I am taking a short break from farming activities (avocados, anyone?) and newsletter writing to answer some reader questions. You can also post these on Facebook or Google Plus and I will try to answer there.
Q. I am wondering if you think it is a good idea to minimize the cheese, chicken and fish animal proteins? The research I have read suggests that the positive qualities of those products can be found in plant based foods, and without the saturated fat, cholesterol or mercury. My understanding is that type 1 diabetes has been linked to the casein in cows milk when given to infants, and that animal protein may be related to auto-immune diseases.
A: In general, yes, about animal proteins–moderate more than minimize.
I think most of the problem is in overprocessing and some of the hormones and toxins with which they are raised/to which they are subjected, instead of the saturated fat and cholesterol.
Cholesterol in food (unless you eat 2# of shrimp or 3 egg yolks daily) doesn’t raise cholesterol in the blood.
Most saturated fat probably raises the risk of heart disease but food is a mix of nutrients, and I think its source is the main thing.
The other question is harder: type I diabetes has been linked to casein, but so has latitude, and the confounding factor may be vitamin D levels: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19100644.
Infants exposed to casein early in life may be at increased risk for diabetes, but the data are not conclusive.
So I would not avoid milk because of diabetes risk, but I would want to know where the milk came from, whether the cow received rBGH, growth promoters and so on.
Of concern, Japanese cattle recently ate radioactive rice straw; whether it harms people to eat radioactive milk is unknown, except in high doses…but the yuck factor is pretty high.
Q. Hi, I saw you for the first time on PBS yesterday and was intrigued. I recently lost my job and health insurance and figured since I eat everyday, I might as well eat better. It has to be cheaper than healthcare insurance. I’m Mormon and don’t drink alcohol. Is there a non-alcoholic drink that has the benefits of wine?
A. Red grape juice, pomegranate juice and other dark fruit juices do provide many of the benefits of wine.
However, alcohol raises HDL, which juices do not, but they do provide tannins, flavonoids and anti-inflammatory chemicals which are helpful with inflammation.
Q: You seem to be looking at and using a variety of ways to share your information to as many people as will listen. Which I think is fantastic. Have you considered a weekly or monthly conference call for people using a service, like go-to-meeting.com, where you can have interactive discussions or presentations? I have no clue what is required on the presenter’s part, however.
A: I have thought about it and like the idea. I’ll send out a poll to newsletter subscribers and ask if they would like that, and how much it should cost.
I think I would likely use Skype (Kris Carr uses it for her coaching, apparently) and I think it would be fun. Let’s see!