Archive for January, 2010

St. John’s Wort News

January 29, 2010 Written by JP

Manufacturers of herbal remedies rely on industry support, word of mouth and the occasional, positive scientific study to spur the sale of their products. This basic formula is a necessity because most alternative “medicines” will never corner their respective market or successfully make their way into the mainstream medical system. What ends up happening is that much less money is spent actively promoting said products. Likewise the overall sales figures are also much more modest than what is found in the pharmaceutical sector. This dynamic tends to promote a climate where trends dictate what supplements become darlings and which ones are put out to pasture. Read more »

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 6 Comments & Updates

Achieving Health Goals

January 28, 2010 Written by JP

The most cost effective way to reduce medical spending is to require less of it. This isn’t a commentary on what the government or private health insurance companies should or should not cover. What I am suggesting is that we can, in large part, control the number of medical interventions that we’ll need over a lifetime. This is primarily the domain of preventive medicine, but I think it extends beyond that. The lifestyle decisions you make affect more lives than just your own. Like it or not, we all set an example whether constructive or destructive for those around us. There is no escaping that reality. The good news is that we’re all capable of changing the way we live and becoming better role models. It is that very notion that can empower us all to participate in reshaping the current medical system. Read more »

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Posted in Alternative Therapies | 13 Comments & Updates

Essential Minerals

January 27, 2010 Written by JP

My parents, Giuliana and Gianfranco, have contributed greatly to my understanding of natural medicine. Anyone who knows my folks will tell you that they’re among the most generous and kindhearted people you could ever hope to meet. Being exposed to that type of example has obviously been of tremendous value. But perhaps the most important gift they’ve given me with respect to my profession is allowing me to learn through their experience. They’ve placed their faith and trust in me as a consultant in most of their health care decisions. Part of this long term arrangement involves me designing a tailor-fit diet, exercise routine and supplement program for them both. Along the way, I’ve learned some lessons – chief among them is that it’s absolutely vital for me to fully comprehend and explicitly convey why I recommend what I recommend. Read more »

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Posted in Diabetes, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 22 Comments & Updates

Pu-erh Tea

January 26, 2010 Written by JP

It’s a dark and rainy day here in southern California. The weather is just perfect for bundling up in warm clothes and steeping some Camellia sinensis leaves in my new glass tea pot. When most people think of tea black or green tea usually comes to mind. But have you heard of or tried pu-erh tea? This is an ancient brew that differs slightly from black and green tea but is sometimes erroneously classified as being the same. Read more »

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Heart Health | 7 Comments & Updates

Theaflavins and Heart Health

January 25, 2010 Written by JP

As a big fan of movies, quotations from films are often in the forefront of my mind. One line of dialogue that’s made an indelible impression on me is from the 2005 box-office bomb, The Weather Man. In the film, the esteemed actor Michael Caine offers some prescient words of wisdom to his adult son, played by Nicolas Cage. “Do you know that the harder thing to do and the right thing to do are usually the same thing? Nothing that has meaning is easy. ‘Easy’ doesn’t enter into grown-up life”. That advice was given with regard to a failing marriage, but it I think it applies to almost every aspect of life and, quite specifically, to natural medicine. Read more »

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Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Nutrition | 10 Comments & Updates

Rheumatoid Arthritis Alternatives

January 22, 2010 Written by JP

When I was growing up I had a friend who became a doctor. I remember going to his home one day and asking for his advice about a medical dilemma with which I was grappling. In my 20’s I struggled with depression. It had become severe enough for my doctor to suggest that I begin using a prescription antidepressant. But I had reservations. I was concerned about the impressive list of reported side effects and a whole host of adverse reactions that might occur during the course of long term use. It literally felt like a lose-lose situation. If I was lucky, I might experience an improvement in mood. However, I was almost assured of one or more unintended consequences of treatment such as constipation, dry mouth, insomnia, nausea, restlessness and sexual dysfunction. The feelings that I experienced during that decision making process are shared by many people. And it’s not exclusive to those with depression. Anyone who is prescribed a powerful medication for a chronic condition may very well share similar thoughts. Read more »

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Nutritional Supplements | 27 Comments & Updates

Earthing and Grounding

January 21, 2010 Written by JP

A reader recently inquired about an holistic practice commonly referred to as “earthing” or “grounding”. The question was a like a portal to my past. I was first exposed to the concepts behind this therapy when I studied holistic medicine in Arizona many years ago. In essence, grounding is, supposedly, a therapeutic process by which you connect with the earth. A popular theory behind its reputed healing power is that electrons present in the earth’s surface can be passed on to physical bodies when a person walks barefoot or sleeps on the natural ground. An expert in the field of earthing, Dr. James L. Oschman, describes the exchange in this way, “The most reasonable hypothesis to explain the beneficial effects of earthing is that a direct earth connection enables both diurnal (daily) electrical rhythms and free electrons to flow from the earth to the body”. Hypothesis and proposed mechanisms are helpful as far as they go. But the real question in my mind is whether there’s any serious science that supports these assertions and the many claims made by purveyors of grounding products. Read more »

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Heart Health, Mental Health | 35 Comments & Updates

Healthy Chipotle Taco Recipe

January 20, 2010 Written by JP

A recurrent theme in the Healthy Fellow household is a lively debate about whether people are capable of real change. Can a long time liar one day decide to walk the path of truth? Is a habitual criminal at the age of 17 destined to break laws throughout the entirety of his life? Similar questions can be applied to health issues as well. Will chain smokers ever stop their self-destructive habit? How about “rageoholics” or morbidly obese individuals? My general position is that profound change is available to us all. It certainly doesn’t always happen and there are probably countless reasons why. But every morning when I look in the mirror, I see the reflection of someone who’s radically different than he was a year ago. When I look at my wife, I see a beautiful woman who has transformed her life in the past and continues to do so by addressing her own set of challenges. These are but a few of the reasons why I’m convinced that change is indeed possible and that hope is not wasted on believing so. Read more »

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Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition, Recipes | 10 Comments & Updates

Plastic Chemical Danger

January 19, 2010 Written by JP

There’s a poignant scene in the film The Shawshank Redemption where an old prisoner is set free into a world that hardly resembles the one he left behind. Automobiles whiz past him as he tries to cross the street. His parole appointed job is at a fast paced market unlike any small town grocery store from his youth. It seems the whole world got in a great big hurry while he was away and he doesn’t like one bit. The speed of modern life is ever increasing. It’s hard to say how exactly this trend started. But it’s safe to say that at this point it’s driven primarily by consumer demand. A large enough segment of the population wants products and services that bring convenience home and streamline the many details that make up daily living. Read more »

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Posted in Children's Health, General Health, Women's Health | 15 Comments & Updates

Natural Cancer Fighters

January 15, 2010 Written by JP

The other night I found myself at a local card room. I was sitting at a “No-Limit Texas Hold ’em” table playing poker with a motley group of strangers. Poker isn’t your standard form of gambling. It does involve a certain measure of luck, but it mostly requires a particular set of observational and social skills. It so happens that these same skills can be extremely beneficial in parts of life that extend far beyond the confines of the felt table, the clattering chips and shuffling cards. About half way through the evening, a rather gruff looking gentleman took a seat at the table. He looked like the kind of guy you wouldn’t want to upset or even look at the wrong way. But if there’s one lesson that poker teaches you it’s that you should never entirely trust the obvious. So I began chatting with this biker-type fellow as he devoured an enormous ice cream sundae with plenty of peanuts on top. In the course of about 15 minutes, he revealed to me that was suffering from terminal cancer. He didn’t much care about dressing well or shaving because he didn’t expect to be around for much longer. Talk about a punch to the gut! Read more »

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Detoxification, Nutrition | 19 Comments & Updates

Proactive Patients

January 14, 2010 Written by JP

I was recently reminded of one of the most important tools available to us as patients: awareness. The quality of care we receive can be greatly influenced by the feedback we provide to our treating physicians. A seemingly insignificant change in how we feel such as headache, muscle pain or an occasional “racing heart beat” could identify whether a new medication or therapy is working or life threatening. Likewise, it’s important to be mindful of any minute or substantial signs of positive changes as well. In short, we need to understand what we should expect from any new treatment and then pay close attention to any potentially related reactions. Read more »

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Posted in Heart Health, Nutrition, Women's Health | 2 Comments & Updates

Music Therapy

January 13, 2010 Written by JP

Just because something seems simple doesn’t necessarily make it so. This is a stumbling block that I often see conventional scientists run into when discussing alternative or complementary therapies. How can everyday food possibly be as effective as a medication that’s taken millions of dollars and countless MDs and PhDs to create? Laughter is an enjoyable activity, but it can’t possibly improve cardiovascular health or survival in cancer patients. The very notion that supposedly un-serious activities such as artistic expression, listening to music or practicing generosity and kindness can alter one’s physiology is a difficult pill to swallow for many allopathically minded researchers. Read more »

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Women's Health | 16 Comments & Updates

Top 5 Natural Health News Items

January 12, 2010 Written by JP

One of most common problems that writers have is a nagging inability to self edit. It may seem odd, but it’s much easier for many scribes to write articles, novels or screenplays that are too long rather than too short. When I compose my daily column, I find that I generally have an over abundance of information to share. Therefore, I need to carefully pick and choose among my source information. But even so, I still end up with blog entries that tend to be lengthier than desired. This is especially problematic because I very much want to provide clear and concise resources on this site. One possible solution I’m currently toying with is the use of occasional lists. Instead of writing columns that are comprised of densely constructed paragraphs, I’ll simply select 5 noteworthy studies or topics and briefly describe their relevance as I see it. Read more »

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Posted in Children's Health, Nutrition, Nutritional Supplements | 7 Comments & Updates