Mr. Potato Bacon Pin Head

Poor Mr. Potato Head, someone transformed him into an animal fat-wrapped version of Pinhead. See for yourself:

Thanks—or no thanks—to Elijah for passing it along. Eek, I can actually feel my arteries clogging just looking at it.

More on Treadmill Stress Tests...

Last month NBC’s Tim Russert suffered a fatal heart attack at age 58, shocking the country. He recently passed a stress test, so how could this happen? In a post Dr. Fuhrman explains why stress tests fail to determine heart attack risk. Here’s an excerpt:
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…

…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.
Now, Jane E. Brody of The New York Times talks to Dr. Todd D. Miller, a cardiologist and co-director of the Mayo Clinic’s Nuclear Cardiology Laboratory in Rochester, Minn., about the shortcomings of stress tests. Take a look:
Mr. Russert’s treadmill test may have put him in the low-risk category, Dr. Miller said, “but that doesn’t mean no risk.”

“Maybe 3 patients in 1,000 with a low-risk test will die from heart disease within a year,” he said. “Among those deemed at high risk, more than 3 patients in 100 would die within a year.”

Furthermore, when the stress test is used for people who are at low risk for heart disease, an abnormal finding is most often a false positive that prompts further testing that is far more costly, Dr. Miller said.

The stress test’s main advantages are its rapidity and low cost — one-fifth to one-quarter the cost of more definitive and often more time-consuming tests like a nuclear stress test, CT coronary angiogram or standard angiogram. Medicare pays about $150 for a standard stress test, though hospitals typically charge three to four times that when the test is done on younger patients.
Criticism for stress tests is not new. In 2007, Karen Dente, M.D., a medical journalist based in Brooklyn, New York, stated that as stress-testing and coronary angiograms may no longer be the true gold standard for detecting coronary stenosis. Via Medscape:
"Conventional stress-testing and angiogram gives you no information on whether a plaque is going to rupture," David DuBois, MD, an attendee at the symposium and emergency medicine specialist from Pinehurst, North Carolina, told Medscape. "[With these tests] there are a lot of false-positives and false-negatives," he said.

One of the hottest current discussions in the evaluation of acute coronary syndromes is centered around the use of computed tomography coronary angiography. "CT technology is advancing at a very fast rate," said Amal Mattu, MD, associate professor and program director of emergency medicine residency at the University of Maryland, explaining the technology's improved detection in plaque composition and remodeling compared with conventional diagnostic tests.

"If you have a radiologist that can give you an accurate reading with the new 64-head multidetector CT scans, you can detect occlusions better," according to Dr. Dubois. But we are still a long way from having the new technology replace standard coronary angiography for the detection of large coronary stenoses, he said. "It is not going to change the [current] practice any time soon."
Sadly, this information can’t help Tim Russert, but doctors and patients should now take note that traditional testing procedures might be lulling us into a false sense of security by not revealing crucial life-saving data.

How Centenarians Do It...

I want to live to 100. Lots of people do it! Like the Okinawans and even people in the United States. Evercare, an agency that places nurse practitioners with its elderly members, polled 100 U.S. centenarians about making it to 100. WebMD reports:
Here are their top 10 tips for healthy aging - along with the percentage of how many said the tip is "very important" (they could call more than one tip "very important"):
  1. Stay close to your family and friends: 90%
  2. Keep your mind active: 89%
  3. Laugh and have a sense of humor: 88%
  4. Stay in touch with your spirituality: 84%
  5. Continue looking forward to each new day: 83%
  6. Keep moving and exercising: 82%
  7. Maintain a sense of independence: 81%
  8. Eat right: 80%
  9. Keep up with news and current events: 63%
  10. Keep making new friends: 63%
"If I could leave any message, never stop learning. Period," centenarian Maurice Eisman says in the poll report.
Great tips, especially eating right! Long-lived people don’t eat fast food and beef jerky. Japanese super-centenarian Tomoji Tanabe eats rice, seaweed, and miso soup. And this 72-year old gym-rat and centenarian in the making, eats a diet based on fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts.

Dunkin' Donuts Gets Healthy?

In the same vein of Burger King’s French fry-shaped apple slices, Dunkin’ Donuts has announced its new healthy “DDSmart” menu; which  includes foods like flatbread sandwiches and turkey sausage egg-white sandwiches. More from Lauren Shepard of the Associated Press:
"We just felt it was important to provide some choice in our menu," said Will Kussell, president and chief brand officer.

The new menu will be called DDSmart and will include all current and new items that either have 25 percent few calories, sugar, fat or sodium than comparable products or contain ingredients that are "nutritionally beneficial," the company said.

Current products that will join the new sandwiches on the menu include a multigrain bagel and a reduced-fat blueberry muffin.

Kussell said Dunkin' will continue to add products to the menu and is currently developing several new offerings, but would not disclose any details.

Kussell said Canton, Mass.-based Dunkin' Brands Inc. will spend several million dollars marketing the new menu.

A number of restaurants have added better-for-you options to their menus in the past few years to take advantage of a trend toward healthier eating.
That stuff his healthy? This is a really hard sell, especially since Dunkin Donuts used to hock a doughnut-inspired BREAKFAST CEREAL! It came in two flavors, Chocolate and Glazed Style. Via

You’ll find these on the DDDumb menu.

Green-News: Thursday 7.31.08

He said the biofuels industry is working hard to ensure it is responsible and sustainable - claiming other industries are lagging far behind their efforts.

"Government should stop hiding behind tabloids and have the courage to encourage an industry that has done more than anybody to put the safeguards in place and to make a real contribution," Mr Hilton added.

Environmental Data Interactive Exchange wants to know what our readers think about Mr Hilton's argument.

Is the "fuel or food" debate redundant? Is it hijacking the debate about biofuels when there are other more important issues that should be discussed? Or are food prices a central concern when it comes to biofuels?
"Mr. Johnson has consistently chosen special interests over the American people's interests in protecting health and safety," Sen. Barbara Boxer of California told reporters. "He has become a secretive and dangerous ally of polluters and we cannot stand by and allow more damage to be done."

Boxer, who heads the environment committee, said Johnson had made damaging decisions on mercury, lead, toxic chemicals, drinking water standards, ozone air pollution and global warming.

She said these decisions were "harmful to the American people."

Boxer noted that last year, Johnson denied California's request for federal permission -- known as a waiver -- to impose tough new limits on climate-warming carbon dioxide emissions from cars and light trucks. That decision effectively blocked as many as 18 other states from doing the same.
Derek Mueller, a research at Trent University, was careful not to blame global warming, but said it the event was consistent with the theory that the current Arctic climate isn't rebuilding ice sheets.

"We're in a different climate now," he said. "It's not conducive to regrowing them. It's a one-way process."

Mueller said the sheet broke away last week from the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf off the north coast of Ellesmere Island in Canada's far north. He said a crack in the shelf was first spotted in 2002 and a survey this spring found a network of fissures.

The sheet is the biggest piece shed by one of Canada's six ice shelves since the Ayles shelf broke loose in 2005 from the coast of Ellesmere, about 500 miles from the North Pole.

Formed by accumulating snow and freezing meltwater, ice shelves are large platforms of thick, ancient sea ice that float on the ocean's surface. Ellesmere Island was once entirely ringed by a single enormous ice shelf that broke up in the early 1900s.

South Los Angeles's Fast Food Moratorium Approved

Councilwoman Jan Perry’s push to ban new fast food restaurants from opening up in impoverished South Los Angeles was unanimously approved on Tuesday. The Associated Press reports:
The yearlong moratorium -- which the mayor still must sign into law -- is intended to give the city time to attract restaurants that serve healthier food. The action is believed to be the first of its kind by a major city to protect public health.

"Our communities have an extreme shortage of quality foods," City Councilman Bernard Parks said.

Representatives of fast-food chains said they support the goal of better diets but believe they are being unfairly targeted. They say they offer healthier food items on their menus.

"It's not where you eat, it's what you eat," said Andrew Pudzer, president and chief executive of CKE Restaurants, parent company of Carl's Jr. "We were willing to work with the city on that, but they obviously weren't interested."

The California Restaurant Association and its members will consider a legal challenge to the ordinance, spokesman Andrew Casana said.
Clearly city officials' hearts are in the right place, but I think better educating people on why NOT to eat fast food is a better approach.  Then again, that hasn't work so far.  So, what would you do?

Gardasil Takes a Life

That’s Jessica Ericzon, an all-American 17-year old girl from LaFargeville, New York who dreamed of becoming a New York state trooper.  Tragically,  she died days after receiving a shot of Merck’s cervical-cancer vaccine Gardasil. Jessica’s mother Lisa Ericzon spoke with Susan Edelman of The New York Post:
Jessie got the first injection in July 2007.

After her second shot in September, she complained of a pain in the back of her head, fatigue and soreness in some joints, said her mom, Lisa.

On Feb. 20, while on winter break from school, she got her third and final dose of the vaccine.

The next night, "she told me the spot on the back of her head was bothering her again," her mom said.

The next morning, Feb. 22, Lisa, a hospital technician, left for work just after 5 a.m., leaving Jessie asleep.

Jessie never showed up for the class she was taking at Jefferson Community College.

When her mom got home at 3:20 p.m., she found Jessie sprawled on her back on the bathroom floor, with blood spots on her head where it had hit a flowerpot.

Jefferson County Medical Examiner Samuel Livingstone is stumped.

"She was essentially dead by the time she hit the floor. Whatever it was, it was instantaneous," Livingstone said.
Very sad, but not surprising because a couple weeks ago we found out that FDA and CDC have received 7,802 instances of people having an adverse reaction to Gardasil. Certainly more testing needs to be conducted, especially since this flimsy drug only protects against 4 of the 100 strains of HPV.

Japan's Love of Fish, Keeps Arteries Clear

A new study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology claims having high blood-levels of omega-3 fatty acids may reduce atherosclerotic plaque buildup. The research compared middle-aged men living in Japan to white men and men of Japanese decent living in the United States. More from Reuters:
Japanese eat about 3 ounces (85 grams) of fish a day on average, while Americans eat fish perhaps twice a week. Nutritional studies show that intake of omega-3 fatty acids from fish averages 1.3 grams per day in Japan, compared to 0.2 grams per day in the United States.

Earlier studies by Akira Sekikawa, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh, showed that Japanese men had significantly less cholesterol build-up in their arteries despite similar blood cholesterol and blood pressure readings, similar rates of diabetes and much higher rates of smoking…

…In this study, Sekikawa's team recruited 868 randomly selected men aged 40 to 49. Of these, 281 were Japanese from Kusatsu in Japan, 306 were white men from Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, and 281 were third or fourth generation Japanese-Americans from Honolulu, Hawaii.

"Our study clearly demonstrated that whites and Japanese-Americans have similar levels of atherosclerosis, which are much higher than in the Japanese in Japan," Sekikawa said.
Outstanding news for omega-3’s, but fish is not your only source of these beneficial fats. Foods like soybeans, tofu, and flaxseed are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Here’s some info from Dr. Fuhrman:

When we have insufficient omega-3 fat, we do not produce enough DHA, a long-chain omega-3 fat with anti-inflammatory effects. High levels of arachidonic acid and low levels of omega-3 fats can be a contributory cause of heart disease, stroke, autoimmune diseases, skin diseases, depression, and possibly increased cancer incidence.1 Most Americans would improve their health if they consumed more omega-3 fats and less omega-6 fats. I recommend that both vegetarians and nonvegetarians make an effort to consume one to two grams of omega-3 fat daily.
I eat flaxseed and walnuts everyday, but I also eat fish—like salmon and steelhead trout—so I think I’m covered in the omega-3 department—are you?
Continue Reading...

U.S. Bans Phthalates from Toys

Congressional lawmakers have banned phthalates, toxic compounds used to soften the plastic in children’s toys. The AFP reports:
Critics believe the chemicals are linked to reproductive problems, including low sperm counts.

Certain phthalates were banned for use in children's products in Europe in 1999 and in California last year. The states of Washington and Vermont have since passed legislation on use of the chemicals.

The Wall Street Journal said some of the chemicals would be banned only temporarily under the new legislation while more research is conducted.

"Chemical additives should not be placed in products that can impact health adversely until they are tested and found to be benign," sponsor Senator Dianne Feinstein of California told the Post.

Chemical industry groups, which had financed a large-scale effort to stop the ban, criticised the move saying it could allow less-tested chemicals to be used instead.
Now we need watchdogs to monitor whatever replacement concoction the plastics producers come out with next.

Diet and Diabetes, Linked!

New studies reveal that diet is the key to diabetes-risk. All three appear in the July 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. Here they are:
CONCLUSIONS: Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks and fruit drinks is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus in African American women. While there has been increasing public awareness of the adverse health effects of soft drinks, little attention has been given to fruit drinks, which are often marketed as a healthier alternative to soft drinks.
CONCLUSIONS: Higher plasma vitamin C level and, to a lesser degree, fruit and vegetable intake were associated with a substantially decreased risk of diabetes. Our findings highlight a potentially important public health message on the benefits of a diet rich in fruit and vegetables for the prevention of diabetes.
CONCLUSIONS: A low-fat dietary pattern among generally healthy postmenopausal women showed no evidence of reducing diabetes risk after 8.1 years. Trends toward reduced incidence were greater with greater decreases in total fat intake and weight loss. Weight loss, rather than macronutrient composition, may be the dominant predictor of reduced risk of diabetes.
For more, check out Steven Reinberg's report in HealthDay News: Diet Key to Diabetes Risk.

Green-News: Wednesday 7.30.08

"We need to reaffirm the principle of predictability," George David, chairman of United Technologies Corp, told the House of Representatives Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

"We need to say to our world that we are going to have a cost of carbon, whether it's cap-and-trade or a carbon tax," he told a hearing in Hartford, Connecticut, where United Tech, the world's largest maker of elevators and air conditioners, is headquartered. "There's got to be an understanding that the cost of energy is going to be high for a long time."

While oil prices have quadrupled in the last four years, he noted past price spikes have been followed by sharp declines.

David declined to back a particular approach for assigning a cost to emissions of carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas associated with global climate change.
Solar heat absorbed through windows and roofs can increase your air conditioner use. Incorporating shading concepts into your landscape design can help reduce this solar heat gain, reducing your cooling costs.

Shading and evapotranspiration (the process by which a plant actively moves and releases water vapor) from trees can reduce surrounding air temperatures as much as 9° F (5°C). Because cool air settles near the ground, air temperatures directly under trees can be as much as 25°F (14°C) cooler than air temperatures above nearby blacktop.

Using shade effectively requires you to know the size, shape, and location of the moving shadow that your shading device casts. Also, homes in cool regions may never overheat and may not require shading. Therefore, you need to know what landscape shading strategies will work best in your regional climate and your microclimate.
If you cannot get a recycle bin from the sanitation department, you may be able to purchase one from your local health food store or by visiting a recycling center in your area. Making sure that everyone in your family participates will help to do wonders for conserving natural resources not only in your city, but also around the world.

When trash is picked up from your home or business, it is taken to a landfill, where it is sometimes sorted so that sanitation workers can bring the 'good trash' back to factories. This process is rather tedious and sometimes empty glass bottles or paper plates and cups that should have been recycled go unnoticed. When you use your recycle bin, you are already separating the products that can be used again to make recycled grocery bags, coffee cups and glass products.

Getting your family or co-workers involved in recycling is a great way to reduce global warming as well. When trash is taken from your home and needs to be disposed of, it is often burned in order to be easier to work with. The gases that are given off during this process negatively affect the ozone layer, and make the layer weaker. This means that over time, humans could be even more exposed to the hazardous rays of the sun. This exposure causes more incidences of skin cancer and affects our produce crops, so learning to reuse products can eventually help preserve our world.

Can You Do 100 Push Ups?

I can’t. I got to 35 and crapped out. Okay, 100 may sound like a lofty goal, but One Hundred Push Ups, a six week training program, is designed to get you there.

Getting started is easy! The initial test determines how you rank. I ranked 4 in the < 40 age group. After that you’re ready for week 1. Each week requires 3 days of training at multiple intensity levels. They suggest Monday, Wednesday, and Friday—resting on Tuesday and Thursday.

At the end of the 6 week training, you’re ready! Now, before you go for the 100. They recommend taking a break for a couple days to conserve your energy. Then eating well and staying hydrated the day of the test.

During the final test stay focused and don’t hold your breath. The program suggests breaking the 100 into groups of 10. They claim smaller chunks will make the goal more achievable. Although 100 push ups will probably still feel like 100 push ups.

And if you complete the 100, they’ve got a nifty little badge you can stick on your blog or website. Hey, if you ask me. Doing 100 pushups is something worth boasting about!

Katie Couric on Healthy Eating

It’s not a rant, like Bill Maher on pharmaceuticals, but Katie Couric offers some poignant remarks on healthy food. Take a look:

Apple slices shaped like French fries. Now there’s marketing genius in action—tisk, tisk.

Problems: Obesity and Pregnancy

We all know that being overweight carries consequences—increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, etc.—but obesity during pregnancy prompts even more tangible complications. Annie Murphy Paul of The New York Times explains:
The challenges of caring for these patients begin early. “We perform an anatomical survey of the fetus, but in an extremely obese woman, the ultrasound signal often can’t penetrate through all the tissue,” Dr. Mark Chames, an obstetrician at the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor, says. He must use a vaginal probe instead. A thorough examination is especially important in obese women, Chames said, because they are at greater risk of having babies with neural-tube defects and other malformations.

Birth brings more difficulties. The fetuses of obese women are often too large to fit through the birth canal; their mothers are about twice as likely as normal-weight women to need a Caesarean section. Longer surgical instruments are required, as are extra-wide operating-room tables, reinforced to support hundreds of additional pounds.

To head off such problems, patients at the bariatric obstetric clinic at St. Louis University in Missouri are counseled not to put on any pounds at all during pregnancy, and are even encouraged to lose weight. Dr. Raul Artal, the chairman of the ob-gyn department and the clinic’s director, acknowledges that the notion of weight loss during pregnancy can be startling. “It goes against everything we were taught in medical school, everything we’ve always told our patients,” he says. Some scientists warn that we still know little about the potential dangers of this approach. Emerging evidence, however, suggests that obese women who maintain or lose weight during pregnancy experience significantly fewer complications and deliver healthier babies.
Getting fat and pregnant is a dangerous cliché. Clearly, an obese mom is not eating healthfully—bad idea! According to Dr. Fuhrman a pregnant mother’s diet is vitally important to a developing baby’s health. He explains:
We know that children have sensitive vulnerabilities that are quite distinct from adults. Their exposure to chemicals in our environment is more potentially damaging than the same exposure at a later age. It is important to realize that the diet a woman eats during her pregnancy and even before her pregnancy effects the adult health of her future offspring. For example, a recent study shows a strong association in children who develop brain tumors with the mother’s consumption of hotdogs during pregnancy.1 Scientific evidence suggests that cigarette smoking during pregnancy is associated with testicular cancer in sons thirty-five to fifty years later.2 We may get away with risky behaviors when we imbibe in our later years, but when we gamble with our children, the stakes are much higher and the damage more profound.
Maybe I’m going out on a dangerous limb here, but, if you’re pregnant and eating unhealthfully. You’re perpetrating a tremendous act of irresponsibility and selfishness. Am I wrong on this?
Continue Reading...

Pesticides Linked to Diabetes-Risk

Research by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Cancer Institute have determined that long-term exposure to pesticides heightens diabetes-risk. Bridget M. Kuehn of the Journal of the American Medical Association reports:
The study involved more than 33,000 licensed pesticide applicators enrolled in the Agricultural Health Study, who provided information about lifetime exposure and their medical history. An analysis of the data revealed that exposure to 7 pesticides—aldrin, chlordane, heptachlor, dichlorvos, trichlorfon, alachlor, and cyanazine—increased the workers' odds of developing diabetes and that the incidence of diabetes increased with cumulative days of exposure.
Dale Sandler, PhD, chief of the NIEHS’s epidemiology branch, points out that pesticide exposure is just another factor that contributes to diabetes, like obesity, lack of exercise and family history. Here’s the actual study, via Epidemiology: Incident Diabetes and Pesticide Exposure among Licensed Pesticide Applicators.

The Power of Cow Crap...

You hear a lot about converting meadow muffins into green energy. Carrie Cockburn of The Globe and Mail illustrates how it’s done. Take a look:

And TreeHugger breaks it down further:
1. BARN: Slurry of manure is washed and scraped from cow stalls into a series of sewage pipes that run under the barn. The manure is mixed with other food wastes.

2. DIGESTER: The slurry is heated to around 37 degrees and kept at that level for the five days needed for the microbes to decompose the cow dung. This process gives off methane gas, which bubbles through the slurry and is collected at the top.

3. DIESEL GENERATOR: The gas runs to the generator, where it is burned to produce electricity to power the digester and the farm, and to feed into the grid.

4. SOLIDS SEPARATOR: Leftover liquids are used as fertilizer and the solids are strained to make a material to be used as bedding for the cows.
No doubt, working at one of these facilities will land you on an episode of Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe.

Health Points: Tuesday

"What I learned about those first two seasons is they are long. They are a grind, especially with the Western Conference not getting any easier,'' Roy said.

Roy hired a trainer, Ron Tate, who focuses heavily on stretching in addition to weight lifting. He also forces Roy to drink a gallon of water every day before 2 p.m.

In previous summers, Roy would play basketball nearly every day. Now he plays maybe twice a week, even though the Blazers would prefer it was one or less.

"I think I have gotten smarter with the way I work,'' Roy said. "It's not so much pound, pound, pound. It's more stretching and lifting with lighter weight but more reps.''
“What they are doing is developing their own system for evaluating things,” said Dr. Warwick L. Morison, professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins and chairman of the Skin Cancer Foundation’s photobiology committee, which tests sunscreens for safety and effectiveness. “Using this scale to say a sunscreen offers good protection or bad protection is junk science.”

Dr. Morison has no financial ties to sunscreen makers, and his work with the Skin Cancer Foundation is unpaid.

Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst with the Environmental Working Group, said the database and rating system were based on an extensive review of the medical literature on sunscreens. Of nearly 1,000 sunscreens reviewed, the group recommends only 143 brands. Most are lesser-known brands with titanium and zinc, which are effective blockers of ultraviolet radiation. But they are less popular with consumers because they can leave a white residue.

Olympic host city Beijing was shrouded in haze on Monday 11 days before the Games begin, raising anxieties about whether it can deliver the clean skies promised for the world's top athletes.

The city's chronic pollution, a sometimes acrid mix of construction dust, vehicle exhaust and factory and power plant fumes, has been one of the biggest worries for Games organizers.

Beijing has ordered many of its 3.3 million cars off roads and halted much construction and factory production in an effort to cut pollution before the Games open on August 8.

But a sultry haze persisted on Monday, and state media said Beijing might be forced to restrict more cars and shut more factories if the pollution persists.
"At baseline, before they were supposed to be following a diet or exercise plan, we found on weekends, people gained weight," study author Susan Racette, an assistant professor at Washington University in St. Louis said. During the week, the weight would decline. But the weekend effect was strong. "If you translate it out to a year, it could have increased weight by 9 pounds."

Before the intervention, participants ate an average of 2,257 calories on Saturday compared to just 2,021 during the week. But the average activity on weekends overall didn't differ much from average weekday activities. So, it was the food, not the lack of activity, that was to blame, Racette said.

Racette monitored the participants for a year after they started the intervention, and the weekend indulgences continued. The calorie restriction group stopped losing weight on weekends, while the physical activity group gained slightly (about .17 pounds). There were not significant weight changes in the controls on weekends.

Four years ago, ahead of the Athens Olympics, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed caffeine from its list of banned substances in sport. This was "presumably because WADA considered (caffeine's) performance-enhancing effects to be insignificant," notes Mark Stuart in a commentary published in the journal BMJ Clinical Evidence.

Stuart, a BMJ editor, has worked with doping control for past Olympic Games and helped train medical staff for the upcoming Beijing Olympics.

Despite questions about caffeine's effects on athletic prowess, Stuart points out, studies indicate that many athletes still use the stimulant. In a study published last month, for example, researchers found that of 193 UK track-and-field athletes they surveyed, one-third used caffeine to enhance performance -- as did 60 percent of 287 competitive cyclists.
Numbers like those, coupled with ads for sleep aids, persuaded yoga instructor Shanon Buffington that the time was right for a workshop she developed.

"Most of us don't sleep like babies anymore," the instructor said as participants gathered last month for her "Yoga for Better Sleep" workshop at Dallas Surya Center for Yoga.

"We're typically tired, and when we do rest, we don't sleep well.

"My goal," she said, "is to give you a toolbox of techniques." These include breathing techniques, relaxing restorative poses and an introduction to Yoga Nidra, a guided visualization.

These yoga tools work, Buffington says, by calming the autonomic nervous system, specifically by nudging the body toward the parasympathetic, or "rest and digest," state as opposed to the sympathetic, or "fight or flight," state.

A new study has found that high bone mineral density (BMD) predicts a greater likelihood of developing breast cancer, independent of how high her risk is on the often-used Gail model.

The two measurements together might be used in tandem to better predict breast cancer risk, the researchers said.

The findings, which were expected to be published in the Sept. 1 issue of Cancer, follow closely on the heels of other research linking different aspects of bone health with breast cancer risk. One study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in May found that Zometa (zoledronic acid), a drug used to treat osteoporosis, lowered the risk of breast cancer recurrence in premenopausal women.

And another study released this spring found that women with breast cancer who have a vitamin D deficiency at the time of their diagnosis were more likely to have a recurrence or to die from their disease. Vitamin D is also critical to bone health.
Fitness and exercise have been shown to slow age-related changes in the brain in healthy people. The latest finding suggests people with early Alzheimer's disease may still benefit.

"The message is essentially if you have Alzheimer's disease, it's not too late to become physically fit," Dr. Sam Gandy, chairman of the Alzheimer's Association's Medical and Scientific Advisory Council, said in a statement.

Researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City studied the relationship between fitness and brain volume in 56 healthy adults and 60 adults with early Alzheimer's disease. All were over the age of 60.

Cell Phones, Cancer Calling?

The research by Dr. Ronald B. Herberman, M.D., director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, linking cell phone use to cancer-risk sparked a media storm. Check out the Associated Press report, via CNN:

Herberman is basing his alarm on early unpublished data. He says it takes too long to get answers from science, and he believes that people should take action now, especially when it comes to children.

"Really at the heart of my concern is that we shouldn't wait for a definitive study to come out but err on the side of being safe rather than sorry later," Herberman said.

No other major academic cancer research institutions have sounded such an alarm about cell phone use. But Herberman's advice could raise concern among many cell phone users and especially parents.

In the memo he sent to about 3,000 faculty and staff Wednesday, he says children should use cell phones only for emergencies because their brains are still developing.

Adults should keep the phone away from the head and use the speakerphone or a wireless headset, he says. He even warns against using cell phones in public places such as a bus, because it exposes others to the phone's electromagnetic fields.

The issue that concerns some scientists -- though nowhere near a consensus -- is electromagnetic radiation, especially its possible effects on children. It is not a major topic in conferences of brain specialists.

I’m not a big cell phone guy. In fact, I only recently got into text messaging. Nevertheless, the report's popularity tempted me to ask Dr. Fuhrman for his thoughts. Here’s what he had to say about Dr. Herberman’s alarm:

The bottom line is we don’t know. I always laugh at those media pronouncements that cell phones do not cause brain tumors when the quote the results of studies that follow users for 3 to 5 years. Cancer causation is a 20 to 50 year process. So we have to follow young people for more than twenty to thirty years to really have answers here. I doubt these long-term studies are even being done.

So, as someone who stills owns a VCR and doesn’t play Xbox, I’ll consider this cell phone-cancer report flimsy hocus pocus and this video—witchcraft! See for yourself:

Quick, get me some silver bullets, holy water, and a garlic necklace!

Bacteria Going Away, Asthma on the Rise...

Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria that naturally exists in our stomachs, is on the decline in people, but now asthma is on the rise—are they related? Dr. Martin Blaser M.D., chairman of medicine and microbiology professor at New York University, thinks so. Via NPR:
Several years ago, researchers proposed the provocative idea that bacteria living in the human stomach could be responsible for the development of some stomach ulcers — and the doctors found that treating those bacteria, H. pylori, with antibiotics could reduce ulcer risk. New research suggests, however, that those bacteria may not be all bad — they could help prevent the development of childhood asthma.

Writing in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, the scientists report that children between the ages of 3 and 13 are nearly 59 percent less likely to have asthma if they have the bacterium in their gut. The children were also 40 percent less likely to have hay fever and associated allergies such as eczema and rash.

The cause for the link isn't exactly clear, though the researchers believe that people with the bacteria have more immune cells called regulatory T cells. They say the surplus cells prevent the immune system from overreacting to allergens, which can trigger asthma and allergies like hay fever.
Here’s some of the abstract to Dr. Blaser’s study from The Journal of Infectious Disease. Take a look:
Methods: We conducted cross-sectional analyses, using data from 7412 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999–2000, to assess the association between H. pylori and childhood asthma.

Conclusions: This study is the first to report an inverse association between H. pylori seropositivity and asthma in children. The findings indicate new directions for research and asthma prevention.
Perhaps all these antibiotics we’re shoveling down our throats are REALLY working against us. Again, Dr. Blaser thinks this might be the case. For more, check out the audio to the NPR report: Stomach Bacteria Could Prevent Asthma.

ADHD Ups Kids' Obesity-Risk

According to a new study in Pediatrics, by researchers at Brown Medical School in Providence, Rhode Island, children with ADHD are more likely to become overweight. Reuters reports:
The results of prior research has suggested that the impulsivity and poor behavioral regulation that is common in children with ADHD may promote certain eating patterns that increase the risk of obesity, co-authors Molly E. Waring and Dr. Kate L. Lapane, from Brown Medical School in Providence, Rhode Island, note.

To investigate further, the researchers analyzed data from 62,887 children and adolescents included in the 2003-2004 National Survey of Children's Health.

Children with ADHD were identified based the response of the parent to the question: "Has a doctor or health professional ever told you that your child has attention-deficit disorder or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, that is, ADD or ADHD?"

The prevalence of ADD or ADHD was 8.8 percent, the authors report in the journal Pediatrics, and approximately half the affected children were taking medication for the condition.
I think most mental disorders could lead to weight-gain. When I was depressed and self-loathing I was over 60 pounds heavier than I am now—food is a great crutch.

California: Hasta La Vista Trans-Fat

Arnold Schwarzenegger, California’s Governator, has signed a law that will effectively ban trans-fat. Jane Black of The Washington Post reports:
"California is a leader in promoting health and nutrition, and I am pleased to continue that tradition by being the first state in the nation to phase out trans fats," Schwarzenegger (R) said.

Trans fatty acids, or trans fats, are commonly found in partially hydrogenated oils, which became popular at fast-food restaurants and bakeries because they have a longer shelf life than other oils.

But a series of studies over the past decade has shown that trans fats can lower "good cholesterol" (high-density lipoproteins) and raise "bad cholesterol" (low-density lipoproteins), which can contribute to heart disease and other ailments.

Researchers at the Harvard University School of Public Health estimate that artificial trans fats cause 50,000 premature heart-attack deaths every year.
No doubt fast food restaurants and makers of 50-year shelf-life cookies are furious—you’ve been terminated!

Green-News: Monday 7.28.08

Colorado: More than $1 billion in losses due to impacts on tourism, forestry, water resources and human health from a predicted drier, warmer climate.

Georgia: Multi-million dollar losses from predicted higher seas along Georgia's coast.

Kansas: Losses exceeding $1 billion from impact on agriculture of predicted warmer temperatures and reduced water supply in much of the state.

Illinois: Billions of dollars in losses from impact on shipping, trade and water resources. Warmer temperatures and lower water levels predicted for much of the state.

Michigan: Billions of dollars in losses from damage to the state's shipping and water resources. Warmer temperatures and lower water levels predicted for much of the state.

Nevada: Billions of dollars in losses from a much drier climate and pressure on scarce water resources. Water limitations could affect tourism, real estate, development and human health. Many western states may confront similar challenges.

New Jersey: Billions of dollars in losses from higher sea levels and the impact on tourism, transportation, real estate and human health.

Ohio: Billions of dollars in losses from warmer temperatures and lower water levels and the resulting impact on shipping and water supplies.
The report does not cover efforts to address the most plentiful greenhouse gas — carbon dioxide — or the biggest sources of it, transportation and electric power plants.

"If EPA wishes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions beyond this point, it needs to consider additional policy options," the report said. Persuading companies to spend money on optional activities "presents a significant challenge to using voluntary programs as the current solution to reducing greenhouse gases."

The Bush administration has been relying largely on the voluntary programs to reduce carbon intensity — the ratio of greenhouse gas emissions to economic output — by 18 percent by 2012. That goal would slow the growth of greenhouse gases, but not actually reduce them.

The White House has rejected using existing law to regulate greenhouse gases from motor vehicles and smokestacks despite a Supreme Court decision last year saying it could do so.

President Bush and other world leaders at last month's G-8 summit in Toyako, Japan, made a commitment to a voluntary 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gases worldwide by 2050 but offered no specifics on how to do it.
Check your doors for a good seal: Check the seals on your refrigerator and freezer for a good seal by closing a piece of paper in them. If you can pull the paper out, it's time to adjust or install a new seal.

Keep it cool: Allow for 2 inches of airspace around the appliance and nearby walls and cabinets. Keep your refrigerator out of direct sunlight and as far away as you can from the dishwasher, stove and heating vent.

Turn off the icemaker: We know you love the crushed iced function, but you might want to reconsider going back to old-fashioned ice cube trays. An icemaker can increase a refrigerator's energy consumption by 14 to 20 percent. Yikes.

Set the temp right: Keep your refrigerator between 37 and 40 degrees F, and the freezer between 0 and 5 degrees F.

Vacuum the condenser coils: Once a year, pull your refrigerator out from the wall and vacuum the coils behind it.

Red Tomatoes!

Let’s see how my heavenly tomato is doing. Here was last week:

Now check out today:

And feast your eyes on these:

Yeah baby! In a couple days I’ll be the one feasting!

Green-News: Saturday 7.26.08

"This is a product that we don't believe meets our high standards for the general population, particularly for small children who are more sensitive," said James Gulliford, EPA associate administrator for the office of prevention, pesticides and toxic substances. "While there is little exposure today [to the pesticide], we don't think there's a need, a reason for any exposure."

A million pounds of carbofuran are applied each year in the United States, affecting less than 1 percent of the nation's farmed acres, according to the EPA, but it is used more heavily in developing countries on crops including rice, bananas, coffee and sugar cane. The EPA had indicated earlier this year that it would not apply the ban to imported food, but yesterday it said it will.

"This could have major ramifications around the world, as there are many countries that export rice, coffee and bananas to the U.S.," said Michael Fry, director of conservation advocacy for the American Bird Conservancy. "It's one of the most widely used pesticides in the world."
Charging for plastic bags at the supermarket works--people really do bring their own. Ten weeks ago Marks & Spencer instituted a 5 pence (10 cents) charge on plastic bags at its stores. Since then customers have used 70 million fewer bags. That's an 80% decrease in use. Who would have thought! These are among the first statistics showing the impact of banning bags and they are impressive. At the same time, the company has sold ten million of its own store-brand hessian green bags-for-life; donating the 1.85pence profit made on each one to Groundwork, an environmental charity--$400,000 so far.

The British Government, in its upcoming Climate Change Bill, has given the other big supermarkets until next April to switch over to charging. If they don't do it, the Government will set a mandatory fee for bags. A representative of British supermarkets has called this move "a steamroller to crack a walnut". Environmentalists are concerned that the over-packaging of food is a much more important issue--one the Bill does not address.
  • Granite countertops are growing in popularity, but the increased demand means deeper mining for granite—that sometimes digs up uranium! More from Kate Murphy of The New York Times:
“It’s not that all granite is dangerous,” said Stanley Liebert, the quality assurance director at CMT Laboratories in Clifton Park, N.Y., who took radiation measurements at Dr. Sugarman’s house. “But I’ve seen a few that might heat up your Cheerios a little.”

Allegations that granite countertops may emit dangerous levels of radon and radiation have been raised periodically over the past decade, mostly by makers and distributors of competing countertop materials. The Marble Institute of America has said such claims are “ludicrous” because although granite is known to contain uranium and other radioactive materials like thorium and potassium, the amounts in countertops are not enough to pose a health threat.

Indeed, health physicists and radiation experts agree that most granite countertops emit radiation and radon at extremely low levels. They say these emissions are insignificant compared with so-called background radiation that is constantly raining down from outer space or seeping up from the earth’s crust, not to mention emanating from manmade sources like X-rays, luminous watches and smoke detectors.

Does Soy Really Lower Sperm Count?

As a guy, I don’t want hear that anything is bad for the boys, but new research by the Harvard School of Public Health insists that even eating half a serving of soy food a day lowers sperm concentrations.

The study appears in the journal of Human Reproduction. Here’s the abstract via PubMed:
BACKGROUND: High isoflavone intake has been related to decreased fertility in animal studies, but data in humans are scarce. Thus, we examined the association of soy foods and isoflavones intake with semen quality parameters.

METHODS: The intake of 15 soy-based foods in the previous 3 months was assessed for 99 male partners of subfertile couples who presented for semen analyses to the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center. Linear and quantile regression were used to determine the association of soy foods and isoflavones intake with semen quality parameters while adjusting for personal characteristics.

RESULTS: There was an inverse association between soy food intake and sperm concentration that remained significant after accounting for age, abstinence time, body mass index, caffeine and alcohol intake and smoking. In the multivariate-adjusted analyses, men in the highest category of soy food intake had 41 million sperm/ml less than men who did not consume soy foods (95% confidence interval = -74, -8; P, trend = 0.02). Results for individual soy isoflavones were similar to the results for soy foods and were strongest for glycitein, but did not reach statistical significance. The inverse relation between soy food intake and sperm concentration was more pronounced in the high end of the distribution (90th and 75th percentile) and among overweight or obese men. Soy food and soy isoflavone intake were unrelated to sperm motility, sperm morphology or ejaculate volume.

CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that higher intake of soy foods and soy isoflavones is associated with lower sperm concentration.
Relax, don’t freak out just yet. “It's way too early to say stop eating soy foods. It's not time to worry about whether you're eating too much soy. There's not enough information to conclusively say that,” lead researcher Dr. Jorge Chavarro, M.D., a research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, told Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News.

And just to be sure, I asked Dr. Fuhrman for his thoughts on this study. Here’s what he had to say:
This study showed that high levels of processed soy foods, not edamame or unprocessed soy beans, may lower sperm counts in obese men.

The higher intake of soy foods, lowered sperm counts, but the counts were still in the normal range. Obesity increases the body’s estrogen production, and the extra pro-estrogenic effects of soy apparently was enough to reduce sperm levels, in these overweight men whose estrogen levels were already somewhat elevated due to their heightened body weight.
When most people think soy, they think soy ice cream or soy “meat” products. They forget about edamame beans. Edamame beans are nutritional rock stars! From Wikipedia, check this out:
Fiber-rich carbohydrates such as edamame help prevent mood fluctuations by keeping blood-sugar levels steady. Edamame also contains protein, which further helps stabilize blood sugar, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Edamame beans contain higher levels of abscissic acid, sucrose, protein than other types of soybean. They also contain a high source of vitamin A, vitamin B and calcium.
And besides, we already know that processed soy foods are NOT something you want to base your diet around. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Studies have shown soy's beneficial effects on cholesterol and other cardiovascular risk factors. However, there is no reason not to expect the same results from beans of any type--it's merely that more studies have been done on soy than on any other beans. There are numerous studies indicating that soybeans are rich in various anti-cancer compounds such as isoflavones. Most beans are rich in these beneficial anti-cancer compounds, and many different flavonoids with anti-cancer effects are found in beans of various color. I always recommended the consumption of a broad variety of phytochemical-rich foods to maximize one's health. Beans are no exception--try to eat different types of beans, not just soy.

You should be aware that soy nuts, soymilk, and other processed soy products do not retain many of the beneficial compounds and omega-3 fats that are in the natural bean. The more the food is processed, the more the beneficial compounds are destroyed. Remember, though, tofu and frozen or canned soybeans are a good source of omega-3 fat and calcium.

Most of the processed soy products can be tasty additions to a plant-based diet, but they are generally high in salt and are not nutrient-dense foods, so use them sparingly. In conclusion, the soybean is a superior food, containing the difficult-to-find omega-3 fats. Beans in general are superior foods that fight against cancer and heart disease, which is why you will benefit from using a variety of beans in your diet.
So I think the real point to take away from this study is processed soy foods are not health-promoting and being overweight or obese lowers male fertility. For more on that, read: Obese men have less semen, more sperm abnormalities, and should lose weight before trying for a baby—via EurekAlert!

Bill Maher Bashes Pharmaceutical Companies

Here’s an awesome rant from Bill Maher on drug companies and unhealthy food. It’s not safe for kids, but it’s still great! Check it out:

Hard to argue with that—thanks for the email Cathy!

Health Points: Friday

Roughly 19 percent of U.S. energy consumption goes toward producing and supplying food, David Pimentel and his colleagues at Cornell University write in the current issue of the journal Human Ecology. Considering that the average American consumes an estimated 3,747 calories a day, — at least 1,200 more than health experts advise — the researchers suggest everyone cut back.

Animal products and junk food, in particular, use more energy and other resources for their production than staples such as potatoes, rice, fruits and vegetables.

Producing all the stuff that goes into a single hamburger, for example, requires some 1,300 gallons of water, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. A study in 2006 by University of Chicago researchers Gidon Eshel and Pamela Martin found that a vegetarian diet is the most energy-efficient, followed by one that includes poultry. Diets with red meat or fish are the least efficient.

"By just reducing junk food intake and converting to diets lower in meat, the average American could have a massive impact on fuel consumption as well as improving his or her health," Pimentel and his team write in a statement released today.
Researchers at the University of Colorado Hospital recruited 80 seniors, age 65 to 89, and found that three-quarters of them had insufficient levels of Vitamin D.

That's probably because they thought the old levels were sufficient, said Sunny Linnebur, associate professor at the CU-Denver School of Pharmacy.

"It was a surprise because in Denver we have so much sun," she said. "And these were ambulatory elderly, people who can walk around and go outside. We were expecting more of them to have normal levels of Vitamin D."

Sara Jane Barru of Denver said she had assumed she was taking plenty of Vitamin D, but when a test found her levels were low she eagerly jumped into the study.

She said she started taking a lot more Vitamin D while in the study "and I'm continuing to keep it up there.

More risk assessment studies are needed to understand what exactly defines toxicity due to nanoparticles, and what kind of regulations the sector needs, said Hermann Stamm, head of nanotechnology and molecular imaging at the Institute for Health and Consumer Protection in the European Commission's Joint Research Council.

Speaking at the Euroscience Open Forum in Barcelona this week (20 July), Stamm said concern over possible health risks due to nano-sized particles arises from several studies that found a link between ultra-fine particles from exhaust engines and air pollution to lung cancers and heart disease.

Nanotechnology — the use of particles as small as one-billionth of a metre — holds tremendous potential for the health sector, particularly in drug delivery.

Developing countries are keen to use nanotechnology in healthcare and agriculture. India, for example, in 2007 launched a US$225 million programme for nanoscience and technology.
In June 2007, the Government of Canada called on industry to voluntarily reduce the levels of trans fat in the Canadian food supply to the levels recommended by the Trans Fat Task Force, and announced that the Government would monitor the progress.

The Trans Fat Task Force recommended a trans fat limit of 2% of the total fat content for all vegetable oils and soft, spreadable margarines, and a limit of 5% of the total fat content for all other foods, including ingredients sold to restaurants.

"I am very pleased to see that industry is continuing to make progress to reduce the levels of trans fat," said Parliamentary Secretary Fletcher. "This second set of data, which focused on popular fast food chains and family restaurants in Canada, further illustrates the commitment of industry to achieve the limits recommended by the Trans Fat Task Force. The fact that we're seeing reductions in the levels of trans fat in so many areas is great news for all Canadians."

Armstrong, a seven-time winner of the Tour de France, said the United States needs to make more progress against the various types of cancer.

"As a survivor, I think I can say this -- we have taken our eye off the ball," Armstrong told a news conference along with former surgeons general Richard Carmona, David Satcher, Joycelyn Elders and Antonia Novello.

Cancer is the No. 2 cause of death in the United States, and is expected to kill about 566,000 this year. Only heart disease kills more.

At Armstrong's request, the four doctors developed a national "call to action" against cancer that emphasizes prevention efforts such as not smoking, eating more fruit and vegetables, getting less fat in the diet, getting more exercise, using sunscreen and avoiding indoor tanning beds.
Dawn Page, 52, has been awarded £810,000 in damages from her nutritionist, although the practitioner denies fault.

Mother of two Mrs Page, who weighed 12st, became ill within days of taking up the Amazing Hydration Diet.

She had been told by the nutritionist to drink four extra pints of water a day and drastically reduce her salt intake.

The first stage of the regime left her suffering from severe vomiting and stomach cramps, but she was told these were just part of the detoxification process.

She was told by her dietician to increase the amount of water to six pints and consume still less salt.

Days later she suffered a massive epileptic fit and brain damage caused by severe sodium deficiency.

A Los Angeles city council planning committee unanimously approved a 1-year ban, which could be extended for a further year, on new fast food outlets in a 32-square-mile (82-sq-km) area of Los Angeles.

The measure, the latest in efforts by U.S. cities to promote healthier eating, will go to the full council for a vote next month.

If passed, it would affect about half a million Angelenos living in an area that supporters say already has about 400 fast-food eateries and few grocery stores.

The proposed moratorium follows a report last year which found that about 30 percent of children living in the South Los Angeles, West Adams, Baldwin Hills and Leimert Park areas are obese compared to about 21 percent in the rest of the city.
"For cattle and pigs, food safety concerns are considered unlikely. But we must acknowledge that the evidence base is still small. We would like to have a broader data base and we need further clarification."

In its initial response to the issue of cloning -- which many consumer and religious groups strongly oppose -- EFSA said in January that cloned animals could be safe to eat.

It also said it saw "no environmental impact" from animal cloning, which takes cells from an adult and fuses them with others before implanting them in a surrogate mother.

But when asked if cloned products such as meat and dairy would be safe for people to buy in European supermarkets, Dr. Dan Collins of EFSA said: "There are possible concerns ... there is an impact of animal health and welfare on food safety. We need more data."

Eating to Live on the Outside: Boba House

Followhealthlife reader Travis suggested this week’s Eating to Live on the Outside. He said Boba House is one of his favorite restaurants. Alright Travis, let’s see if Boba House really stacks up. After all, Eat to Livers have really high standards.

Okay, I just printed out the menu. Now, there are a lot of vegetable-based dishes, but I also see a ton of faux-meats. That makes it tricky. Veggie meat alternatives are processed foods and they’re notoriously salty. So, in order to make Boba House work, we’ve got some bullets to dodge.

As for the appetizers, I’m cool with the Crispy Spring Rolls or the Steamed Tofu. The Steamed Tofu is my first choice; steamed tofu, “beef” chunks, peanuts, onions, and fresh herbs—I’d skip the fake beef. The Crispy Spring Rolls are made with vegetables, glass noodles, spices, and a sweet & mildly spicy sauce. The noodles make the spring rolls a less attractive option than the steamed tofu, but it’s not the worst concession in the world. Personally, I’d stick with the tofu.

The soups are too iffy for my liking, but I like a few of the salads. I’m digging the Rainbow Salad, the Avocado Salad, and the Boba Salad. All three of these include a nice serving of veggies. Combined they’re made with organic spring mix, shredded carrots, chopped cucumber, tomatoes, almonds, raisins, mandarin oranges, mixed greens, avocado, “bacon” bits, and almond seeds. Okay, I’m ditching the fake bacon. Nothing about that sounds appealing to me, but the rest of ingredients are great! To top it off I’d order the vinaigrette on the side. These three salads are probably your best bet.

The rest of the menu is pretty hit or miss. I like the Hula Pot. It’s prepared with aromatic curry, rice or noodles, your choice of vegetable, tofu or “duck”, sauce, and brown rice on the side. Alright, no “duck” for me, I’d go with brown rice, and as for the vegetable, I’m thinking broccoli. With the sauce on the side it’s a decent meal.

The Karma Noodle has some potential too; vermicelli, mixed greens, carrots, cucumber, bean sprouts, bell pepper, crunchy noodles, and satay sauce. I’m cool with the vermicelli—a minor concession—but I’m ditching the crunchy noodles and ordering the satay sauce on the side. Actually, I really like the taste of cooked cucumbers—do you?

Moving onto the entrees, Eternal Bliss looks interesting. It includes crisp broccoli, water chestnuts, baby corn, carrots, snow peas, tofu, and a side of brown rice. The rice is an itty-bitty concession—I can deal with—the stir-frying is a bigger concession, but I can deal with that too. I seldom eat anything fried. So this wouldn’t worry me too much.

And lastly, I like the “Seafood” & Vegetables. First off, I am nixing the “seafood.” Maybe some of you like meat imitations, but they gross me out—yucky! So, minus the fake seafood it’s made with crisp broccoli, baby corn, carrots, snow peas, and shitake mushrooms. Not bad, provided you can deal with the stir-frying—I can. No worries.

So did Travis pick a good restaurant? Is Boba House a good place for an Eat to Liver? Honestly, I’d say Bob House is okay. It’s not perfect. Way too much pseudo-meat for my liking, but overall, I think it works. Nice find Travis! Hey, maybe Travis should comment and tell us what he orders—hint, hint, wink, wink!

While we wait for Travis, it’s your turn. Check out Boba House’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, may the veggie force be with you.

Green-News: Friday 7.25.08

Harnessing the power of the desert sun is at the centre of an ambitious scheme to build a €45bn (£35.7bn) European supergrid that would allow countries across the continent to share electricity from abundant green sources such as wind energy in the UK and Denmark, and geothermal energy from Iceland and Italy.

The idea is gaining political support in Europe, with Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, recently backing the north African solar plan.

Because the sunlight is more intense, solar photovoltaic panels in north Africa could generate up to three times the electricity compared with similar panels in northern Europe.
Plasma TVs, industry officials say, consume about four times the electricity as recharging a plug-in hybrid. Yet utilities have managed to cope with the increased loads as thousands of new televisions came on line…

…Some other factors that help cars are that, unlike TV, they aren't usually plugged in during peak hours. In fact, a big part of what defines peak hours is that everybody is watching TV.

You could also make vehicle chargers 'smart' in a way that you can't with TVs. If you want to watch a show now, you want it now. But a 'smart' charger could look at grid load and decide to start charging the car a hour later (when rates are lower, for example). As long as you program the charger to let it know when you need to have you car charged, there won't be any problems.
  • Rock Port, Missouri is planning to go totally wind-powered. They’re building four wind turbines to power their whole town. ENN reports:
Though the state may not be great for growing wheat or strawberries, Crawford said, "We're farming the wind, which is something that we have up here. The payback on a per-acre basis is generally quite good when compared to a lot of other crops, and it's as simple as getting a cup of coffee and watching the blades spin." Sounds a lot better than spending your days hunched over to pick berries from the ground.

Besides providing an environmentally-friendly source of power, the turbines provide an added bonus to Rock Port: cold, hard, cash. The wind farms are likely to bring in more than $1.1 million in county real estate taxes each year, and locals won't see an increase on their electricity bills for at least 15 to 20 years. We've got a feeling no one will be moving out of town any time soon - at least, not until the wind dies down.

Autistic Kids are Just Brats?

Hack radio host Michael Alan Weiner—better known as Michael Savage—doesn’t believe autism is real. He thinks 99% of autistic children are brats who haven't been told to cut the act out. David Bauder of the Associated Press reports:
Savage offered no apology in a message posted Monday on his Web site. He said greedy doctors and drug companies were creating a "national panic" by overdiagnosing autism, a mental disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate.

On his radio show last week, he said: "What do you mean they scream and they're silent? They don't have a father around to tell them, `Don't act like a moron. You'll get nowhere in life. Stop acting like a putz. Straighten up. Act like a man. Don't sit there crying and screaming, you idiot."'

The government estimates about 1 in 150 children have some form of autism. But many experts believe these unsociable behaviors were just about as common 30 or 40 years ago and that the increase is mostly caused by a surge in special education services and a corresponding shift in diagnoses.

Wendy Fournier of the National Autism Association, a parents' advocacy group, said she was invited to speak Monday on Savage's three-hour program by Savage's boss, Mark Masters of Talk Radio Network, which syndicates the show across the country. A spokeswoman from Talk Radio Network did not immediately return a call for comment.

Fournier called Savage's comments "way, way, way over the line and cruel."

"I'm hoping to make him see the reality of what these kids are facing," she said. "You can't fix it by telling a kid to shut up. It's like telling a kid with cancer to stop being sick."
Savage is a dope—trying to be edgy, but too cowardly to stick to his guns. I agree that many doctors and drug companies are greedy, but to say autistic kids are just brats is staggeringly moronic.

Low-Carb: No Fiber, No Poop...

Here’s another reason why low-carb diets aren’t healthy. One dietician calls them digestive nightmares. Via I’m Not Obsessed:

The myth: Give up bread and pasta and the pounds will melt away

The truth: Low-carb eating plans are a digestive nightmare, because they don't provide enough fiber, which frequently results in severe constipation, says Maye Musk, R.D., a New York City-based dietician. Healthy carbs are also crucial for energy. Stop eating them and you're likely to feel tired and grumpy all the time.

The fix: Eat good-for-you carbs. To make sure you get the nutrients you need, add four servings to your daily diet, suggests Musk. Try a slice of whole-grain bread, one-half cup cooked oatmeal, one-third cup brown rice and one-half cup whole-wheat pasta. Piling your plate with fiber-rich veggies such as spinach, broccoli, peas and asparagus can also help get things moving.

Kind of the opposite of eating a vegetable-based diet—not to be gross, but I always keep a plunger handy.

Medicating Our Unhealthy Children...

Dr. Peter Libby, M.D., professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of cardiovascular medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, calls the push to medicate children with statins “an admission of colossal societal failure.” Via The New York Times:
But I think all that misses the crux of the issue. The very discussion of drug treatment to lower cholesterol in kids constitutes an admission of colossal societal failure. Although our genetic makeup has not changed in the last 20 years, our collective girth has skyrocketed, and the epidemic of childhood obesity is going global. We need to look to our environment for the root cause of this sudden change in the shape of the human species, which in evolutionary terms is occurring in an instant. Rather than “medicalizing” childhood obesity and heart risk, we need to repair our toxic surroundings.

Another recent study, the largest ever of children and physical activity, finds that American kids experience a remarkable drop in activity levels as they reach puberty. By age 15, the wide majority of kids are moving less than one hour each weekday.

As citizens, as parents, we must strive to reinforce physical education, nutrition curricula, and encourage limitation of high-sugar beverages in schools. In too many homes, glowing television screens, computer monitors, and video game screens have supplanted the bicycles and basketball hoops of yesteryear. Our kids’ meals should reflect sensible nutrition practices wherever they’re served. (Many such practices were noted in the academy’s report, while only one tentative paragraph discussed physical activity.) Urban planners must redouble efforts to provide the sidewalks and bike paths needed by children and adults alike for spontaneous recreation.
This should be a call to action for parents. Want your kid to be healthy, get involved! “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,” explains Dr. Fuhrman. Same goes with exercise.

It Says Whole Grain, But Its Not

Julie Deardorff from Julie’s Health Club isn’t buying Sara Lee’s promise of "white bread taste with whole grain nutrition." From her blog:
Sara Lee's "Whole Grain White Bread" exemplifies the type of food product consumers should avoid, says writer Michael Pollan, because it contains ingredients that are A) unfamiliar B) unpronounceable C) more than five in number or that D) include high fructose corn syrup…

…But at least the labels will be a little more accurate than they've been in the past. As part of a settlement agreement the company reached yesterday with the Center for Science in the Public Interest, labels will be changed to say the product is 30 percent whole grain. Previously, the bread's labeling suggested that it had as much fiber as 100 percent whole wheat bread, said the CSPI…

…The danger is that food companies often oversell their white-flour-based products and claim they're "made with whole grain" even if there is only a small amount, said CSPI. Sara Lee even points out on its own Web site that "more than 73 percent of consumers surveyed who eat enriched wheat bread incorrectly believe that their wheat bread is 100 percent whole wheat."
Now, I buy bread from time to time, but only the grittiest whole wheat breads. I don’t fall for the tricks. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Sometimes a little whole wheat or caramel color is added and the product is called whole wheat to make you think it is the real thing. It isn’t. Most brown bread is merely white bread with a fake tan. It is hard to tell sometimes, but ninety-nine percent of pastas, breads, cookies, pretzels, and other grain products are made from white flour.
As a teenager I used to work in a grocery store and when I wanted to catch a nap on the job I’d use a bag of sliced bread as a pillow.

Wacky FDA and CDC: Gardasil Safe!

A couple weeks ago we found out that the FDA and CDC have received 7,802 instances of people having an adverse reaction to Gardasil, but now, both agencies say Merck’s vaccine is safe. Reuters is on it:
Consumers, doctors and others have raised questions about Gardasil's safety but the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the most serious adverse events did not appear linked to the vaccine.

"Based on the review of available information by FDA and CDC, Gardasil continues to be safe and effective, and its benefits continue to outweigh its risks," a statement said.

The agencies said they reviewed more than 9,700 reports of health problems following Gardasil injections.

Six percent of the cases were deemed serious events. They included 20 deaths reported as of June 30.

"There was not a common pattern to the deaths that would suggest they were caused by the vaccine," the FDA and CDC statement said.

In cases where autopsy or other records were available, "the cause of death was explained by factors other than the vaccine," the agencies said.
High praise for a vaccine that only protects against 4 of the 100 strains of HPV and may wear off after 5 to 7 years—according to Dr. Fuhrman. The FDA’s kudos is especially odd because the FDA recently slammed Merck for violations at its vaccine plant.

Green-News: Thursday 7.24.08

Together they account for 6 percent of Earth's land surface and store 20 percent of its carbon. They also produce 25 percent of the world's food, purify water, recharge aquifers and act as buffers against violent coastal storms.

Historically, wetlands have been regarded as an impediment to civilization. About 60 percent of wetlands worldwide have been destroyed in the past century, mostly due to draining for agriculture. Pollution, dams, canals, groundwater pumping, urban development and peat extraction add to the destruction.

"Too often in the past, people have unwittingly considered wetlands to be problems in need of a solution, yet wetlands are essential to the planet's health," said Konrad Osterwalder, UN Under Secretary-General and rector of United Nations University, one of the hosts of the meeting.

So far, the impacts of climate change are minor compared to human depredations, the scientists said in a statement. As is the case with other environmental problems, it is far easier and cheaper to maintain wetlands than try to rebuild them later.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) announced today that the USA has overcome Germany as the biggest generator of wind energy electricity in the first half of 2008. This milestone, which was not expected until the end of 2009, comes as a result of the higher average wind speeds in the USA, since Germany is still the leader in installed capacity.

More complete survey results will be published in the next weeks. TreeHugger will follow up with an interview with a knowledgable AWEA representative who can inform us further on:
  • What this milestone means for the US and its energy crisis.
  • ``The Pickens Plan''--is this a viable plan and why?
  • The numbers/stats behind wind energy in the US and its phenomenal growth over the last year.
  • Why transmission is critical for wind energy.
  • The Department of Energy's 20% report, and its implications.
  • To help cut pollution for the Olympics, Chinese officials have implemented an odd traffic-reduction plan. Jake Hooker of The International Herald Tribune explains:
Mo, a member of China's volunteer militia, said his morning bus ride to work was ten minutes shorter than usual after — new traffic rules took effect Sunday to rid the city of its pollution.

"It's taken some pressure off the roads," Mo said. Chinese authorities have said the traffic measures, which allow cars with even and odd license plates to drive on alternate days, will cut automobile emissions by more than 60 percent and take half of the city's 3.2 million cars off the road.

Odd-even restrictions on private vehicles will be in place for the next two months during the Olympic Games and the Paralympics. Trucks producing high emissions have been blocked from entering Beijing since July 1.

On Sunday and Monday, the traffic appeared to have improved. Beijing drivers found a way to get to work. Drivers with license plates ending in even numbers placed notices on Web sites looking for cars with odd numbers, to set up car pools. Local newspapers reported a surge in bicycle sales and many people rode a new subway line that opened over the weekend.

Batman, The Dark Veggie Knight

Not only is Iron Man powered by veggies:

But Bat Man, a.k.a Christian Bale, is also a veg-head. Via Ecorazzi:
This may be a small detail to some, but for those that still believe vegetarians/vegans can’t possibly bulk up, I offer Bale as additional proof.
Apparently, the actor had an early influence from an animal-activist parent and went completely veg after reading the story Charlotte’s Web. He’s also a devoted animal lover, with two dogs [Mojo and Ramone] and three cats [Miriam, Molly, and Lilly], all of which are strays that he found. For your trivia pleasure, here are some additional Bale facts courtesy of IMDB:

Christian is active in many organizations, including Ark Trust, Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Foundation, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, the Redwings Sanctuary, and the Happy Child Mission, and a school for street kids in Rio De Janeiro.
So, if you think eating a lot of veggies is wimpy. Take it up with IRON MAN and BATMAN!

Study: High Apoprotein B Not Good

Dr. Fuhrman talks about the new research on lipids, lipoproteins, and apolipoproteins as risk markers for myocardial infarction—via The Lancet.

This study reveals that the ApoB/ApoA1 ratio is more predictive of heart attack occurrence compared to cholesterol levels or cholesterol ratios. That means that a high ApoB (Apoprotein B) is not good and a better indicator of risk compared to LDL cholesterol.

Keep in mind that a calculated LDL is not as accurate as a direct LDL and the type of LDL measured in Apoprotein B is even a better predictor. Also the LDL particle number is still likely the most accurate test for heart attack risk.

In spite of all these numbers and their potential to predict risk, the bottom line is that all of them go down with a vegetable-based diet and go up with sloppy eating habits. But not only that, the high-nutrient diet, contains positive benefits to reduce risk of heart disease not reflected in these numbers, so the numbers are not as predictive compared to a qualitative index of one’s diet such as the proportion of the diet made up of high-nutrient plant food and a tape measure around ones’ waist.

In summary, to predict one’s risk of heart disease, or to give someone assurance they are not at risk, it is important to consider:

  • Waist measurement or waist fat accumulation (body fat)
  • Nutrient density of the diet
  • Exercise tolerance
  • Non-medicated systolic blood pressure
  • The blood risk markers noted above

UK: Doctors Should Go Easy on Antibiotics...

England’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is urging doctors to NOT prescribe antibiotics for most cases of sore throats, colds, bronchitis, and most respiratory infections. Reuters reports:

They should also delay writing such prescriptions and reassure people the drugs are not needed immediately and would make little difference because most respiratory infections are viral, the new guidelines said.

"Management of respiratory tract infections in the past concentrated on advising prompt antibiotic treatment," Paul Little, who helped write the new guidelines, said in a statement.

"However, as rates of major complications are much less common in modern developed countries, so the evidence of symptomatic benefit should be strong to justify prescribing antibiotics so that we are not needlessly exposing patients to side effects."

The overuse of antibiotics is a growing concern for health officials worldwide as hospitals report an increasing number of drug-resistant bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.

MRSA infections can range from boils to more severe infections of the bloodstream, lungs and surgical sites. Most cases are associated with hospitals, nursing homes or other health care facilities.

The drugs watchdog said a quarter of people in England and Wales visit the doctor because of respiratory tract infections, which account for 60 percent of all antibiotic prescriptions in general practice.

This is a recurring topic. Dr. Fuhrman has strong opinions on prescribing antibiotics. He faults both doctors and pharmaceutical companies. Check it out:

Drug companies are a big part of this problem. They promote the use of their products through widespread advertising and the practice of giving free samples of the more potent, broad-spectrum antibiotics to doctors.

Most doctors perpetuate this problem because they give in to the pressure to prescribe antibiotics. They like to appear that they are offering an important and necessary service by writing prescriptions.

But Dr. Fuhrman would definitely agree with NICE’s recommendation. He insists antibiotics are appropriate for severe bacterial infections. Likes these:

  • Cellulitis
  • Lyme disease
  • Pneumonia
  • Joint infections
  • Cat bites
  • Meningitis
  • Bronchitis (in a long-term smokers)

Seems to me this strategy would really cut into the profits of drug makers.


Green-News: Wednesday 7.23.08

In addition, the children born after the plant was closed had 40% lower levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in their cord blood. All of the women in the study were nonsmokers. Peter D. Sly, head of the WHO’s Collaborating Center for Research on Children’s Environmental Health, was cautious about the results of that study however. Sly said that the results do not have implications for the more contemporary, coal-fired ability plants in China. Apparently, the Tongliang coal plant did not have pollution control equipment to limit the emission of pollutants like carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter.
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee [Barack Obama] now calls climate change "one of the greatest moral challenges of our generation," and proposes cutting carbon emissions 80% by 2050. But as a state senator, from 1997 to 2004, he usually supported bills sought by coal interests, according to legislative records and interviews.

Obama is not the only politician whose public stance has shifted on global warming, which a scientific consensus says has been caused chiefly by the burning of coal, oil and natural gas. Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain, who now backs limits on carbon emissions, was among 95 U.S. senators who voted in 1997 to oppose the Kyoto Protocol, an emissions reduction scheme that had been negotiated by then-vice president Al Gore.
According to a report commissioned by the Biological Farmers of Australia, sales at the farm gate last year were estimated to be in excess of $231,000,000 – an 80% increase over 2004.

The report also found an increase in the number of organic produce farmers, with around 5.2% growth per year. We now have 2750 certified organic operators. It seems the young 'uns are the trailblazers in this area, with the average age of an organic producer in Australia is lower than a non-organic producer.

Organic food is certainly catching on in supermarkets too, with over 500 different organic lines in fresh and grocery categories in major retailers.

Feet Eating Fish!

As an avid runner, my feet take a beating. Maybe I should schedule an appointment with doctor fish. The Associated Press elaborates:
Ready for the latest in spa pampering? Prepare to dunk your tootsies in a tank of water and let tiny carp nibble away.

Fish pedicures are creating something of a splash in the D.C. area, where a northern Virginia spa has been offering them for the past four months. John Ho, who runs the Yvonne Hair and Nails salon with his wife, Yvonne Le, said 5,000 people have taken the plunge so far.

"This is a good treatment for everyone who likes to have nice feet," Ho said.

He said he wanted to come up with something unique while finding a replacement for pedicures that use razors to scrape off dead skin. The razors have fallen out of favor with state regulators because of concerns about whether they're sanitary.

Ho was skeptical at first about the fish, which are called garra rufa but typically known as doctor fish. They were first used in Turkey and have become popular in some Asian countries.

But Ho doubted they would thrive in the warm water needed for a comfortable footbath. And he didn't know if customers would like the idea.

"I know people were a little intimidated at first," Ho said. "But I just said, 'Let's give it a shot.'"
You’ve got to see them in action. Take a look:

I wonder if fish worry about OUR mercury-risk.

Health Points: Wednesday

Eating locally raised food is a growing trend. But who has time to get to the farmer’s market, let alone plant a garden?

That is where Trevor Paque comes in. For a fee, Mr. Paque, who lives in San Francisco, will build an organic garden in your backyard, weed it weekly and even harvest the bounty, gently placing a box of vegetables on the back porch when he leaves.

Call them the lazy locavores — city dwellers who insist on eating food grown close to home but have no inclination to get their hands dirty. Mr. Paque is typical of a new breed of business owner serving their needs.
In a study published in the latest issue of the journal Neurology, taking Topamax (topiramate) during pregnancy was associated with a birth defect risk within the range of risk seen in other anti-epileptic drugs, researchers reported.

But the incidence of birth defects seen when Topamax was taken with other anti-epileptic drugs was higher than expected.

The study was small, but it is among the first to link Topamax to birth defects in humans, confirming what has been seen in previous animal studies.

"More research needs to be done to confirm these results, especially since it was a small study," researcher John Craig, MRCP, of the Royal Group of Hospitals in Belfast, Northern Ireland said in a news release.

I am the mother of two young children, and extremely grateful to my own parents for looking after them for a few hours now and then. My problem is that they stuff the kids with chocolates, crisps and ice cream. This is not good for the children, their behavior and my own efforts to feed them something nutritious. Why do the grandparents have such a different philosophy, and can I do anything to change their thinking…

… Rather than reasoning with your parents, you must change their incentives. Unfortunately, this is not easy. You could try to bribe your parents, but threats will be useless because they are doing you a favor.

Perhaps your best bet is to try to arrange for longer bouts of childcare. Your parents will have a fresh perspective on the merits of carrots after trying to put a three-year-old to bed in the midst of a sugar high.
"There is some evidence suggesting culturally tailored health education can improve some clinical outcomes in the short-term," co-author Dr. Yolanda Robles of Cardiff University the UK told Reuters Health. However, "further research is needed to assess long-term effects," Robles said.

Language and cultural barriers may hinder the delivery of quality diabetes health education to ethnic minorities, yet education is a vital aspect of diabetes care, Robles and colleagues report in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews from The Cochrane Collaboration.

To assess the overall efficacy of culturally tailored diabetes education versus the "usual" care, the researchers combined findings from 11 published research articles that compared the two approaches among minority groups living in middle- or high-income countries. All of the 1,603 study participants were older than 16 years.
  • U.S. inspectors believe a single jalapeño pepper may have caused salmonella outbreak. More from Lauran Neergaard of the Associated Press:

They found the same bacteria strain on a single Mexican-grown jalapeno pepper handled in Texas -- and issued a stronger warning for consumers to avoid fresh jalapenos.

But Monday's discovery, the equivalent of a fingerprint, doesn't solve the mystery: Authorities still don't know where the pepper became tainted -- on the farm, or in the McAllen, Texas, plant, or at some stop in between, such as a packing house.

Nor are they saying the tainted pepper exonerates tomatoes sold earlier in the spring that consumers until last week had been told were the prime suspect.

Still, "this genetic match is a very important break in the case," said Dr. David Acheson, the Food and Drug Administration's food safety chief.
Fully aware of the irony here, biologist Ronald Levy of Stanford University and his team used tobacco plants to grow the vaccine, which would act against follicular B-cell lymphoma. This chronic, incurable form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma strikes some 16,000 people in the United States each year. For all its horrors, however, follicular B-cell lymphoma just may be tailor-made for a cancer vaccine: all of the malignant cells are the descendants of a single bad actor and have an identical molecule on their surface. But the molecular signature of one patient’s cancer cells is slightly different from every other patient’s; hence the need for potentially expensive personalized vaccines.

The scientists therefore spliced the DNA for the molecular sequences of the antibodies from each of the 16 patients into tobacco cells. The DNA triggered production of antibodies in the tobacco plants’ leaves which were tailor-made for each patient’s lymphoma cells. The scientists ground up the leaves and isolated the antibodies, injecting them into each patient.

The patients’ immune systems got cracking: 70 percent of the patients developed an immune response to the plant-produced vaccine, and 47 percent produced a response specific to the antigen.

"We saw that for women there is still some negative societal fallout to having tattoos", said study author Myrna L. Armstrong, a professor in the school of nursing at Texas Tech University's Health Sciences Center, in Lubbock, Texas. "This isn't a problem for men. Society supports men, because tattoos are related to a macho image, so we don't question it. But for women, having a tattoo seems to be a transgression of gender boundaries."

Armstrong and her colleagues outlined their observations in the July issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

The authors pointed out that about one-quarter of Americans between the ages of 18 and 30 have a tattoo, and women constitute between 45 percent and 65 percent of the tattoo market.

Prior studies show that more than 80 percent of the inked crowd are pleased with their decision to get a tattoo. Among the fifth that are not, about 6 percent ultimately remove their marking.
Almost half of the obstetricians interviewed said they did not routinely ask about alcohol consumption in pregnancy.

An editorial by Professor Elizabeth Elliot from the University of Sydney titled "Alcohol and Pregnancy: the Pivotal Role of the Obstetrician", discusses the state of awareness about the adverse effects of alcohol consumption during pregnancy and the obstetricians’ participation in educating against maternal drinking.

Only 16% of the obstetricians routinely provided information about the consequences of alcohol in pregnancy, while only 5% gave advice which were consistent with the latest guidelines of The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC) - which states that, for pregnant women, ‘no drinking is the safest option’.

Vytorin, Going Down the Toilet

A clinical trial has determined that the cholesterol-lowering drug Vytorin fails to help people with heart disease AND increases their risk of cancer. Alex Berenson of The New York Times reports:
The scientists who reported on the trial, called Seas, cautioned against panicking over the cancer findings, saying that even well-designed clinical trials sometimes produce chance results. A review of two other, much larger trials did not find a similar risk, they said.

Vytorin and Zetia, a companion drug, are prescribed each month to almost three million people worldwide and are among the world’s top-selling medicines.

But other cardiologists and epidemiologists said that the cancer risk could not be so easily dismissed.

The findings of the Seas trial will heighten concerns about Vytorin’s safety and effectiveness, said Dr. Steven Nissen, a former president of the American College of Cardiology and a longtime critic of Vytorin. Six months ago, a fourth clinical trial, called Enhance, also failed to show that Vytorin benefited patients, leading a panel of top cardiologists to recommend using Vytorin and Zetia only as a last resort.

Since that recommendation, Vytorin and Zetia prescriptions have plunged, though the drugs remain among the largest sellers for Merck and Schering- Plough, which jointly sell them. The drugs had combined sales of $5 billion last year.
These drugs have been sinking for months. Take a look:
Oh no. Without that $5 billion, how will all the fat cat executives pay for their yachts and facelifts!

Low-Carb, Anti-Fitness

Milo F. Bryant, a personal trainer and Gazette columnist, scoffs at new research—funded by The Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Foundation—claiming “vindication” for low-carb diets. He contends low-carb diets sap people’s energy. Via The Colorado Springs Gazette:

Which brings me to the results of a study released last week. It lasted two years and determined that the low-carbohydrate Atkins diet produced greater weight loss than the fish-rich Mediterranean diet and the low-fat guidelines suggested by the American Heart Association.

I have a huge problem with this study: The Atkins Foundation helped finance it. It doesn't matter where the researchers are from. It doesn't matter how much integrity they have. They are doing a study with money from a company that can and will gain financially based on the results. This study would have had much more credence if a group unaffiliated with Atkins had paid for it, orchestrated it and found the same results.

Several nutritionists and dietitians I know have almost convinced me that mutations of the Atkins Diet are great for those who aren't as active as others.

But that leads to my next point. Many of us want to be active but find it difficult to gather the energy to do so. Still, we want the weight loss. So we seek out diets such as Atkins. And it works. We lose weight. But we're not active. And Atkins doesn't provide the fuel to get there.

Granted, Milo’s article is an opinion piece, but he’s onto something. According to Dr. Fuhrman our bodies need carbohydrates more than any other substance. He explains in Unrefined Carbohydrates Encourage Weight Loss. Here’s an excerpt:

Our muscle cells and brains are designed to run on carbohydrates. Carbohydrate-rich foods, when consumed in their natural state, are low in calories and high in fiber compared with fatty foods, processed foods, or animal products.

Fat contains about nine calories per gram, but protein and carbohydrates contain approximately four calories per gram. So when you eat high-carbohydrate foods, such as fresh fruits and beans, you eat more food and still keep your caloric intake relatively low. The high fiber content of (unrefined) carbohydrate-rich food is another crucial reason you will feel more satisfied and not crave more food when you make unrefined carbohydrates the main source of calories in your diet.

There are a lot of people at my gym on protein-heavy anti-carb diets, but these people are notoriously flaky. For weeks they’re thin and working hard, but then they disappear for months and when they come back they’re considerably fatter—anyone else notice this?

Study: Fiber Cuts Preeclampsia-Risk

New research by the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine has determined that eating fiber reduces women’s risk of preeclampsia during pregnancy. Here’s some of the abstract via The American Journal of Hypertension:
Background: Substantial epidemiological evidence documents diverse health benefits, including reduced risks of hypertension, associated with diets high in fiber. Few studies, however, have investigated the extent to which dietary fiber intake in early pregnancy is associated with reductions in preeclampsia risk. We assessed the relationship between maternal dietary fiber intake in early pregnancy and risk of preeclampsia. We also evaluated cross-sectional associations of maternal early pregnancy plasma lipid and lipoprotein concentrations with fiber intake.

Conclusions: These findings of reduced preeclampsia risk with higher total fiber intake corroborate an earlier report; and expand the literature by providing evidence, which suggests that dietary fiber may attenuate pregnancy-associated dyslipidemia, an important clinical characteristic of preeclampsia.
Very science heavy for a dingy blogger like me—I had to Wikipedia preeclampisa—but dietary fiber is very health-promoting. Just check out this illustration from Dr. Fuhrman:

That guy almost looks like the liquid metal terminator.

Watermelon Time!

I bought an awesome looking chunk of watermelon this weekend. Check it out:

I better keep it away from these melon munching hounds:

Here’s some silly watermelon news via Diet-Blog: Watermelon, Works like Viagra...

Tomatoes Okay, Again...

Fear not, the FDA says tomatoes are safe to eat. Here’s their official statement:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is updating its warning to consumers nationwide concerning the outbreak of Salmonella Saintpaul.

After a lengthy investigation, the FDA has determined that fresh tomatoes now available in the domestic market are not associated with the current outbreak. As a result, the agency is removing its June 7 warning against eating certain types of red raw tomatoes.

The FDA, working with officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local health departments, is continuing to follow epidemiological and other evidence showing that raw jalapeño and raw serrano peppers now available in the domestic market may be linked to illnesses in this outbreak. At this time, people in high risk populations, such as elderly persons, infants and people with impaired immune systems, should avoid eating raw jalapeño and raw serrano peppers.

According to the CDC, 1,220 persons infected with Salmonella Saintpaul with the same genetic fingerprint have been identified in 42 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.
Doesn’t change anything for me, I’ve be eating tomatoes the whole time.

Broccoli, Sprouts, and Beans!

Broccoli with Red Lentil Sauce

1/2 cup red lentils
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small clove garlic, chopped
11⁄2 to 2 cups carrot juice
1 pound broccoli florets
1 tablespoon Dr. Fuhrman’s VegiZest
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash seasoning
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Add lentils, onions, garlic, and carrot juice to a saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the lentils are soft and pale. Add more carrot juice if needed. Meanwhile, steam the broccoli until just tender. Put the cooked lentil mixture into a food processor or blender with the VegiZest, seasoning and balsamic vinegar and blend to a smooth puree. Add some carrot juice if it is too thick. Place broccoli in a bowl and combine with sauce. If desired, top with chopped pecans. Serves 4.

Brussels Sprouts Polonaise
6 cups Brussels sprouts
1/4 cup soft tofu
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons date sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Dr. Fuhrman’s VegiZest
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup soy milk
Cut large sprouts in half. Steam for 8 minutes or until tender. Blend tofu, lemon juice, date sugar, garlic, VegiZest, 1/4 cup parsley, and soy milk in blender and pour over sprouts. Sprinkle with remaining parsley. Serves 3.

Cuban Black Beans with Brown Rice
5 cups brown rice
olive oil (small amount)
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped green pepper
2 cups tomato juice, no salt
3 15-ounce cans black beans, (no or low salt) drained
1 14-ounce can whole tomatoes, (no salt) undrained and chopped
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce (no salt)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Dr. Fuhrman’s VegiZest or other no salt seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Cook brown rice according to package directions. Using a paper towel moistened with olive oil, lightly coat a large soup pot and sauté onion and peppers until tender. Add tomato juice and next 7 ingredients; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 to 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Serve with brown rice. Serves 6.

Possible Mad Cow in Massachusetts

A patient in a Cape Cod hospital may have the human form of mad cow disease. Local health officials are investigating. Steve LeBlanc of the Associated Press reports:
Dr. Alfred DeMaria, the state's director of communicable disease control, confirmed Sunday to The Associated Press that tests are being done to see if the patient has Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and whether it's the variant attributed to mad cow.

There have only been three cases of the human form of mad cow disease reported in the United States in the last several years, and officials say it's extremely unlikely the patient in Cape Cod Hospital has the disease.

Mad cow disease -- medically known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE -- causes spongy holes in the brain.

Eating meat products contaminated with mad cow disease is linked to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a rare and fatal human malady.
Modern cattle-rearing practices are often blamed for mad cow disease outbreaks; feeding slaughtered cows to cows—via Wikipedia.

ADHD: Ban Artificial Food Dyes

Activists are calling on the Food and Drug Administration to ban artificial food dyes after more research confirms the link to ADHD. David Kohn of The Baltimore Sun explains:
"At this point, there's no evidence of a connection between dyes and children's behavior," says FDA consumer safety officer Judith Kidwell. She points out that in 1982, a National Institutes of Health panel examined the safety of artificial dyes and found no evidence of risk.

That attitude frustrates activists. "They're at least 20 years behind the science," says Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Last month, the group petitioned the FDA to ban use of the dyes, as well as sodium benzoate, a common preservative that critics also suspect of contributing to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

"At the very least, they ought to give some consideration to what the British government is doing," Jacobson said.

The FDA is reviewing the CSPI's petition; a spokesman said he didn't know when the agency would respond.

Scientists aren't sure how these chemicals might affect the brain. There are only eight artificial food dyes used in the U.S. To get specific colors, manufacturers mix them.
Not the first time we’ve heard things like this. Check out these posts:
I’ve never felt the need to consume neon green food.

Cashew Power!

That’sFit passes along some great info on cashews. Take a look:
  • Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts.
  • About 75 percent of their fat is unsaturated fatty acid, and 75 percent of this fat is oleic acid, the same heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fat found in olive oil.
  • Consuming a handful of cashews four times per week can lower the risk of heart disease.
  • Consuming a handful of cashews at least twice a week helps lower risk of weight gain.
  • Cashews contain copper, good for iron utilization, elimination of free radicals, development of bone and connective tissue, and the production of the skin and hair pigment called melanin.
  • Cashews contain magnesium, good for the bones, muscles, and nerves.
  • Cashews help prevent gallstones.
Actually, all nuts are super foods. More from Dr. Fuhrman: Nuts and Seeds Are Excellent Foods!

Green-News: Monday 7.21.08

Large quantities of lead ammunition and fishing tackle are produced annually -- the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that roughly 72,600 metric tons of lead shot and bullets are deposited in the U.S. environment each year at outdoor shooting ranges alone. And while estimates of lost fishing tackle are much less, lead tackle also poses a potential toxicological threat. Lead (Pb) is a nonessential heavy metal with no known functional or beneficial role in biological systems. Although lead is relatively stable, under some environmental conditions (e.g., soft acidic water, acidic soil), lead objects can weather and the element can mobilize, spreading the toxic properties. However, the TWS/AFS technical review concludes that the greatest hazard arises from direct ingestion of lead ammunition and fishing tackle by wildlife, particularly birds.

Topics covered include the chemical properties of lead, sources and estimated quantities of lead originating from hunting, shooting and fishing, as well as the pathways of exposure and the effects of lead on plants, animals, and humans. Current regulations on lead ammunition and fishing tackle, along with alternative materials, are also evaluated.
The plaintiffs hope a favorable ruling would force the EPA to implement standards for every state, most of which have only vague limits on such pollution, said Earthjustice attorney David Guest.

The groups say rain sends the runoff, which includes fertilizers and animal waste, into rivers and lakes, contaminating waterways and nourishing algae blooms that poison the ecosystems.

"This is endemic throughout the United States," Guest said. "When you fertilize the water, it makes it so that only one instrument in the ecological orchestra can play. Where you used to have this vast ecological orchestra, now it's only the algae playing."
In what was described as the United States' first statewide "green" building rules, the California Building Standards Commission said the code would help reduce the carbon footprint of every new structure in the state.

According to a statement from the California State and Consumer Services Agency (SCSA), the code goes beyond existing standards, targeting a 50 percent landscape water conservation reduction.

The code also calls on builders to reduce energy use of new structures by 15 percent more than existing standards.

Other measures include encouraging greater use of recycled materials in carpet and construction materials, the SCSA.

NYC: Menus Get Calories

Its official, Friday New York City restaurants began posting calorie-content on their menus. Edith Honan of Reuters reports:
Starting on Saturday, health inspectors can slap fines of up to $2,000 on fast-food and casual-dining chains if calorie counts are not displayed on their menus in the same font and format as the name or price of food items.

The move follows the city's 2003 ban on public smoking and a ban on artery-clogging trans fats that began on July 1.

New Yorkers appeared unfazed by the rule, and some said they would not be dissuaded from ordering a 540-calorie Big Mac at McDonald's or a 440-calorie Iced lemon Loaf at Starbucks.

"I'm going to eat whatever I'm going to eat," said Erika Roberson, 19, leaving an Applebee's restaurant in Brooklyn.

The rule affects such restaurants as McDonald's; Burger King; Applebee's, operated by DineEquity Inc; Dunkin Donuts; Starbucks and Subway.
I doubt people shopping for convenience foods are too concerned about calories. Only time will tell if this makes an impact.

Green Monster...

Let's see how my heavenly tomato is doing. Here's last week:

Now check it out today:

I'm convinced, this thing is a mutant.

Breast-Feeding, Good Times!

A new study claims breast-feeding releases happy hormones into mothers making them feel content that their babies needs have been met. Reuters reports:
When a baby breast-feeds, it triggers a flood of the hormone oxytocin that releases milk from the mammary gland and a feeling of love and trust in the mother that ensures the baby's needs are met.

This reflex has long puzzled researchers because it requires large surges of oxytocin to pull off all of this. Using a special computer model, researchers from China, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom said on Thursday they now understand how it works.

Their study, reported in the journal PLoS Computational Biology, suggests that breast feeding not only taps the normal brain cells involved in secreting oxytocin.

It also recruits dendrites -- whose normal job is to create communication channels between brain cells -- into secreting the hormone.
Dr. Fuhrman is a huge advocate of breast-feeding. Just check out Followhealthlife’s healthy parenting category for more.

Blogging about Skytop Lodge

Yesterday I drove up to the Poconos to pay Dr. Fuhrman’s Health Getaway at Skytop Lodge a visit and from the second I got there I started meeting people. Like avid nutritarians David and Claudia…

And just as I turned around, Carol says hello. She’s loves Followhealthlife

Okay, after the long drive I was pretty hungry. Off to the dining hall. Looks like a lot of people have the same idea…

Check out Dr. Fuhrman staffer Janice grabbing some grub…

And the lovely Susan—also a Dr. Fuhrman staffer—filling her plate…

Here Dr. Fuhrman demonstrates some unusual table manners…

Hey, look who it is! Susan! I first met Susan at Beaver Brook. She lost 42 pounds at the point…

Now look at her…

Looking good Susan! And I got a chance to meet Sara, a regular on Followhealthlife

Okay, the real reason I was came up to Skytop was for the talent show and just look at this crowd…

And here’s our host…

Yes, I was a judge. I was the perfect smart-aleck for the job! Alright, here’s our first contestant. David with his self-defense demonstration…

Next little Tommy tickled the ivories…

Then Steve showed off his juggling ability…

Sylvester did some standup comedy…

Some of the kids sung a song…

Ben told some jokes…

Shira sung her heart out…

She did great because Dr. Fuhrman coached her up beforehand…

Oh, and Dr. Fuhrman took the time to thank the Chefs for preparing all the wonderful nutrient-dense grub. Great job guys…

Okay, back to the show. Here’s Dr. Fuhrman staffer Elijah playing the guitar…

Lori played the piano while Claudia juggled…

Ray dropped some spoken word on us…

Scott played the guitar and sang…

And finally, Evelyn got real with a touching speech…

Alright, after some tough judging—and all my stupid remarks—here are the winners…

The kids could hardly wait to open their prizes…

The talent show was great! I had a lot of fun and it was so cool meeting everyone, but all good things must come to an end. Here are some night-time shots I snagged on my way out…

Thanks to everyone who came out! See you later. Peace.

Men's Health, All Screwed Up...

Mike Howard of Diet Blog investigates why men’s health is in the crapper. Here are some disturbing snippets from the post:
Compared to women, men...
  • Have higher death rates for all 15 leading causes of death (except Alzheimer's disease) and die more than five years younger.
  • Represent 50% of the work force, yet account for 94% of all on-the-job fatalities.
  • Know less about health and take less responsibility for it.
  • Are less likely to see themselves as ill or susceptible to disease or injury.
Why Men Die Younger than Women
  • They have less-healthy diets
  • They have higher blood pressure and do less to control it
  • They sleep less
  • They smoke more
  • They engage in more criminal activity
  • They have smaller social networks and less intimate and active social relationships
Listen, go to the mall on a busy day and just count ALL the middle-aged guys with big bellies and handfuls of mall food.

U.S. Lacking on Food Safety

At least six other countries have better food safety standards than the United States. More from Stephen J. Hedges of The Chicago Tribune:
The 97-page audit, released Monday and conducted by the audit arm of Congress, was ordered up by two of the most vocal food safety critics, Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.).

Both have pressed for a single food safety agency instead of the dual system in the U.S. right now—the Food and Drug Administration regulates most foods, while the Department of Agriculture is responsible for meat, poultry and egg safety.

"I hope today's report serves as a wake-up call for the administration and others in Congress," Durbin said. "We need a thoughtful overhaul and reorganization of America's food safety system."

The audit examined how Canada, Germany, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the EU reorganized their food safety systems to work more efficiently.
You got to wonder, what the hang ups about improving food safety are—money?

Menthol Smokes Target Kids

Harvard University researchers claim menthol masks the harshness of cigarettes and makes them more appealing to adolescents and young adults. The BBC News reports:
They said industry documents showed US firms tested menthol levels for their appeal to different ages.

A leading tobacco company denied such product targeting, while anti-smoking groups said the strategy had not yet been tried in the UK.

The study, in the American Journal of Public Health, analysed a 2006 survey of US smokers, and found that significantly more adolescent and young adult smokers preferred menthol brands.

Between the age of 12 and 17, 43.8% of smokers said they used menthol cigarettes, as did 35.6% of 18 to 24-year-olds.

Cigarettes with higher levels of menthol have been available for many years, but these tend to appeal to older, established smokers.

In the past decade, brands with lower menthol content have been released, and gained a significant following among younger adults.
Hardly shocking; cigarettes, fast food, sugary cereals, and junk food—hook them when they’re young!

Eating to Live on the Outside: Om Garden

As a Yoga practicing guy who doesn’t eat junk food, I LOVE this week’s Eating to Live on the Outside restaurant, Om Garden. The place is loaded! Plenty of Fuhrman-friendly fare to go around. If I’m ever in Miami I’m dropping by. Let’s have a look-see.

Okay, I’m pretty sure everything on the menu would work. They’re all veggie-inspired—vegan in fact—the only bad stuff I see is a little salt, olive oil, or agave nectar. Not the end of the world. So, here are my favorite menu picks for Om Garden.

Starting with the raw deli salads, I like the Seven Seas Seaweed Salad; 7 kinds of seaweed, kale, tomatoes, red onions, olive oil, and garlic. It’s probably a tad salty, but I dig seaweed so I could live with it. Besides, I don’t eat seaweed very often. The Cabbage Chi looks good too; cabbage, cucumbers, red peppers, olive oil, lemon, apple cider vinegar, and sea salt. I can deal with the oil, but I’d ditch the salt. I also like the Soothing Cucumber Salad; cucumber, sesame oil, sesame seeds, lemon juice, dill, sea salt, and red onion. Again, the salt gets the axe. Lots of tasty veggies here!

Under vegan deli salads, the Natures Harvest is quite intriguing; wild rice, pine nuts, raisins, papaya, and grapes. Since rice isn’t a nutrient-dense food, it’s a concession, but I’m cool with it. The combination of flavors sounds interesting. Papaya rocks!

Some of the regular salads are great too. Like the Zen House Salad; mixed baby greens, carrot, beet, cucumber, sprouts, avocado, and tomatoes. Hard to argue with all that! The Chakra Salad is neat too. It’s made with beet, tomato, carrot, yellow pepper, broccoli, and red cabbage. Provided you go easy on the dressing, these are really good.

Onto the raw entrees, both the Rainbow Roll and Green Goddess Roll look good. Combined they’re prepared with carrot, beet, cucumber, avocado, baby greens, mango, figs, balsamic syrup, sprouts, spinach, and green onion. Beets cool, greens cool—avocado fantastic!

Check out these cooked entrees. The Macro Cosmic Bowl; steamed veggies, brown rice or quinoa, and your choice of sauce-miso, teriyaki, and sweet & sour. Steamed veggies are great. I’d go with the quinoa and use some sweet & sour sparingly—good idea? The Full of Life looks tasty too; sprouted tortilla, beans, rice, baby greens, avocado, tomatoes, guacamole, salsa, and onions. The tortilla and rice are concessions—I’m okay with them—and provided the guacamole is sour cream-free, then it’s okay too.

The desserts don’t really do anything for me, but there are a few smoothies and juices I like. The Liquid Sunshine smoothie is made with banana, carrot juice, and coconut meat. Very cool! The Wild Jungle smoothie is cool too; avocado, spinach, coconut milk, and orange. As for the juices, I’m eyeballing the Bunny Love and the Be Green Juice. The Bunny Love is made with apple, carrot, beet, and celery. Nice! And the Be Green Juice is prepared with celery, cucumber, spinach, and kale. Again, nice!

What do you think, is Om Garden as good as I think it is? It looks pretty solid to me, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. That’s pretty hard to beat, but—like I’ve said before—I’m a big dummy. Come on, I blog for a living! So it’s your turn. Scope out Om Garden’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 greatly!

No Evidence that Diet Prevents Diabetes?

A team of researchers from The Cochrane Collaboration, an independent international not-for-profit healthcare information organization, claim that dietary intervention alone cannot prevent type-2 diabetes. Jennifer Beal of EurekAlert reports:
When a team of Cochrane Researchers set out to see if dietary advice alone could help a person with type 2 diabetes, they were only able to identify two trials that together involved just 358 people.

"Considering the importance of this disorder, we were disappointed to find such a small amount of relevant data," says lead researcher Lucie Nield, who works in Centre for Food, Physical Activity & Obesity, University of Teesside, Middlesbrough.

The two studies did, however, indicate that dietary advice alone could play an important role. One study randomly assigned people to either a control group or a dietary advice group. After six years 67.7% of people in the control group had diabetes, compared with only 43.8% in the advice group. This was a 33% reduction. In another study 12 months of dietary advice led to significant reductions in many diabetes related factors, such as insulin resistance, fasting C-peptide, fasting proinsulin, fasting blood glucose, fasting triglycerides, and fasting cholesterol and PAI-1.
This blurs reality. It implies that lifestyle diseases, like diabetes, are unavoidable. So why don’t I have diabetes, or Dr. Fuhrman, or his patients? Eating a nutrient-dense vegetable-based diet is your best defense against—and a treatment for—type-2 diabetes. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Increasing your consumption of high-nutrient fruits and vegetables is the key to disease resistance, disease reversal, and a long, healthy life. The potential reduction in disease rates shows no threshold effect in the scientific studies. That means that as high-nutrient vegetables and high-nutrient fruits increase as a major portion of caloric intake, disease rates fall in a dose-dependent manner—the more the diet is comprised of these foods, the better your health will be1…

…If the person is obese, with more than fifty pounds of additional fat weight, his body will demand huge loads of insulin from the pancreas, even as much as ten times more than a person of normal weight needs. So what do you think happens after five to ten years of forcing the pancreas to work so hard? You guessed it—pancreatic poop-out…

…Diets high in fiber and vegetables have been consistently shown to be beneficial for diabetic patients and offer considerably better results when compared to the current recommendations of the American Diabetic Association Diet.2 The dietary advice typically offered to diabetics is not science-based, and it caters to Americans’ social and food preferences and food addictions.
Okay, maybe there aren’t enough studies illustrating this—probably because no drug company would fund it—but to say there is “no evidence” that diet staves off type-2 diabetes is naive and irresponsible reporting—don’t you think?
Continue Reading...

Misconceptions in Food Safety...

Sometimes I’m guilty of mishandling my food, like eating vegetables without rinsing them, but apparently that doesn’t get rid of all the bacteria anyway. That’sFit passes this along and other misconceptions about food safety:
  • That bacteria can be washed off.
  • That local always means food is safe.
  • That cooking can eliminate all bacteria.
  • That food-borne illnesses are rare.
  • That you don't need a food thermometer.
  • That cooked food is safe sitting out.
Via Forbes.
Although, when I see creepy-crawlies on the fresh organic produce from my CSA—I first freak out—then I wash them thoroughly, most of the time.

Face Off: Colbert vs. Cookie Monster

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while. A month ago Stephen Colbert confronted Cookie Monster on his new position on cookies. Enjoy:

Nation, its good to see Cookie Monster coming around.

Save Cash, Pack Lunch

Let’s face it, most of us are feeling the economic squeeze and buying lunch everyday is no way to save some cash. That’s why CBS suggests “brown-bagging” lunch to save some green. Take a look:
Bringing your lunch to work for a year, rather than buying it from restaurants, could save you about $2,000, according to a recent study by market research company NPD, with the average brown-bagged lunch costing $2 to prepare, as opposed to the average tab of $6 for a lunch from a fast food eatery.

And brown-bagging is up by about one-fifth over the last seven years, reports Early Show consumer correspondent Susan Koeppen, with consumers shying away from restaurants at lunchtime more and more.

Apparently, men are the most likely to brown-bag it, and fruit, chips and a sandwich make up the most popular menu.

NPD's Harry Balzer tells Koeppen the most popular brown-bagged lunch sandwich is peanut butter and jelly.

Balzer's been studying the eating habits of Americans for more than 30 years and says more than 90 percent of brown-baggers say they do it to save money.
Yeah, I’m not digging the peanut butter and jelly, but packing a lunch is not only cheaper, it’s a great way to ensure you’re eating wisely away from home.

Exercise, Prevents Brain Shrinkage

New research contends exercise may slow brain shrinkage in the early stages Alzheimer's disease. Malcolm Ritter of the Associated Press reports:
Getting a lot of exercise may help slow brain shrinkage in people with early Alzheimer's disease, a preliminary study suggests. Analysis found that participants who were more physically fit had less brain shrinkage than less-fit participants. However, they didn't do significantly better on tests for mental performance. That was a surprise, but maybe the study had too few patients to make an effect show up in the statistical analysis, said Dr. Jeffrey Burns, one of the study's authors…

…Burns, who directs the Alzheimer and Memory Program at the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City, reports the work with colleagues in Tuesday's issue of the journal Neurology.

The study included 57 people with early Alzheimer's. Their physical fitness was assessed by measuring their peak oxygen demand while on a treadmill, and brain shrinkage was estimated by MRI scans.
Hey folks. Clearly, you got to exercise—not sure you can get around it.

Olympics: Blade Runner Falls Short...

Sad news, Oscar Pistorius a double-amputee sprinter who in May was cleared to compete for a place in the Beijing Olympics, failed to qualify. Graham Dunbar of the Associated Press reports:
“I am so excited and so happy. I really enjoyed tonight,” Pistorius said. “It was always going to be a very difficult task to achieve the individual time but there is still the hope of the relay.”

South Africa selectors will choose their team for the Aug. 8-24 Beijing Games by the weekend and can invite him to join the six-man roster for the 1,600-meter relay.

To do so would defy a public request from the IAAF because the body believes his prosthetic legs are a threat to his own and other athletes’ safety.

“I think it is the IAAF’s last desperate attempt to try to get me not to qualify,” Pistorius said.

In May he won an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport to overturn an IAAF ban which prevented him competing against able-bodied runners.

On Wednesday the New York legal firm of Dewey and Leboeuf, which steered that case, threatened a second legal action against the IAAF.

“We believe the IAAF is obligated to immediately advise the South African Federation and Olympic Committee that it has no objection to Mr. Pistorius competing in the 4x400m relay at the Beijing Games,” it said in a statement.
Win, lose, or draw. Oscar is a hero. If you’re looking for a role model or even just a little extra inspiration, Oscar's the guy. Great job Blade Runner!

Sandwich Cuts Likes a Knife

A man is suing Subway after he found that knife baked into his sandwich. Sally Goldberg of The New York Post reports:
A Queens man is suing the sandwich empire for $1 million after finding a large serrated knife he says was baked into the bread of his 12-inch cold-cut sub.

John Agnesini, 27, of Astoria, told The Post he was horrified when he spotted the 7-inch blade inside his lunch.

"After taking a few bites I could tell something didn't taste right," Agnesini said.

"Then I felt something hard on the bottom of the bread. I turned it over and could see the knife baked inside."

He said the sharp edge of the stainless steel knife was facing upward and extended into the half of the sandwich he had begun to eat.

"It's shocking. You see this metal knife. I mean, it's one thing seeing a hair or something," Agnesini said. "If I didn't look at it, could you imagine what would happen? I could've slashed the side of my mouth."

A Subway spokesman would not discuss the June 27 incident.

"At Subway restaurants, we take food safety and customer comments very seriously. We are aware of the complaint made and are investigating the facts. As a pending legal matter, we cannot discuss this matter further," spokesman Kevin Kane said.
Now, I’m not a Subway hater, but its time for them to seriously review their quality control—don’t you think?

Confusing News: Sugar Helps School Kids Concentrate

New research by David Benton, Ph.D., a psychologist and professor at Swansea University, Wales, U.K., suggests sugary drinks improve school children’s memories and concentration. Richard Gray of the UK Telegraph reports:
“Children between the ages of five and ten need twice as much glucose for their brains compared to an adult, but unlike other organs the brain does not store energy so it has to obtain it straight from the blood.

“The message we would like to encourage is that children need to be fed a little and often, but the risk is that they get fed a lot and often leading to problems with obesity.”

Professor Benton gave 16 nine and ten-year-olds fruit squash containing either artificial sweetener or glucose, a basic form of sugar. When the children consumed glucose, he found their memory test scores improved by over ten per cent. The children also spent between 11 and 20 minutes longer on a task when asked to work individually in class.

But Professor Benton did insist that schools should not start feeding pupils fizzy drinks between classes, proposing regular fruit of muesli bars instead.
The methodology of this study only serves to confuse. I’m not a nutritionist, but I think I can say this. Isolated sugars and sweeteners are NEVER healthy. In fact, consuming them interferes with your body’s ability to detoxify. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
When you eat a diet that is based on toxic and addictive foods—such as salt, fried foods, snack foods, and sugary drinks—you not only build up free radicals and AGEs in your cells, but you also set the stage for ill feelings when you are not digesting food. Unhealthy food allows your body to create waste byproducts that must be removed by the liver and other organs. Only when digestion ends can the body fully take advantage of the opportunity to circulate and attempt to remove toxins. If the body is constantly digesting, it can’t go through this detoxification process effectively.
If children need glucose, why even consider nutrition-less sugar? Highly nutritious fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of glucose (via Wikipedia), start there instead! Besides, it was recently determined that kids are already consuming WAY too much sugar.

Study: Teens Skimp on the Exercise

When it comes to staying physically active, teenagers take a nosedive; 9-year olds get about 3 hours per day, while 15-year olds only get about 49 minutes during the week and even less on weekends. More from Tara Parker-Pope of The New York Times:
While researchers have long believed that childhood activity wanes as kids enter their teen years, the study is unique because it followed about 1,000 children from around the country over time and used activity monitors to carefully track moderate to vigorous physical activity at various ages. The findings show clearly that even the most active young children experience a precipitous drop in physical activity as they hit puberty.

"I was surprised by the degree of the drop – it’s a dramatic shift,” said Dr. Philip R. Nader, emeritus professor of pediatrics at the University of California-San Diego. "Younger children appear to be naturally active, but as kids get older, they find fewer opportunities to be active.”

The activity study was part of the ongoing Study of Early Childcare and Youth Development, a 15-year look at the health of American children funded by the National Institutes of Health. Unlike many childhood activity studies, the latest research didn’t rely on parents to report a child’s activity. Instead the children wore accelerometers – devices that measure movement – for a week at a time during the ages of 9, 11, 12 and 15.

Overall, boys were more active than girls, moving on average, 18 more minutes a day. The age of 13 appeared to be a particularly vulnerable time – that’s the point for both boys and girls that weekend activity dropped below the 60 minute mark.
I’m not a parent, but I think it starts with the parents. My mom has always exercised A LOT and it certainly rubbed off on me. As early as 7th grade I started developing workout routines.

E. coli, Salmonella Updates...

The outbreak has been traced to beef sold in Kroger supermarkets in Michigan and Ohio. The Kroger Co. last month recalled ground beef sold in Michigan and Ohio stores, then this month expanded it to include other states. About 5.3 million pounds of beef was recalled.

The Kentucky patient lives near Ohio, but the New York and Indiana patients did not travel to either of the states where the outbreak began, said Mark Sotir, a CDC investigator working on the outbreak.

All 44 illnesses in the outbreak are attributed to the same type of E. coli, one that causes a potentially deadly bacterial infection. The illnesses began between May 30 and June 24. CDC officials say 21 of the victims have been hospitalized and one developed kidney failure, but no one has died.

With the latest cases reported as of July 4, the nationwide toll from Salmonella Saintpaul now stands at 1,148 people in 42 states, the District of Columbia and Canada, according to the latest figures posted on the Web site of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At least 220 people have been hospitalized.

Statistically speaking, the patients range in age from under 1 to 99 years old; 50 percent are female. The rate of illness is highest among those 20 to 29 years old; it is lowest among adolescents 10 to 19 years old and people over 80.

Officials, meanwhile, appear no closer to zeroing in on the cause. Last week, they broadened the search, which had focused on certain types of tomatoes, to include jalapeno and serrano peppers and fresh cilantro.

While health investigators are hard at work, the CDC said on its Web site, "people often have difficulty remembering exactly what foods they ate, and remembering specific ingredients in those foods is even more difficult.

Women: Obesity Boosts Pancreatic Cancer Risk

Carrying extra weight around the stomach ups a woman’s pancreatic cancer risk by 70 percent. Reuters reports:
The findings suggest are some of the first evidence that the link between obesity and pancreatic cancer is as strong in women as in men, Juhua Luo of Sweden's Karolinska Institute and colleagues reported in the British Journal of Cancer.

"We found that the risk of developing pancreatic cancer was significantly raised in obese postmenopausal women who carry most of their excess weight around the stomach," she said in a statement.

"Obesity is a growing and largely preventable problem, so it's important that women are aware of this major increase in risk."

Pancreatic cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death worldwide. It accounts for only about 2 percent of the cancers diagnosed each year but the first-year survival rate is less than 5 percent, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
Obesity leads to all sorts problems. Just check out these posts:

Green-News: Wednesday 7.16.08

Air-quality data from a network of sampling sites have revealed intriguing results, Garrison said recently at the International Coral Reef Symposium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

For instance, Caribbean air samples during African dust events may hold two to three times as many microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi, as samples taken from the same spot during other periods.

In Florida the Africa-influenced air conditions sometimes deteriorate below U.S. air-quality standards.

Air-quality testing in Mali, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Trinidad and Tobago has also revealed traces of pesticides, including DDE—a breakdown product of DDT, which is still used as an insecticide in some African countries.
"There's every reason to anticipate that it would be happening worldwide," urologist Dr. Margaret Pearle of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, one of the researchers, said in a telephone interview.

Not drinking enough water and other fluids or losing too much fluids through dehydration -- more likely in hotter climates -- can leave one's urine with higher concentrations of substances that can form kidney stones.

This is just the latest negative health consequence to be predicted due to climate change. Others include an increase in the many diseases spread by mosquitoes and other insects.

In the United States, about 12 percent of men and 7 percent of women experience kidney stone disease at some time.

The fraction of the U.S. population living in high-risk zones for kidney stones could grow from 40 percent in 2000 to 56 percent by 2050 and to 70 percent by 2095 if temperatures rise as predicted, the researchers said.
  • To save water a California couple stopped watering their lawn. So the grass turned brown, neighbors complained, and now the couple faces a $746 fine. More from Matt Weiser of The Sacramento Bee:
Before Hartridge could plan new landscaping, a neighbor complained to the city about her brown lawn, and the Code Enforcement Department slapped the family with a citation.

Their small brick home was declared a "public nuisance" in violation of city code section 17.68.010, which states that front yards "shall be irrigated, landscaped and maintained."

A $746 fine will be next unless they correct the violation.

"In order to make the lawn go, I would have had to keep watering it intensely, and since the drought was declared, I decided that wasn't a good idea," said Hartridge. "Honestly, I think there's a disconnect within the city about priorities."

Two weeks ago, The Bee reported that Sacramento's per capita water use is among the greatest in the world. Later that week, the same day Hartridge got the citation, an audit revealed that the city has lost or misplaced nearly 5,000 water meters, out of more than 100,000 it must install citywide to comply with state law.

"On one hand they're mislaying their water meters, and on the other hand they going out and putting enforcement on people who don't have green lawns," Hartridge said. "And there's water running down the gutters of my neighborhood every day."

Kid Foods Low on Nutrition

A Canadian study claims that food products marketed to children have poor nutritional content. Reuters reports:
The study, done by the University of Calgary, found that nine out of 10 food items provided poor nutritional value because of high levels of sugar, fat or sodium.

Just under 70 percent of the products - which excluded soft drinks, and confectionary and bakery items - derived a high proportion of their calories from sugar.

One in five had high fat levels, and 17 percent had high sodium levels.

Even so, 62 percent of the products with poor nutritional quality made positive claims on the front of the packaging, amid increasing concerns over childhood obesity.

"Parents may have questions about which packaged foods are good for their children," said lead researcher Charlene Elliott in a statement.

"Yet certain nutritional claims may add to the confusion, as they can mislead people into thinking the whole product is nutritious," she added.
Now, this may be true, but, isn’t it up to the parents to say, “No. I’m not buying that crap!”

Grilled Meat, Risky...

Its summer and lot of people have barbeque on their minds, but grilling foods—especially meat—comes with a hefty price. Cooking meat at high temperatures releases cancer-causing carcinogens. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Cancer-causing compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are even more concentrated in grilled chicken than in beef.1 Another recent study from New Zealand that investigated heterocyclic amines in meat, fish, and chicken found the greatest contributor of HCAs to cancer risk was chicken.2
In fact, the American Institute for Cancer Research is urging people to substitute veggies for meat and change their grilling habits. Brittney Johnson of The Washington Post reports:
AICR's warning is based on a 2007 review of research conducted on animals showing that diets high in red and processed meats increase the risk of colorectal cancer. This is the third most common cause of cancer death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The AICR recommends eating no more than 18 cooked ounces of red meat per week -- the equivalent of about four quarter-pound hamburgers -- and avoiding all processed meats, including such summer favorites as hot dogs and sausages.

Cooking meats such as beef, fish and pork at high temperatures produces carcinogens -- substances that can cause changes in DNA that may lead to cancer.
Makes your worry about Uruguay's big barbecue—26,400 pounds toxic beef—that’s why I don’t grill anything. In stead, I steam—EVERYTHING—and according to Dr. Fuhrman, water-based cooking is the best choice:
When food is steamed or made into a soup, the temperature is fixed at 100 degrees Celsius or 212 Fahrenheit—the temperature of boiling water. This moisture-based cooking prevents food from browning and forming toxic compounds. Acrylamides, the most generally recognized of the heat-created toxins, are not formed with boiling or steaming. They are formed only with dry cooking. Most essential nutrients in vegetables are more absorbable after being cooked in a soup, not less absorbable.
Seems pretty logical, I doubt eating a piece of charcoal is healthful, so why would a charred piece of already unhealthy steak be any better? For more on meat and carcinogens, check out: The Meat-Disease Connection.
Continue Reading...

Salmonella Hurting Peppers Too

Mexican farmers are seeing a decrease in sales of jalapeño peppers due to the fear surrounding salmonella and tomatoes. Julie Schmit of USA TODAY explains:
"If this goes on for two more weeks, there's a strong likelihood you won't get a jalapeño in your burrito," says Will Steele, CEO of a leading pepper importer, Frontera Produce of Edinburg, Texas.

Frontera is still shipping peppers, but some importers have stopped, saying the tests take so long that peppers rot in the warehouse. Wholesale prices have doubled as grocers and restaurants pursue limited supplies from Southeastern growers…

…Hot peppers are suspected sources of a salmonella outbreak that has sickened 1,090 people in the USA.

The Food and Drug Administration last week advised high-risk consumers, such as the young and old, to avoid fresh jalapeño and serrano peppers. The FDA first linked the outbreak in June to some types of raw tomatoes, which are still suspects.
See, everyone suffers when food regulations aren’t up to snuff.

Less Second Hand Smoke, But...

Officials cite smoking bans and other anti-smoking laws for a major drop in second hand smoke, but too many children are still exposed. Mike Stobbe of the Associated Press reports:
"It's still high," said Cinzia Marano, one of the study's authors. "There is no safe level of exposure."

Cigarettes cause lung cancer and other deadly illnesses not only in smokers, but in nonsmokers who breathe in smoke, studies have shown.

For nonsmoking adults, secondhand smoke increases lung cancer risk by at least 20 percent and heart disease risk by at least 25 percent. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk of asthma attacks, ear problems, acute respiratory infections and sudden infant death syndrome, health officials say.

The CDC report drew its data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a unique government study that sends mobile trailers out to communities. Participants are asked about their health and get blood tests and physical exams.

The blood tests check for cotinine - a byproduct of nicotine that usually is detectable for up to five days.
Here’s some more smoking-related news. Take a look:

Sock Puppet Veggie Theater

One sock puppet attempts to convince another socket puppet that veggies will make him strong and fast. Enjoy:

I’m SO surprised that the veggie sock won.

Green-News: Tuesday 7.15.08

The ruling, which one environmentalist called "the legal equivalent of a dirty bomb," threatened to overshadow a separate decision Friday by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to delay potential regulations for carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act.

Though many had expected the carbon dioxide non-decision, environmentalists were blindsided by the court's decision to throw out the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), a programme designed to reduce East Coast air pollution by cleaning up coal-fired power plants in the Midwest.

"It is without a doubt the worst news of the year when it comes to air pollution," says Frank O'Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch, an environmental group based in Washington DC.
The decision by Kamikatsu's mayor is partly economic. It costs the city less money to recycle and compost thoroughly than it does to incinerate the waste for energy.

But full responsibility for garbage falls on residents shoulders. The styrofoam trays used to hold meat have to be washed before being recycled; labels must be removed. Residents sort polyethylene teraphthalate bottles from other types of plastic containers because PET are more valuable. Pens and razors have boxes of their own.

Residents say composting and sorting does take more time, but they are more aware of what they throw out, what they use and how. The mayor of Kamikatsu says every community should follow his lead.

I’m not sure how to react to this, but apparently high gas prices curb the number of automobile deaths. Via Lloyd Alter of TreeHugger:

A new study indicates that high gas prices could reduce auto deaths by nearly a third, and even more among price-sensitive teenage drivers.

According to LiveScience, "Professors Michael Morrisey of the University of Alabama-Birmingham and David Grabowski of Harvard Medical School found that for every 10 percent increase in gas prices there was a 2.3 percent decline in auto deaths. For drivers ages 15 to 17, the decline was 6 percent, and for ages 18 to 21, it was 3.2 percent....

"I think there is some silver lining here in higher gas taxes in that we will see a public health gain," Grabowski said. But he cautioned that their estimate of a decline of 1,000 deaths a month could be offset somewhat by the shift under way to smaller, lighter, more fuel-efficient cars and the increase in motorcycle and scooter driving."

Don't Eat Metal!

Doctors in Peru yanked 17 metal objects—including nails, a watch clasp, and a knife—from a man’s stomach. He ate them. Reuters reports:
Luis Zarate was taken to the regional hospital of Trujillo earlier this week by his family after complaining of sharp stomach pains. Doctors took X-rays of his chest that showed his insides littered with screws.

"There were 17 strange objects found at the level of his stomach and colon," said Dr. Julio Acevedo, one of the surgeons who operated on Zarate.

The black-and-white scans showed Zarate's skeleton interlaced with things like bolts, barbed-wire and pens.

"The objects had caused the stomach to expand," said Acevedo.
This is no way to get your iron.

Treadmill While You Work

Innovative or impractical, makers of the “Workstation” have combined the desk and the treadmill. Could it be the perfect workplace-exercise contraption? Rob Lever of the AFP reports:
The device allows people to work on their computers while walking on a treadmill at a slow speed of up to three kilometers (two miles) per hour, enabling small amounts of movement that supporters say have the potential to reap big health benefits.

The product made by Details, a unit of Michigan-based office furniture maker Steelcase, is selling 30 to 40 units per week, according to company president Bud Klipa.

"The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, we have numerous repeat customers," Klipa told AFP.

Products and services such as these are part of the future workplace in America and elsewhere as companies try to battle obesity and cap medical costs, according to John Challenger, chief executive of the consultancy Challenger Gray & Christmas.

"Companies are recognizing they have to find a way to get control of their health care costs," Challenger said.
Yeah, I’m not that coordinated. If I tried to type and walk at the same time the outcome would not be pretty—or legible.

Eat For Health: Eating More, Not Less

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

I consider the ideal version of this diet to be one that contains at least 90 percent of calories from the healthiest foods; vegetables, fruits, beans, raw nuts and seeds, avocados, and whole grains. For many others, this amount of change may feel too dramatic because they are giving up foods that they love and replacing them with foods that aren’t familiar, while adjusting to the physical symptoms of a changing diet at the same time. This modified approach is the one you are learning here and was designed to work in sync with your brain so that you won’t feel withdrawal or deprivation.

The focus here is on eating more, not less. The more raw and cooked green vegetables you consume, the less space you will have to eat high-calorie, low-nutrient foods. As the below graphic demonstrates, you will fill a sizeable volume of space in your stomach with a very small number of calories. This will help you comfortably cut the number of calories that you eat each day. This is very much like gastric bypass surgery without the surgery.

You will need to adjust the amount of raw vegetables you eat to what your body will comfortably tolerate. If you have uncomfortable gas, cut back a little on raw vegetables and beans. Don’t remove these foods, just cut back partially, because the goal is to let the body adjust the timing and secretion of its digestive enzymes and peristalsis to accommodate this healthy, more natural diet-style. You should be able to increase the amount of raw vegetables gradually without a problem. Don’t forget to concentrate on chewing better, because that may solve the problem. For some, it takes time for their digestive system to build up the capacity to digest raw, whole foods, especially after eating so little fiber for so long.

No New Fast-Food Restaurants in South-Central Los Angeles

One Los Angeles city official doesn’t want anymore fast food restaurants opening up in poor neighborhoods. Karl Vick of The Washington Post reports:
"Some people will say, 'Well, people just don't have to eat it,' " said Jan Perry, the Democrat who represents the city's overwhelmingly African American and Latino District 9. "But the fact of the matter is, what if you have no other choices?"

The proposed ordinance, which takes a page from boutique communities that turn up their noses at franchises, is supported by nutritionists, frustrated residents and community activists who call restrictive zoning an appropriate response to "food apartheid."

"There's one set of food for one part of the city, another set of food for another part of the city, and it's very stratified that way," said Marqueece Harris-Dawson, executive director of Community Coalition, based in South-Central.

The activist group has focused on land use in the economically depressed neighborhoods south of downtown, working to shutter 200 liquor stores and a dozen motels on the premise that "nuisance businesses" encourage violence and crime while crowding out wholesome alternatives. The fresh, healthful fare that defines "California cuisine" remains almost impossible to find on a gritty landscape of corner carryouts and franchises.
I’m all for free enterprise, but it’s obvious that fast food restaurants—with their cheap food—single out poorer communities. This story first broke back in September: A strict order for fast food.

Snack to Live!

High Cruciferous Juice
6 medium carrots
6 cauliflower florets
2 apples, cut in fourths
1 bunch kale
1/2 bunch watercress
1/2 head broccoli with stems
Run all ingredients through a juicer. Serves 4.

Baked Garlic Pita Chips
2 whole wheat pitas
olive oil cooking spray (optional)
garlic powder
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Split each pita in half horizontally. Spray pita halves lightly with olive oil, if desired, and sprinkle with garlic powder. Cut each half in half and then into four sections to form triangles. Place on baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy. Serve with salsa or hummus. Serves 4.

Red Pepper Salsa

2 red bell peppers, stems removed
1/2 cup minced fennel
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons Dr. Fuhrman’s VegiZest
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Broil peppers on high until softened and brown on all sides, about 25 minutes, turning after 10 minutes. Enclose in a paper bag and let stand 10 minutes. Peel, seed, and chop peppers. Mix fennel, vinegar, oil, VegiZest, garlic, and red peppers in medium bowl. Season with pepper. Good served with endive leaves for dipping. Serves 4

Green-News: Monday 7.14.08

  • Houston’s mayor claims that the EPA is underreporting pollution caused by refineries and chemical plants. Matthew Tresaugue of The Houston Chronicle reports:
"Up until now, the EPA has relied on rough estimates, and the companies themselves have done the estimates," Mayor Bill White said. "It's a simple request, but it's a very bold request. It's a request that will allow the people of Houston to know what's in their air."

The mayor said federal, state and local governments must have reliable data to make decisions regarding public health. The push comes as state regulators work on a new pollution-fighting plan for the eight-county Houston region, one of the nation's smoggiest.

It's also White's latest attempt to confront regulators in his fight over toxic chemical emissions. In May, the city challenged the permits from a nearby plant to force the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to limit the levels of the carcinogen benzene in the air.

"You can't overstate how important this is," Matthew Tejada, executive director of the Galveston-Houston Association for Smog Prevention, said of the mayor's request to the EPA. "It's going to change your calculations of everything. It will open a can of worms, but it needs to be opened."
The participants of the the German Cancer Research Center study included 60 vegans (no animal products consumed), 1165 vegetarians (eating eggs, milk but no meat) with the remainder described as "moderate" vegetarians who occasionally ate fish or meat. The health of these study participants was compared with the average German population. Living longer seems not to be exclusively related to eating meat, though, as the results for moderate vegetarians was not statistically different from those for vegan or strict vegetarian diets.

To the argument that it is not vegetarianism but a general interest in a healthier lifestyle which leads to such notable results, scientists reply with evidence that the majority of vegetarians do not cite health reasons for their lifestyle, but make their choice based on ethical commitment, environmental concerns or simply personal taste…

… Research by a team led by Professor Ibrahim Elmadfa at the University of Vienna found a much better than average intake of Vitamin C, Carotinoides, Folic acid, fiber and unsaturated fats. Where shortcomings may arise is for Vitamin B12, calcium und Vitamin D in a vegan diet. Astoundingly, however, study participants did not suffer from diseases, such as osteoporosis, typically related to inadequate intakes of these micro-nutrients.
Paper Towels - A waste all over the map. It's money that you don't have to spend, and trees that don't have to be cut down. Buy reusable and washable hand and dish towels instead.

Bleached Coffee Filters - Dioxins, chemicals formed during the chlorine bleaching process, contaminate groundwater and air and are linked to cancer in humans and animals. Look for unbleached paper filters or use reusable filters such as washable cloth filters.

Cling/Saran/ Plastic Wrap - Many people don't realize that cling wrap may be made with PVC. #3 PVC (polyvinyl chloride) leaches toxins when heated or microwaved and it is an environmental problem throughout its lifecycle. Instead store things in reusable containers.

Green Leaves

Time to check in with my heavenly tomato! This was last week:

Now here it is today:

Behold, the power of tomatoes!

Flavonoids, Protecting Your Heart...

Researchers believe that flavonoids—antioxidants found in plant foods—improve heart-health in numerous ways. Of HealthDay News reports:
Health benefits associated with flavonoids have been reported for decades, but it's still difficult for experts to make specific recommendations about which flavonoids to eat for specific health effects because of a lack of data. Antioxidants slow or prevent the oxidative process caused by substances called free radicals, which can cause cell dysfunction and the onset of heart disease and other health problems.

In the new study, Dr. Lee Hooper, a lecturer at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, U.K., and colleagues sifted through the 133 studies to look at the links between different flavonoid subclasses and flavonoid-rich foods on different risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as unhealthy cholesterol, high blood pressure and blood flow.

Among the findings:
  • Eating chocolate or cocoa increased a measure called flow-mediated dilation, which is a good indication of blood flow in the veins. It also reduced blood pressure, both systolic (the upper number, reflecting the maximum pressure exerted when the heart contracts) by about 6 points, and diastolic (the bottom number, reflecting the maximum pressure when the heart is at rest), by about 3.3 points. But it didn't seem to have an effect on so-called "bad" LDL cholesterol.
  • Soy protein reduced diastolic blood pressure by almost 2 points of mercury and improved bad cholesterol but didn't improve so-called good HDL cholesterol. But those effects were found just for isolated soy protein, not for other soy products.
Not exactly new news, but still cool. For more on flavonoids, check out: What's a Flavonoid?

Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol...

I was reading That’sFit and found this link to Jonny Bowden’s Simple Ways to Improve Your Cholesterol—Now, on Remedy Life. Here are Jonny’s 5 tips:
  1. Eat more fiber.
  2. Lose weight.
  3. Exercise.
  4. Choose cholesterol-lowering foods.
  5. Take your supplements.
I was a little skeptical at first because Jonny has popped up on low-carb blogs—we all know how kooky those are—but his tips are right on point; especially when he suggests eating healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, cereals, and legumes.

As for taking supplements, Dr. Fuhrman sells his own, so that’s a good place to start. Also, Jonny recently provided the Well blog with his list of super foods. If you skip the canned sardines and canned pumpkin, it’s pretty good too. Via Well:
  • Beets
  • Cabbage
  • Swiss chard
  • Cinnamon
  • Pomegranate juice
  • Dried plums
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Turmeric
  • Frozen blueberries
You should also check out Dr. Fuhrman’s Ten Super Foods and his Seven Best and Seven Worst Foods for Health and Longevity.

Women: More Green Veggies, Less Diabetes

New research has determined that eating more leafy greens and fruit, lowers women’s risk of developing type-2 diabetes. Laurie Barclay, MD of Medscape Today reports:
"Fruit and vegetable consumption has been associated with decreased incidence of and mortality from a variety of health outcomes including obesity, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases in epidemiological studies," write Lydia A. Bazzano, MD, PhD, from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana, and colleagues. "However, few prospective studies have examined the relationship between fruit and vegetable intake and risk of diabetes, and the results are not entirely consistent. Differences in the nutrient contents of fruits and vegetables by group could lead to differences in health effects…"

“…Consumption of green leafy vegetables and fruit was associated with a lower hazard of diabetes, whereas consumption of fruit juices may be associated with an increased hazard among women," the study authors write. "Our findings of a positive association of fruit juice intake with hazard of diabetes suggest that caution should be observed in replacing some beverages with fruit juices in an effort to provide healthier options. Moreover, the same caution applies to the recommendation that 100% fruit juice be considered a serving of fruit as it is in the present national dietary guidelines…"

"…In general, the observed associations between fruits and vegetables are weaker than those for cardiovascular disease," the study authors write. "However, if fruits and vegetables are used to replace refined grains and white potatoes, both of which have been shown to be associated with increased risk of diabetes, the benefits of regular consumption of fruits and vegetables should be substantial."
Quick, hide this report from the drug companies! The fear of not being able to sell insulin might cause them to stroke out.

Research: Drugs Not the Answer for Prostate Cancer

A new study claims using only hormone-blocking drugs to treat prostate cancer does not improve patients’ survival rates. More from Lindsey Tanner of the Associated Press:
The study involved nearly 20,000 Medicare patients with prostate cancer that hadn't spread. A surprising 41 percent got only drug treatment, in shots or implants, showing that the therapy has become a popular alternative to surgery and radiation, the study authors said.

Other experts said the study gives doctors important information about how to treat older men with slow-growing disease that hasn't spread beyond the prostate. However, the study didn't look at whether hormone-blocking drugs alone benefit younger men or compare that treatment with radiation or surgery.

Randomized studies have shown that the drugs can benefit men with more aggressive disease when used along with surgery or radiation. The drugs block production of testosterone, which feeds cancer cells. They are sometimes given in addition to surgery or radiation; using them alone is a less traditional but increasingly used approach, particularly among older men whose prostate cancer hasn't spread, the study authors said.

Patients often believe that any treatment is better than nothing, said lead author Dr. Grace Lu-Yao of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey.

"What we are saying is doing something may not always be the best choice, because given the overall picture, this doesn't really give you any proven benefit," she said.
And according to the report, the men given drugs alone actually had a higher risk of dying from prostate cancer—scary stuff!

Eating to Live on the Outside: Willd Ginger

After last week’s walk down memory lane, Eating to Live on the Outside is heading back to my favorite stomping ground, New York City. This week we’re checking out Wild Ginger at the corner of Bleecker and Grove. Does it measure up? Only one way to find out!

Okay, I’ve got the menu in front of me right now and at first glance, it’s so-so. Pretty typical of most Asian restaurants—a lot of sautéing, frying, dumplings, and noodles—but there’s also plenty of fruits and veggies too. It looks like we’ll be taking the good with the bad.

Let’s start with the appetizers. I don’t see anything that makes me overly excited. Odds are I’d skip the appetizer, but if I was feeling adventurous I’d go with the Spring Rolls. They’re pretty simple. Fried vegetarian spring rolls served with dipping sauce. Yeah, like I said, I probably wouldn’t order an appetizer.

As for the entrees, it gets a little dicey for me. I don’t eat chicken, duck, pork, or beef. So that eliminates a lot of the menu. I’m going to jump right to the salads. I like the Papaya Salad. I dig papaya salads. If you remember, I picked the papaya salad at Vegan Glory and Happy Buddha. Here’s why I think it’s a good fit for an Eat to Liver. Wild Ginger’s Papaya Salad is prepared with carrots, cucumber, alfalfa, green papaya, and lime dressing. Not wrong with that stuff! I like the Mango Salad and Wild Ginger Salad for similar reasons. Combined they’re made with carrots, cucumber, alfalfa, tomatoes, ginger dressing, mixed greens, and sprouts.

The salads are probably the best option, but Wild Ginger does serve up some other interesting vegetable-based entrees. I like these four: Sweet Basil Eggplant, Mixed Vegetables, Basil Tofu, and Asian Broccoli with Shitake Mushrooms. The names say it all. If you can deal with the sautéing, they’re pretty cool.

Now, I don’t eat meat, but I do eat fish. That’s why Wild Ginger’s seafood does intrigue me, but there is a little snag—for me at least—I don’t like shrimp, but maybe you do. So you might want to consider the Sweet & Sour Prawns Thai Style. Its prawns (shrimp), onion, pepper, carrot, tomato, and pineapple. Same goes for the Shrimp & Pineapple Coconut. Before you order either of these, you might want to check out OceansAlive. Shrimp is a complicated choice when it comes to contamination risk.

Even though I don’t eat shrimp, I do eat squid. Not often, but I do eat it. So I’d be tempted to order the Spicy Black Bean Calamari. It’s made with sautéed calamari, red bell peppers, onion, mushrooms, and a black bean sauce. Its okay and squid isn’t a huge pollution risk either.

Overall, I think Wild Ginger is decent. Clearly, it’s not perfect, but in a pinch I think an Eat to Liver could make it work. The salads are the best choice and my personal preference is the Papaya Salad. Now, as with most Asian restaurants, you’ve got to contend with the salt factor.

If I end up eating something a little too salty, I just make sure that I am extra vigilant about my food during the days that follow. So I’d like to think in the end, it averages out—know what I mean? Anyway, it’s your turn. Check out Wild Ginger’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.

Green-News: Friday 7.11.08

Ironically, organic food may not necessarily all that good for the environment. Wired magazine, in fact, argued exactly this point a little while back, when they noted that people who are concerned about the environment should consider cutting out organic foods and sticking to produce and meats that don't have to travel a great distance from the farm to the market. Organic animal products require more animals taking up more space and producing more methane than their non-organic counterparts. Similarly, organic plants take more space and more resources than their non-organic counterparts. Even worse, they then require refrigerated trucks to transport their products to market, further deepening a rather large carbon footprint.

There are many reasons to go organic; personally, I won't eat non-organic strawberries or celery. That having been said, the next time you find yourself getting the stinky eyeball from some would-be eco-warrior because your oranges aren't organic, you might want to smile smugly to yourself. After all, you're taking one for the team.
"There is something that every hand in this area can do," said Rose Stallard, who is keen to enlist as many volunteers as possible to help tend the garden and its precious crops.

As she organizes a band of eager helpers to pull greens from the rich top-soil, Ms Stallard says food is more expensive than ever and neighbourhood shops are scarce.

"That's one cucumber you didn't have to pay 69 cents for," she adds, with a smile.

There are no fences but one local said greed had not been a problem.

"People are only taking what they need, because they know it's for everybody," he said.
3. Some schools are considering route changes that would create longer walks to the bus stop, raising safety concerns.
12. Gas theft is on the rise in California’s San Joaquin Valley.
14. The price of road salt for next winter’s storms is rising.
17. School lunch prices are going up.
24. Dallas-area residents are paying more to get rid of their garbage.
31. U.S. federal researchers cut back on ocean-going trips to study climate change.
35. Some police departments put officers on foot.
38. Yes, we have no cheap bananas today.
49. Meals on Wheels programs are losing volunteers.

High Fructose Corn Syrup is Natural?

Well, I’ve said it before, but this time its official. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has lost their minds, they now say that high fructose corn syrup is NATURAL. No, I’m not joking. Food Navigator is on it:
High fructose corn syrup may be labeled natural when synthetic fixing agents do not come into contact with it during manufacturing, said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), fuelling further debate on the controversial sweetener…

...”High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is derived from corn, and used primarily to sweeten beverages. The trade group Corn Refiners Association and numerous industry members have long maintained that HFCS is a natural sweetener.

"This is very good news, and makes it clear once again that HFCS is at a parity with sugar," said Audrae Erickson, president of the Corn Refiners Association.

"HFCS contains no artificial or synthetic ingredients or color additives and meets FDA's requirements for the use of the term 'natural.' HFCS, like table sugar and honey, is natural. It is made from corn, a natural grain product."
Reacting to this news, Dr. Fuhrman just announced, “Cocaine is natural!” Kidding, but come on. It’s just as absurd. Now, I’m no super sleuth, but something tells me that the Corn Refiners Association used some of that corn syrup to grease somebody’s pockets.

Our Big Fat Nation!

For the third in a row year Mississippi is the fattest state in the country; 31.6% of Mississippi’s population is obese, with West Virginia (30.6%), Alabama (30.1%), and Louisiana (29.5%) following close behind. CalorieLab whipped up this PHAT chart:

Happy to be the thinnest, Governor Bill Ritter of Colorado told CalorieLab, “We’re doing all we can to encourage Coloradans—especially our kids—to take advantage of the natural resources our state offers in order to stay fit, healthy and happy.”

Once Healthy Chinese Now Fat

The Chinese used to eat a lot of vegetables and few animal products, but times have changed. Now the Chinese diet includes much more meat and dairy—contributing to China’s booming obesity. Reuters reports:
"What's happening in China should be seen as a marker for what is going to hit the rest of the developing world if we fail to act," said study author Barry Popkin, a professor of nutrition at the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina.

"We need to find the right investments and regulations to encourage people to adopt a healthy lifestyle, or we risk facing higher rates of death, disease, and disability and the related costs," he added.

Chinese people now derive a far larger proportion of energy from fat and animal-based foods, such as meat and eggs, compared with in the past, the study found.

"The classical Chinese diet -- rich in vegetables and carbohydrates with minimal animal-sourced food -- no longer exists," the study said.

"In 2006, fewer than one percent of all Chinese adults consumed a diet with less than 10 percent of energy derived from fat."
Scary, especially since this unhealthy diet shift is catching on. For example, the once healthy people of Crete have already endured the same fate as the Chinese. Their Mediterranean diet is gone and now they're fat. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
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.

Today the people of Crete are fat, just like us. They're still eating a lot 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
For more on this, be sure to check out the adeptly named China Study. It makes it pretty clear. People eating a diet rich in animal foods and deficient in plant foods are at an increased risk of disease and premature death.
Continue Reading...

Questioning Gardasil's Safety...

WebMD reports that the FDA and CDC have received 7,802 instances of people having an adverse reaction to the HPV vaccination Gardasil. Miranda Hitti explains:
The 7,802 adverse events reported to Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) for Gardasil include 15 deaths and 31 reports of Guillain-Barre syndrome, a potentially paralyzing, life-threatening condition in which the body's immune system attacks part of the nervous system.

But the VAERS data doesn't tell the whole story, notes John Iskander, MD, MPH, the CDC's acting director of immunization safety…

…Karen Smith-McCune, MD, PhD, associate professor of the department of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive science at the University of California, San Francisco, agrees that the VAERS data don't amount to proof.

But Smith-McCune, who has daughters in the age range for Gardasil vaccination, says she's waiting to see the final, published results from Gardasil's phase III clinical trials before she decides whether to let her daughters get vaccinated.
And not too long ago crackpots wanted to make HPV vaccination mandatory. Dr. Fuhrman’s been bashing Gardasil from the beginning. Check out these 5 points:
  1. 44 percent of women studied aged 20 – 24 had infections with HPV.
  2. The virus disappears and does not cause a problem in 90 percent of infected women.
  3. 100 strains exist, the vaccine protects against only 4, but they include the two strains associated with seventy percent of cervical cancers 16 and 18.
  4. The vaccine has not been studied for long-term effectiveness and the protection may wear off in 5 – 7 years.
  5. Conclusion, most HPV infections and about 50 percent of HPV related cancers will not likely be helped by the vaccine because its effectiveness will likely wane with time, other strains can also cause disease.
The amazing part is how many people are quick to run out and stick themselves or their kids with a drug like this.

Health Points: Thursday

“Summer vacation shouldn’t become a vacation from healthy eating. Kids need nutritious food in the summer just as much as they do during the school year,” Kramer said. “Parents can help by making sure there are plenty of fruits and vegetables available at home. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is a critical cornerstone of nutritious eating habits and is associated with maintaining a healthy weight and overall good health.”

While it’s important to eat fruits and vegetables every day, including them on the menu for special occasions is one way to encourage family members to make healthy food choices during holiday celebrations, vacations, and other summer activities. Here are some ideas for including plenty of fruits and vegetables in meals and snacks. Remember, more matters, so try out more than one of these ideas for healthy summertime eating.
The Food and Drug Administration ordered makers of flouroquinolone drugs - a potent class of antibacterials - to add a prominent "black box" warning to their products and develop new literature for patients emphasizing the risks.

Tendon ruptures are normally thought of as sports injuries, generally occurring among men in their mid-30s. The link to treatment with the antibiotics is highly unusual, and scientists still don't fully understand why it happens. However, FDA officials stressed that many of the serious injuries appear to be preventable if patients stop taking the drug at the first sign of pain or swelling in a tendon, call their doctor, and switch to another antibiotic.

Studying childhood obesity, University of Toronto nutritionist Harvey Anderson found that kids who watched TV while eating lunch took in 228 extra calories than those who ate without the television on.

"One of Anderson's conclusions is that eating while watching television overrides our ability to know when to stop eating," the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, which funded the study, said on Tuesday.

"In effect, mindless television watching produces mindless eating. ... Anderson has some immediate advice for parents -- turn the television off during mealtime."
Researchers at the American Cancer Society and Emory University in Atlanta calculated death rates for lung, breast, prostate and colorectal cancer by level of education among U.S. blacks and whites ages 25 to 64 for 1993 through 2001.

Death rates for each of these types of cancer decreased from 1993 to 2001 in men and women with at least 16 years of education -- a college degree -- except for lung cancer among black women, for whom death rates were stable, they found.

By contrast, among people with less than 12 years of education -- those who did not finish high school -- a statistically significant decrease in death rates during the same period was registered only for breast cancer among white women, according to the study.

Teen girls who spend a lot of time on the Internet are more likely to see their weight creeping slowly up than adolescents who spend less time in front of the computer screen, new research shows.

And the association between computer use and weight held true even when the researchers accounted for the amount of exercise the girls were getting. The Harvard researchers also found that a lack of sleep and alcohol consumption were associated with increasing weight.

"We found more weight gain -- after adjustment for height growth and other factors including physical activity -- for females who spent more recreational time on the Internet, for those getting the least sleep, and for those drinking the most alcohol," said study author Catherine Berkey, a biostatistician at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.
It's simple. No fancy machines required; just record what you eat on paper or using an online record. "The trick is to write down everything you eat or drink that has calories," says Victor Stevens, a researcher at Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research and coauthor of the study released today, which appears in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. That's easy enough with labeled foods but gets harder when you're dining out or are eating an unfamiliar food. Try online calorie databases like, and watch the serving sizes—here's a good source of info on estimating what, say, an ounce of bread looks like. You'll probably still underestimate your daily intake, says Thomas Wadden, director of the Center for Weight Loss and Eating Disorders at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, but you'll very likely come closer than someone who isn't keeping a food record.

It's eye opening. In fact, some people will be so shocked at how many calories are in their thrice-daily Coke that the "aha" moment will make going on an actual diet unnecessary. Being forced to be aware of what you're eating can often be enough to help people drop weight, says Wadden.

This funny little fruit seems to crop up in lots of popular diet plans, despite a high calorie count.

The reason: It contains monounsaturated fat, one of the "good" fats. It's also packed with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, and it can help the body absorb even more. It's got no cholesterol or sodium, but it's packed with lutein, an antioxidant that contributes to healthy eyes.

Watch it, though: A medium avocado contains about 250 calories, and it's easy to shovel in a bowlful of guacamole when there are chips at hand. But when used judiciously, avocados are healthful and satisfying.
"There is a very long list of health hazards from being overweight," said Ghiyath Shayeb, the study's lead researcher at the University of Aberdeen. "Now we can add poor semen quality to the list."

But experts aren't sure if that necessarily means obese men face major difficulties having children.

"If you have a man who isn't fantastically fertile with a normal partner who is fertile, her fertility will compensate," said Dr. William Ledger, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Britain's University of Sheffield, who was unconnected to the study.

But if both partners are heavy, Ledger said that could be a problem, since obesity is known to decrease women's fertility.

More Doctors Bashing Statins for Kids

Dr. Fuhrman wasn’t the only doctor to blast The American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation to give statins to young children. Tara Parker-Pope of The New York Times found more. Here’s a mini-round up from the report:
  • “What are the data that show this is helpful preventing heart attacks?” asked Dr. Darshak Sanghavi, a pediatric cardiologist and assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. “How many heart attacks do we hope to prevent this way? There’s no data regarding that.”
  • “To be frank, I’m embarrassed for the A.A.P. today,” said Dr. Lawrence Rosen of Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, vice chairman of an academy panel on traditional and alternative medicine. He added: “Treatment with medications in the absence of any clear data? I hope they’re ready for the public backlash.”
  • “It will open the door for pharmaceutical companies to heavily advertise and promote their use in 8-year-olds, when we don’t know yet the long-term effect on using these drugs on prepubertal kids,” said Dr. Alan Greene, a pediatrician in Danville, Calif.
  • “When you have a kid whose cholesterol looks like an overweight 65-year-old, what do you do?” said Dr. David Ludwig, director of the childhood obesity program at Children’s Hospital in Boston. “The committee had to balance the risks of treating children with powerful drugs, about which there is limited long-term data, with the risks of not treating children with unprecedented cardiovascular disease risk factors.”
Good to know there are SOME sane minds out there.

Green-News: Thursday 7.10.08

Notice the dramatic difference in the amount of visible toilet paper. Ironically, it is the over-hung toilet paper that has both the most visible free sheetage and the least amount of sheetage free from the roll to do it. Now, this may not seem like a big deal on its own, but in these extra sheets lies your undoing.
  • Scientists are collecting cow burps to better understand how cattle-methane impacts climate change. Via the Environmental News Network:
Scientists around the world are studying the amount of methane in cow burps and Argentine researchers say they have come up with a unique way.

Attaching a red plastic tank to a cow's back and connecting it through a tube to the animal's stomach, scientists say they can trap bovine burps and analyze them.

"When we got the first results, we were surprised. Thirty percent of Argentina's (total greenhouse) emissions could be generated by cows," said Guillermo Berra, a researcher at the National Institute of Agricultural Technology.
The Lilypad is an amphibian (half aquatic and half terrestrial) city which will house about 50,000 inhabitants and will enable life in the heart of the subaquatic depths. This ecopolis will be “covered by a stratum of planted housing in suspended gardens and crossed by a network of streets and alleyways with organic outline” that will “create a harmonious coexistence of the couple Human / Nature”.
Be a switch hitter. Your parents may have been saying it for decades, but just in case they haven't, we will: Turn off the lights. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, commercial buildings account for 18 percent of the nation's greenhouse-gas emissions. A good portion of the problem is caused by leaving lights on in vacant rooms -- that's a habit shared by about 50 percent of us, surveys show. Switch off the lights whenever you leave your workspace empty for more than 15 minutes, and especially when you leave for the day. And while you're flipping switches.

Turn that computer off. Contrary to old wives' tales, shutting down your computer each day will not cause any damage. One caveat: Your IT department might want computers left on for nightly geek procedures. You could try to convince them to do their backups during the day instead. Either way, set your machine to go into sleep mode after 15 minutes of inactivity. Every PC left on 24-7 over the course of a year results in more than 1,000 extra pounds of greenhouse gases. Since there will soon be 1 billion PCs in the world, the widespread use of sleep mode could prevent the annual release of hundreds of millions of tons of global warming gases, saving billions of dollars in the process.

My Thoughts on Giving Children Cholesterol Drugs

Dr. Fuhrman responds to The American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation to give young children cholesterol-fighting drugs.

Clearly the medical profession and the drug companies form a coalition that economically monopolizes the health delivery to Americans. The effect is a health care system dependent on drugs, instead of encouragement of rationale lifestyle habits. When you consider that most antibiotics (which are highly toxic and already linked to later life cancers in scientific studies) prescribed to children are given for inappropriate reasons and viral illnesses in which they have no value, you could almost say that most pediatricians spend a large portion of their time delivering toxic medications to fragile children without justification. The harm they do may be much greater than anyone ever imagines. Now it gets even worse.

We have a nation of overweight parents, addicted to processed foods and convenience foods, who are poisoning themselves and creating a nation of overweight, diabetic and cancer-prone children, and the answer of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association is to recommend a more aggressive use of cholesterol-lowering drugs. Why don’t we just give all these kids gastric bypass surgery instead? Besides nobody knows the long-term risks of statins taken since childhood. This is just another example of the failure of health care in this country and that things will continue to worsen in the future as we continue to place drugs as the focal point of health care interventions.

I say—our health is tied to our country’s fertile soils with access to micronutrient rich produce never so available in recent human history; fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds, nuts and other natural foods that are infinitely more effective than drugs. We have an unprecedented opportunity to be healthier than ever before and we can better use our resources educating and motivating our country to eat healthier and utilize less medical care and drugs, not more.

Getting Outside, Some Tips...

The sunshine and fresh air does every body good. Real Simple offers up 7 ways to spend more time outside. Take a look:
  • Pack a Lunch
  • Schedule Playdates for Early Morning
  • Play Games Outdoors
  • Setting the Backyard Buffet Table
  • Serve Light Food at Your Backyard Buffet
  • Serve Sweet, But Not Rich, Summer Desserts
  • Setting the Scene for Dinner Outdoors
  • Find Daytime and Nighttime Resources
Actually, I’ve made it a point to go running in the park at least once a week. Staying inside all the time is a real bummer.

The Flintstones Grab a Smoke

Everyone loves The Flintstones, but did you know that Fred and Barney used to hock cigarettes. You won’t believe your eyes:

Hard to believe—wow!

Aerobic Exercise Combats Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a known risk factor for diabetes and heart disease. Good thing a new study has determined that exercise can help ward off metabolic syndrome. WebMD reports:
After warming up, the patients in the interval training group walked or ran for four minutes at 90% of their maximum heart rate, slowed down to 70% of their maximum heart rate for three minutes, and then repeated that cycle several times.

The patients in the continuous moderate exercise group worked out steadily at 70% of their maximum heart rate throughout each session. Session duration was adjusted between the two groups to ensure similar calorie expenditures.

As expected, metabolic syndrome didn't budge in the no-exercise group, but both exercise groups got healthier.

Although both exercise groups lost the same amount of weight, the interval training group showed more improvements in how their bodies handled blood sugar and responded to insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar. Also, HDL ("good") cholesterol increased by about 25% in the interval training group, but not at all in the other groups.
Given our country’s average health, I guess America is one big “no-exercise group."

Green-News: Wednesday 7.09.08

These reductions will be accomplished through improvements to the heating, cooling and ventilation systems of municipal buildings. Repairs to firehouses, police precincts, city offices and courthouses, along with purchases of more fuel efficient vehicles will also help reduce emissions

Regarding the price tag for these efforts, the mayor said that the city should break even on its conservation investments by 2013. He added, “The city is doing its part. I hope the private sector follows our example finds conservation savings on their own.”

Perhaps if the city that never sleeps could shut out the lights every once in a while it would be a good place for the private sector to start.
  • Dell has teamed with the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired-Goodwill of Greater Rochester, New York to help recycle old computers. From the Environment News Network:
Goodwill stores in the area now accept everything from whole desktop computers to cables. The program is fulfilling a need in the community, according to A. Gidget Hopf, president and chief executive officer of ABVI-Goodwill.

The program is expected to take in 300,000 pounds of computer equipment in the first year. So far, two people have been hired to sort the collected materials. One is Jim Austin, 39, who is blind. He said he feels “very honored” to be asked to do the job and learn a new skill.
Want to help the country save a quick million barrels of oil a day? Drive 5% less. Slow down. Inflate your tires.

Those three steps would reduce U.S. oil consumption by 1.3 million barrels a day immediately, according to the Alliance to Save Energy, a conservation group running an efficiency campaign backed not only by environmental groups but also the auto and oil industries.

That's nearly twice the estimated daily oil production that could come from drilling in the Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, according to the government's Energy Information Administration.

According to Julius Pretterebner, a vehicles and alternative-fuels expert at Cambridge Energy Research Associates, a consultancy that does a lot of work for the oil companies, how fast people drive and how quickly they accelerate is responsible for 10% to 30% of fuel consumption.

Free Fruits and Veggies in School!

The European Union wants to provide school children with free fruits and veggies—to help combat childhood obesity. The AFP reports:
The proposed programme would use fruit and vegetables that would be otherwise taken off the market for destruction in order to maintain stable prices.

Its aim is to provide healthy snacks to fight the growing problem of overweight children, who are thought to number 22 million in the 27-nation bloc. Of that number, five million are considered obese.

It would be funded to the tune of 90 million euros (141 million dollars) each year for the purchase and distribution of the produce. Member states taking up the scheme are expected to provide matching sums, although poorer countries would not have to provide as much.
Its certainly better than giving out hard candy and cupcakes.

Can't Beet this Super Food!

“Beets are high in fiber and antioxidants compounds such as cartonoids and betacyanin, a powerful cancer protective agent found to inhibit cell mutations,” explains Dr. Fuhrman. And here The New York Times Well blog explores beets even further. Take a look:
Beets are loaded with nutrients and phytochemicals. Some readers love them, while others have said “yuck.'’ I confess that I have never cooked, shredded or otherwise prepared a beet in my home, but I now wonder if I’m missing out. I asked one of the country’s leading experts in beets, Irwin L. Goldman, professor of horticulture at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, why beets get no respect.

“They are sort of a huddled masses kind of food,'’ Dr. Goldman said. “They are thought of as peasant food and old fashioned…. I think people’s association with them is as a canned vegetable or maybe as something they had to eat as a kid.'’

But Dr. Goldman is a beet-believer. “They really are wonderful, and there are a lot of good things you can do with them,'’ he said.
Beets rock! I get on kicks where I eat them a few times a week. Dr. Fuhrman is a big beet-believer too. More of his thoughts on beets:
We are on the verge of a revolution. Substances newly discovered in broccoli cabbage sprouts sweep toxins out of cells. Substances found in nuts and beans prevent damage to our cells' DNA. Other compounds in beets, peppers, and tomatoes fight cancerous changes in cells. Oranges and apples protect our blood vessels from damage that could lead to heart disease. Nature's chemoprotective army is alert and ready to remove our enemies and shield us from harm.

Hardly a day goes by when some new study doesn't proclaim the health-giving properties of fruits, vegetables, and beans. Unprocessed plant foods contain thousands of compounds, most of which have not yet been discovered, that are essential for maintaining health and maximizing genetic potential. Welcome to the phytochemical revolution.
Oh, make sure you check out the Well podcast on beets too!

Salmonella: Tomatoes Innocent, Jalapenos Guilty?

At first health investigators thought tomatoes were to blame for the salmonella outbreak that sickened over 900 people, but now it seems jalapenos might be the culprit. More from EmaxHealth:
Government health investigators had initially focused on some types of fresh tomatoes, which have been removed from menus across the country, but are turning toward jalapenos as salmonella sicknesses continue. "Recently, many clusters of illnesses have been identified in Texas and other states among persons who ate at restaurants," according to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statement. "These clusters have led us to broaden the investigation to be sure that it encompasses food items that are commonly consumed with tomatoes." CDC Graph of Samonella Cases.

"WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Jalapeno peppers are the new focus of an investigation into the salmonella outbreak that has sickened hundreds of people in at least 40 states, according to media reports. As of Friday evening, 943 persons infected with salmonella Saintpaul with the same genetic fingerprint have been identified in 40 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada, according to CDC. Illnesses are believed to have begun in early April."
For more on the whole salmonella thing, check out Followhealthlife’s hurtful foods category.

School Food: Middle Schools Worse...

Middle schools don’t offer as good of food as elementary schools. Alan Mozes of HealthDay News reports:
The researchers based their conclusion on a tally of the number of vending machines installed at 395 schools spread across 129 school districts in 38 states, as well as on a nutritional analysis of the kinds of foods stocked in the machines or offered up a la carte in school cafeterias and snack bars.

"The food environment changes as you move from elementary schools to high schools," said study author Daniel M. Finkelstein, a researcher with Mathematica Policy Research, in Cambridge, Mass. "And the main difference between the lower and higher grades was the greater availability of unhealthful foods and beverages for older students…"

…Finkelstein said the purpose of the study was to take a nutritional snapshot of current food offerings in public schools -- not to gauge exactly what students were purchasing or consuming. The research also didn't try to explain what is driving the nutritional shift between the elementary school and the high school level.

The researchers analyzed questionnaires and food checklists completed in 2005 by school principals and food managers as part of the third School Nutrition and Dietary Assessment study. Random on-site food inspections were also done in some schools.
Yeah, I think the simple solution is to pack a lunch. Here are some pointers from Dr. Fuhrman. Check it out:
It is important for children to avoid the typical school lunch of luncheon meats and cheese. Typical school lunches are greasy, salty, and of poor nutritional quality. Lots of the great-tasting, healthful recipes in this chapter include soups, puddings, and salads, so make sure you have a small container with a tight lid that your child can open and bring back home in his or her knapsack or book bag daily. Kids like soup cold, even when not a school, so you don’t have to worry about rewarming it. If you child doesn’t bring home the containers you may want to buy some small disposable plastic ones.

Some children are happy to eat healthfully, but when it comes to school lunch they don’t want to look different from the other kids. Packing fresh fruit and a healthy bread with some nut butter and unsweetened fruit spread can be a quick option. My children love raw cashew nut butter. If using peanut butter, purchase a brand without salt and other additives. My daughters also like to take peeled orange or apple slices with their lunch. We cut the apple into four sections around the core, most of the way through, keeping the apple intact, and then wrap it in silver foil. This way it stays fresh, without discoloration, and they can easily separate it into slices.
Whatever you do DON’T become one of The Meat Pie Pushers!

Burger Bedlam...

Horrible food is everywhere. Take this chicken, egg, bacon, beef burger for example. Via Slashfood:

Hamburgers are bad enough on there own—they don’t need help! But they often get it. Here are some other nightmare burgers:

And we wonder why some many people are having heart attacks! At least and the Hellburger is fake.

Michigan's Governor Bikes to Work

Leading by example, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm rides her bike 3 miles to work each day. The Detroit Free Press reports:
Granted, Granholm's three-mile commute isn't exactly a grueling workout. But most of us make plenty of short trips - to the dry cleaners, or the local supermarket/convenience store, or the movie rental place - that we could probably reach easily on a bike. Or walk to, for that matter.

It'd save a little gas, and it might add a few calories to our daily workout. It'd cut down just a bit on our personal smog emissions. But more importantly, it'd contribute to giving us all a more healthy, active lifestyle - one fueled by the recognition that our legs can, in fact, take us to meaningful places.
Kudos to Governor Granholm.

Green-News: Tuesday 7.08.08

Remember that horrible heat wave in Europe in 2003 that killed thousands of people? Well, according to a new study by Andreas Sterl at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, and as reported by the AP, in a few decades, "People will look back at those heat waves and laugh, we will find (those temperatures) lovely and cool."

According to Sterl's models, by the end of the century, high temperatures for once-in-a generation heat waves will rise twice as fast as average temperatures. Chicago extremes will go to 115, Paris to 109, Los Angeles to 117 and Atlanta to 100 degrees.
On its final voyage, the 25-year-old, 370-foot Russian trawler Komandarm Shcherbakov collected 3,000 tons of blue whiting fish from Denmark's Faroe Islands and ferried the catch to Nigeria. Three months later, the rust-riddled vessel sailed into this port - to die.

In May, the vessel gunned its engines for the last time and slid up the beach alongside the skeletal remains of numerous other ships at India's biggest ship-recycling yard in the western coastal state of Gujarat.

Like many vessels of its era, the Shcherbakov has asbestos insulation in its engine rooms and elsewhere, according to the ship's chief mate, Andrey Potapov.

"They didn't know it was bad back then," he said.

The Komandarm Shcherbakov is just the latest character in an ongoing drama of foreign waste dumped on Third World shores, critics say. Environmental groups say there are 90 ships on Alang's beaches, none of which has been precleaned of asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) or other hazardous material. PCBs were once used as fire retardants in paints, gaskets, cables and flooring.
Sheryl seems to always be thinking about the environment, so it’s not surprising that the talented planet-saver’s fashion line will rock an eco-twist. Never one to waste, Crow is even known around her hometown to donate bags and bags of unworn clothing to her local secondhand shop every six months.

No word yet on when the line will be produced, but a friend told Star magazine. “She’s heading to Australia in October to meet with her partners and start production.” We DO know that it will be a denim-based collection and will be named Bootheel Trading Co. By Sheryl Crow. I don’t know about you, but I could totally use some eco-friendly jeans!

Kids on Cholesterol Drugs: American Academy of Pediatrics Goes Bonkers!

Why bother teaching kids to eat right. Let them eat all the junk they want and then prescribe them meds just like their fat parents. Get this. The American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending giving children as young as 8 cholesterol-fighting drugs. The Associated Press reports:

Several of these drugs are approved for use in children and data show that increasing numbers are using them.

"If we are more aggressive about this in childhood, I think we can have an impact on what happens later in life ... and avoid some of these heart attacks and strokes in adulthood," Daniels said. He has worked as a consultant to Abbott Laboratories and Merck & Co., but not on matters involving their cholesterol drugs.

Drug treatment would generally be targeted for kids at least 8 years old who have too much LDL, the "bad" cholesterol, along with other risky conditions, including obesity and high blood pressure.

For overweight children with too little HDL, the "good" cholesterol, the first course of action should be weight loss, more physical activity and nutritional counseling, the academy says.

Pediatricians should routinely check the cholesterol of children with a family history of inherited cholesterol disease or with parents or grandparents who developed heart disease at an early age, the recommendations say. Screening also is advised for kids whose family history isn't known and those who are overweight, obese or have other heart disease risk factors.

Well, if it wasn’t official before. It sure is now! American medicine has gone nucking futs! No doubt, drug companies have their hands in this—it reeks of their stink. Now, I also read about this on the Well blog. Check this out:

The guidelines give no guidance on how long a child should stay on drug treatment. But they do say the first goal should be to lower bad cholesterol levels to less than 160 milligrams or possibly as low as 110 milligrams in children with a strong family history of heart disease or other risk factors like obesity.

Because statins have been around since only the mid-1980s, there is no evidence to show whether giving statins to a child will lower the risk for heart attack in middle age.

Clearly there is plenty of merit behind this recommendation—give me a break!

UPDATE: More from Dr. Fuhrman: My Thoughts on Giving Children Cholesterol Drugs.

Eating Saturated Fat Ups Prostate Cancer Risk...

Researchers from The University of Texas have determined that diets high in saturated fat may increases the progression of prostate cancer. Reuters reports:
In a follow up study of men who had their cancerous prostates removed, researchers found that men who consumed higher amounts of saturated fat -- mostly from steaks, burgers, cheese, ice cream, salad dressings, and mayonnaise -- were nearly two times more likely to experience disease progression after surgery than men with lower saturated fat intake.

"Diet before surgery, especially saturated fat, may modulate patient outcome after surgery," Dr. Sara S. Strom, who was involved in the study, told Reuters Health.

Strom and colleagues also found significantly shorter "disease-free" survival times among obese men who ate high amounts of saturated fat compared with non-obese men consuming diets low in saturated fat.

These results expand upon the team's previous finding linking obesity with prostate cancer progression "and suggest that saturated fat intake plays a role in prostate cancer progression," the researchers note in the International Journal of Cancer.

Strom's group used standard food questionnaires to assess the saturated fat intake of 390 men during the year before surgery for localized, or "organ-confined" prostate cancer. The researchers also assessed the men's medical and family history for other risk factors for disease progression.
The diet-prostate cancer connection is no mystery. I asked Dr. Fuhrman for his thoughts on this study. Take a look:
Excellent nutrition has been scientifically documented to reduce the risks of prostate cancer and extend lifespan from all cause mortality. This is in direct contrast to medical testing and medical intervention, for prostate cancer, which has not been proven to significantly extend lifespan.
And here Dr. Fuhrman offers up some daily diet tips to help prevent prostate cancer:
  1. Eat a plant-based diet.
  2. Eat less white flour or refined sweets.
  3. Do not drink milk, especially skim milk.
  4. Eat tomatoes, tomato sauce daily
  5. Eat salad and leafy green vegetables daily; both raw and cooked.
  6. Avoid processed meats and animal fats; limit other animal products under 15 ounces weekly.
  7. Eat more fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds and nuts and less grains.
Fore more prostate cancer news, check out Followhealthlife’s prostate cancer category. Continue Reading...

Food Groups Want FDA to Track Produce

The fallout from the tomato-salmonella scare continues to mount. In fact, one consumer group wants the Food and Drug Administration to track the movement of produce. More from Reuters:
Food safety and consumer groups said traceability would make it easier for officials to track through the supply chain the origin of fruits and vegetables and identify the source of outbreaks of foodborne toxins, such as salmonella or E. coli, preventing more people from getting sick.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Consumer Federation of America told reporters an effective tracking plan must follow the produce from the farm to the table, and use a single system that can ensure proper record-keeping throughout the process.

"If (the FDA) had put a traceability plan in place two years ago, following the spinach outbreak, this current investigation may be moving more quickly," said Chris Waldrop, a director at the Consumer Federation of America.

"The latest outbreak clearly demonstrates the need for the federal government to be able to quickly and easily identify and trace an implicated food to its source," he added.
Seems logical to me, presents the opportunity to nip future problems in the bud—no pun intended.

Plastic Bag Tax?

The Los Angeles city council wants to impose a 25 cent fee on each plastic shopping bag. The Associated Press is on it:
If the full council approves the proposal, city employees would have to use reusable cups and plates whenever possible, Kandarpa said.

The city spends $20,000 per year on polystyrene products, said Neil Guglielmo, a recycling manager at the city Bureau of Sanitation. He told the committee plastic bags and foam food containers are not biodegradable, clogs storm drains and add waste to landfills.

Michael Westerfield, a spokesman for packaging company Dart Container, opposed the plan by arguing that by banning one product, "you're just going to replace the problem with another product."
And check out this article on plastic bags too: China's Plastic Bag Ban Will Save 37 Million Barrels of Oil.

What Came First: Fish, Turkey, or the Egg?

Spiced Haddock or Tilapia

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
4 4-ounce haddock or tilapia fillets
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
6 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Add oil to a nonstick cooking pan. Place over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring constantly, until soft. Stir in paprika. Remove from heat and let cool. Spread onion mixture on both sides of fillets. Sprinkle with dill. Lightly coat a broiler pan using a paper towel moistened with olive oil. Broil fillets and garlic cloves on high 3 inches from heat for 8 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Sprinkle with lemon juice and garnish with broiled garlic cloves. Braised Bok Choy makes a quick and delicious side dish. Serves 4.

Turkey Spinach Burgers

1 pound ground turkey breast
10 ounces frozen, chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce (found in health food stores)
1 teaspoon hot sauce
Combine the ground turkey, spinach, bread crumbs, onions, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce in a large bowl. Mix well. Divide turkey mixture into 5 equal portions and form into patties. Coat grill rack or broiler pan with cooking spray. Grill or broil until nicely browned on both sides and cooked through, about 7 minutes per side. Serves 5.

Vegetable Omelet
olive oil (small amount)
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium green or red peppers, diced
1 cup fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and chopped
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
4 eggs, beaten
black pepper, to taste
Using a paper towel moistened with olive oil, lightly coat skillet. Sauté the onions, peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes over medium heat for 10 minutes until tender. Add basil and eggs and cook over med/high heat until done, about 8 minutes, turning over with spatula occasionally. Sprinkle with black pepper. Serves 2.

Smokers Have More Back Pain

According to a telephone survey smokers or former smokers reported having more back pain. From ScienceDaily:
Their evaluation showed that smokers or former smokers suffer chronic back pain much more often than do non-smokers. The number of years the subjects had been smoking or had smoked was decisive. Subjects who had consumed tobacco for more than 16 years had a two-fold greater probability of suffering chronic back pain than subjects who had smoked for less than 10 years.

The probability of back pain was further multiplied for subjects who had smoked for longer than 26 years. On the other hand, the frequency with which the subjects consumed tobacco and the quantities smoked did not play a role.

However, the authors pointed out that tobacco consumption does not necessarily cause chronic back pain. It is just as possible that people with chronic back pain smoke to alleviate the pain. The exact association between smoking and back pain will have to be clarified in appropriate studies. These could offer additional possibilities to prevent chronic back pain or smoking motivated by this.
Yeah, don’t smoke.

The Green is Growing...

Heavenly tomato time! Here was my tomato last week:

And check it out today:

I'm growing a monster!

FEMA Trailers, Still Toxic

The problem with those infamous toxic FEMA trailers? Formaldehyde fumes from particle board. Maggie Fox of Reuters reports:
Such temporary housing should be designed with better ventilation, the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests, and current health and safety standards may not be enough to protect people.

"Even though construction materials meet standards ... you have to be a little bit careful about how you use those construction materials. You could end up fostering high levels of formaldehyde," said CDC spokesman Glen Nowak in a telephone interview.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said 15,000 people displaced by hurricanes Katrina and Rita along the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2005 are still living in such trailers.

FEMA spokesman James Kaplan said a few dozen mobile homes were being sent to people displaced by flooding in Iowa, but they had been tested for low formaldehyde levels.
That’s funny. “Better ventilation.” The trailer’s toxic, so open a window!

Omega-3's vs. Repeat Stroke

New research has determined that omega-3 fatty acids may prevent stroke victims from having another one. Reuters reports:
In a study of people with high cholesterol who were taking a low dose of a cholesterol-lowering "statin," researchers found that adding EPA did not reduce the occurrence of a first stroke but did lower recurrence rates in those with a history of stroke.

The finding, published in the journal Stroke, stems from a large study of patients with elevated cholesterol levels who were randomly assigned to a low dose of pravastatin or simvastatin daily alone or with 1800 milligrams daily of EPA for roughly 5 years.

Of the 9,326 patients in the EPA group, 485 had a history of stroke, as compared with 457 of the 9,319 patients in the no-EPA group.

Dr. Kortaro Tanaka of Toyama University Hospital and colleagues found that rates of first stroke were 1.3 percent and 1.5 percent in the EPA and no-EPA groups -- a nonsignificant difference.

However, there were far fewer second strokes in the EPA group. The recurrent stroke rates were 6.8 percent in the EPA group versus 10.5 percent in the no-EPA group -- a significant difference.
For more on strokes, check out Followhealthlife’s stroke category.

Eating to Live on the Outside: The Fourth of July Worst...

FDA: More Safety Tests for Diabetes Drugs

A government panel wants stronger safety standards for diabetes drugs. Of course the drug companies are mad. It’s going to cost them millions! Via the Associated Press:
The majority of the panel said drug companies could begin safety testing -- expected to take between five and seven years to complete -- before they submit drugs to the FDA and finish the studies after their release.

But at least one panelist doubted whether the proposed studies would actually uncover heart risks.

"If you wait this amount of time for testing you're going to be preventing certain drugs from getting out there that may be better than what we already have," said Dr. Eric Felner, a pediatric specialist at Emory University School of Medicine.

The FDA is not required to follow the panel's advise, though it often does.

If the recommendation is adopted, development of diabetes drugs would become longer and more expensive, since it can cost tens of millions of dollars to perform long-term studies that track heart problems in thousands of patients.

GlaxoSmithKline PLC, AstraZeneca and Novartis AG are among the companies developing diabetes treatments to compete in the domestic market, which grew to over $6 billion last year, according to pharmaceutical research firm IMS Heath.
I’m sorry, but spending money on safety is an act of social responsibility—deal with it!

Junk Food: Diet-Packs Make You Eat More...

You see those 100-calorie packs everywhere. Apparently they’re supposed to help you snack healthfully, but, new research has determined that people eating diet-packs actually over eat. More from the NewScientist:
Grocery aisles are full of small "diet packs" of candy, cookies or fried snacks, advertised as a guilt-free way of helping you eat less. But Rik Pieters and colleagues at Tilburg University in the Netherlands suspected that diet packs might in fact make people drop their guard and eat more.

They had 140 students watch TV - to rate advertising, they were told - and gave them either two 200-gram bags of potato chips or nine 45-gram packs. To activate "self-regulatory concerns", half of the students were asked about weight issues and weighed in front of a mirror - all supposedly as part of another study.

Among students without weight thoughts, three-quarters opened their small bags and half opened their large bags. Both ate about the same amount. In volunteers primed with a diet mindset, however, just a quarter of students opened their large bags, eating half as many chips as the 59 per cent of students who cracked open the small packs (Journal of Consumer Research, DOI: 10.1086/589564).

The researchers think people with small bags felt they didn't need to exercise self-control, because it was a pre-portioned pack. The same effect may occur with other seemingly small temptations, such as low-fat or natural foods.
Honestly, is there much difference between 100 calories of cookies and an entire box of cookies? Here’s an idea, 1 Million-Nutrient packs of fruits and veggies!

The Beef Recall Beefs Up

The E. coli-beef recall that started in Michigan and Ohio is now being expanded to 20 states. More from the Associated Press:
On Wednesday, The Kroger Co. expanded its voluntary recall of some ground beef products to its stores in more than 20 states, saying the meat may be contaminated with E. coli.

The nation's biggest traditional grocer also urged customers to check the ground beef in their refrigerators and freezers to determine whether it is covered by the recall.

The warning comes as federal investigators try to pinpoint the source of a separate salmonella outbreak linked to tomatoes that has sickened nearly 900 people, raising more questions about the nation's food safety system.

While insisting that tomatoes remain the leading suspect, investigators are looking at other produce but remain mum on exactly what vegetables are getting tracked.

Kroger's recall stems from meat obtained from one of Kroger's suppliers, Nebraska Beef Ltd., that has been linked to illnesses reported in Michigan and Ohio between May 31 and June 8 caused by E. coli bacteria.
What’s gross is E. coli comes from poop—EEK!

Carnivals, No Place for Health Food!

Finally, at list of foods that makes sense. Newsweek points out the 7 most unhealthy carnival foods. Take a look:
  1. Deep-fried Oreos
  2. Cotton candy
  3. Corn dog
  4. Deep-friend Twinkie
  5. Snow cone
  6. Funnel cake
  7. Deep-fried candy bars
Surprise, surprise—the fried food and sugar is the crappiest. A guy in an American flag shirt eating a corndog should be on the dollar bill.

Broccoli Wallops Prostate Cancer!

Leafy green vegetables are super foods! There power is especially prevalent in the fight against cancer. Here’s some research from Dr. Fuhrman:
Halt the growth of breast cancer cells.
  • Drug Discovery Today: “Sulforaphane is a chemical found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, sprouts and kale. This compound is a potent inducer of protective enzymes that provide defense against cancer-causing chemicals. Researchers have discovered that sulforaphane can halt human breast cancer cells in their tracks and have identified a new mechanism of action for the compound.”
  • Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology: “Taken together, our data indicate that isothiocyanates derived form broccoli and Rorripa inhibit metalloproteinase 9 activities and also suppress the invasive potential of human MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells in vitro. The inhibitory effects observed in the current study may contribute to the suppression of carcinogenesis by diets high in cruciferous vegetables.”
Dramatically reduce the risk of colon cancer.
  • Carcinogenesis: “Our results are compatible with the hypothesis that ITCs from cruciferous vegetables modify risk of colorectal cancer in individuals with low GST activity. Further, this gene-diet interaction may be important in studies evaluating the effect of risk-enhancing compounds in the colorectum.”
Prevent the replication of prostate cancer cells and induce death of cancerous cells.
  • Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry: “A variety of studies have suggested a cancer protective role of cruciferous vegetables. In the present study, we investigated the effect of indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a major indole metabolite in cruciferous vegetables, on cell proliferation and in vitro markers of angiogenesis in phorbol myristate acetate (PMA)-stimulated endothelial EA hy926 cells. The results showed that I3C inhibited the growth of EA hy926 cells in a concentration-dependent manner.”
  • Carcinogenesis: “Cruciferous vegetables are a rich source of ITCs that are highly effective in affording protection against cancers in experimental animals induced by a variety of chemical carcinogens (2–8). In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that ITCs may inhibit proliferation of human prostate cancer cells. We found that AITC significantly inhibited proliferation of PC-3 and LNCaP human prostate cancer cells in a concentration-dependent manner.”
Inhibit the progression of lung cancer.
  • Cancer Research: “The results show that phenethyl isothiocyanate and sulforaphane and their N-acetylcysteine conjugates given in the diet after lung adenomas have already developed could inhibit the progression to adenocarcinomas. The inhibitory effects of these compounds are likely to be associated with a combination of reduced cell proliferation and induced apoptosis. These findings are important for future research of lung cancer chemoprevention and therapy in smokers and ex-smokers with early lesions.”
Speaking of research, a new study has determined that isothiocyanates—a phytonutrient found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables fights cancer. Reuters reports:
The researchers also took tissue samples over the course of the study and found that men who ate broccoli showed hundreds of changes in genes known to play a role in fighting cancer.

The benefit would likely be the same in other cruciferous vegetables that contain a compound called isothiocyanate, including brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, rocket or arugula, watercress and horse radish, they added.

Broccoli, however, has a particularly powerful type of the compound called sulforaphane, which the researchers think gives the green vegetable an extra cancer-fighting kick, Richard Mithen, a biologist at Britain's Institute of Food Research said.

"When people get cancer some genes are switched off and some are switched on," he said. "What broccoli seems to be doing is switching on genes which prevent cancer developing and switching off other ones that help it spread."
Makes me feel extra good about the steamed broccoli I ate last night! Here’s a quick quote from Dr. Fuhrman on isothiocyanates. Have a look:
Isothiocyanates (ITCs), which are perhaps the best studied, have been shown to provide protection against environmental carcinogen exposure by inducing detoxification pathways, thereby neutralizing potential carcinogens. These vegetables also contain indole-3-carbinol (I3C). Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer by decreasing estrogen activity.
No doubt, green veggies are an important ally against cancer. Just check out: Diet, Chemotherapy, and the Truth: How to Win the War on Cancer.

Extra Body Fat Increases Risk of Type-2 Diabetes

The heavier you are, the greater the risk you will develop type-2 diabetes. For some susceptible individuals, even moderate amounts of excess fat on the body can trigger diabetes. When we have more fat on the body, more insulin is required to deliver glucose to the cells as the coating of fat around our cells makes it difficult for the hormone insulin to easily transport the glucose into the cells.

The pancreas is then required to produce even higher amounts of insulin to accommodate the heightened insulin requirements. This stresses the pancreas’s beta cells to work harder and eventually poop out, but also the effects of NOT eating a diet high in veggies, beans, seeds and fruits places the pancreas at further risk from oxidative stress.

For example, twenty pounds of extra fat may force the pancreas to produce twice as much insulin to do the necessary job. Fifty pounds or more of excess fat on our frame and the pancreas may be forced to produce 6 to 10 times as much insulin as a normal person who is lean. What do you think occurs after ten or twenty years of overworking the pancreas? Again, it poops out and loses the ability to keep up with such huge insulin demands. The pancreas is still overworked, pumping out much more insulin than a thinner person might need, but still not enough to cover all that disease-causing body fat.

Adult diabetes is a disease of insulin resistance, not of insulin deficiency. The pancreas's ability to secrete insulin continues to diminish as the diabetes continues and the overweight condition continues year after year. Total destruction of insulin secreting ability almost never occurs in type-2 (adult onset) as it does in type-1 (childhood onset) diabetes. But the sooner the type-2 diabetic can lose the extra weight causing the diabetes, the more functional reserve of insulin secreting cells in the pancreas will remain.

Kids: Nebulization Ups Cardiac Injury Risk

Albuterol nebulization often used to treat acute asthma attacks has been shown to increase cardiac risks in children. Via Family Practice News:
The team speculated that myocardial injury may be due to excessive stimulation of β receptors, perhaps in combination with genetic predisposition to myocardial injury associated with that mechanism.

“We recommend that children receiving continuous albuterol nebulization (10–15 mg/hr or more) for more than 2 hours be closely monitored for evidence of myocardial injury and diastolic hypotension,” Dr. Fagbuyi Dr. Daniel Fagbuyi, a fellow in pediatric emergency medicine said during his oral presentation.

In response to questions from the audience, he acknowledged that much thought went into using the term “myocardial injury” to describe the effect of elevated ST segments or troponin elevations.

“We expected scientists would question whether our measurements reflected true myocardial injury, but our data clearly show that caution is appropriate when using continuous nebulized albuterol,” he said.

A careful review of the literature contains sufficient evidence that those markers correlated with actual myocardial injury, even in children, he added.

The clinical relevance of the findings and their potential contributions to long-term sequelae remain under study in the pediatric population, Dr. Fagbuyi said.
For more asthma news, don’t forget about Followhealthlife’s asthma category.

Your Job, Good Health Mandatory...

With healthcare costs soaring, many businesses have instituted mandatory health guidelines—like refusing to hire smokers—which have kicked off a fiery debate, are employee health guidelines good or just an invasion of privacy. CNN reports:
"Health and wellness programs at work are a win/win situation for everybody," says Richard Taylor, vice president of human resources at Intel. "We keep our insurance costs down, and the employees are offered free health and wellness opportunities."

Alfred Sanchez, the CEO of the YMCA of Greater Miami, agrees. He started a free health and fitness program in March for his staff and their families that include weigh-ins, meetings with health counselors, nutritional guidance and exercise plans. Out of a staff of 170, all but 40 employees signed up…

…Some people, however, bristle at what they perceive as having lifestyle choices dictated by an employer.

This May, for example, the University of Massachusetts Medical School banned all tobacco use from their campus and hospital, including parking lots. If an employee is caught smoking, they risk being fired.

"They won't even allow people to smoke in their cars," says James LeBlanc, 45, an employee at the university and himself an ex-smoker who kicked the habit prior to the ban. "We all know smoking is bad for you, but last time I checked it was still legal in this country."

Some companies forbid their employees to light up at all -- even at home. There are at least 20 states that allow for this type of work policy, including Ohio, where the state's second-largest employer, the Cleveland Clinic, stopped hiring smokers in September.
This is tough. Everyone wants a healthier workforce, but this is America. If you want to ruin your health, you can. It’s your right. But then again, don’t companies also have the right to hire or not hire whoever they want—barring any civil rights infractions that is.

Burger King Adds Caramel Sauce, Now Healthier?

Pressured by competition and a falling stock price, Burger is adding “healthier” kid’s meals to their menu; which apparently means Kraft macaroni and cheese and caramel dipping sauce. The Associated Press reports:
"A large part of our customer base is parents with children," said Russ Klein, president of global strategy, marketing and innovation. "As a parent, the challenge is always trying to get the kinds of things you want to but have some dimension of fun."

The meal features a 4-ounce serving of Kraft macaroni and cheese, low-fat milk and Fresh Apple Fries, which are uncooked apple slices shaped like French fries and served with low-fat caramel dipping sauce. The price -- $3.49…

…But convincing parents to correlate healthy eating with the home of the Whopper may not so be easy. Burger King has been criticized for not switching to trans-fat-free oil as fast as some of its rivals. It has committed to making the switch in all of its restaurants by the end of the year. Burger King shares fell 14 cents to $26.79.
I’d officially like to add this to the pile of stupid food news we’ve dug up over the past couple of days. Like these:
I’m not sure WHAT you could pair a Whopper up with to make it healthy—maybe a garbage bag so you can throw it away!

Yoga Shuts Off Stress...

Researchers believe that meditation and prayer techniques might alter people’s gene activity, helping them better react to stress. Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News reports:
"It's not all in your head," said Dr. Herbert Benson, president emeritus of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. "What we have found is that when you evoke the relaxation response, the very genes that are turned on or off by stress are turned the other way. The mind can actively turn on and turn off genes. The mind is not separated from the body."

One outside expert agreed.

"It's sort of like reverse thinking: If you can wreak havoc on yourself with lifestyle choices, for example, [in a way that] causes expression of latent genetic manifestations in the negative, then the reverse should hold true," said Dr. Gerry Leisman, director of the F.R. Carrick Institute for Clinical Ergonomics, Rehabilitation and Applied Neuroscience at Leeds Metropolitan University in the U.K.

"Biology is not entirely our destiny, so while there are things that give us risk factors, there's a lot of 'wiggle' in this," added Leisman, who is also a professor at the University of Haifa in Israel. "This paper is pointing that there is a technique that allows us to play with the wiggle."
Honestly, I’m still wound pretty tightly, but ever since I started doing Yoga I’ve learned to soften a little—sometimes.

"Healthy" Food, Another Stupid List...

Yesterday WebMD told us that hot dogs and nachos “healthy.” So dumb! Now today, CBS says fried chicken, cotton candy, and other crap are the “best” Fourth of July foods. You’ve got to see it to believe it:
BEST: Fried Chicken Breast (6 oz)
WORST: BBQ Chicken Wings -- dark meat (6 oz)

BEST: Lobster Roll (6 oz. portion of lobster, 1 tbsp. light mayo, 1 hot dog roll)
WORST: Pork Ribs (6 oz.) with 3 tbsp. Bulls Eye BBQ sauce

BEST: Lobster Roll (6 oz. portion of lobster, 1 tbsp. light mayo, 1 hot dog roll)
WORST: Pork Ribs (6 oz.) with 3 tbsp. Bulls Eye BBQ sauce

BEST: Cotton Candy (1.5 oz serving)
WORST: Candy Apple (6.5 oz apple)

BEST: Bloody Mary (5 oz)
WORST: Mojito (5 oz)

BEST: Blueberry Pie (1/8 of 9 " pie)
WORST: Strawberry Shortcake (1/8 of cake)
My goodness! Okay, Followhealthlife reader Kirsten had a great comment to yesterday’s post. It fits here too. “Ugh! I hate lists like that. What could they possibly have left OFF the list? Doughnuts!” Nice one Kirsten!

101 Ways to Live Healthy and Happy!

The Nursing Degree Network shares a whole bunch of ways we can all live better. Here are some I really liked. Have a look:
3. Not getting enough sleep: Even though you’re not putting anything harmful in your body, not getting enough sleep can be harmful to you.
8. Being negative: Get rid of negative thoughts and feelings, and you’ll find that a life filled with feelings of gratitude, optimism and perspective will make you more successful and happy.
22. Introduce natural light: Introduce natural light into your home or office to improve your energy level.
24. Eat organic: Organic foods actually promote good feng shui and good energy, so make sure your kitchen is stocked with organic vegetables and grains.
39. Meditation: Relax your mind and de-stress with these meditation tips.
45. Go to the bathroom: It’s important to have regular bowel movements, and holding it in too long can cause an infection. Go when you need to go!
50. Add garlic to your diet: Garlic "activates liver enzymes" which clean out your system and help you detox.
62. Spend time outside: Taking a walk outside or reading a book in your yard will quickly make you feel more connected to your community and nature.
67. Clean out your inbox: Organizing your inbox by deleting old messages and moving important e-mails to separate folders will help you focus and de-clutter your mind.
72. Open the windows: Let in some of the natural elements by opening a window…even if it’s raining outside. Breathing in fresh air will calm you down naturally.
83. Pick something you enjoy: If you hate yoga, don’t do sign up for a class just because you think it’s the right thing to do. You can detoxify with any kind of exercise, including organized sports or running.
89. Exercise at work: Desktop yoga and other simple exercises can be done at work, helping workaholics detox anytime.
101. Eat broccoli sprouts: Broccoli sprouts have more "cancer-fighting, enzyme-stimulating" nutrients than regular broccoli.
The one about the going poop made me laugh. If you need to remember to go to the bathroom—you've got major problems! Be sure to read them all.

Fat Kids, Mom Ate Junk

A new study on rats has determined that mothers who eat junk food while pregnant or breastfeeding have obesity-prone children. WebMD reports:
"The maternal diet seems to influence and trigger events early in the life of their offspring," study researcher Stephanie Bayol, PhD, tells WebMD. "We found that by the end of their adolescence, the offspring from the junk-food-fed animals had increased blood sugar, blood fat, and decreased insulin sensitivity — all of which are associated with overweight and diabetes."

Bayol and colleagues at London's Royal Veterinary College gave pregnant rats normal rat chow. But they also gave them free access to cookies, chocolate, doughnuts, muffins, potato chips, candy, and cheese.

In earlier studies, they showed that the offspring of these rats liked high-fat, high-salt, high-sugar foods better than other rats. But the new studies show that even when never fed junk food themselves, the rats whose mothers ate junk food during pregnancy grew up fatter than normal rats.

"Their fat cells were larger, which might make them more prone to obesity and might make it harder for them to lose weight," Bayol says. "So there were lasting effects from their mother's consumption of junk food, even if they were not fed junk food after weaning."
There’s been a lot of news about diet and pregnancy lately, especially when it comes to the baby’s long term health. Check it out:
Seems like a good reason to ALWAYS eat healthy.

Wednesday: Healthy Points

Denmark is the happiest nation and Zimbabwe the the most glum, he found. (Zimbabwe's longtime ruler Robert Mugabe was sworn in as president for a sixth term Sunday after a widely discredited runoff in which he was the only candidate. Observers said the runoff was marred by violence and intimidation.)

The United States ranks 16th.

The results of the survey, going back an average of 17 years in 52 countries and involving 350,000 people, will be published in the July 2008 issue of the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science. Researchers have asked the same two questions over the years: "Taking all things together, would you say you are very happy, rather happy, not very happy, not at all happy?" And, "All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole these days?"
The study, researchers say, suggests that CKD should be added to the list of conditions that are associated with weight gain, including diabetes and high blood pressure.

Obesity is a known risk factor for CKD, but the impact of weight gain in normal-weight individuals without high blood pressure or diabetes is unknown, Dr. Seungho Ryu, at Kangbuk Samsung Hospital in Seoul, and associates note in their report.

In Korea, workers are required to undergo periodic health examinations. Using these data, Ryu's team followed 8792 healthy men ages 30 to 59 years with no known risk factors for CKD between 2002 and 2007. The prevalence of obesity was about 33 percent.

For example, for apricots, a cup of fresh halves is 86 percent water, with 74 calories, and a half cup of dried fruit is 76 percent water, with 212 calories. Fresh apricots have 3.1 grams of fiber versus 6.5 for dried; 0.6 milligrams of iron versus 2.35 milligrams; 15.5 milligrams of vitamin C versus 0.8 milligrams; and 149 retinol activity equivalents of vitamin A versus 160.

A cup of fresh Thompson seedless grapes is 80 percent water, with 104 calories, and a half cup of raisins is 15 percent water, with 434 calories. The grapes have 1.4 grams of fiber, versus 5.4 grams for the raisins; 0.54 milligrams of iron versus 2.73 milligrams; 288 milligrams of potassium versus 1,086 milligrams; and 16.3 milligrams of vitamin C versus 3.3 milligrams.
At a meeting of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, a joint body of the WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), officials also set benchmarks for producing gluten-free foods.

Peter Ben Embarek, a scientist in the WHO's food safety division, said the adoption of the "landmark" code of hygienic practices for powdered formula could reduce contamination from two bacteria that can cause severe illness and death in babies.

People with wheat allergies would also be protected by the standards for gluten-free food that countries pledged to work into their national legislation, and to meet in food exports under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

Most trade shows are the stuff of, if not nightmares, then at least a sleepwalk from one charmless kiosk to the next. Not so at the 54th Summer Fancy Food Show, where 20,000+ gourmet retailers, restaurateurs, chefs, media folks and plain ol' food fans spend three days chomping their way through a fever dream of some 180,000 specialty foods. The throwback "Fancy" is a bit of a misnomer by now, as there's a very wide slice of products on offer, ranging from swankity wines, oils, cheeses and caviar to humble chewing gums, ketchups, chili seasonings and snack mixes.
Most commercial brands of mayonnaise contain vinegar and other ingredients that make them acidic — and therefore very likely to protect against spoilage. When problems occur, they usually result from other contaminated or low-acid ingredients (like chicken and seafood), improper storage and handling, or homemade versions that contain unpasteurized eggs.

One prominent study published in The Journal of Food Protection found, for example, that in the presence of commercial mayonnaise, the growth of salmonella and staphylococcus bacteria in contaminated chicken and ham salad either slowed or stopped altogether. As the amount of mayonnaise increased, the rate of growth decreased. When temperatures rose to those of a hot summer day, the growth increased, but not as much as in samples that did not contain mayonnaise.

After following over 5,700 men for 23 years, researchers concluded that the faster your rate drops after exercise, the lower your risk of dying of a heart attack. To perform the calculation, first take note of your heart rate at exactly one minute after you've finished your workout. Then, take that number and subtract it from the maximum heart rate you reached during the workout. If the difference is more than 35bpm, there's a good chance you do not face an increased risk.

If, however, it is less than 35bpm, the study suggests there's need for caution. Specifically, if the difference is between 31-35bpm, your risk is increased by 40 percent; 25-30bpm, risk increase is 30 percent; less than 25bpm, risk increase is 110 percent.
In Berlin, where a ban took effect on January 1, smokers were granted a six-month period of grace that expired on Tuesday and those who breach the ban now face fines of 1,000 euros (1,575 dollars).

In the eastern state of Saxony, fines can run up to 5,000 euros but in the northern port of Hamburg and Thuringia, in eastern Germany, the highest fine authorities can issue is 500 euros.

The wealthy southern state of Bavaria is considered to have the country's toughest public smoking ban because it prohibits restaurants from opening separate smoking sections -- a practice allowed in other states.

Green-News: Wednesday 7.02.08

New data from U.S. government research shows that with agriculture using chemical fertilizers and herbicides, the U.S. food system contributes nearly 20 percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions. On a global scale, figures from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) say that agricultural land use contributes 12 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Organically managed soils can convert carbon from a greenhouse gas into a food-producing asset. Results from a 10-year study at the Rodale Institute (pdf file) showed organic systems have the ability to capture up to 2,000 pounds of carbon per acre per year meaning more than 7,000 pounds of carbon dioxide are taken from the air and trapped in that field soil.
The theme of my speech is putting images with actions, connecting the light switch, if you will, to the polar bears. And Disney is quite a place to speak about images. It’s all about images here: the cast (which is how Disney refers to its employees) are well-trained on all aspects of the resort. The one character they all seem to know is Jiminy Cricket. He’s the character Disney uses to speak about green initiatives throughout the Disney family, and I must say all the family members seem to be interested in what he has to say, whether it’s the volatile organic compounds found in paint (Disney avoids VOCs in paint for this reason), to the sustainability of vegetation in the Animal Kingdom, or to the new type of fireworks the company is looking into to replace its iconic show each evening over the Magic Castle. There is a general sense of wanting to do more good.

Still, the biggest talk is about the baby elephant about to be born. After almost two years, his mother (it’s a boy) is ready–any minute now–to give birth.
The world's largest retailer said on Tuesday it had increased the number of local U.S. farmers that it works with by 50 percent in the past two years, and it would like to continue expanding that figure at a double-digit rate.

While Wal-Mart declined to provide an exact figure, it said it now works with "hundreds" of individual farmers, and this year it expects to source about $400 million in locally grown fruits and vegetables from farmers across the United States.

"When we're buying local, there are less trucks on the road, less miles that that produce is traveling and therefore less fuel," said Pam Kohn, Wal-Mart's general merchandise manager for grocery.
The vintage vehicle has been hacked to run on 100 per cent bioethanol fuel distilled from surplus British wine. The only problem is, it still only gets about ten miles per gallon, or roughly 4.5 bottles of wine per mile. But while it’s only slightly cheaper than pertrol, it outputs 85% less carbon dioxide — something the Prince is attempting to cut from his personal life by 25% by 2018. From the article,
“The grapes used for Charles’s fuel have already been fermented into wine on an English vineyard near Swindon, Wiltshire. Its owners bottle all they can, but cannot produce more than their EU quota. Rather than destroy the excess, the vineyard now sells it to the Gloucestershire biofuels supplier Green Fuels, where it is distilled."

Acne: Diet a Major Determining Factor...

Modern medicine is a mess. Drug companies pull the strings and too many doctors go with the flow. They’ve lost touch with reality. Dr. Fuhrman explains:

Dermatologists insist that food has nothing to do with acne, rheumatologists insist that food has nothing to do with rheumatoid arthritis, and gastroenterologists insist that food has nothing to do with irritable and inflammatory bowel disease. Even cardiologists have been resistant to accept the accumulating evidence that atherosclerosis is entirely avoidable.

As for dermatology, a new study has determined that foods like milk and refined carbohydrates are responsible for an increased incidence of acne. Via Family Practice News:

The link between milk consumption and acne has been extensively pursued by investigators at the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, said Dr. Mancini. In a prospective cohort study of 6,094 girls, aged 9–15 years, who were children of Nurses' Health Study II participants, self-reported greater consumption of milk—whether whole, low-fat, or skim—on food frequency questionnaires was independently associated with acne severity in a multivariate analysis, said Dr. Mancini, head of pediatric dermatology at Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago.

Those who drank two or more servings of milk per day during the 2-year study period were roughly 20% more likely to have acne than were girls who drank less than one serving per week. The results weren't significantly altered by excluding girls using contraceptives or restricting the analysis to those who were less than 11 years old at baseline (Dermatol. Online J. 2006;12:1)…

…In an editorial accompanying an earlier study by the group, Dr. F. William Danby, a dermatologist at Dartmouth University, Hanover, N.H., noted that 75%–90% of all milk reaching the marketplace comes from pregnant cows. This milk contains progesterone, other dihydrotestosterone precursors, somatostatin, prolactin, insulin, growth factor-releasing hormone, insulinlike growth factors 1 and 2, and numerous other substances that could stimulate pilosebaceous activity (J. Am. Acad. Dermatol. 2005;552:360-2).

Dr. Mancini noted that the link between acne and a high-glycemic-load diet rich in processed carbohydrates was made by Loren Cordain, Ph.D., and coworkers at Colorado State University, Fort Collins. In contrast to the near-universal prevalence of acne in adolescents in modern developed countries, they reported a rate of essentially zero in two non-Westernized populations: the Aché hunter-gatherers of Paraguay and Kitavan Islanders of Papua New Guinea. These subjects also had low serum insulin and high insulin sensitivity.

Dr. Danby is a champion of the diet-acne connection. Here are a couple more links to his work:

The power of nutritional-intervention—food as medicine—can’t and shouldn’t be ignored. More from Dr. Fuhrman:

Most chronic illnesses have been earned from a lifetime of inferior nutrition, which eventually results in abnormal function or frequent discomfort. These illnesses are not beyond our control, they are not primarily genetic, and they are not the normal consequence of aging. True, we all have our weakest links governed by genetics; but these links need never reveal themselves unless our health deteriorates. Superior health flows naturally as a result of superior nutrition. Our predisposition to certain illnesses can remain hidden.

In fact, here's a great success story from one of Dr. Fuhrman's patients. Check out Caitlin's triumph, told by her proud mother:

For approximately a year before consulting with Dr. Fuhrman, our daughter Caitlin suffered from progressive fatigue, severe acne, and chronic stomach upset. It caused numerous absences from school, which was troubling because Caitlin was an honor student who had always done well academically. After seeing several doctors with no diagnosis, Caitlin became exceedingly frustrated and asked us to enroll her in counseling for stress management. We began counseling as a family. Caitlin’s symptoms worsened and she was eventually diagnosed with ulcers. Six weeks later, we learned that the tests revealed an alarmingly high presence of the antibodies that fight bacterially-based ulcers. According to the doctor, Caitlin probably had the bacteria in her stomach for more than a year. He immediately prescribed a course of four antibiotics taken simultaneously, which destroyed her digestive system. She was worse than ever. We asked our counselor to recommend a physician who practiced nutritional medicine and we were led to Dr. Fuhrman. He immediately put Caitlin on a cleansing diet with lots of green vegetables and high nutrient soups, but no medication of any kind. Over those first two months, as her digestive system healed, Caitlin regained her energy and her skin cleared. No more stomach upset, no more acne, no more fatigue. Caitlin was healthy in body and spirit and she was discharged from counseling. She graduated from high school with honors and received a scholarship to pursue her college education. We are so grateful to Dr. Fuhrman and nutritional medicine and can’t imagine where we would be without this approach.

I think dermatologists need to expand their minds a little and not take themselves so seriously. Dr. Cox from Scrubs would agree. Take a look:

In all seriousness, food is wonderful medicine. Just check out this post: Diet Influences So Many Aspects of Health.

Food Prices, Up and Up!

In 2007 a box of lemons cost $8.14 and now it costs $20.77. And that’s not all! The price of apples, grapefruits, celery, and onions, has also increased. Via CattleNetwork:

Considering the current economic conditions, I doubt bargains are in our future. Be sure to check out the other foods on the chart. Oh, and big ups to Diet Blog for finding this!

Hotdogs and Nachos, Good for Kids?

Get a load of this harebrained list of “healthy” summertime foods for kids. From Jeanie Lerche Davis of WebMD:
  1. Nachos & Quesadillas
  2. Hamburgers & Hot Dogs
  3. Ice Cream
  4. Frozen Yogurt
  5. Waffles & Pancakes
  6. Marshmallows
  7. Popcorn
  8. Watermelon
  9. Anything Sweet
  10. Thirst Quenchers
Okay, the watermelon is cool, but here is a list of reasons why ice cream, nachos, waffles, hot dogs, etc. are NOT healthy:
Lumping watermelon in with those foods—tisk, tisk.

Green-News: Tuesday 7.01.08

Most operated their air conditioners on a too warm setting in winter. Almost 25% of all people surveyed left their fridge open when unloading shopping. Nearly half hadn’t bothered to activate their home computer’s energy saver settings and close to three quarters of households turn off their television with the remote rather that at the power switch, leaving it on standby mode to guzzle electricity.

The survey found that while almost 70% of people used a clothes line to dry clothes it was low income households that more often or not chose to use an electric close dryer. This was also the case with age. Older folk were more diligent in hanging up clothes for solar dry whereas young people surveyed chose the dryer. Yoof were found to leave the fridge open whilst making sandwiches or prepping their breakfast.

Energy Saving Tips
In their media release (link below) EnergyAustralia suggest that 10 easy steps could have households saving over $600 AUD per year. For example, point 6. suggests that reducing showers by 2 minutes will save $100 alone. Getting rid of that second fridge that’s doing nothing much at all in the garage would save another 200 bucks.
Coexistence with mankind has given rise to the sort of tough plants that flourish despite the worst we can do — hoeing, pulling, burning and, more recently, spraying the fields with herbicidal chemicals. Weeds have adapted to every means we used to exterminate them, even turning the treatments to their own advantage. Attacking a Canada thistle (actually of Eurasian origin and a regular entry in “worst weeds of North America” lists) with hoe or plow, for example, may destroy the plant’s aboveground growth but leaves the soil full of severed bits of fleshy root, each of which may sprout a new plant.

A result of this history is that crops and weeds embody diametrically opposed genetic strategies. Over the centuries, we have deliberately bred the genetic diversity out of our crop plants. Creating crop populations composed of clones or near clones was an essential step in achieving higher yields and the sort of uniform growth that makes large-scale, mechanized cultivation and harvesting possible. Because weed populations live as opportunists, however, they must include individuals with the ability to flourish in whatever type of habitat we make available. They also need diversity to cope with the wide range of punishments we inflict. A patch of Canada thistles, if it is to survive when the farmer switches from hoeing to herbicides, must include individuals that develop a resistance to the chemicals over time. Weed populations that lacked the necessary genetic diversity faded from our fields, lawns and waste places; historians of agriculture can cite many such casualties.

The survivors are an astonishingly plastic group of plants. James Bunce, a plant physiologist with an office down the hall from Ziska’s, has been studying the effect on dandelions (that nemesis of the suburban greenskeeper) of atmospheres artificially enriched with CO2. He found in a series of trials that populations of the familiar weed evolve, changing physically to take advantage of this sort of resource enhancement, within the space of one growing season.
Call it a happy accident: Phytoplankton in tropical areas of the Atlantic Ocean may be helping to break down greenhouse gases.

After analyzing data gathered by airplane and in a lab at Cape Verde, a chain of Atlantic islands not far from West Africa, a team of British researchers was pleased but puzzled to find that ozone in the atmosphere near the islands had decreased 50 percent more than climate modelers had predicted. The reason, they think, is that phytoplankton produce chemicals like bromine monoxide and iodine monoxide that get pulled up into the atmosphere by all the water vapor that evaporates in a hot climate like Cape Verde. Once aloft in the low atmosphere, these chemicals can break apart ozone molecules. Not only that, says Alastair Lewis, of the U.K.’s National Centre for Atmospheric Science, but the byproducts of that first chemical reaction then broke down methane, a much worse greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, into non-harmful components.

Ozone is three atoms molecules of oxygen, O3, but some chemicals can break up that trio and steal one oxygen atom, leaving O2, which is just plain old atmospheric oxygen. That’s how CFCs harm the ozone layer, and why the Montreal Protocol of 1987 phased them out. The plankton-produced chemical in this study might be destroying ozone in the same way, Lewis says, but helping us instead of hurting. While ozone high up in the ozone layer protects us from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, ozone in the lower atmosphere is a greenhouse gas contributing to global warming.
The ban prohibits shops, supermarkets, and sales outlets from handing out free plastic bags and bans the production, sale, and use of ultra-thin plastic bags under 0.025 millimeters thick. It took effect nationwide on June 1.

Plastic bags, a seemingly minor commodity, have mobilized four powerful government departments in China. The State Council, China's cabinet, issued the bag ban earlier this year, and in May, shortly before its implementation, three other departments stepped in and imposed an auxiliary ruling to enforce the directive. The Ministry of Commerce, National Development and Reform Commission, and State Administration for Industry and Commerce set forth detailed stipulations on implementation and enforcement in the ruling, known as Administrative Measures for the Paid Use of Plastic Bags at Commodity Retailing Places.

China's central government dealt this heavy blow to plastic bags out of concern for the environment and a desire for greater energy savings. People in China use up to 3 billion plastic bags daily and dispose of more than 3 million tons of them annually. Most of the carriers end up in unofficial dumping sites, landfills, or the environment. Urban dumping centers and open fields alongside railways and expressways are littered with the discarded bags, mostly whitish ultra-thin varieties. Such scenes have generated a special term in China: "the white pollution."

Low HDL Linked to Poor Memory, So Go Nuts!

A new study associates HDL cholesterol—good cholesterol—with bad short-term memory in middle-aged adults. Reuters reports:
The researchers examined the relationship between blood fats and memory using data on 3673 individuals, who were an average of 55 years old when tested between 1997 and 1999.

Short-term verbal memory was assessed at the outset with a 20-word free recall test. Memory deficit was defined as recalling no more than four words. Memory decline was defined as a reduction of two or more words between the first test and a second test, performed in 2002-2004.

The results are reported in the medical journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

Compared with a high HDL level, low HDL was associated with memory deficit during both tests. After adjusting for sociodemographic factors, illnesses, and medication use, those with low HDL were 27 percent and 53 percent more likely to have a memory deficit on the first and second test, respectively.
Fret not, nuts and seeds are a great natural way to boost your HDL cholesterol. Dr. Fuhrman explains in Nuts & Seeds Protect Against Heart Disease. Here’s a bit:
Perhaps one of the most unexpected and novel findings in nutritional epidemiology in the past five years has been that nut consumption offers such strong protection against heart disease. Several clinical studies have observed beneficial effects of diets high in nuts (including walnuts, peanuts, almonds, and other nuts) on blood lipids.1 A review of 23 intervention trials using nuts and seeds demonstrated convincingly that eating nuts daily decreases total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.2 Not only do nuts and seeds lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol, they can help normalize a dangerous type of LDL molecule (the small, dense LDL particles that damage the endothelial cells that line the blood vessels).3

Ellagitannins (ETs) are dietary polyphenols with potent antioxidant and other cancer chemopreventive activities that are found in berries, nuts (especially walnuts), and seeds.4 Walnuts can reduce Creactive protein and harmful plaque adhesion molecules, two significant markers of inflammation in arteries. The result is improved, and even restored, endothelial function (which includes the elastic property of arteries that allows dilation when necessary to meet an increased demand of blood).According to the researchers, walnuts are the first food to show such cardiovascular benefits.5
See, going nuts is a good thing!
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Tuesday: Health Points

The report by scientists at the WHO's International Agency for Cancer Research urged more countries to adopt smoking bans in public and at the workplace, saying there was enough evidence to prove they work, without hurting businesses such as restaurants and bars.

"Implementation of such policies can have a broader population effect of increasing smoke-free environments," the researchers wrote in the Lancet Oncology special report.

"Not only do these policies achieve their aim of protecting the health of non-smokers by decreasing exposure to second-hand smoke, they also have many effects on smoking behavior, which compound the health benefits."
Watching television in America takes some getting used to. Apart from the accent, it is strange to hear companies marketing drugs directly to the consumer. Not only do they sell their own brand, but they actively name and shame their competitors' products. During a commercial break there may be two different brands of antihistamine telling you how bad the other is.

Direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) is the promotion of prescription drugs through newspaper, magazine, television and internet marketing. Although the drug industry is mounting major campaigns to have DTCA allowed in Europe and Canada, the only two developed countries where it is currently legal are the U.S. and New Zealand.

Studies have shown that increases in DTCA have contributed to overall increases in spending on both the advertised drug itself and on other drugs that treat the same conditions. For example, one study of 64 drugs found a median increase in sales of $2.20 for every $1 spent on DTCA. It has been reported that 10 of the leading 12 brand-name drugs with DTCA campaigns have sales in excess of $1 billion annually.

The Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office on Women's Health launched BodyWorks in 2006 by training instructors in the hopes that they would bring the program home to their communities. All materials are provided free, but communities must find the resources to pay trainers and a place to offer the program.

"Throughout the years I've worked with nutritionists, I've worked with diet programs, and it's very frustrating," Dr. Monica Richter, a pediatrician on staff at the Children's Hospital Seattle and a BodyWorks instructor who coordinates fundraising to help support the program, told Reuters Health. "I'm hoping that this will be one of the answers to this growing problem."

Girls 9 to 13 years old who are overweight or obese are referred to BodyWorks through their pediatrician, or by word of mouth. Parents and caregivers attend 10 weekly 90-minute sessions, and girls are expected to show up for at least three. The goal is to give parents and caregivers "hands-on tools to make small behavior changes to prevent obesity and help maintain a healthier weight," according to the BodyWorks Web site (
However, a new study suggests that the Nutrition Facts panel found on the side of grocery store products does a poor job of getting that message across to consumers.

"It's very misleading to just throw a number out there," contends study author Elizabeth Howlett, a professor of marketing at the University of Arkansas, in Little Rock.

Her team found that the average health-conscious consumer is often misled by trans fat information found on the Nutrition Facts panel.

The main problem is that because no amount of trans fat is good for you, it makes no sense to post a percentage of the "recommended daily value" -- as is done with other ingredients such as sugar, or total or saturated fats. So consumers are just left with a number -- such as 2, 3 or 4 grams of trans fat per serving -- and no way of interpreting how unhealthy that might be.

What surprises me most about it is that the parking lot next to the field is not full. I would think people would be lined up to climb up on that roof and get a good look at the art from above.
Even a bra that perfectly maximized motion (without sacrificing support and comfort) would be useful to me only if there were a way to turn that motion into energy. For a primer on how to do that, I turned to Professor Zhong Lin Wang of Georgia Tech, who is currently working to develop fabric made from nanowires that will capture energy from motion. Wang's wires are about 1/1,000th the width of a human hair. When woven together in a fabric, these nanowires rub up against one another and convert the mechanical energy from the friction into an electric charge. According to Wang, the fabric is cheap to produce and surprisingly efficient; his team hopes to use it to create energy-generating T-shirts and other articles of clothing. A square meter of fiber produces about 80 milliwatts of power, which is enough to run a small device like a cell phone. Wang expects to have a shirt available for purchase within five years.

Many bra patterns call for about a meter of fabric, which would probably mean that a regular bra would have enough energy to power an iPod. But the fabric could also be layered, doubling or even tripling the amount of energy produced. I asked Wang whether his fabric could be used to make a bra. "Bras would be ideal," he said. "There is a lot of friction and movement in that general area. And the fabric would be thick."

Parents secretly putting things (even if it's broccoli) into their children's food without their knowing it? When they grow up, I wonder what they'll think of that?

Seems a trust is broken here, and I'm not sure it won't affect food issues these children may have down the line.

Delicious is key where food and children are concerned. If a parent wants to get a child to eat fruit, he or she can wash, chop and freeze fresh strawberries, then take a blender and pour in one cup of fat-free milk. Add three packages of artificial sweetener. Add four or five frozen strawberries, and blend. Keep adding strawberries until you have a thick, luscious strawberry milkshake that could stand toe-to-toe with any fast-food shake you've ever had.
Condition worsened
The girl grew increasingly weak and feverish and "became more limp, appears sleepy, acts as if drunk," the report said. She was hospitalized and underwent surgery and was finally withdrawn from life support. She died April 5, according to the report.

The 9- and 6-year-olds suffered from mitochondrial disorders, a spectrum of genetic diseases that has received almost no attention from federal health officials. The 9-year-old, Hannah Poling, was 19 months old and developing normally in 2000 when she received five shots against nine infectious diseases. Two days later, she developed a fever, cried inconsolably and refused to walk. In the next seven months, she spiraled downward, and in 2001, she was diagnosed with autism.