Weaning Off Medications

Q: Currently I am taking 2 presciptions for high blood pressure, 3 over-the-counter medicines for allergies, an anti-anxiety medication, and a pill for cholesterol. I would really like to not take anything at all! What is the best way to get off all these medicines? A: I commend you to wanting to get healthy enough to not have a need for your medications!  That’s my favorite part about my job.  Well, these conditions definitely did not happen overnight and so treating them is also going to be a gradual process that will take some time. In Chinese medicine, we say it takes 1 month to treat a problem you have had for 1 year. Also, some problems can be treated at the same time and are inter-related as far as Oriental medicine theory is concerned — such as anxiety and high cholesterol which are both related to your Gall Bladder. Other problems will require slightly different herbs or treatment strategies. Some other things to consider:  What is the biggest priority?  What is bothering you the most right now?  Usually that is a good place to start.   In general, the easiest medicines to get off of are the allergies medicines and the cholesterol medicine.   My personal opinion on cholesterol medication is somewhat controversial, and please don’t take my opinion as medical advice * but simply as opinion.  (*this is just me saving my butt, legally) Allergy medication is a different animal:  the way that antihistimines and decongestants work in your body are that they will trap the “evil qi” further into your respiratory system and make the actual problem,...

What’s the Deal with Gluten?

So, what is the deal with gluten?  Is it the same as wheat?  Isn’t whole wheat good for you?  Do I HAVE to avoid it?  If I avoid it, what the heck do I eat??? Gluten is a sticky protein found in wheat and related grains.  It helps breads rise and have a fluffy texture that we have all come to love.  Unfortunately, it is also highly inflammatory. Gluten is a bit of a buzz-word lately, but there’s a reason for that.     You’re right in that we have been eating grains for a long time relative to human history, but it’s more the amount of gluten in our SAD (Standard American Diet) and the processing of the food prior to consumption that is the problem than the actual food itself – the quality.   If you think about it, we eat gluten at almost every meal!  What’s for breakfast?  Cereal (gluten), pancakes (gluten), waffles (gluten), toast (gluten)…  Lunch?  Sandwiches (gluten in the bread), hamburgers (gluten in the bun)…  Snacks?  pretzels (gluten), crackers (gluten).  Dinner?  Pasta (gluten), tacos (gluten in the wheat tortillas), pizza (gluten crust), etc… It’s really just too much of something that is highly processed and difficult to digest.   Over time, eating foods that are not easy to digest will lead to allergies and sensitivities.  People can go for YEARS without having any noticeable problem digesting gluten-laden foods.  Over time, there will be some bodily changes that can happen due to gluten’s effect in our bodies.  These changes can include: build-up of “gunk” in our digestive system, including intestines and gall bladder weakening of the thyroid gland weight...

Cedar Fever Solution

The time of year is upon us…December through February…the dreaded Cedar Season. No fear: your allergies are fix-able. Follow this step-by-step process and by next year, your cedar allergies will be at least 50% improved.   1. Clean up your diet: your diet has everything to do with your immune system functioning. Eliminating anything artificial (colors, flavors, things you can’t pronounce), refined (“white”) grains, excessive milk or dairy, and sugary snacks. Focus instead on consuming plenty of organic proteins (fish, beef, poultry, bison), at least 5 colors of vegetables at every meal, and one piece of fruit per day. Snack on nuts or organic yogurt. Limit alcohol consumption to less than 1 drink per day. 2. Manage your stress: listen to your body and rest when you are tired. Don’t try to squeeze too much into one day. Repeat after me, “I am not responsible for anyone else’s happiness.” Stay positive. Where your mind goes; your body will follow. In other words, don’t think too much about “crap.” Take care of the “crap,” and then move on. 3. Take vitamins: Take a good quality multi-vitamin, and supplement others as needed. A quick guide: Immune system problems => Vitamin C Nervous system problems => Vitamin B Emotional, Low energy, or Vegetarian => Iron, Vitamin B12 Thyroid issue, muscle cramps, insomnia => trace minerals Inflammation => Fish oil Joint pain => Glucosamine Digestive problems => Digestive enzymes, probiotics 4. Avoid antibiotics: antibiotics do a few damages in your body that will hinder your immune system. First, they “trap” the “evil qi” in your body. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (say, thousands of...

Boosting Your Immune System

Q:  Hi Nicole, I have a personal problem… Of course everyone around me is sick right now, and I keep fighting off sickness myself. My main recurring problem, is that sickness always seems to go straight to my chest/lungs. I’m not sure why? It’s awful though. Maybe it has something to do with my lung development as I was extremely premature… Who knows? What are some ways to really boost my immune system? A:  I, too, used to get the same kinds of “bugs” that most people suffer with especially this time of year.  I remember my first year at UT when my parents came to pick me up and drive me home to Fort Worth for Thanksgiving.  I had a sore throat and cough for about a week, which I did not go to the health clinic to treat.  By the time my dad showed up, I had totally lost my voice, was sweating profusely, pale, and listless.  We drove home, and he said, “Enough of this.  Get to the doctor and get some medicine.”  I went; and of course, with the help of antibiotics and cough syrup I felt fine the next day.   Unfortunately, what you don’t feel after taking antibiotics and cough syrup is what it is doing to your insides!  After years and years (maybe 20 in all before I stopped needing antibiotics), my immune system started taking the toll big time.  How it showed up?  My skin.  My energy.  My digestion.  No good.   …and of course the same annual illnesses…the flus, colds, allergies, etc. In life, you have 2 choices.   1....

Take Control: How to Relieve Stress with Meditation

Most of us have been there at some point — can’t stop thinking, fraught with worry, over-analyzing, can’t sleep well or relax easily, anxiety flares up, stress mounts, every upset or bump in the road feels overwhelming, etc. Sometimes this is a fleeting experience related to an acute, short-lived situation… but other times this mental chatter can go on and on long-term, and if un-checked, can lead to very detrimental effects on your overall health and well-being.   This may surprise you, but one major roadblock to healing can be your own mind! If you find yourself overwhelmed by anxious thoughts, over-thinking, worrying, analyzing every event or reaction, stressing about work or family or health issues, not able to relax or sleep well — these may all be signs that you need to regain control of your thoughts and reign in this pointless worrying. They are damaging your health of body and mind! Oriental Medicine theory associates over-thinking and worry with your Spleen organ, which just so happens to be the primary organ in digestion, immunity, and ability to lose weight. Your Spleen can either spend its time processing thought and worrying, or spend its time digesting food and dispersing nutrients that your body needs to remain healthy. It CANNOT do both at the same time! Which would you prefer? Taking time to learn how to calm your mind, reign in your thoughts, and be in the present moment is a worthy task to pursue.  How can you regain control of your thoughts and calm your mind? It can seem impossible or certainly difficult to attempt the act of...

Nutrition: The Hidden Key to a Healthy Body

What is the link between our diet and our health?  EVERYTHING!  A proper diet nourishes your health, an improper diet can destroy it.  Want to stay off of medications?  Eat healthy foods. In the 1980s when I was in elementary school, I remember learning the “4 Basic Food Groups.”  Grains, meat, fruits / veggies, and dairy, right?  We were taught, “You want to have equal portions of all those groups at each meal…”  Looking back, we see the short-comings of that approach…what about people with lactose-intolerance or vegetarians?  It’s like they are telling us that having a ham and cheese sandwich at each meal is a healthy option. In the 1940s American’s were taught the “7 Basic Food Groups.”  Actually, in a lot of ways, I think this diagram (seen on left here) represents healthier choices than the “4.”  Although, the margarine and processed grains should be ousted. Zoom ahead to the 1990s and the USDA gives us the “Food Pyramid,” showing us the “proper” serving amounts of what types of foods to eat.  You may remember – grains are at the bottom, meaning eat mostly grains. A lot of good that has done…From 1960 to 2010 the obesity rate in the US has TRIPLED!  Also rising the the past 50 years are allergy problems.  Hmmmm…  Maybe, just maybe, eating TONS of grains is not the answer.  Well, it may be the answer to the grain industry or the pharmaceutical companies who want your hard-earned cash!   Here I have a diagram of what I consider a healthy way to eat.  Mostly, it’s a vegetable-based diet; with plenty of protein;...
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