Growing Young: Resources
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    Friday
    Jan112013

    Audio Version of Growing Young Now Available

    Gildan Media has produced an audio version of my book, Growing Young: A Doctor's Guide to the New Anti-Aging. The book is read by me, and I had a great time in the studio recording it with Joel Block, of Blockhouse Audio, in Austin, Texas. Here is a link to my book at the Audible website: Growing Young, Audible version.

    It's also available on iTunes, here: Growing Young (iTunes version).

    If you choose to listen to one of these versions, you will learn my unique perspective on safe, effective anti-aging strategies that won't break the bank. Many have put them to work, and are looking 10 years younger in only a few months.

    Here's to growing younger, naturally!

    Marcus L. Gitterle, M.D.

    Friday
    Mar162012

    Why We Need A New "Mental Image" of What A Healthy Meal Looks Like

    As an anti-aging consultant, I am all too familiar with the type of anti-aging "enthusiast," who is constantly on the lookout for the latest "magic bullet," which will reverse the aging process so powerfully, that the "enthusiast" can continue to eat a sub-par diet, sit on the couch, and generally fail to do simple and sensible things to support wellness.

    Readers of Growing Young, my recently published guide to powerful, natural anti-aging methods, understand the unique power of certain little known nutraceuticals to reverse the aging process, when combined synergistically. A key aspect of this age-reversing synergy depends on the right kind of diet, which is why a significant portion of the book covers the critical importance of diet in anti-aging.

    While diet is presented in the book as just one of several, strategic keys to "unlock" the exciting, built-in age reversing cellular mechanisms that have been discovered over the past few years, it is what I would call, an essential key. What this means is that, if you implement everything else carefully and rigorously, but fudge on the diet portion, you are shortchanging yourself.

    What is so exciting to me is just how easy it is to adopt an anti-aging diet, and how satisfying this way of eating can be. I would not want to go back to my old, pro-aging ways of eating. Sure, just as I recommend in Growing Young, I have a splurge day where "anything goes," but the other six days, I really have no desire to "fall off the wagon," because I really enjoy the "anti-aging" way of eating.

    I have discovered a few things as my own eating habits have evolved, in my quest to eat food that supports my own wellness goals, and I'd like to share them, to help make the transition easier for anyone who would like to follow suit.

    One of these discoveries was that I needed to develop a "new picture" of what a healthy meal looks like. I mean a mental picture, to help guide me when picking things to put on my plate. Keep in mind that like most people, at least 10 meals per week are eaten outside my home, most often at the hospital cafeteria.

    Until I had this mental picture of a "hearty meal" in my mind, I instinctively felt a sense that something was missing from my plate. Now that I have that picture, it's gotten a lot easier to choose, and enjoy healthy food. In order to help other folks create the mental image of truly healthy meals, I am going to begin posting photos of what I am eating, along with some comments about the reasons for choosing this or that portion of a meal.

    I will also critique my own meals, especially because many of them will be a compromise, where none of the choices open to me were "perfect." The idea is to present a  snapshot of the food choices of an anti-aging consultant who lives in "the real world,"just like the readers of this blog.

    Let's get started, shall we?

    Meal Number One: Grain-Free Salmon Cakes, with Fresh Garden Salad, and Homemade, Gluten-Free Tamari and Sesame Oil Dressing with Chopped Cashews

    OK, so this one doesn't look like much of a compromise, I'll admit. But it illustrates a few things. Most importantly, notice the size of the salad, compared with the protein portion. I think this is a healthy ratio. Also notice that there are three salmon cakes, not just one or two.

    One of the stumbling blocks on the way to eliminating carbs and especially grains from our meals, is a tendency to undersize the portions of the foods we do want to eat. When we leave out the bread, pasta and white potatoes, we have to remember to make up for it with somewhat larger portions of good things.

    This is a pleasantly filling evening meal, which will stay with me all night, with no just-before-bedtime cravings. There are virtually no soluble carbs here, so there is little stimulus for insulin release (that's what keeps between meal cravings at bay). Notice that this meal is in no way, "heavy;" after dinner, you could take a nice evening stroll, or even do a workout session. This one won't pin you to the couch.

    Omega 3's are abundant here of course, not just in the salmon, but because they are made with whole, fresh free-range eggs, which provide additional omega 3 fatty acids (yes, free-range eggs have lots of DHA in them, just like salmon, though not nearly as much). There are also abundant micronutrients, and complete protein, both from the salmon and the whole eggs (don't discard those yolks!). In addition, avocado provides abundant, healthy, anti-inflammatory, energy sustaining monounsaturated fat.

    This meal has it all: plenty of protein, lots of essential fats for brain and vascular health and anti-inflammatory goodness, trace minerals and other micronutrients galore, B-vitamins, vital enzymes, and no carbs, or inflammatory grains. If Americans ate more like this we wouldn't be in the midst of a chronic disease epidemic.

    Just as important, this meal has flavor and texture galore, to satisfy the eye, the heart and the palate. Made with sustainably harvested, wild Alaskan canned salmon, it's also environmentally responsible, and affordable.

    Stay tuned for more meal snapshots!

    Friday
    Dec092011

    The "Real" China Study, And The Importance of "Real Food"

    Rarely a week goes by that I fail to hear an anecdote about another acquaintance, or friend of a friend going "vegetarian," or even vegan. The movie, Forks Over Knives has certainly gotten a lot of traction through social media and word of mouth.

    Readers of my book, Growing Young: A Doctor's Guide To The New Anti-Aging, know that I take a different view. Like Fox Mulder in the X-Files TV series, I "wanted to believe." I searched in earnest for evidence that today's vegetarian and vegan diets were healthier, and contrary to what we have been led to believe in the current era of vegetarian media hype, I found that evidence seriously lacking.

    The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell has acheived near mythic status as the standard bearer for the vegan movement. Forks Over Knives is basically a film version of the book. I feel that both the book and film need to be viewed very critically, as agenda-based tracts, and not a what they purport to be, namely reasoned, scientific journalism.

    Right now, more than ever before, people are asking big questions about diet; how should I eat? What should I eat? What should I avoid? What should I feed my kids? Is organic better? What about "local?" But of all these questions, the one that looms largest is, "should I eat meat?"

    An important question, indeed. How would we go about finding an honest answer to this question? First of all, we need to be absolutely clear about what we are asking. Are we asking an ethical question, or a question about healthy eating? For some, who feel that eating meat is wrong for ethical reasons, the second question - about healthy eating - need never be asked.

    But for those of us who see humans through the long lens of science and anthropology as natural omnivores - clearly fitted for eating animals as well as plants - the second question, "is meat eating good for me?" can and must be asked. The problem right now is that many in the first camp - the "ethical vegetarians" and vegans - claim to be answering the second question for us.

    Here's where things seem to have gone wrong. Instead of being more explicit about their motivations, some prominent "ethical vegetarians" and vegans, are effectively "preaching" to the general public, under the guise of providing health recommendations. Books like the China Study, while purporting to stand alongside substantive nutritional science, are really little more than agenda-driven tracts, promoting ethical vegetarianism. They do not help answer the question, "what is the healthiest human diet."

    T. Colin Campbell openly admits that he is a vegan, motivated powerfully by his emotional reactions to growing up on a dairy farm, and his subsequent decision to become a vegan. What he doesn't spell out is that fact that his book, The China Study, is at best very weak nutritional science, if it is science at all. The message is simple: animal products are not healthy for humans to eat. Specifically, we are led to believe that, if we eat animal products, we will have a higher risk of cancer, heart disease, and every other serious malady of western civilization.

    But wait a minute; what does the China Study really show? I can assure you that I am not the only person left wondering if the so-called China Study actually tells us anything about what humans should or shouldn't eat. One certainly can't rely on the "conclusions" of T. Colin Campbell, as the China Study most definitely proves nothing about the relationship of eating animal products to cancer, heart disease, or any other specific disease in humans.

    Instead, what the China Study presents is a dizzying array of variables (367) and weak statistical correlations (8000!), which when analyzed closely, often as not strongly contradict the "conclusions" T. Colin Campbell draws from his own study. This is not really a study at all; it's more of a "blind 'em with lots of numbers and say whatever we want" affair. For those interested in just how bad this "science" is, here is a great piece about it: The China Study Revisited at Science Based Medicine

    I don't want to waste any more time talking about the China Study, because we still have a serious question to answer; namely, "what is the healthiest diet for humans to eat." Fortunately, some serious research is addressing this question, and the answers are becoming clearer all the time.

    One of these studies might be called, "The Real China Study." This study, published in The Journal of The American College of Cardiology, is titled Vascular Dysfunction in Chinese Vegetarians: An Apparent Paradox? (Kwok et al. 46 (10): 1957), shows that Chinese vegetarians have significantly worsened cardiovascular status, compared with meat eating, matched controls.

    This study is a great deal more rigorous in terms of design than The China Study we discussed earlier. It is a bona-fide basic science study, with enough statistical power to accurately show actual correlations. In this case, the correlation does not appear to be a positive one for vegetarians. Artery walls were significantly thicker, and the vegetarians in this study show evidence of accelerated atherosclerosis, compared with their non-vegetarian counterparts.

    Readers of my book, Growing Young, will not be surprised by these findings in the least. Why? Because they know that vegetarians, and vegans in particular, tend to eat an abundance of grain-based foods, and a dramatic overabundance of carbohydrates. In addition, vegetarians and vegans tend to short-change themselves where it really counts; they don't get enough essential fats, like DHA and EPA.

    This dietary imbalance causes vegetarians, and especially vegans, to develop a chronic, inflammatory state, which promotes atherosclerosis, cancer, and a host of other chronic diseases. In addition, vegetarians trade nutrient-dense, healthy fat and protein rich foods for insulin-stimulating, glycation-bond promoting, atherogenic, weight-gain and inflammation promoting carbohydrates. They are often found (as in the American Journal of Cardiology article just cited), to be deficient in essential nutrients, such as vitamin B12.

    Again, I must point out that I have the utmost respect for ethical vegetarians. What I disdain is the dishonesty with which vegetarianism and veganism are being promoted recently, with folks claiming that these diets make sense from a health perspective. Unfortunately, the evidence - as well as sound diet theory - just fail to support this idea at a core level.

    Certainly, some epidemiological studies have shown weak protection against some kinds of cancer, for vegetarian diets. Unfortunately, these studies suffer from many methodological flaws, and that data is, at best mixed. However, to the extent that vegetarian diets show any protection against certain kinds of cancer, I believe this reflects not the benefit of a vegetarian diet per-se, but rather the benefit of avoiding factory farmed meat.

    It also reflects something that is under-reported in the media, which causes strong bias in these large, "population studies," and which must be understood clearly, if one is to derive any meaningful conclusion from such studies; namely, the folks who self-report as vegetarians in these studies, are also very likely to be non-smokers.

    For example, in the study called, European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition–Oxford (EPIC-Oxford), the media reported various cancer statistics which have emerged from this large, prospective study. This is a huge study, with more than 65,000 people enrolled. It is also "prospective," which means it looks at these folks going forward, giving it more statistical power than the typical, retrospective diet study.

    This EPIC-Oxford study has been recently been reported as showing that "vegetarians get less cancer overall" (about 11% less - not much). But wait a minute, there are half as many smokers in the EPIC "vegetarian" population as among the non-vegetarians enrolled in the study. Hmmm. Could that be the reason for the meager 11% cancer risk reduction? I think so. 

    Here's what I find interesting. Among the EPIC-Oxford population, there was a signficantly higher incidence of colorectal cancer among the vegetarian population in the latest findings reported from this study. How much higher? About 50% higher! That's pretty compelling. I find this data especially compelling, because vegetarians ought to have some natural protection against colocrectal cancer, in the form of typically higher fiber intakes. Again, I don't believe this is surprising; vegetarianism is an unnatural diet for humans, and one we are not adapted for.

    All that said, with the current state of our industrial food system, vegetarianism and even veganism, are probably protective against numerous toxins which are now found in industrially farmed meats. In fact, if I did not have access to grass fed, humanely and sustainably raised meat sources, I would become a vegetarian myself. Animals raised on industrial farms, concentrate the many toxins which they are routinely exposed to, such as hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, fungicides, and numerous others, which make such unsustainably intensive farming "possible." 

    So, the question remains: what is the healthiest diet right now for we humans to eat? I think it is a diet that is as much locally sourced as possible, with grass-fed, humanely raised meats, an abundance of green, leafy vegetables, root vegetables, healthy fats, such as olive oil, and animal fats in moderation, including butter from pasture-raised animals. A truly health-supporting diet avoids grains, including wheat, barley, rice, rye and corn, as well as white potatoes, and concentrated sugar sources, like cane sugar, honey and other concentrated sweeteners.

    When we eat such a diet, we no longer have to count calories. We can eat until we feel satisfied, and not fear obesity. Furthermore, we needn't fear inflammation. Glycation (the pro-aging sugar cross-linking that makes our tissues stiff), is minimized. Subtle nutrient deficiencies that are now plagueing our society are prevented, because we are eating "real food," raised by conscientious farmers, on rich soil, using natural and organic techniques.

    When we eat a "real food" diet, such as what I just described, we needn't fear toxins, or be subject to the vast organic chemistry experiment that modern processed food has become. We can eat responsibly, yet enjoy the abundance of flavor, color and texture which makes "real food," such a life affirming source of joy for those who prize it, and make space in their life to seek it out.

    Furthermore, such a diet can be provided for our communities, without a 3000 mile supply chain, industrial farming, artificial fertilizers, GMO's, soil-depleting land management practices, habitat destruction, or displaced jobs. A diet such as this is thus complementary to community, civility, and to an economy that is stable, and vibrant.

    For more information on this sort of "evidence based" nutrition, I recommend my book, Growing Young: A Doctor's Guide To The New Anti-Aging. I amplify on this subject, and clarify some key principles of a diet that can dramatically slow aging, and prevent a host of common, chronic diseases.

    If you have not fully committed to eating mostly "real food," I recommend that you do so. It will be the greatest health investment that you ever make. It will also be an investment in your community, and help forestall the looming crisis in healthcare spending in the best way possible; by encouraging real wellness that is not dependent on medication, but rather on a sound diet and sustainable lifestyle.

    Friday
    Nov112011

    Mitochondria: Keys to Cellular Anti-Aging

    As I point out in Growing Young: A Doctor's Guide To The New Anti-Aging, mitochondria - the amazing energy harnessing machines inside all our cells - are one of the keys to understanding and managing the aging process. 

    Without an adequate energy supply, our cells stop performing basic housekeeping functions. The result is deterioration and cell-loss in the worst case scenario, but more often, the result is simply more rapid aging. Why?

    When cells become deprived of energy due to a decline in the number of mitochondria, and when remaining mitochondria become increasingly dysfunctional, cells lack the energy needed to maintain a broad range of functions.

    One of these key functions is protection and repair of DNA. When cells stop repairing DNA, critical errors in the DNA sequence can occur, leading to rapid cellular decline, and even cancer.

    Cellular "garbage cleanup" often stops as well, when energy levels drop due to mitochondrial dysfunction. In Growing Young, this is explained in greater detail; suffice it to say that cellular garbage is another one of the key "mechanisms of aging."

    Fortunately, our precious mitochondrial energy machines can be protected, and their function can actually be enhanced. In fact, in Growing Young, I show how recent breakthroughs in the understanding of cellular energy management enable us to dramatically upgrade the number of mitochondria, and their functional capacity, in our cells, naturally.

    By using this natural method to boost cellular energy capabilities, we support every cellular function, moving all our cells toward more youthful, capable, stable functioning.

    Here is a remarkable animation of mitochondrial function, from Harvard University biological visualization lab:

    I find this pretty breathtaking. I also find it inspiring and encouraging, when I consider the amazing fact that, just a short time ago, there was nothing that could be done to improve mitochondrial function. Today, thanks to very recent breakthroughs, it is not just possible, it is a reality.

    For those of us who utilize the Synergy Matrix program presented in Growing Young: A Doctor's Guide To The New Anti-Aging, it is a reality experienced daily!

     

     

    Thursday
    Oct202011

    Dr. Gitterle Interviewed By Vinita Singla of WNBC New York

    A big thank you to Vinita Singla, Health Editor for WNBC NY, who just interviewed me on the subject of my new book, Growing Young: A Doctor's Guide To The New Anti-Aging.

    Vinita focused the interview mainly on the importance of healthy sleep for Anti-Aging, which is just one of the many practical areas covered in the book, but I sure enjoyed the chance to talk about the book with her!

    Here is a link to the interview: http://www.nbcnewyork.com/blogs/go-healthy-ny/Sleep-Young-anti-aging-Gitterle-wellness-131807003.html