• 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.

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!

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“Colorful” Behavior?

An interesting segment on NPR this week (http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2014/03/28/artificial-dyes-candy) pointed out the hypocrisy of American companies, who make their products with artificial colors in the US and natural colouring agents in Europe. Six years ago the British government released its studies of artificial colourings, proving that they have a clear and significant negative impact on children’s behavior and encouraging manufacturers to switch to plant dyes. Since EU legislation now requires warning labels pointing out the impact they have virtually disappeared even from brightly coloured candy, replaced by plant extracts. Most people are surprised to find out that it’s not just junk food that uses dye; even foods like mayonnaise and pickles often have artificial colour added.

Food dyes were the tipping point that led to my now thirty-plus years in natural health care.  My oldest son was two and a half when he had yet another sinus infection. Since this had been a two-year battle the Doctor prescribed a new medication -Ceclor- which was expected to be the “next penicillin” in effectiveness. Micah began acting really strange, stopping in the middle of walking across a room and just screaming, or turning around and suddenly punching me in the middle of a bedtime story, all of which was really unlike him. I called the pediatrician, who told me I was “still a new mother” , that his behavior was normal, and that he probably just didn’t “feel good”. This was NOT my kid “not feeling good”. This was not my kid! On day three he had been acting normally all evening and I thought that the Doctor had been right, and that Micah was finally “feeling better”. Shortly thereafter I realized that I had forgotten his evening dose and gave it to him; within a half hour he was screaming again.

I called the pharmacist this time rather than the Pediatrician, and explained what I was seeing. He said it sounded “like a classic reaction to red dye” and asked if he was taking any of a list of medications, second or third of which was the Ceclor. He suggested a switch to another antibiotic since Ceclor “has a really high dye load”. The behavior problems did not recur after the change of antibiotics. My approach to health care did, when two full courses of the second antibiotic after the four days of Ceclor still did not resolve the infection and I decided to look into natural alternatives. (Three days of Christopher’s Sinus Support formula, garlic, and alfalfa resolved the infection, though he continued to need smaller amounts of the supplements for about a year before we replaced enough cells to make a permanent difference.)We have known about the effect for years but the FDA says it has not seen a proven “causal link” so does nothing.

Dyes aren’t the only additive for which American manufacturers have double standards. Last year I ordered pineapple coconut water from ONE, which I had been purchasing since its inception; the outer case had two ingredient lists with a box to check for which product it contained based on destination.  The company is now owned by Pepsico and includes sugar and “natural flavor” in the US, while the Canadian export product still contains just coconut water and pineapple juice. Replacement product for me is Evolution Fresh coconut water, which is also raw and has a fabulous flavour! As consumers, we need to speak up. Let manufacturers know that you are OK with strawberry products that aren’t bubble-gum pink, and not OK with artificial dyes in anything. Read your labels, eat real food, and take charge of your behavior!

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