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Aug
15

My Berry Confession

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I am, among other things, a rabid lover of berries and my walking companions can find it a little annoying when I’m suddenly distracted by a stand of one species or another.  Of course, I am not above picking all manner of fruit when they present themselves along a lane or pathway. This particularly refers to the fig trees in the neighbourhood and the yellow plum tree on the street nearby.  However, it’s really the berries that excite me above all.  I think about how hunter’s and fisherman have to wait and wait.  Perhaps it was different in the days when fish and some species of birds and animals were abundant.  The na tives of the prairies probably had jokes about the guy who couldn’t hit a buffalo in a herd. (Perhaps that’s why in this incarnation I stick to berries!) In the meantime, we berry pickers revel in abundance…at least...
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314 Hits
Aug
16

The Quality of Natural Products

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In the U.S., reports emerge periodically indicating that herbal products are not to be trusted. When products have been tested from American chain drug stores, such as CVS, they are sometimes found to contain far less, if any of the labelled ingredients. These reports tend to cast a rather cynical shadow across the industry as a whole, but this is altogether mistaken. There are many companies in the natural products sector competing for market share and industry respect.  One way this is done is by incorporating advanced technologies and methods to ensure the quality and character of their end product. Ingredients that are particularly hot in the marketplace, such as curcumin (derived from turmeric), have companies virtually tumbling over each other to create ever more absorbable forms or cutting-edge formulations. In the last few years, I’ve had the opportunity to visit two herbal/natural product research laboratories and several natural product manufacturing...
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1444 Hits
Jul
31

Choice, Fate and Aging

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This is my first blog in a long time, the first in a series over the next few months.  While I have a plan for a number of subjects of interest, as is usual for me I’d like to start with something that serves as a reminder of principles that help keep everything in perspective. It’s a wry fact that many of those who have been most vocal about best health practices have suffered the indignity of a relatively early death of seemingly preventable causes, sometimes the very diseases they said you could prevent by following their approach. It’s an interesting study and a little spooky for the fact that we’re reminded that the matter of health is not so simple as eating a great diet, the best supplements, exercise, etc.   Health Gurus who had untimely deaths: https://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/stories/7-diet-gurus-who-died-of-poor-health https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/09/opinion/sunday/longevity-pritikin-atkins.html https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/deaths-of-fitness-diet-gurus#gypsy-boots) George Ohsawa, the founder of macrobiotics died of a heart...
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1070 Hits
Mar
30

Taking a Sledgehammer to Heartburn

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You may be surprised to learn that medicine is subject to prescribing fads. For example, I’ve been astonished at the dramatic increase of patients that are taking drugs that turn off the acid production in your stomach, a trend well evidenced in the medical literature.  These drugs are called “Proton Pump Inhibitors”. In fact, drugs with names such as Nexium, Tecta, Prilosec, Losec, Prevacid, Periot, are now prescribed for a wide range of stomach problems and related esophageal and throat symptoms, across a remarkable range of ages. I’ve seen several cases of children and teenagers on acid inhibiting medications. In fact, there has been an astonishing rise in the prescription of these medications for children under the age of one for gastric irritation and to prevent infant reflux. As of 2010, there were 114 million prescriptions of acid suppressing medications per year in the United States. Over the last ten years, the number...
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2769 Hits
Aug
01

Gluten Free or Fact Free?

Gluten Free or Fact Free?
Wh eat and  grain s  g enerally  the focus of a great deal of controversy in recent years.  Publications like Wheat Belly and Grain Brain have created the impression that the ingestion of grains, particularly wheat, is the cause of major health worries such as obesity, diabetes, autoimmune illness, etc.   Despite these anti-grain opinions, the research evidence is strong that whole grains of all types are healthful and central to a nourishing natural food diet, as they have been for thousands of years.  Whole grains such as brown rice of different varieties, millet, buckwheat (a particular favourite), quinoa - all are a regular part of my plant-based diet. Today I would like to briefly discuss the issue of gluten that in a few short years has created an earthquake in the food and restaurant industry.  Gluten is a mixture of two proteins and found in grass grains, particularly wheat.  Gluten...
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6072 Hits
Jul
02

The Benefits of Meditation

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What does meditation have to do with naturopathic medicine? If we understand health as a state of the person as a whole, it is easy to appreciate how meditation is a perfect complement to a holistic view of wellness. Cultivating an inner point of grounding and stillness is so valuable in an age when many sources of stress are playing on us more or less simultaneously. Yet even if one’s life circumstances were ideal, meditation would still be a wise practice to cultivate, as modern research has verified many direct physical and emotional benefits. Yes, there are evident, proven anti-stress benefits to meditation, yet there is much, much more. Would you like to slow the aging process , improve brain function and immunity ? These are a very few of the many benefits that are available with meditation. In a recent review of fifteen studies on meditation in schools that involved...
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4881 Hits
Jun
09

Skeptical of the Skeptics: Unreason in the name of Reason

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Sometime ago I happened to hear Timothy Caulfield discussing his ideas on a Canadian broadcast morning show.  He had authored an essay on  the subject of medical institutes that were proposing to incorporate complementary health care methods into their systems. The thesis of his essay was that there is medical science and then there are the many pretenders to the healing arts that had, in his view, no evidential support.  http://www.irpp.org/en/po/public-square/caulfield/ .  Caulfield's key assertion, is that for universities and medical clinics to associate themselves with purveyors of “nonsense”, such as naturopaths, acupuncturists, homeopaths, etc,. is to debase "scientific" medicine.   Study them if you must, (in fact, there are those that insist that funding research work on subjects such as homeopathy should completely come to an end) but certainly don’t lower medicine by integrating alternative medicine practitioners or courses into clinics or institutions of higher learning.  He believes it is wrong...
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12388 Hits
Jun
09

Help for Psoriasis

Help for Psoriasis
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Psoriasis is one of the most intractable conditions to treat for both conventional and alternative medicine.  However, recent research indicates that Pycnogenol® a standardized extract from French maritime pine tree bark, significantly improved some of the discomforting symptoms of of this condition including redness, flaking, and thickness of the total surface area of the affected skin patches.  Standard treatment protocols involve anti-inflammatory medications and sometimes drugs such as methotrexate or immune-suppressing agents, particularly in psoriatic arthritis, a condition where psoriasis and arthritis, particularly of the fingers, toes and lower spine, seem to run together..   While the present study focussed on the pine bark extracts, grape seed extracts contain essentially the same factors, known as PCO’s, a particular phytochemical from a family of compounds known as flavonoids.  Supplementation doses of 100 to 300 mg daily can be helpful for a wide variety of condition, with research showing benefits for:     Asthma...
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6000 Hits
May
21

The Two Traditions of Medicine

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When we think of health, it is might be worthwhile to point out that historically there are essentially two dominant conceptions of the body.   While they are not mutually exclusive, in some respects complementing each other, yet they are fundamentally opposite in nature.   (The most complete understanding of this subject has been unfurled in a series of remarkable volumes titled Divided Legacy, by the late Harris Coulter.) One is termed the Rationalist school and is embodied today by modern medicine.  The Rationalist tradition sees the body as a living machine composed of various parts and processes.  Disease is regarded as a disorder of structure or function.  As science grows in understanding of the body, its anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, cell biology, etc., medicine develops elaborate methods and technologies to fix, replace, alter, control, activate or suppress a particular structure or function, or some factor that is designated to be the cause,...
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6286 Hits
Mar
05

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

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Tonight Jen and I watched this film on Netflix. It can also be seen free at the website fatsickandnearlydead.com.  It spirals up to a point and then unexpectedly takes a mortal leap into the truly moving and inspirational. The film follows Joe, a successful but overweight Aussie with a chronic skin condition, as he embarks across American, film crew in hand, while on a thirty day fruit and vegetable juice fast (wisely under the guidance of a nutritionally-oriented physician).  Things take a drastic turn after Joe returns home and gets a call from Phil, a 420+ pound trucker with the same skin problem, that he had met along the way.  Phil reaches out to Joe for help and the ensuing process is the real heart and soul of the movie. Who would benefit by a program like this, and what changes might be recommended?  There are many people who could be...
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  3003 Hits
3003 Hits