"Diseases of Affluence," by Dr. Kevin Patterson. November 15, 2010, Maisonneuve Magazine
"We only have one chronic disease - and it's got multiple manifestations.
Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, strokes, vascular dementia, and rheumatoid arthritis. They're nothing more than food-borne illnesses."
-paraphrased from Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr.,in his recent talk in Medina, Ohio-
"[Dr. Rena Wing]...agrees that physiological changes probably do occur that make permanent weight loss difficult, but she says the larger problem is environmental, and that people struggle to keep weight off because they are surrounded by food, inundated with food messages and constantly presented with opportunities to eat.
'We live in an environment with food cues all the the time. We've taught ourselves over the years that one of the ways to reward yourself is with food. It's hard to change the environment and the behavior,' Wing says."
-Dr. Rena Wing, professor of psychiatry & human behavior at Brown University's Alpert Medical School, quoted in the NYT's "Fat Trap"-
If you received this story via email, click here to get to the web version with all the links & the video.
The lead story in the 2012 New Year's issue of the New York Times is called, "The Fat Trap."
Its partner story, the Well Blog post, "Why Lost Pounds Come Back," has garnered over 700 comments so far.
"The Fat Trap" is about how difficult it is to lose weight--and to keep it off. It's meant to present the research on weight-loss--and to explain why genetics, hormones, a down-shifting metabolism, low-calorie diets, our innate physiology, and a whole host of other reasons make it nearly impossible to lose weight.
I believe Parker-Pope meant to help us understand why so many of us are overweight--and why it's such a battle to lose that weight. But, I think she did a tremendous disservice to her readers.
Ask anyone who is following Dr. Esselstyn's version of a "Plant-Perfect No-Added-Oil Diet". It's just not as hard as Parker-Pope would have us believe. We're eating a lot of delicious food--and we're preventing a whole host of chronic diseases at the same time. The weight-loss is a sweet side benefit of a healthy plant-based diet.
Millions of readers may cheer this article, and say, "See, that's why I can't lose weight! Why should I even bother?"
Tara Parker-Pope is a popular well-respected New York Times health columnist. She's followed by millions of readers, daily. When I read the online "ahead-of-print" publication of her upcoming Sunday Magazine article, "Fat Trap," on Wednesday night I was furious. Really!
I was so disappointed in her conclusions--and the research she chose to cite. Not all studies are applicable & translate to all diets. And I was disappointed with her examples of "diet success stories." She could have done much better!
Full Disclosure: Tara has struggled with her own weight loss. I had no idea. Although she wasn't overweight as a child, or until she went to college, "[D]uring the 23 years since graduating from college, I've lost 10 or 20 pounds at a time, maintained it for a little while and then gained it all back and more, to the point where I am now easily 60 pounds overweight," Parker-Pope explains.
Amy & The Healthy Librarian Decide to Offer Diet Advice to Tara Parker-Pope
Bottom Line: Don't give up! Why don't you just try a plant-based, whole foods, no-added-oil, high-nutrient diet for 4 weeks? No nuts, no sugar, no chocolate. You won't regret it! You only have weight to lose--and health to gain. Talk to Dr. Esselstyn!
As for the vegan recipes you often post as "healthy foods" on the New York Times--they will get you nowhere fast. You have to ditch the oil, the sugar, the fake cheese, the chocolate (cocoa is fine), the nuts (except walnuts), & yes, even olive oil. No more calories to count. No foods to measure. Just eat whenever & whatever you want of the above-foods.
Who is Amy? And Why Are We Giving Advice to Tara Parker-Pope? Here's My Back Story:
Was anyone else as frustrated with Tara's conclusions as I was? By Wednesday evening, there were already hundreds of comments--so, I only had a chance to read the 5 most recent comments that were posted.
Can you believe this was the second comment I saw? What are the odds, that this one was posted right before I looked at the comments section?
From Amy in California:
I would love to read everybody's comments, but for whatever strange reason, my comment section is not opening...
I appreciate what you honestly shared, but please do yourself a favor and visit the Healthy Librarian at: happyhealthylonglife.com!
She is a genius. Her blog is about the science behind health related food issues.I believe that if you follow her blog and actually get behind her advice about food (vegan/little or no fat) you will lose your weight, look amazing and be much healthier without ever feeling hungry.
Yes it is very difficult and requires changing how and what you eat, but if you wish to do it for yourself and for the planet (the consequence of a vegan diet is profound), you won't ever deal with weight issues again.
BTW I did not start reading her blog with any preconceived notions - actually sort of stumbled upon it and began reading.
Her advice is all science based - no fads, no unproven junk, just straight research - all there for you to read and ponder.
For the first time in my life, my weight issues have been resolved. I am not going to lie however. It is truly difficult to follow the vegan diet completely, But the one thing I want to urge you to consider is that regardless of whether or not some people's bodies wish to be heavier than others - you can beat the fat if you believe it matters, and I think it does. Do not just give up.
It is only going to get worse and eventually it will effect your overall health.
I about flipped! I was shocked. Dumbfounded. I immediately replied to Amy's comment:
From The Healthy Librarian, U.S.A:
Wow, Amy! I don't know you--but thanks for the shout-out!
I could go on & on about how filling, easy & enjoyable this diet is & how fabulous I feel on a plant-based diet--but if anyone's really interested in great health, read my 15 month review (written 4 months ago) "Fifteen Months Into the Esselstyn-Style Plant-Based No-Oil Way of Eating - The Healthy Librarian Spills the Beans - And It's All Good! Can't Wait to Compare Notes with Bill Clinton on Saturday":
BTW--Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr. the doctor behind this Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease Diet was just voted the #1 Living Cleveland Clinic Doc, & #3 overall. They're the #1 hospital in heart care. Click here to read "The 50 Best Cleveland Clinic Doctors. Ever."
He recently was invited to speak to the town of Medina, OH by the local police chief who experienced a health turn-around of his own..
Here's the police chief's story, "Police Chief Patrick Berarducci's Gone Plant-Strong and is Cracking Down on Heart Disease in Medina, Ohio":
And here's a link to Esselstyn's talk (all research/science based):
Tara---just give it a 4 week try & see for yourself. I'd be happy to load you up with amazing recipes!
I was finally able to figure out who Amy was and she shared more of her story with me:
"I started doing the Esselstyn food plan almost one month after you did, and I was fortunate to stumble onto your blog which convinced me to jump in.I immediately lowered my cholesterol, my blood pressure and my weight. I lost about 15 pounds and would have lost more except that I have had a really difficult summer staying on the plan due to our long trip to Africa and our son's return home from college.HOWEVER, I am going to go back to being strict about it since I feel so much better and I noticed I got acid reflux when I went off the plan! YUCK. That is a nasty problem.I like that you are sharing your favorite recipes. I too try to stick to some basics that I like. For me it is raw whole oats mixed with Ezekial grain cereal, ground flax seed, stewed prunes and fresh fruit with almond milk (40 cal).I also find that when I go out I order Salmon and that helps with socializing because I do agree with the other poster that it is hard to be social around food when going out with others or attending their celebrations like weddings etc...Skipping oil is easier than I thought it would be, but I still add about 1/4 teaspoon of olive oil and basalmic vinegar to my salads. I do not have heart disease. I started doing this for my overall health and in order to live long and stay away from taking medications.It is working great! Most people are shocked to find that I am 52. I went to my high school reunion (35th) this summer and definitely felt that I looked great.That is the best thing about this food plan. YOU ARE NOT hungry.I think the worst thing in the world is when people tell me they eat healthy and they keep gaining weight!Most people have no clue what eating healthy is. And one last thing. I really do not drink.I believe that a lot of us who are over 50 do not realize how quickly the pounds pack on as we age. We are not meant to eat much in general. People eat now as something to do. It is an "activity" and that is part of the problem too."
The Best of the "Fat Trap" Article
The National Weight Control Registry, which tracks about 10,000 people who have lost weight & have kept it off, has found these characteristics are common to successful "dieters".
- The eat breakfast regularly. (Let's hear it for steel-cut oats!)
- Most watch less than half as much television as the overall population. (Thumbs Up for that one!)
- They consistently eat the same foods and in the same patterns each day & don't "cheat" on weekends or holidays. Sounds a lot like the Esselstyn-style plant perfect lifestyle. (Ann Esselstyn's mantra)
- They also appear to eat less than most people, with estimates ranging from 50-300 few daily calories. Sounds a lot like my experience--without the extra calories of fats & processed foods, I'm naturally consuming fewer calories--without being hungry. Read "Painless Calorie Restriction for People Who Love to Eat - Lessons for Health, Longevity, and Disease Prevention from the NIH CALERIE Study"
- They exercise regularly. (Thumbs Up, again!)
The Worst of the "Fat Trap" Article
- It cites research about the failure of the quick-fix 500-550 low-calorie diets to sustain long-term weight loss. Including the use of Optifast, a liquid diet. And then translates this to diets, in general. Big duh!! Not relevant.
- It blames the increase of the hunger hormone "ghrelin" and the decrease of the hunger-suppressing hormone "leptin" for the weight loss problems in people who go on low-calorie diets, never considering that those diets are actually starving people. No wonder their hormones are out-of-whack! And Parker-Pope never looked at what happens when people eat high nutrient-dense plant-based no-added oil diets. Why didn't Parker-Pope talk to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Dr. John McDougall, or Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn?
- Take a look at the kinds of foods eaten & the daily routine of Parker-Pope's "diet-success poster couple", Janice & Adam Bridge. Not my idea of the "best diet". They have to work so hard to maintain their weight loss--carefully weighing and measuring all their food--and exercising for 100-120 minutes a day, 6-7 days a week. I absolutely admire how healthy they have become--and all their efforts--but, it just doesn't have to be that hard.
OK--The Bridge's Refrigerator Photo Inspired Me to Share My Refrigerator & Pantry Photos
HL's & Lab Rat's Refrigerator - Filled with Veggies, Soups, Casseroles, Smoothies & More
The Canned Food Cupboard - A Couple "Outcasts" Still Left Behind
Part of the Pantry - Nothing But Whole Grains, Beans, & Rice
Don't Miss Dr. Esselstyn's Recent Medina, Ohio Lecture
A reader from Michigan tracked down this video (& shared it with me) after he read my post about Police Chief Patrick Berarducci. Don't miss it--but, fair warning, it's 2 hours long. Click here for the video. Just give it time to load.
I never tire of listening to Dr. Esselstyn share his research, and Ann Esselstyn explain how to eat Plant Perfectly. If you've never had the opportunity to listen to them in person--now's your chance. Don't miss it. We should all be as healthy & energetic as they are.
Can you think of a better way to get motivated for a Healthy 2012?
This will be the best 2 hours you have ever spent.
- Shortcuts: Dr. Esselstyn starts speaking at around 8 minutes into the program.
- DO NOT MISS listening to Dr. Esselstyn's patient, Art Citeros, share his story. Talk about a testament to the healing power of plant-based foods! Medications, stents, bypass surgeries, & more stents completely failed Art. Even eating a mostly plant-based diet failed him. For Art, the whole plant-perfect diet that included no-oil made all the difference. No wonder Dr. Esselstyn is so strict! Art's story starts at 1 hour, 15 minutes, & 47 seconds into the program. 1:15:47.
A huge thank-you to Guy in Michigan for finding this video & sharing it!
I Would Love to Hear Your Feedback on "The Fat Trap"
Something New - In case you missed it--please stop by & visit, whether you use Facebook or not.
Follow me on Happy Healthy Long Life - The Healthy Librarian's Facebook Page. Something new everyday--& you don't need a Facebook account to check out what's on the page.
But, I'd love it if you'd click that thumbs-up LIKE Button on the top of page, and join in the conversation.
Update: While proofing my links before posting, I just noticed this comment to Tara Parker-Pope's article in The New York Times. Wow, is all I can say!
From Thinner in New York:
The healthy librarian site is fantastic (happyhealthylonglife.com).
Seriously: at least in my case and in those of 3 people I know (one with weight problems since childhood), weight loss **and maintenance** have been easy on a plant-based diet.
No starvation involved.
No exercise, either -- not for the weight loss. Exercise is important in and of itself, but when you follow a plant-based diet exercise is not essential for weight loss. (Another resource: Esselstyn's book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. This is the book Bill Clinton cites in his interview with Wolf Blitzer.)
Thank you, Thinner! And congratulations!!