Monthly Archives: November 2015

Medicinal Mushrooms

Mushroom Pic 6I love finding mushrooms in my garden. Each one is beautiful and unique. It is said that if you find mushrooms growing in a circle it is a Faerie Ring. Just don’t step into the circle, the Faeries will be angry ūüôā The problem with mushrooms is that many of them are poisonous & difficult to identify. Here in the Northwest mushroom season starts in October. There are tours, festivals & mushroom walks with professionals. I choose to buy mine in the grocery store! I like to be cautious.

Mushroom 9


Mushrooms are a fungus. They typically grow up on a stalk with a cap on top. If you look on the underside of the cap you will usually find gills. Mushrooms vary in size, color, texture & shape. There are more than 10,000 types of mushrooms in North America. More than 1 million mushroom species in the world. A small percentage are poisonous. If you are interested in pursuing this subject here is a link to the North American Mycological Association. It has a list of mushroom clubs &/or societies in your area.

My Mushroom (2)

Mushrooms are a fantastic health food. They are low in calories, high in protein, iron, zinc, fiber, vitamins ~high in anti-oxidants~ minerals & essential amino acids. Mushrooms have been used for their medicinal properties for thousands of years by various cultures all over the world to prevent & treat many diseases including cancer.

Herbal & Medicinal Mushrooms by Rosalee de la Floret: “People have used mushrooms medicinally and as food for thousands of years. The oldest written reference to people using mushrooms medicinally is from an Ayurvedic source from 5000 BP.¬†The Chinese have one of the most sophisticated uses of herbal and medicinal mushrooms and have a written history of using them that dates back several thousand years as well. Many medicinal mushrooms like cordyceps and reishi were so highly prized (and so very rare) that only the emperor was allowed to consume them. Now these mushrooms are cultivated and are often times affordable.¬†The Greeks and Romans ate mushrooms frequently. The Greeks said mushrooms were the ‚Äúfood of the gods.‚ÄĚ

I am going to list the most common & easily found mushrooms that are shown to have medicinal properties for cancer patients. These you can obtain at your grocery or natural foods store either fresh, dried or as an extract, both liquid & in capsules. Most mushroom studies are done by first extracting the active ingredient and placing it into a liquid base. These extracts are far more concentrated than the whole mushroom itself.

  • Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum): This is the most researched of all mushrooms. It has been used for over 2000 years in a health & longevity tonic in China, Japan & other Asian countries. It is also used as an extract or tincture. These are just a few healing properties that are attributed to the Reishi mushroom: immune enhancer, anti-tumor, anti-viral, cholesterol lowering & anti-fatiguing. This mushroom is taken in a tea or liquid extract only.

¬†Dr. Weil has written:¬†“Reishi mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum) are too bitter to eat as food but are widely available in tea bags, capsules and liquid extracts. Animal studies have shown that reishi improves immune function and inhibits the growth of some malignant tumors; it is also a natural anti-inflammatory agent.”

  • Shitaki (lentinula edodes): ¬†These mushrooms, fresh & dried, are used in cooking. Eating them as a food in your diet will still give you the benefits of: immune enhancing, anti-tumor & anti-cancer properties.

An article in the Huffington Post: Six Cancer-Fighting Medicinal Mushrooms¬†states: This is a tender and tasty mushroom found in many Asian cuisines. It is considered both a delicacy and a medicinal mushroom. Shitake contains a glucan called AHCC (Active Hexose Correlated Compound) and is widely used in alternative and complementary treatment of cancer in Japan due to its immune-enhancing functions. Lentinan, a compound found in Shitake, is used as an intravenous anti-cancer drug with antitumor properties. Clinical studies have associated lentinan with a higher survival rate, higher quality of life and lower recurrence of cancer.”

  • Maitaki (grifola frondosa):¬† Maitake mushrooms have immune enhancing, anti-tumor & anti-cancer properties. These can be bought either fresh, dried or in an extract. Like the Shitaki , Maitaki mushrooms can be cooked & eaten for their anti-cancer benefits.

Maitaki Mushrooms & Maitaki Extracts¬†: Cancer Research UK: “Japanese studies using an injectable type of maitake-D have found that it boosted the immune system and slowed or stopped the spread of breast and liver cancer in animal studies. A phase 1 study is currently being carried out in the USA to see whether beta glucan can help a biological therapy calledrituximab to work better. It is for young patients with lymphoma or leukemia that has come back after previous treatment. Another trial is looking at whether maitake extract affects breast cancer.” ¬†I couldn’t find the results of the trial looking at maitake extract & breast cancer. The conclusions of other trials I did read said that more research needed to be done. But they all do confirm that maitaki extract is immune enhancing.

  • Chaga (inonotus obliquus): Chaga is immune enhancing, an anti-oxidant, anti-tumor & may stall the progression of cancer cells.¬† It is well known for its use against a wide range of cancers: breast, lip, skin and colon to name a few. Chaga is taken as a liquid extract or in capsules only.

Six Cancer-Fighting Medicinal Mushrooms¬†¬†Huffington Post:¬†“This has been used as a medicinal mushroom in Russian and Eastern European Traditional Medicine. Chaga has been studied as a potential anti-cancer agent. Chaga contains betulin, a precursor to betulinic acid, which has been shown to inhibit the cancer-promoting enzyme topoisomerase. Betulinic acid has been found to be active against skin, brain, ovarian and head and neck cancers by promoting apoptosis, or the natural progression of programmed cell death. Cancer cells do not go through this natural life cycle and become immortalized and do not die.”

  • Turkey Tail (trametes versicolor):¬†Turkey Tail is a well-researched medicinal mushroom. It has been used in Chinese Medicine as a tonic for centuries. It is an immune enhancer and has anti-tumor properties. Studies have shown that it can enhance the effects of chemotherapy. Taken as a liquid extract or in capsules.

Bastyr Univeristy:¬†FDA Approves Bastyr Turkey Tail Trial for Cancer Patients¬†¬†“It’s been brewed for thousands of years as a Chinese medicinal tea. Now Bastyr University researchers are closer to discovering whether the turkey tail mushroom (Trametes versicolor) can help cancer patients boost their immune systems during chemotherapy.”¬†

Turkey Tail Mushrooms Help Immune System Fight Cancer:¬†“A promising clinical study shows that the turkey tail mushroom (Trametes versicolor) improves the immune systems of breast cancer patients. The multiyear study, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), tracked whether or not turkey tails could positively affect the immune system of patients rebound after they ended their radiation therapy.”¬†This article is by the well known mycologist,¬†Paul Stamets,¬†Founder of Fungi Perfecti; Advisor for the Program of Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona Medical School, Tucson

  • Lions Mane (hericium erinaceus): Medicinal properties include: anti-cancer, immune enhancer, & it is anti-microbial. It has also been studied for nerve growth regeneration. It is being studied specifically for Parkinson’s disease. Lion’s Mane is an edible mushroom. It is cultivated in Vietnam, China & Japan.

Lion’s Mane: A Mushroom That Improves Your Memory and Mood? This is a great article about Lion’s Mane by Paul Stamets.¬†“Mushrooms provide a vast array of potential medicinal compounds. Many mushrooms — such as portobello, oyster, reishi and maitake — are well-known for these properties, but the lion’s mane mushroom, in particular, has drawn the attention of researchers for its notable nerve-regenerative properties.” ¬†

Due to the nerve-regenertion property of Lion’s Mane, it is being studied for use in peripheral neuropathy. Because it is edible, and safe, I encourage you to give it a try.¬†

  • Oyster Mushroom (pleurotus ostreatus): Oyster mushrooms have been studied for their medicinal properties: anti-tumor, immune enhancer, cholesterol lowering & anti-fungal. These mushrooms are used in gourmet dishes. Eat up!

This is the only study I could find on breast cancer & colon cancer & Oyster Mushrooms:  Pleurotus ostreatus inhibits proliferation of human breast and colon cancer cells through p53-dependent as well as p53-independent


Medicinal mushrooms are a difficult subject to research. As Dr. Abrams noted in the video,¬†Mushrooms, can they help prevent cancer?¬†;¬†westerners have a fear of mushrooms. Oncologists would rather you just didn’t take them. I admit that even after doing the research for today’s post & having previously given a talk about medicinal mushrooms, I am still confused as to how to take or consume them for their medicinal properties. Dosage & mushroom to be used medicinally depends on what type of cancer you have & where you are in your treatment. Some can be consumed as a food & some are too bitter or tough & must be taken in extracts.

Some of you are aware of Kriss Carr’s website,¬†Crazy Sexy Wellness. She has a unique, & funny outlook on cancer as a survivor. She posted a short but informative article by Dr. Joel Fuhrman called ¬†Anti-Cancer Effects of Onions and Mushrooms: ¬†“Mushrooms have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and immune-supporting properties. Mushrooms contain polysaccharides that are thought to inhibit tumor growth and viral infection by stimulating immune cells.¬†Compounds in shiitake mushrooms have been shown to trigger programmed cell death in breast cancer cells.¬†In case control studies, consuming mushrooms regularly has been associated with decreased risk of breast cancer in both pre- and postmenopausal women. Frequent consumption of mushrooms decreased the risk of breast cancer by up to 60-70%.¬†Similar associations were observed in studies on stomach and colorectal cancers.¬†¬†Check out this article. He has footnotes to the studies. Very well written.

My recommendation is that you cook any mushroom that is edible & add it to your diet. Mushroom 10Cook up a medley of mushrooms & eat a serving every day. You will get the medicinal benefits of each one. If you want to take an extract then I suggest that you work with an Oncologist, an oncology trained Chinese herbalist, or a Naturopath with oncology experience.

Most of you know Kim Taylor: Acupuncturist, Chinese Medicine, Pacific College of Orient Medicine Oncology Instructor and Clinical Supervisor, 760- 291-7025  She is a great resource for Chinese Medicine & medicinal mushrooms. Email or call her for an appointment. 

No matter how you take medicinal mushrooms, you must do it¬†consistently. You¬†will not get the benefits from “trying” them once. Because they are a whole food they will take time to work no matter what form you use them in. Give them 3 weeks at least. I hope this has helped.

See you here next week!

Mushroom Pic 7 All photos by Don & Mary Hollander

Resource List:

Thanksgiving Recipes!



Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful & a time to spend with loved ones. It is also a time of feasting! I would like to add here that it is also a day to enjoy your food. A day of gratitude & loved ones is better for your immune system than any diet you are currently on! So, throw out the self-imposed eating rules, say a blessing of gratitude & enjoy.

Whether you are having the typical Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, stuffing & gravy or a variation with Tofurky, stuffing & vegan gravy, there is always room on the menu for something new. Here are some suggestions.

Thanksgiving Recipes:¬†Allrecipes has the best recipes for Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing, pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, gravy, and tips to help you along the way.”¬†This is one of my go-to sites for recipes. Everything I have tried has been perfect. This page, perfect stuffed turkey,¬†is about all the ways you can cook one¬†no matter if you are a beginner or an old pro ūüôā ¬†Explore this link for more tasty ideas.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes  from this same site, Allrecipes, is a favorite of mine. I never boil anything, so I would suggest steaming the potatoes. I would also suggest using small red, purple or gold for a healthy change. My daughter makes her mashed potatoes with half being steamed cauliflower mashed with the potatoes. No one noticed the difference!

Gravy was always my mothers secret recipe. She never revealed what was in it & didn’t leave a recipe. Here is an easy recipe for gravy:¬†How to Make Amazing Gravy from Scratch

Delish 2015 Thanksgiving Dinners¬†is another great resource. It even has recipes for leftovers! My favorite page is 15 Easy Vegetable Side Dishes.¬†I have some extra squash & I saw this great recipe for¬†Roasted Garlic Squash with Crispy Sage Brown Butter.¬†I also have an abundance of fresh sage in my herb garden. Not waiting for the “big day”, I am trying this one tonight ūüôā I don’t see anything I would change except cut down on the amount butter suggested. I love¬†Brussels¬†sprouts & I just saw this¬†recipe,¬†Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Rosemary.¬†Pancetta is an Italian bacon. As a vegetarian I would just leave that out. I wouldn’t need to replace it with anything, this recipe would be great without it.¬†

Ideas for vegans & vegetarians abound on the websites above, Allrecipes & Delish. Check them out. Here are some other ideas for vegans or vegetarians for a dinner at home or to take to the Thanksgiving dinner you are attending.

Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes 2014: The Ordinary Vegan posted these recipes last year. There is a recipe for a Farro loaf that sounded interesting. I have never used farro but I think I need to explore this grain. It is a combination of different wheat species. Yum! I am also excited to try Vegan Coconut Bacon Scroll down to find it. Once made you can add it to the Sourdough, Mushroom & Vegan Bacon Stuffing recipe right above it. 

Another recipe to replace the turkey is: Stuffed Red Lentil Loaf with Mushrooms, Red Peppers and Spinach. My family happens to enjoy a Tofurky as a side dish to all the wonderful veggies, mashed potatoes, & vegetarian gravy. I purchase the roast by itself. You can also purchase the Holiday Package which has the roast, gravy, stuffing & desert in it! 

The stuffing can be made as a stand alone dish. Whole Wheat Bread, Apple and Cranberry Dressing  This recipe can start with a bag of organic stuffing instead of making the whole wheat bread cubes. If you buy it seasoned then just adjust the recipe. Easy. Whole Grain Rice Stuffing with Apples, Pecans and Cranberries I love this one. Having a stuffing side dish with wild & brown rice sounds delicious. 

If you are a millet fan here is an interesting “mashed potato” recipe: Millet-Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes”.¬†I like cauliflower a lot & I also like cooking with millet. Sounds good to me!

Vegetarian gravy…..Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy.¬†The Southern Vegan has this recipe:¬†Biscuits and Gravy. ¬†

Deserts are easy. Either make your own or buy one! The sites above all list great deserts. Here is a Vegan Pumpkin Pie recipe. When making a pie crust for your favorite pie you can substitute Crisco with Coconut Butter. I love the flavor it gives my crusts. Sometimes I will not make a crust & use Fillo (Phyllo) sheets instead. I layer the sheets into the pan brushing with melted Coconut Butter or EV Olive Oil between each one. after about 5-6 layers, I cut them all with scissors to the shape of the pan. Then I put the filling in & bake as usual. I also use Phyllo sheets for a Quiche crust.  

I thought you would like this recipe. Dairy Free Toasted Coconut Muffins. I made them this week & they are delicious! The only thing I did differently was to use canned coconut milk (Thai or Trader Joe’s brand are perfect) rather than Silk Coconut Milk ~too much sugar added. I doubled the batch & used a regular sized muffin pan & it made 16. I had to increase baking time to 18-20 minutes. These muffins are freezable.

I hope you were able to find some new dish to serve among the websites listed above. Let me remind you again ~I am not nicknamed Mother Mary for nothing you know~ please enjoy Thanksgiving. Give yourself a well deserved break nutrition wise & instead of stressing out, make some beautiful memories. 

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at  

Vitamin C as a Cancer Therapy.

linus pauling


The history of Vitamin C & cancer therapy really begins with Linus Pauling; 1901-1994. Dr. Pauling won 2 Nobel Prizes: one for Chemistry (1954) & one for Peace (1962). Dr.¬†Pauling had taken an interest in the importance of vitamins and health as early as the 1930’s. In the 1960’s he started looking at the biochemistry of nutrition.¬†“Pauling later broadened this concept into orthomolecular medicine. The concept and term (meaning “right molecules in the right concentration”) characterized an approach to the prevention and treatment of disease and attainment of optimum health that was based on the physiological and enzymatic actions of specific nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and amino acids present in the body.”¬†This led to his research on vitamin C and its varied roles in maintaining a healthy body. He was convinced that vitamin C in large doses could prevent or be used as a treatment for the common cold. In 1970 he published the book Vitamin C and the Common Cold.¬†He also saw that vitamin C could be used to treat the flu, cancer, cardiovascular disease, infections, & the aging process. Dr. Pauling’s published works regarding nutritional medicine were met with doubt from the medical establishment & was called quackery!¬†

“He maintained that biochemical individuality, molecular disease, or environmental stress may increase the need for certain micronutrients, such as vitamin C, considerably above the RDA. He also warned against overuse of such substances as sugar and chemical sweeteners. Unlike many advocates in the field of nutritional medicine, he considered orthomolecular medicine a crucial adjunct to standard medical practice and therefore did not rule out conventional treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, when considered appropriate.”¬†Linus Pauling Institute.

In 1979 he wrote Cancer and Vitamin C.¬†¬†The research he and his collaborator, Dr. Cameron had done showing that Vitamin C in megadoses could kill cancer cells was called a mess & their methods came under scrutiny. Shortlly after their research was published, other scientists tried to copy it with negative results. Vitamin C as a cancer therapy was put on the shelf & derided. Because of this any researcher of importance knew better than doing studies with Vitamin C & cancer. It was considered a “career killer”.¬†

Today, a new generation of young researchers have decided that there just may be something in this idea ūüôā Dr. Pauling’s research has been copied once more with positive results. Recent studies have shown that indeed, Vitamin C in mega doses, can kill colorectal cancer cells in mice.

Vitamin C kills tumor cells with hard-to-treat mutation:¬†Maybe Linus Pauling was on to something after all. Decades ago the Nobel Prize‚Äďwinning chemist was relegated to the fringes of medicine after championing the idea that vitamin C could combat a host of illnesses, including cancer. Now, a study published online today inScience reports that vitamin C can kill tumor cells that carry a common cancer-causing mutation and‚ÄĒin mice‚ÄĒcan curb the growth of tumors with the mutation.¬†Interesting ūüôā¬†“Others caution that the effects seen in mice may not hold up in humans. But because high dose vitamin C is already known to be safe, says cancer researcher Vuk Stambolic of the University of Toronto in Canada, oncologists ‚Äúcan quickly move forward in the clinic.”¬†Mega doses of Vitamin C given¬†intravenously¬†has been shown to be safe.

VITAMIN C CAN KILL CANCER CELLS IN CASE OF KRAS AND BRAF GENE MUTATIONS: STUDY:¬†“A new study has found that high dose of Vitamin C can suffocate mutated cancer cells and stop the spread of cancers in certain cases. The study conducted on mice found that cancer cells spreading due to KRAS and BRAF gene mutations could be controlled with high dosage of Vitamin C.”¬†This study was done with cancer cells from colorectal cancer in mice.¬†“The high dosage of vitamin C is equivalent to the amount found in nearly 300 oranges…..Vitamin C is generally thought to improve health because of its antioxidant effect, which prevents or delays some types of cell damage. The team led by Dr. Lewis Cantley, of Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, NY, discovered that in the case of the KRAS and BRAF forms of CRC, the opposite was true. In these cancer cells, high-dose vitamin Cs caused oxidation, resulting in what could be a beneficial effect for patients.” This explains why the latest studies on antioxidants don’t apply to mega doses of Vitamin C used in this study.

Breakthrough: Vitamin C destroys cancer cells:¬†A news release from the American Association for the Advancement of Science stated: ‚ÄúColorectal cancer cells with certain mutations ‚Äėhandle‚Äô vitamin C differently than other cells, and this difference ultimately kills them, a new study shows. The idea that vitamin C could be an effective therapy for human cancer holds great appeal, but its track record in this arena has been highly controversial, with clinical studies producing contradictory results.¬†Several ongoing clinical studies are exploring whether a therapeutic effect may require a high plasma level of vitamin C that can be achieved only by intravenous, not oral, administration. In the meantime, the molecular mechanism by which vitamin C might selectively kill cancer cells remains unclear.” Clinical trials¬†are being done on human subjects with colorectal cancer. Early days yet but good news.

“Surveys of healthcare practitioners at United States CAM conferences in recent years have shown that high-dose IV vitamin C is frequently given to patients as a treatment for infections, fatigue, and cancers, including breast cancer.”¬†This quote is taken from a Q&A about Vitamin C & cancer on WebMD. Here is a link to the article:¬†High-Dose Vitamin C (PDQ¬ģ): Complementary and alternative medicine – Patient Information [NCI] – Questions and Answers About High-Dose Vitamin C¬†“When taken by intravenous (IV) infusion, vitamin C can reach much higher levels in the blood than when it is taken by mouth. Studies suggest that these higher levels of vitamin C may cause the death of cancer cells in the laboratory.¬†However, not all laboratory studies combining vitamin C with anticancer therapies have shown benefit. Combining dehydroascorbic acid, a particular form of vitamin C, with chemotherapy made it less effective in killing some kinds of cancer cells.”¬†

Large_Oranges_PNG_ClipartI have spoken with many patients who received mega doses of Vitamin C¬†intravenously¬†24 hours before¬†their chemotherapy. They were going by the idea that it works¬†to enhance the chemotherapy’s ability to kill cancer cells. Some oncologists didn’t have a problem with this while others felt it would do the opposite and hinder the chemotherapy. Hopefully this new study & future human clinical trials will settle this once and for all.

To get blood levels of vitamin C to the mega dose required it must be administered intravenously. Our body controls how much oral vitamin C it can handle by limiting how much is absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract. If you took a one time mega dose of vitamin C ¬†by mouth, the body would only absorb 500 mgm. We know that the body can handle about 3,000 mgm per day. If you take more you may end up with a bad case of diarrhea & abdominal cramps ūüôĀ ¬†

One cautionary note is that vitamin C does not come under the same FDA regulations as drugs. It is considered a supplement. This means that you must be very careful who is administering the IV Vitamin C & what form they are using. At this level of dosage, you will be getting a drug-like action. An M.D., D.O. or a Naturopath would be my recommendation. Also, I would check where the Naturopath studied; Bastyr University graduates are my personal choice. 

No matter what you choose to do, it is always prudent to let your health care team know. When taking micro-nutrients in mega doses or even above the recommended daily allowance, it effects the body’s metabolic balance. Your medications may be effected & your blood work results may change. Don’t be one of the 80% who do not tell their health care team about other therapies they are using. This is what the word “team” is all about. One example is that vitamin C enhances the¬†body’s¬†absorption of estrogen. If you are taking an estrogen blocker or even birth control, it may have¬†an effect on its action.¬†

One last note on Vitamin C & Zinc from Dr. Low Dog. Remember to factor in any other Zinc you are taking.

Dr Low Dog Zinc

We are coming up on Thanksgiving! Start looking at your menu & make small changes in the ingredients to make a healthier version. I will publish next weeks Blog Post early,¬†Friday, the 20th,¬†so I can share some Thanksgiving recipes with you……Mary

Additional resources:

Enough with the meat already!



There has been an increase in research linking meats & disease. We saw in my last 2 posts the link between processed & red meat to colorectal cancer. This week studies have been published showing the links between meat & kidney cancer, diet & rheumatoid arthritis. As soon as these types of studies are published there is an outry by corporations & the public. The corporations because they will lose money & the public because no one wants to change their lifelong habits.¬†You know, my greatest concern is that all of these studies will either scare people into doing nothing about their present eating lifestyle or they will make drastic changes that won’t be healthy & certainly won’t last.

What can we learn from these studies & how do we apply the information to our lifestyles? First, lets take a quick look at two of the latest studies. Additional links will be provided at the end of this post.

Studies Explore Link Between Diet, Rheumatoid Arthritis:¬†“Those who ate a typical North American diet — high in red and processed meat, refined grains, fried food, high-fat dairy and sweets — were more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than those who ate a diet high in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, poultry and fish, the study found.¬†However, the new research only finds an association between healthy eating and lower odds for rheumatoid arthritis. It doesn’t establish a direct cause-and-effect relationship.”¬†Once again the preliminary research is showing that the typical American diet increases the risk for the¬†autoimmune¬†disorder, rheumatoid¬†arthritis. Arthritis of any sort causes joint pain, swelling, redness, heat, along with general fatigue, low-grade fever & a loss of energy. What do these symptoms have to do with diet? I will explain in a moment. Here is the next study.

University of Texas Study Links Meat to Kidney Cancer:¬†Another study has shown people who eat more meat have a high risk of cancer. This time, it’s kidney cancer, researchers reported Monday.¬†And it’s not just people who eat red meat, as many other studies have shown. People who eat more so-called white meat, such as chicken, have the higher risk, too.¬†The American/Western dietary pattern consists largely of red and processed meats, and the results of the current study suggest that the association between this dietary pattern and cancer may be in part explained by exposure to meat cooking mutagens,” they wrote.”¬†This study is also preliminary & more research needs to be done. The study acknowledges the link between all meats, including chicken, & an increase in risk for kidney cancer. Their main focus is how the meats are cooked. The people in the study¬†barbecued &/or grilled their meats.¬†“Cancer experts have long known that grilling or barbecuing meat can make it carcinogenic. Burning or charring meat creates cancer-causing substances.”¬†This is the link between cancer & meat this group is researching.¬†

Here are two more articles I would like you to consider:

Is junk food to blame for the obesity epidemic?: “In fact, according to the study from the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, junk food does not appear to be a leading cause of obesity in the United States. Rather, the researchers suggest that the blame lies with Americans’ overall eating habits — particularly the amount of food consumed.¬†Rumsey also pointed out that junk food is low in protein and fiber, doing little to keep you full and making it easy to over-consume calories.”¬†Portion control ūüôā Thin people who eat junk food all the time remain thin but not “healthy”.

Do restaurant menu calorie counts change the way we eat?: “Chain restaurants in the United States will be required to list calorie information on their menus starting in December 2016. But the few chains that already post the information beat out the competition in low-calorie offerings, according to a study.¬†Previous research has suggested that just listing calories on a menu doesn’t change what customers order. Another study published Monday found that customers at chain restaurants in New York City ordered about the same number of calories in 2013 and 2014 as they did in 2008, when the city first started to require menu labeling. It also found that the number of customers who noticed the calorie listing on menus diminished over those years.”¬†What these studies do show is that if the restaurants cut the calories of the dishes they offer, then people will automatically eat fewer calories when dining out. So…..people ignore the calorie information on the menu, then let’s help them out by offering low cal entrees etc.?

A comment made by the author Michael Pollen has always stuck in my mind~ We are the only mammal on the planet that has to be told what to eat.~ Why is that? Is it too many choices, or a faster lifestyle that precludes eating at home? Yes, Yes & much more. It has evolved over centuries. It isn’t something we can change overnight but we can take steps to make the change easier.

What we know for sure………….

  • People don’t want to change their eating lifestyles. There is a comfort level with certain foods we go to when tired, bored or stressed.¬†Go ahead & eat these comfort foods when you need them. Just don’t eat them regularly ūüôā¬†
  • Corporations don’t want to change their bottom line: $$$$ The meat industry, sugar industry & even the supplement industry are concerned about these studies & what they will do to their profits.
  • Protein is filtered through the kidney. The higher the protein consumed the more stress on the kidney. People with kidney disease are told to eat low protein diets. Very little research has been done to indicate that healthy individuals eating a high protein diet would lead to kidney disease.¬†Based on what I have read, I would consider limiting the amount of protein consumed at each meal to one serving or 1/4 of your plate. This includes all sources of protein.
  • Low fiber intake causes chronic constipation & contributes to gastrointestinal diseases. ¬†Cedars-Sinai states:¬† Whole grain products, fruits and vegetables all contain an undigestible plant matter called dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is only found in plant products, and never in animal products. Though dietary fiber cannot be digested or absorbed, it plays a role in nutrition because our gastrointestinal tracts require it for bulking. Dietary fiber absorbs water, thereby bulking the stool and making the stool softer and bowel movements more regular. In other words, dietary fiber is desirable in the diet to promote bowel regularity and a healthy colon.”¬†There are times when your health team will recommend a low fiber diet for a short time. Follow their advice.
  • Increase your sodium/salt intake & you increase the amount of fluids retained in the body which in turn can cause health problems. Mayo Clinic:¬†¬†“If you’re like many people, you’re getting far more sodium than is recommended, and that could lead to serious health problems.¬†You probably aren’t even aware of just how much sodium is in your diet. Consider that a single teaspoon of table salt, which is a combination of sodium and chloride, has 2,325 milligrams (mg) of sodium. And it’s not just table salt you have to worry about. Many processed and prepared foods contain sodium.”¬†Salt content in packaged, processed & fast foods is notoriously high!
  • Dairy foods are inflammatory. They contribute to joint pain, fatigue, lack of energy & inflammatory diseases: cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, & obesity. They also contain antibiotics, growth hormones & estrogen. Organic dairy still contains estrogen & it is inflammatory.¬†Cut it from your diet altogether or have one small serving a day or week.
  • Meat eaten often & in large portions increases your risk of cancer, heart disease, kidney disease etc.¬†Lots of research & evidence. The more you eat the higher the risk. Consider eating one serving or less per week. That would be less than 3 ounces. Explore vegetarian sources. ¬†lentil meat
  • High fat diets are linked to breast cancer, heart disease, obesity etc.¬†All fats have the same number of calories, but some fats are healthier than others. Limit the amount of saturated fat you eat.¬†See my post on healthy fats/oils for more information.
  • Added sugar is contributing to chronic diseases.¬†Sugar is being researched to see if the rise in added sugar consumption is one of the causes of the rise in heart disease, cancer, obesity & diabetes. Check my earlier posts & topics about sugar. Our bodies need natural sugars from whole foods to survive.¬†Added sugar is the culprit.¬†
  • Most “addictive” foods contain high amounts of salt, fat & sugar. They are fried, grilled, or barbecued.¬†Think “County Fair foods” ūüôā
  • Barbecuing, pan frying and grilling any meat creates 2 carcinogens from the fat hitting the coals & high heat frying.¬†Marinating the meat first & not burning or charring the meat may decrease the carcinogenic effect. Same with pan frying. Try broiling, roasting or baking instead.
  • Increased portions contribute to all diseases.¬†Portion control may well be the most important habit we need to learn.¬†Did you do your homework from last weeks post? Write down everything you eat for 3 days. Sit down with your list & see how you can make your choices healthier without making radical, overnight, changes to your diet. A good place to begin is to change the portion sizes to conform to the ‚Äúplate‚ÄĚ. ¬†

How do we apply all this information? The easiest way, without a lot of crazy, fad diets, is to make the Mediterranean or DASH diet your goal. If you are a vegetarian or a vegan you can still learn from both of the diets. There are junk food vegans & junk food vegetarians!

The Mediterranean diet is a lifestyle, a way of eating. The Dash diet is a dietary plan. If you prefer a general outline of healthy eating then the Mediterranean is for you. If you prefer a plan that you can look at and stay within it’s guidelines then try the Dash plan. Resources for both plans are listed at the end of the post.

Old ways Mediterranian pyramid


DASH Plan Pyramid.

DASH pyramid 1

Don’t focus on calories, bad foods, good foods, sensational headlines, etc.¬†Focus on a healthier, happier you. At the risk of sounding like a “new age” website…..Love yourself right now. Take part in activities that make you happy. Hang out with family & friends who have positive energy & embrace who you are.¬†Be mindful/aware of what choices you are making in your life.

Choose my Plate


Enjoy your food. Keep your meals simple. Follow the dreaded plate example. Take the time to prepare your food. Add a prayer or a positive thought into the food as you make it. Stir in love, health & happiness.

Okay! Enough with the dang meat! Next week I will look at Vitamin C & cancer. Linus Pauling is where we will start & I will cite all the newest studies regarding Vitamin C’s role in treating cancer……Until then, enjoy a vegetarian meal ūüôā ¬† Mary

Additional resources you may be interested in:

Sugar, bacon, & low fat diets update.

Autumn Me

Autumn is here already! Leaves are turning colors & the temperatures are dipping; at least where I live. As our NUT Elf Suzi said in an email to me, ~YUM! Love casserole season :o) ~ ¬†I want to start this post off with links Suzi included in the email.¬†18 Hearty Casserole Recipes, 16 Thanksgiving Casserole Recipes¬†&¬† 34 Delicious Vegan Recipes.¬†Thank you Suzi!¬†My favorite is the Green Bean casserole with Goat Cheese, Almonds & Smoked Paprika!¬†¬†My grandsons would be appalled to have their traditional Green Bean Casserole “ruined” ūüôā ūüôā

We discuss sugar a lot on this website. Invariably the first question I am asked by a new cancer patient is: “What is a healthy sugar substitute, agave or honey?” Sugar is sugar, no matter what form, is usually my answer. This is because the body metabolizes all sugars the same way. Some sugars do have health benefits, honey is one of them, but even too much of a good thing is not healthy. Cutting out added sugar can change the direction of your health.

My favorite news story this week is regarding the study that cut out added sugar from the diets of children for 9 days. The results of this study have caused controversy on what actually caused the children’s health to improve. The bottom line of this first article states: “While researchers obviously don‚Äôt agree on what caused the children‚Äôs metabolic health to improve, it is intriguing that a simple, relatively easy ingredient swap seemed to produce weight loss and improved metabolic health in children — all while keeping them full and happy.”¬†Yep, it works for adults as well ūüôā

Read the entire article here: These Kids Stopped Eating Added Sugar And Then They Got Healthier¬†“Cutting out added sugar from one’s diet can result in weight loss, reduced blood pressure and improved insulin sensitivity, according to a new study by researchers at University of California, San Francisco, and Touro University.¬†The fascinating experiment, which swapped out added sugar in children‚Äôs diets for starchy foods — in effect, swapping fructose for glucose — hammers another nail into the coffin of the phrase, ‚Äúa calorie is a calorie,‚ÄĚ the researchers claim. Instead, it suggests that added sugars are exacting a unique toll on people‚Äôs bodies by making them prone to hypertension, diabetes and obesity, and that simply switching added sugars for starchy foods of equal caloric value results in better health.”¬†To improve their health even more they could have switched to whole grains which metabolize slowly due to the natural fiber in them. But, I do see what their motivation was. Keep the diet of the children as close to their normal diet as possible so they would eat it! Well done I would say.

Another good article about this study:¬†Sugar Is Definitely Toxic, a New Study Says¬†That‚Äôs what scientists have concluded from a first-of-its-kind diet study involving overweight kids.¬†Fat was the food villain these past few decades but sugar is quickly muscling in to take its place. As rates of sugar-related disorders such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease climb, many experts believe that when Americans rid themselves of fat, they simply replaced it with sugar in all its forms.”

The biggest criticism of this study is that the children self reported their regular diet, which means that they underestimated how much they eat. The critics say that the study is shifting the blame from the fact that Americans eat too much to blaming added sugar. I feel that the critics are missing the point. Giving children & adults a healthier version of their regular diet can change the outcome of their health problems. The study shows that added sugar is toxic and getting rid of it can improve your health.

Those same critics should be more worried about this latest study.¬†Fast food restaurants lure kids with ads, toys…and it works¬†A new study suggests fast food ads placed during kids programming do what they are designed to do — bring kids and their families in to eat.¬†When researchers at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth University analyzed survey results from 100 kids and their families about their TV watching and fast food eating habits, they found a not-all-that-surprising correlation.¬†This is indefensible in my mind. On one hand these fast food places are claiming to be more health conscious ~see below~ but on the other hand they offer toys & kids meals which consist of fat, sugar & salt laden crap..sorry, pet¬†peeve¬†of mine.

Last weeks Blog post was about the IARC reporting that processed & red meat cause colorectal cancer. The report said that for every 50 grams/ 1.7 ounces that you eat, the risk for colorectal cancer raises by 18%. At the end of the post I commented: I am sure this is not the end of the controversy surrounding meat. It will be interesting to see how it unfolds. Cancer is a complex disease. Many different elements can trigger the cancer cell to grow. You can only do your best to limit the risk. Take the information & make an informed decision for you and your family’s dietary decisions. 

I have been monitoring different news outlets & news videos about this report. I find it humorous that most of what I saw & read were really rationalizations about how much of this report to take seriously. What I saw consistently was the reporters asking the question: Is 18% really that big of deal? & Can’t we have our bacon, hot dogs & steak without feeling guilty? Check out the following article……

Bacon fans embrace the hog on cancer report, but futures take fright¬†¬†“Standing at the meat counter at a Mariano’s grocery store in Chicago, a half-dozen customers bantered with the butchers about the recent World Health Organization report linking processed meat to colorectal cancer.¬†“Give me two pounds of bacon,” said Roland Marks, 47, a software engineer, rolling his eyes. “I’ll take my chances.”¬†It is too early for consumer or retail market data to show what any longer term impacts of the report will be in the United States, or whether shoppers will shun the traditional Christmas ham this year, say industry analysts.¬†So far, public reaction on social media has been a clear vote in favor of all things sausage and bacon, as hashtags #FreeBacon and #JeSuisBacon joined the top-trending topics worldwide on Twitter.¬†The WHO took to Twitter, too, and also issued a statement to emphasize that its International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) review “does not ask people to stop eating processed meats,” but just indicates that cutting consumption can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.”¬†I think that the “I’ll take my chances” group will be the norm in the USA. How sad.¬†

This is a great trend¬†occurring¬†in the Fast Food industry.¬†The World’s Largest Fast-Food Chain Is Going Antibiotic-Free‚ÄĒand Not Just for Chicken¬†¬†After a number of restaurants, such as Chick-fil-A, cut drugs used in human medicine out of their poultry supply¬†in recent years, the industry leader, McDonald‚Äôs, announced in March that it would follow suit. Now Subway, which has the most locations of any fast-food chain, is upping the stakes: The¬†company¬†announced on Tuesday that it will phase out antibiotics from not only chicken but all of its meats by 2025. The industry standard practice of feeding livestock consistent low doses of antibiotics contributes to the development of drug-resistant bacteria‚ÄĒbacteria that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, kills more than 23,000 people every year.”¬†You would think that they could make this change faster than 10 years from now. Maybe it is because it is difficult to find enough suppliers who do not give antibiotics to their livestock. Here is their timetable, not bad ūüôā¬†“Subway will begin the overhaul of its meat supply chain with chicken, which it says will be antibiotic-free by March 2016. Turkey will follow in 2019, and beef and pork will go antibiotic-free by 2025.¬†This change has taken place because more & more people are worried about the food they are eating not only at home but when going out.¬†

Study: Low-fat diet not effective for weight loss:¬†“Despite fat having a higher caloric content than carbohydrates, cutting fat from people’s diets does not lead to long-term weight loss, according to a large analysis of studies.¬†The take away from this study is:¬†“Researchers in the study also contend that healthier diets and portion control are much better for losing weight and keeping it off.”¬†Does this part sound familiar? I’m just saying ūüôā¬†“We need to look beyond the ratios of calories from fat, carbs, and protein to a discussion of healthy eating patterns, whole foods, and portion sizes,” Tobias said. “Finding new ways to improve diet adherence for the long-term and preventing weight gain in the first place are important strategies for maintaining a healthy weight.”¬†Not only a healthy weight but also a stronger immune system & overall health.¬†

Choose my Plate

Portion control is easy if you stick to this. First of all use a normal size plate. 1/2 of your plate should be vegetables & some fruit depending on the meal. 1/4 protein & 1/4 whole grains. Ditch the dairy or cut back on it. Don’t go back for seconds. Eat mindfully. Make at least one of your meals a social¬†occasion if possible.

Your homework today is to write down everything you eat for 3 days. Sit down with your list & see how you can make your choices healthier without making radical, overnight, changes to your diet. A good place to begin is to change the portion sizes to conform to the “plate”. ¬†

I will leave you with the following quotes.

“Eat to live, and not live to Eat” This quote is¬†attributed¬†to¬†Benjamin Franklin from his list of ¬†“13 virtues to live by”.¬†We also know that Franklin relished his food & suffered from gout most of his life ūüôā

“Break the rules once in awhile”…Michael Pollan. Mr. Pollan also says that “Obsessing¬†over food rules is bad for your happiness & probably for your health too.”¬†Very wise indeed. Knowing you can “break the food rules” once in awhile takes a great deal of pressure & guilt off your shoulders!……..Mary

More articles if you are interested ūüôā

  • There’s New Evidence That Sugar Calories Are Much Worse Than Other Calories¬†Children are manifesting increased rates of adult diseases like hypertension or high triglycerides. And they are getting diseases that used to be unheard of in children, like Type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease. So why is this happening?”
  • Low-Fat Diets Not More Effective Than Other Diets¬†“Low-fat diets are not more effective than other diets of similar intensity in helping people lose weight over the long term, and nutrition guidelines need to stop recommending low-fat diets as an effective weight-loss intervention, a meta-analysis shows.”
  • Low-fat diets not best for weight loss ‚Äď study:¬†“PARIS, France – Low-fat diets do not yield greater weight loss than other slimming regimes, said a study Friday, adding to the long-running debate on how best to shed extra pounds or kilos.”¬†A review of 53 scientific studies, covering nearly 70,000 adults in several countries, found “no good evidence for recommending low-fat diets,” said lead author Deirdre Tobias of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts.”