My First Colonoscopy at 45: Preventative Measures Against Colon Cancer

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

Let’s get to the point! Colon or colorectal cancer is the third most infamous type of cancer and also the third leading cause of cancerous deaths among American men and women. I’m alarmed by negative statistics and equally saddened by the 50,000 average lives this disease accounts for annually. Thankfully, positive health means prevention over resistance so I decided to schedule a colonoscopy on my 45th birthday and reward myself with a better piece of mind knowing I am doing everything possible to live a longer and more fulfilling life. [Read more…]

Fit Father’s Day Tips: A Focus on Men’s Health

Neal Barnard, M.D., F.A.C.C., Kimatni Rawlins, and Stephen Neabore, M.D., at the Physicians Committee in D.C.

June is Men’s Health Month so this Father’s Day the Physicians Committee is teaming up with fit fathers Stephen Neabore, M.D., and Kimatni Rawlins to learn about simple dietary modifications that can result in major health gains. Their top tips? Build meals around plant-based foods, like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes; stay active by moving for at least 30 minutes most days of the week; and lead by example. [Read more…]

Prevent Heart Disease!

Atherosclerosis often starts in childhood, 20 years before a formal diagnosis. Vascular physiologist Michael Skilton, Ph.D., with the University of Sydney’s Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise, and Eating Disorders, suspects it starts in utero, based on the effect parents’ dietary choices have on the development of endothelial function, or development of cells that line the arteries.

Eat smarter people including the increased intake of whole grains, fiber, fruits, veggies, seeds, beans (legumes), nuts, and water. And of course eliminate or reduce foods that destruct like soda, fast foods, enriched foods, alcohol, saturated fats and cholesterol infused foods.

According to the American Society of Nutrition, 97 percent of adults fall short on recommended dietary fiber intake, a nutrient only found in plants, with adults and teens consuming roughly half of the government’s recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.5 Only 13 percent of adults consume 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit, and just 9 percent eat 2 to 3 cups of vegetables each day. Our nation’s dietary patterns help illustrate why one-third of adults have elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure, and why two-thirds struggle with excess weight, three leading risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

The good news is that a plant-based dietary intervention is even more effective than today’s leading medications to treat and prevent heart disease, thanks to a high intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, soy products, fiber, and phytochemicals and a reduced intake of saturated fats and cholesterol. About half of Americans, even those who maintain a healthful weight, still have at least one modifiable risk factor, such as high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol, for chronic disease. Integrating diet and other lifestyle changes—exercise, maintaining a healthful weight, avoiding tobacco, and limiting alcohol consumption—leaves consumers with only desirable side effects and can prevent around 80 percent of all premature heart disease cases.

It’s never too late to start: Studies show heart-attack survivors who adopt a high-fiber diet reduce the risk of a recurrence by about 40 percent, compared to survivors who make no dietary changes.

Full story: http://www.pcrm.org/health/heart/treat-and-prevent-atherosclerosis

Food Facts on Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables help prevent heart disease by preventing plaque build-up, improving blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, and increasing intake of antioxidants.

Neal Barnard, M.D.

 

How Not To Die by Dr. Michael Greger – Diabetes

How-Not-To-Die-by-Michael-Greger-MD

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

Wow, this new plant-based nutritional book by Michael Greger, M.D. with Gene Stone is absolutely breathtaking. The amount of information presented and science to back it up showcases poignantly how much peril Americans are in as it relates to their health. But we can control a large percentage by reducing risk factors through a clean, vegan lifestyle. Yet, you cannot rush through Greger’s pages as if you’re a collegiate student with plans to attend the game afterwards. Each chapter must be visually massaged and detailed methodically to retain the plethora of nutritional knowledge.

Our plight is challenging but simple to resolve. So the journey continues since 1.6 million Americans alone die annually from premature death resulting from the top 15 chronic illnesses with heart disease being number one at 400,000 yearly deaths. According to “How Not To Die” 20 million Americans are diabetic which can lead to amputations, blindness, heart attacks, kidney failure, strokes or death. As it relates to cancer, the three digestive cancers — colorectal, pancreatic and esophageal — kill 100,000 Americans yearly.

I just finished reading chapter six on diabetes and immediately had to disseminate my summary since so many individuals are affected including my friends and family members. More than 20 million Americans are currently diagnosed with diabetes, whereas 5% represents type 1, a predisposed condition where the immune system mistakenly destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Insulin is the hormone that keeps blood sugar in check and released after every meal to escort glucose into the cells. Without insulin the sugar flows in the blood and can damage blood vessels and nerves which can lead to either lower extremity amputations (75K), blindness (650K), kidney failure (50K), heart attacks, strokes and 75,000 yearly deaths.

With type 2 diabetes (insulin resistance) the pancreas can make insulin but it doesn’t work well. Fat inside the cells of the muscles and liver interferes with the action of insulin. Diabetes in kids is most likely caused by overweight or obesity and can lower their life expectancy by 20 years. Keep in mind we don’t grow more fat cells, they just get bigger when weight is put which can spill over into the blood. Plant eaters drop their chances of diabetes by 78% compared to someone who eats meat every day. Yet, monounsaturated fats from nuts and seeds seem to protect opposed to saturated fat from animals which also appears to be toxic to the cells (in the pancreas) that produce insulin. When you eat saturated fat, both insulin action and insulin secretion are impaired within hours. So, the more saturated fat you have in your blood, the higher your risk may be for developing type 2 diabetes.

When measuring blood sugar, doctors are looking for a hemoglobin A1c of under 5.7. Over 6.5 will label you as a diabetic and the prediabetic range is between 5.7 and 6.4. The best solution for most? Become a whole-foods vegan and exercise!

A Visit to the Barnard Medical Center

BanardMedicalCenter

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

So I made it to the Barnard Medical Center in Washington, D.C. for my first plant-based doctor’s appointment and a tour of the facilities. Thanks to publicist Jessica Frost and Dania DePas, M.A. I was also able to connect with friend and associate Neal Barnard, M.D. and Dr. Steve Neabore to discuss the state of American health. With chronic diseases so prevalent in our culture and growing daily, the number 1 solution we have control over is to correct our diets and eliminate S.A.D (Standard American Diet) entirely. It’s amazing how the plant kingdom is taking over 360.

However, the journey continues since 1.6 million Americans alone die annually from premature death resulting from the top 15 chronic diseases with heart disease being number 1 at 400,000 yearly deaths. According to “How Not To Die” by Michael Greger, M.D., 20 million Americans are diabetic which can lead to amputations, blindness, heart attacks, kidney failure, strokes or death. As it relates to cancer, the three digestive cancers — colorectal, pancreatic and esophageal — kill 100,000 Americans yearly. Yet, the number one diminishing factor in the majority of these cases are the types of foods eaten and lifestyle choices made. How we nourish or degrade our bodies is the key to life enhancement or degradation. It’s time to focus on prevention from smart and positive choices opposed to reaction from negative diagnoses. Eat clean, stay active and energize your life. One Love.

For more information on the Barnard Medical Center or to make an appointment visit www.barnardmedical.org.

5100 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20016 4th floor
202-527-7500

 

Red Curry Chickpea & Sweet Potato Soup

Red-Curry-Chickpea-Sweet-Potato-Soup-Fit-FathersIngredients

2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
2 cups water
1 small sweet potato, chopped into small, bite-size pieces
1 cup cooked, rinsed chickpeas
1 cup baby spinach leaves

Directions

  1. Place a dry soup pot over medium heat. Add the red curry paste, and slowly stir it for about 2 minutes.
  2. Slowly stir in the water, making sure the curry paste thoroughly integrates with the water. Add the sweet potato and chickpeas.
  3. Simmer the soup for about 5 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are al dente.
  4. Add the spinach immediately after you remove the soup from the heat.

Source: 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart by Neal Barnard, M.D.; recipe by Jason Wyrick of the Vegan Culinary Experience. Photo by Lisa Cherkasky.

A Plant-Based Diet Boosts Physical Health and Emotional Well-Being, According to New GEICO Study

FitFathers-16-powerhouse-Plant-food

Workplace Wellness Program Alleviates Anxiety, Depression, Fatigue

18-week plant-based dietary intervention program boosts employee productivity, while alleviating symptoms of anxiety, depression, and fatigue, according to a study published in the March/April issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion. Researchers with the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine placed GEICO employees with a BMI of 25 or above, or who were previously diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, on a low-fat, low-glycemic, high-fiber vegan diet.

Study participants experienced overall productivity and measurable improvements in anxiety, depression, fatigue, and general health, according to the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) and the Work Productivity and Activity Impairment Questionnaire (WPAI).Study participants also lost an average of 10 pounds, lowered LDL cholesterol by 13 points, and improved blood sugar control, if they had type 2 diabetes.

Healthful vegan options, including vegetable hummus sandwiches, seasonal leafy green salads, and black bean chili, were available in employee cafeterias. Because the four-month menu featured a variety of fruits and vegetables, it was rich in vitamins and minerals. Study participants favored healthful carbohydrate-rich foods, including brown rice, steel cut oats, and rye bread, which help regulate serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin helps control mood. Weekly “lunch-and-learn” sessions enabled employees to acquire new cooking skills and learn about disease-fighting foods.

“The same foods that curb the risk for obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, may help boost overall mood,” notes study author Neal Barnard, M.D. “In the evolving landscape of neurological research, a plant-based diet may help in treating symptoms of anxiety and depression.” The study authors also hypothesize that when individuals improve their physical health, they may become more physically and socially active, increasing their mood and overall quality of life. “Helping employees improve their health through a plant-based dietary intervention is a win-win situation for employees and the company,” notes Dr. Barnard. “Who doesn’t want to feel great, increase energy, and maximize productivity in the process?”

The study comes at a time when obesity affects 35 percent of U.S. adults, resulting in annual health care costs that are $1,429 higher per person than those of a normal weight. Lost productivity costs for obesity are $73 billion each year. Depression also has a major impact, affecting 9.5 percent of the adult population, accounting for $83 billion in lost productivity each year.

For an interview with Dr. Barnard or with Dr. Agarwal, please contact Jessica Frost at jfrost@pcrm.org or 202-527-7342.

About Neal Barnard, M.D.:

Neal Barnard, M.D., is a clinical researcher, author, president and founder of the Physicians Committee, and an adjunct associate professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Dr. Barnard develops dietary components for several workplace wellness programs, including GEICO, PEPCO, Capitol One, and Whole Foods Health Starts Here.

About Ulka Agarwal, M.D.:

Ulka Agarwal, M.D., is the lead physician and psychiatrist at California State University, East Bay. Dr. Agarwal is the former chief medical officer for the Physicians Committee and a graduate of Dr. Andrew Weil’s Integrative Medicine Fellowship through the University of Arizona.

Neal Barnard, M.D., Hosts Free Workshop to Help Washington Residents Combat Type 2 Diabetes

 

NealBarnard Fit Fathers has partnered with Neal Barnard, M.D., PCRM and the Preventive Nutrition Series which starts March 25 in Friendship Heights! Washington, Maryland and Virginia residents who struggle with type 2 diabetes can attend a free workshop on Tuesday, March 25, to learn how to avoid complications from the disease and reduce or eliminate the need for medications.

WHO: Diabetes researcher Neal D. Barnard, M.D., is president of the nonprofit Physicians Committee and an adjunct professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

WHAT: Dr. Barnard’s free seminar highlights the best foods to prevent and treat type 2 diabetes. People who have or are at risk for type 2 diabetes will benefit from the seminar. Family members, health care providers, and friends are welcome and encouraged to join.

WHEN:
Tuesday, March 25, 6 to 8 p.m.
Tuesday, May 13, 6 to 8 p.m.
Tuesday, June 17, 6 to 8 p.m.

WHERE: Physicians Committee, 5100 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Ste. 400, Washington, DC 20016. The Physicians Committee is located a few blocks from the Friendship Heights Metro station.

CONTACT: Simply email InfoDesk@FitFathers.com to reserve a spot. Class participants will receive meal plans, grocery shopping lists, and nutrition resources for diabetes management.

WHY?: Close to 10 percent of Washington residents struggle with type 2 diabetes. If diabetes means endless medications, doctor visits, and unstable blood sugars, it’s time to turn it around. Dr. Barnard will showcase the best foods to help you lose weight, stabilize blood sugar, improve cholesterol, and reduce the need for daily pills and insulin shots.

View Dr. Barnard’s published studies and watch sample diabetes lectures at NealBarnard.org.

Follow Dr. Barnard on Twitter: @DrNealBarnard
Follow Fit Fathers on Twitter: @FitFathers

12243-FFL Kendra Julian Baker 1252012

Breakfast Smoothie

Fruit SmoothieServes 2 (Makes about 3 cups)

1 very ripe banana (with plenty of brown speckles)
2 cups frozen fruit (such as berries, mangoes, strawberries, banana, orange, and pineapple)
1 cup nondairy milk (almond milk or soy milk)

Combine all the ingredients in a blender. Start your blender on the lowest setting and slowly crank it up as the smoothie starts to puree. If you start with your blender at high, you’ll end up with smoothie splattered all over the top of your blender and probably will have to stop your blender several times to get the smoothie ingredients to rest back on the blades. Once you’re up to optimal speed, blend for about 2 minutes to get everything smooth. [Read more…]