Category Archives: Research

Juvenile Diabetes – It Has Hit Close to Home


AnniNever before have I written a post asking my readers to donate money, but for my niece I would do anything. ¬†Last Christmas my sister’s youngest child was diagnosed with Type-1 Diabetes (Juvenile Diabetes). ¬†I am so thankful that my sister recognized the signs and brought her in to the ER when she did…they said it was critical…her sugar was astronomically high. ¬†They spent quite some time in the Pediatric ICU and have been working on regulating her situation since.

She sure has been a brave and tough little girl, but a diagnosis like this really does change your life.  My sister and brother-in-law found a Pediatric Diabetes Specialist at UCSF to handle her care (thank goodness for that!) and are there right now for another all day appointment as I type this.

Next weekend is the JDRF One Walk in Reno and my niece’s Girl Scout Troop decided they wanted to do something to show support for the friend that they love so much; they formed “Team Awesomeness” to rally around her and raise money for research to try and end this disease. ¬†The research is so promising and it is possible to find a cure.

If you are able to make a donation, I thank you from the bottom of your heart.  If you are unable to, perhaps you could leave a comment with some words of encouragement for my little munchkin.

Click HERE to donate.

Thank you so much for all of the support you have shown me through the years…I am so grateful.

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Filed under Children, Diabetes, Education, Research


I recently received the results of a nutrition study re: raisins and post-meal glucose levels. ¬†This got me thinking…I have learned to be some what savvy when sifting through this type of information, however I can see how it would be very difficult for most people who don’t do this on a daily basis; especially when news outlets pick-up these stories and soon you hear news anchors everywhere extolling the virtues of this or that.

While I have not done the further research yet, when examining study findings such as the ones below, questions pop-up in my head and I thought it might be helpful for you to see how I personally go through articles such as the one below (My comments will be in RED). ¬†I definitely do not claim to be an expert in deciphering research…these are the methods I follow personally.

For this particular study, I noticed immediately that though it came from a Nutrition Website I subscribe to and thoroughly enjoy (Smartbrief for Nutritionists), it had a disclosure on the top of the e-mail stating, “This is a paid advertisement” which got me thinking…who paid for it?


California Raisins Announces New Research Findings (Who funded this research?  Was is California Raisins?)

New research recently debuted at the American Diabetes Association’s 72nd Annual Scientific Session suggests eating raisins three times a day may significantly lower post-meal glucose levels when compared to common alternative snacks of equal caloric value (What specifically were those snack alternatives? ¬†Apples, rice cakes, cheese, chocolate chip cookies, potato chips???).

The study was conducted at the Louisville Metabolic and Atherosclerosis Center (L-MARC) by lead researcher, Harold Bays, MD, medical director and president of L-MARC (Does this doctor have any affiliation with the Raisin Board?). 

Key Findings:

The study was conducted among 46 men and women who had not previously been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, but who had mild elevations in glucose levels. Participants were randomly assigned to snack on raisins or pre-packaged commercial snacks (Again, what specifically were those snacks?) that did not contain raisins or other fruits or vegetables (We now know the other snacks were not produce-related), three times a day for 12 weeks (How big was the portion size?). Findings included:

  • Compared to control snacks (Not sure what they were), raisins significantly decreased mean post-meal glucose levels by 16 percent ¬†
  • Compared to baseline within group paired analysis, raisins significantly reduced mean hemoglobin A1c by 0.12 percent¬†(that is a decrease, but VERY slight and not what I would consider significant…a small fraction of 1 percent)
  • Consumption of the control snacks in the study did not significantly reduce mean post-meal glucose or hemoglobin A1c¬†

The study was funded by the California Raisin Marketing Board through a grant to the L-MARC Research Center in Louisville, Kentucky (We now know the study was funded by the California Raisin Marketing Board).

“Raisins have a relatively low glycemic index and contain fiber and antioxidants, all factors which contribute to blood sugar control,” said James Painter, Ph.D., R.D., and nutrition research advisor for the California Raisin Marketing Board. “Decreasing blood sugar and maintaining normal hemoglobin A1c levels is important because it can prevent long-term damage to the heart and circulatory system.”¬†This statement is reasonable, however dried fruits are MUCH higher in sugar and MUCH more concentrated in calories than fresh fruit. ¬†My fear would be that people begin ADDING handfuls of raisins into their diets in an attempt to lower their blood sugar and that seems misguided. ¬†

The research is from a two-part study by L-MARC that looked at raisins and possible impacts to blood pressure and blood sugar levels. The first part of the study announced at the American College of Cardiology’s 61st Annual Scientific Session suggests eating raisins three times a day may significantly lower blood pressure among individuals with slightly higher than normal blood pressure, otherwise known as prehypertension.

Visit¬†¬†for further information and summaries of California Raisins’ nutrition research.

Again, I DO NOT have the answers to all of the red flags above…that will take further research; I merely wanted to share the process I go through ¬†with you.

Do any of you have a similar process you go through in your head when reading nutrition information or listening to news stories about nutrition / health?


Filed under Education, Research

HUNGRY FOR CHANGE – Free Worldwide Online Premier



Hungry For Change, a movie from the makers of Food Matters, is hosting a FREE 10 Day Worldwide Online Premier MARCH 21 Р31 2012.  I just watched the movie trailer and am really enthused about how eye-opening this film promises to be.

“This inspiring film has the power to¬†transform your health!” ~¬†Anthony Robbins

According to the producers:

HUNGRY FOR CHANGE¬†exposes shocking secrets the diet, weightloss and food industry don’t want you to know about. Deceptive strategies designed to keep you craving more and more.¬†

Could the foods we are eating actually be keeping us stuck in the diet trap?

In this free online premiere event you’ll discover:

  • How to navigate your supermarket – what to buy and what to avoid
  • The real truth behind “DIET”, “SUGAR-FREE” and “FAT-FREE” products
  • How to overcome food addictions and cravings
  • Why fad diets dont work
  • What food additives to avoid and how to read labels
  • What is fat and cellulite and how do we get rid of it for good
  • The most effective detox and cleansing strategies, and
  • How to eat for clear eyes, glowing skin and healthy hair

I was really excited to see two of my favorite experts on the trailer, Kris Carr and Dr. Christiane Northrup. ¬†This looks very promising…
Click HERE to sign-up for the premier.


Filed under Alkaline, Cancer, Cholesterol, Cleansing, Diabetes, Education, Fat, General Vegan, pH, Research, Research, Vegan, Vegetarian, Video, Weight Issues

BOOK REVIEW – Healthy Eating Healthy World

In a word, Healthy Eating Healthy World is groundbreaking. Never before have I seen such a multi-faceted look at the power of plant-based nutrition. J. Morris Hicks (With Stanfield Hicks) examines the destructive nature of meat consumption on our environment as well as our personal health while also delving into the cruelty animals experience on factory farms, and the horrendous issue of human starvation throughout the world. Hicks successfully demonstrates the causal relationship between the SAD (Standard American Diet) and the aforementioned issues.

  • In all, raising livestock accounts for 78 percent of all agricultural land and 30 percent of the land surface of the planet. –Page 72
  • To produce one kilo of potatoes requires 100 litres of water; to produce the same amount of beef requires 13,000 litres of water. -Page 78
  • [T]o feed a single person the typical Western diet (heavy with animal products) for a year requires 3.25 acres of arable land. To feed one vegan requires about 1/6 of an acre. -Page 109.

These facts force one to go inward and examine how one can in all good conscience eat the hamburger that contributes so strongly to the hunger of others.  If we were to use the feed given to animals to feed humans I have to think we would be moving in the direction of a solution.

While reading Healthy Eating Healthy World I was struck by the ease with which J. Morris Hicks was able to join together such a comprehensive amount of information with regards to plant-based eating. From the health benefits, to the scientific evidence behind those benefits, to Doug Lisle’s research on why we are so addicted to the very foods we need to be avoiding (The Pleasure Trap), to the HOWS of living a plant based lifestyle. So many books focus solely on the problems our world is facing, and while this book definitely explains those issues, the solutions are detailed as well.

  • In August 2010, for the first time ever, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that they will pay for intensive diet and exercise programs developed under the Ornish and Pritikin brands for reducing cardiovascular event risk. -Page 17

When I read that I practically jumped for joy.  We are starting to see REAL solutions.  Nutrition-based healing vs. drug dependency is going to propel this nation toward health.  While medication can be lifesaving during acute illness, nutritional excellence can achieve true healing versus the masking of symptoms long-term medication provides.

Along those same lines, Hicks digs his heels into the inefficiency and corruption that exists within the health insurance and food industries.  We have hospitals charging $8 for a single Motrin (personal experience) and nutritional researchers being financed by the food industry itself.

  • [A]nother found 34% of the primary authors of 800 papers in molecular biology and medicine to be involved in patents, to serve on advisory committees, or to hold personal shares in companies that might benefit from the research. -Page 145¬†

I don’t know what the solution is, however if people are not aware of the problem, the solution to it will not be found. ¬†For that reason I am thrilled that Hicks is bringing these issues to light. ¬†

As I mentioned above, Hicks does take the time to explain HOW one can healthfully follow a whole food plant-based diet. 42 pages of the book are dedicated to educating the reader about nutrition and WHAT to eat.  My hope is that the reader will be inspired by what they have learned and push further into the subject matter by reading the works of Dr. McDougall, Dr. Esselstyn, and Dr. Joel Fuhrman.

I highly recommend Healthy Eating Healthy World for those who are looking for a concise yet wonderfully in-depth and well-rounded book that truly does bring all of the issues into the same room.  These issues are truly interdependent.


To read my interview of J. Morris Hicks on Chic Vegan click HERE. 


Filed under Animal Welfare, Books, Education, Farming, General Vegan, Metabolic Syndrome, Research, Research, Vegan, Vegetarian, Weight Issues

VIDEO – How to Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind


At the beginning of the year I spent some time thinking about where I want to take Veggie Grettie and setting some goals. ¬†One of my goals was to make video available on the site…done!

The video from this past Sunday’s Doug Lisle presentation of How to Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind¬†is now available on the Forks Over Knives YouTube channel.

To read my recap of the presentation click HERE.



Filed under Education, Events, General Vegan, Heart Health, Junk Food, Research, Vegan, Vegetarian, Video, Weight Issues


I thought I’d share some pictures with you from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s¬†Pipeline to a Cure Stand Up Paddle event I went to this past Sunday as an Ambassador for NEXT by Athena. ¬†For those of you unfamiliar with Pipeline to a Cure:

The goal of the Pipeline To A Cure is to increase awareness and funding for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation by rallying the surfing and action sports world. Since 1955 the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has worked to assure the development of the means to cure and control CF and to improve the quality of life for those born with the disease.

In recent years, doctors in Australia realized that cystic fibrosis patients who surfed had significantly healthier lungs than non-surfing CF patients. They found that the inhalation of saltwater mist hydrates the lining of the lungs and actually assists in the elimination of bacteria-laden mucus. As a result of this discovery, a hypertonic saline solution was developed to mimic a ‚Äúsurf session‚ÄĚ for CF patients to use on a daily basis. We all know that surfing is great for the body and soul, but in this case, it actually helps fight the disabling effects of cystic¬†fibrosis for thousands of children.

We really lucked-out with the weather (the weekend before was FREEZING) which made the day so enjoyable.  What could be better than hanging out at the beach?  Above is a picture of me with Dave Kalama (World Champion of surf, SUP, and outrigger canoe) and Suzanne Yeo who is my fellow NEXT by Athena Ambassador,  a SUP Instructor, and yoga instructor.

Above on the left is Lisa Vogel who is one of the co-presidents of RAJ Manufacturing which designs, manufactures, and markets  swimwear for high profile brands such as  Athena, NEXT by Athena, Luxe by Lisa Vogel, Ella Moss, Splendid Swim, Guess Swimwear, Hurley Swimwear, St. Johns Swim, Reef Swimwear, and Nautica Swim.  I feel really lucky to be associated with RAJ and NEXT by Athena.

During the event all of us were commenting about how awesome the music was.  The music was provided by the Kalama Brothers (click here for more information) and had that awesome laid-back Hawaiian feel.  I had to laugh when during one of their breaks I realized that I knew one of the brothers, Ryan, from when my son was younger and he taught his Gymboree class.  It was fun to reminisce with Ryan and meet his brother Kai.  I am expecting big things from these brothers (Kai was on season 8 of American Idol).

We finished off the afternoon by taking a quick SUP class from Suzanne.  I had been wanting to try SUP for years and absolutely loved it.  I am looking forward to getting out there and practicing.

Please consider supporting Pipline for a Cure.  What an amazing cause.


Filed under Education, Events, Research

AN APPLE A DAY – Yet Another Reason to Eat Apples

I find it very intriguing when I see research concerning the multiple benefits one can receive by eating fruits and vegetables.  We always knew apples were good for us!!!

Now…we NEED to move towards finding out this information WITHOUT using animals. ¬†


U-of-I study: Chemical in apple peels may build muscle

by MATT KELLEY on JULY 4, 2011


An apple a day may do a lot more than keep the doctor away. A University of Iowa study finds a compound in apple peels helps to build muscle and burn fat.

Dr. Chris Adams, an endocrinologist and senior author of the study, says a waxy substance in apple peels called ursolic acid has astounding properties.

Dr. Adams says, ‚ÄúWe found that in mice, as predicted, it reduced the changes biochemically that occur with muscle atrophy and by doing that, it blocked muscle atrophy, or it reduced it.‚ÄĚ

The findings suggest the compound may be useful in treating muscle wasting diseases and possibly metabolic disorders like diabetes.

‚ÄúWe found that it actually promoted the growth of muscle, so the mice got bigger muscles and actually got stronger,‚ÄĚ Adams says. ‚ÄúWe can measure mouse strength with a little machine called a grip strength meter.‚ÄĚ

Based on the research using mice, he says more study is needed to determine if this chemical will be able to benefit humans.

‚ÄúUrsolic acid increased muscle, increased muscle strength and very interestingly, it reduced fat, it reduced total body fat and reduced blood glucose and also plasma cholesterol and triglycerides,‚ÄĚ Adams says. ‚ÄúIt didn‚Äôt have any harmful effect on the kidneys or liver or anything like that which makes sense because it‚Äôs a natural compound that we actually eat.‚ÄĚ

He says muscle wasting is very common in people who are sick and sedentary, adding, it’s a primary factor in why people end up in nursing homes.

The U-of-I study was published in the journal Cell Metabolism.

Image courtesy of 

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Filed under Education, Research