Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Why I am Not Getting the Flu Shot!

It's that time of year again. You know, the time when new flu shots are available to the public and everyone goes on a mad dash to their nearest provider for their liquid dosage.

I've mentioned before that I work in a medical institution and just the other day my institution sent out an e-mail stating the following:

On August 6, 2009, New York State passed legislation requiring hospitals to immunize all personnel against influenza (“the flu”) if they provide direct patient care or work in a patient care area. The law was effective immediately and hospitals must provide complete flu vaccination by November 30, 2009. Hospitals must provide documentation of vaccination of each and every person in our hospital who provides direct patient care or works in a patient care area.

Fortunately I do not provide direct patient care and therefore do not feel obligated to get the shot. It is available to me free of charge, but I think I am going to pass on the shot again this year. I have never needed or offered up my arm to flu shots in the past and the possibility of acquiring an influenza virus is hardly enough to risk the albeit "rare" (so says the CDC) chances of...drumroll, please...

  1. life threatening allergic reaction
  2. Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), an illness characterized by fever, nerve damage, and muscle weakness
  3. fever
  4. bodily aches
  5. possible acute pharyngitis
  6. Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
  7. ...and whatever other side effects we may not be aware of
I am also not getting the flu shot due to the fact that it may not even work at all. According to the CDC it can be anywhere from 30 - 90% effective. Birth Control has better odds of working.

Sadly, it has been shown that the one group who could benefit most from the shot, the elderly, have the lowest rates of efficacy (see PMID: 18997178 and 11906772 for example).

Finally, I think it's important to remind everyone that this seasons shots will not protect against the 2009 H1N1 virus...aka, Swine Flu...which seems to be a large catalyst for drawing people towards this season's shot (or so, I have heard from friends as well as in passing).

Fortunately for me, if everyone else gets the shot, my risk of catching the virus is diminished (if it works). So, thank you to all who are taking this bullet for me.

Here's to your health!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Raw Food Preparation Class at the Brooklyn Skillshare

Coming soon! I will be teaching a basic raw food preparation class at the upcoming Brooklyn Skillshare on October 10th. It's a free 90 minute class of tasty raw goodness. I'm still working on the menu, but if you are in the area, please come on down!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Reversing Diabetes in 30 days

I have no comment to make on this trailer other than it looks interesting. Certainly it seems obvious that if diet can aggravate a condition such as diabetes, surely diet could alleviate the condition as well.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Eterntaining in the Raw (circa 1960)

I don't know about you, but I have definitely been digging that show Mad Men. I actually do not have TV, so I have to rely on Netflix to see the show. Season three just began and in order to kick-off the night some friends decided to throw a 60's themed Mad Men party.

The idea was to dress, drink, and eat like you were of the time period. I had pretty much everything down, but creating a Raw meal that was going to fit in with the 60's vibe was going to be a fun challenge. Most people I meet don't even know what Raw foodism is...and this is present day New York City. I can't imagine what their knowledge of it was back in the 1960's.

A lot of people assume that Raw foodism is something new, but actually it's arguably the oldest diet known to man. We weren't born into this planet with stoves, people, we were foragers.

Anyways, planning a fun dish for the party was a lot easier than I thought. Look through any 1960's cookbook and you are bound to see a fruit salad in there somewhere and a variety of veggie platters and dips. They must have invented the melon-baller in the 60's too, because it seemed like no fruit salad recipe could leave well enough alone. Everything had to be "shaped" like something else.

In the spirit of the "chip and dip" episode (you know, the one in which Pete returned his wedding gift chip 'n' dip platter in order to buy a gun) I decided to make a Carrot-Almond Pate with Collard Green and Zucchini "chips." I even served it in Tupperware (how could I not?).

Above you'll see a picture of me from the party, holding my creation. I'm even wearing a vintage 1960's suit that belonged to my mother (Thanks, Mom!).

Friday, August 14, 2009

Can You Guess What This Is?

A friend of mine recently included this picture on her blog and I just could not resist sharing it on mine too (thanks for sharing, Caroline!).

Can you guess what is in the picture?

A) Strawberry ice cream

B) Chicken

C) Plastic foam

D) None of the above

See the answer HERE. I think you may be surprised.

The "Honeymoon" Period and Questioning the Safety of Prescription Medication

It's been a while since I posted. The good news is, since I have been gone I have still been eating over 75 - 80 % Raw (maybe even more). The sad news is, I think it is safe to say my honeymoon period is over (insert sad face here).

What is the honeymoon period, you ask? It's a term that many people who eat Raw use to describe the initial high that comes with the first few weeks or months of transitioning to the Raw diet. It's pretty awesome. I was so excited those first few weeks of changing my diet. I literally felt amazing in almost every way; emotionally, mentally, physically, and even spiritually. I felt like I had discovered the secret to life (yeah, it really was that profound). When you feel this way, it's pretty impossible not to feel awesome all the time. Even when I was struggling with breaking old addictions (Coffee; that was hard) and detoxing, I still felt better than I ever had in my life. I was sold on the Raw food diet after my first 48 hour trial period and I still believe in the benefits of this diet.

I was so excited and happy with my new way of life that I think I annoyed my friends and family to death talking about it. I was changing and I wanted to tell the world, "I know the secret!" Lucky for me, most of my friends and family were encouraging and some interseted to the point of actually trying a Raw meal or two. Quite a few of them have increased their daily plant-based food intake and I definitely see them caring a little bit more about what they are putting in their body. A bit of advice, it's hard not to want everyone on board with you when you are honeymooning, but the best way to encourage others is to go on living your own life. Believe me, they will notice the change in you and want to get in on that action. Let them find it for themselves and never make them feel bad about their own choices, even if they are reaching for a donut instead of an apple.

So now, I am no longer honeymooning. I still love how I eat, but it's become routine. It's as common to me now as showering and brushing my teeth. How often do people get really eacited about everyday activities like this? I miss the high, I really do. It was such an amazing feeling, but I am happy that it's become more of a lifestyle than something you try once and abandon. I still feel great and there is still so much more to learn. Exciting days are yet to be had!

Speaking of benefits, some other exciting news to report, all of my previous physical ailments have complete reversed themselves and I am 100% healthy. I mentioned being sick all the time and having colds and flu-like symptoms once or twice a month for almost a year. I never mentioned other, more personal things though. Let's just say that I had certain, non-life-threatening, physical ailments that my doctor wanted to treat me with medicinally. As a medical librarian working in one of the top medical institutions in the U.S., I have developed a true appreciation of medicine and medical workers. I believe in the power of science and medicine. I see it save lives every single day. Yet, in my personal experience, it has always seemed that my doctors were always ready at the helm, with prescription pads in hand and ready to write off my problem with a simple solution: prescription pills, liquids, etc. Great! Sometimes I want and need that, but sometimes I want to know what my other options are. The older I get, the more I really start to care what I put in my body and if possible, I really did not want to pump my body with mass amounts of medication if I can reverse the problem with diet and/or exercise. It's shocking to me how many people would rather take a pill than give up fatty meats or have liposuction instead of taking the stairs more frequently. Okay, yeah, I know sometimes it is not that simple, but I think you know what I am driving at here.

There are countless medical studies available on PubMed which show the benefit of a plant based diet. I am going to start posting these more in the future, so please check back from time to time.

Not to mention, there are many medications which have horrible side-effects, some of which are still unknown to the professionals prescribing the medications. An individual being treated with a blood thinner might end up with liver damage. Certain medications for back-pain might cause renal failure. If you are taking any medication, I encourage you to read the packaging and read up on these medications as much as possible. http://medlineplus.gov/ is a great place to start for drug and supplement information.

Until next time!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Coffee Update

I can officially say that I think I have finally broken my caffeine addiction. I honestly can't even remember the last time I had a cup of coffee.

I've been able to function completely fine in the morning and throughout the day without coffee and am no longer experiencing any side-effects. Hallelujah!

It felt like a long battle, but it's seems to be over...finally!

Eating Raw really isn't the main reason for wanting to cut out most (if not all) substances with addictive properties. I truly believe that a person should never feel owned by a substance. Take cigarettes for example. Imagine yourself holding up a cigarette and looking at it closely...it's just paper and tobacco. Now imagine this inanimate object being the sole factor for determining how happy you are. The day something as mundane as paper and tobacco or a caffeine laden drink determines the joy of my life is a sorry and sad day. No thanks!