Sep 182018

Susan: What led you to become a healthcare professional? Where did you study and earn your degrees?

Angela: My degree is not in medicine. My undergrad is in applied mathematics (UCLA), and I started the doctoral program immediately after that (in mathematics and statistics) but left for family financial reasons and got a quick MBA instead (UCR). I went to work in Silicon Valley. There I got my MS in MS&E (Stanford). After that, I started my doctoral program at the Claremont Graduate University in Neuroeconomics–a program that was just being born, so I was its first official student. My Ph.D. still says “Ph.D. in Economics” but my dissertation was all neuroscience. In my last year of doctoral studies, I also received an fMRI (functional MRI) certification from Harvard University. I started my healthcare education at home from books and academic journal publications. I now hold a certification in LCHF/ketogenic diets and am completing a few more courses in healthcare, so more certificates yet to come. 

What led me to move over to healthcare from neuroeconomics: migraines. I suffered from migraines from a young age. I struggled through my education. Then I married a wonderful man and raised two awesome sons and managed a career, despite my migraines. I have no memory of my sons’ childhood or my work and education at all. I really have no idea how I got all that done with constant migraines. I cannot recall–I remember pulling two chairs together in my office between classes to rest at the university I was teaching. I was working in Germany at the prestigious Max Planck Institute as a visiting scholar and fellow, when one day it just hit me that I had enough. I took the next flight home (family stayed in the US while I was doing research at Max Planck Institute) and I started my migraine research that day. I read thousands of academic articles and just about every single book there is on migraines. 

Susan: How is your approach different from the “Sick care” model of the American healthcare system? What led you to approach things differently than typical paradigms for diet and health?

Angela: “Sick care” is a great expression for keeping and caring for the sick. I prefer “health care,” meaning “maintain and care for health” rather than what the modern formula is, which is “keep everyone sick but without symptoms.” Living in Germany opened my eyes to what it is like for healthy people to live without medicines and going to the doctors all the time. This was also true in Hungary, where I grew up, I don’t recall people being sick, taking supplements and medicines. It just didn’t exist. It shouldn’t exist. The “Sick care” approach doesn’t know (or doesn’t want to) search for the cause. There is no money in finding the cause of a health condition and removing the cause. What does a “Sick care” system do with a lot of healthy people? I don’t want to get into politics, but you can see that there is a ton of politics involved.  From my limited knowledge, I have become curious about the connection of nutrition and health conditions. I also lived in France and am aware of the French Paradox–meaning the French eat a lot of saturated fat but are the healthiest nation. Having lived there, I observed what the French eat. A typical French day: coffee black for breakfast and out to door for work. Lunch is two hours long and starts with rich saucy fatty meat without any side dish, followed by a side dish if desired, a salad if there is still room, and then a plate of several cheeses. No sweets, no soft drinks. Dinner starts late and long–similar to lunch. Most French eat baguettes maybe once or twice a week. It is not a daily food. At least this is how it was when I lived there in the 1970s. It may be different now. The the French Paradox is not much of a paradox to me: they eat no processed foods, no sweets, no soft drinks, and eat lots of protein and animal fat and no fast foods. This helped me see dietary differences between cultures. 

Susan: You have written an excellent book about a dietary and hydration plan for managing migraines? What inspired you to write Fighting the Migraine Epidemic and to start the Facebook groups for migraine sufferers? Please share a bit about both so readers can understand.

Angela: Initially, the 1st edition of the book, was inspired solely by my own experience only and all the research–in terms of reading an experimenting on myself–presented to me. As part of my doctorate, I ran clinical experiments using neurotransmitters on volunteers (at UCLA) and so I am familiar with the shortcomings of experimenting on myself, but I was a migraineur and I was the first to try these methods. So my 1st edition described my findings based on me, which I extrapolated to other migraineurs based on academic literature. However, it was just an extrapolation so I had no idea if what worked for me would equally work for others. Basically I spent several years connecting scientific dots. One journal article would write that migraineurs urine contains more sodium (by 50%) than non-migraineurs; another found that migraineurs have different voltage magnitude and frequency; yet another explained that the migraine brain appears hyper sensitized and overactive. It seemed to me that there was a missing element: and an orchestra cannot play without a conductor. Science in migraine needed a conductor and I was very ready and able to become one. Earning a doctorate in any field helps a student understand what it takes to conduct research and how to connect the dots so the right information can be found. Unfortunately, health science is so specialized, and researchers are not encouraged to communicate in different fields, and so no one made the connections that if migraineurs excreted 50% more sodium in their urine, their bodies must be using more sodium. If they have higher voltage amplitude and more voltage in general, they must be using more of those elements that initiate voltage–and that is sodium. The hyperexcitable and hyperactive brain is just a connecting point that “yes! the migraine brain needs more sodium!”  

Next, I had to explain excitability, why migraineurs have prodromes, why they go through similar symptoms and what causes those. At the writing of the first book, I really only understood the need for more salt. Since that solution worked extremely well most of the time–not always–I felt the urge to share my knowledge. I didn’t yet have all the answers but I wanted to know if other migraineurs would have the same outcome as I did. So as the first book was published–it was a small book–I also started a Facebook migraine group, hoping  people would read the book and  extend my understanding by sharing their experiences. The group had a very slow start, as did the 1st edition of the book. Migraine sufferers have been put through the wringer so many times with expensive treatments that never work for long and have major side effects. Many tests cost a lot of money. Families are in complete disarray because of a suffering parent–or in many cases, there is a child–having migraines all the time and on at least 5 medicines. It was very hard to convince people to try to increase their salt. There is a dogma against increased dietary sodium (sodium is 40% salt but in the US, sodium is what is listed on product labels) stating that it increases blood pressure. However, migraineurs usually have such low blood pressure that an increase actually would have been welcomed! The interesting thing is that no one’s blood pressure has increased at all in the past five years of the Facebook migraine groups’ existence–I opened the second group several years after the first one. We had over 4000 migraine sufferers use what is now called Stanton Migraine protocol(R) without an increase of blood pressure for over five years, and they are all migraine- and medicine-free. 

The 2nd edition of the book was published in September 2017. This new book is a “Complete Guide.” Whereas the 1st edition was a small book of 240 pages, this book is a huge one at almost 700 pages. However, this book contains the entire science behind migraine. It has five parts. Part I is an introduction. Part II is for the migraineur who is in the middle of a migraine and doesn’t know what to do. That section is only about ten pages and gives directions like “if you have this, do this, if you have that do that”, so it is very handy. Part III is the scientific explanation for the migraineur and it is also the part where I explain the Stanton Migraine Protocol(R). It is the longest section and is probably the most interesting. Part IV is for doctors and scientists and part V has citations from 800 academic journals and medical books. The 2nd edition book also includes comments from migraineurs about their experiences. They wanted to help migraine sufferers to understand how the Stanton Migraine Protocol(R) helped them and why. 

Susan: Do you see exercise as an important part of being healthy? Why? What kinds of activities do you do to stay active and healthy? What do you do to keep your life feeling in balance?

Angela: Great question because migraine sufferers often avoid physical activities as a result of their migraines and also because the medicines they take. So the first thing that I wanted to do after I turned migraine-free is to get back into exercise. Unfortunately, I had a bad back injury that prevented me for years from doing anything even after I was already migraine free. In 2017 I took up hiking and jogging, something I really enjoy. Unfortunately, because of my back injuries, I was told by my “surgeon to be” to never run or jog again. The last thing I wanted was a surgery so I looked very hard into what I could do to help my muscles recover–I completely lost all sensitivity in my left leg for several months, I was in a wheelchair. And so there was quite a bit of muscle dystrophy in my legs and lower back. I needed to get my muscles strong again. At the end of December 2017, I tested out for weightlifting in a small private gym with a private trainer. At that time, I could not do a single squat without falling over, could not get up from the floor, I had no balance at all and found even a 2 lb. dumbbell heavy! After that initial workout, I could barely walk out to my car. My legs felt like they were made from sponges. However, this trainer was very well educated in my kind of injuries and today, nine months after starting, I can lift 120 lbs with my hip, dead-lift 110 lb., and can get up from the floor without any hand assistance at all. The change is amazing–I can actually see muscles now! I work out with weights with a private trainer three times a week, one hour each time. I also picked up kickboxing for a bit of cardio that I missed, about five months ago. I have a different private trainer for kickboxing once a week. It is extremely intense, and as I am 65 now, I use a chest strap for heart monitoring and we watch my pulse on my phone. I work out in zones 4 and 5 but stop when my heart reaches my heart’s maximum and wait until it goes back to zone 4 before resuming.

In terms of keeping my life in balance… hmmm… I am not sure I am doing a good job at that. I have never been one to enjoy relaxation much. I think I am a tech junkie and forever student deep in my heart. So for relaxation, I am taking a physiology course now at Coursera offered by Duke and I am also studying Functional Medicine. I am writing a book and several articles. I think the word “relax” doesn’t exist in my life. When I am totally tired and cannot read another word, I listen to books. I am now listening to “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” which I find fascinating because what I did in my life all through childhood till now is what he did as well, only at a different scale. I completely associate with him and his thinking. I truly enjoy that book. 

Susan: Since I have read your book and am a member of one of your Facebook, I know that you think the typical American diet has many harmful consequences for health. Can you explain why the average American diet is so harmful and how someone wanting to start making a shift can get started?

Angela: Indeed, the Standard American Diet (SAD) is very harmful–actually all Westernized diets are. There are several reasons for this but to make it as simple as possible, our diet is dominated by a food category (carbohydrates), which is nonessential. Let me explain a bit. There are 3 basic macronutrients: proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Essential is something we cannot live without and our body cannot produce on its own and non-essential is something we don’t need as the body can make it as needed. Of these three macronutrients, protein and fat are essential but carbs are not. So why do carbohydrates, a non-essential macronutrient, make up over 50% of nearly everyone’s diet? And by carbs I mean all carbs: grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sugars (all sweeteners). In other words, we fill our tummies with carbs that we need not eat at all and that puts us at a risk of not eating enough of what we do need, meaning proteins and fats. Carbohydrates have some benefits, such as getting really fast access to energy to, for example, sprint. And how many of us sprint after eating a slice of bread, an apple, a smoothie, a slice of cake or pastry, or a bowl of salad? The consequence of eating so many carbs without burning them off right away is that our body must store what we eat. Carbs contain a lot of water and our body cannot store carbs as carbs. In our body, carbs we didn’t use right away gets stored as fat. This gives rise to all the ill health, including metabolic diseases like chronic insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and obesity. It can all be avoided by avoiding carbs. 

I am not saying that we all must avoid all carbs but it is best to stick to nutrient-dense carbs! I had a conversation with a Facebook friend the other day who said “he will eat an apple for its nutrients” so I looked up the nutrients in an apple and came up empty-handed. A small apple is equal to 4 teaspoons of sugar but has so little vitamins and nutrients, that just to get a daily recommended vitamin C amount, one would have to eat 20 small apples. That’s 80 teaspoons of sugar! So do we really need to eat that apple? Instead, choose to eat one mini pepper and the entire daily vitamin C and other vitamins are included and the amount of sugar in that little pepper is 1/4 teaspoon. Doesn’t that make more sense? People often tell me that they cannot quit carbs because they love the sweet taste. I understand. We all love sweet taste, it is addictive. But lead is also sweet, as is antifreeze. I won’t eat those just because they are sweet! The harm they cause may seem to dwarf that of the apple but only because consuming them would cause more immediate harm. The antifreeze may be fatal in a day and the apple perhaps in 30 years but the outcome is the same. 

We also have a malnutrition epidemic and eat more than ever before. And I don’t mean malnutrition of the poor but malnutrition of all segments of the population. That is because while we stuff our tummies full of carbs, there is little thought given to the essential nutrients, such as protein and fat. And our body is made from protein and fat and not from carbs. So when does our body get the nutrient it needs? If we eat a lot of carbs, it doesn’t, and that leads to illnesses that are completely preventable. This includes type 2 diabetes, Chrohn’s disease, arthritis, PCOS, most asthma types, allergies, hypothyroidism, many cancer types, Alzheimer’s disease, IBS, celiac disease, psoriatic arthritis, GERD, thyroid diseases, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, heart attack, just to name a few. Why are we taking medicines for health conditions that are completely preventable by eating the right food?

SusanI believe there is a lot of health information on the internet intended to mislead sick people – due to an agenda to sell a product or push prescription drugs. Can you speak to this? What can people do to educate themselves (from reliable sources) and to become empowered to help themselves become truly healthy again instead of getting stuck in a constant cycle of illness and misery?

Angela: Indeed, it is very scary how much misinformation is available on the internet. As I have learned recently, even Wikipedia is biased toward supporting foods, for example, that cause serious health conditions. Why? They likely have a financial incentive. Lately, academia is experiencing a war in nutrition! It is ridiculous that the two opposing sides (those wanting to push a diet high in carbs and those wanting to stop the consumption of lots of carbs) have gotten to an all-out-war where academicians publish complete junk just to kick the other side below the belt. I feel very sad for the consumer because it is very hard to make sense now about what they read on the internet. There are simply no trustworthy sources to turn to. Every single government agency appears to be tied to some financial interest and that seems to lead us toward the big processed food companies, and pharmaceuticals, whose interest opposes that of human health. The best thing I can recommend is to find a website on a topic of interest. Then ask yourself…Are they trying to sell a product? Close that page and look for another one. If it is a scientific academic article, scroll to the bottom and read who funded the research. If you are not familiar with the name of the company, Google it and see if it is associated with food manufacturing, farming, or pharmaceutical companies. If yes, look for a different source! Before you invest in a book, Google the author and see what they sell! If it is just the book, it is fine but if they sell supplements or anything else, it is unlikely to be reliable. Unfortunately, doctors learn “old science” and so most of them are not updated and will lead all their patients down the old dogma-beaten path. If your doctor starts saying salt increases blood pressure, or fat causes heart disease, or that your cholesterol is high, its time to look for another doctor. 

Susan: Thank you, Angela for taking the time to speak with me. I really appreciate it.

Angela A. Stanton, Ph.D.

Scientist, Stanton Migraine Protocol

Email: angela@migraine-book.com

Website: http://stantonmigraineprotocol.com

Address: P.O. Box 18863 Anaheim, CA 92817

Website: http://migraine-book.com

Testimonials: https://stantonmigraineprotocol.com/testimonials/

Scienceblogger: https://www.hormonesmatter.com/author/angela-stanton/

CluelessDoctors Testimonial from a Migraine Sufferer

      

New Book is Out! Buy here:

Sep 112017

Most wheat products on the market today are highly processed and sprayed with the harmful chemical glyphosate. Many people also have sensitivities to wheat or the final product after treatment and processing. Ancient grains, cultivated by different native cultures around the globe, provide nutritious options for meeting your carbohydrate cravings.

Black rice, also known as “Forbidden” or “Emperor’s” rice because it was used as a tribute food for royalty in ancient China,  is rich in anthocyanins. One study shows consuming it regularly reduced arterial plaque. So try colorful rice next time instead of white.

Millet is described in the Bible as a grain grown in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and was used to make bread. It’s gluten free and has a nutty taste and a fluffy texture. Millet can be cooked up for a breakfast cereal (with some dried figs, ginger and cinnamon perhaps), can be used in baking or frying batter, or added to a recipe for stuffed squash. Once you get a taste for its flavor, you’ll be able to get more creative and use it in other recipes.

I’ve crunched my way through a bag of blue corn tortilla chips without even knowing how nutritious they were. Blue corn, rich in anthocyanins like black rice, is lower on the glycemic index (good for people watching blood sugar) and contains more protein, zinc, and iron than white and yellow corns. It’s origins lie in the American Southwest and Central and South America. The Hopi Indians used blue corn in religious rituals and still use it today to cook piki bread. Add some anthocyanin color to your next breakfast by making your pancakes or muffins with blue corn.

Quinoa dates back to the Inca Empire in Peru and has just recently been recognized as a superfood. It’s gluten free, protein-rich, and contains all nine essential amino acids. In addition, it’s rich in fiber, B-vitamins, magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, vitamin E, and phosphorus. Quinoa also contains abundant flavonoids, which fight down inflammation and the proliferation of cancer cells. Quinoa can be added to smoothies, eaten like oatmeal, added to nutrition bars and used in place of other kinds of pasta for cooking.

Purple barley, a dietary mainstay in ancient Tibet and the Middle East, is high in protein and has a low glycemic index. It also contains important vitamins and minerals potassium, iron, calcium, selenium, phosphorus, copper and manganese. It’s a great addition to soups, salads, and pilafs. Want some for breakfast? Grind it up and use it as flour for your favorite pancake, muffin or waffle recipe.

Amaranth was a favorite of the Aztecs and is gluten-free and is rich in protein and the amino acid, lysine. This grain they called huautli played an important role in religious rituals. Amaranth was eventually outlawed by Spanish conquistadors. But it’s made a comeback in recent years. In Mexico, people mix it with honey to create the Latin version of rice crispy treats. Many recipes using amaranth are available online including ones for amaranth pancakes and amaranth fish sticks.

Add some of these new foods to your diet and start reaping the taste and health benefits today.

Sep 032017

I’m a big believer in eating real food. A typical breakfast for me consists of organic oats – topped with sliced banana, blueberries, chia seeds and walnuts – and drizzled with whole organic milk. Favorite lunches are 1) plain yogurt blended with papaya chunks and 2)a plate of organic corn tortilla chips topped with melted cheese, salsa with avocado, and pinto beans. For dinner, I usually saute different varieties of vegetables with chicken or fish. I almost always cook with olive or coconut oils.

While I work hard to eat and find places I can buy an abundance of real foods, the food industry, media and general public continue to sabotage these efforts. Food companies know how to make food that stimulates your taste buds, often to the point that they lose a taste for real food. Food with excessive sugar, fat and flavorings tested to “addict” eaters is known as hyperpalatable.  Recognizing that many people are making an effort to eat healthier, food companies are producing products that sound healthy, but really aren’t. And the sad thing about this is that magazines are writing features that are nothing short of advertorials for these convenience foods. It feels to me like they have sold out. One feature I read recently even went as far as to insult a reader who chooses the “sit down bowl of oatmeal” over rushing out the door and eating a bar on the way to an appointment. Wow. I’ll take my bowl of oatmeal any day over bars that have xantham gum and “natural” flavors, which are not really natural at all and can contain a wide range of chemicals. Some of the foods mentioned in articles contain aspartame and sucralose, chemicals that I’ve established give me horrible migraines. How painful is it to get up fifteen minutes early so you can eat your meal at the table instead of in the car (and possibly feel a whole lot better the rest of the day as a result of this choice)? I’ll leave that for you to decide.

If grab and go is all that matters to you, then some of the “healthy” items in plastic packages that the fitness magazines boast about might do it for you. I’ll give them this much – they’re better than a greasy burger or a fake shake at a fast food restaurant! But I’m not interested in jumping on this convenience food band wagon that too many fitness magazines are pushing us to jump on. One reason I didn’t renew my subscription to IDEA Fitness Journal is that I was so turned off by the rash of nutrition features lately, which encourage fitness leaders to consume these packed foods, serve them to their families and spread the word about them to their class participants and clients. So many fresh food meals take only minutes to create and taste so delicious! As for me? I’ll continue to encourage everyone within my circle to eat as close to the source so they can reap the feel-and-look-good benefits this choice has to offer.

May 302017

Since I joined Quora, I’ve been bombarded by fitness questions. Many of the people querying sound desperate to lose weight. Some ask how they can lose 20 pounds in one week! Questions like this make it evident many people have no idea how fat loss works and the time and effort that is necessary to achieve this objective.

If you want to lose weight and get fitter, the first step is to educate yourself. Do you know how much of a caloric deficit you have to achieve in order to lose one single pound? The answer is 3500 just in case you’re still scratching your head. The easiest way to achieve this “deficit” is by eating less food AND upping your activity level. Let’s use an example that will make this clear.

Let’s say you are able to maintain your weight eating 2100 calories per day and doing no exercise – only daily living activities. To lose weight, some options are to A) reduce your caloric intake by 500 calories daily to lose a pound in 7 days B) burn 500 extra calories daily to lose a pound in 7 days C) burn 500 extra calories daily and reduce caloric intake by 500 calories to lose 2 pounds per week. C is about as aggressive as you will want to go. Make sure to never reduce daily caloric intake to anything under 1200. It’s important for you to eat enough to get nourishment for your body and mind. If you try to lose weight faster, you are likely to experience low-energy, uncomfortable hunger and/or food cravings. None of these will support long-term weight loss.

The best way to lose weight is to do it slowly. As you lose weight, you begin to establish new lifestyle habits. Instead of following a starvation diet program that leaves you weighing less and then going back to your old bad eating habits, reduce your caloric intake by replacing nutrition-poor calories (chips, sodas, candy, cookies, pies) with nutrition-rich calories (your favorite vegetables and fruits). If this sounds painful, it may be for a while. Many of the junk food we eat manipulates our taste buds so that real food doesn’t taste good anymore. But the more you eat the good stuff and start feeling better, the more you will want to eat the foods that support health, a positive mood and high energy! I know this to be true because this is the path I followed years ago when I lost 30 pounds after graduating from college. During my college years, I became accustomed to ordering late night pizzas, eating M & Ms while studying for exams and soothing my fluctuating moods with food. One day I decided I didn’t want food controlling my life anymore. It took time to break those bad habits, but it was worth it. You can read more about my story in my book, Fitter Than Ever at 40 and Beyond. If I can do it, you can, too!

Apr 262017

I made another batch of Kitchari for tonight’s dinner. Traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine to detoxify and restore gut health, kitchari is basically a vegetarian stew with moong dal (split mung beans with the skin removed), basmati rice and vegetables. A 1 cup serving is only 300 calories. It’s also packed with protein, dietary fiber, and minerals. Because kitchari is rich in dietary fiber, it gives you a sense of fullness that lasts so you’re not craving more food an hour later, which makes it a perfect food for people trying to lose weight. It’s also very easy to digest. If your belly is still bloated from that pizza that was served at today’s lunch meeting, a bowl of this will send you to bed feeling good instead of needing to pop an antacid.

I follow the recipe from Kate O’Donnell’s The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook. You can choose from a long list of recommended vegetables, but tonight’s concoction has cauliflower, spinach, leeks, and artichoke. After simmering the mixture, I warmed some cumin, coriander and fennel seed in ghee to add some spicy flavor to the stew. Now I’ll simply add a few sprigs of raw cilantro as a garnish, wait till my husband gets home and then we’ll sit out on the back patio and enjoy this simple and healthy meal. Preparing kitchari took less than an hour and is much more nutritious than anything we would get dining out.

Mar 312017

I am excited to announce the release of my new book, Fitter Than Ever at 40 and Beyond.

I know fitness and how the right balance of training, mindful exercise and good nutrition can transform your life. Rewrite your script of making resolutions and quitting them and start living a healthy lifestyle today. Fitter Than Ever offers an easy-to-follow activity and eating plan and is packed with Slim for Life Secrets to keep you on-track and motivated. This book will make your journey of losing weight, exercising and eating healthy fun and empowering.

The e-books are available now. A paperback print edition will be available by April 30.

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Fitter Than Ever at 40 and Beyond


Oct 152016

Many people open the medicine cabinet the instant a joint or muscle aches or the stomach hurts. Many over-the-counter and prescription medications  wreak havoc on the body. What helps your joint pain might make your gut scream hours later. Plants and herbs such at turmeric, ginger, and triphala, can offer relief without unpleasant side effects. I have been amazed how much better I feel now that I’m integrating them into my daily diet. Studies show they can improve health and reduce long-term suffering. It is very important to consult with your physician before taking herbs or stopping any current medications.

Three of my favorite herbs are turmeric (curcumin is the active ingredient), ginger, and triphala. I take triphala almost daily in tablet form and make tea with a blend of powdered turmeric and ginger.

Turmeric is an excellent anti-inflammatory and can be taken in a tea or in warm oil when joint or muscle pain strikes in lieu of taking medication. Some studies have even shown it can help alleviate arthritic pain and is protective against cancer.

Ginger is the perfect remedy for an upset stomach. It can ease nausea, morning sickness, and even reduce the misery of motion sickness and menstrual cramps. People often report it reduces post-exercise muscle soreness. Studies show the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger often reduces painful symptoms of osteoarthritis when taken internally or a paste including ginger is applied to the painful area. Ingesting ginger regularly may also lower cholesterol levels, stabilize blood sugar levels, and reduce the risk of cancer and Alzheimers.

Triphala contains three fruits found in India: Amalaki, Bibhitaki, and Haritaki. It is a gentle bowel cleanser that helps improve digestion, reduce stomach discomfort and contributes to regular bowel movements. Because it helps with food absorption, taking it regularly while eating a well balanced diet can ensure the body is getting adequate nourishment. Many regular users of triphala report healthy weight loss once their digestive systems get to a state of balance. Triphala is also a powerful antioxidant, which helps protect the body from free radical damage. Triphala can be taken in a tea or in tablet form.

Before going beyond sprinkling some of these on your meals, consult with a trusted physician or licensed naturopath. That person can ensure whatever herbs you’re taking won’t adversely interfere with any medications your taking. Once you’ve been given the green light, you’ll find your body will respond much better to natural herbs. They improve health instead of simply putting a temporary bandaid on symptoms.

Jun 252015

Foods sweetened with aspartame and sucralose seem to be an ideal solution for minimizing sugar and caloric intake. The sad truth is both are harmful chemicals that wreak havoc on your system. Even people who routinely avoid artificial sweeteners should beware of where these insidious ingredients lurk. Most know they are constituents of low-calorie carbonated beverages, but they are also found in chewing gum, chewable vitamins, yogurt and even the pickled ginger commonly served with sushi!

Tucson-based holistic neurospecialist Dr. Timothy Marshall, one of the world’s leading experts in nutrient delivery systems, nutrient optimization and low-dose lithium therapeutics is all to familiar with the harmful effects of these powerful and dangerous chemicals having suffered symptoms from consuming them himself. He educates readers about the dangers of artificial sweeteners in his book, Think Smoking is Bad? Try Aspartame.

“Aspartame is composed of two amino acids, phenylalanine and aspartic acid,” he says in his book. The O-methyl group attached to the molecule breaks down into methanol with the remainder of the molecule generating the potent carcinogen DKP along with free-form amino acids that can harm the brain, eyes and nervous system. DKP, he goes on to explain, chemically resembles the tumor-causing chemical, N-nitrosea.

When consumed, the phenylalanine and the aspartic acid are highly stimulating, which keeps diet soda drinkers heading back to the refrigerator panting for more. Meanwhile, the methanol is in the bloodstream, reacting and eventually binding with oxygen. Once this compound converts to formaldehyde (a known carcinogen) and formic acid, it goes on a rampage.

“Formaldehyde binds to DNA and proteins and interferes with their function in the body,” says Dr. Marshall. This process is especially damaging to the brain and nervous system. Formic acid isn’t body-friendly either. “The primary pain-producing molecule in bee or ant venom,” it is a biological irritant with neurotoxic affects.

World-renowned authority in natural medicine, Dr. Joseph Mercola states on his health and wellness web site www.mercola.com that aspartame is “the most dangerous substance added to most food today.” In a blog post, he states, “Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA.” Among those reports are instances of seizures and death.

Although the EPA established safe limit for methanol is 7.8 mg/day, a diet soda contains 18 mg of methanol. Considering the numerous individuals drinking two or more sodas daily, the harmful effects of such consumption are difficult to quantify.

In addition to the more severe side effects, formaldehyde poisoning may contribute to metabolic dysfunction, weight gain, loss of insulin sensitivity, depression, fibromyalgia and an increase in inflammatory markers says Dr. Marshall. Some studies indicate a strong correlation between aspartame and brain tumors.

Health conscious individuals should read labels carefully to ensure aspartame and sucralose (Splenda) are not constituents. Dr. Marshall suggests sweetening foods and drinks with safe sugar substitutes stevia or lo han.

Apr 152014

If you’re feeling irritable and exhausted, excessive sugar may be the culprit. Recording what you eat for a week or two can help you evaluate your diet so you can make better food choices that will improve how you feel and your overall health.

Your brain demands a constant supply of sugar and energy to function. If it doesn’t receive what it needs, the body reacts to this crisis by releasing chemicals in an attempt to regulate this whacky situation.

Sugar, often a major constituent of processed foods, can make you irritable by causing spikes and dropouts in insulin and blood sugar. Here’s what happens when you dump four teaspoons of sugar into your morning coffee and drink it down. Insulin, responsible for maintaining normal blood sugar levels, soars dramatically as blood sugar jumps up to sweep excessive sugar from the blood. Unfortunately, it tends to overdo this task and leaves you feeling lethargic, irritable and craving another sugar high (a doughnut, perhaps). This then triggers the release of adrenaline, a stress hormone that triggers the flight or fight response. So if you ever wanted to hurt someone after your drank that sugar-rich coffee or soaked your waffles in syrup, now you know why. In many cases, the chemical chaos that ensues leaches the body of high quality nutrients, throwing you further out of balance.

The best way to stabilize mood and energy is to eat sensibly. Avoid eating simple carbohydrates, especially without the support of other foods, to keep blood sugar more level throughout the day. Candy, non-diet sodas, juices, and cakes are all examples of simple carbohydrates. When you consume refined sugar or products where it is a main ingredient, you dump empty calories into your body that have no nutritional benefit and often can compromise your health.

 Remember, not all carbohydrates are evil. Ingesting healthier carbohydrate, such as fruits and whole grain products, will provide your body and brain with a steadier energy stream. If you must consume items containing refined sugar, dilute them with other foods, such as meats and low-fat dairy products. Protein and fat delay the absorption of sugar into the blood and take longer to digest than carbohydrates. A blend of foods is most likely to leave you feeling more level and energetic.

Eating small meals with a mix of nutrients every three or four hours is another technique that works well to stabilize blood sugar. While small meals aren’t a chore to digest, very large meals draw so much blood flow to the stomach that you will feel lethargic.

Sugar induced weight gain and chemical imbalances, combined with an inactive lifestyle, can eventually lead to a host of health problems, including diabetes.  Tweaking your diet for the healthier can improve your energy level, mood and can positively impact long-term health.

Sep 252013

Many people embark on exercise programs with only one purpose in mind – weight loss. And when the pounds don’t melt off in a matter of weeks, they throw in the towel and say exercise didn’t “do me any good.” If that’s your philosophy, I’m here to give you some friendly advice…First, you didn’t gain the weight overnight, so it won’t come off that fast either. Second, if you’re only exercising to lose weight, you might not appreciate the other goodies that are part of the package!

I speak from experience when I say its easier to lose weight when exercise and healthy food are part of a wellness program to make you happier and healthier, not a punishment for overeating. Yes, I was guilty of dashing out for 8 mile runs when I was in college to “make up” for the previous night’s pizza fest, but most of the time, I found myself on a constant roller coaster of fasting and feasting and “punishing” myself with marathon workouts. Healthy isn’t a word that described my physical or mental state during that time.

In my mid-20s, I evolved toward a wellness philosophy. I threw the word “diet” out the window and bought some nutrition books. I cried myself to sleep the night I swore I would never again call Dominoe’s at 2 AM to order pizza (not really). Gradually, I phased out or reduced fried foods, sweets, junk food, and mixed drinks and added more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to my diet. And guess what? I lost a good bit of weight, but the other benefits thrilled me the most. And they’re the ones that keep me rushing out the door to the pool and the gym most days of the week. Here’s what else comes with that regular workout package…

1) Improved health. Activity and a clean diet can mean lower blood pressure and cholesterol and reduced risk for a variety of illnesses and disabling conditions. Remember, you don’t have to lose weight to experience health benefits with exercise. Studies are demonstrating that.

2) Stronger bones. Regular activity (weight-bearing) will help you maintain bone density as you age and reduce your risk for osteoporosis.

3) Reduced Pain. Many people say they don’t exercise because they hurt too much. Always consult with your physician first, but in most instances exercise and an anti-inflammatory diet can reduce your discomfort. If you have arthritis, you will be better off avoiding impact activities. Warm-water exercise is also a great choice for people with a variety of painful conditions.

4) Improved Energy Levels, Mood, and Concentration. I have to say these three are the big ones that get me out the door and on my way to the pool or gym most mornings. I always feel such a sense of gratitude after a workout, being able to move and feel as good as I do and that carries me through the day, making it much more enjoyable. So if you feel tired, grumpy or can’t remember what you were planning to do next, it might be a good time to fit in a workout!

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to move. I’ll race you to the door!