21 August 2011

Living Food Walls for Disadvantaged Youth, Sustainable Communities

The first living wall as it's constructed in South Africa.
My friend Warren Te Brugge has taken on a project that deserves the attention of all who are interested in the ideals of sustainable communities and food security in all parts of the world.

His new foundation My Arms Wide Open® is building the first-ever living food walls with the objective of providing fresh fruits and vegetables to disadvantaged youth in both Vancouver Downtown Eastside and in rural South Africa.

The sister walls will be constructed based on the design of South African artist, Dylan Lewis, who created the exhibition "Untamed" (pictured above) at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens (see more pics of the living plant wall construction here). The exhibition was originally constructed in celebration of the country's hosting of the 2010 World Cup.

The two identical vertical gardens -- one in Vancouver and the second in Cradock, South Africa -- will yield several harvests throughout the year and offer educational opportunities. The main goal: inspire youth to make their own "mini walls" contributing to their health and sustainable communities.

12 August 2011

Lindeberg: Focus on Food Choices, Bioactives, not Nutritionism

Dr. Lindeberg weighing a Kitavan man. 
While training in family medicine, Staffan Lindeberg, M.D., Ph.D., read a paper (published in 1985) in the New England Journal of Medicine that would alter the course of his future research. It was entitled "Paleolithic Nutrition" and one of the authors was Boyd Eaton, M.D.

It was about the same time Dr. Lindeberg had heard from a neighbor that humans had the guts of vegetarian -- to which he responded, "Oh yeah?" His neighbor was  influenced by one of a number of nutrition "stories," as Dr. Lindberg calls them, and not based on actual scientific investigation.

"People like John Harvey Kellog [inventor of corn flakes and strong proponent of a vegetarian diet] has had more influence on thinking about a healthy diet than Darwin has," Dr. Lindeberg says.

11 August 2011

Intermittent fasting for cardiovascular health

At a time when our ancestors existed as hunter-gatherers in the Paleolithic, it's clear that food was not always available and that the fluctuation of feast and famine was probably more apparent. The theory of thrifty genes has it that our metabolic function is dependent on these fluctuations for optimal insulin function.

So, it's hypothesized that since intermittent fasting may have been instrumental in the selection of our genes, its practice may have lasting benefits on insulin sensitivity. Findings to date in humans are that fasting does improve insulin sensitivity by inducing increases in circulating adiponectin along with changes in plasma leptin. By these mechanisms, intermittent fasting acts on increasing insulin's action differently than physical activity.