SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

September 24, 2009

Gov’t change must aid Due Process rights

American Association  for Health Freedom

Integrative Practitioners—Still Far From a

Level Playing Field

Integrative practitioners face an uphill battle in protecting their right to practice medicine in a manner that assesses the whole patient—mind, body, lifestyle, and genetics.  The entire U.S.  health system is designed based on a single standard of care.  Insurance rules, government reimbursement rates, treatment options, FDA and FTC regulations and enforcement, and state medical board policies are all structured based on a very narrow allopathic model.

Imagine what it is like to invest so many years and so much money into a medical education and residency– and then to lose your license because you used safe and effective natural remedies that have caused no harm and much good. This happens all too often. And the mere threat of it can and is used to intimidate doctors.

For many years, but also in recent months, we have worked for state medical board  reform. We want to be sure that all practitioners, including integrative practitioners, have fundamental due process rights during a disciplinary proceeding.

This legislative session, we assisted in efforts to reform Boards in Texas and North Carolina.  We had success in North Carolina. Legislation there included measures ensuring basic fundamental due process rights such as timely notice of the complaint, full disclosure of the alleged charges, a six (6) month time limit to complete an investigation, and a right to appeal any public disciplinary action.  The bill in Texas had great momentum but, due to a filibuster, the bill never reached a vote prior to the close of the legislative session.

Board reform is also needed with respect to patient privacy rights, conflicts of interest, and other problems with disciplinary hearings.  Boards should not have full access to patient records without patient consent.  Board members should sign under oath a financial disclosure form to ensure there are no relationships between a Board member and a medical practice, medical device company, or a pharmaceutical company that may influence the decision-making process.

The physician under investigation should have full disclosure of the experts the Board consulted in assessing medical competency to ensure that the expert is knowledgeable about the treatment modality under investigation and to ensure the expert has no financial ties that may influence his/her opinion.  Anonymous complaints prevent the physician from preparing a complete answer and defense.  By allowing anonymous complaints, competitors and pharmaceutical companies can file any complaint against an integrative practitioner and the physician has no way of confronting his accusers.

A small number of states have implemented legislation that protects a physician from being disciplined for practicing alternative or complementary medicine.  The integrative medicine community is growing and change is occurring.  But a true shift from the existing conventional “one standard of care” model to a more integrative practice model will require federal and state legislative changes, insurance industry changes, state medical board reform, public education, and ongoing consumer support.

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September 21, 2009

How to Ferment Foods

Much interest in Fermented Foods

(Original post dated 9-21-09)

From what you’ve  heard,  and I perceive, there  seems to be interest in  “fermented foods. ”  Everybody talks about  how it can help to rebuild your inner eco-system;  restore the gut flora, help  assimilate the food you eat better;   clear up a bunch of problems and make the whole gut area “feel better”;  reduce your craving for  sweets in general.  As for me,  after having had problems with understanding my immune system  and eternally trying to find ways to work with it and improve it – –  bells went off when I learned about the process to ferment foods.

I know that I have raved on about my experiences with it now and then.  I have not however actually told you how to do this.   Felt that this was all covered when I explained how I learned about the fermentation process and its benefits from Wholesome Goodness  who used to be in my blogroll before she shut her site down, and also from B.E.D.’s Donna Gates who often speaks on this subject and has shared her recipes with the world – often and is shown in the Body Ecology Diet book.  I remember speaking about Dom whom I found in Australia (his Kefir-Kraut)

Alyson’s tutorial (Wholesome Goodness) on “how-to Ferment Foods” was superb.  It was explicit and complete.  I can not attempt to do over again as I am not equipt with cameras   So this is why I have not given you a detailed account of how I do it or what I do.

While it is true that I tried to ‘teach my grand-daughters during those early, growing up years’  how to function in a kitchen, I did it mostly by osmosis.  Expected it to transfer into their eager little brains through their own desire to learn and copy what they saw.  Both learned how to sharpen knives, mince garlic, dice an onion, toss a salad and we always sat around a table and talked when we raised our forks to enjoy the blessings thereof.  Good years.  Even so, don’t see myself as a teacher – not these days.    When I want to make something special like Biscotti or fermented foods,  I amass all the recipes I value and  find I take something from here and something from there and most often, don’t wind up with the same thing twice and seem to run a very loose ship as they say.  The last time I made the veggies, I forgot about the hot peppers (recently bought and lying fallow in the frig) and I really miss them when I don’t include them.

Let’s Get Started

So, I am going to ramble just a little here on what I actually do to make a big batch.   It is a good practice to assemble all that you will need – bowls, tools, like knives and cutting boards, etc.,  get the food processor out and place all the fresh, stuff out on the counter: e.g. cabbages, carrots, onion, garlic, hot peppers and any other fresh, green leafy favorite on hand.   Sometimes I get out fresh ginger (to grate), and/or perhaps a bunch of cilentro (tossing out the stems).  One needs a number of glass jars – pick your own amount and numbers.  Alyson speaks of one-quart jars with those special lids.  But the jars I use are a strange assortment of bigger glass containers with a rubber ring and attached lid with a funny clasp on it.  Range in size from 1 1/2 qt to bigger ones – have about 8 of them. (Note:   Larger quantity will take a little more time.  One might  start off with just a quart or two of course – just scale down amounts)

The Water

I distill my own water and also, make my own colloidal silver which requires having purified water, but with no carbon filters of any kind so  I use, plenty of these big jars.  Seems I’m always into something ‘cooking’ in my kitchen.   Be sure you have un-polluted water on hand –   not a good idea to use municipal water due to the chemical  content – seriously! . .those chemicals can interfere with nature’s fermenting process.  Another consideration, up front, is to decide whether or not you want to make it the old fashioned way (letting nature do whatever it does)  or you want to use a starter which both Wholesome Goodness and B.E.D. recommend.  As it happens,  I’m about half and half on this point.  Frankly, I can’t see any difference, they both taste about the same to me.  The first time I made it, I couldn’t wait for the starter to come, so I had read a bit on it and found that the ancients did not rely on starters.  This is a chemical reaction which happens via nature’s innate wisdom – that works for me!  Most of the time I use BED’s Culture Starter as this assures the satisfaction of knowing that you ARE getting the very best cultures into your fermented  food  That is a comforting thought.

Not Quite a Recipe

I start with 2 or 3 heads of regular or red cabbage;    4 or 5 carrots, scrubbed;    at least one red onion or large white;   much garlic (6 – 8 cloves or a whole head) which is fine either crushed or finely minced;    4 or 5 Jalapeno peppers and maybe 4 – 5 of the smaller, hotter ones – the peppers must be opened to remove most of the seeds or else the fire would be too intense (for my taste)  Its really cool to add whatever other green leafy veggie you might have on hand like kale, bok choy and so on.  Or not,  just cabbage is fine.  One’s preference should dictate the choices.  Adding a large crisp apple into the mix is wonderful.  Adds a hint of sweetness, but the sugar part is mostly eaten up by the bacteria which develops in the fermentation period.

I like pretty and beautiful, so I quite naturally add as much as I can scrounge up for color and variety and try to plan for this personal pleasure. Your food stuff should be as fresh as possible and organic if you can (to assure that you are not getting all those darned chemicals we don’t really want)   Speaking of things we don’t want in the mix, it is wise to be aware that Donna Gates and others recommend that we NOT USE SALT of any kind to season this mix.  And this would be for the same reason – it slows the bacterial action and fermentation process down measurably.  Not a good thing.  If when eating your fermented foods, you feel it needs seasoning for your personal taste, by all means, use a little sea salt – go for it.

First We Assemble

Best to assemble all that you will need,   I have huge bowls which I questioned myself on when I bought them as they are really large and cumbersome and a nuisance to house.  But oh my,  I wonder how others manage to do all this if you don’t have these big bowls.   Get out your best butcher knife (sharpened) in order to cut the fresh produce into pieces which will fit into your food processor. It is good to use the slicing blade on cabbage, tho I personally like it grated (large) a bit better. Also, grate the carrots and onions and whatever else.  Slice or grate – your choice for both size and appearance.

CABBAGE:  Generally, plain ole cabbage is what most people use – me too.    Tho I have also made a great batch with 1 red cabbage and 1 white one and a batch of beets (scrubbed and stemmed).  It was gorgeous due to the red contents  and I really liked the flavors.          Rinse off your cabbage and remove and SAVE the courser outer leaves – these will (at the end) be folded, and stuffed into the tops of your jars to secure your “batch” submerged under the brine  – very important.  So this must be done BEFORE you start chopping stuff up.  Then, you can quarter your cabbages, and with the large butcher knife, stand each quarter in a way that you can sever the inner  hard core which is probably only good for one thing – to munch on.

The Brine

Next,  the Brine we want to use.  Ideally, it can be a cup or so of the veggies you have already chopped up  placed into a blender to puree a little bit along with a couple of cups of that good, pure water (might want to buy some spring water), and then maybe a cucumber or two and/or a stalk of celery or two.  Sorry to be so vague, but I have no idea how much you will be making.  We want a pretty good slurpy mess to pour over the chopped veggies as they sit in the jars.  Want enough to cover completely and come up to within an inch or two of the lid.  Leaving room for the folded outer cabbage leaf which you have wadded up before putting the lid on.

I’ll tell you one of my own special little secrets.  This happened several months ago that I guess I also had no idea how far to go in my planning or gauging the amounts of anything – this was new to me.  I didn’t have enough of those outer leaves saved and now I was at the end and panic was mounting – what to do?   I had just spent hours in chopping and fixin and stuff, be damned if I was going to lose any of this  over some miscalculation.  At the back of the silverware drawer is a collection of the pretty corks I liked and had saved (pack-rat that I am) from varying wine bottles over time.   So I used 2 -3 corks at the top of my jars to keep the veggies submerged.  Worked great, I kid you not. This is a resource I continue to use.  It pleases me, and I don’t have to “save” as many cabbage leaves.

The Starter Culture

If you do in fact want to use a starter, it must be done up front in the beginning as it needs a little time to waken, eat some thing and digest a little before it sets to work.  (Isn’t that just a glorious concept?) Empty one of the packets of Culture Starter from the box into about 1 1/2 cup warm water to which you have added either one teaspoon of sugar or honey, etc.  This must sit for about 20 minutes or longer while the L. Plantarum and other bacteria waken and starts digesting the sugar.  This is then added to the brine which is poured over the veggies before finishing.

Putting it all Together

Shred up your veggies and gather them into large bowls, tubs or what-have-you.   Because I use rather hot peppers in my choice,  I must also don disposable gloves.  The one time I didn’t do that, I was in serious distress with my hands for the rest of the day.  So lift and blend your mixture til its all pretty and the way that appeals to you.  Then start filling your jars by measured quantities.  Add to the jar, tamp it down tightly either with your fist, an old-fashioned potato masher or other tool;     add more, tamp down again till nearing the top.  Want to leave about 2 inches free at the top.  I don’t understand why, I just do it as that is what they all say.   Now is the time to fold the cabbage leaves you have saved and insert into the tops.  Push down.  (I put corks on top of that and push down again.) Pour over the brine into each jar and clamp or screw down your lids. fairly tightly. (It doesn’t take as much brine as one might imagine since all has been tamped down so tightly.  It is important to completely cover  entirely with brine)

Okay,  Here is my Final Secret:

This probably doesn’t happen to anyone else, I have no way of knowing.   I have a lovely pantry off my kitchen.  Its very convenient and practical.   The first time I made the fermented veggies, I had maybe 4 or 5 of those big jars and since they are rather large and take up some space, I put them high on a shelf where they would be undisturbed and under no threat whatsoever.  They leaked all over the place.    So since my very first time, I have learned to bring up the Coleman Cooler (used for cooling foods for a picnic) and place all the jars in that and just leave it on the floor in its quiet, safe environment where it is free to generate as much juicy overflow as it wants.   Since I wash it and clean it out after use, I’m sure one could use this juice.  But I’m a Virgo type who finds it difficult to share a bite of anything with anyone.  Ugh! I’m quite certain, its very healthy stuff, I just can’t drink it myself, tho I am sure it would heal something.

As an aside, its perfectly fine to save the brine from one batch to another – it is brimming with bacterial heavenly bodies

I generally leave my fermenting foods to percolate for 8 to 12 days.  Now that it is cooler,  especially.  Really warm weather will complete the process in a matter of days.   You can let your own taste buds be the judge.    Once you have determined it to be ‘cooked’, just put them in a frig which slows the process down.  They keep under refrigeration for many months they say.   I have never had any last that long.

About that Taste!

You have no doubt heard  that Fermented Foods or Kim-chi is an acquired taste?   It’s true.  For many people, it takes a little getting used to.   I remember how stunned I was after all that work and waiting to finally taste it and be so dumb-struck with the taste!  I emailed Alyson right away and she, God bless her,  got back to me just as fast, to hang in there, that I could get some corn chips or something to scoop up some quantity to get some of it into my body.  It was a good idea.  But by the time her message reached me, I had already got “used to it” and in fact, learned to really like it.  I try to take some of it with two out of three meals daily.    There are so many benefits its hard to enumerate.  One big plus is that I no longer worry about taking B-vitamins any more as my fermented veggies are making more and better Vit B than anything I could buy in a jar of pills.

Keep your eyes and ears open to find new and different recipes.  Be courageous – try new things, it really is fun.  Please drop me a line if you wouldn’t mind sharing how you are doing.                                                              Jan

(I am re-issuing this post as one of my favorite acquired friends from South Africa has been unable to access  this post from the archives.  I had no idea that this was a problem, and I regard this information to be important. Jan 4-2-12)

September 17, 2009

Building Strong Muscles – B.E.D.

Little-known Secret to Building Stronger Muscles: Probiotics

by BodyEcology.com

Here’s a secret: the same probiotics that restore your inner ecosystem also make it easier for your body to absorb nutrients and build muscle!

Restoring balance in your gut with probiotics boosts immunity and digestion, but did you know these healthy microflora also aid in muscle growth and weight loss?

If you’re trying to increase lean body mass, adding fermented foods and drinks to your diet will ensure more efficient digestion. And that leads to increased energy, better workouts, and easier muscle growth and repair.

The Link Between Probiotics and Muscle Growth

Kenneth Bock, M.D., the author of The Road to Immunity, says that gaining lean muscle mass is more work with an unhealthy gastrointestinal tract:

“Your colon, stomach and small intestine digest food and absorb nutrients. If either of these processes is hindered, it can result in a loss of nutrients, which your body borrows from skeletal muscle.”1

Muscle-building expert and registered dietitian, James Collier, agrees that a good supply of healthy bacteria makes protein more readily available to your muscles, and burns fat more easily.

Probiotics also help prevent intestinal infection, so your body is more likely to absorb more and better nutrients.

Now that you know how probiotics build stronger muscles, learn the most effective way to get these friendly bacteria thriving in your gut.

Will Probiotic Supplements and Mass-Market Products Do the Trick?

With the recent buzz about probiotics, it’s no wonder there are a lot of products at your local health food store designed to boost healthy microflora.

But how effective are they really?

How can you be sure that these probiotic supplements contain all the friendly microflora necessary to populate your gut, build your immunity, help you digest, and assist in lean muscle growth?

Unfortunately, the truth is that too many probiotic supplements vary widely in quality and potency.

One university study recently tested a wide variety of probiotic supplements and found that in four out of twenty products, no sign of living friendly bacteria was present.3

But What About Yogurt, You Say?

It’s true: many mass-produced food products such as Dannon Activa™ claim to decrease intestinal transit time.

While many yogurts do contain live active cultures, there are some problems:

  • Many include some pretty awful sugars including fructose, cornstarch, and modified cornstarch. Like most yogurts sold in your store, all that sugar and unnatural ingredients will definitely feed pathogenic microorganisms, like candida. And by the way you can be certain that eating any form of sugar causes you to lose muscle mass.
  • More importantly, most mass-produced yogurts (and fermented foods like sauerkraut) are not always potent enough to make a difference. 50% of products do not contain the healthy bacteria that they claim to have had at the time of manufacture.
  • Even those that do have enough healthy bacteria may not have the right mix of healthy microflora to repopulate your inner ecosystem. If they’re not prepared in a way that allows the most beneficial bacteria and yeast to thrive in your digestive system, harsh stomach acids can kill probiotics.

In general, we at Body Ecology are not fans of yogurt, and instead, we recommend young coconut kefir to first help your body build up the dairy-loving bacteria that most people today are missing…and then milk kefir when your inner ecosystem is balanced.

If your body can digest dairy without symptoms, milk kefir is the better alternative to mass-produced or even home-made yogurt. Milk kefir is a cultured, enzyme-rich food that supplies complete protein, essential minerals, and valuable B vitamins. It is more alive than yogurt and it can also be made using raw milk from cows, goats or sheep. When you do not heat the protein in milk it is much easier to digest.

Young coconut kefir and Milk kefir are easy to make at home with Body Ecology’s Kefir Starter.

Unlike commercial yogurts which contain probiotics that do NOT colonize your colon, the bacteria and beneficial yeast in kefir can actually colonize the intestinal tract, which is they key reason you are eating these foods in the first place.

Milk kefir is also great food for anyone wanting to gain more weight via increasing muscle mass not fat. But, alas, not everyone can drink milk products today and are casein intolerant. Again, often drinking the young coconut kefir for a month or so and then slowly introducing dairy kefir may allow you to drink it safely. The young coconut kefir introduces the dairy-loving bacteria to your gut so that when you slowly introduce the casein-rich milk kefir, these bacteria (who were originally grown on milk) and can “learn” how to digest the new food. Just give them time to become skilled at breaking it down effectively by going slowly…about 1/4th cup per day for a week to ten days and then increasing in small increments.

Want to Accelerate Your Gut Recovery, Loose Weight, and Gain Lean Muscle Faster?

If you want to lose weight and gain muscle faster, then forget health food store probiotic supplements and revitalize your gut with potent, real fermented foods and drinks.

Probiotic-rich fermented foods and drinks multiply the nutrition in your food hundreds of times, nourishing you more with less food. On top of that, they help build healthy bacteria that keep you naturally slim. Research shows that people of normal weight have different bacteria in their guts than obese people.4

With a healthy inner ecosystem, you’ll feel satiated sooner.

Plus, microflora reduce cravings for processed sugars and alcohol – two big roadblocks to weight loss and a leaner body.

Here are some tips for easily incorporating probiotics into your diet the most effective way:

  • Consume probiotic drinks, such as Innergy-Biotic, as an alternative to sugary sports drinks.

    Innergy-Biotic
    is a delicious, low-calorie source of probiotics that’s gluten-free and provides you with loads of energy. It’s a double whammy for good lean muscle growth – it’ll give you the energy you need for great workouts AND heal your digestive track for better nutrient-absorbtion.
Innergy-BioticBuild Mucles Faster and More Effectively with Delicious Innergy-Biotic! Try this gluten-free energy performance drink, and you’ll never go back to those mass-produced, sugary sports drinks again! With Innergy-Biotic, you get a probiotic-rich whole food in liquid form that boosts your digestion of protein and other important nutrients for fast, effective muscle growth. Boost your energy and digestion today with Innergy-Biotic!.
  • To make affordable, delicious fermented superfoods at home, try Body Ecology’s Starter Kits .
  • To turn healthy vegetables into your fat-burning, muscle-building allies, make raw cultured vegetables. By introducing beneficial bacteria into your system, you’ll more effectively control your weight and set the stage for easier muscle building.
  • Need a caffeine fix in the morning or for afternoon slumps? Instead, boost your energy naturally while healing your digestive tract with vitamin-mineral-probiotic rich Vitality SuperGreen.  Just add two scoops to eight ounces of water and watch your energy soar. If you’re trying to gain healthy weight, it provides extra nourishment with added to a larger meal.

However you choose to get in the best shape of your life, remember that lean muscle mass is key to a healthy body. Scientists agree that building muscle helps burn fat.

If you’ve been struggling with weight loss or your muscle growth is stalling, probiotics are the little-known tool for increased health and energy. With probiotics as part of your plan, you’ll have extra help that goes a long way.

September 14, 2009

U.S. Health-care killing us

This is the essay David Brooks referred to written by David Goldhill and appearing in the current issue of the “Atlantic” monthly issue.  I found access to it through CNN and hoped to share it with you.    Although disturbing, it is part of our multi-faceted  ‘health-care system,’  the parts of which most of us must contend.

. .                .      ..   . ~                             ~                             ~                                 . .

After the needless death of his father, the author, a business executive, began a personal exploration of a health-care industry that for years has delivered poor service and irregular quality at astonishingly high cost. It is a system, he argues, that is not worth preserving in anything like its current form. And the health-care reform now being contemplated will not fix it. Here’s a radical solution to an agonizing problem.

by David Goldhill

How American Health Care Killed My Father

Illustration by Mark Hooper

Almost two years ago, my father was killed by a hospital-borne infection in the intensive-care unit of a well-regarded nonprofit hospital in New York City. Dad had just turned 83, and he had a variety of the ailments common to men of his age. But he was still working on the day he walked into the hospital with pneumonia. Within 36 hours, he had developed sepsis. Over the next five weeks in the ICU, a wave of secondary infections, also acquired in the hospital, overwhelmed his defenses. My dad became a statistic—merely one of the roughly 100,000 Americans whose deaths are caused or influenced by infections picked up in hospitals. One hundred thousand deaths: more than double the number of people killed in car crashes, five times the number killed in homicides, 20 times the total number of our armed forces killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another victim in a building American tragedy.

About a week after my father’s death, The New Yorker ran an article by Atul Gawande profiling the efforts of Dr. Peter Pronovost to reduce the incidence of fatal hospital-borne infections. Pronovost’s solution? A simple checklist of ICU protocols governing physician hand-washing and other basic sterilization procedures. Hospitals implementing Pronovost’s checklist had enjoyed almost instantaneous success, reducing hospital-infection rates by two-thirds within the first three months of its adoption. But many physicians rejected the checklist as an unnecessary and belittling bureaucratic intrusion, and many hospital executives were reluctant to push it on them. The story chronicled Pronovost’s travels around the country as he struggled to persuade hospitals to embrace his reform.

It was a heroic story, but to me, it was also deeply unsettling. How was it possible that Pronovost needed to beg hospitals to adopt an essentially cost-free idea that saved so many lives? Here’s an industry that loudly protests the high cost of liability insurance and the injustice of our tort system and yet needs extensive lobbying to embrace a simple technique to save up to 100,000 people.

And what about us—the patients? How does a nation that might close down a business for a single illness from a suspicious hamburger tolerate the carnage inflicted by our hospitals? And not just those 100,000 deaths. In April, a Wall Street Journal story suggested that blood clots following surgery or illness, the leading cause of preventable hospital deaths in the U.S., may kill nearly 200,000 patients per year. How did Americans learn to accept hundreds of thousands of deaths from minor medical mistakes as an inevitability?

My survivor’s grief has taken the form of an obsession with our health-care system. For more than a year, I’ve been reading as much as I can get my hands on, talking to doctors and patients, and asking a lot of questions.

Keeping Dad company in the hospital for five weeks had left me befuddled. How can a facility featuring state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment use less-sophisticated information technology than my local sushi bar? How can the ICU stress the importance of sterility when its trash is picked up once daily, and only after flowing onto the floor of a patient’s room? Considering the importance of a patient’s frame of mind to recovery, why are the rooms so cheerless and uncomfortable? In whose interest is the bizarre scheduling of hospital shifts, so that a five-week stay brings an endless string of new personnel assigned to a patient’s care? Why, in other words, has this technologically advanced hospital missed out on the revolution in quality control and customer service that has swept all other consumer-facing industries in the past two generations?

I’m a businessman, and in no sense a health-care expert. But the persistence of bad industry practices—from long lines at the doctor’s office to ever-rising prices to astonishing numbers of preventable deaths—seems beyond all normal logic, and must have an underlying cause. There needs to be a business reason why an industry, year in and year out, would be able to get away with poor customer service, unaffordable prices, and uneven results—a reason my father and so many others are unnecessarily killed.

Like every grieving family member, I looked for someone to blame for my father’s death. But my dad’s doctors weren’t incompetent—on the contrary, his hospital physicians were smart, thoughtful, and hard-working. Nor is he dead because of indifferent nursing—without exception, his nurses were dedicated and compassionate. Nor from financial limitations—he was a Medicare patient, and the issue of expense was never once raised. There were no greedy pharmaceutical companies, evil health insurers, or other popular villains in his particular tragedy.

Indeed, I suspect that our collective search for villains—for someone to blame—has distracted us and our political leaders from addressing the fundamental causes of our nation’s health-care crisis. All of the actors in health care—from doctors to insurers to pharmaceutical companies—work in a heavily regulated, massively subsidized industry full of structural distortions. They all want to serve patients well. But they also all behave rationally in response to the economic incentives those distortions create. Accidentally, but relentlessly, America has built a health-care system with incentives that inexorably generate terrible and perverse results. Incentives that emphasize health care over any other aspect of health and well-being. That emphasize treatment over prevention. That disguise true costs. That favor complexity, and discourage transparent competition based on price or quality. That result in a generational pyramid scheme rather than sustainable financing. And that—most important—remove consumers from our irreplaceable role as the ultimate ensurer of value.

These are the impersonal forces, I’ve come to believe, that explain why things have gone so badly wrong in health care, producing the national dilemma of runaway costs and poorly covered millions. The problems I’ve explored in the past year hardly count as breakthrough discoveries—health-care experts undoubtedly view all of them as old news. But some experts, it seems, have come to see many of these problems as inevitable in any health-care system—as conditions to be patched up, papered over, or worked around, but not problems to be solved.

That’s the premise behind today’s incremental approach to health-care reform. Though details of the legislation are still being negotiated, its principles are a reprise of previous reforms—addressing access to health care by expanding government aid to those without adequate insurance, while attempting to control rising costs through centrally administered initiatives. Some of the ideas now on the table may well be sensible in the context of our current system. But fundamentally, the “comprehensive” reform being contemplated merely cements in place the current system—insurance-based, employment-centered, administratively complex. It addresses the underlying causes of our health-care crisis only obliquely, if at all; indeed, by extending the current system to more people, it will likely increase the ultimate cost of true reform.

I’m a Democrat, and have long been concerned about America’s lack of a health safety net. But based on my own work experience, I also believe that unless we fix the problems at the foundation of our health system—largely problems of incentives—our reforms won’t do much good, and may do harm. To achieve maximum coverage at acceptable cost with acceptable quality, health care will need to become subject to the same forces that have boosted efficiency and value throughout the economy. We will need to reduce, rather than expand, the role of insurance; focus the government’s role exclusively on things that only government can do (protect the poor, cover us against true catastrophe, enforce safety standards, and ensure provider competition); overcome our addiction to Ponzi-scheme financing, hidden subsidies, manipulated prices, and undisclosed results; and rely more on ourselves, the consumers, as the ultimate guarantors of good service, reasonable prices, and sensible trade-offs between health-care spending and spending on all the other good things money can buy.

These ideas stand well outside the emerging political consensus about reform. So before exploring alternative policies, let’s reexamine our basic assumptions about health care—what it actually is, how it’s financed, its accountability to patients, and finally its relationship to the eternal laws of supply and demand. Everyone I know has at least one personal story about how screwed up our health-care system is; before spending (another) $1trillion or so on reform, we need a much clearer understanding of the causes of the problems we all experience.

September 11, 2009

Paleo/Human Growth Hormone

Filed under: HGH,Paleo Diet — Jan Turner @ 10:21 pm
Tags:
The Paleo Diet Update

www.ThePaleoDiet.com
Loren Cordain, Ph.D.
Issue: # 2009 – 37 / September 11, 2009

Jan,

Hello! Welcome to The Paleo Diet Update. We invite you to use this information to maintain, or perhaps regain, the “good life.” That means having the mental and physical energy to accomplish your goals, and not be troubled with the many diseases that plague modern society.

Thanks to Maelán Fontes and Pablo Martinez Ramirez, this update is also available in Spanish.

By investigating how the human species evolved as hunter-gatherers, we learn what foods our species is adapted to eating. We can also research how modern-day cultures that continue hunter-gatherer lifestyles eat, and learn from the freedom they experience from many diseases common in the Western world.

More and more, scientists are documenting how a Paleolithic diet of fruits, lean meats, nuts, seafood, and vegetables maintains optimal health, and can even reverse devastating illness.

In this issue, we take a look at the affects of human growth hormone, and the best ways to ensure adequate levels of this important hormone. We’ll also show you how to make Mexican dining “Paleo”.

Enjoy.

Loren Cordain, Ph.D.

In This Issue

Ways to Make Mexican Dining “Paleo”

Human Growth Hormone: The Pros and Cons by Wiley Long
Human growth hormone (GH), as you might suspect, is necessary for childhood and adolescent growth. Youthful levels of GH promote a healthy metabolism and an optimal ratio of lean muscle tissue to body fat.

Among adults, GH deficiency is associated with excess body fat, and a decrease in extra cellular water volume1. Those with GH deficiency may also have a lower bone mineral content, lipid abnormalities, decreased insulin sensitivity, and decreased fibrinolysis1. The process by which a fibrous protein (fibrin) involved in the clotting of blood is broken down is known as fibrinolysis.

Lipid refers to a fatty substance in the blood. A lipid disorder increases your risk for atherosclerosis, and thus your risk for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure (or hypertension), and other health problems.

Reasons for growth hormone deficiency

Several studies have shown that the amplitude of GH pulses (GH is released from the pituitary gland in a pulsatile manner2) is reduced for both men and women as we age3.

For men, GH secretion declines 50% every 7 years beyond 18-25 years of age2. This aging effect on the 24-hour mean serum GH is twice as great for men as it is for pre-menopausal women, so estrogens may limit the decline in GH2.

Obese individuals, however, show profound suppression of GH secretion at any age2. Poor nutrition, inadequate sleep, and lack of physical fitness can also contribute to a decline in circulating GH that is independent of age4.

Risks of growth hormone therapy

GH replacement injections can cost up to $10,000 a year. Unfortunately, such GH treatments have been linked to increased risk for developing soft tissue edema, joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and gynecomastia (abnormally large mammary glands in males)5.

Safer, less expensive alternatives

There are healthier and less costly ways to increase your GH levels. These include weight management, exercise, healthy sleep habits, reduction of high-glycemic-load carbohydrates, and specific nutrients.

The Paleo Diet can be very helpful for increasing GH levels. This way of eating maintains the correct balance of calories from carbohydrate, protein, and fat to improve blood-lipid profiles, and lipid abnormalities are associated with GH deficiency. This balance also reduces your risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure because a lipid disorder increases your risk for atherosclerosis.

Emulating the amount of daily energy that our hunter-gatherer ancestors obtained from carbohydrate, protein, and fat also helps you to feel fuller, and burn more calories. This is key to managing your weight, and obesity can suppress GH secretion at any age.

Other aspects of the Paleo Diet also help with weight management. The diet supplies nutrient-dense foods, while avoiding refined grain, sugar, and vegetable oil. Although these offer few vitamins, minerals, or phytochemicals, they contribute more than 36 percent of the energy in the average American diet.

The Paleo Diet also offers another key strategy to help maintain optimum weight and increase GH levels. It reduces high-glycemic-load carbohydrates that contribute to obesity and suppress GH secretion.

While GH deficiency is associated with below normal bone mineral content, the Paleo Diet helps to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. By maintaining an optimum sodium-potassium ratio, the diet not only reduces the risk of osteoporosis, but that of hypertension, stroke, kidney stones, gastrointestinal-tract cancers, and asthma as well.

Specific nutrients shown to increase GH levels

Even a relatively small amount (2,000 mg) of the amino acid glutamine has been shown to boost plasma GH levels6. Glutamine occurs naturally in many Paleo Diet foods, including meat (3 ounces of meat contain 3 to 4 grams of glutamine), fish, and eggs. Glutamine is also highly concentrated in raw cabbage and beets. Be aware that cooking can destroy glutamine, particularly in vegetables.

Another amino acid, arginine, can increase the release of GH when the body is at rest. Combining arginine intake with exercise boosts GH levels even more7.

High in protein, the Paleo Diet supplies many protein-rich foods that contain arginine. This includes eggs, meat8-10 (grass-fed beef, chicken, lean pork, turkey, and wild meat), nuts, (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, coconuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pinenuts, pistachio nuts, and walnuts), seafood (salmon, shrimp, and tuna), and seeds (flax, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds). Raw garlic, onion and watermelon also contain arginine.

Helping Yourself

The Paleo Diet can help you get the nutrients that increase GH levels without the inherent risks or expense of GH therapy.

  • Maintain the right balance of calories from carbohydrate, protein, and fat. This helps improve lipid profiles, stops obesity-related lowering of GH levels, and reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.

  • Eliminate high-glycemic-load carbohydrates, cereal grains, sugar, and vegetable oil. This helps optimize your weight, which improves GH secretion.

  • Maintain an optimum sodium-potassium ratio. This reduces the risk of osteoporosis (from GH deficiency-related lower bone mineral content), hypertension, stroke, kidney stones, gastrointestinal-tract cancers, and asthma.

  • Increase consumption of foods with glutamine and arginine. Beets, cabbage, eggs, fish, garlic, lean meats, nuts, onions, seafood, seeds, and watermelon contain these amino acids that help GH levels.

With the help of nutritious foods, the Paleo Diet can improve GH levels and provide many other health benefits.

Next time, we’ll take a look at how antioxidants fight the damaging effects of free radicals, and what are the best sources of antioxidants. We’ll also show you how to make fun, non-alcoholic drinks for parties.

Ways to Make Mexican Dining “Paleo” by Nell Stephenson
During the summer months, I often fancy a nice Mexican meal! After living in Los Angeles for 15 years, I became quite spoiled by having the pleasure of experiencing authentic Mexican meals at the homes of friends and clients that were prepared by parents or relatives from different regions of Mexico.

You might think Mexican food – isn’t that all rice and beans? Sour cream and tortillas? Yes, that is part of the typical diet, but it’s not ALL of the typical diet. Think guacamole, tomato salsa, char-grilled steaks, sautéed prawns and shredded chicken, just to name a few options!

In keeping with exploring what to order at different restaurants, here are some great choices when you’re eating out Mexican style!

  • Fajitas! Choose steak, chicken or prawns. Usually this dish will be a mixture of bell peppers, onions, perhaps carrots or other veggies, and protein sautéed in oil in a skillet. Ask them to hold the rice, beans, tortillas, and cheese, and order extra veggies instead.

  • Ceviche! A fish-based dish, which is cooked using lemon or lime. It’s often served on a crisp tortilla, so just ask for it to be atop a bed of lettuce and eat with a fork instead of on the shell!

  • Coctel de Camarones! This shrimp cocktail is different from our version with the red cocktail sauce on the side for dipping. It often has smaller shrimp mixed with cucumber and onion in a tomato base.

  • Carne or Pollo Asada! Grilled skirt steak or chicken that’s lean, mean and tasty!

  • Pescado! There will often be a fish option, so ask for it to be grilled and served with any veggie the chef has in house that day.

Be creative too. If you’re at a more casual place, opt for grilled fish tacos (sans the tortilla), or, perhaps, a chopped salad (without the usual corn and black beans).

Read the menu carefully and thoroughly in order to make the necessary substitutions as needed. At the end of the meal, you’ll be satisfied, but not stuffed. And, you’ll feel much better than your dining companion who ate the giant 1,500-calorie burrito with the works!


  • “My son, who was diagnosed with MS in March, said that he noticed that he can tolerate the heat lately without a flare up. Plus, the symptoms that persisted in his hands are now only in one hand and are intermittent. This great news gives us the motivation to stay true to the diet. I can’t thank you enough!

    We believe that if someone with MS starts the autoimmune version of this diet within perhaps 5 years of diagnosis, they have a good chance of returning to baseline and living a lifetime free of symptoms. Someone who has had the disease longer should be able to stop progression, but at some point, it appears that the nerve damage becomes permanent so complete recovery will not always be possible.

Follow Up and Feedback

In this section, we’ll share readers’ concerns and questions about nutrition and the Paleo Diet to help you better understand how to use the diet to optimize your health and fitness.

We received the following concern:

“Is there a problem with eating mostly fruits and little in the way of vegetables? I like almost all fruits and have been eating a variety of them with an average intake of around 350 grams of carb a day, and especially a lot of raisins. Am I missing out greatly by not consuming more vegetables?”

Many vegetables contain health-promoting phytochemicals, as do fruits. Vegetables, however, typically have very low sugar content, and very high fiber content.

We recommend that people who are overweight or have insulin resistance eat fruits that are lower in fructose. A table of fruits and sugars is available on our website.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published an article about the adverse effects of fructose in the epidemic of hypertension, obesity and metabolic syndrome, diabetes, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease.

People who are obese and not active may have to limit fruits because their sugar content may adversely affect insulin metabolism. We also recommend that people do not eat high fructose corn syrup for this reason and other concerns. This information, and much more, is available online in our nutritional tools section.

Although we can’t answer every question personally due to the number of letters received, we are very interested in hearing your thoughts, learning about your experiences, and understanding your questions. Many of the questions that we receive will be answered in future newsletters.

Talk to you next week!

To your optimum health,

Wiley Long, M.S., Nutrition and Exercise Science

Editor


September 10, 2009

B.E.D. on “DHEA”

If You Really Want to Avoid Early Aging, Get to Know “DHEA”

by BodyEcology.com

Do you suffer from mood swings and fatigue? Is your health declining as you get older? Can’t keep the “middle age bulge” at bay?

If so, you may have low levels of DHEA.

As you get older, you may find that you struggle more to maintain muscle mass, feel tired more quickly, or perhaps you have developed rheumatoid arthritis or even osteoporosis. It is commonly believed that deterioration as we age is inevitable.

However current research indicates that we are not predestined to age in this regard, and by increasing our levels of DHEA before or even after they decline many of us can turn back the clock.

Low levels of DHEA have been linked to autism, arthritis, and depression.
Keep you and your loved ones healthy and vibrant by following the DHEA-boosting
Body Ecology program for wellness.

DHEA, or dehydroepiandrosterone, has become known as the ‘fountain of youth.’ It is made from cholesterol by the adrenal glands, which sit on top of your kidneys. Estrogen and then testosterone are both made from this steroid hormone.

The Anti-Aging Hormone?

Many people have turned to DHEA because it has been shown to increase bone density, treat Lupus and depression, and decrease the risk for heart disease. Another potential benefit is increased muscle mass and stronger immunity.

Someone who lacks essential levels of DHEA really can benefit from taking a supplement and they can be easily found in your local health food store. At Body Ecology, however, we feel it is important to use this supplement only after you’ve had your levels of DHEA checked by a health care professional. It’s a very simply saliva test.

So before you supplement with DHEA capsules, first check with your health care practitioner to make sure that you are in fact deficient in this hormone.

Anyone will benefit, on the other hand, by naturally increasing their DHEA levels with diet and some simple changes in your lifestyle.

Follow these guidelines to naturally increase DHEA in your body:

  • Eat good fats with plenty of omega 3 fatty acids. DHEA is made from cholesterol, and your body makes cholesterol from healthy fats. You can get essential fatty acids from a variety of oils like ghee, raw butter, cod liver, coconut oil, red palm oil, flax seed oil, evening primrose oil, pumpkin seed and olive oils. For more information, read A Key Health Secret that Everyone Should Know: Eat a Range of Good Oils.
  • Get a Good Night’s SLEEP! Your adrenal glands not only create energy, they also manufacture DHEA. If you suffer from adrenal fatigue as most people do today, you may have trouble sleeping AND your adrenals will not be able to produce adequate levels of too little DHEA to support your daily activities! Read more about how sleep affects your adrenals and how to nourish them.
  • De-stress your life. Stress increases levels of two hormones: insulin and cortisol. These two hormones are sometimes called “the death hormones” because when blood levels of cortisol and insulin remain high, they suppress the youth hormone, DHEA. Stress also depletes the vitality of your adrenal glands that produce DHEA. So take time to breathe deeply, meditate, and spend time with friends and family. One of the most effective ways to immediately boost your DHEA levels is to be touched (as in having a great hand, foot, body or head massage). Learn more about The Proven Healing Power of Touch and how it can improve your health.
  • Cut out sugar. Sugar creates acidic blood. To be healthy your blood should be slightly alkaline. When your blood becomes acidic this sets the stage for fungal, viral and bacterial infections and also for imbalances like cancer and diabetes.
    Nourish your thyroid to support healthy DHEA levels with Ocean Plant Extract.
  • Feed your thyroid and your adrenals by eating plenty of mineral-rich sea vegetables – be sure to read Russia’s “Miracle” Heavy Metal Cleansing Sea Vegetable, “Laminaria Japonica. Always cook or culture cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale and cabbage because they suppress the thyroid when they are eaten raw. Your thyroid is an active partner with the adrenals that produce DHEA so make sure it too is hearty. These two organs are tiny, but they are real workhorses in your body. Take special care to feed them right. Read Boost Your Thyroid to Boost Your Energy for more information.

We all want to age gracefully. Paying attention to your levels of DHEA is a great way to support yourself in healthy aging. The Body Ecology program, plus plenty of sleep, decreasing stress, and eliminating or reducing sugar intake can get you well on your way to turning back time.

Spending peaceful moments in nature — such as near water or in the mountains — is another great way to regenerate your adrenals and to find balance in life. Overall, proper nutrition and lifestyle are the two key secrets to finding your own fountain of youth.
Sources:

Low DHEA Level, DiagnoseMe.com http://www.diagnose-me.com/cond/C11446.html
Skerret, P.J., “DHEA: Ignore the Hype” QuackWatch.com http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/dhea.htm

September 7, 2009

It’s a gasser – what to do

It may be that this lighter note would fit in here with all the heavy news out there at present.  Even so, I could hardly believe my eyes.   It seems no one in that Boston office knew what to do with this issue or the gassy employee and I am quite sure that its state of  ‘un-resolve’  have left quite a few of them uncomfortable.

Those of us who write as well as those who read this blog might find a solution or two.  They do regard this as a medical problem, but as it says, they can do nothing about it?  Well now, lets see, could it be that perhaps she is allergic to protein found in wheat?  or maybe poor lady can not digest the milk protein.  A terrific idea would be to remove both from her dietary regime for maybe a week and see what happens.  Then try adding back in only one – small amounts, for a few days to see how it goes.  If  no problem then, likely its okay to eat.    Many teach this “elimination diet” to find the allergen one might be sensitive to.  It could be chocolate, citrus, eggs or many other things.  But, by and large,  dairy and grains are the big culprit.  For most, it is dairy.     It seems her gut flora needs fixin’                                                                                  Jan

BUSINESS ETIQUETTE

Flatulence issue needs solution now

THE BOSTON GLOBE


Q: I have a co-worker who is extremely gassy. Management has spoken to her and even moved her around the office several times. Because it’s considered a medical condition, nothing can be done about it. She has a can of fragrant spray at her desk that she uses when she needs to, but sometimes that’s even worse. I’m almost tempted to quit.
—K.M., Appleton, Wis.

A: The fact that she has been moved several times shows she understands her flatulence is a problem. Management appears to have made an attempt to deal with the issue and might even be the reason she has the fragrance spray. Another approach is necessary.

Unfortunately, this situation has progressed beyond an etiquette issue in which the advice would be to have a trusted friend talk with her. Management needs to step in and find an effective solution. Her condition is causing a problem at the office that affects productivity, and potentially profits and worker retention.
The employees need to let management know the seriousness of the situation. Along with your colleagues, meet with management and request that a human resources worker be at the meeting as well.

September 5, 2009

Paleo on Diabetes

Paleolithic Diet Is Best Bet for Diabetes and Other Diseases

by Loren Cordain, Ph.D.

A newly published study in Cardiovascular Diabetology compared the effects of a Paleolithic diet to the current guidelines for a diabetes diet, and looked at cardiovascular risk factors for type 2 diabetes patients. The participating three women and ten men, who had type 2 diabetes that was not treated with insulin, were instructed to follow each diet for three-months.

The Paleolithic diet used was lower in cereals and dairy products, and higher in fruits, vegetables, meat and eggs. It was also higher in unsaturated fatty acids, dietary cholesterol and several vitamins. It was lower in total energy, energy density, carbohydrate, dietary glycemic load (GL) and glycemic index (GI), saturated fatty acids and calcium. News and Upcoming Events

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Paleolithic diet compared to current diabetes diet

The study concluded that a Paleolithic diet improved glycemic control and several cardiovascular risk factors as compared to a diabetes diet. The Paleolithic diet produced lower A1c, triglycerides, and diastolic blood pressure.

An A1c test (also known as glycated hemoglobin or HbA1c) gives you a picture of your average blood glucose control for the past 2 to 3 months.

Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood. Excess triglycerides in plasma are linked to coronary artery disease in some people. Elevated triglycerides may be a result of untreated diabetes mellitus or another disease.

Diastolic blood pressure measures the pressure in your blood vessels between heartbeats when your heart is resting, and it’s the bottom number in a blood pressure reading. Below 60 is considered low, and higher than 90 is considered high.

The Paleolithic diet also produced lower weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and higher high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

“Good” HDL cholesterol seems to scour the walls of blood vessels, and clean out excess cholesterol.

The authors of this study also compared the effects of a Paleolithic diet to those of several other diets:

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Paleolithic diet compared to Mediterranean-like diet

This 12-week randomized controlled study involved 29 men with ischemic heart disease and impaired glucose tolerance or type 2 diabetes. The study concluded that a Paleolithic diet improved glucose tolerance independent of weight-loss when compared to a Mediterranean-like diet1.

Impaired glucose tolerance is considered to be a pre-diabetic state of dysglycemia that is associated with insulin resistance, and increased risk of cardiovascular pathology.

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Paleolithic diet studies with overweight individuals

In a non-controlled study with nine overweight people who were otherwise healthy, intervention food was supplied and weight was kept steady. Researchers concluded that a Paleolithic diet consumed for just ten days improved diastolic blood pressure, glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity and lipid profiles2.

Insulin sensitivity is one measure of the risk for heart disease. In general, the more sensitive one is, the lower the risk for heart problems.

Lipid profiles include tests that are often ordered together to determine the risk of coronary heart disease. These tests that have been shown to be good indicators of the risk for heart attack or stroke caused by blockage of blood vessels or hardening of the arteries, also known as atherosclerois. Lipid profiles typically include total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) — “good” cholesterol, low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) — “bad” cholesterol, and triglycerides.

A second non-controlled study of 14 healthy people found that three weeks on a Paleolithic diet significantly reduced weight, BMI, waist circumference, systolic blood pressure, and the plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1)3.

Systolic blood pressure is the top number in a blood pressure reading, and it represents the maximum pressure exerted when the heart contracts.

PAI-1 is mainly produced by the cells lining the blood vessels, but is also secreted by other tissue types. PAI-1 is an inhibitor of the physiological process that degrades blood clots. Elevated PAI-1 concentrations are associated with cardiovascular disease.

Hunter-gatherer diet studies with Australian Aborigines

One non-controlled study involved ten Australian Aborigines with diabetes, and a mean BMI of 27 kg/m2. Researchers concluded that reverting to a hunter–gatherer lifestyle for just seven weeks led to a 10% weight loss, and reductions in fasting and 2-hour glucose and fasting insulin levels4.

The same authors also conducted a second study with healthy Australian Aborigines. In this latter study, they found the insulin response to 70 g of starch from white bread was reduced, while the glucose response was not, following a reversion to a traditional lifestyle for 10- to 12-weeks5.

Epidemiological study with Pacific Islanders

This study looked at traditional Pacific Island inhabitants of Kitava, Papua New Guinea. These people, who practiced a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, had no signs of ischemic heart disease, stroke or markers of metabolic syndrome, which may result from their traditional lifestyle6-8.

Metabolic syndrome refers to a group of symptoms that occur together, and promote the development of coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

The researchers concluded that all the improvements in markers of the metabolic syndrome on a Paleolithic diet are in line with findings from epidemiological studies in non-Western populations6-8.

Improvements in A1c1, weight1, 4, 9, BMI9, waist circumference1, 9, diastolic blood pressure2, and triglycerides2 on a Paleolithic diet have been observed in intervention studies.

A lower reported energy intake and energy density of food, despite food intake ad libitum, also agrees with earlier findings that a Paleolithic diet facilitates reduced caloric intake1, 10, 11.

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Next time, we’ll take a look at theories regarding what our Paleolithic ancestors really ate, and weigh that against existing evidence. We’ll also show you how to make Mexican dining “Paleo”.

Kid-Friendly Paleo Lunches

Have you and your family been enjoying all the virtues of Paleo eating at home, but felt particularly challenged as to how your kids can keep up their great nutrition at school?

Not only are many school lunches unhealthy (and not Paleo), but oftentimes the time allocated to lunch for children is not sufficient to eat, chew and digest properly. As a result, some kids may end up eating too much too quickly, or possibly just skipping it all together!

Just as we adults need to prepare and pack lunches, snacks and meals in advance, so, too, do we need to do this for our kids.

Following these guidelines will help to ensure your little ones are adequately nourished even when out of your loving and watchful sight!

Make sure they have suitable lunchboxes. These should be insulated in order to keep items properly chilled with the help of a re-freezable ice pack or two.

If time is an issue in your child’s schedule, opt for softer foods that literally don’t take as much time to chew! This could be steamed veggies drizzled with olive oil, and soft, sliced fruit, such as peaches, pears, nectarines, oranges, grapes and so on. Diced turkey breast mixed with mashed avocado or hard-boiled eggs (if you’re kids are not following an autoimmune plan) chopped up with flax oil and a handful of raw walnuts are another suggestion.

Just as when you’re planning your own meals, keep in mind the balance of macronutrient ratio. Each meal should have some protein, some fat and some unprocessed carbohydrate, as well as the balance of timing of meals if possible.

Try to send evenly portioned containers of food in your kids’ lunches to eat every few hours, schedule permitting, rather than one giant container of food. This makes it easier for kids to simply open one little container of food, eat its contents, and be done with it!

Finally, it never hurts to get active in the school system. Call the administrators and ask to arrange a meeting if there are any issues with kids not having enough time to properly eat their lunch, or if the meals offered are sub-par.

Bring a list of all the wonderful foods you eat at home to share with the attendees at the meeting, so they can learn for themselves. At the very least, it will bring attention to the fact that change is in order!

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Another reason to avoid high fructose corn syrup:The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry published a study of the “Formation of Hydroxymethylfurfural in Domestic High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and Its Toxicity to the Honey Bee”.

When exposed to warm temperatures, HFCS can form hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), mainly from heating fructose. HMF can kill honeybees, and may contribute to colony collapse disorder that has killed honeybees in the United States and around the world threatening human food production.

HFCS is also used as a sweetener in many of our processed foods, and studies have linked HMF to DNA damage in humans. In addition, HMF breaks down in the body to other substances potentially even more harmful than HMF.

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Our Recommendations

Wondering how much protein you need for optimum health? That research, and much more, is available in The Paleo Diet Update archive (valued at over $300). The Paleo Diet Update v.4, #5 – Consensus on Protein and Health reported the findings of the Protein Summit 2007: Exploring the Impact of High-Quality Protein on Optimal Health:
“Although an emerging body of evidence continues to indicate that high protein diets have numerous health benefits2-4, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein is just 0.8 grams/kilogram/day. This is actually below 10% of total caloric intake, which is the low end of the range of the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range for protein fixed by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences5. Furthermore, the food patterns established by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans have been estimated to provide a protein intake ranging only from 17% to 21% of calories6.

To settle this issue and to discuss the collective body of scientific evidence for the role of dietary protein in optimizing health for the adult populations, 52 internationally recognized experts in protein research gathered in Charleston, SC, on May 24, 2007, in a conference called ‘Protein Summit 2007: Exploring the Impact of High-Quality Protein on Optimal Health’7.”
All the research from the five years The Paleo Diet Update has been investigating ways to protect your health is available for just $99.95.

Want personal access to our team of experts for Q&A coaching on how to improve your life with optimum nutrition? For six consecutive weeks, we will conduct a live teleconference to help you put your new eating habits into practice. These calls will be led by Wiley Long (M.S., Nutrition) and Nell Stephenson (BS EXSC, USC ACSM H/FI, Ironman Triathlete, and Paleo Diet Eating Coach!), and include a couple of appearances from Professor Loren Cordain. You will also receive a recorded copy of all calls.

If you want to lose weight, get rid of your acne, slow the progression of an autoimmune disease, and feel and perform better, the key is to eat for optimum health. We offer a special version directed specifically to helping autoimmune diseases.

In The Paleo Diet Implementation Program, you’ll have a detailed plan on what to eat; and how to shop and prep food in ways that are fast and easy. You’ll have a step-by-step program that will make the process easy and guarantee results.

Here’s just a sample of how people are changing their

lives with the Paleo Diet:

“I have a strong family history on both sides of type II diabetes so I have been very vigilant about diet and exercise. I was bewildered because the more I followed the whole grain, low fat diet, the fatter and fatter I got. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, but treatment didn’t generate weight loss.

As a 50 year old female at 5’5, this is not so attractive…was lethargic, depressed, puffy, and irritable. Anti-depressants came next and left me feeling groggy and drugged. And the headaches just got worse. I was in a downward spiral mentally and physically. I had tried a litany of vitamins and supplements and never felt measurably different no matter how many I took.

I came across the Paleo Diet when I was researching ways to deal with side effects of anti-depressants…I bought and read The Paleo Diet for Athletes and the guidance in there…helped me significantly during endurance activities.

It’s been just 3 months eating the Paleo way. I am losing, on average, a pound a week and the weight loss pace is now picking up. I used to have to preload with Ibuprofen before big events to stave off soreness. I am now using no NSAIDS and experience little or no lasting soreness. Ski season just kicked off and I am skiing without stiffness or aches. I look and feel 10 years younger. I can breathe freely as my nasal allergies have magically disappeared.”

Christi

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Follow Up and Feedback

In this section, we’ll share readers’ concerns and questions about nutrition and the Paleo Diet to help you better understand how to use the diet to optimize your health and fitness.

We just received this reader’s question: “Can you tell me if corn on the cob is o.k. to eat on the Paleo Diet?”

No, corn is not part of the Paleo Diet because corn was domesticated only 7,000 years ago in South America. This is approximately only 0.4% of human evolution.

Several reasons make corn a problematic nutrient for humans:

Where corn was a staple food, populations suffered from pellagra. This is a disease caused by a deficiency of niacin (vitamin B3) and the amino acid tryptophan. Some anti-nutrients in corn block the absorption of several micronutrients.

Like cereals in general, corn is a rich source of anti-nutrients, such as lectins and alkylresorcinols that have adverse health effects. Lectins increase intestinal permeability, thereby increasing the risk of suffering certain autoimmune diseases.

Although we can’t answer every question personally due to the number of letters received, we are very interested in hearing your thoughts, learning about your experiences, and understanding your questions. Many of the questions that we receive will be answered in future newsletters.

Talk to you next week!

To your optimum health,

Wiley Long, M.S., Nutrition and Exercise Science

Editor

September 2, 2009

Bank Bailout returns Profit

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jan Turner @ 2:15 pm

Bank bailouts bringing profit

Taxpayers see return of about $4 billion on money lent to biggest banks by feds

By Zachery Kouwe
THE NEW YORK TIMES


Nearly a year after the federal rescue of the nation’s biggest banks, taxpayers have begun seeing profits from the hundreds of billions of dollars in aid that many critics thought might never be seen again.   The profits, collected from eight of the biggest banks that have fully repaid their obligations to the government, come to about $4 billion,
or the equivalent of about 15 percent annually, according to calculations compiled for The New York Times.   That does not include the roughly $35 million that the government has earned from 14 smaller banks that have paid back their loans.


These early returns are not a full accounting of the huge financial rescue undertaken by the federal government last year to stabilize banks and other companies.  The government still faces poten
tially huge long-term losses from its bailouts of insurance giant American International Group, mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and automakers General Motors and Chrysler. The Treasury Department also could take a hit from its guarantees on billions of dollars of toxic mortgages.


But the mere hint of bailout profits for the nearly year-old Troubled Asset Relief Program has been received as a welcome surprise. It has spurred hopes that the government could soon get out of the banking business.   “The taxpayers want their money back, and they want the government
out of our banking system,” Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, a member of the Congressional Oversight Panel examining TARP, said in an interview.   Profits were hardly high on the list of government priorities in October, when a financial panic was in full swing. The Treasury Department started spending roughly $240 billion to buy preferred shares from hundreds of banks that faced huge potential losses from troubled mortgages. Bank stocks began teetering after Lehman Brothers collapsed and the government rescued AIG.


American taxpayers were told they eventually would make a modest return from these investments, including a 5 percent quarterly dividend on the banks’ preferred shares and warrants to buy stock in the banks at a set price over 10 years.
But critics at the time warned that taxpayers might not see any profits and, in fact, could lose much of the investment if the assets they were buying turned out to be worthless. As Congress debated the bailout bill last September that would authorize the Treasury Department to spend up to $700 billion to stem the financial crisis, Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, said: “Seven hundred billion dollars of taxpayer money should not be used as a hopeful experiment.”


So far, that experiment is more than paying off.

The government has taken profits of about $1.4 billion on its investment in Goldman Sachs, $1.3 billion on Morgan Stanley and $414 million on American Express. The five other banks that repaid the government — Northern Trust, Bank of New York Mellon, State Street, U.S. Bancorp and BB&T — each produced between $100 million and $334 million in profit for the government. The government bought shares in these and many other financial companies last fall, when sinking confidence among investors pushed down many bank stocks to just a few dollars a share. As the banks strengthened and became profitable, the government authorized them to pay back the preferred stock, which had been paying quarterly dividends since October.


But the real profit came as banks were permitted to buy back the so-called warrants, whose low fixed price provided a windfall for the government as the shares of the companies soared.

Fatal Spiked Cocaine in use

Spiked cocaine has killed 3;

(. . . . . most doctors unaware of it)

By Jon Gambrell
ASSOCIATED PRESS


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Nearly a third of all cocaine seized in the United States is laced with a dangerous veterinary medicine: a livestock deworming drug that might enhance cocaine’s effects but has been blamed in at least three deaths and scores of serious illnesses.   The medication is called levamisole has killed at least three people in the U.S. and Canada and sickened more than 100 others. It can be used in humans to treat colorectal cancer, but it severely weakens the body’s immune system, leaving patients vulnerable to fatal infections.


Scientific studies suggest that levamisole might give cocaine a more-intense high, possibly by increasing levels of dopamine, the brain’s “feel-good” neurotransmitters.


Drug Enforcement Administration documents indicate that 30 percent of all U.S. cocaine seizures are tainted with the drug. And health officials said that most physicians know virtually nothing about its risks. “I would think it would be fair to say the vast majority of doctors in the United States have no idea this is going on,” said Eric Lavonas, assistant director of the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center in Denver, where as much as half of the cocaine is thought to contain levami
sole. “You can’t diagnose a disease you’ve never heard of.”


Authorities think cocaine manufacturers are adding the levamisole in Colombia, before the cocaine is smug
gled into the U.S. and Canada to be sold as white powder or crack.   Economic pressures might play a role. Decreased supply in the U.S. has raised cocaine prices and lowered streetlevel purity. Cocaine traffickers might think levamisole adds an extra boost to an otherwise weakened product.


The medication started showing up frequently in cocaine from Colombia in January 2008. By late last year, the DEA concluded that the spiked cocaine was in wide circulation.   Hospitals across the country began noticing cocaine users coming in with agranulocytosis, an illness that suppresses white blood cells, which fight off infections.


In Spokane, Wash., a woman in her mid-40s who tested positive for cocaine turned up at a hospital suffering from rashes and other maladies. She eventually died, and the doctor who investigated suspected she had used cocaine laced with levamisole. Doctors also suspect levamisole in at least three other illnesses in the Spokane area.   “It’s hard to know where this contamination (is), in what part of the country it’s located, because there’s really no systematic testing for it,” said Dr. Joel McCullough, health officer for the Spokane area.


Other deaths suspected of links to levamisole occurred in New Mexico and in Alberta, Canada.


Many other people have become gravely ill, including about a dozen patients in Denver and 10 more in Seattle. At least one patient in each city required intensive care or extensive surgery.


In a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers suggested that the medication might increase dopamine in the brain, as it has in previous animal experiments.   Levamisole “elevates opiate levels in various brain regions, like codeine and morphine,” said Don LeGatt, a clinical toxicologist at the University of Alberta who has studied levamisole in cocaine. “Once you get those elevated, people tend to feel fairly comfortable and not
too bad.”   LeGatt said doctors should consider levamisole exposure in cases where otherwisehealthy adults or newborns get infections because of low white-blood-cell counts. But levamisole appears in urine for only a few days after exposure, meaning that tests should be performed as soon as possible.

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