Monday, May 4, 2009

May Russian River Times Publication

I am contributing to the Russian River Times, a local small town newspaper in my community. The following is May's publication

Promoting Health One Bite At A Time
You are what you eat right? Well, sort of. More accurately, you are what you absorb and assimilate.

What does nutrition mean to you? Do you understand the importance of a healthy diet? Does this mean count your calories, count your points, restrict your fat and exercise more? That’s the story that your Dr. will give you but is it accurate? No, not really. It’s a much larger more complex picture than that and the previous recommendations just aren’t working.

Because of the confusing USDA dietary recommendations, the average American now consumes approximately 150lbs. of sugar per year in various forms. Sugar is inflammatory, and degrading to the immune system. In order to assimilate the sugar, the body pulls valuable vitamins and minerals from bones and tissue of the human frame thereby sacrificing healthy immune response.

As a nutrition educator, I am saddened by our current state of health in this country. How did the “richest country in the world” become the sickest and the fattest? 2/3 of the American people are obese and of those 2/3, most have diabetes one of the deadliest preventable diseases of our time. Deadly and preventable? Stop for a moment and say it…..deadly and preventable. Actually, many of our modern diseases are preventable. In 2003 the surgeon general reported that 68% of the deaths in this country could have been prevented through lifestyle change. If you knew that, in one to five years you could be hospitalized or dead if you didn’t change your eating habits, would you? Well, you know now. I just informed you that our current Standard American Diet, or just use the acronym SAD, is responsible for disease and death. Yes, the acronym for our current state of nutrition is referred to as SAD.

Let’s take a look back to my opening statement “You are what you absorb and assimilate”. This, my friends and neighbors should be thought provoking to you. If the majority of your food choices are based on nutrient density rather than taste, you are a unique and rare individual. Eating strictly for taste is one of two things. Either the individual lacks knowledge and is receiving their nutrition information through what I like to call 30 second media sound bites or the individual lacks nutritional maturity. That is, knowing the right choices yet making the wrong choices because “donuts taste good”. I ask you, do donuts carry Vitamins A, D, E, K, B or C? You know the answer, and so do I.

It is my goal to contribute to this paper monthly with information that will help you make the choices that will create an atmosphere for healthy cellular regeneration, immune support, well being and vitality. If after you’ve read my contributing columns and you still eat based strictly on taste, you are being immature and should prepare yourself for the inevitable illness and disease that is sure to follow. We have alarming rates of cancer, more heart disease than ever before, thyroid disruption, cold, flu and now we must worry about pandemics! Is your immune system ready to take on a pandemic flu? Not if you’re practicing the SAD way of life.

Dust off the fruit bowl, fill it up and begin with Mother Nature’s original 100 calorie snack pack, the apple!

The most important wealth is health. Remember, you have choices, choose foods that provide you with life, not death.

I leave you with these thoughts and I look forward to contributing each month and hope that I can help you or someone you know gain greater health, lose un-wanted pounds, boost the immune system, ease child behavioral complications and increase wellness through healthy cellular regeneration. You have a whole new body every 8 years. Let’s make it count. You’re going to be surprised at some of the old myths that I will dispel for you so you can begin eating satiating nourishing foods, and start living..

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Low Vitamin D levels found in acutely ill patients

If you learn nothing else from me, you should remember that Vitamin D is as far as I'm concerned the most important supplement one could take. Remember, there are only 2 ways to obtain Vitamin D. The first, through that of the sun and your cholesterol. Cholesterol plays an important role in the uptake of Vitamin D. It is converted in the kidney and without sun or the supplementation of Vitamin D3 in the form of cholecalciferol, you are most likely deficient if you live above the equator. Now when I ask folks how they are getting their Vitamin D, the first thing women will tell me is "Well it's added to my calcium source". That would be ergocalciferol, Vitamin D from plant matter. Unfortunately, that's not the correct form we're looking for here. Yes, D2 assists in the uptake of calcium and is helpful in the prevention of osteoperosis but it's not the complete picture. The story below from my favorite source, Science Daily is a great example of just how deficient we are. With the current h1n1 virus, your vitamin D is your immune system.

Carlsons Vitamin D3 drops, High Quality Cod Liver Oil like Carlsons Lemon Flavored 500mg DHA as well, 20 minutes exposure to summer sun will help boost your immune system and pave the road to good health. If you suffer pain like fibromyalgia, a 25OHD test might just be in order for you!

ScienceDaily (May 2, 2009) — A group of endocrinologists in Sydney have observed that very sick patients tend to have very low levels of Vitamin D. The sicker they are, the lower the levels.
Dr Paul Lee, Professor John Eisman and Associate Professor Jackie Center, researchers at Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research, examined a cohort of 42 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients. Forty-five percent turned out to be Vitamin D deficient.

"Until now, the medical community has thought of Vitamin D deficiency as a chronic condition," said Dr Lee. "Little is known about its acute complications."

"Last year, we published several cases showing that Vitamin D deficiency can cause acute complications in the intensive care unit."
"Recently, Vitamin D has been recognised for its many roles beyond the musculoskeletal system. It has been implicated in diabetes, in the immune system, in cancers, in heart disease and in metabolic syndrome."

"Vitamin D appears to have roles in controlling sugar, calcium, heart function, gut integrity, immunity and defence against infection. Patients in ICU suffer from different degrees of inflammation, infection, heart dysfunction, diarrhoea and metabolic dysregulation – so vitamin D deficiency may play a role in each of these common ICU conditions."
"So we did a preliminary study and found that 45% of people in our ICU were Vitamin D deficient. There may be a bias, in that all patients were referred to endocrinology, so the numbers may not reflect the prevalence in a standard ICU cohort. However 45% is still a significant proportion.

When the team correlated the Vitamin D levels with a disease severity score, there was a direct correspondence between sickness and Vitamin D deficiency. In other words, the sicker someone was, the lower the levels of Vitamin D. Out of the 42 patients studied, there were 3 deaths. The 3 patients who died all had the lowest level of Vitamin D in the cohort.
"Perhaps when we are well, we have ways to compensate for organ dysfunction if we run low on Vitamin D," said Lee.

"But when we are very sick, the "sick organs" draw upon any vitamin D available to function properly, therefore we may need extra Vitamin D to maintain organ function during critical illness. However, at this stage, we don't know whether Vitamin D deficiency is just a marker of ill health, or whether it contributes to disease severity."

Lee believes that the study, while preliminary, is important because it highlights the fact that Vitamin D deficiency is common in intensive care units and is associated with disease severity.
The next step will be a randomised control study to investigate whether Vitamin D has benefits in critically ill patients. In simple terms, two groups of patients (who are evenly matched) will be treated, with Vitamin D added to the treatment of one group, but not the other. The outcomes will then be compared.

So should doctors be trying to raise the Vitamin D levels of their patients in the meantime?
Dr Lee hopes the randomised study may provide a more definitive answer to the question. "However, Vitamin D is very safe. It's inexpensive and has a very large safety window, making toxicity unlikely, unless there are underlying diseases causing high calcium. Giving vitamin D to severely deficient patients is very unlikely to cause harm. In addition, ICU patients are lying in bed for a long time, and are at risk of bone loss and osteoporosis. So if nothing else, Vitamin D will help protect their bones."

These findings will be published as a letter in the April 30, 2009 issue of theNew England Journal of Medicine.

Our first true love, chocolate!

Chocolate comes from the cacao tree (genus name theobroma cacao, meaning 'food of the gods') which grows up to 12 feet tall in the rainforests of Ivory Coast, Belize, and other equatorial countries. The tree produces large pods that look like footballs, which contain seeds known as cacao beans. The beans are harvested, fermented, roasted and ground into a powder that is the basis of chocolate. Why does this matter? Because cacoa pods are berries. That's right. Chocolate is a fruit. In its unprocessed form, it is one of the healthiest fruits you can eat. It is full of flavanols, potent antioxidants that neutralize free radicals in the body. In fact, Cornell University food scientists discovered that cocoa powder has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine, and three times more than that of green tea.

Chocolate is also high in minerals including magnesium, calcium, and zinc And it contains the substances tryptophan, PEA and anandamide, which trigger the release of numerous feel-good brain chemicals. No wonder our love for chocolate is almost euphoric!
Try a few squares of high quality dark chocolate for some of the less healthy treats you already eat. It's important to choose dark chocolate, since the addition of milk appears to inhibit the beneficial antioxidant effects. So yes, your favorite hershey's milk chocolate is out!

The healthiest ways to indulge your chocolate cravings is by eating raw organic unprocessed cacao beans, also known as cacao nibs which can be purchased at your local health food store. They can be eaten by the handful, or added to trail mix. I make a nice trail mix with walnuts, fresh organic coconut shavings, dehydrated blueberries and cacao nibs. The next best option is organic unroasted cocoa powder (non-alkalized.) Mix it with heavy whipping cream for a delicious chocolaty drink or use it in baking.

Another great way to get your healthy chocolate fix is by eating organic dark chocolate with the highest percentage of cocoa and lowest amount of refined sugar (bitter or semi-sweet dark chocolate.) Since the good news about dark chocolate is out, it is widely available, even at your supermarket! My favorites are Endangered Species 88% (pretty hardcore) and Green & Black's organic 85%.

Friday, May 1, 2009

h1 n1 previously known as "The Swine Flu"

Do you fear the next big pandemic? Are you pricing face masks for fear that you just might be the next victim? Or, are you pretty confident that your immune system is pumped up and ready to go?

Some say it's the survival of the fittest and this could ring true. When I say survival of the fittest, I mean those that are aware that the body has an awesome ability to heal itself if properly cared for and given the tools to do so it can fight off disease the moment it hits the system and more effectively than any medication or antibiotic.

We know that this flu is transferred from human to human via respiratory spores. While sanitation is so very important, those hard working T-Cells need to be strong and ready to jump to action.

When one consumes a primarily processed foods lifestyle, this gives no nutrition to the human frame therefore forcing the system to borrow valuable vitamins and minerals from your tissue, blood and bones. This reduces your immune response ability and opens you up to the latest pandemic among other illness and disease.

Some tips from me include:

Practice a whole fresh foods lifestyle, avoid processed refined foods

Include fruits and vegetables high in Vitamin C like berries, green leafy vegetables and squash and pumpkin. I like Acerola Cherry wafers and 2-4 wafers daily is a nice immune booster.

Vitamin D is one of your primary immune support micronutrients and I recommend Cod Liver Oil as well as Vitamin D3 in the form of cholecalciferol. Carlsons D3 drops are nice!

Avoid sugar! It is said that one teaspoon of sugar can supress the immune system for many hours and even days. A soda has about 12 tsp.

Consume coconut oil. With its anti-viral, anti-microbial properties, it's the perfect prescription to lower that potential viral load!

Again, this just might be the survival of the fittest and if you think this is the last one, brace yourself. We are an unhealthy world and without nutrition reform in your own household, disease is eminent.

How fit is your immune system?