Healthy Irish Fare

Irish Hat 1This week is St. Patrick's Day, and being the good Irish girl that I am, I will be joining my son for his favorite Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner. It's the one time all year that I eat corned beef, and only a mouthful at that. This is a cured meat, so very high in sodium. A 3 ounce serving of corned beef contains 827 milligrams of sodium, 36 percent of the Institute of Medicine's daily recommendation! YUK!

The cabbage, on the other hand is a healthy choice. One cup of cabbage provides 3 grams of fiber, high levels of vitamin C, which promotes a healthy immune system, and nearly double the daily recommendation of vitamin K, an essential nutrient for blood clotting! My plate at dinner will have mostly carrots (a fav of mine), cabbage, potatoes and a tiny bite of corned beef.

Another Irish favorite that works better for me than corned beef is Irish stew! Mostly veggies with a bit of any type of meat or poultry that you like, and if you make the broth yourself you can put only a bit of salt in and it tastes much better than those you see on the supermarket shelves. Here is my bone broth recipe:

Hint - Save all your bones in a container in the freezer as you eat the meat or chicken and then when you have enough, make your own broth. You can freeze some if you want to use at a later date, or make a big pot of stew or soup and share!

Ingredients:

2 large onions, cut up

3 – 6 large garlic cloves-

7 celery stalks, cut up

4-6 large carrots, cut up

1 large or 2 small potatoes, cut up

Kale or any other veggie you like

1 tsp olive oil

3-4 bay leaves

Preparation:

Sauté the onion in 1 tsp of olive oil in a big stew pot

Add the carrots and celery and lastly the onions and cook until onions are soft

Fill the pot with your bag of bones and then add enough water to cover the bones

Add the bay leaves, a pinch of salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil over medium heat.

Add the Kale and any other greens lower to a simmer, cover and let it cook for at least 1 hr. Stir occasionally.

Let the broth cool for several hours (you can put the whole pot as is in the fridge overnight if you want.

Then remove all the bones and any grease that may have formed on top, and you’ve got your stock/broth for any time you want some!

Best of Health,

Kathi

Take Care Of YOU!

With all the excitement this month of Irish festivities, preparing for Easter and spring hiking/biking starting earlier this year, please remember to take care of you. The more I teach, and the more clients I see, the more important I realize self-care is. So many people - especially women, forget how important their own health and well being is. For many of us, self care feels more like a fringe benefit than an essential daily practice. This was driven home to me, once again last week, when a friend who took care of everyone in town at one time or another, and who was a truly generous soul with all but herself, had a sudden heart attack and died. She leaves a big hole in her family's and extended family's lives. Please take care of yourself so that you'll be around for a long time for your family and friends!

Exercise, eat healthy foods (not too much...), and do some type of meditation.

And so to start you off, here is a link to one of the breathing practices that I teach every week. It focuses on healing the spine. Just about everything in the body is connected to the spine, so a healthier spine means a healthier body. Relax and BREATHE!

Eat Fat To Get Thin!

AvocadoI am happy to announce my friend and colleague Dr. Mark Hyman's new book, Eat Fat to Get Thin. Yes, you heard that right. Mark is talking about the "good fat," however, not twinkies and triple layer chocolate cake!

In addition to rising rates of obesity, cancer, and diabetes, millions of Americans are suffering from what Mark refers to as "FLC Syndrome" - that's when you feel like crap! What most of us don't know is that this is directly related to the food we eat. Food can harm us or it can heal us.

In his latest book, Dr. Hyman reveals a shocking new medical discovery that turns our understanding of why we get fat and sick completely upside down.

So what is this shocking discovery?

Turns out, if you eat more FAT, you get thin (and reverse heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and more). In other words, just about everything we've been told about fat is wrong. Which is why Dr. Hyman has created a powerful Q&A video to celebrate the launch of his new book, Eat Fat, Get Thin. Watch the FREE Q&A Video here.

In this video, Mark answers questions like:

If it's not fat, what is the true cause of heart disease, diabetes, and disease?

How can we easily differentiate between good and bad fats?

Is butter really good for you?

And how did we get into this big, fat mess?

Over 1,000 people participated in his testing of the Eat Fat, Get Thin 21-Day Plan outlined in this book. The results were powerful. Participants shed weight (as much as 46 pounds!), reduced blood sugar (an average of 23 points), and reported a 69% decrease in ALL symptoms from chronic diseases. Isn't it your turn?

If you're ready to lose those stubborn extra pounds, have more energy immediately, and learn how to prevent or even reverse chronic disease naturally, you won't want to miss this book.

Watch the video (PLUS discover how you can get your copy of Dr. Hyman's new book and receive up to 9 not-to-be-missed bonus gifts!)  
Best of Health,

Kathi

Heart Healthy Recipe For Your Valentine!

IMG_0547[1]

 

Wild Salmon with Rosemary, Sweet Potatoes & Lemon Asparagus (from Dr. Mark Hyman's Blood Sugar Solution)

 

 

 

Ingredients:

1 sweet potato, peeled and sliced

1 yellow onion, sliced

2 Tblsp extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

1 garlic clove (I love garlic and use 3!)

2 tsp dry mustard

Juice and zest of 1 small lemon (I also sometimes use lime)

1 Tblsp chopped fresh rosemary

1 bunch asparagus

8 oz. skin on, wild caught salmon

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425o
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the sweet potato and onion slices on the paper in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, mix the garlic, mustard, lemon juice, and rosemary to make a paste and set aside.
  • Remove baking sheet from oven, place the asparagus on the parchment next to the onions and sweet potatoes. Sprinkle the lemon zest on the asparagus. Lay the salmon on top of the asparagus and onions. Spread the mustard paste on top of the salmon.
  • Return the sheet to the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Salmon is done when the flesh flakes with gentle pressure. Serve the salmon on top of the veggies as is.

Now feel your mouth and heart smile... 

Top 7 Health and Wellness Advances in 2015

It's always fun at the beginning of a new year to look back on achievements from the previous year. Not just personally, but also in the world at large. So today, I'm sharing one that I am proud of, as well as looking at health and wellness milestones in general for 2015.

Ned Thru Hole for BookI am grateful that my Amazon bestselling book STOP Back Pain! has remained steadily on Amazon bestseller lists in all it's categories! FOUR years on the bestseller lists is a huge accomplishment!

 

In the world at large this past year, these are my choices for Top 7 advances in health and medicine. Some of these sound like science fiction from my childhood!

The Saving Mothers, Giving Life partnership announced, at the first-ever Maternal Newborn Health Conference in October, a nearly 50 percent reduction in maternal mortality in target facilities in Uganda and Zambia.

Australian researchers have come up with a non-invasive ultrasound technology that clears the brain of neurotoxic amyloid plaques - structures that are responsible for memory loss and a decline in cognitive function in Alzheimer's patients. If a person has Alzheimer's disease, it's usually the result of a build-up of two types of lesions - amyloid plaques, and neurofibrillary tangles. Most of us Boomers are all too aware that Alzheimer's affects 50 million people worldwide, and we are all concerned about this terrible disease. It's been a race to figure out how best to treat it, starting with how to clear the build-up of defective beta-amyloid and tau proteins from a patient's brain. In 2015, a team from the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) have come up with a very promising solution. Published in Science Translational Medicine, the team describes the technique as using a particular type of ultrasound called afocused therapeutic ultrasound, which non-invasively beams sound waves into the brain tissue. By oscillating super-fast, these sound waves are able to gently open up the blood-brain barrier (a layer that protects the brain against bacteria), and stimulate the brain's microglial cells to activate. Microglila cells are basically waste-removal cells, so they're then able to clear out the toxic beta-amyloid clumps that are responsible for the worst symptoms of Alzheimer's. The team reports fully restoring the memory function of 75 percent of the mice they tested it on, with zero damage to the surrounding brain tissue. They found that the treated mice displayed improved performance in three memory tasks - a maze, a test to get them to recognize new objects, and one to get them to remember the places they should avoid. They are hopeful that this treatment will be available for us aging Boomers as soon as 2017.

A new advancement in breast cancer radiation therapy, called intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT), shows great promise. Used successfully for decades with a different type of radiation therapy as part of treatment for abdominal cancers, a new type of IORT is now being used to deliver high doses of radiation during lumpectomies, concentrated only in the cavity where tumors were removed. After excising the tumor and surrounding tissue from the breast, radiation is delivered through an applicator directly to the former tumor's site, where the risk of cancer recurrence is highest. This focused radiation does no damage to the heart or lungs, which often happens with whole breast radiation. After about 30 minutes of treatment, the applicator is removed. Based on the results of a large clinical trial, focusing the radiation on the tumor bed, IORT has been shown to be as effective as whole breast radiation for selected patients with early stage breast cancer. The study also showed the risk of skin toxicity is decreased after IORT, compared to conventional radiation therapy. Also, IORT costs significantly less than standard whole breast radiation. And with fewer trips to the hospital for radiation therapy and less time spent in treatment, this therapy provides a significant boost to the quality of life for patients with early stage breast cancer.

Doctors at Duke University have successfully re-engineered the polio virus to treat brain tumors by removing a key genetic sequence. This genetically engineered polio virus, PVS-RIPO, is not unlike other experimental treatments in the past using HIV, measles, and smallpox. Unlike these other diseases, researchers from Duke found that polio actually seeks out and attaches itself to receptors that can be found on almost every solid tumor. Not only was this re-engineered polio virus successful in seeking out and poisoning cancerous cells, but it also steered clear of normal cells While PVS-RIPO has been in the works for the past 25 years, groundbreaking steps in this potential cancer treatment were made in 2015, which included eradication of tumors in certain patients. The Food and Drug Administration is expected to make its decision on "breakthrough status" for this treatment in 2016.

2015 was a big year for 3D printing. Using 3D printing and 3D imaging techniques, researchers from several universities developed a 3D-printed guide that can help regrow the sensory and motor functions of a rat's nerves after an injury, effectively giving them the ability to regenerate damaged nerves. When a 54-year-old cancer patient from Spain needed a portion of his rib cage and his entire sternum replaced, he didn't have many options. Not too many living donors are willing or able to part with either of those. Even if they were, everybody is different, so finding one that would fit was problematic. So, the minds at Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), designed a 3D printed titanium rib cage and sternum that fit perfectly and it saved his life. Similarly, "Han Han" - a 3-year-old girl in China, suffering from a rare condition that resulted in her head growing four times its normal size, was saved by 3D printing. To prevent potentially harmful pressures on the tissues of the brain, Han Han underwent a 17 hour operation, which was considered the world's first full skull reconstruction surgery using 3D printing technology. The surgical team used 3D imaging and 3D printing to create a new titanium skull that repositioned her brain and prevented future complications. Sounds like something out of Star Trek, doesn't it!

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia, or C.L.L., is a common blood cancer. It is typically indolent, initially, but then it can accelerate, causing debility and death as it clogs the liver, spleen, and bone marrow, choking off the normal production of blood cells. The classic approach to treating C.L.L. is to poison malignant cells with chemotherapy, a treatment with modest benefit, whose effects usually wane over the course of a year or so. In the past decade, scientists have been exploring how cells communicate with one another, receiving signals from outside, and transmitting them, through a cascade of molecules, into their interiors. Targeting these molecules can make a treatment more specific and less toxic. In December, in the New England Journal of Medicine, a group of oncologists reported the success of such a strategy with C.L.L. They demonstrated that a drug called ibrutinib, which interferes with the signaling molecule, BTK, produced impressive remissions in patients with C.L.L. The effects also tended to last beyond the end of the clinical trial, with rare relapses. A challenge with many cancers is that they have redundant systems of communication; when one pathway is severed, another can still pass along the messages that allow the cancer to grow and divide. Sometimes, though, as in the case of ibrutinib, disconnecting a single network leads to dramatic improvement. Dramatic improvement in the treatment of any cancer is a good thing in my book!

A new, painless, more accurate, faster, and significantly less expensive blood testing method has been developed by the company, Theranos. Gone are the big needles and vials, replaced instead by a proprietary software and hardware technology that uses a mere drop of blood from the end of your finger! The blood sample is wicked into a special nanotainer, which holds the equivalent amount of a raindrop. It's then shipped to a special CLIA-certified laboratory, where hundreds of different tests can now be performed from that one drop of blood, from standard cholesterol checks to sophisticated genetic analyses. Blood results are then sent back to the requesting physician in a matter of hours. When further testing is needed, it can be done immediately, again with the same tiny blood sample. This new testing, which can be collected at a local participating pharmacy as well as a doctor's office, comes at a mere fraction of the cost of traditional blood testing methods. In some cases, these new tests will cost as little as 10 percent of the traditional Medicare reimbursement. That IS good news!

Best of Health,

Kathi

Arsenic and Old… Rice?!

Man planting seeds in a spring garden

During one of my presentations on nutrition, recently, I was asked about the concern of high levels of arsenic in rice. Since this was not a topic I was familiar with, I promised to do some research and write about this topic in a future post. The results are included here for your information. Please share.

Arsenic is a natural mineral in the earth's crust. Arsenic has also been released into the environment through the use of pesticides and poultry fertilizer, therefore, it's in our soil and water. I was quite surprised when I looked into this. I used to live on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, in a county with high levels of arsenic in the water, so I was very cautious about filtering. Unfortunately, rice tends to absorb arsenic more readily than many other plants. I had no idea at that time about the levels of arsenic in rice.

So the rice, especially the brown rice which Ned and I were consuming 5 out of 7 days a week, is high in arsenic. Organically-grown and conventional rice both contain arsenic and regular exposure to small amounts of arsenic can increase the risk of bladder, lung, and skin cancer, as well as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Perhaps if they'd known this when they made the movie "Arsenic and Old Lace" the old ladies could have served rice wine! But arsenic levels in rice appear to vary based on the variety and the region where it is grown. White rice -- particularly basmati, jasmine and pre-cooked "instant" rice -- tends to have lower concentrations of arsenic than brown rice because arsenic accumulates in rice bran. Rice varieties grown in California or imported from Southeast Asia are often lower in arsenic than rice grown in other parts of the U.S.

In the FDA's recent analysis of approximately 1,300 samples, they found average levels of inorganic arsenic for the various rice and rice products of 0.1 to 7.2 micrograms of arsenic per serving. Serving sizes varied depending on the rice product they tested. For example, one serving of non-Basmati rice equals one cup cooked, whereas one serving of a rice-based snack bar contains only ¼ cup of rice.

I checked the brand that we use, (Lundberg) since it is from California and was pleased that the company CEO addressed this concern on their website. They test each year and have kept their arsenic levels lower than the international (CODEX) standards. CODEX, a joint commission of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization, has adopted a standard for acceptable arsenic levels in rice:  it recommends that governments allow no more than 200 parts of arsenic per billion in white or "polished" rice and no more than 400 parts per billion in brown rice. The European Food Safety Authority has discussed a more restrictive limit of 100 parts per billion of arsenic in foods marketed for infants and children, because children have shown to be more sensitive to arsenic than adults, but it has not come to a final determination. The CODEX recommendations are not meant to imply that 200 or 400 parts per billion of arsenic in rice is safe. Rather, the international body aimed to encourage regulators of individual governments to ban rice with higher concentrations of arsenic from the market.

My plan is to eat less rice. This is what both the EWG and Consumer Reports recommend. I'm now using quinoa several times a week in place of rice. I like the taste, it's a safer grain, and it's also higher in protein.

Links to several reports mentioned here are included so you can do further research yourself if you wish. I did not have enough room here to discuss the many rice products, sugars, etc., in our grocery baskets, but most processed foods contain rice, so your total intake may be higher than you think. Be on the lookout for alternatives to rice-based processed foods like breakfast cereals, rice flour, rice pasta, cakes and crackers. Consumer demand for gluten-free alternatives to wheat-based processed foods has spurred a proliferation of rice-based products, but they're not our only option. Low-arsenic grains include barley, faro, couscous, and bulgur wheat. If you are avoiding gluten, consider amaranth, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, oats, cornmeal, grits, and polenta. Read labels carefully and investigate products with these alternative grains.

And thank you to the ladies of Cancer House of Hope for asking this question! An informed public is a healthier public!

Best of Health

Kathi

Goals, Resolutions or Intentions?

YogavilleThis is the time of year when we look at our goals from last year, see how we did, make new ones for the new year, and then formulate a plan for making it all happen. I'm very glad to have this process, especially this year. Last week I thought I hadn't done very well on my goals for 2015 and I was feeling a bit down in the mouth about it (yes, I am not always Pollyanna). But when I pulled them out and compared, I had met or exceeded most of those goals and only failed meet two of them! That brought the smile back to my face. I usually set business goals as well as health, relationship, and personal goals each year; a few in each category, to keep learning and evolving. 

I have an accountability partner and we go over our goals with each other at the beginning of the year and check in again at the end of each quarter. In 2015, we did something a bit different. We set intentions and then made our goals encompass these intentions. This was something suggested by Deepak Chopra. His four suggested mantras for those intentions were:

  • I have a joyful, energetic body.
  • I have a loving, compassionate heart.
  • I have a restful, alert mind.
  • I have lightness of being. 
  •  

These worked out pretty well, because a joyful energetic body is one that gets enough exercise, proper nutrition and sleep. A loving compassionate heart takes care of self and others. An alert mind is active and constantly learning, and all of these make for a lightness of being.

So, perhaps instead of making resolutions this year, you can set these four intentions for yourself. Write them down on a 3x5 card and keep them where you'll see them each day, to remind yourself. Then let me know at the end of 2016 how much better you feel! 

Best of Health,

Kathi 

How To Make Chaga Tea

Chaga Tea tastes a bit like coffee. In fact, when I add a little almond milk, it tastes just like the hazelnut coffee that I used to drink years ago.

If you want to read about the benefits of Chaga, check this recent post.  This post also has a short video of our gathering expedition so you can see what it looks like on the trees and a bit about harvesting it. Much more info is available through that know-it-all Google...

chaga big platter full with Ned and Kathi2

So many of my readers asked for more information, so here you go!

To Make Chaga Tea:

Take a piece about the size of a softball and smash it up into very small chunks. We used an old piece of jean material to place the conks in, covered them within the cloth and then pounded them with a hammer. The jean fabric doesn't tear as easily as others so this method worked for us.

This amount will make 2 cups a day - enough for one cup each for 2 people for about a month.

Place those chunks in a glass or stainless pot filled with water and bring to almost boiling. Simmer for about ten mintues, then remove from heat and strain some into a cup. Enjoy!

You can either leave that pot on the stove and continue to add water each day, or you can strain the whole pot into a jar that you use for your daily cup until it's gone, letting the Chaga chunks dry in between cooking. Then when your jar is empty, put the chunks back into the pot fill with water again and heat.

Each time, you'll need to cook the chunks for a little longer - maybe fifteen or twenty minutes more until you get the same dark color and the flavor you like.

Best of Health,

Kathi

Chugging Chaga For Cancer Prevention

Have you ever heard of Chaga? Neither had I until a friend mentioned it and now I can't get enough!

Chaga is a beneficial fungus that grows on yellow  birch (and a few white) trees in northern climates. The more research I did on Chaga, the more we wanted to try some. My neighbor mentioned that she had found some on their property last winter, so, a hunting we did go! We'd done some searching around on foot the last few weekends and had not been successful, but this time we hit the motherload! 

Here's a short video of our hunting excursion!

It doesn't look very appealing and in fact, doesn't look much like a mushroom at all. But looks can be deceiving as this wonderful medicine from Mother Nature has more antioxidants than blueberries and is known to boost our immune system. In fact, Chaga has the highest ORAC score (the measure of antioxidant potency) of any superfood! Chaga also has anti-cancer properties. In fact, the anti-cancer benefits have been so amazing with mice that studies are now being done on humans. Interestingly, the benefits of Chaga have been known and studied in Russia and China for centuries. 

Chaga is rich in natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phenols, containing the compounds betulin and betulinic acid - which come directly from the host birch trees. Both betulin and betulinic acid have demonstrated anti-tumor effects, which explains why Chaga is known as an anti-cancer agent. Another compound in Chaga, called lanostanoids, also appears to play a significant anti-cancer role. The exact anti-cancer activity of Chaga is not completely understood yet, but according to the studies I read, some compounds in the fungus boost immune activity, some specifically prevent cancer cells from replicating, and others cause premature cancer cell death. Hence, the recommendation is to use the whole conk for your tea or extract, rather than isolating single parts. In this super food, all the parts appear to be active anti-cancer agents.

The compound ergosterol in Chaga, along with related agents, shows anti-inflammatory benefits. This is why Chaga is thought of as a life-extending agent in China, since inflammation is part of every chronic, degenerative disease. Reducing systemic inflammation can mitigate or help prevent a variety of health problems, leading to a healthier life!

Another surprising benefit of Chaga is in regards to psoriasis. In one Russian study, psoriasis patients who took Chaga recovered from their condition. Here in the west, psoriasis is notoriously difficult to treat and responds poorly to current treatments. This effect alone could be of enormous benefit to many, including myself.

My neighbor and her husband, who turned us on to Chaga, now joke that we'll all live to be healthy centenarians! For now, we're drinking our daily Chaga tea, we have some extract brewing that will be ready in four months, and we'll keep you posted on how healthy it makes us!

Here is a link to a post that describes the process for making Chaga tea and another for the extract if you are interested.

Best of Health,

Kathi

What Does World Peace Mean To You?

Thanksgiving is a November holiday that we know well, but are you aware that World Peace Day is the 17th? I know we don't get that day off, but let's take a moment now to contemplate the idea of peace. What does world peace look like to you? Do you feel you can make a difference in the bigger picture? Praying for peace is easy, but it isn't the only way we can help facilitate peace. "Being" peace is something that we, perhaps, don't give much thought to. When we are peaceful, however, when we FEEL peaceful, we share that vibration with everyone around us. 

The Dalai Lama has said "World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not the absence of violence; peace is the manifestation of human compassion." I believe he is correct. Many times I have seen examples of how a simple act of compassion for another human being changes others, thus making a larger difference than I expected.

What if we decide to make the rest of the month "World Peace Month"! We can choose to be more peaceful ourselves, and we can share more compassion with others and spread a little peace around. If we look for opportunities to share compassion, we will find them. No matter where you live or work, there are homeless people in need (many of whom are veterans...). The next time you see someone in need, buy them food at the nearest convenience store and give it to them with a smile and a kind word. Or perhaps it's cold where you live and you have a scarf with you that is easily replaceable; share your smile and scarf with someone in need. 

Best of Health,

Kathi

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