Do you need a reboot?

garbageOver Memorial Day weekend I cleaned out the garage. I clean it about every three months, and no matter how much I try to keep it clean and organized, it always gets dirty and cluttered again within three months!  [a dirty glove from winter sledding, a broken skate, empty salt bags from the water softener, a flat bike tire, an old quilt that the cats slept on, some dirty gardening tools that nobody put back in the storage shed, a few empty water bottles, a cardboard box, a misplaced container of pool chemicals, the Christmas tree stand that didn't get put up into the attic, some old boots that don't fit anyone anymore; plus lots of dirt and leaves, dirt, and more dirt and leaves]

As I was cleaning I thought about how our bodies require continual cleaning and maintenance to keep them healthy and in good working order.  It takes ongoing effort, planning and preparedness. If we get careless and allow *stuff* (toxins, fat cells) to accumulate, it requires a major overhaul to get clean and function properly again.

The popular pop-culture word now is "reboot."

I like that word.

Every once in a while we may possibly need to reboot our garages . . . . and our bodies.

Otherwise our garages will look like the ones from the Hoarders show and our cars will no longer fit into them; and eventually our bodies will look like the ones from the beginning episodes of The Biggest Loser and our clothes will no longer fit.  (Not to mention the detrimental damage that'll be done to our arteries, blood vessels, pancreas, heart, etc.)  In fact, if the waistband becomes a bit snug, that’s a clear indication to reboot.  A tight waistband means unhealthy plaque is building up in the arteries and blood vessels.  Quick ~ nip disease in the bud!

If we've been careless with food choices, and have allowed toxins and fat to accumulate, it's time to reboot. It's time to go back to the six week eating plan in Eat to Live and follow it carefully, with little to no deviation.  It’s time to clean the clutter, (aka detox), and change the tastebuds.

How about you? 

Do you need a reboot?

High fat intake - especially saturated fat - is associated with macular degeneration

 

EyeAge-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in Americans over 60 years of age. This disease involves cell death in the macula of the eye, which has a high density of cone cells and is responsible for central vision.1 

A recent study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology2 investigated the relationship between fat intake and the presence of intermediate AMD 4-7 years later in over 1700 women, and found that some fats may benefit eye health while others may be damaging.

Total fat.Women aged 50-75 who consumed the highest proportion of calories from fat (43%) had the greatest risk of AMD – 70% higher odds than those with the lowest proportion of calories from fat (21%). As the authors stated,

"High-fat diets might be a marker for diets that are poor in many micronutrients that could protect against age-related macular degeneration.”3

They then looked further into the associations between specific types of dietary fat and AMD.

Saturated fats are detrimental when it comes to heart disease and cancer, so these results are no surprise - saturated fats showed the greatest association with AMD – 60% increased odds of AMD in women who consumed the greatest amounts. Monounsaturated fats, which are present in nuts, seeds, and avocados, were associated with a lower prevalence of the disease.

The associations between polyunsaturated fats and AMD are more difficult to interpret – the authors reported that both omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids were associated with a two-fold risk of AMD. But don’t overreact and throw away your walnuts and flaxseeds - the intakes of omega-3 and -6 in this study were highly correlated to one another, making it difficult to discern the effects of one from the other. Also, a 12-year study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition last month found that people at high risk for AMD were less likely to develop the disease if they had a greater intake of omega-3 fats.4 The authors of the current study hypothesized that excessive omega-6 fatty acid intake may influence AMD by promoting inflammation that can contribute to retinal damage. Vegetable oils, processed foods, and animal products contain high levels of omega-6 fats – with that in mind, the authors also stress that the associations that they found likely do not represent effects of only the types of fat, but the cumulative effects of the all the compounds in the foods that contain each type of fat.3

The evidence is overwhelming that Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian diet-style, with raw seeds and nuts as the major fat source, and the high exposure to phytochemicals and carotenoids is the healthiest way to eat. Can you imagine all the personal medical tragedies that could be prevented?   It would sure put a lot of drug companies and doctors out of business.

 

References:

1. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/maculardegeneration.html

2. Parekh N et al. Association Between Dietary Fat Intake and Age-Related Macular Degeneration in the Carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease Study (CAREDS). An Ancillary Study of the Women's Health Initiative. Arch Ophthalmol. 2009;127(11):1483-1493.

3. http://www.medpagetoday.com/Ophthalmology/GeneralOphthalmology/16950

4. Sangiovanni JP et al. {omega}-3 Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid intake and 12-y incidence of neovascular age-related macular degeneration and central geographic atrophy: a prospective cohort study from the Age-Related Eye Disease Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Oct 7. [Epub ahead of print]

 

Fats from Avocados, Raw Nuts and Seeds are Vital to Health

Nuts and seeds are some of nature’s ideal foods for humans and the best way for us to get our healthy fats. They can satiate true hunger better than oils because they are rich in critical nutrients and fibers and have one-quarter the calories of an equal amount of oil. They should be part of your healthy eating-style. Many people perceive raw nuts as high-fat, high-calorie foods that should be avoided or consumed in only token amounts. The important role of raw nuts and seeds in the American diet has been almost completely ignored by nutritional advisers, and their absence is a huge flaw in American cuisine. The results of recent research have changed this perception completely. Today, more and more researchers are finally aware that it is not fat in general that is the villain, but saturated fat, trans fat, and fats consumed in a processed form. Fats from avocado, raw nuts, and seeds are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals that not only offer unique health benefits, but also maintain the freshness of the food, preventing rancidity of the fat within.

Recent evidence shows that the frequent consumption of nuts is strongly protective against heart disease. It has been shown that people eating nuts daily, or more than once a day, had a 59 percent lower risk of fatal coronary heart disease.1 In addition, several clinical studies have observed beneficial effects of diets high in nuts on lowering cholesterol levels. The beneficial effects of nut consumption observed in clinical and epidemiologic studies underscore the importance of distinguishing different types of fat. One study estimated that every exchange of one ounce of saturated fat to one once of nut-fat from consuming a whole nut was associated with a 45 percent reduction in heart disease risk.2

Study after study shows that raw nuts and seeds not only lower cholesterol, but also extend lifespan and protect against common diseases of aging. They also provide a good source of protein, which makes up about 15 to 25 percent of their calories.3 Nuts’ hard shells also keep them well protected from pesticides and environmental pollution. Raw nuts and seeds, not the salted or roasted variety, provide the most health benefits.

Over the last few years, the health benefits of seeds also have become more apparent. A tablespoon of ground flaxseed, hempseeds, chia seeds, or other seeds can supply those hard-to find omega-3 fats that protect against diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.4 Seeds are also rich in lignans, a type of fiber asso ciated with a reduced risk of both breast cancer and prostate cancer. In addition, seeds are a good source of iron, zinc, calcium, protein, potassium, magnesium, Vitamin E, and folate. The plant goes to great effort in producing and protecting its seed, filling each genetic package with high concentrations of vitamins, minerals, proteins, essential oils, and enzymes.

While nuts and seeds have great health benefits, they are higher in calories and fat compared to vegetables, beans, and fruits so they should be consumed in smaller amounts. Nuts and seeds contain about 175 calories per ounce, and a handful could be a little over one ounce. For most of us, they are not a food that should be eaten in unlimited quantity. Unless you are thin and exercising frequently, hold your consumption of raw nuts and seeds to less than two ounces a day.

This is an excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat For Health.

1. Kahn HA, Phillips RI, Snowdon DA, Choi W. Association between reported diet and all cause mortality: Twenty-one year follow up on 27,530 adult Seventh-Day Adventists. Am J Epidemiol 1984;119:775-787.

2. Hu FB, Stampfer MJ. Nut consumption and risk of coronary heart disease: a review of epidemiologic evidence. Curr Atheroscler Rep 1999 Nov;1(3):204-209.

3. Ellsworth JL, Kushi LH, Folsom AR, et al. Frequent nut intake and risk of death from coronary heart disease and all causes in postmenopausal women: the Iowa Women’s Health Study. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2001;11(6):372-377. Kris-Etherton PM, Zhao G, Binkoski AE, et al. The effects of nuts on coronary heart disease risk. Nutr Rev. 2001;59(4):103-111.

4. Simopoulos AP. Essential fatty acids in health and chronic disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999;70 (3):56S-69S.

Image credit: thegrocer*

Closet Full of Colors

For almost twenty years of my adult life, I was obese. (I was also “chubby” as a kid, but won’t go there today.)

Obesity not only robbed me of health, vitality, and quality of life, it literally zapped colors right out of my life; not only deleting colorful food from my plate, but colorful clothing from my closet as well.

Over the years I invested in a few pieces of plus-size garments in the color black: a pair of black, stretch pants, a few black t-shirts, a black-patterned blouse, a black sweater, and a black jacket or two. Sometimes, rarely, a slight shade of gray was thrown into the mix, creating a rather dreary palette.

In fact, I had a “uniform” for all public events that I attended; my standard outfit consisted of a pair of size 3x black, stretch pants, and a black tank top with a lightweight, black-patterned blouse thrown over it. I wore it fall, winter, spring, and summer; even on the hottest, most sultry days of summer. It was suffocating, but it shielded glaring eyes from noticing my obesity. Of course, I always adorned myself with an artsy piece of jewelry so that people could focus on it, and not my size.

Gradually, over the course of this past year, as I got my health back, my closet started to change also, until one morning this past spring, I noticed an entire palette of beautiful and refreshing colors peaking out from its hangers. Pink. White with stripes. Sky blue. Aqua. Peach. Golden yellow. Light green. Lavender.

Black is beautiful, but becomes dreary when it’s the only color. An even drearier life. Terrible grammar, I know. But I don’t care. My closet is symbolic of the pretty colors flowing in my life now, and nothing else matters. No joking.

Grapes Help Fight Abdominal Fat

A new study in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research suggests polyphenols, found in grape seeds, may protect against oxidative stress linked to obesity. Scientists fed hamsters a high-fat diet supplemented with Chardonnay grape seed extract for 12 weeks. At the end of the experiment mice not given the grape seed extract had more abdominal fat than mice given the extract. Also, data revealed the high-fat group had increases in blood sugar, triglycerides and insulin resistance, while the extract group was “in part” protected from these effects; via Food Navigator.

In October, grapes were shown to lower blood pressure and reduce heart damage, but lots of plant foods, like blueberries and kiwis, contain polyphenols, antioxidants and other nutrients shown to prevent cancer. Nuts and seeds are other excellent sources phytochemicals and fibers that prevent blood vessel inflammation, raise good cholesterol and lower blood glucose.

I snack on grapes when I’m chained to my desk blogging. Good thing I find them on the cheap! As a kid, my grandfather had an old-school Italian grapevine growing all over the garage. It was cool.

Image credit: Nikita Kashner

Junk Food Ads in Health Magazines

Hypocrisy, thy name is advertising. A new study in the European Journal of Public Health reveals 25.5% of advertisements in 30 popular British magazines are for ready-made meals, soups and sauces, which are full of salt. Another 23% are for high-fat and sugary foods, like ice-cream, chocolate bars, sweets and soft drinks. Only 1.8% of the adverts are for fruits and vegetables. And here’s the kicker, many of these advertisements appear alongside articles with healthy messages; ScienceDaily investigates.

Can’t say I’m shocked! Now, in December, research came out claiming sophisticated marketing campaigns do not acknowledge a drug’s rarer complications and hides any lack of long-term testing, putting people at increased risk of serious side-effects.

As for food advertising, last year Kellogg’s announced it would cut advertisements aimed at young children.

Via That’s Fit.

Image credit: pigdump

Salt Lake City is the Fittest City

The World Health Organization estimates 1.6 billion adults, ages 15 and up, were overweight and 400 million adults were obese, worldwide. So, where are all these fat people coming from? Definitely not Salt Lake City! A new survey found Salt Lake, Utah, Colorado Springs, Colorado and Minneapolis, Minnesota are the top 3 fittest cities in the United States. But, Miami, Florida, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and San Antonio, Texas made the list as America’s top 3 fattest cities; via Men’s Fitness.

We better watch out! There’s going to be an all brawl between U.S. cities. In November, the Centers for Disease Control said Burlington, Vermont has the healthiest people in America. Although, Las Vegas has got to be happy, they broke their 2-year streak of being the fattest city in the country. Kudos!

As a nation, we need to reel this obesity thing in. Obesity costs the U.S. more than $100 billion a year.

Image credit: statico

Obese Kids Risk Thyroid Inflammation

All kids should run around like that. Because according to a new study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism obese children may be damaging their thyroids. Researchers found an association between body mass and thyroid hormone levels, suggesting that excess fat could alter thyroid tissue, causing weight-gain, but more studies need to be done; Reuters reports.