Monday, February 22, 2010

A Precious Gift

You have been given a precious gift- your life.

How you live your life- your lifestyle- will dictate how long you live.
Your dream is to live a long, happy life.
There are many hurdles standing in your way to prevent this.
You should want to know what these hurdles are.
That is one of the purposes of this blog.

I hope each of you will look back someday and be happy with healthy lifestyle changes you made, that ultimately contributed to your longer life.
These healthy lifestyle changes are what I would like to talk to you about.

I had to fix something that was broke.
As a young man I had high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and contracted Crohn’s Disease. Today, at 54, I take no pills. I’ve fixed the first two diseases with a healthy diet. Crohn’s is life long, but is controlled by a healthy diet. I’ve had occasional Crohn’s flare-ups over the years when I regress to old bad habits. Sometimes knowing what I should do to be healthy, and doing it are two different things. I’m sure you can identify.
I don’t think there are many, if any people who have Crohn’s that don’t take any pills. Most have sections of their bowels removed, and have to suffer through problems later caused from the surgical lesions that form. They take their pills and continue with their unhealthy dietary, life shortening habits.
It is thought that Crohn’s leads to other disease, such as cancer.
Researchers believe that Crohn’s is caused by a bacteria in cow’s milk.
This research is being blocked by the billion dollar dairy industry.

Because of my earlier illnesses and learning to heal them the best, most natural way, I have become passionate about further study. I want to share what I’ve learned with you. If you stick with me in blog entries to come, at the very least, you’ll learn. At the very most, you will make lifestyle changes which will add years to your life, to the lives of your children, and to those around you.

Every lifestyle change I’ll be suggesting will come right from the best nutrition doctors in the world, who are saving thousands from a life of pain and disease with their “prescriptions for nutritional excellence.”

I sincerely hope you will consider the food for thought I will be presenting.

Welcome to Food For Thought

Hello, and welcome to a new blog dedicated to human and planet health.
I will be presenting entries that deal with nutrition, social, and environmental issues.
The goal will be self-improvement.

If you would like to add a comment click on "Comments" at the end of an entry.

This month's entries:

A Precious Gift

The "A" Word...

The Truth About: Food and Drink


"Just Keep Telling the Truth"

The Truth About: The Gay Issue

The Best Oatmeal in the World


Pronounced "Keen Wa"

The Facts About: Food and Drink

If you are serious about your health,
if you are seriously interested in finding out what on the earth is healthy, and what is not,
if you are interested in achieving your ideal body weight the fastest and healthiest way humanly possible,
please read on.

There is SO much misinformation out there. Here is the truth, from Joel Fuhrman, MD, John McDougall, MD, and many others.

For one, there is one healthiest, fastest way to arrive at your ideal body weight.
Granted, there are MANY ways to lose weight, but all but one are impractical and unsustainable. Let's debunk:

Nutrisystem/Marie Osmond: No.
Jenny Craig/Valeri Bertinelli: No.
Weight Watchers: No.
The New Atkins: No.
South Beach: No.
Gastric or Lap Band/weight loss surgery: No.
Over exercise/burn the calories off: No.
I won't bore you. There are dozens more, and new ones added all the time. All others but one, wrong.
You can lose weight with the above methods, they're just not sustainable/healthy. Why have to deal with portion control when you can turn to a healthy weight loss method that allows you to eat as much healthy food as you want- and enable you to achieve your ideal body weight at the same time?

My outlook for the future health of Americans is realistic and bleak: Most will die before their time because of diseases related to unhealthy food and drink addiction. If I have learned anything, it's that people have to decide for themselves whether or not to make positive changes/give up unhealthy lifestyle choices. I am about to spell out what is healthy, and what is not. My intent is education only, and sent with only the best intentions. I want to share with you what I have learned through personal experience and research from doctors. It's up to you what you do with this information.
If you read this information, at the least you will be informed, from the best nutrition doctors in the world.

I had a golf partner who has the mentality that he can eat whatever he wants, just so he exercises the calories away, he thinks he will be healthy. This is unhealthy thinking, and life shortening. Not only is he wearing out his body from over exercise, he is taxing his organs by putting unhealthy food and drink through his body. True, he did look trim during this time of his life, but even he admitted he could not keep up with the exercise regime, and is now back to being obese. By the way, any extra weight you carry on your body promotes major diseases: cancer, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, many more.
An exercise program only to remain at one's ideal body weight is not sustainable, and not healthy, unless..

... one turns to a lifestyle of healthy food and drink combined with practical, regular exercise.

This is not easy, especially in this day and age, with all the bad influences staring you in the face. In fact, to eat and drink healthy will be very hard- you will have to give up unhealthy food and drink addictions. Mealtime will become more challenging at family get-togethers, going out to eat with friends. But it's your choice. You can become a good influence.
What's worth it? The temporary satisfaction of the tastes you love now, or living a longer life?

What's your priority?

I look at each food and drink this way: Do they contain substances that promote disease?, or do they contain only health promoting nutrients?

The healthiest drinks for people are:
1) Good, clean water
(Steam distilled water is healthiest. )
2) Freshly squeezed juice, from a juicer (I'm not talking about the juice in grocery stores in cartons or bottles that's been pasteurized/boiled- it's concentrated sweetener- compared almost to pop/soda- not nearly as healthy as freshly squeezed/juiced.
Or if you're thirsty, eat the apple, orange, or piece of melon- get the liquid with the fiber, vitamins and minerals- a very healthy way to quench your thirst.)

The healthiest foods on the earth, organic and raw when possible, are fruits, vegetables, legumes (beans), whole grains, and raw/unroasted/unsalted right from the tree or plant: seeds and nuts.

Here's a simple rule: If it comes right out of the garden to your plate, or right off the tree, that's as healthy as it gets.

Superabundant in animal foods are 5 poisons that promote disease- excess protein, saturated fat, cholesterol, methionine
(a sulfur-containing amino acid), and dietary acids
.
http://drmcdougall.com/misc/2010nl/jan/poison.htm
There is saturated fat in some plant foods, and granted they should be eaten sparingly, but plant fat is a much healthier fat.
Unless it's wild game or free range, most meat also contains growth hormones and cancer promoting preservatives: sulfites.

All food from plants promote pure health, if eaten raw or cooked in a healthy way- which means either steamed or boiled in a soup.

You've heard about how healthy fiber is- nature's colon scrub brush- is only in plants.
There is no fiber in animal foods.

Eat some of the following disease promoting foods?

All food from a cow/dairy food: Unhealthy. Promotes disease.

All milk from a cow, from low fat to whole cow's milk: unhealthy
Butter: unhealthy
Cheese: unhealthy (Butter and cheese are the most dangerous of all animal foods. They have the highest amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol.)
Yogurt, Kefir: unhealthy

I have a favor to ask you: When you think about all food, think about its natural intention.

We've been duped.
Think about the natural intention of a mother cow's milk.
It's intended for a calf, not a person.
A calf grows in 1 year from 80 pounds to 800 pounds. How much does a human baby grow in 1 year? Other countries think it's silly that Americans drink the lactation from an animal- milk from a cow, or goat.
Would you drink the milk from a dog, cat, or some other mammal?
So it's no wonder that food intended for a cow promotes disease in a human!
Researchers are finding out that it's the milk proteins that are promoting disease even more than the animal fat.
Many of the major human diseases are being attributed to a high intake of dairy products.

In pioneer times settlers survived winters by having a milk cow. Now, it's not necessary.
In days gone by, mankind survived by eating animal flesh.
Now it's not necessary.
A by-product of all the meat eating over time- most of mankind is now addicted to food from animals, because of the taste, and because of the addictive chemicals that food from animals contain.

Eggs: Unhealthy
Again, think about what an egg is naturally intended for- to hatch a baby bird, not to feed a human. There is unhealthy cholesterol and way too much protein in eggs, which taxes your kidneys and liver.
So it's no surprise that something that's intended to hatch a bird, promotes human disease.

All Meat: Unhealthy

All meat from animals to fish is cholesterol filled muscle.
Of course the more lean the animal flesh the better, but is a half pack of cigarettes that much better than a full pack?

Cattle- burgers, steaks, etc.- all unhealthy
Pigs- ham, pork chops, bacon, etc.- all unhealthy
Birds: chickens, turkeys, ducks, etc.- all unhealthy
All Fish- all unhealthy

You hear about how healthy fish oil is because of the omega 3. Omega 3 can be derived from some plants. You've heard that chocolate has healthy antioxidants. It also contains caffeine, processed sugar, and fat. Better to get your antioxidants from plant foods. Animal foods do have some healthy substances like iron and protein (albeit too much protein), but isn't it better to consume only foods that totally promote your health? Why ingest foods that contain unhealthy substances, even though they contain healthy substances as well? For taste?
Is the taste worth the consequences? There are more than enough great tastes in completely healthy foods.

The healthiest part of your meals should include a variety of raw veggies in a salad. Instead of meat, center your meals around the starchy vegetables: corn, beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, or brown rice. Starches, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and raw seeds and nuts will promote a trim fit body and lifetime of excellent health.

Substances in food from animals promote major diseases such as cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, high cholesterol, and many others.

It's time to consider consuming healthy, longevity promoting plants. It's time to give animals a break. Many people believe that the purpose of an animal is to feed humans. That is misinformed. The purpose of an animal is to be an animal, to live an animal's life. Brings to mind the horrific living conditions for animals in factory farms. If you do eat animals, please consider eating only ones raised respectfully- called free range, or wild game.

You've heard about how important it is to get calcium from a cow's milk and protein from meat.
They're myths. We've been duped folks from those industries. Calcium that's intended for a calf and excess animal protein actually taxes your kidneys/other organs- promotes human disease.
Cow's milk actually weakens bones promoting bone loss. In fact, the countries with the highest dairy consumption have the highest incidence of bone loss and hip fracture!
Talk about a world turned upside down.

Regarding meat, the truth is, any protein you consume, you need the protein that's already in your body to help break it down, so that's wasted energy, and again, it taxes your organs. What you actually need to produce protein in your body are amino acids from plant foods. Take a lesson from gorillas, who eat 99% plants. All the amino acids in the plants they eat produce protein in their bodies, making them one of the strongest animals on earth.

You get all you need from a well rounded diet of plant foods.
You do need a small amount of vitamin B12, so for insurance sake Dr. Fuhrman does suggest taking a B12 sublingual vitamin.

White flour products: white bread, white flour tortillas, “regular” yellow/white spaghetti or pasta- all unhealthy
White rice: minute rice, etc.- all unhealthy

These products have all been processed- most of the nutrients have been removed. They are digested quickly and have been compared to sugar consumption/causes pancreatic insulin spike.

Instead choose less processed whole grain products that are digested more slowly, like whole wheat/whole grain breads, whole wheat/whole grain tortillas, whole wheat/whole grain/vegetable pastas, gluten free whole grain products- we really like corn pasta!

Many people are allergic to gluten and need to choose gluten free products. There is gluten in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, and kamut.
Gluten free: quinoa, millet, rice, buckwheat, corn, tapioca, potato, beans
The jury is still out on oats. There is a small amount of gluten in oats, but those affected by gluten don’t seem to be affected by oats.

Choose brown rice rather than white as it is much healthier. Brown rice is a staple of the macrobiotic diet- a very strict, plant based diet.

For a HUGE list on all grains and flours including gluten free go to
http://www.csaceliacs.org/gluten_grains.php

All salt and processed sugar promotes disease. The more you stay away from these harmful substances the healthier your taste buds will become. If you take a break from salt and processed sugar you will be amazed your sensitivity to the natural sweetness/more intense flavors in fruit and vegetables!

Coffee is unhealthy because of the addictive caffeine which promotes high blood pressure/increased heart rate.
1 cup of coffee leaches 5 mg of calcium from your body.
Choose caffeine free coffee or tea instead when possible.
Even caffeine free coffee has a small amount of caffeine.
This is one of those addictions that is very hard to stop.

Can you turn into a “juicer”, or fruit smoothie junkie instead?
I will include simple, wonderful tasting smoothie recipes in a future entry.

Don't think short term, think long term. At the least, consider eating less food from animals.
At the most, be a nutritarian- one who seeks healthy nutrition in all food and drink.

I have been off all animal foods for 9 months. It has not been easy. After being an animal food lover/addict for over 50 years, what do I expect. It's tough to smell fried chicken, to remember the smell and taste of fried bacon in the morning. Like someone from AA, it will be a life long challenge to remain on the plant food wagon. The thing is, the longer one is able to remain a nutritarian, the easy it will get, and I tell you what, after being off of animal foods, and being off most processed sugar and salt- healthy food has never tasted so great. We absolutely love our healthy food and drink. :)

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References: Dr. Joel Fuhrman's 2 book set Eat For Health, his book aimed at parents Disease-Proof Your Child- Feeding Kids Right, and his groundbreaking nutritional primer
Eat To Live.
He is in the process of updating Eat To Live. You can find used copies of these books on Amazon.com, or go to his website to purchase the books new at drfuhrman.com.
Dr. John McDougall's books were also used as references.
You can sign up for John's fantastic, free monthly e-newsletter on his website drmcdougall.com.

The "A" Word...

If you are what you eat, and you eat unhealthy,
What does that make you?

The choices we make dictate how healthy we are.

Addictions dictate how healthy we are.

You’ve heard the sayings “Food is a drug” and “Everyone has a vice.”
Each of us is addicted to something that does not promote longevity.
Cigarettes? Alcohol? Prescription drugs? Illegal drugs? Meat/food from animals? Coffee? Junk food- sugar, salt, chips, doughnuts, pastries, cookies, ice cream, candy, pop, fast food?

A drug addict does not like to be reminded of their addiction.

A drug addict doesn't want anyone messing with their drugs.

Someone who has an addiction to unhealthy food/drink does not like to be reminded about it. They may realize the unhealthy aspect of their addiction, but choose to do nothing about it.
Or maybe they’d like to do something about it but they are powerless. They are hooked.
There are many reasons why people consume what they consume. One is depression.
“Comfort food.” In the short term it may make you feel better, but is it comforting to know that what you’re putting in your precious body is promoting disease/a shorter life?

If something is unhealthy, I don’t feel I’m depriving myself. Rather I’m giving myself a gift- health- by staying away from it. There are plenty of wonderful, healthy tasting foods to choose from.
The trick is to become un-addicted to the unhealthy stuff, and to become addicted to the healthy stuff.
Easier said than done, but possible!

Many people are addicted to sugar. I certainly was.
Doctors are comparing sugar addiction to drug addiction like cocaine and heroin- it’s so hard to stop. Processed sugar promotes cancer and other disease. The key is to get your sugar, or glucose, in unprocessed form. We need glucose for fuel, for energy. To receive its full health benefits, glucose must be consumed in its natural form. Whenever white, processed sugar is consumed in any form, it is digested quickly, causing the pancreas to spike insulin.
Unhealthy insulin spike may eventually lead to diabetes.

If sugar is consumed naturally, as in a fruit or vegetable, digestion is slower- healthier. Insulin spikes are much more subtle. Other forms of processed foods that cause unhealthy insulin spikes are white rice and white flour products. Brown rice is much healthier, as well as whole grain flour products. Again, the key is to eat foods that are digested more slowly, in their natural form.

You will never know how good whole, natural food tastes until you limit the powerful tastes of processed sugar and salt. Sugar and salt deaden your taste buds.
Try going off sugar and salt for awhile. A few days, a week, a month, as long as you can. Then try a ripe piece of fruit. You’ll be amazed how good it tastes. You’ll be amazed how good any whole, natural food tastes.

Whole natural foods come either right out of the garden, or right off the tree- eaten raw, or cooked in a healthy way, which means steamed, or boiled in a soup.

Salt is addictive and promotes disease. What’s the first thing a doctor takes away when someone is diagnosed with high blood pressure? Salt.
So why not take it easy on the salt now, to prevent disease?
And by the way sea salt is pretty much as unhealthy as any other type of salt. Salt is salt.
If you have to take high blood pressure medication, the pills are not curing the disease. It’s like putting a band-aid on a cut that never heals. The only way to cure it is with a prescription for nutritional excellence.

I love sweets/sugar. I get my sugar mainly from natural sources- fruits and vegetables. A few things in my diet still have processed sugar. I don’t eat any candy, don’t drink pop, and stay away from salt in as many things as I can. The food I mainly eat- whole, natural foods- tastes amazing. I can’t emphasize this enough- they taste amazing, because my tastes buds are healthy from healthy eating, not deadened by the powerful tastes of sugar and salt.

Addictions I’m fighting: cheese, pizza with cheese/white flour crust, chocolate, chips of all kinds, ice cream, salted nuts, chicken, hot dogs, and ham.
It’s been years since I’ve had these. These were foods I grew up with and loved. Hopefully with time, these cravings will subside.

Good luck battling your unhealthy addictions. I’ll work on mine.

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Fuhrman Snippets:

There is a new term for people who seek good health, coined by Dr. Fuhrman: Nutritarian.
A nutritarian is a person whose food choices are influenced by nutritional quality.
I like this label, as compared to vegan or vegetarian.
Sounds political. “I’m not a democrat or republican.
I voted nutritarian.” Ha!

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Researchers have proven that your DNA is affected by exercise. The more you exercise, the younger your DNA stays.
So, the more you exercise, the younger you’ll stay!

"Just keep telling the truth."

I periodically email Dr. McDougall and Dr. Fuhrman with health related questions, which they always graciously answer.
A few weeks ago I emailed Dr. M informing him about this new blog. I told him that because unhealthy food and drink addictions are so hard to break it is difficult to get others to look at choosing a healthier lifestyle.
I asked him if he had any advice. This is his response:

This is not easy - just keep telling the truth.

Feel welcome to ask questions.

Just to remind you: The basic McDougall diet is made of starches, vegetables, and fruits - no animal products of any kind and no added oils. My February 2009 newsletter article, "The Starch Solution," will explain to you about why you center your diet around common starches, such as rice, corn, beans, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.

There are recipes at the end of each newsletter, and a “free program” on the McDougall web site (www.drmcdougall.com).
You can find a short video of my 10-day, live-in program on my homepage.
My “Hot Topics” on my home page is the best way to find articles that are important to you. The discussion board offers almost instant help from followers of the program. The canned and package product list is up to date. You will also find free Podcasts on my web site.

I suggest you purchase the DVDs (McDougall Made Easy and Irresistible are best for those beginning) and the Quick and Easy Cookbook. You can now download the DVD lectures individually from the store. Classic McDougall books are also available for download from our store. Visit store at: http://www.drmcdougall.com/books_tapes.html

Keep me posted on your progress.

Best Wishes,

John McDougall, MD

drmcdougall@drmcdougall.com

Dr. McDougall's Health and Medical Center
PO Box 14039
Santa Rosa, CA 95402
Telephone: (707) 538-8609
FAX: (707) 538-0712
Book orders: http://www.drmcdougall.com/books_tapes.html
E-mail drmcdougall@drmcdougall.com
On the web: http://www.drmcdougall.com
Residential program: (800) 941-7111 / (707) 538-8609.

The Best Oatmeal in the World

People who don’t like oatmeal haven’t tried the best oatmeal in the world. If you can afford it, get an oat flaker.
It’s an oat grinder. Google one. They are expensive, but will remain in your family forever. You’ll be passing on great oatmeal to your kids, and their kids.

Whenever grains are ground, 50% of nutrients are oxidized in a matter of days. So if you “freshly flake” and cook immediately- pure health.

You’ll need to purchase oat groats- oats right off the plant.
We purchase ours at our natural food co-op- The Good Earth. To feed two people, flake to get a scant cup. Boil 2 cups of water, stir in the flaked oats, bring to a boil. Watch carefully so it doesn’t boil over. When it boils, turn the heat down to where it’s barely boiling and cover. Stir after a few minutes and cover, let cook for 10 minutes. Shut off the heat and leave for 5 minutes. That’s it!

We never use processed sugar anymore on our oatmeal.
This works awesome! -mash ½ ripe banana in the bottom of your cereal bowl, then stir in your serving of the oatmeal.
Or instead of banana cook a small amount of raisins, cut up dates, cut up dried apricots (one of our favorites), cut up dried apples, cut up dried peaches, or cut up dried mango with the oatmeal. Instead of cooking dried fruit with the oatmeal, after cooking add cut up pieces of fresh fruit, such as mango, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, be creative! Garnish with cinnamon if you like. We add either rice or soymilk. To mix it up, sometimes I add chunked raw, unsalted, unroasted pecans, almonds, or walnuts.

This is the best tasting oatmeal. It has such a vibrant taste compared to Quaker Oats/processed oatmeal. The natural sweetener will be more than enough combined with the great taste of the oats. It is wonderful!

Pronounced "Keen Wa"

Spelled "Quinoa". This little gem of a whole grain can be used at breakfast, or as a side dish for any meal.
Quinoa has ancient origins, dating back over 5000 years to the Incas in Bolivia.

It's a great choice for breakfast:

My wife Bev likes to rinse and massage the quinoa in a fine mesh colander before cooking. She's read this gives it a nicer flavor.
For 2-3 people use 1 cup uncooked quinoa (approximate).
Combine 1 cup water to each 1/2 cup quinoa in a pan. Bring to a full boil uncovered for 5 minutes, then cover and set aside for 15 minutes. We put a thick towel over ours to hold in the heat.
That's it!

We add a natural, healthy sweetener. A favorite is to add a small handful of cut up, pitted deglet noor dates or barhis or medjools (or any kind of dates, raisins or cut up dried fruit) with the water at the beginning of the cooking process.
Good moist, sweet dates are so wonderful!! Nature's caramels!!
Or mash 1/2 banana in your bowl, then stir in the cooked quinoa.
Or add cut up fresh fruit of any kind and/or cut up raw, unsalted, unroasted nuts- almonds, pecans, or walnuts.
We pour on a little rice or soy milk.

For lunch or supper use quinoa in salads, soups, or as a side dish. Diced vegetables can be added in the beginning with the cooking water for a quinoa pilaf- peas, mushrooms, corn, diced onions, or any veggie. For more flavor try substituting vegetable stock for the water.

Quinoa is very versatile. The only negative is that it is expensive. Catch it when it is on sale! It can be purchased at natural food stores in bulk, or packaged. It comes in white or red. Sometimes I live on the edge and combine half and half. Ha!

I hope you give it a try. Let me know what you think.