Friday, May 3, 2013

More Supplements Shown to Improve Health Status

Okay, so it's not a new study but it's a relevant one, especially when so many scare tactics are used to make people wary of supplements (like recent and totally flawed l-carnitine and ginkgo studies).

The University of California, Berkeley published this study in 2007, "Usage patterns, health, and nutritional status of long-term multiple dietary supplement users: a cross-sectional study." The findings stated that "after adjusting for age, gender, income, education, body mass index that greater degree of supplement use was associated with more favorable concentrations of serum homocysteine, C-reactive protein, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides, as well as lower risk of prevalent elevated blood pressure and diabetes." More to the point, more supplements equals better health outcomes.

If you are wondering what the study's supplement users were taking, here's the list:

  1. Multivitamin/Multimineral combo
  2. B Complex
  3. Vitamin C
  4. Vitamin e
  5. Calcium with Vitamin D
  6. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  7. Carotenoids
  8. Flavonoids
  9. Lecithin
  10. Alfalfa
  11. Coenzyme Q-10 
  12. Resveratrol
  13. Glucosamine
  14. Herbal Immune Formulas
The majority of women also took:
  • Gamma Linolenic Acid
  • Probiotics
Men also commonly included:
  • Zinc
  • Garlic
  • Saw Palmetto
  • Soy Protein
Nutrient status basically increased with increasing dietary supplement use. So, more is actually better (as in more different kinds of nutrients--not necessarily mega doses!).

It looks like taking time to count out the capsules and softgels and tablets and be consistent in taking "handfuls" of nutrients each day helps make up for some of the modern stressors and dietary deficiencies. Your body will always use nutrients that are in short supply for essential things like blood clotting (vital to life right here, right now) and postpone things like building bone (which can wait but over times leads to fragile, brittle bones if even small deficiencies occur over many years).  

Monday, April 15, 2013

Raspberry Ketones: Solvents for Fat?!

Everyone was raving about raspberry ketones last year for ravishing results in fitting rooms and on scales alike. And, I mean everyone. Dr. Oz. Fitness trainers. Consumers. My own brother, Stephen, is pretty sure his intake of two capsules a day is helping him stay trim.

I'm not sure what we will learn about raspberry ketones in the future but I think it's interesting that ketones as a chemical class are often used as solvents (like butanone for major industrial applications) or as thinners (think acetone for nail polish and paint thinning) or as other kinds of diffusers (ketones cannot bond to one another, so they are quite volatile and disperse easily, making them good for use in perfumes).

Hmm. Solvents, thinners, diffusers. Wouldn't these all be nice ways to deal with fat?

It's been a little over a year since Dr. Oz promoted raspberry ketones as a "miracle fat-burner in a bottle" for weight loss. With similarities to cayenne pepper's active ingredients, capsaicin and synephrine, raspberry ketones appear to have this solvent kind of action that breaks fats down.

They also may have an ability to get "brown fat" to turn up the heat and increase metabolism. Brown fat, it turns out, helps the body warm itself up and use up energy stores (as opposed to white fat, whose job it is to store fat). And, brown fat is likely to keep attracting research attention as our nation keeps getting fatter.

While the studies on raspberry ketones have only been with mice and with cells in the laboratory, the results point to potential for reduced fat in the liver and in the belly (that nasty "white" fat that is associated with stress and markers for diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, bone loss, and even dementia, yikes!). Clearly, much is left to be explored.

I have just started taking raspberry ketones, so I have nothing (zip, nada) to report just yet. I'm keen to drop the belly fat I've put on in the last two years (never had problems with putting weight on but now I've got that proverbial 10 pounds to drop!).

I'm interested in your results if you've been taking them over the last year. Write to me with your experiences.

Cancer & Vitamin C by Linus Pauling

"Vitamin C" and "Linus Pauling" seem to go hand in hand. Many forget that Pauling won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1954 and also the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962.

Fewer people know that Pauling's work, influenced by Dr. Irwin Stone, who argued that nearly all human beings were suffering from vitamin C deficiencies and that everyone requires 50 or 100 or even 200 times as much vitamin C as typical diets or the RDA provide.

Even fewer know that this work was preceded by a Canadian's work, Dr. William McCormick's, on collagen production and the role of weak collagen in many chronic  diseases--from stretch marks to heart disease. McCormick's theory was that cancer was intrinsically a collagen disease, caused by insufficient vitamin C (since the late 1700s, scurvy and cancer have been seen as "going steady," showing up together as terrifying dating partners).

Last week, I finally cracked open Linus Pauling's book "Cancer and Vitamin C" (co-authored with Scottish cancer surgeon, Ewan Cameron). Written in 1979 and updated in 1993, it's somewhat dated (much has happened in the last two decades) but it's still worth a read.

Lots of discussion on collagen and its role in keeping cancers from spreading. The first big idea is that strong collagen makes for a strong "intercellular cement," making good, healthy walls between organs and blood vessels (basically keeping the right things in and the wrong things out). Modern doctors know that wounds heal dramatically better with high-dose vitamin C after surgeries, so this is a well-understood concept.

Cancer's deadly strategy involves a kind of chemical warfare, which uses a specific enzyme (hyaluronidase) to weaken or dissolve collagen walls and increase tissue permeability. When cancer breaks through vulnerable cellular walls, gangs of rogue cells are freed to rove and search for new territories to plunder. New colonies of renegade cells, no longer interested in supporting the health of the wider organism, survive as bandits and ninja assassins. This is the process we know as metastasis.

The second big idea is that vitamin C is nectar from the Gods for collagen production. Yet, the evolutionary joke is that humans and apes (in a strange party with guinea pigs, a fruit-eating bat, trout, and some grasshoppers) lost the ability to create vitamin C inside their bodies. Nature selected for our bodies to do other things given abundant ascorbic acid in the fruits and vegetables found in the tropics, where all primates evolved.

Daily chow for a healthy guinea pig involves 4 grams of vitamin C. Doesn't it make sense that demands for a person with cancer would be much higher? Encapsulating a tumor requires loads of vitamin C in order to mend weakened collagen and knit together a dense membrane of collagen fibrils (essentially scar tissue), which effectively imprison invasive tumor cells. This was Pauling's and Cameron's hypothesis, and they started treating hundreds of "untreatable" or "terminal" cancer patients with high-dose vitamin C--with extremely promising results in both quality of life and longevity of patients studied.

The third big idea is that ascorbic acid levels are also correlated to activity of disease-fighting lymphocytes (the white blood cells that determine the immune system's response to invaders). Vitamin C does a lot more than just mend and strengthen collagen, although that's a big deal by itself.  Higher ascorbic acid status directly correlates to higher levels of lymphocytes, with a dose of 10 grams per day for three days causing lymphocyte production to triple, while 18 grams per day quadrupled lymphocyte production.

Studies by Yonemoto while working in the National Cancer Institute in the 1970s leave "little doubt that a high intake of vitamin C by cancer patients increases the effectiveness of the body's protective mechanism involving lymphocytes and leads to a more favorable prognosis for the patient."

A fourth big idea is that vitamin C is adept at promoting detoxification. In concert with oxygen and enzymes, vitamin C "converts toxic substances, including those that cause cancer, into nontoxic derivatives that then are eliminated in the urine. This detoxifying action has been demonstrated in scores of substances. Among these substances are the carcinogenic hydrocarbons, the nitrosamines, and other cancer-producing chemicals."

The authors state in no uncertain terms: "No matter what the mechanisms of its action might be, there soon was no doubt that when dying cancer patients were given large doses of vitamin C they felt much better...and it seemed certain that the ascorbate-treated patients were living much longer than would have been expected." Pauling and Cameron went on to encourage the use of high-dose vitamin C immediately upon detection of cancer, when it could be more effective in helping prevent traveling cancer cells from colonizing in distant parts of the body.

There is much more that we've learned about cancer, nutrition, and orthomolecular medicine since the early '90s, but clearly many great minds have built on what Pauling and Cameron pushed so hard to get validated. The National Cancer Institute's Symposium on Vitamin C (September 1990)  had this statement in a summary report that advised more study: "The take-home message was that vitamin C has multiple complex effects on a variety of biologic activities, perhaps wider than any other nutrient."

For another more recent study:
Effect of high-dose intravenous vitamin C on inflammation in cancer patients

For a video:
High-dose vitamins and vitamin C for fighting cancer by Dr. Andrew Saul

Please share your perspectives on this topic, just write to me directly.

CAUTION: None of this material can replace good advice and treatment by a trained healthcare professional. Please consult with your physician before attempting to treat yourself, as each individual has special needs and special genetic considerations.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

DHEA, Sex Hormone Production, Bone Density

DHEA, or dehydroepiandrosterone, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, is used by the body to produce male and female sex hormones, aid in bone density, and support general feelings of well-being and energy.

DHEA levels decrease dramatically with age, with people at 70 having only 20% of the levels they had in their 20s. Add chronic stress, which depletes the adrenal glands, and many people can end up with critically-low DHEA levels even in their 40s. And, low DHEA levels are not just about vanity and anti-aging concerns.

Low DHEA levels have been correlated with many chronic disease states, including: anorexia, depression, bone density problems, kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, schizophrenia, chronic fatigue, lupus, and erectile dysfunction in men under age 60.

Boosting declining DHEA levels has been associated not only with easing menopausal symptoms and improving sex lives of women.  Men use DHEA to build muscle mass, improve energy, and as a cheaper alternative to those little blue pills (but the research doesn't actually support this latter aim). Did you know that DHEA boosts testosterone more than estrogen in women and estrogen more than testosterone in men? Think of DHEA as balancing what needs balancing.

Quality Control. A number of medical resources (WebMD among them) caution people, as DHEA supplements have been found to have quality control problems. Alas, this problem is far-flung, with many, many more supplements other than DHEA being affected by loose quality control practices. This industry drives me crazy sometimes but that's another story.

Why, then, do I mention DHEA quality control, in particular then? Because DHEA is a "parent hormone" or a precursor to the male and female hormones, which promote youthful bodies but also must be balanced properly. It's one thing to get too much of a water-soluble vitamin and quite another to be taking too much of a hormone that drives production of both estrogen and testosterone.

My recommendation is to be careful where you buy DHEA and make sure the company has a good quality program to ensure you know what you are getting. Also know that "natural" sources of DHEA, such as wild yam and soy, are not converted in the body; they must first be converted in a laboratory into the form of DHEA that your body can use.

Finally, when it comes to daily amounts, a range between 15-75mg is used with 25-50mg being most common. Write to me about your experiences with DHEA.

L-Carnitine for Heart Health & Cocoa for Brain Health in the News

Sometimes, I just like to share what I'm reading. Here's my Sunday browsing results. :-)
"Just a few days ago there were multiple news reports about a study  in Nature Medicine by researchers at the Cleveland Clinic that suggested that there was supposedly one more reason not to eat red meat—it contains high levels of the amino acid L-carnitine, which is metabolized by bacteria in the gut to give trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), a substance that could play a part in atherosclerosis.
Well, sometimes science is like the weather. You wait a day and it changes.
Today, a report of a meta-analysis of 13 controlled studies reported in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings arrived at the exact opposite conclusion—that supplemental L-carnitine provides significant cardioprotective properties to patients that had previously had heart attacks....(more)."

Power of Cocoa Polyphenols Against Neurodegenerative Diseases -- From Sbarro Health Research Organization -- April 12, 2013

A new study from the Sbarro Health Research Organization shows that cocoa polyphenols offer potent neuroprotection by activating an important cellular survival pathway (the BDNF pathway). Published in the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, these findings may help prevent cognitive impairment in the elderly and progression of neurodegenerative diseases in general. 

Our studies indicate for the first time the cocoa polyphenols do not act only as mere antioxidant but they, directly or indirectly, activate the BDNF survival pathway counteracting neuronal death” says Annamaria Cimini of the University of L’Aquila, lead author of the study.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Auto-Immune System Recovery Plan - Recommended

Dr. Susan Blum (a consultant to Dr. Oz) just published "The Immune System Recovery Plan: A Doctor's 4-Step Program to Treat Autoimmune Disease."  Her book addresses why these seemingly unrelated symptoms could point to an autoimmune disorder:
  • Constant exhaustion, irritability, or feelings of being sick
  • Feeling hot or cold when others are not
  • Brain fog and lack of ability to concentrate
  • Hair loss, dry skin and unexplained weight fluctuation?
  • Swelling, aching joints without obvious causes
Dr. Blum emphasizes gluten up front for its increasingly-acknowledged role in causing these and many other problems. She gives a history of gluten that includes:

"(T)here has been an increase in the use of genetic modification in the wheat grown in our country since the 1940s. The genetically modified wheat has been altered to have more gluten because it is thought to make the plant heartier. In addition, there are several different proteins that make up gluten, and it is the most toxic variety that has become more concentrated."

Blum goes on to cite Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist and healer of diabetes-related conditions, who detailed how wheat has changed over time in "Wheat Belly." According to Dr. Davis, "wheat really changed in 1943, when it was intentionally reengineered so that there would be more yield per acre, in a misguided effort to help end world hunger."  Sad but true. 

Beyond gluten, Blum talks in easy-to-understand terms about autoimmune triggers, including environmental toxins and infections; recommends specific supplements; offers recipes (for going gluten/dairy/soy/corn free to get started--they look good, by the way), and has step-by-step recommendations for healing the gut, liver, nervous system, and adrenal glands. She includes plenty of great research citations as well as self-guided workbook--to assess everything from food sensitivities and stress to levels of pancreatic enzymes, stomach acid, and bile.  

Autoimmune issues plaguing you? I can definitely recommend Dr. Blum's book--as someone who has overcome Sj√łgren's and leaky gut and dealt with multiple food sensitivities. Write to me or add your comments below. 

Green Coffee Bean Extract: Blood Sugar & Cravings & Weight Loss

Diabetes affects about 11% of Americans 20 years of age or older and that number climbs to more than 26% with people over the age of 65 (with slightly more men than women affected by diabetes).  Pre-diabetes, however, affects 35% of people over 20 years and over 50% of people over 65, contributing to all sorts of chronic disease!

This week, scientists shared more evidence that green coffee beans can help control blood sugar and reduce weight related to type 2 diabetes. 
Chlorogenic acids are believed to be central. Some highlights from research by Joe Vinson, Ph.D.:

In a previous study, Vinson found that overweight or obese people who took such an extract lost about 10 percent of their body weight in 22 weeks. The new study sought to document the effects of various doses of a commercial green coffee extract on the blood sugar levels of 56 men and women with normal blood sugar levels. They got a glucose tolerance test to see how their bodies responded to the sugar. Then over a period of time, they took 100, 200, 300 or 400 milligrams (mg) of the extract in a capsule with water. Follow-up glucose tolerance tests showed how the green coffee extract affected their responses.
“All doses of green coffee extract produced a significant reduction in blood sugar relative to the original blank glucose challenge. The maximum blood glucose occurred at 30 minutes and was 24 percent lower than the original with the 400 mg of green coffee extract and the blood glucose at 120 minutes was 31 percent lower.”
Vinson's earlier work with green coffee bean extract has shown that without significant changes to diet, the body mass index for subjects shifted from preobesity to normal weight range. The study was small. Still, that's intriguing given the epidemic with obesity and diabetes. 

Detractors think this is all ridiculous because you can't eat the same diet and lose weight. However, green coffee bean extract seems to neutralize an enzyme (glucose-6-phosphatase) that promotes blood sugar surges after meals, basically the sugar swings that are not measured by fasting for 6-8 hours.

As a dietary supplement, it may be equally important for those of us with so-called "normal" blood sugar levels. That's because only fasting blood glucose levels over 125mg/dL (clear-cut cases of diabetes) concern most physicians. Fasting blood glucose levels between 100-125mg/dL are also  problematic and should be called out and treated as "pre-diabetic."

There's no getting around diet and lifestyle change but addressing blood sugar swings that lead to cravings is critical. Willpower is an expensive resource in the brain/body system, and with fatigue, hunger, and stress, willpower flags, leading to a desire for more sugar to fuel willpower (a vicious cycle when it comes to weight loss). The good news is that
 green coffee bean extract shows high bioavailability in humans and is widely available.

Having a little help from green java beans may be just the ticket. Write to me and let me know your own experience with green coffee bean extract!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Melatonin for Sleep, Cancer Protection, IBS and more

I am what even my favorite airline calls a frequent, frequent flyer (I have Diamond status on Delta). It's no surprise that I consider melatonin one of my favored friends, especially as melatonin decreases with each new birthday.

Every evening, when I take my melatonin, I think about the benefits it will offer to my body in addition to sleep. I'm not a mantra or affirmations kind of person (I tend to like understanding the science of cause and effect). Still I have often reflected on the benefits that my belief bestows, as imagery of cancer protection always comes to mind.

So what does sleep and cancer protection have to do with one another? The answer may be in something called "chronobiology," which studies how time and daily biological (or circadian) rhythms affect our health.

According to Melatonin, Chronobiology and Cancer, presented back in 2003, melatonin and chronotherapy "have been studied for many years but, despite largely positive findings, have not been brought into mainstream cancer therapy."  This is a shame. The word should be spread more effectively, especially with the results that collaborators on this work have reported.

Dr. Paolo Lissoni, from Italy, notes that melatonin helps survival rates  for patients with inoperable, advanced stage solid tumors and with chemotherapy-resistant tumors as well.  Doses of melatonin in cancer treatment are far higher than for promoting sleep (20-40mg versus 3-6mg), with Dr. David Blask, from New York, stating: "At pharmacological concentrations, melatonin suppresses cancer cell growth and multiplication."  In other research, scientists have found that women who work nights are more prone to breast cancer and irritable bowel patients with sleep disturbances have less abdominal pain with melatonin. Lots and lots of great research on melatonin.

I have to put a warning in here though for people reading my blog: some people start to have nightmares and disrupted sleep if on too high a dose of melatonin, so it is best to work with your healthcare practitioner before doing anything with hormones on high doses.

I think this is pretty cool given how inexpensive melatonin is.  I take 3mg of melatonin most nights, even when I am not particularly worried about falling asleep. Melatonin. Rest. Sleep. Potential protection.

It makes me think of this lovely little poem (yes, I'm finally revealing my love of this art that pairs so nicely with rigorous science):

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Cancer & The Healing Force in Sweet Oxygen

People often wonder: How did that person get cancer? The word "get" signals a kind of contagion or triggering event. Genetics, environmental exposures, nutritional status, exercise patterns, emotions, and stress all weave in uncertain ways to produce cancer, so it can be hard to determine the exact triggering causes.  An old wisdom tradition poem I was reading says:

Many paths lead from the foot of the mountain,
But at the peak
We all gaze at the same
Single bright moon

When it comes to cancer, we might revise the passage along the following lines:

Many paths lead to the foot of the mountain
But at the peak
We all inhale the same fresh wind of a
Single healing force in sweet oxygen

Many cancer communities quote Dr. Otto Warburg, who won a Nobel Prize in 1931 for proving that cancer is caused by a lack of respiration in the cells. Many paths, one core cause: lack of oxygen. 

Normal cells need oxygen or respiration to "breathe" and function properly. Cancer cells, in contrast, thrive in oxygen-deprived environments (and on fermentation instead of respiration). Significantly, cancers with the fastest growth rates also have the highest fermentation rates (this means that more sugar in the diet turbocharges fast-growing cancers). To put this into a gardening equation of sorts:

Lack of oxygen (the right "soil") + Sugar (the right "fertilizer") = Cancer (the deadly weed)

Many know that eliminating sugar (a kind of Miracle Grow for cancer) is critical to curing cancer.

However, increasing oxygen is equally important, as high oxygen status in the body is lethal to cancer. To boost oxygen in your body, there are some basic practices to adopt
  1. Breathe slowly and deeply through your nose and with your diaphragm (versus high and shallow or fast breathing from your chest)
  2. Reduce stress with time in nature, contemplative practices, meditation, or even Tai Chi (stress boosts blood pressure, which reduces oxygen to organs and tissues)
  3. Stay hydrated (dehydration drops blood fluids and blood pressure and thus fluids that deliver oxygen to the cells in need)
  4. Exercise gently each day with at least a 10-15 minute walk and 2-3 minutes on a mini trampoline (this combo boosts oxygen flow and helps your lymph system eliminate waste as cancer cells get oxidized)

Friday, March 29, 2013

Carpal Tunnel, Chinese Food Syndrome & Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Teri had carpal tunnel syndrome when she first started working at the Co-op and had a lot of typing to do (to respond to the many inquiries coming from around the country and around the world). A massage therapist friend helped Teri learn to warm up her hands each day before she started in at her computer, and Teri has never had another trouble with carpal tunnel again.

Meanwhile, I was doing research this week for a new formula (another rice protein formula to cover boost daily essentials for healthy aging). I was reviewing arthritis literature to assess amounts of different ingredients (the concept is to replace multi-vitamin, calcium/magnesium/potassium, vitamin C, D3, and joint protection formulas with one basic drink mix).

I came across the research on vitamin B6 (or pyridoxine) and its use in treating carpal tunnel syndrome. As it turns out, carpal tunnel syndrome can be the result of chronic, unrecognized vitamin B6 deficiencies (the root cause) as well as repetitive stress (the more obvious trigger). A team of researchers reported in 1982 that vitamin B6 therapy can eliminate the need for surgery in carpal tunnel patients. Some naturopaths recommend B6 at 25mg three to four times a day (along with complementary B2 or riboflavin at 10mg daily).

One of the B6 researchers, Dr. Folker, found a way for people to determine if they have a vitamin B6 deficiency. He found that people who react to MSG in Chinese food are deficient in B6 and proved that supplemental B6 could prevent MSG reactions that range from headaches and flushing to a nausea and chest pain.

According to Natural Relief for Arthritis by the editors of Prevention Magazine, "Dr. Folker began to wonder if people with carpal tunnel syndrome might also be sensitive to MSG, since they, too, have a B6 deficiency." Folker did a test with a student, known to be both deficient in B6 and to suffer from painful carpal tunnel syndrome. Testing with a low-dose of MSG (4 grams instead of 8.5 grams) revealed the classic "Chinese food syndrome" reaction and cured both the MSG reaction and the carpal tunnel syndrome with supplemental B6.

If you tend to react to MSG or have the Chinese food hangover, you might want to first and foremost avoid all things with MSG (almost a "duh" since MSG is a neurotoxin and also has been found to induce obesity with no additional calories in the diet). Simultaneously, you might want to boost your B6 intake to help your body perform better if you've ever had a Chinese-food (or other fast food) reaction.

If you thought the mighty B vitamins were just for energy or heart health (homocysteine management), think again. In addition to B6 for carpal tunnel syndrome, niacinimide (the non-flushing form of niacin or B3) is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis

Many, many reasons to take more Bs, since they are water soluble and can get flushed out of your system if you are under stress. B vitamins may be a bit stinky (open up a capsule and smell) but they are totally affordable and are clear friends of all active people.

In addition to B vitamins, getting inflammation under control, dipping wrists alternately in hot water (2-3 minutes) and cold water (30 seconds), and doing regular wrist stretching exercises are things that naturopathic doctors recommend.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Rosacea, Face Mites, the W.C. Fields Nose & Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

My mom was part-Irish, with fair skin prone to sunburns, blushing, and rosacea. She loved all the things that make rosacea flare up--coffee, wine, and spicy foods, and she lived in Florida where heat and humidity and sun were ever-present triggers.

I remember my mother's face when I was growing up. Her skin was fair and blemish free, and her nose had a natural profile. In her later years, it was often hard to look at her face, as she had grown a bulbous W.C. Fields nose and had frequent, unsightly eruptions. Sad but true. Especially sad as she was not at all interested in trying anything, neither supplements nor antibiotics, to heal her uncomfortable skin.

I'll never forget our last trip to Boston (May 2012). My mom trying valiantly to put on some of my make-up before going to the theater. She so wanted to look pretty for her big night out in the city, but she got tears in her eyes as she looked, really looked, perhaps for the first time in years, at her skin under those bright hotel bathroom lights.

I find that most chronic conditions yield to a combination of dietary change and nutritional therapy, if we can only find out what to do. Three nutritional deficiencies seem to be important with rosacea: (1) lack of enough stomach acid to digest proteins, (2) lack of the pancreatic enzyme lipase to digest fats, and (3) insufficient Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), the last deficiency being particularly interesting. It turns out that research on large doses of B-vitamins in treating rosacea has been around since at least 1929

Almost a century later, doctors are more likely to prescribe antibiotics instead of B vitamins. You may be wondering why a skin condition that looks like an inflammatory response that is out of control would be treated by antibiotics. Let's put the two pieces together.

You see, riboflavin deficiencies can create an inviting environment for the icky Demodex folliculorum (a skin mite that lives on 20-80% of adults). These little mites burrow into hair follicles, eating skin and oils on the face, and become overpopulated on the skin of rosacea patients.

Research shows it's not the mites that cause rosacea. Instead, it's the bacteria feeding on abundant fecal material inside the mites after the mites die that cause the rosacea patient's immune system to respond to the bacterial infestation, thus firing up inflammation and redness.

Michele Green, MD, a dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said: "It makes perfect sense to me." Green says the mite theory fits many features of the disease. She says many people with rosacea notice that their skin gets worse after exposure to heat and humidity, conditions that also help mites thrive.

Add supplemental riboflavin and skin conditions can start to clear up. Studies with rats show riboflavin-deficient rats can be infected with Demodex mite populations while normal rats (with good riboflavin status) remain free of mite infestations. Thus, supplemental B vitamins that include riboflavin (in addition to dietary and lifestyle changes) can help prevent mite infestations that lead to rosacea. It's a super-cheap therapy with none of the side effects of antibiotics.

Adding a complete B-Complex formula boosts other B vitamins, which aid digestion and production of hydrochloric acid, one of the missing elements in many rosacea patients' body chemistries. If you add 350-500mg of Pancreatic Enzymes before meals, you will have a good start on what leading naturopathic authors, Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno, recommend for rosacea in their Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. They also recommend eliminating milk products and foods high in iodized salt along with things that make the face flush. 

Now you know the rest of the story of why antibiotics are given to rosacea patients. Me? I am just counting on good nutrition and living in a temperate climate  (in the San Francisco Bay Area) to help me avoid that distressingly ugly W.C. Fields nose! So far, so good, thankfully.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Magnesium Leachers: The Case for Supplemental Magnesium Keeps Growing

I've been writing about magnesium of late, for support in healthy heart rhythms as well as allergy alleviation. I must confess that I've fallen in love with magnesium, partly because of some of the things I favor in my diet and partly because of my temperament.

First of all, cocoa, chocolate, nuts (especially almonds, cashews, and peanuts), seeds, spinach, other greens, and even berries have oxalates, which may interfere with the uptake of magnesium (as well uptake of calcium and zinc). Funny how that works, since a lot of these foods are naturally magnesium rich.

Second, some of these "magnesium-rich" foods are less so today, due to changed mineral composition of soils (caused by commercial fertilizers that are rich in phosphorous and potassium). Phosphorus and potassium compete with magnesium causing crops to have depleted magnesium stores.

Processed foods (not my normal fare), demineralized waters and any kind of sodas, flouride (I avoid flouridated water and toothpaste), and even lactose (from dairy products) all interfere with absorption of magnesium.

Cooking greens leaches magnesium much more than calcium, and then there's this little issue that the body does not hold on to magnesium as well as it hangs on to calcium and iron (magnesium is more water soluble, which is why it is so easy to lose).

But the biggest leach of all? Mental and physical stress. According to the Weston A. Price Foundation article on "The Neglected Mineral We Cannot Live Without:"

"Mental and physical stress, with its related continuous flow of adrenaline, uses up magnesium rapidly, as adrenaline affects heart rate, blood pressure, vascular constriction and muscle contraction— actions that all demand steady supplies of magnesium for smooth function. The nervous system depends upon sufficient magnesium for its calming effects, including restful sleep. Hibernating animals, by the way, maintain very high levels of magnesium. Magnesium deficiency will accelerate a vicious cycle and amplify the effects of chronic stress, leading to more anxiety, irritability, fatigue and insomnia—many of the symptoms of adrenal exhaustion—as well as to hypertension and heart pains—symptoms of heart disease."

Magnesium is a big relaxer for muscles and the nervous system, so high stress and type A personalities (ahem, I may resemble that one) lead to larger magnesium requirements.

Another big magnesium leach? Sweating--whether from exercise or menopausal hot flashes. According to the American Nutrition Association, loss of magnesium with hot flashes leads to increased irritability and mood swings, so a lot of researchers are starting to recommend magnesium supplementation for women suffering from the pains of menopause and/or PMS.

So a little heart rhythm curiosity spiked my interest in magnesium. If you're reading this blog, perhaps your interest has been spiked too. Write to me if you've discovered the benefits of magnesium in your life.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Non-Invasive Early Detection of Cancer

A lot of my readers are subscribers of Bill Henderson's protocol for beating cancer gently. So I thought of all of you when I saw this little piece of news from Harvard researchers at Massachusetts General on how to detect cancer early using non-invasive blood tests:

"A fundamental strategy in the war against cancer is to catch it early—before it has spread, when it's easiest to remove. Unfortunately, some cancers, such as brain cancer and ovarian cancer, remain difficult to detect until the end stages. But that's changing. A Harvard team has discovered a simple, noninvasive way of catching cancer early—by looking at a blood component that's been ignored by the medical community for decades."

It's not tumor proteins the scientists are able to track in the blood but the "debris" of cancer, the microvesicles that tumor cells shed. Here's another clip from the article (bold font is mine for highlighting purposes):

"In a recent study in the journal Nature Medicine, researchers were able to detect these microvesicles reliably in blood samples from both mice and from people with the aggressive brain cancer glioblastoma....(and)...The technology also has the ability to measure how effective a person's cancer treatments are before the results can be seen with imaging."

The technology may be available in doctors' offices in 3-5 years but it's worth knowing about and asking about. 

Doctor's Check-up: Encouraging News after Arrhythmia

I went to see my new doctor at Kaiser Permanente. I told the medical assistant that I chose my doctor because she is an osteopath, a D.O., who is trained to treat the whole person and whose bio showed an interest in nutrition. The assistant, who took my blood pressure with gentle movements, said that this is the reason most people choose Dr. Wilson.

My new doctor's full name is Dr. Cynthia Wilson. I found myself surprised when we shook hands that she was taller than I am. I'm 5'9" and don't meet a lot of women who are taller than I am. For some reason, I enjoyed that (was there was some kind of childish desire to "look up to" my doctor or just a feeling of relaxing and not falling into old habits of not standing so tall so others are not intimidated?).

Dr. Wilson greeted me warmly with: "We have the same name." I did a little silent, "Huh?" for a brief moment and then realized she meant "Cynthia," the name on my birth certificate, the name on my passport, the name on my health records, the name that has felt no more my name than my Social Security Number. She went on to check my records and make sure my history was more complete. She said I was due for a mammogram and flu shots. I declined on both counts but forgot to ask about thermograms at Kaiser. She was totally respectful. No lecture about doing it the conventional way.  She also told me that on the Kaiser member's page there was access to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database (a nice bonus, I was just thinking of renewing my subscription!).

I shared that my family has a history of Crohn's (my dad's side) and I had had a little basal cell cancer spot removed from my nose (the Irish skin I inherited from my mom's side coupled with the California seaside sunburns come with penalties). I shared that I had had some autoimmune challenges (leaky gut causing multiple allergies, Sjogren's, and a broken ankle that wouldn't mend) which all healed with diet and nutrition. I shared that I continue to be sensitive to a number of foods but try to be careful about rotating my foods to minimize sensitivities. She really listened. I felt grateful, lucky even, and my whole system relaxed in a nice way.

Of course, I shared about my recent arrhythmia, which I settled down with good amounts of magnesium and CoQ-10 and deep breathing last Saturday in the wee hours of the morning. Dr. Wilson took out her stethoscope and listened to my heart. Low blood pressure, heart beat around 67, good, rhythmical beats with clear lungs, all good. She was encouraging about my prevention routine, and she also advised me to be careful about staying hydrated, noting that dehydration can also put stress on the heart. Umm, huh. That would correlate with the coffee, to which I know I am sensitive and which is always dehydrating and overly stimulating. It would also correlate to the fact I haven't put a household water filter to eliminate chlorine, so I have been avoiding my water a bit.

Next priority: water filtration for my new house (just as important for bath and shower water as we absorb destructive (cancer-causing) amounts of chlorine each time we bathe in unfiltered water).

I'm also thinking about joining a Kaiser tai chi or qi gong class at the Fabiola Building where family medicine is housed in Oakland. I am really happy to be a Kaiser member (I've never said that about any other health care insurance program).

I will still see my naturopath and consult with my favorite integrative practitioners, as I think it takes a village to see things clearly from all vantage points. Still, I feel lucky to be in an integrative-thinking kind of culture and community in the Bay Area and part of a health care community that includes integrative wellness options!.

Please write to me if you are in the Bay Area and would like to chat!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Magnesium for a Heart Beating a Little Too Fast

Early last Saturday morning (maybe 3:30 am), I woke up with my heart beating too fast. I woke up and measured my pulse at 186 beats per minute! Interestingly enough, I didn't have anything in particular pressing on me emotionally (in fact, I went to bed in a great mood). The last time this had happened was the first year I was in Copenhagen.  I was jet-lagged and sleepless (a kind of stress) and after using coffee to "get on time zone," I was enjoying a glass of red wine to help me sleep, all while adjusting to splitting time between the USA and a new country (another kind of stress altogether). It turned out to be a perfect cocktail for a racing heart. 

When I did my research the first time, almost all the references pointed to insufficient magnesium (which makes muscles relax) as contributing directly to arrhythmias. I learned that magnesium levels in your blood stream can test out as totally "normal" while tissue concentrations of magnesium are still clinically deficient. Magnesium depletion then leads to potassium depletion, and electrical circuits in the heart start to malfunction due to imbalances in electrolytes

Supplemental magnesium, as it turns out, is central in  treating various arrhythmias (since 1935 magnesium has been part of good clinical treatments). 

Beyond magnesium, I have long known that the heart requires coenzyme Q-10 to maintain muscle tone, and yet, with positive annual exams each year and no known troubles, I had never gotten in the habit of taking CoQ-10, which, I recently read helps about 75% of people with heart palpitations. 

So, last Saturday morning, I took 1200 mg of magnesium, 300 mg of CoQ-10, and started doing some deep breathing. Within about a half hour, my rapid pulse subsided into the comfortable 80s; and within an hour or so, my pulse was back down to 67-69 beats per minute (I know because I took my pulse repeatedly, checking and checking again using Azumio's heart rate monitor on my iPhone). 

Now, I'm back to taking magnesium each day (400-1000 mg) and CoQ-10 (150 mg softgel), along with a fistful of other things. My Kaiser Permanente doctor was encouraging today, saying all sounded normal with my heart (I felt this would be the case but still..."yay!"). She thought my prevention routine seemed appropriate (such a relief to have an osteopathic physician, who is both more informed on and open to natural treatments). 

Meanwhile, over the weekend, I did more research on arrhythmias and learned a few new things that are supposed to help, including:
  • Splashing really cold water on the face -- Apparently, sea lions and humans share a little nervous system trick when it comes to jumping into freezing waters--the cold tells the body to slow the heart rate down. You can press a cold cloth or a package of frozen vegetables to your face to slow things down too. Pretty cool, eh?!
  • Adding citrus oils in bathwater -- Some believe that a few drops of Neroli Oil in a cool bath are can help calm one's mood as well as minor heart palpitations.
  • Practicing the "vagal maneuver" -- This is when you sit down, bend forward at the waist, hold your breath and strain (pilots takk about the "valsalva maneuver"). Vagal maneuvers can easily be learned (ask your doctor or health care practitioner) but aren't right for everyone (again, ask your doctor). 
  • Reducing intake of caffeine, salt and saturated fats -- Big sigh here. I have to say, I love chocolate and coffee and am often quite tempted by salty foods. These foods can overstimulate and /or dehydrate. Caffeine and salt along with saturated fats (such as in meats, butter, and dairy products) also reduce magnesium stores in the body, so beware of these fun foods and dehydration too if you are prone to a racing heart!
  • Avoiding alcohol, especially red wine -- Many people report racing hearts after drinking wine and other alcohols. If you're trying to drop a few pounds (like I am), dropping the "drinks" part of socializing will help with your spring weight loss commitments as well as heart health. 
Caution: I share what I learn as I experiment with natural treatments for myself. Some might call me foolish for treating myself (I feel I can read my own body and was dressed and ready to go in to the ER if my pulse had not quieted down when it did). There are seriously life-threatening types of arrhythmiasIf  you feel dizzy or weak or any kind of pain, call your doctor immediately, as you could have some much more serious heart problems that need immediate professional attention.  

Allergy Epidemic & Vitamins for Allergies

 Many (many) people I know have allergies of some kind, whether they recognize them or not. Sneezing, bloating, belching, wheezing, itching, mental fog, malaise, irritability, headaches, etc. are all symptoms of allergies (or "sensitivities" to foods and pollens, which trigger the immune system to attack "foreign" entities in the body).  

There are many theories about the global rise in rates of asthma and various specific allergies, including: 

1.     Global warming (more pollens migrating to northern climates and more dust from drought and ecosystem destruction),
2.     Pollution (everyday chemical exposures lead to multiple chemical sensitivities), and 
3.     Government subsidies for four main agricultural products (wheat, dairy, corn, and soy are subsidized and sold at unnaturally low prices, these inexpensive ingredients make their way into most modern foods, causing problems through overexposure to these common food molecules).

However, according to Dr. Damien Downing, author of The Vitamin Cure for Allergies, "The worse your body is at detoxifying, the more likely you are to develop allergy problems." Dr. Downing states that "environmental pollution will make anybody's allergy worse, but if your body can't detoxify very well, it will make your allergy a lot worse." 

What can you do? Dr. Downing recommends some of the same things that my other integrative medicine friends recommend: 

Taking Vitamin C in Grams Per Day -- vitamin C is known as a natural antihistamine and increases the detoxification of histamines and the body needs more vitamin C under stress (a la Dr. Linus Pauling's research; Pauling's personal intake was between 6-18 grams daily). 
  • Downing talks about using both ordinary vitamin C (in water-soluble powders or capsules) and a liposomal version (vitamin C bound up in drops of oil). He argues that you get more absorption using parallel channels of uptake but he also notes that liposomal vitamin C is expensive. 
  • Downing recommends up to 16 grams of vitamin C per day and offers the handy tip that ascorbic acid is stable in water solution for up to one day (for folks who want to have  bottles of vitamin C water ready for each day).  
  • He also advises taking vitamin C multiple times a day, as "blood level peaks around two hours after swallowing" and drops rapidly after that. 
Increasing Vitamin D3 to Support Cellular Performance -- while vitamin D is called a vitamin, it looks like a hormone and affects everything in the body including resistance to infections, reduction in pain, strengthening muscles, improving moods, and reducing allergies. Immune system cells have receptors for vitamin D, which is important because asthma and allergies occur because the immune system gets highly reactive to everyday entities.

  • Downing recommends at least 4000 IU vitamin D3 daily for adults,  and suggests higher amounts if someone is over 200 pounds or has dark skin and lives in a northern climate with limited sunshine for long periods of time.
  • Downing cautions readers to never take vitamin D2. He notes that many of the negative studies in the news used synthetic vitamin D2, which is not a natural molecule for humans and which may even block or interfere with vitamin D3. 
Balancing Essential Fatty Acids to Manage Inflammation -- Downing's premise is that "life depends on lipids (fats and oils), including cholesterol." Like most of the industry, Downing is big on omega-3 fatty acids, which turn off inflammation, but not to the extent that Omega-6 fatty acids become insufficient to control inflammation. 

  • Downing recommends a 5:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids for asthma  
  • A typical American diet is said to have a 10:1, and as much as a 30:1, ratio.
Increasing Magnesium To Calm Over-Excited Cells -- Too much calcium and not enough magnesium can make cells have a hair-trigger response to allergens. Histamine-based allergies and magnesium deficiencies are a bad combination, as the body is primed to react more severely to allergens.

  • Downing believes that 800-1200 mg of magnesium is probably the right amount for oral supplementation.
  • Downing also recommends Epsom salt baths 2-3 times per week but cautions allergy sufferers to avoid salts with fragrances as they may exacerbate chemical sensitivities.
Dr. Downing's recommendations are inexpensive and non-toxic (both vitamin C and magnesium will cause a "flush" when the body receives enough of these nutrients and expels surplus amounts in loose bowel movements). 

In a difficult economy, with budgets tight, and stress levels up, affordable and healthy ways to combat the discomforts of allergies can only be a welcome piece of news. 

Pass on this information and consider giving someone you love the gift of Dr. Downing's slender book The Vitamin Cure for Allergies. It's less than $12.00 at Some vitamins and Epsom salts with no perfumes or additives might be good companion products.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Cancer "Survivors" and More

At the conference yesterday, I spent time with people who were healing from cancer, those who considered themselves survivors, and those who are called to work as healers.

One woman, Melissa, from Jupiter, FL was both a healer (she works with many cancer patients as an energy worker) and also "in the process" of healing from her breast cancer. It was an important distinction she felt moved to share after she heard Teri describe herself as a "survivor" of two cancers.

Melissa said that people "survive" car accidents but that addressing cancer is more of a "process," a process of learning about diet (and maintaining new habits in eating), a process of learning which nutrients and which botanicals are helpful (and whether they are well tolerated in one's own system), a process of healing emotional wounds that create disturbances in the immune system (for her, learning to take better care of herself was key), and a process of contacting God or "Source" and remembering that no one is alone in this journey called life.

I also had the privilege of spending time with our friend, Bill Henderson, a man with the patience and heart of a saint, a man who has helped many thousands of people on their own journeys of healing.

I heard many stories yesterday and will hear many more today and tomorrow. There is something profoundly intimate about the space  that is opened when people are asked: "Are you healing or are you a healer?" A door opens to a person's whole life in a way that it rarely does at an exhibitor table at a conference.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Annie Appleseed Cancer Therapies Conference this Week

Flemming and I have a new home in Montclair Highlands (Oakland/Berkeley area). We are surrounded by a community that is committed to all things integrative.

We feel blessed to have access to fresh air and great outdoor hiking (oaks and redwoods and eucalyptus intermingling in that oh-so-California way). We adore the fresh farmers markets and love having access to cutting-edge therapies (from some of the most in-the-know naturopaths and osteopaths in the world).  Healers of almost every tradition seem to congregate within a stone's throw of one another, making the Bay Area a rich ecosystem of ever-improving health treatments and practices.

Not everyone has such access. When chronic disease gains a name--like "diabetes" or "multiple sclerosis"--after a fateful lab test, a range of negative emotions can set in.

Cancer, however, strikes people in an even more dastardly way, with abnormal cells dividing in uncontrolled ways and the "cause" not coming from a single pathogen or lifestyle choice. Cancer triggers primordial fears of being invaded, by something that is alien and dangerous and uncontrollable.  

Flemming's dear friend, Pia, had her first chemotherapy treatment this week for stage IV liver cancer. I keep thinking of Pia and am so saddened that her complaints were routinely brushed off as fatigue over the years and she was not tested earlier. And now, Pia's physicians disdainfully dismiss her inquiries about complementary and alternative therapies. My heart goes out to Pia, who has done selfless work with children who have lost their parents, and who faces parenting her young son alone as she faces cancer treatments. Cancer is very much on my mind and touching my heart this week.

I will be attending the Annie Appleseed Complementary and Alternative Cancer Therapies conference today, tomorrow, and Saturday. I look forward to seeing Ann Fonfa, the hard-working and heartful woman who founded the Annie Appleseed Project (after surviving breast cancer herself). I also look forward to seeing Bill Henderson, the author of Cancer-Free, a man who lost his wife to cancer and has dedicated himself to helping others beat cancer naturally. Bill has long been a friend of our company.

And, I very much look forward to hearing the words of possibility as the speakers take the podium to share proven approaches to curing cancer. And, as I listen and learn, I will share news on the many alternative routes to healing the darkness (physical and emotional) that descends when cancer attacks. If any of you will be at the conference this week (at the Embassy Suites Hotel near the airport in West Palm Beach, FL), please find me so we can talk.

May all of you who have survived cancer be blessed. May all of you who are facing cancer be doubly blessed.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Recalling 2010 at the Co-op

I rang in the New Year of 2010 in Miami Beach with Flemming--on the beach, with fireworks and a sea of people under a lovely Blue Moon. We'll be ringing in the New Year of 2011 in a quieter fashion, in Lantana at a sweet little Italian restaurant--with a jazz chanteuse singing and playing piano. My new life with Flemming is a big part of what I will always remember about 2010.

In February, I headed over to Copenhagen with my two cats, Damon and Diva, to explore dating the (then) new man in my life, Flemming Christensen. I had an apartment for four months (which I mostly used as an office). I learned to navigate downtown Copenhagen (Centrum). We figured out how to fit me and my stuff into Flemming's 200 year-old European-sized condo home, which he picked as a place for himself and his son, Philip. We all got along quite beautifully. Things worked out in Copenhagen, and Flemming proposed, right after celebrating my 50th birthday (in Istanbul, in a room with a view of the Bosphorus). We shared the story with Teri and Harley last night (how I was sure Flemming would propose while we were in Istanbul celebrating my birthday).

On a sadder note, just a little over a week ago we lost our little female cat, Diva. Damon is 11 years old now and alone, and we are debating whether we will need to get another kitten for him. While Flemming and I are in Florida, Philip is taking care of Damon. They have bonded quite deeply already with Philip writing to me yesterday that "I love that he's this social. I would feel so lonely without him and absolutely love having him around me. So even though he is a bit more needy now that Diva is gone you don't have to worry that he isn't getting enough love and attention :)"  Sweet. 
Diva - Remembered with love

Damon - One of my best buddies since he was a kitten
and loved by many (even people who don't like cats!)

Other things that I remember with appreciation about 2010 include:

  • Stephen Fason-- for being not only a good business partner but a brother whom I love and admire. We took time this year to talk about new and important things and found ways to laugh at ourselves at times when others might have gotten stuck. Stephen acts as a marvelous counterbalance for me (e.g., if I am too wildly enthusiastic or impulsive, he helps me check my assumptions and we can then integrate the best of both of our contributions). 
  • Teri Edgell -- for boldly venturing into the world of writing and trusting that she has a voice worthy of sharing.   I have enjoyed witnessing Teri's growth in confidence as she blogs about the things she notices in the world. I also continuously marvel at her joyous spirit, which helps so many in need of a kind word, a sense of optimism, or even a smile during hard times.  I also respect her journey into personal development and increased awareness. 
  • Chris Harding -- for joining our team and bringing a natural enthusiasm for our mission. Chris has a shaman's spirit, communing deeply with nature and people alike and valuing all things that bring health and healing. I have felt honored to have someone who is so incredibly competent, so gets the Co-op's ethos, and so loves our community. It's like he has always been with us. 
Stephen, Teri, and Chris are at the center of what makes our little Co-op hum and I feel grateful to be associated with such a fine team.

For those of you wondering when Flemming and I  will get married, we're not saying just yet. Stay tuned in the New Year! 

Love and good wishes for your own health, healing, and wholeness! 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Secret to Weight Loss Success -- A Journal

We act on what we pay attention to. That's the starting point, at least. With Americans increasingly worrying about weight and associated maladies, the search for weight loss tips that don't cost an arm and a leg is never-ending. Not everyone can go to Canyon Ranch for a week of organic light fare and vigorous exercise.

However, there's a secret that most people don't take advantage of--namely keeping a journal of what they eat and when. According to Greenwich Hospital's press release on December 20th:
Putting a pen to paper and keeping a daily journal of meals and snacks is one of the best strategies of successful dieters, says Dr. Christopher J. Mosunic, a specialist in weight management and diabetes at Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, Connecticut.
“Keeping a food diary is like exercise, it will always help you lose if you do it consistently,” says Mosunic, a licensed clinical psychologist and registered dietitian who trained at Duke University’s famed weight loss clinic. More importantly, the writing habit “is one of the top predictors of weight loss success,” Mosunic adds. No wonder some of the country’s major commercial diet plans strongly recommend the write-what-you-eat journaling practice to their clients.
The secret's secret? Mindfulness. Becoming mindful of what we eat is the path to more conscious eating. As a teacher of mine, Richard Strozzi-Heckler, says, "Energy follows attention, and choice follows awareness." Richard has a Ph.D. in psychology with a focus on what creates excellence. So true, so true. 

So, back to weight loss. Think about buying yourself a journal and enrolling a couple of friends in a food journaling practice (it's not cheating to start before New Year's). Write and write--everything you eat, when you eat, what you feel, what you think about. Just write. If you decide to gather your friends to talk about what you're noticing, drop a line and let me know how you're doing. 

If there is enough interest, I would be happy to support a group of our members in doing some basic mindfulness exercises (centering, breathing deeply, reconnecting to bodily experience) to help ring in the New Year with more support for greater wellness.

Please leave a comment below if you are interested in such support. 

Here's to a truly healthy New Year for you and yours. Warmest best wishes!