• 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!

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!

Fluoride Fools?

Time magazine for Valentine’s Day features an article about-surprise-the possible links between pollutants and brain function. Small wonder, given that many are neuro-toxins (have you ever seen the bugs lying on their back partially paralyzed but still alive?). Especially “shocking” was the factoid that  exposure to fluoridated water, which does not include the additional exposure from toothpastes and dental rinses, is linked to a seven point drop in IQ. Continental Europe has banned it for years.

The history of fluoride development explains it pretty clearly: “Sodium monofluorophosphate was first described in 1929 by the German chemist Willy Lange, who was then with the University of Berlin. His fruitless attempts to prepare the free monofluorophosphoric acid led him to check the stability of its esters. Together with Gerda von Krueger, one of his students, Lange thus synthesized diethyl fluorophosphate and some analogs, which proved to be quite toxic, being related to nerve agents. In the 1930s, Gerhard Schrader, working for the German company IG Farben, tried to develop synthetic insecticide. His work focused on esters of phosphoric acid and resulted in an accidental discovery of some other nerve agents such as DFP (diisopropyl fluorophosphate), Tabun, Soman, and Sarin. In the meantime, Lange, who was married to a Jewish woman, emigrated from Germany to the United States and started work for Procter and Gamble Company. In 1947, he and Ralph Livingston of Monsanto Company published the preparation of the free fluorophosphoric acids and mentioned the use of some toxic esters of monofluorophosphoric acid (like DFP) in the treatment of glaucoma and myasthenia gravis. The well known toxicity of these esters led to fears that the simple salts might also be toxic, and such fears precluded any large scale commercial use of the salts. In 1950, under sponsorship of the manufacturer of the compounds, Ozark Chemical Company, the toxicity of sodium monofluorophosphate was studied by Harold Hodge at the University of Rochester who included anti-cavity testing. In 1967 Colgate-Palmolive filed several patents on the use of sodium monofluorophosphate in toothpaste.[1]”(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_monofluorophosphate, emphasis added). WebMD considers fluoride to be a drug, lists its cautions and potential side effects, and emphasizes that children may be more sensitive to the risks. One of those risks, ironically, is yellow teeth resulting from excessive use, which has happened to friend’s children who had used only fluoridated toothpaste twice a day with no additional treatments.

The premise for fluoride treatments has been that the fluoride “strengthens” tooth enamel, a claim that comes because enamel consists largely of apatite, a form of calcium, which degrades in the presence of acids from oral bacteria feeding on starches and sugars in our foods. HOWEVER, saliva provides the materials necessary for the re-forming of apatite! In other words, we are fixing a problem that we were designed to correct ourselves anyway. I have a mouth full of fillings but grew up religiously brushing with fluoride and was among an experimental group of military dependents who received fluoride treatments at school. (Maybe that’s why I developed osteoporosis so young!) My kids have not only never used a fluoridated toothpaste, but also drank only reverse-osmosis purified water so did not have fluoride in their water. Only one of my first three children ever developed a cavity. The youngest, who decided that tooth-brushing was optional during the teenage braces years, was the only one to have multiple cavities (he has also eaten more sugar than the other three combined, since his father considers it one of the primary food groups). Aside from a generally healthy diet, we don’t use sports drinks, dilute any fruit juice we drink, and rarely consume soda, which not only has the acid-forming sugars (artificial sweeteners are even more acidic, so one more reason not to use them) but phosphoric acid, which disintegrates calcium. If I really felt like I need more fluoride, I’d add black walnut to my diet!

More good info at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_fluoridation_controversy

GMO Enzymes and Patented Probiotics!

Any time you see a patented or trademarked notice on a product you are buying something that has been altered in such a way or to such a degree that it does not exist in a natural state. That reality extends even to “natural” products, since “natural” does not have any legal definition. As I explained to a client this morning in response to an inquiry about a new  “natural” anxiety supplement, “I’m always cautious with patented products-to me, any “patented, standardized” product is a drug, not an herb. It no longer has the balance with which it was created. After all, vodka is just a “standardized” extract of potatoes, and I know people who swear by it for stress relief!”

While most people agree that eating cultured foods like kimchi, yogurt and kefir, and taking probiotic supplements are good ideas, very few know where their cultures come from. You may be surprised to learn that most commercial products in those categories are also patented! In 2011 DuPont acquired Danisco, the largest producer of enzymes and cultures for the food industry. The patented ingredients include a huge list of acidophilus and other cultures, including “starter cultures for color, texture and flavor development and to maintain microbiological quality.” From the Danisco website:  “The DuPont™ Danisco® range encompasses the broadest portfolio of ingredients for the dairy industry. Today, every third cheese obtains its well-defined flavor and texture from our leading cultures.” The same is true for many other products-and not just dairy products, to settle the anti-dairy “told-you-so” voices! Dairy and meat substitutes are using the same engineered cultures, and so are supplement manufacturers.

Patented supplement ingredients include more than just probiotics. Vitamins, antioxidants, digestive enzymes, fiber, and phytosterols are also in the Danisco  lines. DuPont-the company responsible for fostering genetically modified foods-made big  business news with their “New Harvest” Omega Three; it’s selling well on the grounds that it’s sustainable and vegan! They even offer to help companies work with regulatory agencies in whatever country they are interested in doing business to get their products approved.

The solution? Get your nutrients as much as possible from real, whole, organic foods. I have a great kombucha-type culture that generated itself when I kept a bottle of Bragg’s apple cider vinegar near my stove. That is a live food! If you need supplements, generally use herbs rather than isolated nutrients-we were designed to digest plants-from a company that does serious quality control of its own. Be wary of wonder supplements with names you can’t pronounce, and question the source of foods and supplements. Buy local where possible, and support smaller companies who are less likely to use the engineered enzymes and cultures.

http://newhope360.com/news/dupont-buys-danisco-what-deal-means-nutritional-ingredients

Darkness and Light: Bulbs, Concentration, Cancer, Depression and Insomnia

My daughter-in-law is an opera singer and mentioned tonight that several of the singers at her current production are complaining about the rehearsals being held in a windowless room with fluorescent bulbs since “everyone knows they wear out your adrenals”. A family I knew pulled their children out of public school shortly before the end of a school year, tired of hearing that they were hyperactive when they behaved well at home. Things went so well that they decided to home-school the following year; they built on a classroom, complete with fluorescent lights since they were “going to do it right” . Two weeks into the year they were ready to send the kids back to school-on Ritalin. I suggested that they let the kids do their work near a window or on the back porch, as they had done initially. End of problem.

Fluorescent lighting, even with CFL bulbs, has a flickering effect that is almost imperceptible to the eye, but which hyper-stimulates the medulla, the part of the brain that controls the autonomic or “animal” part of the brain. That increases anxiety-hence the adrenal exhaustion comment, and sensitivity to external stimuli, hence the hyperactivity. I have counseled my clients literally for decades not to use them, and now the Federal government is forcing us to have them at home and banning the sale of high-wattage incandescent bulbs. ( I read recently that in Europe they are getting away with selling them as heat lamps.)

The blue tones of the light emitted also interrupt the normal serotonin/melatonin production cycle, disrupting the hormones most connected to depression, anxiety, and sleep. Exposure to sunlight stimulates the production of serotonin, the feel-good-be-happy-wake-up hormone. Exposure to darkness, which is increasingly difficult to achieve, triggers the production of melatonin, which winds you down for rest and sleep. Too little contrast between the two leaves the body chronically “on”, albeit at a very low functional level. Think of it as running on a battery that’s almost dead. You can turn your camera or whatever off and back on when it’s almost dead to get a couple more minutes of use, but in relatively short order the battery dies completely and you have to recharge or replace it. We can only recharge with full sunlight, full darkness,and lots of the right foods, and each of us is rather hard to replace!!

I encourage my clients to avoid using any overhead lights after dinner, but the CFL bulbs are especially detrimental. Multiple studies have linked the lack of darkness to immune deficiencies (including increased cancer risks) insomnia, and depression. (The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light by Paul Bogard has some interesting statistics and information. Great radio interview with him on “All Things Considered” at  http://www.npr.org/2013/03/03/173365741/turning-it-down-cities-combat-light-pollution-by-going-dim) Within the studies was clear evidence that the color frequencies with the worst health impact were the blues and greens-the colors in fluorescent lighting and all of our night-lights and power lights on the huge assortment of electronic gadgets we have in every room.

So what to do? Incandescent bulbs, especially the “full spectrum”type, muscle-test the best for most people. You can still find them at some flea markets and discount stores in the higher wattage not available in most places. Yes, they use more electricity, but so does hot water and I’m not ready to subject my body to cold showers all winter. Remember, you shouldn’t be using many lights after dark anyway! Next best thing is the “daylight” (not “full”) spectrum LED bulbs, which are much more expensive. If you or a friend live in Washington State you’re in luck-they heavily subsidize LED bulbs so they are much less expensive there than in most other places.

Another good article on risks I haven’t gotten to here is at http://www.naturalhealth365.com/stop_cancer/cfl_light_bulbs.html

Splenda® DOES skew blood sugar!

A new study has finally been released that showed drinking sucralose (and I believe any other artificial sweetener) significantly affects the way the body functions-or doesn’t. For example, although there are no calories (read: no fuel for energy!) in Splenda®, it had the following effects on people when they drank water sweetened with it:

  • 12% higher peak blood glucose levels.
  • 20% higher total insulin secretion.
  • 22% faster insulin-secretion rate.
  • 7% slower rate of clearing insulin from the blood.

I’m not even going to begin to address the issue of toxicity and chemical stress from artificial sweeteners here; I’ll do that in other posts, and have done several questions and comments about it on my website that will eventually migrate here as well.  The new discussion is that taste buds (and we know now that there are taste receptors in the gut, too) trigger the production of insulin. Your body responds, makes it, and then has to figure out what to do once it gets into the bloodstream since insulin isn’t necessary for processing artificial sweeteners. Refined sugar has a similar effect since it can enter the bloodstream through the cell walls; unlike naturally-occurring sugars in, say, a strawberry, it doesn’t require digestion for extraction.  That’s the essence of “insulin resistance”, which is the newest buzzword in the sugar sagas connected to the American diabetes epidemic. The surplus insulin causes stress leading to exhaustion of the adrenal glands-as if we didn’t have enough other stresses in our lives- since they have to produce the hormone to break down the excess insulin; it also leads to the chronic inflammation researchers are blaming for everything from obesity to cancer.

Frankly, I’m not a fan of most of the so-called “natural” sweeteners, either, and this study would probably apply to them as well. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol, a highly refined extract that causes stomach upset in lots of people, including me. Stevia is fine if you use it fresh or as a green powder (just the dried leaves) or liquid; if it is clear it has also been through a long list of refining treatments that make it about as healthy and natural as vodka, which “just comes from potatoes”! High fructose corn syrup is also considered a “natural sweetener”.

The real problem is that Americans simply want things too sweet.  Even agave, honey, molasses, and maple syrup, which really are consumed essentially in their natural state, should be used in really moderate amounts.  I am constantly encouraging my clients to eat more raw, fresh foods. The fiber they contain slows down the release of the sugars, and the full range of flavor slows down the demand for sweetness. Organic fruits usually have more taste; it’s trace elements that give them flavor and organic fertilizers have a wider range of nutrients than commercial ones. Protein also slows the release of sugar; if you have to have a chocolate chip cookie, have one made with whole wheat pastry flour (more fiber and protein than white flour but made from softer Spring wheat) and nuts for extra protein. When I bake I use Sucanat®, which is just dried,  unrefined sugar cane juice, and use less than the recipe calls for. Because none of the molasses has been removed it has a really rich flavor. Friends and I make baked goods for an eighteenth century re-enactment every year-people LOVE our products and we make the above substitutions, which are period-correct! (Check out my “Three Wives Kitchen Cookbook“, which goes into great detail about healthy period ingredients.)

You can read the article citing the study at the link below. Bottom Line Health is one of my favorite newsletters for quick info.

http://www.bottomlinepublications.com/content/article/health-a-healing/splenda-raises-blood-sugar-levels-and-may-increase-diabetes-risk?utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=2013-09-19%20DHN%20NL%20%20CID-0000001681%20remainder&utm_content=utm_source=Newsletter&spMailingID=42643680&spUserID=NTE4NTcxNDc1ODES1&spJobID=203947271&spReportId=MjAzOTQ3MjcxS0

Interview for HealthWise

In 1994, I was interviewed by Steven Horne of HealthWise, The Video Journal of Natural Healing. I spoke mainly about the health hazards that can be found in some of our personal care products and cleaning supplies, as well as how we can help our body deal with the exposure to these toxic chemicals and eliminate these hazards all together.
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