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Blog: On Health. On Writing. On Life. On Everything.

Why Haven’t You Heard Kangen Water Mentioned Here?

June 26, 2011

Tags: water, movement, food, herbs, order, alkalinizing, customers – gullible, dream – pipe-dream, Earth, health device, health myth, improving your life, Kangen Water, magic machine, miracle pill, money - saving, multi-level marketing scheme, positive thinking, reader, reality, resources – Earth’s, scientific study, seller, vegetable, water purity, Why Haven’t You Heard Kangen Water Mentioned Here?, writing

Water is our Earth’s precious resource; I spend my time writing about the importance of keeping water pure and how to use it for health. But Kangen water?

From time to time I get sucked into a discussion on the Internet – so this time again; over Kangen water.

What I tell them is that not a single scientific study validates Kangen water, that it is nothing but a multi-level marketing scheme, and that if you want to alkalinize your body you better eat vegetables. But do I have an impact? No, because there are mostly two kinds of readers: People who sell this product and are vested in its success. And gullible customers.

And those poor gullible customers should save their money instead of running after the age-old dream that a simple device can make you healthy. Exactly to dispel that myth I am here. Because, in reality, it is a gradual process of improving your life in so many ways – water, movement, food, herbs, order might be a concept you are familiar with by now. No miracle pill. No magic machine. No positive thinking.

Just doing a little bit better every day.

Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786)

June 23, 2011

Tags: order, creed, Fromet Guggenheim, Germany, humanism, Jews, marriage, Mendelssohn - Felix (1809-1847), Mendelssohn - Moses (1729-1786), Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786), philosophy, proposal, race, religion

Definitely, I am one for sappy stories. This will be one of a sappiest – but also one of the most poignant.

When the German philosopher and humanist Moses Mendelssohn proposed to Fromet Guggenheim, she hesitated to accept. He knew she hesitated because he was a hunchback, and told her this story:

“Before I was born, an archangel showed me a room with all the unborn people in the world. I pointed out a beautiful girl. The archangel agreed with that she was beautiful but, he said, you see she is a hunchback. So I offered to the archangel to take the hunchback on myself so that she could live a good life.”

Fromet married Moses Mendelssohn. They had six children and had a long and happy marriage. One of their grandchildren would be Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847), the composer.

Moses Mendelssohn, a Jew, believed that people of all creeds and all colors and races should be living together peacefully.

My Neighbor Is Sick

June 22, 2011

Tags: food, order, abdominal pain, addictive, aging - premature, appreciating, artificial molecules, book, bowel, cancer, car, cell phone, chewing, cholecystitis, colors, computer, constipation, conversation, dairy, diet, dinner table, dispute, distraction, eggs, fiber, fish, flavors, food - inflammatory, fork, fruit drink, gallbladder inflammation, game, grace, HFCS, high blood pressure, high fructose corn syrup, high-protein diet, hunger, inflammation, iPod, iron-fortified, kidneys - compromised, kidney stones, meal, meat, mindful eating, mouth, My Neighbor Is Sick, Nature, neighbor, newspaper, osteoporosis, pounds, preservatives, protein, public transportation, radio, religion, roughage, savoring, sitting down at the table, soft drink, spoon, starch - white, stress, sugar, supermarket, table – set the, taste enhancers, Tibetans Alternative, TV, vegetable, vitamin-enhanced, water – drinking enough, weight gain, weight loss

My neighbor suddenly has abdominal pain – on the right, under his rib cage. Now there are many reasons to have that kind of pain, and he of course needs a check-up with his doctor – very soon. Today.

The doctor will hopefully soon find out what ails the neighbor - but here are some ideas. Because the other piece of information is that he has been on a diet for a while - a high-protein diet.

After having made sure he sought an immediate appointment with his doctor, I gave him a piece of my mind: No diet is a short-cut for good, healthy, everyday eating habits. “But I already lost eight pounds!” he said.

Eight pounds lost weight does not prove that one is healthy! It always puzzles me: People who would never feed their car the wrong octane fuel, seemingly give little thought to what is healthy fuel for their own bodies and thus constantly violate the laws of Nature.

These are the most frequent bad consequences of the ill-advised high-protein diet (and I have seem them all!):

• Constipation. The bowel needs roughage to function according to plan. Protein is digested more thoroughly than fiber, leaving little substance in the intestines lumen to push matters forward, which will lead to impaction can lead to a plugging-up of the whole plumbing system.
• Gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis). High protein diets are often also high in fat, which may drive the gallbladder into overdrive. This can cause inflammation and/or move stones.
• Kidney stones. High protein can lead to kidney stones, especially in already somewhat compromised kidneys – which come naturally with aging. At any rate, drinking enough water is always advisable.

A high-protein in the long one has been shown to promote premature aging, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and cancer – neither of which plays a likely role in my neighbor’s present affliction.

Whatever he has, he needs to reassess what he is doing to his health. And I am sure after this scare, he will. We have talked about diet and healthy eating here often, so I can make this short:

• Vegetables, vegetables, vegetables!
• No artificial molecules (sweeteners, flavors, colors, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, taste enhancers, vitamin-enhanced, iron-fortified, soft or fruit drinks, etc.).
• No dairy – because it is the most ubiquitous inflammatory and unnecessary food there is.
• No sugar and white starch; they are addictive and put the pounds on you.
• Have a modest intake of meat, fish and eggs.

In order to turn around your eating habits, it is useful to practice mindful eating – the way of slowly savoring and appreciating everything that goes into your mouth.

• Sit down at a table when you eat – set the table in a nice way, even if you are alone. Especially if you are alone.
• Say grace for your food - even if you are not a religious person. Because millions of people go hungry every day.
• Have no distractions – no TV, computer, cell phone, game, radio, newspaper, or book.
• Have no stress – avoid disputes at the dinner table. But have a lively conversation about important things in your life.
• Never ever eat in the car or on public transportation; teach your children that NOTHING can be eaten in the supermarket because it has not been paid for (and one should sit down for eating).
• Chew thoroughly; put fork or spoon down between bites.

The How you eat might be more important than the What you eat – at least for a while.

If you live alone, go back to the Tibetans Alternative: Where one eats one food at each meal, and rotates, instead of filling the plate with everything at the same time.

Whatever the neighbor has, let’s wish him a speedy recovery!

Mara Heinze-Hoferichter (1887 - 1958

June 21, 2011

Tags: order, Auschwitz, children’s book, Deutsche Schiller Stiftung, family, Friedel Starmatz, Germany, Heinze-Hoferichter - Mara (1887 - 1958), Holocaust, Jew, “Nesthäckchen” series, Thirties, Twenties, violin, Ury - Else (1877-1943), war, World War I, writing

When I was a child, the most important book I ever read was “Friedel Starmatz”, by Mara Heinze-Hoferichter. Mine was a used book - because my mother didn't have the money to buy me a book a day. That was the rate at which I was reading.

The story was about a little boy who is separated from his family during World War I. In the woods, he finds anther family, with whom he grows up. He learns to play the violin, and at a concert, many years later – but I won’t give the end away.

This is not a modern book, and I doubt that children nowadays would want to read it. We still have wars, and horrible things still happen to children (and grown-ups). I tried translating the book, but its sensibilities seem outdated. Perhaps I will put it on the Internet one day, so that it will be available to English-speaking children.

I tried to find out about the author, Mara Heinze-Hoferichter. It seems she was born in Eastern Germany. She wrote books for children in the Twenties and Thirties. And then her tracks fizzle out. 1938 to 1941 she seemed to have gotten a stipend from the Deutsche Schiller Stiftung. But there is no notice about her death. How did she die?

Perhaps she was just old and passed away. Or she shared the same fate a Else Ury (1877-1943), the most successful German children’s books author in the Twenties. As a Jew, she perished in Auschwitz. She wrote the most German of German girls’ books – the “Nesthäckchen” series – but in the end, she was not "German" enough and was killed in the Holocaust.

You Are Not Raising Children

June 18, 2011

Tags: order, childish, children, gratification-seeking, grown-ups, involvement, love, No!, parenting, responsibilities, temper tantrums, self- short-term, You Are Not Raising Children

Your Are Not Raising Children

In fact, you are raising future grown-ups. Make sure they learn grown-up responsibilities, and are not stuck in childish temper tantrums, self-involvement and short-term gratification-seeking.

This doesn't mean you shouldn't love them. It means that they need to hear "No!" often.

Keep A Cool Head!

June 16, 2011

Tags: water, air - fresh, brain temperature, Celsius, cool head - warm feet, cooling water tubes, Fahrenheit, feet - warm, head - cool, insomnia, Keep A Cool Head!, Maine, re-breathing stale air, sleep, Natural Medicine, water – recycled, wet socks, window open, winter

A study just out: Scientists built a cap with cooling water tubes to keep the brain temperature down. Turns out you sleep best when your head is at a little below 60 degrees Fahrenheit about 15 degrees Celsius.

What – they spent research funds on that?? Insane. Why invent a machine for something that is available easily in nature?

Then again: Natural Medicine tells us for more than a century now to sleep with the window open. For the reason that one doesn’t re-breathe ones stale reason. For a second reason: To keep a cool head.

The only other proven across-the-board condition that helps people go to sleep is having warm feet. Is this neat? Cool head, warm feet! You find the absurd prescription of Wet Socks in my water book (I don’t have the time to write about it now) – absurd, but it helps.

For today: Sleep with window open. Give it it try! Of course, we sleep with window open even in the coldest winter in Maine. You can start now - in summer weather. You don’t drink water that has once gone through your body and then been discarded. You shouldn’t re-breathe your used-up air either!

Alternative Goes Mainstream - Or Does it?

June 11, 2011

Tags: order, movement, food, herbs, water, acupuncture, alternative-complementary medicine program, Alternative Goes Mainstream, Arzt für Naturheilkunde, Ayurvedic Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, BIDMC, biophysical medicine, board-certified, Boston, Cheng - Jill and Hung, Chinese food, chiropractic, conferences – medical, Continuing Education, diseases, Family Practice, Germany, healing foods, healing modalities, hydrotherapy, Internal Medicine, massage, medications, medicine – alternative, medicine – conventional, Natural Medicine, overweight, Primary Care, quackery, relaxation, research, subspecialty, subspecialty degree in Complementary Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, under-exercised, yoga

Have you ever not told your doctor you are using an herb or a massage for your problems? Have you ever had a physician yelling at you because you dared mention such modalities at all? I am looking for gentle healing forms for twenty five years now – and I am astonished that I am still hearing about such fossil physicians and incidents.

This week I attended a gathering to celebrate a generous gift Jill and Hung Cheng have given to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston toward an alternative-complementary medicine program.

We celebrated with speeches (of course!) and healthy Chinese fare, and had a ball, generally – celebrating that a farsighted couple tries to overcome the big divide between alternative and conventional medicine.

BUT: Why are we still talking about alternative?

There is nothing alternative in using healing foods and movement to help patients. Not astonishing, a new study showed that overweight, under-exercised physicians are utilizing less food and physical modalities to help their patients. Which means: Overweight, under-exercised physicians prescribe more medications. Scary?

In Germany, many modalities like herbal therapy, Natural Medicine, massage, acupuncture, yoga, relaxation, hydrotherapy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic Medicine, chiropractic, biophysical medicine, and so on are mainstream. Which means that a physician can pass an examination in a subspecialty, in front of a board of peers to show his/her knowledge. I have done it (Arzt für Naturheilkunde).

Are there quacks in alternative medicine? Sure, there are. But so are in conventional medicine. Not talking to each other only perpetuates the shortcomings on both sides of the aisle.

This is what is needed:

• A subspecialty degree in Complementary Medicine that can be acquired by any physician who has passed the Internal Medicine, Family Practice or Primary Care Boards.
• Conferences and Continuing Education that automatically comprise ALL healing modalities that have been proven useful in certain diseases and conditions.
• More research in complementary modalities – of course!!

The Hhhh Sound

June 9, 2011

Tags: order, water, bear hides, breath, breathing, catastrophe, cave man, cold shower, exhale, happiness, harmony, health, hearth, Hhhh - exhaling sound, home, house, hope, humor, immersing in cold, inhale, let go, The Hhhh Sound, words– positive

Health, house, home, hearth, happiness, hope, humor – and many more – positive words start with an “H”. Did you notice?

Why is that so?

The “H” is the exhaling sound: Hhhh … It means we can let go. We don’t have to hold our breath because something will hit us from behind. We don’t have to exert ourselves – we can let go. We are at home - at Hhhhome.

When I take a cold shower after a warm one, I exhale. That one doesn’t come naturally. Naturally, one would hold one’s breath while the cold hits. By first exhaling and then immersing in cold, I tell my body: It’s okay! Just relax! All will be fine!

I bet the Hhhhh sound was born when the first man (?woman) found the first cave to live in. He sat down on his pile of bear hides, looked around pleased and exhaled: Home – finally Hhhhome!

Observe how you are running through your day: With your breath held and in constant fear of a catastrophe hitting? Or in harmony – there! Another one! – with your surrounding?

World Oceans Day 2011

June 8, 2011

Tags: water, August, congee, Earth, earthquakes, family, fires, floods, Gaia, Gaia hypothesis, grape leaves, Maine, morning ritual, ocean, plagues, rains - torrential, renewal, sauerkraut, sencha tea, summer, tea – green, tornados, tsunamis, vermin, whales, World Oceans Day 2011

Water is the most precious stuff of life. We drink it, we bathe in it, we revere it.

This morning I had a shower, then drank a sencha tea and ate a bowl of congee with sauerkraut and grape leaves. None of my morning ritual would work without water.

In August we will return to our cabin in Maine. It is small, but it is at the ocean, and so important for our family – most of our renewal starts there, every summer.

What is important today, on World Ocean Day 2011: That you tell at least one youngster to work on saving the waters, the whales, the life of our old Earth.

You know the Gaia hypothesis, don’t you? According to the Gaia hypothesis, our old Earth, Gaia, is an organism of her own – and we are just some lice in her hair. Isn’t that exactly the impression she gives us presently? She is shaking herself to get rid of the vermin on her surface by sending tsunamis, fires, tornados, earthquakes, torrential rains, floods, and plagues.

Regardless, if the Gaia hypothesis is right or wrong – it helps me to see my task better: To protect our old Earth as much as I can. Because she is the only home we have.

E. coli And Other Food-Borne Dangers

June 7, 2011

My brother in Hamburg/Germany was one of the people who acquired the sickening E. coli bug EHEC that can induce the feared Hemolytic-Uremic Syndrome (HUS). Fine now, except for some prolonged weakness, he was spared kidney failure and neurological consequences that are not rare.

Germany is far away – but don’t think that we here could not experience a similar outbreak. Truth is that many U.S citizens come down with food-borne illnesses all the time: The number is estimated at several millions per year, and it is thought that they cause about 5000 deaths every year. The death toll in Germany stands at 22 (I avoid the word “only”) – let’s hope it stays there.

Interestingly, the germs that are spoiling fresh produce now have likely originated in our modern ways of animal husbandry: Huge feed lots, mass slaughtering, antibiotic over-treatment might all have led to this outbreak.

What can we do to avoid food-borne disease?

1. Eat less meat – once or twice a week is enough. Avoid deli. Insist on naturally raised animals.
2. Consider growing your own lettuce – which can be done in a pot on a balcony.
3. Do not use raw milk (and if you ask me, avoid all dairy anyway!)
4. Throw out everything from fridge and pantry that is beyond the expiration date and/or looks suspicious. (If you are at it, you can also throw away unhealthy stuff – like sugary, starchy, calorie-laden things!).
5. Throw bulging cans away.
6. Don’t keep foods that are known to spoil easily, like mayonnaise, longer than a day.
7. Wash your hands after each bathroom visit and before you handle food. And wash them again, after you have discarded the peel or rind, or have touched poultry, meat and fish.
8. Wash everything washable with detergent, then rinse thoroughly.
9. In unclear situations stick to fruit and vegetables that can be peeled.
10. Filter your water – a filter can keep out microbes.
11. Cook meat and fish well. A good sushi place can probably be trusted.
12. And if you think you ate something bad: Induce vomiting (but surely not as a habit!!), and/or take some GSE for a few days (16 drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract three times a day in water diluted. Never take it undiluted – it is sort of caustic!).

Avoiding contact and contamination is one side of the equation. Keeping your immune system strong, is the other side: End every warm shower with a cold one (see earlier blogs for contra-indications!), get enough sleep before midnight, make sure you are safe but don’t give over to excessive worry, stay in shape by walking every day, and eating more vegetables … cooked!
Aspen eyes, by Peggy Peters

Iguazu Falls, by Xin Liu

Alexa Fleckenstein M.D. 2012, by Lolita Parker jr.

Tags - see also the non-captalized entries below!