Waist Matters

This is the reality. If your waist is wider than your shoulders, or creeping close, then you are in huge, huge trouble. The fat in your middle is a festering inflammatory stew spitting out cancer juice and artery-hardening, pancreas-killing, Alzheimer’s inducing, ragefull sludge.

You do not have to starve yourself. You do not have to be skinny. And I know, in some cases the genetic odds are stacked against you. But I don’t care. If you can do anything about it, get your waist circumference down and save yourself.

In the early days your pancreas may just protest a little and your low back and knees might only whine quietly, but to themselves they are saying, “I’ll show you sucker.” In time the diabetic foot infections, wheelchair-confining back and knee pain, and stroke inducing cardiovascular disease will have their way with you.

Note, the lack of a numerical inch limit for males/females here is deliberate. We are all individuals. You know whether you are emaciated and starving, nourished but trim, or if your belly is toppling over your waistband a little more each year. I don’t expect you to measure yourself. I give you more credit than that. Observe and be honest. 

No words minced,

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Bacteria are not the enemy! Find the good ones here. 

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Probiotics Live in Yoghurt & Were Born to Help You

Bacteria get a very bad rap, but actually you literally couldn’t live without them. There are many kinds living in and on us every day, as the Human Microbiome Project has recently discovered, but the best understood are the ones that live in your gut, help you digest food and absorb medicine, and keep your tummy happy in a very essential way.

You might have heard of probiotics? They are just bacteria that are known to be helpful for digestion, and they are packed by the billions into yoghurt and fermented drinks like Kombucha.

It turns out that Lactobacillus, a common strain, will reduce the chance of getting antibiotic-associated diarrhea by 42% according to a new review of 82 different studies published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association).

The best part is you don’t need a prescription. Lactobacillus and usually a few other probiotic strains can be found in your average affordable cup of grocery-store yoghurt.

If you are not impressed know that people in hospitals all over America are. Antibiotics can be very problematic when it comes to causing certain kinds of intractable diarrhea.

But yet again medicine proves what the hippies already know. A healthy gut needs healthy, helpful bacteria in residence, whether it’s dealing with the daily grind of your diet, or the sudden impact of a disruptive antibiotic as it makes its way through your system in search of its prey, which could be something as un-intestinally domiciled as a skin infection or a UTI.

Full disclosure: No, I am not paid by Fage. It’s just the yoghurt my boyfriend and I have at home. But Fage, if you’re reading this, I’m open to talking about the possibility.


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massage your breasts,


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Massage Your Breasts!

Massage your breasts, and your legs, and your belly, and your neck. Get to your head while you’re at it.

I recently learned about Abhyanga, the Ayurvedic practice of self-massage with herb-infused oils.

“Long strokes on the long bones, round circles on the joints!” my Ayurveda practitioner and friend Kristen Rae Stevens has taught me. She should have also added, round circles on your boobs!

I have just started studying Ayurveda, traditional Indian medicine, whose roots go back 5000 years, and the practice of abhyanga makes sense from both a personal and medical perspective.

Massage feels great. It’s expensive, so why not do it yourself. And if you really get in there – working carefully but deeply into the muscles and connective tissues with your fingers – you are stimulating the flow of lymph through your body, pushing it back to the heart, and releasing trapped scuzzy toxins that you breathe, swallow, and generate with negative thinking all day.

Too woo-woo? Massaging your own breasts is weird? Have that attitude, but breasts are not just fat. They are specialized organs for milk making, among other things, that hold a host of unique hormone receptors. They are sensitive to everything from stress to unfermented soy, which has estrogenic compounds, to coffee, which tends to cause them to be lumpier. Give them some love and work out the toxins. It can’t hurt!

For more check out my new favorite book, Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life by Dr. Claudia Welch. She will give you the low down on your boobies.

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Tumeric Anti-Inflammatory Goodness

Tumeric, it turns out, is a root. But not just any root. Tumeric, in addition to powerfully staining your fingers and clothes orange, has incredible anti-inflammatory (think anti-aging, anti-cancer, anti-arthritis) powers as well.

Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has been shown in scientific studies to have all sorts of health benefits, (just search “Tumeric” on Pubmed, the National Institute of Health’s online library). I like this one where turmeric did as well as Advil for arthritis – it’s also moderately comprehensible for a science journal article.

A couple of years ago my friend Dan Sullivan, affectionately known as Yoga Dan, started a turmeric juice company. When he first told me this I pictured him splattered with orange grit in a basement somewhere, pulverizing turmeric by hand and pouring it into unmarked bottles and I thought “yeahhhh… ok.” Two years later Dan’s Tumeric elixir is in every Whole Foods and is slowly taking over the world. When it first showed up at Kula, my yoga studio, I enthusiastically tasted it but at first kind of thought it tasted like watered down Koolaid. Maybe my palate changed, but now I am addicted to it and since they added more spices (try the anti-oxidant variety!) I am even more in love.

 Dan, if I have even one 1/18th of your hippied-out, ion-mat sleeping, abhyagna-oiled, nutty health-guru self in me, I may live to be 150. From now on I will do whatever you say. 

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Today I had to call a patient who had requested to see a nutritionist. She had been told by her doctor that she had pre-diabetes, and wanted to learn about what to eat.

Pre-diabetes means your poor besieged-by sugar-and-processed-junk pancreas is flagging a little on the insulin production, and your red blood cells (along with most of the rest of your body) are slowly being coated with sugar, or “glycosylated.”  Full blown diabetes is when your pancreas is shot or nearly so, and you need pills or insulin injections not to get really sick from the level of sugar in your blood. Insulin, by the way, is the hormone your body makes that, in a nut shell, gets your cells to move sugar out of your blood and into storage when there’s excess around.

I gave the patient the referral, but I also talked to her for a while. What to eat? Well, pre-diabetes is reversible, so literally, cut the crap, and eat what every one of us should be eating.

Lots of green veggies, whole grains like quinoa, millet, and unprocessed oats, nuts, plain yoghurt, olive oil, seeds, a little fresh fruit, fish, a little lean chicken and meat if you eat meat but not much. And, as I tell all my patients, “If it came wrapped in plastic, tin foil, Styrofoam, or tin, it didn’t come out of the ground that way and it wasn’t made by God so don’t eat it.” (I have no idea where I got the “God” thing but I think it sounds sort of final and fatalistic to say, and people seem to dig it – their eyes widen in fear or they laugh, so I know they are at least listening.)

There’s more to food than this of course, but if you start there you are in a good spot. 

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It’s not about the fat, it’s about the dialysis center and the amputations. 


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