2,400 Year-Old Health Advice: New?

food as medicine

I have often used this quote by Hippocrates to underscore how this sage advice has withstood the test of time.  Despite the fact that, as a society, we seem to have disconnected from his message and chronic diseases and obesity are running rampant, it is perhaps the most important principle in managing our own health.  I was amused by the title of a recent article written by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry (Cornell) and author of The China Study, Startling Implications for Diet, and Weight Loss and Long Term Health.  Keeping in mind what Hippocrates said more than 2,400 years ago, Dr. Campbell is still beating the drum, but now with significant clinical evidence to back it up:

“Why Ordinary Food Will Be the New Medicine of the Future”

People who live by Hippocrates’ tenet will get the joke, unfortunately for a lot of others who have been brainwashed by the food and pharmaceutical industries, the message Dr. Campbell shares below will be, in fact, “new“:

“An impressive body of evidence now shows that a whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet produces profound effects like reversing and treating heart disease, diabetes and many other ailments and chronic pains. Other evidence suggests similar effects on cancers. These outcomes are much more than I once thought, especially concerning my having come from a family farm and milking cows then doing graduate work to “prove” that the high-protein, high-fat animal-based foods diet was best for our health. I succeeded only in proving myself wrong.

foodmedicineUnfortunately, this WFPB strategy has long been a secret, perhaps the best-kept secret in medical history. Remarkably, it can treat and reverse existing ailments (quickly) as well as to prevent future ailments. No other diet plan comes close, especially those of the low carb ilk.

It is time to reject frivolous arguments to the contrary. If there is merit to alternative hypotheses, it is time to use them to prove wrong those of us in the profession who have studied and used this approach to solve illness. It’s time for the naysayers to show that they can do better if they wish to be heard.

food as medicineThe stakes are now too high to allow for self-serving interests paving our way to health. We have imposing problems, many tracing their origins to food choice. Health care costs, environmental degradation and unnecessary ethical behavior head a list of impending crises that must be resolved for the sake of our humanity and our planet.”

God bless

Nutrigenomics: A Life-Saving Science

dnaThere is research taking place right now that will have a profound effect on your future health and could even dramatically impact it starting today.  Epigenics is basically the study of the actual expression of our genes, both good and bad, and not through any DNA changes, but rather through external, largely controllable influences.  There is mounting clinical evidence that, more important than your individual genetic makeup, there are the environmental factors that determine which of your genes are actually switched on or off during your lifetime.  The National Institutes of Health has noted that epigenetics has the potential to explain mechanisms of aging, human development, and the origins of cancer, heart disease, mental illness, as well as several other conditions.

According to a recent issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine there is indisputable evidence that most common illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease, many cancers, obesity, and certain psychiatric diseases are due to interactions between multiple environmental and genetic factors.  Using the principles of epigenetics in the treatment of chronic diseases also has the factor of reversibility, a characteristic that, for example, other cancer treatments do not offer.

GenesA subset of epigenetics is nutrigenomics, which is the study of the effects of foods and food constituents on gene expression.  The National Institute of Health on its PubMed website states that “nutrients and botanicals can interact with the genome causing marked changes in gene expression.  There is good evidence that nutrition has significant influences on the expression of genes.” In turn, the same “dietary patterns that influence obesity or cardiovascular disease also affect cancer, since overweight individuals are at increased risk of cancer development.”  This recognition that nutrients have the ability to interact and modulate genetic mechanisms underlying an organism’s physiological functions has prompted a revolution in the field of nutrition.

Dean Ornish, author of Reversing Heart Disease and Eat More, Weigh Less, who trained in internal medicine at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, and is now a clinical professor at UCSF, has “found that changing lifestyle actually changes gene expression. In only three months, we found that over 500 genes were either up-regulated or down-regulated—in simple terms, turning on genes that prevent many chronic diseases, and turning off genes that cause coronary heart disease, oncogenes that are linked to breast and prostate cancer, genes that promote inflammation and oxidative stress and so on.”   His clinical studies, which underscore the legitimacy of nutrigenomics, provides the clear message that “even if your mother and your father and your sister and brother and aunts and uncles all died from heart disease, it doesn’t mean that you need to. It just means that you are more likely to be genetically predisposed. If you are willing to make big enough changes, there is no reason you need ever develop heart disease, except in relatively rare cases.”

Here is a short video with Dr. Ornish that blatantly makes this point with respect to prostate cancer:

(if the video doesn’t load, go here)

Stay tuned for future posts that will explore incorporating the concept of nutrigenomics into your life!

God bless

A Common Sense Approach To Weight Control

ferrariIt’s widely accepted that fad diets just don’t work and the Western diet, to which most people have become addicted, is nutritionally bankrupt.  Our bodies are very much like ultra sophisticated machines that require fuel to operate effectively.  The quality of that fuel, in our case food and drink, is critical in determining how well the machine will function, how long the machine will last and how many mechanical problems will manifest during its lifetime.  You wouldn’t even consider filling a brand new Ferrari with something that you found in an old oil drum sitting behind a shutdown industrial plant, even if it did smell like gasoline.  Common sense would immediately tell you that was a bad idea.  Why would you ever put crap fuel into an expensive, highly sophisticated machine when you know it will just destroy everything that machine was meant to be?  Well, you are the most sophisticated machine on this planet!  So sophisticated, in fact, that you actually have the ability to consume a broad range of fuel and appear to function acceptably, but the long-term effects of poor fuel choices will  eventually take their toll in the form of chronic disease, excess weight, and a shortened lifespan.

female athleteOnce again, using the fuel analogy, our bodies need a certain amount of nutrition to function properly.  This includes a wide range of basics like protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, fat, antioxidants, and a host of other nutrients that we need to get from what we eat and drink.  Here comes the “common sense” part; you have a choice of consuming fuel high in calories and low in nutritional density or high in nutritional density and low in calories.  The normal functioning of your sophisticated machinery actually shuts down your hunger pangs once your body is nutritionally satisfied.  If you eat food that is not nutritionally dense, your body will, in effect, tell you to keep eating until it gets what it needs, regardless of the calories you’re consuming.  What do you think the relative long-term effects would be on someone who gets all the nutrition they need on 1,800 calories a day compared to another person consuming 12,000 calories a day to get that same nutritional content?  Sadly, what you get is the current crisis we face in this country where two-thirds of the adults are overweight or obese.

The beauty in eating nutritionally dense food is that you can generally eat as much as you want and still not gain any weight.  So many people are reluctant to abandon their current eating habits because they think they’ll have to starve themselves and live in a constant state of hunger.  This myth, along with more specifics on how to implement this common sense strategy for effective weight control will be explored further in Wednesday’s post, so stay tuned.

God bless

What Would You Do?

It’s Friday again and, in keeping with tradition, here are a couple of short videos that are sure to bring a smile to your face, if not a full-on belly laugh.  They’re clever and inspire the question, “Wonder what I would do in that situation?”.  Enjoy and have a great weekend!

God bless

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Cloud Spotting: Powerful Medicine

cloudheartThis is an important message containing wisdom that will serve you well, particularly in our world of digital information overload.  Take the ten minutes to watch this video and you will feel the immediate physical, emotional and psychological benefits.

God bless

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It’s In Our Genes!

Most of you know I like to have a little fun on Fridays.  I was going through some very old albums and came up with some cute pictures of Krienke, Lang and me that I thought you’d enjoy………….boys will be boys!!

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