Interview with a Nutritarian: Terry

For years, Terry, a former high school and college athlete, could “eat anything” and work it off with lots of exercise through sports.  However, in his late twenties, the weight began to pile on as his social eating and drinking increased, and his exercise decreased.  The once fit athlete ballooned into an obese and unhealthy, middle-aged guy who felt miserable. Thankfully, a mutual friend and vegan proponent, Heather Mills, posed a challenge to Terry to get his health back and introduced him to Dr. Fuhrman. The rest is history. He’s now more than half way through the challenge, and it has changed more than just his medical stats.  Welcome to Disease Proof, Terry.

                      collegiate and middle aged male             

Tell us about yourself and how you decided to take the plunge to get your health back?

For more than a decade I’ve been overweight and unhappy with how I’ve looked and felt. I’ve wanted to lose 75 lbs to get down to what I weighed when I played collegiate rugby. I grew up playing sports and ate lots of high fat food, but never had a potbelly until I was twenty-five; and even then, when rugby season would start, I could always run it off. However, by the time I was thirty I was a heavy drinker and hardly exercised anymore. My career as an advertising executive in Manhattan requires dining out with clients late into the night as a significant part of my job. There seemed to be no end to my disease promoting lifestyle. Two years ago, when I turned forty, I thought I was a hopeless case. I didn’t think I’d ever be fit, active or happy again like I was in my early twenties.

Heather posed a challenge for me to go vegan for six months to see what effect it would have on my weight, blood pressure and cholesterol. She wanted me to do it “right” so she introduced me to Dr. Fuhrman, who took the challenge a step further. He wanted me to focus on eating high nutrient vegetation for optimal health, and become a nutritarian for life.     

At first I thought Heather’s idea was crazy, because I loved meat and cheese; and it was even suggested that I give up alcohol! She offered to provide the food for six months and arrange monthly check-ups with Dr. Fuhrman if I would write a blog about the experience. After thinking about the challenge for many weeks, I decided to go for it. By this time, I had tipped the scales at 302 lbs [6’4”].  
   
I started the six month quest with 100% gusto on November 1, 2009; just as I was entering my favorite eating and drinking season of the year. A couple of days prior I had my first consultation with Dr. Fuhrman and he laid it on the line just like a coach would, and Eat to Live became the playbook.


How did you feel before committing to Eat to Live? 

I was tired all the time, and it was a struggle to perform even the simplest of tasks such as bending over to tie my shoes or climb a flight of stairs. However, even though I was obese, I didn’t look more than 50 lbs overweight and I lived a “normal” life. I could still fit in airplane seats and was never in want of a date; therefore, I ignored my extremely unhealthy body. I thought I ate relatively healthy and didn’t consider myself to be a junk food addict. For those rare times that I did look in the mirror and become shocked at my size, I would order a giant steak, creamed spinach, bottle of wine, and a few Scotches to make me happy again. 

I naively assumed that if I just cut back on food intake and exercised more that I could achieve my weight loss goal; however, Dr. Fuhrman quickly set me straight. I was surprised to learn that my steaks with creamed spinach and 12” subs were junk food; causing my cholesterol to be dangerously over 300! When Dr. Fuhrman stated, "We got you just in time," I knew it was not a hyperbole. My life was truly at risk

              

What's happened to your body so far?

By the eighth day of following Eat to Live, I had lost 12 lbs and within six weeks my cholesterol dropped an incredible 100 points! I’ve lost 41 lbs in the last 3½ months, and feel great and closer to “normal” again. My body is now conditioned to enjoy healthy food. I love this new way of eating! 

                 before and after obese male

 Are others noticing changes about you? 

Yes, someone recently commented, “I didn’t know you had a chin!” My girlfriend said that my skin looks healthier and more alive, and friends from years ago now see the same person they first met. However, the biggest change that others notice is my attitude. I was never without a drink and luscious spread of food, and now I’m surprising everyone. Many are encouraged and motivated because I’m the last person in the world they’d ever expect to see change eating and drinking habits. Now, the common response is, “If Terry can do it, I certainly can!”


Do you have any success tip(s) that you’d like to share with others in their journey to health?

  • Yes, be selfish.  In my case, I love to write, and the prospect of documenting this journey through a blog seemed irresistible. I told everyone I met that I was going on this radical quest to lose 75 lbs., and that I would be writing about it daily. [It’s easy to set up a blog. If you tell everyone about it, and commit to writing about your journey, you are under pressure to stick with it!]
  • Also I looked at the weight loss challenge as a sporting event. I’m competitive. I love to win. My ego was at stake because if I lost, I would not only be losing to myself, I would be losing to my doubters, and that got my competitive juices flowing!

 

Any final thoughts to share? 

  • Just because you feel "fine" doesn’t mean your cholesterol is not life threatening.
  • Just because you can still buy clothes “off the rack", or fit in an airplane seat, doesn’t mean you’re not dangerously obese.
  • Just because people love you, doesn’t mean you should ignore poor health and not do something about it.

     

Almost daily I hear the words of Dr. Fuhrman echo in my head, "We got you just in time." 

 

Terry has 2 ½ months left of his six month quest to get his health back. I’ll check in with him on the victor’s platform in a few months! In the meantime, check out his blog.  [By the way, since eating out with clients is a big part of his career, he uses his blog to encourage others, like himself, who are committed to eating for health while living in a big city full of challenging temptations.]

Congratulations Terry ~ we are cheering for you! 

 

For breast cancer survivors, soy is protective and alcohol is harmful

 Two new studies have examined the effects of certain dietary factors on recurrence of breast cancer in survivors. Soy had protective effects, and alcohol had detrimental effects.  Read the full article on DrFuhrman.com.

Soy and breast cancer recurrence

Edamame

Some individuals suspected and even promoted the idea that soy was potentially dangerous with regard to breast cancer risk, because of the phyto-estrogenic compounds it contains. However, in Asian countries where soy is a staple food, rates of breast cancer were much lower than those in the U.S. This paradox launched much debate and hundreds of studies on the relationship between soy and breast cancer.

A review of the most recent clinical studies on this subject supports a protective effect of soy:

  •  2006: A meta-analysis in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute examining data from 18 studies on soy and breast cancer that were published between 1978 and 2004 concluded that soy overall has a protective effect.1
  • 2008: A meta-analysis in the British Journal of Nutrition compiling data from 8 different studies (not included in the 2006 meta-analysis) also concluded that soy consumption decreases breast cancer risk. These effects were dose-dependent – a 16% reduced risk for each 10 mg of soy isoflavones consumed daily.2

In spite of these clear documented results, the myth that soy contributes to breast cancer has persisted. Plus, many scientists and physicians continue to doubt the safety of soy for current or previous breast cancer patients, because of soy’s phytoestrogen content.

A new study of breast cancer survivors has shown that these doubts are unwarranted too. Premenopausal breast cancer survivors who consumed more soy had a 23% reduced risk of recurrence.3

Which soy products are most beneficial?

Cruciferous vegetables are the most powerful anti-cancer foods. In addition, Dr. Fuhrman also recommends consuming a variety of beans, including soybeans, as components of an anti-cancer diet. Soybeans may be consumed as edamame (whole soybeans), or in minimally processed forms such as unsweetened soymilk, tofu, and tempeh. As little as 10 mg of soy isoflavones consumed per day has a protective effect with regard to breast cancer – this equates to approximately 1 ounce of one of these soy foods.

 

Alcohol and breast cancer recurrence

Wine

In contrast to the mainstream assumption that alcohol is heart healthy, even moderate amounts of alcohol are associated with increased risk for breast cancer.4

The current study of breast cancer survivors showed that women who consumed 3-4 alcoholic drinks per week were 34% more likely to experience a recurrence than the women who had less than 1 drink per week. This study was presented last week at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.5

Alcohol has no beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system, it only inhibits the blood’s clotting mechanisms. Since breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women (second to cardiovascular disease), Dr. Fuhrman recommends minimizing alcohol consumption in order to reduce this risk.

Read the full article here.

Read “Dr. Fuhrman on Breast Cancer” to learn more diet and lifestyle strategies for breast cancer prevention.

 

References:

1. Trock BJ et al. Meta-analysis of soy intake and breast cancer risk. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2006 Apr 5;98(7):459-71.

2. Wu AH et al. Epidemiology of soy exposures and breast cancer risk. British Journal of Cancer (2008) 98, 9– 14

3. Guha N et al. Soy isoflavones and risk of cancer recurrence in a cohort of breast cancer survivors: the Life After Cancer Epidemiology study. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2009 Nov;118(2):395-405. Epub 2009 Feb 17.

4. Lew JQ et al. Alcohol and risk of breast cancer by histologic type and hormone receptor status in postmenopausal women: the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. Am J Epidemiol. 2009 Aug 1;170(3):308-17. Epub 2009 Jun 18.

5. http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/SABCS/17444


 

Asparagus Protects Your Liver from Alcohol, But You Still Shouldn't Drink

Alcohol can destroy your health. Last month, studies found alcohol heightens risk of both colon and prostate cancer, but now, new findings in the Journal of Food Science suggest nutrients in asparagus may protect the liver against alcohol toxins associated with hangovers.

Researchers at the Institute of Medical Science and Jeju National University in Korea analyzed the components of young asparagus shoots and leaves to compare their biochemical effects on human and rat liver cells. "The amino acid and mineral contents were found to be much higher in the leaves than the shoots," says lead researcher B.Y. Kim.

Chronic alcohol use causes oxidative stress on the liver as well as unpleasant physical effects associated with a hangover. "Cellular toxicities were significantly alleviated in response to treatment with the extracts of asparagus leaves and shoots," says Kim. "These results provide evidence of how the biological functions of asparagus can help alleviate alcohol hangover and protect liver cells."

Booze is no party, even moderate drinking is suspect. Dr. Fuhrman insists moderate drinking—commonly defined as one drink a maximum of one drink per day for women and two drinks for men—may cause health problems, such extra body fat, cancer and atrial fibrillation.

Consuming more than this is associated with increased fat around the waist and other significant health problems.1 Even a moderate amount of alcohol may also increase the risk of breast cancer in susceptible women.2 The other problem with alcohol, especially more than one drink a day, is it can create mild withdrawal sensations the next day.

These sensations are commonly mistaken for hunger, which leads people to eat more than is necessary. Because of this, moderate drinkers are usually overweight. Furthermore, recent studies have also shown that even moderate alcohol consumption is linked to a significantly increased incidence of atrial fibrillation, a condition that can lead to stroke.3

But asparagus is amazing! Dr. Fuhrman says it’s full of health-promoting vitamins and nutrients, such as calcium and folate. All these plant nutrients help protect against cancer.

Asparagus is one of the most healthful foods on the planet. It leads nearly all fruits and vegetables in the wide array of nutrients it supplies. Ten ounces (one box of frozen spears) have only 68 calories and 9 grams of protein, yet it is like a vitamin pill, giving you a variety of minerals such as selenium, zinc, calcium, copper, and manganese. Plus, it is very rich in folate.

Asparagus has an exceptionally high nutrient-per-calorie ratio and is the perfect weight-loss food. Anti--cancer compounds that have been shown to prevent tumors and cancers in animals are plentiful in asparagus. Asparagus also contains isothiocyanates, indoles, and sulforaphane, powerful compounds that promote cellular rejuvenation with anti-cancer properties.

According to Dr. Fuhrman, asparagus is also an excellent source of Vitamin E, along with whole grains, seeds, nuts, avocados, berries, green leafy vegetables and tomatoes.

1. Dallongeville J, Marecaux N, Ducmetiere P, et al. Influence of alcohol consumption and various beverages on waist girth and waist-to-hip ratio on a sample of French men and women. J Obes. Relat. Metab. Disord. 1998;22(12):1178-1183.

2. Dumitrescu RG, Shields PG. The etiology of alcohol-induced breast cancer. Alcohol. 2005; 35(3):213-225.

3. Frost L, Vestergaard P. Alcohol and risk of atrial fibrillation or flutter: a cohort study. Arch Intern Med. 2004;164(18):1993-1998. Mukamal KJ, Tolstrup JS, Friberg J, et al. Alcohol consumption and risk of atrial fibrillation in men and women: the Copenhagen City Heart Study. Circulation. 2005;112(12):1736-1742.

Image credit: Esteban Cavrico

"Lubrication" - I Like That Word

For those of you new to the blog, I was formerly an obese and chronically malnourished food addict who has been completely set free from all food addictions and eating disorders; including anorexia, nutrient restrictive dieting, yo-yo dieting, and binge eating disorder as result of embracing the nutritarian lifestyle that’s described in Eat to Live and Eat for Health. Here is my transformation.

Neil Steinberg used “lubrication” to describe alcoholism in his book, Drunkard.

Steinberg was referring to alcohol as "lubrication" for the continual stresses in a day.

Likewise, how much of our food choices, even healthy food, lubricate the stresses in our day?

It's not a perfection thing. It's a "let's be honest and face the truth of addiction" thing.

It's all about using wisdom in making choices that lead to optimal health. It's all about knowing ourselves and how we respond to stress.

I've lubricated the stresses in my life primarily with food for as long as I can remember.

When I was mothering a three-year-old, an eighteen-month-old, and a newborn the days were filled with continual stress. No sleep. No energy. No free time. No quiet solitude. I lubricated the stress with their half eaten hotdogs, macaroni and cheese, and pop tarts.

Health? That wasn't even a word in my vocabulary file.

Obesity? A year later, that word was.

We need to find other ways to lubricate stress in our day other than with food; because food, depending upon how it is used, has the power to give life or take it away.

Let’s all be mindful of the food(s) we eat, and why we eat them, because knowledge, not willpower, will enable us to live in freedom and optimal health.

Image credit: lanier67

Heavy Boozing May Lead to Bad Prostate Cancer

The days of the film noir private dick taking a slick drag off a cigarette and sipping a shot of stiff whiskey are long gone. He died from lung cancer and cirrhosis of the liver.

Now, booze might look cool up on the big screen, but it doesn’t do your health any favors. In the past, reports have linked alcohol to cardiovascular disease and erectile dysfunction. Eek!

Go on and add prostate cancer to the list. A new study in the journal Cancer found heavy drinkers—men who drank 1.7 ounces of pure alcohol each day, the equivalent of four shots of hard liquor, four or five times a week—had a higher risk of aggressive prostate cancer.

That’s a lot of drinking! The typical beer has 4% to 6% alcohol by volume, wine 12.5% to 14.5% and around 40% for vodka.

The study aimed to test alcohol’s effect on finasteride—found in popular prostate cancer medications—showing that alcohol reduces the drugs benefits. Clearly, drugs aren’t the be-all-end-all of for prostate cancer. That’s why the researchers recommend men limit their intake of alcohol.

In related news, experts determined eating less meat and more vegetables helps prevent prostate cancer.

Via HealthDay News.

Image credit: Kevin Bongart

Mediterranean Diet, Vegetables May Extend Life...

Appearing in the British Medical Journal, a new study claims the Mediterranean diet—i.e. eating a lot of fruits and vegetables and avoiding meat, alcohol and dairy products—increases lifespan. Researchers examined the eating habits of 23,000 Greeks over 10 years, finding the presence of a diet rich in vegetables yielded health benefits, but when the heavy consumption of vegetables was removed, these benefits were negated; HealthDay News reports.

Sadly, many Mediterranean countries are loosing ground. In 2008, childhood obesity in Portugal, Spain and Italy jumped 30%. According to Dr. Fuhrman, all those healthy Mediterranean foods are giving way to western foods. That’s why the Mediterranean is getting fat, just like us!

And last September, a report revealed countries like Spain, Italy and Greece are buckling under the weight of fast food and the move away from their traditional dietary roots.

Image credit: ...-Wink-...

Don't Say a Little Alcohol is Healthy...

You hear it all the time. “A glass of red wine a day is good for you.” But many experts insist no study has ever proved a relationship between moderate drinking and lower risk of death. Instead, the association may occur because healthy people—with healthy habits—just don’t drink a lot. Even supporters of booze for health are quick to point out that alcohol has been linked to breast cancer, liver disease and stroke when abused; The New York Times reports.

Hooch might be a great social lubricate, but it’s risky. Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t condone alcohol for health, saying the negatives of alcohol outweigh the supposed positives. For example, a previous report found heavy drinking harms the heart, by stiffening arteries and raising blood pressure.

In related news, excessive drinking has been shown to shrink brain volume and a lot of boozing may be lead to erectile dysfunction. So, don’t drink. You’ll go limp and dumb!

Image credit: rogersmj

Smoking and Drinking Leads to Bowel Cancer

Conducted by The George Institute for International Health, a new study suggests alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking drastically increase risk of bowel cancer. Data revealed drinking more than seven drinks a week is associated with a 60% higher risk of cancer, compared to non-drinkers, and smoking—along with obesity, diabetes and consumption of red and processed meat—was linked to a 20% greater risk of bowel cancer; via ScienceDaily.

Alcohol is tricky. Most of us equate it with a good time—I still do—but it’s not healthy. Reports have shown booze raises risk of breast cancer and hardens arteries. Dr. Fuhrman recommends avoiding alcohol, saying even moderate drinking is dangerous. Smoking is a bad too.

In 2008, California’s initiatives to stop smoking saved the state $86 billion in healthcare costs. In Pueblo, Colorado heart attacks have dropped 40% since smoking was banned in public places.

 

Image credit: jphilipg

How Healthy is Artie Lange's Poor Liver...

I’m a huge Howard Stern fan and I love sidekick Artie Lange. He’s hilarious, but very unhealthy. Artie’s a recovering drug addict and heavy drinker. He’s obese, smokes and loves cupcakes and fast food. Now, Artie knows he’s a mess and is trying to get better, but for some reason he is always worried about his liver, it’s a running joke, but I was curious. So, I asked Dr. Fuhrman what liver health might mean for somebody with Artie’s past:

The leading cause of death for obese people is heart disease, not liver failure. But, the problem is they can suffer tremendously with heart failure, circulatory impairment, swollen legs, infections and pain before they die.

Abnormalities on a "liver function" blood test occur because dying and injured liver cells give off enzymes as they die into the blood stream. Fortunately the liver is a forgiving organ and can regenerate and heal itself before something like cirrhosis sets in.

Nevertheless, if your habits are so poor to injure your liver you have most likely also damaged other organs.

Image credit: dearsomeone

Health-Points: Friday 4.24.09

  • Onto a better food, presented at this year’s Experimental Biology Conference, blueberries were found to help combat abdominal fat. In the study, rats eating a lot of blueberries lost belly fat. Excess abdominal fat has been closely associated to heart disease and diabetes. The rats also experienced lower cholesterol and better glucose control, even if their diet wasn’t heart-healthy; via WebMD Health News.

Image credit: Vermin Inc