9 Choices to Radically Improve Your Health

Did you watch some of the Olympics this past month? Weren’t you inspired by the incredible feats of courage and nearly impossible skills the athletes demonstrated? What most impressed me were the stories of those athletes who suffered severe injuries within the past year, yet with determination and very intentional work, they healed themselves in time to make it to the Games in strong enough shape to vie for and even win the gold. Impressive also, was the demonstrably strong influence of the more experienced athletes challenging and inspiring the younger, up and coming competitors to meet their standards and go beyond. Aspiring athletes study and focus on success. They do not consider failure. What if our health care system was to adopt this attitude? Instead of putting our energy into fighting disease, we could focus on winning good health. Mother Theresa summed up this attitude when she refused to participate in an anti-war protest. “Instead” she replied, “when you hold a pro peace rally I will be there.” Twenty years ago the Spontaneous Remission Bibliography Project was put together by the Institute of Noetic Sciences*. The database studied was compiled of more than 3,500 medically reported cases of seemingly incurable diseases that got better – stage 4 cancers that disappeared, HIV, diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid disease, even a gunshot wound to the head – all declared healthy and disease free by ‘unknown causes’ by their doctors. Following on the heels of this project, Dr Kelly Turner, PhD, researcher and author of Radical Remission, Surviving Cancer Against All Odds, spent a decade documenting over 1000 stage 4 cancer...

6 Tools To Kick The Threat of Alzheimers

“Eight men in their 70s stepped out of a van in front of a converted monastery in New Hampshire. They shuffled forward, a few of them arthritically stooped, a couple with canes. Then they passed through the door and entered a time warp. Perry Como crooned on a vintage radio. Ed Sullivan welcomed guests on a black-and-white TV. Everything inside — including the books on the shelves and the magazines lying around — were designed to conjure 1959.” This is a quote from a New York Times article describing the famous “counterclockwise” study on the environmental effects of aging conducted in the 1980’s by researcher Ellen Langer. The results of this study were profound in that the participants showed dramatic reversal of their decline in several ways – strength, cardiovascular fitness, coordination, agility, and even in their bone structure, after spending only 5 days ‘back in time.’  The study evoked much discussion.  Was it because of the placebo affect? At the start of the study, the researchers had told the men they would feel as they did in 1959.   Can we indeed manipulate our environment to turn back the clock on our bodies?  Can we change our beliefs to reverse an otherwise downward health trend? And, if so, could we reverse the rate of Alzheimer’s and dementia? Usually we hear that there is nothing that can be done for Alzheimer’s but wait for a pharmaceutical cure.  What if, instead, we were told that there is promising research demonstrating that we can reduce our risk of Alzheimer’s and other dementias through simple lifestyle and dietary changes?   How can we lead...

Are Your Brown Eyes Blue? –natural remedies for the winter blues.

The happy holidays are approaching but some of us get S.A.D.  Did you know that in 2002, Columbia University conducted a study confirming that people with brown eyes suffer more from S.A.D. than those with blue eyes? Apparently blue irises admit more light into the eyeball.   That means that when days get shorter and darker I have an excuse to be tired and cranky. Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) is a term first coined by psychiatrist Dr. Norman Rosenthal after he moved from sunny Johannesburg to New York city and sank into a deep depression. He went on to discover that latitude affects your attitude as the incidence of S.A.D. increases the farther people live away from the equator and also that three to four times more women than men suffer from S.A.D. Symptoms associated with S.A.D. are lack of energy, low concentration, sleep problems, anxiety, panic attacks, carb cravings, overeating, and lowered immune function. S.A.D. is treated conventionally with a light box, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and anti-depressant medication.  The medications are supposed to help with mood chemicals in the brain such as serotonin, which helps with brain cell communications, and dopamine, the chemical released during pleasure such as when having sex or eating. What are some more natural ways to prevent or reduce S.A.D symptoms, besides the two activities just mentioned? Crawling under the covers for the next four months is an option, and your family may appreciate it, but when your immunity is at stake it’s a better idea to be proactive.  Heading south for the winter is not available to everyone. So, here are some other...

Healthy Steps to a Better Memory

It has been said that life without memory is no life at all.  We are fascinated by memory.  Our memories define our personal autobiography.  Shared memories are the glue that holds society, groups and families together and form the basis of culture. Drawn from our past, they help us create our future.  We all have memories.  It’s just that sometimes we can’t find where we put them. Anytime we experience real or perceived memory loss it is troubling.  We tend to imagine the worst and are tempted to try the latest fad brain supplement.  Shooting from the hip when it comes to brain biochemistry can lead to random and potentially damaging results. Each new chemical discovery provokes the marketing of a new enticing cognitive enhancement supplement with names like phosphatidylserine, gingko, bacopa, huperzine, and dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE).  It boggles the mind. Where to start and what to choose? Here are some tips you could keep in mind, or in your reminder notebook 😊, to help you navigate the path to better cognition. Brain research has shown that stress interferes with the synthesis, storage and transport of memories at the molecular level.  You can minimize memory loss, by reducing your physical, chemical and emotional stress. Get plenty of rest, fun and exercise. Eliminate the toxins in your environment and food supply as best you can. Give your brain a rest from the strain of constant interruptions from cell phones.  Pay attention to the quality of your relationships and release whatever emotional conflicts you are holding onto.  Meditation, regular exercise, yoga, time spent in nature, focused attention and intention, maintaining a positive outlook...

How Can We Cope With Forest Fire Smoke?

Forest fires throughout the BC interior have exposed us all to health risks from breathing smoky air and many people are concerned about the potential harm to their health. Humans have been dealing with smoke from fire for eons. As a result, there is a wealth of indigenous information as well as modern science from which to draw advice. A recent study done on sheep showed that smoke inhalation can deplete Vitamin E.  Another study showed that the amino acid L-Arginine had a protective effect on the lungs after inhaling smoke. We know that Vitamin C has a protective effect on the lungs.   Vitamin A and zinc are two other well known agents of tissue repair. To maintain the integrity of the alveoli in your lungs, think of them as little soap bubbles that remain flexible, strong and elastic if they have enough surfactant., which is a lipid or fat.  The best fats for building healthy alveoli are the saturated fats found in animal foods, (butter, lard, etc.) and in tropical oils such as coconut and palm oil, and in olive oil.  One should avoid the trans fats found in partially hydrogenated oils such as margarine, shortening, (often in commercial baked goods), and deep fried fast foods.  Trans fats compromise the integrity of the alveoli. What are some best foods for supplying important nutrients for your respiratory health? Beets help to digest good fats and supply lots of minerals and vitamins needed for repair. Betaine is a very useful enzyme found in beets and is also in most dark leafy greens. Perfect timing for the home gardener. Some good...

Sun Smarts for Your Health

Sunshine time is here and like all living things we need it. Much as plants harness the sun’s rays through photosynthesis, our bodies benefit from sun exposure in many ways, probably only some of which we are aware. For example, we know the UVB radiation in sunshine stimulates increased production of vitamin D which is needed to build bones, quell inflammation, and bolster the immune system against many of today’s diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, depression and asthma. Most people have heard of the studies that connect sun exposure to skin cancer. But there are many studies that suggest sun exposure plays a role in decreasing risks of at least 16 different types of cancer including lung, pancreatic, breast, ovarian, prostate, and colon cancers. While UVB radiation is responsible for making vitamin D, the UVA, thought to be responsible for most of the skin damage, also helps modulate your immune system. UVA and UVB in combination improves beta-endorphin production in your skin, which makes you feel good. Sun exposure on bare skin also produces nitric oxide and carbon monoxide that cause relaxation of the blood vessels, improves wound healing, and helps fight infections. The blue wavelength of sunlight is particularly important for regulating your circadian rhythm improving your mood, and reducing symptoms of depression. Light therapy has been shown to be effective not only against seasonal affective disorder (SAD) but also non-seasonal major depression. Clearly, sun exposure provides a wealth of health benefits over and beyond mere vitamin D production. So how do we maximize the benefits of sun exposure while avoiding the risks of damage from too much exposure? Here...