One of the most frequent questions people ask me is, “What should I eat?” Maintaining health through diet is one of the central principles of the Eclectic Triphasic Medical System (ETMS). The ETMS dietary approach is unique, in that it weaves together the core principles of traditional dietary wisdom and current scientific research to offer a comprehensive health supportive diet that can be easily modified for individual needs.


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I’ve had numerous requests for information regarding specific dietary supplements and herbs that can help to normalize cholesterol profiles. Because there is so much misinformation regarding cholesterol, I want to reiterate that cholesterol is not the evil monster that it is made out to be.

Cholesterol is a lipid that is critical for the proper functioning of the body, and is used to build cell membranes, create sex hormones, aid in immune health and tissue repair; and facilitate digestion. However, elevated LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol, in the presence of prolonged inflammation, oxidation (of LDL cholesterol) and elevated blood glucose and insulin levels can contribute mightily to cardiovascular disease.


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In part 1 of this series, I provided an in-depth evaluation of the powerful role that diet plays in cardiovascular health, particularly in regard to achieving healthy cholesterol levels. As I pointed out in that post, I do not recommend statins, except in rare cases. Even then, the dosages I recommend are far less than the current standard of practice dictates.

Although cholesterol is often singled out as the cause of cardiovascular disease, this waxy, fat-like substance is essential to our health. Cholesterol is found in every cell, and is an important component of the membrane that surrounds cells. It’s also necessary for hormone production, specifically the hormone pregnenolone, which is the precursor to all other steroid hormones. Additionally, cholesterol is the precursor for bile acids that are necessary for digestion and provitamin D.


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It likely comes as no surprise that whenever possible, I advise avoiding pharmaceutical drugs in favor of healthy lifestyle changes. Prescription drugs invariably come with a host of side effects—some of which can be life threatening.

Statins, used for lowering cholesterol, are among the most commonly prescribed drugs. Although we’ve long been reassured that statins are safe, the truth is that statin-related side effects—including statin cardiomyopathy—are far more common than previously recognized. Fortunately, this serious condition is reversible with the combination of statin discontinuation and supplemental CoQ-10 (both ubiquinol—the reduced form and/or ubiquinone) and other mitochondrial-enhancing nutrients, such as R-lipoic acid, magnesium-creatine, magnesium glutamine, and botanicals, such as anabolic adaptogens and cardiovascular nourishing tonics.1


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Most people are aware that essential fatty acids are a necessary part of a healthy diet, and are familiar with omega 3’s, omega 6’s, and omega 9’s. But you may not have heard of omega 7’s, also known as palmitoleic acid. This rare fatty acid occurs abundantly in Siberian sea buckthorn berries (Hippophae rhamnoides), and has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic, Chinese, Greek, Russian, and Tibetan medicine. In Tibet, the berries are revered as the “Holy Fruit of the Himalayas.”

Siberian sea buckthorn oil (pressed from the bright orange colored berry and seeds of the plant) has come to the attention of the Western medical community because of its unique fatty acid profile—it’s the only known plant that contains all four essential fatty acids. Studies show that omega-7 fatty acids contribute to healthy skin, hair, and nails; enhance cardiovascular function; boost brain health; and improve gastrointestinal health. Sea buckthorn is also distinctive in that the fruits and seeds contain an extensive array of antioxidant compounds.


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In my last post, I shared my thoughts about the current dietary fad of avoiding grains and my personal approach to a healthful diet. In general, I recommend replacing refined grains with whole grains and suggest two servings of whole grains per day, served as part of two balanced meals. In this post, I delve deeper into the truth about grains, including scientific research that can help you make an educated decision about including grains in your diet.


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