Tracey Eakin, Plant-Based Nutrition Counselor
October 2012 Newsletter

How in the World Did Arsenic Get into Rice?

There has been a lot of coverage lately on the levels of arsenic that have been found in rice.  Rice is a staple of a plant-based lifestyle, so it's natural to wonder where the arsenic is coming from and if rice should be avoided.  There have been many attempts to explain the source of the arsenic and the explanation I've heard most often is that it is found naturally in the soil.  Well, Michael Greger, MD and Neal Barnard, MD provide quite a different insight.

Arsenic is routinely fed to chickens in the United States in order to kill their intestinal parasites, to increase their growth rates, and to turn their flesh pink, a color which is preferred by consumers.  Chicken feather meal and chicken manure are fed to farmed animals including fish and are used as fertilizer.

So what can you do?  Dr. Barnard recommends buying imported or organic rice, rinsing it well before cooking, and then cooking it with extra amounts of water that can be drained off at the end of the cooking process.  This will dramatically decrease your exposure to any arsenic in the rice.  In addition, we have yet another reason to avoid eating chicken.

For more information, go to and

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  I wanted to share with you recent scientific studies that further substantiate the importance of minimizing blood levels of insulin-like growth factor - 1 (IGF-1) and maximizing insulin-like growth factor - 1 binding protein (IGFBP-1) in the prevention and fight against cancer.

Researchers dripped the blood of sedentary women eating the standard American diet, laden with meat and dairy, onto cancer cells growing in petri dishes.  Their blood was able to slow the growth of some cancer cells.  Then these women were placed on a plant-based diet with moderate exercise and just 12 days later, when their blood was dripped in the petri dishes, it slowed the growth of significantly more cancer cells than before. 

 The experiment was repeated, this time using tunnel imaging to measure cancer cell apoptosis, or programmed cell death.   The sedentary, standard American diet blood was able to kill some cancer cells, but after just 12 days on a plant-based diet, their blood was much more effective at forcing cancer cell death than before.

Which blood do you want coursing through every nook and cranny of your body?  For a fabulous visual depiction of the results of these experiments, watch Michael Greger, MD's video:


No-Fuss Casserole


I created this recipe one afternoon when I didn't have anything planned for dinner, didn't have a lot of time to make dinner, and wanted something that my children would like.


3 cups instant brown rice cooked according to directions

3 cups of frozen corn, cooked

1 15-ounce can of kidney beans or any beans you like, rinsed and drained

1 6-ounce can of small, pitted, whole black olives, drained

2 16-ounce jars of your favorite salsa

low-fat guacamole (We love Giant Eagle's spicy guacamole.)

Cook the rice and corn and combine with the beans, black olives, and salsa in a large casserole dish.  Serve topped with guacamole, and enjoy!  Can be coupled with a green salad, steamed vegetables, and applesauce.

Taking the Guesswork Out of Adopting a Plant-Based Lifestyle E-Book On Sale!

I am offering my e-book at the reduced price of $9.99 plus tax.  It can be purchased on my web site at:


Each month, I will help you to make sense of the latest nutrition issues to hit the news, provide you with easy-to-understand recaps of the most current and comprehensive scientific studies on nutrition, pass on helpful tips, and share with you a tasty recipe.  Understanding why a plant-based lifestyle is critical for achieving optimal health is easy.  What can be challenging is living healthy in a Western society.  My goal with this newsletter is to help you along your way.

Join My Facebook Group

To provide you with moral support during this very important transition and beyond, I've created the Facebook group, Vibrant Plant-Based Living.  I encourage you to join and find the help and support of others striving to make the same positive changes to their health.  Here we can share what has worked and what has caused us bumps in the road along the way.  Someone in the group has likely faced the same challenge and can tell us what worked and what didn't.  To join, just email your name as it appears on Facebook to, I'll friend you, and then add you to the group.

Upcoming Speaking Events Open to the Public
Advanced Registration is required for all events held at Peters Township Rec Center.  Call 724-942-5000.

Intro to Plant-Based Living
Peters Township Rec Center
$25/class members; $38/class non-members
November 12, 7-9 pm
December 17, 7-9 pm
Dietary Excellence for Children
Peters Township Rec Center
$25/class members; $38/class non-members
October 17, 7-9 pm
November 19, 7-9 pm
December 10, 7-9 pm

Intro to Plant-Based Living with Cooking Demonstration and Food Samples

Peters Township Rec Center
$25/class members;
$38/class non-members
These dates are tentative.
January 10, 7-9 pm
January 24, 7-9 pm
February 7, 7-9 pm
February 21, 7-9 pm

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