“Live in the sunshine, swim the
sea, drink the wild air”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
plenty of good reasons to be outdoors this summer, and now we can add ‘safe
haven’ to the list. As we all know, strict isolation strategies have been
employed since mid-March to curb the spread of the pandemic. The resulting
isolation, combined with fear of contagion and misinformation overload
(“infodemic”) is creating a great deal of confusion and stress.
no question that reducing the contact rate of latent individuals, and interventions
such as quarantine and isolation, can effectively reduce the potential peak
number of infections and delay the time of peak infection. However, as much as
I believe this to be true as it applies to being indoors, I question whether
being outdoors—even in groups—poses much risk at all. While there is still so
much we don’t know about the virus transmission, we have yet to see proof or a
strong likelihood that the outdoors poses a significant risk. In fact, research suggests it may be safer
compared to indoors.
For more than four decades I’ve been involved in the dietary
supplement business, from my humble beginnings working in a natural foods store
to creating my own line of the highest quality supplements available on the
It has been a long, challenging, and educational road. And I understand—from an insider’s viewpoint—just how difficult it is to know whom you can trust when it comes to choosing the most effective dietary supplements.
The Greek lyrical poet Archilochus said, “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”
This quote suggests that the ability to succeed is not based on chance, nor can someone expect to succeed based solely on his or her innate abilities. Success instead is the result of training in a focused manner, so that when faced with a critical situation, a reaction occurs without conscious thought—essentially, it has become an instinctual response born of dedicated practice.
The saying can also be interpreted in a broader fashion, reflecting one’s ability to change and to “push the envelope,” as great jazz musicians do. Basketball, my favorite sport, shares some similarities in approach. The combination of talent and training, with some scripted aspects of play and the freedom for spontaneous improvisation is the ultimate in team synergy. When played in this way, basketball is beautiful. The unscripted nature of the game is similar to the improvisational nature of jazz, in which the notes are often unknown in advance, and rely on the combination of thought (intelligence) and feeling response (heart). Continue reading “Thoughts on Jazz and Healing”
Whole Grain, Stone Ground, Organic Bread: It’s Good For You!
If you’ve been reading my blog, you already know that I’m a big proponent of including grains in our daily diet. Not just any grains, though. Grains that are healthful for us are organic, whole grains, enjoyed either in their whole form or as freshly milled flour.
Despite the current dietary fad of shunning all grains, a growing body of evidence shows that increased intake of less-refined, whole-grain foods has numerous positive health benefits. People who consume greater amounts of whole grains are consistently shown to have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2-diabetes, and many cancers. People who eat whole grains also appear to have better digestive health and are likely to have a lower BMI and gain less weight over time. The bulk of the evidence for the advantages of whole-grains comes from observational studies, but researchers are discovering the same benefits in intervention studies, and are identifying the mechanisms behind the protective properties of whole grains.1
Whole Grains Protect Against Cardiovascular Disease
Here’s an example of the health protective benefits of whole grains: A meta-analysis of seven major studies showed that cardiovascular disease (heart attack, stroke, or the need for a procedure to bypass or open a clogged artery) was 21% less likely in people who ate 2.5 or more servings of whole-grain foods per day compared with those who ate less than 2 servings per week.2
Enhancing Cellular Defense Mechanisms with Adaptogens
Aging is associated with a decrease in adaptive abilities along with increased vulnerability to stress. At the same time, aging is a complex process involving a persistent activation of some stress response systems, often involving transcriptional reprogramming, and the activation of vitagenes, which can be consider a ‘geroprotective’ adaptation.13Environmental stressors induce specific and predictable epigenetic changes that can eventually result in an adaptive response to the stimulus. It seems likely that mild stress-induced hormetic response involves mechanisms similar to those that underlie developmental epigenetic adaptations.
The illustration below shows the involvement of hormesis in the epigenetic processes that determine age-related disorders and longevity.14
Dose–response curve depicting the quantitative features of hormesis
The tradition of baking and sharing holiday cookies is one that my family enjoys. Of course, I like to make our treats as healthy as possible. I have special memories of the delicious cookies that my mother made at Christmas, and I’ve updated her recipe, making it with healthy ingredients. It’s our favorite holiday cookie recipe, and I’d like to share it with you.
2 cups ground pecans: I use a wooden rolling pin to crush the pecans
2 cups flour: I use a combination of 1 cup organic oat flour (freshly ground from organic whole oat groats), ½ cup coconut flour, and ½ cup sprouted spelt flour. (If you prefer a less crumbly cookie, substitute kamut flour for the oat flour.)