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April 23rd, 2008

Quinoa…Food of the Gods

One of the biggest tips I give people who are looking for good ways to add years to their life and more spring to their step is to try out an ancient grain called “quinoa”. It is from Central America and is pronounced “keen-nwah”.

This grain has been used for centuries by our neighbors in Central and South America, but just in the last 10 years or so has this important source of protein become more prevalent in the marketplace in the United States.

Quinoa is a grain that is unique because, unlike rice or beans, it is consider a complete protein. All the amino acids that are necessary for you to survive are contained within this one little grain. If you just eat rice or just eat beans you do not get the same full protein mix. That is why so many cultures mix rice with beans…by mixing them or serving them together you get a full protein.

Quinoa ranks high in my book of recommendations because it is easy to make, full of nutrients and tastes great. You cook it exactly the same way you cook rice. I make mine in a rice cooker, sometimes I even put 1/2 rice and 1/2 quinoa in the cooker.

Kids love it because it is round with a tiny little band that encircles it…many children call it “eating the rings of Saturn” because the grain, when cooked looks like a miniature version of the planet Saturn!

Most health food stores can show you where they stock quinoa, and even some chain grocery stores are beginning to carry it in their “healthy food” section or in the grain section.

Look for great recipes on line and experiment with this great grain! If you find a good recipe, email it to me.

April 16th, 2008

Natural Doctors and Breast Cancer

Do Naturopathic Doctors have a role to play in the care of Breast Cancer patients?

I am asked on occasion to talk at large gatherings. Sometimes this public speaking happens among people who already have a great deal of information about natural medicine and how it helps provide holistic medicine for a wide variety of medical conditions. Other times I may be at a corporate speaking engagement where the audience has limited knowledge of naturopathic medicine and holistic strategies for wellness.At both kinds of events, since I often speak on integrative breast cancer care, I am asked how a natural doctor can impact such a serious disease as cancer.

I am so glad to be able to answer with great enthusiasm that the naturopathic physician is able to provide support for women with breast cancer in several key ways:

First, overturning breast cancer requires a rigorous immune system. Naturopathic medicine is very good at helping to promote a stronger “cancer surveillance system” so that cancer cells can more easily be killed off by the body’s own defense system.

Second, treating breast cancer with oncological tools such as surgery, chemo and radiation have great successes in cancer treatment, but also do a great job at damaging healthy tissues. Medical-school trained Naturopathic Physicians can help reduce side effects from standard oncological treatments with herbs and nutrients that do not interfere with your chemo/radiation. Thirdly, cachexia, or muscle wasting is a major problem with cancer patients.

Naturopathic physicians are ideal in this capacity as they are required in their four year medical school experience to take many, many hours of diet and nutrition courses. Most medical schools require NO diet and nutrition classes for the MDs that graduate. This is remarkably bad for patient wellness as the general practitioner is likely to be the only care giver most people will be able to see. It has been proven over and over that if a physician encourages a lifestyle change the patient is more likely to do it than if anyone else in their life tells them the same info. MDs need to catch up and learn about nutrition’s importance in patient care.

There are so many techniques that Naturopathic Physicians are specialized in using that can help the cancer patient live a healthier, more productive, cancer free life. If you know of someone who is facing a cancer diagnosis, contact me. Let’s talk about options.

March 29th, 2008

Website Launch

Today I launch what I hope is a valuable resource to my patients, clients and family members of those I work with. I’m going to be talking a great deal about a concept I am proposing to the health world…”Appropriate Medicine™” The focus of my blog will be cancer prevention, natural looks at oncological support and survivor wellness ideas. I will try to provide a voice of reason in an otherwise “wild west” natural medicine environment.Alternative, complementary, natural, adjunctive…what do those terms mean?We have been stuck for too long in our society looking at “standard” or “M.D.” medical care versus alternative, “Naturopathic” care. Such a dichotomy is not helpful to patients, to practitioners or to our health care system.What I propose is a new term – “Appropriate Medicine”. Let’s talk about what this means. If I am hit by a truck I would prefer that I be taken (quickly) to a hospital where I hope that the ER staff will provide me with the highest level of pharmaceutical and/or surgical care I can receive. A bag of herbs may not be appropriate at that moment. On the other hand…if I am having the beginnings of gall bladder pains, is it appropriate to put me right into a surgical suite and have my gall bladder removed? A gastroenterologist with no training in the ways that natural and alternative medicine can reduce gallbladder concerns would say, “Sure.” I disagree. In this case, the appropriate course of action is to use a “bag of herbs” to reduce gallbladder discomfort and also to look at food intake, digestive ability and other lifestyle measures.  So…America…(and the world)…let’s re-evaluate our thoughts and our words. Natural medicine is no more “Alternative” than Standard medical techniques. All of them are Appropriate Medicine in the right context.

March 29th, 2008

Today in Cancer News – Appropriate Medicine™ Outlook

Meta-Analysis Shows Increased BMI Linked to Several Types of Cancer. A meta-analysis in Lancet finds a strong link between increased body mass index and cancer risk. Examining some 140 publications comprising data on over 280,000 incident cases, the researchers found strong links between a five-unit increase in BMI and the risk, in men, for esophageal, thyroid, colon, and renal cancers. In women, the strongest associations were with endometrial, gallbladder, esophageal, and renal cancers. Editorialists, praising the study’s strict selection criteria, say the link between BMI and cancer “might be mediated by changes in circulating concentrations of endogenous hormones,” and cite other possibilities. They write that several other questions remain unanswered, including whether weight loss can reduce risks or influence prognosis. Lancet article is here.

Dr. Galloway’s Response to This Article

Although meta-analysis techniques are best at showing trends rather than proving hard science, I agree with this view. It makes sense that what goes into the body and how the body processes it will determine the health of cell populations within the body. Garbage in, Garbage Out — to coin a phrase from the computer industry. Cancer has been shown again and again to be a misfire in the cell cycle. When a cell no longer has the message to die it will continue living and reproducing repeatedly…this is the modus operandi of cancer. Foods that are harmful to the body include processed sugars, red meats, alcohol, high fat foods, saturated fats, deep fried foods. The Standard American Diet that is full of processed foods, red meats and refined grains is turning our population into a land of large, starving, craving people. It is no wonder that the inflammatory, oxidating quality of these foods damages cells and leads to the formation of cancer. Let’s make a point of losing weight, eating well and eating to live, not living to eat. Print out Doctor Galloway’s Shopping List to Prevent Cancer Handout for free. It gives you a great list of foods you need in your shopping cart every week. Call or come see me to talk specifically about how you can have a cancer preventive diet.