Education


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Following is a class assignment from my course in plant-based nutrition. I chose to write about dairy products as it was the most striking of issues which I learned during the course. It is downright criminal what we have done to our bodies by believing in all of the information out there about how good milk and dairy products are for our bodies, and from an early age our constant access and education about drinking milk.

There is a new book out, which I have begun reading and plan to write more about later. The book Whitewash: The Disturbing Truth About Cow’s Milk and Your Health is now available, and I hear it is being made into a film. I strongly encourage everyone to get a copy and begin to understand what are the realities of lifelong milk consumption.

I had some fun with this assignment, so it is a bit tongue-in-cheek, and I may have written things slightly different with all the additional information I have acquired since taking the course, but I hope you will take away the important message that we have been hoodwinked with our understanding of dairy products.

Here is the Assignment:

From what you have learned in the course, write a press release on an issue you found particularly compelling regarding the benefits of a plant-based diet in chronic disease.

Note: I decided for this assignment to step into the future. In all likelihood, some of the specific names and organizations will need to be edited before its final release.

NEWS: PCD MEDIA CENTER

EMBARGOED UNTIL January 16, 2012

Supreme Court: Dairy Products Must Have Warning Labels

Parents of Diabetic Children Lawsuit Halts Retailers and Manufacturers from Selling Dairy Products Without Warning Label.

Minneapolis, MN (January 16, 2012) — Major dairy product retailers and manufacturers will no longer be permitted to sell dairy products without a warning label, according to a settlement in a lawsuit brought by the Parents of Children with Diabetes (PCD).

“Parents need to know the risk of serving dairy products to their children,” said PCD member Frances Bovina. “Warning labels will make mothers aware of the extreme risk to their children and families.”

Under the settlement, over 6,000 product retailers and manufacturers, including Associated Milk Producers of New Ulm, MN and Dean’s Foods of Dallas, TX, agreed not to distribute or sell dairy products without a warning that they have been shown to cause Type 1 diabetes in infants. By law, these products should bear warning labels as of January 30, 2012.

PCD filed the lawsuit against the companies citing the Food Safety and Modernization Act passed by the 111th Congress and signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011. Under Section 105 of this strengthened act, a hazardous substance is in part defined as a “substance or mixture of substances may cause substantial personal injury or substantial illness during or as a proximate result of any customary or reasonably foreseeable handling or use, including reasonable foreseeable ingestion by children.” According to the act, these substances “require labeling in accordance with 105 CMR 650.000 in order to protect the public health.”

The prosecution brought as their most powerful witness Dr. T. Collin Campbell, who during his testimony cited numerous studies including a Finnish study in which children aged 4-12 had antibodies measured against BSA (bovine serum albumin). Of the 142 children with juvenile diabetes, every one had an antibody titer greater that 3.55 and not one of the 79 non-diabetic children had an antibody titer greater than 3.55. Many other studies supported this evidence that the defendants were unable to construct a strong counterargument.

According to a doctor and member of the Parents of Diabetic Children, “We were tired of letting the powerful lobbies for the National Dairy Council defend themselves with biased studies and corporate sponsored research.”

The new label will read “Dairy products are the primary cause of Type 1 diabetes in children.”

In an interview shortly after the decision, Lawrence Green, one of the lawyers hired by the National Dairy Council, in a moment of suprising honesty said “I think my clients knew it was only a matter of time. After hearing the testimony of Dr. Campbell, my family and I have made the decision not only to take dairy products completely out of our diets, but to also move toward a complete plant-based whole food diet.”

Other organizations including the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society are preparing their own lawsuits, hoping to expand the extent of the warning labels on dairy products.

Parents with Diabetic Children is a non-profit group to be formed sometime in the coming months to demand justice from those that seek profits over public health concerns.

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Sorry about the absence lately, I have been spending much time in research. I continue to realize tremendous effects of my own change of nutrition and lifestyle, however I started becoming overwhelmed with differing opinions on what is the ideal diet, so I have been digging into the books. The snow outside my window reminds me that this is a good thing to do here in Minnesota this time of year.

While I continue to stand behind everything I have posted so far, and remain completely committed to learning more, I may be making some changes, or adding comments as well as putting up some new information soon. Please don’t loose any interest, and keep the questions coming as I am here to help anyone who wants to follow me to a longer healthier life.

I will leave you with some reading from an article published a few years ago that helps to better explain why most doctors don’t give us the information we need, and next time you are encouraged to take a medication, you might want to look for another opinion.

Harvard Medical School in Ethics Quandary

 

 

 

 

enlightening

I was asked today what I think about taking vitamins. There has been a lot of news recently about whether we should be taking vitamins, and some news stories are even telling us to “throw them away.” I’m not convinced that vitamins are bad for you, however I have believed for a long time that they are mostly just going through your system and into the waste stream, which is bad for the environment. That aside, I do believe that if you are purchasing quality vitamins made from food products, they are not only not harmful, but may offer marginal protection against gaps in your diet.

This is what brings me to the important point about vitamins. If you are missing vitamins from your diet, it implies that you are not eating enough fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains (in that order). If you follow a plan of nutrition through whole plant-based foods, you do not need a multi-vitamin.

There are unfortunately two vitamin factors that are important to keep in mind with plant-based nutrition is vitamins B-12 and D(3). B-12 is found in the soil, but now that we wash our vegetables so thoroughly we wash away the B-12. Vitamin D comes from the sun, and thanks to all the time we spend indoors, or wearing sunscreen we limit our exposure. Both of these vitamins are needed in very small amounts. If you are getting plenty of sun you don’t need to worry about D until you are older (people over 60 have a harder time turning the sun into vitamin D). B12 can be obtained through a very small sub lingual dose a few times a week.

After 6 months to a year of following a plan of plant-based nutrition you can go to a clinic and have your blood tested for both of these vitamins, and of course if you are feeling uncomfortable about any new problems see your doctor right away.

This morning I was asked a question like this. I answered by explaining first that this is not a diet. Diets have been shared for generations now and new ones are being released almost every day, some see results with these diets, some don’t, but I think that most experience the thought that this is a temporary way of eating, and can’t wait to finish regardless of the results.

I am going to make a point of avoiding the word ‘diet’ from now on.’ What I am discussing on this blog and experiencing first hand is plant-based nutrition. Now that I am approaching one year of leaving behind dairy and foods with a lot of oil, and having left behind meat many years ago, I can’t even imagine returning to my previous ways of eating. Why would I want to give up the new-found energy and vitality I feel, the better sleep patterns, not carrying around an extra 30-40 pounds, improved vision, no soreness in my joints to name a few results, so that I could spend my money on foods that don’t offer me the best most life giving nutrients again.

If you’re thinking “yeah, but I enjoy eating some of those foods,” trust me, your taste buds change and so do your ideas about what “looks good” to you.

All that said, if it helps you to consider it a “diet” so that you don’t have to look at it as a permanent change, do so for 2 months, and then let me know if it was a diet, or if you are now ready to continue offering your body what it best needs to take care of itself so that it can offer us all of its energy and health to continue to love and serve God, others, and the world around us.

Thanks for finishing this, I’ll now step down from my soapbox 😉

One of the harder aspects about enjoying a plant-based diet is navigating the dining out experience. I am however finding that it is easier than I had believed it would be. I have found that any restaurant that has prepares every meal to order not only will help you with your specifications, but actually seem to be very happy to help.

I think in today’s market, with less people dining out, restaurants are working hard to retain regulars. What’s more, the more of us that go in and ask for healthier meals, they will understand the importance of offering better options when they update their menus.

In this post, I want to offer a few tips, then share a couple recent experiences.

1. Plan Ahead
Most restaurants publish their menus online. This makes it easy to plan what you will order and what adjustments might need to be made. There are also a growing number of sites that suggest which restaurants offer vegetarian an vegan options. HappyCow.com is the biggest, but with a little searching you should be able to find a regional site, or someone local that has created a blog to share their experiences.

2. Look for the Salad Bar
If a restaurant has an all you can eat salad bar, you can feel pretty safe that you will dine well. The only catch is if you want to avoid oil, you can ask for lemon and add a little vinegar, salt and pepper to make your own dressing, or you could smuggle something in like a ground flaxseed dressing you make ahead of time.

3. Call Ahead
I have not used this technique myself, but if you are concerned about not making a fuss when you are there, you can call ahead and have something prepared for you. This gives the chef more time, and I have heard you can end up with a better meal than what is offered on the menu.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask
I have discovered in any restaurant that has a cook or chef preparing the meals, they are not only happy to work with you to eliminate ingredients, but usually eagerly offer suggested substitutions. It seems that with the growing number of people eating plant-based wait staff is very familiar with these requests, and this will only be getting easier as more of us ask.

5. Eat First
If all esle fails, and you are going to a restaurant that offers little options, don’t arrive starving. This will make it easier to order a salad and be content.

Been listening to this great podcast lately and the most recent edition Caryn Hartglass interviews Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Very good listening, I highly recommend you check it out and subscribe to the podcast.

While taking my course in plant-based nutrition, we had to write several short essays. This was an assignment after studying the work of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. I will include a video after this post that covers much of the material taught in this unit.

The question posed to the class was:

A close friend has heart disease. He is willing to consider altering his diet, but his cardiologist tells him his condition could be easily managed with medication, and the friend is concerned about missing out on all that is good (and fatty) in life. Without giving medical advice, discuss his options with him, as you see them.

My response:

I know this must be difficult, perhaps the most difficult thing you have ever faced. I know you’re not alone.  In fact I’m glad you are able to do something about it in time, some die of a heart attack not even realizing they had a problem. Now, I am not a doctor, but I have been spending a lot of time studying the effect of nutrition on our body, especially as it relates to disease. The most important thing that I have learned about heart disease is that much of it has been caused by our many years of eating the typical American diet consisting of a lot of meat, dairy and oils.

As I have come to understand, we have a layer of cells inside our arteries that make all the difference between having blood flow efficiently, or having things clog up, or worse, stop. These cells, called endothelial cells are hugely impacted by the amount of cholesterol we eat. You see, these cells produce nitric oxide which is the key to having healthy vessels. This gas is what allows healthy arteries to dilate when you put stress on them, like when you exercise. When we consume cholesterol, these cells become sticky, and cannot produce the nitric oxide. I know that is some technical stuff, the main point being that we can all reverse the negative effects of many years of torturing these cells by switching to a plant based diet, and by avoiding plant based foods heavy in omega-6 fatty acids like oil and nuts.

There are so many other benefits to switching our diet, among them avoiding other diseases like cancer and diabetes, and improving our battle with the aging process. You see, fruits and vegetables are full of good things including anti-oxidants which help us maintain healthy cells throughout our bodies, and, as a result of improving your circulation, we reduce the damage to our brains so that we can slow down the process of memory loss or even Alzheimer’s disease.

So you have everything to gain, and nothing to lose by switching your diet. If this isn’t enough to convince you, look at some of the cultures that have a very healthy diet such as parts of rural China, or Papua Highlanders or the Tarahumar Indians of northern Mexico where there are virtually no instances of heart disease.

It has been exciting learning about all of this, and I too have switched my diet after seeing my cholesterol levels climb, so together we can work to rebuild our arteries and overall health. I am certain that if together we can go 90 days without any of the bad fats the cravings will cease.  We can both get our blood checked often to see if we can get you off of the medications.

If you are interested I would be happy to loan you some great books to catch you up on what I have learned.

Here is a talk given by Dr. Esselstyn
Sanjay Gupta and Bill Clinton

The Last Heart Attack on CNN

If anyone missed the CNN report by Sanjay Gupta, here is a link to the whole thing.

You can also see the film Forks Over Knives on Netflix.