Sunday, January 24, 2016

When Breathe Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

A breath-taking new book (terrible pun) has just been released. It’s a tragic but unfortunately familiar story of a brilliant young man who loses his battle with cancer. What is different here is the author is a physician who steps over the bridge from healer to patient. I first heard of Paul Kalanithi when he published an essay in the New York Times.

Paul Kalanithi was a man of many talents who chose the most demanding of all medical specialties: neurosurgery. He was nearing the end of his training (a seven year program after medical school) when he learned that he had metastatic cancer. 

I read the book in one sitting, but will re-read it again and again. The prose is lyrical. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Eat the Rainbow

A good start to better nutrition is to add healthy options. “Eating the rainbow” isn't really a ticket on its own from an unhealthy diet to a healthy one, but it is a step in the right direction, especially considering the focus on fresh produce.

The first color in the rainbow is red: fruits such as watermelon, strawberries, cherries, raspberries, pomegranates and apples; and vegetables like tomatoes, red peppers, red onions, and red cabbage. Many red fruits and veggies are loaded with powerful, healthy antioxidants -- such as lycopene and anthocyanins -- that may do everything from fight heart disease and prostate cancer to decrease the risk for stroke and macular degeneration (the leading cause of blindness in people aged 60 and older). Antioxidants soak up damaging free radicals. Lycopene-rich foods also have been shown to decrease symptoms of wheezing, asthma and shortness of breath in people when they exercise.

Flash frozen fruits and vegetables are budget friendly and preserve more nutrient than fresh produce that has spent time in trucks, warehouses and supermarkets. Canned and cooked tomatoes have more lycopene than fresh.

The entire rainbow in a list and some tips to engage the family. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Calories are cheap. Nutrition is expensive.

The Wall Street Journal’s interview with Tom Colicchio (Top Chef) emphasized his commitment to food and preparing it well.

“What he really wants to do now is change the way people eat. With his nonprofit Food Policy Action, he’s hoping to persuade Americans that food policy should be more prominent in politics. “The idea is, how do you raise the idea of food up to a level of the Second Amendment and reproductive rights?” he says. The problem, he adds, is that “calories are cheap. Nutrition is expensive.”

His goal is to have the government make policy changes that direct farm subsidies away from commodity crops like corn (which often goes into processed food) and toward more fruits and vegetables, to make produce less expensive for consumers. Other changes he’d like to see are healthier school lunches and labels for foods that contain genetically modified ingredients.”

I applaud Colicchio and would like to continue the conversation to include remediating food deserts in our cities and prohibiting junk food advertising. Tony the Tiger should join the Marlboro man in the advertising hall of shame.