The Scariest Vegetable!

Some anglerfish are orange, but I chose this picture because it shows off the teeth. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

My grandson, Brandon, a graduate student at Duke University’s Marine Lab in North Carolina, sent us pictures of his anglerfish jack-o-lantern. As you can see from the picture of a real anglerfish, he nailed it! (He used a lollipop for the lantern and the fins are made from a cereal box.)

The anglerfish, with its gaping maw and fearsome jagged teeth is also called, appropriately, “the devil fish,” but there is something else in these pictures that can be scary, especially for those of us who are detoxing from a vitamin A overdose—his fish is made out of a pumpkin! Pumpkin is among the highest, perhaps the highest, in vitamin A of any vegetable, even more than kale:

100 grams of canned pumpkin: 15,563 IUs; 311.3% DV; retinol activity equivalent: 711.13 IUs

100 grams of fresh kale: 4,812 IUs; 96.2% DV; retinol activity equivalent: 240.54 IUs

Data from USDA.

‘Tis the Season 

Pumpkin-this and pumpkin-that seem to be everywhere at this time of the year: pumpkin/spice lattes, pumpkin Cheerios, pumpkin Oreos, pumpkin dog food, pumpkin/spice kale chips (for a double dose of carotenoids), and even pumpkin beer.

If you regularly find yourself feeling a bit off during the holiday season, you probably assume it’s because of overeating and too many sweets, which may be true, but it could also be the increased amount of vitamin A you consume in the Fall. And don’t forget that pumpkin is usually paired with Cassia cinnamon, which has health issues of its own.

The National Health Service of the UK recommends no more than 1.5 mgs, total, of vitamin A per day from food and supplements to reduce the risk of osteoporosis for those who are vulnerable. (Only the U.S. fortifies both dairy and cereals with artificial vitamin A, so our intake probably needs to be lower yet.) They also warn that pregnant women should avoid foods, like liver, that are high in vitamin A because they increase the likelihood of birth defects. Vitamin A is a teratogenic agent like the infamous morning sickness drug, Thalidomide, that caused multiple abnormalities in babies, including being born without limbs. The acne medication, Accutane, is a form of vitamin A (retinoic acid) and it carries dire warnings about its side effects; you are required to sign a waiver and promise to use two forms of birth control before getting a prescription for it.

Safe Pumpkins?

Pumpkin that is white, inside and out, and any other vegetable that is totally white all the way through should have very little if any vitamin A. (Vitamin A is yellow or orange. It may also be found in some dark foods that mask the orange/yellow carotenoid color, like kale and other dark greens.)

I used a lot of pumpkin in the recipes in my first book, because it is high in fiber, low in carbs, and can replace some of the flour and thickeners needed in low-carb concoctions. When I was able to find pumpkins that were white on the inside, I used them like french fries. Now I see that they have an additional advantage.

White winter squash can also be used in any recipe for pumpkin. There is no clear distinction between the two. There is a pure white acorn squash and an oval one called mashed potato. Spaghetti squash is also very low in vitamin A and might work as well. I plan to order seeds to grow my own next year so I can make all those recipes again now that I can’t eat the orange varieties.

To read more about vitamin A toxicity:

Eureka Part 1:

Eureka Part 2:

Eureka Part 3:

New Survey

Grant Genereux just sent out a new survey form to help him in his attempt to see what people are doing and which things are most helpful in reversing hypervitaminosis A. If you have any of the symptoms of toxicity or any autoimmune disease, please consider joining the experiment to help us learn if our current epidemics of these conditions can be solved with a simple elimination diet. There are now several thousands of us who have shared stories of remarkable healing by reducing or eliminating this potent poison that has been mistakenly labeled as an essential vitamin due to bungled research conducted almost 100 years ago. (Early researchers did not know that it was retinoic acid, the end metabolite of vitamin A, that killed their lab animals and not the lack of vitamin A, because RA was not discovered until the 1960s.)

Grant’s blog post about his survey is here: 

The survey is here: Please take a few minutes to fill it out.


You must deliver your ballot in person rather than by mail; it takes too long now to get anything delivered by Nov. 3rd in some places, especially those where mail sorting machines were trashed, as in Redmond Washington, near me And check the rules for filling out your ballot. In some states, if you leave any race blank, the whole thing will be thrown out. Dot the I’s and cross the T’s and don’t give anyone an excuse to keep your vote from being counted!

#Pumpkin, #VitaminA, #HypervitaminosisA, #Vote!

© 2020, Judy Barnes Baker

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Judy Barnes Baker

The working title for my first book was, “You’ll Never Know What You Are Missing.” It summed up my goal: to make eating for health synonymous with eating for pleasure. Once you discover the secret, you will find that the very best food for weight management, longevity, the treatment and prevention of disease, and over-all health and happiness is also the most sumptuous, satisfying, and indulgent way of eating the world has to offer. You are invited to the feast. Enjoy!
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3 years ago

I thought Trump was the scariest vegetable!!

Justin Marchert
Justin Marchert
3 years ago

Interesting read. I bought a white pumpkin this year, but it was orange-yellow inside, so I suppose that’s not the right one. Voting tomorrow. 🙂