Last semester I took a class in Childhood Obesity. I spent fifteen weeks studying the policies and practices around childhood obesity. In the end I concluded that the problem isn’t childhood obesity; it’s adult obesity. For every overweight/obese child there are three overweight/obese adults.
This idea was validated last week (Jun3 22, 2015). The Journal of American Medicine (JAMA) released a new analysis on weight in America. The conclusion? We’re fat and getting fatter. The study found that in the population of those 25 and older 75% of men and 67% of women are overweight or obese.
Worse yet, for the first time Americans who are obese outnumber those who are overweight. 30% of women and 40% of men are overweight while 37% of women and 35% of men are obese.
Despite all the diets, the information campaigns, the warnings and social pressure to be thin we are getting fatter. Researchers blame our lifestyle, processed foods, inactivity and technology. And Lin Yang, the chief researcher for the study says “This is a wake-up call to implement policies and practices designed to combat overweight and obesity.” Unfortunately, she is resoundingly silent about what those policies and practices might be.
After weeks of studying food policy, years of studying nutrition and watching a few documentaries: Forks Over Knives, Food Inc, Fed up and Supersize Me, I have some ideas about where we need to start.
Over the next couple of months I will be writing and talking food policy and how to create change. Feel free to contribute to the discussion — your ideas and comments are wanted and appreciated!
Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition is based on two simple premises:
“First, nutrition is the master key to human health.
Second, what most of us think of as proper nutrition–isn’t.”
Campbell show how nutrition researchers approach the science of nutrition with one of two biases. They are either reductionists who presume that everything can be understood if you understand all its component parts. Or wholists who postulate that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Most nutrition research today, is done on a reductionist model. Studies that isolate a small specific nutrient or vitamin like Vitamin D. The research study is then created in an attempt to draw conclusions about its effects on overall health. The research does a terrific job on highlighting the strengths and weaknesses or benefits and dangers of that specific nutrient. Unfortunately this is often done by overlooking the bigger picture of how the information fits into an individuals overall health and wellness.
Campbell argues that nutrition can only be understood using by a wholist approach. The interactions of food and the human body are too complex to be rationally understood without acknowledgement of the whole organism.
I really appreciate his believe that scientist today have the tools to create and administer wholist nutrition research. And that over time they can and will change the research methods and that consumers will begin to demand more comprehensive research. The combination of these forces will ultimately change how our society thinks about health and nutrition. He writes that “the crucial shift in the way we think about our health will happen one person at a time. Eventually the policy will begin to change. Industry, deprived of the income produced by ill health and our ignorance, will follow.” I hope he’s right!
This is an important work that is simply written, easy to understand and even optimistic about that future. And is important for both professionals and laymen since it is clear and never condenses or preaches to the reader.
Every now and then there is something in the news that really gets me going! Right now it is chocolate milk.
Because the dairy lobby is pushing the FDA to approve the use of the artificial sweetener aspartame in chocolate milk. Sugar isn’t bad enough now they want to add excitotoxins to dairy products on the down low.
Terrific idea – take milk which has many harmful side-effects and up the ante by adding excitotoxins! And this is how my tax dollars are being spent. . .
I’m not sure when I begin to cook. I know I was young’; probably 7 or 8. My one childhood cooking memory is making brownies follow the recipe in the Betty Crocker’s Cookbook for Boys and Girls.
When I was 8 (maybe 9) my Grandma sent me a cookbook for Christmas. I couldn’t wait to try it out. The first recipe I tried was for brownies. Trust me, I have never tasted a better brownie before or since!
That cookbook was the first in a collection of cookbooks that I either don’t have or rarely even look at any more. These days I do Google search when I want to figure out what to cook. My current collection has 10 cookbooks I can’t bear to part with. Betty Crocker’s Cookbook for Boys and Girls is one of them.
The Mediterranean Diet is in the news. A Spanish study showed that people at risk for heart disease eating a Mediterranean diet were 30% less likely to die of cardio-vascular disease than the control group who ate a standard low-fat diet. It is interesting to note that group who ate the Mediterranean Diet added extra helpings of extra-virgin olive oil or mixed nuts.
The Mediterranean Diet in this study the Mediterranean diet is composed of plant-based foods: olive oil, fruit, nuts, vegetables, legumes, and cereals. Along with some animal based products like fish and poultry, and limited amounts of dairy products, red meat and processed meats,. And just for fun wine and chocolate are allowed. (more…)
We are having a wonderful time – eating, walking and listening to music. Blues and Jazz.
This McDougall moment came in my email and it was also music to ears. In a different way, but still. . . Here Dr. McDougall eloquently states my belief about being a smart consumer of medical care. Watch it and enjoy!
A new study reported in Medical News Today, and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concludes that a Vegetarian Diet reduces the risk of dying of heart disease by one-third!
Starting in the early 1990s the study followed 45,000 Europeans who volunteered for the study. 34 percent of volunteers did not eat meat or fish. Hospital admissions and deaths were tracked and during the study. The final tally showed a total of 1,235 identified cases of cardiovascular disease: 1,066 by hospital admission and 169 by death.
I’m sure you don’t have to be told that there is a constant war going on in your digestive tract. At one time or other you have eaten, “The Whole Thing,” and felt the wrath of your entire digestive system. It is a very uncomfortable warning that moderation is a wiser way to live.
We tend to think that the war inside us only pertains to our excesses or to our valiant immune system fighting off invaders. In fact it is more about us and our allies against invaders and their allies. (more…)
Have I mentioned it’s cold here? The perfect time to catch up on my reading and the explanation for why I have reviewed so many books lately. Last weekend I read Integrative Wellness Rules by Dr. Jim Nicolai. I found it so impressive that I just have to write a little about it.
You may recognize Jim Nicolai’s name especially if you know about Andrew Weil, M.D., Integrative Wellness Center (Miraval) in Tuscon. Dr. Jim is the medical director at of the Miraval Health Spa and Wellness Center. (more…)
Reading recipe books and diet and advice books are part of my job these days. Thankfully, I get a lot of advance reader copies for review. Most of them I read or at least skim through, sigh and toss aside. Every now and then I actually find one I am wildly enthusiastic about. This is one.
When I talk about a whole-food plant based diet I mean:
Food based primarily on unprocessed (or minimally processed) vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes.
Food with little or not animal-based products such as eggs, dairy products, fish and meat
Food with little or no refined foods like white flour and white sugar
Food diet that is low in fats
Whole Food Plant-Based Diet Nutrition Advocate, Counselor and Coach
As a totally recovered Rheumatoid Arthritis patient, a life-long vegetarian, proficient cook, amateur gardener, certified health and fitness consultant and life coach I use by education and experience to help you move towards a plant based diet.
I love helping people develop a plan for tasty, balanced and budget conscious eating.
Together we create a simple guide to planning, shopping, cooking and even growing great food. With your work and my experience and encouragement you easily make the transition to eating a plant based diet.