Friday, June 21, 2013

What Is Your Garden Doing?

People tend to underestimate the health benefits of starting a vegetable garden.  Not only does gardening provide healthy food  to add to the diet, but it also provides moderate exercise and mindful relaxation when done right.  Only a few pots or just a small planter's box can make a difference.
Mid June is a bit late for planting a garden I will admit, however preparing a plot for next season is ideally done in the summer months.  First, finding a location suitable for plants is a must.  I used to plant tomatoes, peppers, and other type plants on my apartment patio.  Good soil, good indirect sunlight, and lots of water made my planter garden successful.  When I moved into a house, I decided to move away from pots and plant directly into the soil. 
My first actual garden was erected in a weird location which out of the way from the main yard, however it posed real problems for watering, sunlight, weeds, and soil quality.  I lost everything I planted by July.  The following year, I ended up moving my garden to accommodate the basic needs of vegetable plants.  Originally, I added soil and fertilizer to the clay and planted some strawberries, snap peas, onions, cucumbers, radishes, a grape vine, asparagus, and tomatoes.  Even though my intentions were good, by mid-summer the garden was a dry, crumbled, weedy mess.  The following year, I dug out holes and added good soil first.  I replaced the asparagus with corn and forgot about the radishes.  Still, the garden was not what I had hoped it would be; the cucumbers tasted funny and the strawberries were smaller than blueberries.
By the fourth spring, I decided to build raised boxes.  What a success!  I omitted corn and snap peas and decided to plant potatoes. My tomatoes produced hundreds of red fruit which went beautifully into salsa, the onions grew wild next to the strawberry patch, and the potatoes were amazing.  At the end of the summer, I decided to start composting.  Everything compostable from my kitchen went into a bowl and at the end of the day, the scraps would find their way into a huge pile of organic material turning into black gunk.  Plants love composted black gunk mixed with mulch.  I get my mulch free from the city's tree recycling program.  Doing it this way eliminates the need to buy soil from the store.  Another secret I have learned is that plants love fish water.  Instead of dumping the fish tank water down the drain, I empty the water into buckets and dump that onto my flowers and fruits/vegetables.  The nitrates from the water feed the plants so they produce more flowers and fruits/vegetables.
This year, I got the hang of things.  I added rich compost to all of the beds and planted lemon cucumbers, lemon balm, chilies, peppers, and tomatoes.  I rotated the crops so not to fatigue the soil.  The strawberries and onion went wild.  I purposefully let the dandelions grow in the strawberry patch to attract bees and so that I can make dandelion tea. I use a light , diluted spray of Sol-U-Mel to ward off insects naturally while fertilizing the soil as it biodegrades. For weeds, I use a mixture of apple cider vinegar, dissolved salt, and biodegradable dish soap (I use Lemon Brite but any non-phosphate, non-toxic, biodegradable dish soap will do). 
For next year, I plan on adding another raised bed (it is the simplest way to garden) and emptying the compost pile into the raised beds when I turn the soil in October instead of waiting for the spring.  I also plan on adding a fish pond so that I can rotate the nitrate-rich water onto the garden beds. I also want to try planting marigolds and other such plants to ward off pests naturally.  Eventually, I will have a large green house; but for now, a simple garden will do.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Treating Children With ADD/ADHD With Herbal Supplements

Attention Deficit Disorder is a biogenetic disorder which affects the dopamine (DA) and serotonin (5-HT) receptors in the brain.   Approximately 9.5% of children and adolescents are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder.  Boys are diagnosed three times as often as girls because they are more prone to exhibiting hyperactivity.  Typically, children with ADD have a higher IQ than their counterparts; however maturity lags behind as much as 3 years.  Neuroscientist Dr. Daniel G Amen found six different types of ADD through neuroimaging and wrote a book, Healing ADD: The Breakthrough Program That Allows You to See and Heal the 6 Types of ADD. 

From as soon as birth, the brain development depends on proper nutrients and Omega-3 fatty acids.  This is even more important for children with DA and 5-HT receptor defects.  Epigeneticists now suggest neuropathways can be restored or compensated during development with proper nutrition and Omega-3 fatty acids.  Results may be evident in as little as 8 weeks when put on nutritional supplements of quality. 
Children with ADD also benefit from proanthocyanidins, which strengthen the endothelial walls of the capillaries within the brain, making nutrient-rich blood circulation stronger.  Grape seed extract, along with Ginkgo biloba, maintains mental awareness and increases focus.  The added bonus of antioxidants helps to fight free radicals to allow for cellular development and DNA repair.  

Unfortunately, children with ADD may also suffer from depression and anxiety.  A blend of Griffonia seed, St. John’s wort, and vitamin B12 helps support proper neurotransmission between the synapses, thus improving mood and coping mechanisms.   For those children who suffer from sleep deprivation due to anxiety, Valerian root soothes and calms nervousness and provides a restful sleep; while passionflower relieves nervousness and agitation.

What I recommend and use for ADD/ADHD: 
Oligo Shakeables is the only children’s vitamin supplement which is up to 8 times more absorbable than the leading brand, it does not oxidize in the digestive system like other brands, and it is the only vitamin that mimics nature.  Not to mention it is in a delicious chocolate shake kids have a hard time saying “no” to.
Vitality Omega-3 in either Peach Mango Tango or Lime Sorbet.  Something so good for you has never been so delicious.  Kids think it is candy, teens think it is "da bomb- yeah whatever mom," adults think it is just plain good! Enough said.   
Provex Plus is the only supplement with grape skin extract, Ginkgo biloba extract, and billberry extract, proven to increase endothelial strength, improve vascular health, decrease oxidation, and improve blood circulation to the brain and heart.
Luminex helps to maintain healthy neurotransmission while naturally stabilizing mood; great for children and adults who experience mood swings, depression, and anxiety.
RestEZ is a relaxation herbal supplement which provides Valerian root, passionflower, and hops to provide relaxation and calmness to even the most wired of kids and active adults.  With only 1 capsule before bed, the most rambunctious of kids will soon be out like a light.

Weight lbs
 Koala Pals
Vitality Omega-3
½ scoop
½   tsp
1 scoop
1    tsp
2 scoop
1½ tsp
    *Ask your pediatrician for proper dosages.   

Monday, April 8, 2013

Sweating The Sweeteners

One problem that Americans face is the amount of sweets they consume.  Nearly everything sold at the grocery store, restaurants, and convenience stores are sweetened somehow and with something.  Moreover, sweeteners come in all sorts of chemical combinations and have a plethora of hype surrounding their safety and desirable efficacy.  This creates confusion among the general population and allows for misleading information to persuade the consumer to choose certain brands over others.  So what is the truth and what should we avoid?
 A general guideline with any food is if it looks fake and tastes fake, it probably is fake. Fake food, as you probably may know, can cause health complications over time.  Aspertame, for instance, was a combination chemical created in the 1960's as a sugar substitute, which the FDA and SCF both found it to be safe for human consumption.  However, Aspertame is a neurotoxin and a possible carcinogen.  Overuse of Aspertame can lead to serious symptoms, such as migraines, nausea, blurred vision, dizziness, insomnia, heart palpitations, and memory loss, just to name a few.  Many people go with actual symptomatic withdrawals when reducing or eliminating it from their diet; thus it may be difficult to stop using it completely.  Aspertame has also been shown to increase weight gain because of its effect on biochemical responses to nutritional sustenance.  In the worst case scenarios, Aspertame can be linked to tumor growth, although substantial research has not proven such a fact.
Besides Aspertame, Acesulflame is another artificial sweetener with a controversial background.  Discovered in the late 1980's, Acesulflame potassium is used in many processed foods, especially low-calorie and special diet foods.  Although it is safer than Aspertame, it does pose some health risks.  Diacetic acid, an organic compound used to make Acesulflame, can create ketoacidosis when consumed in large doses.  Ketoacidosis occurs when the accumulation of keto acids form in the blood and reduce the pH level of the body.  Ketoacidosis can cause halitosis, kidney and/or liver damage, blood disorders, and even death.  Because the body's pH is decreased, other health problems could emerge, including migraines, neurological disorders, central nervous system damage, and tumor growth.  Acesulflame potassium can also increase the risk for potassium poisoning, especially in children.
Saccharin, or benzoic sulfinide, is the oldest sweetener used in America.  Its chemical origins are petroleum based and are not biodegradable.  Saccharin was found to cause significant health problems in laboratory animals, including cell mutation, chromosomal denigration, and various types of cancer in the 1980's through the 1990's.  Large doses over a long extent of time proved to be fatal in rats as well.  However, the FDA still approves Saccharin as a safe artificial sweetener.
Another sweetener is Neotame, although research remains sparse on its biotoxicity.  In a few recent animal studies, body weight was reduced when amounts of Neotame were increased due to decreased food consumption.  Long-term human studies have yet to take place, but enough in vivo and in vitro studies have provided the FDA with enough evidence to approve Neotame for human consumption.  However, it is important to note that its proprietor, Monsanto, funded and executed all of the studies on their sweetener.  Some skeptics believe that Neotame is as toxic as Aspertame.  Neotame, or 3-Dimethylbutyl acetate, is a flammable chemical used in rubber manufacturing, is not biodegradable and has shown up in toxic degraded concentration (chemical breakdown) in aquatic ecosystems.  Neotame in concentrated form is hazardous to human health and poses a risk to the environment as well.  Neotame's Assessment Report indicates that it can cause hypoactivity, lethargy, hypothermia, intestinal lesions, diarrhea, excessive urination, liver degeneration, chromosomal damage, blood disorders, and reduced food consumption in laboratory animals.  No studies have indicated it causes cancer.
Stevia is probably one of the most popular of sweeteners listed as natural.  Originating from the South American plant Stevia rebaudiana, was used as medicine by the indigenous people of South America until its discovery as a no-calorie sweetener alternative and dietary supplement as early as the 1980's.  Since then, the market for Stevia exploded; various companies around the world started manufacturing Stevia extract and like substances for commercial gains.  S. rebaudiana biodegrades and does not bioaccumalate or pose biotoxicity risks to the environment.  Stevia plants can be grown in personal gardens and some specialty stores can carry flavored tinctures or liquid extract.  Studies have shown contradiction between toxicity and non-toxicity results in vivo and in vitro.  Stevia extract was banned in the United States in the 1990's as a food additive, however, the FDA labeled Stevia-like products made by large corporations Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS).  Stevia-like products can contain other ingredients such as dextrose and other flavorings besides Stevia extract.  No long-term studies have been done on Stevia-like products.                  Sucralose has received a lot of controversy over the last forty years.  It is a stable, biodegradable, non-bioaccumalative chemical derived from chlorinated sugar, which has been extensively tested for safety.  It has been deemed safe by many organizations and agencies around the world, including the World Health Organization and the FDA.  Moreover, Sucralose poses no threat to the environment or aquatic systems, is not carcinogenic, and does not degrade the liver or the kidneys.  However, some studies have indicated that high amounts of Sucralose does reduce intestinal flora, increase pH levels, and damage DNA in vivo.  No health concerns attributed to Sucralos consumption have been found in humans thus far.    
Artificial sweeteners are hard to avoid, but knowing which ones to avoid will help the American consumer choose their food wisely.  Being able to choose a responsible manufacturer allows for consumers to take control of the products on the market; manufacturers want brand loyalty and will do whatever it takes to achieve it.  It is up to people like us to educate others and stick up for the public's welfare and environmental safety.                    

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Is Your Fat in Prison?

Ever wonder why it is nearly impossible to lose those unwanted rolls of fat all around your body?  If so, then you might have a problem a million other Americans have: your fat is in prison.

The body uses very complex chemical signals to do one simple thing, survive.  That is all it is trying to do and you wouldn't be living if the body wasn't trying.  Plain and simple.  But it is doing too good of a job in today's society.  Hence the reason why you probably are reading this.  This explains why your body threw all those pesky, little fat globules in holding cells.  And to be fair, they didn't even get a fair trial.

As you consume fatty acids (fat globules such as triglycerides), your body must do something with them. They are not digestible in the intestine and have no where to really go, so instead, they wait to be dealt with by the chemical excreted by the pancreas called pancreatic lipase.  It is a protein which breaks down the fats into monoglycerides and gets them ready for transport.   Pancreatic lipase could be considered the cops in this scenario, shoving those monoglyceride delinquents into their squad cars and transporting them through the intestinal barrier.  The fat is then reunited (turning back into triglycerides) and given various sentences for their crimes.  Some travel into the blood stream, others are attached to organs like the liver, and some go directly to fat prison (adipocytes, or fat tissue). 

Fat prison can turn into a corrupt system.  Adiponectin, which is a hormone excreted by the fat tissue, tells the body where the fat goes and what the fat can do.  However, not only is adiponectin the fat regulator and the judge, but it also acts as the parole officer.  In skinny people, adiponectin is the good officer and looks out for his citizens; but in people with large amounts of adipose tissue, adiponectin becomes the corrupt cop. The production of adiponectine is influenced by genes and amount of adipose tissue.  Other factors may include diet, nutrition, stress level, exercise, and amount of sleep one has per night.  One way of calming adiponectin down is by taking a reliable multivitamin, one which doesn't oxidize yet is fully absorbed.  Doing some research and spending the money for a good brand can be the difference between losing weight and completely wasting your money.

One other chemical that becomes corrupt under poor diet and nutrition or inadequate sleep is adenosine.  Adinosine is the prison guard in fat prison.  This chemical prohibits the fat prisoners from escaping or even being paroled, even in times of emergency or deprivation crisis.  In fact, there have been cases where people have died of starvation with an abundance of adipose tissue still attached to their organs and tissues.  The chemical responsible for that is adinosine.  The only thing known to block adinosine is conjugated linoleic acid, which is found in red meet, sunflower seeds, linseed oil, mushrooms, dairy products, and egg yolks.  Other food sources to try are Access Bars manufactured by Melaleuca and safflower oil.

Leptin is another hormone which may become corrupt if too much adipose tissue is present.  Leptin is like the judge who tells the body that it doesn't have enough fat in fat prison.  When this happens, a person can crave high energy-dense foods, such as decadent desserts, sauces, and generic junk food.  The fat is then directed immediately to prison, without passing go, and does not get to collect $200.   Leptin can be tricked, however, when the body is getting good nutrition from healthy food sources and a reliable multivitamin, and when a lot of good fats are consumed.  Supplements such as Omega-3's, 6's, 7's, and 9's are all great deterrents.  Nuts, seeds, berries, fruits, and herbs that contain high amounts of fats, polyphenols, and ketones which all suppress leptin's desire to throw more fat criminals in fat prison.

By incorporating more of these foods and supplements into the diet, the body can adjust accordingly.  It is important to replace bad fats with good fats and to fuel the body with nutritious foods.  Be careful of which kind of ergogenics (weight loss or sports supplements) are consumed; also choose a reputable, 25-year-old+ company for any weight loss supplements you may choose.  Only take or consume products which have been backed by independent clinical trials, and always consult your physician or physical trainer before starting such a regimen.  With adding conjugated linoleic acid and omega fatty acids, the body is allowed to release and burn its fat stores.  In fact, this process becomes easier and quicker than once imagined.                     

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Weight Loss Through the Lipolysis Diet

Ketosis, or hyperketonemia, is caused when the body is forced to use its fat as a source of energy.  Although ketosis is the fastest way to lose fat, there are some strong disadvantages to forcing this process on oneself.  Since the human body is designed to use glycogen (sugar) first, the typical American does not experience ketosis unless a drastic change of diet occurs. 
The typical American consumes sugar every single day.  This sugar, no matter what shape or form it is in, is the body’s first fuel source.  When the average American Joe grabs coffee and a bagel for breakfast, the body releases insulin (along with a slew of other hormones) into the bloodstream to convert the sugars into glycogen.  Glycogen is used throughout the day to do simple tasks such as think, talk, walk, type, press elevator buttons, climb stairs, etc.  Only when glucose stores run out, which usually is impossible on an American type diet, the body starts dipping into its reserves.  The body then turns its fatty acids into fuel.  This process is as inefficient as it is complicated and I will not bore you with details; however, in the end, the body burns fats like a microwave melts butter.
Going into ketosis intentionally can be both difficult and dangerous.    A typical ketogenic diet involves consuming only meat, eggs, lentils, and a limited amount of vegetables.  For those with metabolic syndrome (a person who consumes an abundance of sugar) withdrawals are common and can be problematic.  In fact, withdrawals from sugar are just as bad as withdrawals from cigarettes.   Moreover, removing sugar from the diet is extremely hard to do in the Western world.    Sugar is found in just about everything from salad dressing and other dairy products to salsa and most other processed goods.  It is hidden by many different names and does not always have to be listed in the ingredients (companies use loopholes to their advantage when it comes to product labels).  Not to mention, two weeks on a ketogenic diet makes even the most laid back person in the world go psychotic; there is no flavor, no variety, and no excitement in any of the prepared food.  A ketogenic diet turns food into just sustenance and no more; not to mention the metabolism skyrockets so satiety is hard to tame.
Ketogenic diets also damage the liver and kidneys over time.  Prolonged ketosis lowers the body’s pH levels which can lead to acidosis.  Acidosis can be as minor as inflammation, heart arrhythmias, migraines, and lowered immunity against disease.  In extreme cases, acidosis can lead to severe complications including nerve damage, cancer, coma, and even death.    Ketogenic diets also may cause premature osteoporosis and inhibit the body’s ability to repair or restore bone deficiency. 
An alternative to a full ketogenic diet is to utilize the body’s natural metabolic cycle in order to burn fat more efficiently.  We know that simply reducing calories will not enable the body to burn stored fat (weight loss in a low-calorie diet is more muscle mass and water weight than fat loss); furthermore, low calorie diets slow the metabolism and send the body into panic mode increasing the amount of energy the body stores as fat.  Lipolysis diet allows the body to be nourished enough to maintain a healthy metabolism but decreases the blood sugar enough for the body to consume its own fat.  The most important component about the Lipolysis diet is that it keeps cravings to a minimum.    This diet works great on people with metabolic syndrome and diabetes.  It also works well with those who have become dependent on sweets or diet sweets.  
What exactly is the Lipolysis diet? 
For starters, it is important to understand a person’s metabolism is slowest after they first wake up.  It doesn’t matter if they wake up at 4am or 6pm, the metabolism naturally drops during sleep.  Both the hormones and the metabolism activate about 15 minutes after awakening.  The height of the metabolism should be around mid-day, increasing in the summer months and waning in the winter months.  The metabolism starts to slow down again during the evening time; this is why eating large, late-night dinners can help pack on the pounds.   Metabolism also slows down with age, noticing a rapid decline in the early 30’s and again in the mid-50’s.  Purposely reducing calories can make this process worse, mucking up hormone levels and wrecking havoc on the metabolic process. 
Hormones are the most important component to fat loss.  Hormones tell the body what to do, how to do it, and when to do it.  There are over two and a half dozen hormones involved in the accepting and processing of energy.  Each hormone has a specific function and works most efficiently when the body is properly nourished and rested.  This is why it is paramount that the body rests for a solid 7 – 9 hours during sleep (or 3 – 4 uninterrupted REM cycles) per twenty-four hour period.  It is also very important to take a good multivitamin, one which absorbs completely and does not oxidize during its breakdown; and a similarly dependable calcium supplement should be taken as well.   Another important supplement to always take is Omega-3 fatty acids with a minimum of 70% from DHA.  Omega-3 fatty acids aid in heart and brain health, among other important functions.
The Lipolysis diet is simple and based in heavy science.  Consuming the right foods at the right times according to individual rhythms can lead to rapid fat loss.  Since there is a huge difference between fat loss and weight loss, it is important to base success on measurements instead of the scale.  Either measurements by caliper skin-fold test, electronic body fat analyzer, or good ol’ fashioned tape measure will indicate fat loss.  The best way to measure success is to wait until the moment you need a belt, and then need new pants.
Upon rising out of bed, drink a glass of slightly cooler-than-room-temperature water, however, it should not be cold.  Bowel movements should follow shortly.  Eat or drink more fiber throughout the day if this is not the case.  Before breakfast, drink a cup of straight black coffee or warm tea to increase your metabolism; add cinnamon to stabilize your blood sugar and add flavor.  Try hibiscus tea, green tea, oolong tea, white tea, black tea, fruit tea, and other herbal teas.  Make tea a habit.   
For breakfast, have your fill of complex carbohydrates, fruit, and a 1:1 mix of animal protein and plant protein (lentils or legumes).  Oatmeal, eggs, beans with cheese, whole-grain toast, apple and peanut butter, would be a perfect breakfast.  But whole grain pancakes or waffles, bacon, ham, sausage, omelets, and other substitutes can be made.   Limit biscuits and other simple-carbohydrate bombs, these items prohibit your body from using its fat stores. 
Eat a piece of fruit, some nuts, and a little bit of something “bad” for snack.  You should still be full from breakfast so don’t stuff yourself.   Something “bad” should be more gourmet-status and less junk but have whatever you are craving.
Lunch should follow just an hour and a half or so after snack.  Adjust your schedule to fit lunch in.  Skipping lunch can devastate your metabolism again.   Lunch should be 20% animal protein, 30% plant protein, 45% vegetables and 5% everything else.  Open-faced sandwiches stacked high with vegetables is a great choice.  Cobb salad with vinaigrette is another option.  Fajitas, wraps, and pizza can also fit the bill if vegetables are the main ingredient.  It is very hard to follow this regimen when eating at fast food joints because their food is about 70% carbohydrates, 20% animal parts, and 10% preservatives.    But if you are stuck in a fast food joint and have to order something, be sure to get a salad or a bun-less burger with extra vegetables.  Be creative.
Eating a snack in-between lunch and dinner is optional but it should be almost entirely protein.  Protein shake, piece of chicken, or hard-boiled eggs are some good examples. 
Dinner should come early.  In fact, it should be completely eaten before dusk.  The body naturally slows down its metabolism in the evening so eating early reduces fat storage.  This meal should be the lightest meal of the day, consisting of 30% animal protein, 40% plant protein, 25% green vegetables, and 5% of everything else.  Light spices make for a pleasant taste and can mix things up.  Meals such as homemade soup or meatloaf with a light salad on the side can be a perfect ending to the day.
You may experience an increase in your metabolism.  This is good but with it comes increased hunger.  If you find yourself in need of a snack late at night, do not succumb to junk food.  Save the craving for morning snack.  Instead, drink a glass of water and eat a hard-boiled egg, tuna, or organic hotdog.  The protein will satisfy you until morning. 
The last thing I want to address is exercise.  It is very important to find time each day to both stretch and exercise.  Altogether, strength training and cardio are essential to increasing your metabolism.  Exercising could be done all at once, in intervals, or intermittently throughout the day.  Little movements add up in the long run.  Keep moving throughout the day and stretch in the evenings before bed.   Simply by doing this, you should see results in less than a week.                            

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Vegetarian Dog: Cancer's Final Grip

There is nothing more rewarding than adopting pets, especially when they are rescued.  Some may argue, and I will concur, that rescued pets are very grateful that you saved them.  In my opinion, there is an unequivocal bond  that takes place between the hero and the rescued.  The best part of that relationship is the unconditional love that accompanies such a dynamic bond.
This couldn't be more true than between my dog Dewey and I.  He was living off of fast food scraps and parking lot litter when my sister found him more than six years ago.  Turns out, some homeless dude staked his claim on him, however the story was a weird one and only half believable.  Nonetheless, this emaciated and scraggly dog instantly bonded with my 2 year old Lab mix and after a couple of drawn out hours, I took him home with me.
Although he has had his health issues and a few PTSD issues from his past, Dewey has been a fantastic dog.  He loves my son to pieces and he is a great watch dog.  He spends most of his day chasing squirrels or napping in the sun.  He loves rides, swimming in the dog park pond, and sitting by the cozy fire on cold days.
Then, about a year ago, his health started to slowly decline.  I did not notice it at first and just thought his laziness was attributed to his old age.  He slowly lost weight and in August I noticed him starting to consume a lot of dirt.  At first I just thought it was because the food I had him on was not giving him all of the nutrients that he needed.  But my other two dogs were not having the same issues as Dewey was.
Devastatingly, and a bit too late, we found a large mass in his abdomen.  Hoping that surgery could remove it, I opted for an operation to find out what exactly the mass was and to remove it if possible.  My luck stopped short at finding out that the mass was in his small intestines and pancreas, making it impossible to remove.  The veterinarian made the suggestion of not awaking him.  But that was not an option for me.  Despite everyone's suggestions and recommendations, I brought Dewey back home with me.  If he was still fighting, I would be right at his side fighting with him.  I was bound and determined to win.
I hit the internet hard.  I was using all the knowledge I obtained in my holistic health degrees to search for cures.  So many cultures around the world have cures for cancer that I found it time consuming to dig through them all.  Many of them conflicted with one another: meat vs. meatless; sodium bicarbonate vs no sodium bicarbonate; rest vs exercise, the list goes on and on.  Interestingly though, almost all of the cures had to do with nutrition and maintaining a healthy body.
Then it occurred to me that commercial dog food is anything but nutritious and healthy.  Dog food is made from things not deemed fit for human consumption: inedible parts from animals which wasted away in their own feces, were hyped up on antibiotics, given hormones, and fed synthetic foods.  Commercial dog food is a slurry of these inedible animal parts, various chemical preservatives, and other artificial ingredients.  We trust in these companies to make products safe and nutritious for our pets, but pet food is the fast food of the animal world; and like the children who grow up on fast food, dogs who consume commercial dog food are given an unfair advantage when it comes to maintaining their health.
I also realized that dogs are so much more susceptible to chemical exposure than adult humans are.  I realized this about five years ago when I switched to natural products inside the home to aid in my son's hypersensitivity to chemicals.  Dogs are extremely susceptible to not only the chemicals in our air, but to all the chemicals used in out daily lives.  I perhaps think that Dewey's cancer may be attributed to his lowered immune system, improper nutrition, and the chemicals used at the dog park.  But there is no certainty what was the actual factor.  All I can do is move forward.
This is where all of my extensive health knowledge kicks in.  There is a little known therapy outside of the United States which uses the phytochemicals and enzymes from certain fresh fruit and vegetables to combat cancer.   It has been estimated to be 99% effective in curing cancer in humans if the regimen is followed exactly.  It is relatively easy in concept: buy a juicer and start juicing those certain plants, pour into a bottle and enjoy.  Reality of it is, it is a lot of work!  Not to mention dogs are carnivores.  Doing this therapy would require transforming a carnivore into an herbivore.  More easily said then done.  But I decided to give it a go.
Carnivores need certain nutrients only found in meat, thus Dewey needs to be supplemented every day.  I had to research exactly what nutrients dogs his size need every day.  Also, their digestive tracts are made for protein, however this cancer diet does not contain substantial protein, thus he will have to be fed quite frequently and plant protein (although not recommended for cancer) will have to be added once per day. 
After four days, the routine got easier.  Feedings every 2 hours turned into feedings every 4 as Dewey's appetite came back and the amounts increased to small bowl fulls.  The juice was first administered forcefully by a syringe, but after some tweaking and a lot more apples in the mixture, the juice is easily accepted. As Dewey's strength improved, organic oatmeal was mixed in with the juice to give him more sustenance.  At first he shook uncontrollably because of the carbohydrate overload, but more juice and less oatmeal solved that issue.  Now he looks forward to his feedings.  If you would have asked me a year ago if I would have a vegetarian dog, I would have laughed at you.  But I am not laughing now.  It is completely possible to turn your dog into a vegetarian.  Now only time will tell if this therapy will work on dogs.  

 In memory of Dewey
March 2005 - Feb 2013                                   

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Holidays Are Over, Now What.

The hustle and bustle of the holidays draw to a close and, if you are anything like me, you have a messy house, kids in pajamas taking up space on the couch, and/or are dreading the fact that you have to start a 5-day work week on Monday.  Not to mention, you look at the scale as your enemy.  How much of that holiday cheer has left pockets of reminders on your thighs, hips, butt, and stomach?  It might bug you a little that the scale is impartial: sitting there waiting to tell you the truth but not caring one way or the other about your emotions.  In the end, that scale is not a friend of yours, just as much as it is not your enemy.  It doesn't judge you, deny you of anything, or even lie to you.  It is just a tool to remind you to get on track again, that's all.

Well, first thing is first, start slowly.  Most people put off exercising until the madness is over.  Who can blame them? December is a very busy month.  There are endless birthdays and/or anniversaries, 4 major holidays, 2 or 3 other holidays for a small percentage of the population, a few engagements here and there, a dozen parties to attend, and less than 23 real shopping days until Santa shoves himself down your chimney.  On top of all of that, you still have to work, clean house, and be able to muster enough energy to be who you need to be.  So start off slowly.  Remember to stretch right after getting out of bed.  Try doing 5 -10 minutes of light cardio per day until it becomes easy (usually 7-10 days).  Add weights to your cardio sessions and increase the duration slowly.  Your goal is to work up to 60 minutes of moderate exercise per day at a minimum.  Getting there should take 6 - 8 weeks.  A total of 90 minutes of total exercise is ideal; switching the routine up daily and cutting the time in half or thirds.  Day one might include walking your dog in the morning and cleaning the house in the evening. Day two might include swimming or basketball, day three might be spent at the gym or in front of a workout video, and so on.  Switching it up fatigues the body more, which is actually a good thing.  It will increase muscle tone, burn more fat, and improve heart health.

Slowly work back in vegetables in your diet.  Ultimately, your meals should be 3/4 plants, 1/4 protein, 1/4 everything else.  Eating two salads per day is the way to go for the busy person.  Loading up a salad with all sorts of vegetables and lentils will do just fine.  Adding meat or cheese (not both) to the salad will also meet these requirements.  Veggie sandwiches, vegetable stir fry, meatless spaghetti, and other heavy vegetable dishes also do the trick. I always tell people that they can eat whatever they want, if they eat it with or along side vegetables.  I also tell people not to worry about bananas, avocados, seeds, and other "fattening" plant foods. It is a common theory that ALL fats are bad.  But recent science has suggested that animal fats are the main culprit to inflammation and cardiovascular disease.  In the holistic medical field, eating a variety of plants provides a healthy assortment of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and phytosterols which ward off diseases like diabetes and even cancer.  On this note, avoiding canola oil, vegetable oil, and animal grease is a must.  Opt for safflower oil, sesame oil, or coconut oil for cooking.

Lastly, take it easy.  The most important thing you can do for yourself is to compress the stress.  Exercise will help tremendously, but also add some meditation in your routine.  Listen to soothing music or soundscapes while imagining yourself sitting on the beach or in the middle of a beautiful forest. Do this at least once per day for a minimum of 5 minutes.  Being where you want to be instead of where you have to be will relax your body, your mind, and most importantly, your spirit.