Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Opiod Detox Supplement Scams

As sure as the sun rises in the east, every time there is some new public health issue, the supplement peddling charlatans crawl out from under their rocks to take advantage of people's misery. As if the millions of Americans  struggling with opioid drug addition did not have enough problems to contend with, now they are beset with, at best, unproven and ineffective supplements claiming to ease their transition off the drugs. At worst, these products may cause people to fail to seek help and even cost them their lives.

"There is no credible evidence that dietary supplements can help with the prevention of opiate addiction, detoxification, relapse prevention or recovery," says Bachaar Arnaout, addiction psychologist and assistant professor at the Yale School of Medicine. "These supplement companies are giving false hope to people who desperately need to get better."

The makers of Mitadone Anti Opiate Aid Plus ($40 for a one month supply) claim their product "helps ease withdrawal symptoms" and "helps you quit". The basis for their claims? According to the company, "We don't really have any scientific studies as it currently takes years and millions of dollar to do that."

The manufacturer of Opiate Detox Pro agrees. "Scientific studies are very costly, so no, there is no study."

"It is appalling that companies are profiting from the opioid epidemic by offering untested products whose use does not even correspond to the biology of opioid addiction," said Arnaout. "The heartbreaking thing is that we do have FDA approved medications that do work for treating opioid addiction."

But, hey, which is really more important? A few more dead opioid addicts or a second home for a supplement company CEO?

Full disclosure: My business is helping people improve their lives though lifestyle enhancements, including the use of sensible supplements. So these sort of low lifes really piss me off.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Good Health is the Best Insurance

According to the 2017 Kaiser Family Foundation's annual Employer Health Benefits Survey, over the last 5 years, the number of employers offering health insurance as an employee benefit has declined from 61% to 53%. Why? Because of relentlessly rising costs. The average cost of the employer's share (not counting what the employee may contribute) of a family health insurance plan was $18,764. That's per employee.

Suppose that was your business? Could you as the owner afford to carry that sort of expense? And each year it goes up, with no sign of moderating increases. With more and more Americans chronically ill, there seems no end in sight.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 75% of all US healthcare spending goes to treating preventable chronic diseases, most of which are diet and lifestyle related. This should hardly come as a surprise.

In the US, 34% of us are obese. Not overweight, obese. Despite its many proven benefits, 79% of Americans do not meet the recommended level of physical exercise and 86% do not meet recommended dietary guidelines.

So when your employer announces increased employee contributions, benefit cutbacks or even the elimination of health insurance, reflect for a moment that the very best health insurance is living a wellness lifestyle. And that is really your responsibility. You haven't the time to live healthy? Then how will you afford to live sickly?

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Six Foods for Healthier Skin

We sometimes forget that, like the heart, lungs and liver, our skin is an organ. In fact it is the largest organ we have.  A living, breathing barrier between the more delicate organs inside and the harsh environment outside. Changes in our skin are among the first and most obvious signs of aging and of course it is subject to any number of conditions from annoying to deadly - rashes, psoriasis, eczema and cancer, to name a few.

Tory Armul, a registered dietitian and nutritionist, author and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests eating more of these 6 foods to enjoy healthier skin and reduce the risk of skin problems:

1. Yellow Bell Peppers

With nearly twice the vitamin C of an orange, yellow peppers support the body's production of collagen, which declines as we age. Collagen is a protein that  provides strength and elasticity to the skin, as well as assisting in cell repair and regrowth. They are best eaten raw, as cooking causes the vitamin C to leach out of the pepper. (Red and green peppers have less vitamin C than yellow ones, but are still good sources.)

2. Sweet Potatoes

The sweet potato's bright color comes from carotenoids, antioxidants that help keep the skin healthy. They are fat soluble, so go ahead and have a little butter, or, better yet, olive oil on your sweet potato. As a bonus, they are cheap and easy to prepare.

3. Salmon

The amino acids produced when the protein in salmon is broken down are reassembled into different proteins in your body. Some amino acids are called "essential" meaning that they are not produced by your body and must be obtained from your food. Salmon provides all the essential amino acids, which can help the skin to repair sun damage. Salmon is also an excellent source of healthy monounsaturated fats.

4. Walnuts

Walnuts  are rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fats which can help reduce inflammation and reduce symptoms of inflammatory skin diseases such as psoriasis and acne. Like essential amino acids, omega-3 fats are not synthesized by the body so you must obtain them from your diet.

5. Raspberries

A good source if the antioxidant ellagic acid, raspberries reduce collagen breakdown due to exposure to UV light and reduce wrinkles and other skin damage. Other good sources are blueberries, cranberries and strawberries.

6. Chickpeas

Zinc supports the regeneration of new skin cells. As such it is an aid to wound healing as well as other skin problems such as rashes, eczema and acne. Chickpeas are an excellent source of zinc, as are other beans, tofu and oatmeal.

Of course none of these foods prevent or cure skin conditions, diseases or aging. But by routinely incorporating them into your diet you provide your skin with the raw material it needs to maintain its good health. Any why not give your skin every advantage?

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

To Turmeric or Not To Turmeric

Turmeric, a tasty spice often encountered in Thai and Indian foods, has achieved an almost legendary status as a superfood with impressive nutritional and health benefits. It is widely touted as a powerful anti-inflammatory and beneficial to people with arthritis, heart and circulatory problems. Like its botanical cousin, ginger, it us reputed to be helpful with gastrointestinal disorders. These days the spice is added to all sorts of foods, and people are paying out big money for organic and "enhanced" versions.

Is there any scientific backing for these benefit claims? According to Prevention Magazine some, but not much.

Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric responsible for most of its claimed health benefits. It is both an anti-inflammatory agent and an anti-coagulant. With inflammation being at the root of so many of the health issues we face here in the USA, one might think that curcumin has potential. It does.

But according to Mary Beth Sodus, a nutritionist at the University of Maryland Medical Center, turmeric contains only about 3% curcumin. This means that unless you have a cast iron stomach you would never be able to consume enough turmeric to get a therapeutic dose of curcumin.

This is often how marketing works in the food and nutrition industries. Add trace amounts of a beneficial substance and then tout the health benefits of your product. With turmeric, the trace amounts are already added, so claim away!

If you enjoy turmeric by all means use it. But don't expect much in the way of health benefits.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Well, this is embarassing.....

I'll just come right out and say it. I'm going to share a recipe. Its a first for me, and I doubt it will become a habit as this is not a cooking blog. But I thought this one was just SO good that I'd share it.

There are a lot of benefits to cutting back on our consumption of meat. Red meat in particular, but all meat. Benefits to our health and benefits to the environment. But the problem is, its hard to find meatless meals that actually taste good, fill you up and are as enjoyable as they are good for you.

So here is one to get you started. Its sort of like small, individual lasagnas.



1 medium eggplant per 2 servings
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups whole wheat bread crumbs
1 jar of your preferred spaghetti sauce
Shredded mozarella and parmesan cheeses
Garlic, basil and black pepper
Olive oil


Heat the oven to 375deg.
Lightly coat a large sheet pan with olive oil
Place the flour, eggs and bread crumbs in 3 shallow bowls.
Cut the ends off the eggplant and remove the skin; cut into 12 slices.
Dredge each slice of eggplant in the flour, then the egg, then the bread crumbs.
Arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
Turn over the eggplant slices and bake for another 10 minutes.
In a medium casserole dish, coat the bottom with spaghetti sauce and place 4 slices of the baked eggplant in the dish.
Cover each slice with grated mozarella cheese and sauce.
Place another eggplant slice on top of each and cover with mozzarella cheese and sauce as before.
Place the last 4 eggplant slices on top, cover with sauce till it runs down the sides of the stack, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Season to taste with garlic, basil and black pepper.
Bake for about 8 minutes and serve hot.

Eliminating the frying and using whole wheat flour and bread crumbs turns what is usually a fat and calorie bomb into a nutritious meal. Serve with whole wheat spaghetti and steamed asparagus or broccoli.

You won't miss the meat, I promise.