Fighting breast cancer with flaxseeds

What are lignans?

Plant lignans are one of the four classes of phytoestrogens (isoflavones, lignans, stilbenes, coumestans), phenolic compounds that are structurally similar to the main mammalian estrogen, estradiol.1 Plant lignans are modified by bacteria in the human digestive tract into enteroligans. It is important to recognize the role of healthy bacteria in this process, because antibiotics can destroy beneficial bacteria in the gut resulting in long-term reduction in enteroligans.2 Eating commercial meats exposes us to antibiotics, as does the overuse and inappropriate prescribing by physicians.

Which foods are good sources of plant lignans?

Flaxseeds www.healthaliciousness.com

Flaxseeds are the richest source of plant lignans, having about 8 times the lignan content of sesame seeds [note that flaxseed oil does not contain lignans – they bind to the fiber]. The other plant foods on the list have about one-tenth or less the amount of lignans as sesame seeds per serving.2,3 Chia seeds are also a rich source of lignans, however the exact amount is still debatable, so that number will be made available at a later date.

• Flaxseeds (85.5 mg/ounce)
Sesame seeds (11.2 mg/ounce)4
• Kale (curly; 1.6 mg/cup)
• Broccoli (1.2 mg/cup)

Anti-cancer effects of lignans

Enterolignans are structurally similar to estrogen and can bind to estrogen receptors – this capability allows lignans to either have weak estrogenic activity or block the actions of estrogen in the body. For this reason, plant lignans are classified as phytoestrogens, and there has been much interest in the potential contribution of lignan-rich foods to reduced risk of hormone-related cancers.2,5 Enterolignans inhibits aromatase6 and estradiol production in general, lowering serum estrogen levels.7 Plant lignans also increase concentration of sex hormone binding globulin, which blunts the effects of estrogens.8-10 These benefits were documented when 48 postmenopausal women consumed 7.5 g/day of ground flax seeds for 6 weeks, then 15 g for 6 weeks – and significant decreases in estradiol, estrone, and testosterone were noted with a bigger decrease in overweight and obese women.11

In a mouse model, a flaxseed diet (5%, 10%) shows dose-dependent inhibition of breast tumor growth.12 Human trials also confirmed similar beneficial effects. A double-blinded, randomized controlled trial of dietary flaxseed demonstrated dramatic protection. Women ate either a control muffin with no flax seeds imbedded or 25g flax-containing muffin starting at time of diagnosis of breast cancer for just 32-39 days until surgery. Tumor tissue analyzed at diagnosis and surgery demonstrated surprising benefits even in this short timeframe. There was a significant apoptosis (tumor cell death) and reduced cell proliferation in the flaxseed group in just the one month.13 Likewise women eating more flaxseeds with a documented higher serum enterolactone were found to have a 42% reduced risk of death from postmenopausal breast cancer and a dramatic (40 percent) reduction in all causes of death.14,15 Flaxseeds are clearly super foods; even with a mediocre diet they offer powerful protection against certain types of breast cancer. Another interesting study on flax followed women for up to 10 years and found a 51% reduced risk of all-cause mortality and a 71% reduced risk of breast cancer mortality. The intake of dried beans was also associated with a 39% reduced risk of all-cause mortality.16 Endometrial and ovarian cancer have not been as extensively studied, but the few studies that have been conducted suggest a protective effect.2,17

Bottom line; don’t forget to take your ground flax seeds (or chia seeds) every day. I sometimes forget too, but reviewing the science encourages me to remember. When used in conjunction with dietary exposure to greens, onions, mushrooms and beans, dramatic reductions in the risk of breast cancer are possible.

 

My newest book, Super Immunity, addresses my full nutritional program to win the war against breast cancer.

 

 

References:
1. Mense SM, Hei TK, Ganju RK, et al: Phytoestrogens and breast cancer prevention: possible mechanisms of action. Environ Health Perspect 2008;116:426-433.
2. Higdon J: Lignans. In An Evidence-Based Approach to Dietary Phytochemicals. New York: Thieme; 2006: 155-161
3. Milder IE, Arts IC, van de Putte B, et al: Lignan contents of Dutch plant foods: a database including lariciresinol, pinoresinol, secoisolariciresinol and matairesinol. Br J Nutr 2005;93:393-402.
4. Coulman KD, Liu Z, Hum WQ, et al: Whole sesame seed is as rich a source of mammalian lignan precursors as whole flaxseed. Nutr Cancer 2005;52:156-165.
5. Adlercreutz H: Lignans and human health. Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci 2007;44:483-525.
6. Adlercreutz H, Bannwart C, Wahala K, et al: Inhibition of human aromatase by mammalian lignans and isoflavonoid phytoestrogens. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol 1993;44:147-153.
7. Brooks JD, Thompson LU: Mammalian lignans and genistein decrease the activities of aromatase and 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase in MCF-7 cells. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol 2005;94:461-467.
8. Adlercreutz H, Mousavi Y, Clark J, et al: Dietary phytoestrogens and cancer: in vitro and in vivo studies. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol 1992;41:331-337.
9. Adlercreutz H, Hockerstedt K, Bannwart C, et al: Effect of dietary components, including lignans and phytoestrogens, on enterohepatic circulation and liver metabolism of estrogens and on sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). J Steroid Biochem 1987;27:1135-1144.
10. Low YL, Dunning AM, Dowsett M, et al: Phytoestrogen exposure is associated with circulating sex hormone levels in postmenopausal women and interact with ESR1 and NR1I2 gene variants. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2007;16:1009-1016.
11. Sturgeon SR, Heersink JL, Volpe SL, et al: Effect of dietary flaxseed on serum levels of estrogens and androgens in postmenopausal women. Nutr Cancer 2008;60:612-618.
12. Chen J, Power KA, Mann J, et al: Flaxseed alone or in combination with tamoxifen inhibits MCF-7 breast tumor growth in ovariectomized athymic mice with high circulating levels of estrogen. Exp Biol Med (Maywood) 2007;232:1071-1080.
13. Thompson LU, Chen JM, Li T, et al: Dietary flaxseed alters tumor biological markers in postmenopausal breast cancer. Clin Cancer Res 2005;11:3828-3835.
14. Buck K, Vrieling A, Zaineddin AK, et al: Serum enterolactone and prognosis of postmenopausal breast cancer. J Clin Oncol 2011;29:3730-3738.
15. Buck K, Zaineddin AK, Vrieling A, et al: Estimated enterolignans, lignan-rich foods, and fibre in relation to survival after postmenopausal breast cancer. Br J Cancer 2011;105:1151-1157.
16. McCann SE, Thompson LU, Nie J, et al: Dietary lignan intakes in relation to survival among women with breast cancer: the Western New York Exposures and Breast Cancer (WEB) Study. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2010;122:229-235.
17. Bandera EV, King M, Chandran U, et al: Phytoestrogen consumption from foods and supplements and epithelial ovarian cancer risk: a population-based case control study. BMC Womens Health 2011;11:40.

 

 

Slaying the Sugary Beast in 2011

Since sweets abound everywhere during the holidays, the following is being republished from last year as many were helped greatly by it. It’s much easier to resist confectionary temptations when one reads this post.  

 

There you are, having waded into the Holiday Eating Scene and finding yourself knee deep in Temptation City. Platters of chocolate chip cookies, lovingly-baked and fresh from the oven, coyly call to you. Servings of sherbet shimmer seductively. The creamy pie looks especially good tonight. How do you fortify yourself against these pitfalls? 

Now, I wish that I could say that if you eat a clove of raw garlic in the morning and wear a rutabaga around your neck all day, you will never be tempted by sugary desserts. (Come to think of it, if you eat garlic in the morning and wear a rutabaga around your neck, you probably won’t be getting many party invitations, anyway, so it might not be such a bad strategy after all!)

But, seriously, I have been cursed with one of the most voracious sweet tooths (is the plural of “sweet tooth” really “sweet teeth?”) in history. Until my nutritional understanding grew to a point when most sugary treats just no longer seem as appetizing to me, any dark chocolate bar or vegan cookie within arm’s reach of me was in mortal danger. Yet, they are safe in my presence now. What has armed me with such fortitude? Why don’t I eat the cookies and the devil’s food cake this year? Because I know what they are!

 

To arm oneself with this sword of knowledge, a little sweet chemistry understanding is called for. Sugars do taste good, and there is no problem in enjoying the naturally occurring fructose in whole, fresh fruits. The problem is in eating sugar as a food! When you are holding a cookie in your hand, a piece of cake, a candy bar, you are holding a chunk of sugar in your hand. You would not consider going over to the sugar bowl and shoveling tablespoons of the white stuff into your mouth, but here you are, actually considering eating this large chunk of sugar as a food.

If you do eat it, within minutes, your bloodstream is flooded with sugar. Soon, the structural proteins in all your tissues – the elastic fibers of your skin, the hemoglobin in your blood, the filter membranes in your kidneys, the inner lining of your blood vessels, the lenses of your eyes – all get “sticky” with sugar (the chemists say they become “glycosylated.”) In the 98.6 F metabolic “oven” of our body, the sugars and proteins melt together and oxidize, like the browning of bread crust (called the “Maillard reaction.”) These oxidized, damaged, and congealed proteins, officially called “Advanced Glycation End Products” do not function normally – the gummed-up, oxidized protein fibers break, skin cracks in the sunlight, eyes become less permeable to light, muscle proteins do not contract as vigorously, brain function dwindles – sound familiar? The aging process perhaps? EATING SUGAR AGES US!  (Remember, the acronym for "Advanced Glycation End Products" is AGE's!)

So, as my eyes fall upon the plate of cookies or candy, I actually flash the image in my mind of myself eating it, and simultaneously think, “This is a chunk of sugar in my hand. This stuff ages me. It makes my skin crack, my arteries stiff, and it leads me towards frailty and Alzheimer’s disease. Do I really want to eat it? Is it really worth it?”

 

I also know, after having indulged far too many times in the same, sugary seduction, that I am always physically sorry after I eat it. That is, it is guaranteed that within 15 minutes of eating the cake or candy, I will have that sickly, light-headed, slightly nauseated “I can’t believe I just ate all that sugar” feeling coursing through my body.

Nope. Not this time.

“Been there. Done that. Got the tissue aging. Don’t need to do that no more…”

It is said, “The truth shall set you free” - and the truth is, whether mixed with fat, as in ice cream, or baked into pies, candies and cakes, or dissolved in soft drinks, refined sugars are sweet poison. Like the poisoned apple in Sleeping Beauty, sugary treats taste good upon the tongue, but silently and relentlessly, they damage us.

Fortunately, if you look around, there is usually a safer, more wholesome way to appease your sweet tooth. There is most always fruit available at festive gatherings - but to make sure, bring some grapes or melon chunks in a discrete plastic container to munch on instead of the sugary seducers. (Of course, eating a hearty, ETL-style meal at home before you go out to party will make you less likely to nibble on handy but unhealthy treats while you are there.)

It also helps to remember that temptation is usually place-specific; that is, while the visual cue is right in front of you. I know that if I move away from the site of temptation and actively do something else for 5 minutes, my mind lets the sugary treat go to focus on the current conversation or task in front of me. I know that if I keep walking past the bakery or the sweets table at the party, the sights, smells and temptations will fade away in a few minutes. So, at the festivities, move to a different part of the room, have some of the food or trail mix you brought with you, strike up a conversation with an interesting person, and let your mind move on to something less detrimental to your health.

An especially powerful strategy that worked for me recently was to understand the power of commitment and abstinence. (I know what you are thinking, “Uh-oh, here comes the dreary part.” But read on; this turns out to be a joyful, empowering strategy.)

It began at the end of a talk given by Rory Freedman, author of Skinny Bitch. She said, “If you can do without a seductive food for a month, you will seriously reduce, or eliminate altogether, your desire for that substance. So, turn to the person next to you, lock pinky fingers with him or her, and both of you vow to help the other overcome their next food stumbling block over the next month.” The person to my left was Ann Wheat, co-owner of the Millennium restaurant in San Francisco, and without hesitation, we both locked pinkies and said, “Let’s both stop eating sugar!”

From that point on, we were “pinky buddies” - and whenever I would be tempted by a chocolate treat or piece of vegan devil’s food cake, I would think of Ann’s smiling face and earnest effort and say, “No, I’m going to stay strong because I know I will be talking to Ann soon, and I don’t want to let her – or me – down."

So, the month went by with this simple commitment steeling me through each moment of temptation. As the weeks sped by, my viewing of chocolate – and my desire for it – significantly changed. I saw it for the fatty chunk of congealed sugar that it is, and I lost my desire to eat it. Tastes certainly do change! So, another way to make your “sword” even more powerful is to make it through a month without eating your “problem” food, and see if you don’t feel less driven to eat it after that time.

Finally, if you do find yourself absolutely unable to resist tasting a given treat, and you do have a bite or a whole cookie, don’t panic, don’t regard yourself as a failure – and above all, don’t say, “Well, I’ve blown it now, so I might as well eat every bad thing in sight.” Rather, make it a reinforcing learning experience. Yes, you put it in your mouth and are eating it. So, taste it for what it is – congealed sugar on your tongue. Then say, “Yep, that tastes like the chunk of sugar I knew it was and I don’t want to eat any more of it.” It is OK not to finish the piece of cake or eat the entire gooey chocolate caramel. No penalty for that confirmatory bite – just fully taste it, decide you got the taste sensation you came for, and that you don’t need to eat any more of it. Put it down, find a healthier ETL alternative, and rejoice in your inner fortitude.

 

As you demonstrate this power to yourself over and over, you will find yourself to be like the mighty lion or lioness, who, as they stride through the forest, are not distracted by the frogs of temptation that croak at them from under the leaves.

Happy, healthy holidays!

 

 

Dr. Klaper assists in answering questions on the Ask the Doctor forum of DrFuhrman.com, and is currently on the staff at the nutritionally-based True North Health Clinic in Santa Rosa, California. 

 

 

 

image credits:  flickr; chocolates by Hammer51012, teaspoon of sugar by ayelie

Today is the Kick-off! Succeed by Being Supported

Dr. Fuhrman's Holiday Challenge has now begun and what an opportunity this is for you to be able to take action and regain your health! You have made the decision to take on the challenge, which is the first step, but now you need to take action. You'll need to stay firm and dedicated the entire six weeks; not just here at the start. Eating high-nutrient foods will provide motivation, because you’ll feel great and see the positive physical results quickly, but there is more that you can do to increase your success. 

 

The following are a few strategies, some of which you may have already heard of or used in the past, and they will increase your likelihood of successful completion of the challenge:

 

1.  Tell everyone you know what you are doing for your health and how excited you are about it. By telling close friends, family members, neighbors, and coworkers, you are going to make this more “real” and not just a secret struggle that you “hope to get through”. The worst position to be in is all alone; just you and your addictions and bad habits. You’ll see that others will ask you about how you are doing with the challenge, and many will want to support you and cheer you on. You don’t want to let yourself down, of course, but by involving more people that are also expecting you to follow through, you won’t want to let them down either.

 

2.  Ask friends, family members and coworkers that also have a need to turn their health around to do the challenge with you. Share recipes and ideas. Eat and exercise together, if you can. It’s more fun and motivating this way and is one of the best strategies for success.

 

3.  Interact with others who have succeeded already and have “been there” so they can motivate you and give you more tips for success. A great way to do this is by participating in the online forums at DrFuhrman.com. [Dr. Fuhrman is offering a free, six week membership over the holidays. See link below.] There isn’t a better place where there’s such a concentrated group of like-minded nutritarians than on the member center; and the more you get involved there, the more success you’ll have. Some will even post their daily thoughts as they are transitioning to a healthy lifestyle, and they’ll get daily responses from experienced nutritarians who care.

 

4.  Educate yourself daily about the science of nutrition. Make efforts to understand why eating a high micronutrient, plant-based diet is the healthiest for you, and why it is the most sustainable way to lose weight and keep it off. Read Dr Fuhrman’s newsletters and books, and actually look up the research articles that are referenced in these materials and on DiseaseProof.com and DrFuhrman.com. Knowing why you are making these changes in your life is an important component for long term success.

 

5.  Track your success each day (perhaps with a chart on your refrigerator) and give yourself non-food related rewards for reaching your dietary goals weekly or even daily, if needed.

I wish all of you the best success in reaching your health goals. I’ll see you on the other side!

 

 

To view the official rules and promise, click here.

 

Dr. Benson sees the majority of patients at Dr. Fuhrman’s office in Flemington, and is well versed in modern high-tech medicine and the nutritional and natural methods utilized by Dr. Fuhrman. He also works side-by-side with Dr. Fuhrman on nutritional research, gives lectures, and answers questions on Dr. Fuhrman’s Ask the Doctor forums.

 

 

image credits:  flickr, table setting by Allan Henderson; four women by TheArches

Operation Turkey Undercover: The Frightening Truth About That Thanksgiving Day Bird

Thanksgiving is almost here and I am so pumped. I absolutely love this holiday.  I love seeing my family after being away from home for so long, I love the mouth-watering home cooked food, and contrary to many of my black Friday wary peers, I get a complete adrenaline rush from trying to find the best deals amid hordes of sale crazy shoppers.

Yet, there is something about this holiday that I don’t look forward to: stuffing my face with turkey. In fact, I refrain from eating the stuff all together.  While I am a prideful, animal loving vegan, health reasons alone are enough to eschew this Thanksgiving Day bird of choice. I know Thanksgiving is only one day each year and if you want to eat Turkey on Thanksgiving, it’s not the worst nutrition crime you could commit.  Yet at the same time, I just can’t sit back and let these facts go unshared.  Here’s an inside peek at the turkey knowledge circulating in my nutritional researched-stuffed brain when I glance at the bird on the table:

1)   46 million turkeys are raised every year just for this holiday alone. These turkeys are big mutant cousins of the turkeys that the pilgrims ate. The turkeys on our tables are fed incredibly high-calorie diets so that they grow much larger than any wild turkey would, and at an unnaturally fast rate.  Today’s farm raised birds become so top heavy that their legs can barely hold them. Their beaks and toes are cut so that they don’t scratch each other. Modern factory-farmed turkeys cannot even breed naturally due to all of their malformations. All turkeys we buy in the supermarket rely on artificial insemination to reproduce.

Turkeys. Flickr: cyanocorax

2)   Turkeys carry creepy pathogens. There’s this bug called campylobacter. It’s the leading cause of food-borne illness in the United States. Campylobacter is a dangerous little critter, estimated to infect more than 2.4 million Americans each year. Turns out a whopping 90 percent of turkeys produced in America are contaminated with our friend Mr. Campylobacter.  This is a consequence of birds being housed in super crowded cages with less than three square feet of space to move and being regularly dosed with antibiotics.  Speaking of antibiotics…

3)   Antibiotics: Turkeys produced on factory farms are fed a disturbingly large quantity of antibiotics as a routine preventive measure to ward off illnesses between them and to accelerate growth.  When you eat turkey, those antibiotics don’t suddenly disappear like Harry Houdini. They are transferred directly to you.  This is scary because when you ingest unnecessary antibiotics by eating Mr. Gobble-Gobble, your own healthy intestinal bacteria get wiped out, making you less able to fight off diseases. Oh, and the bacteria that the drugs are designed to kill eventually morph into stronger, more powerful versions of themselves.  Scarily, these bugs can transform into superbugs in which we, nor the turkeys, can form a natural resistance.

4)   Turkeys are full of synthetic hormones: the turkeys sold in supermarkets are routinely pumped full of artificial hormones to promote muscle growth, and those hormones are passed directly to you if you eat it.  That might sound good to all the bodybuilders I know are reading this article, but actually our bodies work hard to keep a natural balance of hormones in our circulation and eating animal products treated with hormones equals trouble for this healthy balance.  Excess hormones increase your risk of cancer.

5)   More toxins in turkey: eat turkey and you will be getting a nice helping of dioxin too.  What’s dioxin you say? Dioxin happens to be one of the most toxic chemicals known to science and is recognized as a cancer-causing demon among the scientific community.  It is estimated that 93 percent of our exposure to dioxin comes through eating animal products. 

It’s hard to believe that a seemingly “harmless” bird could contain all this junk, right? I find it hard to believe myself.  If you want to eat a bit of turkey on Thanksgiving I won’t shake my head (this is assuming I actually saw you eating turkey), but I will encourage you to load up on all of the other delicious Thanksgiving meal alternatives instead.  Savory sweet potato pie, roasted vegetables, a hearty vegetable stew, cranberry relish, and berry cobbler are dishes that I look forward to. I could go on with all of the amazing, healthy foods that will be at my Thanksgiving Day table….So even though eating turkey might not be the best idea considering the pathogens, dioxin and all that jazz, I’m still a big foodie and am looking forward to some good holiday eatin’ and my adrenaline rush inducer of choice (aka black Friday shopping).

Having a delightful and delicious time with my family and friends need not include a turkey.  Thanksgiving is a time to show thanks, after all, and avoiding turkey and other unhealthy foods every day allows me to be thankful for my good health now and for years to come.

 

 

References:

1)   Division of Foodborne, Bacterial, and Mycotic Diseases, “Campylobacter,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.ced.gov/nczved/dfbmd/disease_listing/campylobacter?gi.html#2

2)   ActionPA, “Dioxin Homepage,” managed by ActionPA.org, http://www.ejnet.org/dioxin

3)   John Robbins, The Food Revolution (Berkeley, CA: Conari Press, 2001), 128.

4)   www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4037499

Every Day Counts; Let's All Get Healthy in 2012

 

The holiday season can be a joyous time when we celebrate with our family and friends.  However, with unhealthy foods everywhere, I take bad nutrition seriously because people die from it.  I am sick of seeing people injured and dead, especially when they learned about the power of superior nutrition and did not take advantage of it. Food addiction is powerful for sure, but think about if that junk food (white flour, white rice and white sugar are dangerous junk) is worth a cancer diagnosis or open heart surgery. When junk food is eaten, including the traditional, disease-promoting foods served at the holidays, you may get momentary pleasure as it passes the lips, but the results continue on to compromise your health now, and many years in the future.  For some reason people do not realize that they aren’t granted a new body after they harm the one they have. We pay a price, usually later in life for our dietary indiscretions. As we get older, the more years one remains overweight and the more times you indulge in cancer-causing foods, the more difficult it becomes to assure protection against a tragic life-threatening cancer when you finally do decide to eat healthfully. Now is the time to throw your cigarettes away, not next year. Now is the time to get off your soft drinks and sugar addiction, not after the holidays.

Since everyone can use great recipes (and I supply many of them) to make delicious desserts and main dishes, I do not see the reason to eat white flour and sugar-filled garbage that creates cancer. Just because the world has gone crazy, and has become addicted to dangerous refined foods and factory farmed junk-food chicken and meats (factory-farmed meats are junk-food too) doesn’t mean you should join the self-destructive insanity.  

 

Remember how eating unhealthful and overeating while celebrating the holidays left you feeling ill and regretful in the past?  (And it wasn’t likely that pleasurable either.)  I doubt pigging out on junk is that pleasurable compared to cocaine or heroin. Not that I would know that, but I do know that food addiction kills a thousand times more people each year than cocaine addiction. Plus, not having good health magnifies every emotional problem plaguing your life and is a contributory cause of depression. Now is the time to change things. Make the effort, set the example and do not let the holidays derail your commitment. Giving up addictive and harmful habits are tough, but you have to be tough on yourself to succeed. Accept no excuses. It will be well worth it. Do it now. Make the commitment.    

 

Don’t know where to start? Try these simple guidelines taken from my book Eat to Live:

  • Eat at least one large salad each day.
  • Enjoy generous amounts of cooked green vegetables with mushrooms and onions.
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth with at least three fresh fruits each day.
  • Eat at least one-half cup of beans each day. 
  • Remember the acronym GOMBBS. Greens, onions, mushrooms, beans, berries, and seeds. These are the most health-promoting foods.
  • Avoid completely these disease-promoting foods: white flour, sugars, artificial sweeteners, oils, and factory farmed animal products. Unhealthy food is designed to be addictive – keep it out of your home.
  • Retrain your taste buds to prefer healthy foods. Staying away from sugar and salt is the secret to a heightened sense of taste and enjoyment of natural flavors.  

 

Here are some tips for staying on track:

  • Always keep your kitchen stocked with fresh and frozen produce.
  • Budget time: plan out when you will shop for groceries, cook, exercise, relax, and spend time with friends and family.
  • Plan your meals ahead of time and make a detailed grocery list before you go shopping.
  • Cook vegetable bean soups in large batches, and store leftovers in the refrigerator so you can quickly heat some up for lunch or dinner later in the week.
  • Stay focused on your health – eating right is self-care. Do not allow the unhealthy influences around you to derail you from your health goals.
  • My new 90 percent rule (I just made it up today) does not mean that you can eat 10 percent of anything. It means the 10 percent of animal products or flour products or sweet desserts can still be made from whole grains, natural fruit and dried fruit sweeteners, and more naturally raised and cleaner animal products.   In other words, I see no reason for people to continue to consume the worst foods on the planet. Junk food kills and just perpetuates food addictions.

 

Fast forward to next holiday season: you will make the best choices; the ones that will allow you to achieve overall health and quality of life. You'll be celebrating your health instead of simply indulging in the “traditional” destructive foods. As you eat for optimal health and vitality, you’ll be able to more fully enjoy the special times with family and friends. You will flourish and it will be the most enjoyable holiday season you've ever had. There will be no need to “start over” next January 1st. You will already be committed to your health, and feel pleased with yourself for maintaining your healthy habits over the holidays.  So are you going to take my holiday challenge? 

The official kick-off begins on Monday, November 21st.  Click here to read the official rules and to make my Holiday Challenge Promise. 

 

 

 

image credits:  flickr by terren in Virginia and EraPhernalia Vintage

Holiday Challenge? I could NEVER do that!

 

Remember the wonderful reasons why we are eating high-nutrient foods?  click here

 

The Holiday Challenge rules and promise will be posted this coming Tuesday, and the official kick-off will be on Monday, November 21st.  Let's all enjoy the best holiday season yet!

 

Let us know the reason(s) why you will be jumping on board the Holiday Challenge this year.

 

 

image credit:  Esther Boller

The Holidays

With the holidays just around the corner, I thought it would be advantageous to remember “why” we are launching the Holiday Challenge again this year. For many, the six weeks between mid-November and January 1st is a time set aside for indulging in rich and decadent, disease-promoting foods; and somehow there’s a false belief that the damage can mopped up in the new year. That mindset is a lie, because after the holidays there are Super Bowl parties, Valentine chocolates, birthday parties, anniversaries, Easter candies, Mother’s Day celebrations, graduation open houses, Father’s Day cookouts, weddings, more birthday parties, July 4th picnics, summer festivals and county fairs, Halloween treats, and then back to the holidays all over again. So together, let’s continue to establish new traditions that will not only cause us to feel alive and well over holidays, but throughout the entire year as well!

         holiday picture

I always dreaded the holidays to some degree, because that’s when I ate my worst. Not that I ate well the rest of the year by any means; the holidays just fueled my food addiction one hundred fold, all at once.

And, to top it off, it was expected by everyone to partake in the rich indulgences of the season. After all, “Everyone’s doing it.”

Well, that was the excuse, at least ~ a license to indulge ~ because the messes could be mopped up in the new year. It was a lie of course, but I believed it nonetheless.

Don't get me wrong, I loved the twinkle lights, the music, the festivities, the Nutcracker, the warm fuzzies of extra family togetherness; most everything about the season  . . . . . . except for feeling miserable from the food addiction hangovers. 

That always fogged my lenses with a dark cloud.

Not only did I have to deal with feeling lousy (understatement), I had to figure out what to wear as absolutely nothing fit from year to year.

How do I face seeing in-laws who hadn't seen me since an additional thirty pounds was packed on? What do I wear to my husband's employer's holiday party? (Thankfully, he eventually became self-employed, and those parties were crossed off my list of anxieties.) The women had buff arms and tummies to show off their *stuff* in those cute cocktail dresses. Me? The same baggie, black sequin jacket layered over a long black skirt.

To this day I will not be caught in anything with sequins. However, when I was obese they did hide my rolls of fat and large arms. For that, sequins do serve a wonderful purpose; plus, they do give off a shimmery holiday glow to cover-up the mounting depression within.

Oh, and the never ending supply of iced cut-out cookies. I always made triple the amount of dough and put some of it in the freezer; nothing like eating partially frozen cookie dough when no one was looking.

I would line the long dining table with waxed paper, and the kids would ice their cookies. Of course, much of the icing dribbled onto the waxed paper so I'd make sure to "clean it up" with my index finger. After we had dozens of iced and sugar sprinkled trees, bells, stars, circles, and hearts; they'd be layered between waxed paper in large, plastic containers to be enjoyed later (that night).

Throughout the season we always had boxes of those "surprise" chocolates. You know, the kind that are filled with maple or vanilla cream, raspberry jelly, nuts, fudge, and orange fluff. Those were over-the-top something to look forward to, right along with the gooey cherry cordials.

I was the Mom who invited the kids' friends over to make gingerbread houses. I'd ask each child to bring a sack of candy for the event. I was in heaven . . . . a table full of frosting and tons of candy. There was always such a generous amount donated that it never hurt for anyone to eat several pieces between "gluing" the houses together with the frosting and decorating with the decadent confections. Plus, everyone had too much fun to notice candy disappearing.

After six weeks of gluttonous eating: cheeseballs, dips, scalloped potatoes & ham, etc., by the end of December, I was saturated in misery. Well, that's putting it mildly. I was waaaay beyond miserable; more like suicidal at times. Seriously. Desperation drives the mind to irrational thoughts, and my heroin-like food addiction began to cloak my brain with some pretty irrational ways of escape at times.

January 1st couldn't come soon enough. A clean slate. Another promise. "I'm really going to stick to my resolution this time."  Yeah, right.

Well, by the Super Bowl, I was celebrating once again; and just in time for chocolate candies and iced cookies for Valentines, and birthday cakes laced in-between. 
 


With birthday parties, graduation open houses, and special occasions all throughout the year, I was never at a loss for my heroin-like, food addiction fix. [This must be the way a heroin addict feels.] 

Oh, those were the days of utter delight, especially when I'd clean up afterwards and find partially eaten pieces of cake in the trash to calm my jitters and shakiness. Okay, maybe not delight, but you know what I mean. I hated being trapped in the food addiction dungeon and tortured to near death on a daily basis, yet something inside of me enjoyed every minute of it. I hated it, yet I loved it. It was definitely a sickness of the mind, the body, and the soul.

 

The perpetual darkness shrouded any ray of hope. Little did I know that freedom was knocking on my door; however, the knocks were muffled by the noise and chaos.

But nonetheless, freedom was knocking.

Okay, so maybe I didn't keep my New Year's promise, but at least I got to thoroughly enjoy my birthday in May with my favorite Dairy Queen ice-cream cake.

I could always start over again the following January. Maybe I'd really mean business by then.

At least that was always my hope.

 

  

Christmas before and after  

                                                                

Based on my own personal experience and the observations of those around me, one can easily consume over 50 cups of sugar and the equivalent to 42 sticks of butter over the holidays!  (A stick of butter = 91 grams of fat.)  The following are the grams of fat in some typical foods:

fudge pecan sundae 62g

slice of cheddar cheese 10g

1 chicken breast 13g

slice of pecan pie 27g

2” square brownie 10g

1 serving fries 14g

Danish pastry 17g

1  muffin 8g

1 chocolate nut bar 19g

bacon, egg & cheese bagel sandwich  18g

2 chocolate chip cookies 10g

slice meat & cheese pizza 17g

 

 

The following are grams of sugar in foods & beverages (4 grams = 1 teaspoon sugar):

12 oz soda  38g

1” cube of fudge  15g

3 oz pancake syrup  59g

slice of fruit pie  20g

chocolate candy bar  25g

¾ c. processed cereal  12g

piece of cake  20g

hot fudge sundae  54g

2” square brownie  36g

2 iced cookies  25g

6 oz of ice cream  40g

energy drink  68g

 

 

Do the Math.  It's dangerous.   

  

Stay tuned to DiseaseProof or DrFuhrman.com for complete details about the upcoming Holiday Challenge. The kick-off begins in just two weeks!