Compliance gives the most pleasure out of life

For me, being 100% compliant to eating for health means following Dr. Fuhrman’s high-nutrient food plan (“GOMBBS” - greens, onions, mushrooms, beans, berries, nuts/seeds), stopping before full and eating only when truly hungry.

Following the food plan isn’t the hard part for me; the "stopping before full and eating only when truly hungry" is the hard part. The stopping before full habit has taken me the longest to retrain and develop. I actually feel about as miserable now when I'm full as I would if I ate processed fake foods; but it took much repetitive training, and many failures, over three years' worth, to get to this point.

Plus, eating as a social and recreational activity has been hard to change as it has been so engrained in me over the years. However, I'm now much more aware of how many times a day most of society eats as an activity. In fact, it's pretty sad. For instance just recently I attended a social gathering, and of course, just an hour or two after dinner, a snack was served. AND it wasn't just a snack, it was a mini-meal. As a culture, we celebrate eating (the verb form) just as much as the processed junk food version of it.

All in all, it does take a lot of effort, sweat and perseverance equity to retrain damaging habits.

However, I will continue to keep these health promoting habits an intentional part of my life. For instance, I don't desire to go back to the standard American diet foods, but I would like to sit down on occasion and just pig out on unlimited amounts of high caloric, nutritarian-friendly desserts without restraint.  However, I can't go there. I can't do that.  No way. It would open the door for more and more and more until I'd go right back into a binge eating addiction. Been there. Done that. Bought the plus size t-shirt and it was no fun. 

Junk food addiction and binge eating addiction are both were very damaging habits that I never want to develop again in my life. That's why I stay compliant. I know what would happen if I didn't follow the plan. 

In all reality, for me it's a "get to" . . . .not a "have to." 


 

  • I get to remain free from craving the standard American diet and binge eating!
  • I get to enjoy life without feeling miserably bloated, tired and depressed.

  • I get to enjoy wearing pretty clothes on hot summer days.

  • I get to ride a bike and enjoy the sights and smells of a fresh, spring morning in the country.

  • I get to wake up in the mornings refreshed and happy to be alive!

  • I get to live my life without ongoing endocrinology and cardiology appointments.

  • I get to save lots and lots of money by not needing to buy test strips and insulin. 

  • I get to live in no fear of ever having a heart attack in front of my kids. [Dr. Fuhrman told me that it would be impossible for me to have a sudden heart attack now.] 

  • I get to stay out of bypass surgical suites.

  • I get to be free from astronomically expensive and toxic pharmaceuticals. 

  • I get to sit in an airplane seat and not be encumbered by rolls of fat.  

  • I get to play with future grandchildren someday instead of sitting on the sidelines in a chair. 

  • I get to do all of this and more!


What a privileged opportunity we all get as a result of choosing foods and habits that give the most pleasure and quality out of life; knowing that we are supporting, not destroying, our health as we enjoy eating!

 

 

  

Changing America one city at a time

On a chilly Saturday morning a couple of weeks ago people were waking up to the sound of alarm clocks all over northern Indiana to attend an all-day Health Immersion at First Assembly in Fort Wayne. It was 7:45 am when I pulled into the church parking lot, and the atmosphere was charged with excitement as lines were already forming for when the doors would open at 8:00. The cold weather didn’t seem to deter anyone. Simultaneously, the catering company across the street was busy prepping 640 nutritarian box lunches to serve at noon. 

       

My hometown city, Fort Wayne, Indiana, made national news headlines this past fall. Besides earning the reputation several years ago of being one of the most obese cities in the country; in November we earned the title of being the second most artery clogged city of a metropolitan population over 200,000. Considering incoming flights into Fort Wayne International Airport are greeted with a cellophane wrapped cookie upon arrival, and we actually celebrate an annual summer festival with “Junk Food Alley”, it’s no surprise that our claim to fame is disease.

However, history was made on March 10th when Dr. Fuhrman spent an entire day covering topics such as “Core Concepts”, “Changing Perceptions of Hunger”, “Preventing and Reversing Hypertension, Heart Disease and Diabetes”, “Practical Tips”, “Super Immunity”, and answering personal questions. Myths such as the value of high biological protein, and needing doctors for protective heart health were demolished. Instead, a complete paradigm shift took place in the minds of participants as Dr. Fuhrman instructed how to obtain wellness and health through self-care and personal responsibility; not medical care. 

To be quite honest, when the idea was first suggested to invite Dr. Fuhrman to our city to speak about nutrition and health, some didn’t think very many would be interested in giving up a Saturday to learn about nutrition and wellness; let alone pay a fee to attend. When over 600 people registered for the event, minds were changed! AND even those who attended commented afterwards that they wish they would’ve invited their co-workers, neighbors, relatives, pastors, and entire churches; wanting Dr. Fuhrman to return so they can invite others next time! Needless to say, the catering company was inundated with positive comments also. The day was a huge success.  

Even in one of the most disease promoting cities in the country, people were desperate for Dr. Fuhrman’s message ~ he was welcomed with open arms. We may not have a Whole Foods Market in our city yet, or organic farmers’ markets on every corner, but we are changing! 

The change of one is a transformation. The change of many is a revolution. The revolution is definitely happening; one city at a time!   

  • For information about hosting an all-day Health Immersion with Dr. Fuhrman in your city please contact events@drfuhrman.com.  


 

image credits; top picture by Steve Federspiel, nutritarian box lunches picture by Don Hall's catering; all others by Emily Boller 

Red meat: consider your health, and the environment's as well?

A large, long-term study from Harvard School of Public Health published last week confirmed what we already know – red meat is a disease-promoting food whose consumption leads to premature death.1 This is an important study because of its lengthy follow-up time, distinction between unprocessed and processed red meats, and findings of a dose-response relationship between red meat intake and risk of death – in short, the authors concluded each daily serving of unprocessed red meat increased risk by 13% and processed meat by 20%. However, the bottom line “red meat increases risk of mortality” certainly isn’t news. This is not the first study to link meat consumption to premature death, and it certainly will not be the last.1-5

Of interest though, is the accompanying commentary by Dean Ornish, M.D., a respected and widely known figure in lifestyle medicine. In his comment, Dr. Ornish leaves the physician-sanctioned territory of human health and nutrition makes a call to action to reduce red meat consumption to protect the health of our planet, not just ourselves:6

“In addition to their health benefits, the food choices we make each day affect other important areas as well. What is personally sustainable is globally sustainable. What is good for you is good for our planet...
… choosing to eat more plant-based foods and less red meat is better for all of us—ourselves, our loved ones, and our planet. In short, don't have a cow!”>6

Cows. Flickr: Joost J. Bakker Ijmuidin

We already know that red meat is a contributory factor in the development of cancer7 – plus, we know from epidemiologic findings from rural areas that the etiology of this relationship will not be negated by eating grass-fed beef.8-13 We know that heme iron is an oxidant that accumulates in the body over time, contributing to cardiovascular disease and dementia.14,15 We know that heme iron and proteins in meats form N-nitroso compounds in the digestive tract that can damage cellular DNA, potentially leading to stomach and colorectal cancers.16-18 We know that cooking meats (all meats, not just red meat) at high temperatures forms carcinogens called heterocyclic amines.19 Plus, we are now finding that chronic inflammation results from newly discovered compounds such as Neu5Gc, which accumulate from eating red meat.20 Furthermore, higher levels of meats (animal protein) lead to higher circulating levels of IGF-1 that promote cell division and fuel growth of cancerous cells.21,22 These issues related to heme iron and animal protein will also not be resolved by simply switching to grass-fed beef.

The “red meat is good for you” slogan is dead – its proponents don’t have a scientific leg to stand on. Atkins, Dukan, Sugar Busters, Weston Price, and all the other meat-promoting and protecting people need to keep out of this discussion and finally stop protesting and promoting death. Now, the new question has become: are red meat consumers and promoters destroying our environment also?

There is certainly no need to debate the health issues any further. With global livestock production expected to double by 2050,23 now is the time for the public to become better aware of the environmental impact of consuming meat. Dr. Ornish brings up these important points regarding the impact of animal agriculture on our environment:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions: The livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions than transportation – about 18% of total emissions; emissions include carbon dioxide and to a greater extent, methane and nitrous oxide, which are considered to be more harmful than carbon dioxide.
  • Deforestation: Currently, animal agriculture uses 30% of the Earth’s land surface, and 70% of forests in the Amazon are no longer forests – they have become grazing land for livestock, resulting in depletion of wildlife and natural ecosystems.
  • Use of resources and energy: Almost 40% of the world’s grain (and over 50% in the U.S.) is fed to livestock and 33% of arable land on Earth is devoted to growing feed for livestock. The production of 1 pound of beef requires almost 20,000 liters of water, and is a significant contributor to water pollution.6,23

What do you think?
Especially considering red meat is harmful to human health, and to our environment do you agree with Dr. Ornish? Should all of us, including informed physicians make it our responsibility to promote dietary change for environmental reasons as well, or should we doctors stick to health and medical topics?

 

 

References:

1. Pan A, Sun Q, Bernstein AM, et al: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality: Results From 2 Prospective Cohort Studies. Arch Intern Med 2012.
2. Sinha R, Cross AJ, Graubard BI, et al: Meat intake and mortality: a prospective study of over half a million people. Arch Intern Med 2009;169:562-571.
3. Major JM, Cross AJ, Doubeni CA, et al: Socioeconomic deprivation impact on meat intake and mortality: NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. Cancer Causes Control 2011;22:1699-1707.
4. Key TJ, Fraser GE, Thorogood M, et al: Mortality in vegetarians and nonvegetarians: detailed findings from a collaborative analysis of 5 prospective studies. Am J Clin Nutr 1999;70:516S-524S.
5. Fraser GE: Associations between diet and cancer, ischemic heart disease, and all-cause mortality in non-Hispanic white California Seventh-day Adventists. Am J Clin Nutr 1999;70:532S-538S.
6. Ornish D: Holy Cow! What's Good For You Is Good For Our Planet: Comment on "Red Meat Consumption and Mortality". Arch Intern Med 2012.
7. Continuous Update Project Interim Report Summary. Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Colorectal Cancer. . World Cancer Research Fund / American Institute for Cancer Research.; 2011.
8. Campbell TC, Parpia B, Chen J: Diet, lifestyle, and the etiology of coronary artery disease: the Cornell China study. Am J Cardiol 1998;82:18T-21T.
9. Campbell TC, Junshi C: Diet and chronic degenerative diseases: perspectives from China. Am J Clin Nutr 1994;59:1153S-1161S.
10. Esselstyn CB, Jr.: Is the present therapy for coronary artery disease the radical mastectomy of the twenty-first century? Am J Cardiol 2010;106:902-904.
11. Strom A, Jensen RA: Mortality from circulatory diseases in Norway 1940-1945. Lancet 1951;1:126-129.
12. Gjonca A, Bobak M: Albanian paradox, another example of protective effect of Mediterranean lifestyle? Lancet 1997;350:1815-1817.
13. Helsing E: Traditional diets and disease patterns of the Mediterranean, circa 1960. Am J Clin Nutr 1995;61:1329S-1337S.
14. Brewer GJ: Iron and copper toxicity in diseases of aging, particularly atherosclerosis and Alzheimer's disease. Exp Biol Med 2007;232:323-335.
15. Brewer GJ: Risks of copper and iron toxicity during aging in humans. Chem Res Toxicol 2010;23:319-326.
16. WCRF/AICR Expert Report, Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective. pp. 93: World Cancer Research Fund:93.
17. Lunn JC, Kuhnle G, Mai V, et al: The effect of haem in red and processed meat on the endogenous formation of N-nitroso compounds in the upper gastrointestinal tract. Carcinogenesis 2007;28:685-690.
18. Kuhnle GG, Story GW, Reda T, et al: Diet-induced endogenous formation of nitroso compounds in the GI tract. Free Radic Biol Med 2007;43:1040-1047.
19. Zheng W, Lee S-A: Well-Done Meat Intake, Heterocyclic Amine Exposure, and Cancer Risk. Nutr Cancer 2009;61:437-446.
20. Padler-Karavani V, Yu H, Cao H, et al: Diversity in specificity, abundance, and composition of anti-Neu5Gc antibodies in normal humans: potential implications for disease. Glycobiology 2008;18:818-830.
21. Thissen JP, Ketelslegers JM, Underwood LE: Nutritional regulation of the insulin-like growth factors. Endocr Rev 1994;15:80-101.
22. Kaaks R: Nutrition, insulin, IGF-1 metabolism and cancer risk: a summary of epidemiological evidence. Novartis Found Symp 2004;262:247-260; discussion 260-268.
23. Livestock's Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; 2006.

 

A Perk of Going Veggie: Improve Your Mood

A recent study published in the Nutrition Journal reports that eschewing animal products in favor of plant-based foods helps improve mood in just a few weeks.  This short-term study incorporated thirty-nine omnivores.  Each participant was randomly assigned to a control group consuming meat, fish and poultry daily, a group consuming fish 3-4 times per week but avoiding meat and poultry or a vegetarian group avoiding meat, fish and poultry.  At the outset of the study and after two weeks of making assigned dietary transitions, participants were asked to complete a Food Frequency Questionnaire, the Profile of Mood States questionnaire and the Depression Anxiety and Stress scales.  By the conclusion of the study, mood scores remained constant for the omnivore and fish eating group but several mood scores for vegetarian participants improved significantly.1  These findings might be surprising given that people who eat fish regularly increase their intake of healthy eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) fatty acids, fats that are critical for optimal brain health.  This is what makes the study’s results so surprising.

Vegetables. Flickr: Bruce Guenter

Research evidence has frequently linked long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, to mood- a substance primarily found in fish and shellfish.  Conversely, meat and poultry are high in arachidonic acid (AA), a potentially neuroinflammatory long-chain omega-6 fatty acid.  Omnivores who consume large amounts of meat and poultry and low amounts of fish, with their elevated AA to EPA/DHA ratio, have been known to be at increased risk of depression.2 Omnivorous diets rich in fish and low in meat and poultry have been linked to a lower risk of depression.3 Vegetarian and vegan diets tend to be low in both long-chain omega-3 and long-chain omega-6 fatty acids, but prior to this study, there has been limited research examining the effects of a vegetarian diet on mental well-being. 

Potential confounding variables such as a prior history of mental disorder, alcohol or substance abuse, BMI, age, gender and exercise frequency were accounted for and a general health history was completed at baseline.  After two-weeks, the vegetarian group’s levels of EPA, DHA and AA dropped to negligible amounts while the fish eating group exhibited a 95-100 percent rise in dietary EPA/DHA.  This evidence is indicative that manipulation of fatty acid concentrations in each of the participants was successful.  In every individual on the vegetarian plan, stress and anxiety scores decreased after the two weeks, indicative that those who eliminate meat, fish and poultry may be better able to cope with mental stress than omnivores.  The results of this study support another cross-sectional study which found that vegetarians report significantly better moods than non-vegetarians.4

While warranting further investigation, the results may be due to increased antioxidant consumption on the vegetarian plan leading to a reduction in oxidative stress on the brain.5 These findings are fascinating and while we might not completely understand the mechanisms involved in why a vegetarian diet likely leads to enhanced mood, the results are certainly worth pondering.  I know I feel good as I finish off my huge salad or green smoothie!   

I know my father gets excellent results with those suffering with depression by combining his nutritarian diet with added EPA and morning light therapy.  He always uses nutrition and lifestyle medicine as the primary intervention, not drugs, which can lead to dependency, side effects and long-term health problems.  It is good to know that the scientific literature is slowly catching up to Dr. Fuhrman (my dad).   Who knows, maybe next year some other study will show that combining green vegetables, onions and mushrooms prevent cancer (Ha Ha)!

 

References:

1. Beezhold BL, Johnston CS. Restriction of meat, fish, and poultry in omnivores improves mood: A pilot randomized controlled trial. Nutr J. 2012 Feb 14;11:9.

2. Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Belury MA, Porter K, Beversdorf DQ, Lemeshow S, Glaser R: Depressive symptoms, omega-6:omega-3 fatty acids, and inflammation in older adults. Psychosom Med 2007, 69:217-224.

3. Colangelo LA, He K, Whooley MA, Daviglus ML, Liu K: Higher dietary intake of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids is inversely associated with depressive symptoms in women. Nutrition 2009,25:1011-1019.

4. Beezhold BL, Johnston CS, Daigle DR: Vegetarian diets are associated with healthy mood states: a cross-sectional study in Seventh Day Adventist adults. Nutr J 2010, 9:26.

5. Szeto YT, Kwok TC, Benzie IF: Effects of a long-term vegetarian diet onbiomarkers of antioxidant status and cardiovascular disease risk. Nutrition 2004, 20:863-866

 

Sleeping pills more than triple risk of death

Adequate sleep is crucial for good health, and Westerners lack sleep – about half of American adults experience one or more symptom of insomnia a few nights each week, and it is estimated that up to 10% of Americans took prescription sleep aids in 2010.1,2

Insomnia itself can be dangerous because in many cases it often causes daytime fatigue. However, new research has shown that the drugs used to treat insomnia are even more dangerous.

Drugs called “hypnotics” are prescribed to induce sleep in those experiencing insomnia. Some commonly prescribed hypnotics include zolpidem (Ambien), exzopiclone (Lunesta), temazepam (Restoril), and alprazolam (Xanax). These medications have been generally regarded as safe, especially when used only for short-term relief of insomnia.3

Pills. Flickr: melloveschallah

Elevated risk of death at low levels of use, and risk increases with number of pills taken
A recent study evaluated the relationship between hypnotic drug use and risk of death in a large sample of over 30,000 American adults. For participants taking any hypnotic drug, the elevated risk of death was substantial, and it was dose-dependent: the more pills taken, the higher the risk of death. Compared to no hypnotic drugs, even those in the lowest level of use (averaging 8 pills per year) more than tripled their risk of death within the 2.5-year follow-up period.

Use of hypnotic drugs: Increased risk of death compared to non-users: Increased risk of cancer compared to non-users:
0.4-18 pills/year (average 8) 260% -
18-132 pills/year (average 57) 343% 20%
More than 132 pills/year (average 469) 432% 30%

This is not the only study to report an increased risk of death associated with hypnotics. The authors cite 24 previous studies on the topic, of which 18 reported a significant increase in risk of death, plus 4 studies specifically reported increased risk of death from cancer.2

The results of this study means that anyone on these hypnotic medications must get off of them ASAP. In some cases, it could be harmful to stop them suddenly if using them daily. So with the help of a physician the dose should be lowered gradually and then discontinued.

How might hypnotics increase risk of death?

  • Side effects of hypnotics include daytime drowsiness, impaired motor and cognitive skills, and sleepwalking, all of which can lead to falls and accidents.2-5
  • Hypnotics have been linked to DNA damage, which may underlie their association with cancers.6

 

Effective, safe, and natural methods for improving sleep

Insomnia is often secondary to other conditions such as anxiety or depression, or a stressful life situation.1 Addressing these underlying factors by using my natural depression solution below plus establishing sleep-promoting habits will help to improve sleep.

My natural depression solutionhas produced excellent results, alleviating or eliminating symptoms for many depression sufferers. The interesting point here is that this same protocol is also effective for insomnia, even when the insomnia is not associated with depression.

  • High-nutrient diet. Excellent nutrition is key to excellent overall health, mood and sleep included. The high antioxidant load of a high-nutrient diet protects the brain, which is the organ most susceptible to oxidative stress. Depression is associated with high levels of oxidative stress and low intake of green vegetables.7-9
  • Exercise is as just as effective as medication at improving the symptoms of depression, and is also effective against anxiety disorders. Exercise fights these mood disorders by increasing the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of well-being. Regular physical activity is well-documented to promote healthy sleep, and exercise has also been shown to effectively improve sleep in insomnia sufferers, as well as improving mood and quality of life. 10-15
  • Morning light therapy is another strategy shown to be just as effective as antidepressants for depression. Morning light therapy is also effective at for seasonal affective disorder, and insomnia. Bright light applied first thing in the morning increases mood-elevating substances in the brain and helps to correct the biological clock, normalizing nighttime melatonin secretion and promoting a healthy sleep/wake cycle. 16-18
  • Vitamin D supplements. Low vitamin D levels are common in those with depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). There is some evidence that Vitamin D may regulate mood and daily biorhythms, and it has shown to be effective at improving feelings of well-being in those with SAD.19-22
  • Omega-3 fatty acids. Low omega-3 intake is associated with depression. DHA adequacy is important because DHA is a structural component of brain tissue, and EPA is effective at improving depression symptoms. 23

Some additional sleep-promoting strategies:

  • 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) supplements. Similar to exercise, 5-HTP works by increasing serotonin levels in the brain, and has been shown to be effective in depression, anxiety, and insomnia.24,25
  • Tart cherry juice at bedtime has been used as a sleep-promoting supplement, because of cherries’ high levels of natural melatonin.26
  • Stress management and relaxation techniques. For example, mindfulness meditation practices are associated with improved sleep quality.27,28
  • Improving sleep habits:4,29-31
    • Sleep restriction: reducing the amount of time spent in bed to be closer to actual sleep time, which increases sleep drive, over time making it easier to fall asleep.32
    • Stimulus control: if 20-30 minutes go by without falling asleep, get out of bed, move to a different room, and engage in relaxing activity until sleepy– this helps to eliminate the mental association between lying in bed and feeling awake, alert, and frustrated.
    • Establish a regular bedtime and wake time.
    • Make the bedroom quiet, totally dark, and comfortable.
    • Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
    • Avoid food and exercise within a few hours of bedtime.
    • Avoid bright light (including television and computer screens) close to bedtime. Consider reading with a dim light.

These natural sleep-promoting methods are certainly safer than hypnotic drugs, and simultaneously combining all of these methods will maximize the sleep-improving benefit, forming a comprehensive alternative treatment program for insomnia.

 

References:

1. National Sleep Foundation: Can't Sleep? What to Know About Insomnia [http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-related-problems/insomnia-and-sleep]
2. Kripke DF, Langer RD, Kline LE: Hypnotics' association with mortality or cancer: a matched cohort study. BMJ Open 2012;2:e000850.
3. MedlinePlus: Hypnotics [http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002376.htm]
4. Gustavsen I, Bramness JG, Skurtveit S, et al: Road traffic accident risk related to prescriptions of the hypnotics zopiclone, zolpidem, flunitrazepam and nitrazepam. Sleep Med 2008;9:818-822.
5. Dolder CR, Nelson MH: Hypnosedative-induced complex behaviours : incidence, mechanisms and management. CNS Drugs 2008;22:1021-1036.
6. Kripke DF: Possibility that certain hypnotics might cause cancer in skin. J Sleep Res 2008;17:245-250.
7. Tsuboi H, Shimoi K, Kinae N, et al: Depressive symptoms are independently correlated with lipid peroxidation in a female population: comparison with vitamins and carotenoids. J Psychosom Res 2004;56:53-58.
8. Ng TP, Feng L, Niti M, et al: Folate, vitamin B12, homocysteine, and depressive symptoms in a population sample of older Chinese adults. J Am Geriatr Soc 2009;57:871-876.
9. Sachdev PS, Parslow RA, Lux O, et al: Relationship of homocysteine, folic acid and vitamin B12 with depression in a middle-aged community sample. Psychol Med 2005;35:529-538.
10. Gill A, Womack R, Safranek S: Clinical Inquiries: Does exercise alleviate symptoms of depression? J Fam Pract 2010;59:530-531.
11. Uebelacker LA, Epstein-Lubow G, Gaudiano BA, et al: Hatha yoga for depression: critical review of the evidence for efficacy, plausible mechanisms of action, and directions for future research. J Psychiatr Pract 2010;16:22-33.
12. Saeed SA, Antonacci DJ, Bloch RM: Exercise, yoga, and meditation for depressive and anxiety disorders. Am Fam Physician 2010;81:981-986.
13. Ma Q: Beneficial effects of moderate voluntary physical exercise and its biological mechanisms on brain health. Neurosci Bull 2008;24:265-270.
14. Passos GS, Poyares D, Santana MG, et al: Effects of moderate aerobic exercise training on chronic primary insomnia. Sleep Med 2011;12:1018-1027.
15. O'Connor PJ, Youngstedt SD: Influence of exercise on human sleep. Exerc Sport Sci Rev 1995;23:105-134.
16. Golden RN, Gaynes BN, Ekstrom RD, et al: The efficacy of light therapy in the treatment of mood disorders: a review and meta-analysis of the evidence. Am J Psychiatry 2005;162:656-662.
17. Miller AL: Epidemiology, etiology, and natural treatment of seasonal affective disorder. Altern Med Rev 2005;10:5-13.
18. Shirani A, St Louis EK: Illuminating rationale and uses for light therapy. J Clin Sleep Med 2009;5:155-163.
19. Vieth R, Kimball S, Hu A, et al: Randomized comparison of the effects of the vitamin D3 adequate intake versus 100 mcg (4000 IU) per day on biochemical responses and the wellbeing of patients. Nutr J 2004;3:8.
20. Stumpf WE, Privette TH: Light, vitamin D and psychiatry. Role of 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D3 (soltriol) in etiology and therapy of seasonal affective disorder and other mental processes. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 1989;97:285-294.
21. Bertone-Johnson ER: Vitamin D and the occurrence of depression: causal association or circumstantial evidence? Nutr Rev 2009;67:481-492.
22. Murphy PK, Wagner CL: Vitamin D and mood disorders among women: an integrative review. J Midwifery Womens Health 2008;53:440-446.
23. Martins JG: EPA but not DHA appears to be responsible for the efficacy of omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation in depression: evidence from a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Am Coll Nutr 2009;28:525-542.
24. Birdsall TC: 5-Hydroxytryptophan: a clinically-effective serotonin precursor. Altern Med Rev 1998;3:271-280.
25. Turner EH, Loftis JM, Blackwell AD: Serotonin a la carte: supplementation with the serotonin precursor 5-hydroxytryptophan. Pharmacol Ther 2006;109:325-338.
26. Pigeon WR, Carr M, Gorman C, et al: Effects of a tart cherry juice beverage on the sleep of older adults with insomnia: a pilot study. J Med Food 2010;13:579-583.
27. Brand S, Holsboer-Trachsler E, Naranjo JR, et al: Influence of Mindfulness Practice on Cortisol and Sleep in Long-Term and Short-Term Meditators. Neuropsychobiology 2012;65:109-118.
28. Gross CR, Kreitzer MJ, Reilly-Spong M, et al: Mindfulness-based stress reduction versus pharmacotherapy for chronic primary insomnia: a randomized controlled clinical trial. Explore (NY) 2011;7:76-87.
29. Jacobs GD, Pace-Schott EF, Stickgold R, et al: Cognitive behavior therapy and pharmacotherapy for insomnia: a randomized controlled trial and direct comparison. Arch Intern Med 2004;164:1888-1896.
30. Sivertsen B, Omvik S, Pallesen S, et al: Cognitive behavioral therapy vs zopiclone for treatment of chronic primary insomnia in older adults: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2006;295:2851-2858.
31. Smith MT, Perlis ML, Park A, et al: Comparative meta-analysis of pharmacotherapy and behavior therapy for persistent insomnia. Am J Psychiatry 2002;159:5-11.
32. Kyle SD, Morgan K, Spiegelhalder K, et al: No pain, no gain: an exploratory within-subjects mixed-methods evaluation of the patient experience of sleep restriction therapy (SRT) for insomnia. Sleep Med 2011;12:735-747.

 

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Interview with a Nutritarian: Molly

I met Molly, a college student, at the Weekend Immersion in Princeton this past November. She glowed with exuberant radiance; I had no idea that just a few years back she hated fruits and vegetables! Thanks to a mother who quietly modeled healthy eating choices, Molly decided to commit to Dr. Fuhrman’s Six Week Challenge to see what would happen. The rest, of course, is history. Welcome to Disease Proof, Molly.

 

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

I lived a typical, college student lifestyle. I generally ate cheap, easy-to-prepare foods such as cereal bars, pasta and sandwiches; interspersed with sweet coffee drinks to fuel my late night studying, and frequent "treats" to satisfy my sweet tooth (cookies, muffins, etc.). I've always had a hearty appetite so I steadily gained weight through high school and college. I never thought of myself as being fat, but I knew that I was plumper than I wanted to be, and I was frustrated that my sporadic efforts to cut back on eating and increase physical activity never yielded any results.

I played sports throughout my childhood and was on the varsity fencing team my freshman and sophomore years in college, but I rarely exercised outside of participation in team sports; and after I quit fencing I led a relatively sedentary lifestyle. Plus, I always suffered from severe seasonal allergies, allergies to animals, and asthma so I had strong motivation to stay indoors when the weather was nice.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of my pre Eat to Live days was that I scrupulously avoided eating fruits and vegetables. I didn't like the taste and texture of plants, especially fruit, and I would get very upset if anyone encouraged me to try dishes with fruits or vegetables in them. I gradually added some vegetables into my diet, including lettuce, cauliflower, peppers, onion, and green beans, but my vegetable consumption remained very limited, and I wouldn't touch any fruit besides an occasional orange.

 

How did you feel then?

My allergies were a very annoying problem, and I frequently caught bad colds, but otherwise I felt relatively fine. Super healthy eating always seemed out of reach due to my stubborn refusal to eat fruits and vegetables.

 

How did you find out about Eat to Live?

My mom read Eat to Live and followed nutritarian eating so I looked into it. It made sense to me so I decided to do the Six Week Challenge to see what would happen.

 

How do you feel now?

I’ve significantly improved the quality of my life. I’m 5’5 ½” and started at 156 lbs and today I weigh 122 lbs. My allergies are less severe, and I haven't had a cold since starting ETL even though my siblings come home with awful colds. This is quite remarkable for me, because I used to catch every cold that came through the house!

Losing weight and taking control of my eating and health has also improved my outlook on life. It was a major area that I never felt like I had control of before, but now I feel confident that I know how to treat my body right for the rest of my life. I’ve started exercising regularly, because it felt like a natural extension of my commitment to healthy eating. I now cherish my outdoor runs and hikes and the way they make my body feel.

Perhaps the most astonishing part of my transformation is that, through an open mind and perseverance, I’ve successfully changed my taste buds, and now I LOVE fruits and vegetables. They are the core of my diet. It has been great fun to discover the joy of eating food that I know is both delicious and good for me. I also enjoy eating fresh, seasonal foods, and I've come to love cooking. Food has become a passion and a pleasure for me in ways that it never was before.

 

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

  • Don't be afraid to try a new way of eating and give your taste buds time to adjust to the change.
  • Schedule time into your day for prepping and chopping vegetables because having healthy food on hand is the best way to stave off bad cravings.

 

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

It has made me feel strong, confident, and HEALTHY! It has made eating and food a supremely satisfying aspect of my life.

 

We applaud you Molly for investing in your health at such a young age ~ keep up the great job!

Dr. Fuhrman interviews Michael Greger, M.D.

Michael Greger, M.D. is an author and physician specializing in clinical nutrition. He serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States, and most recently he has launched NutritionFacts.org, where he posts information on the latest studies in nutrition research in the form of short video segments.

Dr. Fuhrman: Hi Dr. Greger, it is a pleasure to know you and see the terrific work you do. Can you tell my audience about your day job?

Dr. Greger: I am director of public health and animal agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States.  It is the largest independent animal protection organization in the world backed my 11 million Americans. I have been doing this for about 7 years. One of my proudest accomplishments was testifying before a congressional committee to reveal the public health implications of slaughtering downed cows for the federal school lunch program, which includes an increased risk of transmitting manure pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella as well as mad cow disease.              

Dr. Fuhrman: What was your work in the field of medicine before taking on this important position with the Humane Society of the US and what spurred your interest in nutrition?

Dr. Greger: I did post grad studies in public health and then practiced as general practitioner.  However, I wanted to put a bigger dent in our health care mess, especially after seeing my grandmother suffer so much from her multiple bypass surgeries and then being sent home to die, wheelchair bound with crushing chest pain. My grandmother then became one of Pritikin’s earliest adopters and I watched her actually reverse her heart disease and get well.  She was able to live another 31 years after her terminal heart disease diagnosis to be 96, and enjoy her 6 grandchildren, including me.  In those days it was considered a miracle cure. Then in the early 1990’s after Dr. Ornish’s Lancet publication I really got more interested in the nutritional reversal of heart disease as it was still the number one killer disease in America. I thought, aren’t doctors supposed to heal people?  In medicine today this is the exception, not the rule. Most people go into medicine to make people better; certainly I realized that nutrition had to be the cornerstone of proper health care and made it my primary interest.

Dr. Fuhrman: How do you get so much done each day?  You accomplish important work for the Humane Society, yet you still speak, write and put out tremendous information about nutritional research? 

Dr. Greger: I don’t do it all myself. For example, I coordinate and supervise the work of 23 interns working there in Washington, pulling articles from scientific journals and reviewing the scientific literature for important studies.

Dr. Fuhrman:  Do you think some of the present vegan authors seem to hide from any science that may weaken their prior (sub-optimal) pronouncements on nutrition?

Dr. Greger: Yes, I have learned it's always best to seek out the primary sources to review them rather than rely on expert opinion. Too often we hear outdated information that is ego-based and supporting old theories that have been proposed. These include extremely low fat vegan diets, without nuts and seeds, or centering one's diet around white potatoes or white rice. This is just not the best science-based advice.

Dr. Fuhrman:  For example, I know you are aware that my work and findings with thousands of patients as well as that of David Jenkins in Toronto that show that my dietary advice designed to include a portfolio of the healthiest foods, outperforms those extremely low fat, high carbohydrate diet in many important health parameters. 

Dr. Greger: Well this is a vibrant changing field; we just can’t just come up with a hypothesis and only stick to the evidence that supports it and ignoring all the compelling data.  It is a disservice to the people that depend on you for proper information and some of those authors have done that. 

Dr. Fuhrman:  Do you agree with the 30-55 range for optimal blood level of Vitamin D or do you think the U.S. Institute of Medicine’s recent position that levels above 20 are sufficient?

Dr. Greger: I agree with you and think their conservative bias and continued recommendation to stick to only 400 IU is a big mistake.  We have to consider all the data and continue to monitor this. 

Dr. Fuhrman: What are you hopes for your website NutritionFacts.org?  Why are the most recent findings in nutrition so important to you?

Dr. Greger: I am hoping it will fill a niche in this nutritional debate, one that will give additional information in an easy to understand manner.  And given the proven power of good nutrition, I am convinced it is the answer to our health problems in America and it can have a beneficial effect on the health of the public in general.  It is important that people are not pulled in by nutritional scams and dietary fiction, and become unable to take control of their health.  There are tremendous negative influences by the junk food and meat and dairy industries–they have a tremendous stake in keeping a confused populace, eating unhealthfully and good science counters that.  

Dr. Fuhrman:  What small amount of animal products might be able to be consumed and still make a diet safe, have you thought about that? 

Dr. Greger: I don’t know for sure, but ideally as low as possible as long as we can make sure we have sufficient amount of all nutrients that might otherwise be sub-optimal. 

Dr. Fuhrman:  And what are those, what nutrients do you take?

Dr. Greger: I take algae-derived DHA and EPA, vitamin D, eat sea vegetables for iodine and of course make sure I ingest sufficient vitamin B12. 

Dr. Fuhrman: Thanks for the interview; obviously I am thrilled to have someone with your degree of scientific integrity to be in general consensus with and to have mutual efforts complement each other, in order to revolutionize the health of Americans.  It is a pity people are eating themselves to death, and still getting so many conflicting messages that serve to keep them confused, addicted and unhealthy.

 

Interview with a Nutritarian: Chris S.

This winter a Facebook friend alerted me to an online interview of a guy talking about his newfound health through following Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritional recommendations. I was thrilled to learn that he was from my hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana ~ small world! Chris has been radically changed by putting high-nutrient foods into his body, and his enthusiasm is contagious. Welcome to Disease Proof, Chris.

                   

What was your life like before committing to Eat to Live? 

I was a typical, successful middle-aged male; however, I was deeply worried and hopeless, because I knew my health was declining and I’m a single dad of a teen. My weight was steadily increasing and I was having night sweats, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, plantar fasciitis, and serious tightness in my chest. My doctor told me that my declining health was “the result of aging.” He also told me that I’d have to be on meds for the rest of my life. I wasn’t ready for that and had a gut feeling that it wasn’t necessarily true.

 

How did you find out about Dr. Fuhrman? 

One night last summer I plopped down on the couch, turned on the TV, and Dr. Fuhrman was on PBS.  His presentation, Three Steps to Incredible Health, hit me just at the right moment.  I watched the whole program, bought Eat to Live, and then read the whole book the next day. I committed 100% to nutritarian eating, cold turkey; complete with cleaning out the entire kitchen.

 

How do you feel now? 

The most important change is that I’m no longer worried about leaving my daughter without a Dad. My high blood pressure, high cholesterol, night sweats, plantar fasciitis, and chest pains are all GONE.  I am taking no drugs; plus, I also feel more confident about the way I look. 

 

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

  • Simply do not have the standard American diet foods in your home, garage, basement, car, office, etc.  That’s been the key to success for me.  My weakness is chips.  One time after becoming a nutritarian I bought ten bags of “healthy” chips, because they were on sale.  Well, guess what?  I ate all ten bags in ten days!  I ate chips and salsa, chips and hummus, chips and soup . . . . chips, chips, chips!
  • Keep healthy food options in the car.  I learned early on that fast food will beg you to come through the drive-thru! Be prepared in advance. 
  • Schedule a time in your weekly schedule to learn new information.  Learning to cook is the most important, because it’s easy to get in a rut and just use the same recipes.  I re-read a bit of either Eat to Live or Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease every week.  And I watch the movie, Forks over Knives, every month; preferably with new people so I can see their excitement.
  •  I make smoothies! My favorite smoothie is: frozen bananas, ground flax seed, pineapple, and kale.  

 

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

My mentor, Jim Rohn said, “Sometimes the mind is ready, but the body is weak!  You wake up in the morning and the mind says ‘Let’s go get ’em!’  The body says, ‘I can’t get outa bed!’” 

Lacking energy from eating the standard American diet, and maybe more importantly, lacking confidence about the future, (fear of dying, or having a stroke, or just being physically unable to achieve dreams and goals in the next few years) robs us of our ability to hope, dream, and take the first steps towards achieving our goals.  Why bother with setting goals and expending the tremendous effort required to move in the direction of our dreams if we subconsciously believe that we will not have the energy, or perhaps not even be here to follow through and achieve those goals?  Nutritarian eating has given me the necessary confidence to dream and achieve goals! 

  Before After
Weight  216  181
Blood pressure  134/83  111/68
Cholesterol  216  161
Night sweats    gone
Chest tightness    gone
Plantar fascitis    gone

 

 Congratulations Chris ~ keep up the great work and go freely in the direction of your dreams!