Thursday, December 17, 2009

Green Tea : My Take

These days you see green tea being pushed almost everywhere as a health food, or healthy ingredient. This is another case of pushing too hard to find benefits, and ignoring the negative.

Let's talk about some of the problems. All kinds of studies are being done to extol the virtues of green tea. But they all seem to be aimed at the benefits that come from antioxidants. In my opinion there are many safer ways to get wonderful antioxidants.

Yes, green tea has a supply of antioxidants. But it isn't that great of a source. In fact if you actually look at the studies that are making wonderful health claims about green tea, you see that the benefits are very small. For instance claiming that a 2% improvement by those who drink green tea is "significant". Most studies of just about anything can flex 2% or more just due to errors and idiosyncrasies of the studies. It is bizarre to claim 2% as a great victory for green tea drinkers.

OK, so what are the negatives of green tea consumption.

The first and most obvious is caffeine. See my recent discussion about caffeine (here) if you don't understand that danger.

Another of my major concerns, since I care for an Alzheimer's patient, is that green tea contains fluoride. While trace levels of fluoride are beneficial to health, we get so much of it in the modern diet that it is causing many problems. One of the main problems with too much fluoride in the body is that it facilitates heavy metals being stored in soft tissues. (Like aluminum in the brain.) No wonder we are seeing so many more cases of Alzheimer's disease.

Green tea also interferes with the assimilation of iron. Anemia is a major problem in our society already.

Green tea also should be avoided by ladies who are pregnant or planning to become so. It causes birth defects.

Green tea also has estrogen effects. Messing with hormones is not a safe thing to do.

If you want to get all the claimed benefits of green tea, but don't want the downsides, consider eating more turmeric along with fresh fruit and veggies.

In my opinion, everyone should avoid green tea. Yes, that would apply to you. :-)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Marathon Report and Tips

I had a great time this last weekend running with my brothers in a marathon. Four of us went to South Carolina and ran the Kiawah Island Marathon.

Kiawah is a beautiful little resort island just off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. It is a resort with golf courses nestled amongst some beautiful wooded areas. It is a pretty flat course that basically circles the island twice.

The four of us had been training for this marathon for quite awhile, so we were mostly well prepared and had a good time of it.

Remember, never try to run a marathon without training for it. I did that once. The pain lasted for months. With proper training, the pain and discomforted is very minimal. My brothers and I all seem to be doing very well just a couple of days after this one.

The main goal for us in this marathon was to get my brother qualified for the Boston Marathon. He is 56 years old, and so needed to do it in less than 3 hours and 46 minutes. He followed his training regimen faithfully and worked hard most of this year. His training got him to the point to where he could accomplish this herculean task physically. Then it was my job to help him stay on pace through the 26.2 mile course.

The start of the race was very crowded and very slow. Our first mile took more than 9 minutes, and we needed to average more like 8 and a half minutes for each mile. So we picked it up and endeavored to stay close to 8:24 for each mile. We did very good right up until about the 25th mile. At this point I could tell that he was having some trouble, but we had managed to get a minute or two of cushion, by keeping to this slightly increased pace, so I allowed him to ease up just a bit for that mile. We did that one in about 8:45. I didn't want to lose our last minute of cushion, just in case he cramped up and had to walk in, so for the last 1.2 miles I increased our pace back to what it had been. He pushed himself to stay with me, in spite of the fatigue and stiffness he was experiencing, and we cruised on through to the end.

We thought we had finished with a minute or two to spare, but when we looked at his official time posted on the bulletin board, we were shocked to see they had clocked him at 3:44:50. Only 10 seconds ahead of his 3:45 goal.

But he was gratified that next to his name on the list was an asterisk, signifying that he had indeed qualified to run in the Boston Marathon.

He was so elated about his finish that he went around telling everyone that he was a "Boston Qualifier". It was great! He worked hard and accomplished his goal.

Remember that that is what it takes to get to where you want to be. Set a goal, and work hard to achieve it. Don't give up, just because there is some pain or discomfort involved. Some people may consider you crazy for even setting the goal and starting to move toward it, but if you want it, and pursue it with your heart and might, you can achieve it.

You will most likely have to do things that other people are not willing to do. But that is what makes you a winner!

There will inevitably be setbacks and seemingly overwhelming roadblocks along the way, but stay the course. My brother had several problems that arose during his training. But, he would call me, and we would talk and discover ways around his roadblocks and challenges. He continued to work hard and believe that it is was possible, and so he accomplished his goal.

I also feel the need to mention that he had the support and prayers of his brothers. That can make more of a difference than you might ever imagine. We prayed for him before the race, as well as during. In those final miles when he was feeling the stress of the accumulating miles, there were multiple prayers offered up in his behalf. And, of course, after it was over, there were prayers of gratitude.

The spiritual side of things is also very physical. I will probably blog about that more later.

It is always a good idea to get a coach or a mentor to help you to move forward toward your goals and aspirations. Someone that you can talk to and confide in. Ideally someone who knows how to get to where you want to be. Someone who has been there.

Anyone can look up an address and give you directions on how to get there. But those who have actually been there and live there can tell you about potholes to avoid and land marks to watch for along the way. They can make the journey much simpler. Even telling you about things that may have changed since the latest maps were made.

Look for people who are doing and living the way that you want to live and do.

I hope that those of you who are looking for better health and fitness will consider me as one of your major coaches and mentors. Feel free to contact me and ask questions. I am here to help.

I am a marathoner, a health researcher, and a fourth stage cancer survivor. I have searched out the answers to most of your health questions. I live a healthy life style, independent of medications, or other potions and pills. I would love the chance to help you to do the same.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Benefits of Caffeine : Beware

There is information being circulated about the benefits of caffeine.

Beware! There is a lot of money behind this push, so it is wide spread. Even some medical doctors have bought into the idea. However it is based on very questionable studies. These studies don't concentrate on caffeine, they are just used as excuses to say that caffeine is good for you.

It's kind of like all the studies on alcohol. There is so much money behind it, and so many people wanting to have excuses for using and abusing alcohol. They come up with all kinds of supposed health benefits of alcohol. But in the process they totally ignore the simple fact that alcohol kills brain cells every time it is taken internally in any amount. They also ignore the problem of addiction.

Caffeine has all the same problems, but in slightly different ways. It stops the brain from functioning normally. It makes the body think that there is an emergency, so that it kicks up the production of adrenaline. It is also very addictive. It disrupts sleep, even when taken much earlier in the day. You might still sleep through the night, but you don't get the deep restful and restorative sleep that the body needs to really heal and recuperate.

Caffeine causes headaches, and it can relieve headaches. This is because it causes constriction of the blood vessels in the brain. Some headaches are caused by this and some are relieved, depending on the cause of the headache. Remember, that alleviating pain is not always a good thing. Some one stomping on your toe will make you forget about your sore finger for a while, but it doesn't solve the problem. It creates more problems. This is the long term problem of most all drugs.

Looking at the studies, we see that pretty much all the supposed health benefits of caffeine are actually from the polyphenols in the coffee beans, not actually a product of the caffeine.

Caffeine also raises blood pressure. This is not something that most people need. And if you do need to raise your blood pressure there are much more healthy ways to do it. Low blood pressure is often a symptom of dehydration. This means your body needs more salt water. I highly recommend that everyone gets lots of mineralized water everyday, all day. Exercise is also an excellent way to stabilize blood pressure. Yoga has been show to be excellent for both lowering high blood pressure and raising low blood pressure.

Caffeine is a drug, and it is addictive. The supposed health benefits are highly exaggerated. Beware!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Joseph Smith and Herbal Medicine by John Heinerman

I have been asked to give my opinion of a book.

Joseph Smith and Herbal Medicine
by John Heinerman

I have read this book and found it to be interesting. Following are some of my thoughts about it.

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints it was interesting to see the authors beliefs about statements made by and about Joseph Smith regarding herbs.

My first reaction was that this man (the author) tends to fall into the same trap that many LDS people fall into when they are excited about a particular subject. They try to compare what they are so excited about, with the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. They then make the leap of saying that since there are many similarities (in their view) then this thing they have discovered must be true, like the gospel is true.

Mr. Heinerman makes this analogy, and concludes that therefore, herbalism (as taught by Samuel Thomson) must be the only true form of medicine. This is just plain silly. Thomson was not and is not a prophet of God.

He then goes on to use quotes from third parties and definitions from dictionaries to prove that the prophet, Joseph Smith, felt the same way that he does about it.

There are of course other definitions of herbs that would not be so much to the author's liking. So, of course, he didn't mention them.

I very much enjoyed the history contained in the book (I've always been fascinated with history). However, I noted that most of the points the author is trying to make are made by people who were not leaders of the church, and more importantly were not prophets. The actual quotes of prophets are few and far between, and commentary before and after the quotes assumes things that are not contained in the quotes.

I personally do like the use of herbs in certain contexts, and usually think of herbalism as much preferable to most modern drugs. However, herbs are very much like drugs, and must be used with great caution and knowledge and skill.

In my opionion, a much better understanding of the mentions of herbs found in the scriptures, and particularly "The Word of Wisdom", is to use vegetables as food, and let good food be your medicine. Many herbalists would agree that that is true.

In my studies I have also found that many herbalists of the day have followed a mistaken path, much like the mistaken path that the medical profession has fallen into. They process and extract substances from herbs to make medicines.

I would encourage those who are interested in learning to use herbs as medicines, to study adaptogens. Adaptogens are herbs that help to balance the systems of the body. This is very important, because all health in the human body is all about balance.

Let me give you an example to help you to understand what I'm talking about.

Golden seal is an herb that will cause a rise in white blood cell count. It is not an adaptogen.
Echinacea is an herb that will cause a rise in white blood cell count if your body needs it, but can cause a decrease in white blood cell count if your body needs that. It is an adaptogen.

So, you can see that the great thing about adaptogens is that they are safe, and not just stimulants, or depressants.

It is estimated that only about 1 in 300 herbs is an adaptogen. But there are plenty of them to help to balance every system of the body.

OK, back to the book.

I also thought it a little funny that the author only considered mormons to be "peculiar" on account of their medical thinking. That is very strange to me. And I would also have to ask him, if the gospel is to fill the whole earth, doesn't there have to come a time when we are not thought of as "peculiar"?

The list of herbs at the end of the book can be useful, but again, they must be used very carefully and cautiously. Most of the herbs he lists are not adaptogens, and require great care and skill.

Another little note about using herbs. Even the balance of adaptogens is destroyed if they are processed to much or in wrong ways. Many professional herbalists don't even seem to realize that using alcohol to make tinctures destroys their adaptogenic properties.

In my opinion, whole foods are still the best way to go.

I do love the use of many herbs, like : cinnamon, turmeric, oregano, garlic and cayenne.
I also encourage the use of whole herbs known as vegetables. Eat them fresh and raw, or lightly steamed.

I do agree with the author that most people today rely much too heavily on modern medicine, and not enough on common sense, and belief in what God has told us through his prophets.

However, when the Lord gave "The Word of Wisdom" to the prophet, he was not talking to botanists, or herbalist on their level of understanding. He was talking to people who knew and understood basic agriculture and farming. It was to be understood from that perspective of knowing the basics of feeding and caring for a family through day to day living. Growing crops, and taking care of livestock was what most of the saints knew. "The Word of Wisdom" is about living a healthy lifestyle, not about how to doctor the sick.

Well, there you have my take on the book. Interesting history, but off the mark with it's evangelical herbalism.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Beware Of Caloric Based Health Advice

I saw a health specialist in the news this week warn people to not eat too much natural granola or nuts, because they contained too many calories. This is exactly the kind of health advice that is making this country obese.

Calories have almost nothing to do with your health, or your weight. It is much more important to concentrate on what kinds of nutrients and toxins are in your diet. Maximize nutrients and eliminate toxins.

Any advice that you get that is based on caloric intake is fatally flawed. Calories have importance only on the level of energy. If you don't get enough calories, you won't have enough energy.

Calories are totally disconnected from what your weight may be. If you eat fewer calories than what your body wants, it simply slows down your metabolism to conserve. In fact it will work harder to store fat from what ever food it does get, because it thinks it needs to store whatever it can to survive the famine.

If you eat more calories than your body needs, it can do a couple of things, depending on what kind of food (nutrients and toxins) you are taking in. If your body has the resources it needs, it will simply dump any excess (and toxins) that it doesn't feel the need for. If it doesn't have the resources it needs, it will store the excess (and toxins) in fat, to await a time when it may have the resources it needs to clean it all out.

Unfortunately most medical people, as well as most nutritionists, have bought into the silly formula ; "Calories In - Calories Out = Weight Loss or Gain"

While this formula may look good to a mathematician, it has no basis in reality. Why, because we have no way to actually measure the calories in and out. Even though most adults have bought into this formula, grade school kids have no problem seeing it's major flaw. They usually call it "poop".

That's right! All people have bowel movements. It is the way the body eliminates much of what it doesn't need or want. There are other paths of elimination as well. Breathing, sweating, heat loss, spitting, and other excretions from eyes, ears, nose, and skin.

If you could somehow accurately measure all of these and incorporate them into your formula, then you could perhaps begin to get some kind of real picture of the bodies energy processes. But since no one knows how to do that, and still keep you alive, please throw that formula away and never use it again. It has nothing to do with reality.

Your health (including your weight) is all about quality, not quantity. Eat lots of fresh whole foods, with a emphasis on whole grains, and get plenty of water, exercise, and rest. Then your body can take in what it needs and will have the resources to dump what it doesn't need.

So.... Rule of thumb : If any health advice you receive is based on calories, discard it, it is faulty.

Even being under weight is best solved with quality food and a healthy lifestyle.

Friday, December 04, 2009

What Are You Afraid Of? Doctors Or The News?

Today's medical system seems to be all about fear mongering.

The stories in the news are telling us how fearful we need to be of medical problems.

Today CNN carries a story about how unreliable flu tests are. The point of the story is to scare you into thinking that you may have the H1N1 flu even though you test negatively for it. Even though, in reality, almost no one who gets sick has the swine flu, we are supposed to all assume that we all have the swine flu.

MSNBC runs a story about how more and more women are opting to have their babies at home instead of in hospitals. They then proceed to talk about all the things that can go wrong in a home birth. Again trying to scare people into going to hospitals.

But for those of us who understand the basics of human health, and the realities of the business of medicine as practiced in hospitals today, these stories are just sad commentaries on how badly our medical system is functioning.

The first story actually shows how a mother is fearful due to all the hype, so when her daughter gets a fever, she runs her down to the emergency room. There, they do a quick test and tell her that she doesn't have the flu and she will be fine if she takes a couple of drugs.

So instead of the mother making sure the child is getting plenty of water and antioxidants to help her immune system function well, the child is given drugs to cover up symptoms. So, the next day, the symptoms reappear and the fever is even higher. This time up to 104 degrees.

Now a person who understands the immune system knows that this is the body trying to fight off some kind of infection. But people who get their news from the big business controlled media see this as an emergency that can only be handled by big business. So, the mother again rushes the child to the emergency room. This time they decide to give the child antibiotics.

What the medical community and this mother are too blinded to see, is that antibiotics are another attack on an already challenged immune system. So instead of doing anything to boost the immune system, they have only succeeded in throwing more challenges at the immune system in the form of drugs and antibiotics.

They could have encouraged more fresh fruit and veggies, plenty of water with minerals, fresh air and sunshine, and a little exercise. All of these would help the immune system to do it's job. But none of that was even mentioned.

This is a major flaw in the current medical paradigm. There is a basic disconnect with reality. Everything is supposed to be taken care of with pills and injections, when in reality these things can only cause more imbalance in the body, eventually leading to further problems. They are trying to micro-manage a system that they don't understand. That, in my opinion is idiocy.

The second story is also all about trying to scare you into getting extra medical attention.

Pregnancy is a natural process. It is not a disease. Yet when a woman is pregnant she is told how horrible the experience could be and how she needs to have lots of medical attention or she and her baby could die.

Is it true? Yes, there are various things that can go wrong with a pregnancy and birth, but if you study the reality of births at home and births at hospitals, you find that the home birth is actually much safer.

Why is a home birth safer? Because it is viewed as a wonderful natural experience. Why is a hospital birth more dangerous? Because it is viewed as a disease that needs to be treated.

In today's medical system it is almost impossible to have a normal natural birth in a hospital. Because they interfere all along the process with little things that they think will help.

But in reality, most of their helps are hindrances. They are trying to micro-manage a normal process that has it's own time schedule, to make it match a text book scheduled "ideal".

The fears are so ingrained into the system, that any deviation from "the norm" must be dealt with. Usually with some drug. The drug interferes with the natural process and throws it out of whack. The consequences of this is that the process is now pushed into an artificial mode. The body is now no longer doing what it would have done normally, so there is more need of further interventions. In most cases, these days, this eventually leads to surgery. The baby has been put into so much stress by all the unnatural intrusions on the body, that it needs to be taken out of the mother's womb forcibly through extreme measures.

These scenarios of course reinforce the whole idea that giving birth is a very dangerous process that requires constant medical attention. Look at all the problems that are "discovered" when women are "properly monitored".

Now, let me be clear. I do not recommend that women give birth at home completely alone. There are real challenges that can arise in a birthing process. But a good midwife can handle most of these and help to allow the process to continue naturally. This leads to a much healthier outcome for both the mother and the child.

It seems that everywhere you look these days you see some representative of the medical establishment trying to scare people into getting unnecessary interventions, that in the long run are detrimental to human health.

In my opinion the medical establishment has gone so far astray that they now promote disease more than health. They want everyone to be scared to death of every little cough or sniffle. They want everyone to believe that the only way to be healthy is to have your body micro-managed by a medical professional. In the process, they have become more and more disconnected from the knowledge of the normal and natural processes that take place in the human body.

Remember that drugs are a source of imbalance. If doctors still believed in the old adage "First Do No Harm", they would only think of drugs as a very last resort. They would rarely use any.
Did you know that today, drugs are responsible for more deaths than any one disease?

Most all illness can be handled very well with whole foods and wholesome practices. But don't expect miraculous results over night. Long term health is all about healthy lifestyle.

Next time you see a story in the news that makes you think you might need to go see a doctor to see if you are normal, take a deep breath and sit back and think. You didn't think you needed to see the doctor before you read the story. So, it is probably just the story that is sick.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Healthy Holiday Cooking

It's holiday time with lots of treats to eat. Can you stay healthy through the holidays?

Sure! It's easy.

Just take a little time to think about what you are cooking and eating. Eat lots of fresh fruit and veggies, and make a few simple changes in you're recipes.

When a recipe calls for flour, just make your own with fresh ground whole wheat. It's a little heavier than junk flour, but it really pays off in improved health.

When a recipe calls for sugar, substitute honey or fresh fruit. You only need 2/3 the amount of honey as you would sugar, and you reduce the amount of liquid by 1/4 cup for every cup of honey you use. You can also reduce the baking temperature by 25 degrees, because the honey browns easier than the sugar.

If a recipe calls for margarine, use raw butter instead.

Replace all corn oil or soy oil with coconut oil.

Instead of using chocolate bars packed with sugar, use real raw cacao. Sweeten with fruit or honey.

Replace corn syrup with honey also.

For a wonderful healthy treat, try my no-cook brownies.

2 cups of whole wheat freshly ground into flour
1 cup of raw cacao powder
1 cup of virgin coconut oil
1 cup of raw honey
Add some cinnamon and cayenne powders if you like.

Mix it all together and put it in the fridge for a while.
My wife and I like to form it into little balls and then put it in the fridge.
What a great snack! Very yummy! AND very healthy!

Have a great holiday season!
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Toquerville Trails Turkey Trot Results for 2009

5th Annual Toquerville Trails Turkey Trot Results 11/26/2009

*For an easier to read PDF file of the results go HERE.

Bryce Thomas set a new course record for the short course. He covered the very rough terrain in only 16:13. By the way he is only 7 years old. Keep on eye on that one.

3 Miles Race

Sex Group Name Time Division Gender Overall Bib #

M 30-34 Thomas Dansie 23:19.00 1/2 1/18 1/34 80

M 0-14 Micah Scholes 26:04.00 1/5 2/18 2/34 74

F 30-34 Tricia Proctor 26:44.00 1/4 1/16 3/34 91

M 40-44 Rich Scholes 26:45.00 1/1 3/18 4/34 72

F 30-34 Sheri Scott 27:10.00 2/4 2/16 5/34 90

M 15-18 Brandon LeFevre 27:12.00 1/2 4/18 6/34 62

M 50-54 Layne Garner 27:22.00 1/2 5/18 7/34 61

M 45-49 Roger Barrett 27:43.00 1/2 6/18 8/34 101

M 15-18 Ben Thayer 27:45.00 2/2 7/18 9/34 67

F 35-39 Tana Hall 27:46.00 1/2 3/16 10/34 95

F 15-18 Emily Scholes 27:51.00 1/2 4/16 11/34 73

M 50-54 Gary Adams 28:08.00 2/2 8/18 12/34 106

F 40-44 Rachel Scholes 28:23.00 1/1 5/16 13/34 71

F 30-34 Elizabeth Dansie 28:56.00 3/4 6/16 14/34 81

M 55-59 Craig Knight 30:11.00 1/1 9/18 15/34 107

M 0-14 Taylor Hobbs 30:16.00 2/5 10/18 16/34 105

F 45-49 Carol Manwaring 30:24.00 1/2 7/16 17/34 108

F 0-14 Rachel Stone 30:29.00 1/2 8/16 18/34 86

M 0-14 Damien English 30:33.00 3/5 11/18 19/34 92

M 25-29 Jim Clark 31:44.00 1/2 12/18 20/34 109

M 30-34 Shay Jolley 32:23.00 2/2 13/18 21/34 98

F 19-24 Rachelle Ballard 33:04.00 1/3 9/16 22/34 65

F 35-39 Robbie Ellison 33:21.00 2/2 10/16 23/34 104

F 30-34 Christine Jolley 35:37.00 4/4 11/16 24/34 99

F 19-24 Abby Ashcroft 35:48.00 2/3 12/16 25/34 66

M 45-49 Jeffrey Manwaring 36:12.00 2/2 14/18 26/34 110

F 15-18 Jessica Stone 37:08.00 2/2 13/16 27/34 85

M 0-14 Noah Scholes 37:14.00 4/5 15/18 28/34 76

M 0-14 Conner Shaw 37:14.00 5/5 16/18 29/34 79

F 45-49 Suzanne Gergetz 37:38.00 2/2 14/16 30/34 83

M 25-29 Ben McMurray 37:59.00 2/2 17/18 31/34 96

F 19-24 Ashley McMurray 37:59.00 3/3 15/16 32/34 97

F 0-14 Hannah Scholes 38:41.00 2/2 16/16 33/34 75

M 35-39 Mark Fisher 45:10.00 1/1 18/18 34/34 68

1.7 Miles Race

Sex Group Name Time Division Gender Overall Bib #

M 0-14 Bryce Thomas 16:13.00 1/6 1/8 1/16 87

M 0-14 Shawn LeFevre 17:46.00 2/6 2/8 2/16 63

F 25-29 Charlotte Amy 18:31.00 1/3 1/8 3/16 102

M 25-29 Trujillo Amy 18:31.00 1/1 3/8 4/16 103

M 0-14 Britton Thomas 20:36.00 3/6 4/8 5/16 88

F 0-14 Brooke Thomas 20:51.00 1/2 2/8 6/16 89

F 25-29 Emily Ballard 22:23.00 2/3 3/8 7/16 64

M 0-14 Porter Dansie 27:08.00 4/6 5/8 8/16 82

F 40-44 Rebekah Shaw 27:08.00 1/1 4/8 9/16 77

M 0-14 Raegan Shaw 27:08.00 5/6 6/8 10/16 78

F 19-24 Shayna Gorton 27:45.00 1/1 5/8 11/16 100

M 45-49 Mark English 28:56.00 1/1 7/8 12/16 93

M 0-14 Devin English 28:56.00 6/6 8/8 13/16 94

F 0-14 Emme Claire A. 45:10.00 2/2 6/8 14/16 70

F 30-34 Leana Fisher 45:10.00 1/1 7/8 15/16 69

F 25-29 Mary Stone 55:00.00 3/3 8/8 16/16 84

Thanks to all who came and helped! Sorry it took so long to post the results.

The longer and rougher course record still stands at 21:35, clocked last year by Ryan Garner.