Category Archives: Nutrition and Diet

The Dangerous Success of the Dairy Industry

I have spent 30 years in the field of advertising and marketing, and so I milk know the power of advertising.  One of the most successful marketing campaigns over the past 50 years has been that of the dairy industry.  They have convinced us that drinking milk is essential to our health.  However, the more research I do, the more I realize that this is totally untrue!  Casein, the protein found in milk and other dairy products is in fact detrimental to our health.  Did you know that:

I strongly recommend that you read The China Study and read or watchForks Over Knives for more information.

For more information and references please refer to my earlier post on this subject.


Preventing the Leading Causes of Death in the US

I wanted to share this powerful video on how we can prevent the leading causes of death.  Important stuff, right?  I highly recommend watching all (or at least part) of this video.  To summarize and hopefully encourage you to watch it, Dr. Michael Greger presents scientific facts on how we can prevent 14 of the 15 leading causes of death. In the US, the 15 leading causes of death (in order) are:

  1. Heart Disease
  2. Cancer
  3. Respiratory Disease, (COPD, Emphysema)
  4. Stroke
  5. Accidents
  6. Alzheimer’s Disease
  7. Diabetes
  8. Kidney Failure
  9. Influenza
  10. Suicide
  11. Blood Infection
  12. Liver Disease
  13. High Blood Pressure
  14. Parkinson’s Disease
  15. Pneumonia

And interestingly enough, the medical system, when you look at side pill-bottles-684648effects from prescription drugs, medical mistakes and hospital acquired infections, results in 187,000 deaths per year making it the 3rd leading cause of death in the US!  (Good reason to avoid unnecessary doctor visits).

CSA 2 ALL of these leading causes of death, with the exception of accidents, can be prevented or combated with a strict vegetarian (i.e.: vegan) diet.

Don’t worry if you are a devoted meat eater.  Small changes in your diet like adding in greens at every meal and cutting out meat a few days a week will still have a positive influence on your health.

But, for me, I have found the vegan route to be the best option.  For example, in one year, my cholesterol has dropped 38 points, and my triglycerides (the measure of fat in the blood) dropped 104 points!  That’s proof enough for me.

Here is the link to the video

Juicing — More Benefits

You’ve read about how I love juicing.  The following post was written by my daughter, Kelsey and offers some more insight into the benefits of juicing

If you have worked juicing into your diet consistently, you’ve probably already noticed a change in your body.  That’s because raw foods hold more nutrients than cooked food and eating a nutrient rich diet is better and more effective than fat-free, low-calorie, low carbohydrates, and other trendy and exclusionary attempts to lose weight.

Using a technique known as Kirlian Photography, nutritionists have captured the difference in life force between a piece of broccoli that was steamed broccoli(left) and a piece of broccoli that is a raw, “living” organism.  The life force or energy emanating from the raw broccoli is significantly more than the cooked, even though it was only steamed for two minutes!

“Great,” you think, “raw broccoli, that sounds delicious.” —  Don’t sass me yet!  You already know how to juice raw fruits and vegetables together to make a great tasting liquid packed with energy and nutrition (here is just one delicious recipe). Now you can discover how to make solid meals from raw foods and healthy, crunchy and satisfying snacks; ladies and gentleman it is time to invest in a dehydrator.

You can use a dehydrator to make your own banana chips, kale chips (delicious and rather expensive when you buy them already prepared), raw breads, and more. degydratorDehydrators range in price from $40 – $400 depending on your needs.

Checkout this recipe for raw vegan falafel with lemon garlic aioli!

Healthy Restaurant Options

Following is a guest post by Kelsey Duke.  She offers some practical advise for eating out and still eating healthy — not always easy!  As she lives in the DC area, she highlights some DC restaurants.  Here in the Seacoast of New Hampshire, some of my favorites are Blue Moon Evolution and Good Karma Cafe both in Exeter, NH.  What are some health conscious restaurants in your area?

Eating Healthy when Dining Out

Eating at restaurants is an acquired skill. As a publicist for restaurants, I eat out often, which as you can imagine can derail even the most dedicated healthy eater (former vegan here) and cause some serious stress. But there is hope! Common sense says to avoid the fried foods, look for salads and greens, and don’t touch the complementary bread or tortilla chips. But beyond that, restaurants are consciously changing menus to please the more aware consumer.  This past year in food, kale, quinoa and sprouted grains popped up on menus everywhere. Here’s a few other trends that provide hope for the future:

quincenera saladCalorie counts

Recently, some parts of the country have started requiring restaurants to list calorie counts next to menu items. Amongst average diners the general consensus is still, “I don’t want to know.” However, whether they mean to our not, people are choosing healthier options. Dallas Tex-Mex favorite Mi Cocina recently opened a restaurant in Chevy Chase, MD, where they were required by law, for the first time to list calories on menus. “It’s amazing, our biggest sellers in that location are the quinceñera salad (pictured at left)  and the vegetable tamales, which is different from the best selling items in Dallas stores,” says Heather Hancock, Director of Sales and Marketing for Mi Cocina.

Smaller portions:

Here in DC, small portions are a big trend. Don’t expect to save money on these but you may save some room in your stomach. Famed restaurateur vegetable tamalesJosé Andrés has several restaurants serving Spanish or Mexican style tapas (worlds of difference between the two). Dim Sum is also becoming ever more popular, a style of Cantonese food prepared as bite-sized or individual portions and traditionally served on small plates or in small steamer baskets (pictured right).

Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options:

With food allergies on the rise (warning sign anyone? Maybe the FDA can explain this but they probably will not tell the public, but I digress), restaurants have started to provide several options for picky diners, on and sometimes off the menu. In Washington DC’s renowned restaurant and wine bar, Ripple, Executive Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley says of her menu, which changes daily, “I am always sure to keep healthy gluten-free dishes on the menu. I try to do a gluten-free fish option and a meat option as well.”

The other day I went to a restaurant that serves beer, bourbon, and barbeque exclusively, and to my surprise and absolute delight, they had vegan wings, vegan ribs, and BBQ tofu tacos on the menu! Though several veg-friendly restaurants have popped up in the area (my favorite in DC has to be Busboys & Poets), if you can’t find one near you, stick to non-American cuisines like Indian, Chinese, and Vietnamese, which always have several vegetarian options.  America should catch up soon, maybe owhen the government isn’t as full of Monsanto emplyees… and there I go again.

I’d love to hear some of some of your favorite restaurants that offer healthy (maybe even vegetarian and vegan) options!

Bandaloop — The Book and the Restaurant

I first read Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins in 1985, shortly after it jitterbug perfumewas published in paperback.  It is the story of Alobar, an ancient king and beet farmer,  who discovers the secret of immortality from the Bandaloop.  I had really enjoyed the book, and I so I kept it all these years.

The book has moved with me 5 times since then, although in the last move remained in a box of old books.  I recently rediscovered the book and put it in a prominent spot on my bookshelf as I remembered that I loved the book and thought someday I’d reread it.  That someday came, and I did reread it and once again, thoroughly enjoyed it!  I got a lot more of the philosophical message out of it this time, now that I am older and perhaps wiser!

Saturday night, I went to a restaurant in Kennebunkport, Maine called Bandaloop.  It was a great restaurant, serving all organic and locally sourced food.  They even had tofu and tempeh entrees.  I had the special fennel soup to start, and the 3-grain tempeh in twin sauces of  zesty Asian peanut sauce and cilantro-pistachio pesto with saffron Basmati rice.   It was delicious!

 I was wondering if the name of the restaurant, Bandaloop was a coincidence when I saw a menu item:

Alobar’s Roasted Beets and Flying Goat Farm Goat Cheese

WOW, the restaurant is definitely named for the book!  Then I noticed a note on the back of the menu confirming the connection and reminding us to “live long, laugh often, dance daily”

Are you Skinny Fat?

Have you ever heard of skinny fat?  A skinny fat person is not overweight, but lacks lean muscle tissue.  This person may be underweight, or they may be of average weight and look great in their clothes, but are flabby underneath.  A skinny fat person may appear to have a “good” body, but they actually are not physically fit.  The medical term for this is metabolically obese normal weight (MONW).

The amount a person weighs or their height to weight ratio (BMI) is not necessarily an indicator of their level of fitness.

There are actually 5 distinct components of fitness, and to be physically fit we need to work on each of them.

The 5 Components of Fitness are:

Muscle Strength (i.e.: how much force a muscle can exert a single time)

Muscle Endurance (how long a muscle can work without fatigue)

Cardio Vascular Endurance (the ability of the heart and lungs to work together to provide the body with oxygen)

Body Composition (percent of body fat vs. lean muscle tissue)

Flexibility (ability for the joints to achieve full range of motion)

No individual component is more or less important than the others, while at times we may work on enhancing one or two of these components over the others, it is important to work on all 5 in order to truly be physically fit.

As I started this post talking about Skinny Fat, let’s address Body Composition first.  To determine your body fat composition, a quick analysis can be done by a trainer at your health club or by your doctor.

Even fit adults have body fat.  There is an Essential Fat Level of 10-13% for women and 2-5% for men.  Anything below this level is unhealthy and can be physically and mentally damaging (as in the case of anorexia).

Athletes have a slightly lower percentage, 14-20% for women and 6-13% for men.  These are people who are training at an intense level.  These low body fat levels are unrealistic for the average person or recreational athlete.

A Physically Fit Person has a body fat composition of 21-24% (women) and 14-17% (men).  These people are thin and have some muscle definition.

The Average Women has a body fat composition of 25-31% and the Average Man 18-24%.  The average adult has a higher body fat percentage than is optimal, although it is still at a healthy level.

Anything over 32% for women and 25% for men is considered Obese.

These charts from Built Lean puts things into perspective:

So we really want to strive for a body fat of 21-31% for women and 14-24% for men.

While exercise is important for us, the absolute best way to improve your body composition is through your diet.  I don’t mean going on a crash diet!  But rather by eating a healthy diet which can be summed up as:

  • Eat foods high in lean protein-rich (fish, lean cuts of grass fed beef and farm raised chicken, fermented soy products, beans, nuts)
  • Eliminate, or greatly reduce, added sugars and refined carbs (cakes, candies, ice cream, desserts, white bread, white rice, white pasta)
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Eliminate or greatly reduce trans-fat, and saturated fats from animal sources (full fat or 2% dairy, ice cream, beef, sausage, etc.)
  • Eat healthy omega-3 rich, healthy fats (organic salmon, avocados, almonds)

As far as exercise goes, cardio workouts such as brisk walking, running, cardio equipment at the gym, and cycling will help burn fat.  Weight training will help build muscle.  I will be sharing more information on cardio and weight training in future posts.

If you want to see some more examples of what skinny fat looks like, check out these photos:


Photos of Skinny Fat Stomach


Vitamins and Minerals on a Vegan Diet

You can get plenty of calcium (as well as other vitamins and minerals) on a vegan diet.

This is a great “cheat sheet” for identifying non meat sources of important vitamins and minerals.  This was provided by No Meat Athlete, one of my favorite blogs for nutritional information. No-Meat-Athlete-Cheat-Sheet1