Legal Blah-blah

Healing approaches mentioned in this blog are for educational purposes only. Suggested supplements, etc. should not be used as replacements for conventional medical treatment without guidance from a licensed and trained medical professional.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Years Revolution!

Happy New Year! Unlike many of my friends I love days like New Years, birthdays and Thanksgiving. I use these types of transitional days to clear my head, to look back and learn from my mistakes, to look forward at what I may do in the future and to be thankful for what I have in the present. I dislike the commercialization of these days and I really wish more people understood the historical background for days like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Some people are bummed by the new year because, even though they say “Happy New Year”, they are focused on what is NOT happy, what they DIDN’T do and they feel the new year will bring more of the same.
I used to make New Years resolutions until a few years ago. They were usually along the lines of losing weight or “finding my true love”. When that didn’t happen by the next year, despite my best efforts, I would feel like such a loser. No matter that I managed to start a business on my own or supported myself, paid my bills, ate my veggies and exercised!
Goals are a good way to change what you want to change in your life, but some things are more obtainable than others. Research shows that most people can’t lose weight and keep it off. However, I can exercise 30 minutes per day and try to eat at least five servings of vegetables per day and that will impact my health positively! I can give someone a break when they are having a bad day and forgive them for tailgating me or messing up my order.
My New Years revolution for 2012 is to find ways to make other peoples’ lives better. I’m not sure what that will be beyond what I do already, but I’m willing to try and keep trying. The revolution is that the goal is really about other people and not myself.
What is your revolution for 2012?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Are there hormones in your cosmetics and creams?

This summer I went to a seminar put on by a saliva testing lab, Diagnos-Techs. (  I learned a lot about saliva testing at this seminar but Director of Medical Support John White, MD, CM mentioned something that concerned me:   90-95% of submitted face creams tested positive for progesterone.  This testing was done a couple years ago back when they offered anonymous testing of face creams for clients and they don't do it now.  He also mentioned that there were estrogens and androgens in many of these face creams. 
Diagnos-Techs has noted elevated progesterone levels in women that were not taking prescribed hormones. 
Face creams and shampoos are classified legally as cosmetics and are not under FDA supervision.  Manufacturers can add progesterone to their products (up to 4%) without reporting it on their labels. 
Well, I just did my saliva hormone panel and my progesterone was low.  Hopefully that means that the shampoo and SPF face cream I use do not contain hormones.
But wait, there's more.  Besides actual hormones, there may be other chemicals in your cosmetics that interfere with the body's endocrine system.  Phenols, phthalates, and phytoestrogens have been associated with earlier onset of puberty in females with possible increased risk of diabetes and breast cancer later on in life.
Phthalates can be on an ingredient list as "fragrance" so you might not even know if it is in any of your products.  This labeling stuff is so frustrating!
So what can you do about hormones in face creams and cosmetics?  You could have an outside lab test your product. (  You can do an internet search.  I came up with this list from  Remember that just because the label says "natural" does not make it so.  Also, some natural ingredients such as soy, tea tree oil and lavender can disrupt hormones in women and men.
If you are a teen, have breast, ovary or uterine cancer or have recovered from such I think you should really take a look at what you are putting on your body.  The rest of us should too, but at some point you just can't find the information and the stress on you may be worse than the chemicals or hormones.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Buzzing Brain

I have all sorts of things buzzing around in my brain, but I have yet to put it on paper.  Some of these things include:  how diabetes, elevated cholesterol and hypertension interact, hormones in cosmetics, importance of trying to be happy and keeping the flu at bay.  I hope by next week to have something for you.  Do you have other suggestions for posts?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hiyashi Chuka or Cold Ramen Salad

Now that we are in to August, I feel like I need a cool, refreshing main dish that's not too difficult to make.  I first had Hiyashi Chuka in Japan over 20 years ago.  I've made it many times and my sister requests I make it whenever I visit her in the summer.
I usually use ramen noodles but you can use Chinese egg noodles if you wish.  Once you have the noodles, you can pretty much put whatever vegetables that you like or have around, into the mix.  Here's what I made last week.


2 packages of ramen noodles
1/2 pound roast beef   (You could use ham, chicken, turkey, etc.) Cut into strips.
1/2 English cucumber, cut into match sticks
2 eggs
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup grated carrots
sliced green onion (I like lots, adjust to taste.)

For dressing:
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil
My original recipe calls for 1/3 cup water in this dressing, but I like the strong taste of it without the water.

You may want hot yellow mustard (karashi) and or beni shoga (pickled red ginger) but I did not have it on hand this time.

First, you want to make the egg.  Beat eggs in a bowl and add sugar, then mix well.  Heat some oil in a small frying pan and pour 1/4 to 1/2 the egg mixture over the pan.  Spread the egg thinly, like a crepe, and fry for one minute. Turn and cook for about 30 seconds more.  Take out of the pan and place on cutting board to cool.  Repeat with the rest of the egg mixture. Slice the crepe into thin strips.

Make the dressing by mixing all the dressing ingredients together.  Usually I put it in a container with a lid and just shake it.

Put your noodle water on to boil.  For two people's amount of ramen, you will need a medium large pot, around 3 quarts.

As the water is heating, cut up your meat and vegetables into strips, slices or grated, as above in the ingredient list.  You can arrange it all nicely on a platter if you want those you are cooking for to place their own ingredients on the noodles.

Once the water is boiling, cook your noodles according to package directions and drain.  Pour cold water over them quickly to cool them and let them drain again. 

Put the cold noodles on a plate, arrange toppings on top and pour dressing over the noodles just before serving.

This recipe feeds two very hungry people or four not so hungry people.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Natural First Aid Kit

Summer is finally here and with that more activity and travel. It’s important to have on hand a first aid kit in case of accident or mild illness. There are natural remedies that work just as well or better than some things you could have in your first aid kit. Often natural remedies are safer and have fewer side effects than pharmaceutical remedies with the added benefit of strengthening your immune system. Following, listed in order of importance, are the top ten natural items you should have in your first aid kit or medicine cabinet.

1. Activated charcoal helps decrease nausea, stop diarrhea and stomach upset when used internally as well as treat joint pain, wounds, ulcers and bruises when used externally. Charcoal can be used as an antidote to poisoning, after giving Syrup of Ipecac, but you should contact a Poison Control Center before using. Charcoal from burnt toast is not effective and charcoal briquettes can be dangerous due to fillers and petrochemicals that help them light.
2. Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca Alternifolis) can be used topically to treat any fungal problems, insect bites, itches, sores, small wounds and abrasions, pimples, boils and carbuncles. It can help nasal congestion when used in a steam bath or rubbed around the sinuses.
3. Homeopathic Arnica 30C is useful to speed healing after trauma such as car accidents, surgery, bump on the head; anything that can result in swelling or bruising. This works very well in combination with Bach’s Rescue Remedy. Rescue Remedy helps the emotional aspects of trauma, as well as helps with anxiety attacks and stress.
4. Bromelain is pineapple enzyme and is used to reduce all types of inflammation from arthritis, sports injuries, trauma, bursitis and tendinitis. Take it between meals to decrease inflammation or right before meals to help with digestion.

5. Aloe vera juice/gel used topically reduces the sting of sunburn. It can also be used internally as a laxative, for stomach aches, to help reduce uric acid kidney stones and to stop bleeding gastric and duodenal ulcers. Be sure to get pure aloe vera with nothing added.

6. Oscillococcinum is a homeopathic remedy that decreases the duration and intensity of flu symptoms, including fever, chills, body aches and pains. It can be used with existing medical conditions and medications. Take at first sign of flu symptoms for best results.
7. Kava kava is very useful for both muscle spasms and anxiety. It can be taken up to every two hours short term without damaging your liver, as long as you are not drinking alcohol. You can get it as a tea to help with insomnia and to relax muscles.
8. Bioflavonoids or flavonoids inhibit histamine release and is useful for any type of allergic reaction including rashes, hay fever, and asthma. Dark berries and green tea are useful food sources of bioflavonoids, but you can get it in capsule form as well.
9. Skullcap/Passionflower/Valerian Tincture or tea will promote a good night’s sleep for most people and also help with relaxation.
10. Calendula succus is wound soothing, skin healing and useful to clean small wounds in the place of soap and water. It will help wounds heal faster and is gentle on the skin.

When you use natural remedies, remember that there is a possibility of allergic reaction. If you are allergic to certain flowers, some of these remedies may not be right for you.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What a Naturopathic Physician Eats

With the onset of summer, I have been feeling almost too lazy to cook these days.  Thankfully a patient came by with some fresh vegetables today and the veggies inspired me.

For breakfast I had some strawberry kefir, a fiber bar, mixed summer melon and my big mug of double bergamot Earl Grey tea.

For lunch I was going to have a leftover broasted chicken thigh and some jojos, but then my patient came by with fresh picked lettuce, radishes and chives.  I added some green onion, sunflower seeds and ranch dressing.  Delicious and much more colorful than the brown-yellow food!

It was spelt rotini pasta with a tomato, garlic, basil and ground beef sauce for dinner.  Along with that were steamed squash, broccoli, carrots and cauliflower.  I sprinkled some good Parmesan cheese over all of it.  Some garlic bread completed the meal.

I haven't had dessert yet, but I'm leaning toward that Little Debbie Nutty Bar I have stashed away in the cupboard, with a cup of some sort of relaxing, non caffeine tea.

For not really feeling like cooking today, I think I did a pretty good job.  I probably needed more protein in my meals and will wake up hungry in the morning.

What did you eat today?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Correlation is Not Causation: Fat is not bad!

Why your fat won’t kill you.

I went to a seminar on obesity, weight loss and menopause about a month ago and I’m still digesting what went on there.  The first speaker was a bariatric surgeon. He admitted to this statistic that I’ve seen while researching various weight loss options: 95% of people who lose weight on diets gain back every pound within three years. He was quoting that to promote gastric bypass as a way to lose weight. 

“In the more than forty years that bariatric surgeries have been performed, there have been no randomized, controlled clinical trials that have shown any long-term improvements to actual health or that lives are saved or extended by these surgeries — not any of the dozens of types and variations being performed, and certainly none of the new procedures claiming to be better and safer. According to obesity researcher, Dr. Ernsberger, Ph.D., of Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio, several clinical studies to examine the long-term consequences and look for improved life expectancies have been started but the results were never released. “I think it’s because it’s bad news.” Quoted from the blog, Junkfood Science, by Sandy Szwarc, BSN, RN, CCP.

The ECRI report,Bariatric Surgery for Obesity,” noted that the surgeries can produce significant initial weight loss but “three years after surgery, the typical patient is still obese.” (Also quoted from Junkfood Science.)

Speaker after speaker at this seminar would pay lip service to the statistics that it is almost impossible to lose weight and keep it off, then turn right around and promote diet strategies, weight loss programs such as the HCG injections, and not discuss what a fat or any size person can do to be healthy without worrying about their weight. Some claimed that the cost of obesity health care is increasing everyone’s insurance premiums. 

The CDC’s latest estimate is that an additional 112,000 deaths per year can be ASSOCIATED with obesity. So there is only a .12% increase in death risk if obese. Some of the statistics used to claim the obese are increasing our insurance rates included everyone with hypertension, diabetes, stroke, etc. I know plenty of thin people with these problems as well. I’m sure you do too.

I’m beginning to think the whole obesity crisis is a made up marketing scheme. When I was in college we measured our percent body fat with calipers and the water tank. I had 15% body fat then (very low for a woman) while some teeny tiny gals had 30 and 40% body fat. The trend now is to calculate Body Mass Index (weight in pounds divided by height in inches squared times 703.) This is why so many athletes are “overweight” when BMI is calculated, as the calculation does not take into consideration muscle mass and build. BMI was never meant to measure individual people, it was a statistical tool to measure populations’ obesity. This whole “obesity crisis” stuff came about when the BMI parameters for obesity changed in 1998. One day you were “normal” BMI and the next you could be “overweight”, overnight, at the same weight.

More than ¾ the studies that tracked death rates and weight did not show that the thinnest people live the longest. Glenn Gaessser’s review of heart disease medical literature revealed no correlation between body fat and atherosclerosis. “Clogged arteries are the leading cause of death for Americans, yet after more than five decades and tens of thousands of autopsies, the studies show that fat people are no more likely than thin to have clogged arteries.” (Paraphrased from “Fat! So? by Marilyn Wann)

Some people who get adult-onset diabetes are fat. Some are not. Regardless, treatment centers have found that when diabetics improve their diet and exercise habits, they can lessen the severity of their diabetes and even normalize their blood sugars. These improvements happen even if they don’t lose any weight at all.

The Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research has an ongoing study of 30,000 people which has found that those who are fittest live the longest, no matter what they weigh. Fat people who exercise regularly live longer than thin people who don’t. What does this all mean? If you have a healthy diet and moderate exercise, even if you don’t lose weight, you will live longer, barring accidents, than someone who does not have a healthy diet and does not do moderate exercise. This means a person who weighs 300 pounds can be healthy, especially if the other signs (blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol) are within normal limits. I think that this statement will shock alot of people. You can’t tell, just by looking at someone, how fit they are.

Some statistics I’ve read say that childhood obesity has leveled off or even decreased since 2005, so maybe some of the obesity panic has helped parents get their children more active and make better food choices. Some people in the natural health realm use the obesity crisis as a way to get people to pay attention to industrial farming practices or various chemicals in our foods that mimic hormones. I think we should still be concerned about that. Just don’t show that concern by putting down or bullying someone who appears fat.

I could go on and on, and I will, later. Tell me what you think?

I took too much information from:
Junkfood Science
The Fat Nutritionist
FAT! SO? by Marilyn Wann, c1998, Ten Speed Press
Shapely Prose

Saturday, May 14, 2011

How I make Swiss Steak

I went to a Obesity and Menopause conference two weeks ago.  I want to write something about that, but I'm mulling it over.  There were many things I learned but there were many things presented that I thought was just plain wrong.  It was like these people had not done their research or understood where their statistics came from.

So instead, I give you .... how I make Swiss steak.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Here are the ingredients I used:

2 pounds beef cube steak
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon each salt and garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 large onions (I love onions, you could get by with one.)
1 pound baby carrots (You could use green, yellow or red peppers.)
1 cup chopped celery (Or not.  I don't always use celery in this.)
2 28 ounce cans of chopped tomatoes

Cut the cube steak into bite size pieces.  Mix the flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder in a bag or bowl. Dredge the steak in the seasoned flour and place on a greased pan.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in oven. Alternately you could fry in a skillet. I don't fry because I always burn myself and also my gallbladder doesn't like fried foods so much.

The steak looks like this when it comes out of the oven:

While the steak is cooking, cut up your veggies and put them in your crock pot or baking pan.  First I cut up my onions:

Then I chop up my celery and add my carrots:

Then open up the tomatoes and put them in.  When the steak is ready stir that in as well and you end up with this:

If you use a crock pot, I suggest 8 to 10 hours on low.  If you bake in the oven it will probably take 1.5 to 2 hours on 350.

It looks like this once it has simmered for 10 hours in the crock pot:

I usually serve this with mashed potatoes but I didn't have any potatoes so we just ate this like a stew with some slices of sharp cheddar.  It's so delicious and now I have plenty of leftovers to freeze for future meals!  This recipe feeds 8 very hungry people or 12 moderately hungry people.

Do you make your Swiss steak differently from this recipe?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Do You Really Need Eight Glasses of Water a Day?

We can exist without food for months, but without water we can only survive a few days.  Your body is made up mostly of water, which is essential for digestion, nutrient absorption and elimination, aids circulation, helps control the body’s temperature, lubricates and cushions joints, keeps the skin healthy and helps remove toxins from your body.  Every day you lose water from your body through urine and sweat and the fluid needs to be replaced.

I have often told my patients they need to drink at least eight eight ounce glasses of pure water per day.  Then in April, 2004 I read a story in Family Practice News( that suggested letting thirst be your guide may be the way to go. (I am unable to find the article at this time.)
Despite concerns that caffeine and alcohol are diuretic, they can count towards daily fluid intake.  For women, 2.7 liters (91 ounces) and for men, 3.7 liters (125 ounces) per day is the recommended total from all beverages and foods each day.  If it is hot outside, you have a fever or you are exercising, you will require more water than normal and should drink more in these cases.
As a person grows older, they sometimes can’t tell that they are thirsty,  so older adults will want to be sure to drink water regularly.
Dr. Joseph Mercola ( recommends using the color of your urine as a guide to how much water you should be drinking.  As long as you are not taking riboflavin (B2, which in most cases turns urine bright yellow), then your urine should be a very light yellow.  If it is a deep yellow, then you are not drinking enough water.  
I often look for chapped lips, tenting (where skin on the back of the hand returns more slowly to its original position), complaints of constipation, or if the person has an occupation of real estate agent.
What type of water should you be drinking?  The answer is clean, spring water and filtered water.  I don’t recommend drinking unfiltered water, distilled water or fluoridated water.  Make sure to read the report from your local tap water supplier that’s usually mailed to you yearly.  This will help you determine what type of filter you need to make sure your water is free from contaminates such as heavy metals and bacteria.  That said, tap water in the United States is generally quite safe to drink.  (
The reason why filtering your own water is important  is that bottled water is a huge strain on the environment.  Plus, some bottled water may not be any cleaner than tap water and the bottles water is in can leach unsafe chemicals called BPA into your water.

My conclusion is that if you feel thirsty, have something to drink.  If you are not thirsty, don’t drink unless you want to. If you are older, bigger than normal, a real estate agent, suffer from constipation, diarrhea or chapped lips you may want to set up reminders to drink more water on a regular basis. Remember there are fluids in the foods you eat so you may not need to drink eight glasses of water per day.
Do you keep track of how much water or fluids you drink?  How much do you drink?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

How to make Scotch Eggs

This recipe does not use any alcohol!
This recipe is NOT low fat.
But it sure is delicious.

A little over two years ago, my friend Laura was going to bring Scotch eggs to my best friend's 40th birthday party.  That was the first time I ever heard of them.  Unfortunately she didn't bring the eggs and I had to look up the recipe on the Internet, because I'm curious.
Every recipe I found used pork, which I rarely eat, and also deep fries the egg, which I don't do at home although I will eat onion rings from a burger place.  I made up my own recipe, which follows.  I'll also put the original recipe for all you deep fried pork lovers out there.
The first time I made these was around Easter and they were a big hit!  Now my step kids and  my friends want me to make them more often, but usually I just make them at Easter.

My Recipe:
4 hard boiled eggs-shelled
1 pound ground turkey (or better yet bulk turkey sausage)
seasonings to make turkey taste like sausage (if needed)
1 raw egg beaten
1/2 cup panko/dry breadcrumbs

These are all the ingredients I used.  I made a double batch, one with the turkey and one with sweet Italian pork sausage for Mr. Inappropriate.  Mr. Inappropriate would like to have pork at every meal.

Preheat the oven to 350.  Lightly grease a baking sheet. Combine the ground turkey and seasonings like garlic, fennel, Italian seasoning, rosemary, etc., to make the turkey taste like sausage.  Divide it into four portions and shape it into patties.
Place a hard boiled egg, without its shell, on top of the patty, shaping the patty around the egg until the egg is uniformly covered.  It should be about the size and shape of a baseball.

Dip the sausage covered egg in the beaten egg and then roll in the bread crumbs. Place the Scotch egg on your greased pan.  Repeat with the other 3 eggs.

Somehow I made one extra Scotch egg.  I think it was because my ground turkey came in a 1.25 pound package.

 Bake at 350 for 25 -30 minutes, until they are golden brown.  They can be eaten warm or cold.  They are the perfect picnic or on the go lunch food.  It's best to slice a Scotch egg in half before eating, as it's easier to handle it that way.

Don't these look soooooo delicious?  We'll have them tomorrow for Easter breakfast.

Original Scotch Egg Recipe:

Content Copyright © 2011 - All rights reserved.
4 hard boiled eggs
1 lb. sausage meat
1 egg
1 tbsp. seasoned flour
1/2 c. crisp bread crumbs
Oil or fat to fry

Shell the hard boiled eggs. Press the sausage meat into meat squares on a floured board. Wrap the eggs in the sausage meat, making sure this is completely sealed without any air space on cracks. Brush with the beaten egg. Roll in bread crumbs. Heat oil and test it by placing a piece of stale bread with oil for 1 minute and it turns golden brown; 1 1/2 minutes if using fat. Put in the scotch eggs. Fry steadily for approximately 5 to 8 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Lift out, drain on crumpled paper and serve hot or cold. It is possible to bake these in the oven. Allow approximately 20 to 25 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What a Naturopathic Physician Eats

For breakfast I had double bergamot Earl Grey, fresh pineapple, fresh mango, Activia yogurt and a home made banana nut bread made from Pamela's gluten free baking mix.

For lunch I had an organic hamburger with swiss cheese, baby carrots, celery sticks and a lovely salad of butter leaf lettuce, green onion, baby cukes, avocado, cherry tomatoes and ranch dressing. 

For dinner we had New England clam chowder with corn and garlic bread.  I did not make the clam chowder, it came from a can.  (I know, you're shocked, right?)

I felt satisfied all day.  Mr. Inappropriate and I are trying hard to get more servings of fruits and veggies into our daily diet.  I can do the veggies well, but rarely eat fruit.  However, the fresh fruit for breakfast really works for me.

How have you been doing with your daily intake of fruits and vegetables?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Maybe God is trying to tell you something .. about sleep!

Can't sleep at night and you wonder why
Maybe God is trying to tell you something
Crying all night long, something's gone wrong
Maybe God is trying to tell you something

I always liked that song from The Color Purple.  If you can’t sleep at night and God isn’t trying to tell you something, then your body definitely is trying to tell you something.
Sleep should be a priority in your life as it plays a dramatic role in your overall health.  Without enough sleep, your body may accumulate a sleep debt that affects your normal thinking abilities, and you might not notice!  Most people need at least six hours of sleep for peak memory.  Regular sleep makes you less forgetful.
Getting a good night’s sleep can release certain hormones that boost your immune response. Previous studies have made it very clear that not enough sleep will increase your insulin levels, increase your risk of diabetes, affect hormone levels and accelerate aging.
There are many reasons for insomnia.  Due to the demands of life, we often freely choose to cut back on our sleep.  I like to stay up a little later and read to wind down.  Some of you like to watch the late night talk shows or “farm” on Facebook for the same reason.
Other reasons for insomnia include:   a cluttered, too warm bedroom
loud neighbors, street, animals
exercising too close to bedtime
caffeine after noon
chronic pain from arthritis, fibromyalgia, etc.
Dr. Deepak Chopra has an insomnia protocol to which I often refer my patients.  These are the highlights:
*    The natural human biorhythm is to sleep between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.  This means you should be in bed, lights out by 10 p.m. and be up at 6 a.m.  (I always tell my patients they should get up and go to sleep at the same times every day.  Being on the same schedule, including weekends, helps your body know better when to pump out certain hormones that wake you up, help you sleep and deal with stress better.)
*    Decrease your mental activity after dinner.  Journaling may help with stress.
*    Take a hot bath 30 minutes before bedtime.  You can include calming fragrances, music and lighting to let go of your daily stress.
*    Use your bed for sleep and sex only.
I learned in medical school to tell my patients to go to sleep in a cool, uncluttered room, with no lights on and preferably no electronics like TV’s in the room.  Sometimes deep breathing and progressive relaxation can help you relax into sleep.
Skullcap, passionflower and valerian, in capsule, tea or tincture form, help promote a good night’s sleep for most people.  If tight muscles or anxiety is a problem, kava kava can often help.
If you go to sleep well and then wake at 2 a.m. for no apparent reason, you may have a cortisol issue.  I like to test a patient’s cortisol level four times throughout the day to see if it’s out of whack.  If it is, there are things that can help, depending just what and when things are wacky.
It is also helpful to remember that your sleep requirement can change with the seasons.  In the middle of the summer you might actually be able to get by on six hours of sleep or less.  In the winter you might require nine or more hours of sleep to optimize your health.
Do you have insomnia or other sleep problems?  What do you do to help yourself?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Common Sense Health: Introduction

So many people ask me questions about new age type ‘cures’ such as crystals or energy work such as reiki or detoxification regimens for particular problems.  After a while, it gets old because most people have not worked on common sense type things to fix their problems before trying some things that can be kind of ‘out there’.  It’s probably that most people want to just take a pill to take care of their health problem, to have a magic bullet.

Common sense is not a science.  It is more about what ‘everyone’ feels to be true.  There is an interesting article at Wikipedia on common sense:

I’ve been wanting to write about this lack of common sense, that people are not working on the building blocks of health before they use subtler types of cures.  I feel that the building blocks of your health can be determined by the following questions:
    1.    How much sleep are you getting?
    2.    How often do you have a bowel movement?
    3.    How much water are you drinking?
    4.    What types of food are you eating, how often and how much?
    5.    What types of body movement do you do on a regular basis?  
    6.    How is stress affecting your life?
    7.    Do you have good friends you can talk with,  be yourself with?
    8.    Is your spiritual life supporting you the way that you need?

These questions are separated out for focus, but they all interact with each other.  Stress and anxiety may make it difficult to sleep.  If you are not drinking enough water, it can cause constipation.  If you’re not getting enough sleep, you may not want to go exercise.
This being said, I am not saying that things like energy work or homeopathy or crystal healing don’t work, because they often do.  I just think that it is better for your health overall to address the questions above before diving into the fine tuning.

In the interest of not having a Borg cube of text, my next post I’ll write about sleep and sleep optimization and separate the topics out into eight posts.
Questions? Comments?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Treatment options for nuclear radiation exposure

Last Friday was a scary day here on the North Oregon coast.  First we heard about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, then we had tsunami warnings of our own and evacuation to higher ground.  The evacuation went smoothly and our coast didn’t take much damage.  Stretch and Didi did not like leaving in the car, but it would have been worse if they had been put in back packs and walked to higher ground!
The magnitude 9 earthquake has caused damage to five of Japan’s nuclear reactors.
Reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant began leaking radiation over the weekend, and thousands of people had to be evacuated from their homes. Some 23 people are currently being treated for radiation exposure, which can lead to acute radiation syndrome – or radiation poisoning. The amount of radiation they were exposed to should not be lethal.
Radiation poisoning can occur either when the body is suddenly exposed to high levels of toxic radiation or when it is exposed to lower levels for prolonged periods of time.
Early symptoms of radiation poisoning include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, which can start within minutes to days of exposure and last for days.  More serious symptoms  of loss of appetite, fatigue, fever, seizures and coma may last for hours or months.
The condition is treated with potassium iodide, the standard treatment for nuclear radiation. If the right dose is taken at the right time it can prevent the radioactive iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid.  
The FDA has approved two different forms of KI—tablets and liquid—that people can take by mouth after a nuclear radiation emergency. Tablets come in two strengths, 130 milligram (mg) and 65 mg. The tablets are scored so they may be cut into smaller pieces for lower doses. Each milliliter (mL) of the oral liquid solution contains 65 mg of KI.

According to the FDA, the following doses are appropriate to take after internal contamination with (or likely internal contamination with) radioactive iodine:

  • Adults should take 130 mg (one 130 mg tablet OR two 65 mg tablets OR two mL of solution).
  • Women who are breastfeeding should take the adult dose of 130 mg.
  • Children between 3 and 18 years of age should take 65 mg (one 65 mg tablet OR 1 mL of solution). Children who are adult size (greater than or equal to 150 pounds) should take the full adult dose, regardless of their age.
  • Infants and children between 1 month and 3 years of age should take 32 mg (½ of a 65 mg tablet OR ½ mL of solution). This dose is for both nursing and non-nursing infants and children.
  • Newborns from birth to 1 month of age should be given 16 mg (¼ of a 65 mg tablet or ¼ mL of solution). This dose is for both nursing and non-nursing newborn infants

Most of this information comes from CDC’s fact sheet on potassium iodide.  See their website for more information.

It is worth noting that potassium iodide only protects the thyroid from exposure and not other parts of the body that radiation can affect, such as the cells lining the intestines and stomach, and in the bone marrow. Moreover, potassium iodide cannot undo damage that has already been done to the thyroid. This is why it is vital to receive treatment as quickly as possible following exposure.  The 130 mg adult dose lasts for 24 hours and should only be taken once unless health officials in your area tell you to continue.
Other natural treatments:  Milk thistle to help protect the liver and  reishi and shitake mushrooms to help protect your immune system may help your body cope with radiation exposure. I don’t really know the mushroom dosage, but milk thistle, 200 mg twice or three times per day will help protect your liver.

The worst case scenario, according to Yahoo News, is that nuclear fallout from damaged Japanese nuclear plants will be limited to Japan.  We should not have to worry about taking potassium iodide on the Oregon coast at this time.  If a larger release of radioactive materials happens, we should have plenty of time to take the protective iodine.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Supporting Your Thyroid

I hate to tell you this, but, by the time thyroid issues show up on blood tests, it may be too late to treat it only nutritionally or with lifestyle changes.  You may be on a thyroid hormone prescription for the rest of your life.
That being said, I am a naturopathic physician and I like to treat the whole person.  There are many varieties of thyroid hormone issues.  According to the book by Datis Kharrazian, “Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms”, there are six types of hypothyroidism with only one needing just the prescription thyroid hormone.
It is usually a woman that enters my office with thyroid problems.  If possible, besides testing TSH, Free T4, Free T3 and antibodies, I also test estradiol, progesterone, DHEA, testosterone and cortisol throughout the day.  We usually have a talk about stress levels, and anti-inflammatory and hypo allergenic foods, which usually means gluten, dairy and citrus free diets.  Depending on the results of testing, history taking and ability of patient to afford supplements, the patient and I come up with a treatment plan that is individually theirs.
I may prescribe bio-identical hormones, things that help increase or decrease cortisol, mid-day naps, funny movies, body work, liver detoxification and supplements.
Here’s where I give you the legal talk:  Healing approaches mentioned in this blog are for educational purposes only.  They should not be used as replacements for conventional medical treatment without guidance from a trained medical professional.
The supplement I recommend to most patients, besides a good multi vitamin/mineral, is fish oil.  It is a great anti-inflammatory, is good for brain function and mental health, and is good for heart health.
The second most recommended supplement to patients that live in the Pacific Northwest is Vitamin D3.  We don’t get enough of it, even in the summer.  It helps with thyroid, depression, the immune system and myriad other conditions.  It’s important to get a blood level check so that you don’t over do it.
Although Kharrazian doesn’t recommend it, I often will give iodine and tyrosine to my thyroid patients if an iodine patch is absorbed quickly (less than 12 hours) through the skin.  Kharrazian believes that iodine can start auto-immune problems.  I personally haven’t seen this in my patients, but I probably will tell my Hashimoto’s patients to not take these type of supplements.  This would include kelp and other sea vegetables.
If you have elevated cortisol, I usually recommend deep breathing and phosphatidyl serine.  If you have low cortisol I recommend Isocort, B vitamins, zinc and selenium.
If you have heart burn, abdominal bloating,  or bowel issues, we will talk about your diet, try digestive enzymes, probiotics and sometimes liver support.
Datis Kharrazian’s book,  “Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms”, has some new ideas for me.  He tests for immunological markers such as interferon, interleukin, TNF and so on to determine if one part of your immune system is more active than the other and then supplementing to restore balance to the immune system based on the results.  I will probably order some of these tests for patients that are not doing well on what we have been doing so far.
What I’m trying to get at is that there is no “ONE WAY” of treating thyroid issues.  The treatment is wrapped up in what else is going on with the WHOLE person.  Is the person stressed out, having digestive issues?  That will be one treatment.  Is the person diabetic or anemic?  Those are other treatments.  Is the person menopausal?  A combination of everything above?  The treatment plan will take into account what is going on with the individual.
Don’t be disappointed.  In future posts I plan to talk about diabetes, digestive issues and more.  You’ll get to hear about all sorts of supplements for specific issues along with lifestyle changes.  Do you have anything specific you would like to hear about?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I don't weigh myself

I don't weigh myself because it doesn't give me information I don't already know.  When my thyroid was out of wack, I was gaining ten or twenty pounds per month on a 1200 calorie per day diet.  I worked out at least 2 hours per day.  I still gained weight.  When I weighed myself I would get very depressed and wondered if I were 'sleep eating'.  However my blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and liver enzymes were all low normal.
Once I got married and had better health insurance, I found out that I had a weird thyroid issue.  Somehow I wasn't making an active form of thyroid that has to do with your metabolism.  Now I take a natural thyroid (Nature-throid), eat around 1800 calories per day and keep my workouts to an hour three times per week. (Less in the winter.)  I don't know how much weight I have lost, but my clothing size is 2 to 4 sizes less than it was 8 years ago.
A friend of mine asked me to research weight loss surgery for her about 2 years ago.  I read so many things about it and learned alot about weight loss research, etc.  But the most important thing I ran into was the concept of Health at Every Size or HAES. 
HAES means to respect and love your body for itself.  Your body is just your body, there is no moral judgement about it.  Eat good food, eat what you want and eat enough to be satisfied. Stop when you are full.  Move because it feels good and do movement that is fun for you.
I'll have more to say about this in the future.

Some interesting links at Kate Harding's Shapely Prose:  and 

Read and look.  What do you think?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What this naturopathic physician eats

I've been getting requests for information on what I eat.  My diet is similar to many people's diets that I know.

Tuesday morning breakfast: organic instant oatmeal with a handful of pecans, Activia vanilla yogurt

Tuesday lunch:  leftover pot roast with rutabaga, onion, turnip, carrot and parsnip.  A dash of horseradish sauce.

Tuesday dinner:  Corn tortillas, lettuce, organic ground beef with taco seasoning, salsa, cheese and sour cream

Tuesday dessert: Bite sized brownies with some real whipped cream, cup of mint tea

Supplement type food, not really a meal:   prune juice, lecithin and ground flax seeds, kefir

What do you think?  Do you eat similar things?  You will probably notice I did not have any fruit on Tuesday except for the prune juice and the strawberries in the kefir.  I don't eat much fruit, I'm more of a veggie person.