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

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? 

Teens Not Drinking Enough Milk, Really?

New findings in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior claim teenagers cut back too much on dairy products as they reach their 20s. Experts followed 1,500 people, males and females, tracking their calcium intake during high school and after high school. Results showed many consumed less than the daily recommended level of calcium, leading researchers to recommend more milk at mealtime. Here’s Dr. Fuhrman’s take on all this:

Sounds like the dairy industry put their stamp on this one. It is amazing how successful they have been at marketing their product to nutritionally ignorant Americans. It is true that a diet comprised of animal foods, soft drinks and refined grains is deficient in calcium.

But cow's milk is the appropriate source of calcium for baby cows, not human teenagers. When we choose dairy instead of fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds as our source of calcium source we help fuel a cancer epidemic.

When you get your calcium from fruits and vegetables you also get a full load of cancer-preventing phytochemicals.

Via HealthDay News.

Image credit: critic-1

Regular Weigh-Ins Keep Teens Slim

As a kid, I used to weigh my toys on our bathroom scale—I was slow—but now, a new study in Journal of Adolescent Health claims adolescents who weigh themselves at least once a week are more likely to exercise or eat less junk food and more fruits and vegetables. Experts surveyed 130 teens that were overweight, but slimmed down over the past two years, finding 43% of kids reported weighing themselves once a week; Reuters explains.

This is good news, especially since nowadays many pediatricians fail to diagnosis weight problems in children. As kids continue to eat horrible diets—just like their parents—they are developing adult health problems, such as kidney stones and even heart disease.

In related news, previous reports show overweight teenagers are more likely to commit suicide and obese kids, ages 2 to 19, are 26% more likely to develop some sort of allergy.

Image credit: maniwa_pa

Teenagers Up Late and Wired on Caffeine

A new study in the journal Pediatrics found many teenagers are wigged out on caffeine and up late surfing the web, texting their friends and watching television. Experts surveyed 100 kids, ages 12 to 18 years old, finding only one in five participants got 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night, one third of kids reported falling asleep in school and teens multitasking with all their gadgets were more likely to risk poor academic performance. Average caffeine consumption among participants was 215 mg a day, roughly two espressos; Reuters reports.

Caffeine is a toxin and like a drug it can cause uncomfortable detoxification symptoms, leading to poor diet and food addiction. It also heightens risk of cardiovascular disease by hardening arties and raising blood pressure and last year, caffeine was linked to miscarriage risk.

In related news, Germany banned Red Bull after finding trace amounts of cocaine in test samples and officials in the United States have already called for warning labels on energy drinks.

Image credit: caro77

Higher Suicide Risk in Overweight Teens

New findings in the Journal of Adolescent Health reveal teenagers who are overweight or perceive themselves as fat—even if they aren’t—are more likely to attempt suicide. The study involved 14,000 high school students and determined teens who think they’re overweight are more likely to attempt suicide than kids who do not, leading experts to recommend that youth health campaigns also include teenagers with distorted body images; ScienceDaily reports.

Teens have it rough! A previous study showed teenagers carrying around excess belly fat have a greater risk of developing heart problems and stressed out kids have increased blood levels of C-reactive protein, leading to inflammation and cardiovascular disease later in life.

In related news, a report showed people living in areas with extended periods of sunlight, such as Greenland, were at greater risk of suicide during seasons of continuous day.

Image credit: Sappymoosetree

Teenage Belly Fat Means Adult Heart Trouble

New research in the journal Diabetes shows young adults who had too much belly fat as teenagers have a higher risk of heart disease later in life. Among the 612 participants, men ages 18 to 20, those whose body mass index increased during adolescence had greater amounts of fat surrounding their abdominal organs. Belly fat, or visceral fat, has been closely linked to diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease; via Reuters.

No pun intended, but this is a BIG deal. A previous report reveals young men who are obese at age 18 are more likely to die prematurely as adults. Too make matters worse, our high rate of childhood obesity is expected to skyrocket heart disease among teenagers.

In related news, teenage Latino children switching to a diet consisting of more fiber and less sugar had significant drops in blood sugar and glucose, slashing diabetes risk.

Image credit: chalkdog

Obesity Kills Young Men

The obesity problem always raises some weird news, like to combat obesity New York City put posters displaying the number of calories in popular fast foods, like cheeseburgers and muffins, all over the subways. Then a city in Italy wanted to pay people to lose weight and some experts believe people are fat because they have sick fat cells.

But this news is not so light, no pun-intended, research in British Medical Journal claims obese young men, at the age of 18, are more likely to die prematurely later in life than normal weight teenagers. After reviewing the deaths of over 45,000 men, scientists determined the incidence of death was highest among the obese; Reuters reports.

And recently, studies have come out linking obesity to cancer, headaches, high blood pressure and thyroid inflammation in children.

Image credit: Das Bobby 2000

Obesity Risk: Family Lifestyle Equal to Genes

New research in the American Journal of Sociology claims to be the first study to illustrate that the link between parents and children’s bodyweight is social as well as genetic. Scientists determined parents’ weight did contribute to a child’s likelihood of becoming obese, but lifestyle choices, like physical activity and meals, also played an important role, specifically in teens; Reuters investigates.

Actually, I think Dr. Fuhrman beat these guys to the punch. “Setting an example supported by both parents is the most important and most effective way for your children to develop a healthy attitude toward food,” he explains. Not mention, a previous report shows when families reconnect at mealtime, children become more likely to eating healthy as adults and less likely to pick up bad habits.
 

Exercise Soothes the Savage Kids

According to a new study in Pediatric Exercise Science not only does exercise help obese kids get fit, but being active reduces anger and aggressiveness. Researchers believe exercise puts kids in a better mood and gives them a sense of self-control; Reuters reports.

Everyone should exercise, especially kids. Previous studies show teenagers in particular, skimp on the fitness. So, inspire them! The NFL has its Play 60 campaign, music makes working out more fun and if parents exercise, kids are likely to follow.