Blog Archives

Heart Attack Grill Serves a Real Heart Attack: Ironic?

The sign on the door clearly states that the food is unhealthy. With names of burgers based on real cardiac procedures, no one pretends that The Heart Attack Grill is safe. But that doesn’t stop the customers, not in the former Arizona location or the current Las Vegas location.

Is it ironic when a customer experiences a heart attack in the restaurant of the same name?

It is,

when one customer says what most people are thinking, that you don’t think it would really happen. It’s just a joke right? All fun and games until someone loses an eye. Or a coronary artery.

It is,

when the owner and perpetrator of this says that anyone “with an ounce of compassion” would feel for the victim. Apparently we need more than an ounce not to serve up this dangerous food, take the money to the bank, and fall back on customer responsibility as an excuse. Maybe a metric ton of compassion is needed.

It is,

when other customers, after the show has ended, go back to destroying their own cardiovascular systems without a bat of the proverbial eyelash. Out of sight, out of mind.

It is ,

when the owner criticizes other patrons for taking pictures “like it was a stunt” and that even “their morbid sense of humor” would never go so far. His marketing plan appears to rely on quite a bit of spectacle.

It is ironic because the many customers of this or similar restaurants don’t expect such a tragic event to actually happen right there. But studies of “holiday heart” show that it should actually be more common after such large fatty meals.

Like The Smiths once sang, “That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore.”

Kids These Days

When I was a kid back in the distant ’70s, we played outside and rode our bikes around our suburban neighborhood until we absolutely had to come in for dinner. There was one truly fat kid in my class, and it was because of a legitimate medical condition.

Nowadays, kids watch That ’70s Show doing little else, and there are plenty of fat kids developing type 2 (formerly adult onset) diabetes and heart disease.

It’s not their fault.

It is OUR fault.

Check out the infographic on junk food advertising. As long as we look away and mouth platitudes about consumer choice and responsibility, it will get worse. C’mon, we can do better.

Paula Deen, Diabetes, Drugs, and Groupthink

I don’t want to be that football player who, long after the hard work of tackling the ball carrier has been done by his teammates, comes flying into the frame to land on top of the dog pile after the whistle.

But that is what I am going to do.

So Paula Deen announced that she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes three years ago but has waited until now to make it public. In the interim, her popular TV show has featured the same high fat, high sugar, decidedly unhealthy fare as always. What’s different? Now she has a financial deal to represent an expensive, dangerous drug.

People are in an uproar over her unhealthy cooking while diabetic. They say she should have set a better example. They’re still upset that she doesn’t acknowledge the primary role lifestyle plays in the disease. They are also upset that the one dietary change she has mentioned has been cutting back on sweet tea.

I agree with the criticism, but I don’t want to bash on Deen individually. I am disturbed by the pharmaceutical connection, but it could have been anyone. What bothers me is the way the way that all of us, not just Paula Deen keep looking to the drug companies to save us when we should be looking to lifestyle changes for chronic disease. A little research will uncover some doctors who have amazing results reversing diabetes using diet. But unfortunately this information is not widely known. It’s not really Paula Deen’s fault that she doesn’t know this, since it appears radical and almost quackery. But we owe it to ourselves to check into all the possibilities before settling on powerful and dangerous drugs. Doctors need to acknowledge the power of lifestyle and counsel their patients on its use. It’s up to the individual what they choose to do. But we all deserve to know our options.

Here is one of those little discussed, yet powerful options, a vegan diet. It’s a long video, but check out Dr. Barnard’s success using a low-fat vegan diet against the standard recommendations of the American Diabetes Association.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqCxVEAUjd0

How powerful would it be if Paula Deen could follow this plan, and change her show into a show that taught people how to make delicious dishes that could reverse disease? She wants hope to be her legacy, if she taught healthy cooking, it certainly would be.

Mushrooms Protect Against Breast Cancer

I found a great nutrition source the other day, Dr. Michael Greger’s NutritionFacts.org where he archives an incredible array of vlogs about various nutrition topics. I have seen a couple of his presentations, one on cancer and another on bird flu, but neglected to see all the goodness he has assembled for free on his own site. I think I spent an hour just randomly watching his videos. But this recent video on mushrooms and breast cancer really grabbed my attention. Since I know a couple of people facing breast cancer, I was particularly interested. Earlier in the summer I watched a PBS show by Dr. Joel Fuhrman in which he claimed that his top recommended anti-cancer foods included mushrooms. For years our nutritional analysis of shrooms has concluded that they were basically “empty”. Low in calories, tasty to some, but not very nutrient dense. I always thought that there must be something more to them since they are so revered in Asia. Ancient humans must have had some reason to risk the many toxic varieties out there, and science has finally caught up. I would like to call them “phytonutrients” to link them to all the other wonderful disease fighters, but a fungus is not a plant. So what are they? Myconutrirnts? Fungichemicals? I love mushrooms, and here are one of my favorite dishes that feature them. This is now my anti cancer go to dish as features all of Fuhrman’s favorites: allium family (onions and garlic), greens, beans, and mushrooms. The only one missing is some kind of berry. But they wouldn’t fit here, so I’ll stick to eating berries with my oatmeal.

Spicy Kale and Shrooms

1 bunch kale, chopped
8 oz mushrooms sliced or quartered
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
jalapeno, minced
1-2 tomatoes, chopped
1 pound waxy potatoes, mostly cooked
1 can beans, drained and rinsed
Bragg’s or soy sauce
Chili paste

Directions

Cook the potatoes until almost done.
In a large skillet, saute onion, jalapeno and garlic until soft.
Add mushrooms, and saute until mushrooms release their liquid.
Add kale and a little water, cover and cook until kale is tender.
Add remaining ingredients and continue cooking until heated through and veggies are done to your liking.

Comfort food?

A recent post over at Soulveggie on “comfort food” caught my attention enough that not only did I feel the need to comment as I often do for his posts, but to reflect some and write my own thoughts on the matter. My first thought is that all food should be considered comfort food. Right? I mean, if you’re hungry and you eat, aren’t you comforted? But clearly there is a distinction between being satisfied and being comforted.

A quick perusal of the cooking magazines shows many cover stories on comfort food. The accompanying photos are usually high fat, meat based concoctions we remember from our childhood. What is being comforted? Certainly not our arteries! Yet somehow we ignore the physical consequences of these dishes with an excuse that they comfort us. Where is the disconnect? Why do we choose short term emotional benefit over long term health? After reading Dr. Kessler’s book The End of Overeating, I think I see a reason. He explains some of the new research in neuroscience that shows how bad food, that is, food high in some combination of sugar, salt or fat has a drug effect on the brain quite similar to other drugs like caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol. So, at a biological level, we truly are being powerfully comforted by food we know rationally is not good. Couple that drug effect with all the residue of past good feelings associated with this food, and you have a powerful brain cocktail.

I say that it is time to rethink what comfort food should be, and make solid efforts to define comfort as how we will feel in our 60s, 70s and beyond. Kessler details other psychological research that gives some suggestions about how to rewire our brains for new habits. But I am just as encouraged by Dr. Esselstyn’s program to reverse heart disease that explains that within three months those brain receptors that respond to fat so enthusiastically can be retrained. Also, Dr. McDougall always refers to his food as comfort food, since it is starch based and therefore very satisfying. My experience has been that if I keep the starch, eliminate the fat, and stick to tastes and flavors I like, I find a different kind of comfort. One that feels good today, and I know will feel good far into the future.