Growing the ‘Grow Your Own Food’ Movement

Growing the ‘Grow Your Own Food’ Movement

Get Your Neighbors' Hands Dirty

Population growth has impacted food demand globally, moving food production away from homes. For decades factory farms and mono-cropped agriculture have sustained increased demands leading to environmental and health consequences, including food waste. Larger scale food production has altered the natural landscape and ecosystem, impacted climate and microclimate, and generated surplus of foods that are not consumed, while low and under-served communities face food insecurity and related health risks. The system has failed and communities have responded! Many creative solutions are in place to intercept the waste stream, deliver excess food products to underserved communities, and inspire locally sourced foods with farm-to-table restaurants, farm-to-school initiatives, and connecting with your food source directly at farmers markets and in home gardens where more folks are growing their own food.

Home Gardens: An urban home gardening program combined with nutrition education in 32 low income families in Santa Clara, CA showed incredibly positive results in stress reduction, mental health, physical activity and improved weight.1 This program demonstrated that home gardens increased consumption of fruits and vegetables with greater food access.1 The sense of pride in growing your own food inspired more home food preparation and cooking, shifting away from processed and fast foods in a marginalized population at high risk for cardiometabolic disease.1 Families found that growing food is more accessible both in proximity and affordability, freshness, flavor, and convenience.1 It’s hard not to eat well, when the produce aisle is in your back yard!

Community Gardens: A similar conclusion was drawn for a community garden project in two Navajo communities with monthly gardening workshops designed to improve access and healthy eating in two NM locations.2 The intervention was designed to address growing concerns for food scarcity where the average daily recommendations of fresh fruit and vegetables are substandard in communities where there is an increased prevalence of diabetes and obesity.2 This project was a strong foot in the door for building community and developing a new lifestyle practice. The results created a blueprint for developing future interventions and identified strategies for overcoming community self reliance through education and inclusion of Navajo gardening traditions.2 The need was demonstrated and well received.

School Gardens: Waldorf and Montessori schools were among the first to embrace slow food in curriculums well before the term slow food existed. A systematic review was conducted on the impact of school gardens and farm to school activities added to curriculums around the country in both private and public school initiatives.3 The context is broad, including integrated curriculums and nutrition education studies, experiential learning, and smarter lunchroom interventions.3 The results are slight, however, the long-term impacts are unmeasured for what I call the teach-a-man-to-fish approach.3 The goal in school programs remains focused on increasing preference and dietary intake of fruits and veg. There is incredible potential, and it has been part of my life’s work to participate to move these concepts along in each city I have lived over the last decade. I am encouraged to see the grant funding and the wide reach with growing (literally, ha!) interest.

Farmers Markets: Farmers markets are an incredible way to reduce your carbon footprint and improve your health by sourcing your foods locally. Income can be the biggest obstacle to accessing nutrient dense foods.4 Food insecurity leads to poor health and demonstrated malnourishment.4 A Canadian Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program offered government subsidized support to bring higher costs of locally sourced foods into economic reach for lower income families.4 Data collection faced limitations in computer literacy which impacted results of the study.4 Overall, the need was demonstrated in the randomized trial, and demonstrated a rise in food security within these populations, improving diet, and psycho-social well being.4

Schools have a great opportunity to reach our youth, communities are embracing community gardens more and more, infrastructure and funding are increasing for these activities as they resolve a number of concerns at once for community health, resource, self reliance and resilience. Locally sourced foods, connection with community, health and wellness from connecting with the soil, mental health in participating in the cultivation, tending and harvesting of nourishing foods, and sharing surplus within the community. Plants and vegetables also retain the majority of their nutrients when they are consumed closer to the time they are picked! It is a true health, environmental and social win, all the way around. Here’s to more evidence-based research and grant funding for farm to community efforts for all ages.

  1. Palar K, Lemus Hufstedler E, Hernandez K, Chang A, Ferguson L, Lozano R, Weiser SD. Nutrition and Health Improvements After Participation in an Urban Home Garden Program. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2019 Oct;51(9):1037-1046. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2019.06.028. Erratum in: J Nutr Educ Behav. 2020 Jan;52(1):102. PMID: 31601420; PMCID: PMC6949143.
  2. Ornelas IJ, Deschenie D, Jim J, Bishop S, Lombard K, Beresford SA. Yéego Gardening! A Community Garden Intervention to Promote Health on the Navajo Nation. Prog Community Health Partnersh. 2017;11(4):417-425. doi: 10.1353/cpr.2017.0049. PMID: 29332855; PMCID: PMC6582943.
  3. Prescott MP, Cleary R, Bonanno A, Costanigro M, Jablonski BBR, Long AB. Farm to School Activities and Student Outcomes: A Systematic Review. Adv Nutr. 2020;11(2):357-374. doi:10.1093/advances/nmz094
  4. Aktary ML, Caron-Roy S, Sajobi T, O’Hara H, Leblanc P, Dunn S, McCormack GR, Timmins D, Ball K, Downs S, Minaker LM, Nykiforuk CI, Godley J, Milaney K, Lashewicz B, Fournier B, Elliott C, Raine KD, Prowse RJ, Olstad DL. Impact of a farmers’ market nutrition coupon programme on diet quality and psychosocial well-being among low-income adults: protocol for a randomised controlled trial and a longitudinal qualitative investigation. BMJ Open. 2020 May 5;10(5):e035143. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-035143. PMID: 32371514; PMCID: PMC7228519.
Nuts (and bolts) about Nutrition Facts Label

Nuts (and bolts) about Nutrition Facts Label

Here is how to read Nutrition Facts Labels.1 Here is why you are confused.2 You are not alone.

We all do our best to connect directly with our food source, supporting growers directly at the farmers markets and possibly growing our own food at home; sprouts under the kitchen sink, fermenting, potted culinary herbs and sometimes full blown vegetable gardens. Many of us, however, face days or years of our lives where we lean into the convenience of prepared foods and come face to face with the nutrition facts labels. “With over 61% of US adults reporting that they use the Nutrition Facts Panel, these labels have great visibility and potential to be important tools for public education and policy.” (Malik, Willet, Hu; 2016) The trouble is, across the globe, folks just do not understand what the information means and heterogeneity (portion variance between similar products) on labeling creates consumer confusion.4 If you are frustrated, you are not alone.

Positive Impact: With the inclusion of trans fats on prior iterations of the label, this held manufacturers accountable for reducing these harmful ingredients and influenced them to reduce trans fats overall; success! The same is hoped for recent changes which now require identifying added sugars.3

Room for Debate: The regulations surrounding nutrition fact labels, are in concert with the Dietary Guidelines that are released every 5 years. Recent updates to dietary guidelines ignored evidence linking alcohol intake with higher risk for developing cancer.5 This is not the only exclusion. The current iteration has also changed the serving size referenced on the nutrition facts label to reflect the larger portion generally consumed or to match the size of the container, i.e. a larger portion size than has been consumed in decades past.6 

I am concerned about the portions. On the one hand, sharing accurate information about the full portion that is sold as a container to be consumed, often in one sitting, has tremendous value in warning folks that the 20 oz soda as a serving contains significantly more than the daily needs recommend, aka multiple servings in one package.3 On the flip side, this normalizes this larger serving size as a “standard portion” and invites the consumer to disregard the daily serving recommendations. This has been proven in three studies to result in larger self-selected portion sizes.4

Moreso, the portion variance from package to package, makes it increasingly difficult for consumers to compare products.4

If I were in a regulatory position, I would mandate sale of smaller sizes, uniformity in serving size for product comparison, and compulsory dual-column to include both standardized serving size and full package content nutrition facts side by side. This is currently elective and in practice by some manufacturers.4

I’m with Bloomburg, if we could outlaw Big Gulps7 and mandate smaller packaging, this  seems the most effective approach to “show” consumers what a real serving size is. As I say this, the environmentalist in me squirms at the thought of extra packaging. The effort over time, would discourage overconsumption of high sugar content drinks and prevent industry manipulation of increased portion size by large companies capitalizing on food addiction, in direct opposition to consumer health. 

Video sourced from fda.gov

Awareness is key. Check out the FDA’s article on How To Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label1, and the CDC to Learn How the NEW Nutrition Facts Label Can Help You Improve Your Health8. “The consumption of ultraprocessed foods associated with the increase in portion size has been linked to diets of low nutritional quality and an increased risk of developing obesity and cancer.” (Kliemann N, Kraemer MVS, Scapin T, et al; 2018)

Still confused? Schedule your next trip to the grocery with me! Let’s crunch some numbers in the aisles and set you up for success with your health goals one bite at a time.

Image sourced from fda.gov
  1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. How To Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label. fda.gov. https://www.fda.gov/food/new-nutrition-facts-label/how-understand-and-use-nutrition-facts-label. Accessed April 8, 2021.
  2. Goyal R, Deshmukh N. Food label reading: Read before you eat. J Educ Health Promot. 2018;7:56. Published 2018 Apr 3. doi:10.4103/jehp.jehp_35_17 
  3. Malik VS, Willett WC, Hu FB. The Revised Nutrition Facts Label: A Step Forward and More Room for Improvement. JAMA. 2016;316(6):583-584. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.8005 
  4. Van der Horst K, Bucher T, Duncanson K, Murawski B, Labbe D. Consumer Understanding, Perception and Interpretation of Serving Size Information on Food Labels: A Scoping Review. Nutrients. 2019;11(9):2189. Published 2019 Sep 11. doi:10.3390/nu11092189 
  5. American Institute for Cancer Research. New Dietary Guidelines for Americans Ignore Critical Evidence on Alcohol and Cancer. aicr.org. https://www.aicr.org/news/new-dietary-guidelines-for-americans-ignore-critical-evidence-on-alcohol-and-cancer/. December 29, 2020. Accessed April 10, 2021.
  6. Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Examination of Front-of-Package Nutrition Rating Systems and Symbols; Wartella EA, Lichtenstein AH, Boon CS, editors. Front-of-Package Nutrition Rating Systems and Symbols: Phase I Report. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2010. 2, History of Nutrition Labeling. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK209859/ 
  7. Bittman, Mark. Banning the Big Gulp Ban. New York Times. March 19, 2013. https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/19/banning-the-big-gulp-ban/. Accessed April 8, 2021. 
  8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Learn How the NEW Nutrition Facts Label Can Help You Improve Your Health. cdc.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/strategies-guidelines/nutrition-facts-label.html. Reviewed Feb 10, 2020. Accessed April 8, 2021. 
  9. Kliemann N, Kraemer MVS, Scapin T, et al. Serving Size and Nutrition Labelling: Implications for Nutrition Information and Nutrition Claims on Packaged Foods. Nutrients. 2018;10(7):891. Published 2018 Jul 12. doi:10.3390/nu10070891
Health Benefits of Cardamom

Health Benefits of Cardamom

10 Health Benefits of Cardamom, Backed by Science

**DISCLAIMER** I did not write this article but it was borrowed from HealthLine

 

I have recently had a love affair with cardamom.  This time of year it gets a lot of attention in my drinks, pies, stuffing, you name it.  It is a spice I go for a great deal.  I’ve recently been putting it in my coffee.  Since then I’ve noticed a reduction in overall body inflammation and GI stimulation I and many others get when drinking coffee.

 

The article below does a great job explaining the health benefits of cardamom a spice that many Americans don’t think about when cooking…add a little something different to your recipes…I promise you won’t be sorry!

Enjoy!

Dr. Dave

Cardamom is a spice with an intense, slightly sweet flavor that some people compare to mint.

It originated in India but is available worldwide today and used in both sweet and savory recipes.

The seeds, oils and extracts of cardamom are thought to have impressive medicinal properties and have been used in traditional medicine for centuries (12).

Here are 10 health benefits of cardamom, backed by science.

1. Antioxidant and Diuretic Properties May Lower Blood Pressure

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Cardamom may be helpful for people with high blood pressure.

In one study, researchers gave three grams of cardamom powder a day to 20 adults who were newly diagnosed with high blood pressure. After 12 weeks, blood pressure levels had significantly decreased to the normal range (Trusted Source).

The promising results of this study may be related to the high levels of antioxidants in cardamom. In fact, the participants’ antioxidant status had increased by 90% by the end of the study. Antioxidants have been linked to lower blood pressure (Trusted SourceTrusted Source).

Researchers also suspect that the spice may lower blood pressure due to its diuretic effect, meaning it can promote urination to remove water that builds up in your body, for example around your heart.

Cardamom extract has been shown to increase urination and decrease blood pressure in rats (Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Cardamom may help lower blood pressure, most likely due to its antioxidant and diuretic properties.

2. May Contain Cancer-Fighting Compounds

The compounds in cardamom may help fight cancer cells.

Studies in mice have shown that cardamom powder can increase the activity of certain enzymes that help fight cancer (Trusted SourceTrusted Source).

The spice may also enhance the ability of natural killer cells to attack tumors (Trusted Source).

In one study, researchers exposed two groups of mice to a compound that causes skin cancer and fed one group 500 mg of ground cardamom per kg (227 mg per pound) of weight per day (Trusted Source ).

After 12 weeks, only 29% of the group who ate the cardamom developed cancer, compared to over 90% of the control group (Trusted Source).

Research on human cancer cells and cardamom indicate similar results. One study showed that a certain compound in the spice stopped oral cancer cells in test tubes from multiplying (Trusted Source).

Even though the results are promising, these studies have only been conducted on mice or in test tubes. Human research is needed before stronger claims can be made.

SUMMARY

Certain compounds in cardamom may fight cancer and stop the growth of tumors in mice and test tubes. Human research is needed to validate if these results apply to humans as well.

3. May Protect from Chronic Diseases Thanks to Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Cardamom is rich in compounds that may fight inflammation.

Inflammation occurs when your body is exposed to foreign substances. Acute inflammation is necessary and beneficial, but long-term inflammation can lead to chronic diseases (10 Trusted Source11 Trusted Source12).

Antioxidants, found in abundance in cardamom, protect cells from damage and stop inflammation from occurring (13 Trusted Source).

One study found that cardamom extract in doses of 50–100 mg per kg (23–46 mg per pound) of body weight was effective in inhibiting at least four different inflammatory compounds in rats (14 Trusted Source).

Another study in rats showed that eating cardamom powder decreased liver inflammation induced by eating a diet high in carbs and fat (15 Trusted Source).

Though there are not as many studies on the anti-inflammatory effects of cardamom in humans, research shows that supplements may increase antioxidant status by up to 90% (Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

The antioxidant compounds in cardamom may help protect cells from damage and slow down and prevent inflammation in your body.

4. May Help with Digestive Problems, Including Ulcers

Cardamom has been used for thousands of years to help with digestion.

It’s often mixed with other medicinal spices to relieve discomfort, nausea and vomiting (1).

The most researched property of cardamom, as it pertains to relieving stomach issues, is its possible ability to heal ulcers.

In one study, rats were fed extracts of cardamom, turmeric and sembung leaf in hot water before being exposed to high doses of aspirin to induce stomach ulcers. These rats developed fewer ulcers compared to rats that only received aspirin (16 Trusted Source).

A similar study in rats found that cardamom extract alone could completely prevent or reduce the size of gastric ulcers by at least 50%.

In fact, at doses of 12.5 mg per kg (5.7 mg per pound) of body weight, cardamom extract was more effective than a common anti-ulcer medication (17 Trusted Source).

Test-tube research also suggests that cardamom may protect against Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria linked to the development of most stomach ulcer issues (18 Trusted Source).

More research is needed to know if the spice would have the same effect against ulcers in humans.

5. May Treat Bad Breath and Prevent Cavities

The use of cardamom to treat bad breath and improve oral health is an ancient remedy.

In some cultures, it’s common to freshen your breath by eating entire cardamom pods after a meal (1).

Even the chewing gum manufacturer Wrigley uses the spice in one of its products.

The reason why cardamom can lead to minty fresh breath may have to do with its ability to fight common mouth bacteria (19 Trusted Source).

One study found that cardamom extracts were effective in fighting five bacteria that can cause dental cavities. In some test-tube cases, the extracts prevented the growth of the bacteria by up to 0.82 inches (2.08 cm) (20).

Additional research shows that cardamom extract can reduce the number of bacteria in saliva samples by 54% (21).

However, all of these studies have been conducted in test tubes, making it unclear how the results may apply to humans.

SUMMARY

Cardamom is often used to treat bad breath and is a component of some chewing gums. This is because cardamom might be able to kill common mouth bacteria and prevent cavities.

6. May Have Antibacterial Effects and Treat Infections

Cardamom also has antibacterial effects outside of the mouth and may treat infections.

Research shows that cardamom extracts and essential oils have compounds that fight several common strains of bacteria (22 Trusted Source23 Trusted Source24 Trusted Source25 Trusted Source).

One test-tube study examined the impact of these extracts on drug-resistant strains of Candida, a yeastthat can cause fungal infections. The extracts were able to inhibit the growth of some strains by 0.39–0.59 inches (0.99–1.49 cm) (26Trusted Source).

Additional test-tube research found that essential oils and extracts of cardamom were just as, and sometimes more effective than standard drugs against E. coli and Staphylococcus, bacteria that can cause food poisoning (23 Trusted Source).

Test-tube studies have also shown that cardamom essential oils fight the bacteria Salmonella that leads to food poisoning and Campylobacter that contributes to stomach inflammation (24 Trusted Source25 Trusted Source).

Existing studies on the antibacterial effects of cardamom have only looked at isolated strains of bacteria in labs. Therefore, the evidence is currently not strong enough to make claims that the spice would have the same effect in humans.

SUMMARY

The essential oils and extracts of cardamom may be effective against a variety of bacterial strains that contribute to fungal infections, food poisoning and stomach issues. However, research has only been conducted in test tubes and not in humans.

7. May Improve Breathing and Oxygen Use

Compounds in cardamom may help increase airflow to your lungs and improve breathing.

When used in aromatherapy, cardamom can provide an invigorating odor that enhances your body’s ability to use oxygen during exercise (27).

One study asked a group of participants to inhale cardamom essential oil for one minute before walking on a treadmill for 15-minute intervals. This group had a significantly higher oxygen uptake compared to the control group (27).

Another way that cardamom may improve breathing and oxygen use is by relaxing your airway. This may be particularly helpful for treating asthma.

A study in rats and rabbits found that injections of cardamom extract could relax the throat air passage. If the extract has a similar effect in people with asthma, it may prevent their inflamed airways from restricting and improve their breathing (28).

SUMMARY

Cardamom may improve breathing by stimulating better oxygen uptake and relaxing air passage to the lungs in humans and animals.

8. May Lower Blood Sugar Levels

When taken in powder form, cardamom may lower blood sugar.

One study found that feeding rats a high-fat, high-carb (HFHC) diet caused their blood sugar levels to remain elevated longer than if they were fed a normal diet (15 Trusted Source).

When rats on the HFHC diet were given cardamom powder, their blood sugar did not stay elevated for longer than the blood sugar of rats on a normal diet (15 Trusted Source).

However, the powder may not have the same effect in humans with type 2 diabetes.

In a study in over 200 adults with this condition, participants were divided into groups that took only black tea or black tea with three grams of either cinnamon, cardamom or ginger every day for eight weeks (29 Trusted Source).

The results showed that cinnamon, but not cardamom or ginger, improved blood sugar control (29Trusted Source).

In order to better understand the effect of cardamom on blood sugar in humans, more studies are needed.

SUMMARY

A study on rats suggests that cardamom may help decrease high blood sugar levels, but more high-quality human studies are needed.

9. Other Potential Health Benefits of Cardamom

In addition to the aforementioned health benefits, cardamom may be good for your health in other ways as well.

Studies in rats have found that the high antioxidant levels in the spice may prevent both liver enlargement, anxiety and even aid weight loss:

  • Liver protection: Cardamom extract may decrease elevated liver enzymes, triglyceride and cholesterol levels. They may also prevent liver enlargement and liver weight, which reduces the risk of fatty liver disease (3031Trusted Source
    32Trusted Source
    33Trusted Source
    ).
  • Anxiety: One rat study suggests that cardamom extract may prevent anxious behaviors. This may be because low blood levels of antioxidants have been linked to the development of anxiety and other mood disorders (34Trusted Source
    35Trusted Source
    , 36Trusted Source
    ).
  • Weight loss: A study in 80 overweight and obese prediabetic women found a link between cardamom and slightly reduced waist circumference. However, rat studies on weight loss and the spice have not found significant results (15Trusted Source
    37Trusted Source
    )

The number of studies on the link between cardamom and these potential benefits is limited and mostly done on animals.

Furthermore, the reasons why the spice may help improve liver health, anxiety and weight are unclear.

SUMMARY

: A limited number of studies suggests that cardamom supplements may decrease waist circumference and prevent anxious behaviors and fatty liver. The reasons behind these effects are unclear but may have to do with the spice’s high antioxidant content.

10. Safe for Most People and Widely Available

Cardamom is generally safe for most people.

The most common way to use cardamom is in cooking or baking. It’s very versatile and often added to Indian curries and stews, as well as gingerbread cookies, bread and other baked goods.

The use of cardamom supplements, extracts and essential oils is likely to become more common in light of the promising results of research on its medicinal uses.

However, there is currently no recommended dose for the spice since most studies have been on animals. The use of supplements should be monitored by a health professional.

Furthermore, cardamom supplements may not be suitable for children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Most supplements recommend 500 mg of cardamom powder or extract once or twice a day.

The FDA does not regulate supplements, so be sure to choose brands that have been tested by a third party if you’re encouraged to try cardamom supplements by a healthcare provider.

If you’re interested in trying cardamom, remember that adding the spice to your foods may be the safest way.

SUMMARY

Using cardamom in cooking is safe for most people. Cardamom supplements and extracts have not been thoroughly researched and should only be taken under the guidance of a healthcare provider.

The Bottom Line

Cardamom is an ancient remedy that may have many medicinal properties.

It may lower blood pressure, improve breathing and aid weight loss.

What’s more, animal and test-tube studies show that cardamom may help fight tumors, improve anxiety, fight bacteria and protect your liver, though the evidence in these cases is less strong.

However, little or no human research exists for a number of the health claims associated with the spice. More studies are needed to show if or how the results of preliminary research apply to humans.

Nevertheless, adding cardamom to your cooking may be a safe and effective way to improve your health.

Cardamom extracts and supplements may also provide benefits but should be taken with caution and under the supervision of a doctor.

Integrative Prevention and Treatment of COVID 19

 FOUNDATIONAL PREVENTION:

Diet/Glycemic control

Sleep

Stress reduction

Vit D3 10000IU daily help maintain epithelial barrier

Vit A 5-10000IU help maintain epithelial barrier

Zn 60mg

Vit C 1000mg daily you can divide this dose in half if bowel intolerance

Quercetin 500mg 3x daily

Fish Oil 1-3g daily

High potassium diet (avocados, bananas)

Microbiome balance

ANTIOXIDANT SUPPORT:

NAC 600-900mg 2x daily for prevention

Infection: triple this and 4x if the disease in an advanced stage

*Improves integrity of tight junction signaling in GI tract

CONTACT CLINIC FOR CUSTOM HERBAL FORMULA OR COMPOUNDED NEBULIZED GLUTATHIONE.

SUGGESTED DURING INFECTION BUT CAN BE TAKEN 1x Daily for PREVENTION!

SUPPORT NK cells:

Astraglus 500mg 2-3x daily,

Andrographis 300mg 2-3x daily,

Reishi 400mg 2-3x daily (capsules or custom tincture blend)

SUPPORT TH1 IMMUNE SYSTEM

Berberine 500mg 2-3x daily alternative Goldenseal, Coptis, Cryptolepsis, Mahonia, berberis

Baicalin found in Skullcap variety 300mg 2-3x daily

Echinacea 500mg 2-3x daily

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY SUPPORT:

Curcumin 500mg as prevention 2-3x daily, if inflammation is elevating in CRP then increase to 1g Curcumin 3-4x daily

Bromelain take if inflammation is elevated via CRP 600mg between meals

Reserveratrol 2-400mg 2-3x daily

Sulforaphane 200mg 2-3x daily

Boswellia 400mg 2-3x daily

Nebulized Glutathione 3-4 ml 2-4x daily (call or email to order as it is compounded)

Oral Glutathione or NAC both stimulate anti-inflammatory cascade

Source:

Yanuck SF, Pizzorno J, Messier H, Fitzgerald KN. Evidence Supporting a Phased Immuno-physiological Approach to COVID-19 From Prevention Through Recovery. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2020;19(Suppl 1):8-35. PMID: 32425712; PMCID: PMC7190003.

General Immune Boosting and Anti-viral/bacterial Protocol

 

General Immune Boosting and Anti-viral/bacterial Protocol

 Vitamin C with Quercetin: 1000mg 2 caps 2-3x daily to help with mucous membranes, inflammation, etc

 NAC 500mg daily for prevention 1-3x daily for congestion and inflammation (natural mucolytic)

Elderberry Syrup -1tsp up to 6x daily for sore throat, anti-viral, immune support.

Vitamin D3 -20,000IU adults, 10,000IU for kids for 10 days Or prevention 4-6,000IU daily

Zinc 10-15mg daily

 Cold and Flu Formula

Ingredients:

Sambuccus spp., Usnea spp., Sarracenia purpura, Tanacetum parthenium, Rosa spp, Ligusticum porteri, Echinacea angustifolia, Andrographis paniculata, Physalis peruviana, Inula helenium, Uncaria tomentosa

1-2 droppers full 3x daily for 10-14 days

—————-

 ELDERBERRY:

Elderberry contains several healthful immune boosting properties, including antioxidants, tannins, vitamins A, B, and C, and flavonoids, just to name a few.

Vitamin A – 50,000IU for adults 25,000IU for kids for 3-4 days

Is crucial for maintaining vision, promoting growth and development, and protecting epithelium and mucus integrity in the body. VitA is known as an anti-inflammation vitamin because of its critical role in enhancing immune function.

 Vitamin D 20,000IU adults, 10,000IU for kids for 10 days

Tied to Lower Risk of Colds, Infections. — There’s preliminary evidence that adequate amounts of vitamin D might help lower rates of respiratory infections. These infections include colds, bronchitis and pneumonia.

It modulates the innate and adaptive immune responses. Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as an increased susceptibility to infection

 Zinc is a trace element that the cells of our immune system rely on to function. Not getting enough zinc (Harvard Medical School researchers recommend 15-25 mg of zinc per day) can affect the functioning of our T-cells and other immune cells. But it’s also important not to get too much: an excess of the supplement may actually interfere with the immune system’s functioning and have the opposite of the intended result.So instead of chugging fizzy drinks loaded with vitamin C, stick to getting the nutrient from food. Strawberries and many other fruits and veggies are a great source. And if you aren’t getting enough zinc in your diet, try a zinc supplement. Chickpeas, kidney beans, mushrooms, crab, and chicken are all rich in zinc, and zinc-rich lozenges may also help boost your intake.

Naturopathic Approach to COVID-19

NOTE: COVID-19 is spread in large droplets by coughing and sneezing. This means that the air will not infect you! BUT all the surfaces where these droplets land are infectious for about a week on average – everything that is associated with infected people will be contaminated and potentially infectious. The virus is on surfaces and you will not be infected unless your unprotected face is directly coughed or sneezed upon. This virus only has cell receptors for lung cells (it only infects your lungs) The only way for the virus to infect you is through your nose or mouth via your hands or an infected cough or sneeze onto or into your nose or mouth.

 

How is COVID-19 transmitted?

It is now clear that human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 is possible and is occurring. Transmission is mainly through respiratory droplets and close contact – similar to how influenza is spread. The CDC defines close contact as being within 6 feet or within a room or care area for a prolonged period without personal protective equipment OR having direct contact with secretions of a person with COVID-19 infection. There is some evidence that fecal-oral or blood transmission may be possible, even when COVID-19 is not detected in oral swabs (3). Investigation is underway to determine how long COVID-19 can survive on various surfaces and possibly be transmitted through “fomites” (a fancy word for objects or materials that can carry infection, such as tabletops, keyboards, clothes and utensils).  

The incubation period is thought to be 2-14 days, with a median incubation period of 4 days. Patients are thought to be most contagious when they are symptomatic. However, a recent report (4) found that an asymptomatic woman who transmitted COVID-19 to 5 other people may have had an incubation time of 19 days. 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

What is important to remember is that the majority of infected people appear to have mild infections – with mild cold-like symptoms and fever, and likely many who have no symptoms. As noted above, there are case reports of asymptomatic carriers. However, most people who contract COVID-19 do seem to develop symptoms of some sort. 

Reported symptoms include:

  • Fever (which may not be present in the very young or very old, or immunocompromised)
  • Uncomplicated upper respiratory symptoms (Cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, malaise, headache, muscle aches)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Mild pneumonia
  • Severe pneumonia (the severe pneumonia caused by COVID-19 is now named severe acute respiratory infection (SARI))
  • Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)
  • Sepsis and Septic shock
  • Death

How and who do you test for COVID-19?

COVID-19 is detected by testing nasopharyngeal swabs (basically a q-tip up the nose), oropharyngeal swabs (a throat swab), and sputum for genetic material of COVID-19 by polymerase chain testing (PCR). The test kit is called the “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase (RT)-PCR Diagnostic Panel.” In the US, these test kits are NOT available currently through doctor’s offices, community clinics, or hospitals  (i.e. I do NOT have test kits). If I were suspicious that a child or parent in my office could have COVID-19, I would send them to the public health department for testing.

Currently, the recommendations are to test patients with fever and lower respiratory symptoms (cough or shortness of breath) who have had close contact with: 1) a person with confirmed COVID-19; or 2) history of travel from affected geographic areas with 4 days of symptoms; OR anyone with severe acute lower respiratory illness that requires hospitalization and does not have another diagnosis like influenza, eve without any known source of exposure. Remember, the CDC defines close contact as being within 6 feet or within a room or care area for a prolonged period without personal protective equipment OR having direct contact with secretions of a person with COVID-19 infection.

This is the protocol that was emailed to me by my local health department (8):

How do you treat COVID-19?

There are currently no specific antiviral medications known to treat COVID-19, Treatment is supportive with rest, fluids, oxygen, and more intensive care if needed. Scientists are actively researching possible existing or new antiviral medications that may have activity against COVID-19, and vaccines that may help to prevent COVID-19. Tamiflu will not work. While these efforts are critically needed, the manufacture and testing of a new pharmaceutical agents or vaccines is likely several months to over a year in coming.

Stat Source:

https://healthykidshappykids.com/2020/02/27/coronavirus-covid-19/?fbclid=IwAR2F1UgcRJz0UDZ14G52aQml22jtp3ZTdO0otRlD6rWiK6LPRiVirxzbN90

Natural Anti-Viral treatments.

HERB LIST CLIFF NOTES:

Sambucus spp: Anti-viral, antioxidant

Lomatium dissectum: Anti-viral, helps break up mucous

Grindelia spp: expectorant, reduce mucous

Astragalus spp: immune system support, anti-viral

Glycyrrhiza (Licorice root): antiviral, mucolytic, anti-inflammatory.

 Saracenia purpurea: anti-viral, reduce fever, diuretic

Ligusticum porterii: Antiviral, reduce sore throats, coughs, can improve various lung ailments. 

THIS IS A SHORT LIST THERE ARE MANY OTHERS

 

SPICE CABINET ANTIVIRALS: Oregano, Ginger, Lemon balm, Sage, Garlic, Fennel, Basil, Rosemary.

 OTHER SUPPLEMENTS:

Vitamin A

5,000IU infants; 10,000-20,000IU for children; 50,000IU for adults do this for 3 days.  This improves natural killer cells response, reduces inflammation, and antiviral activity, improves epithelia integrity. 

Vitamin D3 

2,000-5,000IU for infants; 10,000IU children, 20,000-50,000IU adults for 10 days then reduce dosing to 25%

has been called a “pro-survival molecule.” In this review of the literature on Vitamin D and immunity (19), the authors conclude that: 

“… vitamin D not only helps the immune system to be dampened during an excessive or chronic reaction (anti-inflammatory potential) but also to rapidly reach its completion or exhaustion, helping innate cells to kill bacteria or viruses. In this sense, vitamin D maintains its pivotal role as a pro-survival molecule.”

Cathelicidin produced by Vitamin D can neutralize LPS (lipopolysaccharides) that are responsible for so much of the damage that we see in sepsis, and also has antimicrobial and immunomodulatory effects. (20) Vitamin D deficiency may actually be considered a risk factor for sepsis and inflammatory disorders, so please ensure that your and your child’s vitamin D levels are optimized as I discuss below in how to protect your child.

Vitamin C

500-1000mg 2-3x daily for children, 1000mg 3-4x daily for adults

Antioxidant properties, improve integrity of mucosal membranes. 

Glutathione/NAC

Natural mucolytic, can be taken orally or nebulized, natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. 

Quercetin 

has also been found to inhibit the NF-kB pathway (23), and to improve survival and decrease cellular damage in a mouse model of sepsis  

COMMON SENSE!

There are commonsense measures to protect yourself from COVID-19 that you should be practicing regardless of whatever virus is circulating at the moment. The only unique recommendation with COVID-19 is to avoid unnecessary contact with non-domesticated animals due to presumed animal-human transmission. Other commonsense measures to protect yourself and prevent spread of illness include: 

  • Wash hands frequently, especially before eating or touching your face. Washing hands with warm soap and water for at least 30 seconds is the best option. This study found that washing hands even with plain running water without soap was more effective than ethanol-based hand disinfectants at killing the Influenza A virus! (36)
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth! Do your best to keep those little fingers away! 
  • Stay home when you’re sick, unless you need urgent medical attention. You may be increasing your possible exposures to COVID-19 if you don’t have it, or exposing others unnecessarily if you do.
  • Cover your cough with your elbow or tissues. Teach your kids proper cough etiquette. And if you use a tissue, immediately throw it into the trash and wash your hands.
  • Keep your distance. Try to stay at least 6 feet away from anyone who is obviously sick with fever and/or respiratory symptoms.
  • Irrigate your nose. While we do not know if nasal irrigation makes a difference for prevention of COVID-19, I believe that one of the MOST preventive things you can do for any viral respiratory illness is to irrigate your, and your children’s, nasal passages with Xlear nasal spray at the end of every day and after any potential exposure (work, school, playgroups, plane travel, etc.). This is a saline nasal spray with xylitol and grapefruit seed extract, both of which have antimicrobial properties. You cannot overdo it, and will not get “addicted” to it. Other options for nasal irrigation are a regular saline spray, Neti pot, and other sinus rinses like Neilmed.
    **Apart from regular hand washing, I believe that daily and frequent nasal irrigation is one of the MOST important things that we can do to prevent influenza and other viral respiratory infections from taking hold.** This is because after exposure to a virus, the influenza virus tries to invade and multiply in your nasal passages for at least 1-2 days before you develop any symptoms. Nasal irrigation can wash away viral particles before they have the opportunity to take hold, and thereby prevent many infections from happening in the first place!
  • Load up on foods and spices with antiviral properties. These include coconut oil, raw garlic, oregano, ginger, kimchi and other fermented foods, walnut, pomegranate, green tea, apple cider vinegar, and medicinal mushrooms (shiitake, maitake, reishi, cordyceps, turkeytail).
  • Eat lots of colorful fruits and vegetables. They are full of antioxidants which will destroy the free radicals that weaken our immune system and are responsible for making us feel sick when we catch a bug. Each color provides different antioxidant power – so be sure to eat a rainbow every day. If you’re kids aren’t the hugest vegetable eaters yet, give them their antioxidant dose with a smoothie packed with fruits AND veggies, use that smoothie to make jello with grass-fed gelatin or popsicles, sneak pureed vegetables into your spaghtetti sauce, soups, chilis, or whatever other way you can think of – be creative!
  • Stay well-hydrated. Stick to water, coconut water, herbal teas, and bone broth. No soda or sugary drinks, please! What’s a good estimate for how much water you need at a minimum? Divide your body weight (in pounds) in half and drink that number in ounces! Do you come close?
  • Drink your bone broth! Bone broth has amazing immune-supporting properties. See Amazing Bone Broth to get started easily making your own.
  • Eat fermented foods. The probiotics contained in fermented foods have tremendous immune boosting powers. In fact, the fermented Korean cabbage, kimchi, was found to have significant effects in preventing and fighting the H1N1 influenza virus! Other examples of delicious fermented foods to try include sauerkraut, pickles (try “real” pickles without added vinegar like Bubbies), miso, kefir, and kombucha.
  • Avoid simple sugars and processed/junk food. Did you know that your blood shows lab evidence of a lowered immune system within 30 minutes of eating simple sugars (like glucose, refined sugar, and fructose), and causes a 50% reduction in your white blood cells’ abilities to kill germs? White blood cells are our “army” cells that fight off germs. This effect is most noticeable 2 hours after ingestion, but is still present 5 hours later! Keeping blood sugar levels healthy has been shown to improve immune system activity.
  • Get fresh air and moderate daily exercise. Moderate exercise can boost the production of macrophages, the kind of white blood cells that “eat” bacteria and viruses. However, intense exercise can actually temporarily decrease immune function – so don’t overdo it!
  • Get adequate sleep. An increase in sleep actually increases the number of your white blood cells. On the other hand, loss of sleep even for a few hours at night, increases inflammation in our body which makes us more susceptible to catching the flu and having more severe symptoms. So make sure your whole family is getting enough zzzz’s. For tips on getting a good night’s sleep, 

 

 

 

 

January Newsletter 2020

January Newsletter 2020

January 2020 Edition

What's New

Colder temperatures may help reduce allergies and inflammation and research has shown that it can help you think more clearly and perform daily tasks better.

Planning for Your Best Health in 2020

Welcome to 2020. A new year and new - or renewed - resolutions. Whether you're determined to manage weight, reduce stress, strengthen relationships, or volunteer your services, the first step in choosing what to tackle is understanding your values and priorities. Visualize how the change would look for you.

Ask yourself: If I make this change . . .

  • What positive effects will I experience: (example, if you choose to focus on volunteer work, you are likely to create new friendships; if you volunteer as a family, you'll strengthen family ties).
  • What resources or support do I need?
  • How will I feel emotionally? Physically? Spiritually?

Changing behavior is tricky: it takes time, patience, good planning, and the willingness to accept setbacks even as you move forward. It takes at least 30 days to establish a new habit and become comfortable with your new routine, time requirements and available resources. Plan for success and be realistic about outcomes by anticipating how you'll handle challenges that pop up, whether its time constraints, external obligations, or lack of support from family and friends.

The following strategies can help you succeed.

Know Your Why. Why do you want to make this change? Motivation is an important predictor of behavior and, ultimately, success, so be honest about your why. How will success feel to you? Connecting emotion to your why strengthens your willingness to stick to the goal when things get challenging. I'll feel less stress because I will have more space around the house if I clean out the rooms and closets. Write down your 'why' and post it somewhere visible.

Set Goals and Have a Plan. Anything you want to achieve isn't about finding the time, it's about making the time - and that choice is always in your power. If you're unsure about forming goals and plan, ask your holistic health practitioner for assistance. Depending on what you are striving to change, you might set weekly or monthly goals.

Pull Together Resources. Sometimes the people we typically count are less than supportive of our goals, wondering how your commitment to change will affect them or your relationship. If you can't find support in your immediate circle of influence, seek out a like-minded group, an accountability buddy, a life coach or counselor. Your health practitioner can assist with resources and make suggestions for keeping you accountable for your progress.

Celebrate Success! In your plan, note the markers at which you will celebrate success. Rewards need not be expensive, just meaningful for you. Keep in mind that some rewards might be a natural consequence of your lifestyle change: A smile from someone you have helped through volunteer work, donating clothes that no longer fit after weight loss, or having room for a new desk in a cleared out space.

References

Food for Thought. . .

"Be the change that you wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi

Wild about Winter Greens!

If you want to liven up your salads, get wild about winter greens! Here's a list of cold-weather hardy greens that are packed with nutrition, flavor, and color:

Belgian Endive. Add kick to your salad with chopped-up endive leaves.Skip the crackers for your hummus or cheese spread by using a sturdy endive leave, raw or baked. Endive provides potassium, fiber, and vitamins B, C and K, as well as calcium, magnesium, iron and folate.

Beet Greens. With a mild taste similar to kale, beet greens should not be tossed when you chop off the amethyst bulb at the end. The greens provide an abundance of nutrients including vitamins A and C. Look for firm, fresh greens still attached to the root. Beet greens can be enjoyed raw in a salad, sautéed, braised or steamed.

Kohlrabi. A cousin to broccoli, kohlrabi (aka The German Turnip) has purple, pale green, and white varieties. Slightly sweeter than broccoli, it's high in potassium, vitamin B6, manganese, and folate. Use shredded or chopped, add to soups and salads; eat raw or sautéed.

Parsley. Beyond garnish, it's a green worthy of being added to your salad blends. Use parsley in the final steps when preparing soups, sauces, salad dressing, rice or pasta. A cup of parsley provides iron, potassium, vitamins A, C, K and folate.

Radicchio. Abundant in vitamin K and potassium, radicchio is one of the prettiest winter veggies. It adds color and texture to salads and entrees. It's also a great green for digestive health. Don't confuse radicchio with red cabbage; radicchio is a member of the chicory family and has a distinctive, unique flavor that will bring your meals to life.

Watercress. A lovely addition to any salad, watercress is a great source of nutrition, containing fiber, antioxidants and minerals. It contains a high amount of Vitamins K, A and C. One of the more delicate winter greens, it makes for a lovely garnish to any dish.

These powerhouse veggies are loaded with antioxidants, which are associated with reduced risk for chronic disease. Check with your health practitioner for more healthy dietary advice during the winter months.

References

Vibrant Winter Greens with Walnuts, Dried Cranberry and Lemon Vinaigrette

A healthy start to dinner, this winter salad is robust in flavor, color, and nutrition. Cranberries add color and sweetness against the vibrant dark greens and purple radicchio. Walnuts and raw broccoli slaw bring on the crunch and provide nutrition for the mind. The entire salad is complemented by a lemon vinaigrette dressing. The result is super-delicious! Ingredients for Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt, or to taste
  • 3 – 4 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preparation
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, mustard, and fine sea salt, whisking until the sugar and salt are dissolved.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of the oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly until the dressing is well blended. Season with fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. If desired, whisk in the remaining oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly. DO AHEAD: The vinaigrette can be prepared ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days.
Salad Ingredients
  • 2 oz. chopped baby spinach leaves
  • 2 oz. finely shredded radicchio
  • 3 oz. chopped Belgian Endive
  • 3 oz. chopped savoy cabbage
  • 1/3 package of organic shredded broccoli slaw
  • 1/2 cup walnuts halves and pieces (or your favorite nut)
  • 2 oz dried, unsweetened cranberries (or currants, or diced apple pieces if you prefer)
Salad Preparation
  1. In a salad bowl, gently mix greens, cranberries, add nuts with dressing. Divide among plates.
  2. If using apple, dice and sprinkle over the top of each salad plate.
  3. Drizzle dressing over salad plates.
  4. Garnish with a sprig of parsley, if desired.

References

Ashwagandha: Herbal Support for Stressful Times

For more than 4,000 years Ashwagandha has been a staple botanical treatment in Ayurvedic Medicine. Ashwagandha is known as an adaptogenic herb: one that helps the body adapt to physical and emotional stress. It's also regarded as a strengthening tonic to support the immune system and promote healing during and after illness.

Though Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) has potent effects on its own - including mild sedative and calming effects that can help with nervous tension and insomnia - it's often used in conjunction with other herbs carefully selected for each individual. Botanical scientists and Ayurvedic practitioners believe the synergistic effects produced when other herbs are used in combination with Ashwagandha would not occur with a single herb. Research is examining these effects as well as the role Ashwagandha plays in decreasing inflammation and treating certain forms of dementia. Ashwagandha also has been used for some forms of arthritis, anxiety, fatigue, and depression. Various forms of ashwagandha (tincture, extract, tea, liquid capsules) are selected depending on the health concern to be treated.

Ashwagandha, a small, woody shrub with tiny garnet berries, is a member of the nightshade family of herbs. If there is an allergy to other nightshade plants, then Ashwagandha may not be suitable for you. Ashwagandha can interact with other herbs and prescription medication; it is important to consult with a holistic physician who has training in botanical pharmacology before taking this herb.

References

Siberian Ginseng: Botanical Remedy for Immune & Stress Support

Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is a botanical medicine distantly related to the more well-known Panax Ginseng. For a time, it was mistakenly believed to have the same properties as Panax Ginseng and promoted it as a less-expensive substitute.

Like Ashwaganda, Siberian Ginseng is an adaptogen. It has most commonly been used to support the immune system and adrenal glands when the body is under stress (such as after surgery, or during emotionally challenging times). A recent area of research on Siberian Ginseng is its use for upper respiratory infection. In studies to date, Siberian Ginseng has been used in combination with other botanicals, so more research is needed to determine how much of the healing process can be attributed to the ginseng.

In China and Russia, Siberian Ginseng is used to stimulate the immune system, for prevention of infectious diseases, and to enhance stamina and performance. Some research shows that it may help strengthen the immune system.

It's always best to obtain a Ginseng supplement from your holistic practitioners. This will ensure that you have a high-quality product that is the proper variety for your particular health concerns.

References

Keeping a Diet Diary

Whether you need to monitor eating habits to manage a health condition or because you want to lose weight, keeping a Diet Diary is a powerful tool for gaining insight about what, when, and why you are eating.

To often, we eat mindlessly, leading to poor choices and over indulgence, raising the risk for developing heart disease, obesity, diabetes, allergies, colds and food sensitivities. A Diet Diary shows how to improve food choices and helps create a foundation for good health.

Diet Diaries are easy to use. You can opt for paper-and-pencil journal formats or you can use an app from sources such as My Plate, MyNet Diary, My Fitness Pal, Yazio, or See How You Eat. Keep in mind, the apps provide superior data capture and long-term tracking so you can more easily spot pitfalls and see your success. Regardless of the format, track your eating habits during weekdays and at least one weekend day for at least two weeks, but ideally for a month. If you're striving to manage a health condition, your holistic doctor will have additional suggestions for you. What to Track in a Paper & Pencil Diet Diary Food Factors What did you eat? What time of day? Portion size (measure food or estimate: "palm-full of granola"); include # of grams of fat, carbohydrates, protein and calories Why did you eat? (physically hungry? have a craving?) Mind Factors What was your overall mood? Stress level? How did you feel after eating? (satisfied, guilty, ill) Were you distracted or attentive/mindful about your meal? Social & Environmental Factors Who were you with for the meal? Did you eat in a rush or were you relaxed? Were you doing another activity while eating? (working, watching TV, cooking) Physical Factors Did you have any physical symptoms during or after eating? (indigestion, reflux, gas, bloating) Did you have headaches, or mental/emotional fatigue?

Review your journal at the end of each day and summarize your habits. Note the key factors for why you chose to eat at the times you did, whether you made healthy or unhealthy choices, and what were the key triggers for eating at different times.

References

Guiding Principles

The information offered by this newsletter is presented for educational purposes. Nothing contained within should be construed as nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet or fitness program. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information contained within this newsletter.

December Newsletter 2019

December Newsletter 2019

December 2019 Edition

What's New

The average person eats more than 7,000 calories on Christmas day, research carried out by Associated British Foods recently found. That's more than three times the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recommended daily caloric intake.

Holidays: The Healthy, Homemade Way

You've heard the saying, "it's the thought that counts." This year, make your thoughts count with healthy homemade gifts. Do-it-yourself (DIY) gifts allow you to avoid the toxins that lurk in most store-bought products, save money, and promote the wellbeing of friends and family. As an added bonus, making gifts is a fun way to exercise creativity and relieve stress. In the spirit of the season, here are DIY gift ideas that are sure to boost the health and mood of everyone on your list.

Infused Oils. The cooks in your life will devour these infused oils, bottled with love. Place dried herbs of your choice in a sterilized, dry jar and cover with olive oil. Place the jar in a saucepan and fill the pan about a quarter full of water. Gently heat the herbs over very low heat, between 100° and 120° F for one to five hours, until the oil takes on the color and scent of the herb. Remove the jar and cool completely before labeling. Get creative with your label; be sure to date the mixture and list the ingredients.

Aromatherapy Bath Salts. Mix together one cup Epsom salt, a half-cup natural sea salt, 20 to 30 drops of your favorite essential oil and two to three tablespoons of dried herbs or botanicals. Transfer into a glass jar. Decorate the jar with paint markers or attach a creative label. Include directions: add a half-cup of bath salts to warm running bath water, submerge body, and relax!

Healthy Homemade Granola in a Jar. For people on-the-go, give a gift that will keep them energized and running at peak performance. There are tons of homemade granola recipes on the internet, and you can pick any one of them. Be sure to use organic, additive-free ingredients. All this gift takes is a trip to your local natural grocery store, a mixing bowl, an oven, and a jar to put it in. Suggested mix: Dried cherries, pineapple, and cranberries, almonds and cashews, toasted oats, and cacao nibs.

Natural Skin Care Mask. Help the women in your life beat dull winter skin with an all-natural skin care mask made of cranberries and yogurt. Simply puree a half-cup of cranberries in a food processor, transfer the puree into a bowl and mix with a half-cup of yogurt; blend by hand until you have a creamy mixture. For a thicker mask, mix in a little green clay or honey. Bottle the mixture and add a label with instructions to let the mask sit on the face for 20 minutes before rinsing with warm water. High in antioxidants, vitamins A, C, B3 and B5, cranberries not only lend moisture for the skin, they also aid in cell turnover and protect from free radicals, giving an anti-aging effect.

Herb Garden Markers. Perfect for the gardeners - and wannabe gardeners - in your life, these stones are super simple and inexpensive to make. Collect a variety of smooth riverbed stones, clean thoroughly, and on each rock paint the name of a garden herb or vegetable. Feeling extra-creative? Paint little garden-themed designs on them as well.

References

Food for Thought. . .

"The holidays are only holy if we make them so." - Marianne Williamson

Ancient Grains, Modern Health Benefits

We've all heard about the health benefits of eating whole grains - those that have been minimally processed and are void of added sugars and preservatives. You also may be hearing about Ancient Grains. For clarity, most grains have been around since the dawn of time. What makes a whole grain an "ancient" grain is the fact that they have remained unchanged, i.e. have not been genetically modified by humans, over centuries. Modern wheat, then, is not an Ancient Grain.

There are many types of Ancient Grains and none are native plants of North America, though these "supergrains" are gaining popularity for their unique flavors and specific nutrient profile. Here are a few:

Amaranth is gluten-free, rich in fiber, potassium, calcium, iron and protein (9 grams per cup). It's often prepared like oatmeal or can be prepared like rice. Amaranth flour is often used in baking bread.

Farro is a form of wheat (so it contains gluten), rich in B-vitamins, protein, and high in fiber but low in calories. It's great to use in risotto style dishes.

Kamut packs 11 grams of protein in a cup. It contains gluten and resembles whole grain rice, but is more nutrient rich, containing fiber, polyphenols, and minerals.

Millet is a gluten-free yellow grain that resembles cous-cous (which is not gluten-free). Packed with magnesium, it can be steamed like rice or prepared the same as a pastina.

Teff is gluten-free, often used in making polenta. The grain is tiny, like poppy seeds, but more nutrient dense, containing iron, fiber, and calcium.

To learn more about the varieties of Ancient Grains, including those that are gluten-free, visit these resources:

The Whole Grain Council: Ancient Grains

The Whole Grain Goodness of Modern and Ancient Grains (Harvard Health)

9 Gluten-free Ancient Grains

References

Creamy Chicken and Kamut Casserole

Kamut? It might sound like it, but it's not the name of a new Muppet. Pronounced KAH-moot, it is the name of a wonderful Ancient Grain that adds great flavor and texture to this recipe - a unique spin on a basic chicken and rice casserole. Kamut is slightly larger than rice and a bit chewier, with a mild nutty taste. Packed with protein, you can easily use kamut with meatless dishes. It takes a bit longer to cook than long-grain brown rice, but the taste is so worth the wait! Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked kamut (1 cup uncooked, about 180g; see note for cooking)
  • 1 1/2 cups (355ml) cashew milk (or a dairy-free milk of your choice)
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sunflower oil
  • 8 oz (225g) chicken breast, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 large red pepper, chopped
  • 4 cups chopped collard greens, about 6 large leaves
Preparation
  1. Whisk milk, flour, salt, and thyme together until there are almost no clumps left. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a cast-iron or oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic, and stir constantly. Let them cook for about a minute. Add the chicken and cook it for 5-6 minutes.
  3. Add red pepper and collard greens and let cook for a few minutes, until the collard greens have wilted.
  4. Stir the milk mixture into the skillet and reduce the heat slightly (about a medium-low). Cook for a minute or two, until the mixture starts to thicken and bubble. Be sure to stir frequently because the sauce will start to burn at the bottom.
  5. Turn off the heat and mix in the kamut. Enjoy warm.

References

Vitamin C: Support for Strong Immunity and So Much More

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin known for its role in supporting a healthy immune system. However, it's also crucial for many other important biological functions. A deficiency in vitamin C causes scurvy, leaves the body vulnerable to infections, and is an underlying factor in inflammation that can lead to chronic illness. Several Key Functions That Require Vitamin C:

  • the synthesis of collagen, an essential component of connective tissue and important to wound healing
  • the production of certain neurotransmitters (brain chemicals)
  • antioxidant support throughout the body
  • facilitating the absorption of calcium into the bones
Getting Enough Vitamin C

Because our body cannot make vitamin C, it must come from the foods we eat every day. However, many of us are not eating sufficient fruits and vegetables to maintain the levels that optimally support antioxidant activity and immune function. Also, being water-soluble means that vitamin C is quickly excreted from the body. It's important to take a daily vitamin C supplement to ensure the body has the protection it needs.

The recommended daily allowance of vitamin C is around 90 mg per day. Some research indicates a daily intake of 100-200 mg for better protection against new infections, such as colds and respiratory tract illnesses. Many experts recommend supplementing with up to 1,000 mg of vitamin C daily. However, when you are already feeling ill, it's best to consult with a holistic physician to determine the right dose and form (liquid, capsule, etc.) for your needs. Even if you are taking a supplement, you still want to eat a variety of organic fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C, such as:

  • acerola cherries
  • cantaloupe
  • black currant
  • lychee
  • kiwi
  • papaya
  • pineapple
  • strawberries
  • red and yellow bell peppers
  • broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • cauliflower

To get the most nutrients from your fruits and vegetables, eat them as soon as possible after shopping. Consider buying local to ensure freshness, as nutrients decrease with time on the shelf. When cooking, you can limit nutrient loss by steaming or cooking on low heat for short periods of time.

References

Phenomenal Phytonutrients

Most of us are familiar with macronutrients - protein, carbs and fat - the building blocks of a nutritious diet. But do you know that phytonutrients (chemical substances that give plants their vibrant colors) play an important role in your diet because of the ways they support good health and help prevent illness?

Plants produce phytonutrients (aka phytochemicals) to protect themselves from bacteria, viruses, and even from UV radiation from the sun. When consumed in our diet and assimilated by the human body, these substances work just as hard to protect our health. They're especially important in the diets of athletes, weekend warriors, and those who have physically demanding jobs.

Phytonutrients have a role in:

  • enhancing the health of the immune system
  • counteracting inflammation in the body
  • supporting communication between cells in the body
  • detoxifying cells after exposure to environmental toxins
  • supporting muscle activity while you are exercising, engaging in physically demanding work and during recovery.

Here are some phytonutrients and the foods they can be found in:

Polyphenols: found in berries, tart cherries, and pomegranates, which have a powerful anti-inflammatory action in the body.

Quercetin: found in apples, onions, and potato skins; works to support your immune system.

Carotenoids: found in orange and yellow produce like carrots, bell peppers, and sweet potatoes. Supports the health of eyes, skin and lungs.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin: found in green leafy vegetables including kale, spinach, unpeeled cucumber, and kiwi. Supports eye health and may protect against cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.

Many phytonutrients have more than one effect in the body. Because they help reduce inflammation and protect against disease processes, be sure to include more plant-based foods in your diet. If you have specific health concerns and want to know which phytonutrients should be a focus of your diet or supplement regimen, consult with a holistic health physician or licensed naturopathic doctor.

References

What is Cranial Sacral Massage?

No other structures have as much influence over the human body's ability to function properly as the brain and spinal cord, which make up the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS is strongly influenced by the craniosacral system - membranes and fluid that surround, protect, and nourish the brain and spinal cord. A therapeutic modality known as Cranio Sacral Massage (CSM) is used to release tension and relieve pain and dysfunction.

Using a soft touch, generally no greater than the weight of a nickel, licensed massage practitioners who are trained in this modality use CSM to release restrictions in the soft tissues around the base of the skull and other regions of the head. A CSM practitioner uses his or her hands to evaluate the craniosacral system by gently feeling various locations to test for the ease of motion and rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid pulsing around the brain and spinal cord. Soft-touch techniques are then used to release restrictions in any tissues influencing the craniosacral system.

A variety of conditions can be addressed with CSM, including;

  • Chronic headache, Migraine
  • Tension in the neck and back
  • TMJ
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Orthopedic Conditions
  • Stress-related Syndromes
  • Sinus Infection

Research shows that CSM is generally effective for stress and tension-related health problems, but more advanced clinical studies are needed on a wider variety of populations. Individuals who have a diagnosed aneurysm, a tumor in the head or neck, a history of concussion or head injury, or a bleeding disorder should consult their holistic health practitioner before having CSM.

References

Guiding Principles

The information offered by this newsletter is presented for educational purposes. Nothing contained within should be construed as nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet or fitness program. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information contained within this newsletter.

November Newsletter 2019

November Newsletter 2019

November 2019 Edition

What's New

Research shows that about 75 percent of the world’s population loses the ability to break down lactose at some point, meaning that many naturally become lactose intolerance over time. In the U.S., the condition affects around 30 million adults to some degree by age 20, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

More than Belly Aches: Acid Reflux in Children

Acid reflux is often experienced differently in children and teens than it is in adults. Along with a wide range of symptoms, kids typically tell parents they have "fire in the belly and throat," a sign of acid reflux and not simply a stomach ache. Always take it seriously. Persistent reflux can erode tooth enamel, damage the lining of the esophagus, cause sore throat/laryngitis, interfere with swallowing, and increase the risk for diseases of the esophagus.

Acid reflux is triggered by too little stomach acid, which is needed to signal the lower esophagus to close tightly. When it fails to close, stomach acid backs up into the esophagus, creating a burning sensation. When persistent reflux affects a child's ability to enjoy eating, absorb nutrients, and manifests other health problems, it's labeled as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Occasional reflux is common in kids, but GERD is more serious, afflicting up to 84% of children age 2-17 and about 40% of infants.

Causes and treatment approaches vary widely, depending on the age of the child, their diet, and other health factors. Let's take a holistic look at acid reflux in kids including symptoms, causes, and ways to resolve the underlying causes and prevent serious damage to the digestive tract. Symptoms of Reflux & GERD in Kids:

A variety of symptoms accompany reflux - not every child will have all or even most of them.

  • intense irritation to burning pain in the lower mid-chest or behind the breastbone
  • stomach ache
  • bad breath
  • nausea / vomiting
  • problems swallowing or painful swallowing
Causes of Reflux & GERD Include:
  • medicines a child is taking (including antibiotics)
  • being overweight or obese
  • having a food sensitivity or allergy
  • stress
  • use of nicotine, caffeine and alcohol
  • musculoskeletal abnormalities
  • lack of exercise
  • poor diet
  • poor gut health

You may be familiar with prescription and over-the-counter medications for adults with reflux disease, such as proton-pump inhibitors and antacids. At best, these drugs mask symptoms and give only short-term relief. Given to children and teens, these drugs set kids up for a lifetime of digestive and intestinal issues because the root cause of the reflux is not addressed. Addressing the Root Cause of Reflux & GERD:

To get to the root cause of GERD, a holistic physician may test for food sensitivities, assess stomach acid production, and evaluate the child's diet and lifestyle habits. They may also assess for imbalances in gut health. To address underlying causes, holistic physicians may prescribe nutritional supplements / herbal remedies, guide you in making dietary changes, recommend exercise and stress management, and use physical medicine modalities such as abdominal massage. Each approach works in conjunction with the others based on individual needs with the aim to restore balance and health to your child's gut.

References

Food for Thought. . .

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." - Hippocrates

Helping Kids Eat Dairy-Free

If you've been told by a holistic health physician that your child needs to follow a dairy-free diet - don't panic! Today, there are numerous healthy and delicious dairy-free options. The first thing you will want to be clear about is if the dairy-free recommendation is due to lactose intolerance or to a dairy sensitivity. The two share similar symptoms but are very different conditions. Some children will have one, but many have both, and the approach to each is different. If you are unsure which condition your child has, double check with your doctor.

Lactose intolerance means that your child cannot digest milk sugar (lactose). It is a very common condition and you will see many dairy products, including milk, yogurt, butter and others, labeled "lactose free" or "safe for lactose intolerance." A dairy sensitivity or allergy means that your child has difficulty digesting milk protein (whey, casein).

In either condition, symptoms can include, among other things, abdominal cramps, bloating, nausea, constipation or diarrhea, vomiting, rash, sinus infection, and respiratory distress. In some cases, the child is at risk for a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction that can shut down the child's airways - immediate medical attention is necessary.

Once your physician has diagnosed the type of allergy/intolerance, together you can create a plan for finding dairy-free substitutions in order to keep your child deliciously nourished. Here are a few suggestions:

Choose Vegan Foods. Vegan foods are dairy-free, as well as meat-free. Selecting vegan foods is a great way to enjoy a variety of flavors that are free from all sources of dairy.

Try Alternatives to Milk. These days the dairy aisle has a new neighbor: a dairy-free section with a variety of alternative products made from rice, soy, almond, cashew, walnut, hemp, and coconut. The selection of products includes cheese, "milks", ice cream, cream cheese, and yogurt to name a few. Also, Kosher products labeled Pareve do not contain dairy. Different brands of these alternative dairy options will vary in consistency, flavor, and nutrition profiles. Experiment with several to find those that best suit your family's needs. As with other dairy products, keep an eye on the sugar content by reading labels.

Choose More Fresh, Whole Foods. Get your kids in the habit of eating in-season, organic, fresh fruits and vegetables.

Your physician will have other tips specific to your child's needs. It's important to follow your doctor's advice for making these changes easy and enjoyable for your child. Eventually, they won't miss dairy at all.

References

Kid-friendly, SO Yummy! Homemade Dairy Free Ice Cream

There are many ways to make delicious dairy-free ice cream at home, but one simple and proven approach to creating a healthy version of this cool, sweet treat begins with the following essential ingredients:

  • 3 cups dairy-free milk (coconut, almond, cashew, sesame, etc.)
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup natural sweetener (maple syrup, coconut sugar, honey, etc.)*
  • Flavoring to taste (vanilla, cinnamon, cacao powder, maca, mint extract, etc.)
  • Add-ins of choice (berries, peaches, banana, cacao nibs, nuts or seeds, chocolate chunks, etc.)*

The type of *sweetener, flavoring and add-ins that you choose will affect the sugar content of the ice cream. Keep nutrition in balance by choosing wisely. The Academy of Culinary Nutrition has a variety of recipes for you to choose from. Below is one of our favorites. Be sure to include your kids in the ice-cream making fun! Dairy Free Chocolate Mint Ice Cream

  • 1 cup raw cashews (150g), soaked overnight, washed & drained
  • 1 cup coconut cream (250ml)
  • 1/3 cup coconut nectar
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 tsp Spirulina
  • Few drops peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup cacao nibs (or raw chocolate grated)
Preparation

You don't necessarily need an ice cream maker. While these machines do whip air into your frozen desserts, producing a fluffier result, you could easily put your ice cream mixture directly into the freezer instead.

  1. Blend cashews, coconut cream and coconut nectar in a blender until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add coconut oil and blend until combined
  3. Add peppermint oil (add more or less to liking) and spirulina and blend until combined.
  4. Pour into metal loaf tin. Stir through cacao nibs.
  5. Cover tin with foil and freeze overnight until set.
  6. Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving to soften.

References

Papaya Power for Digestive Health

Many foods naturally contain enzymes, which are molecules that speed up chemical reactions. Digestive enzymes, as you may have guessed, support various digestive processes. One food that contains important digestive enzymes is papaya.

A deep yellow, sweet tropical fruit, papaya is rich in papain, which contains the digestive enzyme called protease that helps breakdown protein. If the body is deficient in this enzyme (due to genetics, illness, or food allergy), then protein-rich foods cannot be properly digested; consequently, you may experience indigestion or heartburn. The protease enzymes in papaya (among other tropical fruits), have been shown to help ease symptoms associated with an upset stomach and heartburn.

To reap the benefits of the enzymes in these foods, eat them raw at their peak freshness and chew mindfully as saliva activates many enzymes. If you are taking papaya as a digestive enzyme supplement, check with your holistic health practitioner about taking it individually or in combination with other enzymes as this can make a significant difference in effectiveness for your health concerns.

References

Ginger

An Asian spice, well-known for its sweet and zesty zing, ginger has been shown to reduce pain and inflammation and support digestion. As a digestive aid, this knobby, horn-shaped root is used to nourish and warm the digestive organs, including the mouth, stomach, pancreas, and liver. Ginger stimulates production of enzymes in all digestive pathways.

Research indicates that biologically active compounds in ginger bind to receptors in the digestive tract. This process seems instrumental for minimizing the sensations that create nausea and indigestion. Researchers also note that ginger plays a role in the breakdown of starches and fatty food - all good things when your tummy has gone sour.

There are many preparations of ginger that kids, as well as adults, can enjoy and use when experiencing an upset stomach. This includes ginger chews, lozenges, and fresh or dried tea infusions. Tinctures, capsules, and extracts can be prepared in varying strengths based upon individual medicinal needs, determined through consultation with a holistic physician.

References

Gentle Massage for Tummy Troubles

Giving your infant a gentle abdominal massage is a wonderful approach for taming tummy troubles. It's also ideal for older children and you can teach them techniques for self-care when they're ready. Abdominal massage can improve digestion, lessen gastric discomfort, and help release tension created by stress, thus improving digestion.

The digestive process can become interrupted by health issues such as food intolerance, allergic reaction, or illness, as well as emotional stress and tension. These issues can result in abdominal ache, gas, indigestion, and difficulty with bowel movements. Massaging the abdomen helps soothe the muscles and nerves and can stimulate muscle contractions in the GI tract (called peristalsis), which helps move waste through the bowel.

The following method is wonderful to use with babies and very young children. Always perform abdominal massage when the child is quiet but alert, not when they are fussy or asleep. Use the flat pads of the fingers; never use fingertips and be mindful of your fingernails. You also want to use gentle but firm pressure. Always pay attention to the child's reaction (e.g., facial expression) to make sure they are comfortable.

  1. Undress the child (baby in a diaper; a child can be in light and loose-fitting pajamas). The child should lie face up on a blanket or other soft surface.
  2. Starting at the base of the rib cage, massage the abdomen in a circular, clockwise motion. Make smaller and smaller circles, gradually making your way to the navel.
  3. Hold baby's knees and feet together and gently press knees up toward abdomen.
  4. Gently rotate baby's hips a few times to one side, then to the other side. This can be helpful in releasing excess gas.
  5. Place your hand on baby's tummy horizontally, rocking hand from side to side. Make gentle but firm motions, to avoid tickling the child. Cover area below navel, stopping short of pelvic region. (Note for infants: Do not massage stomach if umbilical cord hasn't healed completely.)

For an older child, the parent can perform the "upside down U" massage and can teach the child how to follow this pattern to perform the massage on their own.

  1. Have child lie on their back. Use a massage oil, such as olive or coconut, which are generally safe for children. (Always do a patch test on the inside of the arm to be sure.) Pour a small amount of oil on your palm and rub both palms together, to make sure your hands are warm.
  2. Massage up the right side of the stomach, then across the top of the stomach below the rib cage, then down the left side. This can help move gas bubbles along the intestines.
  3. A circle should be completed no less than twice, but can be done a few more times. Pelvic area does not need to be massaged.

If this approach does not provide relief, use the "I Love U" massage pattern:

I: Using the pads of the fingers, stroke down from the bottom of the left ribs to the top of the left hip. Do this stroke at least 10 times.

L: Stroke from the bottom of the right ribs, over to the bottom of the left ribs and then down to the top of the left hip. You have made an L shape with your stroke. Do this stroke at least 10 times.

U: stroke from the top of the right hip up to the bottom of the right ribs, over to the bottom of the left ribs and then down to the top of the left hip. You have made a U shape with your stroke. Do this stroke at least 10 times.

Tummy massage on a baby or young child should take 5-10 minutes and can be performed periodically throughout the day or as recommended by your physician. An older child performing massage on their own might need 15-20 minutes, depending upon the method being used and until they have mastered the technique. You might feel gas bubbles or lumpiness under your fingertips – this is to be expected. However, you should not feel hard lumps nor should the child experience pain with gentle but firm pressure. If there is pain with touch, make an appointment with your holistic health practitioner.

References

Guiding Principles

The information offered by this newsletter is presented for educational purposes. Nothing contained within should be construed as nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet or fitness program. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information contained within this newsletter.

October Newsletter 2019

October Newsletter 2019

October 2019 Edition

What's New

The state with the highest incidence of breast cancer is Massachusetts. According the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are 139.5 new cases per 100,000 female residents in the state. Meanwhile, the state with the lowest incidence of breast cancer is Arkansas with 101.9 new cases per 100,000 female residents.

Breast Thermography: An Important Adjunct Test for Detecting Breast Cancer

The moment a woman feels a lump in her breast is likely one of the most frightening moments in her life. What could it be? What if it's cancer? Every year in the U.S., one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die from the disease. Early detection is key to surviving breast cancer.

The gold standard for early detection is a mammogram. However, aside from the discomfort of the test, there can be serious inconsistencies in the results: mammography can generate both false-negative results (not detecting cancer that is actually present) and false-positive results (detecting cancer that is not actually present). If a test is false-positive, the result could be overdiagnosis and a woman going through unnecessary treatment. If the test is false-negative, that could result in a woman not receiving treatment for an existing cancer. That's why an imaging test known as breast thermography has become a valid and important adjunct test (not a replacement test) for detecting breast cancer. A less invasive test, breast thermography is a secondary test authorized by the FDA to be used only as a risk assessment tool in addition to - but not in place of - mammography. What is Thermography?

Breast thermography (also known as Digital Infrared Imaging-DII) is a 15-minute, pain-free, non-invasive test that shows the structure of your breast while measuring heat emanating from the surface of your body. Changes in skin temperature are the result of increased blood flow. This is important because even early-stage cancers need a blood supply to bring in nutrients to feed the cancer.

Because temperature change shows up as colors brighter than those of healthy cells, thermography can identify precancerous or cancerous cells earlier and with less ambiguous results. Studies indicate that an abnormal thermography test is 10 times more significant as a future risk indicator for breast cancer than having a family history of breast cancer. When to Test (may vary based on personal and family medical history)

  • Age 20: Initial thermogram
  • Age 20 – 29: Thermogram every 3 years
  • Age 30 and over: Thermogram annually
Is it Right for Me?

Thermography is not suitable for women who have very large or fibrocystic breasts, are using hormone replacement treatment, have had cosmetic breast surgery, or are nursing or pregnant. Consult with your holistic physician to determine if breast thermography is a good option for you.

References

Food for Thought. . .

"The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today." - H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Red Cabbage, Green cabbage, Chinese cabbage: Oh, my!

Some folks might be surprised to learn that cabbage is not in the same category as lettuce, despite their similar appearance. Cabbage is cousin to kale and broccoli and is part of the cruciferous vegetable family. Varying in color from pale green to red and purple, cabbage contains many nutrients that offer health benefits such as protecting against cancer, lowering risk for heart disease, and supporting immunity and digestion.

Researchers have identified 20 different flavonoids and 15 different phenols in cabbage, all of which have antioxidant activity in the human body. These plant nutrients protect the cells from damage (e.g., reducing inflammation), and are linked to a decreased risk of chronic illness. Cabbage also contains a sulfur-compound called sulforophane, which has been shown to have cancer preventive properties. A study conducted at the University of Missouri, looked at another chemical found in cabbage, called apigenin. In lab studies, apigenin was found to decrease tumor size when cells from an aggressive form of breast cancer were implanted in mice. More research is required to determine if apigenin has the potential to be used as a non-toxic treatment for cancer in humans. Lastly, red-purple cabbage contains the powerful antioxidant anthocyanin that bolsters protection for red blood cells.

Oh My is right: there are so many kinds of cabbage, with so many ways to protect your health. Be sure to include this cruciferous vegetable in your weekly diet. When buying cabbage, select one that is heavy for its size. The leaves should be tightly wrapped, as loose, limp leaves indicate an older cabbage. Store cabbage in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Cabbage can be eaten raw, or steamed, boiled, roasted, sautéed, or stuffed for side dishes or entrees. (If you smell a sulfurous odor while cooking, then the cabbage is overcooked.) Add shredded cabbage near the end of cooking to soups or stews or stir-fry dishes; add it to fresh green salads or chop and drizzle with herbs and olive oil.

References

Parmesan Garlic Cabbage

Turn cabbage-haters into cabbage-lovers with this tasty side dish. The key to transforming what is often perceived as a bland vegetable into a delectable dish is a matter of seasoning selection. You can't go wrong with parmesan and garlic, that's for sure! Turn this side dish into a salad by adding fresh cherry or plum tomatoes. Partner it with eggs, a serving of chicken or your favorite vegan entree, for a more filling meal. Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 red onion finely sliced
  • 7 handfuls shredded green cabbage
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup shredded parmesan
  • Salt and pepper
Preparation
  1. Heat the oil in a large, covered skillet over high heat.
  2. Add garlic and onion - cook for 2 minutes until onion is translucent.
  3. Add cabbage and cook until wilted.
  4. Stir through parmesan, season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve!

Fermented Wheat Germ Extract (Avemar pulvis)

Fermented Wheat Germ Extract (FWGE) is derived from a patented industrial fermentation of wheat germ. It was formulated by a scientist from Hungary, where it is approved as a "medical nutriment" for cancer patients. FWGE contains a number of substances that are believed to have a positive cancer fighting effect. Two of these compounds, both a type of quinone, have shown "cancer fighting" effects in lab and human studies. In addition to halting the growth of cancer cells, some studies have shown the quinones found in FWGE might interfere or halt the migration of certain types of cancer cells.

FWGE has been studied as both a complement used alongside cancer drugs and as a stand alone nutritional supplement. Findings indicate that in both populations of people there was significant improvement. Those who opted for conventional cancer treatment and those who chose a different treatment route both benefited from the addition of FWGE.

While this news holds promise for FWGE as a non-toxic complementary therapy in cancer treatment, more research is needed to determine:

  • What are the physiological action(s) by which FGWE works in the human body?
  • For whom FGWE is a safe and effective option?
  • Which types of cancer FGWE can be used against?
  • What are the side effects and risk for interactions with other health conditions, as well as other herbs, supplements, or prescription drugs?

There is currently a discussion happening in the scientific world about whether FWGE should remain classified as a nutritional supplement or be elevated to a cancer drug. More research is needed before this can be determined. FWGE is typically dosed as a powder in water and the dose varies by individual. As with any new therapy, a discussion should be had with your holistic doctor before using FWGE.

References

The Cancer Fighting Properties of Green Tea

When it comes to tea, the more pure the leaf in your brew, the better the health benefits. Green Tea (Camellia sinensis) leaves, which do not go through an oxidation process, have the richest nutrient profile among all varieties of tea. Research shows that people who drink four or more cups of green tea each day have a lower overall risk of cancer and women who frequently drink green tea have a lower overall risk (or "lower overall incidence") for breast cancer.

The powerful micronutrients in green tea are called polyphenols. One type of polyphenol is EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate), which shows promise in protecting cells from cancer. Lab tests and animal studies have shown EGCG is able to inhibit an enzyme that is necessary for cancer cell growth. EGCG also has been successful as a complementary approach in cancer treatment. For example, topical EGCG provides relief from radiation-induced dermatitis experienced by women in treatment for breast cancer. (Always consult with your physician before applying any ointment to your skin before or after a radiation treatment). While promising, it's important to note that scientists are still investigating the precise mechanisms through which polyphenols such as EGCG exert their effects in the body. One such mechanism is that these compounds are powerful antioxidants that gobble up cellular debris known as free radicals. This scavenging action helps protect cells from damage that could, over time, lead to the development of cancer. While green tea, overall is well regarded among health practitioners, scientists are still pursuing clinical trials to determine if green tea consumption, as well as a dietary supplement of EGCG, may play a role in the prevention and treatment of different cancers.

When selecting tea, be aware that the quality of tea and its nutrient content is degraded by processing. To reap the benefits of tea for wellbeing, use pure, loose leaf tea for hot or iced beverages. Choose organic teas whenever possible. Before taking an EGCG supplement, consult with a holistic health physician to ensure the product is pure and contains the appropriate potency for your health concerns.

References

Breast Self-Exam for a Woman's "Bosom Buddies"

It's important for a woman to be familiar with the look and feel of her own breasts. Performing a breast self-exam (BSE) at least once per month is the best way to detect a lump or other abnormality. It is best to do a BSE the same time every month. For women who are menstruating, choose a time in the month after your cycle completes.

A BSE should be done lying down, or in the shower. You want to feel relaxed, not tense, as you are performing the BSE. Follow these steps:

  1. Use the pads of your fingers. Use the pads (not the tips) of your three middle fingers for the exam.
  2. Use different pressure levels. Your goal is to feel different depths of the breast by using different levels of pressure to feel all the breast tissue.
  3. Take your time. Hurrying through the process could cause you to miss something.
  4. Follow a pattern. Don't move randomly around the breast. Instead, move your fingers in a path around the breast. Also, check the area beneath the armpits.
  5. Look at your beautiful bosom. Women should also look at their breasts in the mirror straight on, as well as while bending forward at the waist. Notice if there is any asymmetry.

If you are uncertain about how to proceed, ask your physician for a demonstration. Also, this video will help you learn how to do a BSE correctly when at home. What You Might Find During a BSE

For women who are menstruating, breast tissue undergoes changes at various points throughout the monthly menstrual cycle. So you may find lumpy areas or changes in your breast that are completely normal. For all women, breasts often feel different in different places. A firm ridge along the bottom of each breast is normal, for instance. The look and feel of your breasts will change as you age. Finally, diet can alter breast tissue, for example, a diet high in red meat can increase the fibrous feel of the breasts. Contact Your Doctor If You Notice . . .

  • A hard lump or knot anywhere in the breast tissue or under the arm
  • Changes in the way your breasts look or feel, including thickening or prominent fullness that is different from the surrounding tissue
  • Dimples, puckers, bulges or ridges on the skin of your breast
  • A recent change in a nipple to become pushed in (inverted) instead of sticking out
  • Redness, warmth, swelling or pain
  • Itching, scales, sores or rashes
  • Bloody nipple discharge

Your doctor may recommend additional tests and procedures to investigate breast changes, including a clinical breast exam, mammogram, thermography, and ultrasound. Additional Resources

How to Check Breasts for Lumps (video).

References

Guiding Principles

The information offered by this newsletter is presented for educational purposes. Nothing contained within should be construed as nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet or fitness program. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information contained within this newsletter.