Integrative Health Blog

3 Ways to Cut Your Cancer Risk

Posted by on Mon, Jan 19, 2015

Do you think the genes you’re born with determine what happens to you? 

Whether you’ll be overweight because it runs in your family or whether you’ll get diabetes since your Dad had it?

Whether you’ll develop breast cancer because your Mom died from it?

You might be surprised to know that your genes don’t have as much control as was previously thought. 

Scientific American just published an article reviewing the latest information in the field of epigenetics.  Here’s a quote: “Many of the contingencies of life – what we eat, what pollutants are in or environment, how often we are stressed – affect how our genes operate.”  This is great news, because we have a lot of control over what we eat and how we deal with stress, and even some control over the pollutants in our environment (like our homes and cars).

Have you heard of epigenetics? 

Epigenetics is the phenomenon of how our environment, which includes the foods that we eat, the toxins we're exposed to, and even our stress levels, can turn genes on and off.  A new article published in Scientific American states "epigenetic effects play a crucial role in development, aging and even cancer1."  Even cancer?!  This is great news, that we can make choices that influence whether those cancer genes get turned on or off! We should be aware of the fact that we have significant power over our health destiny.   

So, here are 3 things that you can do to drastically reduce your risk of cancer:

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Tags: cancer, vitamins and minerals, holistic nutrition

Holistic Pediatrics: How to Protect Your Child From Heart Disease

Posted by on Mon, Dec 08, 2014

Childhood Illnesses: Colds…Chicken Pox…Heart Disease?!

Starting three years ago, it became routine to test all 9 to 11 year olds for cholesterol level.  According to a December 2011 Pediatric News article, “…heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular problems in adulthood are often the end result of cardiovascular risk factors that went unrecognized throughout childhood…”1

I’m glad to see that we, as pediatricians, are acknowledging the fact that heart disease, like many other diseases, really starts in childhood.  And while I fully support the screening process, I’m much more interested in prevention.  What should we do during that first decade of our children’s lives to make the screening unnecessary?  It’s all about diet and lifestyle. 

Trending Toward Disease

For the past thirty years, child health has been going in the wrong direction. Childhood overweight and obesity has skyrocketed during the past 3 decades.  And that trend is directly linked to the increased incidence of a variety of heart related disorders in children, most notably high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, and high cholesterol levels.  This is a very serious problem, given that epidemiologists are proposing that life expectancy for this rising generation of children could be shortened by as much as eight years.  So, what are the primary factors leading to these disturbing trends?

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Tags: heart disease, holistic nutrition, children's health, pediatrics

Can Diet Affect ADHD?

Posted by on Mon, Nov 17, 2014

Is there such a thing as an ADHD Diet?

The answer is yes…and no. 

What this mean is this: a child’s diet is a critical piece in the treatment of ADHD.  However, the right diet doesn’t treat just ADHD symptoms, but it makes the brain work better in general.  So, an ADHD diet is actually a brain healthy diet.

What happens in ADHD? 

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) are brain disorder diagnoses usually made by a pediatrician or psychologist. It is characterized by inability to concentrate, restlessness, and impulsiveness, but may be difficult to diagnose. It is often first reported by teachers or parents. There is no single cause of ADHD. Rather, scientific research suggests the effects of many underlying causes, which taken together are expressed through each individual's genetic make up as a group of symptoms qualifying for a diagnosis of ADHD.

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Tags: ADHD, holistic nutrition, children's health, pediatrics

Breast Cancer Prevention Begins in Childhood?

Posted by on Sat, Oct 25, 2014

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 

We often direct the awareness message to women, recommending steps they can take to detect breast cancer early or to reduce their risk of cancer.  

But breast cancer prevention actually begins in childhood.  Several recent studies show the relationship of childhood diet to breast cancer risk.

Childhood Diet and Cancer Risk

It’s long been known that early puberty is a risk factor for breast cancer, likely because of the increased length of time the body is exposed to higher levels of estrogen.  Interestingly enough, onset of puberty is significantly impacted by certain dietary factors. 

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2012 showed that increased meat and dairy intake is associated with an earlier age of puberty onset.  On the other hand, a diet higher in vegetable protein intake was correlated to a later onset of puberty.  This study specifically looked at the diet when the children were only 3 to 6 years old. 

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Tags: cancer, holistic nutrition, children's health

Holistic Nutrition: Avocado Cacao Pudding Recipe

Posted by on Fri, Jul 25, 2014

Avocado-Cacao Pudding 1 minute
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Tags: holistic nutrition, recipe

Holistic Nutrition: The Thing About Fruit Is...

Posted by on Tue, Jun 24, 2014

Summer is here!

One of the biggest reasons I love summertime is the fruit!  Beautiful berries, watermelon, cherries, peaches, nectarines and plums - all make my mouth water. They also bring back memories of trips to the local farm when I was a kid to buy fresh produce, long before farmer’s markets were “en vogue”.

Now that I am older, I am also wiser when it comes to eating fruits.

As you know from reading my blogs, I am interested in helping people understand how blood sugar problems can lead to insulin resistance, pre-diabetes and Type II diabetes.

You’ve heard the phrase “work smarter, not harder”, right?

I want to remind you of a tip I have given you before to help you make smart decisions when it comes to enjoying all the beautiful and luscious fruits that are in season now.

Here is my healthy tip:

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Tags: holistic nutrition, diabetes, pre-diabetes, blood sugar

5 Toxic Food Choices and Simple Ways to Trade Up

Posted by on Fri, Jun 06, 2014

Over the past few decades, a lot has changed about food and about our food choices. 

The food industry is constantly trying to keep up with our changing lifestyles by offering us foods that are easily eaten on the run, or that have longer shelf life.  Recently, the food industry has been offering solutions to our childhood obesity epidemic by offering low-calorie and low-fat food.  But most of the time, these foods contain toxic ingredients that are contributing to disease rather than improving health.  If you’re trying to improve your child’s health by replacing regular soda with diet soda, encouraging “low cholesterol” refined carbs, or “low-fat” dairy products, read on to find out how such choices are detrimental to your child’s health. 

Artificial sugars: More and more children are using artificially sweetened foods and beverages in an attempt to curb the obesity epidemic.  But aspartame, and other forms of artificial sugars are toxic chemicals.  Aspartame is associated with numerous symptoms, such as headaches, joint pain, fatigue and even seizures.  Moreover, the main reason for its use, weight control, often doesn’t work.  A recent study showed that regular consumption of diet soda actually is associated with weight gain.

Trade up: If you want a low- or no-calorie sweetener, switch to Stevia or Xylitol which are natural.

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Tags: obesity, holistic nutrition, toxins

Holistic Nutrition Recipe: Crispy Brussels Sprout Chips

Posted by on Wed, Mar 19, 2014

Brussels sprouts are part of the cruciferous family of vegetables which includes broccoli, cauliflower, watercress, cabbage, swiss chard, bok choy and many others. When eaten several times a week, cruciferous vegetables may provide increased cancer protection. They contain a class of phytochemicals called isothiocyanates which help the body to detoxify potentially toxic compounds.

Ever think of eating brussels sprouts as a chip?

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Tags: holistic nutrition, detoxification, recipe

"Let food be thy medicine" ~ Hippocrates

Posted by on Wed, Feb 26, 2014

By Guest Blogger Farmer Allan Balliett, Owner, Fresh and Local CSA

I suffered from the effects of Multiple Chemical Sensitivities(MCS) for over 10 years. My healing didn't begin until I  abandoned AMA doctors and found a Naturopath. He got me off from cigarettes and tranquilizers and onto organic food. (With MCS I was painfully reactive to food additives, trace amounts of pesticides, tobacco smoke and 'fragrances' and was horribly fatigued all the time.) Because fresh organic produce was rare in the early 80's, I adopted a macrobiotic diet which was based around organically grown staples like grains and beans and wild crafted foods like seaweeds. Once I was "minimizing toxins and maximizing nutrition," my healing began almost immediately and in 3 weeks I had made more progress towards “Wellness” than I had in the previous 10 years. In 3 months, I was a new person, with a clear head with literally boundless energy.

Every once in a while after I was well I'd bite into a piece of 'fresh' organic food, like an apple, and have an MCS reaction. When I brought this up to my macrobiotic counselor he said,   "Not all organic food is toxin free. Some of it is fake and some of it gets contaminated in the distribution process. If you want  food that's chemically free, you'll need to go out to West Virginia and grow it yourself with the other people who are healing."

Having grown up on a conventional farm under the influence of a grandmother who had studied herbalism with a Native American medicine man, I took up the challenge and moved to West Virginia, using my new energy to commute from West Virginia to my job in DC while searching for an appropriate non-toxic way to grow food.

My Journey to Biodynamic Farming

After reading every book I could find on farming without chemicals, I found my first  book on biodynamic farming. Biodynamics was the only holistic method of farming I'd run across and, unlike Rodale organics, it's goal was ‘to produce foods appropriate for human development’ rather than produce foods that could be sold profitably by weight or count using the least inputs possible. The goal was quality, not increased profits. There's a huge difference in these approaches to producing food. I think my mentor, Alan Chadwick, said it best  about the effect of commercialization on food quality: "When a man goes into a field to produce good food, that food is completely different from the food he will grow if he goes into that same field to produce $10,000.00."

While reading about food-as-medicine ("healthy soil=healthy plants=healthy people") I read Dr. Carey Ream's statement that “All disease is the result of mineral deficiencies", and soil scientist William Albrecht saying that physicals for the draft for WWI proved that the least healthy young men came from the areas of the country with naturally mineral deficient soils. It was also clear that there is a strong relationship between the minerals in our food and ultimate health and clear indications that we absorb minerals from living organisms more readily than we do from pills.

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Tags: holistic nutrition

My Favorite Holiday Pomegranate Salad

Posted by on Fri, Dec 20, 2013

My Favorite Holiday Salad!  And it is also the easiest salad I make all year long.


Bring this special holiday salad to your gatherings this year, and enjoy the compliments!  


Holiday Pomegranate and Fennel Salad Recipe


-1 or 2 fennel bulbs:  Slice the white bulb into long, thin slices.  Cut the thin green tops that look like dill off and set aside for garnish.

-2 purple onion:  Slice into long, thin slices.

-5 oranges:  Cut into long thin slices, or pinwheels and them quarter your pinwheels to make bite size pieces.

-4 pomegranates:  Peel and seed to toss into this salad.


Dressing:  Organic, cold pressed olive oil.

Adjust the amounts above to suit your palate and preferences.  

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Tags: holistic nutrition, raw food, recipe