The time has come to share my exciting news! As you may know, I initially transitioned to this lifestyle for my health. I really just want to live forever. Is that too much to ask for?! But with things like heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, breast cancer, and Parkinson's disease all running in my family, my risks seem a lot higher.... Or are they? Apparently, regardless of your family history, these things can still happen to you. It all boils down to diet.
For example, an ultra marathon runner who eats whatever they want and is in great shape will still have worse arterial function than the lazy vegan. You literally can't outrun a bad diet. See this brief video from NutritionFacts.org that further explains how this is possible.
But I don't just want to be the lazy vegan, I want to be a fit, active, healthy vegan! So to motivate myself to improve me eating habits and eliminate more processed foods, I've decided to join a health study! It's called the Nutritarian Women's Health Study from Northern Arizona University. It's a long term observational study on the health of the nutritarian diet on occurrence, recurrence, and progression of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and all forms of cancer.
The Nutritarian diet is coined by Dr. Fuhrman and is described as being "nutrient-dense and plant-rich, and includes anti-cancer superfoods, which also facilitate weight loss." These nutrient dense foods include whole fruits, vegetables, beans and other legumes, nuts and seeds, and whole grains.
This study is open to all females over the age of 18 in the United States. This is an open-ended study so it can go on for years but you do have the ability to opt out at any time.
Update August 2021: Unfortunately, they have removed all information regarding the study from their website but you can find more information about it here.
During the study you receive periodic questionnaires to answer and occasional blood tests. Don't worry—they send you a kit that you take to a lab to be performed so you don't have to poke yourself. You should only need to do that once every 1-2 years. Easy peasy!
If anything, you should at least sign up for the 30 day trial so you can receive a free copy of the book Super Immunity by Dr. Joel Fuhrman for free. Did I mention it's free?
And don't fret males, although they may exclude you for the actual study, I'm pretty sure you can still sign up for the 30 day trial and receive the free book 🙂
Ok, so here's how you get started with the 30 day trial (update: you can no longer sign up, but here was the previous process if you're curious!):
- Go to the enrollment page and start filling out the information. If you ever need to pause while filling it out you can either leave the page open and come back to it later (I did that sometimes) or you can pause it to return later and they'll give you a code (save that!) and email you a link to return for later. You will need to use that link and the code they gave you to return. But honestly, it didn't take that long to fill out so you might not even have to bother with that.
- After you fill out the information you watch a few short videos from Dr. Fuhrman and answer some questions.
- Then you get to download the free book! At this point they will email you the information to download the book and you will need to use the pause feature so that you can read the book before you continue. So again, don't lose that code!
- The book isn't too long but has excellent research and information on the nutritarian diet and what is best for achieving "super immunity" to live longer and healthier lives (disease free woot woot!). The back of the book also has easy to follow meal plans and recipes—and yes there's even desserts! The recipes sound delicious and I plan to make several of them soon like the Sweet Beet Potato Cakes with Strawberry sauce, Better Burgers, Bean Enchiladas, Thai Longevity Stew, and Coconut Carrot Cream Pie just to name a few. Listing food makes me hungry.
- After you're done reading the book you return to the study with the email link and that code you saved so that you can answer a quick 15 question quiz about the book. It's super easy.
- Then you answer one last questionnaire about your health history. You will need to take a couple measurements around your waist and hips and know your blood pressure. Don't worry, places like Kroger (Dillons, King Soopers, etc.) and some Walgreens have those free machines that take your blood pressure for you. You can see my results below. Once that is all complete, you fill out the consent form and you're in the study!
It may seem like a lot but you have 30 days to complete it all. But seriously, at least sign up so you can get the free book. It is worth the read, and perhaps may convince you to add more fruits and veggies to your diet. I've already started adding pomegranates to my diet (yum!) and I've stopped picking around the mushrooms in my meals and have accepted that eating them daily is associated with a significantly decreased risk of breast cancer.
About 1 in 8 (12%) women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime so I'm all for reducing my risk. C'mon ladies—none of the women in our lives should ever have to suffer through that—so let's pass this amazing knowledge along!
So go read that book and let me know if you decide to join the health study. We can help keep each other stay accountable so that we can live longer healthier lives together!
P.S. Stay tuned for a short review of that book coming soon. I really enjoyed it and think you will too! *Update: You can read my review here.*