We may be required to buy medical insurance, but what we really need is health insurance

The Affordable Care Act was intended to make insurance coverage more secure and affordable, and insure millions of uninsured Americans. The Supreme Court has now deemed the individual mandate portion – the requirement that everyone purchase health insurance – to be constitutional.

Certainly, some aspects of medical insurance coverage are in need of reform.  But a much greater need exists – the need for Americans to reform their health by reforming their diets.

Of course there will be continued debate on this subject, but when we look at the big picture (the overall health of the American people), the Supreme Court’s decision and even government involvement is irrelevant. Regardless of the government’s involvement, the health of Americans will not improve unless the eating habits of Americans improve.

Money. Flickr: 401K 2012The U.S. per capita health costs are the highest in the world. Health care made up more than 17% of the GDP in 2010. Health care costs rose 5.8% in the year ending February 2012, and costs are predicted to continue rising.  As health care costs rise, so will insurance costs. Overconsumption of medical care (for example, overuse of diagnostic tests) is a significant driver of health care costs.1 

These high costs do not bring about better outcomes than other developed countries. In the U.S. life expectancy is lower than in similarly developed nations whose per capita costs are lower.1  The U.S. is ranked 38th in life expectancy, 37th in infant mortality, and 37th in overall health outcomes, according to the World Health Organization. We cannot expect the Affordable Care Act to significantly improve the health of Americans – its aim is only to increase access to care, which also mean more needless drugs, radiation exposure and surgeries. More medical care does not translate into better health, as much of what doctors do is harmful, such as prescribe antibiotics for viral infections, perform angioplasties and bypass surgeries on stable CAD, or perform CT scans, prostatectomies and other worthless, expensive invasive interventions that serve to protect the doctor, not the patient. Actually interventions that do not extend life are worse than worthless because they create harm. People should not be denied access to care in emergencies, but overall our population (including lower income people) need less medical care, not more.

It is normal in our society to follow a disease-causing diet and sedentary lifestyle. A huge proportion of the health care dollars spent in the U.S. are spent on largely preventable diseases, whose rates are rising.   More medical care supports dependency on medications and the emotional expectation that drugs buy us health, rather than healthy habits and proper dietary choices.  Modern medicine actually weakens personal responsibility. Healthy lifestyle promotion and implementation protect people from medical tragedies, reduces the need for and the side effects and damage from excessive medical care and prescription drugs.

  • Heart disease, cancer, arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol are all included in the top ten causes of direct health expenditures.2
  • Almost 70% of Americans are overweight or obese, and recent data estimates that obesity adds $2741 to an individual’s annual medical costs – equating to $190 billion/year or 21% of national health expenditures.3,4
  • Cardiovascular disease was estimated to cost over $297 billion in 2008.2
  • The most commonly prescribed drugs are cholesterol-lowering drugs – 20% of middle-aged Americans and about 40% of older Americans take them.

Prescription drugs. Flickr: Charles Williams

It is the number of Americans sick with preventable diseases, not the number of uninsured Americans, or the cost of prescription drugs that is of most concern. More affordable prescription drugs are not what we need – reduced need for prescription drugs is what we need.. More than increasing access to care, we need less requirement for care.  To truly improve the health of the American people and reduce health care spending, Americans must take control of their own health.

We know now that genes are mostly irrelevant – what really counts is gene expression in response to the body’s environment, primarily diet and lifestyle. For example, in people with a certain genetic alteration known to increase heart attack risk, still eliminate risk with  high vegetable and fruit consumption.5

Type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disease, and it can be reversed, often quite quickly with the appropriate diet. Excess weight is the primary risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes, and conversely weight loss with a low glycemic, nutrient-dense, nutritarian eating style and exercise is effective at reversing the condition. For example, in a recent study, my colleagues and I found that 62% of participants in the study reached normal (non-diabetic) HbA1C levels within seven months on a high-nutrient diet, and the average number of medications dropped from four to one.6 Plus, a recent study confirmed that lifestyle interventions are more cost-effective than metformin for diabetes prevention in high-risk individuals.7

Cardiovascular disease is preventable and reversible with the proper diet and lifestyle modifications, as documented by much medical research.8,9  Medical interventions – cholesterol-lowering drugs, stents and bypass surgery – do not cure heart disease. A large meta-analysis of the data on surgical cardiac interventions demonstrated conclusively that heard disease patients who undergo these interventions do not have fewer heart attacks or longer survival.10,11  Now millions more will have access to be harmed by interventional cardiologists and cardiac surgeons. 

Cancer risk is also largely tied to lifestyle. The American Institute for Cancer Research estimates that about one-third of common cancers could be prevented by following a healthy diet, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight. I believe that figure could be more than double that protection if Americans were to truly take charge of their health; eat a health-promoting diet based on immune-boosting and cancer-fighting foods, exercise daily and maintain a healthy weight.  Green and cruciferous vegetables, mushrooms, beans, and onions are associated with significantly large risk reductions for common cancers.  After all, look at the cancer rates in other countries in South Asia before the explosion of the fast food revolution; a small fraction of today’s rates of cancer deaths was the norm.12-15

Here is my point:  Regardless of whether we are required to purchase medical insurance, know that we can only buy real health insurance in the produce section of the local supermarket.

 

References:

1. Brawley OW. The American Cancer Society and the American Health Care System. Oncologist 2011;16:920-925.
2. Roger VL, Go AS, Lloyd-Jones DM, et al. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics--2012 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association. Circulation 2012;125:e2-e220.
3. Cawley J, Meyerhoefer C. The medical care costs of obesity: An instrumental variables approach. J Health Econ 2012;31:219-230.
4. Obesity Accounts for 21 Percent of U.S. Health Care Costs, Study Finds. 2012. ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120409103247.htm. Accessed April 20, 2012.
5. Do R, Xie C, Zhang X, et al. The effect of chromosome 9p21 variants on cardiovascular disease may be modified by dietary intake: evidence from a case/control and a prospective study. PLoS Med 2011;8:e1001106.
6. Dunaief D, Gui-shuang Y, Fuhrman J, et al. Glycemic and cardiovascular parameters improved in type 2 diabetes with the high nutrient density diet. Presented at the 5th IANA (International Academy on Nutrition and Aging) meeting July 26 & 27, 2010 Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa 1300 Tuyuna Trail Santa Ana Pueblo, NM, USA J Nutr Health Aging 2010;14:500.
7. The 10-year cost-effectiveness of lifestyle intervention or metformin for diabetes prevention: an intent-to-treat analysis of the DPP/DPPOS. Diabetes Care 2012;35:723-730.
8. Ornish D, Brown SE, Scherwitz LW, et al. Can lifestyle changes reverse coronary heart disease? The Lifestyle Heart Trial. Lancet 1990;336:129-133.
9. Esselstyn CB, Jr., Ellis SG, Medendorp SV, et al. A strategy to arrest and reverse coronary artery disease: a 5-year longitudinal study of a single physician's practice. J Fam Pract 1995;41:560-568.
10. Trikalinos TA, Alsheikh-Ali AA, Tatsioni A, et al. Percutaneous coronary interventions for non-acute coronary artery disease: a quantitative 20-year synopsis and a network meta-analysis. Lancet 2009;373:911-918.
11. Coylewright M, Blumenthal RS, Post W. Placing COURAGE in context: review of the recent literature on managing stable coronary artery disease. Mayo Clin Proc 2008;83:799-805.
12. Ahn YO, Park BJ, Yoo KY, et al. Incidence estimation of female breast cancer among Koreans. J Korean Med Sci 1994;9:328-334.
13. Jung KW, Park S, Kong HJ, et al. Cancer statistics in Korea: incidence, mortality, survival, and prevalence in 2009. Cancer Res Treat 2012;44:11-24.
14. Zhang J, Dhakal IB, Zhao Z, et al. Trends in mortality from cancers of the breast, colon, prostate, esophagus, and stomach in East Asia: role of nutrition transition. Eur J Cancer Prev 2012.
15. World Health Organization Mortality Tables. [http://apps.who.int/whosis/database/mort/table1.cfm]


It's up to us to spread the word

As I get older, I’ve learned to really be grateful for everything I have in my life to help me stay healthy- the knowledge about what to eat, the resources to buy healthy foods, taste buds that can appreciate the colorful flavors of a broad spectrum of plants, and waking up in the morning knowing that each day is a new day to treat my body well and enjoy the day.  Life is beautiful and so are the natural plant foods that keep us healthy.  Walk into a supermarket in America and we have a cornucopia of vegetables and fruits to choose from.  Now that it’s summer, we can purchase fresh cherries, blueberries, and peaches. We can open a watermelon on a hot day and relish in its ability to quench our thirst.  We have so much opportunity to make the right eating choices, even if it is as simple as eating an apple instead of a bag of chips. 

Peaches. Flickr: La Grande Farmers' Market

We are a lucky bunch. Unlike our parents, we have access to nutritional resources to educate ourselves about why plants are so protective against diseases, can keep us looking young by fighting free radicals and promote weight loss all while keeping us full and satisfied.  Healthy plant foods right from mother earth, deserve to be celebrated and every effort we make to keep ourselves healthy by eating them deserves to be celebrated too.

Each time we chose to eat a meal filled with real produce right as it comes from the earth, we deserve to give ourselves a pat on the back and feel gratitude for the simple wonderfulness that comes with the healing powers that plants can provide to us.  We owe it to ourselves to be reminded that taking care of ourselves is not something to be taken for granted and neither is the ability to buy healthy foods.  The knowledge we have in the fields of health and nutrition is unprecedented and even though most doctors aren’t taught a single nutrition class in medical school and the obesity epidemic continues to plague our country, we can do our part by setting a good example with our own eating choices, sharing what we’ve learned with our family and friends and continuing to model great health and spread positive health messages wherever we go. 

I’m beginning to see a growing movement of mindful eaters who are educating themselves about the true connection between chronic disease prevention and what we feed ourselves.  Eat To Live just became the #1 book on the New York Times bestseller list under paperback advice this week (congrats dad!).  While we still have a long way to go to get our nation on the path towards ideal health, I think we are living during an exciting time of a budding health conscientiousness movement.  I want to help this movement grow and flourish and I’ll bet lots of you do too.  ,I know we have all experienced that enhanced eating enjoyment when we eat meals that are flavorful, look great and are health promoting as well.  We have the knowledge, we have access to the right foods, and now we have people like you who continue to help spread the word that we truly are what we eat. 

Peace, Love, and Kale!

Dr. Fuhrman's nutrient-packed "Skinny Shake" as seen on The Dr. Oz Show

In preparation for my recent appearance on The Dr. Oz Show (you can watch online here), I was asked to share a recipe for a healthful drink that would support weight loss efforts and promote detoxification – something satisfying and delicious while low in calories; most important to me was that this drink would be packed with disease-fighting nutrients.

I chose a simple blended frozen drink of whole strawberries and pomegranate juice with ice plus a squeeze of lemon for a tangy flavor. Why strawberries and pomegranate juice? I did not make those choices arbitrarily – these are powerful foods with several human studies to substantiate their profound benefits.

Strawberry. Flickr: Bahadorjin

Antioxidant phytochemicals:

  • Anthocyanins (the most abundant antioxidants in berries) provide antioxidant protection on their own, plus they increase the production of cells’ own antioxidant enzymes.1 A 1.5 cup serving of strawberries increased antioxidant capacity in the blood of human subjects, building protection against oxidative damage.2
  • Pomegranate contains a unique antioxidant called punicalagin; it is the most abundant antioxidant in pomegranate, responsible for more than half of the antioxidant activity of pomegranate juice.3 Pomegranate juice has been found to reduce oxidative stress markers in healthy humans.4

Detoxification:

  • Ellagic acid, an antioxidant derived from berries and pomegranate interacts with a protein called Nrf-2 to increase expression of the body’s natural detoxification enzymes.5

Anti-cancer effects:

  • Strawberry and pomegranate extracts slowed cell growth and induced cell death in human cancer cells from several cancer types.6-9
  • Pomegranate and strawberries are both anti-angiogenic – strawberry extracts help to prevent growing tumors from acquiring a blood supply – preventing those tumors from receiving the nutrients that would allow them to grow larger.10-13
  • Pomegranate is one of the few foods (mushrooms are another) that contain natural aromatase inhibitors – this means that they inhibit the production of estrogen, which can reduce breast cancer risk.14
  • Strawberries and pomegranate have anti-inflammatory effects that may protect against cancer and other chronic diseases.5,15,16
  • Patients with precancerous esophageal lesions ate strawberries each day for six months.  The results were amazing – 29 out of the 36 patients in the study experienced a decrease in the histological grade of their lesion – this means that the progression toward cancer began to reverse, and the risk of the lesions becoming cancerous had decreased.17 

 Pomegranate. Flickr: veganheathen

Cardioprotective effects:

  • Higher strawberry intake is associated with reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease.18
  • Human trials have found that daily consumption of strawberries decreases total and LDL cholesterol, and pomegranate phytochemicals reduce LDL oxidation (a contributor to atherosclerotic plaque development).19-22
  • Strawberry and pomegranate phytochemicals have blood pressure-reducing properties.23-25
  • In a study of patients with severe carotid artery blockages, after one ounce of pomegranate juice daily for one year, there was a 30 percent reduction in atherosclerotic plaque. In striking contrast, in the participants who did not take the pomegranate juice atherosclerotic plaque increased by 9 percent.22

Anti-diabetes effects:

  • Strawberry and pomegranate phytochemicals have actions on certain digestive enzymes that can result in reduced glucose levels following a meal.26
  • Ellagic acid, which can be derived from berries or pomegranate, reduced secretion by fat cells of an inflammatory molecule that is thought to contribute to insulin resistance.27
  • Adding strawberries to a meal was shown to reduce the insulin response in overweight adults.15

Looking at these effects all together, it is astounding what these foods can do for our health. The “Skinny Shake” has much more to offer than taste and satisfaction with minimal calories. Berries (and pomegranate) make up the second ‘B’ in G-BOMBS, my list of super foods with good reason!

Dr. Fuhrman’s Skinny Shake

Ingredients:

4 ounces pomegranate juice

1 cup frozen strawberries

1 cup of ice

Squeeze of lemon

Directions: Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender.

 

References:

1. Shih PH, Yeh CT, Yen GC. Anthocyanins induce the activation of phase II enzymes through the antioxidant response element pathway against oxidative stress-induced apoptosis. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemis ry 2007;55:9427-9435.
2. Cao G, Russell RM, Lischner N, et al. Serum antioxidant capacity is increased by consumption of strawberries, spinach, red wine or vitamin C in elderly women. J Nutr 1998;128:2383-2390.
3. Heber D: Pomegranate Ellagitannins. In Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects 2nd Edition. Edited by Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor, S.: CRC Press; 2011
4. Aviram M, Dornfeld L, Rosenblat M, et al. Pomegranate juice consumption reduces oxidative stress, atherogenic modifications to LDL, and platelet aggregation: studies in humans and in atherosclerotic apolipoprotein E-deficient mice. Am J Clin Nutr 2000;71:1062-1076.
5. Panchal SK, Ward L, Brown L. Ellagic acid attenuates high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet-induced metabolic syndrome in rats. Eur J Nutr 2012.
6. Stoner GD, Wang LS, Casto BC. Laboratory and clinical studies of cancer chemoprevention by antioxidants in berries. Carcinogenesis 2008;29:1665-1674.
7. Kim ND, Mehta R, Yu W, et al. Chemopreventive and adjuvant therapeutic potential of pomegranate (Punica granatum) for human breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2002;71:203-217.
8. Kohno H, Suzuki R, Yasui Y, et al. Pomegranate seed oil rich in conjugated linolenic acid suppresses chemically induced colon carcinogenesis in rats. Cancer Sci 2004;95:481-486.
9. Kawaii S, Lansky EP. Differentiation-promoting activity of pomegranate (Punica granatum) fruit extracts in HL-60 human promyelocytic leukemia cells. J Med Food 2004;7:13-18.
10. Roy S, Khanna S, Alessio HM, et al. Anti-angiogenic property of edible berries. Free Radic Res 2002;36:1023-1031.
11. Khan N, Afaq F, Kweon MH, et al. Oral consumption of pomegranate fruit extract inhibits growth and progression of primary lung tumors in mice. Cancer Res 2007;67:3475-3482.
12. Toi M, Bando H, Ramachandran C, et al. Preliminary studies on the anti-angiogenic potential of pomegranate fractions in vitro and in vivo. Angiogenesis 2003;6:121-128.
13. Sartippour MR, Seeram NP, Rao JY, et al. Ellagitannin-rich pomegranate extract inhibits angiogenesis in prostate cancer in vitro and in vivo. Int J Oncol 2008;32:475-480.
14. Adams LS, Zhang Y, Seeram NP, et al. Pomegranate ellagitannin-derived compounds exhibit antiproliferative and antiaromatase activity in breast cancer cells in vitro. Cancer Prev Res (Phila) 2010;3:108-113.
15. Edirisinghe I, Banaszewski K, Cappozzo J, et al. Strawberry anthocyanin and its association with postprandial inflammation and insulin. Br J Nutr 2011;106:913-922.
16. Adams LS, Seeram NP, Aggarwal BB, et al. Pomegranate juice, total pomegranate ellagitannins, and punicalagin suppress inflammatory cell signaling in colon cancer cells. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemis ry 2006;54:980-985.
17. American Association for Cancer Research. Strawberries May Slow Precancerous Growth in Esophagus. 2011. http://aacrnews.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/strawberries-may-slow-precancerous-growth-in-esophagus/. Accessed
18. Mink PJ, Scrafford CG, Barraj LM, et al. Flavonoid intake and cardiovascular disease mortality: a prospective study in postmenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;85:895-909.
19. Basu A, Lyons TJ. Strawberries, Blueberries, and Cranberries in the Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Perspectives. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemis ry 2011.
20. Zunino SJ, Parelman MA, Freytag TL, et al. Effects of dietary strawberry powder on blood lipids and inflammatory markers in obese human subjects. Br J Nutr 2011:1-10.
21. Basu A, Wilkinson M, Penugonda K, et al. Freeze-dried strawberry powder improves lipid profile and lipid peroxidation in women with metabolic syndrome: baseline and post intervention effects. Nutr J 2009;8:43.
22. Aviram M, Rosenblat M, Gaitini D, et al. Pomegranate juice consumption for 3 years by patients with carotid artery stenosis reduces common carotid intima-media thickness, blood pressure and LDL oxidation. Clin Nutr 2004;23:423-433.
23. Cassidy A, O'Reilly EJ, Kay C, et al. Habitual intake of flavonoid subclasses and incident hypertension in adults. Am J Clin Nutr 2011;93:338-347.
24. Aviram M, Dornfeld L. Pomegranate juice consumption inhibits serum angiotensin converting enzyme activity and reduces systolic blood pressure. Atherosclerosis 2001;158:195-198.
25. Aviram M, Volkova N, Coleman R, et al. Pomegranate phenolics from the peels, arils, and flowers are antiatherogenic: studies in vivo in atherosclerotic apolipoprotein e-deficient (E 0) mice and in vitro in cultured macrophages and lipoproteins. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemis ry 2008;56:1148-1157.
26. McDougall GJ, Stewart D. The inhibitory effects of berry polyphenols on digestive enzymes. Biofactors 2005;23:189-195.
27. Makino-Wakagi Y, Yoshimura Y, Uzawa Y, et al. Ellagic acid in pomegranate suppresses resistin secretion by a novel regulatory mechanism involving the degradation of intracellular resistin protein in adipocytes. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2012;417:880-885.

Thank you for making Eat to Live #1 on the New York Times Best Seller List

Eat to Live bookWhen millions of Americans look at the New York Times Best Seller List this coming Sunday, June 24, they will see Eat to Live, now a #1 New York Times Best Seller! 

Today, as a newly minted #1 New York Times Best Selling author, I am sending a message of thanks to those who share this monumental accomplishment with me.

Thank you to all of the nutritarians out there – you had the leadership qualities and clarity of thought to make judgments uninfluenced by authority, egos and personal preferences; you were able to slice through all the noise, peer pressure and herd mentality to recognize that Eat To Live is simply the ideal and most scientifically sophisticated way to lose weight, protect one’s health and promote longevity.  

Thank you to all of my supporters who helped to bring the Eat to Live program to those who desperately need it. As early adopters, you spread this message and mission of hope and it snowballed, so now many Americans are aware and eating healthier.  You read the book, reclaimed your health, and then got the word out, so that others could do the same. Never before has a message of real nutritional merit ever reached so many.

 

So, a congratulations is in order to all of us nutritarians!

I am blessed to have a career that is fun, rewarding and has benefited so many lives.  I wish we could all have a big party together this weekend at my house to celebrate.   I would invite you all over, but my house is a mess as my kids are all home from college.

Let us all celebrate together in spirit.

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It's time for our country to accept that poor diets are just as bad as smoking

If you are reading this blog, you probably already recognize what I am about to report and have read about why it is so important that we make wise eating choices.  However, most Americans are not like the average DiseaseProof reader and I’m willing to bet many people believe still believe that whether or not we get cancer depends on the genes we are dealt or even luck.  Most will agree that smoking is a cause of cancer, but what about what we eat? Will most people agree that our food choice make a difference in whether or not we get cancer down the road? Well, interestingly nutritional research scientists are now coming to the same conclusion as my father, indicating that, yes, our diets can be just as disease-promoting as smoking cigarettes. 

Cigarette. Flickr: ConanilThese findings were published by the World Cancer Research Fund in an article entitled, “Food, Nutrition and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective.” The report was the most comprehensive and systematic of its kind and involved 286 specialists who went through 500,000 scientific articles concerning 17 different types of cancer. The uncontestable findings were that 40 percent of all forms of cancer can be prevented by eating a well balanced diet, maintaining a normal body weight and participating in a moderate amount of physical activity. Head researcher, Jan Erik Paulsen, noted that the evidence shows that a bad diet is more likely to be a cause of cancer than smoking tobacco. 

The specialists on Paulsen’s team found that low carbohydrate diets that recommend red meat such as beef, pork, lamb and game, were particularly disease-promoting.  People who consume large quantities of red meat in order to keep their weight in check can end up getting cancer instead. 

What properties of red meat make it so dangerous? The researchers believe it is the combination of nitrates, heme iron and other substances found in red meats.  Nitrate reacts with heme iron to form a compound called nitrosyl hemoglobin, which can trigger certain types of cancer.  

Paulsen declared, “My theory is that heme iron is so stable that it survives the digestion of meat in the small intestine and goes on undamaged to reach the colon. Here it reacts with the metabolites (intermediate and end-products of metabolism), which are produced by the bacterial flora and forms nitrosamines, which are known to cause cancer.”

However, it is not just red meat that we should be wary of.  Unprocessed meats can be just as dangerous because they can use nitrite already in the stomach (produced from other foods) and form nitrosyl hemoglobin. Combine our diets of processed foods with animal products and limited quantities of vegetables and we’ve created the perfect cancer forming stew. 

Of course my father, Dr. Fuhrman disagrees, because he does not recommend a “balanced diet” to reduce cancer rates by 40 percent.  He recommends a nutritarian diet specifically designed with a portfolio of the world’s most powerful anti-cancer foods.  Dr. Fuhrman suggests that superior nutrition can decrease cancer death rates by 90 percent, not merely 40 percent.   This is because the dietary intervention he suggests is more rigorous and effective at preventing cancer and it is supported by tremendous evidence and clinical experience.  There are multiple studies on optimal consumption of super foods and cancer (his G-BOMBS list), and the statistics on very low rates of cancer in parts of the world that ate better more than 50 years ago before fast food and processed food became ubiquitous.  These populations had less than 10 percent of the cancer we see today. 

Cancer rates are now predicted to climb in the next few decades and the numbers aren’t pretty.  Globally, cancer rates are projected to rise by as much as 75 percent by the year 2030, while cancer rates in the poorest countries are predicted to double as more people are consuming a Western diet style.  These numbers are sad, yet what is even sadder is that many of them would have been prevented with changes in lifestyle. I think we need to begin to take responsibility as a country and begin accepting that our junk food lifestyle can no longer be acceptable.  We can make healthy eating taste great and we have the knowledge now to know which foods promote cancer and which foods prevent it.  It’s up to all of us to take care of our own bodies, but also to spread the word about eating healthfully to those we care about.  Until our nation declares that the salad should be the main dish or that we can reduce our risks of cancer by eating foods like mushrooms, cruciferous greens, and onions, we need to take this matter into our own hands and do our part. Every little bit counts.  

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The refrigerator is never the solution

Four years ago this summer I began the journey to get my health back by choosing to wholeheartedly follow Eat to Live, and it’s been one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made in my life. 

Not only did I get my health back, the tranformation has had a rippling effect on my family, friends, community, and even complete strangers. As a result, many are now committed, or seriously considering, nutritarian eating for the rest of their lives also.

If I've learned anything these past four years, I've learned that food is NEVER a solution to any problem, stressed-filled day, or emotional high or low. Ever. If one turns to food, it magnifies problems, big time.

 

Emotional health is never achieved via the refrigerator, cupboard, or drive-thru, that's for sure.

No matter how much we try to keep stress out of our lives, we all have *stuff* to deal with on a daily basis . . . .it is called living life.

Life is full of ups and downs, joys and sorrows, pleasures and pains; it's what makes our lives interesting. We are who we are today due to the experiences that we've all lived through: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

We must separate food from this day-to-day stuff that we experience. If we don't, we are undone. 

  • Are you thrilled and happy? Gather some friends and dance to some lively music! Play games together, tell jokes and stories. Enjoy life; don’t abuse your body with food.
  • Are you down-in-the-dumps? Go to bed early. Problems always look different after a nap or a good night’s sleep. Get help from supportive individuals; don’t abuse your body with food.
  • Are you overbooked with too many responsibilities on your plate? Schedule an appointment with a professional counselor or life coach to help you prioritize, develop a workable solution, and whittle away unnecessary tasks; don’t abuse your body with food.
  • Are you overcome with grief? Cry until you have no more tears. It’s okay to cry. Sometimes life gets unbearable and emotional pain goes deep. Call trusted friends. Close friends want to help you and be there for you; don’t abuse your body with food.

Abusing one's body with food, complicates problems, enhances sorrows, and adds an extra layer of fragility and tragedy to life. Addictive food and drugs are never a solution.

You'll be pleasantly surprised just how fulfilling your life really is as you allow the up-and-downs of life polish and refine you; instead of escaping to the refrigerator, cupboard, or drive-thru.

Cheers of the best health that’s possible to all ~ through all of life's circumstances!

Always.

Cruciferous vegetable intake improves survival in women with breast cancer

Bok choy

At the recent American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting, new evidence highlighted the importance of cruciferous vegetables for breast cancer protection

The cruciferous vegetable family:

Arugula

Cauliflower Red cabbage
Bok Choy Collards Rutabaga
Broccoli Horseradish Turnips
Broccoli rabe Kale Turnip greens
Broccolini Kohlrabi Watercress
Brussels sprouts Mustard greens  
Cabbage Radish  

The cruciferous family is unique among vegetables because of their glucosinolate content – glucosinolates give cruciferous vegetables their characteristic spicy or bitter tastes; when the plant cell walls are broken by blending, chopping, or chewing, an enzyme called myrosinase converts glucosinolates to isothiocyanates (ITCs) – compounds with potent anti-cancer effects, including:1

  • Anti-inflammatory effects – ITCs have been found to decrease the secretion of inflammatory molecules.
  •  Anti-angiogenic effects – isothiocyanates can inhibit the development of new blood vessels to limit tumor growth.
  • Detoxification of carcinogens – Some carcinogens must be converted to their active form before they can bind DNA to cause carcinogenic changes – isothiocyanates can block this transformation.
  • Preventing DNA damage – Isothiocyanates also increase the production of our body’s natural detoxification enzymes, which protect DNA against damage from carcinogens and free radicals.
  • Stopping cell division in cells whose DNA has been damaged
  • Promoting programmed cell death in cancerous cells
  • Anti-estrogenic activity – Exposure to estrogen is known to increase breast cancer risk; estrogens can alter gene expression, promoting cell proliferation breast tissue. ITCs have been shown to inhibit the expression of estrogen-responsive genes.
  • Shifting hormone metabolism – Eating cruciferous vegetables regularly helps the body to shift hormone metabolism, reducing the cancer-promoting potency of estrogen and other hormones.

Eating cruciferous vegetables produces measurable isothiocyanates in breast tissue2, and observational studies show that women who eat more cruciferous vegetables are less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer: In a recent Chinese study, women who regularly ate one serving per day of cruciferous vegetables had a 50% reduced risk of breast cancer.3 A 17% decrease in breast cancer risk was found in a European study for consuming cruciferous vegetables at least once a week.4

What about women who already have cancer? Is it too late for cruciferous vegetables to improve their prognosis?

We know that childhood and adolescence are the most crucial timesfor environmental stimuli to affect breast cancer risk, but changes made during adulthood and even after diagnosis still have the potential to create positive changes in the body.

The new study kept track of cruciferous vegetable intake in Chinese women with breast cancer for the first 3 years after diagnosis, and followed the women for a total of 5 years. They found dose-response effects – this means that the more cruciferous vegetables women ate, the less likely they were to experience breast cancer recurrence or die from breast cancer. When the women were grouped into four quartiles of cruciferous vegetable consumption, in the highest quartile had a 62% decrease in risk of death and 35% reduced risk of recurrence compared to the lowest quartile.5

This new data supports a previous report from the Women’s Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) study. Breast cancer survivors who reported higher than median cruciferous vegetable intake and were in the top third of total vegetable intake had a 52% reduced risk of recurrence – especially powerful since the average intakes were quite low – 3.1 and 0.5 servings/day of total and cruciferous vegetables, respectively.6

Don’t forget: cruciferous vegetables must be chopped, crushed, or chewed well for maximum benefit!

The myrosinase enzyme is physically separated from the glucosinolates in the intact vegetables, but when the plant cells are broken, the chemical reaction can occur and ITCs can be formed. The more you chop before cooking (or chew if you are eating the vegetables raw), the better. Some ITC benefit may be lost with boiling or steaming, so we get the maximum benefit from eating cruciferous vegetables raw – however, gut bacteria also have the myrosinase enzyme, so additional ITC production may occur in cooked cruciferous vegetables after we eat them. Also, we can increase ITC production from cooked cruciferous vegetables by having some shredded raw cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, kale, collards or arugula in a salad in the same meal to supply the myrosinase enzyme, which the body can use during the digestive process.

Read more about breast cancer prevention.

 

References:

1. Higdon J, Delage B, Williams D, et al. Cruciferous vegetables and human cancer risk: epidemiologic evidence and mechanistic basis. Pharmacol Res 2007;55:224-236.

2. Cornblatt BS, Ye L, Dinkova-Kostova AT, et al. Preclinical and clinical evaluation of sulforaphane for chemoprevention in the breast. Carcinogenesis 2007;28:1485-1490.

3. Zhang CX, Ho SC, Chen YM, et al. Greater vegetable and fruit intake is associated with a lower risk of breast cancer among Chinese women. Int J Cancer 2009;125:181-188.

4. Bosetti C, Filomeno M, Riso P, et al. Cruciferous vegetables and cancer risk in a network of case-control studies. Ann Oncol 2012.

5. Nechuta SJ, Lu W, Cai H, et al: Cruciferous Vegetable Intake After Diagnosis of Breast Cancer and Survival: a Report From the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study. Abstract #LB-322. In Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2012 Mar 31-Apr 4. Chicago, Il; 2012.

6. Thomson CA, Rock CL, Thompson PA, et al. Vegetable intake is associated with reduced breast cancer recurrence in tamoxifen users: a secondary analysis from the Women's Healthy Eating and Living Study. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2011;125:519-527.

 

 

 

 

Reaction To My Dad On the Dr. Oz Show!

The Dr. Oz ShowToday I was truly inspired by what people can do if they put their minds to it.  I was lucky enough to snag a seat in the audience of a taping of the Dr. Oz show, which featured my dad as a guest.  My dad was energetic and aroused the audience nimbly with his discerning nutritional advice.  However, what really touched me were the guests who came on the show to describe their success stories. To witness what this advice can actually do for people when they apply it and stick to the program was incredibly inspiring.  I think my dad can agree that these success stories are the most thrilling aspect of his career.  I can see why- the thankfulness, happiness, and renewed sense of hope for a better life was so apparent in each guest that I couldn’t help but feel grateful myself for the healing powers of natural, nutrient-dense plant foods and what they can do for people.

Each of the success stories on the show didn’t starve themselves, count calories, reduce portion sizes, or cut fat.  They made a lifestyle change with vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds as the stars of their diets. Over a period of weeks, they got used to eating these foods and began enjoying them without cravings for the junk foods on their old diets.  Our taste buds adapt, as my dad likes to say, and they found nutrient-rich recipes that they enjoyed the best.  The positive energy was flowing freely with each and every smile of the guests as they discussed how eating foods like three bean chili, eggplant roll-ups, and chickpea “popcorn,” helped them drop the pounds like it’s hot and bikini season is coming up.

Being extremely overweight or obese cannot be a walk in a rosy park.   While I cannot personally rock a transformation story like Emily Boller (she was one of the guests on the show!), anyone can see that going from obese to slim must be nothing short of life changing. One of the success stories featured on the show had lost over 200 pounds, another 91 pounds.  Seriously, what an achievement! 

Given that the American public continues to get larger and our weight problems are not going to disappear unless we make drastic lifestyle changes, this show was a ray of light amid the formidable storm that is the obesity epidemic.  It really is a force to be reckoned with- if trends continue, 83 percent of men and 72 percent of women are projected to be overweight or obese by 2020. These numbers come from Mark Huffman, an assistant professor of preventive medicine and cardiology at Northwestern University who presented them at the annual scientific meeting of the American Heart Association.1 Even he was shocked by the numbers. 

All we need is the knowledge about healthy eating and the will to give it a shot.  I think this Dr. Oz episode has the power to inspire viewers to make the right changes.  Seeing people who have already had success at losing a lot of weight and have kept that weight off is empowering. They are a testament that people can achieve ideal health via a nutritarian diet and the delicious, hearty meals that go along with it.  The show aired this past Monday June 4th at 4:00 pm. For those of you who had the chance to watch it, were you inspired too? Are there any of you reading this whom have had the life changing experience of going from very overweight or obese to slim and fit? I love to hear about your experiences in the comments section to share with other readers as well as myself.

 

Reference:

1. Huffman, Mark. Cardiovascular Health Behavior and Health Factor Changes (1988-2008) and Projections to 2020: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES)

 

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Let the food revolution begin!

Four years ago I was obese and my blood pressure was averaging 155/95, and now it's consistently around 105/65 . . .without medication.

My 86-year-old mother, Helen, gave herself injections of insulin four times a day for over twenty years, and today she’s no longer taking it.

Pam, having ovarian cancer, and told by a couple of physicians that she only had a few months to live, decided not to accept that fate -  and that was fourteen years ago. Today she glows with a vibrant radiance seldom seen in women her age. (Pam's interview will be featured on Disease Proof in the near future; stay tuned.) 

Elisa, in her late 20’s, was bedridden and unable to function due to the devastation of lupus symptoms. She was put on nearly thirty medications to no avail. Today, in her early 30’s, her blood tests are normal, and she’s off all medications, except one as needed. She has her life back and shines with exuberant health.

Anthony, a young high school graduate was obese and heading down a dangerous path. Today he is slender and buff, and most importantly bypassing a future of obesity related diseases.

Bonnie was a young woman who had cystic acne so bad that it was painful to smile, and the blemishes eroded her self esteem. Her dermatologist said that diet wouldn’t help, and she was put on several prescription drugs over the years. Nothing worked. However, today she no longer has acne flare ups and is medication free.

Augie, at the age of 83, takes no medications, feels great, and has run in 40 marathons since his 70th birthday. His youthfulness is evident to all.      

Barb was succumbing to the typical symptoms of middle age women; increase in PMS, bloating and fatigue that led to inactivity. Today she’s trim and active; hiking mountainous terrain and riding her bike to work.

Scott, having lost 333 lbs without gastric bypass surgery is no longer homebound and today is a serious cyclist.

Jodi, having suffered with incapacitating psoriasis for over 30 years and the terrible side effects of meds to alleviate the rashes finally is symptom free without medication. Today her skin glows with radiant beauty.

Mark was on four prescriptions for asthma, and used an inhaler every morning upon waking up. Being a middle aged man who lost his father to heart disease, Mark lived in fear of experiencing a heart attack. Today he no longer has asthma, is medication-free, and is off the radar screen for heart disease. 

I’ve personally interacted with each person named above. They are the real deal. And they are just the tip of the iceberg of people all over America and beyond who are getting their health restored by following Dr. Fuhrman’s high-nutrient eating style. 

 

For years we've been led to believe that disease is just a part of the aging process; lulled to sleep by scribble marks on a prescription pad.

Perhaps some doctors and pharmaceutical companies have been misleading us. 

Perhaps in the past we didn’t know any better, but now that we know the truth we will choose to no longer live in ignorance. 

Enough is enough. It’s time to get smart.

The time has come for all of us to wake-up and jump on board the food revolution; and I’m not talking about the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution that adds butter and cheese to cream sauces, or grass fed beef to homemade noodles, or campaigns relentlessly for the removal of chocolate flavored milk from school lunches.

I’m talking about the kind of food revolution that eradicates unnecessary and expensive diseases from our bodies; the kind that prevents and reverses diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, and kills cancer . . . .the nutritarian food revolution!

The change of one person is a transformation. 

The change of many is a revolution.

Let the real food revolution begin ~ the nutritarian revolution!   

 

 

Related posts: 

Jamie Oliver Food Revolution

Dr. Fuhrman's thoughts on Emily's 'Jamie Oliver Food Revolution' post

 

Watch Dr. Fuhrman on The Dr. Oz show Monday June 4th!

The Dr. Oz ShowDr. Fuhrman will be appearing on The Dr. Oz show on Monday, June 4 on The FOX Network. 

Check your local listings for the correct time and channel for your area.

 

  

Enjoy the show! After you watch, please leave your comments for Dr. Fuhrman here.

 

 

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