Prevent Glaucoma & See 27 Miles Farther

Prevent Glaucoma & See 27 Miles Farther
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The risk of glaucoma, the second leading cause of blindness, appears to be dramatically reduced by kale or collard greens consumption, thanks to the phytonutrient pigments lutein and zeaxanthin.

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Glaucoma is a deterioration of our optic nerve, the nerve that connects our eyes to our brain, and is second only to cataracts as the world’s leading cause of blindness. The weird thing is that we still don’t know what causes it, and so there’s a desperate search for environmental or dietary influences.

The most protective dietary component, decreasing the odds of glaucoma by 69%—consuming at least one serving a month of collard greens or kale. Just once a month or more. And the silver and bronze medals go to weekly carrot, and then peach, consumption.

We think it may be the lutein and zeaxanthin, two yellow plant pigments found mostly in greens, that seem to know right where to go. They hone right in to our retinas, and appear to protect against degenerative eye disease.

Lycopene is the red pigment in tomatoes so protective against prostate cancer. Guess where it goes when a man eats a tomato? Straight to the prostate. Beta-carotene in foods may prevent ovarian cancer—builds up in the ovaries. And where does our body need the lutein and zeaxanthin? In our retinas, to protect our eyesight, and that’s exactly where it goes. They not only protect, but improve our vision.

Their peak light absorbance just so happens to be just the wavelength of color of our planet’s sky. And so, by filtering out that blue haze, on a clear day standing on top of a mountain, individuals with high macular pigment—lutein and zeaxanthin phytonutrients from greens—may be able to distinguish distant mountain ridges up to 27 miles further than individuals with little or no pigment.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

 

Glaucoma is a deterioration of our optic nerve, the nerve that connects our eyes to our brain, and is second only to cataracts as the world’s leading cause of blindness. The weird thing is that we still don’t know what causes it, and so there’s a desperate search for environmental or dietary influences.

The most protective dietary component, decreasing the odds of glaucoma by 69%—consuming at least one serving a month of collard greens or kale. Just once a month or more. And the silver and bronze medals go to weekly carrot, and then peach, consumption.

We think it may be the lutein and zeaxanthin, two yellow plant pigments found mostly in greens, that seem to know right where to go. They hone right in to our retinas, and appear to protect against degenerative eye disease.

Lycopene is the red pigment in tomatoes so protective against prostate cancer. Guess where it goes when a man eats a tomato? Straight to the prostate. Beta-carotene in foods may prevent ovarian cancer—builds up in the ovaries. And where does our body need the lutein and zeaxanthin? In our retinas, to protect our eyesight, and that’s exactly where it goes. They not only protect, but improve our vision.

Their peak light absorbance just so happens to be just the wavelength of color of our planet’s sky. And so, by filtering out that blue haze, on a clear day standing on top of a mountain, individuals with high macular pigment—lutein and zeaxanthin phytonutrients from greens—may be able to distinguish distant mountain ridges up to 27 miles further than individuals with little or no pigment.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

 

Images thanks to National Eye Institute and Wikimedia Commons.

Doctor's Note

I covered two other leading causes of blindness—age-related macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy—in Preventing Macular Degeneration with Diet. I’ll close this three-part series on preventing vision loss by addressing the world’s leading cause of blindness, cataracts, in Preventing Cataracts with Diet. For more on lutein and zeaxanthin, and where to get them in the diet, see my video Egg Industry Blind Spot

For additional context, check out my associated blog posts:  Preserving Vision Through DietEating Green to Prevent CancerThe Anti-Wrinkle Diet; and Prevent Breast Cancer by Any Greens Necessary.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

43 responses to “Prevent Glaucoma & See 27 Miles Farther

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  1. I covered two other leading causes of blindness, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, in yesterday’s video. Tomorrow I’ll close this three-part series on preventing vision loss by addressing the world’s leading cause of blindness, cataracts. For more on lutein and zeaxanthin and where to get them in the diet, see my video Egg Industry Blind Spot. And there are also hundreds of other videos on more than a thousand subjects—please feel free to explore them.




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    1. I hear a song coming on: “I can see clearly now the pigments on.  I can see all Mountain’s far and away. . .”
      Great Segment!




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  2. Great video!  This is the first time I have seen Lutein and Zeaxanthin associated with Glaucoma risk reduction.  Traditionally they have been recommended for the reduction of Macular Degeneration (ARMD) risk.  New data does suggest that the earliest measurable changes in glaucoma may be the loss of retinal ganglion cells in the macula, so supplementation with Lutein/Zeaxanthin may help reduce that risk.  

    How much lutein and zeaxanthin though?  The best available data for ARMD risk is that 10-20 mg of lutein per day and 2-4mg of zeaxanthin is a good amount.  There is no current data on glaucoma, but that same range would be reasonable.

    Foods that are richest in lutein include kale, spinach, collards and turnip greens.  Eggs by contrast have a mere 0.15 mg of lutein each.With respect to glaucoma, the tricky part is that the early changes occur so slowly and insidiously that there are NO symptoms for most people.  Also, there is no evidence that glaucoma related vision loss can be restored with medical or nutritional intervention. Therefore, it is important to have a thorough eye exam periodically.  The frequency would depend upon your age and risk (family history, ethnicity, etc).  A good rule of thumb is an exam every couple of years until you are 50, then every year.New technology called OCT allows us to measure the optic nerve and macula with incredible precision (down to about 6/1000 of a millimeter).  This can catch glaucoma more than a decade before vision problems would be noticed by the patient.  Then appropriate interventions can be prescribed. If you have concerns or at high risk, seek out a doctor who has this technology and get a baseline measurement that can be tracked over time as needed.  You can read more about OCT here:

    http://speceye.com/oct-eye-exam-revolutionizes-eye-care/




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    1. Dr. John Henahan:  I am a lay person and appreciate your taking the time to write your post.  I know someone with terrible eye problems and the more we know, the better.

      I am curious about one aspect of your post, especially since get my eyes checked about once a decade.  You wrote: “there is no evidence that glaucoma related vision loss can be restored with medical or nutritional intervention.”  and then you wrote: “Then appropriate interventions can be prescribed.”

      I’m not trying to be snotty.  I honestly want to know: If we have no known medical or nutritional intervention, what “appropriate interventions” are there? 

      I have found in dealing with my dog’s health issues that while we can often find a diagnosis (at least we think we know what it is), there is more often when there is nothing that can really be done about it.  So, I now look ahead for every test and first ask: if this comes back positive, is there really anything we can do about it?

      I think that a similar approach for humans makes sense.  So, is there really anything that can be done if early glaucoma is detected?

      Thanks for any insights you have.




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      1. Great question!  There are VERY EFFECTIVE interventions that can prevent further loss of vision, but there is no real way that we know of to reverse the damage that has already been done. Most commonly the treatment is one eye drop in the effected eye(s) at bedtime. 

        Also, it should be noted that most patients aren’t even aware of the loss of peripheral vision that accompanies glaucoma, and by the time they are aware vision loss likely exceeds 90% of vision. Since the optic nerve becomes more fragile as it becomes more damaged, it is much harder to preserve remaining vision in someone with advanced glaucoma vs early glaucoma.  Hence early detection is critical.

        Hope this helps!




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        1. Dr. John Henahan:  Thank you for the clarification.  That helps a lot.  I hadn’t caught the distinction in your original post, but now I see it is there.  Thanks for the reply. You make an excellent argument for getting those checkups you talked about.

          FYI: My relative currently has high pressure in one eye, enough to raise concerns of blindness in that eye.  I don’t know the technical term for this problem, but I know that the eye drops she has been given (and she’s tried quite a few varieties) have caused severe life-altering bad side reactions.  I hope the glaucoma drops are more user-friendly.

          Thanks again for your response. Clearly, the best thing to do is follow the information in this video, eat healthy, and hopefully avoid glaucoma in the first place!




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        2. I can completely agree with this. I have glaucoma and thanks to an excellent optician it has been caught early. I now eat blackcurrants every day and if I can’t I have blackcurrant anthocyanin as well as the eye drops. I know that any lost vision will not come back, not that I can notice any, now I am concentrating on not losing any more.

          I have also sent the prevention video to my children, my mother had glaucoma and I would like to see me be the last in the family line.




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    2. Dr. Henahan…any prevention advice at all for retina issues, i.e., retinal tears…detachments, etc? I have a high school friend who has had a number of laser treatments for retinals tears…I am wondering if nutrition helps with this at all? thank you!




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  3. This is such welcome news! Both my brother and I are at risk of glaucoma – borderline cases. I eat kale and collards weekly, as well as carrots daily, so this is very good news indeed! Dr. Greger, just earlier ths week I was searching your video archives, hoping to find a link behind nutrition and preventing glaucoma, and today you posted some vital information! Thank you so much. This website is such a wonderful public resource. I check it daily for your updates.




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    1. Hi Veguyan. Great question. While I personally advocate the consumption of primarily raw fruits and veggies, there are some instances where cooking a fruit or vegetable has beneficial side effects. Cooking tomatoes and the increase in lycopene bioavailability is one such instance. Dr. Gregor discusses this very topic in this video linked here: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/raw-veggies-versus-cooked-for-heart-disease/ . As you will see, cooking tomatoes does in fact increase the bioavailability of lycopene. I would deduce that while there are benefits to drinking raw tomato juice, if lycopene consumption is what you are looking for, cooking the tomato will have a greater impact. This other video also discusses the benefits associated with cooking tomatoes vs. consuming them raw: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/raw-food-nutrient-absorption-2/




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  4. I eat kale every day, and peaches when seasonal and also lots of spinach and tomatoes (cooked and raw).  The eye-doctor still wants me in there every 6 months because I have early warning signs of glaucoma :(




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  5. This is terrific information. Now, to get my meat and potatoes eating husband who is worried about age-related macular degeneration to eat healthier vegetables than just baby greens, carrots and tomatoes. When I served him kale, as well as spinach, he ate a tiny bit of spinach and left the kale for me.

    His father had glaucoma as well as age-related macular degeneration, and he keeps speaking with his ophthalmologist about it and has drops to put into his eyes, but he does not like vegetables.

    What suggestions do you have to empower him to eat more nutritious veggies?




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  6. What if you already have glaucoma? Is there any certain nutrient we can/should take to slow down vision loss in addition to, of course, prescribed eye drops?




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  7. Hi Dr Greger. Eye illnesses are of great interest to me. In the summer of ’99, my mom suddenly lost her sight, and when taken to the dr, then hospital, to acquire massive doses of intravenous prednesone and a temporal biopsy later, it was found she had temporal arteritis (inflammation of the blood vessels in or behind the eyes which leads to blindness). Dr’s had not figured out why for months previous to her overnight blindness what was causing (what I found to be precursor) pain in her chest/torso/and arms.

    When we were given the TA diagnosis, I researched it and found those previous pains (that also seemed to come on pretty quickly the year before) were polymyalsia rheumatica. (sp) Also after the blindness, we learned of a blood test called the “sed rate test” where they took her blood and looked at how fast or slow the sedementation rate was in it. (this is very rudimentary version on my part). I believe it was the prednesone that brought down her ‘sed rate’ to normal. I would so much like for you to add this to your series of eye illnesses (causes for blindness) as it seems temporal arteritis is not so common and so not well known. If it had been, perhaps the doctors could have diagnosed my mom’s torso pains (and not just think it was heart issues like they did) prior to the TA and her sight probably would have been saved, in my opinion. It also seems to boil down to just plain inflammation–caused by a poor diet. But then, my dad did live to be 87 and my mom is currently 95. Go figure.

    One other note, just a week or so before my mom went blind, my parents saw their doctor because my mom’s appetite was diminished and she just seemed down. He gave them a sample pack of an anti-depressant whose name escapes me at this moment. My dad started to give my mom the anti-depressant and a week later she went blind. In reading the fine print of this medication, my sister discovered that it could cause arteritis. Don’t know if that was the leading cause, or if it hastened the end result that was already well on its way. It’s all pretty interesting to say the least. Would love to see this illness featured by you. :-)

    Thank you for your consideration for all that you do.




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  8. I have a terrible eye allergy, swollen, redness, itching, i overreact to everything, I used cortisone drops , very often, which diet would be good for me thanks




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  9. This dish replaces the traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage.

    Corn, Beets, and Collards

    – 1 package frozen corn / 1 ½ cups fresh corn
    – 3 medium beets, cubed
    – 1 bunch organic* collards, cut into ribbons
    – 2 red onions, thinly sliced
    – 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
    – ½ tsp white pepper
    – ½ tsp black pepper
    – 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    – 1 lemon

    Cook onion on high heat in a large skillet with a splash of water for 1-2 minutes covered. Lower heat and cook, covered, until onions begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Add beets, pepper, and apple cider vinegar.
    Cook on medium heat, covered, until beets tender, about 20 minutes. Add corn, collards, and juice of lemon. Cook a couple minutes longer until collards turn bright green.

    *Collards may contain pesticides of special concern so choose organic. http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/list.php

    Bookmark my new Plant-Based Emporium Facebook page for all my latest recipes. https://www.facebook.com/PlantBasedEmporium

    ~Complements of lovestobevegan




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    1. Both raw and cooked greens will supply the carotenoids and a bit of added fat will boost availability. For more information on this check out Brenda Davis’s book Becoming Raw. She did a guest post about paleo diets, too.




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      1. Reading some info on deniseminger.com that states that some vegans may not be getting enough vitamin A because they don’t absorb or convert enough of the beta carotene in the diet. Any way around this? Heard that retinol supplements can cause osteoporosis.




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        1. Pat: Denise Minger is not a reputable source of information. She is infamous for spouting a lot of pseudo science that sounds good, but is not actual science. I’m not saying she gets *everything* wrong. But her material is not one that lay people will be able to weed through (picking out the good from the bad) with much success. You can learn a little more about Minger here if you are interested: http://plantpositive.com/display/Search?moduleId=19496100&searchQuery=minger
          .
          Because Minger is generally not worth my time, I have not looked at your links. However, I did look up the topic of Vitamin A from one of my favorite sources for looking up specific nutrients (also recommended by Dr. Greger), the book Becoming Vegan. On page 41 of the Express Edition, it says:
          .
          “While preformed vitamin A, or retinol, which is present in animal products and some supplements, is necessary for bone growth, very high intakes can increase bone breakdown and interfere with the efforts of vitamin D to help the body absorb calcium. Carotenoids that can be converted to vitamin A, such as beta-carotene from plants, don’t have this effect.”
          .
          On page 212 of the book, it says: “Vitamin A allows for cells to carry out specific tasks, and its effects are diverse. … Vegans get vitamin A from the carotenoids in orange, yellow, red, and green fruits and vegetables.” The book includes a list of foods containing lots of vitamin A and sample menus for anyone wanting ideas on how to get enough vitamin A in their diet. But I’m pretty sure that Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen would have that covered too.
          .
          Bottom Line: The authors of Becoming Vegan whitewash nothing. They did a ton of research for that book and whenever there are areas that they think vegans need to be on top of, they say it loud and clear. They say nothing about a concern for vitamin A. In other words, while vitamin A is a vitamin (and thus we must get it from our diet), they did not seem to find any evidence that a vegan consisting of whole plant foods (such as the one that Dr. Greger recommends with the Daily Dozen) would have any problem getting enough vitamin A.
          .
          Does that help?




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          1. Thanks Thea
            I didn’t get the impression she was trying to deter me from veganism. If you have a chance, look at the short link https://deniseminger.com/for-vegans/. It is a list of things to consider if you are vegan. I added this link in this forum to see if those points are an issue or not. One thing she mentions, which other responders on this website have mentioned that gut flora and enzymatic health may be just as important as diet. Are there any studies to show that there is a possibility that some vegans have trouble converting beta carotene in sufficient amounts? As we get older, should one supplement due to decrease in enzyme production or function? And for myself, when I had a cholecystectomy, I was on IV antibiotics for 5 weeks due to infection(had enlarged liver and fever and increased WBC) and I believe my gut flora was severely altered. Is there a good blood test for vitamin A?
            Since the surgery, over 6 years ago, I lightly supplement for A, E, K, the fat soluble vitamins. I’m only aware of a good blood test for vitamin D, but not for the rest. One can say that a proper vegan diet will give you all you need but how do we know that we are absorbing it properly. As an example, I need to take 4000 IU of vitamin D to have normal blood levels. It took almost 2 years to figure this out after trying the lower doses and following up with blood tests. Dr. Greger has that video of the graph that shows that 2000 IU is ideal. Ideal for the average but not for me. Which brings me back to the vegan diet. Some people may not respond to the average vegan diet, whatever that may be. I’ve seen blood tests that analyze vitamin and mineral profiles but not sure if they are accurate. I do try to add plants that may provide that additional nutrient but how does one really know if it is being absorbed properly?




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            1. Pat: I did as you asked and looked at the page you were talking about. From what I saw, the page was a long list of good advice mixed in with hogwash in almost equal measures. How would a lay person be able to distinguish which is which? For this reason, I really don’t consider Minger a valid source of information. If you decide you want Minger to be one of your sources of information, you might want to check out that link I gave you previously.
              .
              re: “Are there any studies to show that there is a possibility that some vegans have trouble converting beta carotene in sufficient amounts?” That was the question that I tried to answer above. As I said, if there was actual evidence of that being a systemic problem, the authors of Becoming Vegan would not have flinched from mentioning it.
              .
              You will notice that Denise did some slight of hand in that section. She doesn’t actually give any proof that vitamin A deficiency is a systemic problem for vegans. If you look at the following (old) NutritionFacts video, vegans tend to be deficient in 3 nutrients and vitamin A is not one of those nutrients. (And compare this to omnivores who on average are deficient in 7 nutrients.) Minger’s actual words on the topic of vitamin A are that “some” vegans are deficient. Some omnivores are also deficient. That sentence tells us nothing about the diet and what we need to be wary of. Minger also gives no proof that some vegans are deficient in vitamin A *because* of a conversion problem. For all we know, these people are deficient because they are eating a vegan junk food diet.
              .
              However, as you *wisely* pointed out in your post, some people have special circumstances and their bodies do not react like most other people’s. You have an especially special circumstance. I can’t say anything about your particular situation as I am not an expert. I don’t know what is right for you.
              .
              I think you raise a good question, which you asked a couple of ways: Is there a good blood test for vitamin A? How do we know our bodies are making enough or absorbing enough? It’s not something I stress about as I’ve never heard of problems with vitamin A deficiencies as a general problem in America. (Though maybe that is something I’m just ignorant of.) The following page from webmd says that vitamin A deficiency is rare in the developed world: http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/keratomalacia
              .
              Speaking as a lay person, I would think that you would know if you had an absorption problem if you got diagnosed with a vitamin A deficiency. I’m sure that is not a satisfying answer for you. So, I forwarded your post onto our medical moderators. We get so many questions that not all of the posts get answered, but at least your post is in the que. Good luck!




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              1. Thanks again Thea
                The reason why Denise Minger’s came up was that I have been gaining weight on my vegan diet and did a search on why vegan diet may not be working and her site came up. I checked your link but I don’t follow her advice, but with the same token, I wanted to check out possibilities to improve my diet as a vegan, not be swayed to change.
                I work out daily but I have noticed the muscle gain is not as it used to be a year ago. Part of the problem is that my protein sources are also high in fat, nuts, seeds, nut butters. My only source of clean proteins are my vegan protein powders which I have once a day after my workouts. Do you have any suggestions for protein that is low in fat?
                The other issue is the larger amounts of carbs that I eat, the great majority being from whole food vegetables. Although these are complex carbohydrates, isn’t still possible that there is greater chance that these will be broken down to simple sugars and absorbed. Theoretically the higher fibre should reduce the amount of absorption but again, if someone has IBS and as a result develops leaky gut syndrome, could some of that weight gain come from the higher carb intake?
                I think my carb intake should be up at 75-90% but I’m probably down at about 60%, 20-25% fat and the rest protein.
                Not to go off topic, I have also read that vitamin A deficiencies are rare in North America. Since my cholecystectomy, I have symptoms similar to IBS. I also completed a test to check for leaky gut– it is basically a urine test and you drink a formula contains an ingredient that is not easily absorbed. If it is, it ends up in your urine, indicating a degree of leaky gut.
                My previous diet was higher in protein but included meat. The only way to get that same amount of protein on vegan is to eat more, which means more calories and probably more fat. For vitamin A, I think I’m fine. I’m curious to hear back from
                the medical moderator to see if people with absorption issues or altered gut flora may need to supplement.




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                1. Pat: So much to respond to! To respond to the very last sentence first: I did forward your post as promised. Hopefully someone will be able to answer your question.
                  .
                  Thanks for the additional clarification/information. I think I may have some resources that you will find helpful. There is so much to respond to, that if I miss something that you really hoped I would comment on, feel free to bring it up. (Or if you are tired of hearing from me, don’t. ;-) )
                  .
                  The protein question is one of my favorites. Following is a wonderful article on protein that really helps put things into perspective. There is a section on building muscle and even a “protein calculator”. You can combine that information with using the cronometer.com website to track your true protein intake to see if you are getting enough. http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/protein.html
                  .
                  As Dr. Greger (and so many others) says, losing weight is a function of understanding and applying the concept of “calorie density”. I have a great set of resources for both learning about and applying calorie density. It’s long enough to be a separate post. Shall I share that with you? (I don’t want to throw more information your way than you are interested in.)
                  .
                  If leaky gut is a concern, well respected plant based doctor Michael Klaper has a talk on leaky gut. Here is a free snippet of the talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRDoqS6QHQw&t=464s If you decide that it seems like worth-while talk, I think you can go on his website to purchase the entire talk. (I saw it live at a conference and thought it was really good.)
                  .
                  You expressed a concern on how much carbs you are eating. A lot of the experts I follow don’t typically like to focus on percentages of macro nutrients. Their general idea is that if you eat the right foods, then you naturally get the right percentages. There are several systems for getting that right balance of foods. One is the PCRM Power Plate. It’s super simple: http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/pplate For a bit more guidance, Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen is a great resource. You can download a free phone app for the Daily Dozen or learn about it in detail in Part 2 of Dr. Greger’s book, How Not To Die.
                  .
                  All that said, since you are worried about your carb intake, I thought I would point out that one of the healthiest and longest lived populations on the planet is the traditional Okinawans. They ate 85% carbs, 69% of which was sweet potatoes. http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-okinawa-diet-living-to-100/
                  .
                  I was thinking about your mention of how much you work out. It doesn’t sound like you want to compete at the Olympics or anything, but it sounds like you might take inspiration from learning about vegan athletes who are breaking world records and taking home major trophies. Some of these athletes report improving on their own performance after going vegan. And some of the links I have are to websites that might have tips on what to eat. These are just anecdotes, but they are very fun to learn about. If you are interested, let me know and I will share that in a separate post.
                  .
                  I hope this helps.




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                  1. Hi Thea
                    Could you please send me some links or resources about vegan athletes and ways to increase muscle mass.

                    And info on applying calorie density




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                    1. Pat: My pleasure. Here are my tips about calorie density.
                      .
                      Half the learning curve is understanding the importance of a whole plant food diet and have at least a sense of how to implement it. This post is assuming you already got that. The other half of the learning curve is understanding the concept of calorie density and how to apply it to weight loss so that you don’t get hungry and you still get all the nutrients you need.
                      .
                      Dr. Greger covers calorie density (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/eating-more-to-weigh-less/ ), but not in enough detail in my opinion for someone who wants to apply it for the first time. Doug Lisle, one of the experts in the Forks Over Knives documentary, gives a great ‘calorie density 101’ talk officially called: How To Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind. I have watched the following talk from Doug Lisle several times and think very highly of it. And it’s free!!! And it’s entertaining! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAdqLB6bTuQ
                      .
                      As good as Doug Lisle’s talk is, it pretty much just gives you a solid understanding of the concept, but not enough practical information in my opinion. For starting to get the practical information, I recommend a talk from Jeff Novick,Calorie Density: “How to Eat More, Weigh Less, and Live Longer,” http://www.jeffnovick.com/RD/Calorie_Density.html If talks aren’t your thing, the following article from Jeff covers a lot of the same information: http://www.jeffnovick.com/RD/Articles/Entries/2012/5/20_A_Common_Sense_Approach_To_Sound_Nutrition.html
                      Be sure to pay attention to the charts.
                      .
                      Chef AJ tells people who want to lose weight to eat “left of the red line”, where I believe the red line is on a diagram of hers representing is about 650 (or so) calories per pound. And “left of the red line” is all the whole plant foods which are below 650 calories per pound. The above article from Jeff Novick gives you a good sense of which foods are “left of the red line” by food category. But if you want to look up the calorie density of specific foods, you can find many foods on the following site: http://nutritiondata.self.com/ Most foods on that site have the option of choose an ‘ounce’ as a size. Then you can multiply by 16 to get the calories per pound.
                      .
                      It would be perfectly respectable if you are one of those people who are just not interested in the theory. You just want to dive right in and want straight how-to information. If you would rather not think about any of that (or start with the theory and then move onto this step), I have one more suggestion that Dr. Greger also recommends in his book, How Not To Die. Consider going through the free program from PCRM (Physician’s Committee For Responsible Medicine) called 21 Day Kickstart. The program will “hold your hand” for 21 days, including meal plans, recipes, videos, inspirational messages, and a forum (moderated by a very respected RD) where you can ask questions.
                      http://www.pcrm.org/kickstartHome/ (Click the green “Register Now” button.)
                      At the end of the program, you will have a very good practical knowledge about how to eat with healthy and “low” (normal for most people) calorie density.
                      .
                      Another recommendation that Dr. Greger and I share is to purchase Jeff Novick’s Fast Food videos for tasty, affordable, fast and healthy calorie density recipes. You can find these videos on-line and they are totally worth it. Also, on-line but free is a YouTube series of recipes/cooking shows called something like Chef AJ and The Dietician. I know that Chef AJ will not steer you wrong in terms of weight loss and providing accurate nutrition information.
                      .
                      How’s that for some tips? If you give these ideas a try, please report back and let us know how it went.




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                    2. Hi Pat,
                      Thea has done an excellent job of fortifying you with information on all the points I wanted to hit as I read through the thread between the two of you. There is no need for me to reiterate, I agree with everything she recommended.
                      However she asked if one of the medical moderators could respond to your question about a test for vitamin A. The answer is yes, vitamin A is a simple blood test that doctors can order from pretty much any of the national or regional labs. I order it routinely on my patients because as a Functional Medicine practitioner I often treat patients with gut problems and nutrient deficiencies are common. Most conventional docs don’t routinely order it but it is readily available and if you ask, your doctor will likely not be opposed to ordering it. That said, in my experience recommending WFPB diets and personally following them I don’t see how a WFPB vegan could be deficient in vitamin A. All the orange and yellow vegetables and fruits are packed with vitamin A and I would think that if you had leaky gut or some other malabsorption syndrome you wouldn’t be absorbing other nutrients either so would be deficient in a lot more than vitamin A.




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                    3. Pat: Here’s a NutritionFacts video about body building: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/plant-based-bodybuilding/ In case you are interested, there are also some NutritionFacts videos dealing with muscle soreness/relief: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/reducing-muscle-soreness-with-berries/ and http://nutritionfacts.org/video/watermelon-for-sore-muscle-relief/
                      .
                      For body building, I also recommend checking out the following article on Strength And Protein for Athletes: http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/protein-strength.html
                      .
                      Also, while the list below is just a set of anecdotes, I think they are inspirational stories for people interested in building mucle or simply improving athletic performance. I don’t know which particular links would have tips for you, but I expect that you would be able to find some ideas from the information below.
                      .
                      Hope this helps.
                      .
                      ********************************
                      (article from meatout mondays)
                      Vegan Bodybuilders Dominate Texas Competition
                      .
                      The Plant Built (PlantBuilt.com) team rolled into this year’s drug-free, steroid-free Naturally Fit Super Show competition in Austin, TX, and walked away with more trophies than even they could carry.
                      .
                      The Plant Built team of 15 vegan bodybuilders competed in seven divisions, taking first place in all but two. They also took several 2nd and 3rd place wins.
                      .
                      For More Info: http://www.plantbuilt.com/
                      .
                      ———————
                      When Robert Cheeke started VeganBodybuilding.com in 2002, being the only vegan athlete he knew of, he may not have imagined that the website would quickly grow to have thousands of members. Robert says, “We’re discovering new vegan athletes all the time, from professional and elite levels… to weekend warriors and everyone in between.”
                      For More Info: http://www.veganbodybuilding.com/
                      .
                      —————–
                      Then there is that other guy who broke a world record in weight lifting. “Congratulations to Strongman Patrik Baboumian who yesterday took a ten metre walk carrying more than half a tonne on his shoulders, more than anyone has ever done before. After smashing the world record the Strongman let out a roar of ‘Vegan Power’…” For more info:
                      http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/vegan-strongman-patrik-babaoumain-breaks-world-record/
                      another article on the same guy: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/09/08/vegan_strongman_shoulders_550_kg_a_record_perhaps_at_vegetarian_food_fest.html
                      .
                      And another article: “I got heavier, I got stronger, I won the European championship title in powerlifting, I broke three world records so everything was going perfect … my blood pressure went down, and my recovery time was so much faster so I could train more.” http://edition.cnn.com/2016/07/06/health/vegan-strongman-patrik-baboumian-germany-diet/
                      .
                      —————–
                      Here’s a story about a bodybuilder who doesn’t use any supplements. Just eats whole plant foods:
                      http://www.forksoverknives.com/vegan-bodybuilder-plant-based-diet/?mc_cid=b8b1865825&mc_eid=09aaf03269
                      .
                      —————–
                      Mr Universe – “Since going vegan, he has actually gained even more mass, now at 107 Kilos…”
                      http://www.thediscerningbrute.com/2015/07/14/mr-universe-goes-vegan/
                      .
                      —————–
                      Bite Size Vegan has a youtube channel
                      “In this video series, you’ll hear from various vegan athletes from all walks of life and athletic abilities speaking to such topics as vegan athletic performance, building muscle on a vegan diet, vegan endurance running, bodybuilding, body image, and more!”
                      https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmIqdlomtuSv9FQJgdj3Bwg9Nh9MNjKg4
                      .
                      —————–
                      Here’s another site that I like, Great Vegan Athletes: http://www.greatveganathletes.com/
                      .
                      I found this story on the above site: “Pat Reeves has set a new world powerlifting record at the WDFPA World Single Lift Championships. The 66 year old lifter, who has been vegan for 46 years, lifted 94 kg to set a record for the under 50.5kg weight class while competing in France in June 2012. The lift was more than 1.85 times her bodyweight, which is exceptional for her division. Pat is now officially the oldest competing weightlifter in Europe.”
                      .
                      ————————
                      from Meatout Mondays: Vegan Bodybuilder Bucks Stereotypes
                      .
                      Vegan bodybuilder Joshua Knox shares his game changing and inspiring vegan story during a TEDxFremont, California presentation.
                      .
                      In this five-minute long video, shared by Mercy for Animals, Knox talks of his ‘meat and potatoes’ upbringing and what led him to give veganism a try. The results were nothing short of wonderful.
                      .
                      “Not only was I able to continue increasing my strength and performance but also saw massive gains in endurance as well… [and] rather than feeling like I was missing out on foods I really felt that I was opening my mind to so many things I would have never put on my plate…” Knox said during his presentation. Joshua also noted a drop in his cholesterol, while experiencing mental and emotional health improvements as well. Rock on, Josh! Thank you for sharing your story
                      .
                      Watch the short video on Mercy for Animals’ youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43f2qWARXnA
                      .
                      ————————–
                      from Meatout Mondays: Professional Bodybuilding Couple Celebrate Veganism
                      .
                      Named 2014 Mr Universe, Barny Du Plessis and his fiance, named UK’s strongest woman, Josie Keck are excited to share and to celebrate their one year vegan anniversary this month. In a comprehensive interview by British publication, Daily Mail, the vegan (literal) power couple are “…serious about [their] crusade to save the Earth, the animals, [themselves], and our dignity as a species,” said Barny. The articles noted that, “Barny is on a mission to destroy the idea that eating meat is associated with manliness.” He said, “I’m living proof that you simply don’t need to eat meat or animal products to make great gains, be strong, healthy, fit, and feeling mighty.” We couldn’t agree more, Barny. Congratulations to you both on your anniversary! We’re so jazzed you’re passionate about veganism.
                      .
                      “When training for competitions Barny eats up to 4,500 calories a day, while Josie consumes 2,200 of vegan food. While preparing for a competition their typical diet consists of a wide variety of vegetables; fruit such as apples, bananas, dates and berries; grains such as basmati rice, quinoa and tapioca, pulses like chickpeas and brown and red lentils; as well as powders such as rice protein, hemp protein and vegan protein blend.” And the article includes a sample daily menu for each of them. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3495676/Obese-woman-met-fiance-gym-vegan-bodybuilders.html
                      .
                      —————————
                      from meetout Mondays
                      .
                      Weightlifting Record Set by Vegan
                      .
                      With a record-setting deadline of 452 pounds, Iceland native Hulda B. Waage says it was her vegan diet that helped her pull out the win. “You can be strong without eating meat and animal byproducts,” she said. “I’ve reached the age when the body produces more swelling. I believe my diet helps with this, and I recover more quickly after practices.” Hulda has her sights set on the 2023 World Weightlifting Championships. Awesome, Hulda! Way to represent vegan athletes in a most wonderful way. And thank you for all you do to help inspire and forward a cruelty-free world. http://org2.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=FiCd30wCeTG%2FBmw0po%2FMQXpx0aVdsgbp
                      .
                      .
                      ****************************************************************
                      OTHER THAN BODY BUILDING, VEGAN ATHLETES HAVE BEEN TAKING TROPHIES AND SETTING RECORDS IN OTHER AREAS TOO
                      .
                      ————————-
                      Rich Roll is an ultra-endurance athlete and quite an inspiration. From his bio page:
                      .
                      “… Rich is a 50-year old, accomplished vegan ultra-endurance athlete … In May 2010, Rich and his ultra-colleague Jason Lester accomplished an unprecedented feat of staggering endurance many said was not possible. Something they call the EPIC5 CHALLENGE- a odyssey that entailed completing 5 ironman-distance triathlons on 5 islands of Hawaii in under a week. Commencing on Kauai, they travelled to Oahu, Molokai and Maui before finishing on the Big Island, following the course of the Ironman World Championships on the Kona coast.”
                      .
                      And that was just for starters. Then: “But what makes Rich truly remarkable is that less than two years prior to his first Ultraman, he didn’t even own a bike, let alone race one. … Everything came to head on the eve of his 40th birthday. Defeated by a mere flight of stairs that left him buckled over in pain, he foresaw the almost certain heart attack looming in his near future. … The day immediately following his staircase epiphany, Rich overhauled his diet, became a dedicated vegan, put on his running shoes and jumped back into the pool.”
                      .
                      To learn more: http://www.richroll.com/bio/
                      .
                      ————————-
                      Story of Mac Denzig, winner of season six of The Ultimate Fighter
                      http://www.ufc.com/news/Mac-Danzig-Diet-The-Truth-About-Vegan
                      http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Mac-Danzig-3396
                      http://www.mikemahler.com/online-library/articles/mma-training/ufc-fighter-mac-danzig-vegan-diet.html
                      .
                      ————————–
                      Another article from Meetout Mondays: Vegan Figure Skater Takes Silver
                      .
                      Canadian Olympian Meagan Duhamel and her partner Eric Radford won a silver medal in pairs figure skating at this year’s Olympic games in Sochi, Russia.
                      .
                      Duhamel proudly took to Twitter announcing that she is an “Olympian, vegan, yogi and nutritionist.” Wonderful! Congratulations to Meagan for being an outspoken and shining example of what healthy vegan eating looks like. …
                      .
                      —————–
                      from Meetout Mondays: Plant-Powered Athlete: Griff Whalen [NFL Player]
                      .
                      His teammates say he has the most enviable body on the team. They say he consumes an average of 6,000 calories and 200 grams of protein a day. They also say, he does it all by eating plants!
                      .
                      In a recent interview on IndyStar.com, Indianapolis Colts’ wide receiver Griff Whalen, talks about his vegan ways.
                      .
                      “I feel a lot lighter, faster, quicker on the field. There isn’t that heavy feeling, that groggy feeling after I eat,” says Whalen. Hooray for another plant-powered athlete for us to cheer on. w00t! w00t!
                      .
                      Read the full article on : org2.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=X9u7eAG%2FDmVet3kwZgrmHD5TipkEhWa4
                      .
                      —————–
                      from Meetout Mondays: NFL’s David Carter on Living Vegan
                      .
                      In an interview last month on Rich Roll’s podcast, 27 year old Chicago Bears’ defensive lineman, David Carter spoke of a day in the life of the NFL, what he eats daily, his vegan journey, and his commitment to animal advocacy.
                      .
                      “I can honestly say that being vegan is not only the most efficient way to be full-body strong, it’s also the most humane; everyone wins,” Carter said on the podcast.
                      .
                      Carter is also the founder of The 300 Pound Vegan, a lifestyle blog where the NFL player writes about his journey through veganism and shares plant-based recipes. If nothing else, Carter shows us that living on plants is not just for endurance athletes or yogis but can positively impact heavy hitters in terms of their size, speed, agility, power, and quickness. Aww, yeah! Thanks for being so rad, David. We love it!
                      .
                      Listen to the full interview on Rich Roll: http://www.richroll.com/podcast/david-carter-300-pound-vegan/
                      Or for a written story with sample menu plan: http://www.gq.com/story/vegan-diet-of-nfl-player-david-carter
                      .
                      ——————————
                      And another article from Meetout Mondays: Record Setting, 92 Yr Old Vegan Runner
                      .
                      Mike Fremont has been vegan for over 20 years, and has been setting single age marathon running records just as long.
                      .
                      “At age 88 [Mike] ran a 6H5M53S marathon in Cincinnati Ohio and at age 90 ran a 6H35M47S marathon in Huntington West Virginia. [He] also set a single age world record for 90 years old in the half marathon in Morrow Ohio in August 2012,” said Veg World Magazine.
                      .
                      According to an interview with Veg World Magazine, Fremont credits his vegan lifestyle for his continued record setting runs, at his age.
                      .
                      We love seeing vegans making positive media waves, and what better way to showcase the health benefits of plant-powered living than Mike’s awesome running career. Here’s to you Mike, and vegan athletes of all ages!
                      .
                      Learn more about Mike Fremont a VegWorldMag.com. http://www.vegworldmag.com/amazing-92-year-old-vegan-runs-another-half-marathon/
                      .
                      ——————————
                      from Meatout Mondays: World’s First Vegan Pro Soccer Team
                      .
                      The Internet went wild last week as the news that English soccer (A.K.A football) team, the Forest Green Rovers, announced that the entire team and club is going completely vegan.
                      .
                      “We stopped serving meat to our players, fans and staff about four seasons ago,” said club owner Dale Vince (via a recent article on Edition.CNN.com). He continued, “We’ve been on a mission since then to introduce our fans to this new world.” The article explains that while the club has been vegetarian for the past few years, they’ve decided to take the next step in going fully vegan (including their beer and cider options). Also cool to know: the club’s field is organic and they collect rainwater to use for irrigation. This is seriously super cool, you guys. Keep it up!
                      .
                      Read the source article on: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/10/30/football/world-health-organization-meat-vegan-football/
                      .
                      ——————————–
                      from Meatout Mondays: Vegan Arm Wrestler: Rob Bigwood
                      .
                      “Some of his opponents say that since going vegan Rob is stronger, his stamina grew, and he became more difficult to pin,” notes an interview-style Facebook post by ‘Starry N Ight.’
                      .
                      A competitive arm wrestler since 2000, Rob Bigwood has been making a name for himself in the arm wrestling community—not only as the one to beat but also as the guy who eats plants. Rob has said, “I was concerned at first [about not eating meat for strength] but didn’t care. I made a conscious and ethical decision to give up meat…It is more important to practice what I believe in than to worry about being a strength athlete. I have never felt better in my entire life and it was one of the smartest decisions I ever made.”
                      .
                      Check out one of Rob’s interviews on http://www.scribd.com/doc/39221267/Interview-with-a-Vegan-Arm-Wrestler
                      .
                      ——————————–
                      from Meatout Mondays: Vegan Breaks World Record in Push-Ups
                      .
                      A vegan from Kerala (a South Indian state) has just broken the Guinness World Record for knuckle push-ups (press ups). K.J. Joseph—a manager of an ayurveda centre in Munnar—completed 82 push-ups in 60 seconds, beating out Ron Cooper from the US who held the record at 79 push-ups in 2015. “Joseph has already entered the Universal Record Forum by doing 2092 push-ups in an hour. He is currently the record holder in the India Book of Records,” notes OnManorama.com. Thanks for making us vegans look good, Joseph. And congrats on your win!
                      .
                      Check out the original story: http://english.manoramaonline.com/lifestyle/society/vegan-most-knuckle-push-up-guinness-world-record-joseph.html
                      .
                      ———————————
                      From PCRM Weekly News Update:
                      What do the world’s top male and female tennis players have in common? They love vegan food! In a new Huffington Post piece, Dr. Barnard talks about plant-powered Novak Djokovic’s recent win at the French Open. http://new.www.huffingtonpost.com/neal-barnard-md/plantpowered-novak-djokov_b_10282348.html




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      2. I would like to add here that kale (in my opinion) does not require added fat for absorption. While true that certain vitamins absorb better with a little fat, the fat is already built in. Kale is 12% fat, 16% protein (complete protein) and the remainder complex carbohydrate.

        This site makes the point over and over that nature builds the “products” that we need to eat. Kale is, I believe, no exception. The 12% fat that is in kale also fits with what Campbell, Esselstyn, Greger, etc recommend which is about 10% fat in the diet.

        Look up kale here:
        http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2461/2




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  10. After starting Ocuvite 50, which contains both lutein and zeaxanthin, my eyesight improved. Contrast and sharpness improved. I have been on a near-vegan diet (1/4 cup milk a day, nothing else animal) for almost 2 months. It shocked and surprised me when I noticed my eyesight drastically improved! I can now find my glasses without glasses (spare pair). I haven’t been able to do that foe nearly 2 decades!




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