Our food choices matter, in so many ways and emphasizing health-promoting foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds can be effective! Regardless of where you are on your journey to being healthier, you can begin by adding more of these foods, which will crowd out the health-damaging foods. Focus on real, whole plant foods that have only one ingredient on the label, or no label at all! And it is SO important to know that not only is a plant-based diet safe for children, but they are more likely to meet their nutritional needs than if eating our standard American diet. It is meatless Monday everyone and have a great one!Dietary risk, meaning the outcomes of the foods we choose, is the leading cause of death – yes more than tobacco use, for Americans. Dietary habits we have as children usually persist in adulthood, so it is particularly important to know that good nutrition for children not only helps their current health but has the potential to prevent many chronic diseases for them in the future such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Sadly, most of our children are eating poorly because of fast foods and processed foods. A great resource for raising healthy children who will then become healthy adults is the book Nourish, by Dr. Reshma Shah. Check it out and have a terrific Tuesday everyone!
More about raising healthy kids today – it is SO important for parents to know that food is the single strongest lever to improve our health, and in fact, unhealthy diets now lead to higher death rates than alcohol, drug and tobacco use combined. The good news is part of the reason is because tobacco use has gone down – it is an example of how behaviors really can be changed through education! Here are some high-level tips: the place where people live best and longest get 65% of their calories from carbs, 20% from fats and 15% from protein. Those carbs are plants – veggies, fruit, beans, nuts, and seeds. Look at the health on your shelf – the food items in your home -and ramp up those plants to not only raise healthier children but improve your own health and longevity. Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!
Avoiding carbs, those low carb diets, result in the loss of eating the vital packages of energy that only plants manufacture. They are amazing and so important for our health because they are the preferred fuel for our brains, red blood cells, nervous system and more. Protein can be used for energy, but when we have sufficient carbs, we spare protein, so it is available for SUCH critical things like building and repairing tissues, making hormones, to name only a few things. Of course, we Americans get way too much of the bad carbs in the form of sugar, and half of it comes from beverages: alcoholic drinks, soda’s, sweetened coffees, and teas and these all lead to increased weight, diabetes, heart disease, on and on. Eat whole plant foods – not the bad carbs – to live longer and live stronger!
Yesterday we talked about how we eat too much sugar – where can you start reducing? If half of our sugar comes from what we drink, reduce, and then stop beverages that contain sugar. Read labels to look for “added sugar” – the front of many food labels now read “No added sugar,” which is great. This tip sounds simple, but cook and eat at home – you can control the amount of sugar that way. Use vanilla bean or extract, citrus zest, allspice, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg – they bring out the natural sweetness of foods. Lastly, make fruit your go-to snack. Have a fantastic Friday everyone!
Resource: Nourish: The definitive plant-based nutrition guide for families by Reshma Shah, MD MPH and Brenda Davis, RD
From the Archives:
This month is prostate cancer awareness month, and it is especially important because more than 10% of men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, making it the most likely cancer diagnosis for them. BUT there is lots of good news that we will cover this week – since we did not have meatless Monday yesterday, we are going to double up on it today! A landmark study showed that men who ate a Western diet – the standard American diet that is heavy in meat – had a 250% higher risk of prostate cancer-related death…but those who ate a whole-foods, plant-based diet had a 37% lower risk of death from ALL causes. This week we will cover specific recommendations for ways to reduce your risk of prostate cancer, or for those men in your lives. Meatless is a good place to start and have a terrific Tuesday everyone!
More about prostate cancer awareness month today, with not-so-surprising news that like all cancers, avoiding meat and dairy improves not only your overall health but your ability to thwart prostate cancer. We are going to share some specific recommendations today on what to avoid, men. Based on a large Harvard University prostate cancer study, as well as mortality data, eggs and poultry may be the worst offenders. Men who consume only three eggs per week have an 81% higher risk of dying from prostate cancer. It appears the choline in eggs, which is converted into a toxin called trimethylamine, is the culprit. Then the link between eating poultry with prostate cancer may be due to the cooked-meat carcinogens – for some reason they build up more in the muscles of chickens and turkeys than in other animals. We have talked about this before – when we cook meat it causes cancer producing substances called HCA’s. So, you can be healthier men, on this wonderful Wednesday, by eating fewer eggs and less poultry!
One more day of talking about what NOT to do to prevent prostate cancer, which is the number one cancer faced by men in our country. We talked about avoiding eggs and poultry yesterday, and there is also evidence that the hormones in dairy products, and other growth factors, can stimulate the growth of hormone-sensitive tumors like prostate cancer. And of course, we have talked about its relationship to heart disease and other conditions. Men placed on a plant-based diet for a year showed that their blood could suppress cancer cell growth by 70%, which is eight times the stopping power compared to those who ate meat and dairy. So, power up your plate with plant-based foods to thwart prostate cancer and to live longer and stronger!
It is prostate cancer awareness month – prostate cancer is a frightening diagnosis to receive, and though many men survive it, the long-term effects of treatment and surgeries can be life altering. So, let us do all we can to prevent it! In addition to removing poultry and eggs from our diets, there are things we can add. Exercise helps – daily moderate exercise improves oxygen in our cells and rids us of toxins, especially if we do it outside with fresh air and sunshine. Then adding flax seeds – yes, those tiny little seeds are packed with a punch when it comes to tumor suppression – buy them whole and grind them right before you toss them into your smoothie or oatmeal. Lastly, if you were to add only one thing to your diet to help prevent prostate cancer it is those cruciferous veggies! One serving a day of broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, or kale can cut the risk of cancer progression by more than 50%! Have a fantastic Friday everyone!