Monday, October 27, 2014
"Potential Tactics for Defeating Cancer - A Tool Kit in 1000 Words"
Ferriss is the author of The 4-Hour Body which is on my recommended reading list. Beware though: it is not for the squeamish.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
In this country, we are so fiercely independent that even thinking of asking for help is considered a sign of weakness. If there is just one take-home message you get from me today it is this: depression is an illness. A person with pneumonia didn't ask to get sick. A person with Crohn's disease shouldn't be embarrassed about having the illness, asking for help, or taking medications. Yet we treat people with mental health issues like they are pariahs at best, criminals at worst. Stepping off my soapbox for a minute, I now want to get clinical with you.
Psychiatrists characterize depression as a Mood Disorder, meaning that it depends on the person's own internal state. In this case, it is an overwhelming state of sadness. Other internal feelings include worthlessness, hopelessness, and guilt. External signs and symptoms (you do know the difference, don't you?) include insomnia/hypersomnia, increase/decreased appetite, early morning awakenings, and anhedonia or the loss of pleasure in life. There may be other associated factors including problems with memory and increased anxiety. To sum it up, a person with depression is in emotional pain.
Suicide is the ultimate attempt to end the pain. As illogical as it seems to those of us on the outside looking in, this course of action is perfectly logical to the person contemplating it. Those internal feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and guilt seem overwhelming and permanent. If the person has had periods of severe depression in the past, he may not want to go down that path again so suicide is like taking the nearest exit ramp off that road. To those who have never experienced severe depression, suicide appears to be an act of the weak and cowardly. Trust me: the pain is so overbearing that suicide becomes a form of treatment for that person. A desperate treatment but desperate people do desperate things.
As usual, I like to end these posts describing what you can do to help people with depression and thoughts of suicide. First of all, the highest risk factor for suicide is a previous suicide attempt. So if you know someone who has tried it before, be especially vigilant for any of the signs or symptoms I described before. For anyone, if you suspect suicidality ask them one simple question: "are you thinking of hurting or killing yourself?" That question has saved thousands, if not millions of lives.If you get a "yes" answer, do what you can to get that person help. Immediately.
It's not a bad thing to lament anyone's death. People felt close to Robin Williams and grieve as if someone they knew had died as do the friends and families of anyone who has committed suicide. It's a sad tragedy no matter who you are.
Friday, June 27, 2014
You do lose weight initially. It seems all "diets" lead to some weight loss in the first few weeks. What happens then? You plateau. No matter how hard you exercise and how much attention you pay to your food portions and avoidance of fats, you can't seem to make the same inroads any longer. So you stop counting calories, maybe unconsciously at first. Your metabolism has slowed on the calorie-restricted diet and now established eating patterns result in increased weight and fat deposition. Now you are heavier than when you started. What to do next? Of course: try the latest dieting fad. The cycle repeats itself.
What if I told you counting calories and fat-restricted diets are things of the past? That the added stress of counting calories consumed and expended increases cortisol levels which in turn increases fat deposition? That there are ways to lose fat and tone muscles that allow you to eat all you want of the correct, nutritious foods?
There are. I lived it myself.
In February of 2012, I weighed-in at a whopping 220 pounds, 45 pounds heavier than my college graduate weight. We had Dolphin Therapy for Jon coming up in March and I wanted to lose some of my rolly-polliness so I started practicing what I had been preaching to my patients for the last 2 years. I attacked the problem in two ways: jump-starting my weight loss with the 2 week "induction" phase of the Atkins Diet. I knew it would work since I made astounding progress on it when I was training for a body building contest in 1997. I then followed that with the Wheat Belly Diet, devised and written by my friend and cardiologist Dr. William Davis. I also monitored my body fat, cholesterol levels, and C-Reactive Protein (CRP) levels. CRP is a generalized measurement of acute inflammation. Chronically elevated levels of inflammation are associated with cardiovascular disease among other things:
"Recent research suggests that patients with elevated basal levels of CRP are at an increased risk of diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease."
Six weeks into the program I had lost 30 pounds. My total cholesterol level had dropped from 220 to 187. My body fat had decreased from 30% to 22%. And I never went hungry. Admittedly, the Atkins part of the regime was rigorous. The Wheat Belly part is just fun. Discovering new ways to prepare wheat- and gluten-free meals appealed to my inner Chef.
This is the gist of the program that I advocate for all my clients, friends, and relatives. There are obviously more details that I will explore in later posts. But for now, please consider buying or borrowing these two books. Learn that "diet" refers to a lifestyle (not THE Lifestyle which I will talk about some time later) and that you can enjoy eating sanely and nutritionally.
And stop counting calories: it's not healthy.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
During my tenure in Nicaragua, I applied for a grant that addressed the need to bring quality health care to underserved areas of that country. My proposal was based on Mao Zedong's attempt to do the same thing in China. He called the program "Barefoot Doctors" and, in a real small nutshell, medical doctors would train motivated individuals picked by their respective villages in the essentials of medicine (like the 10% mentioned above) then send them back to the villages as primary care providers. My proposal did not receive the grant (I submitted it too late) but it served as the basis for my third book Barefoot Doctors (A Quiet Revolution).
The biggest and best advantage my Barefoot Doctors idea has over Chairman Mao's is the internet. Surprisingly, internet access is available in the least expected places. Where it is not, there are many like-minded groups such as PATH trying to transform the face of medical access throughout the world. MY vision includes getting access to volunteer specialists 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We CAN do this. It will just take time, money, innovation, and motivated people.
Hesperian Health is a wonderful endeavor created and run by people who have a real heart for serving. If you get the chance, head over to their website, browse around awhile, purchases the resources you are interested in, and donate to them if you feel the need. Their mission is similar to mine.
Saturday, June 14, 2014
- About 233,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed
- About 29,480 men will die of prostate cancer.
- About 1 man in 7 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.
- Prostate cancer occurs mainly in older men. About 6 cases in 10 are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older, and it is rare before age 40. The average age at the time of diagnosis is about 66.
- Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer. About 1 man in 36 will die of prostate cancer.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
As a lightweight camper and hiker, I always enjoy finding new multi-use gear (I sound like Alton Brown!). For over a year now I have been advocating the original, smaller BioLite wood stove which also generates electricity and now the company has generated a Kickstarter campaign for the same type of fuel efficient stove. This one is meant for groups but still maintains the same efficiency, making it ideal in crisis and underserved areas of the world where wood is scarce, such as in Haiti.
In fact, my first endeavor in this area is as co-creator of the Mangold Mamba in the aftermath of the earthquakes in that country. While wood is scarce there, alcohol is not. This is a great example of how the SCANCAPS concept works: good health, a safe environment, clean water, and nutritious food are all required everywhere we live. If you can, click on the Kickstarter link and make a difference in someone's quality of life.
Saturday, May 31, 2014
Note the standard recommendations for fish or krill oil and Vitamin D which all of us should be taking. Take a look at some of my previous posts for more detailed information, too.
Does following Dr. Amen's advice help someone already with dementia? Perhaps early on but a well-regulated regimen of supplements, physical and mental exercise, and medications is the best approach. While I hope family members can get involved in their parents' care, early intervention is critical to minimize damage and prolong a quality life. Getting mom or dad to admit she or he has a problem is also a challenge. My best advice: do not enable. Do not tell your parent that everything is fine. Do not allow your siblings to enable either. Easier said than done. Trust me.
Friday, May 30, 2014
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Forgiveness: Overcoming the Impossible by Matthew West
Saturday, May 17, 2014
Even if you are not a health care student or provider, How to Think Like a Doctor will make you a more knowledgeable patient. My best patients are those who become experts about their own bodies and their own medical and health issues. In addition to diseases, doctors address pain issues, mental health issues, dietary concerns, and even societal ills. Some physicians strive to make healthy people even better. So if you fall into any of these categories, you will benefit from this book.
From the Reviews:
1. 5.0 out of 5 stars
The case study on Mrs G reveals she's 5'3" & 200# which is morbidly obese with elevated blood pressure (142/88), and arthritis and NOT one recommendation of addressing the inflammation of her arthritis, obesity or hypertension with diet. No recommendations for diet change, weight loss, aerobic exercise to help promote wt loss (sorry, yoga alone may not do it) or a referral to a dietitian/nutritionist. And, prescribing NSAIDs is likely to just screw up her gut eventually.
That's why I refer clients to integrative or functional physicians that would address the entire client with lifestyle change and refer to somebody that could help her, not just drugs and yoga, which may be unsafe in many positions with hypertension, such as downward dog.)
Sunday, May 11, 2014
Saturday, May 10, 2014
But the "diet" part is actually two-fold: avoid gluten AND avoid sugars and simple starches. While "Wheat Belly" measures the effects of carbohydrates on a person's insulin response, I found it easier to stick with the standard Glycemic Index, avoiding "fast carbs" and consuming only "slow carbs." Those phrases were popularized by Timothy Ferriss in his book The 4-Hour Body . Warning: not for the faint-hearted. He also gave me the idea of the cheat day. The thing I like best about Ferris is that he tries his ideas on himself first. This just supports Dr. Mangold's Rules for Good Living No. 2: Never Trust a Fat Dietitian.
Search for "Glycemic Index" and you will find no lack of sites that not only explain what the term means, but also give you lists of foods that are low and high GI. Sugars and simple starches are highest, while more complex veggies are low. Simply put, I did fine with cabbage, asparagus, kale, spinach, nuts, and legumes. Dr. Davis narrows the choices down even more but I still lost weight eating non-recommended foods. He also has a Wheat Belly Cookbook. As I said, I never went hungry nor should you.
Here's to your start of healthy eating!