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Posts Tagged ‘natural health’

First – I would like anyone who is reading this to take a moment to send your good thoughts and a healing prayer to the people, animals, plants, ocean, and land in Japan.  They are all suffering an immense tragedy and even though it might feel far away, we are all changed because of this event.  While sending positive intentions may seem trite, our thoughts can alter the world as they set the stage for physical change.  It begins with one person and cascades from there.  Please believe that you can and do make a difference – no matter how small.

Second – I am being asked daily about our risks here as the radiation is headed this way.  For those who think that this is simple fear mongering or the concern of apocalyptic thinkers, please reconsider.  This is a link from the New York Times demonstrates how the Earth’s weather patterns are dispersing the radiation from Japan – note the West Coast of the US on the far right of the map:  http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/03/16/science/plume-graphic.html .  Scientists are saying that the amount reaching us will be minimal and pose little risk to our health.  In my opinion, we will never completely know the full range of health issues that occur from an incident such as this nuclear meltdown.  Hopefully, it will be minimally consequential but we must consider the bioaccumulation of radiation in our soils, oceans, and hence in the foods we consume.  In Japan measurable levels of the reactive elements such as uranium are already being found in eggs, animal milks, water sources, and the soil.

Let me make a very important point – the degree to which radiation will effect you depends on your previous health status. When working with people who are concerned about this meltdown there are many factors I have to take into consideration: iodine levels in the body PRIOR to exposure, antioxidant status, calcium status, ability of the organs of elimination to function, and so forth.  Dr. David Brownstein writes, “I believe this crisis should highlight the need for each of us to take a more active role in our own health care decisions. It is important to take the proper steps to achieve your optimal health before a crisis arises. Many times these steps include eating a healthy diet and taking the correct supplements. My experience has shown that ensuring an adequate iodine level is one piece of the puzzle to obtaining your optimal health.” I could not agree more.

Why are so many people talking about iodine levels?  We know that nuclear radiation causes an increase in thyroid cancer as was seen after the Chernobyl incident.  This occurs because our thyroid binds iodine – and if deficient will bind radioactive iodine present after a meltdown.  Our thyroid gland sits approximately 2/3 of the way down the front of our neck and is responsible for a multitude of actions in the body such as regulating metabolism.  Iodine receptors are also found throughout the body in many other tissues including breast, prostate, uterus, ovary, gastrointestinal, and adipose (fatty) – essentially every cell in our body uses iodine.  If a person is deficient in iodine there is an increased risk for the environmental radioactive iodine to bind to the cell and cause damage to the DNA.  Ultimately, DNA damage is what leads to cancer.

Radioactive iodine is, however, not the only concern from such an incident as we are witnessing in Japan.  Strontium-90 is part of a radioactive fallout as well.  If the strontium rains down on a herd of grazing cows for instance, it accumulates in their fatty tissue and eventually in their milk.  When that milk is consumed the strontium-90 is incorporated into our bones as it is used similarly to calcium.  As with radioactive iodine causing altered DNA, a similar situation occurs with the strontium potentially leading to bone cancer.

And finally ionizing radiation is also a concern.  We are all constantly exposed to this type of radiation from the environment, too much is a health hazard.  Once again we are concerned about alteration of the DNA and RNA which leads to cellular mutation and general disruption of biological function including the potential of cancer.

So the question becomes – what to do?  The first step is minimize exposure – through food choices, location, and activity.  The second step is assess your health – what are your iodine levels?  Calcium levels?  Antioxidant status?  Are you exposing yourself to environmental toxins daily that decrease your baseline health status – including chlorine, bromine, pesticides, fluorine, and so on?  As doctors we are recommending between 6-50mg of iodine (bioavailable) depending on your previous status, thyroid health, size, age, and overall demand.  Studies show that around 13mg a day is an average dose that will prevent consequences from radioactive iodine – this is over 100 times what the normal American consumes.  Our RDA (recommended daily allowance) is in the mcg – microgram – range.  In this situation we are talking about mgs or milligrams.  Contact your healthcare provider to discuss more on this topic as there are risks to taking too much iodine.

I hope that this information has proved helpful.  If you have any questions please contact me – Dr. Holcomb Johnston – at (406) 585-9113 or dr.holcomb@sweetgrassmedicine.com.  Below are a few links that will help you gather more information.  In peace…

http://drdavidbrownstein.blogspot.com/

http://www.susunweed.com/Article_Surviving_Radiation.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moTrfQhhU70

http://www.epa.gov/radiation/radionuclides/iodine.html

 

 

 

 

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I was just reading an article by Dr. Mercola and came across this:

As Mark Hyman, M.D., editor-in-chief of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, wrote:

“As a species, we once ate a complex unrefined wild diet consisting of a wide variety of plant and animal foods rich in phytonutrients, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Now, our monotonous diet triggers different and diseased patterns of gene expression.

The USDA reports that the top nine foods eaten by Americans are:

  • Whole cow”s milk
  • 2 percent milk
  • Processed American cheese
  • White bread
  • White flour
  • White rolls
  • Refined sugar
  • Colas
  • Ground beef
  • All of these foods are foreign to our genome that evolved on a Paleolithic diet. This mono diet creates altered patterns of gene expression that lead to disease, including food allergy or sensitivity.”

    Whew!  That list completely overwhelmed me.  I am amazed (although it is not really a shock) that these are Americans’ top foods.  Where are the greens, the fresh fruit, anything that is not processed?  In this holiday season I ask you all, for your health, to make home-cooked meals and to add one ingredient that is new for you – and not processed!  Nourish yourself as you celebrate and see how it changes your world.


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    A fast and easy recipe.  Enjoy these as breakfast or with as a savory base for dinner.  Experiment, feel free, and have fun!
    Gluten Free Crepes –
    1 cup coconut/almond/hemp milk
    2 eggs
    1/4 tsp xanathan gum (found in the baking section)
    2/3 + cup of gluten free flour (I blend my own from sorgum, teff, tapioca, buckwheat, arrowroot, brown rice, etc. – but you can by a pre-made mixture)
    1 tsp sea salt
    1/4 cup sunflower oil (canola works well too as does walnut, grapeseed, etc)
    Dash of vanilla extract
    …I believe those are all of the ingredients off the top of my head…
    1. Place them all in a blender and liquify  (or mix by hand until all the lumps are gone)
    2. The batter should be very thin and runny but with more consistency than water – add more milk if it’s too thick or add more flour if it’s too thin…
    3. Heat a crepe pan, skillet, or any pan that you can access the side of the crepe easily with – to medium-high heat.
    4. Pour about 1/4 a cup of batter and smooth into a skinny-big pancake with the flat side of a large spoon
    5. Cook on one side until small bubbles form in the crepe or until the sides of the crepe start to lift off of the pan
    6. Flip (WEEE!! – hard) and cook for about 30 seconds to a minute on the second side
    Use your favorite toppings – I like to grind hazelnuts, sprinkle coconut flakes, pour maple syrup, and spread on apple butter for a few…

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    Over the past few days I have been rereading one of my teacher’s books – A Family Herbal – by Rosemary Gladstar.  During my time at the California School of Herbal Studies I got to meet this incredible woman and to spend a day creating herbal wonders with her.  Perhaps the most memorable creation were her “Zoom Balls” a luscious treat filled with uplifting and invigorating herbs along with tahini, almond butter, honey, and cacao.  Rosemary is one of the people who kept Western botanical medicine alive – diligently working with the plants, learning their medicine, and disseminating her wisdom in a tangible and effective manner.  Rosemary is dedicated to United Plant Savers, www.unitedplantsavers.org, an organization dedicated to conserving endangered medicinal plants in North America, and has her own school of botanical medicine through the Sage Mountain Herbal Retreat Center – www.sagemt.com.

    So why do I speak about this woman when the title of this post is “Men’s Medicine”?  An excerpt from her book explains the story:

    When I opened an herb store in 1972 in the midst of a lively alternative community in Sonoma County, California, most of my customers were women.  They came to buy herbs for themselves, their children, and sometimes their partners.  I can remember the occasional male customer who ventured into the store.  He would generally wait until no one else was in the shop, slowly wind his way to the front counter, and begin talking about everything under the sun but the specific problem that had brought him there.  I’d find some quiet way to create a space for him to talk about his prostate problems, or herpes, or impotence, or even heartbreak…

    Being young, I figured that men weren’t comfortable talking to me about their health problems simply because I was a woman.  I hadn’t yet discovered that men seldom talk about these things with other men, either.  I also erroneously thought, as many people do, that men don’t have the same degree of complexity of physiological function as women.  After all, where are breasts, the womb, the ability to give birth?  I find this rather limited perspective amusing now, and I apologize for it, having discovered how complex, marvelous, and cyclic the male system is.

    What is finally being acknowledged is that men’s bodies are just as complex as women’s, and that men have many concerns about their health — they just deal with them differently.  Women talk about their problems.  They seek help. They turn to other women.  Women spend a great deal of time talking together about their feelings, their desires and dreams, their health, and men.  These are not topics that come up often in men’s circles…”

    I find this too in my practice – a predominance of women and children.  This is no surprise as approximately 60-80% of annual visits to the doctor’s are by women.  By the time a man comes into my office his affliction is usually quite severe – excruciating pain, elevated blood pressure, deep dark depression, and so on.  There are many reasons for this discrepancy – sociocultural constructs of the masculine and feminine, different daily demands, genetic make-up…it is complex and subject to extensive philosophical discussion.  Similarly, as I am a young female doctor, many men would rather seek a man for their healthcare – a desire that is completely understandable!  I remember the looks on the faces of the young migrant Mexican workers in a clinic where I worked when they found out I was doing their sensitive male-exams!  They were not happy…

    All of this aside, Naturopathic medicine is not only medicine for women and children.  It is preventative medicine, wellness medicine, lifestyle medicine.  From sports performance to neurotransmitter balancing, prostate health to weight loss, effective, natural alternatives exist.  Men’s health and wellness does not need to be kept in the dark and saved only for emergencies.

    I have gratitude to Rosemary for including a whole section in her book on recipes and suggestions for men’s health.  As winter continues to deepen here in Montana, it is important for all of us to nurture ourselves during these short days.  For many it is easy to hibernate, to invert, and to disconnect during this time.  Personally, my goals for the holiday season are to make the special men in my life some fantastic and delicious botanical treats.  Recipes such as “Good-Life Wine”, “Male Toner Tea”, and “Chai Hombre” seem like perfect gifts to nourish the male body, mind, and spirit…

    Men’s Medicine – Quick tips for Prostate Health

    1. Wear padded bike shorts on those rides!

    2. Drink plenty of water.

    3. Eat foods rich in zinc : oysters, eggs, molasses, pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, almonds, sesame tahini, greens.

    4. Include seaweeds in your diet.

    5. Take your Omega 3 essential fatty acids.

    6. Include a high-quality probiotic in your daily routine.

    7. Get your spine aligned for proper nervous function to your pelvic region.

    8. Use hydrotherapy – sitz baths, end each shower with a cold spray to your pelvic region, take a relaxing bath.

    9. Get that prostate exam even if you are dreading it.

    10. Stay sexually active AND practice safe sex.

    11. When you have symptoms – burning, incontinence, pain, irritation, erectile dysfunction, blood in your urine, etc. go see your doctor!!

     

     

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