Tuesday, December 31, 2013

5 Prescriptions For Optimal Health (Plus a Bonus Tip)

We’ve become dependent on prescription medications in the U.S. This is a fact. A Mayo Clinic report published in July of 2013 says so. Over a 12-month period, 68.1% of all Americans received a prescription from at least 1 drug group, 51.6% received prescriptions from 2 or more drug groups, and 21.2% received prescriptions from five or more drug groups [1]. To say it another way, we’ve become a nation of pill poppers desperate for answers to our most pressing health concerns. 

Now turn back the clock a bit as I enlighten you with a glimpse into my personal background. At the turn of the 21st century, I found myself sitting in a university classroom trying with all my might not to nod off, as I gazed half asleep at my college professor lecturing intensely in the front of the room. He was describing in great detail how zero- and first-order kinetics of various types of drugs required separate algorithms to calculate their final half-lives and serum concentrations. (Now you understand why I was trying not to nod off!) Had I known back then that my professor’s valiant teaching efforts—well-intentioned as they may be—would largely prove inadequate in my efforts to bring health to others as a pharmacist, I would’ve undoubtedly found a different classroom to sit in. I was, however, naive to the point of understanding the actual shortcomings of the pharmaceutical world as they existed. And so I carried on.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Vitamin D - To Supplement Or Not To Supplement?

Vitamin D has been a hot topic for the better part of two decades now. It's been hailed as a cure-all vitamin used for everything from heart disease to diabetes and everything in between. Previously, I had written about the benefits of vitamin D in my article titled, How To Feel Vitamin "D"errific!

Now, I provide an update on vitamin D, specifically as it pertains to vitamin D deficiencies and who should supplement in such cases. These findings are based on the latest research.

Supplementing To Treat Vitamin D Deficiency

Two large-scale, systemic reviews published earlier this month have provided some keen insight on this topic and may just change the rules when it comes to supplementing with vitamin D.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

35 Ways To Counter The Vegan Protein Interrogation

Protein is plentiful in plant-based foods
If you're thinking of going vegan (or vegetarian) you're probably obsessed with it. If you're vegan you hate it. And if you've conversed with anyone who eats food (of any kind) it seems to be the only thing that matters to them. It's the protein question.

Where Do You Get Your Protein?

The protein topic is the most talked about subject in modern nutrition. Doctors and dietitians warn you about getting enough of it. Friends and family scare you by claiming you'll wither away and die without it [because vegan diets obviously contain none of it! **Sarcasm**]. And the food industry slaps the protein label on the front of almost everything they make so they can sell more of their mostly worthless food products.

So what's all the fuss about? Is protein some sort of miracle nutrient that keeps the human race from going extinct? Will humans just disappear, vanishing into thin air, if supermarkets fail to stock meat and dairy? More importantly, how does one get protein on a plant-based diet? And how much is enough?

These questions and more are answered below in a comprehensive list of articles and resources detailing everything you need to know about protein. They come from the best and the brightest in their respective fields of health, fitness, nutrition, and medicine. So anytime someone asks you, 'Where do you get your protein?' be sure and direct them this way. With any luck, it's bound to put their mind a little more, or maybe even completely, at ease about the subject.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

2013 AHA/ACC Cardiovascular Risk Reduction Guidelines - Drug Companies Win Again

Last week the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) published new updated guidelines in the journal Circulation for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease in individuals [1]. Their goals aim to "prevent cardiovascular (CV) diseases, improve the management of people who have these diseases through professional education and research, and develop guidelines, standards and policies that promote optimal patient care and cardiovascular health".

To accomplish these commendable goals, AHA/ACC targets better management of blood cholesterol levels, overweight and obesity in adults, and provides information on lifestyle modifications [2]. They also provide extensive guidelines on the use of cholesterol-lowering medications, mainly the statins [1].

After reading through the updated guidelines it is clear to me that the state of cardiovascular health, as it stands currently in the United States today, will remain dismal at best. The chance of heart disease and strokes being displaced as the number one and number four leading causes of death in the U.S. [3] are slim to none. Here's why...

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Eliminating Trans Fats - Another Government Mandate?

by guest blogger Jody Perrecone

Last week the FDA took initial steps that will eliminate trans fats from all foods.  Food scientists and others can respond to this mandate to the FDA over the next 60 days.  This will help the FDA determine when to phase out all trans fats since manufacturers may need to reformulate some of their products. After that, food manufacturers will need to petition the FDA to allow trans fats in a particular product. 

By forcing hydrogen atoms into vegetable oil and changing its molecular structure, trans fats are created. This saturates the oils and makes them solid. Trans fats improve the texture and extend the shelf life of manufactured food products. (Have you ever seen a moldy Twinkie?) Among the foods trans fats are commonly found in are frozen pizzas, frostings, popcorn, snack foods, crackers, pizza and cookie dough, stick margarine, cake mixes, fried foods, muffins, pies, cookies, and other baked goods. Most experts consider trans fats as the most damaging fat to our health. Clinical trials have shown trans fats to increase the risk of a heart attack and premature cardiovascular death. Our body metabolizes trans fats differently than other fats and is linked to liver dysfunction.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Food Over Medicine - Book Review

I recently had the pleasure of reading the book Food Over Medicine: The Conversation That Could Save Your Life. Authors Dr. Pamela Popper, PhD, ND and Glen Merzer take on the subjects of health, nutrition, and the practice of modern medicine as we know it today. They do an excellent job in doing so and in a very unusual fashion might I add.

Food Over Medicine is literally a conversation between Glen and Pam on some of the most pressing health issues that face our current system today. Both authors maintain a high degree of credibility and professionalism that you would expect when covering these serious topics, yet their style is fun, casual, and entertaining to say the least.

About The Authors

Dr. Pamela Popper, PhD, ND is the Executive Director of The Wellness Forum located in Colombus, OH. She is a naturopathic doctor who uses lifestyle medicine, and more specifically plant-based nutrition, to prevent and reverse many of the chronic diseases ailing her patients. She has appeared in the blockbuster documentary Forks Over Knives and is an internationally recognized speaker and expert in the field of nutrition, medicine, and health.

Glen Merzer is coauthor of Mad Cowboy with Howard Lyman, as well as No More Bull! with Howard Lyman and Joanna Samorow-Merzer. Glen is a playwright and screenwriter residing in California. He has been a vegetarian for forty years and vegan for almost twenty.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Chickpea Vegetable Medley with Brown Rice

Recently, I did a book review on author Rebecca Joy's new book Inner Course. Her amazing journey of healing and recovery unfolds as she shares her story of being raised from birth into a religious sex cult, then finally leaving after 25 years. Not only is Rebecca's story an incredible dose of inspiration to all those who read it, but so is her secret talent of cooking.

This week I feature her delicious, mouthwatering recipe incorporating fresh vegetables, whole grains, and a few tomato products that whips up into an easy-to-make vegetable medley the whole family will love! This is comfort food at its finest without having to sacrifice your health or your waistline.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Business of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (And How To Prevent Breast Cancer In The First Place)

Every year October comes along. Every year during October pink ribbons are more plentiful than ever signifying National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The intentions of many well-meaning non-profit organizations, medical establishments, individual healthcare providers, and even government agencies is to promote the awareness of breast cancer as well as raise funds for research in relation to its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure. These are all very noble intentions. I commend any individual or organization who truly desires to eradicate this horrible disease.

However, many of these efforts are designed to promote the business of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment through the use of expensive medical care instead of focusing on the eradication (and subsequent loss in business opportunities) of this terrible disease. Allow me to explain.

Breast Cancer Overview

Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women and the second most common cancer in the United States (excluding basal and squamous cell cancers of skin) [1].

Estimated number of new cases and deaths due due to breast cancer in 2013 according to the American Cancer Society [2]:
  • New cases: 234,580 (total); 232,340 (women); 2,240 (men)
  • Deaths: 40,030 (total); 39,620 (women); 410 (men)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Healing and Recovery After Cult Life - INNER COURSE - Book Review

Author Rebecca Joy

Born and raised into a cult, Rebecca Joy experienced anything BUT a joyful childhood. Her days were filled with the endless onslaught of degrading demands as cult leaders forced her to carry out the 'work of God', or so they called it. She was told she was one of the lucky ones. She had been "chosen" to be one of the Lord's witnesses to bring people to Christ.

"The Children of God" or "The Family" is nothing more than a religious sex cult, using Christian missionary work as a front to hide the abhorrent lifestyle and conditions leaders subject their members to. Rebecca was of no exception to this. Self-worth and self-love were seen as workings of the devil inside the cult, and nobody (with the exception of cult founder David Berg) was allowed to claim any credit for doing anything good by their deeds. Women were especially demeaned and degraded, brainwashed into thinking that their primary purpose in life was to please the sexual desires of men. You simply did not say no if you were a female.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Kitchen Culinary For The Healthy Life - Gadgets Every Plant-Based Foodie Must Have

At the time I started my transition to a healthier, plant-based lifestyle back in 2009 there were really only two key items I couldn’t live without—a pizza stone and an oversized cereal bowl. Tombstone® pizzas, Cocoa Pebbles, and Marie Callender’s® frozen dinners were pretty much the norm for me. I didn’t need a lot of kitchenware at my disposal because of this, and so I stuck to the basics of bachelorhood. While I still use my pizza stone and cereal bowl today, I’ve found that a few modern-day kitchen appliances make living a plant-based lifestyle much easier. Today I’ll show you how to save time and energy by stocking your kitchen with the essentials to make your transition to this healthier lifestyle much easier. Remember, spend only what you can afford, prioritize your needs as you proceed forward, and keep a wish list for everything else.

Must Have Kitchen Appliances

There are a few kitchen tools/appliances that are on my must have list when it comes to successfully adopting a plant-based diet. Yours may be different and that’s ok. My list includes a blender, a chef’s knife, a quality cutting board, and a nice line of cookware.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Make Our Food Work For Us

by guest blogger Jody Perrecone

Earlier this month, I attended Veggie Fest in Naperville, Illinois.  Not just for vegetarians, this festival drew over 25,000 people, had food demonstrations, dozens of speakers, and over 100 booths.

One of the speakers was Sara Sukumar, PhD, Professor of Oncology and Pathology and Director of the Breast Cancer Program at Johns Hopkins University. She spoke on anti-cancer properties in specific foods.  Here is her list:

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Anatomy Of A Bowel Movement (And How To Cure Constipation)

Many of us take for granted our trip(s) to the porcelain throne each day as we rid ourselves of built up toxins and waste products via nature's evacuation system. Or to put it more candidly, I'm talking about pooping. Everybody does it, but not everybody does it well.

We've all been in this second group of folks, at least at some point in our life, straining and struggling to get those rock hard miniature boulders out of our bottom end to finally provide us some relief. Ultimately, many of us still find ourselves falling short of the call of "duty". This is no fun by any means, so what now? A pill? A powder? An extra gallon of water? A trip to the doctor's office?

I'm going to outline the ins and outs of constipation, as well as what you can do about it, to help you navigate the human plumbing system in hopes of providing you with some much needed relief. After all, everybody deserves to feel good. As an added bonus, you'll get the bragging rights of becoming a super pooper. Now how can you turn down that deal?!

Constipation - Definition and Prevalence

Constipation is officially defined as less than 3 stools per week using the Rome III criteria. The presence of hard stools, straining, and incomplete defecation is present 25% or more of the time. Constipation does tend to be a very subjective disease, however, as lack of agreement between patient and physician can occur when defining what exactly constipation means to each individual. Nonetheless, nobody wants to be constipated regardless of how many or what kind of stools are taking place so no sense in squabbling over diagnosis details.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition by Dr. T. Colin Campbell - Book Review

This summer spawned the publication of Dr. T. Colin Campbell's latest book Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition. This was a follow up to his bestseller The China Study  which took the nutrition world by storm back in 2005 and continues to be a leading seller today. Today I provide a book review on Whole.

Both The China Study and Whole paint a picture (and very intriguing one at that) of the health and nutrition world as it's come to exist today. While The China Study gives more of the intricate details of the individual studies relating to health and nutrition, Whole focuses on the bigger picture of how it all fits together within our current "system". Dr. Campbell lays out how a reductionist approach to nutrition, health, and medicine functions within our current system, and, more importantly, why the system operates the way it does.

Whole is comprised of three main parts followed by Dr. Campbell's engaging thoughts in Part IV on how we should move forward if we wish to turn around the current disease-care system we've come to know today.

Whole - Part I - Enslaved by The System

Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D.
Part I of Whole plants a seed in readers to think differently. It reveals a wholistic approach towards our healthcare system as we move forward. The present-day strategies of using pills, procedures, and/or surgeries to combat the epidemic of chronic disease is, for all intensive purposes, not working. Instead, Dr. Campbell enlightens us on the benefits of a whole foods, plant-based (WFPB) diet in our quest to end the epidemic of sickness and suffering.

Part I goes on to detail Dr. Campbell's background of how he grew up on a dairy farm and then made his subsequent entrance into the scientific world as a leading nutritional biochemist looking to rid the world of hunger and malnourishment. The details of his upbringing provide a very telling story with a surprising twist of fate.

Chapter 1 - The Modern-Day Health-Care Myth
Chapter 2 - The Whole Truth
Chapter 3 - My Heretical Path

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Maximize Those Nutrients!

by guest blogger Jody Perrecone

The American Cancer Institute for Cancer Research conducted an analysis of over 7,000 scientific studies on food, nutrition, and physical activity as it relates to cancer.  Amazingly what they found was diet and nutrition are responsible for up to 40% of all cancers.

Fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals that fight cancer cells.  Here are some methods of cooking that will retain the highest amount of these cancer fighting compounds.

1)  Tomatoes have a cancer fighting antioxidant called lycopene.  Cooking tomatoes will increase our body’s absorption of lycopene.

2) Chopping garlic and onions releases the compound allicin, which boosts our immune system - important in fighting cancer. Let chopped onions and garlic sit 5-10 minutes before using to maximize the effects of the allicin.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Fish Oil Reviews - The Evidence Behind Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements

Like many individuals, my day starts with an eagerly awaited trip to the kitchen after a quick hop in the shower. By this time, the alarm clock haze has finally worn off long enough to realize the neurotic taste buds in my mouth are going crazy. They need their morning bowl of cinnamon oatmeal with mixed berries or else!

In the past, I'd always follow breakfast with a handful of vitamins and some fish oil supplements before heading out the door. I was off to fill prescriptions and make the world a healthier place! As a pharmacist, I dispense pills and educate others on all the benefits they have to offer, including a few over-the-counter supplements. Fish oil is one of these supplements. In school I learned that pills equal health. Pharmacists dispense pills. Therefore, pharmacists dispense health.

Since I am the expert on pills, I deem it my responsibility to keep up with the scientific literature behind all of these pills as best I can. After all, medicine is a constantly changing environment and if you snooze you lose (and so do your patients). Today I present you with the evidence behind fish oil supplements, known widely for benefiting cardiovascular health and many other chronic diseases, or so they say.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Oyster Mushrooms Help Fight Disease

by guest blogger Jody Perrecone

Oyster mushrooms are a mild tasting mushroom that grows on the trunks of trees.  This, along with many other mushroom varieties, have many healthy antioxidants that may help to reduce the risk of cancer, improve blood cholesterol, and boost the immune system [1].

Oyster mushrooms contain complex carbohydrates called polysaccharides that stimulate the immune system to fight cancer. They can up-regulate (turn on) the genes which stop tumors from growing and support tumor regression [2].

Eating oyster mushrooms can lower cholesterol, reduce triglycerides, and have antioxidant properties that fight oxidized LDL. Unique to the oyster mushroom is the lowering cholesterol molecule lovastatin [3], which inhibits the production of cholesterol.  In a study published in the “Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology” in 2003, rats with high and normal cholesterol were fed oyster mushrooms.  Total cholesterol was reduced 28%, LDL (bad cholesterol) by 55%, triglycerides by 34% and HDL (good cholesterol) increased 21%.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What's The Best Plant-Based Diet?

Your health depends heavily on your lifestyle and, more importantly, the foods you choose to include in your lifestyle. Over the past few years there has been a popular and growing movement to transition towards a plant-based diet in order to achieve better health and trimmer waistlines. The science and evidence is certainly there to support this move towards a plant-centered diet, not only in terms of health, but also in terms of benefiting the environment and the welfare of all living beings on the planet.

Along with these many benefits comes many choices. There's at least a dozen or more different plant-based diets to follow so which one is the best? Which provides the greatest benefit to you?

We'll get to these questions soon, but first let's take a look at just a few of the popular plant-based diets out there to give you a sense of what's available.

Popular Plant-Based Diets

1) The Fab Five - The Plant-Based Pharmacist

I've laid out some simple guidelines to adopting a whole foods, plant-based diet and which foods to incorporate as part of this eating style at my website. This includes five basic food groups I like to call my Fab Five:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Legumes
  • Whole Grains
  • Nuts/Seeds

I focus on keeping things simple and including all of your calories from these five food groups. The amounts of each food group and tips on how to adopt this health-promoting diet can all be found here.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Searching For Quality In Healthcare - Studying A Study And Beyond

Health information is everywhere these days!

Have a weird pain in your side? Google it. Want to know what to expect from a new medication? Google it. Curious as to the best treatment for whooping cough? Google it.

As we've made our way into the 21st century our definition of 'seeking advice from your doctor' has went from getting it while sitting in the exam room to obtaining it via the internet. People are searching for answers, and they're finding them too. But what's to believe and not to believe? How is one to find quality health information via the internet?

Whether you're a healthcare professional or a lay person, I hope to offer you some reliable, quality health resources I've found useful in my quest for trusted health information. My goal as a medical professional is, and always has been, to seek out the most effective, safest, and least costly approaches in treating the healthcare needs of others. With that being said, I have always been, and will always be, adamant about using evidence-based scientific and medical literature free of commercial bias, if at all humanly possible to achieve this.

Many of the resources below are focused primarily on conventional medicine. While I often advocate for the use of lifestyle medicine (diet and exercise) over conventional medicine—due to its superior efficacy and safety profile when treating most chronic diseases—I also believe it's important to highlight the benefits and/or risks of conventional treatments so both patients and providers can make informed decisions regarding their health and how to achieve their goals in regards to this. In addition, the resources below will offer medical professionals some very valuable tools to help them in their everyday clinical practices.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Rheumatoid Arthritis - What Is It & How To Treat It

Arthritis is a growing and leading public health concern in many developed countries. In the United States, it's the number one cause of disability, and its prevalence is rising due to the increase in obesity and age amongst the population [1]. In fact, data from the CDC found that 22.2% (49.9 million) adults age  18 had self-reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis. 42.4% of these arthritis sufferers reported limitations in their daily activity level because of the disease.

Arthritis is also an expensive disease, costing a total of $128 billion annually in the United States [1]. Clearly, this chronic condition warrants serious attention in our efforts to prevent, limit, or even reverse the debilitating effects it has on individuals.

Rheumatoid Arthritis - What Is It?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one of the most common forms of arthritis (osteoarthritis being the other) and is characterized by an autoimmune reaction affecting an individual's joints [2]. This process results in tenderness, pain, swelling, and stiffness in the affected joint(s). Over time, chronic inflammation from RA can lead to destruction of tissue and bone in and around the joint resulting in permanent deformities. A continual reduction in one's quality of life is typically seen as the disease progresses. Some patients with advanced disease even struggle to tie their own shoes or button their own shirt due to the severe pain it causes. Many individuals end up having to quit work and go on disability for the rest of their life. RA literally devastates those it affects.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Food Co-ops - The Smart Buyer's Destination For Locally Grown [Organic] Produce

"But it's too expensive to eat healthy!" If I had a dime for every time I heard this excuse I'd be one of the youngest retirees on the face of the planet. Eating healthy has become synonymous with eating expensively, but it doesn't have to be. It is what you make of it.

You can spend a fortune shopping at the trendiest and fanciest health food store down the block filling your cart full of high end organic produce, or you could accomplish the same by seeking out less conventional routes for grocery shopping. This is where food co-ops come into play.

What Is A Food Co-op?

A food cooperative (or food co-op) is simply a food distribution outlet organized by a group of volunteers working together to meet their common economic and social needs. In other words, it is a member owned "grocery store". This doesn't mean there has to be an actual grocery store to shop at. Many food co-ops simply have pickup sites where once a week members will come pick up their "share" of the crop for that week.

Food co-ops almost always focus on buying from local farms if at all possible. Many will also concentrate on buying organic goods or at least have organic goods available for their members should they choose this option.

Overall, buying the bulk of your fresh produce from a food co-op can save you a lot of money. It's not unheard of to save 50% or more off of regular retail prices at the local supermarket for the same items. Plus, the fruits and vegetables are typically fresher since they've been picked a day or two prior (if not the same day) to you picking them up. You get fresh produce at a fantastic price that's even organic in many cases.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Incredible, Edible Egg or Not?

Eggs have long been part of the traditional American diet especially when it comes to a hearty breakfast. Gym junkies also swear by eggs, highlighting the egg whites as a perfect low-fat, low-calorie source of protein. Others say eggs are an essential food for good health citing the fact they are an excellent source of vitamin A, B-complex vitamins (specifically choline), and two carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin) which are important for healthy vision. Along with these health claims proponents also often say you should limit egg consumption. The Mayo Clinic states to consume no more than 4 eggs per week to avoid increasing cholesterol levels.

So are eggs really the perfect food? Are there any downsides to eating eggs? Should you eat eggs or not eat eggs? What does the science say about eating eggs?

Eggs - The Evidence vs. What They "Say"

Egg advocates often highlight a few vitamins and antioxidants contained in the egg to help boost the case of them being a health food.  The cholesterol and fat content is usually downplayed as a source of concern when it comes to egg's overall effect on health by these same proponents. I believe it's important to look at the actual evidence when contemplating whether or not to eat eggs before making your decision. Relying on hearsay is of little benefit when it comes to your individual health.

Below is a look at the evidence (not funded by the egg industry) on egg consumption and health:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

3 Proven Employer Sponsored Health and Wellness Programs

Healthcare costs are second only to energy costs when it comes the financial worries of Chief Financial Officers (CFO's) throughout corporate America today. A recent survey of 275 CFO's ranked healthcare expenditures a major concern (8 or above on a scale of 10) when it came to the financial viability of their company.

These concerns have rightfully earned their place at the top of the competing business world because an enormous amount of money is at stake here. Providing healthcare coverage to employees is big business and it doesn't take long for these costs to add up. Take the costs of insurance premiums for example. The average annual premium in 2012 for single coverage was $5,615 and for family coverage this rose to $15,745 [1]. While employees are taking on more of the burden with these costs, the fact remains that employers are still paying for the majority of it. On average, employers pay for roughly 77% of healthcare insurance premiums, while employees pay the remaining 23%.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Essentials On Fats In The Diet

"But I need fat in my diet."

I've heard this line one too many times when talking to others about switching to a healthier, low-fat diet. Somehow, someway we Americans have come to the conclusion if we don't have large amounts of fat in our diet then we'll wither away like the famished populations of Sub-Saharan Africa. The reality of the situation is far from this preconceived notion.

Fat is an essential part of the human diet. This fact is true. However, we consume far too much of it in Western cultures. We also consume the wrong kinds of fats. This article and the accompanying videos at the end will serve to eliminate any confusion on how much and what kind of fats are actually needed for the human body to function properly.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Talking Whole Foods With Holly - Founder of My Plant-Based Family

The plant-based community is an ever growing community of many fascinating and wonderful people. Many of these people are looking to improve their health by going plant-based. Holly was one of these people, and she has a great story to tell!

Not only did Holly take the leap of faith and adopt a whole foods, plant-based diet, but she managed to get her whole family to embrace this lifestyle. And their results speak for themselves. This was certainly no easy task by any means as they had several kids running around the house keeping them busy!

So how'd she do it? What's her secret? Find out the answers to these questions and more in this exclusive interview with her as she reveals the life of her Plant-Based Family...

Jim and Holly
Holly and Jim's two young boys

Dustin:  Holly, I ran across your site (My Plant-Based Family) the other day and have to admit I think it's great! What's it all about and what inspired you to create it?

Holly:  When we initially decided to transition to a plant-based diet I had a difficult time finding resources. I would find websites or blogs that were vegan but used oil, white sugar, and white flour. Other sites or blogs relied heavily on processed products like vegan margarine and faux meat products. Most of the recipes I found were also not suited to families with small children.

I decided there needed to be a resource for families who want to eat whole food, plant-based foods that were affordable, easy, and delicious. I focus on helping people make the transition from omnivore to plant-eater, extending grace when it’s needed and equipping people to actually do it.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The False Hope Of Prescription Medications - A Pharmacist Tells All

For every ailment in today's world there is a pill. A solution in the form of a capsule or tablet or liquid with a concoction of chemicals inside designed to "cure" our misfortunes. Big Pharma has made their mark. As a pharmacist who's been in the medical field for over 10 years, I actually find this quite concerning given the pharmaceutical companys' primary motives for financial growth with little to no regard for patient safety and outcomes. The television commercials say it all. Drug companies are here to market, profit, and prosper off of sick people. You're of no value to them if you're in good health. This might be all well and good if the end goal was truly a nation, or a world, full of vibrant, healthy people who occasionally needed the help of Big Pharma to get back on their feet. But it's not. We live in an era where pill popping is the norm and weight issues and chronic diseases reign supreme. A quick look at the numbers confirms what we already know.

In 2011, a total of 4.02 billion prescriptions were dispensed at a grand total of $319.9 billion [1,2]. In case you were wondering, this amounts to approximately 12.9 prescriptions for every man, women, and child living in the U.S. at a cost of roughly $1,026.68 per year per person. Most of this isn't hitting our pocket books, not directly anyway. Insurance companies pay for the majority of the costs. In 2011, the average copay for 75% of all prescriptions dispensed in the U.S. was $10 or less thanks to the increasing availability of generic medications and prescription drug coverage [1]. I could write an entire book on the statistics behind the legalized drug world, but I'll stop for now. If you care to look into the subject any further you can read the IMS Institute for Health Informatics report here.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Milk - It Does A Body Bad, Really Bad!

Recently the 2013 Super Bowl featured a Got Milk? commercial with celebrity Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson promoting milk for it's protein content. This 30 second commercial was sponsored by MilkPEP (Milk Processor Education Program). MilkPEP is conglomerate of several dairy industry processors with one goal in mind - to promote the sales of more milk and dairy.  At an average cost of $3.7-$3.8 million for a 30 second Super Bowl commercial these dairy companies spent a fortune branding their product as something that's good for you. Unfortunately, millions of consumers will believe this marketing ploy.

However, a quick look at the medical and scientific literature on milk products (and dairy in general) uncovers some dark secrets about these over glamorized and falsely advertised products. Here's 5 big reasons you may want to put the milk carton down for good.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Fit Quickies - Quick & Easy Workouts In Just 5 Minutes Or Less

If you're like most people then you're short on time and long on "to do" lists. Work, kids, projects, chores, grocery shopping, errands, cleaning, laundry, and gym time. There never seems to be enough time to fit in everything you need in one day. Trips to the gym... eh, maybe tomorrow. Been there, done that.

But what if you could fit working out in between loads of laundry or trips to the store? What if you could squeeze in a great workout over 5 or 10 minutes of your lunch break? Sound to good to be true? Well, it isn't. The Plant-Based Fitness Expert has come to the rescue! Lani Muelrath, better known as The Plant-Based Fitness Expert, has designed a series of 14 super easy, incredibly convenient workout routines you could do anywhere, anytime!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Main Street Vegan Radio - The Plant-Based Pharmacist w/host Victoria Moran - "2013 - A Healthy Start To A New Year"

I had the wonderful opportunity a couple weeks ago to kick of the New Year with radio host Victoria Moran on her radio show Main Street Vegan! Victoria Moran is the bestselling author of 11 books and hosts a weekly radio show on Unity.FM geared towards improving the health and lives of others and the planet by promoting a vegan lifestyle. She has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and was voted Vegan Of The Year in 2012! To learn more about Victoria's work check out her book Main Street Vegan: Everything You Need to Know to Eat Healthfully and Live Compassionately in The Real World.

In this segment, Victoria and I talk about a number of interesting health-related topics including:
  • My childhood years and dream of pursuing a pharmacy career
  • How America got itself stuck in the current healthcare crisis
  • Big Pharma's role and influence in the healthcare system
  • The best available treatment options (both conventional and alternative) used in treating some of the most common chronic diseases
  • Which vitamins and supplements are truly necessary
  • How to make a healthy lifestyle a permanent fixture in one's life

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cell Membranes - The Gatekeepers

by guest blogger Jody Perrecone

Our body is made up of 50-75 trillion cells. When we eat, our amazing body will take the atoms and molecules that comprise the food and reformulate it into what it needs for growth, energy, protection, and repairs. Each of our trillions of cells is encased in a cell membrane that performs many functions.  The membrane keeps components within the cell as well as releases components from the cell. The membrane keeps the shape of the cell and hosts cell hormone receptors and components that regulate our body. The cell membrane includes cholesterol, fats, and protein.  The amount of these components varies depending on the location and function of each cell. What we eat plays a big part in the composition of the membranes.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Common Cold Remedies - Fact vs. Fiction

It's the middle of winter and you know what that means. Cough and cold season is in full swing for many families and households. There's nothing worse than coming down with a wicked case of the common cold. It can sideline you for a week or more, which is the last thing anyone has time for.

The common cold is most typically caused by the rhinovirus[1]. Symptoms start showing up within 24-48 hours of contracting the virus and include the following:
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Low-grade fever
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Cough
These symptoms last about 7 days for most and can make for a miserable week. It can also have a miserable effect on our nation's pocketbook. In fact, the common cold leads to $25 billion in lost productivity in our society due to absenteeism, reduction in on-the-job productivity, and caregiver absenteeism[2]. With so much at stake many people will do anything to feel better. Many of these efforts involve turning to age old remedies that our parents and grandparents handed down to us. But do these remedies work or do they just make our misery seem less, well, miserable?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Women - Know The Symptoms

by guest blogger Jody Perrecone

Heart attacks are the #1 killer of both men and women.  According to the American Heart Association, one of every six deaths in the United States is a result of a heart attack.  

The symptoms of women having a heart attack can be different than the symptoms men experience.  The classic tightening in the chest, shortness of breath, and a feeling of discomfort in arms, back, jaw or stomach can be what men typically experience when having a heart attack.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Dr. Don And The Plant-Based Pharmacist - Prescription Drug Abuse

Recently I had the honor of being a repeat guest on the Dr. Don Show—a show where Dr. Don Wagner bridges the gap between conventional and lifestyle medicine. The topic of discussion was the growing problem of prescription drug abuse. Dr. Don and I spoke about narcotic abuse, the difference between types of various opioids, and enlightened listeners with some shocking statistics on this subject. Listen to the archived show below or read my article on prescription drug abuse below that.

photo credit: Freedigitalphotos.net

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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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