Monday, October 05, 2015
If you need surgery, you first want the right surgeon. You also want convenience: a comprehensive service package, a clear price, and confidence that there won’t be surprises.
Well, you can get all online. You can get it online because a growing number of American and foreign surgeons are coming together as Surgeo, a website that opens simple access to the surgeons that they would use if they needed surgery.
Here is how it works.
In surgery, quality comes from the surgeon. So the first thing these surgeons did was ask themselves a simple question: which surgeons deliver the kind of quality that would cause them to send their loved ones. Surgeons have a real advantage in answering this question because they train together, cover each others’ patients on weekends, and scrub together on cases.
Surgeons know surgeons better than anyone else. So under Surgeo, you get the benefit of their collective wisdom because they only bring in the surgeons they would personally use.
Convenience comes from administrative clarity and support. So the next thing these surgeons did was design flat-fee, transparently priced packages that include all the things they think you would need.
So for example, they packaged physical therapy in with knee replacement surgery, so you don’t have to worry about that. Then they packaged in those pesky ancillary procedures. So if you need gastric sleeve surgery for weight loss and your surgeon finds you need a hernia fixed, it’s included: with no extra bill to worry about.
They also built in things you never find, such as simple healthcare financing. When did you last hear of that? So if you need a knee replacement and money is tight, Surgeo can help you arrange better terms through a loan. And in some cases, such as reconstructive penile implant surgery after trauma or robotic prostatectomy for prostate cancer, they even wrap in complications protection, to give you peace of mind.
Healthcare delivery is going through monumental reforms. The government and other third parties are ever complicating what once was a pretty simple physician-patient relationship. This has made it hard to find good surgeons, get clear prices, and simply access good care.
Surgeo is the reverse. Surgeo is a surgeon-driven effort to once again simplify access to quality care and revive what has always been the purpose of healthcare: to help you get well.
If you need surgery, you need a qualified surgeon and you need convenience. Surgeo helps you them.
Monday, September 28, 2015
Many health experts, as well as lay people, believe doctors overprescribe antidepressants. In just the last 20 years, the number of people taking antidepressants has exploded. One out of every 10 Americans takes one, and that number jumps to one of out every four middle-aged women.
Recently I interviewed Dr. Sara Gottfried, a California gynecologist and author of the fabulous Hormone Reset Diet. She told me she discovered her successful weight loss program after a frustrating experience with her own doctor, who, when told she was moody, lacking energy and clearly overweight, prescribed an antidepressant.
Gottfried was skeptical that an antidepressant was the answer to her problem. She was right. She suspected it was hormonal in nature, and tested her hormones (something her GP failed to do), which were wildly out of whack. After balancing her hormones, she lost the weight and regained her joy…all without any pills.
One of my friends complained to her doctor about experiencing brain fog and lethargy. He prescribed an antidepressant. Like Dr. Gottfried, my friend was skeptical and felt an antidepressant was not the answer.
She was right. She got second and third opinions until one physician hit upon the correct diagnosis: Lyme Disease. She was treated with an antibiotic, not an antidepressant, and her symptoms dissipated.
A woman in my aerobics class mentioned she ditched her antidepressants when she started doing strenuous cardiovascular exercise combined with weight lifting. She said the doctor who prescribed her antidepressants never even told her there was a natural alternative to the medication.
Now a brain researcher has written a fascinating book about other natural ways to mitigate feelings of depression. It’s called The Upward Spiral, by Dr. Alex Korb.
Korb uses his knowledge of the way the brain works to teach people how to rewire their brain's circuitry, focusing on two primary areas: the prefrontal cortex, which is the thinking part, and the limbic system, the feeling part.
He bases his theories on scientific studies which have proven to increase happiness.
One of the most interesting tips in his book, is, when you are feeling depressed, ask yourself, "What am I grateful for?
As it turns out, gratitude stimulates the production of dopamine. This is what the antidepressant Wellbutrin is said to do. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that deals with the brain's reward and pleasure centers and regulates emotions.
Additionally, gratitude boosts levels of serotonin, which is the claim of the popular antidepressant Prozac. Like dopamine, serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is considered a contributor to feelings of happiness. Gratitude is enormously valuable in boosting well-being.
If it seems difficult focusing on the things and people for which you are grateful, take heart. Dr. Korb says the more we practice gratitude, the easier it becomes, kind of like building a "gratitude muscle."
Nancy Lee DeMoss penned the highly successful Choosing Gratitude, which is a comprehensive tutorial about how to increase gratitude. I interviewed her last year for a piece that aired on The 700 Club on Thanksgiving. It changed my life. Gratitude not only improves our mood, but also our relationships and overall health.
Another tip Dr. Korb recommends to stymie the blues, is to label negative feelings. The simple act of identifying the emotion you are feeling helps alleviate it. We need to recognize and name our feelings, not bury them. All you need to do is describe the emotion you are feeling in just one or two words.
Here's another great tip: touch. Human contact makes us happy. It can be something as slight as a handshake or a hug. If you don't have a lot of physical contact in your life, getting massages on a regular basis will do the trick.
Finally, we become happier when we make decisions. It gives us a feeling of completion, closure and accomplishment. Try not to fret about making the perfect decision, sometimes that’s not realistic. Instead, try focusing on making a decision that’s "good enough," and move on.
Monday, September 21, 2015
Yet another research team has come out with a report against the use of antibacterial soaps. The South Korean scientists discovered that antibacterial soaps only kill more bacteria than regular soaps do, if the antibacterial soaps are exposed to the bacteria for hours.
When the antibacterial soaps and the regular soaps were both used for 30 seconds, both killed the same amount of bacteria.
The active ingredient in antibacterial soaps is a product called triclosan. Current law forbids soap manufacturers from using more than 0.3% of it in antibacterial soaps. The South Korean researchers found that such a weak percentage of triclosan means it does not kill more bacteria than regular soap and water. They discovered the percentage of triclosan needs to be much greater than 0.3% to kill substantially more bacteria than regular soap.
However, don’t let that 0.3% of triclosan make you think it’s safe. As it turns out, it could be harmful in a number of ways, according to years of research that has even gotten the attention of the Food and Drug Administration.
In fact, the FDA is considering banning triclosan unless soap manufacturers can prove that it's safe.
The FDA is concerned reports that triclosan causes hormonal disruption. Equally concerning is the theory that triclosan contributes to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This is because when we use antibacterial soaps, the residue goes down the drain and ultimately into our water supply. So we end up drinking the stuff and the triclosan-tainted water is used to grow the foods we eat.
Remember, we only want to kill some bacteria. Much of the bacteria in our bodies, especially in our gut, are good, and we need it to maintain a healthy immune system. If we do away with all the bacteria in our gut we can suffer all kinds of bowel trouble and more.
So as cold and flu season approaches, remember the best way to prevent against getting sick is to wash your hands often. But just use regular soap and water. Ideally, use warm water and lather for at least 20 seconds, or about the time it takes to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice.
Wednesday, September 09, 2015
If you are opposed to organ donation, or are indifferent to the concept of having your organs and tissue surgically removed upon your death then transplanted into someone who needs them, talk to Charlotte Ray.
I was blessed to meet this beautiful and brave mother on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This is where her precious son Jason Ray proudly served as the UNC mascot eight years ago when he was tragically killed by a car while he was walking on the side of a busy street.
Jason loved (loves) the Lord very much. So while Charlotte's grief is still raw, she is comforted by the belief that she will see her dear child again in heaven.
In fact, it was Jason's faith that was the foundation of a prophetic conversation he had with his mother when he made the decision to become an organ donor.
At the time, organ donation was something to which Charlotte and her husband Emmett were opposed. But listen to how Jason changed his mother's mind, and how that conversation later moved his father, as well.
Jason donated enough tissue and organs to improve or save the lives of more than 50 people, from burn victims to the visually impaired. ESPN produced a dramatic, moving, 15-minute tribute to Jason and his sacrifice called "Ray Of Hope." In it, a number of the recipients of Jason's organs tell their stories and even meet Charlotte and Emmett Ray.
For example, Ronald Griffin, who was dying of congestive heart failure received Jason's heart. He says, "As long as I breathe and my heart beats, Jason, to a degree, is alive."
Denis Korzelius was given a death sentence one month after his wedding, but was given the gift of life via Jason's liver.
David Irving received one of Jason's kidneys and his pancreas. Antwan Huntger, born with only one kidney that started failing when he was only 15, received Jason's other kidney.
This list goes on and on. Now that video is shown in driver's education classes in schools across the state of North Carolina.
Those who refuse to let Jason's legacy die have created a foundation called the Jason Ray Foundation. The organization is dedicated to encouraging people to become organ donors and to give generously to provide services to people who are involved in the process of donating or receiving.
September 20-21 the Jason Ray Foundation is hosting a dinner, auction and golf tournament. Listen as Charlotte explains where the proceeds will go.
UNC and NBA Alum Eric Montross is going to be the auctioneer at this year's dinner/auction. Auction items include UNC vs. Duke Baskeball Tickets, UNC vs. NC State Tickets, as well as vacation homes and more.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Many people have requested the recipes featured in the segment about The Hormone Reset Diet. Here they are! Enjoy!
DR. SARA'S HORMONE RESET BROWNIES:
2 medium sweet potatoes
2 large eggs
1/2 c. organic, hardwood-derived xylitol
1/2 c. coconut sugar
1/2 c. avocado oil
1-2 TBSP. sorghum flour
1 TBSP. baking powder
1 c. unsweetened pure cacao powder
For the icing:
2 dark chocolate bars, 85% pure cacao or higher
1/4 c. organic, hardwood-derived xylitol (adjust to taste)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a large pot.
3. Peel the sweet potatoes, and cut each into several large pieces. Add them to the boiling water, and cook until tender, approximately 30 minutes.
4. Strain the potatoes, and mash them with a fork in a large bowl.
5. Stir in the eggs, xylitol, coconut sugar, avocado oil, sorghum flour, baking powder and cacao powder.
6. Pour batter into a greased 8x8-inch baking dish, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate bars in a microwave or double boiler. Stir the xylitol into the melted chocolate.
8. When the brownies are done, remove them from the oven, and pour the melted chocolate over the top to form a thin, even layer.
9. Allow the brownies to cool before serving.
DR. SARA'S HORMONE RESET CRAB CAKES
1 small shallot
1 clove fresh garlic
1/2 pound fresh crabmeat, fully cooked (or canned wild pink salmon)
1/2 tsp. rosemary salt
1 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3-4 TBSP. ghee or coconut oil
1. Pulse the radishes, shallot, and garlic in a food processor until finely minced.
2. Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl, and add the minced radishes, shallot and garlic.
3. Mix in the crabmeat and all the spices.
4. Heat the ghee or coconut oil over medium heat in a large frying pan.
5. Form the crab mixture into small flat cakes, and fry each cake for approximately 5 to 7 minutes on each side, or until well browned and cooked through.
QUINOA, AVOCADO AND GARBANZO BEAN SALAD
2 c. cooked quinoa
1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans
1 large avocado, sliced
1 cucumber, chopped
1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
juice of 1 lemon
2 TBSP. extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl, and serve.
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
1/2 medium carrot, finely grated
56 ounces crushed tomatoes
Salt to taste
1.Heat the oil and add onion and garlic, cooking until soft, about 10 mins.
2. Add the basil and carrot and cook until carrot is soft, about 5 mins.
3. Add the crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil.
4.Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Even if you are a normal weight and think you take pretty good care of yourself, chances are you are lacking in at least one critical vitamin or mineral necessary for good health. It's called micronutrient deficiency, and it's a new health issue caused by modern living.
Our food supply has deteriorated in quality. The main culprit is processed food, such as packaged and fast food. Because it is cheap, convenient and tasty, it is taking over the American diet. Unfortunately, processed food is sorely lacking in micronutrients.
But it doesn't stop there. Even whole foods such as fresh vegetables, meats, and fish are lacking the micronutrients they once contained.
Many of us remember the way vegetables used to taste. They were full of flavor, highly recognizable and unique to that particular vegetable. Today's veggies, compared to those from decades past, have little taste. What comes to my mind is tomatoes. I remember as a child, a fresh-from-the-farm tomato was one of my favorite foods! Sprinkle a bit of salt on it, and it was delicious. Now however, those things in the store that are called tomatoes barely even resemble what they once were. They are hard and tasteless. Turns out, they also no longer have the nutrition they once did. Sadly, much of our produce is that way. For instance, apples contain 77 percent fewer minerals than they did 80 ago.
The major reason for this change is over-farming, which robs the soil of precious micronutrients that used to be absorbed into the food. Also, shipping produce long distances adds to the problem. Picking it too soon and exposing it to light, heat, and air for a long time, all take away micronutrients. Furthermore, many industrial farms over-water their crops, creating larger, more profitable fruits or vegetables, but lacking in nutrition.
As discouraging as this sounds, the best way to mitigate micronutrient deficiency in produce is to buy from local farmers.
Dr. Jayson Calton and his wife Mira, a certified nutritionist, have dedicated their lives to eradicating micronutrient deficiency, and are the authors of The Micronutrient Miracle.
Their mission originated with Mira's osteoporosis diagnosis at the age of 30. Her doctor said she had the bones of an 80-year-old woman! When she started getting the vitamins and minerals her body was craving, she completely reversed her osteoporosis. She said micronutrient is at the root of many health problems.
"For me it was osteoporosis," Mira said. "But it's also things like cancer, it has to do with your high blood pressure, your cholesterol levels, your metabolism, whether or not you sleep well, it has to do with everything, diabetes, and it also has a lot to do with obesity."
Topping the list of micronutrients most people are lacking are potassium, calcium, magnesium and vitamins A, D and E.
In addition to fresh produce, fresh meat is also lacking the vital micronutrients it once contained. This is because of the ravages of factory farming. Most animals raised on factory farms never see the light of day and are fed unnatural, unhealthy grains or worse.
Jayson says, "They're being fed up to seven pounds a day of stale candy and chocolate bars that these candy manufacturers are throwing at these farmers and saying, 'Hey, fatten up the cattle with this. It will spike their insulin, you'll get more marbling in the meat, you'll be able to sell the meat and it will taste better,'" he said. "This is just, to me, an abomination."
A much healthier alternative to factory farmed beef is grass-fed beef.
"Now what's going to happen when the animal is out in the sunshine, absorbing the vitamin D, eating the grass? They're going to have over 400 percent more vitamin A and vitamin E in that meat," Jayson explained.
"There's going to be 300 percent more of something called CLA, or conjugated linoleic acid. This is a kind of fat that science thinks is going to help prevent cancer, it's also a kind of fat to help burn our body fat. This is a fat that these cows can really only get when they eat grass," he said.
It's not just diet that contributes to micronutrient deficiency. Smoking, living in a polluted city, stress, prescription medicine, even exercise, all deplete our body's reserve of vitamins and minerals.
Could you be micronutrient deficient? Take this quiz to find out.
Wednesday, August 05, 2015
It's great that more people are now recognizing the harmful effects of consuming too much sugar. This bad habit leads to obesity and diabetes. Eating or drinking too much sugar also causes inflammation, which leads to heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and other health problems.
Clearly, the best way to eliminate sugar from our diets is to stop eating and drinking anything that tastes sweet. We will go through a withdrawl period from three days to a week, which can be difficult. But I'd like to encourage you to exercise self-control and stick with it, because after that, we no longer crave sweet foods, which is a joyful, liberating way to live.
Unfortunately, many people who recognize the dangers of sugar opt to take what appears to be the easy route, which in reality, is more difficult. They choose to replace sugar with sugar substitutes, which cause all kinds of problems including weight gain.
There are dozens of sugar substitutes on the market, and the number keeps growing. This is because food manufacturers recognize that people are always looking for that magic bullet: a sweetener that tastes just like real sugar, but doesn't have the consequences of sugar.
IT DOESN'T EXIST. Nevertheles, manufacturers keep claiming they've come up with a sugar substitute that satisfies all our desires, and people fall for it.
There are a number of reasons why we should avoid sugar substitutes. The most glaring is the fact that sweets are addictive. No matter what kind of sweet taste you lay on your tastebuds, it's going to make you crave more sweet. So if you are drinking a diet soda, for instance, loaded with artificial sweetener, you may feel proud of yourself because you think you're beating the system: there are no calories and you still get to enjoy that sweet taste.
But what is actually happening, is you are programming your brain to call for more sweets, such as that piece of chocolate cake in the office break room, that candy bar at the check-out counter, or those doughnuts as you drive past Krispy Kreme. Eventually, you will give in.
Several studies, including one conducted at Purdue University, conclude artificial sweeteners actually lead to weight gain, because they lead to overindulgence on real sweets.
Aside from weight gain, there are a number of other troubling health problems associated with sugar substitutes, such as that they feed the bad bacteria in the gut. Health professionals only recently discovered that the trillions of bacteria in our small intestine, also known as the gut, determine our overall health.
In fact, 70 percent of our immune system is located in our gut. That's why having lots of good bacteria is vitally important, and why taking a probiotic supplement, which increases the number of good bacteria, is such a good idea. Conversely, as it turns out, artificial sweeteners feed the bad bacteria in the gut.
Other concerns are that sugar substitutes impair glucose and insulin regulation.
Most people are confused about the various types of sugar substitutes. While, as I mentioned above, it's best to avoid all sweeteners, both real and artificial, many people reject that notion and are determined to find a sugar substitute that doesn't have the calories of sugar, but does have the taste, and in the process, want to choose the healthiest one.
So here goes:
Monk Fruit is the best sugar substitute. It's been used in China for centuries to treat obesity and diabetes. In fact it's true name is "Lo Han." It's loaded with antioxidants and has no calories. But good luck finding it. If you happen to see a product advertised as Monk Fruit, check the label. Chances are, it contains very little Monk Fruit and a lot of additives, such as sugar alcohols, which are problematic.
The same goes for Stevia, which is a natural sweetener from the leaves of the Stevia Rebaudiana plant. It's natural and has no calories. It does not raise blood sugar. That sounds great, in its pure form. But the reality is, like Monk Fruit, most Stevia products contain all kinds of harmful additives.
Many of the additives we see in sugar substitutes are in the form of sugar alcohols. These are easily recognized as ingredients ending in "ol," such as Erythritol and Xylitol. While these sweeteners are natural, and aren't nearly as bad as the chemical ones made in a lab that cause all kinds of horrendous reactions, sugar alcohols still carry with them some serious complications.
The main one is that they can have a laxative effect. That means you can expect gastric distress, such as bloating, intestinal gas and diarrhea. Is that sweet tea worth it? Try unsweetened. You'll get used to it and feel so much better. I've been drinking my coffee black for years and I (have learned to) love it that way!
Finally, whatever you do, steer clear of the artificial sweeteners. These are the chemicals that are completely foreign to your body, and therefore your system doesn't know how to process them. They go by names like Aspartame, Saccharin, and Sucralose. You will find those in literally hundreds of diet products and items labeled "sugar-free."
So to truly get sugar out of your life, which is an admirable goal, remove the taste of sweet from your tastebuds.
Suffer through the short withdrawl period, and you'll no longer crave those foods that are so unhealthy. Then on that rare occasion when you have something sweet, such as a piece of fruit, it will seem tremendously sweet, like candy, which is the way it's supposed to be.
Friday, July 31, 2015
Listen to why this weight loss doctor says America’s obesity epidemic is because the government’s nutrition guidelines are backwards. They promote a diet high in carbohydrates and low in natural fats.
He says as a result of the low-fat, high-carb diet, heart disease and other health problems are also on the rise. He says the low-fat craze led to people replacing healthy fats with unhealthy sugar and starches, which translates into Americans consuming an average of 500 calories more per day than in the days before the low-fat diet was recommended.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Here's a quick rundown of what's making health news.
Friday, July 24, 2015
Divorced women do worse than divorced men when it comes to heart health. Family therapist Linda Mintle explains why the sudden shift in lifestyle is oftentimes more stressful for women than men.
Surprisingly, the trend even extends into remarriage. When divorced men remarry, their heart health improves, but divorced women who remarry still are at high risk for heart attack.