At mindbodygreen, we’re all about using the power of nutrition to promote health and prevent disease. That’s why we’re excited to feature this excerpt from How Not to Die, the best-selling new book by Michael Greger, M.D., a leading nutrition expert and the physician behind NutritionFacts.org. In this passage, Dr. Greger shares why he created the “Daily Dozen” — the list of 12 foods he recommends eating every day — and fills us in on six of them.

Whole-food, plant-based nutrition: pretty self-explanatory, right? But aren’t some green-light foods better than others? For example, you can apparently live extended periods eating practically nothing but potatoes. That would, by definition, be a whole-food, plant-based diet — but not a very healthy one. All plant foods are not created equal.

The more I’ve researched over the years, the more I’ve come to realize that healthy foods are not necessary interchangeable. Some foods and food groups have special nutrients not found in abundance elsewhere. For example, sulforaphane, the amazing liver-enzyme detox-boosting compound is derived nearly exclusively from cruciferous vegetables. You could eat tons of other kinds of greens and vegetables on a given day and get no appreciable sulforaphane if you didn’t eat something cruciferous.

It’s the same with flaxseeds and the anticancer lignan compounds. Flax may average 100 times more lignans than other foods. And mushrooms aren’t even plants at all; they belong to an entirely different biological classification and may contain nutrients (like ergothioneine) not made anywhere in the plant kingdom. So technically, maybe I should be referring to a whole-food, plant- and fungus-based diet, but that just sounds kind of gross.

So as the list of foods I tried to fit into my daily diet grew, I decided to make a checklist, Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen. Here are six of them:

1. Beans

By beans, I mean legumes, which comprise all the different kinds of beans, including soybeans, split peas, chickpeas, and lentils. While eating a bowl of pea soup or dipping carrots into hummus may not seem like eating beans, it is. You should try to get three servings a day. A serving is defined as a quarter cup of hummus or bean dip; a half cup of cooked beans, split peas, lentils, tofu, or tempeh; or a full cup of fresh peas or sprouted lentils. Though peanuts are technically legumes, nutritionally, I’ve grouped them into the Nuts category.

2. Berries

A serving of berries is a half cup of fresh or frozen, or a quarter cup of dried. While biologically speaking, avocados, bananas, and even watermelons are technically berries, I’m using the colloquial term for any small edible fruit, which is why I include kumquats and grapes (and raisins) in this category, as well as fruits that are typically thought of as berries but aren’t technically, such as blackberries, cherries, mulberries, raspberries, and strawberries.

3. Cruciferous vegetables

Common cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, collards, and kale. I recommend at least one serving a day (typically a half cup) and at least two additional servings of greens a day, cruciferous or otherwise.

4. Nuts

Everyone should try to incorporate 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds into his or her daily diet, in addition to a serving of nuts or other seeds. A quarter cup of nuts is considered a serving, or 2 tablespoons of nut or seed butters, including peanut butter. (Chestnuts and coconuts don’t nutritionally count as nuts.)

5. Spices

I also recommend ¼ teaspoon a day of the spice turmeric, along with any other (salt-free) herbs and spices you may enjoy.

6. Whole grains

A serving of whole grains can be considered a half cup of hot cereal such as oatmeal, cooked grain such as rice (including the “pseudograins” amaranth, buckwheat, and quinoa), cooked pasta, or corn kernels; a cup of ready-to-eat (cold) cereal; one tortilla or slice of bread; half a bagel or English muffin; or 3 cups of popped popcorn.

How to Make the Checklist Work for You

I used the checklist initially as a tool to get me into a routine. Whenever I was sitting down to a meal, I would ask myself, Could I add greens to this? Could I add beans to that? (I always have an open can of beans in the fridge.) Can I sprinkle on some flax or pumpkin seeds, or maybe some dried fruit? The checklist just got me into the habit of thinking, How can I make this meal even healthier?

I also found the checklist helped with grocery shopping. Although I always keep bags of frozen berries and greens in the freezer, if I’m at the store and want to buy fresh produce for the week, it helps me figure out how much kale or blueberries I need.

The checklist also helps me picture what a meal might look like. Glancing at my plate, I can imagine one quarter of it filled with grains, one quarter with legumes, and a half plate filled with vegetables, along with maybe a side salad and fruit for dessert. I prefer one-bowl meals, in which everything’s mixed together, but the checklist still helps me to visualize. Instead of a big bowl of spaghetti with some veggies and lentils on top, I think of a big bowl of vegetables with some pasta and lentils mixed in. Instead of a big plate of brown rice with some stir-fried vegetables on top, I picture a meal that’s mostly veggies — and, oh, look! There’s some rice and beans in there too.





But there’s no need to be obsessive about the list. On hectic travel days when I’ve burned through my snacks and I’m trying to piece together some semblance of a healthy meal at the airport food court, sometimes I’m lucky if I even hit a quarter of my goals. If you eat poorly on one day, just try to eat better the next. My hope is that the checklist will serve you as a helpful reminder to try to eat a variety of the healthiest foods every day.

For more information on the other six foods on the “Daily Dozen,” check out How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease.

2016 Spring and Summer Eco-Fashion Pics!

If you need to shop, why not try the eco-friendly section first?  What is eco-fashion?  Anything made of earth friendly materials, made organically, made using less water or natural resources than alternatives, made with vegetables dyes, not harming animals, etc.  Many of our pics are available at your everyday stores like H&M, Nordstrom, Anthropologie, Macys, and LLBean!  Eco-fashion has come a long way, just check it out!

Click here to see our Spring and Summer Fashion picks!


How to Treat Pre-Diabetes with Diet



How to Treat Prediabetes with Diet

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For people with prediabetes, lifestyle modification is considered “the cornerstone of diabetes prevention.” Diet-wise, this means individuals with prediabetes or diabetes should aim to reduce their intake of excess calories, saturated fat, and trans fat. Too many of us consume a diet with too many solid fats and added sugars. Thankfully the latest dietary guidelines aim to shift consumption towards more plant-based foods.

Lifestyle modification is now the foundation of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology guidelines, the European Diabetes Association guidelines, and the official standards of care for the American Diabetes Association. Dietary strategies include reducing intake of fat and increasing intake of fiber (meaning unrefined plant foods, including whole grains).

The recommendation to consume more whole grains is based on research showing that eating lots of whole grains is associated with reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. New research even suggests that whole grains may protect against prediabetes in the first place.

According to the American Diabetes Association’s official standards of care (which you can see in my video Lifestyle Medicine Is the Standard of Care for Prediabetes), dietary recommendations should focus on reducing saturated fat, cholesterol and trans fat intake (meat, dairy, eggs and junk food). Recommendations should also focus on increasing omega 3’s, soluble fiber and phytosterols, all three of which can be found together in flax seeds; an efficient, but still uncommon, intervention for prediabetes. In one study, about two tablespoons of ground flax seed a day decreased insulin resistance (the hallmark of the disease).

If the standards of care for all the major diabetes groups say that lifestyle is the preferred treatment for prediabetes because it’s safe and highly effective, why don’t more doctors do it? Unfortunately, the opportunity to treat this disease naturally is often unrecognized. Only about one in three patients report ever being told about diet or exercise. Possible reasons for not counseling patients include lack of reimbursement, lack of resources, lack of time, and lack of skill.

It may be because doctors aren’t getting paid to do it. Why haven’t reimbursement policies been modified? One crucial reason may be a failure of leadership in the medical profession and medical education to recognize and respond to the changing nature of disease patterns.

“The inadequacy of clinical education is a consequence of the failure of health care and medical education to adapt to the great transformation of disease from acute to chronic. Chronic disease is now the principal cause of disability, consuming three quarters of our sickness-care system. Why has there been little academic response to the rising prevalence of chronic disease?”

How far behind the times is the medical profession? A report by the Institute of Medicine on medical training concluded that the fundamental approach to medical education “has not changed since 1910.”


I hope my work is helping to fill the gap that medical professionals are not getting during training about preventing and treating chronic disease. That’s actually how this all started. I would make trips to Countway at the beginning of every month in medical school to read all the new journal issues. I felt I had a duty to my patients to stay on top of the literature. But hey, since I’m doing so much work, might as well share it! So what started as an email newsletter morphed into a medical school speaking tour into a DVD series and then now all online for everyone.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live year-in-review presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, More Than an Apple a Day, From Table to Able, and Food as Medicine.

Image Credit: Alden Chadwick / Flickr


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Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous “meat defamation” trial. Currently Dr. Greger proudly serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States.


Vegetable Spring Rolls – the Perfect Warm Weather Dish!

As the weather gets warmer, our bodies seem to gravitate towards foods that are filled with water such as fruits and vegetables.  These Vegetable Spring Rolls are the Perfect Summer Dish because they will provide your body with the nutrients and energy it needs to get you through the day, keep you cool and not weight you down.

Step 1: Cut up your favorite veggies into large chunks and chop/shred in a food processor:  Here I used celery, radish, carrot, orange bell pepper, cucumber and avocado (chopped by hand)  You don’t need to use this many, I just had them in the house and wanted to experiment!  Notice all of the gorgeous colors!  Each one contains different vitamins and minerals to help your body fight disease and look its best!

Step 2: Place the rice wraps in a bowl of water and submerge for 30 seconds until it softens.  Then wet a clean wash cloth/towel and place it on your counter.  When you take the rice wrap out of the water, lay it flat on the towel.  Line the center with veggies.  Then fold the bottom and top pieces over, then roll the right side all the way towards the left until its binded almost like a burrito.

Step 3: Enjoy your veggie summer rolls!  Here I added a peanut dressing, but feel free to add your favorite!  I think low sodium soy sauce or ginger dressing would taste great too!

Surprising Foods that Increase the Risk of Diabetes


The Physicians Committee

Diabetes Here I Come

Wed, 2016-04-13 09:24

Diabetes here I come.” Controversy quickly brewed this week after a Starbucks barista wrote those four words on a customer’s grande white mocha. But rather than put those words on a specialty coffee, let’s put them where they really belong. With 422 million adults worldwide living with diabetes, I’d like to see the blunt warning on packaging for the most diabetogenic foods exacerbating this global epidemic.


  • Red Meat: Diabetes here I come. An increase of more than half of a serving of red meat per day increases the risk for type 2 diabetes by 48 percent, according to one study. Decreasing red meat intake resulted in a decreased risk for diabetes. Many other studies show the same.
  • Eggs: Diabetes here I come. Another recent study found that consuming three or more eggs per week increases an American’s risk for type 2 diabetes by 39 percent. It’s just one of many studieslinking egg consumption to diabetes.
  • Dairy, Chicken, and Fish: Diabetes here I come. A study released earlier this month found that those who consumed the highest amount of animal protein increased their risk for type 2 diabetes by 13 percent. But participants who replaced 5 percent of their protein intake with vegetable protein decreased their risk for diabetes by 23 percent.

There’s plenty of other evidence showing that animal products increase diabetes risk, while plant-based diets can often prevent and reverse diabetes.

Diabetes here I come. It’s a message many don’t want to hear. But with about 1.5 million newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes cases and nearly 250,000 diabetes-related deaths in America each year, it’s an easier pill to swallow than the consequences of getting the disease.