Vitamin D is one of the “hottest” avenues of research in
allopathic medicine* today. There is
increasing physician and patient awareness about having the right vitamin D
level for optimal health. Interestingly,
vitamin D, the vitamin we get from the sun, is shockingly low in most
patients. Of course you might not be
surprised if I said nearly the whole state of Minnesota is vitamin D deficient, but
could you absorb it if I said to you that I practice in sunny Florida and over
75% of my patients are low in vitamin D.
I am not sure if it is because we hide from the sun’s heat or if we
slather on gobs of sunscreen, but it’s what the labs show time and time
Research based recommendations can vary but you are at risk
for preventable diseases at levels less than 32 ng/ml. I recommend a level of at least 40 ng/ml,
best above 50 ng/ml, and for some conditions up to 70 ng/ml. Just a note:
Toxic levels are above 150 ng/ml and are very rare with safe
Hopefully, it’s obvious to get your level checked, but remember there
is only one valid way to do so. Ask your
doctor to order a 25-OH Vitamin D level (pronounced 25 high drox ee). Any other vitamin D test is not measuring a
true indication of your vitamin D status. Luckily, this test generally is covered by
most insurance companies. If you are
low, especially if your level is under 32, you are at an increased risk for
osteoporosis, many cancers (especially breast, colon, prostate, pancreas, and
skin), psoriasis, and autoimmune diseases to name just a few.
More to come this week on this subject so you can be in-the-know
about this “Super Vitamin”.
* Allopathic medicine is a term used to describe the more common form of medicine practiced in the US. It is also referred to as conventional medicine.
This website and blog are for informational and entertainment purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
If you’ve read Michael Pollan’s work, you may already know how, decades ago, Americans were emphatically urged to cut fat out of their diet in order to avoid heart disease. The promise: the more foods you converted to low fat and nonfat versions, the better your health would be. The food industry had invented many processed foods that would improve your “well-being.” That was over 3 decades ago, and if you haven’t noticed already, low fat diets don’t work!
Actually, obesity and heart disease rates are steadily increasing. Buying technically fat free foods, we turned our attention away from the foods naturally low in dangerous fats . Whole, plant-based foods and lean animal proteins should have been the focus of a healthy diet but we succumbed to the marketing genius of the food industry. We believed that their packaged fat free cookies and fat free cream cheese were actually good for us and ate them in excess and guilt-free.
The secret that most people do not know is that the food industry did a classic bait and switch. To create fake foods with no fat, they put fake sugar and refined starch in its place on the ingredient list. (Starch, by the way, is just a bunch of sugars hitched together and used by the body as a storage form of sugar.) Eating foods with man-made high fructose corn syrup and refined starches is like a sugar bomb going off in your body. The body scurries to protect itself from this flood of sugar and starts packaging it off as starch initially. Starch storage space is limited so the rest of the sugar is converted into dangerous fat. You read that right- sugar can actually turn into fat. Eating foods with unnaturally high amounts of sugar (sugar bombs) found in these processed foods is very different from eating natural sugar found in whole foods. For example, when you eat a whole apple, the sugar slowly seeps out because the fiber in the apple keeps the bomb from exploding.
Processed food, basically meaning anything that has an ingredient list on its packaging, has quietly been causing lists of health problems, many times by using the claims of being “fat free,” “no cholesterol,” “no trans fats.” You can see the toll it’s taking on our children. They are the living “guinea pigs” of what eating low fat & high sugar diets from white bread, white pasta, white rice, white potatoes, boxed foods, sugary drinks and sugary foods can lead to in the end. In doctors’ offices around the nation, kids are getting adult diseases and adults are getting elderly diseases. Obviously, going low fat by going high sugar/starch has not proven to be the right health choice.
So, how should you eat? Well, go back to the basics.
· Eat good fats from olive oil, salmon, walnuts, and avocados
· Eat good carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables and non-processed whole grains
· Eat good proteins from beans, nuts, fish and poultry
· Eat like your ancestors- meaning eat more food from the earth and less from a box or wrapper
· Never eliminate a whole food category- so don’t go from fat free to “no carb”
Integrative medicine has known for a long time that nutrition is one of the best treatments for chronic disease and symptoms that either affect your quantity of life (like heart attacks and cancer) or your quality of life (like arthritis, depression and digestive issues). You control 100% of what you feed yourself. So, make educated decisions the next time you visit your supermarket and don’t fall for the low fat marketing lies.
Summer is here and it’s time for America’s favorite past-times- outdoor barbeques, trips to the beach and pool parties. Wherever you go, the motto is to do it up! Big, cheesy burgers, mounds of deep fried chips, liters of sugary sodas, artificially colored popsicles and towers of brownies flood the picnic table. We justify this as OK because summer is for fun, a time to reward ourselves with treats. I use the word “treats” loosely because the word itself implies we don’t get them often. But here’s the real 365 day calendar most party people follow before the Summer-o-Excess even begins.
· Labor Day- picnic but with more beer
· Halloween- candy overload
· Thanksgiving- overstuffed
· December- holiday parties and don’t forget…
· Christmas- cookies & cakes birthday parties
· New Year’s Eve- excess everything movie nights
· Valentine’s- chocolates sports parties
· Easter- secret candy & chocolates just for fun parties
· End-o-Year School goodies office parties
The list proves we certainly don’t go without “treats”. There is no balance in this type of excessive eating lifestyle. If you are shocked and perhaps slightly disgusted with the amount of unhealthy, bad fat, high sugar, high salt, processed and preserved foods you and your family might consume in just one year, simply make a change! It doesn’t have to rock the boat, but make some healthy waves of change.
Remember. You can’t control many things in your life but you do control 100% of what you put in your mouth. Here are some easy ideas for powerful results for your next summer feast.
1. Grill seasoned veggies and portabella mushrooms to use less meat and make tasty fajitas as a substitute for burgers
2. Bake sweet potato steak fries with olive oil, sea salt and rosemary or use sweet potato chips in a pinch
3. Add fresh mint, lime (or any other fresh citrus slices) or berries to make chilled water a fancy treat. (Thirsty people will try anything on a hot summer day, especially if the soda and beer are not around.)
4. Try fresh or frozen berries, peaches, bananas or mangoes drizzled with agave nectar or sprinkled with dark chocolate shavings.
5. Label the drinkware with names- it makes us more mindful of the number of times we refill our drinks and it’s environmentally respectable
Summer is surely rejuvenating for your mind and spirit, but for true happiness you need a body that feels equally refreshed. Remember- don’t view being healthy as restrictive when there are thousands of delicious ways to enjoy nourishing foods. Getting healthier is a journey, not a destination. So, good luck and enjoy the ride!
Integrative Medicine, Alternative Medicine, Natural Medicine, Holistic Medicine- many people are confused about the differences between these words but people are not confused about what they want from their doctor in concept. Integrative Medicine combines the knowledge of Western medicine practiced with alternative and complementary types of healing usually based on Eastern medical sciences.
I am an Integrative Board Certified Family Practice Physician who started my medical path like most other physicians in this country. Since graduating from medical school and residency, I have cared for thousands of patients with the same issues that affect most of you. Diabetes, weight issues, high blood pressure, allergies, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are just a few of the issues I help my patients with day in and day out. As integrative physicians, we are trained to dig deep to the most fundamental causes of the disease process. Sometimes, we find there are reversible causes of the disease, usually lifestyle related. Sometimes, we find the need to use conventional options like medication and surgery but work to decrease use of these whenever and wherever possible.
If a new patient comes to me with diabetes, I don’t focus on drug therapy alone. I analyze how she eats, how she moves, how she manages her stress. Why? It’s because almost 95% of Type 2 diabetes is caused by poor lifestyle. At our office, we have “cured” chronic diseases like diabetes many times by just addressing lifestyle. This is called lifestyle medicine. By integrating Western medicine education with other scientifically-based therapies, I am able to help people get more out of their bodies and live, not just longer, but healthier lives.
On this blog, we will explore Integrative Medicine. You will learn how to help your body work better and feel better. You will understand the connections between your genes and your environment. You will acquire the tools and the knowledge to make meaningful changes to your lifestyle. I will talk about the basics at times- things like nutrition can always be understood more. But sometimes, I will blog about something you likely had no idea about- whatever it is, it might just change your life.
Integrative Medicine is growing because people are demanding more from their doctors. We will discuss, the challenges it faces, how you can help it become the standard of care, how you can help yourself and your doctor get you feeling better by looking at you whole-istically. So begins our journey with Medicine to Move You.