Dr. Fuhrman's Health Getaway; part 1 - the meals

Rancho Bernardo Inn, tucked away in beautiful San Diego County, was the location for Dr. Fuhrman’s Health Getaway that took place on July 11-17. Every detail was perfectly orchestrated to make it an incredible week of learning the latest nutritional discoveries by Dr. Fuhrman, motivational encouragement, special presentations, physical fitness classes, healthy eating, tasting new recipes, health assessments, relaxation, and forming lasting friendships.  Because describing the Getaway is like trying to capture Niagra Falls into a glass jar, I’ll focus on different parts of it over the next few weeks; plus, I’ll include some commentaries from others so you can hear various perspectives also. [Special thanks to Dan Williams, a guest at the Getaway and a phenomenal photographer, for sharing some wonderful images that I'll be posting over the next few weeks.] 

The following were highlights of the week’s meals:

  • The Sunday evening welcome reception was on the San Bernardo patio overlooking beautiful views of the landscapes below; complete with a refreshing California breeze and delicious hors d’oeuvres: Fruit Kabobs, No Meat Balls with Marinara Sauce, Endive stuffed with Tuscan Bean Dip, Cantaloupe Slush, and Coconut Slushy.
  • This was followed by dinner in the San Bernardo Ballroom: French Minted Pea Soup, Pistachio Crusted Tempeh and Shiitake Mushrooms, Wild & Basmati Rice, Fresh Greens with Dr. Fuhrman’s Salad Dressings, Steamed Green Beans, California Creamed Kale, and Poached Pears with Raspberry Sauce. 
  • Every meal for the entire week, including each breakfast, was a lavish celebration of delicious foods and visual beauty.  Breakfasts and lunches were served on the Santiago Courtyard; complete with outdoor fountains, sculptures, flowers, linens, and dinnerware. 
  • The recipes came directly out of Dr. Fuhrman’s book, Eat for Health, or the recipe section of Member Center of DrFuhrman.com. I tasted almost everything, and there wasn’t one recipe that I would not make for my family and/or dinner guests.  Some of my favorites were:
  • California Creamed Kale (I could eat this for every meal for the rest of my life!)
  • Dr. Fuhrman’s Anti Cancer Soup
  • Broccoli Vinaigrette (doesn’t get much better!)
  • Braised Bok Choy (delicious! a must make-again)
  • Roasted Vegetable Pizza
  • Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream (tastes a lot like chocolate/cherry cordials)
  • Broccolini with Tomato Almond Sauce (my favorite of favorites!)
  • Asian Vegetable Stir Fry
  • Eat Your Greens Fruit Smoothie
  • Eggplant Roll Ups (the tops; fascinating combination of flavors)
  • Mixed Berry Freeze (refreshing)
  • Banana Walnut Ice-Cream
  • Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie (to die for ~ in my opinion)
  • Apple Surprise (a wonderful breakfast treat)
  • Apple Carrot Custard Pie (“Wow, this is healthy?!”)tomatoes
  • Many were ecstatic to have dropped several pounds by the end of the week while eating such delicious foods!  As one guest described it, "The food was delicious and so satisfying I was surprised this was good for me. I really CAN eat this way for life."  May we all incorporate such great tasting food into our lifetime journeys of eating for health. – Bon Appetit!   

                 

 

image credits:  meal settings by Rancho Bernardo Inn; food by Dan Williams of KalareStudios.com

Vegetable-fueled athlete breaks American record in 24-hour run

A recent New York Times article focused on Scott Jurek, an ultramarathoner with an impressive record – for example:

  • 7 consecutive wins in the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run
  • 3 wins in the 152-mile Spartathlon in Greece
  • 2 wins in the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon in California
  • 1 win in the 100-mile Hardrock Hundred in Colorado

And he also happens to be vegan.

When Scott Jurek was in college, he began to realize the connections between lifestyle and disease, and he transitioned his diet toward unrefined plant foods.

Scott Jurek recently competed in the 24-Hour-Run world championship in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France. He broke the American record by running 165.7 miles in the single-day run, finishing second overall. USA Today then named him their Athlete of the Week.

So what does Scott Jurek eat?

According to Mark Bittman’s article in the New York Times, Jurek’s lunches and dinners consist of “huge salads, whole grains, potatoes and sweet potatoes, and usually beans of some sort or a tempeh-tofu combination.”

Sounds quite close to a nutritarian diet, doesn’t it? Dr. Fuhrman would of course make sure that nuts and seeds were included in this overall plan. A diet based on unrefined plant foods benefits overall health, lifespan, immune function, and cardiovascular health, so it should certainly promote athletic performance also. Phytochemical-rich foods may suppress exercise-induced oxidative stress and micronutrient adequacy promotes immunocompetence, which helps to prevent disruptions to the training schedule due to illness. Unrefined plant foods, high in micronutrients, are therefore well-suited foods for athletes.

To the average person, it might seem unthinkable that Jurek could run these extreme distances fueled only by plant foods, which speaks to our society’s misguided overestimation of the importance of protein.

Scott Jurek simply increases his number of calories as he increases training volume – Dr. Fuhrman agrees with this approach. Athletes do have elevated protein needs compared to sedentary individuals, since protein is the raw material for muscle growth. However, protein needs increase proportionally with calorie needs. The main concern for vegan athletes is obtaining sufficient calories because of the high nutrient to calorie ratio of plant foods. Dr. Fuhrman advises athletes that they can easily meet these needs by putting additional focus on foods that are rich in both micronutrients and protein – like seeds, tofu, nuts, whole grains, and large quantities of green vegetables.

Dr. Fuhrman addresses dietary considerations for vegan athletes in his most recent newsletter, Fueling the Vegan Athleteand in his recent publication in Current Sports Medicine Reports.  In this newsletter, Dr. Fuhrman discusses micronutrients and supplements of particular concern to vegan athletes, as well as strategies for meeting their enhanced calorie and protein needs.

 

References:

New York Times. Diet and Exercise to the Extremes by Mark Bittman. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/13/sports/13runner.html?ref=health

USA Today. Scott Jurek sets record in 24-hour race, earns athlete of the week. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/olympics/2010-05-17-athlete-of-the-week_N.htm

Fuhrman J, Ferreri DM. Fueling the Vegetarian (Vegan) Athlete. Current Sports Medicine Reports. 2010 July/Aug;9(4):233-241

 

 

That's cool, because I am into healthy eating, too!

I’ve come to realize over the past three years of my college experience that the phrase “I am a healthy eater,” is used liberally and with conviction among my peers. Amazingly, in spite of eating almost no produce they believe that they eat healthful diets. Telling them otherwise would result in defensiveness and rationalizations. I have friends who are athletes, environmental activists, pre-meds, you name it, and are intelligent, forward-thinking people. Yet, when it comes to what they put in their mouths, they are clueless. For example, I just moved into an apartment with two new roommates (one female, one male) and the refrigerator and cabinets were already stocked with food (well, if you could call it that) when I arrived. After living at home for a while with its endless supply of fresh fruits and vegetables, I was taken aback by what I saw: oreos, chips, weight watchers bars, and other convenient, imperishable foods were in the cabinets, frozen pizzas, macaroni dishes, and fake meats with unpronounceable, artificial ingredients, in the freezer. Other than a few carrots and a melon, no fresh vegetables and fresh fruits, no mushrooms, no beans and no raw nuts or seeds were in the kitchen. 

Cookies

I began chatting with my new roommate about my upbringing and how important eating healthfully is to me. As a competitive runner, he heartily agreed with me about the importance of fueling your body with nutritious foods and he explained that healthy eating is very important to him too. There was a clear discrepancy between his nutritional philosophy and the foods he had stocked in our kitchen. This has been a frequent occurrence for me over the years and shows how nutritionally uneducated people are. Little is done to educate the American populace about one of the most important topics of their lives: how to eat a disease- preventing diet.   I do my best to educate my friends when they ask me for advice, but I’ve learned from experience not to push my eating philosophy on others. Their chosen eating habits are like a religion to some people, and not open to debate. I hope my friends are curious about what I eat and ask me questions, and in many instances they do. I also have friends who could care less about what I put in my mouth, convinced that their mediocre diet is just as healthy, if not more so. I accept this, but I do wish that all my friends and others were blessed with the nutritional knowledge that I am fortunate to possess. 

Have you found those around you to be curious about your diet and the nutritarian lifestyle? How do you handle conflicting nutritional beliefs?

Good eating is skin deep

Sunbather

Skin cancer is the most prevalent cancer in the United States.   Every year, over one million people are diagnosed with skin cancer. Given the thinning of the ozone layer around the earth and the increased potential for skin cancer with “normal” sun exposure, clearly, we must minimize our skin cancer risk by applying (non-chemical) sunscreen, avoiding tanning beds and limiting the amount of hours we spend in the sunlight. What most people are not aware of however, is the power of a high nutrient diet in the prevention of all types of skin cancer. Cancers, in general, can only flourish in the body when cells that undergo free radical damage and the subsequent DNA damage, are unable to be repaired by the cell’s DNA monitoring and repair tools. 

Natural, plant based foods are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals, substances that are needed for these repair mechanisms to function most optimally.   If one’s diet is low in vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds, the body will not be supplied with enough micronutrients for its cells to defend itself from oxidative damaged caused by UV radiation. Nutrients penetrate every cell in the body and are needed in every cell, including skin cells. Oxidative damage caused by free radicals from sunlight exposure can be opposed when a healthful diet rich in antioxidants is consumed. Vegetables, both raw and cooked, offer much needed protection from skin cancer, as they would for other cancers. Green vegetables, most notably the cruciferous variety, win the competition for cancer defending properties. The concept of consuming a high-nutrient, plant based diet has been supported in a recent study conducted in Australia. Researches analyzed the diet, skin color, and sunlight exposure of 1,360 adults, aged 25-75, who participated in a community-based skin cancer study from 1992-2002. Two main eating patterns were identified: a meat and fat pattern and a vegetable and fruit pattern. Not surprisingly, the meat and fat pattern diet was positively associated with development of skin cancer, and even more strongly associated in participants with a skin cancer history. Increased consumption of the vegetable and fruit dietary pattern reduced skin cancer occurrence by 54%, with the protective effect mostly attributed to the consumption of green, leafy vegetables. In conclusion, the researchers deemed that a dietary pattern characterized by high meat and fat intakes increases skin cancer odds, while a dietary pattern characterized by higher consumption of green vegetables decreases it. 

While enjoying summer days out by the pool this summer, remember not just to apply a non-chemical sunscreen, but to fill up on those ever remarkable and delicious fruits and veggies. And, don’t forget to invite me to your 100 year old birthday party..

 

Reference:

Ibiebele TI, van der Pols JC, Hughes MC, et al. “Dietary pattern in association with squamous cell carcinoma of the skin: a prospective study.” Am J Clin Nutr 2007; 85(5):1401-8.

Broccoli Rob encourages kids to give peas a chance

Robert always was active and athletic, but as an adult he began to struggle with an autoimmune condition. He consulted with several physicians, but did not find much relief for his condition. Then Robert read Eat to Live, and began incorporating Dr. Fuhrman’s dietary recommendations into his lifestyle. Switching to a high nutrient diet made all the difference for Robert, who was free of his autoimmune symptoms within six weeks.  

This experience moved Robert to get the message out about good nutrition, especially to children. As a musician, Robert created “The Broccoli Rob Show,” a performance aimed at children which combines several of his passions - music, fitness, nutrition, and martial arts. Broccoli Rob, along with his friends Bruce Leek and Elvis Parsley, performs in schools and encourages children to eat more fruits and vegetables.

Children’s health and development, both physical and mental, are dependent on the beneficial micronutrients contained in natural plant foods. However, very few children eat sufficient fruits and vegetables. By 15-18 months of age, French fries are the most commonly consumed vegetable among children.1 Only about 5-10% of teenagers in the U.S. consume two or more servings of fruit and three or more servings of vegetables per day.2  American children are becoming a generation of “picky eaters” who would choose to live on nothing but cheese, chicken fingers, and soda.

The Broccoli Rob Show attempts to intervene and initiate healthy habits in children at a young age, encouraging kids to eat their vegetables with music and comedy.  

Robert is making a valiant effort to get the word out about healthy eating to kids – he models healthy behaviors in a fun and engaging way that gets kids excited about eating greens. And it’s working – take a look at Broccoli Rob’s video:

 

References:

1. Fox MK, Pac S, Devaney B, Jankowski L. Feeding infants and toddlers study: What foods are infants and toddlers eating? J Am Diet Assoc. 2004 Jan;104(1 Suppl 1):s22-30.

2. U.S. Centers for Disease Control. State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables, 2009. http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov/health_professionals/statereport.html