It's Been Five Years

In the summer of 2008, I made the firm decision to follow the nutritarian diet-style. At that time I was 47-years-old and suffered from severe food addiction, obesity, prediabetes, heart disease, shortness of breath, hypertension, chronic fatigue, bloating, brain fog, low back pain, cracked heels, boils, and general malaise all over my body. I couldn’t climb a flight of stairs without needing to stop a lot to catch my breath, and the extra weight caused me to become increasingly immobile with each passing birthday.  In the spring of 2008 my blood pressure was 154/97, and I knew that I was sitting on a ticking bomb; not a matter of “if” I’d have a heart attack or stroke, but “when”. And that was my wake-up call to change five years ago.  

  

Within a year’s time I lost 100 lbs. and eradicated all the aforementioned diseases from my life. However, most importantly, the overwhelming cravings for high-fat, salty, processed junk foods and sweets, that consumed my every waking moment for over twenty years, gradually subsided, and then completely went away for the first time in my adult life. 

My success with getting health back, which obviously included weight loss, was a direct result of understanding the science and logic behind Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritional recommendations. My perspective changed from deprivation dieting (starving myself to obesity) to eating for the best health that’s possible. [To view my complete story, including changing images, click on my author name under the title at the top of this post.]

Then four years ago I began interviewing successful Nutritarians for Disease Proof, and I’ve gleaned valuable nuggets of information from many individuals who are real-life success stories. Additionally, I’ve also interacted with those who’ve struggled with the nutritarian diet-style, and those insights have also contributed to my understanding of the keys to great health and long term success. It is from all of these combined experiences and observations that I’ve compiled a brief summary below of success tips of those who’ve lost weight, and have kept it off, by following Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian approach.

   

SUCCESS TIPS:

                                                                      

  • IT TAKES COMMITMENT

Success is a direct result of thoroughly studying, understanding, and assimilating the science behind Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritional recommendations; and then making the firm decision to tenaciously act upon, and hold fast to earning health back, no matter what. It is having both feet in at all times; not “trying” to eat high-nutrient foods during the week and indulging on the weekends, or eating for health only when it’s convenient, or when one feels like it. 

       

  • THE WAGON MENTALITY HAS BEEN PITCHED

The wagon mentality and deprivation dieting go hand-in-hand. “I fell off the wagon,” basically translates into, “I blew it so I might as well eat anything I want now.” It invites cheating and bingeing. The nutritarian eating-style is not a diet to go on and off on a whim. Instead, it's an ongoing endeavor of flooding the body's cells with a comprehensive array of nutrients to fight disease and feel great for the rest of one's life.  A well-nourished body will no longer crave toxic junk foods or be driven to overeat uncontrollably. Although a slip up may happen from time to time, the key to success is getting back up as quickly as possible and not dwelling on the mistake.   

    

  • MODERATION IS A MYTH

There is no such thing as eating in moderation when it comes to toxic foods’ addictive power. Taking just one bite of an addictive food can be just as deceptive and dangerous as taking just one smoke for a former nicotine addict. It’s much easier to keep addictive cravings extinguished than to be continually fighting obsessive compulsions, because it only takes a tiny spark to ignite them to full power again.   

 

  • THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS

Everyone has to cross over the threshold of withdrawal from toxic foods, and for most, it is no fun. Detoxification (or toxic hunger) can be unpleasant. Some of the symptoms can include: headaches, nauseousness, weakness, fatigue, shakiness, irritability, and generally feeling blahh; just to name a few. It can be very uncomfortable for some and last up to several days, but once the symptoms have resolved, and if toxic foods are no longer consumed, the symptoms don’t return. 

 

  • BE PREPARED AT ALL TIMES

Unlike junk food dieting, there will be no highly-processed, frozen diet entrees and desserts waiting for you in the frozen department of the supermarket. You are surrounded and bombarded by a food addicted culture that pushes disease-causing indulgences 24/7. There is no escaping the insanity. Therefore, you must plan ahead and always have food prepared in advance. Make sure to keep your refrigerator well stocked at all times with freshly cleaned vegetables, fruits, and cooked beans and soups for quick meals. Always cook in big batches so that you can save portions for later. Never wait until the refrigerator is empty to plan and prepare more food. Once a routine of food preparation is established, it will become second-nature, but in the beginning this habit has to be a top priority to develop. Establishing this habit makes the nutriatrian diet-style simple and cost effective to incorporate into one’s busy life.

 

  • NEVER GIVE UP

Hard times happen.  When life is turned upside-down, it will take everything within to muster up the strength to keep going in the direction of health. But 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. There is never a valid excuse to throw in the towel and quit, especially during a season of crisis or great loss when one’s body needs optimal nutrition the most to survive the extra demands put on it. The sun will shine again and happiness will return as one continues to stay the course. As Dr. Fuhrman states, “It will take strength. It will take effort. But the pleasures and rewards that you’ll get from a healthy life will be priceless.”

      

  • IT'S A PRIVILEGE TO GET HEALTH BACK

Those who succeed long term view the opportunity to earn health back as a privilege, and they do whatever it takes to live in the best health that’s possible. This perspective enables a person to get past toxic cravings to thoroughly enjoy great tasting foods in their natural state.  Additionally, this gives a tremendous amount of pleasure and satisfaction with the nutritarian eating-style which produces the ongoing and long term success!

 

Earning health back is a lifetime endeavor - blessings of excellent and ongoing health to all!

 

 

image credit by Esther Boller

Interview with a Nutritarian: Nancy

I met Nancy on Dr. Fuhrman’s Member Center this past year, and she’s now a totally different person than she was just nine months ago. Her enthusiasm for living life to the fullest is contagious! However, just last summer she felt like she had no life. It’s amazing what nine months of nutritarian eating can do to a person! Welcome to Disease Proof, Nancy.      

               

What was your life like before discovering Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian approach?

What life?? I had no life!

I barely left the house, and I had removed myself from all social functions, because I was just too ashamed of the way I looked and felt. I felt physically uncomfortable all the time; whether I was sitting in a chair, or the car, or lying in bed, my body felt awful. My feet would hurt even if I walked just a little bit. I ached from head to toe, and I was exhausted most of the time and had very little energy to do normal every day tasks. My life was on hold.  I'm not even sure how much I weighed, because I didn't have the courage to actually get on the scales when I started following Eat to Live. I waited about a week before I actually weighed myself, and I was 195.5 lbs, so I'm pretty sure I was close to 200 lbs when I started . . . and I’m only 5'2"!

Prior to following Eat to Live my weight had gone up and down most of my adult life. I was a typical yo-yo dieter; never able to maintain an optimal weight because every "diet" always came to an end. I needed an absolute, complete lifestyle change; a way of living, not some diet fad that would be tossed aside once I reached my goal weight.

 

How did you find out about it?

I’d decided to start a healthy diet in July 2012, but I knew that I needed something different than what I’d tried in the past. Previously, I had gone vegan in an attempt to regain health and reduce my weight, but that never lasted longer than a few weeks at a time. I instinctively felt that I didn’t have a complete picture of truly healthy eating. I searched online for some help and stumbled across Dr. Fuhrman's website. I devoured everything I could and purchased the books Eat to Live and Eat for Health. The knowledge I gained from reading those books, and joining the member center, was invaluable and were the missing pieces for me.

 

How do you feel now?

My life has totally changed! I’ve lost 75.5 pounds and reached my goal of 120 pounds in just nine months. I weigh less than I did in high school, and I feel absolutely wonderful! Aches and pains are gone, energy has greatly increased, and my social life is back to normal. I have a completely new wardrobe and feel good in my skin now. This is not just about vanity; it is so much more than that. I can sit on the floor and play with my grandkids and not even know I have a body. I’m at peace with the knowledge that I’m doing what's best for my health, and I feel free!

 

What are your success tips?

  • I dived into the program 100% and did not deviate from it. I followed everything to the letter, and I was determined that this would be the way I would eat for the rest of my life.

  • I completely changed my relationship with food. Initially, I stayed away from restaurants (too much temptation), and if I did eat out, I brought my own dressings with me.

  • I participated in Dr. Fuhrman’s Member Center which helped me tremendously! Reading about others’ successes and failures in the discussion forums has been extremely helpful. There were times that I needed a kick in the pants to help get me out of temptation and reading the remorse that others felt when they had "fallen off the wagon" was the impetus I needed to keep going. And of course, reading about others who had been successful convinced me that this can be done.  Receiving encouragement from the Member Center is a tool which will be useful indefinitely. I am now acutely aware that one food indiscretion has the potential to send me back into unhealthful eating, and I will use every tool I can to prevent that from happening.

 

Congratulations Nancy for making that decision to dive-in 100% for the rest of your life!

There is No Greater Joy

"The most effective treatment for breaking any bad habit or addiction is abstinence."    -Joel Fuhrman, M.D.

I've never been drunk, in fact, I don't drink alcohol. I grew up in a home where alcohol wasn’t consumed, so therefore, I didn't acquire a taste for it. However, during college I lived in a house with 28 other girls, and most Saturday and Sunday mornings I witnessed the various hangovers from the drinking parties the night before. I felt so sorry for them. I couldn't understand why they would do such a thing to torture their poor bodies so much.

Well, just a couple of years later when I was in the midst of my own hangovers from toxic food addiction, I could finally understand. When a poisonous addiction takes over, it tortures both body and mind. After a toxic food binge I would feel bloated, painfully miserable, and disoriented for several hours until the foods got out of my system; only to eat them all over again.

For me, being free from toxic food hangovers has been even more exciting than losing weight or getting health restored. To anyone who doesn't understand that concept, be thankful. Be very thankful. To be imprisoned to habitual bingeing hangovers is a terrible captivity, and I was in the dark abyss for over 20 years.

  • I dreaded birthday parties and holiday feasts, yet craved them at the same time.
  • I dreaded the way I'd feel after eating fake stuff, yet couldn't live without it.
  • I even dreaded getting up many mornings to face another day of bingeing; dreading it, yet craving it. What insanity.

Perhaps that's why I'm so staunch about abstinence to the point others may think I'm extreme and crazy. I know how deep one can dig into the pit of food addiction. I've seen what it can do to my body and sanity, and I’ve seen what it can do to others as well . . . and I don't give a rip what anyone thinks about my decision to be abstinent.

Have you ever experienced food binge hangovers, and are you free from them?

If not, you can be starting right now.

 

Freedom is two-fold:

1) One must eat for health by carefully following the nutritional guidelines in Eat to Live; flooding the body with comprehensive micronutrient adequacy to meet the biological needs of the body.

2) And abstain from those foods and situations that trigger addictive binges. Abstinence is a self-enforced restraint from indulging that usually causes one to feel worse for the first several days before feeling better. The key to successfully overcoming an addiction is to never give into the impulse to indulge, no matter what. There is no other way out.

 

Once you cross the threshold where toxic food binges no longer overpower you, you will be free for the rest of your life! You’ll naturally prefer eating less when you consume high-nutrient foods instead of fake foods; you’ll naturally get more pleasure out of eating and living; and you’ll enjoy a healthy body and sane mind that is free from the physical and mental torment of the addiction.

Contend for your freedom today. Eat for health and remain abstinent from triggers. 

There is no greater joy!

 

[The pictures are of yours truly. The image at the top was taken on July 10, 2008, the day I committed to follow Eat to Live; and the image on the left was taken this past summer, four years later. This coming July I will celebrate my fifth year anniversary of being free from food addiction! Click here to view my journey to freedom.]

Americans have poorer health and shorter lives than peers

A new report from the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council revealed bleak statistics on the comparative health of the citizens of the United States compared to sixteen other high-income countries.

The report revealed that Americans have been dying earlier, on average, than almost all other countries. Of the sixteen countries ranked, American males ranked last in life expectancy and American females ranked sixteenth out of seventeen. The report notes that this trend has been ongoing and progressively worsening since 1980; Americans are dying prematurely with poorer health during their lives. The report states:

“The tragedy is not that the United States is losing a contest with other countries but that Americans are dying and suffering from illness and injury at rates that are demonstrably unnecessary.”

The report identified nine key areas in which Americans demonstrate poorer health status; a few of note are the direct results of poor nutrition and lifestyle habits: obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Out of the 17 countries, the U.S. was ranked 2nd in the number of ischemic heart disease deaths and 3rd in diabetes deaths. Americans consume more calories per person than any other country in the world, and our eating habits are killing us. Obesity was a significant contributor to the shortened life expectancy observed in Americans; obesity accounted for 42 percent of the reduction in life expectancy American females and 67 percent of the reduction in males.

It is well known that the U.S. spends more money on health care per person than any other nation.

Photo of falling money

The report noted that Americans have greater “control” over blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and still have the next-to-highest death rate from ischemic heart disease. We take more medication for heart disease risk factors, and yet are more likely to die from heart disease. We spend the greatest amount of money, and die the earliest. More medical care does not buy better health.

It’s time for our country to wake up. Our health, happiness, and economic stability are suffering at the hands of our dietary choices.

There were several additional non-nutritional factors that contributed to the relatively short life expectancy of Americans, including infant mortality rate, injuries and homicides, drug-related deaths, HIV and AIDS.  In addition to disease-causing eating habits, behavioral factors such as drug abuse, lack of seat belt use, drunk driving and gun violence are contributing to the poor health and shorter lifespan of Americans. The report also cited deficits in our health care system, higher levels of poverty and income inequality than other countries, and geographical environments built around cars, which discourage physical activity.

Clearly, there are some issues not under our individual personal control that must be tackled by public policy. However, this report also highlights those factors that we as individuals can address – today – to increase our own likelihood for a long and healthy life: our weight and our risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Excess weight, heart disease, and diabetes are inevitable consequences of the standard American diet plus inactivity, but they are not truly inevitable. We can prevent these conditions by making wiser food choices and prioritizing physical activity. Each of us must take responsibility for our own health and longevity. A high-nutrient diet based on protective plant foods is an excellent place to start.

 

Reference:

Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health. January 9, 2013. http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2013/US-Health-in-International-Perspective-Shorter-Lives-Poorer-Health.aspx

Overweight people live longer; yeah right!

Right on the front page of every newspaper and news outlet today was “Overweight People Live Longer." Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, and they are generally aware excess fat on the body is not healthy.  So when word of a study like the recent one on body mass index (BMI) categories and mortality starts spreading through the news outlets, everyone listens, and many take the conclusions to be fact. Sadly this kind of news coverage does a disservice to an already overweight and misguided public, allowing them to believe that their excess body fat won’t harm them and influence many to maintain or add some pounds.  I wonder how much more breast cancer and how many needless deaths this information will cause. 

This was a meta-analysis, pooling data from different studies that analyzed death from all causes with consideration of various BMI categories (normal weight: 18.5 – 24.9; overweight: 25.0 – 29.9; obesity: 30 or greater). The researchers found a small (6 percent) reduction in the risk of all-cause mortality for overweight compared to normal weight individuals, and an 18% increase in risk for obese compared to normal weight individuals.1

Does that mean almost every study on fitness, and the benefits of dietary excellence in the last 40 years was wrong?  So, should we nutritarians pack on some extra pounds, exercise less, eat some cheese doodles and lounge on the couch watching more TV, so we can live longer?  Hah, and the moon is made of green cheese too.  This paper found an association here between lower BMI and a slight decrease in mortality rate, but for a variety of reasons, this is bad science and should never have been reported.

This study is essentially worthless because it did not exclude people with chronic disease recorded at baseline.  Sick people become thinner.  It is well known that illnesses cause a lower body weight.  The American diet is so disease-causing and weight-promoting that almost all relatively healthy people become overweight, leaving mostly the chronically ill and those with occult illnesses (not yet diagnosed) at a normal or near normal weight. 

A number of medical conditions may cause unintentional weight loss, including depression, anxiety, alcoholism, drug addiction, autoimmune diseases, occult cancer and digestive disorders. What proportion of the normal weight group had one or more of these conditions?  The study did not say, but the list below suggests that it’s a large proportion of those in the normal weight category.   The fact is, the American diet is so fattening and unhealthy that if someone is eating the American diet and is not overweight, they most likely have something wrong with them. Below is a list of conditions that cause weight loss, and the estimated prevalence of these conditions in the general population:

  • Alcoholism – 12.5%.2
  • Anxiety disorders - 18%.3
  • Asthma - 7.7%.4
  • Autoimmune Disorders – 7.6-9.4% 5
  • Celiac disease – 1%.6
  • COPD – 5.1%.4
  • Depression – 8%.7
  • Drug addiction – 2.6%.8
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome – 10%.9

Depression, Anxiety and Alcoholism alone could account for the findings in this study and affect about 20 percent of the population.  Plus the study did not consider subclinical disease, in other words medical problems that have not yet been diagnosed.  For example, there are many with some hidden cancer, not yet diagnosed (called occult cancer) that keeps them thin.  Studies like this always underestimate the impact of overweight and obesity on premature mortality. 

Plus, the only measured outcome was all-cause mortality.  We still see increasing mortality from diabetes and heart disease as weight increases and the increased mortality in the normal weight group was from more unusual causes.  We also know that the overweight live a lower quality life – with heart disease, arthritis, or another lifestyle-related disease or disability. Excess weight is known to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, elevated blood pressure and cholesterol, liver disease, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea, arthritis, and impotence and infertility.10 Let’s not ignore all that.  

In the end, what we can conclude from this study is that many researchers are confused about health and nutrition and because of that their work can just add more confusion.   With the majority of Americans significantly overweight many must be rejoicing in line at those fast food joints after hearing this today.  So please don’t skip the gym and head out to Drunkin Doughnuts tonight for some deep fried flour and sugar with artificial colorings and flavorings.  There is no getting around, you are what you eat.    

 

References: 

1. Flegal KM, Kit BK, Orpana H, et al: Association of all-cause mortality with overweight and obesity using standard body mass index categories: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA 2013;309:71-82.
2. Hasin DS, Stinson FS, Ogburn E, et al: Prevalence, correlates, disability, and comorbidity of DSM-IV alcohol abuse and dependence in the United States: results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2007;64:830-842.
3. National Institute of Mental Health: Anxiety Disorders. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/anxiety-disorders/complete-index.shtml. Accessed January 3, 2013.
4. Akinbami LJ, Moorman JE, Bailey C, et al: Trends in asthma prevalence, health care use, and mortality in the United States, 2001-2010. NCHS Data Brief 2012:1-8.
5. Cooper GS, Bynum ML, Somers EC: Recent insights in the epidemiology of autoimmune diseases: improved prevalence estimates and understanding of clustering of diseases. J Autoimmun 2009;33:197-207.
6. Talluri SK, Besur S, Talluri J: Abstract #74: A Population-Based Survey of Celiac Disease in the United States. In 2012 National Conference on Health Statistics; 2012.
7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: FastStats. Depression [http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/depression.htm]
8. Compton WM, Thomas YF, Stinson FS, et al: Prevalence, correlates, disability, and comorbidity of DSM-IV drug abuse and dependence in the United States: results from the national epidemiologic survey on alcohol and related conditions. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2007;64:566-576.
9. El-Serag HB: Impact of irritable bowel syndrome: prevalence and effect on health-related quality of life. Rev Gastroenterol Disord 2003;3 Suppl 2:S3-11.
10. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Overweight and Obesity Causes and Consequences. [http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/causes/index.html]

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BPA: How To Avoid This Ubiquitous Chemical Menace

Bisphenol-A (BPA) is its name and disrupting the our hormone function is its game. We should all be aware of what BPA is, the health conditions it’s associated with and where it’s lurking in our environment because this chemical is dangerous and it is found in many of the products we use each and every day. 

Canned tomatoes. Flickr: p_a_hThe health problems linked to BPA are astounding.  A mounting body of research shows that BPA is an endocrine disruptor that mimics our hormones, therefore interrupting their normal functioning.  This is serious given how much our delicate hormone balance influences our health.  Disruption of hormone levels due to BPA have been linked to breast cancer1, prostate cancer2, cardiovascular disease3, diabetes4, obesity5, infertility6, birth defects7, miscarriages8, developmental disorders in children9, premature puberty in young girls10, severe attention deficit disorder11, cognitive and brain development problems, deformations of the body (like our limbs), sexual development problems12-14, and feminizing of males or masculine effects on females.15-17 It seems like a lovely substance, doesn’t it? No doubt the evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs would have loved to douse that poisonous apple with a nice shiny layer of BPA.  She might have permanently poisoned Snow White if she had.

A new study even shows that BPA negatively affects not just those who eat and touch BPA laden items, but it also affects multiple generations of their children.18  This study, published by the journal Endocrinology, studied trans-generational effects of BPA on mice.  One group of mice was fed BPA laden food and another group was fed their regular diets. Behavior was monitored and so was the behavior of three subsequent generations. Genetic testing was also conducted on all of the animals.

Remarkably, the mice that were exposed to BPA in the womb were less social and more isolated than the other group, as was the case for their children and their children’s children.  These mice spent less time exploring, playing and engaging in friendly behavior with the other mice. This is not the normal behavior of mice and shows that BPA can influence brain activity for generations.  Notably and frighteningly, the BPA exposed mice were exposed to levels of BPA that humans would normally be exposed to via our diets. While mice behavior and human behavior are obviously not the same, mice are a good laboratory model for what could happen to humans. The researchers even likened the behavioral issues they found in the BPA-exposed mice to autistic children and children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

To make matters worse, the same study found that 90 percent of Americans have BPA in their blood. Forget watching a horror movie, all we need to do to get a good scare is learn about the health effects of BPA and its ubiquity in our environment. That is, if we do not educate ourselves on which materials contain it and don’t make efforts to avoid it. 

Thankfully, with a bit of education we can steer clear of BPA as easily as a graceful decline of a receipt or the simple renouncement of tin can usage. BPA is found in quite a few unsuspecting places, which is why doing one’s homework really pays off.  Your jaw just may drop when you learn how many places BPA can be found, but thankfully there are plenty of alternatives.  Education really is power and this has never been truer than in the case of the malicious, microscopic villain that is BPA.

So which products are likely to contain BPA?

  1. Receipts- these pieces of paper are coated with a BPA-based coating that rubs off onto our fingers and whatever else it comes in contact with.
  2. Canned food- cans are lined with an epoxy resin that’s made of BPA, so watch out for soups, canned tomato sauces, fruits and vegetables.  Glass jars, frozen foods and paper cartons are our best alternatives.  One exception: the company Eden Organics produces a line of canned beans that are BPA free. They use oleoresin, which is a natural mixture of an oil and a resin extracted from plants. The can maker, Ball Corporation, says that Eden is the only company to date that makes BPA free cans. More information on their cans is available on the Eden Organics website.
  3. Avoid contact with plastic- use glass appliances and storage containers rather than plastic tubs to store leftovers. Stainless steel containers are wonderful substitutes for plastic lunch bags and takeout clamshells.
  4. “BPA-free” plastics are not safe- a study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that those plastics purported to be safer that those containing BPA were lined with BPA alternatives that could be  just as noxious.
  5. Dental sealants are a BPA warehouse- BPA is the most frequently used dental sealant material and it’s used in composite fillings used to treat cavities.  Dental treatments have been linked to social problems in children, leading a slew of pediatricians to advocate the use of other materials. However, this change has yet to manifest itself in safer dental care so our best bet is to brush regularly, floss and visit our dentists for regular cleanings.
  6. Alcoholic beverages- wine and beer are fermented in BPA-resin lined vats.  If you enjoy your fair share of alcoholic drinks, this may just be the motivation you need to eschew that glass of wine or beer. Your hormones will thank you.
  7. Infant formula and baby bottles- if you thought BPA in alcohol was sad, this one may be even sadder; I believe the worst is when helpless infants are exposed to BPA. We already knew breastfeeding was best for the little ones, but this news provides even more of an incentive to do so. If breastfeeding isn’t possible, glass bottles and un-canned, powdered formula is second best.
  8. Plastic utensils- alas, BPA is found in almost all plastics, plastic utensils included. Although not possible all the time, bring your own utensils when as much as you can.
  9. Aluminum soda cans- as if Coca Cola and Pepsi weren’t bad enough on their own, now we know they contain BPA as well as over the top amounts of high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners.  Stay away, just stay away.
  10. It’s in your dollar bills- yup, BPA makes its residency on our money because the ink it’s printed on is pure BPA. Other than avoiding touching money, which is impossible for most, our best option is to wash our hands after we exchange the moolah.  

There you have it. While completely avoiding BPA is likely impossible, knowing which products contain BPA will help us greatly reduce our exposure.  Maybe you and I, and all those we share this article with, can make ourselves part of the ten percent of Americans with undetectable blood BPA levels and help that percentage grow. 

 

Image credit Flickr: p_a_h

References:

1. Lozada KW, Keri RA (2011). Bisphenol A Increases Mammary Cancer Risk in Two Distinct Mouse Models of Breast Cancer Running title: Bisphenol A and mouse mammary cancer risk. Biology of Reproduction Papers in Press. Published on June 2, 2011 as DOI:10.1095/biolreprod.110.090431.

2. Ho S. Tang W. Prins GS, et al.Developmental Exposure to Estradio and Bisphenol-A Increases Susceptibility to Prostate Carcinogenesis and Epigenetically Regulates Phosphodiesterase Type 4 Variant 4. J of Cancer Research.

3. Melzer D, Rice NE, Lewis C, et al. Association of Urinary Bisphenol A Concentration with Heart Disease: Evidence from NHANES 2003/06. PLOS ONE 2010; 5(1): e8673.

4. Lang, IA, Galloway TS, Scarlett A, et al. Association of Urinary Bisphenol A Concentration With Medical Disorders and Laboratory Abnormalities in Adults. JAMA 2008; 300(11):1303-1310.

5. Carwile JL, Michels KB. Urinary bisphenol A and obesity: NHANES 2003-2006. Environmental Research 2011; 111(6): 825-830.

6. Meeker JD, Ehrlich S, Toth TL, et al. Semen quality and sperm DNA damage in relation to urinary bisphenol A among men from an infertility clinic. Reproductive Toxicology 2010; 30(4): 532-539.

7. Brieno-Enriquez MA, Toran N, Martinez F, et al. Gene expression is altered after bisphenol A exposure in human fetal oocytes in vitro. Mol Hum Reprod 2012; 18(4): 171-183.

8. Sugiura-Ogasawara M, Ozaki Y, Sonta S, Makino T, Suzumori K. (2005). Exposure to bisphenol A is associated with recurrent miscarriage. Human Reprod, 20:2325-2429.

9. Friedrich MJ. Bisphenol A and Reproduction. JAMA 2011; 305(1): 28.

10. Howdeshell KL, Hotchkiss AK, Thayer KA, et al. Environmental toxins: Exposure to bisphenol A advances puberty. Nature 1999; 401: 763-764.

11. Behavioral characterization of rats exposed neonatally to bisphenol-A: responses to novel environment and to methylphenidate challenge in a putative model of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. J of Neural Trans 2008; 115(7): 1079-1085.

12. Nagel SC, Boechler M, WV Welshons, et al. Relative binding affinity-serum modified access (RBA-SMA) assay predicts the relative in vivo bioactivity of the xenoestrogens bisphenol A and octylphenol. Environ Health Perspect 1997; 105(1): 70-76.

13. Li D, Zhou Z, Qing Y, et al. (2009). Occupational exposure to bisphenol-A (BPA) and the risk of self-reported male sexual dysfunction. Human Reprod, doi:10.1093/humrep/dep381.

14. Lang IA, Galloway TS, Scarlett A, et al. Association of Urinary Bisphenol A Concentration With Medical Disorders and Laboratory Abnormalities in Adults. JAMA 2008; 300(11): 1303-1310.

15. Howdeshell KL. Andrew KH, Thayer KA, et al. Environmental toxins: Exposure to bisphenol A advances puberty. Nature 1999; 401: 763-764.

16. Braun JM, Yolton K, Dietrich KN, et al. (2009). Prenatal bisphenol A exposure and early childhood behavior. Environ Health Perspect, 117:1945-1952.

17. Lang IA, Galloway TS, Scarlett A, et al. (2008). Association of urinary bisphenol A concentration with medical disorders and laboratory abnormalities in adults. J Am Med Assoc, 300:1303-1310.

18. Edwards M, Gatewood JD, Wolstenholme JT, et al. Gestational Exposure to Bisphenol A Produces Transgenerational Changes in Behaviors and Gene Expression. Endocrinology 2012. Published online before print.

 

 

The 90 Percent Rule

One of the most popular and misunderstood  topics in Dr. Fuhrman’s book, Eat to Live, is the famous 90 Percent Rule for adopting the nutritarian eating-style for life, and every person has his / her own interpretation of it:

“I eat healthy for a week, and then I celebrate.”

“I try to eat healthy, but I know I have that 10% to fall back on if I want to.”

“I use that 10% for when I eat out, because I know I’ll have salty foods and dessert.” 

“I’m not that hardcore following Eat to Live, after all, Dr. Fuhrman even said that we can cheat 10% of the time.”  

 

For those unfamiliar with the 90 Percent Rule, starting on page 223 of Eat to Live, Dr. Fuhrman wrote about it, and I’ll highlight below a few points that many misuse as a free-for-all license to go back to the standard American diet at liberty.  

 

  • For longevity and weight loss, the Life Plan diet should aim to be made up of at least 90 percent unrefined plant foods. My most successful patients treat processed foods and animal foods as condiments, constituting no more than 10 percent of their total caloric intake.

  • To hold to the 90 percent rule, I recommend women consume no more than 150 calories per day of low-nutrient food, or about 1,000 calories weekly. Men should not consume more than 200 calories of low-nutrient food daily, or about 1,400 calories weekly.

  • Using the 90 percent rule, you are allowed to eat almost any kind of food, even a small cookie or candy bar, as long as all your other calories that day are from nutrient-dense vegetation.    

     

 

Let’s set the record straight. The 90 Percent Rule is not the excuse to intentionally cheat. There is no valid reason to consume the worst foods that we can get our hands on, because junk food kills and perpetuates more food addiction.

The 10 percent allowance of low-nutrient foods is permissible; however, Dr. Fuhrman never intended for that to be the license for cheating, or anything close to that mindset.  He would prefer that everyone eat 100% of high-nutrient foods for the best health that’s possible. However, he also realizes that optimal health is not everyone’s priority, and everyone has that right to choose their own health destiny by the foods they select. 

Eating 100% high-nutrient foods is most beneficial for breaking food addictions, and eradicating obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, strokes, and a myriad of other diseases. 

Most of us have been consuming fake foods our entire lives so consuming 100% high-nutrient foods is especially crucial for us to reverse years of damage already done within our bodies. Dr. Fuhrman has stated that we may “look healthy” on the outside when we are close to an ideal weight, but we still have much damage on the cellular level to heal and restore due to years and years of conventional eating abuse. 

It’s not a matter of how far one can push a boundary line and get by with it, but how much one desires to heal damaged cells and feel alive and well; excited to be alive! 

Scrupulous, yes.

Sensible, absolutely.

Who in their right mind would want obesity, cancer, heart disease, depression, dementia, arthritis, or diabetes at retirement age?

With that being said, living in the best health that’s possible is totally one’s personal choice. If one wants to repeatedly eat traditional holiday meals; or pizza, chips and cake at parties; or ice cream blizzards on the way home from work; or glazed donuts at Sunday School; or buckets of buttered popcorn and boxes of candy at the movies; and then feel crappy, crabby and bloated; plus feed cancer cells and blow out precious beta cells in the process, no one is going to care. It’s one’s personal choice. Each person is in control of his or her own health destiny. 

 

So does Dr. Fuhrman himself follow the 90 Percent Rule?

 

 “What do you think I’m crazy?! My father had leukemia, why would I want to put 10 percent low quality food in my body? That is just for people who can’t yet grasp that nutritarian food tastes better and is more enjoyable to eat, and is the food we actually prefer to eat. Nevertheless, this is not a religion, and if on a rare occasion I want to have something conventional that is delicious, I can.”  

 

Be wise. Use good judgment and always be in control of your health destiny, 100% of the time!

 

[The obese belly above was mine a few years ago when I was in my 40's.  Now I'm 51-years-old and feeling younger & healthier than twenty years ago!]

My slumber party in cardiovascular intensive care

This past week I've spent time on a cardio intensive care unit at the bedside of my elderly father who's been battling pneumonia. The first night, as the early morning dawn was filterhing through a closed blind, I finally fell asleep curled up on a hard chair as I snuggled three pillows that a nurse kindly provided for my comfort.

One has much time to think in ICU as there’s not much else to do except watch the beeping monitors and listen to the quiet scuffles at the nurses’ stations. However, every once in a while a new arrival is wheeled past by an entourage of attendants; fresh from the recovery room.   

I was talking with one of the nurses, and she was telling me that most all of the patients in that particular unit were transferred there directly from heart bypass surgery. Looking through their glass doors, each appeared to be about my age; some looked a bit older, but most were "younger" looking. AND I'm sure that many will go right back to consuming chicken breasts, fries, and hot fudge sundaes as soon as they can get their hands on them again. After all, I’m almost certain that they were going to be sent home with a generous supply of Lipitor and Plavix so they could continue to participate in a gluttonous lifestyle. 
  

I'm beginning to think that perhaps it’s unethical to consume foods that promote disease. It's an astronomical burden not only to our health care system, but to the families who care for, and financially support these loved ones.

I don't know, do we have a moral obligation to consider the well-being of others who may be left with the overwhelming responsibility of being a caregiver?

Do we have a moral obligation to not squander the world's food supply and financial resources upon ourselves?

Note the image above. The obese, depressed woman in the middle was me four years ago. Back then I had to consume nearly 3700 calories a day just to maintain 100 lbs of fat. Oops, pardon me, I’ll be politically correct and call it "adipose tissue". That's enough food to feed two or three people. Was that morally right?

Should any of us be devouring the resources of this world while children starve in third world countries; or worse yet, have no clean water to drink?

What is ethical?

Do we turn heads to the cries of the needy to indulge in pleasures that never satisfy?

Recently, I was on the Dr. Oz show. Yes, it was fun. Yes, it was a hoot to be able to inspire the women of America to shed pounds the safe and healthy way. No doubt about it, it was an experience of a lifetime; something that I can tell my future grandkids someday. Yet, I can't help but wonder why we, as a culture, have made eating for health such a negative, foreign thing as if it is to be avoided like the plague.  

Eating for health is never a "have to" . . . . oh my, just the opposite. We have an amazing PRIVILEGE given to us!!!

It's a "get to" . . . . to know and apply information that will literally save us kazillions of dollars and millions of minutes of needless suffering and shame!

What a joy.

What a privilege.

What an indescribable blessing to have the gift of health available to us, literally, everyday for the rest of our lives!



For anyone discouraged. For anyone down-in-the-dumps. For anyone feeling like food cravings are just too big of an obstacle to successfully and permanently overcome - don't believe the lie. There are some real down-and-outers out there; be free by running in the opposite direction of their negativity, and tune into the voice of Dr. Fuhrman's nutritional recommendations instead! Don't get ensnared and entangled by their ignorant deceit. They are only satisfied when they have enticed you into their net of captivity.

 

The truth of the matter is . . . disease is just too big of an obstacle to deal with.

Repeat: Disease is just too big of an obstacle to deal with.

No human should suffer needlessly. Our bodies weren't made to lie in ICU beds on beautiful days in May, hooked up to machines, and caught in a vicious cycle of expensive medications, lab tests, and doctor appointments for the rest of our lives. No way! Our bodies were designed to function in full health. Vibrant health. Unburdened by rolls of fat, aches, pains, and chests cut open & torn apart to temporarily repair the senseless damage within. We are masterpiece works of art - designed for beauty, fresh air, and a fully functioning body!

Kick fat and disease out the door.

Go for it.

Do it!

Don't hang out with those who think you are crazy for earning health back. Don't listen to those who think you are an odd-ball because you eat only when hungry.  Turn a deaf ear to the naysayers.  Cultivate new and healthy friendships; AND be willing to be laughed at, scoffed at, and ridiculed for living in health!

Be normal. Be free from addiction. Be vibrant. Be healthy!

Let's all replace the gluttonous hoarding of resources with selfless generosity by living in the best health that’s possible. 

Freedom to all!

 

PS   For those unfamiliar with my story, almost four years ago I lost 100 lbs (it took about a year); and most importantly, I got rid of toxic food cravings that controlled my life for over twenty years, high blood pressure, heart disease, and pre-diabetes.  I had literally starved myself to obesity by eating the standard American diet.  

My success tip is to follow Dr. Fuhrman's nutritional recommendations, no matter what. 

No excuse (to not do it, or to give up) is a valid one . . . .for to live in denial of food addiction's power is to remain its prisoner.   

 

 

image credits:  children; flickr by Feed My Starving Children (FMSC)

 

Excess weight is protective in the elderly? New research says no

Obesity is a known health risk. The number of epidemiological studies that have linked excess weight to cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, other chronic conditions, and increased risk of death is staggering.1,2 In fact, the cutoff points for BMI into overweight and obese were created to reflect increased risk of disease and death due to excess fat.3

Photo of obese man

Then there is the “obesity paradox.” This is the term used to describe the opposite of the usual finding - there are certain groups of people, usually those with severe chronic diseases such as heart failure and kidney disease, in which a higher BMI seems to be associated with a decreased mortality risk.4,5

Elderly persons are another group in which an obesity paradox has been observed in some studies.6 However, this observation is not consistent – other studies have reported an increased risk with higher BMI in adults over age 70 or 75, similar to younger age groups, and others have shown no association at all.7-11 Overall, the relationship between BMI and mortality in the elderly has been unclear.

Several explanations have been proposed to explain the paradox – these are a few examples:

  • BMI is not a true indicator of body fat – older persons tend to have more body fat at the same BMI as younger adults.3 One study found that greater waist circumference in the elderly was associated with increased mortality risk, but greater BMI was associated with decreased risk. In these individuals, greater BMI may reflect greater fat-free mass, rather than greater body fat. Waist circumference and fat-free mass may be more important indicators than BMI for obesity-associated health risks in the elderly.12,13
  • Unintentional weight loss may be involved – many older persons in these studies who are at a low or normal BMI may be there because of disease-related weight loss. Weight loss in elderly has been shown to be associated with negative health outcomes, presumably for this reason.14 So a study of elderly persons that only takes one weight measurement and does not measure weight change over time is inherently flawed.
  • Another issue with the length of studies is that weight gain late in life is probably less dangerous than weight gained earlier in life and then maintained for many years – being obese for 50 years results in more cumulative damage than being obese for 15 years. The earlier you become obese, the greater the risk of death.15,16 Therefore, long-term data (decades, not years) is needed to get an accurate picture of health risks in the elderly due to obesity.

Newer research attempted to reconcile the contradictions in previous studies by using long-term data. Although the researchers used BMI rather than waist circumference, they used two weight measurements 17 years apart, and followed subjects for a total of 29 years – importantly, they only included subjects who maintained a similar weight over the first 17 years – this helped to remove any potential effects from late life weight gain or disease-related weight loss.

Men (age 75-99) who maintained a BMI greater than 22.3 had a shorter life expectancy by 3.7 years, and an 88% increased risk of death during the study period compared to men with a lower BMI. Men who maintained a BMI greater than 27.3 had double the risk of death compared to those with a BMI less than 22.3. Women in the same age group who maintained a BMI greater than 27.4 shortened their life expectancy by 2.1 years, and had a 41% increase in risk of death compared to women with a lower BMI.17,18

This study leads us to conclude: no matter what your age, carrying excess weight for a significant length of time is dangerous – in fact, it can be deadly.

 

References: 

1. Guh DP, Zhang W, Bansback N, et al: The incidence of co-morbidities related to obesity and overweight: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC public health 2009;9:88.
2. McGee DL: Body mass index and mortality: a meta-analysis based on person-level data from twenty-six observational studies. Ann Epidemiol 2005;15:87-97.
3. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: About BMI for Adults. http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/index.html. Accessed
4. Oreopoulos A, Padwal R, Kalantar-Zadeh K, et al: Body mass index and mortality in heart failure: a meta-analysis. Am Heart J 2008;156:13-22.
5. Schmidt D, Salahudeen A: The obesity-survival paradox in hemodialysis patients: why do overweight hemodialysis patients live longer? Nutr Clin Pract 2007;22:11-15.
6. Oreopoulos A, Kalantar-Zadeh K, Sharma AM, et al: The obesity paradox in the elderly: potential mechanisms and clinical implications. Clin Geriatr Med 2009;25:643-659, viii.
7. Calle EE, Thun MJ, Petrelli JM, et al: Body-mass index and mortality in a prospective cohort of U.S. adults. N Engl J Med 1999;341:1097-1105.
8. Janssen I, Mark AE: Elevated body mass index and mortality risk in the elderly. Obes Rev 2007;8:41-59.
9. Grabowski DC, Ellis JE: High body mass index does not predict mortality in older people: analysis of the Longitudinal Study of Aging. J Am Geriatr Soc 2001;49:968-979.
10. Kuk JL, Ardern CI: Influence of age on the association between various measures of obesity and all-cause mortality. J Am Geriatr Soc 2009;57:2077-2084.
11. Stevens J, Cai J, Pamuk ER, et al: The effect of age on the association between body-mass index and mortality. N Engl J Med 1998;338:1-7.
12. Janssen I, Katzmarzyk PT, Ross R: Body mass index is inversely related to mortality in older people after adjustment for waist circumference. J Am Geriatr Soc 2005;53:2112-2118.
13. Zamboni M, Mazzali G, Zoico E, et al: Health consequences of obesity in the elderly: a review of four unresolved questions. Int J Obes (Lond) 2005;29:1011-1029.
14. Woo J, Ho SC, Sham A: Longitudinal changes in body mass index and body composition over 3 years and relationship to health outcomes in Hong Kong Chinese age 70 and older. J Am Geriatr Soc 2001;49:737-746.
15. Adams KF, Schatzkin A, Harris TB, et al: Overweight, obesity, and mortality in a large prospective cohort of persons 50 to 71 years old. N Engl J Med 2006;355:763-778.
16. Sun Q, Townsend MK, Okereke OI, et al: Adiposity and weight change in mid-life in relation to healthy survival after age 70 in women: prospective cohort study. BMJ 2009;339:b3796.
17. Singh PN, Haddad E, Tonstad S, et al: Does excess body fat maintained after the seventh decade decrease life expectancy? J Am Geriatr Soc 2011;59:1003-1011.
18. Contrary to Earlier Findings, Excess Body Fat in Elderly Decreases Life Expectancy. 2011. ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110811151325.htm. Accessed September 29, 2011.

 

Interview with Martin Oswald

Chef Martin OswaldLast weekend the first Nutritarian Food Festival was held in beautiful Aspen, Colorado.  It was organized and co-chaired by renowned chef, Martin Oswald, who owns the Pyramid Bistro on Main Street; the first, fully nutritarian restaurant in America.  Dr. Fuhrman said the cook-off contest between the top chefs in town, making their best nutritarian dishes, was a blast! The entire event was a great success and widely received by the public due to Martin’s vision and dedication, and everyone’s hard work. Welcome to Disease Proof, Martin.

 

How did you discover nutritarian eating and cooking that eventually led to opening the Pyramid Bistro?

I heard about Dr. Fuhrman many years ago, but it wasn’t until someone in the health section of Whole Foods in Denver introduced me to his books again. I saw the nutrient density guides and recognized the chef-friendly approach of Dr. Fuhrman’s plan. It was one of those, "Nutrition meets chef" moments!

 

From your perspective as a renowned chef and owner of the first nutritarian restaurant in the United States, what was the highlight of the Nutritarian Food Festival for you?

The highlight for me was to see all these chefs from competing restaurants, and nutritionists with different backgrounds, come together and push forward a bigger idea. As you may know, Colorado is the only state with under 30% obesity rate so it makes sense to join forces to create a tipping point right here. I think Dr. Fuhrman has come up with the right approach that everyone can embrace.

 

Was it hard to bring so many chefs together to organize such an event for an entire community & city?

Yes, first of all we only had about two months to get the chefs to read and learn the guidelines. Then they had to approve it with the restaurant owner, and all this was done at the height of the busy summer season. For example, the winner, Miles Angelo, caters all summer long and it was difficult for him to switch gears.  I'm very appreciative of everyone’s efforts who participated in the events. 

 

With the nutritarian health revolution on the horizon, what do you see the restaurant industry’s role will be in helping to repair our broken healthcare system?

I'm very fortunate to live here in Aspen and meet some of the great thinkers of our time. For instance, while I was proposing a non-profit approach to spread more information on nutritarianism, some prominent people told me it would make much more sense to come up with a business model that is for-profit and encourage others to do the same.  The Pyramid Bistro had a great first year and people have asked me to open in other locations, which is so important for a nutritarian revolution.

The role of restaurants will be to work much closer with nutritionists in order to prevent obesity and other health related issues. By working with nutritionists and then creating dishes that everyone can enjoy we can make a real difference in peoples’ lives that will ultimately lead to a healthier nation.  

 

Do you have any final comments to share with the Disease Proof reader?

Talk to your favorite waiter, restaurant owner, or chef about Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian eating-style.  By encouraging them to include nutrient dense items on their menus, you just might start a food revolution in your own hometown!

 

Thank you Martin for pioneering this exciting vision to promote nutritarian food choices in restaurants all across America and beyond!  Best wishes of great success ~ bon appétit!