Archive for September, 2010

Medical Surprises

September 30, 2010 Written by JP

In my youth, one of my hobbies was investigating psychic claims. On occasion I would come across individuals who were convinced that they could predict the future. Mind you, they weren’t trying to sell any books or profit from this supposed gift. They simply believed that, on occasion, they were privy to glimpses of what was to come. My simple piece of advise to them was as follows: E-mail me a specific prediction that could be definitively verified. That way, we could both determine whether the prediction was accurate. The same basic principle holds true with respect to scientifically assessing medical claims. Anecdotes, personal experiences and observations are clearly of value. However, they tend to be subjective in nature. Applying a controlled model, such as a clinical trial, to test an anecdote allows for a more objective method by which to evaluate claims.
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Posted in Exercise, Food and Drink | 2 Comments

Coffee Estrogen Link

September 29, 2010 Written by JP

A friend of the site recently posed an interesting question. She wondered whether drinking coffee adversely affects sex hormone levels in women. In particular she inquired about supposed estrogenic elements in coffee which may lead to an excess of estrogen or “estrogen dominance” in women. Ultimately, her concern was that regular coffee consumption could confer similar side effects as hormone replacement therapy.
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Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition, Women's Health | 2 Comments

Savory Sweet Nori Chips Recipe

September 28, 2010 Written by JP

By now, most health conscious consumers understand that eating potato chips regularly does not contribute to long term wellness. This truism even extends to cleverly marketed brands that feature alluring package claims such as, “All Natural!”; “Baked, Not Fried!”; “Featuring Organic Potatoes!” and “Now With Sea Salt!”. The intrinsic problems with potato chips still remain even if the finest ingredients are used. First and foremost, potatoes are high-glycemic vegetables which can cause harmful fluctuations in blood sugar. The baking and/or frying process is also part of the problem. It generates a carcinogenic chemical compound known as acrylamide. But the desire for something crunchy and salty to snack on runs deep in people throughout the world. What to do? Perhaps it’s time to think outside of the box and consider something entirely different, but equally delicious: seaweed. That’s right – seaweed.
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Posted in Nutrition, Recipes, Women's Health | 4 Comments

Delicious Vegetables

September 27, 2010 Written by JP

When I’m not writing content for this site, I’m frequently consulting with individual clients. One of the first things I tell them is that it’s imperative that they’re 100% honest with me. I need to know the unvarnished truth about how they really eat, exercise, manage stress and sleep. If they binge, I need to know. If they starve themselves, that too. Do they abuse caffeine or drugs to compensate for a lack of rest? Is exercise a daily activity or a monthly exception? It’s all pertinent information that I need to factor in when putting together a comprehensive wellness program. One of the most common admissions I hear is, “I don’t like healthy vegetables” or some variation on that theme. My Healthy Monday tip of the week is to transform healthy vegetables into something that you’ll actually crave.
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Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition, Recipes | 10 Comments

Patient’s Bill of Rights

September 24, 2010 Written by JP

If you’ve been following the news lately you probably know that the new Patient’s Bill of Rights has just gone into effect. There’s been plenty of analysis, controversy and debate about just what this means for our country and the future of health care. But what hasn’t been made clear enough is exactly how the enacted changes will affect the everyday health care decisions that insured consumers will make.
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Posted in Children's Health, Mental Health, Women's Health | 4 Comments

Bad Breath, Blueberries and Cancer

September 23, 2010 Written by JP

It’s no secret that health status plays a major role in the overall quality of one’s life. But it doesn’t necessarily require a serious medical condition to significantly impact day-to-day life. Something as benign as chronic halitosis (bad breath) can cause stress during the most basic activities such as interacting with colleagues, family and friends. Likewise, working hard to prevent a disease like type 2 diabetes can also feel like a burden. However, both of these hurdles pale in comparison to the stress experienced by those living with a life-threatening illness such as cancer.
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Posted in Dental Health, Diabetes | No Comments;

GMO Salmon Debate

September 22, 2010 Written by JP

This past week several readers inquired about my opinion on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s pending approval of a genetically modified salmon known as AquAdvantage. I’ve decided to share my perspective in the context of a column so that you might all understand my position on this controversial topic. My hope is that it helps you to decide whether GMO salmon is right for you and your families.
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Posted in General Health, Nutrition | 21 Comments

Buttermilk Honey Custard Recipe

September 21, 2010 Written by JP

Custards are an excellent way of combining the decadence of dessert with the nutrition of a healthy snack, provided that you select your ingredients wisely. Whenever reformulating a recipe, the key is to keep nutrient density in the forefront. Naturally, taste is always a factor as well. But this too can be handily addressed by upping the flavor in a dish. As long you evoke the experience of an old classic in a creative manner, you’ll likely satisfy those you’re serving – yourself included.
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Posted in Nutrition, Recipes | No Comments;

Natural Medicine for All Ages

September 20, 2010 Written by JP

Natural medicine is applicable to all stages of life, from the day we’re born to the end of our days. By this, I’m not just referring to traditional healing practices that you’d expect to use in adults and children alike, such as good nutrition, herbal remedies and massage. The recent integration of science into the fields of holistic medicine and psychology has spawned a new way of incorporating non-pharmacological and non-surgical options into the repertoire of all physicians who choose to embrace it. My Healthy Monday tip of the week is to consider hypnosis for recurrent headache pain, “nondrug lifestyle measures” for nocturia (frequent nighttime urination) and soy supplements for menopausal symptoms.
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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Men's Health, Women's Health | 4 Comments

Chronic Health Conditions and Solutions

September 17, 2010 Written by JP

Natural medicine tends to excel in managing chronic health conditions. On the other hand, acute circumstances such as a broken bone, a ruptured appendix or a heart attack are clearly better suited to conventional care. But there’s a third category of treatment which falls between the two seemingly distinct philosophies. There are certain therapeutic practices that are natural but not the exclusive domain of alternative and complementary practitioners. For instance, it’s not unusual for all types of physicians to recommend limited sugar consumption and regular aerobic exercise. The difference that I find is in how such recommendations are made. Are they mentioned in passing or suggested as a first-line intervention to improve and/or protect against serious health conditions?
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Posted in Bone and Joint Health, Exercise, Mental Health | 2 Comments

Antibiotics, Menopause and Corn Sugar

September 16, 2010 Written by JP

One of the dynamics in modern medicine that I hope will change in the near future is how patients and physicians interact. I’d love for most doctor’s appointments to begin with a question such as this: Doctor: “Do you have any information that you’d like to share with me before I begin my examination?” Patient: “I’ve done some research about my condition and I’ve printed out some specific details I’d like to discuss with you.” In order for this type of exchange to be successful a few common sense steps are necessary. The first is that physicians embrace the concept of patients being partners in their own health care decisions. But patients will need to do their part as well. It’s not fair or practical to deluge time-pressed doctors with piles of paper work. Instead, it’s best to be as concise as possible and reserve added details if they’re requested.
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Posted in Children's Health, Diet and Weight Loss, Women's Health | 3 Comments

New Vitamin D News

September 15, 2010 Written by JP

There are many different writing styles. Some health reporters seek out a specific niche and stick to it. Others mine a more diverse topic base from which to select material. I tend to fall between the two camps. While researching, I allow the material that I come across in my daily life to dictate what I cover. At times this gives me the luxury of presenting a broad cross-section of information. But occasionally, what I discover prompts me to revisit select topics on a regular basis. Such is the case with research involving Vitamin D. Currently, there is a tremendous amount of scientific attention being paid to this humble “sunshine” nutrient. Some of the more dramatic data makes the evening news. Much of it does not. The latter category is the subject of my column today.
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Posted in Dental Health, Diabetes, Nutritional Supplements | 7 Comments

Branzino en Papillote Recipe

September 14, 2010 Written by JP

Cooking can be an adventure. I recently undertook a recipe that involved using an ingredient and cooking technique that were completely new to me. In doing so, there was a certain degree of excitement and trepidation involved, but it’s precisely that kind of risk and uncertainty that can produce a richly rewarding (and delicious) experience. Today’s recipe now ranks among my favorite seafood meals of all time. What’s best of all is that I know exactly how it was made and the quality of the healthful components contained therein.
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Posted in Nutrition, Recipes, Women's Health | 4 Comments

My Fasting Experiment

September 13, 2010 Written by JP

We’re all exposed to a fair share of advice and information about how to best to care for ourselves. If we’re fortunate, we also have the benefit of good counsel via a physician. But, ultimately, it’s up to us to decide what exactly to do with respect to our own health care. Do we take a medication or not? Are major lifestyle changes worth the effort? Should we have genetic testing to help foretell our medical future? Most people will be faced with these decisions and many others during the course of a lifetime. Today I’m going to tell you about a major health care choice I’ve decided to make in my own life. It involves following a diet known as “alternate day fasting”. My Healthy Monday tip of the week is to discuss the viability of this pattern of eating with your doctor if you’re concerned about cardiovascular health.
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Posted in Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 12 Comments

Food Revelations

September 10, 2010 Written by JP

Nutrition is a field fraught with countless misconceptions that are purveyed by virtually every major segment of the dietary landscape. Do you think you can trust the advice given from the ivory towered medical institutions with easily recognizable names? If so, then why is the U.S. and the majority of the industrialized world suffering from so many preventable diseases that are largely influenced by diet? Think you can trust your friendly neighborhood health food store to steer you right? Just take a look at some of the labels on the cereals, protein bars and soft drinks they sell at their establishments. Some of the ingredients are organic, but the overall nutritional content is often similar to what you’ll find in conventional vending machines. In some instances, it may even be worse if they feature trendy ingredients such as agave nectar which is extremely high in fructose. The best way to avoid the many pitfalls that surround this topic is to be informed. Use science as a tool even when those giving you dietary advice fail to do so.
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Posted in Diet and Weight Loss, Men's Health, Nutrition | 2 Comments

Questioning Beliefs

September 9, 2010 Written by JP

Medical news is often classified into three categories. The most common and under-appreciated variety provides corroborative data on already established principles. Example: Exercise does your body and mind good. The second category adds a new twist to pre-existing information. Example: Eating plenty of vegetables reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality – especially in the context of a lower carbohydrate diet. The final category turns old concepts upside down. Example: Students have different and distinct learning styles which need to be catered to in order for them to thrive academically. Not necessarily. The details of these news items and more come courtesy of various contributors on Twitter.
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Posted in Exercise, Heart Health, Nutrition | 7 Comments