Steve Sando founded Rancho Gordo, a company that grows and distributes heirloom beans. Jill chats with Steve and asks him about his favorite beans and how to cook them. Then Jill joins Self-Nourishment Coach Jeannette Bronee in the kitchen where she makes two savory smoothies to drink on the go. The first is a watermelon gazpacho, which is refreshing in hot weather. The second smoothie is a made with carrot and sweet potato combined with ginger and turmeric, which is anti-inflammatory and supports digestion. Finally, Jill asks internist Dr Frank Spinelli whether the annual physical is a thing of the past.

On the grow section of this week’s show Jill talks to Steve Sando from Rancho Gordo. Over the past few years Steve has taken the lowly bean and made it into a superstar ingredient by introducing the public to heirloom bean varieties and by working with top chefs like Thomas Keller. His beans are a revelation because they’re grown with love and also because their very fresh. Most dried beans are several years old by the time we cook with them, but Rancho Gordo beans aren’t and it makes a big difference. Steve stocks all sorts of different beans on his website and it’s fun to cook with them and get to know their different qualities.  

Steve’s story is an extraordinary one in that he was growing beans and selling them at his local farmer’s market, but no one really wanted to buy them. Then one day a well-known chef dropped by and started to use his beans and the resulting attention propelled Steve and Rancho Gordo into the business it is today. On the show Jill and Steve chat about how to cook beans and what to do if they give you gas!

Then we join Jill in the kitchen with one of our regular guests Jeanette Bronée. Jeanette is a self-nourishment coach and we always enjoy her simple recipes and her practical nutritional advice. This week she’s making cold vegetable smoothies. Smoothies have become very fashionable, but the ones made from fruit can have a lot of sugar in them, which may lead to blood sugar spikes and subsequent fatigue. So Jeanette’s versions are a lot better for you. She’ll be making two vegetable smoothies, one of them cooked and one of them raw. You can find the recipe for her Watermelon Gazpacho on her website along with one for Chilled Carrot and Squash Soup.

Finally, Jill sits down with Dr. Frank Spinelli. Frank is a Board Certified Internist and an Associate Clinical Professor at New York Medical College. He’s been on the show several times before. Once to talk about his memoir PeeShy and again to talk about the latest advances in the treatment of HIV and AIDS.

Over the last decade or so, there have been numerous studies that have failed to find a connection between the annual physical and reduced mortality or improved health outcomes in the people who have one. Groups, including the American Medical Association, the United States Preventive Services Task Force and the Society of General Internal Medicine have moved away from promoting the yearly head-to-toe exam in symptomless, healthy adults.

In fact, in a 2012 review from the Cochrane Collaboration, a nonprofit organization that surveys medical research around the world, looked at 14 clinical trials involving more than 180,000 people and the effect of “general health checks for reducing illness and mortality.” It found that checkups had no effect on hospital admission rates, absences from work, disability, specialist referrals, additional doctor visits or even patient anxiety. They didn’t improve patient health or reduce mortality, and the review concluded that an annual physical is “unlikely to be beneficial.” So that led to an editorial in The New York Times, by bioethicist and fellow of the Center for American Progress, Ezekiel J. Emanuel. He dismissed the annual physical examination althogether, calling it “basically worthless”. And he suggested that his readers skip it altogether. 

We had a feeling that Frank might disagree because from a doctor’s point of view, the annual physical provides a rare chance to look at the whole patient. So we invited him back on the show to get his thoughts.

YinOva’s founder, Jill Blakeway, hosts a weekly radio show for CBS Radio called Grow Cook Heal. You can subscribe and listen to the whole series as a podcast on iTunes.

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