Greasy Thievery...

With gas prices soaring, many restaurant owners are reporting their used frying oil being stolen for use in making biodiesel. Susan Saulny of The New York Times reports:
Outside Seattle, cooking oil rustling has become such a problem that the owners of the Olympia Pizza and Pasta Restaurant in Arlington, Wash., are considering using a surveillance camera to keep watch on its 50-gallon grease barrel. Nick Damianidis, an owner, said the barrel had been hit seven or eight times since last summer by siphoners who strike in the night.

“Fryer grease has become gold,” Mr. Damianidis said. “And just over a year ago, I had to pay someone to take it away.”

Much to the surprise of Mr. Damianidis and many other people, processed fryer oil, which is called yellow grease, is actually not trash. The grease is traded on the booming commodities market. Its value has increased in recent months to historic highs, driven by the even higher prices of gas and ethanol, making it an ever more popular form of biodiesel to fuel cars and trucks.

In 2000, yellow grease was trading for 7.6 cents per pound. On Thursday, its price was about 33 cents a pound, or almost $2.50 a gallon. (That would make the 2,500-gallon haul in the Burger King case worth more than $6,000.)

Biodiesel is derived by processing vegetable oil or animal fat with alcohol. It is increasingly available around the country, but it is expensive. With the right kind of conversion kit (easily found on the Internet) anyone can turn discarded cooking oil into a usable engine fuel that can burn on its own, or as a cheap additive to regular diesel.
I drive a tiny little Honda Civic and I tell you thing, if I had some extra cash I’d swap it for a hybrid in a second!

Be Social, Save Memory

New research claims that maintaining good relationships with family and friends may prevent age-related memory loss. Reuters reports:
"Our results suggest that increasing social integration may be an important component of efforts to protect older Americans from memory decline," Dr. Lisa F. Berkman from the Department of Society, Human Development, and Health at Harvard School of Public Health, Boston and colleagues conclude in a report in the American Journal of Public Health.

They looked at the impact of social integration on changes in memory over 6 years in 16,638 Americans aged 50 and older enrolled in the Health and Retirement Study. Memory was gauged by immediate and delayed recall of a 10-word list, and social integration was assessed by marital status, volunteer activity, frequency of contact with children, parents, and neighbors.

The average memory score declined from 11.0 in 1998 to 10.0 in 2004, the investigators found.
Healthy social ties are important, Dr. Fuhrman explains in An Emotionally Satisfying Environment is Vital. Here’s a bit:
Humans are complicated creatures, and our minds have powerful effects on healing and wellness. A positive purpose, loving relationships, self-respect, and the power to control our destiny have beneficial effects on our physiological—and ultimately physical—well-being. Few people have the perfect life without any negative stressors, but it makes a difference if you deal with those stressors with hope and action, rather than resignation and passivity.
So, I guess having more ex-girlfriends than fingers and toes wouldn’t be considered cultivating loving relationships. No worries, I’ll just wait for the memory loss to kick in.

Presidential Health Wars: McCain Robust, Obama Excellent

Doctors are describing Senator John McCain’s health as “robust.” The New York Times reports:

Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has kidney stones and takes medication to reduce his cholesterol but otherwise has a strong heart and is in good shape, the doctors said.

“At the present time, Senator McCain enjoys excellent health and displays extraordinary energy,” Mr. McCain’s primary care physician, Dr. John D. Eckstein, told reporters in a conference call arranged by Mr. McCain’s campaign. “While it is impossible to predict any person’s future health, today I can find no medical reason or problems that would preclude Senator McCain from fulfilling all the duties and obligations of president of the United States.”

In addition, Dr. Eckstein said, “We continue to find no evidence of metastasis or recurrence of the invasive melanoma as we approach the eighth anniversary of that operation.”

He concluded that the prognosis for Mr. McCain was “very good” because “the time of greatest risk for recurrence of invasive melanoma is within the first few years after the surgery.”
Others are calling Senator Barack Obama’s health “excellent.” More from The New York Times:

It is the first time Mr. Obama, 46, has publicly released information on his medical history or current health condition. The brief statement summarized the senator’s health for the last 21 years and was signed by Dr. David L. Scheiner , who has been Mr. Obama’s primary care physician for more than two decades.

Mr. Obama’s “family history is pertinent,” according to the doctor, who noted that the senator’s mother died from ovarian cancer and his grandfather died of prostate cancer. Mr. Obama’s smoking history – off and on for at least two decades – also was noted.

“His own history included intermittent cigarette smoking,” Dr. Scheiner wrote in a six-paragraph letter. “He has quit this practice on several occasions and is currently using Nicorette gum with success.”

Dr. Schiener, who is on staff at the University of Chicago Hospitals and Rush University Medical Center, said he last examined Mr. Obama on Jan. 15, 2007 – one day before Mr. Obama created a presidential exploratory committee. He has been Mr. Obama’s doctor since March 23, 1987.
So, what’s better, excellent or robust?

Prostate Cancer vs. FruHis...

According to a new study FruHis, found in dehydrated tomatoes, may have secret powers against prostate cancer. Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News explains:
But the study only looked at animals and, the authors warned, FruHis is not ready for the doctor's office or medicine cabinet just yet.

"This study was conducted in a rat model, and you cannot possibly draw any conclusions for people," said study author Valeri Mossine, a research assistant professor of biochemistry at the University of Missouri. "That's something we need to do next. But before you enter a study with humans, you have to prove that something works with animals. If it works, then you go on."

Several studies have pointed to a prostate cancer-fighting quality in tomatoes, but the exact mechanisms have been elusive.

In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration laid out evidence or rather, a lack of it, behind a previous statement the agency had issued that tomato consumption is not linked to any reduction in risk of prostate tumors (or ovarian, stomach or pancreatic malignancies).

The November 2005 statement issued by the FDA contended that, "there is no credible evidence to support qualified health claims for lycopene, as a food ingredient, component or food, or as a dietary supplement, and reduced risk of any of the cancers in the petition."
Tomatoes kick butt! Then again, all veggies rock! For more news on vegetables, check out Followhealthlife’s healthy food category.

Eating to Live on the Outside: Vegan Glory

In the spirit of Followhealthlife’s new Green Living category, this week Eating to Live on the Outside takes a look at a 100% veggie-friendly restaurant, Vegan Glory. The cuisine at this place is sure to leave a tiny carbon-footprint, but, can it satisfy the savage Eat to Liver?

Well, it’s not a total slam dunk, but it’s certainly workable. Let’s start with the appetizers. They’re a little tough; lots of frying going on. The steamed veggie dumplings are your best bet. Personally, I’d skip the appetizers.

Instead of an appetizer, you could go with a soup, but before you do, know that you are probably going to be taking a salt hit. Restaurants soups tend to be very salty. If I were feeling bold, I’d go with either the Miso Soup, Seaweed Soup, or the Tom Yum Soup; combined their made with soft tofu, kelp, mushrooms, broth, seaweed, vermicelli, napa cabbage, tomato, exotic herbs, and hot & sour lemongrass broth. All good stuff, maybe the vermicelli worries you, it doesn’t bother me, but the salt does, so I’d skip the soup.

Now we come to the best part of the menu—the salads! I like them all. Here are my two favorites. The Papaya Salad is made with green papaya, carrot, green beans, sliced tomatoes, lime juice, and ground peanuts. Honestly, this is one of my favorite things to eat. I order this at almost every Thai restaurant I eat at. So for me, this is a great option!

I also like the Green Power Salad. It’s got lots of great stuff! It’s prepared with Romaine lettuce, tomato, alfalfa sprouts, avocado, cucumber, edamame beans, red onion, walnuts, and your choice of peanut, tahini, or Italian dressing. Told you, it’s really cool! I’d go with the peanut dressing and order it on the side. How about you?

The other salads are nice options too. The Cucumber Salad comes with cucumber, red onion, and sweet vinegar. The House Salad is greens with your choice of Italian, peanut, or tahini dressing. The Glass Noodle Salad is made with vermicelli, tomato, mushrooms, red onion, lettuce, and a spicy lime dressing. And the Glory Salad is garden salad, grilled tofu, and peanut dressing. All good!

The curry is decent too. Vegan Glory serves up three kinds, green, red, and yellow curry. Combine these curries are made with hot red curry paste, coconut milk, basil, bell peppers, eggplant, bamboo shoots, seasonings, medium green chili paste, spices, herbs, mild yellow curry, onion, carrot, and potato. Not bad. Although I’m not a huge fan of curry, are you?

The chef’s specials and burgers have some potential too. I like the Lentil Loaf. It’s made with lentils, brown rice, bell pepper, onion, spices, and served with steamed brown rice. Well, if you can get passed the rice, it looks good to me. The Grilled Tofu Burger and the Veggie Burger are nice. The veggie burger is made with lentil, brown rice, veggies, and spices, and, they’re both served with Romaine lettuce, alfalfa sprouts, tomato, vegenaise, and an organic bun. Same deal here. If the rice and bun doesn’t bother you, these work in a pinch, but I’m dropping the vegenaise—yucky.

Now, the A La Carte section of the menu is iffy. Sure, they come with lots of veggies, but they’re all either stir-fried or sautéed. So it’s up to you. Is that a big deal to you? It’s a big deal to me, but since I hardly eat any fried foods, I can handle it. Here are the two dishes I really liked, despite the frying.

The Chinese Broccoli is neat; stir-fried Chinese broccoli, garlic sauce, served with steamed brown rice—simple, but good. I also like the Garlic Pepper. It’s prepared with sautéed garlic, black pepper, cilantro, garlic sauce, lettuce, and steamed brown rice. The lettuce cushions the blow of the sautéing.

Now, if all else fails and none of these strike your fancy—not even the salads—you can always order a side of grilled potatoes and a side of steamed vegetables (snow peas, carrots, broccoli, and zucchini), but hey, maybe I’m insane. Maybe you can do better. Check out Vegan Glory’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 yummy good food. Peace!

Football Can Shrink You!

This is why I stick to yoga! Apparently the beating you take while playing football can temporarily reduce your height. More from WebMD:
Researchers report that repetitive blocking and tackling -- coupled with the weight of helmets and pads - can temporarily shave nearly half an inch off of players' heights.

They studied 10 high school football players -- lineman, defensive tackles, and others whose positions involved repetitive blocking and tackling. The average height of players before the game was 69.5 inches. Afterward, it was 69.2 inches.

Brian J. Campbell, PhD, an assistant professor of biomechanics at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, headed the study. The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

Defensive Maneuvers Compress Spinal Cord
Campbell says that it's well known that people shrink over the course of a day. "If you think of your body as an accordion, gravity squeezes you together as the day goes on," he says.
I’m already only 5’5, good thing I never played football—good grief!

Supermarkets, Super-Wasters...

Many people believe supermarkets should do more to reduce the billions of dollars of waste they produce each year. The Economist reports:
WALK into almost any big supermarket in America and you will find a cornucopia of food. The mountains of fresh produce on display are a testament to shoppers' desire for choice and freshness—and retailers' desire to relieve them of their dollars. But behind the mouth-watering offerings lies a distasteful reality: billions of dollars' worth of food is dumped each year because of retailers' inefficiency.

It is difficult to gauge quite how much waste—known as “shrink” in the industry's jargon—there is. Oliver Wyman, a consulting firm, puts the figure at 8-10% of total “perishable” goods in America. The Food Marketing Institute, an industry body, says such sales totaled $196 billion in 2006. That means food worth nearly $20 billion was dumped by retailers. In a report published on May 14th, the United Nations estimated that retailers and consumers in America throw away food worth $48 billion each year, and called upon governments everywhere to halve food wastage by 2025.

With food prices soaring and consumers tightening their belts, supermarkets' margins are under pressure. On May 13th Wal-Mart, America's biggest retailer, said its first-quarter sales rose by 10%, to $94 billion, but only after it slashed grocery prices by up to 30%. Its boss gave warning of harsher times ahead. Many retailers will need to cut costs, and tackling shrink seems a good way to do so.
It’s hard to disagree with this.

Followhealthlife Gets Green!

Followhealthlife is getting a “Green Living” category! Nowadays, with skyrocketing gas prices and global warming bearing down on us, you can’t help be a little curious about green living. I know I am!

Actually, I’ve already made a bunch of green purchases. Take my natural rubber Jade Harmony yoga mat for example:

My earth-friendly shopping bag from Stop & Stop:

My organic Earth Day t-shirt I bought from Old Glory:

And this 100% recycled jewelry from Tarma Designs:

But my biggest green achievement is my diet. Eating a diet based on wholesome fruits and vegetables places less burden on our environment. These articles will help explain why:
FAONewsroom: Livestock a major threat to environment.
“When emissions from land use and land use change are included, the livestock sector accounts for 9 percent of CO2 deriving from human-related activities, but produces a much larger share of even more harmful greenhouse gases. It generates 65 percent of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2. Most of this comes from manure.”
The New York Times: Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler.
“Global demand for meat has multiplied in recent years, encouraged by growing affluence and nourished by the proliferation of huge, confined animal feeding operations. These assembly-line meat factories consume enormous amounts of energy, pollute water supplies, generate significant greenhouse gases and require ever-increasing amounts of corn, soy and other grains, a dependency that has led to the destruction of vast swaths of the world’s tropical rain forests.”
Virtual Water: The Virtual Water project.
“The water footprint of a person, company or nation is defined as the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce the commodities, goods and services consumed by the person, company or nation. The idea of the water footprint is quite similar to the ecological footprint, but focusing on the use of water.”
The Los Angeles Times: Treading lighter with low-carbon diets.
“The global food and agriculture system produces about one-third of humanity's contribution to greenhouse gases. So questions about food are shifting from the familiar ‘Is this good for me?’ or ‘Will it make me fat?’ to ‘Is it good for the planet?’”

Not only do I feel good about my health, but helping to preserve the well-being of our planet is an added bonus! Now, this gave me an idea. Remember this video about growing tomatoes out of garbage:

Guess what? I’m growing my own heavenly tomatoes! Okay, for a month I saved my fruit and vegetable scraps—Dr. Fuhrman staffers Linda and Susan and my mom also pitched in—here’s what I ended up with as of May 3rd:

Check out the digging and burying I did on May 4th:

By May 9th I had more scraps and I bought my tomato plant:

And then on May 10th I added to the pile and planted my tomato:

By May 18th my little tomato plant had already grown a lot:

And as May 27th it was even bigger:

I checked this morning and it’s already starting to flower! Not bad for a dopey blogger. I’ll be caring for my tomato all summer long, so keep checking the Green Living category for updates!

If you’re passionate about healthy eating and caring for the environment Followhealthlife’s new Green Living category will be a great place to get all your green news! Feel free to email your own green tips and suggestions to
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Eat For Health: Commonly Held Nutritional Beliefs and The Truths Behind Them

This is an excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat For Health.

Frequent small meals aid weight control.
  • FALSE: Frequent eating has been shown to lead to more calories consumed at the end of the week. In addition, in scientific studies, reduced meal frequency increases the lifespan of both rodents and monkeys, even when the calories consumed each week were the same in the group fed more frequently and the group fed less frequently.1 The body needs time between meals to finish digesting, because when digestion has ended the body can more effectively detoxify and promote cellular repair. To maximize health, it is not favorable to be constantly eating and digesting food.
Being overweight is due to poor genetics.
  • FALSE: Genetics do play a role in obesity, and people whose parents are obese have a ten-fold increased risk of being obese. However, there are many people with obese parents who are slender and healthy. It is the combination of food choices, inactivity and genetics that determines obesity.2 Excellent nutrition and a healthy lifestyle will overwhelm genetics and allow even those with a genetic hindrance to achieve a healthy weight.
Milk builds and strengthens bones.
  • FALSE: Medical studies confirm that drinking cow’s milk does not lead to stronger bones. In a comprehensive review of all studies of dairy intake and bone strength in 2000, researchers concluded, “the body of scientific evidence appears inadequate to support a recommendation for daily intake of dairy foods to promote bone health in the general US population.”3 Having strong bones is about much more than just calcium. We require vigorous exercise, adequate Vitamin D, and a diet rich in many micronutrients.
Heart disease and dementia are the consequence of aging.
  • FALSE: Interestingly, heart disease as a major cause of disability and death is a recent phenomenon in human history. Heart disease has identifiable causes, and populations whose lifestyle practices do not create these causes do not have heart disease. Cultures around the world eating a healthy, vegetable-rich diet have no recorded heart disease, including hundreds of thousands of rural Chinese.4 The same diets that are high in animal fats and low in vitamins, minerals, fruits, and green vegetables, also have been shown to be related to the incidence of dementia.5
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Depression: Pregnancy and Omega-3's

A new study found treating depressed pregnant women with omega-3 fatty acids helped reduce symptoms. Michelle Rizzo of Reuters reports:
"Perinatal depression is common, and treatment remains challenging," Dr. Kuan-Pin Su, of China Medical University Hospital, Taiwan, and colleagues explain in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

When a pregnant woman needs to be treated for major depression, "the possible risks and benefits of antidepressant medication are considered to have significant impacts on both mother and baby," Su commented to Reuters Health. "Many women and their health care providers prefer the use of non-medication treatments," Su added.

"Depression has been reported to be associated with the abnormality of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)," the team notes in their article. They propose that the requirements of the growing baby lead to "a profound decrease of omega-3 PUFAs in the mother during pregnancy," and this might "precipitate the occurrence of depression."

To see if omega-3 supplements would help, the researchers assigned 36 pregnant women with depression to take 3.4 grams of omega-3 PUFAs or an inactive placebo daily for eight weeks.
Omegas are wonderful nutrients. Not only can they help with mood disorders, but they’re great for your ticker too. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Compared to the American population, those eating this way in the Mediterranean region exhibit a lower risk of heart disease and common cancers. Heart attack rates are 25 percent lower, and the rate of obesity is about half of America’s. The climate and fertile soil allow for many high nutrient plants to grow, which makes most of the dishes rich in phytochemicals. That, in turn, accounts for the diet’s protective effects. Nuts, particularly walnuts, are commonly used in the diet and they are a good source of omega-3 fats and other heart protective nutrients. The use of fish instead of meat also decreases saturated fat consumption and increases these beneficial fats. For these reasons, it is understandable why the Mediterranean diet is considered healthier than the SAD, but it is not without drawbacks. Studying its beneficial health outcomes—along with those of diets in other areas of the world such as Japan, rural China, Fiji, and Tibet— allows us to use the Mediterranean diet’s culinary principals to make a diet deliciously varied and even more disease protective, while avoiding its problems.
Seeds are another awesome source of healthy fats. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Over the last few years, the health benefits of seeds also have become more apparent. A tablespoon of ground flaxseed, hempseeds, chia seeds, or other seeds can supply those hard-to find omega-3 fats that protect against diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.1 Seeds are also rich in lignans, a type of fiber associated with a reduced risk of both breast cancer and prostate cancer. In addition, seeds are a good source of iron, zinc, calcium, protein, potassium, magnesium, Vitamin E, and folate. The plant goes to great effort in producing and protecting its seed, filling each genetic package with high concentrations of vitamins, minerals, proteins, essential oils, and enzymes.
For more on depression and how to treat it without medication, check out: Treating Depression Naturally.
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Food: Tempe, Isn't that a Town in Arizona?

Yes, it is, but tempe is also the latest food craze. Apparently a lot of vegetarians are giving this fermented whole-grain a look. More from Chalmers:
"Tempe is designed for vegetarians, but also for people who want to eat less meat for environmental reasons, for example," says Charlotte Eklund-Jonsson at the Department of Food Science.

"We also had the environment in mind when we chose to base it on barley and oats, which are suitable to cultivate in Sweden and therefore do not require long transports."

Tempe is produced through fermentation with the aid of the micro fungus Rhizopus oligosporus. Tempe fermentation originates from Indonesia, but soybeans are used as the raw material there.

In her work, Charlotte Eklund-Jonsson developed methods to preserve the high fiber content of the cereal grains and at the same time to enhance their content of easily accessible iron. Normally these two considerations work against each other.

The findings show that the uptake of iron doubled after a meal of barley tempe compared with unfermented barley. In other studies both oat and barley tempe moreover produced low blood sugar responses and insulin responses, which is typical of whole-grain products.
Honestly, I don’t know squat about tempe. Now, while I do some research, here are some other sources of tempe’s nutrients. From Dr. Fuhrman:
Many people are not aware that green vegetables are rich in iron and are a complete source of all essential amino acids, too. I would rather get my iron from greens, seeds and beans…

…cantaloupes are another vitamin powerhouse. With only 56 calories a cup, one gets a huge amount of vitamin C and beta-carotene as well as folate, potassium, fiber, thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B6…

…Raw nuts and seeds are packed with nutrients. They contain lignans, bioflavonoids, minerals, and other antioxidants that protect the fragile freshness of the fats therein; they also contain plant proteins and plant sterols that naturally lower cholesterol. And because nuts and seeds supply certain fibers, phytochemicals, phytosterols, and bioactive nutrients not found in other foods (such as polyphenols and arginine), they have other beneficial effects that prevent blood vessel inflammation.
Since tempe is a grain, I’d do what I do with all my grains—limit them. Take a look:

Have you ever tried tempe?

Thursday: Health Points

"I never would have thought that we would be seeing these effects into the later 20s," said study co-author Kim Dietrich, a professor of environmental health at the University of Cincinnati. "I'm actually quite astounded and quite worried about this. Although lead levels have been going down in this country, a large proportion of the population now in their 20s and 30s had blood levels in this neurotoxic range."

Childhood lead exposure has been linked with anti-social behavior, lower IQ, attention deficits, hyperactivity and weak executive control functions, all of which are risk factors for future delinquent behavior (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, in particular, is a risk factor for adult criminal behavior). Studies have also related sales of leaded gasoline or high atmospheric lead levels with criminal behavior.
Peak Corn: Blame Earl Butz. Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford's Secretary of Agriculture brought in the Farm Bill that dramatically increased the amount of corn produced in America. He encouraged farmers to "get big or get out," and to plant crops like corn "from fence row to fence row." Further billions in subsidies to farmers encouraged production, and soon America was awash in cheap grain, and with it cheap meat.

Peak Dirt: Really, Peak Dirt- the world is losing soil 10 to 20 times faster than it is replenishing it. Drake Bennett in the Boston Globe tells us that dirt is complicated stuff, made from sand or silt, then years of plants adding nutrition, bugs and worms adding their excrement, dying and rotting.
California Water Service Company reports high levels of mercury in water making it useless for drinking. Every attempts of purifying the water, such as boiling it, are useless, because the pollution level is high.

Mercury is much more dangerous when drinking than when breathing. However, boiling the water leads to mercury release into the air, so the pollution and health risk still exists.

California Water Service Company is now notifying residents about health concerns. Sheriff's Office itself is investigating the case to find out the reasons of why mercury level is so high.
Get enough sleep: Most of us know that money can't buy happiness, but who knew that a good night's sleep just might? That's a key finding of that University of Michigan study. "Making $60,000 more in annual income has less of an effect on your daily happiness than getting one extra hour of sleep a night," says study author Norbert Schwarz, Ph.D., a professor of psychology.

Take the long view: Having a sense of perspective will also improve your attitude. "It gives you more patience, and it certainly awakens you to the preciousness of the moment, which is fleeting," says M.J. Ryan, author of The Happiness Makeover. She remembers the times when her daughter wanted to sit on her lap and watch a video. "Yes, I had other things to do. But I said to myself, 'How long will this last?' I'm grateful for that time with her."
The germ, resistant to some antibiotics, has become a regular menace in hospitals and nursing homes. The study found it played a role in nearly 300,000 hospitalizations in 2005, more than double the number in 2000.

The infection, Clostridium difficile, is found in the colon and can cause diarrhea and a more serious intestinal condition known as colitis. It is spread by spores in feces. But the spores are difficult to kill with most conventional household cleaners or antibacterial soap.

C-diff, as it's known, has grown resistant to certain antibiotics that work against other colon bacteria. The result: When patients take those antibiotics, competing bacteria die off and C-diff explodes.
Dr. Monique M. B. Breteler told Reuters Health that her group had previously found that men, but not women, with a silent heart attack are more likely to have a stroke than men who had a recognized heart attack or those who had not had any heart attack.

To examine whether this might also be the case for dementia and so-called cerebral small vessel disease, Breteler of Erasmus University, Rotterdam, and her colleagues examined data for more than 6300 participants in a population-based study.

At the start of the study, from 1990 to 1993, the subjects were classified as having a recognized heart attack, not having a heart attack, or having had an unrecognized heart attack based on EKG tracings. They were followed for the occurrence of dementia, of which there were 613 cases by 2005.
The Food and Drug Administration gained new powers in March to require distribution limits or other restrictions on the sale of new medicines.

"That's taking a considerable amount of time more for every application. That will go away in time," Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in an interview with Reuters.

At present, the process is adding days or weeks to reviews of drugs that need the additional safety measures, she said.

Woodcock has worked at the FDA for more than two decades. In March, she returned to a previous post running the agency's drugs division after taking other leadership responsibilities.
Social psychologists have already shown that thoughts about death can spur buying behaviour. For example, in the months following 9/11 shops in the US noted a spike in purchases of luxury products, canned goods and sweets.

To better understand the link between thoughts of mortality and the urge to consume, Naomi Mandel at Arizona State University, Tempe, and Dirk Smeesters at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, asked 746 students to write essays on one of two topics: their death or a visit to the dentist. Each participant also completed a questionnaire designed to evaluate their level of self-esteem.

They found that subjects with low self-esteem who wrote about death ate more cookies, when given the opportunity, and bought more items from a hypothetical shopping list compared to those who wrote about the dentist. In people with high self-esteem, thoughts of death had little effect.


Lemon Zest Spinach
1 1/4 pounds fresh organic spinach or 4 bags organic baby spinach
6 cloves garlic, minced
5 tablespoons pine nuts
3 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Steam spinach and garlic until spinach is just. Serves 4.

Spinach and Brussels Sprouts Delight
16-ounces Brussels sprouts
14-ounces organic baby spinach
1/4 cup water
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
1 14.5-ounce can chopped tomatoes (no salt)
1 tablespoon Dr. Fuhrman’s VegiZest
Steam Brussels sprouts and spinach together for 8 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are almost tender. Meanwhile, water sauté garlic and onion in a large pot until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add Brussels sprouts and spinach, along with chopped tomatoes and VegiZest. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Serves 4.

Athlete's Green Fuel

1 banana
8 ounces romaine lettuce
4 ounces organic baby spinach
1 ounce raw sunflower seeds
1 ounce pine nuts
1 ounce raw cashews
3 teaspoons Dr. Fuhrman's Black Fig Vinegar
Blend all ingredients together. Serves 1.

Childhood Obesity, Leveling Off...

It seems school lunch reforms may be paying off. Childhood obesity rates appear to be leveling off. Serena Gordon of HealthDay News reports:
However, experts caution there's still much to be done to improve the health of American children because the number of youngsters who are overweight today is still triple what it was in the 1960s and 1970s.

"The rates are still very high. But this study suggests there may be some cause for optimism as the rate appears fairly level over eight years," said study author Cynthia Ogden, an epidemiologist at the National Center for Health Statistics, whose findings are published in the May 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Others agreed with Ogden's assessment.

"After 25 years of extraordinarily bad news about childhood obesity, there is a glimmer of hope. But it's much too soon to know whether rates have truly leveled off," said the author of an accompanying editorial in the same issue of the journal, Dr. David Ludwig, director of the Optimal Weight for Life program at Children's Hospital Boston.

"Even if they have leveled off, the prevalence is at such high levels that unless we do something, unless we redouble our efforts, this generation is in store for a shorter and less healthful life than their parents," Ludwig said.
Although, researchers warn that the rates are still high, so, we’ve got more work to do—let’s get those numbers down!

Pregnancy, Babies, and Fish

If you’re pregnant Dr. Fuhrman suggests avoiding seafood. Why? Mercury contamination. Here, I’ll let him explain:
Higher levels of mercury found in mothers who eat more fish have been associated with birth defects, seizures, mental retardation, developmental disabilities, and cerebral palsy.1 This is mostly the result of women having eaten fish when they were pregnant. Scientists believe that fetuses are much more sensitive to mercury exposure than adults, although adults do suffer from varying degrees of brain damage from fish consumption.2 Even the FDA, which normally ignores reports on the dangers of our dangerous food practices, acknowledges that large fish such as shark, swordfish, and yellowfin and bluefin tuna, are potentially dangerous.
And a new study reveals the catch-22 that is seafood. It seems fish can help babies’ cognitive function, but mercury can hurt it. Reuters reports:
"Recommendations for fish consumption during pregnancy should take into account the nutritional benefits of fish as well as the potential harms from mercury exposure," Dr. Emily Oken of Harvard Medical School in Boston and her colleagues write in the May 15 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Advisories on mercury contamination of certain types of large, long-lived fish -- including tuna and swordfish -- have raised concerns about seafood consumption during pregnancy, Oken and her team note. On the other hand, fish are also the chief dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids, substances key to early brain development, they add.

To better understand the risks and benefits of fish consumption, Oken and her team surveyed 341 mothers about their intake of fish during the second trimester of pregnancy, and then had their children complete a battery of tests of cognitive function at 3 years of age.

On average, women reported eating 1.5 servings of fish each week while they were pregnant. The amount of mercury the women had in their red blood cells was directly related to the amount of fish they ate. Children's test scores rose with the amount of fish their mothers had consumed, but those whose mothers had more mercury in their bodies performed less well on the tests.
I think this is one of those better to be safe, than sorry situations—skip the fish.
Continue Reading...

Energy Drinks and Teenagers Don't Mix

Caffeine is not your friend. Sure, it might give you that “pick up” in the morning, but it’s not doing your health any favors. Dr. Fuhrman’s colleague Jeff Novick, MS, RD explains:
“After drinking a cup of coffee, blood pressure can rise up to 5 or even 10 millimeters of mercury,” said Dr. Charalambos Vlachopoulos from the Cardiology Department of the Henry Dunant Hospital in Athens, Greece. Increases of this magnitude can increase a person’s risk of suffering from a stroke or a heart attack.

Elsewhere, Dr. M. O’Rourke and colleagues at St. Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, Australia, presented data at the 22nd Congress of the European Society of Cardiology linking caffeine consumption with alterations in the aorta, the main artery supplying blood to the body. Their study showed that caffeine led to a loss of aortic elasticity and raised blood pressure. The elasticity of the aorta is linked to heart function and coronary blood flow.

In a Finnish study reported in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, Dr. Maarku Heliovaara of the National Public Health Institute in Helsinki and colleagues found that people who drank four or more cups of coffee each day had twice the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, compared with people who drank less coffee.
Now, new research has determined that teenagers who drink energy drinks—which are LOADED with caffeine—are more likely to engage in “risky” behavior. Tara Parker-Pope of The New York Times reports:
In March, The Journal of American College Health published a report on the link between energy drinks, athletics and risky behavior. The study’s author, Kathleen Miller, an addiction researcher at the University of Buffalo, says it suggests that high consumption of energy drinks is associated with “toxic jock” behavior, a constellation of risky and aggressive behaviors including unprotected sex, substance abuse and violence.

The finding doesn’t mean the drinks cause bad behavior. But the data suggest that regular consumption of energy drinks may be a red flag for parents that their children are more likely to take risks with their health and safety.

“It appears the kids who are heavily into drinking energy drinks are more likely to be the ones who are inclined toward taking risks,” Dr. Miller says. The American Beverage Association says its members don’t market energy drinks to teenagers. “The intended audience is adults,” says Craig Stevens, a spokesman for the group. He says the marketing is meant for “people who can actually afford the two or three bucks to buy the products.”
Makes sense to me. Isn’t gambling with your health one of the biggest risks you can take?

Aquaponics, What's Aquaponics?

If you eat a vegetable-based diet, growing your own can be a great way to save some cash. So, why not give “aquaponics” a try? TreeHugger fills us in:
Australian company Backyard Aquaponics (who were briefly mentioned in our original post on the subject) and their PDF magazine entitled Backyard Aquaponics: Bringing Food Production Back Home. The first issue is available free online, and includes an excellent introduction to the field:

“Aquaponics is essentially the combination of Aquaculture and Hydroponics. Both aquaculture and hydroponics have some down sides, hydroponics requires expensive nutrients to feed the plants, and also requires periodic flushing of the systems which can lead to waste disposal issues. Re-circulating aquaculture needs to have excess nutrients removed from the system, normally this means that a percentage of the water is removed, generally on a daily basis. This nutrient rich water then needs to be disposed of and replaced with clean fresh water.

While re-circulating aquaculture and hydroponics are both very efficient methods of producing fish and vegetables, when we look at combining the two, these negative aspects are turned into positives. The positive aspects of both aquaculture and hydroponics are retained and the negative aspects no longer exist. Aquaponics can be as simple or as complex as you’d like to make it…
For a second I thought they were talking about the stuff people used to grow in college.

Buy a Watermelon, Get the Scorpion Free!

Imagine rummaging through the bin for a good watermelon and—WHAM—you get stung by a scorpion! More from the Associated Press:
A 12-year-old girl picking up a seedless watermelon from a bin was stung Sunday by a tan, inch-long scorpion that had apparently stowed away in a shipment from Mexico.

Megan Templeton, of Barboursville, was taken to the hospital as a precaution but later released. Her father, William Templeton, said the pain was a little worse than a bee sting.

He initially didn't believe his daughter when she said she had been stung by a scorpion, but then he saw the critter scurry underneath a box. It was captured by Wal-Mart employees.
I sympathize with the scorpion. If someone tries to grab my watermelon—WHAM—I’d sting them too.

8 Good Foods and Lots of Bad Food

Let’s start with the good stuff. Men’sHealth offers up 8 foods that’ll help keep your stomach flat. Here they are:
  1. Spinach: It may be green and leafy, but spinach is no nutritional wallflower. This noted muscle-builder is a rich source of plant-based omega-3s and folate, which help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis.
  2. Yogurt: Various cultures claim yogurt as their own creation, but the 2,000-year-old food’s health benefits are not disputed: Fermentation spawns hundreds of millions of reinforcements for the battalions of beneficial bacteria in your body.
  3. Tomatoes: There are two things you need to know about tomatoes: Red are the best, because they’re packed with more of the antioxidant lycopene, and processed tomatoes are just as potent as fresh ones, because it’s easier for the body to absorb the lycopene.
  4. Carrots: Most red, yellow, or orange vegetables and fruits are spiked with carotenoids — fat-soluble compounds that are associated with a reduction in a wide range of cancers
  5. Blueberries: Host to more antioxidants than any other North American fruit, blueberries help prevent cancer, diabetes, and age-related memory changes (hence the nickname “brain berry”).
  6. Black Beans: All beans are good for your heart, but none can boost your brain power like black beans.
  7. Walnuts: Richer in heart-healthy omega-3s than salmon, loaded with more anti-inflammatory polyphenols than red wine, and packing half as much muscle-building protein as chicken.
  8. Oats: The original wunderkind of health food, oats garnered the FDA’s first seal of approval. They are packed with soluble fiber, which lowers the risk of heart disease.
Yuck, yogurt! Now, onto the bad stuff. Fitness magazine’s 2008 Healthy Food Awards have been announced and somehow stuff like this made the cut:

This junk makes a "healthy foods" list! Where are the fruits, veggies, nuts, beans, and seeds? Come on, at least give me one darn blueberry!

Dopey About Heart Attacks...

According to a new study most people don’t know the symptoms of a heart attack. Reuters reports:
Symptoms can include nausea and pain in the jaw, chest or left arm. But the research team said shorter hospital stays and a move to outpatient treatment have decreased the amount of patient education on the subject.

Kathleen Dracup and colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Nursing said they looked at 3,522 patients in the United States, Australia and New Zealand who had previously suffered a heart attack or had undergone a procedure, such as angioplasty, for heart disease.

They found that 44 percent of them scored poorly on a true-false test measuring how savvy they were about symptoms.
Here’s an idea. Try not to have one in the first place. Remember, only you can prevent heart attacks.

Wii Fit vs. Obesity

I have to admit, Wii has got me intrigued—I’m not going to buy it—but it is interesting and some people believe Wii Fit could help solve our obesity woes? Anna Boyd of eFluxMedia reports:
For only $89.99, the package includes the Wii Fit software disc and the hefty balance board, which measures the user’s body mass index before setting players on diverse workout routines. This board senses the user’s weight as he steps on it and uses the information to control and synchronize the onscreen games and exercises designed to improve your balance, posture and fitness. And the more you play, the more progress you make and the more games you can unlock.

What could be better for your health than Wii Fit? If you’re the lazy kind of person who doesn’t often go out and exercise with other people, then this is the perfect way to lose weight. The game gives you the chance to look and feel better by exercising in your own bedroom, with other users encouraging you to reach your goals.

It seems like Nintendo has planned it all well, as the game will be more likely to have more women among its players than men. Women seem to be more attentive to their obesity problem and are more willing to lose weight and look and feel better. Wii Fit fits them perfectly as time appears to be one of countless enemies in their effort to lose weight.

In a society where time plays an essential factor and they have to balance a family life with a career, going to fitness clubs and keeping fit is not a top priority for them. Now, the problem is solved, as their bedroom could become the perfect place to keep in shape and healthy. Moreover, they could do that involving their families, which could have significant outcomes in solving problems resulting from obesity.
As a Yoga devotee, I’m not sure Wii Fit can deliver the intangibles of the practice; such as inner peace and developing a sense of community. What do you think?

Blogging and Dieting, a Follow Up...

A couple weeks ago The Washington Post ran an article about weight-loss and blogging, and, I had the privilege of being included—yeah, it’s still pretty cool!

The article also featured Shauna from The Amazing Adventures of Diet Girl and Deborah of Drop the Fork. Now, I asked Deborah and Shauna to do a follow up post on Followhealthlife.

And here it is! Each of us tracked our diet and exercise habits for one week. So, let us know what you think. First up, the amazing Diet Girl, take a look:
Sunday, May 18th
  • Breakfast: Wholegrain toast with natural peanut butter and apricot jam. Cup of tea.
  • Lunch: 4 mini falafel bites, hummus, salad (spinach, watercress, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, grated carrot, green peppers, and lemon juice).
  • Dinner: Tomato, spinach and yellow lentil curry with basmati rice and a dollop of plain yogurt.
  • Snacks: Apple, 2 cups tea.
Monday, May 19th
  • Breakfast: 1/2 cup plain yogurt with blueberries, small banana, 3 tbsp natural muesli, and 1 tbsp sunflower seeds.
  • Morning snack: 2 oatcakes with almond butter and tea.
  • Lunch: Leftover spinach and tomato curry with rice.
  • Dinner: Grilled salmon, stir-fried spring greens with garlic and lemon juice.
  • Afternoon snack: Apple, walnuts, and tea.
  • Exercise: 1 hour kickboxing class.
Tuesday, May 20th
  • Breakfast: 1/2 cup plain yogurt with blueberries, small banana, 3 tbsp natural muesli, and 1 tbsp sunflower seeds.
  • Morning snack: 2 oatcakes with almond butter and tea.
  • Lunch: 4 mini falafel bites, hummus, salad (spinach, watercress, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, grated carrot, green peppers, and lemon juice) and 1 wholegrain tortilla.
  • Afternoon snack: Orange and tea.
  • Dinner: Grilled salmon, stir-fried spring greens with garlic and lemon juice.
  • Evening snack: Hot chocolate (made with 1 cup 2% milk, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1 tbsp cocoa).
  • Exercise: Yoga DVD, 30 minutes.
Wednesday, May 21st
  • Breakfast: 1/2 cup plain yogurt with blueberries, small banana, 3 tbsp natural muesli, and 1 tbsp sunflower seeds.
  • Morning snack: 2 oatcakes with almond butter, apple, and tea.
  • Lunch: Whole meal pita bread, 2 boiled eggs, salad, and Dijon mustard.
  • Afternoon snack: 35g Green & Blacks chocolate bar and tea.
  • Dinner: Salad with green lentils, arugula, roast vegetables (peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini), balsamic vinegar, and a poached egg on top.
  • Exercise: Boot camp circuit training DVD, 1 hour.
Thursday, May 22nd
  • Breakfast: 1/2 cup plain yogurt with blueberries, small banana, 3 tbsp natural muesli, and 1 tbsp sunflower seeds.
  • Morning snack: Apple and cup of tea.
  • Lunch: Whole meal pita bread, 2 boiled eggs, salad, and Dijon mustard.
  • Afternoon snack: Slice of carrot cake and cup of tea.
  • Dinner: Chinese takeaway (beef and veggie satay, rice, and a spring roll).
  • Exercise: 5 mile walk.
Friday, May 23rd
  • Breakfast: 1/2 cup plain yogurt with blueberries, small banana, 3 tbsp natural muesli, and 1 tbsp sunflower seeds.
  • Morning snack: Handful of cherry tomatoes and tea.
  • Lunch: Lentil and vegetable soup and wholegrain toast.
  • Afternoon snack: 1 mango.
  • Dinner: Homemade butternut squash and red lentil dahl, brown rice, chapati, dollop of each mango chutney and plain yogurt.
Saturday, May 24th
  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with milk and banana, 2 slices wholegrain toast with peanut butter and apricot jam, and tea.
  • Exercise: 16 mile walk.
  • Exercise snack: Snickers bar and water.
  • Lunch: Pita pizza (wholegrain pita, sun-dried tomato pesto, mushroom, peppers, onion, olives, and low-fat mozzarella), and tea.
  • Dinner: Homemade vegetable lasagna (green lentils, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, carrots, cottage cheese, whole-wheat lasagna sheets, and parmesan), and steamed green beans.
  • Dessert: Homemade peach crumble (peaches, oats, brown sugar, flour, and butter) with plain yogurt.
Awesome! Thanks Shauna! And good luck with that marathon—go Aussie go! Okay, now here’s Deborah from Drop the Fork. Check it out:
Sunday, May 18th
  • Breakfast (on the bike): Tall skim no-whip mocha coffee, “black-n-white” bagel, toasted, lite cream cheese; 643 calories.
  • Snack (post-ride): 1 cup chocolate soy milk and cherries; 193 calories.
  • Lunch: Buffalo chicken sausage kabob (onion, peppers, and cherry tomatoes), Trader Joe’s Masala Naan, white rice, mango black bean salsa, apple, and 20 grapes; 705 calories.
  • Afternoon snack: Thomas’ Lite muffin with 2 Laughing Cow lite cheese wedges; 170 calories.
  • Dinner: Baked wild Chinook salmon with Dizzy Pig “Raging River Rub” seasoning, gorgonzola/parmesan polenta, stir-fried broccoli and asparagus with garlic, cracked pepper, and sesame oil, and 1 glass Vouvray; 809 calories.
  • Exercise: 18.6 mile bike ride (13.6 mph pace), 1.25 hours rollerblading; 1016 calories burned.
Monday, May 19, 2008
  • Pre-breakfast: Grande skim no-whip mocha coffee; 223 calories.
  • Breakfast: Blueberries and raspberries, Thomas’ Lite English muffin with orange fig spread and Laughing Cow Lite Garlic ‘n Herb Cheese; 337 calories.
  • Morning snack: Cheerios; 139 calories.
  • Lunch: Health Valley No Salt Added Black Bean Soup, Banana, and 3 Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate mini’s; 491 calories.
  • Afternoon snack: Tall skim no-whip mocha and 1 oz dry-roasted almonds; 326 calories.
  • Dinner: Salmon and shrimp in red Thai curry sauce with asparagus and orange bell peppers, rice, sliced heirloom tomato, and stir-fried mushrooms; 727 calories.
  • Snack (post-lifting): 1 glass Silk chocolate soymilk; 137 calories.
  • Exercise: 9.36 mile bike ride (13.6 mph pace), 5 minutes incline treadmill (warm-up for lifting)
  • 30 minute lifting session (beginning Phase II of Alwyn Cosgrove’s workout in “The New Rules of Lifting for Women,” by Lou Schuler); 433 calories burned.
Tuesday, May 20th
  • Breakfast: Blueberries and raspberries, Thomas’ Light English muffin with Orange fig spread and Laughing Cow Lite Garlic ‘n Herb Cheese; 347 calories.
  • Snack: Skim no-whip mocha coffee; 169 calories.
  • Lunch: Buffalo style chicken sausage kabob with peppers, onions, cherry tomatoes, rice, salad greens with light dressing, 1 banana, and 1 Hershey’s Special Dark mini chocolate; 506 calories.
  • Snack (firm meeting): Chocolate chip cookie and mini chocolate-covered pretzel; 279 calories.
  • Happy Hour (after meeting): Hefeweizen beer; 215 calories.
  • Dinner: Roasted salmon, polenta with gorgonzola and parmesan, and stir-fried broccoli with olive oil; 493 calories.
Wednesday, May 21st
  • Breakfast: Skim no-whip mocha coffee, raspberry scone, and strawberries; 722 calories.
  • Lunch: Turkey wrap on whole-wheat tortilla with tomatoes, carrots, avocado, peppers, and cucumber, almonds, and 1 banana; 751 calories.
  • Snack: Skim no-whip mocha coffee; 167 calories.
  • Dinner: Shrimp curry over toasted whole-wheat bread and sliced tomato; 409 calories.
  • Snack: Silk chocolate soy milk; 140 calories.
  • Late night snack: Wine; 124 calories.
  • Exercise: Bike ride; 615 calories burned.
Thursday, May 22nd
  • Breakfast: Skim no-whip mocha coffee, raspberry apricot thumbprint scone, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries; 551 calories.
  • Snack: Cheerios; 139 calories.
  • Lunch: Progresso lower sodium minestrone soup, King Oscar sardines, Reeses chocolate miniatures, and 1 Banana; 688 calories.
  • Snack: Girl Scout Thin Mints cookies and skim no-whip mocha coffee; 245 calories.
  • Dinner: Royal Red sockeye canned salmon, success brown rice, and carrots; 430 calories.
  • Late-night snack: Potato chips and Chevre and crackers; 290 calories.
  • Exercise: Bike ride; 329 calories burned.
Friday, May 23rd
  • Breakfast: Hell’s Kitchen spicy peanut butter on light English muffin, blueberries and raspberries, and skim no-whip mocha coffee; 566 calories.
  • Lunch: Korean lunch buffet (variety of foods: rice, spicy chicken wing, fried fish, dumpling, tempura, stir-fried veggies, and salmon); 748 calories.
  • Snack: Gettysburg Mud ice cream from Kilwin’s in waffle cup, wine-tasting at Adams County Winery (wine and crackers); 568 calories.
  • Dinner: 2-egg omelet with Chevre and light Laughing Cow cheese wedges, and salad with shredded parmesan and light feta dressing; 462 calories.
  • Snack: 2 glasses of wine and Cheerios; 389 calories.
  • Exercise: Cycling in the Gettysburg battlefield; 629 calories burned.
Saturday, May 24th
  • Breakfast: Panera chocolate chip bagel with raspberry cream cheese, fruit cup, and orange juice; 692 calories.
  • Lunch: “Provence en Boite,” restaurant in Brooklyn (Crêpe salée with Swiss cheese, béchamel sauce, and mushrooms, lamb sausages, and salad with vinaigrette); 1106 calories.
  • Snack: Egg cream (no egg, no cream: chocolate syrup, milk, seltzer water) and raspberry truffle; 199 calories.
  • Snack: Happy hour (1 glass of wine at an Italian enoteca); 150 calories.
  • Dinner: Rain, a pan-Asian restaurant (veggie chips, Singapore curried rice noodles with shrimp, egg, chicken, Vietnamese spring rolls with sauce, 1 slice of roasted duck, mixed Asian vegetables, and wine); 1,265 calories.
  • Exercise: Hours of walking; 780 calories burned.
Wow, thanks Deborah and big ups for cycling the Tour de Brooklyn and your fastidious calorie-counting (Deborah's pictures from the tour). Okay, my turn. Here’s my food and exercise for the week:
Sunday, May 18th
  • Exercise: Elliptical stepper machine (5 minute warm up: Max incline and max resistance) and 5k treadmill run (1.10 miles at 7mph, 1.50 miles at 7.5mph, and .50 mile at 8mph: 25:30 minutes).
  • Breakfast: 1 shot of pomegranate juice, Gerry’s chocolate pudding, pineapple chunks, and water.
  • Lunch: 1 bag of steamed baby spinach with a tomato, garbanzo bean, VegiZest, unsweetened plain soymilk, tahini sauce, and a glass of Silk Light chocolate soymilk.
  • Dinner: Flounder cooked with stewed tomatoes, onions, and capers, Asian stir-fry vegetables, roasted potatoes with olive oil, and water.

  • Snacks: Fresh blueberries, 1 tangerine, pineapple chunks, and water.
Monday, May 19th
  • Exercise: 5k treadmill run (2.6 miles at 7 mph and .50 miles at 7.5 mph), elliptical machine (20 minutes: Interval, alternating between 11 and 8 resistance: 3,000 strides), and weight training (chest, back, and abdominals).
  • Breakfast: 1 shot of pomegranate juice, Gerry’s chocolate pudding, pineapple chunks, and water.
  • Lunch: Veggie sushi (with avocado, brown rice, carrots, cucumber, and nori) and water.
  • Dinner: Steamed broccoli, carrots, beans sprouts, with a garlic, unsweetened plain soymilk, tahini, and garbanzo beans sauce, and water.
  • Snacks: 1 tangerine, 1 golden delicious apple with peanut butter.
Tuesday, May 20th
  • Exercise: 5k treadmill run (2.6 miles at 7 mph and .50 miles at 7.5 mph), elliptical machine (20 minutes: Interval, alternating between 11 and 8 resistance: 3,000 strides), weight training (legs, back, and abdominals), and 90 minute Saraswati Yoga class.
  • Breakfast: 1 shot of pomegranate juice, Gerry’s chocolate pudding, and water.
  • Lunch: 1 bag of baby spinach, 2 oranges, and water.
  • Dinner: Lentil soup (with carrots, potatoes, celery, and spices), 1 boiled corn on the cob, and water.
  • Snacks: 5 chocolate Pop’ems, 1 tangerine, and 1 apple.
Wednesday, May 21st
  • Exercise: 5k treadmill run (2.6 miles at 7 mph and .50 miles at 7.5 mph), elliptical machine (20 minutes: Interval, alternating between 11 and 8 resistance: 3,000 strides), weight training (shoulders, back, and abdominals), and 90 minute Ashtanga Yoga class.
  • Breakfast: 1 shot of pomegranate juice, Gerry’s chocolate pudding, and water.
  • Lunch: 1 bag of baby spinach, 2 plums, and water.
  • Dinner: Escarole with white beans, garlic, and olive oil and water.
Thursday, May 22nd
  • Exercise: 5k treadmill run (2.6 miles at 7 mph and .50 miles at 7.5 mph), elliptical machine (20 minutes: Interval, alternating between 11 and 8 resistance: 3,000 strides), and weight training (arms, back, and abdominals)..
  • Breakfast: 1 shot of pomegranate juice, Gerry’s chocolate pudding, and water.
  • Lunch: 1 bag of baby spinach, 2 peaches, and water.
  • Dinner: Steamed broccoli, celery, Bok choy, carrots, snow peas, scallions, and mushrooms, steamed edamame beans, and water.
  • Snacks: 1 orange, 5 chocolate Pop’ems, and a glass of unsweetened plain almond milk.
Friday, May 23rd
  • Exercise: 90 minute Saraswati Yoga class.
  • Breakfast: 1 shot of pomegranate juice, Gerry’s chocolate pudding, and water.
  • Lunch: Chopped fresh pineapple and a glass of Silk Light chocolate soymilk.
  • Dinner: Chicory with white beans, garlic, and olive oil and water.
  • Snacks: Fresh cantaloupe chunks and water.
Saturday, May 24th
  • Exercise: 60 minutes of yoga done at home.
  • Breakfast: 1 shot of pomegranate juice, some fresh pineapple, strawberries, cantaloupe, cherries, and water.
  • Lunch: 2 tangerines and water.
  • Dinner: Steamed asparagus, carrots, 2 golden delicious apples with peanut butter, and water.
  • Snacks: Some cherries, strawberries, and water.
Alright, so there you have it, three different people with three very different diets. Now, it's time for you to play the nutritionist. How’d we do? Is there room for improvement? Any suggestions? Go ahead, be brutal.

Oh, and thanks to my new buddies, Shauna and Deborah—you gals rock!

America's Top 5 Veggies

My top five vegetables are baby spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, acorn squash, and cabbage. None of these made America’s top five. This sad list via Jacki Donaldson of That’s Fit:
My top five veggies are broccoli, peas, corn, squash, and spinach salad leaves. These aren't the five eaten by the majority of Americans, though. The overall top five in this country, according to Canyon Ranch's Connection magazine, are:
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • French fries
  • Potatoes
  • Potato chips
  • Canned tomato
I mean come on. How can you even consider French Fries and potato chips a vegetable! I weep for our nation.

Bulking Up on Heart Disease

New research claims that athletes who “bulk up” increase their chances of developing heart disease. Joene Hendry of Reuters reports:
"Our work demonstrates a higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome, an established cardiovascular risk factor, among retired National Football League (NFL) linemen," said Dr. Marc A. Miller, of Mount Sinai Medical Center, in New York. Football linemen are position players commonly of large body size.

A clustering of heart disease and diabetes risk factors including high blood pressure, low levels of 'good' cholesterol, high levels of blood lipids (fats), and elevated blood sugar and body weight make up the metabolic syndrome.

When Miller and colleagues compared metabolic syndrome rates among 510 retired NFL players, they found that nearly 60 percent of linemen had metabolic syndrome, compared with 30 percent of those playing other positions.

Moreover, greater than 85 percent of the linemen were obese, as opposed to half of the non-linemen, the researchers report in The American Journal of Cardiology.
We’ve seen this before:
Personally, I think all professional sports should discourage this kind of training. Clearly, bigger is NOT better.

Back Pain and Vitamin D

Not getting enough vitamin D can be a pain, in the back, for older women. Reuters reports on this new research:
"Given that low vitamin D status is fairly prevalent in older adults and that there are significant functional consequences to untreated chronic pain, these findings argue strongly for querying adults about their pain and potentially screening older women with significant back pain for vitamin D deficiency," Dr. Gregory E. Hicks of the University of Delaware in Newark and his colleagues write.

Among older people, vitamin D deficiency has been tied to a number of health problems, including an increased risk of bone fracture, Hicks and colleagues note in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Lack of the vitamin could also, theoretically, contribute to musculoskeletal pain, they add, although research on vitamin D deficiency and pain syndromes has yielded mixed results.

To investigate the relationship, Hicks and his colleagues looked at blood levels of vitamin D in 958 people 65 and older. Fifty-eight percent of the women in the study, and 27 percent of the men, had at least some moderate pain in at least one region of the body.

For men, there was no relationship between vitamin D levels and pain. Women with vitamin D deficiency, on the other hand, were nearly twice as likely to have back pain that was moderate or worse, but vitamin D status wasn't related to pain in other parts of the body.
No doubt, vitamin D is very important and here’s a great way to get it: A Sunny Cancer-Fighter.

About Food and Diabetes

Some health experts examine food issues surrounding type-2 diabetes. More from Peter Jaret of The New York Times:
Experts have yet to come up with anything close to a surefire approach to help people shed pounds. And dietary recommendations to prevent or slow diabetes have often been contradictory and confusing. Nearly 30 years after the American Diabetes Association recommended a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet to control diabetes, overturning the high-fat, low-carbohydrate approach of earlier decades, controversy still swirls around the amount and types of carbohydrates to eat.

Much of the debate focuses on the glycemic index, a measure of how carbohydrate-rich foods affect blood sugar, and whether these effects play a significant role in the progression of Type 2 diabetes. Foods high on the glycemic index, like sugared beverages, cake and white rice, are known to send blood sugar levels up sharply after a meal. Foods low on the index, like broccoli, lettuce, brown rice and whole grains, on the other hand, take longer to digest and hence keep blood sugar levels on a more even keel.

The American Diabetes Association has decided that patients should not be counseled to take the glycemic index into account when choosing foods. “Although it is clear that carbohydrates do have differing glycemic responses,” its policy statement declares, “the data reveal no clear trend in outcome benefits.”

That’s a mistake, says Dr. David Ludwig, an endocrinologist at Children’s Hospital in Boston and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School.
I think these “experts” should give Dr. Fuhrman a call or at least snoop around Followhealthlife’s diabetes category—don’t you think?

7 Billion Hot Dogs...

According to the “National Hot Dog & Sausage Council” 7 billion hot dogs will be consumed between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Via That’sFit:
This means that roughly 818 hot dogs will be eaten every second during the summer. That's a lot, considering the average annual consumption is 20 billion.

I'm not a big fan of the hot dog, myself. For one, I'm never really sure from what the things are made. Second, I don't love all the fat that comes packed into each modest serving.
Not good. Hot dogs are hardly a super food. In fact, they’re among the worst foods you could eat. Here’s Dr. Fuhrman’s list:
Worst Seven Foods for Health and Longevity
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Potato Chips and French Fries
  • Doughnuts
  • Salt
  • Sausage, hot dogs
  • Pickled, smoked or barbequed meat
And they’re doubly bad for kids. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
The Five Most Dangerous Things to Feed Your Child
  • Butter and cheese: full of saturated fat and fat-delivered chemical pollutants
  • Potato chips and French fries: rich in trans fat, salt, and carcinogenic acrylamides
  • Doughnuts and other trans fat-containing sweets: rich in trans fat, sugar, and other artificial substances
  • Sausages, hot dogs, and other luncheon meats: contain N-nitroso compounds that are potent carcinogens
  • Pickled, smoked, or barbequed meats: places you at risk of both stomach cancer and high blood pressure.
Perhaps the really scary thing here, is there’s actually a National Hot Dog & Sausage Council—EEK!

Paint May Harm Male Fertility!

Guys pay attention. A study in BMJ journal of Occupational Environmental Medicine claims that men exposed to glycol ethers—found in some paint—are at risk for poor semen quality. More from The Universities of Sheffield and Manchester:
The findings are a result of a major collaborative UK study to determine the occupational risks of male infertility through chemical exposure in the workplace. The study, undertaken in 14 fertility clinics in 11 cities across the UK, examined the working lives of 2,118 men.

The researchers however did conclude that, apart from glycol ether, there are currently few workplace chemical threats to male fertility.

In additional to chemical exposure, the study looked at other non-chemical factors in the men´s lifestyle. The researchers discovered that men who had undergone previous surgery to the testicles or who undertook manual work were more likely to have low motile sperm counts, whereas men who drank alcohol regularly or wore boxer shorts were more likely to have better semen quality.

Dr. Andy Povey, senior lecturer in Molecular Epidemiology at the University of Manchester, said: "We know that certain glycol ethers can affect male fertility and the use of these has reduced over the past two decades. However our results suggest that they are still a workplace hazard and that further work is needed to reduce such exposure."
For more news on toxins, check out Followhealthlife’s toxins category.

Talking About Food Safety

A new study has concluded that federal agencies must share information in order to properly ensure food safety. Christopher Doering of Reuters reports:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that 76 million people in the United States get sick every year with some sort of foodborne illness and that 5,000 die.

The 148-page report said the current system is impaired because thousands of local health departments, university researchers, corporations and other institutions often collect data for their own use, with no mandate to share information.

To improve the food safety network, researchers said, incentives for government and private organizations to collaborate must replace the obstacles to sharing information.

"We're missing opportunities to prevent illness," said Michael Taylor, a professor of health policy at George Washington University, who co-authored the report.

"We are missing opportunities to make food safer. We don't have the best information about what the problems are and what the solutions can be," he said in a phone interview.

The report noted that individual government agencies have a sense of ownership that can deter data sharing while the food industry has competitive, liability and other reasons.
Wow, that’s a startling revelation. Government should cooperate with itself—shocking!

Diabetes: Eat and Live Well...

According to a new study drinking less alcohol, eating more veggies, and exercising can hold off diabetes. Michael Kahn of Reuters reports:
Diet and exercise reduced the incidence of diabetes by about 43 percent over 20 years among 577 high-risk Chinese adults, the researchers reported in the journal Lancet.

At the end of the 20 years, 80 percent of those who changed what they ate and exercised more had diabetes, compared with 93 percent who made no changes, said Guangwei Li of the China-Japan Friendship Hospital in Beijing and Ping Zhang at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The findings came as part of a series of studies addressing new research about diabetes, which affects 246 million adults worldwide, and accounts for 6 percent of all global deaths.

"The challenge is to translate research findings into substantial clinical improvements for patients. Although prospects are hopeful, they are not assured," the Lancet wrote in a commentary.
Sometimes the answers are SO obvious, but still overlooked—sigh.

"Diet" Menus, Full of It!

This doesn’t surprise me one bit. A news investigation has determined that menu restaurant diet menus aren’t as “diet” as they claim to be. More from ABC News:
Chicken fajitas from On the Border Mexican Grill's "border smart" menu are listed as containing 570 calories and nine grams of fat.

The serving tested weighed in at 654 calories and 26.5 grams of fat. And the dish came with a free "sample" of queso dip, salsa and chips that would add an additional 2,067 calories and 117 grams of fat.

The skinny chicken at the Macaroni Grill is supposed to be 500 calories and six grams of fat.

Not bad at all, but if you eat the huge piece of bread they include, you get twice the calories and eight times the fat.

These three restaurants are owned by Brinker International. In a statement, they apologized to their customers and said they "strive to ensure nutritional information & is accurate."

At Applebee's, reporters ordered seven meals low in fat and calories from the "weight watchers" menu.

The calorie difference was slight, but the fat was over what was stated on the menu on every item tested, doubling and even tripling the fat count in three of the meals.

Applebee's responded that their menu is 94 percent compliant and that they will continue to regularly test these "weight watchers " items and, if required, take action.
We’ve seen similar tomfoolery before. Remember this post: The Truth Behind 99% Fat-Free.

Your Home, a Toxic Place...

Health magazine’s Samantha Heller discusses the most toxic places in your house—scary stuff! Via Poked & Prodded:

When I lived at home, my mom would say the most toxic part of the house is where my dirty socks lurked.

Eating to Live on the Outside: Fusion

This week Eating to Live on the Outside heads all the way, down the street. Yup, keeping it local today, we’re checking out Fusion. Fusion serves of French/Asian cuisine. An interesting combination, but, is Fusion Fuhrman-friendly? Let’s find out.

Okay, it’s a mixed bag. Like this. Under specialties, I like the Kuril Salmon, but before I ordered it. I’d ask the waiter what kind of salmon it is because according to Oceans Alive, Atlantic salmon is a high contamination risk. So, I’d only go for it if it’s wild salmon.

Next, I like the Roasted Tomato and Lentil soup, under potages; it’s made with fire roasted tomatoes and masoor yellow daal. Honestly, beans and tomatoes are both great. I’ve got no issues with this one. Have you ever had daal?

There are a couple nice options under salades. The Shanghai Greens and the SumTum are rock star! Combined their prepared with fresh greens, chili truffle vinaigrette, green papaya, roasted peanuts, cherry tomatoes, and vodka citron vinaigrette. Okay, both dressings are a tiny concession, but, do as I do. Order them on the side or just skip it!

Now, I see three things I like under Mises-En-Bouche. I’m digging the Tofu Delight, Spring Roll, and the Fusion Triangles. Yup, they’re not the best option. Here’s why. The Tofu Delight is crispy tofu glazed with sweet chili, the Spring Rolls are your basic vegetable spring roll, and Fusion Triangles are stuffed with cinnamon spiced ground vegetables. The tofu isn’t too bad, but the rolls and triangles are probably made with some sort of dough, so that makes them iffy. Neither of these are my first choice, but they hey, could be a lot worse!

The Polynesian Mahi Mahi is pretty cool. It’s under Plat Principal. Mahi Mahi is an iffy fish too; be sure to check out Oceans Alive on Mahi Mahi. Okay, so provided Fusion’s Mahi Mahi is safe, the Polynesian Mahi Mahi is made with meunier sauce and accompanied with sautéed bok choy—can’t beat some bok choy!

Flambe Wok offers a lot of potential. I see three dishes I like. The Mekong Vegetables, Chili Paneer, and the Szechwan Tofu; combined they’re prepared with stir-fried fresh vegetables, black bean sauce, sautéed fresh chilies, onions, bell peppers, light soy sauce, and tofu sautéed in an Asian sauce. Lots of good stuff here, the sautéing, frying, and soy sauce worries me, but it’s a decent amount of veggies, so I can deal with it.

Okay, the lunch menu has two nice options. The Pad Ka Tiem is stir-fried tofu and vegetables glazed in a black pepper garlic sauce. I’m becoming a bigger and bigger fan of tofu. Also, the Chengdu Vegetables seems interesting. It doesn’t say what vegetables are in it, but whatever they are. They’re prepared in a Szechuan sauce. Yeah, not perfect, but workable.

Like I said, Fusion is a mixed bad. It’s a clear cut example of how Eating to Live on the Outside goes. You’ve got to take the good with the bad. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself eating at home all the time. Now, since Fusion is close by, maybe I can coax Dr. Fuhrman into heading over to Fusion with me. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, check out Fusion’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!

Brave Cop, Drastic Measures...

CNN passes along the amazing story of a Chinese police-woman who breast-feed rescued infants during earthquake relief. Hugh Riminton reports:
She still feeds two babies, including Zhao Lyuyang, son of a woman who survived the quake but whose breast milk stopped flowing because of the traumatic conditions.

"We walked out of the mountains for a long time. I hadn't eaten in days when I got here and my milk was not enough," said that mother, Zhao Zong Jun. "She saved my baby. I thank her so much, I can't express how I feel."

Liu Rong, another mother whose breast milk stopped in the trauma, was awed by Jiang's kindness.

"I am so touched because she has her own baby, but she fed the disaster babies first," Liu said. "If she hadn't fed my son he wouldn't have had enough to eat."

Jiang has became a celebrity, followed by local media and proclaimed on a newspaper front page as "China's Mother No. 1."

She's embarrassed by the fuss.
To me this is an incredible act of kindness, compassion, selflessness, and love. How do you feel about it?


Alice Park of Time digs deeply into the issue of vaccine safety. Here’s a bit:
More than any other issue, the question of autism has fueled the battle over vaccines. Since the 1980s, the number of vaccinations children receive has doubled, and in that same time, autism diagnoses have soared threefold. In 1998, British gastroenterologist Dr. Andrew Wakefield of London's Royal Free Hospital published a paper in the journal the Lancet in which he reported on a dozen young patients who were suffering from both autism-like developmental disorders and intestinal symptoms that included inflammation, pain and bloating. Eight of the kids began exhibiting signs of autism days after receiving the MMR vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella. While Wakefield and his co-authors were careful not to suggest that these cases proved a connection between vaccines and autism, they did imply, provocatively, that exposure to the measles virus could be a contributing factor to the children's autism. Wakefield later went on to speculate that virus from the vaccine led to inflammation in the gut that affected the brain development of the children…

…There is also little evidence to support the claim made by antivaccine activists that the battery of shots kids receive can damage the immune system rather than strengthen it. Experts stress that it's not the number of inoculations that matters but the number of immune-stimulating antigens - or proteins - in them. Thanks to a better understanding of which viral or bacterial proteins are best at activating the immune system, that number has plummeted. The original smallpox injection alone packed 200 different immune-alerting antigens in a single shot. Today there are only 150 antigens in all 15 or so shots babies get before they are 6 months old. "The notion that too many vaccines can overwhelm the immune system is just not based on good science," says Dr. Paul Offit, chief of infectious diseases at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia…

… Whether tests like these, combined with detailed family histories, will make a difference in the rates of developmental disorders like autism isn't yet clear. But such a strategy could reveal new avenues of research and lead to safer inoculations overall. Parents concerned about vaccine safety would then have stronger answers to their questions about how their child might be affected by the shots. Vaccines may be a medical marvel, but they are only one salvo in our fight against disease-causing bugs. It's worth remembering that viruses and bacteria have had millions of years to perfect their host-finding skills; our abilities to rebuff them are only two centuries old. And in that journey, both parents and public-health officials want the same thing - to protect future generations from harm.
For more on vaccinations, check out last month’s feature post: Mandatory Vaccinations: The Choice Should Be Yours.

Trans-Fat-Free Fries...Still Bad!

Hooray-hooray! McDonald’s will start cooking its fries in trans-fat-free oil—like it matters, yuck! Dave Carpenter of the Associated Press reports:
McDonald's french fries are now trans-fat-free in all its restaurants in the United States and Canada, the fast-food restaurant chain said Thursday.

McDonald's has lagged other restaurant operators in switching over to a zero-trans-fat cooking oil out of worries it would compromise the taste of its trademark fries. It has been under increasing pressure from consumer advocates and some public officials to make the change.

The new oil is canola-based and includes corn and soy oils.

CEO Jim Skinner told shareholders at the annual meeting at its headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill., that the new oil has been in use in U.S. restaurants for a few months now for french fries, hash browns, chicken, filet of fish and biscuits.

He said McDonald's is on schedule to convert to the new oil by year's end for its remaining baked items, pies and cookies.
Yeah, like this does ANYTING to seriously impact the unhealthiness of French fries, they’re still full of fat and hello—acrylamides! More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Frying and overcooking leads to the highest levels of acrylamide, the highest of which are found in fried chips, such as potato chips and French fries. Acrylamide is one of the most potent cancer-causing agents. It is found in highest amounts in carbohydrates cooked at high temperatures. European governments permit 10 parts per million (ppb) of acrylamide in packaged foods, but U.S. standards are more lax.
Although, if you have a squeaky door hinge, try rubbing those fries on it—it’ll fix it in a jiff!

Blog Updates...

Hopefully you’ve noticed that Followhealthlife just added some new features. Check this out:

We added this tab, so readers—both new and old—have a quick route to any Dr. Fuhrman products they might be curious about.

Also, we added an Amazon Widget. Take a look:

I figured you guys might be interested in the types products your fellow Eat to Livers buy. I emailed a bunch of Followhealthlife readers beforehand and everyone thought it was a cool idea. So what do you think, good idea?

If you use anything that you'd think other Eat to Livers would like, email me at My hope is that this widget becomes a mini-community center, where we can share product tips and recommendations.

Okay, time to get real. Because I care very deeply about the integrity of the blog, I want you to know that no one makes any money from the new tab, but, the widget will yield some affiliate referral income.

But here’s the deal, the amount of money is negligible, trust me, no one is getting rich off it. The widget is intended for community-development and not money-making.

So, I hope you enjoy the new updates and please, email me if you have any thoughts about it:

Lower Cholesterol, Lower Prostate Cancer-Risk

Here’s more prostate cancer news. A new study has determined that men who lower their cholesterol cut their risk of prostate cancer. Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News reports:
"Prostate cancer is controlled by the male hormone testosterone. The main molecule that forms testosterone is cholesterol," said Dr. Murugesan Manoharan, an associate professor of urology at the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, who was not involved in the study. "So it is known that prostate cancer is related to testosterone, and testosterone is related to cholesterol."

The study's inference is that by lowering cholesterol, you also lower PSA, which in turn may reduce the risk of prostate cancer, Manoharan said. "Obviously this is a very small study and does not confirm anything, but it is a very good start that could lead to something more at a later point," he said.

The results of the study were expected to be presented Wednesday at the American Urological Association annual meeting, in Orlando, Fla.

For the study, researchers collected data on 1,214 men taking cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins. The researchers found that PSA levels were lower after starting the statins, and the drop in PSA was proportional to the drop in cholesterol.
Too bad the study used statins to lower cholesterol—stupid. Instead, try this: Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally.

Prostate Cancer, Wait Awhile...

Some doctors are adopting a wait and see approach for low-risk prostate tumors. Robyn Shelton of The Orlando Sentinel reports:
According to a study released in Orlando, the so-called "watchful-waiting" approach is safe for men with low-risk tumors that have not spread beyond their prostates. But few are choosing the option, partly out of fear and partly because many doctors do not recommend it.

"It's definitely a calculated risk, but for appropriately selected patients, it appears to be safe and feasible for the overwhelming majority of these men," said Dr. Scott Eggener, a urologic oncologist and assistant professor at the University of Chicago.

The study was presented at the American Urological Association's annual meeting, being held this week at the Orange County Convention Center.

Many prostate tumors are so slow-growing that men die of other causes before the cancer becomes dangerous. But doctors can't look at a tumor and tell whether it will grow quickly or at a glacial pace.

That creates an often agonizing decision for the estimated 186,000 U.S. men diagnosed with the cancer annually. They have to weigh treatment options such as surgery and radiation against the risk of impotence, incontinence and other complications.
It might conflict with contemporary medical logic, but before you jump to conclusions, consider this quote from Dr. Fuhrman:
For the majority of men treated for prostate cancer, it appears that their lives would have been much better off if their prostate cancer had never been diagnosed, since it is most likely that the side effects experienced from the treatment are not balanced by an increase in life span.
Wrap you head around that, you’d be better off never being diagnosed—interesting.

Nanotechnology: Cancer-risk

Nanotechnology makes me think of the Borg, but it can be just as scary. New research has determined that carbon nanotubes used in bike parts and bumpers act like asbestos if inhaled. Alan Zarembo of The Los Angeles Times reports:
Researchers found that mice injected with nanotubes quickly developed the same biological damage associated with early exposure to asbestos fibers, a known carcinogen.

The study showed "the potential to cause harm if these things get into the air and into the lungs," said coauthor Andrew Maynard, a physicist at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.

Maynard said the nanotubes posed the greatest danger to workers who could inhale the dust-like particles during manufacturing. In finished products, the nanotubes are embedded in other material and thus pose less risk to consumers.

Sean Murdock, head of the NanoBusiness Alliance, an industry trade group based in Skokie, Ill., said precautions were now in place in many factories, usually requiring workers to wear respirators. Nanotubes are largely made in closed chemical reactors, he added.

"The good news is that we're understanding the potential hazards before we have large-scale use of these products and not four decades later," he said.
Nanoparticles are also used in sunscreens and cosmetics, but nanoparticles are something of an unknown. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Although nanotechnology may be the next scientific revolution, experts feel we should proceed with caution when exploiting the unpredictable properties that material exhibit at the nanoscale.

The size of nanoparticles is the concern; being 70 times smaller than a red blood cell and close to a DNA molecule in diameter potentially could allow them to penetrate the skin and possibly even elude the immune system to reach the brain.
Sounds like more research needs to be done before we hand nanotechnology the key to the city, and our bodies.

Eat For Health: A Nutritarian is Different Than a Vegetarian

This is an excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat For Health.

In living the Eat For Health plan, you will become a nutritarian and learn to include more nutrient rich foods in your diet. A vegetarian or vegan diet that is plant-based also contains a portfolio of natural substances that have various health advantages, including protection against cancer. I am taking the liberty here to use the words vegan and vegetarian interchangeably, but a vegan diet is one that contains no foods of animal product origin whereas a vegetarian diet may contain some dairy. The advantages of a vegetarian (or vegan) diet are mostly because vegetarians are more likely to consume more vegetables, beans, fruit, nuts, and seeds compared to those eating more conventionally, not simply because they are refraining from meat products. Vegans who live on processed cereals, white flour products, rice, white potato, and processed soy products should not be expected to significantly extend their lifespan because their diet cannot be considered nutrient-rich.

Being a nutritarian differs from being a typical vegetarian because the focus on high-nutrient vegetation improves health dramatically, and one can reduce the level of animal products to a safe level without having to exclude them completely. Without considering nutrient density, a vegetarian diet could be just as bad as one that includes a lot of animal products. A vegan diet is an option for excellent health as long as care is taken to eat healthy, nutrient-rich foods. Making animal products the disease-causation villain while filling up on low-nutrient plant foods or processed soy foods will not suffice to achieve health excellence. The reduction in consumption of animal products is only one important feature of this eating-style, not the focal point. Even though you could consider yourself a nutritarian and vegan, the critical issue for disease reduction is not whether one is a strict vegan or not; the issue is the nutrients per calorie of a given diet.

People advocating a meat-based diet may be able to critique a grain and flour-heavy vegan diet as having metabolic deficiencies, but not a diet that is low in animal products and based on nutrient-dense plant foods. This program contains the health benefits of a vegetarian diet, gleaned from the reduction of animal products, without the risks from all those lower-nutrient, higher-glycemic foods such as sugar, French fries and processed grains.

In addition, you do not have to exclude all animal products from your diet to follow this plan and to receive profound benefits to the health of your blood vessels and the rest of your body. You just have to reduce them to safe levels. Humans are primates, and all other primates eat a diet of predominantly natural vegetation. When the great apes eat animal products, it is a very small percentage of their total caloric intake. Likewise, modern medical studies confirm that in order for humans to maximize their potential for a long, disease-free life, they have to keep animal products to a relatively small percentage as well. Animal products are low in micronutrients, contain almost no antioxidants and phytochemicals, and are rich in calories. Thus, they should be limited for health excellence. We want to thrive in our later years, not just survive long enough to reproduce and then deteriorate.

The main point here that I want to emphasize, as always, is the benefit of nutritional excellence. In the Standard American Diet, less than five percent of the total caloric intake comes from nutrient-rich foods. This dangerously low intake of unrefined plant foods guarantees a weakened immunity to disease, leading to frequent illnesses, and a shorter lifespan. When you eat a truly health-supporting diet, you can expect not only a drop in blood pressure and cholesterol and a reversal of heart disease, but your headaches, constipation, indigestion, and bad breath should all resolve. To achieve this means eating less animal products, processed foods, sugar, and flour, and eating more high-nutrient plant foods and exercising. This lifestyle shift is the key to disease protection in general.

Cut Veggies with Playing Cards

This is guy is like the real life Gambit. Marvel at his card hurling powers:

If I wind up in the emergency room with severe paper cuts, you’ll know why.

Wednesday: Health Points

A report released this week by the Stockholm International Water Institute says that as much as 50 percent of the calories grown globally don't make it to the table. Given that crop production uses about 1,800 trillion gallons (1,700 cubic miles) of water a year, almost 40 percent of which comes from irrigation rather than rainwater, that loss represents a lot of water.

In the United States, up to 30 percent of food is tossed out each year, the report says, worth about $48.8 billion and equivalent to flushing 10 trillion gallons of water down the drain.

"There's a very low awareness about the size of these figures," said report lead author Jan Lundqvist. "I think most people don't realize that the loss and the wastage is at that level."
They were navigating the streets of the nation's capital, on the way to get their hair done. Nakia Sanford was driving, while Washington Mystics teammate Taj McWilliams-Franklin sat in the passenger's seat talking and playing with her iPod.

"I look up, and there's this restaurant," McWilliams-Franklin said. "Soul Vegetarian?"

Sanford pulled over on the spot. The hair would have to wait.

"We hopped out, went in there, it was awesome," McWilliams-Franklin said. "We had soy mac and cheese, whole wheat pasta, soy cheese, soy milk, and it was fabulous."

The chance pit stop at the Soul Vegetarian Cafe was a rare moment in American professional sports: Two players from the same team indulging their dietary preferences by sharing a vegan meal.
If you are vegetarian or vegan you're probably used to meat-eaters asking you "How do you get your protein?". If you're sick and tired of rattling off a list of veg foods, then you need "How I Get My Protein: A List of Meat-Free Protein Sources"!

This adorable pocket-sized book measures 3 x 1 7/8 inches and contains a short list of meat-free protein sources, the amount of protein per serving, and % daily value.

Also included is information on how much protein the average person needs each day, and a list of resources on vegetarian and vegan nutrition.
A study recently published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine found that teens in towns with complete smoking bans were 40 percent less likely to become established smokers compared with their peers in areas with weak restrictions.

The study followed 3,834 Massachusetts youths, ages 12 to 17, for up to four years. I

In towns where smoking wasn't restricted or was only partially restricted, 9.6 percent and 9.8 percent of the youths, respectively, became established smokers over the study period.

But in towns where smoking was banned in restaurants, 7.9 percent became smokers.
According to a recent study, one third of American parents have no clue what to expect after they're no longer expecting. This is bad news for babies because parents with unrealistically high expectations can become frustrated, and those with low ones may inadvertently hinder on-track development or delay treatment for correctable condition.

In the study, parents of 10,000 babies were assessed using both a written test and videotape of the parents attempting to teach their young children a new task. The findings showed 31% of the parents surveyed had low-level knowledge of infant development.

One of the researchers, Heather Paradis feels doctors need to step up to help correct the situation. "This is a wake-up call for pediatricians," Paradis said. "At office visits, we have a prime opportunity to intervene and help realign parents' expectations for their infants, and in turn, promote healthy physical, social, and emotional development for these children.
In a study of more than 5,500 men and women ages 30 to 79, researchers found that three-quarters of women and two-thirds of men reported at least one urinary tract symptoms -- such as frequent trips to the bathroom overnight, difficulty emptying the bladder and urinary incontinence.

Obese adults were more likely than their normal-weight counterparts to have multiple, more severe symptoms. Smoking, lack of exercise and heavy drinking were also linked to more serious urinary problems.

The researchers, led by Dr. John B. McKinlay of the New England Research Institutes in Watertown, Massachusetts, report the findings in the medical journal BJU International.
Now there's a new risk factor -- researchers are saying that cell phone usage during pregnancy can cause hyperactivity and emotional or behavioral issues in children.

Over 13,000 mothers in Denmark were surveyed -- some didn't use a cell phone at all, others used one sporadically, and a third group used their cells often during pregnancy. Their results indicate that using a cell phone as little as two to three times a day during pregnancy can cause health issues -- hyperactivity, conduct issues, emotional issues, or difficult with relationships -- for the children.
BAD: Most cereals made for kids contain more calories, sugar and salt and less fiber and protein than other cereals. Most kids' cereals don't meet national school nutrition standards.

Good: Eat according to the colors of the rainbow. The more colors to your food -- such as the reds, oranges, yellows, greens and even blues of fruits and vegetables -- the more important nutrients you'll get.

Email: Graduation's in Four Weeks!

Followhealthlife’s inbox is a busy place. New emails come in every second. Most are for cheap pharmaceuticals and male enhancement pills, but amidst all the SPAM, there’s plenty of good stuff. Like this email from Elysse. Here’s her dilemma:
I have been (trying) to follow the Eat to Live program for nearly 8 months now. I am 19 years old and a senior at UCLA and I have lost a total of 20 lbs following the ETL program. However, in the past month I have hit some bumpy spots that are making me gain weight and making me lose sight of the benefits of the program.

I eat well for 2-3 days and then I will have an off day where I overeat (more like a binge!) on terrible foods. I am 5' 9 and weighed 132 lbs a month ago and now weigh about 139 lbs. Any advice for avoiding these crashes? I have graduation in 4 weeks and I would love to regain control and get back to my previous weight. Any advice is appreciated!
Now, like I told Elysse, I’m just a dopey blogger. So, the first thing I did was ask Dr. Fuhrman. Here’s what he had to say:
Trying to be healthy in an unhealthy world is not always easy, but has to be a lifetime effort and the longer you do it and the more days you link together healthy eating, the less you miss the unhealthy stuff and the easier it gets.

And remember, that temporary weight loss is meaningless. It is the quality behaviors that you can maintain for a lifetime that are most important.
Dr. Fuhrman suggested that Elysse join the Member Center at and this is not a sales-pitch, but is the best place for one-on-one support and Q&A with Dr. Fuhrman. Followhealthlife is just an information source, peppered with my stupidity.

But, I’ve been doing Followhealthlife for a while now, and, I’m a walking, talking, squawking success story. So, with Dr. Fuhrman’s blessing, here are my thoughts Elysse.

Now, I don’t know if four weeks is enough time—I never attached any timeframe to my weight-loss/lifestyle change—so I can’t help you there, but as for the “crashes” here’s what I did. Think long term. Sure, having beer and pizza tastes good now, but how will it effect your life long term?

When I crave my crutch-foods—like chocolate and grainy breads—I talk it out. It sounds something like this, “Okay Gerry, why do you want these foods?” Usually it’s because I’m a little depressed or angry. Or the opposite, I’m really happy or excited.

Then I say to myself, “Is there anything else you can do to fill this need?” That solution takes many forms; listening to music, going to the gym, doing Yoga, or, making something to eat that I like just as much and is totally Fuhrman-friendly; usually its my chocolate pudding.

And I never keep any of my crutch-foods in the house, so I have to go out and buy them. That can be a major a deterrent, but let’s say I fail. I break down and buy something naughty. What do I do? Do I beat myself up? I’d be lying to you if I said no, but after I eat it I take a second to remind myself of why I don’t eat chocolate and bread on a regular basis.

I start thinking about living longer and healthier and that charges me up. Then weeks go by before I falter again. And in the end I realize that my episodes of cheating or “crashing” become more spread out and few and far-between.

So Elysse, what I’d say to you is this. Don’t get caught up on the occasional crash. Keep your eye on the prize, stay active, continue to eat healthy and learn more about healthy eating. As your knowledge and commitment grows, you’ll stop crashing, and before you know it you’ll be fit, trim, and healthy—and keep reading Followhealthlife too!

I hope this helps, but if you need more encouragement. I’m sure your fellow Followhealthlife readers would be more than happy to chime in—wink-wink, hint-hint. Oh, and if any you want to email Followhealthlife its Until then, peace!

Yak Fat, Good?

A new study claims “natural trans-fats” may be good for us. I know. It sounds insane! Susan Bowerman of The Los Angeles Times reports:
It's not clear what this finding means for humans. First, the study was done in rats -- the researchers say they're planning some human clinical trials with vaccenic acid supplementation. Second, because the study diets were supplemented with vaccenic acid, the amounts the rats ate relative to their body weight was more than we would naturally eat in our usual diet.

The study is in line with other reports that natural trans fats have different effects on the body than the industrially created ones.

Most of the trans fats we eat -- by far -- come from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, produced from liquid oils by industrial processing to create a firmer fat. Others occur naturally in milk products, formed in the rumen (or first stomach) of ruminant animals such as cows, goats, sheep and yaks when they're fed a grass-rich diet.

Several studies of large populations have looked at the link between trans fatty acid intake and risk of developing atherosclerosis, and all have shown that the risk goes up only with the intake of "industrial" trans fatty acids, not the natural ones. Several clinical trials -- in which people were fed special diets for weeks or months -- have shown that manufactured trans fats raise LDL cholesterol levels to the same degree as saturated fats, and also lead to lower levels of the good, or HDL, cholesterol. It's been estimated that it takes only about 12 grams of manmade trans fats to see this effect.
Okay, you should remember that trans-fat is NOT healthy. Its crap used to extend junk foods self life. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Hydrogenation is a process of adding hydrogen molecules to unsaturated fats which makes plant oils that are liquid at room temperature, solidify. An example is margarine. These fats are also called trans fats. The hardening of the fat extends its shelf life so that the oil can by used over and over again to fry potatoes in a fast food restaurant or be added to processed foods, such as crackers and cookies. While hydrogenation does not make the fat completely saturated, it creates trans-fatty acids, which act like saturated fats. These fats raise cholesterol and increasing evidence is accumulating demonstrating the harmful nature of these man-made fats and their relation to both cancer and heart disease. Avoid all foods whose ingredients contain partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated oils.
Now, I asked Dr. Fuhrman about this yak study and here’s what he had to say. Take a look:
The information does not translate into any recommendation/benefits for humans, so I think this is generally worthless information. I am just thrilled that now I know that Yak milk cheese is better for rats than cow's milk cheese.
You won’t find me yak farming on the slopes of Tibet anytime soon.

Chinese Kids Keep Getting Fatter...

The Western diet is taking a heavy toll on China. According to a new study childhood obesity is ballooning in China and the Western diet isn’t helping. The AFP reports:
Almost one in five children under seven is overweight and more than seven percent are obese, according to a study of the Chinese National Task Force on Childhood Obesity, presented at the sidelines of the annual meeting of the World Health Organisation.

"These numbers are higher than in European countries, while the gross domestic product in China is much lower," said Ding Zongyi, who led the study.

"Only the United States have higher rates," he added.

The Chinese experts looked at 80,000 children from 11 major cities, and found an increase of 156 percent in the numbers of obese children between 1996 and 2006.

Meanwhile, the number of overweight children grew 52 percent.

Obesity is defined as 20 percent above the normal weight versus height ratio, while overweight is 10 percent above.

"This rate of increase has gone out of control," Ding told AFP, underlining that the obesity rate has exceeded economic growth.
As we saw yesterday, the Western diet is quite the hammer: Global Diseases: Western Lifestyle to Blame.

Prostate Cancer, Radiation, Cancer-Risk

External beam radiation—used in the treatment of prostate cancer—may actually increase men’s chances of developing other cancers. Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News is on it:
"We saw an increased risk for lung, bladder and rectal cancer among patients treated with external beam radiation for prostate cancer," lead researcher Dr. Naeem Bhojani, from the University of Montreal's Department of Urology, said during a Monday teleconference at the American Urological Association annual meeting, in Orlando, Fla.

"However, in absolute terms, the absolute risk associated with the development of secondary malignancies in patients exposed to external beam radiation therapy is quite small," Bhojani said.

Among the treatments for prostate cancer are surgical removal of the prostate, called radical prostatectomy; implanted radioactive seeds that deliver radiation specifically to the prostate gland; and external beam radiation, which is a non-surgical procedure that delivers radiation to the prostate from outside the body.

Bhojani said external beam radiation is probably a better treatment choice for older patients rather than younger patients with longer life expectancies, who may be at risk for developing these secondary cancers.
Remarkably this is not the first time we’ve seen something like this. Mammograms can also heighten cancer-risk. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Mammography can be the cause of a woman’s breast cancer. When calculating its supposed benefits, we need to include in the equation the percentage of women whose breast cancer was promoted by the radiation exposure from the mammograms themselves. The younger you are when the mammograms are performed, the greater the risk of radiation-induced cancer.1,2
Before choosing any form of cancer-treatment, it’s probably a good idea to explore all your options. Consider this. From Dr. Fuhrman:
Quite a few enlightened physicians and urologists agree with the treatment options I describe in this newsletter. They no longer recommend local treatments (such as radiation and prostate surgery) directed at destroying the prostate. Instead, they have become experts in hormonal blockade. However, my approach goes farther than this because I add a nutritional protocol to prevent and treat cancer, which includes most of my general dietary recommendations for excellent health in general.
For other cancer news, check out Followhealthlife’s cancer category.
Continue Reading...

Is It Okay to Cook Veggies?

The New York Times is looking for the best way to cook vegetables. More from Tara Parker-Pope:

Surprisingly, raw and plain vegetables are not always best. In The British Journal of Nutrition next month, researchers will report a study involving 198 Germans who strictly adhered to a raw food diet, meaning that 95 percent of their total food intake came from raw food. They had normal levels of vitamin A and relatively high levels of beta carotene.

But they fell short when it came to lycopene, a carotenoid found in tomatoes and other red-pigmented vegetables that is one of the most potent antioxidants. Nearly 80 percent of them had plasma lycopene levels below average.

“There is a misperception that raw foods are always going to be better,” says Steven K. Clinton, a nutrition researcher and professor of internal medicine in the medical oncology division at Ohio State University. “For fruits and vegetables, a lot of times a little bit of cooking and a little bit of processing actually can be helpful.”

The amount and type of nutrients that eventually end up in the vegetables are affected by a number of factors before they reach the plate, including where and how they were grown, processed and stored before being bought. Then, it’s up to you. No single cooking or preparation method is best. Water-soluble nutrients like vitamins C and B and a group of nutrients called polyphenolics are often lost in processing. For instance, studies show that after six months, frozen cherries have lost as much as 50 percent of anthocyanins, the healthful compounds found in the pigment of red and blue fruits and vegetables. Fresh spinach loses 64 percent of its vitamin C after cooking. Canned peas and carrots lose 85 percent to 95 percent of their vitamin C, according to data compiled by the University of California, Davis.

Fat-soluble compounds like vitamins A, D, E and K and the antioxidant compounds called carotenoids are less likely to leach out in water. Cooking also breaks down the thick cell walls of plants, releasing the contents for the body to use. That is why processed tomato products have higher lycopene content than fresh tomatoes.

Now, Dr. Fuhrman is sensitive about this subject. We’ve got a whole post on it. Here’s a bit from The Cold Truth About Raw Food Diets:

Cooking can be beneficial.
In many cases, cooking destroys some of the harmful anti-nutrients that bind minerals in the gut and interfere with the utilization of nutrients. Destruction of these anti-nutrients increases absorption. Steaming vegetables and making vegetable soups breaks down cellulose and alters the plants’ cell structures so that fewer of your own enzymes are needed to digest the food, not more. The point is that this “cooked food is dead food” enzyme argument does not hold water. On the other hand, the roasting of nuts and the baking of cereals does reduce availability and absorbability of protein.

Low-temperature cooking.
When food is steamed or made into a soup, the temperature is fixed at 100 degrees Celsius or 212 Fahrenheit—the temperature of boiling water. This moisture-based cooking prevents food from browning and forming toxic compounds. Acrylamides, the most generally recognized of the heat-created toxins, are not formed with boiling or steaming. They are formed only with dry cooking. Most essential nutrients in vegetables are more absorbable after being cooked in a soup, not less absorbable. Recent studies confirm that the body absorbs much more of the beneficial anti-cancer compounds (carotenoids and phytochemicals—especially lutein and lycopene) from cooked vegetables compared with raw. The Institute of Food Research in Norwich reported their recent findings in New Scientist magazine: about 3 to 4 percent of the carotenoids were absorbed from raw carrots compared with about 15 to 20 percent from cooked and mashed carrots. The team also found that we absorb these critical anti-cancer nutrients more effectively from vegetables than we do from supplements.

Multiple studies have demonstrated that the beneficial antioxidant activity of cooked tomatoes is significantly higher than from uncooked tomatoes. Scientists speculate that the increase in absorption of antioxidants after cooking may be attributed to the destruction of the cell matrix (connective bands) to which the valuable compounds are bound.

Good, because if I go a few days without steamed broccoli, I get the shakes—GIVE ME MY BROCCOLI!

Flu Bugs, Gaining Resistance

New studies have determined that strains of the flu virus are evolving to resist the effects of antiviral drugs. Maggie Fox of Reuters is on it:
The resistance also varies by strain, with a quarter of H1N1 flu viruses resistant in Europe and about 11 percent of H1N1 in the United States, but far fewer cases of H3N2 and influenza B viruses.

Their findings show that flu viruses -- already known to mutate speedily -- may be even more unpredictable than anyone thought.

Experts fear drugs may become quickly useless to fight an unusually severe flu season or the emergence of a new strain of flu that may cause a pandemic. They have been stressing the need to develop new flu drugs and also quicker and better ways to make vaccines.

The World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been collecting samples of the annual flu viruses to check them against the four available flu drugs: amantadine and rimantadine, and the newer drugs Tamiflu and Relenza.
Who’s to blame? No doubt unhealthy populations don’t help the problem, but pharmaceutical companies are guilty too. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Drug companies are a big part of this problem. They promote the use of their products through widespread advertising and the practice of giving free samples of the more potent, broad-spectrum antibiotics to doctors. The more widely these newer (and often ten times more expensive) antibiotics are used, the greater the chances that the bacteria will develop resistance.
Besides, drugs like Tamiflu aren’t the super drugs people perceive them to be. More from Fuhrman:
A drawback to Tamiflu and the others is that it takes time to diagnose the flu and by the time one gets to a doctor for an accurate diagnosis, you have passed the window in which the medications are effective. Hundreds of thousands of doses of Tamiflu will be prescribed and in more than 90 percent of instances, it will be used after the period when it has any potential to help. People will be increasing their risk of medication-caused side effect, without any potential benefit.
Personally, I think increasingly unhealthy populations do a lot to fuel the severity of major flu epidemics. Dr. Fuhrman again:
The flu is a simple viral illness which a healthy body has scores of adequate defenses against. No flu, including the bird flu, is any match for a well-nourished immune system.
For more flu news, check out Followhealthlife’s Cold & Flu category.

Global Diseases: Western Lifestyle to Blame...

The World Health Organization lists heart disease and stroke among world’s top killers. Reuters reports:
Chronic conditions such as heart disease and stroke, often associated with a Western lifestyle, have become the chief causes of death globally, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tuesday.

The shift from infectious diseases including tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria -- traditionally the biggest killers -- to noncommunicable diseases is set to continue to 2030, the U.N. agency said in a report.

"In more and more countries, the chief causes of deaths are noncommunicable diseases such as heart disease and stroke," Ties Boerma, director of the WHO department of health statistics and informatics, said in a statement.

The annual report, World Health Statistics 2008, is based on data collected from the WHO's 193 member states.
Yup, Western lifestyle isn’t exactly doing the world any favors. Just check out these reports:

Toxins: Flame Retardants and Garden Hoses

Some experts believe PBDE’s—found in flame retardant furniture and other products—are harmful to human health. CBS News reports:

"I am concerned about developing children, concerned about exposure before you are born," said Linda Birnbaum, a senior toxicologist at the EPA. She is concerned because PBDEs cause the kind of health effects in young animals that are warning signs for infant humans.

"They can affect the developing brain and they can affect the developing reproductive system," she said. "There is very limited evidence whether or not they can cause cancer."

"This is concentrating in human beings, just like PCBs," said Maine state toxicologist Deborah Rice, a former EPA scientist.

She once studied PCBs, toxic chemicals banned in the 1970s. She now compares them to the chemical Deca, the one PBDE still produced in America.
And The Center for Environmental Health claims the garden hoses—in the nozzle and hose—may contain lead. More from Julie’s Health Club:

Judy Gajewski, 65, was shocked after she read the packaging of her new garden hose nozzle: "Wash hands after use" it instructed, due to the possibility that it might leach lead.

Gajewski promptly returned the nozzle to the hardware store. With seven grandchildren who love to drink from hoses and play in the water spray in the summer, Gajewski didn't want to take any chances.

Unfortunately, lead in garden hoses is not a new problem.

In 2004, a lawsuit brought by the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) that charged hoses containing lead were a potential hazard was settled in California.

"Lead leaching into hose water can come from the vinyl (PVC) material used to make hose or from brass nozzles on hoses, according to CEH. "In producing PVC, lead is often added as a stabilizer. In sunshine, lead in hose water is a particular concern, as heat can cause hoses to leach even higher levels of lead.
So you can’t even use the hose to put out the fire! Good grief.

Japan, Butter-Less...

There’s a serious butter shortage in Japan. Bruce Wallace of The Los Angeles Times reports:
The rich yellow stuff has all but vanished from grocery stores across Japan, with the world's second-biggest economy, where fine foods are prized and aisles otherwise groan with abundance. Some stores have tried to ration the few bricks that occasionally arrive by limiting customers to a pack or two, but in most places merchants have been reduced to posting signs apologizing for having none.

Nor does anyone know when butter will be back. Japanese milk production has dropped over the last two years, leaving less available to be churned into butter.

Even bakeries that buy in bulk are finding it hard to get enough, which crimps their ability to turn out the croissants, cakes and quiches that have shouldered their way into the Japanese diet…

… But though popularity has declined for milk as a beverage, its use in the production of cheese is expected to jump 15% this year, and demand for the less profitable butter holds steady. The result, the Japanese dairy association explains, is that there is not much milk left to make butter.

"We have plenty of milk; just no butter," dairy deliveryman Kazunari Shimakura says as he unloads cartons of milk outside Levain. Shimakura had never seen a shortage in his 20 years of delivering supplies. When he parks his truck these days, people come up to ask whether he can sell them a pack or two of butter on the side.

Last month, the government stepped in to urge the country's four largest dairy product companies to churn out more butter. And the agriculture board is moving up its scheduled purchases of butter imported from Australia and elsewhere by six months in an attempt to get some back on the shelves. Japan imports about 10% of its butter, but usually does not go to international markets until fall.
This is good news! Japan is being spared from a really terrible food. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Food also has the potential to harm, and these are effective foods for those attempting to die younger. One of my daughters calls this list the Seven Foods of Death.
Worst Seven Foods for Health and Longevity
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Potato Chips and French Fries
  • Doughnuts
  • Salt
  • Sausage, hot dogs
  • Pickled, smoked or barbequed meat
Foods high in saturated fat and trans fat are consistently associated with high cancer rates. Cheese and butter typically contain over ten times as much saturated fat as fish and white meat chicken and turkey.

Salt has been consistently linked to stomach cancer and stroke, even in populations that eat diets low in saturated fat.

Add the carcinogenic potential from heated and overcooked oils (usually trans containing) delivered in doughnuts and fries with the powerful cancer inducing properties of carbohydrates cooked at high heat (acrylamide formation) and you have a great cancer potion.

Needless to say, I advise people to avoid the foods on my “worst list” entirely.
Sadly, I know people that eat all of these foods in one day—sometimes in one sitting!

Ticker Troubles...

New research has determined that erectile dysfunction is a huge warning sign for heart trouble in men with type-2 diabetes. More from the UPI:
Peter Chun-Yip Tong of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, in Hong Kong says diabetes, erectile dysfunction and heart disease share an ominous link: damage to the blood vessels by high blood sugar levels.

The same process that hinders the extra blood flow needed to maintain an erection can have even more serious consequences in the heart, the researchers say.

"The development of erectile dysfunction should alert both patients and healthcare providers to the future risk of coronary heart disease," Tong says in a statement. "Other risk factors such as poor blood glucose control, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, smoking and obesity should be reviewed and addressed aggressively."
Also, sleep apnea has been found to increase the risk of heart problems when flying. Anna Boyd of eFluxMedia reports:
Lead author Leigh Seccombe, MSc, of Concord Repatriation General Hospital in Sydney and colleagues investigated the physiological response of 22 patients with severe OSA and without lung disease, to a simulation of an aircraft cabin and compared the results to that of 10 healthy subjects.

More exactly, the researchers looked at the participants’ ventilatory response and at the amount of oxygen circulating in their bloodstream during the simulation.

The study found that people with OSA had lower levels of oxygen in their blood before and during the simulated flight. Also, these people experienced higher heart rates, physiological stress and demand for oxygen than healthy people.

"Patients with OSA, without lung disease, are more likely to develop significant hypoxemia [low blood oxygen] and have increased oxygen demands during flight,” the study concluded.
You don’t need me to tell you, but you’ve got to keep your heart in tiptop shape. Here, I’ll let Dr. Fuhrman remind you:
What good is living longer if we can’t enjoy emotional and physical wellness and a full life? Applied to its fullest potential, high-nutrient eating can be the most effective therapy to reverse diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. It is the powerful medicine to get you well and keep you well in later life. Achieving good health through healthful living is your most important investment and it will pay you back with tremendous interest in your later years.
I wonder if my heart gets happy when I pound a bag of baby spinach.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Food!

Diet Blog introduces the newest super food sensation, chia seeds. Yes, the stuff you smear on a Chia Pet. More from Crabby McSlacker:
According to an article about Chia seeds in the San Jose Mercury News, these formerly obscure seeds are getting quite a bit more popular, especially after being endorsed by "Dr. Oz" from the Oprah Winfrey show. Online orders are suddenly booming and health food chains are starting to carry them too.

They come from a plant relative of the mint called salvia hispanica, and the Aztecs used to eat them. Apparently the seeds were known for increasing endurance--useful whether you're an Aztec warrior or a mother with three kids…

…So with some trepidation I swallowed a spoonful of them and...

They kind of taste like nothing.

On the plus side, this makes them easy to sprinkle into other foods. You can make them into muffins or even drink them. On the other hand, they're not a snack you'd look forward to like some other healthy fats--say peanut butter or avocados.
I’ve never considered eating my Chia Pet, have you?

Presidential Health, a Mystery?

In light of the new presidential fitness test for adults, the Associated Press asks, how much do we really know about our presidents’ health? More from the report:
The job of doctor to the president has an inherent conflict of interest, said Dr. E. Connie Mariano, who was President Bill Clinton's White House physician.

"If you keep your patient in office, you can keep your job," she noted. "What happens when your patient can't do his job?"

There's a name for what sometimes happens when world leaders become ill: The captive-king syndrome, where aides deny a problem and run the country, said medical historian Dr. T. Jock Murray, a Canadian neurologist. Think Wilson's final stroke, which left his wife and a few others essentially in charge…

…Because they are "very intimidating patients," Mariano said only half jokingly, doctors can find themselves second-guessing if someone really needs, say, a rectal exam or other inconvenient test that every other patient would get because it could turn up important information.

As for noncompliant patients, Bill Clinton was among the healthiest presidents in recent history — yet needed open-heart surgery after leaving office to avoid a major heart attack, admitting he had quit taking his cholesterol-lowering medicine.

The 25th Amendment — sparked by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and ratified in 1967 — spells out what happens if a president dies or is disabled and clearly unable to lead. There is a backup team, so pay attention to potential vice presidents' health, too, Mariano advised.
To quote Wycleff Jean, “If I were president”…I’d be the fittest, healthiest president ever, but, Mike Huckabee might have given me a run for my money. Check him out:
Eat Dr. Fuhrman’s high-nutrient way, and you will never fail a diet again. I’m now convinced there is only one sure way to achieve your ideal weight and great health, and that is to eat more high-nutrient foods and exercise daily.
I wonder, if Mike Huckabee were elected, would he appoint Dr. Fuhrman as his national health advisor? Seems like a great idea to me!

Sugar in the Baby Formula?

Organic baby food sounds like a good idea, but The New York Times reveals one potential flaw of some organic baby formulas, sugar cane juice. Julia Moskin reports:
Parents may be buying it because they believe that organic is healthier, but babies may have a reason of their own for preferring Similac Organic: it is significantly sweeter than other formulas. It is the only major brand of organic formula that is sweetened with cane sugar, or sucrose, which is much sweeter than sugars used in other formulas.

No health problems in babies have been associated with Similac Organic. But to pediatricians, there are risks in giving babies cane sugar: Sucrose can harm tooth enamel faster than other sugars; once babies get used to its sweeter taste, they might resist less sweet formulas or solid foods; and some studies suggest that they might overeat, leading to rapid weight gain in the first year, which is often a statistical predictor of childhood obesity.

Asked about these concerns, Carolyn Valek, a spokeswoman for Abbott Nutrition, the division of Abbott Laboratories that makes Similac Organic, said that sucrose had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and was considered “safe and well established.” Ms. Valek said that Similac Organic had no more sweetener than other formulas and that prolonged contact with any kind of sugar could cause tooth decay.

In Europe, where sudden increases in childhood obesity are a pressing public health issue, sucrose-sweetened formulas will be banned by the end of 2009, except when ordered by a doctor for babies with severe allergies. The 27 countries of the European Union adopted the new rules according to the recommendations of the group’s Scientific Committee on Food, which found that sucrose provided no particular nutritional advantages, could, in rare cases, bring about a fatal metabolic disorder, and might lead to overfeeding.
I used to drink a lot of Silk Soymilk, until I found out it’s sweetened with cane juice. So now I only drink it occasionally and when I do, I drink Light Silk. Here’s my fridge:

And honestly, unsweetened almond milk tastes just as good!

Cutting the Plastic...

The Knoxville News Sentinel passes along some tips to help you reduce your exposure to plastic. Check it out:
  • When heating food in a microwave oven, use only cookware that is labeled "microwave safe."
  • Remove food from plastic wrapping before thawing or reheating in a microwave.
  • Buy products in cardboard cartons instead of plastic containers.
  • Check recycling codes on the bottom of store packages for clues about plastics components you may want to avoid: Recycling code 3 may indicate the product contains a type of phthalate known as DEHA. Recycling code 7 may mean the product contains BPA.
  • Look for toys, baby bottles and containers claiming to be BPA-free. There's been a recent explosion of such products, many of them priced higher than standard products. There is also a growing industry of third-party certifiers to test such claims. Gerber's Clearview Bottles are BPA-free; a three-pack costs about $3 at Target.
  • Reduce your use of canned food; eat fresh or frozen foods instead. Bisphenol A has been found in the lining of canned food tins.
Be sure to read the whole list: Limit your exposure to plastic.

Stress and Pregnancy, Asthma and Allergies--Linked

New research contends that stressed out expectant mothers increase their baby’s likelihood of developing asthma or allergies later in life. Serena Gordon of HealthDay News explains:
Babies born to mothers experiencing high levels of stress had more IgE in their blood at birth than did babies born to less-stressed moms. IgE is an antibody involved in allergic and asthmatic reactions.

"Moms who had elevated levels of stress had children who seemed to be more reactive to allergens, even when exposed to low levels of allergens," said study co-author Dr. Rosalind Wright, an assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

Wright's colleague, and another author of the study, Junenette Peters, said that stress may make women more susceptible to allergens because it "may make the cells more permeable" so that even low levels of exposure trigger a reaction. And, women whose immune systems are altered by stress may, in turn, pass down that trait to their infants.

Peters, a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard Medical School, was to present the findings Sunday at the American Thoracic Society's 2008 International Conference, in Toronto.

The study, which was funded by a grant from the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, included 315 expectant mothers and their infants. All of the mothers lived in an urban environment.
Stressed and pregnant! How do you ladies do it? You all need to relax. Hey, maybe this will help. Check it out:

Keep breathing...

What the Heck is Zumba?

My gym advertises Zumba classes all the time. Zumba, sounds like a strain of flesh eating disease to me, but apparently it’s great a mix of aerobics and Latin dance. Heather Newman of The Detroit Free Press investigates:
"It truly feels like you're dancing with your friends," said Lori Fera, 24, of Farmington Hills. She loves Zumba classes so much she's training to be an instructor. "Everyone's laughing and talking and having a good time. I started going to it and got addicted."

Zumba is a hot fusion of Latin dance and floor aerobics, and it's hitting fitness clubs and YMCAs and recreation centers all over metro Detroit. Invented in Colombia in the 1990s when aerobics instructor Beto Perez forgot his music and had to use the salsa tapes he had in his car, Zumba invaded the United States in 1999. It's not quite a dance class, not quite aerobics, but something very fast-paced and hip-heavy in between…

…In practice, Zumba is like an interval workout, said instructor Debbie Lim: You alternate high impact with low, and the enforced breaks of a couple of seconds between songs give people a chance to rest briefly.

Steven Keteyian, program director of preventive cardiology at Henry Ford Hospital, said the classes are appropriate for men younger than 40-45 and women younger than 50-55 who don't have any health risks.

If you're older, or have preexisting conditions -- back pain, osteoarthritis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, history of stroke or heart disease -- you know the drill. Check with your doctor first.
Now, as much as I love an intense workout, I am way too uncoordinated and dorky to handle this. Do any of you Zumba?

Should Smokers Pay More for Health Insurance?

Last month the Whirlpool Corporation suspended 39 workers for smoking because they had previously enrolled in nonsmokers insurance; which is less expensive. Barbara Rose of The Chicago Tribune reports:
Whirlpool's smokers pay $500 a year more for their employer-provided health insurance -- a penalty big enough to increase the likelihood of cheating -- but how would the company find out? Internet message boards buzzed with speculation about spy cameras and company snitches.

But truth sometimes is stranger than fiction. It wasn't management surveillance or finger-pointing co-workers that outed the smokers. It was the employees themselves.

A little history is in order.

The workers' union challenged the smoker fees in 2006, citing a state law, and an arbiter ruled the company had to pay back the surcharges collected during a 28-month period through June 2006. The amount was expected to be about $1,000 per employee, according to the Evansville Courier & Press.

Last month, Whirlpool's suit to overturn the ruling was dismissed in a sealed settlement, setting the stage for rebates.

The suspended workers drew attention to their smoking when they asked for the rebates, prompting the company to check to see whether they had paid the fees. Apparently they hadn't.
Okay, I know you don’t need a longwinded explanation about why smoking is bad for you, but in Eat For Health Dr. Fuhrman offers an interesting perspective on why people smoke. Here’s an excerpt:
People with low self-esteem do not realize that they are living out a self-fulfilling prophecy. The belief that you are not worthy of attention makes it a reality. We are wired to operate in accordance with our beliefs, and it all happens beyond our awareness. A person who believes that he or she is unworthy will shy away from other people, develop habits that further lower his or her attractiveness to others, and will ultimately reinforce his or her negative beliefs and practices. In doing so, such people often lower their self-perceived social status. Status is an important factor that affects every facet of your life including the way that you eat. It has very little to do with class, economics, or education. It is a combination of what I believe about myself, what you believe about me, and—the most important part for this discussion—what I believe you believe about me. In short, it is a measure of social acceptance. Lower-status people instinctively look to higher-status people for direction, without being aware of it. Lower-status individuals constantly seek acceptance through compliant behaviors, including eating, drinking, smoking, or taking drugs.
Not to mention, smoking can actually contribute to osetoporosis—bet you didn’t know that! More from Eat For Health:
Nicotine can interfere with hormonal messages to the kidneys, inhibiting calcium reabsorption. The combination of smoking and drinking coffee or soft drinks, together with the dietary factors mentioned, makes the prevalence of osteoporosis in this country quite understandable. Dietary, health, and lifestyle components are working together to cause this drain of calcium.
Now, my knee-jerk reaction to making smokers pay more for health insurance yes they should, but where does it end? Should obese people pay more? What about the psychology scarred? This might lead us down a dangerous path of double standards.

Holy Portion Size!

No doubt, part of the reason Americans have bloated to obesity is the growing size of portions. Check this out via Divine Caroline:

Those are just a few that shocked me. Be sure to read the entire article: Portion Size, Then and Now.

Eat For Health: Why We Believe Things That We Know Are Not True

This is an excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat For Health.

If we were completely rational, all of our decisions would be based squarely on either facts or evidence. But, as we know, we are often not rational, and even people with a complete command of the facts will not make sound decisions. Consider addicted smokers. They can tell you all of the reasons why smoking is harmful, yet, for reasons they cannot articulate, they simultaneously believe they are better off continuing their addiction. Both their emotional and physical addictions prejudice their judgment, and they make rationalizations to believe something that clearly is not true. Before we judge them, it should be noted that most Americans have heard over and over again that fruits and vegetables are the healthiest foods and are important to eat in larger amounts to protect against heart disease and cancer. Nevertheless, people typically dismiss or diminish the importance of this message. Their subconscious is not comfortable with change, and their subconscious wins.

All of our actions and decisions are governed by our core beliefs. Our core beliefs define the limits of what we will and will not do. Many of you reading this book need to change your core beliefs in order to get healthy. At this point, you know that eating more vegetables has health benefits, but you may not really feel that this life-saving information will give you control of your health destiny, save you from suffering with pain, and add many quality years to your life. Your subconscious mind hasn’t accepted it yet. For many people, the partial knowledge that they have acquired is in conflict with their core beliefs. They are unable to accept it, so their awareness of it dims and, with it, the ability to make the change.

Psychologists have long observed that we all subconsciously dim awareness to things that raise our anxiety or make us uncomfortable. Our self-deceptions often lead us into absurd situations that are completely obvious to outside observers. Many people blame the media and big business for the current state of the American diet. The truth, however, is that Americans are self-deceived. There is nothing that prohibits us from choosing healthy foods, but contradictions often arise between the subconscious and rational portions of our minds. For many reading this, there is a contradiction between the way that you enjoy eating and the way of eating that leads to superior health. We are prone to believe what we want to, regardless of the evidence. Our brains are masters at suppressing facts.

Changing our ingrained habits requires that we operate for a period of time with cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is a psychological term describing the uncomfortable tension that may result from having conflicting thoughts, or from engaging in behavior that conflicts with one’s beliefs. It usually results in the filtering of information to disregard new information that conflicts with what one already believes, so as not to disturb one’s existing beliefs. When it comes to choosing a new eating-style and developing a new taste preference, cognitive dissonance needs to be recognized so we can get over it and move on. We must face the facts, accept our discomfort, and work through it. Our subconscious might not be comfortable with the changes we are trying to make, but we have to hang in there until the change feels natural. Even your taste preferences can change with time, but it takes some time for this to occur. The first step is getting started. Learning about this and recognizing it are generally not enough to completely change you. However, they do solve one very big problem: self-deceived people don’t recognize that they have a problem. Consequently, they never take the first step needed to change. In recognizing your discomfort, you will be able to acknowledge it and move on, so that you are one step closer to taking control of your health.

Monday: Health Points

Smaller studies have linked tooth loss to different cancers, but this is the largest study to date, and the first conducted within an Asian population, the researchers say. It's also the first study to show a link to lung cancer.

Of course while widespread inflammation could explain the link between tooth loss and cancer risk, the reseachers say that tooth loss in the cancer patients may simply reflect unhealthy behaviors that contribute to cancer risk. Furthermore, people who have lost teeth may not be able to eat a healthy diet, and diet is also a factor in cancer development.
Kevin Kopjak doesn't care much about carbs, fat, sodium or high-fructose corn syrup.

He generally reads only two things on a nutrition label: the portion size and the calories. He says the strategy has helped him to lose and keep off 100 pounds.

"Counting calories seems to work for me," says Kopjak, 29, of San Francisco, who initially did Atkins and several other diets before switching to counting calories. "But it's a lot of discipline. When I first started, I had an Excel log where I literally wrote everything I ate down."
Many cities and towns across the country, including Los Angeles, already recycle wastewater for industrial uses and landscaping.

But the idea of using recycled wastewater, after intense filtering and chemical treatment, to replenish aquifers and reservoirs has gotten more notice lately because of technological advances that, industry leaders say, can make the water purer than tap water. San Diego and South Florida are also considering or planning to test the idea, and Orange County, Calif., opened a $481 million plant in January, without much community resistance, that is believed to be the world’s largest such facility.

None of the proposals or recycling projects already under way send the treated water directly into taps; most often the water is injected into the ground and gradually filters down into aquifers.
Omega 3 fatty acids bound to phospholipids deserves to be further considered as a credible natural alternative and may have beneficial effect on impulsivity in ADHD patients, recent in vivo French study reveals. While several studies have reported beneficial effects of omega-3 in hyperactivity, French researchers have hypothesized that Vectomega could have specific positive effects on impulse control.

These research findings have led to the initiation of two multi-center studies currently underway in France and Germany utilizing Vectomega on hyperactive children. Vectomega, a natural whole food Omega 3 fatty acid bound to phospholipids and peptides, is the end result of a French governmental research project.
5 Superstar Veggies
Red chicory
7 Stellar Seasonings
Fresh ginger
Mothers of children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) were twice as likely to have reported using pet shampoos containing a class of insecticide called pyrethrins as those of healthy children, according to survey results presented Thursday at the International Meeting for Autism Research in London. The risk was greatest if the shampoo was used during the second trimester of pregnancy.

Meanwhile, another study suggests that exposure to organophosphate insecticides double the risk of developmental disorders, including autism. Organophosphates have previously been linked to Gulf War syndrome.

While many chemicals have previously been blamed for triggering autism, there have been very few rigorous studies designed to investigate the link.
I would be hard-pressed to find a food substance that attracts as much controversy as milk. Whether or not it is beneficial to overall health, whether or not it helps weight loss, whether we should buy raw or pasteurized, low fat vs. full fat - the list goes on and on. Hence, I hope to make an attempt to navigate through the speculation, possibilities and try to come up with some ideas on how to think about this issue.

Who to Believe?
On one side, we have groups like the PCRM and PETA (read: Milk is evil). On the other end of the spectrum is the Dairy Association (read: milk is essential for optimal health). In addition to health debates, there are political, ethical and environmental factors to consider. Like most other issues, the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Let's try and find that middle.
Women deficient in the "sunshine vitamin" when they were diagnosed with breast cancer were 94 percent more likely to have their cancer spread and were 73 percent more likely to die than women with adequate vitamin D levels, the researchers said.

More than three-quarters of women with breast cancer had a vitamin D deficiency, the researchers reported to an upcoming meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

"The women with the lowest vitamin D levels had the highest risk of death from breast cancer," Dr. Richard Schilsky, of the University of Chicago and president-elect of ASCO, told Reuters in an interview.

Gimme Five...

Just a bunch of fruits and vegetables singing about eating five fruits and vegetables a day. Enjoy:

Here’s my question, why stop at five? And, why can’t I get this song out of my head now!

Mushy Stuff...

Garbanzo Guacamole
1/2 15-oz can garbanzo beans, no salt, drained
1 clove garlic, halved
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 avocado, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 fresh green chili peppers, minced
1 cup chopped tomato
3/4 cup chopped green onions
1 teaspoon Bragg Liquid Aminos or low sodium soy sauce
assorted raw vegetables, cut up
In food processor, puree beans and garlic with lemon juice. Add avocado and chili peppers, pulsing until mixture is chunky. Remove to bowl and stir in tomato, green onions, and liquid aminos. Serve with raw vegetables. Serves 2.

Hot Pepper Salsa

3 large plum tomatoes, cut in fourths
1 medium onion, cut in fourths
4 cloves garlic, cut in half
1 14-ounce can whole or chopped tomatoes
1 jar roasted red peppers, low sodium, in vinegar (drained)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 long hot pepper
Roast tomatoes, onions and garlic in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and place in a food processor. Add rest of ingredients and pulse to chop until desired consistency. Serves 10.

Cashew-Currant Dressing/Dip
1/4 cup raw cashews or 2 tablespoons raw cashew butter
1/3 cup soy milk
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup dried currants or raisins
Blend the cashews or cashew butter with soy milk and applesauce in a high powered blender until smooth. Mix in currents or raisins. Serves 4.

Meat Recalled...Again!

Due to possible E. coli contamination, a Chicago-based company is recalling beef products shipped to eleven states. The Associated Press reports:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Saturday that no illnesses have reported from the meat, produced by JSM Meat Holdings Co. The agency was uncertain how much meat is being recalled.

The meat being recalled is used in ground beef products. Included are 30-pound and 60-pound boxes and 47-gallon barrels of "MORREALE MEAT" beef products. The products have the number "EST. 6872" inside the USDA mark of inspection.

The products have 15 different labels including, "Boneless Chucks," "Boneless Clods," "Flat Rounds," "Gooseneck Rounds" and "Knuckle."

A message left for a company spokesman after business hours wasn't immediately returned.
There’s been a lot of meat recalls lately. Like these three:
Maybe it’s a sign that food producers are starting to clean up their act—maybe.

Elijah, Dr. Fuhrman Super Fan...

Not only is Elijah Lynn a longtime Eat to Liver, but now—he’s an employee! That’s right. Here he is working at Dr. Fuhrman’s 19126, New Jersey office:

Elijah flew all the way in from Colorado to help Dr. Fuhrman with an exciting new project. Hey, while he’s here, maybe I can coax him into sharing his story on Followhealthlife.

Global Warming Linked to Obesity?

Okay, we know that obesity contributes to health problems, but could obese people’s over-consumption be contributing to global warming too. New research claims it does. Michael Kahn of Reuters reports:
Obese and overweight people require more fuel to transport them and the food they eat, and the problem will worsen as the population literally swells in size, a team at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine says.

This adds to food shortages and higher energy prices, the school's researchers Phil Edwards and Ian Roberts wrote in the journal Lancet on Friday.

"We are all becoming heavier and it is a global responsibility," Edwards said in a telephone interview. "Obesity is a key part of the big picture."

At least 400 million adults worldwide are obese. The World Health Organization (WHO) projects by 2015, 2.3 billion adults will be overweight and more than 700 million will be obese.

In their model, the researchers pegged 40 percent of the global population as obese with a body mass index of near 30. Many nations are fast approaching or have surpassed this level, Edwards said.

BMI is a calculation of height to weight, and the normal range is usually considered to be 18 to 25, with more than 25 considered overweight and above 30 obese.
Makes sense to me. Now, this is a crude comparison, but bigger cars take more gas to get around, so why wouldn’t large people consume more too. Seems like a matter of physics—any thoughts?

Olympics: Blade Runner Can Try Out!

After much ado, Oscar Pistorius a double-amputee sprinter, who runs on specially designed metal blades, has been cleared to compete for a place in the Beijing Olympics. The Associated Press reports:
The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that the 21-year-old South African is eligible to race against able-bodied athletes, overturning a ban imposed by the International Association of Athletics Federations.

CAS said the unanimous ruling goes into effect immediately.

"I am ecstatic," Pistorius told reporters in Milan, Italy. "When I found out, I cried. It is a battle that has been going on for far too long. It's a great day for sport. I think this day is going to go down in history for the equality of disabled people."

Pistorius still must reach a qualifying time to run in the individual 400 meters at the Aug. 8-24 Beijing Games. However, he can be picked for the South African relay squad without qualifying. That relay squad has not yet qualified for the Olympics.

Pistorius appealed to CAS, world sport's highest tribunal, to overturn a Jan. 14 ruling by the IAAF that banned him from competing. The IAAF said his carbon fiber blades give him a mechanical advantage.
I’ve been following Oscar’s situation and he’s become a hero of mine—GO BLADE RUNNER! Check out Oscar in action at the 2007 Golden Gala in Rome:

If you ever needed inspiration to get out there and exercise—be it running or anything else—just think of Oscar Pistorius. Followhealthlife is rooting for you Oscar!

Milk for Weight-Loss...

I don’t think so! Dr. Amy Joy Lanou, an assistant professor in the department of health and wellness at the University of North Carolina, wants people to know that milk for weight-loss ads are nothing but hype. Reuters reports:
Recent claims that low-fat dairy products or calcium can help people lose weight are untrue, according to a review of the published scientific literature, which shows that neither dairy products in general nor calcium intake promote weight loss.

"Don't believe the hype," Dr. Amy Joy Lanou told Reuters Health. "The ads that promote milk as helping to achieve a healthy weight are misleading; the science does not support these ads…"

…Lanou said she was not at all surprised by the findings because milk is designed for growth. "Milk is a food that is designed for helping small mammals grow into rather large ones in a relatively short period of time," she explained. "It is counterintuitive to think that a food that has lots of calories, fats, and protein would be helpful for weight loss."

She suggests switching to water. "We drink way too many of our daily allotted calories in milk, milkshakes, lattes, sodas and other sweetened beverages. Water is healthy and naturally calorie-free," Lanou said. "Choosing water instead of milk means you can enjoy more nutrient-dense foods such as fruits vegetables, grains, and legumes and stay within your energy needs."
Kudos to Dr. Lanou! Her sentiments sound a lot like Dr. Fuhrman’s. He talks about milk in Milk Is For The Rapidly Growing Cow. Here’s a bit:
Milk, which is designed by nature for the rapidly growing cow, has about half its calories supplied from fat. The fatty component is concentrated more to make cheese and butter. Milk and cheese are the foods Americans encourage their children to eat, believing them to be healthy foods. Fifty years of heavy advertising by an economically powerful industry has shaped the public's perception, illustrating the power of one-sided advertising, but the reality and true health effects on our children is a different story. 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. If we expect our children to resist many common illnesses, they simply must consume less milk, cheese, and butter. Dairy foods should be consumed in limited quantity or not at all.
Milk for health has never sat well with me. Milk gives me the heebie-jeebies.

Too Much Hooch Bad for Your Ticker

A new study has determined that heavy drinkers have higher blood pressure, stiffer arteries, and more rigid heart muscles. Julie Steenhuysen of Reuters reports:
They defined heavy drinking as more than 21 drinks a week for men and more than 14 per week for women.

"We definitely see quite a deleterious effect," said Dr. Azra Mahmud of St. James Hospital in Dublin, who presented her findings at a meeting of the American Society of Hypertension in New Orleans.

"The most worrisome aspect is in women. It has a direct toxic effect," Mahmud said in a telephone interview. "Basically, women are not able to cope with high alcohol consumption. It is going directly to the heart and damaging it."

Once a heart becomes enlarged -- a sign it has been overtaxed -- it is difficult to reverse. Mahmud said prior studies have suggested that people with enlarged hearts are five to six times more likely to have heart attacks.

Moderate drinking has been shown in many studies to have heart benefits. But heavy drinking counteracts these benefits and can cause serious harm, she said.
Now, Dr. Fuhrman wouldn’t certainly encourage you not to drink heavily or moderately for that matter. He explains:
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.

Researchers have found that even moderate consumption of alcohol—including wine—interferes with blood clotting and, thereby, reduces heart attacks in high-risk populations—people who eat the typical, disease-promoting American diet.

Moderate drinking is defined as a maximum of two drinks for men. Consuming more than this is associated with increased fat around the waist4 and other potential problems. 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.
If you’re eating for health, drinking is defenitly a drink at your own risk situation. I know that’s how I look at it. My personal rules for drinking can be found in this post: Beer Muscles Explained. Continue Reading...

Music Soothes the Savage Blood Pressure

New research has determined that listening to certain types of music— classical, Celtic, or Indian—actually helps improve blood pressure. More from WebMD:
The patients were assigned to listen to the CD for 30 minutes per day for a month and to breathe slowly while listening to the music, taking twice as long to exhale as to inhale. At the end of the month, the patients wore the blood pressure monitor again.

The patients' blood pressure improved during the study. When the experiment ended, their average systolic blood pressure (the first number in a blood pressure reading) had dropped three points, and their average diastolic blood pressure (the second number in a blood pressure reading) had dropped four points.

For comparison, 20 other patients didn't listen to music or practice slow breathing. Their blood pressure didn't change during the study.

It's not clear what mattered more, the music or the slow breathing. "The antihypertensive effects [have] to be considered as the result of the combination of music and breathing exercises," Professor Pietro A. Modesti, MD, PhD, of Italy's University of Florence notes.
I’ve been a music buff all my life. My apartment is stacked with CDs and speaking of Indian music. I love this little ditty—hope you enjoy it too:

Lately when the Yankees are losing I’ll put that on to keep me from throwing the television out the window.

Eat Good Early, Eat Good Later

New research lends support to the notion that learning to eat healthfully when you’re young, leads to a healthier adulthood. EMaxHealth is on it:
Children between 2 and 5 years old experience developmental changes that affect their eating habits, and by anticipating and appropriately reacting to these changes, families can help turn their preschoolers into healthy eaters for life.

According to Monica Montes, a Los Angeles-area registered dietitian and co-founder of N.E.W. Health Consultants, Inc, eating habits form as early as age 3, making the preschool years an important developmental window. At the same time, parents may face difficult changes in their children's food preferences.

"Feeding obstacles often start as children reach 2 years old and continue for several years," said Montes. "Children may eat less, demand foods they see on television, refuse foods or beverages they once enjoyed and start using utensils or sippy cups."
Dr. Fuhrman’s been screaming about this for years!

Eating to Live on the Outside: Candle Café

It’s Friday! And you know what the means. More blog posts from me using the phrases, “check it out”, “take a look”, and “here’s a bit?” No. Well, actually yes, but that’s not what I’m taking about. Friday means Eating to Live on the Outside, and this week we’re heading to New York City.

I’m a total city urchin, I love New York! And New York City is a great place for health eating and this week’s restaurant, Candle Café, is no exception. Candle Café claims to serve up organic vegetarian cuisine—so it’s got to be good—right? Only one way to find out!

Okay, most of Candle Café’s menu is very workable. I don’t see any major red flags. So, here are the menu items I’d be most inclined to order. Now, since the cocktails and smoothies are first on the menu, I’ll start with those.

As for the cocktails I like the ones made with greens. Combined the Green Goddess, Candle Cocktail, and the Solar power are concocted with mixed greens, apple, lemon, ginger, carrot, celery, and beet. Yeah, no pun intended, but you’d be hard pressed to find a problem with these.

Onto the smoothies, the Tropical Freeze is cool. It’s got orange juice, bananas, strawberries, mangos, and pineapples—no problems here! The Classic Combo is awesome too. It’s made with apples, berries, and bananas. So far, so good!

Now, it’s time for an appetizer. The steamed edamame beans are great—I eat a lot of them—but I’d ditch the sprinkle of sea salt. I also like the quesadilla, relax, there’s no cheese, remember, “Organic vegetarian cuisine.” However, it does come with soy cheese, which I can do without. I don’t like that stuff. In addition to the soy cheese the quesadilla is made with bean puree, grilled vegetables, salsa, guacamole, and a whole wheat tortilla. Clearly, the whole wheat tortilla isn’t the best thing in the world, but I can live with it—hooray for grilled vegetables!

Next up are the salads. No surprise here, there’s a bunch of great ones. I’m cool with the House Salad, Living Crunchy Sprout, Chopped Salad, or the Aztec Salad. They’re made with a lot of great stuff; mixed field greens, hearts of palm, tomatoes, carrots, sprouts, raisins, sesame seeds, Romaine lettuce, cucumber, tomato, chickpeas, red onion, tofu feta, bi-color quinoa, black beans, jicama, spiced pumpkin seeds, barbequed grilled tempeh, seasonal vegetables, brown rice, steamed greens, avocado, mango, and a variety of dressings. Yup, lots of good stuff! The only thing I’d do is nix the tofu feta and tempeh—not my bag—and I’d order those dressings on the side—good idea?

Alright, there are a couple decent options in the sandwiches and burgers, but they’re all made with tempeh and seitan, and as I’ve said, neither of those get my motor running. So, I’ll skip that section of the menu; which brings me to the sides. In the event that you don’t like any of menu items I’ve mentioned, the sides might be your salvation. You could certainly order a plate of quinoa salad, a baked sweet potato, and steamed vegetables and greens. Now that’s Fuhrman-friendly!

Yeah, Candle Café is cool beans. Certainly a healthy spot in the heart of the big apple and since New York City is one of my stomping grounds. I should drag my butt into Candle Café and tell you all about it, but in the meantime, check out Candle Café’s menu and let me know how you handle Eating to Live on the Outside. Make a comment or send an email to Until then, eat very healthfully! Peace.

Obesity and Psychiatric Disorders

The risk of psychiatric disorders is being linked with obesity. Amy Norton of Reuters reports:
Obesity is a well known risk factor for certain physical health problems, but a new study suggests that heavy adults also have higher rates of psychiatric disorders.

Using data from a national health survey of more than 40,000 Americans, researchers found that obese adults were up to twice as likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions as normal-weight adults.

In addition, even moderately overweight people had elevated rates of anxiety disorders, the study found.

Whether excess pounds somehow lead to mental health problems is not clear, according to the researchers. But the findings do indicate that a range of psychiatric disorders are more common among overweight people.

They also suggest that briefly screening obese patients for such conditions could be useful, lead researcher Dr. Nancy M. Petry told Reuters Health.
For more obesity news, check out Followhealthlife’s obesity category.

FDA Says BPA Safe...

The FDA is claiming that the now infamous plastic ingredient bisphenol A (BPA) is actually safe. Will Dunham of Reuters reports:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday said it sees no reason to tell consumers to stop using products such as baby bottles made with a controversial chemical found in many plastic items.

Norris Alderson, the FDA's associate commissioner for science, said although the regulatory agency is reviewing safety concerns about the chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, "a large body of available evidence" shows that products such as liquid or food containers made with it are safe…

…Alderson said he heads an FDA task force that is reviewing safety concerns concerning BPA. He said although this review is ongoing, the FDA has no reason to recommend that consumers stop using products made with BPA. He also noted that similar products made without BPA are available.

Alderson said the FDA is looking at a draft report issued in April by the National Toxicology Program, part of the U.S. government's National Institutes of Health, that expressed some concern that BPA had the potential to cause neural and behavioral problems in fetuses, infants and children…

…Some retailers, including Wal-Mart and Toys R Us, are planning to stop selling certain items made with BPA.

BPA is used to make polycarbonate plastic, a clear shatter-resistant material in products ranging from baby and water bottles to sports safety equipment and medical devices.
My gut feeling is that the FDA is pandering to a higher master here. There’s just too much negative press on BPA to be overlooked and here’s a bit of it:
I think Wal-Mart and Toys R Us got it right, better to be safe than sorry.

Heart Health: Aspirin a Miracle?

“With very few exceptions, nobody is predestined to have a heart attack. Heart disease is easily preventable, but not by taking aspirin,” explains Dr. Fuhrman, but a new study links taking aspirin with lower blood pressure. Ed Edelson of HealthDay News reports:
The new report is the first study to show the drug's benefit -- although only when taken at night -- with prehypertension, defined as blood pressure just below the 140/90 level. Prehypertension is a known warning sign of future risk of heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular problems.

Why aspirin should do its good work for blood pressure at night but not in the daytime is not clear, Hermida said. Research indicates that it can slow the production of hormones and other substances in the body that cause clotting, many of which are produced while the body is at rest.

The three-month study included 244 adults diagnosed with prehypertension. A third of them were advised to follow general rules of hygiene and diet designed to reduce blood pressure, another third were told to take a 100-milligram aspirin tablet every night at bedtime, and the final third were told to take the same aspirin dose on awakening.

Researchers monitored blood pressure levels at 20-minute intervals from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and at 30-minute intervals at night before the trial began and three months later.

Systolic blood pressure (the higher number in the 140/90 reading) dropped 5.4 points and diastolic pressure by 3.4 points for those taking aspirin before bedtime. No drop in blood pressure was found in those taking morning aspirin or following the general guidelines.
Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t agree with all the mumbo-jumbo surrounding aspirin and heart health. He talks about it here:
Five studies to date have examined the effects of daily or every-other-day aspirin use for primary prevention for periods of four to seven years.1 Most participants were men older than 50 years. Meta-analysis of the pooled data from all of the studies show that aspirin therapy reduced risk for coronary events by 28 percent, but with no decrease in mortality. In other words, aspirin use did not result in longer life. There was no reduction of death due to heart attack or stroke.

Based on this unimpressive data, and in spite of pooled data that shows for most adults, aspirin therapy causes more harm than good,2 most Americans take it for granted that taking an aspirin every day will prevent heart disease.

Advice on aspirin for prevention against heart attacks and stroke must be based on each individual’s cardiac risk. For those at very high risk, with known risk factors such as the conventional, high-saturated fat, low-nutrient diet, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and overweight, the benefits of aspirin may outweigh the risk. But for those of us who eat healthfully, exercise and don’t smoke, taking aspirin will increase our risk of cerebral hemorrhage and other bleeding complications.

For healthy people, the risks outweigh the benefits. That is why, in contrast to typical physician recommendations aimed at reducing risk, I recommend that people eliminate their risk factors. Daily aspirin consumption is for those satisfied with mediocrity and willing to gamble with their lives.
I know a few people that take aspirin daily and all of them are overweight, out of shape, and take aspirin as a result of previous heart trouble. Seems like an ineffective easy way out to me.
Continue Reading...

America Hopped Up on Prescription Drugs

A new report claims more than half of Americans are taking some sort of prescription medication; mostly for heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. More from the Associated Press:
Experts say the data reflect not just worsening public health but better medicines for chronic conditions and more aggressive treatment by doctors. For example, more people are now taking blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering medicines because they need them, said Dr. Daniel W. Jones, president of the American Heart Association.

In addition, there is the pharmaceutical industry's relentless advertising. With those factors unlikely to change, doctors say the proportion of Americans on chronic medications can only grow.

"Unless we do things to change the way we're managing health in this country ... things will get worse instead of getting better," predicted Jones, a heart specialist and dean of the University of Mississippi's medical school.

Americans buy much more medicine per person than any other country. But it was unclear how their prescriptions compare to those of insured people elsewhere. Comparable data were not available for Europe, for instance.
Americans love magic pills. Kind of agrees with yesterday’s post, Have a Healthy Heart!

Exercise Helps Ward Off Breast Cancer

According to new research girls who start exercising at a young age protect themselves against breast cancer later in life. The Associated Press is on it:
Middle-aged women have long been advised to get active to lower their risk of breast cancer after menopause.

What's new: That starting so young pays off, too.

"This really points to the benefit of sustained physical activity from adolescence through the adult years, to get the maximum benefit," said Dr. Graham Colditz of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, the study's lead author.

Researchers tracked nearly 65,000 nurses ages 24 to 42 who enrolled in a major health study. They answered detailed questionnaires about their physical activity dating back to age 12. Within six years of enrolling, 550 were found to have breast cancer before menopause. A quarter of all breast cancer is diagnosed at these younger ages, when it is typically more aggressive.
Maybe if you’re a mother or father of a young girl the two of you could get out and exercise together!

The Skinny on Fruit...

Chris Sparling of That’s Fit passes along some great info on the healthfulness of fruit and veggie skin. Here’s a bit:
Apples - A Cornell University study revealed that 87 percent of an apple's cancer-fighting phytochemicals are found in the skin, not the crunchy white flesh inside

Eggplant - Remove the skin of this favorite vegetable of many Italian grandmothers (mine notwithstanding) and you remove 300 milligrams of brain-cell preserving antioxidants in the process

Cucumber - Experts suggest that you consume at least five milligrams of silica a day -- the amount found in the skin you just peeled off that cucumber

Kiwi - Yeah, the fuzzy outside is pretty gross, but it has been found to contain healthy compounds that fight off bugs like staph and E. coli
I guess I should eat these then:

Okay, will do!

Let's Yoga--Wii!

DSFanBoy has reviewed Wii’s new interactive game, Let’s Yoga. Take a look:
Setting up Let's Yoga is simple. You can choose between a few models who will work through the poses with you, and select their outfits from mix-and-match pieces. There are even unlockable items, though why such a title needs unlockables is beyond me. Unlike most games, simply succeeding here seems a reward unto itself! Once you've informed the game of your name and gender, and chosen your model, you're ready to get started with the basic course: the Master's Lesson. There's also the option to go through a basic guide to yoga, which explains some of the principles of the practice, and includes a few tips for success. It's highly recommended you take the time to navigate these few screens. We'll save looking at the other modes for a later day.

Of course, before you get into the actual yoga, you need a workout space. I started out in my office, but quickly realized that between the cluttered wraparound desk and the playpen, the tiny leftover floor space wouldn't be enough. I recommend an area large enough for you to lie flat on your back with arms and legs extended in all directions. Test this by moving your arms and legs around as though creating a snow angel (protip: do this when no one is around, or they might just wonder if you've lost your damn mind). You also need both a low and high place to keep your DS, in case you need to move it closer while working through various poses. I recommend a mid-sized shelf or a chair with arms for higher poses, so that you have somewhere to put your handheld so that you can see both screens. For lower poses, of course, you can put it on the floor. Once you're set up, you're ready to begin the first lesson.
(via That’sFit)
This scares me. I sweat a lot when I do yoga and standing on an electric pad worries man. This Yoga is more my speed:

Although, the heights in that video make me nervous too—EEP!

Chemicals, Pregnancy, Obesity...

A new study claims exposure to certain chemicals—like Bisphenol A (BPA) and perfluorooctanoic acid—while pregnant, increases a baby’s chance of becoming obese. Michael Kahn of Reuters reports:
"We are talking about an exposure at very low levels for a finite time during development," said Jerry Heindel of the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

"The fact that it is such a sensitive period, it may be altering the tissue and making people more susceptible to obesity."

The World Health Organization estimates some 400 million people are obese, a problem that raises the risk of conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease…

…One of the chemicals is called Bisphenol A, found in polycarbonate plastics. Past research has suggested it leaches from plastic food and drink containers.

A team at Tufts University in the United States showed that female mice whose mothers were exposed to this chemical early in pregnancy gained more weight in adulthood even though they ate the same amount of food and were as active as other mice.

A similar effect occurred with perfluorooctanoic acid -- a greaseproofing agent used in products such as microwave popcorn bags. These animals were unusually small at birth then became overweight later in life.
This kind of news is all too common. Just look at the potential risks for being exposed to polychlorobiphenyls (PCBs). Dr. Fuhrman explains:
The EPA explained that these compounds persist in the environment and build up in the bodies of farm animals that eat contaminated feed or grass. While many of these toxic chemical compounds are resistant to degradation in the natural environment, they dissolve readily in oil and thus accumulate in the fatty tissues of fish, birds, and mammals. Humans are exposed predominately by eating contaminated animal products. Every time an animal is exposed to a tiny bit of these toxic chemicals, it remains in the animal's body for life, only released when the animal is eaten by humans, through fatty animal products such as meat, cheese, and full-fat milk.1 Animal products tested to be exceptionally high in these harmful compounds are catfish, lobster, mollusks, cheese, butter, and ice cream.2

Unborn children and breast feeding infants are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of these chemicals. These chemicals are linked to a broad range of diseases, including behavioral disorders, thyroid dysfunction, endometriosis, and cancer.3 Since these chemicals are stored in the fatty tissues of animals and in our fat stores too (because we are animals as well), a woman has to begin eating more carefully before she gets pregnant to prevent harmful exposure to the developing fetus.
Scary, thank goodness men can’t get pregnant—EEK! Continue Reading...

Presidential Fitness for Adults

The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports is set to introduce an adult fitness test. The Associated Press reports:
The test involves three basic components: aerobic fitness, muscular strength and flexibility. The test is for people 18 and older who are in good health. It was inspired by scores of baby boomers who kept asking council members whether there was a fitness test available today that was similar to the ones they took as students, Johnson said.

The aerobic component of the tests consists of a one-mile walk or 1.5-mile run. The run is not recommended for those who don't run for at least 20 minutes, three times a week.

Push-ups and half sit-ups make up the strength test. The push-ups are done until failure. The sit-ups are done for one minute.

A stretching exercise called the "sit-and-reach" is used to measure flexibility.

The scores from all four of the fitness tests can be entered online. Other information, such as age, gender, height and weight are also part of the equation.

You won't get a presidential certificate, but the results will then show where you rank among people of the same age. For example, if someone scores in the 75th percentile for push-ups, that means 75 percent of the scores fall below your score.
I’m not sure what this is going to accomplish, but if you’re interested, check out:

Have a Healthy Heart!

How do you keep your heart healthy? Well, for a long time Americans have turned to drugs. Has it worked? Tara Parker-Pope of The New York Times investigates:
While doctors still advise patients to diet, exercise and stop smoking, the medical community has adopted an almost singular focus on cholesterol-lowering drugs as the fastest and best way to battle heart disease. Americans spend $18 billion a year on cholesterol-reducing drugs, making them the nation’s biggest-selling class of drugs.

Clearly, drug treatments have played a role in the health of American hearts. Since 1950, age-adjusted death rates from cardiovascular disease have dropped 60 percent, a statistic praised by government health officials.

Average blood pressure and cholesterol levels are dropping, partly because of drug treatments. But drugs don’t get all the credit. A sharp drop in smoking has had a huge impact on heart health. And major changes in diet have also played a role. Surveys of the food supply suggest that consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol has decreased since the early 1900s. Medical care has also improved.

But an important lesson from the last 50 years is that when it comes to improving heart health, it is important to look beyond the medicine cabinet.

Just a few small changes — eating more fish, vegetables, nuts and fiber — can have a major impact on your risk for heart problems. For some people, drinking moderate amounts of wine may offer additional benefits. Even a 55-year-old man who is about 20 pounds overweight and does not exercise regularly will have a heart-disease risk far below average if he regularly consumes fish, nuts, fiber and vegetables and drinks moderate amounts of wine.
Okay, it makes sense that drugs would make an impact, but, are they really the best option? Dr. Fuhrman has his doubts. He points out some the drawbacks of drugs:
When resorting to medical intervention, rather than dietary modifications, other problems arise, reducing the potential reduction in mortality possible, as these individuals are at risk of serious side effects from the medication. The known side effects for various statins (the most popular and effective medications to lower cholesterol) include hepatitis, jaundice, other liver problems, gastrointestinal upsets, muscle problems and a variety of blood complications such as reduced platelet levels and anemia.
So, what’s the answer? America’s got it half right. You do need to change your diet, but for OPTIMAL health you’ve got to make a profound change—not just a few small changes. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
When you drop body fat, your cholesterol lowers somewhat. But when you reduce animal protein intake and increase vegetable protein intake, your cholesterol lowers dramatically. In fact, when a high-fiber, high-nutrient, vegetable-heavy diet was tested in a scientific investigation, it was found to lower cholesterol even more than most cholesterol-lowering drugs.1

The cholesterol-lowering effects of vegetables and beans (high-protein foods) are without question. However, they contain an assortment of additional heart disease-fighting nutrients independent of their ability to lower cholesterol.2

In areas of the world where people eat a diet of unrefined plant foods, people have total cholesterol levels below 150, and there is zero incidence of heart disease in the population.3

The average cholesterol level in rural China, as documented in the massive China Cornell Project, was 127 mg/dl. Heart attacks were rare, and both cancer and heart disease rates plummeted as cholesterol levels fell, which reflected very low animal product consumption. The lowest occurrence of heart disease and cancer occurred in the group that consumed plant-based diets with less than two servings of animal products per week.
I think most people approach health and nutrition too cavalierly. You need to be vigilant. It’s a fulltime job. You can’t go half-assed—know what I mean?
Continue Reading...

Beach Fitness...

Summer is right around the corner, so shape up and hit the beach! These folks figured out how to do BOTH at the same time. From The Los Angeles Times:

Benefits: Executing a push-up like this ratchets up the difficulty level, since the center of gravity shifts and the arm bears much more of the body’s weight. Similar to a bench press, muscles used include the triceps, pectorals and deltoids. Raising and lowering the body on one or both arms also engages the entire arm, including the biceps, and shoulder muscles. Calories burned per hour (based on vigorous calisthenics): 550.
Benefits: Slack-lining, walking a thin, flat nylon rope between two points, improves balance training, which is part of functional fitness, or training the body for real-life situations. A strong core and fit leg muscles help react to the line as it moves.
Benefits: This Brazilian blend of martial arts and dance targets the upper and lower body, plus core muscles. Incorporates kicks and arm swings that don’t strengthen muscles, but stimulate and tone them. Also promotes flexibility. Good cardio benefits from continuous, rhythmic movement. Calories burned per hour (vigorous activity, based on martial arts movements): 600
Benefits: Increased muscle strength and power in lower body muscles, because of the dynamic nature of back flips and other stunts. Development of fast twitch muscle fibers. Good for balance training. Limited cardio benefits. Calories burned per hour (based on gymnastics): 280
Just look at those blue skies and palm trees. Imagine going for a run with that all around you—I’m jealous! Be sure to check out the article for more: Exercises fit for Muscle Beach.

Wednesday: Health Points

Harvard researcher Andrea Baccarelli, MD, PhD, and colleagues in Italy studied 870 people diagnosed with DVT from 1995 to 2005. They compared their particulate air pollution exposure in the year before their diagnosis to that of 1,210 matched people without DVT.

They found that DVT risk goes up 70% for every 10 microgram-per-cubic-meterrise in particulate air pollution above 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air (the lowest pollution level measured in the study).

The U.S. EPA standard for particulate air pollution is 150 micrograms per cubic meter of air. However, it's likely that fine and very fine particles cause most of the health risks linked to particulate air pollution.
The simple truth, experts say, is that pounds must also be shed to keep cardiovascular trouble away.

"There is a debate out there about whether this generation is going to live as long as their parents, and the truth is they probably won't," said study author Dr. Gregory L. Burke, director of the division of public health sciences at Wake Forest University School of medicine in Winston-Salem, NC.

"My ultimate worry is that we've seen a 50-year decline in cardiovascular disease mortality, but if you begin to look at recent trends, it's beginning to plateau," he added. "And my fear is that because of the increase in obesity we're going to begin to see a reversal of that trend where heart disease rates begin to go up."
On Saturday, a tornado with the second-strongest rating killed six people, destroyed a 20-block area, and blew dust off mountains of mining waste, or chat piles.

"You can look at the chat piles and see that a lot of the material has blown off," said John Sparkman, head of the Picher housing authority. "We went up on a chat pile an hour and a half after the tornado hit, and you could see dust blowing fine material all over the place from that vantage point."

Long-term exposure to lead dust poses a health risk, particularly to young children.
The two conditions appear to increase one's risk for retinal vein occlusion, a condition that leads to vision loss. It results from one or more veins carrying blood from the eye to the heart becoming blocked and causing bleeding or fluid build-up, according to background information in the report published in the May issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

The Irish study found that people with high blood pressure had more than 3.5 times the risk of developing retinal vein occlusion than those without it. People with high cholesterol levels had an approximately 2.5-fold higher risk of retinal vein occlusion.

The findings come from an analysis of 21 previously published studies involving 2,916 people with retinal vein occlusion and 28,646 people without the condition. It found that 63.6 percent of patients with retinal vein occlusion also had hypertension, compared with 36.2 percent of people without the eye condition. High cholesterol levels were more than twice as likely to be found in those with retinal vein occlusion as those without (35.1 percent vs. 16.7 percent).
Fairbank Farms is issuing a voluntary recall of selected ground beef products produced at its Ashville, N.Y., facility and sold through Price Chopper, Shaw's, BJ's, and Wilson Farms retail outlets and C&S Wholesale distributor.

The affected product may contain small pieces of hard plastic. All recalled products have either a "sell-by" date of 05/13/08, 05/15/08, or a "Julian date 124" on the package's label.
New research shows "alarming levels" of obesity in most ethnic groups in the United States, principal investigator Dr. Gregory L. Burke, of Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina told Reuters Health. The study also confirms the potentially deadly toll obesity exacts on the heart and blood vessels.

"The obesity epidemic has the potential to reduce further gains in U.S. life expectancy, largely through an effect on cardiovascular disease mortality (death)," Burke and colleagues warn in the latest issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Among 6,814 middle-age or older adults participating in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, or "MESA" study, researchers found that more than two thirds of white, African American and Hispanic participants were overweight and one third to one half were obese.
The question is loaded and points to a really interesting diagnosis: What IS the biggest environmental problem on the planet? The answer is subjective, of course. If you are talking about global warming then coal plants are the biggest problem on the planet. If you are talking about natural resource preservation then deforestation is the biggest problem. Insert water for life sustainability and disease, or plastics for waste. To be sure, cigarettes are no one’s friend: Neither health nor the environment. In fact, in terms of litter, they are the biggest source of it: More than two billion pounds of cigarette butts are discarded worldwide – more than two pounds for every person in China. I use that country as an example because as I traveled from Beijing southward along the Silk Route, people still smoked a lot – everywhere. In Southeast Asia too people light up.

Smokers’ waste is rather easy to calculate. Figure out how many cigarettes are smoked and you’ll find out how many butts are tossed. You can’t recycle ‘em. One thing I’d like to know is the emission factor, or pollution due to smoking.
The experiments were conducted with the brain cells of rats and they show that contact with this ingredient called methylisothiazoline, or MIT, causes neurological damage.

Which products contain this chemical compound MIT? Head and Shoulders, Suave, Clairol and Pantene Hair Conditioner all contain this ingredient. Researchers are concerned that exposure to this chemical by pregnant women could put their fetus at risk for abnormal brain development. In other people, exposure could also be a factor in the development of Alzheimer's disease and other nervous system disorders.

The chemical causes these effects by preventing communication between neurons. Essentially, it slows the networking of neurons, and since the nervous system and brain function on a system of neural networks, the slowing of this network will suppress and impair the normal function of the brain and nervous system.

Dr. Oz Faces Off with Stephen Colbert

Dr. Fuhrman’s buddy Dr. Mehmet Oz recently went one on one with Stephen Colbert on his show, The Colbert Report. Check it out:

Hey, you might not agree with Stephen Colbert’s politics—tongue in cheek—but the dude is freaking hilarious!

Followhealthlife Invades The Washington Post...

Hey, I told you, Followhealthlife is picking up some serious steam! Thanks to Sally Squires of The Washington Post. Check out her article Need Encouragement to Shed Some Pounds? Blogs May Help. Here's a bit:

After college, Gerry Pugliese, 27, of Somerville, N.J., landed a stressful job with long hours that proved to be a bad fit. Short on time, Pugliese stopped exercising and found relief in food. He soon added 60 pounds to his 5-foot-5 frame. "I kind of collapsed inward," he says. "All my healthy habits went out the window."

Then he landed a job writing about health, diet and fitness for a blog publisher. The company teamed him with physician Joel Fuhrman to produce a blog on health, including a mostly vegetarian diet. When the company was acquired by another firm, Pugliese and Fuhrman continued their blog, Followhealthlife, on their own.

Pugliese says his diet epiphany came while writing a blog on healthful eating and noshing on fried Chinese takeout. That's when he started following the tips that Furhman espoused: eating a mostly vegetable-based diet and getting plenty of exercise. Since he started the regimen in 2007, he has lost 60 pounds and now does yoga, lifts weights and trains for 5K runs. "I'm your average guy," Pugliese says. "And I can make it work."
It was great talking to Sally. Thanks again Sally! Oh, and I “started the regimen” in 2006, not 2007. For more on my weight-loss story, check out: Healthy, with a Vengeance!

Cramming Plant Compounds into Butter, What Would Hippocrates Say?

Dairy products are far from health-promoting. Dairy is a major source of dioxins and DLCs and dairy is a major source of saturated fat. More from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat For Health:
Whole-milk, butter, and cheese are the foods that contribute the most saturated fat to the American diet. Any person seeking excellent health should restrict these foods in his or her diet. Skim-milk and other non-fat dairy products can be used as part of the small amount of allowable animal products consumed weekly. They are not foods that should be consumed liberally, and they should not be seen as health foods because they are not high in micronutrients and phytochemicals.
Now, in an attempt to make dairy “healthy”, food manufacturers are adding plant compounds—like sterols and stanols—to butter and other junk foods. Melina B. Jampolis, MD talks about it in The San Francisco Chronicle:

Plant sterols-stanols are naturally occurring plant molecules that resemble cholesterol. They compete with the cholesterol in your diet for absorption into your body. When consumed in large enough quantities, they can block the intestinal absorption of some of the cholesterol that you eat, thereby helping to lower blood cholesterol levels. Unfortunately, they are not naturally present in plants in large enough quantities to have a significant effect, so food scientists found a way to incorporate them in much higher doses in foods ranging from butter spreads such as Benecol® and Promise® to tortilla chips (Corazones®) to chocolate bars (Cocoa Via®). Research shows that when these substances are consumed at the recommended doses of 1-2 grams per day, both total cholesterol and bad cholesterol (LDL) drop by as much as 6 percent. So if your cholesterol tends to run a little high, you might consider adding plant sterols-stanols to your diet in addition to limiting your saturated fat consumption and eating plenty of fiber…

…If you have serious medical problems or are pregnant, consult with your physician before eating foods that contain high levels of probiotics. If you are healthy, you may want to save your money until we have a better understanding of the role of probiotics in optimal health.

While I'm sure that functional foods are not what Hippocrates had in mind when he stated "Let food be thy medicine," I think he would be somewhat pleased with their potential health benefits.
Dr. Jampolis is clearly nuts. I doubt Hippocrates would be thrilled about any food produced in a factory. Health-promoting compounds come STANDARD in natural plant foods. Here’s a list from Dr. Fuhrman:
  • Allium compounds
  • Flavonoids
  • Phenolic acids
  • Alllyl sulfides
  • Glucosinolates
  • Phytoesterols
  • Anthocyanins
  • Indoles
  • Polyacetylenes
  • Caffeic acid
  • Isoflavones
  • Polyphenols
  • Catechins
  • Isothiocyanates
  • Protease inhibitors
  • Coumarins
  • Lignans
  • Saponins
  • Dithiolthiones
  • Liminoids
  • Sulphorophane
  • Ellagic Acid
  • Pectins
  • Sterols
  • Ferulic acid
  • Perillyl alcohol
  • Terpenes
When I see all these commercials for magic yogurt and omega butter I can’t help but think, why bother? Just eat lots of fruits and veggies and be done with it! Now, that’s something Hippocrates would get behind—agreed?

Food, What's in It?

Genetically modified foods are everywhere, but you’d never know it. CBS investigates why GMOs aren’t listed on food labels. Take a look:
Robyn O'Brien teaches her kids to keep a close eye on the labels of the foods they eat.

"In terms of labeling," she says, "they're not always comprehensive and thorough."

What concerns parents like O'Brien is not what's listed, but what is not. Particularly foods made with genetically modified organisms - or GMOs.

"My concern as a mother is, are these kids part of a human trial that I didn't know that I had signed them up for," O'Brien says…

…The FDA and bio-tech giants like Monsanto say there's no evidence that GMOs are anything but safe, but food safety advocates ask: how would we know, if the food is not labeled?

"Labeling is the only way that health professionals are going to be able to trace if there is a problem," says Andy Kimbrell from the Center for Food Safety. "For example, if you're a mother and you're giving your child soy formula and that child has a toxic or allergic reaction, the only way you'll know if that's a genetically-engineered soy formula is if it's labeled."

The FDA does not require "disclosure of genetic engineering techniques...on the label," calling GMOs the "substantial equivalent" of conventional crops.

Baloney, says Kimbrell.
Hey, it’s Robyn, our buddy from—hi Robyn! Anyway, be sure to watch the video too. Check it out:

This stuff creeps me out and if you read about companies like Monsanto, there’s plenty of reason to be nervous. From Vanity Fair:
Monsanto goes after farmers, farmers’ co-ops, seed dealers—anyone it suspects may have infringed its patents of genetically modified seeds. As interviews and reams of court documents reveal, Monsanto relies on a shadowy army of private investigators and agents in the American heartland to strike fear into farm country. They fan out into fields and farm towns, where they secretly videotape and photograph farmers, store owners, and co-ops; infiltrate community meetings; and gather information from informants about farming activities. Farmers say that some Monsanto agents pretend to be surveyors. Others confront farmers on their land and try to pressure them to sign papers giving Monsanto access to their private records. Farmers call them the “seed police” and use words such as “Gestapo” and “Mafia” to describe their tactics.
When corporations behave that defensively you’ve got to wonder what they’re hiding.

Prostate Cancer: Diet and Exercise

Researchers seem to think diet and exercise has something to do with prostate cancer. The Los Angeles Times reports:
Age, genetics and hormones are the usual causal suspects in benign prostatic hyperplasia, but now some data suggest that the condition is a consequence of our Western lifestyle. In a 2006 study of 422 men published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Dr. J. Kellogg Parsons, a urologist at UC San Diego, found that men who were obese had an increased risk of prostate enlargement, with severely obese men at 3.5 times higher risk.

In another paper published this year in European Urology, Parsons pooled data from 11 studies involving about 43,000 men and found that those who engaged in regular physical activity had about a 25% lowered risk of enlarged prostates.

It's emerging evidence, Parsons says, "that the same risk factors that are contributing to cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes likely are contributing in some way to [benign prostatic hyperplasia]."
Kind of a no-brainer here, but in case you need to read more. Check out Dr. Fuhrman talking about prostate cancer and exercise:
Prostate cancer is now the single most common cancer among men in the United States. With the spread of our meat- and dairy-centered diet, it is on the rise in almost every country in the world. A meta-analysis of the best independent studies indicated that milk-drinking men seem to have a 70 percent greater chance of developing cancer of the prostate.1 This evidence exists in spite of the multiple studies that show that Vitamin D deficiency also increases the risk of prostate cancer. Since milk is fortified with Vitamin D, using it must have a significant negative effect that overwhelms the benefits from the added vitamin…

…Exercise should be a part of your daily routine like brushing your teeth and taking a shower. If you have a busy work schedule and commute, get in fifteen minutes of exercise every day before your morning shower. For example, if you routinely shower every morning, work up a sweat with some abdominal crunches, back extensions, toe raises, walk up and down the stairs in your home, mock jump rope, and then take your shower. Keep in mind; it is important to exercise your lower back frequently. Get in the habit of exercising the same time every day. Make the days where you do not exercise the exception, not the rule.
I’m not a betting man, but I bet a lot of America’s health woes could be solved by improved diet and exercise habits—what do you think?
Continue Reading...

Doctors Missing Blood Pressure...

According to a new study both doctors and patients are dropping the ball when it comes to blood pressure. Kevin McKeever of HealthDay News explains:
"Doctors should be screening more routinely during all office visits," study co-author Dr. Randall Stafford, an associate professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, said in a prepared statement. "Dual medication treatment should be seen as standard therapy, and intensive lifestyle changes should be encouraged."

The study analyzed data from a federal 2003-04 survey of services performed in offices of private U.S. physicians. It noted such details as whether the blood pressure cuff was brought out, whether appropriate medications were prescribed, and whether treatment achieved its goal.

High blood pressure affects more than 65 million people in the United States and is one of the most important and preventable risk factors for cardiovascular disease, strokes and kidney disease. High blood pressure, often called "the silent killer," can damage one's body for years before actual symptoms develop.

This lack of symptoms may be a major reason for poor quality of care, researchers said.

"This is a problem that spans much of preventive medicine," Stafford said. "The treatment itself doesn't make patients feel better. If somebody has asthma, they know that if they stop taking medication, they're going to start wheezing. With blood pressure medicines, patients don't feel any different."
And here are a few more posts about blood pressure. Take a look:

Breast-Feeding May Lower Breast Cancer Risk

New research suggests that breast-fed infants may have a lower risk of developing breast cancer. Reuters reports:
"However, we did not observe this reduction when we looked specifically among first-born women," said Nichols, of the University of Wisconsin, in Madison.

A woman's age at childbirth helps predict the levels of environmental contaminants in her breast milk, and studies have suggested a possible link between increased breast cancer risk and the accumulation of these contaminants, Nichols and colleagues note in the medical journal Epidemiology…

...However, in analyses restricted to breast-fed women, those with 3 or more older siblings had a lesser risk for breast cancer than first born women, the researchers found. But breast-fed women showed no altered breast cancer risk according to their mothers' age at childbirth.

Among women who were not breast-fed, reduced adult breast cancer risk was linked with their mothers' older age at childbirth, but the investigators identified no association between breast cancer risk and birth order in this group.
For more breast-feeding news, check out Followhealthlife’s healthy parenting category.

Vaccines and Autism: Families Go to Court

Families claiming that mercury-containing vaccinations trigger autism are heading to court today. Kevin Freking of the Associated Press reports:
Overall, nearly 4,900 families have filed claims with the U.S. Court of Claims alleging that vaccines caused autism and other neurological problems in their children. Lawyers for the families will present three different theories of how vaccines caused autism.

The Office of Special Masters of the claims court has instructed the plaintiffs to designate three test cases for each of the three theories _ nine cases in all _ and has assigned three special masters to handle the cases. Three cases in the first category were heard last year, but no decisions have been reached.

The two cases beginning Monday are among the three that focus on the second theory of causation: that thimerosal-containing vaccines alone cause autism. The plaintiff in the third case originally scheduled for hearing this month has withdrawn and lawyers and court officials are working to agree on substitute case.

Hearings in the test cases for the third theory of causation are scheduled in mid-September.

Lawyers for the petitioning families in the cases being heard this month say they will present evidence that injections with thimerosal deposit a form of mercury in the brain. That mercury excites certain brain cells that stay chronically activated trying to get rid of the intrusion.
Followhealthlife explored the vaccine issue in last month’s feature post: Mandatory Vaccinations: The Choice Should Be Yours.

Mad Cow, No Worries?

The Bush administration is backing a federal appeal to stop meatpackers from testing all their animals for mad cow disease. The Associated Press reports:
The government seeks to reverse a lower court ruling that allowed Kansas-based Creekstone Farms Premium Beef to conduct more comprehensive testing to satisfy demand from overseas customers in Japan and elsewhere.

Less than 1 percent of slaughtered cows are currently tested for the disease under Agriculture Department guidelines. The agency argues that more widespread testing does not guarantee food safety and could result in a false positive that scares consumers.

"They want to create false assurances," Justice Department attorney Eric Flesig-Greene told a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

But Creekstone attorney Russell Frye contended the Agriculture Department's regulations covering the treatment of domestic animals contain no prohibition against an individual company testing for mad cow disease, since the test is conducted only after a cow is slaughtered. He said the agency has no authority to prevent companies from using the test to reassure customers.

"This is the government telling the consumers, `You're not entitled to this information,"' Frye said.
Maybe they’re eating too much meat at the Whitehouse and its rotting their brains. How else can you explain this? More from Dr. Fuhrman:
When it is consumed in significant volume, animal protein, not only animal fat, is earning a reputation as a toxic nutrient to humans. More books are touting the benefits of high-protein diets for weight-loss and are getting much publicity. Many Americans desire to protect their addiction to a high-fat, nutrient-inadequate animal foods. These consumers form a huge market for such topsy-turvy scientific sounding quackery.
Quackery indeed!

Meat and Dairy Whacking the Environment

It seems that eating foods like vegetables and fish leaves a much smaller carbon footprint than meat and dairy products. More from Rachel Ehrenberg of ScienceNews:
For the average U.S. consumer, getting the equivalent of one-seventh of a week’s calories from chicken, fish or vegetables instead of red meat or dairy will do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than buying all local, all the time, the researchers say. Crunching the numbers revealed that delivery to the consumer accounts for only 1 percent of red meat–associated emissions. But the production path to red meat and dairy products is clouded with nitrous oxide and methane emissions, mainly from fertilizer use, manure management and animal digestion.

“Methane and nitrous oxide production are huge in agriculture,” says the study’s first author Christopher Weber of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. These greenhouses gases are often left out of similar analyses, which have tended to focus solely on carbon or energy use. “That misses a huge part of the picture,” Weber says.

Weber, who conducted the study with colleague, H. Scott Matthews, notes that they aren’t trying to downplay the benefits of buying local. “I shop locally,” he says. “But there’s been so much emphasis on food miles. We felt it was important to look at the whole life cycle.”

Using data from the U.S. departments of Commerce, Agriculture, Transportation and other sources, Weber and Matthews modeled the total greenhouse gas emissions generated in making and moving all sorts of foods from cereals to fish to cheese. The work, to appear in the May 15 Environmental Science & Technology, paints a broad brush, cautions Weber. Because the model uses Commerce Department data, the food categories are defined by Commerce Department food sectors. So while cheese and milk are considered separately, fruits and vegetables are put in the same category.
You don’t have to be a “hippie” or a “tree hugger” to be mindful of how your lifestyle impacts the planet. I’m happy I don’t eat meat or dairy.

Eat For Health: The Detriments of Dairy

This is an excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat For Health.

Dairy is the food category that contributes the most saturated fat to the American diet. The consumption of cheese has skyrocketed in recent history, and, today, cheese and butter contribute the major load of artery-clogging saturated fat to our diet. As you can see from the saturated fat chart, compared with the same size piece of fowl or fish, cheese could have ten times as much saturated fat.

If there was one food category I could wipe out of the American diet with a magic wand in order to save as many lives from heart attack and cancer as possible, that food category would most likely be the high-fat dairy foods: cheese and butter. The menu plans and recipes in this book do not contain cheese or butter. Animal products that can be included in small amounts are fish, white meat turkey and chicken, non-fat milk, skim milk, low-fat yogurt, and some eggs, but cheese and butter should be considered special occasion foods only and rarely consumed. Even low-fat versions of cheese are still rich in saturated fat. Part-skim ricotta cheese has over 50 percent of calories from fat, and the majority of that fat is saturated. If you like to include dairy products as part of your limited amount of animal products, only consume non-fat or low-fat dairy.

Research: Flavonoids Good, Acrylamides Bad

A new study claims that flavonoids—found in fruits and vegetables—may help treat Alzheimer's disease. Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News reports:

In experiments with mice, two flavonoids called luteolin and diosmin reduced levels of beta-amyloid, which forms the harmful plaques that build up in the brains of those with Alzheimer's disease.

"Our lab has been investigating beta-amyloid, which is associated with Alzheimer's, and how we can reduce it using natural compounds," said lead researcher Kavon Rezai-Zadeh, from the Rashid Laboratory for Developmental Neurobiology at Silver Child Development Center at the University of South Florida.

The research team would like to use the two flavonoids to see if they can reduce amyloid plaque in humans, since they believe flavonoids would be safe and have few side effects compared with drugs that are being developed to reduce amyloid plaque.

Rezai-Zadeh also thinks that flavonoids, which have strong antioxidant properties, might guard against Alzheimer's. "A lot of these compounds can be derived from the diet, and they may have preventive effects against Alzheimer's disease," he said. "Increasing the flavonoids in your diet may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer's."
Now, acrylamides—commonly found in processed junk foods—are being linked to an increased risk of kidney cancer. Kathleen Doheny HealthDay News is on it:

Studies of the chemical have been ongoing since 1994, when the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified the chemical as a probable human carcinogen. Experts thought the main exposure was environmental, through cigarette smoke and, to a lesser extent, cosmetics.

But in 2002, Swedish scientists reported the presence of the chemical in carbohydrate-rich foods produced at high temperatures, including French fries and potato chips.

Studies of the chemical's link to various cancers have yielded mixed results.

The Dutch research team took data from the Netherlands Cohort Study on diet and cancer, which includes more than 120,000 men and women, aged 55 to 69. They followed them for more than 13 years, looking at all the cases of kidney, bladder and prostate cancers. They took a random sample of 5,000 people to look at their dietary habits.

The average intake of acrylamide from the diet was 21.8 micrograms -- a little less than what is included in a 2.5-ounce serving of French fries. Those who took in the most -- averaging 40.8 micrograms a day -- had a 59 percent higher risk of kidney cancer (but not the other cancers) than those consuming the least.
Here’s a plan. Eat lots and lots of fruits and veggies, and, ditch the trans-fat laden, overly processed, salty and sugary junk food—good idea?

Working Out, Bring the Intensity!

I’m an exercise junky and when I go, I go hard! And That’s Fit reminds us that when you exercise, it’s all about intensity, intensity, intensity! Take a look:
Statistics show that 90-95 percent of overweight people who lose weight will regain it all (and in some cases, even more) within five years.

So, what's a person to do to stay slim? Work out harder, say researchers from Brown University. This may seem like a no-brainer at first, but what their study found was that duration during exercise does not matter as much as intensity when it comes to maintaining weight loss over time.

The good news is that you won't have to spend as long in the gym; the data shows that around 25 minutes per day is perfect. The bad news is that you won't be spending long, leisurely walks while reading a book on the treadmill anymore, because you're going to have to kick your workout into high gear.
I agree. At my gym I see so many people reading a book and lazily peddling along on an exercise bike and after months of doing this, they still look out of shape.

Iron Man, Man of Veggies...

Get a load of this. Dr. Fuhrman spotted Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man, a.k.a. Robert Downey Jr., chugging a green smoothie in his new movie Iron Man. Take a look:

Protected by metal, powered by veggies—awesome! So, how do you make a green smoothie? There are lots of ways:
Eat Your Greens Fruit Smoothie
5 ounces organic baby spinach
1 medium banana
1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
1/2 cup soy milk
1/2 cup pomegranate juice or other unsweetened fruit juice
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
Blend all ingredients in a high powered blender until smooth and creamy.

Green Citrus Smoothie
1 orange, peeled
1 cup fresh pineapple
8-10 ounces romaine or leaf lettuce
1 tablespoon Dr. Fuhrman's Blood Orange Vinegar
Blend all ingredients together.

Lisa's Favorite Green Smoothie
1 apple, cut into fourths
1 banana
1/2 avocado
4 pitted dates
5 ounces organic baby spinach
Blend all ingredients in a high powered blender until smooth and creamy.
Personally, I’m more interested in what she’s eating:

Pepper Potts, sounds vegetable-based to me!

Pudding...for Breakfast?

I'm a creature of habit. This is what I eat for breakfast most mornings. Make it yourself and let me know what you think:

Gerry’s Chocolate Pudding

1 ripe bananas
1/2 teaspoon chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon raw sunflower seeds
1/2 teaspoon raw sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground flaxseed
1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 1/2 cup frozen spinach 
1 date
handful of frozen blueberries
1 carrot
splash of acai berry juice (optional)
unsweetened almond milk or unsweetened soy milk to blend
4 heaping teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 ripe avocado

Blend until smooth. Serves 1.


Spinach Makes You Strong!

I’m a big guy, but with the exception of some fish a few times a month, I don’t eat any meat. So, where do I get my protein—VEGGIES! Here, I’ll let Dr. Fuhrman explain:
The biggest animals--elephants, gorillas, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, and giraffes--all eat predominantly green vegetation. How did they get the protein to get so big? Obviously, greens pack a powerful protein punch, in fact, all protein on the planet was formed from the effect of sunlight on green plants. The cow didn't eat another cow to form the protein in its muscles, which we call steak. The protein wasn't formed out of thin air--the cow ate grass. Not that protein is such a big deal or some special nutrient to be held in high esteem. I am making this point because most people think animal products are necessary for a diet to include adequate protein. I am merely illustrating how easy it is to consume more than enough protein while at the same time avoiding risky, cancer-promoting substances such as saturated fat. Consuming more plant protein is also the key to achieving safe and successful weight loss.
Gorillas and elephants, I’m happy to be in the company of giants. Now, new research supports the idea that green veggies—like spinach—build muscle. From NewScientist:

SOME may scoff at the notion that spinach - despite containing nutrients - builds muscles, but Popeye may have been on to something. A steroid found in leafy greens ramps up protein synthesis in muscles.

A team led by Ilya Raskin of Rutgers University in New Jersey extracted phytoecdysteroids from spinach. When they placed the liquid extract on samples of cultured human muscle, it sped up growth by 20 per cent. Rats were also slightly stronger after a month of injections of the extract.
I like to think of myself as living proof that you DON’T need animal protein to be big and strong. For more, check out: Complementary Protein Myth Won't Go Away!

Cow's Milk and Diabetes

A new Finnish study claims consuming dairy products early on correlates with diabetes risk. NewScientist is on it:
One explanation is that beta-lactoglobulin, a protein in cow's, but not human, milk prompts babies to make antibodies that also attack glycodelin, a protein vital for training the immune system. The mistuned immune system then mistakenly destroys insulin-producing pancreatic cells, leading to type 1 diabetes.

“The mistuned immune system mistakenly destroys insulin-producing cells”

Now Marcia Goldfarb of the company Anatek-EP in Portland, Maine, has found that five children with type 1 diabetes, who were fed cow's-milk formula, all have antibodies to beta-lactoglobulin.
Not that surprising. Cow’s milk is not exactly good for you, especially for kids. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
The leading cause of digestive intolerance leading to stomach complaints is dairy products. Many kids have subtle allergies to cow's milk that perpetuate their nasal congestion, leading to ear infections.

Milk, which is designed by nature for the rapidly growing cow, has about half its calories supplied from fat. The fatty component is concentrated more to make cheese and butter. Milk and cheese are the foods Americans encourage their children to eat, believing them to be healthy foods. Fifty years of heavy advertising by an economically powerful industry has shaped the public's perception, illustrating the power of one-sided advertising, but the reality and true health effects on our children is a different story. 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. If we expect our children to resist many common illnesses, they simply must consume less milk, cheese, and butter. Dairy foods should be consumed in limited quantity or not at all.

Cow's milk contains the calcium people need, but other foods are rich in calcium, too, including vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds. Today we do not need to rely on cows for our calcium. We can eat greens directly for calcium, the place where cows get it to begin with, and orange juice and soy milks are fortified with calcium and vitamin D, too. It is easy to meet our nutrient needs for these substances without the risks of cow's milk.
Yucky, milk makes me nauseas.

Earth News: Carbon, Bees, and Urban Farmers...

One of the major contributors to climate change is carbon dioxide (CO2). My colleague at Earth Policy Institute, Frances Moore, has been tracking CO2 emissions and recently released an Eco-Economy Indicator on CO2 emissions.

Check out the Earth Policy Institute data.

She writes that despite the unambiguous evidence that carbon dioxide is warming the planet, the growth in emissions is accelerating. "Emissions from the burning of fossil fuels stood at a record 8.38 gigatons of carbon (GtC) in 2006, 20 percent above the level in 2000. Emissions grew 3.1 percent a year between 2000 and 2006, more than twice the rate of growth during the 1990s. Carbon dioxide emissions have been growing steadily for 200 years, since fossil-fuel burning began on a large scale at the start of the Industrial Revolution."
Bees do so much more than supply honey and beeswax.

Bee pollination of crops, something that most farmers heavily rely on, is responsible for as much as 30% of the U.S. food supply. Where bees are not available, they are called in, with apiarists (bee keepers) travelling around the country to provide the services of their hives.

Unless the cause and cure for Colony Collapse Disorder is found soon, many fruits and vegetables may disappear entirely from US produce. The flow on effects are mind-boggling. It's not just fruits and vegetables affected, but also stock feed and grains.
This urban agriculture movement has grown even more vigorously elsewhere. Hundreds of farmers are at work in Detroit, Milwaukee, Oakland and other areas that, like East New York, have low-income residents, high rates of obesity and diabetes, limited sources of fresh produce and available, undeveloped land.

Local officials and nonprofit groups have been providing land, training and financial encouragement. But the impetus, in almost every case, has come from the farmers, who often till when their day jobs are done, overcoming peculiarly urban obstacles.

The Wilkses’ return to farming began in 1990 when their daughter planted a watermelon in their backyard. Before long, Mrs. Wilks, an administrator in the city’s Department of Education, was digging in the yard after work. Once their ambition outgrew their yard, she and Mr. Wilks, a city surveyor, along with other gardening neighbors, received permission to use a vacant lot across from a garment factory at the end of their block.

Eating to Live on the Outside: Daily's

I just flipped through the last couple month’s of Eating to Live on the Outside and I’ve got to admit, its been a nice run. Check out these great restaurants: Blue Sage Vegetarian Grille, Salad Works, Live, Green Tango, and Leaf Cuisine. All good!

And this week’s is another winner. Daily’s has serious potential. Thanks to Michael for emailing me about it. Daily’s menu is about half and half; half the food is iffy, but the other half could easily soothe the savage nutritarian. So, enough vamping—let’s hit it!

For starters I like the steamed vegetables and the small mixed green salad; hard to find something wrong with these. Steamed veggies rock and provided you go easy on the dressing, the green salad kicks butt too.

Now, onto the salads; I like four of the six. I’m skipping the Baja Flavors Pasta Salad and the Large Mixed Green Salad; the Baja Salad because of the pasta and the Green Salad because it’s a tad boring, but the rest entice me.

Combined the Chinatown Chicken Salad, Thai Noodle Salad, Greek Salad, and Spinach Pasta Salad are made with Romaine lettuce, cucumber, carrots, water chestnuts, chicken, sesame seeds, sprouts, soba noodles, celery, scallions, cabbage, feta cheese, black olives, pepperoncini peppers, rotini or fussili pasta, spinach leaves, red onions, tomatoes, parmesan cheese, and your choice of dressing. Wow, a lot of stuff!

Okay, here’s the stuff I’d omit: the chicken, soba noodles, feta cheese, black olives, either pasta, parmesan cheese and of course, I’d order the dressing on the side. I’d go with the balsamic vinegar. What would you do?

I’m passing on the entrees and pizza; nothing there gets my motor running. Let’s check out the sandwiches and wraps and yes, the wrap, bun, or bread would a concession. I’m fine with it. A bread concession I can live with, believe it me, it could be A LOT worse!

My two favorites are the Veggie Wrap and the Mediterranean Wrap. The Veggie Wrap is made with a flavored tortilla, mushrooms, onions, black olives, tomatoes, zucchini, brown rice, and a ginger sesame dressing—I’m ditching the olives and getting the dressing on the side. Now, the Mediterranean Wrap includes a flavored tortilla, tomato sauce, zucchini, mushrooms, lentils, brown rice, and nonfat mozzarella cheese—I’m dropping the cheese.

I also like the Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini, the Garden Vegetable Burger, and the Thai Wrap; altogether they’re prepared with roasted red pepper spread, eggplant, zucchini, French baguette, garden vegetable burger, whole grain honey bun, flavored tortilla, tofu, celery, cucumber, shredded carrots, mushrooms, rice, and various dressings. All good stuff; grilled eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms are three of my favorite things!

I’m jumping over the desserts and drinks and going right for Daily’s Blender Bar. I like four of them. The Paradise Splash Smoothie; fresh orange juice, strawberry, and banana. The Double Berry Blitz; blueberries, strawberries, and apple juice. Razzle Dazzle; cranberry juice, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. And the Fit & Fresh; raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, and apple juice. Seriously, what’s better than blended bananas!

Now, perhaps the coolest thing about Daily’s is that the menu lists the nutrition facts. This is a HUGE asset for anyone who is mindful of their nutrition. So, here are the nutrition facts for the items I selected. Take a look:

Pretty cool—right? Yup, I definitely think Daily’s is a great place to have a healthy meal. But hey, I say it all the time, what do I know? I’m just a blogger. I’m hardly a nutrition expert. So, do me a favor, scope out Daily’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 wisely. Peace.

Health Points: Friday

York company voluntarily recalled more than 286,000 pounds of its products.

Officials said certain products labeled Gourmet Boutique, Jan's and Archer Farms may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, although there were no reports of illness before the recall.

Listeria can cause a potentially fatal disease that it is rarely contracted by healthy people, the Monterey County Health Department reported. Symptoms include high fever, severe headaches, neck stiffness and nausea. Rare but serious symptoms can occur in those with compromised immune systems. Pregnant women make up about a third of listeriosis cases, health officials said.
Arthritis strikes more than half of the 20.6 million American adults who have diabetes, and the painful joint condition may be a barrier to exercise among these patients, a new government report shows.

Being physically active helps people manage both diseases better by controlling blood sugar levels and reducing joint pain, according to the report in the May 9 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, a publication of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"The prevalence of arthritis is astoundingly high in people with diabetes," said Dr. John H. Klippel, president and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation. "Over half the people with diabetes have arthritis."
Nudging reluctant seniors to take physical fitness classes represents just one strategy to reduce the risk of falling. It's also vital to evaluate their vision and the medications they're taking. Aged pupils, for example, don't dilate as well in darkness or constrict as well in brightness.

One study showed that falls decreased 34 percent among seniors who had the milky opaqueness of a cataract removed from their eyes. Some specialists also point to bifocals and trifocals, which can blur vision, as potentially contributing to falls.

It's also common for lighting to be so inadequate that navigation of hallways and rooms can be treacherous, said Dr. Gary Chu, vice president for community collaborations at the New England Eye Institute.
"I've asked all the presidential candidates whether America should be smoke-free," he told a Senate committee hearing on how to tackle cancer.

"The consensus is that it's better left to the cities and states," he said, agreeing that state- or community-level bans were "the way to go."

"Second-hand smoking is something I'm very passionate about," he told the committee.
Young children who live in neighborhoods with lots of trees have lower rates of asthma than children who reside in areas with fewer trees, a new study finds. Researchers looked at asthma rates among children age 4 to 5 in New York City. Asthma rates decreased by almost one-quarter for every standard deviation increase in tree density, equivalent to 343 trees per square kilometer, the study found. The researchers said that trees may help reduce asthma rates by encouraging children to play outdoors more or by improving air quality.
Male postpartum depression may have more negative effects on some aspects of a child's development than its female counterpart, says James F. Paulson, PhD, of the Center for Pediatric Research at the Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Va.

Paulson and colleagues reviewed data on more than 5,000 two-parent families with children aged 9 months.

They found that one in 10 new dads met standard criteria for moderate to severe postpartum depression.

That's a "striking increase" from the 3% to 5% of men in the general population that have depression, Paulson tells WebMD.
In the current study, researchers found that professional firefighters had higher-than-expected rates of colon cancer and brain cancer. There was also evidence, albeit weaker, that they had elevated risks of bladder and kidney cancers, as well as Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Dr. Letitia Davis with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues report the findings in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

Firefighters are exposed to many potentially cancer-causing chemicals released from burning materials. At the scene of the fire, toxic substances such as benzene, lead, uranium and asbestos can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
A drug from a new class of weight-loss treatments disrupted wiring needed for brain development in young mice, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday, raising concerns about using such medications in children.

Mark Bear and colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology studied the effects of a chemical that suppresses appetite by blocking cannabinoid receptors in the brain, the same brain mechanisms that make people hungry when they smoke marijuana.

"I think that the cautionary note is that these mechanisms play an important role in ... brain development," said Bear, whose study appears in the journal Neuron.
Even a benign lesion on a mammogram makes women and doctors nervous, and doctors sometimes recommend a biopsy anyway. But new data show that waiting six months for a follow-up mammogram is a safe option.

Researchers tracked more than 45,000 women who were given six-month follow-up mammograms after an initial scan found lesions that were “probably” benign. In most cases, they were. Only about one in 100 women were eventually diagnosed with cancer six to 12 months later, according to the study, which appears in the May issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.
It is well known that high blood sugar levels indicative of the diabetes that occurs during pregnancy present risks for expectant mothers and their infants. The current study is believed to be the first to show that higher blood sugar levels -- not high enough to be considered diabetes -- also convey these increased risks.

In a study of nearly 24,000 pregnant women who had their blood sugar levels tested between 24 and 32 weeks of pregnancy, researchers found that the higher the mother's blood sugar level, the greater the chances that she would require Caesarean delivery and deliver an abnormally large baby.

News from The Cancer Project

Dr. Fuhrman forwarded this to me. Here are some great studies from The Cancer Project’s spring update. Take a look:
Meat Consumption Increases Breast Cancer Risk
The more meat a woman eats, the greater her risk of breast cancer, according to a new study of postmenopausal Danish women. The study looked at 378 women who developed breast cancer and matched them to control subjects who did not develop breast cancer. A higher intake of meat—including poultry and fish, as well as red meat and processed meat—was associated with a significantly higher breast cancer incidence rate. Every 25 gram increase in consumption of total meat, red meat, and processed meat led to a 9, 15, and 23 percent increase in risk of breast cancer, respectively. However, the degree of risk may depend on genetics. Certain genes activate the carcinogens (heterocyclic amines) found in cooked meat. The study showed that women with genes that rapidly activate these carcinogens are at particular risk of breast cancer if they eat meat. (Egeberg R, Olsen A, Autrup H, et al. Meat consumption, N-acetyl transferase 1 and 2 polymorphism and risk of breast cancer in Danish postmenopausal women. Eur J Canc Prev. 2008;17:39-47.)
More Studies Link Milk to Prostate Cancer
Men who consume low-fat and nonfat milk face an increased risk of prostate cancer, according to two new studies in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

One study included 82,483 men in the Multiethnic Cohort Study, 4,404 of whom developed prostate cancer over an average follow-up of eight years. Researchers found no association between prostate cancer risk and calcium and vitamin D intake, whether in the form of food or supplements. However, the study did find a positive association between consuming 1 cup or more per day of low-fat or nonfat milk and developing prostate cancer.

The other study included 293,888 participants in the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-AARP Diet and Health Study. Consuming two or more daily servings of skim milk was associated with an increased risk of advanced prostate cancer.

Several previous studies—including two large Harvard studies—have shown that milk-drinking men have a significantly higher risk of prostate cancer. Researchers offer two possible reasons for the association: Milk drinking increases blood levels of insulin-like growth factor, which is associated with cancer risk. It also decreases activation of vitamin D precursors. Vitamin D helps protect the prostate against cancer. (Park S, Murphy SP, Wilkens LR, et al. Calcium, vitamin D, and dairy product intake and prostate cancer risk: the Multiethnic Cohort Study. Am J Epidemiol. 2007;166:1259-1269. Park Y, Mitrou PN, Kipnis V, et al. Calcium, dairy foods, and risk of incident and fatal prostate cancer: the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. Am J Epidemiol. 2007;166:1270-1279.)
Does Childhood Dairy Intake Increase Later Cancer Risk?
Children who consume a high-dairy diet—equivalent to nearly 2 cups of milk per day—have almost three times the risk of developing colorectal cancer in adulthood compared with children who consume less than half a cup of milk per day, according to a new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. These findings held true after researchers adjusted for differences in meat, fruit, and vegetable intake, as well as socioeconomic status. (Van der Pols JC, Bain C, Gunnell D, Smith GD, Frobisher C, Martin RM. Childhood dairy intake and adult cancer risk: 65-y follow-up of the Boyd Orr cohort. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;86:1722-1729.)

Nitrates Help Ulcers

A new study has determined that fruit and vegetable nitrates offer protection against gastric ulcers. More from EMaxHealth:
"Nitrates in food have long been erroneously linked to an increased risk of cancer," says Joel Petersson of Uppsala University's Department of Medical Cell Biology.

He instead thinks that nitrate-rich vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, radishes and beetroot have a positive affect on the stomach by activating the mucous membranes' own protective mechanisms, thus reducing the risk of problems such as gastric ulcers.

In the body the blood circulation transports nitrates to the salivary glands, where they are concentrated. When we have eaten nitrate-rich food our saliva thus contains large amounts of nitrates, which the bacteria of the oral cavity partially convert into nitrites. When we swallow the nitrites they come into contact with acid gastric juice, and are then converted into the biologically active substance nitric oxide. This results in our developing high levels of nitric oxide in the stomach after eating vegetables.
Spinach, lettuce—cruciferous vegetables rock! Here Dr. Fuhrman explains why, take a look:
Scientific research has shown a strong positive association between the consumption of green vegetables and a reduction of all the leading causes of death in humans.1 Cruciferous vegetables—in particular broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, bok choy, collards, watercress, and arugula, to name a few—are loaded with disease-protecting micronutrients and powerful compounds that promote detoxification.
I’ve got a big grin on my face. I regularly down bags of baby spinach.
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Eat For Health: The Dangers of Omission

This is an excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat For Health.

Our society has evolved to a level of economic sophistication that allows us to eat ourselves to death. A diet centered on milk, cheese, pasta, bread, fried foods, and sugar-filled snacks and drinks, lays the groundwork for obesity, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and autoimmune illnesses. It is not solely that these foods are harmful; it is also what we are not eating that is causing the problem. What we are not eating is enough nutrient-rich foods.

As this chart shows, when you calculate all the calories consumed from the Standard American Diet, you find that the calories coming from phytochemical-rich foods, such as fresh fruit, vegetables, beans, raw nuts, and seeds, is less than ten percent of the total caloric intake. This dangerously low intake of unrefined plant foods is what guarantees weakened immunity to disease, frequent illnesses, and a shorter lifespan. We will never win the war on cancer, heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and other degenerative illnesses unless we address this deficiency. Though the American diet has spread all over the world, bringing with it heart disease, cancer, and obesity, studies still show that in the populations that eat more fruits and vegetables, the incidences of death from these diseases is dramatically lowered.1

Most health authorities today are in agreement that we should add more servings of healthy fruits and vegetables to our diet. I disagree. Thinking about our diet in this fashion doesn’t adequately address the problem. Instead of thinking of adding those protective fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts to our disease-causing diet, these foods must be the main focus of the diet itself. This is what makes my eating-style different. Once we understand that concept, then we can add a few servings of foods that are not in this category to the diet each week, and use animal products and grains as condiments or small additions to this naturally, nutrient-rich diet.
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Avocado, Strong Like Bull!

The New York Times Bitten blog wants to know how to buy an avocado? More from Mark Bittman:
The other day I was talking to Nick Fox, the deputy editor of the Dining section, about avocados. (We have a lovely little avocado soup on the Minimalist schedule for a few weeks down the road.) And I said, “The odd thing is, whenever I buy semi-ripe or ripe avocados, they’re awful — banged up and overripe, and often mealy.” His response, which jived with my experience but I have never been quite savvy enough to verbalize, was simply “You should buy them rock hard.”
Awesome! I buy four avocados a week; one semi-soft and the others I could use as weapons. Now, here’s a great avocado recipe:

Avocado Currant Pudding

2 avocados
1 medium banana
4 cups (about 4 ounces) organic baby spinach
1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
1/2 cup date sugar
1/2 cup currants or raisins
1 tablespoon unsweetened, shredded coconut, for garnish

Blend all ingredients, except currants and coconut, in a Vita-Mix or other powerful blender until smooth and creamy. Pour into bowl and stir in currants. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Stir and sprinkle with coconut. Serves 3.

And, avocados are a great substitute for butter. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Butter is loaded with a dangerous amount of saturated fat, but stick margarines have hydrogenated oils that contain trans fats that raise LDL, the bad cholesterol. Adjusting the type of fat consumed, researchers found that butter caused the highest cholesterol level and that varying amounts of margarines and oils had various harmful effects.1 The best answer is to use nothing, or buy whole-grain bread that tastes good without adding a greasy topping. If you love the flavor of butter, try Butter Buds or sparingly use a spread that contains no hydrogenated oil, such as Spectrum Essential Omega Spread, instead. Lots of my patients like no-salt tomato sauce on bread, or tomato-salsa blend, avocado, or stewed mushrooms. Of course, the best way to get out of the habit of eating those greasy toppings is not to eat bread at all.
Need I remind you that I elected myself President of the Avocado Fan Club.
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Rocket Fuel, Drinking Water, No Worries

The EPA might NOT limit the amount of perchlorate in drinking water. Marla Cone of The Los Angeles Times reports:
A top Environmental Protection Agency official told a Senate committee Tuesday that there was "a distinct possibility" that the agency would not limit the amount of perchlorate, a toxic ingredient of solid rocket fuel, that is allowable in drinking water.

State officials and water suppliers across the nation have been waiting for the EPA to set a standard for several years because perchlorate has contaminated the water supplies of at least 11 million people. Last year, California, impatient with the EPA's indecision, set its own standard.

Benjamin H. Grumbles, the EPA's assistant administrator for water, said the EPA would decide by the end of the year whether to regulate perchlorate. Scientific studies have shown that the chemical blocks iodide and suppresses thyroid hormones, which are necessary for the normal brain development of a fetus or infant.

"We know that perchlorate can have an adverse effect and we're concerned about that," Grumbles told the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who chairs the committee, told Grumbles that she heard from EPA staffers that there was a strong likelihood that the agency would decide against setting any standard.
I’m not sure what the EPA is up to; lead bad, nanosilver bad, rocket fuel okay?

Green Bananas, No, "Green" Bananas

According to National Geographic News “green” banana farming is gaining popularity. Stefan Lovgren reports:
Vast acres of rain forest are cut down worldwide to create plantations, while workers spray tons of herbicides and pesticides to keep weeds, fungi, and root-nibbling pests away from the disease-prone banana plants.

That's why, when Costa Rica's EARTH University acquired lands in 1989 that included a sprawling banana plantation, the school's eco-consultants told officials to ditch the farm…

… In addition to the environmental consequences, using pesticides and herbicides is a burden to plantation laborers, who reportedly suffer from sterility, cancers, and other conditions after years of exposure.

Michael Besancon is president of the Southern Pacific division of Whole Foods Market based in Sherman Oaks, California.

He said the overall goal for the banana-producing business should be achieving sustainability, which means not just reducing chemical use but also providing good wages and working conditions for the farmers.
And let me remind you. Operation Banana Hunt is still on. I’m having a hard time finding new bananas—so help me out!

Too Much Sleep, Too Little Sleep...

According to the CDC either lack of sleep or oversleeping is linked to illness. Mike Stobbe of the Associated Press reports:
The research adds weight to a stream of studies that have found obesity and other health problems in those who don't get proper shuteye, said Dr. Ron Kramer, a Colorado physician and a spokesman for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

"The data is all coming together that short sleepers and long sleepers don't do so well," Kramer said.

The study is based on door-to-door surveys of 87,000 U.S. adults from 2004 through 2006 conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…

…Results were similar, though a bit less dramatic, for obesity: About 33 percent of those who slept less than six hours were obese, and 26 percent for those who got nine or more. Normal sleepers were the thinnest group, with obesity at 22 percent.

For alcohol use, those who slept the least were the biggest drinkers. However, alcohol use for those who slept seven to eight hours and those who slept nine hours or more was similar.

In another measure, nearly half of those who slept nine hours or more each night were physically inactive in their leisure time, which was worse even than the lightest sleepers and the proper sleepers. Many of those who sleep nine hours or more may have serious health problems that make exercise difficult.
Well, I guess set your alarm, but not TOO early!

I See Chopsticks...

As uncoordinated as I am, I can actually eat with chopsticks. Maybe I should buy a pair of these. Via TreeHugger:

Designer Brad Gressel has focused on a new way to carry your own: in your glasses. "The hollow plastic frames offer casing for the stainless steel tipped utensils. They can be easily washed or wiped off, and the end of the glasses are open to eliminate bacteria buildup."
These look like something a lame gadget-based superhero would wear—it’s a bird, it’s a plane, no, it’s Super Geek!

Flu Pandemic...Run and Hide!

The World Health Organization says, “We can't delude ourselves. The threat of a pandemic influenza has not diminished.” Quick, head for the hills! More from the Associated Press:
Keiji Fukuda, coordinator for the World Health Organization's Global Influenza Program, spoke to a meeting of around 150 health experts from governments, WHO and other agencies to update WHO's pandemic influenza preparedness plan.

Scientists fear that the H5N1 strain of bird flu virus — which began ravaging Asian poultry stocks in late 2003 — could mutate into a form that spreads easily among humans, potentially sparking a pandemic that kills millions. So far, most human cases have been linked to contact with infected birds.

Fukuda said more than 150 countries had some kind of national preparedness plans but some of them were merely a piece of paper acknowledging the risk.

He said it was crucial that all levels of society were involved in the preparations and that everyone knows where to go for information.

"If somebody is sick in the family for example and it's difficult to get to hospital, they need to know what sort of advice might be available," Fukuda told The Associated Press.
Now, I’m not worried about the flu. I had the flu last year and my nutrient-dense diet kicked its butt in a few days. Me quoting me:
A couple hours later it was pretty obvious, I had the flu. Sure, I was mad that I was sick, but I was more upset that my year-plus streak of not getting ill had come to an end. Nevertheless, I battened down the hatches and prepared to fight this virus head on. After all, I’m an Eat to Liver. My body is equipped and ready to smack the stuffing out of an intruder like the flu, right?

Absolutely! Tuesday and Wednesday I got the brunt of the virus; fever, chills, cough, the sweats, headache, and that horrible malaise. What did I do? Not much. I planted my well-bundled butt on the couch, turned on The Price is Right, drank lots of water, and ate bunch of water-rich fruits like watermelon, cantaloupe, and pineapple. In fact, at times my symptoms were so mild that I actually made a trip to the supermarket to buy more fruit. Not to mention, I didn’t miss a beat on Followhealthlife—thank you very much. So what happened next?

Thursday morning I woke up feeling a lot better! The only symptom still hanging around is a slight a cough and few sniffles, but nothing serious.
In truth, the flu isn’t really that scary. According to Dr. Fuhrman if you’re body is fortified by a healthy diet, you’ll survive. From Dr. Fuhrman:
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.

Those of us who eat the Standard American Diet (SAD) have a very low nutrient (per calorie) intake. This chronic malnourished condition is the true life-threatening epidemic in the modern world, resulting in a medical care crisis and untold tragedies. And this ubiquitous malnourishment may also eventually enable the Avian influenza viruses to spread more easily and develop into virulent forms. With the ubiquitous consumption of fake foods such as white bread, pasta, oil and sugar, nutritional incompetence is the norm.

The flu is a simple viral illness which a healthy body has scores of adequate defenses against. No flu, including the bird flu, is any match for a well-nourished immune system.
So, bird flu, monkey flu, elephant flu, beetle flu, kangaroo flu, dog flu, zebra flu, and hippopotamus flu—BRING IT ON!

Breastfeeding Makes You Smart...

Researchers claim that breastfeeding helps boost IQ. More from BBC News:
The latest study attempted to take this into account by following the progress of children born in hospitals in Belarus, some of which ran breastfeeding promotion schemes to boost rates across all groups.

They found that those who breastfed exclusively for the first three months - with many also continuing to 12 months - scored an average of 5.9 points higher on IQ tests in childhood.

Teachers also rated these children significantly higher academically than control children in both reading and writing, the Archives of General Psychiatry reported.

Lead researcher Professor Michael Kramer said: "Long-term, exclusive breastfeeding appears to improve children's cognitive development."

But he added: "Even though the treatment difference appears causal, it remains unclear whether the observed cognitive benefits of breastfeeding are due to some constituents of breast milk or are related to the physical and social interactions inherent in breastfeeding."
Breastfeeding has been in the news a lot lately. Here’s a quick recap:
Hey, it’s an important topic. Dr. Fuhrman is a big advocate of breastfeeding:
DHA is also a normal component of breast milk, and infants fed breast milk score higher on intellectual and visual measurements than those fed baby formulas lacking DHA. Children who were breast-fed, as a group, have higher IQ scores than those who were formula fed.1 Pregnant women should pay close attention to their DHA status to ensure proper DHA supply for prenatal development. Maternal supplementation with DHA during pregnancy, and lactation has been demonstrated to augment children's IQ.2
I guess I’m suffering DHA withdrawals because I’m feeling a little dopey today.
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Improve Indoor Air...

Low Impact Living offers up 10 ten ways to help you improve your indoor air quality. Check it out:

There are many sources of indoor air pollution: furniture or cabinets made of pressed wood products, damp carpets, pesticides, cleaners, tobacco smoke, hobby supplies, mold and the list goes on. These chemicals can cause and aggravate allergies, some have been linked to nervous system disorders, and some of them are carcinogenic (cancer-causing). Immediate effects can show up as sore throats, itchy eyes, headaches or fatigue. Longer term effects can be much worse.
  1. Open the windows.
  2. Change your furnace/AC air filter at least a couple of times each year.
  3. Don’t use chemical air fresheners.
  4. Similarly, be careful about candles.
  5. Use non-toxic home cleaners.
  6. Consider getting rid of your carpets.
  7. Consider getting room air filters for your home.
  8. Limit or remove vinyls from your home.
  9. If you’re doing any painting or staining, be sure to use no- or low-VOC paints and finishes.
  10. Obviously, make your home a smoke-free zone!

Of course limiting how many beans you eat helps “air quality” too!


NYC's Calorie War, Restaurants Cited

You knew this was going to be a rough transition. Fast food joints like Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s have been issued warnings for their calorie-less menus. The New York Times reports:
Five restaurants had been cited, the health department said. They were Dunkin’ Donuts at 445 Park Avenue South, at East 30th Street; McDonald’s at 1560 Broadway, at West 46th Street; Popeye’s, at 321 West 125th Street, between Frederick Douglass Boulevard and St. Nicholas Avenue; Sbarro at 22 West 34th Street, next to the Empire State Building; and TGI Friday’s at 677 Lexington Avenue, at East 56th Street.

But the citations were little more than warnings. They carried no fines, because a federal judge had said the city could not impose fines until mid-July.

And failing to post calorie counts will not affect whether a restaurant passes or fails its regular food safety inspection, even after the fines begin. The calorie-count violation is separate from the things inspectors always look for: whether food is cooked or stored at the right temperature, whether the ice maker is clean, whether workers are wearing hats or hair nets, for example.

Still, the form that inspectors issued to the restaurants that did not have calorie counts posted sounded serious. It said the health department “expects that the conditions will be addressed promptly.” The form cautioned that “any recurrence of these conditions could result in further action being taken.”
For more on NYC's calories-on-menus law, check out: New York Calorie-Count--NOW

Running: Treadmill or Pavement?

Anahad O’Connor of The New York Times wants to know, does running outdoors burn more calories than running on a treadmill? Find out:
According to several studies, the answer is not so simple. Researchers have found in general that while outdoor running tends to promote a more intense exercise, running on a treadmill helps reduce the likelihood of injury, and thus may allow some people to run longer and farther.

A number of studies have shown that in general, outdoor running burns about 5 percent more calories than treadmills do, in part because there is greater wind resistance and no assistance from the treadmill belt. Some studies show, for example, that when adults are allowed to set their own paces on treadmills and on tracks, they move more slowly and with shorter strides when they train on treadmills.
I prefer running outside, but, I run on the treadmill A LOT; although my treadmill skills pale in comparison to these guys. Take a look:

If I tried those moves I’d be blogging from a hospital bed—EEK!

Obesity Ups Heart Risks

New research has determined that obesity-related inflammation increases heart failure risk. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports:
"The biological effects of obesity on the heart are profound. Even if obese people feel otherwise healthy, there are measurable and early chemical signs of damage to their heart, beyond the well-known implications for diabetes and high blood pressure," senior study investigator Dr. Joao Lima, a professor of medicine and radiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Heart Institute, said in a prepared statement.

There is "now even more reason for (obese people) to lose weight, increase their physical activity and improve their eating habits," Lima said.

He and his colleagues tracked the development of heart failure in an ethnically diverse group of nearly 7,000 people, ages 45 to 84, who enrolled in the MESA study, starting in 2000. Of the 79 participants who've developed congestive heart failure so far, 35 (44 percent) were physically obese (body mass index of 30 or greater).

On average, obese participants were found to have higher blood levels of key immune system proteins involved in inflammation (interleukin 6, C-reactive protein, and fibrinogen) than non-obese participants. A near doubling of average interleukin 6 levels alone was associated with an 84 percent increased risk of heart failure.
So then, what’s a good way to avoid obesity and heart disease? Here’s a hint. It has something to do with diet. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Reducing the consumption of animal foods reduces the consumption of cholesterol and saturated fat. Low intake of cholesterol and saturated fat leads to a leaner body, clean arteries, and reducing risk of developing heart disease and many other diet-related diseases such as stroke, breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, and obesity.
Of course you should also exercise, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, get plenty of sleep, build strong social bounds, etc, etc…

Elderly, Depression, Vitamin D...

What’s a great way to get vitamin D? The sun! Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Sun exposure is perhaps the most important source of vitamin D because exposure to sunlight provides most humans with their vitamin D requirement. The further you live from the equator, the longer you need to be exposed to the sun in order to generate vitamin D. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that your body makes after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Vitamin D functions as a hormone because it sends a message to the intestines to increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorus.
Now, lack of vitamin D is being linked to depression in the elderly. The AFP reports:
"Underlying causes of vitamin D deficiency such as less sun exposure as a result of decreased outdoor activity, different housing or clothing habits and decreased vitamin intake may be secondary to depression, but depression may also be the consequence of poor vitamin D levels," the study, released Monday, said.

Researchers from Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, studied some 1,282 senior citizens aged between 65 and 95, and found 26 had major depression, while 169 suffered from minor depression.

Vitamin D levels were 14 percent lower in those elderly suffering from some kind of depression, according to the study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

It found that poor vitamin D status also led to an increase in levels of a hormone secreted by the parathyroid. Overactive parathyroid glands are frequently associated with depression.
I’m no doctor, but some extra sun exposure couldn’t hurt—right?

America, We Got a FAT Problem!

Maybe this is why we’re fat. Diet Blog found it:

Also, you’re not likely to find diet salvation in a strip-mall anyway.

Reduce Asthma, Delay DPT Vaccination...

“DPT vaccine given at the recommended times, doubles the risk of childhood asthma,” explains Dr. Fuhrman. And now, a new study claims delaying DPT may reduce the incidence of childhood asthma. Via Medscape:
The investigators analyzed data from the complete immunization and healthcare records of a cohort of children born in Manitoba in 1995, from birth until age 7 years. Using multivariable logistic regression, they computed the adjusted odds ratio for asthma at age 7 years according to the timing of DPT immunization.

Among 11,531 children who received at least 4 doses of DPT, the risk for asthma was halved in children in whom administration of the first dose of DPT was delayed by more than 2 months. For children with delays in administration of all 3 doses, the likelihood of asthma was 0.39 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.18 - 0.86).

"We found a negative association between delay in administration of the first dose of whole-cell DPT immunization in childhood and the development of asthma; the association was greater with delays in all of the first 3 doses," the study authors write. "The mechanism for this phenomenon requires further research."
For more on vaccinations check out April’s feature post: Mandatory Vaccinations: The Choice Should Be Yours.

Living to 100

Do you want to live forever? I do. I plan on sticking around for as long as possible and Dan Buettner of The Huffington Post has compiled a list of nine healthy habits that’ll help get you to 100. Take a look:
For the the last five years, I've been taking teams of scientists to five pockets around the world where people live the longest, healthiest lives. We call these places the Blue Zones. We found a Bronze-age mountain culture in Sardinia, Italy, that has 20 times as many 100-year-olds as the U.S. does, proportionally. In Okinawa, Japan, we found people with the longest disability-free life expectancy in the world. In the Blue Zones (Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, Calif.; and the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica), people live 10 years longer, experience a sixth the rate of cardiovascular disease and a fifth the rate of major cancers.
  1. Move naturally: Be active without thinking about it. Identify activities you enjoy and make them a part of your day. Cut calories by 20 percent.
  2. Cut calories by 20 percent: Practice "Hara hachi bi," the Okinawan reminder to stop eating once their stomachs are 80 percent full.
  3. Plant-based diet: No, you don't need to become a vegetarian, but do bump up your intake of fruits and veggies.
  4. Drink red wine: In moderation.
  5. Plan de Vida: Determine your life purpose. Why do you get up in the morning?
  6. Down shift: Take time to relieve stress. You may have to literally schedule it into your day, but relaxation is key.
  7. Belong/participate in a spiritual community.
  8. Put loved ones first/make family a priority.
  9. Pick the right tribe: The people surrounding you influence your health more than almost any other factor.
These are fantastic suggestions. Be active, eat plants, and relax—perfect! You won’t get much argument out of Dr. Fuhrman:
Increasing the consumption of vegetables, legumes, fruits, and raw nuts and seeds (and greatly decreasing the consumption of animal products) offers profound increased longevity potential, due in large part to broad symphony of life-extending phytochemical nutrients that a vegetable-based diet contains…

… Centenarian studies in Europe illustrate that those individuals living into their hundreds were likely to have consumed a plant-based diet consisting of fewer than 2000 calories per day. Multiple studies have confirmed that the thinnest people live the longest…

… As we condition our muscles and gain strength, our bones thicken and strengthen along with the muscle. Without regular exercise along the way, your bone structure can deteriorate as you get older. Some people survive with weak bones, but their quality of life suffers when they are immobilized by arthritis and osteoporosis…

…A safe and satisfying work environment, a happy marriage, a satisfying social and/or family life, and activities you enjoy are all related to positive health outcomes. Emotional wellness starts right here your finger tips end. As you respect and appreciate the value in the world around you and develop interests in other people and in such things as art, music, entertainment, sports, nature, and physical activity, you can respect yourself more for your ability and desire to appreciate the value of things not yourself.
Okinawans are fascinating people. These avid plant-eaters live a long-long time. In fact, they made John Robbins’s list of longest-lived people in his book Healthy at 100. Check it out:
  1. Abkhasia: Ancients of the Caucasus, where people are healthier at ninety than most of us are at middle age.
  2. Vilcabamba: The Valley of Eternal Youth, where heart disease and dementia do not exist.
  3. Hunza: A People Who Dance in Their Nineties, where cancer, diabetes, and asthma are unknown.
  4. The Centenarians of Okinawa: Where more people live to 100 than anywhere else in the world.
Now, for the flipside, primitive people like Inuit Greenlanders and Kenyan Maasai have short life expectancies—why? Too much meat in their diets. More from Dr. Fuhrman:

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

Similar statistics are available for the high meat-consuming Maasai in Kenya. They eat a diet high in wild hunted meats and have the worst life expectancy in the modern world. Life expectancy is 45 years for women and 42 years for men. African researchers report that, historically, Maasai rarely lived beyond age 60. Adult mortality figures on the Kenyan Maasai show that they have a 50% chance of dying before the age of 59.2
I guess the same can be said about us; between all the fast food, beef jerky, potato chips, cheese pizza, and no exercise, Americans start dying at middle-age. We’d learn a lot from our foreign neighbors.
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EPA vs. Nanosilver and Lead

Nanosilver sounds like a superhero to me, but apparently its deadly and the EPA wants to halt its sale. Rick Weiss of The Washington Post reports:
More than 200 products - including odor-resistant socks, baby bottles and clothes-washing machines - are today laced with specks of nanosilver, part of a larger nanotechnology revolution fueled by the fact that substances gain novel chemical properties when they are honed to a few billionths of a meter.

But nanosilver's deadly effects are not specific to harmful bacteria. Studies indicate it can harm aquatic organisms. And with the exception of one narrowly crafted regulatory rule that focuses on washing machines, the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] has not addressed the potential risks of this new form of pollution, said George Kimbrell, staff attorney with the Washington-based International Center for Technology Assessment, which is spearheading the petition effort.

"EPA must stop avoiding this problem and use its regulatory authority to fulfill its statutory duties," Kimbrell said in a statement, adding in an interview that nanosilver is used in some stuffed animals and children's clothing.

The petition asks the agency to stop the sale of products containing nanosilver and regulate the chemical as a pesticide, which would require toxicity studies and risk assessments to measure environmental and human health impacts.
The EPA is really fired up. They've recently proposed new limits on lead in the air. Matthew L. Wald of The New York Times is on it:
Air, however, is no longer the most common source of major exposure to lead, which can cause I.Q. loss, kidney damage and other serious health problems. In most places, water and lead paint are more troublesome sources.

Lead emissions in the air have dropped by more than 97 percent in the last three decades, because the United States banned lead as an additive in gasoline. That step was taken to allow cars to have catalytic converters, which cut the ingredients of smog, and reduced lead in the air as a side benefit.

Still, high lead concentrations exist in scattered places with iron and steel foundries, copper smelters, mining operations, waste incinerators and concrete plants, according to Lydia Wegman, an expert at the Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards. In addition, she said, gasoline with lead is still used in small airplanes.

Depending on the level at which the new standard is set, officials can identify two dozen counties that would be out of compliance. But they cannot be certain how many other counties may fail because the network of monitoring stations has been cut back.
We live in a toxic world; from the air, water, and soil to the food we eat and products we buy. For more, check out Followhealthlife’s Toxins category.

Seafood, Lots of Issues

Bill Lambrecht of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch takes a look at all the problems with seafood coming from China to the United States. Here’s a bit:
In March, inspectors checking Chinese seafood arriving at U.S. ports made some unsettling discoveries: fish infected with salmonella in Seattle and Baltimore, and shrimp with banned veterinary drugs in Florida.

Meanwhile, a shipment intercepted in Los Angeles on March 19 labeled "channel catfish" wasn't catfish at all, although records don't say what it was.

"A lot of those products coming in from overseas, you have no clue as to what is in them," said Paul Hitchens, an aquaculture specialist in Southern Illinois, where cut-rate Chinese catfish are threatening the livelihood of fish farmers…

… Seafood is considered one of the riskiest imports, and those from China have risen steadily. When the FDA does turn away shipments, usually it is because they contain veterinary drugs, among them nitrofurans, a family of antibiotics banned by the FDA because tests showed they cause cancer in animals.

More than 100 of the shipments were rejected for being filthy, decomposed or otherwise unfit for consumption, according to the records…

…FDA officials are requesting new authority, including the ability to license private companies to assist with inspections. But the Bush administration has signaled opposition to key provisions that would require regular inspections in foreign lands and limit ports where food can arrive to docks with FDA labs.
Now, here’s something you probably didn’t realize. Did you know ocean fish are getting smaller and smaller? This video is funny, but informative too:

For your fish and health questions, check out Fishing for the Truth for a round up.

NYC: Supermarkets Packing Up Shop

More and more supermarkets are leaving New York City, making it hard for many people to find healthy fresh food in their neighborhoods. David Gonzalez of The New York Times reports:
The dearth of nearby supermarkets is most severe in minority and poor neighborhoods already beset by obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

According to the food workers union, only 550 decently sized supermarkets — each occupying at least 10,000 square feet — remain in the city…

… In some cases, the old storefronts have been converted to drug stores that stand to make money coming and going — first selling processed foods and sodas, then selling medicines for illnesses that could have been prevented by a better diet.

The supermarket closings — not confined to poor neighborhoods — result from rising rents and slim profit margins, among other causes. They have forced residents to take buses or cabs to the closest supermarkets in some areas. Those with cars can drive, but the price of gasoline is making some think twice about that option. In many places, residents said the lack of competition has led to rising prices in the remaining stores…

…The lack of easily available fresh food has prompted city and state officials to convene several task forces to address the public health implications.

The recent study conducted by the Department of City Planning estimated that as many as three million New Yorkers live in what are considered high-need neighborhoods — communities characterized by not enough supermarkets and too many health problems.
This is a major reason why certain neighborhoods in New York have staggering rates of obesity and diabetes. More from this New York Times miniseries:
As someone who eats primarily fruits and vegetables, and, wants to live in New York, I’m concerned. I need a steady stream of fresh produce.

Pineapple in the City...

Did you know Fiorello LaGuardia loved pineapples? See for yourself. Via Gothamist:

Its amazing how well that pineapple has held up after all these years.

No More Peanut Allergies...

Could genetically modified plants mean the end of peanut allergies? Stephen Daniells of Food Navigator explains:
"An example would be to introduce anti-sense RNA copies of the allergen gene into the peanut plant to suppress allergen gene expression," stated Dr. Burks. "Post-translational gene silencing by mRNA degradation is another approach being investigated."

"The difficulty with this and similar approaches is that several peanut proteins are involved in IgE binding.

"The process of altering enough of the peanut allergens to make a modified peanut that is less likely to cause an allergic reaction would probably render the new peanut no longer a peanut," he added.

Despite offering a potentially life-saving solution for millions around the world, acceptance of GM peanuts is not guaranteed. The GM tag continues to be one of the biggest challenges for consumer acceptance, particularly in Europe and most notably in the UK.
I don’t know, high-tech plants can be pretty scary. Remember these, Food: Truth and Untruth in Advertising?

Eat For Health: Food Addiction Starts the Fat Cycle

This is an excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat For Health.

When a heavy coffee drinker stops drinking coffee, he feels ill, experiencing headaches and weakness, and even feels nervous and shaky. Fortunately, these symptoms resolve slowly over four to six days. Discomfort after stopping an addictive substance is called withdrawal, and it is significant because it represents detoxification, or a biochemical healing that is accomplished after the substance is withdrawn. It is nearly impossible to cleanse the body of a harmful substance without experiencing the discomfort of withdrawal. Humans have a tendency to want to avoid discomfort, so they continue the toxic habits to avoid the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. When we discontinue consuming healthy substances, such as broccoli or spinach, we do not experience discomfort. We feel nothing. Only unhealthful, toxic substances are addicting, and, therefore, these are the only substances that cause discomfort when you stop consuming them. Their addictive potential is proportional to their toxicity.

Uncomfortable sensations are very often the signals that repair is under way and the removal of toxins is occurring. Though it may be difficult to adjust to this way of thinking, feeling ill temporarily can be seen as a sign that you are getting well. That cup of coffee may make you feel better temporarily, but any stimulating substance that makes you feel better quickly, or gives you immediate energy, is hurtful, not healthful. Any substance that has that immediate effect is toxic and called a stimulant. Healthy foods do not induce stimulation. When you meet your needs for nutrients and sleep, your body will naturally feel well and fully energized, without the need for stimulation.

The heavy coffee drinker typically feels the worst upon waking up in the morning or when delaying or skipping a meal. The same is true for the many of us who are addicted to toxic foods. The body goes through withdrawal, or detoxification, most strongly when it is not busy digesting food. Eating stops withdrawal because detoxification cannot take place efficiently while food is being consumed and digested. A heavy meal will stop the discomfort, or a cup of coffee will alleviate the symptoms, but the cycle of withdrawal will begin again the minute the caffeine level drops or digestion is finished and the glucose level in the blood starts to go down.

The more you search for fast, temporary relief with a candy bar, a can of soda, or a bag of chips, the more you inhibit the healing, detoxification process. Then, your body becomes more toxic because you gave it more low-nutrient calories. Calories consumed without the accompanying nutrients that aid in their assimilation and metabolism lead to a build-up of toxic substances in the cells that promote cellular aging and disease. Eating low-nutrient calories increases dangerous free-radical activity within the cells and allows for the build-up of cellular waste. These low nutrient calories also increase other toxic materials in the body, such as Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs). AGEs affect nearly every type of cell and molecule in the body, and are major factors in aging and age-related chronic diseases. Their production is markedly accelerated in diabetics, and they are believed to play a causative role in the vascular complications of the disease.

AGEs are the result of a chain of chemical reactions and may be formed external to the body by overcooking foods or inside the body though cellular metabolism. They form at a constant but slow rate in the normal body and accumulate with time, but their formation can be accelerated by your eating habits. Dry cooking methods such as baking, roasting, and broiling cause sugars to combine with proteins to form AGEs, while water-based cooking, such as steaming and boiling, does not. AGEs are highest in burnt and browned foods, such as brown-bread crust, cookies, and brown-basted meats, but these compounds also can build up in cells from the consumption of low-nutrient calories, especially calories from sweets. So, eating both overcooked foods and low-nutrient foods leads to the build-up of AGEs and ages us faster.

When you eat a diet that is based on toxic and addictive foods—such as salt, fried foods, snack foods, and sugary drinks—you not only build up free radicals and AGEs in your cells, but you also set the stage for ill feelings when you are not digesting food. Unhealthy food allows your body to create waste byproducts that must be removed by the liver and other organs. Only when digestion ends can the body fully take advantage of the opportunity to circulate and attempt to remove toxins. If the body is constantly digesting, it can’t go through this detoxification process effectively.

When detoxification begins, people often feel queasiness or malaise. Eating something restarts digestion and shuts down the detoxification process, making the bad feelings go away. The worse the nutritional quality of your diet, the worse you will feel if you try to stop eating food for a few hours. You will only feel normal while your digestive tract is busy.

Health: Man Worries

A lot of attention gets paid to women’s health, but guys have plenty of hang-ups too. Some of dudes won’t even go to the doctor. Chris Sparling of That’s Fit tells us why:
A 2007 survey, conducted for the American Academy of Family Physicians, revealed what some guys' reasons are for not seeing a doctor. This is where I'd like to insert some fancy pie chart, but since I can't, I'll stick to bullet points.
  • 36% of men only go to the doctor when they are extremely sick
  • 23% of men say they are healthy and don't need to see a doctor
  • 11% of men say lack of insurance prevents them from seeing a doctor
  • 8% of men say they don't like doctors
  • 7% of men don't go to the doctor because they are afraid of finding out that something is wrong with them
Look guys, if you're not feeling well, go see a doctor. Even if you're feeling fine, and it's simply time you had an annual check-up, go see the damn doctor, will you? If your car is making a strange rattling noise or even driving the slightest bit off, you'd have it looked at, wouldn't you? Afford your body the same respect and care.
And that’s not all. A lot of guys have a warped sense of body image. Mike Howard of Diet Blog explains:
Dr. David Giles surveyed 161 men aged between 18 and 36, and found that those who regularly read the magazines were more likely to be influenced by the imagery within.

A more pressing concern, according to Giles, is the steps a young man might take to look "the part". This may include obsessive exercise and/or the use of anabolic steroids.

He goes on to say: "The message in typical lads' magazines is that you need to develop a muscular physique in order to attract a quality mate. Readers internalize this message, which creates anxieties about their actual bodies and leads to increasingly desperate attempts to modify them."

Professor Naomi Fineberg, a consultant psychiatrist cautions that "we can't say for sure whether these magazines might be causing it, but it's very persuasive that cultural factors are important."
Let this be a lesson to you ladies. Men are just as crazy as you are—commence scowling now.

Obesity Linked to Short Sleep

A new study has found an association between short sleep duration and obesity. More from EurekAlert:
Francesco P. Cappuccio, MD, of Warwick Medical School in the United Kingdom, and colleagues performed a systematic search of publications on the relationship between short sleep duration and obesity risk. Criteria for inclusion were: report of duration of sleep as exposure, body mass index (BMI) as continuous outcome and prevalence of obesity as categorical outcome, number of participants, age and gender.

Of the 696 studies identified from the search, 12 studies on children and 17 studies on adults met the inclusion criteria.

For the children, 13 population samples from the 12 studies were included in the pool analysis, for a total of 30,002 participants from around the world. The subjects’ age ranged from two to 20 years. Seven of 11 studies reported a significant association between short sleep duration and obesity.

For the adults, 22 population samples from the 17 studies were included in the pool analysis, for a total of 604,509 worldwide participants. The subjects’ age ranged from 15-102 years. Seventeen population samples showed a significant association between short duration of sleep and obesity. Unlike studies in children, all studies in adults showed a consistent and significant negative association between hours of sleep and BMI.

According to Dr. Cappuccio, this study showed a consistent pattern of increased odds of being a short sleeper if you are obese, both in childhood and adulthood.
Sleep is precious and definitely needed in most people’s hectic schedule. Dr. Fuhrman’s advice, take a nap. Check it out:
During sleep, your body removes the buildup of waste in the brain. Sufficient sleep is necessary for the normal function of your nervous and endocrine systems. Most civilizations in human history recognized the value of mid-afternoon naps. The desire for a rest, short sleep, or “siesta” after lunch should not be seen as an abnormal need, but rather a normal one.
And if you find yourself unable to sleep or getting up in the middle of the night, this might work for you. Take a look:

If dancing sheep snuck into my bedroom, I’d never sleep soundly—AGAIN!

Weed-Killer and Brain Cancer, Linked

According to a new study people who work around weed-killers have a higher risk of developing brain cancer. More from Reuters:
Researchers found that among more than 1,400 U.S. adults with and without brain cancer, there was no overall link between the disease and on-the-job exposure to pesticides or herbicides -- chemicals used to kill plants, usually weeds.

However, a closer look at the data showed that women who had ever been exposed to herbicides at work had a two-fold higher risk of meningioma than women with no such exposure.

Meningiomas are slow-growing tumors that arise in the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord. They are one of the most common forms of brain tumor, and occur most frequently in middle-aged women.

A few studies, but not all, have linked both farming and heavy pesticide exposure to a higher risk of brain cancer.
This is no secret. I first learned about it in Dr. Fuhrman’s book Disease-Proof Your Child. Here’s an excerpt:
Studies of farm workers who work with pesticides suggest a link between pesticide use and brain cancer, Parkinson's disease, multiple myloma, leukemia, lymphoma, and cancers of the stomach, prostate, and testes.1
Makes you want to shake the people that manufacture these chemicals.
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More Meat Recalled...

Gourmet Boutique, LLC has voluntarily recalled 286,000 pounds of meat and poultry that may be contaminated with bacteria. Reuters reports:
The meat may be contaminated with Listeria monocyotogenes bacteria, which can cause a rare but potentially fatal disease known as listeriosis, the USDA said. Infants, the elderly, people with HIV and patients undergoing chemotherapy are among those at risk for the disease.

Listeriosis also can cause miscarriages and stillbirths.

The USDA said it had received no reports of illnesses linked to the products that were being recalled.
This is nothing compared to the 143 million pounds of meat recalled Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company back in Febraury.

A Day's Trifeca of Meals...

Egg and Vegetable Scramble

2 eggs
2 tablespoons unsweetened soy milk
1/2 medium bell pepper, diced
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup diced fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup diced fresh mushrooms
1 tablespoon Dr. Fuhrman’s VegiZest or other no salt seasoning
1 teaspoon Spike or other no salt seasoning
4 ounces organic spinach, coarsely chopped or baby spinach
Beat eggs with soy milk. Water sauté the peppers, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, VegiZest, and Spike until vegetables are tender. Add spinach to wilt. Cook most water out of vegetables, then add eggs and scramble until cooked through. Serves 1.

Gazpacho Summer Soup

1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced into large pieces
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into large pieces
1 14-ounce diced or chopped tomatoes, no salt added
1 cup roasted red peppers, in vinegar, low sodium (drained)
2 cups tomato juice, low sodium
1 12-ounce jar mild or medium salsa, low sodium
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dr. Fuhrman’s VegiZest
cucumber slices (optional)
Place cucumbers and fresh red bell peppers in a food processor. Pulse until chopped in small pieces. Add canned tomatoes and roasted red peppers. Pulse a couple of more times until finely chopped. Add tomato juice and rest of ingredients and pulse until well mixed. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours for flavors to mingle. Before serving, garnish with cucumber slices, if desired. Serve chilled. Serves 3.

Chard and Vegetable Medley

1/2 cup water, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman’s VegiZest
1 teaspoon Spike no salt seasoning
4 small yellow squash, cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 bunches Swiss chard, red and green, coarsely chopped
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Place garlic, onion, VegiZest, Spike, and yellow squash in a large soup pot with 1/4 cup water. Bring to a high simmer. Cook until onion is soft, about 3 minutes. Add remaining vegetables, along with another 1/4 cup water, and simmer covered for about 12 minutes or until tender. Drain vegetables, reserving liquid. Add balsamic vinegar to liquid and reduce over high heat until syrupy. Pour over vegetables. Serves 4.

Veggie Shirts

Here are some great t-shirt ideas from FoodTee Market. I really like the broccoli one, take a look:

The carrot shirt would be great for cranky days.

Broncos QB Has Type 1 Diabetes

Denver Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler has been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Pat Graham of the Associated Press reports:
The 25-year-old Cutler found out about two weeks ago that he was diabetic and needed daily insulin injections, Garafalo told The Associated Press.

He said Cutler was managing his disease and “in no way is his football career jeopardized.”

Some 21 million Americans have diabetes, meaning their bodies cannot properly turn blood sugar into energy. Either they don’t produce enough insulin or don’t use it correctly. With the Type 1 form, the body’s immune system attacks insulin-producing pancreatic cells, so that patients require insulin injections to survive.

“It’s something that he’s dealing with and something a lot of other people have,” Garafalo said. “Even though it’s a serious condition, it’s a condition that can be managed. That’s the way he’s treating it right now.

“Everything’s fine,” Garafalo continued. “His condition is fine.”
Tough break for a rising star—as a Raiders fan that was hard for me to say—but there is plenty of hope for Type 1 diabetics. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
I find that when type 1 diabetics adopt a nutritarian lifestyle, they can lower their insulin requirements by about half. They no longer have swings of highs and lows, and their glucose levels and lipids stay under excellent control. In other words, it is not Type 1 diabetes itself that causes such negative health consequences. Rather, it is the combination of the diabetes and the typical nutritional “advice” given to these patients—advice that requires them to take large amounts of unnecessary insulin.

The extra insulin and the high glucose levels raise lipids, accelerate atherosclerosis, and damage the body. With this in mind, it should be clear that while the Standard American Diet (SAD), which has spread to all industrialized nations, is dangerous for everyone, it is particularly deadly for diabetics.

With a truly health-supporting lifestyle, including exercise and real food designed by nature, the type 1 diabetic can have the same potential for a long, disease-free life as everyone else. Even though the type 1 diabetic still will require exogenous (external) insulin, they will no longer need excessive amounts of it.
Odds are Jay’s diet could use an overhaul because as we’ve seen many professional athletes don’t exactly make wise food choices.

Beer Muscles Explained...

Without alcohol I would have been a very lonely nerd in college and now a new study explains why you feel so fearless after a few rounds. From the NewScientist:
Jodi Gilman and her colleagues at the US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in Bethesda, Maryland, used MRI to observe the brain activity of 12 healthy "social drinkers" both when sober and after they had been given alcohol intravenously and their blood alcohol levels had reached nearly 0.8 grams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood - the legal limit for driving in the UK and the US. In both conditions they were shown pictures of either frightened or neutral faces.

The researchers found that booze completely changed the way the brain reacted to the images. Without alcohol, the amygdala - which is involved in processing emotional reactions - lit up in response to the frightened faces, but with alcohol, it was less active, reacting equally to neutral and fearful faces. This may help explain why drunkenness makes people both more outgoing and more aggressive: it impairs the amygdala's ability to detect threats.
Alcohol is a touchy subject when you’re eating for health; especially if you’re a single twenty-something like me. Here are my rules for drinking:
  1. No drinking during the work-week.
  2. Never drink beer.
  3. No mixed drinks with juice.
  4. Never get sloppy drink.
  5. Order drinks with ice.
  6. Drink slow.
  7. Only go out for drinks one night per week.
  8. Keep it simple.
I either drink cabernet sauvignon or gin martinis on the rocks and to be honest, I almost never have more than two or three. Here are Dr. Fuhrman’s thoughts on boozing:
One glass of wine per day is likely insignificant, but I advise against higher levels of alcohol consumption. Avoid alcohol and eat healthfully if possible, but if that one drink a day will make you stay with this plan much more successfully, then have it.
Now, I’ve witnessed it first hand, Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t drink. So, if you ever feel self conscious about not touching a drop—DON’T—you’re in good company.

Food Safety Slammed, FDA to the Rescue?

A new report points out serious problems with U.S. food safety. Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News is on it:
Gaps in the food safety system include out-of-date laws, poor use of resources, and inconsistencies among agencies protecting food safety, according to the report Fixing Food Safety: Protecting America's Food From Farm-to-Fork, released Wednesday by Trust for America's Health.

"One in four Americans are sickened by food-borne illness each year, that's 76 million people," Jeffrey Levi, executive director of Trust for America's Health said during a morning teleconference Wednesday. "That number is far too high, and major gaps in our nation's food safety system are to blame."

"The major problem with the current food safety system is that no one person is in charge," Levi said. "Instead, there are total of 15 federal agencies that play a role in administering some 30 laws related to food safety."

The whole system needs to change from one that responds to threats as they happen to a more preventive system that tackles challenges before they arise, Levi said. At the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food safety is on the back burner, he added.
Perhaps the FDA is feeling the heat because the agency is looking to add 1,300 people to its staff. Reuters reports:
The hiring effort, first reported by Reuters, comes as the agency is under growing pressure from Congress to improve operations and existing staff is stretched thin.

The new hires will add to the current FDA work force of more than 10,000 employees who regulate food, drugs and other products that account for a quarter of U.S. consumer spending.

Some 770 of the jobs are new posts funded mainly by higher industry fees authorized last year in a broad FDA law meant to bolster drug safety oversight and other areas.
I’m not sure, is the FDA somehow being proactive, or, EXTREMELY reactionary. I’m leaning towards the latter.

Eating to Live on the Outside: Blue Sage Vegetarian Grille

On your way to work today you probably drove past three or four fast food joints, one or two casual dining places, and at least few delis or mini-marts; not exactly havens of healthy eating. Hey, by now you know, Eating to Live on the Outside is hard work!

But, lucky for us, this week’s restaurant is a break from the terrible. By terrible I am referring to Eating to Live on the Outside flunkies like Don Pablo's, Jackson's Sports Grill, Fazoli's, and Lonestar Steakhouse—I’m still shaking from these places.

Good thing Blue Sage Vegetarian Grille serves up plenty of fruit and veggie-inspired dishes. Now, Blue Sage isn’t perfect, but we can work with it. I’m pretty confident even the most ardent nutritarian could find something to eat on this menu. Let’s see if I’m right!

Admittedly, I’m not much of an appetizer guy, but there is one that might work. The Green Curry BBQ Summer Rolls are rice paper wrapped around baby spinach, Thai glazed barbeque vegetables, smoked red onion, ginger, basil, soy syrup, dipping oils, and a side of jicama. Agreed, it’s a little dicey, but the hefty amount of veggies could help you overlook the oil, smoking, and barbeque—what do you think?

The salads are less complicated, let’s jump to them. Both the lunch and dinner house salad are great; combined their made with spring mix, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), sun-dried berries, plum tomatoes, with a maple mustard, chile lime, or smoked chile vinaigrette. I’d probably get the chile lime on the seed and then kick back and enjoy those pumpkins seeds and berries.

The Asian Citrus Spinach salad is also really cool. It’s prepared with roasted gold beets, tangerines, green curry barbequed onion, spicy cashews, and an orange sesame vinaigrette. Another solid option is the Adobo Cubano; roasted plum tomatoes, grilled peppers, chipotle carmelized onions, baby spinach, and cheddar cheese. For both of these I’d order the dressing on the side and as for that cheese—no thanks!

Onto the entrees. I’m digging the Green Curry Shepherds Pie; made with couscous, brocolini, butternut squash, candy stripe beets, sun burst squash, green curry coconut broth, and Okinawa purple potato rosette. Its kind of exotic, but it does sound great. The Sonoma Sampler works too. It includes tabouleh grain salad, black beluga lentils, black berry barley, roasted sweet corn, grilled zucchini, guacamole, sesame eggplant, and a pepper-topped grilled pita hummus. Alright, provided that guacamole is sour cream free, the only major concession I see is the pita. I can deal with. Black beluga lentils, sounds interesting.

Two more. Both the Quesa Havana and the El Fino sound nice; combine they’re made with whole wheat tortilla, adobo black beans, cilantro, mango, jack cheese, avocado-roasted corn salsa, baby greens, chile lime vinaigrette, spinach, grilled pears, maple pecans, gorgonzola, grilled onions, dairy-free carmelized onion mayo, spring mix, pear-walnut vinaigrette, oranges, roasted baby yellow beets, and sun-dried cranberries. There’s a lot of good stuff here, but I’d drop the mayo, gorgonzola, jack cheese, and, I’d get those dressings on the side.

The cool thing about Blue Sage is that quite a few of their entrees are vegan, like the house salads and Asian Citrus Spinach salad. Now, even though I’m not a vegan. I like to see this because vegan usually means vegetable-based. Sometimes it can mean faux-food and refined junk, but more often than not it means veggies—very cool!

Well, I feel pretty good about Blue Sage and I’m positive a nutritarian could have a nice meal there, but what do I know? I’m just some dopey blogger. You people are smarter than me. So, put your thinking cap on and check out Blue Sage’s menus 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.
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Asthma and Obesity Don't Mix

A new study has determined that asthma attacks are worsened by obesity. More from Reuters:
A BMI is the ratio between height and weight, and is used to classify people as underweight, overweight or normal weight.

"The greater dynamic hyperinflation means that obese individuals lose the ability to inhale as deeply or exhale as fully as normal weight individuals," Dr. D. Robin Taylor explains in an American Thoracic Society statement.

Taylor's team at the University of Otago in Dunedin studied the changes in airway expansion and lung volume that occur with acute constriction of the bronchial tubes in a group of 30 adult women with asthma. Ten women each were classified as normal weight, overweight, or obese, and lung volumes were measured.

The degree of bronchial constriction following the airway sensitivity test did not vary by group, the team reports in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. The only significant difference among the subjects was a decrease in vital capacity that significantly corresponded with increasing BMI.
“The number one health problem in the United States is obesity, and if the current trend continues, by the year 2030 all adults in the United States will be obese,” warns Dr. Fuhrman.

Ontario, Don't Smoke in Cars with Kids

The Canadian province of Ontario wants to fine drivers who smoke in their cars in the presence of children. Reuters reports:
The province of Nova Scotia, the Yukon territory and a handful of U.S. states have already banned smoking in cars with children. Like many other jurisdictions Ontario bans smoking in the workplace and in public places such as restaurants.

The new Ontario legislation won praise from the Canadian Cancer Society, which called it an important step in protecting children's health.

"We're hoping for the legislation to come to fruition as quickly as possible because it's for the good of all Ontario children," said Rick Byun, a spokesman for provincial Health Promotion Minister Margarett Best.
I’m in favor of this for adults too. Being in a car with a smoker—especially with the windows closed—is like being a sausage in a smokehouse.

Senate, Ban Bisphenol A

Democrats have introduced a bill that would ban chemical in plastics, including BPA. Lyndsey Layton of The Washington Post reports:
"There have been enough warning signs about the dangers of this chemical that we cannot sit idly by and continue to allow vulnerable children and infants to be exposed," said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). His bill to ban bisphenol A, or BPA, was co-sponsored by Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), John F. Kerry (Mass.) and Robert Menendez (N.J.).

Schumer said he wants the CDC to weigh in because of conflicting scientific studies on BPA. A growing body of new studies has linked the chemical to prostate and breast cancers, diabetes, behavioral disorders such as hyperactivity, and reproductive problems in laboratory animals.

This month, the National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, was the first federal agency to raise concerns about the effect of the chemical on fetuses, infants and children. "The report earlier this month was an eye-opener," Schumer said. "Now we want to get one final, indisputable ruling, once and for all, on the effects of BPA on adults, and pregnant women in particular."
I’m sure a handful of cost-cutting obsessed plastics CEOs will step up in “defense” of these chemicals.

Fat is Good for You!

But wait! There’s a catch. You’ve got to eat the right kinds of fat. Take monounsaturated fats for example, they’ve been found to increase the body’s ability to absorb the anti-cancer compounds in raw vegetables. From The Journal of Nutrition:
Dietary lipids are hypothesized to be an important factor for carotenoid bioavailability. However, most carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables are low in lipids. The objective of this study was to assess whether the addition of avocado fruit as a lipid source enhances carotenoid absorption in humans…The addition of avocado to salsa enhanced lycopene and ß-carotene absorption (P < 0.003), resulting in 4.4 and 2.6 times the mean AUC after intake of avocado-free salsa, respectively…In conclusion, adding avocado fruit can significantly enhance carotenoid absorption from salad and salsa, which is attributed primarily to the lipids present in avocado.
Lisa Ryckman of the Rocky Mountain News lists some other food sources of monounsaturated fats and points out their health benefits too. Take a look:

Fat is also one of the nutrients every body needs. It's critical to absorbing fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, and it's the source of fatty acids essential to proper body function.

Most nutrition plans recommend limiting fat calories to less than 30 percent of total daily intake, and saturated fat to less than 10 percent. For a typical 2,000-calorie day, that means about 65 grams of total fat.

While pretty much all fat used to be considered the dieter's nemesis, that's no longer the case. We now know that some fats - particularly the monounsaturated fat found in avocados, olives and nuts - can actually help raise the HDL or "good" cholesterol, which lowers the risk of heart disease.
Now, it’s important to note the dangers of saturated fats. “Thousands of scientific research studies demonstrate that saturated fat promotes both heart disease and cancer,” explains Dr. Fuhrman. From Seminars in Vascular Medicine:
In observational epidemiologic studies, lower blood cholesterol is associated with a reduced risk from coronary heart disease (CHD) throughout the normal range of cholesterol values observed in most Western populations…Dietary saturated fat is the chief determinant of total and LDL cholesterol levels. Replacing 60% of the intake of saturated fat by other fats and reducing the intake of dietary cholesterol could reduce blood total cholesterol levels by about 0.8 mmol/l (that is by 10 to 15%), with four fifths of this reduction being in LDL cholesterol.
And this study in Cancer Research:
Diet can influence cancer in animals by affecting the initiation or subsequent preneoplastic stage of tumorigenesis, but it has less effect on tumor growth. Caloric restriction has a general inhibitory influence on tumorigenesis. Dietary fat, on the other hand, tends to promote tumorigenesis, but only certain types of tumors, such as mammary tumors, are affected. Both caloric restriction and dietary fat appear to act primarily during the preneoplastic state, and their effects on hormone-dependent tumors may be mediated through changes in the hormonal environment. Variations in other dietary factors, such as protein, vitamins, or minerals, above the levels required for normal maintenance seem to have little influence on the genesis or growth of tumors.
Unfortunately, fat is not as simple as monounsaturated fats versus saturated fats, check out Dr. Fuhrman’s Glossary of Cholesterol for more. Here’s a snippet:
Fat is one of the three macronutrients (along with protein and carbohydrate) that supply calories to the body. Fats provide 9 calories per gram, more than twice the number provided by carbohydrates or protein.

Fats provide the "essential" fatty acids, which are not made by the body and must be obtained from food. Fatty acids provide the raw materials that help control blood pressure, blood clotting, inflammation and other important body functions.

Fat is essential for the proper functioning of the body. Healthy skin and hair are maintained by fat. Fat helps in the absorption and transport through the bloodstream of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Fats perform vital and valuable role in the body.
But in the end, just be sure to get your nutrients from good foods. “I consider the ideal diet to be one that contains at least 90 percent of calories from the healthiest foods; vegetables, fruits, beans, raw nuts and seeds, avocados, and whole grains,” explains Dr. Fuhrman.
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American Life, a Struggle...

A new survey has determined that many Americans are struggling through life and 4 percent are miserable. Maggie Fox of Reuters is on it:
Nearly half -- 49 percent -- describe themselves as thriving, with few health or money worries, according to the researchers at the global polling organization Gallup and health consulting firm Healthways.

The survey of more than 100,000 people is an unprecedented in-depth look at the health, wealth and happiness of the U.S. population, the researchers said…

…The survey found that 47 percent of those polled can be considered struggling, mostly with worries about money.

The 4 percent defined as "suffering" generally lacked food or shelter, and also had no hope of improvement in the future.
Not good—maybe it’s a sign of the times—but we’ve got to get happy. According to Dr. Fuhrman a satisfying life is VERY important to longevity. Take a look:
A safe and satisfying work environment, a happy marriage, a satisfying social and/or family life, and activities you enjoy are all related to positive health outcomes. Emotional wellness starts right here your finger tips end. As you respect and appreciate the value in the world around you and develop interests in other people and in such things as art, music, entertainment, sports, nature, and physical activity, you can respect yourself more for your ability and desire to appreciate the value of things not yourself.

In other words, as you learn about and begin to care for things, you gain a legitimate reason to be pleased with yourself. A healthy emotional response to life hinges on your ability to grant value and importance to things that are deserving of it. This ability and desire to interact in a fair and equitable way with the world around you forms the basis of your emotional contentment and self-esteem.
And hey, if all else fails, just laugh. Like this guy:

Probably not a good idea to try this at work.

Many New Moms Breastfeed

According to a new report 77 percent of new mothers breastfeed. Mike Stobbe of the Associated Press has more:
Experts attributed the rise to education campaigns that emphasize that breast milk is better than formula at protecting babies against disease and childhood obesity. A changing culture that accommodates nursing mothers may also be a factor.

The percentage of black infants who were ever breast-fed rose most dramatically, to 65 percent. Only 36 percent were ever breast-fed in 1993-1994, the new study found.

For whites, the figure rose to 79 percent, from 62 percent. For Mexican-Americans, it increased to 80 percent, from 67 percent.

Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher celebrated the report's findings, noting that black women have historically had lower breast-feeding rates.

"It was very impressive that when it comes to beginning to breast-feed, African-American women have had the greatest progress," said Satcher, who is now an administrator at Atlanta's Morehouse School of Medicine.
“Even after food is introduced, continued breast-feeding is important and necessary past the first birthday for maximum disease resistance, immune function, and brain development,” explains Dr. Fuhrman.

FDA to Merck, Clean Up!

The Food and Drug Administration orders Merck to clean up violations at its main vaccine plant. Linda A. Johnson of the Associated Press reports:
The agency on Wednesday released a warning letter sent to Merck's chief executive that says FDA inspectors determined manufacturing rules are not being followed at the plant in West Point, Pa., just outside Philadelphia.

The plant makes a number of popular children's vaccines, as well as Gardasil, which protects against cervical cancer. Last year, it recalled 1.2 million vaccine doses because of a sterility problem.

The nine-page warning letter gives Merck 15 days to tell the FDA how it will correct the violations. Otherwise, the FDA says it could suspend the plant's manufacturing license and seize products.
For more on vaccines, check out April’s feature post, Mandatory Vaccinations: The Choice Should Be Yours.

Train Before You Garden...

Virginia Linn of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette offers up some fitness tips to get you prepared to hit the garden. Take a look:
With temperatures finally warming up, many folks already have dived into the dirt to get their garden going, but the season really takes off next month.

Are you ready?

As with any sport -- and yes, gardening is a sport, as it requires endurance, flexibility and strength -- people should get in shape for gardening. In fact, the average person can burn 250 calories an hour when planting and up to 500 calories an hour when digging.
Upper body stretch: Stand with your back straight and arms to your sides. Stretch arms straight out in front of you and hold for a count of 5. Return arms to sides. Repeat 10 times.
If they make gardening an Olympic sport, you’ll be all set.