Say Bye to Milk – A Table of Calcium-Rich Substitutes!
By Shahir Masri – February 26, 2018
In my last two blogs we learned that the old axiom “Milk, does a body good” simply doesn’t hold water (or milk?). The slogan is just that, a slogan; propagated heavily by the for-profit milk enterprise. It took advantage of some loose science, but was mostly a success in marketing, not public health.


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Milk, Calcium & the Bones
By Shahir Masri – February 11, 2018
In my last blog I talked about the drawbacks of milk consumption. Well, what about the benefits? What about the perks of calcium?  True, milk is a rich source of calcium. However, there is no calcium scarcity in the U.S.  In fact, America nearly tops the list when it comes to per capita calcium intake. Television commercials and ads that tell you otherwise, often with the remedy being three glasses of milk per day, are sponsored by the National Dairy Council. Not exactly a neutral source on the issue.

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Milk – Does It Do a Body Good?
By Shahir Masri – 1/31/18
I won’t speak for the globe, but it seems nearly everyone in America grew up on milk. Milk with cereal, milk with cookies, milk in eggs, and just plain ol’ milk in a glass. Most of us never questioned this norm, and have carried it with us into adulthood. You can probably still replay those ‘Got Milk?” commercials in your memory! However, from a health standpoint there are in fact more reasons NOT to drink milk than to drink it. 
 
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Firefighting Obesity - A New Study!
Shahir Masri – 9/22/16
Firefighting a heroic profession no doubt! What you probably didn’t know is that the prevalence of obesity among firefighters is higher than almost any other profession. Yes, it’s surprising, and certainly counterintuitive. But it’s true. According to one study, this stems from fire station eating culture, sedentary work while not fighting fires, among other factors (Dobson et al. 2013). However, the reasons for firefighter obesity won’t be our focus here. Let’s turn to another study, and see what takeaways we might apply in our own lives.
 
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A Word on Potatoes
Shahir Masri – 8/31/16
While often lumped into the “vegetable” category, potatoes are not a great way to meet your daily vegetable needs. You may have noticed in his Healthy Eating Plate that Dr. Willett has removed potatoes from the vegetable category, instead placing them in the “use sparingly” category. This is because potatoes have undesirable effects on levels of blood sugar and insulin in the body. 
 
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More on Alcohol
Shahir Masri – 1/17/16
Hey health nuts! In my last post I highlighted the benefits of drinking alcohol. Not too much, not too little. To expand, we’ve often heard of the importance of drinking red wine (and let’s not forget the dark chocolate!). This raises the question… what about beer, liquor, and other alcoholic drinks? As it turns out, the early publicity red wine received was because the French happened to be the population that caused scientists to first suspect alcohol to be beneficial. 

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Alcohol in Moderation
Shahir Masri – 1/10/16
“When the first reports appeared linking moderate alcohol consumption with lower rates of heart disease, many scientists thought that some other habit shared by drinkers, not the drinking, accounted for the benefit. Today the evidence strongly points to alcohol itself. Based on the best estimates available, one drink a day for women and one or two a day for men cuts the chances of having a heart attack or dying from heart disease by about a third and also decreases the risk of having a clot-caused (ischemic) stroke.

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A Guide to Fruits & Veggies
Shahir Masri – 1/7/16
While any given fruit or vegetable has perhaps hundreds of useful vitamins and nutrients, no single fruit or veggie contains everything your body needs for good health. This makes it important to eat from all the main fruit/veggie categories throughout the week. In this blog, as promised, I have provided a list of these major categories. 

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A Word on Fruit & Veggie Blends
Shahir Masri – 1/3/16
Since fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients, they are regarded as an excellent way to meet our calorie needs. What’s more, given their low calorie density compared to many other foods, they can fill you up without fattening you up! This is true with an important exception. In recent years, awareness of the health benefits of fruits and vegetables has manifested into the trend of blending these foods into tasty heath smoothies and shakes. This is excellent in terms of delivering needed nutrients into the body. In terms of total health, however, this is not the best dietary plan as it can translate to weight gain.

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Fruits & Veggies
Shahir Masri – 12/12/15
“Vegetables and fruits are essential ingredients in almost every cuisine. If you let them play starring roles in your diet, they will reward you with many benefits besides great taste, terrific textures, and welcome variety. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables will lower your blood pressure, decrease your chances of having a heart attack or stroke, help protect you against a variety of cancers, guard against constipation and other gastrointestinal problems, and limit your chances of developing age-related problems like cataracts and macular degeneration, the most common causes of vision loss among people over age sixty-five. 

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The Perfect Protein
By Shahir Masri – 12/2/15
“In the Healthy Eating Pyramid, red meat occupies the pointy tip to highlight the fact that something about red meat—its particular combination of saturated fats or the potentially cancer-causing compounds that form when red meat is grilled or fried—is connected to a variety of chronic diseases. In this pyramid, the best sources of protein are beans and nuts along with fish, poultry, and eggs….”

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Whole Grains for Whole Health
By Shahir Masri - 10/21/15
“For almost twenty years our research team has been one of several groups studying the health effects of foods made from refined and intact grains. The result of this work is compelling. Eating lots of carbohydrates that are quickly digested and absorbed increases levels of blood sugar and insulin, raises levels of triglycerides, and lowers levels of HDL cholesterol [good cholesterol]. Over the long run, these changes lead to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. 

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Fats - Not Created Equal
By Shahir Masri – 9/14/15
To expand on Dr. Willett’s quote from my last blog, we’ve often heard that fat is bad. Simple as that. However, this is not true and is never what the science showed, but was rather a tragic oversimplification of the science. Saturated fat was the culprit contributing to increased disease and mortality. But other fats, such as mono- and poly-unsaturated fats, were, and still are, shown to be healthy for you. Importantly, I am not saying these fats are “not as bad” for you. I am

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Choosing the Right Fats
By Shahir Masri – 9/8/15
“Fats from nuts, seeds, grains, fish and liquid oils (including olive, canola, soybean, corn, sunflower, peanut, and other vegetable oils) are good for you, especially when you eat them in place of saturated and trans fat. The all-fat-is-bad message has started a huge national experiment, with us as the guinea pigs. As people cut back on fat, they usually eat more carbohydrates. In America today, that means more highly refined or easily digested foods like sugar, white bread, white rice, and potatoes.

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Your Weight, More Than Just Appearance
By Shahir Masri – 8/20/15
“When it comes to long-term health, keeping your weight from creeping up on you is more important than the exact ratio of fats to carbohydrates or the types and amounts of antioxidants in your food. The lower and more stable your weight, the lower your chances of having or dying from a heart attack, stroke, or other type of cardiovascular disease; of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes; of being diagnosed with post-menopausal breast cancer, cancer of the endometrium, colon, or kidney; or of being afflicted with some other chronic condition.”

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Your Health - What to Prioritize
By Shahir Masri – 8/4/15
Though this blog mostly concerns chemical exposures, it is critical to keep in mind the more important role that our basic health tenants play in good health. That is, the importance of a healthy diet, exercise, and aversion of harmful habits. While avoiding toxic cosmetics, eating organic, and watching the fish you eat are things certainly worthwhile, and things I clearly advocate, their impact to health is relatively low compared to the impacts of eating well and staying active. This reality is often missed by those interested in health. 

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Antioxidants Explained
By Shahir Masri – 11/30/11
So I’ve written a couple blogs that have mentioned the beneficial effects of antioxidants.  Thanks to your feedback, I’ve decided to dedicate a blog to explaining what exactly antioxidants are, why they’re beneficial, and how you can acquire them through your diet.

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Whole Grain: What's All the Fuss?
By Shahir Masri – 11/2/11
We’ve all heard that whole grain products are healthy.  Still it seems many people remain unaware as to the variety of health benefits of eating whole grain, and what makes whole grain healthy in the first place.  That said, I thought I’d use this blog to expand on the topic.  If I’ve succeeded, you’ll learn that whole grains are not luxury items, but instead are critical components to good health that should be incorporated into your every meal; ideally replacing far less healthy refined grains. 

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Broccoli and Cancer
By Shahir Masri - October 3, 2011
To no surprise, the food we eat plays an integral role in determining our fitness and health.  Interestingly, broccoli, while perhaps not a favorite among people, has demonstrated remarkable disease-preventing qualities.  This vegetable contains a chemical called sulforaphane (SP) which, through experimentation, has been shown to protect against... 

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Chemical Exposure, Nutrition, & the Environment

 


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