Hot off the press! Hippocrates, who several millennia ago said, “Let food be your medicine,” knew what he was talking about!
We’re talking about the much ballyhooed results of a study on the Mediterranean diet and heart disease, recently reported in New England Journal of Medicine. Though it’s long been known that people in the Mediterranean region have substantially lower rates of heart disease than in the U.S. and other developed countries, scientists were very skeptical that diet could be a major factor. The study clearly proved otherwise.
Researchers followed 7,447 people at high risk for heart attack and stroke (overweight, smokers, diabetics, etc.), split into basically 2 groups: one on the Mediterranean diet (fresh fruits and vegetables, olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, a glass of wine with meals), the other on a low-fat regime. After less than 5 years it became so clear that those on the Mediterranean diet were doing so much better, researchers stopped the study. It would’ve been unethical to continue!
New York Times science journalist Gina Kolata noted: “This is a watershed moment in the field of nutrition, medical experts say. For the first time, researchers have shown that a diet can have an effect as powerful as drugs in preventing what really matters to patients – heart attacks, and strokes and deaths from cardiovascular disease.”
Startled experts have been thrown into tizzys! (Many switched forthwith to Mediterranean fare!) The conventional wisdom has been that all fats are suspect in heart disease, ergo, a low- or no-fat diet was the way to go, though not a very practical way since most people have a hard time staying on such a spare regimen. We can only hope that orthodox medicine will now be more open to the concept of an enjoyable balanced diet of whole, unprocessed foods as a powerful primary tool for dealing with other chronic degenerative diseases, like cancer – something many of us have known and used for ages without the stamp of scientific rigor.
To your health!
Foundation for Advancement in Cancer Therapy (F.A.C.T.)
Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America
by Wenonah Hauter
Book Review by Christopher D. Cook
What a frightful spectacle our food has become. Human sustenance has been reduced to a corporate portfolio item – one whose success rides increasingly on sheer size and market control. In the name of profit, everything else gets squeezed: consumer health; smaller-scale farmers and processors; food industry workers and farm laborers; and the soil, air and water that are the lifeblood of our food supply.
Add to this picture a whole phalanx of K Street lobbyists, well-remunerated by groups like the Grocery Manufacturers of America, dedicated to undermining food safety and labeling laws and other consumer protections, diluting pesticide laws and weakening antitrust provisions. Throw into the mix an increasingly corporate-controlled organics and local foods business, and you can begin to understand why farmlands are becoming industrialized wastelands and our waistlines keep widening.
Foodopoly, Wenonah Hauter’s fine contribution to the growing literature about our ailing food system, does a particularly good job of detailing both the methods and implications of this corporate takeover of food. Read More.
Indoor Air Pollution? House Plants to the Rescue!
by Anahad O’Connor
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the levels of air pollutants inside homes can far exceed the levels outside, thanks to household cleaning products, central heating and cooling systems, and other indoor sources. But scientists have found that certain plants can scrub your home of airbourne chemicals, albeit gradually.
In addition to figuring out how to land a car-size rover on Mars, scientists at NASA have investigated ways to rid spacecraft of airborne pollutants, some of them common offenders in American homes as well. The agency found that at least 15 common indoor plants could filter – to one degree or another – pollutants like the carcinogens benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde. Read More.
Onion Power: What Makes You Weep Can Get You Well!
When you cut or peel an onion, volatile oils are released that stimulate the production of tears which cleanse the epithelial layers of the eyes, clearing waste and toxic chemicals from the cells. A similar detox process goes on internally when you eat onions. But that’s not all this powerful bulb can do for you. Onions are rich in quercetin, a type of flavonoid that has been shown to reduce the risk of many types of cancer. A member of the same botanical family as garlic, onions also contain allicin, which transforms into organosulfurs which can lower cholesterol, thin the blood, keep arteries flexible, protect your liver and kill cancer cells. And these are just 2 of the healing compounds contained in this age-old household staple.
Bulbs from the onion family have been traced back as far as 5,000 B.C. The ancient Egyptians worshipped them, believing the spherical shape and concentric rings symbolized eternal life. In ancient Greece, athletes ate large quantities, thought to lighten the balance of blood. Roman gladiators were rubbed down with sliced onion to firm up their muscles. In the Middle Ages, onions were so valued, they were used to pay rent or given as gifts and doctors prescribed them to aid bowel movements and erections, as well as relief of headaches, coughs, snakebite and hair loss.
Onions grow everywhere and come in hundreds of varieties of colors, shapes, textures and strengths: yellow, purple, green, white, red, brown; fingernail to baseball size; sweet and mild to knock out pungent! (The stronger the onion, the richer it is in sulfur compounds.) They are used in more dishes than any other food and in literally every cuisine in the world. It’s as if Nature wants to make sure that everyone has the chance to experience the great virtues of onions – and the more, the better! Read More
Marinated Cucumber and Onion Salad
- 2 medium cucumbers, sliced very thin
- 1 medium sweet onion, sliced very thin
- 1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup water (preferably distilled)
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- dash seasalt, black pepper
- In a bowl, mix marinade ingredients together well.
- Stir in cucumber and onion slices until well covered.
- Let marinate overnight in refrigerator.
Suggestion: add a few sardines and you’ve got lunch!
Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor
painted as Vertumnus, Roman God of the seasons,
c. 1590-1 by Giuseppe Arcimboldo.
Arcimboldo, born in Milan in 1524, was famous for painting portraits that from far away resembled the human face quite effectively, but up close consisted of elaborately arranged fruits, vegetables, birds, flowers and other objects. His unusual compositions -long before surrealism or Reddit and DeviantART, the go-to havens for op art online – led many to believe he just didn’t have a fanciful mind, but was possibly mentally ill. A 2007 New York Times article, examining his works, noted, “A fine line separates sheer imagination from uncontrolled hallucinations.”
So what do you think: was Arcimboldo nuts or maybe just way too cool for his times?