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What’s New! – A Healthy Living Newsletter

October, 2002
My patients frequently ask my opinion about new health books on the market. And there's certainly no shortage of experts peddling their advice! While many of these books are excellent, others are written by people who don't have a clinical background in the subject. Simply put - they're inaccurate.

The people writing the books either don't regularly use the medicines they write about or they're presenting theories as if they are facts. Others can be valuable tools for improving the quality of your life.

If you find this newsletter useful, please forward it to a friend!

1,001 Delicious Desserts
for People with Diabetes
By Sue Spitler

When I read this title, I got excited. At last, a book about desserts made with complex sugars such as brown rice syrup and barley malt. After a quick glance through the desserts, my jaw dropped. Are they kidding? Sugar and more sugar for diabetics. Next, they'll write a book on mixing cocktails for recovering alcoholics.

Get Skinny book cover

As if apologizing, the authors warn in the Introduction that these desserts shouldn't be eaten on a regular basis and diabetic patients will still need close pharmaceutical control by their doctors. They explain that the portions are small and that sugar substitutes are fine. I guess they forgot to read the American Diabetic Association's recommendations on artificial sweeteners and sugar. Similarly, the Forward, written by an endocrinologist who works in the same department as the authors, notes the link between obesity and a healthy diet but says until there is a cure for diabetes, these desserts are fine.

In my estimation, the only valid purpose for this book is to approximate the carbohydrates that are in the desserts that you buy or eat in a restaurant. I advise my diabetic patients to avoid simple sugars and learn to cook with complex sugars like brown rice syrup and barley malt.

My concern with this book is that diabetics will think there are "harmless" desserts. Without wanting to sound too callous, diabetics must think of desserts as a once-in-a-great-while splurge. Just as a heart patient should no longer dive into a thick steak or a patient without a gallbladder eat deep fried chicken, a diabetic must learn to avoid foods that will worsen the condition. Diabetes is the number one cause of blindness in the United States. It contributes significantly to the yearly amputees and kidney failures as well. If you are a diabetic and pick up this book - put it down. In fact, drop it like a hot potato.

Foods that Heal

Prevent or Reverse More Than 100 Common Ailments
Maureen Salaman

Here is an old book that is worth another look. In the late 1980s, nutritionist author Maureen Salaman recognized the connection between the increased consumption of processed foods and the increased number of chronic medical conditions.

Overdose book cover

Diabetes, heart disease, intestinal dysfunction and cancers have all increased as we avoid whole foods such as vegetables, grains, beans, nuts and fruits and eat more fried, colored, preserved, frozen, canned, processed and non-organic foods laden with insecticides and pesticides. (Have I forgotten anything?) To many people in the western world, kale, a vegetable rich in fiber, minerals and vitamins with cancer fighting properties is rabbit food. Sadly, this unhealthy trend has continued - spreading throughout the world as countries import the fast food chains from the US. The good news is that some people are relearning how to cook and eat real food and are seeing the benefits in the health of themselves and their families.

Simply written, Foods that Heal lists 108 medical conditions, cites research that supports the use of vitamins and minerals to treat the conditions and then directs the reader to the foods that have the highest amounts of these specific vitamins and minerals. And as an incentive to use the foods, it includes basic but tasty recipes that incorporate the recommended foods. Here's an example. When discussing moderately high blood pressure, Salaman not only mentions decreasing salt, but discusses scientific studies supporting the increase of potassium, calcium, and magnesium as well as the decrease of refined sugar. She completes the picture with short lists of foods that contain these minerals: bananas, broccoli, avocado, cauliflower, cantaloupe, dates, prunes, and raisins - including the amount each contains. A 4-ounce serving of beans contains approximately 1200 mg of potassium. It also benefits your intestinal and cardiovascular health - and it's cheap.

Foods that Heal is full of little gems. For example, for those who have osteoarthritis and who smoke, tobacco is a nightshade plant (along with eggplant, tomatoes, and potatoes) and should be avoided. In her chapter on diarrhea, she reminds the reader of carob - a powder that tastes similar to chocolate and can be made easily into a drink. She also makes a case for marital stress and migraines. At first, I thought she was fabricating the connection until I thought over many of the patients with migraines that I have seen. There is some weak anecdotal basis for this.

Along with the gems, Foods That Heal has a few errors. The recipe in the candida chapter contains fermented foods and raisins. Current treatment protocols suggest avoiding these two along with refined sugars. Similarly, when she recommends charcoal for gas, she doesn't caution the reader that charcoal shouldn't be used on a regular basis as it depletes the body of minerals such as calcium and potassium. Other than some minor errors like that, I have no other criticism - it's a great book.

Will eating cod liver oil, sardines, or egg yolks reverse your cataracts? Probably not. But if cataracts are in your family history, and you start eating these foods rich in Vitamin D now, it could help you avoid them. And that is the most important point in Foods That Heal. Eating well is a lifetime commitment to your health and well-being. It's not a quick fix to do for a few months and then to return to less healthy eating habits. It's no coincidence that people who eat well, exercise and have some measure of contentment in their lives have fewer incidences of chronic medical conditions. As Salaman states "Man-made, imitation foods are fine for imitation people. God-given, real foods are made for real people."

Health tip: In a recent Newsweek, there was an article discussing the values of organic vs. non-organic foods. The general consensus was that though organic tasted better, there was no proof that non-organic was harmful. I thought this was an interesting observation, but certainly not a conclusion. Who is going to fund such a study to prove the benefits of an organic diet? Well, indirectly Bayer corporation did:

Sunday Herald - 08 September 2002
He was used to test 'highly hazardous' pesticides ... then forgotten aboutCompany is using Scots test results in battle to reverse safety controls

By Jennifer Johnston

When Bruce Turnbull volunteered to take part in a drug trial at the Inveresk Research laboratories in East Lothian in 1998 he believed he was helping society. Three years later the company behind the tests stands accused of breaking the Nuremberg Code -- established as a response to Nazi experimentation on Jews -- and of using the results to boost profits. Turnbull, from Edinburgh, was paid around £700 for being one of 50 Scots to take part in study 013219. The test seemed simple enough -- the subjects were given a single dose of a substance called azinphos-methyl (AM) and then observed for seven days. What they did not know was that the chemical, which they were given in minute doses, was a pesticide deemed 'highly hazardous' by the World Health Organization. Nor did they know that the test had been commissioned by Bayer as part of a forceful effort to get the US Environmental Protection Agency to reverse pesticide controls introduced to protect children. The 50 subjects have not been offered follow-up examinations to test for the long-term effects of exposure to AM. Instead, the key finding of the study -- that the pesticide test had 'no effect' on humans -- is now Bayer's key weapon in its battle to raise the safety limit on the use of the pesticide by US farmers.

That means that even if these men developed cancer, neural disorders, leukemia, thyroid dysfunction after the seven days, it would not have been recorded.

If the pesticides and insecticides themselves are deemed poisonous by the FDA, why do we think they wouldn't cause havoc inside the human body? If an insecticide affects the nervous system of an insect, perhaps it could affect the nervous system of a human. I question the logic of the fertilizer companies and Bayer and the branches of government that support them. I, along with many scientists and physicians, believe there is a cumulative effect of the fertilizers. That's why I recommend to my patients to buy only organic. Worst case scenario, you will have spent 1/3 more money than expected on your food bill. Best case scenario, you will be healthy and happy enough not to complain.

Herb tip: Stock up on Kava now.
A few months ago, I reported on the Kava scare in the media. There were 8 cases of liver failure/death in Germany. Each person was using the herb Kava (Piper methysticum). The specifics were hazy at best. One person was on 5 other liver- harming pharmaceuticals. Another had far exceeded the correct dosage of the herb. And a few were using an altered form of the herb. I even heard of one case in the U.S. where a woman gave her daughter daily doses of both St.John's and Kava for a year resulting in liver failure. This is a gross overuse of these two herbs.

Kava is a powerful anti-anxiety herb. It has been used for hundreds of years in parts of the world such Polynesia and Micronesia. As I stated earlier, there are low incidences of liver failure in this part of the world where Kava is drunk like coffee.

However, the pharmaceutical companies are powerful and the insurance companies are concerned about the risk of lawsuits in the U.S.. They didn't push for a recall of Viagra - which directly caused over 60 deaths. Instead they target an herb which, if properly used, has no side-effects.

Because of this, many health food stores are recalling this product from their shelves. I suggest that you go to your health food store and buy up a bottle or two. Kava is extremely safe if taken on an occasional basis. I like to take it before flying or prior to giving an important presentation.

Like Tryptophan before it, any natural product that can't be patented and threatens the sale of pharmaceutical drugs is on the chopping block.

To all the local readers, our office is located at 11825 SW Greenburg Rd., Ste A2, Tigard, Or. 97223.

Copyright 2002 Dr. Suzanne C. Lawton, LLC


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Snail Mail: Dr. Suzanne C. Lawton
11825 SW Greenburg Road, Suite A2
Tigard, Oregon 97223