For those of you who live in the Sacramento region, the woman I wrote about, Marlene McKenna, who miraculously cured herself of "untreatable" cancer through her diet, will be speaking here.
She will be speaking at a group called HealthyU, which is open to all. The meeting is at Skyline Christian Center in Natomas (4120 South Market Court, Sacramento CA 95834) on April 6th. Come at 6:30 for raw food samples, followed by the meeting at 7pm.
And I just have to share this dish I made last week: Tunisian Vegetable Stew (from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home). It was so good, even my 5-year-old loved it!
Serve over whole wheat couscous or brown rice.
1&1/2 cups chopped onions
2 TBSP olive oil
3 cups thinly sliced cabbage
dash of salt
1 large green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cayenne
1 28 oz can chopped tomatoes
1&1/2 cups drained cooked chickpeas (16 oz can)
1/3 cups currants or raisins
1 TBSP lemon juice
salt to taste
In a large skillet, saute the onions in the olive oil for five minutes, or until softened. Add the cabbage, sprinkle with salt, and continue to saute for at least five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bell pepper, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, and cayenne to the skillet and saute for another minute or so. Stir in the tomatoes, chckpeas, and optional currants or raisins, and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes, until vegetables are just tender. Add the lemon juice and salt to taste.
Top with feta cheese (I used vegan feta cheese), and toasted almonds if you like.
The Journal of Nutrition recently posted some articles from the Nuts and Health Symposium. Would you believe nuts were found to prevent heart disease, lower glucose levels in diabetics and now we have proof that regular nut consumption doesn't cause weight gain?
Yep. All that was covered in the Symposium.
Here's a few quotes from the Journal of Nutrition's (Sept. 2008) article, titled The Role of Tree Nuts and Peanuts in the Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease: Multiple Potential Mechanisms:
"A pooled analysis of 4 U.S. epidemiologic studies showed that subjects in the highest intake group for nut consumption had an 35% reduced risk of CHD incidence."
In other words, looking at four different studies showed that those who ate the most nuts had 35% less likelihood of developing heart disease. That's a lot, 35%. Can you imagine if all Americans had 35% less risk of heart disease? According to these studies, all it would take is consuming more nuts (including peanuts). This is believed to be due to a combination of the healthy fats in nuts (monounsaturated and Omega-3), phytochemicals and of course, fiber - among other things.
Here's another quote from a paper called Possible Benefit of Nuts in Type 2 Diabetes:
"Data from the Nurses Health Study indicates that frequent nut consumption is associated with a reduced risk of developing diabetes..."
And another, from Impact of Peanuts and Tree Nuts on Body Weight and Healthy Weight Loss in Adults:
"Epidemiological studies document an inverse association between the frequency of nut consumption and BMI".
That means that people who eat the most nuts are the least likely to be overweight, and vice versa.
Hurray! Something most people like (or even love) is proven to be good for us!
Last night I had the privilege of watching an incredible documentary about a woman named Marlene Marcello McKenna. At age forty she had been diagnosed with a very aggressive, widespread cancer and given a maximum of 6 months to live. Guess what? Twenty years later, she's doing better than ever. In the documentary, one of her doctors says what happened to Marlene is akin to a fire spreading throughout a house, but goes out on its own, with no fire fighting (I guess chemotherapy would be "fire fighting").
I bet you can guess what happened. She radically changed her diet to a "macrobiotic" diet. This is a diet based on whole grains, legumes and vegetables. Even though I believe in the power of diet on health as much as anyone, I still find it unbelievable to hear stories like Marlene's - and there are many more.
One of the most common foods in a macrobiotic diet is brown rice. Even though I don't adhere to this diet, I finally did something I should have done long ago: I bought a rice cooker. Yes, it took this nutritionist this long to realize how much easier life would be with a rice cooker (and urging by friends)... and it is! Like a crockpot, you can put the rice and water in the cooker, switch it on, and come home to warm brown rice. It never burns, since the cooker switches off once all the water has boiled off. Brown rice is so easy to add to things: soups, bean burritos, and of course, vegetable stir-fries.
Maybe all of you readers already know this, and you're laughing that I'm so excited. But for you who don't have one, this is an inexpensive time-saving device that will help you eat healthier. Don't wait, there just isn't time to waste!
And let me know how you like it.
I know most people reading this blog don't consume much in the way of cured meats, but maybe you know people who do - or worse yet, feed it to their children. That includes sausage, pepperoni, hot dogs, lunch meats like bologna, salami, ham and pork products. This is not the first study to find a strong link to cured meats and leukemia in children, but maybe word will get out, and it will be the last.
A new study shows that consumption of cured and smoked meat and fish is correlated to the risk of leukemia, the most common form of cancer in children, while higher consumption of vegetables and bean-curd is associated with reduced risk. This population-based study in Taiwan compared 145 acute leukemia cases to 370 matched controls, ages 2 to 20 years old. A suggested reason for the increased risk is the formation of carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds in the stomach upon consumption of smoked and cured meats.
Liu C, Hsu Y, Wu M, et al. Cured meat, vegetables, and bean-curd foods in relation to childhood acute leukemia risk: A population based case-control study. BMC Cancer 2009;9:15.
I had to visit my physician a few weeks ago since I have restless limb syndrome. For some reason my doctor decided it'd be good for me to be tested for my iron and cholesterol levels. Since we pay out of pocket for health care, I told him I was a nutritionist and even though I'm older than 35, I'm sure my cholesterol is very low. So just the iron test please.
A few days later I get a call from my physician's office on my answering machine, and without telling me what my iron levels were (most women throughout reproductive ages are "borderline anemic" due to blood loss each month), the secretary told me my doctor would like me to take an iron supplement THREE TIMES A DAY, along with a vitamin C supplement (vitamin C aids in the absorption of non-heme iron). In other words, my doctor who apparently knows nothing about nutrition or supplements, wants me to take six supplements a day.
So here's the problem(s) with this logic: vitamin C is an antioxidant, and when ingested via a pill, acts as a pro-oxidant, creating loads of free radicals which cause the creation of plaque and cancer cells, simply put. While it's true vitamin C does help in the absorption of iron, these "synergistic effects" are limited to food, not supplements.
And if that weren't enough, iron itself is a powerful pro-oxidant, creating free radicals in our bodies. It's even believed that one of the reasons women live longer than men is due to lower iron levels throughout the pre-menopausal years. Studies in men who give blood regularly show that by lowering their iron levels, they are less likely to have oxidized forms of LDL cholesterol that contribute to heart disease and stroke. Some researchers believe that we need to re-classify what are considered to be healthy iron levels, and thus change standards currently based on iron levels in men to that of lower levels found in women.
In addition, hemochromatosis is the most common genetic disorder known in humans, with 24 million people worldwide at risk for this horrible disease. People with this condition are unable to eliminate excess iron from their bodies, resulting in heart disease and liver cancer.
In other words, excess iron is incredibly toxic. This is why we hear news reports from time to time about children who got into their parents' iron pills and had to have their stomachs pumped. This is why iron supplements come with tamperproof lids.
But here's some good news: although most of us learned that heme iron (found in meats) is more readily absorbed than iron found in plants (non-heme), this is actually a good thing. Heme iron is almost always absorbed, whether your body needs it or not. Non-heme iron (found in vegetables, grains and legumes) is only absorbed in proportion to your body's need. If your iron levels are high, less non-heme iron will be absorbed, and if they're low, you'll absorb more. Now, doesn't that sound safe and healthy?
Suffice it to say next time I meet with my doctor he's going to learn a thing or two. Hope you do too.