Eat leafy greens to see clearly

 

Eye chartCarotenoids are pigments present in fruits and vegetables. An interesting fact about carotenoids is that carotenoids exert their beneficial effects by traveling to and then concentrating in specific tissues in the body. For example, lycopene, a carotenoid found in tomatoes, travels to the prostate, where it has potent anti-cancer effects

Lutein and zeaxanthin, which are found in leafy greens like kale, travel to the central area of the retina (called the macula), and are the only known carotenoids located in the human visual system. Previous research has shown that these pigments are protective against age-related macular degeneration. Scientists now have evidence that these macular pigments also play important roles in visual performance.

Since our bodies can’t produce these pigments, levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in the retina depend on the amounts consumed in the diet. 

Light must pass through lutein and zeaxanthin before being transmitted to photoreceptor cells that will produce a message from the light to send to the brain. As light passes through, some short wavelength (blue) light is absorbed by the macular pigments. For this reason, there was a theory that macular pigments have a light-filtering function in vision.

An analysis of several studies on the subject of macular pigments and visual performance confirms this theory. The authors evaluated the evidence and concluded that lutein and zeaxanthin likely improve the following visual functions by acting as light filters:

  • Discomfort glare – For example, experiencing bright light after being in a dark room. The wavelengths that macular pigments are capable of absorbing produce the least discomfort, suggesting that macular pigments protect the eye from this overstimulation by filtering the light.
  • Disability glare – Subjects with higher levels of macular pigment show improved visibility of objects in the presence of glare.
  • Photostress recovery – Elevated macular pigment values decrease the time necessary to recover vision following exposure to bright light.
  • Contrast – Macular pigments increase visibility and edge definition of objects in the atmosphere, possibly by absorbing blue sky light.

Rich sources of lutein and zeaxanthin include kale, spinach, turnip greens, swiss chard, and collards.


Reference:

Stringham JM et al. The Influence of Dietary Lutein and Zeaxanthin on Visual Performance. Journal of Food Science 2009

 

Inspiration for the New Year

                                 fireworks

This year is coming to a close in less than forty-eight hours.  For those of you who have been waiting for the infamous Times Square ball to drop to commit to getting your health back, the most exciting adventure of your life is about to begin! 

If you commit 100% to nutritarian eating as taught by Dr. Fuhrman in his books, newsletters, lectures, teleconferences, and articles, you will eventually live in freedom from toxic food addiction and get your health and life back.  Guaranteed. 

You must become a serious student and give it your all as if your very life depended on getting an ‘A’ in Overcoming Food Addiction; because without a doubt, it does!  (Note: 100% commitment does not mean that you will never stumble along the way.  However, it does mean that when slip-ups happen, you'll get up quickly, dust the dirt off, and keep running towards the goal of optimal health.) 

Excess weight will drop off, and medical stats will improve significantly as a by-product of replacing artificial and toxic substances with excellent nutrition.   

In 2010, don’t settle for anything less.

Go for it!  You can do it!

 

I wrote the following on July 9, 2008; the day before committing to nutritarian eating:

I feel sluggish most of the time with a cloud of malaise overshadowing my energy, even after a good night’s rest.  The bones and joints in my feet hurt.  My knees ache.  My feet, hands, and face are puffy. I’m bloated and my belly is extended.  I could pass for looking eight or nine months pregnant.  My lower back gets stiff and hurts after I sit for any length of time. I never have a break from this burden of obesity unless I lie down.  I carry it around day in and day out.  It is with me wherever I go.  The slow spiral into this dark abyss has arrived ever so slowly.  I am now bound and gagged in its prison cell.  Stuck.  It’s time to climb out and feel the sunshine on my face, and breathe fresh air again.  It’s time to live again. 

                              

                     

The following was written one year later; July 9, 2009:

Soon after a professional photo shoot (below) to document the one year anniversary of beginning my transformation, I celebrated by going on a bike ride.  Not using the best of caution, I zoomed down a hill on a gravel road.  My front tire lost control in the loose stones, and you can imagine what happened next. I ended up in another photo shoot, in a hospital radiation lab, lying flat on my back under an x-ray machine.  Although I was in excruciating pain and feeling miserable, I leapt with joy on the inside when I overheard the technician instruct his assistant to reposition my body because I was thin(Thankfully, I had no broken bones or serious injuries.)

"Thin." That’s spelled, "T-h-i-n." 

That four letter word was music to this woman's ears; the perfect ending to an adventuresome year of transformation!    

                                        after shot in photo studio

                     "What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?"    -Vincent  van Gogh

 

One year of nutritarian eating:

  July 2008 July 2009
Weight 226 lbs. 138 lbs.
BP 150/80 110/68
Waist 50" 31"
BMI 35 21
  pre-diabetic A1C 5.3
LDL 126 87
HDL 47 56
Triglycerides 203 68

                                

 

Let's hear from you.  Are you committing to nutritarian eating in 2010?  Dr. Fuhrman recommends making your intentions known to at least four people.  Here's a great place to start!

 

image credit:  digi-hound.com  

More Holiday Baking

I live in northeastern Indiana, and as I’m writing this post the ground and evergreen trees are covered with a blanket of beautiful, sparkling snow.  I took the pictures below from my front door.  (Note the cross country ski trails on the right ~ that’s the fancy footwork of my teenage daughter.)  Hopefully, it will continue to be a white Christmas!                    pictures of snow covered landscapes

As you are baking for holiday gatherings, the following recipes from the Member Center of DrFuhrman.com, including Dr. Fuhrman’s Healthy Times Newsletters, may be of interest to you.  After the gifts are unwrapped, the company is gone, and you have a moment to relax, I encourage you to browse through the many wonderful recipes on the Member Center.

A holiday treat does not have to be junk food or damage the health of your loved ones.  -Dr. Fuhrman

 Enjoy making health promoting memories with your family and friends!

 

Cashew Cookies

1 cup raw cashew butter or 2 cups raw cashews

1 cup oats

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/3 cup date sugar

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 tsp. vanilla

Unsweetened strawberry jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Blend oats (and raw cashews if you are using them) in a food processor or VitaMix until it’s the consistency of flour.  Pour blended ingredients into a large bowl and stir in all the remaining ingredients except the jam.  Mix thoroughly.  Drop by teaspoonfuls on a cookie sheet.  With your fingertip, form a small well in the center of each cookie.  Place a small amount of jam in each well.  Bake for 15 minutes.  (makes approximately 2 dozen)

 

Chocolate Oat Clusters

2 cups unsweetened applesauce

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup date sugar

2/3 cup raw walnuts, ground

2/3 cup whole wheat flour

1 ¼ teaspoons arrowroot powder

4 Tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman’s Cocoa Powder or other natural cocoa powder

¾ cup oats

8 dates, pitted and coarsely chopped

¾ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Blend applesauce, vanilla and date sugar in blender until creamy.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, arrowroot powder, ground nuts, and cocoa powder.  Add the blended wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.  Stir in oats, chopped dates and chopped nuts.  Bake for 10 minutes.  (makes approximately 4 dozen)  These cookies freeze well.  For a chocolate-coconut cookie, add 3 tablespoons of unsweetened, shredded coconut.  

 

Sweet Beet Carrot Bars

2 cups whole grain flour

1 cup beets (raw, peeled and shredded)

1 large carrot (peeled and shredded)

3 teaspoons baking soda

½ cup date sugar

2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 cup pineapple (blended)

1 banana (mashed)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup currants

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix flour and baking soda in bowl.  In a larger bowl, beat date sugar, blended pineapple, mashed banana, and applesauce together.  Stir in the vanilla and then add the flour mixture along with the chopped walnuts, shredded carrots and beets.  Mix well.  Spread in a non-stick baking pan.  Bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool and cut into squares.  

 

                    Christmas candles

At our house, when the fresh pine boughs are placed around the centerpiece of candles and fresh fruit, that means Christmas is just around the corner.  All of my children will be home by lunchtime tomorrow so I'm making a big pot of their favorite vegetable soup to welcome them all home!  

 

What health promoting foods and/or memories are you creating with your loved ones this Christmas? 

Sulfonylureas - oral diabetes drugs - are associated with heart failure and death risks

 

Individuals with Type II diabetes are 2-4 times more likely to die of heart disease, and also 2-4 times more likely to have a stroke. Heart disease and stroke together account for 84% of diabetes-related deaths.1

Type II, or insulin-resistant, diabetes may be treated with a number of different drugs. The class of drugs called sulfonylureas work by stimulating the pancreas to produce more insulin. Sulfonylureas are used either alone or in conjunction with other diabetic medications.

Bottle of pills

In the past few years, several studies have found that certain diabetes drugs may carry increased cardiovascular risks compared to others. A recent study of over 90,000 type 2 diabetics compared the cardiovascular effects in individuals treated with either metformin or sulfonylureas. These researchers found an increased likelihood of death from any cause in the patients treated with sulfonylureas (24-61% increased risk depending on the specific drug), and also an increased risk of congestive heart failure (18-30%).2

These new results strengthen the similar findings a 2006 study and an earlier 2009 study3 comparing mortality risk between patients treated with metformin and sulfonylureas, confirming sulfonylureas should be avoided if possible..

The reason why doctors have to rely on all these dangerous medications is because they do not address the problem straight on.  Diabetes primarily a disease of dietary ignorance and lack of physical fitness.

Simply controlling blood glucose with medications does not remove the causes of type 2 diabetes – physical inactivity and excess weight from a calorie-rich, nutrient-poor diet. Excess body fat blocks insulin function and forces the pancreas to overproduce insulin. Over time, the overworked pancreas “poops out.”  Giving drugs to force the already overworked pancreas to work even harder only makes the insulin-producing cells die off faster.  If you are still eating the same disease-causing diet you will likely gain even more weight, obtain other cardiovascular risk factors, and possibly become insulin dependent. 

The best way for Type II diabetics to protect themselves from cardiovascular complications is to become non-diabetic – to slowly reduce their dependence on diabetes drugs. Exercise and nutritional excellence (which will inevitably result in weight loss) can achieve this goal in 90% of patients.

Diabetes is caused by poor diet and sedentary lifestyle, and it can be reversed with nutritional excellence and exercise. If you have Type II diabetes or know someone who does, don’t just treat your diabetes or control your diabetes, join the hundreds who have recovered and gotten rid of it! 

 

References:

1. http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/diabetes-statistics/

2. Tzoulaki I et al. Risk of cardiovascular disease and all cause mortality among patients with type 2 diabetes prescribed oral antidiabetes drugs: retrospective cohort study using UK general practice research database. BMJ. 2009 Dec 3;339:b4731. doi: 10.1136/bmj.b4731.

3. Pantalone KM et al. The risk of developing coronary artery disease or congestive heart failure, and overall mortality, in type 2 diabetic patients receiving rosiglitazone, pioglitazone, metformin, or sulfonylureas: a retrospective analysis. Acta Diabetol. 2009 Jun;46(2):145-54. Epub 2009 Feb 5.

 

For breast cancer survivors, soy is protective and alcohol is harmful

 Two new studies have examined the effects of certain dietary factors on recurrence of breast cancer in survivors. Soy had protective effects, and alcohol had detrimental effects.  Read the full article on DrFuhrman.com.

Soy and breast cancer recurrence

Edamame

Some individuals suspected and even promoted the idea that soy was potentially dangerous with regard to breast cancer risk, because of the phyto-estrogenic compounds it contains. However, in Asian countries where soy is a staple food, rates of breast cancer were much lower than those in the U.S. This paradox launched much debate and hundreds of studies on the relationship between soy and breast cancer.

A review of the most recent clinical studies on this subject supports a protective effect of soy:

  •  2006: A meta-analysis in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute examining data from 18 studies on soy and breast cancer that were published between 1978 and 2004 concluded that soy overall has a protective effect.1
  • 2008: A meta-analysis in the British Journal of Nutrition compiling data from 8 different studies (not included in the 2006 meta-analysis) also concluded that soy consumption decreases breast cancer risk. These effects were dose-dependent – a 16% reduced risk for each 10 mg of soy isoflavones consumed daily.2

In spite of these clear documented results, the myth that soy contributes to breast cancer has persisted. Plus, many scientists and physicians continue to doubt the safety of soy for current or previous breast cancer patients, because of soy’s phytoestrogen content.

A new study of breast cancer survivors has shown that these doubts are unwarranted too. Premenopausal breast cancer survivors who consumed more soy had a 23% reduced risk of recurrence.3

Which soy products are most beneficial?

Cruciferous vegetables are the most powerful anti-cancer foods. In addition, Dr. Fuhrman also recommends consuming a variety of beans, including soybeans, as components of an anti-cancer diet. Soybeans may be consumed as edamame (whole soybeans), or in minimally processed forms such as unsweetened soymilk, tofu, and tempeh. As little as 10 mg of soy isoflavones consumed per day has a protective effect with regard to breast cancer – this equates to approximately 1 ounce of one of these soy foods.

 

Alcohol and breast cancer recurrence

Wine

In contrast to the mainstream assumption that alcohol is heart healthy, even moderate amounts of alcohol are associated with increased risk for breast cancer.4

The current study of breast cancer survivors showed that women who consumed 3-4 alcoholic drinks per week were 34% more likely to experience a recurrence than the women who had less than 1 drink per week. This study was presented last week at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.5

Alcohol has no beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system, it only inhibits the blood’s clotting mechanisms. Since breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women (second to cardiovascular disease), Dr. Fuhrman recommends minimizing alcohol consumption in order to reduce this risk.

Read the full article here.

Read “Dr. Fuhrman on Breast Cancer” to learn more diet and lifestyle strategies for breast cancer prevention.

 

References:

1. Trock BJ et al. Meta-analysis of soy intake and breast cancer risk. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2006 Apr 5;98(7):459-71.

2. Wu AH et al. Epidemiology of soy exposures and breast cancer risk. British Journal of Cancer (2008) 98, 9– 14

3. Guha N et al. Soy isoflavones and risk of cancer recurrence in a cohort of breast cancer survivors: the Life After Cancer Epidemiology study. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2009 Nov;118(2):395-405. Epub 2009 Feb 17.

4. Lew JQ et al. Alcohol and risk of breast cancer by histologic type and hormone receptor status in postmenopausal women: the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. Am J Epidemiol. 2009 Aug 1;170(3):308-17. Epub 2009 Jun 18.

5. http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/SABCS/17444


 

It's Not About Deprivation

Are you stuck in the dieting rut that says, “I have to give up this or that; I can’t have this; I can’t have that?” or  “My New Year’s resolution will be to restrict calories to lose fifty pounds by summer.” 

                 

If you are, you are one of millions held captive in the American dieting prison system.   

Nutritarin eating is about . . . . eating.

I can eat this. I can eat that.

It’s not about deprivation, because when the body gets the nutrients it so desperately needs, over time, the taste and desire for junk and unhealthy food choices naturally diminish.  Food preferences change and the body seeks out excellent nutrition instead.    

As we choose to eat foods that have high amounts of nutrients:  unlimited amounts of fresh vegetables and fruits, unlimited amounts of beans/ legumes, limited amounts of unsalted nuts, seeds and grains, a bit of fish and poultry (if desired); we no longer are controlled by unnatural cravings for junk. 

Just like the body doesn’t naturally crave nicotine unless it repeatedly smokes cigarettes; likewise, it doesn’t naturally desire artificial, processed food unless it is repeatedly fed the junk.  When you are healthy, you don’t want junk.

If you are overweight or obese, you got there by starving yourself from high nutrient, natural foods.  Most likely your body has been fed unhealthy, chemically sweetened and flavored processed foods.  Your body size is the by-product of being chronically deprived of excellent nutrition. 

You need a paradigm shift.  A permanently transformed body is the result of a changed mind.  Focus your thoughts on putting nutrient dense foods into your body.  Fill your nutritional needs. 

  fruits and vegetables

I challenge you this New Year to forget about the all-consuming drive to lose weight by deprivation (which, by the way, takes a lot of psychological effort to get psyched up for and is never permanent), and focus instead on putting lots of nutrient dense foods into your body.  Fill your nutritional needs and your body will naturally decrease its drive to overeat calories.  

Do you make the salad the main dish?; including lots of raw vegetables such as shredded cabbage, carrots, sweet peppers, tomatoes, and beets?  Are you using Dr. Fuhrman’s healthy salad dressing recipes?  Don’t forget the central core of nutritarianism is eating large raw salads; including greens such as lettuce, kale or spinach in a fruit smoothie once a day, if desired.  Without the salads, it's likely that you're not interpreting Dr. Fuhrman’s guidelines accurately.  

          salad 

“By teaching you how to achieve superior health, your ideal weight will follow naturally.”  -Dr. Fuhrman

Let's dialogue.  Do you focus on deprivation, or do you focus on eating a sufficient amount of high nutrient vegetation to achieve optimal health?

 

 

Image credits:  corporatemonk.com; healnh.org; purpletrail.com

More evidence that drugs are not the answer: obesity negates benefit of LDL lowering

 

obese womenData collected between 1988 and 2006 and presented at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting last month showed modest improvements in two risk factors for cardiovascular disease: the number of Americans who do not smoke increased from 45% to 50%, and the number of Americans who have achieved optimal (below 100 mg/dl)  LDL levels increased from 22% to 28%.

But these improvements are counteracted by the rapidly growing prevalence of obesity that has occurred in the same time frame. 

American adults’ average body mass index (BMI) went from 26.5 to 28.8 (25 and above is overweight, 30 and above is obese). Incidence of overweight in children went from 20% to 35%.

What have been the consequences of this increase in body weight?

“Obesity is not benign.”

-Dr. Tiffany Powell, lead author of the study1

Obesity robs people of their quality of life as they age – as reported in the International Journal of Obesity, obese individuals had double the rates of disability compared to normal-weight individuals.2

The number of Americans with healthy blood pressure has fallen by 5%. The number of those with good blood sugar control have decreased by 9%. Most alarming is that left ventricular mass in children, a predictive indicator for future heart disease and stroke, has also risen - their hearts are being forced to work too hard to pump blood to their excess body fat.

How will this affect the incidence of cardiovascular disease in this country?

“Many people feel the decline in [heart] risk factors is leveling off and there will be an acceleration of cardiovascular disease.”

-AHA spokesman Dr. Roger Blumenthal1

A large part of the problem is that our society views these factors – hypercholesterolemia, poor blood sugar control, hypertension, obesity – each as a separate issue with its own drug-based method of management. But they are not separate. The truth is, the same nutrient-rich, vegetable-based diet combined with regular exercise is effective in preventing and reversing all of these conditions. 

References:

1. http://www.forbes.com/feeds/hscout/2009/11/17/hscout633216.html?feed=rss_forbeslife_health

2. Walter S et al. Mortality and disability: the effect of overweight and obesity. International Journal of Obesity (2009) 33, 1410–1418

 

Exercise keeps your DNA young - and it's never too late to start

 

people exercising

A study on mortality rate in men with varying levels of physical activity, as would be expected, found that the group of men with high levels of physical activity had a 32% reduction in mortality rate compared to those in the sedentary group. 

A subset of these sedentary men began exercising at or around age 50 – after 10 years, these men had the same mortality rate as the men who had been actively exercising all along.1 

In addition to the many well-known benefits of exercise (prevents chronic disease, reduces cancer risk, beneficial for heart health), there is now accumulating evidence that exercise slows aging at the DNA level.

Telomeres are non-coding regions located on the end of linear chromosomes, and they are shortened with each cell division until the cell no longer divides. For this reason, telomere length is an indicator of cellular aging. Telomere length is maintained in actively dividing cells (such as stem cells and immune cells) by an enzyme called telomerase. There is an inverse association between leisure time exercise energy expenditure and telomere length – meaning that those who exercise regularly have “younger” DNA in their immune cells than those who are sedentary.2-3 A study of middle-aged German track and field athletes found not only longer telomeres in immune cells but also increased activity of the telomerase enzyme and decreased expression of cell-cycle inhibitors – molecules that prevent cell division – in these athletes compared to age-matched untrained individuals.4

Collectively, these studies tell us that exercise not only prevents disease, but promotes longevity, even if we get a late start.

 

References:

1. Byberg L et al. Total mortality after changes in leisure time physical activity in 50 year old men: 35 year follow-up of population based cohort. BMJ 2009;338:b688

2. Ludlow AT et al. Relationship between Physical Activity Level, Telomere Length,

and Telomerase Activity. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008 October ; 40(10): 1764–1771

3. Cherkas LF et al. The association between physical activity in leisure time and leukocyte telomere length. Arch Intern Med. 2008 Jan 28;168(2):154-8.

4. Werner C et al. Physical Exercise Prevents Cellular Senescence in Circulating Leukocytes and in the Vessel Wall. Circulation. 2009 Nov 30. [Epub ahead of print]

 

Moms, we have the most influence

image of a mom with her daughters 

Whether we are single moms, full-time working moms, stay-at-home moms, mothers to many or a few; we have the most influence in our children’s lives. 

We are the primary role models and educators in teaching their values concerning food and establishing their eating habits.

We set the stage for planning meals and creating holiday food traditions. 

Women are the primary food industry consumers who stock the refrigerators and pantries of America.  We purchase over 90% of the groceries in the United States.1 

At the end of the day, when it’s all said and done, it’s what little Johnny repeatedly sees when he opens the refrigerator and cupboards at home that’s going to have the most influence on his food values and health.

               

It would be ideal if every pediatrician would instruct their young patients about the health promoting benefits of nutritarian eating.  It would be beneficial if every daycare, school and church would educate children about the life-damaging effects of eating for disease.  It would be wonderful if every youth activity, from nursery to college, could teach the importance of eating nutrient dense foods for developing bodies. 

Reality is, moms, we purchase the food and set the example.  We are the primary educators and role models that will have the most influence in establishing our children’s long term eating habits and health.

“The key to raising a healthy family is not letting unhealthy food choices enter the house. Because when they do, the kids will seek them out, like flies to honey and fill their caloric requirements with junk; crowding out anything health supporting. (Wheat flour listed as a first ingredient means it is junk food. It must be ‘whole wheat flour.’)”  -Dr. Fuhrman

Are we teaching, by our example and purchases, to eat for disease or to eat for health?

 

Reference:  1. Too Busy to Shop; Marketing to “Multi-Minding” Women  by Kelly Murray Skoloda  

Sodium, acid-base balance, and bone health

 

Salt shakerWe’ve known for years that excessive sodium intake contributes to hypertension, and a new meta-analysis of 13 studies has confirmed that high sodium intake is associated with increased risk of stroke and overall cardiovascular disease.1 Salt consumption is also associated with kidney disease, and a new study suggests that reduced sodium intake could benefit bone health.

Women 45-75 years old with prehyptertension or stage 1 hypertension were assigned to one of two diets.  Both diets supplied the same amount (800 mg) of calcium.  One diet was a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet.  The other diet was a low-sodium diet (1500 mg), which included red meat but was designed to have a low acid load.2 

Western diets, generally high in animal protein, produce acid in the body, forcing the body to buffer this acid in part by the release of alkalizing salts from bone (e.g. calcium citrate and calcium carbonate) – this is associated with urinary calcium loss and is thought to contribute to osteoporosis. Fruits, vegetables, and legumes have favorable effects on acid-base balance, since the acid-forming effect of their protein content, which is lower than that of animal products anyway, are balanced by their mineral content.3-4

After 14 weeks, the women on both diets increased markers of bone formation and reduced their calcium excretion – those on the low sodium diet had a greater reduction in calcium loss. The authors concluded that this diet was protecting the mineral reserves in bone, and that this could have long-term implications for bone health. Future studies will likely measure bone mineral density and fracture incidence in response to these diets.2

The average daily consumption of sodium for Americans is around 4000mg, almost double the U.S. recommended maximum of 2300mg. The low sodium diet in this study provided a maximum of 1500mg of sodium per day, but included up to six servings of red meat per week, limited the consumption of nutrient-rich legumes to 4-5 per week, and was based on high-calorie, nutrient-poor grain products - 7-8 servings per day.5 The high-carbohydrate low-fat diet was likely based on grain products as well.

Although both of these diets had favorable effects when implemented in place of a standard western diet, they both have room for improvement. By minimizing the high-protein, high-saturated fat animal products, and replacing grain products with mineral- and phytochemical-rich vegetables, fruits, and legumes as the base of the diet, both acid load and sodium would be further reduced, presumably leading to further benefits on bone health.

 

References:

1. Strazzullo P et al. Salt intake, stroke, and cardiovascular disease: meta-analysis of prospective studies. BMJ 2009;339:b4567

2. Nowson CA et al. The effects of a low-sodium base-producing diet including red meat compared with a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet on bone turnover markers in women aged 45-75 years. Br J Nutr. 2009 Oct;102(8):1161-70. Epub 2009 May 18.

3. Welch AA et al. Urine pH is an indicator of dietary acid-base load, fruit and vegetables and meat intakes: results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and

Nutrition (EPIC)-Norfolk population study. Br J Nutr. 2008 Jun;99(6):1335-43. Epub 2007 Nov 28.

4. Massey LK. J Nutr. Dietary animal and plant protein and human bone health: a whole foods approach. 2003 Mar;133(3):862S-865S.

5. http://dashdiet.org/

 

Thomas Lost 70 lbs. and Reclaimed His Health - in only Six Months!

2009 has been an exciting year for Thomas. This summer, he reluctantly agreed to take part in a weight-loss contest with a friend, and before he knew it he was on a whirlwind life-changing journey to improved physical, mental, and emotional health!Thomas - April 2009 and November 2009

Thomas recalls his turning point, “On Memorial Day 2009, as I was lounging by my apartment pool with a rum and diet coke in hand, one of my dearest friends Liz suggested that we start a summer diet competition. In my inebriated state, I was happy to please her. As a couple of weeks passed hearing nothing else from her, I was relieved to think she had forgotten. That mirage was not to be. On the evening of June 7, 2009, Liz texted me something along the lines of ‘Alright, I hope you're prepared, because the weight loss starts tomorrow with our first weigh-in.’ This message came through as I had a soft taco shoved in my mouth, which was promptly spit out as the last processed food or animal product I would attempt to ingest to date. That initial June 8, 2009 early morning weigh-in was a disgraceful 223 pounds.”

Thomas had read Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live in 2005 – he was now ready to put it into practice. He found emotional support in his friend Liz and sister Sarah, and from some new friends on the DrFuhrman.com member center.

Thomas jumped right in, and set a (seemingly) lofty goal for himself:

“I made a flippant prediction at work that I could continue beyond the summer to lose 70 total pounds by Thanksgiving. Two colleagues bet against me (reasonably so)…I was more motivated than ever.”

Thomas quickly found success with Dr. Fuhrman’s plan.

“The weight loss was rapid at first, with me losing 23 pounds in the first month…there were several benchmarks along the way: the drop below 200 lbs, the surprise visit for my parents to see it during Labor Day, the drop below 170 lbs, and most recently the most important personal drop below 150 lbs.”

Needless to say, Thomas won the bets!

Of course, Thomas was thrilled to have dropped all of this extra weight, but the real benefits for him are in the improved state of his health:  Before beginning his new lifestyle, Thomas had mild depression symptoms, which have completely disappeared. He was on steroids and then antibiotics for rosacea, and now takes no medications and has no symptoms. He had early signs of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which have also disappeared. His total cholesterol dropped from 202 to 120, and his blood pressure dropped from 148/90 to 114/77.

The most important lesson Thomas has learned that each of us has control over our own health.

“The most important thing to remember is that heart disease is preventable, many cancers are preventable and treatable with food, and Type II diabetes should be non-existent in our society.”

Thomas expresses his gratitude to Dr. Fuhrman for guiding him on this journey.

“I could not have done it without the book and online personal guidance of Dr. Joel Fuhrman. I have listened to many of Dr. Fuhrman's teleconference recordings and read many of his newsletters, which have all been extraordinarily helpful in supporting me through this journey. This family doctor has literally changed my life and relationship with food. He is truly a one-of-a-kind physician and a Godsend to me.”

Some final thoughts from Thomas…

“I think it is fair to say that this life-changing process for me has been one of the most rewarding of my 32-year life and has helped to erase the four year darkness I had previously endured.  For those of you who aspire for some of the same results in your life, just know that I am living proof that it can be accomplished.”

 

Stephanie's One Month Progress Update

Stephanie began the journey to get her health back on November 1, 2009.  After one month of nutritarian eating she has lost 16 lbs and has energy and stamina for the first time in her life!  To learn more about Stephanie, including her starting medical stats, click here. 

                                                                                         before and after pic of female

How do you feel after one month of nutritarian eating? I feel like a completely different person!  I have energy and stamina that I’ve never had before in my life.  When I began, I had severe swelling in my lower legs, ankles and feet.  Now I have no swelling and all the inflammation in my body is gone. I  can stand without pain, and I can move around easier. 

My whole demeanor has also changed.  Relatives and close friends notice a big difference.  They say there was this “darkness” about me that is now completely gone.  I’ve had so many people ask me what I am doing.  

 

What has been your greatest success so far?  I’ve been learning to talk myself through the rough times when I want to eat for emotional reasons.  I tell myself that what I’m feeling is toxic hunger and will pass soon.  My faith has given me strength and courage to persevere through those times.   

 

Do you have any thoughts or success tips to share?  Yes!  Give yourself permission to be in control of your outcome.  Your success with nutritarian eating truly depends not only on the choices you make, but the choices you don't make.  One day this past month I was in situation where I felt that I did not have any other choice but to eat the standard American food that was offered to me.  I ate the food and felt lousy afterwards.  Dr. Fuhrman reminded me that I had blamed the situation and not myself, and that really put things in focus for me.  Nutritarian eating has to be a conscious choice every day. 

Cravings do go away and emotional eating can be stopped.  I just want to go out and shout to everyone that they need to make this change in their own life!   

before and current picture of female

  Beginning Now
Weight: 398 lbs. 382 lbs.
Blood Pressure: 140/110 138/82
Waist: 58" 54"

 

Congratulations Stephanie! Keep up the great work and we look forward to following your monthly progress as you get your health back! 

To be continued . . . . . . .

Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids work together to reduce coronary calcification

Heart - black & white

Coronary artery calcification is essentially the beginning of bone formation – except it’s happening in the arteries.1-2 Sound scary? It is. Calcification is associated with a 3-4 fold increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease.3 And strangely enough, those who have vascular calcification usually have low bone density or even osteoporosis4 – hard arteries and weak bones??

Previous studies had tested the effects of cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) on the progression of arterial calcification, and they were found to be ineffective. These scientists were looking for another solution. Vitamin D deficiency is known to produce a risk of cardiovascular disease, but had not been investigated for effects on arterial calcification. Because of the protective effect of Vitamin D on both bone and cardiovascular tissues, scientists thought that Vitamin D might be a player in this complex interplay between bone precursors and blood vessel walls.

Subjects with no previous heart disease symptoms but a high coronary calcium score (CCS) were included in the study. They supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids  and sufficient Vitamin D3 to achieve greater than 50ng/ml serum levels of 25(OH) Vitamin D. The response of these subjects to these therapies varied 18 months later. About half saw a decrease in CCS, and about half experienced no change or a small increase in CCS. Also about half of the subjects experienced slowed atherosclerotic plaque growth.5

What do these results tell us? It is difficult to interpret these results because of the lack of a control (no treatment) group, but it definitely opens the door to more studies on the role of Vitamin D in coronary artery calcification. 

We also don’t know anything about the diets of the subjects of the study. A phytochemical-rich diet plus Vitamin D and omega-3 supplementation could have achieved dramatic improvements in calcium score!

For now, we can now tentatively add coronary calcification to the long list of detrimental consequences of Vitamin D deficiency. Our best protection against these consequences, in addition of course to a high nutrient diet, is a good Vitamin D supplement.

 

References:

1. Fitzpatrick LA et al. Endochondral bone formation in the heart: a possible mechanism of coronary calcification. Endocrinology. 2003 Jun;144(6):2214-9.

2. Aigner T et al. Expression of cartilage-specific markers in calcified and non-calcified

atherosclerotic lesions. Atherosclerosis. 2008 Jan;196(1):37-41. Epub 2007 Feb 28.

3. Rennenberg RJ et al. Vascular calcifications as a marker of increased cardiovascular risk: a meta-analysis. Vasc Health Risk Manag. 2009;5(1):185-97. Epub 2009 Apr 8.

4. Hmamouchi I et al. Low bone mineral density is related to atherosclerosis in postmenopausal Moroccan women. BMC Public Health. 2009 Oct 14;9:388.

5. Davis W et al. Effect of a combined therapeutic approach of intensive lipid management, omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, and increased serum 25 (OH) vitamin D on coronary calcium scores in asymptomatic adults. Am J Ther. 2009 Jul-Aug;16(4):326-32.

 

 

Food Addiction and the Holidays

Christmas candles 

Amongst the warm fuzzy feeling of Christmas lights, tinsel and a perfectly decorated tree, let’s take a moment to have a gut level, reality check about food addiction.

In our culture we tend to “categorize” addictions by the priority we place upon them. 

We have programs in public schools to teach students to say no to drugs.

We encourage teens not to smoke or drink.  We’ve even established laws to prevent them from purchasing the destructive items. 

As a nation, we’ve put a high priority on educating the culture about the life controlling power and damaging effects of drug, alcohol and cigarette addiction.  We’ve heard the stories.  We’ve seen the graphic images.  We’ve developed special care for crack and fetal alcohol syndrome babies.  We’ve even put Surgeon’s General Warning labels on packs of cigarettes.   

We understand the concept that once an individual makes the decision to stop nicotine addiction, there’s no going back to smoking just one cigarette. 

We understand the dangers of a recovering alcoholic having that innocent sip of wine at a cocktail party.

We wouldn’t think of putting a recovering drug addict back on the streets to sell cocaine.

                                              drug addict

Unfortunately, as a nation, we’ve put a low, almost non-existent, priority on the life damaging effects of food addiction.  We think nothing of grooming the taste buds of children for a lifetime of addiction to salty fries, donuts and Big Macs.  We think nothing of celebrating the holidays with a month-long food binge. 

Just because Christmas cookies, fudge and cheese balls don’t have a Surgeon’s General Warning label on them, doesn’t mean they’re safe to put into the body.

Food addiction is serious stuff.  Because it’s both psychological and physiological, for many, it only takes one bite to unravel weeks and perhaps months of nutritarian progress.  For most, it's unwise to enter the traditional, holiday feasting arena; even an occasional detour.       

If you are caught in a situation this holiday season where food choices are life threatening to your commitment to health, are you prepared to JUST SAY NO?  (You will not die if you have to wait until you get home to eat.  Better yet, keep apples and almonds stocked in your car for those emergencies.)

Are you intentionally planning and preparing your own health-promoting food to take with you when you attend a holiday party?

Be proactive.  Don’t allow the month of celebrations unravel your commitment to optimal health.

Diabetes is serious.  Heart attacks and strokes are real. 

Food addiction kills.  It strangles the very life out of a person; destroying health and ruining precious relationships. 

If food addiction isn’t taken seriously, repeated compromises will lead to addictive necessity.  Guaranteed. 

It’s important for each of us to know our limitations, establish clear boundaries and live within them.

That is where freedom abounds; and freedom is where health abounds.  

Freedom to all this holiday season!

 

Be honest, do you take food addiction seriously?  Do you have clear boundaries established this holiday season, and if so, what are they? 

 

image credits: computerpartsgames.wordpress.com; markhoustonrecovery.com

Dr. Fuhrman warns: DO NOT take multivitamins or prenatal vitamins that contain folic acid

Folic acid supplementation is dangerous – especially for pregnant women

In a 10-year study,1,2 scientists found that women who take multivitamins containing folic acid increase their breast cancer risk by 20-30%.

Even more alarming are the associations between supplemental folic acid during pregnancy and death from breast cancer,8 and asthma and respiratory tract infections in children.5-6

Read full article

broccoli

Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, a B vitamin, which is abundant in green vegetables. Folate protects against birth defects known as neural tube defects (NTDs). Pregnant women could safely increase their folate status and prevent NTDs by eating green vegetables, but instead they are instructed to take folic acid supplements, putting them and their children at risk. Folic acid supplements are not a substitute for folate-containing green vegetables – there are inverse associations between maternal vegetable intake and childhood cancers.12-13

Unlike synthetic folic acid, folate obtained from food sources – especially green vegetables – protects against breast and prostate cancer.

There is inverse relationship between dietary folate intake and breast and prostate cancer.14,3 Chemical differences between folate and folic acid translate into differences in uptake and processing of these two substances by the cells in the intestinal wall – excess folic acid in the circulation can occur. Luckily, folate from food comes naturally packaged in balance with other micronutrients and the body regulates its absorption.9

Rich sources of food folate

As a reference point, the U.S. RDA for folate is 400μg. Below is the approximate folate content for a 100-calorie serving.8

Spinach, raw

843 μg

Romaine lettuce

800 μg

Asparagus, cooked

750 μg

Mustard greens, raw

700 μg

Collards, raw

550 μg

Broccoli, cooked

300 μg

Edamame

225 μg

Chickpeas

150 μg

Papaya

90 μg

Orange

70 μg

Blackberries

55 μg

Avocado

50 μg

Sunflower seeds

40 μg

Quinoa, cooked

35 μg

Additional foods listed in full article

Clearly, we do not need synthetic folic acid supplements to meet our daily folate requirements.

Dr. Fuhrman’s Gentle Care Formula Multivitamin does not contain folic acid

Supplemental folic acid has also been linked to prostate cancer3, colorectal cancer4, and overall cancer mortality.7 Because folate is abundant in the nutritarian diet, and synthetic folic acid is so potentially dangerous, folic acid is not included in Dr. Fuhrman’s Gentle Care multivitamin.

Dr. Fuhrman does not recommend prenatal vitamins because of the potentially harmful ingredients, such as folic acid.

Dr. Fuhrman’s special recommendations for pregnant women:

(See full article for references)