New! – A Healthy Living Newsletter
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
In the late 1970s, a group of researchers led by Professor of Nutrition, David Jenkins, discovered a specific way to determine the immediate effect of various foods on blood sugar. Their results were incredibly important - and virtually ignored. The message just didn't get out to the average person on the street. Twenty years later, The Glucose Revolution set out to rectify that situation.
Which effects your blood sugar more - a pretzel or a chocolate candy bar? If you guessed the pretzel, then you were correct. But what does blood sugar have to do with anything? Blood sugar balance is critical for both disease prevention and control. The obvious example is diabetes. Diabetes is a disease in which the body can no longer balance blood sugar. And when that happens, it leaves the person vulnerable to heart disease, kidney disease, blindness, obesity and vascular disease that for some lead to limb amputation. But blood sugar balance is also of crucial important in weight loss, heart disease, hypoglycemia, athletic performance and overall health.
The Glycemic index is based on measuring the effects of 50 grams of carbohydrates in different forms (pasta, beans, white bread, etc.) on blood sugar. The blood sugar is measured every 15 minutes the first hour, then every 30 minutes for the next 2 hours. The glycemic index standard is glucose with 50 mg of glucose equaling a measurement of 100. The higher the number, the more the food is adversely affecting your blood sugar. If you think it's obvious, consider the following. One cup of Corn Flakes ranks 84, Rice Chex ranks 89; while a bowl of old-fashioned oatmeal comes in at 49 with a bowl of Special K close behind at 54. A French baguette measures out at 95, a slice of dark rye at 86, a slice of white bread at 70, a slice of whole wheat at 69, a slice of sourdough bread at 52 and a slice of 100% stoneground whole wheat at 53. One of the worst foods for healthy blood sugars is one, which people think is healthy, and eat all the time - boiled and baked potato. Depending on the variety, these foods range in the 80s and 90s on the glycemic index. If you think this means you have to give up some of your favorite foods, The Glucose Revolution has a solution. The goal is to balance your glycemic index contents of a meal. Let me give you some examples.
Let's say you were
sitting down to a dinner of a large baked potato, 4 ounces of roast
beef, a salad and a piece of cake for dessert. Here's how you would
adjust it. Substitute pasta for the potato, decrease the roast beef
to 2 ounces, add a cup of lentil and vegetable soup, serve a vinaigrette
salad dressing and eat a small piece of cake right after dinner. Pasta,
lentils, vegetables and vinegar (lemon, too) all have a positive effect
on balancing blood sugar. You need to eat the cake right away so that
it's hitting the blood stream shortly after the pasta, lentils, vegetables
and vinegar have stabilized the blood sugar.
Here's a helpful book for those just starting to figure out how to use natural medicine. It's simplistically written but with mostly solid information from various natural medicine practitioners. It's the kind of book that helps those who want to do something when the illness starts at 9pm on a Sunday evening, or for those who want to avoid side-effects of conventional over-the-counter medicines, or for those who just don't want to add potentially harmful chemical medicines to their bodies.
Marohn is a health journalist and it shows. The book dabbles here and there with various natural medicine modalities like herbs, homeopathy, nutrition, and then it throws in crystals. Frankly, I don't know if crystals work or not. I didn't study them during my four-year pre-med. program and I sure didn't study them in my 4 year-postgraduate naturopathic medical program. They may be great, I just think they are a fringe practice that still lacks the scientific research the other modalities have.
If you get this book, read the short introduction. Marohn explains where and when you shouldn't use natural medicine and when to seek a natural medicine doctor (naturopathic, herbalist, homeopath, or doctor of Chinese medicine) "You may want to consider consulting a practitioner of one or more of the therapies covered in this book. While these therapies can be quite effective when used for first aid, this is kindergarten activity compared to what they are capable of. As one practitioner I interviewed put it, 'Asking a homeopath for first aid remedies is like asking a physicist to do a division problem for you.' " And while that might be a slight exaggeration, it is not far off the mark.
A shortcoming of the book is that Marohn doesn't include cautions with the various first aid remedies. For example, while tea tree oil is great for acne, in some people with sensitive skin, it can burn their skin. Motherwort, a wonderful herb for many things, should be avoided by those with hypothyroidism. These are important caveats that should have been included.
Another omission is an explanation of the scope and education of the various types of natural medicine practitioners. There is a significant difference between 8 years of education in an educational institute and a mail-order degree.
needs one of these kinds of books. Natural Medicine First Aid Remedies
will help you get started learning about the tremendous potential of
The general consensus
was yes. However, the majority of the American medical community disagrees
- and fairly derisively. Undaunted, therapist author, Jed Diamond, not
only presents a convincing argument, he also refers the reader to 20
years of scientific research involving 2000 participants on male menopause,
some of which was presented by Dr. Malcolm Carruthers in the 1998 World
Symposium on the Aging Male in Sweden. So, why haven't we heard of it?
Diamond suggests that male menopause or andropause is medically where
menopause was 40 years ago, when the medical community thought it was
a woman's hysterical response to growing older. But we will hear of
andropause - because the pharmaceutical companies stand to make a lot
Surviving Male Menopause
is a sequel to Diamond's earlier book Male Menopause. They are
both definitely worth reading. The trouble is finding a physician to
help treat andropause. Also, think carefully before starting on the
hormonal or drug route. After 40 years, women are starting to rebel
against the pressure of taking potentially cancer-causing hormones.
Instead, they are finding natural ways to treat menopause safely and
effectively. We don't know the long-term effects of testosterone. It
may or may not be the appropriate choice. If you are still in doubt
whether it exists, don't take my word for it, look up Carruthers and
read his work. In the meantime, go to the library or book store and
find these books. I'd be interested to hear your opinions.
These figures suggest that there must be some other factor(s) at work in these Kava products that are allegedly causing liver cirrhosis and cancer. We do know that in some who overuse the herb, can develop a scaley yellowish skin eruption call Kava dermopathy.
The herb is taken in its whole form in the South Pacific. However, it is a common practice in both Europe and the United States to isolate one or two components and make a drug-like herb out of it. Perhaps, in an adultered form, it can cause liver problems. Or perhaps, like L-tryptophan in the late 80's, there was a bad batch.
Kava is an effective anti-anxiety herb that doesn't affect your mental function. There is no prescription counterpart that works as safely or as well.
Last month, several
of my patients called and thanked me for the tips on how to treat a
cold or flu in the December and January newsletters. One very graciously,
added to my suggestions with some great commonsensical ones of her own.
moved our offices
2002 Dr. Suzanne C. Lawton, LLC