October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month, didn't you hear?

Why Awareness? Is there anyone out there who has never heard of Breast Cancer? Do you want to know why it wasn’t called Breast Cancer Prevention Month? I’ll tell you why, because its purpose is not to help women by preventing breast cancer; it is all about money.

It is obvious this pink product promotion kick is all about promoting mammograms so radiologists can make more money. They need plenty of awareness to counter all the recent research from large studies showing that mammograms aren’t too effective.1-3 

If preventing human suffering and saving women's lives were the overriding purpose then promoting how to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer would be front and center as the main objective. Women should be getting notified of the scientific evidence that has accumulated in recent years that can enable women to avoid breast cancer. There are powerful protective steps women need to be aware of, such as:

  • Exercise
  • Stay slim
  • Eat lots of green vegetables, onions, and mushrooms daily.
  • Do not eat mass factory farmed dairy products, especially those given rBGH
  • Stay away from fast foods and insulin promoting refined foods such as white flour and sweets.
  • Do not eat mass factory farmed meats given antibiotics and growth promoting hormones.

 

Pink Ribbon Candy. Flickr: WishUponACupcake

Consider: these cancer non-profits are affiliated with drug companies and mammogram machine companies. They are also supported by companies such as Omaha Steaks, Pretzel Crisps, Boar’s Head Meats, General Mills, and ACH Foods (which makes margarine and cooking oils for fast food restaurants). They have no interest in preventing cancer, only treating it. The search for the magic “cure” for breast cancer is just another belief system with no reality behind it. I wish you a long life waiting for this to happen - that women can eat fast food, pasta, doughnuts, and bagels with cream cheese every day and then take a magic pill and not get cancer. Never gonna happen. The whole purpose of buying pink and raising money is to actually increase the amount of women with the diagnosis of cancer so they can be tested and treated, making more money for this billion dollar industry.

Hysterical wasn’t it that Southern Cancer Fried Chicken was selling pink buckets of the cancer-causing (junk food fried) chicken to raise money for breast cancer awareness? A skull and crossbones on the chicken bucket would have made more sense than a pink ribbon, but what do I know? I am sure next year we will see a pink Big Mac with a ribbon around it, and we will be encouraged to drink Pepsi for breast cancer awareness. I say let’s have some pink-ribboned cigarettes, and whiskey in pink bottles, too. I wonder if the cocaine pushers will get in on the act. Why not? Maybe even we can get the lawn service technicians that spray toxic weed killer on the neighbor’s lawn to dress in pink.


Let me tell you something, a cure is not coming soon. You’d better hedge your bets and eat right.

 

References:

1. Gotzsche PC, Nielsen M: Screening for breast cancer with mammography. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2009:CD001877.
2. Wright CJ, Mueller CB: Screening mammography and public health policy: the need for perspective. Lancet 1995;346:29-32.
3. Esserman L, Shieh Y, Thompson I: Rethinking Screening for Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association 2009;302:1685-1692.

 

 

Eat that hamburger and you are supporting global warming

 

There are a lot of reasons to stop eating meat.  Improving our health is a large one given the association between meat consumption and chronic, life-threatening diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and various cancers.  Every time we choose to fill our plates with plant foods instead of animal products, we are doing our bodies a huge service both in the short and long term.  However, most people don’t realize how forgoing a steak, hamburger or piece of chicken is enormously protective against the warming of the planet and the destruction of the rain forests.  The evidence has become overwhelming that global warming is happening and it is happening fast, and we humans are largely responsible.  Limiting meat consumption around the world is the number one solution recommended by scientists to slow and potentially tackle this issue that will undoubtedly impose devastating consequences if we do not take realistic actions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

 

Cows. Flickr: Joost J Bakker IJmuiden

 

The World Preservation Foundation is an organization based in the United Kingdom devoted to researching the most effective means to reduce global warming urgently.  The primary conclusion of the prestigious scientists studying this issue is that over fifty percent of all human caused greenhouse gas emissions are from livestock raising (and the dietary patterns that drive it). This figure was derived from a 2009 report from the Worldwatch Institute in addition to the United Nations’ famous report, Livestock’s Long Shadow, which argues that livestock farming is one of the most significant contributors to this serious environmental problem.1 This means that a 50 percent reduction in livestock products worldwide could result in a minimum 25 percent reduction in GHG emissions.2 Those are huge figures! Imagine what we could accomplish if we all ate less meat.  Unfortunately meat consumption is still rising throughout the world.

Why is the production of animal meat from factory farms so detrimental to our planet? Livestock farming contributes methane, ozone, black carbon and nitrous oxide to the environment, as well as carbon dioxide.  These gases warm the planet rapidly, which will result in ever more challenging environmental problems if we do not take action to limit emissions.  For instance, methane interacts with aerosols in the atmosphere and becomes 28 times stronger than carbon dioxide over the course of a century to increase the global warming process.  Additionally, the potency of methane to carbon dioxide increases over time, trapping 100 times more heat over 5 years.  Also note, scientists have shown that black carbon (aka soot) is responsible for 45 percent of the warming of the Artic.  Black carbon is 680 times as heat-trapping as carbon dioxide and it causes ice sheets and glaciers around the world to melt even faster.3  Brazilian researchers have found black carbon in the most rapidly warming areas of Antarctica, where 50 percent is related to the burning of trees in the Amazon, and 40 percent to the livestock industry.4

How does livestock create black carbon? It actually comes from animal waste produced on factory farms, waste processing, and the burning of vegetation to accommodate crops used to feed livestock.  NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies reports that cutting black carbon produced from biofuels like wood or dung could help reduce the estimated 1.5 million premature deaths per year attributed to biofuel soot.5

In addition to the above statistics, there really are so many environmental consequences to eating meat that we don’t think about as we peruse the aisles of the grocery store.  For example, the raising of animals for food production sacrifices much more land than would the amount of land used to grow fruits, vegetables, and other plant crops.  We are now clearing acres upon acres of the rainforest to feed the growing demand for animal products in developing nations.  Not only does this cleared land sacrifice the original forest and its capacity to sequester carbon in trees or in the soil, but these lost trees sacrifice a tragic amount of plant and animal species.  It is truly sad to imagine the loss of life in the rainforest due to human inflicted degradation. Statistically we are talking big numbers: two thirds of the plant and animal species on earth reside in tropical forests, of which 5 million acres are destroyed every year releasing 2 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, contributing 20-to 25% of global warming.These dense forests are the “lungs of the earth” and our healthy survival is potentially dependent on their existence. 

Not eating meat or reducing our consumption is highly protective to our health, but we all should take note that we are doing a huge service to the planet and posterity by avoiding meat and sharing meat-free meals with our families and friends.  Check out www.worldpreservationfoundation.org for more information.

 

References:

1. Livestock’s Long Shadow, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2006.

2. Livestock and Climate Change, Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang, Worldwatch Institute, November/December 2009

3. A number of studies have addressed this issue, particularly those by Professor Heitor Evangelista and colleagues of Janeiro State University in Brazil, Professor Mark Jackson of the University of California at Berkeley, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth. See news reports by Lauren Morello, “Cutting Soot Emissions May Slow Climate Change in the Arctic,” Scientific American, August 2, 2010,http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=cutting-soot-emissions-may-slow-climatechange-in-the-arctic as well as by Randy Boswell, “Soot Is Second Leading Cause of Climate Change: Study,” Ottawa Citizen, August 1, 2010,http://www.ottawacitizen.com/technology/Soot+second+leading+cause+

 

climate+change+study/3349011/story.html?cid=megadrop_story#ixzz0vekfEf8s

 

4. Aerosols May Drive a Significant Portion of Arctic Warming,

Adam Voiland, NASA’s Earth Science News Team, August 2009

The Cattle Realm report, Roberto Smeraldi, Amzônia Brasileira (Friends of the Earth– Brazilian Amazon) 2008

5. Jacobson, M. Z. (2010), Short-term effects of controlling fossil-fuel soot, biofuel soot and gases, and methane on climate, Arctic ice, and air pollution health, J. Geophys. Res.115, D14209, doi:10.1029/2009JD013795.

6. Statistic from: www.worldpreservationfoundation.org

 

 

Interview with a Nutritarian: Carolyn

Carolyn was never obese, but she still suffered from middle-age weight gain, sluggishness, and declining health issues. It doesn’t matter whether one has fifteen or one hundred and fifty pounds of unhealthy weight to lose, everyone feels vibrant and well when a lifestyle of eating nutrient-rich foods has been embraced! Welcome to Disease Proof, Carolyn.

 

 

 

What was your life like before discovering nutritarian eating?

I was slender as a teenager, but as I moved into my 40s, I was always about 20 pounds overweight; size 12 at my worst. I felt sluggish, although I exercised often. I ate the Standard American Diet and excelled at making lasagna, bread, cakes, and cookies for my family and friends. I relied on caffeine too much and was drinking 5-6 cups of coffee a day. Plus I drank 2 cups of caffeinated tea with sweetened condensed milk; a habit that I picked up from five years of living in Sri Lanka. I had allergies, frequent headaches, and the beginning twinges of arthritis.

 

How did you find out about Eat to Live?

During Easter dinner in 2007, I asked my sister-in-law how she had so much success staying trim and fit. She told me about Dr. Fuhrman and how she’d make fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies using a Vitamix blender. I purchased Eat to Live and started following the 6-week eating plan, and continued my exercise program at the gym. Within 4 months my total cholesterol dropped from over 200 to 155, and I slimmed down to a size 8. I bought a Vitamix at the Indiana State Fair that summer and started using it every day for smoothies/blended salads, soups, and frozen desserts.

I had difficulty at first giving up coffee, but weaned myself off over time and gave up meat. I stuck to the plan, and by avoiding all sugar over the holiday season in 2009, I dropped to 128 pounds. (I'm 5'4".) After that success, stress increased at work and my weight crept back up to 135 pounds. I was generally eating nutritarian foods, but eating too much. 

I attended Dr. Fuhrman's Health Getaway in San Diego in 2010, and after listening to the lectures, I decided to give up dairy products; especially cheese so that my weight and cholesterol would return to lower levels. However, I wasn’t able to put this resolution into effect until 2011, because it was an extremely stressful time at work. I lost my job in September 2010 due to restructuring and outsourcing, but was lucky to find a new job within a few months. I moved to another state at the end of December 2010.

 

 

How do you feel now?

I no longer have allergies, headaches, or arthritis, and I have a lot of energy to do my daily activities. Plus, my husband and I get up at 5 o’clock every morning to work out at the gym before we go to work. 

I live in the “Midwest Land of Meat”, hot dish casseroles, and bar cookies; but I’ve become almost a vegan, avoid processed foods, caffeinated teas, and all milk products. The sweetened condensed milk that I used to love in black tea now hurts my stomach. In January 2011 my total cholesterol was 210, HDL was 101, and LDL 99. This past month my total cholesterol was 170, HDL 89, and LDL 73. When I started I weighed 145 lbs, and I now weigh 130 lbs and wear a size 6. 

 

What success tips do you have to share with others?

  • My typical daily diet is a blended salad for breakfast; a very large mixed salad with beans, nut based dressing, and fruit for lunch; and cooked greens or cruciferous vegetables, and a nutritarian entrée or bean patty for dinner. 

  • Experiment with cooking and eating different vegetables to acquire new tastes and preferences. Increase vegetable intake by putting a bean patty, stew, or casserole over cooked kale or other green vegetable instead of rice or potatoes. 

  • I prefer to use spices and flavors from other parts of the world (India, Thailand, Vietnam) to keep meals interesting. 

  • I try to locate vegan restaurants and/or health food stores in a city ahead of time on the internet if I have to travel for a conference or vacation. I recently went to San Diego for a week long conference, and I brought along a small bullet-type blender in my checked luggage so I could continue making blended salads for breakfast in our hotel room. I went to the grocery store and bought fruits, vegetables, and soy milk as well as a disposable, foam cooler to keep them fresh, and was reasonably successful.

  • Although my husband and I are isolated from other people who follow Dr. Fuhrman’s recommendations, we have found friends who prefer to eat healthy. I maintain my resolution to keep the nutritarian lifestyle by listening to Dr. Fuhrman’s podcasts, follow the discussion threads on the Member Center, and read the blogs on Disease Proof.

     

 

Keep up the great job Carolyn!

Are energy bars, protein shakes and other foods advertised as "health foods" good for us? Answer: More often than not, NO they aren't.

Processed foods are generally not good for us, regardless of how they are advertised. I’ve lived with roommates who firmly believed that they were on wholesome, perfectly nutritious diets all the while subsisting on Power bars, frozen TV dinners from the health food section of our local grocery store and Gatorade. Just because a product is advertised as a health food does not make it one! A trip to the grocery store quickly confirms this simple, yet often forgotten principle. In fact, many of the foods advertised as “energy bars” or nutrient packed “protein powders” are some of the most dangerous foods you could possibly consume. Take for instance PowerBar’s Triple Threat Chocolate Peanut Butter Crisp. Putting aside the fact that the name of this bar doesn’t sound healthy to begin with (albeit it does sound decadently delicious), let us pretend that we fall for the claim that this bar provides “long lasting energy” as marketed on the packaging. Now, let us begin to become enlightened about why this PowerBar can do no such thing and doesn’t even taste decadently delicious for Pete’s sake.  

Energy bar. Flickr: D'Arcy Norman

The first ingredient is corn syrup. Corn syrup, only slightly better than it’s cousin high fructose corn syrup, is the nutritional equivalent of sugar. The next ingredient is soy crisps, a combination of soy protein isolate and rice flour. Mmm, tasty. Soy protein isolate is a highly processed soy product that retains none of the original nutritional value of the natural soybean and raises levels of insulin like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) in the blood, subsequently hastening the growth of our cells and the aging process. The manner in which soy protein isolate is processed and manufactured is freaky too. It involving acid washing it in aluminum tanks. I’m not sure what the purpose of acid washing is, but I do know that a significant aluminum load manages to make its way into the final product. Nitrites and chemical flavoring are also used to add flavor. These chemicals have been linked to the development of certain cancers, allergies and even Alzheimer’s disease. So far we would be damaging our cells with a big helping of processed sugar and cancer causing processed junk. Let’s see what else this “energy” bar has to throw our way. Next we’ve got a chocolatey coating. Oh look, more sugar! Some oil and whey! Mmm. More wholesome goodness for us to chew on. Whey is the liquid remaining after cow’s boob milk has been curdled, so not only is it bad for us, but it’s gross too. Just like soy protein isolate, whey is a processed protein which raises IGF-1. Excess protein is simply not lifespan favorable.

After reading the ingredient list (see actual list below), it becomes obvious that the ingestion of this “energy” bar will provide no more energy than if we simply blended a bunch of sugar, processed proteins, salt and oil. Even though calling it a “drop dead prematurely” bar would probably not be the best marketing strategy, it would be much more accurate. There is a restaurant in Dallas, Texas called Heart Attack Grill, which I’m told is quite successful, so I don’t know. Perhaps a “drop dead prematurely” bar would do quite well in grocery stores. It might peak the interest of children around Halloween.   

Ingredients

CORN SYRUP, SOY CRISPS (SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, RICE FLOUR, ALKALIZED COCOA), CHOCOLATEY COATING (SUGAR, FRACTIONATED PALM KERNEL OIL, COCOA, WHEY, NONFAT MILK, SOY LECITHIN, NATURAL VANILLA FLAVOR), WHOLE OATS, DRY ROASTED PEANUTS, SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, INULIN (FROM CHICORY), NATURAL FLAVORS (CONTAINS PEANUT, MILK, SOY LECITHIN), RICE CRISPS (MILLED RICE, SUGAR, SALT, BARLEY MALT), SALTED PEANUT BUTTER, VEGETABLE GLYCERIN, AND LESS THAN 2% OF PEANUT FLOUR, ALMOND BUTTER, SALT, SOY LECITHIN, MINERALS: CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, POTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, FERROUS FUMARATE (IRON), VITAMINS: ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C), VITAMIN B6 HYDROCHLORIDE, RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), THIAMINE MONONITRATE (VITAMIN B1). CONTAINS ALMOND, MILK, PEANUT AND SOY INGREDIENTS. MADE ON EQUIPMENT THAT ALSO PROCESSES WHEAT.

The moral of this short blog post is that processed foods advertised as health foods are not necessarily healthy. The less you use foods that come in packages, boxes or wrappers, the better. There are a few processed products that make the nutrient density, body lovin’ cut, but we need to do our homework and read the labels if we decide we are in the mood to open a can or unfreeze a TV dinner.   

But it would cost

I got thinking the other day how different my life would’ve been if, as a toddler, beer would’ve been repeatedly put into my sippy cup. . . .and fake food & cigarettes would’ve been a negative stigma to even be around or touch.

And later on, as I got older, beer would’ve been served with my high-nutrient meals, including school lunches.   

Most likely I would’ve grown up not eating pizza, cheeseburgers, spaghetti, fried chicken, beef ‘n noodles, cheese, ice-cream cones, donuts, and chips. In fact, most likely, I would’ve probably thought they were disgusting. . . . just as disgusting to me as the lingering smoke and smell of cigarettes.

However, I’d probably be totally addicted to alcohol and not be able to function without it. Possibly even totally dependant upon the stuff to get me through each day. 

I’d seek friends who also liked to drink. 

I’d seek activities where drinking was encouraged. 

I’d even possibly seek religious and social affiliations where drinking was condoned.

I’d most definitely turn to alcohol to calm my nerves, celebrate victories, cheer sadness, cope with stress, overcome insecurities, escape pain and responsibilities, and soothe a bleeding heart.

However, if, on down the road, I realized the damaging affects of alcohol on my body; including my inability to think clearly, hold down a job, raise a family, and have healthy interpersonal relationships, I may decide to get rid of the stuff. Once and for all.

But it would cost.

It would cost abstinence for rest of my life.

It may possibly require developing new friends and activities. 

And it may even cost finding different religious and social affiliations that would support my decision to remain sober.  

Addiction is addiction. When one is addicted to any health damaging substance, whether it is the standard American diet, sugar, “healthy” sweets, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, heroine, or meth; to live in freedom from the addiction will require a radical commitment to abstinence. Including possibly finding new friends, activities, religious and social affiliations that support the decision to remain free . . . for life!

 

According to Dr. Fuhrman, “The facts are that fast food and junk foods cause a thousand times as many premature deaths compared to cocaine; and it’s condoned.”

 

Are you committed to abstinence?

Think about it.  

 

image:  Emily Boller circa 1964

Excess weight is protective in the elderly? New research says no

Obesity is a known health risk. The number of epidemiological studies that have linked excess weight to cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, other chronic conditions, and increased risk of death is staggering.1,2 In fact, the cutoff points for BMI into overweight and obese were created to reflect increased risk of disease and death due to excess fat.3

Photo of obese man

Then there is the “obesity paradox.” This is the term used to describe the opposite of the usual finding - there are certain groups of people, usually those with severe chronic diseases such as heart failure and kidney disease, in which a higher BMI seems to be associated with a decreased mortality risk.4,5

Elderly persons are another group in which an obesity paradox has been observed in some studies.6 However, this observation is not consistent – other studies have reported an increased risk with higher BMI in adults over age 70 or 75, similar to younger age groups, and others have shown no association at all.7-11 Overall, the relationship between BMI and mortality in the elderly has been unclear.

Several explanations have been proposed to explain the paradox – these are a few examples:

  • BMI is not a true indicator of body fat – older persons tend to have more body fat at the same BMI as younger adults.3 One study found that greater waist circumference in the elderly was associated with increased mortality risk, but greater BMI was associated with decreased risk. In these individuals, greater BMI may reflect greater fat-free mass, rather than greater body fat. Waist circumference and fat-free mass may be more important indicators than BMI for obesity-associated health risks in the elderly.12,13
  • Unintentional weight loss may be involved – many older persons in these studies who are at a low or normal BMI may be there because of disease-related weight loss. Weight loss in elderly has been shown to be associated with negative health outcomes, presumably for this reason.14 So a study of elderly persons that only takes one weight measurement and does not measure weight change over time is inherently flawed.
  • Another issue with the length of studies is that weight gain late in life is probably less dangerous than weight gained earlier in life and then maintained for many years – being obese for 50 years results in more cumulative damage than being obese for 15 years. The earlier you become obese, the greater the risk of death.15,16 Therefore, long-term data (decades, not years) is needed to get an accurate picture of health risks in the elderly due to obesity.

New research has attempted to reconcile the contradictions in previous studies by using long-term data. Although the researchers used BMI rather than waist circumference, they used two weight measurements 17 years apart, and followed subjects for a total of 29 years – importantly, they only included subjects who maintained a similar weight over the first 17 years – this helped to remove any potential effects from late life weight gain or disease-related weight loss.

Men (age 75-99) who maintained a BMI greater than 22.3 had a shorter life expectancy by 3.7 years, and an 88% increased risk of death during the study period compared to men with a lower BMI. Men who maintained a BMI greater than 27.3 had double the risk of death compared to those with a BMI less than 22.3. Women in the same age group who maintained a BMI greater than 27.4 shortened their life expectancy by 2.1 years, and had a 41% increase in risk of death compared to women with a lower BMI.17,18

This new study leads us to conclude: no matter what your age, carrying excess weight for a significant length of time is dangerous – in fact, it can be deadly.

 

References: 

1. Guh DP, Zhang W, Bansback N, et al: The incidence of co-morbidities related to obesity and overweight: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC public health 2009;9:88.
2. McGee DL: Body mass index and mortality: a meta-analysis based on person-level data from twenty-six observational studies. Ann Epidemiol 2005;15:87-97.
3. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: About BMI for Adults. http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/index.html. Accessed
4. Oreopoulos A, Padwal R, Kalantar-Zadeh K, et al: Body mass index and mortality in heart failure: a meta-analysis. Am Heart J 2008;156:13-22.
5. Schmidt D, Salahudeen A: The obesity-survival paradox in hemodialysis patients: why do overweight hemodialysis patients live longer? Nutr Clin Pract 2007;22:11-15.
6. Oreopoulos A, Kalantar-Zadeh K, Sharma AM, et al: The obesity paradox in the elderly: potential mechanisms and clinical implications. Clin Geriatr Med 2009;25:643-659, viii.
7. Calle EE, Thun MJ, Petrelli JM, et al: Body-mass index and mortality in a prospective cohort of U.S. adults. N Engl J Med 1999;341:1097-1105.
8. Janssen I, Mark AE: Elevated body mass index and mortality risk in the elderly. Obes Rev 2007;8:41-59.
9. Grabowski DC, Ellis JE: High body mass index does not predict mortality in older people: analysis of the Longitudinal Study of Aging. J Am Geriatr Soc 2001;49:968-979.
10. Kuk JL, Ardern CI: Influence of age on the association between various measures of obesity and all-cause mortality. J Am Geriatr Soc 2009;57:2077-2084.
11. Stevens J, Cai J, Pamuk ER, et al: The effect of age on the association between body-mass index and mortality. N Engl J Med 1998;338:1-7.
12. Janssen I, Katzmarzyk PT, Ross R: Body mass index is inversely related to mortality in older people after adjustment for waist circumference. J Am Geriatr Soc 2005;53:2112-2118.
13. Zamboni M, Mazzali G, Zoico E, et al: Health consequences of obesity in the elderly: a review of four unresolved questions. Int J Obes (Lond) 2005;29:1011-1029.
14. Woo J, Ho SC, Sham A: Longitudinal changes in body mass index and body composition over 3 years and relationship to health outcomes in Hong Kong Chinese age 70 and older. J Am Geriatr Soc 2001;49:737-746.
15. Adams KF, Schatzkin A, Harris TB, et al: Overweight, obesity, and mortality in a large prospective cohort of persons 50 to 71 years old. N Engl J Med 2006;355:763-778.
16. Sun Q, Townsend MK, Okereke OI, et al: Adiposity and weight change in mid-life in relation to healthy survival after age 70 in women: prospective cohort study. BMJ 2009;339:b3796.
17. Singh PN, Haddad E, Tonstad S, et al: Does excess body fat maintained after the seventh decade decrease life expectancy? J Am Geriatr Soc 2011;59:1003-1011.
18. Contrary to Earlier Findings, Excess Body Fat in Elderly Decreases Life Expectancy. 2011. ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110811151325.htm. Accessed September 29, 2011.

 

Extinguish the pilot light; part 2

gas flame

Recently, in a post titled, “Extinguish the pilot light,” I explained how crucial it is to keep the pilot light of addiction, those seemingly insignificant-at-the-time compromises, extinguished at all times. 

I want to devote this post to clarifying the difference between an occasional slip-up and ongoing compromises. 

Slip-ups happen from time to time - they just do – it’s a part of transitioning into a whole new way of eating and living for the rest of one’s life. There’s a learning curve, especially in the beginning, to understanding the science behind Dr. Fuhrman’s recommendations. 

For instance, I committed to Eat to Live in July 2008, and by that first Thanksgiving I thought it would be perfectly fine to eat the traditional feast. It never occurred to me that I’d get violently sick so I enjoyed the feasting and merriment with gusto. I quickly learned just how TERRIBLY toxic the standard American diet was ~ even though I knew from my studying that it was poisonous to the body.

And I've had plenty of slip-ups since then. I wish I could say that I've been perfect at all times, but I haven't.

Even with eating only high-nutrient foods and having cravings for fake food gone as a result, I've eaten beyond "before full." I've eaten as a result of being frustrated. I've eaten for stimulation because I was tired. And I've eaten for recreation with others when I wasn't a bit hungry. However, and a big however, each time I quickly realized my error and moved on quickly; contending with all strength to keep going!

I want to make clear that the pilot light that I'm referring to is the intentional decision to choose compromises, aka “cheats”, on a regular basis. These habitual choices, even if they are seemingly insignificant at the time, are the pilot light.

 

The willful decision to see how much one can cheat and get by; how much one can straddle the fence, or how much one can habitually overeat . . . . and still keep the addiction eradicated . . . . that’s what I'm referring to as being the next-to-impossible feat to accomplish.

 

It can't be done!

 

I repeat ~ it can't be done.

 

With repetitive compromises, the addictive cravings are rumbling beneath the surface, and it just takes a tiny spark to ignite them to full strength and power!

For one to be truly free, the pilot light needs to be extinguished and remain that way . . . .for life.

AND to live in denial of food addiction's power is to remain its prisoner, or worse yet, the path right back to captivity.

Choose the easy way and keep the pilot light extinguished at all times.  

Continual freedom and excellent health to all!

 

celebration

 

Image credits: gas flame: flickr by stevendepolo; celebration: by Elijah Lynn

GOMBBS: Greens, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries, Beans, and Seeds

GOMBBS” is an acronym you can use to remember the most nutrient-dense, health-promoting foods on the planet.   These are the foods you should eat every day, and they should make up a significant proportion of your diet – these foods are extremely effective at preventing chronic disease and promoting health and longevity.

G – Greens

Greens Flickr: thebittenword.com

Raw leafy greens contain only about 100 calories per pound, and are packed with nutrients. Leafy greens contain substances that protect blood vessels, and are associated with reduced risk of diabetes.Greens are an excellent tool for weight loss, since they can be consumed in virtually unlimited quantities. Leafy greens are also the most nutrient-dense of all foods, but unfortunately are only consumed in miniscule amounts in a typical American diet. We should follow the example of our closest living relatives – chimpanzees and gorillas – who consume tens of pounds of green leaves every day. The majority of calories in green vegetables, including leafy greens, come from protein, and this plant protein is packaged with beneficial phytochemicals: Green vegetables are rich in folate (the natural form of folic acid), calcium, and contain small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.  Leafy greens are also rich in antioxidant pigments called carotenoids, specifically lutein and zeaxanthin, which are the carotenoids known to promote healthy vision.2 Also, several leafy greens and other green vegetables (such as bok choy, broccoli, and kale) belong to the cruciferous family of vegetables.

All vegetables contain protective micronutrients and phytochemicals, but cruciferous vegetables have a unique chemical composition; they contain glucosinolates, and when their cell walls are broken by blending, chopping, or chewing, a chemical reaction converts glucosinolates to isothiocyanates (ITCs) - compounds with a variety of potent anti-cancer effects. Because different ITCs can work in different locations in the cell and on different molecules, they can have combined additive effects, working synergistically to remove carcinogens, reduce inflammation, neutralize oxidative stress, inhibit angiogenesis (the process by which tumors acquire a blood supply), and kill cancer cells.3

O – Onions

Onions, along with leeks, garlic, shallots, and scallions, make up the Allium family of vegetables, which have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular and immune systems, as well as anti-diabetic and anti-cancer effects. Allium vegetables are known for their characteristic organosulfur compounds, Similar to the ITCs in cruciferous vegetables, organosulfur compounds are released when onions are chopped, crushed, or chewed. Epidemiological studies have found that increased consumption of Allium vegetables is associated with lower risk of gastric and prostate cancers.    These compounds prevent the development of cancers by detoxifying carcinogens, halting cancer cell growth, and blocking angiogenesis.4 Onions also contain high concentrations of health-promoting flavonoid antioxidants, predominantly quercetin, and red onions also contain at least 25 different anthocyanins.5,6 Quercetin slows tumor development, suppresses growth and proliferation and induces cell death in colon cancer cells.7 Flavonoids also have anti-inflammatory effects that may contribute to cancer prevention.8

 

M - Mushrooms

 

Mushroom. Flickr: Steve Hopson

Consuming mushrooms regularly is associated with decreased risk of breast, stomach, and colorectal cancers.  In one recent Chinese study, women who ate at least 10 grams of fresh mushrooms each day (about one mushroom per day) had a 64% decreased risk of breast cancer. Even more dramatic protection was gained by women who ate 10 grams of mushrooms and drank green tea daily - an 89% decrease in risk for premenopausal women, and 82% for postmenopausal women.9,10 White, cremini, portobello, oyster, shiitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms all have anti-cancer properties - some are anti-inflammatory, stimulate the immune system, prevent DNA damage, slow cancer cell growth, cause programmed cancer cell death, or inhibit angiogenesis.In addition to these properties, mushrooms are unique in that they contain aromatase inhibitors - compounds that can block the production of estrogen. These compounds are thought to be largely responsible for the preventive effects of mushrooms against breast cancer - in fact, there are aromatase-inhibiting drugs on the market that are used to treat breast cancer. Regular consumption of dietary aromatase inhibitors is an excellent strategy for prevention, and it turns out that even the most commonly eaten mushrooms (white, cremini, and portobello) have high anti-aromatase activity.11

B – Berries

Blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries are true super foods. Naturally sweet and juicy, berries are low in sugar and high in nutrients - they are among the best foods you can eat. Their vibrant colors mean that they are full of antioxidants, including flavonoids and antioxidant vitamins - berries are some of the highest antioxidant foods in existence. Berries’ plentiful antioxidant content confers both cardioprotective and anti-cancer effects, such as reducing blood pressure, reducing inflammation, preventing DNA damage, inhibiting tumor angiogenesis, and stimulating of the body’s own antioxidant enzymes.  Berry consumption has been linked to reduced risk of diabetes, cancers and cognitive decline.12 Berries are an excellent food for the brain – berry consumption improves both motor coordination and memory.13

B - Beans

Beans (and other legumes as well) are a powerhouse of superior nutrition, and the most nutrient-dense carbohydrate source. They act as an anti-diabetes and weight-loss food because they are digested slowly, having a stabilizing effect on blood sugar, which promotes satiety and helps to prevent food cravings. Plus they contain soluble fiber, which lowers cholesterol levels.14 Beans are unique foods because of their very high levels of fiber and resistant starch, carbohydrates that are not broken down by digestive enzymes.  Fiber and resistant starch not only reduce the total number of calories absorbed from beans, but are also fermented by intestinal bacteria into fatty acids that help to prevent colon cancer. Eating beans, peas, or lentils at least twice a week has been found to decrease colon cancer risk by 50%. 15,16 Legume intake also provides significant protection against oral, larynx, pharynx, stomach, and kidney cancers.17

S - Seeds

Seeds. Flickr: Tobias Klupfel

Nuts and seeds contain healthy fats and are rich in a spectrum of micronutrients including phytosterols, minerals, and antioxidants. Countless studies have demonstrated the cardiovascular benefits of nuts, and including nuts in the diet aids in weight maintenance and diabetes prevention.18,19 The nutritional profiles of seeds are similar to nuts when it comes to healthy fats, minerals, and antioxidants, but seeds are also abundant in trace minerals, higher in protein than nuts, and each kind of seed is nutritionally unique. Flax, chia, and hemp seeds are extremely rich sources of omega-3 fats. In addition to the omega-3s, flaxseeds are rich in fiber and lignans. Flaxseed consumption protects against heart disease by a number of different mechanisms, and lignans, which are present in both flaxseeds and sesame seeds, have anti-cancer effects.20 Sunflower seeds are especially rich in protein and minerals.  Pumpkin seeds are rich in iron and calcium and are a good source of zinc. Sesame seeds have the greatest amount of calcium of any food in the world, and provide abundant amounts of vitamin E. Also, black sesame seeds are extremely rich in antioxidants.21 The healthy fats in seeds and nuts also aid in the absorption of nutrients when eaten with vegetables.

 

References:


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