“Men’s Health,” A champion in the game of confusion


Like Dr. Oz, Men’s Health is in the entertainment business.

Entertaining? Yes. Help with your heart disease? Not so much. Oct. 2011.

So why am I reading it? Because it’s my responsibility as an author and a blogger to know what’s going on out there. So I subscribed about two years ago and usually find something of interest when it arrives at my doorstep every month.

But, after two years of scanning the magazine, I have not seen a single article about the heart disease-reversing power of eating mostly whole, plant-based foods. As with the Dr. Oz show, this magazine is in the entertainment business and, when it comes to truly promoting health, confusion reigns supreme over clarity.

But this month; a glimmer of hope? (October 2011 shown here) There is a lengthy article by Matt Goulding entitled “A Meat Lover’s Guide to Vegetables.” (See link below). At first, I think that he may be about to give up meat for good but then I see that it’s just a 31-day challenge that he’s decided to undertake. The article begins:

I AM A SHAMELESS CARNIVORE. I have odd pig parts in my freezer, homemade duck prosciutto hanging from my basement rafters, molten bovine bone marrow commingling with my own. But nevertheless, I am about to do the unthinkable.

I’m going to give up meat. What could possibly convince a hard-core meat eater to switch teams? There are plenty of good reasons, actually. By all accounts, vegetables in America have entered a golden era: Farmers’ markets are sprouting across the country, chefs are trading in pork belly and short ribs for delicata squash and maitake mushrooms, and plenty of food magazines are breathlessly proclaiming vegetables “the new meat.” Even Walmart, the nation’s largest food retailer, has announced plans to offer more local, organic produce. And the First Lady dug her manicured fingers into the dirt to start a vegetable garden soon after moving into the White House. You could argue that there’s never been a better time to eat vegetables.

The use of oil, butter, cream, egg and mayo -- prevented most of his dishes from scoring in the 4-Leaf range.

Perusing his vegetable choices with lots of photos, I quickly find that he’s not following the Esselstyn guidelines for reversing heart disease. It seems that every dish features some combination of butter, cream, oil, eggs or mayonnaise. Didn’t notice any cheese, but there was probably some included in one or two of the dishes.

On the positive side, he spoke about the health-promoting qualities of vegetables and even mentioned a phrase from our book about your mother telling you that you should eat more of them. But also, as in our book, he pointed out that even though we continue to hear that we should eat more veggies (even citing the new USDA food plate), we seem to be eating less and less every year.  He reports some data on that topic:

A recent CDC study shows that only 21 percent of U.S. men are eating vegetables three or more times a day—a far cry from the latest recommendation to fill half your plate with produce at each meal. In fact, vegetable consumption among Americans has actually gone down since 2000. Even Men’s Health readers aren’t hitting the mark. A recent poll showed that 40 percent of you aren’t eating two to three servings a day (confession: I’m in that group myself). What’s more, these results come after the completion of the government’s 10-year-long Healthy People 2010 campaign, which included goals on increasing our produce consumption.

So he makes it a full 31 days without eating any “dead animal” as he called meat once or twice. He prepared and seemed to enjoy quite a few attractive and tasty dishes — even though they were far less healthy than he thought. But after successfully making it through his 30-day meatless challenge, he celebrates by visiting one of his macho haunts and orders up one of their “justly fabled pastrami sandwiches.” In fairness to Matt, I should point out that he ends on a good note — he only eats half the sandwich as he notices that they’re grilling some yellow squash in the kitchen and decides to have a bowl of it.

Yesterday at Fenway Park -- my three grandsons; Collin, Cooper (his very first visit) and Andrew. At ages 8, 9 and 10 -- A healthy group of young men, you can be sure that their daddy (my co-writer) didn't buy them hot dogs.

The Bottom Line. The problem with virtually every article within the “system” is that there is never any clarity about exactly what we should be eating to achieve vibrant health.

Like almost every article in this magazine, this one just added to the confusion. On the one hand, the author notes that there are more farmers markets out there and people are talking about the health benefits of fruits and veggies, but he also cites data showing that we’re eating less.

So, why was there no article about Bill Clinton and what he’s eating these days? Unlike the ConsumerReports article from yesterday’s blog, this magazine was printed several weeks after the CNN special featuring the former president eating no meat, dairy or oil — for the rest of his life; not just for 31 days. Maybe they’ll mention it in their November issue — I’ll be looking for it.

Want clarity about EXACTLY what you should be eating to achieve vibrant health, click on the logo above.

This just in. Amazon starts shipping our book (where clarity reigns supreme) this week. If you’d like to order our book on Amazon,  visit our BookStore now.

If you like what you see here, you may wish to join our periodic mailing list. Also, for help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4-Leaf page. From the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at HealthyEatingHealthyWorld.com

Click here for the Men’s Health article: A Meat Lover’s Guide to Vegetables | Men’s Health

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About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. Leveraging his expertise in making complex things simple, he is now seeking corporate clients who are interested in slashing their cost of health care. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from eCornell and the T. Colin Campbell Foundation, where he also sits on the board of directors.
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One Response to “Men’s Health,” A champion in the game of confusion

  1. Kevin Hansen says:

    I am a decade plus reader of Men’s Health until approximately 2 years ago (when I became vegan). I followed the Men’s Health advice for a decade. Here’s some of their usual tips in order of damage I had to reverse: a) Cheese is great food b) Red Meat is great food c) Fish is great food d) Lean meats are great food (referring to chicken and fish) and e) olive oil is great food. Only after going vegan and not eating any of the above have I lost the 35 lbs I needed to lose. They do have some great articles (McDougall’s article pre-Born To Run) and they do mention diseases that all of their tips (above) contribute to. They’ve just not got on board with the vegan thing yet. I find myself wondering how much the meat and dairy industry ‘sponsors’ Men’s Health.

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