Never Give Up

 

There's nothing more deeply satisfying than crossing the finish line of a goal accomplished. 

 

This past year my 21-year-old son died unexpectedly. After the initial shock wore off, I entered into a dark season of PTSD and bereavement for several months. During the most acute phase of it I could barely function, because I would be in a daze of paralyzing grief and confusion. I had a difficult time accomplishing the simplest of tasks such as unloading the dishwasher or starting a load of laundry.  Vigorous workouts were unthinkable in the quagmire of my demise.  I couldn’t even successfully take inventory of food to make a grocery list, let alone muster up the strength to navigate the supermarket aisles or prepare a pot of soup.

I continued to eat whole foods, but many times a meal only consisted of a bowl of oatmeal and an apple; or a green pepper with hummus, a banana, and some nuts. I was just too overwhelmed in the anguish of grief to care for myself properly during that time and apathy set in.   

It saddens me when I hear some say, "I fell off the wagon" in reference to making unwise choices due to a stressful day or difficult season of life. Hard times happen to everyone; they just do. Unless one has made a conscious decision to completely throw in the towel and quit eating healthfully altogether, no one has fallen off any wagons.  The nutritarian eating-style is for life; not a diet to jump on and off on a whim. The wagon mentality only fuels yo-yo dieting for those who buy into that mindset. And the most dangerous part is that staying off the wagon may last for days, weeks, or years . . .until one gets psyched up to get back on it again.  

Even if some days are like wading through quick sand, and it’s a challenge to continue on, stay committed to making wise food choices as best as one can possibly manage.  It may be only baby steps, but keep moving forward in the pursuit of excellent health. There’s never a valid excuse to throw in the towel and completely quit, because nothing is more deeply satisfying than crossing the finish line of a goal accomplished. Earning one’s health back is a priceless treasure that comes with absolutely no regrets.

The sun will shine again and happiness will return as one continues to stay the course.

Never give up.

“It will take strength. It will take effort. But the pleasure and rewards that you’ll get from a healthy life will be priceless.”   Dr. Fuhrman

 

 

image credit: celebration by Elijah Lynn


 

Interview with a Nutritarian: Esther

 

 

Esther Boller is one cool chica. As a lover of fashion myself, I knew I had to get to know this rising star in the art and fashion world who also happens to be a model nutritarian. While just 17-years-old, Esther has already proven that she has the talent to compete with the best and brightest in fashion and film. Esther recently won a National Gold Medal in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for her Masking Tape Dress - made completely out of masking tape!  Winning this award is no small feat. It is a prestigious award dating back to 1923 and has been previously granted to artistic greats such as Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Robert Redford and Joyce Carol Oates.

Esther continues to increase exposure in the fashion and modeling industry and this spring she was the cover girl model winner for Mode Republic. In addition to all of these achievements, she also won the Scholastic National American Vision Award for her short film, “Dreams are Sails”. Over 200,000 students entered the various Scholastics competitions, and she traveled to New York City in June to accept her awards at a national ceremony in Carnegie Hall.

Wow! So while I’m completely impressed by her skills in the world of aesthetics, I’m equally impressed by her healthy eating habits. After speaking with her on the phone, I learned that she’s been committed to following the nutritarian lifestyle since December 2011 and has never felt better. Let’s get to know this inspiring girl better. Welcome to Disease Proof, Esther!  

 

 

What was your life like before following Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian eating-style?

While always a pretty healthy eater and ate better than most teenagers, I was far from perfect. I loved fruits and vegetables, but I also ate pizza, breads, cookies and sweets regularly. I’ve always had a sweet tooth and this meant plenty of sugar in my diet. In August 2011 I began suffering from dizzy spells combined with intense headaches once or twice each week and they would last for over 20 minutes. I would become so overwhelmed with a sensation of spinning that I would instantly have to stop whatever I was doing, sit down, and put my head between my knees until it would stop. Each week they increased in intensity, frequency and length to the point that they were greatly incapacitating. I could never anticipate when an episode would happen, and they started to occur every other day so I began living in fear of them; especially when I was driving the car or out in public.

My mom took me to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist last December, and after an initial hearing test ruled out an inner ear imbalance, the doctor wanted to do a bunch of expensive diagnostic tests, physical therapy, and possibly put me on meds. I knew that I didn’t want to take drugs as I’ve seen first hand the negative side effects of mind altering meds. No way. So when Dr. Fuhrman suggested that I eat 100% perfectly, even starting a week before Christmas, I was willing to do anything to get better. I couldn’t let the dizzy spells and headaches, or the negative side effects of drugs stop me from achieving my dreams.

  

How do you feel now?

A few weeks after committing to the nutritarian lifestyle, the spinning episodes and headaches became less intense and I felt them less frequently. After two months they completely disappeared. Now, besides having no more dizzy spells or headaches, I’m not as tired anymore and have lots more energy. This last spring semester I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to focus on schoolwork with enhanced alertness and simply have more vigor in daily living. I never had terrible skin, but I don’t get acne or pimples like I did sometimes in the past.

 

What has surprised you about following a nutritarian diet?

It is so easy and I enjoy it much more than I expected. I liked fruits and vegetables before, but didn’t love them like I do now. I didn’t think I would enjoy eating kale, but now I adore it! I’ve become much more creative in the kitchen and one of my favorite meals is a salad with homemade bean salsa on top.   When I crave something sweet, I whip up a banana ice cream made with bananas, other fruits and non-dairy milk. My friends are pretty accepting of the way I eat, and when I visit my friends' houses and they offer me junk foods, I explain that I have to follow a special diet for health reasons. It’s definitely not as hard as I thought to say no to conventional American foods. 

 

Do you have advice for other young people attempting to improve their diets?

Yes! Don’t be afraid of trying new foods. You’d be surprised how great vegetable and fruit dishes can taste! As I mentioned, I’d never been a huge kale fan, but after eating it more and experimenting with different cooking techniques and recipes, it’s become one of my favorite vegetables. My taste buds have certainly changed as I’ve made the switch to a 100 percent nutritarian lifestyle and I now crave large salads, which was something I didn’t expect. 

I’ve also found it helpful to have a variety of different fruits and vegetables stocked in the refrigerator. Fruits and vegetables can be a little bit boring after a while, so it’s nice to try out new recipes. When I first started, my mom and I tried out a bunch of recipes and found ones that I really enjoy and make all the time now. There are so many ways to cook fruits and vegetables!

 

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

I look forward to my future now without the fear of scary, dizzy spells, headaches, or taking drugs for the rest of my life. Nothing feels better than that! 

 

 

Image credits: self-portrait in car by Esther Boller;  Carnegie Hall ceremony taken by Ruth Yaroslaski

Today is the Kick-off! Succeed by Being Supported

Dr. Fuhrman's Holiday Challenge has now begun and what an opportunity this is for you to be able to take action and regain your health! You have made the decision to take on the challenge, which is the first step, but now you need to take action. You'll need to stay firm and dedicated the entire six weeks; not just here at the start. Eating high-nutrient foods will provide motivation, because you’ll feel great and see the positive physical results quickly, but there is more that you can do to increase your success. 

 

The following are a few strategies, some of which you may have already heard of or used in the past, and they will increase your likelihood of successful completion of the challenge:

 

1.  Tell everyone you know what you are doing for your health and how excited you are about it. By telling close friends, family members, neighbors, and coworkers, you are going to make this more “real” and not just a secret struggle that you “hope to get through”. The worst position to be in is all alone; just you and your addictions and bad habits. You’ll see that others will ask you about how you are doing with the challenge, and many will want to support you and cheer you on. You don’t want to let yourself down, of course, but by involving more people that are also expecting you to follow through, you won’t want to let them down either.

 

2.  Ask friends, family members and coworkers that also have a need to turn their health around to do the challenge with you. Share recipes and ideas. Eat and exercise together, if you can. It’s more fun and motivating this way and is one of the best strategies for success.

 

3.  Interact with others who have succeeded already and have “been there” so they can motivate you and give you more tips for success. A great way to do this is by participating in the online forums at DrFuhrman.com. [Dr. Fuhrman is offering a free, six week membership over the holidays. See link below.] There isn’t a better place where there’s such a concentrated group of like-minded nutritarians than on the member center; and the more you get involved there, the more success you’ll have. Some will even post their daily thoughts as they are transitioning to a healthy lifestyle, and they’ll get daily responses from experienced nutritarians who care.

 

4.  Educate yourself daily about the science of nutrition. Make efforts to understand why eating a high micronutrient, plant-based diet is the healthiest for you, and why it is the most sustainable way to lose weight and keep it off. Read Dr Fuhrman’s newsletters and books, and actually look up the research articles that are referenced in these materials and on DiseaseProof.com and DrFuhrman.com. Knowing why you are making these changes in your life is an important component for long term success.

 

5.  Track your success each day (perhaps with a chart on your refrigerator) and give yourself non-food related rewards for reaching your dietary goals weekly or even daily, if needed.

I wish all of you the best success in reaching your health goals. I’ll see you on the other side!

 

 

To view the official rules and promise, click here.

 

Dr. Benson sees the majority of patients at Dr. Fuhrman’s office in Flemington, and is well versed in modern high-tech medicine and the nutritional and natural methods utilized by Dr. Fuhrman. He also works side-by-side with Dr. Fuhrman on nutritional research, gives lectures, and answers questions on Dr. Fuhrman’s Ask the Doctor forums.

 

 

image credits:  flickr, table setting by Allan Henderson; four women by TheArches

Holiday Challenge? I could NEVER do that!

 

Remember the wonderful reasons why we are eating high-nutrient foods?  click here

 

The Holiday Challenge rules and promise will be posted this coming Tuesday, and the official kick-off will be on Monday, November 21st.  Let's all enjoy the best holiday season yet!

 

Let us know the reason(s) why you will be jumping on board the Holiday Challenge this year.

 

 

image credit:  Esther Boller

Type I diabetic reaches age 90!

A couple of weeks ago I was flipping through the pages of my local newspaper when I ran across an article by The Associated Press titled, “Oldest US diabetic ‘lifer’ reaches age 90.”Happy Birthday balloon

It caught my attention.

Back in 1926, a five-year-old boy by the name of Bob Krause was diagnosed with type I diabetes, (aka juvenile diabetes), shortly after the commercial production of insulin.  Before that time children died of the nasty disease, including his brother. 

As most of you may know, type I diabetes is different from type II diabetes. It’s a chronic illness in which the body no longer produces insulin, and life expectancy is shortened due to serious health complications that can develop as a result. However, Mr. Krause was determined to successfully beat it, and he’s now the oldest American known to live 85 years beyond the time of diagnosis. 

 

I spoke with Mr. Krause over the phone to congratulate him and to discover his success tips, and guess what his number one tip has been?  In fact, he calls it his “life’s motto”: he eats to live instead of living to eat!   [And he'd never heard of a book with that title!]  He always treats his body like a car and only eats enough food to fuel activities, and that’s it. For him, that equates to just two modest meals a day . . . not for pleasure; or emotional, social, or recreational reasons; and his fuel doesn’t consist of processed foods and lots of animal protein either. 

Mr. Krause was determined from early on that he wanted to live the best life possible. And he did.  He became a professor and established a career in teaching mechanical engineering at the University of Washington; plus, he and his wife raised a wonderful family together.

I was blown away by his positive attitude and wisdom of living with type I diabetes. He genuinely considers himself a blessed man to have had diabetes at such a young age as it caused him to do what he was supposed to do. 

Before hanging up the phone, he told me that if all people would live as if they had diabetes, everyone would be a lot healthier. He said it’s each person’s decision to live or die, and that if we each do what we’re supposed to do, we’ll live a long and healthy life.

Congratulations Bob Krause – you are an inspirational hero! 

By the way, he can’t understand why so many people have been making such a big fuss over him as he just did what he was supposed to do, to live! 

Image credit:  flickr by Genista 

Half-way there!

Dr. FuhrrmanThree weeks in and I'm thrilled, along with my teams at DiseaseProof.com and DrFuhrman.com, that almost 1500 people, most of whom were on the fence for years, have joined us in taking the Six Week Holiday Challenge. We're flabbergasted by the success of this outreach and the many hundreds of supportive e-mails and posts that we've received from those, who for their first time in their lives, are getting their health back over the holidays instead of watching it deteriorate further.  This challenge has even helped motivate thousands more, who were already eating healthfully, to do even better.  We’ve all come together in solidarity to eat healthfully throughout the holiday season. 

For those of you who are now half-way through the challenge, I’m so proud of you that you are sticking to the promise; staying away from fast food and junk food, and adding high nutrient foods and exercise instead. Can you imagine only three weeks left and then you can go back to eating junk again?! (just kidding!)  And that’s the exciting part also; with all the delicious, healthy recipes, many have found the holiday challenge much easier and more enjoyable than they could’ve ever imagined.  They now know that they can stay on the road to wellness long after the holidays are over.  I’m looking forward to hearing more of your succes stories after the New Year.

                                                     

Congratulations to all of you! 

 

Being a shining example of excellent health is an exciting personal victory and one that also enables you to help others in need.  Keep up the great work.

 

Your health is your greatest wealth.

Moms, we really do have the most influence

Emily Boller as newbornI was born at the tale end of the infamous Baby Boom. This picture was taken on the day that I was brought home from the hospital.  My parents were of “The Greatest Generation”; a term coined by journalist, Tom Brokaw, to describe the generation who were children during the Great Depression and teens/young adults during World War II. This generation of youth learned the value of sacrifice, hard work and commitment. I remember my mom saying how much she loved the first weeks of spring as a child to be able to go out and pick dandelion greens for supper, because fresh food sources were so scarce after the long winter months. A few years later she mourned the death of her brother, a young soldier fighting in Europe, as she herself helped with the war effort by growing a Victory Garden. Women all across America grew lush vegetable gardens; supplying over 40% of the nation’s food, on top of carefully rationing additional food supplies.1

 

Fast forward three decades. 

  • Teen girls traded growing and preparing food for after school activities. 
  • A magical applicance called a 'microwave' was introduced.
  • At the touch of a button food could be instantly heated.
  • Pre-packaged and processed meals flourished. 
  • These young women eventually married and started families of their own. 
  • They met friends at McDonald’s Play Land for their toddlers' play dates. 
  • Happy Meals replaced green beans and carrots. 
  • Carbonated drinks replaced glasses of cool water. 
  • Coupon clipping for artificially flavored, processed food replaced working in the garden.   

 

Fast forward another decade; the Happy Meal toddlers became teens. 

  • Soccer and dance practices replaced the family dinner hour. 
  • Traditional, sit down meals became a thing of the past. 
  • No longer was anyone home at the same time. 
  • Big Macs 'supersized' replaced Happy Meals.
  • Dad nuked cold spaghetti in the microwave and watched the evening news . . . alone. 
  • Thankfully, Death by Chocolate ice-cream was in the freezer.

 

Emily Boller as a child eating an ice cream coneWhen I was a kid, ice cream cones were rare commodities reserved only for very special occasions.  However, when I became a mother, the 99 cent cones at McDonald’s were routine lifesavers. Sure, freshly cleaned grapes would have been a better choice, but the drive thru was more convenient to a busy soccer mom. Unfortunately, I raised most of my kids in the fast lane on waffles, processed cereals, pizzas, chicken nuggets, mac n’cheese, pot roasts, “homemade" beef n’ noodles, and plenty of chips, sweets, and junk food in-between.

I recently asked my 21-year-old son, who now freely chooses high nutrient foods over the junk he was raised on, what has influenced his healthy choices the most. His reply was seeing the impact that nutrition has made on his mother’s life, and the healthy example now set at home.

Last year I wrote a post titled, “Moms, we have the most influence.”

I still believe it.  

 

 

 
                                  

1.  wikipedia.org/wiki/Victory_garden

image credits:  Emily Boller's family archives

          

The potential danger of feeling great

Over the past few months I've felt the best of my entire life. I can pedal up hills on my bike that last year I could only walk. I can do killer, intense interval workouts at the Y that a year ago I could only dream of doing. My exercise sessions are exhilarating! I'm amazed at how far my body has come in less than two years when I couldn’t even run to catch a fly-away ball in the backyard, or climb a flight of stairs without shortness of breath.

However, therein lies the potential problem.

Dr. Fuhrman recently reminded me that because I had let myself go for so many years I damaged my health in the process; even though I can't see or feel the damage.  He also cautioned me that now it's imperative to keep putting superior nutrition into my body to continue to repair, cleanse and heal the cellular damage caused by years of eating the standard American diet.

In other words, now's not the time to kick back and relax with the I-feel-great mentality and start compromising on superior nutrition. There's a huge difference between mediocre/good nutrition AND excellent/superior nutrition. Plus, it’s those little, innocent compromises that do the most damage, because they pave the way for bigger, more damaging compromises on down the road. It's going to take years of eating superior nutrition to prevent disease and heal the damage that’s already been done. Just because I feel great doesn't mean that my body is out of the woods.

 

Eating for optimal health is for life; no matter how great one feels.

No compromises. No excuses.

 

image credit: dutchlabusa.com

Bok choy - nutrient dense and delicious!

Bok choy (or pak choi) is a relative of cabbage, scientifically named Brassica chinensis. It is most often associated with Chinese cuisine, and has been grown in China for over six thousand years. Today, bok choy is also grown in Europe, Canada, and the U.S, and is available almost year-round – it is said to be most tasty in the winter months.

Bok choy has crisp, white stalks and dark green leaves, and in Chinese its name means “white vegetable.” There are over twenty different varieties of bok choy – the two most common seen here in the U.S. are the traditional and “baby” or “Shanghai” bok choy – however, if you visit your local Asian market, you may see several more of these varieties.1-2

Bok choy provides abundant amounts of vitamins A, C, and K as well as folate and calcium.3 A recent study detected 28 different polyphenols - antioxidant phytochemicals - in bok choy. Some of these were more concentrated in the leaves, and some in the stems.4 The most abundant polyphenol these scientists found in bok choy was kaempferol, a molecule shown to have anti-cancer properties.5 

Bok choy falls under the category of cruciferous vegetables, a family of especially nutrient-dense vegetables that contain unique anti-cancer compounds. Like all cruciferous vegetables, more cancer-preventive compounds are produced when bok choy is chopped before cooking. 

Bok choy is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world, and it is uniquely beneficial for its calcium availability – bok choy is lower in oxalate, a substance that binds up calcium and prevents it from being absorbed, than most other leafy greens. 54% of the calcium in bok choy can be absorbed by the human body – compare this to 5% in spinach, a high oxalate vegetable, and 32% in milk. We can much more readily absorb calcium from bok choy than from dairy products.

Bok choy can be eaten raw in salads, green smoothies, or vegetable juices, or cooked in stir-fries, soups, or other vegetable dishes. 

 

Braised Bok Choy

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

8 baby bok choy or 3 regular bok choy

1 teaspoon Bragg Liquid Aminos or low sodium soy sauce

2 cups coarsely chopped shiitake mushrooms

2 large cloves garlic, chopped, optional

1 tablespoon unhulled sesame seeds, lightly toasted *

Instructions:

Cover bottom of large skillet with 1/2 inch water. Add bok choy (cut baby bok choy in half lengthwise or cut regular bok choy into chunks).

Drizzle with liquid aminos. Cover and cook on high heat until bok choy is tender, about 6 minutes.

Remove bok choy and add mushrooms and garlic to the liquid in the pan.

Simmer liquid until reduced to a glaze. Pour over bok choy. Top with toasted sesame seeds.

*Lightly toast sesame seeds in a pan over medium heat for 3 minutes, shaking pan frequently. 

 

 

References:

1. http://chinesefood.about.com/od/vegetablesrecipes/a/bokchoy.htm

2. http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/?page_id=3002

3. http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2377/2?print=true

4. Harbaum B et al. Identification of flavonoids and hydroxycinnamic acids in pak choi varieties (Brassica campestris L. ssp. chinensis var. communis) by HPLC-ESI-MSn and NMR and their quantification by HPLC-DAD. J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Oct 3;55(20):8251-60. Epub 2007 Sep 12.

5. Luo H et al. Kaempferol inhibits angiogenesis and VEGF expression through both HIF dependent and independent pathways in human ovarian cancer cells. Nutr Cancer. 2009;61(4):554-63.

 

The Average American Youth: Nutritionally Uneducated, Nutrient Deprived

It is no secret that young people in America eat unhealthy diets.  What most people might not be aware of is just how unhealthy teens are actually eating.  According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a meager 9.5 percent of high school students in the United States eat two or more servings of fruits and three or more servings of vegetables a day, which are the amounts recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  As the fruit and vegetable consumption recommendations given by the USDA are conservative compared to actual ideal requirements as suggested in scientific studies, the number of teens who consume enough nutrients is actually considerably less than 9.5 percent.  Tragically, the majority of high-school and college students don’t eat any fruits and vegetables at all.  It is tragic because such behavior is predictive of the development of serious chronic disease in their adult lives.

Girl eating pizza

While one might think this information is shocking, teenagers themselves are not solely to blame. Most, if not all, high-schools fail to educate teens about the importance of eating healthfully, and the limited information that is given is almost worthless. They cook foods such as pastries and macaroni and cheese in cooking classes and no effort is made to teach the link between diets low in produce and later life cancer and heart disease. Young people are constantly bombarded by advertisements from fast food, soda and snack companies trying to promote their products.  Due to the popularity and high-publicity of many chain restaurants and snacks, eating unhealthy is not just considered normal, but cool.  Junk foods such as soda, candy, chips, white-flour products and processed snack items abound around school campuses and are the most convenient and available food choices.  Seventy-five percent of high schools currently serve lunches that are high in saturated fat and salt and low in nutrients, according to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 

In addition to the paltry supply of fruits and vegetables available on school campuses, students are loading up on soda to fulfill caloric needs. In fact, soda is the food (if you can call it that) that supplies the most calories to the American diet. Most of these calories come from high fructose corn syrup, equivalent to about 10 teaspoons of sugar. The typical soda offers, 150 calories, 30 to 55 mg of caffeine, and is packed with artificial food colors and sulphites.

Soda consumption is linked to osteoporosis, attention deficit disorder (ADD), insomnia, kidney stones, and tooth decay. Worst of all, soda is linked to obesity. In fact, the risk of obesity increases a dramatic 60 percent for each can of soda a person drinks per day. Teenagers and children, whom most soft drinks are marketed toward, are the largest consumers. Currently, teenage boys drink, on average, three or more cans of soda per day, and 10 percent drink seven or more cans each day. The average for teenage girls is two cans per day, and 10 percent drink more than five cans every day.

This year, let’s try to educate our youth.  If nothing is done to improve the eating habits of young people, I fear for my generation. The current climate of nutritional ignorance will lead to a future population of suffering and sickly adults riddled with chronic diseases, If you are trying to get healthier and lose weight, make it a family effort and try to teach your children about the importance of eating healthy and avoiding junk foods too.  Small efforts can result in big changes. It is never too early to make nutritious eating choices.Girls buying vegetables

What do you think?  What strategies should be implemented? What can we do to instill healthy eating values in our junk food world?