Swine Flu and Vitamin C: 60 Minutes Documentary

A colleague sent me this story from 60 Minutes New Zealand.  It’s a 17-minute video about a family who used high dose vitamin C when their father was dying of swine flu. Interesting video, if you have a few minutes. Plus, when do you get hear a 60 Minutes-style documentary with a Kiwi accent? 🙂



Living Proof: Vitamin C – Miracle Cure?

Ear Infections: Does Your Child Need Antibiotics?

A study published this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that antibiotics have little effect on childhood ear infections. You can read an overview on CNN.

The gist is this: most kids will recover from their ear infection at the same rate with OR without antibiotics, simply by providing pain relief. That helps avoid antibiotics side effects like rashes and diarrhea.

A Naturopathic Approach

Ear aches are a complaint we see a LOT in the clinic, and for good reason – if you’ve had an ear infection you know how painful it is. That pain is caused by pressure on the ear drum.

One naturopathic approach is to use a castor oil pack (see below), drink lots of fluids and get your child to move. Gentle exercise moves the lymph, increases circulation and may help the ear drain.

New pediatric guidelines will likely recommend pain relief instead of antibiotics, depending on the case.  JAMA also has some guidelines for knowing when an antibiotic is in order. When in doubt, see your health care provider!

How To Use A Castor Oil Pack

Our last patient newsletter included this tip – we thought we’d share it here.

Castor oil moves the lymph, strengthens the immune system and has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. It can be easily used by almost anyone, anytime. (If you’re pregnant, using a castor oil pack on your abdomen is not recommended unless you are trying to get a little one out who has overstayed their welcome.)

What you’ll need:

  • A bottle of castor oil, NOT cod liver oil. Castor oil can be bought in any drug store or health food store
  • A clean dye-free cloth
  • A heating pad (those bean bags you heat in the microwave are great)
  • A comfy place to sit or lay for 15-30 minutes

Sore throat?
Apply castor oil liberally to your neck, cover with a clean cloth. Apply a gentle heating pad and let it sit there for 30 minutes.

A little one with an ear ache?
Apply around ear and all down the neck of the affected side. Cover with a clean cloth and apply gentle heat for 15-30 minutes.

A tummy ache?
Apply castor oil to abdomen, cover with clean cloth and apply gentle heat for 30 minutes.

Castor oil can be applied to any area that is feeling congested and full of inflammation. Do twice a day for a couple of days – although sometimes once is all that’s required!

Diabetic-Friendly: Steel Cut Oats and Chocolate Pudding

Lia’s diabetes talk in Clarksburg / Thornbury last night was a big success – thanks to everyone who came out. For those of you looking for the recipes for the delicious goodies she brought along, here you go!

Steel Cut Oats6 servings (approx 40g complex carbohydrate / serving)

  • 300g Steel cut oats
  • 1L water
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pure organic vanilla
  • 2 bananas mushed
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1/4 cup nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds)
  • 1/4 cup Goji berries

Boil steel cut oats in water with cinnamon on medium temperature until cooked (20 min). Remove from burner and add the rest of the ingredients… Enjoy!

Chocolate Avocado Pudding4 servings (9g carbohydrate w maple syrup version)

  • 2 small-med sized ripe avocados
  • 1 banana
  • 1-2 TBSP maple syrup (depends on taste) or use a packet of Stevia to get rid of 20g of sugar calories
  • 3 TBSP organic cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp pure organic vanilla
  • 1-2 TBSP water or almond milk

Put all things into a blender and blend on high speed, scraping down the sides in between. Should come to a creamy delicious consistency.

This is a great therapeutic food for a diabetic, especially with the Stevia conversion. Avocado and banana supply much needed potassium for the diabetic, and pure cocoa improves glucose balancing throughout the day. Also hyperallergenic!

Is Your Health a Problem or a Constraint?

One of my favourite bloggers is Seth Godin. Recently, he wrote about the difference between a problem and a constraint.

Here is his definition of the two: “A problem is solvable. A constraint must be lived with.”

Seth is a business writer, but the insight can be applied just as readily to health. Many of today’s chronic health problems are being billed by conventional medicine and the media as constraints – something we have to live with, instead of solve.

When we say, “It’s in my genes,” we’re looking at health through the lens of constraints. When we say, “There’s nothing I can do about my high blood pressure/high cholesterol/Type II diabetes,” we’re seeing more constraints – diseases, conditions and labels that have to be “lived with” and managed.

But research and experience is telling us a different story: many of our so-called “diseases” aren’t constraints. They’re just problems. They’re the result of poor diet, sedentary lifestyles and chronic stress.

And those are things we can fix.

When you see a health concern as a problem, not a constraint, it means that YOU can solve it. That’s empowering stuff.

Making Sense of Osteoporosis

Statistics tell us that 25% of people who break a hip will be dead within a year. It’s a scary stat, and it makes osteoporosis—a condition of bone degeneration and low bone mass—a big deal.

It also leads many to turn to bisphosphonate meds like Didrocal, Fosamax and Actonel to keep their bones strong.

In recent news, though, osteoporosis drugs are being linked to “atypical femur fractures”— fractures with no trauma required. This can create a lot of confusion because we’re told that these drugs are meant to decrease fractures, not cause them—what gives?

The mystery lies in how bones work. Bone is an active tissue that constantly repairs itself through our entire life. Two types of cells in the bone do this work: osteoclasts, or bone-builders, and osteoblasts, the bone “taker-downers” that remove older, weaker structure to make way for newer, stronger stuff.

Here’s the important part: osteoporosis medications work by stopping the breakdown action of the osteoblasts. That means your bones will indeed stay thicker because the old weak stuff isn’t being broken down. But thicker doesn’t always mean better. The job of improving quality and preventing fractures falls to you.

You can do that in three ways:

  • Don’t fall: This seems overly simplistic but most falls as we age are caused by decreased flexibility and strength, and can be prevented. Maintain these two things to greatly decrease your risk.
  • Stimulate bone building: Try weight bearing exercise and yoga. Sorry—there’s still no magic pill for exercise!
  • Build Better Bones: Give your osteoclasts what they need to make quality bones. A good diet and supplements can give your body things like calcium, magnesium, strontium, manganese, vitamin D and vitamin K to name a few.