• YOU can become your own primary health care provider!

    Natural medicine is a vast improvement over contemporary care, but natural health is even better. My intent is to provide the tools and information you need in order to duplicate my successful experiences, and to offer you the comfort and peace of mind that has been such a blessing and security to my family.
  • Whatever form of natural health supplement you choose, be sure to educate yourself on all aspects of your health care. Let your diet and your attitude be the foundation for a life of wellness, not disease. When you don’t feel well, look for the root causes rather than seeking to simply substitute an herb or remedy for your medication. If you are taking medication for a serious condition, consult with someone well trained in herbs and alternatives before making a substitution and stopping your prescription. Your body will need time to reestablish it’s awareness that it is required to function!
  • DISCLAIMER:

    The information on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or prescribe.

Born Again!!

Just heard a news story announcing that Britain has released a new study showing that for women with normal pregnancies home birth is significantly safer than hospital birth. Great ‘news’, but not new at all! The majority of babies in Britain have been born at home-on purpose-for decades. Babies and moms are immune to the germs in their own home, blood pressure and other stress factors are dramatically higher in hospital settings, and there is less pressure on mothers and physicians to prematurely use drugs or other interventions. The same information was available in the 1980’s, when I was having babies at home. This time, however, a Harvard professor of medicine agreed after reviewing the study, and comparing American statistics that show our birth outcomes consistently getting worse for mothers and babies. An opponent blamed things like poor access to pre-natal care and good nutrition in America-REALLY??? By comparison, Haiti and most third world countries deliver a higher percentage of healthy babies with safer outcomes for moms as well. Why? The Harvard professor said that moms in America essentially give birth in an Intensive Care Unit, surrounded by surgeons, all looking to intervene in what is a natural process rather than a disease. In other health-care systems interventionists are simply standing by in case there is an actual need for their services.

It was great to watch one daughter-in-law make her unexpected decision to have her baby at home. When she found out she was pregnant, her first words to my son included “but don’t talk to me about home birth and that kind of crazy stuff. I want to be in a hospital where I know I will feel safe.” A couple of months later my son was hospitalized after a reaction to one of the shots required by his job (a military specialty field), and she spent the night in the hospital with him. Sitting there, watching his care, she started asking herself if she really wanted a brand new baby to be in that ‘sick’ kind of environment, and decided to investigate birthing centers. A few weeks later she had a pre-natal appointment with a physician at the center, who had initially told her that all of the decisions about labor and delivery would be up to the parents (they live in Washington State, one of the most liberal medical and social approaches in the country). At this appointment she started getting pressure to do many of the things she had been told were ‘up to her’-like a fasting blood sugar test even though her numbers were perfectly normal and there were no other symptomatic indications of any imbalance. She decided to talk to a home-birth midwife (which Washington actually supports!) and felt her peace for the first time. She delivered a beautiful, 8 pound baby girl with no complications after a very long, hard labor which would undoubtedly have been a Caesarian delivery in a hospital setting.

Look at “Matthew’s Story” on my website for my experience in a hospital with the birth of my 9 week premature son, who left the hospital in a week and a half. One of the most bizarre medical comments I have ever heard was the doctor saying “well that’s the beauty of having them in here; we get to see how they respond when we try something new” in response to my tiny son’s extreme reaction to ‘routine’ caffeine infusions.

With all of our talk about women’s reproductive rights in this country, it is time for us to take ownership of birth. We have the power to deliver healthy babies-we just have to believe it is so!

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D-light-full D-ception??

I had two clients in a row last week that told me their mandatory work-physical bloodwork showed them to have low levels of vitamin D. That would not have been a surprise except that these two individuals spend lots of time out in the sun (one owns a small farm; the other lives in Puerto Rico and sells outdoor stadium equipment), which is normally what triggers the body to produce D, and which is my preferred solution over taking it as a supplement. What I discovered in conversation about their lifestyles made something register that I had heretofore overlooked.

We have known for decades that fluorescent lighting is antagonistic to Vitamin D. That is why, a number of years ago, most milk producers began using opaque plastic jugs rather than the clear ones they had used previously. Studies showed that the added D was virtually non-existent in the milk after it was placed into stores, which have always used high levels of fluorescent lighting even in the food cases themselves. Each of these clients had indoor lighting that was entirely CFL (compact fluorescent) based. Interesting, isn’t it, that a national epidemic of vitamin D deficiency followed a virtual national ban on incandescent light! I am a huge fan of energy conservation, was recycling 30 years ago when I had to save it and travel to different sites to drop it off, and don’t use paper towels, but I did not replace my old style full spectrum bulbs.

Fluorescent light also hyper-stimulates the medulla, the base part of the brain that controls the autonomic nervous system. I knew a family several years ago who had been told that their sons were hyperactive and had to be put on Ritalin or could not stay in their school. It was close to the end of the year and the boys behaved well at home so the parents indignantly pulled them out and said they would just home-school. They had a great time until the following fall. Over the summer they converted the garage into a classroom, complete with fluorescent lighting. About three weeks into the school year the mother was ready to pull out her hair, and called to discuss the boys’ behavior problems. I asked where they had done school the previous spring-which was on the back porch. They found they were fine anywhere in the house-except under the fluorescent lighting in ‘the classroom’. A couple of hours in and it was all over.

That discussion was enough to finally convince another friend who has tried for years to get me to convert to CFL to go and purchase some different bulbs for his home. Other than old-style full spectrum incandescent bulbs, what seem to test the best for most people are the “daylight” spectrum (not ‘full spectrum’) LED bulbs, especially the dimmable type. I don’t know why that feature would make a difference but it does. Fortunately LED technology is coming down in price, making it possible to reduce energy consumption without detrimental health impacts. If you do have CFL bulbs, remember that they are considered environmental hazards and CAN NOT be discarded in trash cans. They must be taken to a waste disposal site and are supposed to be put in special bags. If they break, pregnant women and children are not supposed to handle them. Hard for me to believe that the environmental trade-off is truly a positive end result, and clearly the health trade-off is not!

Deep-Pressed and ‘Stroked-out’?

Heard about a study this morning that links depression and stroke risk, finding that people who have been depressed have an increased likelihood of stroke even after they are no longer depressed. Recommendation, of course? Identify and medicate depression earlier-even thought the stroke risk remains elevated indefinitely after depression is ‘gone’. REALLY??? What about the possibility that impaired oxygen flow may be a causal factor in depression, and a precursor to stroke? What about a low level of B vitamins and other nutrients that impact the physical brain and mental health? What about a person lacking the basic skills to cope with stress, which may also impact overall function and increase stroke risk? What about a diet based on refined carbohydrates, which raises triglycerides, which have been positively linked to stroke risk, and leads to depression?

The issue here is the acceptance of the doctrine that giving people more pills sooner will prevent every other possible health problem, rather than looking for root issues that can be personally managed and will prevent a plethora of other concerns. Enough exercise has been shown to drastically reduce both depression levels and stroke risk. Enough Vitamin D (see my blog post for more on that fraud) does the same. In Chinese medicine depression is rooted in unexpressed anger, which is associated with the liver, which regulates blood quality, so could be a factor in strokes. Likewise balanced calcium and magnesium levels, adequate trace minerals, breathing exercises and yoga are proven to lower hypertension, depression, and a host of related and other health conditions.

I may get lots of hostility for this comment, but depression is way over-diagnosed, and ridiculously over-treated. As a culture we have accepted the myth that life is supposed to be painless, easy and fun. (“The Prozac Effect” is an excellent book on the subject!) We don’t allow mourning even after great personal loss; you get two weeks off work and are ‘depressed’ if you aren’t ‘moving on with your life’ after six weeks so we need to “give you something to help you get over this”, isolating us from each other instead of having us reach out to each other for and with support. I know so many people (including many close to me) on anti-depressants-and after years and years they are still depressed. Obviously, it is not working, and most find they need an anxiety medication as well within 2-3 years on the medication. Why? Anti-depressants ‘numb’ emotions (the biggest comment I get from clients who ask for help in feeling better so they can stop taking them). In real life, the only time we feel that way is in a serious crisis situation; when we feel that way for an extended period our mind begins to wonder why, and starts looking around for the crisis that has to be lurking somewhere. I have seen it over and over and over. Connection to stroke? Anxiety increases adrenalin output, and that is something that will elevate stroke risk. Bottom line here is that we need to look at our overall picture, recognize that we can manage much more than we believe we can, and that we have got to stop looking for a magic bullet that will ‘fix’ us. There is much more ‘right’ with us than can ever go ‘wrong’; every symptom is just a message that we need to address something differently in our lives. Let’s get better!

Prostate and Poop!

Following is a question I received from a client who has decided last month to change his approach to the diagnosis of elevated PSA after a malignant biopsy 18 months ago; radiation took the count to 0 but it is back to what it was before treatment. Frankly, that’s pretty common! Most of the current research recommends a very limited response to prostate treatment in men over 60, since the cancer is likely to take decades to significantly impact health or risk fatality, while the treatments typically result in incontinence and impotence.

      “I wanted to contact you before we continued. My husband’s had another PSA level that was high. He mentioned something to me about not being surprised that the PSA would be up. I don’t know if it was information he got when he got the C-herb or what. The plan is to continue the protocol. He hasn’t been doing the coffee enemas, probably because his bowels are already very loose. I am thinking that to do the enemas might clear that up. It’s hard for him to think about when he is working. Lessened the meat, doing only poultry. Green drinks seemed to exacerbate the loose bowels.
       Are there any adjustments you might make. He seems to have good energy, and be fine before he goes to work. However, the other night he complained of dizziness and confusion, we are presuming it might be withdrawal off of the Paxil. His energy and his confusion level seemed to be better to me. He has gotten more things done at home than when he was on the Paxil. I hope that at work he is doing better also.
       How long should we continue with butcher’s broom, cholesterol reg and hops? Needing to place an order… Let me know what you think.”

My response follows:

I would keep going for a few months. We are rebuilding systems, not just treating symptoms. I would keep the butcher’s broom at 6; it’s cleaning stuff out of the bloodstream that the other things are breaking down. I would go up to 7 on the cholester-reg, just taking them throughout the day; I know that sounds like a lot but it’s supporting the liver in regulating and using fats, which are the basis for hormone production and immune response. That is key to managing the PSA levels. Remember that he also works in a toxic environment, which means his liver is having to work extra hard to fight and function normally, and coming off the Paxil is making his liver do things it had not been having to do previously, since hormones also manage depression and anxiety.

I agree that it’s not surprising for the levels to go up, since we are activating the hormone processes, which increases inflammation. Similarly, most tumors enlarge at the beginning of chemotherapy and other treatments, as the body recognizes the tissue as invasive and begins to fight it. Remember that study after study show no direct correlation between prostate cancers and PSA levels. We are not really sure what it actually reflects! From Web MD (emphases added):

“Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a substance produced by the prostate gland. Elevated PSA levels may indicate prostate cancer, a noncancerous condition such as prostatitis, or an enlarged prostate.

Most men have PSA levels under four (ng/mL) and this has traditionally been used as the cutoff for concern about the risk of prostate cancer. Men with prostate cancer often have PSA levels higher than four, although cancer is a possibility at any PSA level. According to published reports, men who have a prostate gland that feels normal on examination and a PSA less than four have a 15% chance of having prostate cancer. Those with a PSA between four and 10 have a 25% chance of having prostate cancer and if the PSA is higher than 10, the risk increases and can be as high as 67%.

Younger patients tend to have smaller prostates and lower PSA values, so any elevation of the PSA in younger men above 2.5 ng/mL is a cause for concern. [On the other hand, this likely also means that elevation in older men is to be expected even in healthy males.]

Just as important as the PSA number is the trend of that number (whether it is going up, how quickly, and over what period of time). It is important to understand that the PSA test is not perfect. Most men with elevated PSA levels have noncancerous prostate enlargement, which is a normal part of aging.” [So apparently the PSA levels reflect inflammation, period.] “Conversely, low levels of PSA in the bloodstream do not rule out the possibility of prostate cancer. However, most cases of early prostate cancer are found by a PSA blood test.”

“Loose” bowels are relative, and actually are a good thing when you are cleansing the body. “Normal” elimination is free movements that take only a couple minutes after each meal, and you should expect more than that when you are de-toxing. Green drinks “exacerbate” that because they activate the liver. Most Americans have at least 20 pounds of impacted fecal matter lining the colon wall (documented in a California autopsy study several years ago), and it’s not uncommon for people to have fairly solid bowel movements even 30 days into a juice fast, so that is not an indication that he doesn’t need the coffee enemas. Their primary function is actually to flush the liver; bowel elimination is simply the exit route for the toxin release. (Loose, cleansing bowels are not spastic, crampy, or just lots off chunks and water; that usually indicates digestive stress or intestinal infection. Strong odor and tarry stool is often a part of active cleansing.) If you break things down and don’t release them they are re-absorbed into the bloodstream. An interesting and relative statistic is that 85% of testicular and prostate cancers are on the left side, which is adjacent to the sigmoid colon. Waste matter not moving through the bowels quickly enough is reabsorbed into that area! Everything in the Gerson protocol has specific purpose, so picking and choosing is not usually an effective approach!

I am not a vegetarian as a rule, but meat feeds tumor growth, period. Animal protein is a lot of work for the body to process, and his body needs to focus on nothing but rebuilding healthy cells; cancerous cells corrupt the body into redirecting that protein to feeding themselves. Poultry actually has higher levels of hormones, antibiotics, and other stressful and damaging substances than beef-which is NOT to say he should be eating it either at this time. He has to decide what’s most important to him, the quality of life that got him where he is, or a switch to something better for his body at this time!  Remember to keep up with the lymphatic massage in the groin, and drinking much more water than he thinks he needs.

Parsley Posts

Saw a news feed today touting parsley’s power to “cure” arthritis pain. It’s true, but I think it’s important to understand WHY it works. Real understanding leads people to action, which could remove the need to TREAT arthritis by simply removing the cause of the collection of symptoms we’ve given the name. Arthritis literally means “inflammation of the(itis) joints(arthro)”, so when your doctor tells you you have it he has really just said back to you in Latin what you told him in the first place.

So WHY did your joints inflame? One word-ACID.  Waste acids collect in the joints, especially when you aren’t moving as much as you need to. The acids come from normal muscle function waste and from your body’s unsuccessful efforts to break down protein. WHY does red meat affect arthritis? The fibers in red meat are really tough, lots of work for your stomach, and impossible if you are taking any kind of antacid. The right acids in your stomach are critical for digesting heavy proteins; without them the undigested matter moves on to the small intestine before the job is finished. That results in those fibers turning to waste acids, irritating the villi that should be absorbing the nutrients in to the bloodstream. Instead, the nutrients aren’t accessible and acid flows through the intestine wall. Sugar does the same thing and also feeds bacteria. WHO has to make up the difference? Your kidneys, which filters waste out of the bloodstream. This is WHERE the parsley comes in. Parsley is classified as a bitter herb, with an affinity for the kidneys because it contains lots of potassium, which is essential for their function. That combination of qualities makes it an adaptogenic herb for kidney support, meaning it helps “stuck” kidneys figure out WHAT they really need to be doing. In this case, that is working harder at flushing out the waste acid instead of letting it accumulate, meaning that joints don’t hurt as much because they are not being burned up inside! Potassium and other trace minerals abundant in the plant also support the creation of healthy cells to replace lesser quality ones as they die, and the chlorophyll is a natural alkalizer.

If you are dealing with rheumatoid arthritis (inflammation of the joints caused by the strep bacteria; I was diagnosed with the juvenile form when I was 12 but that will be another post) parsley will still be helpful (though you will likely need lymphatic and blood quality herbs as well), but your kidneys now also have to filter out dead bacteria and other debris, while impaired by the additional stress of decreased bowel function caused by antibiotics.

For all of the reasons listed above parsley is named as a diuretic in many herb books. It’s also often listed as helpful in dealing with kidney infections, which are just an extension of the same problems.  I got a call from a client one day dealing with scanty, burning urine and a fever. Because of past experience she was anxious to avoid taking antibiotics and wanted an appointment, but I was completely booked until late that day and the following morning. I told her to buy fresh parsley and pineapple juice, put them in the blender together, and choke them down as often as possible; I would fit her in the following afternoon. She called mid-morning and left a message that she was feeling fine, all symptoms had disappeared, and she would keep it up over the weekend to make sure things kept going well. No wonder I still have to work for a living!

Super Magic Fix-Everything Formula!!

One of my apprentices walked into my office a few years ago and asked if I had seen a recent article about a new wonder-mix that would pretty much fix anything that ailed you. She was surprised when I responded that I had not, but asked if it included apple cider vinegar and honey or molasses. Astonished, she asked how I had known. Easy. Whenever there is a slow day at the tabloids it’s released again with another startling ‘new’ cure claim-most of which are right!! The newest version is at http://www.householdmagicdailytips.com/index.php/homemade-fat-burning-formula?utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=2014-05-29%20HDM%20NL%20%281%29&utm_content=&utm_source=Newsletter&cid=45957880&spMailingID=45957880&spUserID=NTE4NTcxNDc1ODES1&spJobID=442781247&spReportId=NDQyNzgxMjQ3S0, where the former two ingredients are mixed with grapefruit juice for a “fat-burning” miracle.

So what’s the deal? Real apple cider vinegar (Best is still Bragg’s) is a live, cultured product that contains three principal properties. First is live enzymes to aid in the digestion and assimilation of whatever you eat in any kind of reasonably near time frame; live cultures also are essential for immune function and intestinal health. I keep a bottle of Bragg’s on a rack near my stove, which generated enough warmth for the culture to grow into kombucha-style mushrooms in the bottle. I use it to add a splash of flavor on or in just about everything I prepare, and frequently drink it mixed with water and maple syrup. If I was home and more organized I would separate some of the babies into bottles of diluted fruit juice or coconut water to create Kevita-like beverages (http://kevita.com/).(I don’t drink regular kombucha because I avoid caffeine; great article at http://www.phoenixhelix.com/2013/03/25/kombucha-myths-vs-truths/). The benefits promoted for kombucha are essentially the same for raw vinegar! Most vinegars are not live, and ONLY live, fruit based vinegars have the benefits we are discussing-white vinegar is usually corn or wood-pulp based-and has no health advantage whatsoever.

Second, the breakdown of the fruit base (usually apples or grapes)retains all of the trace minerals found in the source, in a form that has increased bio-availablity. The  magic mixtures, whether credited to a long-lost family recipe or aliens (yes, they have been given full credit in several articles) often include molasses, which has even more trace minerals, one of the most-lacked nutrient groups in our modern diet. Trace minerals are critical for glandular function, feeding the pituitary and ancillary glands including the thyroid. Alfalfa and Spirulina tend to particularly support the pituitary, while dulse and kelp are higher in the iodine needed for thyroid function. Since the pituitary governs when all other glands kick in or up their function, and the thyroid regulates metabolism and calcium uptake you can see that just about everything would work and feel better with the “magic” combo. Minerals are part of what alleviate spasms, so the “magic” vinegar mix is correctly touted for relieving leg cramps; use vinegar alone topically or in baths.

The malic acid that also helps reduce cramping is part of the third benefit, which is that vinegar supports balanced acid levels in the body. I am NOT a fan of ph balancing programs as a rule; proper ph changes constantly and manipulating it can be dangerous in the long run. A couple of basic rules DO apply. Your stomach needs to be highly acidic to break down protein properly, regardless of whether the protein is plant or animal based. Too little good acid results in excessive bad acid in the blood, joints, etc.. Drinking vinegar or another acidic beverage in small amounts may be helpful when eating by increasing the stomach’s ability to work properly. I don’t encourage drinking much of anything with meals, since it encourages people to flush food down with something more alkaline than stomach fluid, like water, rather than chewing.  Your skin should also be somewhat acidic, which is why vinegar is an effective body splash (the smell dissipates rapidly), especially for people who have  some types of skin irritation. The high acid level breaks down the cell walls of bacteria and other organisms; in the 1990’s vinegar was found more effective against HIV and related  viruses than bleach or any antibacterial product, and it’s the best thing I know for ringworm.  Together, these properties are also the basis for recommendations for a (diluted) vinegar douche for vaginal infections.

Food CHAINS

Food CHAINS

Went to a natural-foods industry trade show yesterday, which was as enlightening as always. Found lots of new things to love: Wonderfully Raw (http://wonderfullyrawgourmet.com/) Brussels Bytes “chips” were absolutely delicious; Mr. Dewies’s frozen cashew cream (http://mrdewies.com/) was amazing, virtually indistinguishable from high-end dairy ice cream, and the first rival I’ve found to SoDelicious chocolate coconut milk frozen dessert; Sukhi’s frozen Indian food, which is what’s served at Whole Foods in some markets. Renewed acquaintances with vendors I have seen and products I have known and trusted for years: Flamous chips, the original hummus and falafel chips(http://www.flamousbrands.com/about.html); Rumiano cheeses, the first non-GMO  verified organic cheese http://www.rumianocheese.com.html] (met the son this year-fourth generation dairy farmer/manufacturer!). Like most of the shows, though, the dominant themes seemed to be gluten-free but refined-carb-heavy snacks, and gourmet chocolates and ice creams.

A friend who attended with me commented that she had not seen Kashi, Food Should Taste Good, and several other prominent “healthy” brands there, though Kraft had a table. She was surprised when I told her that Kellogs owns Kashi and General Mills bought Food Should Taste Good in 2012. (seehttp://grocerystoreguru.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/general-mills-buys-food-should-taste-good-leaves-bad-taste-in-my-mouth/.) Kraft bought Back to Nature a few years ago but has since sold off everything but the macaroni and cheese, so those products are independent again. A simple list of who owns the brands you buy is at http://simplifymyfoodchoices.com/organic-natural-brands.html. Revealing read for some.

The “Food CHAIN” link at the top of the entry connects to a brand diagram that displays the logo family tree. The important thing here is to recognize that company values, hence product quality and more, direct distribution and product development. Over and over I have seen really great products brought to market, become successful, get bought out, then be re-developed to be more cost effective, mass-market friendly, etc. Inevitably the end result is less than it’s original customers wanted. One of my biggest disappointments in recent years was the acquisition of Liberte yogurt by Yoplait(http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/863347). I had the same response as this writer when I took a mouthful of the coconut after reformulation-thought I had gotten a bad batch until I read the label. AARGHH!

So what? So know who’s making your food, and check labels periodically for ingredient changes. Sugar is cheaper than unrefined sweeteners and real fruit, so it’s often one of the first additions. Refined starches are often added to “whole grain” items. Make a shift to value-based eating, supporting local farms, family restaurants, and small, independent manufacturers. They will likely be more expensive, but local company profits are staying nearby, and smaller companies will pay attention to what is important to you. This is a perfect example of “putting your money where your mouth is!” If you only support national brands, you are chained to their values, which are committed to the bottom line of their stockholders. (As they should be-I am not anti-capitalism!) I want to be connected to like-minded people, committed to strengthening the health and well-being of my body, my family, my community, and my planet. Join me!