Foods that Fight Pain

Neal Barnard, M.D., to Speak in Triangle
Audrey Nickel
"You are what you eat" - that's what my mother always told me. I doubt even she realized just how true that statement is. Every day, it seems, we hear another report on how our food choices affect our overall health, our susceptibility to certain diseases, our longevity. Every day we come closer to the conclusion that the secret to a healthy life lies not in some far away laboratory, but right at the ends of our forks.
Renowned health activist and physician Dr. Neal Barnard has taken this conclusion one step further in his new book Foods that Fight Pain: Revolutionary New Strategies for Maximum Pain Relief [1998, Harmony Books, a division of Crown Publishers, $25]. Most of you have probably heard of Dr. Barnard in his role as President and Founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and editor-in-chief of its excellent periodical, Good Medicine. He is an active clinical researcher and author of numerous scientific publications. You may even have read some of his other books, such as Eat Right, Live Longer and Food For Life.
In his new book, Dr. Barnard explores how food choices can be used to fight or even prevent pain - from backaches and migraines to post-surgical pain and even cancer pain. For example, did you know that:
· vitamin B6 can be used to treat carpal tunnel syndrome?
· lysine can be used to prevent and treat herpes and canker sores?
· ginger can prevent migraines and that coffee can sometimes cure them?
· rice can calm your digestion?
· sugar can make you more sensitive to pain?
The book includes a selection of vegan menus and recipes by Jennifer Raymond, designed by her to fit in with Dr. Barnard's pain-fighting plan. The recipes sound delicious (I've already added both Basil-Lovers Green Beans and Potato Boats to my menu plan for next week) and easy to prepare, and most can be made with ingredients found in any well-stocked supermarket.
Dr. Barnard will be visiting us in the Triangle in July to discuss the health benefits of a vegetarian diet in general, as well as to cover material based on his new book. He will speak at the Radisson Governor's Inn in Research Triangle Park (off of route 40 exit 280, near the post office; see the calendar for detailed directions) at 7 P.M. on Monday July 13th. Admission is free, and copies of Foods that Fight Pain will be available for purchase.
PCRM, founded in 1985, is a nationwide non-profit organization of over 5,000 physicians and 100,000 laypersons that promotes preventative medicine and addresses controversies in modern medicine. PCRM is involved in advocacy and education about the relationship between diet and health, and conducts research, including a recent breakthrough study showing a new approach to diabetes that can actually get many patients off their medication. PCRM is currently planning research on using diet to help improve survival rates in cancer patients.
As President of PCRM, Dr. Barnard has been instrumental in reforming federal dietary guidelines. In his published research, he has shown how poor diet is responsible for up to $60 billion every year in health care costs. His interest in healthy eating evolved over many years. His family background includes both doctors and cattle ranchers -- two groups that are increasingly at odds over health issues. Before going to medical school, he worked as an autopsy assistant, observing first-hand the deadly effects of poor diet, including heart disease and colon cancer.
For more information about Dr. Barnard and PCRM, you can reach PCRM at 5100 Wisconsin Ave., Suite 404, Washington, D.C. 20016, (202)686-2210, or on the web at PCRM is a great group to join, and membership gives you a copy of their quarterly Good Medicine magazine.