Addicted To Meat?

No meat zoneWhen are you finally going to get the message (if you haven’t already)?  Is it going to take some personal tragedy as a wake-up call?  Are you so stuck in your ways that you’re willing to risk your life or the lives of your family?  How many different clinical studies have to be undertaken for you to accept the fact that meat consumption causes cancer (Cooked Meat & Cancer, TMAO: The Real Killer In Meat, AGEs: More Bad News For Meat Eaters, World Cancer Day: Take Control) while a plant-based diet prevents, arrests and even cures the dreaded disease (My New BFF: Broccoli Sprouts, Dealing With Cancer, Preventing, Arresting & Curing The Big “C”, Which Vegetable Fights Cancer Best?) ?  If you’re still consuming meat, you need to sit down and ask yourself why you can’t stop, then do whatever you have to do to overcome that obstacle.  It’s not only a matter of life and death, but also the quality of the remaining life you have.  Here’s yet another compelling example:

Cancer-Free without Chemo … Thanks to Dr. McDougall and Forks Over Knives

Kelly 570x299 Cancer Free without Chemo … Thanks to Dr. McDougall and Forks Over KnivesIn January of 2012, I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, triple negative. My surgery was scheduled for January 30th. Not knowing any better, I planned to follow surgery with the recommended conventional aggressive chemo and radiation.

Two days before my surgery (left breast lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy), my husband and I happened to watch Forks Over Knives. It was a documentary that would change our lives … and one I have highly recommended to family and friends. We learned a great deal about nutrition and healthy choices. It was there that we discovered Dr. John McDougall and were tremendously inspired by his work and particularly by his patient Ruth Heidrich.

My husband Sean emailed Dr. McDougall the following day and received a same-day response. As they continued email correspondence, Dr. McDougall advised us not to rush into conventional treatment following surgery and sent us medical articles and scientific studies to further our research and to help us make informed decisions about my future treatment.

Prior to all of this, we had never considered breast cancer to be tied to diet and exercise. In fact, when we asked my breast surgeon why I needed aggressive chemo and radiation, she said, “We don’t know where the cancer comes from, and we don’t know if it will come back.” We asked the same question of my oncologist and received the same response. We also asked the oncologist if there was anything I should or shouldn’t eat to help with the cancer treatment, and he said, “This is the time for Kelly to eat whatever she wants.” He also said I should see a cardiologist for a routine echo cardiogram, to make sure my heart was strong enough to handle the heart problems that would likely result from the chemo drugs.

After my surgery and much consideration, our decision was for me to attend Dr. McDougall’s 10-day program in March and become his patient. It was one of the most enriching and educational experiences of my life. In the 10 days I was there, my cholesterol dropped 23 points, my glucose improved, and I lost 4.2 pounds while fully satisfying my appetite. My overall feeling of well-being improved, and I was able to do more exercise. I also made friends with some exceptional people, and we continue to stay in touch and support each other to this day.

Now, after 18 months of eating the McDougall way and walking 30 minutes daily, I am cancer free, and my cholesterol has dropped another 27 points, to 130. My weight dropped from 150 to 120. I feel stronger, healthier, and more energetic. As a kindergarten teacher, having a high energy level is very necessary. I now get down on the floor and jump right up with no trouble!

My husband Sean is super supportive, and we have both been following a plant/starch-based diet with no animal products or oils ever since. Sean no longer needs daily antacids, allergy medication, or the Naproxen he used to take for joint pain. He has dropped 30 pounds and looks and feels great.

Thanks to Forks Over Knives and Dr. McDougall, I truly believe my breast cancer diagnosis was a blessing in disguise. I am forever grateful for the experience, the friendships, and my newfound health.

God bless

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Humans: Herbivores, Carnivores Or Omnivores?

herbivore

carnivoreomnivore“A fair look at the evidence shows that humans are optimized for eating mostly or exclusively plant foods, according to the best evidence: our bodies.”  This quote is the lead-in to an article I ran across on Monday, shortly after I blogged about the paleo diet falling short of sound nutritional basis because it promoted the consumption of meat.  In this extensive article by Michael Bluejay, he cites medical, scientific, anthropological and anatomical experts in making an overwhelming case that we humans were put on this planet to eat primarily plant-based food.  He also provides an interesting psychological examination of why so many people desperately hang on to the contrary view, despite the overwhelming, credible evidence.  The chart below is his summary of just the anatomical evidence supporting the fact we should be plant eaters.  You can read his entire article here.

Humans are biologically herbivorous

Carnivores

Omnivores

Herbivores

Humans

Facial muscles

Reduced to allow wide mouth gape

Reduced

Well-developed

Well-developed

Jaw type

Angle not expanded

Angle not expanded

Expanded angle

Expanded angle

Jaw joint location

On same plane as molar teeth

On same plane as molar teeth

Above the plane of the molars

Above the plane of the molars

Jaw motion

Shearing; minimal side-to-side motion

Shearing; minimal side-to-side motion

No shear; good side-to-side, front-to-back

No shear; good side-to-side, front-to-back

Major jaw muscles

Temporalis

Temporalis

Masseter and ptergoids

Masseter and pterygoids

Mouth opening vs. head size

Large

Large

Small

Small

Teeth: Incisors

Short and pointed

Short and pointed

Broad, flattened and spade-shaped

Broad, flattened and spade-shaped

Teeth: Canines

Long, sharp, and curved

Long, sharp and curved

Dull and short or long (for defense), or none

Short and blunted

Teeth: Molars

Sharp, jagged and blade-shaped

Sharp blades and/or flattened

Flattened with cusps vs. complex surface

Flattened with nodular cusps

Chewing

None; swallows food whole

Swallows food whole and/or simple crushing

Extensive chewing necessary

Extensive chewing necessary

Saliva

No digestive enzymes

No digestive enzymes

Carbohydrate digesting enzymes

Carbohydrate digesting enzymes

Stomach type

Simple

Simple

Simple or multiple chambers

Simple

Stomach acidity with food in stomach

≤ pH 1

≤ pH 1

pH 4-5

pH 4-5

Length of small intestine

3-6 times body length

4-6 times body length

10-12+ times body length

10-11 times body length*

Colon

Simple, short, and smooth

Simple, short, and smooth

Long, complex; may be sacculated

Long, sacculated

Liver

Can detoxify vitamin A

Can detoxify vitamin A

Cannot detoxify vitamin A

Cannot detoxify vitamin A

Kidney

Extremely concentrated urine

Extremely concentrated urine

Moderately concentrated urine

Moderately concentrated urine

Nails

Sharp claws

Sharp claws

Flattened nails or blunt hooves

Flattened nails

From The Comparative Anatomy of Eating, by Milton R. Mills, M.D. * “Body length” measured from neck to anus, as with the other animals

God bless

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Men Who Eat Red Meat Stink!

red meat and smelly menI’ll bet that title got your attention!  I can’t help but chuckle as I’m writing this.  You know what a great feeling it is when you find a peer-reviewed, scientifically-based study that supports a position you may have taken on a particular issue?  Still chuckling.  Well, being a vegan, I have offered a great deal of very serious health-related information on the hazards associated with eating red meat and I’m always on the lookout for credible research to help drive this important message.  Today, I ran across some new canon fodder I can’t wait to use in the spirited conversations I have with some of my buddies over eating red meat.

red meat Havlicek and Lenochova, members of the Faculty of Humanities and Department of Anthropology and Human Genetics, at Charles University reported their findings in one of the Oxford Journals: Chemical Senses.  As only the Brits can do, they managed to present the material with a bit more restraint and panache than I may have used in the titling of this article.  See for yourself:

The Effect of Meat Consumption on Body Odor Attractiveness

Abstract

Auxillary body odor is individually specific and potentially a rich source of information about its producer. Odor individuality partly results from genetic individuality, but the influence of ecological factors such as eating habits are another main source of odor variability. However, we know very little about how particular dietary components shape our body odor. Here we tested the effect of red meat consumption on body odor attractiveness. We used a balanced within-subject experimental design. Seventeen male odor donors were on ‘‘meat’’ or ‘‘non-meat’’ diet for 2 weeks wearing auxillary pads to collect body odor during the final 24 h of the diet. Fresh odor samples were assessed for their pleasantness, attractiveness, masculinity, and intensity by 30 women not using hormonal contraceptives. We repeated the same procedure a month later with the same odor donors, each on the opposite diet than before. Results of repeated measures analysis of variance showed that the odor of donors when on the non-meat diet was judged as significantly more attractive, more pleasant, and less intense. This suggests that red meat consumption has a negative impact on perceived body odor hedonicity.

Like I said, men who eat red meat stink!  🙂

God bless

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Here’s To Your Health!

meat healthOver the weekend, a tennis buddy of mine shared an article with me from Rodale (“Where Health Meets Life”) titled 9 Appalling Facts about Meat.  In it, Leah Zerbe reports  on myriad “disturbing meat industry facts”, including the presence of “dangerous strains of hard-to-kill superbugs”, antibiotic over-use, “half of the U.S. supermarket meat sampled contained staph infection bacteria”, Prozac in chicken meat, meat laced with “harmful veterinary drugs and heavy metals” and “potentially deadly E. coli“, among others.  Most of this information is not new, it’s been around for awhile.  I covered it months ago in “Eating Meat And Behaving Badly” and “Grocery Meat Loaded With Bacteria” but, as the Rodale article points out, there seems to be an increasing public sensitivity to “germaphobia” and meat is an easy target.

What really struck me about the article was the closing remark:

Want More Info?

To learn more about sourcing meat from happy animals and to avoid the perils of the food system, check out:

vegangorillaConsidering the risks mentioned above, why would you want to learn more about sourcing meat at all?  The fact is, millions of people are happier and far healthier, without any risk of all these “nasties”, because they simply choose not to eat meat.  And don’t even try the hackneyed line, “But where do you get your protein?”   Just refer to my vegan friend and you’ll see that a plant-based diet will provide more than enough protein to build adequate muscles.

The “killer” for me was the concept of sourcing meat from “happy animals“.  How happy can an animal be that’s going to have its throat slit, be bludgeoned to death, shot in the head, boiled alive or thrown live into a grinding machine, or have its testicles ripped off manually, its neck broken,  or be skinned alive?  Please, give me a break.  If you want to pretend this stuff doesn’t happen or you choose to ignore the fact that it does, or you feel there is some “humane” way to slaughter an animal to fill your belly just because you like the taste (when there is absolutely no nutritional requirement to do so), it’s certainly your right, but understand, you’re making a clear public statement about the kind of person you are.  Kudos to my friend who shared this article, he’s decided to cross meat off his nutritional list.

God Bless

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TMAO: The Real Killer In Meat

TMAO in meatOne of the most rewarding aspects of spreading the word on fitness and nutrition is when readers who were formerly stuck on the standard Western diet start to educate themselves on food as fuel and medicine and then share with me the new and exciting research they’ve come across.  Much to my surprise (and delight), last night I received an article from one of my buddies at the gym who has been a tough sell in getting him to consider food differently, particularly the vegan alternative.  When I saw “meat” in the title of the article, I immediately presumed it was some obscure, anecdotal piece touting the benefits of being a carnivore.  As it turns out, it contained a credible, huge wake-up call to the medical community, with the most recent research suggesting that the sinister ingredient behind the disproportionately high incidence of heart disease among meat-eaters could be a digestive by-product chemical called TMAO (Trimethylamine N-oxide).  It has been generally accepted that the saturated fat and cholesterol in meat were the culprits, but the relationship between heart disease and TMAO in the bloodstream is ten times greater!

In the Sunday New York Times, Gina Colata (why does that name make me think of pineapple and coconut?) reported on the new findings by Dr. Stanley Hazen of the Cleveland Clinic and it has heart specialists around the country buzzing.  In a nutshell, it turns out that carnitine in red meat, also prevalent in chicken, fish and dairy products, acts as food for a very special bacteria in the gut.  This particular bacteria then spits out the TMAO which invades the bloodstream.  The TMAO then has a double-whammy effect in that it interferes with the normal mechanisms that remove excess cholesterol from our bodies and actually helps usher the cholesterol into the arteries and veins.  The study has raised some serious concerns about the sports drinks that also have significant levels of carnitine.

A fascinating aspect of the study was that when the researchers fed a big juicy steak to volunteer vegans and vegetarians, unlike with regular meat-eaters, there was no spike in TMAO in their bloodstream after the meal.  This led the investigators to conclude that the vegans and vegetarians did not have the particular bacteria in the gut responsible for digesting the carnitine and producing TMAO.  The bad news for meat-eaters is that regardless of cholesterol levels, the real predictor for heart attacks is TMAO in the blood, which spikes every time a carnivore has a meal including animal products.  You can read the complete New York Times article here.

noanimalproducts

God Bless

World Cancer Day: Take Control

World Cancer DayYesterday was World Cancer Day.  I had a particularly hectic day and would have missed this bit of information had I not been alerted to an article that appeared in The Independent, a British daily journal.  Some of the most salient points of this piece by Dr. Neal Barnard, President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, deserve repeating here with hope that the message will resonate enough for people to take action.

meat & cancerConsistent with today’s sensational media headlines, the title “World Cancer Day:  How meat can be murder” is certainly an attention-grabber.  Unfortunately, what I find is that the people who already don’t eat meat get all fired up over an article like this and basically feel “see, I knew it!”, but the people who love and eat a lot of meat will probably not even read it, thinking it to be more tree-hugging, vegetarian propaganda that’s anti-establishment and even unpatriotic.  My hope is that there is a very large, well-educated population out there that has begun to listen to all the clinical evidence emerging on this topic and has begun to seriously question meat consumption or already substantially cut back.  As this vast middle ground continues to make the shift away from meat and the evidence then becomes an irresistible wave of momentum,  meat will then take on the same universal profile as smoking.

Here are some of the key points:

  • Unlike foods from plants that enhance our health, meat and dairy products have the same hazards as cigarette smoking, including increased risks of strokes, heart disease and cancer.
  • Processed meat, such as bacon, sausage, ham, and the like, is so strongly linked with bowel cancer – the second-largest cause of cancer death in the UK – that no one should ever eat it, according to a recent report by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research, based on a systematic review of more than 1,000 papers on bowel cancer carried out at Imperial College London.
  • In addition, the high fat content of meat and dairy products boosts hormone production, which increases the risk of hormone-related cancer, such as breast and prostate cancer.
  • Plant foods are rich in fibre, which speeds the passage of food through the colon, effectively removing carcinogens and changing the type of bacteria present in the intestine to reduce the production of carcinogenic acids.
  • Carotenoids, the pigments that give fruits and vegetables their colors, have also been shown to help protect against lung cancer and may help prevent cancer of the bladder, mouth, larynx, esophagus and breast as well.
  • Studies in England and Germany have shown that vegetarians are about 40 per cent less likely to develop cancer compared to meat-eaters.

Finally, the article does state outright that the graphic warning labels added to cigarette packs, which have helped curb smoking and its associated health risks, should also be placed on meat and dairy products for the same reason.  You can read the whole article here.

God Bless

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