Lighting a few candles and hopping in a nice warm bath at the end of a long day can be a great way to de-stress and say goodbye to the day’s troubles. Give yourself at least 45 minutes of quiet time to soak in these natural remedies, and you’ll sleep more deeply and relaxed, waking up with more energy for the next day.
Pain Relief Bath: Salt and Baking Soda
For general aches and pains, muscle tension, and even body aches from allergies or the flu, use 1 to 2 cups of Epsom salts or sea salts, and 1 cup of baking soda. Add the salt and soda to your bath and soak for at least 20 minutes. This is a highly alkaline mixture, so don’t use it more than a few times a month. (This is also an effective bath for menstrual cramps; just be careful to keep the bathwater a little cooler than usual as heat can increase menstrual flow.) Do not use this bath for acute pain, such as recent sprains, or if there is swelling present.
Stress Relief, Relaxation Bath: Epsom, Sea Salt, and Sesame Oil
This bath can alleviate dry skin and help you de-stress from a crazy day. Add 1 cup of Epsom salts, 1 cup of sea salt, and 1 cup of sesame oil to a warm to hot tub of water and soak for at least 20 minutes. You can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil aromatherapy, such as Lavender. Lavender is THE aroma for de-stressing, relaxing tight muscles, calming adults and children alike, and lowering cortisol levels–a good one to use before bedtime. Pat yourself dry, and be sure to clean the tub afterwards so you don’t slip on the oil the next time you get in.
Healing Bath: Vinegar
Try a vinegar bath when your body is too acidic. How do you know you are too acidic?
- You might have to take deep breaths often to feel as though you are getting enough oxygen.
- Your bowels or urine may burn upon elimination.
- Your skin can feel clammy, or even look yellowish.
- You might crave sugar often.
- Your stomach may feel sour or burn.
- You may just feel lousy and flu-like, with joint pain and muscle aches.
This bath is a quick way to restore the acid-alkaline balance to your body. Add 1 to 2 cups of 100% apple cider vinegar to a bathtub of warm water. Soak for 40 to 45 minutes. Vinegar baths are excellent for excess uric acid in the body. They’re especially helpful for the joints and for conditions such as arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, and gout.
Menstrual Cramps, Muscle Cramps Bath: Hydogen Peroxide
Add three pints of 3% hydrogen peroxide to a full tub and soak for up to 30 minutes. This bath is a great muscle relaxant. Use it to relieve menstrual cramps or after exercise.
Detox Bath: Epsom Salts and Ginger
Epsom salts and ginger baths open pores and eliminate toxins. Try this bath if your feet are swollen after being on them all day. It’s a great remedy if you have been partying a little too much during the holidays, removing the toxic effects of alcohol and too much sugar. It can also help to eliminate pain. One cup of Epsom salts and 2 tablespoons of fresh peeled ginger stirred in a cup of water first, then added to the bath, is beneficial. Do not remain in the tub for more than 30 minutes. The ginger can be astringent, so be sure to drink a lot of water afterwards. Use only fresh, grated ginger, do not use dried as it may burn your skin.
Cholesterol and its effects on the body have been the subject of many news articles for many years now, so we should all be pretty well-versed on the topic, right? Test your Cholesterol IQ with this quiz. You might be surprised by the answers!
TRUE or FALSE?
1. Eating dietary cholesterol (such as in eggs and shellfish) raises your cholesterol levels and therefore your chances of heart disease.
2. Cholesterol is bad for you and is found only in foods.
3. The best way to protect against heart disease is to follow a low fat, low calorie diet.
4. Cholesterol can be only affected by diet and drugs.
5. High cholesterol can be hereditary and may not even be a valid indicator of heart health.
Although you may have heard many of the statements above, they’re all FALSE, except number five, which is TRUE. In the 1960’s, when cholesterol research was instigated, it was initially theorized that blood cholesterol values were a valid indicator of fats in the arteries, leading to clogged arteries and heart disease.
Over the last 40 years, new research has shown that cholesterol isn’t as valid an indicator as originally perceived. Unfortunately, an entire revenue source has been created from cholesterol lowering drugs, perhaps explaining why this more recent research has been slow to emerge from the medical community (although it is available over the internet). Let’s take a look:
1. Eating dietary cholesterol (such as eggs and shellfish) raises your cholesterol and chances of getting heart disease. FALSE!
No way. Eggs and shrimp are finally off the hook! There is no evidence that eating foods with cholesterol in them adversely affects your body’s cholesterol levels. In fact, eggs contain a substance called lecithin, which decreases the effects of cholesterol on the body. And eggs are a good source of protein. Shrimp are a delightful treat, full of omega-3 fatty acids. So eat up!
2. Cholesterol is bad for you and is found only in foods. FALSE!
Cholesterol is NOT bad for you. In fact, it is essential for life. Among other things, it’s necessary for brain-cell function, it’s the naturally occurring building block of all hormones, including progesterone, estrogen, testosterone and cortisol, and it provides the body with an effective way to store carbohydrate (sugar and starch) calories. Your body makes cholesterol constantly, and eating cholesterol has little if any effect on that process. About 80 percent of the body’s cholesterol is synthesized from carbohydrates. Getting the picture here? Cholesterol is synthesized mostly from carbs, NOT fats . . .
The body creates two types of cholesterol–HDL and LDL. HDL, known as “good” cholesterol, protects against heart disease. LDL is known as “bad” cholesterol, but it isn’t really bad in and of itself. It just oxidizes more easily. It is the oxidization of LDL that can lead to artery-blocking plaque, which can raise your risk of heart disease. Antioxidants–particularly Vitamin E–protect against heart disease by preventing this oxidization.
3. The best way to protect against heart disease is to follow a very low fat, low calorie diet. FALSE!
Low calorie and low fat diets are typically high in refined carbohydrates, the opposite of what you need for good health. People who eat vegetables, fiber, and moderate amounts of nuts, hormone-free meats, seafood, and healthy fats have far fewer incidents of heart disease deaths than those who eat extremely low fat, high carbohydrate diets. Simple, refined carbs, such as sugar, pasta, crackers, corn, chips, white rice, potatoes and breads, stimulate insulin production. Insulin reduces HDL (“good”) cholesterol and leaves more LDL (“bad”) cholesterol circulating in the body, where it can become oxidized and cause artery-blocking plaque.
So What Should You Eat for a Healthy Heart?
- Unprocessed vegetables, meaning not canned, boxed, or otherwise cooked to death. If you can’t eat fresh veggies, then choose frozen. Lightly steam or stir fry vegetables, or eat them raw. Never boil or overcook. They will lose all nutrition this way.
- Fresh fruit (Avoid fruit with high glycemic index, such as dried fruit, fruit juice, bananas, mangos (darn it!), and sweetened applesauce.)
- Eggs, moderate amounts of meats, such as chicken or turkey, that have been raised without hormone treatments for growth stimulation.
- Seafood, especially Wild Salmon. Farm raised Atlantic Salmon that is commonly found at the local grocery store has very little, if any, beneficial fatty acids. Wild Salmon, especially those from the Pacific (Alaska) are highly preferred for nutrition and taste. Grilled, baked or poached, wild salmon is a life-saving food.
- Nuts, Seeds, Legumes
- Garlic, Onions
- Monosaturated Fats such as olive oil and grapeseed oil (Grapeseed oil is excellent for sauté and stir-fry. It has a higher flash point for quicker cooking than olive oil, is tasteless, and contains the same healthful fats.)
Foods to Avoid
- Refined Carbohydrates (“any white food”)–white rice, white flour, sugar, corn, corn syrup, baked potatoes, pasta
- Too much protein and saturated fats from processed red meat
- Processed or canned food
- Trans-fatty acids (margarine, hydrogenated oils), especially those heated, as in fried foods
- Soft drinks, coffee, hard liquor
- Milk and ice cream
4. Cholesterol can only be affected by diet and drugs. FALSE!
Perhaps you have discovered through routine blood work and physical exams that your cholesterol values have increased, even though your diet hasn’t changed. Or maybe you’ve “improved” your diet and had no change in your cholesterol levels. A sluggish thyroid will virtually guarantee an increase in your blood cholesterol values and more importantly, your LDL/HDL ratio. People who take cholesterol-lowering drugs must have periodic blood tests. Why? To find out if their liver is becoming toxic from the very medicine supposedly prescribed to improve their health!
5. High cholesterol can be hereditary and may not even be a valid indicator of health. This is TRUE!
You can inherit naturally occurring cholesterol values that are higher than the 200 maximum value recommended by medical groups. In fact, studies have shown that there is no correlation between cholesterol values and longevity, and there is even little valid evidence that high cholesterol levels lead to heart disease.
And now, here’s an extra credit question . . .
Which of the following people do you think is more likely to develop heart disease?
A. Someone eating tofu-broccoli salad because he’s feeling guilty and he knows it’s good for him.
B. A parent sharing his favorite ice cream with his much adored children.
Are you surprised to learn the answer is B?
Researchers at the Ohio State University inadvertently discovered that happy eaters are healthy eaters. Rabbits were genetically bred to develop hardening of the arteries and coronary artery disease. Then they were all fed a high-fat diet to speed up the process.
At the end of the study, a select group of rabbits were discovered to have clean, healthy arteries, while the rest developed artery disease as expected. The difference between the two groups? It turned out that the young students who’d been feeding the group of rabbits with clean arteries had petted and played with the rabbits before giving them their food. (This study has since been replicated, suggesting a link between happiness and good digestion!)
Of course, eating ice cream for every meal isn’t a great idea. But remember–for a healthy heart, be mindful when you eat and enjoy your food!
Sources: “Commonsense Guide to a Healthy Heart” by John. R. Lee, M.D.
“Healthy Hormones, Healthy Life” by Dr. Eric Berg
Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, by Christiane Northrup, M.D.
It appears that I can finally get back to writing things again that I enjoy, rather than writing website code, which I really, really don’t enjoy. My unfinished book beckons me, and I’m really jonesin’ to find out where my writing will take me.
My book is on the Stages of Change; I’ve identified stages that all of us go through as Change occurs (or doesn’t occur) in our lives, and some of the physical, mental and spiritual signs and symptoms that can manifest in each of the stages.
Tell me, have you ever experienced resistance to Change, or adaptation to Change, and observed a discernable body response, or a predictable behavior or mental thought that you recognize as being your pattern? I would love to hear from you and chat about it.
I hope you are enjoying the new website, with all the blood, sweat and tears it took to pry it out of me. I would love feedback.
I’m going to use this Blog as a place to give you new information about natural products, treatments and activities that can enhance your world. Keep checking back, or subscribe if you want, so you can always stay in touch.
In the early 80’s, I began my spiritual journey in earnest. After experiencing my first Rebirthing journey with a therapist in Fort Worth in 1980, I was awakened to new ideas in thought and action that was to govern the rest of my life. There was a wonderful gathering place in Dallas called The Alphabiotic Center, where seminars from healers, psychics, spiritual teachers, shamans, scam artists, wanna be’s, and gifted artists came to speak, heal or visit.
I made incredible friends through this time of my life; friends I have to this day. One of the first teachers that we were all introduced to was Louise Hay. In case you haven’t heard of Louise, she was a pioneer in the mind/body arena. She was the first to speak to the concept that our thoughts can heal our bodies. That our thoughts create our reality. In 1984, LONG before “The Secret”, “The Law of Attraction” or even Oprah, Louise bravely set out to prove medical science didn’t have all the answers in her book “You Can Heal Your Life”.
Her book was my bible for years. I always had it in my clinic as a reference guide for myself and patients. Looking up symptoms and finding the positive affirmation to counter it was often mind-blowing in its accuracy for those new to this form of healing.
I mention Louise now because she has a beautiful new version of her book available now, along with DVD movies to watch. These have been out for a while now, but I hadn’t seen them. My old dog-eared copy of her original book was lost to someone in my clinic that felt the need to take it home with them. So when my significant other purchased her “gift edition” which includes a gorgeously illustrated copy of that original book, with some updates, as well as a lovely DVD movie with material from Wayne Dyer (I adore him), Jerry and Esther Hicks, Gay Hendricks, Christiane Northrup and Cheryl Richardson.
The DVD is very well done – I often don’t like movies along these lines. I find them tasteless, or poorly written and executed as a general rule. This one breaks that rule and moves along quickly and evenly, keeping the interest of even the most short-attention spanned of us.
Her website, hayhouse.com, sells this as a gift set that also includes some cards that I wish I had gotten as well. Cards as a nice way to remind yourself daily to remain in the moment, focused on positive thought, and feeling grateful for your health and well-being.
Check it out, I think you’ll like what she has to say. She is still the pioneer. At 81 years, she leads all of us in the alternative medicine and holistic spiritual/mind/body approach to life.
Oh, what a day this is! After extreme frustration with computer, learning html (which I do NOT enjoy), learning Dreamweaver, writing writing and more writing, learning about shopping carts, checkouts, and more that I can’t bear to name, my new website is finally launched!
If you’ve read the links below, you’ll know that this site came to me in a dream one night, in its entirety. Little did I know what I would go through to make it reality. But I’ve learned more than I ever wanted to learn, and Natural Vitamin Reviews 1.0 is out there!
Yes, I know it needs some design tweaks, and not all the links are perfect yet, but that’s the easy stuff. I’ll keep working on it to get it perfect, because that’s just how I am.
If you are looking for unbiased professional reviews from a doctor and nutritionist, of natural vitamins and supplements that really work and show results, then go there now! http://www.naturalvitaminreviews.com/ is the place.
I worked hard to create a document that will give you instant access to real products, so that you can avoid wasting money on scams and products that don’t work at all. It’s one of my pet peeves in the vitamin and supplement industry that there is so much junk out there, and this is my first step toward changing that.
Check it out!
I’ve just added another blog for my other personality, but for the life of me I can’t figure out how to get it added to my blogger links. (update: I think it’s on the list now) So for the time being, here it is. I also hope to add a Gardening blog soon, but right now my website beckons and my unfinished book impatiently calls from the recesses of my mind that has been working on it behind the scenes.
I also noticed that Obama won the democratic nomination today; what a moment in history. I’m happy to contribute to Change; in fact, that is what my book is about. Several years ago, I began writing about the Change Process and the Stages of Change that I have identified working with patients over the years. I’ve gone through my own tremendous changes while working on the book – no surprise there.
The Universe gives us all exactly what we need to grow; obviously I need change in my life in many forms.
What about you? I think that the past few years have been significant -cosmically – and many of us are going through major life changes that are unexpected, both positive and uncomfortable. What has your life been like? How do you view change in your life?
Serendipity strikes again! If you read my last post, you know that I have had more than a year of some deep introspection following some major life changes. And for a person who has been on an active path of introspection for over 30 years, for me to find new layers, new issues and new paradigms means I’m digging in there pretty deeply. Last night before going to sleep (I’ve become such an extreme night owl that I’m often awake well after midnight – not necessarily healthy for my body, but I think my spirit likes it right now) I found myself contemplating the idea of “change”. After closing my eyes and realizing that I wasn’t going to sleep, I pulled out my laptop (always by my bedside) and began to write. The thoughts that poured out were, I felt, important…but apparently the Universe didn’t agree. My little trusty laptop had some sort of software failure and shut down without saving any of it. Okay, I guess that was just a trial run, now I’ll write what I really meant to say….so I began anew. I wrote a bit more, and what came out of me was much more relevant and meaningful. I put it away and began to contemplate.
I prayed for guidance, for surrender, for awareness, and for detachment. Letting go and allowing change to happen in my life is challenging, yet something I constantly strive to do. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail miserably. The good news is, I get a chance to do it all over again when I’m not successful – yeah, I know you know what I mean.
When I woke up this morning, I had clarity like I haven’t had in more than 2 years. I saw what I was to do, and immediately felt like creating it. So here it is:
One of the most frequent questions my patients would ask me is “what do I take for (insert condition here)”…”how do I know which product to choose?”…”I’ve tried so many things that didn’t work. How do I know which ones are good ones?”
There IS a glut in the market of vitamin and nutritional supplements – it’s quite a money maker for companies – both good and not so good. Many companies, including pharmaceutical companies, have jumped on the bandwagon of making vitamins just to cash in on the changing health trends in society, and they don’t have the expertise or good intentions of creating a product that truly creates wellness on all levels. And they are expensive! I can’t stand it when I spend a lot of money on a few products, and I don’t see any result. As a practitioner, it was a big source of frustration for me, and I’m sure my patients felt the same.
I am going to be creating newsletters and documents of suggestions for product purchases; I will give you my opinions about my favorite products over the years, what to avoid, what to look for, with specific brand names and links to where you can purchase them. Many products are only available through health practitioners, and even with those, some work better than others. Look for a complete new redesign of my website, with fresh information while keeping the tried and true available for your reference. Keep checking back to my blog; I want to remain in touch again, I want to reconnect, and I want to be vulnerable while offering you the tidbits that I’ve gleaned over 15 years of treating patients, myself, my pets and loved ones. I’m excited!
So after awakening to this new plan of action and beginning to brainstorm it and work on it, I took a break for an afternoon walk through my neighborhood. A few doors down, a neighbor was having an “open house” to sell her home. She recognized me as “the chiropractor in the neighborhood” and told me of her experience with natural medicine, which she counted on for herself and family. She had a naturopathic practitioner that she had gone to for years for help, and recently called their office to ask a question about what a friend of hers should take for a particular problem she was having. This neighbor discovered, much to her dismay, that the clinic was closed due to the practioner’s health.
Looking at me with frustration, she said “What am I going to do now? I feel so lost! It was like cutting off my right arm. I have no idea what to take or give now for my family or my self”. I felt as though the Universe was just spoonfeeding me – within 12 hours of my decision, here was personal verification that what I’m going to offer is needed and desirable.
Again, I felt blown away at the quick response to my prayers; but why should I? I’m in the flow again, and I am surrendering daily. Let’s just see what happens, shall we?
Gee, it’s only been two years since my last post, not bad. I’ve been, you know, busy. Or disinterested. Or distracted. Or something. It’s been quite a ride since my world changed in 2006. I want to tell you about it, it’s a great story (of course, it’s about ME, so it naturally is a great story). A couple of years ago, I realized that I was fatigued, in constant pain, worn out, bored, and no longer interested in my work. In short, I was totally burned out. I had practiced chiropractic, natural medicine, acupuncture, herbology and all that goes along with all that for 15 years and had just given too much of myself without refueling enough to keep going. The parts were just starting to wear out and needed replacing, recharging, renewing, and relaxing.
During that time, while practicing at the Wild Basin location, I went to visit a friend in Dallas who took me to a seminar on investing. Now, the seminar was interesting, but I wasn’t sure it was a good route for me. However, what it did do for me was open my mind to the concept that perhaps there was a profession out there for me other than chiropractic, something other than what I was currently doing. I had such an identity of myself as a doctor, healer, educator, worker, nit-picker, rescuer, service provider, and clinic owner that it was hard to see anything else. Anyway, I came home from that visit on a Sunday night, and decided to declare something for my own psyche. I decided to put a toe in the water and declare to the Universe that I was open to another path. I had no idea what the path might be, and figured that I had plenty of time to be shown (or try to figure it out, as I am wont to do, much to my demise). I went to my alumni association website, where they had a small classified ad page. There I listed my practice for sale anonymously, with just a small 2-3 line ad without much detail. Since I wasn’t really ready to sell it yet – this was just my declaration of openness to something new. Truthfully, I hadn’t thought past that moment – I didn’t even think about what to do with the inquiries. It was all about ME, of course!
Over the next 36 hours, I had six serious inquires for purchasing the practice. More surprisingly than that, I sold it 48 hours later! The Universe brought the exact type of person I had pictured would be right for taking over my precious patients, and she offered full price and was ready to sign! Over the next six months, we negotiated, trained, interned and transferred ownership; giving me time to get used to the idea and her time to get to know my practice style and approach.
I have to admit, this took my breath away. I couldn’t tell anyone what was happening; I think part of it was shock and part of it was fear that I might jinx something if I leaked any energy out by talking about it. Once the ink had dried on the paperwork, I felt myself breath again and become willing to open up to close friends who would understand my process.
I truly felt like the Universe was just sitting there waiting for me to make the decision to change, to choose something new, to move in the right direction, and all I had to do was finally allow it to happen. At the time, my Mind thought “I’m not ready! This is too soon, I’m not prepared financially, I haven’t made arrangements for this, I can’t do this yet.” My heart, though, knew that it was being offered to me on a silver platter and to deny it was to deny God’s Plan (you know – Thy will, not my will, be done). I went with my heart, obviously.
So for all of you out there in the world of the web, all you knew was that my website got really sloppy. I took down all means of communicating with me except email – no address, no phone, no location info. The site looks horrible – outdated, things on the first page that aren’t supposed to be there, lack of attention in all areas, links that don’t work, OUTDATED BLOGS….I abandoned everyone to take care of myself.
I realized that I’m not all that good at taking care of myself, you know? I really thought I was, but I learned that I’m not. I immediately jumped into helping my Sweetie with his photographic business – and ended up working more hours at that than I had been as a doctor! And this went on for over a year! What was I thinking? Or not thinking? I’m so easily sucked into service for others at the expense of myself, which is exactly why I burned out. I was learning boundaries around patient care and the practice, but I still had much more to learn – because even though I made some external boundaries, I didn’t make them internally. Anytime something was requested of me, I either did it or felt bad for not doing it….either way, I used up my energy. And plenty of times, I offered to do something that wasn’t even asked of me – I felt obligated for some strange reason, or I wanted to win approval. Without asking for anything in return. Not selflessly, though – mind you, I’m no Mother Teresa – it was with burgeoning resentments that tasks were performed.
So a lot of you out there have emailed, and others heard through the grapevine, that I had “retired”. Others just wondered why the heck there wasn’t a way to find me – I have all this great educational information available, with no way to do anything about it. I’ll let you know more about that in my next entry.
Anyway, the last year and a half has been one of great introspection, opportunities for change and growth, resistance and movement all at the same time. I totally shut the door to being a health care provider in the effort to really recharge and recognize who I am without any preconceived notions. That’s a pretty tough task, though I’ve never shied away from something just because it was hard. My identity as a doctor was gone, my identity as a sought-after speaker was gone, my identity as “the star of the show” was gone, my identity…was gone. I tried on several hats, some of which fit for a while, and some of which didn’t fit at all. I’m sure I shall continue to try on hats – some of them look damn good and are very seductive, and some of them I think look great on me but everyone else is wondering why I would wear such an ugly thing. Some of the hats I never put on are hats that others think would look great on me but I don’t like them. And many more hats are still undiscovered. I hope to have a huge hat collection in my world someday. Keep checking back – I’m ready to change my world.
Hi! I hope you’re all enjoying a diet filled with fresh seasonal vegetables, low glycemic fruits, protein predominately from fish, turkey, chicken, wild game and some clean red meats, whole grains and nuts in moderation (eaten separately from other foods), healthy fats such as avocados, olive and grapeseed oils, and occasional clean cheeses. In this newsletter and the next, I’m going to take a look at what I mean by clean meat. Be aware–this information isn’t all pretty, but I think you’ll agree it’s worth knowing what you’re putting in your body!– Dr. Robin
Many of you have probably seen hormone-free labels on beef at local grocery and health food stores. You’ve probably also noticed that this meat is considerably more expensive! Some of the labels at other markets may say “grown without antibiotics” or “free range,” but that may not necessarily mean the meat is hormone-free unless specified.
Do you know what hormones are used in meat and why they’re used? Have you wondered what these hormones might do to us when we eat them?SEX HORMONES
U.S. farmers have been giving sex hormones to cattle to fatten them up since the 1970s. The hormones increase the amount of meat the cattle produce without requiring extra feed. Cows are given six hormones, including estradiol-17 (a powerful estrogen), progesterone, and testosterone, as well as additional synthetic hormones that mimic testosterone and estrogen. These hormones are very stable and are not broken down at high temperatures, meaning that they are still in their complete form when we eat the meat.
This use of hormones for artificial growth stimulation has caused quite a stir Europe. In fact, due to concerns about early puberty, tumors, cancer risks, and genetic problems, the European Union has banned hormone use in cattle. The FDA has said there is no evidence these hormones are dangerous. However, Europe’s scientific committee found in three separate studies that no acceptable safe daily intake could be established for any of the six hormones. (I guess we don’t need a daily intake of synthetic testosterone, after all!) It also found substantial evidence that estradiol 17 is a complete carcinogen, meaning it shows both tumor initiating and tumor promoting effects!
Girls in the US are reaching puberty at younger and younger ages, often menstruating as early as age 8. Breast size in young adolescent girls, and even some boys, is increasing. Obesity, due to estrogen dominance created by the hormones we eat unknowingly, is of epidemic proportions in the United States.GROWTH HORMONES
An additional hormone, called rBGH, or rBST, is even more controversial. Given to as many as 30 percent of the cattle in the U.S., rBGH is a genetically engineered growth hormone designed to increase milk output. rBGH causes slightly higher levels of an insulin-like growth factor in cows’ milk. This protein–found in milk and dairy products from cows treated with rBGH–has been linked to cancer, and it is possible it could lead to diabetes in people prone to the disease.
The FDA approved its safety in 1993, after reviewing a 90-day-study of rats fed the growth hormone.
Six years later, Canadian scientists used results from the same study to reject the use of rBGH in Canada. These scientists were disturbed by the fact that the hormone was absorbed into the rats’ bloodstreams and that it weakened their immune systems! In addition, they noted that U.S. farmers were forced to give antibiotics to cows to counteract rBGH’s tendency to cause udder swelling. (More on antibiotics in meat in the next newsletter!)SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?
Although there are differing views on the safety of hormones in meat, what it really comes down to is whether you want to risk introducing synthetic hormones into your body. For your body to be healthy, it needs to find balance–particularly endocrine balance! I encourage you to avoid all sources of synthetic hormones, including hormone-riddled meat and dairy. WHAT TO KNOW WHEN YOU SHOP . . .
Hormones are not allowed in raising hogs or poultry, so your main concern will be in buying beef.
Many dairy products contain labels indicating that they come from rBGH-free farms.
Hormone supplementation is not currently an issue with U.S. fish. Although farm-raised fish are not fed hormones, wild fish are superior. Always choose wild fish if possible for the better taste and the higher fatty acid content. (Do check labels when shopping for fish. Fish in China and Cuba are being genetically engineered to produce enormous “super fish.” Although genetically engineered fish haven’t been approved for consumption in the U.S., they are sold here!)
On beef, look for the specific label “No Hormones.” Farmers can use this label only if they prove their meat is hormone free. The terms “Natural” or “Organic” don’t necessarily cut it; neither of these labels ensures your meat is hormone free.
Try to restrict most of your red-meat consumption (which should be moderate anyway) to home, where you know what you’re getting!
Earlier in the month, I was invited to give a presentation about hormones at a Women Empower meeting in North Austin. What I wanted to get across at the meeting, in addition to basic information about the endocrine system, is the importance of choosing the right healthcare practitioners and of trusting your intuition. Here’s a summary of the presentation. Enjoy! Dr. Robin
Deborah invited me to speak tonight about hormones and their impact on women’s lives. I realized that in only giving me 20 minutes, she is preventing me from boring you to death with the biochemical reasons why estrogen is bad, progesterone is good, and both of those statements aren’t always true. What I would like to give you instead are some bottom line things to think about.
First, when I say hormones, I am referring to the endocrine system, which is much, much more than just the sex hormones or monthly menstrual cycle hormones. The endocrine system runs a vast majority of your body functions and has long-reaching effects. You may be surprised at what symptoms are your body’s hormones giving you a signal that something is amiss.
So here’s the bottom line:
If you are tired, check your thyroid.
And just because your doctor says that your blood work says your thyroid is fine, keep checking. Find someone else to check it, if necessary. There are excellent tests available that are far more comprehensive than those offered by most doctors.
If you are depressed, check your adrenals and blood sugar.
If your doctor doesn’t know how to do this, go elsewhere. It isn’t all in your head, nor do you suffer from Prozac deficiency syndrome. Seventy-five percent of people with depression have physiological imbalances in their bodies.
If you have lost your sex drive, check your entire endocrine system with a saliva test.
Blood tests are limited, and results are very dependent on what part of the month, even what time of day, you’re test.
If you have panic attacks, check your adrenals and change your diet.
If you have asthma, again check your adrenal glands.
Asthma is not a lung issue; it’s an adrenal issue.
If you have gallbladder problems, check your estrogen and cortisol levels.
If you have high cholesterol, check your thyroid.
If you can’t sleep, check your thyroid and estrogen levels.
If you have heartburn, check your adrenal glands.
If you crave sweets, check your blood sugar.
If you have allergies, check your thyroid.
If you have hot flashes, night sweats and insomnia, check your estrogen levels.
If you have PMS, cramps, migraine headaches, irregular cycles, heavy bleeding, lack of fertility, check your progesterone levels.
Now I’ve just told you to “check” all these different systems of your body. How do you go about doing that?
The endocrine system–the thyroid, pancreas, adrenal glands, parathyroid gland, ovaries, testes, the pituitary gland and pineal gland–is a beautiful feedback system similar to an orchestra.
When stresses occur, the adrenal glands are the squeaky wheel that gets the most attention. Your adrenal glands are a survival gland. This means that you can’t live without them and that they have the priority in the body to steal hormones from the other glands. Over time, this “theft” can lead to hypothyroidism, decreased progesterone, DHEA, and pregnenolone, and sometimes even decreased testosterone.
The adrenals are a fight or flight mechanism, meaning they respond to stressful situations. Keep in mind that your body views a stressful situation as “anything that isn’t neutral.” So anything that creates heart palpitations–good or bad–such as anxiety or excitement, causes the adrenals to work harder. From their point of view, a perceived stressor is the same as a real stressor, meaning that the thoughts and feelings that run through your head constantly have a huge impact on your adrenal glands, and therefore, on your endocrine system. Adrenals glands are vital, and in this day and age, are often literally physically exhausted and running down.
It’s often when the adrenal glands start to become exhausted that people end up in my clinic, asking me, “What’s wrong? I just don’t don’t feel good anymore. All my blood work says that I’m fine, and all my doctor offers me is an antidepressant.”
It’s important to keep in mind that the medical profession attracts the kind of thinkers that need to have a clearly defined solution to a problem. Balancing the endocrine system isn’t clear-cut; it can take time and patience to uncover what’s happening in each person’s unique body. This is why so many women are turning to alternative healthcare.
Checking and re-balancing your endocrine system isn’t easy. It requires you to be an active participant in your healthcare. Educating yourself is an important first step. It’s not that you need to become an expert on medical procedures, diagnosis, herbs, homeopathics, or chiropractic care. Rather, you need to educate yourself on your options.
It’s also important to become an expert in listening to and honoring your intuition about your health and your body. Handing over your power to a medical professional will not serve you. Instead, keep in mind that you are hiring doctors to help you with your health. If they’re not serving you, fire them! Don’t discount your intuition when confronted with the cold logic of the western medical model. Research your symptoms online, read books, and ask friends for references. Austin is filled with incredible alternative and conventional resources. If you don’t agree with a diagnosis or solution, keep looking.
Honor your intuition.
Let me know how I can help you in your journey to health and well-being!
May the Blessings Be,
* The information in this article cannot be substituted for medical advice about your unique body.