Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Carbohydrates - Are They All Bad?

by guest blogger Jody Perrecone

Energy is needed for normal body functions including maintaining body temperature, breathing, digestion, thinking, exercising, and managing the heart rate. That energy comes from protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose which the body uses as its primary and most efficient source of energy. Carbohydrates are the only energy source the brain, nerves, and developing red cells can use for energy. Protein and fat are used as sources of energy only when carbohydrates are depleted.

Complex carbohydrates include potatoes, oats, corn, peas, whole wheat pasta, beans, and brown rice and are excellent sources of energy.  They are also a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals.  Complex carbohydrates contain fiber which will slow down the release of glucose.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Brilliant Minds, Brilliant Ideas, Phenomenal Paths To Health And Good Habits

For a 24 hour period on November 10th, 2012 the city of Palo Alto, CA gave up its reputation for being the world's epicenter of cyber technology and instead laid the groundwork for a revolution in health and behavior. The innovative ideas spawned forth about creating healthy habits go far beyond the Silicone Valley and straight into the tech savvy device your gazing into right now. It's your turn to learn from the best! The concepts presented will undoubtedly make your life easier and more enjoyable as you incorporate them into your daily routine. Take some time to sit back, relax, and enjoy this year's presentations from TEDx Fremont's most dynamic and forward-thinking minds! A healthy life and a lifetime of good habits are yours for the taking.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

This Is Your Brain On [Psychotropic] Drugs

Life is full of emotions. Happy. Sad. Nervous. Frightened. Excited. Depressed. Crazy. Anxious. All of these are a normal part of life. Everyone experiences these emotions at one point or another.

At times these emotions may lend themselves to be more intense than at other times. I've experienced this myself in life. I remember the overwhelming sense of joy I felt when I finally graduated college and landed my first job. That was an incredible high for me. I can also remember being at the lowest of lows in life just a few years prior as pharmacy school and my personal life seemed to come crashing down on me. That was an awful feeling that seemed to last forever and something I never want to experience again. When times like these come in life we often turn to those closest to us to share in our experiences—good, bad, or ugly. Our friends and family are our personal counselors.

Today, however, every emotion has been labeled as a "disease" or "disorder". Every human being walking the face of the planet is mentally ill, according to the drug manufacturers anyway. These greedy business entities have designed a system where they profit off of everyday life experiences of people. Depressed because of a breakup or loss of a loved one? Big Pharma deems you as having major depressive disorder. Anxious when you attend new functions and meet new people? You have social anxiety disorder. Have a typical, energetic 6 year old who can't sit still in class for hours on end (because everyone knows that little kids are supposed to be able to do this)? Your child is suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Take The Thanksgiving Challenge

by guest blogger Jody Perrecone

Remember when we sat down at the table as a family for dinner? When we bought local food?  When we knew the shop keepers?  When food was prepared by a person and didn’t come out of a box?  

Maybe not all of us remember these times from not so long ago.  Somehow we have gotten away from our relationship with our food.  We have almost become alienated with our food and food sources. Often times we don’t know where our food came from or who (or what) made it.  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Shocking Cure For Crohn's Disease, Asthma, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, & Every Other Chronic Disease

Let me start this post by giving you fair warning... if you don't like sarcasm stop reading now. You probably won't like this post and will get easily offended by it's simplistic nature and the rather harsh approach I take in delivering it's message. Just in case you were wondering... My goal here is not to be liked. My goal here is to tell people what they need to hear in order for them to get better.

Now I'm going to share a story with you. A story about how to cure Crohn's disease, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, and basically any other type of chronic disease you and/or the rest of the world may be suffering from. You want to know the secret? Get ready. Wait for it... wait for it... wait for it...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Should I Get A Flu Shot?

It's that time of year again. Everyone seems to be advertising the flu vaccine. Your doctor, your local hospital, walk-in clinics, and even the local pharmacy all have the flu vaccine ready and waiting for you to get vaccinated. But, should you get it? I'm not going to tell you either way. What I will do is supply you with the evidence from a number of comprehensive reviews on the scientific and medical literature done on the flu vaccine. This way you can make an informed decision on your own on whether or not to get the flu shot.

As a clinical pharmacist, I'm just as interested as you are on whether or not the flu shot is worth getting. For this reason, I did what any respective healthcare professional would do. I turned to the Cochrane Collaboration for answers.

The Cochrane Collaboration is a non-profit, international network of over 28,000 individuals from over 100 countries. These individuals work to provide unbiased, evidence-based reviews from available scientific and medical research studies to help healthcare providers, policy-makers, patients and their advocates make informed decisions regarding their health care. These reviews are called the Cochrane Reviews. These reviews are highly trusted and credible because they are free of commercial bias. The Cochrane Collaboration doesn't allow big money or special interest groups to taint their organization or their highly respected work. This is made evident in their commercial sponsorship policy:

"The Cochrane Collaboration has gained an international reputation for producing evidence of the highest standard to inform healthcare decision-making. To maintain this reputation, we are committed to ensuring that the results of Cochrane Reviews are not influenced by personal or commercial interests, particularly from the pharmaceutical industry and medical device manufacturers. Sponsorship of Cochrane Reviews, their derivative products, author teams and the Cochrane 'entities' who produce them, by any commercial source, is strictly prohibited."

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cancer Answers - Treatment Options For Fighting Cancer

The word cancer makes anyone stop dead in their tracks and shudder, literally, especially when this word comes from their doctor. Cancer is devastating. It's feared. It's deadly. It changes everything in life for the individuals affected by it as well as their family and friends. A number of questions follow for everyone involved.

How bad is it? Is it terminal? How long do I have to live? Will I suffer the whole time? These are just a few questions many people have when facing this horrible disease. But probably the biggest question everyone has after the initial shock wears off is - What do I do now?

The majority of people immediately dread the thought of weeks or months of chemotherapy and radiation that carry a myriad of awful side effects with their use. Many wonder - are these the best options available or are there any alternatives? If so, which ones work best for the specific cancer at hand? What are the safest and most cost effective options available?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Proposition 37 - Do We Have The Right To Know?

by guest blogger Jody Perrecone

Californians will be voting November 6th on Proposition 37, also known as the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Foods Act.  It will be asking if   1) it should be mandatory for genetically modified foods to be labeled and  2) foods that contain GMOs no longer be labeled as “natural.”

What is genetically modified food?  It is the moving or modifying or insertion of a gene in a plant (or animal) to modify its characteristics.  A bacteria gene may be inserted in seed that will make it resistant to pesticides. Changing the genes of a plant will allow insecticides or herbicides to be sprayed on fields that will kill insects or weeds but not the plant. 

What’s the harm?  The truth is we don’t know if there are any long term health implications of GMOs.  Suggestions have been made that GMOs may be toxic and cause allergies and cause hormone disruption in humans.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

5 Superfoods For Optimal Health

Superfoods are on everyone's radar nowadays. You hear them talked about on the news and see them in advertisements by health food stores and grocery chains. So what's all the hoopla about? Is there a magic cure to these foods?

The answer is 'yes' and 'no'. News media and advertisers love to market the biggest upsides of products without giving you the whole picture. This is what sells after all. Glamour and glitz not blood and guts. The truth is superfoods ARE the key to superior health and longevity, BUT ONLY if you consume them on a regular basis as part of a health-promoting diet. They need to make up the foundation of your total dietary plan and not serve as a mere supplement to being a junk food junkie. It really is important to stay away from the crap food if you wish to achieve optimal health. You'll never achieve glamour and glitz by washing down a large order of fries and a double bacon cheeseburger with an antioxidant-rich green smoothie. The human body doesn't work that way. To achieve optimal health you need to practice optimal eating habits. This includes adopting a whole foods, plant-based diet of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts/seeds while passing on visits to Outback steakhouse and Dairy Queen for dessert.

With that being said, superfoods [foods low in saturated fat, high in fiber, with an abundance of antioxidants and phytochemicals] CAN and DO make a difference in one's journey towards optimal health. Here's a few of my favorites that should be included in your regular diet on a weekly if not daily basis:

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Lessons From A Pharmacist - I Get A Big, Fat Paycheck While You Stay Sick

Hi. My name is Dustin Rudolph. I've been a practicing pharmacist for over 10 years now, and I'm here to tell you something you may not like hearing. I get a BIG, FAT paycheck every two weeks while YOU (or at least the vast majority of you) stay sick. To put it bluntly, I get rich off of your misery.

Why does this happen? It happens because I, along with the rest of my colleagues in the medical field, practice profit-based medicine. We put profits before patients.

If this makes you angry then good. If this disappoints you then good. If you're a fellow colleague of mine and me calling it like it is pisses you off then good. Quite frankly, I don't give a damn how it makes you feel as long as it makes you feel something. That way I know I've fulfilled my purpose in writing this article because maybe, just maybe, you'll do something about those feelings which will positively influence how you live your life from this point forward.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"All Natural" Not Always Better

by guest blogger Jody Perrecone

While at the grocery store the other day, I saw many products on the shelves labeled “all natural.”  I wondered how they could be labeled “all natural” since all of these products were processed foods and were in packaged in boxes, bags, and jars. 

Looking into this further, with the exception of meat and poultry, I found the FDA does not regulate these words on food packaging. Without any regulation, “all natural” labeling is like the Wild West.  I saw a bag of veggie crisps labeled “all natural.”  These are potato chip-like snacks. Eight ingredients were listed on the ingredient list including beet powder. Cruising the grocery aisles, I saw bottled salad dressing with 14ingredients listed including lecithin - a processed soy product that keeps the dressing from separating.  “All natural” was also on bottled green tea.  The label said it had “no preservatives, no artificial flavor, no artificial color.”  True, but it did list high fructose corn syrup and “natural flavors” on the ingredient label.   Fruit chews are snacks that are similar to juju beans. They too are “all natural” and “made with real fruit juice.”  One serving had the equivalent of nearly four teaspoons of sweeteners corn syrup and sugar in addition to carnauba wax. Made from leaves of the copernicia prunifera palm found only in Brazil, carnauba wax is also used in shoe polish and car wax but is food safe. The ingredient list of an “all natural” chicken flavored soup base didn’t contain any chicken, but did include maltodexrin and autolyzed yeast extract. A colorful breakfast cereal had “natural fruit flavors” advertised on the front of the box.  The ingredient list had sugar as the first ingredient and no fruit mentioned. One cup of this cereal contains 3 teaspoons of sugar.  Also listed were blue dye #2 and yellow dye #6 which studies have shown to cause tumors in animals.  What a way to start the day!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Missing Piece Of The American Health Care Conversation

It's an all to often occurrence in my line of work as a hospital pharmacist to hear other healthcare professionals talking to patients about how they can treat their ailments. This almost always involves a reference to the latest procedure or newly released blockbuster drug. While some rare occasions may indeed call for such action, many do not. We have a pill for everything in this country and a high tech procedure for everything else. 

Many of the conversations I hear go a little something like this:

Patient: "How'd my cholesterol test come back?"
Nurse: "It's higher than we'd like it to be, but the doctor just ordered this drug called Lipitor for you..."

Patient: "The chest pain was almost unbearable at times doc."
Doctor: "You're going to be ok. You're actually a really good candidate for a procedure called a cardiac cath. What happens is we'll insert a stent into your coronary artery..."

Patient: "This indigestion is killing me. It's been going on for days. I can't sleep at night it's so bad."
Doctor: "I'm sorry. It has to be difficult to get any rest when your chest feels like it's on fire. There's this medication called Nexium we can try on you. It's the purple pill. You may have heard of it before. Also, I can give you a sleeping pill called Ambien..."

Patient: "So what's the verdict from my fall? Is anything broken? I'm really in a lot of pain."
Doctor: "Unfortunately, you broke your hip. You have osteoporosis which is a major contributor to this. We need to consult an orthopedic specialist to see if surgery is necessary for you. Also, there's this drug called Fosamax I'd like to start you on once you leave the hospital..."

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Defend Yourself!

by guest blogger Jody Perrecone

We use a variety of gear to prevent injury. A motorcyclist wears glasses and a helmet to protect their eyes and head. Construction workers wear steel-toe shoes and hard hats. Potholders are used in the kitchen to grab something hot. What is needed within our bodies to protect us from disease?

Plants.  Yes, that’s correct.  Amazingly, nature has built into plants the ability for them to produce compounds for them to fight disease.  When we eat the plants – vegetables and fruits – the same plant compounds fight disease in us.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Mother's Story Of Reversing Type 2 Diabetes

Imagine being faced with one of the most difficult decisions of your entire life. A decision of whether or not to let another human being live or die. By choosing life, it may result in years of surgery for this person, the possibility of retardation, and even the chance of them being put into a vegetative state. By choosing death, it means letting go of a newly formed bond and love so strong that you don't know if you could possibly forgive yourself for making such a decision.

This is the exact decision that Cherise Scally and her husband, Michael, were faced with as they looked into the eyes of their precious baby girl weighing only 1 lb. 11 oz. Nicole had been born nearly three and a half months early and was currently on life support in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). She was suffering from a severe infection called sepsis which is a life threatening infection in the blood. Sepsis is actually the seventh leading cause of death for infants in the United States [1]. In Nicole's case, it was likely due to Cherise's water breaking early and the resulting preterm delivery. Cherise had just been admitted to the hospital a few days earlier due to diabetic complications. Her blood sugars were fluctuating wildly between 165 and 485 and she nearly suffered a diabetic coma. She had no idea she was in such critical condition.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Strength Training For Triathlon

by guest blogger Lincoln Davis

Strength Training for Triathlon

Strength training in endurance sports like triathlon is one favorite topic of debate. In the ideal world, the top athletes incorporate some strength workout that includes weight lifting into their training. However, in practice, everyday people who are not after award plaques find that including some form of weight lifting to an already full schedule of biking, swimming and running more of an exception than a rule. Is it really necessary? Will you benefit from it?


One common misconception is that strength training is just ‘all show, but no go.’ It can look great on a man’s body form, but it does not contribute to performance on endurance races. It takes more effort to move especially in running and biking, and is just considered a waste of energy and training time. Women who race also have a misconception that weight lifting can lead to a bulky figure. It is for this reason many women do not even attempt to do any necessary weight training for a race.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Athletes Fuel Up On Plant Protein

by guest blogger Jody Perrecone

Scott Jurek- six time ultramarathoner winner, Patrick Neshek- Minnesota Twins relief pitcher, Brendan Brazier-ironman triathlete, Mac Danzig – ultimate fighting champion, Martina Navratilova – 18 time Grand Slam tennis champion, Robert Parish – Boston Celtics Hall of Famer, Arian Foster – NFL Pro Bowl 2010 and 2011, Rich Roll - world champion ultra man, Billie Jean King – #1 ranking in tennis five times, Carl Lewis nine time Olympic Gold Metal winner and world’s fastest human, Dave Zabriskie – Tour de France winner, Timothy Bradley - WEO welterweight champion – what do these athletes have in common?  #1 - they are all world-class elite athletes. #2 - they are all vegans (don’t eat meat or dairy products).

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Gardening As A Natural Stress Reliever

by guest blogger Mark Carol

Work, family, bills, and other obligations and responsibilities can make stress a part of your daily life. Stress can help you get motivated, but too much stress can increase your risk for illnesses such as stroke, heart attack, and high blood pressure. Natural stress reducing activities, like gardening, can be an ideal solution to finding a peaceful balance in your life.

The Benefits

Gardening has been shown to have many health benefits. In fact, the activity is recommended by the JAMA, or the Journal of the American Medical Association, to lower the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease by nearly fifty percent. According to Capital District Community Gardens, tending a garden alleviates stress by immersing you in nature. Gardening requires dedication, care and patience to be successful. When tending your flowers, fruits and vegetables, you are spending time on something that redirects for attention away from daily stress. Gardening also provides you with real results that you can share with family, friends and neighbors.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Gluten-Free Diet - Is It Right For You?

It seems that gluten-free dieting is all the rage nowadays. Everywhere you look there's signs and advertisements from food manufacturers proudly displaying their gluten-free products. Health food stores actually have entire sections dedicated to gluten-free items. So what's going on? What's all the hoopla about and is it pertinent to you?

Gluten-Related Disorders

Gluten is the main structural protein found in wheat and other cereal grains such as rye and barley[1]. It can cause serious health related complications for some when consumed in the diet. Oats have also been debated to be in this category of potentially harmful foods although there is still much controversy surrounding this in the scientific community[2]. I'll have more information on this later on.

Currently there are three known types of gluten-related disorders—wheat allergy, celiac disease, and gluten sensitivity[3]. They are all distinctly different yet share some of the same characteristics of one another. None of them are as highly prevalent in the general population as the manufacturers of gluten-free food products would like you to believe. As a result, many people are likely adhering to a gluten-free diet without any specific medical or scientific reason to do so. While gluten may be toxic for some it can be part of a healthy diet for a majority of the population.

Here's a closer look at the three different gluten-related disorders[3]:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Plant-Based Pharmacist's Favorite Recipe Sites

For approximately three years I've been writing on the science and health benefits of plant-based diets. This kind of information is very important for understanding why you should follow a plant-based diet. However, many people (especially newcomers to the plant-based world) are left wondering how to "do" a plant-based diet. They need ideas for meals and recipes to make it happen. To help with this, I've compiled my list (in no particular order) of favorite whole foods, plant-based recipe sites for you to check out. I hope you find them useful. Go ahead, indulge a little!

Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipe Sites

1) Straight Up Food - Cathy Fisher is a certified nutritionist who works closely with Dr. John McDougall providing cooking classes at the McDougall Program. She also currently teaches cooking classes at the True North Health clinic in Santa Rosa, CA. Her recipes avoid all animal products as well as oil, salt, and refined flours and sugars.

2) Happy Herbivore - Lindsay Nixon is the author of 3 books including The Happy Herbivore Cookbook. Her site includes fabulous whole food recipes with no added fats (including oil), refined flours, or sugars. She has a number of easy to make plant-based recipes to choose from.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Food Fight! - Overcoming The Social Stigma Of Going Veg

Being different isn't always easy and so goes the life of those who choose to be vegetarian or vegan. The choice of what one eats is very personal. Every single time one of us puts something in our mouth there's something deeply moving about this experience wether we realize it or not. Don't think this is the case? Try imagining going without your favorite foods for a month. Now imagine never being able to eat these foods for the rest of your life. Things just got a little more personal didn't they?

We've all grown up eating certain foods and developing certain tastes which have secretly molded our decision making process come each meal time. In America this may mean lunch served from a drive through window, a night out to your favorite seafood restaurant, or a plate full of meat and potatoes grilled to perfection during a backyard barbecue (this is how I grew up). So it's no wonder that if you decide to give this all up and adopt a diet consisting only of healthy, wholesome, plant-based foods things can quickly become a problem, especially in the social aspect of life.

Family, friends, and strangers alike will probably think you've gone off the deep end by making such drastic changes in your food selections. This happened to me and still happens from time to time even though I took the plunge over 3 years ago to this lifestyle. I'm here to tell you that you're not alone in your feelings of isolation and rejection if this is what's happened or is happening to you in your life. Nor are you destined to live a life of a veggie hermit because the rest of the world sees things differently than you. We all view and experience life differently. After all, it's what makes life so beautiful by providing us with uniquely different perspectives from our woven traditional ways. We can learn from these unique perspectives just as others can learn from us even when our differences are so personal and steadfast (like what we eat). Getting past these "Food Fights" is crucial in fostering loving, nurturing relationships for the rest of your life. My goal in this article is to share with you ways to make this easier so that you can enjoy all the benefits that come with your new food selections without sacrificing the social and loving aspects of your current and future relationships with the people you love most in life.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Healthy Eating While Abroad

by guest blogger Rob Toledo

So you’re completely prepared for your trip. Your bags are packed, passport ready, currency exchange complete… But you also happen to be someone who focuses on healthy eating. This can pose a bit of a problem while abroad, but here are some helpful tips before you hit the road.
Eating healthily while traveling abroad can present the same kind of challenges as eating at a restaurant at home. It’s just hard to know for sure how good a dish is for you when you don’t know how it was prepared. But there’s one big difference: in a foreign country, you might not have the language skills or knowledge of ingredients to be able to ask the questions you need to know, like, “Is this fried?” or, “Are these rice and beans made with meat products?”
Still, eating healthily abroad isn’t entirely out of the question, just as long as you get a little strategic.

Go vegetarian or vegan

Yes, this is probably the most difficult way to eat while traveling, especially since so many cultures view meat as a rare delicacy and a gift for visitors. But it’s very difficult to know where meat came from and how it was prepared. Better to stick to vegetables and whole grains whenever you can and avoid the risk of illness.

Know the most important lingo

Just like at home, the best way to determine whether or not a meal is healthy is to ask a lot of questions. What kind of vegetables does the dish have? Does it use brown or white rice? Look up key terms ahead of time, especially if you’re going to be eating vegetarian in a culture that’s heavily meat-based. In general, it’s best to stick to appetizers, which on a whole tend to be healthier and of smaller portions than main meals.

Get social

In some cultures, “vegetarian” can mean “there’s one carrot on the plate” or “we picked out the meat.” Even “salad” in Britain can mean something different than it does here; most often, a lowly shred of iceberg lettuce.Try reaching out to English-speaking locals on social media sites like Twitter ahead of time to run your phrasing past them. You can also enlist your tour guide or someone who works at your hostel or hotel to write out a more complete message to hand to the waiter.

Prepare your own food

Before you leave, look up staple crops in your destination country and research a few good recipes. This won’t prevent you from experiencing the culture if you seek out local recipes filled with vegetables and whole grains. In fact, browsing through farmer’s markets can give you a truly unique cultural experience. Fruit and vegetables are often available very cheaply and are a great way to keep your fiber intake high. However, if you’re going to be visiting a country with different sanitary habits than our own, go for thicker skinned veggies and fruit to avoid catching any local bugs.

Pack your own supplies

Before you leave home, go shopping for dried fruit, trail mix and energy bars made without hydrogenated oils. While none of these options are ideal as a long term strategy, they make a good tide over option when you’re in a bind. It’s also good to pack your favorite spices as an easy way to take that bland dish filled with random ingredients up to the next level.

Travel to healthy eating hubs

If you’re really set on healthy eating while abroad, travel to places known for their healthy cuisine. India and much of Southeast Asia can be a great option for vegetarians just as long as you stay away from heavy creams. And Greece is heaven for people who love their vegetables.

No matter where you go, healthy eating is possible, though do forgive yourself if you slip up once in awhile. After all, there’s no harm in embracing that local delicacy once in awhile, just as long as you stay healthy the rest of the time. When authentic local cuisine combines with healthy eating, there’s nothing quite like it.

Rob Toledo loves world travel. His ultimate goal is to have visited 100 countries in his lifetime. He recommends doing lots of research about a country before visiting, using a currency converter to avoid scams, and making sure to always have something a little healthier packed away in your bag to ensure the best healthy eating while abroad.

photo credit: Spieke (Wikimedia)

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by Dustin Rudolph, PharmD
Clinical Pharmacist

Check out Dustin Rudolph's book The Empty Medicine Cabinet to start your journey towards better health. This step-by-step guide leads you through many of today's common chronic diseases (heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and more), giving you the facts on foods versus medications in treating these medical conditions. The book also contains an easy-to-follow guide on how to adopt a whole foods, plant-based diet as a part of an overall lifestyle change, producing the best possible health outcomes for you and your family. Hurry and get your copy today!

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Share and rate this post below or tell us what you think by posting a comment. Thank you again for stopping by and until next time... be happy, be healthy, and live the life you've always dreamed of!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Calcium In Broccoli — Really?

by guest blogger Jody Perrecone

We have all heard the slogan – “Milk – it does the body good.”  But does it? A 12 year Harvard Study showed women who drank 3 glasses of milk a day had more bone fractures than those who drank very little milk. The National Dairy Council website,, states “the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recognizes that moderate evidence shows that milk and milk products are linked to improved bone health.”  Moderate evidence?  A government report published in the journal, Pediatricsconcluded dairy products were “not necessarily the best way” to provide needed calcium. Because the body becomes more acidic when dairy products are consumed, it pulls calcium from the bones to neutralize the acid. Also hormones given to cows are found in its milk.
So what are good sources of calcium?  Surprisingly  broccoli, collard greens, kale, bok choy, Brussel sprouts, beans, legumes, figs, nuts, seeds, and fortified orange juice are better absorbed by the body than milk and other dairy products.  They also have a bonus of providing fiber and a variety of vitamins and minerals including vitamin K, folate, iron, and antioxidants.  Bone health can also be improved by not smoking, consuming less sodium, getting 15 minutes of sunlight a day, and exercise.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Balancing The Vegan And Athlete In You

by guest blogger Holly VicHammond

Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to commit to a vegan lifestyle and also be an athlete. Most of the sports world subscribes to eating a substantial amount of protein as part of a training diet. Protein ensures peak physical condition, muscular repair after workouts and success in a given fitness-related endeavor. Though vegan meals might take a little more planning, it is possible to be a successful athlete who does not consume any animal products. Plant-based eaters simply have to rely on a bit more strategy. 
Whether an athlete chooses to be a vegan for personal, ethical or religious reasons, they will need to pay special attention to ensure they’re consuming the proper nutrients to fuel their workouts. Many successful athletes and famed fitness trainers, such as distance runner Scott Jurek, television fitness trainer Bob Harper, bodybuilder Mike Mahler and football player Ricky Williams, choose to live a vegan lifestyle. Clearly it is possible for athletes to eat vegan, thrive and achieve great success in their chosen sport.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Overdosed On Sugar - A Nation's Health In Decline

If you're like me then you've probably lived your whole live longing for that sugar fix on a daily basis whether you consciously seek it out or just find yourself munching on sugar laden junk food for no reason. That's because sugar is addictive just like any other drug. In fact, experiencing a "hit" from sugar, whether it be via a candy bar or your favorite sugary drink, has the same effect on the human brain as cocaine and other drugs of abuse do [1]. Both cause a surge in the brain chemical known as dopamine. Dopamine is responsible for producing pleasure sensations deep within the brain.

Consuming sugar is not necessarily a bad thing when done so by seeking out natural foods such as fruit, baby carrots, or other products made by Mother Nature. The problem we face today is that sugar is literally added to everything we eat including bread, ketchup, sweetened beverages, and even baked beans. Yes, that's right - baked beans! Refined and added sugars have become a major problem over the last few decades in the western diet, and it's only adding to the ongoing healthcare crisis we're seeing today.

Monday, May 21, 2012

5 Ways To Improve Your Posture

by guest blogger John Moore

Having great posture is one of the best things you can do to look and feel young. Furthermore, not much else can do such a good job in maintaining strong, healthy bones. Good posture should begin at a very young age, because that is when most habits and skills can be engrained in your psyche the best. Some of the reasons people today have such poor posture is because no one instructed them as kids, and now old habits are so hard to break. So, change those habits now!

1. Stretching

It is important to keep your body moving throughout the day. If you work at a sedentary job and are sitting a lot, take time every 30 minutes or so and stretch. Take a short walk down the hallway, or just stand and stretch all your extremities. This will keep the body and bones limber AND keep you from wanting to slouch, since you won’t be as tired.

2. Support

If you’re sitting all day long in an office, it’s important that you are using a high-backed chair that is going to have a lot of lumbar support. The best position is with the back all the way back against the chair and your hips as far back as possible. Sometimes, you may find that there is not enough support between your back and the back of the chair, and if that is the case, you should use a towel or pillow to provide some support. Make your work or office space ergonomically fit for you, and no one else. Sitting in a chair or behind a computer for hours on end can cause a lot of back pain, and once it starts, it’s really hard to fix.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Plant-Based Diet For The Disabled

by guest blogger Holly VicHammond

If you’re disabled or are caring for someone with a disability, you must take careful consideration when completing daily tasks. Everything that you do must lean toward increasing the quality of life for you or the person in your life. Transportation for a disabled individual may include driving him or her to the grocery store in a handicap van so that he or she can select appropriate foods. Selecting healthy foods is high on the priority list of caring for a disabled person, and a plant-based diet can be the most beneficial choice for a person with a disability.

Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

A plant-based diet can benefit a disabled person in many ways. Consuming these foods can improve the health of a person with just about any illness or ailment. Plant-based foods contain plenty of antioxidants and phytonutrients. These substances can prevent the development of cancerous cells and may help to retard the growth of existing cells. This diet can also work as a cleanser, clearing the body of disturbances and illness.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

New Study Highlights Effects Of Sleep Deprivation

by guest blogger Erica Moss

30 percent of adults in the U.S. are not getting enough sleep.
That’s according to data from the 2010 National Health Interview Survey, published in the April 27 issue of the Center for Disease Control’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. It’s a pretty sobering statistic, isn’t it?
This percentage constitutes about 40.6 million workers, all of whom are sleeping six or fewer hours each day. Of these workers, 44 percent work night shifts and 28.8 percent work during the day. The most common professions in which a worker is likely to be sleep deprived are law enforcement and fire officials, health care workers, security personnel, retail associates in 24-hour stores, and transportation workers. These are all jobs that often require employees to work nights, sometimes consecutively, and sometimes even after a full shift during the day. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

What You Need To Know About Frozen Shoulder

by guest blogger Veronica Hayes

Frozen shoulder is a condition that can happen to anyone. It happens when the joint capsule of the shoulder becomes very inflamed, which causes the shoulder to become very stiff, with a loss of range of motion. There is no specific cause for frozen shoulder, but the most obvious symptom is pain. Your doctor can perform x-rays and an MRI, but it probably won't show anything. It is mainly diagnosed symptoms.

Before diagnosing you with frozen shoulder, a doctor will first have to rule out other conditions, such as arthritis, degenerative arthritis, and injury to the tendons around the shoulder. Once diagnosed, it can be a lengthy process to heal, and regaining full range of motion can typically take 6-9 months.


- Severe pain in your shoulder
- Stiff shoulder
- Difficulty with daily tasks
- loss of range of motion

Exams and Tests

- X-rays
- Blood work

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Oral Health And Plant-Based Diets

We all know that eating a plant-based diet abundant in fruits and vegetables does wonders for our health. The reduction in the three most talked about diseases in these regards are obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. All of them can be prevented or reversed just by adopting healthy eating habits but there's another great benefit to eating wholesome, healthy foods―superb oral health!

Following a diet of whole, plant-based foods has been shown to reduce bad breath, prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease, and even reduce the risk of oral related cancers. A closer look at each one reveals why this is so.

Beating Back Bad Breath

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is caused mainly by the formation and release of volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) during bacterial breakdown of proteins [1]. Eighty to ninety percent of halitosis cases originate in the mouth due to the abundance of food particles left behind after eating. Bacteria, located within the oral cavity, then have a field day with feasting on these food particles. This is especially the case in individuals suffering from gingivitis and periodontal disease as these bacteria can be found hiding beneath diseased gum lines. However, the main stomping ground for these bacteria is on the back third of the top surface of the tongue. In fact, four times as many bacteria are found there than in any other part of the mouth [2].

The other 10%-20% of bad breath cases originate from sources such as infections, medication, kidney failure, liver failure, and pancreatic disease amongst other things. The putrefaction of food in the lower digestive tract is also a likely culprit in these cases. Sulfur containing gases from certain foods like garlic and onions can be absorbed into the bloodstream and make their way to the lungs where they are then exhaled through the mouth producing a foul odor. This odor can last up to three days after consuming such foods.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Plant-Based Diets for Seniors

"Old age isn't for sissies," one adage attempts to advise humorously. Despite the saying’s levity, it hits a little too close to the truth. The term "elderly" is the last life-stage known and listed in the human life cycle before death. Many aspects of an elderly person's life are designed to prolong it.
Frequent visits to doctors are scheduled for preventative care, a higher-than-average number of prescriptions are ingested to treat the common diseases that accompany old age and even potential problems are anticipated with measures such as a personal medical alert system or the installation of bathroom grab bars.

Special diets are often included in such life-extending efforts. Elderly individuals may forego added salt to help treat high blood pressure or eliminate candy from their diets to help with high blood sugar levels. More and more, physicians and nutrition experts are also advocating plant-based diets for seniors.

Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

A recent study by the Journal of the American Dietetic Association underscores some of the benefits of a plant-based diet. Study participants who followed a vegetarian diet had better overall nutritional profiles than meat eaters, and their diets included more essential vitamins and nutrients than the non-vegetarians' diets. Vegetarians also ate healthier foods and had lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels.