Heart Health Starts on Day One

For centuries, the month of February has been associated with affairs of the heart – first with a pagan Roman fertility celebration on February 15 and later with the advent of St. Valentine’s Day on February 14. No one knows the true identity of the Valentine that lent his or her name to the holiday we know today, and stories explaining the origin of Valentine’s Day are as varied as the sentiments in a bag of candy hearts. But the indelible icon representing Valentine’s Day has remained constant – the heart.

Today, Valentine’s Day celebrations often revolve around decadent dinners and toothsome classroom treats. Chocolate truffles and cupcakes with mile-high frosting take center stage as we celebrate the love in our hearts. What if we instead used this opportunity to pay homage to the organ itself? To use Valentine’s Day as an annual opportunity to assess our heart-healthy habits (even as we’re biting into that cupcake)?

Although it is the leading cause of death in America, few realize that heart disease begins to develop at birth – perhaps even in utero. Anatomical changes in the heart and arteries that will strongly predispose a child to future cardiovascular disease and/or stroke have been observed as early as age 5. But like any of life’s challenges that face our children, there are things we can do to help mitigate the risk of a heart attack or stroke later in life. Making positive changes to a child’s diet, environment, and lifestyle can diminish their genetic predisposition to heart disease.

  • Get rid of Bisphenol-A (BPA) plastics, which are known hormone disruptors and may lead to heart disease and obesity. Purge your kitchen of old water bottles (or even some newer ones that still contain BPA). Use glass food storage and lunch containers wherever possible, and use wax wrappers rather than plastic baggies.
  • Don’t overlook school meals. Kids consume about 40% of calories at school, so make sure healthy choices are available. Send a healthy, appealing home-packed lunch. Shop for ingredients together and allow your child to pack his or her own lunch, choosing between the healthy options that you’ve purchased together. Your child is more likely to eat a lunch that he or she has made.
  • Get the family moving. Sure it is great to bike ride or hike together, but it is also important to instill heart-healthy habits into a child’s daily routine. Take the stairs. Park at the far edge of the parking lot. Walk to school or the store. Wherever life presents a convenient-yet-less physical option, opt out!
  • Slow down! Nearly one in five American meals is eaten in the car, where it is difficult to offer freshly prepared lean meats or veggies. In one study of eighteen developed countries, the United States had the highest obesity rate yet was near the bottom in the average amount of time spent eating each day.
  • Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Whole ingredients like fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, seafood, and dairy are usually found around the sides of the store, whereas processed foods are generally found within.
  • Visit farmers’ markets for local, seasonal produce. Even many northern cities offer indoor markets during the winter. The selection won’t be as vast as a grocery store importing plums from South America, but the items that are available will be tasty and nutritious, and will have had a far smaller environmental impact.
  • Our heart is a muscle that never stops and needs the right nutrients to function properly. You may remember that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell and provides all the energy. Here is a list of supplements that help this little engine work: magnesium, CoQ10, vitamin C, vitamin E, alpha lipoic acid, carnitine and ribose.

Valentine’s Day evolved from a ceremony of fertility to one of love, or from primal to interpersonal connection. Let’s take it one step further this year and make our child’s environment full of love. Embrace them as you always do and add healthy eating, supportive supplements and an increased awareness of toxins.

Why your diet isn’t your fault: three healthy steps to healthy eating.

In 2000, according to the USDA, each individual in the U.S. consumed over 150 pounds of sugar. Sugar is addictive and you are likely an addict but it may not be entirely your fault. The good news is you can blame your parents and bodily stowaways.

Your food culture will become
your child’s food culture. You eat the way you are shown to eat. In other words, the way you eat today is how you will eat tomorrow. Essentially your
parents created your palate.

It feels good to blame your parents for your problems. 
Unfortunately, your children will do it to you unless you make a change. Once you recognize you are part of the solution you have taken the first step.

The second step is to understand that the microbes living in your gut can compel you to eat a specific diet. If you eat lots of sugar then the bugs have adapted. You are filled with sugar-loving bacteria and yeast rather than vegetable craving bacteria. Sugar craving bugs make you crave sugar.

This means you can view yourself as a puppet to the sugar bugs that live inside of you. The old adage that you become what you eat is really true. Fortunately, you can be Pinocchio and change from puppet to puppeteer. You cut the puppet strings by changing the gut microbiome.

The third step is to make a conscious effort to eat less refined sugar and more natural sugar, consume grapefruit seed extract or
biocidin to eradicate the bad bacteria and yeast, and replenish your gut with good bacteria by taking a probiotic.

Read labels and understand your consumption. Most sugar in our food comes from processed corn. This was not always the case. Our grandparents consumed natural unrefined sugars largely from cane and beets.

Unfortunately, food manufacturers do not have to separate added sugar from naturally occurring sugar in foods.

Added sugars come in many forms, so look for labels that include:

  • Cane juice
  • Corn sweetener
  • Corn syrup
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Invert sugar
  • Maltose
  • Lactose
  • Sucrose
  • White sugar
  • Corn syrup solids
  • Malt syrup
  • Anhydrous dextrose

The consequence of remaining a puppet are dramatic yet avoidable. Today, more than 1 in 3 adults in the United States have “pre-diabetes.” In addition, nearly 30 million Americans have diabetes, and 1 in 4 of them don’t even know it.

Leave Pleasure Island and don’t allow you or your children to become diabetic donkeys. Cut the puppet strings by repopulating your gut with vegetable-craving bacteria. Do not give your children reason to blame you. Teach them a healthy way to eat as a lasting multi-generational tribute of your love.

Five steps to preventing cancer, depression, allergies, and anxiety.

My ‘Health’ elevator sales pitch when asked ‘what is the one thing a person can do to feel better’ is to focus on the gut.

The community of bacteria and other microbes living in your intestinal tract, collectively known as the gut microbiome, are the best long-term investment in your health.

Trillions of microbial cells inhabit the human body, outnumbering human cells by 10 to one according to some estimates, and growing evidence suggests that the rich array of intestinal microbiota helps us process nutrients in the foods we eat, bolsters the immune system and does all sorts of odd jobs that promote sound health. A diminished microbial ecosystem, on the other hand, is believed to have consequences that extend far beyond the intestinal tract, affecting everything from allergies and inflammation, metabolic diseases like diabetes and obesity, even mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.


1. HAVE A VAGINAL BIRTH  The bacteria that live in the vagina are the same ones that live in our gut. If you don’t get this initial inoculation at birth then other bacteria can take up residence, such as skin bacteria, bad bacteria from the hospital or yeast. But if that horse has already left the barn then make sure you take good probiotics daily. Some resourceful pregnant moms are swabbing their c-section babies’ mouths with a clean and previously inserted tampon to recreate the birth canal bacteria experience. Research shows this is working.

2. AVOID ANTIBIOTICS AND STEROIDS  if possible. These kill the good bacteria or suppress the immune system so bad bacteria and yeast can set up residence in the gut. Use natural alternatives that are often as effective for everyday illnesses. You may need to find a holistic practitioner for guidance.

3. AVOID PESTICIDES AND CHEMICAL FERTILIZERS  These wreak havoc on our intestinal friends by either killing off the good bacteria or literally punching small holes in the lining of the gut. Imagine living in a castle for safety yet purposely invite outsiders over on a daily basis and watch them repeatedly punch holes in the castle wall. This is what happens every time you eat RoundUp ready food such as GMO, non-organic wheat products. This is also known as Leaky Gut Syndrome. Make sure you select non-GMO, organic foods to minimize this highly inflammatory condition.

4. EAT HEALTHY  The bacteria in the gut love greens and dietary fiber. They convert the food products into energy and healing nutrients. The brain loves one of the by-products called Butyrate. Butyrate is the preferred fuel source of the brain and GI tract and is much better for these organs than sugar. Imagine making a fire in your backyard. Do you want a nice long burning log with a soothing crackle, pleasant smell and minimal debris or the bright burst of dried leaves with all the ash and embers flying everywhere potentially starting a fire somewhere else? Butyrate is the log and sugar is the leaves. Butyrate calms and heals. Sugar gives a burst of energy then send toxins throughout the body.

5. TAKE REPLENISHING SUPPLEMENTS  I already mentioned probiotics. My other mandatories are vitamin D3, fish oil and a good multivitamin. I personalize other supplements as needed on a case by case basis.

So you have the power to control how your genes are expressed by how you eat. This is called epigenetics. Take the new year and give yourself the gift of a healthy long life.

What do Subway, Pillsbury, Sara Lee, Shoprite, Safeway, Smucker’s, Fleischman’s, Jimmy Dean, Kroger, Little Debbie, Tyson and Wonder have in common?

sub-sandwichAzodicarbonamide – a chemical used to make yoga mats and baked into your bread.

“ADA” is used in the plastics industry as a “foaming agent” and in the food industry as a dough conditioner for the convenience of industrial bakers.

In the plastics industry, it is mixed into polymer plastic gel to generate tiny gas bubbles, something like champagne for plastics. The results are materials that are strong, light, spongy and malleable. In many commercial baked goods, ADA is used as a “dough conditioner” that renders large batches of dough easier to handle and makes the finished products puffier and tough enough to withstand shipping and storage.

Food should be food – not contain chemical foaming agents.

Click here to add your name to EWG’s petition demanding that major brands stop using azodicarbonamide!

Mysterious polio-like illness affects kids in California

child-polio-californiaDoctors believe they’ve identified as many as 25 California children suffering from a mysterious, polio-like virus capable of paralyzing limbs. The best-case scenario is complete loss of one limb, the worst is all four limbs, with respiratory insufficiency, as well. The median age of those stricken is 12.

Parents should not panic. This is really very rare and is isolated to California. The CDC is watching closely but has not become involved yet.

The question in my mind is why has a rare virus affected these children and not affected adults – if this really is being caused by a virus.

Here are the facts as reported by the media. The cause of most of these cases is not known. Some clinical and laboratory features, such as the pattern of inflammation seen in the spinal cord on MRI, are consistent with a viral process. Samples from two of the children tested positive for enterovirus 68, a rare virus that has been linked to severe respiratory illness in the past.

The medical histories on these children are not available so I cannot look for pre-existing conditions to explain their vulnerabilities.  I can look to common sense though to shed practical light on this situation and to allay fears all parents must be having.

Assuming these were/are healthy children then they developed this condition as a result of a vulnerability to this bug while most people are not and/or they built up toxins that resulted in a neurological condition.

Here are some reasons that could make once susceptible:

1. They had an innate genetic vulnerability; and/or

2. They had a genetic mutation occur as a result of generational toxin exposure from living in a modern world; and/or

3. They had a genetic mutation occur as a result of the radiation from Fukushima melt down; and/or

4. They were unable to detoxify and eliminate these toxins because of genetics; and/or

5. They were unable to detoxify and eliminate these toxins because of poor diets and/or inadequate supplementation; and/or

6. They had a weakened immune system from environmental toxins such as pesticides, poor diet, poor supplementation, Japanese radiation, dysbiosis from previous antibiotic use, among others.

My point here is we live in a toxic soup and our bodies need help to maintain proper and healthy functioning.

  1. Eat organic to limit toxic exposure,
  2. Diet with plenty of phytonutrients to assist mitochondrial, antioxidant and detoxification functions,
  3. Limit carbs, gluten, dairy and animal fats,
  4. Exercise,
  5. Clean out the gut and restore balance of proper probiotics and microbiome since this is the major detox and immune pathway of the body,
  6. Educate yourself on a functional body,
  7. Hydration,
  8. Sleep for 7-9 hours a night with a regular bedtime,
  9. Health relationships and a strong sense of community, and
  10. Good fish oils to protect cell membranes and reduce inflammation.

Unusual illnesses like the one devastating children in California may be the result of our lifestyles, genetics and understanding of the body. Sometimes infections and disease are unavoidable but stack the odds in your favor. Find a doctor that will help you heal by addressing the missteps in biological and physiological functions at their root causes rather than throwing antibiotics and immune suppressants to cover symptoms from occurring.

It is hard to change your food culture, but if you want to keep your family safe then this must be addressed. The idea of eating and living in unhealthy ways because it feels good or because this is your family culture, only to seek a symptom-control approach once the body starts to break down is crazy thinking. Sadly this is the prevailing approach in this country and around the world. Fight your temptations to slothfulness and gluttony. Chronic disease and vulnerability to illness can be largely prevented. You make this decision by the small daily decisions on how you choose to personalize your life.