Thursday, December 23, 2010

Making Healthier Christmas Cookies

By Laurin Evans

Christmas means cookie time! Okay, it means a little more, but nearly everyone has that special cookie that reminds them of their favorite Christmas memories. Cookies are everywhere as it gets closer to Christmas – at work, school functions and, of course, all of the parties. What is it about the holidays that inspires people to pull out their mixer and get baking?

Although cookies have the advantage of being mostly bite-sized, they can fool you because they are usually high in calories and low on nutrition. If you take every cookie offered to you in December you'll be forced to make some serious resolutions by January 1st.

I'm amazed at how mostly flour, sugar and flavorings can morph into every imaginable type of tasty treat. With some minor tweaks, you can reduce the fat and calories while upping the nutritional punch of nearly every cookie recipe. I don't try to make a 100% healthy cookie, just one that is a little better for you.

White flour, white sugar and fats are the main ingredients in most cookie recipes, but all three can be reduced or substituted with healthier options.

Flour

White flour is highly processed and offers little nutrition. Substitute whole wheat flour in a one-to-one ratio or replace half of the recipe's flour with a high-quality whole wheat flour that will provide fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Since wheat flour can be denser, sift before using it. Increasing the wet ingredients in the recipe slightly will keep your cookies from being too dry. They may also need less time to bake, so keep an eye on them. If you don't like the consistency of whole wheat flour in your recipe, try whole wheat pastry flour.

Sugar

White sugar is juice from sugar cane that has been highly processed with chemicals to remove all of the color and flavor. The high sucrose level can have a negative effect on the body's blood sugar. The easiest way to reduce the calories in your cookies is to simply use less sugar. You can usually remove up to one-third of the sugar in a recipe without any noticeable difference. Sugar does provide moistness, so increase the liquid in your recipe slightly if you reduce the sugar.

You can also substitute white sugar with the less-processed raw sugar or sugar substitutes. One of the best alternative sugars is called succanat, which contains the whole sugar of the sugar cane and is dark brown. Succanat can be substituted for half or less of the sugar in the recipe. Experiment with replacing part of the white sugar with honey, real maple sugar, molasses or a natural sweetener called Stevia. Many recipes that use these sweeteners recommend adding a small amount of baking soda and less liquid ingredients.

Fats

Ingredients like shortening and butter make for a tasty cookie, but add unhealthy saturated fat, cholesterol and calories. You can replace the fat with pureed fruit. You can also use a healthy ingredient like coconut oil instead, but your cookies will turn out more cake-like than the original recipe.

Nutrition

Many cookies are just empty calories. The healthiest ones contain fruit and nuts, which provide protein, vitamins and nutrients. If your family typically eats a lot of cookies around the holiday, at least there's something good in there for them.

Make recipes for fruit sweetened jam-filled cookies. The natural sweetness of the fruit compensates for reducing the sugar and also provides vitamins. Cookies with nuts are a great way to incorporate protein. Substitute healthier dark chocolate for milk chocolate. A great way to add more fiber and an impressive amount of nutrition is to add ¼ cup of freshly ground flax seed to your recipes.

There are many ways to improve a cookie recipe without sacrificing taste or texture, so give one of these suggestions a try. Have you made your favorite Christmas cookie healthier?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Two Solutions For A Better World

This is my view.

The number one problem facing our world today is overpopulation.
Over 63 million people die each year from starvation related diseases.
A professional sports star brings in millions per year while a buffet to these 63 million starving people would be bread and water. Anyone see something wrong with this picture? It is projected that the world food and water shortage problem is only going to get worse. The more people on the earth the more resources are needed. To meet some of this demand rainforests are being cleared at an alarming rate of 1 football field per second, 60 football fields per minute, 3,600 fields per hour and so on. If this keep up all our major rainforests in 50 years will be gone. Rainforests are considered to be the "lungs of the earth" because of all the oxygen they provide. Rainforests soak up CO2 emissions. As we clear rainforests, animals lose their habitat/are edging closer to extinction. Where are we headed folks?

Solution #1: Zero Population growth

Adoption and having small families are encouraged.


Major problem #2 is animal agriculture in the world. Food from animals is killing people, killing the earth, and killing animals. Animal foods promote major human diseases- cancer, heart disease, dementia, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Crohn's, arthritis, the list goes on and on. Factory farmed animals/birds/fish live their entire lives in misery.
Run off from animal agriculture pollutes our land, water, and air, not to mention our bodies.

Solution #2: Transition to a plant based agriculture.

What we eat affects our health and the health of the earth. Let's fire the heads of the Food and Drug Administration, Department of Agriculture, and the Surgeon General and put people in there who know what is healthy and what is not- people who "get it".

I have a list of candidates.

Greg Kaler

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sugar Ages You! Makes Your Skin Crack! The Facts!

From Michael Klaper, MD

"To arm oneself with a sword of knowledge, a little sweet chemistry understanding is called for. Sugars do taste good, and there is no problem in enjoying the naturally occurring fructose in whole, fresh fruits. The problem is in eating sugar as a food! When you are holding a cookie in your hand, a piece of cake, a candy bar, you are holding a chunk of sugar in your hand. You would not consider going over to the sugar bowl and shoveling in tablespoons of the white stuff, but here you are, actually considering eating this large chunk of sugar as a food.
If you do eat it, within minutes, your bloodstream is flooded with sugar and your pancreas is on high alert. Soon, the structural proteins in all your tissues – the elastic fibers of your skin, the hemoglobin in your blood, the filter membranes in your kidneys, the inner lining of your blood vessels, the lenses of your eyes – all get “sticky” with sugar (the chemists say they become “glycosylated.”) In the 98.6 F metabolic “oven” of our body, the sugars and proteins melt together and oxidize, like the browning of bread crust (called the “Maillard reaction.”) These oxidized, damaged, and congealed proteins, officially called “Advanced Glycation End Products” do not function normally – the gummed up, oxidized protein fibers break, skin cracks in the sunlight, eyes become less permeable to light, muscle proteins do not contract as vigorously, brain function dwindles – sound familiar? The aging process perhaps? Besides promoting the generation of cancer cells, EATING SUGAR AGES US!
It is said, “The truth shall set you free” - and the truth is, whether it is mixed with fat, as in ice cream, or baked into pies, candies and cakes, or dissolved in soft drinks, refined sugars are sweet poison. Like the poisoned apple in Sleeping Beauty, sugary treats taste good upon the tongue, but silently and relentlessly, they damage us."

So, as my eyes fall upon the plate of cookies or candy, I actually flash the image in my mind of myself eating it, and simultaneously think, “This is a chunk of sugar in my hand. This stuff ages me. It makes my skin crack, my arteries stiff, is hard on my pancreas, and it leads me towards frailty and Alzheimer’s disease. Do I really want to eat it?
Is it really worth it?”
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*Editor's comment: I am reminded of a commercial that's been playing on TV for quite awhile sponsored by a high fructose corn syrup company. The purpose of the commercial is to refute the claim that high fructose corn syrup is unhealthy. The commercial refers to scientific evidence purporting that corn syrup has pretty much the same make-up as processed sugar. The claim is that there's nothing to worry about because corn syrup is the same as sugar. I have to laugh! Then corn syrup is just an unhealthy as processed sugar! Appreciate you pointing that out Mr. Commercial Maker! Ha!
I for one am making every attempt to stay away from all forms of processed sugar, corn syrup, plus the concentrated sweeteners of maple syrup, honey, agave, brown rice syrup, molasses, barley malt, and frozen and bottled juices/in cartons. They all are detrimental to your health. I am making one exception- for occasional baking treats we do use date sugar (a healthier choice/has some nutrients/health benefits), and my wife Bev does make a wonderful ginger cookie with date sugar and a little bit of molasses. (We're not perfect!) We also make a sweet banana bread using no added sugar, only ripe bananas- plenty sweet! Otherwise I get all the sweet tastes in my diet from natural fruits and vegetables. As a consequence my taste buds are extremely healthy- not used to the strong tastes of processed sweeteners. Because of this, natural, healthy sweet tastes especially from fruits are amazing and strong! The only way you will ever experience this is to steer clear from processed sweeteners and maintain a healthy diet. If you can give up your sugar addiction, you will be greatly rewarded. Try it for a month! You may never go back.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Rise of the Power Vegans

A Bloomberg Businessweek article on powerful people changing their diets to save themselves and the planet.
Steve Wynn, Russell Simmons, Bill Clinton and a comparable cast of heavies are now using tempeh to assert their superiority. A look at what gives.

On quitting meat, dairy, and eggs: "It's pretty clear the benefits are undeniable and many."

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_46/b4203103862097.htm

Cheese is unhealthy. Don't eat it.

From The New York Times, this is a very important article. It just may make you think twice about eating cheese. If you would stop eating cheese, it would do you, the earth, and cows and goats a world of good.

While Warning About Fat, U.S. Pushes Cheese Sales

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/07/us/07fat.html?_r=2&emc=eta1

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Great signs from Jon Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity...

http://www.funnyordie.com/stories/4e561641f4/the-funniest-signs-from-the-rally-to-restore-sanity-and-or-fear?playlist=featured_documents

Monday, November 1, 2010

As the World Burns

How the Senate and the White House missed their best chance to deal with climate change.

This is quite an article from the New Yorker magazine. go to http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/10/11/101011fa_fact_lizza

This is a very long article, at 10 pages. It's very informative if you can make it through the whole thing. If you don't want to have to click each time you go to the next page, at the bottom of the first page click on "View As A Single Page", then just scroll away.

The article does not paint President Obama in a positive light when it comes to climate change. He had his chance to follow through on a campaign promise to do something about climate change, but under pressure he dropped the ball- in this case the ball representing the Earth. To me it doesn't mean it's too late, but lawmakers have to pull their heads out of the sand and do something NOW, before it IS too late.

In the meantime, we can each do something to help. How we each eat, and how we each lead our lives does affect our health, and the health of the Earth.
Eat a plant based diet. It will do you, and the Earth a World of good.
We need to especially be good role models for children. We need to be concerned about what kind of Earth they will be living on after we are in the compost bin.

How many lives do mammograms actually save?

POSTED ON NOVEMBER 1, 2010 BY JOEL FUHRMAN, M.D.

A study of 40,000 women in Norway aged 50-69, recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, investigated the effects of screening mammography on breast cancer mortality. Some counties in Norway conduct mammography screenings, while others do not. Four groups of women were studied: a screening counties group and a nonscreening counties group followed from 1996 to 2005; and also ‘historical’ screening and nonscreening groups, who had been followed from 1986 to 1995. The goal of the study was to find out how much of the reduction in breast cancer mortality that has been observed over time was due specifically to mammography screening. The reduction in breast cancer mortality over time was 10% greater in the screening groups than the nonscreening groups. [1]

What are the risks and benefits of screening mammography? The Nordic Cochrane Centre, an independent research group that conducts extensive and thorough reviews of the medical literature, assessed the potential benefits and harms of mammography in 2009. These were their conclusions: For every 2000 women that are screened regularly for ten years, one will have her life prolonged. However, 10 healthy women will be unnecessarily treated for breast cancer, either by having a lumpectomy, mastectomy, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy. Also, 200 healthy women will experience a false alarm, leading to substantial psychological and emotional strain. In their analysis, the Cochrane group stated that it is “not clear whether screening does more good than harm.”[2] In women under the age of 50, false positive results are very common. [3] In 2009, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force began recommending against routine screening mammography in women between the ages of 40 and 49.[4]
Mammograms are not nearly as life-saving as we are led to believe. The main problem with mammograms is over-diagnosis. Eighty percent of biopsies initiated by a mammogram result are negative. Furthermore, many slow-growing, non-threatening tumors are being detected and treated; at the same time, the more dangerous and aggressive cancers may be missed because they can grow and become lethal in the time interval between screenings, and by then treatment will not work. [3, 5]

Whether or not to undergo mammography is a personal choice, but it is important to know the true risks and benefits of the screening in order to make a sound decision. Regardless of their decision on this matter, women should not rely solely on detection by mammography to protect them against breast cancer. The take home message is that mammograms can’t be counted on as the sole intervention to save women’s lives—they just don’t do enough. Taking steps to prevent breast cancer from developing in the first place – for example, exercising regularly, maintaining a slim, healthy weight, eating plenty of mushrooms, onions, and cruciferous vegetables, minimizing processed foods and animal products, maintaining adequate vitamin D levels, and limiting alcohol consumption – is a much more effective approach than detecting and treating breast cancer after it has begun to develop.

A pamphlet on the potential harms and benefits of mammography screening is available on the Cochrane group’s website.
Read more about diet and lifestyle methods for cancer prevention at DrFuhrman.com.

References:
1. Kalager, M., et al., Effect of screening mammography on breast-cancer mortality in Norway. N Engl J Med, 2010. 363(13): p. 1203-10.
2. Gotzsche, P.C. and M. Nielsen, Screening for breast cancer with mammography. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2009(4): p. CD001877.
3. Wright, C.J. and C.B. Mueller, Screening mammography and public health policy: the need for perspective. Lancet, 1995. 346(8966): p. 29-32.
4. Screening for breast cancer: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med, 2009. 151(10): p. 716-26, W-236.
5. Esserman, L., Y. Shieh, and I. Thompson, Rethinking Screening for Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer. JAMA, 2009. 302(15): p. 1685-1692.

Earthsave's Wonderful New Program

Earthsave is a wonderful organization started by John Robbins, author of The Food Revolution, Diet for a New America, and Healthy at 100: The Scientifically Proven Secrets of the World’s Healthiest and Longest-Lived Peoples. His prayer and wish:" May all be fed, may all be healed, may all be loved." The mission of EarthSave is to help people make food choices that promote health, reduce health care costs, and provide greater health independence. Please go to http://www.earthsave.org/index.html to watch the VIDEO: EarthSave's Meals for Health Program. Dr. John McDougall is a part of this program/is in the video!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Got an hour to be enlightened?

Hear it straight from the great doctor McDougall. This is a tremendous free opportunity for important knowledge. I eat very healthy. After watching this I am going to eat even healthier.

http://www.drmcdougall.com/video/diet_ms.html

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Breast Cancer

Prediction: Breast cancer rates will skyrocket in the next 20 years.

POSTED ON OCTOBER 15, 2010 BY JOEL FUHRMAN, M.D.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. I want to raise awareness that childhood diets are the major cause of adult cancers, including breast cancer. [1] I also want to raise awareness that women are not powerless against breast cancer – mammograms for ‘early detection’ are not the only defense and do not even offer significant benefits. The most important thing to be aware of is that women can achieve meaningful risk reduction with powerful preventive lifestyle measures.
The American Institute for Cancer Research estimates that 40% of breast cancers are preventable through diet and lifestyle measures.
I propose that we could prevent much more than 40% of breast cancers in the future, if we can ingrain healthy habits in our children at a young age.
Early studies found wide international variations in breast cancer rates, originally generating the hypothesis that nutrition is a major determinant of breast cancer risk. Obesity is a significant risk factor for breast cancer:
Gaining one pound per year during adulthood can double breast cancer risk after menopause.
Obesity alone is thought to be responsible for 17% of breast cancers.
Obesity is associated with greater tumor burden and poorer prognosis in breast cancer patients. [2, 3]
Production of inflammatory molecules and estrogen by body fat, as well as elevated insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) levels are thought to contribute to obesity-related breast cancer risk. [2]

Plenty of experts have predicted that the explosion of childhood obesity we have seen in recent years will result in crisis proportions of heart disease and diabetes in the future, but cancer seems to be ignored. Today, over 30% of children are overweight or obese. [4] Clearly, with all the research demonstrating that obesity is a major risk factor for breast cancer, our young girls are in danger.
The prevalence of early puberty, another established risk factor for breast cancer, has been consistently increasing over the past 100 years. Today, by the age of 8, 18.3% of Caucasian girls, 42.9% of African-American girls, and 30.9% of Hispanic girls have already entered puberty. Obesity, soft drinks, and excessive animal protein are the likely culprits.
This is a grim indication of things to come – when these girls reach adulthood, tragically we will see an upsurge in breast cancer cases. With the increases in fast food and processed food consumption in America in the last 20 years, I predict a tragic explosion in pre-menopausal breast cancers in our country in the next 20 years.
Breast tissue is most vulnerable to carcinogenic influences when it is growing and developing – during childhood and adolescence. Children are also especially susceptible to weight gain during adolescence. [5] Thus, this window of time is when a healthy diet is absolutely crucial. Animal studies have demonstrated that a high-fat diet or a body fat promoting diet during puberty promotes abnormal development of breast tissue and production of inflammatory molecules, which in turn may promote tumor growth.[6, 7] Adolescent diet was examined in the Nurses’ Health Study – greater consumption of vegetables during high school was associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer, and high glycemic index foods were associated with an increased risk. [8]

The typical American childhood diet of chicken fingers, French fries, and mac and cheese is not harmless – it is creating a cancer-friendly environment in children’s bodies.
As parents, we must feed our children healthful foods from an early age. This is the most effective protection from future chronic disease that we can provide for them. Healthy eating is a lifetime commitment, and we can give our children a head start. Our goal should be to instill healthy habits in our children so that they grow up at a healthy weight, appreciating healthy food and exercise, and hold on to those habits as adults. In order to do this, we must set a positive example, focusing on nutrient-dense, health-promoting foods.
New research is revealing the protective effects of natural foods against breast cancer. For example, mushrooms have anti-estrogenic activity, and regular mushroom consumption is associated with a 60% decrease in cancer risk. [9] Cruciferous vegetables such as watercress, other leafy greens, and broccoli contain compounds known to inhibit cancer cell growth. [10, 11]
Instead of wearing a pink ribbon, eat vegetables, onions and mushrooms – and make sure to feed some to your kids.


References:

1. Maynard, M., et al., Fruit, vegetables, and antioxidants in childhood and risk of adult cancer: the Boyd Orr cohort. J Epidemiol Community Health, 2003. 57(3): p. 218-25.
2. Cleary, M.P. and M.E. Grossmann, Minireview: Obesity and breast cancer: the estrogen connection. Endocrinology, 2009. 150(6): p. 2537-42.
3. Abrahamson, P.E., et al., General and abdominal obesity and survival among young women with breast cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 2006. 15(10): p. 1871-7.
4. Ogden, C.L., et al., Prevalence of high body mass index in US children and adolescents, 2007-2008. JAMA, 2010. 303(3): p. 242-9.
5. Jasik, C.B. and R.H. Lustig, Adolescent obesity and puberty: the "perfect storm". Ann N Y Acad Sci, 2008. 1135: p. 265-79.
6. Olson, L.K., et al., Pubertal exposure to high fat diet causes mouse strain-dependent alterations in mammary gland development and estrogen responsiveness. Int J Obes (Lond), 2010. 34(9): p. 1415-26.
7. Michigan State University: High-fat diet during puberty linked to breast cancer risk later in life. 2010; Available from: http://news.msu.edu/story/8233/.
8. Frazier, A.L., et al., Adolescent diet and risk of breast cancer. Cancer Causes Control, 2004. 15(1): p. 73-82.
9. Zhang, M., et al., Dietary intakes of mushrooms and green tea combine to reduce the risk of breast cancer in Chinese women. Int J Cancer, 2009. 124(6): p. 1404-8.
10. Clarke, J., R. Dashwood, and E. Ho, Multi-targeted prevention of cancer by sulforaphane. Cancer Letters, 2008. 269(2): p. 291-304.
11. Higdon, J., et al., Cruciferous vegetables and human cancer risk: epidemiologic evidence and mechanistic basis. Pharmacological Research, 2007. 55(3): p. 224-236.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Kelly Osbourne's Got It All Wrong!

Just like so many people, not a clue.
When interviewed, Kelly said, "I want to eat whatever I want. It's all about portion control."
Wrong, wrong, wrong. What she says is a contradiction. You can't eat whatever you want if you have to watch how much you eat!
There is a saying, "You are what you eat." So if you eat junk, what does that make you?
Even if you watch your portions, if you eat unhealthy foods, you are taxing your organs by putting unhealthy fat, cholesterol, sugar/sweeteners, salt, preservatives, artificial this, artificial that, etc. through your body. If you eat and drink unhealthy you are not promoting your longevity, it is just the opposite- you are risking shortening your life.
Want pain, disease, pills, and doctor's bills when you are elderly?

If you make healthy choices, called a "prescription for nutritional excellence", you don't have to watch portions. You can eat all the healthy food you want (prepared in a healthy way) and arrive at your ideal body weight over time.

Combine healthy eating and drinking with regular exercise for the optimum healthy lifestyle.

We have been duped into believing that we need animal foods for good health- meat and dairy. Wrong. In fact, food from animals is nutrient poor, and has substances that promote disease- cholesterol, saturated fat, growth hormones, cancer promoting preservatives, etc. There is no colon scrubbing fiber in food from animals. There is only fiber in plant foods.
Meat eaters have animal foods remain in their colons for months or longer- a major contributor to colon cancer.

The key is education as to what is healthy and what is not. 3 words: Eat For Health- a 2 book set which will teach you what is healthy to eat and drink and what is not. Buy on Amazon.com or drfuhrman.com

There is so much misinformation out there. Be someone who "gets it". Read Dr. Fuhrman's Eat For Health, any of McDougall's books at drmcdougall.com, or read my blog entries from day one.
All the information on this blog re diet is right from two of the best nutrition doctors in the world. It is the truth about what is healthy, and what is not.

There's another misconception- that healthy food doesn't taste good. Wrong again. Healthy food tastes great. It tastes better than unhealthy food. When you wean yourself off of sugary, salty, fatty/oily foods, the natural healthy sweetness and subtle wonderful tastes of healthy food will amaze you.

To be your best, eat the best. Eat a plant based diet.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Five Most Dangerous Foods to Feed Your Child

1. Butter and Cheese - full of saturated fat, cholesterol, and fat delivered chemical pollutants

2. Potato Chips and French Fries - rich in trans fat, salt, and carcinogenic acrylamides

3. Doughnuts and other trans fat containing sweets - rich in trans fat, sugar, and other artificial substances

4. Sausages, hot dogs, and other luncheon meats - containing nitroso compounds that are potent carcinogens

5. Pickled, smoked, or barbequed meats - places you at risk for both stomach cancer and high blood pressure

Get your children hooked on healthy foods instead!

Joel Fuhrman, MD

Friday, October 1, 2010

I Could Give This Guy A Hug!

I am up in Warroad, Minnesota on my school assembly tour, probably not the most progressive area. In a restaurant I was waiting for my meal, and happened to see this article in the Editorial Page of a newspaper from Grand Forks: (The article's headline was in big print which spanned across the entire editorial page!)

Saturday marks World Farm Animals Day


Grand Forks - Saturday marks the 28th annual observance of World Farm Animals Day, dedicated to exposing and mourning the suffering and death of 58 billion land animals in factory farms and slaughterhouses.
There have been undercover investigations showing male chicks suffocated in plastic garbage bags or ground to death, their female counterparts crammed together in tiny wire-mesh cages, pigs clobbered by metal pipes and killed by hanging, and assorted farm animals skinned and dismembered at the slaughterhouses while still conscious.

Studies have linked consumption of animal products with elevated risks for heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and other chronic killer diseases. A 2007 United Nations report blames meat production for 18 per cent of greenhouse gases, and the animal waste "dead zone" in the Gulf Of Mexico is actually larger than the BP oil spill.

We're certainly much more aware of the devastating impacts of animal agriculture- on animals, the Earth and humans- than we were 28 years ago. This October 2nd, let's acknowledge all the suffering, disease and destruction connected with animal agriculture and adopt a plant based diet. It would do a world of good!

George Watson

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Bravo! I could give this guy a big hug for this editorial! Also the guy who printed this. This creates awareness!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Doctor’s Orders: Eat Well to Be Well

OAKLAND, Calif.

DR. PRESTON MARING was striding along a hospital corridor at double speed on a recent Friday morning, his tall frame, white hair and frequent gesticulations prompting waves of greetings from colleagues, who also took care to sidestep his forward momentum. His destination was the weekly farmers’ market he started in 2003, just outside the front door at the Kaiser Permanente medical center here.
“Since it’s mine, I made the rules — all organic,” he said as he skimmed by a line of stalls where fresh fruits and vegetables are sold to hospital workers, passers-by and even, he said, those bringing patients to the emergency room.
Dr. Maring, 64, a gynecologist and obstetrician with three decades as a surgeon, is well known as a former physician in chief at the hospital, the man who spearheaded the creation of its new pediatric neurosurgery unit.
But increasingly, his reputation and perpetual motion revolve around his conviction that in the health professions, the kitchen must become as crucial as the clinic. Food is at the center of health and illness, he argues, and so doctors must make all aspects of it — growing, buying, cooking, eating — a mainstay of their medical educations, their personal lives and their practices.
Though Dr. Maring blithely refers to himself as “that food nut around the hospital,” he is serious about the role he believes doctors should play in creating awareness of healthy food choices. To that end, he has worked to obtain fresh local food for hospital trays and in cafeterias. He began a Web site and blog that offers recipes and advice on meal planning and budgeting. He spent the summer working on a series of three-minute Web videos to explain the basics of shopping for healthful foods and efficient preparation techniques.
He also created a kind of culinary road show, which regularly takes him to health care institutions around the country, toting a PowerPoint presentation, a couple of plastic vegetable knives (“one of the great technological breakthroughs”), some salad ingredients and the makings of a vinaigrette.
“I like to put doctors on the spot,” he said, referring to his penchant for hauling a senior clinician up to the front of the room to chop vegetables with him. “We tend to be exalted, and I want to show the staffs that many of us don’t know how to mince garlic.”
If there was ever a time when doctors need to be as handy with a peeling knife as they are with a scalpel, this may be it. The draft version of the federal government’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines, which will be formally released in December, identifies obesity as the nation’s greatest public-health threat. It also notes the relationship of fast food (and physical inactivity) to unhealthy weight gain and emphasizes the importance of plant-based foods in the diet.
Despite evidence that doctors have a greater life expectancy than average, they don’t necessarily look after their own dietary health, said Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health. “You’ll have a pretty hard time these days finding a doctor who smokes, but not nearly as hard a time finding one who eats terrible food.” He recalled a major breakfast gathering he attended several years ago: “I came in a bit late and was struck by the surreal image of senior scientists feeding on junk while discussing solutions to national nutritional problems.“
Dr. Willett cited surveys showing that during examinations of obese patients, doctors often don’t remark on overweight as a health issue. “Many of them just avoid it,” he said, either because they doubt their counsel will be heeded or because they don’t know the issues well enough themselves, leading the patient to underestimate the gravity of the situation.
For many doctors, an uneasy relationship with nutrition starts as early as medical school. Long hours and ready access to fast food, often on the hospital grounds, tends to undermine students’ best dietary intentions, said Dr. Robert F. Kushner, a professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, where he directs the Center for Lifestyle Medicine. “Even the ones who come in excited about eating well and exercise find that good habits are harder and harder to maintain as time goes on,” Dr. Kushner said.
Dr. Maring’s son, Ben, 30, a fourth-year medical student at New York University School of Medicine, hopes to change that. Mr. Maring has developed a series of cooking classes that incorporate salient aspects of nutrition and clinical medicine. He named his scheme CHEF — for Cook Healthy, Eat Fresh.
In 2009, he began lugging duffel bags filled with cooking implements and ingredients from his Brooklyn apartment to the medical school campus on East 31st Street in Manhattan, where he commandeered a spare lounge and taught fellow students simple preparation techniques, introduced guest speakers in specialties like diabetes and endocrinology, and handed out reams of recipes.
“I thought it was important for medical students to learn how to cook and eat well,” he said. “I also thought it was important for us to walk the walk when it comes to counseling patients about the importance of diet. We get so little training in nutrition that I wanted to provide some basic knowledge.”
Dr. Maring said: “You should have seen him trying to drag a convection oven into a taxicab. We cooked together as a family when he was a kid, but he blew past me a long time ago. Now I’m his sous-chef.”
Ben Maring, who has his father’s imposing build and forceful personality, but with a quieter, more scholarly mien, first planned on a career as a chef and did a post-culinary-school apprenticeship at Thomas Keller’s Per Se restaurant in Manhattan in 2005.
“It was very much like the world of a hospital, where you’re on your feet the whole time, you have to make the right decisions very quickly, and you have to be highly self-motivated while also working as part of a team,” Mr. Maring said. Nor was Mr. Keller’s keen appraisal of the neophyte’s technique unlike the scrutiny he now endures on hospital rotations. “I remember being at the pass” — the area closest to the dining room — “about to sauce a plate, and Keller came and stood right next to me,” Mr. Maring said. “I was so nervous. I was trying to artfully drizzle a broken foie gras vinaigrette, and my hand was just shaking. He jokingly asked if I had had too much caffeine.”
Mr. Maring is encouraged that CHEF’s feedback surveys show students are developing confidence in their cooking skills, making better food choices and feeling more comfortable talking to patients about the links between diet and health. He is developing recipes geared to the seasonal offerings at a new farmers’ market at Bellevue Hospital Center, adjacent to the N.Y.U. medical campus, which was begun in July by Aviva Regev, 24, a third-year student and CHEF participant.
Mr. Maring has another ally in Benjamin Navot, 25, a third-year student who entered medical school directly after graduating from the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan and has taught some CHEF classes. Mr. Navot acknowledged that, like Mr. Maring, his perspective on food is greatly influenced by his previous experience. But he, too, senses a widespread interest in food and healthy eating among his peers.
“This is a generation that cares a lot more and knows a lot more about the importance of diet,” he said. “We need a system that educates physicians about nutrition, and we’re the ones who are going to have to fight for it.”
But the older generation can pick up a few new tricks, too. Preston Maring said that in some ways, his attempts to get more fresh local foods into hospitals have been reminiscent of his days as a young resident at Kaiser, particularly the need to climb a steep learning curve.
“I became the person who asks dumb questions constantly,” he said of the time he has spent over the last couple of years studying the technical aspects of food-distribution systems. “I just learned, for example, that cherry tomatoes with the stems still on are a no-go in an inpatient setting, and that at Kaiser there’s a specific size limit for an apple on a tray, because they’re stacked vertically for delivery.”
Kaiser Permanente, which is a provider and an insurer, is the largest nonprofit health care system in the country, with about 8 million members, 15,000 doctors and 170,000 employees, predominantly in western states. The sheer scale of Kaiser, which holds farmers’ markets at 30 sites, makes changing the way food is bought a challenge, but also an opportunity.
“We can leverage our size to create greater demand for healthy food,” Dr. Maring said. Kaiser Permanente Oakland, for example, serves 6,000 inpatient meals a day, 80 percent of which have no special restrictions.
“It’s difficult for farmers to crack the institutional supply chain,” he said. “We need a ‘universal adapter’ that can pair small producers with big customers.” Toward that end, he helped start a regional growers’ cooperative and joined the board of the nonprofit entity that administers it, the Community Alliance With Family Farmers.
Dr. Maring also envisions Kaiser’s role expanding into areas like environmental stewardship, and he has carved out a kind of subspecialty in institutional real estate, with the goal of eventually putting some of Kaiser’s undeveloped land into agriculture.
“As someone who relies on evidence-based medicine, it bothers me that we don’t have clear metrics to guide these food-related initiatives,” he said. “But for now, I remind myself of the enduring value of another care-giving principle: common sense.”

Friday, September 24, 2010

Bill Clinton's got it going on...

This is a very short, worthwhile video. Who'd a thunk it!

Please go to:

http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/us/2010/09/21/intv.clinton.blitzer.weight.loss.cnn

(First you have to wait for a short CNN commercial.)

It's pretty amazing to hear the words coming out of Mr. Clinton's mouth!
It's a shame people don't see the light until AFTER they get sick.
It's what happened to me, so I can identify.
Those of us who have been turned on to a healthy lifestyle must continue to spread the word, and be a good influence.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Don't Got It

POSTED ON SEPTEMBER 1, 2010 BY DEANA FERRERI, PH.D.

The idea that cow’s milk is an essential component of the diet for young children is one of the biggest nutritional myths. Decades of marketing by the dairy industry has convinced most parents in the U.S. that milk and cheese are indispensible for childhood health, but this is simply not true. Cow’s milk was designed by nature to be the perfect food for baby cows – not for human children.
There is a strong correlation between early exposure to cow’s milk and type 1 diabetes in children.2-8

Early (12 months of age) dairy consumption is also associated with excess body fat in children.9

Milk consumption in teenagers is associated with acne.10-12

Childhood diets rich in dairy products are associated with cancer in adulthood.13

Additional conditions associated with cow’s milk consumption include allergies, Crohn’s disease, ear infections, heart attack, multiple sclerosis, and prostate cancer.14

These are serious concerns, especially when you consider the huge amount of dairy products that some children consume, regardless of whether a child is a ‘responder’ with respect to the digestive complaints associated with cow’s milk. Dairy foods may supply needed calcium in those not eating any vegetables, but when you use less dairy and more high-calcium plant foods, you get lots of anti-cancer nutrients in the bargain. The modest micronutrient content in dairy can’t compare to vegetables and is vastly outweighed by its calorie content and associated health risks. Less animal source products and more vegetables is the secret to an anti-cancer lifestyle, and not merely to resolve constipation.
--------------------------

* A mother posted a reply to this article:

Kathie - September 2, 2010 8:47 AM
I agree that cow's milk is meant for baby cows and human babies NEED milk from their human mothers. I nursed all of my children for several years (yes years!) and let them wean themselves. They were not ever sick the entire time they were nursing. I wish I knew then what I know now and would not have given them a cow's milk after weaning. One daughter simply refused to drink it. I let her drink juices instead and didn't push the milk and she continued to be very healthy (she's 29 now). The ones who drank the milk got occasional ear infections and allergies. If I could do it all over again I would probably give my children nut milks or rice milk after weaning, which are now in most grocery stores.

References:
1. Irastorza, I., et al., Cow's-milk-free diet as a therapeutic option in childhood chronic constipation. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr, 2010. 51(2): p. 171-6.
2. Soltesz, G., Worldwide childhood type 1 diabetes epidemiology. Endocrinol Nutr, 2009. 56 Suppl 4: p. 53-5.
3. Dahl-Jorgensen, K., G. Joner, and K.F. Hanssen, Relationship between cows' milk consumption and incidence of IDDM in childhood. Diabetes Care, 1991. 14(11): p. 1081-3.
4. Savilahti, E., et al., Increased levels of cow's milk and beta-lactoglobulin antibodies in young children with newly diagnosed IDDM. The Childhood Diabetes in Finland Study Group. Diabetes Care, 1993. 16(7): p. 984-9.
5. Virtanen, S.M., et al., Diet, cow's milk protein antibodies and the risk of IDDM in Finnish children. Childhood Diabetes in Finland Study Group. Diabetologia, 1994. 37(4): p. 381-7.
6. Kostraba, J.N., et al., Early exposure to cow's milk and solid foods in infancy, genetic predisposition, and risk of IDDM. Diabetes, 1993. 42(2): p. 288-95.
7. Gerstein, H.C., Cow's milk exposure and type I diabetes mellitus. A critical overview of the clinical literature. Diabetes Care, 1994. 17(1): p. 13-9.
8. Gerstein, H.C. and J. VanderMeulen, The relationship between cow's milk exposure and type 1 diabetes. Diabet Med, 1996. 13(1): p. 23-9.
9. Gunther, A.L., et al., Early protein intake and later obesity risk: which protein sources at which time points throughout infancy and childhood are important for body mass index and body fat percentage at 7 y of age? Am J Clin Nutr, 2007. 86(6): p. 1765-72.
10. Adebamowo, C.A., et al., Milk consumption and acne in teenaged boys. J Am Acad Dermatol, 2008. 58(5): p. 787-93.
11. Adebamowo, C.A., et al., Milk consumption and acne in adolescent girls. Dermatol Online J, 2006. 12(4): p. 1.
12. Adebamowo, C.A., et al., High school dietary dairy intake and teenage acne. J Am Acad Dermatol, 2005. 52(2): p. 207-14.
13. van der Pols, J.C., et al., Childhood dairy intake and adult cancer risk: 65-y follow-up of the Boyd Orr cohort. Am J Clin Nutr, 2007. 86(6): p. 1722-9.
14. Fuhrman, J., Disease Proof Your Child. 2005, New York: St. Martin's Griffin.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

We haven't used our air conditioning in 4 years.

It's August and it's hot and muggy here in Minnesota, no surprise. The ragweed is blooming with its yellow display of pollen filled flowers. One of my crosses to bear in life has been an annual bout with ragweed associated hay fever. I am wondering if we'll need to start closing our windows to keep the pollen out. That would be a bummer. Besides loving the fresh air, we regulate the temperature in our house by opening and closing our windows at the right times. We have a rambler- a main floor and basement.
Four years ago in August, it was hot. As usual, the central air conditioner was humming away. I went downstairs into the basement for something and I got one of those lightbulb ideas. It was hotter than Hades outside, yet it was cool and comfortable as always in the basement. I thought, "Why don't we just spend more time down here when it's hot and take advantage of Mother Nature's coolness?"
I went upstairs and shut off the air conditioner. We haven't looked back since.
We made our basement liveable/decorated it, and even sleep downstairs when it doesn't cool down enough at night on the main floor.
There were long hot periods when it became even sticky in the basement, so then we used a fan. This still uses far much electricity than central air.
Usually when people think about their electricity usage they think money- how much it costs. Rather we should each think how our electricity usage affects the environment. It is extra work, but in the summer we've gotten in the habit of opening all our windows on the main floor before going to bed to let in the coolness. In the morning before it starts warming up we close all windows (latching them too) to capture and lock in the coolness. We also pull down all the shades. Temperature- hot or cold goes in and out through the glass in windows. This works beautifully! On most hot summer days our house remains cool. We invested in some energy efficient windows which has helped immensely, and plug up spaces under doors with cloth covered styrafoam tubes.
Besides saving a bundle of electricity which is easier on the environment, we have saved a substantial amount on our electric bill. It feels good. A little extra work, yes, but well worth it.
We have neighbors on both sides of us. When we hear their air conditioners whirring away even on marginally warm days, we realize all they would have to do is open and close their windows, capturing the night and morning cool air, and spend more time in their cool basements when needed. People are amazed when they come to our house and experience how cool it is on hot days. They think we've had the air conditioning on.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Have you ever thought about...

...what part of a chicken's anatomy an egg comes from? Go to http://www.ca.uky.edu/smallflocks/Factsheets/Anatomy_and_Physiology/Anatomy_Female_reproductive.pdf
Scroll down to Figure 3 on page 3 and you will see eggzactly where the egg comes from: starting in the ovary, to the uterus (shell gland), through the chicken's vagina, and then out the "vent", into the egg cartons, into the stores, to your plate, into your mouth. It's gross, but some activists refer to eggs as "bird menses," which in actuality is what they are.
A great majority of eggs come from chicken factory farms, or as I call them, concentration camps for birds. In these terrible living situations the chickens are exploited for human purpose alone, with no consideration for the bird's natural life. In some factory farms the birds are stuffed in cages with other birds so small the chickens don't even have room to spread their wings. To prevent the chickens from damaging each other they are painfully "de-beaked." Even if some chickens are raised in an environment called "free-range", where hundreds of birds live together on top of wire mesh inside buildings, forced to eat a boring diet, it's an awful existence.
Chickens in the wild fly, develop social patterns, eat food they love to eat, in essence, enjoy their bird lives.
You hear from the egg council how important eggwhites are because of the protein they provide. In actuality the excess protein in eggwhites tax your kidneys and promote disease. (Read Fuhrman/ McDougall.) And you all know about the unhealthy cholesterol in the yolk. It's naturally meant to grow a baby bird, not feed you!
From the beginning of time, humans have had to survive on bird eggs, animal flesh, cow's milk, and fish. I of course would've done the same. Over time humans have gotten used to these foods from animals, actually becoming addicted to them. There are addictive chemicals in animal foods- again, read Fuhrman or McDougall. Animal food companies have duped us into believing that we need these foods for good health, when in actuality they are lies. Every food from an animal has qualities that promote human disease. All plant foods if eaten raw and cooked in a healthy way (water not oil) promote human health.
One more... have you ever thought of where cow's milk comes from?
- from a female cow's teats of course. Can you visualize those teats, white raw milk being squirted out of them?. Marilu Henner refers to this as "bovine slime." All forms of cow's milk from non-fat to whole milk have qualities that promote human disease. Don't believe the dairy council's advertising. Again, we have been duped. And it's not so much the milk fat that is contributing to disease, researchers are finding out it's the milk proteins that are causing the problems in humans. When you think about it it only makes sense, that a cow's milk is intended for a baby cow- a calf, not a human. A calf grows from 80 to 800 pounds in one year from drinking its mother's milk. How much does a human baby grow in one year? A mother cow's milk is intended for its baby cow, not a human. It's no wonder cow's milk and all its products- butter, cheese, yogurt, etc. promote human disease. We are duped into believing that we need milk for bone strength, when in actuality drinking milk/eating milk products weakens bones! (read Fuhrman/McDougall.) We get all the calcium/all necessary nutrients we need from a plant foods diet:
#1 vegetables, #2 fruit, #3 beans, #4 nuts and seeds,
#5 whole grains- all plant foods organic when possible, veggies & fruit raw when possible.
It's time we give birds, animals, and fish a break. Let's get off these unhealthy addictions and turn to a plant based diet, for human health sake, for the animals' sake, and for the health of the earth.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

PLANT FOODS = Health and Longevity

ANIMAL FOODS = Disease and Death

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sally Fields is WRONG!!!

Like so many celebrities doing commercials and ads regarding products that supposedly promote health, Sally Fields is sadly mistaken. In her TV commercial on Boniva, she states that yogurt, spinach, and cheese are healthy sources of calcium. Aside from the spinach she is dead wrong. Yogurt and cheese PROMOTE osteoporosis!

To prevent osteoporosis a healthy diet of plant foods, exercise, and sunshine is the prescription for healthy bones. Sally needs to read any of the books from Joel Fuhrman, MD or John McDougall, MD to be educated. I wonder how much Ms. Fields is paid to work with Boniva to present this wrong info??

Check out the side effects:

BONIVA is a prescription medicine for the management of postmenopausal osteoporosis.
Important Safety Information (Tablets)
You should not take BONIVA if you have certain problems with your esophagus (the tube that connects your mouth and stomach), low blood calcium, cannot sit or stand for at least 60 minutes, have severe kidney disease, or are allergic to BONIVA.

Stop taking BONIVA and tell your doctor right away if you experience difficult or painful swallowing, chest pain, or severe or continuing heartburn, as these may be signs of serious upper digestive problems. Follow the dosing instructions for once-monthly BONIVA carefully to lower the chance of these events occurring.

Side effects may include diarrhea, pain in the arms or legs, or upset stomach. Tell your doctor and dentist about all the medicines you take. Tell them if you develop jaw problems (especially following a dental procedure) or severe bone, joint, and/or muscle pain. Your doctor may also recommend a calcium and vitamin D supplement.


Certainly reading these side effects would NOT make me want to run out and get a prescription for Boniva!


On Boniva's website Sally also recommends different types of fish as healthy sources of vitamin D. Again she is wrong, wrong, wrong. Fish have unhealthy cholesterol plus possible poisonous pollutants. One of the best sources of natural vitamin D is sunshine hitting your skin. Again, a healthy diet of plant foods, exercise, and sunshine provides you with absolutely everything you need for great health and longevity.

Animal foods, junk foods, processed foods = Disease and Death

Plant foods eaten raw or healthily cooked (using water NOT oil) = Health and Longevity
.

As Dr. Fuhrman puts it, when it comes to nutrition, education is key.
It is so sad that celebrities like Sally Field are actually adding fuel to the problem, rather than helping to solve it. :(

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Our Biggest Problem

The biggest problem our world is facing is the population explosion. I don’t understand why we don’t hear more about this in the media. The more people, the more resources that are needed. The world’s rainforests are being cleared at an alarming rate. How many more years before they are gone? Scientists predict 50 years or less. Rainforest animals are becoming more endangered each day that goes by, their habitat being cleared for human purpose.

Whenever you can, be a good influence. Advocate for smaller families and adoption. Be the change you wish to see in the world.

The “Signs” of the times..

It really depends on where you live how progressive the area.

In Sauk Rapids, MN: on Bubba’s Bar marquee: Meat Raffle Wednesday

In Clear Lake, MN: on a bank’s marquee: Box of Free Steaks for Opening a Checking Account

In Waite Park, MN: on the American Legion marquee: Pork Chop Supper Saturday Night

I live in a conventional meat and potatoes area here in Minnesota. I get very tired of all the “meat this, meat that..” There seems to be more traffic at medical clinics every time I go by. Food is a drug. All food from animals are drugs. All food from animals have unhealthy saturated fat and cholesterol, which promote disease.
No one likes anyone messing with their drugs, even if their “drugs” are killing them slowly. It took me 53 years to realize this.
It does help to know there are a lot of people who agree with this, albeit a very small percentage of the total U.S. population.

Here is my opinion: all killing, from human to animal makes for bad karma.
The more people who change their diets to plant based, the better the all encompassing karma of the world. Eating a diet of raw and healthily cooked plant foods promote longevity and a healthy planet. (Healthily cooked means using no oil. Steam your veggies, or use a little water to boil or sauté.)

Honeynut Cheerios

A line from a Honey Nut Cheerios TV commercial:

“Trying to find healthy food is tortuous.”

How untrue! What an awful thing for a food company to say!

It is quite the opposite. Trying to find healthy food is a wonderful incredible journey, especially if you can take junk food out of your diet- including all sugar and salt. Healthy food tastes so wonderful, and is so much more satisfying. You will not know what I am talking about until you take the leap to a healthier lifestyle.

Beware, there are MANY commercials like this one that contain misinformation. The key to good health is education.

“In order to make meaningful dietary changes, people need to be educated. They need to be given accurate information. When people are given the accurate information, they can make an educated decision. Many will be inspired to make significant dietary changes, excited about the prospect of excellent health.”

drfuhrman.com, drmcdougall.com

Short Video- the most heavily pesticide sprayed plant foods

Here is another good, short report on this topic.

Go to http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/06/01/dirty.dozen.produce.pesticide/index.html

Comment From A Reader

Someone wrote this regarding “Boot Camp for Those Who Would Like To Lose Weight”.

THIS IS ALL TRUE!!! I still struggle to follow the healthiest diet from time to time...however making changes in my regular meal choices has enabled me to lose 132 pounds from April 19th, 2009 to the current day...April 29,2010. This is dramatic and due mainly to diet. I still eat meat....but no red meat and a whole let less meat/dairy than I ever used to and when I fall into old habits I do actually feel terrible. Good luck to all of you trying this lifestyle...and I say that with the best of intention. This is the way!!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Truth About: Jaime Oliver’s Food Revolution TV Show

“In order to make meaningful dietary changes, people need to be educated. They need to be given accurate information. When people are given the accurate information, they can make an educated decision, and many will be inspired to make significant dietary changes, excited about the prospect of excellent health.”

Clearly there are some positive aspects to Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. Certainly he is bringing attention to the deplorable school food situation in this country.
He also genuinely wants to improve the health of our country’s children. He aims to teach people how to cook for themselves. Jamie Oliver’s passion for healthy eating is admirable, but his recommendations on healthy eating are not scientifically sound. ‘Made from scratch’ does not mean ‘health-promoting' and the missed opportunity for significant change is enormous.
The science of nutrition unfortunately is not common knowledge. In order to make meaningful dietary changes, people need to be educated. They need to be given accurate information, not a diluted version designed to keep them in their comfort zone to avoid making them uncomfortable. When people are given the accurate information, they can make an educated decision, and many will be inspired to make significant dietary changes, excited about the prospect of excellent health. 
Others will never be convinced or at least not until their lives are in immediate danger. Unfortunately moderate dietary changes do not remove food addictions, prevent overeating and do little to nothing to lower rates of heart disease and cancer. There is both an opportunity and a responsibility when you have a public voice advocating a healthful diet to really advocate something that is healthy. Large changes do not have to happen overnight, but with the right information, people will know what their eventual goals are and overall many more people could be positively affected.
Similar to the U.S. government’s recommendation to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, Jamie’s recommendations are simply not enough to prevent or reverse disease or to result in significant weight loss. This information misleads people into thinking that the first step is actually the whole journey. So many people think they already eat healthy diets when they don’t – and it is in part because half measures and baby steps are portrayed as the real thing.
It is not enough to simply switch from very harmful foods to freshly prepared and somewhat less harmful foods. Moderate changes most often don’t even bring moderate benefits, they bring no benefits. Complacency in moderate changes will not prevent heart attacks and cancers and people will continue to suffer and die needlessly. If people do not want to eat healthfully, that is their right, but let’s make it clear, Jamie is well-intentioned, but he is not teaching anything close to a health-supporting diet.  

To your health, Joel Fuhrman, MD

Pamela Anderson

Get your attention? Ha!

Ms Anderson and I are on the same side of the fence on a certain issue: animal rights. I was pleased as punch to listen to her views on Larry King.
When asked if places like Sea World should be shut down, Ms Anderson answered “yes, they should.”

I completely agree. I know there are many people who feel this same way- that animal exploitation for human gain/entertainment is wrong and should come to an end.

If you were a killer whale, where would you be happiest?
In the wild of course.
If you were a monkey- in the rainforest. A fish- in the sea. A bird, free to fly.
Where are animals naturally intended to live?
They are intended to live free.

I remember reading a true story several years ago about a depressed, trained dolphin that had been at Sea World for many years. It committed suicide by laying on the bottom of its pool. The dolphin’s trainer was so despondent, he quit working at Sea World and has since become an “anti-Sea World crusader.”
My view on zoos is the same. I feel that mankind does not have the right to cage animals. Caged animals are unhappy.

The phrase “man shall have dominion over the earth” was disputed on an Earthsave listserve I belonged to. “Dominion” in this case is largely misinterpreted. It does not mean we have “control” over animals.
It means “to take care of them.”
Ie: California governor Arnold is showing dominion over CA coast life by changing his mind on off-shore drilling. He is taking care of them.
People love their pets, and take very good care of them.

It is those pet owners who do not take care of their pets that I take issue with.
I am a magician. I used to produce a poodle, rabbit, and dove in my show.
I had to cram them in boxes and bags to hide them in the illusions.
Although children loved to see the animals magically produced, if I had it to do over again, I would not have used any animals in my shows.
It was wrong.

Near Brainerd, MN at a show at Craguns Resort, an animal advocate came up to me after the show and asked me nicely if I could possibly substitute a different trick for the rabbit trick- to not use an animal. I answered that the audience, especially children love to see live animals.
Now as I think back to that, she was right. I was wrong.
I don’t think it’s right to exploit animals in any way.

Reader Comments

Comment: “What about the people who don’t eat healthy, smoke and drink, and live to a ripe old age?”

My response: Good question. There are exceptions, whether it’s their genetic make-up, strong immune system, luck? My comment is, if they would’ve had a healthier lifestyle all along, maybe they would have lived even longer and been in better shape health-wise during the last part of their lives. What disease eventually ended their lives that was diet/lifestyle related? How much pain did they have to endure at the end because of an unhealthy lifestyle? How many pills did they have to take because they were unhealthy? I prefer to have better odds/increased chance for longevity by living the healthiest lifestyle possible: healthy food, healthy drink, regular exercise.

Comment re The Truth About: the Gay Issue: “When someone states it is “the truth“, they are not allowing for any debate.”

My response: I agree. I am certainly open to any debate from anyone on this issue. This is an issue I feel very strongly about. In my opinion, in my heart, I believe I am right. I would bet my life on it. It is right as rain to be homosexual. A good person is a good person, period, regardless of sexual orientation.
Comment from a different reader on the same issue: “It is refreshing to read a post that stresses tolerance. I wholeheartedly agree with you. I encourage others who think it is wrong to be gay to change their hearts, to get rid of your unnecessary hatred and prejudice. You’ll be happier for it.”

The purpose of this blog is to share information on health, environmental issues, social issues, gardening, astronomy, the sky is the limit! If you would like to write any kind of entry and have it included on this blog, please send.

Otherwise, thanks for reading!

Great Gravy Batman!

This is a gravy that really adds a nice touch to a healthy meal with starch as the foundation. Pour over any kind of potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, steamed vegetables, etc. A little Nature’s Balance (a non-dairy substitute) melted first on the potatoes, etc. adds a nice taste too (especially for meals with no gravy). Take it easy on the Nature’s Balance because it is pure fat, close to zero nutrients- unhealthy, but is a much better choice than butter or margarine.

Mushroom Gravy

Makes about 2 ½ cups

Ingredients
1 cup mushrooms any kind, sliced thin ( I like to use the white, button mushrooms.)
1 ¾ cup water (plus ½ cup water to first cook the mushrooms)
1/3- 1/2 cup flour (any healthy whole grain flour: wheat, quinoa, millet, kamut, spelt, others?)
1-3 Tbsp tamari soy sauce (Tamari is salty so I use a little more than 1 Tbsp- add to taste. Remember the more salt and sugar you take out of your diet the more healthy/sensitive your taste buds!)
1-2 tsp vegetable broth powder or 1-2 vegetable bouillon cubes- if using these, dissolve/mash in a little water before adding.
First place the ½ cup water in a saucepan, bring to a boil. Add the mushrooms and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients and stir with a wire whisk until the sauce is well mixed and there are no lumps.
Stir constantly over medium heat until very hot. Reduce heat and cook on the lowest setting until the gravy thickens. Cooking time will depend on how much flour you use. The more flour the quicker it will thicken.
Stir occasionally while simmering. You can use the gravy as is, or take half of it and put in a blender, then combine. Makes for more dishes, but has a nice consistency.
I am going to try using other veggies rather than the mushrooms- maybe just red bell peppers, or red bell peppers and mushrooms. Time to go into the lab.
Store unused gravy in the frig in an airtight container for another meal!

I haven’t tried all the types of flours yet. Possibly some types will be more lumpy than others? Whole wheat works very well for this recipe. If the gluten free flours (quinoa and millet) get lumpy, try “super whisking” them/put the entire mixture in a small blender.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Boot Camp For Weight Loss

This entry is for those who are overweight, sincere about wanting to achieve their ideal weight.

Here’s your chance for the healthiest and most natural method to lose weight.

If you are overweight, you are playing with fire with your life. You are forcing your heart to work harder. Your extra weight is hard on your bones, muscles, and organs. Any extra weight you carry on your body the more chance you have for disease- cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes II, osteoporosis, and others. With your unhealthy lifestyle you may be shortening your life. If you’re not already, you may need to someday take expensive medication. Keep in mind taking medication for a diet related disease, ie diabetes II, does not heal the disease- it’s like putting a band-aid on a cut that never heals, not to mention the unhealthy side affects of the pills.

If you are overweight you are dangerously playing with your longevity, risking dying at an earlier age than need be.

If you are overweight your unhealthy lifestyle/unhealthy dietary habits are a poor influence on those around you. Do you have children?

If you are overweight, it is not because you don't exercise enough. Overweight people in wheel chairs who turn to a healthy diet achieve their ideal weight by eating healthy alone. If you are overweight, you need to make some lifestyle changes- primarily what you eat and drink.

Nutrisystem, Weightwatchers, Jenny Craig - all the methods of weight loss that are out there- are unsustainable and unhealthy. These flawed methods for weight loss promote consuming small portions of unhealthy foods. Yes the smaller portions of unhealthy foods may help you lose weight in the short term, but why go hungry and at the same time put these unhealthy foods through your organs? Many people trying these systems do lose weight in the short term, but most go off the program and eventually gain the weight back and then some! Save your money and organs- stay away from these ineffective, profit making programs. Why not give up the yo-yo dieting and adopt a permanent, healthy lifestyle where you can eat as much food as you want and lose weight?

Here is what you need to do:

Become a nutritarian. A nutritarian is a person who strives to eat a diet containing highly nutritious foods. You need to learn what food and drink is healthy, and what is not. That is the main purpose of this blog.

With a nutritarian lifestyle, there's no small portions: you can eat all the healthy plant foods you want without gaining weight, without ever being hungry. You can eat all the healthy food you want and actually lose weight. That’s right- you'll lose weight! Try it! It works! Over time you will achieve your ideal weight if you eat and drink the right things. You don’t have to be concerned about portions or calories if you only eat plant foods that are nutrient rich- raw and cooked fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds and nuts. If the plant foods are cooked, cook them in a healthy way- which means either steamed or boiled in a soup. Use water, not oil to cook your foods. The fat you eat is the fat you wear. Take out/minimize unhealthy oils from your diet and watch the pounds melt away! Look at what you eat now. If it contains oil, take it out of your diet. If you can take the majority of foods out of your diet that contain oil you will be amazed at how fast you'll shed pounds. If you are overweight take it easy on animal oils and plant oils as well- cooking oil (olive oil too!), avocados, nuts, etc.-anything with oil!)

Healthy diet plus regular exercise= Healthy Lifestyle. You’ll need to supplement your healthy eating with regular exercise. Turn into a walker. Walking is the healthiest exercise there is, for your body, for your mind. Start slowly. Gradually increase the lengths of your walks. It is recommended you walk as briskly as you can 3-5 times a week, 1-2 miles or longer- whatever works for you. Exercise creates endorphins- “feel good” chemicals in your brain. You’ll eventually crave your walks as they make you feel so much better mentally and physically throughout your day, and you’ll sleep better too.

Read the first chapter of Dr. McDougall’s new book called The Solution, which means The Starch Solution- centering your meals around starches- sweet potatoes, potatoes, beans, grains, corn, and brown rice.

Here's "The Solution". It's imperative that you read this:

http://greg-foodforthought.blogspot.com/2010/03/solution_18.html

Try thinking of it this way:

Meat and potatoes anyone? We’ve grown up centering our meals around meat. We became conditioned and addicted to food from animals. When meal planning, we first think of what “meat” to have. Then we think of what else to have besides the meat dish. For example, you may think, “I think we’ll have roast beef for supper“, then you think add some type of potatoes, etc.
For one who’s grown up with making meat the center of your meals, it’s quite different to think of meal planning in any other way. It was hard for me- at first. Then I read Dr. McDougall’s Starch Solution, and since then it’s been much easier, because I’ve trained my mind to think in a different way. I turned off one switch, and turned on another. Now the logic of centering one’s meals around starches makes perfect, healthy sense to me.

When meal planning now I first think of what starch to make as the center of my meal- either sweet potatoes, potatoes, beans, grains, corn, or brown rice, and sometimes I combine more than one. For example beans and rice with a little salsa or guacamole, combined with a good size salad and a steamed vegetable make a wonderfully satisfying meal.

Effort will have to be put into your new meal planning. Since you’ve taken so many foods out of your diet, at first it may seem like you don‘t have that many foods to choose from- that your diet may seem mundane. Blame this on unhealthy food withdrawal that will go away with time. It is quite the contrary- you will have many healthy foods and recipes to choose from.
Look at it this way: With your new healthy diet regimen, you will be depriving yourself of disease promoting food and drink. Instead you will be giving yourself the gift of health through health promoting food and drink.
With a little creativity and effort you can turn into a healthy meal planner. There are great cookbooks out there. Both Dr. Fuhrman and Dr. McDougall offer them. There is a plethora of dishes and foods to choose from with your new nutritarian lifestyle.

The most important/healthiest part of your meal? Have a good size salad with as many lunches and suppers as you can, with a minimum of dressing- the unhealthy part because of the oil/fat. Raw veggies contain so many more nutrients than cooked- that’s why your salad is the healthiest part of your meal. Combine as many different types of raw vegetables in your salad as you can.
Most salad dressings are unhealthy- full of fat and sugar. Try eating without, or only adding a small amount, or learn to make your own healthy dressing. Sometimes my wife Bev and I have a mixture of plain raw veggie sticks instead of a salad i.e. carrot sticks, red or green bell pepper strips, cucumber sticks, cabbage wedges, pieces of cauliflower, broccoli, etc. that we dip in hummus or some other veggie dip.

If you do not like salads, it’s all in your head. You are not used to eating them. Keep giving them a try, in small amounts at first. If you were on a desert island and all you had to eat were salads you would come to love them. Getting rid of excess sugar and salt in your diet will help you to fall in love with salads. As your taste buds recover from being used to the strong tastes of sugar and salt, you will start to appreciate the wonderful, subtle tastes of what you put in your salads. Raw red bell peppers for example add a great taste. After awhile you will crave your salads. Just knowing that plant foods are healthiest for you will feel good mentally when you eat them, as well as physically.

Sugar and salt addiction has been compared to major drug addiction, like cocaine and heroin. If you succeed at giving up the majority of sugar and salt in your diet, only then will you know the incredibly wonderful tastes of real, whole, natural food and drink.
If you give up the majority of sugar and salt in your diet- fruits, melons, and berries will taste like nature’s candy and provide you with all the “sweet treats” you need, including all kinds of dates, and don’t forget moist, sweet flame raisins, which are dried red grapes.

I offer you a challenge: Try to take as much processed sugar and salt out of your diet that you can- for one month. Sugar and salt are such strong tastes which deaden your taste buds. Sugar and salt in excess are unhealthy. By taking them out of your diet you’ll be amazed at the difference how healthy foods taste. It’s nearly impossible to not have any sugar and salt. I’m talking about making a concerted effort to not eat candy, pastries, chips, cookies, ice cream, etc. Don’t add any extra sugar or salt to your food or drink, for one month.
I do have some things that have sugar and salt. To name a few, I occasionally use Paul Newman’s Tomato and Basil sauce, which has sugar and salt. I occasionally eat store bought salsa that has salt. I have stopped eating catsup and jellies, even fruit sweetened. I’m not perfect with this, but I think you get the drift. Give it a try. Take out as much sugar and salt as you can. After a month, then try some ripe, fresh pineapple, or a ripe banana, apple, pear, mango, orange, melon- any ripe fruit or vegetable. I think you will be amazed at the tastes!

After you switch to a plant foods diet you will start to lose weight naturally and start to feel better. You’ll have more energy. I’m going to repeat this because it is vital: Keep in mind you can eat all the healthy food you want. You don’t have to be concerned about calories if you only eat plant foods that are nutrient rich- raw and cooked fruits and vegetables. Again, if cooked- cooked in a healthy way.

The milk from a mother cow is intended for its calf, not a person. Goat’s milk, same thing- for a baby goat.
Instead of adding butter to your foods, use a healthier, non-dairy alternative called Earth Balance or Nature’s Balance. It tastes great but take it easy on it- it’s unhealthy oil/fat with lots of calories, but at least it doesn’t come from a cow.

An egg is intended to hatch a baby bird, not to feed a person. Don’t eat bird’s eggs- they’re not intended for you, not healthy. Others say eggs are healthy because of all the protein. Some people eat only the egg whites for this purpose. The excess protein actually taxes your kidneys. There is lots of misinformation out there. Who do you believe? Believe Fuhrman, McDougall, and the countless other nutrition experts who believe: don’t eat eggs. The million dollar egg industry will keep trying to convince you otherwise.

The plant foods that contain the most saturated fat: nuts and seeds, avocados, and all plant oils- olive, coconut, corn, etc. Someone who is trying to lose weight should minimize these plant foods, until you achieve your ideal weight- and you’ll know when you do.
All processed, concentrated oils are unhealthy- even olive oil- empty calories, nutritionally depleted. Plant oils are saturated fat, period. Take it easy on them. Again, cook with water. It’s a lot easier cleaning the dishes!

The healthiest nuts and seeds are those that are eaten raw, unsalted, and unroasted: walnuts, almonds, pecans, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flax seeds are among the best. Eat with raisins or other dried fruit- tastes great.
After you’ve achieved you ideal weight you can start incorporating more of these plant foods in your diet that are high in saturated fat. For those who need to lose weight, also take it easy on dried fruits- lots of calories and concentrated sweetener.

It is advised that for insurance sake nutritarians- people who seek only nutrient rich food and drink (plant foods/water/freshly squeezed juice): take a vitamin B supplement. I think for me the jury is still out on this. Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden took no supplements, but Dr. Fuhrman and Dr. McDougall do advise this, again, for insurance sake. Dr. McDougall says he has never run across a patient with this deficiency as long as they eat a well balanced, plant food diet- organic when possible. Vitamin B is on foods right out of the garden or right off the tree- food that hasn’t been washed. Apparently we need very little Vitamin B. It is stored in our bodies, and is used when needed. You’ve maybe heard the philosophy that we don’t need to overdo using antibacterial soap to wash our hands all the time? I believe that if you eat plenty or organic produce, and don’t “overwash” it, we get plenty of vitamin B. For example I’ll pick an apple off our tree (which hasn’t been sprayed) and eat it without washing it. Pull a carrot out of the garden, frisk the soil off and just eat it.

Let’s get serious. Food is a drug. I'm messing with your drugs. If you are overweight, you are addicted to your unhealthy drugs- your food and drink. You must eventually take all unhealthy food and drink out of your diet if you are sincere about losing weight the fastest and most healthy way possible. You can do it in stages, or all at once. It’s up to you. The more unhealthy food and drink you take out the faster your weight loss.

Again, healthy eating is not for anyone. It will take a strong willed person. You can do it.
When you start to see yourself losing weight, feeling better, coming off those past unhealthy food and drink addictions, you will be so happy. You will be ecstatic to look in the mirror and see the difference. You will love the smiles and feedback from those who love you.
Keep in mind, this will not happen overnight. Compared to someone who has an alcohol or drug addiction, it will take some time before the old cravings go away. Everywhere you look will be temptations- on TV, on billboards, the unhealthy food and drink others eat at family get-togethers or parties.
You will most likely go through uncomfortable withdrawal from the unhealthy food and drink you’ve grown to love. Again, that will go away after time. Who’s the boss, your mind or your taste buds? Your mind must take control over your taste buds. You can make it happen. You must. If you give it a concerted effort, soon you will be given the opportunity to fall in love with the wonderful tastes of healthy food and drink.

If you try this healthy lifestyle, and fall off the wagon/go back to unhealthy habits/binge, it happens. It’s happened to me. Sometimes you have to slip back into old, bad habits to be again reminded of better health that’s waiting for you. Pull yourself up, go right back to eating and drinking healthy. A person who’s given up smoking cigarettes can’t stand being around the smell of cigarette smoke. With time, the same will happen to you regarding unhealthy tastes.

Food from plants is definitely the answer to good health. You must stop or wean yourself from eating all animal foods, or at the very least minimize the animal foods in your diet. There is no cholesterol in plant foods- only in food from animals. In every food from an animal there are unhealthy, disease promoting ingredients.

If you do decide to give these ideas a try, not only will you look and feel better, you’ll sleep better knowing you are adding years to your life- your longevity- and again, you’ll be a wonderful influence to those around you.

Another reason to turn to a healthier lifestyle is your love life.
The healthier the food and drink you put in your body the more
"running on all cylinders”.

I’m going to be driving this point home one more time: Healthy eating and healthy drinking is not for everyone. Many people, even though armed with the correct information about what is healthy and what is not, still choose to make their same unhealthy food and drink choices. Taste, habit, and addiction win out over the logic of eating and drinking healthy. Will you continue to be a conventional, unhealthy eater, like the great majority? Or will you try to do what’s best for you?

This will be the third time I’ve repeated this, but it is at the center of this philosophy. The majority of people, conventional thinkers, conventional eaters don‘t get this. It is so important I’m going to put it in bold print:

If you are overweight and decide to turn to healthy eating and drinking, over time, you will achieve your ideal body weight. Again, it’s not important how much you consume, it’s what you consume, and how it’s cooked. You can eat all the healthy food you want (cooked in a healthy way), and achieve your ideal weight. If you are overweight, you can eat all the healthy food you want- never be hungry- and actually lose weight, and over time, achieve your ideal weight.

There you have it…I’ve laid out the major points for good health that came right from doctors, nutrition experts. Now it’s up to you what you do with this information. There’s a whole new world out there, just waiting for you to embrace it.
If you do decide to give this healthiest of lifestyles a try, you will feel better, look better, be a wonderful influence to those around you- have children?, and make a positive impact on the health of the earth. For example, plant based agriculture causes far less pollution than animal based agriculture.

*If you need further validation for this healthiest of lifestyles, if I were you I would order Dr. Fuhrman’s book set Eat For Health. One book is a nutrition primer about much of what I’ve shared on this blog, and the other book is a cookbook. Or a cheaper choice would be Dr. Fuhrman’s earlier book Eat To Live (which is he revising), at drfuhrman.com, or any of John McDougall’s wonderful books or DVDs at drmcdougall.com. I will be looking forward to his new book The Starch Solution. Both doctors have such a logical, easy to read way of putting things in layman‘s terms.

In the “What’s This World Coming To?” class

From Nation’s Restaurant News

(verbatim from the article)

Heart Attack Grill sues Florida operator

When it comes to tipping the scales of justice, burger restaurants in Arizona and Florida will be facing off in court soon. Jon Basso, the owner of Heart Attack Grill in Chandler, Arizona, has filed suit in federal court against Heart Stoppers Sports Grill, which opened in Delray Beach, Florida, in December. Basso claims the Florida restaurant stole his concept.

The Arizona Heart Attack Grill offers such items as the "Quadruple Bypass Burger".
Heart Stoppers offers a “Heart Stopper 3-pound Killer” burger for $21.99. Both concepts feature waitresses dressed as nurses.
No court dates have been set.

Mango Mania

Been turned on to mangoes yet? This fruit has become one of my absolute favorites. There’s a couple of different types and sizes. There’s large, medium, and a yellow, small size that is kidney shaped. All are wonderful but so far, the small one is my favorite of favorites. Its taste is especially incredible! Make sure they are fully ripe- very soft and wrinkly.

One of the perks of traveling across the country as a school assembly performer is getting to go to places where certain foods are abundant and inexpensive. Especially fun is when I can discover free food! I was in Junction, Texas- a beautiful little oasis town in a valley by a river, in the the middle of nowhere! I was on a walk one evening after a very long drive, and discovered a public pecan tree grove, near a hospital. When I saw that there were many on the ground I found a plastic bag that had been caught in a fence. For the next 2 hours until sunset I gleefully picked up different size pecans. I got a nice bag full. Even though many of them were small, they all taste great right out of the shell.

A week before that, I was in southern Texas near the Mexican border. Mangoes were cheap! The big size were 50 cents each and the small yellow ones were 44 cents each- prices unheard of in Minnesota where I live. I bought 5 of the big ones, and I mean these were the biggest mangoes I’ve seen- green and reddish- beautiful! They were quite firm, so I knew I’d be waiting for many days for them to ripen, a mango’s only drawback. I also bought 5 of the yellow, which were all basically ripe already. I’d never had the yellow ones before. I couldn’t believe how great they tasted! -a richer, even more flavorful, sweeter taste than the bigger mangoes.
I have really made a concerted effort the last couple of years to eliminate sugar and extra salt from my diet. The wonderful taste of the yellow mangoes was a treat to my healthy taste buds- like nature‘s candy. Now the big mangoes have started to ripen. They become yellowish and do get very soft. I’ve had one each evening for the last 3 days. They are so good and juicy. There’s 2 left. I think I will be going through mango withdrawal when they are gone.

I laugh when I think of when I was a kid how much I loved candy, pop, sugar. I never dreamed I would give it up. As a natural food store clerk in Arizona who has also given up sugar said yesterday, “You just don’t need sugar when there are SO many wonderful healthy sweet tastes like fruit and dates.” We high-fived. I seldom run into others who have also given up sugar. I know they are out there. Here is another example:
I was in Flagstaff, Arizona at a big, beautiful natural food store. I asked the guy in charge of bulk items if the dried peaches were natural- no sugar added/not treated with sulfur or anything else. He said they were natural with nothing added, but to him tasted very bland.
He opened a small bag and asked me to try one. We both tried one. He repeated it tasted bland and rubbery. I thought mine tasted wonderful! Very sweet and moist. I asked him if he ate sugar in his diet and he looked surprised I’d asked and said yes. I bought a few small bags. They are a favorite treat to me, wonderfully sweet and chewy- like candy!
You will never know what I’m talking about unless you give sugar free living a try. You’ll be rewarded with natural sweet tastes which I liken to a natural high- tastes like you‘ve never dreamed possible.
Another recent discovery are flame raisins, which are dried red grapes. (Regular raisins are dried green grapes.) Make sure the flames are fresh, soft, and moist, as compared to older, hard ones. I eat these as treats now too. They are wonderful!

I hope you give sugar free living a try. Sweet, healthy, natural tastes will AMAZE you!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Solution

By John McDougall, MD

This truth is simple and is, therefore, easy to explain.
You must eat to live. But the choice of what you eat is yours.
There is an individual, specific diet that best supports the health, function, and longevity of each and every animal.

The proper diet for human beings should be based on starches.
The more rice, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and beans you eat, the trimmer and healthier you will be—and with those same food choices you will help save the Planet Earth too.

A recommendation for eating starches puts glazed looks on people’s faces. They think of starch as something used in the laundry to stiffen shirts. Starch brings back memories of pasty bland-tasting goop, and white, airy Wonder Bread. Most disturbing is that nearly everyone believes starches are fattening and nutritionally inferior foods. Fortunately, common knowledge is completely wrong and the proof is right before your own eyes.

The most important evidence supporting my claim that the natural human diet is based on starches is a simple observation that you can easily validate for yourself: All large populations of trim, healthy people, throughout verifiable human history, have obtained the bulk of their calories from starch. Examples of once thriving people include Japanese, Chinese, and other Asians eating sweet potatoes, buckwheat, and/or rice, Incas in South America eating potatoes, Mayans and Aztecs in Central America eating corn, and Egyptians in the Middle East eating wheat. There have been only a few small isolated populations of primitive people, such as the Arctic Eskimos, living at the extremes of the environment, who have eaten otherwise. Therefore, scientific documentation of what people have eaten over the past thirteen thousand years convincingly supports my claim.

Men and women following diets based on grains, vegetables, and fruits have accomplished all of the great feats in history. The ancient conquerors of Europe and Asia, including the armies of Alexander the Great (356 – 323 BC) and Genghis Khan (1162 – 1227 AD) consumed starch-based diets. Caesar’s legions complained when they had too much meat in their diet and preferred to do their fighting on grains.1 Primarily six foods: barley, maize (corn), millet, potatoes, rice, and wheat have fueled the caloric engines of human civilization.

Starches Consumed Throughout History


Barley – Middle East for 11,000 years

Corn (maize) – North, Central, and South America for 7,000 years

Legumes (beans) – Americas, Asia, and Europe for 6,000 years

Millet – Africa for 6,000 years

Oats – Middle East for 11,000 years

Potatoes – South America (Andes) for 13,000 years

Sorghum – East Africa for 6,000 years

Sweet Potatoes – South America and Caribbean for 5,000 years

Rice – Asia for more than 10,000 years

Rye – Asia for 5000 years

Wheat/Buckwheat – Near East for 10,000 years

Our DNA Nails It

Based on our anatomy and physiology experts have long concluded that primates, including humans, are designed to eat a diet consisting mostly of plant foods. The natural diet of chimpanzees, our closest relative, is nearly pure vegetarian in composition; made up largely of fruits; and in the dry seasons when fruit is scarce, they eat tree seeds, flowers, soft pith, and bark; with termites and small mammals making an insignificant contribution to their nutrition all year long.

Recently, scientists have proven through genetic testing that we are designed to thrive best on one category of plant food known as starch. Human and chimp DNA is roughly 99% identical, but that 1% difference, which includes genes to digest much more starch, proved crucial for the evolution of humanity's earliest ancestors. Examination of the number of copies of the gene for the synthesis of the starch-digesting enzyme, amylase, has found an average of 6 copies in humans, compared to only 2 copies of this gene in other primates.2 This genetic difference results in the production of 6 to 8 times higher levels of starch-digesting enzymes in human saliva. The limited ability of chimpanzees and others in the great ape family to utilize starch tied their species to the tropical jungles where fruits are abundant all year long.

Starches were a critical food source for the ancestors of early and modern humans. The ability to efficiently utilize starch provided the opportunity for us to migrate out of Africa—to colonize the rest of the planet (to locations where fruits are plentiful only in summer and fall). Starch-filled tubers and grains act as storage units for concentrated calories that last throughout the winter, are widely distributed geographically, and are easy to gather. Their abundant calories also supplied the extra energy necessary for the brain to evolve from monkey-size to human-size (a three times difference).

People Are Starch-Eaters

People should be thought of as “starch-eaters;” just like cats are “meat-eaters.” Until recently, except for a small number of wealthy aristocrats, members of the human species have obtained the bulk of their calories from starch. After the mid 1800s with the creation of colossal wealth during the industrial revolution and the harnessing of fossil fuels, millions, and then billions, of people were able to eat from a table piled high with meat, fowl, and dairy, once available only to royalty. Look around you—the consequences are obvious—everyday people appear rotund like the kings and queens pictured in old paintings. Look a little further and you will discover the Starch Solution.

Starch is a “complex carbohydrate” made up of long chains of sugar molecules, stored in the plants’ parts for their future use. During the growing season, green leaves collect energy from the sun and synthesize sugars that are converted into tiny starch granules. The plants use this stockpile for survival over winter, to re-grow the next year, and to reproduce. Starchy plant-food-parts selected by people for eating are simply called “starches.” Tubers (potatoes, sweet potato, cassava), winter squashes (pumpkin, butternut, hubbard), legumes (beans, peas, lentils), and grains (barley, corn, rice, wheat) serve as organs for storing starch.

Green and yellow vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and asparagus, accumulate relatively little starch, and fruits are made up of simple sugars, not complex ones. All animal foods, including beef, chicken, fish, shellfish, eggs, milk, and cheese, contain no starch at all.

While easily providing the abundance of calories needed for winning marathons, starches do not promote excess weight gain. That is because the human body efficiently regulates carbohydrates from starches, burning them off, rather than storing them, when consumed in excess. How effective is our body’s regulation? Obesity has been unknown among billions of Asians with a wide variety of activity levels who have followed traditional diets based on rice. However, these people’s immunity immediately disappears when they switch to meals based on meat and dairy foods, because the human body unsuccessfully balances for excess fat consumption—storing these calories in the abdomen, buttocks, and thighs. The fat you eat is the fat you wear.

Starches are very low in fat (1% to 8% of their calories), contain no cholesterol, do not grow human pathogens, like salmonella, E. Coli, and “mad cow” prions, and do not store poisonous chemicals, like DDT and methyl mercury. Outside surface contamination, for example, from cow dung and pesticide sprays, may occur, but that is not a fault with the plants. Starch is clean fuel.

The carbohydrates abundant in starches pleasurably stimulate the sweet-tasting sensory buds on the tips of our tongues. Here gastronomic enjoyment and satisfaction begin. Because of their natural rewarding properties—having great taste and nourishing calories—people refer to beans, breads, corn, pasta, potatoes, and rice as “comfort foods.” In addition to “clean and efficient, satisfying energy,” starches provide an abundance of other nutrients, such as proteins, essential fats, vitamins, and minerals. Some single starches, for example potatoes and sweet potatoes, are “complete foods” and can easily meet all of our nutritional needs alone. Grains and legumes are deficient in vitamins A and C. The addition of a small amount of fruit or green and yellow vegetable easily provides for these vitamins, making a diet based on these seeds (grains and legumes) sound.

Unguided Wealth Stole Our Health

My parents lived through the Great Depression of the 1930s. My mother’s family could not even afford to pay the rent on their apartment—the generosity of their landlord kept them from living on the streets of Decatur, Illinois. The sparse diet her family ate during these hard times was made up of turnips, rutabagas, and potatoes. My mother’s painful memories caused her to make a promise that her children would never have to suffer as she did.

Growing up I ate eggs and bacon for breakfast, meat-filled sandwiches for lunch, and beef, pork, and chicken were the centerpieces of every dinner. All three of these starch-deficient daily meals were washed down with glassfuls of milk. The effects on my personal health were instructional. For as far back as I can remember, I suffered daily stomachaches and brutally immovable constipation. At age seven I lost my tonsils. I was often sick with colds and flu. My lack of endurance put me in last place in gym class. Oily skin and acne marked my face as a teenager. At age 18 an uncommon incident happened to me—I suffered a major stroke with total left-sided paralysis. My own mother called me fat in my early twenties (I was 50 pounds overweight). When I was 25, the abdominal pains became so intolerable, that I underwent exploratory surgery. My mother’s wish was fulfilled; I never suffered as she did.

Her intentions were good ones; she fed our family based upon the best nutritional advice of the times—most of it provided to the public by the meat and dairy industries. Calcium and protein were worshipped as the nutrients most vital to any meal plan. Concerns about the adverse consequences of these animal foods on human health and the environment were recognized in these times, but largely dismissed by food industry-funded scientists as unimportant.4

Dietary Change Is Terrifying.

Almost all of us were raised on meat, poultry, milk, cheese, oils, flours, and sugars. These items have provided most of our life-sustaining calories. To give these familiar foods up, in our minds, means starvation. This would be akin to asking us to stop breathing or to go thirsty—unbearable, if not impossible, tasks. I remember well my first experience with foods different from those I was raised on. Mary, my wife of 37 years now, was pregnant with our first child, Heather, in 1974. We were living on the Big Island of Hawaii at that time. Buzz and Susan Hughes, a couple we had met at our childbirth education class, invited us over for dinner. Susan had prepared a casserole of wheat and barley, a Caesar salad, vegetable side dishes, and a peach pie for dessert. The meal was tasty, but a drastic departure from my usual beef, chicken, cheese, egg, and ice cream menu. Even after second helpings my stomach was still empty of its customary fillings. On our drive home after dinner, I felt unsatisfied and actually believed that I would be unable to sleep through the night without “food.” I entered the front door of our house, which led directly to the kitchen with a well-stocked refrigerator. I eagerly opened the bottom bin where the sliced turkey was kept and made myself a Dagwood sandwich. I had my fix of fat, protein, white flour, and sugar.

I adjusted mentally and physically after only a few more healthy eating experiences, and soon learned how much more tasty and satisfying meals based on mashed potatoes, bean burritos, mu shu vegetables and rice, spaghetti and marinara sauce, and soups and breads are than meals based on animal muscles and lactation fluids. The Starch Solution is a simple switch: rather than getting calories from fat and protein, the primary fuel for people becomes carbohydrate. Instead of starvation, this change means fuller appetite satisfaction and radiant health. The more meat and dairy you replace with starch the trimmer and healthier you become. Your consumption of starch-deficient foods will plummet, along with excess weight, physical and mental suffering, and need for medications and surgeries.

Expect Economic Shifts

The adoption of a starch-based diet by any sizable share of the world’s populations will have major ramifications, because huge profits are at stake and industry will fight back. The food industries’ goals have been, and always will be, to entice the consumer to eat more meat, poultry, seafood, dairy products, and processed foods because those are the high profit items. Rice, corn, and potatoes are plentiful, easy to grow, and cheap. Switching to a starch-based diet will not only affect the food industries, but will also drastically shrink the pharmaceutical and medical businesses by preventing and curing common illnesses, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and intestinal disturbances ranging from heartburn to constipation.

Implementation of the Starch Solution may appear impossible because the hands of commerce reach into every area of politics, science, and education. The food industry employs to their advantage lobbyists, influence peddling, the revolving door syndrome, and massive agricultural subsidies. Their money corrupts medical doctors, dietitians, scientists, professional associations, and medical journals. With a donation, according to a memo from the American Dietetic Association (ADA), Coca-Cola becomes an “ADA Partner in the Association’s corporate relations sponsorship program. The program provides Partners a national platform via ADA events and programs with prominent access to key influencers, thought leaders and decision makers in the food and nutrition marketplace.”5 The Oklahoma Beef Council (OBC) sponsored several American Heart Association (AHA) events in the spring of 2006 to communicate how lean beef easily fits into a heart-healthy diet.6 The newly released 2006 AHA Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations by no coincidence include heart-attack-causing meat as part of a heart-healthy diet.7 The American Dietetic Association and the American Heart Association are only two, among dozens, of respectable sounding organizations that you once believed in, who receive funding from food interests—and as a consequence they act as fronts for industry.8

Major universities, such as Harvard and Tufts, are also funded by food interests, and they perpetuate industry-favoring lies that keep the consuming public from making correct decisions about their diet.8 For example, Tufts University’s nutrition department (which receives funding from Procter & Gamble and Kraft Foods) tells the public, “Plant protein sources, although good for certain essential amino acids, do not always offer all nine essential amino acids in a single given food.”9 The scientific truth is all single starches and vegetables contain all eight essential and all twelve nonessential amino acids in amounts and arrangements that always meet human needs. The nutritional falsehood about “amino acid deficient plants” spread by industry-supported universities causes people to add artery-clogging meats and dairy products to their diet in order to get “complete protein.” Almost no one can be trusted because so much money taints them. 10

The food industries win over the public by an advertising campaign that convinces us that “a well-balanced diet” is best. Meaning that almost anything and everything that is sold in the supermarket should be part of the human diet. People should select from cat food (meat) to calf food (milk) and foods you would never feed your favorite pets, such as cakes, donuts, and candy bars, according to the food industry. They also divert our attention away from proper eating and the dangers of their products by providing unattainable solutions, like “exercise more” and “eat less” to lose weight. The rising epidemics of obesity and sickness worldwide, under the tutelage of the food industry, prove a more truthful answer is long overdue; and that is for the world’s peoples to obtain the bulk of their food from one or more healthy delicious starches.

We Know Better

Despite the deafening drone from big businesses, since the 1950s there has been sound advice to eat more vegetables, fruits, and grains, and to eat less fat from meat and dairy products. In the introduction to the 1977 report issued by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, Dr. Mark Hegsted of the Harvard School of Public Health said: “I wish to stress that there is a great deal of evidence and it continues to accumulate, which strongly implicates and, in some instances, proves that the major causes of death and disability in the United States are related to the diet we eat. I include coronary artery disease, which accounts for nearly half of the deaths in the United States, several of the most important forms of cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity as well as other chronic diseases.”11

In 2002, the World Health Organization published a report on how the nutrition transition towards refined foods, foods of animal origin (meat and dairy products), and increased fats is causing the current global epidemics of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases and predicted that by 2020 two-thirds of the global burden of disease will be attributable to diseases mostly from diet.12

Because of our inability and unwillingness to respond to the truth we are now suffering the greatest health crisis ever known to humankind. Worldwide, 1.1 billion people are overweight and 312 million obese, 18 million people die of heart disease annually, more than 197 million have diabetes, and half of all people following the Western diet develop life-threatening cancers.

The Western Diet Is a Planet-killer.

The stakes are greater than a few billion fat, sick people. Marching side by side with mounting levels of human sickness are escalating environmental catastrophes due in large part to abandoning our diet of starches for livestock at every meal at every dinner table. According to the report, Livestock’s Long Shadow –Environmental Issues and Options, released in November of 2006 from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, livestock emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to every one of the most serious environmental problems.14

For thirty-two years I have believed people would rise up and take action once they realized that the vast majority of human sickness and suffering in developed countries is due to eating animal and junk foods, and that the simple solution is to switch to a starch-based diet. The masses have remained quiet. For the past decade I have witnessed the growing epidemic of childhood obesity—a misery caused largely by the fast food giants. All this time I have waited for informed citizens to rise up in protest, or at the very least, to boycott the perpetrators of this child abuse. The sellers of easily procured beef burgers and milk shakes thrive, successfully uncontested by a single one of us.

Until now, inaction meant other people and their children became fat, sick, and died prematurely—somehow, we have been able to live with those immoralities. The truth is that most human beings find the destruction of fellow human beings, even little ones, acceptable. You can assume these same people will sit idly by and let the entire earth be destroyed. But we cannot let this happen, because this is our world, too. This time, failure to act means that we and our children will be lost, along with those who do not seem to understand or care.

An amazingly simple win-win opportunity stares us in the face: a global switch to a starch-based diet will solve the diseases of over-nutrition and put a big dent in global warming with one U-turn—since the up-to-now insatiable appetite for foodstuffs made from livestock (cows, sheep, pigs, and chickens), with abandonment of starchy plant foods, are at the root of both disasters. We must implement the Starch Solution.

Quick Paybacks with Starch

A switch back to the kind of diet followed by most people who have ever walked this earth would have enormous and widespread benefits. The Starch Solution could prevent more deaths in one year than have been prevented by all the antibiotics, diabetic pills, cholesterol-lowering statins, and blood pressure pills prescribed over the past half century. Not one case of type-2 diabetes has ever been cured with insulin, nor has any patient with coronary artery disease been cured by heart surgery; yet a switch to a starch-based diet has been proven to stop and reverse these as well as most other chronic diseases. The net toll on human lives saved in the first decade of implementing the Starch Solution would be greater than the lives lost by all wars fought in the 20th century in Western countries.

Abandoning meat and dairy foods would overnight result in more savings in fossil fuels than all the solar farms, windmills, and nuclear plants that could be built in the next three decades. Consider that most vegetable produce requires about two calories of fossil-fuel energy to cultivate per one calorie of food energy; with beef; the ratio can be as high as 80 to one.15 Because livestock products account for 18% of greenhouse gas production, compared to 14% for all transportation, this simple, long-overdue diet change would have a greater effect on the rapidly approaching environmental apocalypse than would removing all cars from the highways worldwide.14 For everyday food choices, consider that growing four pounds (1200 calories) of potatoes generates 14 times fewer greenhouse gases than producing a pound of beef (1200 calories).16 Potatoes also provide much more food, health, and appetite satisfaction than beef at the same time.

Individuals can expect an immediate personal financial payback. The average daily cost of eating all 3 meals at fast food restaurants is about $14 (US). On a starch-based diet you can easily feed yourself for $3 or less a day. Your medical expenses can be eliminated in most cases and your personal productivity will skyrocket overnight.

Truth Is The Solution

We are prevented from solving problems ranging from acne to species extermination by false information. Starch as our food source must no longer be vilified. Meat, poultry, fish, and dairy can no longer be exalted. Currently, past the age of 30, in Western countries, almost everyone is overweight, on medications and/or has risk factors, like high cholesterol or high blood pressure, which predict premature disability and death. Fat, sick people will have much greater difficulty solving the health, environmental, financial, and military problems threatening our existence. In addition to the obvious mental and physical impairments caused by their illnesses, their own dinner plates blind them to the right answers. Once a person learns the truth and switches to a starch-based diet then the solutions become clear. The solutions are so simple and easy to explain that a 7-year-old can understand that the cure for heart disease and restoring the oceans back to life are the same.

The goal of this chapter is to provide you with one big simple solution—a starch-based diet. That’s all there is to it. You don’t have to think “good” thoughts, run marathons, be blessed with hardy genes, or carry around lucky charms to solve your health problems and to make a sizable contribution to reversing the accelerating trends of environmental ruin. All you have to do is change the composition of the foods on your plate and eat.
That’s the Starch Solution.

To your health, and to the health of our Earth, Dr. John McDougall

*Printed with permission, this was the first chapter from his new book "The Starch Solution".

For the references go to http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2009nl/feb/starch.htm Scroll all the way down for the references. For Dr. McDougall's new book: http://peopleforplants.blogspot.com/2012_05_01_archive.html