Deprivation dieting, binge eating, guilt . . .

Eating donuts

Deprivation dieting, binge eating, guilt, deprivation dieting, binge eating, guilt . . .

Know what I’m talking about? 

For those reading this post and have never struggled with an eating disorder, count your blessings and feel free to move onto reading something else of interest. 

However, for those who can relate, and know exactly what the cycle is like, let’s dialogue about the subject. 

Here’s how the typical scenario goes: 

Nutrients are unrealistically and severely restricted to cause the numbers on the scale to go down; aka deprivation dieting.  It's like trying to desperately breathe with no oxygen available.

 One survives a few days, and then . . bam, pent up emotions emerge out of nowhere. 

McDonalds ~ quickly! Big Mac, fries, chocolate shake, and apple pie. 

Next, Dairy Queen is in sight. Oreo blizzard and a caramel sundae.

Gas station is on the way home. Two chocolate bars and a bag of salted cashews. 

At home more food is ravenously eaten like a giant monster that has been let loose.

The belly expands. Fatigue overwhelms. Guilt engulfs. Remorse entangles. Vows are made.

 “I’ll diet again tomorrow,” is the infamous promise. 

Three days pass, and without warning, the monster returns with full vengeance.

How does one stop the cycle? 

The following are suggestions that have worked for me:

  • scalesStop deprivation dieting. If one’s focus is on calorie restriction for the scales instead of eating necessary nutrients for optimal health, that mindset will eventually lead to binge eating, guilt, and more binge eating. Guaranteed every time.
  • Take food addiction seriously. It’s right up there with destroying one’s life every bit as much as heroine and cocaine. Know that literally thousands have been set free from severe food addictions by following Dr. Fuhrman’s eating plan for optimal health. Thoroughly study his books and articles to understand the science behind his recommendations. Hold onto his life-saving instructions and don’t let them go, no matter what.
  • Establish habits of creative expression to replace the habit of releasing emotions through eating. For example, I’m a painter, and when I began the journey to get my health back, I chose to document my feelings along the way through visual creativity. I cut up 4”x 4” pieces of illustration board and committed to make one artwork per day. Sometimes I painted on the illustration boards, other times I wrote or doodled on them with markers, and a few times I glued items that I had collected on a walk. Any form of creative expression, whether it is quilting, knitting, wood working, sculpting, dancing, journaling, writing poetry, singing, songwriting, playing an instrument, or whatever one enjoys, will keep the mind engaged and distracted from the habit of turning to food for emotional release. Plus, as an additional benefit, a creative project specifically dedicated to documenting the journey, will keep one continually focused on the goal of earning health back, even in the midst of life’s many, and sometimes stressful circumstances.
  • friends walkingDevelop a healthy support system with likeminded friends, and seek professional counseling for the deep stuff. Isolation fuels pent up emotions like kerosene fuels a fire. I learned to process and communicate my thoughts and feelings on the member center instead of turning to food. The gift of understanding that others gave was priceless, and helped me establish a new path of emotional health. 
  • Exercise. And I’m not necessarily talking about the regularly scheduled, daily workout; although that’s vitally important. Get out in the fresh air. Go for a walk with a friend. Hop on a bike and ride around the neighborhood. Play a game of ping-pong with the kids. Many times, just a brief diversion of exercise will release pent up emotions that are brewing within.
  • Be still and visualize. Take a few moments to be quiet, close the eyes, and visualize life in one, five, and ten years from now living in optimal health. Make time for daily,
    quiet moments to recharge vision.  

Food addiction and emotional eating can be successfully overcome. The availability of toxic foods and the ebb and flow of emotional turmoil will always be a part of life; but food addiction and emotional eating doesn’t have to be!

What’s worked for you?   


image credits:  scales,;  friends walking,

Fructose fuels cancer cell growth?

A study showed that treatment of pancreatic cancer cells with fructose increased cell proliferation – uncontrolled proliferation is a hallmark of cancer. This follows on the heels of another study that linked fructose consumption from added sugars to elevated blood pressure. The bad press on fructose is making people question the safety of the ubiquitous commercial sweetener, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

Due to the introduction of HFCS, fructose intake has increased dramatically in the U.S. since the 1970s. Between 1970 and 2000, HFCS intake increased by 100-fold, and total fructose intake increased by 30%.1

Fructose makes up half of the sucrose molecule (with glucose), but may also be present in “free” form. Absorption of fructose and glucose, and the differences between fructose in natural foods and fructose in HFCS are explained in this post.

These authors investigated whether cancer cells could use fructose for energy, because they are known to use glucose – cancer cells are known to have a greater number of glucose transporters and metabolize glucose more rapidly than normal cells because their rapid proliferation requires greater amounts of energy.2

Although different transport mechanisms are used to get fructose and glucose into cells, their metabolism is thought to be similar once they enter cells. However, these scientists found that in human pancreatic tumor cells, metabolism of fructose and glucose occurs via different pathways, both leading to cell proliferation. Keep in mind that both sugars led to increased cell proliferation at similar rates – that is, this study did not show that fructose is “worse” than glucose, just that they stimulate proliferation by different mechanisms. Glucose was used by the cancer cells for energy production, whereas fructose was used to generate nucleic acids (DNA and RNA). This study was the first to show that cancer cells could differentiate between fructose and glucose, and that they could use fructose as efficiently as glucose to fuel cell growth.3,4

Sucrose intake, fructose intake, and high glycemic load have all been associated with pancreatic cancer in epidemiological studies, and diabetes also increases risk.5,6  

The message of this study and others on the negative effects of fructose is that added sugars, abundant in the Western diet, are detrimental to health and should be minimized, but sadly this is not the message that is getting through to the public. 

With the media frenzy around HFCS, the conventional wisdom seems to have become that sugar is superior to HFCS because it is more ‘natural’ – prompting many companies to switch from HFCS to sugar for sweetening their products. Meanwhile, the high fructose, low glycemic index sweetener agave nectar, once elevated to health food status, is now being doubted because of the negative press on fructose. 


Comparing sweetener to sweetener is missing the point. All sweeteners have negative health effects, regardless of their relative quantities of fructose, glucose, and sucrose. 

Some sweeteners spike blood glucose, others raise triglycerides and form advanced glycation end products (AGEs), and all provide excess calories and are devoid of nutrients. This is not a question of which sweeteners are healthy and which are unhealthy. None are healthy. All are merely concentrated sugars – contributing to obesity and all its consequences – and therefore should all be minimized or completely avoided in a health-promoting diet.



1. Bray GA, Nielsen SJ, Popkin BM. Consumption of high-fructose corn syrup in beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Apr;79(4):537-43.

2. Medina RA, Owen GI. Glucose transporters: expression, regulation and cancer. Biol Res. 2002;35(1):9-26.

3. Liu H, Huang D, McArthur DL, et al. Fructose induces transketolase flux to promote pancreatic cancer growth. Cancer Res. 2010 Aug 1;70(15):6368-76.

4. EurekAlert! Pancreatic cancers use fructose, common in the Western diet, to fuel their growth. August 2, 2010

American Institute for Cancer Research Blog. Glucose, Fructose, and the Alarming Pancreatic Cancer News. August 4, 2010.

5. Nöthlings U, Murphy SP, Wilkens LR, et al. Dietary glycemic load, added sugars, and carbohydrates as risk factors for pancreatic cancer: the Multiethnic Cohort Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Nov;86(5):1495-501.

6. Michaud DS, Liu S, Giovannucci E, et al. Dietary sugar, glycemic load, and pancreatic cancer risk in a prospective study. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2002 Sep 4;94(17):1293-300.

The danger of exhaustion

exhausted male


The kind of fatigue that develops as a result of the newborn crying again at 3 am. 

The kind that develops while recovering from major surgery.

The kind that no amount of cheering fixes. 

Exhaustion is dangerous stuff that leads to apathy. 

Apathy says, “I don’t give a rip. I don’t care.”   

When one’s body gets to that degree of fatigue, watch out! 

Recently, I found the following writing that I had posted on the member center of during the year that I’d lost 100 lbs.   It was dated, March 14, 2009; a little over eight months into the journey of earning my health back. The scales were down about eighty pounds, and I was well out of toxic food cravings. Just a few weeks prior to this writing I had had a major surgery, and decided to take a road trip to visit my son at college; a 3 1/2 hour drive away.


          I had a wonderful drive to visit my son. It was beautiful weather, and he had an eventful afternoon planned for my 14-year-old daughter and me. We went gallery hopping, window shopping, grocery shopping; plus, we toured the campus. On the outside I look relatively well now, but I’m still recovering from a major surgery that I had just a few weeks ago. This trip was my first "day away" since surgery. Can anyone spell s-t-u-p-i-d? 

          Well, between cleaning the house, and a 1/2 hour incline treadmill walk in the morning before departing; plus, all the excitement of the day, by early  evening, I had bit off way more than my body could physically manage. I was extremely exhausted, and was facing another 3 1/2 hour drive back home. At that moment, my rational mind shut down, and the irrational thought of "I don't care anymore" took over.

          My son had given his little sister a sack full of chocolate pop tarts (leftovers from his dorm breakfasts ~ the breakfasts of champions for college students.)  In "I don't care" mode, I asked for a pop tart, and my daughter graciously obliged. I opened the package, and the two pop tarts were stale, but I didn’t care. I ate them anyway. Then I read on the package that I had just eaten 73 grams of carbs. This freaked me out so I bought some tuna salad that was swimming in mayonnaise at a deli to compensate for any blood sugar issues that I might have created with the pop tarts. You know where this story is going . . . 

          I stopped mid-drive home, and got a gooey, hot fudge sundae. Then an hour later, I bought a candy bar and cream filled caramels at a gas station, scarfed them down, and then devoured a peanut butter sandwich when I got home. Then I collapsed in bed. Forget brushing the teeth . . . my body was beyond exhausted. There was not one ounce of self care or nurturing left. *

exhausted female holding cupWhen we are extremely exhausted, we have a tendency to make unwise choices. Oftentimes, we no longer desire to properly nurture and care for our bodies. When the body is pushed beyond healthy limits, it automatically shuts down, and goes into "I don't care" mode; and that's the most dangerous place to be! One can have good intentions, but in "I don't care" mode irrationality takes over.

We need to be diligent to make time for proper self-care; that includes nurturing as well as nourishment. We need to be kind to our bodies and not abuse them by overextending their capabilities. We need to make time for rest and rejuvenation, which may include asking others for help; especially in seasons of additional stress.

Wise choices produce freedom! 


After two years of eating high nutrient foods, I now have a strong aversion to junk food, and would get violently sick if I binged on those same foods.



image credits:;











Excess weight and animal protein contribute to early puberty

A study published in Pediatrics measured the proportion of girls who had entered puberty by ages 7 and 8, and saw striking increases compared to data collected in 1997, only 13 years ago. This study of U.S. girls found that by age 7, 10.4% of Caucasian girls (5% in 1997), 23.4% of African-American girls (15% in 1997), and 14.9% of Hispanic girls had already entered puberty. By age 8 the percentages were 18.3%, 42.9%, and 30.9%.1

This is distressing information, since early maturation is a well-established risk factor for breast cancer later in life.2 Cumulative exposure to ovarian hormones is a major determinant of breast cancer risk, and entering puberty early results in increased cumulative hormone exposure in young women.3

Age at menarche has been consistently decreasing over the past 100 years.4 In the medical literature, the probable causes of this continuing trend are clear – excess body fat and excess consumption of animal products are contributing factors to the declining age of puberty. 

Obesity is a factor that increases one’s exposure to estrogen, and multiple studies have found associations between excess weight during childhood and early menarche.5 Soft drink consumption, which is a contributor to the increasing rates of childhood obesity, is also associated with early menarche.2 A study supporting this evidence was also published online in Pediatrics, analyzing connections between early childhood weight and age at onset of puberty. These researchers found that increased weight and body mass index (BMI) even at the early ages of 0-20 months was associated with earlier puberty.6

Total animal protein and meat intake at ages 3 and 7 were positively associated with age at menarche in a British study. Girls with the highest meat intake at age 7 were 75% more likely to have begun menstruating by age 12 ½ than those in the lowest category of meat intake.7

Physicians and parents are concerned about the social implications of this trend toward earlier maturity - seven year old girls are most likely not emotionally equipped to handle the onset of puberty. Unfortunately, the consequences of this trend are not only emotional. Early in life, our bodies are much more susceptible to carcinogenic influences – childhood diets are the major cause of adult cancers.  It is becoming increasingly clear that the Western diet of meat, cheese, and processed food is harming our children, but many parents unknowingly continue to feed their children these disease-promoting foods. As parents, we must be proactive – we want the best for our children, and as such we must feed them the best possible foods. We can help to slow our children’s development by feeding them a diet based on natural plant foods, which will groom their taste buds to prefer healthy foods at a young age and provide them with significant protection against cancers and other chronic diseases as they grow into adulthood.




1. Biro FM, Galvez MP, Greenspan LC, et al. Pubertal Assessment Method and Baseline Characteristics in a Mixed Longitudinal Study of Girls. Pediatrics. Published online August 9, 2010

Puberty coming earlier for U.S. girls: study. Yahoo! Health. August 9, 2010

2. Vandeloo MJ, Bruckers LM, Janssens JP. Effects of lifestyle on the onset of puberty as determinant for breast cancer. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2007 Feb;16(1):17-25.

Leung AW et al. Evidence for a programming effect of early menarche on the rise of breast cancer incidence in Hong Kong. Cancer Detect Prev. 2008;32(2):156-61.

3. Pike MC, Pearce CL, Wu AH. Prevention of cancers of the breast, endometrium and ovary. Oncogene. 2004 Aug 23;23(38):6379-91.

Bernstein L. Epidemiology of endocrine-related risk factors for breast cancer. J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 2002 Jan;7(1):3-15.

Key T, Appleby P, Barnes I, et al. Endogenous sex hormones and breast cancer in postmenopausal women: reanalysis of nine prospective studies. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2002;94:606–16.

Eliassen AH, Missmer SA, Tworoger SS, et al. Endogenous steroid hormone concentrations and risk of breast cancer among premenopausal women. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2006;98:1406–15.

4. Tanner JM. Trend toward earlier menarche in London, Oslo, Copenhagen, the Netherlands and Hungary. Nature 1973;243:75-76.

5. Mounir GM, El-Sayed NA, Mahdy NH, Khamis SE. Nutritional factors affecting the menarcheal state of adolescent school girls in Alexandria. J Egypt Public Health Assoc. 2007;82(3-4):239-60.

Britton JA, Wolff MS, Lapinski R, Forman J, Hochman S, Kabat GC, Godbold J, Larson S, Berkowitz GS. Characteristics of pubertal development in a multi-ethnic population of nine-year-old girls. Ann Epidemiol. 2004 Mar;14(3):179-87.

6. Maisonet M, Christensen KY, Rubin C, et al. Role of Prenatal Characteristics and Early Growth on Pubertal Attainment of British Girls. Pediatrics. Published online August 9, 2010

7. Rogers IS, Northstone K, Dunger DB, et al. Diet throughout childhood and age at menarche in a contemporary cohort of British girls. Public Health Nutr. 2010 Jun 8:1-12.

Child eats rice to expand stomach for contest

All over the United States this summer, in every county, the youth of America are celebrating the 4-H fair. Some are showing their cows, pigs, lambs, and llamas; many are displaying their homemade butter cakes, yeast rolls, cookies, and garden produce; most are having the time of their lives!  All are participating in a week of county fair activities; everything from midway rides to tractor pulls to eating Funnel Cakes and Elephant Ears.

4-H fair emblemIf you were a 4-H’er as a kid, you know the infamous pledge: 

“I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world.”

 I wrote about the paradoxical message of 4-H pledge last summer on Onlyourhealth.

Recently, I was glancing through my hometown’s evening paper, and my eye caught the following title, Technique Matters: Contestants feel the need for speed . . . eating.” 1 It was an article devoted to the pizza eating contest at the 4-H fair. An eleven-year-old boy won the contest by stacking one slice on top of the other before devouring them. He was interviewed and said that he didn’t really prepare, but ate rice the night before to expand his stomach. He enters the contest because it’s fun. 


Are we really teaching the next generation of youth to devote his/her health to better living? . . . . to pledge their heads to clearer thinking?

As Dr. Fuhrman expressed in a follow-up post last year, “It’s not just the 4-H fair, it’s everywhere.” read more . . . .

What are your observations of the county fairs and festivals this summer? What tangible and proactive ways can we be contributors and role models of health to this next generation? Let’s dialogue and see if we can come up with some innovative solutions to this ongoing crisis.  


1 The News Sentinel; July 23, 2010, 3L, by Paige Chapman

image credits:   4-H emblem,; boy eating pizza,