USDA: Don't go meatless, not even one day a week

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is in a peculiar position.  They are tasked with two potentially contradictory missions: 1- promoting the sales of American agricultural commodities and 2- providing dietary recommendations to guide Americans toward healthy choices.  Clearly, this is a conflict of interest. For example, the USDA advises reducing saturated fat (“solid fats”), while simultaneously promoting sales and consumption of cheese, the primary source of saturated fat in the American diet.

USDA MyPlate

If the USDA aims to help Americans make healthier choices, they need to recommend eating less of something – and the meat, dairy, egg and sugar industries all put pressure on the USDA not to single out of any of their products as a “food to reduce.”

Science-based guidelines constructed by the USDA are inevitably corrupted by political and economic forces. As a result, the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans has consistently included recommendations for excessive amounts of meat, eggs, and dairy products, and underemphasized the importance of vegetables, beans, fruits, and nuts. Consequently many Americans think that humans need dairy products to get adequate calcium, meat to get adequate protein, etc. Any advice that refers to reducing animal foods is purposely vague, referring to food components rather than specific foods: “Consume less than 10% of calories from saturated fatty acids” and “Consume less than 300 mg per day of dietary cholesterol” rather than explicitly “Limit meat, eggs and cheese.”

The USDA’s inability to produce science-based recommendations was clearly illustrated in events that transpired earlier this week. An internal USDA newsletter that discussed ways that staff at USDA headquarters can reduce their environmental impact, circulated earlier in the week, offering a suggestion that employees consider taking part in the Meatless Monday initiative:

Meatless Monday“One simple way to reduce your environmental impact while dining at our cafeterias is to participate in the “Meatless Monday” initiative http://www.meatlessmonday.com/. This international effort, as the name implies, encourages people not to eat meat on Mondays. Meatless Monday is an initiative of The Monday Campaign Inc. in association with the John Hopkins School of Public Health.

How will going meatless one day of the week help the environment? The production of meat, especially beef (and dairy as well), has a large environmental impact. According to the U.N., animal agriculture is a major source of greenhouse gases and climate change. It also wastes resources.  It takes 7,000 kg of grain to make 1,000 kg of beef. In addition, beef production requires a lot of water, fertilizer, fossil fuels, and pesticides.  In addition there are many health concerns related to the excessive consumption of meat. While a vegetarian diet could have a beneficial impact on a person’s health and the environment, many people are not ready to make that commitment. Because Meatless Monday involves only one day a week, it is a small change that could produce big results.”

This newsletter provoked a harsh response from the National Cattleman’s Beef Association (NCBA).  The President of NCBA called the Meatless Monday initiative “an animal rights extremist campaign to ultimately end meat consumption,” claimed that the newsletter “calls into question USDA’s commitment to U.S. farmers and ranchers,” and even went so far as to say, “When it comes to health, beef has an amazing story to tell. Beef is a naturally nutrient-rich food, helping you get more nutrition from the calories you take in.”

Of course, abstaining from meat one day a week is not nearly enough to bring about excellent health (and it is astounding that so many Americans consider going without meat for one day a hardship). However, healthful, plant-centered eating is gaining momentum: news reports about the disease-reversing power of plant foods are becoming more and more common. The lack of safety of factory-farmed animal products are coming to light with more and more food recalls and stories of dangerous contaminations with fecal bacteria. The public was outraged about “pink slime.” People are looking for ways to reduce the amount of animal products in their diets. The cattlemen are worried, and rightfully so.

The USDA quelled the NCBA’s outrage by responding with a statement saying that the newsletter was posted without proper clearance, and bluntly stating “USDA does not endorse Meatless Monday.”

Several studies have drawn links between higher red meat or total meat consumption and premature death.1-5 The links between meat and chronic disease are numerous:

  • Cooking meats (not just red meats) at high temperatures produces dietary carcinogens.6  
  • Additional carcinogens are formed from meats during the digestion process.7-9 
  • Excess heme iron (found only in animal foods) is an oxidant that contributes to cardiovascular disease and dementia.10, 11
  • High milk consumption is associated with increased risk of prostate and ovarian cancers.12, 13
  • Animal protein raises blood IGF-1 levels, and elevated IGF-1 is linked to increased cancer risk.14, 15
  • The World Cancer Research Fund, in a 2011 update of their comprehensive report Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Colorectal Cancer,, has declared that red and processed meats are a convincing cause of colon cancer.16

 

Yet, the USDA cannot make a simple suggestion to abstain from meat one-seventh of the time.

 

Although the USDA’s original position was related to environment not health, it is clear to see that the USDA is not prepared to make any recommendations that might upset the giants of animal agriculture.  Although USDA’s MyPlate was a small positive step, recommending that half of Americans’ plates consist of vegetables and fruits, this Meatless Monday situation shows that how heavily the USDA is influenced by the meat industry; they cannot possibly make recommendations that are science-based.

Bottom Line: don’t trust the USDA to tell you what to eat.  Let science guide your food choices; the foods consistently associated with reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and premature death are not meat and milk; they are vegetables, beans, fruits, seeds and nuts.

 

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. Zheng W, Lee S-A. Well-Done Meat Intake, Heterocyclic Amine Exposure, and Cancer Risk. Nutr Cancer 2009;61:437-446.
7. WCRF/AICR Expert Report, Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective.: World Cancer Research Fund; 2007.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. Brewer GJ. Iron and copper toxicity in diseases of aging, particularly atherosclerosis and Alzheimer's disease. Exp Biol Med 2007;232:323-335.
11. Brewer GJ. Risks of copper and iron toxicity during aging in humans. Chem Res Toxicol 2010;23:319-326.
12. Larsson SC, Orsini N, Wolk A. Milk, milk products and lactose intake and ovarian cancer risk: a meta-analysis of epidemiological studies. Int J Cancer 2006;118:431-441.
13. Qin LQ, Xu JY, Wang PY, et al. Milk consumption is a risk factor for prostate cancer in Western countries: evidence from cohort studies. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2007;16:467-476.
14. Thissen JP, Ketelslegers JM, Underwood LE. Nutritional regulation of the insulin-like growth factors. Endocr Rev 1994;15:80-101.
15. 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.
16. 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.

 

 

Vitamin D: powerful cancer protection

VitaminsVitamin D insufficiency is common among Americans overall but more prevalent among African Americans. A recent review of the literature suggests that vitamin D insufficiency is a key contributor to cancer survival disparities that exist between African Americans and white Americans (darker skin is less efficient at producing vitamin D in response to UV rays).1 A striking part of this literature review is the comprehensive summary of the existing data on vitamin D status and cancer survival: the authors present a long list of studies reporting that vitamin D adequacy is associated with reduced risk of death in all cancers combined, breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate cancer, leukemia and lymphomas.1

A protective effect of vitamin D against cancers was first proposed in 1980, based on an earlier observation that colon cancer mortality was the highest in geographical areas exposed to the least amounts of sunlight.2,3

Several more studies of geographical variations in cancers have found the same result: inverse relationships exist between sun exposure and 24 types of cancer, including the most common cancers – those of the breast, colon, rectum, and prostate.4, 5

Since 1980, evidence for the involvement of vitamin D in the relationship between sun exposure and decreased cancer risk has progressively accumulated, as associations were found between blood vitamin D levels and reduced risk of cancers.6, 7 Further support for the importance of vitamin D in cancer prevention was provided by randomized controlled trials of vitamin D supplementation that showed reduced cancer risk compared to placebo.  There have also been many reports that vitamin D receptor gene mutations, which interfere with the normal biological actions of vitamin D, were associated with increased cancer risk.8-10

Additional studies confirmed that vitamin D has growth-inhibitory effects on cells derived from breast, colon, prostate, and skin cancers.11 Vitamin D can block cancer cell growth in a number of ways: Vitamin D alters the expression of genes that regulate inflammation, cell death and cell proliferation, and also interferes with the growth-promoting actions of IGF-1 and other growth factors. Additional anti-cancer effects of vitamin D include enhanced DNA repair and immune defenses, and angiogenesis inhibition.12

Today, over 800 scientific papers have been published on the relationship between vitamin D and cancers. We now have ample evidence that maintaining adequate vitamin D levels is an effective strategy for protection against cancer.

Considering all of this evidence, achieving vitamin D sufficiency is so very important. Unfortunately, the Institute of Medicine is hesitant to significantly raise its vitamin D recommendations, so most multivitamins still do not contain nearly enough vitamin D (only 400 IU) to offer the security that a normal Vitamin D level will be achieved. This is an important reason why I designed my new Men’s and Women’s Daily Formula + D multivitamins to include 2000 IU of vitamin D3.  In my experience, 2000 IU has been an appropriate dose to bring most people into the favorable blood 25(OH)D range of 30-50 ng/ml (I also recommend getting a blood test to confirm adequate levels). These are the only multivitamin supplements with a 2000 IU dose of D3 plus no folic acid, beta-carotene, copper, and vitamin A. This enables most people to get everything they need without needing to take multiple different products.  For extra assurance, I’ve also utilized Vitamin D3 because of its highest biological value thus offering the most protection, which also is most effective for raising 25(OH)D levels.13 My goal is to make it as easy as possible to maintain healthy vitamin D levels, with plenty of D3 in a multivitamin which also gives you everything else that is worthy of supplementing, and carefully avoiding those supplemental ingredients that are potentially harmful; so additional supplements aren’t necessary to obtain the anti-cancer and bone-protective benefits of vitamin D and the other recommended nutrients. 

 

References:

1. Grant WB, Peris AN. Differences in vitamin D status may account for unexplained disparities in cancer survival rates between African and White Americans. DermatoEndocrinology 2012;4.
2. Garland CF, Garland FC. Do sunlight and vitamin D reduce the likelihood of colon cancer? Int J Epidemiol 1980;9:227-231.
3. Apperly FL. The Relation of Solar Radiation to Cancer Mortality in North America. Cancer Res 1941;1:191-195.
4. Grant WB, Garland CF. The association of solar ultraviolet B (UVB) with reducing risk of cancer: multifactorial ecologic analysis of geographic variation in age-adjusted cancer mortality rates. Anticancer Res 2006;26:2687-2699.
5. Grant WB. Ecological studies of the UVB-vitamin D-cancer hypothesis. Anticancer Res 2012;32:223-236.
6. Gandini S, Boniol M, Haukka J, et al. Meta-analysis of observational studies of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and colorectal, breast and prostate cancer and colorectal adenoma. Int J Cancer 2011;128:1414-1424.
7. Grant WB. Relation between prediagnostic serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level and incidence of breast, colorectal, and other cancers. J Photochem Photobiol B 2010;101:130-136.
8. Kostner K, Denzer N, Muller CS, et al. The relevance of vitamin D receptor (VDR) gene polymorphisms for cancer: a review of the literature. Anticancer Res 2009;29:3511-3536.
9. Lappe JM, Travers-Gustafson D, Davies KM, et al. Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk: results of a randomized trial. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;85:1586-1591.
10. Bolland MJ, Grey A, Gamble GD, et al. Calcium and vitamin D supplements and health outcomes: a reanalysis of the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) limited-access data set. Am J Clin Nutr 2011;94:1144-1149.
11. Fleet JC. Molecular actions of vitamin D contributing to cancer prevention. Mol Aspects Med 2008;29:388-396.
12. Fleet JC, DeSmet M, Johnson R, et al. Vitamin D and cancer: a review of molecular mechanisms. Biochem J 2012;441:61-76.
13. Tripkovic L, Lambert H, Hart K, et al. Comparison of vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 supplementation in raising serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D status: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr 2012.

Have you ever heard someone say, "I'd rather enjoy my food and die early than eat healthfully and live long"?

People have exclaimed this phrase countless times to me when I explain to them what my diet is like. “Where is the decadence, the fat, the richness?” they proclaim when I tell them I don’t eat animal foods. “I don’t think I could live without a good steak every now and then,” I’ve heard on one too many social encounters. It seems as if a good chunk of the people I meet simply have no idea how much I love eating healthfully more than conventional food, not only because it keeps me feeling well in the present and will protect me from diseases later in life, but because it is one heck of a tasty diet. They just assume I am sacrificing enjoyment of life for a little better health, and it is not worth it.

I think people who have never given the nutritarian diet style a try might be skeptical about the taste of these foods and recipes and that is understandable. We like the foods we get used to eating. We are creatures of habit after all, and the foods we eat the most often become our comfort foods. It’s weird to me that people often believe that healthy foods are not as tasty as a bag of chips, a can of soda or even an oil heavy foie gras at a five star restaurant, for example. But I guess that is because other people get used to eating these types of foods early in their lives and I have never touched them. I’m sure that’s why people assume my diet of roasted butternut squash soups, lentil and mushroom veggie “meatloafs”, organic mesclun greens salads with pine nuts and roasted veggies, steamed edamame, and chocolate cherry smoothies (these are only a few examples of favorite foods I cook for myself) doesn’t taste very good. That’s the shame of it all- if only conventional eaters and the skeptics would give the nutritarian diet a chance to prove its deliciousness!

I’m not one to believe in sacrifice and I don’t think other people should have to either. I’ve met many people who use to eat the standard American diet (SAD) and now eat a nutritarian diet and love the variety of it, the taste of it, and the satisfaction of eating foods that promote wellness. My mom is actually one of these people. When my mom, whom was raised on a “conventional” diet, first met my dad’s sister in college (my mom and my aunt were actually good friends before she met my dad!), my mom said she felt sorry for my aunt, Gale (my dad’s younger sister) whom was raised on a healthy diet much like the one my dad advocates today. After only a few months of dating my dad when she was in her early twenties, she was converted to the nutritarian lifestyle and could no longer imagine eating the foods she previously ate regularly.  

Which brings me back to the title of this blog post and all of the implication it makes. Most people with poor eating habits don’t just “die early” but they will probably contend with illness, chronic pain, decreased brain function and reliance on expensive medications for many years before they say sayonara to this life. Taking care of oneself by making the right foods choices leads to feeling our most optimal in the present as well as protecting ourselves from future health problems. I don’t have to battle a constant cough, runny nose, colds that last for weeks, asthma, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or any other chronic health malady that results from wanting to “enjoy my food and die early”. Some people might get away with eating poorly for decades and then succumb to ill health for only a few years, or maybe even a few months or weeks, before they die, but that is not the norm. Chronic weight problems face more Americans than ever before, as do cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disorders and other diet-related health conditions. 

Healthy foods become much more appealing when we understand the relationship between what we eat and how we feel now and into the future. What we have to work on is finding our favorite healthy foods and recipes, making the decision to commit to this way of life with the resolve that you can have it all- tasty food and great health. The misconception that healthy food is bland and tasteless needs to become a thing of the past and you can do it with education, commitment and experimentation with recipes that you enjoy. You really can have it all if you give this lifestyle a shot.  

 

The Eat To Live cookbook is coming out within the next few months (I’ve seen the recipes and tasted them) and I can testify that there are plenty of nutritious, mouth-watering recipes to come! In the mean time, there is a cornucopia of delicious recipes available on the Dr.Fuhrman.com member center like this one:

 

Golden Austrian Cauliflower Cream Soup

Serves: 4

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower, cut into pieces

3 carrots, coarsely chopped

1 cup coarsely chopped celery

2 leeks, coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman's VegiZest (or other no-salt seasoning blend such as Mrs. Dash, adjusted to taste)

2 cups carrot juice

4 cups water

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup raw cashews or 1/2 cup raw cashew butter

5 cups chopped kale leaves or baby spinach

1 tablespoon curry powder (optional)

 

Instructions:
Place all the ingredients except the cashews and kale in a pot. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender. Steam the kale until tender. If you are using spinach there is no need to steam it; it will wilt in the hot soup. 
In a food processor or high-powered blender, blend two-thirds of the soup liquid and vegetables with the cashews until smooth and creamy. Return to the pot and stir in the steamed kale (or raw spinach).

 

Cheers to enjoying food AND living long, disease-free lives!

 

image credit: flickr by Marc_Smith

My Reaction to Looking at an Oily Cheese Pizza

For anyone who has done their reading on the deleterious consequences of regularly consuming dairy products, perhaps you can relate to my reaction when I look at dairy loaded foods.  For those that aren’t enlightened about the chemicals present in a piece of cheese or a stick of butter, this article will point out a few things that may alter the way you view these foods and heighten your willpower to turn down a slice of cheese-loaded pizza or pasta inundated with cheese sauce. 

Being in my early twenties results in attending quite a few gatherings with friends in which pizza is the meal of choice.  I need to spread the word more about what’s in the cheese! I don’t want my friends consuming foods that promote ill health and increase the body’s toxic load.  Heck, I don’t want anyone consuming these types of foods.

Pizza. Flickr: theimpulsivebuy

Dairy products are produced under mega dirty conditions and these conditions result in the production of “dirty” milk. Blood, fecal matter, pus, E. coli and other dangerous pathogens found in the raw milk at factory farms are routinely boiled off to convert the “dirty” milk to “clean” milk. This probably doesn’t have much to do with the nutritious properties of the milk, but it’s gross to think about.  Due to pasteurization procedures that boil the heck out of the milk, factory farms are able to avoid washing their milk machines, don’t have to sterilize milk container, don’t have to make employees wash their hands or make the dairy production environment clean in any way.  That’s lovely to imagine, right?!

Then there is the whole issue of dioxin.  Without intentions to scare anyone (because it is scary), I must be honest and report that dioxin happens to be one of the most toxic chemicals known to science and is present in dairy and other animal products.1,2 Dioxin describes a group of chemicals that are highly persistent in the environment and are the unintentional byproducts of industrial processes involving chlorine.  The Environmental Protection Agency explains that dioxin builds up in the environment and as such, accumulates in the bodies of farm animals that eat contaminated feed or grass.3 Humans are exposed to dioxin primarily via consuming animal products, with concentrated dairy products, such as cheese and butter, being the worst offenders.4 Researchers at the University of Texas at Houston found that Americans get 22 times the maximum dioxin exposure suggested by the EPA through food alone.5 However, vegans were found to have much lower levels of dioxin. Due to measured levels of dioxin that exceed safety standards, the National Academy of Science has for years recommended that people avoid eating a diet rich in animal fats. Obviously, consumers have not taken heed of this advice. 

Pesticides are also the most concentrated in animal products like dairy because pesticides accumulate in fatty tissues over time and aren’t excreted very quickly.6,7  Not only are livestock fed animal feed that has been sprayed with massive amounts of pesticides, but many pesticides are used in livestock facilities themselves to kill off flies, mites, spiders cockroaches, ticks and other pests that creep up on the skin, fur and feathers of livestock.8

Dairy products already appear thoroughly off-putting by the above information alone, but I haven’t even touched upon the hormones or antibiotics present in these foods. The stone cold truth is that because dairy products come from animals, we are really eating everything stored in that animal’s tissues.  Antibiotics can lead to health problems in large doses and so can synthetic hormones.  Did you know that 70 percent of the antibiotics sold in the United States go to livestock? In short, dairy products like cheese are not clean, and I don’t consider it a legitimate food choice, regardless of what it tastes like. Dump on the white flour and oil, coat it with cheese, and you’ve got a typical cheese pizza. I say no to cheese pizza, do you?   

 

References:

1. http://www.ejnet.org/dioxin/

2. Llobet JM, Domingo JL, Bocio A, et al. Human exposure to dioxins through the diet in Catalonia, Spain: carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risk. Chemosphere 2003;50(9):1193-1200.

3. Dioxins and Dioxin-Like Compounds in the Food Supply: Strategies to Decrease Exposure. National Academy of Sciences. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, Oct 1, 2003.

4. Jensen E, Bolger M. Exposrue Assessment of dioxins/furans consumed in dairy foods and fish. Food Addit Contam 2001;18(5):395-403.

5. Schecter A, Cramer P, Boggess K, et al. Intake of Dioxins and Related Compounds from Food in the U.S. Population. J Toxicology and Environmental Health 2001;63(1):1-18.

6. Moorman PG, Terry PD. Consumption of diary products and the risk of breast cancer: a review of the literature. Am J Clin Nutr 2004;80(1):5-14.

7. http://www.sustainabletable.org/issues/pesticides/

8. Kegley SE, Schafer SK. Persistent toxic chemicals in the US food supply. J Epidemiol Community Health 2002;56:813-817

Greens and Green Beans Salad with Wild Blueberry Dressing

As I write this, I’m sweating in humid, positively sweltering, I just want to jump in a pool, July weather. A fresh salad with fruit is just what I want to eat for lunch these days (in addition to yummy, ice packed smoothies).  I’ve been on a blueberry kick pretty much since blueberries came in season and I often add them to my salads. I created this salad yesterday after a long day walking through New York City (my legs were so sore!).  The salad was marvelous as was lying down in the comfort of my air-conditioned apartment afterwards.  I knew I had to share this recipe with ya’ll.  I just wish the air wasn’t so humid. It’s simply not curly hair friendly! 

Blueberries. Flickr: brx0

Salad Ingredients:

½ pound small fresh green beans, trimmed

½ cup blueberries

1 head red or green leaf lettuce, roughly chopped

1/3 cup chopped red onion

1/3 cup raw pecans

 

Dressing ingredients:

½ cup blueberries

¼ cup unsweetened almond milk, plus more if needed

2 tablespoons tahini

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 medjool date, pitted

 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add green beans and cook until crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl of ice water until chilled, and then drain again. 

To make dressing, purée 1/2 cup blueberries, almond milk, tahini, lemon juice and date in a blender; add more almond milk, if needed, to reach desired consistency. Transfer to a large bowl, add lettuce and green beans and toss well. Transfer salad to plates and scatter, blueberries, onion and pecans over the top. 

Do you all have salad or smoothie recipes that you enjoy when the weather gets so hot? Feel free to share them in the comments section!

Stay cool and be well. I’m going to dream of refreshing ocean water and the beach tonight. I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer!

Tags:

Have You Caught the "Extreme-itis" Bug?

 

If we buy into the culturally acceptable mindset that eating for health is extreme, we will always have twinges or avalanches of deprivation and self-pity; which will set us up for repetitive cheating, or worse yet, for others to think we are depriving ourselves and have pity on us as well.

 

We can read and study Eat to Live, and those around us can read and study it also, and we can even attend health immersions and know the information inside and out; however, if deep down inside we feel abnormal or embarrassed by eating high-nutrient, plant based foods, or are made to feel like we are extreme, then we’ve caught the "extreme-titis" bug.  If we've caught it, we'll never experience the truest sense of pleasure from eating for health. (Unfortunately, the virus is quite contagious right now!) 

 

When we grasp the amazing reality that eating a high-nutrient, plant based diet is normal; that eating an apple instead of a piece of cake is normal; that eating some steamed veggies instead of a pan of pizza, or eating a salad instead of bag of chips is normal; that not having diabetes, heart disease, strokes, cancer, and dementia is normal; not having astronomical medical and pharmaceutical bills is normal; that enjoying pleasurable sex in the middle age years and beyond is normal; and that feeling well, attractive, and enjoying life is normal.

And the day that we thoroughly understand that putting a high fat Value Meal or chocolate cream pie into our blood stream is extreme; to be riddled with type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and dementia is extreme; for a teen to wear diapers and be spoon fed pureed food due to a stroke is extreme; to spend $120 on a vial of insulin is extreme; to continually feel sick, tired and depressed is extreme; to be so overweight and lethargic that one can't enjoy making love to his/her spouse is extreme; to sweat profusely and hide from swimming pools on hot summer days is extreme.  

Then, and only then, we will experience the true pleasure of eating for health!

As the mind is changed, the body will be transformed as a result.

Are we living in the perspective of being normal or extreme?

Perhaps it’s time for an “extreme adjustment”. 

 

Perhaps it’s time to honestly ask ourselves the following questions:

 

  • Am I embarrassed to drink a blended salad around my co-workers who are eating donuts?

  • Do I hide my container of vegetables when I’m out in public with friends? 

  • Do I eat a slice of pizza with peers just to fit in?

     

 

Perhaps its time to feel normal . . . .because eating the way our bodies are designed to function in optimal health IS normal! 

Then we’ll not feel deprived and self-pitied, and we’ll no longer experience the suppressed longing to be a part of the standard America diet culture. 

Perhaps it’s time for many of us to come out of hiding and establish new, normal traditions not only for the holidays, but for the office, places of worship, birthday and Super Bowl parties, cook-outs, bonfires, and all social gatherings. 

Perhaps instead of secretly brown bagging our food in public, we can lead the way of normalcy, and unashamedly live in great health; happy to be a part of the awesome nutritarian food revolution that is eradicating food addictions and resulting diseases from our bodies!

Those that want to get rid of costly diseases, astronomically expensive meds, and unnecessary suffering and heartbreak is exploding exponentially daily. Extreme is going down!

Normal is here to stay!


Let’s all enjoy being NORMAL today; full of health, vitality, and life!

 

image credit:  flickr by Muffet