Wednesday, June 30, 2010


In my May class at IIN, Patricia Moreno, a fitness instructor, went on stage and led a 10 minute class of a group exercise that she developed called intenSati.  intenSati is an exercise class that combines martial arts, yoga and affirmations.  Yes, affirmations and they are spoken out loudly and proudly.  She says that through positive affirmations, attitudes, and action, intenSati allows the mind and body to move into alignment and make you a stronger person.

Don't they look empowered? (source)

The class starts off with a "warm-up" which is really a time for the participants to set their intention for the next hour-similar to yoga.  Then there is a half hour of intense cardio based on martial arts where you combine punching, kicking and other movements with affirmations like "I am strong," "I have the willpower now," and "I am powerful."  After that, you move into yoga and balance postures to start calming the mind.  The goal of the class is to "empower you to live a life you love in a body you love."  It's a really interesting approach to exercise as it doesn't allow you to ever think "This sucks," "This is so hard," or "I can't do it."  Instead, it has you loudly vocally express these positive statements which eventually become part of your belief system. According to Patricia, the results of these classes include weight loss and improved body image powered by a better self esteem.  

Starting the workout, I felt a little silly declaring my strength and success but after my workout with Patricia, I really felt empowered and in charge of my life.  It was a great session and I really encourage you to check out her classes in NYC or consider purchasing her workout DVD.  For more information, check out her website,

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Eating Seasonally: Summer

One of the best changes that you can do in your diet is to eat seasonally.  It's what our ancestors use to do because they had no choice.  In the modern world, we can have tropical fruits shipped in the winter and winter vegetables in the summer.  However, our bodies metabolize food differently in the seasons according to the traditional "sciences" of traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda.  Also, it makes sense.  In the winter, you're not going to be drinking iced coffees, although I've seen many people do that. 

Summer just started (in the Northern hemisphere) last week and for those of you who haven't figured it out, it gets hot in the summer!  Eating with the season means that we need to balance our overheated bodies to equilibrium  or to feel cooler for when we combat the outdoor heat.  That's why we don't normally crave stews in the summer.  Instead, fresh fruit and salads are preferred.  Summer is the season of abundance so a diet loaded with more fruits and vegetables is definitely the ideal diet.  Some suggestions of foods to eat by The World's Healthiest Foods is "fruits like strawberries, apple, pear, and plum; vegetables like summer squash, broccoli, cauliflower, and corn; and spices and seasonings like peppermint and cilantro."  The BBC Good Food site has a great Seasonality Table that breaks down what's seasonal by month! Also, eating seasonally can easily be accomplished by going to the farmers' markets and conversing with the experts on seasonal eating, the farmers!  These are all great resources to turn to for advice on eating seasonally.  I also encourage you to start listening to what your body is telling you.  If you're craving watermelon, don't reach for that hot apple pie for dessert.  What are your thoughts on eating seasonally?

Happy Tuesday and Happier Eating!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Meaty Mondays Series: The Meatrix

Continuing the Meaty Monday Series is a video clip I viewed this weekend in class.  It is called The Meatrix and uses the themes from movie, The Matrix, to get a powerful message across about factory farming.  Enjoy!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Bonus Sunday Post!

Here is a BONUS quote for you today from the amazing Mark Hyman lecture I attended yesterday.  

"Depression is not a Prozac-deficiency."

Find out more about him and his views on medicine and functional medicine on his website:  Thoughts?

Tip for the Week: Plan Your Meals

It's Sunday! The eve of a new week. Many of us, well not me, will be heading somewhere the upcoming weekend. But before you get to the long weekend, you have 5 laborious days to get through. There will be meetings to pay attention during, trains to catch and much planning in anticipation of spending time with family and friends oo'ing and ahh'ing at fireworks. One of the ways to get through a busy week is to plan your meals ahead. It takes the heavy thinking out of your evenings so that you can rest. This is definitely an area I need to work on. The bf and I have many staples that we make weekly or biweekly, but we almost always decide what to have for dinner the day of. It puts an unnecessary amount of stress that I would love to avoid. So join me this week and plan out your meals.

Other benefits of planning your meals besides sanity are savings in time and money. By having a dinner menu for the week, you will know what groceries to purchase which saves  making multiple trips to and from the store as well as being an efficient shopper at the store. Additionally, by saving time in your evenings, you can spend more time on my blog! :) Planning can also save you money, if you want it to. When planning, you can integrate sale items from the store circulars and make them a part of your meals or you can plan around the remaining items in your pantry or freezer. This is especially helpful before payday or month end, such as this week, when you may be strapped for cash.

Happy planning and let me know how it goes!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Farmers Markets: 10 Common Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Going to a farmers market can be a bit intimidating.  I found this awesome article at Huffington Post that gives  a list of common mistakes people make at farmers markets and how to avoid them.  I thought I'd share it as I just talked about farmers markets yesterday!  Happy Shopping!

Farmers markets aren't just about produce!

Top 10 Mistakes Made by Farmers Market Newbs
If you haven't spent much time at farmers markets, I know they can be a bit intimidating. Locals always know exactly where to go and what to buy, and seem to possess some kind of secret, cult-like knowledge of seasonal favorites and exclusive deals.

How is a farmers market noobie supposed to sort through the piles of exotic vegetables without feeling like an trespasser?

The reality is this: Farmers market fans can indeed be fanatical (I know I am), but the farmers themselves couldn't be more friendly and welcoming. Here are my top 10 tips for fitting in at the farmers market and getting the most from being a locavore.

Arriving too late
Showing up at a farmers market in the late morning means big crowds and picked-over produce. Beat the rush by going early and getting the best of the season. Morning light is also best for snapping pictures, if you're into that sorta thing.
Forgetting to BYOB (bring your own bags!)
Most farmers markets provide small plastic bags for your purchases (in eco-friendly San Francisco, plastic has been banned and most vendors offer paper or compostable BioBags for a small price), but you definitely want to have a larger bag to carry your bounty or you'll be heading home prematurely.

Buying staples
One of the advantages of shopping at a farmers market is that you get the best of the season from local farmers, which is likely to be different from your normal grocery store purchases. There's nothing wrong with buying foods you know you like, but try to be adventurous with new produce. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Not asking questions
You may not know everything there is to know about seasonal vegetables, but the farmers who grow them certainly do. Walk up to each vendor with a smile and ask them what their favorites are this week. If you've never cooked with them before, ask for an example recipe or serving suggestions. You can always search recipes online when you get home, so don't feel like you need to know exactly how you're going to prepare something before buying it.
Forgetting cash
Farmers market veterans know better than to show up at the market without cash in our wallets. Credit cards are not accepted by most farmers and the line at the local ATM machine is a wait you could live without. Pick up some cash on your way to avoid the headache.
Focusing on fruit
Fruit is great, but it will also put a hefty dent in your wallet. If you fear farmers markets because of the price, focus your attention on vegetables. Veggies are cheaper and when picked fresh and in season can be almost as sweet as candy.
Forgetting milk and dairy
Farmers markets are the best places to find sustainable farms with eco-friendly practices. Buy your eggs, fish, milk, cheese and meat products from local producers to reduce environmental impact.

Bringing Pets
It is illegal to bring dogs to farmers markets in California, but each state has their own policies. Check your local market rules before bringing Fluff Fluff along on your shopping trip.
Trying to negotiate
Farmers markets are not flea markets, and haggling is generally not part of the etiquette. Sometimes very late in the day farmers will offer discounts, but it is generally best practice to respect the set prices. Farmers work harder than most of us can imagine, and their asking prices are more than fair.
Not shopping around
Samples are commonplace at farmers markets and allow you to find the best produce to match your taste. Nothing is worse than buying a basket of strawberries and then finding better ones two stands away. Shop around a bit before deciding on the best purchases. You know you've picked the right stuff if you can barely get it home without eating it all.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Farmers Markets: Why Should You Go?

It's been a crazy week here and I'm heading to school this weekend.  Expect shorter but just as sweet posts  while I'm in NYC listening to Paul Pitchford speak.  In the meantime, check out the June newsletter that came out today and sign up to receive it every month if you haven't already! 

One of my goals this summer is to really become a regular at the local farmers markets in Boston.  I am blessed that the city has a plethora to visit on various days throughout the week.  There is even one twice a week across the street from South Station which is only 10 minutes away from my office.  There are so many advantages, health and otherwise, to buying local and fresh. 

Tasty: We are talking about fresh food.  Food that has usually been picked in the past 24 hours or less and at a peak of ripeness!  This means that the fruits are going to be sweeter and juicer and the vegetables are going to be more colorful and crunchier.  My friend has been known to purchase heirloom tomatoes from the farmers market and eat them as her afternoon snack.

Nutrient-packed:  A produces' freshness is highly correlated to its nutritional value.  (A) They weren't picked while under ripe and allowed to ripen while traveling on a cargo ship and truck. They are picked at their peak of ripeness and brought to the market. This means that they were allowed to grow to their fullest potential and to reap the most benefits of the soil and sun.  (B) They haven't had to travel as far as grocery store produce which means that they haven't lost as many nutrients between garden and kitchen. (C) Many farmers practice proper crop rotation, a technique that has been abandoned by the larger farming industry.  Rotating crops allows the soil to replenish its minerals which still utilizing the very valuable land. 

(Likely) Organic: Many local farmers actually follow gardening methods and philosophies that would qualify as organic including crop rotation and not using dangerous pesticides and herbicides. Unfortunately, it costs a lot of money to get that certification and many farmers cannot make that investment.  The best bet is to talk to the farmers and understand what they growing methods are.

Eco-friendly: As I mentioned, many farmers follow organic growing techniques which are definitely eco-friendly.  Not using pesticides and herbicides means they stay out of our air, water, and soil as well as any wild animals that come in contact with them.  Crop rotation allows the soil to rebuild its supply, essentially give it time to heal.  Additionally, the produce has a much lower carbon footprint than produce found in the grocery store.  This is the case with organic fruits and vegetables too.  Many of which come all the way from Central and South America!

Local Economics: Lastly, you are supporting a local economy and folks who are doing honest work and growing food to nurture us.  Who deserves our money more than them?

These are only some of the reasons to start checking out your farmers markets.  I hope one or all of these reasons compel you enough to do that.  Don't know if you have a farmers market near you?  Check out Local Harvest to find one!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Blog Spotlight: Making Love in the Kitchen

It's been about a month since I did my last blog spotlight on rock star, Mrs Q and her blog, Fed Up with Lunch.  Today I am happy to feature another awesome blogger, Meghan Telpner, and her blog, Making Love in the Kitchen.  I have been an avid reader of Meghan's blog for the past 2 years.  Meghan cured herself of Crohn's disease through healthful whole foods and a cleaner lifestyle and has been in remission for several years. After her experience, she became a nutritionist and holistic lifestyle consultant and start her blog which is a wonderful, educational and upbeat read.  She has been a huge inspiration for me to pursue my education to be a Holistic Health Counselor and to inform people about health and wellness through my blog.

(photo courtesy of Facebook)

Now, I've never met Meghan or even spoken to her but her blog is so personable and authentic, that I feel like I do.  Now I can go on and on about how much I feel the blog is cheerful and energizing, but the reason Making Love in the Kitchen made it into my blog spotlight is because Megan is a rock star!

Not only is Meghan educating the hundreds if not thousands of readers through her blog, events and class, but she also tries to educate those who aren't on the "alternative" health wagon.  She strongly feels that whole foods can heal the body and takes a respectable stand and voices her opinion to "the man."  Her blog yesterday featured a letter that she wrote to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada (she is from Toronto). She wrote the letter after learning that deep fried Twinkies were served at the CCFC's latest fundraiser. 
Horrifying, yes, I know.  The letter is a perfect example of her knowledge, personality, and approach in educating others.  Take a read.  I won't spend time to recap it since she so eloquently expresses herself.

So take a look at Megan's blog and continue supporting a community of healers that wants to bring spread the word to the broader public that food is medicine! [Also check out this awesome giveaway she is having for GlassDharma Straws! P.S. my birthday is coming up *cough*hint hint*cough* ;)]

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What Will Be, Will Be

It's the start of the third season of the year.  And 2010 has been one heck of a year so far.  I moved into my condo on New Year's Eve-yes, very symbolic.  Work has given me more challenges and responsibilities.  School has been amazing. I've made some life-long friends.  I've started my own health counseling business and also just started consulting with small health and wellness companies.  Whew!  Things are moving along.  But sometimes I stop and ask myself if they are moving along fast enough or in the right direction.  These moments don't last long because I have learned to really trust the process, the one that the universe has laid out.  My life is going in the direction it was meant to go in.  I can take actions to get me there quicker but it would not be what I'm meant to experience. E.g., quitting my day job so I can be a "full-time" health counselor only to not be able to pay bills and have to land a part-time job at the 7-Eleven.  Not exactly aligned with who I should be...

For those of us who get these moments where we feel we're going in the right direction but are anxious to learn what's ahead, I'd like for you to remember:
Life is moving at its own pace. We can't rush it or slow it down no matter what we do. We just have to enjoy it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Meaty Mondays Series: Meat & the Environment

This post will be the first of my Monday series on all things meat.

In April, San Francisco was the first US city to embrace and fully adopt the Meatless Monday concept.  Mondays became a pseudo-holiday where residences became vegetarian.  The city encouraged shops and restaurants to support the weekly event with menu choices and specials featuring meat-free items.  This adoption is part of a larger international campaign to reduce meat consumption.  I'm not telling you to stop eating meat but below are some issues you may not have previously aware of when taking a bite of your burger or cutting into your chicken breast.  Today, I will cover the environmental impact of eating meat. 

Our planet needs to grow food to feed more and more people every year.  Natural resources are in decline.  The livestock industry uses a disproportionate amount of resources for their yield, especially in comparison to the agricultural farming industry.   Here are some major environmental considerations when choosing to eat meat - Planeteer-style
Goooo Captain!

Earth (Land): We use a ton of land just to grow meat.  Not only do we use the land to physically raise animals, but we also use land to grow their feed.  About 70% of the grains harvested in the US are grown with the sole purpose of feeding farm animals.  Every pound of meat takes about 16 pounds of grains! Imagine if we reallocated those grains to feed people! What a difference that would make in the world hunger issue and food costs.

Fire (Temperature): Global warming is a hot topic (literally).  Whether you believe that temperature fluctuations are a natural planetary cycle or directly attributed to human behavior, the fact is the earth's weather is going off pattern.  Warmer temperatures as well as more catastrophic natural disasters or untimely occurrences have been linked to global warming.  Major culprits include auto and plane emissions, deforestation, and lastly, raising livestock.  "In a 2006 report, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) concluded that worldwide livestock farming generates 18% of the planet's greenhouse gas emissions — by comparison, all the world's cars, trains, planes and boats account for a combined 13% of greenhouse gas emissions.(source)"

Wind (Air): In addition to the hot air that raising livestock produces, factory farms are the source of massive amounts of pollution.  The ill-living conditions introduce dust and dried feces and other not so healthy particles into the air.  "A study in Texas found that animal feedlots in the state produce more than 14 million pounds of particulate dust every year and that the dust 'contains biologically active organisms such as bacteria, mold, and fungi from the feces and the feed.' The massive amounts of excrement produced by these farms emit toxic gases such as hydrogen sulfide and ammonia into the air. The EPA reports that roughly 80 percent of ammonia emissions in the United States come from animal waste...When the cesspools holding tons of urine and feces get full, factory farms will frequently get around water pollution limits by spraying liquid manure into the air, creating mists that are carried away by the wind." Gag! (source)

The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our WorldWater: It takes 5,214 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef! (Source: Food Revolution)  Our usable water supply is already dwindling.  Shifting from one pound of beef a year would save more water than using a water efficient showerhead or washing your car or not turning on your lawn sprinkler.
In addition to the extravagant use of water to raise animals, there is also the water pollution that results from factory farming.  Animal waste is improperly discarded and oftentimes runoff into sources of water like lakes and streams.  These waste contain an extreme amount of bacteria, hormones, and antibiotics that are not meant to be in our water supply.  Summary-we are drinking that stuff.

And finally,
Heart (ethics): Now this isn't an environmental impact but ties nicely with the Planeteers theme.  Ethics in raising, killing and eating animals have been hot topics for centuries.  Historically, groups like the Native Americans and Indians have revered animals for their spirit and their physical contribution to our being.  Animals were raised, killed, and eaten with respect.  This is a far cry from what we do today.
The method of  farming implemented for most animals in the US is called "factory farming."  It is a bit ironic to couple "farming" with such an industrial word like "factory."  However, these words are indicative of how the meat industry views the cows, chickens, and pigs it raises.  These animals are treated as "inventory."  The system tries to get the most yield from these animals at the least cost which includes  money and time.  There is no consideration for the well-being of the animal itself.  They are subjected to extremely harsh living conditions where they do not get sunlight, fresh air, or even grass to walk on.  These wild animals do not have any room to move and exercise their muscles.  Their pens are muddy, grass-free and they are literally stepping in their own feces or worse, their dead counterparts. 

I encourage everyone to make wiser food choices around meat, starting on Mondays, for a happier and healthier planet.  Look for my post next week on the impact of eating meat and how we can make choices for a happier and healthier body.
 For more info: (this site is a great site for all things "green")

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tip for the Week: Just Dance

Every Sunday I will post a quote, thought, or tip to ease you into Monday and carry you throughout the week.

Happy Father's Day to the dads and granddads and great granddads out there. I hope your family showed you a good time today.

This week's tip is inspired by some of my favorite moments from my weekend classes in New York.  No, they are not the sessions with the admirable guest speakers or meeting new friends (which have both been amazing and inspiring).  Some of my top ranking moments have actually been when me and 1,200 other students danced together.  During times that the class has been low in energy or just touched upon a serious topic, my teacher, Joshua Rosenthal, led my class through dance breaks. The energy of my classmates coupled with the amazing acoustics and lights in the Jazz Center have led to awesome energy boosting, free flowing experiences.  I've adopted this practice on some early mornings when I need an energy boost. I'll go on YouTube, select a song with a good beat, and dance my heart out before heading out for work.

I'd like for you to give it a try this week.  Dance alone like no one's watching or pull in your partner, your children, or maybe your dog or cat :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Dissing Disease, Disorder & Discomfort

Not a day goes by that I do not hear about someone experiencing a disease, disorder or discomfort. What an awful set of words, huh?

They describe both major and minor illnesses and ailments. Diseases are often indicative of more serious conditions like heart disease, cancers, and AIDS. Disorders include psychological issues like depression or ADD and digestive disorders like colitis and Crohn's. Discomfort is described as back pain, upset stomachs, and headaches.

Did you realize that there is a common prefix for all of these words? "Dis-" means not or lack of. Disease is to not be in ease. Disorder is not to be in order. Discomfort is not to be in comfort. These words were developed to describe feelings of dis-ease, dis-order, and dis-comfort.

When these words were established, they all meant the same thing-to simply not feel well. Today, these words are used to describe ailments of all areas of the body and of varying levels of intensity. Our society's health has gotten so bad that the sense of what ease, order and comfort mean are very different than when the words were originally coined.

Our bodies should always be at ease, in order, and comfortable. Having a headache is a dis-ease. Not being able to sleep one night is a dis-order. Having menstrual cramps is a discomfort. Our health issues should not have to manifest into diabetes, heart disease, or cancer to be considered a disease.

What do you think of these there words? Is your body at ease, in order and comfortable? Be pro-ease, pro-order, and pro-comfort. Talk to me today to find out what you can do to achieve true health and vitality.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Answers to Your Business Questions!

I am excited to announce the launch of my consulting practice servicing small businesses in the health and wellness industry!! I have a background as a strategic and management consultant and some of my favorite conversations at school have been in helping my classmates with their business questions. These conversations and a recent opportunity with a small healthy beverage company in NYC have inspired me to branch out and start my own consulting practice! I see this new practice as a marriage of two of my key strengths and passions: business strategy and health/wellness. My ability to think of business on a "holistic" level enables me to see the big picture and identify underlying issues that may be causing progress to be stagnant. It's kind of like health coaching, just on a business issue and not a disease, disorder or discomfort.

An example of what I can offer: The beverage company I mentioned above is a start-up and is growing rapidly. They want to ensure their operations are efficient and going to meet increasing demand. I've been working with some of their personnel to identify core areas of improvement, gaps in their strategy, operational deficiencies, and product development to meet market trends.

My mission is to provide the business support and tools needed to advance small companies in the health and wellness industry enabling market growth and visibility, and ultimately, a healthier world. These businesses include practices of health counselors, chiropractors, doctors, therapists, and trainers, retailers, wellness centers, food producers, product manufacturers, restaurants, gyms, "green" companies, yoga studios, etc.

My services are here to answer any business questions you may have. Right now, I plan to offer my services on a call by call basis (at a much reduced price) but will become retainer-based as my business grows. My consultations will be guided by my clients' needs which can include brainstorming, idea generation around marketing and product, discussion of target market, establishing growth strategy, and setting foundational elements like vision and purpose.

I offer services for 15, 30, and 60 minute consultations. I also offer a retainer of 3 hours that is redeemable in half hour increments.  Discounts are given to IIN students and alumni!  Email me to find out how I can elevate your business to the next level!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Eating with Grace

I am on the bus heading to New York City for the 6th weekend of classes! We just made the obligatory rest stop at a choice fast food chain. I went out to stretch my legs and sat back down and started observing fellow passengers eating their value meals at a table outside. Well, if you can call it eating... It was more like shoveling, inhaling, and stuffing as much down their throat as quickly as possible. It's not like they couldn't bring the food on the bus!

Have you ever mindlessly eaten or inhaled a meal? Do you remember how it tasted? Or do you only remember being hungry not long after?

Part of our food crisis, aside from the fast food mentioned (that's a whole other post), is that we don't appreciate food anymore! Food or food type products are plentiful and a lot of us have the ability to afford and eat 3 square meals a day. Food is taken for granted. We don't sit down and share a meal with our loved ones anymore. Instead, we grab whatever we can reach in the fridge or freezer, unwrap it, pop it in the microwave while we open a Coke, and inhale our food in between chugging our soda.

Food needs to return to being the focus of the meal. Sure, having family and friends around the table is wonderful as well. But even when eating alone, we shouldn't try to distract ourselves by watching TV or reading a magazine. We should treat our meals as special moments. There are several ways to start honoring your food. Try there and notice the physical and emotional benefits from it.

Eat without Distractions: Put away the book and smart phone and turn off the laptop and computer. We are always on the move. By only eating when eating, we'll start associating the time we eat with times of peace. This will do wonders if you are over eating, constantly hungry or experience stomach pains after eating. It's also good for those of us stressed in general.

Chew and Chew Again: Take time to enjoy your food. Chew it until it basically becomes liquid. It's not the best image, but this is extremely beneficial to those of us who aren't absorbing nutrients from our food, experiencing digestive issues like bloating, gas, and constipation, and over eating.

Say Grace...or something: I'm not a particularly religious person. But I'm definitely getting more in touch with my spiritual side as I learn more about myself and also, as I've cleaned up my diet. I believe the act saying grace or any act of expressing thankfulness for our food was developed because our ancestors respected the food on the table and wanted to recognize the importance of it. Saying grace or taking a moment of silence before a meal doesn't happen anymore. But farmers are still working hard to raise livestock and grow produce. And someone is still cooking or putting together your meals.

Let's all take time out this weekend to appreciate our food. Thank the person who prepared it and savor it. Chew it thoroughly and enjoy the flavors and textures. Eat and only eat.

Watch out for future posts on this topic as I will definitely be returning to it often because I don't think we will make this change overnight and can always use the reminder.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

18 Areas of Improvement for Modern Medicine (Part 3)

Here's the last installment of 18 areas that modern medicine could use some improving!

13. We don’t recognize or understand the correct use of supplements to optimize health.
A lot of people think that we can get all of the nutrients that our bodies need from the food that we eat.  Well first off, we are not getting it from our food...most of us don't even eat what would traditionally be classified as food.  Secondly, our farming methods are extremely questionable.  The soil that the raw material that our "food" is made from has been so degraded from improper farming and the overuse of pesticides and herbicides.  Our seeds have been genetically modified.  We have over farmed our crops.  Studies show that our fruits and vegetables have less nutritional value than

14. We don’t recognize the importance of toxicity on our bodies nor know how to boost the body’s own detoxification systems.
Traditional Indian and Chinese medicine have been developed very much around the theory of toxicity and the need of balance in the body.  Modern medicine ignores this idea and we are getting sicker and sicker for not only that reason but also because our world is getting more toxic between our lifestyles and our environment. 

15. The Doctor patient relationship is not emphasized and the role of the patient as a partner in their own health care not encouraged.
How many of you can say you have a relationship with your doctor?  And how many of your doctors have asked you what you think about your health?  Nuf said.

16. The placebo has a negative connotation and ignored. The placebo is really the body healing itself and should be encouraged.
"“From 2001 to 2006, the percentage of new products cut from development after Phase II clinical trials, when drugs are first tested against placebo, rose by 20 percent. The failure rate in more extensive Phase III trials increased by 11 percent, mainly due to surprisingly poor showings against placebo." Wired Magazine (from this article)

17. The Drug Industry is too enmeshed in the medical system The Pharmaceutical Industry has WAY TOO MUCH power and is “bribing” Doctors to use their drugs and researchers to produce positive results for their drugs.
Big Pharma is mixed in with not only the medical system, but also the government.  How does it make you feel when your government sponsored insurance will pay for medicine but not preventative measures like massages or chiropractic adjustments?  How does it feel when you walk into your doctor's with an ailment, spend 5 minutes with him and walk out with nothing but a prescription for a drug you saw advertised on TV?  The issues with our medical system are much deeper than just the fact that our society is getting sicker.

18. More than 80 percent of all medical treatments used have been untested by rigorous peer reviewed study, yet the Medical establishment insists that alternative health treatments must undergo these before they can be used. The system of evaluation needs to be changed. 

As I've said alternative health treatments, which oftentimes originate with traditional practices, have far more validity and already gone through centuries of "testing."  Did you know that Iatrogenic Disease is the 3rd most fatal disease in the US?  Never heard of Iatrogenic Disease?  Me neither until yesterday.  Iatrogenic is defined as "induced in a patient by a physician's activity, manner, or therapy. Used especially to pertain to a complication of treatment."  Although this statistic includes  alternative medicine, complications from modern medicine make up the majority of these deaths.  Here are some really eye-opening info:
A study carried out in 1981 more than one-third of illnesses of patients in a university hospital were iatrogenic, nearly one in ten were considered major, and in 2% of the patients, the iatrogenic disorder ended in death. Complications were most strongly associated with exposure to drugs and medications. In another study, the main factors leading to problems were inadequate patient evaluation, lack of monitoring and follow-up, and failure to perform necessary tests.
In the United States, figures suggest estimated deaths per year of:
  • 12,000 due to unnecessary surgery
  • 7,000 due to medication errors in hospitals
  • 20,000 due to other errors in hospitals
  • 80,000 due to infections in hospitals
  • 106,000 due to non-error, negative effects of drugs
Based on these figures, iatrogenesis may cause 225,000 deaths per year in the United States (excluding recognizable error). These figures are likely exaggerated, however, as they are based on recorded deaths in hospitals rather than in the general population. Even so, the large gap separating these estimates deaths from cerebrovascular disease would still suggest that iatrogenic illness constitutes the third leading cause of death in the United States, after deaths from heart disease and cancer. And these estimates are for fatalities only, and do not include nonfatal harms associated with disability or discomfort. (Source)
Have these points got you thinking about modern medicine?  Want to give me your two cents?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

18 Areas of Improvement for Modern Medicine (Part 2)

Continuing on with the 18 Biggest Areas of Improvement with Modern Medicine (check out Part I if you missed it)...

(photo source:

7. We look for a magic bullet instead of all the possible factors that make up the total load which are causing the underlying imbalance. There is no understanding of the total load.
The magic bullet is often in the form of a pill. Strange that it sorta looks like a bullet too, huh?  People consider pills to be "medicine" that are the end all be all and solves all of their issues when in reality, pills mask the symptoms of the underlying issue.  

8. No belief that the body has a self-healing capacity and no ways to boost that capacity.
"Given half a chance, the body will heal itself."  I believe that my teacher, Joshua Rosenthal, says it best.  Time is often the best medicine.  Water is probably second on the list.  Our bodies are intelligent machines.  It  has adapted over hundreds and thousands of years to know when and how to heal cuts, self-regulate its temperature, and adjust our eyes to light (just to name a few examples).  Symptoms like fevers and headaches should not be dismissed as issues but as signals and clues from the body that something is not in balance.

9. Everyone with the same disease gets treated the same way, patient uniqueness ignored.
People are individuals and our bodies are governed by a whole mess of factors.  These include our parents, grandparents, genetics, ancestry, ethnicity, injuries we have experienced, bad habits we picked up, diet, and lifestyle. Our bodies are a combination of many factors and should be treated as individuals.  For instance, I learned today that Asians naturally have straighter spines which makes total sense because the average Asian's body type is different from that of a European or a Black person.  

10. We treat the disease, not the patient.
The cause of a disease, disorder, or discomfort is not the same for everyone, even though the body may have a similar reaction.  For instance, stress, hormonal imbalance, allergies, and dehydration are all possible causes of a migraine.  How can a cookie cutter prescription treat all of those causes?  The patient needs to be part of a health consultation, not just their symptoms.

11. There is a reliance on numbers and tests rather than how the patient is feeling and what is found on examination.
Patients are classified into certain categories according to their weight, BMI, cholesterol level, heart beat, blood pressure, x-ray results, biopsies and other "measures of health."  Just because someone may have a BMI of 26 does not necessarily mean that they are less healthy than someone with a BMI of 20.

12. We don’t take into account the importance of diet and lifestyle on health. How could we? We get a total of 6-8 hours of nutrition lectures in medical school.
This number absolutely ASTONISHES me!  What we eat and how we live are central to our health!  How can a doctor, someone that you entrust with your health, not have the knowledge to give you advice on eating and living healthier-the basics of living well?  I think that we need to increase knowledge of diet and lifestyle throughout our population starting with healthcare practitioners!

Stay tuned for the last installment tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

18 Areas of Improvement for Modern Medicine (Part 1)

Before I dive into today's post, I wanted to send out a huge, grateful "THANK YOU!" to the readers of my blog. I have over 1,000 views of this site in less than 2 months and it's all thanks to you! Spread the word as it's the thought that I am sharing my knowledge to avid readers that really keeps me coming back and posting.

So I came across an awesome article that outlines the "18 Biggest Problems with Modern Medicine."  So we aren't too negative, we'll call these "problems" "areas of improvement" instead.  I have my personal views of modern medicine and I think it has its own merits but what I really liked about this article was what modern medicine didn't offer vs. traditional medicine.  Modern medicine has been around for centuries but traditional medicine has been developed over generations and generations.

Over the next three days, we'll review the 18 points that Dr. Lipman highlights in his article and I'll, of course, put in my two cents.

18 Biggest Problems with Areas of Improvement for Modern Medicine

(photo courtesy of

What are the biggest problems you see with the way Medicine is practiced today? Here is my list, I am sure there are more:

1. Modern Western Medicine is based on a narrow “scientific” model, and arrogantly ignores and rejects therapies and entire medical systems that don’t fit this model.
Traditional therapies and medicine have been developed through a combination of instinct and trial and error since the dawn of time.  How can we  dismiss the intelligence of those systems that have treated the body for that time and allowed humans to advance to where we are today?

2. Doctors are trained in hospitals in “crisis care” medicine, not to take care of the “walking wounded,” which is the majority of people. They need to be trained to take of the “walking wounded” as well.
 I think that modern medicine has done wonders to help people survive unpredictable crises like amputations and car crashes.  They also help people survive strokes, cancer, and heart attacks, but they are not doing the back end work to prevent the strokes, cancer and heart attacks. We need doctors to care about preventative care!

3. Instead of treating the underlying causes or imbalances, Doctors often merely manage symptoms.
We are a group of "walking wounded" with many many bandages around all of our body parts.  Bandages are good if they allow the body to heal, but when they only mask and cover up the appearance of the disease, it doesn't mean the disease still isn't there!

4. Symptoms are seen as something to be suppressed rather than a pointer to some underlying imbalance.
The body is smart enough to give us signs/symptoms of when we are ill.  For instance, a fever indicates that something is wrong and the body is raising its body temperature to kill bacteria.  The fever is not the issue and should not be suppressed because it's there to help treat the ultimate problem.

5. Doctors see the human body as a machine with separate parts that can be treated independently rather than as an integrated whole. In addition the mind and body are also seen as separate independent entities and emotions are often ignored.
I've had my fair share of conversations about modern vs. traditional and this is my biggest argument.  The scientific method tries to scientifically "prove" the validity of theories by recreating the same reaction minus all variables.  This may work in proving gravity but with a human body, it is too complex to try to do this.  There are a billions of moving parts.  The body cannot be considered as a variable-free zone in scientific experiments.  There are still relationships in the body that doctor's have not discovered!  And when you throw the mind into the mix, it gets even more complicated. 

6. Man is not seen as part of nature, and how what happens in nature effects humans.
This is going to sound a little hippie, but "we are all one."  Our ancestors lived off of the earth and the earth provides us with the appropriate foods and tools to survive.  For example, after a long winter of eating heavy foods, the earth provides us with fresh, detoxifying greens as an indication that this is what we should eat to rid ourselves of the extra  pounds put on over the winter.  We cannot continue to dismiss nature in our everyday lives! be continued

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Quote for the Week Courtesy of Yogi Tea

Every Sunday I will post a quote, thought, or tip to ease you into Monday and carry you throughout the week. 

"If you see good, learn something.  If you see bad, learn what not to be."

This quote was on my Kava Stress Relief Yogi Tea bag tag today.  I always love these quotes.  This one definitely resonated with me as it is something I personally believe and follow.  To me this quote says, with every experience there is a learning opportunity.  Even when something bad happens.  This thinking helps me see the silver lining in every situation.  Another way to interpret this is that others are looking at to you and your actions.  That means be good so others "see good."

Take this quote with you this week.   Be present with your actions and set  a good example. You never know who is watching.  And take notice of others' actions.  There are learning opportunities everywhere.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Cleansing Safely

So you know why we need to detox. Next thing to address is how do we do it? 

The answer is: slowly.

You may be tempted to get toxic-free as quickly as possible.  As I mentioned in Cleansing = Detoxing, detoxing quickly overwhelms the body and can be very painful. And it is likely to cause you to relapse back into your former lifestyle-the one that made you want to detox in the first place.  I highly recommend for you to detox gradually. This enables the body to adjust to the toxins being reintroduced into your system in a relatively symptom-free manner. The easiest way to do this is to slowly clean up your diet. Start eating a diet based more on whole foods. Limit or eliminate processed foods, eating out, and the following: caffeine, white (refined) flour, white (refined) sugar, meat, and dairy. Oh and for obvious reasons, alcohol. And I would increase fruits and vegetables, preferably organic, whole grains, and water.

By taking these simple steps, your body will detox at a slower rate. You will usually not experience harsh detox symptoms except maybe if you are a coffee, caffeine or sugar addict. Following a diet that has more whole foods in it lessens the stress on your body and allows it to concentrate on eliminating those toxins. Overhauling the diet and detoxing is not something that can be successfully achieved overnight.  A cleanse can be a perfect tool to jumpstart these changes.  

So start cleaning up your diet to get ready for our cleanse! Look for a post on Monday announcing details of the cleanse, the community support you will have, and how you can sign up!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Why We Need to Detox

Sorry for the hiatus! My May was quite hectic and my body was telling me to take a break and take it down a notch in June. So here I am after listening to my body with my first post for the month.

Continuing the conversation on detoxing, I would like to spend a brief moment on why our modern day bodies need assistance in detoxing. Our bodies do indeed naturally detox. We breathe, sweat, urinate, and defecate, all functions of our body that release toxins. However, we constantly bombard our bodies with toxins, at a greater rate than they naturally can get rid of. This is a very complex topic that includes environmental factors, pharmaceuticals, lifestyle, and the food we eat. I am only going to touch upon food at a high level now as it is most relevant to cleanse I am holding later in the month. Check the Events section this weekend for information and registration!

What we eat and do not eat contribute to much of the toxic overload of our bodies. Our diets have deviated from what we have ingested for hundreds of thousands of years.  This is significant because our bodies have adapted for a certain type of diet and we have drastically changed that diet in the past century.  Our bodies are meant to eat whole, unprocessed foods, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in particular. These foods have natural fibers that help move along our digestive system and also our elimination system. In a diet devoid of fiber, our bodies do not eliminate toxins as efficiently and store them  in our bodies.  The Standard American Diet has very little whole foods and...

Not only are we not eating whole foods, but we are eating massive amounts of processed foods. Some processed foods have fiber, but that is not the issue. The major issue with processed foods is that there are countless chemicals and additives. The majority of American diets are made up of processed foods laden with MSG, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colorings, artificial sugars, trans fats…and the list goes on and on. When ingested, our bodies naturally try to digest these chemicals but they do not react the same as natural foods react in our bodies. Some of it exits after going through the digestive system, but before doing that, they tax our liver.  Many get absorbed into the body and store themselves in fats and organs. As they are stored in our body, they can actually cause a vast variety of health issues like developmental problems, learning disorders, obesity, tumors, and even cancer.

As much as I try to stick to a whole foods diet, I still eat processed foods like pasta/noodles, rice crackers, chocolate, pre-made nut butters, and almond milk. Also, I know that the conventionally grown vegetables and fruit that I eat contain pesticides and other chemicals sprayed on during growth (see Dirty Dozen). That is why I think it is really important for us to assist our bodies to detox through a cleanse.  Ready for my cleanse yet?