Wednesday, August 27, 2014
There is increasing hope in our battle against cancer. There are now more reasons than ever to make changes in our lifestyle to prevent getting it. Furthermore, those who have been given a diagnosis of cancer have every reason to employ alternative therapies to get rid of it.
Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Russell and Marion Pyle.
Russell was diagnosed with a type of bladder that would not respond to chemotherapy. The tumor was removed surgically. Doctors said other surgeries might be necessary, but the Pyles still need to wait three months for another biopsy to see where things stood.
Wisely, the Pyles didn't sit around worrying. The first thing they did was give this situation to God. Then they got busy online, learning the nature of cancer and what other people were doing to combat it.
They took that information and incorporated it into their lives. At the end of three months, Russell was cancer free.
Below is a synopsis of what they did, which can also be found in their new book, Healed, Healthy and Whole, as well as in my interview with them.
It didn't take long for the Pyles to learn that cancer looooooves sugar. The sugar we eat feeds cancer cells.
That is very bad news for most Americans, because the average person consumes 23 teaspoons of added sugar a day, which is insanely high, and sadly, just the tip of the iceberg.
That added sugar doesn't even include all the other foods we eat that TURN INTO SUGAR as soon as we eat them, so they count as cancer fuel, too. These are carbohydrates, also known as starches, such as bread, hot dog and hamburger buns, tortillas, waffles, bagels, pizza crust, pancakes, muffins, corn chips, rice and so on.
If you cut these sugar-producing foods out of your diet, you simply deprive cancer of its food source, and starve it to death. This low carb diet, also called the Ketogenic Diet, is really gaining in popularity as more and more people are beginning to see how it kills cancer.
For optimum health, our body's pH should be balanced between acids and alkalines. The pH scale goes from 0 the most acidic, to 14, the most alkaline. Our blood is slightly above the middle, 7.
Just like a diet that is too full of carbohydrates can feed cancer cells, it appears that a highly acidic diet can have the same effect. Therefore, the Pyle's stopped consuming acidic foods and beverages such as coffee and many processed foods, and loaded-up on the more alkaline foods, such as vegetables and nuts.
Interest in using very high doses of vitamin C as a cancer treatment began when it was discovered that some properties of the vitamin may make it toxic to cancer cells.
Therefore, Russell received full bags of Vitamin C intravenously, which he says not only hindered the growth of the cancer, but strengthened his immune system so it would be better able to fight his cancer.
People who are trying to prevent cancer may want to consider ample Vitamin C supplementation.
HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY
Science tells us that cancer cells hate oxygen. Therefore, an effective new treatment in killing cancer cells is to saturate them with oxygen.
This is accomplished with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. Russell rested inside a pressurized chamber and breathed 100 percent pure oxygen. People who are trying to prevent cancer can increase their oxygen intake with cardiovascular exercise.
ELECTROMAGNTIC FIELD THERAPY
Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy uses electrical energy to direct a series of magnetic pulses through injured tissue whereby each magnetic pulse induces a tiny electrical signal that stimulates cellular repair.
Russell's mainstream treatment included using Bacillus Calmett-Guerin (BCG), which is a type of bacterium used to stimulate the bladder's own immune system so that it fights any toxin in the bladder itself.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
In the quest to eat healthier, start with green, leafy vegetables.
The more researchers look into the cause of disease, invariable the trail leads to a poor diet. The Standard American Diet, "SAD," for short (yeah, it's sad for sure) is literally killing us. In a nutshell, the problem can be summed-up in two words: Processed Foods.
Sugar (a.k.a. High Fructose Corn Syrup), Trans Fats (a.k.a. "hydrogenated" oils) and Omega-6 Fats (a.k.a. Soy, Corn and Vegetable Oils), which make-up the foundation nearly all processed foods, are clearly identified as leading causes of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and a long list of other health problems.
We simply must stop eating processed foods. This is much easier said than done because processed foods are so delicious, cheap and convenient. Yes, they are tempting, and it's hard to give them up, but they are massively destructive to our bodies.
One of the best ways to combat processed foods is to eat more green, leafy vegetables. Research tells us that when choosing a new behavior, be specific. So, for instance, instead of saying, "I'm going to eat better," you're more likely to succeed if you quantify your goal. A better vow is, "I'm going to eat at least one big serving of green, leafy vegetables EVERY DAY."
If you stick to it, you'll notice a number of positive changes in your life.
- Leafy, green vegetables are rich in fiber, so they'll reduce constipation. Also, that fiber fills you up, so you have less of an appetite for processed foods which translates into better health as well as weight loss.
- These vegetables are super-charged with vitamins and minerals, so right away, you'll feel better if you're not getting the proper vitamins and minerals already because such a depletion negatively affects the way your body and your brain function.
- Green, leafy vegetables have a very low glycemic index, which means your blood sugar will remain steady. You won't have those horrible swings in energy.
- When we invest ourselves in healthy habits, like eating green leafy vegetables daily, we are psychologically less inclined to engage in unhealthy behavior. We see this in people who exercise regularly. The idea behind it, is we see ourselves as healthy people, so we fulfill that ideal be living it out.
So what, exactly, are green leafy vegetables?
KALE is, in my opinion, the best one. I eat Kale in a salad every day. I buy it organic and pre-washed so all I have to do it put a big handful of it in a salad. Kale can have a pungent flavor, so I mix mine with spring greens, then add walnuts, avocado, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, and homemade olive oil salad dressing with fresh garlic and herbs. So good!
MUSTARD GREENS, TURNIP GREENS AND COLLARD GREENS are other green, leafy vegetables like kale. Another great way to eat these super-foods is to rub the leaves in olive oil or tahini (sesame paste) and cook them for five minutes with garlic, avocado oil, and broth. They're also delicious in casserole or soups. Some people simply cook them plain and add a bit of salt and lemon juice.
CABBAGE is a green, leafy vegetable (even though it's not green, red cabbage still qualifies). Cabbage is the main ingredient in cole slaw and sauerkraut.
SPINACH and BROCCOLI are green, leafy vegetables. Most people are familiar with ways to incorporate those into the diet.
LETTUCE, in all its forms, such as ICEBERG, ROMAINE and ENDIVE, are green leafy vegetables, and are milder and more versatile than some of the options listed above. Consider using them as a "bed" for just about any main dish. It's amazing how much texture and taste lettuce adds to a normal meal.
One of my favorite uses for those big leaves is as the outside of a wrap. Two years ago I stopped eating grains, (which was one of the best things I've ever done. I HIGHLY recommend it!) and discovered I can still eat delicious wraps, but instead of a tortilla, use a nice, green, leafy vegetable in its place. That's a win-win!
Consider using the leafy greens as a nutritious "bed" for just about any entrée. Finally, there's the more salady-type greens, including romaine and endive, which make a great base for just about every salad but that can also be used as a substitute for bread to make sandwich "wraps."
The key to incorporating green, leafy vegetables into your diet is not to get overwhelmed. Just buy ONE and figure out how you'll consume it. Stick with just that one food, that one way, for a week or so or until you're ready to expand to something else.
Give it a try! You'll be glad you did.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
In the wake of the shocking suicide of Robin Williams, many of us have been contemplating the horrors of depression, bipolar disorder (someone who experiences extreme emotional highs, called mania, then lows) and suicide.
Robin Williams admitted struggling with depression and substance abuse, but never said whether he was ever diagnosed with bipolar disorder, although many suspect he suffered from it.
The sad truth is, on the day Robin Williams killed himself, about 99 other Americans did, too. Tragically, an average of 100 people commit suicide every day in America. That number is exploding.
In fact, the number of people who kill themselves is now greater than the number of people who die in car crashes. Baby-Boomers, like Robin Williams, are at particular risk. Their rate of suicide has risen by one-third in just the last decade!
Could it be cultural? As Baby-Boomers approach old age, those with misplaced values, like the ones our culture promotes, are at risk of falling into hopelessness. This happens one of two ways: either their dreams of fame or fortune were never realized, or their dreams of fame and fortune WERE realized and didn’t satisfy.
Real Meaning in Life
We read in the Old Testament about King Solomon, the wisest man in the world…and the most privileged. He had everything the culture back then, and our culture today, says will bring us satisfaction and meaning: money, power, sex, adoration.
But what did he discover? First, that all those things were meaningless and empty. Then secondly, that the purpose of life is to fear God and keep His commandments.
It seems like many people today come to Solomon’s first conclusion, which invokes hopelessness. Yet sadly, they never come to his second conclusion, which invokes hope.
The Bible tells us that Satan is “the father of lies.” He lies to us by telling us that external things will bring us joy and peace. If we believe that lie, as many people do, there will come a time when we’re, at the very least, disappointed, or at worst, suicidal, regardless of whether we attain our worldly goals.
If we don’t attain them, we feel like that failure is the source of our misery. If we do attain them, we feel that there is something wrong with US that they don’t satisfy. Either way, the end result is despair.
The Emptiness Within
Unrealistic expectations set us up for disappointment. We must never expect to find meaning and satisfaction from the world. Meaning, satisfaction, joy, and completeness come ultimately from God. As the old saying goes, “Each of us has a hole in our heart in the shape of God.”
Each and every one of us is created to have a relationship with God through Jesus. Without it, we are incomplete and unfulfilled. Many people recognize the void in their heart, but tragically, believe it can be filled with something other than a relationship with Jesus…things like money, career success, drugs, food, ambling, sex, material possessions, the admiration of people, alcohol, pleasure-seeking, and so on.
When they discover none of these things fills the emptiness and longing deep within, they fall into depression.
This is not to suggest that Christians do not get depressed, suffer from bipolar disorder, or become suicidal. They do.
How to Climb Out of the Pit
However the first step to climbing out of an emotional pit is to believe in the Lord Jesus and surrender your life to Him in every way, “casting your cares upon him because he cares for you.”
Remember that through the forgiveness of our sins based on the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, we have fellowship with the creator of the universe, who loves us, and we have the promise of eternity in heaven with Him. So no matter how bad it gets while we’re here on earth, we have the hope of a brighter future! As the Bible says, "Fix your mind on things above."
We know that depression, bipolar, and suicidal thoughts often coincide with drug or alcohol abuse. In fact, a full 60 percent of people with bipolar disorder also abuse drugs or alcohol.
Untreated substance abuse can make it impossible to manage the mood swings of bipolar, even tough to diagnose it, because alcohol and cocaine, for example, can make people appear manic when they are not.
The good news is, God can, and does, rescue people from these, and all forms of enslavement. And while our faith in the living savior is foundational, often, we additionally need the help from others, through support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and therapy from a psychologist or psychiatrist.
The latter is hard to find. Avoid a psychiatrist who simply is interested in prescribing medication only. There are a lot of those doctors out there. Keep in mind that therapy, talking through your issues, especially with a Christian therapist, is often the key to overcoming emotional problems.
When it comes to medication, I’ve spoken to experts on both sides of the issue. Some think the drugs are life-saving, others think they make the problem worse.
Sometimes we are unsure about how to gauge the seriousness of our own feelings or the behavior of others. Here are the SUICIDE WARNING SIGNS in the form of the of a mnemonic: IS PATH WARM?
- I - Ideation (formation of the concept)
- S - Substance Abuse
- P - Purposelessness
- A - Anxiety
- T - Trapped
- H - Hopelessness
- W - Withdrawal
- A - Anger
- R - Recklessness
- M - Mood Changes
Even more serious are ACUTE WARNING SIGNS, which include threatening or talking about suicide (take this very seriously) and acquiring the implements (drugs, firearms) to carry it out.
If you see these in yourself or someone else, call this or another suicide hotline 1-800-273-TALK .
Sunday, August 10, 2014
What is a sure-fire way to improve your health that is free?
Laughter! It’s one of the most often overlooked ways we can, and should, live better.
Yes, the ability to laugh seems to come naturally to some people. But everyone, even the most serious personality types, can develop a funny bone. It’s a wonderful way to stay healthy!
As researchers examine the keys to longevity, they are now discovering overwhelming evidence that living long has a lot less to do with exercise and eating right than the way we THINK.
Just look at the majority of centenarians and you’ll notice they all have a zest for life, a natural curiosity and, yes, a sense of humor. You’ll notice a light-heartedness among people who’ve outlived their counterparts.
This is all about stress. Stress is far more devastating than most people realize. It literally debilitates your entire system. Anger, fear, unforgiveness and yes, a sour attitude all contribute toward stress.
Conversely, letting go of anger, resentment, and taking ourselves too seriously immediately contribute toward stress relief and an overall healthier you. Research shows:
- Laughter improves your heart.
Our blood vessels function more efficiently when we laugh because blood flow increases, which protects us against heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.
- Laughter is a natural painkiller.
Just like when we exercise, when we have a good laugh, our body releases endorphins, nature’s painkillers. They are those feel-good chemicals that make us feel happy…some say it’s like a “natural high.” In fact, scientists say endorphins are so powerful, they rival the impact morphine has on our body, but with only good side-effects!
- Laughter relaxes the body. It’s a natural stress reliever.
In fact, the effect of a good laugh lingers for 45 minutes, in the form of less physical tension and greater muscle relaxation.
- Laughter also boosts the immune system.
Tickling the funny bone causes ugly stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline to diminish. When that happens, your body increases its production of disease-fighting antibodies, which kill all those pesky bugs that circulate during cold and flu season.
So are you one of those people who take life too seriously? You can change. Just make an effort to lighten-up and it will get easier.
So how do you laugh more?
- The first step is to smile. Smiling leads to laughter. One thing you’ll notice right away is that when you smile at people, they smile back.
- Take it a step further, and you’ll notice that laughter is contagious, too! If you spend time around a bunch of people who are constantly uptight and frowning, just remember, you can single-handedly turn things around. Make it a point to joke, and smile, lighten the mood whenever possible, and just watch how others will follow suit without even knowing it.
- Seek out people who laugh and smile, and spend more time with them.
- Watch funny television shows, movies, or even listen to funny podcasts or CDs in your car. Watch funny YouTube videos.
- Look at the humor in yourself and in less-than-perfect situations.
Don’t be surprised if you suddenly have more friends. Everyone wants to be around people who have mastered those skills. And it only takes practice.
Laughter is a fantastic way to diffuse conflict. In the morning, make a conscious effort, a vow, if you will, to joke about yourself and sticky situations in the day ahead.
Having a good sense of humor isn’t just about adding levity to stressful situations. It can be a way of commenting on the everyday situations as well.
I am so very grateful for the jokesters in the CBN News room. Recently on “The 700 Club,” we aired two stories about James Brown, who had an amazing Christian testimony. One of the stories was about the new biopic based on his life and the other was the re-airing of an interview James Brown did with “The 700 Club,” back in the 1980s.
One of the women in the news room, Andrea Garrett, in honor of our recent emphasis on James Brown, sent an email around with a link to the hilarious James Brown parody Eddie Murphy performed on Saturday Night Live, that at the time was wildly popular it became a pop culture phenomenon. What a laugh we all had!
For a good laugh, here it is for you:
James brown celebrity hottub by codordog
Thanks Andrea, for making work more enjoyable and for extending my life a bit, to boot!
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
America, and even much of the world, is currently captivated by the Ebola virus that has, since its discovery in 1976, killed less than 2,000 people.
The reason people are so frightened by the virus is because of two factors: there is no cure, and if you are infected with it, you are more likely to die than survive. The current outbreak carries with it a 55 percent death rate. Other outbreaks have soared into the 90 percent mortality range.
The good news is that Ebola is not spread in the air. You get it from direct contact with an infected person's bodily fluids such as blood, sweat, vomit, or feces. So for developed countries that's encouraging because the Ebola virus can be killed simply with soap and warm water.
With that in mind, one wonders how more than 1,000 people have contracted it. The answer is, they don't wash their hands. They don't even wear gloves in hospitals, oftentimes, wear protective masks, or even use disinfectant and clean needles!
They touch - with their bare hands - dead people who haven't even been washed, who've died from Ebola, at funerals.
Fortunately, in recent days, through education and the involvement of other countries, these practices are changing. There are now buckets of diluted bleach scattered about villages for people to wash their hands. Some African governments are insisting that Ebola victims be cremated, and hospitals are receiving the gloves, masks, and needles they need.
The two American aide workers who contracted Ebola in Africa are back in American now, reportedly undergoing both traditional and experimental treatments.
Traditional treatments include strengthening the patient's immune system to help the body naturally fight off the virus. This means balancing their fluids, maintaining their oxygen levels and blood pressure, and treating them for any complicating infections.
The experimental treatment includes taking a drug called ZMapp, developed by a California-based biotech company called Mapp. The drug has reportedly only been tested on monkeys so far. But it was successful in those trials.
The ZMapp three-antibody cocktail isn't a vaccine. Instead, it provides an artificial immune response against proteins on the outside of the Ebola virus.
It's highly unusual for humans to receive drugs like ZMapp that have not completed the series of trials, including human testing, required by the Food And Drug Administration. However, the FDA does allow the use of a drug before its approval, in extreme cases, if a patient's situation warrants.
It's unclear why the American patients are not taking an experimental Ebola drug developed by a Canadian company, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, as their drug has advanced to human trials. However, like ZMapp, it has also not yet been approved for general use.
Considering the deaths of about 900 African Ebola victims with this current outbreak, both drugs may be fast-tracked for approval to treat the victims there.
Meanwhile, an Ebola vaccine is in the works, but reportedly still a ways off.
Symptoms of Ebola are much like the flu:
- joint and muscle aches,
- sore throat, and
- followed by diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain.
In some cases, the disease causes rashes, red eyes, and hiccups.
Unfortunately, a person can be infected, and contagious for a couple of days up to a few weeks before they start experiencing symptoms. That means infected people can literally travel the world virtually undetected.
Ebola kills by destroying the function of critical organs such as the liver and kidneys, as well as causing extensive internal and even external, bleeding.
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Last week I had the pleasure of traveling to beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona, to interview a world-famous physician who practices at the Mayo Clinic.
Many people are unaware of the fact that in addition to Rochester, Minnesota, the Mayo Clinic also has a center in Arizona. Although it was an unseasonably hot July, even for Arizona, with temperatures averaging 115 degrees each day, the scenery was absolutely breathtaking and I can't wait to go back. Although next time I'll try to go in January!
I was delighted to interview Dr. James Levine, the inventor of the wildly successful treadmill desk. Fifteen years ago, Dr. Levine was researching the effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
What he and his team discovered is that sitting for prolonged periods of time is utterly catastrophic for our health. Even if we exercise, let's say, an hour a day (which let's face it, not many people do) if we then sit for hours at a time, we are literally destroying our health.
The science is overwhelming. Sitting for a long time leads to obesity and a whole host of other health hazards. This comes as no surprise to most of us, especially those of us who have desk jobs, because it's simply unnatural to live on our bottoms. God did not make us this way. We were designed to move around.
That's when Dr. Levine got the brilliant idea for a treadmill desk. He started out with a garage sale model and simply put a few books on it with duct tape to fashion a makeshift platform for his computer.
It worked like a charm. The idea is to walk at a very slow pace, such as 1.3 miles per hour, so you don't work up a sweat, so you aren't out of breath for phone calls, and so you can easily type or read.
The cool thing is, even at that slow pace, you can end up walking about 30 miles a week! Even better is the fact that you don't have to go to the gym after work because you have already gotten an adequate amount of exercise while you worked! Gotta love that multi-tasking!
Dr. Levine consulted with a company that makes fancy treadmill desks that cost over $1,000. They have all the bells and whistles and well worth the money if you can afford it. However, if that's not in your budget, there are other treadmill desks selling for about $500.
Then again, you can just make your own with a regular ol' treadmill and any type of desk you can make yourself to fit over the treadmill.
While I was interviewing some people who use treadmill desks, I was surprised to notice that, not only could they still concentrate on their work while walking, they all said their focus is IMPROVED! How could that be? Yes, they said they had better clarity than they did sitting.
I asked Dr. Levine about that, and he said it's a scientific fact. When we sit down, our mind becomes lazy, just like our body.
This is especially true during the low circadian rhythm hours in the early afternoon. When we are moving, those mental lulls, those energy lows, are mitigated because of the increased oxygen pumping through our bodies and into our brains which comes from exercise. Fascinating!
Sadly, some of us are not able to have treadmill desks right now. I, for one, work in a beautiful news room that is also part of our news set. That means our work space is on national television every day. So we have to keep the place looking spiffy, and treadmill desks simply do not fit the décor. Alas.
The good news, however, is the next best thing to a treadmill desk is a STANDING DESK. Just like the treadmill desk, you can buy a fancy expensive one, and I saw them. Those babies are nice. They have little buttons that raise and lower the desk to whatever height you wish, with just the flip of a switch.
Then again, for those with a more modest budget you can just easily make your own.
I asked Dr. Levine if standing was all that much better than sitting and he said ABSOLUTELY! He said he was surprised at that himself but the science proved its truth.
Studies show that when people are standing at their desks, they actually do move. Upon close examination, people don't usually stand still. They are constantly in motion, shifting from side to side, etc. While you're up, you're more likely to walk somewhere, such as to get a drink, talk to a co-worker, and so on.
So stand-up desks are a vast improvement over sitting.
One of my co-workers remarked that she has more mental clarity and energy now that she uses a standing desk. She also noted the psychological effect of standing while working.
She said, "It makes me feel so powerful and in control!" Yes, that makes sense! You go, girl!
So get off that rear end! Walk while you work, or at least stand while you work...for better health, improved mental clarity, and more confidence! What's not to like?
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Even though it's the middle of summer, a particularly aggressive virus is attacking communities all across America. Almost all its victims are kids. It's the coxsackie virus, also known as Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. This is NOT to be confused with Mad Cow disease or Foot and Mouth disease, which are different.
Coxsackie virus is one of the few viruses that's common in the summer. It's highly contagious.
The good news is it usually clears-up on its own within 10 days, often sooner, with no lasting complications. But the bad news is its victims are in a great deal of discomfort while it's working it's running its course.
CBN News Internet producer Sarah knows about this first hand. Her 15-month-old Jay is recovering from the Coxsackie virus now. She said her first clue was his high fever and fussiness that kept him up in the middle of the night.
"He was inconsolable, which is not like him," she said. "Sometimes he's fussy from teething, but this was not the usually fussiness."
Then came the tell-tale rash a day later. As the virus' nickname implies, the rash is usually most noticeable on the hands, feet , including the soles, around the mouth and down the throat. As you might imagine, it's itchy and painful, making children climb the walls. Other areas such as the buttocks and genitals may be involved. Some kids deal with it in their eyes.
"At first I noticed his lips were unusually red," Sarah recalled of the first day with the fever. "Then the blisters showed up all over his lips, on his hands, and down his legs the next day."
Sarah couldn't imagine how her son picked-up the virus.
"I didn't take him anywhere. He mostly stays at home. He's not around a whole lot of kids," she said.
Then she remembered taking Jay to the doctor for his 15-month check-up a few days earlier. She now believes Jay probably picked up the virus doctor's office, since Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is very contagious.
Most doctors will recommend parents give their child with Hand, Foot and Mouth disease acetaminophen (Tylenol) to reduce the fever and discomfort. Mouthwashes and sprays may lessen the oral irritation. Fluids are also suggested to prevent dehydration. For more information about Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease, the Centers For Disease Control has a whole web page devoted to it.
However, acidic juices may irritate the mouth ulcers. Cold milk may sooth the oral discomfort. Sarah gave Jay lots of milk, which he gladly preferred above anything else.
Some physicians also recommend Benadryl to treat the itching. And tepid oatmeal baths and oatmeal lotion (Aveeno) can help soothe the skin irritation. All those treatments worked for little Jay, and then the moment of peace....when after all that anguish, he finally fell asleep!
Prevention of coxsackie virus infections is nearly impossible because it requires children to be extremely hygienic. Regularly cleaning items they contact, especially toys, pacifiers, and any items they may place in their mouths, may help. Hand washing, as usual, is the best prevention technique. Currently there's no vaccine for it.
Pregnant women should avoid contact with children (or adults) with Hand, Food and Mouth Disease, because some studies suggest that coxsackie virus may cause developmental and other defects in the fetus.
Thursday, July 03, 2014
It's truly amazing how many health problems are caused by gluten, specifically wheat. Much of the time, the person suffering has no idea the problem is gluten. So they take allergy pills, arthritis medicine, antacids and more to treat the symptoms, then suffer from the side effects of the medication...when all the while all they had to do was give up gluten.
As one who has been living gluten-free since October of 2012, I can tell you it's one of the best decisions I ever made. I do not miss it at all! I REALLY do not miss the way it made me feel tired and the way it made me crave more gluten. Yuck. Poison.
The reason I gave up gluten was not for any problems I was experiencing, such as gastrointestinal discomfort or allergies, which are common reasons other people give up gluten. No, I gave it up because I learned how unnecessary it was and also how starchy wheat has become.
As a result of avoiding gluten I lost weight and I sleep better and have more energy, which is consistent throughout the day, no more roller-coaster of sleepiness and coffee jolts.
Sadly, the wheat that is grown in the United States today is not the wheat of our forefathers. It has been hybridized to produce a higher yield. But the grain itself is has a higher starch content and more disruptive to our digestive system. Unfortunately, this goes for whole grain as well as the refined wheat products.
I was pleased to interview one of America's leading gluten-free physicians, Dr. Patrick Fratellone, whose New York City medical practice is thriving because of his cutting-edge views on health and nutrition. Too bad there aren't more doctors like him.
"When I went to medical school I did not have a course on nutrition," he said.
Fratellone has the distinction of being one of the few integrative cardiologists in the United States. The Manhattan physician learned about nutrition on his own, after completing medical school.
As a result, he said he thinks many of his colleagues prescribe drugs and even perform surgery when only a change in diet might be needed.
"Physicians in general do not know about nutrition," he stated.
Fratellone believes the root of most diseases lies in the small intestine, also known as the gut.
That's why he advises his patients to avoid gluten, which means no wheat of any kind, not even whole wheat, and no rye, barley, or oats.
Fratellone said an easy way to remember the gluten grains is to think of your eyebrow: B.R.O.W (Barley, Rye, Oats, Wheat).
"Gluten is bad because it's a protein that causes an insult to the gut," he explained. "So if you insult the gut there are three things that can happen: you can't absorb food and its nutrition properly, you won't absorb your vitamins, you cannot make vitamin D."
"Vitamin D3 is made in the small intestines and 90 percent of the happy hormone seratonin is made in the small intestine. So if gluten is causing an insult to the gut you can see the cascade of effects it has to the whole body," he added.
Many people who suffer from gluten sensitivity are unaware they even have it and so are their doctors.
"The symptoms of gluten intolerance vary from gastrointestinal, which could be bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, to unbelievable other symptoms like tremors, dermatitis: itching, it could be nerve disorders. So it varies from patient to patient," he explained.
People who experience the most extreme reaction to eating gluten have what's known as celiac disease.
"Celiac is an allergy, not a sensitivity," he continued. "The difference is a person who has celiac that has gluten can get severely ill, meaning more than the symptoms we talked about. They could have bloody diarrhea, they could have a seizure, they could lose eyesight. So being celiac and having gluten is very dangerous."
Fratellone said for some people, avoiding gluten is only part of the solution. Since gluten can damage the gut, some may need to repair it the natural way with herbal teas like chamomile, peppermint, or slippery elm.
Way out on the other coast, in sunny southern California, I spoke with one of America's fittest 60-year-olds, who credits his buff body and excellent health largely to his gluten-free lifestyle.
At an age when most Americans slow down, 60-year-old Mark Sisson said he feels the healthiest he's ever been. That's saying a lot because he used to be an all-star athlete.
"I wound-up being one of the best runners in the country," he said. "I was a marathoner and then I turned into a long-distance triathlete."
But Mark hid a secret.
"As fit as I appeared to be, in terms of my racing skills and ability to go fast, I really endured a lot of issues with health problems," he said.
They ranged from sinus pain to respiratory infections to heartburn and more.
"When I got into my 40s I developed arthritis in my fingers to the extent that I would cringe if a strong guy would put his hand out to shake mine," he recalled.
The worst was his irritable bowl syndrome that plagued him since childhood.
"I lived my life sort of wondering what gas stations are open with a bathroom, you know, on the way to the airport, for instance. Or if I have something I have to do in two hours, how can I be ready for that without having, you know, an episode," he recalled.
Searching for relief, he tried all kinds of doctors and drugs, but nothing helped.
"One day, a bunch of years ago, my wife said, 'I've given up grains, why don't you try giving up grains for 30 days and see what happens,'" he continued.
He took his wife's advice, and all of his problems virtually disappeared.
"The irritable bowel syndrome that had run my life, for most of my life, went away. The heartburn went away. The arthritis went away," he said.
Although Mark was thrilled to finally feel better, he was also frustrated that that cure -- giving up gluten, was so simple.
Yet all those years conventional medicine never had a clue.
Monday, June 30, 2014
At this point, only God knows what was going on in the mind of the Atlanta father who left his 1-year-old son in the car to die from the heat. Was it accidental or intentional?
This I do know: the combination of rear-facing car seats in the back seat, a sleeping child, and a million things on the driver's brain is a recipe for disaster.
ACCIDENTAL hot car deaths involving parents who mistakenly leave their infants to die in the car are all too common and THERE ARE THINGS PARENTS CAN DO TO MAKE SURE THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN TO THEM.
Click here to watch the short segment with life-saving tips. Remember this is not just for parents, but also grandparents, baby-sitters, anyone who drives children.
Two years ago I interviewed a couple who mistakenly left their sleeping child in the back seat of the car, where she died.
I also interviewed a psychologist who explained how easy it is to do such a thing, mainly because our brains can only hold a small amount of items in our short-term memory, and without a trigger, such a crying baby, or a visual cue, such as the baby in the seat next to you, it's easy to forget.
Many people find this outrageous. That no caring parent would ever forget a sleeping child in the back seat of a car.
I beg to differ.
Since the time I reported on the tragedy of children left to die in hot cars, I've noticed in the news many more instances of this horrific tragedy. They usually always sound the same...on the way to daycare, but forget to go to daycare and instead drive straight to work, because the baby was asleep and out of sight, parent reports to work as usual and discover baby upon returning to the car at lunch or at the end of the work day.
Although by the grace of God I have never forgotten my sleeping child in a hot car, I can admit to driving to a place that was not my intended destination. For example, I have, on occasion, meant to make a certain stop, such as the post office or a store, on my way to work, but once in the car I forgot to make that stop, and instead, out of habit, drove straight to work since that's usually what I do when I leave home and get behind the wheel. Some people joke that their car "automatically goes to work," and I think we all know that feeling.
People might say, yes, but the Atlanta hot car death is different from most, because the parents were searching hot car deaths on the Internet before the child's demise. I'm not so sure that means they were planning to murder their child. However, one would think after those searches they'd be more careful about not allowing their child to be left in a hot car, though.
We'll have to see how this particular case plays out. But in the meantime, anyone who drives youngsters in their car should put safety measures in place, such as the ones described in the link above, to make sure no more children are mistakenly left to die in hot cars.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
By now you already know that too much sugar harms your body. It makes you fat, leads to diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, and the list goes on and on.
If you have a health problem, chances are it's caused by, or made worse by, too much sugar in your diet. An easy test is to stop eating sugar, including carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, and rice (which affect your body the same way as sugar) for a couple of months and see how you feel.
Chances are, you'll feel better. Remember, sugar comes in many forms. The most popular is high fructose corn syrup, but there are many other forms, including other types ending in -ose, starches, and, of course, cane sugar, syrups and honey.
If you don't think you can bear to go without the sugar and refined carbohydrates outlined above, you are most likely a sugar/carb addict. That is a subject for another blog, but in short, science has determined that in some people, sugar and carbs cause the release of dopamine in the brain, which is connected with pleasure and reward, so you never get enough...in fact, always want more.
This is a big problem for your health, but perhaps more importantly because no person should be in bondage to any substance, whether sugar, carbs, alcohol, pain killers, cocaine, and so on.
If you find yourself thinking, "I can't go without...." and you complete the sentence with a substance, you are an addict, and you need help. Humans are not made to be slaves to substances. We should be in control of them, not the other way around.
But take heart: if you are under the control of a substance, you can change! In the case of sugar and carbs, you probably only need to go cold turkey, exercise extreme self-control for a time, and your cravings will go away in a few days to a few weeks.
I am speaking from experience. However, if you're addicted to any of the other substances listed above, please get help from one many treatment centers and organizations available.
So while we've established that sugar is terrible for your body, did you also know it wrecks your brain? It does!
Researchers at UCLA fed three groups of rats the same food: "rat chow," or regular rat food. During this time, the researchers trained all three groups of rats to navigate a maze. The maze had lots of walls, visual markings, so the rats could learn their way, and one exit. All three groups of rats learned the maze the same.
Then the researchers substituted one rat group's water with water spiked with fructose.
Sound familiar? That's what soda is. So that group of rats ingested lots of sugar over a period of six weeks. At the end of the six weeks the rats who'd been fed fructose were slower and had greater difficulty remembering how to get through the maze than the rats who hadn't been fed the sugar.
According to one of the researchers, "Their brains showed a decline in synaptic activity. Their brain cells had trouble signaling each other, disrupting their ability to think clearly and recall the route they'd learned six weeks earlier."
The rats that were fed fructose also developed insulin resistance. Researchers suggest this disrupts learning and causes memory loss and corrupts the brain's ability to process thoughts and emotions.
According to one scientist with the study, "Insulin is important in the body for controlling blood sugar, but it may play a different role in the brain, where insulin appears to disturb memory and learning," he said. "Our study shows that a high-fructose diet harms the brain as well as the body. This is something new."
But wait, there's more: a fascinating twist. Remember there were three rat groups? One stuck with the original diet, the other was fed a bunch of sugar, and the third was given a bunch of sugar AND...Omega-3 fats, like the kind found salmon, walnuts, and flax. The group of rats that was fed sugar and Omega-3 fats navigated the maze much better than the group of rats that had just sugar.
The conclusion is obvious. Omega-3 fats lessen the destructive impact of sugar on the brain.
We can learn a lot from this study. The first thing is to avoid fructose like the plague. Regardless of what we do during the day, we must perform at our best intellectual ability, and fructose simply handicaps our thinking process.
We must look at the list of ingredients in all the things we purchase, because fructose is added to an estimated 80 percent of the items at the typical grocery store. If you see fructose in the list of ingredients, or one of its sugary cousins, such as ingredients ending in -ose, or "starch" or "syrup," don't purchase it.
Of course fructose and related sugary ingredients are added to sweets like cookies and candy. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. They're in foods that many people do not consider sweet, but they really are, such as bread, crackers, pasta sauce, granola bars, cereal, yogurt, jelly, and on and on and on.
So read the list of ingredients! Remember the list begins with the ingredients the food contains the most of, and goes from there. So if sugar is the first ingredients, run for the hills! That means it contains more sugar than anything else! This applies to many foods. Don't believe me? Check out the ingredients of soda or kiddie cereal.
If you are less than perfect, and choose to eat something sugary, this study teaches us that we can mitigate the damage from that sugar by consuming Omega-3 fats. Although these healthy fats are found in foods like salmon, walnuts, and flax, it's actually difficult to get enough Omega-3s from our diet.
So it's best to take a fish oil supplement. Make sure you look at the label of the supplement and get the one that tells you how many milligrams of DHA are in each capsule. Take enough capsules each day to equal about one gram of DHA per day.
By the way, you should know that the consumption of too many Omega-6 fats blocks your body's ability to process Omega-3 fats. So it's best to cut way, way back on Omega-6 fats. These are vegetable oils, corn, soybean, canola, etc. These are the oils in the clear, plastic bottles that line the grocery store shelves. Also check the list of ingredients on processed foods for these unhealthy oils.
A good diet consists of consuming EQUAL amounts of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats. However, the average American consumes 20 times more Omega-6 fats than Omega-3s, and this imbalance leads to massive inflammation, a known killer. And since the two types of fats compete against each other, eating too many Omega-6 fats blocks your body's ability to process the healthy Omega-3s.
So to summarize, for healthy brain function, including memory and thinking, stay away from sugar and take one gram of DHA in a supplement form each day. Finally, drastically reduce your consumption of Omega-6 oil