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What’s New! – A Healthy Living Newsletter

March, 2001

My patients frequently ask my opinion about new health books on the market. And there's certainly no shortage of experts peddling their advice! While many of these books are excellent, others are written by people who don't have a clinical background in the subject. Simply put - they're inaccurate.

The people writing the books either don't regularly use the medicines they write about or they're presenting theories as if they are facts. Others can be valuable tools for improving the quality of your life.

The Dance of Anger
By Harriet Lerner, PhD

Do you have a relationship with your husband, boss, coworker, friend, child, sister, father or mother in which you find yourself having the same argument over and over?  You may even find yourself saying the same phrases and you can predict what he or she will say.  Neither of you ever changes your mind and nothing is ever resolved.  Yes, you say, but what does this have to do with health?  Read on.

Two weeks ago, someone handed me this book and said “Please review this for your newsletter – it’s really helped my fibromyalgia and my friend’s high blood pressure”.

Though that was not what Harriet Lerner had in mind when she wrote The Dance of Anger, this book should be a manual for women with chronic and auto-immune conditions.    In these types of conditions, there is often an emotional component triggered by a situation in which we feel powerless or unable to effectively communicate.  Women either through conditioning or habit tend to react with anger or tears of frustration. Nothing is resolved.  Harriet Lerner offers an alternative solution. 

The major point that Harriet Lerner resoundedly drives home is that we will not change the other person, but we can change how we interact with them.  We can break this cycle or dance by learning new steps.  Thus, The Dance of Anger is about communication.  It points out non-effective communication patterns and how to change them to become effective.  This book about your mind - can help your health.

The Carbohydrate Addict’s Lifespan Program
Drs. Richard and Rachael Heller

It’s true.  Americans love their bagels, white bread, and pasta.  But addicted – isn’t that word just a bit strong for food preferences?  As a naturopathic physician, it is easier for me to tell someone to cut out red meat, then to ask them to eliminate pasta and bread from their diet. I generally have to spend time explaining how these high-carbohydrate foods don’t have many nutrients, adversely affect our blood sugar and the excess turn up as fat in our hips.  But no longer – here is a book that does the explaining and helps people lose weight.

The Carbohydrate Addict’s Lifespan Program also cover some important issues like willpower and anti-nutrients in our foods.  Using willpower to treat any addiction is going to work for only a tiny minority.  Obese people commonly and unfairly blame themselves for this.  Also, the description of anti-nutrients or foods like colas, caffeine, and simple sugars that reduce vitamins and/or minerals in our bodies is invaluable!  For example, sugar-sweetened colas may cause depression, poor memory, irritability, insomnia, and difficulty in concentration because they deplete a B-vitamin called thiamine in our body. These are the effects of too little thiamine.

My only complaint about this book is how easy it can be for people (including several of my patients) to misread the dietary suggestions.  The basic plan is to eat 2 low-carbohydrate meals and then an eat-all-the-carbs-you-want reward meal each day.  In that carb meal, you are suppose to mentally divide your plate into three equal portions of carbohydrates, protein and vegetables. It’s not to hard to easily envision people loading up the carbohydrate 1/3 of their plate 2 “ high and the protein and vegetable portions ½ inch.  Salad and vegetables are fibrous foods that fill you up.  Remember it’s 1/3 of your plate, not 1 tablespoon, that is filled with vegetables.  It’s virtually impossible for most of us to eat 2 full bowls of salad and 2 large portions of vegetables and meat and still eat 2 large portions of spaghetti.  Which is probably what the Hellers had in mind.  Your stomach would surrender before the second portion of pasta, because it just couldn’t hold any more.

Do I think the book has merit?  Absolutely. The recipes are good.  I loved and would recommend the low carb lunch and dinner meals to everyone wanting to lose weight.  I wasn’t excited about their recipe suggestions that include eggs virtually every morning for breakfast! And those incredible desserts that drip with fat.  Don’t lose weight only to end up with a heart bypass.  Also, who eats pancakes without some sort of syrup or topping, as the Hellers recommend in the book?

Do I think it is a sensible long-term diet program?  Not really.  Why have such an imbalance diet in which you deprive yourself to part of the day and gorge the other part?  Better to establish a more balanced dietary lifestyle.  Carbohydrates aren’t the bad guys, but eating them by themselves without protein and fats is one reason we may gain weight.  Remember -  Jared, the fast food Subway guy and a real carbohydrate addict, lost over 200 lbs. eating carbohydrates.

Dr. Judith Orloff’s Guide to INTUITIVE HEALING
Judith Orloff, M.D.

“How many of you have ever known your health was in danger, but ignored the signs your body sent?”  “Have you ever gone to see a doctor because you ‘knew’ something was wrong only to be told after a battery of tests ‘You’re fine’?”  These are two of Dr. Orloff’s many thoughtful questions that gently lead the reader into the realm of intuition.

It’s the same intuition you use when you size up your daughter’s boyfriend or when you sense there is a problem before the phone rings.  But imagine being able to fine-tune and amplify that vague feeling a thousand fold.  That’s what Dr. Orloff is trying to do in this book.  Does she accomplish it?  Yes and no.  The section on healing the body is wonderfully accurate and helpful.  Many people, in hindsight, do say they saw and ignored the signals their bodies were sending them before they became seriously ill. The five basic steps she offers may give many people a tool to avoid serious illness in their own lives.

Her sections on relationships, and especially death, seem a bit farfetched for the average reader.  With beautiful candor, Dr. Orloff reveals her own meditation in which she merges with ‘death’.  That’s a bit “woo woo" for me – so she lost me there.  For others it might hit some chord of truth. 

Similarly, the final section of the book on sexuality as almost a mystical experience might appeal to some. Again, it didn’t work for me.

Dr. Orloff is a gifted intuit.  In INTUITIVE HEALING, she opens her heart and experience to share her techniques in physical, emotional, and sexual healing.  And while the emphasis is definitely New Age, her profound respect of all religious beliefs is apparent. If you have an autoimmune condition, a chronic disease, or so much negative stress in your life that you are concerned about getting sick, the body healing section is valuable and worth a trip to the library.


Local Lecture:
"Parenting your Parents" Tuesday, March 20th 7-9pm. Call 503-692-3192 to register by March 16th. $10.00 donation Location: Alterra Wynwood of Meridian Park (A Personal Care Residence) 19200 SW 65th Ave. Tualatin,Or.

Herb Tip: Garlic to the rescue. Garlic is unique - not only does it make you salivate for Italian food, but it fights bacteria, fungi, and viruses. So, at the first sign of a cold or flu, eat your fresh garlic. Just don't forget the parsley along with it. Parsley acts as a natural deodorizer.

Health Relaxation tip: If you have come home from work and feel tired, cranky and on the verge of a headache - go soak your feet. Not only does the warm water relax you, but it draws heat away from your head and a potential headache. This type of medicine is called hydrotherapy and has been around for hundreds of years.

Service: NW Wellness offers many bone density tests at reasonable prices. This one costs $25 and is called the Achilles Express Test. It is done with the heel of the right foot and they say that the results are on a par with a full body scan. Their phone number is 360-566-1212 and they are on the web at


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Dr. Suzanne C. Lawton
11825 SW Greenburg Road, Suite A2
Tigard, OR 97223