Why?

  • Why take time to thoroughly study Eat to Live and Eat for Health?
  • Why read Dr. Fuhrman’s newsletters?
  • Why listen to his teleconferences?
  • Why ask Dr. Fuhrman medical or weight loss questions when they arise?
  • Why post struggles/victories and receive encouragement from others?
  • Why seek extra help through the withdrawal phase?
  • Why persevere through the toxic cravings?
  • Why learn true hunger signals?
  • Why get up and keep going when a slip-up happens?
  • Why stock a cooler with high nutrient foods when away from home?
  • Why learn to make delicious bean soups, smoothies and homemade ice-creams?
  • Why go to the gym in January when it’s below zero and dark outside?
  • Why ask family and friends for their support?
  • Why eat differently than 99.9% of the rest of the population?
  • Why put forth the effort to earn health back?
  • Why even bother when one can take meds for just about anything?

Sleeping Bear Dunes, one of the largest sand dunes in the world; located on the northwestern shore of Lake Michigan. Many from the Midwest make their annual trek up its steep slopes to see the breathtaking views from the various summits. I’m no exception. It’s become a part of my summer tradition since childhood. 

However, as food addiction and resulting malnutrition took over, I felt like the ‘real’ me became trapped in a body that I no longer recognized. I became a stranger to myself and climbing the dunes was a thing of the past. I became a lawn chair spectator of others from the distant island of captivity. Obesity and poor health robbed me of so much, and truly, only in hindsight, do I now realize how much I missed for twenty years of my life and my family’s life. Unfortunately, the food addict and his/her family adjust to the many handicaps of poor health, and both parties become accustomed to the negative changes. 

female on sand duneLast week, not only did I make the 3.5 hour round-trip hike up and down sandy dunes out to Lake Michigan and back, but it was exhilarating and I did it with much ease!  [The picture on the left was taken at the bottom of the final descent.]  I was finally a participant in my family’s life at Sleeping Bear, and someday I hope to be an active participant in my future grandchildren’s life also, if/when that time comes.  I refuse to be found sitting on a lawn chair by myself at the parking lot . . . . .

  • testing blood sugars and adjusting food and/or medications accordingly
  • out-of-breath due to physical exertion
  • fatigued from sleep apnea and the non-stop burden of carrying around excess weight
  • nursing achy joints, feet, and chronic back pain
  • experiencing muscle weakness from heart meds
  • living in constant fear of an impending heart attack
  • depressed and feeling hopeless due to all of the above

 

So why do the things that have successfully proven to get many out of food addiction and restore health? 

As I was leaping down the final descent, a Dad and Mom with four children were attempting to climb up. Both parents were morbidly obese and the late morning sun was starting to pelt down on them. They looked exhausted and their energetic children were ready to explore the great outdoors. It was in that moment that I realized once again, the reason why I’m committed to doing those things that Dr. Fuhrman recommends to live in optimal health!        

Tell us your reasons for choosing optimal health

 

 

image credits: personal.umich.edu; tripadvisor.co.uk

Grandmothers' unhealthy diets may predispose subsequent generations to breast cancer

One of the biggest contributors to adult cancers is an unhealthy childhood diet.1

Cancer takes years and years to develop. In fact,  a woman's diet during pregnancy is known to influence the risk of childhood cancers in her children.2 A woman’s risk of breast cancer similarly is influenced during fetal development by her mother’s dietary habits.3 But breast cancer risk may begin even earlier than this.

An animal study suggests that breast cancer risk may be transmitted even from previous generations – that a grandmother’s unhealthy diet may translate into increased breast cancer risk for her granddaughters. 

The researchers conducted their study as follows:  A generation of female rats (grandmothers) was fed either a normal or high-fat diet during pregnancy - the high-fat diet provided an excess amount of omega-6 fat, attempting to partially mimic the standard American diet, with its abundance omega-6-rich animal products and oils.  Mother and granddaughter rats were fed a normal diet, and granddaughter rats either had two normal diet grandmothers, two high-fat diet grandmothers, or one of each. “Granddaughter” rats were given a chemical carcinogen to initiate breast cancer, and researchers recorded whether or not they developed tumors.4

These were their findings:

  • 50% of the rats with two normal diet grandmothers developed breast tumors
  • 68% of the rats with one high-fat diet grandmother developed breast tumors
  • 80% of the rats with two high-fat diet grandmothers developed breast tumors5

Based on these results, an unhealthy diet may cause inheritable changes in gene expression, causing subsequent generations to be more susceptible to breast cancer-initiating factors such as chemical carcinogens. Family-related risk of breast cancer is usually thought to be related only to specific genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, which are known to increase breast cancer risk. However, this study points to non-genetic, but family-related transmission of risk via dietary habits.

These findings imply that what mothers eat during pregnancy not only affects their children, but their children’s children as well.



References:

1. Maynard M, Gunnell D, Emmett P, Frankel S, Davey Smith G. Fruit, vegetables, and antioxidants in childhood and risk of adult cancer: the Boyd Orr cohort. JEpidemiol Community Health. 2003 Mar;57(3):218-25

2. Kwan ML et al. Maternal diet and risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Public Health Rep. 2009 Jul-Aug;124(4):503-14.

Tower RL et al. The epidemiology of childhood leukemia with a focus on birth weight and diet. Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 2007;44(3):203-42.

Petridou E et al. Maternal diet and acute lymphoblastic leukemia in young children.Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2005 Aug;14(8):1935-9.

Jensen CD et al. Maternal dietary risk factors in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (United States).Cancer Causes Control. 2004 Aug;15(6):559-70.

Huncharek M et al. A meta-analysis of maternal cured meat consumption during pregnancy and the risk of childhood brain tumors. Neuroepidemiology. 2004 Jan-Apr;23(1-2):78-84.

3. De Assis S, Hilakivi-Clarke L. Timing of dietary estrogenic exposures and breast cancer risk. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2006 Nov;1089:14-35.

4. De Assis S, Cruz MI, Warri A, et al. Exposure of rat dams to a high-fat or estradiol-supplemented  diet during pregnancy alters mammary gland morphology and increases mammary cancer risk in their daughters and granddaughters. In: Proceedings of the 101st Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2010 Apr 17-21; Washington, DC. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; 2010. Abstract number 2931

5. Callaway E. New Scientist. Rats on junk food pass cancer down the generations. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18799-rats-on-junk-food-pass-cancer-down-the-generations.html

Eating Occasions

female eatingAs a culture, how much of our eating is dependent upon how we feel at the moment, the social event that we are attending, a tradition, or the numbers on a clock? Perhaps, along with being addicted to food, we are addicted to eating occasions

I’m sad . . . .

eat

I’m happy . . . .

eat

I’m bored . . . .  

eat

I’m lonely . . . . .

eat

I’m stressed . . . .

eat

I’m nervous . . . .

eat

I’m frustrated . . . .

eat

I’m at a party . . . .

eat

I’m with friends . . . .

eat

It’s 6am . . . .  

eat

It’s 9am . . . .  

eat

It’s noon . . . .

eat

It’s 3pm . . . .

eat

It’s 6pm . . . .

eat

It’s bedtime . . . .

eat

I have insomnia . . . .

eat

I don’t feel well . . . .

eat

I’m exhausted . . . .  

eat

 

When did we evolve from a society that eats meals to fuel the body to one that eats many times a day; regardless of hunger? Numerous meals and snacks a day are now scientifically called, “Eating Occasions” [or EOs for short] As a culture, are eating occasions destroying us? In the past 30 years, eating occasions have increased among all ages, with the greatest for those in the 75 - 90 percentiles; plus, the time between them has exponentially decreased.  Not only are we eating more, but with less time spaced between EOs. 1

Before I committed to nutritarian eating, I was caught in the many-times-a-day eating occasion trap. Anything and anytime was a reason for eating. Even though I’m now free from toxic hunger that drives one to overeat, I still need to be vigilant when I’m out with others that I don’t eat for social entertainment, or eat because the clock reads 12 noon, if I’m not truly hungry.  

As Dr. Fuhrman states, “Frequent eating leads to higher calorie intake.” We all know that this leads to the excess fat that produces a lifetime of needless and ongoing suffering. It’s beneficial to renew our minds from time to time and re-read the chapters on toxic hunger in Eat for Health, or listen to Dr. Fuhrman’s teleconference, “Curtailing Overeating.” We need to seriously ask ourselves, are we eating to satisfy the body’s need for nourishment, or are we caught up in eating occasions? A quick tune-up of the mind is much easier and cheaper than a major overhaul.  May we all choose to eat for health today! 

 

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition  90: 1342-1347, May 2010

   image credit: americanfeast.com

Drugs used to treat preventable diseases carry serious risks (Part 2 - ARBs)

Part 2:

Angiotensin receptor blockers - anti-hypertensive drugs – linked to lung cancer and heart-related deaths

lungs

Angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs) are used to to treat hypertension, heart failure, and diabetic nephropathy (kidney dysfunction). They work by blocking a hormone system that regulates vascular tone and water and salt balance to control blood pressure.

Because angiotensin can affect cell survival and angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessels), two important factors in tumor growth, angiotensin is thought to play a role in cancer progression.1 To determine whether taking ARBs affected cancer risk, scientists performed a meta-analysis of several studies to uncover any possible links between ARBs and cancers. They determined that ARBs carry a increased risk of new diagnosis of any cancer (8%), and a significantly higher risk of lung cancer (25%).2

One ARB in particular, olmesartan (Benicar), is now under scrutiny by the FDA for potential cardiovascular risks. In a clinical trial testing olmesartan’s efficacy for slowing kidney damage in diabetics, there were increased rates of sudden cardiac death and death from heart attack and stroke in the subjects taking the drug compared to those taking placebo.3

In my practice, and from results recorded from members at DrFuhrman.com, even people with dramatically high blood pressure readings and dramatically high cholesterol levels have successfully returned their levels to normal without medications. In fact, as published in the medical journal Metabolism, the nutritarian diet is the most effective method to lower high cholesterol, even more effective than drugs.4 If people were very informed of these results and the risks involved with taking medications many more would certainly embrace nutritional excellence as therapy. High cholesterol and high blood pressure are lifestyle-created conditions, and the safest and most effective treatment is a high nutrient diet and exercise.

 

 

References:

1. Li H, Qi Y, Li C, et al. Angiotensin type 2 receptor-mediated apoptosis of human prostate cancer cells.Mol Cancer Ther. 2009 Dec;8(12):3255-65.

Feng Y, Wan H, Liu J, et al. The angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 in tumor growth and tumor-associated angiogenesis in non-small cell lung cancer. Oncol Rep. 2010 Apr;23(4):941-8.

Zhao Y, Chen X, Cai1 L, et al. Angiotensin II / Angiotensin II type I receptor (AT1R) signaling promotes MCF-7 breast cancer cells survival via PI3-kinase/Akt pathway. J Cell Physiol. 2010 May 10. [Epub ahead of print]

2. Sipahi I, Debanne SM, Rowland DY, et al. Angiotensin-receptor blockade and risk of cancer: meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Lancet Oncol. 2010 Jun 11. [Epub ahead of print]

3. Reuters: UPDATE 2 – FDA looking into death risk from Daiichi’s Benicar. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN1113920620100611

4. Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Popovich DG, et al. Effect of a very-high-fiber vegetable, fruit, and nut diet on serum lipids and colonic function. Metabolism. 2001 Apr;50(4):494-503.

Drugs used to treat preventable diseases carry serious risks (Part 1 - statins)

Never forget, you don’t get something for nothing when it comes to medications. All medications have side effects, most of them potentially serious.Typically a drug has to be on the market for many years to discern all the long-term risks. Recently, news has come out exposing serious adverse effects of two types of drugs that are used to treat high cholesterol and high blood pressure – statins and angiotensin receptor blockers.  The pharmaceutical industry performing their own “research” has a long and consistent record of covering up discovered dangers of their products and embellishing the advantages. Of course, physicians also give the impression that drugs are necessary, when in fact they are not. 

Pill bottle

 

1. Statins – cholesterol-lowering drugs

Researchers examined medical records of over 2 million statin users in England and Wales in order to quantify side effects during the first 5 years of statin use.

The conditions that were found to be associated with statin use were:

  • Moderate to serious liver dysfunction
  • Acute renal failure
  • Moderate to serious myopathy (impaired muscle function)
  • Cataracts1

Statins have also been linked to increased diabetes risk in another recent study.

Statins, which block a key enzyme in the body’s production of cholesterol, are the most widely prescribed class of drugs in the U.S. Statin use is growing, and will soon be expanding even to those who do not have elevated LDL levels, based on the recent (drug-company funded) JUPITER study.2 More widespread statin use will continue to give Americans a false sense of security, that they are protected from cardiovascular disease when they are only treating a single symptom. Only excellent nutrition, not drugs, can provide complete protection against heart disease. With widespread use of statins, the nutritional causes of heart disease are not addressed, and a significant number of liver dysfunction, renal failure, myopathy, and cataract cases will be produced. The authors of the statin adverse effect study stressed that physicians should weigh the possible risks and benefits before placing someone on a statin. But since it is rare that a person (on a nutritarian diet) would actually require a statin, realistically the benefits do not weigh heavily. These adverse effects are simply unacceptable when the alternative to these drugs is a nutrient-dense diet and exercise, treatments with only positive side effects.

 

References:

1. Hippisley-Cox J, Coupland C. Unintended effects of statins in men and women in England and Wales: population based cohort study using the QResearch database. BMJ 2010 May 20;340:c2197.

2. Spatz ES et al. From here to JUPITER: identifying new patients for statin therapy using data from the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2009 Jan;2(1):41-8.

Caloric restriction - even better with exercise

Studies have suggested that restricting number of calories consumed while maintaining adequate nutrition extends lifespan. Although human research on the subject of caloric restriction (CR) is still in its early stages, studies on a number of different species have shown that metabolic rate slows, body temperature decreases, and lifespan is dramatically elongated when calories are restricted. In experimental animals, long-term CR with adequate nutrition is the most effective means to slow aging and prolong lifespan.1 Humans practicing caloric restriction (CR) tend to have low body fat, low levels of chronic inflammation, low blood pressure, and low levels of cardiovascular disease risk factors.2

We know that exercise benefits the cardiovascular system and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Regular aerobic exercise increases the heart’s pumping efficiency, reduces resting heart rate and blood pressure, decreases total and LDL cholesterol, decreases triglycerides, and reduces stress.3,4

An interesting study posed this question:

For overweight individuals, which produces greater cardiovascular benefit: weight loss via restricting a certain amount of calories from the diet or weight loss via restricting a half of those calories from the diet and burning the other half via exercise?

As part of a larger human study on CR and longevity, 36 overweight participants were assigned to one of three groups for a period of six months: a control group who ate a weight-maintaining quantity of calories, a group who restricted calories by 25% (CR), or a group who restricted calories by 12.5% and burned another 12.5% via exercise (CR+EX).

After six months, weight loss, total fat loss, visceral fat loss, and systolic blood pressure (top number) reduction were similar between the CR and CR+EX groups. However, only the CR+EX group showed significant improvements in diastolic blood pressure (bottom number), LDL cholesterol, and insulin sensitivity.5

Achieving a healthy weight by restricting calories is beneficial, but this is only one component of a disease-preventing lifestyle. This study demonstrates that exercise provides cardiovascular benefit above and beyond calorie restriction alone for individuals attempting to lose weight. According to these results, those practicing calorie restriction with the intention of achieving enhanced longevity can expect to reap additional benefits from exercise.

A Nutritarian diet-style effectively and naturally reduces calories by providing a high volume of high nutrient low calorie foods, providing phytochemical benefit along with a smaller number of calories. For achieving excellent health, exercise is an essential addition to this healthy eating style.

 

References:

1. Fontana L. The scientific basis of caloric restriction leading to longer life. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2009 Mar;25(2):144-50.

2. Holloszy JO, Fontana L. Caloric restriction in humans. Exp Gerontol. 2007 Aug;42(8):709-12. Epub 2007 Mar 31.

Fontana L, Villareal DT, Weiss EP, et al. Calorie restriction or exercise: effects on coronary heart disease risk factors. A randomized, controlled trial. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Jul;293(1):E197-202.

3. Sasaki JE, dos Santos MG. The role of aerobic exercise on endothelial function and on cardiovascular risk factors. Arq Bras Cardiol. 2006 Nov;87(5):e226-31.

4. Wagenmakers AJ, van Riel NA, Frenneaux MP, Stewart PM. Integration of themetabolic and cardiovascular effects of exercise. Essays Biochem.2006;42:193-210.

5. Larson-Meyer DE, Redman L, Heilbronn LK, et al. Caloric restriction with or without exercise: the fitness versus fatness debate. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Jan;42(1):152-9.

Is nutritarianism the next dietary trend?

According to an article on livemint.com, a news website associated with The Wall Street Journal, the term ‘nutritarian’ is catching on.

Originally coined by Dr. Fuhrman, a nutritarian is someone who bases their food choices on micronutrient content per calorie of foods, striving to consume a broad array of micronutrients in their diet.

The article reports that “nutritarian” is poised to become a ubiquitous dietary definition on par with vegetarian, vegan, raw foodist, flexitarian, locavore… There is one major difference, though: the exclusion of cooked foods, meat, foods grown far from home, or even all animal products does not define a health-promoting diet. Nutritarian diets, however, always include an abundance of fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables accompanied by additional whole plant foods.  A nutritarian diet is health-promoting by definition.

The article’s advice for going nutritarian? “Eat the rainbow.” Excellent advice, since phytochemicals, antioxidants in particular, are pigments that give fruits and vegetables their vibrant colors. 

Read the full article on livemint.com.

 

Freedom is for everyone!

before and after images of female nutritarian

I’m soon approaching the two year anniversary of committing to Eat to Live, and I’m still amazed at the results of getting my health back. I almost forget now what it was like to survive in an obese body for almost twenty years of my life. I really can’t remember what chronic joint pain or chronic fatigue feels like anymore. When I was obese I had to lie down several times throughout the day to relieve my aching back from the excess weight that I was carrying around. I stayed indoors a lot, even on beautiful days. I gradually didn’t want to be in public, because I was embarrassed of my size and didn’t have “anything pretty to wear.” I never rode a bike or hiked trails. I rarely played ball or outdoor games with my kids. I never ran in races. I stood by the sidelines cheering for others at athletic events. I was a spectator of life; not a participant. I was a prisoner trapped in a foreign body that held me captive. I’d lost myself to obesity and deteriorating health.  

Recently I attended a party on a hot, summer day wearing shorts and a cute, summer t-shirt. Two years ago, I attended all social events on hot sultry days wearing my standard outfit, which I now refer to as my obese uniform; a size 3x pair of black, stretch pants with a black, long sleeved blouse over a black, knit top. Of course it covered up my fat along with causing me to perspire profusely, but little by little my body somehow adjusted to being overheated. My fingers were so puffy and swollen that years ago I quit wearing my wedding ring. I purchased a sterling silver band for ten bucks and put it on my finger instead.

Oh, and I mustn’t forget the constant fatigue and brain fog. I went to bed at night exhausted and woke up the next morning in a fog. My belly was always bloated, I ached all over, and I eventually accepted the general malaise feelings as a part of getting older. On top of being pre-diabetic, I had a heart catherization and was diagnosed with heart disease in 2003 and was racking up new medical bills with each passing birthday. With the combination of shortness of breath when climbing a flight of stairs and my blood pressure at 157/94, I knew that I was living precariously on the brink of danger so on July 10, 2008, I committed to get my health back. 

before and after female nutritarianTo make a long story short, within a year, I lost a hundred pounds and most importantly, I was set free from food addiction that held me captive to all kinds of eating disorders for years. (click here to view my transformation journey) Today I no longer experience lethargy, brain fog, achy joints and back pain, depression, and the emotional turmoil of not feeling well; and I’m off the radar screen for heart disease and diabetes. As an additional perk, I now have cute clothes that I enjoy wearing on hot summer days, and I love to ride my bike, hike trails, enter running races, and be in the great outdoors.

 

 

I encourage anyone who is sitting on the fence of indecision to take the plunge and embrace nutritarian eating all the way. Give 100% with both feet in. That doesn’t necessarily mean 100% perfection, especially in the beginning months of toxic withdrawal, but it does mean pressing onward through obstacles, no matter what; no excuses. Don’t ever give up on the dream of getting health back. Freedom is for everyone!    

                                     

                                   happy female after running a race      

Food Revolution: Flemington style

Here in my hometown of Flemington we have our local public school system featuring the famous Jamie Oliver’s menus and recipes. A third grade student was inspired by Jamie’s Food Revolution and approached school officials to set aside this week as “Food Revolution Week.” 

Nicholas brought his passion for leading a healthy lifestyle, his love of good food and his interest in the Food Revolution straight to the negotiating table. Through his efforts, Nicolas has persuaded the district to offer a full week of Jamie Oliver-inspired recipes in place of the regular lunch menu at Copper Hill School.” 1

The menu will include Beefy Nachos, Crusty Mac-n-Cheese, Sloppy Joe Sandwiches, Shepherd’s Pie, and Pizza. Are these foods health promoting? View the menu and Jamie’s recipes for yourself. Would you let your kids eat that stuff?

There are no nutritious dishes made with significant amounts of vegetables and beans. Amazing that Jamie Oliver has moved the nation to associate good nutrition with cancer-causing concoctions like Sloppy Joes and Mac-n-Cheese instead of true health-promoting, anti-cancer whole foods like vegetables, berries, seeds and fresh fruits. White flour, ground beef and cheese are not vegetables; and the message is still lacking in this “revolution” that without eating significant vegetables and beans we are going to have a nation of cancer-prone, heart-attack prone, overweight individuals.

Our students graduate from elementary and high schools, colleges, and even professional schools (such as medical schools) without ever learning the most critical information about how to protect one’s precious health.  Even highly educated individuals do not have a clear knowledge of the foods that prevent and protect against disease.  By attempting to improve the nation’s diet without incorporating these health-promoting foods, we are merely moving the chess pieces around aimlessly, and sadly the public does not become more educated about health, only more confused.

We need a real revolution, not a phony one that diverts attention away from the real problem. A revolution that places the power and the responsibility for health in hands of the individual, and gives them the power to live a disease-free life; free of toxic drugs, invasive surgical procedures, and futile and expensive medical care that is all hype but adds little to our quality or length of life.  

 

 

 

1.  frsd.net on behalf of L. Braun; June 3, 2010

Why Have We Decided To Feed Our Kids Crap?

The following is a guest post from Habib Wicks, co-founder of PEERtrainer

Why Have We Decided To Feed Our Kids Crap?
It Is A Decision, And It Seems To Have Been Made...

 

"Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no! And it ain't over now! Cause when the going gets tough.. The tough get goin'. Who's with me?" -Bluto, Animal House

"The modern diet that most children are eating today creates a fertile cellular environment for cancer to emerge at a later age.... In order to have a major impact on preventing cancer we must intervene much earlier, even as early as the first ten years of life"- Dr. Joel Fuhrman


I am trying to be funny, using some common humor to introduce a very very touchy subject. Food and kids. But the reality is that most children today, regardless of the socioeconomic context, eat piles of cheese, pasta, chicken fingers, fries, milk, cookies, pizza etc. Go to any birthday party or play date currently in the U.S. and this is what you see.

When children eat a junk food based diet, the groundwork is being laid. This is something that Jackie and I personally struggle with. We have two small children. We were both raised (thank God) by parents who knew the deal about nutrition. Every meal I ate as a child was served with green vegetables and salad. We ate burgers, ice cream, hot dogs and all the other stuff. But that was the exception.

The rule was greens, salad, local fish freshly caught in the Gulf Of Maine, fruit. The Cuisinart was (and still is) the center of my mothers kitchen. Onions, ginger, garlic-- all sorts of things went into the Cuisinart, the frying pan, pressure cooker. My mom cooked real food. Mac and cheese was something I ate at the babysitters house.

"What we feed (or don't) our children as they grow from birth to early adulthood has a greater total contributory effect on the dietary contributions to cancers than the dietary intake over the next fifty years" -Dr. Joel Furhman, Disease Proof Your Child

Fast forward to the present day. The households that Jackie and I grew up in are probably rarer now. Seems like it at least. The diets that our parents sought to protect us from appear to be totally dominant.

With our kids my objective is to get them to eat as much of the good stuff as possible, knowing that the junk is inevitable. We also work to enable them to make their own decisions as much as possible.

But that is us. We were raised a certain way, we started PEERtrainer. We have a well developed focus. The challenge for us, and me in particular is other parents. The reality of modern child rearing in America is that people are very cooperative and constantly share the load. Our kids are often in the care of other moms, nannies or otherwise in environments that we cannot totally control. There are endless birthday parties, play dates. Lots of cooperative, generous and helpful parents all around.

Yet, junk food is the default. The tough thing for a parent is that you really can't say anything. if you do, you violate the code. The code, as best I can tell is this: "don't rock the boat, and don't disrupt social agendas."

This is something I am really struggling with. And it is pissing off Jackie, because I actually said something recently. I absolutely should not have, but I did. I was tired, the younger child was screaming in my ear. And then it happened. We were all leaving school (last day) headed to some end of school kid parties. A local mom pulled up and very nicely asked if she could pick up some Wendy's for our kids.

She was just trying to be nice. But in the back of my mind I was thinking "why is this always the default"? I had been thinking about this for a while, holding my tongue for a few years now just watching as I said nothing. Unfortunately, this time I said exactly what I was thinking. Imagine being really nice to someone, as she was being to me, and have someone act like a total jerk. Which I was. I had been thinking about this problem, did not know the answer.

The question is though, who is there to bring this question up? Why is junk food the default? I could keep my kids at home and avoid all other contact. That would be insane on so many levels. Yet, the decisions of other parents effect my kids. That is the reality.

So there is no going around this issue. You can't keep your kids away from other kids, and you can't make you kids outcasts by forbidding them to eat foods that everyone else is.

You can't. You can find ways of subtly suggesting things. You can model and you can be patient. But that happens when that does not work? The most interesting question is this- what is really at the root of this phenomenon?

All of the parents we interact with really understand this issue. It is not like they don't know this stuff. Yet for some reason they choose not to prioritize it. Many of the moms will make sale day at Saks Fifth Avenue the top priority. They will give generously to others. Yet they won't make a simple decision to forgo Wendys, Mcdonalds etc for ANY OTHER alternative.

This is collective behavior. Everyone seems to be doing this- not just the one that was at the brunt of the end of my rope. One mom does something (we men generally just do what we are told btw- I think that might be part of the analysis here) and the other moms go along. Zero incentive to rock the boat.

When I asked this other mom "why is stuff like Wendys always the default?" Her first response was "the entire class is going there." Then she got pissed at me, understandably. And now other moms call Jackie and first ask if I want a Happy Meal. And it's funny on one level.

But the greater question is, for all of us who are parents and want to find some way of reducing the amount of junk that our kids collectively eat- what the hell are we supposed to do? All move to Boulder?

It is a puzzle. And it is serious.

"Most of the animal products eaten by children, such as cheese and milk, are exceptionally high in saturated fat. Saturated fat consumption correlates with cancer incidence worldwide. It also raises cholesterol levels and causes obesity and heart disease."

"Americans eat only 5 percent of calories from fruits, vegetables, beans and unprocessed nuts and seeds" -Dr. Joel Fuhrman

Right now cancer, heart disease and stroke will kill 85 percent of Americans. 85 percent. It may be that after the battles of marriage, career and raising kids many people actually want to die on some deep level.

One thing I do know is that group think can be changed. I just don't know how.

What is an Easy Target For Parents To Hit?

The basic solution to this problem is to attack the equation. Work on growing the 5 percent number. There is another great stat from Disease Proof Your Child that will help end this article on a positive note.

"Recent studies have also found that eating fruit during childhood had powerful effects to protect against cancer in later life. A sixty year study of 4,999 participants found that those who consumed more fruit in their childhood (the highest quartile) were 38 percent less likely to develop cancer as adults."

So if you are a competitive parent who wants their kids to score in the 99th percentile in tests- why would you not also want your kids to score high on their nutrient intake?

As for me, I am already the a**hole for bringing this up with the local parents. I understand I violated a set of social codes. But if you want to criticize me for making this an issue-- who is doing the most harm?

Maybe you are reading this just seething, thinking "worry about your damn kids." Fine, I do. But who is left to say something? Michelle Obama is doing a great job advocating gardening. The Disney channel seems to be doing a good job at running ads about spinach and fruit. Who else is there leading the effort? What is the trend, and who is making the effort?

From my vantage point as a parent there is a ton of work to be done. If you are a parent (or nosy grandparent!) please pick up a copy of Joel Fuhrman's book "Disease Proof Your Child." There is a ton of stuff in the book to chew on- and do you own research frankly. But you will find that this book raises a ton of important questions, and is extensively footnoted. There are seventeen pages of references to research studies at the end of the book.

And if you find a more tactful and more effective way to raise the issue in your community, please let me know.

 

This article was orignally published on PEERtrainer.com.

 

 

Interview with a Nutritarian: Mike

Recently Mike posted a thread titled, “Down 10 pant sizes!” on the member center of DrFuhrman.com.  I asked him if he’d be willing to be interviewed on Disease Proof to inspire others to get their health back also, and he graciously obliged to share his story.  Not only did he drop pants sizes, but also his bottles of medications.  Welcome to Disease Proof, Mike!   

before after pics of male nutritarian

What was your life like before discovering Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian eating-style?

Due to unhealthy eating habits, including eating out too much, I had been getting heavier and slowing down with each passing birthday. At age forty I weighed 165 lbs; at fifty I weighed 195 lbs; and at sixty I weighed 215 lbs.  I’d always been active at playing golf, surf fishing and cycling.  However, the extra weight made a walk around the golf course an adventure, surf fish very tiring, and small hills on bike rides seemed like pedaling the Alps.  I was also getting tired at work and needed stimulants to make it through the second part of each day. I was a fixture at the local chocolate shop as I needed a shot of chocolate to get me through the afternoons.
 
I was scared because I started having chest pains while climbing stairs, hiking hills on the golf course, and in stressful situations. One day I encountered difficulty swallowing, followed by chest pains which landed me in the hospital. I ducked a heart attack, but tests revealed that my left descending lower artery was 50% blocked so they started me on aspirin, blood pressure meds and statins.


How did you find out about ETL?

I’d given up smoking in the mid 80’s and tried Pritkin, McDougall, and a few others to get healthy, but they required a lot of food preparation so I eventually quit following them.  When I got home from the hospital, I wanted to see if there was anything “new” on the market for healthy eating so I scoured the book section of the local health food store and discovered The China Study and Eat to LiveEat to Live was just what I was looking for: simple to shop for and prepare, with very little clean up.  This was perfect for me as I worked and wanted to be able to do most of the shopping, prep and cleaning myself. 

I visited Dr. Fuhrman for the first time in January 2009.  After I was weighed and measured (including my waist size and level of nutrients in my body), he clearly explained to me that I needed to follow the “straight and narrow” and lose a lot of weight pronto, or else suffer the consequences.  He told me that the extra fat on my mid section was probably as much responsible for my artery blockage as my cholesterol, because that fat produces plaque; an important reason not to be overweight!  I decided to listen to Dr. Fuhrman as he made a lot more sense to me than the cardiologist who was only interested in my cholesterol and blood pressure. 

 

How do you feel now?

ETL has given me 10 to 15 years of my life back!  I’m now off of all meds (statins and blood pressure lowering meds), and I feel better, look better, and think better than ever before; plus, I have the additional confidence that I’ll live a long and healthy life devoid of needing to see a cardiologist again!  I also don’t have to worry about developing diabetes (it runs in my family) or having a stroke, and eating lots of cruciferous vegetables, fruits and beans greatly reduces my risk of getting cancer. From a mental perspective this is huge as I’m a big believer that actively doing something is akin to moving forward under fire, and increases confidence and outlook on life. 

[At age 63, Mike recently finished a 102 mile bike ride in 6:10; and over Memorial Day weekend he completed a sixty mile ride with an “A” team of cyclists, and was able to hang with the group for the entire time.  He finds this to be unbelievable, because two years ago he was afraid to ride to with “C” cyclists, because he didn’t think that he could keep up with them.  Now he’s approached by some of the top riders and asked, “What’s the name of that book you told me about?”!]

 

 

before

now

Weight

216 lbs

158 lbs

Waist measurement

  43”

  33”

Blood pressure

145/90 (with meds)

115/70 (no meds)

Cholesterol

165 (105/35 ratio)

125 (60/45 ratio)

 

Do you have any success tip(s) to share with others?

Nutritarian eating is a simple and healthful way to eat that combats all major and chronic diseases killing modern man . . . so go for it!  You won’t be sorry!
 
Also, when I first read Dr. Fuhrman’s claims, and even after I’d met him, I wasn’t so sure if I was being taken as it seemed too simple: Greens to the rescue? No meds? No fancy formulas?  All these things sounded too good to be true, but I found everything to be true! 

Don’t wait for fear of a heart attack to be motivated to change!

 

Congratulations Mike ~ we applaud you for getting your health back!

Interview with a Nutritarian: Barb

Barb is one of those committed and steadfast nutritarians who always has an encouraging word to share with others on the member center of DrFuhrman.com. Not only did she shed disease promoting habits and pounds, but she also gained a whole new way of celebrating life to the fullest. Welcome to Disease Proof, Barb!

           before and after pic of a female nutritarian

What was your life like before discovering Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian eating-style?

I was forty-five, career focused, and pursuing very few of the activities of my youth. I suffered from daily indigestion, skipped and irregular heartbeats, hip pain, bleeding gums, heavy and painful periods, seasonal allergies, bad breath, constipation, hemorrhoids, back and shoulder pains, and nose bleeds in the winter. Both my mother and grandmother had heart attacks in their sixties and seventies so I figured that I would too since I seemed to have their same, weak heart symptoms; namely, mitral valve prolapse, and irregular/skipped beats.  

 

How did you find out about ETL?

I became a vegan and noticed health improvements so my curiosity led me to search the web, and that’s when I discovered the health benefits of a mostly vegan, whole foods diet.  After reading several books from various doctors, I decided Dr. Fuhrman's plan was the most scientifically sound so I decided to follow it.


How do you feel now?

I feel no pain, no tiredness, no irregular heartbeats, none of the above symptoms that plagued me for years.  In other words, I feel great!   I’ve recorded how my health has improved on my blog.

 

 

Before

Now

Weight (5’9”)

 158 lbs

 118 lbs

Blood pressure

 130/80

  95/65

Resting pulse rate

  70-80

  45-55

Cholesterol

 

   131



female nutritarianDo you have any success tip(s) to share with others?

At first, Dr. Fuhrman's eating-style seemed too extreme for me.  However, even with adopting a gradual approach, I noticed many health improvements (especially after cutting out dairy and meat) that it encouraged me to keep going and learn more.  The noticeable changes inspired me to take the next step which created an upward spiral of success for me.   Then I discovered Dr. Fuhrman's delicious salad dressings, dips, soups, and smoothies, and now I think this is the best-tasting food in the world! I find it easy to eat nutrient dense foods.

At first I did struggle with social issues, because I felt so different at restaurants and parties when I took my own food.  Now I don't care what other people think, and it turns out they don't care either!  Recently, I was at a meeting at my church and cookies were being served to everyone, and I was given carrots and celery.  It was hilarious.  I recommend persevering through the social issues as people are much more accommodating than imagined.  

 

In a nutshell, what has nutritarian eating done for you? 

I am no longer focused on my career, but living my life to the fullest.  I'm pursuing all kinds of physical activities that I thought I was too old for ten years ago: mountain biking, road biking, kayaking, hockey, body power, boot camp, workouts at my gym; plus, I’m actively involved in community service.  My future will be completely different since I won’t have to save for expensive health insurance associated with the degenerative diseases that most people suffer from in their older years.  This changes my financial situation for the better and I can cut back on my workload substantially, which is revolutionary for me! Nutritarian eating has literally changed my life!

 

Congratulations Barb on getting your health and life back!

 

 

New findings on nuts and cholesterol

Nuts have been consistently associated with reduced risk of coronary heart disease in epidemiological studies.1 Evidence of nuts’ cardioprotective effects were originally recognized in the early 1990s2, and since then, several human trials have documented improvements in lipid levels in response to including nuts in the diet.3 Beneficial cardiovascular effects beyond cholesterol lowering have also been identified, particularly for walnuts and almonds.

A review published recently in Archives of Internal Medicine pooled the data from 25 different clinical studies that ran for a minimum of three weeks, comparing a nut eating group to a control group. Most of the studies were done on walnuts or almonds, but studies on macadamias, pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans, and peanuts were also included in the analysis.4,5

This review confirmed that nut consumption has beneficial effects on lipid levels,  and it also reached two interesting new conclusions: 

1. Dose dependent effect

First, the different studies were on different quantities of nuts, and the review concluded that the cholesterol-lowering effects of nuts are dose-dependent – this means that more nuts consumed translated into greater decreases in LDL and total cholesterol:

Quantity of nuts consumed

Decrease in total cholesterol

Decrease in LDL

1 oz.

2.8%

4.2%

1.5 oz.

3.2%

4.9%

2.4 oz.

5.1%

7.4%

For healthy weight individuals, these results suggest that 2.4 ounces may be better than 1 ounce for cardiovascular health.4,5

2. Effects were greater in individuals with lower BMI

The researchers found that body mass index (BMI) modified the association between nut consumption and cholesterol lowering. The effects of nuts were greater in individuals with lower BMI, meaning that those who were overweight or obese saw less cholesterol-lowering benefit than healthy weight individuals.4,5

Nuts and seeds are critical components of a disease-preventing diet, and I recommend eating them daily. However, I also recommend a limit of 1 ounce of nuts and seeds per day for individuals who are overweight. The results of this study support my recommendations. For those that are overweight, nuts are beneficial, but weight loss is even more important. The primary means of decreasing cardiovascular risk in overweight individuals should be eating lots of high micronutrient, low calorie foods. For people significantly overweight, nuts should still be included, but their caloric density suggests a limit such as 1 ounce per day for women and 1.5 ounces a day for men.

Wondering how many nuts are in a 1 ounce serving? The International Tree Nut Council’s website provides a guide to 1 ounce serving sizes of several different nuts.


References:

1. Sabaté J, Ang Y. Nuts and health outcomes: new epidemiologic evidence. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 May;89(5):1643S-1648S.

2. Fraser GE, Sabate J, BeesonWL, Strahan TM. A Possible Protective Effect of Nut Consumption on Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: The Adventist Health Study. Arch Intern Med. 1992;152(7):1416-1424.

3. Griel AE, Kris-Etherton PM. Tree nuts and the lipid profile: a review of clinical studies. Br J Nutr. 2006 Nov;96 Suppl 2:S68-78.

4. Sabaté J, Oda K, Ros E. Nut consumption and blood lipid levels: a pooled analysis of 25 intervention trials. Arch Intern Med. 2010 May 10;170(9):821-7.

Eurekalert! Eating nuts associated with improvements in cholesterol levels: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-05/jaaj-ena050610.php