Dr. Barnard's Blog

The Physicians Committee

Colorectal Cancer: Raise Awareness of the Solution, Not Just the Problem

March 26, 2014   Dr. Neal Barnard   colorectal cancer, processed meat

 
 

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, but just because March is ending, doesn’t mean that colorectal cancer will simply disappear. To raise awareness one month out of the year, some folks will buy rubber wristbands. Others will put magnetic ribbons on their car or wear dark blue on Tuesdays. While the intentions are noble, they won’t actually decrease anyone’s risk of colorectal cancer. But there is one simple change everyone should make that can dramatically reduce the risk of colorectal cancer: ditching processed meat. The evidence is clear—processed meat causes colorectal cancer. Processed meat products are “meats that have been preserved by smoking, salting, curing or adding other preservatives.” This includes hot dogs, bacon, pepperoni, ham, and deli meats. Unfortunately, all of these are common items found on restaurant menus, in school cafeterias, and even in hospitals. Raising awareness about colorectal cancer involves spreading the word about the dangers of putting pepperoni on pizza, serving bologna on lunch lines, or hawking hot dogs at a baseball game. It takes more than ribbons and t-shirts to make a difference—it involves making a change and encouraging your loved ones to do the same, or even writing letters to local restaurants and asking them to take cancer-causing dishes off their menus. From now on, instead of shelling out cash for a wristband you’ll just toss on April 1st, how about skipping processed meat? Or if you’re ahead of the game and have already eliminated these products from your diet, share our infographic illustrating all of the dangers of processed meat and convince a friend to Drop the Dog. Spread the word and save a life.

(Click for full-size image.)

The Shameful Sham of Shamrock Shakes

March 14, 2014   Dr. Neal Barnard   dairy, fast food

 
 

Every March, McDonald’s releases its Shamrock Shake in dubious honor of St. Patrick’s Day. This dairy-and-syrup-heavy minty green beverage is supposed to make the month extra-festive. However, with 12 grams of saturated fat, nearly a quarter of your daily maximum cholesterol, and 660 calories, shake guzzlers will need the luck o’ the Irish to keep the jig in their step afterwards.

Using chemical coloring and corn syrup to make a high-cholesterol dairy item match the month’s color scheme? It’s enough to make a banshee wail! There are so many naturally green foods that are actually good for you. Green apples, kale, broccoli, pistachios, honeydew melon, kiwis—they all create a nutritional pot of gold.

With dairy’s connection to certain cancers, don’t try your luck with the Shamrock Shake. Instead, start spring off on the right foot with our Green Goddess Smoothie. Or for a more decadent treat, check out The Edgy Veg’s Vegan Mint Milkshake!

Green Goddess Smoothie

Green Goddess Smoothie

Makes 5 1-cup servings 1 orange, peeled 1 cup grapes 1 banana 1 pear, cored 1 cup soy, almond, or rice milk 2 cups fresh kale or spinach ice cubes (optional) Place all ingredients in the blender for 1 minute, or until desired smoothness is achieved. Add ice cubes, if using, and process further to desired temperature. Per 1-cup serving:

  • Calories: 110
  • Fat: 1.1 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.2 g
  • Calories from Fat: 8.5%
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Protein: 3.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 24.5 g
  • Sugar: 14.9 g
  • Fiber: 3.8 g
  • Sodium: 36 mg
  • Calcium: 99 mg
  • Iron: 1 mg
  • Vitamin C: 33.1 mg
  • Beta Carotene: 2464 mcg
  • Vitamin E: 1.2 mg

Source: Katherine Lawrence, owner of www.plantbasedhealth.com

An Event that’s Absolutely Sublime

February 28, 2014   Dr. Neal Barnard   other

 
 

sublime-restaurant-and-bar

Today, I’ll be leaving the polar vortex behind and catching a flight to Fort Lauderdale to attend a special event benefiting the Physicians Committee. This event is hosted by Nanci Alexander at her legendary Sublime Restaurant.

Sometimes celebrations can come at the expense of your waistline or heart health—but not at Sublime! This award-winning restaurant features an entirely plant-based menu of global cuisine. In fact, the Sublime Restaurant Cookbook topped the Physicians Committee’s list of the Best Cookbooks of the Decade.

Nanci Alexander, Sublime’s creator, hosted the first Physicians Committee benefit event back in 2008! It was a hit with celebrities, supporters, and friends. This year, I ‘m looking forward to sharing the success of our research studies—including our new study on vegetarian diets and blood pressure and our new research showing the link between meat and diabetes—as well as our many other efforts for plant-based diets. Thanks to these programs, and those of our many allies, meat-eating has fallen to its lowest level in decades.

Hopefully, I’ll see you all there. But even if you won’t be attending the benefit this Friday, be sure to check out Sublime’s menu online and make a reservation the next time you’re in Fort Lauderdale!

  sublime-restaurant-neal

(Sublime owner Nanci Alexander, Neal Barnard, M.D., and Marilu Henner from the very first PCRM event at Sublime in 2008!)

ED this VD? It’s not you, it’s meat.

February 14, 2014   Dr. Neal Barnard   men's health

 
 

Between 18 and 30 million men in the United States have erectile dysfunction. It’s certainly a topic everyone’s familiar with—the image of a little blue pill or two outdoor bathtubs is practically iconic. But most people don’t know that ED isn’t usually caused by stress, alcohol, or performance anxiety—it’s a result of blocked arteries. The cholesterol and saturated fat in animal products can lead to vascular problems, which in turn impede blood flow. Gorge on chicken wings and steak, and the only thing that will grow later is your waistline.

Over a six-year span, the U.S. government spent $172 million on penis pumps—expensive contraptions that try to draw blood flow through narrowed arteries. There’s a much less expensive solution: A low-fat, plant-based diet will reverse artery blockage, letting blood flow to where you need it. In fact, while processed meat products cause low-quality sperm, carrots and other vegetables can actually boost virility.

So to those who take their sweetheart out for a big steak dinner this Valentine’s Day only to discover that they’re having some technical difficulties later on, remember—it’s not you, it’s meat.  

Vegetarian? Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!

February 7, 2014   Dr. Neal Barnard   vegetarian, vegan

 
 

Years ago, while gazing out the window at the meadow surrounding their house, Paul and Linda McCartney watched lambs playing. They were having such a lovely time gamboling about in the sunshine. Paul and Linda then glanced at the sliced lamb on their plates. And that was it. It took only a moment to make the decision. Out with the meat, chicken, fish—all of it—and they never looked back. Ringo quit eating meat decades ago, too.

If a plant-based diet keeps these Beatles rocking after all these years, maybe it’ll do the same for you. Here are some recipes to get you going.

Sergeant Pepper Would Have Banged the Drum for This Red Pepper Hummus
Red Pepper Hummus

Red Pepper Hummus

Makes about 2 cups Red pepper hummus makes a delicious dip for fresh vegetables or pita wedges. It can also be used as a sandwich spread or as a filling in a wrap.

1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained
1/2 cup water-packed roasted red peppers (about 2 peppers)
2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed butter)
3 tablespoons lemon juice 1 garlic clove (or more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Process until completely smooth, about 2 minutes.

Per 1/4 cup
• Calories: 87
• Fat: 3 g
• Saturated Fat: 0.4 g
• Calories from Fat: 31.2%
• Cholesterol: 0 mg
• Protein: 4 g
• Carbohydrates: 12 g
• Sugar: 1.1 g
• Fiber: 2.8 g
• Sodium: 57 mg
• Calcium: 37 mg
• Iron: 1.5 mg
• Vitamin C: 21.7 mg
• Beta-Carotene: 265 mcg
• Vitamin E: 0.3 mg

Source: Healthy Eating for Life for Women by Kristine Kieswer; recipe by Jennifer Raymond, M.S., R.D.

Mean Mr. Mustard Would Be All Over Our Broccoli…
Broccoli with Mustard Sauce

Makes 4 to 6 servings

This is royally delicious treatment for broccoli, a potent cancer-fighter.

1 bunch broccoli
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon stone-ground or Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, pressed or minced

Break broccoli into bite-size florets. Peel broccoli stems and slice into 1/4" rounds. Steam until just tender, about 5 minutes. While the broccoli is steaming, whisk vinegar, mustard, and garlic in a serving bowl. Add broccoli and toss. Serve immediately.

Per serving (1/4 of recipe)
• Calories: 58
• Fat: 0.5 g
• Saturated Fat: 0.1 g
• Calories from Fat: 7.1%
• Cholesterol: 0 mg
• Protein: 2.5 g
• Carbohydrates: 12.6 g
• Sugar: 6.1 g
• Fiber: 3.4 g
• Sodium: 293 mg
• Calcium: 44 mg
• Iron: 0.7 mg
• Vitamin C: 66.3 mg
• Beta-Carotene: 946 mcg
• Vitamin E: 2.1 mg

Source: New Century Nutrition

A few extra options:

Yellow Soup to Match Your “Yellow Submarine”
Yellow Split Pea and Sweet Potato Soup

You’ll be in "Strawberry Fields Forever" with Our Strawberry Delight
Strawberry Delight

“Ain’t She Sweet”? Especially if She’s Eating These Waffles
Sweet Potato Waffles

Here's What They're Serving in the "Octopus's Garden"
Garden Stuffed Pitas

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