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We all know that cholesterol is the bad guy, when thinking of heart or blood vessel disease.  But what is rarely talked about (because there are so many anti-cholesterol drugs) is how cholesterol is the bad guy.  What is really the problem?

Cholesterol gets laid down on artery walls and ultimately can completely clog them if left unchecked, because of Inflammation.  He is the real culprit.  How much inflammation is present in your body determines how much cholesterol gets laid down in arteries and how fast.  So why is everyone focussed on only part of the problem and really the middle of the story?

Inflammation is tough to stop in someone with allergies, someone under alot of stress, someone who eats an SAD (standard American diet), someone with an autoimmune disease, someone with heart disease.  ALOT of people have chronic inflammation that is going untreated and those people are being given alot of challenging anti-cholesterol drugs, when the real problem is no one is reducing inflammation in the body.  MD’s have powerful anti-inflammatory drugs but these are not given lightly nor routinely, because of the serious side effects.  A simple anti-inflammatory drug that has no side effects has yet to hit the market.  Doctors are now all on board with testing your CRP when you have an annual physical.  This is an old test that has been trotted out and upgraded for use today to watch your inflammatory quotient.  It can be a predictor of heart disease and often leads to the dreaded anti-cholesterol prescription in an attempt to lower one’s risk of a heart attack.

So what can you do?  You can find out what your CRP number is and try to get it down using alternative medicines and lifestyle changes.  A vegetarian diet helps as does a stress-reducing therapy like yoga, meditation, cycling, swimming, pursuing a hobby or passion that has fallen to the wayside.  Identify allergies and be treated for them.  Identify what makes you happy in your life and devote more time to that pursuit or person or place.  Enjoy yourself!

Dieting the Real Way

We all know the market is awash with gimmick and legitimate diet plans and that with dedication and lifestyle/behavior  modification, anyone has a chance of losing excess weight.  What if you didn’t have to go on a diet to do it?  No pills, no calorie counting, no expensive, lifeless irradiated foods shipped to your home, just a real honest simple approach that anyone can do themselves.

All of us know when we’re hungry, but few of us recognize when we stop being hungry during a meal.  Most of us have been brought up to clean our plates, as children, which we did.  From that training, we lost something,… the ability to know when we are no longer hungry.  Since we had no way to know when we stopped being hungry, we ate until we were full.  People who eat until their full have lost the knowledge of when the stretch receptors in the stomach send the message to our brains that we are sated.  And we merrily and mostly unintentionally, overeat.

To regain this lost and essential sense, one must adjust both physical eating patterns and also one’s mindset.  The Buddhists believe that energetically, the stomach has four rooms and their advice of moderation regarding eating is to eat until three of the four rooms are full and then stop.

When we are attempting to reacquaint ourselves with our inner knowledge of  when the hunger stops, we need to eat consciously and deliberately.  As you take each bite, check in with yourself and  see if you still feel hungry.  If so, eat on, if not, put the fork down.  You will be amazed at the low number of bites it takes to stave off hunger.

You can become more adept at this as you go along and you will find that by the third or fourth day, you instinctively know when to put the fork down and you can scan a plate of food and know if it’s too much for you.  And the money saved when dining out by the second and third helpings you have as leftovers is another added benefit.

This is a real diet with no deprivations.

 

 

As a naturopathic physician, I am in a unique position to witness a truth most of us miss each day, in our lives.  How and why we spend our money affects everything in this world.  But we rarely think about this fact.

Case in point:  I am an independent alternative medicine practitioner.  I do not have corrupt insurance companies and pharmaceutical giants telling me how to practice medicine.  When someone elects to see and be treated by me, they are making a choice that says “I am choosing to receive my medical care this way”.

Now that in and of itself is a big leap of faith and belief that not enough folks realize is an option for them.  But this particular posting is not about how many people see that there are other approaches to healthcare delivery.  It is about how we can determine the trends in medicine, business and marketing, instead of being controlled by them, simply by consciously choosing how we spend our money.

We are all very indoctrinated in the Western culture to the demands of an industrialized, market-driven economy and to the Pavlovian responses of advertisers in all sectors of our lives.  But if we came to understand the revolutionary concept that we could control, instead of be controlled by, those same forces, then our world would look very different.  Marketing strategists would be seeking our advice instead of dispensing it, trends in all avenues of lives would be determined by a public that consciously spends and thinks before they buy.

With the deepening recession, which no non-billionaire believes is over, despite the pundits claims to the contrary,  it is more urgent than ever to realize that the power is in your hands and in your wallets! Think before you buy, be it healthcare or paperclips. Talk to your  friends and neighbors about this topic.  Begin the discussion that will lead to new ways of being and spending and thinking about our choices.  The quality of the world and economy that we leave our kids depends on it.

If you are suffering from Crohn’s disease or know someone who is, please reading the following:

Last month, in the UK, a researcher has discovered that Crohn’s disease, like  gastric and duodenal ulcers is not caused by lifestyle mistakes or autoimmunity but by a bacteria.

Persons suffering from Crohn’s experience frequent, foul-smelling, urgent liquid stools with or without cramping, blood and pain.  These bouts can be very debilitating and upsetting and can rule a person’s life.

A bacteria, like H. pylori or C. pylori, is actually the cause of most Crohn’s disease and is very treatable with an antibiotic called Rifaximin.  The drug needs to be taken for 1-3 months and the infection may come back.  But when on the drug or soon after completing a course, the patient is symptom free and has normal bowel function. Repeat courses of the drug can be given as needed.

This is great news for anyone who has suffered for years with the painful and unpleasant symptoms of Crohn’s and worried about daily life choices and mobility, because of it.  Tell anyone you know, who suffers from this miserable condition, that it is now known to be an infection and not an autoimuune disease.  Steroids do NOT treat this condition and have dangerous side effects, including causing the onset of diabetes, which is not reversible.

Call your GI doctor today, if you suffer from this condition, and receive the treatment that actually treats the cause of this longstanding, badly understood disease.

Reiki Healing

When we are looking for answers to our health problems, whether they be physical, emotional or spiritual, consider giving Reiki a try.

We all have had times in our lives when we have felt as though we did not have enough energy to do all the things life required of us.  The causes for this are myriad, but the bottom line is that we need more energy.  Reiki is a non-invasive, gentle healing energy that can be delivered into your body to nourish all of your organs and cause you to feel revived and ready to go on with your life.

The sources of Reiki are not clear but there is evidence of it’s existence in Japan, China and TIbet from the sixth century until the present day.  Reiki energy is universal energy that anyone, who is properly attuned by a Reiki Master/Teacher, can perform.  Any living thing can be benefited by Reiki.  It helps without interfering with other therapies and can even enhance the effectiveness of other modalities in healing.

Reiki has been shown to help chronic pain sufferers, it can aid in the relief of fatigue and it’s also very useful for arthritis and other debilities, anxiety and depression.  Those recovering from alcohol and drug abuse have also found new strength and determination after receiving Reiki treatments.  Reiki is now being used in some hospital settings to relieve post-op pain and speed wound healing.

If you are pursuing a path to healing that does not seem to be working, or that does not seem to be working fast enough, consider adding Reiki to what you are doing.  Plants, animals and people can benefit from Reiki and no one has ever had unpleasant side effects from it’s use.

This is a healing method that nearly anyone can benefit from and awareness of it’s value is spreading more each day.  Join those who are enjoying the benefits of Reiki and become all that you can be.

Hot Flash Season

All women “of a certain age” know what it’s like to have a hot flash.  Not all of us know, however, some of the everyday things that can trigger one.

Certainly the underlying hormone imbalances of perimenopause and menopause can be the cause, but there are external triggers that also set them off.  Stress is a big one and one that we have some control over in our everyday lives.  Alcohol, especially red wine is another popular culprit.  Alcohol is a vasodilant, which means it dilates blood vessels.  A perimenopausal woman’s body can already do that and when you add alcohol to the equation, you are in fact, inviting a hot flash  Then there is our old pal, caffeine which seems unfair, given that hot flashing women have definite energy issues and caffeine and especially coffee can offset the fatigue.  But it can set off flashing at the same time.

Sleep, nature’s answer to alot of health problems, can seem elusive at this time in your life but it is essential that you get enough deep sleep to help your body have enough energy to deal with the reasons for flashing on it’s own.  When sleep eludes us, everything else that should be easy and automatic becomes an effort.  This is true in daily living and metabolically.  The metabolically challenged woman can be a woman plagued with hot flashes.

Finally, there is our old friend Summer.  Yes, outdoor ambient heat and humidity can also trigger hot flashes.  Sometimes when the weather is particularly brutal, women don’t know if they are flashing or just hot from the weather.  But if you feel like you’re having more hot flashes in the summer, you probably are.

So, take walks at night when it’s cooler, avoid being outside in the worst part of the heat of the day, avoid alcohol, coffee and caffeine-containing fluids, and do whatever you love passionately, to offset stress.  Foods that cool us down are watermelon, aloe juice, celery juice, lemon water first thing in the morning and passionfruit.  Let nature soothe your fiery soul and your hot flashes.

Many of us suffer from the effects of seasonal allergies and the response our membranes give to the blooming of things.  Everyone knows or has seen someone have a food allergy, but why are so many of us developing allergies?

When you consider that the number of pollutants in the atmosphere and on things like roads, our clothes, cars, homes, etc. has increased exponentially in the last few decades and alot of there pollutants are toxic to various organs of elimination (ie. lungs, skin, kidneys and liver), it becomes easier to see why many of us, who had never experienced allergies, are beginning to find out what they are like.

Our immune systems are incredibly busy protecting us from invading organisms(ie. bacteria, viruses, molds, fungi, etc.) every day.  They do this in one of four ways.  There are immediate type hypersensitivity reactions (we call them allergic reactions)which are the ones most of us know about.  You brush against poison ivy or poison oak and in 30 minutes, you are scratching an itchy red rash on the skin at the point of contact.  Or you eat a food you are unknowingly allergic to and you develop hives or a swollen tongue.  These are Type I, immediate hypersensitivity reactions. This is the most common type of reaction.  One gets hives or an itchy rash or swollen area on the body.  When pollens or molds are blooming, and we breathe in these allergic triggers, we can experience the allergic reaction in our throat, nose, airway or lungs.  This can lead to a runny nose, asthma, coughing or sneezing.  But when we are also breathing in industrial and environmental pollutants, as we also do each day, we are introducing into our bodies substances which can be toxic to an organ of elimination.  This leads to deeper problems and the reactions tend to be deeper in the body, ie the lungs vs the skin, for instance.

THe immune system, let’s not forget, also has three other ways in can respond to what it perceives to be an invading organism.  These are Types II, III, IV reactions, which are delayed type hypersensitivity reactions.  These are more challenging to understand but well worth the effort.  When your immune system comes up against something that is not an invading organism, but which your immune system perceives to be one, it can react in a more delayed way.  For instance, if you are stuck in traffic on a highway and you open the window of your car, as you are sitting there, you are breathing in cadmium residue from the road, benzene from the car exhausts around you, aerosolized pollutants in the moisture in the air, etc.  These are all entering your system and being perceived by the immune system as invading organisms and your system begins to make antibodies against them.  Your system knows these substances are not you and it knows they are not nutrients, so it must be an invader.  If these non-nutrient substances are not able to be safely removed from your body by one of the four organs of elimination, you begin to accumulate them.  They can be stored in fat tissue.  In fact, the bulk of environmental toxins are fat-soluble.  When the load of these substances becomes great enough, illness can result.

When you go to the doctor with a chronic syndrome and none of the traditional Western medicine approaches is giving you any relief, you may want to consider being tested for environmental toxins.  Working with a naturopathic doctor can provide you with the means to rid your body of these environmental wastes, restoring the balance of your body’s systems, and the health of your organs of elimination.

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