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Monday, September 19, 2011

Esselstyn, etc., continued (Notes from the Health Conference)

Here are the rest of my notes from the Appalachian Health Conference - finally!

Roger Greenlaw

I was not familiar with Dr. Greenlaw but I was very impressed with the information he laid out for us in his presentation and his Lifestyle Medicine approach.  He is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Illinois, College of Medicine, Rockford, and it gives me such hope for our nutritional future to see someone in that position bringing forth the empowering message to patients and medical students that lifestyle is vital for good health.

He, like so many others that I follow now, views nutrition as medicine.  (I often quote Hippocrates, father of 'modern' medicine, "Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food").

He had me at the literalness of words, something that is a bit of a nerd-esque passion of mine, and spoke of the word 'disease'.....  DIS - EASE and the absolute miracles that come from better nutrition.

Dr. Greenlaw put up a series of charts that were fascinating....they were a series of maps of the U.S. with color-coded keys.  These were stats provided by the CDC and tracked obesity trends; the first one was for 1985 and showed about 20 or so of the states on the chart...there were only two ranges of percentages, the highest being 10-14%.  By 2010 the U.S. had clearly reached epidemic proportions with 4 more categories added to the chart to keep pace with the growing numbers.  If this was any other sort of ailment, there would have been mass hysteria long ago (think avian flu and the relative small percentage of the population affected).

Chronic disease (per Dr. Greenlaw) is currently absorbing 75% of our medical care costs and we are treating the symptoms only, not the root cause.  At the current rate, by 2030, 150 million Americans will be chronically ill, which will be roughly half of the population.

I did a search and found the series of charts.  Click on the 'previous' button and watch the colors change on the for when new categories are added because the rate of obesity has exceeded the maximum range previously set.  Watch the once colorless states take their place in the percentages of obesity.

Dr. Greenlaw believes that we have the potential to have a longevity of 110-120 years, but instead, we are currently facing the first generation that will likely have a shorter life-span than its parents....what a sad legacy.

Lifestyle changes the genetic expression of all the major diseases:  cancer, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and diet is the number one lifestyle choice.  This is a hugely important concept in my way of thinking as I hear the argument 'it's genetic' so often from people.  I'll see a family that is all suffering from obesity and claiming the genetics of it, but this condition simply could not be expressed if a healthy diet and lifestyle was being followed!!!

Dr. Greenlaw spoke of the C.H.I.P. (Coronary Health Improvement Project) program developed by Hans Diehl.  (This program was heavily promoted at the conference and many people enrolled in it and got off to a great start.  For more on C.H.I.P. see: ).

Dr. Greenlaw also addressed the topic of factory farms and stated that we are now feeding food designed for humans to animals and then eating the animals.

Dean Ornish's work is the source of much inspiration for Dr. Greenlaw.  (See the lifestyle medicine link above to read a bit more about Greenlaw's background and the truly great work he has done).

Rural Asia has virtually no disease, so why not put our patients on the same diet, using that healthy diet as a model!

Telomeres, are like rosary beads at the end of the DNA helix.  We can lengthen telomeres, per Greenlaw, via consumption of phytonutrients (and carbon, hydrogen and oxygen) as these are responsible for maintenance and repair of our body.  Dean Ornish, The Spectrum, also goes into the telomere issue.

(I am reading an interesting article in Popular Science right now regarding telomeres.  Of course science here is invested heavily in the discovery of an 'elixir' of sorts to extend the life of our cells.  Basically, our cells lose their ability to divide over time, losing a bit of genetic material ---the telomeres---each time they divide.  If that was turned off or if we could extend it, then we would only have to worry about the other health issues, heart disease, cancer, etc.)

A successful diet is less than 10% fat.

Greenlaw also mentioned Roy L. Swank, M.D., a name I am familiar with, for his work on M.S.  He is a respected neurologist who has had success in the treatment of M.S. with a low-fat, high fiber diet.

There are 60,000 miles of capillaries in the human body, about one cell thick.  A plant-based diet thins the blood, with obvious benefits.

Our body is in a constant state of renewal on a cellular level.
  We get a new stomach lining every 7 days.
  We get new skin every 30 days.
  We get new liver tissue every 45 days.
  We get new red blood cells every 120 days.
We are 98% new every year and this is created from what we eat!

There is no fiber in meat and dairy and there are no phytochemicals either.
Despite all the phytochemicals that have been identified, there are at least 100,000 more we have yet to identify. 
Greenlaw recommends 10 hours of fasting so the body can rest and repair.
7.4 is the approximate ph of plants.  A base ph drives calcium into bone.
Plant foods are anti-inflammatory.

Self-Care is the new Primary Care.

Rip Esselstyn

Rip Esselstyn explains the SAD (Standard American Diet)

It was my great honor, pleasure and vastly supportive opportunity to hear Rip speak when I was a mere two weeks or less into this program.  I had just finished his book, Engine 2 Diet, and happened to find out he was coming to central Ohio that very week.  Exposure to Rip couldn't have come at a more important time for me as I had virtually NO support for the decision I made to do this program.  In the difficult first two months, I would rely on words from Rip many times.  So, an opportunity to hear him again, now, when I feel so strong in this program was just non-dairy icing on an eggless cake for me.  Rip is down-to-earth, effective, clear, concise, and let's face it, downright easy on the eyes.  Rip, I mean no disrespect whatsoever when I say that I enjoyed the part of the program where you changed your tee-shirt as much as any of the rest of it!  What can I say....Rip is well, ripped!

Rip's message:
51% of people will die of heart disease.  We are now seeing evidence of the start of coronary disease at age 2 and 3 in the form of fat lesions.

In 1971 Richard Nixon declared war on cancer and no dent has been made.
Tons of money is spent on research, but it is nutritional literacy that is needed.

13, 14, 15 year olds are now getting type 2 diabetes, which is lifestyle diabetes.

James Anderson, diabetes researcher, said the U.S. spends 5 times the money on weight loss that the U.N. spends on hunger/famine relief efforts.

David Kessler:  The End of Over-Eating author said that food industries make unhealthy food uber-palatable.

Rip's message:  Real men eat plants.  Real men are compassionate.  (Yes, they are, Rip....yes they are.)

A chart that Rip showed breaking down the protein percentages and growth factors of milk by species:

MILK                  PROTEIN %                                  # DAYS WHEN WEIGHT DOUBLES
Human                        5%                                                                  180
Horse                         11%                                                                  60
Cow                           15%                                                                  47
Goat                           17%                                                                  19
Dog                            30%                                                                    8
Cat                             40%                                                                    7
Rat                             49%                                                                    4

Rip mentioned Bizarro comic ( blog as one of his favorites and I found this on YouTube from the creator, Dan Piraro

One of Rip's favorite quotes:  "American always gets it right but only after they try everything else.  Winston Churchill.

Ann Esselstyn

The first two things you have to notice about Ann, wife of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and Rip's mother, is her piercing nearly turquoise eyes and her radiant energy.  She was only given 20 minutes to speak to us as the Esselstyn's had to jet, literally...had to catch a flight, but she pounded us with information on food preparation with the enthusiasm and energy of a child on Christmas morning.

NO OIL!!!!  That was the resounding message from Ann, a staunch supporter of her husband's construct about oil's debilitating effect on the lining of our vascular system.

In place of mayo, Ann uses hummus made without tahini.

For a dressing, she likes hummus, balsamic vinegar, O.J. and mustard or just lemon squeezed over salad (I have tried this and it is pretty good and works in a pinch when at a restaurant with no salad dressing options...they always have lemon quarters).

For no oil baking, substitute apple butter, prunes, banana or applesauce.

Fit kale into your diet wherever you can:
  use it as a nest for your food to sit on
  add it to pasta for the last few minutes of cooking
Use collards for wraps.

Add swiss chard to soups.

Beet greens are wonderful with lemon and balsamic vinegar.

Use hearts of romaine with dips.

Eat oats everyday for breakfast.  They lower cholesterol, are anti-inflammatory, add fruit and flaxseed meal to oats and have as a cold cereal.  Make up a batter and cook in waffle iron.

SAMI's bakery is a resource Ann likes for their flax pizza crust; she adds kale with the pasta sauce for pizza.

Coconut milk is not a health food.  1/4C has 12 g fat, 10 of which is saturated fat.

Dark chocolate: 2 1/2 squares have 17g fat and 10 is saturated fat (no wonder my weight started dropping when I ended my affaire with Monsieur Dark Chocolate!!!)

She stressed: eat oats, eat greens, eat all the colors, no oil, eat beans and lentils, red lentils--add these to pasta sauce--- drink water, use sugar and salt very sparingly, be plant-perfect!

Sue, 'can't-face-a-day-without-kale', in Ohio

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Veggie Burgers/Veggie Loaf & Give-Away Winner

Veggie Burger/Veggie Loaf

I have an awesome husband; I really do. Sure, sometimes I look at him like he is as alien as kohlrabi and there have been days when I seriously want to run away to Montana, but truly, he is wonderful and treats me like a queen (or so he says, but we are going to have to work on the bowing and the backing away respectfully when he leaves a room in my presence).  So, I shouldn't have been surprised when one day he came home with a glint in his eye and said 'I have something for you'.  I knew it was going to be special, but would never have guessed what he whipped out of his pocket for me. 

(For those of you who don't know me well, you may be expecting me to tell you of something small and in a box with a gilded ribbon.  Nope...not my cup of Irish Breakfast tea).

So what did he whip out???  A veggie burger recipe!!!  From a chef at a restaurant that he frequents who he just happened to speak to about the lack of veggie choices on the menu and just happened to mention that his wife was vegan and just happened to launch into a discussion about veggie burgers at which point the chef asked did his wife have a good recipe for one....and he said, well, that you mention it....uh, no. (My poor husband has been bravely choking down my MANY renditions of veggie burgers, saturating them in ketchup and mustard, and earning massive credits towards his upcoming knighting ceremony....seriously, the last batch I made looked like something that may have come out of a very sick dog....I couldn't believe he ate it...and didn't complain).
I have since contacted Chef Mark....who has generously given me permission to publish the recipe.  Thank you MARK!!!

Veggie Burger

3 C cooked brown rice
2 C black beans, rinse and chopped (reserve liquid)
1 C oat bran (I just ground up some oatmeal)
1/4 C red beet roasted, diced (I used WAY more than that)
3T red onion, diced (I used a whole onion)
3T jalapeno, fresh diced
3T roasted corn (I used about 1/2 C)
3T green bell pepper, diced (I omitted because the Knight of the Castle hates green peppers, but I would prob. use an entire red pepper if I made this for myself).

Combine all ingredients and mix together by hand.  Add 1/2 C reserved bean liquid and mix by hand.  Portion into patties and wrap and REFRIGERATE FOR 12 HOURS!!!!

(Don't you hate it when you get to the bottom of a recipe and you have forgotten what you learned in home-ec, that you really should read a recipe all the way through before making it and surprise, surprise, you are supposed to freeze it, marinate it, or REFRIGERATE it for like 4 days???  I hate that, so I put it in all caps for you.  And, what I ended up doing was making a few burgers for dinner and chilling the rest, making those the next day.  It still worked ok).  I pan-fried mine, but you could bake on parchment paper too.

Veggie Burgers ready to cook

The second time I made this recipe, I used it as a 'clean-out the frig' exercise.  I had some leftover quinoa, so subbed that for the rice, also added mushrooms and a few other veggie remnants.  I decided to press it all into a loaf and it was quite good.  I do think the brown rice works much better than the quinoa though.

Veggie/quinoa loaf along with mashed cauli-potatoes & mushroom gravy and roasted kobacha squash

I used the mushroom gravy recipe from Caldwell Esselstyn's wonderful book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.  It is super fast, very easy and a really great recipe that was wonderful on these cauli-potatoes.  You can find it here:

For the cauli-potatoes, I just cooked up white potatoes (with the peel left on) and about half-a-head of cauliflower, adding the cauliflower later in the cooking.  I drained the water off (I reserve this for veggie stock), and I added a very thick almond milk which I make myself in Viv, my Vita-Mix super-heroine.  I don't strain the almond milk but you could, through cheesecloth, if you wanted a purer-looking potato mixture...I'm all about efficiency (read:
l-a-z-y).  I just beat the mix with a hand mixer and it's good to go.  No butter or dairy needed.  Yum.

Give-Away Skin Care Goodies

Thank you for entering; it was fun getting some comments, and I really am just extremely happy to be celebrating this milestone. 

My special equine-yin-yang hat

That's my knight picking the hands aren't quite that hairy

And the winner is:


Sue, starting year number 2, in Ohio

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Rain-Inspired Philosophy and Last Two Days to Enter Give-Away

It's a weather mish-mass here in Ohio for Labor Day weekend.  We had sweltering heat yesterday, torrential rainstorms last night and tomorrow will probably be idyllic.  This weekend's weather seems to be the perfect metaphor for life, how sometimes it is all we can do to get through a given day, hour or even minute and sometimes it is just bliss personified.

We would likely script it for all of our days to be filled with that bliss, but time has taught me that progress only comes from challenge, adversity or the occasional bump in the road.  Even muscle and bone develop on our bodies as the result of outside pressures and forces; indeed the universe seems to be designed with this inherent need for stress in order for growth to occur.

Would we even be happy if it was all-bliss-all-the-time?  I'm thinking, no....likely not and we would end up creating our own chaos....or maybe that is what we do anyway, at least to some degree.  Have you ever known someone who clearly doesn't have enough to do and seems to make a problem out of everything that comes his or her way?  Or maybe you know someone who seems perpetually trapped in drama fit for only day-time soaps. 

Of course we have to decide that we WILL grow, expand, develop and move on as a result of those stresses and challenges, or else we will collapse into an ever-shrinking sphere of influence and soon the tasks we could handle, will now become too much.  Most of us probably know people who seem unable to pull themselves out of an abyss and may even turn to self-medication, or over-indulgence of some form....even unhealthy food.  I have certainly been in that downward spiral before in dealing with depression, the most recent event being my reaction to the death of my mother.  Weight gain from not taking proper care of myself only made matters worse, and so the hole got bigger and deeper.  But, I now view the depths I sunk to as the opposite of the amount of growth I have made and the springboard to get me to where I am now, which is in a very good place. 

To anyone else reading this who may have what seems like a lengthy and difficult climb ahead of them, remember, the down side is likely proportional to the heights that await you.  Take that first step.  Then take the next one.  Rinse and repeat..... :-)

Rainy day inspired philosophy.....and humor.
I'll pick my winner (randomly from an organic cotton hat) at the end of the day tomorrow, so you have until then to enter to win this basket of goodies made by Karen at Crafty By Nature.  Karen has gone above and beyond for me on this project, creating vegan lip balm and now has in the works a vegan working hands skin repair cream.  Thank you so much, Karen.  Your efforts are deeply appreciated and I hope both new products end up being successful for you.  Check out Karen's very special products at her web-site, and look at her cool pottery too!

Gift Basket Give-Away
To enter:  leave a comment listing your favorite veggie

Sue, possibly 'crafty-by-nature', but definitely inspired by nature!, in Ohio