Saturday, April 14, 2012
"Super Immunity: The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body’s Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free" - by Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
"When most of us think of preventative medicine and proper health care, we think about getting shots, taking medications, or having diagnostic tests. We’ve had these products and services marketed to us for the last fifty years and have accepted a belief system that equates more medical care with better health, survival and longevity. this equation is simply not true." 'Super Immunity' - Joel Fuhrman
I have been wanting to talk about "Super Immunity" ever since I read it back in January, I just haven’t been able to find the time to actually sit down and collect my thoughts on the matter. I don’t know if there are really enough words for me to describe just how phenomenal I think this book is. Truly! It is absolutely revolutionary!
Now, I am no stranger to the concept of healing foods. Hippocrates said "Let thy food be thy medicine, and let thy medicine be thy food." and I very strongly believe in that. I’m well aware of which foods are healing and which foods are impairing, and for those of you who know me, you know that I loathe getting sick, so I go to great lengths to preserve my good health. I have never been a fan of pharmaceuticals, even back when I was just a kid, and didn’t understand why exactly pharmaceutical drugs were bad. I have always had a healthy distrust of them. As I became older my concept and understand of why Big Pharma was bad grew, and expanded and I realized that for the most part mother earth had bestowed upon us virtually all the tools we need to remain healthy. I see that even more now that I’m actively studying holistic health. However knowing something, and really knowing it are two very different things you see?
Joel Fuhrman is a doctor - not some quack - but a well recognized, and renown doctor who is a prominent figure In the health community, it’s that more then anything else that sets this book apart for me. After all it’s one thing to hear information such as this from a random guy or gal next door, and entirely other thing indeed to hear it from a well educated doctor. To me that makes all the difference. Fuhrman certainly isn’t the only doctor who speaks out about the role of diet in disease, and the impotence of modern medicine but those that do are few, so every new material is vital.
Super Immunity really should be on everyone’s ‘to read list’ even if you think you’re well versed in health matters I know there is something in here for everyone. I myself didn’t think I’d learn a whole lot from it, and I was proven wrong. This should be mandatory reading. What’s really great about it is that it’s a comprehensive book, taking the latest scientific research and nutritional information, then translating it into an easy to read format, which makes it all the more accessible to the average person. This in itself is fantastic, because lets face it, how many people really want to sit down and read a textbook about health/nutation? - Besides me of course. - and how many people would actually learn anything from such a dense work? This book makes it easy. The information is presented neatly, it’s laid out so that it’s easy to follow, and it’s very easy to absorb.
The book specifically focuses on - and discuses at length - how we can super-charge our body’s immune system and protect ourselves from disease. A word that encompasses everything from the common cold and influenza to the big ones like cancer and heart disease. Fuhrman describes at length and in detail the foods we should be eating on a daily basis to arm ourselves against foreign and internal - remember we all have cancer cells in our bodies, by why do some people develop the disease when others do not? - invaders. He breaks down in detail just why goods like mushrooms, leafy greens, berries and cruciferous vegetables are so good for us. He breaks down their makeup, provides their nutritional information, and to maximize their potential. He also describes the difference between healthy carbs and refined carbs. The ridiculous carb debate has been going strong now for 30 years at least, and still so few people actually understand A) what a carb is B) that there are different kinds of carbs and C) why some are bad and some aren’t. Furhman breaks it down so it’s easy to understand. He gives charts and graphs so you can literally follow along. He dispels many of the myths surrounding the great and ridiculous carb debate made famous by the carb-phobia craze-diets perpetuated by the likes of Atkins. He then talks about healthy and unhealthy fats, another debate that has people just as lost and clueless. Fuhrman is firmly against using oil -which I can understand - and would rather we get our fats from whole plant sources such as nuts, seeds, and avocados. He also discuses protein, calcium, iron, omega-3 fatty acids which have their own silly myths, as well as other essential vitamins and minerals, and lays out for us the best ways - and the best foods - to get these essentials from.
All of this is great information, but some of you may already be familiar with it. I know I was. - Although I’m always interested in reading the latest, newest up to date statistics on the matter, which he includes. -However, one of my favorite chapters in the book is the chapter entitled "The Failure of Modern Medicine." which I consider to be one of the most important in the entire book. It’s this chapter more then anything else that I think should be mandatory reading, and to hear it from the lips of a respected doctor makes it all the more potent. Through the course of this chapter Fuhrman tackles and debunks all the myths that enshroud modern medicine. My favorite one being that ‘human life span has increased over the last century due to the advances in modern medicine.’ Which isn’t true at all. This idea is so commonly believed and accepted that people just don’t even question it, but it couldn’t be more untrue. Human life span has been increased because of improved sanitation, better living conditions and a lower infant mortality rate. Fuhrman also discuses Big Pharma, and whether or not many of the medications - past and present - that have been or are being toted as the latest miracle drug actually have any benefit at all, or If their potential for harm greatly outweighs their promises of potential benefit. In this chapter he discusses everything from the flu vaccine - completely ridiculous - to Tylenol, advil, and Ibuprofen - potentially poisonous - to other over the counter and prescriptions medications.
It was this section on chemical drugs that I found the most enlightening and the section about the flu vaccine in particular I found interesting. Fuhrman explains that if the flu vaccine takes any effect at all it may have worse consequences then it’s supposed benefits. He also goes on to explain that there are over 200 different strains of influenza, and that the flu shot isn’t manufactured to protect against all of them. At most it’s designed to protect against 1 or 2 of the top three strains breaking out that year, which is why you can get the flu shot and still get the flu. This is something I’ve been questioning for about ten years, so to have it actually confirmed is pretty interesting. I also quite liked the section in which he talks about antihistamines, antibiotics and antivirals, all very interesting sections in their own rights.
The other Chapter that really piqued my interest is the one entitled "Cold and Flu - What we need to know." in which Fuhrman describes all the commonly used cold and flu remedies. In this chapter he explains scientifically why they don’t work, or why they may be beneficial. I love myth busting so this was a fun chapter, but it was also extremely interesting and informative. Chicken Soup, increased fluid intake, nasal saline irrigation, humidified air, and vitamin C all get thrown out the window along with the toxic over the counter meds, for uselessness. Instead Fuhrman suggests calorie restriction during the length of your illness, not doing anything physically exerting or taxing on the body, and suggests supplementing vitamin D and zinc. He also suggests Elderberry extract which I actually had the opportunity to try out.
Somewhat ironically I came down with a slight cold 2 days after reading this book. I did exactly what he suggested. Calorie restriction, I kept the few meals I did eat to meals loaded with super foods, took my multi-vitamin with vitamin D and Zinc and most importantly started taking Elderberry Extract. I also drank Echinacea tea which I do practically all winter anyway. My cold never progressed beyond a slight stuffy/runny nose, a sense of tiredness and an itchy throat. I never got flow-blown sick. Never got a full on sore throat or full on head congestion. It was a miracle. I also only felt that way for about 3 days, and during that time I didn’t take any medication for it. Very cool indeed, so I definitely support the elderberry extract!
Lastly - another thing I love about this book is the collection of recipes in the back. The recipes have been designed for maximum nutrition, they’re loaded with super foods, contain no oil, and no bad carbs. I haven’t yet tried all the recipes but of the ones I have, they are fantastic! I am particularly fond of the salad and the soup recipes. They’re light yet filling, and you feel so good after eating them. A few recipes I haven’t made yet that I can’t wait to try is the forbidden rice pudding, sweet beet potato cakes with strawberry sauce, Goji Chili Stew, mighty mushroom stroganoff, black been brownies, black cherry sorbet, and the coconut carrot cream pie. YUM!
So yeah, you must go out and find a copy of this book, I really can’t speak more highly of it, it is a truly mind-blowing read.
"The Kaiser Health Foundation, which studied this issue, in depth, determined that one third of medical spending is devoted to services that don’t improve health or the quality of care - and may make things worse! Too many people are becoming sicker and sicker. A lack of medical care is not the problem,, and more medical care is certainly not the answer." - 'Super Immunity' - Joel Fuhrman
*** Note - Image found using Google Images ***