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Gluten Free or Fact Free?

Gluten Free or Fact Free?
Wh eat and  grain s  g enerally  the focus of a great deal of controversy in recent years.  Publications like Wheat Belly and Grain Brain have created the impression that the ingestion of grains, particularly wheat, is the cause of major health worries such as obesity, diabetes, autoimmune illness, etc.   Despite these anti-grain opinions, the research evidence is strong that whole grains of all types are healthful and central to a nourishing natural food diet, as they have been for thousands of years.  Whole grains such as brown rice of different varieties, millet, buckwheat (a particular favourite), quinoa - all are a regular part of my plant-based diet. Today I would like to briefly discuss the issue of gluten that in a few short years has created an earthquake in the food and restaurant industry.  Gluten is a mixture of two proteins and found in grass grains, particularly wheat....
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The Benefits of Meditation

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What does meditation have to do with naturopathic medicine? If we understand health as a state of the person as a whole, it is easy to appreciate how meditation is a perfect complement to a holistic view of wellness. Cultivating an inner point of grounding and stillness is so valuable in an age when many sources of stress are playing on us more or less simultaneously. Yet even if one’s life circumstances were ideal, meditation would still be a wise practice to cultivate, as modern research has verified many direct physical and emotional benefits. Yes, there are evident, proven anti-stress benefits to meditation, yet there is much, much more. Would you like to slow the aging process , improve brain function and immunity ? These are a very few of the many benefits that are available with meditation. In a recent review of fifteen studies on meditation in schools that...
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Skeptical of the Skeptics: Unreason in the name of Reason

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Recently, I happened to hear Timothy Caulfield, the author of an essay on  medical institutes attempting to incorporate complementary health care methods, discussing his ideas on a Canadian broadcast morning show.   The thesis of his essay was that there is medical science, and then there are the many pretenders to the healing arts that have no evidential support.  http://www.irpp.org/en/po/public-square/caulfield/ Caulfield's key assertion, is that for universities and medical clinics to associate themselves with purveyors of “nonsense”, such as naturopaths, acupuncturists, homeopaths, etc,. is to debase "scientific" medicine.   Study them if you must, (in fact, there are those that insist that funding research work on subjects such as homeopathy should completely come to an end) but certainly don’t lower medicine by integrating alternative medicine practitioners or courses into clinics or institutions of higher learning.  He believes it is wrong to give medical alternatives the least bit of legitimacy that may come...
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Help for Psoriasis

Help for Psoriasis
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Psoriasis is one of the most intractable conditions to treat for both conventional and alternative medicine.  However, recent research indicates that Pycnogenol® a standardized extract from French maritime pine tree bark, significantly improved some of the discomforting symptoms of of this condition including redness, flaking, and thickness of the total surface area of the affected skin patches.  Standard treatment protocols involve anti-inflammatory medications and sometimes drugs such as methotrexate or immune-suppressing agents, particularly in psoriatic arthritis, a condition where psoriasis and arthritis, particularly of the fingers, toes and lower spine, seem to run together..   While the present study focussed on the pine bark extracts, grape seed extracts contain essentially the same factors, known as PCO’s, a particular phytochemical from a family of compounds known as flavonoids.  Supplementation doses of 100 to 300 mg daily can be helpful for a wide variety of condition, with research showing benefits for:    ...
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The Two Traditions of Medicine

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When we think of health, it is might be worthwhile to point out that historically there are essentially two dominant conceptions of the body.   While they are not mutually exclusive, in some respects complementing each other, yet they are fundamentally opposite in nature.   (The most complete understanding of this subject has been unfurled in a series of remarkable volumes titled Divided Legacy, by the late Harris Coulter.) One is termed the Rationalist school and is embodied today by modern medicine.  The Rationalist tradition sees the body as a living machine composed of various parts and processes.  Disease is regarded as a disorder of structure or function.  As science grows in understanding of the body, its anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, cell biology, etc., medicine develops elaborate methods and technologies to fix, replace, alter, control, activate or suppress a particular structure or function, or some factor that is designated to be the...
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Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

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Tonight Jen and I watched this film on Netflix. It can also be seen free at the website fatsickandnearlydead.com.  It spirals up to a point and then unexpectedly takes a mortal leap into the truly moving and inspirational. The film follows Joe, a successful but overweight Aussie with a chronic skin condition, as he embarks across American, film crew in hand, while on a thirty day fruit and vegetable juice fast (wisely under the guidance of a nutritionally-oriented physician).  Things take a drastic turn after Joe returns home and gets a call from Phil, a 420+ pound trucker with the same skin problem, that he had met along the way.  Phil reaches out to Joe for help and the ensuing process is the real heart and soul of the movie. Who would benefit by a program like this, and what changes might be recommended?  There are many people who could...
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The Metabolic Makeover: It's All About Energy

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The Metabolic Makeover: It's All About Energy (Paperback)   by Stephen Cherniske,Dr. Natalie Kather M.D. Among modern nutritional thinkers, Stephen Cherniske is one of the most balanced and level-headed yet insightful.  He is also a terrific communicator of complex ideas and has been very influential in my own understanding of the field of supplementation and healthy aging.   The latest work from Stephen in partnership with his wife, Dr. Kather, board certified in both family medicine and anti-aging medicine, is a very thought provoking and practical overview of the current state of the art in best health practices from diet, to supplements to exercise. It has been designed for a comfortable reading experience. As always, Cherniske's view is practical and solidly founded.    Though I've personally enjoyed a vegetarian diet for over 40 years, and one could call his approach "paleolithic light”,  it is practical and well-founded and will appeal to...
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Laugh Not Lest Ye Laugh Alone

Laugh Not Lest Ye Laugh Alone
Whole Foods: America’s Temple of Pseudoscience Recently this article, a sarcastic and dismissive discussion on the presence of homeopathy and natural medicine products at Whole Foods, has been making the social media rounds.  The author compares the "pseudoscience" of natural medicine, to creationism.  Normally I ignore this sort of anti-scientific scientism, but when a friend posted it on Facebook I had to say something.   The central falsehoods in the writer's argument are veiled by the few points of merit, and everything gets pasted with the same stripe.  Comparing natural medicine and homeopathy to creationism is preposterously out of proportion.  Natural food purism is an easy target, of course, and everything else is made to look silly along with it.  It all makes for exciting copy and no doubt the author feels very clever, but does it have anything of value to offer? Among those devoted to scientism, the dogmatic rejection...
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Two helpful Concepts from Yoga Philosophy

Two helpful Concepts from Yoga Philosophy
There are two sanskrit terms that I think are very valuable in that they connect with principles that are relevant to every aspect of our life, including how we make our health choices. Most people have heard the Sanskrit term Dharma.   I define dharma as intention and action taken in alignment with one’s deepest, innermost sense of what is true.   This is the energy centre of an innate morality and dharma is about living according to that natural morality of the heart and conscience. Of course, it is a very high ideal of human behavior, i.e., to live as if love is the law of life.  Rare are those people who live according to the innermost principles that we may be fortunate to comprehend but find so hard to apply. Does a belief or action create unity or separation?  Does it raise awareness or distort it?  Does it nourish our...
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