Category Archives: Knowledge Is Power

The End of Heart Disease

by Joel Fuhrman, MD,  Harper One, 2016

End of Heart Disease

According to Dr. Furhman, his Nutritarian Diet will make it impossible to have a heart attack, while it reverses obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD) and radically lowers your cholesterol and blood pressure, reduces your weight, restores normal bowel function, improves your immune function and maintains youthful vigor in the face of aging. Fuhrman’s Nutritarian diet can be totally plant-based or it can be flexitarian which includes some animal products albeit in very small quantities (three small servings a week). But in either case, it is predominantly vegetables, beans seeds and nuts. The goal is a diet that is nutrient dense, hormonally favorable (avoiding, especially, excess insulin and insulin growth factor [IGF-1]), nutritionally adequate (including all essential nutrients), and avoids toxins. The basis for the diet’s choices are ANDI scores (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index) that ranks foods based on the nutrients delivered for each calorie consumed.

FOOD CHAINS – The Revolution in America’s Fields

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Director: Sanjay Rawal
Executive Producers: Eric Schlosser and Eva Longoria
Featuring: Eric Schlosser, Eve EnslerBarry Estabrook, Dolores HuertaRobert Kennedy Jr.Kerry KennedyEva LongoriaAlma Martinez. Narrated by Forrest Whittaker.
Studio: Illumine Opportunity Group and Two Moons
Running Time: 1 hr. 22 min.
Released: 2014

Developed by Eva Longoria and Eric Schlosser (producer of Food Inc. and Fast Food Nation), this fair, accurate and exceedingly well-done documentary follows a group of migrant farmworkers who pick tomatoes (for Publix and Walmart) in the fields around Immokalee, Florida.

A small group of tomato workers have formed the CIW (Coalition of Immokalee Workers) to try to improve the deplorable conditions under which farmworkers live and work – and their target is Publix, the largest purchaser of tomatoes in Florida – a super chain worth $30 billion. If they just add a single cent to the wholesale cost of a pound of tomatoes it could double the workers’ pay. But Publix refuses to meet. There is a hunger strike – workers wielding signs line the roadways – but after six days that hasn’t gotten them any closer to a meeting.

The small farmer is caught in the middle; it’s a high stakes game every year. The answer seems to lie with the people at the top – the enormous buying power of the supermarkets. Similar problems exist in Florida’s pepper and cucumber industries. And in California as well. Which produces more fresh food than any other state and so has more migrant workers.

The problems started when Walmart got into the grocery business in the 1970s and everything changed. In order to compete the smaller chains had to consolidate into behemoth supermarket chains creating a Monopsony (a market situation in which there is only one buyer). Price reductions trickled down. The average daily pay for tomato pickers is $42 from 5am-8pm (about a penny per pound – paying another penny would double farmworkers wages). Some weeks, it’s $300-400 other weeks $100.  The’r wages total about $10 -13,000 a year.

Sexual harassment of women farmworkers by their field managers is at 80%. The women are afraid to report the incidences for fear of losing their jobs. These are sweatshops in the fields. Actual, literal slave rings were also uncovered. After many protests, the CIW finally got Taco Bell to come aboard what became known as the Fair Food Program, and then Burger King, McDonalds, Chipotle, Trader Joes all eventually agreed to the Fair Food Tomato. Sexual harassment declined, wages increased (by one cent a pound). But the real top of the food chain remains the supermarket conglomerates – and they just won’t come to the table – as of 2014 the ICW had been asking Publix since 2010 to just talk to them. Continuing to embrace the process of creative non-violence – the sixth day of the hunger strike ended in a six mile walk. The ask: end harassment, slavery and pay just a penny more a pound – and talk to us.

In January 2014 Walmart agreed to join the Fair Food Program and expanded its reach to all farmworkers who pick produce here and elsewhere. Publix continued to refuse to even meet asserting that this is a farmer-worker dispute – not theirs.

A couple of asides were touched on but not developed: 1. we also see how these tomatoes are grown – massive amounts of pesticides are sprayed on the fields adjacent to the pickers – a deadly cooling breeze wafts across the field endangering the workers and the future consumers! 2. Floridian farmers are competing with Mexican tomatoes – and sometimes, it’s cheaper to dump the produce rather than pack and deliver.  On the other hand, when Clinton signed NAFTA he pretty much tanked the Mexican produce market and small farms went under. 3. In the 60s, Cesar Chavez created the United Farm Workers of California. It wasn’t pretty but ultimately they prevailed. And then in the ‘80s conditions began to deteriorate again. 4, Napa Valley has evolved into the premier wine growing region of the world. Population doubles during harvest season. But the critical farmworkers can’t afford to live there so they have to commute long distances or live in homeless tent communities.

I briefly researched what has happened since the film was released, and as far as I can tell, in May 2016, Publix’s top tomato supplier Red Diamond Farm was fined $1.4 million and ordered to pay $150,000 in back wages for exploiting low wage workers. It appears that Publix continues its stand that this is between the farmer and the worker and that maybe the Feds should get involved. Well they did! And nothing more has happened since then. This film is very effective: For those of us who spend time in Florida, seeing how badly Publix comes off will impact where we shop.

HOW TO SEE IT: Amazon Prime – watch free, or buy the DVD $4.94 or Blu-Ray $12.89

Project Animal Farm: an accidental journey into the secret world of farming and the truth about our food

by Sonia Faruqi. 2016 Pegasus Books List $27.95, HD $19, PB $16.95, Kin $14

project animal farm

Ms. Faruqi, a former Wall Streeter, decided to volunteer at a Canadian organic dairy farm and that started an international journey to explore animal agriculture. Her up-close and personal experiences – from Canada to Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai, Mexico, Belize, and finally the US – are interspersed with relevant facts and figures about animal farming.  A focused, topic-specific memoir (with extensive references) as opposed to a traditional investigative reporting piece, it is nevertheless a compelling read.  The distressing, horrendous descriptions of a world gone horribly awry are lightened by a very few rays of hope.  Ms. Faruqi concludes with the following solutions (which she has demonstrated throughout the book): 1. Large pastoral farms – reflecting crucial economies of scale – are the future ideal. 2. Genetic selection has created animals that are unable to function properly promulgating unnatural behaviors. 3. Gender diversity among famers needs to increase – more women!! 4. Agribusiness needs to police itself, recognize the obvious problems and create solutions. 5. Farm inspections need to be done by independent third parties. 6. Farm animals need regulations that recognize they are sentient beings and treat them as such (see #5). 7. Labels have to make sense and be enforced – for instance, the label “organic” (theoretically the most specific and meaningful term) is often achieved with lip service, blatant abuse and loopholes (see #5).

The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food

by Dan Barber (Executive Chef of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns  located within the nonprofit farm and education center, Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture). Penguin Press, May 2014

Third Plate Soft Cover    Third Plate Hard Cover

One of the first farm-to-table chefs, Dan Barber is interested in where our food comes from, how it is grown or raised and how or if those processes will be sustainable into the future.  He is not new to the conversation; he was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2009. He also does not specifically promote a plant-based diet. But his “plate” is vegetable forward accompanied by humanely, sustainably raised fish and animals.

Dividing his exploration among the topics Soil, Land, Sea, and Seed, Chef Barber, who grew up summers on Blue Hill Farm in Massachusetts, explores the current state of food through the lens of his  kitchen and the burgeoning gardens on the surrounding Stone Barns land. Each encounter with a resource raised his consciousness – from Klass Martens’ upstate New York farm to the savannah-like landscape of the Spanish dehesas to Veta la Palma’s unique approach to aquaculture to the history of dwarf wheat. Barber also highlights the educational role that chefs can play by making environmentally responsible choices. A good read that is not so much a polemic as it is­­ a tour of specific, lesser-known points of ecological lights that may positively impact the future of our food.

Why a Plant-Based (aka Vegan) Diet? The films that tell the story

Sometimes it’s hard to tell someone about eating a whole-foods, plant-based diet without sounding like you are proselytizing – a big no, no IMO. So offering a film that says it all in a non-threatening way is a gret way to go. It worked for us. A friend gave us Mike Andersen’s  Eating DVD – right on the heels of having read T. Colin Campbell’s The China Study – and that changed the food habits of five or six people.

There are some superb films and DVDs that have been produced recently that make a clear case for a WFPBD. This my list of personal favorites:

Forks Over Knives (2011) created by Brian Wendel, featuring T. Colin Campbell,  Caldwell Esselstyn and Neal Barnard

Got the Facts on Milk? (The Milk Documentary) (2011, 2007) by Shira Lane. Effectively questions the health benefits of milk and dairy products. Features T. Colin Campbell,  Caldwell Esselstyn and Neal Barnard

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead (2010) by Joe Cross. A personal documentary of a person with an autoimmune disease taking back his health care and trading in his pills for a juicer.

Fresh (2009) by Ana Jones. Features Joe Salatin, Will Allen, David  Ball. Takes a hard look at our food production system and the negative impact of agribusiness. Takes up where Food, Inc. leaves off adding possible solutions.

Eating, 3rd Ed. (2008) a DVD on the RAVE Diet by Mike Andersen (also a book).  An earlier version of this  film convinced us to change from a  whole-foods, sugar & meat-free diet to a total Whole Foods Plant-Based Diet (a bigger change than one might think).

Food Inc. (2008) directed by Robert Kenner. Features Michael Pollack. Champions more compassionate treatment of meat animals, but does not support a plant-based-only diet

Food Matters (2008) by James Colquhoun & Laurentine ten  Bosch. Features Charlotte Gerson, Andrew Saul, Dan Rogers, David Wolfe,

Fast Food Nation (2006).  Looks at the destructive impact of eating meat on health, animals and the environment

Super Size Me (2004). Morgan Spurlock’s 30-days on a McDonald’s-only diet

Foodmatters

Hello Weight Watchers – where’s the Whole-Foods, Plant-Based Diet Track?

In my pre-WFPBD days, I successfully used the Weight Watchers (dub-dub) program with considerably success.  When the weight did not slide off after switching to a vegan diet (aka WFPBD), I again turned to Weight Watchers to trim those stubborn seven pounds. And I was so disappointed to see that this  impressive organization had completely overlooked the revolution under its very nose.  Yes, there are a significant number of vegan and vegetarian dishes on their website, but there is no support system (and the meetings really are key) for people choosing a vegan or WFPBD.

I contacted Weight Watchers about WFPBD- focused group meetings, and they said that there just wasn’t enough ground-swell for that yet but that it was quite possible to maintain a WFPBD while using the WW on-line program. I don’t think that that is really true – there’s no program just a collection of recipes that happen to be animal-free, and, of course, there aren’t any meetings.   A friend is studying WW as part of her MBA program, and believes that they are really quite open to variations on their theme. So what will it take to get them to take notice?

Weight Watchers is, IMO, the best of the national weight-loss brands.  So if it were possible to convince them that the ground-swell is happening as we speak, and that it would be advantageous for them to be supportive of a WFPBD, then that influence could begin to manifest across the country in dramatic ways. This is a very powerful group with a strong, committed and loyal fan base – and great reach.  What a difference they could make!!

Reference List for Plant-Based (aka Vegan) Gurus

While I don’t agree completely with any of these sources,  they are, IMO, all very good and each makes a solid case for his/her slightly different perspective.

T. Colin Campbell, PhD
The China Study (2004)
Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., MD
Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure (2008)
Joel Fuhrman, MD
Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, Revised Edition (2011)
Annemarie Colbin, PhD
The Whole-Food Guide to Strong Bones: A Holistic Approach (2009)
Neal Barnard, MD
Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes: The Scientifically Proven System for Reversing Diabetes without Drugs  (2008)
Andrew Weill, MD
Spontaneous Happiness (2011)
Mark Hyman, MD
The Blood Sugar Solution: The UltraHealthy Program for Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Feeling Great Now!  (2012)
John McDougall, MD
The Starch Solution: Eat the Foods You Love, Regain Your Health, and Lose the Weight for Good!  (2012)
Dean Ornish, MD
The Spectrum: A Scientifically Proven Program to Feel Better, Live Longer, Lose Weight, and Gain Health (2008)
Joan Dye Gussow, PhD
Growing, OlderA Chronicle of Death, Life and Vegetables (2010)

For how we got into this mess and what we need to do to get out of it:

David Kessler’s  The End of Overeating
Doug Lisle’s The Pleasure Principle
Stewart Brand’s The Whole Earth Discipline

And for the best overall, easy to understand take on WFPBD, I love Julieanna Hever’s Complete Idiots Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition

Reverse Type 2 Diabetes with a Plant-Based Diet?

One in 10 Americans suffer from Diabetes Meillitus Type Two — one in four over the age of 60. 285 billion people world-wide represent a 10-fold increase in 25 years, and one in two will have the disease or a precursor by 2020. Today the annual cost to the US Health care system alone is almost $180 billion – and it will continue to grow to $3.5 trillion in just a decade.

Billions of dollars are spent on hundreds of drugs designed to manage the disease – Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors,Biguanides, Meglitinides, Sulfonylureas, Thiazolidinediones plus injectibles like exenatide, mitiglinide, pramlintide, sitagliptin, saxagliptin….

But still serious complications persist – glaucoma, cataracts, kidney disease, heart attacks, hypertension, hearing loss, gum disease, gastroparesis, ketoacidosis, depression, neuropathy, peripheral arterial disease, stress, stroke, damaged nerves, skin disorders, Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome……

WHAT IF THERE WAS A CURE? A magic bullet that could make all of this go away? Change lives, save billions of dollars, and deep six one of the world’s most prevalent, damaging diseases.

There is! According to a ground-breaking study published in Diabetologia, Type 2 Diabetes can be reversed in one to eight weeks! The secret? A low glycemic load, high-fiber, whole-foods, plant-based diet!

REFERENCES:

Reversal of type 2 diabetes: normalization of beta cell function in association with decrease pancreas and liver triglycerides  Diabetologia; DOI 10.1007/s00125-011-2204-7 E. L. Lim & K. G. Hollingsworth & B. S. Aribisala & M. J. Chen & J. C. Mathers & R. Taylor

Cow’s Milk given to infants may create Type 1 Diabetes

Ten statistically significant studies demonstrate a noteworthy increase in Juvenile Onset (Type 1) Diabetes in children who were not breast fed and, instead, were given cows’ milk during the first two years of life.

According to T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. “A very specific sequence of 17 amino acids found in cows’ milk generated production of a specific antibody and that antibody … discovered exactly the same 17 amino acid sequence on the cells of the pancreas that was producing the insulin.”  Once it attacked those cells, that child’s pancreas could no longer produce insulin – ever.

It is also now known, for example, that certain children have a much greater genetic susceptibility to the cow’s milk amino acid sequence with the additional presumption that, perhaps, these children were also exposed to a particular kind of virus as well. So, according to Dr. Campbell, Type 1 Diabetes could result from an unhappy combination of genetically susceptible children being exposed to cows’ milk and perhaps also to a certain kind of virus.”

Remarkably, the association between Type 1 Diabetes and cows’ milk coupled with high-risk genes, is even greater than the relationship between smoking and lung cancer. A 12-country study demonstrated that the higher the consumption of cows milk, the higher the incidence of type 1 Diabetes. Since 1992, The Academy of Pediatrics has warned against giving cows’ milk to children younger than one for a variety of reasons so one must wonder why this information is not more widely publicized.

According to Sayer Ji, on WakeUp-World.com, “in genetically susceptible individuals the consumption of cow’s milk may trigger an autoimmune destruction of the beta cells in the pancreas which produce insulin. A new study published in the journal Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, has shed light on a possible new mechanism behind this connection.

“Finnish researchers looked at 1113 infants with a genetic susceptibility to type 1 diabetes and who were randomly assigned to receive one of three infant formulas during the first 6 months of life whenever breast milk was not available:

  1.  Cow’s milk formula (CMF)
  2. Whey-based hydrolyzed formula (WHF)
  3. Whey-based formula free of bovine insulin (insulin-free CMF)

“Beta cell autoimmunity was monitored at ages 3,6, and 12 months and then annually until 3 years of age. The results were reported as follows: Since 1992, The Academy of Pediatrics has warned against giving cows’ milk to children younger than one for a variety of reasons so one must wonder why this information is not more widely publicized.

“In comparison with ordinary CMF, weaning to an insulin-free CMF reduced the cumulative incidence of autoantibodies by age 3 years in children at genetic risk of type 1 diabetes mellitus. The likelihood of finding autoantibodies associated with beta cell autoimmunity was 25% lower in the whey-based hydrolyzed formula group, and 61% lower in the insulin-free whey-based formula when compared with the cow’s milk formula group”.
REFERENCES:

Insulin-free whey-based cow’s milk formula is associated with lower incidence of beta cell autoimmunity in infants and young children.  Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012 Mar 5. Epub 2012 Mar 5. PMID: 22393174 

 

Committee on Nutrition.  “The Use of Whole Cow’s Milk in Infancy” Pediatrics Vol. 89 No. 6 June 1, 1992; pp. 1105 -1109

 

Hammond-McKibben D, and Dosch H-M. “Cow’s milk, bovine serum albumin, and IDDM: can we settle the controversies?” Diabetes Care 20 (1997): 897-901

 

Karjalainen J, Martin JM, Knip M, et al. “A bovine albumin peptide as a possible trigger of insulin-dependent Diabetes Mellitus.” New Engl. Journ. Med 327 (1992): 302-307
.

 

 

 

Insulin-free whey-based cow’s milk formula is associated with lower incidence of beta cell autoimmunity in infants and young children.”   Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012 Mar 5. Epub 2012 Mar 5. PMID: 22393174 

Committee on Nutrition.  “The Use of Whole Cow’s Milk in Infancy” Pediatrics Vol. 89 No. 6 June 1, 1992; pp. 1105 -1109

Hammond-McKibben D, and Dosch H-M. “Cow’s milk, bovine serum albumin, and IDDM: can we settle the controversies?” Diabetes Care 20 (1997): 897-901

Karjalainen J, Martin JM, Knip M, et al. “A bovine albumin peptide as a possible trigger of insulin-dependent Diabetes Mellitus.” New Engl. Journ. Med 327 (1992): 302-307
.