Merry Christmas from the Stoll Family!

Stoll Family2013
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. Luke 2:11(NIV)

What comfort, what joy, what peace, and what hope we have, that God loved us so much that He sent His Son so that we may inherit eternal life!

Kristen and I want to encourage you to take time this year to reflect on what Christmas is truly all about: a child, a Savior, and a coming King! Among the hustle and bustle of the season, be sure to recognize the miracle in a manger some 2,000 years ago, for He was the greatest gift that anyone could ever receive.

Kristen has created some special Christmas Dinner and Breakfast menus for you, and she hopes you will be blessed by it!

PBNHC Stoll SpeakingPBNHC DinnerPBNHC Stoll BenigasPBNHC Docs
We just concluded the first ever International Plant Based Nutrition Healthcare Conference and thanks to many prayers, friends, support, and two incredible partners in Tom Dunnam and Susan Benigas, it was a marvelous success. Ultimately, the attendees determine the success of the event. Doctors, who can often be critical, commented, "It was the greatest medical conference that I have ever attended", " of the most professional and helpful conferences available today" and, "A truly superlative event for a topic whose time has come!" (Dr. William Li, The Angiogensis Foundation). 

I had a lunch meeting this week with a group of men at a restaurant of their choice. After walking through the doors, I quickly walked back outside to recheck my e-mail and confirm that I was indeed in the right place at the right time. Inside was a typical bar with additional seating and the overwhelming smell of bar food—fried and onions.
Chopped OnionsA familiar car pulled into the space next to me confirming that yes, this was the correct restaurant, and I hoped that I would not run into anyone who knew me, or my Whole Foods colleagues. A brief glance at the menu confirmed that I would be only ordering a salad (white iceberg lettuce with shaved carrots and a tomato wedge) without dressing. But it was the overwhelming smell of onions—both in the tavern and on my shirt and in my hair—that triggered this blog.

According to a recent study at the University of Colorado, the nutrient density of food has declined significantly over the past 100 years.

The most debted nation in the world. The weakest families in the western world. The highest divorce rate in the world. Now, America is quickly becoming the most unhealthy nation in the world. With 70% of its population overweight or obese, up from 13% in 1970, doctors expect that 30% of Americans will have diabetes in the next 20 years. Don't look to Christians for setting an example in this area either. A whopping 76% of Christians are overweight.

During the past 100 years, medicine and the supplement industry have been dominated by reductionist philosophy that seeks to isolate, refine, and define a pill that will treat, prevent or reverse disease. This philosophy ignores the incredible complexity of food, and probable (and yet unstudied) interactions of macro and micronutrients. Studies have identified this synergistic interaction of nutrients, validating the important point that whole foods are far superior to their isolated parts and, in fact, have a multiplicative effect when consumed together—your smoothie, lunch or dinner. [1] In fact, in 2005 the National Institute of Health conducted a review of published studies on vitamin intake and disease risk, and found that the majority of the studies did not demonstrate any significant benefit. [2]  Still we look for simple solutions that do not demand any personal change, responsibility, or alteration of the foods that we have grown to love, and the $23 billion dollar supplement industry and medical system support our mediocre state.  

A recent study on omega-3 fatty acids validates the potential risk of taking isolated and consolidated supplements. Often referred to as “fish oil”, the study on omega-3 fatty acids highlights the importance of consuming a wide variety of whole foods over supplementation.  

The idea of nutritionism has confused the diet industry, and that’s why we have endless numbers of different diet books from the Cookie Diet, to the Lemonade Diet to the Cabbage Soup Diet; everybody is looking for some way to trick their bodies to lose weight, keep eating the foods they love, and maybe reverse diseases, but we’re always shooting at the wrong mark, missing the goal and the great abundance that God has provided.

If we just step back and look at everything through the Biblical lens – and I am a believer that God’s truth trumps all science – we see that science is continually changing. The things once held to be true are often found to be false, and new truth is found. But the Bible always holds up over time. When God created the Garden it was not about nutritionism; He didn’t give man instructions to eat six times daily, to eat your protein, or that you can’t eat your vegetables or protein with your fruit. God created the Garden and it was good, and He told man to eat of the Garden. And there were green plants and fruit-bearing trees, and that’s what sustained man. And the way that the Garden was organized gave man freedom and that’s the one thing we don’t have today. We have rules, regulations, guilt, sacrifice and deprivation tied into our food. God planned food to be eaten with abundance, joy, and gratitude. Adam and Eve recognized that it was God who provided the sun and the rain, and that the food growing was from God’s wonderful provision and infinite mind that created incredible colors, textures and tastes, and allowed food to always be enjoyable.

We have a favorite saying in our home “go green and green means go!" What is the first reaction you have when I say, "green food"? For many people, they wrinkle their nose, squint their eyes and utter an internationally recognized word, “Ewww”. Why have so many people developed such a strong aversion to green foods?

April 29, 2013

People love their morning cup of coffee and many can’t start the day without a dark cup of “morning goodness.”  I too once drank dark coffee in the morning and afternoon, dependent on the caffeine and addicted to the taste. 

A recent study clarified the previous murky world of studies examining coffee and its potential health benefits or disease promotion (more on that in just a minute). Previous studies on coffee consumption have concluded that coffee is either beneficial, reducing your risk of diseases such as heart disease due to the phytochemicals, or it increases your risk of heart disease. Many coffee connoisseurs confidently pour another cup after reading the latest study that promotes the health benefits and antioxidants. Those concerned about coffee point to caffeine and high blood pressure as primary risk factors. So who is right and how do you know? This conundrum highlights the challenges of interpreting modern research that is laden with bias, incomplete scientific knowledge, and commercialism. Simply reading the news reports about study findings or even the abstract itself can lead to a misinterpretation of the study findings or a failure to understand the weaknesses of the study. One prominent weakness in many nutritional studies is the assumption that everyone is genetically the same and it is the food that is the only variable in the study—assuming also that everyone is honest with their dietary food recall!  

April 15, 2013

In 2010 Mary decided to make a lifestyle change and enthusiastically pursued a plant-based diet, losing 30 pounds and feeling great. She was excited about her new life, energy and vitality, and was really beginning to enjoy the taste of vegetables. For the first time she really believed that this was going to be the last diet that she ever started and that she would maintain her ideal body weight for the rest of her life.  But her success came to an unexpected and abrupt end. Several of her closest friends began to distance themselves from her because she did not “fit” in with the group and, in fact, in her words was no longer the “fat” friend. She did not eat the same foods, drink alcohol, or laugh at the same “fat” jokes. Within a couple of weeks they ended the friendship and she was left without a core group of friends.

March 7, 2013

I am often asked, “There’s too much conflicting information about nutrition; how do I believe what you are saying is true, Dr. Stoll?”

I always go back to what the Bible says about food, because as Christians, ultimate truth is God’s truth. It doesn’t give us a strict diet plan, so we can’t say that there’s a biblical diet plan. But it does give general guidance. 

When we look back in Genesis, and we see the Garden, we see that God created us to eat fruit bearing trees, seed bearing plants, and green plants. Now, fast forward to Genesis 9:3. After the flood the world changed monumentally, so God tells Noah right after the flood, “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.” (NKJV) God made provision for a changed world because He knew there were places and times in history where people did not have access to plants.


January 2013

When I was in college, a small white 3x5 card was taped to the upper right-hand corner of my desk. Every night for four years, I looked at that little card as I sat down and cracked open the books. When I was tired and just wanted to go to bed, I would read those words. Almost immediately, I was filled with energy and inspired to continue studying. The small black words scrawled (it was really more like chicken scratch!) on that white card triggered visions of my future, clear in Technicolor; motivating, and empowering images that I believe were inspired by God. What did I see? A 40-plus-year-old man serving as a physician, helping others, serving in missions work, and inspiring others to health. Those mental images stoked the fires of my passion and purpose, and linked them inextricably to the immediate activity of studying, inspiring me to give my best. What were the words, you might ask?


January 2, 2013

Happy New Year to each of you! We pray that this year will be a year of continued growth mentally, spiritually, and physically, and a closer walk with God. I personally look forward to working with each of you during the coming year, and hopefully meeting you at an upcoming event or on our monthly conference call.

We all love something new, don’t we: a new baby and that wonderful new baby smell; a new car and the new car smell; new clothes, a new phone with new apps, a new friend or relationship, and new fresh start. New offers hope for a different future and anticipation of something better than the current condition. This time of year we fondly remember the blessings of the past year and with a deep and cleansing sigh are relieved to have the year behind us with its challenges, pain, struggles, failed expectations, and yes failed dietary plans! But with the stroke of midnight everything changes and we welcome in a New Year with the hope that things are going to be better and somehow different this year. Amazing isn’t it, how the movement of the clock ushers in a new attitude, new resolve, new plans, and new energy that wasn’t present just hours before?  

December 2012

We – my family and I – just returned from the Total Health Immersion in Florida this week; it was an amazing week that reinforces the remarkable power of vegetables! The immersion is a week-long health intervention with delicious plant strong meals, basic exercise, 4-6 hours each day of lectures and cooking demonstrations, and lots of fun. We had several participants that arrived with uncontrolled blood pressure in the 200/100 range. They were cleared by their physicians to attend and were by their own admission, “not very good patients”.

After four days of eating a plant strong diet and eliminating processed foods, sugars, oils, salt, and animal products, their blood pressures returned to near normal ranges, around 125/80-90, without any medication. The vast majority of diabetics were able to discontinue their medications because their blood sugars normalized in one week, and almost everyone was able to discontinue high blood pressure medication.

October 2012

“So many people spend their health gaining wealth,
and then have to spend their wealth to regain their health.” 
~A.J. Reb Materi, Our Family

Health Care in the 21st century has become a very expensive and impersonal machine that schedules more patients in an hour than time allows, and more tests and appointments than a Day-Timer can hold. Expenses are rising at an alarming rate: total out of pocket expenses rose by 45% in the last decade and the average family deductible has increased by 30% in the last two years. Tragically, a senior without prescription drug coverage pays on average 34% of their after-tax income on health care. What happened? We now have more tests, more medications, more appointments, more diseases, and less time, money and quality of life. Can you escape the current that carries everyone to the same painful destination?

Yes! You can take back control of your health destiny and reset your destination and future. You don’t need to face the same diseases that afflict millions today. You don’t have to die from a heart attack, suffer the ravages of diabetes, succumb to dementia, and struggle against a sick and tired body. The good news is that these diseases and a host of others are preventable and, in many cases, reversible. How can you avoid these common diseases that afflict friends and family? The answer is simple—Self Care.

Do you have a health debt or perhaps are suffering a physical bankruptcy? Just like your money, your health will either flourish or disappear based upon your investment of time and energy. Often in my practice I encounter people who have amassed a large health debt visible in their pain and disabling disease. Living on “credit”, they borrow against the future for a few short-lived pleasures today. Little by little, just like credit card debt, they begin to accumulate the disease. At first it is not noticeable; daily life and activities are unhindered by the damaging habits, and the debt seems manageable. You might think that tomorrow or next year you will be able to pay off that debt and make those healthy changes. However, tomorrow never comes, and the debt only grows larger and larger, and soon begins to impact other areas of your life.

Dr. Joel Fuhrman in his best selling book, Eat to Live, described the concept of a nutrient-dense diet and its remarkable health promoting disease reversing qualities.

The simple formula for a health life is summarized in this elegant equation: H=N/C or Health=Nutrients/Calories. Food at its basic level supplies us with nutrients to maintain cell function, the necessary raw materials for maintenance and repair, and energy. The energy from food is supplied in the form of calories from protein, carbohydrates and fats. The majority of people make decisions based on this level of understanding leading to diets that are high protein, low carbohydrate, low fat, and complicated by hours of impossible calorie counting. The micronutrients including the vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and anti-oxidants are also supplied by the food we eat, but do not affect the total caloric value. These micronutrients are the key building blocks that are essential for optimal cell function and are critically important to your future health.

 “Or do you not know that…you are not your own? For you were bought at a price…”

I Corinthians 6:19-20

Jamie was missionary working in Jamaica to help spread the gospel. She came to see me for health problems that cut short her mission service. Now, instead of pursuing the Lord’s work in Jamaica, her days were filled with doctor’s visits, physical therapy, and trips to the pharmacy, as her declining health shifted her focus from the Lord and His kingdom to the management of her own diseases. Did you know that as a follower of Christ your body is not your own? This stands in direct contradiction to the current cultural ideal of self. I Corinthians 6:19-20 teaches us that your body is not your own because you have been bought with a price–Jesus. If this is true, do we need to worry about our health and the way we manage our bodies or can we live like most of America? You are a living stone in the Lord’s temple, how do you want to present yourself to Him?

Jamie’s story ends well...

Do you regularly save? If you do, why do you save? Personal savings is an investment in the future and a hedge against unforeseen events and even disaster. Importantly, saving is never an end in itself, but is used to accomplish a purpose or goal. It also requires vision, discipline and consistency as you plan for an uncertain future. Just as you should be saving your money for the future, so also you should be investing in your health. Each of us has a “health bank account” where we daily make deposits and withdrawals based upon our lifestyle choices. Nutritional excellence, exercise, and proper hydration are a few important daily deposits. Withdrawals from your account may include a stress filled day started with coffee and a bagel, a hamburger and fries for lunch, and an evening meal of chicken parmesan noodles followed by beer/wine and sitcoms.

Every day in my office a patient recites these words, “Help, my body is falling apart!” Have you ever wondered why your body begins to fall apart and seems to do so at an alarming pace? Often, one system begins to fail and this can trigger a cascade of disease that begins to wash away both health and quality of life. Here are a few reasons that your body begins to fall apart; more importantly these represent opportunities to begin recapturing your health.