Alright folks, here’s the post you’ve all been waiting for. Let’s start with lunch first and some of the other speakers before we get to the big face-off. This was our Saturday lunch menu (again with references to where they are in the McDougall Newsletter Archives or Books), along with a couple photos:
- Mixed Green Salad with oil-free dressings, along with bowls of assorted veggies and beans
- Broccoli Bisque (Newsletter Jan ’05)
- Southwestern Black Bean Soup (New McDougall Cookbook, p.163)
- Steamed veggies
- Mixed Vegetable Salad (The McDougall Program for Maximum Weight Loss, p.210)
- Thai Noodle Salad (Newsletter May ’04)
- Potato Salad (Quick and Easy Cookbook, p.20)
- Garden Pizzas (Quick and Easy Cookbook, p. 189)
- Baked Potatoes
- Wicked Mushrooms (Newsletter March ’05)
- Whole Fruits
After lunch, we were in for some more eating. Lindsay Nixon from The Happy Herbivore was there to do a cooking demo for us, showing us how to make low fat (oil free) plant-based dishes like butternut squash soup, nachos, quick pesto sauce, whole wheat drop biscuits with white bean gravy, mardi gras beans and rice, and nachos with a salsa “queso” sauce. Her recipes were so easy and delicious I bought both of her books. I’ve since made some other recipes and they’ve all been hits. You should definitely check out her recipes on her website and then buy a book or two.
I got to talk with Lindsay a couple of times over the course of the weekend and she was incredibly nice and helpful.
After a short break, Dr. McDougall interviewed Kathy Freston, author of Veganist and most famous for being the lady that convinced Oprah and her staff to try going vegan. She became a vegan due to animal rights issues, something I don’t necessarily relate to, but nonetheless, she had some interesting things to say. One promising thing is that Americans are eating 12% less meat since 2009. That’s a pretty substantial number. Her technique is to attract people to a plant-based lifestyle rather than shoving it down their throats, and I definitely agree with her.
After the interview, Dr. Joel Fuhrman got on stage and had an hour to make his case for nutrient-dense eating and spoke about his new book Super Immunity. I was certified through Fuhrman’s Nutritional Education Institute, so I was especially interested in what he had to say. Here are some bits of info from his talk:
- We know micronutrients are incredibly important for health, but which one is the most important? The one you’re missing!
- How is a piece of chicken the same as a bagel? Animal products are just like processed foods in that they lack micronutrients and have negative hormonal effects when ingested. In the case of chicken, it promotes the secretion of IGF1 which can lead to the growth of cancer cells, and a bagel induces insulin secretion which leads to weight loss among other issues.
- Cancer is the greatest threat to people eating a relatively healthy diet. To really protect yourself against cancer and repair the damage that has already occurred, you have to have a diet that is nutritionally excellent.
- High intake of greens prevents and can reverse: cervical displasia, hepatitis, ordinary warts, and HPV, among other illnesses. Greens also reduce free radicals after exercise, promote faster recovery, assist bone building, and promote lean muscle mass.
- Mushrooms are incredibly important foods to eat. They contain antigen-binding lectins that bind and disable to abnormal cells, angiogenesis inhibitors which stop the promotion of new red blood vessels near cancer and fat cells, and aromatase inhibitors that prevent you from making too much estrogen or testosterone. Angiogenesis activators? Steroids, insulin, and sweets.
- Onions contain allinase which kills harmful bacteria. Onions can also help prevent cancer and lower blood pressure.
- Dietary lignans (such as in chia and flax) slow tumor growth.
- The best way to prevent pneumonia, a common cause of death in the elderly? A toothbrush! Clean teeth dramatically helps to prevent it.
Alright folks, here it is…the showdown of the century! Mcdougall vs. Fuhrman. Starch vs. Greens. Whose argument wins out? Well, the answer is…they agree with each other most of the time? Turns out they only have a few things they really disagree on. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, did a tremendous job of moderating the panel. Here are some interesting notes.
- The first question was about weather starches are greens are the way to go. Furhman didn’t like the question. Of course the majority of calories are going to come from starch – they are much more calorically dense from greens!
- Are all starches equal? Furhman says no – obviously white flour and other processed starch no good since they contain no fiber, and beans are the most favorable. McDougall said that from a practical point of view, lots of asians are living on white rice and they’re doing fine. Eating starch is better than no starch – i.e. white rice is better than beef, pasta is better than cheese.
- Beans vs. Grains? McDougall says beans contain too much protein and should be limited to 1 cup per day. Furhman says you can’t judge based on people eating monolithic diets, and claims beans don’t have as much protein as McDougall thinks. Nonetheless, he doesn’t recommend much more than a cup of beans either.
- What about white potatoes? Furhman says it depends on the person, but its not the best nutritional choice because studies show it increases diabetes and cancer risk in sedentary people. McDougall disagrees, obviously. He noted that the population of Ireland doubled on potatoes and it’s one of the most important foods in human history.
- Nuts and Seeds? Furhman says no more than 1 to 2 oz if you’re overweight, but they enhance the absorption of phytochemicals and can promote weight loss. McDougall says they can be good tools if you need to gain weight! Pretty strong disagreement here.
- Do we need animal foods and how much is dangerous? McDougall says any amount is dangerous because we have a hard time with moderation. Fuhrman agrees, but so many people have been socially conditioned to block out vegan/vegetarian ideas, so a little is okay, but not more than 10%.
- Salt? Furhman says its no good for vegans, since it increases the risk of hemmorhagic stroke. McDougall said several studies showed no benefit of salt avoidance. While it is a marker of unhealthy food intake, it if makes you eat the good food, then use it.
- Supplements (D, B12, DHA)? Pretty strong disagreement here. McDougall says to get your D from sunshine since too much supplementation is dangerous, B12 supplementation is fine, and get your DHA from eating plants and making it in your body. Furhman says that while D2 is unnatural and may be harmful and and excess of D is bad, most of us work indoors and don’t get adequate sun exposure. As far as DHA, some vegans might not be able to make enough, but he’s about to conduct a study on this to find out for sure (more on this in another post)
So for the most part, they agreed on what we should be eating – a plant-based diet. I do have to favor Fuhrman a bit in this argument, not necessarily because I’m more familiar with his concepts, but because he used more scientifically sound and evidence based examples in his arguments.
Okay, that’s it for today! Tomorrow I’ll talk about John Mackey’s talk about what he’s got going on at Whole Foods (it’s awesome) and you’ll hear about Day 3 as well.