The Big Fat Surprise uncovers a big fat lie: fat is not the enemy

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I’ve long thought our reverence for a low and no fat diet has failed us. Just look around. Ever since the US government began pushing more carbs and less fat, and food manufacturers all but wiped full fat products off the shelf, as a nation we’ve grown fatter than ever.

Now, The Big Fat Surprise uncovers 9 years worth of investigation by its journalist author, Nina Teicholz, tracing how one man – Ancel Keys – convinced food experts, scientists, researchers the government and the American public that saturated fat was the devil – and changed our diet. 

Keys massaged much of his research to fit his notion that fat and red meat was our downfall. Study after study was faulty and wrongfully reported. Keys also liked being the persuasive savior and his charisma filled a room until all were convinced.  

I am two-thirds of the way through the book so I can’t tell you if we will find at the end the Big Truth, but I do believe sugar and carbs have increased our waistline, not fat, and the sooner we drop those containers of skim milk and no fat fruit yogurt and add some eggs, red meat and cheese back into our diet, the better off we’ll be. 

Unfortunately as pointed out in the book, the studies that contradict the merit of low-fat eating, you don’t read or hear about. Because they fly in the face of 30 years of our adopted “wisdom” they never get published. And, I know from marketing, if you hear something often enough you think it’s true whether it is or not.  

Here are a few snippets from the Wall Street Journal review:

In the great morality play of modern diet, the angels, we have been told by a host of experts, favor egg-white omelets and skimmed milk, while the devil gorges on red meat cooked in butter. For 50 years we have been warned to fight the good fight on dietary fats if we want to stay healthy. In “The Big Fat Surprise,” as one might guess from the title, Nina Teicholz plays the devil’s advocate—convincingly.

when skeptics, including the National Academies of Science, weighed in on Keys’s impoverished data, and on related claims that multiplied over the succeeding years, the media attacked the skeptics, heedless of statistical reasoning. Meanwhile, the food industry—apart from the protesting cattle and dairy lobbies—happily ministered to the new dietary wisdom. Government agencies weighed in with dietary guidelines that emphasized carbs and vegetables and warned that red meat was something one could only risk eating a few times a month. And when this miserable diet, shorn of taste, wearied its adherents, as it so often did, the pharmaceutical industry stepped in, offering drugs to lower cholesterol.

Read the book and judge for yourself.

“Fed Up” a movie about childhood obesity

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I have never been a fan of Katie Couric, particularly. But last night my husband and I saw her film,“Fed Up.” and appreciated how she is bringing to light childhood obesity. While everything I heard in the movie I already know, it was still great to hear it again. 

The plot of this documentary is the pure evil perpetrated on us by big food companies. Their mission is to make money for stockholders and they do it at the expense of our health. They push products out into the marketplace that are unhealthy but earn their shareholders megabucks. Featured in the film are the experts who have for decades alerted us to this situation includingGary Taubes, Dr. Robert Lustig, David Kessler and many others. 

The devil is sugar. We eat it by the bucketful and it is hiding in practically everything we eat.  While we know it in its natural form of table sugar, it’s also in bread, pasta, rice and hidden in foods like ketchup, yogurt, spaghetti sauce, Hot Pockets, Pop-Tarts, waffles and on and on, well, it’s just about everywhere, including the majority of our processed, refined food products. 

It’s truly a travesty and tragedy that the American government has sold itself out to the food lobbyists. How short-sighted is it that we allow people to eat foods that down the road will cost their health and their lives. And we will all be paying for their healthcare. The obesity rate has risen in parallel with the removal of fat from our food when we once thought fat was the culprit for obesity. But, you know, it is not. And, as everyone would like you to believe, “a calorie is a calorie,” it is not. Different foods work differently in our bodies. The biggest take away is unused sugar turns directly into fat in your body. A calorie in is not a calorie out. Start eating healthy fats and stop eating refined, processed food-like substances as Michael Pollan will tell you. 

The real tragedy is when you see what it is doing to our young people. When I went to school lunch in the cafeteria was homemade meals and my favorite, tuna fish sandwiches. Today, kids at school get 80% of their lunchtime food from fast food franchises – Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, McDonalds …they are truly up against it to find a healthy meal. Shame on the American government. 

Food manufacturers know the earlier they hook a child on their food, they will form a lifelong customer. Thus, TV commercials and characters like Ronald McDonald are marketed to kids. It is criminal what we allow food manufacturers to do and put in the marketplace. It is simply immoral. It is costing all our health. To live healthy in America you have to be extremely vigilant.

If you’re lucky enough to have an independent theater in your community, see the film. Then make a pledge to eat healthy – real foods. Stuff that doesn’t come from fast food restaurants or out of bags or cans. It’s not more expensive to buy a whole chicken and some vegetables to cook for dinner, than fast food chains would like you to believe. 

I’ve said it before: food is medicine. Eat healthy, feed your family healthy, real food and let’s not let the big food companies steal our health. This is our generation’s battle just as tobacco was the battle before us.

Harvard and Nurses Study on fats and carbohydrates

Harvard and Nurses Study on fats and carbohydrates


I read a lot of stuff about diabetes, and everything related. And I have a particular interest in food as it relates to diabetes, health and weight. Don’t we all?

“Fats and Cholesterol: Out with the Bad, In with the Good”, an article from Harvard School of Public Health, is one of the best articles I’ve read in a while on the topic – it’s easy to read – and it expresses what I think to a tee. 

Primarily, that America got fatter when we took fat out of foods and put sugar in. That we have become obese, not due as much to eating fat, as eating refined carbohydrates. And yes, bad fats like Trans fats found in most fried and baked goods, are bad for you, but good fats like avocados, nuts and olive oil are healthy and your body needs them to function properly.

This is relevant whether you have diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, want to lose weight or frankly, in my book, are just walking around on the planet.

Here are a few major tale-away messages from the article:

• Bad fats, meaning trans and saturated fats, increase the risk for certain diseases. Good fats, meaning monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, do just the opposite. They are good for the heart and most other parts of the body.

• When people cut back on fat, they often switch to foods full of easily digested carbohydrates—white bread, white rice, potatoes, sugary drinks, and the like—or to fat-free products that replace healthful fats with sugar and refined carbohydrates. The body digests these carbohydrates very quickly, causing blood sugar and insulin levels to spike. Over time, eating lots of “fast carbs” can raise the risk of heart disease and diabetes as much as—or more than—eating too much saturated fat. 

• It’s important to replace foods high in bad fats with foods high in good fats—not with refined carbohydrates.

It’s worth reading the entire article and if need be making some adjustments in your diet and see if they don’t benefit you.


Dr. Robert Lustig says fructose is poison, and I believe him


Robert Lustig is a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco who is carrying the charge that fructose kills. I’ve just spent the afternoon listening to a radio interview he gave recently, watching his lecture,“Sugar: The Bitter Truth,” and watching a series of YouTube mini documentaries he gives about obesity. 

In short, Lustig says sugar, specifically fructose, is a toxin given the way our body biochemically metabolizes it. That it actually turns to fat and that obesity is not the cause of metabolic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension,cardiovascular disease, fatty liver disease, but a marker of these. 20% of obese people will never get one of these diseases.

I agree with Lustig about sugar and refined carbohydrates being our undoing. If you read my new book, Diabetes Do’s & How-To’s, I emphatically say fat is not what makes us fat but sugar, or refined carbohydrate. Carbs cause the body to pump out excess insulin (a fat storage hormone) and carbs we don’t burn get stored as fat. Lustig will tell you the 6.5 ounce Coke that has morphed into the 44 ounce Big Gulp is the devil incarnate.

Twenty five years ago when America went on a low fat diet, people’s diets reduced in fat Lustig says from 40% to 30%. That doesn’t sound like much, but what happened is the carbohydrates we consumed skyrocketed. Take the fat out of food and it tastes like cardboard. Put sugar in and consumers won’t notice. In fact, they’ll like it so much, they’ll eat even more to it! Food manufacturers are not stupid. 

In fact, they are ingenious, and spend millions of dollars perfecting recipes that get us hooked on the sublime combination of sugar, salt and fat. But Lustig’s biochemistry lesson will help you understand why fructose is so especially causing our out of control obesity.

Lustig’s proposition is that we could not have, as a nation, and now as a global society – with American fast food now exported everywhere and the rise in obesity paralleling it – gotten obese merely from eating more and moving less.

No, he will tell you it is about what’s in our food and how the body uses it. “A calories is not a calorie,” says Lustig, yet he says they teach dietitians just the opposite the first day of school.

I am consumed (yes, pun) with this debate: what causes obesity, how are our modern day chronic metabolic diseases impacted by what we eat, obesity and how food is being reengineered and what role our environment plays. Where does personal responsibility figure into this and what responsibility does our government and food manufacturers have? A lot in my opinion, yet everyone’s hand is in someone’s pocket.

Personally, I believe if we cut refined carbs out of our diet, including sugared beverages, and ate real food – not processed or packaged – but things that grow on trees and in the ground, relatively untouched by human hands, and animals that are responsibly raised, we would not have an obesity epidemic.

Chia seed deliciousness, the power of Omega 3s

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I don’t usually post recipes – scratch that,  I never post recipes, but this one is so simple, so few calories, fat and carbs and such a great way to get your chia seeds! 

Huh? Okay, if you don’t know, chia seeds are an incredible source of omega 3 fatty acids. They provide health benefits on par with fish and fish oil and contain fiber, protein, antioxidants and minerals. They’re the new broccoli!

The trouble with these little seeds is they have no taste and a funny texture. When put them in any liquid, they ooze a gelatinous texture. It’s not really pleasant or unpleasant – just weird. But, with this recipe, you’ll love them.

OK, here goes:

Chill a can of coconut milk overnight – I use Trader Joe’s light coconut milk.

Blend in 4 tablespoons of chia seeds. I get my chia seeds in the health food store, any brand. For the blending I use a whisk which seems to work well to mix in all the ingredients.

Add 4 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder and whisk. To be honest, I only use two which I find chocolatey enough.

Add half a teaspoon of vanilla extract and two packets of artificial sweetener or Stevia.

Whisk all the ingredients and put in the fridge. Overnight it will turn into a miraculous kind of pudding. Kind of like the texture of rice pudding. Fruit on top is optional.

You can calculate the carbs and calories, but it’s not a lot, and it’s an absolutely delicious way to get the benefit of these powerhouse anti-oxidants. It seems we benefit from two tablespoons of chia seeds a day so I eat a few spoonfuls of this pudding each day.

Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy these little seeds.

An alternative way of eating for health, The Primal Blueprint



This is my full interview with Mark Sisson, health and fitness expert and author of the newly updated book, The Primal Blueprint.

Q: Tell me what the “Primal Blueprint” is in a nutshell?

Mark Sisson: For over 200,000 years, homo sapiens were hunter-gatherers living in “the wild,” eating plants and animals. For the last 9,900 years, our ancestors lived on unprocessed, whole foods, with few modern comforts. It’s only in the last 100 years that we’ve started eating industrialized, processed food and living sedentary lives. So, we’ve got 200,000 years of eating animals and plants versus 10,000 years eating grains versus 100 years eating mutated grains, refined sugar and vegetable oils. 

The Primal Blueprint is a lifestyle whose tenets are informed by biological evolution, traditional wisdom, and modern science to form a healthy, sustainable, enjoyable way of being. It’s a way to eat, move, sleep, and simply exist with our ancient genes in this modern world – taking advantage of modern science and drawing upon lessons of our evolutionary background.

Q: You talk in your book about one being a “sugar-burning” or a “fat-burning” person. What does that mean?

Sisson: A sugar-burner requires a steady drip of dietary sugar – fructose and glucose – to maintain energy levels. So they can’t go long without eating. They burn basically carbohydrate and have difficulty accessing their stored body fat to use for energy, and in terms of weight loss, burn their fat. A fat-burner uses both their body fat and dietary glucose for energy and end up burning fat which leads to weight loss. Also, if a fat-burner skips a meal, it’s okay because he can run for days on his own fat (adipose) tissue.

Q: Even though our earliest ancestors may have eaten as you suggest in the Primal Blueprint, our more recent ancestors have been eating grains and beans for thousands of years. Have we not adapted to this way of eating? Asians were always thin eating their diet of rice and noodles, how do you explain that?

Sisson: Rice is the least offensive grain. It’s basically pure starch as opposed to something like wheat. It has no problematic lectins or plant proteins that interfere with digestion or disrupt satiety signals to the brain. In Asian countries they used to eat only foods like rice, meat, vegetables, all cooked in animal fat, and every day life was active. Now diabetes, heart disease, and obesity are on the rise because, like us, they’re eating more wheat, sugar, and vegetable oils and moving less. And no, our bodies haven’t evolved to catch up to our diet today.

Q: Most medical professionals regard burning ketones as a bad thing. The Atkins diet was criticized for that in the 1970’s. Yet the Primal diet depends on it. How do you answer them?

Sisson: They mistakenly equate ketosis with ketoacidosis. The former is a viable physiological way of burning fat for energy. It burns cleaner than glucose and spares necessary glucose for the brain to use. The latter is a pathological condition that occurs when insulin isn’t around to keep ketone production in check. Ketosis is a perfectly healthy physiological state to dip into from time to time. Burning ketones, which isn’t the same as being in ketosis, let alone ketoacidosis, is always occurring in a healthy fat-burner.

Q: I have type 1 diabetes. Making ketones has always been regarded as dangerous for people with type 1 diabetes. Is this diet viable for people with type 1 diabetes?

Sisson: Making ketones, which leads to ketoacidosis, only occurs when there is insufficient insulin present to regulate ketone production. Making ketones is different than burning ketones. As long as a person with type 1 diabetes is aware of this and manages this, there shouldn’t be a problem. I get a fair amount of feedback from people with type 1 diabetes who have had successimplementing the Primal Blueprint.  And it can help with managing the disease. I would tell any patient to let their doctor know before undertaking any massive lifestyle change.

Q: Why do you believe eating Primal is the way we were meant to eat?

Sisson: I tried eating “the right way” for over thirty years and it nearly killed me. I was the paragon of fitness, a competitive marathoner and triathlete who ate whole grains and beans and watched my red meat intake. It didn’t work. Since I have always been a student of human evolution, I got my degree in biology, I started thinking about health in terms of nutrition and fitness. I did a lot of research and self-experimentation and trained tons of people, enough to realize that the Primal way of eating works. And I’ve found it works for just about everyone who gives it an honest try.

Q: What are people most satisfied with about the Primal diet/lifestyle?

Sisson: That it’s not a struggle, that its seems to come naturally once you get it. People like a lifestyle that emphasizes delicious, fresh, wholesome food, simple and effective exercise, lots of leisure and relaxation, good sleep and quality time with loved ones.

Q: Is there any scientific research to support this diet? 

Sisson: Careful parsing of the nutritional literature is actually the basis of many of our recommendations, but there have been several paleolithic diet controlled studies. In one notable study by Lindberg out of Sweden, diabetic heart disease patients were put on one of two diets: Paleo (very similar to Primal) or Mediterranean. Paleo allowed no dairy, no grains, and had more meat, eggs, vegetables, and fruit than the Mediterranean diet, which was high in whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fish, margarine and low-fat dairy. Both groups improved, but the paleo group showed significantly greater improvements.

Q: What other eating approaches do you respect? And why?

Sisson: I like well-designed vegetarian diets. My wife was a vegetarian for years, still is, for the most part, except for seafood, and she’s one of the healthiest people I know. As long as you’re not eating loads of pasta, but eating actual vegetables and plenty of eggs and quality dairy, I think you can be very healthy as a vegetarian. I have dozens of longtime readers who are vegetarian yet make this lifestyle work for them. 

Q: Conventional wisdom says soy, beans, whole grains and complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes have a protective or positive influence, yet they’re not part of a Primal diet

Sisson: There’s nothing magical about beans or grains. They have no dietary monopoly when it comes to vitamins or minerals. Leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, berries, and all the other produce we can eat provide plenty of micronutrients. Plus, many of those minerals in beans and grains aren’t absorbed. Phytic acid, found in most beans and grains, binds to minerals and prevents their absorption. Habitual grain eaters like birds and rats produce phytase, the enzyme necessary to break down phytic acid – but we don’t. So while those foods look impressive on paper, we’re not absorbing most of their nutrients. Traditional cultures that consumed grains and beans did so only after extensive soaking and fermentation, which improves the digestibility and deactivated most of the phytic acid. It also takes a lot of work and I’m just not willing to put forth that much effort.

Complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes are not allowed on some paleo plans but they’re allowed on the Primal plan. Roots, tubers, and other starchy, underground plant organs can be an important part of your diet, especially if you’re highly active and need the glucose.

Q: How do you answer your critics like Dean Ornish who has scientifically proven that eating whole grains, and severely restricting the consumption of animal products and dietary fat reverses heart disease?

Sisson: Dean Ornish has “scientifically proven” that avoiding processed junk food plus daily meditation, stress-reduction therapy, regular exercise, and a cessation of smoking tobacco results in a slight, not a major, regression of narrowing in the coronary artery. The Ornish plan isn’t just the diet. It’s an entire lifestyle change. Stress, lack of exercise, and smoking are all causally related to heart disease, so you can’t focus on just the food.

I would agree with Dr. Ornish that removing processed carbohydrates, vegetable oils, and sugar is healthy. My program does all that too. I just disagree that removing animal products and healthy fat is a necessary component, and he has never proven that to be the case.

Q: Do you believe people with type 2 diabetes would be better served by this diet considering that they are three times more likely to have a cardiovascular event, and this diet emphasizes eating saturated fat?

Sisson: Absolutely. The last reviews of the medical literature have found that replacing carbohydrates with saturated fat does not increase the incidence of cardiovascular disease. Plus, this diet doesn’t emphasize saturated fat, it de-emphasizes toxic foods like gluten-grains and processed vegetable oils that are high in omega-6 and sugar. 

Q: I have followed the Primal diet now for almost six weeks and find it takes extra time shopping to keep fresh produce in the house, and to prepare meals. Also, since I’m not a skilled cook, I find myself cooking the same things day after day. How successful have people been staying on the ‘Blueprint?’ 

Sisson: It’s highly sustainable. A massive online community has sprung up around Paleo/Primal eating. In addition to my own cookbook, paleo cookbooks are being released every couple of months, and there are several dozen high quality Primal recipe blogs. 

We post new recipes every Saturday and link to others every Sunday. To cut down on prep time, I would devote a Sunday afternoon to making a week’s meals. A big pot of stew, chili or curry, some parboiled vegetables, some sliced fruit, grilled meat that you can simply heat up or eat cold. If you plan and prep ahead, making your own food gets a whole lot easier.

As for produce, frozen vegetables are actually a more economical, longer-lasting, and often more nutritious option than wilted “fresh” produce. 

Q: Do you know any cases where the Primal Blueprint hasn’t worked?

Sisson: I’ve seen people fail because they went too low-carb while trying to run 120 miles a week and train for a triathlon. Or because they went overboard with the “Primal treats” made out of almond flour, honey, and coconut oil, but I would say they were doing it wrong. I’ve never known anyone to fail when they removed processed, industrial junk food, started sleeping more and exercising better.

Book Review: The Primal Blueprint gives both an historical background on why we should be eating like our earliest ancestors during paleolithic times and why we’re now eating like our neolithic ancestors, and that our bodies haven’t adapted to many of these foods. Furthermore, many of the foods we eat today, especially grains, have been genetically and environmentally modified causing insulin resistance and inflammation, the root causes of many of today’s lifestyle diseases. The Blueprint in the book gives you 10 steps for reprogramming your genes to transform yourself from a sugar-burner to a fat-burner, lose weight, heal your body and boost your energy. Also, the Primal approach is not just a meal plan, and Sisson covers a life system including fasting, bursts of exercise and strength training, sleep and stress reduction. 

What I like most: The book is written very simply and is a quick, easy and fun read. Men will probably also enjoy the cartoon-like characters Sisson uses to make some of his points. If you choose to try the diet, there is much support and more information on Mark’s blog, Mark’s Daily Apple. Mark’s written hundreds of articles about going Primal and provides recipes to help on the journey. I must also confide I like that on the Primal plan red wine and dark chocolate, in moderation, are allowed.

Weaknesses: Mark’s enthusiasm will tell you this is a simple diet and lifestyle, but for the average American it probably isn’t. There is some repetition in the book and at times not as much specificity, or scientific evidence, as I would have liked. 

Take 2 and call me in the morning: With all lifestyle changes, talk to your health care provider before beginning this program. 

Personal note: I tried the diet for six weeks. I felt fine and lost 2.5 pounds, but I found myself constipated. I then put some complex carbohydrates back into my diet like oatmeal and beans. Now I follow a diet in-between the Primal Blueprint and low-carb with some complex carbs and dairy. I side with those who say too much carbohydrate, not too much fat, is the cause of most of today’s ills including diabetes.

Eat more micronutrients, get healthy and lose weight

Try to catch this program if you can on your PBS station: 3 STEPS TO INCREDIBLE HEALTH! with Joel Fuhrman, M.D.

Dr. Fuhrman’s proposition is the American diet is tremendously devoid of micronutrients the body needs to stay strong and healthy. As a result we are largely in a constant state of “toxic hunger”, always looking to eat more to get rid of the uncomfortable feeling it creates. Fuhrman says 65% of most Americans’ diet is comprised of micronutrient-devoid foods – processed and refined foods.

He proposes the answer for losing weight and having a healthy life is to eat more micronutrient dense foods. He uses the acronym GOMBS for a guide:

G – Green Vegetables

O – Onions

M – Mushrooms

B – Berries and beans

S – Seeds and Nuts

If you’re following the many who have been saying this the past few years, this is not news, but Fuhrman explains why this is the case in an easy to understand scientific way based on his medical training.

I never heard of Dr. Fuhrman when I started eating this way several years ago, but I can attest to the fact that it did cause me to lose weight and I have kept it off without diet or struggle or hunger and I do believe with all my being that “Food is Medicine.”


The Food Pyramid turns into “My Plate”

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Last week Michelle Obama and the US Agriculture Department replaced the 20 year old food pyramid with a simple icon, “My Plate.” 

My Plate is now the quintessential guide for healthy eating: a plate divided into quarters of slightly varying sizes representing how to create a healthy meal. It contains a larger quarter for vegetables, slightly smaller for grains, and slightly smaller for both fruits and protein. The hope is that it will help eaters avoid oversized portions and eat more nutritious meals.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said after almost 20 years of preaching nutrition through a food pyramid that USDA officials now say was overly complex, obesity rates have skyrocketed. The new symbol is simple and gives diners an idea of what should be on their plates when they sit down at the dinner table.

In fact, it appears only one quarter of people who recognize the food pyramid ever used it. Further surveys show people are confused about what they should eat and most have no concept of portion sizes or balancing calories for weight control.

I heard about the “Plate Method” when Maudene Nelson, registered dietitian and diabetes educator at the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University, reviewed a myth for my book, “50 Diabetes Myths That Can Ruin Your Life and the 50 Diabetes Truths That Can Save It”. In myth number 26, “There is one specific diabetic diet I should follow” Nelson called “the plate method” for creating healthful meals magic. It’s in the Tips Box on page 142. She gave a little more specific instruction:

Fill half your plate with any variety of colorful veggies low in carbohydrates, such as asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, eggplant, carrots, or cauliflower. Fill one-quarter of your plate with carbohydrate-dense foods such as potatoes, rice, beans, corn, or legumes, and fill the remaining quarter with lean protein such as chicken, fish, lamb, pork, or beef. Meals made with the Plate Method naturally contain a moderate amount of carbohydrates, little fat and cholesterol, and a good amount of fiber.

Funny thing is with the exception of fruit on my plate, I use fruit for snacks, this is how I typically eat. Dinner is chicken or fish, beans and a green veggie. 

Seems Mr. Vilsack should have come to me years ago! 

Food Is Medicine appears on HuffPost


chicken on saladI posted another version of my beef with food – that food is medicine – on The Huffington Post. 

It appears as a lead story today.  

A loyal fan already wrote me,

What an inspiring article to read first thing in the morning – thank you for your latest Huffington Post piece on healthy eating.  

Great tips in there – and makes me glad I have a fridge full of fresh produce waiting for me at home for tonight’s episode of Top Chef (a weakness of mine).”

It also occurs to me maybe I should let you know one of my little secrets for health. 

I not only have a medicine cabinet in my bathroom, but I also have one in my kitchen. 

It doesn’t have a mirror on it, although to be frank that would be a great incentive to eat healthy, wouldn’t it?. But it does have these big shiny silvery doors. 

I’m sure having a medicine cabinet in my kitchen is not particular to New York City. You probably have one too.

And just to show you I’m a woman of my word that food is medicine, I’ve put up a picture of what you’ll find in my kitchen medicine cabinet most days. 

Come to think of it there’s probably more medicine in my kitchen medicine cabinet than in my bathroom medicine cabinet. 

I like to think that’s a good thing.

Food is medicine


For the last several months I’ve really shifted my view about food. I see it as medicine. Not that I don’t enjoy it, but I see what I eat as either making me more healthy, or less. I see what I eat as being almost as important to my health as my insulin.  

Now that doesn’t mean I have a perfect diet. But it does mean I’m more motivated to eat foods that are nourishing me — infusing me with healthy anti-oxidants and strengthening my overall body and fitness, rather than degrading it, or setting me up for the side effects of unhealthy eating – heart disease, overweight, guilt and personal frustration with myself. 

So I wanted to share this great article from Men’s Health magazine giving their take on the 40 Best Age-Erasing Superfoods.  

My healthy eating, and by this I mean smaller portions and eating mostly vegetables, fruit, beans and lean protein, automatically maintains my weight. I’m trimmer these last several years than I’ve ever been, and without trying. Healthy eating also gives my psyche a reason to feel pretty good about myself every day instead of guilty and frustrated. But you got that already, didn’t you? 

And so you know I’m not just blowing smoke, it’s reflected in the blood tests I get twice yearly: A1C 5.7%, LDL (lousy) cholesterol 108, some would say a little high, yes, it’s in the family, but my HDL (good) cholesterol is an astronomical 107, triglycerides 50 mg/dl, blood pressure 90/60 and a heart Al Pacino would say is “Strong like bull.” 

If you’re curious what I typically eat here’s my day food-wise:

Breakfast – a bowl of steel cut oats, I cook, to which I add: flax seeds, sunflower seeds and fruit, and then top with a spoonful of non-fat Greek yogurt, non-fat cottage cheese, and a spoonful or peanut or almond butter. I can’t tell you how much I like this – it’s creamy, crunchy, sweet and delicious. I could eat it for every meal. Maybe having a breakfast I love and knowing I get to eat it every morning, helps me stick to my healthy eating throughout the day; I know a reward is coming tomorrow morning.

Lunch – usually left over veggies from last night’s dinner, or a spinach salad, with some feta cheese or a slice of turkey and some beans. I may add avocado or cooked squash depending upon what’s in the house. If I eat lunch out it’s usually a spinach feta omelette with one slice of whole grain toast. No butter. Olive oil, herbs and mustard are my main taste-boosters. Butter, mayonnaise, bottled salad dressing and such I don’t use anymore. 

Dinner – usually fish or chicken grilled, broiled or sauteed with a mix of veggies and beans. Snacks are usually nuts, particularly walnuts (yes, they have fat, healthy fat which you need, just don’t eat too many), veggies, less sugary fruits like berries, melon, peaches and after dinner usually some dark chocolate.

Now you’re thinking I must be a monk, or a martyr, keeping to such an austere meal plan. I know you think that, people have said it to me. But neither is true. It’s just that over the years, particularly after reading Bernstein’s book, Diabetes Solution, I’ve rid most of the refined carbs from my diet knowing how much they made my blood sugar swing from high to low; it was awful. Now I have tons more control. And feel better. And, to be honest, while rapid-acting insulin and pumps give us more spontaneity, routine as in eating similarly day to day, makes my blood sugar more predictable.

I’ve also lost my taste for most sweet and fatty foods. It happens when you begin to eat “real food” again. I’m a big fan of Michael Pollans, Food Rules.  I follow his mantra: Eat food, mostly plants, not too much. 

That said, I’m not a vegetarian and I’m not a zealot. Fried calamari, the occasional slice of cheese or flourless chocolate cake, crusty bread and olive oil, anything friends make for dinner and eating everything in my house – everything – those occasional nights when the world tips out of balance also co-exist with my healthy eating. Oh, yes, so does wine with dinner. Another reward. Thank goodness years ago some French marketing guy said it was healthy.

So, check out this list of 40 Superfoods and try to put more of them in your diet. And, if you’ve tried to eat healthy before only to have given up, perhaps this is the day it will take. Here are a few tips that may help:

1. Decide why being healthy is important to you – only to you – and keep that front and center

2. Fill your house with healthy foods and throw out the junk. If when you’re hungry you can reach for a carrot instead of pretzels, you will.

3. The day you fall off the wagon, is only a day. Start new the next day. What you do in a week counts more than what you do in a day.

4. Your history doesn’t have to be your future. Ever.

5. Honor yourself enough to make healthy eating important, and your mission.

6. Know that in a few weeks, your tastebuds will change. You will lose your taste for synthetic food, sweets, salt and grease.

7. Talk yourself through a weak moment. Tell yourself if you’re dying for that piece of cake at 10 PM, you can wait till morning. 

8. Nothing’s off limits. If you need it, eat a little of it. Parcel it out onto a plate, don’t stand over it in the kitchen. You won’t stop.

9. Go slow or cold turkey. Whatever works for you.

10. Remember, you can do it – millions do. It may take time, but depending upon what you do now, next year you’ll either be exactly where you are now, less healthy or healthier.