Why We Need to Embrace a Healthy Lifestyle...Global Facts

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The world's obesity 'tsunami': By the numbers

America is not alone. Global obesity has more than doubled over the last three decades

A new report finds that, as of 2008, one in 10 adults worldwide was obese.
A new report finds that, as of 2008, one in 10 adults worldwide was obese. Photo: Corbis SEE ALL 90 PHOTOS
America isn't the only country with a weight problem. In fact, it's rare that a nation doesn't tip the scales too far. A new study, published in medical journal The Lancet, amassed data from 199 countries and numerous studies. The results point to a global obesity "epidemic" that could lead to a heart disease "tsunami." From 1980 to 2000, the worldwide rate of obesity more than doubled, and more than one in 10 adults is now considered obese. And while high cholesterol and high blood pressure are on the decline in Western nations, they're on the rise globally. Here, a brief guide, by the numbers:
Over 30
The body mass index (BMI) above which adults are considered obese
Average BMI for men and women in the United States, the highest among wealthy nations. This puts the typical American in the "overweight range."
of the world's men that are considered obese, up from 4.8 percent in 1980

Percent of the world's women that are considered obese, up from 7.9 percent in 1980

Countries where the average BMI for men didn't rise from 1980 to 2008
Countries where the average BMI for women didn't rise from 1980 to 2008

Average BMI for women in Japan (equivalent to 127 pounds for a 5' 4" woman). Women in other East Asian countries were "nearly as slim."
34 to 35
Average BMI among the population of Pacific Island nations, the highest average in the world

3 million
Estimated worldwide deaths caused each year by "obesity-related illnesses"

Nearly 10 percent
Estimated share of medical spending in the U.S. that goes toward "obesity-related diseases." That's approximately $147 billion a year.

More than 500 million
Estimated number of adults worldwide that were obese in 2008, according to the project. That's one in 10 adults. "With globalization, there's been increased availability of Western diets that have more prepared foods, fats and certain carbohydrates," says Jeffrey Sturchio of the Global Health Council.

600 million
People worldwide who had high blood pressure in 1980, according to the report

1 billion
People worldwide that had high blood pressure in 2008, according to the report. The Baltic countries, and West and East Africa reported the highest blood pressure levels, while levels fell in many European countries and North America. "Overweight and obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are no longer Western problems or problems of wealthy nations," says the new study's author, Majid Ezzati.
Sources: Washington Post, Businessweek, Reuters, BBC, ABC News, Web MD

Family Favorite—Turkey Veggie Meatballs

Monday, July 30, 2012
Cooking Light Turkey Veggie Meatball Pasta Served Up on Livliga
This Family Favorite Pasta has been Served Up on Livliga's Vivente dinnerware

It is good to know, when I look back on feeding my children as they were growing up, that some of the food I fixed them, and that they liked, was also healthy and nurturing. One such favorite was Turkey-Veggie Meatballs (228 calories) that we served with spaghetti (129 calories for 3/4 Cup) and marinara sauce. The kids even liked to help make them, when they had time. If I was in too much of a hurry I just used a store bought sauce but truthfully, my kids loved the homemade version better Rhu's Marinara Sauce (102 calories). Both came from a Cooking Light cookbook. Amazingly, even though they came from a long-ago published cookbook, I found them both online! If you are looking for a yummy, healthier version of a family staple, I recommend these recipes. Your kids will like it and you will know they are getting a better rendition. To complete the meal I add a tossed green salad (45 calories) and a slice of whole-grain Italian Bread (81 calories).  Total calories for the meal is 585. If it is the weekend, why not add a glass of Chianti (100 calories) for youred wine is good for our health too!

Cooking Light Rhu's Marinara Sauce for Homemade Goodness
Cooking Light's Rhu's Marinara Sauce simmering on top of the stove

Happy Healthy-Eating!

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Great Healthy Living Quote #26

Friday, July 27, 2012


Healthy Foods That Really Aren't --know your yogurts!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I found an interesting article in iVillage that highlights how easy it is to think you are eating healthy foods only to realize, once you read the label, that it is loaded with sugar or other unhealthy ingredients! Another reminder of how important it is to read your labels!

Health Food Imposter #1: “digestion-aiding” yogurt

You may have seen the commercials advertising some brands of yogurt as a digestive-health aid, but that doesn’t mean you should believe the hype, says Tamara Freuman, a registered dietitian specializing in digestive disorders and weight management in New York City. Many yogurts claiming to be healthy are actually loaded with processed ingredients, sugar and fructose, which are red flags for people with irritable bowel syndrome (they tend to be more sensitive to excess sugar), explains Freuman. And she adds that she’d never recommend these types of yogurts to her clients.

The Better Pick: Freuman recommends Green Valley Organics’ lactose-free yogurt for those with digestive issues. “It's easier on stomachs (digestively), and contains a blend of 10 live and active probiotics cultures for digestive health benefits, has a plain, no added sugar flavor (as well as lower-sugar flavors), and a short, recognizable ingredient list devoid of highly-processed food additives,” she says. Another bonus? Probiotics may help you lose more weight! If you're not a fan of yogurt try supplementing with acidophilus to get the same benefits of probiotics. (It's usually sold in health food stores as a pill or in powder form).


Fresh Catch--Trout Dinner

Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Grilled Rainbow Trout Dinner
There seems to be a lot more fishing in the summer time. Where we live the favorite is Rainbow Trout. It is not something you ordinarily get at your grocery store or can even be served in a restaurant so it is fun to catch it and serve it when company comes. It is a white-fleshed fish with a mild flavor. Our favorite way to cook it is to grill it. My husband stuffs the cavity, after spraying it with a little olive oil, with lemon, sliced onion and some Herbes de Provence. There is no fancy preparation and no additional calories added since the stuffing is for flavor and not for eating. Once the fish is prepped my husband grills it for    about 5 - 7 minutes on each side. It is that easy! You feel very accomplished when you not only catch but also cook and eat your own fish. The only trick is learning to filet a fish which becomes easy with a little practice. A nice way to add a little fun to your summer eating. And local grown, locally caught fish is as eco-friendly and healthy as you can get.

Happy Healthy-Eating!


No Cook Dinners

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I have been snooping around the internet for some "no cook" meals. Yep, you got it, I have hit the mid-summer doldrums. I am hot, cranky and tired of cooking over a hot stove when it is 100 degrees outside! Good news is I have made a menu for this week that is all about meals you can make without turning the stove on! I found a great resource for "no cook" meals from Cooking Light. These are homemade, fresh meals you can make without cranking up the oven or cooktop, and all can be ready in 30 minutes or less. The first of these recipes I am trying out is Prosciutto, Peach, and Sweet Lettuce Salad . I bought fresh peaches from the Farmer's Market so this one particularly appealed to me. I will let you know how it turns out!


Banana Macadamia Madeleines—elegant & easy!

Monday, July 23, 2012
Banana Macadamia Madeleines Served Up on Livliga!
Banana Macadamia Madeleines Served Up on Livliga's Halsa Healthy Lifestyle Side Plate!

Sometimes it is nice to have over ripe bananas or other extras in your kitchen you want to use up before the item spoils. That happened to me last weekend. I had too many bananas and thought it would be fun to find a recipe to use them. I came across a Cooking Light recipe for Banana Macadamia Madeleines. I have always loved Madeleines but honestly, it is a sweet I have never made myself. It seemed like a time to try, especially since we had house guests to help eat them! The only challenge was that I did not have a Madeleine mold I have since purchased one which you can see in the photos). But I did have a cast iron corn-stick mold (used for cornbread)! The cookies ended up being twice the size of what was called for in the recipe. Instead of 1 tablespoon in each mold, I had to put 2 tablespoons. 

Banana-Macadamia Madeleines
     Banana Macadamia Madeleines made with the cornstick mold!

Madeleines by design are light and airy. Adding banana and macadamia nuts added complexity and much more flavor. It made for a great summer treat. They were easy to make, looked pretty and were a satisfying taste and texture. For a non-chocolate cookie they are a definite addition to the recipe book.
Madeleines Fresh Out of The Oven
Madeleines made with a traditional mold

I have since invested in a Madeleine mold and baked up other batches of this delectable treat. See my newer photos of these homemade Madeleines served up on Livliga!

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Great Healthy Living Quote #25

Friday, July 20, 2012
In these days of hot summer weather, this Healthy Living Quote seems most apropos:


Why Store Bought Tomatoes Have No Taste!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Eureka! I finally understand why the tomatoes I buy in the store, no matter their size or the time of year I buy them, have no taste. Turns out it is all about the genes...who knew!?!

This is what I found out from a recent article in The Week magazine-

Tomato lovers have long known that the red fruit sold by supermarkets tastes like cardboard. A new study has found why: A genetic mutation that gives commercially produced tomatoes their uniform color also prevents the production of sugars and carotenoids that give a proper tomato its taste—and health benefits. The mutation “is in literally 100 percent of modern breeds sold in grocery stores today,” Harry Klee, a geneticist at the University of Florida, tells DiscoveryNews.com. That’s because 70 years ago, farmers began widely breeding a type of tomato that, at harvest time, turned an even green color that then became a smooth scarlet shade on the supermarket shelf. What they didn’t realize was that this type of tomato has a mutation that hinders the production of chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants that converts sunlight into sugar during photosynthesis. Wild tomatoes produce more chlorophyll than supermarket varieties do, ripening into an uneven, darker green first, then a splotchier red. They’re less pretty, but pack more sugar and oxidant-fighting carotenoids—and flavor. Researchers say breeding the mutation out of current grocery-store tomatoes—which might make them more delicious but homelier—could take years.

Lesson learned- buy your tomatoes from a local farmer's market, or better yet, grow your own heirloom varieties. They are sure to add flavor to your menus.

More on Homeopathic Solutions for Phlebitis

Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Healing can be a slow, slow process. Part of the challenge, I think, is that we live in a culture that expects a quick fix and fast cures. I sure did! Now I am seeking the patience to allow my leg the time to heal. I also want to make sure I am providing the best possible environment for my leg to be nurtured back to full health. At this stage there is nothing Western Medicine can do for me. There is no pill or operation that can "fix" phlebitis. In fact, my Primary Care Doctor said that it can take as much as six months for thrombophlebitis to heal...and if it doesn't, you just have to live with the pain! Ouch!

I would much rather believe in what Dr Andrew Weil purports- "Our bodies want to be well, we just need to help them get there" (my paraphrase). I do believe our bodies want to be well. So I headed for our local natural pharmacy to see what could be recommended for me in order to promote my leg healing. I found out that Traumeel and Horse Chestnut creams are good for decreasing inflammation. I also learned that Hawthorn, taken as a tincture, also works on decreasing inflammation, as does "fresh" fish oil pills. Interestingly, but perhaps not so surprisingly, everything that is good for healing my veins is also good for my heart health. After all, it is all vascular!

Homeopathy is not a quick fix. In fact, each item I brought home suggests use for multiple months. I am beginning to believe that it is the habit of focusing on health that is the best cure.

As time passes I do think my leg is getting better. I don't really know if the homeopathy is working specifically. I do think that just by attending to my leg, in a positive, nurturing manner, I am supporting an attitude of healing. Either way, I'll take it!

Light and Airy "Made-For-Summer" Muffin!--Tuscan Lemon

Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Tuscan Lemon Muffins

I was looking for a muffin that would be light and summery to go with a grilled salmon meal. I found it! The muffin recipe I found is Tuscan Lemon Muffin. The success of this muffin is the fresh lemon rind and lemon juice. It also uses ricotta cheese and olive oil which adds to the light and airy texture.

Muffins Fresh out of the Oven!
Everyone in the family LOVED these muffins. They were even bold enough to state that these are the best muffins I have made all summer! A big hit and a definite repeat. And for 186 calories per muffin they are worth the calories consumed. These would be great for a brunch or special breakfast. They are truly that good!

The Dinner I served with the Muffins

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Summer Adventures- trying out new trails

Monday, July 16, 2012

My leg is still not in the best of shape but my mind, spirit and the rest of my body long for outside activity. This past weekend we went for a hike in the Rocky Mountain National Park. The roads are under construction so it is not easy to get to the usual trail heads we enjoy. Thanks to a friend, we discovered Cub Lake.
Marsh Environment along Cub Lake Trail

Hiking along the trail to Cub Lake is a very different experience than most of the rest of the Park we know. It is marsh land. I really didn't think it was possible for such an environment to exist in the midst of such an arid place. It is beautiful. Full of flowers and ferns and "erratic" glacial boulders. And then when you arrive at Cub Lake it is filled with Lily pads which were in bloom the day we were there-- gorgeous bright yellow flowers were smiling at all of us.
Glacial Erratic

It is a little over 5 miles round trip. There is quite a climb in elevation of about 900 feet. This is the farthest I have gone since all my knee complications. I was great until about 2/3rds of the way through. For the last third of the hike my leg was in pain. Rats. I stopped for a minute and regrouped and then finished off the hike with a bit slower pace....but I did it! My walking sticks were a godsend.
Horse Mint

It felt good to get out. It felt better to do a longer hike. It was a beautiful day and I was glad to be out in it, doing something I love, with someone I love, in a place we hadn't been before. Can't get any healthier than that!

Summer Inspiration at the Farmer's Market

Friday, July 13, 2012

One of my favorite things to do in the summer time is to go to our local Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings before the heat of the day sets in. Each week new vegetables or fruits appear. I look forward to each week's discovery with happy anticipation. Early in the season I look for scapes ("flower stalks" of hardneck garlic plant) which I particularly like sauteed and served as a vegetable. Then there are the "real" tomatoes. Nothing like a ripe tomato paired with freshly picked basil and then drizzled with a homemade vinaigrette...is your mouth watering yet? Then come the cherries and peaches and cantaloupe...The list is long!

Focusing on eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables is not hard in the summer. It is the time to take advantage of all the locally grown produce. And it does make a difference the fresher it is which is a great excuse to make it an adventure to go to your local Famer's Market...it doesn't get any fresher than that! Go enjoy and let me know what fun discovery you made at the Market!

As a reminder:

The American Heart Association recommends at least 4.5 cups per day of fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy lifestyle that can help you avoid risks for heart disease and stroke. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, and stroke ranks fourth. The diet to reduce your risk for cancer is the same.

Finding the Best Produce
Thanks to modern transportation, you can find an assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables all year long. But the added costs of transporting produce long distances impacts the price. Buying in-season foods and foods grown closer to your home is generally better for your pocketbook.

The availability of varied produce at community-supported agriculture sites makes it easy to experiment with something new, especially in summer, said Ms. Johnson, a nutritionist, who enjoys taking home different types of vegetables from her local site.

“I find myself trying things that I don’t always buy,” she said. “If you like to cook, there are so many great websites now with recipes."

July- National Ice Cream Month!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I found this blog where a dietician, ELANA NATKER, MS, RD, wrote about her visit to a local frozen yogurt shop. She highlights the easy traps and the way to avoid them while still being able to enjoy a cool summer treat!

Those fro-yo places are clever. First thing you do when you walk in is choose your bowl. Typically, your choices are: Big, Huge, and Ginormous. Seriously – the last place I went to had a bowl that could be used as a bucket to wash my car. Research by eating behavior expert Brian Wansink of Cornell University (author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think) shows that the size of the plate or bowl we use influences how much we serve ourselves. Typically, the larger the bowl, the more we take (and the more it costs – which means increased revenue for the franchisee. See, clever!)

Sure, you’re free to choose as much or as little frozen yogurt as you want, but with a myriad of delicious-sounding (and healthy-sounding) flavors such as nonfat Cookies N Cream or Greek Yogurt with a Touch of Honey or Soy Bean, it’s really hard to pick just one or two.

Moving on to the topping bar – now THAT’s where things can get interesting. You can top your treat with everything from fresh cut-up fruit to Froot Loops; go traditional with Snickers crumbles or nostalgic with Nerds – the possibilities are nearly endless. Since you pay by the ounce, you might think it’s OK to allow yourself to go crazy on the flaked coconut but find yourself rationing yourself to one or two blueberries and other “heavier” toppings.

Now, I love a cool ice cream treat as much as anyone, but here are some tips to keep your waistline, wallet and taste buds in check:

Choose the smallest bowl. Always. Even if you’re sharing. Believe me, it’s big enough.

As with any buffet, check out your options first BEFORE you start piling on your plate (or in this case, bowl). 

Assess the flavors but also the topping bar. Think about what might go well together, and what would be overkill. A cookies n’ cream frozen yogurt flavor topped with crumbled Oreos sounds like overkill to me.

Pick just one or two flavors of frozen yogurt to use as your base. Again, think complimentary, such as cake batter and strawberry, or peanut butter and chocolate.

Practice restraint at the topping bar. Again, just a handful of toppings should be enough. Remember, soon this will all be a melted, gooey mess. Will you really be able to distinguish the Twix crumbles from the Kit Kat crumbles?

Otherwise, keep cool!

Quick & Healthy Store-bought Salads

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I don't know what it is, I think it is the heat, but I am not as into cooking and/or preparing 3 meals a day in the summer time. It also might be the sense that it is time for a "summer vacation", just like in the days when I was in school. Anyway, I look for quick and easy solutions to eating healthy meals I don't always have to prepare from scratch. I also like it when those meals are portable so we can take them "on-the-go".

I have found a new option! And for $2.99 a piece, very affordable. By the packaged salads in my Safeway grocery store there are a variety of pre-packaged salads from Chicken Caesar to Turkey & Bacon Cobb. All are under 300 calories. It definitely makes for a quick and easy meal. The variety helps you not get bored with them. My daughter and I often negotiate on who gets to eat what salad at lunch. The package even includes a little plastic fork so this lunch is truly one you can grab and go with. I am hankering for the Turkey and Cobb Salad for lunch today!

The Facts on "the land of the fat, and the home of the obese.”

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Obesity: Why Americans keep expanding

To reverse the obesity trend, Americans need a new understanding of “what constitutes a healthy diet.”

http://www.livligahome.com/philosophy-s/1821.htmWhy are Americans so fat—and getting fatter with every passing year? said Brian Stelter in The New York Times. Seventy percent of adults in the U.S. are either overweight or obese, and so are one third of children and teens. This week, HBO began airing a four-part documentary, The Weight of the Nation, that aims to serve as a “wake-up call about an American obesity epidemic.” The “conventional wisdom” about obesity has been wrong, said Gary Taubes in Newsweek.  

For decades, experts have told Americans we’re fat simply because we eat too much and exercise too little. But new research shows that it’s not merely how much we eat, but what we’re eating that’s the problem—way too much sugar; refined flour in the form of bread, pasta, and pizza; and starches like potatoes. These simple carbohydrates cause insulin to spike, programming the body to retain fat. To reverse the deadly obesity trend, Americans need a new understanding of “what constitutes a healthy diet.”

Ah, “the food nannies” are back, said Julie Gunlock in NationalReview.com. These scolds have been repeating the same message for years: “You’re feeble, you’re dumb, and you’re too busy and addled to take care of your own health.” But there’s no need for our “benevolent government minders” to dictate what we eat, thanks very much. In fact, we fat people are sick of being shamed this way, said Lindy West in Jezebel.com. The bullies now assume they have the right to legislate what people are allowed to eat “‘for their own good,’ or ‘for the children,’ or even ‘because they’re gross.’” But cruel criticism of fat people’s diets “isn’t going to make fat people any less fat; it only makes them more miserable.”

“I know a lot of you don’t like our government being involved in our personal lives,” said Leslie Marshall in USNews.com. But Americans are quite literally eating themselves to death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now predicts that the obesity rate will rise from 36 percent today to 42 percent by 2030. A new report from the nonprofit Institute of Medicine recommends that the government respond by heavily taxing sugar-filled sodas, and changing farm subsidies to benefit fruit and vegetable growers over corn, wheat, and dairy farmers. The alternative is to do nothing, while America becomes “the land of the fat, and the home of the obese.”

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Apps for Health-- Meal-In-A-Glass --Easy Summer Eating

Friday, July 6, 2012
As summer gets into full swing, I like meals that are cool & soothing. It is also great when they are easy to prepare and don't require the heat of a stove or oven! This App seems to fit these requirements. Check it out-

Whole Living Smoothies:
Why you want it: Post workout smoothie time just got way more interesting! This terrific app from Martha Stewart’s Whole Living offers up 36 unique smoothie recipes: 12 Essentials, 12 Meal-in-a-Glass and 12 Allergen-Free. How does Cashew Cream sound? Perhaps Pineapple + Peanut Butter sounds better to you. Maybe Buttermilk + Date? Or Blackberry + Wheat Germ? These are definitely more creative than your usual strawberry and banana variety (though there are some yummy fruit ones that do include those ingredients). Bonus Weight Loss, Immunity and Detox recipes are available for another $.99 cents per series. Drink up!

Download it now: $0.99 for iPhone and $1.99 for iPad, on iTunes

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Sesame Shrimp Salad--Yum!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

My daughter loves shrimp. She always has, ever since she was a little girl. Any dish that has shrimp in it will get her delighted. I am totally focused on summer time salads these days. I found one- Sesame Shrimp Salad that looked appealing. It uses bright flavors like lime juice, cilantro, mint and watercress. It also caught my attention because it uses marmalade, something I make homemade and have plenty of on hand this time of year to use!(see my previous blog on making marmalade) It does have a little kick to it because of the chili garlic sauce. I find in the summer lightly spicy foods are more appealing and somehow more satisfying. They seem to match the intensity of the summer weather and hold up to it. This salad certainly did. It was visually appealing (something I find even more important to achieve in the summertime to encourage our appetite for healthy foods), very tasty and a definite repeat. The salad has only 239 calories per serving. Add a muffin with 160 calories or less and you have a meal for 400 calories or less!

Enjoy! And Live Vibrant!


Great Healthy Living Quote #24 -- in honor of Independence Day!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012
In honor of our "can do" spirit on Independence Day here is a fitting quote-

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Summer Swimming--delightful!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

It has been so hot here! I have been looking forward to getting back in the pool and doing laps again. I am definitely a summertime swimmer. It is so buoying for the spirit as well as the body in these sultry summer days. There is also something compelling about the rhythm of doing laps-- back and forth -- across the pool. It is a respite for the mind, allowing it to be rejuvenated. I often get lost in thought, suddenly having to remember which lap I am on!

I have also found that swimming is better for my healing leg. I can sustain the movement longer because it is not putting direct pressure on my leg. It seems that every other exercise I do does.

Swimming makes me an optimist!

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Obesity--the cure is in getting rid of processed foods

Monday, July 2, 2012
More and more we are coming to understand that processed foods are the source of our growing obsity. Here is an article that is eye-opening about this subject: 

This is a guest blog post by Dr. J. Renae Norton

I’ve been treating eating disorders (ED’s) and obesity for nearly 25 years and have always had good outcomes.  My rate of success improved dramatically, however, when I discovered the critical role that processed food plays in causing as well as in preventing recovery from Anorexia, Bulimia, Bulimarexia, (a combination of the two) Binge Eating Disorder (BED,) Emotional Eating and Obesity.

I made this discovery as I researched a new book that began as a rant about the lack of successful treatment in the field of Eating Disorders and obesity.  However, as I gathered more data, the book morphed into an examination of the toxic nature of U.S. foods and the impact they have had on the onset, treatment and relapse rates for both ED’s and Obesity in the U.S.

Like most practitioners, I am aware of the epidemic of obesity, especially among U.S. children. The demographics are also changing for those with eating disorders i.e. we are now seeing anorexia among very young children (5 and 6 year olds) older women (25 and up instead of the 12 to 18 year olds that had been the norm) and men of all ages (rates have gone from 5% to 10% in the last decade.) These are all groups that have been relatively unaffected by ED’s in the past, so the changes are perplexing as well as disturbing.
Another alarming change was a new and more lethal form of Anorexia, unofficially referred to by many of us as Bulimiarexia, made up of individuals who restrict except when they are going to purge what they eat. In my experience, they are more difficult to treat and have more serious complications such as cirrhosis of the liver, osteoporosis, and kidney failure as well as premature hair and tooth loss.  For example, I currently have two women under the age of 25 who have no teeth. One does not have enough jaw bone left for implants. I have seen several other patients with no teeth over the past 2 years, which is a new phenomenon in my practice. Another problem that is showing up with greater and greater frequency is Vitamin D deficiency. This is more serious than it sounds as Vitamin D deficiency is implicated in some of the most serious chronic diseases of our time.

In general, serious medical complications for those suffering from all forms of disordered eating, are rapidly becoming the rule rather than the exception.  This observation is born out by the findings of such groups as the American Council on Science and Health who report that obesity is “the second largest cause of preventable cancer, after cigarette smoking……and that it may exceed smoking as an avoidable cause of cancer ” in the near future.

Even more disturbing, are the complications of obesity for America’s children, who currently have the dubious distinction of being the most obese children in the world (tied with Scotland).  More and more U.S. children suffer from diseases that were once associated with middle age, such as Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, heart conditions and joint deterioration.  As a result, many are destined to have a lower their life expectancy than their parents. ED’s also take a toll on life expectancy. For example, females between the ages of 15 and 24 who suffer from Anorexia, have the highest mortality rate for that age range. Studies have also shown that the risk for early death is twice as high for Anorexic’s that purge, or Bulimarexics, than for those that do not.  Given that this new form of the disorder is increasingly more common, we can expect the mortality rates to go up even more for this population.

There appears to be a connection between the current epidemic of obesity, the changing demographics of ED’s, and the escalating medical complications in both groups that is not on the radar of most practitioners. This may help to explain why recovery rates are so low for ED’s and obesity. For Anorexia and Bulimia recovery rates across all forms of treatment are only about 50% at best. They drop to 30% for treatment that relies exclusively upon residential care. For those who are obese, or overweight, the failure rate is even higher, in as much as 95% percent of all those who try to lose weight by dieting alone fail. Finally, when one considers that yoyo dieting is a significant risk factor for developing an ED and that approximately 41% of the U.S. population is on a diet at any given time, the outlook is dismal at best for Americans.

The question is why is this happening? The answer is pretty straight forward, but difficult to believe none-the-less; For the past 40 years, there has been an escalation of substances known for their neuro-toxic, obesogenic, diabetic, carcinogenic and addictive impact added to the American food supply for the simple reason that they increase profits for the food industry. Not coincidentally, this is the same period of time during which the health of Americans began to decline, obesity rates began to rise until they reached epidemic proportions, and ED’s proliferated, showing up in heretofore unaffected demographic groups. These problems are not occurring in other countries where such substances are regulated. The negative impact of toxic food additives on the health of our nation has been significant if one considers the following:

Life Expectancy: United States life expectancy is 42nd in the world
Infant Mortality: In 1960, the U.S. had the 12th lowest infant mortality rate in the world. By 1990 it had dropped to 23rd place, and the most recent study in 2008 estimated that the U.S. is now in 34th place.
Effectiveness of the U.S. Health Care System : We spend more on health care than any other nation in the world ($6,714 per person in 2006) but get less, according to the World Health Organization, which ranked our health care system as 37th in overall performance, and 72nd by overall level of health.
Treatment for Disordered Eating Ignores the Role of Safe Nutrition. In general, treatment fails more often than it succeeds, because it fails to recognize the role that food additives play in damaging the parts of the endocrine system responsible for healthy weight management. The majority of the damage from unnecessary food additives, insecticides and genetically modified (GMO) foods is to the hormones that regulate hunger and fat storage. One such hormone is Leptin.  Research has shown that Leptin, which is found in adipose tissue, is too high or too low among those suffering from Anorexia, too low among those suffering from Bulimia and too high among those who are obese. In order for recovery to take place, Leptin levels must restored to their normal level. Yet the vast majority of practitioners are unaware of Leptin, or the role that it plays in ED’s and Obesity. Food additives have been shown to damage Leptin receptors and signaling mechanisms.  This results in food addictions, food cravings, excessive appetite loss, excessive central fat storage, and food allergies that cause bloating, constipation and/or diahrea.  Disturbed Leptin levels also increase the likelihood of relapse among Bulimic and Anorexic patients and may explain the phenomenon of yoyo dieting.

In general, the “cleaner” (the less processed) the food, the less damage to the endocrine system; likewise, the less damage to the endocrine system, the less likely the individual is to end up with disordered eating.  In terms of recovery, eliminating food additives, carcinogens, obesogens, and GMO’s and incorporating “clean” foods has a dramatic affect on overall health, the quality of the food and therefore the quality of the eating experience. Finally, relapse is much less likely when the Obese or ED patient is eating “clean” foods that are also delicious.

This last piece is critical, since most people with disordered eating assume that eating “healthy” will be a miserable experience.  Nothing could be farther from the truth. Try preparing and eating meals made from real, whole ingredients. With grass fed beef and dairy, as well as organic eggs and produce, you can improve your levels of vitamin D and have healthier bones and teeth; You can protect yourself from heart disease, high blood pressure, and all number of neurological disorders; You can experience decreased levels of anxiety and/or depression and in so doing improve the quality of your life significantly.  In other words, eating clean has been a life-changing experience for many and it could be for you as well.

Dr J Renae NortonDr. J. Renae Norton is a clinical psychologist, published author and Director of the Norton Center for Eating Disorders  in Hyde Park, a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. For the past 10 years she has noticed a connection between the epidemic of childhood obesity, eating disorders, and the increasing complications of both in her clinical work as well as in her research. Visit her website  www.eatingdisorderpro.com and check out her blog.