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The Health Up Newsletter
Created Weekly by Teri Yunus 
Health Up With Teri Health & Wellness Coaching

November 30, 2023 | issue 165

What's Inside This Week:
  1. Statins….Are These Drugs a Good Option for You?
  2. Restricting Methionine-Rich Foods As A Health Measure
  3. Beans for Breakfast?
  4. Did You Know?
  5. Recipe of the Week
  6. Health Tip Tuesday!
  7. My Favorite Quotes

Statins - Are These Drugs a Good Option for You?
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By the time we reach our 50s and 60s many have some measure of high cholesterol. Statin drugs are some of the most prescribed medications in the history of pharmaceutical sales. The question is…are these drugs a good option for everyone? I've heard people say that these medications should just be added to the water supply…mostly joking but some of us do not see the humor in something like this. There are ways to treat high cholesterol without medications even though first-line treatment seems to be the ‘go-to’.
The first statin drug hit the market in 1987 and was regarded as a life-saver to reduce heart disease and stroke risk. However, some of the safety and efficacy studies are misleading. An example that was highly publicized was similar to the scenario of studying 100 people for heart attack risk. In the placebo arm, two people had heart attacks. The drug arm of the study demonstrated  just one heart attack…it's reported as a 50% decrease in heart attacks with drug use. This is highly misleading yet hyped by the media. There are some questionable financial ties, as well, which can be a conflict of interest. Unfortunately, there is so much conflict in studies today that is it almost impossible to sort out what is real and what is not ‘exactly’ true. Side effects are downplayed, flaws are overlooked and the American Heart Association (AHA) has changed it's guidelines so more and more people fall into the ‘would benefit’ category. It's been said that statin drugs are over-hyped, over-prescribed and under scrutinized. So how do we sort this all out to know if these drugs are a good option before we agree to take them. Prescribers typically say it's a lifetime drug…once you're on it, you're on it for the long run. 
Do your own research! This is easy to say but not so easy to do. It takes an investigative mindset to search resources to find the ones that are not biased and that are fairly reported. It takes time and effort and most people will take the easy way out and just take the pill. If that is you…no shame, no judgement. Just pay attention to your body. Be aware of side effects that may not be agreeable. Report changes to your healthcare provider and voice your concerns. It is your body. The AHA and your healthcare team make recommendations…you decide what is right for you. 
Relying on medications to fix our lifestyle choices isn't the only treatment option. You may want to talk to your healthcare team about doing a trial of diet and exercise to see what happens with your cholesterol numbers. You may be shocked at how much power you have to alter these numbers. Rip Esselstyn did a 7 Day Rescue Challenge with this Fire Squad years ago and found that they all benefited with lower numbers after just one week of eating a whole food plant-based diet! It's no joke. What we put in our mouths matters most. Getting rid (or greatly reducing) foods that contain cholesterol lowers our blood cholesterol. Add some movement and those findings are amplified. So consider what you can do for yourself before agreeing to a lifetime of drug. Medications are great when they are needed. The sad thing is that we give them all the power and rely on them instead of treating the root cause of eliminating the need for the drug. Food for thought. 
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Restricting Methionine-Rich Foods As A Health Measure
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Everyone knows I promote a whole foods, plant-based way of eating. What I tell people when they ask me why is that I am just stacking the deck in my favor as best I can. Am I perfect? Hell no. I am human. One thing that I know is that my brother, my sister, and my mom all died too young and I don't want that same fate. I feel like the deck is stacked against me when it comes to longevity. My dad lived to be 75…the longest living of my immediate family. I want more. I am shooting for triple digits. 
Something I read about recently is that a methionine restricted diet has promise as a cancer treatment. No one wants to hear a diagnosis of “the C word”. It's scary as any other thing in our world. So the title of the article caught my eye big time. 
What is methionine, you may be asking. It is a sulfur-containing amino acid that is a building block of proteins in the body. Doesn't sound harmful, right? It is essential and the body cannot make it on it's own. It must be consumed in our diet. Okay…so why do we want to restrict it if it is essential? Methionine is found in most protein-containing foods. Animal-derived foods contain much more than plant foods and this may be the issue. We are eating more and more animal-based food products  like eggs, fish, chicken and turkey (all are the highest methionine concentrated foods). Beef, pork, milk and cheese are next in line for highest content. Cancer cells, it seems, have an abnormally large appetite or these foods and thrive on it for growth. Human studies are very limited when it comes to the effects of methionine. Mice studies show us that those fed a lower-methionine diet had slower tumor growth than those being fed higher amounts. These studies had additional benefits such as slower aging, improved health and even extended lifespan. 
So there you go…another reason to eat more plants. Plant foods contain methionine but in much smaller concentrations. We get what we need without getting too much. It's a win-win. 
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Beans for Breakfast?
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Beans, beans…the magical fruit…the more you eat, the more you toot. Some of us are reluctant to eat beans for this reason. If this is you, read on. Beans are a lot more nutritious than you may know. Beans are the foundation of the healthiest diets in the world. Beans are that whole food, plant-based protein that is low in methionine! Beans and legumes are linked to longer lives. They are naturally low in fat, high in fiber and are rich in protein and complex carbohydrates that give us the energy we need. Plant-based doctors recommend eating a cup to a cup and a half of beans/legumes every day. Research shows us that the best approach is to eat beans with every meal. This may seem odd but there are ways to incorporate beans into all our meals when we discard stereotypes about what each meal might look like. It's easier than you think. The photo above is from where you can find several beans for breakfast ideas. Just omit the added animal foods in some of the recipes. :) This recipe is below…it looked so good, I thought I'd share it with you!
  • Buy beans…whether dry, canned or frozen doesn't matter. Put them into your pantry and you are more likely to eat more of them. If buying canned, choose the ones without added substances. Frozen legumes are awesome…sweet peas are so good and good for you. Dry beans are the most economical. You must plan ahead to use these but an overnight soak or preparing them in a pressure cooker provides an abundance at a low price. Beans can be frozen in serving sizes to grab anytime, as well.
  • Add beans to soups, salads…any dish, really! You can even roast chickpeas for a tasty snack. Beans add flavor, texture and satiety to salads. Salads become a more nutritious meal when beans are added.
  • Beans are crowd pleasers! Think beans and rice or a hearty stew or chili. Beans add a creamy texture and significant nutrition to your dishes with little fat but lots of the good stuff…fiber and protein.
  • Think outside the box…the cereal box, that is. Beans for breakfast? Why not? Spreading some oil-free hummus on your sprouted bread toast in the morning is a delicious way to eat beans for breakfast. Add some thin slices of avocado to step up the game. You can add beans to your smoothie without even tasting them. Just a couple tablespoons for a creamy texture adds nutrients, too. Balance the beans with veggies and a small amount of fruit and you have a fabulous breakfast to sip. Or, how about a breakfast burrito made with black beans, rice and your favorite salsa? Wrap this in a corn tortilla and this fills you up and starts your day right.
  • Beans can even be used for dessert! Black bean brownies are super tasty. These can be a dessert or even a breakfast with a piece of fruit. There are hundreds of healthy dessert recipes that include beans online. Choose your favorites and save them.
Adding beans to your daily food intake is cheap, easy, and tasty. The bonus is lower cholesterol, better blood sugar control and a healthy gut microbiome. Our good gut bacteria love beans! If you are just starting out with beans, I recommend going slow while introducing beans to your body. Start with just a couple tablespoons a day and build your way up. Your gut may need to develop the appropriate enzymes to manage beans without the side effect of bloating and gas. Taking medications like Bean-O or Gas-X delay the body's ability to create this enzyme so take caution here. As your body adapts, you may find that you love the way you feel. Beans give us energy and are comfort food…the best comfort food. 
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Morning movement lowers risk of heart disease and stroke
In a study of 2,911 participants, those who showed peak activity between 8am and 11am had the lowest risks of heart disease and stroke. 
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Recipe of the Week
Veggie and Bean Vegan Breakfast Hash
Veggie and Bean Vegan Breakfast Hash
This easy vegan breakfast hash recipe by Karissa Besaw contains potatoes, vegetables, and your favorite beans. Make this recipe in a skillet or in the oven. Serves 4.
  3 large russet potatoes peeled and cubed
  2 teaspoons oil (easy to omit if you're oil-free like me)
  ½ teaspoon salt
  ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  1 can beans drained and rinsed
  2 cups baby spinach loosely packed
  1 medium zucchini chopped
  1 medium squash chopped
  1 red bell pepper chopped
  ½ cup mushrooms sliced
  1½ teaspoon garlic powder
  1½ teaspoon onion powder
  ½ teaspoon paprika
  pinch chili flakes
Skillet Method
Add the potatoes and oil to a large skillet on medium heat. Toss with salt and pepper.
Sauté the potatoes until tender and browned (about 25 minutes.) Toss every 5 minutes or so.
Add the remaining ingredients into the skillet except for the beans and spinach. Sauté until the vegetables are tender (about 10 minutes.)
Toss in the beans and spinach. Sauté for an additional 3-4 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted.
Baked Method
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Toss the potatoes with oil, salt, and pepper. Spread out on a parchment-lined or non-stick baking sheet. Let the potatoes bake for 25 minutes.
In a separate baking dish or cast iron pan, mix the remaining veggies, beans, and spices together. Put the baking dish in the oven next to the potatoes and continue to bake both for 15 minutes. Toss the potatoes about halfway through.
Stir the potatoes in with the veggies and beans, season with more salt and pepper if desired, and serve!
You can top this baked breakfast hash with sliced avocado, ketchup, salsa for additional yummy flavor.
Note: This recipe was updated March 2021 to include some changes and a new method (the skillet version.) If you're a fan of the original oil-free recipe without any changes, follow the baked version, use pinto beans, omit the spinach, and omit the oil.
Recipe from
Catch my Health Tip Tuesday video on Facebook on Tuesdays to hear my health tip for the week! 
Share with your friends and family. Sharing and commenting along with liking or loving <3 increases the exposure so more people can become aware of the value of healthful living.

My Favorite Quotes
Whether you think you can, or think you can't…you are right!
-Henry Ford  
My all-time favorite quote! It's so true. 

Important Disclaimer
The content in this newsletter is intended for educational/informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care professional. 
hen Basics tea
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