Conquer food cravings. Check! Retrain your fat cells. Check! Lose weight permanently. Check! These are the bold pronouncements made on the cover of the new book, Always Hungry? I’m fully aware that such claims are typically associated with fad diets and weight loss schemes. But, I hope that my history and reputation will encourage you to stick with me for the remainder of this review. As you may know, several years ago I lost over 80 lbs by adopting a high-fat, nutrient-dense, lower carbohydrate diet. Since then, I’ve mostly maintained that initial weight loss. In fact, right now I weigh less than I did at the end of my weight loss journey. Hopefully that gives me some credibility in this arena.
Hard to believe another year has passed so quickly, but 2015 is swiftly winding down. But, before ushering in 2016, I’d like to offer up one last healthy prescription. Long time readers of this site and my Twitter followers know that I’ve been on the coconut bandwagon for quite some time. This once maligned food and ingredient is now considered conditionally healthy by many health experts. Still, there are enough dissenting voices in the alternative and mainstream media to stimulate uncertainty in the minds of some. Today, I hope to put those unconvinced minds at ease when it comes to the enjoyment and health benefits of coconut.
These days there are more exercise alternatives than ever before. At community pools you can do aquatic aerobics and balance training. Athletic clubs and gyms offer a wide array of classes from Crossfit to Pilates, in addition to mind-body exercises such as Qigong, Tai Chi and various styles of yoga. Even traditional martial arts and boxing are now commonly practiced as novel ways of getting into better shape. From my perspective, this is a very positive trend. Keeping exercise interesting and varied helps a lot people stick to a regular fitness routine.
Strong emotions have an upside and a downside. Even love can be harmful if it’s directed in an inappropriate way. This truism is particularly apt in the case of anger. Under ideal circumstances, anger can be a tool that changes circumstances of all kinds. The ire of a populace can alter unjust laws and regulations. A fiery exchange between friends or a couple can spur important conversations that can positively alter relationships. But, too much anger or anger that is held on to for prolonged periods of time, can literally damage your health.
One of the hottest new supplements in the natural health marketplace is Moringa oleifera. The leaves of this “miracle tree” are frequently described as an exotic “super food” because of their nutrient density and subtropical origin. So, on the one hand, you’ll often find organic, powdered forms of M. oleifera leaves in high-end health food stores. And, at the same time, a lesser processed version is sometimes used as an ingredient in the diets of poor communities where malnutrition is common.
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, the famed Spanish author of “Don Quixote”, once proclaimed, “He who sings scares away his woes!”. However, there is a mistaken or, at least, incomplete perception of singing in the modern era. It’s true that many associate singing with happiness and health. But, it is often assumed that those who are happy and feel good sing as a consequence of their positive lot in life. What science is beginning to discover is that singing itself can actually promote a more positive mental state and well-being in general – even in those who lack one or both of these attributes.
Recently, I was asked an intriguing question that regularly comes up in my line of work. A friend of the site wondered whether eating too many “super foods” or going overboard on supplements can increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke. There are two types of stroke: hemorrhagic and ischemic. According to the National Stroke Association, only about 15% of strokes are the hemorrhagic variety. This form of stroke involves bleeding in the brain caused by damaged or weakened arteries and blood vessels. Cerebral blood spills build up pressure in the cranium and subsequently damage the brain.
Every once in awhile I get the undeniable urge to share something that’s a little “out there”, even by my standards. Usually, this comes about as a result of some mad chemistry experiment in the Healthy Fellow kitchen or lab. But still, don’t dismiss today’s recipe right off the bat. Although this unconventional meal may sound a bit unusual, it just might fill an important role in your quest for genuinely healthy “fast food”.
The importance of gut bacteria has become a red hot topic over the last several years. Best-selling books by the likes of Drs. David Perlmutter (“Brain Maker” ), Gerard Mullin (“The Gut Balance Revolution”) and Raphael Kellman (“The Microbiome Diet”) have ushered in a new era of “probiotic-medicine”. In previous decades, research on gut microbiota primarily focused on bacterial imbalance (aka dysbiosis) and its role in digestive disorders, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. These days, specialists in the field are closely examining diversity and quantities of gut bacteria in relation to diseases ranging from depression to obesity. However, along with these exciting new findings comes many questions about how to practically manipulate gut microbiota.
It’s time to come clean. I’ve been putting off writing this blog for several days. The research was ready. I had a mental outline of what I wanted to say. But, I was concerned that I wouldn’t do the topic justice. And, perhaps more importantly, composing this column will make real for me an event that I so wish never happened: the death of Dr. Wayne Dyer at the young age of age 75.
The finest natural therapies combine several important elements. Ideally, they’re free or low in cost and don’t require specialized equipment. They should be evidence-based and easy to perform. And, whenever possible, it helps if a remedy produces results consistently and quickly. A daily hand massage provides all of these attributes and many others.
Alcohol abuse is a major health care and societal issue in the United States and around the world. Fortunately, there is greater awareness about alcoholism than ever before. And, consequently, there are now many treatment options available for those who are ready to seek help. But, even willing alcoholics sometimes find that conventional therapies aren’t sufficient to keep them “dry”. That’s where evidence-based, alternative and complementary options can make a big difference.
The inspiration for today’s healing elixir is the “dog days” of summer. It’s been hot, muggy and, some refreshment is definitely in order! But, there’s a twist to this recipe: it can be tweaked ever so slightly to make it into a warm, soothing beverage for the frosty days of winter as well.
These days, many nutritionists are no longer recommending a low fat diet as the be-all and end-all for promoting health. I agree! It’s absolutely fine, and, even advisable, for most people to eat moderate to large amounts of healthy fats. Foods such as avocados, grass fed meat, nuts, omega-3 eggs, seeds and wild fish can be enjoyed regularly without any sense of guilt or lingering uncertainty. But, the thing to keep in mind is that the components of any given diet do not exist in isolation. The health effects of dietary fat are influenced by the composition of your overall diet. For instance, a potato chip snack which is high in carbohydrates and fat will affect your body much differently than avocado slices wrapped in prosciutto. A typical serving of the latter may contain an equivalent amount of fat, but is much lower in carbohydrates and a richer source of protein.
In part one of this column, I mentioned that Parkinson’s disease (PD) is in the news on a weekly basis. Since writing that first piece, several articles about PD have appeared in various publications. Time magazine reports that diabetes drugs “may offer hope for Parkinson’s disease treatment”. EurekAlert, an influential science news resource, describes mounting evidence supporting the use of low-dose lithium to reduce involuntary muscle movements – a common side-effect of carbi- and levo-dopa treatment. There’s even a story about how some PD patients are literally fighting back against the disease by taking part in non-contact boxing.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is in the news on a weekly basis. According to the National Parkinson’s Foundation, there are approximately 50,000 to 60,00 new cases of PD diagnosed each year in the US alone. And, currently, it is estimated that up to 6,000,000 adults are living with PD worldwide. Thankfully, a significant amount of research is being directed at finding a cause and successful treatment for Parkinson’s. Still, it’s widely acknowledged that there’s a long way to go before a cure can be claimed.