Well, I had a great seminar last night. Turns out, I had the wrong subject though - at least until just a few hours before (thanks Martin!). I spoke on reversing hypertension, not reversing diabetes.
After class, when participants came up to have me sign books or answer questions, I made a point to thank one woman who had smiled and nodded her head throughout my talk. As a public speaker, it's really nice to see someone so engaged, and looking thoroughly happy as I disseminate sometimes painful information. She said, "Oh, I was nodding my head the whole time because you were rocking my world!".
Then, a lady next to her said, "Yeah, she rocked my world too!". They went on to discuss the details of how I blew their worlds apart, and I felt perhaps I'd overwhelmed them a little. "Sorry I rocked your worlds", I mumbled, feeling guilty.
"Oh no honey. I needed that. I'm glad I heard all that because now I'm going to change my ways."
Hallelujah. So much better to have your world rocked now, by me, than later by a doctor with a diagnosis. What's that old addage? An ounce of prevention...
So, those of you who are new to this blog, or even semi-new, make sure you read all my posts - all 67 of them - so nobody else can ever rock your world. These are for you and the people you care about, so we can all stay out of rest homes, off dialysis, out of wheelchairs, and cancer-free.
Hello everyone! Some of you hear me speak quite regularly, and some of you are simply dying to meet yours truly in person and thank me for changing your lives. If you're in the latter catagory, or know anyone who NEEDS to hear me speak, come to my seminar on Preventing and Reversing Diabetes, tomorrow at the Sacramento Natural Food Co-op, (Alhambra and "S" Streets) 6:30pm. Free.
Okay, maybe I kinda went overboard about y'all "dying to meet me and thank me". That's a little over the top. Sorry, I was just wishful-writing.
But do come and bring someone you know who has diabetes, or is at risk of becoming diabetic. Call the Co-op and RSVP so they can prepare for all of you. See you then!
(Before I say anything else, dear readers, if you haven't subscribed to this blog yet, today's the day. Click on "subscribe" and you'll get an email in your box whenever I write a new post. It'll still be anonymous, so don't worry).
So last night I was at a get-together where I met some architects from Portland. For some reason architects are easy for me to talk to, and I found myself talking a blue streak. I spoke about how I'm a nutritionist and educator... and then about a job I once had that opened my eyes to the world of politics within "nutrition".
So I thought I'd share this all with you.
I once worked at WIC, a federally-funded, seemingly innocuous "nutrition resource" for low income Women, Infants and Children. We nutritionists were in charge of counseling clients about their diet. Pretty basic, "Your kid needs to eat more vegetables" kind of stuff.
One thing we had a hard time with however, was all the milk consumption of these kids. Many were anemic, from what is known as "milk-induced anemia", so we'd warn the parents to cut back on the milk, but it almost never worked. Finally, I realized why: the majority of vouchers WIC gives to these low income families were for milk. It was like cutting off your nose to spite your face: nutritionists were saying "less milk", and the government vouchers said "free milk, and lots of it".
Then I remembered what my undergrad nutrition professor had once said: "The WIC program is politically slanted. It helps to subsidize the milk industry".
So, that's kind of interesting.
What's sad though is that these wee ones with anemia are likely to have lower IQ's later in childhood. They're also more likely to have a suppressed immune system, be more overweight, and develop ear infections than non-anemic kids.
Politics isn't just lame, it can be downright evil.
The milk industry has also been behind all the "Dark Side of Soy" articles in the past few years. I've read these articles, and I can't begin to express how angry they make me, because the are entirely untrue. Many people I've met have stayed away from soy altogether since reading these blatent falsehoods. Too bad, since indeed, there is nothing to fear in soy - yet there is a lot to fear from milk. (See past posts "Why Dairy is Scary" for more info).
Speaking of soy, here's my latest favorite recipe, from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home Cookbook. And again, my husband even liked it. I know this because he said, "You can make this again if you want". For an engineer, that means a lot.
8 ounces tempeh (fresh or defrosted)
2 TBSP white or cider vinegar
2 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP water
1/2 tsp ground fennel seeds
1 garlic clove, minced
2 TBSP canola oil
salt to taste
Cut the tempeh into thin "fillets" and set aside. In a non-reactive shallow bowl, stir together the marinade ingredients. Add the tempeh pieces and toss until the marinade is absorbed.
In a heavy skillet, saute the tempeh in the oil on medium-high heat for 7-10 minutes, until golden and crisp. If necessary, add more oil to prevent sticking. Add salt to taste, and serve on toasted bread with ketchup and other sandwich fixin's.
There was an interesting article this past Saturday in my local paper, the Sacramento Bee. It was about how girls are starting puberty younger than ever, at ages like 8 years old. The reason for earlier puberty in girls isn't altogether known, but factors that studies show play a role include obesity, a more sedentary lifestyle (TV watching), and formula feeding in babies. Another significant factor is believed to be exposure to toxic chemicals.
Recall that toxins have endocrine (hormone) mimicking properties, and this starts to make sense. If young girls are having more exposure to more toxins than ever before (and they are), than it reasons that their estrogen levels would be higher than ever before (and they are).
One thing the article didn't say: where exactly are these "increased toxins" coming from?
Can I just say, "Our food, duh"? The milk, dairy and meats we consume today contain more hormones, antibiotics and other toxic residues than any time in history. All of these chemicals mimick estrogen in our bodies. How could kids not develop younger?
What's especially disturbing is that these girls are far more likely to develop breast cancer later, since their estrogen levels are dangerously high for their age and size.
So if you are a woman, have a woman in your life, or have a daughter and you'd like to prevent breast cancer, eat fewer toxins in your food. That means eating lower on the food chain, where there is a lower concentration of toxic chemicals. That means less milk and dairy products, more soy (see past blog posts for debunking concerns about soy), fewer eggs (way fewer), and smaller portions (way smaller) of meats of all sorts. It also means more fruit, vegetables, whole grains and legumes which have all the antioxidants that naturally fight cancer.
So here's a new subject that will interest you and everyone you know: the relationship of stress and abdominal, or "visceral" fat.
Visceral fat is just what it sounds like: fat around the mid-section; the proverbial spare tire, if you will. This is the most dangerous place to carry fat, being that these fat cells apparently require more blood flow than fat elsewhere. Abdominal fat is also what makes us many times more likely to develop hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. It's not just uncomely, it's scary.
So here's what's even more interesting: those of us living under chronic stress produce too much of a hormone called cortisol, which heaps on the visceral fat stores. Sounds truly unfair, doesn't it?
Excessive cortisol can be produced by stressing out our bodies. And not just in the obvious ways, like feeling "stressed" (although that works too). Smoking, excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption, and not getting enough sleep, among other things stress our bodies into making excess cortisol.
The other things we know about high levels of cortisol aren't so great either. For example, too much makes us "crave" sugary and high-fat foods. It makes us have an unnaturally overworking appetite. And of course, all those extra calories go straight to our gut, making us at risk of chronic diseases. Also, excess cortisol can cause "lipogenesis", or the creation of new fat cells, and suppress the immune system.
So here's my solution.
Don't do sit-ups, that will not remove abdominal fat or deal with the root issue of cortisol.
Do deal with the root issues: get enough sleep, don't drink more than 2 cups of coffee a day, don't smoke, don't overdo alcohol, and do whatever it takes to get rid of the source of stress in your life. It's a life or death issue.
Exercise isn't just good for your heart, it is an amazing stress release, literally. So exercise like your life depends upon it. It will change your mindframe and your hormones, even if you don't lose one pound.
Being in nature also relieves stress, so get on out there.
Having a great network of friends does wonders for stress. If you don't have friends you can confide in and laugh with, get some more. And spend as much time with them as possible.
Find an art that you can lose yourself in. Music (even just really focusing on listening to music), cooking, sewing or quilting, drawing, painting, writing... whatever it is, do it when you can.
Turn off your TV.
Read great books.
Help others in need.
All of these things reduce stress, not to mention improve the quality of our lives - and others.
White Bean and Tomato Salad - Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home
A great dish for warm days, or easy lunches on the go.
4 cups cannellini beans (two 16 oz cans)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 red onion, minced
6 celery stalks, thinly sliced crosswise
juice of one lemon
2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried basil
5 fresh tomatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes
salt to taste
Drain the beans. If canned, rinse them gently in a colander and set aside to drain.
Combine garlic, red onion, celery, lemon juice, olive oil, basil, tomatoes and salt in a large salad bowl. Add beans and carefully stir with a wooden spoon, so beans don't break apart. Serve at room temperature.
Well guys, I'm on vacation, and since these days my "work" consists of working on a book proposal, my vacation consists of trying to catch up on my blog.
And since Labor Day just passed, I thought the subject of heterocyclic amines was in order. Hetero-what? Allow me.
Heterocyclic amines (HCA's)are known carcinogens, as in cancer causing compounds. They are produced when meats of all type are cooked at high temperature, BBQ and all. HCA's are created the amino acids in the meat combine with another amino acid (creatine) found only in muscle tissue. Thus, it doesn't matter how lean the meat is, or if it's fish or poultry, since HCA's are derived solely from the protein. Also, obviously this isn't an issue with plant-based proteins, as they do not contain creatine.
Studies show higher rates of stomach, colorectal, pancreatic and breast cancer associated with frequent meat consumption due to HCA's. HCA's are particularly high in meats that are charred, broiled, "well-done", fried or barbequed.
So if you want to consume meat, here's the breakdown, according to the National Cancer Institute:
One study conducted by researchers showed a threefold increase in the content of HCAs when the cooking temperature was increased from 200° to 250°C (392° to 482°F). Oven roasting and baking are done at lower temperatures, so lower levels of HCAs are likely to form, however, gravy made from meat drippings does contain substantial amounts of HCAs. Stewing, boiling, or poaching are done at or below 100°C (212°F); cooking at this low temperature creates negligible amounts of the chemicals. Foods cooked a long time (“well-done” instead of “medium”) by other methods will also form slightly more of the chemicals.
Meats that are partially cooked in the microwave oven before cooking by other methods also have lower levels of HCAs. Studies have shown that microwaving meat prior to cooking helps to decrease mutagens by removing the precursors. Meats that were microwaved for 2 minutes prior to cooking had a 90-percent decrease in HCA content. In addition, if the liquid that forms during microwaving is poured off before further cooking, the final quantity of HCAs is reduced.
So, even though I am not an advocate of eating meat, if you do cook meat, please do so with the above in mind. Eat meat responsibly.
Now, I just have to share this recipe with you. I made it for the first time last week, and it was delish. Also, the veggies it calls for are currently in season.
Green Beans and Fennel Ragout (Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1&1/2 cups chopped onions
3 TBSP olive oil
3 large potatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes
3 cups undrained chopped fresh tomatoes
1 tsp thyme
1 cup water
1 pound green beans
2 cups sliced fresh fennel bulb
2 pinches of saffron threads
1&1/2 tsp freshly grated orange peel
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt to taste
In a soup pot, saute the garlic and onions in the olive oil, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent. Add the potatoes and tomatoes. Stir in the thyme and water. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Stem the green beans and cut them into 1" pieces. Add the beans and sliced fennel bulb to the pot. Stir in the saffron, orange peel, and lemon juice. Simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender. Add salt to taste.