After a week long stay in Aspen with the renowned Dr. Joel Fuhrman and the Nutritional Research Foundation, I am finally home. What an incredible week of learning and eating delicious vegan recipes prepared by renowned Nutritarian chef, Martin Oswald. You'd be amazed at how good some of the foods taste if prepared properly with the right spices. If we all had a Martin Oswald in our kitchens, we'd all be vegans! Not to brag too much, I must say I realized I do eat pretty darn healthy, but after this week I am going to take it a step further into the nutritarian world and limit my dairy consumption. I will fill you on why a little further down. But, first, you are probably wondering what it means to be on a nutritarian diet. As Dr. Fuhrman explains it in his books and lectures, "a nutritarian diet is a way of eating which bases food choices on maximizing the micronutrients per calorie. A Nutritarian diet is designed with food that has powerful disease-protecting and therapeutic effects and delivers a broad array of micronutrients via a wide spectrum of food choices." So, what does this mean? EAT lots of plant based foods because that is where most of the nutrients our bodies need are found! Aim for 90 percent!
To support his view that a nutritarian diet protects against disease, and in some cases reverses illnesses, Dr. Fuhrman gave a lecture each night which included some of the results of the recent health studies that were conducted on cancer and heart disease. He also talked about his new book, The End of Heart Disease. The lectures were excellent, as Dr. Fuhrman has left no stone unturned when it comes to research. But with that said, he is very thin and a bit reserved which made me think he doesn't have enough fat in his diet. 😜 But in all seriousness, he is an expert, and I was able to learn a tremendous amount. Never in my life have I been able to grab a doctor's ear ( sat next to him at dinner ) and ask as many questions as I was able to ask. Here are some of my major takeaways during my visit.
~The Standard American Diet is causing a major increase in heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The worse foods to eat to promote cancer growth are animal proteins- meats and dairy. White table sugar is cancer causing, too. If you eat meat and dairy it should consist of no more than 5-10 percent of your daily calories; Dr. Fuhrman joked that he'd rather have someone eat a piece of organic meat than consume dairy... That's how bad dairy is for one's health! Heavy dairy consumption is linked to prostate and breast cancer, PCOS, and insulin resistance... And the list goes on...
~ A cholesterol LDL level ( bad cholesterol ) should be lowered through a plant based diet - not through statins! A LDL of 95 is safer when it is achieved through a plant based diet rather than an LDL of 95 achieved through statins because the LDL is oxidized. Statins are also linked to liver disease, muscle weakness and impairment, macular degeneration, memory and balance loss and the list goes on. He notes that if a person has a very low total cholesterol but has a bad diet, the doctor should look for other illnesses. Strive for high HDL ( good cholesterol ) and lower LDL ( bad) through a nutritarian diet NOT through drugs!
~A medicated blood pressure is NOT the same as a non-medicated blood pressure. Just because 120/80 mmHg and below are ideal readings in a healthy person does NOT mean that lowering your blood pressure to that level with drugs will make a person live longer or reduce her/his risk of cardiovascular disease. Actually, ( now this is scary), a person who takes high blood pressure meds can increase his/her risk of heart attack according to a 2013 study. For information on the study, refer, to Dr. Fuhrman's book, The End of Heart Disease.
~ Recent long term studies have consistently shown that nuts and seeds are one of the BEST foods you can eat to protect against sudden cardiac death, to reduce total and LDL cholesterol and inflammation.
~ Exercise, especially weight bearing ones, is necessary to prevent age related diseases such as osteoporosis. Doing something everyday is important. Exercise also lowers LDL cholesterol. Osteoporosis can also be prevented by consuming vitamin D3 with calcium rich foods. Large doses of calcium supplements should not be taken and have been shown in some studies to worsen osteoporosis. Dr. Fuhrman noted that certain pharmaceutical drugs used to treat osteoporosis are harmful for overall health according to some recent studies.
~ Dr. Fuhrman has somewhant changed his stance on coffee- maybe because of the abundance of antioxidants found in the coffee bean. Enjoying a morning cup is okay; if you have a bad diet, drinking coffee is probably even better. 😜 Green or some berry herbal teas are a good option, if you don't drink coffee.
~ Dr. Fuhrman is a strict vegan and does not drink alcohol, but he says several glasses of red wine a week is okay if you stay on a healthy plant based diet. Because alcohol consumption can be a slippery slope with some individuals, don't drink it if you can't stick to moderation. Alcohol offers no health benefits when drunk in excess and can cause severe health problems over time.
~ The best vitamins to take when on a plant based diet are D3 ( 2000 -3000ius), B12 -100-500 mcgs very safe even taken at higher doses), DHA-EPA ( - omega fatty acids) , turmeric, K 2 if on vegan plant diet- 25 mcgs , iodine -150 mcg and zinc 15-30mg. If you eat large salads, you DONT need synthetic folic acid which has been linked to breast and prostate cancer.
~The one diet strategy you can implement to boost your life span and to prevent cancer is to include these foods in your diet in some form every day: greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, and seeds- known as the G-Bombs principle... All cancer fighting foods. A super star seed: chia! In one study women who added a bit of chia seeds a day cut their risk of breast cancer by a substantial amount- and these women in the study didn't even have healthy diets. So, you can see, even adding some good foods can help protect you from certain diseases.
~ People who don't eat vegetables ( especially green ones) can develop early dementia. If you're not eating some greens everyday, you're hurting your health and reducing your chances of living a long life.
~ When eating bread, stick to low glycemic breads...Ezekiel or rye. According to the doctor, "the softer and whiter the bread, the earlier you are dead!" Ha!😜
~ Drinking Diet soda is drinking poison! No need to ingest the chemicals. I won't bore you with this topic as I have written about this already.
~The earlier in life you started on sugar and a bad diet, the higher the chance is you will live a shorter life: unless you make changes now. You'd be amazed at how many diseases can be reversed by making a choice to eat healthier!
~ Sugar and dairy have been linked to poor brain health in children ( ADHD, autism, behavioral issues). Kids should refrain from soda, sugary desserts, and fast food.
Yes... I believe more than ever that food determines how we feel and heal! It's not too late to make changes to lose weight, feel better, and reverse some diseases! It's YOUR choice!
* Please note that if you are currently on medications for cholesterol and blood pressure, check with your personal physician before making any changes or weaning yourself off. Also, please check with your doctor before taking supplements. For more information on the nutritarian diet, check out Dr. Joel Fuhrman's website: www.drfuhrman.com.