Projects

This section will be dedicated to keeping you up to date on interesting projects or events going on in the low carb arena. 

 Life in Action 

Life in Action is a collaboration with the childrenís advocacy group Free the Children based in Toronto, Canada with the Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Foundation. It was started in 2005 as a pilot program in 45 grade schools. By its second year it expanded to 120 participating schools.

The curriculum is targeted to 4th, 5th and 6th graders teaching them the basics of a healthy lifestyle. The purpose is to reach children at an age when they are still open to learning about their bodiesí and making healthy choices to address the epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

The program provides skills for children to eat healthier, become more physically active and develop a sense of social responsibility.

The participants have embraced the program in a variety of ways including creating their own projects to provide healthy snacks at school, developing healthy cookbooks, writing politicians requesting healthier school lunches and participating in regular physical activity during school hours and at home.

Life in Action provides not just a support system for kids to help each other get healthier but involves parents, siblings as well as teachers in learning the basics of making healthier choices for themselves and their families.

Find out how to keep track and the number of steps we all need to take each day to be healthy.

Ideas for fun snacks and lunches.

Physical activities for rainy, sunny or cold winter days.

How much sugar is in a soda pop?

How active do I need to be to burn up a serving of French fries?

Take a look at the fun, interesting and colorful handbooks for students, parents and teachers as well as other helpful info you too can use to slowly make those changes that can make all of you healthier and happier.

 

First Nations People Return to Their Traditional Diet to Combat Obesity and Diabetes

On small Cormorant Island just off the coast of northeast Vancouver Island people of the Namgis tribe are turning to a modern equivalent of their traditional diet. As with many native populations consuming the Western diet rapidly puts the population at risk for diet-related diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. The traditional diet of the Namgis consisted of liberal fat, fish, game, berries and a few edible grasses when available. 

About 5 years ago Dr. Jay Wortman, himself a member of the First Nations, discovered he had type 2 diabetes. He should not have been shocked since he had a strong family history of the disease. Like many he didnít suspect how damaging carbs, especially in a susceptible population, can be. While working with the Canadian healthcare system and the aboriginal population he saw first hand how moving away from the traditional diet was creating serious health problems in an already under-served population. Stores serving First Nations peoples were stocked with high carb, refined sugars and starches with limited selection of fresh vegetables and whole foods. People still ate a lot of fish but supplemented it with unhealthy carbs and foods with added sugars. This change from their traditional ways has rapidly resulted in obesity, diabetes and its complications affecting all age groups.

Upon discovering his diagnosis Dr. Wortman intuitively knew to stop eating the very foods that increase blood sugarócarbs. Within days his high blood sugar returned to normal. By continuing to eat low carb he lost the twenty pounds he needed to lose and completely normalized his blood sugars. He was surprised to find that the way he was eating was the Atkins diet. Like many he had a negative opinion of Atkins because he didnít understand what the Atkins diet really was. He educated himself by reading both Dr. Atkinsí New Diet Revolution and Atkins Diabetes Revolution to understand how and why the program works. He made the connection between his peoplesí traditional diet and an Atkins Lifestyle-both are low carb. Because of his experience he believes it makes sense to encourage others to return to the closest way of eating to their traditional diet to address serious health issues.

After doing much research, meeting with researchers and clinicians using low carb he was determined to bring this message to people at risk who were willing to return to a diet closer to the one that allowed their ancestors to survive for thousands of years. Not surprisingly, he met opposition especially among health authorities, dieticians and many others. He persevered and found the Namgis in Alert Bay who were desperate to make lifestyle changes to help themselves and others in their community who were at risk. He managed to obtain funding from Health Canada and the University of British Columbia to study 100 people for 1 year on a low carb plan. 

A study protocol was set up with the help of Drs. Eric Westman, Mary Vernon and Steve Phinney.  Myself and Dr. Abby Bloch from the Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Foundation offered our insight to the project and assisted in training the medical personnel who would work with the population. 

I participated in 2 visits to Alert Bay during the course of the study and enjoyed the beautiful area and the wonderful people. The sense of caring and close community we experienced was heart-warming. This study truly seemed to be a community affair. Knowing that support is so important when making a permanent lifestyle change this community made sure there was an abundance of that.

The results have been presented in a documentary made by the CBC and aired in Marchí08.The response has been terrific. Hopefully it will be aired in the US in the future.

For information and updates be sure to visit Dr. Wortmanís blog about his interesting and important work. You can find him here