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Supplementing Sales with Social Media

Posted By Reprinted with permission by Vitamin Retailer Magazine - November 2016 Issue, , Friday, November 25, 2016

by Terry Lemerond

When that familiar tone chimes on your phone, it's probably an alert from a social media account, rather than an actual call or text. Social communication has quickly shifted from face-to-face interactions, to Facebook-to-Facebook exchanges. According to Facebook's website, the networking giant has more than one billion people that log in on a daily basis, and this upward trend has not slowed since its inception in 2004. Nipping at its heels are other platforms, such as Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest. While each of these sites has its own niche, the synergy created when using multiple platforms can have tremendous benefits, as the saying goes "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts."

Gone are the days when an online presence solely consisted of constructing a website with your unique URL. While websites are still a necessity, they have shifted from the only source of information to the structural framework that provides housing for social media newsfeeds. Websites are a tremendous resource, but updating them as often as a Facebook or Twitter account is cumbersome and time consuming .Use your website to highlight important information (store location, phone number, driving direction_, showcase your different social media outlets, and make it very user friendly. If possible, generate a mobile version of your website that makes your content more compatible to people on the go, since the majority of web browsing now takes place on smart phones rather than computers. To help understand the role your website is playing, it's important to monitor your website's traffic. This can be done with free tools like Google Analytics that can give you tangible feedback on how many views your website has on a daily basis, which pages people are viewing the most, how long the average person stays on your website, and many other pieces of valuable information. 

PAY TO PLAY
Social media is all about engaging with customers outside of your store. But getting them to like your Facebook page, or follow you on Instagram, can take a little effort on your end. There are two approaches to generating more traffic, you can pay to play, or try a more grassroots campaign. By monetarily investing in your social media channels, you can boost posts or run ads with Facebook and Twitter to target a specific audience, and increase your followers. Or you can run a contest for a free product or store gift certificate. There are also many ways to increase your reach without investing money. You can use top trending hashtags in your Twitter posts, share Facebook posts from pages with a large following, join groups that are aligned with your store's mission, add social sharing buttons to your website or newsletter, and  creating posts with media (pictures or videos) are a great way to capture your audience's attention. 

BUILD RELATIONSHIPS
Nothing drives followers away faster than morphing your social media accounts into an online sales pitch. While it's OK to promote upcoming deals and sales, pushing too hard can leave you with more unfollowers than followers. A great rule of thumb for posting on your social networks is the 80/20 principle - 80 percent of the information should be beneficial for your followers, and 20 percent or less should be brand or sales promoting. Learn what your customers are interested in or want more information on. Do they want more recipes? Then post recipes that can be made with items found in your health food store. Do they want more fitness information? Then see if you can partner with a local health club or fitness expert for a how-to video, weekly blog post or inspirational message. 

While we may wish that every person that walks into our store is not only greeted, but engaged in a meaningful conversation, we know that doesn't always happen. Short videos introducing your staff are a great way for your customers (and potential customers) to meet and develop a relationship with your staff members before they even walk in the door. Maybe one of your staff members is open to discussing products or ingredients they used to support a specific health system. Did you recently bring in a new product line? Make short video discussing why you brought that line in, do they use sustainable sourcing, is there something unique about the product? Any additional information you can give to the customer adds more transparency to the customer-store relationship and strengthens the trust between the two. 

Choose a particular day of the week or month to dedicate to a recurring theme or topic. Maybe it's "What if Wednesday?" and you post a "would your rather" question (i.e.: would you rather drink coffee or espresso?) and see what kind of feedback you get. The question itself isn't necessarily the main focus, but rather engaging your followers so your content stays more relevant in their newsfeeds. You could also do a "Trivia Thursday" where you post trivia questions about people or things in your store. You could even off a reward to the first person that comments on the post or comes into the store with the correct answer. 

SHARING IS CARING
Managing several social media accounts can be a full-time job in itself. However, you don't always have to reinvent the wheel, occasionally you just need to borrow it. Many of your customers are health experts in their own right, so share their posts, videos or ideas, as long as you receive their permission. Some of your followers may already have a large network of their own, and blending your circle with their circle helps to reinforce existing relationship s and sparks the potential for new ones. 

We all have that family member or friend that shares everything, and we know how irritating that can be. While you want to stay active in your customer's newsfeeds, you don't want to run the risk of having them unfollow you due to information overload. Finding that balance will take time and also analysis of the data available for your social media accounts. Keep track of your top performing and underachieving posts, note their similarities or differences (theme, time of day, account), are they videos, blog posts or pictures? Data crunching will be a key that unlocks the door to the right frequency, topic, and time of day to post. 

MANAGING MULTIPLE PLATFORMS
There are a lot of free programs that allow you to control the posting schedule for multiple social media accounts. This can make life a lot easier and allows you to plan posts well in advance. Change up the time of day you post and see if that has an impact of the reach.

Be careful of sharing the same information on every platform, as your followers will notice. If it's a really important topic try sharing it on Facebook and Twitter first, then maybe next week re-share on Pinterest or Instagram. Each of your channels should align with your mission and values, but that doesn't mean they have to be carbon copies of each other. Maybe you post more recipes and DIY projects on Pinterest, or staff selfies and daily store pictures on Instagram. The feedback you receive will help tailor each specific social media site to its target audience, but first you need to identify who that target audience is.

With Millennials now accounting for a large percentage of the population, and purchasing power, conveying important shopping information regarding products, services, and upcoming events is amplified with social media. Most Millennials grew up with computers and learned the inner workings of Facebook while the rest of use were busy trying to figure out how to text. Maybe you can employ someone forma  local college or recent graduate to help manage your social media accounts, or act as a consultant.

If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say it at all. Not all the feedback you receive on your social media sites will be positive. Some will warrant a response, but other times it's best to say nothing and avoid a war of words. Serious criticism can be treated with respect and kindness, but should also be resolved or mediated away from the social media account, "I'm so sorry you did not like {insert products, service, or issue here| We would love to discuss this matter with you further, please send us a private message or email." This is a great way to diffuse a volatile situation, without airing the dirty laundry on social media for everyone to see.

ONE STOP SHOP
You want to be the one-stop-show for not just health products, but also health information. However, this involves a time commitment and diving into market research. Finding the content that is meaningful to your customers and followers will take some experimenting. This also means you need to stay current in market trends, legislation, regulations, and policies, and other important health information. Subscribe to other social media accounts from reputable natural health organizations or websites, but try to avoid posting controversial materials, as this can be a very slippery slope. Positive and uplifting pictures or messages will resonate much better with the majority of your followers. The want for information is there, now capitalize on the demand, and supply the content your customers are searching for. 

ABOUT TERRY LEMEROND
A highly regarded leader in the natural products industry, Terry Lemerond is founder and president of EuroPharma, Inc. He also founded Enzymatic Therapy, In. and PhytoPharmica, In. and is currently co-owner of the Terry Naturally Health Food Store in Green Bay, WI, which recently won its sixth consecutive consumer choice award as "Best of the Bay."

With more than 40 years in the natural products industry, Lemerond has researched and developed more than 400 nutritional botanical formulations that continue to be top-selling products int he market. 

Lemerond shares his wealth of experience and knowledge in health and nutrition through is educational programs, including the Terry Talks Nutrition website, newsletters, podcasts, webinars, and personal speaking engagements. He is the author of two books:
Seven Keys to Vibrant Health and the recently updated Seven Keys to Unlimited Personal Achievement. 

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Anxiety: Friend or Foe? Sometimes Both!

Posted By Reprinted with permission by Vitamin Retailer Magazine - November 2016 Issue, Friday, November 18, 2016

by Cheryl Myers - Contributing Writer, Vitamin Retailer

We all have a definition of what anxiety means to us personally. Maybe it is that tight feeling when you are late for work and you hit all red lights, or the butterflies you feel before having a serious medical test. The textbook definition is that anxiety is the sense of worry, apprehension and unease we feel about an upcoming event with an uncertain outcome. Psychologists view extreme anxiety as a nervous disorder. In fact, it is the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder in the United States. 

At its heart, anxiety is an emotion, and, believe it or not, it is a good thing. It may not be a pleasant experience, but it has kept us alive for countless generations. Anxiety ticks off the warning that the night is too dark to venture into the forest, that you should lock your doors after a string of robberies hits your neighborhood, or that you shouldn't let your small children cross the busy highway alone. Without the distress that anxiety fuels, our ancestors might have made many disastrous decisions and we might not be here today. 

Unfortunately, anxiety can become problematic when it i elicited by common everyday occurrences, or even by nothing at all. There is an impending sense of doom that bad things are about to happen. The neighbor's knock at the door starts the heart pounding, or driving over a bridge causes headaches and sweaty palms. Suddenly, you may have trouble catching your breath. Sometimes anxiety and panic attacks are so severe they are mistaken for heart attacks. In these instances, the physiological response of anxiety has become somewhat disconnected from the actual trigger. And that can cause everything from minor discomfort to paralyzing fear. 

The causes of excessive anxiety are not yet well defined. There may be some brain chemical imbalances that play a role, and there is always the influence of traumatic events not yet reconciled. There are definitely some issues with inflammation and autonomic nervous system dysfunction. But regardless of cause, high levels of anxiety call for relief. High levels of anxiety can cause other health conditions, or make existing health conditions worse. A study published recently in Current Psychiatry Reports found that anxiety disorders are associated with the onset and progression of cardiac disease, including mortality. By restoring better mental balance, all health improves.

THE ADRENAL CONNECTION
The adrenal glands release hormones in stressful situations that stimulate the fight or flight response. These hormones give use that strange feeling in the stomach and rapid heartbeat we associate with fear. Sometimes the adrenal glands over-respond, or respond without our awareness. One useful way to address one of the underlying causes of anxiety is to restore adrenal health. 

There are many elements that support healthy adrenal function, but there are two adaptogenic herbs that stand out: ashwagandha and rhodiola.

ASHWAGANDHA
Adaptogens are rare and precious botanicals that neither systemically increase nor decrease functions in our body - they push toward normal. If a person has low adrenal function and they are feeling overwhelmed and fatigued, ashwagandha will boost adrenal function. But if a person is highly stressed and jittery, it will gently pull this excessive adrenal function back to normal. This herb has also been shown to play a role in modulating GABA (gamma amino-butyric acid), which elicits a sense of calm. In a review of human trial results on using ashwagandha for anxiety, it was found that on average, anxiety measures decreased between 44 and 56 percent.

RHODIOLA
Rhodiola is another adaptogeneic herb that can have profound effects on mood and health. While research is ongoing, early results indicate that phyotnutrients in rhodiola can bind to the GABAA-benzodiazepine site of the GABAAA receptor. These technical results mean that rhodiola can improve mood and create calm without drowsiness or changes in judgment. 

People living in he harshest regions of China and Russia often add a snip of rhodiola root to a bottle of vodka. Over time, the liquid turns a brilliant rosy red. People venturing out in extremes of weather often fortify themselves with a sip of the rhodiola alcohol, or upon returning, and they feel it is highly restorative. I think of both rhodiola and ashwagandha as empowering herbs that can help people feel stronger and more in control, despite stressful situations.

KAVA
An important, clinically studied her that consistently performs well in reducing anxiety is kava. To date, in the electronic database of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) PubMed.gov, there are 176 studies specifically on kava and anxiety. However, reports of liver toxicity threw a monkey wrench into kava utilization, as the extract was banned in Europe, where it had enjoyed much popularity. Those bans are now being lifted as the original evidence is more closely examined and found faulty. What a disservice this has been to people for whom this might have been a useful intervention. Kava is slowly rebuilding its reputation and studies are resuming on this interesting plant.

LAVENDER
Lavender scent has a demonstrated calming effect. There are many published studies demonstrating the benefits of using lavender as aromatherapy. Adding lavender to situations that provoke anxiety can be very beneficial. For example, keeping a small clay scent diffuser on your desk and adding drop of lavender oil each day can be helpful . You can add lavender to the bath or to your pillowcase. 

While the majority of studies examined lavender as aromatherapy, there is strong evidence that internal use of lavender oil can promote sleep and relaxation. One recent study found it very useful for agitation and restlessness. This area of research is quite promising.

ECHINACEA
Echinacea may be a surprise to be included in this list, because the vast majority of the science on echinacea has been about boosting the immune system. However, the Hungarian Academy of Science has been conducting research on a unique echinacea extract of specific compounds found plentifully only in the root of one species (Echinacea angustifolia) grown under specific conditions. This single echinocoside extraction, called EP107, has the ability to partially bind to cannabinoid receptors in the brain. This binding causes a sensation to calm and relaxation without drowsiness or interference with thinking and judgement. 

In an experimental model of anxiety, small doses of this singular extract worked as well as the drug chlordiazepoxide, known by its brand name Librium. This is a drug in the Valium family of compounds and is both sedating and mind altering. It also has high addiction potential, so finding an herbal intervention that shows promise that works as well as this drug, but without the severe adverse effects, is a major step forward in natural therapies for anxiety. 

In a clinical study using the same extract, people with diagnosed anxiety issues were given 20 mg twice daily of this extract. The herbal product reduced anxiety significantly the first day of use, and even more so after one week of use. There were also no reports of drowsiness or confusion, or other adverse effects. 

Practitioners have anecdotally used this extract at slightly higher dosages, 20 mg up to four times daily, and have reported excellent benefits for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), without serious adverse effects. Since this is a single compound and not the whole herb, it won't help prevent the common cold, but it will help reduce anxiety. 

CONCLUSION
There are many natural interventions to help address problematic anxiety levels, and this list is not all inclusive. Healthy omega-3 fatty acids bound to phospholipids from salmon is my personal favorite for delivering much needed EPA and DHA to the brain. Curcumin with turmeric essential oil can play a tremendous role in reducing inflammation. Lemon balm has a proven track record for reducing nervousness and promoting relaxation. Chamomile tea and supplements also promote relaxation. There are many tools in the retailer's tool chest when offering to help customers with this very unpleasant experience: anxiety. 

Cheryl Myers, RN is an integrative health practitioner, author, and an expert on natural medicine. She has degrees in both psychology and nursing, and more than 10 years of experience in psychiatric care. She is a nationally recognized speaker who has been interviewed by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Prevention magazine. Her research on botanicals for menopause has been presented at the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the North American Menopause Society. Myers is the head of Scientific Affairs and Education for EuroPharma, Inc. 

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Assessment of Oxidative Damage to DNA - Cancer, Metals, and Cardiovascular Disease

Posted By David Quig, Phd - VP Scientific Support, Doctor's Data, Inc., Thursday, November 17, 2016
Reactive oxygen species (ROS), both radical and non-radical, are formed continuously in all cells and they are indeed part of physiological and metabolic processes. Under normal physiological conditions there is a balance between the generation of ROS and the body’s ability to appropriately quench them.  When the capacity to quench is exceeded, varying degrees of oxidative stress can ensue.  When sustained major oxidative stress occurs, radical oxygen species such as the hydroxyl radical can cause oxidative damage to important macromolecules such as DNA.  The hydroxyl radical (.OH) readily oxidizes guanosine nucleobases and most of the resultant 8-OH-2’-deoxyguanosine (8-OH-dG) is excised and excreted in urine. 8-OH-dG is the most heavily studied biomarker of excessive intracellular oxidative stress (over 6,200 articles). The level of 8-OH-dG in urine is an important clinical biomarker of oxidative damage to DNA, degenerative diseases, accelerated aging processes, excessive exposure to metals, and cancer. 

We are all subjected to at least low level exposure to environmental and food derived toxicants, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have stated that the epidemic of epidemics of CVD, neurological diseases, and immunological diseases is likely associated with environmental toxicants. Based upon published biomedical literature it is likely that we can add cancers to that list as well.  A primary common effect of environment toxicants, and their partially metabolized toxins, is that they induce oxidative stress in the form of electrophiles and ROS. ROS are formed continuously in all cells and are absolutely essential for life as they participate in cell signaling pathways, and both radical and non-radical ROS are deployed by the immune system to kill invading microorganisms (systemically and in the gastrointestinal tract).  Physiological levels of non-radical oxygen species such as hydrogen peroxide can be readily neutralized by glutathione peroxidase and catalase enzymes.  Likewise even the radical superoxide anion can be neutralized by innate superoxide dismutases. However, when hydrogen peroxide and/or the superoxide radical are produced in excess of the body’s capacity to neutralize the ROS, the .OH is generated from hydrogen peroxide in the Fenton (Fe+) and Haber-Weis (superoxide anion) reactions, respectively. Unlike hydrogen peroxide and the superoxide radical, the extremely reactive .OH has a half-life of only 10-9 seconds and cannot be eliminated by an enzymatic reaction. There aren’t clinically applicable ways to directly measure the .OH, but the damage that it causes to proteins, lipids and DNA can be assessed in various biological matrices.

Oxidative damage to DNA can result in base and sugar modifications, covalent crosslinks, and single- and double-stranded breaks. However with respect to cancer, nucleobase oxidation has been subject of the most research. The C8 position of the 2-deoxyguanosine nucleoside base is extremely vulnerable to oxidation by the .OH resulting in 8-OH-dG. The 8-OH-dG is a radical in and of it-self and is involved in the initiation and promotion of carcinogenesis when not quantitatively removed by DNA repair mechanisms (e.g. the OGG1 protein). 8-OH-dG has a major role in spontaneous mutagenesis. It induces C- to- T transversions which are among the most frequent somatic mutations found in human cancers. Elevated levels of 8-OH-dG in urine have been associated with prostate, bladder, and lung cancer. In recent years numerous studies have identified the importance of urinary levels of 8-OH-dG in human lung cancer, and this association has been linked with exposure to tobacco smoke, diesel exhaust particles (metals and polycyclic hydrocarbons), oil fly ash (vanadium, manganese, nickel and lead), and urban air pollution.  Other research has focused on the effects of occupational exposures to known carcinogens such as benzene, styrene, and inorganic arsenic and urine 8-OH-dG. Therein a dose response relationship has consistently been found.

Exposures to inorganic arsenic, chromium, and mercury have also been found to be associated with elevated levels of urine 8-OH-dG.  Evaluation of the urine levels of arsenic, chromium, and 8-OH-dG for children (n=142, 10-12 years old) in multiple schools in China were determined. One school was adjacent to and downwind of 8 coal-fired power plants (effluent smoke and dust) and the other two schools were upwind in a more suburban area. Urine 8-OH-dG levels were correlated with urine chromium and arsenic levels, and the highest levels of 8-OH-dG were exhibited in the children with high levels of both chromium and arsenic.  The data were analyzed by co-variate analysis of variance and smoking in the home was not a significant co-variate.  In a more recent study, low level exposure to inorganic arsenic in utero and during early childhood was associated with higher levels of urine 8-OH-dG than for non-exposed children.  As methylation reactions are essential for innate detoxification and elimination of inorganic arsenic it is not surprising that those with higher levels of urine arsenic and 8-OH-dG had lower methylation indices (e.g. low plasma SAM : SAH ratios).  Consistent with the mechanism for the appearance of 8-OH-dG in urine, arsenic exposed children that had lower expression of the DNA base excision repair protein (OGG1) also had lower levels of 8-OH-dG in urine.

Exposure to inorganic mercury with compromised serum redox status has also been associated with elevated urine levels of 8-OH-dG. First morning urine levels of mercury and 8-OH-dG, fasted serum glutathione and total thiols were measured in mercury-exposed (active occupational, n=35) and non-exposed control adults in China.  Serum mercury, urine mercury and urine 8-OH-dG levels were markedly higher for the mercury-exposed group, and the biomarkers of redox status were significantly lower for the mercury-exposed group. It should be noted the serum and urine mercury levels in the exposed subjects were about 40-times greater than the non-exposed subjects.

Urine 8-OH-dG also appears to be an emerging risk factor for cardiac events. Urine 8-OH-dG is derived from both cellular and mitochondrial DNA.  In a 1.8 year prospective study of 186 CVD patients the odds ratio for cardiac events was 4-times higher for patients with elevated urine levels of 8-OH-dG. Elevated levels of 8-OH-dG have also been detected in atherosclerotic plaque from humans. Further, in a very recently published meta-analysis (14 studies) it was found that CVD patients had significantly higher urine and serum levels of 8-OH-dG than control subjects. Other conditions associated with elevated levels of urinary 8-OH-dG include mitochondrial dysfunction, inflammatory conditions (NF-ҡB mediated), and diabetic nephropathy and retinopathy (correlated with HbA1c).

Urine levels of 8-OH-dG have in fact been shown to represent levels of oxidative damage to DNA in cells.  The levels in urine and extracted lymphocytes from subjects were highly correlated when 8-OH-dG was measured by three independent methodologies.  Further, a study of human volunteers that were fed highly oxidized N15-labelled DNA clearly demonstrated that diet does not directly contribute to urinary levels of 8-OH-dG, and studies have indicated that normal cell death does not contribute significant levels of 8-OH-dG.  We and others have validated that levels of 8-OH-dG are highly correlated in 24 hour and first AM urine collections, and levels in urine are inherently higher in young children compared to adolescents/adults; age-appropriate reference ranges should be applied.  Urine 8-OH-dG levels can be conveniently assessed in a first morning urine specimen and provide an excellent, non-invasive indication of excessive intracellular oxidative stress and direct oxidative damage to cellular and mitochondrial DNA.

Select References
Gedik MC et al. Oxidative stress in humans: validation of biomarkers of DNA damage. Carninogenesis (2002)23(9):1441-46.  http://carcin.oxfordjournals.org/content/23/9/1441.full 
 Accessed 5 September 2016

Valavanidis A et al. 8-hydroxy-2’-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG): A critical biomarker of oxidative stress and carcinogenesis. J Environ Sci Hlth (2009) 27 Part C:120- 39.  http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/citedby/10.1080/1059050090288568
  Accessed 5 September 2016

Wong R-H et al.  Increased levels of 8-hydroxy-2’-deoxyguanosine attributable to carcinogenic metal exposure among schoolchildren. Env Hlth Perspect (2005)113(10):1386-90.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1281285/
 Accessed 5 September

Hinhumpatch P et al. Oxidative DNA damage and repair in children exposed to low levels of arsenic in utero and during early childhood: application of salivary and urinary biomarkers. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol (2013)273(3):569-79.
Doi:10.1016/j.taap.213.10.003  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0041008X1300433X
  Accessed 30 October 2016
Chen C et al.  Increased oxidative DNA damage, as assessed by urinary 8-hydroxy-2’-deoxyguanosine concentrations, and serum redox status in persons exposed to mercury. Clin Chem (2005)51(4):759-67.  http://clinchem.aaccjnls.org/content/51/4/759.long
  Accessed 5 September 2016

Roseelo-Lleti E et al.  Impact of cardiovascular risk-factors and inflammatory status on urinary 8-OHdG in essential hypertension. Am J Hypertens (2012)25:236-42.  http://ajh.oxfordjournals.org/content/25/2/236.abstract
 Accessed 5 September 2016

Di Minno A et al. 8-Hydroxy-2-Deoxyguanosine Levels and CardiovascularDisease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Literature. Antioxidants & Redox Signaling (2016)24(10).
DOI: 10.1089/ars.2015.6508  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4827317/
  Accessed 13 November 2016 

Feruson LR et al.  Oxidative DNA damage and repair: Significance and biomarkers. J Nutr (2006)136:2687S-89S. http://jn.nutrition.org/content/136/10/2687S.long
 Accessed 5 September 2016

Jomova K et al.  Metals, oxidative stress and neurodegenerative disorders. Mol Cell Biochem (2010)345:91-104.  http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11010-010-0563-x
  Accessed 5 September 2016

Pilger A and Rudiger HW.  8-hydroxy-2’-deoxyguanosine as a marker of oxidative DNA damage related to occupational and environmental exposures. Int Arch Occup Environ Hlth (2006)80(1):1-15.  http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00420-006-0106-7
 Accessed 5 September 2016

Tags:  cancer  cardiovascular disease  DNA  heavy metals  oxidative medicine 

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Vegan Lemon Cake

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Monday, November 7, 2016
Dr. Vasant Lad and his wife Usha, in their cookbook, entitled "Ayurvedic Cooking for Self Healing", describe sour foods: “when used in moderation, they are refreshing and delicious to the taste, stimulate appetite, improve digestion, energize the body, nourish the heart, enlighten the mind, and cause salivation.” For my birthday cake this past month, my daughter baked me a lemon vegan cake that was all of the above and more. Vegan cakes are not for everyone, not that it is so much a taste issue as one of texture. Vegan cakes are more compact and dense, lacking the usual airiness of a typical cake. If that is a concern and you want to give it fluffiness and don’t mind adding in some animal protein, you can mix in eggs into the liquid ingredients. Bon appetite!

INGREDIENTS
• 2 cups of white unbleached organic flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp baking soda
• ½ tsp salt
• ½ cup maple syrup
• zest of a lemon (organic unwaxed)
• ½ cup grapeseed or coconut oil
• 1 ½ tbsp almond milk (add more if needed for perfect consistency of batter)
• 1 tsp vanilla essence
• ¼ cup lemon juice
• 2 eggs (optional)
Lemon Glaze
• 1 cup powdered sugar
• 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven at 350F. Grease a bread form pan and line the inside with a baking sheet.
2. Sift the flour in a bowl and combine with baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest.
3. Add maple syrup, almond milk, safflower or coconut oil, lemon juice and (beaten eggs) and quickly combine all the ingredients to a smooth batter (be careful not to overmix).
4. Pour the batter in the bread form and bake in the oven for 35-45 min or until a skewer comes out clean. Carefully remove the cake from the form and let cool completely.
5. Mix powdered sugar and lemon juice to a creamy mixture, spread over the cake and let it firm before slicing the cake. Decorate with lemon slices.

ENJOY!

Tags:  Carol Hunter  food and drink  recipe  vegan 

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Emotional Intelligence: Do you have it?

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Monday, November 7, 2016
Coping with emotions is a must for a healthy lifestyle, combined with all the rest: healthy diet, physical activity, adequate sleep, fellowship and socialization and mental stimulation. Unfortunately, far too many attempt to dismiss and ignore the emotions of others along with their own. The sad result is multifold, from perfunctory existence to downright impairment; from the walking wounded to the psychiatrically hospitalized; from the irritable and lonely to the depressed catatonic.

I take issue with the idea that EI is actually a construct of intelligence; I don’t think it is, nor should it be. Unfortunately the term emotional “intelligence” has muddied the waters of our thinking but I do understand the parallel to cognitive intelligence. What Dr. Daniel Goleman seemed to be saying in his book, Emotional Intelligence, is that there are levels and layers of emotional achievement just as there are with IQs. But emotions are quite different from intellect and arise from different areas of the brain, so let’s separate them for the sake of the discussion.

My definition is short and perhaps too brief but I believe it is the source and therefore holds the most importance. Emotional intelligence is the courage to pursue self inquiry. From that critical examination of self, you can extrapolate to the outer world in growing concentric circles and include family and social relationships, work and school environments and basically anywhere one person interacts with another. The heart and soul of emotional intelligence is personal communion with self and interaction with others and how that proceeds. Such discussions inevitably get into the nurture vs nature argument or in this case, trait vs ability. Perhaps those who do the best job of exhibiting this quality are those with both, a genetic endowment, if you will, which then may facilitate the development of the ability. I believe it is part gift and part achievement, but I do believe anyone can learn how to accomplish it if they set their mind to it and are willing to take that hard look.

Empathy is the cornerstone of emotional intelligence. My personal experience supports the “trait” theory because as a young child, I was acutely aware of other people’s feelings and had no such role modeling in my own family. If there was a negative in my early experience, it was that I focused too much on the feeling of others to the exclusion of my own. As an only child, I did have the alone time in my tree house to make up for it and spent a lot of time in introspection. It probably didn’t help to constantly have my grandmother remind me that “children are to be seen but not heard!” That message assigned me to be the proverbial “fly on the wall,” observing the world as it went by without giving back much input. I struggled with insecurity as a teenager and never felt my own voice was wanted or needed in the crowd, even though I enjoyed formulating my own opinions. I lacked the confidence to speak up around others and maybe by default became a really good listener.

It wasn’t until I went to nursing school that the empathic me blossomed into the person who not only felt the struggles of others but also was able to actively care for them. As you can well imagine, this filled me with immense satisfaction and I began to use my voice to influence and guide the emotionally challenged. I can easily see how the topic of leadership enters this sphere of discussion. It is just common sense that those who can fully engage with the emotions of other people will ultimately make the best leaders. First comes the awareness which requires a close scrutiny, utilizing those techniques we learn in school like keying into facial expressions, body language and tone of voice as well as signs of anxiety and discomfort. Next comes the interpretation and formulation of the problem, followed by the execution of the plan to assist.

But before you can help others, you must help yourself. It may sound like an easy task but it’s not and for many, it is simply too scary to peer into their own souls. Everyone has one degree or another of emotional pain and all we have to do is look around to see how people fail to cope, drowning their perceptions in alcohol and drugs or violent outbursts towards others like road rage. On the flip side are those who choose to ignore emotions altogether and they manifest it by affective flatness and avoidance of closeness with others. On either side of this spectrum, the person becomes absorbed with self and that preoccupation with self to the exclusion of others is the death knell for emotional intelligence. Is this a terminal condition? I don’t believe it is but those with narcissistic traits and other personality dysfunctions will have to work much harder than those who are naturally empathic to improve their ability to relate to others. Professional assistance is highly recommended.

This is a fascinating topic to be sure and a critical one in relationships that require maintenance and repair just like your vehicle. I have often read that couples that can argue ultimately do much better than those who are avoidant but cordial. The word “argue” conjures up visions of loss of control and throwing lamps across the room but it doesn’t have to be that way at all. A couple can have a civil argument to discuss differences or problems without doing something they regret. We all say things we regret; it’s just part of the human experience and hence, the importance of the phrase “I’m sorry.” In my experience, the single greatest factor preventing such open discussion is the fear of loss of control. One simple remedy for this fear is acceptance of one’s frailties as a human, giving yourself permission to feel and experience the full range of emotions, including anger. As my therapist states so beautifully in my paraphrase, one must be willing to welcome, examine, undress, lay bare, and do battle with our emotions, both positive and negative. Without doing so, we will never experience the richness and the joy that life has to offer. Nor will we be able to get truly close to another human being.

Now, go look in the mirror and continue your journey of becoming an emotionally intelligent person. You will reap great rewards for yourself and those that you love.

Tags:  Carol Hunter  Emotional intelligence  integrative medicine 

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CALL FOR ARTICLES: Defining Health in the Era of Value-Based Care

Posted By Submitted by Mark Arnold, Senior Vice President of Life Sciences Partnerships - Cureus, Inc., Thursday, October 27, 2016

Cureus, on behalf of the University of Central Florida College of Medicine, is pleased to introduce the Defining Health in the Era of Value-Based Care publishing competition.

Modern medicine is actively transitioning from "fighting disease" to promoting health. However, the medical community has yet to arrive at a universally accepted definition of "health." Without such, the path to health preservation, protection and rejuvenation remains unclear.

Supporting the emergence of integrated medicine and less expensive, value-based systems, we invite review articles that define "health" in a manner that helps to develop a healthier society and provide actionable guidelines for practicing physicians and public health workers. Cureus has assembled a very high profile team for peer review including 

  • Dr. John Ioannidis, Professor of Health Policy with Stanford Medicine, 
  • Dr. Victoria Maizes, Executive Director at the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, 
  • Dr. George Lundberg, former 17 year editor with JAMA, 
  • Dr. Josephine Briggs, Director with the NIH / NCCIH, 
  • Dr. Stephen Klasko, President and CEO with Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health,  
  • Dr. Donald Abrams, Medical Oncologist with UCSF, and others.

As an incentive for submissions, we are offering $18,000 in awards for the authors that produce what the peer review panel and clinical community determines to be the most novel and impactful articles.

 

The winner of this competition will be selected by general acclaim of the medical community using Cureus SIQ crowdsourcing technology, and subject to the final approval of the committee selected by the College. To further encourage knowledge sharing across medical specialties, all articles published as part of this competition will be indexed in PubMed Central and distributed to large communities of relevant clinicians through the Cureus platform.

LEARN MORE

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ANH ACTION ALERT: Supplements in Peril Update

Posted By Alliance for Natural Health, Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, March 29, 2017

 

FDA must be worried—they’ve extended the comment period for the supplement guidance. We must use the opportunity to flood the agency with more comments. Please help out! Highest-Level Action Alert!

This past August, the FDA issued its long delayed guidance detailing how the supplement industry can bring new products to the market. The guidance deals with how and whether the supplement industry is allowed to innovate and create new supplements, also called “new dietary ingredients” (NDIs for short).

There are many, many problems with this guidance that you can read more about in our original coverage, but the main point is simple: if this current guidance becomes final with no modifications, consumers will very likely lose access to thousands of supplements. In some cases, ingredients that have been available as supplements could be handed over to the pharmaceutical industry. Innovation will be quashed.

We believe this is exactly what the FDA and its Big Pharma allies want. Only the American public can stop it.

Over the last few months, ANH-USA members and other stakeholders have inundated the FDA with comments—addressing the substance of the guidance as well as asking the FDA to extend the comment period to give the public ample time to respond.

The FDA paid attention because the only thing it fears is Congress—and the only thing Congress fears is the voters. The agency responded and agreed to extend the comment period on the guidance sixty days, to December 12, 2016.

We cannot stress how critical it is for everyone who has not yet submitted a comment to the FDA on this issue to do so now. The guidance will threaten too many vital supplements and effectively kill innovation in the supplement industry. We must stop the FDA from moving forward with its new regulations disguised as a “guidance” document.

Highest-Level Action Alert! If you haven’t already, send a message to the FDA detailing all of the problems with their NDI guidance document. Please send your message immediately!

 

TAKE ACTION NOW

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What is the FDA's Code of Federal Regulations at Title 21, Section 216.24?

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 7, 2016

§216.24   Drug products withdrawn or removed from the market for reasons of safety or effectiveness.

The following drug products were withdrawn or removed from the market because such drug products or components of such drug products were found to be unsafe or not effective. The following drug products may not be compounded under the exemptions provided by section 503A(a) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act:

Adenosine phosphate: All drug products containing adenosine phosphate.

Adrenal cortex: All drug products containing adrenal cortex.

Azaribine: All drug products containing azaribine.

Benoxaprofen: All drug products containing benoxaprofen.

Bithionol: All drug products containing bithionol.

Bromfenac sodium: All drug products containing bromfenac sodium.

Butamben: All parenteral drug products containing butamben.

Camphorated oil: All drug products containing camphorated oil.

Carbetapentane citrate: All oral gel drug products containing carbetapentane citrate.

Casein, iodinated: All drug products containing iodinated casein.

Chlorhexidine gluconate: All tinctures of chlorhexidine gluconate formulated for use as a patient preoperative skin preparation.

Chlormadinone acetate: All drug products containing chlormadinone acetate.

Chloroform: All drug products containing chloroform.

Cobalt: All drug products containing cobalt salts (except radioactive forms of cobalt and its salts and cobalamin and its derivatives).

Dexfenfluramine hydrochloride: All drug products containing dexfenfluramine hydrochloride.

Diamthazole dihydrochloride: All drug products containing diamthazole dihydrochloride.

Dibromsalan: All drug products containing dibromsalan.

Diethylstilbestrol: All oral and parenteral drug products containing 25 milligrams or more of diethylstilbestrol per unit dose.

Dihydrostreptomycin sulfate: All drug products containing dihydrostreptomycin sulfate.

Dipyrone: All drug products containing dipyrone.

Encainide hydrochloride: All drug products containing encainide hydrochloride.

Fenfluramine hydrochloride: All drug products containing fenfluramine hydrochloride.

Flosequinan: All drug products containing flosequinan.

Gelatin: All intravenous drug products containing gelatin.

Glycerol, iodinated: All drug products containing iodinated glycerol.

Gonadotropin, chorionic: All drug products containing chorionic gonadotropins of animal origin.

Mepazine: All drug products containing mepazine hydrochloride or mepazine acetate.

Metabromsalan: All drug products containing metabromsalan.

Methamphetamine hydrochloride: All parenteral drug products containing methamphetamine hydrochloride.

Methapyrilene: All drug products containing methapyrilene.

Methopholine: All drug products containing methopholine.

Mibefradil dihydrochloride: All drug products containing mibefradil dihydrochloride.

Nitrofurazone: All drug products containing nitrofurazone (except topical drug products formulated for dermatalogic application).

Nomifensine maleate: All drug products containing nomifensine maleate.

Oxyphenisatin: All drug products containing oxyphenisatin.

Oxyphenisatin acetate: All drug products containing oxyphenisatin acetate.

Phenacetin: All drug products containing phenacetin.

Phenformin hydrochloride: All drug products containing phenformin hydrochloride.

Pipamazine: All drug products containing pipamazine.

Potassium arsenite: All drug products containing potassium arsenite.

Potassium chloride: All solid oral dosage form drug products containing potassium chloride that supply 100 milligrams or more of potassium per dosage unit (except for controlled-release dosage forms and those products formulated for preparation of solution prior to ingestion).

Povidone: All intravenous drug products containing povidone.

Reserpine: All oral dosage form drug products containing more than 1 milligram of reserpine.

Sparteine sulfate: All drug products containing sparteine sulfate.

Sulfadimethoxine: All drug products containing sulfadimethoxine.

Sulfathiazole: All drug products containing sulfathiazole (except those formulated for vaginal use).

Suprofen: All drug products containing suprofen (except ophthalmic solutions).

Sweet spirits of nitre: All drug products containing sweet spirits of nitre.

Temafloxacin hydrochloride: All drug products containing temafloxacin.

Terfenadine: All drug products containing terfenadine.

3,3′,4′,5-tetrachlorosalicylanilide: All drug products containing 3,3′,4′,5-tetrachlorosalicylanilide.

Tetracycline: All liquid oral drug products formulated for pediatric use containing tetracycline in a concentration greater than 25 milligrams/milliliter.

Ticrynafen: All drug products containing ticrynafen.

Tribromsalan: All drug products containing tribromsalan.

Trichloroethane: All aerosol drug products intended for inhalation containing trichloroethane.

Urethane: All drug products containing urethane.

Vinyl chloride: All aerosol drug products containing vinyl chloride.

Zirconium: All aerosol drug products containing zirconium.

Zomepirac sodium: All drug products containing zomepirac sodium.

Tags:  chelation  chelation therapy  compounding  FDA 

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ANH ACTION ALERT: FDA Tries to Run Out Clock on Bill to Help Dying Patients

Posted By Gretchen DuBeau - ANH-USA, Friday, October 7, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, October 5, 2016

New federal legislation offers dying patients new hope. It needs our support. Action Alert!

The legislation, introduced by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), would prohibit the federal government, particularly the US Food and Drug Administration, from blocking patient access to experimental medications.

FDA Commissioner Robert Califf was scheduled to attend a hearing on the bill, but canceled at the last minute.

As the law stands now, FDA bureaucrats can continue to throw numerous roadblocks and hurdles into the path of patients who desire access to experimental and potentially life-saving drugs, as they have been doing for quite some time.

Here’s how it works—or rather, doesn’t work—currently. Individual patients may apply for access to experimental treatments outside of a drug trial if they meet all three of the following criteria:

  • have a serious or life-threatening disease or condition;
  • have no other treatment options left; and
  • can persuade a qualified physician to deliver the treatment.

Under these circumstances, the FDA may, at its sole discretion, grant “compassionate use” of the new medication. But the program is marred by a prohibitively cumbersome application and documentation process, and the agency does everything it can to delay or block approval. It can even revoke permission after it has been granted—and does. How capricious can you get?

The issue is gaining momentum at the state level: more than two dozen states have approved so-called “Right-to-Try” bills—including California, where Gov. Jerry Brown just last month signed such a bill into law. We must throw our support behind the federal bill.

Action Alert! Write to your senators and urge them to support Sen. Johnson’s Right-to-Try bill. Please send your message immediately.

 

TAKE ACTION NOW

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FDA: Additions/modifications to the list of drug products that have been withdrawn or removed from the market for reasons of safety or effectiveness

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 6, 2016
Updated: Friday, October 7, 2016

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a final rule amending FDA’s list of drug products that may not be compounded under certain sections of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) that allow the marketing of unapproved compounded drugs.

Drug products on the list may not be compounded because the drug products have been withdrawn or removed from the market for safety or effectiveness reasons. The list appears in the Code of Federal Regulations at Title 21, section 216.24.

The final rule:

  • Adds 24 types of drugs to the withdrawn or removed list.
  • Modifies the withdrawn or removed list to allow one type of drug product to be compounded under certain circumstances.
  • Clarifies that the withdrawn or removed list applies to sections 503A and 503B of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

In addition, FDA published a discussion in the Federal Register that clarifies the procedure FDA intends to use to amend the withdrawn or removed list.

FDA’s website has additional information on compounding.

Tags:  chelation  chelation therapy  Code of Federal Regulations at Title 21  compounding  fda  fda compounding  section 216.24 

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Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) - A Disease of Emerging Identity and Importance

Posted By Dr. K.J. Gundermann, Wednesday, October 5, 2016
NAFLD is probably the most common liver disorder in the world with a prevalence rate ranging from 6% to 35% of the general population, and a median rate of 20%.  There is strong evidence that the occurrence of NAFLD is likely to correspond to regional trends in over nutrition, obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.  The disorder equally affects both sexes. Although, it is most common in overweight and obese persons and in patients with adult onset (type 2) diabetes, it can also be present in lean persons and in overweight children and adolescents.

NAFLD represents a spectrum of hepatic disorders characterized by macrovesicular fatty liver, with histology ranging from steatosis to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), to NAFLD-associated cirrhosis and to hepatic cancer. It is the risk of progression from fatty liver as a benign disorder to liver disease with inflammation, fibrogenesis and cell death that makes NAFLD a medical challenge, as an established therapy is not yet available.
A decade of clinical trials did not reveal a single intervention that has convincingly improved all important outcomes for all NAFLD patients. Low-calorie diet and physical exercise are accepted as a basic universal approach, but considering the rate at which NAFLD is becoming a worldwide epidemic, new therapeutic concepts are needed.

One of the compounds in the focus of investigation is polyenylphosphatidylcholine (PPC) from soybean (Phoschol®).  As the non-toxic PPC is widely used in membrane-associated hepatic diseases (for example by alcohol, medicaments and pollution), its effectiveness on NAFLD was also anticipated.  PPC contains dilinoleoylphosphatidylcholine (DLPC) as the main quantitative and therapeutically active ingredient, which differentiates it from other phospholipids or lecithins, or from extracts of other provenience. The incorporation of and/or replacement of endogenous membrane PC with highly unsaturated DLPC improves membrane fluidity, normalizes cellular permeability, increases repair/regeneration, reactivates membrane bound enzymes, and improves the overall biological activity/metabolism.

 

The following effects are pharmacologically evident:

·       PPC reduces the severity of oxidative stress manifestation and lipid peroxidation by reducing

o   transcription of pro-inflammatory genes by decreased expression of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB),

o   pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as of tumor necrosis alpha (TNF-α) and various interleukins,

o   pro-inflammatory enzymes, such as of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2).

·       PPC reduces ATP shortage, induced by overexpression of mitochondrial uncoupling protein-2 (UCP-2).

·       PPC reduces serum and hepatic fat accumulation, by

o   improving hepatic mitochondrial membrane potential,

o   increasing hepatic triglyceride lipase activity.

·       PPC acts as an anti-fibrogenic.

·       PPC acts an anti-apoptotic.

 

Sixty-five (65) clinical studies involving PPC and NAFLD have been published since 1980, and out of these forty four (44) have been published since 2000. Nineteen mostly randomized clinical studies were open-controlled, one single-blind and three double-blind. Dosage of PPC and treatment duration varied between 0.9 g and 1.8 g/day per os, and lasted from 5 weeks to more than 24 months. The majority of the  studies were 2-6 months in duration and used 1.8 g of PPC/day per os. Most patients suffered from NASH. NAFLD was mainly induced by obesity and type 2 diabetes, but partly also by hyperlipidemia, arterial hypertension, coronary heart disease/ atherosclerotic cardiosclerosis, chronic viral hepatitis, cholecystitis/cholelithiasis, Wilson’s disease, hypothyreoidism and pregnancy, or by mixed forms of these diseases.

 

According to the 65 clinical studies, PPC improved subjective symptoms and clinical findings such as pain in the right hypochondrium and hepatomegaly, biochemical markers of hepatic cytolysis, detoxification, excretion, synthesis, clearance and dyslipidemia, imaging data by ultrasonography or computed tomography, and histological evaluation of steatosis, necroinflammation and fibrosis. One study included a quality of life assessment by focusing on pain syndrome and dyspeptic symtoms.

 

The first significant effects were observed after 4 weeks, with further improvements over the following months (up to 24 months). PPC was more active than diammonium glycyrrhicinate, ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), bezafibrate, and fish oil. A combination therapy of metformin, diet, exercise and PPC in patients with type 2 diabetes was more effective than metformin, diet and exercise alone. The same was the case for the combination therapy of PPC with UDCA. No relevant side-effects were reported.

 

Based on the pharmacological and clinical data, PPC would appear to be the drug of choice for significantly reducing or abolishing fatty liver of different origin, e.g. due to alcohol or obesity, even if the causing noxa cannot be eliminated, as is the case with diabetes-associated steatosis.

 

(E.Kuntz and H.-D.Kuntz: Hepatology – Textbook and Atlas -, 3rd Edition, 2008).

Tags:  Dr. K.J. Gundermann  Gundermann  liver disorder  NAFLD  Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease 

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​ Recipe for Chicken Florentine

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Now, how about an efficient casserole dish that combines the best veges from the garden with the delicate bites of boneless, skinless chicken? I don’t want to sound like a heretic, but sometimes not following a recipe is a ton of fun and adventure. This lovely dinner can use just about any vegetable you have on hand. I started in my garden with the squash, tomatoes, bell peppers and poblanos peppers and added in store bought onions, mushrooms, garlic and tomato sauce. Below please find the recipe which can be prepared in a dash with a food processor and a bit longer if you need to prepare by hand. I can just see this wonderful fall casserole simmering on top of the wood burning stove in the middle of a winter white out! Enjoy!


Ingredients:
Chicken fillets, 2 small packages
Fresh spinach leaves, one large container
2 medium green or yellow squash
One green bell pepper
Two poblanos peppers
Cherry tomatoes, one small container
Onions, two medium
Fresh chopped clove of garlic
Fresh mushrooms, one small package
One can of tomato sauce
Chicken or vegetable broth, 3 cups
Fresh Parmesan/Romano cheese
¼ teaspoon herbs de Provence
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:
Cut chicken into bite size pieces and saute in grapeseed oil until browned and tender, set aside
In same heavy pan, add chopped onions, garlic, mushrooms and peppers and saute about 5 to 10 minutes.
Add in chopped tomatoes, chopped spinach, squash and chicken and cover with liquid broth.
Stir in tomato sauce. Add in  herbs de Provence, sea salt and black pepper.
Sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese.
Cover and bake in 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes.
Best served with brown rice and a salad.
Bon appetite!

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Brilliant Foliage, Autumn Harvest, and Cozy Fires

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Autumn has always been my very favorite time of the year. That first nip in the air, the smell of roasting chilies almost everywhere you go, the bountiful harvest of cool weather crops, the smell of burning pinion and cedar and the spectacular oranges, browns and golds of the fading cottonwood trees make one pause to take in all of its glory. Yes, the days are getting shorter, but fear not, our easily available vitamin D3, is just a reach away at your favorite store and it is your main hedge against a multitude of winter’s ailments from depression  to the flu. If you’re either curious or concerned about a health issue, ask you primary care provider to test your level. Primary care docs like to use the D2 form, but why take something that needs to be converted to the more bio available form when the preferred product is so handy. If your doc insists you get a vitamin D2 prescription, tell him or her that you won’t need any refills because you plan to buy it over the counter and start taking it every day.

When we first started testing our patients for vitamin D levels, our depressed patients came back with non-detectible levels.  I now tell my depressed patients that taking vitamin D3 is one of the easiest, cheapest fixes for the prevention of depression that has ever come along.  How nice is that? Even those on a strained budget can afford this mighty warrior vitamin and all that it does in our bodies. I routinely put my patients on vitamin D3, especially as we head into the winter months. Some still have not received the important information on vitamin D, so don’t assume your patients know about its value.

Stocking up on and storing our supplements for the winter ahead is a good idea. In the case of a power outage, It is reassuring to know that you have an extra stash of your favorite supplements. That brings to mind the value of having an alternative source of heat for those times when a heavy, wet snow brings down power lines and suddenly you are without power. This is a game changer and could be potentially life threatening for anyone, be they young children, adults in their prime or the elderly. Recently I decided to buy a wood burning stove after mulling it over for the last five years. There’s a lot to be said for the magic of a fire: watching the flames dance, feeling its warmth on a cold winter’s night and even being able to boil a pot of water or stew on top of the stove.  Aside from the ambience of a nice glowing fire, an alternative source of heat could potentially save the lives of those you love. There is a lot to consider, from cost of installation to the maintenance of the stove. The first fire can produce fumes that are unpleasant, if not dangerous, as the heat of the flames melts the paint into the metal of the chimney. Proper ventilation is necessary during this process and those with breathing disorders should not be exposed.  Learning how to manipulate the damper, the air flow control and interpreting the temperature gauge are all important pieces of information. Placing the stove in a safe space is also important. In my particular case, the stove was going into a corner and I was concerned about the placement of the chimney as it entered the upper crawl space of the ceiling. Would the trusses be in the way of the chimney? In my home, the trusses were right where the chimney would have gone through, had it gone straight up. So my chimney needed an elbow to circumvent the truss. Later, after all had been successfully completed, the installers told me they had dreaded my job when they first came to inspect the site and had anticipated the problems with a corner installation.  If you’ve ever babysat a fire in a fireplace, you know how much attention you need to give it in order for it to perform well. A wood burning stove is a whole new species and a much easier one for us to manage. Once you have your bed of coals after the first burn, you stuff the stove as full as you can and then following the instructions for your particular stove, close the door and forget it for the rest of the night. In the morning, the coals will still be hot and you can readily start up a new fire! Talk about efficiency!

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ANH ACTION ALERT: EPA Scientists Are Not Dumb

Posted By Gretchen DuBeau - ANH-USA, Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Their political and industry bosses must have told them what to say. Action Alert!

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a draft report finding that glyphosate—the active ingredient in Monsanto’s popular Roundup weed killer—is not likely to cause cancer in humans.

This finding is preliminary, to be followed by the agency’s final review of glyphosate, which has been delayed until spring of 2017.

The EPA decided to address the potential cancer-causing effects of glyphosate after the United Nations’ International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced last year that the chemical was a “probable carcinogen.”

An “independent” panel of scientists will review the EPA’s report this month. But as our readers know, Monsanto and other biotech giants have so deeply corrupted the science of this issue that finding independent scientists would be a very tough challenge.

Industry and allied “experts” have no doubt pressed EPA for this report because of concern that the chemical might be banned worldwide. But the agency isn’t even addressing all the right questions. Recent research has found that Roundup and other herbicides are up to 1,000 times more toxic than just the headline ingredient itself.

In addition, cancer is just one of the several serious human health concerns with this toxic agent:

  • Glyphosate has been associated with epidemics of kidney failure killing farm workers in Sri Lanka and elsewhere.
  • We reported recently that glyphosate, because of its similarity in structure to glycine (an essential amino acid), is likely disrupting the synthesis of proteins in the human body, which can lead to all sorts of diseases and health problems.
  • The chemical may be responsible for abnormal rates of birth defects in Hawaii, which is considered “ground zero for experimentation with GE crops.”
  • Glyphosate also inhibits numerous physiological processes in plants including photosynthesis, mineral nutrition, and the synthesis of flavonoids—the compounds in blueberries, grapes, apples, and other fruits that make them healthy—meaning that we may not be getting the nutrients we need from plants that come into contact with the herbicide.
  • Strong evidence also suggests that glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor, i.e., a chemical than can interfere with our hormone system’s proper functioning. Apart from numerous animal and in vitro studies demonstrating the endocrine disrupting effects of glyphosate, other peer-reviewed research shows that glyphosate disrupts male reproductive functions—decreasing testosterone by as much as 35%.

Let’s also keep in mind that when the EPA okayed glyphosate again in 1993, it relied on the same toxicity studies Monsanto originally submitted. Most of them were done in the 1970s. Most, if not all of them, were done at the notorious Hazleton Laboratories (now Covance). This lab provided the tobacco industry with studies showing that second-hand smoke isn’t harmful to human health.  The list of alleged violations for this lab is long, and includes adding extra animals to experiments, not following scientific protocolsand secretly keeping extra animals off-site.  These, and other violations dating back decades, cast serious doubt on the validity of the toxicity studies done on glyphosate.

It is disappointing that the EPA appears to be covering up for Monsanto, but hardly surprising. Among US political leaders, only Bernie Sanders has not been co-opted by this industry. Both the Bush and Obama administrations have promoted it in return for political support.

Action Alert! Write to your elected officials and tell them to make sure the EPA addresses ALL the relevant questions about the safety of glyphosate. Please send your message immediately.

 

TAKE ACTION NOW!

 

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ANH ACTION ALERT: Frankenbroccoli for Dinner?

Posted By Gretchen DuBeau - ANH-USA, Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Organic products are at risk. Action Alert!

When consumers purchase organic produce, they expect to avoid vegetables and fruits that have been genetically modified or sprayed with dangerous pesticides. The unsettling reality, however, is that cross-contamination between GM plants and conventional or organic plants is not only possible—it is already happening.

Take the example of rapeseed (Brassica napus). Millions of acres of GM rapeseed, which is used to make canola oil, the most popular cooking oil in North America, are being grown—in Canada and Australia in particular, but also in the US. This GM rapeseed has spread across the world, growing wild in ports, railway beds, along highways, and other areas where it has “escaped” during transport. This has been documented particularly in Japan but has been found growing wild in North Dakota as well.

Not only is it growing wild—it has contaminated another Brassica, the parent of cruciferous vegetables known as Brassica rapa. Organic broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Napa cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and more are now under threat. Keep in mind that when one type of GM plant crosses with another plant, it keeps all the GM mutations.

What is particularly alarming is that GM plants and non-GM plants do not need to be close together for cross-pollination to occur. GM rapeseed is spread thousands of miles along places where it’s spilled. Its pollen can also travel thousands of miles. Cross-pollination is likely to occur in weedy relatives of cruciferous vegetables growing in and around cultivated areas. It’s not known whether contamination of organic vegetables has already occurred. The US government isn’t monitoring GM canola and isn’t interested in finding out what is happening.

If you listen to Monsanto—or their allies in government—you’d think everything is just fine. Monsanto informs us that GM crops can coexist perfectly well with organic crops—sometimes even on the same farm!

More to the point, the organic seal cannot provide complete protection. It refers almost exclusively to the processes used by a farmer to make sure the crops are not genetically modified. This includes some measures that must be taken to avoid contact with GMOs, but the point is that food can still be labeled “organic” even if it ends up containing some unknown percentage of GM material.

Nor is testing vegetables a solution, since it would make already expensive organic food astronomically expensive. Large companies might even like this, because they could use such a regulation to shut down smaller competitors, including family farms.

There is an additional worry. Following the passage of the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Act—that is, the phony GMO labeling bill that was approved by Congress in July—the USDA has to set a threshold for how much GM material can be in a food in order to qualify it for the GMO label. Given the biotech industry’s clout in Washington, it’s a safe bet that the USDA’s proposal will be written by those companies.

The issue here is not only one of cross-contamination—not only between GM and non-GM plants of the same species, but also between different species. This is all part of the Pandora’s Box of GM food that has corrupted our government as well as our good supply.

Action Alert! Write to the USDA and tell them to stop ignoring and covering up GM cross-pollination and contamination. Also urge the agency to protect consumers by keeping organic food truly organic. Please send your message immediately.

TAKE ACTION NOW!

 

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Homemade Peach Crisp

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Serving size: 4 to 6

6 or so large fresh peaches

1 lemon

1 cup maple Pecan Crunch (Nature’s Path Organic)

1 cup brown sugar

Sea salt

Cinnamon

Allspice

Nutmeg

4 tablespoons of organic olive oil buttery spread

PREPARATIONS

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Wash peaches  then slice them with their skins and toss with juice of lemon.  set aside.

With a rubber mallet, crush the maple crunch into small bits.

In a buttered baking dish, Mix the maple crunch with the brown sugar, sea salt and spices and line the bottom of the dish with one half the mixture.

Arrange fruit on top.

 Cut pieces of the butter spread into the rest of the crunch mixture and cover on top of fruit.

As Ruth Reichl states in her cookbook, My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes that Saved My Life, for apple crisp: “The cooking time is forgiving; you can put your crisp into a 375-degree oven and pretty much forget about it for 45 minutes to an hour. The juices should be bubbling a bit at the edges; the top should be crisp, golden and fragrant. Served warm, with a pitcher of cream, it makes you grateful for fall.” You can also serve it with Greek yogurt, vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt.  
Bon appetite!

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A Metaphor for Life

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Wednesday, September 7, 2016

You’ve probably heard of a book entitled, “The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” a philosophical journey into the heart and mind of one exceptionally bright but plagued individual. I first read it back in the 80s after I got my first motorcycle. At the time, it was far too advanced for my wondering mind and I just couldn’t make any sense out of it. I never made it to the end. Recently I reread it from beginning to end and I suppose I just needed more maturity to grasp its most important message: motorcycle maintenance is simply a metaphor for life; an endeavor to attend to, care about, and keep our own engines running smoothly. A worthy task that demands constant attention and effort produces the best results. Why did I reread it? Of course, I read it for the challenge, in that it is not the easiest book to absorb. 

But there was another reason; I was gearing up to buy another motorcycle after not having ridden for 29 years. Reactions of friends and family were interesting to say the least. My children were not thrilled with the idea for obvious reasons, but my therapist was thrilled that her client was taking on that next challenge. Who in their right mind takes on the danger game at this stage of life? This is a question I had to ask myself, but for me, the answer was easy. I’ve always been a risk taker and I dare to declare that with its sometimes negative connotations. But if you look closely, you will find that risk takers are actually very careful and very serious about the risks they take. First of all, they learn everything they can about the job ahead to insure full understanding. Back in the 80s, I attended the motorcycle safety course at the police academy; this time I completed the course with the motorcycle safety foundation. I had an excellent instructor and learned more this time than I did previously. Knowledge may be the first step but preparation is the second. When it comes to motorcycle safety, conspicuity is an important element. The brighter the bike and the clothing, the easier it will be for drivers to see you and that is extremely important because most motorcycle accidents are due to not being seen in time.  Reflective strips are helpful when riding in the dark.

Everything seemed to proceed smoothly. I chose my beautiful new red cruiser and gave it a name: Reno. And then Reno sat in my garage and sat and sat and…….. Was I ever going to venture out on the road? I started having dreams about my riding and some were not so pleasant. I obsessed about traffic patterns and how I could find back roads to take to work. I wondered where I could practice without worrying about traffic. In short, I was losing my courage and was filled with self-doubt and dread. A friend from work said he’d go riding with me and we planned a trip to see some petroglyphs along the way, but two weekends went by and he didn’t call. Was it because I was a newbie? He later assured me that was not the case and we are scheduled for our ride soon. It’s a lot more fun to ride with others, especially in the beginning when you are building up your courage.

And so the day of reckoning came and without thinking much about it, I dressed for the occasion. I put the dogs inside; I opened the gate; I backed out of the garage in neutral and then I started the engine. It sputtered and loudly objected but I persisted and within five minutes, Reno was purring like a kitten. With a few good deep breaths, I found the friction point and was off in first and soon an upshift into second. I was on my way. The first road I had to ride had fast speeds and I had to accelerate quickly; I was surprised by the force of the wind. I turned off onto a side road and headed to the rural campus of our university where I hoped to practice my maneuvers. Once I started to relax, I could smell the freshly cut alfalfa and smell who was cooking tortillas for breakfast. I heard the roosters crowing and the donkeys braying; I was exhilarated and knew why I was where I was.

I turned off onto the campus road and there was no one in sight.  I followed the road around the perimeter until I came to a large parking lot with some barriers at each end. Perfect! I started and stopped; went around curves, did my U-turns, did my emergency stops and swerves. I wasn’t as smooth as I wanted to be but I wasn’t half bad and only killed the engine once! It was getting hot and time to head for home. I walked into the house with a big smile on my face and was feeling very proud of myself. I did it; I took the first step all by myself with no one to hold my hand. Yes, I think this can be fun if I 1) never get complacent and am always alert; 2) do my T-CLOCS prior to the ride and make sure Reno is in good shape; 3) realize that life is fragile and can end in a heartbeat, no matter how experienced you are; 4) make sure I am in good shape and not tired or distracted.  Motorcycle madness? Some may think so but I must concur with Robert Pirsig; it is the pursuit of excellence and caring and OK, throw in a little exhilaration!

Sometimes it’s difficult to make a seamless transition from blog to recipe and this is one of those times. Does any recipe come to mind when discussing motorcycles? I can’t think of any but it does remind me of the concept of persistence: getting something right after lots of practice. Some months ago I offered a recipe for a berry tart and today I am repeating that since I found fresh Colorado peaches in the co-op this past week.  I haven’t tasted it yet, but it sure smells good cooking in the oven!

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Welcome to Interactive Medical Co-op

Posted By Submitted by ACAM member Garlos Garcia, Monday, September 5, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, September 7, 2016

My name is Carlos Garcia and I am a physician who practices a blend of both non-­‐traditional and traditional medical therapies. I invite you to visit my website, UtopiaWellness.com to familiarize yourself with my practice. Interactive Medical Co-­‐op is the new response to out-­‐of-­‐control healthcare insurance costs, which wreak havoc on America's corporate profitability and keep individual employees from enjoying better health and proactive wellness.

Our government and corporate America both acknowledge that our healthcare system is in need of revision,however, neither knows what to change. Interactive Medical Co-­‐op is the first Co-­‐op network to break the mold from the usual and customary conventional, symptom relief driven, traditional medical plans. Interactive Medical Co-­‐op is America's first Co-­‐0p network that embraces prevention, wellness and providing patients with a blend of both traditional and integrative treatments.

Why was IMC created? IMC resulted from the request of a fortune 500 corporation, which self-­‐insures, seeking a blend of traditional and non-­‐traditional medical services. The corporation tasked Utopia with the integration or blending of both realms of the medical world. The driving force for the corporation is to manage costs, while providing their associates with better healthcare options and treatments.

What is self-­‐insurance and how does it differ from ordinary healthcare insurance? Traditional health insurance is Obama care insurance. Someone, God only knows, decides what is medicine by deciding what gets paid, i.e. pre-­‐authorization. Now, one would think that the megaliths of the fortune 500 would understand health insurance.   I thought so, however the shocking reality, at least to me, is that the majority hire or purchase insurance through  a  broker,  who  tells  the  corporation  what  insurance  products  will  comply  the government’s mandate.

Usually, fiscally savvy brokers will steer a corporation into accepting a premade plan from a huge healthcare insurer, i.e. Aetna, Blue Cross, etc. The corporation, as we, in this case is at the mercy of the traditional health insurance company, who also works along side with the traditional health insurance broker. One would think savings would be returned, or passed on, to the buyer, the self-­‐insured corporation. This is a nice theory, but not the practice. In this case, which is the norm, the corporation is no better off than we are. The deals, or discounts, made to the large health insurance companies, i.e. Aetna, etc. is not  normally disclosed to the self-­‐insured corporation. I suspect the “logic” being, because we insure so many, this really is not because of you, corporation, it is because we risk so much more than you. Because corporations realize this, they are desirous of change. However, the corporations are not sure what to do. IMC is the physician arm of this change, the evolution of healthcare delivery.

Successful corporations adapt to situations. They analyze failures and learn from them. Thus IMC is the realization that self-­‐insured corporations, those mandated to provide healthcare for their employees have requested. They want us to help them provide a better product and delivery for the healthcare for which they are willing to pay. Corporations function with profit in mind, they understand everyone expects to be reimbursed fairly for services rendered and they expect that a profit will be incorporated into the reimbursement schedule. By the same token if fair reimbursement is given, they expect service commensurate with that payment. For equitable reimbursement, corporations expect face-­‐to-­‐face time between practitioners and patients. This is perceived value.

 In a self-­‐insured health plan, the corporation designs its own health insurance plan, since the corporation funds and pays for all services, however in this case, practitioners are invited to make recommendations in order to diversify options. The theory being by diversifying, or increasing treatment options and instituting a wellness health maintenance plan everyone benefits.

The corporations will benefit by: Decreasing lost productivity due to illness.

Better productivity because the workers are in a better state of health and wellness. Decreasing interventional costs, i.e. number of E.R. visits will decrease.

Get to understand how their monies are being utilized.

Are able to propose healthcare delivery options from their perspective, i.e. what works. for that company and what does not in order to arrive at a mutually beneficial solution.

 

We, the practitioners, benefit by:

Doing what is in the patient’s best interest from a broader medical treatment palette. Ability to monetize our non-­‐traditional educational investment, while keeping your current revenue streams and treatment options.

Timely reimbursement, i.e. less paper work.

We provide input to better cost effective healthcare delivery. We get to decide and influence medicine for today and its future.

 

The patients benefit by:

Being able to use natural treatments, which when administered correctly has few side effects.

Spending face time with their practitioners, i.e. bonding with us.

Learning it is time to start respecting and treating our bodies as we do our automobiles, and hopefully better.

Being able to do what my insurance will pay for…


By working synergistically, in a win-­‐win environment, everyone begins to breakdown antagonistic barriers, which just add inefficiency to the equation. Actually self-­‐insured companies have a fiduciary responsibility to manage their healthcare plans with cost savings in mind. 
 

In very simplistic terms, an actuary, based on fiscal data, tells the corporation, the consumer and payer of services, what is its financial risk. The corporation usually wants a cap on its financial exposure for an illness per employee. The corporation hires a management corporation, known as a third party administrator, TPA, which deals with claims. The TPA evaluates claims and disperses reimbursement. They also keep and provide all sorts or statistics and reports on a periodic basis to the corporation. Some of the healthcare funds are also used to buy reinsurance to cover expenses above and beyond the actuarial employee cap. Since many of the fortune 1000 companies self-­‐insure, they have the right to dictate terms and conditions with respect to services covered and reimbursement under ERISSA law. The management corporation then follows instructions. 

For example: the average person diagnosed with cancer in America, spends about 1.250 million dollars. The corporation may be responsible for the first $250,000, while the reinsurer may cover the next $500,000 as stop loss insurance, and yet a second reinsurer covers the remainder. There are even additional, secondary insurers to cover transplant procedures and medications. Indeed, it is commonplace for insurance companies to buy reinsurance(s) to cap their own financial exposure as well.

Back to Interactive Medical Co-­‐op:

The biggest issue most corporations face is that they do not practice medicine and need guidance from vetted medical sources. By the way of example, Interactive Medical Co-­‐op asked me to present a list of services provided at Utopia Wellness. These include chelation therapy, intravenous hydrogen peroxide, colonic irrigations, hyperbaric oxygen treatment, high dose Vitamin C, etc. The approved services list to date is part of the IMC application documents. This list will grow from your input. Once the corporation and Utopia agreed on reimbursements, the corporation contacted its management corporation and instructed them to accept the additional medical codes, which I created and the associated fee schedule. Although the TPA initially baulked at accepting my codes, which are nothing like the traditional ones on purpose, the TPA’s employer demanded its incorporation. It is now part of this corporation’s approved and reimbursed healthcare insurance program.

 

How is this Co-­‐Op any different than a PPO?
-­‐
PPOs service members of traditional medical treatment plans. PPOs place very little, if any, emphasis on preventative, wellness-­‐based treatments. There is no practitioner representation when it comes to major decisions in traditional PPOs. [You may speak with, or have access to a representative, but not with executive management.]

-­‐ IMC services employees and family members covered by the self-­‐insured corporations not traditional insurance healthcare programs, i.e. Obama care, HMOs, etc.

Our Co-­‐op knows how to provide better healthcare than traditional health insurance companies. Members can approach the Co-­‐Op executives with ideas providing better services  while  providing  savings  to  the  companies.  In  short  our  Co-­‐Op  is  the  first practitioner-­‐based entity that is able to sit at the table with those executives seeking healthcare and that process our claims. Our Co-­‐Op is an integrative forum. IMC values prevention over intervention, elucidation of the route cause of illness versus symptom treatment (Band-­‐Aids). Our medical treatment palette is broader and better than the traditionally limited medical treatment palette.

Who is Interactive Medicines Co-­‐operative’s target market?
IMC’s target market is that of the self-­‐insured corporations, the fortune 1000 being the most prominent within this group. We are interested in corporations who invite us to the decision making process on the executive level, since it is we, the practitioners, who should be telling the health insurance companies what to reimburse. This is not a theory; I have done this. This is a reality; please look at the application documents.

How does IMC practitioner members get reimbursed?
IMC interacts directly with the end payers, and their third party administrators, TPAs, who represent the corporations that self-­‐insure. IMC corporate participants acknowledge the value and efficacy of non-­‐traditional therapeutic modalities and have instructed their TPAs to reimburse the services via a HCFA 1500 standard insurance form submission, with the codes provided to them by us.
 

Do you have to renounce or resign from any other revenue stream?  NO!
Interactive
Medical Co-­‐Operative is another source of revenue for us. However, it is the first, which deliberately reimburses for non-­‐traditional medical treatments, i.e. intravenous hydrogen peroxide, etc.

The corporation, which tasked me with advancing healthcare choices, has numerous locations throughout America, as well as various operations overseas. Thus, we need well-­‐ qualified clinicians seeking alternative fee for service revenue sources to provide services across America. Additionally, the corporation that hired Utopia Wellness frequently associates with other fortune 1000 companies. Interactive Medical Co-­‐op has also been promised introduction to other prominent and successful companies in America. To date, other self-­‐insured companies, which have been told about the development of this evolutionary healthcare opportunity, have expressed great interest in joining the Interactive Medical Co-­‐op healthcare system as payers. This is a work in progress but clearly one with great potential for us physicians who want to provide both traditional and integrative/alternative medicine to our patients and qualifies for fair and equitable reimbursement for our expertise and services.

IMC will be interacting with its members who wish to participate in the evolution of the Co-­‐ operative on various levels. IMC seeks therapeutic treatment algorithms and protocols expertise from medical practitioners from versed medical palettes in traditional and non-­‐ traditional medicine to provide the best blend of healthcare possibilities for its participants, our patients. This partnership between the payers, the self-­‐insured corporations, and the broad based medically diverse practitioners is the evolution of medicine. Interactive Medical Co-­‐op is the evolution of health services, which are currently limited and costly.

How often have we heard verbiage such as: I'll do whatever my health insurance plan will pay for... Interactive Medical Co-­‐op is offering a fee for service opportunity to practice and get insurance reimbursement for both non-­‐traditional and traditional medical therapies. To date, insurance reimbursement is the limiting factor for patients to access non-­‐traditional alternative and integrative therapeutic modalities because traditional insurance plans do not yet acknowledge integrative medicine's advanced therapeutic efficacy and frequent cost savings. However, self-­‐insured corporations recognize this and are willing to pay for a broader medical palette. Their motivation is profit through better productivity and cost savings through healthier employees.

Over the years many practitioners have diligently studied and pioneered non-­‐traditional modalities to assist the healing of patients. These treatments are often effective and typically lack side effects, when done correctly. However, when traditional insurance healthcare plans are approached for acceptance and reimbursement, the clinical experience falls upon deaf ears. Whereas insurance companies are experts on mitigating financial risk and maximizing their own profits, they know little about healthcare and its delivery. They apparently never learned that medicine is an art and will never be just a science, mainly because each patient is his or her own unique environment, but the best clinicians know this well.

Interactive Medical Co-­‐op is now asking physicians who desire to practice and provide both non-­‐traditional and traditional therapies to join. With a large enough physician base, we will be able to service other self-­‐insured companies nationwide, providing them with the savings that come from integrated medical interventions, while providing their employees with blended treatment options, pre-­‐illness wellness interventions, and more efficacious treatments. Joining  Interactive Medical  Co-­‐op  offers highly  qualified  practitioners the opportunity to provide care with a broader therapeutic palette, with easy reimbursement.

Interactive Medical Co-­‐op is today's reality of medicine's evolution. Please join us in this groundbreaking endeavor. We welcome you; your input is valuable and needed!

 

I thank you for your consideration,
Carlos Garcia
Interactive Medical Co-Op, LLC.
110 State Street East
Oldsmar, FL 34677
727-799-9060
IntMedCoLLC@gmail.com



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Homemade Potato Salad

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Tuesday, August 9, 2016
INGREDIENTS:
One bag of Idaho (or other) potatoes
A dozen sprigs of parsley
A dozen sprigs of cilantro
Half dozen green onions
Half of a large purple onion
Half a green bell pepper
Half a yellow or orange bell pepper
Dozen celery sticks
3 hardboiled eggs (optional)
Two teaspoons horseradish
One small jar of safflower mayonnaise
One teaspoon of Door County traditional Balsamic Vinegar (www.dcoliveoil.com)
Two tablespoons of mustard (Grey Poupon)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
A sprinkle of tarragon
A sprinkle of paprika

PREPARATIONS
1)    Peel the potatoes and put them into boiling water and test them with a fork after about 25 to 30 minutes. When tender and falling apart, drain in a colander and set aside to cool.
2)    Soak all vegetables in a white vinegar bath and stir them around. I do this in batches. Rinse under cold running water and dry. It is especially important to dry the parsley and cilantro well in a paper towel before mincing. You want to introduce the least possible amount of water into the potato salad.
3)    Finely mince the parsley, cilantro, green onions, purple onion, celery, bell peppers and hardboiled eggs and set aside.
4)    In a small mixing bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, horseradish and mustard, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, tarragon and paprika.
5)    In a large bowl, mix the cooled potatoes, vegetable and egg mixture, and mayo mixture all together. Salad tongs do this well.
6)    Transfer to the serving bowl you want to present it in and decorate with parsley sprigs around the sides.  Sprinkle a bit of paprika on top of the potato salad and Voila! There is nothing better than homemade potato salad . Be creative and add in your own favorite vegetables. The sky’s the limit!  A word about Door County products; they are delicious! My Balsamic vinegar was a gift from my daughter and son in law, who grew up in Door County, Wisconsin. Bon Appetit!
Nutrition Facts: one serving is 8.8 ozs. From www.calorieking.com
Calories 358    (1495 kJ)
Calories from fat 185
% Daily Value 1
Total Fat    20.5g    32%
Sat. Fat    3.6g    18%
Cholesterol    170mg    57%
Sodium    1323mg    55%
Total Carbs.    27.9g    9%
Dietary Fiber    3.3g    13%
Protein    6.7g    
Calcium    47.5mg    
Potassium    635mg    

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Since Americans Love Meetings

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP,, Tuesday, August 9, 2016
At 6:45 PM on a Thursday evening, when I was feeling quite tired from my week, I received a text from the clinical lead of our therapists at my job, asking me to see if there were any outstanding billing issues with any of my patients in June. She is not my direct supervisor and being more a friend, I didn’t hesitate to fire back to her that she should use caution when making demands of her team after hours. “After all, the healthy ones need time and space.” She is new in this position in this location although she has experience as a clinical director. And much to her credit, she has a high degree of likability and is good at making people laugh. Unfortunately, she is showing signs of micromanagement and I have already witnessed the eye rolling despite her amicability. I want my friend to succeed in her position, but supervisors sometimes don’t realize how much pressure they exert, even if it’s done in a friendly manner. She responded that she was hesitant to send out the emails and she promised it wouldn’t happen again. I don’t see this as her problem at all and so I responded, “I think we can problem solve this issue so you won’t have to (make a habit of it!) She’s between a rock and a hard place. To offset such situations, why not approach the person above her and ask what can be done to eliminate the last minute struggle of getting documents signed (or any other time sensitive matter)? If asked in a respectful manner, you poise yourself as a solutions oriented employee, dedicated to eliminating problems!!

The unfortunate truth is that situations that are not fully and easily dealt with at the top of the hierarchy are then passed down the line. Those people in management who cannot fulfill their job requirements then pass the problem down steam. And most of the time, the request has some sort of urgency to it, whether the deadline is in an hour or by tomorrow at 3pm. Such situations have nothing to do with fair treatment of employees; they are about financial compensation for the company.

Of course we want our employers to succeed, but not at the expense of our mental wellbeing. Later, she admitted she was working 60 or so hours per week. It’s not that that amount of time is required of her; it’s just that in a crunch, that’s what middle managers do, play catch up. I suppose my concern is that if employees have to work that much overtime and not get paid for it when they are on a salary, someone is not doing their job above them. Most employees are in need of their income and are hesitant to do anything that might result in a loss of their job, so they often rise to the occasion, keep a stiff upper lip and endure the loss of their down time. That’s fine for the interim, but such a continued stress load will have consequences.

Whenever you have a complaint as an employee, the best remedy is coming up with possible solutions. This takes your mind off your emotions and centers it on executive actions. But in order to be creative, we need a safe forum in which to express ourselves without fear of retribution. What better way to make employees feel valued than to offer them an opportunity to gather with their peers to gain and offer support, come up with new ideas and have a few laughs. Call it an employee support group, call it a brainstorming group, call it a solutions group, but make it happen and see how it can transform peoples’ attitudes towards their work duties. And while you’re at it, bring in a bounty from your garden if you have one. Most folks don’t have gardens and fresh vegetables at their reach, so they are particularly appreciative of the effort. If you don’t have a garden, bring in a platter of veges from the grocery store, but make sure the dip is healthy. My favorite is Simply Organic, a powdered dip packet that makes about 16 servings mixed with two cups of sour cream. I would recommend substituting nonfat plain Greek yogurt instead. I love the Creamy Dill and the French onion dip! If you don’t have time to prepare anything, just bring in a big bag of your fresh veges and watch people eagerly take some. Right now, the star in the garden is the squash, green and yellow, long and round. This is the first time I have grown squash that produces different shapes from the same plant: fun! Remember, when we eat healthy, our minds and emotions function at their peak performance.

We spend so much of our time at our work place, we might as well have fun with it and make it as enjoyable as we can. In my work place, it is sometimes very challenging to have conversations with peers; there’s just not much time for it and so last summer I decided to have a PARTY!! We have been doing it for some years now and rotate ourselves as hosts. It brings us all closer as a team. I work with an amazing group of individuals and consider myself to be very fortunate.

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Saving Compounded Medications: All You Need to Know

Posted By Mike Jawer, Director of Government and Public Affairs - American Assoc. of Naturopathic Physicians, Wednesday, July 20, 2016
This Monday, July 25, from 7-8 pm ET, join an AANP webinar to learn the latest on the FDA’s treatment of compounded medications – and all the ways AANP is fighting for NDs and their patients on this important issue.

Compounded medications remain in the cross-hairs of the FDA and its Pharmacy Compounding Advisory Committee. AANP scored a victory on June 23 with a successful defense of DMPS. However, many compounds - including MSM, curcumin, boswellia, germanium, and acetyl-l-carnitine - are being put on the FDA's "do not compound" list and the fate of many more remains undecided.


In this webinar, you'll hear from the leader of AANP's Work Group – Michael Cronin, ND – and from Paul Anderson, NMD, who defended the value of DMPS and other compounds at the recent FDA meeting. Attorney Alan Dumoff will also explain what it takes to challenge the FDA's process and actions.

Learn not just what's transpired but how AANP is stepping up its campaign to preserve office use and to maintain access to safely compounded medications. Most important, learn how you can pitch in! Register now.
______________________________________

Michael Jawer
Director of Government and Public Affairs
American Association of Naturopathic Physicians
818 18th Street NW, Suite 250
Washington, DC 20006
Ph: 202-237-8150
Fax: 202-237-8152
Email: mike.jawer@naturopathic.org

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RECIPE: Ratatouille

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Tuesday, July 5, 2016

With the Mediterranean Diet so well received today , not only in terms of positive research results for health but also for great taste, ratatouille is right up there on the menu. It’s a wonderful side dish or it can be the foundation for other great dishes. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

Two medium eggplants

3 large or 4/5 medium tomatoes

2 medium purple onions

6 garlic cloves

2 large bell peppers: green, red, or orange

3 large zucchini

2 large summer squash

One small container of organic mushrooms

One small can of organic tomato paste

3 cubes of vegetable or chicken broth dissolved in 3 cups water

1/8th tsp each of parsley, oregano, thyme, basil, tarragon, garlic powder

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Freshly grated parmesan/romano cheese

PREPARATIONS:

Heat a heavy skillet with a small amount of virgin, cold pressed olive oil. Add finely chopped onions, mushrooms, garlic cloves for about 10 minutes until onions are clear and mushrooms shrunk. Set aside.

In the same skillet, put in the eggplant, chopped into small pieces, about quarter size. Saute until browned and the sponginess is gone, about 20 minutes or so.

In a large pot, add the onion/mushroom mix, the eggplants and the uncooked remaining vegetables chopped into bite size pieces. Add the chicken broth dissolved in water along with the tomato paste, herbs and salt and pepper.

Simmer for at least a couple hours; the longer the cooking time at low heat, the better the results.  Some recipes call for each vegetable to be sautéed separately in hot oil before combining into one pot. The problem with that approach is that too much oil is used in the process and the final product is much too oily. Go light on the oil, although with eggplant, you just have to adjust the amount due to its absorption. 

The taste is amazing and it is a wonderful side dish and also could be the basis for a moussaka if that’s where you’re headed. Bon Appetit!

Tags:  food and drink  nutrition  ratatouille 

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Chelation Remains a Hopeful Heart Therapy

Posted By Reposted from Huffingtonpost.com | Written by Joel Kahn, MD, Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Maybe you know someone who has suffered a heart attack. You’re concerned about their well-being, particularly if they’re diabetic or suffered a large heart attack. You want to make sure that absolutely everything that can help this loved one stay healthy and alive is discussed with their doctors. Odds are very high, however, that there’s one promising therapy the doctor won’t tell them about: chelation therapy.

Chelation therapy was designed decades ago to trap and remove serious environmental toxins like arsenic. While using it, some practitioners noted improvements in symptoms of heart disease, and chelation began to be used in some clinics for heart patients.

(There’s quite a large body of science that suggests “heavy metal” toxins like lead, mercury and arsenic can poison systems important to heart health, so even at the time, it made some sense.)

Physicians in traditional practices, however, viewed chelation therapy as quackery, since there truly was little science to support it. As a physician, I advised my patients to avoid it, since I couldn’t find much research to support its use.

Fast forward and the National Institutes of Health agreed over a decade ago to provide $31 million to fund the “definitive trial” for chelation therapy. This trial was called the Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT).

Over the course of about 10 years, more than 1,700 people who had suffered a heart attack received real chelation therapy, or sham IV therapies, planned once a week for 40 sessions. Despite the fact that not all patients finished the treatments, and enrollment was slow, the trial was completed and the results were presented for the first time in November 2012.

These results showed that chelation therapy modestly reduced the risk of bad cardiovascular outcomes, but though the study provided a platform for further research, researchers cautioned that the study wasn’t conclusive enough to support routine use of the therapy after heart attack.

However, since the TACT trial, a number of additional papers have been published. Taken together, this body of research has identified that:

1. Overall, chelation therapy modestly reduced bad outcomes (hospitalization for chest pain, stroke, heart attack, and need for a stent) compared to the placebo group.

2. In patients with a prior heart attack and diabetes, chelation therapy reduced bad outcomes in the five years of follow-up by nearly 40%. Powerful therapy.

3. In patients with a large heart attack before chelation therapy, the treatment also reduced bad outcomes in follow-up by nearly 40%.

4. When chelation therapy was combined with high dose oral multivitamins, even more benefit was obtained with chelation therapy.

5. Adverse effects from chelation therapy were infrequent.

Imagine a new pill that reduced the risk of heart problems by 40% in large numbers of patients. Do you think it would generate billions of dollars in sales? By contrast, since the TACT trial published its results, the therapy has made no impact on the routine care of patients.
Recently, it was announced that the TACT 2 trial has been funded and will provide further information in a large trial of chelation therapy for heart disease. This was announced to the medical world in a major medical publication. The new study will focus on patients with both heart disease and Type 2 diabetes mellitus, a very high risk group.

There are some challenges to the therapy: IV chelation therapy is more involved than taking a pill (there are oral agents that can be used but these weren’t studied in the TACT trial), and chelation therapy is not covered by insurance programs. But what does it say about a medical community that selectively uses some data to advance patient care and ignores other important breakthroughs?

In my practice I have identified physicians in my area who have trained in chelation therapy and have experience with heavy metal testing and treatment. I’ve referred patients to these colleagues to discuss a course of oral or IV chelation therapy. I also routinely prescribe oral agents like n-acetyl cysteine (NAC), organic cruciferous and leafy green vegetables, and infrared saunas to promote the detoxification of chemicals from the body. Avoiding exposures to heavy metals by not smoking, limiting fish consumption, and considering the removal of dental fillings made with mercury is key.

Raising awareness that another therapy, in addition to lifestyle changes, pills, bypass surgery and stents, exists to help benefit the well-being of heart patients is so important. As the organizers to TACT2 indicate in the words of Victor Hugo “All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”

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URGENT ACTION ALERT: Bad GMO Labeling Bill Fast-Tracked

Posted By Administration, Friday, July 1, 2016

On Wednesday, June 29th, members of Congress used a procedural trick to fast-track the new GMO labeling bill, meaning that this gift to Big Food and the biotech industry could be voted on as early as next week.

We must kill this bill. It allows industry to decide how to label its products, and you can bet that most companies will choose the option that requires consumers to scan a code or call a number to find out what's in their food. Companies know that few people will want to do this and even fewer will be able to.

Worse, there do not seem to be any penalties for a company that doesn't label its food. So for those who choose to simply ignore this law, there are very few consequences—unless the state separately imposes fines for mislabeling.

This bill is a wolf in sheep's clothing: it pays lip service to mandatory labeling but is designed to block Vermont's GMO labeling law and keep consumers in the dark about what's in their food.

Click the link below to tell your senators and the White House to vote NO on S. 764!

 

CLICK HERE to TAKE ACTION

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How Integrative Medicine and Dentistry Can Work Together for Everyone’s Benefit

Posted By Eric Zaremski, DDS, Monday, June 20, 2016

As healthcare practitioners, our main goal is our patient’s well-being. In an integrative healthcare model, all practitioners, need to learn to work together for a common goal. Dental professionals need to educate themselves about different treatments and diagnoses that relate to the body as a whole. Medical practitioners need to educate themselves about oral conditions and diseases that affect the overall health of their patients.

Everyone needs to learn the potential effects of conditions and issues and how they interact to create dis-ease. There needs to be more sharing of information on the fine points of disease and conditions and the different treatments available.

From an oral perspective, dental practitioners must see their patients as a whole and realize that systemic issues and conditions can affect the health of the mouth and also that oral conditions can affect whole body health. We need to be more exacting in that relationship of how oral pathology can influence other organs and metabolic pathways, leading to systemic effects. We also need to learn to speak and communicate in ways that physicians and other medical providers can understand. One of the most beneficial things that dental professionals can do is to help inform and educate their medical, naturopathic, chiropractic and nursing colleagues in identifying and understanding oral diseases and conditions.

Medical professional also have a responsibility to help dental professionals understand systemic diseases and conditions. There are many ways that systemic illnesses can affect the health of the head and neck area.

For example, in considering the posture of a patient, the alignment of the body can affect how healthy and functional the mouth is. If the body is misaligned or canted, the occlusion or bite can be pathologic. This can affect the health of the tempromandibular joints. It can also affect the health and condition of the teeth, the musculature of the mouth and surrounding structures. Once the body is aligned, the mouth can be stabilized and vice versa.

We can also look at thermographic images of the body and see direct influence or connections between the mouth and body structures.

It is widely recognized in integrative medicine, that direct connections between certain teeth and body parts or organs exist. When a tooth is diseased, the corresponding body part can be affected as well.

When we look at the traditional training and education that we all acquired in dental and medical schools, we realize that we were all taught an amputation model of delivering care. We were taught that if we cut away disease, then health will appear.

As more open-minded professionals, we realize this model does not work well for most patients and only further prolongs their morbidity and possibly can cause a faster mortality.

It becomes incumbent on all health professionals to to educate ourselves and to find and help educate colleagues who are open-minded enough and willing to learn new modalities in order to work together towards common goals.

Tags:  dentistry  integrative medicine 

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