Tag Archives: health

5 Steps to a Healthy Being by Beth Ellen DiLuglio M.S., R.D., C.N.S.D., C.C.N., LD/N,


5 steps, 5 simple steps can help us reduce dis-ease and induce ease.

1)  EAT WHAT GROWS OUT OF THE GROUND.  A pretty simple concept, yet the best way to have a healthy diet high in fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients, good fats and good carbs.  Eating 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables combined can reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease,  high blood pressure and even osteoporosis.  Ideally eat 9 or more servings per day for optimal health.  Add whole grains, legumes,  nuts, seeds, herbs and spices and you are on your way to a truly health promoting diet.  Of course it is important to minimize exposure to pesticides and toxins that can end up in our produce and we’ll cover that in a future post.

2)  HYDRATE.  Drinking adequate amounts of fluids is extremely important to our metabolism.  Our bodies are at least 60% water and even mild dehydration can lead to headaches, fatigue and impaired athletic performance.  Preferably our fluid intake will mostly come from purified water (I recommend Reverse Osmosis for several reasons we will cover in a future post).  You can use RO water to make tea, coffee, lemonade and fruit seltzers.  Most of us need at least 1 ounce per kilogram of body weight to start.  We need to take in additional fluid in case of hot weather, losses during exertion, fever and other specific conditions.

3)  BE ACTIVE.  We all know that a sedentary lifestyle can increase our risk of heart disease and even cancer!  Moderate activity that lasts at least 60 minutes should be done daily , or at least 5 days per week.  To improve our fitness level, aerobic activity can be added a minimum of 3 times per week along with some weight training to build and maintain lean body mass.

4)  RELAX.  Stress can be as detrimental as a poor diet.  The “fight or flight” response is great if you have to wrestle a foe or escape from one.  A chronic “fight or flight” response is not great as the hormones coursing through our bloodstream can actually wreak havoc on our systems over time.  A constant barrage of cortisol can even negatively affect parts of the brain.  Deep breathing can reverse the stress response and begin to restore balance and harmony.  Plan play time and get adequate sleep in order to keep that balance.

5)  SMILE!  Just the thought of a smile can make us feel really good.  Imagine what the real thing can do!

Mele is Out of Armour and Out of Options


Below, Mele describes her plight struggling to adjust to the disappearance of Armour from U.S. pharmacies. She discovered what was explained in my post, “Behind the Disappearance of Armour”. Forest Pharmaceuticals and Medicare are both responding in their own ways to the FDA decree that Armour Thyroid submit an application (NDA) as if it were any new drug seeking to come to market now. The FDA is charged with the responsibility to assure all prescription drugs in the U.S. demonstrate minimum levels of safety and efficacy. As a bureaucracy the FDA is unable (unwilling) to find a way to use the 50+ years of unblemished clinical experience unique to Armour, to satisfy this requirement. Rather than correct its own deficiency the FDA is forcing many thousands of hypothyroid patients on dessicated thyroid products to go through the difficult and potentially dangerous process of finding alternative thyroid hormone therapies. I am guessing that the FDA is receiving support for this policy from companies making synthetic t4 products and from medical organizations and their officers who receive funds from these same companies. Let’s not forget that Forest itself markets a generic t4 product, Levothroid, which will absorb some of the business lost by the withdrawal of Armour.

Mele submits her story to metabolism.com:

I’m just devastated. I could only get a seven day supply yesterday of Armour at Wal-Mart. They have no idea what the problem is and told me to come in Tuesday and they would have some again. I had no idea there was a problem again (last year’s nightmare made me assume everything would be ok after Forrest redid their manufacturinging plant) until I googled today.

I am 66 years old and have been on Armour Thyroid since I was 15 years old when I had a subtotal thyroidectomy for carcinoma. The only time I ever tried Synthroid was about 20 years ago when an endocrinologist convinced me that I was going to get osteoporosis if I continued using Armour. I only took it for two months, and when I walked into my family doctor’s office at the end of the two months, he took haveone look me and said “whWt is wrong? You are not you”. I wasn’t me anymore (and the blood tests he ordered confirmed that I was very low on T3 and barely in the normal range for T4). That was probably the most terrifying experience I have ever had. I had no idea how totally entwined my personality, and feelings of well being, are dependent on Armour. I still find it scary that “me” is a product of a drug I take and when I take a different brand, I am no longer me. I felt like a stranger in my own skin…weak, no sparkly, dramatic personality… instead dull feeling, acting and cobwebs in my brain. My family doctor said that he was putting me back on Armour immediately and slowly I began to feel like me again.

I’m terrified now. I am in the middle of trying to prepare for a very complicated (nothing is ever simple or easy medically for me) cataract surgery in another city that I have fly to repeatedly for the presurgical appointments. If I have to go on Synthyroid again…how can I deal with this other upcoming surgery? It can’t be put off as I can barely see to drive now.

Anyhow, I agree with others here that we have to organize and fight this. I find it very difficult to believe this is simply a shortage of the thyroid powder that Forrest is claiming is the problem. This is the FDA meddling, yet again, with patients very lives. I think I know an organization that will help us as they have fought bloody battles with the FDA for many years and have been victorious to a large extent. I am speaking of the Life Extension Foundation. I’ll be contacting them.

Two other things. For what it is worth, I have noticed no problems with the change in Armour but for the first time in many years, I have not done thyroid blood levels in two years. But I feel fine so I guess I don’t have the absorbtion problem some mention with the new formula. I have had hair breakage though which I have puzzled over and that could well be due to the formula change.

As for Medicare and Armour, I have had Medicare since a drunk driver hit me many years ago so I have had Medicare long before I turned 65. When Medicare Part D first appeared Armour was on the Medicare forumulary. That was in mid 2006. Armour was on the Medicare formulary in 2007 also. Beginning Jan 2008, Armour was removed from the Medicare formulary. My physician I did a lot of research, calling, letter writing, etc. about it. My drug plan was and still is from AARP/United Health Care. United Health Care is angry about the Armour situation. However, they cannot make a special exception to cover it when a physician asks them to do so (as mine did) because their hands are tied. They are required by law to allow ONLY drugs that are approved and on the Medicare formulary.

AARP/United Health Care covers ALL drugs on the Medicare formulary and by law cannot cover any that are banned from the Medicare formulary. Armour was banned in 2008. I called Forest about it and was extremely puzzled by their lacksidasical response. My physician wrote Forrest also and they sent back a reply that had nothing to do with the question about Armour being removed from the Medicare formulary. My physician learned later that his, and my, suspicions were correct. It was removed because the FDA told Medicare that they could not cover a drug that had not gone through the NDA I believe it is called…where a new drug has to undergo extensive clinical trials as per FDA regulations. We learned that the FDA was requiring Forrest to do this if they wanted Medicare coverage for Armour. Well, that is not possible. Forrest charges very little for Armour. Where are they supposed to get the money for the many years of clinical trials that the FDA has demanded? The FDA knew that demanding this would effectively kill Armour and that was their intent.

So, since Jan 2008, I have had to pay for a Medicare Part D plan that I can’t use because the only drug I take (unless I need an antibiotic or something short term) is Armour. Wat is worse, most health insurance companies follow the Medicare formulary so if Medicare no longer covers Armour then most insurance plans will not cover it either.

Building bridges


Metabolism related disorders can really sneak up on you with no warning. Actually almost any disease can, the question is what you can do to prevent it or to manage it. There are many articles around how to prevent various disorders but, really, there are so many of them you don’t even want to know. Plus, it can create an anxiety to think about that. Before attending Chinese medicine school I had no idea about the variety of diseases, and at some point in the western medicine section of my education, particularly pathology, I even freaked out looking at all these scary photos. The bottom line is you never know what your genetic blueprint is exactly going to produce, what new flu is about to emerge, and which next food choice would be proved dangerous. I’m not even mentioning numerous prescription and over-the-counter drugs with various issues. However the reality, there is not so much you can do to control external environment, even by washing your hands and buying organic. Don’t take me wrong, please by all means take precautions – watch your diet, visit your doctor for regular checkups, follow the news on health and nutrition. And whatever happens – stay calm. It is your internal environment you can control to make decisions from the balanced and educated mood.

Many of us experienced scary moments when dreadful news are delivered to us and loved ones about the disease that has no cure and at the best can be managed with medications or nothing at all – just wait and see. Probably the scariest of all is placing your fate to the hands of your doctor while “googling” for hours, asking friends, pacing back and forth, screaming at heavens, feeling powerless. Then you have to make a decision – either disease has you – or – you have been diagnosed with the disease. I would strongly advocate for the second choice simply because it leaves you with the power to choose what to do from the place of your own unique constitution – on all levels. The disease never manifests exactly the same for everyone, and never can be treated exactly the same. The limitation here is what you already know vs what you don’t know yet.

The rule of thumb: never give up. The miraculous cures are recorded over and over again – while you have a hope you have a chance. Don’t believe a doctor who takes hope away from you, it is your health and your body – you have the right to press for answers, demand explanations, copies of your medical records, and consultations about other choices. Turn your attention to alternative medicine. A good medical doctor never blindly dismisses an alternative option – he will study it and give you his/her opinion. Some doctors don’t have time to educate themselves about other kinds of medicine and you can encourage them to do so. More and more medical doctors embrace acupuncture, nutrition, homeopathy, and other modalities in their practice or in collaboration with other practitioners. It all comes down to what patient will benefit from the most, and the safety of therapies integration. It is equally important to provide your alternative medicine doctor with copies of your lab results, especially if you are looking to benefit from herbal medicine or nutrition care.

We are lucky to live now – the age of technology. Modern and ancient medicines are dancing together building bridges between top-notch machines and dried herb decoctions, brain surgeries and homeopathy. Using it all you can expand your choices and the most important – build a well-defined plan to heal yourself using the expertise of doctors and specialists you trust.

Nature’s Hydroxycut


another secret from nature

another secret from nature

Yes you read it right, hydroxycitric acid (HCA, or “hydroxycut” used in many diet formulas that are otherwise dangerous to the body, bad bad bad) has a natural safe original source:

the Hibiscus Flower!

Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) is effective in weightloss because it helps to stop the conversion of carbs in food to body fat. It fights appetite and encourages weight loss  not by increasing your energy, but by limiting how much we convert the carbs we eat. HCA is not a good idea on low carb dieting (which is a crap idea anyhow) but it does help weight loss when used with a healthy program of general calorie restriction reducing consumption of carbs, protein, and fats equally.

Hibiscus tea affects how we absorb fats and carbohydrates because it contains phaseolamin, a powerful enzyme inhibitor that blocks amylase, the enzyme responsible for breaking down fats and carbohydrates.  This enzyme inhibitor acts in the same way as the drugstore-pill versions, but remains in its natural, unadulterated form and is much safer and more beneficial for the body than laboratory-produced concoctions. (This can be said for almost all things, if it comes in nature, why make it in a lab?) By the way, the same form of amylase inhibitors is present in kidney beans and other hard-to-digest legumes, so eat your beans! 😉

In addition to blocking the absorption of sugars, this traditional tea has cleansing and anti-bloating properties, helping the body rid of excess fluids and therefore further contributing to weight loss, especially in premenstrual and menopausal women. It’s especially good for women as it balances our Yin (female) and Yang (male) energies when our hormones are changing.

Hibiscus tea is caffeine-free and has a high vitamin C content, it has a bright red color and a tart cranberry-like flavor, it’s like natures Kool-aide but way way better for you.  Hibiscus tea is also known to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. In folk medicine, they are used to prevent and treat heart and liver diseases. I dare you to get those benefits out of a crappy diet pill or kiddie drink!

You can find dried loose flowers in most nature stores, and some brands even market hibiscus tea bags. It’s inexpensive (no more than $20 per pound here in NY, and a full pound will last eaons) and can also be added to loose green or black tea for an added flavor.

HOW TO MAKE IT:

Steep 3-4 dried flowers  in about 16oz of freshly boiled water for 5 minutes. It’s so great in the summer as a refreshing afternoon drink, but to use it medicinally for cholesterol or weight loss management, I suggest you have 3 cups a day, 1 hour after each meal.

Kimberly, counselor since 1998 and founder of www.RedAppleYoga.com, holds a Masters in Health & Healing as a Certified Nutritional Counselor, a Masters in Education and is an internationally trained advanced  Yoga and Yoga Therapy instructor that has worked and studied in New York, Spain and in Southern India. Her practice is based in New York City. She believes in showing her clients how to combine time-tested ancient theories with modern knowledge to get the best benefits from both worlds.

Cardamom, small spice with huge benefits


Did you know that Cardamom, that secret spice in many Indian and Mediterranean dishes is nature’s Ricola and Pepto bismal all in one?

small pods with huge potential

small pods with huge potential

Ever taste the earthy vanilla undertones in Chai or that gloopy Indian milk dessert and wonder what that special flavor is? Most likely it’s cardamom. In the traditional Indian medicine, Ayurveda,

cardamom seeds are also used as lozenges to suck on after meals to help digestion. I’ve tried it, its a little minty, sorty like licorice but pleasant.

Indian medicine says that the acid from teas and coffee and spicy foods irritate the intestines, leading to an increase of gassy gassiness that make the other foods we eat (namely milk, cheese, wheat) more difficult to digest. Cardamom in your diet can help the body to better digest all the other possibly irritating foods we eat because they are natural carminatives which reduce gas. I recently learned that the word “carminative” comes from the latin word that means to “card” as in carding wool…so it helps to remove gas from the intestinal wall as you would remove knots from wool. See, didn’t you always want to know that? 😉

Cardamom is also used in the Middle east as an additional flavor to ground coffee, making coffee brewed with these little pods less acidic on the body and actually helps regulate how we absorb the caffeine. You’ll still get the buzz without the possible gas or irritated stomach. And besides, it can make any coffee, especially bargain brand coffee taste like something that rhymes with Barbucks.

If you want to try it out, buy the bottled powder stuff and use it with cinnamon…over toast, oatmeal, in a cookie recipe, even in tea with milk and cheat your way to better digestion.


Best Benefits of Cardamom:

  • Detox the body of caffeine
  • Cleanses kidneys and bladder
  • Stimulates digestion and reduces gas
  • Improves circulation to lungs, helping asthma and bronchitis
  • Cures bad breath, even the official “halitosis” bad breath
Kimberly, counselor since 1998 and founder of www.RedAppleYoga.com, holds a Masters in Health & Healing as a Certified Nutritional Counselor, a Masters in Education and is an internationally trained advanced  Yoga and Yoga Therapy instructor that has worked and studied in New York, Spain and in Southern India. Her practice is based in New York City. She believes in showing her clients how to combine time-tested ancient theories with modern knowledge to get the best benefits from both worlds.

Lose weight and still eat the foods you love


Did you know that nutrition is just as much about HOW and WHEN you eat as it is about what you eat?

Did you know that you can get more nutrients from eating your favorite neighborhood pizza in the right way, than you could from eating a steamed organic bowl of vegetables in the wrong way?

Ayurveda, the ancient system of health from India has given us tools to maximize the nutrients we get from our foods and to improve our digestion. So here’s 3 quick and crucial tips from ancient India!:

  1. When you eat, no matter what it is, chew it slowly, aiming for at least 30 chews per mouthful. Our saliva is the first step of digestion. Chewing well breaks down the food before your stomach processes it, exposing more of the nutrients to your body and also minimizing problems with reflux, acid and indigestion. Plus, savoring your food makes it last longer and may reduce the total amount of food you need to feel satisfied.
  2. When eating a heavy food like pizza, burgers, ice cream etc. try to eat these foods earlier on in the day, say for lunch or for an early dinner before 6:00pm. This will allow your body to digest and process the food before bed, going to sleep with a full stomach is at the root of a lot of weight management problems.
  3. When you eat a heavy meal, start with a raw salad filled with tons of crisp greens and your favorite light veggies like tomatos, cucumber, carrots etc topped with a light vinegar based dressing. The raw veggies act like a broom through the stomach, helping the body to digest the main meal and helping you maintain your weight.

Ancient India and China have a variety of techniques that can change your life depending on your lifestyle, body type, appetite, region that you live amongst many other considerations. This is something that an experienced practitioner can help you to decide. The above 3 suggestions will work for anyone anywhere and will provide simple and dramatic changes. Try them on for yourself and see how simple big change can be!