Health Food for Foodies, Part 4 of 4:

Dr. Harlan brings up a very good point regarding the Affordable Care Act.  “Farm before pharm” is the mantra of many programs designed to assist children at the risk of developing diet-relating diseases. One non-profit called Wholesome Wave is focused on making locally gown produce available to people of all income levels.  Dr. Harlan remarks on the fact that “if we can reduce the burden of disease, we can reduce the burden of the cost of disease.”   Wholesome Wave launched the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program (FVRx) in 2010.

FVRx is now available in 6 states, prescriptions are dispensed by primary care providers and redeemed at farmers’ markets. A study conducted in 2012 claimed that 37.8% of the participants decreased their BMI (body mass index, a weight calculation that includes height and natural body tyupe) over the course of a year.  The CEO and President of Wholesome Wave is Michel Nischan, a chef, restaurateur, and author of a cookbook.  He strongly believes that access to local, affordable food is going to be a huge initial step in policy change.  “If large employers could see an investment in providing minimum-wage employees a connection with a company doctor and an opportunity to increase fruit and vegetable consumption, their premiums are going to go down pretty significantly on the back end,” Nischan says.

It seems there is a slight crisis in the current selection of foods that are available to the general population.  Unhealthy foods offered to the greater population are causing health problems for people that cannot afford the current price of healthcare.  Luckily, a lot of great minds from different intellectual backgrounds and trainings are finally coming together to instigate a change.

Kathleen Berry-Hebert

Health Food for Foodies, Part 3 of 4:

Seamus Mullen, another high-profile New York chef, has been working on establishing the term, “Hero Food” in his cookbook and in his lexicon at his restaurant, Tertulia.  Chef Mullen claims he has a first hand experience with how diet can reverse the effects of rheumatoid arthritis from eating certain foods.  He says his pain was terrible and found himself in the hospital multiple times.   Mullen said it took months but finally after eating right, he woke up not in pain.  Once he didn’t feel chronic pain, he was able to start working out and his blood-test finally showed no signs of rheumatoid arthritis.

One of the foods Mr. Mullen eliminated was gluten.  He claims to believe it was a major factor.  He stuck to what he calls “hero foods” which include leafy greens, grass-fed meat and eggs.  Chef Mullen prefers foods that are delicious and well sourced.  He increases good fats and cuts back on carbohydrates and sugars.

Health Food for Foodies, Part 2 of 4:

Many of their principles rely on the Mediterranean diet.  The Mediterranean diet emphasizes fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, healthy fats, specific fish and a minimal quantity of good-quality meat and cultured dairy.  A recent study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and Cambridge Health Alliance found a link between the Mediterranean diet and a lower risk of heart disease.  An earlier study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology presented a link between the Mediterranean diet and a lower risk of obesity, diabetes, and cancer.

This program will give doctors the chance to add another method of treatment: diet combined with medicine and chefs are also eager to show that eating for health doesn’t necessarily mean eating “health food” or bland food.  Chef David Bouley says he grew up in a family where the “pantry and medicine cabinet always seemed to overlap.”  He recently opened Bouley Botanical, an event space and “living pantry” that is currently growing 400 plant species for his Manhattan restaurants.  Mr. Bouley has been fascinated by the healing properties of food and sought out advice from nutritionists.  His complaint with their advice was that he received a big list of “Don’t’s” rather than “Do’s.”  Finally he collaborated with Dr. Mark Hyman and found himself satiated, intellectually.

Last fall, Dr. Hyman and Chef Bouley teamed up at the New York City Wine & Food Festival for a dinner they called “The Chef and the Doctor.”  Over the course of the meal, they addressed the healing properties of the ingredients in the dishes.  Mushrooms are full of polysaccharides, which are meant to battle tumors.  Sardines are a source of omega-3s, which are believed to protect against heart disease and stroke.

Health Food for Foodies, Part 1 of 4:

David Eisenberg, a physician who works in a medical lab at the Harvard School of Public Health, met with other colleagues, ophthalmologists and endocrinologists to discuss at the 10th conference of Healthy Kitchens and Healthy Lives, a joint project of the CIA, Harvard School of Public Health and Samueli Institute, a non-profit dedicated to investigating healing practices.  At the conference, doctors, dietitians, nutritionists, educators, sustainability experts, healthcare professionals come together to meet with chefs and restaurateurs.  Dr. Eisenberg co-founded the program.  His main goal was to establish “a place where nutrition scientists could teach medical providers what they need to know about which foods we should eat more of, or less of, and why… And chefs [translate] that into demonstrations on how to prepare healthy, delicious, affordable, easy-to-make dishes.” Dr. Eisenberg is not trying to replace drugs with food.  He is simply trying to help people move towards a healthier lifestyle to help prevent illness or manage an illness that is already present.

While food and health have been viewed in a similar light for years, there has never been such a strong collaboration between doctors and chefs.  In May, the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University will debut the nation’s first teaching kitchen affiliated with a medical school.  This will help students, doctors, and chefs to learn more about the role of food when it comes to managing obesity and other diseases.  The Executive Director of the Goldring Center as well as the Assistant Dean for Clinical Services is Timothy Harlan, a chef and a doctor.  He attended medical school as well as owned restaurants. The way he describes the Goldring Center’s goal is to teach doctors in training “some very simple techniques they can use to change the dialogue with their patients, change the way their patients think about food and nutrition.”  The classes will integrate nutrition with physiology, anatomy, and biochemistry.  There is also a branch that focuses on doing research on foods. It has licensed its curriculum to two other medical schools. Timothy Harlan wants to make it clear that he does not believe in anything other than evidence-based medicine.  Dr. Harlan is an internist.  He says, “Diet alone is very good.  Medication alone is very good.  But diet plus medication is synergistic.  It’s another tool in the box that physicians should have available to them.”

Based off a recent article.

Nutrition Deficiencies, Part 2:

Vitamin K2 is not very well known.  Deficiencies for this include tartar buildup on teeth and tooth decay, osteoporosis, and arterial calcification, which can eventually lead to heart disease.

One theory for a deficiency of Vitamin K2 is because it is not very well known so no one would even have the knowledge to go out of their way to obtain it.  Another theory is that there is a lack of Vitamin K-containing foods in the diets of the animals that convert it to Vitamin K2.  Cows raised on pastures can convert Vitamin K1 in the grass into Vitamin K2 but cows with no access to pastures have little to none Vitamin K1 to convert.

The animal form of Vitamin K2, MK-4, is found in pastured yolks, grass-fed butter, goose liver, fish eggs and aged cheese.  The vegetable form of Vitamin K2, MK-7, is found in Japanese fermented soybeans. There is a lack of knowledge about the amount of MK-7 in soybeans and what other foods contain it.

Cows Happy and Free

Nutrient Deficiencies, Part 1:

Iodine and magnesium are the most common nutrient deficiencies. This article addresses five common nutrient deficiencies, which include iodine and magnesium. The rest of the five include: Selenium, Vitamin K2, and Vitamin B12.

Selenium supports efficient thyroid hormone synthesis and is required for the conversion of thyroid hormone T4 into active T3. Severe selenium deficiency is rare but minor deficiency is easy to get and can have unpleasant effects. Symptoms of a selenium deficiency can include hypothyroid symptoms, polyneuropathy, and similar side effects of statins and muscle damage. Polyneuropathy is weakness numbness, and pins-and-needles like feeling in the body.

Selenium deficiencies can occur because of lack of selenium in the soil. Selenium is not created; in order for us to ingest it, it must be in the soil that our crops are grown. Here is a map to see how much selenium is in soil near you.
Intestinal disorders or lack of intake of selenium-rich foods can also cause deficiencies.

Selenium is found in wild salmon, Brazil nuts, crimini and shiitake mushrooms, lamb, shrimp, turkey, halibut, cod, and egg yolks.

A Vitamin B12 deficiency is more common. The richest source of B12 is in animals. Even those who eat many animals can still have a deficiency. Symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency include lethargy, unwanted weight loss, Alzheimer’s-like symptoms, anxiety, depression, and Autism spectrum disorder in children.

Possible reasons for a Vitamin B12 deficiency is that meat-eaters assume they are consuming it, gut disorders prevent us from absorbing it, or what we have decided as a society is a normal amount of B12 is actually too low. When a doctor tells the patient they have enough B12 in their systems it may not actually be enough. Vitamin B12 is found in animals, sardines, liver, and salmon. It can also be found in supplements. Methylcobalamin is the best.