Oprah Ends Vegan Stint


After only eating veggies from her garden for three weeks, Oprah Winfrey says, “I will forever be a more cautious and conscious eater.” Access Hollywood reports:
The media mogul just concluded a 21-day vegan cleansing process based on Kathy Freston’s book, “Quantum Wellness,” which counsels the avoidance of caffeine, sugar, alcohol, gluten or animal products.

Changing her usual diet proved to be an educational process for Winfrey, who took to her blog to share her experience.

“Tomorrow is another day. That’s my mantra for now,” she wrote on her last day, when she ate a large baked potato and green salad for dinner.

Minus some olive oil, Oprah noted all of the ingredients were grown in her garden.

“I was raised by a grandmother who grew and harvested everything,” she wrote.
I’ve been cautious about Oprah’s diet change. Before I get too excited about it, I want to see if she stays healthy.

Omega-3: Really Good for Girls...


According to new research omega-3 fatty acids are twice as important for girls than boys. More from the NewScientist:
Parents of daughters, listen up. Eating enough omega-3 fatty acids is twice as important for boosting the brainpower of girls than it is for boys.

Several studies have upheld the link between intelligence and higher consumption of omega-3 fats, especially those found in fatty fishes such as salmon. William Lassek at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania and Steve Gaulin at the University of California, Santa Barbara, wondered whether this effect might be even stronger in girls because women not only use omega-3 fats to build their brains, they also store them on their hips and thighs in preparation for nurturing the brains of their future babies. "The lower body fat is like a bank into which deposits are made during childhood and only withdrawn during pregnancy and nursing," says Lassek.
For more info on omega-3’s, check out Followhealthlife’s healthy foods category.

Eat to Live Hip-Hop Style

Rapper Talib Kweli rhymes about healthy eating. In fact, he wants you to Eat to Live. There are a couple poopy words, but is worth it! Take a look:


I love the message, very cool. Nice find Veg Blog.

Ugly Veggies on Mars...


NASA claims that plants like asparagus and strawberries might be able to grow in Mars’ soil. Richard A. Lovett of National Geographic News reports:
Previous data from the two rovers exploring Mars's equatorial zones had suggested that the geochemistry on the red planet might have been too acidic to support most forms of Earth-type life.

But as little as an inch (2.5 centimeters) beneath the surface, dirt from Mars's arctic plains proved to be very similar to alkaline soils on Earth, with a pH between 8 and 9. The pH scale goes from 0 (acidic) to 14 (alkaline).

The finding is good news in the hunt for signs that Mars was or could now be habitable.

"This means there is a broader range of organisms that can grow [in it]," said Kounaves, who works with the lander's Microscopy, Electrochemistry, and Conductivity Analyzer (MECA).

"But Mars is a huge place, whose soils might differ radically from spot to spot," Kounaves said. "We have to remember that we're looking at tiny areas."
Well, until we can grow cheap produce on mars. Consumer advocates want government to allow the sale of “ugly produce.” Check out: Ugly Veggies to Ease Crisis

Glamour Magazine: 20 Cancer-Fighting Foods...

Check out Glamour Magazine’s list of foods that combat cancer:
Spinach
Kale





Collard greens 
Arugula
Dandelion greens
Curry


Broccoli
Broccoli sprouts
Cabbage
Bok choy
Cauliflower


Watercress
Swiss chard
Blueberries
Blackberries


Raspberries
Strawberries
Cranberries
Red grapes



Tomatoes

This list is certainly more encouraging than America Hates Good Food.

Diabetes Flying High in the United States


“As the number of people with type-two (adult onset) diabetes continues to soar, it is openly recognized that the growing waistline of the modern world is the main cause of this epidemic; however, most physicians, dieticians, and even the American Diabetes Association have virtually given up on weight reduction as the primary treatment for diabetics,” explains Dr. Fuhrman. I think he’s onto something, because a new report announces that U.S. diabetes rates have skyrocketed. The Associated Press is on it:
A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on data from 2007, said the number represents an increase of about 3 million over two years. The CDC estimates another 57 million people have blood sugar abnormalities called pre-diabetes, which puts people at increased risk for the disease.

The percentage of people unaware that they have diabetes fell from 30 percent to 25 percent, according to the study.

Dr. Ann Albright, director of the CDC Division of Diabetes Translation, said the report has "both good news and bad news."

"It is concerning to know that we have more people developing diabetes, and these data are a reminder of the importance of increasing awareness of this condition, especially among people who are at high risk," Albright said in a statement.

"On the other hand, it is good to see that more people are aware that they have diabetes."
It’s disheartening, especially when you consider that there’s an easier way. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
It is well accepted that if it were possible for people to stick with weight reduction and high nutrient eating, that route would be the most successful. Patients with diabetes who successfully lose weight from undergoing gastric bypass surgery typically see their diabetes melt away.1 Dietary programs that have been successful at effecting weight loss have been dramatically effective for diabetics too, enabling patients to discontinue medications.2 Preventing and reversing diabetes is not all about weight loss.
What sounds harder? Convincing people to stick themselves with needles for the rest of their life, or, eat better and feel great.
Continue Reading...

Heart Disease: Get Some Sun!


According to new research lack of sunshine increases risk of death from heart disease. Lindsey Tanner of the Associated Press reports:
Patients with the lowest blood levels of vitamin D were about two times more likely to die from any cause during the next eight years than those with the highest levels, the study found. The link with heart-related deaths was particularly strong in those with low vitamin D levels.

Experts say the results shouldn't be seen as a reason to start popping vitamin D pills or to spend hours in the sun, which is the main source for vitamin D.

For one thing, megadoses of vitamin D pills can be dangerous and skin cancer risks from too much sunshine are well-known. But also, it can't be determined from this type of study whether lack of vitamin D caused the deaths, or whether increasing vitamin D intake would make any difference.
Vitamin D has been in the news a lot lately. Here are some recent posts:
Please, get some sun.

Eating Tomatoes, Again?


Tomatoes are returning to menus, but growers aren’t sure if people are going to eat them. Mercury News is on it:
California was one of the first states the FDA ruled out as a source of the salmonella outbreak, but the Golden State's tomato industry was still stricken by the warning.

"There's still a lot of consumer confusion out there," said Ed Beckman, president of California Tomato Farmers, a grower-owned cooperative that produces about 80 percent of the state's billion-pound-a-year fresh tomato crop.

Beckman said Monday that consumer demand is only 35 to 40 percent of normal, just as the state's tomato harvest in the San Joaquin Valley kicks into high gear. Demand from restaurants and other food service operators is only 65 to 80 percent of normal.

At Nob Hill Foods in Los Gatos, produce manager Eddie Ponce said tomato sales dropped considerably during the past couple of weeks. "People were scared and didn't want to buy any tomatoes, even the good ones," Ponce said.

Before the outbreak, he said, the store sold eight to 10 boxes of vine-ripened tomatoes a week. After the outbreak, sales plummeted to two to three boxes a week.

Low demand has driven down prices. Right now, Beckman said, tomatoes are between $8 and $10 for a 25-pound box. Before the scare, they were running about $15 a box.
Now, here’s a great reason why I’ve kept eating tomatoes. From Dr. Fuhrman:
Tomatoes have been a hot topic in recent years because their consumption has been linked to dramatic reduction in the incidence of common cancers. One of the tomatoes' heavily investigated anti-cancer phytochemicals is lycopene, which has been shown to be protective against cancer, including prostate cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, lung cancer, and colorectal cancers.
Let’s not forget about my kick-ass tomatoes!

America Hates Good Food

AOL Food compiled a list of American’s 20 Most Hated Foods and surprise-surprise they’re some of the healthiest foods on the planet. These really ticked me off:

#20: Blueberries



#14: Peas


#8: Brussels Sprouts



#7: Beets


#4: Mushrooms


At least liver and mayonnaise made the list too. Makes you wonder what the heck the average person is eating—scary!

Fruits and Veggies Rock!


Sally Squires of The Washington Post makes a great claim, To Produce Good Health, Bite Into Fruit and Veggies. Here’s a bit:
Eating more fruit and vegetables sounds like a no-brainer, the kind of common-sense advice that mothers have dished out for generations. Now, 21st-century scientists are beginning to fathom why these foods provide so many benefits.

It has to do with an array of essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients --plant-based substances with tongue-twisting names such as anthocyanins and lycopene. Don't worry about pronouncing them. All you need to know is that these antioxidants are found in red and deep-pink fruit and vegetables. That means pomegranates, red cabbage, cherries, red peppers, watermelon, red grapes and more. They appear to help reduce the risk of some tumors, including prostate cancer. And that's just for starters.

Green fruit and vegetables, from avocado, pears and limes to okra, green beans and zucchini, are rich in carotenoids. These substances help preserve vision by protecting the retina and gobble up free radicals to help thwart cancer and aging.

Yellow and orange produce is rich in beta carotene, which is converted by the body into Vitamin A. It boosts immunity and protects vision. Count apricots, bananas, papayas, peaches, carrots and butternut squash in this group, which also packs other nutrients. Pineapple, for example, has bromelain, an enzyme that aids in digestion and reduces bloating.

White vegetables and fruit, from jicama to litchi nuts, contain allicin, which helps control blood pressure and cholesterol and may bolster immunity.
Sally’s a good egg! Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is indeed the key to a long healthy life. Just check out these posts:
Quick, where’s my bag of baby spinach!

Mangosteen, Super Food?


I thought Mangosteen was Frankenstein’s cousin from the islands, but apparently, a mangosteen is an antioxidant-packed tropical fruit. Slashfood fills us in:
Mangosteens, or juice drinks made from them, are very popular in Japan right now because they're supposed to be high in antioxidants and ward off cancer in mice (though that hasn't been tested in humans).

Mangosteens are originally from Thailand, but they're difficult to export from the region because they are so preishable. Also, the tree can only be grown in tropical climates. Those factors make even pureés made from Mangosteens pretty expensive anywhere outside of Southeast Asia.
That cancer claim is a bit iffy. Dr. Fuhrman wouldn’t agree. He explains:
Juices and extracts of exotic fruits and vegetables such as mangosteen, gogi berries, Chinese lycium, acia, Siberian pineapple, cili, noni, guarana, and black currant are touted as wondrous super foods with a myriad of health claims. Certainly, eating exotic fruits from all over the globe can add valuable phytochemical compounds with the potential for beneficial effects. I see no reason why these fruits and their juices should not be used as part of a varied diet with a wide assortment of phytonutrients. Broadening our variety of health-supporting nutrients from exotic foods has value in building a strong immune defense against cancer.


The confusion arises when marketers claim that the juices can cure cancer or kill cancer cells on the basis of studies that show that some component in the juice or other part of the plant has been shown to kill cancer cells. Just because a concentrated chemical derived from a food can kill cancer cells in a test tube does not make that food a cure for cancer.
I’ve never had a mangosteen, have you? Certainly looks interesting.

Eat For Health: The Four Dimensions of Hunger



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

Though we generically call the feeling that you want or need to eat “hunger,” hunger actually has four different dimensions. Many diets fail because they only focus on one of these components calories. Eat For Health, based on the ideas developed in Eat To Live, is the only eating-style that takes into account all four. Understanding and resolving the drive to overeat must consider and satisfy these dimensions.
  1. VOLUME: You must consume an adequate amount of food, and fiber from that food, to physically feel satiated.
  2. NUTRIENTS: You must consume enough nutrients in your food for your body to meet its biological need to thrive. Even if you have adequate volume, if it’s from low-nutrient food, your body will have a nutrient deficit, and you will feel you require more food.
  3. CALORIES: You will be driven to overeat on calories unless the other dimensions of hunger are addressed. The only way to not over-consume calories is to ensure you have enough volume and nutrients so your body can feel satiated.
  4. ADDICTIONS: You must break yourself of your addictions to food, which often manifest themselves in ill feelings and cravings. If you don’t, your body will not be able to regulate its caloric needs appropriately.
As you can see, each of these dimensions addresses your body’s need for food, but none of them exists independently. If one dimension is not tended to, the others will be thrown off. Portion-control diets attempt to limit calories without regard to nutrients or volume. Hunger is never fully satisfied and the undernourished dieter ends up giving in to the overwhelming compulsion to eat more

Eat For Health: Your Diet, Your Choice



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

I sat back and thought about it one day: why do I eat the way I do? So what if I die younger? Why not just enjoy all the processed food our high-tech, modern world has to offer? Why not eat cheeseburgers, fries, soda, and ice cream for lunch, and take my chances with an earlier death? At least I will enjoy the time I am alive, right?

In thinking about it, I noticed that I actually enjoy being a nutritarian and eating my healthy diet. I believe I enjoy the taste of food and get more pleasure from eating than people who live on unhealthy food because I’ve learned to appreciate tastes, and I know I’m doing something good for myself. I would eat this way anyway, even if there was a slight decrease in the pleasure of eating, but after years of eating like this, I prefer it. The fact that it is healthy is certainly the largest attraction, but health-destroying foods are not enticing to me anymore. However, I am not in jail. I have complete freedom to eat anything I want, and if I occasionally want to eat something unhealthy, I do. But, over the years, I have found that I desire unhealthy foods less and less because over time I have found I do not feel well after eating those foods. The taste was not as pleasurable as I thought it would be compared to other foods that I like that are health-supporting. Also, the great tasting, healthy alternatives to attractive but unhealthy food choices, that I and others have developed, makes it even more easy to choose this diet-style. I do not feel deprived.

So, I eat the way I am advocating you eat. I am not overweight and I am not on a diet. I may not eat perfectly all the time, but I have balanced pleasure and health in my diet so that I am not sacrificing one to have the other. The objective is to have both comfortably married. But, I eat this way for lots of reasons:
  • I enjoy this way of eating. It tastes great, and I like to eat lots of food.
  • I want control of my health and want complete assurance I will not suddenly have a heart attack or stroke.
  • I enjoy living too much. I love sports, travel, entertainment, exercise, my work, and my family, and I want to maintain my youthful vigor and enjoyment of life.
  • I feel well eating this way and do not like the way I feel, the way I sleep, my digestion, or my mental energy when I do not eat this way.
  • I want to live longer and without medical interference, pain, and unnecessary suffering in my later years.
Eating healthfully is only an option. It is your choice. Each individual has the right to care for their own body as they choose, and some may continue to follow risky behaviors using the rationale that they would rather enjoy life more and live less healthfully or for a shorter time. The fallacy with this way of thinking is the belief that people who smoke, drink, take drugs, or eat dangerous foods are enjoying life more. In fact, they enjoy it less. You might feel temporary pleasure or satisfaction, but toxic habits and rich, disease-causing foods inhibit your ability to get as much pleasure from eating over time. Your taste is lessened or the smoking or drinking loses it thrill, but now you are stuck feeling uncomfortable if you don’t continue the habit.

Many people who have adopted my advice and become nutritarians have reversed autoimmune diseases, gotten rid of diabetes, headaches, and heart disease and have been brought back from the brink of death, simply by changing the way they eat. And yet there are a very large number of people who are completely deterred from even attempting this change. Their habits now control them, and they are no longer in total control of their lives. I urge you: don’t be one of those people

Tomato Scare, GMOs, and Climate Change


Some environmental activists believe that global warming and the use of genetically modified organisms are responsible for the recent tomato-salmonella outbreak. From the Better Plant blog:
I was interviewing a board member of Food and Water Watch for a feature I am writing, and he positioned the scare as an eco outbreak because with less space to farm, more droughts, and higher costs, GMOs are the logical choice for farmers who want quick crops from less land.

For the record the source of the tomato infection hasn’t been determined. The FDA hasn’t narrowed its search. But this time of year the most common varieties are red round, red Roma, and red plum tomatoes. They are most likely grown in Florida or Mexico. The agency admits U.S. consumer demand to eat fresh fruits and vegetables year-round - has its job a lot more difficult. And concedes it needs more inspectors overseas. See a good take on this from the San Jose Mercury News here.

Anyway, the source of the E. coli in spinach turned out to be feces on the hoofs of wild boars that traipsed through spinach plants.

The source of tomato infections may turn out to be something as naturally errant as that. But with less room and climate change affecting crops, another outbreak is sure to come. GMO strands can only serve to exacerbate the spread.
For a recap of news about the tomato scare, check out these posts:
Good thing I’m growing my own tomatoes!

The $6,100 Melon!


Saturday I paid $.99 for this mini-watermelon. That’s $ 6,099.01 less than what was fetched for a 17-pound black-skinned “Densuke” watermelon in Japan. No, I’m not joking. From the Associated Press:
The price was the highest on record for a Densuke watermelon, said Kazuyoshi Ohira, a spokesman for the Tohma Agricultural Cooperative in Hokkaido. Most retail at department stores and supermarkets for a more modest $188 to $283, Ohira said.

And what makes a watermelon worth $200, much less $6,000?

Ohira says it’s the unusual black skin and unparalleled taste. “It’s a watermelon, but it’s not the same,” he said.
You know, with a few sprits of Krylon I could be looking at some serious profit. Can I get a starting bid?

Kid Snacks, Fruit Tops Cookies!


This is encouraging. Fruit has overtaken cookies as the number one snack given to children under the age of 6. Nanci Hellmich of USA TODAY reports:
Parents seem to be serving healthier products, which may partly explain why the number of overweight children is holding steady, Balzer says.

Recent government statistics show that 32% of children and teens ages 2 to 19 — about 23 million — were overweight or obese in 2003-2006 compared with 29% in 1999. The increase is not considered statistically significant.

"Women's weight has also stabilized, and since mothers are the primary food providers and role models, these two trends may be related," says Karen Miller-Kovach, chief scientific officer for Weight Watchers. She says it's "a whole lot better" for parents to serve their children fruit or yogurt and water than soft drinks and cookies.

The types of snacks parents feed their young children is critical because studies suggest snacks account for about a quarter of a child's daily calories, and snacking behavior sets the pattern for lifelong eating habits, says Boston nutritionist Elizabeth Ward, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Feeding Your Baby and Toddler. "Snacks present an enormous opportunity for good nutrition."
Although, beyond the fruit. Parents are still serving up a lot of junk. More from the report:


I don’t have any kids—that I know of—but when I do, I imagine I’ll be quite the food sentinel. No milk and fruit snacks for little Gerry!

Where You Live Impacts Your Weight...


According to a new study, if you live in a neighborhood with access to healthy food and physical activity, you’re likely to be leaner. Joene Hendry of Reuters reports:
The researchers found that men and women living in neighborhoods with better walking environments and availability of healthy foods were leaner than those living in less physically desirable neighborhoods.

Neighborhoods rated higher in social qualities, such as safety, aesthetics, and social cohesion, were associated with lower overall body mass index among women. However men showed the opposite -- higher body mass index among those residing in highly rated social neighborhoods -- and the investigators say further research must confirm this unexpected finding.

Overall, Dr. Mahasin S. Mujahid of Harvard University's School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts notes, these findings add to a growing body of evidence that indicates genes and individual choice, as well as the environments in which people live affect health. Continuing research needs to further assess links between environment and obesity, Mujahid and colleagues conclude.
This falls in line with the majority of the reports I’ve read. Here are some posts that come to mind. Take a look:
But, I think if you really want to be healthy, you find a way. You think I like driving 30 minutes to get to Yoga!

Robin Quivers Says Vegans Beat the Heat...


It’s been insanely hot lately and the heat kicked off an interesting conversation on The Howard Stern Show Wednesday. The newly fit, trim, and vegan, Robin Quivers, relayed a unique theory on heat and diet. Here’s the transcript:
Robin Quivers: My vegan-friends sort of laugh at this time of the year. I was with one of them the other day and they said, “All the meat-eaters complain about the heat.”

Artie Lange: What does that mean?

Fred Norris: Stop it!



Artie Lange: But could somebody explain to me what Robin just said? Do vegan-people not get warm or something?

Robin Quivers: This vegan was claiming to me that meat-eaters can’t stand the heat because digesting protein heats up the body and [meat-eaters] start to faint when it gets this hot and vegans are walking around no problem.

Howard Stern: That’s why lions always have to sleep in the middle of the day, they’re eating so much f**king meat.

Artie Lange: Do you hear Fred’s commentary on this? I agree with him completely.

Fred has been playing coo-coo sound effects the whole time.

Fred Norris: That is the silliest thing I have ever heard.

Robin Quivers: I didn’t say it. I’m just telling you what was said to me.
Now, just the other day I was thinking, “Man, it’s really hot out, but it’s not really bothering me.” And I eat a vegetable-based diet. So, could Robin’s friend be onto something? I asked Dr. Fuhrman and here’s what he had to say:
This is true. When you are thin and eat healthfully (mostly plants) it lowers your basal metabolic rate (slowing the aging process), which means that the heat does not bother you, but you become more sensitive to cold.
Hey now! Looks like the beautiful Mrs. Florentine—oops—I mean, Miss Quivers is onto something. Go Robin, go!

Americans Can Live to 78


Japan has the longest life expectancy of 83 years, but despite all our health woes, U.S. life expectancy is 78. Mike Stobbe of the Associated Press reports:
For the first time, U.S. life expectancy has surpassed 78 years, the government reported Wednesday, although the United States continues to lag behind about 30 other countries in estimated life span.

The increase is due mainly to falling mortality rates in almost all the leading causes of death, federal health officials said. The average life expectancy for babies born in 2006 was about four months greater than for children born in 2005.

Japan has the longest life expectancy -- 83 years for children born in 2006, according to World Health Organization data. Switzerland and Australia were also near the top of the list…

…The U.S. infant mortality rate dropped more than 2 percent, to 6.7 infant deaths per 1,000 births, from 6.9.

Perhaps the most influential factor in the 2006 success story, however, was the flu. Flu and pneumonia deaths dropped by 13 percent from 2005, reflecting a mild flu season in 2006, Anderson said. That also meant a diminished threat to people with heart disease and other conditions. Taken together, it's a primary explanation for the 22,000 fewer deaths in 2006 from 2005, experts said.

U.S. life expectancy has been steadily rising, usually by about two to three months from year to year. This year's jump of fourth months is "an unusually rapid improvement," Preston said.
Honestly, 78 and even 83 doesn’t impress me. I want it all! I want to want to live to 100 plus. And it’s very possible according to 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.
Just get a load of this dude. He’s one kick-ass old guy: 72 and Going Strong.

Pomegranate Juice Good for the Little Man


New research claims that drinking pomegranate juice can help with erectile dysfunction. Chris Sparling of That’s Fit passes it along:
Pomegranate juice has for quite some time been touted for its antioxidant properties. Citing heart health as a primary benefit of its ability to help prevent free radical damage, many people made the switch to this more expensive juice in recent years…

…A University of California study revealed that drinking a glass of pomegranate juice every day helps erectile dysfunction. It turns out that the same antioxidant properties that help ward off free radical damage also prevent circulatory issues, thus offering a wee bit of help to the fellas who need it.
I drink a shot of pomegranate juice everyday, but not for this reason! Now, Dr. Fuhrman is a big fan of pomegranates. Take a look:
Not only are pomegranates good for your heart and blood vessels but they have been shown to inhibit breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, leukemia and to prevent vascular changes that promote tumor growth in lab animals.1


Pomegranates' potent antioxidant compounds have also been shown to reduce platelet aggregation and naturally lower blood pressure, factors that prevent both heart attacks and strokes.2 Pomegranates contain high levels of flavonoids and polyphenols, potent antioxidants offering protection against heart disease and cancer. A glass of pomegranate juice has more antioxidants than red wine, green tea, blueberries, and cranberries.

Pomegranate juice has also been found to contain phytochemical compounds that stimulate serotonin and estrogen receptors, improving symptoms of depression and improving bone mass in lab animals.3

Given the fact that pomegranate juice is so rich in heart protective compounds and there are animal studies to support the beneficial findings in human studies, it makes the results of these recent investigations understandable and believable. Pomegranate is a powerful food for good health.
So, why not give these pomegranate inspired recipes a try: Got Pomegranate?
Continue Reading...

Backing Off the Meat...


Mark Bittman of The New York Times offers up some practical suggestions to help everyone cut back on meat eating. Here’s a bit:
Let’s suppose you’ve decided to eat less meat, or are considering it. And let’s ignore your reasons for doing so. They may be economic, ethical, altruistic, nutritional or even irrational. The arguments for eating less meat are myriad and well-publicized, but at the moment they’re irrelevant, because what I want to address here is (almost) purely pragmatic: How do you do it?

I’m not talking about eating no meat; I’m talking about cutting back, which in some ways is harder than quitting. Vegetarian recipes and traditions are everywhere. But in the American style of eating — with meat usually at the center of the plate — it can be difficult to eat two ounces of beef and call it dinner.
  1. Forget the protein thing.
  2. Buy less meat.
  3. Get it out of the center of the plate.
  4. Buy more vegetables, and learn new ways to cook them.
  5. Make non-meat items as convenient as meat.
  6. Make some rules.
  7. Look at restaurant menus differently.
This is really cool and right up Followhealthlife’s alley! Take the protein thing for example:
Complementary Protein Myth Won't Go Away!
“The ‘incomplete protein’ myth was inadvertently promoted in the 1971 book, Diet for a Small Planet, by Frances Moore Lappe. In it, the author stated that plant foods do not contain all the essential amino acids, so in order to be a healthy vegetarian, you needed to eat a combination of certain plant foods in order to get all of the essential amino acids. It was called the theory of ‘protein complementing.’”
And here’s plenty of reason to consume less animal products:
Followhealthlife Gets Green!
“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.”
Not to mention all the delicious ways to prepare fruits and veggies:
Recipes
Orange Berry Greens Smoothie
2 cups organic baby spinach
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
4 pitted dates
1 orange, peeled & quartered
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender until smooth and creamy. Serves 2.
And it’s easy to eat healthfully when dining out:
Eating to Live on the Outside
“I’m in a New York state of mind. So, time to grab the next train and hit the big apple. This week we’re checking out Counter, right off east Houston Street in the capital of the world—New York City! And this vegetarian bistro certainly makes a good first impression.”
See, the world is catching on. Nutrient-dense vegetable-based eating is the way to go!

Tomatoes Out at McDonalds


Amid the salmonella scare, McDonald’s will stop serving sliced tomatoes. The Associated Press reports:
McDonald's says it has stopped serving sliced tomatoes in its restaurants over concerns about Salmonella food poisoning linked to uncooked tomatoes.

Spokeswoman Danya Proud said Monday the world's largest hamburger chain has stopped serving sliced tomatoes on all of its sandwiches in the United States as a precaution until the source of the salmonella is known.

Proud says McDonald's will continue to serve grape tomatoes in its salads because no problems have been linked to that variety.
How ironic, the one healthy thing at McDonalds gets the boot.

Heart Health: No Point in Monitoring Blood Sugar?


New research contends that individuals with type-2 diabetes do not lower their heart attack and stroke risk by controlling their blood sugar. More from Gina Kolata of The New York Times:
The results provide more details and bolster findings reported in February, when one of the studies, by the National Institutes of Health, ended prematurely. At that time, researchers surprised diabetes experts with the announcement that study participants who were rigorously controlling their blood sugar actually had a higher death rate than those whose blood sugar control was less stringent.

Now the federal researchers are publishing detailed data from that study for the first time. Researchers in the second study, from Australia and involving participants from 20 countries, are also publishing their results on blood sugar and cardiovascular disease. That study did not find an increase in deaths, but neither did it find any protection from cardiovascular disease with rigorous blood sugar control.

Thus both studies failed to confirm a dearly held hypothesis that people with Type 2 diabetes could be protected from cardiovascular disease if they strictly controlled their blood sugar.

It was a hypothesis that seemed almost obvious. Cardiovascular disease accounts for 65 percent of deaths among people with Type 2 diabetes. And since diabetes is characterized by high levels of blood sugar, the hope was that if people with diabetes could just get their blood sugar as close to normal as possible, their cardiovascular disease rate would be nearly normal as well.
Dr. Fuhrman was not impressed by this report. His thoughts:
That is because when you are an overweight diabetic the metabolic consequences are not the blood sugar alone and taking drugs is not the answer. Some of the drugs (especially insulin) cause weight gain and make the metabolic syndrome worse. Losing weight, exercising and eating high on the nutrient density line is the answer, not more medications.
Not more medications! But how will the drug companies make bigger profits?

Hawaiian Lettuce Farm

Check out how Manoa Lettuce is grown:



Have you ever tried it?

Locally Grown Food Healthier?


Food bought at a farmers market or a CSA tastes much better than food from large commercial food companies, but, could it also be better for you? The New York Times Well blog investigates:
A team of researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has received a grant to study the public health impact of moving toward a local, sustainable food system. An increasingly vocal local food movement calls for consumers to try to buy and eat foods produced within 100 miles of their homes.

So far, there’s not real evidence that eating locally farmed food is better for you. But there are many reasons to think it might be. By definition, locally farmed food is not going to come from large commercial food companies, so people who eat locally aren’t going to consume as much processed food, which typically contains lots of refined carbohydrates, sugar, fat and preservatives.

By focusing your diet on products grown and raised within 100 miles of your home, you will likely end up eating more fruits and vegetables as well. Shopping for fruits and vegetables at farmers’ markets is also pleasurable and may lead to more variety in your diet. Eating local often means you can meet the people who produce your food, and you can also ask questions about pesticide use and farming methods.
I think a big plus is the environmental factor. Locally grown food means less fuel burned during transport.

Canadian Salmon, Low Mercury


A new study claims Canadian salmon has low-levels of contaminants, including mercury. WebMD is on it:
Total mercury levels in the wild salmon tested were three times higher than in farmed, but total mercury intake from both types of fish was found to be lower than from many other foods.

The study was funded by the Canadian fishing industry, which supplies much of the farmed salmon eaten in the United States.

In recent years, concerns have been raised about the safety of farmed salmon vs. wild, and there have also been suggestions that Canadian and other Atlantic-farmed salmon contains more contaminants than farm-raised fish from other areas, such as Chile. The newly published study was conducted in an attempt to address these concerns.

Researchers measured mercury levels as well as levels of 18 other trace metals in commercial salmon feed and farmed and wild salmon from British Columbia fisheries and waters.
And according to Dr. Fuhrman, in addition to salmon, fishes like flounder, sole, tilapia, and trout are also safer choices.

Garlic, Fresh Power!


We all know garlic is good for us, but new research has determined that fresh garlic is best. More from WebMD:
Researchers in Japan compared fresh garlic with garlic preserved in water, alcohol, and vegetable oil, specifically measuring a key ingredient called allicin. Allicin is the main active ingredient in garlic and the chemical responsible for its characteristic smell.

Allicin is widely promoted for its antibacterial properties. Some studies have shown that allicin helps fight infections and may help prevent bacteria-related food poisoning. Other research has suggested that the compound can help against blood clots and certain cancers.

Allicin is fragile and disappears quickly, leading the study's researchers to question whether various storage methods would affect its levels.

The team's experiments revealed that fresh crushed garlic is more stable and maintains higher levels of allicin than preserved versions.
I love garlic! If you do too, give this recipe a try:
Southern-Style Mixed Greens
1 cup water
1 clove garlic, minced
dash of black pepper
1 15-ounce can black eyed peas (no or low salt)*, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped yellow peppers
1 cup chopped tomato
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar or low fat dressing
10 ounces (about 7 cups) mixed salad greens
Combine water, garlic, and black pepper in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Add black eyed peas; cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Drain. In a bowl, combine black eyed peas with yellow peppers and next four ingredients. Cover and chill for 3 hours or overnight. Serve over salad greens. Serves 2.
And it keeps vampires away too!

Are Parents Botching Kids' Weight Loss?


New research claims that parents of overweight kids are all talk and no action when it comes to getting their children healthy. More from WebMD:
Minneapolis-based researchers have found that parents need to "talk less and do more" when encouraging their kids to become fit and trim. Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, PhD, MPH, RD, of the division of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota, and colleagues found that parents who correctly recognized that their child had a weight problem talked with their kids about dieting, but this was not helpful.

Previous studies have suggested that parents do not correctly recognize if their child is overweight. Furthermore, little research has been done to determine how parents act when they correctly perceive their child's weight status.

Neumark-Sztainer's team explored whether parents of overweight teens who correctly recognized their child's weight status engaged in behaviors that helped their child's long-term weight management.
I’m no expert—or a parent for that matter—but I’d imagine, like everything else, its all about setting an example. I think Dr. Fuhrman would agree:
No rules only for children. If the parents are not willing to follow the rules set for the house, they should not be imposed on the children…Setting an example supported by both parents is the most important and most effective way for your children to develop a healthy attitude toward food.
Plus, parents and children getting healthy together has to be a great bonding experience—right?

Shakes and Drinks, Protein and Carbohydrates


Protein shakes are a mega business—saturated in hype. Dr. Fuhrman talks about it in How Safe Are Protein Drinks And Powders? Here’s a snippet:
Unfortunately, most trainers and bodybuilders are influenced by what they read in exercise and bodybuilding magazines. This is worse than getting nutritional information from comic books. Look through any current bodybuilding magazine; what are the vast majority of advertisements selling? Supplements! Most of the pages in these magazines are devoted to pushing worthless powders and pills. Supplement companies slant the opinions of the magazine article writers. The articles in the magazines are geared to support their advertisers.

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

…Nutritional supplements can be marketed without FDA approval of safety or effectiveness. Athletes who choose to ingest these supplements should be concerned with the safety of long-term use. They are low-nutrient, low-fiber, highly-processed, high-calorie “foods,” whose consumption reduces the phytochemical density of your diet.

Ingesting more protein than your body needs is not a small matter. It ages you prematurely and can cause significant harm. The excess protein you do not use is not stored by your body as protein; it is converted to fat or eliminated via the kidneys. Eliminating excess nitrogen via your urine leaches calcium and other minerals from your bones and breeds kidney stones.
And now The New York Times investigates what you need for a long workout; protein or carbohydrates. Gina Kolata reports:
Dr. Tarnopolsky, a 45-year-old trail runner and adventure racer, might be expected to seize upon the nutritional advice. (He won the Ontario trail running series in 2004, 2005 and 2006.)

So might his colleague, Stuart Phillips, a 41-year-old associate professor of kinesiology at McMaster who played rugby for Canada’s national team and now plays it for fun. He also runs, lifts weights and studies nutrition and performance.

In fact, neither researcher regularly uses energy drinks or energy bars. They just drink water, and eat real food. Dr. Tarnopolsky drinks fruit juice; Dr. Phillips eats fruit. And neither one feels a need to ingest a special combination of protein and carbohydrates within a short window of time, a few hours after exercising.

There are grains of truth to the nutrition advice, they and other experts say. But, as so often happens in sports, those grains of truth have been expanded into dictums and have formed the basis for an entire industry in “recovery” products.

They line the shelves of specialty sports stores and supermarkets with names like Accelerade drink, Endurox R4 powder, PowerBar Recovery bar.

“It does seem to me that as a group, athletes are particularly gullible,” said Michael Rennie, a physiologist at the University of Nottingham in England who studies muscle metabolism.

The idea that what you eat and when you eat it will make a big difference in your performance and recovery “is wishful thinking,” said Dr. Rennie, a 61-year-old who was a competitive swimmer and also used to play water polo and rugby.
I don’t bother with any of these “energy” products. The only thing I eat, either before or after my workouts, is my chocolate pudding.

Strictly Controlled Veggies...

This tray liner might be funny, but you still won’t find me at a Burger King anytime soon. Via BoingBoing:


Honestly, I check all my onions that way—makes them tender.

Save at the Supermarket, Again...


Now The Chicago Tribune is trying to save us money when shopping for groceries. Give these tips a try:
  1. Shop the perimeter.
  2. Use what you have.
  3. Shop in ethnic grocery stores.
  4. Make your own salad dressing, marinades and sauces.
  5. Pay attention to the food's price per ounce.
  6. Exploit your freezer.
  7. Write a grocery list and stick to it.
  8. Eat less.
  9. Skip the expensive beverages.
  10. Use coupons and loyalty cards to save money.
Check out the article for more and don’t forget these tips from the other day, and, definitely don’t do this: Potato chips beckon as food prices rise.

Thursday: Health Points


Using surveillance of hospital staff to observe the ways the wipes are used routinely, researchers discovered hospital workers were using the same antimicrobial wipe on many surfaces, from bed rails to monitors, tables, and keypads. One wipe was frequently used to wipe down several surfaces or to wipe down the same surface repeatedly before being thrown away.

The research team then replicated the disinfecting methods they’d observed for laboratory analysis. The lab findings showed that some wipes were more effective than others at removing bacteria from hard surfaces but they did not kill them. When the bacteria-laden wipe was used repeatedly on one surface or on several, it spread the bacteria instead of eliminating it.
The Agriculture Department, which detected the flu in samples tested at its Ames, Iowa, laboratories, said the H7N3 strain of influenza isn't dangerous to humans. Although the Tyson flock of 15,000 chickens is being destroyed, regulators aren't blocking U.S. consumers from eating chicken raised in Arkansas, the largest poultry-producing state after Georgia.


The Tyson label has been a point of contention and confusion since it was cleared by the Agriculture Department in May 2007. As the department was moving to rescind the label, Tyson officials tried to beat regulators to the punch by announcing earlier this week that it was "voluntarily" withdrawing the label.

Removing the label quickly is a logistical and financial headache for Tyson, which said Tuesday that the Agriculture Department's June 18 deadline is "unrealistic." Tyson says it has "several months" of chicken labeled "antibiotic-free" in storage.

Agriculture Minister Chung Woon-chun said earlier Tuesday that Seoul had asked the U.S. to refrain from exporting any beef from cattle 30 months of age and older, considered at greater risk of the illness.


Presidential spokesman Lee Dong-kwan said the president told a weekly Cabinet meeting that "it is natural not to bring in meat from cattle 30 months of age and older as long as the people do not want it."

The spokesman also expressed hope that the United States would respect South Korea's position following large-scale anti-government protests over the weekend.
The risk of being hospitalized was greatest among babies 6 months old and younger, but the increased risk persisted up until the children were 8 years old, Dr. M. K. Kwok of the University of Hong Kong and colleagues found. Children who were premature or low birth weight were particularly vulnerable.


The findings suggest that secondhand smoke exposure may not only be harmful to children's respiratory tracts, but to their immune systems as well, Kwok and colleagues say.

Hong Kong banned smoking in public places in 2007, but babies and children may still be exposed to secondhand smoke at home, the researchers note in their report in the journal Tobacco Control. While the danger smoke exposure poses to children's developing respiratory systems is well understood, less is known about its effects on overall infection risks.

Scientists previously thought that fat cells were relatively passive and inert. Now they have evidence that fat cells are metabolically active, continuously communicating with the brain and other organs through at least 25 hormones and other signaling chemicals.


For example, fat cells seem to release hormones that inform the brain how much energy is left and when to stop (or start) eating, guide muscles in deciding when to burn fat and tell the liver when to replenish its fat stores.

All this cross talk can be a mixed blessing in the body, however. A healthy population of fat cells, for example, helps the immune system fight off infection by releasing chemicals that cause mild inflammation. But an overactive group of fat cells might keep the inflammation permanently in the "on" position, eventually leading to heart disease.
Adult-onset asthma, like other inflammatory diseases that disproportionately affect women such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, may be a relatively strong risk factor for heart disease and stroke, Dr. Stephen J. Onufrak from the US Department of Agriculture, Stoneville, Mississippi told Reuters Health.


Onufrak and colleagues used data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study to examine the association of asthma with the risks of heart disease and stroke according to gender.

They found that, compared with their counterparts without asthma, women with adult-onset asthma had a 2.10-fold increase in the rate of heart disease and a 2.36-fold increase in the rate of stroke.

There was no association between childhood- or adult-onset asthma and heart disease or stroke in men, or between childhood-onset asthma and heart or stroke in women.

Researchers found that among 9,100 middle-aged men at higher-than- average risk of heart disease, those with gout were more likely to die of a heart attack or other cardiovascular cause over 17 years.


The findings should give men with gout extra incentive to have a doctor assess their cardiac risks, lead researcher Dr. Eswar Krishnan told Reuters Health.

And if they have modifiable risk factors -- like high cholesterol, high blood pressure or excess pounds -- it will be particularly important to get them under control, noted Krishnan, an assistant professor at Stanford University School of Medicine.
Give Yourself Permission to Do Less.
If you're struggling to exercise at all, bribe yourself with a mini-workout--it's better than none. You may not need to, once you get going, but the "permission" should be sincere. It's not the end of the world to shave off 10 minutes of cardio or skip a few strength training exercises. Check your routine for duplicate exercises that work the same muscles --you may be able to alternate rather than doing them all every time. If the thought of an easier workout gets you out the door, it's well worth doing "less" sometimes.


Change Routes and Routines.
Another obvious tip, but one we don't do often enough. If you exercise outdoors and have found the "best" route available for your run or walk, it can be tempting to just stick to it until you are totally sick of it but don't even realize it. Find new routes, or if there are none, revisit rejects that seemed too hilly or busy or boring--they may make a good change of pace even if they're not perfect.

Wednesday: Health Points

An analysis of adult eating habits in the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that eating apples and apple products could greatly reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome.

Researchers who looked at the NHANES data found that regularly consuming apples, applesauce or apple juice reduced the overall risk of metabolic syndrome by 27 percent.

An estimated 36 million Americans suffer from metabolic syndrome, also known as Syndrome X or insulin-resistance syndrome. It is linked to heart disease and diabetes and is characterized by hypertension, increased waist size and abdominal fat and elevated c-reactive protein levels.
"These data show that probiotic supplements modulate immune responses...and may have the potential to alleviate the severity of symptoms," Claudio Nicoletti and colleagues at the Institute of Food Research in Norwich, Britain, reported in the journal Clinical and Experimental Allergy.


Probiotics contain live micro-organisms, so-called good bacteria that colonize the intestine. They are sold as supplements but are also found naturally in many fermented foods, including yogurt and certain juices.

Humans normally carry several pounds of bacteria in their intestines and they are key to digestion, immune system function and possibly play other beneficial roles. They can also out-compete "bad" bacteria that may cause disease.
Research shows that may not be a great idea. In a recent study, British researchers conducted a review of the medical literature going back to the 1950s in search of scientific evidence supporting the claim. They found none. Then, after a biochemical analysis, they compared the contents of colas and other sodas with over-the-counter oral-rehydration solutions containing electrolytes and small amounts of sugar.


The soft drinks, the authors found, not only contained very low amounts of potassium, sodium and other electrolytes, but also in some cases as much as seven times the glucose recommended by the World Health Organization for rehydration. “Carbonated drinks, flat or otherwise, including cola, provide inadequate fluid and electrolyte replacement and cannot be recommended,” they said.
The study, published in the American Medical Association's journal Archives of General Psychiatry, also found the heavy cannabis users earned lower scores than the nonusers in a verbal learning task -- trying to recall a list of 15 words.


The marijuana users were more likely to exhibit mild signs of psychotic disorders, but not enough to be formally diagnosed with any such disorder, the researchers said.

"These findings challenge the widespread perception of cannabis as having limited or no harmful effects on (the) brain and behavior," said Murat Yucel of ORYGEN Research Centre and the University of Melbourne, who led the study.
Convenience stores across the state and the smokers who will be paying the price are angry about the change, but health officials hail the tax increase as a success. Cigarette taxes will raise a total of $1.3 billion for the state budget in fiscal year 2008-2009, including the new tax.


"Isn't that something - to say that I'm excited about a tax increase? But I am," said Dr. Richard Daines, the New York health commissioner. "This is a public health victory. We know one of the really effective tools to get people off of their nicotine addiction is to the raise the price."

Smokers will be paying $2.75 per pack in state taxes, a jump from the previous tax of $1.50. Before the new tax, the average price of a pack of cigarettes was $5.82 statewide, and about $8 a pack in New York City, which levies its own taxes, Daines said. The new retail price for a pack in the city could now soar past $10 depending on the store.
Very preterm infants who are fed human milk that is supplemented with fatty acids show signs of improved intellectual development, or "cognition," at 6 months of age, researchers in Norway report in the medical journal Pediatrics.


During pregnancy, fatty acids are transferred to the fetus by placental proteins and incorporated into cell membranes, Dr. Christian Andre Drevon and colleagues explain. However, premature infants are relatively deprived of two fatty acids -- docosahexaenoic acid and arachidonic acid -- because human milk supplies less than the fetus receives in the womb.

Drevon, at the University of Oslo, and colleagues examined the effect of adding docosahexaenoic acid and arachidonic acid supplements to human breast milk, which was given to very low birth weight (VLBW) infants (birth weight less than 1500 grams, or about 3.3 lbs.). Infants with major birth defects or cerebral hemorrhage were excluded from the study.
True or false?
  1. Brussels sprouts are a type of cabbage.
  2. Brussels sprouts provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection for your body.
  3. Brussels sprouts are low in fiber.
  4. Phytonutrients in Brussels sprouts help the body to defend against diseases.
  5. Folate is one nutrient that can't be found in Brussels sprouts.
  6. If you need a good night's sleep, eating Brussels sprouts for dinner can help because they contain tryptophan, which is sleep-promoting.
  7. Brussels sprouts are a good source of vitamin A.
Their findings, confirmed in two studies the researchers did on mice, were published in the June 2 online issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.


Researchers have long known that inflammation caused by infectious agents, such as Helicobacter pylori and hepatitis C, produces cytokines -- chemicals that can foster cancerous cell proliferation and suppress cell death. This increases the risk of stomach and liver cancers. They had also suspected that the inflammation pathway could also induce cancer, as the body's response to infection includes a release of reactive oxygen and nitrogen that can damage DNA.

Normally, the DNA damage would be repaired by the cells. But, if the DNA repair system is not functioning properly, the damage could induce cell mutations that can lead to cancer, according to the new study.

Salmonella Outbreak: Tomatoes a Suspect

Uncooked tomatoes are being linked to salmonella outbreaks in 9 states. The Associated Press reports:
An investigation by Texas and New Mexico health authorities and the Indian Health Service tied those cases to uncooked, raw, large tomatoes.

At least 17 people in Texas and New Mexico have been hospitalized. None have died, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Another 30 people have become sick with the same Salmonella Saintpaul infection in Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Idaho, Illinois and Indiana. CDC investigators are looking into whether tomatoes were culprits there, too.
Not good. Tomatoes are a super food. Save the tomatoes!

Breaking Habits, Keeping Weight Off

Change can be hard. Changing your diet can be doubly tough and America’s favorite foods don’t exactly help matters. Dr. Fuhrman explains in Eat For Health:
Modern foods are designed to seduce your taste buds. You have been manipulated by profit motivated food manufacturers. We all have. The artificially concentrated flavors that the processed food industry uses to stimulate the brain’s pleasure center are designed to increase and retain sales. Tragically, the result is that they lead people’s taste buds astray. Artificial, intense flavors cause us to enjoy natural flavors less. Our taste buds become desensitized, and the more we succumb to the heightened, artificial flavors, the less appealing natural, whole foods become.
Now, Shari Roan of The Los Angeles Times asks the question, “Why it's hard to maintain weight loss?” Here’s an excerpt:
"There is a big shift toward understanding long-term weight maintenance," says Paul MacLean, associate professor of medicine at the University of Colorado, Denver. "We have a huge number of diet books and diet programs, and if you do them, you can lose weight. The big problem is keeping it off. The recent estimates are that 5% to 10% of people are successful at keeping weight off on a long-term basis."

But before you throw up your hands and reach for the Twinkies, consider this: Scientists think the truth will set us free -- that understanding the stubborn biological processes at work will lead to ways to fight back and outsmart them.

Exercise, it's known, buffers the post-diet body against regaining weight, in ways that researchers are just starting to comprehend. Certain foods, scientists believe, may help stave off weight regain too. And medications now in development target some of the biochemistry thought to be linked to packing the pounds back on…

…Appetite hormones change too. The hormone leptin, for example, is a major appetite regulator -- it tells the body to stop eating and store fat after meals. Some people may be genetically prone to having lower leptin levels, making them more prone to obesity. But studies also show that, after a weight loss, leptin levels are lower than what they used to be. That means appetite is less easily quelled. It's like a car that has suddenly lost its brakes.

Another hormone, ghrelin, stimulates food intake -- levels in the brain fall lower after a meal. However, after a weight loss, ghrelin levels in the blood generally increase, and the fall-off after mealtimes isn't as marked.

"You lose 10% of your body weight. All of a sudden all these systems kick in to try to keep you from losing weight," says Dr. Ken Fujioka, director of nutrition and metabolic research at the Scripps Clinic in San Diego. "People are mad at themselves or depressed after they regain the weight. But I explain: It's not you. Biology has kicked in now. . . . You are hungry all the time. You think about food all the time."
This is all well and good, but staying determined and keeping your eyes on the prize is a great way to buck to the trend. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
It is not easy to develop new habits, and there is no such thing as a quick shortcut to developing new skills and expertise. When you do something over and over, it creates a pathway in the brain that makes it easier and more comfortable to repeat again. That is one reason why it is so hard to change bad habits. However, if you are motivated to persevere and keep trying, the change becomes considerably easier. The more you make healthful meals and the more days you link together eating healthful foods, the more your brain will naturally prefer to eat that way. Of course, feeling better and losing weight is a great motivator, but through this process, your taste for a different way of eating can be established. It has been shown that a new food needs to be eaten about 15 times for it to become a preferred food. Keep in mind that the more days you eat healthfully, the more you will lose your addiction to unhealthful, stimulating substances, and, with time, you will look forward to, and prefer, a healthy diet. Don’t give up. The only failure is to stop trying.
I’m not an expert, but I think eating and living healthfully gets easier the longer you do it. For me, its as if my instincts changed—know what I mean?

Food Prices: Save When You Shop

Lately everything is getting more expensive, including food. Jacki Donaldson of That’sFit offers up five tips that might save you a buck or two. Take a look:
Make lists: Shopping with a list can save 10 percent on unnecessary items, like junk food.

Buy in bulk: Don't buy more than you need -- waste is costly too -- but often, bulk items are priced better.

Go simple: Usually, the more processed the food, the more it costs. It's less healthy too.

Don't buy on impulse: Focus on staples, like milk, eggs, bread, and canned and frozen fruits and veggies. Avoid the tempting goods, like cakes and cookies strategically placed so you can't miss them and those yummy candy bars calling your name in the check-out lines.

Use coupons: Be flexible and plan meals around what's on sale, and you can definitely lower your grocery bill. This may mean switching brands and types of food.
I’m not an expert, but I’d like to add a few of my own tips here:
Choose wisely: Buy nutrient-dense filling foods, like high-fiber cruciferous vegetables; spinach, kale, broccoli, collard greens, etc.


Freeze when possible: If you see some cheap fruit or veggies that do well once frozen. Buy them! I find bananas, berries, and greens freeze well. Same goes for leftovers.

Buy markdowns: Some of the supermarkets I go to sell reduced price fruits and veggies, usually they’re just over-ripe, not rotten. There’s NO shame in it. I buy them all the time.
Now, if you’ve got some good suggestions. I’m all ears.

Mediterranean Diet vs. Type-2 Diabetes

The Mediterranean diet is supposed to be healthy, but many members of my Italian, pasta and olive oil eating extended family have endured obesity, heart disease, and cancer. Is there something wrong here? Maybe so, Dr. Fuhrman explains:
In the 1950s people living in the Mediterranean, especially on the island of Crete, were lean and virtually free of heart disease. Yet over 40 percent of their caloric intake come from fat, primarily olive oil. If we look at the diet they consumed back then, we note that Cretans ate mostly fruits, vegetables, beans and some fish. Saturated fat was less than 6 percent of their total fat intake. True, they ate lots of olive oil, but the rest of their diet was exceptionally healthy. They also worked hard in the fields, walking about nine miles a day, often pushing a plow or working other manual farm equipment.
Well, my family does eat a lot of olive and fish, but they’re certainly not plowing any fields. Actually, their diet and lifestyle is more like the diet of modern Crete. Back to Dr. Fuhrman:
Today the people of Crete are fat, just like us. They're still eating alot of olive oil, but their consumption of fruits, vegetables, and beans is down. Meat, cheese, and fish are their new staples, and their physical activity level has plummeted. Today, heart disease has skyrocketed and more than half the population of both adults and children in Crete is overweight.1
So I’m not sure you can bank on the results of this study. According to new research in the British Medical Journal adhering to a Mediterranean diet can protect you against developing type-2 diabetes. HealthDay News reports:
A Mediterranean diet is often recommended as a way to guard against cardiovascular disease, but whether it protects against diabetes hasn't been established. The diet emphasizes olive oil, vegetables, fruits, nuts, cereals, legumes and fish, and deemphasizes meat and dairy products.

"The Mediterranean diet is a healthful eating plan that seems to help in the prevention of heart disease," said Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis, who was not involved with the study. "Consumption of the Mediterranean diet will support health and may aid in the prevention of several diseases," she added.

For the study, published online May 30 in the British Medical Journal, researchers tracked the diets of 13,380 Spanish university graduates with no history of diabetes. Participants filled out a 136-item food questionnaire, which measured their entire diet (including their intake of fats), their cooking methods and their use of dietary supplements.

During an average of 4.4 years of follow-up, the team found that people who adhered to a Mediterranean diet had a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In fact, those who stuck very closely to the diet reduced their risk by 83 percent.
I think what attracts people to the Mediterranean diet is that it sound exotic and it is better than the Standard American Diet, but it’s not good enough! Time to start eating a nutrient-dense vegetable-based diet!
Continue Reading...

Eat For Health: High-Nutrient Foods That Can Be Eaten In Unlimited Quantities


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

LEAFY GREEN VEGETABLES
  • Romaine lettuce, leaf lettuces, kale, collards, Swiss chard, cabbage, spinach, bok choy, parsley.
SOLID GREEN VEGETABLES
  • Artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, cucumber, kohlrabi, okra, peas, green peppers, snow peas, string beans, zucchini.
NON-GREEN, HIGH-NUTRIENT VEGETABLES
  • Beets, eggplant, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, peppers, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, cauliflower, squash, carrots.
BEANS AND LEGUMES (cooked, canned, or sprouted)
  • Red kidney beans, adzuki beans, chickpeas, pinto beans, cowpeas, navy beans, cannelloni beans, soybeans, lentils, white beans, lima beans, pigeon peas, black-eyed peas, black beans, split peas.
FRESH FRUITS
  • Apples, apricots, blackberries, blueberries, grapefruit, grapes, kiwis, mangoes, nectarines, all melons, oranges, peaches, pears, persimmons, pineapples, plums, raspberries, strawberries, tangerines.