Archive for June, 2009

Holistic Brain Care

June 30, 2009 Written by JP

I’ve noticed that some people tend to compartmentalize their health conditions. Doctors and lay people alike often think about organs and systems in isolation. It’s not uncommon for someone to identify the status of their health by mentioning a particular condition, such as diabetes or heart disease. But the truth is that any serious health concern or collection of symptoms is almost always influenced by seemingly unrelated conditions. This concept is widely embraced in the holistic community but has gained slower acceptance in the allopathic medical establishment. Regardless of what kind of doctor treats you, I think it’s important to emphasize the subtle links between body systems. Today, I’ll illustrate an example by connecting the dots among several separate news items. Read more »


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Posted in Exercise, Mental Health, Nutrition | 6 Comments

Pumpkin Seeds

June 29, 2009 Written by JP

One of the greatest challenges to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is finding practical ways to properly nourish ourselves while “on the go”. An occasional indulgence in an unhealthy meal or snack isn’t the end of the world. But too often, that lapse is enough to throw off overall momentum for longer periods of time. This is a real concern for those who are trying to manage chronic health conditions or who have embarked on weight loss programs. Today I’ll review one of my favorite snacks, which not only helps support good health, but allows me to stay on plan even during the busiest of times. Read more »


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Posted in Nutrition, Product Reviews | 14 Comments

The Truth About Coconut Water

June 26, 2009 Written by JP

Whenever I visit a local health food store, I make it a point to walk down all of the aisles and scan for products that are new or beginning to take flight. Yesterday I stopped at the refrigerated beverage section and noticed quite a few coconut based drinks. I recently became interested in coconuts mainly because of my experimentation with their fiber (coconut flour) and the unique oil contained in the flesh of these tropical fruits. However, the milky liquid found inside Cocos nucifera is the one part that I hadn’t yet tried. Read more »


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Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Nutrition | 61 Comments

Ginseng in the News

June 25, 2009 Written by JP

Last week I presented a case for North American ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) as a natural way to manage the common cold and flu. In the second part of my 2 part column on ginseng, I’ll focus primarily on another member of the Panax family known as red ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer). Red ginseng is typically grown in China or Korea, and is marked by a six year growth cycle. In pre-scientific times, it was considered a virtual panacea, but its reputation has cooled considerably in the 20th and 21th centuries. In my own recent review of the medical literature, I’ve discovered what seems to be a renewed interest in the scientific study of ginseng. There were literally thousands of clinical and laboratory experiments to choose from. I’ve selected three specific health issues to illustrate the breadth and power of this comeback root. Read more »


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Posted in Memory, Men's Health, Nutritional Supplements | 8 Comments

The Feldenkrais Method

June 24, 2009 Written by JP

Poor balance is a leading cause of disability and infirmity in the elder population. If you aren’t a part of that age group yet, please don’t tune out. The Feldenkrais Method is a unique mind-body technique that helps to improve balance, but, may also help a wide range of other conditions, including chronic pain, depression, eating disorders, fibromyalgia and, even, multiple sclerosis. Read more »


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Posted in Alternative Therapies | 10 Comments

Meal Replacements for Weight Loss

June 23, 2009 Written by JP

It’s late at night and I’m driving home after a decidedly rough evening. I’m feeling kind of down and all I see is an endless parade of fast food restaurants with convenient drive-thrus beckoning. A thick, cold and creamy milk shake sounds just like the ticket. Maybe some of you out there can relate? I know all too well that a pit stop to “soothe” the pain with some junk food would, ultimately, only make a bad night worse. So instead, I decide to stick to the resolve that’s helped me to lose over 80 pounds in the past several months. Then a thought occurred to me. Why not try sticking to my diet while still having some comfort food? So I that’s what I did. Read more »


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Posted in Diet and Weight Loss | 12 Comments

Whole Grains and Organic Vegetables

June 22, 2009 Written by JP

Lots of people become frustrated when trying to interpret nutritional information. One day the news will report that eggs are dangerous and should be eaten only on rare occasions. A few months later, the headline will read that eggs can actually promote good health when eaten daily. This same type of back and forth can be found in most aspects of diet and lifestyle modification. The way to deal with conflicting data is either examine them closely or seek out those who make it their business to do the detective work for you. By following either of these tactics, the mystery surrounding the debate about what’s healthy and what’s not becomes much more manageable and, in turn, will make you a nutritional insider. Read more »


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Posted in Nutrition | 8 Comments

Acupuncture, Macular Degeneration and Osteoporosis Updates

June 19, 2009 Written by JP

When it comes to health care, most of us would prefer to have plenty of options. I don’t just mean a choice of which physicians to see, but also what forms of treatment we can access. I believe an important step to increasing the availability of treatment options is to spread the word about alternative/complementary therapies that are scientifically validated but relatively unpublicized. Greater awareness opens doors and minds. Read more »


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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Nutritional Supplements | 4 Comments

Ginseng for Colds and Flu

June 18, 2009 Written by JP

Summer is nearly upon us and the last thing anyone wants is to come down with a dreaded summer cold or flu. The fact that many people vacation during this season makes it even more important than usual to keep the immune system in prime shape. One way to do this is to utilize the fortifying power of ginseng, an ancient medicinal root. My most recent encounter with Panax quinquefolius (North American ginseng) was kind of like running into an old friend. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there were many new developments in the life of this traditional remedy. I’ll share some of my recent findings about ginseng in today’s column and in a second part that I’ll post next week. Read more »


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Posted in Nutritional Supplements | 2 Comments

Red Yeast Rice and Cholesterol

June 17, 2009 Written by JP

Anniversaries are occasions to celebrate and reflect upon special times in our lives, typically relationships, weddings or work related milestones. But these occasions also occur in the field of medicine. In 1999, research began appearing in medical journals on a culinary substance known as red yeast rice (RYR), a richly pigmented paste or powder that is commonly used to add color to Chinese and East Asian foods. It has also been used in the traditional practice of Chinese medicine for over 1,000 years to support healthy digestion and proper circulation. The reason for the modern Western interest in RYR has to do with its similarity to a relatively new class of cholesterol lowering drugs known as “statins”. Read more »


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Posted in Heart Health, Nutritional Supplements | 8 Comments

Male Fertility and Natural Medicine

June 16, 2009 Written by JP

It is estimated that approximately 1/3 of all cases of infertility are due to issues relating to the male reproductive process. In recent months, several important developments have been reported in scientific literature that may help improve male fertility. As is often the case, both body and mind play a role. But best of all, these proposed remedies are all natural and relatively inexpensive. Read more »


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Posted in Men's Health, Women's Health | 3 Comments

Tai Chi and Diabetes

June 15, 2009 Written by JP

No matter what area of medicine you study, you’re bound to find some degree of controversy or debate. Do you think exercise is good for cardiovascular health or improving mood? Much of the evidence supports that position, but some studies dispute that as well. How about eating fresh fruits and vegetables? That’s got to be healthy, right? A preponderance of the evidence points to that conclusion but, again, there are always findings to the contrary in scientific literature. It’s important to know that there are always opposing points of view. So a study with negative findings should not cause one to lose faith in a perfectly viable remedy. Read more »


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Posted in Alternative Therapies | 8 Comments

Artichoke Leaf for IBS and Indigestion

June 12, 2009 Written by JP

The trouble I have with most medications is that their primary purpose is not to promote healing, but rather to mask troublesome symptoms. They generally don’t address the cause of the problem and, frequently, they result in unintended adverse effects. But, to be fair, sometimes even the finest holistic physicians simply cannot pinpoint the root cause of an illness. In those instances, alternative health practitioners often resort to the use of natural medicines. This is often a more attractive option because alternative remedies are generally safer and sometimes provide considerable “side benefits”. Read more »


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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Nutritional Supplements | 7 Comments

The Truth About Garlic and Heart Health

June 11, 2009 Written by JP

Perhaps you’ve recently heard or read the news: Garlic doesn’t help support heart health. At least that’s what many conventional doctors and nutritionists maintain nowadays. I was thinking about it this afternoon and wondered how it could be that so many natural health experts and traditional healers could have been so wrong about garlic for so long. I think I’ve come up with an answer to that question. Or to state it more accurately, it appears that science has discovered a possible reason for the controversy about garlic and cardiovascular health.
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Posted in Heart Health, Nutritional Supplements | 11 Comments

Coromega – Product Review

June 10, 2009 Written by JP

The health benefits associated with eating fish and taking fish oil supplements continue to build. In fact, the evidence supporting the use of omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish) has even spilled over into the pharmaceutical sector. GlaxoSmithKline, a major player in the prescriptive medication arena, now produces a fish oil product called Lovaza which can only be acquired by way of a physician’s prescription pad. But is it necessary to use a prescribed drug to get a high quality source of these health promoting lipids? I don’t think so.

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Posted in Nutritional Supplements, Product Reviews | 13 Comments

Light Therapy, Low Carb Diets and Coffee Updates

June 9, 2009 Written by JP

This site is all about providing information about safe(r) and viable alternatives to conventional treatments. Although I understand that some of the data presented here could be considered controversial, that’s not my intention. In fact, I try not to factor that in at all when writing these columns. My sincere intent is to allow for the scientific research to dictate which items I cover. I do, however, make a conscious effort to find material that is unlikely to get much attention from the “traditional medical establishment”. By presenting such data, I hope to assist readers in making a more informed decision as to how to best formulate a wellness program.
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Posted in Men's Health | 12 Comments