Tuesday, July 28, 2009
So why is it healthy? For one thing, there is a great variety of foods. For another, they are easy to digest (either cooked or pickled). For another, it is served with white rice (which is the easiest to digest) and tea (facilitates digestions and speeds metabolism). Another side-effect of having all these side dishes is that it fills you up and you don't eat too much meat.
This pic was taken in Seoul, but you can find this type of spread at many restaurants in Chicago and many other cities in Ameerica.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Sweetening is a multi-billion dollar industry. Money and politics have played shady roles in bringing these products to the market, and now they are everywhere. There are a few ways to sweeten things naturally. They are: pure cane sugar, raw sugar, beet sugar, honey, stevia, agave nectar, maple syrup, molassas, rapadura, brown rice syrup, barley malt syrup, sucanat, turbinado sugar, date sugar, and fruit juice. All of these are fine and should be taken in moderation.
Most of the foods we eat have at least some sweetness to them. We have become desensitized to this because we have so much concentrated sugar and sweets all the time. Eating ever-sweeter and sweeter foods just takes us further away from being able to enjoy the natural sweetness of natural foods. This is like looking directly into a spotlight for 20 minutes and then trying to appreciate candlelight. If we take a break from the artificially-super-sweet products, we can regain the appreciation of the flavors of natural foods.
Too much sweet flavor engenders dampness and phlegm in the body and taxes the digestion- regardless of its source. But the artificial sweeteners are much worse. We have evolved eating sugar. Our DNA has seen glucose for thousands of years. We have never seen high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, splenda, etc. They are unnatural and I believe they are contributing to the rise of diabetes in this country. Our pancreas knows how to handle glucose, but it doesn't know what to do with these new substances. I believe that this disturbs our insulin production. But there is big money in selling us sweeteners and they keep getting through to us.
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
This is the cheapest way to get sweetness into your food products; and it has become ubiquitous. It is found in everything from candy and soda, to bread, yogurt, pizza, crackers, ketchup, and much more. Remember, too much of any one thing is not a good thing. Having HFCS in so many foods means that we are being overdosed on corn and fructose. It comes from corn that is genetically modified to increase its sweetness, and prepared with genetically modified enzymes. Plus, glucose is metabolized by every individual cell, fructose is only processed in the liver. This puts additional strain on our livers.
Aspartame (aka Nutrasweet, Equal)
This is what goes into Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi, and just about every other thing that is sweet and diet. It is 180 times as sweet as sugar. Many people believe they are helping their bodies by using this instead of sugar. They are dead wrong. Recent studies have shown that people using this sugar substitute experience an increased appetite! The use of diet sodas is associated with weight gain, not weight loss. Why then would you use it if you are trying to lose weight?
The fact that is has no calories just means that we cannot break it down. It passes through the body, but that does not mean it has no impact. It interacts with many other types of cells and structures as this chemical makes it way through our bodies. The FDA has received more complaints about aspartame than any other substance.
There were many objections from the scientific community when Aspartame was seeking approval from the FDA. It breaks down into formaldehyde in the body (a known carcinogen) and is associated with headaches/migraines, brain tumors, brain lesions, memory loss, arthritis, hypertension, abdominal pain, and lymphomas. But there was enough profit to be made that Donald Rumsfeld (the then-Chairman of Searle, the company that held the patent on aspartame) was able to get it approved. The panel voted to ban the substance, but this vote was overturned through some very shady politics. There was too much money to be made. And now aspartame is in over 5000 food products in the US. I know some people who have 3-4 diet sodas a day and think they are being healthy. Microdose by microdose, they are poisoning themselves. Stay away from this one.
Equal has another ingredient that distinguishes it from Nutrasweet. It is phenylalanine, which can cause seizures at high doses.
This is found in over 3,500 food products in the US. The makers, Johnson and Johnson, claimed that it is made of sugar, but they are now being sued because that is not true. It has chlorine in it. Some other foods have naturally-occurring chlorine and that's OK because it also has other compounds to neutralize its effects; but man-made chlorine is extremely toxic and can kill. Unlike aspartame, this does not all travel through the body. As much as 15-27% of ingested sucralose is absorbed. How it behaves once absorbed is not yet understood. Anecdotal reports associate sucralose with headaches, urinary problems, fatigue, digestive disorders, and other ailments.
Saccharine (sweet 'n' low)
The first of the artificial sweeteners to bypass public safety. There has been opposition to this product for over 100 years. It is made from anthranilic acid, nitrous acid, sulfur dioxide, chlorine, and ammonia. You would never eat any of these things if you had a choice. It is suspected of causing cancer, but it is still on the market.
A general rule is: If it is made by god, it's probably ok. If it is made by man, it is suspect. (this does not apply to toadstools, arsenic, mercury, and other known, natural poisons). The natural sweeteners are always better than the artificial ones.
Diabetics often feel they have no choice but to ingest these sugar substitutes. But if you correct your diet, you can stabilize your blood sugar and be better able to tolerate the occasional encounter with sugar. Natural sugars are not so bad. Adopting a more plant-based, whole foods diet can reduce or eliminate the need for diabetic medication. But DO NOT alter your medication based on information in this book. Monitor your sugars and, when and if appropriate, discuss tapering your medication with your physician.
Monday, July 20, 2009
I have a problem with States suing tobacco manufacturers for the health problems that smoking causes. If they are so harmful, ban them completely. If we are going to leave it for people to make their own choice, then let them bear the consequences. It has been long enough now that tht surgeon general has told the world that smoking is bad for your health. If you choose to ignore that warning, you are stupid, self-destructive, and responsible for the outcome.
Why don't we sue the government for allowing this product to be sold? Until this summer, tobacco companies have been given a lot of leeway in how they adulterate their product to make it more addictive. And when I get cancer, why should Phillip Morris have to pay the state and not me? The state wins both ways.
In Chicago, where I live, a pack of cigs is about $8 (very high for the country, I know). But in the Carribean, you can still buy a pack for $2. Consider the cost of growing the product, processing it, packaging it, shipping and advertising it. From that $2, they might see $0.25. Along the way, in Illinois, taxes are levied on this pack for upwards of $6. What does the state have to do to get that $6? They have to print up a stamp and put it on the pack. That's it. No production costs, distribution, etc. They are making 24x the profit with none of the expenditure and none of the liability. Why would they want to dry up this revenue stream?
They claim to need the funds awarded from smoking lawsuits to provide the medical care to those afflicted with smoking-related disease; but they only have to pay for those who do not have their own insurance. And, as any doctor will tell you, medicaid does not pay well at all. And as medicaid patients will tell you, many doctors won't take medicaid.
The government needs to start promoting health, not just making money off those who want to poison us and those who want to sell us the remedy (chemo, radiation, drugs, etc). If the government was paying for everyone's health care, they would not want people smoking. Right now, they get a lot of money from it. This is another reason why we need to restructure our health care system so that government is on the side of the people and is invested in their well-being.
We need a national campaign to get people healthy. If there is anything that the Nazi's taught us, it is that a good propaganda campaign can motivate the masses. As it is now, the government has no stake in our health. Right now there is a lot of money to be made (and being made) from the population being ill. In fact, the government has been complicit in our becoming unhealthy. By relaxing environmental protections, blocking proper labeling of food, allowing drug companies to do their own drug testing, promoting GMO's, putting dairy as a food group on the food pyramid when it has no place in an adult's diet, etc. There is money to be saved by jeopardizing the public health, and there is money to be made by selling sick people medicines. Big industry lobbies for the ability to poison us, then big pharma gets to sell us the remedy. If the state is giving away the remedies, they will want us to not get sick.
In China, they have a state supported health care system. I am not arguing that they have the best system (not necessarily even better than ours), but it raises an interesting point. When the government is paying for your health care, it is their best interest for everybody to stay healthy. This is why many Asian employers (in Asian and America) have their employee exercise on company time, why people in China are encouraged to go to the doctor at the first sign of illness. With our system, there is too much money to be made from us being sick. So we have developed this for-profit system to its breaking point. We now have too many people with too much illness for the system to support.
Diabetes is not a normal part of aging. Nor is cancer, high blood pressure, or any of the myriad malfunctions that are epidemic in our seniors (and younger). If the government is paying for the remedy, then they are on the right side of the equation; working for the benefit of the people. Lindsay Graham says that we don't want the government standing between us and our providers. Right now I have blue cross standing between me and my providers. If we have to have some type of middleman, is it better to have one who is NOT allowed to make money, or one who's sole purpose is TO MAKE MONEY. Now I concede that the government is not always the most efficient machine (think of road crews where one man in deigging a hole and four men are paid to watch him), so there will need to be good oversight of the program. But I don't hear congresspeople complaining about the government running their health plans. I do hear most Americans complaining about their health plans though.
90% of your medical expenses will be incurred in your last 10 years of life. It does not have to be this way. To control costs, we do need to make the system more efficient, but we also need to reduce demand. If we can unburdon the system, we will all get better care and need less of it. We need to get ourselves healthy again. The government should help.
I believe that health care should be a right and be provided by the government. The government is of the people; a healthy government needs a healthy populus. One necessary component of the system is that doctors should be well paid. Doctors, nurses, medical techs, and especially acupuncturists should be well compensated so that these professions can attract the brightest minds. Medicine need not be a million dollar a year profession, but it should pay well.
Another problem with the system is insurance. A graduating obstetrician in Illinois pays over $100,000 for malpractice a year. Hospital costs are inflated by the outrageous insurance costs they incur. This is from unrestricted court awards. Doctors should be expected to try their best to help. No medical person can ever guarantee a good result. If they are not overburdened, and if they went into medicine for the right reasons, they will do their best for every patient. If they do that, they do not deserve to be sued if things do not turn out well for the patient.
Chinese medicine is suited for treating and preventing disease in a cost-effective manner. Whatever health care plan we adopt should include chinese medicine and its preventative techniques.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Next free acupuncture will be at the Taste of Wilmette, which is usually in October or November. Stay tuned.
And a shout out to my wife, who had to run the office by herself today. She rocked, seeing patients back to back to back all day, and never got more than 10 minutes behind schedule.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Check it out if you have not already read this summary of my book.
Monday, July 6, 2009
The position paper, put out by the American Dietetic Association, reports that Vegetarian Diets can prevent chronic diseases, including cancer.
Eating more plants will definitely protect you against cancer and other diseases. We should be mostly vegetarian. A little bit of meat once or twice a week will not undo this reported health benefit. 6-12 ounces with most meals definitely will.
Dietary studies are a zero-sum equation and we never know what is causing the impact. "Give up meat and see health benefits", but what are you replacing the meat with? Probably you are eating more fruits and vegetables and grains. So is the health benefit the result of the decreased meat or the increased plants? Probably both. If you give up meat and replace it with Oreo's, I doubt you'd see the same effect. Too much meat is not good, too little plant material is not good.
Chinese dietary knowledge (and The Asian Diet) recommends that we eat 2 ounces, twice a week of specifically mammal meat. Not always the same animal, not always the same cut, not always the same preparation. Sometimes these sparce-meat-eaters are called flexitarians, and they have no higher risk of any chronic disease than 100% vegetarians or vegans. In fact, they are more healthy over the long term. The China Study by T. Colin Campbell Ph.D points out that a little bit of meat showed no ill effects, but he is a vegan and downplayed this finding in his book.
Chicken is not better than beef, white meat is not better than dark, egg whites are not better than yolks. We should eat a little of most foods and not too much of any one. However you change your diet, you s hould do so slowly and gently. To do otherwise sets us up to fail and shocks our system. We did not get out of balance overnight; we will not get back in balance overnight. We just need to adjust our heading a little bit, so that over time, we get back to where we should be. And where we should be is mostly vegetarian.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Friday, July 3, 2009
Jeanie Bussell and her work with fertility are featured in this month's Today's Chicago Woman. Pick up the July copy and turn to page 30 to see the article, or click here to see a copy of it. It highlights her work at the Tiffani Kim Institute in Chicago, but you can also see her at A Center for Oriental Medicine in Wilmette
In case you were not aware, my wife Jeanie is the top fertility acupuncturist in the Midwest. She has studied with all the masters in this field, has written articles for Eastern and Western journals about it, and teaches other acupuncturists how to treat infertility.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicinal herbs can do a great many things to increase the chances of achieving pregnancy. It can:
· Regulate the Menses. Controlling irregular menstruation can enable couples to better predict the time of ovulation. It is important for a woman to ovulate at the optimal time so that the body is prepared to transport the egg and receive the embryo.
· Increase the Uterine Lining. Acupuncture can increase the blood flow to the uterus, resulting in a thicker uterine lining, creating a more hospitable environment for an embryo to implant.
· Improve Sperm. Separate studies have shown that acupuncture can increase sperm count, sperm motility, and the percentage of sperm that are normal within a given sample.
· Prevent Miscarriage. Certain herbal formulae and acupuncture are known to help secure a fetus and prevent a miscarriage.
In conjunction with In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF), acupuncture may help:
· Regulate the hormones. This is important because a woman’s hormone levels must fall within a desired range in order to continue with treatment.
· Increase the number of follicles and improve the quality of eggs produced. Obtaining enough good-quality eggs is the most important factor in determining whether or not IVF will be successful.
· Increase the likelihood of implantation. A study conducted in
· Moderate the side effects of hormone therapy. The medications given during ART are very powerful and can cause unwanted side effects such as hot flashes, irritability, labile mood, and insomnia. Patients who have undergone ART without, and then with, acupuncture report that the side effects were either minimized or eliminated with the use of acupuncture.
· Relieve stress. IVF can be a very stressful course of events. Acupuncture has been shown to increase the level of Beta-Endorphins (the body’s natural feel-good chemical) in the blood.
Once a woman is pregnant, acupuncture can help:
· Prevent miscarriage
· Relieve morning sickness. Anti-emetic (anti-nausea) medication can be sedating and can impair a woman’s ability to function and enjoy the highest quality of life possible. Many women are reluctant to use harsh drugs when they are carrying a child. Acupuncture and herbal teas can relieve morning sickness in the first trimester. If the sickness continues past the 13th week, women should consult their physician.
· Correct malposition of the fetus (Breech presentation).
· Induce labor. There are points that are forbidden to needle during pregnancy because of their known ability to induce labor. Once a baby is full term, these points can be used to stimulate uterine contractions and induce labor without subjecting the mother and baby to drugs.
· Provide anesthesia during labor. Studies have shown that women who had acupuncture for anesthesia during delivery required significantly less pain medication and fewer epidurals.
· Relieve post-partum pain and depression.
· Promote lactation. For instances where there is insufficient lactation.
Women who have pre-birth acupuncture once a week starting at week 35 have: less incidence of complications, less incidence of breech presentation, fewer cesarean births, less pre-term and post-term deliveries, less pain, ask for less medication and fewer epidurals, greater lactation, and less post-partum pain and depression. In trained hands it is more than safe, it can increase the safety for mother and child.
When one is in balance, the reproductive capacity will be restored.
Another nice review was recently posted on Amazon.com about my book by Sun Wind Pinion Earthmom
I bought this book for someone else but one peek inside and I was hooked. Read it cover to cover and am keeping it to refer to. (yes, I had to buy another for my friend!) What a wonderful book.
The information is clear, common sense, gently put across, and not complicated. It rang very clear and positive for me and has helped me to make some important changes in a diet that I thought was pretty good but now see very logical flaws.
Thank you Jason Bussell! This one is a treasure.
Thank you Earthmom. I'm glad you enjoy it and are learning from it.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Support a local author and support your health
Jason Bussell is the president of the Illinois Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and one heck of a writer to boot. Bussell, who was interviewed by Examiner.com about a year ago, recently released a book called "The Asian Diet." The book is not about dieting, it's about respecting food and the way your body uses that food. Supplements, lifestyle and other subjects that affect your health, happiness and weight are also addressed. The book is easy to read, chock full of helpful information and is actually fun to sift through. If you've been looking for a way to improve your eating habits that may actually last a lifetime, this book is for you.