Birthday season is over, but the CAKE was divine

Aug. 22 ended birthday season around here, when Emma turned 17.

ABC’s Wife Swap, filmed in 2007, when you agree to do the show, waltzes in and figures out what they can string you up for. (I knew they would. I considered it a game.) For me, it was the green smoothies, and the fact that I tell my kids, “The bus leaves at 7:22,” and then I leave them to walk to school, if they’re not ready.

None of that bothered me. What I didn’t see coming was that they would make a federal case about the two times I rented out a skating rink, or the municipal pool, for back-to-back parties for my kids. Each had their own party, their own cake, their own friends and presents. It wasn’t cheap to rent out the pool, and my kids decided that was what they wanted.

We did it just twice, the last time 6 years ago. The kids had a ball at their party.

Wife Swap made out that I am “obsessed with efficiency” and “won’t let them have their own party.” They purposefully failed to mention that all four of my kids are born within 3 weeks of each other. They made it seem as if my four children born at different times of the year are forced against their will to have a joint party because I don’t care about them.

I recently brought Patty out from Creative Health Institute. She works for us fulltime now, and we love her!  She became a long-term volunteer there for 18 months. I will tell you Patty’s story later, on a video, with her making Choca-Maca-Laca that I learned at CHI last year from Madeline Wilson.

The recipe is named that for the superfood ingredients Maca and Lacuma. But I LOVE this yummy recipe, and Patty lost tons of weight eating the Ann Wigmore diet plus two whole quarts, daily, of Choca-Maca-Laca! Wow. I guess “a calorie is not a calorie is not a calorie,” because that’s a lot of calories. Remember Colin Campbell discovered in the Oxford-Cornell China Project that those eating a plant-based diet stay lean eating 200 calories a day MORE than animal-flesh eaters, who were not lean, ate!)

I also posted Patty’s raw peach cobbler on the blog a year ago.

Patty is a Level III raw chef, and she made this delicious cheesecake, with the ingredients in my kitchen, for Emma’s 17th birthday on the 22nd. All the kids loved it. She blends tangerines and peaches from my tree, into Rejuvelac, and tells the kids it’s Powerade. Even though she’s not a mother, she has the instincts: she tells them it gives them energy for school and sports. (It’s true, of Rejuvelac.) She puts a half gallon of it in the fridge, like at CHI, with a masking-tape label saying “Don’t drink this after 6 pm!” That’s because it’ll keep you awake.

The photo is of Patty with Cade (19), Emma (17), Libby (15) and Tennyson (12).

Sunday I’ll post the recipe!

this is Dr. Campbell’s response

Tomorrow, on to other topics. Today, here is T. Colin Campbell’s response to Mercola’s missive:

Dr. Mercola raises so many questions that it would take me at least several weeks if not months to answer. He invents clever sayings and makes serious innuendos that are total nonsense–indeed slanderous. His questions are rhetorical, with meaning, and no matter what I say, the questions will always remain–without my answers.

But here are a few general comments that strike me as main points:

1. Dr. Mercola’s main mantra (business model) is Nutritional Typing. In some way (maybe with paid phone assistance from his staff), we are supposed to listen to our body to determine which of three dietary types best suit us. He then becomes more specific as to the importance of eating foods in the right order and of the right type. These recommendations, he claims, are science based.

This is a clever strategy for positioning his company in the marketplace. He casts a broad net to capture as many customers as possible for his many products that he sells. According to him, we fit within one of these three diet groups, ranging from 1) the high carb-low fat types vs. 2) the low carb-high fat types vs. (3) those in-between, thus capturing for his company a much larger customer base.

I deeply respect our personal freedoms to do as we wish (as long as it doesn’t harm others). But given the complex environment within which we choose foods, I cannot understand how we can reliably determine what dietary patterns and order of eating foods is best for our long-term health. I know that some people can recognize specific food allergies, but I also know that we tend to choose food for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which is convenience, avoidance of pain and sense of ‘pleasure’ or gratification (read the little gem of a book, The Pleasure Trap, by Lisle and Goldhamer to see how so many of us continually choose foods not in our best interests). His method defies common sense. He says that this is based on science but, if so, I want to see the evidence. I see none. To say that we can determine, with any certainty, which nutritional type, based on our personal but very nebulous assessment of our metabolism is hocus pocus.

On his claims about science, Mercola is out of his element–way out. He excuses his failure to document his professional experiences in the scientific literature because he (and his compatriots like Dr. Eades) don’t have time in their busy practice of medicine, as if public documentation of evidence is a bit of a luxury that is not really that important. This is an extremely lame excuse, exposing his fundamental misunderstanding of what scientific validity really means. Scientific evidence, as accepted by virtually everyone, is that which represents proper scientific experimental design and subsequent publication in the peer-reviewed literature.

Doing and reporting on peer reviewed research may not be a perfect solution for establishing truths (nothing is) but it is far better than listening to someone only telling us what he/she does or believes while giving us no way to evaluate such claims. Peer-review, the main engine of scientific validity, means that our research findings are subjected to the critique of professional colleagues before it is published in the professional literature. Even more to the point, in order for us to get the funding to do the research, especially from institutions like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or the National Science Foundation (NSF), we are required to undergo a most serious and somewhat protracted exercise of defending our hypotheses before committees of professional peers that may include as many as 15 members (I know this, having been on several of these panels). The chances of successfully obtaining funding is, on average, only one in six. In short, peer review is rigorous both in getting the funding and in publishing the results. Anyone, like Mercola, who claims scientific validity for his personal/professional observations is really at liberty to say whatever pleases them–and their wallets. This opens doors wide for snake oil ‘science’.

2. He relies on the bogus idea that it is our individual differences in “metabolism” that makes it possible for us to determine which foods please our metabolism and guard us against future ailments.  He has no idea what is metabolism. It changes and responds continuously and it is an enormously complex system of digestion, absorption, transport, enzymatic synthesis and breakdown of intermediates and distribution, excretion and storage of metabolites, all in an effort to maintain homeostasis. Reducing this concept to a simple phenomenon of energy use, which we can assess for ourselves is more superficial than adjectives can describe.

Read the rest of this report here.

my last post on the anti-China-Study Mercola newsletter

Related to questions received from yesterday’s post—

I don’t know if anyone has critiqued the China Study who isn’t associated with the Weston A. Price Foundation. All the criticism I have read has been. I’m not sure who financed Denise Minger, a 23-year old college student and “professional sock puppeteer” who is paid to write nutrition/health articles, according to her facebook profile.

Again, my friends, I trust Oxford and Cornell’s research (I grilled Campbell about his funding sources)   a bit more than a college student and will be interested to read the Johns Hopkins epidemiologists’ and Campbell’s rebuttals to her arguments.

What else might be to blame for a vegan diet making people feel unwell? There are many answers to that, but the problem is that over and over, comments reveal that

People think I am advocating for a vegan diet.

I’m not.

What I advocate for is eating far more plant food. Period. It’s up to you to decide where animal protein belongs in your life, if it does.

Can anyone really disagree with eating far more whole plant foods, in the face of America’s average of 1-2 servings daily, half of that being in the form of fried potatoes? In the face of now THOUSANDS of studies (even if you leave the China Study out of it?) telling us that myriad compounds in raw plant food heal us and prevent degenerative disease?

I believe when we’ve been eating a certain way (i.e., 20% animal protein, a U.S. average), we often experience a reaction that isn’t entirely pleasant when we shift that balance. Just like when you try to change patterns in a relationship, the other person often doesn’t like or understand it and chaos ensues until a new equilibrium is achieved. If you eat meat for dinner every night for 50 years, and one night you eat a vegetarian meal and you don’t feel the same afterward, does that mean that vegetables and brown rice aren’t good for you personally?

I purposefully leave you to your own personal experimentation to find what works for you. I don’t say there’s a “one size fits all” approach. I’m not into “typing,” until I see some major data backing it up. My interest is primarily in practical ways to actually DO what others’ research has already documented very well. I would like to see us return to eating whole foods. (However, my own research published in The Green Smoothies Diet is a slam-dunk that when we eat more green foods, we feel better–almost 96% of us do, anyway.)

If some want to ignore SEVERAL THOUSAND statistically significant pieces of data in the China Study, that is their prerogative. (Statistically significant means the findings fall outside the margin of error.)

I maintain my own prerogative to point out some problems underpinning Mercola’s wholesale rejection of those thousands of data points, as he sells his nutritional typing and related animal-protein products.

Mercola says he has THREE specific eating plans and about 33% of the Western population fits in each one. He says those ratios are different in other countries. I would like to see the data behind that, peer reviewed in a scientific journal. Because if there isn’t any, it’s a grand assertion with big, potentially dangerous, ramifications for people following those recommendations.

Dr. Mercola attacks the China Study: clash of the titans

When Joe Mercola contradicts the basics of nutrition taught on GreenSmoothieGirl.com and in my books, we get hundreds of emails.

Mercola’s newsletter yesterday supposedly exposes the “DARK SIDE” of the China Study. I’m not going to link to it and therefore give it a higher page rank. It doesn’t deserve it.

Before undertaking to explain what’s radically wrong with this article, let me say this: I agree with Mercola on some macro issues:

  1. That prevention and natural remedies are the best first-line treatments, rather than drug/surgery medical interventions.
  2. That far too much of our data comes from research that drug companies and agribusiness paid for.
  3. That sugar and processed foods are killing us. (Mercola implies, with the “false dilemma” logical fallacy, in yesterday’s newsletter that either animal proteins are killing us, or processed foods are, as if they are mutually exclusive.)

But we must use critical thinking skills to expose fatal flaws in his comments about Dr. T. Colin Campbell and the China Study.

(When you put yourself in the public domain, you invite dissent. Juxtaposition of ideas creates a climate for the truth to emerge.)

As I strongly disagree with Mercola here, I will invariably get some angry email. Most readers will appreciate that my only motive is to learn and then explain the truth (or as close as I can get to it) in this world of nutrition that has so many competing voices.

My own 12 Steps to Whole Foods is a compendium of the best nutrition practices. It advocates for eating much more plant food (especially raw food) than the average American gets and is a practical HOW-TO guide, more than a philosophical debate or meta-review of research. It purposefully doesn’t advocate for vegetarianism or veganism, although I am supportive of others who choose to wear those labels. My own family, except for two vegetarian daughters, eats a bit of homemade kefir, and occasional animal products when we are away from home.

Mercola attempts to discredit the joint effort of Oxford and Cornell Universities by calling theirs an “observational” study, which he infers is somehow inferior to having once had a medical practice.

The Oxford/Cornell China study is a very sound, huge, comprehensive study spanning over 25 years. My own advanced degree, background in research, and understanding of research principles, lead me to say this:

I am thankful, finally, for a vast piece of research in epidemiology that was not funded or influenced by the drug companies or agribusiness (which primarily hawks refined corn/wheat/soy products and processed and refined and GMO foods). I see no conflicts of interest in the Oxford/Cornell research. I see one of the purest voices in nutrition in Campbell and his team.

I interviewed him by phone as I wrote this, and he said, “I feel personally responsible to Americans to tell them what we did with their money,” because taxpayers funded the China study, not profit-motivated industries.

The research was the next natural step from methodical and rigorous animal studies. It’s   a remarkable piece of research examining 6,500 adults in 130 villages of rural China where some populations eat lots of animal protein, and others eat very little. The book The China Study represents the totality of Campbell’s experiences. Those include his many years of work in the Philippines studying malnourished children, to his experimental lab research funded by the National Institutes of Health, to the human studies project in China.

Mercola refers to Campbell “forcing” everyone into vegetarianism. This makes no sense on two levels beyond the unilateral emotionalism of the word.

First, the two diets Campbell studied were 20% animal protein (which correlates to the Standard American Diet) and 5% animal protein. Neither groups studied were vegetarian. The 5% group correlates to a low-animal-protein diet, similar to Daniel’s Biblical diet, as well as the scriptural “Word of Wisdom” counsel to eat meat “sparingly, only in times of winter/famine/cold.”

Second, Campbell takes the tone of scientist. He reports and interprets the data. He doesn’t “force” or even recommend any specific diet. He allows the reader to infer from the data whatever diet they choose to follow. He isn’t an internet maven selling a philosophy; he’s a researcher who found the opposite of what he expected to. He grew up on a dairy cattle farm and thought, well into adulthood, that a high-protein diet was ideal. Like John Robbins, son of the Baskin Robbins founder, only data convinced him otherwise. I personally am thankful for honest and pure truth seekers, willing to turn another way, when data challenges popular culture and custom.

Mercola attempts to downgrade the massive China project as “an observational study,” which he says does not “prove causation.” This is puzzling to me based on a three logic flaws.

First, Campbell is a scientist and would never say his study “proves causation.” No scientist would. I’m not a scientist but know enough about it to be aware you never achieve or claim “proof of causation.” Mercola gives a two-sentence primer on how the scientific process works: initial study, hypothesis, controlled trial. Which is precisely what Campbell and the research team did:

For the rest of this report, click here.

I just interviewed T. Colin Campbell

Normally I blog in the morning. Not this morning, because I got Mercola’s newsletter lambasting T. Colin Campbell, PhD, of Cornell University, and his massive study known as the Oxford/Cornell China Project.

I threw everything on my schedule to the wind today and have spent hours writing a response to the Mercola newsletter. We will invariably deal with hundreds of emails about it so I want to respond to it immediately. I hope to have that blog entry and newsletter ready to go out by morning.

In my research, I spoke at length with Dr. Campbell on the phone.   Apart from the details and questions we discussed, all of which will be reflected in my report tomorrow, I learned something interesting.

A venerable Hollywood group with very prestigious directors has produced a movie called Forks Over Knives, about the careers and research and lives of Caldwell Esselstyn, M.D., and Colin Campbell, PhD. Both were raised with meat-intensive diets on farms, and their long and lettered careers intersected early on.

The pre-screenings have been sold out. I would fly to a screening if given a chance! It comes out in theaters next March. If we haven’t all been able to see it, maybe I can arrange a screening at the GreenSmoothieGirl retreat April 21-23.

foods that help digestion . . . part 5

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl:   What are foods that help digestion? Some raw foodists eat raw meat.   Raw meat and milk have enzymes, so aren’t they good foods?

Answer:   We’ll leave the Oxford/Cornell China Project out of this discussion, which shows that animal protein causes many diseases.   (The primary author of that pivotal study, Dr. Campbell, told me he did not study predigested or fermented milk products, such as kefir or yogurt.)   Raw milk has over 35 enzymes.   If you’re going to use dairy products or milk, raw certainly has those many advantages over pasteurized.   One very old study showed the highest morbidity (death) rate in newborns drinking pasteurized cow milk, a much improved rate for those drinking raw milk, and higher still for those who were fortunate to be breastfed by their mothers.

However, you run many bacterial risks with the way milk and meat will be raised, handled, and transported to you.   Meat in particular is troublesome, and I would not recommend eating it raw, even if you go to all the trouble of finding truly range-fed, organic chickens or beef.   The shockingly lax U.S. standards for poultry allow virtually anything to be legally given labels like “natural” and “range fed.”   We can obtain live enzymes through plant food, much more safely.

That said, I believe much evidence shows kefir or yogurt to be an excellent food with its natural probiotics.   If you can find a source you trust of raw milk, and can obtain kefir grains, you can use the raw milk and predigest the casein proteins with the action of the live kefir grains.   Raw goat milk is preferable to cow milk, with its smaller fat molecule that is not mucous forming like cow milk is.   (Vegans can make kefir with coconut liquid.)

I’m visiting my grampa in Couer d’Alene, Idaho, for the rest of the week and may be offline.   (He is in a home, and I am flying out with my aunt.)   After that I’ll talk about what enzymes supplements to take.   Happy Thanksgiving!

The Essential GreenSmoothieGirl Library . . . part 2

Here are three more of my picks from my Top Shelf–the most pivotal books on health and nutrition:

Dr. Robert O. Young and Shelley Young’s books and recipe books:   Sick and Tired, The pH Miracle, The pH Miracle for Weight Loss, Back to the House of Health I and II (containing many excellent recipes).   Dr. Young, with multiple PhDs, is the most credible authority on why an alkaline diet is the most important aspect of disease prevention and treatment.   His ace-in-the-hole over other authors is that his wife is a recipe developer and therefore gives practical help in addition to this century’s leading-edge nutrition theory.

  

Dr. Colin Campbell’s The China Study, the largest and most comprehensive nutrition study in history conducted jointly by Oxford and Cornell, the most empirical evidence ever gathered validating a plant-based diet.  

 

Colin Campbell is a professor of nutrition at Cornell University and has sat on the highest nutrition governing boards in the U.S.   He is the son of a cattle rancher and believed, in his early nutrition research, that he would find lack of protein to be the cause of childhood liver cancer in the Phillipines.

He found just the opposite: the wealthier children with good access to meat/milk were dying of liver cancer, not the poor children who could afford only plant food.   Time and again, Campbell and many other researchers discovered the same results: that in animals and humans, high consumption of animal protein causes all the modern Western diseases, including cancer, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, and much more.

The rodent studies are fascinating: two groups of mice are put on 5% animal protein pellets (casein, from milk) and 20% animal protein pellets, respectively.   That parallels an almost-vegan diet versus the typical American diet.   At the typical rodent lifespan, the 5% group were lean and healthy and the 20% group were full of cancerous tumors and many were dead (all would die early).

 

Even more fascinating is how the researchers could SWITCH the groups’ diets.   Lean, healthy rodents develop tumors and die when placed on the 20% animal protein diet, and formerly cancerous rodents lose weight, tumors are eliminated, and they live and thrive when placed on the 5% animal protein diet.   These studies were duplicated with the same results, by other researchers all over the globe.

 

Campbell went on to conduct the largest, most longitudinal, most comprehensive nutrition study in human beings, in history, yielding hundreds of statistically significant correlations.   He has been studying 6,500 people in China for about 30 years now.   Whether or not you completely eliminate animal foods from your diet, this book is so compelling that you will be motivated to make a commitment to a plant-based diet and share the message with others.

“the plural of anecdote is not data” . . . part 4 of 4

Third, is the study reliable?   This is the second basic research standard, and it means is the research repeatable with consistent results? Reliability is one of the best things about Colin Campbell’s The China Study, the largest nutrition study in history, which will be referenced throughout this book.   Dr. Campbell’s animal research showing the benefits of a low-animal-protein diet were duplicated by other researchers, using various animals, all over the world.   The results were very consistent.

 

Finally, have a basic understanding of and consider carefully a few other things before placing much stock in what you read.   Is the study longitudinal (covering a long period of time)?   If none of 500 subjects got cancer in three years, that’s much less compelling than if none of them got cancer in 30 years, like in the Framingham study, the Harvard Nurses’ study,  or the Oxford-Cornell (China Study) Project.

 

Was the study double-blinded, which means that neither the researcher nor the subject knew which of multiple therapies the person was receiving?   Was it placebo-controlled, meaning that some subjects received a placebo (sugar tablet) instead of the supplement or drug?   Was the research published in peer-reviewed journals (often but not always ensuring more scientific analysis)?   How big was the sample size?   Bigger is better, and although case studies (with only a few subjects) are interesting, without further research, you shouldn’t bet the farm on findings of those kinds.

The more you read and study, the more confidence you can have that the very important decisions you make about how to fuel your body are sound.   12 Steps to Whole Foods undertakes to synthesize the research and best practices from around the world, leading to dietary practice that is simple and achievable and customizable for your personal dietary needs–a direct route to optimal health.

Is the China Study bogus?

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: The Oxford-Cornell China Project is irrelevant to us, because Campbell studied rats and mice, and then Chinese people.   Not Americans.

Answer:   I’m not going to comment much on the notion that Chinese and American people aren’t alike enough to compare.   Either we all descended from apes, or we were all created from Adam’s rib, whichever belief you subscribe to, and we have the same essential biology, body systems, and health challenges.   That’s like saying that if Big Macs aren’t good for women, they still might be good for men.   Or that if Kool-Aid is toxic for children, it still might be good food for adults.

As for the animal studies that Campbell’s team conducted (which were duplicated by researchers around the world with consistent results), even they have profound implications for humans for four reasons.

First, humans and rats have virtually identical needs for protein.   Second, protein operates in humans the same way it does in rats.   Third, the percentage of protein consumption (20%) consumed by rats in the studies is the level of consumption in the typical American diet.   And fourth, in both humans and rats, the stage where cancer is initiated is far less important that the stage where cancer is promoted.   We all are exposed to carcinogens, but whether we end up with life-threatening cancerous tumors depends on whether or not those cancer cells are “promoted” with excesses of animal proteins.

heart disease and degenerating DNA

[I’ll come back to “Who You Gonna Call” blogging on the false gods of nutrition, tomorrow . . .]  

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: I have 100 lbs. to lose, am on Lipitor for high cholesterol, and started drinking green smoothies a few weeks ago.   My cholesterol has begun to come way down, but my HDL [good cholesterol] count is going the wrong direction!   Should I stop drinking green smoothies?

Answer:   [Disclaimer: This is not medical advice, for which you should go to a GOOD cardiologist or knowledgeable naturopath.   A really good cardiologist, hard to come by, is doing more than offering you surgery and drug regimens: s/he’s eating a healthy diet and advising you in that mission-critical area, too.]

I hope you don’t stop drinking green smoothies!   In the beginning, your HDL (a measure of the cholesterol leaving your arteries) goes up because you are throwing off extra cholesterol and eliminating it from your arteries.   It’s a good thing!   After a while, though, as you have less to eliminate, it will go down as well.   The biggest thing is to focus on your LDL (the bad cholesterol), and the fact that it’s coming down is wonderful news.

The ideal ratio of your total cholesterol to HDL should be less than 3: divide total cholesterol by your HDL.

My entire extended family was recruited to be in a national study of families with high cholesterol and bad heart-disease markers–and people at the other end of the spectrum, very low cholesterol and positive measurements for heart disease.   They fly out and take our blood and scratch their heads over why we have no known heart disease.We are a huge family, and we all–uncles, cousins, grandparents–have excellent cardiovascular markers.

My own cholesterol has always been below 100 (anything below 150 is considered “ideal” in the U.S.), and they  told me I have the cardiovascular markers of a triathlete.   Dr. Colin Campbell (The China Study) studied Chinese peasants eating a plant-based diet.   Their average is below 100, and 150 is very HIGH for them!  

My family has good heredity, you want to say to me—lucky you, you bragger!   Possibly, but I don’t think that tells the whole story.  My grandparents, and my grandfather’s five brothers, owned a produce dealership throughout the Southwest.   For many, many years, everyone was virtually vegetarian, because the diet strategy was “use up whatever we have in excess at the warehouses.”   My mom, though she got married and moved away, didn’t even know how to cook meat, and didn’t teach me.   (Thanks, Mom.   Seriously, I’m not being facetious, thanks!)  J

I believe that our family–those original produce dealers now have great grandchildren–will eventually look worse for cardiovascular disease.   Romney Produce, after all, is long defunct.   But for generations, we ate a diet very similar to what the Chinese ate in Campbell’s huge study.  We’re just a couple of generations behind the genetic deterioration that most families have experienced as a consequence of eating lots of animal protein, refined  foods,  and fat.

That’s right, your DNA actually deteriorates as you eat food that isn’t really food.  And you pass that along to your children.   Our grandparents lived with the typical American diet and were okay, but they had  better genetics, since their parents ate whole foods.   Our kids have much higher risk because we’ve been degenerating their DNA!   How’s that for a motivator for future parents to eat right?