ever during pregnancy and can help in maintaining good health for both mother and baby,” explains Dr. Fuhrman. He’s especially concerned about caffeine. Take a look:
Evidence clearly concludes that heavy coffee drinkers have an increased risk of miscarriage and low birth weight infants, but evidence is not clear for moderate users of caffeine.1 Nevertheless, is wise to stay away from as many potentially harmful substances as possible.
In fact, back in January a study confirmed the link between caffeine and miscarriage. Here’s some of the AFP report:
US researchers said Monday they have conclusive proof to show that women who drink a lot of caffeine on a daily basis in the early months of pregnancy have an elevated risk of miscarriage, settling a longstanding debate over the issue.

To be absolutely safe, expectant mothers should avoid caffeinated beverages of any kind during the first five months of pregnancy, the researchers said in a paper published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Again, “It is important to eat healthfully prior to conception as well as once pregnancy has begun,” Dr. Fuhrman insists. But, the research continues to be mixed. Nancy Tones of offers up two conflicting caffeine-pregnancy studies. Check them out:
In the last few months, two studies about the relationship between caffeine and miscarriages have come out. Which should you believe? We've ground it all down to size and asked the experts for some answers:

Study one Cool it on the caffeine
Gulping down 200 milligrams or more of caffeine per day (two or more cups of coffee or five 12-ounce cans of soda) doubled the risk of miscarriage (compared with women who cut out caffeine) in a study of over 1,000 women by the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research.

Study two Some caffeine is safe
When women drank less than two cups of coffee a day, their babies fared just fine, according to a study of 2,407 women in the journal Epidemiology. Though higher caffeine intake wasn't studied, moderate amounts didn't seem to be associated with miscarriages.
And this report by Anahad O’Connor of The New York Times casts more confusion over the link between caffeine and pregnancy dangers. Here’s an excerpt:
One of the more unnerving studies was published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2000. It looked at more than 1,000 pregnant Swedish women and found that those who drank the equivalent of one to three cups of coffee a day had a 30 percent increased risk of miscarriage, while those who had the equivalent of at least five cups had more than double the risk.

But a majority of studies have suggested that any risk might apply only to high levels of caffeine intake. One study carried out by the National Institutes of Health in 1999 looked closely at the blood levels of caffeine in tens of thousands of pregnant women and found that those who consumed the equivalent of more than five cups of coffee a day did have an increased risk, while those who drank one or two cups did not. Other studies have had similar findings.
Clearly, there’s some doubt here. So in the end, maybe its just best to take Dr. Fuhrman’s advice, “The bottom line, if in doubt, don’t do it.” I think we can all agree with that.
Continue Reading...

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.

Relax, Have a Salad...

Walnut-Pear Green Salad
8 ounces (about 8 cups) baby salad mix
2 ounces (about 2 cups) arugula or watercress
1 pear, grated
1/4 cup currants
1/4 cup walnuts, crushed or chopped
2 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman’s D’Anjou Pear Vinegar or balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 pears, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup walnut halves (optional)
Combine greens with grated pear, currants, and walnuts. Toss with vinegar & olive oil. Top with sliced pears and if desired, walnut halves. Serves 2.

Tossed Green Salad w/ Fruit

8 ounces baby salad mix
2 small heads romaine lettuce, torn or cut into bite sized pieces
2 cups watercress
1 cup broccoli sprouts
1 cup organic strawberries, sliced
2 green apples, chopped
2 tablespoons currants
4 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman’s Blood Orange Vinegar
4 kiwis, sliced
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
Toss all ingredients together except for sunflower seeds. Sprinkle seeds on top and serve. Serves 4.

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.

No Vaccinations: Parents Face Jail Time

Parents in Belgium were sent to jail for not getting their children vaccinated against polio. Maria Cheng of the Associated Press reports:
"It's a pretty extraordinary case," said Dr. Ross Upshur, director of the Joint Centre for Bioethics at the University of Toronto.

"The Belgians have a right to take some action against the parents, given the seriousness of polio, but the question is, is a prison sentence disproportionate?"

The parents can still avoid prison — their sentences were delayed to give them a chance to vaccinate their children. But if that deadline also passes without their children receiving the injections, the parents could be put behind bars.
Well, I’m not moving to Belgium anytime soon, but they better not pull this crap in the U.S. I know Dr. Fuhrman wouldn’t like it. Here's what he had to say about mandatory HPV vaccinations:
Remember this is not about arguing about the effectiveness or value of vaccines, just whether we should mandate medical care and take another freedom away from Americans. We no longer have the freedom to take or not take medications. Sounds like the Taliban to me.
Scary stuff.

Not-So Sleepy Americans

Last week research insisted that we are overworked and under-slept—I’m inclined to agree—but a new study contends Americans are actually getting plenty of sleep. Rick Weiss of The Washington Post is on it:
Americans are not as sleep-deprived as they think they are and, in fact, appear to be getting more Z's these days than they got a few years ago, according to an independent analysis of government statistics.

The new findings run counter to the widespread public perception that Americans are getting less and less sleep because of increasing workplace demands and the plethora of distractions available around the clock on the Internet and cable television.

"Many Americans work too much, but most do not seem to be cutting corners on their sleep to do so," said John P. Robinson, a sociologist at the University of Maryland, who led the analysis with faculty colleague Steven Martin.

Their report, "Not So Deprived: Sleep in America, 1965-2005," scheduled for release by the university today, finds that Americans on average got 59 hours of sleep per week in 2005, the latest year for which precise statistics are available. That is three hours more than in 2000.
Sometimes I’m like a chimpanzee—pictures help me comprehend better. So, get a load of this chart. Again, from The Washington Post:
Let the researchers argue all they want, just be sure to get your Z’s. Remember, sleep and rest are very important to your health. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Recuperation through sleep is responsible for rebuilding and preparing the body to handle the increasing demands. Rest and sleep enable the body to recover from the effects of these waking stresses, because the body can concentrate its repair efforts most effectively at this time when fewer demands are placed upon it.
I could use this advice today, I’m fading fast, I'm still drained from creating this masterpiece, or should I say, monstrosity.

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!

Worried about the Water?

TreeHugger wants to know, are people really worried about all the drugs in our drinking water? Check it out:
We have worried that some might be nervous about drinking tap water after the recent Associated Press study that purported to find traces of hormones and antibiotics in some municipal water supplies, and might be scared into switching to bottled water. Some have even suggested that the bottled water industry might be behind this.
Be sure to take their survey:

Here are my results. I’m with the concerned crowd. Take a look:

How could you not be concerned at all? You’d think at the very least these people would have dry mouth from burying their heads in the sand.

Junk Food, Rotting Teeth

It seems middle schoolers have got some nasty teeth and soft drinks and sweet juices are to blame. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports:
"This study is important, because it confirms our suspicions of the high prevalence of dental erosion in this country and, more importantly, brings awareness to dental practitioners and patients of its prevalence, causes, prevention and treatment," study co-author Bennett T. Amaechi, an associate professor of community dentistry at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, said in a prepared statement.

Amaechi led the San Antonio portion of the study, which also included researchers at Indiana University and the University of California, San Francisco. They looked at 900 middle school students (aged 10 to 14), and found that about 30 percent of them had the condition.

Dental erosion is caused by acids found in many common products, including soft drinks, sports drinks, some fruit juices and herbal teas.
I can still hear my mom saying, “I’m not buying you juices boxes! That’s junk.”

The Recalled Beef was Safe?

You got to love corporate blah-blah-blah. Steve Mendell, president of Westland/Hallmark Meat Packing—responsible for the nation’s largest beef recall—says his company’s beef was actually SAFE! The Associated Press reports:
The head of the Southern California slaughterhouse at the center of the largest beef recall in U.S. history said Wednesday no unsafe beef was processed at his plant but that his company is ruined despite no evidence of contamination.

Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. President Steve Mendell defended himself strongly in testimony being presented to a congressional panel. It was his first public comment since undercover video of apparent abuses of crippled cattle at his plant led to its shutdown and last month's recall of 143 million pounds of beef.

Mendell contended that the cows shown unable to walk in the Humane Society of the United States video were designated to be euthanized. He said they were not being sent to slaughter in violation of federal rules barring most "downer" cows from the food supply because they carry a higher risk of infection.
I don’t know about you, but between mad cow disease, mistreatment of farm animals, and rapid hormone and chemical use, I wouldn’t trust a single greasy word from some fat cat meat exec—would you? I hope not.

Drug Sales Slow

I’m not a big fan of handing Big Pharma your paycheck. So this made me smile. In 2007 U.S. drugs sales grew at their slowest rate since 1961. Reuters reports:
Total U.S. prescription drug sales reached $286.5 billion last year with slowing growth blamed on factors including patent expirations of lucrative medicines that opened the door to cheaper generic versions.

Other reasons cited by IMS in its annual U.S. Pharmaceutical Market Performance Review were fewer new product approvals, safety concerns, and the leveling of year-over-year growth from the Medicare Part D program.

The 3.8 percent growth rate compares to 8 percent growth seen in 2006.

"The moderating growth trend that began in 2001 resumed last year following the one-time impact on market growth in 2006 from the implementation of Medicare Part D," Murray Aitken, IMS's senior vice president for healthcare insight, said in a statement.
All I can say is—tough noogies!

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.

Pregnancy and Alcohol: Just One Drink...

Back in November the American Cancer Society published a report with suggestions to help people decrease their cancer risk. Here’s an excerpt:
The report, called Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective, urges people to stay at a healthy weight, which means having a body mass index (or BMI, a ratio of weight to height) between 18.5 and 24.9. And it recommends regular physical activity as a way to control weight…

…The report also makes recommendations for eating more healthfully to reduce cancer risk. It says people should eat mostly foods from plants, limit red meat and alcohol, and avoid processed meats like bacon, sausage, and lunchmeat.
And as Dr. Fuhrman points out, alcohol isn’t exactly health-promoting. Its basically drink at your own risk. More form Dr. Fuhrman:
Moderate drinking is defined as a maximum of two drinks for men. Consuming more than this is associated with increased fat around the waist and other potential problems.1 For example, alcohol consumption leads to mild withdrawal sensations the next day that are commonly mistaken for hunger, which leads people to eat more than is genuinely necessary, resulting in weight gain.
Okay, as far as pregnancy is concerned, Dr. Fuhrman considers alcohol “really risky for you and your unborn children.” Here’s his list of no-no’s:
  • Caffeine
  • Nicotine, including secondhand smoke
  • Alcohol
  • Medications, both over-the-counter and prescription drugs
  • Herbs and high-dose supplements, vitamin A
  • Fish, mollusks and shellfish, sushi (raw fish)
  • Hot tubs and saunas
  • Radiation
  • Household clear, paint thinners
  • Cat litter
  • Raw milk and cheese
  • Soft cheese and blue-veined cheeses such as feta, Roquefort, and Brie
  • Artificial colors, nitrates, and MSG
  • Deli meats, luncheon meats, hot dogs, and undercooked meats
Now, this new research sends a confusing message. A Swedish Study says its okay for moms to have a few swigs while breastfeeding. More from the AFP:
"There is no medical reason to abstain completely from alcohol while breastfeeding," Annica Sohlstroem, head of the agency's nutrition department, said in a statement.

"The amount of alcohol that the child can ingest through the breastmilk is small if you drink one or two glasses of wine" per week, she said.

The new advice is an about-face for the agency, which has for the past decade or so advised women to avoid alcohol while breastfeeding, and is based on current medical research.
I think pairing alcohol with pregnancy and breastfeeding is just a bad idea. In fact, past research determined that alcohol may alter a child’s mind. From HealthDay News:
In their study, researchers at San Diego State University (SDSU) examined 22 children and adolescents (ages 8 to 18 years) -- 13 with and 9 without histories of heavy prenatal alcohol exposure. The participants were part of a larger study at the Center for Behavioral Teratology, SDSU...

"...We found two regions within the prefrontal cortex where the youth with alcohol-exposure histories had increased brain activation and one area in the subcortex (called the caudate nucleus) where the alcohol-exposed youth had decreased brain activation," study co-author Susanna L. Fryer, a graduate student in the SDSU/University of California, San Diego, joint doctoral program in clinical psychology, said in a prepared statement.
I won’t be faced with this decision, but, I hope my wife would totally abstain from alcohol while she was pregnant and breastfeeding—I’d easily give it up right along side her!
Continue Reading...

Dairy Dumb for Weight-Loss

Do you remember when dairy consumption was dumped for weight-loss? Kim Severson of The New York Times reported:
The assertion that there is a link between weight loss and dairy consumption has long been contested by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine [PCRM], an advocacy and research group that promotes a diet free of animal products.

The group petitioned the F.T.C. in 2005 to argue that the advertisements were misleading. In a May 3 letter to the group, Lydia Parnes, director of the agency’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said Agriculture Department representatives and milk producers and processors had agreed to change the advertisements and related marketing materials “until further research provides stronger, more conclusive evidence of an association between dairy consumption and weight loss.”

As of Thursday, the National Dairy Council still had a section of its Web site devoted to the weight-loss claim. But the site, along with some of the advertisements, will be changed, said Greg Miller, who is executive vice president of the council and has a doctorate in nutrition.
According to Dr. Fuhrman dairy, is NOT good for weight-loss and not exactly health-promoting either. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Fifty years of heavy advertising by an economically powerful industry has shaped the public's perception, illustrating the power of one-sided advertising, but the reality and true health effects is a different story. Besides the link between high-saturated-fat foods (dairy fat) and cancer, there is a body of scientific literature linking the consumption of cow's milk to many other diseases.
But some people still insist that cow juice is a good idea. Check it out from Chris Sparling of That’sFit:
Unless you've taken a dietary (or even ideological) stance against dairy, you'd do well to include it into your diet every day. Worried that it may get in the way of your efforts at weight loss? No need to fear, say researchers from Harvard Medical School. No need at all, in fact.

Researchers found that people who consumed three servings of dairy per day (providing them with around 1,200mg of calcium) were 60 percent less likely to be overweight. This is because calcium-rich foods actually burn many calories during their digestion.
More junk science in action, in fact the study is from 2005; Study backs dairy weight loss claims. How current? More Dr. Fuhrman on dairy:
Using weight instead of calories in nutrient-analysis tables has evolved into a ploy to hide how nutritionally unsound many foods are. The role of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) was originally to promote the products of the animal agriculture industry.1 Over fifty years ago, the USDA began promoting the so-called four basic food groups, with meat and dairy products in the number one and two spots on the list. Financed by the meat and dairy industry and backed by nutritional scientists on the payroll of the meat and dairy industry, this promotion ignored science.2
I think milk and dairy products are just another food that Americans are chronically addicted too—WAKE UP—and get over it. Continue Reading...

Food Scoring Guide: Broken Hearts

We are losing the war against heart disease. One hundred years ago, heart disease only affected 5% of the population. Today, it affects almost all Americans as cardiovascular-related deaths have climbed to over 50%. Heart disease (cardiovascular disease) kills more people than the next four leading causes of death COMBINED. Modern medical techniques and drugs cannot win this war because the true cause of disease is overlooked. Heart disease is caused by inadequate nutrition.

Impact of heart disease on America
  • 40% of all Americans die of heart attacks.
  • 58% of deaths are related to cardiovascular disease.
  • 10% die of strokes.

The tragedy of this is enormous. More than 1.3 million Americans will suffer a heart attack this year, and when consider that nobody really has to die from a heart- or circulatory system-related death, it is even more of a tragedy. The disability, suffering, and years of life lost are almost totally the result of dietary ignorance. It is not impossible or even difficult to protect yourself; you simply must eat properly. Nothing else can protect you.

All American Food Fight

Lots of junk food, slaughtering each other—take a look:

Okay, maybe the veggie sushi isn’t all THAT bad.

Health Points: Wednesday

Inhaling diesel exhaust triggers a stress response in the brain that may have damaging long-term effects on brain function, Dutch researchers said on Tuesday.

Previous studies have found very small particles of soot, or nanoparticles, are able to travel from the nose and lodge in the brain. But this is the first time researchers have demonstrated a change in brain activity.
"Convergent evidence now strongly links a class of chemicals -- acetylcholinesterase inhibitors -- to illness in Gulf War veterans," Dr. Beatrice Golomb of the University of California, San Diego, said in e-mailed comments.

She said some of the chemicals linked to these illnesses continue to be used in agriculture, and in homes and offices for pest control in the United States and throughout the world.
“It takes strength to do them, and it takes endurance to do a lot of them,” said Jack LaLanne, 93, the fitness pioneer who astounded television viewers in the 1950s with his fingertip push-ups. “It’s a good indication of what kind of physical condition you’re in.”

The push-up is the ultimate barometer of fitness. It tests the whole body, engaging muscle groups in the arms, chest, abdomen, hips and legs. It requires the body to be taut like a plank with toes and palms on the floor. The act of lifting and lowering one’s entire weight is taxing even for the very fit.
A recent study suggests that possibly harmful bacteria is in the freshest fallen snow. After learning about this study I started thinking about whether or not I would allow my boys to continue eating snow. We have never allowed our kids to eat snow off of the ground but we have let them pick up snow off of something like a table or chair outside thinking that the snow there was cleaner. Our kids, like many others, have also turned their faces to the sky and let the snowflakes fall right into their mouths. Chances are that many of you, myself included, did just the same as kids and we turned out OK ;)
However, now research suggests that the snow is just plain dirty and that it may have harmful bacteria no matter how you eat it or where you eat it from.
"We knew that some data found yoga helped reduce hot flashes among healthy women but no one had studied the effects among cancer survivors," Duke University's Laura Porter, Ph.D., says in a news release.

Breast cancer survivors aren't good candidates for hormone replacement therapy. And some breast cancer treatments, such as tamoxifen, "tend to induce or exacerbate menopausal symptoms," write Porter and colleagues at Duke and Oregon Health & Science University.
In fact, those with more than 12 years of education -- more than a high school diploma -- can expect to live to 82; for those with 12 or fewer years of education, life expectancy is 75.

"If you look in recent decades, you will find that life expectancy has been increasing, which is good, but when you split this out by better-educated groups, the life expectancy gained is really occurring much more so in the better-educated groups," said lead researcher Ellen R. Meara, an assistant professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School.

"The puzzle is why we have been successful in extending life span for some groups. Why haven't we been successful in getting that for less advantaged groups?" Meara said.
A new state ban on smoking in restaurants and other nightspots contains an exception for performers in theatrical productions. So some bars are getting around the ban by printing up playbills, encouraging customers to come in costume and pronouncing them "actors."

The customers are playing right along, merrily puffing away -- and sometimes speaking in funny accents and doing a little improvisation too.

The state Health Department is threatening to bring the curtain down on these sham productions. But for now, it's on with the show.
Their reassuring finding: women who are too fat when pregnant are probably not somehow driving the obesity epidemic by programming their children to be fat.

But there is a strong link between overweight mothers and overweight children that still needs to be explained, Debbie Lawlor of Britain's University of Bristol and colleagues said.

Lawlor's team looked at the developmental overnutrition hypothesis -- the idea that if a woman is overweight during pregnancy, the higher levels of sugar and fatty acids in her blood would affect the developing fetus, dooming or at least predisposing the child to poor appetite control and a slower metabolism.

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.

Diabetes, Exercise, Insulin, and Fat

Exercise seems to boost insulin-making cells. Reuters reports:
After the exercise period, study participants' sensitivity to insulin had increased by 53 percent, on average, while a measure of beta cell function called the disposition index had risen by 28 percent. However there were no changes in their fat mass, levels of fat in the blood, or other factors that might explain the effect of exercise on beta cells.

"Longer-term exercise training studies are required and are currently in progress to evaluate further exercise training effects on beta cell function in age-related glucose intolerance," the researchers note.
Yup, exercise is good for diabetics. Dr. Fuhrman’s on it:
The most effective prescription for diabetes is exercise. An essential component of my prescription for diabetes is daily exercise; it is more important than daily medication. Two hundred calories a day of formal exercise on an incline treadmill and an elliptical machine are a great goal to shoot for. It is not an official recommendation of anyone except me.
But research has determined fat is bad for diabetes. More from Reuters:
Fat mass in adulthood was the only measurement that showed a significant association with insulin sensitivity, the researchers found. After they used statistical techniques to control for age, sex and body size in adulthood, the group of men and women who were born small but caught up as adults had significantly lower insulin sensitivity than the control group.

Based on the results, Dr. R.W.J. Leunissen of Erasmus Medical Centre-Sophia, Children's Hospital and colleagues propose a "fat accumulation hypothesis," which states that "an increased accumulation of fat during childhood, independent of birth size, will result in reduced insulin sensitivity."
Yeah, you don’t want to be overweight and diabetic. Here’s Dr. Fuhrman again:
If the person is obese, with more than fifty pounds of additional fat weight, his body will demand huge loads of insulin from the pancreas, even as much as ten times more than a person of normal weight needs. So what do you think happens after five to ten years of forcing the pancreas to work so hard? You guessed it — pancreatic poop-out.
Exercise and stay thin—sounds win-win to me!

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?

Drugs...In the Water!

This report should make you mental! Antibiotics, mood stabilizers, and sex hormones can all be found in America’s water supply—YUM! Sigh. The Associated Press reports:
Water providers rarely disclose results of pharmaceutical screenings, unless pressed, the AP found. For example, the head of a group representing major California suppliers said the public "doesn't know how to interpret the information" and might be unduly alarmed…

…People take pills. Their bodies absorb some of the medication, but the rest of it passes through and is flushed down the toilet. The wastewater is treated before it is discharged into reservoirs, rivers or lakes. Then, some of the water is cleansed again at drinking water treatment plants and piped to consumers. But most treatments do not remove all drug residue…

"…We recognize it is a growing concern and we're taking it very seriously," said Benjamin H. Grumbles, assistant administrator for water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Personally, I filter the HECK out of my water. Ever since living in a college dorm for four years, I look at public water with an elevated degree of caution—eek!

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.

Coming to a Menu Near You: Char-Broiled Clone Burgers

This past January the Food and Drug Administration was all set to allow meat from cloned farm animals into supermarkets, claiming, “Extensive evaluation of the available data has not identified any subtle hazards that might indicate food consumption risks in healthy clones of cattle, swine or goats.”

Prior to this ruling the livestock industry maintained a voluntary ban on marketing food from cloned animals. Good idea. Since many consumer groups and members of Congress believe more testing is needed before cloned meat can be deemed as “safe.”

The Center for Food Safety had this comment, "The cloning industry's proposal is simply another attempt to force cloned milk and meat on consumers and the dairy industry by giving the public phony assurances.”

Consumer apprehension—especially in light of the massive Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing recall—could be DOUBLY BAD because the FDA will NOT require mandatory labels for clone-derived food. What ever happened to the consumer's right to know?

And this leads me to my question. IF actually given the choice, would you eat meat from a cloned animal? I ran this query by some of Followhealthlife’s favorite health and nutrition gurus. Here’s what they had to say:
  • Dr. T. Colin Campbell, PhD, co-author of The China Study, said, “I would not eat cloned meat…Because I don't support the gross mechanization of living beings…I rely on empirical evidence to make my decisions and there is no evidence whether cloned meat would be better or worse than regular meat.”
  • Dr. Michael Greger, author of Carbophobia, says, “I wouldn’t eat meat from cloned animals…The welfare of so many farm animals is already so abysmal thanks in part to traditional genetic selection techniques…I don't understand the need to add insult to injury by using biotechnology to stress animals even further.”
  • Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, feels that, “Eating meat that is cloned or not is equivalent to the choice of being shot or hung… All muscle whether it paws with a hoof, flaps a wing or wiggles a fin is made up of animal fat, animal protein and cholesterol, all of which are bad for human health.”
  • Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of Eat For Health and Eat To Live, “Cloned meat is not likely to be unhealthier than meat produced by normal sexual reproduction…Factory farming methods with heavy antibiotic use, chemicals and commercial feed are the larger negatives…The cheeseburger, bacon, potato chips, and fries and ice cream are the real factors to be fearful of, not the cloning itself.”
  • Jeff Novick, MS, RD, Director of Health Education for the National Health Association replied, “Why do people worry about cloned meat, when they should be worrying about meat period…Meat is high in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and when cooked is known to produce toxic chemicals, like heterocyclic aromatic amines, that have been linked to cancers…I would recommend people avoid all meat period, not just cloned meat. Then they no longer have to worry. “
  • Dr. Howie Jacobson of FitFam said, “The thought of humans cloning animals to feed our obscene appetite for animal protein disgusts me…We're already acting like the world is this giant candy store…Cloning just takes the objectification and exploitation of fellow sentient creatures to a scary new level.”
Clearly, people on the frontlines of diet and health aren’t in favor of serving up Dolly, but what about my fellow bloggers and journalists. How do they feel about cloned meat? Let’s find out:
  • Jim Foster of Diet-Blog said, “Who benefits from cloned meat…It seems that the more industrialized the food supply becomes the easier it is for unsafe foods to be rapidly disseminated across the supply line.”
  • Julie D. Deardorff of Julie’s Health Club, said “I would never eat cloned meat...I've been a vegetarian for 23 years for health, for ethical and environmental reasons…The state of our food supply thoroughly depresses me.”
  • Henry Abbott of TrueHoop wonders, ““Why do we have to clone? Are we short of good cow genes? Isn't this just about profits and price points?”
  • Sally Squires, leader of The Lean Plate Club, replied, “Would I eat cloned meat? No, although I might try it once…But it's not something that I would seek to buy,”
  • UroStream’s Keagirl answered, “I understand that cloned meat shouldn't be any different than ‘regular’ meat, but something about the whole idea of test-tube raised animals puts me off.”
  • Mike “The Mad Biologist” Feldgarden said, “I don't think it'll be bad for you and unlike genetically modified plants, which can crossbreed with other species, cloned meats aren't going to do anything.”
  • Laura Klein of OrganicAuthority, said, “Absolutely not! Cloning is very experimental and the current studies are inadequate…I feel it is completely unnatural and inhumane for the animal.”
  • Scott Wharton of HealthandMen said, “This is a tough one because I love beef, but do we need more cattle producing more methane gases? So no, I wouldn't eat cloned beef, lamb maybe.”
  • Douglas Heddings of TrueGotham said, “I would be very reluctant to eat cloned meat…The entire meat industry frightens me a bit, from steroids and hormones to now cloning.”
Wow, tough crowd! Hardly anyone is clamoring for Franken-burgers. Okay, what about Followhealthlife readers? Would these veg-heads EVER go for the clone? See for yourself:
  • Cindy Prost, a 22-year old nutritional science student from Qualicum Beach, British Columbia, Canada, said “I would never eat cloned meat…Organic, local, grass raised is the way to go if you choose to consume animal products.”
  • Sara Rostampour, a 24-year old nutrition educator from Minneapolis, Minnesota, says, “I wouldn't eat cloned meat…The more we make animals into commodities, the worse they are typically treated.”
  • Rowland Morin, a 62-year old beach volleyball instructor from Santa Cruz, California, said, “My answer is no…This cloning experiment raises huge red flags. Manufactures want it so they can make even higher profits off their animal products. I don’t want to be their guinea pig.”
  • Heidi J. Will, a 37-year old massage therapist from North Tonawanda, New York, insists, “Cloning seems to be a defiance of natural law and the risk is not worth it…Furthermore, the reputation of the food-production community has not gained my confidence.”
  • Michael Natale a 41-year old owner of a computing company from Cumberland, Rhode Island, answered, “No, I don't trust the companies preparing meat for general consumption as it is…I have to believe there hasn't been an exhaustive, lengthy study done of potentially harmful side effects.”
Granted, Followhealthlife readers aren’t known for their meat-eating, but what about diners at a local food court? Here’s what patrons of the food court in the Bridgewater Commons Mall, Bridgewater, New Jersey had to say:
  • Brian Ramirez, a 32-year old manager at Godiva chocolates from Yonkers, New York, replied, “As long as it tastes the same I don’t see why I wouldn’t it eat.”
  • Steven Torres, a 23-year old assistant manager at Aeropostale from East Windsor, New Jersey, exclaimed “No! It sounds bad. It creeps me out.”
  • Thomas Pace, a 45-year old sales associated from Linden, New Jersey, said, “Yeah, as long as the government says is okay to eat.”
  • Leslie Harrington, a 22 year-old student aid from Clinton, New Jersey, exclaimed, “No that’s disgusting!”
  • Irene Coville, a 41-year old homemaker from Green Brook, New Jersey, said, “No. I can’t imagine why we need to clone meat.”
But in the end—consumer and expert reactions aside—it seems we’re right back where we started. “The question of whether consumers will eat cloned meat is moot,” explains Dr. Henry I. Miller Senior Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, “Since there won't be any labeling to identify meat derived from clones.”

Hydrogenated fats, artificial sweeteners, monosodium glutamate, and now, cloned meat; all part of our brave new world.

Eating to Live on the Outside: Live

Eating to Live on the Outside
breaks for the border—the northern border that is—this week we’re checking out Toronto, Ontario, Canada’s own, Live. I’ve got to thank Followhealthlife reader Adrienne for this. Live looks like a GREAT place for to snag a health-promoting meal.

Live’s menu is packed with good stuff. You could pretty much order anything on the menu—barring the alcohol—and only encounter minimal concessions; like olive oil, salt, or rice. So, with that being said, here are the menu items that really caught my eye.

Okay, starting with the appetizers, I’m digging the Pecan “Tempura” Rolls and the Thai Spring Rolls. Combined they’re made with pecan and sunflower pate, sweet potato “tempura”, mixed veggies, almond sauce, collard greens, and coriander oil. Clearly the oil is a concession and apparently the pecan rolls are made sushi style, meaning they might be made with rice. If so, the rice would be a concession too. Other then these two things, I’m call with both appetizers.

Live has some cool salad options too. What’s really great is you can build your salad. That’s a fantastic way to go, but I’m really feeling The Big Bowl; made with field greens, kale, spinach, tomatoes, avocado, cucumbers, sprouts, seeds, grilled tofu, beans, with your choice of dressing. Personally, I’d order the Creamy Ginger (olive oil, miso, ginger, rice vinegar, and agave) on the side—good idea?

Now, as for the entrees, I see three I really like. First is the Ayurvedic Dish: Winter Warming Pave; made with root vegetables, caramelized tempeh, balsamic reduction, and criminni mushroom gravy. I’m not a huge tempeh guy, but I don’t mind it every once and a while. Next, I’m liking the Macrobiotic Dish: The Rejuvenation Bowl; made with brown rice, a creamy tahini sauce, grilled tempeh, steamed kale, carrots, burdock root, lotus root, and served with brown rice miso soup and house-made kimchee. I’d probably pass on the soup, but the kimchee sounds interesting, and the brown rice would be the concession. Oh! And I also like the Curry Stuffed Mushroom; made with criminni mushrooms, curry pumpkin seed pate, and coriander oil. Well, the oil is the concession here, but, I deal with it.

There are some pretty neat sides too. I could certainly make a meal out of these. I’d order both of these. Corn Tostados; prepared with corn tostados, sunflower seed “refried” beans, salsa Verde, guacamole, and cashew sour cream. The corn tostados are a little bit of a concession, but I’m not too worried about it. But the Tropical Fresh Fruit Salad is an even better choice. It’s a nice collection of mango, kiwi, pineapple, and mint. Pairing these two together would make a decent dish.

Live also has some interesting juice options to choose from. Here’s the two I liked. The Green Kick; made with pear, kale, ginger, dandelion, lemon, and hemp protein. Sounds cool to me! I actually eat dandelion greens, so this is right up my alley. The juice that caught my eye is the Liquid Plumber—I love the name—it includes kale, cucumber, celery, dandelion, lemon, and milk thistle. I’m telling you, blended greens are way underrated—good stuff!

Well, I got to say. Nice pick Adrienne! Live is certainly a wonderful place for a nutritarian to grab a bite to eat—thanks for the heads up! But, who cares what I think? I’m just some dopey blogger. It’s your turn. Check out Live’s menu and let me know how you handle Eating to Live on the Outside. Make a comment or a send an email to Until then, eat greatly! Peace.

Breastfeeding: Weight Disparities

“Just because you were not breast fed for a prolonged period when you were a child, does not mean you are destined for fatness,” explains Dr. Fuhrman. Of course this contradicts a new study citing a link between lower rates of breastfeeding and obesity among minority children in the United States. Reuters reports:
Researchers found that among 739 10- to 19-year-olds, those who had been breastfed for more than four months had a lower average body mass index (BMI), and lower odds of being overweight.

This was true regardless of race or parents' education levels, the researchers report in the journal Pediatrics. However, the study found, there were disparities when it came to rates of breastfeeding; 40 percent of white adolescents but only 11 percent of black children had been breastfed for at least four months.

There was a similar difference when the researchers looked at parents' education levels, a marker of socioeconomic status. Forty percent of children with college-educated parents had been breastfed for at least four months, versus 18 percent of those with less-educated parents.

"This really does suggest that if we could somehow increase the frequency and duration of breastfeeding in these groups, we could reduce disparities in (obesity)," said researcher Dr. Jessica G. Woo of Cincinnati Children's Hospital.
Clearly, a rough start is no reason to grow up to live a life of condemned health. “Optimal nutrition and regular rigorous exercise still works and is necessary for optimal health whether you are overweight or not, and whether you were breast fed or not,” insists Dr. Fuhrman.

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!

Smoothie Moves

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie
4 ounces organic baby spinach
1/2 cup soy milk
1/2 cup cherry pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon Dr. Fuhrman's Cocoa Powder or other natural cocoa powder, not Dutch processed
1 cup frozen cherries
1 banana
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
2 tablespoons Goji berries (optional)
If using a regular blender, liquefy the spinach with soy milk and juice. Add remaining ingredients and blend about 2 minutes until very smooth. If using a Vita-Mix, blend all at once. Serves 2.

Purple Power Smoothie
1 cup pomegranate juice
2 packed cups organic baby spinach
1/4 medium cucumber*
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
2 medjool dates or 4 deglet noor dates, pitted
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1 cup ice cubes (optional)
Blend ingredients in Vita-Mix or other powerful blender until smooth. Serves 2.

Orange Berry Greens Smoothie
2 cups organic baby spinach
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
4 pitted dates
1 orange, peeled & quartered
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender until smooth and creamy. Serves 2.

Obesity, What Obesity?

“If the current trend continues by the year 2030 all adults in the United States will be obese,” warns Dr. Fuhrman. Pretty scary, Dr. Fuhrman goes onto explain WHY this might happen. Take a look:
Americans have been among the first people worldwide to have the luxury of bombarding themselves with nutrient-deficient, high-calorie food, often called empty-calorie. By “empty-calorie,” I mean food that is deficient in nutrients and fiber. More Americans than ever before are eating these rich, high-calorie foods while remaining inactive—a dangerous combination.
Now, you don’t have to be a doctor to notice that Americans make poor dietary decisions. Heck, even comedian George Carlin would agree—Americans love bad food! Here’s one of his classic rants. Enjoy:
Americans love to eat. They are fatally attracted to the slow death of fast food: hotdogs, corndogs, triple-bacon cheeseburgers, deep-fried butter dipped pork fat and Cheez-Whiz, mayonnaise soaked barbecued mozzarella patty melts—Americans will eat anything, anything!
Dr. Fuhrman and George Carlin are onto something. Junk food is ruining our national health. Take soda for example, Americans are drinking more of it, and, paying the fatty consequence. From the Center for Science in the Public Interest:

The empty calories of soft drinks are likely contributing to health problems, particularly overweight and obesity. Those conditions have become far more prevalent during the period in which soft drink consumption has soared. Several scientific studies have provided experimental evidence that soft drinks are directly related to weight gain. That weight gain, in turn, is a prime risk factor for type 2 diabetes, which, for the first time, is becoming a problem for teens as well as adults. As people get older, excess weight also contributes to heart attacks, strokes, and cancer.
So, when you consider all this—and all the other obesity news—how can anyone downplay obesity? Well, Dr. Vincent Marks of the University of Surrey believes, “The obesity epidemic has absolutely been exaggerated.” The Associated Press reports:
Marks is among a minority of skeptics who doubt the severity of the obesity problem. They claim that the data about the dangers of obesity are mixed and there is little proof that being fat causes problems including high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer.

Such views contradict nearly everything doctors have been saying for years…

…But obesity contrarians say that there's no data proving why being fat — in itself — would be dangerous. "There's no good causal connection," said Eric Oliver, author of Fat Politics and a political science professor at the University of Chicago.

Blaming obesity for diabetes and heart attacks, Oliver says, is like blaming lung cancer on bad breath rather than on smoking. Excess weight may actually be a red herring, Oliver says, since other factors like exercise, diet or genetic predispositions towards diseases are harder to measure than weight.
Oliver and Marks are insane! The American diet primes us for an obesity crisis (and related health problems). Dr. Fuhrman explains, “The standard diet is so nutrient-poor that it leads to a tremendous drive to over eat calories.” Which leads to weight-gain, which leads to obesity—right?

Dairy Warning

This is great news! Dairy products may be getting health warning labels to remind people about the dangers of saturated fat. EMaxHealth reports:
Health officials worldwide are actively fighting against rising rates of obesity. A lot is already done and new plans are being developed. However, obesity rates still keep increasing.

British Food Standards Agency has offered a new plan to tackle obesity: food with high levels of saturated fats will wear health warning like cigarettes do. FSA has already practiced shocking ways to attract public attention on unhealthy food. TV shows were displaying fat contained in food, and public was really impressed. Warning are expected to have the same affect on public and make them think twice before eating a sandwich with cheese or a toast with butter.

However, FSA will still need to discuss the health warning plan with health officials and food manufacturers before implementing it. They need to find the best way of reminding people of rising obesity rates and importance of healthy diet.
Besides, cow’s milk isn’t for people anyway. “Milk is designed by nature for the rapidly growing cow,” explains Dr. Fuhrman, “About half its calories are supplied from fat.” And all that saturated fat is bad news. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Saturated fat raises your LDL-cholesterol level more than anything else in the diet. Eating too much saturated fat and cholesterol is the main reason for the high number of heart attacks seen in North America and other countries…

…Besides the link between high-saturated-fat foods (dairy fat) and cancer, there is a body of scientific literature linking the consumption of cow's milk to many other diseases…

…Saturated fats are found mainly in meat, fowl, eggs, and dairy. The foods with the most saturated fat are butter, cream, and cheese.
Honestly, now that I eat a vegetable-based diet, just thinking of dairy foods—i.e. milk, butter, and cream—makes me nauseas. Bleh!

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.

Halt, Dangerous Toys!

This is encouraging. It seems government has really stepped up efforts to keep toxic toys away from kids—halt them at the port. From the CBS Early Show:
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) inspectors will be working side-by-side with Customs agents, looking for banned items.

"The CPSC can now actually stop, examine, and then either release or hold products," points out the agency's top spokesperson, Julie Vallese. "The CPSC is now out there flexing its muscle, doing what it can and trying to stop volatile products before they come into the marketplace."

In addition to toys, CBS Early Show consumer correspondent Susan Koeppen says, the new inspections will target cigarette lighters, fireworks, and electronics -- many of them coming from China.

Officials acknowledge inspections can only go so far, and what they're finding represents just the tip of the iceberg -- but add it's better than nothing.
Videos make things so much easier to understand. Be sure to check out the video that accompanied this report. Here it is:

I think is a good idea—I’m all for free enterprise—but so often goods manufacturers show us that they can’t be trusted. More posts about toxic toys:
I wonder if my Optimus Prime keychain is dangerous?

Airborne's Crash Landing

ParentDish is all over the news that miracle cold remedy “Airborne” doesn’t work. More from Angie Felton:
If you've ever purchased Airborne in hopes that the effervescent bubbles would knock out your cold as promised on the packaging, they owe you some money.

Good Morning America's investigation found that the "double-blind placebo-controlled clinical study" touted by the CEO of the company was actually a two-man operation started up just for the Airborne study. Company literature referred to Airborne as a "miracle cold buster," and a company press release boasted it would "get rid of most colds in 1 hour."
Well, if you got duped, check out

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.

John McCain, Vaccines, and Autism

Presidential candidate Sen. John McCain believes that mercury—found in many childhood vaccines—is to blame for the increase in autism diagnoses in the United States. Jake Tapper of Political Punch has more:
At a town hall meeting Friday in Texas, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., declared that "there’s strong evidence" that thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative that was once in many childhood vaccines, is responsible for the increased diagnoses of autism in the U.S. -- a position in stark contrast with the view of the medical establishment…

…McCain said, per ABC News' Bret Hovell, that "It’s indisputable that (autism) is on the rise amongst children, the question is what’s causing it. And we go back and forth and there’s strong evidence that indicates that it’s got to do with a preservative in vaccines."
Sen. McCain’s certainly picked a side of the fence—that’s admirable—but the vaccine-autism link is a complex and touchy situation. For example, Tara C. Smith doesn’t agree. Here’s a quote from her blog Aetiology:
Just what we need in the White House; another 4+ years of an anti-science president.
Okay, for the sake of not stirring up unnecessary controversy, let’s first look at the plight of mercury. As Dr. Fuhrman explains, mercury is not something you want to be exposed to. Take a look:
The injection of even this small amount of mercury repeatedly year after year from multiple vaccines can cause neurotoxicity (brain damage). The American Academy of Pediatrics and the US Public Health Service have issued a joint statement calling for the removal of mercury from vaccines. Chronic low dose mercury exposures may cause subtle neurological abnormalities that rear their head later in life.
Now, rather than being partisan over this—focus on the issue of choice. That’s how Dr. Fuhrman approaches vaccinations. You decide what’s good for you, and, you decide what’s good for your kids. He explains:
I strongly support the rights of individuals to do what they want with their own bodies and those of their children, right or wrong. Bombarding the young human with so many immunizations early in life could have far-reaching detrimental effects. We already have decent data linking the early use of hepatitis B vaccine with Multiple Sclerosis. Authorities and physicians are also aware that mercury preservatives in vaccines have long-term harmful effects. Therefore, I do not recommend the "cookbook" approach to vaccines and work with parents to reduce the exposure, eliminate some and delay others to reduce the risk.
The point to be made here—whether you believe vaccines lead to autism or not—is that you should always have the right to chose what you feel is best for you and your family—hopefully Sen. McCain remembers that if he gets into office.

Sleep America, Sleep...

Eek! The Associated Press reports that one-third of U.S. workers are sleeping on the job. Take a look:
The survey of 1,000 people found participants average six hours and 40 minutes of sleep a night on weeknights, even though they estimated they'd need roughly another 40 minutes of sleep to be at their best…

…While sleepy workers know they're not performing as well as they could during the day, work is what's keeping them up nights, according to the survey, which found workdays are getting longer and time spent working from home averages close to four-and-a-half hours each week.
Now, Dr. Fuhrman recommends getting sufficient rest, i.e. sleep. Here are two posts that explain why:
Need more reasons to get your Z’s? Check out these recent reports about the importance of sleep. Enjoy:
Reuters: Lack of sleep may raise risk of heart attacks, stroke
“A 17-year analysis of 10,000 government workers showed those who cut their sleeping from seven hours a night to five or less faced a 1.7-fold increased risk in mortality from all causes and more than double the risk of cardiovascular death.”

NY Times: Study Ties Too Little Sleep With Too Much Weight

“A study of 7-year-olds has found that sleeping less than nine hours a night was associated with being overweight or obese, even after accounting for amounts of television watching and physical exercise.”

Associated Press: Lack of sleep may lead to fatter children
“The less sleep they got, the more likely the children were to be obese in sixth grade, no matter what the child's weight was in third grade, said Dr. Julie Lumeng of the University of Michigan, who led the research.”

HealthDay News: Good Sleep Wakes Up Memory
“Researchers found that sleep not only protects memories from outside interferences, it also helps strengthen them.”
Clearly, we all need a nap.
Continue Reading...

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?

Exercise Your Exhaustion Away?

Here’s an interesting study. Researchers believe that exercise might be the key to treating fatigue. Tara Parker-Pope of Well is on it:
University of Georgia researchers decided to study whether exercise can be used to treat fatigue. The research, which appears in the February issue of the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, involved 36 volunteers who were not regular exercisers but who complained of persistent fatigue.

One group of fatigued volunteers was prescribed 20 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise three times a week for six weeks. The second group engaged in low-intensity aerobic exercise for the same time period, while a third control group did not exercise.

The study volunteers used exercise bikes that allowed the researchers to control their level of exertion. The low-intensity exercise was equivalent to a leisurely, easy walk. The more intense exercise was similar to a fast-paced walk up hills. Patients with fatigue due to serious medical conditions, such as those with chronic fatigue syndrome, weren’t included in the study.

Both of the exercise groups had a 20 percent increase in energy levels by the end of the study, compared to the control group. However, the researchers found that more intense exercise isn’t the best way to reduce fatigue. The low-intensity group reported a 65 percent drop in feelings of fatigue, compared to a 49 percent drop in the group doing more intense exercise.
I’m inclined to agree. I feel very empowered and spunky from my exercise regime—how about you?

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.

Scientists Say, Cigarettes Cause Cancer

Wow! Alert the press on this one. Apparently scientists have determined that the hydrogen peroxide in cigarette smoke is what promotes cancerous cells. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports:
Researchers from the University of California, Davis, said their findings may help lead to new treatments for lung cancer and may help the tobacco industry develop "safer" cigarettes by eliminating such substances in the smoke.

"With the five-year survival rate for people with lung cancer at a dismally low 15.5 percent, we hope this study will provide better insight into the identification of new therapeutic targets," senior author Tzipora Goldkorn said in a prepared statement.

In this laboratory study, the researchers exposed different sets of human lung cells to cigarette smoke or hydrogen peroxide and then incubated the cells for one to two days. The cells were then compared to unexposed airway cells. The cells exposed to cigarette smoke and those exposed to hydrogen peroxide showed the same molecular signatures of cancer development. The unexposed cells showed no such changes.
Apparently Britney Spears didn’t get the memo—dummy.

Running Before the Rooster Crows

You’ll usually find me at the gym by 5AM—yup, that early—yes, I realize I’m crazy, but I’m not the only one. Jacki Donaldson of That’sFit often finds herself running at “pre-dawn.” Take a look:
Running in the dark of the early morning is the newest of my exercise approaches, designed to allow me a jump on the day ahead, to get my workout out of the way before the world around me wakes up. No interruptions. No distractions. No competing priorities. Just me, an hour's worth of time, and the hills. Or sometimes my treadmill. I also fit in a few other exercises -- mostly for my stubborn stomach -- and a shower too. By the time my husband and little boys are awake, I've accomplished what I set out to do and don't have to fret about fitting it in for the rest of day.

It took some practice to get rolling with this workout routine. Once a night owl, I now crash early. My favorite late TV shows get taped and I watch them early on subsequent nights. Hoisting myself out of bed in the morning has gotten easier too, although today I slept 15 minutes longer than intended and had to ramp up my running speed to make it home on time. Not a bad trade, though. I'm sure my body liked the jolt it got.
I’m a total early bird. In fact, if I don’t exercise in the morning, I’m edgy and antsy all day long. Anyone else share my affliction—or should I say, addiction?

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!

The People's Soups

Beth’s Tomato-Vegetable Soup
2 red, yellow and/or orange peppers
4 stalks celery
1 large onion
2 heads baby bok choy
3-1/2 pounds assorted types of tomatoes
5 large cloves garlic
2 teaspoons Mrs. Dash
1 teaspoon dill
1/2 cup water
Cut all vegetables, add seasonings and water, and simmer in large, covered pot for 40 minutes, or until vegetables are soft. Remove from stove and process in blender or Vita-Mix. Blend until smooth and frothy. For variation, substitute other spices for Mrs. Dash and dill—or 5 ounces of other green leafy vegetables for baby bok choy. This recipe freezes easily and maintains the body that blending the cooked ingredients achieves. To serve, add brown rice (optional). Serves 6.

Jean’s Broccoli Cheeze Soup
3 medium potatoes, peeled & diced
3 large carrots, peeled & diced
1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets & stems, sliced
2 inches water (just to cover potatoes & carrots in pot)
1 cup plain soymilk
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash - original blend
1 teaspoon Spike
1/4 teaspoon celery salt (optional)
In large pot, cover diced potatoes and carrots with water and simmer until tender—15 minutes or so. Meanwhile steam broccoli until tender (I have a steamer insert that fits inside the pot I use for the potatoes and carrots). While veggies are cooking, puree cashews and all seasonings in a blender with the soymilk. When potatoes and carrots are done, add them to the cashew mixture and re-blend, adding enough of the hot cooking liquid to make a creamy "cheese" soup consistency (I used almost all of the cooking water.) You might need to do this in batches, depending on your blender. Return pureed soup to pot and stir in broccoli. I couldn't believe the gorgeous color and flavor of this soup—just like the broccoli cheese soup that I used to eat way back when. While this soup doesn't have as many veggies as my usual soups, it's a nice change of pace. Serves 4.

Irene’s Collard Greens Soup

1 onion, finely chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
32 ounces water
1/2 vegetable bouillon/low-sodium
1/16 teaspoon fresh black ground pepper
1/16 teaspoon cumin
8 ounces collard greens
Lightly sauté onion, pepper and garlic in a few drops of extra virgin olive oil. Add water/bullion with spices and shredded collard greens. Bring to a boil and then simmer about 30 minutes. Can also add 8 ounces of black eyed peas if you wish. Serves 4.

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!