Sorry I haven't been very diligent in my posts lately. It's summer, and I'm taking in every minute of it.
Last night I made such a great dish I decided it would be a sin not to pass it along to you, especially since it uses veggies that are currently in season. Hint: double this recipe and freeze half or eat it thoughout the week.
Tangy Limas with Squash and Tomatoes (Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home)
2 cups water
2 cups frozen lima beans (10 oz package)
2 onions, chopped
2 tsp olive oil
4 yellow summer squash, thinly sliced into half circles
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried dill
2 cups chopped tomatoes
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup feta cheese
ground black pepper to taste
Bring water to a boil in a saucepan and add the limas. Following the package instructions, cook about 10 minutes, until tender. While limas cook, saute the onions in the oil in a large skillet until translucent. Add the squash, thyme, and dill and contue to saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes. When the limas are tender, drain them and stir them into the sauteing vegetables along with the lemon juice and crumbled feta cheese. Add plenty of black pepper. Cook until feta begins to soften and serve immediately.
A new study from the American Journal of Epidemiology shows that the consumption of dairy products is linked to an increased risk for Parkinson’s disease. Researchers investigated the association between dairy products and risk among 388 men and women diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease participating in the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study II. Results showed that as dairy product consumption increased, risk for Parkinson’s also increased. Specifically, those who consumed the most dairy milk had a 70 percent greater risk for the disease.
Chen H, O’Reilly E, McCullough ML, Rodriguez C, et al. Consumption of Dairy Products and Risk of Parkinson’s Disease. Am J Epidemiol. 2007;165:998-1006.
The most likely reason for the link between dairy and Parkinson's isn't necessarily the saturated fat and cholesterol in dairy products, although that could also play a role. Most likely however, is the amount of toxins found in milk. Mammals concentrate toxic substances in their milk, cows being no exception. These toxins would create numerous free radicals which destroy nervous tissue, leading to a chronic disease like Parkinson's. Common toxins in milk are PCB's, mercury and pesticides.
A friend of mine just read my book (The UnDiet: Painless Baby Steps to Permanent Weight Loss) yesterday, and gave me her very positive feedback last night. Sometimes I forget I wrote a book, since it's been a few years (2002), but every once in a while I'm reminded by a friend or by a person who has lost vast amounts of weight.
Deborah came to one of my seminars in January, and immediately started eating a high fiber diet. She came to my most recent seminar last week just to shock me: she'd lost 50 pounds! That's 10 pounds a month - not bad. She told me how she's never hungry, never craves anything because there are no "off limit" foods...
Which then made me think I should share some of the high fiber foods I list in the back of my book with y'all.
Actually, I'll list all of them.
medium apple with peel: 4 grams (g) fiber
medium orange: 4 g
peach with peel: 3 g
three small apricots: 6 g
pear with peel: 4-5 g
avocado (no peel): 6 g
1 cup dates: 13 g
1 cup raisins: 5 g
10 dried figs: 17 g
1 cup almonds: 14 g
1 cup cashews: 4 g
1 cup macademia nuts: 12 g
1 cup peanuts: 10 g
1 cup pistachios: 14 g
1 cup pumpkin seeds: 15 g
1 cup sunflower seeds: 8 g
1 cup walnuts: 6 g
2 TBSP natural peanut butter: 3 g
2/3 cup artichoke hearts: 6 g
1/2 cup black beans (cooked): 7 g
1/2 cup lima beans: 6 g
1/2 cup pinto beans: 7 g
1 cup cooked broccoli: 5 g
1 medium raw carrot: 2 g
1 ear of corn: 2 g
1 cup garbanzo beans: 8 g
1 cup kidney beans: 16 g
1/2 cup lentils: 5 g
1 cup navy beans: 16 g
1/2 cup black eyed peas: 6 g
1 cup snow peas: 4 g
1 sweet yellow bell pepper: 4 g
1 medium potato with skin: 5 g
1 cup sundried tomatoes: 7 g
Whole Grains --
1 cup barley (cooked): 8 g
1 cup oatmeal: 4 g
1 cup bulgar: 8 g
1 cup buckwheat flour: 7 g
1 cup brown rice: 4 g
1 cup whole wheat spaghetti noodles: 6 g
5 cups popcorn: 6 g
1 slice whole grain bread: 2-3 g
1 cup whole grain cereal: 4-10 g
1 oz stone ground tortilla chips: 3-4 g
1 whole wheat tortilla: 2-5 g
1 small corn tortilla: 2 g
There, now eat more of these foods and get full, regular, and lose weight.
As I've been pondering the incredible rise in the incidence of cancer, it's occurred to me that there's more trouble with fertility these days than ever before. I mean, growing up, if there were twins in my class, nobody asked if their parents took fertility drugs. Now, when every time I see twin wee ones, it seems to be assumed. Infertility is everywhere, but why?
Hormones and hormone mimicking compounds are a good place to look, especially considering we're talking about the reproductive system which is driven by sex, or steriod, hormones. If our steriod hormones (like estrogen or testosterone) are out of wack, it would make sense that we can't get pregnant.
Since steriods (hormones and antibiotics) are routinely fed/given to livestock in our country, meat, eggs and dairy are going to give us more steroids. Too many steriod hormones could cause infertility, in addition to cancer cell proliferation.
Here are some interesting studies:
Meat-Eating Moms Have Less Fertile Sons
A new study in Human Reproduction finds that a pregnant woman’s meat consumption can reduce her future son’s sperm count. Researchers at the University of Rochester analyzed the relationship between various sperm parameters of 387 men and the eating habits of their mothers from the Study for Future Families. The more beef a mother consumed, the lower her son’s sperm concentration. Sperm count was 24 percent higher in men whose mothers consumed less beef.
Low-Fat Dairy Products Linked to Increased Infertility Risk
A new study found low-fat dairy product consumption is linked to an increased risk of infertility. A total of 18,555 premenopausal women from The Nurses Healthy Study II without a history of infertility who attempted a pregnancy or became pregnant between 1991 and 1999 were evaluated for the association between dairy products and infertility. Women who consumed two or more servings per day of low-fat dairy products had 1.85 times the risk for infertility.
On the flip side:
Fruits and Vegetables Improve Male Fertility
A new study shows that eating fruits and vegetables can improve fertility in men. Researchers from the University of Rochester compared the dietary intake of antioxidants in 10 fertile and 48 infertile men and correlated the findings with sperm motility. Infertile men were twice as likely to have a low intake of fruits and vegetables (less than five servings per day) compared with fertile men. Also, men with the lowest overall intake of dietary antioxidants had lower sperm motility than men with higher intakes.
This last study makes sense as well. Antioxidants (from food) fight free radicals. Free radicals destroy cells and cell DNA. Therefore, eating a diet high in antioxidants will help keep sperm cells, and other reproductive tissue, healthy. Antioxidants aren't only found in fruit and vegetables, but also whole grains and legumes.
What I'm making for dinner:
Roasted Vegetable Salad with Garlic and Rosemary (Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home)
4 cups water
6 small potatoes, cut into 1" cubes
1 red bell pepper, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 green bell pepper, cut into bite-sized chunks
3 cups mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed, and halved if large
10 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp chopped fresh or dried rosemary
salt to taste
2 TBSP wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
Bring water to a rapid boil in a large saucepan. Boil the potato cubes for 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes thoroughly, and in a bowl, toss the cooked potatoes with the bell peppers, mushrooms, garlic, olive oil, and rosemary until the vegetables are well coated with the rosemary and oil. Spread the veg.s on a broiler pan, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and broil for 10-12 minutes, until slightly crisped and browned at the edges. Stir once or twice to ensure even cooking.
Return roasted veg.s to the bowl and toss with the vinegar. Serve hot or at room temp.
So here are some more studies to reinforce the power of nutrition, for better or for worse, and cancer incidence:
A recent analysis from Harvard’s Nurses’ Health Study II found that red meat consumption increases breast cancer risk. The analysis comprised 90,659 premenopausal women aged 26 to 46 who completed food surveys during a 12-year period. Women who consumed 1 1/2 or more servings of red meat per day had nearly double the risk of developing hormone receptor-positive breast cancer compared with those consuming three or fewer servings of red meat per week. Hormone receptor-positive breast cancer is the most common type of breast cancer and has been on the rise in recent years.
Cho E, Chen WY, Hunter DJ, Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA, Hankinson SE, Willett WC. Red Meat Intake and Risk of Breast Cancer Among Premenopausal Women. Arch Intern Med. 2006;166:2253-2259.
A new study from Germany shows that dairy product consumption may increase the risk of testicular cancer. Researchers at the University of Halle-Wittenberg tracked dietary contributors to testicular cancer among 269 men with cancer and 797 control subjects. The risk for testicular cancer was increased by 37 percent for those who consumed at least 20 servings of milk per month. The researchers hypothesize that increased galactose (a component of lactose, the milk sugar) and milk fat may explain the association between dairy product consumption and cancer.
Stang A, Ahrens W, Baumgardt-Elms C, et al. Adolescent Milk Fat and Galactose Consumption and Testicular Germ Cell Cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2006;15(11):2189-2195.
A new study from the Harvard School of Public Health finds that meat — including chicken — intake is associated with an increased risk for bladder cancer. A data analysis of 47,422 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study and 88,471 women from the Nurse’s Health Study showed that individuals who ate more than five servings of chicken without skin each week had a 52 percent increase in bladder cancer risk compared with those who ate none. Researchers hypothesize that nitrosamines, heterocyclic amines (known carcinogens), or both may play a role.
Michaud DS, Holick CN, Giovannucci E, Stampfer MJ. Meat intake and bladder cancer risk in 2 prospective cohort studies. Am J Clin Nutr 2006;84:1177-1183.
Plain Old Cancer
A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that high protein intakes are associated with an increased cancer risk. Washington University researchers evaluated the relationship between diet and certain plasma growth factors and hormones that are linked to cancer. The study's “low-protein” group, who consumed the recommended amount of protein from plant sources (approximately 10 percent of calories), had significantly lower blood levels of IGF-1 (hormone substances associated with premenopausal breast and prostate cancer) than two high-protein groups consuming 17 percent of calories as protein from mostly meat and dairy products.
Fontana L, Klein S, Holloszy JO. Long-term low-protein, low-calorie diet and endurance exercise modulate metabolic factors associated with cancer risk. Am J Clin Nutr 2006;84:1456-1462.
Preventing Ovarian Cancer
A new study from the American Journal of Epidemiology finds that soy foods may lower the risk for ovarian cancer. Dietary factors and incidence of ovarian cancer were analyzed among 97,275 women from the California Teachers Study cohort. Those who consumed 3 milligrams of isoflavones (a phytoestrogen found in soy foods) per day had a 44 percent lower risk than women who consumed less than 1 milligram. Typical soy foods such as tofu or soymilk contain, on average, about 20 to 50 milligrams per serving depending on processing. Other than isoflavones, no significant evidence linked any other foods or nutrients with ovarian cancer risk.
Chang ET, Lee VS, Canchola AJ, Clarke CA, et al. Diet and Risk of Ovarian Cancer in the California Teachers Study Cohort. Am J Epidemiol. 2007 Jan 8; [Epub ahead of print].
Obviously, these studies reinforce what I've been preaching for the last 5 days: animal-origin foods, with all their naturally occurring and not-so-naturally occurring hormones/hormone mimicking substances, tend to increase the likelihood of cancer. And of course, vice versa; plant-origin foods with their antioxidant properties tend to prevent this increasingly common disease.
Also, blog readers, I'm thinking about switching my topic from cancer to nutrition and fertility/infertility. What do ya think? Anyone want me to stay on cancer (there are more studies I could post), or do you think the point's been hammered home?
This is going to be quite a series, this whole preventing cancer thing. But that's because there's just so much to it, and I'm adamant about keeping people alive.
Remember what I said on day 2 about how slowly cancer cells grow, and about how they're constantly springing up in our body? According to a study in the Int'l Journal of Cancer (1977;20:680-8), cancer cells are found in the prostates of about 20 percent of men over the age of 45 years. And about half those men will go on to develop diagnosible prostate cancer at some point in their lives (Prostate 1990;16:187-97).
That means, right now in the U.S., one in five men have cancer cells in their prostate gland, and one in ten has full blown prostate cancer.
Doesn't that seem a little much? Well, it is. Especially when you consider that in other parts of the world where diets are significantly different (rural Asia, Africa, Latin America), prostate cancer is quite uncommon. For example, ten men die of prostate cancer in Western Europe for every one who dies in Asia (Int'l Journal of Cancer, 1977;20:680-8).
Also, don't be mistaken that it's all due to toxic chemical exposure. Yes, pollutants do play a role in all cancers, but the U.S. and Western Europe actually have less pollution than most of these other countries, even in the rural regions, since we have use cleaner energies and technologies (think catalytic converters), and we have more enforced standards and policies than developing countries (think laws against dumping mercury containing by-products into streams).
We can also rule out genetics, since all ethnicities, when consuming a western diet, have the same likelihood of cancer.
So it's back to diet.
Cancer of the prostate is strongly linked to what men eat. Again, animal products are consistently indicted: Milk, meats, eggs, cheese, cream, butter, and fats are found, in one research study after another, to be linked to prostate cancer.
(Studies cited, courtesy of Physicians' Committee for Responsible Medicine: Br J Cancer 1974;29:328-36. J Natl Cancer Inst 1978;61:1379-84. Br J Cancer 1981;44:332-9. Cancer Treat Rep 1977;61:173-80. J Natl Cancer Inst 1983;70:687-92. J Natl Cancer Inst 1987;78:869-74.Cancer Research 1989;49:1857-60. Prostate 1988;12:179-90. Cancer 1989;64:605-12.)
And, as I mentioned on day 2, IGF-1 from milk and dairy plays a role. A recent study showed that men who had the highest levels of IGF-I had more than four times the risk of prostate cancer compared with those who had the lowest levels (Science 1998;279:563-5).
One of the reasons meats and animal-origin foods are so bad is that they are where we consume the most toxins. If you recall, bioaccumulation (toxic chemicals concentrate at higher levels up the food chain) is to blame for this. So ironically, we find far more pesticides in our meats, eggs and dairy, than in our fruit and vegetables. Same for mercury, dioxin, PCB's, perchlorate and other commonly known carcinogens.
Since tonight we're having leftovers, I thought I'd share one of our lovely reader's recipe for a healthy dessert. Let's call it "Plum Pudding".
Slice up a bunch of plums and place in a pan or pie tin, sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon, and bake until warm and gooey. Thanks Shunra!
Yesterday I had the rare experience of watching Oprah. Dr. Oz was on, and I decided I absolutely need to know what this intelligent M.D. is telling Americans. One thing particularly interesting, according to Dr. Oz, is that it takes meat (any meat, not just red) two to three days to "digest" in the intestines, and by "digest" he means it quite literally rots. Yuck. On the other hand, plant foods are in and out of our digestive tract within 12 hours.
Which makes me think of colon cancer of course.
I know I've written about this before, but since we're talking about cancer, and I'm trying my best to spread the word about how to prevent it, we must remember the true function of poop: to pull out toxic waste. The bigger and faster that poop comes out, the more toxic waste it pulls out, and the less time those toxins meander along the wall of the colon. So fibrous poop not only protects against colon cancer, but against all types of cancer, since our bodies contain less toxins which create free radicals which start cancer cells.
Wait, that's an amazing statement. Let me say that again: fibrous poop not only protects against colon cancer, but against all types of cancer, since our bodies contain less toxins which create free radicals which start cancer cells.
Just in case you forgot, the way to obtain fibrous, functional poop isn't to take Metamucil but eating a diet high in fiber. And I'm sure you remember that fiber is found only in whole plant foods (fruit, veg.s, whole grains and legumes). Conveniently, these are the very same foods that contain antioxidants - lots of them. And since antioxidants fight free radicals, these same foods can also be said to fight cancer. And of course, the fresher, most in-season, locally-grown, vine-ripened, and organic those foods, the more antioxidants and the less risk of cancer.
Tonight for dinner
I make my own beans, but you can use canned. I use whole wheat tortillas (Michaela's brand), and I stir-fry sliced seasonal veg.s, like squash, tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers. I add fajita spice mix to the veg.s, then add them to the beans, which I serve over the tortillas with salsa. Yum!
As if intentionally added growth hormones and antibiotics, which mimic hormones, aren't disturbing enough, there are also naturally occurring hormones to add to the mix. And what a big mix it is.
You see, animals and humans all have naturally occurring hormones circulating throughout our blood and tissues. When we eat animal meat, eggs or milk products we are also consuming these little ditties.
One well known growth hormone found in cow milk is IGF-1 (Insulin-Like Growth Factor). This particular steriod is found in all cow milk, as well as human milk. It's great at making newborn cows and humans grow, but when we get older and start producing cancer cells, it's not all that. Actually, it's downright carcinogenic.
Here are a few quotes in scientific journals regarding IGF-I and breast cancer (courtesy of notmilk.com):
"IGF-I is critically involved in the aberrant growth of human breast cancer cells."
---M. Lippman. Journal of National Institute of Health Research, 1991, 3.
"Estrogen regulation of IGF-I in breast cancer cells would support the hypothesis that IGF-I has a regulatory function in breast cancer."
---A.V. Lee, Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, March, 99(2).
"IGF-I is a potent growth factor for cellular proliferation in the human breast carcinoma cell line."
---J.C. Chen, Journal of Cellular Physiology, January, 1994, 158(1)
"Insulin-like growth factors are key factors for breast cancer growth."
---J.A. Figueroa, J-Cell-Physiol., Nov., 1993, 157(2)
"IGF-I produces a 10-fold increase in RNA levels of cancer cells. IGF-I appears to be a critical component in cellular proliferation."
---X.S. Li, Exp-Cell-Res., March, 1994, 211(1)
"IGF-I plays a major role in human breast cancer cell growth."
---E.A. Musgrove, Eur-J-Cancer, 29A (16), 1993
"IGF-I has been identified as a key factor in breast cancer."
---Hankinson. The Lancet, vol. 351. May 9, 1998
"Serum IGF-I levels increased significantly in milk drinkers, an increase of about 10% above baseline but was unchanged in the control group."
---Robert P. Heaney, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, vol. 99, no. 10. October 1999
"IGF-1 accelerates the growth of breast cancer cells."
---M. Lippman, Science, Vol. 259, January 29, 1993
So would I drink milk or consume high amounts of dairy products knowing about IGF-1? Of course not, and neither would most people. But then again, how many times have you heard IGF-1 mentioned before? When most people think of breast cancer, they think of mammagrams, which is where so much of the fundraising money goes. Yet, yesterday we learned just how long it takes to have enough cancer cells for a mammagram (or anything else) to find. Indeed, mammagrams don't prevent breast cancer, they diagnose a cancer that has already proliferated many times over. Why not spend all that money actually preventing the cancer? Hmmmmm....
By the way, in case you are a man, IGF-1 has something for you too: a greater risk of other cancers, like prostate, colon and lung.
"A strong positive association was observed between IGF-I levels and prostate cancer risk."
---Science, vol. 279. January 23, 1998
"Insulin-like growth factors (IGFs), in particular IGF-I and IGF-II, strongly stimulate the proliferation of a variety of cancer cells, including those from lung cancer. High plasma levels of IGF-I were associated with an increased risk of lung cancer. Plasma levels of IGF-I are higher...in patients with lung cancer than in control subjects."
---Journal of the National Cancer Institute, vol. 91, no. 2. January 20, 1999.
"Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) is expressed in many tumor cell lines and has a role in both normal cell proliferation and in the growth of cancers.
---Cancer Gene Ther, 2000 Mar, 7:3
"The insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) system is widely involved in human carcinogenesis. A significant association between high circulating IGF-I concentrations and an increased risk of lung, colon, prostate and pre-menopausal breast cancer has recently been reported."
---Int J Cancer, 2000 Aug, 87:4, 601-5
Sorry to be such a downer, but I'd rather bum you out now by giving you vital information than have you be upset later in a doctor's office. It's just all too common.
On another note, I thought I'd share a new favorite snack: toast with Nutella. Actually, I use an Italian brand called Fiordinocciola, or sometimes a brand called Choconut, but it's same basic spread: hazelnuts mixed with cocoa. It's smooth, scrumptious, and very filling. It's just the thing when you're hungry and don't want to heat up leftovers. I've been eating this on whole grain bread and then following it up with plums from my plum tree. Even if you don't have a plum tree, eat lots of plums, they're in season.
Is anyone else overwhelmed by the sheer number of people with cancer these days - or is it just me?
Cancer incidence is higher than in all history, higher today than just 10, 20 and 30 years ago. And I'm mad. I'm mad because it doesn't have to be this way. It's NOT genetic: it's NOT inevitable. Cancer is prevalent in large part (very large part) due to our diet. So, my way of venting this frustration will be by devoting the next few posts to preventing and fighting cancer via nutrition.
Did you know cancer cells are constantly springing up in our body? Yes, constantly. I remember learning this in an undergraduate nutrition course and being dumbfounded. Free radicals (created mainly from toxins) are messing with cell DNA all the time, creating cancer. But here's what's so crazy: our body's immune system thwarts the majority - if not all - of those new cancer cells, and we don't know the difference.
Antioxidant nutrients (from, you know, whole plant foods) also stop free radicals.
Not only that, but cancer - by the time we know we have it - has been around for a very long time. After the original cancer cell is developed, that cell has to reproduce, or double, millions of times to become diagnosible. Yet it takes all of three months on average for that first cell to double, thus taking six months to have four, and one year for 16 cancer cells. After twenty doublings, that cancer cell will grow to one million cells, which is the tininest lump a woman can feel in her breast.
It can between eight and twelve YEARS for a cancer to be clinically diagnosed. Somewhere along that timeline, the cancer stops growing, usually suppressed by the immune system's tight genetic control. (notmilk.com)
So, if cancer cells reproduce so slowly, and the immune system has so much time to fight those cells, why so much cancer? And, good heavens, why so much more cancer than ever before?
Well, we know growth hormones speed up replication of all cells, including cancer. If a growth hormone gets a hold of a cancer cell, it doubles faster, giving the body less time to fight it. We also know that there are more growth hormones in the U.S. food supply - many that are illegal in European countries - than in all history. Hormones are fed to livestock to produce more meat and milk, faster, and cheaper. But they get passed on to us... and to our cells... and to those ubiquitous cancer cells.
These days in our country, antibiotics are also routinely given to livestock to increase the production of meat and milk (not just to treat infection). If you recall, antibiotics have endocrine mimicking properties, meaning that they work like growth hormones in animals and humans. This is a relatively new practice, and therefore, we can conclude that people who consume conventially raised/produced meat and dairy are ingesting more substances with growth hormone properties than ever before.
Which is why I'm ticked about this whole epidemic of cancer. It just shouldn't be.
More on this subject tomorrow. I'm getting veklempt.
Summer's here, and it's time to start eating yummy sandwiches for dinner. Here's one I made last night and would eat again tonight if there were leftovers.
Cilantro Pesto (Courtesy: Mousewood Restaurant Cooks at Home)
1 cup cilantro leaves
1/3 cup almonds
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup vegetable oil
salt to taste
Mix all ingredients except oil in a blender or food processor. Put pesto in a bowl and add oil and salt. Spread pesto on your favorite bread, adding marinated red bell peppers, lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, or whatever floats your boat.
Sorry for another long lag between posts. I was in San Diego.
While on vacation, I thought about food recommendations for the trying-to-eat-healthy traveler. Or at least, I thought about the foods I ate while vacationing. One of the best was falafel sandwiches. If you haven't had a falafel sandwich, now's the time. What's so good about it? Well, for starters, it's not actually a typical bread sandwich, but a big, thick, warm pita which is wrapped around a deep fried falafel (a mixture of ground garbanzo beans and spices), with yummy cucumber yogurt sauce, lettuce and tomato. And the price is right. What's more, it's a high fiber food, which never hurts when you're traveling.
You can find falafel at restaurants that carry Greek food. Often, they'll advertise their gyro sandwich, which is meat, but don't be fooled - they all have falafels too.
I could probably eat one for lunch every day...
Another big deal, in addition to oxygen circulating to all your tissues, is the immune system. When you consider this "system" protects you from everything from a common cold to cancer, or that the health of said "system" determines how quickly you will recover from the flu, or cancer, you know it must be a biggie.
I just read that the because of our incredible immune system, a healthy person contracts 100 times more illnesses than she'll ever have symptoms for. That means we are sick - without knowing it - a lot. That also means our immune system works nonstop, and then some.
But did you know that the way we eat can boost our immunity? Or, perhaps more often, the way we eat can impair our immunity?
Studies, and especially individual testimonies, show that even the most dreaded, or undiagnosible diseases can be completely healed by restoring the immune system through proper nutrition. As a nutritionist, I've heard enough of these testimonials to be a believer. I'd like to share a few with you...
The first is from a nutrition student of mine. She was extremely sick with lupis, which was treated with chemotherapy for 1 & 1/2 years, and was about to start dialysis... until she changed her diet abruptly. She began to only eat whole plant foods: fruit, veg.s, whole grains and legumes. Within a month she was able to discontinue her chemo, as well as half of her 25 medications, and never had to start dialysis since her kidneys started functioning properly all "on their own". She says her energy came back and her life was restored completely. Go figure.
Since lupis is an auto-immune disease, her immune system stopped attacking her kidney cells when she changed her diet.
Another woman I know had hyperthyroidism. The doctor wanted to remove her thyroid, but since she didn't have cancer, she refused to surrender this important organ. She spoke with a holistic nutritionist who told her to eat a plant-based diet because once she nourished her immune system, it would be able to fight the disorder itself. She did, and it did. Her hyperthyroidism went away. Amazed all the medical staff.
Last one: a man I know was suffering all kinds of crazy, undiagnosible symptoms. He went to the Weimar Institute (a Seventh-Day Adventist health institute, where patients are put on a plant-based diet). After a few weeks there, all his symptoms were gone. Gone.
So hopefully, those of you reading this will never have to experience these problems. Hopefully, you'll start (or continue) to nourish your immune system so it fights off each and every remotely possible disorder. And hopefully, you'll appreciate this amazing mechanism, because there are many who have lost theirs entirely, all around the world.
Labels: immune system
Well, I apologize for the slackie on the bloggie (that's Australian for "slacking on my blog posts". When I lived down under, I couldn't understand half the things these folks said. Things like, "Bronnie, are the mosquies bugging you?", or, "I live in a bungie"... kind of reminds me of pig latin, no offence Aussies).
BTW: On my last post I bragged about my husband's lack of going-baldness due to (I believe) his diet. Then I realized that might not mean a lot if we just got married last year. So, just so you understand the weight of my anecdote, we'll be married 13 years this summer. I thought he'd be looking way different about this time when I married him. Rock on.
So, first the good news. Today I noticed that Starbucks (I'm human, okay?) is carrying some decent, high fiber snacks right on the sales counter. I think they used to sell gum there, but now I see there's bags of almonds and healthy trail mix. Go Starbucks. Good to know, if you're human that is.
Now, some things that make me go "hmmmmmmm", but in a not-so-good way.
* Nitrates and nitrites. These compounds are have a strong association with cancer, and are known carcinogens. They're something we should all avoid in every possible way. Those of us who don't eat meat have an easier time of it, but for those of you who are omnivores, I want you to know what foods always or almost always contain nitrates: bacon, ham, sausage, hot dogs, luncheon meats (even poultry), pork and beans. Nitrates are preservatives, and therefore are added to "cure" meat and keep its color. Not worth it. Especially in children.
* High fructose corn syrup, or corn syrup. This "syrup" has basically taken the place of sugar in the food industry. Why? It's cheaper. We grow enough corn in our country to feed most of the world, but most of it's grown to make this product. Corn syrup is a man-made invention, where the long polysaccharide starch in corn is broken down into short sugars in order to make it taste sweeter. There's no solid research to show that it's dangerous to our bodies (besides just being a lot of empty calories), but there is a strong correlation between when the food industry switched from sugar to corn syrup and when Americans started becoming really fat. Also, you can bet that corn grown to produce the corn syrup is genetically modified.
* Sulfur or sulfites. It's funny that almost every time I give a lecture exhorting people to eat dried fruit the question of sulfur comes up. Actually, that isn't funny by itself. What's ironic is that no one EVER asks me about the dangers of sulfites in wine. Wine, even white wine, even organic wine, usually contains sulfites. And I'm guessing that most people consume more sulfites from wine than they ever could from dried fruit... but anyway, yeah, too much sulfur or too many sulfites can also be dangerous, and are linked with cancer at high levels. You can find dried fruit without sulfur, but be prepared for a difference in taste and color.
* Which leads me to... wine. Too much wine, and too much alcohol in general. This is a really confusing topic these days: is wine good for you or bad? Allow me.
Wine, when imbibed in moderation, is known to help prevent heart disease. This is because wine, as with all alcohol, is a vasodilator, and therefore increases blood flow for a duration of time. If you read my last post, you know how important this is. Also, red wine in particular has been noted for the antioxidant properties of its flavonoids.
But if you recall, wine (and all alcohol) is also a diuretic, meaning that you lose water and electrolytes every time you drink it. Those electrolytes are minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium, which are essential for controling blood pressure. When you consume alcohol excessively, you will eventually find that you have high blood pressure.
You might also recall that unabated high blood pressure begets higher blood pressure, since all that pressure on your arteries creates myriad injuries, which creates plaque, which gives you higher blood pressure.
Also, because alcohol in excess is toxic, it creates free radicals in the body as the liver works to detoxify it. Those free radicals can cause cancer, and they also injury arterial lining, leading to more plaque.
So, perhaps now it makes sense as to the ubiquitous, "Drink wine, but not too much wine." This same statement could be said for all alcohol, and eventually will be.
My advice? If you like to drink wine, drink wine, but no more than 2 glasses a day. And look for a wine that doesn't contain sulfites if your glass is a daily ritual.
Recipe Del Dia
Just made this tonight, yum. Zucchini is now in season, so eat up.
Spaghetti with Zucchini and Lemon
(Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home)
1 pound spaghetti or linguini
1 TBSP olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
6-8 small, tender young zucchini, sliced
dash of salt
juice of 1 lemon
6 large fresh basil levers, cut into thin strips
1-2 cups grated Pecorino cheese
Bring a large covered pot of water to a rapid boil. Add the pasta, stir briefly, and cover the pot until the water boils again. Uncover the pot.
While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large heavy nonreactive skillet. Add the garlic and zucchini, and saute on medium high heat until the zucchini begins to brown. Sprinkle with salt. Add the lemon juice and basil, stir, and removed from the heat. The zucchini should be done just before the pasta is ready. When the pasta is al dente, drain it and then toss the hot pasta in a large warmed serving bowl with about a cup of the cheese. Top with the zucchini and serve immediately.