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Eat Live Foods

live, food, vegetable, health, naturalI often espouse eating “live” foods and many of my customers then ask “Do you mean I can’t cook my food?” Laugh-Out-Loud (lol)! No, I don’t mean you can never cook your foods, but I do think we eat too many foods that are overcooked and over processed.

So what does it mean to eat “live” foods? Live foods are food from which the vital nutrients have not been removed. We generally call these types of foods “unprocessed” foods. In order to enhance shelf life for our food products, suppliers remove nutrients that cause shelf life to be shortened. But that causes them to contain fewer vital nutrients and aren’t as good for your health.

I’m an advocate of selecting your food from the perimeter of the grocery store – the outside edges. That’s where you find the fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh herbs and spices, the cheeses and dairy products, the fresh cuts of meat and fish, fresh eggs and water. And this is where you find the colorful foods. Did you know that there are even books written about “Eating Your Colors”? Every different shade of food provides some different nutrients. For example, deep red and purple foods provide antioxidants to get rid of free radical damage; orange and red food provide carotenoids such as beta-carotene which aids bone and cell growth, and lutein which is important for healthy vision; green foods provide a powerhouse of nutrients such as fiber, folate, potassium, and the A-C-E vitamins; and crimson, blue and brown foods provide flavonoids that contribute to proper brain function and blood flow.

While canned foods still have some nutrients, I put them in the intermediary – the heat of canning kills many vital nutrients, and the added salt used in the canning process preserves the contents from spoilage but adds sodium which can cause several health issues.

And then there are the packaged foods. They have had most of the “live” nutrients replaced with long-lasting preservatives. The focus is on shelf life. And they will fill you up, but they provide little nutrition.

So what are some things you can do to eat better? Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Shop from the outer perimeter of the grocery store. Enlarge the variety of foods you eat to get a better variety of nutrients and prepare your own foods as much as your lifestyle will permit.

Consider one of the popular mail-in food programs we see advertised so much now. They ship the fresh foods along with recipes for preparing them. You can involve the family in the preparation to enhance family time and learn to cook together. And you get a freshly prepared meal.

And you might then consider the next step – a small backyard garden to get just the food you enjoy in the freshest form available – pick them from your backyard and take them in and prepare them for a family meal! Whether you dig up the whole back yard, simply prepare a few small raised beds, or put together a collection of pots and pans for a deck or porch container garden, it can be a life-changing and tasty new hobby.

– For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, OK 73130, call 405-736-1030, e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com, or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

Sustainable Living

While Sustainable Living may take on many connotations, I have chosen to look at it from the perspective of personal growth and personal survival under less than perfect conditions. What are the practices that you need to incorporate into your life to ensure that you have a healthy, fulfilling life when all the world around you seems to be falling apart?

First, you will need to eat “live” foods. Live foods are food from which the vital nutrients have not been removed. We generally call these types of foods “unprocessed” foods. In order to enhance shelf life for our food products, suppliers remove nutrients that cause shelf life to be shortened. But that causes them to contain fewer vital nutrients and aren’t as good for your health.

Next, we need to add more “green” foods to our diets. Green foods contain chlorophyll and are richer in fiber, vitamins, and minerals that aren’t available in other foods. These green foods can come from land or sea sources and your diet should have a variety of them to get the variety of nutrients that your body needs.

I take every opportunity I get to highlight the importance of consuming sufficient water. Well over half our body is water-based – from our circulatory system to our lymphatic system to our digestive system and so on. Nothing in our bodies works well without sufficient water. How much do you need? You need a minimum of 64 ounces per day in small serving throughout the day. Your maximum should be around half your body weight in ounces, from a minimum of 64 ounces to about 100 ounces. Drinking more than that could cause some to wash out vital nutrients. Of course, if your lifestyle causes you to sweat a lot, you may need to replace more as well.

And no lifestyle is sustainable without proper exercise. I’m not suggesting that every person need to go spend hours in a gym every day. But several of our body systems depend on movement to function properly – bowel “movements” require movement (!); the lymphatic system requires muscle contractions to move dead cells through peristalsis. And one writer I read recently stated that “a sedentary lifestyle is the new cancer”. I know of many people who decide to retire from work and then go home, sit down, watch TV, and die within a couple of years. We were created for movement.

Our bodies were created to last around 120 years. But a sustainable lifestyle includes more than just existing. Get healthy; get active; eat green “live” foods, and drink plenty of water. As Mr. Spock on Star Trek says, “Live long and Prosper!”

– For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, OK 73130, call 405-736-1030, e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com, or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

Managing Regional Allergies

allergy, allergies, regional, US, u.s., managing, relief, planningHave you ever noted how people who live most of their lives in a given location seem to have fewer allergies to the things in that area? I concede that this is not true for every person who lives there, but I still observe it to be generally true. Our bodies seem to have a great ability to adapt.

It is true that as we apply homeopathy, we find that when we ingest a very small amount of a substance (say one part per million!) we don’t immediately feel the effects of that particle on our bodies. But the body recognizes that substance even at that small dilution. And, if that substance is something that could cause harm at a larger dosage, then the body begins immediately to prepare antibodies to the substance. It’s the same principle used in giving someone a flu shot to prevent the flu – a small, weaken germ that causes the body to prepare antidotes so that it is prepared when larger samples arrive.

I think in a broad sense this applies to the allergy example. If you live in an area for a long period of time and your body is subjected to the same substances repeatedly for several years, then your body may produce the antibodies so that with a healthy immune system you may not have the negative reactions that normally result.

This could account for travel problems where street vendors’ foods, local water, and different environmental factors cause you problems. And have you noted new immune issues when you move into a new area or decide to embark on a new diet or new regional activities?

To cover these types of allergy problems, several of our supplement suppliers offer “allergy drops” that are specific to a given regional zone. We purchase only Zone 5 drops from one such provider. They seem to cover the allergy discomforts for folks who live in or visit this zone.

A word of caution – whether this particular information is scientifically, fully accurate or not, you should be prepared to follow good health practices when you travel, move, or visit new places. Take your personal supplements with you and don’t let an allergic reaction to something new spoil your trip.

– For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

Managing Personal Allergies

allergies, personal, pollen, manage, managing, cat, fish, eggs, How is your immune system? If it is healthy you probably are one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have a lot of allergies. You see, when we ingest pollens, pollutants, toxins, etc., our bodies have to determine whether it is something natural for our bodies or something that will cause us trouble – e.g., a dietary dilemma, a respiratory resistance, a bowel blunder, or system-wide stress.

If the foreign material is new to us, or our bodies are not able to break it down, then the immune system has to come up with a plan to keep it from breaking us down. This is particularly true with seasonal distresses. We live in central Oklahoma. We recently had a warmer week in the middle of a couple of truly cold periods. I guess Mother Nature thought for a few days that it was turning to Spring, so the Red Cedar trees started to really pour out their pollen. Virtually the whole of the mid-Oklahoma population ran to our shop for anything we had to help them breathe. Histamines poured, nasal passages and sinuses swelled, mucus built and caused coughing, sneezing, and congestion, and dis-ease was rampant.

Fortunately, these are so common that we keep on hand a variety of supplements that block the histamines and minimize the other symptoms. But what can YOU do in these cases?

Be aware of your immune shortfalls. Ask family members what bothers them … they may also be the things that bother you. Particularly ask your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles what changes they noted as they aged. Be prepared for those seasons that cause you discomfort. Journal! Keep a record of foods that cause you dietary trouble. Stay away from animals that have dander to which you react negatively.

And when you find products that work for your particular allergies, keep some on hand. You may not have a lot of warning when your provokers arise.

I’ve noted a number of new techniques that my customers are able to use to manage their symptoms. Be aware! Look into homeopathic solutions. Consider aromatherapy. Pay attention to the weather and the seasonal changes. No one knows your body or your natural shortcomings like you do.

– For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

Electrolytes 101

Most college students recognize the “101” designation! For any course of education you take up, that’s the basic, introductory course in that field. So, Electrolytes-101 is simply a beginning look at the study of electrolytes.

The “body electric” depends on electrolytes. An electrolyte is simply a substance that produces an electrically conducting solution when placed in a solvent. In our bodies that is usually just plain water. And the electrolytes are generally cell salts. The cell salts are dissolved into electrically charged ions that interact with each other, conducting electrical energy and supporting the body’s electrical components.

Electrolytes are naturally occurring elements in the body and important to control many physiological functions. Examples of these electrolytes are sodium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and even calcium. We get them from numerous foods and drinks and many supplements also contain them. They are necessary for balanced loads in the body.

In severe cases of imbalance, we may see such drastic things as seizures, coma, kidney failure, and cardiac arrest. But we may regularly see symptoms in hot, sweaty activities like outdoor running and sports. You see, we lose a lot of electrolytes when we sweat. So it is not unusual to see young people with muscle cramps, muscle weakness, nausea, confusion and the like after an outdoor summer athletic practice. If we let it go further, we may see diarrhea, fast heart beating, headaches, and cramping.

When I was a kid our PE coaches use to give us salt tablets after hard play outdoors in the last spring and summer. Both sodium and chlorine which make up table salt are electrolytes. But a more complete form of “cell salts” are better balanced and more effective – and without the heart strain that can come from using too much table salt.

Cell Salt formulations go by the homeopathic names of their ingredients. A couple of examples might be Mag. Phos., which stands for Magnesia Phosphorica and is formulated to help with muscle cramps and pains, or Nat. Sulph., which stands for Natrum Sulphuricum, and helps with flu symptoms, nausea, and vomiting.

Original studies in cell salts led to the formulation of 12 standard cell salt formulas. More recent studies have identified up to some 27 different cell salts. They should always be replaced after any strenuous activity. So if your work or play produces active perspiration, or if you feel fatigue, lethargy, or a mild headache after a bout of physical activity – take some cell salts – or a salt tablet as a minimum!

– For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

Intro to Supplements

nutrients, supplements, chartWithin a two-week period shortly after I opened my store over 20 years ago, three young customers had asked me the same question. Not using the same words, but basically, they were all asking “I’m young, healthy and don’t know any of my family’s genetics. Should I be taking any supplements?”

Not having a ready answer and not wanting to just sell them something, I began to research the idea of preventative supplementation. Then I came upon a tape that was being sent around during those days entitled “Dead Doctors Don’t Lie,” written by Dr. Joel Wallach, a 1991 Nobel Prize nominee for his work in nutritional supplements. He had been a veterinarian for over 20 years before becoming a medical doctor and noted that when animals get sick we feed them healthy foods, but when people get sick we give them drugs.

Dr. Wallach further noted that every living thing will die for one of two things: an accident or a nutritional deficiency. When they finished mapping the human genome, the scientist stated that the genetic potential of mankind appeared to be about 120 years. In other words, if we die before we’re 120, it will be from an accident or a nutritional deficiency. So he began to research the nutritional needs of the average man. In his research, he stated that we need 60 different minerals, 16 vitamins, 12 essential amino acids, and three essential fatty acids in our diet every day to really stay healthy for life. And that doesn’t count the addition of other herbal supplements that may be needed to help combat “family histories” of disease. For example, you may need additional supplements if your family has a genetic history of cancer, heart disease, arthritis, etc.

And there’s a real sense of truth in the old adage “you are what you eat”. Your body isn’t going to function well on a daily diet of junk foods, fats, and sugars. And there are a couple of real problems in this area that we face today:

One: We don’t eat right. In the Bible in Genesis 1:29, God tells Adam and Eve “I give you every herb on the whole earth for your food.” Additionally, Dr. Paul Barney, in his book Clinical Applications of Herbal Medicine stated “In many cultures, there is no separation between food and medicine. In other words, food IS the medicine treating various conditions.” And Dr. Andrew Weil, in his book Spontaneous Healing, says “The body can heal itself [given the proper nutrients].”

Two: Even if we ate good, balanced meals all the time, the land no longer provides all the proper nutrients. For years we’ve stripped the minerals from the land and generally use on Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorous (NK&P) in our fertilizers. These elements generally grow lovely fruiting plants, but their fruits can’t contain vitamins and minerals that aren’t available in their development. There are about half a dozen places in the world where people routinely live to be 100+ years of age. All of them are at high elevations where their crops are watered with glacial runoff – glacial water still has plenty of minerals.

So, like Dr. Joel Wallach, I believe the solution is supplements. Get all those he listed above every day and add supplements to help you ward off genetically potential future ailments. If you need help, remember we have five Naturopathic Doctors at The Health Patch who do private alternative health consultations. We’ll be glad to work with you.

– Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com. See our blog at www.TheHealthPatch.com. Our full staff is now offering affordable private consultations – call to schedule yours!

Protect Your Heart

heart, protect, health, naturalWe’ve done a series of blogs and podcasts concerning the heart and the cardiovascular system recently. We’ve covered a lot of ground. But there are some areas that didn’t seem to fit smoothly within the frames we’d set for them, so I decided to place the hodgepodge of “extras” in a separate blog. They fit under the overall “protect your heart” venue. So here they are:

The importance of antioxidants. Oxidation changes the chemical structure of those things that are oxidized! They don’t function the same and in some cases, prevent proper functioning at all. Antioxidants (by definition) prevent this oxidation. With regard to the heart, I’m thinking particularly about cholesterol. In a previous blog, we noted the importance of cholesterol for several body functions. And while consuming too much is certainly to be avoided, a greater problem in the oxidizing of low-density cholesterol. It becomes difficult to move and causes often life-threatening arterial blockages. We now know that substances such as bergamot orange fruit extract and numerous super antioxidant fruits help to alleviate this condition.

Inflammation. The number one inflammatory substance you can put in your body is refined sugars. They prove to be inflammatory agents in all tissues of the body. And the heart is no exception. Or heart health I certainly recommend you reduce (eliminate?) processed/refined sugars from your diet.

Saturated fats. Saturated fats are those that are solid at room temperature – things like butter, lard, animal fats, etc. And manmade fats like margarine are even worse. While it doesn’t seem to be necessary to completely remove these from the heart-healthy diet, the FDA has set a healthy limit of 20 grams of saturated fat per day. More tends to clog arteries and obstruct digestion.

On that subject – all living tissues are susceptible to cracking and breaking. The body has glue for that. It’s called plaque. It floats in the bloodstream and attaches to these fissures to “heal” them by coverage. Unfortunately, other floating material in the bloodstream that “sits in place” for a time is deemed to need correction by the plaque too. So a fat deposit or cholesterol glop attached to the wall of the blood vessel may also get covered by the plaque narrowing the diameter of the vessel and obstructing blood flow. This too can raise blood pressure as it takes more pressure to push good blood through the narrow openings.

Stress is extremely difficult on the heart, so every effort should be made to reduce your stress levels to have a healthy heart. There are many supplements that will help with stress, but that is a subject for another article completely. In addition to supplements, consider adding a daily “quiet time”, cardio exercise, and pleasant activities to your daily life. I love the old adage “like a fine violin, may your [cardiovascular system] have enough stress to make beautiful music, but not so much as to break a string.”

So, if you are ready to improve your heart’s health and live longer, consider adding some of these things to your daily routine, stop smoking, and maintain your weight in a healthy range. Limit your fat intake to 10-20 grams of saturated fat a day, and reduce (eliminate?) refined sugar from your diet. Fat and sugar together make a good recipe for heart trouble. Live long and in good health. Genesis 1:29.

– Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch – Alternative Health Clinic and Market, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com or visit thehealthpatch.com.

Blood Pressure Basics

blood, pressure, health, naturalSince heart disease still reigns as the number one killer of both men and women, and because hypertension and high blood pressure are a major component of cardiovascular disease, let’s look at what I call “Blood Pressure 101” – the basics of blood pressure that everyone needs to know.

Most anyone who has had a basic high school course in biology can tell you that normal blood pressure is 120/80. What does that mean? The upper number is called the Systolic number measured in millimeters of mercury on a blood pressure cuff. 120 is considered to be the normal reading. The bottom number is 80 millimeters of mercury and is called the diastolic pressure.

For all of my adult life, anything below 140/90 was considered ok – even for flying aircraft. But recently the American Medical Association has determined that 120/80 is “normal” Numbers above that are now considered “elevated” up to 129/80, stage 1 hypertension up to 139/89, and stage 2 hypertension at 140/90. They now consider you to have a hypertension crisis if your blood pressure exceeds 180/120.

Practically, what do the numbers represent? When the heart pumps it pushes blood into the arteries of the cardiovascular system at a pressure represented by the systolic number. That means the heart must be strong enough to exert that amount of pressure to get the blood flowing without causing distress to the heart itself or rupturing the vessels. The diastolic pressure then is the “resting” pressure, the least amount of pressure you’ll have in the system. If the system diastolic number is too high then the system never gets to rest. Enough pressure within either action can cause “system failure” – i.e., cardiac failure.

In a previous blog, we mentioned that the system must pump blood through 60,000 miles of blood vessels. That in itself is astounding, but I feel the need to address why being overweight is so difficult on the heart and cardiovascular system. You see, capillaries must be built to deliver water, nutrients, and oxygen to every cell in the body. And for every pound of weight we add, the number of cells we add require the building of five miles more of vessels through which those nutrients must be pumped. That adds quite a load to the pumping requirements of the heart.

And exercise is required to keep all system components strong and healthy. Many folks have caused heart failure by attempting overzealous activities straining an only moderately strong system with sudden overload!

So, if you are ready to improve your heart’s health and live longer, consider adding healthy food and some heart-healthy supplements to your daily routine, stop smoking, and maintain your weight in a healthy range. Live long and in good health. Genesis 1:29.

– Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch – Alternative Health Clinic and Market, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com or visit thehealthpatch.com.

A Healthy Heart

heart, healthSince heart disease still reigns as the number one killer of both men and women, let’s look at some supplements that will help you maintain a healthy heart.

Much has been written about the heart benefits of Omega-3 essential fatty acids. Interestingly, even the FDA has approved the making of claims for the heart-healthy benefits of this outstanding supplement. I personally think it is the “missing link” in most of our supplement programs. Unless you eat a minimum of three four-ounce servings of cold-water, fatty fish (salmon, cod, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, etc.) each week, you should consider taking this oil. Recommended dosages are 1500mg of both EPA & DHA (the fatty acids!) each day. They are wonderful anti-inflammatories for your whole body but are especially beneficial for the heart.

Research shows that low levels of the amino acid l-taurine has been associated with heart weakness. So a “free amino acid” supplement may also be of benefit. The amino acid l-arginine is combined with molecular oxygen to make the neurotransmitter nitric acid which aids in maintaining blood pressure as a potent vasodilator. And another important amino acid for the heart is l-carnitine. This amino acid is a part of every muscle cell. It draws fatty acid molecules into the mitochondria, where they are burned to produce energy. In doing so, the levels of blood triglycerides are reduced. A deficiency of l-carnitine can result in the buildup of fat in muscles, heart, and liver.

Among heart-healthy herbs, the most commonly known is hawthorn berries. These berries simply treat the heart as a muscle and serve to give it added strength. They make the heart last longer and balance the heart and circulatory system. This is a plant that truly seems to target the tissues of the heart. Researchers believe that it helps the heart in several ways. It dilates coronary arteries to improve blood supply, it may increase the heart’s pumping force, it may eliminate heart-rhythm irregularities, and it helps remove cholesterol from artery walls. It has been used long-term to reduce angina attacks and to prevent cardiac complications in elderly patients with pneumonia and influenza.

Other supplements that can lead to a healthier heart include the following. The heart needs potassium to help control blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat. Vitamin E and selenium should be taken together because they are co-dependent in the body and are both antioxidants that protect the body (especially the heart) from the damaging effects of chemically active pollutants. Unprotected fats become rancid when they oxidize. The heart requires a regular supply of the Co-enzyme Q10 to help move energy and increase the efficiency of cellular metabolism. And calcium and magnesium (in the proper ratio) are needed to control the heart’s beat.

So, if you are ready to improve your heart’s health and live longer, consider adding some of these supplements to your daily routine, stop smoking, and maintain your weight in a healthy range. Also remember, fat and sugar together make a good recipe for heart trouble. Live long and in good health. Genesis 1:29.

– Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch – Alternative Health Clinic and Market, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com or visit thehealthpatch.com.

Your Cardiovascular System

Every day your heart beats over 100,000 times in order to push 2,000 – 5,000 gallons of blood through 60,000 miles of arteries, veins, and capillaries. Astounding, huh? Heart disease is still the number one cause of death for both men and women. Over 600,000Americans die from heart disease each year, accounting for about one out of every four deaths. One-fourth of all Americans suffer from some form of cardiovascular disease.

This is the body system that is responsible for transporting nutrients to the cells and removing waste from the cells. It includes the heart itself which does the pumping. The arteries are living tubes which allow nutrients to be delivered to all parts of the body. The capillaries are the tiniest of the blood vessels which allow the blood to reach even the smallest areas of the body.  The veins do the return trip to carry waste from the cells back to the kidneys and lungs.

Problems within this system may be many. Just a few include:

  • Cholesterol buildup. Cholesterol is necessary for at least three actions in the body:
    1. the production of some hormones,
    2. as a building block for human tissues, and
    3. assisting in bile production in the liver for digestive purposes.

But too much can clog the arteries and raise blood pressure.

  • High blood pressure. Too much pressure can stress the heart and rupture blood vessels among other things.
  • Arterial plaque. Besides restricting artery sizes, it can also increase blood pressure and stress the heart.
  • Poor circulation through insufficient movement or degenerative vessels can cause restricted blood flow and hardening of the arteries and veins themselves.
  • Acne and skin problems. If wastes can’t be removed normally, the body pushes toxins to the skin surface causing skin problems such as rashes, eczema, and so on.

A well-functioning cardiovascular system requires:

  • proper nutrients,
  • adequate water to keep liquids in the body in balance,
  • and exercise to activate the system components and control of stress within the body.

Keep the system in balance and it will serve you well for a full, viable lifetime.

–  Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch – Alternative Health Clinic and Market, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com or visit thehealthpatch.com.