Part of My Framed Applique Birthday Present
Much of the good in this world comes when ordinary people have the courage to do the right thing--in spite of the risks to their reputation or financial security. In spite of ridicule, dismissal, censure, or pressure from family & friends. It's so much easier to leave things as they are, and not make waves.
-This one's from me--based on the articles, movies, & even the cookbook author mentioned in this post-
If you received this post via email, click here to get to the web version with all the links.
I probably won't have much time to post over the next 10 days. I'm going to play & hang out with our gorgeous 19-month old "little man".
So, I'm leaving you with some homework to do while I'm gone.
- I've got four articles for you to read. Two have certainly set my head spinning--and two have cleared things up nicely for me. Now I want to know what you think of them.
- I'm also leaving you with four movies to see. All four are true stories about ordinary people who did what they knew was the right thing to do. It would have been a whole lot easier to sit back, stay at home, give up, or shut up. Oh, and I'm also giving you a link to some excellent thought-provoking movies for grown-ups. It's cold, the days are short--the perfect time for a delcious dinner & a movie night.
- I've got a good recipe, too! A rib-sticking-nutritious-comfort soup based on a Mark Bittman creation.
All the articles--the movies--and even the recipe could be posts of their own. But, I've run out of time--got some grandson book shopping to do, plus some laundry, some packing, and a whole lot more..
The Homework Articles
The New York Times Interviews Dr. T. Colin Campbell--"Nutrition Advice from the China Study" 1/7/11. Click here for this quick read interview by NYT writer, Tara Parker-Pope.
Campbell's a man who has stellar academic & research credentials--but he's put them all on the line, risking censure & reputation--to speak out about the damaging toll our American diet is taking on our health. The U.S. meat & dairy boards wish he'd just shut up & go away.
"Six years ago a small Texas publisher released an obscure book written by a father-son research team. The work, based on a series of studies conducted in rural China and Taiwan, challenged the conventional wisdom about health and nutrition by espousing the benefits of a plant-based diet.
To everyone’s surprise, the book, called “The China Study,” has since sold 500,000 copies, making it one of the country’s best-selling nutrition titles. The book focuses on the knowledge gained from the China Study, a 20-year partnership of Cornell University, Oxford University and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine that showed high consumption of animal-based foods is associated with more chronic disease, while those who ate primarily a plant-based diet were the healthiest."
If you want more background on Campbell read my post: T. Colin Campbell of “The China Study” Pays a Visit – Does This Mean I Have to Become a Vegan?
Vanity Fair, January 2011. "Politics - Deadly Medicine," by Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele. Click here for the article. My sister-in-law said I had to read this one. She was right. Disturbing, to say the least. I've passed it on to some doctor friends to get their opinions--is this truth, or just an over-exaggerated scary story to sell magazines?
I would love to hear what Dr. Steve Nissen has to say about it. But, this much I do know--if the piece is true, the only way it could have been written was because of the courage of those insiders who chose to do the right thing--and speak out. Truth or lie? Or a bit of both?
"Prescription drugs kill some 200,000 Americans every year. Will that number go up, now that more clinical trials are conducted overseas—on sick Russians, homeless Poles, and slum-dwelling Chinese—in places where regulation is virtually nonexistent, the F.D.A. doesn’t reach, and “mistakes” can end up in pauper’s graves? The authors investigate the globalization of the pharmaceutical industry, and the U.S. Government’s failure to rein in a lethal profit machine."
"Overall, deaths from F.D.A.-approved prescription drugs dwarf the number of people who die from street drugs such as cocaine and heroin. They dwarf the number who die every year in automobile accidents. So far, these deaths have triggered no medical crusades, no tough new regulations. After a dozen or so deaths linked to runaway Toyotas, Japanese executives were summoned to appear before lawmakers in Washington and were subjected to an onslaught of humiliating publicity. When the pharmaceutical industry meets with lawmakers, it is mainly to provide campaign contributions.
And with more and more of its activities moving overseas, the industry’s behavior will become more impenetrable, and more dangerous, than ever."
To learn more about the current controversies within the FDA's drug approval process, read my earlier post about crusading Dartmouth med school professors, Drs. Lisa Schwartz & Steve Woloshin, "Drug Safety and Drug Benefits--The FDA Information That Never Reaches Doctors & the Public. Dr. Lisa Schwartz & Dr. Steve Woloshin Discover the Data That Gets Lost in Transmission"
NPR's Living on Earth, "Sex and Endocrine Disruptors," by Ashley Ahearn, January 7, 2011. Click here for the story. Meet the physicians & lab researchers who are wondering if the ubiquitous chemicals in our environment may be causing serious changes to the reproductive systems of infant boys--and perhaps even affecting sexual orientation. These changes have been seen in frogs & fish for years--but what about in humans? Researchers in this field now have concerns that common synthetic chemicals might be responsible for feminizing effects, as well as genital birth defects in male children. An abnormality of the male infant genitalia--called hypospadias--is now the second most common birth defect in the country, behind heart defects. Is there a chemical connection?
AHEARN: Talking about problems with reproductive health is something society has never handled well. And perhaps because most hypospadias can be corrected with surgery, very few doctors have raised questions about the underlying causes of this birth defect.
But endocrine disrupting chemicals show up in almost 100 percent of the population, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and many of these chemicals are known to disrupt normal reproductive system development in animals - think back to Tyrone Hayes' frogs here.
So I asked Dr. Theo Colborn, who's been studying endocrine disruptors for over 30 years, if she thought our environmental exposures could be affecting our reproductive health. Or more specifically, given what we're seeing with hypospadias, I asked her, do you think we are feminizing our baby boys?
COLBORN: I definitely do. I think there's a certain percentage that are definitely being affected and there's no denying it.
For more background read these earlier posts:
- Cleaning Up My Kitchen - Clearing Out the Bisphenol-A and Other Lurking Toxic Chemicals
- ADD, Autism, Hyperactivity, Behavioral Problems? Could BPA or Phthalates in Cans, Plastics, Carpets & PJs Be Responsible?
- The Consumer Reports Tested BPA Levels in Canned Food. It's Time to Ditch the Cans and the Thanksgiving Green Bean Casserole. Safe Levels Are Much Lower Than the FDA Allows
Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, December, 2010. "Medical Grand Rounds - Vitamin D and the heart: Why we need large-scale clincal trials," by Joann E. Manson, MD, DrPH, FAHA, Chief, Division of Preventive Medicine, Harvard Medical School. Click here for the article.
Manson is the principal investigator in the upcoming VITAL Trial, which is set to follow 20,000 healthy older men & women for 5 years--testing the health effects of daily taking 2000 IUs of vitamin D3 & 1 gram of marine omega-3 against that of placebos. Manson also took part in the Institute of Medicine's recent revision of the guidelines for vitamin D. She's an outspoken physician/researcher who carefully sifts through study minutiae before she comes to any conclusions. If you want an excellent, balanced, and thorough explanation of the vitamin D research, read this article. For more on the VITAL STUDY, click here.
"Although vitamin D supplementation appears to be a promising intervention for reducing risks of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic diseases, existing evidence on its benefits and risks is limited and inconclusive. Recruitment is now under way for the Vitamin D and Omega-3 Trial (VITAL), the first large-scale randomized clinical trial of these nutritional agents for the primary prevention of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
1. Laboratory evidence suggests that vitamin D may lower cancer risk by inhibiting cell proliferation, angiogenesis, metastasis, and inflammation.
2. Vitamin D may also reduce cardiovascular risk by inhibiting vascular smooth muscle proliferation, regulating blood pressure and glucose metabolism, and reducing inflammation.
3. Some observational studies indicate there may be a threshold for vitamin D intake above which there is no increase in benefit and which may increase risk.
4. The VITAL trial is currently randomizing 20,000 healthy older men and women throughout the United States to receive either 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) per day or placebo, as well as 1 g of marine omega-3 fatty acids per day or placebo, for 5 years."
The Movies - Ordinary People with the Courage to Change Themselves and Sometimes the World
Made in Denhagen
The remarkable, funny, and inspiring true story of women fighting for equal pay in a Ford Motor Company in 1968 England. Rita O'Grady is the woman of courage in this film. Click here to read more. I loved it!
A combination biopicture and dramedy that has us rooting for a working-class hero as he struggles to find his style in the ring and outside the ring within his dysfunctional family. Dickie Eklund and his half brother, Mickey Ward are the men with a more personal kind of courage in this film--the courage to change the direction of their lives and to stand up for themselves. Click here to read more. I loved it!
The King's Speech
An enthralling and heart-stirring biodrama about an unusual friendship that transforms the life and soul of King George VI of England. England's about to go to war against Germany, they're in the middle of the Depression, and the country is feeling anxious & dispirited. In the midst of this uncertainty, Prince Edward cavalierly gives up his claim to the throne, leaving his brother, Prince Albert, with no choice but to become King of England. Against all odds Prince Albert has the courage to accept the position--overcome a severe stutter--and take a key role in uniting and lifting up the spirits of his countrymen. Click here to read more. I loved it!
Forks Over Knives
This documentary film tells the story of the courage of Dr. T. Colin Campbell & Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. Both have stood steadfast in their position that our Western diet is hazardous to our health--and that many of our present day chronic diseases are "nothing more than food-borne illnesses" that could be cured if only we'd change our diets.
Campbell & Esselstyn are both in their mid-seventies, and they are no longer beholden to any academic, medical, or governmental institutions--nor are they concerned about damaging their reputations--they are free to speak the truth. They aren't motivated by financial gain, or fame. They are unassuming, approachable, and motivated only by wanting to share what they have learned. They don't have to do this!
I've seen the film--and can say without a doubt, it's a must-see! It officially opens nationally in March 2011, but there have been previews all over the country. For an updated list of previews in your area, click here.
To read my summary of the film, "The Research-Based Documentary That Will Change the Way You Eat. "Forks Over Knives" The Story of Dr. T. Colin Campbell's China Study & Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn's Heart Disease Reversal Study. Getting Your Health Back on a Plant-Based Whole Foods Diet," click here.
For links to some top thought-provoking movies for grown-ups--those currently playing--and the best films of 2010--click here.
Dinner and a Movie - "Enlightened" Miso Soup with Bok Choy, Soba Noodles, and Grilled Tofu or Salmon
Getting Ready to Grill the Tofu - Spread with Dragunara Sweet Chili Sauce
Gorgeous Grilled Tofu Made on a Cuisinart Green Gourmet Stovetop Grill Pan
Eden Brand 100% Buckwheat Soba Noodles
Bok Choy Greens, Chopped
Bok Choy Stems, Chopped
This recipe is based on one I found in Mark Bittman's, The Food Matters Cook Book. Bittman's a long-time food writer for the New York Times--and he's taken some courageous steps as a food writer in recent years. For a guy who make his living from food--writing, cooking and eating--Bittman risked a lot when he make a 180 degree change in his own eating habits.
"I've been eating like Food Matters--the title of this book's predecessor, a book that encourages us to concentrate on eating more plants and few animal products and processed foods--for three years. If you swap the basic proportions in your diet--increasing unprocessed fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains--you'll wind up losing weight and improving your overall health while also improving more difficult-to-measure situations like global warming, the environment in general, and animal welfare." Mark Bittman
Miso Soup with Bok Choy, Soba Noodles, and Tofu (or salmon) click here for a copy of the recipe on one page
Makes: 4 servings
Time: about 30 minutes
8 ounces of soba noodles (look for the Eden brand that's 100% buckwheat
14 ounces of lite, firm tofu (I prefer NaSoya brand); Salmon option: 8 ounces of wild salmon
Sauce of choice to season tofu: I like Dragunara Sweet Chili Sauce, or use teriyaki or another Asian sauce
1 tsp five-spice or chili powder & black pepper if broiling salmon
1/3 cup any miso (I used white miso)
1 pound bok choy, stems separated and chopped, leaves cut into ribbons
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted if you like
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
2. Prep the tofu. Drain the water from the package, and cut the block into thirds, horizontally. Wrap the three slices in a tea towel & put a heavy pot or weight on top of it to press. After 30 minutes, cut each slice into 4 triangles, & spread one side with the sauce of your choice.
3. Add the soba noodles to the boiling water and cook until tender but not mushy, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 2 cups of the cooking liquid, and rinse the noodles with lots of cold water until cool.
4. Put 4 cups of vegetable broth into the pot, along with the 2 cups of reserved "noodle liquid", and set it to boil again--you'll have 6 cups of liquid.
5. Heat up a stove-top grill pan on high, and when it's hot, add the tofu triangles, sauce side down. Spread top of tofu with sauce. Watch carefully--it doesn't take too long for the tofu to nicely brown (as shown). Flip when the tofu is browned with grill marks. If using salmon, sprinkle with seasoning & either pan-fry without oil, or grill it. Tofu won't stink or smoke up your kitchen! Trust me on this one.
6. When the water in the pot is almost boiling, put the miso in a small bowl, ladle in a cup or so of the heated broth, and whisk it until it's smooth.
7. When the broth is boiling, add the bok choy stems to the pot and let them cook for about a minute. Add the bok choy "ribbons" and continue cooking, adjusting the heat so the soup bubbles steadily, until the bok choy gets silky, 3 to 5 minutes more.
8. Turn the heat down to low, pour the miso mixture into the pot along with the soba noodles, and heat just long enough to warm everything, only a minute or two. Taste, adjust the seasoning.
9. Serve the soup immediately, topping with 3 tofu triangles each (or 1/4 of the salmon), and sprinkle with sesame seeds, and scallions.
It's great as leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day!