One Mom in the Middle…
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Review: Forks over Knives, the movie

Published 2.24.2017
This review of the 2011 movie Forks over Knives was inspired by the recent online vegan diabetes summit, which I "attended" and took notes during which I then wrote up (if you're interested, check out the Mastering Diabetes series on the Archive page. At the time of this writing, I haven't quite finished writing up all my notes and commentary, but since Forks over Knives was mentioned so often during the summit, I rewatched it to review here.

I first watch Forks over Knives when it first come out, so these are my thoughts after the second viewing— and after I have spent six more years reading and learning about diets and health. I watched the film on Netflix, but if you don't have Netflix, you can purchase or rent your own copy here: Forks Over Knives
The movie (as all movies related to diet and health) starts with dire statistics and footage of headless fatties. A number of the doctors who presented in the vegan diabetes summit also show up as talking heads in this movie. The movie is based on the research of T Colin Campbell that he published in the book, The China Study.Read the rest.



House bill 610— what does it do?

Published 2.23.2017
Thursdays have become the day on which I choose to opine on education. This is the fifth entry in the series (and eventually I will stop counting the entries). The focus this week is House Bill 610. This presentation is really more of a backgrounder, as I am still learning about the law.

House Bill 610, titled the Choices in Education Act of 2017 is a very short bill, that basically block grants money to the states, and makes setting up a voucher system a condition to get the funds. It also repeals the Nutritional Act of 2012, which addressed the quality of food offered at public schools and specifically mandated that more fruits and vegetables be served. There is no companion bill in the Senate— or at least no companion bill has been introduced yet in the Senate. Here is the summary from the congress.gov site:
Read the rest.



Mastering Diabetes Summit Day 5, Part 1- AKA Forks over Knives Day

Published 2.23.2017
This is the seventh in a series in which I am commenting on the Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, otherwise known as the Vegan Diabetes Summit. The two hosts, Cyrus Khambatta and Robby Barbaro, manage their type one diabetes (T1D) with a raw, high carb low fat diet, consisting of mostly fruit. Links to the videos and audio recordings of the event expired Thursday, February 9th at 9:00 PM Pacific time. However, I have notes for most of the talks though day seven (Day 8 was all about testimonials) and I will continue to present them until I've gone through them all, however long that process takes.

Please remember: I am not a nutritionist or medical professional. I am stating what these presenters claimed, mostly without any fact checking. When I know a statement is false, I say so. However, no endorsement is implied for statements presented without additional commentary or fact checking. These are not recaps, merely some notes and commentary I made while listening.

Matt Lederman MD

This is the first I've ever heard of this particular doctor. He's written a book, Keep It Simple, Keep It Whole. Read the rest.



Movement is important as you age, and any other time

Published 2.21.2017
This is a periodic series highlighting news about health and movement I began in frustration as people who should know better (bariatric doctors and cardiologists amongst them) began to downplay the importance of movement in maintaining health and weight loss. No, you probably can't outrun your fork, but to suggest that movement isn't part of the answer for most people (I recognize that some people have conditions that counter indicate too much movement) is malpractice in my view.

Bariatric doctor Yoni Freedhoff (he's not a surgeon, but operates a clinic treating the obese so I think that's the correct title to apply to him) was one of the inspirations for this series, and here he is, at it again. I think he misrepresents what they data showed. What it showed was that People in energy balance are generally weight stable. People who move a bit more might eat a bit more, and people who move a bit less might eat a bit less. The primary result is to show just how fat Americans are in relation to Africans. I don’t think that will be news to many that we are (on average) a bunch of fatties. Here’s the study.
Read the rest.

Weight is still related to health and other tidbits

Published 2.20.2017
As on most Mondays, what follows are brief commentary on recent items related to diet or health.

Call the neighbors, wake the kids, losing weight can positively affect health. It’s amazing to me that this is still considered new and worth of study. Is anyone at this point surprised by evidence that obese people who lose weight can resolve many of their medical conditions— outside the health at every size (HAES) crowd (who will ignore it anyway)?

The researchers predicted that about 20% of new diabetes cases could be prevented if adulthood weight was maintained within one body mass index (BMI) point (Population attributable fraction 21.9%, 95% CI, 15.8-27.6%), or within 3% of total weight (PAF 22.0%, 15.5, 28.0%).

On a population level, about 40% of new cases could be prevented through weight loss of 1.5±.5 BMI points (PAF 38.2%, 23.4-50.0%), or with a loss of 5±2% of body weight (42.4%, 24.3,5.1%), according to Adina L. Feldman, PhD, of the Medical Research Council (MRC) Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge in the U.K., and colleagues, writing online in BMC Public Health.

Basically anyone with a BMI of 30 or higher were treated and had a benefit. This bit is different, though:
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Review: Kipling's Jungle Book + movies

Published 2.17.2017
To be clear, I’m only going to include commentary on the part of The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling that relate to with the boy raised in the jungle by wolves, Mowgli. The book itself is a collection of stories, some of which have nothing to do with Mowgli.

Baloo Murray

I will begin with the 2016 movie, The Jungle Book.
I didn’t want to like this movie. I first watched it in bits and pieces on a trans Atlantic flight, and found it amusing. But that was on a long flight when other options were limited. Then I watched it again on Netflix, and found parts of it laugh out loud funny. Particularly funny are the scenes With Bill Murray as Baloo the Bear in the Monkey Temple.
Read the rest.

My biases upfront

Published 2.16.2017
Thursdays have become the day on which I choose to opine on education. Since making that choice and subsequent announcement, this is the fourth entry in the series. It's about time that I discuss my history and biases.

My schooling

I've mentioned previously that I was educated in the public schools, but I will add that those schools were in the Midwest. The term Midwest is relatively vague because people don't define the region consistently, but I don't want to be any more specific than that. I just wanted to indicate that I didn't attend school in the Northeast or on either coast.

My husband was also educated in the public schools, in fact, his mother taught and later became a vice principal in the same distract. When our children reached school age, it wasn't even a question, they entered public school. Neither finished school in the public system, but for very different reasons. Technically, they were considered private school students at graduation because they graduated from an online high school.
Read the rest.

Menopause, chemicals and other tidbits

Published 2.13.2017
I haven't finished writing up all the notes I took while listening the vegan diabetes summit, otherwise known as the Mastering Diabetes Online Summit. However, I traveled this weekend, beginning on Friday, then my return got delayed by weather and thus have seen my planned publishing schedule get shredded. I will finish the diabetes summit, because the days remaining to be summarized offered some of the most interesting presentations— at least in my view. Now that the summit is past, and my schedule shredded, it may be that I will space the commentaries out a bit. As I was already doing that, I doubt anyone would notice even if I didn't announce it.

In any event, having finally arrived home, for today, here are links to recent news or items relating to diet or health.

  • Apparently chemicals in fast food wrappers can get into the food they contact. An obvious solution is to not buy food prepackaged in wrappers… but that’s not likely to be an easy sell.

    Of 407 fast-food packaging samples tested, 33% had detectable levels of fluorine, a marker for a class of highly fluorinated chemicals known as PFASs (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), reported Laurel Schaider, PhD, of the Silent Spring Institute in Newton, Mass., and colleagues.

    “Silent Spring”? This makes me think that there’s an agenda behind these findings. However,

    Previous research has linked PFASs with cancer, thyroid disease, immunotoxicity, low birth weight, and decreased fertility. These chemicals are used in food packaging because of their water- and grease-resistant properties, and research has shown they can leach into food, the authors wrote in Environmental Science & Technology Letters.

    Facts are facts. Don’t buy the stuff and avoid the issue. It isn’t as hard as most people think.
Read the rest.

Mastering Diabetes Summit Day 4, Part 2

Published 2.12.2017
This is the sixth in a series in which I am commenting on the Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, otherwise known as the Vegan Diabetes Summit. The two hosts, Cyrus Khambatta and Robby Barbaro, manage their type one diabetes (T1D) with a raw, high carb low fat diet, consisting of mostly fruit. Links to the videos and audio recordings of the event expired Thursday, February 9th at 9:00 PM Pacific time. However, I have notes for most of the talks though day seven (Day 8 was all about testimonials) and I will continue to present them until I've gone through them all.

Please remember: I am not a nutritionist or medical professional. I am stating what these presenters claimed, mostly without any fact checking. When I know a statement is false, I say so. However, no endorsement is implied for statements presented without additional commentary or fact checking. These are not recaps, merely some notes and commentary I made while listening.

Joel Fuhrman MD

Curing young T1Ds, or extending the honeymoon? That's not the title of Fuhrman's talk, but it is the most critical topic and claim that he made during his hour.
Read the rest.

Seeing the future through the eyes of the past

Published 2.9.2017
On Tuesday, February 7, 2017, to no one's surprise, Betsy DeVos was confirmed by the Senate to be the next Secretary of Education. Vice President Mike Pence had to cast the deciding vote with the Senate deadlocked at 50-50. Some reporting suggests that this "damages" DeVos, but I don't buy it. She has an agenda and will now work to make it happen.

The topic for this Thursday is screen learning— in other words using a computer or laptop to convey significant amounts of information. Learning via screen is a different way to learn and requires different teaching techniques. The fact that technology has outstripped teacher training and most teachers don’t have a clue how to use technology in their teaching doesn’t change that fact.
Read the rest.

Vegan Diabetes Summit— Day 4, Part 1

Published 2.9.2017
This is the fifth in a series in which I am commenting on the Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, otherwise known as the Vegan Diabetes Summit. The two hosts, Cyrus Khambatta and Robby Barbaro, manage their type one diabetes (T1D) with a raw, high carb low fat diet, consisting of mostly fruit. Videos and audio recordings of the event expired today (Thursday, February 9th) at 9:00 PM Pacific time.

Please remember: I am not a nutritionist or medical professional. I am stating what these presenters claimed, mostly without any fact checking. When I know a statement is false, I say so. However, no endorsement is implied for statements presented without additional commentary or fact checking. I did not attend the final live session, and I'm going to write up the final day of testimonials.

These are not recaps, merely some notes and commentary I made while listening. There were five presentation on Day 4, and I listened to all of them. Thus I will be splitting Day 4 into two parts, just as I did Day 3.
Read the rest.

Vegan Diabetes Summit — Day 3 Part 2

Published 2.8.2017
This is the fourth in a series in which I will be commenting on the Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, otherwise known as the Vegan Diabetes Summit. The two hosts, Cyrus Khambatta and Robby Barbaro, manage their type one diabetes (T1D) with a raw high carb low fat diet, consisting of mostly fruit. Videos and audio recordings of the event expire at the end of the last day (Thursday February 9th at 9:00 PM Pacific time).

I wound up listening to more of the summit than expected, but there is, mercifully, a dearth of "integrated" medicinal mumbo jumbo being presented. With few exceptions, actual medical doctors and degreed dietitians or nutritionists are making the presentations. Yes, a vegan diet— excuse me, a whole foods plant based diet (WFPBD)— is the backbone of the recommendations, with few exceptions (Marc Hellerstein, MD) made no dietary recommendations, for example. Few doctors are going to tell you to avoid vegetables and fruit— unless they are low carb shills. However, most doctors aren't going to tell you to avoid animal products because they are "toxic," either. There's a huge difference in eating less animal foods and eating no animal foods.
Read the rest.

Vegan Diabetes Summit — Day 3

Published 2.7.2017
This is the third in a series in which I will be commenting on the Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, otherwise known as the Vegan Diabetes Summit. The two hosts are vegans, as are most of the presenters. Videos and audio recordings of the event expire at the end of the last day (Thursday February 9th at 9:00 PM Pacific time). I will not have published the entire series before that time, so if you want to hear it from the "horse's mouth" so to speak, click on the link above and register.

The good news is, that the presentations get more interesting further into the week. The first few days have essentially been vegan doctor after vegan doctor touting the amazing benefits of eating only plants. And to be clear, eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes and intact whole grains, is a wonderful part of a healthy diet. The healthiness of avoiding all animal products is less clear. Type two diabetes and heart disease (because cardiovascular disease (CVD) gets mention a lot too) can be reversed using the Pritikin protocol. I keep pointing to Pritikin, the same way I point to successful vegan interventions when low carb proponents try to insist theirs is the only or healthiest way.
Read the rest.

Vegan Diabetes Summit — Day 2

Published 2.6.2017
This is the second in a series in which I will be commenting on the Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, otherwise known as the Vegan Diabetes Summit. The two hosts are vegans, as are most of the presenters. Actually, through day 2, all presenters have been vegan.

Also of note is the fact that the organizers have decided not to have the videos and audio recorders of the event expire until the end of the the last day (Thursday February 9th at 9:00 PM Pacific time). This means that if something I wrote about the presentations below intrigues you, you can click on the link above and watch or listen for yourself.

The conceit of the summit organizers, Cyrus Khambatta and Robby Barbaro, is that both type one (T1D) and type 2 (T2D) diabetes are being covered. However, the reality for most presentations has been that the primary focus is T2D. Most diabetics are T2D, and it is T2D that is most influenced by lifestyle and eating choices. That isn't to say that T1D is never mentioned or that diet choices do not affect T1 diabetics, but most of these doctors are working with T2D patients.
Read the rest.

Mastering Diabetes Summit Day 1

Published 2.3.2017
In 2017, Fridays here at the Arena have become the day on which I review either a book I've read or a movie I've seen. This particular Friday is different, however, because I have registered to watch an online summit about diabetes, Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, and I've decided to review the presentations that I watch over the next few days. Thus, this will be the first in a series.

Two raw vegans with type 1 diabetes (T1D), Cyrus Khambatta, PhD and Robby Barbaro, organized and host this particular summit, so the bias inherent in the presentations is obvious. In March of 2015, I watched a few sessions of a online "summit" about type 2 diabetes (T2D) that had a distinct "low carb" theme to it.

That being noted, the 2015 summit included both Dr. Roy Taylor and Dr Joel Fuhrman. Taylor, though not an opponent of low carb, does not push it as the answer to T2D. Neither does he push veganism or a low fat diet. Fuhrman thinks low carb is exactly the wrong way to go if you're T2D, believing instead that his low fat nutritarian diet (which is not vegan as a concept, but can be in implementation) is the way to go.

The current vegan hosted summit does not appear to include any dissenting voices, though those voices are mentioned. Mark Hyman for instance, he of the "Summit to sell my book" aka "The Fat Summit," has been mentioned several times in the first two days.
Read the rest.

Not so fast, will DeVos be confirmed?

Published 2.2.2017
Continuing the series on education essays each Thursday, begun last week with a look at Betsy DeVos, Trump's choice for Secretary of Eduction, the topic this week was to be learning via screen. However, recent developments in DeVos's confirmation have intervened, leading me to focus again on that process.

My assumption last week was that DeVos was likely to be confirmed because Democrats have no power. However, on Wednesday, two Republican senators, Alaska's Lisa Murkowski and Maine's Susan Collins, announced that they would not vote to confirm DeVos— even though both women voted for DeVos in committee.
Read the rest.

CRON- Is the suffering worth it?

Published 2.1.2017
Calorie restriction (CR), whether in the form of calorie restriction optimal nutrition (CRON) or calorie restriction with exercise (CREX) is a topic of interest to me. Not because I follow its precepts— I do not— but because I find it fascinating. I remember the Biosphere 2 debacle, which is when I first heard of it. Because food was so scarce in the Biosphere, essentially the occupants became unwilling CRON followers. Most did not enjoy the experience.

Michael Mosley also mentioned CRON in his program about the 5:2 diet, which I’ve discussed previously. In that show the guy who was following CRON precepts had the biomarkers of a much younger person. Most of the work looking at the efficacy of CRON are of course done in animals. It would be impossible to run the test in humans. Results of the studies at first seemed to indicate that CRON did increase lifespans, but subsequent analysis challenged that view.

The most famous trials involved monkeys, and as primates, they are closest to humans. Two research papers are the inspiration for this latest entry on CR. The first is a review paper from 2014 that critiqued results of calorie restriction studies across the board. The second is a 2016 comparison of the methods used in two studies involving monkeys. The first study, done at the University of Wisconsin Madison, seemed to show that CR did extend life in primates. The subsequent study that the National Institute of Aging (NIA) did showed no such extension of lifespan.
Read the rest.

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