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Increase Your Growth (Repair) Hormone Naturally

Just a quick note to say what some may already know...  In my studies on Melatonin and Human Growth Hormone, I keep running across the expert opinion that taking Melatonin at bed-time and turning in between 9-10 pm causes a natural doubling in the amount of Growth Hormone one would have secreted otherwise.

Blood levels of Melatonin naturally decline as you age, this decline probably being at least one cause of insomnia as you get older.  I've just came across several studies that seem to bear out the opinion that bedtime Melatonin increases blood levels of Growth Hormone, and that make me much more confident in recommending to all my patients, that they start around 35-45 years of age, taking 1 to 3 mg of Melatonin at bedtime, and trying really heard to get to bed at a decent hour.  HGH, as you may know, is responsible for hundreds of good things in your body, from healing damage to keeping you as youthful as possible.  Wouldn't it be great if you could double your HGH levels simply by taking a completely safe and natural supplement and going to bed before the late show?

I have been doing both these things for about 6 months, and I'll have to admit I can see a subtle but real difference in my ability to be more fit and to heal, both physically and mentally.  You must understand, this confession comes begrudgingly from a formerly self-avowed night-owl!  For decades I prided myself on staying up really late; it was my prime quiet time to study and contemplate.  Now I will have to eat a little crow and admit to the wisdom of old Ben Franklin's saying that my grand-mother quoted to me often, " Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." 

Yeah, I know, Granny, I know...

Can You Speed Healing After Surgery?

Here is a study that seems to show what many of us suspected.  Ligament tears in the knee are the injury/surgery looked at in this study, and the results look quite promising.

     Click here to read the Study Abstract...

Here is the important part of the Abstract:
During this inflammatory challenge (injury/surgery), the peak isometric force increases after surgery were significantly lower in those with plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations <30 ng/mL compared with those with concentrations ≥30 ng/mL. The authors conclude that low vitamin D appears to hinder strength recovery after anterior cruciate ligament surgery and during inflammatory insult.
This makes perfect sense, considering  the biochemistry of Vitamin D.  It seems a very wise idea to recommend Vitamin D supplementation both before and after any surgical procedure to improve recovery time and repair.  Getting your Vitamin D level checked as part of the pre-op lab work-up also seems a wise decision.

This study does not prove that having a good Vitamin D level promotes healing, but it sure does seem to suggest it.  Supplementing Vitamin D in yourself or a loved one about to undergo any type of surgery, or after an injury, sounds like a very cheap and safe way to protect and heal tissue, with virtually no down-side.

A simple blood test can reveal your current Vitamin D level.  Has anyone had problems getting their Doc to order the test?  Do you know your Vitamin D level?

Oh, and for two weeks before and after surgery, DON'T SMOKE!  Sorry, had to throw that one in there.

Just a thought...

Are These Your Top Foods?

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal
A Good Book
The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture keeps up with the foods eaten by Americans.  You would think with all the recent talk of eating healthier that they would be finding us eating much better; sorry, but that is not the case.  They recently listed the top nine food products, here they are:
  • Whole Cow's Milk
  • White Bread
  • Refined Sugar
  • 2 Percent Cow's Milk
  • White Flour
  • Soda, Primarily Colas    (seriously people? come on!)
  • Processed American Cheese
  • White Rolls
  • Ground Beef
So if you took all foods produced from Cows and Wheat off the market, the average American would starve to death; and, some research shows that soda is the Number One source of calories in the U.S.  These facts reveal just how bad our diet really is, and explains why well over half of us are overweight.  Let us start the trend, the revolution, that will begin to correct this unhealthy pattern in our country.  Let's make our top nine foods:
  • Vegetables (organic if possible)
  • Fruits (organic if possible)
  • Chicken (free-range if possible)
  • Tree Nuts and Seeds
  • Fish (not farm-raised)
  • Berries (grow your own!)
  • Almond/Coconut/Hemp Milk
  • Eggs (free-range if possible)
  • Stevia, Agave Nectar, Raw Honey
The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat
The Way to Eat
You don't have to make all of these changes at once, but you do need to start today.  You are what you eat; computer programmers have a saying, "Garbage in, garbage out."  That saying also applies, I think, to the foods you put inside your body, and the bodies of your family.  The boring, day-to-day choices you make about your diet add up to the body and the health you will enjoy.

Some tidbits to remember, potatoes and ketchup are not vegetables, peanut butter is not a meat, peanuts are not nuts, and for my Southern friends, deep-fried farm-raised catfish is not a fish...

Feel free to forward this post to a friend who might be making wrong choices.

Food Stamps for Multi-Vitamins?

Pomology Women's Daily Multivitamin Tablets, 120-count BottleDid you know that folks on Food Stamps cannot use their monthly funds to buy an age-appropriate multi-vitamin, but they can use them to buy the Lucky Charms, Twinkies and 3-Liter Cokes?

Who thinks this is a good idea?


Obese Kids Become Obese Adults - Proven

I become livid when thinking of the junk-food that young parents are tricked into thinking is healthy and nourishing for their children.  A recent study in JAMA shows that allowing your child to become obese could curse them with a lifetime of adult obesity.

This study followed about 80 obese children and found out that (surprise) they grew up to be obese adults.
Of course this study doesn't mean these children will have no choice in the matter later on should they be obese in childhood, it simply means the likelihood of being obese later in life is increased.  As adults we are all responsible for our own health, but as parents you are in charge of your child's diet and lifestyle.

So, as parents, it is your duty to clear your mind of all the ads for sugary cereal and "fun" places for kids to eat, and rememeber that your job is to raise a healthy, capable adult human who can then in turn raise your grand-children properly.  Here are a few thoughts that are important in this process:

  • Buy Real Food - As the grown-up in the house you buy the groceries, so stop buying the junk!  If it's not in the cabinets or in the frig, they will not be able to eat it any longer.  You shouldn't be cruel and make every needed change over night, but starting today, gradual, continuous changes need to be made.  When a child grows up eating raw fruits, veggies, berries and lean cuts of healthy chicken, turkey and fish, they think this is how you are suppossed to do it, and that's how they do it as a grown up.  If a daily trip (or two) to Mc-Wendy-King's is part of their childhood, they won't be able to picture an adult-hood without it.  If the cabinets and fridge are filled with good choices, it is not cruel of you to allow your kids to skip a meal or two in protest, or for them to actually feel some real hunger-pangs.  When they get truly hungry, they will gobble up all the tasty, healthy food you have made available.  A good rule of thumb: If you see it advertised on TV, it's probably not real food.
  • Set a Good Example - As the parent, you are setting the example for the next generation, your children.  I see folks in the office all the time who think they have bad "genetics", who in reality just learned to eat like their parents, who made bad choices regularly.  These patterns and habits have become so hard-wired into their brain they can't even imagine a healthy junk-free lifestyle as a possible reality.  
  • Train the Elephant While He is Young - The fable goes, when a baby elephant begins life with the circus, he is tied to a stake in the ground with a regular-sized piece of rope.  Try as he might, he cannot break this rope and thus "learns" that it is too strong to break.  When he is grown, he still "know"s he can not break this rope and doesn't even try.  If a grown elephant not raised in this manner where tied with this same rope, he would snap it effortlessly and walk away.  The diet and lifestyle examples you set during the toddler and childhood years are hard-wired into your child's brain and will become part of their adult life.  Remember, they are watching you all the time, even when you think they are not.
  • Food is fuel, not entertainment - There is nothing wrong with an occasional piece of Birthday Cake or a rare visit to Mc-Wendy-King's, but these should be rare treats, not daily (or even weekly) expectations.  Television and Magazine ads attempt to indoctrinate your children to want these things all the time for one reason, to make money.  The huge corporations are not interested in raising healthy children, they are interested in raising their quarterly profits.  Minimize the number of ads your children see when possible and explain to them why theses huge companies make such commercials.  Kids catch on quickly to the idea of commercials being a trick.  Abby Grace (under 10 years old as of this writing) was intrigued by the idea that the Clown on TV was an actor and trying to "trick" her into wanting more pseudo-chicken nuggets.  Recently, after watching a commercial portraying a lucky little green fellow adding yet another color of marsh-mellow to an already sugar-coma cereal she said, "They'r just tryin' to make more money, aren't they Daddy?"  
  • Live the Lifestyle - If you turn off the TV and actually appear to enjoy going outside and playing with your kids, they will think this behavior is normal.  There's nothing wrong with watching the occasional show with your kids, but TV should not define your life or your lifestyle.  In order to think that being a healthy, active adult is normal, they need to actually see you living that lifestyle.  Preaching it but not living it will not work.
  • Give Them a Multi-Vitamin - Get your children used to the idea of taking a supplement when they are young.  I see little evidence of the American diet changing much in the next couple of decades, so they will have to take supplements in order to get the micro-nutrients and minerals they need while living in this multi-national-corporation controlled world.  The American diet is virtually devoid of Vitamin D, so that should be one of their first supplements.
  • Demand they get Plenty of Sleep - Just as you are responsible for what foods are found in your kitchen, you are also in charge of the light-switch, the TV and all the electronic devices that rob your child of the growth-promoting, obesity-fighting benefits of a full night of deep sleep.  Kids need to be in bed by at least 9 pm to have full advantage of the melatonin-cortisol-growth hormone-insulin benefits of a quiet, dark, peaceful sleep environment.  The fact is, a full night's sleep in a dark, quiet bed is as necessary for long-term health as anything else.  And, like most truly good things, it is free.

Your children are probably going to be faced with much harder life circumstances than you were.  It is your job, and should be your pleasure, to prepare them physically to meet these challenges, and mentally to see through all the non-stop advertising and media trickery they will most likely be surrounded by...  It may not be your fault, but it will be their problem; start today preparing them to be healthy and happy adults.

Please pass this message along to the one person you know who needs to hear it.

Popcorn, Nuts and Seeds Do NOT Cause Diverticulitis!

Top Hat Dwarf Blueberry Plant - Bonsai/Patio/Outdoors
Buy and Plant!
One of my greatest pleasures in life is disproving strongly held myths.  I remember clearly in First Grade the soul-satisfying pleasure of telling little Danny Johns that Santa was not real, and that his Mom was the one doing all that stuff.  Of course he cried and asked Ms. Sharp, our all-knowing teacher, if this were true and she quickly corrected me by telling him, "Santa is real if you believe in him..."

Today I will delight in such pleasure once again by screaming loudly from the roof of our little clinic,
"Eating nuts, popcorn and seeds will 
NOT increase your risk of Diverticulitis!"  
I don't care what your doctor or your gastroenterologist (Ms. Sharp) said; this is one of those medical myths that just won't die, but really needs to...  You would think that a concept such as nut-and-seed-induced diverticulitis would have quickly fallen by the wayside in the face of the overwhelming research findings against it, and with absolutely no research supporting the false idea.  There are many such medical myths, widely believed by both doctors and patients, sadly, the doctors often profit from such myths while the patients sometimes suffer.

I have to admit it seems to make common-sense, popcorn pieces and little seeds would seem to stop up the openings of those little out-pouches in the large intestine called diverticuli.  Once stopped up, the little pouch would become inflamed and lead to an attack of diverticulitis.  For several years I thoughtlessly repeated this medical myth to my own patients.  This is a perfect example of how a Medical Myth is created and perpetuated, without any real supporting facts.  This idea/mental image seemed to make so much sense, it must be true.  Well guess what?  Not only is this Medical Myth untrue, it appears that the exact opposite is true, according to a very large study, eating seeds, nuts and popcorn actually decreases one's risk of having diverticulitis.

This study was published a few years ago but evidently many doctors didn't get the memo.  At least once per week, while explaining to a patient what a healthy diet actually is, I am interrupted at my suggestion that eating nuts and seeds is very healthy by the patient's indignant admonition that their GI Doctor told them to never eat nuts, seeds or popcorn.  As you might imagine, this places a stumbling block in the path of our continued discussion of what a healthy diet actually is...

25 Tribute Everbearing Strawberry Plants - BEST BERRY!
Buy and Plant!
The Study I'm referring to followed over 47,000 subjects at least 40 years old, for 18 years.  You may recall from my previous posts that the larger and longer a medical study is, the more reliable the results it will give us.  Not only did this study fail to find a direct link between eating nuts, seeds and popcorn and bouts of diverticulitis, it actually found the exact opposite; the more nuts, seeds and popcorn one eats, the less likely they are to ever have diverticulitis!  My patients who are beginning to follow a more Primal way of eating will find this to make perfect sense.

But still, I have patients returning from their visits with a gastroenterologist reporting they have been told to avoid food containing nuts and seeds.  I would encourage anyone about to keep an appointment with a gastroenterologist to print out a copy of this study and take with them in order to educate the doctor just in case they are given such "advice".  So, what did this very large, very long study find actually caused  diverticulitis?  That's a very good question.

The Primal Blueprint Cookbook: Primal, Low Carb, Paleo, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free
Great Recipes!
The study states, "other known or potential risk factors, including increasing age; body mass index; red meat consumption; lack of physical activity; cigarette smoking; and the over-use of NSAIDs and acetaminophen."  Now we can't do much about getting older, but we can definitely take charge of and improve our weight to height ratio (BMI).  We can add diverticulitis to the long list of bad things caused by smoking.  We can certainly increase our physical activity, and cut down on the total amount of over-the-counter pain relievers we take.

So now we know; and wasn't that fun?

Please forward this message to any friend or relative who is currently afraid to enjoy a tasty, healthy snack containing popcorn, nuts or seeds, their colon will thank you!

Fight Anemia The Pioneer Way

Cooking in cast iron may seem like a throw-back to your Grand-mother's kitchen and not a move forward for your health, but I think if you'll be patient and read on you will find this information quite interesting.  By heeding this advice, not only will you add valuable blood-cell building natural iron to your diet, but quite possibly eliminate a possible carcinogen from your environment.

For years we had used the latest Teflon-coated wonder-skillet in our kitchen for the perceived benefit of enjoying a stick-free cooking experience.  Invariably, one of our kids would cook something in it and wind up using a metal spatula and scratching the surface.  We were quite unaware that this could be bad for our health, we were only upset that our non-stick mojo had been messed with.

Turns out those "coatings" on non-stick cookware can be anything but safe and benign.  They are probably fine as long as everyone in your kitchen handles them delicately and uses the proper cookware when cooking with them.  But, if you are like us and someone might turn their egg with a metal spatula, screw-driver, or a stick from the yard, then you might be risking your health for no reason.  Good quality cast-iron, properly prepared, is just as non-stick, has much less potential for danger, and actually adds good stuff to your diet.

The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook: Recipes for the Best Pan in Your Kitchen
Cast Iron Cookbook
Cookware coated with Teflon and similar products, at least initially, make cooking easier.  But, I have yet to buy a coated skillet and have the coating last for very long.  Where does the missing coating actually go?  Did we eat it one fleck and molecule at a time?  What is it made of?  Just how bad is it?  What about if one of the kids over-heats the skillet after it has been scratched???  Some Google-research will probably make you reconsider your coated cookware and opt instead for a more natural way to cook.

So, I just went out and bought us a nice big Lodge cast-iron skillet and commenced to "season" it.  After a month or so of attempts by me (everyone else abandoned the heavy thing much sooner) I gave up trying to make a pretty egg in it and when back to the Teflon-devil coated skillet.  Recently, I was very happy to learn a thing or two about the art and science of cast-iron cooking.

First let's look at the health benefits of cooking in cast iron. Grandmother's old cast iron skillet (the best kind) contains no harmful chemicals at all, and is actually better than a new skillet.  You could actually grind up the skillet and eat it with no ill effects, except maybe to your teeth.  The blacker the skillet is, the better it will cook.  The shinier the surface is, the more non-stick it will be.

But here is the medical factoid of the day; cooking in cast iron actually adds quite a bit of natural elemental iron to your diet.  How much?  It depends on what you are cooking.  At the bottom of this article is a short list I found very interesting, it comes from a 1986 article in The Journal of The American Diabetic Association.  It is quite possible that the iron skillet which traveled across America with each pioneer family saved the life of many a wife and mother who otherwise would have died from complications of iron-deficiency anemia.

Everything you cook in cast iron has more iron in it after the cooking, some things have substantially increased levels.  Tomato based recipes really pull the iron into the food being prepared, I'm assuming its the acidity that does this.  The obvious question, "If the skillet is giving up all this healthy iron with each meal cooked in it, and it has been used for decades, why has the skillet not disappeared???"  I'm not sure why that doesn't happen but I'm glad it doesn't.  But, what about my less than impressive experience with my new skillet?  Some of you have tried to cook in cast iron and found the results to be less than expected.  The skillets you can buy new today are very heavy and the cooking surface is very rough and neither of these traits endears the skillet to it's owner.  I have found out that, as usual, people had more sense in past years, and that skillets used to be lighter and have much smoother cooking surfaces.

The Paleo Diet Cookbook: More than 150 recipes for Paleo Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, Snacks, and BeveragesThe trick with cast iron cookware is to buy or inherit the right kind and treat it the right way.  Do NOT go out and buy a heavy, new rough-surfaced cast iron skillet or you will be disappointed.  If you are not lucky enough to have inherited a good skillet, get on Ebay.com and bid on the blackest skillet you see made by Griswold.  These Made-in-the-USA skillets are a little lighter, and the cook-surface is much smoother.  The blacker skillets have been treated right through the years and will be virtually stick-proof.  A new skillet must be "seasoned" and if the surface is too rough, this can be quite the frustrating episode in your kitchen-career.

People who find that taking Iron Supplements gives them nausea or constipation will be happy to find they can get the same amount of iron from their skillet without those symptoms.  Iron from a skillet is elemental and is thus immediately absorbed, almost always without any side effects.  Healthy folks with normal iron levels will not be in danger of overdose because of cooking in an iron skillet.


Here is the Chart I promised:

Foods tested (100 g./3 oz.)
Iron content when raw
Iron content after cooking in iron skillet
Applesauce, unsweetened
0.35 mg.
7.38 mg.
Spaghetti sauce
Chili with meat and beans
Medium white sauce
Scrambled egg
Spaghetti sauce with meat
Beef vegetable stew
Fried egg
Spanish rice
Rice, white
Pan broiled bacon
Poached egg
Fried chicken
Pan fried green beans
Pan broiled hamburger
Fried potatoes
Fried corn tortillas
Pan-fried beef liver with onions
Baked cornbread

Interesting Update on Insomnia

You can improve your sleep quality without a prescription.  I just found a great little study about how to improve the quality of your sleep with natural substances you can get over the counter.  Anytime you can treat a condition that affects your quality of life without having to make a trip to the doctor and the pharmacy, I have done my job.

Poor sleep quality is very common as we get older, and the effects can spill over into daylight hours in the form of fuzzy thinking and overall fatigue.  Reaction time is decreased and we tend to be less happy and more grouchy overall as a result of poor sleep quality.

Natrol Melatonin 5mg, 60 Tablets (Pack of 3)
Great for Sleep
A little study performed in a nursing home in Italy has been reported in January in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.  They looked at about 45 residents there; half were given a nightly placebo and the other half were given Melatonin 5mg, Magnesium 225mg and Zinc 11.25mg.  At the end of this 8-week study, all patients were given a test that looked at how they felt they slept and how rested they felt the next day.  The group given the three supplements had much better sleep scores than the placebo group.  I think most people could benefit from a larger supplement of zinc, but the other two are just about right.

Spring Valley Zinc
Needed Supplement
This study was done in the elderly (average age = 78yrs) but given the safety of the supplements, this could be the answer to anyone who is not sleeping well.  I believe that Magnesium and Zinc deficiencies are very common in the elderly, leading to many correctable problems we typically blame on aging alone; and it has been well-known for years that Melatonin can help improve sleep quality.  Zinc and Magnesium are also very effective at reducing the chance of night-time leg cramps, another common sleep interrupter.

Now Foods Magnesium Citrate 200mg, 250 Tablets
Decrease Cramps
I would expect for this trio of supplements to work better for folks over 50 years of age on average.  The older you or your loved one is, the better this regimen should work for improving sleep quality.  If you know someone who complains about their sleep quality, pass this info along to them, it will make them less grouchy!

As always, this regimen will not help if you are eating mostly junk food, interrupting your sleep environment with Computer/TV light, and not getting enough daily exercise.  Your body was made to be active and to run properly on real, natural food.  Sitting on the couch eating Doritos is not the place you want to be, it leads to hundreds of unwanted medical conditions, and decreases you sleep quality as well.  Sorry folks, but you have to behave properly or life is not much fun.

Do You Really have Fibromyalgia?

The Cleveland Clinic Guide to Fibromyalgia (Cleveland Clinic Guides)
A Good Book
Just because you have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia is no guarantee you really have it!  Fibromyalgia is a diagnosis of exclusion which means it should be what is left after your doctor has ruled out all other conditions you could be suffering from.  It should not be the first diagnosis given, but the last one left.

There are multiple conditions and syndromes that can mimic Fibromyalgia, many of which can be completely cured.  Unfortunately, I have seen many patients who were wearing the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, only to discover with further investigation that they suffered from another condition which could be cured.

So I encourage you, before accepting the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, research the conditions below and be sure you were examined and tested to rule each one out:

  • Under-active thyroid 
  • Abnormal Hormone Function
  • Adrenal Gland insufficiency
  • Early Diabetes
  • Fatigue Syndrome (common after some viral infections)
  • Chronic Infection
  • Lupus
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Polymyalgia Rheumatica
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Substance Abuse
  • Malnutrition with our without an eating disorder
  • Undiagnosed Cancer
  • Low Vitamin D Level
  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Elevated Calcium
  • Anemia
  • Undiagnosed Syphilis
  • Undiagnosed HIV
  • What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Fibromyalgia: The Revolutionary Treatment That Can Reverse the Disease
    Another Good One
  • Possible Medication Side Effects (some Cholesterol, Blood Pressure or Psych meds)
If you were diagnosed as having Fibromyalgia without any blood tests being run, then your diagnosis is in question.  There is no blood test that can diagnose Fibromyalgia, but many of the conditions listed above can be ruled out with the proper blood-work.

There are many other conditions which can pretend to be Fibromyalgia, these are just the most likely.  So, if you are newly diagnosed, it is time to put on your thinking-cap, either with our without your doctor, and rule out the other conditions that might be pretending to be Fibromyalgia.

Our New Book!

I am excited to announce the release of a spiffy children's book about going to the doctor.  It was written by Shirley Holladay, a retired elementary school teacher, and illustrated by her daughter, Angela Holladay-Jackson.  I provided only the smallest input concerning medical matters...

This refreshing little book provides parents with an entertaining tale they can read to their child who may have a fear of going to the doctor.  Parents of children who have had to undergo a medical procedure or get a "shot in the booty" in the past will welcome this opportunity for their child to see the doctor as a friend, not a threat.

Oh Gary, Dr. Berry isn't Scary: Visiting the doctor can be a comfortable, pleasant experience.

I recommend this little book for any parent who wants to help their child over come fear of the doctor's office, and yes, perhaps even enjoy and learn from the experience.  I don't make a penny from sales of this book; I just welcome the chance to remove some of the fear I see in little eyes when confronted with the scary prospect of being "examined" and "treated" by The Doctor.

Junk Food is Making Your Kids Dumb!

If you have small children or grand-children, you need to stop what you are doing and read this!

A recent article appearing in the London newspaper The Daily Mail reported the results of a very large study performed in the United Kingdom claiming to show that eating Junk Food prevented children from achieving the IQ they could have otherwise.  As you may know, I am interested in how improving nutrition helps us be better people, so I was intrigued, and read this one with great interest.

The data for this study was harvested from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (Avon=the river/county in England, not the cosmetic).  This huge study looked at many aspects of children, their health, habits and diet.  It took years to compile and sort through all the data they collected during this study.  Researchers are still going through it to discover new information.

The researchers studied 3,966 children over 5-1/2 years and published their findings in The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.  Now, as a general rule of research, the larger a study is, then the more reliable and trustworthy are the results.  If this had been a study of 29 children, you would not be wasting your time right now reading this post.  But, studying this many kids for this long a time-period gives this study great weight and the findings must be presented.

What they found was that in children, consuming Junk Food (highly-processed,  high-sugar, high-fat) was directly linked to a lowering of IQ (Intelligence Quotient, a standard of measuring a kid's smarts).  They researchers of this study balanced the data so that income, location and family situation would be controlled for, thus taking those factors out of the equation.  They only studied diet in these children and found out what we all already thought we knew was true, Junk Food is just that, JUNK.

Jamie's Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals
Good Book...
Kids eating the most junk food in the study had IQ's up to 5 Points lower than their peers!  Any teacher will tell you 5 points is a really big deal.  5 IQ points can mean the difference between going to that good college or working at the factory (if there still is one to work at).  Kids who ate a healthy, natural diet had higher IQ's in the study.

My generation and the generations since have been brain-washed by TV Commercials to believe that this JUNK food is just a trivial little thing, not harmful, and that you are being a Mean-Parent if you don't let your child have the cereal with the rabbit on the box.  We as parents have been seduced by the friendly clown icon of the largest corporate restaurant chain in the world into believing that processed, fake McFood really won't harm our kids; it's all just fun and games, right?

Well, let me speak plainly...  Pretending that what you put into your child's mouth is trivial or fun, or not really that important, is deluded thinking.  Guess what, everyone likes the taste of sweets and junk food.  The multi-national corporations who run the food industry spend BILLIONS each year on all sorts of chemical taste and color enhancers to make their food look and taste good.  You are not being a good parent if you let your toddler choose what she will eat, just like you are not a good parent if you let your 10 year-old decide to drive on the interstate, or let you 12 year-old decide to smoke.  There are reasons we don't let children Vote, and now you have a proven scientifically valid reason to be the one (the Parent) who choses what your child puts into his/her mouth.

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal
Good Book...
There is a large list of pseudo-food you should Never let your child eat again, here are Three.  Birthday Cake is an occasional treat we eat to celebrate the birth of a loved one.  You, as a parent, or grandparent, must make Junk Food become like birthday cake, an occasional treat; it should Not be a daily food.  That is what your Great-Great-Great Grandmother would do...

Please share this with every parent who is raising and feeding a child you care about.  Although this study looked at children from 3 years old to 8.5 years old, these findings certainly apply to children of all ages, and quite possibly to adults as well.

Please post any questions you have about what "junk food" is or is not...

Shots Hurt Less When You Look?

Here is a fascinating story about a study that seems to prove the opposite of what most of us think.

Injections were found to hurt less if you actually watch; in fact, if the body-part being injected is viewed in a magnifying mirror, the injection hurts even less.  This may explain why a trick we use for kids who have to get routine allergy shots.  We have them blow on the needle as the nurse gives the injection.  This helped my oldest son tremendously when he had to get them as a small child.  Maybe it wasn't the blowing, just the looking.

Who'd have thought it?

Click on the Nice Nurse to read the article...
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Would Your Great, Great, Great Grandmother Eat That???

Every thing you put in your mouth matters.  A great rule of thumb to use when deciding if you should eat a certain food is, if you offered it to your great, great, great grandmother, what would she say about it?  If she would happily accept your offering (knowing how it was grown and/or made) and gobble it up, then it is probably safe to eat.  If, however, she would turn up her nose and look at it as if it were foreign garbage, then you should reconsider your choice.

This is a simple way of thinking about eating a more Primal diet.  You see, for at least 10,000 years (per strict creationists) or for millions of years (according to the evolutionists) humans have been eating certain things; and almost never ate other things.  Only for the last 1000 years or so have any humans consistently lived on a grain-based diet, and only for the last 75 years have we eaten the Franken-Food processed-style pseudo-food shoved at us through fast-food windows.  For millenia humans ate greens, veggies, berries, nuts, seeds and small game.  By eating what your G-G-G-Gee'maw would eat, you are returning to the dietary roots of your ancestors and your genes. 

The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to EatThere are compelling arguments that the current "epidemic" of autoimmune diseases and cancers are directly or indirectly related to this aweful diet of ours.  While I don't think this has been proven by cold hard science yet, it sure does seem to make a lot of sense.

Let your new pre-meal question be, "W.W.G.G.G.G.M.D?  (What Would Great-Great-Great-Grandmother-Do?)

Blueberries and Strawberries Lower Blood Pressure - Proven

Hello all.  Again I sit down to write about a proven natural method of improving your health, without having to take a pill.  I tell patients all the time if they can fix their High Blood Pressure or Blood Sugar naturally and no longer need their pills, it will not hurt my feelings at all, and I'm not joking.

Every day in the clinic I see new patients with High Blood Pressure who are shocked when I tell them their condition is quite likely self-inflicted and probably curable, without having to take pills for life.  No doctor has ever talked to them like this; they have only heard the defeatist, un-empowering "all you can do is take a pill the rest of your life" speech.  Now granted, there are some people who just need blood pressure pills due to their genetics or other medical problems; but in reality, they are few and far between.  As we all continue reclaiming our health, and retaking responsibility for our own well-being, more and more patients will no longer be needing those pills.

With that in mind, I'd like to tell you about a recent study showing that natural substances in berries prevent High Blood Pressure and almost certainly decrease existing High Blood Pressure.  You can read the abstract of the study here.  The more I study and read, the more I find these naturally occuring medicines all around.

Berry Grower's Companion
A Great Book
In this study, Harvard scientists studied 134,000 women and 47,000 men from the Nurses Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study over a period of 14 years. None of the people studied had High Blood Pressure at the start of the study. Subjects were asked to complete health questionnaires every 2 years and food intake questionnaires every 4 years. New onset High Blood Pressure during the 14-year period was then related to eating various flavonoid-containing foods.  These very large studies were not done initially to study such things as the effects of eating berries on High Blood Pressure.  But, the researchers recorded so much information about the people in the study we are still able to go back and discover new things by picking through the information and crunching the numbers.

The Backyard Berry Book: A Hands-On Guide to Growing Berries, Brambles, and Vine Fruit in the Home Garden
A Great Book
During the course this huge study, 35,000 people developed High Blood Pressure.  When the researchers looked at the relationship of different foods containing flavonoids and their relationship to High Blood Pressure, they found that people consuming the highest amounts of anthocyanins (found mainly in blueberries and strawberries) were eight per cent less likely to be diagnosed with hypertension than those consuming the lowest amounts. These flavonoids had an even larger effect in people under age 60; so that probably means it is better to start eating right younger in life.

The effect was a little stronger for blueberries than strawberries.   Compared to people who ate no blueberries, those eating at least one serving of blueberries per week were 10 per cent less likely to develop High Blood Pressure.  The researchers seemed shocked by their findings:

“Our findings are exciting and suggest that an achievable dietary intake of anthocyanins may contribute to the prevention of hypertension ...  Anthocyanins are readily incorporated into the diet as they are present in many commonly consumed foods. Blueberries were the richest source ... Other rich sources of anthocyanins ... include black currants, blood oranges, eggplants, blackberries, red grapes and raspberries.”
I love it that these university researchers were surprised and excited to discover health benefits from eating berries.  If just one serving per week had this kind of effect, just imagine what effects a serving per day might have!

Of course it matters how the blueberry has actually been grown, harvested and treated after the harvest.  After the berries have been processed and put into a can, or frozen, all bets are off as to the contents.  The cheapest and healthiest way to enjoy blueberries and receive the greatest amount of these flavonoids is to grow your own.  It is easy to plant blueberry bushes and strawberry plants in your back yard; it is also easy to care for them, and they will live for decades.  In another article, I have written about organically grown berries having more nutrients than the kind you buy at China-Mart; click on the tasty berries on the right to read it.

Akro-Mils RZJMEDI Medium Stack-A-Pot, 30-Quart
Grow them
on your Deck!
If you just can't grow your own, then the ones at China-Mart are much better than nothing; also in the Winter they'll have to do.  Yes, I know they are pricey, but don't forget the money you will be saving on co-pays for that hand-full of pills you no longer take...  Ms. Bridget and I have a back-yard full of blueberry bushes, raspberry brambles and strawberry plants, and we plan on putting in even more this spring.  We are, to say the least, quite busy with our careers and kids, but we find the time to care for these plants so they will care for us.  More than one sunny morning, I have caught Ms. Bridget and Abby Grace eating our raspberries right off the bramble (yes, without washing them; we put no pesticides on them).

This is just another little reminder that you actually are what you eat.  Eat right and you will prosper and flourish; eat junk and you will suffer, and pay lots of co-pays!