“When Can I Get Off My Cholesterol and Blood Pressure Medications?”

Imagine this:  you’re a detective and you’re trying to figure out who is setting fires all around your city.  You start to think, “Hmmm, at every fire I see these fire-fighters.  I think they’re involved somehow.” The plaque that can build up in your blood vessels is made out of cholesterol.  When these plaques detach from the cellular wall, they can cause a blockage which is the beginning of a heart attack or stroke. Is it the “bad” cholesterol causing this?  Healthy fats glide right through and actually help keep your blood vessels clear.  LDL cholesterol (the “bad guy”) is needed too.  LDL moves nutrition to your cells and also is what repairs tears in your vessel walls.  When the LDL is “too high,” it’s usually from the Liver being over-loaded with glycogen from a diet too high in carbohydrates. In the late 1990s, the average American’s cholesterol reading was around 204.  Now the average is around 189.  So do we have healthier hearts?    Cholesterol-lowering drugs, called statins, are the #2 most prescribed medication in the US, second only to thyroid meds.   Yet cardio-vascular disease is still the #1 (#2 if you consider deaths from medical errors) cause of death in the US.  Can we really say this is working? The guidelines for prescribing the medications keep changing too.  For statin drugs, as well as hypertension drugs.  If you want to sell more drugs, you lower the limits that increase the number people of “sick” people.  Before 1984, the upper limit for cholesterol was 300.  If you want to sell more drugs, just lower the limit, right?  Then...

10 Ways to Cancer-Proof Your Home

I participate in several “cancer events,” like the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, every year.  The “c-word” is an epidemic.  2.8 million women were effected by breast cancer in the US in one year; and 2.5 million men with prostate cancer.  Total incidences of cancer per year in the US is over 28 million!   (www.cancer.org, 2009)  We are a product of our environment.  Some of it we have control over; some of it we don’t.  For example, the “breast cancer clusters” that have been observed in California to me seem to indicate there are environmental factors that need to be considered.  What is in the water?  What is being pumped into the air from the surrounding factories?  What are the area’s farming practices?   My overall opinion on cancer:  it’s a dis-ease of toxicity.  Your body can become overloaded with toxins and your Liver, intestines, or Kidneys get congested and can’t get them out.    The things we do have control over are:   our diet the products we choose to clean our bodies, homes and clothes, etc. the chemicals we add into the picture (or not) our lifestyle — exercise, stress management, healthcare Here are my top 10 suggestions to do the best you can to prevent the c-word: 1.  Buy local and organic food.  If you really are curious as to why, see the documentary “Food Inc.”  or read The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food in the NY Times.   2.  Read labels on all products and packaged foods.  If I can’t pronounce it or don’t know where it came from, I don’t...

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...

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....

End of the World

The end is near.  The “apocalypse” you kept hearing about is the end of an era, not the actual planet or humankind.  Just as in history there are periods of different prevailing beliefs, problems, and knowledge, we are entering a new epoch of time.   Old ideas are moving out and new ones are taking shape.  It’s very exciting!Here is my end of the year list; what’s in and what’s out for 2013.  Out.                           In. Self-centered.                                Community. Antibiotics.                                     Vitamins. Factory farms.                               Organic. Power struggles.                           Open communication Shame.                                             Beauty. Fixed ideas.                                    New ideas. Consumerism.                                Investing. Medication.                                     Nutrition. Blind faith.                                      Education. Fear.            ...

Wellness Care for Travelers

This time of year many of us are heading out of town. Vacation and travel make great excuses to not exercise and take care of our bodies, but I don’t buy it.  I’m not one for excuses.  It either is or it isn’t.  I don’t want excuses, I want results!  (*pounds desk for emphasis*) Here are some of the ways I like to maintain my wellness while traveling: 1.  Hotel room exercise plan:  you don’t need a fancy gym to get in a good workout.  Let me give you some examples of what I have done in the past inside my hotel room to stay fit: 5 sets of 25 pushups, 25 situps, and 25 squats Yoga for 30 minutes; youtube has a wide variety of video classes to choose from If you have your MP3 handy, have an impromptu dance party 2.  Take herbs just in case:  I always pack a few herbal essentials for, as the French say, “juste au cas:” Suan Zao Ren Tang or Gui Pi Tang for insomnia (some hotel rooms are just not that comfortable!) Herbal ABX in case of infection Mint tea can be used for:  constipation, upset stomach, or for boosting your immune system (you know how hard it is to get good food on the road!) 3.  Don’t use the old “oh, you’re on vacation!” excuse when eating: “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels,” Eat only foods that are nourishing to your body; eat MORE vegetables.  Vegetables have the special designation of being the only food group that eating more of them will actually benefit your health.   Do...
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