Sources of Saturated Fat in Common Foods

From Dr. Fuhrman's book Disease Proof Your Child.

Ever wonder how much saturated fat there is in your favorite foods?

Saturated Fat Content of Common Foods
FoodGrams of Saturated Fat
Cheddar Cheese (4 oz)24
American Processed Cheese (4 oz)24
Ricotta Cheese (4 cup)20
Swiss Cheese (4 oz)20
Chocolate Candy (4 oz)20
Cheeseburger, Large, Double Patty18
T-bone Steak (6 oz)18
Braised Lamb (6 oz)16
Pork--Shoulder (6 oz)16
Butter (2 tbsp)14.5
Mozzarella, Park Skim (4 oz)12
Ricotta Cheese, Part Skim (4 oz)12
Beef--Ground, Lean (6 oz)11
Ice Cream, Vanilla (1 cup)10
Chicken Fillet Sandwich 9
Chicken--Thigh, No Skin (6 oz)5
Whole Milk, 3.3% Fat (1 Cup)5
Plain Yogurt5
Two Eggs (4 oz)4
Chicken Breast (6 oz)3 oz
Salmon (6 oz)3
Walnuts (2 oz or 24 halves)3
2% Milk (1 cup)3
Tuna (6 oz)2.6
Turkey, White, No Skin (6 oz)2
Almonds (2 oz or 48 nuts)2
Sunflower Seeds (2 oz)2
Flounder (6 oz)0.6
Sole (6 oz)0.6
FruitsNegligible
VegetablesNegligible
Beans/LegumesNegligible

Source: Composition of Foods-Raw-Processed-Prepared, Agriculture Handbook8. Series and Supplements. United States Department of Agriculture, Human Nutrition Information Service, Minnesota Nutrition Data System (NDS) software, developed by the Nutrition Coordinating Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. Food Database version 5A, Nutrient Database version 20, USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. Release 14 at www.nal.usda.gov.fnic.

Fight Fire With Veggies

The image of rough and tough firefighters swapping war stories over tofu burgers and steamed greens may seem alarming, but for members of Firehouse 2 in Austin Texas it's vegan or bust. Deborah Bluementhal of The New York Times explains what prompted these "dinosaurs" to abandon their carnivorous ways:

A routine cholesterol test left Specialist Rae, 37, shaken. The American Heart Association ranks anyone with a level of 240 or more high risk; Specialist Rae's hit 344.


"I was floored, scared," he said. "I had no clue."

Spooked by the outcome of his test. Specialist Rae asked fellow Firefighter Esselstyn for advice. Esselstyn, 43, a former professional triathlete explained that meat isn't necessary for optimal health. Esselstyn a vegan had good reason to make his claim:

Firefighter Esselstyn knew through his father's work that a strict vegan diet would help. His father, Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., had been a general surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic and still conducts research there.


Dr. Esselstyn's 12-year trial with patients with what looked like terminal heart disease showed that a very-low-fat, plant-based diet with cholesterol-lowering medicine could bring striking improvement.

Heart disease "never need exist," Dr. Esselstyn said, but if it does, "it never need progress."

How could someone with a bad ticker drag me out, Esselstyn explains. This concern attracted other members of Engine 2 to veganism as well. The switch seems to be working. Recently Specialist Rae achieved a cholesterol score of under 200.

Austin is taking notice of their herbivorous firemen. Shouting terms of endearment as the red engine drives by. A local eatery even named a sandwich after them, "The Engine 2 Veggie Sandwich." They even have their own goofy website promoting their diet, with links to several articles about their efforts.

You might recognize the name of one of the firefighters. Firefighter Esselstyn's father Caldwell B. Esslestyn Jr., M.D. is a leading advocate of a consuming a vegetable-based diet to prevent and reverse heart disease. Dr. Esseltyn's work has been discussed here before. To learn more about his research click here, or check Dr. Fuhrman's book Cholesterol Protection For Life.

Dr. Fuhrman's Fab Five

From Dr. Fuhrman's book Disease Proof Your Child.

Berries: Add berries to morning cereals. Make dessert sorbets from frozen berries. My kids love frozen strawberries blended with an orange or orange juice. We usually add a slice of dried pineapple and use our Vita-Mix to make a smooth and delicious strawberry sorbet.

Greens: Make steamed greens with a cashew butter cream sauce. Kids love it. We blend raw cashews and a few dried onion flakes with some soy milk and make a great sauce for chopped kale or broccoli.

Seeds: Seeds are super nutritious wonder foods. Try sprinkling some lightly toasted unhulled sesame seeds and sunflower seeds on salads and vegetables. We like to grind some into a powder and use it like salt on food.

Beans: Beans are fiber and nutrient packed. They give soups that chewy goodness and long-lasting satiety. Add a mixture of split peas, lentils, and adzuki beans to soups and simmer over low heat for about three hours.

Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a wonderful food in their own class. Whether you consider them a fruit or vegetable, it matters not. Slice them into pita pocket sandwiches. Mash some almond butter with a fork into some tomato sauce to add to the vegetable-tomato-sprout avocado pita pocket. What a great school lunch.

Here are some fab-five-ulous recipes:

Mild Bean Chutney
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup diced green peppers
lemon
cup diced red onions
1 cup frozen corn, defrosted
1 cup chickpeas
1 cup frozen green peas, defrosted
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon wine vinegar or raisin vinegar
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup red kidney beans
1 cup black beans

Add the tomatoes to a small covered pot and steam the shredded cabbage, carrots, and green peppers for only 5 minutes on the lowest flame possible in the pot. Stir in juice of lemon and the diced red onions, corn, peas, spices, and beans. Serve cold on top of shredded lettuce. Serves 4-6.

Red-Hot Hummus
1 cup canned (unsalted) chickpeas
3 tablespoons unhulled raw sesame seeds
2 tablespoons lemon juice
red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pinch of chili powder to taste

Blend ingredients in blender or food processor until creamy. If necessary, add a small amount of water to assist in blending. Serve as dip or sandwich with lettuce, tomatoes, and sprouts. Serves 4.

Blueberry and Flax Yogurt
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
cup regular soy milk
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
3 medjool or 6 Deglet Noor dates

Blend until smooth. Chill and serve. Great for school lunches too. Serves 1.

Gina Kolata's Video Assault on Your Good Sense

New York Times reporter Gina Kolata's work has come up again and again on DiseaseProof.

We just happened across a feature on The New York Times website that has video of Kolata discussing some of her recent work.

Her "Health Minute" video piece about the relationship between diet and cancer is shocking. Here are some quotes:

  • "You might have assumed that what you eat makes a big difference in whether you get cancer... "
  • "Many scientists say that there is still a reason to eat a healthy diet, but cancer prevention is probably not one of them. If there are effects, they are likely to be small, and swamped by other factors."
She also urges those with cancer not to feel guilty about what they ate--which is surely generous and kind, but not supported by research that I have seen.

The basis of her story is the Women's Health Initiative study that was wholly flawed. "Look closely and you will see that the researchers compared a typical, disease-causing American diet, with one that was just marginally better, but still terribly unhealthy," says Dr. Fuhrman.

He likens it to studying those who smoke 50 cigarettes a day, and comparing them to those who some 60 cigarettes a day. If you find little difference in their cancer rates, does that mean cigarettes don't affect cancer?

What's more, the study merely assessed the efficacy of "low-fat foods" which is not the most important designation in determining cancer-fighting potential. Some high-fat foods like nuts, seeds and avocados contain heart disease and cancer fighting compounds, points out Dr. Furhman, who adds that "eating more low-fat foods such as egg whites, chicken, and pasta does not expose us to the disease-fighting compounds in berries, seeds, nuts, cruciferous vegetables, tomatoes and carrots."

If you haven't read it yet, please do check out the still relevant longer response to Gina Kolata's original article--complete with references to medical studies etc.

Doubt About Omega-3 Fatty Acids

A recent study published in the British Medical Journal doubts the benefits of consuming omega-3 fatty acids. Despite vast research showing a reduced number of deaths from cardiovascular disease due to consumption of omega-3. Dr Mike Knapton of the British Heart Foundation isn't convinced. Reuters reports:

"People should not stop consuming omega-3 fats or eating oily fish as a result of this study," he said in a statement issued by the foundation.

"Until now, medical research has demonstrated a benefit from omega-3 fats in protecting people from heart and circulatory disease. This systematic review of numerous studies concludes that there is no clear evidence either way," he added.

Dr. Fuhrman says this does little to alter his conviction that for those who are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, getting more from diet or supplementation is beneficial:

Interesting study, it shows that higher fish intake or use of fish oil did not significantly affect mortality one-way or the other. I guess we would expect to find that. Fish and fish oil are over-hyped as being such wonder foods that will make everyone live longer.

But now let's put this in perspective. Giving B12 to the entire population will not have a significant effect on lifespan either, but give B12 to those B12 deficient people and it will be very significant for them.

This study specifically excluded those studies that checked and monitored blood levels of omega-3 fats. Those studies that do monitor such levels definitely show a strong relationship between fatal heart attacks and omega-3 fatty acid levels in the blood.1

Since most people are not deficient in these fatty acids, taking more is not protective, but in a vegan population who does not eat any fish, a certain percent will be deficient in DHA. DHA deficiency is an important thing to avoid; it can lead to depression, dementia and later life neurological deterioration. And this study did not show fish or fish oil would not increase lifespan in a vegan population or a group documented to be low in omega-3 fatty acids, which has already been demonstrated in other studies.

So this finding takes the edge off all the high intake of fish and fish oil hype, but it does not make it less important to make sure that a deficiency does not exist in anything (including long chain omega-3's) and it is still important to take a supplement or to have ones blood drawn to make sure your level is adequate.

So even if this study is correct and that eating fish or taking fish oil or (vegan) DHA supplement does not have a significant effect on longevity for most people, there are still other good reasons to assure nutritional adequacy with supplementation. Epidemiological data indicate decreased plasma DHA interacts with genetic and other environmental influences to predispose people to dementia. Approximately 40% of fatty acid phospholipids in the brain are DHA. Individuals with dementia have lower plasma phospholipid DHA levels in the brain compared to controls. Prospective studies have reported consumption of at least 1 fish serving per week decreases risk of Alzheimer's disease by 60%. Preliminary data suggest that after adjustment for age, gender, apoE genotype, and homocystine levels, the top quartile of plasma DHA of approximately 2.7 or more servings of fish/week or 180 mg or more DHA/day is associated with 50% decreased risk of dementia.

Continue Reading...

Research: Magnesium Does a Body Good

According to Ed Edelson of the HealthDay News a recent study published in the March 28 issue of Circulation links high intake of magnesium with a reduced incidence of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome refers to the cluster of conditions that contribute to heart disease and diabetes. Edelson explains:

The components of metabolic syndrome include high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, elevated blood fats and low levels of HDL cholesterol, the "good" kind that helps keep arteries clear. Having at least three of these factors increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

The study began in 1985 and monitored more than 4,600 Americans. The conclusion showed that individuals consuming increased amounts of magnesium had a 31 percent lower chance of developing metabolic syndrome than those who did not.

According to researchers good sources of magnesium are halibut, dry roasted almonds, cashews, spinach, whole-grain cereals, avocados, bananas and raisins. Although, Dr. Fuhrman contends you should avoid halibut due to mercury contamination. (More on mercury.)

Dr. Ka He, an assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern University encourages people to incorporate nutritious food into their diet when they are young so that can enjoy better health as they age. He urges that eating magnesium-rich food is only part of being healthy:

Magnesium is just a small part of the healthy heart story, He said. The standard recommendations for avoiding smoking, getting more physical activity, eating more fruits and vegetables and fewer fatty foods are essential for health.

Grand Rounds: Volume 2, Edition 27

Dr. Fuhrman's post about The Fallacy of the Metabolic Type Questionnaire is included in this week's edition of Grand Rounds hosted by NHS Blog Doctor. Click here to check it out.

Fat Man On The Move

In addition to a healthy diet, exercise is extremely important for reaching optimal health and bodyweight. Peter James Spielmann of the Associated Press reports one obese man is taking serious steps towards better health:

Steve Vaught is trying to shed unwanted pounds the long, slow way: step by step as he walks across the United States.


Vaught, 39, began his trek last April in Oceanside, Calif., and has covered more than 2,300 miles. As the distances have mounted, so too has interest in his journey, with supporters monitoring his progress online and newspapers and television stations tracking the adventure.

Vaught began the trip to lose weight and break the bad habits that led to his obesity. "When I first started this walk, I weighed around 410 pounds, and I was carrying an 85-pound backpack," Vaught wrote on his Web site earlier this month as he crossed Ohio.

To monitor Steve's journey check out his website, click here.

Grand Rounds: Volume 2, Edition 26

Grand Rounds is a weekly account of the goings-on in the medical blogging community. DiseaseProof is mentioned in this week's edition hosted by HealthyConcerns:

And I'm probably only smiling because I'm already a vegetarian, but I'll selfishly admit that Disease Proof's report on how reducing animal products consumption results in better health.

Those Stickers on Your Fruit in the Grocery Store

They tell a story.

According to Food & Wine (via Megnut):

The numbers tell you how the fruit was grown. Conventionally grown fruit has four digits; organically grown fruit has five and starts with a nine; genetically engineered has five numbers and starts with an eight.
Megnut also has word that you will basically never see a five-digit code that starts with an 8, because papayas (84394) were the only GM foods to get their own code so far.

Eggplant Invasion

Hungry? Try these eggplant inspired creations...

Eggplant Patties


2 eggplants, peeled and sliced
3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. finely chopped rosemary
1 pinch of black pepper
1 pinch of oregano
1 tbsp. Bragg's Liquid Aminos

Slice eggplant into 1/3 inch-thick-patties. Mix together all ingredients in a flat-bottom bowl. Let the eggplant patties marinate in the mixture for 15-20 seconds. Wet napkin with olive oil and wipe down a nonstick baking tray or aluminum foil, creating a thin coat of oil. Then bake the eggplant on the tray or sheet of aluminum foil at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Mushrooms can be used instead of or in addition to the eggplant.

Mediterranean Eggplant and Beans

1 eggplant, peeled and diced
1 onion, sliced thinly
1 green pepper, chopped
cup raisins
1 tbsp. lemon juice
3 tbsp. ketchup
2 cups garbanzo or other beans, cooked or canned

Steam the eggplant for 10-12 minutes. Cook the onion and pepper over a low flame in a covered skillet with 2 tablespoons of water for 6-8 minutes. Then add the eggplant, raisins, lemon juice, and ketchup and simmer uncovered for another 5 minutes. Mix in the beans.

Rolled Eggplant

1 eggplant, peeled and sliced into thin, flat, wide strips
1 pepper, diced (red or green)
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups nonfat tomato sauce

Bake eggplant in a lubricated pan at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, until flexible. Saute pepper, onion, and garlic in water to make the filling. Take the strips of partially cooked eggplant and roll them up with the filling mix in the middle. Cover with nonfat tomato sauce and bake at 250 degrees for another 30 minutes.

Eat More Kale!

Bo is a guy who sells t-shirts from a booth at a farmer's market in Montpelier, Vermont. He is also, he writes, a "special educator/foster parent (and recently a proud dad) who prints each shirt one-at-a-time."

Eat More Kale!

A while ago, he made some t-shirts for friends that said "Eat More Kale" across the chest.

I thought that was the end of the story. I was very mistaken. Folks from the farmer's market began to request their own "EAT MORE KALE" shirts. With Paul and Kate's blessing I began printing what was soon to be my best-selling design. As for "what does it mean?" It means something different to so many people. Some take it literally, others see it as social commentary. It reminds me to think of what I eat. It makes me think of good food grown in a sustainable manner by local farmers.
In any case, his shirts are all over the world now. Eat more kale! It's one of Dr. Fuhrman's super foods.

European Research: Restricting Animal Products Reduces Weight Gain, Cancer

In Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman warns against eating regular quantities of animal products, refined grains, and oils, urging you instead to get most of your calories from vegetables, fruits, legumes, seeds, and raw nuts:

Vegetable and fruits protect all types of cancers if consumed in large enough quantities. Hundreds of scientific studies document this. The most prevalent cancers in our country are mostly plant-food-deficiency disease. Raw vegetables have the most powerful anti-cancer properties of all foods.


Research shows that those who avoid meat and diary have lower rates heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.1

Studies have confirmed that individuals consuming a vegetarian diet (one based on plant matter and not dairy or refined grains) live longer than non-vegetarians and almost never get heart attacks.

With this in mind, consider this recent weight loss study from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. The eating habits of 22,000 people, meat eaters and vegetarians, were tracked over five years. In the end results found that all participants gained a few pounds, but individuals who adopted a vegetarian or vegan diet gained the least. Reuters reports:

"The weight gain was less in the vegans than in the meat-eaters and somewhere in between in the other groups," said Tim Key, of Britain's Cancer Research UK charity and the University of Oxford, who conducted the study.


"The lowest weight gain was in people who changed their diet to eat fewer animal products," he told Reuters.

In addition to stressing the importance of physical activity for sustained health, the study also comments on the link between diet and cancer:

[The study] also showed that diet is second only to tobacco, as a leading cause of cancer, and, along with alcohol, is responsible for nearly a third of cancer cases in developed countries.
Continue Reading...

Knock Out Obesity and High Cholesterol with Veggies

In Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman calls obesity "the number one health problem in the United States."

If the current trend continues by the year 2030 all adults in the United States will be obese. The National Institutes of Health estimate that obesity is associated with a twofold increase in mortality, costing society more than $100 billion per year.1
Of course, regular readers of this blog know pretty well what he recommends as a solution: a healthy diet rich with vegetables, fruits, legumes, seeds, and raw nuts.


Dr. Fuhrman's approach was shown in a study to reduce LDL cholesterol 33%, making it the only nutritional approach shown to be more effective than statins.

Now there's news of a milder nutritional intervention that has been getting some milder--but promising results. A study published this month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating nutrient rich foods like tofu and oatmeal help lower cholesterol. Beth Duff-Brown of the Associated Press reports:

Jenkins, Canadian research chair in metabolism and nutrition at Toronto, and Dr. Cyril Kendall, also of the University of Toronto, studied 55 middle-aged men and women who had high cholesterol and were at risk for heart disease.


The participants were already on a heart-healthy diet. They were then prescribed a diet that included more specific foods, such as raw almonds, tofu and other soy foods, viscous fibers such as oatmeal, barley, okra and eggplant, and plant sterol-enriched margarine.

After a year, the group who stuck faithfully to the new eating plan lowered their cholesterol by an average of 29 percent. Jenkins said the rate was comparable to results from participants who had taken a statin drug for one month before starting the diet, as well as general studies of patients on such drugs.

Continue Reading...

The New York Times and Your Health

Ahh, The New York Times. I love it for having a lot of great reporting. I hate it for having some wacky judgment from time to time.

Last month The New York Times published a massive, convincing, yet horribly misguided article on the futility of low fat diets. Lots of people took it as permission slip to gorge themselves on burgers, fries, ribs, and chocolate shakes. Dr. Fuhrman offered a comprehensive rebuttal at the time.

His main point was that the study in question proved little, as neither group studied ate a low-fat or healthy diet. (He said it was like studying one group that smoked 50 cigarettes and comparing it to a group that smokes 60 cigarettes a day. If you find they both get sick at about the same rate, does that really prove cutting down smoking doesn't help your health?)

He's not alone in his criticism on the underlying study, which is called the Women's Health Initiative. In today's New York Times Jane E. Brody uses a nearly identical rationale to explain why she's still eating right and exercising:

As I read them, the findings of the Women's Health Initiative on bone disease border on meaningless.
And, as long as you're poring over The New York Times today, keep your eyes open for irony. Eric Nagourney who writes, amazingly, about research showing that health coverage in the news can be dangerously misleading. (More on that study.)

Too Much Soy?

Over at Vegan Lunchbox, there's a little debate going on about how much soy is too much. Among those cited is John Robbins, who writes:

It's not that long ago that soybeans were considered by most Americans to be "hippie food." But then medical research began accumulating, affirming that soy consumption reduced heart disease and cancer risk, that it lengthened lives and enhanced their quality, and that it provided an almost ideal protein to substitute for animal proteins that almost inevitably come packaged with cholesterol and saturated fat.
Cookbook author and chef, Bryanna Clark Grogan weighs in:
Some people are allergic to soy, but then, some people are allergic to wheat, corn, peanuts and many other foods-- that does not mean that they are bad for the rest of us! There is some serious "soy-bashing" going on out there and some of the claims are downright ridiculous! Do your research and make an informed decision!

Soyfoods are, in fact, one of the MOST studied foods in history--studies on soy and humans go back to the turn of the 20th century. Soy is not a "miracle" food, but it is a source of inexpensive and high-quality protein, with proven anti-carcinogenic, antioxidant and cholesterol-lowering properties.

What does Dr. Fuhrman have to say about it? Dr. Fuhrman agrees that incorporating soy and soy products into one's diet will provide a wealth of disease preventing nutrients. But as this exerpt from Eat to Live explains, a diet should not be centered on soy, or any one food for that matter:

Soy products such as soy burgers, soymilk, and soy cheese are much more popular and available today. Recently, the FDA approved soy-containing products as heart-healthy and allowed health claims for soy protein.

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.

Recently, a few studies appeared showing potentially negative effects of consuming too much soy. One particularly troublesome study done in Hawaii suggested that men with higher tofu intake had more cognitive decline and brain atrophy with aging than men who ate little tofu.1 This data contradicts evidence that Japanese men, who consume tofu regularly, have better cognitive function and lower rates of Alzheimer's disease than American men.2 Obviously, more studies are needed to clarify these suggestive findings and to determine if there is something in tofu or related to tofu consumption that may be harmful. After reviewing these findings, Dr. Harris had soy products from Hawaii tested for aluminum levels and found a significantly higher level of aluminum in tofu from Hawaii than in tofu from the mainland. The aluminum factor may be a plausible explanation for the alleged "brain aging" properties of soy.

In any case, the evidence is not sufficient to warrant being fearful of consuming soybeans as part of a healthful diet. However, this brings to mind my basic theme of nutritional biodiversity--eat a variety of plant foods, and do not eat a soy-based diet.

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.

Continue Reading...

Giving Up Myths about Protein is Like Changing Your Religion

From Dr. Fuhrman's book Eat to Live:

Remember those four basic food group charts we all saw in every classroom in elementary school? Protein had its own box, designated by a thick steak, a whole fish, and an entire chicken. Dairy foods had their own special box as well. A healthy diet, we were taught, supposedly centered on meat and milk. Protein was thought to be the most favorable of all nutrients, and lots of protein was thought to be the key to strength, health, and vigor. Unfortunately, cancer rates soared. As a result of scientific investigations into the causes of disease, we have had to rethink what we were taught. Old habits die hard; most Americans still cling to what they were taught as children. There are very few subjects that are more distorted in modern culture than that of protein.

Keep in mind that we do need protein. We can't be healthy without protein in our diet. On the other hand, plant foods have plenty of protein, and you do not have to be a nutritional scientist or dietician to figure out what to eat and you don't need to mix and match foods to achieve protein completeness. Any combination of natural foods will supply you with adequate protein, including all eight essential amino acids as well as unessential amino acids.

It is unnecessary to combine foods to achieve protein completeness at each meal. The body stores and release amino acids needed over a twenty-four-hour period. About one-sixth of our daily protein utilization comes from recycling our own body tissue. This recycling, variation from meal to meal in amino acid "incompleteness." It requires no level of nutritional sophistication to get sufficient protein, even if you eat only plant foods.

It is only when a vegetarian diet revolves around white bread and other processed foods that the protein content falls to low levels. However, the minute you include unprocessed foods such as vegetables, whole grains, beans, or nuts, the diet becomes protein-rich.

Still need more convincing? Check out this post from last month: Popeye Was Right--Greens Pack a Powerful Punch

Delving Into the Archives

Even though it's only a few months old, DiseaseProof has already accumulated a pretty big library posts and podcasts on various health topics. If you ever feel like searching through those archives (either by clicking on a topic at the left and then scrolling through relevant results, or better yet typing a keyword in the search box at the upper left) you'll see there's all kinds of interesting stuff.

Here's a rundown of some of the more popular posts from our first few months:

Nuts and Seeds Are Excellent Foods!

Nuts and seeds are a natural part of the diet of homo-sapiens. They are perfectly adapted to the taste and ability of humans to pick, dry, store, and crack. No wonder study after study shows raw nuts and seeds not only lower cholesterol, but protect against common diseases of aging. I recommend almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios, macadamias, filberts, and walnuts; and sunflower, sesame, flax, and pumpkin seeds. These delicious natural foods are high in nutrients and healthful unsaturated fats.

Nuts are an excellent natural food. Because they have hard shells and are picked off large trees with deep roots, nuts are relatively well protected from pesticides and environmental pollution. Nuts are a clean source of the healthful type of fats. They also are a good source of protein, which makes up about 15 to 25 percent of their calories.

Nuts and seeds are wonderful foods that can help ensure that your children develop healthy bodies and minds. In fact, one important key to your children's ongoing good health is to eliminate dairy products (low-nutrient foods, containing saturated fat) from their diets and make raw nuts and seeds (high-nutrient foods, containing unsaturated fat) their major source of fat.

Avoid roasted and salted nuts; they lose too many beneficial compounds. However, it is okay to place nuts in the toaster oven on low for a minute or two to enhance the crispness and flavor.

Try these nutty recipes:

Peach Ice Cream with Nut Pie Shell

16 oz. frozen sliced peaches
1/2 cup soy milk
1/2 cup ground walnuts
1/2 cup ground macadamias
1/2 cup ground pecans
4 coconut-date rolls

Make the nut crust by kneading the ground nuts with the date rolls and pressing into the bottom of a glass pie pan. Blend the frozen peaches with the soymilk and spoon into nut crust before serving.

Golden Delicious Cheese

1 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup raw blanched almonds
2 golden delicious apples, peeled, cored, and sliced

Grind the cashews and almonds into a powdered meal in a VitaMix or coffee grinder, and then blend the ground nuts with the apple slices. Spread the mixture into a flat storage dish, uncovered, and store in the refrigerator until it hardens, somewhat like cheese.

Also try this recipe for Date Nut Pop 'Ems.

Going nuts looking for organic nuts? Check out Jaffe Bros. at www.organicfruitsandnuts.com.

Informed Eating

DiseaseProof isn't the only online information source for healthy eating and living. Recently Dr. Fuhrman came across InformedEating.org an organization that advocates a diet based on whole, unprocessed, organically grown plant foods; very similar to Dr. Fuhrman's position. Their current newsletter has lots of articles worth reading:

  • Kraft and Philip Morris Scientists Caught Comparing Notes
  • Economics of Fast Food: It's the Burgers Stupid
  • Industrialized Food Linked to Mental Illness
  • Kellogg and Nick Sued Over Food Marketing
  • Update on Connecticut's School Food Battle
  • Florida Students Protest Candy Sale
  • Suing the Pants Off SpongeBob

Three Healthy Recipes to Try This Weekend

Black and Blue Beans and Greens
cup black beans
cup white beans
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, chopped
tsp. Mrs. Dash seasoning
1 tsp. VegiZest
1 bunch of kale, chopped or sliced in strips, stems removed
3 medium white onions
10 oz. spinach, chopped or sliced in strips (or one box frozen spinach)
4 small zucchini
Small bunch fresh dill, chopped

Start cooking the beans in 3 cups of water with the bay leaf, garlic, and seasonings. Then peel the onions and add them along with the spinach, zucchini, kale, and dill on top of the cooking beans and let simmer over a low flame for at least 2 hours. Then stir up the mixture well, breaking up the zucchini and onion now that they are soft and mushy.

Squash Fantasia
1 cup dried apricots
cup raisins or currants
1 cup orange juice
4 butternut squashes
cup raw sunflower seeds
cup raw pumpkin seeds

Soak dried apricots and raisins in orange juice overnight. Cut squash in half, scoop out seed bowl, and remove seeds. Place in baking dish with inch of water at the bottom and cover lightly with silver foil. Bake in oven at 300 degrees for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, chop apricots and raisins in food processor or hand chopper. Chop sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds in food processor or hand chopper. Mix seeds and moist dried fruits together. Remove the squash from the oven and scoop the seed-fruit mix into the bowl of the squash. Add a little more orange juice if necessary to fill the bowl. Bake for 15 more minutes. Remove the squash from oven and serve as is, or for children mash the squash, mixing it with fruit/mix before serving.

Pita Apple Bake
2 apples, chopped
cup raisins (optional)
2 tbsp. water or apple juice
1 tbsp. ground flaxseed (optional)
tsp. cinnamon
1 whole-wheat pita, split and separated

Heat the apples, raisins (if desired), and water or juice over a low flame for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and mix in flaxseed and cinnamon. Cut pita in half and fill with apple mixture. Toast in the toaster oven on high for 3 minutes. Try it with other fruits, like pears or peaches, too.

Soy Bean Thoughts from the Member Center

Dr. Fuhrman mentions in Eat to Live that soy products such as soy burgers, soymilk, and soy cheeses have grown in popularity, resulting in their widespread availability. Despite the positives of soy consumption, many people harbor worries over the bean. In the member center of DrFuhrman.com he talks with a few concerned members:

I.
Forum Member: Please give me some advice and direction concerning the use of soy milk, my physician is very upset with me that I started using soymilk, he states it is very dangerous and can cause many thyroid and autoimmune diseases, please clear this up for me, I am a 46 year old female who has had an hysterectomy and do not take any estrogen replacement.


Dr. Fuhrman: Is your physician a real doctor? Or does he just play one on TV? Before you accept a dramatic and radical claim about the dangers of soymilk, you should ask this person to show you some scientific medical journal articles that support his assertion.

Bottom line, there is evidence that substituting soy formula for breast milk has long-term harmful consequences, but no data to suggest that consuming soy milk as an adult has any negative health consequences as he claims. Keep the soymilk and get rid of the doctor.

II.

Forum Member: Should men with prostate problems (enlarged) or women who want to avoid breast cancer take ground flaxseeds? I read something about flaxseed oil and estrogen. Also, can soymilk be safely taken, or do soy products contain estrogen that may promote breast cancer?


Dr. Fuhrman: Of course. All people should regularly use some ground flax or hemp seeds, but not the oil. Soy does not promote breast cancer. In fact, research shows it has protective effects. This has been answered in depth with references on this forum in the past. Did you try to do a search for it?

That does not mean I recommend processed soy products or soy powders. It means using some tofu, frozen soybeans or some soymilk in your diet is okay.

III.

Forum Member: When I was diagnosed with an under active thyroid and began meds, I was told to stay away from soy products. I have much difficulty getting my body to lose weight and I attribute this to slow metabolism from the thyroid condition. Can you give me some information about soy and how it reacts with thyroid medications?


Dr. Fuhrman: I can assure you that eating some soy beans or tofu as part of a well-rounded diet will have zero effect on your thyroid gland. It is true that being raised on soy formula instead of breast milk as an infant increases your risk of hypothyroidism later in life, but this does not mean that eating some soy products causes thyroid problems.