Tough Times, Cupcakes over Crisis...

Even though Rome—oops! I mean Wall Street is burning. Americans appear to be MORE interested in cupcakes, wizards and sex toys than the current financial crisis.

But wait, it gets worse!

For giggles, I did my own GoogleTrends experiment. I searched financial crisis, McDonalds, vegetables and Britney Spears. Check it out:

Veggies dead last and McDonalds number ONE! With Britney Spears a close second. Oh boy, we’re in trouble.

Via Serious Eats.

Me Man, Me Eat Fat!

Men get a bad rap. Just look at sitcoms. Male characters are depicted as chubby oafish slobs, basically CAVEMEN in flannel shirts. Like these guys from According to Jim; via YouTube.

Now, AOL Men’s Fitness Center feeds into this Neanderthal nonsense with an article promoting the “healthful” benefits of saturated fats; like beef, pork chops, cheese, butter and sour cream. Get a load of this:

For years you've heard that eating saturated fat is like pouring superglue into your arteries. But the fact is, this forbidden fat actually increases your HDL (good) cholesterol, which helps remove plaque from your artery walls, decreasing your risk of heart disease. So quit depriving yourself and start eating these eight foods -- without guilt.

Make NO mistake. Eating copious amounts of saturated fat from animal products is NOT healthy; via Plos Medicine. For example, this guy ate a diet loaded with clarified butter and his heart was so COATED with dangerous fat, he needed emergency surgery to save his life!

A fat-based diet is DEADLY advice without an air of authority. It’s journalistically irresponsible, because many men are already looking for an excuse NOT to cut back on meat, dairy and other saturated fats.

Dr. Fuhrman wanted to weigh in. His thoughts:

AOL is promoting cancer, heart disease and dementia by promoting the consumption of red meat, butter and dark meat poultry as healthy and not disease promoting. It shows the pervasive influence and web-presence of the pro-animal fat crowd, in spite of a plethora of irrefutable scientific findings proving otherwise.

The bulk of evidence is IRREFUTABLE; red meat, butter and saturated animal fats are linked to cancer, heart disease, stroke and dementia. And thousands of scientific studies agree! Burying your head in the sand does NOT change facts.

Guys, if you’re striving for optimal health, you MUST restrict unhealthy foods. Research links the consumption of dairy products with prostate cancer and eating meat with prostate cancer; via CAT.INIST. So, AOL Men’s Fitness Center is promoting getting prostate cancer—which can make you IMPOTENT—not exactly good advice for men!

Okay, I’m NOT an expert, but I am a guy. I watch football, lift weights and play fantasy sports, but I also do Yoga, avoid meat or dairy and I LOVE of salads. Does this make me any LESS of a man? No! So, take Dr. Fuhrman’s advice and don’t be another knuckle-dragging modern caveman.

Woman Goes Raw, Drops 160 Pounds

Angela Stokes used to weigh 300 pounds, fed up she switched to a raw food diet. No more meat, animal products or processed foods, just LOTS of fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds. She lost an AMAZING 160 pounds; CNN reports.

Kudos to Angela, great job! Plants foods promote healthy bodyweight and disease-prevention and cutting saturated fats—found in animal foods—helps lower cholesterol and maintain heart health; from Health magazine.

Now, raw food diets DO help people consume MORE fruits and vegetables, but raw food isn’t the ONLY answer. Eating cooked foods in fine, Dr. Fuhrman explains low-temperature cooking and steaming can actually enhance the nutrient-quality of vegetables.

Nevertheless, Angela’s accomplishment is STILL a great ambassador for vegetable-based diets!

Breast Milk Off the Menu!

Oh boy! I’m suddenly feeling a little queasy. A Swiss restaurant was recently BANNED from serving dishes containing HUMAN breast milk. Food inspectors said the ingredient derives from an “unauthorized” source; SwissInfo.ch reports. 

Breastfeeding is a GREAT idea, but serving it at a restaurant—GROSS! The eatery planned to use breast milk in antelope steak with sauce and a classic dish called of Zürcher Geschnetzeltes, bite-sized pieces of meat in a creamy sauce. Bleh!

Via Serious Eats.

American Kids, Drugged Up!

We pop A LOT of pills! Especially antibiotics, Americans LOVE to overuse antibiotics. And flu shots too! Every flu season MILLIONS of people rush to free clinics and doctor’s offices. Not realizing that a healthy body can easily beat the flu.

That’s why I WASN’T surprised to read that a new study in The Journal Child and Adolescent Psychiatry claims American children are prescribed more antidepressants and stimulant medications than children in Europe—via Julie’s Health Club.

According to Dr. Fuhrman, psychiatric disorders—like depression—can be successfully treated with superior nutrition and light therapy. So, there are options BEFORE the pill.

Healthy Schools in America

That's an EVIL looking lunch, but it’s probably very typical. Remember, a new report just determined that the USDA, which distributes food schools, actually supplies food of POOR nutritional-quality; too much processed meat and cheese.

To make matters worse, many schools undermine their own efforts to improve cafeteria food by installing more and more vending machines. With tight budgets abound, vending machines have become HUGE money-makers.

Meanwhile, schools in Europe are lobbying to distribute FREE fruit in schools. So, improving school food and health MUST be possible!

It is. Health magazine has just compiled a list of America’s healthiest schools Check out what these schools are doing to get healthy. Take a look:

  • West Babylon Senior High, West Babylon, New York: The student obesity rate dropped 2 percent in just one school year—and continues to decline.
  • Amory Middle, Amory, Mississippi: "We have become Dance, Dance Revolution," principal Cheryl Moore says. "We traverse the rock-climbing wall, play ping-pong, power walk, and much more."
  • Rawhide Elementary, Gillette, Wyoming: Rawhide's strong health component begins in kindergarten and covers nutrition, personal safety, drug-abuse prevention, and lifetime fitness.
  • Anthony Elementary, Leavenworth, Kansas: Lunch is eaten in classrooms amid a family atmosphere that emphasizes conversation. "The noise level is low, making this the ideal time for teachers and students to build positive relationships," principal Janine Kempker says.
  • Richmond Elementary, Appleton, Wisconsin: We've found that educating children about making healthy food choices has influenced the choices that are being made at home," principal Bobbie Schmidt writes.
  • Mountain Valley Middle, Mexico, Maine: Kids and teachers eat nutritious breakfasts in their classrooms. Through this innovative approach, piloted last year, students begin their days more attentively and learn conversation skills and table manners from their role models.
  • Miami Springs Middle, Miami Springs, Florida: Former principal Gail Quigley, EdD, says. "We don't serve dessert or fried food, and we offer a wide range of fresh fruits and vegetables."
  • Lakewood Elementary, Cecilia, Kentucky: Lakewood's students get this message loud and clear in all facets of the school's Nutrition, Fitness, and Health curriculum.
  • W.C. Britt Elementary, Snellville, Georgia: This school keeps its students engaged with taste tests, farm visits, school gardening, community-health-related plays, annual visits from local dentists, and more.
  • South Elementary, Pinson, Tennessee: The school has established a Life­time Fitness and Wellness Center, an on-site facility that's open not only to students but to faculty members and families, as well.

Now, improving school food is win-win. It has been show that eating healthy foods, despite being MORE expensive, does help school children perform better. However, Dr. Fuhrman suggests a simpler answer, establish healthy eating habits at HOME and have kids brownbag their lunch.

Where to Eat Your Iron...

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services lists low-fat diets as a POSSIBLE reason why someone might develop an iron deficiency; citing the prolonged reduction of animal foods.

But animal products AREN’T the only sources of dietary iron. Many plant foods are PACKED with iron. Dr. Fuhrman points to broccoli, kale and spinach as excellent sources of iron—even BETTER than red meat!

Now, FitSugar has compiled a GREAT list of iron-rich foods. Here are a few examples: 1/2 cup of garbanzo beans has 3.4 mg of iron; 1/2 cup of tofu contains 6.2 mg of iron; and a 1/2 cup sun-dried tomato has 9 mg of iron. They also include super foods like flaxseed and asparagus.

It’s certainly better than EATING cast-iron pots!

Fast Food In, Mediterranean Diet Out!

Once upon a time the Mediterranean diet WAS healthy. People ate lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, beans and some fish and they spent many hours working in the fields, but that was a LONG time ago.

As fast food hits Mediterranean countries, like the island of Crete, many are fighting an uphill battle against disease and obesity; The New York Times reports. And according to Dr. Fuhrman, Cretans WERE healthy, lean and virtually free of heart disease, but now they eat mostly meat and cheese and are fat, just like us!

Honestly, BLAME the Western lifestyle—BAD diet and NO exercise—as the Western diet continues spread across the world it leaves behind a wake of unhealthy habits, period!

Pomegranates, Sexy...

That’s a hot chick! She’d have NO problem getting me to eat more pomegranates. Then again, you shouldn’t need ANY convincing to eat pomegranates. They're SUPER foods and oddly enough, pomegranates help with erectile dysfunction. How fitting.

Now, according to Dr. Fuhrman pomegranates have the most powerful anti-oxidants of ALL fruits. Also, pomegranates protect against atherosclerosis and diabetes and improve prostate health.

Okay, as far as fruit goes, SEX sells! “Rachel gets fruity" offers her unique perspective on how plums can help you prevent prostate cancer. Simply awesome!

Via SeriousEats.

Tips to Stay Alive

Let’s live to 100! It’s simple. Be like the Okinawans. Make sure you exercise, eat less, eat plants and learn how to relax—via The Huffington Post.

And That’sFit passes along five more GREAT tips for living healthy. Take a look:

  • Reduce your intake of dietary fat -- both saturated and unsaturated -- to a max level of 30 percent of total calories. You can accomplish this by limiting meats, trimming away its excess fat, avoiding fried foods, and cutting down on butter, creams, and salad dressings.
  • Increase consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain cereals. This will automatically increase your intake of these five nutrients: beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and dietary fiber.
  • Only moderately consume salt-cured and charcoal-broiled foods, or ditch altogether.
  • Only moderately consume alcoholic beverages, or ditch altogether.
  • Eliminate from your diet these items: All salt except for what's found in food itself, all stimulants like coffee and tea, all refined sugar and flour, hydrogenated fats, pepper and other hot spices, foods containing artificial additives or preservatives, and all cured meats such as hot dogs.

Hard to argue with all that! Avoiding things like salt, saturated fat, refined grains and alcohol is always a GOOD idea, so is INCREASING your consumption of fruit and vegetables.

Also, it’s important to ignore common health myths, like obesity is caused by genetics and milk is good for bone health. Dr. Fuhrman dispels those notions.

Stroke: Soybeans Help Arteries

Beans are GREAT and not just because they make you fart and farts are funny!

Seriously, Dr. Fuhrman calls beans nutritional POWERHOUSES and he recommends eating them everyday. And Reuters reports that eating beans, like soybeans and chickpeas, can improve artery health in stroke patients.

Now, even though soybeans beans are awesome. Its NOT wise to base your diet on soy, Dr. Fuhrman insists a bio-diverse diet is key; i.e. lots of DIFFERENT fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and beans.

Less Meat, Save Money

Fortified Foods, Kind of Dumb

The only REAL fortified foods are fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and beans, but lately stripping food of all nutrition, processing it into junk and then “enriching” it has become all the rage.

CBS News shows how food producers are cramming Omega-3’s, plant sterols and calcium into garbage foods like milk, yogurt and pasta. These Franken-foods are expected to rake in $60 BILLION in sales next year!

In Eat to Live, Dr. Fuhrman explains that enriching food does little good and that healthful plant compounds are BEST left in their natural state.

Plants Cancer-Proof Your Body!

Doctors DON’T emphasize diet enough and here’s a great example of it. At 31David Servan-Schreiber was diagnosed with a brain tumor and told he had 6 MONTHS to live—via Julie’s Health Club.

Now, after surgery and chemotherapy and 15 YEARS LATER he believes a vegetable-heavy diet is the ultimate cancer-fighter! Even though his doctors told him a change in diet, "Won't make much of a difference."

For starters, CONGRATS David! What an awesome story. Clearly, fruits and vegetables are champions of health. Dr. Fuhrman strongly advocates vegetables’ potent anti-cancer effects and Glamour Magazine’s list of cancer-fighting foods was comprised ENTIRELY of plant foods!

Like David Servan-Schreiber, Dr. Fuhrman also claims it ALL comes down to NUTRIENTS! Fruits and vegetables provide the key nutrients our bodies need to ward of disease, especially cancer.
 

Guys, Obesity Lowers Fertility

We already the United States is FAT and getting FATTER and that obesity costs this country A LOT of money, but it just got WORSE! New research in Fertility and Sterility claims being obese may diminish a man’s fertility; Reuters reports.

Now, obesity doesn’t only affect men’s potency. Women are also at risk! Last year a study determined that obesity may prevent eggs in women’s ovaries from becoming healthy embryos; more from the AFP.

NO guy or gal wants to hear that. Good thing new research has determined that exercise can reduce fat, in this case, fat in the liver. Another clear-cut example that exercise is ALWAYS a good idea! So, eat healthy, exercise and check out these tricks to living to 113—via That’sFit.

To Choose a Snack...

Real quick! You can only choose one: a banana, an apple, a candy bar or a waffle. What do you want? I’d pick banana. If you said the candy bar or the waffle—GET OUT! Although, new research did reveal most people would go for the candy bar or waffle.

The study appears in Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. LiveScience reports:

Dutch researchers asked 585 participants to pick between four snacks: an apple, a banana, a candy bar and a molasses waffle.

About half of the participants indicated they would choose the apple or banana.

But when presented with the actual snacks a week later, 27 percent of those who had said they'd pick a healthy one switched to the candy bar or waffle. And more than 90 percent of those who had initially made an unhealthy choice stuck with it.

The researchers figure that while we are in control of our intentions, our actual choices are often made impulsively, even unconsciously.

"A substantial gap between healthy snack choice intentions and actual behavior was demonstrated," said study leader Pascalle Weijzen of Wageningen University in the Netherlands. "Despite that gap, the results suggest that individuals who plan to make a healthful choice are more likely to do so than those who plan to make unhealthful choices. Because more than 50 percent of the population seems to have no intention at all of making a healthful choice, identifying tools by which this group can be motivated to choose a healthful snack is strongly needed."

It’s distressing, but HARDLY surprising. Just look at the typical buffet. There’s mostly crap food with only a few healthy options—there’s a reason for that! Dr. Fuhrman will tell you, MANY people are hopelessly addicted to foods like sugary and fatty foods.

Well at least some attempts are being made to improve people’s eating habits. That’sfit passes along news that hospital food is on the upswing. Also, school-based programs seem to be boosting children’s fruit and vegetable consumption; from HealthDay News.

And this report by Tara Parker-Pope of The New York Times points to a few examples of people shifting to healthier diets. Hey, at least it’s getting better!
 

Surprise, Living Healthy Helps Women Live Longer

This report is a no-brainer, but still worth a mention. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital have determined that women living healthfully have a DECREASED risk of premature death.

The study appears in The British Medical Journal. Reuters is on it:

Dr. Rob van Dam and a team from the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital followed 80,000 nurses for more than two decades.

The women kept detailed records of their diet, physical activity, alcohol consumption, weight, smoking and disease history. Over the study period, 8,882 of the women died, including 1,790 from heart disease and 4,527 from cancer.

Some 28 percent of these deaths could have been avoided if the women had never smoked, the researchers said.

And 55 percent of the deaths could have been avoided if the women had never smoked and exercised regularly, eaten a healthy diet low in red meat and trans-fats and maintained a healthy weight, they said.

Smoking played the biggest role in causing premature death, and alcohol consumption played the smallest, they said.

I’m no scientist—just a BIG dummy—but I’m pretty sure this would apply to men too. But ladies, your health is important. Take obesity. Not only will it ruin your figure, but being overweight can boost your risk of pancreatic cancer.

Oh, and make sure you EXERCISE! Previous research suggests exercise can help ward off breast cancer. And if you’re looking for a good workout, consider using kettlebells; from The Washington Post.

What Kids are Eating...

At first, Tom Fishburne’s illustration might SEEM ridiculous, but think about it. It’s not that far from the truth. Especially when you consider new search claims kids, ages 11-13, CAN’T recognize common fruits and vegetables—via Diet-Blog.

It’s partly our country’s fault. We found out Monday that the USDA supplies school cafeterias’ with mostly meat and dairy products. Eating a diet based on meat and dairy and low in fruits in vegetables destines you for depleted health.

Now, Dr. Fuhrman’s food pyramid better and getting kids to eat right is EASY! Parents, if you start eating healthfully, your kids WILL follow.

Brain-Shrinking and Veggie Diets

That’s how I ensure I get Vitamin B12. That nutritional yeast—in my pantry right now—is 133% Vitamin B12 per serving; serving size is 1 1/2  tablespoons and I eat that much AT LEAST once a day. I put it in my chocolate pudding.

I mention this, because this LOOPY report just came out, suggesting that eating an animal product-free diet shrinks people’s brains. Dr. Fuhrman had this to say about it, “Duh, they are telling people NOW that B12 deficiency damages the nervous system and brain. What a revelation! The headline that a veggie diet shrinks the brain is simply a distortion.”

The research appears in the journal Neurology. The Courier Mail reports:

Vegans and vegetarians — such as Heather Mills — are the most likely to be deficient because the best sources of the vitamin are meat, particularly liver, milk and fish.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause anaemia and inflammation of the nervous system.

Yeast extracts are one of the few vegetarian foods which provide good levels of the vitamin.

The link was discovered by Oxford University scientists who used memory tests, physical checks and brain scans to examine 107 people between the ages of 61 and 87.

When the volunteers were retested five years later the medics found those with the lowest levels of vitamin B12 were also the most likely to have brain shrinkage. It confirms earlier research showing a link between brain atrophy and low levels of B12.

Now, Dr. Fuhrman recommends taking a multi-vitamin to get B12. Actually, he sells his own multi, called Gentle Care. So you don’t HAVE to eat animal products if you don’t want to, but if you eat a vegetable-based diet with SOME animal products, consider these diet tips from Dr. Fuhrman. Take a look:

  • Get enough daily sunshine in a southern climate to obtain vitamin D needs.
  • Consume a small amount of kelp regularly to ensure sufficient iodine intake.
  • Consume some animal products such as nonfat dairy or fish at least every other day to assure B12 needs are met.
  • Eat flaxseed or walnuts every day to potentially meet omega-3 fatty acid needs.
  • Eat enough fresh green vegetables, seeds (especially pumpkin seeds), and beans to ensure adequate intake of zinc and other minerals.

Works for me! I’m not a vegan or a vegetarian. I eat fish. So I know, given the hefty amount of fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds I eat—plus the yeast and occasional seafood—I’m getting all the nutrients I need. However, if you are a vegan or vegetarian, Dr. Fuhrman insists there is legitimate concern for vitamin-deficiency—be mindful of it.

But don’t get confused. Fruits and vegetables ARE nutritional superstars! In fact, some vegetables—like kale, spinach and broccoli—have MORE protein than steak.

Oh, and don’t call me stupid because I don’t eat meat!

UPDATE: The yeast might be tasty, but Dr. Fuhrman STILL recommends taking a B12 supplement. So, I've got some Gentle Care to buy!

Eat Black Food

Relax! This isn’t some off color racist joke. I’m talking about black or dark colored fruits and vegetables. That deep, rich color makes them SMART food choices. Dark plants are PACKED with nutrients! In fact, The Root says when it comes to food, black is the new black.

Dr. Fuhrman is a BIG fan of dark colored foods, like berries! Blueberries and blackberries contain potent anti-cancer compounds and dark leafy greens are rich in important micronutrients and fiber. Also, they’re VERY low in calories!

Pistachios Lower LDL Cholesterol...

Nuts are powerful foods! Study after study shows nuts not only lower cholesterol, but also protect against age-related diseases; like heart disease and cancer. And now, new research by Pennsylvania State University claims PISTACHIOS can lower cholesterol.

It appears in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. WebMD reports:

First, participants spent two weeks on a standard American diet rich in full-fat cheese, oil, and butter and lacking pistachios.

Next came a month on a low-fat diet without pistachios, another month on a healthy diet that included one daily serving of pistachios, and a third month eating a similar diet with two daily servings of pistachios, with two-week breaks between each type of diet.

Participants got all their food, packaged into appropriate serving sizes, from the researchers. And they stuck to their assigned diets pretty well, the study shows.

Average LDL levels fell when participants ate pistachios -- not enough to get their LDL levels into the optimal range, but enough to get it out of the "borderline high" category.

LDL cholesterol level dropped by 9% during the month that participants ate a daily serving of pistachios and by 12% when they had two daily servings of pistachios.

This story first broke in May, with researchers suggesting that one or two handfuls of pistachios can LOWER cardiovascular risk by reducing LDL or "bad" cholesterol levels; via HealthDay News. Dr. Fuhrman recommends walnuts for heart health too.

And, other nuts, like pecans and almonds, help strengthen bones, improve glucose control and provide key vitamins and minerals. That’s why I’m NUTS!

Fruits, Veggies Cut Colon Cancer in Men

Humans NEED plants! Eating plant foods has been shown to REDUCE the incidence of breast, stomach, prostate and other cancers. And University of Hawaii researchers have just determined that fruits and vegetables may lower men’s risk of colon cancer.

The study is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. More from WebMD:

Based on those answers, the researchers concluded that men who ate the most fruits and vegetables were 26% less likely to develop colorectal cancer than men who ate the least.

No decrease in risk associated with fruit and vegetable consumption was seen for women.

There is some suggestion that the female hormone estrogen and estrogen therapy helps protect against colorectal cancer. If this is the case, it might help explain why women would derive less benefit from eating fruits and vegetables than men, Abraham Nomura, MD, PhD says.

When the researchers analyzed data from only women who took estrogen therapy, they found no difference in colorectal cancer risk among those who ate the most fruits and vegetables and the least.

Leafy green vegetables are particularly amazing! Cruciferous vegetables—like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, bok choy and cabbage—contain PHYTONUTRIENTS with potent anti-cancer effects. From Dr. Fuhrman:

  • Halt the growth of breast cancer cells.
  • Dramatically reduce the risk of colon cancer.
  • Prevent the replication of prostate cancer cells and induce death of cancerous cells.
  • Inhibit the progression of lung cancer.

Also, check out why Dr. Fuhrman calls green vegetables KING!
 

Heart Beating like a Piece of Lard!

This shocked me! Well, not really. This guy ate a horrible diet. Comprised entirely of saturated fat—TOTAL insanity! Recently he had surgery that saved his life. Check out the video on CNN. Be careful, it’s a little graphic, but very eye opening.

Here’s another video. This time the Adventist Coronary Health Improvement Project urges us to eat better. MORE fruits and veggies! Beware, it gets graphic too.

Now, avoiding a clogged heart is easy. Dr. Fuhrman suggests a vegetable-based diet—RICH in plants and LOW in animal products—can prevent and reserve heart disease.
 

Food Photos, Curb Eating

Usually diaries are reserved for dirty little secrets, love crushes and forget-me-nots, but new research by the University of Wisconsin-Madison claims that photographic food diaries may help people control their weight.

The study appears in the International Journal of Consumer Studies. Kate Devlin of The Telegraph reports:

To test if encouraging slimmers to photograph everything they eat might also encourage them to change their diet, scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison asked 43 people to record what they ate for one week in pictures as well as in words.

When the volunteers were later quizzed the photo diary appeared more effective at encouraging them to change their eating habits to more healthy alternatives.

The photographs also acted as a powerful reminder of any snacking binges, the researchers found.

"I had to think more carefully about what I was going to eat because I had to take a picture of it," was a typical response from volunteers, the scientists found.

Prof Lydia Zepeda and David Deal, the researchers who carried out the study reported in New Scientist magazine, found that written food diaries were often filled in hours after the meal and were not as powerful in creating an impression of how much food had been consumed.

Well, I guess this would only work if you eat GOOD stuff—who wants pictures of gross food! Reminds me of a previous study that suggested recalling what you previously ate triggers you to eat less food later—via Diet-Blog.

You won’t hear Dr. Fuhrman telling you to snap shots of your meals, but he will tell you WHAT you eat matters, like how eating veggies actually allows you to eat MORE and still lose weight.
 

Eat Local Wisconsin!

September 5th through the 14th the state of Wisconsin is challenging its citizens to spend 10% of their grocery budget on local food.

Interested cheese-heads should aim to purchase foods produced within a 100-mile radius of where they live.

The goal of the Wisconsin Eat Local Challenge is to make people "more mindful of their choices," Anne Steinberg, a co-founder last year of the Milwaukee Eat Local Challenge, told The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "To think about things like this so you can get the best food, the food that's best for the environment and that will build our local community the best."

According to the challenge website, eating locally helps reduce the miles your food travels and supports local farmers and community supported agriculture. Perfect for our increasingly greener society!

I think it's a great idea.

Fruits and Veggies, Super Colors

Don’t those concord grapes look great! And their purple hue is dynamite for health. Actually, reds, purples, greens, oranges and whites are ALL really good.

Jacki Donaldson of That’sFit passes along an awesome list of colorful foods. Take a look:

  • Red: Pink grapefruit, red bell peppers, tomatoes, and watermelon all contain lycopene, a lung and prostate cancer fighter.
  • Purple: Concord grapes, blueberries, and prunes have anthocyanins to ward off heart disease and lower the risk of cancer.
  • Green: Spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, and bok choy come with lutein, great for reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and macular degeneration.
  • Orange: Carrots, mangos, pumpkin, and oranges are the keepers of beta carotenes, the stuff that prevents cancers of the lung, esophagus, and stomach and keeps heart disease risk to a minimum and immune function to a maximum.
  • White: Cauliflower, mushrooms, banana, and onions are stocked with anthoxanthins and allicin to help lower blood pressure and protect against stomach cancer.

Sweet! These colors really go along with Dr. Fuhrman’s ten super foods and fab five.
 

Obama, McCain: Differ on Healthcare...

There are A LOT of issues being talked about during this year’s presidential election and a MAJOR one is healthcare. No doubt. The insured, uninsured and underinsured alike, are all worrying about it. I know I am!

Maggie Fox of Reuters investigates both John McCain and Barrack Obama’s plans for healthcare. Here’s what it looks like:

THE UNINSURED
McCain proposes a Guaranteed Access Plan or GAP provided by states. One example would be a nonprofit corporation that would contract with insurers.

Obama would create a National Health Insurance Exchange to help people buy private insurance, act as a watchdog and create standards. He would require health care for all children, and expand Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program or SCHIP.

IMPROVING CARE
Both candidates support electronic health records to improve record-keeping and reduce errors. Obama would launch a federally backed system.

Both also support better coordination of care. Obama health advisers support the idea of a "medical home" -- a primary care doctor who would help coordinate and oversee care.

Both candidates praise smoking cessation and weight-loss programs, especially those offered by employers.

Obama has studied the possibility of paying doctors to spend time with patients on preventing disease and rewarding them for better outcomes.

Clearly, if America would start at the source and improve our diets, healthcare would probably be LESS of a concern, but in the meantime. I look forward to seeing each candidate thresh out their ideas.

Oh, and if you’re curious about McCain and Obama’s health, check out: Presidential Health Wars.

Man Stuff: Lifespan, Prostate Cancer, Diabetes...

Despite popular opinion, being a man involves MORE than just watching football, mowing the lawn and scratching your butt. Actually, men—especially our health—can be downright complicated. Yes, I said it. Men, complicated.

Take type-2 diabetes for example. A new campaign by the American Diabetes Association is aimed at better educating men on diabetes. Megan Rauscher of Reuters reports:

Men with type 2 diabetes know the basics about the disease and its main complications - heart disease, blindness, kidney failure - but they seem to know very little about the issues that affect their quality of life, like depression and sexual dysfunction, according to results of a survey released today by the American Diabetes Association.

The survey also shows that men are "really uncomfortable talking about these issues with their physician" -- yet are hungry for more information, Dr. Richard M. Bergenstal, Vice President, Medicine & Science at the American Diabetes Association noted in a telephone interview with Reuters Health.

To bridge the information gap, the American Diabetes Association today announced the launch of a multifaceted nationwide campaign to spotlight the often overlooked physical, emotional and sexual health issues affecting the roughly 12 million American men with diabetes.

And lifespan, why do men die sooner than women? WebMD offers up 6 tips that might help keep the men in your life around longer—not sure if that’s a thing good or not. Here are two great suggestions:

Speak frankly with a doctor: Leave embarrassment in the waiting room. Women are taught at an early age to be candid and open with their doctors. Symptoms that can be uncomfortable to talk about - such as erectile dysfunction - can be tied to more serious ailments such as diabetes and heart disease. Men, despite cultural tradition, should also request breast checks…

Keep a close eye on young males: The reckless nature and lifestyle of adolescents make them prime targets for injury or death. Females develop a more evolved sense of judgment and decision making at an earlier age then males. Add to that the cocktail of testosterone and other hormones and, biologically, males possess a potentially lethal internal recipe. Monitoring their activities and setting careful limits is vital. "Boys have been compared to a Porsche without brakes," Marianne J. Legato, MD says. "They take risks, are idealistic, intense, and believe they're invulnerable..."

Now, as a short guy, this particular piece of news ACTUALLY relieved me. New research in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention claims that taller men have a greater risk of developing prostate cancer. The Well blog is on it:

Researchers from four universities in England studied more than 9,000 men with and without prostate cancer and found that the tallest men had a 19 percent higher risk of developing prostate cancer than shorter men. Using the shortest men as a baseline, the study showed that risk increased 6 percent for every additional 4 inches in height. The report, published in the September issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, showed an even stronger association between height and aggressive cancers.

“Compared to other risk factors, the magnitude of the additional risk of being taller is small, and we do not believe that it should interfere with preventive or clinical decisions in managing prostate cancer,” said the study’s lead author, Luisa Zuccolo, of the department of social medicine at the University of Bristol. “But the insight arising from this research is of great scientific interest.”

Dudes, we got a lot going on! But here’s the good news. Avoiding diabetes, prostate cancer and dying prematurely is NOT that hard. Dr. Fuhrman will tell you. It all starts with diet. Eating a vegetable-based high-nutrient diet will make you a Superman.

Although, I’d prefer to be a Batman!

The Fruit Guys!

Check this out! At first I thought it was the name of a comedy troop, but the San Francisco, California based Fruit Guys, wants to deliver fresh fruit to your workplace every week!

They’ll drop off all sorts of goodies, like pluots, apples, oranges, pears and bananas! I don’t know what a pluot is, but now I want one! Oh, its a plum. Be sure to visit FruitGuys.com. Such a great idea!

Via That’sFit.

Exercise and Video Games Trump Obesity

According to Dr. Fuhrman obesity and its sequelae cost the United States over $100 billion each year—so why suffer? Just eat right and exercise! Especially since new research shows that EXERCISE seriously kicks obesity’s butt.

The study appears in the Archives of Internal Medicine. More from Julie Steenhuysen of Reuters:

When we looked at the Amish who were the most active, there is suddenly no effect of that gene," said Dr. Soren Snitker of the University of Maryland, whose study appears in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The findings, which suggest physical activity can overcome a genetic predisposition for obesity, may help inform the debate over whether changes in diet or physical activity will make the biggest difference in fighting obesity.

Consumer groups have pushed for laws such as July's moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in certain Los Angeles neighborhoods, while the food industry often maintains that a lack of exercise is more to blame.

Researchers focused their study on a group of 704 Old Order Amish men and women in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, a religious group whose members often do not drive cars or have electricity in their homes.

Snitker said the group offered a unique mix of activity levels, with some farmers in the community still using horse-drawn plows while others holding more conventional jobs, including factory work.

Now, get this. Another study—this time in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine—claims that active video games are a great way to work out; Reuters reports. Go figure, exercising in the digital age!

For more, check out Onlyourhealth’s obesity and exercise categories.

Skin Cancer Could Lead to More Cancers...

If you go to the beach, you’ll see plenty of sun-toasted people just itching to get skin cancer. Here’s the problem with that, a new study claims skin cancer can increase your risk of developing other cancers—yikes!

The research appears in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. WebMD reports:

Melanoma is the deadliest skin cancer. Past research has shown that people who have had non-melanoma skin cancers have a greater risk of developing melanoma.

Researchers, led by Jiping Chen, MD, PhD, of the National Cancer Institute and Anthony Alberg, PhD, MPH, at the Medical University of South Carolina looked at data from 19,174 people listed in a Maryland county (Washington County) cancer registry.

They followed people with and without nonmelanoma skin cancer for more than 16 years from 1989 to 2005, to see the risk of developing other types of malignancies (non-skin cancers). What they found was:

People who had been diagnosed with either basal cell or squamous cell skin cancer had double the risk of developing another type of cancer when compared to those with no history of the disease.

Now, according to Dr. Fuhrman, “People who eat a cancer-promoting diet will always be at risk of multiple cancers. The important message here is that skin cancer is caused by a low micronutrient diet in combination with the increased free radical damage from sun exposure.”

That’s why Dr. Fuhrman recommends eating tons of cancer-fighting fruits and vegetables. Broccoli in particular has been shown to ward off skin cancer. And in related news, scientists have mapped the genetic pathways for brain and pancreatic cancer.
 

Brainy Work Makes You Eat More...

Do you do physical work or intellectual work? If you said intellectual work, you might have a problem. A new study claims that people who have brainy jobs are stressed out and more likely to consume excess calories—i.e. SNACK!

The research appears in the latest edition of Psychosomatic Medicine. ENN reports:

The research team, supervised by Dr. Angelo Tremblay, measured the spontaneous food intake of 14 students after each of three tasks: relaxing in a sitting position, reading and summarizing a text, and completing a series of memory, attention, and vigilance tests on the computer. After 45 minutes at each activity, participants were invited to eat as much as they wanted from a buffet.

The researchers had already shown that each session of intellectual work requires only three calories more than the rest period. However, despite the low energy cost of mental work, the students spontaneously consumed 203 more calories after summarizing a text and 253 more calories after the computer tests. This represents a 23.6% and 29.4 % increase, respectively, compared with the rest period.

Blood samples taken before, during, and after each session revealed that intellectual work causes much bigger fluctuations in glucose and insulin levels than rest periods. "These fluctuations may be caused by the stress of intellectual work, or also reflect a biological adaptation during glucose combustion," hypothesized Jean-Philippe Chaput, the study's main author. The body could be reacting to these fluctuations by spurring food intake in order to restore its glucose balance, the only fuel used by the brain.

Now, I’m sure EVERY job causes stress. So you better find a way to unwind. According to Dr. Fuhrman you’ve got to relax and its important to establish an emotionally satisfying environment.

As for the excess eating that occurs due to stress, sounds a lot like toxic hunger. For more on toxic hunger, check out Dr. Fuhrman’s guest post on Diet-Blog: Overcoming Toxic Hunger: A Major Cause of Obesity.

Tasty Red Clover

See that stuff. It’s red clover. It grows everywhere and apparently you can EAT it. Jonathan M. Forester of SlashFood insists the shoots are yummy and the flowers are loaded with protein. Check it out:

Red & White Clover are both edible raw in salads, as cooked greens, and more. The young and tender shoots and greens can be tasty, but older ones can get tough. Just stick to ones that look fresh and haven't gone grass-like and you should be fine. The flower heads are nutritious and full of protein but they should either be soaked in salty water for a few hours or briefly boiled or cooked before eating; so that they are easier to digest. Eating them raw is usually not as good an experience. I like them stir fried or sauteed until well done, or lightly battered and made into fritters or tempura. I find that the saltiness of the tempura dipping sauce works well with them. If the blossoms seem past their prime, or even going to seed, all the better. Because then you can dry them and grind them into a protein rich and nutritious flour. Just don't try to cook and eat them unless they are soft and fresh, or they will be quite unappetizing.

I was personally introduced to them when I was studying wilderness survival, and one day we had to prepare and eat them every way we could. It wasn't a high point of the week long course, but not the low point either.

I have to admit. Eating flowers makes me nervous. Not sure why. Although, I’ve seen Dr. Fuhrman himself eat an orchid. Even still, it weirds me out—do any of you eat flowers?

Oh, and for more interesting plant news. TreeHugger is talking about hemp.
 

Fad Diets Don't Promote Fruits and Veggies...

New research by Royal Children's Hospital in Australia claims fad diets—like Slim Fast, Weight Watchers, Atkins and the "Eat Yourself Slim" Dietdo little to increase people’s intake of fruits and vegetables. Wow, what a shocker!

The study's in Biomed Central's Nutrition Journal. Reuters reports:

There was no significant difference between the diets in how much weight people lost, Helen Truby of Royal Children's Hospital in Australia and her British colleagues reported in Biomed Central's Nutrition Journal.

"Health professionals and those working in community and public health should be reassured of the nutritional adequacy of the diets tested," the researchers wrote.

Truby and colleagues asked 293 people on diets across Britain to record how much food they ate during a two-month period and compared the results with a group who ate normally.

They found that all four diets led to weight loss but that only people on the Weight Watchers plan boosted the amount of fruit and vegetables they ate even when the plans advised them to do so.

This shouldn’t be taken as a glowing endorsement for Weight Watchers. Dr. Fuhrman considers Weight Watchers an obsolete approach to weight-loss. Not to mention, portion-restricting diets have dismal failure rates or only post modest results.

Now, what this research does show is too many people are still veggie-phobic. Some REALLY freak out over vegetables!

Baby's Weight Gain May Lead to Hypertension

A new study by University of Bristol has determined that babies who gain weight rapidly during their first few months after birth are more likely to develop high blood pressure as adults—hypertension is often called the “silent killer.”

The research appears in the latest Hypertension. More from Reuters:

They found that those who gained weight more rapidly in the first five months after birth and again from about age 2 to 5 were more likely to have high systolic blood pressure.

Immediate weight gain after birth also was linked to higher adult diastolic blood pressure, they found.

Systolic blood pressure is the pressure in the arteries while the heart contracts. Diastolic blood pressure is the pressure when the heart relaxes between beats.

"When trying to understand why some people get high blood pressure in later life, we need to consider a life course approach that considers early life as well as adult life risk factors such as dietary salt and obesity," Yoav Ben-Shlomo of the University of Bristol in Britain, who led the study published in the journal Hypertension, said in a statement.

I like the concept of a “life course” approach. Falls right in line with Dr. Fuhrman’s thinking. Here’s what I mean. Feeding your toddler French fries is a BAD idea! Healthy eating for the whole family is a GOOD idea.

And nixing salt is a smart move too. Salt is definitely one of America’s food addictions and can fuel toxic hunger. Now, as for obesity, obesity makes us sick in SO many ways and here’s a new problem, undiagnosed cases of diabetes.

The Harvard Medical School claims that while obesity increases diabetes-risk, it does NOT increase the likelihood individual's diabetes will be diagnosed—it’s in Diabetes Care.

Do Low Cholesterol Levels Cause Cancer?

I thought it was important for me to construct a public reply to a recent medical study that reported both high cholesterol and low cholesterol were associated with higher cancer rates because too many people are still confused about this, including the scientific research community. This is because so few people have performed a comprehensive, in-depth review of the scientific research on nutrition and cancer, so they base their decisions on a narrow and incorrect interpretation of the literature. This recent article and the comments by the media and even by physicians and scientists illustrate pervasive ignorance and confusion about human nutrition.

The study in question was published in the August 26th issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).1 It showed that people whose LDL cholesterol was below 2.8 mmol/L (109) had a higher risk of certain cancers (primarily lymphatic and blood cancers) and people whose LDL cholesterol was above 3.9 mmol/L (152) had a higher risk of certain cancers (primarily breast and digestive tract) as well.

My book, Cholesterol Protection For Life, covered this issue in more depth. In it, I explained that certain illnesses, especially cancer, lower cholesterol levels by decreasing the liver’s ability to produce cholesterol and that having a low cholesterol in spite of an unhealthy (high) cholesterol-promoting diet could be an early sign of an undiagnosed cancer. The types of cancers that have been reported to cause low cholesterol levels include lung, liver, lymphatic and hematopoietic cancer, the same cancers associated with low cholesterol in this study.2

My book, Disease-Proof Your Child, reviews the science and explains that cancer is predominantly caused many, many years before it first appears (over 40 years) and that cancerous cells are present in the body for over 10 years prior to diagnosis, when the clump of cancerous cells eventually become large enough to be viewed by the human eye or when the first signs or symptoms appear. This study only followed people for less than 5 years. They recorded the cancers that occurred in the last 2½ years of the study.

The findings were not surprising, but consistent with the main body of literature on this subject. We would expect people who are eating a diet that promotes high cholesterol would have higher cancer rates, because the same diet-style that promotes high cholesterol and heart disease also promotes cancer. We would also expect to find that very low cholesterol was also associated with more cancers occurring because some people in the cohort would have undiagnosed (occult, early stage) cancer that would eventually become diagnosed in the last 2½ years of the study. Their low cholesterol was a sign of early (undiagnosed) cancer, not a cause of their cancer. These people have low cholesterol in spite of not earning low cholesterol with nutritional excellence. Their cancer caused the low cholesterol, not the other way around.

What I stated in Cholesterol Protection For Life is that a low cholesterol that is earned through adherence to a diet rich in vegetables, beans, seeds, nuts and other health-promoting foods will protect you against heart attacks and cancers, however if you have a very low cholesterol that you did not earn via healthy living and a healthy diet, it might be a sign that a disease is present that lowers cholesterol, such as cancer.

To conclude, don’t be alarmed if your cholesterol is low, if you have earned it. Low cholesterol earned through high vegetable consumption and a micronutrient rich diet is linked to protection against all cancers, and populations eating a vegetable-centered-diet earn low cholesterol levels and have dramatically lower rates of cancers along with lower heart disease rates.3 This does not have to be such a confusing subject. Its simple, the prescription is nutrition for improved health and a longer life!

To learn more, check out Followhealthlife's cancer and cholesterol catagories or visit the library at DrFuhrman.com.

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School Food, Bad and Prices Rising...

Kids have an unlikely place to buy salty snacks and high-fat foods—school! Research by the CDC showed that U.S. schools ARE selling less junk during lunch periods, but in some districts, vending machines continue to undermine efforts.

The study appears in the latest issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. WebMD reports:

"But progress is being made," says Howell Wechsler, EdD, MPH, director of CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health. "We see quite a few states where the number of schools selling junk food in vending machines is very low."

The CDC's 2006 data, alarming as they are, show progress. In a substudy of high schools in 25 states and nine cities, the percentage of high schools selling junk food during lunch periods dropped from 53 percent in 2004 to about 37 percent in 2006.

Yet there was no change in the percentage of high schools selling junk food before and after the lunch bell rang.

Why do schools sell food that harms kids' health? Money, Wechsler tells WebMD. Sales from vending machines, canteens, and snack bars come directly to schools without strings attached by state or city school systems.

Faced with increasing financial pressures, schools are tempted to make deals with the junk-food devil. However, the success of some schools should help others resist this temptation.

The increased cost of food is becoming a HUGE issue! According to The New York Times schools in NY and 6108032618 are raising the price of school lunch to make ends meet; as much as 50 cents in some places.

And to make matters worse, junk foods—like Yoo-Hoo chocolate drinks—are major profit generators, which explains why schools are so hesitant to give them up. On the other hand, a healthy diet DOES help kids perform better. What to do?

I think the answer is obvious—pack a lunch! Dr. Fuhrman insists packing a lunch is a great way to ensure your kids are eating healthfully at school. Oh! And here are some great tips for a healthier and greener lunch—via PlanetGreen.

Heart Health: Take the Stairs, Eat Nuts!

Eating right and exercising is critical. In fact, research just showed that running is a GREAT way to improve heart health, but if running isn’t your thing. Try taking the stairs!

A new study claims that simply walking up and down the stairs can reduce waist size, body fat, blood pressure and cholesterol. Ben Hirschler of Reuters reports:

Philippe Meyer of the University Hospital in Geneva studied 69 employees of the university with a sedentary lifestyle, defined as less than two hours of exercise a week and fewer than 10 flights of stairs climbed a day.

After not using elevators for 12 weeks, they increased their use of stairs to an average of 23 stories ascended or descended a day from five before, with a resulting sharp increase in fitness levels.

"This suggests that stair climbing at work may have major public health implications," Meyer told the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology. "However, the results of the pilot study need to be confirmed in a larger randomized controlled trial."

Pretty cool! Certainly we ALL can try to take the stairs more often. Remember, aerobic exercise combats metabolic syndrome, a known contributor to cardiovascular disease.

Here’s more good news. That’sFit passes along some info on how nuts—in this case, pistachios—lower heart disease-risk. Now, Dr. Fuhrman advocates eating plenty of nuts and seeds; they contain plant proteins and plant sterols that naturally lower cholesterol.

Speaking of heart health, check out this interview with Dr. Fuhrman’s friend Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. Via 90.3 WCPN: How To Eradicate Heart Disease.
 

Burger Eating Lettuce

You’d have to be totally stupid to believe this real, but even still, it’s an amazingly well done feet of veggie absurdity. This lettuce bites back, check it out:

 

Now, this IS real. Highlights from this year’s Tomatina tomato throwing festival; over 200,000 pounds of tomatoes were wasted. Makes my Italian blood boil—or should I say—stew!