Salmonella, Tomatoes Really to Blame?

Federal investigators are looking into other sources of the salmonella-tomato outbreak. CNN reports:
"Produce investigations are very difficult, because a lot of times, vegetables are eaten all together," said Dr. Patricia Griffin, chief of the Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. That makes it hard to trace back any one item to a source of contamination, she added. "We continue to keep an open mind about the possible source of this outbreak, as does FDA."

Dr. David Acheson, associate commissioner for foods at the Food and Drug Administration, agreed. "There is a strong epidemiological association with tomatoes," but the agency is also "looking into other ingredients," he said.

The scare has prompted grocery chains nationwide to pull tomatoes from their shelves and some restaurants to stop offering them as ingredients.
Good thing, because the number of victims might surpass 800 and bad tomatoes are still being sold.

Effective Fitness Gadgets

The Detroit Free Press tips us off to some nifty exercise equipment. Take a look:
Resistance Bands
"The most beneficial equipment would be a set of resistance bands," says Ali Witherspoon, owner of A.L.I. Bootcamp in Hollywood, Fla. "They come in different strengths -- light, medium and heavy resistance -- to work your upper and lower body."

Ankle Weights
"With ankle weights, you can do a whole body workout, and ladies can do all leg exercises," says Natalie Brabner, owner of Florida Fitness Trainers in Aventura. You can tone your muscles and burn more calories just by wearing them throughout the day, and "while watching TV, you can do hip extensions and build your glutes."

"There's nothing better than old-fashioned body-weight exercises," Thomas says. "They worked for Jack LaLanne and they will do the same for you." Calisthenics also have "what I call a survival slimming effect. Since you are lifting your own body weight, the body is forced to adapt. In other words, if you are heavy, this type of exercise will encourage weight loss out of the sheer will to survive."

Swiss ball
In addition to core training, such as sit-ups, which can be done on the Swiss ball, you can perform stretches and explosive athletic exercises, Thomas says. "This makes the ball the Swiss Army knife of fitness."
I haven’t done jumping-jacks since high school.

Mighty Oats!

Oatmeal and Fruit Compote

fresh fruits, chopped
raisins or other dried fruits, chopped
soy milk, orange juice or pomegranate juice, to cover for soaking
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
To make fruit compote: Combine the fresh and dried fruits in a glass jar along with some soy milk or juice for soaking. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, prepare rolled oats according to directions on package. Add fruit compote to the oatmeal. Serves 2.

Cinnamon Fruit Oatmeal
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup blueberries
2 apples, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
1/4 cup raisins
In a saucepan, combine water with the vanilla and cinnamon. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and stir in the oats. When the mixture starts to simmer, add the blueberries. Remove from heat when berries are heated through. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes until thick and creamy. Mix in apples, nuts, flax seeds, and raisins. Serves 2.

Blueberry Nut Oatmeal
1 3/4 cups water
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup grated apple
2 tablespoons currants
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
8 pecan halves, chopped
In a saucepan, bring water to a boil and stir in all ingredients, except blueberries and pecans. Turn heat down and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in blueberries and pecans. Remove from heat and cover for 2-3 minutes before serving. Serves 3.

Loaded with Trans-Fat...

That’sFit passes along a list of the trans-fattiest foods. Take a look:
  • Cake mixes
  • Cereal and energy bars
  • Chips and crackers
  • Dried soups
  • Fast food
  • Frozen entrées
  • Margarine
  • Nondairy creamers and whipped topping
  • Packaged cookies and candy
  • Packaged doughnuts, pies, and cakes
Good news for me. I don’t eat any of this junk! Do you? I hope not.

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.

Hey, I'm on Diet Blog!

Can’t get enough Gerry? You’re in luck. I’m now officially part of the team at Diet Blog. Check it out:

No worries, Followhealthlife is still my number one. Big thanks to Jim Foster of Diet Blog. You rock dude!

Lots of Green Tomatoes!

Time to check in with my heavenly tomato. Here it was last week:

And remember these little guys:

Now check out this week:

And these too:

The tomato gods are happy!

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.

NYC: Jogging in The Park

Central Park might not have been built for running, but it’s actually becoming a great place to jog. Liz Robbins of The New York Times reports:
For those who choose to push the boundaries of Central Park, there is every type of workout — speed, hills, distance and exploration — for every kind of runner.

Start with the 4.2 miles of dirt bridle path, in three connected sections, which offer the truest sanctuary.

From there emerges a web of paved and wood-chipped trails, adding miles and topographical variety to any run.

Even at the risk of seeing those routes become more worn, coaches, local runners and staff members of the New York Road Runners shared their favorite off-the-beaten-path runs.

Consider this a primer for thinking, and then running, outside the loop.
I’ve walked through Central Park countless times, but haven’t jogged it yet. I’ll add it to my to-do list!

Bigger Belly Means Greater Death Risk

When Dr. Fuhrman wrote Eat to Live he pointed out that obesity is a major detriment to long term. It sets you up for a whole mess of health problems. Here’s an excerpt:
Obesity is an important predictor of chronic ailments and quality of life than any other public scourge. In a recent survey of 9,500 Americans, 36 percent were overweight and 23 percent were obese, yet only 19 percent were daily smokers and 6 percent heavy drinkers.

With time, the ravages of obesity predispose the typical American adult to depression, diabetes, and hypertension and increase the risks of death in all ages and in almost every ethnic and gender group. The U.S. Surgeon General has reported that 300,000 deaths annually are caused by or related to obesity.
Clearly he’s onto something. A new study has determined that a large waist circumference is linked to an increased risk of death. Reuters reports:
"People should not only look at their weight, but also consider their waist," Dr. Annemarie Koster of the National Institute on Aging, the lead researcher on the study, told Reuters Health.

Being overweight or obese is clearly bad for one's health, but the best way to gauge whether a person's fatness is putting them at risk has been "controversial," Koster and her team write in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Body mass index, or BMI, has been the standard measurement used, they add, but the way fat is distributed throughout the body -- especially at the waistline -- may be even more important than how many excess pounds a person is carrying.

To investigate the relationship among belly fat, BMI and mortality, the researchers followed 245,533 men and women participating in the National Institutes of Health-American Association of Retired Persons study. Study participants ranged in age from 51 to 72 at the study's outset, and were followed for nine years.

Among men, the researchers found, those in the top fifth based on their waist circumference were about 22 percent more likely to die during the study period than men with trimmer waistlines, independent of BMI. A similar risk was seen among women.
Why are some many Americans obese? In his new book, Eat for Health, Dr. Fuhrman believes that people are simply making the wrong food choices. Take a look:
Many people suffer from medical ailments because they were never taught about their bodies’ nutritional requirements. We eat entirely too many low-nutrient foods, which gives us excessive calories without enough nutrients. Our nutrient-deprived body then craves more food, and the availability of calorie-rich, low-nutrient foods enables us to eat ourselves to death. A diet based on milk, meats, cheese, pasta, bread, fried foods, and sugar-filled snacks and drinks lays the groundwork for obesity, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, digestive disorders, and autoimmune illnesses.
Here’s an experiment. Go to the supermarket and count the number of people in the produce isle and then the snack food isle. Let me know what happens.

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

Candy Linked to Recession?

Slashfood relays a claim that the increase in the sale of candy is sign of the recession. Take a look:
Why am I spending more money on candy when I am economizing on just about everything else?
It's psychological. Consumer Analysts at the Nielsen Co. explain that the candy business is "recession-proof." Besides having the feel-good factor, candy is easily accessible and cheap. Since people are reducing their shopping trips further from home to save gas, they are ending up at drug stores where there's lots of candy. Chocolate bars are probably one of the cheapest foods that seems to fulfill your appetite and simultaneously put a smile on your face. In fact, during the Great Depression, nickel chocolate bars practically served as meals.
I don’t know about candy, but I’m buying a lot of marked down produce.

Green-News: Friday 6.27.08

The broad details of the plan by state regulators to meet the goals of California’s groundbreaking 2006 law requiring reductions in carbon dioxide and other emissions that contribute to climate change.

Since the probable death of national climate-control legislation after a brief Senate debate this month, the California plan is the most comprehensive effort in the country to devise an economy-wide program to reduce heat-trapping gases.

The plan does not , however, offer details about some politically delicate questions, including the costs it will impose on various industries, among them automobile manufacturers and electric utilities, which together contribute 61 percent of these emissions.

Rather than assessing the costs that will be borne by industry, Mary D. Nichols, who heads the California Air Resources Board, said the agency’s “macroeconomic analysis” had shown that the state’s gross domestic product would increase by 1 percent when the plan was fully put into place.
The floods that damaged his and other farms in southern Wisconsin earlier this month are likely to result in fewer fruits and vegetables at farmers markets this summer and help boost already high prices for organic eggs and meat at grocery stores in the fall.

A cool spring meant many farmers were about two weeks behind in planting. The storms struck just as their first vegetables emerged from the ground.

"Twelve inches of water falling on, say, this field of beets that were just starting to peak through the soil, it just washed them away," Richard de Wilde said. "They couldn't withstand that kind of deluge." De Wilde has one of the largest organic farms in the state.

Organic corn fed to livestock that provide organic eggs, chicken, beef and pork was barely 4 inches high, half of what it should have been, said Eric Newman, vice president of sales for La Farge, Wis.-based Organic Valley, the nation's largest cooperative of organic farmers.
“In the United States, drastic action is needed,” says Canadian geneticist Joe Cummins, explaining that U.S. farmers and beekeepers shouldn’t have to wait for more evidence or for an air-tight explanation for the complex syndrome, which threatens one in every third bite of food in the United States. Now most apiarists and scientists realize that pesticides are a factor in CCD, he says.

Cummins’ remarks, in an interview with GreenRightNow, come less than a month after Germany’s ban of clothianidin, a pesticide commonly used to keep insects off of corn crops. Germany banned the pesticide after heaps of dead bees were found near fields of corn coated in the pesticide, and in response to scientists who report that the insecticide severely impairs, and often kills, the honeybees that corn and other crops depend on for pollination.

The German government took the extraordinary action to protect bees and other essential pollinators, stating that there is now enough compelling evidence connecting the chemical to Bee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in that country. on Good Morning America

Followhealthlife's buddy Robyn O’Brien, founder of, was recently featured on Good Morning America. Take a look:

And from the GMA report:
“I had made scrambled eggs and put them in front of all four kids and decided to put them in front of the baby," the 36-year-old said. "I put them on her highchair and she didn't want them, fussed and pushed them away. And I didn't think anything of it."

But 9-month-old Tory's aversion to the breakfast staple had little to do with taste, as O'Brien soon found out.

"I put her down for a nap. A few minutes later and there was some mother instinct in me because I went in to check on her for some reason, which I rarely do, and her face was swollen shut," O'Brien said.

A life-threatening reaction to eggs caused grotesque swelling of the infant's face and instantly shook O'Brien to her core. She said her daughter's severe response prompted her to take a closer look at what she was feeding all of her children and to educate herself on food allergies.
No doubt, Robyn’s a Followhealthlife celebrity. Check out these posts:
Rock on Robyn, rock on!

Eating to Live on the Outside: Habib's Persian Cuisine

Hopefully my government rebate check comes soon, because I’m heading to Las Vegas! And in between gambling my dreams away, I’m dropping by Habib’s Persian Cuisine. This week Eating to Live on the Outside heads to Sin City—digitally at least.

Actually I’ve been to Las Vegas before, remember Vegas Style and Go Raw Café? But this week, from the comforts of New Jersey, I’m giving Habib’s Persian Cuisine a look-see. And to be honest, it’s looking pretty good, lots of stuff for a ravenous Eat to Liver.

The menu’s really cool. It comes with pictures and from the looks of them. I’m digging the Hammus and the Borani. The Hammus is made with chic peas, sesame seed oil, olive oil, and lemon juice. The oils are a little troublesome, but chic peas kick butt! The Borani is prepared with sautéed eggplants, onions, herbs, garlic, and yogurt. I’m ditching the yogurt.

The salads are rocking too. I’d go with either the Salad Shirazi or the Tabuli. The Shirazi comes with diced tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers—nice! The Tabuli also looks great. It’s prepared with parsley, tomatoes, cracked wheat, green onions, mint, red peppers, and olive oil. No worries on the olive oil again. It’s hardly the end of the world.

The entrees are little dicey. Too much beef and chicken for my liking, but there’s hope! Take the Mahi Mahi for example. It’s a filet of fish with vegetables and rice. Mahi Mahi is a safer fish and the rice isn’t a HUGE concession. Same goes with the Salmon. It comes with lemon chive and butter sauce. I’d skip the butter—yucky! Salmon is also a better variety of fish. Now, I don’t really like shrimp, but maybe you’d consider the Shrimp Scampi. It’s pretty simple; shrimp, vegetables, and rice. So far, what I like about the menu is the simplicity. Nothing too complicated. I find the simpler a food is, the better it is for you—don’t you agree?

Okay, onto the daily specials. The Ghormeh Sabzi is cool. Its sautéed herbs, vegetables, kidney beans, dried limes, seasoning, and rice. Well, sautéed can be iffy, but no worries, it could be worse. Sadly, that’s the only special I’d go with. The rest of them have chicken and beef. You might eat a little chicken every once and a while, but I’ve sworn off all animal products except fish. The Koresht Fesenjan is interesting because it comes with pomegranate and pomegranate is a wonder food.

As for the desserts and beverages, I don’t see anything I’d consider. Cheese cake and soft drinks aren’t exactly on an Eat to Liver’s radar. But overall I think Habib’s Persian Cuisine is pretty good. So next time you’re betting the farm in Las Vega, stop by. In the meantime, check out Habib’s Persian Cuisine’s menu and let me know how you handle Eating to Live on the Outside. As always, you can make a comment or send an email to Until then, eat wisely! Peace.

Tainted Tomatoes, 700 Victims

Wow, I thought 500 people was a big deal, but according to a new report, the salmonella tomatoes have sickened more than 700 people. From NewsInferno:
According to the CDC, 707 cases of Salmonella St. Paul have been reported in the US between mid-April and June 13, 2008. Texas has had been the hardest hit state, with 293 illnesses reported. Other states affected by the outbreak include Arkansas (7 persons), Arizona (36), California (10), Colorado (5), Connecticut (4), Florida (1), Georgia (15), Idaho (3), Illinois (63), Indiana (11), Kansas (11), Kentucky (1), Maryland (25), Massachusetts (17), Michigan (4), Missouri (12), New Hampshire (1), Nevada (4), New Jersey (4), New Mexico (80), New York (18), North Carolina (5), Ohio (3), Oklahoma (17), Oregon (5), Pennsylvania (6), Rhode Island (3), Tennessee (6), Utah (2), Virginia (22), Vermont (1), Washington (5), Wisconsin (6), and the District of Columbia (1).

At least 76 people have been hospitalized, and the CDC says that Salmonella may have also contributed to the death of a Texas cancer patient.

Salmonella is a potentially deadly type of food poisoning, symptoms of which include fever, abdominal pain, nausea, gas and bloody diarrhea. Symptoms appear within 36 hours of exposure, and usually last four to seven days. In very severe cases, Salmonella can lead to kidney failure and other complications. Salmonella can be particularly dangerous for children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems. Some victims of Salmonella will develop a disease called Reiter’s Syndrome, a difficult- to- treat condition that causes severe joint pain, irritation of the eyes, and painful urination. Reiter’s Syndrome can plague its victims for months or years, and can lead to chronic arthritis.
I’m getting tired of talking about it, but 700 people! Scary.

Metabolic Syndrome Seen in Obese Children

New research has concluded that most obese kids between the ages of 12 and 14 have metabolic syndrome; a major predictor of type-2 diabetes and heart disease. WebMD is on it:
"If a kid is age 8 with metabolic syndrome, it will take 10 years or less for that child to become a type 2 diabetic or develop heart disease," Sarah E. Messiah, PhD, MPH tells WebMD. "So as these kids enter adulthood, they could be faced with an entire life of chronic disease."

Obese kids aren't dropping dead in their teens, but by then, many have serious heart problems, says John K. Stevens Jr., MD, a cardiologist at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta's Sibley Heart Center.

Stevens sees more and more teens with dangerously high blood pressure that is reshaping their hearts. He sees teens with dangerously high levels of blood fats. He sees teens with plaque streaking the walls of their arteries. And he sees teens far down the road toward type 2 diabetes, a major risk factor for heart disease.

"I am very fearful that in the next 10 to 20 years we will have an explosion of type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease as these very young, very obese kids become 20-year-olds and 30-year-olds," Stevens tells WebMD.

The problem isn't a heart disease epidemic. It's a child obesity epidemic, Stevens says - and Messiah's numbers lead to the same conclusion.
And these statistics are even more frightening. Back to the report:
  • About 17% of boys and girls ages 8 to 11 and 12 to 14 are overweight or obese.
  • Between 6.5% and 9.5% of overweight 8- to 11-year-olds have metabolic syndrome, depending on how the data are adjusted to account for sex, age, and ethnicity.
  • Between 26.3% and 52.4% of overweight 12- to 14-year olds have metabolic syndrome.
Its almost as if we’re raising generation after generation of chronically ill people—sad.

Glamour Magazine: 20 Cancer-Fighting Foods...

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

Collard greens 
Dandelion greens

Broccoli sprouts
Bok choy

Swiss chard

Red grapes


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.

Green-News: Thursday 6.26.08

The document, which ended up in e-mail limbo, without official status, was the E.P.A.’s answer to a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that required it to determine whether greenhouse gases represent a danger to health or the environment, the officials said.

This week, more than six months later, the E.P.A. is set to respond to that order by releasing a watered-down version of the original proposal that offers no conclusion. Instead, the document reviews the legal and economic issues presented by declaring greenhouse gases a pollutant.

Over the past five days, the officials said, the White House successfully put pressure on the E.P.A. to eliminate large sections of the original analysis that supported regulation, including a finding that tough regulation of motor vehicle emissions could produce $500 billion to $2 trillion in economic benefits over the next 32 years. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.
Peter Mandelstam, founder and president of Bluewater Wind was understandably enthusiastic about the news. “By signing this first-ever formal contract in the United States for the sale of pollution-free, stable-priced energy generated from our offshore wind farm, Bluewater Wind and Delmarva Power will usher in new era of power generation that benefits from utility-scale power plants located far from our shores.

I don’t know if wind turbines 13 miles from the beach really qualifies as “far from our shores”, but compared to offshore wind developments in Europe the US lags behind so Mandelstam’s enthusiasm is definitely warranted.

Bluewater is currently investigating offshore wind projects in New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island.
Under the proposed deal, Florida will pay $1.75 billion for United States Sugar, which would have six years to continue farming before turning over 187,000 acres north of Everglades National Park, along with two sugar refineries, 200 miles of railroad and other assets.

It would be Florida’s biggest land acquisition ever, and the magnitude and location of the purchase left environmentalists and state officials giddy.

Even before Gov. Charlie Crist arrived to make the announcement against a backdrop of water, grass and birds here, dozens of advocates gathered in small groups, gasping with awe, as if at a wedding for a couple they never thought would fall in love. After years of battling with United States Sugar over water and pollution, many of them said that the prospect of a partnership came as a shock.

“It’s so exciting,” said Margaret McPherson, vice president of the Everglades Foundation. “I’m going to do cartwheels.”

Food Packaging and Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology used by the food-package industry is drawing scrutiny from environmental agencies. The Environmental News Network:
The food-packaging industry, food companies and consumers all share an interest in ensuring that any possible safety questions are identified and are carefully evaluated and resolved before marketing packaging materials that contain ENMs, according to the report authored by former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policy official Michael R. Taylor.

The PEN-GMA report, Assuring the Safety of Nanomaterials in Food Packaging: The Regulatory Process and Key Issues, was a result of an effort by experts from government, industry and the public interest community to examine the path of a number of hypothetical nanotechnology food packaging applications through the current regulatory system. The regulatory system for food packaging is scientifically rigorous and extraordinarily complex, both legally and scientifically. This first-of-its-kind analysis provides a better understanding of the potential regulatory issues on the horizon for nanotechnology-enabled packaging — an advantage for industry, consumers and regulatory agencies such as FDA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
You know, fresh fruits and veggies don’t come in elaborate packing. For more on nanotechnology, be sure to read Nanotechnology: Cancer-risk.

How Regular People Exercise...

Listen, we all don’t have the time to rock climb, ski, or hike. So, just how does your average Joe stay fit? The Detroit Free Press called for submissions. Here’re some stories that caught my eye:
"A young colleague at work turned me onto 'Dance Dance Revolution.' It helped me lose about 12 pounds." Brian Nichols, 42, Livonia

"I have a 7-year-old daughter, Miranda, and just keeping up with her is a real workout. She's involved with soccer, swimming, and tae kwon do. She and I spend a good deal of time working on her skills. As a result, I too get a decent workout." Eric Stileski, 46, and Miranda Stileski, 7, Waterford

"In my attempts to get fit and stay healthy, I find taking my dog, Eddie, for walks to be most rewarding." Jessica Shuler, 26, Novi

"I play Wallyball during the winter months and do strength and flexibility exercises at home to stay fit, and with the nicer weather, have been walking and riding my bike. Wallyball is volleyball played inside of a racquetball court." Kim Howard, 42, Novi

"I Rollerblade, walk briskly on a treadmill, play the Nintendo Wii and use an exercise ball and hand weights." Miria Strzalkowski, 39, New Baltimore
Actually, this is a good question. How do all of you stay fit? You can check out my exercise routine in this post: Blogging and Dieting, a Follow Up...

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!

Bad Beef in Michigan and Ohio...

Health officials in Michigan and Ohio are blaming beef from Kroger Food Stores for a recent E. coli outbreak. More from eMaxhealth:
According to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics, about 70000 cases of E. coli O157:H7 infections occur in US. Some of infected people are being hospitalized, but some of them may recover easily. The O157:H7 strain of E. coli bacteria is the most dangerous one and it can cause symptoms like 'stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting'. Usually, it takes about 15 days to recover, but sometimes the bacteria can lead to serious health complications.

E. coli bacteria cases in Michigan and Ohio are now being investigated actively and are found linked to the same source - ground beef from Kroger Food Stores. Michigan reported 15 people who caught the bacteria, and more than half of them reported to have consumed ground beef from these stores. 10 of these people were hospitalized. In Ohio there were 17 confirmed cases and according to CDC investigation, these cases are also linked to ground beef.
Evidently we should just get used to this sort of thing because every few weeks there’s another problem with food—ridiculous!

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!

No Plowing the Way for Energy-Crops

Actually, that’s a good thing! Using abandoned farmlands to grow bio-fuels could eliminate the need to clear forests for new fields. From the Environmental News Network:
Using these lands for energy crops, instead of converting existing croplands or clearing new land, avoids competition with food production and preserves carbon-storing forests needed to mitigate climate change. Sustainable bioenergy is likely to satisfy no more than 10% of the demand in the energy-intensive economies of North America, Europe, and Asia. But for some developing countries, notably in Sub-Saharan Africa, the potential exists to supply many times their current energy needs without compromising food supply or destroying forests…

…The researchers estimate that globally up to 4.7 million square kilometers (approximately 1.8 million square miles) of abandoned lands could be available for growing energy crops. The potential yield of this land area, equivalent to nearly half the land area of the United States (including Alaska), depends on local soils and climate, as well as on the specific energy crops and cultivation methods in each region. But the researchers estimate that the worldwide harvestable dry biomass could amount to as much as 2.1 billion tons, with a total energy content of about 41 exajoules. While this is a significant amount of energy (one exajoule is a billion billion joules, equivalent to about 170 million barrels of oil), at best it would satisfy only about 8% of worldwide energy demand.
I’ve got an even better idea. Let’s cut down on all the cattle pastures and use that land for bio-fuels too!

Artificial Turf, Full of Lead

Back in April federal authorities expressed concern over artificial turf and now their suspicions have been confirmed. Excess lead has been found in artificial turf. The Associated Press reports:
The report from the Center for Environmental Health comes after New Jersey officials found unacceptably high lead levels in some synthetic surfaces and federal authorities recommended lead testing on fraying sports fields.

The center's tests, which it hired an independent lab to verify, went beyond sports fields. They found excessive lead in indoor/outdoor carpeting, artificial lawns and playground grass made with nylon and polyethylene, said Charles Margulis, a spokesman for the group.

The group classified the amount of lead as excessive if it exceeded 600 parts per million, which is the maximum allowable in paint. About 50 products were tested, and at least 15 were found to have high lead levels.

In one test, the lead was so accessible it could be wiped away with a cloth, according to the Oakland, California-based group that focuses on identifying toxins in everyday consumer products.
Yeah, I stick to running on pavement.

Pregnancy Weight Gain Yields Fat Kids...

New research is encouraging women not to gain more than the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy because the extra pounds could increase their child’s chances of becoming overweight. More from Reuters:
Looking at data from more than 10,000 mother-child pairs, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that children whose mothers gained more than the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy were 48 percent more likely than other children to be overweight at age 7.

In the U.S., the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends that normal-weight women gain 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. Women who were overweight before becoming pregnant are encouraged to gain a little less -- 15 to 25 pounds -- while underweight women should put on 28 to 40 pounds.

The new findings suggest that exceeding those recommendations may raise a child's own odds of excessive weight gain in the future.

"Based on these results, encouraging healthy eating and aerobic physical activity for pregnant women to help meet the IOM guidelines may help curtail the childhood obesity epidemic," said lead researcher Dr. Brian Wrotniak, a postdoctoral fellow at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Reminds me of last week’s report: High-Fat Diet During Pregnancy, May Impact Daughter's Puberty.

School's Out, Eat Cheese Fries...

Summer’s here, kids are off to camp, and nutrition’s out the window. Tara Parker-Pope of The New York Times Well blog shares her story:
It was at summer camp a few years ago that she first experienced the culinary joy of cheese fries, which can pack 800 or more calories in a serving. Her camp is typical of those around the country: days packed with archery, swimming and adventure climbing; menus packed with soft drinks, burgers, chicken nuggets and, once a week, cheese fries.

Camp food is just one of the summertime nutrition challenges for parents these days. While childhood health advocates often blame schools for poor nutrition and a lack of physical activity, the problem often gets worse in the summer. Last year, The American Journal of Public Health published a provocative study showing that schools may be taking too much of the blame for the childhood obesity epidemic.

Data from kindergarteners and first graders found that body mass index increased two to three times as fast in summer as during the regular school year. Minority children were especially vulnerable, as were children who were already overweight.

Notably, even children who were too thin and needed to gain weight appeared to have better eating habits during the school year. They actually gained more weight while in school and less in the summer.
Wow, that’s some menu! Not exactly health-promoting. Just check out these posts:
What kind of camp is this, Camp Whatcha-Gonna-Die-From? My goodness!

Hormone Helps the Brain Resist Tasty Treats

We’ve all got foods we’re powerless to resist. At times, I’ve single-handily made peanut M&M’s an endangered species. Maybe I’m low on leptin. Leptin is a hormone secreted by fat cells that regulates the body’s appetite.

A new study has determined that low levels of leptin—commonly found in people who have lost weight—makes it harder to resist “tempting” foods.

"When you lose weight you've created about the perfect storm for regaining weight," said Michael Rosenbaum of Columbia University Medical Center in New York, whose research appears in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, “Areas of your brain involved in telling you not to eat seem to be less active. You are more responsive to food and you are less in control of it.”

Almost sounds like you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t! Alright, in case you’re in a panic about leptin now, fear not! Previous research determined that getting plenty of sleep is a great way to increase leptin production and reduce weight gain.

Good. So all I need now is a bag of peanut M&M’s and a pillow. Kidding.

All-Natural Diet Sweeteners, Claims and Controversy...

TreeHugger takes a look at all the hoopla surrounding diet sweeteners and their “all-natural” claims. Take a look:
Stevia is banned in Europe. The USA has not approved stevia as a food additive. Is it a conspiracy of the artificial sweetener industry to suppress an all-natural competitor? Or is there insufficient evidence of the safety of Stevia for human consumption in the face of findings of carcinogenic effects, reduction of fertility and mutagenic effects of the chemicals created when Stevia is digested?

Rumors of conspiracy were prompted by an anonymous challenge to opening the US market to stevia, which under the rules of the FDA could have been been given Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status as an existing product with a history of human consumption. Without FDA approval or GRAS status, Zevia and stevia must be marketed under the less-regulated category of "dietary supplement".

While the food agencies tend to focus on risks, there may be benefits too. Preliminary study results suggest that stevia may have positive effects beyond weight control, including vasodilation (an effect that can be therapeutic for high blood pressure) and improved regulation of blood glucose levels (possibly beneficial in relation to diabetes).
A few years ago, when Dr. Fuhrman wrote Eat to Live, he mentioned Stevia. Here’s what he said:
Many health gurus recommend substituting Stevia in place of artificial sweeteners. Stevia is natural and its use is permitted in Japan and other countries. Despite its widespread use, there is a surprising lack of human clinical trials evaluating its safety. Unlike with saccharin, no evidence has been reported that stevioside and its metabolites are carcinogenic. However, animal reports of nephrotoxicity do exist, which suggest that Stevia is likely safer than the other sweeteners, but not entirely without risk.1 The extent of risk is unknown at this time.
The claim “all-natural” makes me nervous. People right away assume it’s safe. Aren’t snake venom, poison ivy, and salmonella, also all-natural! Continue Reading...

Tainted Tomatoes, Over 500 Sick...

According to a new report the number of people sickened by salmonella contaminated tomatoes has reached 552 victims. HealthDay News reports:
The victim count in the tainted tomato outbreak leaped to 552 Friday even as U.S health officials announced that the salmonella contaminant did indeed come from farms in Florida and Mexico.

The huge increase in victims since the nationwide outbreak began on April 10 appeared largely a result of the state of Texas now reporting 265 illnesses, according to the latest count by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At least 53 people have been hospitalized, Ian Williams, chief of the CDC's OutbreakNet Team, told reporters at a mid-afternoon teleconference.

"The FDA is sending teams to Florida and Mexico this weekend to begin inspection of these farms," Dr. David Acheson, associate commissioner for food protection at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, added. "We are also working with the state of Texas to identify the cluster of illness there."

The increase in people sickened by the singular strain of salmonella saintpaul was not unexpected. Last week, the count was below 200; two days ago, it jumped to more than 380. At least 32 states, plus the District of Columbia, have now reported cases.

On Thursday, health officials had warned that the end was not yet in sight.
For more on the tomato debacle, check out Tomato Points...

Ellipticals: Lean, GREEN, Fat-Burning Machine

One gym is turning to ellipitical machines to help generate electricity. More from That’sFit:
The elliptical machines at my local Gainesville Health & Fitness Center are being used for more than health and fitness. They're being used to convert the energy spent exercising into something pretty darn useful: Electrical power.

Credit for this energetic feat goes to Hudson Harr, the 22-year-old who came up with the ReCardio system -- a patent-pending technology currently wired to 15 elliptical machines and working to convert the kinetic energy from pushing pedals into electricity. The power produced by the machines is plugged straight into the utility grid, which helps produce power for the gym and offsets utility costs. Each elliptical machine can produce one kilowatt of electricity every 10 hours -- enough to charge the battery for a 2004 Toyota Prius once or a cell phone up to 397 times. So far, 150 kilowatts of electricity has been produced.
Pretty cool! I’m always on the ellipticals.

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.

My Thoughts on Dean Ornish's Cancer-Prevention Claims

Dean Ornish, M.D. has always been and still is a pioneer of lifestyle medicine in America. His most recent papers add to the growing body of evidence that shows dietary excellence and other healthful habits like exercise, yoga and meditation have a profound beneficial effect on the body.

It is not just heart disease and prostate cancer, but high blood pressure, diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer and lung cancer. It is headaches, allergies, autoimmune diseases and pain syndromes too. We are not going to win the war with more money spent on drug research looking for a magic pill, the money is in prevention and we must educate the public to take action now. We have an unconscionable expensive and relatively ineffective health care system in America that relies on drugs that reinforce to the population that disease is predominantly genetic and not within their control. This just fuels food addiction, poor diet choices and poor lifestyle as people no longer take personal responsibility for their own health. As politicians argue the best way to pay for the mess we have created through our dependency on physicians, medicines and surgeries, we ignore the best answer—lifestyle and nutritional medicine. It works more effectively than drugs for most diseases, and it is practically free.

Not to toot my own horn, but I have been hollering this from the rooftops for twenty years. I and others are also involved with some exciting studies in progress, but many excellent studies have been done already and many more will follow, but you don’t have to wait until mainstream doctors give up their prescription pads, you can take control of your health destiny now and protect yourself so you can have a healthful and more pleasurable long-life. The best health care is proper self care and nutritional excellence.

I may not agree with everything Dr. Ornish advises, but these are small issues. The main thing here is Dean Ornish is making it easier for all of us to convince the skeptics. More people than ever before are joining the bandwagon to take control of their health destiny via a healthier lifestyle and better food choices and saying no to doctors and prescription drugs.

Dr. Fuhrman on Oprah & Friends

You know Dr. Mehmet Oz, he’s American’s Doctor. He’s also an old medical school buddy of Dr. Fuhrman’s and earlier today Dr. Fuhrman appeared on Dr. Oz’s radio show. Have a listen! Here’s a little about the show:
Many diets have poor nutritional value and therefore could be contributing to, instead of fighting off, various diseases, Dr. Fuhrman says. His diet plan focuses on foods that are rich in vitamins and nutritional density, keeping the body healthy and protecting against illness.

Dr. Fuhrman says his diet is successful because people are allowed to eat as much food as they want, as long as they are eating the right foods. "The key is not really to focus on the calories you are eating but [rather] on the quality of the food you eat—then there are mechanisms where the body produces fewer free radicals and the body feels comfortable eating less food," he says. "The symptoms between meals go away and you don't want to eat so many calories."

Avoid (but don't eliminate) animal products and eat lots of leafy greens and vegetables, Dr. Fuhrman says. By following that plan, Dr. Fuhrman says eventually the feelings that are commonly associated with diets—feeling light-headed, weak, foggy and shaky—go away and the weight begins to melt off. "When you eat healthfully, your body gravitates relatively rapidly toward a better weight," he says.
Dr. Fuhrman is becoming quite the satellite radio maven, remember this: Dr. Fuhrman on Howard 100!

George Carlin, Gone at 71

The world just got less funny. At 71 years old, legendary funnyman and comic genius George Carlin has died. He succumbed to heart failure this Sunday. Mel Watkins of The New York Times reports:
The cause of death was heart failure. Mr. Carlin, who had a history of heart problems, went into the hospital on Sunday afternoon after complaining of heart trouble. The comedian had worked last weekend at The Orleans in Las Vegas.

Recently, Mr. Carlin was named the recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. He was to receive the award at the Kennedy Center in November. “In his lengthy career as a comedian, writer, and actor, George Carlin has not only made us laugh, but he makes us think,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman, the Kennedy Center chairman. “His influence on the next generation of comics has been far-reaching.”

Mr. Carlin began his standup comedy act in the late 1950s and made his first television solo guest appearance on “The Merv Griffin Show” in 1965. At that time, he was primarily known for his clever wordplay and reminiscences of his Irish working-class upbringing in New York.

But from the outset there were indications of an anti-establishment edge to his comedy. Initially, it surfaced in the witty patter of a host of offbeat characters like the wacky sportscaster Biff Barf and the hippy-dippy weatherman Al Sleet. “The weather was dominated by a large Canadian low, which is not to be confused with a Mexican high. Tonight’s forecast . . . dark, continued mostly dark tonight turning to widely scattered light in the morning.”
George Carlin was a hero of mine. Thankfully I had the privilege of seeing him perform a few years ago. Heart failure, makes me wonder if it was preventable. Goodbye George.

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

Is Big Business Really Making Teflon Safe?

Many companies promised to phase out cancer-causing chemicals in Teflon by 2015, but, it seems they’re up to their old tricks instead. From the Environmental News Network:
But an investigation by Environmental Working Group (EWG) finds no evidence that the industry-touted replacement chemicals being rushed to market are safer -- and plenty of evidence that DuPont and other manufacturers are continuing a decades-long pattern of deception about the health risks of PFOA and related chemicals.

Like PFOA-based coatings, the new compounds are also made from, contaminated with, or break down into perfluorochemicals (PFCs), including new coatings for household products like stain-resistant fabrics and carpet, waterproof clothing, and food packaging. Like PFOA, they persist in the environment and can cross the placenta to contaminate babies before birth. But unlike PFOA — for which there are dozens of peer-reviewed studies showing links to cancer, reproductive problems and immune disorders — for the replacement chemicals there are almost no publicly available data on their health risks, leaving in question whether food packaging and other PFC-containing products are any safer.

EWG’s investigation is the first review of health data and industry greenwashing since the phaseout agreement was announced. We examined federal reports on food packaging toxicity; industry-funded health studies in Environmental Protection Agency files; and company e-mails unearthed in a lawsuit over PFOA pollution of drinking water near a DuPont facility in West Virginia.
Wait, big business ignoring social responsibility—no! You don’t say. Give me a break.

Obesity, the Stigma...

In this country of desired-perfection being overweight is a bummer—believe me, I know—and new research outlines the pain and discrimination of being obese. WebMD reports:
"Being overweight has consequences," says Paul Komesaroff, MD, PhD, a professor of medicine at Monash University in Melbourne. Komesaroff led the study and presented his findings this week at ENDO 08, the 90th annual meeting of The Endocrine Society in San Francisco.

His team interviewed 76 people about their life experiences associated with their excess weight. "They feel they are regarded as lazy, self-indulgent, and blamed for the fact they are overweight, despite the fact they may have to struggle to overcome it," he tells WebMD.
  • Being obese carries a social stigma.
  • Being obese affects their personal identity.
  • Obese persons say they feel misunderstood by health care providers.
It sounds simplistic, but, the solution is obvious. Put your nose to the grindstone and get healthy. To semi-quote Smokey the Bear, “Only you can prevent…obesity.”

You Chicken!

Creole Chicken with Spinach and Rice
1 cup brown rice, uncooked
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
olive oil (small amount)
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, thin sliced crosswise
1 1/2 cups chopped organic celery
1 cup chopped canned tomatoes, (no salt)
10 ounces frozen spinach
1 cup chili sauce (low salt)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 large green pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
Cook brown rice according to package directions, adding chili powder to cooking water. Using a paper towel moistened with olive oil, lightly coat a deep nonstick skillet and heat. Cook thin strips of chicken on medium high, turning occasionally, for 3-5 minutes until no longer pink. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Simmer covered for 10 minutes. Serve over seasoned brown rice. Serves 4.

Southwestern Chicken
1 cup salsa, low sodium
1 cup black beans or red kidney beans, low or no sodium
1 cup fresh or frozen sweet corn
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix salsa, beans, corn, and cilantro together. Spoon 1/2 of the salsa mixture over the chicken and marinade for at least one hour. Bake chicken for 30 minutes or until cooked through. Slice the chicken breasts and top with remaining salsa mixture. Serves 4.

Dijon Chicken
2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce (found in health food stores)
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
Trim all fat from chicken breasts. Mix together lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, and garlic. Reserve half and pour the rest over chicken and marinate for 1/2 hour. Broil on low or grill for 7 minutes per side or until cooked through. Serve with rest of marinade spooned over top. Pair this recipe with California Creamed Kale or Lemon Zest Spinach. Serves 2.

Suing Over Baby Bottles

Four Ohio parents are suing baby bottle-makers for using the harmful chemical bisphenol A. The Associated Press reports:
The complaint filed last week in U.S. District Court alleges the companies knew that a chemical known as bisphenol A was associated with health problems but didn't disclose the risk. It cites scientific studies that conclude BPA, as the chemical is also known, seeps from bottles and sippy-cups into liquid.

Seeking to ease public concerns about any health hazards, a federal health official told a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee last week that the level of BPA exposure a person would receive from a plastic bottle is safe. Many of the studies that have reported higher levels were conducted under unrealistic conditions, said Dr. Norris Alderson, the Food and Drug Administration's associate commissioner for science.

"Although our review is ongoing, there's no reason to recommend consumers stop using products with (bisphenol A)," he said.
I’m sure the bottle-makers have some sort of contingency plan for all this. Social responsibility, what social responsibility?

Green Tomatoes!

Last week my heavenly tomato grew a lot:

But check it out today:

And take a look at these:

Two baby tomatoes—awesome!

McDonald's Dumb-Dumb Diet

Some dude lost a bunch of weight eating mostly McDonald’s. Wait, it’s not what you think. The Associated Press reports:
A Virginia man lost about 80 pounds in six months by eating nearly every meal at McDonald's.

Not Big Macs, french fries and chocolate shakes. Mostly salads, wraps and apple dippers without the caramel sauce.

Chris Coleson tipped the scales at 278 pounds in December. The 5-foot-8 Coleson now weighs 199 pounds and his waist size has dropped from 50 to 36.

The 42-year-old businessman from Quinton says he chose McDonald's because it's convenient.
Sounds like someone was just trying to be the next Jared—tisk, tisk!

The Hotdog Hamburger...

Next time you’re in the U.K. don’t order one of these. Via Slashfood:

"As I was wandering the streets of London foraging for food, I came across something even more foreign to me than the British slang -- the hot dog hamburger, or the 'express special'. It was so strange that I had to take a picture. I'm not sure what about this makes it faster than your average meal, but I do know that it comes with fries. But don't get too excited, judging by the recent price dip, it won't be popping up in your local deli anytime soon."
Here’s the understatement of the year—EEK!

Water, China's Tapped

With much of China’s groundwater polluted, they’re scrambling to meet the water demands of the 2008 Olympic Games. Via Green Daily:
As Beijing gears up for the Olympic Games and an expected 1.5 million thirsty visitors on top of the 18 million regular residents, the capital is sucking up water resources from around the country.

With Beijing's own groundwater resources largely polluted or disappearing from drought and overuse, the city is using its political clout to keep itself hydrated. In neighbouring Hebei Province, 80 billion gallons of water are being routed to Beijing from already depleted reservoirs. Rivers and canals are being diverted, and villages miles away from the capital are vanishing because their water supplies have been comandeered.

While the end of the Olympics will ease Beijing's thirst somewhat, it's clear that water shortages aren't going to go away, especially in light of the immense amount of the blue stuff required to keep China's factories churning out culottes and LCD screens. And global warming isn't going to help any.
I hope they figure something out, if not, there’s going to be a lot of crampy athletes!

Dr. Fuhrman on Ice...

Recently the interviewed Dr. Fuhrman about his previous life as a figure skater and his current life as a nutrition guru. Here’s a bit:

"When I was a skater, I was always reading about nutrition, even as a teenager," says Fuhrman. Although he attended college and earned good grades, figure skating was his primary focus. When it became clear his skating career was over, he started to think about the next phase of his life. He'd graduated from college with an economics and business major and started coaching skating and working in his father's shoe business. Then he decided he wanted to go to medical school, so he took the pre-med program at Columbia.

"It was a gradual thing through my teenage years and early 20s. I had that passion for nutrition," Fuhrman says. "I felt the only way I could really express it and have an effect on society and use nutrition as medical therapy would be to get a medical degree. So I went to medical school with the idea in mind I was going to be a doctor specializing in nutrition."

Dr. Joel Fuhrman is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Health Association and serves on the Advisory Panel of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. He is a certified family physician with a nutritional specialty. He is considered a leading expert on nutrition and natural healing. His 2003 best-selling book, Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Plan for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, has gone through 17 printings.

To see Dr. Fuhrman in action, check out his 1973 winning routine.

Tips to Lower Your Cholesterol

Jacki Donaldson of That’sFit dishes some tips for lowering your cholesterol. Have a look:
  • Cut down on saturated fat and trans fats and eat good fats in moderation -- they still have lots of calories.
  • Limit calories -- eating too much can lead to weight gain, which increases your risk of high cholesterol.
  • Eat sparingly all high cholesterol foods, like egg yolks, shrimp, and organ meats.
  • Consider a Mediterranean-style diet, which is low in saturated and trans fats and allows for a healthy intake of unsaturated fats from fish and nuts.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Get 30 to 60 minutes of exercise most days of the week -- while it won't lower your cholesterol on its own, it can keep your weight down and reduce other cardiovascular risks.
Dr. Fuhrman’s not keen on the Mediterranean diet, but they’re decent suggestions. Actually, here’s a great tip from Dr. Fuhrman, Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally:
Though saturated fat is the most heart-disease-promoting substance in animal products, it is not merely saturated fat and cholesterol in animal products that is the problem. Animal protein raises cholesterol too. Those who cut out red meat and instead eat plenty of chicken and fish do not see substantial changes in their cholesterol levels or a profound reduction in cardiac events.1

If you are looking for maximum protection from heart disease, your diet must receive 90 to 100 percent of its calories from unrefined plant foods. If you choose to include a small amount of animal products in your diet, white meat chicken and white meat turkey are better choices, but if you have more than one or two servings a week, you are not going to see optimal results. One serving of a non-polluted fish a week, and one serving of white meat fowl is the maximum amount of animal products permitted. Any more than that will prevent the huge drop in cholesterol level and heart disease risk observed from eating a plant-based diet style.
The exercise tip is funny. 60 minutes a day would be a vacation for me! Continue Reading...

Aussies, Very Tubby

Guess what? We’re NOT the fattest! According to a new report, Australians are more obese than Americans. From the AFP:
The report from the Baker Heart Institute found that 70 percent of men and 60 percent of women aged 45-65 had a body mass of 25 or more, meaning they were overweight or obese.

Titled "Australia's Future Fat Bomb," the study compiled the results of height and weight checks carried out on 14,000 adult Australians in 2005.

The institute's head of preventative cardiology professor Simon Stewart said the results meant Australia probably had the highest rate of obesity in the world, outweighing even the United States.

"As we send our athletes off to the Olympics let's reflect on the fact that we would win the gold medal problem now in the world fat Olympics if there was such a thing," he said.
Not good. Crocodile Dundee won’t be nearly as cool with a beer belly.

Stretch at Your Desk

Karen Voight of The Los Angeles Times offers up a great back stretch you can do without even getting up. Take a look:

Looks like a lazy version of Trikonasana or Triangle Pose. Via

I’m all about strengthening you back. I exercise my back almost everyday.

Vaccinations: Suggestions from Parents

Elizabeth Cohen of CNN has a compiled a list of requests parents have made over vaccinations. Take a look:
Five years ago, Kathye Petters-Armitage's first child received the exact vaccinations on the exact schedule recommended by her pediatrician.

But when she gave birth to her second child, Petters-Armitage had a change of heart.

In the intervening two years, she'd read a lot about concerns that vaccines cause autism and decided to ask her pediatrician to give her new baby fewer shots spread out over a longer period of time.

"I wasn't a hundred percent convinced there was a link between autism and vaccines," said Petters-Armitage, of Santa Clarita, California. "But I didn't want to be one of those parents who found out the hard way."

Pediatricians say they've seen a dramatic increase in the number of parents who, like Petters-Armitage, want to make changes in the vaccine schedule set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics, a schedule once considered by many pediatricians to be sacred and largely immutable.
  • Delaying the first hepatitis B shot
  • Not doing some shots at all
  • Checking for 'titers' before giving booster shots
  • Spreading the vaccines out over a longer period of time
  • Splitting up combined shots
This is a lightening rod of an issue. Here’s a Followhealthlife post on the topic: Mandatory Vaccinations: The Choice Should Be Yours...

Tomato Points...

Federal health officials have learned of 106 more cases of salmonella linked to tainted tomatoes, putting the outbreak's toll at 383 on Wednesday and counting.

"We do not think the outbreak is over," said Dr. Robert Tauxe of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Most of this newest influx of cases were people who got sick weeks ago but hadn't been counted yet. Some states began doing a better job of checking for salmonella as the outbreak has dragged on, while part of the surge comes from test results that had been backlogged in jammed laboratories.

What hasn't changed is that the earliest known victim got sick on April 10, and the latest on June 5.
Many people, concerned about food and tomato safety ask questions on how it is that tomatoes can be contaminated with salmonella. We usually hear of salmonella being a problem with raw eggs and poorly cooked meat.

Here's what I found. Animals infected with salmonella don't show symptoms. So when they eliminate waste, the salmonella that was in their intestines in now in the manure that unsuspecting farmers use to fertilize fields.

Usually the process of composting the manure kills most bugs. Usually... not always.

Of course, animal waste can get into fields in the form of run-off from contaminated water supply systems and infected animals that sneak in and relieve themselves.
“We may not ultimately know the farm where these came from,” Dr. David Acheson, the agency’s associate commissioner for foods, told reporters in a conference call. “Some trace-backs that we thought were looking pretty good have been falling apart.”

Dr. Acheson said he remained optimistic, but added, “I’m trying to be realistic.”

The agency is investigating a cluster of nine people who ate tomatoes at the same restaurant chain, but has not disclosed the chain’s name or location.

Also on Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised its count of people who have become sick from eating raw tomatoes, to 383 in 30 states and Washington, D.C., up from 277 cases in 28 states and Washington.

And the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said it had confirmed six new cases in addition to a previously known one. More cases might still be confirmed, the department said.

Eating to Live on the Outside: 18 West

I’ve got to thank Earl, Dr. Fuhrman’s tech-support and resident superman, for suggesting this week’s restaurant. Believe it or not, but it can take me a long time to find a place to review. So, this week Eating to Live on the Outside heads to 18 West. Well, digitally at least.

Alright, between the lunch and dinner menu I see a few appetizers I could run with. The Steamed clams are cool and so are the Mussels Bianco and the Zuppa Di Clams. The Mussels Bianco is made with farm raised mussels a light white wine, oil, and garlic broth. A little iffy, but I can deal with the oil and wine. The Zuppa Di Clams is better; little neck clams simmered in a light plum tomato broth. Now, Oceans Alive considers both mussels and clams safe to eat and according to Dr. Fuhrman mussels and clams are decent food choices. From the Food Scoring Guide:

18 West offers up two good salads too. The Spring Mix Salad is a bit of a mystery. The menu doesn’t say what’s in it, but it’s probably pretty basic. Ask the wait staff to be sure. Oh, and order the dressing on the side or not at all. The Seafood Salad could work too. Although, it doesn’t specify what seafood is in it. Again, ask the wait staff. Aside from the seafood it comes with onions, peppers, celery, and a lemon, oil, and garlic dressing. Provided the seafood checks out, it’s cool with me.

Okay, if you’re feeling bold. Maybe you want to give the pasta a whirl. The best options are the Papardella con Broccoli Rabe and Shrimp and the Cavatelli & Broccoli. Obviously I like the both of these for the broccoli rabe and the broccoli, the light oil and garlic broth is okay, but the parmesean cheese and shrimp have got to go. I don’t like shrimp and I wouldn’t eat cheese if you held a gun to my head. As for the cavatelli, I can handle it in this instance, but believe me. I know pasta isn’t a nutrient-dense food. Just focus on the greens, just focus on the greens!

Onto the entrees, I like the Tilapia Mare Chiaro. It’s prepared with tilapia, plum tomato broth, clams, mussels, linguini, and a side salad. Alright, both Dr. Fuhrman and Oceans Alive approve of tilapia, so that’s cool, but I’m nixing the linguini—I know, an Italian passing on pasta—sorry, not enough nutrients! I also like the Grilled Salmon Natural or Champagne Cream. Clearly, I’m going natural—not interested in the cream sauce. That means it comes with grilled salmon, exotic mushrooms, and NO light champagne cream sauce for me. When I read “cream sauce” I head for the hills.

Now, as is often the case, you could go very simple. Stick with the sides. In a pinch I could certainly be happy with a side of sautéed broccoli rabe, roasted vegetables, and a baked potato. What makes me sad is, as an Italian, I can’t really eat anything at an Italian restaurant. Maybe when I become a millionaire, I’ll open my own vegetable-based nutrient-dense Italian restaurant!

Overall, not 18 West is not the worst restaurant I’ve reviewed. A real bad Italian restaurant was Girasole. I’m pretty confident an Eat to Liver could make 18 West work, but, let’s not kid ourselves. I’m a big dummy. I blog for a living! So, it’s your turn. Check out 18 West’s menu and let me know how you handle Eating to Live on the Outside. As always, make a comment or send an email to Until then, eat well. Peace!

Howard Stern is Toast!

Some people see Jesus in the weeping sap of an old maple tree and others, see Howard Stern in a piece of toast. No, I’m not kidding. Head over to Ebay:

Now, I’m no holy-roller, but I can clearly see The King of All Media. Too bad it’s on a piece of burnt toast though. Toast is not exactly health-promoting. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
When processed foods are baked and fried at high temperatures, cancer-causing chemical compounds called acrylamides are produced. Many processed foods, such as chips, french fries, and sugar-coated breakfast cereals, are rich in acrylamides. Acrylamides also form in foods you bake until brown or fry at home; they do not form in foods that are steamed or boiled…

…White pasta, white rice and white bread are just like sugar; because their fiber has been removed, these nutrient deficient foods are absorbed too rapidly. This, in turn, will raise glucose, triglyceride, and insulin levels in your blood. Refined grains are undesirable and will sabotage your weight-loss.
As a goof, I’m tempted to bid on it! Oh, and for more Howard Stern, Dr. Fuhrman news don’t forget about: Dr. Fuhrman on Howard 100!

High-Fat Diet During Pregnancy, May Impact Daughter's Puberty

“A mother's diet prior to conception affects the health of her children,” explains Dr. Fuhrman, “We must face reality. You can't escape the effects of poor food choices.” And now, a new study claims that mother’s who eat high-fat diets while pregnant might trigger early-puberty in their daughters. Via the Well blog:
The investigators, from the University of Auckland, fed pregnant rats a high-fat diet throughout pregnancy and lactation. Another group of rats received a regular diet of rat chow. After the baby rats were weaned, they also ate either regular chow or a high-fat diet.

The onset of puberty was much earlier in all the rats whose mothers ate a high-fat diet, regardless of whether the baby rats ate high-fat or regular diets. Baby rats that ate a high-fat diet also had early puberty even if their mothers ate a healthful diet. Rats exposed to a combination of a high-fat diet inside the mother’s womb and a high-fat diet after birth also had early puberty, but it wasn’t any earlier than other rats eating a fatty diet.

“This might suggest that the fetal environment in high-fat fed mothers plays a greater role in determining pubertal onset than childhood nutrition,” said Deborah Sloboda, lead author of the study.
I asked Dr. Fuhrman for his thoughts on mothers’ diets and early-puberty. Here’s what he had to say:
Everything is a combination of factors. Sure, the mother's diet plays a strong role, so does infant nutritional practices and genetics. As people looking to prevent disease, rather than futilely trying to treat it after it occurs, we should welcome any information that aids individuals looking to maximize the health and well-being of themselves and their offspring, there is just no substitute for eating healthfully at all stages of life.
Actually, this topic comes up a lot. Check out these previous posts:
Don’t kids already grow up too fast

Obesity: Want Healthy Kids, Have a Healthy Home!

A new study has determined that calling a child overweight or forcing a diet down their throat doesn’t work, but parents creating a healthier home environment does. Here’s the abstract from Pediatrics:
OBJECTIVE: Our goal was to explore whether parents of overweight adolescents who recognize that their children are overweight engage in behaviors that are likely to help their adolescents with long-term weight management.

METHODS: The study population included overweight adolescents (BMI ≥ 85th percentile) who participated in Project EAT (Eating Among Teens) I (1999) and II (2004) and their parents who were interviewed by telephone in Project EAT I. Cross-sectional analyses were conducted with 314 adolescent-parent dyads, and longitudinal analyses were completed with 170 dyads.

RESULTS: Parents who correctly classified their children as overweight were no more likely than parents who did not correctly classify their children as overweight to engage in the following potentially helpful behaviors: having more fruits/vegetables and fewer soft drinks, salty snacks, candy, and fast food available at home; having more family meals; watching less television during dinner; and encouraging children to make healthful food choices and be more physically active. However, parents who recognized that their children were overweight were more likely to encourage them to diet. Parental encouragement to diet predicted poorer adolescent weight outcomes 5 years later, particularly for girls. Parental classification of their children's weight status did not predict child weight status 5 years later.

CONCLUSIONS: Accurate classification of child overweight status may not translate into helpful behaviors and may lead to unhealthy behaviors such as encouragement to diet. Instead of focusing on weight per se, it may be more helpful to direct efforts toward helping parents provide a home environment that supports healthful eating, physical activity, and well-being.
I think Dr. Fuhrman would agree with this. He explores this topic in his book Disease-Proof Your Child. Check out this excerpt:
Parents are entrusted with the responsibility of securing the selection of healthy foods for the family and preparing the food in a way that makes it desirable. Children are responsible for deciding how much they eat. If they are in an environmental of healthful foods they will have no problem regulating variety and timing. They can choose what they eat, when they eat, and if they will eat. Don’t use food as a reward or punishment. Don’t offer a treat because the child was good or ate well. Offer healthy treats as part of the normal well-balanced diet.
So yeah, raising your child on French fries isn’t a “healthy” environment.

Training Helps Cancer Patients

A Dutch study insists that physical training should be part of a cancer patient’s rehabilitation. Reuters reports:
After being treated for cancer, people showed significant improvements in physical function and vitality for up to three months after completing a 12-week training program. They also felt healthier, Dr. Bart van den Borne of Maastricht University and colleagues found.

Adding cognitive behavioral therapy to the mix didn't result in additional improvements, van den Borne and his team report in the medical journal Psychosomatic Medicine, but they say it's too early to conclude that this type of counseling has no value for patients.

More and more people are surviving cancer, the researchers note, but as many as 30 percent say their quality of life has been reduced and that they could use help with both physical and psychosocial issues.

To investigate what type of rehab program might be most effective, van den Borne and his colleagues randomly assigned 209 patients who had completed cancer treatment to a physical training program, or to physical training plus a weekly cognitive behavioral training session, or to a waiting list.
Exercise, always a good idea! Be sure to check out Followhealthlife’s exercise category.

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!

Playing With Bad Food...

Making sculpture out of bacon is certainly better than eating it. Check out the “baconiel” from TheAntiCraft:

And the enigmatic “baconhenge.” Take a look:

Gives new meaning to the idea of dying for the sake of art.

FDA: No More "Cancer Cures"

The Food and Drug Administration has warned 2 dozen companies to stop selling fraudulent products that claim to cure or prevent cancer. HealthDay News reports:
"Health fraud has been around for years, and it is a cruel form of greed," David Elder, director of FDA's Office of Enforcement in the Office of Regulatory Affairs, said during a morning teleconference Tuesday. "Fraud involving cancer treatments can be especially heartbreaking."

The warning letters, sent to 23 U.S. companies and one Canadian and one Australian company, cover 125 unapproved products with labeling claims to cure, treat or prevent cancer. "These claims are unproven, unreliable, and they are unkind to the patient who is seeking help," Elder said…

…Elder said: "As a result of these warning letters, FDA expects prompt and complete corrective action. Firms that don't heed the warnings we have delivered, and other firms marketing similar unapproved products, may face further regulatory action from the agency."

According to the FDA, the fraudulent claims found on the products include:
  • "Treats all forms of cancer."
  • "Causes cancer cells to commit suicide!"
  • "80% more effective than the world's number one cancer drug."
  • "Skin cancers disappear."
  • "Target cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone."
  • "Shrinks malignant tumors."
  • "Avoid painful surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or other conventional treatments."
I like this move by the FDA. There is a lot of unsubstantiated hocus pocus out there. Check out Dr. Fuhrman debunking these ineffective anti-cancer remedies:
You know, one could make the argument, that the way modern medicine is setup, “is a cruel form of greed.”

Migraines, What Sets Off the Pain?

CBS News identifies some possible triggers for migraine headaches. Take a look:
Mechanism: amino acid and vasodilator
Found in: aged cheese, wine, chocolate, smoked, cured or pickled meat, processed meats, tofu, some fruits and vegetables such as eggplant, avocado, bananas and raspberries

Food Additives: Nitrites, MSG:
Mechanism: preservative that excites neurons and has been linked to the onset of migraines; research is inconclusive.
Found in: Chinese food, cheese powders such as Doritos, Campbell's soups, potato chips, frozen meals, and some salad dressings

Mechanism: artificial sweetener that research has linked to onset of migraines, though mechanism is unknown. Some believe it's linked to serotonin. It's been shown to cause neurons to fire spasmodically, burning out neurons.
Found in: diet drinks and foods

Alcohol: contsains Histamines
Mechanism: histamines stimulate the immune system
Found in: wine and beer, some cheese, beef, pork, bananas
Now, Dr. Fuhrman is all about using nutrition to overcome migraines. He explains:
I see many patients who have come to me after seeing neurologists and headache specialists who had given MRI’s and multiple drug regiments. Frequently, these patients suffer from the side effects of the medications, yet they continue to experience ongoing headaches. I spend lots of time with these patients explaining that a complete cure, without the need for medication, is possible. They can elevate their health with nutritional excellence. They can be slowly weaned off their medication and eventually achieve complete resolution of their recurrent headache problems.
And things like MSG and aspartame AREN'T part of excellent nutrition! For more on this , check out:  Retained Toxins are the Major Cause of Headaches.

Green-News: Beef's Problems, Organic Solutions

Chris Weber, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, has studied the global-warming impacts of the American diet. He found that red meat - such as beef, pork, and lamb - produces 150 percent more greenhouse gases than chicken or fish, not to mention veggies.

It's the Hummer of foods.

Weber's study is merely the latest in a cascade of beefs about beef. There's the fat and cholesterol. And, since most beef is fattened with copious amounts of corn - enough to feed eight times the people the beef itself will feed - it raises ethical questions related to world hunger.

Here's another eco-biggie: methane, emitted from both ends of these ruminants. Incredibly, the EPA rates their belchings as the third-largest methane source behind landfills and natural gas systems.

A greenhouse gas, methane has 20 times the global warming effect of carbon dioxide.
"They are less price sensitive, and also have more fully integrated LOHAS products into their lifestyle and are less likely to go back," said Gwynne Rogers, business director at NMI, Harleysville, Pa.

About 20% of Americans make up this segment of buyers. These highly desirable consumers tend to spend 10% more in warehouse clubs as well as buy more cereal, jelly, pasta, produce, soup and ready-to-serve prepared food than "non-green" consumers.

Products labeled organic represented $4.4 billion in sales for the 52 weeks ended April 19 (excluding Wal-Mart), per The Nielsen Company. Mintel, Chicago, forecasts sales will grow to $6.8 billion by 2012.

Small brands are seeing big growth. Ian's Natural Food's grows 45% annually, per the company. Nature's Path Foods, meanwhile, grew 30% in the first half of this year and will launch 15 new products by year's end.
Organic farms are not allowed to use chemical pesticides or artificial fertilizers on their crops, nor to give their cows antibiotics. As a result, chemical costs were virtually wiped out on the farms studied, saving almost $1,900 per cow, while veterinary costs were cut in half.

At the same time, once the transition period was over, the price that farmers received for their milk went up.

For the farms' last conventional year, Fisher's study cited a price of 59 cents a litre. In the first organic year, the price was 74 cents, a jump of more than 25 per cent.

In the end, Fisher says, the farms were making $217 less per cow once the switch to organic was complete. That's a small enough drop to make switch to organic a viable option, he says.

Ann Slater, a market farmer near St. Marys and president of the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario, says soils continue to improve even after the transition is complete, and farmers get better at running their farms.

Within a few years, she says, they are doing as well or better than they were as conventional farm operators.

Diet Blog's No Worries...

Mike Howard of Diet Blog offers up his list of 10 things you don’t need to worry about for a healthy life, and, here they are:
    1. Macronutrient Ratios
    2. Taking a Multivitamin
    3. Drinking Coffee
    4. 8 Glasses of water
    5. Bicep Curls
    6. Fat count
    7. Net Carbs
    8. Eating After 6pm
    9. Eating Organic
    10. Artificial Sweeteners
I don’t agree with all of Mike’s thoughts, but the one about macronutrients is pretty good. Check this out, from Food Scoring Guide: Macronutrients:
Macronutrients are nutrients that contain calories. There are only macronutrients—fat, carbohydrates, and protein. Macronutrients give us the calories we need for energy and growth. All natural foods contain a mixture of fat, carbohydrates, and protein, although some (primarily animal products) contain only two of the three. For example, a banana is mostly carbohydrate (93%), but it does contain some fat (3%) and protein (4%). Spinach, like all dark leafy green vegetables, contain approximately equal amounts of carbohydrates (40%) and protein (43%), along with a lesser amount of fat (7%). Sirloin steak is all fat (44%) and protein (56%) and contains no carbohydrate.

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

NYC Nearly Trans-Fat Free...

In a couple weeks New York City’s plan to completely ban trans-fat in restaurants goes into effect. EMaxHealth reports:
In early June, the Trans Fat Help Center mailed brochures on baking without artificial trans fat to all 25,000 New York City food service establishments and to New York State food suppliers serving the city. Most large bakery suppliers will include the brochures with the orders they ship during July.

"I made the transition seven months ago," said Saul Haye, owner of Christie’s Jamaican Patties in Brooklyn. "Cooking my patties and baked goods with replacement shortenings hasn’t hurt the products or my business, and it’s healthier for my customers."

Since New York City passed the artificial trans fat regulation for restaurant food, new "0 grams" trans fat products have come on to the market, increasing the options for restaurant owners and bakers. "Chocolate chips, sprinkles and baking margarines are all now available without artificial trans fat," said Laura Stanley, Coordinator of the Trans Fat Help Center. "In many cases, bakers don’t need to switch brands; they’ll simply order new formulations of familiar products. We found that some of these products actually worked better than the old versions made with artificial trans fat."
I’m not exactly broken up over it. It’s not like trans-fat is good for you. It’s all bad! More from Dr. Fuhrman:
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.
And the Kind of All Media, Howard Stern, is no fan of trans-fat either: Howard Stern On Trans-Fat.

Bicycling: Good for You and the Environment

Promoting bicycling among citizens has saved Australian public health services millions! Via TreeHugger:
A new report, has after analysing the data, come up with a figure for the public health benefit offered by cycling. The study, Cycling: Getting Australia Moving, funded by the Australian government and prepared by Melbourne University and the Cycling Promotion Fund concluded that thanks to the increased health of cyclists, public health services are spared an estimated $227.2m AUD annually.

They also noted that per 100,000 participants, an individual is seven times more likely to be hospitalised playing football than riding a bicycle. And observed that “the more cyclists there are, the safer it becomes. In fact, if cycling doubles, the risk per kilometre falls by 34%.” The report’s authors were pleased to find that between 2001 and 2006 bicycle journeys to work had risen 22% in Australian capital cities, with Melbourne being the standout, recording over a 42% increase.
With the cost of gas off the charts, maybe Americans should start bicycling more.

Bad Tomatoes, Mexicans Love Them...

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is blaming Mexican growers for the recent salmonella-tomato outbreak, but this hasn’t stopped Mexican consumers from gobbling up U.S. rejected tomatoes like hotcakes. Olga R. Rodriguez of Associated Press reports:
"We can't sell a single box of tomatoes," said Jesus Macias, sales manager at the Productora Agricola Industrial del Noreste, a tomato grower that normally ships 50,000 boxes of tomatoes a day to an importer in Chula Vista, Calif.

Instead, he now sends his top-quality tomatoes to markets around Mexico where they sell for a third the U.S. price. He leaves lesser-quality produce, normally sold in Mexico, to rot.

At the capital's bustling central food market, truckloads of tomatoes are now arriving in boxes originally meant for the United States. The top-quality tomatoes now sell for 35 cents a pound in the capital.

Most customers don't know about the salmonella scare, and those who do don't seem alarmed. Some shoppers said they have always been more careful than Americans in preparing produce -- they have to be, because vegetables sold in Mexico are not held to the same standards as those certified for export.
Maybe I’m irresponsible—or just lazy—but all this hasn’t changed my tomato buying habits. Whatever the store has, I buy. I haven’t noticed any difference, have you?

Stress Tests Fail to Determine Heart Attack Risk

By now you probably already know, but the much beloved host of NBC’s Meet the Press, Tim Russert, has died. He collapsed from a heart attack at the NBC News studio in Washington, D.C. on Friday. Nicole Weisensee Egan of People Magazine reports:
In a statement detailing autopsy results, Dr. Michael Newman said his famous patient had passed a stress test on April 29 and had even worked out on a treadmill the morning of his death.

"Russert, age 58, was known to have asymptomatic coronary artery disease (atherosclerosis), which resulted in hardening of his coronary arteries," Newman said. "The autopsy revealed an enlarged heart and significant atherosclerosis of the left anterior descending coronary artery with (a) fresh clot which caused a heart attack resulting in a fatal ventricular arrhythmia…"

…Dr. Cyril Wecht, a nationally renowned forensic pathologist, said Newman's description of why Russert died makes sense. "The left anterior descending artery is well known among pathologists as the widow-maker," he tells PEOPLE. "That tells you a lot, doesn't it? It's a classical situation that one encounters with great frequency in sudden unexpected death where you get a blood clot, or a thrombosis, or bleeding and if he had an enlarged heart, that adds to it."

Clots can be caused by any number of things, he said. "Sometimes it's associated with stress and exertion, physical and/or emotional," he said. "Was he flying a long time? Was he tired? People shoveling snow in the wintertime can get them. People working excessively hard. Or people under great physical and/or emotional stress and that can include flying."
He PASSED his stress test, how could that be? If he checked out okay, how could be dead a couple months later? Something doesn't seem right. I called Dr. Fuhrman and asked him about stress tests. Here’s what he had to say:
A stress test is not an accurate test for determining the risk of a heart attack. A stress test only identifies obstructions, it doesn't identify vulnerable plaque—the plaque that is likely to throw a clot. A stress test can only detect a blockage of more than 80% and the propensity of plaque to rupture has nothing to do with the amount of obstruction. You could have a completely normal stress test and then have a heart attack the next day.1 Juvenile plaque, which is thinly laid down, has a higher propensity to rupture then the old plaque that is more obstructive.

Cardiologists' attempt to intervene with cholesterol-lowering drugs hoping that cholesterol-lowering will reduce the thickness of the lipid pool within the plaque, but it only partially reduces risk. Over fifty percent of Americans still die of heart attacks and strokes. About 70 percent of the clots that cause death are formed in areas of the heart with non-obstructing lesions, not visible to cardiac testing and not treatable with stenting or bypass.

Stress tests are big money-makers for doctors. They identify those people with large blockages who qualify as candidates for costly angioplasty or bypass surgery. However, drugs and medical procedures reduce risk only slightly. There is a more effective option. People who normalize their weight, blood pressure and cholesterol through nutritional excellence and exercise don't have heart attacks.
Dr. Fuhrman makes it pretty clear. Protection against cardiovascular disease will not be found by a scalpel or in a bottle of pills. The best way to prevent heart disease is through aggressive dietary intervention; specifically a nutrient-dense vegetable-based diet. He explains:
A high nutrient, plant-based diet is more effective at lowering cholesterol than drugs, but also the weight loss, blood pressure lowering and reduction of oxidative stress from the high levels of micronutrients are all important factors in dramatically lowering one’s risk of heart disease.2 Their have been numerous medical studies to document that dietary intervention is more effective than drugs, and that heart disease is preventable and reversible.3,4 That’s why my patients with advanced heart disease get well and never have heart disease again.
Maybe if less focus is placed on pointless money-making procedures that only promote a false sense of security, millions of Americans, like Tim Russert, wouldn’t die needlessly each year.
Continue Reading...

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!

Eat For Health: Autoimmune Disease and Arthritis

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

Working with patients who have autoimmune diseases is one of the most rewarding aspects of my medical practice. Autoimmune and immune-mediated illnesses include diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, connective tissue disease, and the inflammatory bowel diseases called ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s, but there are also more than 100 clinical syndromes considered autoimmune diseases. Obviously, not every patient with these diseases can make a complete, drug-free recovery; however, the amazing thing is that so many patients can, and do, recover. The recoveries are not limited to recognized autoimmune diseases. I see many patients with pain syndromes without laboratory documentation of autoimmune disease. The ability to achieve substantial improvement, and in many cases complete remission of these supposedly incurable illnesses, is exciting. I have been writing about these success stories for many years, including submissions to medical publications.1 For the last 20 years, multiple studies have been published in medical journals documenting the effectiveness of high vegetable diets on autoimmune illnesses.2 These have been largely ignored by the medical profession and most doctors still deny the effectiveness of nutrition on autoimmune and inflammatory conditions; however these pages describe the critical features of the eating-style most effective in aiding people suffering with these conditions. Although it is not clear why these studies are quickly forgotten or ignored after their publication, one factor may be that there is no financial incentive for anyone to promote the power of dietary intervention as a medical therapy like pharmaceutical companies do when studies show some efficacy for their products.

And here’s Jodi’s success story:

“I was desperate when I traveled to New Jersey to see Dr. Fuhrman. I had been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis and had suffered from open skin lesions and full body itchiness for years. I followed his advice to the letter. He put me on a special eating plan, and, after about three months, I started to get better. My legs and arms cleared up first. My body healed from the extremities inward, and six months later my psoriasis was totally gone. My doctors are amazed. Today my skin is completely clear with no itchiness or blotches, and I have no more arthritic pain. Recent blood tests show I no longer have the blood test markers that show inflammation. I cannot fully express what this recovery means to me. I am so grateful that Dr. Fuhrman insisted I could be helped and then guided me to wellness.”
Continue Reading...

Processed Food: You Pay for the Processing

The more a food is processed, the less you are actually paying for the cost of the FOOD itself! The Toronto Star reports:
Here's something to chew on over your morning bowl of cereal: Only 2 per cent of the price you paid for that product represents the cost of the grain.

The rest goes to pay for things like shipping, processing, packaging and advertising, along with heating and lighting the store where the final product is sold, according to a report by Statistics Canada.

That's one of the reasons food price inflation remains relatively low in Canada, at 1.2 per cent in the 12 months up to the end of April, even as the price of grain soars on world markets, the study concludes.

The more processed the product, the less the actual cost of the food is reflected in its final price on the store shelves.

It's not the only reason Canada has the second-lowest food price inflation in the world, after Japan, said the study, called "Food Prices: A boon for producers, a buffer for consumers."

Americans also consume a lot of processed food, where the price of the grain represents a small share of the final product cost. Yet, food price inflation south of the border is up 5.9 per cent in the past 12 months.
Get a load of this chart:

Here’s a great cost-saving move. Leave the food alone! No one needs multi-colored breakfast cereal.

Male Diabetics: Stay Fit, Live Longer

According to a new study fitness is a very important component in determine male diabetics’ lifespan. Kevin McKeever of HealthDay News is on it:
"Death rates were the highest for those who were 'low fit' in all weight categories," researcher Dr. Roshney Jacob-Issac, an endocrinology fellow at George Washington University Hospital, said in a prepared statement.

Researchers used 2,690 male diabetic veterans in VA hospitals, most of whom were overweight or obese based on their body mass index (BMI), a measure of body fat using height and weight.

The vets were categorized as having low, moderate or high fitness level, depending on their performance on a standard treadmill exercise tolerance test.

The researchers found that the higher the man's level of fitness, the lower his risk of dying during the study period. For example, those in the high fitness level -- whether at normal body weight or overweight -- reduced their risk of death by 40 percent. The findings were even more dramatic for those classified as obese but in reasonable good shape: a cut in death risk of 52 percent, when compared to peers not physically fit, the study found during its seven-year follow-up period.

"Diabetics should improve their fitness level or exercise capacity to at least a moderate level, by being physically active. Weight loss is great, but being active is just as important," Jacob-Issac advised.
If you ask me, exercise is always a good idea!

Are Shower Curtains Dangerous?

Nowadays everyone is creeped out by plastic and phthalates, but should we be worrying about shower curtains too? More from Bethany Sanders of ParentDish:
Phthalates also may pose a health risk, however, and have been linked to everything from hormonal changes to allergies to cancer. They also are present in many common household products, including your shower curtain. You know that chemical-y odor you smell when you first put up a new vinyl curtain? That's an indicator that the curtain you bought contains phthalates.

Consumers have reported nausea, headaches, and even breathing difficulty after putting a new shower curtain into place. Because children spend a lot of time in the tub, not only getting clean but also playing, this can be a concern for parents.

Of course, it's easy enough to get around this problem -- don't buy shower curtains that say "PVC," "vinyl," or have the number 3 in the recycling symbol. Also, avoid shower curtains that are unlabeled. Instead, stick to fabric shower curtains and liners instead. (For those of you that think fabric shower curtains are more work, we bought a fabric liner last year and not only is it far less likely to mildew, it's simple to clean.)
What’s next? Pen caps and sandwich bags!

NYC Calorie-Menus, FDA Agrees

The Food and Drug Administration is on board with New York City’s calories-on-menus law, but The New York State Restaurant Association isn’t too happy about it. More from the Associated Press:
The Food and Drug Administration believes the city has a right to force chain restaurants to post calorie counts on menu boards, a government lawyer told a federal appeals court last week, but the court did not immediately decide whether it agrees.

The city will begin issuing fines on July 18, but Judge Rosemary Pooler, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, questioned the wisdom of doing so if she and two other judges rule against the city.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David S. Jones said on Thursday that the FDA did not want to "shackle city and state authorities" from protecting consumers by preventing the enforcement of regulations such as the calorie rule.

The court must decide whether the city acted constitutionally when it required restaurants that are part of chains with at least 15 outlets across the country to post calories on their menu boards.
People do have the right to know exactly what’s in their food—including calories—but, I doubt knowing the calorie-content of a McWhopper matters much.

South Koreans Ticked About U.S. Beef

With the U.S. and South Korea renegotiating beef imports, South Koreans are protesting in the streets over mad cow. Choe Sang-Hun of The International Herald Tribune reports:
South Korea agreed in April to lift an import ban on U.S. beef, imposed in 2003 after a case of mad cow disease was discovered in the United States.

South Korea is asking that U.S. exporters exclude meat from cattle 30 months and older, despite an agreement in April that made no such age restrictions and statements from both governments that they do not intend to renegotiate the accord. Younger cattle are believed less likely to contract mad cow disease.

The April agreement quickly became a lightning rod for surging public anger at Lee and protesters in Seoul mounted the biggest anti-government demonstrations in two decades.

South Korean and U.S. officials have repeatedly said that U.S. beef was safe from mad cow disease. But many South Koreans apparently did not believe them. On Sunday, Lee vowed not to allow the import of meat from older cattle.
Here’s what I don’t understand. If the South Korean people—i.e. the consumers—don’t want it, why force it on them.

Obesity, Then and Now

This is depressing. The CDC shows how obesity has ballooned in the United States over the past 20 years. Here we are in 1985:

And now fast forward to 2005:

Wow, based on this our future looks grim. Thanks to Michael for sending this over.

U.S. Hospitals Botch Breast-Feeding

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that hospitals in the United States fail to adequately promote breast-feeding. The Associated Press is on it:
About a quarter of hospitals reported giving formula or some other supplement to more than half of their healthy, full-term newborns. The practice was common even when mothers were able and willing to breast-feed, Dee said.

Of hospitals who gave supplements, 30 percent gave sugar water and 15 percent gave water.

Experts say there are no good nutritional reasons to use those, but it is commonly done to quiet crying babies separated from their mother. Sometimes it's done to test a baby's ability to feed - even though such a test is usually not necessary, Dee said.

Breast-feeding is considered beneficial to both mothers and their babies. Breast milk contains antibodies that can protect newborns from infections, and studies have found breast-fed babies are less likely to become overweight that those fed with formula.
For more breast-feeding news, check out Followhealthlife’s healthy parenting category.

Arthritis Bad for the Heart

According to a new report rheumatoid arthritis can double your heart attack and stroke risk. More from Reuters:
A report by a medical task force to the annual congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Paris concluded the risk was comparable to that associated with type 2 diabetes, which is already an established cardiovascular risk factor.

Dr Michael Nurmohamed , leader of the task force, said the inflammatory processes underlying rheumatoid arthritis appeared to increase patients' risk of serious heart problems.

"There is mounting evidence that inflammation may be the missing link," he said in a statement.

As a result, giving patients cholesterol-lowering statin medicines and anti-hypertensives to reduce blood pressure may yield greater benefits than in the general population, he added.
This will make you think twice about your achy joints.

Salads for Two

Romaine, Spinach, Watercress Salad with Fruit and Nuts
Blasamic Vinaigrette
1/2 cup water
6 tablespoons roasted garlic rice vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons 100% grape fruit spread or raisins
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1 head (about 6 cups) romaine lettuce, shredded
5 ounces (about 5 cups) organic baby spinach
1/2 bunch watercress leaves
1 apple, grated
1 pear, grated
4 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1/4 cup raisins or currents (optional)
Blend all vinaigrette ingredients together in a high powered blender. Combine salad ingredients. Toss salad with light amount of vinaigrette. Serves 2.

Green Velvet Vegetable Salad
Green Velvet Dressing
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup raw tahini (pureed sesame seeds)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
4 tablespoons raw cashews
2 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman’s VegiZest
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon (optional)
2 teaspoons Bragg Liquid Aminos or low sodium soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, chopped

10 ounces (about 10 cups) mixed salad greens
1/2 cup shredded zucchini
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1 cup sprouts (assorted varieties)
Blend all dressing ingredients in a high powered blender until smooth. Serves 2.

Aerobics vs. Insomnia

Can’t sleep? Well, a new study has determined that moderate aerobic exercise can ease the symptoms of insomnia. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports:
Researchers at the Federal University of Sao Paulo divided 28 women and eight men with primary chronic insomnia into three exercise groups -- moderate aerobic, heavy aerobic, and moderate strength -- and one control group.

After the exercise session, those who did moderate aerobic exercise showed reductions in sleep onset latency (54 percent) and wake time (36 percent) and increases in total sleep time (21 percent) and sleep efficiency (18 percent). They also showed a 7 percent decrease in anxiety.

"These findings indicate that there is a way to diminish the symptoms of insomnia without using medication," study author Giselle S. Passos said in a prepared statement.
Sometimes I get up so early to exercise. It feels like I have insomnia.

Mean Green Tomato

It’s Sunday, time for a tomato update! Here was my heavenly tomato last week:

And here it is today:

It’s growing like crazy!

Japan Measuring Waistlines...

In order to beat the bulge, Japan has started measuring the waists of people between the ages of 40 and 74 as part of their annual checkup. Norimitsu Onishi of The New York Times reports:
Summoned by the city of Amagasaki one recent morning, Minoru Nogiri, 45, a flower shop owner, found himself lining up to have his waistline measured. With no visible paunch, he seemed to run little risk of being classified as overweight, or metabo, the preferred word in Japan these days.

But because the new state-prescribed limit for male waistlines is a strict 33.5 inches, he had anxiously measured himself at home a couple of days earlier. “I’m on the border,” he said.

Under a national law that came into effect two months ago, companies and local governments must now measure the waistlines of Japanese people between the ages of 40 and 74 as part of their annual checkups. That represents more than 56 million waistlines, or about 44 percent of the entire population.

Those exceeding government limits — 33.5 inches for men and 35.4 inches for women, which are identical to thresholds established in 2005 for Japan by the International Diabetes Federation as an easy guideline for identifying health risks — and having a weight-related ailment will be given dieting guidance if after three months they do not lose weight. If necessary, those people will be steered toward further re-education after six more months.
This seems a little “big brother-ish” to me.

Green-News: Beef Worse Than Ethanol

A Swedish study has concluded that beef and milk production is a far bigger burden on the environment than ethanol. Via TreeHugger:

Just one percent of the world's arable acreage is planted in crops for ethanol, compared to a third of global arable acreage (500 million hectares) used for milk and meat production - though milk and meat make up just 15 percent of our total food basket. The claims about ethanol's effect (percentage-wise) on food prices range extremely widely from three to 65%. The International Food Policy Institute says 30%. Hard to say who is more accurate, but it doesn't look as if Swedes are going to give up their ethanol (or beef for that matter) any time soon. But they will be first to sell so-called "sustainable" ethanol.

Sweden, or rather Sweden's SEKAB, a biofuel and chemical company, will launch the world's first "sustainable ethanol" in early August, made from Brazilian sugar cane and to be blended in E85 and ED95 fuels. SEKAB says that the criteria for the "sustainable" designation include well-to-wheel reduction of CO2 of at least 85 percent compared to fossil fuels, and a "zero tolerance" for child labor, slave labor and the felling of rain forests for production.

Listen, with these absurd gas prices. I say ditch the steak and ice cream and get me some cheap earth-friendly fuel!

Dr. Fuhrman on Howard 100!

Yup, Howard 100! Thanks to my post about Robin Quivers and her claim about vegans. Lisa G. from Howard 100 News gave me a call and asked to speak with Dr. Fuhrman about eating veggies and beating the heat. Here’s the transcript from today’s newsbreak:
Announcer: Around the world and up your block. This is a Howard 100 Newsbreak.

Ralph Howard: I’m Ralph Howard. For Robin Quivers being a vegan is a cool thing. It’s Howard 100 News on your side.

Announcer: Howard 100 News on your side.

Lisa: Robin said the recent heat wave in New York City didn’t bother her and agreed with her friend who claimed it’s because she’s now a vegan. Dr. Joel Fuhrman author of Eat To Live and the book Eat For Health says Robin is absolutely right.

Dr. Fuhrman: Any foods like meat and cheese take a long time to digest and digestion is an energy demanding activity that raises body temperature, just like going for a walk or exercising. Also when you eat a diet rich in vegetables, your micronutrient levels are higher. Micronutrients are vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals; they are the non-caloric portion of food and when you have a high level of micronutrients your healthier.

Lisa: But how does that correlate with the outside temperature?

Dr. Fuhrman: Well, when you metabolism is slower you can handle the heat better. When your metabolism is faster it raises body temperature and you have more difficultly in feeling okay when it’s hot out.

Lisa: Dr. Fuhrman claims being thin and eating healthy will make you live longer.

Dr. Fuhrman: We know from studies on animals, like on rats, when they feed them more intermittently, when they calorically restrict them, they can practically double their lifespan and live one and a half times longer, and lower their body temperature and their metabolism goes slower as they age slower.

Lisa: The downside of being a vegan, the winter.

Dr. Fuhrman:
Makes you tolerate the cold not as well. So a person eating a more plant-favorable or plant-heavy diet, more vegan diet, is going to have to dress warmer in the wintertime, but is going to tolerate the heat much better.

Lisa: Dr. Fuhrman says metabolism is like a battery. The slower it is, the more energy you save, thus slowing down your aging process. For Howard 100 News, I’m Lisa G.
How cool is that? I’m a HUGE Howard Stern fan—which should help explain all my smart-ass remarks—it was doubly cool for me because I’ve got a major crush on Lisa G. Thanks again Lisa! You rock! Oh, and give Artie a shot.

Toddler Raised On French Fries!

Thanks to Diet Blog for finding thing one! Apparently one British mother thinks it’s totally fine to feed her 18-month year old at diet almost entirely of French fries. You got to see it, to believe it. James Tozer of The Daily Mail reports:
But despite being warned her daughter's future health is at risk, her mother Angela insists the toddler will grow up just fine.

Miss Boswell, 33, said persuading Courtney to eat healthier foods has proved almost impossible.

She said: 'Most of all she loves chips. I ate a lot of chips in chocolate sauce when I was pregnant with her so maybe it comes from that.

'I think she'll be fine when she's older - I'm not worried at all.

'People say she's getting podgy because her tummy sticks out a bit, but it's just a bit of puppy fat and she will grow out of it.'

Courtney, who weighs 2st 2lbs, or half a stone more than the average 18-month-old, will this week feature in Wednesday's ITV1 documentary, Britain's Biggest Babies.

The toddler, whose diet also occasionally extends to chocolate, crisps, cereal and Coca-Cola, is shown devouring a portion of chips in just under ten minutes.
Clearly, this story is a lightening rod. It certainly shot Dr. Fuhrman out of a cannon! Here’s what he had to say:
If I was a child welfare judge, I would lock up this mother in a jail cell with a copy Disease-Proof Your Child and not release her until the book is read and she was quizzed on its contents.
This woman is a freaking a whack job! It’s hard to believe people like this exactly exist! She needs to hear this podcast—stat! Dr. Fuhrman on Getting Children to Eat Well.

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!

Raw Milk, Under the Gun

The Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on the claims made about unpasteurized raw milk. The Associated Press reports:
The unpasteurized milk swiftly caught on as part of the growing natural food movement. But the Food and Drug Administration considers McAfee a snake oil salesman and recently launched an investigation into whether his dairy illegally shipped raw milk across state lines. The agency even tried to recruit one of his employees to secretly record conversations with him.

The case against McAfee is part of a crackdown on raw milk by government health officials who are concerned about the spread of food-borne illnesses. Lawmakers and law enforcement agencies are stepping up efforts to keep unpasteurized milk out of reach, even as demand for the niche product grows.

McAfee, who was among the first in California to sell raw milk on a large scale, brushed off the investigation: "When you're a pioneer, you have to expect to take a few arrows."

Twenty-two states prohibit sales of raw milk for human consumption, and the rest allow it within their borders. The FDA bans cross-border sales.

In Pennsylvania, local officials recently busted two dairies unlawfully selling milk straight from the cow.
Listen, normal milk isn’t healthy. So how could unpasteurized milk be any good? More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Parkinson’s disease: Recent studies have shown that men who consume more dairy products and who are big milk drinkers have a higher occurrence of Parkinson’s disease. Honglei Chen, M.D., of Harvard University reported his findings at the annual meeting of the American College of Nutrition (December 2004) and presented a few other studies, one of which was the Parkinson’s Disease Honolulu Study, that showed the same association. The interesting finding was that it was not the fat in milk and dairy that were implicated. Usually, the high saturated fat content of dairy is blamed for its disease risk. But in this case, according to Chen, fat was “out of the picture.” Calcium and added vitamin D also were unrelated. That means something else in dairy is the culprit. The relationship between Parkinson’s and milk consumption has been suspected for decades1 and was first reported by researchers a few years ago. Chen’s and other recent prospective studies have confirmed the earlier, less definitive findings.

Heart disease: A related recent finding is that deaths from heart disease also are strongly associated with milk drinking in adulthood. Of particular interest is that (as is the case with Parkinson’s) the association is with the non-fat portion of milk. Non-fat and skim milk consumption shows the same association as that of whole milk. Researchers found that heart disease death is strongly associated with circulating antibodies against milk. These antibodies are found to bind to human lymphocytes and platelets, thus increasing the likelihood of clot formation. The researchers also concluded that the non-fat aspects of milk have atherogenic effects (plaque-building) both biochemical and immunological, and the simultaneous attack from all these directions explains why milk was found to have such a strong effect on death rate.2

Ovarian cancer: A recent study of 61,000 women found that those who consumed more than 2 glasses of milk per day had twice the risk of serous ovarian cancer than women who consumed fewer than two glasses. The risk of those who drank two glasses a day was double that of women who rarely drank milk.3 Lactose in milk seemed to be the primary culprit. Again this larger study confirms earlier studies with the same findings.
Despite its “wholesome” image, milk is not your friend. Just check out these posts:
Personally, I’d rather have a pet cow, than a glass of milk—moo!
Continue Reading...

Teenagers, Not Enough Vitamin D

Some experts believe that the current Vitamin D recommendations for teenagers may be too low. Reuters is on it:
In a trial that followed 340, 10- to 17-year-olds for one year, Lebanese researchers found that vitamin D doses equivalent to 2,000 IU per day were not only safe, but also achieved more-desirable blood levels of the vitamin.

The dose used in the study was 10 times the official "adequate intake" level set for vitamin D in the United States -- 200 IU per day for children and adults younger than 50.

An adequate intake, or AI, is set when health officials believe there is insufficient evidence to lay down a recommended dietary allowance, or RDA.

But some researchers have argued that the 200 IU standard is too low. This year, the American Academy of Pediatrics began recommending that children and teenagers get 400 IU of vitamin D each day.
When I was a teenager I wasn’t worried about vitamin D. I was more concerned with the cute girl in my Spanish I class—hola senorita. Wink-wink.

FDA: No More Food Safety

Last year the FDA promised to improve food safety, but, they haven’t followed through. Reuters reports:
In the past week, a rare strain of Salmonella has sickened 167 people in 17 states who ate certain types of tomatoes.

This is the latest in a series of incidents that have eroded public confidence in the safety of the food supply and lead to more calls for change at the Food and Drug Administration. There also have been problems with lettuce, peanut butter and spinach in recent years.

"These continued outbreaks are unacceptable," said Rep. John Dingell, chairman of the full House Energy and Commerce Committee. "To have (the FDA) come up and say they don't know what to do about it or how much money they need or what resources they require is a shame and a disgrace."

Last November, the FDA, which oversees 80 percent of the food supply, issued a "food protection plan" that would focus on preventing problems in the riskiest areas before they occur, both domestically and overseas, rather than simply conducting more inspections and testing.
Wait, government letting the people down? No! Never heard that before.

Snacking and Not Sleeping

Researchers have determined that not getting enough sleep causes people to over indulge in snacks. More from WebMD:
The study involved 11 healthy men and women who agreed to enter the sleep lab for two 14-day periods. During one visit, they were allowed to sleep for only five-and-a-half hours each night. During the other, they slept for eight-and-a-half hours a night. During both visits, they could eat as much as they wanted, whenever they wanted.

Plamen Penev, MD, PhD, of the University of Chicago, headed the study. He presented the findings here at SLEEP 2008, the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.

Results showed that when bedtimes were restricted to five-and-a-half hours, participants consumed an average of 1,087 calories a day from snacks alone. In contrast, they consumed 866 in calories from snacking when given eight-and-a-half hours to sleep.

The total number of calories consumed each day and the total weight gain was similar during both visits. But Kothare notes that participants were only studied for a few weeks. It's possible other changes would have been seen if they were followed longer, he says.
Yup, I agree with this. If I don’t get enough sleep. I plow through my fruits and vegetables like a hippopotamus.

Eating to Live on the Outside: Blind Faith Café

With the Cubs and the White Sox kicking major butt, the windy city is the place to be. So, this week Eating to Live on the Outside heads to Chicago—via the marvels of the internet—we’ll be grabbing a bite to eat at the Blind Faith Café. Does it hold up? Let’s find out.

As for the appetizers, I’m thinking either the Mediterranean Hummus or the Guacamole and Chips. The hummus comes with toasted pita wedges and the guacamole is served with tortilla chips and fresh salsa. Neither of them is perfect. I wouldn’t order them, but if you’re hard up for an appetizer, these aren’t horrible.

The salads are a bit more palatable. I like them all and with a few alterations they’re all workable. You’ve got five salads to choose from. The Green Salad, Blind Faith Chef Salad, Santa Fe Salad, Pear and Goat Cheese Salad, and the Poached Asparagus Salad; combined they’re made with field greens, fresh sprouts, mixed greens, grated carrots, red onion, cashews, raisins, jack cheese, avocado, Romaine lettuce, barbeque seitan, tomato, corn, peas, tortilla ribbons, raspberry vinaigrette, caramelized pears, goat cheese fondue, steamed asparagus, poach egg, and ginger dressing. This is easy! I’d ditch the cheese, seitan, and egg, and I’d order the dressing on the side.

Onto the entrees, I see three I like. I’m digging the Teriyaki Grilled Tofu. It’s prepared with organic grilled tofu, teriyaki glazed Asian vegetables, shiitake mushrooms, and jasmine rice. The teriyaki glaze makes me a nervous, but I’m not too worried. The rice is a little iffy too, but, I can deal with it. The Massaman Curry is also pretty cool. It comes with Bok Choy, red pepper, cauliflower, asparagus, sweet and spicy yellow curry, and brown rice. Not too bad. And lastly, the Macrobiotic Plate looks tasty. It’s made with brown rice, shiitake gravy, butternut squash, steamed kale, sea vegetable salad, bean of the day, and miso soup. Hooray for kale! This is probably my favorite menu item, but I’d still skip on the miso soup.

Okay, what do the small dishes have to offer? The Grilled Vegetable Pesto Sandwich is neat; grilled zucchini, red pepper, organic tofu, sautéed pesto on baked foccacia, and salad, rice, or fries. Clearly, no fries for me! The foccacia bread is a little worrisome, but I’m okay with it. I also like the Pasilla Stew. It’s cooked with roasted garlic, tomato, caramelized onion, pastilla peppers, shimmered in an exotic savory stew. Provided this isn’t overly salty, it’s a nice option. Personally, I probably wouldn’t chance it.

I’m skipping the breakfast menu, nothing there really impresses me. Same goes for the eggs. I kicked eggs a long time ago. Now, there are a bunch of smoothies and juices that might be worth a look. The fresh squeezed carrot juice is cool. I also like the Blueberry Banana Boogie. It’s blended with blueberries, banana, apple cider, and Oregon berry juice—sounds yummy! The Hawaiian Sunrise is neat too. It’s made with peaches, pineapple, banana, mango nectar juice, and pineapple coconut juice. Nice! I can see the hula girls already.

Now, like always, if worst comes to worst and you don’t like anything on Blind Faith’s menu. Just order a bunch of sides. You’ve got a nice list to choose from: steamed kale, vegetable of the day, beans, sautéed tofu, a bowl of oatmeal, and steamed or roasted baby red potatoes. I’d go with the steamed kale, the veggie of the day, and the sautéed tofu. What would you order?

What do you think? Does the Blind Faith Café past the test? I think it does. There are plenty of veggies to soothe the savage Eat to Liver, but hey, what do I know? Let’s face it, I’m not that bright. You’re smarter than me. So give it a shot. Check out Blind Faith’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!

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!

Sodium: Importance of Reading Labels

Read the Nutrition Facts label on the back of the can or package before you purchase a processed food. It is easy to see if it has too much sodium. Since the labels are based on serving size, if a serving of a particular product contains 100 calories, it should not have more than about 50 mg. of sodium (half the number of calories). If, instead, that product contains 200 mg of sodium, you know that 150 mg of sodium has been added to what was originally in the food.

Don’t be misled by the manufacturer’s claims on the front of the package, such as “low sodium,” “reduced sodium,” or “light in sodium,” since products making these claims may still contain very high levels of sodium.

USDA Guidelines

The guidelines that must be followed if making sodium claims are:
  • “Sodium Free,” less than 5 mg sodium.
  • “Very Low Sodium,” 35 mg or less of sodium.
  • “Low Sodium,” 140 mg or less of sodium.
  • “Reduced Sodium,” at least 25% less than the regular product.
  • “Light in Sodium,” at least 50% less than the regular product.
As you can see, these guidelines are not very helpful, especially in instances where the caloric content of the portion size is low. For example, a product whose serving size contains 100 calories can claim it is “low sodium” and still have 140 mg of sodium—which is almost triple the amount of sodium found in natural foods. In a low-calorie food, 140 mg of sodium might represent more than 10 times the amount of sodium found in the natural product. Still, the product can be labeled “low sodium.”

As I mention in the accompanying article, I suggest that you not add more than 200-300 mg of sodium to your diet over and above what is in natural foods. Using this guideline, you still can have one serving of something each day that has some sodium added to it, but all other foods should have only the sodium contained in the food itself

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.

Scared Consumers!

These tainted tomatoes and even the spinach-E. coli outbreak have seriously whacked U.S. consumer-confidence. Reuters reports:
"Food in the U.S. is all kinds of unsafe," said Arjuna Balasooriya, 35, on Tuesday as he left lunch at a Souplantation in the Los Angeles suburb of Pasadena, which closed for a week last year due to a Shigella bacteria outbreak.

"You're always running scared," wondering whether the food is contaminated by bacteria, genetically modified or sourced from areas with poor health and safety records, he said.

Like many other people who spoke with Reuters on Tuesday, the banker said he is not buying or eating tomatoes following news that an outbreak of a rare strain of Salmonella had sickened 145 people who ate round, Roma or plum tomatoes.

"I'll wait for a while for the air to clear up to be safe, at least a month," he said, even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has identified California and 25 other tomato-supplying states and countries as not being associated with the outbreak.

McDonald's Corp, the world's biggest restaurant chain, has pulled raw sliced tomatoes from its sandwiches and has no immediate plans to bring them back.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, on the other hand, is making plans to start returning safely sourced tomatoes to its restaurants later this week.
Hooray for Chipotle, a Followhealthlife favorite. But clearly, U.S. food producers and growers must clean up their act.

How You Sleep and You

Researchers have determined that the way you sleep, says a lot about your personality. Via eDiets:
According to a study by Chris Idzikowski, director of the Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service, there are six most-common sleep positions, and each one can give a real glimpse into what kind of person you are. "We are all aware of our body language when we are awake, but this is the first time we have been able to see what our subconscious posture says about us," he told the BBC News. "What's interesting is that the profile behind the posture is often very different from what we'd expect."
The Starfish

If you like on your back with both arms up on your pillow (5 percent), you are always ready to listen and often offer help where needed. Starfish sleepers generally make good friends -- but tend to dislike being the center of attention. Not-so-fun fact: Typically leads to snoring and restless sleep.

The Freefall

Brace yourself: People who sleep on their stomachs with hands up around their head (7 percent) can come off as brash and unreserved, but are really a little nervy and thin-skinned underneath. Freefallers don't like criticism or extreme situations. Fun fact: Sleeping like this is good for digestion.
I always fall asleep in starfish, but usually wake up in freefall—so what the heck does that say about me! Be sure to check out the rest of the report: What Your Sleep Position Says About You...

The Sugar-Free Kid...

Refined carbohydrates like sugar and processed grains will sabotage your health, leading to a myriad of afflictions. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Medical investigations clearly show the dangers of consuming the quantity of processed foods that we do. And because these refined grains lack fiber and nutrient density to turn down our appetite, they also cause obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and significantly increased cancer risk.1
Maybe that’s why Sarah Kamrath’s son, five-year-old Lucas, has never had any refined sugar. This exclusive from Mothering:
I will be the first to admit that completely avoiding all refined sugar is not the easiest thing to do. I also understand that it might not be desirable for every parent—a little sugar here and there isn't going to do any real harm, however, I have also found that most parents would like to avoid sugar as much as possible in their children's diet.

So for anyone who is interested in trying to limit empty, sugar-filled calories and get their children to eat more nutritious foods, the following are some practices I have found useful…

…We have a rule in our house that you have to try something before you say no. When Lukas says he doesn't want a certain food and I make him try one bite, many times he'll look at me and say "Mmmm, I like that." If he doesn't, I won't force him to eat it, but I will continue to re-introduce it to him one bite at a time. By repeatedly offering healthy foods to children, the foods eventually become more familiar and your child is likely to develop a taste for them. In fact, research shows that it can take up to 10 times of tasting the same food before this happens, so be patient.

Also, if your child complains about a certain food and refuses to eat it, try not to quickly substitute it with one of his favorites. If he knows that when he complains and makes a fuss that you will simply prepare him something else to eat, then be prepared to do just that. If you explain to him that this is dinner and if he doesn't eat it then he will be hungry (and you are consistent with this message), then he is much more likely to give it a real try. Don't worry—he won't starve!
Kudos to Sarah! That’s one determined mom. Any of you have similar stories?
Continue Reading...

Fat Baby, Fat Kid?

It seems rapid weight-gain as an infant can lead to obesity later in life. WebMD reports:
In a separate study from Finland, researchers found little evidence of an obesity link associated with rapid weight gain before the age of 2. But rapid weight gain after the second birthday was found to be a risk factor for obesity later in life.

The study included 885 Finnish men and 1,032 women between the ages of 56 and 70, whose childhood weights and heights were known from medical records.

Rapid weight gain before age 2 was associated with increases in lean mass while rapid gains later in childhood predicted higher body fat in adulthood.

In the third study, rapid weight gain during the first six months of life was found to increase obesity risk later in childhood.

Researchers from London's Institute of Child Health investigated the associations between weight gain during different periods in infancy and later body composition in 105 boys and 129 girls living in the U.K.

The three studies are not the first to link early growth to later obesity.
For more baby news, check out Followhealthlife’s healthy parenting category.

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...

Low Vitamin D, More Heart Attacks in Men

Apparently low levels of vitamin D can double a man’s risk of having a heart attack. Martin Mittelstaedt of Globe and Mail reports:
The findings, published yesterday in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, may help shed light on why many people with no known risk factors - such as high blood pressure or smoking - inexplicably develop heart attacks. It also suggests it may be possible to reduce the incidence of the often fatal condition by popping an inexpensive pill that is widely available in pharmacies and supplement stores.

"It's an important finding," says Edward Giovannucci, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, one of the researchers.

"It does indicate that even individuals without the standard risk factors for heart disease may be at somewhat higher risk if they have lower vitamin D levels," he said.

Dr. Giovannucci said vitamin D may be beneficial by reducing the buildup of plaque in arteries, one of the causes of heart attacks.

The possible link between vitamin D insufficiency and heart attacks is among a growing number of recent medical observations about the nutrient, which is often dubbed the sunshine vitamin because it can be created in people's skin when it is exposed to strong ultraviolet light, in addition to being available in a pill form.
Shameless plug, but Dr. Fuhrman sells a great vitamin D, its called Osteo–Sun.

Friends, Booze, and Stress can Muck up Your Diet...

Ali Hale of Diet Blog investigates why your friends, drinking, and stress can hinder your diet. Here’s a bit:
For many of us, good intentions dissolve somewhere in the first glass, and after a few drinks, stodgy comfort food like a big plate of fries or creamy pasta seems far more attractive than a salad.

Do you have friends who urge you to order dessert, even when you're stuffed, or who insist on sharing their huge tub of popcorn with you at the movies? Perhaps every social occasion involves pizza, humungous bags of chips, or a trip to a new restaurant.

Whether it's a horrendous day at work, a toddler having a tantrum, an impending visit from your mother-in-law, or a teenager threatening to run away from home, stress often leads straight to the fridge door.
Yup, they’re all important things to consider. Check out these posts for more:

Clean Teeth, Healthy Heart!

According to a new study having good oral hygiene lowers your risk of developing bacterial disease in your heart valves. HealthDay News reports:
In the study of 290 dental patients, researchers analyzed the amount of bacteria released into the bloodstream (bacteremia) during tooth brushing and tooth extraction, with and without antibiotics. Blood samples were taken from the patients before, during and after these activities, and analyzed for bacterial species associated with IE.

The researchers found the incidence of IE-related bacteremia from tooth brushing (23 percent) was closer to that of extraction than expected -- 33 percent for extraction with antibiotics and 60 percent for extraction without antibiotics.

"This suggests that bacteria get into the bloodstream hundreds of times a year, not only from tooth brushing, but also from other routine activities like chewing food," study author Peter Lockhart, chairman of the department of oral medicine at the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C., said in a prepared statement.

"While the likelihood of bacteremia is lower with brushing, these routine daily activities likely pose a greater risk for IE simply due to frequency: that is, bacteremia from brushing twice a day for 365 days a year versus once or twice a year for dental office visits involving teeth cleaning, or fillings or other procedures," Lockhart said.
That’s why every 4 months you’ll find me digging my nails into a dentist chair getting scraped and cleaned—eek!

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:
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.

Gas Prices Spike, Farmers Going Mule...

Yesterday it cost me $45 to fill my rinky-dinky Honda Civic! So, its no wonder U.S. farmers are turning to mules plow their fields. Via TreeHugger:
Rural areas in the U.S. are now feeling the profound effects of mounting gas prices, more so than in other parts of the country, due to the combination of lower incomes and heavier dependence on farming equipment, tractors, pickup trucks and vans. In addition to other trends (gasoline theft, buying less meat, switching jobs for a shorter commute), the dilemma has led some farmers to turn to less energy-intensive forms of tilling land – or in a word, mules.

According to a recent survey by the Oil Price Information Service, Americans typically spend 4 percent of their after-tax income on gasoline. In rural areas however, such as the counties in the Mississippi Delta, families may spend up to 13 percent on fuel. It is a disparity that may not be so apparent in the Northeastern states, where families generally earn more, drive shorter distances or have better access to public transportation.
Well, I am Italian. So riding a mule to work wouldn’t look totally out of place.

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?

Economic Recession: Let them Eat Doughnuts

Talk about circling vultures, Krispy Kreme offered free doughnuts to mark the occasion when the Salvation Army served coffee and doughnuts to thousands of homesick soldiers during the Great Depression. More from the MSN Money Blog:
Around here we think of every day as doughnut day, but those with more self-restraint know the real thing comes the first Friday in June – today, in fact…

…Doughnut purveyor Krispy Kreme is offering a free calorie bomb. No doubt you can find your nearest store in your sleep, but here's a way to find one if for some reason you've awakened in a strange part of town. Wait for the “hot light” if you want one of their notorious melt-in-your-mouth glazed, but you can choose one (1) of any of their varieties at participating stores. Here’s a peek at their lineup.

No Krispy Kremes in your neck of the woods? Dunkin Donuts hasn’t ponied up any freebies that we know, but that’s no reason not to drop a couple of bucks on a cruller and a cuppa joe and think about Doughboys, doughnuts and the women who served ‘em up hot.
This nauseates me as much as car makers offering cheap gas for a year if you run out right now and buy a brand new car—exploiting a bad situation, classless.

Hawaiian Lettuce Farm

Check out how Manoa Lettuce is grown:

Have you ever tried it?

Kirstie Alley, Weight-Loss Evil Genius?

TMZ is questioning the timing of Kirstie Alley’s weight-gain now that she is starting her own diet plan. Check it out:
After losing over 75 Scientolopounds on Jenny Craig, Kirstie said she was planning to start her very own slim down system that she'd launch next year. But these days it's clear ... Kirstie isn't taking her own medicine.

But how's this for a theory -- she can't sell a weight loss program if there's no dramatic before and after fresh in people's minds. So she balloons up, then slims down, and then sells tons (you'll pardon the expression) of her magic weight loss stuff.
Blah, blah, blah—just another celebutard.

The Yogi in the Cupboard...

I admit it. I used to collect action figures. It started as a kid with Transformers and Ninja Turtles and continued with pro-wrestling as a teenager. So, obviously these Yoga figurines have captured my now twenty-something attention. The Seattle Times reports:
"When I am showing them poses, I also am giving them a visual," Raymond D. Fogleman said. "It's very hard when you are learning to keep that visual in your mind."

To help novices when they are practicing alone, the Hummelstown, Pa., man created 16 3-D action figures to illustrate yoga's controlled breathing and stretching techniques. He calls his product "3-D Yogis and Yoginis Box of Poses."

Fogleman, 43, started studying yoga 14 years ago and has been teaching full time since 2003. He got the idea for the statuettes after finding a toy soldier in a collection of toys three years ago. He realized that the antithesis to a soldier would be a yoga figure.

The plastic statuettes are 3 inches tall or 3 inches wide depending on the pose. Each has a 1-by-2-inch base. Each of the eight yogis (male) and eight yoginis (female) statuettes has a number and a code embossed in its base. The code corresponds to an explanation of the pose in an accompanying instructional guide.

Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years in India. It is based on the principle of mind-body unity. Estimates are that 20 million people in America practice some form of yoga.
Sorry, curiosity killed my cat. Check out these photos from Raymond’s website:

Yoga is great exercise, but I doubt reenacting the Civil War with these figures will burn as many calories.

Heart Rate Training Zones: A Convenient Method to Maximize the Effectiveness and Results of Exercise Routines

Here’s an article from Dr. Fuhrman's colleague Dr. Steven Acocella, MS, D.C., DACBN, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist, American College of Lifestyle Physicians, and a Diplomat of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition:

In disease free individuals resting pulse rates reflect our current state of fitness. Being aware of our pulse rate can help us avoid injury when beginning an exercise regime, measure the effectiveness of various exercise routines and determine if we are under or over training. By monitoring our heart rate throughout an exercise session we can adjust our efforts in real time so that we achieve our desired results and goals. Using our heart rate as a guide we can specifically focus on improving cardiovascular health, maximizing body fat reduction, improving stamina and endurance or build lean-muscle mass. As we become more fit, plotting our resting heart rate over a period of time on a graph will demonstrate our progress as clearly as fitting into those skinny jeans again!

Heart rate training is based upon a key anchor point, our maximum heart rate (MHR). From our MHR we derive heart rate training zones. As we will see later, these zones help us target the results we want and achieve those goals from our efforts. There are 3 ways to determine what our individual MHR is, a strictly mathematical formula based on age or by measuring our heart rate during actual exercise. There are 2 methods that use our ‘perceived level of exertion’ (how we feel) during actual exercise. I prefer these exertion-based methods of capturing MHR as they better reflect individual fitness level and ability. However, a resent study reviewed some 50 different mathematical MHR formulas and identified the most reliable and accurate calculation method. The study found that the maximum heart rates obtained using this formula varied only fractionally when compared to exercise derived MHR’s in the same subjects. Certainly, for the average fitness enthusiast, both methods are useful and valid. I will present the mathematical and exercise derived methods in this article.

There are two ways to obtain your pulse, manually by feel or by using a heart rate monitor. Heart rate monitors use a transmitter housed in a chest strap worn during exercise; this device detects the heart’s electrical activity and then send this information to a receiver, usually housed in a wrist watch which displays heart rate and other data. Once only available to professional athletes, personal heart rate monitors are quite inexpensive and accessible to most of us weekend warriors. If you shop for a monitor I recommend you find one with a built in “Fit Test”, a program to calculate your heart rate zones via a guided exercise routine. Many home and most club gym exercise machines have heart rate monitor receivers built right into them. If you have access to these machines you may only need to purchase the chest strap. Some machines with built-in receivers even adjust the workout intensity automatically based upon the user’s target heart rate zones!

If you don’t have a monitor here are a few tips on taking your pulse directly. You can take your pulse on the underside of your wrist on the thumb side using your 1st and 2nd fingers (never use your thumb to take a pulse). Or, some prefer to take the carotid pulse located on the front side of your neck about 1/3 of the way down and about an inch on either side of center. Practice locating your pulse. Once you’re good at finding and feeling the pulsing blood vessel, use a second hand watch and count the pulses for 60 seconds, this is your current heart rate. Once you’re proficient you can count the pulse for 30 seconds and simply double the number. Be sure to master pulse taking before you need to do it during a heart rate test or when exercising.

Firstly, let’s determine your MHR mathematically. Simply plug your age into this equation: MHR = 205.8 – (0.685 x AGE)

For example, the MHR for a 45 year old is: MHR = 205.8 – (0.685 x 45) = 175 Beats per Minute

Now let’s look at the methods that use exercise to capture MHR. The first method, known as the Sub-Maximal HR Test is useful for people that are just beginning an exercise program, recovering from an injury, medical procedure or anyone not in good enough shape to push themselves to their absolute limit. This method instead derives MHR by estimating or extrapolating from a heart rate obtained from a less than all out effort. This test is most accurate when supervised by a professional but an average test is still quite useful.

Using walking as the ‘control effort’ - map out a 1 mile course, a ¼ mile track is optimal but not mandatory. Walk briskly (without jogging) pushing yourself into a challenging but comfortable stride. A good rule of thumb is the talk test, i.e., you should be able to maintain a conversation during this level of effort. At about the ¾ mile mark, without stopping, take your pulse. Keep walking and repeat taking your pulse a couple more times during the last quarter mile. If there is more than a few beats difference in each heart rate simply add them together and take the average to obtain a more accurate number. If you are using a heart rate monitor simply note your HR 3 times during the last ¼ mike and take that average. Now that you have your sub-maximal heart rate, add 50 beats per minute (BPM) to that number to calculate your MHR. Again, this is a working ball-park average but it’s still very useful especially for those of us closing the doughnut box and getting off the couch for the first time.

Finally, we’ll look at obtaining a MHR from the Maximal Effort Method. This method should be utilized only by those whom are already fit and in good cardiovascular health. Be forewarned that this method is quite challenging. Choose an activity such as biking, an elliptical machine, treadmill or any aerobic activity in which your body position is upright. I do not recommend recumbent exercises or swimming for the Maximal HR Test as MHR can be sport specific and these activities have the greatest variation.

The Maximal Effort Method test is designed to last about 15 minutes. Begin to exercise and after about a 3 minute warm-up begin to exercise at the level of effort described for the sub-maximal test. Maintain this level for a full 10 minutes. Once you are at this 10 minute mark the fun begins. Over about a minute, accelerate and intensify your effort until you can push no more. You should be at a level of effort that is very uncomfortable and barely sustainable. After pushing yourself at this highly competitive pace for about a minute note the reading on your heart rate monitor or take your pulse (ask a partner to help you by tracking the time for you) while maintaining your pace. It is this pulse rate during this final minute that is your MHR. Once you have obtained it you can then slow down, cool down and then fall down!

So, now that you have obtained your MHR from the mathematical or effort derived methods we’ll apply this information to get results from our workouts. The broadest application is to define a single target heart rate range to make sure you are getting something out of your workouts. This is a general heart rate range that is required to improve respiratory capacity, cardiovascular health and general overall fitness. This HR range is 60 – 85 percent of our MHR. To find your range simply calculate these 2 numbers:
  • Lower limit of Heart Rate Range = MHR X .60
  • Upper Limit of Heart Rate Range = MHR X .85
So, our 45 year old with a MHR of 175 BPM would have a beneficial heart rate training range of 105 BPM – 149 BPM (175 X .60 and 175 X .85).

Here’s where monitoring your heart rate during exercise begins to become useful. As we become more fit, activities that initially brought our heart rate into a beneficial range become too easy. But many of us continue our routines and hence our efforts become less productive as they no longer stress our bodies to the point of gaining improved fitness; this ‘staleness’ is avoided by heart rate guided training. We can engage the same activities but are forced to work harder to bring our heart rate into this beneficial zone. But this is only one application. MHR can be tailored for much more specific training goals.

By breaking this wide training range into more narrow ‘zones’ we can use heart rate data to customize our workout intensities for optimal and specific results. Generally, I use 4 reference zones. All are expressed as a percentage of MHR with an upper and lower limit. Although there are overlapping benefits, generally speaking each zone has a particular result associated with it. The percentages of MHR for each zone are:
  • Zone I – Light Intensity 60 -70 percent of MHR
  • Zone II – Moderate Intensity 70 -80 percent of MHR
  • Zone III – Heavy Intensity 80 -90 percent of MHR
  • Zone IV – Maximum Intensity > 90 percent of MHR
So, again using our 45 year old as an example our target heart rates would be:
  • ZI = 105-122 BPM
  • ZII = 123-139 BPM
  • ZIII = 140-157 BPM
  • ZIV = 158-175 BPM
Here’s an overview for each zone:

Zone I – This is the easiest level of intensity you can work at and still gain benefit. It’s best used for overall health, flexibility and agility and maintaining a weight reduction. This is an excellent zone to stay within during the first 1 -3 months of beginning an exercise plan to avoid injury, especially for those who have not engaged in a fitness program for a long time. It’s also the warm-up and cool down zone to enter into or come out of more intense exercise.

Exercise at this level should feel easy and pass the ‘talk test’. You should never be out of breath, feel any pain or burning and be able to maintain this effort indefinitely.

Zone II –Working out in this zone effectively builds endurance, stamina and muscle tone without significant increase in girth. It’s also excellent for cardiac strengthening and building co-lateral circulation (adding more small blood vessels in the extremities). This is an excellent zone to stay in during the first 2-4 months of training.

When in this zone breathing should be slightly labored but not difficult. You can still converse comfortably. You should not be in a ‘no-pain, no-gain’ condition but may need to vary your effort from time to time. When fit you should be able to maintain this level of effort for a few hours.

Zone III - This is the best zone to use stored fat for energy, i.e., the most efficient weight loss or ‘fat burn zone’. Zone III balances maximum caloric demand while still remaining under the anaerobic threshold, the key criteria for burning fat. In less fit people training in this zone too soon uses more glucose than fat for energy. As we become more fit and can maintain this level of intensity for longer periods of time it becomes fueled by an increasing percentage of energy from stored fat. This is why you often hear people say that they started working out and are “exercising like crazy but not losing any weight”. This is exactly why I recommend to patients that want to lose weight and are just starting out that they exercise in Zone II for a while. Pushing too far too soon can be counter-productive. It takes time for the chemical plant in our muscles to adapt to the new demands of exercise. The cells that use oxygen in producing energy increase over time (this is known as Davis’s Law) so that we can sustain a Zone III level effort for longer and longer. It’s the physiological equivalent to learning to walk before you can run, or perhaps this analogy can be applied literally!

Exercising in this zone should be quite challenging but still not painful. It’s the highest zone you can be in and still be able to carry on a conversation, albeit difficult and in-between breaths. You should be able to maintain this intensity for up to about 1 hour but that may be much shorter initially and increase proportional to you level of fitness.

Zone IV – This is the anaerobic zone whereby we use primarily glycogen (glucose stored in muscle tissue) for energy. This zone contributes greatly to the efficiency by which our muscles can burn fat in the lower zones. By pushing ourselves into this zone we raise our ‘lactate threshold’, the line between using fat verses sugar as a caloric energy source. The more time we can stay in zone IV the higher our lactate threshold and the longer and stronger we can perform athletically. This zone ‘ramps-up’ our muscles to burn fat while we’re at rest by making our ‘oven’ more efficient. Most importantly, this is the zone where the most dramatic muscle building gains live. We could call it the Buff-Zone!

Exercise in this zone can be maintained for only very short periods of time, usually seconds to a few minutes maximum. If you can maintain this zone for longer than 3 minutes you are either not in this anaerobic zone or your name is Lance Armstrong. You can not talk during this level of exertion and are in significant pain. There is no significant fat weight loss in this zone but rather a break down of muscle tissue that leads to growth. This is the ‘no-pain, no gain’ zone and if you’re in it you should be hating life.

Remember, as you become more and more fit the beneficial changes that take place are reflected in your heart rate. Make a chart and plot your resting pulse by taking it first thing in the morning before you get out of bed. Do this for a few months and you’ll see over time the line slopes lower and lower! As your resting pulse plummets the range of your resting heart rate and your MHR increases allowing your heart to work less hard at the same level of effort. By using your heart rate as a barometer of how hard you are exercising you will avoid boredom, progress plateaus and stagnation.

You are now armed with valuable and useful information about heart rate training. You can now see how knowing and using your heart rate can help you maximize weight loss goals, achieve those 6-pack abs and keep you moving onward and upward to the fittest you possible. I applaud you for taking the time to read this article, see you in the gym!

Flying, Pricier if you're Fat?

Daniel Hamermesh of the Freakonomics blog thinks obese people should pay more to fly. Here’s a bit:
A story on Yahoo news mentions that the Philadelphia newspapers are running advertisements for a fake airline, Derrie-Air (get it?). The airline advertises that it is carbon-neutral, and that it charges per passenger pound — $1.40 from Philadelphia to Chicago, $2.25 from Philadelphia to Los Angeles…

… Also, heavier people spill over onto their neighbors’ seats, generating negative externalities for the other passengers. So I hope a few real-world airlines take notes and think about charging heavier passengers extra.
I know this makes me look like a bag guy, but, I agree.

Sleep, Get Some!

I’m a little sleepy today and apparently I’m not alone. About 40 million Americans aren’t getting enough sleep. Dennis Thompson of HealthDay News reports:
As things get more hectic, sleep tends to get short shrift. It's seen as wasted time, lost forever.

"For healthy people, there's a big temptation to voluntarily restrict sleep, to stay up an hour or two or get up an hour or two earlier," said Dr. Greg Belenky, director of the Sleep and Performance Research Center at Washington State University Spokane.

"But you're really reducing your productivity and exposing yourself to risk," Belenky added.

That's a message doctors are trying to spread to Americans, including the estimated 40 million people who struggle with some type of sleep disorder each year.

Before Thomas Edison invented the light bulb in 1880, people slept an average of 10 hours a night. These days, Americans average 6.9 hours of sleep on weeknights and 7.5 hours a night on weekends, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

"The group of people getting optimal sleep is getting smaller and smaller," said Dr. Chris Drake, senior scientist at the Henry Ford Hospital Sleep Disorders and Research Center in Detroit. "When a person's sleep drops to six hours or less, that's when a lot of things become very problematic."
We all need sleep and lots of it! Dr. Fuhrman explains in Get Sufficient Rest and Sleep for Recovery.

High Protein Diet: Lose Weight, Without Losing Bone?

“Nutritional research today is typically the blind leading the blind. People following nutritional belief systems like religion,” explains Dr. Fuhrman and this study claiming that high protein diets help preserve bone integrity during weight-loss is no different. From the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign:

The scientists recruited and randomized 130 middle-aged, overweight persons at two sites—the U of I and Pennsylvania State University. Participants then followed either the higher-protein weight-loss diet or a conventional higher-carbohydrate weight-loss diet based on the food-guide pyramid for four months of active weight loss followed by eight months of weight maintenance.

"Essentially we substituted lean meats and low-fat milk, cheese, yogurt, etc., for some of the high-carbohydrate foods in the food-pyramid diet. Participants also ate five servings of vegetables and two to three servings of fruit each day," Evans said.

Bone mineral content and density were measured with DXA scans of the whole body, lumbar spine, and hip at the beginning of the study, at four months, at eight months, and at the end of the 12-month period.

"In the higher-protein group, bone density remained fairly stable, but bone health declined over time in the group that followed the conventional higher-carbohydrate diet. A statistically significant treatment effect favored the higher-protein diet group," said Matthew Thorpe, a medical scholars (MD/PhD) student who works in Evans's lab and was the primary author of the study.

I asked Dr. Fuhrman about this research and here’s what he had to say. Take a look:

There are so many variables that the conclusions are simplistic. First of all, the vast majority of Americans are severely Vitamin D deficient and their higher protein group was given more Vitamin D fortified milk. Second, the intervention group was encouraged to eat more green vegetables and less sugar, bread and white potato, getting higher level of bone building nutrients, including Vitamin K, and thirdly, the intervention group, though eating less refined carbohydrates were only given a diet a little higher in protein (30 percent) which is not a very high protein diet.

All in all, if they are going to claim some benefit to lean muscle or bone for the higher protein diet, they have to control for Vitamin D, K and other bone supportive nutrients that were higher in the intervention group. Even though this was a poorly designed and poorly controlled study, I basically agree with what they found—that a moderate protein diet with more fruits and vegetable and less refined foods bread and pasta, with attention to more Vitamin D from fortified skim milk will result in better bone mass with dieting compared to a diet not paying attention to these details. However, I think the better results stem from numerous factors, and not likely from a higher percentage of protein and less carbohydrate.

No doubt, this report will whip the low-carb congregation into their usual zealotry.

Food for Food Allergies, Big Money!

How convenient. All these food allergies have spawned a multi-million dollar niche food market. Annys Shin of The Washington Post reports:
The market for food-allergy and intolerance products is projected to reach $3.9 billion this year, according to Packaged Facts, a New York research firm. And the market for gluten-free foods and drinks is expected to hit $1.3 billion by 2010, up from $700 million in 2006, according to research firm Mintel.

An estimated 12 million people in the United States have food allergies, and another 2 million have celiac disease, a disorder in which the body's immune system attacks itself when exposed to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Those figures are expected to rise. The number of children with peanut allergies alone has doubled in the past decade. Food-induced anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal allergic reaction, causes about 30,000 emergency room visits and 150 to 200 deaths annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Medical experts don't know why the number of people with food allergies is increasing. Theories include reduced contact with germs, exposure to certain environmental pollutants and, in the case of peanut allergies, the way peanuts are processed and when they are introduced into people's diet. None of the theories is backed by much research.

"We don't know if some of them are true or there's some truth to all of them," said Marshall Plaut, chief of the allergic mechanisms section at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
For more on this, visit our friends at

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.

Salt: Hemorrhagic Stroke Risk

Risk of “bleeding” stroke a concern for vegans and others! High-salt consumption may be potentially more dangerous for vegans, vegetarians, and others who have earned low cholesterol levels by eating otherwise healthful diets. Just as we know that high cholesterol levels are associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease, low cholesterol levels are associated with increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke.
  • Small arteries vulnerable: Some studies have suggested that low serum cholesterol could enhance the vulnerability of small intraparenchymal cerebral arteries and lead to the development of stroke in the presence of hypertension.1 The plaque-building process that results in atherosclerosis and premature death may in some way protect the fragile blood vessels in the brain from rupture due to high blood pressure.A high-salt diet may dramatically increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke in vegans because they can live longer than the general population and not to die from a heart attack first. To protect against heart attacks, ischemic strokes, and hemorrhagic (bleeding) strokes, you must dramatically curtail salt consumption.
  • Additional problems: As previously mentioned, cardiovascular diseases are not the only problems associated with salt consumption. Salt increases the body’s excretion of calcium. This could lead to loss of bone mass and osteoporosis.2 Diets high in salt appear to cause higher rates of infection with Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium that causes stomach ulcers, and salt has been shown to be associated with higher rates of stomach cancer.3 Salt also has been shown in numerous studies to be associated with asthma, and salt reduction can improve breathing.4 Some of these studies seem to indicate that salt has a stronger negative impact on the lungs of boys.5
  • The forgotten killer: There is good reason to refer to salt as “The Forgotten Killer.”6 Although it is easy to get distracted with the other diet-related topics that dominate the headlines, high sodium levels can be deadly. Eating a healthful, plant-based diet composed of unprocessed, unsalted whole foods is the best weapon we have.
Continue Reading...

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.

Eco-Points: Burning PCBs and Dole Planting Trees

Despite that law, Veolia Environmental Services is asking the EPA to let it ignore the law and import more than 20,000 tons of PCBs from Mexico for incineration.

And let's talk about just how nasty PCBs are. Some are implicated as carcinogens. PCBs and breakdown products may suppress your immune system, can impair your reproductive system; and they accumulate and linger in the body. Pregnant women and children are the most vulnerable and sensitive populations to harm from exposure to PCBs.

Veolia ES already incinerates all sorts of hazardous things in Port Arthur - including chemical weapons the Army no longer needs (and under controversial arrangements, as well). A Gulf Coast town, Port Arthur is home to many chemical plants, Superfund sites and oil refineries. Local resident Hilton Kelly said because the town is also home to many low-income families, Veolia sees it as the path of least resistance. It is an environmental justice issue. "They're taking advantage of this community," said Kelly.

Dole Food Company, Inc and its operating divisions in Latin America celebrated World Environment Day yesterday by organizing tree-planting events and environmental awareness campaigns with communities, employees and local officials to motivate participants to work toward environmental protection and mitigation of climate change.

Jonathan Bass, President of Dole Latin America stated, “I am pleased to see and share in the excitement that these World Environment Day events have produced with our employees and workers and particularly within the communities in which our production units operate. We all have an important role to play in protecting the environment”.

In Costa Rica, the event is also linked to the official opening of Dole’s organic pineapple plantation reaffirming the company’s leading position in organic agriculture and alternative production methods. The activity includes the planting of 5,000 trees provided by the National Electricity Institute as part of the Costa Rican Government’s pledge to plant 7 million trees in the year 2008. School children, local government regulators, field workers, office employees, neighbors and the region’s congresswoman will plant trees at the organic plantation to commemorate World Environment Day and demonstrate the effectiveness of private, public and community partnership.

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!

The Salmonella is Spreading...

The salmonella linked to uncooked tomatoes has now spread to 16 states. The Associated Press reports:
Investigations by the Texas and New Mexico Departments of Health and the U.S. Indian Health Service have tied 56 cases in Texas and 55 in New Mexico to raw, uncooked, tomatoes.

"We're seeing a steady increase," Deborah Busemeyer, New Mexico Department of Health communications director, said Saturday.

An additional 50 people have been sickened by the same Salmonella "Saintpaul" infection in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

Investigators are trying to determine if raw tomatoes also are responsible for the illnesses in those states, said Arleen Porcell, a CDC spokeswoman.
Hopefully this doesn’t get as bad as the spinach-E. coli outbreak.

The Green Continues...

It’s time to check in on my heavenly tomato. Okay, here it was last week:

Now look at it today:

Grow baby, grow!

High Cholesterol, High Risk of Parkinson's Disease

According to a new study having high cholesterol increases your risk of Parkinson’s disease. Reuters reports:
While it's well established that high cholesterol increases heart disease risk, "the association between serum cholesterol level and neurodegenerative diseases risk has been debated," write Dr. Gang Hu, of the National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland, and colleagues.

The researchers examined this relationship in a cohort of 24,773 Finnish men and 26,153 women between the ages of 25 and 74 years. A total of 321 men and 304 women developed Parkinson's disease during an average follow-up of 18 years, the researchers report in the medical journal Neurology.

Compared to people with the lowest cholesterol, those with the highest had an 86 percent greater likelihood of developing Parkinson's disease.
Keeping tabs on your cholesterol is important. Dr. Fuhrman talks about it in Can Cholesterol Be Too Low?

Silver Fillings, Dangerous?

The FDA says silver-colored dental fillings may pose a mercury risk for pregnant women, children, and fetuses. Reuters reports:
As part of the settlement with several consumer advocacy groups, the FDA agreed to alert consumers about the potential risks on its website and to issue a more specific rule next year for fillings that contain mercury, FDA spokeswoman Peper Long said.

Millions of Americans have the fillings, or amalgams, to patch cavities in their teeth.

"Dental amalgams contain mercury, which may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetuses," the FDA said in a notice on its Web site.

"Pregnant women and persons who may have a health condition that makes them more sensitive to mercury exposure, including individuals with existing high levels of mercury bioburden, should not avoid seeking dental care, but should discuss options with their health practitioner," the agency said.
Actually, I’m in the process of getting mine switched to white fillings.

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?

Heart Health: Sprint or the Long Haul

A new study claims short high-intensity workouts are just as heath health as endurance training. The New York Times Well blog is on it:
Researchers at McMaster University in Canada recruited 20 healthy men and women whose average age was 23. All of the study subjects rode stationary bikes. Some exercised five days a week, doing 40 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity cycling. Others did four to six sets of 30-second sprints on the cycle, allowing 4.5 minutes of recovery time between sets; their total exercise time was about 15 to 25 minutes just three days a week.

After six weeks, the researchers found that the intense sprint interval training improved the structure and function of arteries as much as traditional, longer endurance exercise.

“More and more, professional organizations are recommending interval training during rehabilitation from diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, peripheral artery disease and cardiovascular disease,'’ said Maureen MacDonald, academic advisor and an associate professor in the department of kinesiology.
I do both. I run for a steady pace and then I sprint the last leg—it’s not how you start, but how you finish! Here’s more on my exercise routine: Blogging and Dieting, a Follow Up.

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.

Eating to Live on the Outside: Café Gratitude

This week Eating to Live on the Outside is brought to you by Bug. Bug is a loyal Followhealthlife reader and asked if I would take a look at Café Gratitude. All I can say is thanks Bug! Café Gratitude is great, definitely cool for any Eat to Liver.

Pretty much anything on the menu works. So, I picked my favorites. Let’s start with the appetizers. I’m digging the I Am Generous Guacamole; authentic guacamole, spicy tomato salsa, and live flax chips. The chips are a tad iffy, but its flax! No worries. I also like the I Am Insightful Spring Rolls. They’re made with carrots, cucumbers, unfried beans, avocado, tropical fruit, sprouts, fresh herbs, almond butter Thai dipping sauce, and collard green wraps. Sounds fantastic!

Onto the salads, I like the I Am Giving Asian Kale Salad and the Autumn Salad; combined they are made with marinated kale, sea vegetables, cucumbers, shiitakes, sesame seeds, fresh arugula, pears, walnuts, lentils, fennel, soft cashew cheese, and fig balsamic vinaigrette. Go easy on the dressing and these salads rock!

I’ll skip the soups because of the probable salt factor, but there’s a great pizza I like—when does an Eat to Liver get to say that! The I Am Mahalo Hawaiian Pizza is prepared with pineapple, avocado, marinara sauce, buckwheat-sunflower seed sourdough flatbread, sliced tomatoes, cashew ricotta, Brazil nut parmesan, and a side salad. Again, this is very cool.

The entrees and warm grain bowls have some good stuff too. As for the entrees, I like the I Am Terrific Live Pad Thai and the I Am Cheerful Live Sun Burger; together they include vegetable noodles, kale, cucumbers, tomatoes, sprouts, teriyaki almonds, Thai almond butter sauce, sprouted pumpkin seed and walnut burgers, sweet onion sunflower bread, lettuce, onion, house made catsup, pickles, side salad, macadamia cheddar cheese, and avocado. There’s a tiny salt hit here, no biggie.

As for the warm grain bowls, I like the I Am Graceful Indian Bahraini made with steamed red rice or quinoa, fresh veggies, cilantro, mint, cashews, Indian coconut curry sauce, sprouts, and avocado. Now, the I Am Accepting Sushi Bowl looks really tasty. It’s prepared with red rice, kale, cucumbers, nori, scallions, avocado, herbs, and a sesame-ginger sauce. Sure, the grains are a tiny concession, but I’m cool with it.

But, if none of these strike your fancy. Why not make your own meal from Café Gratitude’s sides? If it were me, I’d order a plate of I Am Extra Giving Side of Asian Kale-Sea Veggie Salad, I Am Extra Cheerful Sprouted Pumpkin Seed Walnut Burger Patty, I Am Powerful Spicy Live Sunflower and Pumpkin Seeds, and the I Am Extra Generous Scoop of Guacamole. Yummy in my tummy—sorry, that was corny.

Café Gratitude has a cool breakfast menu too. I’d go for the I Am Bright-Eyed Pecan Porridge; made with young coconut, pecans, seasonal fruit, vanilla, and cinnamon. Or, I’d give the I Am Plenty Great a whirl. It’s made with live granola, fresh fruit, and almond milk. I love almond milk! And for fun, I’d pair my breakfast up with a smoothie. I really like the I Am Luscious Raw Cacao Smoothie; fresh hazel nut milk, figs, dates, raw cacao, and vanilla. Yes, that would make me oh so luscious!

Now, the desserts and believe me, I know that they’re probably not the most nutrient-dense foods available, but if I were “forced” to order one. I’m leaning towards the I Am Cherished Raw Cheesecake. It’s a cashew cream cheesecake with an almond-date crust. Sorry, I’m from New Jersey, the diner state. Cheesecake—even faux-cheesecake—is in our blood.

Café Gratitude also serves up teas, coffee, beer, and cocktails. I don’t drink coffee anymore and none of the cocktails appeal to me, but I do like a couple of their organic caffeine-free teas and one of their beers—although I hardly ever drink beer. The two teas I like are the I Am Vital and the I Am Awed. The vital is blueberry roobios with schizandra berries and strawberries—sounds exotic—and the awed is tropical citrus rooibos, hibiscus, passion fruit, and essential oil orange and tangerine. Both sound very soothing. Okay, in regards to the beer. I consider Pinkus Organic Hefeweizen a delicacy. So, despite the health consequences, I’d be tempted to order one. I swear, just one!

My hat goes off to Bug for suggesting Café Gratitude. It’s a great place with lots of interesting Fuhrman-friendly creations. I’m pretty sure you’d have a good meal their, but—like I always say—I’m just a dopey blogger. Can you do better? Check out Café Gratitude’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.

Home Appliances Getting Really Green

Sandy Bauers of Green Space recently found out just how eco-friendly new refrigerators have become. Take a look:
Today, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers released new data based on 2007 shipments of major appliances, highlighting dramatic decreases in home appliance energy consumption since 2000.

Specifically: Refrigerators, dishwashers and clothes washers account for a 43 percent combined decrease in energy consumption since 2000. The association calculates that the energy savings realized in 2007 shipments would offset the carbon dioxide emissions of more than 698 million gallons of gasoline consumed or the annual carbon dioxide emissions from 1.3 coal-fired power plants.

Looking at refrigerators in particular, energy consumption has decreased 30 percent since 2000. The average refrigerator sold today consumes less energy than a 60-watt light bulb.
Yikes. So is it time to replace mine?

The government’s Energy Star website has an appliance section that you could just about spend all day reading. I short-cutted to the refrigerator calculator. The overall prognosis: If your fridge is pre-'93, it's curtains for the thing.
Now don’t forget! For more green news, check out Followhealthlife’s new green living category.

Vaccines, Autism, Marching...

Jim Carrey leads a march over vaccines and autism. CBS News is on it:
"We want to send the message to the CDC and our federal government that vaccinations schedules are not one size fits all for all children and that each child is different," said concerned parent Michael Williamson.

Their new battle cry: Spread out the vaccine schedule.

"Thirty-six vaccines in the first few years of the life are too many too soon," Carrey said.

By the time a child is two years old, the CDC recommends 14 different vaccines in as many as 28 doses. That may sound like a lot - but these shots have helped to wipe out diseases like smallpox, polio and measles, saving an estimated 33,000 lives a year, according to the CDC.

Even so, some are asking: Why give so many vaccines over a relatively short period of time? Dr. Paul Offit helped invent one of those vaccines.
For more on vaccines, check out: Mandatory Vaccinations: The Choice Should Be Yours.

Mexican Tortilla Crisis!

The demand for corn for biofeuls has left Mexico’s poor short on tortillas. Lorne Matalon of National Geographic News reports:
Tortillas are filling—Mexicans eat up to ten every day—but a dramatic rise in the cost of corn flour has driven up the cost of a dozen tortillas from the equivalent of 30 U.S. cents to 50 cents or more in some stores.

By some estimates, a kilogram (about 2.2 pounds) of tortillas now takes up about one-fifth of the daily minimum wage of Mexico's working poor.

"I will not make my customers pay more—at least not for now," said Francisco Barriga, the owner of a tortilla factory in the border town of Reynosa, near McAllen, Texas.

"But I am paying 12 to 20 percent more for 20-kilogram [44-pound] bags of flour I need to make the tortillas."

For the country's low-income citizens, who already spend a large percentage of their money on food, the increases are disastrous, sending frustrated citizens to the streets to rally against the biofuels and trade policies they feel are the cause.
I know tortillas are part of their culture, but, they’re not exactly the healthiest food in the world. From Dr. Fuhrman’s Food Scoring Guide:

Aye carumba!

Food, What Women Want

Hey dudes, here are five foods women crave. That’s Fit tips us off:
  1. 31 percent of women report chocolate is their most coveted food.
  2. 24 percent of women say their strongest desire is for salty snacks.
  3. 10 percent of women admit they regularly have an urge for ice cream.
  4. 10 percent of women long for carbs, such as pasta and bread.
  5. 7 percent of women desire protein-rich foods, such as fish and meat.
Next time my stuff is being thrown out a window. I’ll try to restore peace with some chocolate covered pretzels.

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.

Does Everyone Need to Take a Multivitamin or Multi-Mineral?

Ensuring adequate intake of iodine, zinc, vitamin B12, and vitamin D through natural means is not easy, and it takes careful planning. Still, some people want to try it. If a person is adamant that they do not want to take supplements and want to attain excellent nutrition through natural means, here is what he/she needs to do:
  • Get enough daily sunshine in a southern climate to obtain vitamin D needs.
  • Consume a small amount of kelp regularly to ensure sufficient iodine intake.
  • Consume some animal products such as nonfat dairy or fish at least every other day to assure B12 needs are met.
  • Eat flaxseed or walnuts every day to potentially meet omega-3 fatty acid needs.
  • Eat enough fresh green vegetables, seeds (especially pumpkin seeds), and beans to ensure adequate intake of zinc and other minerals.
  • Be under the age of 65 and consume over 1600 calories per day.
With careful attention to dietary excellence and completeness, it may be possible for a person to plan an eating style that does not necessitate taking a multivitamin/multi-mineral supplement. The only problem is that vitamin B12 and vitamin D needs vary with age and from person to person. Therefore, regular blood testing is necessary to assure adequacy when supplementation is not used.

For example, even many people who eat animal products daily still require extra vitamin B12. Likewise, some people who get regular sunshine still are surprised to find their vitamin D levels are not optimal. As you get older, your intestine’s ability to absorb certain nutrients (such as vitamin B12) diminishes, making it difficult to assure adequate nutrient intake

Blood Sugar, Not Just for Diabetics

Diabetics know all about blood sugar, but it matters to non-diabetics too. So, when you make food choices, keep blood sugar in mind. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
The combination of fat and refined carbohydrates has an extremely powerful effect on driving the signals that promote fat accumulation on the body. Refined foods cause a swift and excessive rise in blood sugar, which in turn triggers insulin surges to drive the sugar out of the blood and into our cells. Unfortunately, insulin also promotes the storage of fat on the body and encourages your fat cells to swell.

As more fat is packed away on the body, it interferes with insulin uptake into our muscle tissues. Our pancreas then senses that the glucose level in the bloodstream is still too high and pumps out even more insulin. A little extra fat around our midsection results in so much interference with insulin’s effectiveness that two to five times as much insulin may be secreted in an overweight person than in a thin person.
And a new study insists that blood sugar levels are indeed important to diabetes-free people too. Reuters reports:
Only a few prospective studies have looked at associations between blood sugar levels among subjects initially free of diabetes and subsequent risk of death, Dr. Naomi Brewer, of Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand, and colleagues point out in the journal Diabetes Care.

Hemoglobin A1C testing -- a standard way to measure blood sugar -- was offered to people without diabetes during a screening program for hepatitis B in a region of New Zealand from 1999 to 2001. Mortality risk was examined to the end of 2004 in these subjects.

Among a total of 47,904 individuals, whose average age was 38 years, 815 died during the median follow-up of 4.4 years.

Brewer's team found that the risk of premature death rose in tandem with blood sugar levels. The risk of death increased steadily from the A1C "reference category" (4.0% to less than 5.0%) to the highest A1C category (7.0% or higher).
Sadly, I think too many people only worry about blood sugar after they’re staring at a diabetes diagnosis.

Salt, Not a Big Deal?

This sounds a little nutty, but a new study claims that a low-salt diet might not be heart healthy after all. More from Randy Dotinga of HealthDay News:
"No one should run out and buy a salt shaker to try to improve their cardiovascular health. But we think it's reasonable to say that different people have different needs," said study author Dr. Hillel W. Cohen, an associate professor of epidemiology and population health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.

The study, published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, doesn't confirm that a low-salt diet itself is bad for the heart. But it does say that people who eat the least salt suffer from the highest rates of death from cardiac disease.

"Our findings suggest that one cannot simply assume, without evidence, that lower salt diets 'can't hurt,' " Cohen said.

Cohen and his colleagues looked at a federal health survey of about 8,700 Americans between 1988 and 1994. All were over 30, and none were on special low-salt diets.

The researchers then checked to see what happened to the volunteers by the year 2000.

Even after the researchers adjusted their statistics to account for the effect of cardiac risk factors like smoking and diabetes, the 25 percent of the population who ate the least salt were 80 percent more likely to die of cardiac disease than the 25 percent who ate the most salt.
Yeah, I wouldn’t start downing the salt anytime soon. Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of salt. Here are his thoughts on salt and health:
For maximum disease prevention, sodium levels should be held to the levels that are normal to our biological needs—under 1000 mg per day. High-sodium diets lead to high blood pressure, which causes an estimated two-thirds of all strokes and almost half of all heart attacks. According to the National Institute of Health. Consuming less sodium is one of the single most important ways to prevent cardiovascular disease.1 The most commonly cited behaviors that lead to maximal health and disease prevention and reversal are: not smoking; maintaining a healthy, slim body weight; eating a high-nutrient-dense diet rich in vegetables and fruits; and limiting trans fat and saturated fat. But avoiding excess sodium ranks right up there alongside them. Excess sodium consumption is a primary killer in our modern toxic food environment, but it is all too often overlooked by most people until it is too late to do anything about it.

Natural foods contain about .5 mg of sodium per calorie or less. If you are trying to keep the sodium level in your diet to a safe level, avoid foods that have more sodium than calories per serving. It would be impossible to consume too much (or too little) sodium if a person just ate a healthful diet of real food in its natural state.

If your daily intake of whole natural foods consists of about 2000 calories, your daily intake of sodium will be less than 1000 mg. By comparison, the average adult sodium intake in the United States is around 4000 mg for every 2000 calories consumed. Americans are not alone in their dangerous over-consumption of sodium. Most of the world’s population consumes 2300–4600 mg of sodium each day (1–2 teaspoons of salt).

I suggest that you should not add more than 200–300 mg of extra sodium to your diet over and above what is in natural foods. That allows you to have one serving of something each day that has some sodium added to it, but all other foods should have only the sodium that Mother Nature put in them.
I think what the research is should say is that a crappy diet without salt isn’t that much better than a crappy diet with salt.
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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.

Riding the Rails

Here’s another eco-friendly travel method that also doubles as a great work out. Introducing the RailRunner. Via TreeHugger:

Cool, but not as exciting as the Trailcart.

To Ban Food Dyes...

Yesterday we learned that food additives may contribute to ADHD and now The Center for Science in the Public Interest is calling for an outright ban on food colorings. More from Anna Boyd of eFluxMedia:
Therefore, the group is asking the FDA to ban the following eight food dyes: Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Orange B, Red 3, and Yellow 6. These ingredients, primarily derived from petroleum and coal tars, are used in everything from candies to cereals, soft drinks, and snack foods. Jacobson told the Associated Press that these chemicals are used to mask the absence of real food and to increase the appeal of a low-nutrition product to children.

However, the FDA dismissed the request saying on its web site “although the hypothesis was popularized in the 1970s, well-controlled studies conducted since then have produced no evidence that food additives cause hyperactivity or learning disabilities in children.”

The FDA’s position was also embraced by a prominent industry group, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, whose chief science officer Robert Brackett said parents and children “can safely enjoy food products containing these food colors.”
You’d think the potential health risks would outweigh any need to consume colored eggs and purple candies—right?

Science, Progress, and Profits...

Julie’s Health Club passes along a new study that claims pharmaceutical ads “bias” medical journal content. See for yourself:
Doctors often rely on medical journals to stay updated. But the more drug ads a journal contains, the less likely that the journal will also contain articles about dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals and herbs), according to a small pilot study that reviewed a year’s worth of issues from 11 major journals…

…More research is needed because "the ultimate impact of this bias on professional guidelines, health care, and health policy is a matter of great public concern," concluded lead author Kathi Kemper, director of the program for holistic and integrative medicine at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.
It gets worse. Get a load of this report by NBC News, “More profit than progress in cancer research.” Here’s a bit:
As I do every year at this time, I have been covering the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the world’s biggest gathering of cancer specialists. At least 33,000 medical professionals registered for this year’s meeting. The number of attendees has been climbing yearly for decades, an indication of the enormous growth of the cancer treatment industry.

In the massive commercial exhibits area, drug companies vie to attract attention for their treatments and diagnostics. Many of those products sell for tens of thousands of dollars a year for each patient and bring in billions of dollars for their manufacturers.

During conference session breaks the seemingly endless hallways of Chicago’s monstrous McCormick Place Convention Center become gorged with doctors walking at slightly crooked angles. The gait results from each carrying a conference bag filled with the huge printed programs, books of study abstracts, as well as the drug company handouts they accumulate. Those doctors, considered "thought leaders" whose prescribing patterns influence other doctors, score invitations to drug company parties at some of the cities most elegant restaurants and clubs.

In the midst of this annual frenzy, it's appropriate to ask a question that has become a cliché of medical journalism: Are we winning the war on cancer?
This doesn’t surprise me. Doesn’t surprise Dr. Fuhrman either, his thoughts:
Pharmaceutical companies—not independent medical or scientific researchers—control the vast majority of research and clinical trials. We have lost the judgment and rationale of independent experts and now depend on drug companies to honestly report the risks and benefits of drugs they manufacture and sell. This is like asking the fast-food industry to be in charge of our nutritional advice. The medical studies that drug companies pay for and publicize are heavily biased in favor of the drugs they sell. The economically powerful pharmaceutical industry and the large chemical-food conglomerates wield undue influence on government and the media. Accurate nutritional information is rarely reported because the media cannot produce stories that go against the interests of their advertisers. Instead, the media is quick to report on drug company press releases--self-serving propaganda announcing new anticancer "breakthroughs" that reinforce the myth that we are winning the war against cancer.
Seems tyrannical—makes me angry!

Beyond the Saltshaker

Deadly excess salt comes from a wide variety of insidious sources! As I’m sure you now know, the salt you add at the table or during cooking is just the tip of the dangerous salt block. Only about 11% of the salt in the American diet comes from salt added at home. A whopping 77% comes from processed foods and restaurant foods (the remaining 12% occurs naturally in foods). Processed foods can contain 1000 mg or more of sodium per serving, and many typical restaurant meals contain 2300–4600 mg.1

Beyond fast food: It’s not just the usual fast food villains that are adding to the mounting excess sodium woes. Seemingly innocent, otherwise healthful foods can be part of the problem. One cup of commercially prepared vegetable broth can provide 940 mg of sodium, and one cup of canned beans can rack up 770 mg. Two tablespoons of Italian dressing on your salad adds 486 mg, and 1 cup of regular pasta sauce could include 1100 mg. (See chart for other foods and low-sodium

Not all brands the same: Sodium levels vary widely across brands for the same product. Some brands have 50–200% more sodium than their competitors. The “same” product marketed in different countries also will have different sodium levels. The U.S. version of Nabisco’s Premium Saltines has 40% more sodium per serving than its Canadian counterpart.2

Perfect for profit: Why are processed foods so loaded up with sodium? Salt heightens flavors, reduces bitterness, and enhances sweetness. Salt is perfect for processed foods. It is cheap. It keeps foods from becoming discolored, and it extends shelf life. It binds water and makes foods weigh more, so you pay more for a heavier package.3

What people want: When food companies do consumer research, they find that unless their food products are salty enough, people do not like the way they taste. As consumers have gotten used to higher and higher levels of salt in their foods, their taste buds have lost their ability to taste the subtle flavors found in natural foods. Once your ability to taste deteriorates to that point, all foods taste too bland unless they are highly salted. It is no wonder that a growing population whose taste buds are damaged demands foods that contain lots of salt.
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Kids, Drinking A LOT of Sugar...

Kids’ diets appear to be getting worse—kind of conflicts the news that childhood obesity is leveling off—because a new study claims sugary drinks now make up to 15% of children’s daily calories. Kathleen Doheny of HealthDay News reports:
Children aged 2 to 19 now take in up to 15 percent of their total daily calories from drinks that contain sugar, a finding that confirms previous research and suggests consumption is rising.

It's known from previous studies that children and teens in the United States drink a lot of sugary beverages, said study author Dr. Y. Claire Wang, an assistant professor of health policy and management at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, in New York City.

"We show that the consumption trend continues to increase," she said, and that it's occurring mostly at home.

Experts recommend restricting both sugary beverages such as soft drinks and 100 percent fruit juices, to avoid excess "empty" calories.

Wang's team analyzed 24-hour dietary recall records from children or their parents, trying to determine how many calories a day came from sugary beverages and 100 percent fruit juices.

They used data from two national surveys, conducted from 1988 to 1994 and from 1999 to 2004. The first survey had almost 10,000 participants, the second, almost 11,000.

Overall, daily calories from sugary beverages or 100 percent fruit juices rose from 242 calories a day to 270 during the two study periods.
Scary news because—despite the hype and their often hefty calorie-load—soda, sports drinks, and most juices are poor sources of nutrition. Check out their rankings via Dr. Fuhrman’s Food Scoring Guide:

I think you’d be better off eating air!

Hyperactivity: The Food Additives Argument

A new studying suggests eliminating colorings and preservatives from foods in order curb hyperactivity disorders. From The BMJ Publishing Group:
Whether preservatives and colourings cause or exacerbate hyperactive behaviours is an important question for many paediatricians and parents. A recent randomised placebo controlled trial in 297 children aged 3-9 years provides evidence of increased hyperactive behaviour after they ate a mixture of food colourings and a preservative (sodium benzoate).1 In contrast to many previous studies, the children were from the general population and did not have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. The trial found an adverse effect of the mixture on behaviour as measured by a global hyperactivity aggregate score. The daily dose approximated that found in two 56 g bags of sweets.
Dr. Fuhrman is no stranger to this argument. He’s seen it first hand. Take a look:
What has been shown to be highly effective in some recent studies is high-nutrient eating, removal of processed foods, and supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids.1 The difference between my approach and others is that it changes a poor diet into an excellent one, supplying an adequate amount of thousands of important nutrients that work synergistically as well as removing those noxious substances such as chemical additives, trans fat, saturated fats, and empty-calorie food that place a nutritional stress on our brain cells. I believe this comprehensive approach is more effective; the scientific literature suggests this, and I have observed this in my practice with hundreds of ADHD children who have see me as patients.
Certainly lends credence to getting off preservatives and other additives.
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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!

Set Sail, on Junk?

Plastic bottles are not without their problems, but, can they sail? Introducing “Junk” a raft built with plastic bottles. Via the Junk blog:

And according to Discover’s Better Plant blog, Junk is headed to Hawaii or bust. Take a look:

How much plastic can our oceans take? Ask Dr. Marcus Eriksen and Joel Paschal – they’re about to embark on six weeks at sea to call attention to the problem. They’ll set sail on June 1, 2008 for Hawaii from the Long Beach Aquarium in a boat, dubbed Junk, which floats on six pontoons stuffed with 15,000 plastic bottles inside mesh bags made of stray fishing nets.

The historic venture is part of Algalita Marine Research Foundation’s ongoing mission to alert the world to the growing problem of plastics fouling our oceans. “You want to see what happens to your plastic bottles in Los Angeles when they wash into the sea?” Dr. Eriksen said. “Just follow our journey.”

Today, plastics in the ocean are the source of countless environmental nightmares — everything from choking sea birds that eat large items such as toothbrushes and cigarette lighters, to microscopic particles that attract toxins like PCB’s and DDT, and are then consumed by fish.
You can follow Junk’s progress on the Junk blog. Quite frankly, I think they stole my idea. From Water Bottle Blues:
Teresa: Oops! The word is "don't reuse those bottles". Guess there's some danger of leaching of bad plastic from those if reused. As my son the chemist told me, "Get yourself one of those bottles especially made for holding water while hiking". It's also better for the environment."Water-mining" is lowering the water table in some areas changing natural water supply. Plastic bottles, even if recycled aren't exactly eco-friendly.

Me: Wow Teresa! I didn't know that...Hmm... What to do with all those bottles now...I know...I'll make a raft for my hamster...oh wait...I don't have a hamster.
You’ll be hearing from my lawyer—not really.

Diet Blog: Skip These Exercises...

Mike Howard of Diet Blog is convinced these 7 gym exercises have got to go. Take a look.

Inverted Leg Press

Smith Machine

Back Extension

Ab Twist Machine

Upright Rows

Shoulder Press Machine

Sit Ups (especially on a ball)

Be sure to check out Mike’s explanations. I’m only guilty of doing the shoulder press.

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?

Morning Joe Jolts Blood Sugar

New research claims that a morning cup of coffee causes glucose levels to rise. Sharon Kirkey of Canwest News:
Eating low-sugar cereal may seem like the healthy choice but drink a cup of coffee before breakfast and you might as well go for the chocolate corn pops.

Canadian researchers say drinking coffee before eating your morning cereal can affect the body's blood-sugar response and cause blood glucose levels to rise dramatically - especially when eating low-sugar cereals.

According to the study by University of Guelph researchers, blood sugar levels in people who ate low-sugar cereal were 250 per cent higher if they drank caffeinated coffee before or with breakfast, compared to decaf.

Eating low-sugar cereal may seem like the healthy choice but drink a cup of coffee before breakfast and you might as well go for the chocolate corn pops.

Canadian researchers say drinking coffee before eating your morning cereal can affect the body's blood-sugar response and cause blood glucose levels to rise dramatically - especially when eating low-sugar cereals.
Now, Dr. Fuhrman drops an interesting tidbit about coffee in Eat For Health:
It is difficult to discern the precise risks from heavy coffee drinking because most people who drink lots of coffee, do lots of other unhealthy behaviors too.
And eating processed breakfast cereal is certainly an unhealthy behavior.

Drug-Labels, Getting a Pregnancy Update

The FDA wants to make drug-labeling guidelines more pregnancy-friendly. The Checkup blog is on it:
Once you've addressed those issues, many other important questions remain -- including this one: Are your prescription drugs safe for you to take while you're pregnant?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been working for more than a decade to make that question easier for women and their doctors to answer. Late last week the agency took another step in that process, proposing new drug-labeling guidelines that aim to more clearly and thoroughly spell out a drug's potential risks and benefits to a pregnant or nursing mother and her baby…

…Interested parties have 90 days to comment on the proposal. Assuming no major obstacles, FDA approval of the measure is expected within a year. Once that occurs, makers of new drugs will have to update their labels immediately. Makers of older drugs will have more time to phase in label changes.

But new system or not, making decisions about taking meds while you're pregnant or nursing isn't likely to become clear-cut anytime soon. Weighing whether the possible risks of a drug outweigh its likely benefits won't always be easy: In many cases, such as when a woman takes medications for asthma, depression, or diabetes, it may well be in a woman's best interest to stay on those meds while pregnant, even if it's uncertain how those drugs may affect her baby. But at least women and their doctors will have the best-available information right in front of them.
Makes sense to me. After all, a pregnant woman is taking drugs for two.

Food Safety, Employee Attitude...

Apparently employee morale has A LOT to do with food safety. EMaxHealth reports:
The researchers surveyed 190 foodservice employees in 31 restaurants across three Midwestern states on their knowledge of and attitude toward three food safety measures that have the most substantial impact on public health: hand washing, using thermometers and proper handling of food contact surfaces. Only employees whose jobs directly involved food preparation tasks participated.

The researchers conclude that providing workers with training that does not target their attitudes may not improve food safety results. "While emphasis should be placed on training, it is also important to educate employees regarding positive outcomes of food safety such as decreasing patrons' risk of food borne illness, reducing the spread of microorganisms and keeping the work environment clean."
If you ever go to a restaurant and those people are working there—RUN!

Type-1 Diabetes: Vitamin D Good for Babies...

According to a new study giving babies vitamin D may help prevent type-1 diabetes. Anne Harding of Reuters explains:
"This is just another reason why current recommendations regarding vitamin D supplementation should be rigorously adhered to," Dr. Christos S. Zipitis told Reuters Health.

Vitamin D is produced in the skin with sun exposure. Deficiency in the nutrient can lead to a host of health problems, Zipitis said. Because breast milk typically contains little vitamin D, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends vitamin D supplements for nursing infants and UK public health authorities say that all children should receive the supplements for at least the first two years of life.

There are a number of clues suggesting a link between low vitamin D levels and type 1 diabetes, Zipitis of Stockport National Health Service Foundation Trust and Dr. A. K. Akobeng of Booth Hall Children's Hospital in Manchester, UK, note in their report in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

The investigators reviewed all published research on vitamin D supplementation and diabetes risk. Overall, they found, infants who were supplemented with Vitamin D were 29 percent less likely to develop type 1 diabetes than children who had not received supplements.
For more parenting news, check out Followhealthlife’s healthy parenting category.

15 Million Kids in China Smoke

And around 40 million chinese children between the ages of 13 and 18 have tried smoking. The AFP reports:
Fifteen million had become addicted to tobacco, the report said.

"The number of youths in China that have tried smoking and who now smoke increases year after year," the report said, without giving any comparative figures.

"Male students are the main smokers among school children, and in big cities, the number of female students who have tried smoking or who smoke is growing."

Between 66 and 68 percent of those that had tried tobacco products had smoked their first whole cigarette before they even reached 13, according to the report, a 15 percent increase from 1998.

China has about 350 million smokers, about a quarter of its population and one-third of the world's smokers, according to official statistics.
Where are the millions of parents to straighten these kids out?

Earth-Friendly Off-Roading!

Introducing the Trailcart, the first pedal-powered sport utility vehicle. Via TreeHugger:

Looks like great exercise, but I wonder if it gets good city miles.

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...

Bacon: Bad Just Got Worse!

Now I’ve seen it all. Someone actually figured out how to bacon MORE unhealthy! Presenting, canned bacon. Via

Please don’t tell me our soldiers are actually eating this garbage! Just look at bacon’s poor nutrient scores. From Dr. Fuhrman’s Food Scoring Guide:

And remember this report linking stomach cancer-risk to processed meats, like sausage, smoked ham, and bacon. Here’s a bit:
A review of 15 studies showed the risk of developing stomach cancer rose by 15 to 38 percent if consumption of processed meats increased by 30 grams (1 ounce) per day, the Karolinska Institute said in a statement…

…The institute said processed meats were often salted or smoked, or had nitrates added to them, in order to extend their shelf-life which could be connected to the increased risk of stomach cancer, the fourth most common type of cancer.
And of course Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of over-consuming animal products:
Today the link between animal products and many different diseases is as strongly supporting in the scientific literature as the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer.
I wonder who gets up in the morning and says, “Gee, I could really go for some canned salt and fat!” Yuck

Baby Boomer Body Breakdown

After years of wear and tear many baby boomers are seeing their bodies poop out. Megan Rauscher of Reuters reports:
"We are seeing a number of overuse or 'wear and tear' injuries in the foot, ankle, knees, hip, shoulders and elbows, in baby boomers," Dr. Jeffrey A. Ross, a foot and ankle podiatrist from Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, told Reuters Health. "Baby boomers suffer injuries over a period of time and a lot has to do with biomechanics, poor flexibility, wear and tear, and pounding on hard surfaces" that come with sports like running, tennis, step aerobics and basketball, Ross added.

As people age, Ross believes it's worth considering alternative activities that put less stress on joints. "It is really important that people continue to be physically active, but they need to think logically about how to remain active as they age," he said.

Ross spoke about overuse injuries in baby boomers at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine underway in Indianapolis. "We need to be rational and logical without hurting ourselves and developing overuse injuries that can really become debilitating as we get older," Ross told Reuters Health.
For a great rant about baby boomers, check out this video from George Carlin: Baby Boomers and Politicians. Warning, it’s not safe for work or kids!

Peace and Weight-Loss...

You don’t read too many nice stories about the West Bank and Gaza Strip—especially on a health blog—but one weight-loss support group is bringing Israelis and Palestinians together. More from Armenian Medical Network:
“I never felt good about myself and my body, and that’s something that women all over the world struggle with,” said Yael Luttwak, an American-born Israeli who started the groups.

"I thought this would be a great way to bring together women who wouldn’t normally meet each other.”

Israelis and Palestinians around Jerusalem are separated by Israel’s West Bank barrier and a network of checkpoints, which Israel says are needed for security, but which Palestinians call collective punishment…

…Israeli women embraced diet support groups decades ago and the Jewish state was one of the first countries to establish a branch of U.S. weight loss group Weight Watchers.

Dieting is a more recent trend in Palestinian society, but it is catching on fast thanks to the influence of Western television shows and given relatively high obesity rates in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
At the “Slim Peace” groups, women are bound by a common and intimate interest: their bodies.

“Before, the only Israelis I knew were soldiers at checkpoints, I thought they were all brutal,” said Palestinian student Enas Smoom. “But in the group, we forget we are Israelis and Palestinians—we are just women talking about nutrition.”
Maybe I’m just a hopeful liberal and maybe this is just pie in the sky, but it’s a touching story nonetheless. Better health, fostering better relationships—I like it.

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.

  • Romaine lettuce, leaf lettuces, kale, collards, Swiss chard, cabbage, spinach, bok choy, parsley.
  • Artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, cucumber, kohlrabi, okra, peas, green peppers, snow peas, string beans, zucchini.
  • 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.
  • Apples, apricots, blackberries, blueberries, grapefruit, grapes, kiwis, mangoes, nectarines, all melons, oranges, peaches, pears, persimmons, pineapples, plums, raspberries, strawberries, tangerines.

Green Sunday...

In case you forgot. I joined the Honey Brook Organic Farm in Pennington, New Jersey. Check it out:

And today was the first delivery. Feast your eyes on this:

We got lettuce, strawberries, arugula, and beet greens! And just wait until my heavenly tomato starts bearing fruit. Here it was on May 27th:

Get a load of today's progress:

Stayed tuned to Followhealthlife's Greening Living category for more.

Stroke Risk: A Little Pollution Goes a Long Way

According to a new study even low levels of air pollution may increase stroke-risk. More from the Annals of Neurology:
The results showed borderline significant associations between same day and previous day fine particulate matter exposures and ischemic stroke/TIA risk. Similar associations were seen with ozone. Despite the fossil fuel industry in the area, fine particulate matter exposures were relatively low relative to other regions in the US, probably because of the proximity to the coast and prevailing wind patterns. “Although the magnitude of elevated risk of stroke/TIA due to PM2.5 exposure was relatively small, the vast majority of the public is exposed to ambient air pollution at the levels observed in this community or greater every day, suggesting a potentially large public health impact.”

These findings support the hypotheses that recent exposure to fine particulate matter may increase the risk of ischemic cerebrovascular events specifically. There is experimental evidence that particulate air pollution is associated with acute artery vasoconstriction and with increases in plasma viscosity (thickening of the blood) which may enhance the potential for blood clots, although this requires further study.
The sad part is I’m not really sure what you can do to avoid this—not breathe!