Kaiser Embraces the Plant-Based Diet

kaiser-permanente-logoBack in September 2013, the first post on this blog was about Kaiser Permanente advising their doctors to

consider recommending a plant-based diet to all their patients…encouraging whole, plant-based foods and discouraging meats, dairy products, and eggs as well as all refined and processed foods.

I believe they want their patients to be healthy, but… given that they are a managed care organization, the more of their patients who eat a plant-based diet, the better their bottom line looks.

Plant-based DietAlong with the recommendation, Kaiser produced this 20-page guide with information about the “New Food Groups” their patients will be eating from, tips for getting started, and sample menus and recipes.

Reading this guide, I thought I was reading any number of books by Drs. Esselstyn, Campbell, McDougall, Barnard or Ornish.

This explanation of the benefits of a plant-based diet read like the list of benefits from Dr. Campbell’s book Whole.

  • Lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar
  • Reversal or prevention of heart disease
  • Longer life
  • Healthier weight
  • Lower risk of cancer and diabetes
  • May slow the progression of certain types of cancer
  • Improved symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
  • Fewer medication
  • Lower food costs
  • Good for the environment

The guide recommends that patients with heart issues stay away from nuts and oils, like Dr. Esselstyn.

What a radical idea – improving health with diet, not pills.

The resources section at the end of the guide points patients to the Forks Over Knives movie and website, and the websites and books of the good doctors listed above. You can download the guide from their website.

Kaiser is my health care provider and the doctor I see there is not necessarily on board with this program. Despite my telling him that I eat a plant-based diet, he suggested I take fish oil to ensure I get enough Omega-3s. He also wanted to make sure that I was getting enough protein. I should have asked him if he ever tells his omnivore patients to eat less.

However, it is great to see the health care establishment embracing plant-based diets for their patients. Whatever the motivation, their patients win.

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The End of Dieting

Dr Fuhrman on Dr Oz Show Dr. Joel Fuhrman was on the Dr. Oz Show last week talking about his new book The End of Dieting. It is a follow-up to his best selling book Eat to Live.

The focus of his new book is on his Nutritarian lifestyle – eating all you want of the proper foods for good nutrition and health. Like Drs. Esselstyn, Campbell, McDougall and Ornish, he advocates a whole food, plant-based diet full of fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains and seeds. Like Dr. Ornish’s Spectrum plan, Dr. Fuhrman also allows for a small intake of dairy and lean meat.

On the show, I thought he did a great job describing the problems associated with on and off dieting and also highlighting the differences between his plan and the Paleo, Wheat Belly or Mediterranean diets.

The hook Dr. Fuhrman uses is the concept of eating G-BOMBS:

  • Greens – eat a lot of greens and salads for their nutrients
  • Beans – full of carbohydrates that don’t spike blood sugar
  • Onions – have great anti-cancer properties
  • Mushrooms – good for preventing breast cancer
  • Berries – good for reversing cancer (and they taste great)
  • Seeds – rich in protein and healthy fat

There is a lot of good information on his website, although some areas are members-only. I am also sad to see the line of supplements that he sells. I believe, based on the information from Drs. Cambell, McDougall and others, that if you eat a healthy diet, you don’t need additional supplements.

However, Dr. Fuhrman is another voice advocating eating whole foods and mostly plant-based at a time when the best seller lists are full of books advocating increased meat and dairy consumption. I hope his book will inspire more people to eat healthy and stop the unhealthy diet cycles that can cause damage and increase the risk of chronic diseases.

 

Are Cheeseburgers Really Heart Healthy?

cheeseburger

Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill/PRNewsFoto

The New York Times headline read “Study Questions Fat and Heart Disease Link.” It’s OK to order the cheeseburgers again!!

The article was highlighting new research showing that saturated fat, the kind found in meat and dairy products, is not linked to heart disease. The new research also found that taking supplements like fish oil to raise “good” cholesterol did not have any impact on heart health.

Dr. John McDougall – author of The Starch Solution and a whole food, plant-based diet advocate was quick to respond.

This March 18, 2014 Annals of Internal Medicine article will become a feeding frenzy for the animal-food-industries: a “nugget of proof” that their saturated fat-laden foods can be eaten guiltlessly. Millions of people worldwide, especially those who are looking to hear good news about their bad habits, will die of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity, and if left unchallenged, resulting increases in livestock production will accelerate global warming even faster.

The headlines proved him correct.

Why almost everything you’ve been told about unhealthy foods is wrong – from The Guardian

Another Blow to the “Saturated Fat Is Bad” School of Thought – from Diabetes Health

A different view on saturated fats – a rather subdued headline from meatpoultry.com

More from Dr. McDougall

The main scientific study they used showing the safety of saturated fat, was a study supported by the National Dairy Council. This is the single study used to promote eating animals by the low-carb movement and the animal food industries.

The majority of the studies this research looked at were from the US and Europe. These studies, for the most part, looked at people eating the typical Western diet.

In the nineteen that were based in North America and 42 in Europe, people all ate the same diet (full of saturated fat, ie. Dairy, meat, and eggs) – how could you possibly see any difference in health?

I found this article – reprinted from WebMD – Saturated Fats: Bad, Not So Bad? It included information about the main author of the study, Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, at the Harvard School of Public Health, and the companies he receives fees from – Bunge (agribusiness), Pollock Institute, Quaker Oats (agribusiness), Life Sciences Research Organization, Foodminds (PR), Nutrition Impact  (“helping food & beverage companies develop and communicate aggressive, science-based claims about their products and services”), Amarin (pharmaceutical), Astra Zeneca (pharmaceutical), Winston and Strawn LLP (corporate law firm), and UpToDate (evidence-based clinical decision support resource), and serving on the scientific advisory board for Unilever North America (among other companies, owner of Ben & Jerry’s).

I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

With more and more people wanting organic, non-GMO food and “healthier” options for their families, the meat and dairy industries feel threatened. This study was just what they need to continue to push back against the issues with eating the saturated fat in their products.

Let the “feeding frenzy” begin. Me, I’ll stick with what is working for me to keep me healthy and feeling great.

Delicious Vegan Apple Crisp

apple crisp and vanilla frozen dessertI made this wonderful apple crisp for dessert tonight. The recipe is modified from the one in The Starch Solution by John and Mary McDougall.

It’s real easy to make. I peeled three large Fuji apples and two Granny Smiths and then cut them into thin slices. I mixed in some lemon juice and half teaspoon of cinnamon.

Preheat the oven to 350 and get ready to start making the topping. Here’s what it looks like before the topping.

Making #apple #crisp for #dessert from The Starch Solution #mcdougall

A post shared by Joel Gluck (@joelgvt) on

For the topping I used one cup of oats, half cup of Ezekiel 4:9 Cereal (or you can use Grape Nuts or similar) and half teaspoon of cinnamon. Stir and then add maple syrup to bind them. The original recipe calls for 3/4 cup, but that makes it very sweet.

Once the topping is ready, spread it over the apples. Then mix 2/3 cup of apple juice and 1 teaspoon of corn starch and pour over the top. You can use a little apple juice in the topping instead of the syrup.

#apple #crisp ready to bake!

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Ready to bake for 40-50 minutes. The smell in the kitchen is heavenly.

Serve warm or at room temperature by itself or with a vanilla frozen dessert. A great easy to make vegan dessert. Enjoy.

Bad 2 The Bone Chili

Bad 2 the Bone Chili

Getting ready to spend Thanksgiving with my mother and sister in Southern Oregon. We made a large pot of Bad 2 the Bone Chili from Rip Esselstyn’s My Beef with Meat book.

What I love about this chili is all of the veggies.

cut up veggies ready to cook

You start by cutting up onion, carrot, celery, red pepper, mushrooms, zucchini and yellow squash and let them cook down.

add beans tomato and lentils

Then you add the rest of the ingredients – a cup of cooked red lentils, tomatoes and beans.

fresh tomatoes

The recipe calls for canned tomatoes, but I got some beautiful dry-farmed Early Girls from the Farmers’ Market. The recipe also calls for just kidney beans, but I use a can each of kidney, pinto and great northern beans.

add spices and addl liquid

Then chili powder, cumin, barbeque sauce, maple syrup and salsa. Let it boil, turn down the heat to simmer and in 30 minutes it’s done.

Bad 2 the Bone Chili

There’s nothing like a bowl of chili for a cold night – there’s a possible Nor’easter brewing back East in Vermont. A pot of this will keep you warm after shoveling snow.

We serve the chili with a cornbread recipe from Dr. McDougall’s site.

Cornbread

1 c cornmeal
1 c whole wheat pastry flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine salt
1 cup non-dairy milk (such as fat-free soymilk)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tbsp raw sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F. Whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Add non-dairy milk, applesauce, maple syrup and sugar, if using, on top. Using a spatula, stir until just combined. Pour batter into a nonstick shallow 9″ pie dish, or other oven-safe dish. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

I’m making this tomorrow night. I’ll post a picture then.

Happy Holidays and Safe Travels.

PCRM Thanksgiving Menu

Delicata Squash

PCRM – Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (Dr. Barnard’s group) – has a great whole food, plant-based and oil-free menu for Thanksgiving on their website. Everything from soup to dessert.

The menu is:

  • Creamy Mushroom Bisque
  • Crispy Sage Mashed Sweet Potatoes
  • Delicata Squash Stuffed with Holiday Rice
  • Save-Cash Quinoa Loaf
  • Apple Crisp

They also have pointers to other recipes – like Zesty Cranberry Sauce or Pumpkin Custard Pie. They both sound yummy.

This is an Apple Crisp recipe from Dr. McDougall that is great, but sweetened with maple syrup.

Preparation Time:  20 minutes
Cooking Time:  40-50 minutes
Servings:  9

4 large firm apples, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup raisins or currents
¾ cup Grape Nuts cereal
¾ cup rolled oats
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup maple syrup
2/3 cup apple juice
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the apple slices in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice and cinnamon.  Place in a non-stick square baking dish and sprinkle with the raisins or currents.

Mix the Grape nuts, rolled oats and cinnamon in a separate bowl.  Stir in the maple syrup.  Spread evenly over the apples.  Whisk the apple juice with the cornstarch until well mixed, then pour over the apples and topping.  Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until apples are tender.

Serve warm or cold.

Enjoy a whole food, plant-based and oil-free holiday this year. You’ll feel better.

Dr. McDougall – Osteoporosis and the Broken Bone Business

John McDougall

One of the things I love about living near San Francisco is all of the opportunities to do things. This evening my wife and I went to a vegan dinner sponsored by the Wellness Center and the San Francisco Vegetarian Society.

After a wonderful dinner prepared by certified Nutrition Consultant  Patricia Allen Koot, we watched this presentation by Dr. John McDougall about osteoporosis and bone health. He explained how the medical and pharmaceutical establishments game the system to make lots of money from women who have fears about this disease – promoted by front groups they fund – like the National Osteoporosis Foundation. This foundation’s corporate “advisors” include Amgen, Bayer Healthcare, Eli Lilly, Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer.

McDougall’s advice is to avoid drug therapies for osteoporosis and let a whole food, plant-based diet and exercise keep your bones strong and healthy. Eating dairy and meat products add acid to your system and the body neutralizes this acid by removing calcium from your bones. This starts the process that leads to osteoporosis.

Here is the entire presentation. You can find it on YouTube along with other videos by Dr. McDougall.

This video was recorded at one of Dr. McDougall’s Advanced Study Weekends. There is one coming up in February, featuring Caldwell Esselstyn and Colin Campbell and other speakers on nutrition and health. The weekends also include all meals prepared following Dr. McDougall’s eating plan.

Just Another Statistic

Leading Causes of Death statistics from CDC Website

Leading Causes of Death statistics from CDC Website

Five years ago my uncle, my dad’s only sibling, died from complications after heart surgery. He had a minimally invasive procedure done with a da Vinci device. The surgeon performed his task flawlessly, but the assistant punctured one of his lungs when removing the device. Other missteps by the hospital staff further complicated his already weakened system and he never regained consciousness.

A recent article in Forbes, Stunning News On Preventable Deaths In Hospitals, describes the magnitude of this issue:

In 1999, Americans learned that 98,000 people were dying every year from preventable errors in hospitals. That came from a widely touted analysis by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) called To Err Is Human. This was the “Silent Spring” of the health care world, grabbing headlines for revealing a serious and deadly problem that required policy and action.

As it turns out, those were the good old days.

According to a new study just out from the prestigious Journal of Patient Safety, four times as many people die from preventable medical errors than we thought, as many as 440,000 a year.

Continue reading

Meat and Potatoes, Hold the Meat

John McDougall

When John McDougall was 18 he had a paralyzing stroke. When he asked the doctors why this had happened to him, they didn’t have an answer. So he went to medical school and became a doctor to see if he could find the answers. Forty years later, we are the recipients of his life-long quest.

In his book The Starch Solution, Dr. McDougall lays out a way of eating to improve health and reduce the risk of diseases like heart disease, diabetes and stroke while eating foods you love like potatoes and whole grain bread.

His research of the people with the healthiest diets all had one thing in common – starch. Rice in Asian countries, sweet potatoes in South America, corn in Central America and the southwest US.

His recipe for a healthy diet includes vegetables; fruit; beans, legumes and unprocessed soy products (think tofu, not fake chicken nuggets); and starches.

Like many other proponents of a whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet, Dr. McDougall’s plan does not include meat, fish, dairy, eggs or added oils. It also avoids white flour and sugar.

The Starch Solution

The book covers why starches help you lose weight and stay healthy and why animal products are unhealthy for you and the planet. There are also chapters that discuss how a WFPB diet provides you with all the calcium and protein you need and why you don’t need supplements (with the exception of B-12).

To help you get started, there is a 7 day meal plan and over 100 recipes to get you started.

Dr. McDougall is passionate about his work – helping people stay healthy and live life to the fullest. Read his book and you’ll become a believer in the Starch Solution.