The Plant Rx

Your resource for a plant-based diet

Archive for December, 2010

#2 ranked golfer in the world, Phil Mickelson, adopts a plant-based diet

Posted by Jenn on December 29, 2010


PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and Phil Mic...

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Phil Mickelson, the second-ranked golfer in the world and owner of the rights to a California burger chain called Five Guys Burgers and Fries, has chosen to eliminate animal products from his diet. Days before his 40th birthday, Mickelson experienced debilitating joint pain, which was later diagnosed as psoriatic arthritis.

Mickelson says that his inflammatory joint disease – which typically results in intense pain, stiffness and lack of movement – is normally managed with an anti-inflammatory drug called Enbrel but after reading a book about plant-based nutrition and its health benefits, he “thought maybe it would help”.

Michelson’s illness is currently inremission and he says he intends to stick with plant-based foods in order to ensure that he doesn’t have a relapse.  He admits the change has been difficult, bur when asked if he thinks he’ll stick to it he replied, “if it will somehow keep this (arthritis) in remission or stop it from coming back, yeah, I’ll be able to do it.”

There are several ways that a plant-based diet can benefit patients with autoimmune-related arthritis. First, many plant-based diets are low-calorie and appear to be helpful in maintaining a healthy body weight. Obese adults face a higher risk of psoriatic arthritis, according to a recent study conducted at the University of Utah School of Medicine. Second, plant-based diets are low in saturated fat and cholesterol, which may help reduce inflammation in the body. Red meat in particular has been linked with increased inflammation. Third, plant-based diets that are well planned and include lots of fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants that block inflammation.

So what does Phil say when asked about Five Guys Burgers and Fries? “We’re working on a veggie burger!”

Posted in Arthritis, Athletes/Athletics, In the Media, Inflammation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

The Merits Of A Plant-Based Diet, Just The Facts Please

Posted by Jenn on December 28, 2010


Author: mark brohl

When it comes to a healthy diet many folks with whom I have spoken attempt to deny plain facts and plain statistics by citing one example that they hope will refute the obvious truth.

The vast majority of evidence clearly shows that a plant-based diet heals, while an animal- based diet leads to cancer and heart disease among other unfortunate health issues.

Therefore if you are having an intelligent discussion about health matters and you become overwhelmed by the facts please know that the facts do not change nor do they need adjusting just because you cite the case of your dear great grandmother as an example of one who ate bacon and eggs for breakfast, bologna for lunch, meat loaf for dinner, and smoked 2 packs of regular Camels every day and still lived to be ninety two.  This is the exception and certainly not the rule and should not be taken too seriously as a statistic since it would be difficult to find a significant amount of other individuals who could boast the same.  It should also be noted that just existing for ninety two years when in reality the last thirty of them were spent in pain racking illness does not really make a person a poster child for the merits of bacon and cigarettes.

Actually medical evidence is clear, consistent and astonishingly one sided.  Vegetarians are far less likely to suffer from cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or osteoporosis.  They are also far less prone to obesity.

The largest study of its kind ever conducted was the China-Oxford-Cornell Study which revealed that a typical meat eater would be over fifteen times more likely to die from heart disease, and that women were five times more likely to suffer from breast cancer than folks who obtained no more than five percent of their protein requirements from eating animals and their by-products. This is just one study, and as previously stated the evidence is just ridiculously one sided in favor of refraining from animal foods and adhering to a plant-based diet.

These facts are not meant to infer that vegetarians cannot practice unhealthy eating and lifestyle choices, because they certainly can.  If one refrains from eating meat but instead opts for junk food and soda pop, never exercises, and does not drink enough water or get enough sleep such a person should not imagine that not eating meat is going to save his or her health.  Even if he or she were to enjoy excellent health and vitality throughout a long life this would not be a normal outcome to such a deficient lifestyle or health program.

The bottom line is that if you are a meat eater your chances of becoming a cancer, heart disease, or diabetes statistic raises exponentially, while also being far more likely to suffer osteoporosis and other diseases than those who refrain from eating animal foods.  And of course you have a far greater chance of becoming obese also.  Whether you stick your head in the sand, pull the covers over your head, or put your hands over your ears and close your eyes, it will not change the fact that your lifestyle and eating habits are killing you.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/nutrition-articles/the-merits-of-a-plant-based-diet-just-the-facts-please-3748413.html

About the Author

I am passionate about health issues, and the state of the health of our wonderful America. I believe the American diet is literally killing us and that a steady flow of money and perks from the meat, egg, and dairy industries to the U.S. government is the reason we have had a long sustained brainwashing campaign that has precipitated the shift from a predominantly plant-based diet to an animal-based diet. The result has been an unprecedented increase in heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancers of all varieties. I believe Americans are suffering from a lack of truthful information concerning our diets. I enjoy writing motivational articles that will help to correct the problem regarding this lack of information and also examine the prevailing misinformation in the light of truth.

Healthy Vegetarian Choices For Life
Dedicated to the advancement of informed choices that will benefit our health, our environment, and our animal friends.
Please visit my website at http://www.ourhealthforlife.com and look around awhile. I would very much appreciate comments concerning your reaction to what I have written as well as any input that might aid me in the task of making my site more helpful. I thank you in advance for your consideration.

Posted in Diabetes, Heart Disease, In the Media, Research/Data, Stroke | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Can I get enough protein eating a plant-based diet?

Posted by Jenn on December 28, 2010


Engine2diet.com (Read the best-selling book by Rip Esselstyn)

(Source: http://engine2diet.com/about-the-diet/frequently-asked-questions/can-i-get-enough-protein-eating-a-plant-based-diet/)

Not only will you get all the protein you need, for the first time in your life you won’t suffer from an excess of it.

Ample amounts of protein are thriving in whole, natural plant-based foods. For example, spinach is 51 percent protein; mushrooms, 35 percent; beans, 26 percent; oatmeal, 16 percent; whole wheat pasta, 15 percent; corn, 12 percent; and potatoes, 11 percent.

What’s more, our body needs less protein than you may think. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the average 150-pound male requires only 22.5 grams of protein daily based on a 2,000 calorie a day diet, which means about 4.5 percent of calories should come from protein. (WHO recommends pregnant women get 6 percent of calories from protein.) Other nutritional organizations recommend as little as 2.5 percent of daily calories come from protein while the U.S. Food and Nutrition Board’s recommended daily allowance is 6 percent after a built-in safety margin; most Americans, however, are taking in 20 percent or more.

Doctors from my father to Dean Ornish to Joel Fuhrman, author of the best selling Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss (Little, Brown), all suggest that getting an adequate amount of protein should be the least of your worries.

Look around you and tell me the last time you saw someone who was hospitalized for a protein deficiency. Or look around in nature, where you will notice that the largest and strongest animals, such as elephants, gorillas, hippos, and bison, are all plant eaters.

Also, the type of protein you consume is as important as the amount. If you are taking in most of your protein from animal-based foods, you’re getting not only too much protein, but also an acid-producing form that wreaks havoc on your system.

Why is protein so potentially harmful? Because your body can store carbohydrates and fats, but not protein. So if the protein content of your diet exceeds the amount you need, not only will your liver and kidneys become overburdened, but you will start leaching calcium from your bones to neutralize the excess animal protein that becomes acidic in the human body.

That’s why, in the case of protein, the adage “less is more” definitely applies. The average American consumes well over 100 grams daily—a dangerous amount. But if you eat a plant-strong diet, you’ll be getting neither too much nor too little protein, but an amount that’s just right.

Posted in In the Media, Protein | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Plant foods alter gene expression to curb inflammation

Posted by Jenn on December 28, 2010


POSTED ON OCTOBER 26, 2010 BY DEANA FERRERI, PH.D. Diseaseproof.com

(Source: http://www.diseaseproof.com/archives/healthy-food-plant-foods-alter-gene-expression-to-curb-inflammation.html)

Inappropriately high levels of inflammation contribute to many of the chronic diseases of the modern world. Inflammation plays an important role in the development of atherosclerotic plaque, and inflammatory mediators have been shown to fuel tumor growth. [1] Certain characteristics of the Western diet are known to have pro-inflammatory effects – the high content of omega-6 fatty acids, for example, due to excessive oil and animal products, leads to overproduction of inflammatory molecules. Also, obesity is associated with chronic inflammation. Fat tissue produces a great number of both hormones and inflammatory molecules, and obesity-associated inflammation is said to be the link between excess body fat and chronic disease. [2]

fruits and vegetables; Flickr: karimian

Eating more plant foods and fewer animal products and oils is advisable to avoid these pro-inflammatory effects. Omega-3 fatty acids, in contrast to omega-6 fatty acids, are known to have anti-inflammatory effects. Fruits and vegetables are known to be protective against chronic disease due to their low calorie density and high quantity of micronutrients and antioxidants, and have been associated with reduced circulating inflammatory molecules. A recent study showed that fruit and vegetable consumption alters circulating levels of inflammatory molecules by affecting gene expression in circulating white blood cells, limiting the production of inflammatory molecules by these cells.

Young adults reported their usual food intake, and the researchers correlated this to a number of inflammatory markers in blood, as well as expression of a number of pro-inflammatory genes in white blood cells. The subjects were divided into groups based on their quantity of fruit and vegetable consumption, and inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein, homocysteine, and TNFα) were 40% lower in the group with the highest (vs. lowest) fruit and vegetable consumption. Moreover, expression of four pro-inflammatory genes (ICAM1, ILR1, TNFα, and NF-κB1) were significantly lower in the circulating white blood cells of the high fruit and vegetable consumers. [3] C-reactive protein and plasma homocysteine are known risk factors for heart disease, and NF-κB is a key promoter of atherosclerosis development.[4]

This data suggests that plant foods have anti-inflammatory effects that have not yet been discovered.

We cannot underestimate the importance of high-nutrient foods. Our genes are inherited, but the expression of those genes is modified by our environment. Food components interact with our genes to affect the state of our health, and this study suggests that high-nutrient foods drive gene expression patterns that reduce inflammation and therefore risk of chronic disease.

References:

1. Sgambato, A. and A. Cittadini, Inflammation and cancer: a multifaceted link. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci, 2010. 14(4): p. 263-8.
2. Hajer, G.R., T.W. van Haeften, and F.L. Visseren, Adipose tissue dysfunction in obesity, diabetes, and vascular diseases. Eur Heart J, 2008. 29(24): p. 2959-71.
3. Hermsdorff, H.H., et al., Fruit and vegetable consumption and proinflammatory gene expression from peripheral blood mononuclear cells in young adults: a translational study. Nutr Metab (Lond), 2010. 7: p. 42.
4. Kutuk, O. and H. Basaga, Inflammation meets oxidation: NF-kappaB as a mediator of initial lesion development in atherosclerosis. Trends Mol Med, 2003. 9(12): p. 549-57.

Posted in Aging Prevention / Anti-Aging, In the Media, Inflammation, Women's Health | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

New Study Finds Plant-Based Diets Play Critical Role in Breast Cancer Survival

Posted by Jenn on December 28, 2010


(Source: http://cancerfocus.org/new_study_finds_plant_based_diets_play_critical_role_in_breast_cancer_survival/493)

Submitted by Dross on Fri, 2007-06-15 21:24. Cancerfocus.org

New Study Finds Plant-Based Diets Play Critical Role in Breast Cancer Survival

A new study in the “Journal of Clinical Oncology” reinforces existing evidence showing that women with breast cancer can greatly reduce their risk of recurrence by eating a healthy plant-based diet rich in fruits and vegetables and making other healthy lifestyle choices, according to nutrition experts with The Cancer Project.

“Women coping with breast cancer deserve to know that plant-based diets and regular exercise can spell the difference between life and death,” says Jennifer Reilly, R.D., senior nutritionist with The Cancer Project. “In the battle against breast cancer, fruits, vegetables, and other low-fat vegetarian foods may be our most powerful weapons. Doctors must let women know that diet changes and exercise can help them beat this terrible disease.”

The new study, conducted by researchers with the University of California, San Diego, tracked dietary patterns and exercise habits among about 1,500 women who were diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer between 1991 and 2000. It found that the death rate for women who consumed a high-fiber diet rich in fruits and vegetables and practiced good exercise habits was 44 percent lower than the rate for women who exercised little and ate few plant-based foods.

There are more than 2 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, but many of these women eat fewer than five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, consume too much fat, and lead sedentary lifestyles. But science has repeatedly shown that a plant-based diet composed of legumes, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can help prevent cancer and cancer recurrence.

A 2005 National Cancer Institute study found that breast cancer patients in the study who reduced their fat consumption lowered their risk of tumor recurrence by as much as 42 percent. High-fat foods, including beef, vegetable oils, and chicken, can boost the hormones that promote cancer cell growth. But most plant-based foods are naturally low fat and offer people a healthy way to stay slim. Maintaining a healthy weight is another key to preventing cancer recurrence.

In 1982, the National Research Council linked eating habits-particularly high-fat, meat-heavy diets-to cancer of the breast and other organs. The “Journal of the National Cancer Institute” recently reported that the rate of breast cancer among premenopausal women who ate the most animal (but not vegetable) fat was a third higher than that of women who ate the least animal fat.

The Cancer Project is a collaborative effort of physicians, researchers, and nutritionists who have joined together to educate the public about the benefits of a healthy diet for cancer prevention and survival. Based in Washington, D.C., The Cancer Project is an affiliate of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

RELATED LINKS

http://www.cancerproject.org/

Posted in Cancer Prevention, Exercise, In the Media, Research/Data, Women's Health | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Study: Alzheimer’s May Have Same Cause As Heart Disease, Animal-Based Diet

Posted by Jenn on December 25, 2010


Drawing comparing how a brain of an Alzheimer ...

Image via Wikipedia

Blood vessel dysfunction linked to heart disease also impacts Alzheimer’s
American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report
Study Highlights:
  • A blood vessel dysfunction linked to cardiovascular disease seems to also play a role in Alzheimer’s disease.
  • The dysfunction may help account for the buildup of amyloid plaques in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

DALLAS, Dec. 2, 2010 — A dysfunction in the lining of blood vessels that is linked to cardiovascular illness also appears to play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study published in Circulation Research: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain condition that typically affects people age 60 and older, depriving them of memory, reasoning and other cognitive skills. As many as 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Two distinct anomalies in the brain are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s: neurofibrillary tangles, twisted fibers composed primarily of a protein called tau that arise inside nerve cells, or neurons; and amyloid plaques, a buildup between neurons of protein fragments called amyloid beta peptides.

Previous research has found that people with multiple cardiovascular risk factors are also at greater risk for Alzheimer’s. A central feature of those cardiovascular risk factors is a nitric oxide deficiency in the endothelium, the layer of cells lining the blood vessels. Nitric oxide is crucial in vasodilation — the widening of blood vessels — which improves blood flow and the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to surrounding tissue.

“If you look at any risk factor for cardiovascular disease — the standard risk factors like high cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, aging — all of these have been associated with loss of nitric oxide in the endothelium, a condition known as endothelial dysfunction,” said Zvonimir S. Katusic, M.D., Ph.D., senior author of the study and a professor of anesthesiology and pharmacology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

In the study, the researchers tested whether endothelial dysfunction also plays a role in Alzheimer’s disease. Using endothelial cells from microscopic blood vessels in the human brain, the scientists chemically inhibited eNOS (endothelial nitric oxide synthase), an enzyme involved in nitric oxide production.

Inhibition of eNOS triggered a series of biochemical effects that led to an increase in the production of amyloid precursor protein (APP), the raw material for the amyloid plaques seen in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

The quantity and activity of BACE1 also increased. BACE1 is an enzyme that cleaves APP to create the amyloid beta peptides that make up the plaques.

“Once you lose that basal nitric oxide, you see the increases in APP and BACE1, and the increase in amyloid beta generation,” said Susan Austin, Ph.D., first author of the study and a postdoctoral research fellow at the Mayo Clinic.

The research team also studied tiny blood vessels in the brains of mice that had been genetically engineered to lack the eNOS enzyme. Those mice — which naturally have higher blood pressure and are prone to insulin resistance compared with normal mice — had about a 50 percent reduction in nitrates and nitrites which indirectly reflect nitric oxide production. The eNOS-deficient mice also showed higher levels of amyloid beta peptide in the brain, along with more APP and BACE1.

The study suggests that preserving a healthy blood vessel wall is important in preventing cognitive impairment and ultimately Alzheimer’s disease, Katusic said. “On the cardiovascular side we’ve known for some time that preservation of healthy endothelium is critical to prevent major cardiovascular events. Now it seems this may have important implications for cognitive impairment.”

The research could help explain, for instance, how exercise benefits cardiovascular health and the aging brain, Katusic said. Previous research has shown that exercise can delay or prevent cognitive impairment.

“There is a lot of literature showing that every time you exercise, you stimulate the endothelium to produce more nitric oxide,” Katusic said. “What we have identified in this paper may help explain the reported (cognitive) benefit of exercise.”

This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Mayo Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, an American Heart Association Scientist Development Grant, Clinical Pharmacology Training Grant and The Mayo Foundation.

Posted in Alzheimer's Disease, Heart Disease, In the Media | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

MEDICAL ADVICE: Becoming Ageless

Posted by Jenn on December 24, 2010


(Source: By DESMOND EBANKS M.D., Special to the West Hartford News; Friday, November 26, 2010)

ORIGINAL URL: http://www.westhartfordnews.com/articles/2010/11/26/opinion/doc4cf006280a329446196111.txt?viewmode=fullstory

Benjamin Franklin first stated that the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. While that may be more true than not, there is another certainty we all experience during the time that we are alive; namely, aging. Technically, we begin aging from the time we are born. But those first couple of decades typically offers welcome improvements in our maturity, intellectual prowess and physical capabilities. Aging, as we commonly think about it, begins in earnest in our 30’s or 40’s. That is when hormones begin to decline and generally when we may first notice subtle changes in our appearance. At the same time diminution in our physical faculties, stamina and sexual potency signals the beginning of that relentless journey downhill.

Few of us want to just go quietly into the mist. Since the days of Cleopatra and Ponce de León, if not before, people have been seeking the elusive Fountain of Youth. The longer we can maintain our youth, the less functional decline we will encounter and the less likely we will develop a chronic disease and die. And, nearly all of us are dying of chronic diseases; not old age. Genetically, we are programmed to live for 110 or 120 years. To be sure, there is no shortage of dubious promises and untested remedies to increase longevity that are available for the naïve or ill-informed. But recent scientific discoveries are unraveling the secrets of aging on a cellular level and may identify ways to slow it down.

It has been abundantly clear for some time that a healthy lifestyle with regular, vigorous exercise and a diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables can reduce your risk of chronic diseases and premature death. According to the World Health Organization, 80-90 percent of cardiovascular disease and nearly 40 percent of cancers, the two top killers of people worldwide, could be prevented with healthy lifestyle modifications. But is there an underlying biological process that can be exploited to improve, restore and prolong youthful vitality?

In 2009, the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to Elizabeth Blackburn, a molecular scientist and two of her colleagues for their work in uncovering the role of telomeres and the enzyme telomerase in aging, cancer and chronic diseases. Telomeres are snippets of DNA at the ends of chromosomes that function, in part, like the plastic tips on the end of shoelaces, providing stability and protection to the genetic material. Telomerase is the enzyme responsible for rebuilding and maintaining telomeres. Most normal human adult cells do not have enough active telomerase to maintain telomere length indefinitely, so each time a cell divides, the telomere shortens until a critical length is reached, signaling cell senescence or cell death. Telomere length is currently the best measure of your actual biological age compared to chronological age. It is also an important barometer of your overall health.

There is pretty clear scientific evidence pointing to an important role for telomerase activity and telomere length in the causes of human disease. Regularly, new studies are published demonstrating the correlation between telomere length and health. In a recent analysis of a subset of the National Long Term Care Survey, telomere length was associated with disability, functional status, heart disease and cancer. A recent study found a correlation between telomere length and years of healthy life. An intriguing connection has also been observed between telomere length and levels of psychological stress. This is particularly relevant since individuals subject to chronic psychological stress show a shortened lifespan and more rapid onset of diseases typically associated with aging. Researchers in Italy recently found a direct association with short telomeres and an increased risk of developing and dying from cancer. The risk of dying was eleven times higher in those with the shortest telomeres. It then stands to reason that therapies directed at preserving telomere length may slow aging and retard the onset of age-related diseases.

So what can you do to age more youthfully? Exercise has been found to increase telomerase activity. Combining the health benefits of regular exercise with a plant-based diet in a comprehensive lifestyle plan was shown to increase telomerase activity by 30 percent and improve telomere length maintenance. One of the best nutrients for activating your telomerase is trusty omega-3. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association followed about 600 people over a full five years. They found that daily supplements of omega-3 fish oil significantly increased telomerase activity. Vitamin supplements have also been found to increase telomere length. Two separate studies in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported longer telomeres in individuals taking vitamin D, E, C and B12. Managing stress and maintaining optimal hormone balance also plays a critical role. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Aging Prevention / Anti-Aging, Heart Disease, In the Media, Research/Data, Supplements (Vitamins & Minerals) | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Plant-based Diet as a Breast Cancer Treatment Option

Posted by Jenn on December 24, 2010


I read an article in Saturday’s Portland Press Herald about U.S. Rep. Tom Allen’s (D-Maine) wife Diana just being diagnosed with breast cancer. Dr. Marsha O’Rourke, medical director of the breast-health program at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Lewiston, told the paper that knowing the stage of a cancer is key to choosing a treatment option. The article refers to the American Cancer Society Web site, which notes that “Most women with breast cancer undergo surgery” and that “surgery is often combined with other treatments such as radiation therapy, hormone therapy and/or biologic therapy.”

I hope to one day soon see dietary therapy alongside these treatment options … on the top of the list for prevention and treatment of breast cancer. Allow me to explain, with plenty of important scientific data (and personal experience) to back up this assertion:

Lower the fat and animal food content of your diet and live longer.
Women who eat a plant-based diet live longer than those who eat more animal foods. This is just one of the findings that have come out of the research of Dr. James Herbert and his colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Herbert showed that diet greatly influences whether a breast cancer will recur, or reappear, after it has been forced into remission after treatment.

The study, published in the journal Breast Cancer Treatment (September 1998) found that consumption of foods high in fat, including dairy products, was associated with shorter survival among women with breast cancer. Butter, beef, liver and bacon are especially dangerous, Herbert found. Pre-menopausal women with breast cancer who ate butter, margarine and lard had a 67 percent greater chance of cancer recurrence than women who abstained from these foods.

On the other hand, women who ate more plant foods tended to live longer. Simply eating more vegetables each day was associated with lower rates of recurrence, Herbert found. The women who ate the most vegetables had the fewest occurrences and lived the longest, while those who ate the fewest had the shortest survival on average. Post-menopausal women who ate broccoli, collard greens, kale and citrus fruit lived longer than those who abstained from these foods. Each additional 100 milligrams of vitamin C over the amount eaten on the standard diet reduced the risk of recurrence by 43 percent.

Reduce excess calories to increase your chances of recovery.
Another UMass study in the Journal of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment (February 1999) found that women who ate an additional 1,000 calories above their optimal calorie levels experience an 84 percent increase in the risk of recurrence.  It’s easy to get 1,000 extra calories by eating a few processed foods each day. On the other hand, whole foods — such as whole grains, fresh vegetables, beans and fruit — are low in calories. A diet made up mostly of these foods is a low-calorie diet.

The reason that calories are important is that the higher the calories, the higher the insulin levels and the greater the weight gain. Insulin is the hormone produced by your pancreas to make blood sugar available to your cells. Cells use blood sugar as their primary fuel. The more processed foods you eat the higher your insulin levels. And the higher your insulin levels the greater your risk of recurrence. Many scientists now believe this combination — high-calorie diet, overweight, and high insulin, now referred to as syndrome X — is the underlying cause of much of the breast cancer we see today.

Estrogen and breast cancer
Estrogen can act like a growth hormone. The larger and more numerous the fat cells, the more estrogen a woman’s body produces. Estrogen can trigger the over-production of tissue and inflammation inside the breast and uterus. This combination can block the milk ducts and the blood and lymph vessels within the breast causing waste products to stagnate, creating conditions for fibrocystic breasts and breast cancer.

To keep your estrogen levels low, eat a high-fiber diet.  Fiber acts like a sponge. It soaks up excess estrogen and eliminates it through the feces. High-fiber diets speed intestinal transit and promote elimination, thus keeping the blood and lymph cleaner – which in turn keeps your breast tissue cleaner. Fiber is the reason that vegetarian women who eat lots of plant foods eliminate two to three times more estrogen than than non-vegetarians, according to a study published in The New England Journal Of Medicine (1982). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Cancer Prevention, Research/Data, Women's Health | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Rise of the Power Vegans

Posted by Jenn on December 24, 2010


(Source: Bloomberg Business Week Online; November 4, 2010; By Joel Stein)

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.

It used to be easy for moguls to flaunt their power. All they had to do was renovate the chalet in St. Moritz, buy the latest Gulfstream (GD) jet, lay off 5,000 employees, or marry a much younger Asian woman. By now, though, they’ve used up all the easy ways to distinguish themselves from the rest of us—which may be why a growing number of America’s most powerful bosses have become vegan. Steve Wynn, Mort Zuckerman, Russell Simmons, and Bill Clinton are now using tempeh to assert their superiority. As are Ford Executive Chairman of the Board Bill Ford (F), Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, venture capitalist Joi Ito, Whole Foods Market (WFMI) Chief Executive Officer John Mackey, and Mike Tyson. Yes, Mike Tyson, a man who once chewed on human ear, is now vegan. His dietary habit isn’t nearly as impressive as that of Alec Baldwin, though, who has found a way to be both vegan and fat at the same time.

It shouldn’t be surprising that so many CEOs are shunning meat, dairy, and eggs: It’s an exclusive club. Only 1 percent of the U.S. population is vegan, partly because veganism isn’t cheap: The cost comes from the value of specialty products made by speciality companies with cloying names (tofurkey, anyone?). Vegans also have to be powerful enough to even know what veganism is.

“CEOs are smart. There just hadn’t been enough exposure for people to glom onto this trend,” says Ingrid E. Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. “The information is everywhere now. Instead of ‘Better buy this blue chip,’ it’s ‘Better eat vegan.’ ” When Newkirk learned Wynn had become a vegan, she didn’t think the news was crazy. “Having dolphins in a small tank outside a casino is crazy,” she says. “Ordering vegetables is not.”

Wynn agrees. The self-described “animal nut,” who included the Humane Society of the U.S. in his will, sold the Mirage Hotel—and its dolphin tank—in 2000, and gave up meat and dairy this June. Wynn was converted when his friend—telecom mogul and recent vegan Gulu Lalvani—made him watch Eating, a documentary in which director Mike Anderson explains his strict meat- and oil-free diet. “I watched it, and I changed the next morning,” says Wynn. “Bang! Just like that.” The transition was eased by the fact that Wynn happened to be on a yacht with a personal chef. As soon as he got home, he began spreading the gospel as only a mogul can—like buying 10,000 copies of Eating, one for each of his employees. “I’m providing the ass for the insurance. If they’re sick, we’re picking up the tab,” says Wynn. “If I can keep them healthier, I’m acting like a smart businessman.”

Though he swears it’s not a condition of employment, Wynn has persuaded most of his senior management to go vegan. And since the majority of Wynn’s lunch companions ask his assistant in advance what he likes to eat, he’s got the upper hand at lunch before even sitting down. He can also suggest one of his own joints—Wynn now offers vegan menus at his restaurants in Las Vegas and Macau, including the steakhouses. “Last night I had dinner with Terry Semel, and we were eating at Wing Lei, the Chinese restaurant,” Wynn says. “They couldn’t believe the stir fry wasn’t in oil. Everybody switched to my food.”

Wynn’s a convincing salesman, but a decade ago even he couldn’t have given away free seitan. Being a vegan then was so weird that pundits listed it as a reason Dennis Kucinich couldn’t be the Democratic Presidential nominee. “People weren’t sure if it was another political party or an ethnic group they’d never heard of,” Kucinich says. While the Ohio representative failed to win the Democratic nomination in 2004—and in 2008—Kucinich’s diet has become so accepted that he was able to persuade Representative Robert A. Brady (D-Pa.), the head of the Committee on House Administration, to include vegan options in the congressional cafeteria. When Bill Clinton announced his dietary epiphany—”I got back to basically what I weighed in high school,” he told Wolf Blitzer this September—Kucinich decided to finally finish his own diet book, whose working title, The Cleveland Diet, will probably be changed by its publisher. Kucinich, however, did not go vegan for power, but rather for love. Fifteen years ago, he says, “I met someone who was vegan when I went to the state senate. This was someone I was very fond of. This was kind of a courtship strategy.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Interview: Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn on Heart Health

Posted by Jenn on December 21, 2010


Green Heart (And the Green Grass Grows All Aro...

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(Source: By- Maryl Celiz on 11.04.10:  Original URL: http://hlifemedia.com/2010/11/htalk-dr-caldwell-esselstyn/)

As an internationally known surgeon, researcher and clinician at the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, M.D., made the case for a plant-based as a cure to cardiac trouble, a feat he explains in his book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. Yes, you read right – prevent AND reverse. But you don’t have heart disease (yet), you say? Read on. In this revealing interview, Dr. Esselstyn, who will soon be talking plant-based heart health on the big screen in the groundbreaking film Forks Over Knives, speaks about the surprising young age we start to develop heart disease, how grave the situation is, and how we can completely avoid it.

Maryl Celiz: What in your practice prompted you to think of a plant-based diet as a treatment for heart disease?
Caldwell Esselstyn: It was sort of an evolution for me. I started out as a surgeon, and it was halfway through my surgical career when I was chairman of our breast cancer task force that it was apparent that no matter how many patients for whom I was doing breast surgery, I wasn’t doing one single thing for the next unsuspecting victim. In other words, why were people developing breast cancer, was the question. And I began sort of a global research pattern and it was striking to me that in the late 70s early 80s, even in Kenya and Africa, for instance, breast cancer was something like 20-30 times less frequently seen than in the United States. In Japan, in the early 1950s, it was very infrequently seen. But as soon as the Japanese would migrate to the United States, the second and third generation of Japanese-Americans began to have the same rate of breast cancer as their Caucasian counterpart. Perhaps even more compelling was cancer of the prostate, which, in the entire nation of Japan, in 1958 how many autopsy common deaths were there from cancer of the prostate? Eighteen – in the entire nation. Very striking public health figure. By 1978 they were up to about 137, which still pales in comparison to the over 28,000 that will die this year from prostate cancer in this country. About that time I began to feel that my bones would long be dust before I really had the answers to nutrition and cancer, although in hind sight I’m not sure that’s true. But the decision was made at that time to get at cancer through heart disease, because it was quite striking that in this global review, there were a number of cultures that were plant-based, where cardiac disease was virtually unknown. I mean, even today, if you want to look at rural China, the Papuan islands and New Guinea, central Africa, the Tarahumara indians in northern Mexico, heart disease is virtually non-existent. So, it was really very powerful epidemiological evidence, and there was some experimental evidence with animals to suggest that, if they did have a diet that was plant-based, they would be absolutely free of heart disease, and perhaps if we employed this on patients who are ravaged with heart disease, we could actually not only halt it but reverse it.

MC: How and why does a plant-based diet work to reverse heart disease?
CE: Well, to answer that question, all experts I think would agree that the initiation of heart disease, and the build up of plaque in the arteries is caused by injury to the inner lining of the artery. It’s the inner lining of the artery that has the amazing capacity to make a molecule called nitric oxide, which protects us. As long as we have absolutely lots and lots of nitric oxide being made by the lining of our artery, we’re fine. But, sadly, the typical Western diet we’ve now learned over the last 15-18 years that, every time these certain foods pass our lips, they impair, they compromise, and they injure the lining of our artery, so that it’s making less and less and less of this wonderful protective nitric oxide.  So much so that by, let’s say, age 20, the average age at which our GIs were autopsied in Korea and Vietnam, and even without a microscope, 80% of those GIs autopsies had evidence of coronary artery heart disease. That’s a pretty darn young age to have this. Now, they weren’t far enough advanced in the disease yet to have the heart attacks or the clinical events, which were probably still several decades away. But there it is, already established in people who are that young. And we thought for some time that it might be due to the stress of the military. So, another study was done 40 years later, where they looked at thousands of adults between the ages of 17 and 38, who were dying of accidents, homicides, and suicides. And low and behold, they found that the disease is now ubiquitous: everybody had it. This is pretty powerful evidence that it is the Western foods that are doing it.

MC: What are the Western foods that are causing heart disease?
CE: Studies have shown that it’s these processed oils. Olive oil – yes, even sacred olive oil. Corn oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil – all these processed oils injure our endothelium – our lining of our artery. So do dairy products. So do meat, fish, and chicken. We found that when we took patients who were absolutely ravaged with heart disease and had them completely eliminate those foods that injured their arteries, not only did they begin to lose weight, lose their high blood pressure, and also lose their diabetes, but most importantly, their chest pain would go away – and it would go away often extremely promptly. And also, when we did the follow up angiograms, a number of these patients had shown striking reversal of disease. And I think the ultimate proof was, how so many of them lived well beyond 20 years.

MC: The body heals itself.
CE: It certainly does.

MC: Can a single meal have a negative effect?
CE: Yes. That’s how the evidence against the Western diet was discovered. There was a classic experiment that was done by Robert Vogel, who was a wonderful cardiologist at the University of Maryland. There’s a special test called the brachial artery tourniquet test, which can show how the artery can dilate in a normal situation. They put a tourniquet in the upper arm for about five minutes and measure the diameter of the artery after you put on the tourniquet and after it’s released, and you can see a striking dilatation – that is to say, the artery will widen greatly when the tourniquet is released after having been on for five minutes. That’s due to nitric oxide. However, when they took a group of healthy young people to a fast food restaurant, one half of the group got corn flakes, and they had a wonderful normal artery response. The other half had the hash browns and sausages, and within 120 minutes after that meal, they were unable to dilate the artery. It had so injured and so compromised the endothelium. Now, being young, a couple of hours later, that slowly began to recuperate somewhat. But you can just imagine the next morning for breakfast – scrambled eggs and bacon – and lunch, they might have white bread, mayonnaise and cold cuts, and at supper time, a baked potato with sour cream, lamb chops, vegetables soaked in butter, ranch dressing on a salad, and ice cream. In other words, we in Western civilization just hammer and hammer, injure and injure, repetitively, the lining of our blood vessel – and the vessel becomes diseased.

MC: So what is your recommendation – the rules of your program? Read the rest of this entry »

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