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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

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