Sunday, June 20, 2010

How Alcohol Affects Overall Health

"Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more." Proverbs 31: 6-7

Shay there you; …hiccup, stagger, did you know that ten, pardon me, burp, ten out of four people drink booze? Today, as a transformed alcohol over-user, I look into the mirror of my past, flinching when in public, I recognize someone’s values’ dissolving into an excessive slurry of ice cubes chilling your fourth Scotch Whiskey; “I don’t care about my new shoes, urp, blurp, splat! Taxi!

Since ancient times, ardent spirits have played roles in religion, economics, sex, politics and all aspects of society. Abe Lincoln, when clued General Grant swilled whiskey while leading his troops replied, “Find out the name of the brand so I can give it to my other generals." Presidents conspired with demon rum, a social lubricant, to procure votes and eager Federal Judges interrupted proceedings to partake. G. W. Bush snorted and soused his way through college. Nixon habitually imbibed Scotch and soda, and a snockered LBJ cavorted about his Texas ranch in an open convertible whilst imbibing scotch and soda. Perhaps this is why he insensitively picked up his pet Beagles by the ears and considered it entertainment.

Nurtured by guilt-based fundamentalist religious literalism, I was brainwashed if demon alcohol met my inquisitive lips, I’d go directly to a blistering hell on a razorblade only to ‘kersplash’ into a vat of stinging alcohol. As a repressed teen it was incumbent to investigate and’ lay hands’ upon the proverbial wet paint. Religious repression eternally backfires so I spent the next 20 years rebelling in a boozy stupor. Theologically ironic considering Bourbon takes its name from Bourbon County Kentucky where it was first produced by a happy Baptist minister in 1789. Ask any hotel room service attendant and they’ll attest in-room liquor sales soar when these groups hold conventions; an innocent illustration of our humanness. Protestant groups, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and Presbyterians consider moderate use tolerable but frown upon drunkenness that punches the ticket to eternal agony. Roman Catholics tend to be more accepting of a wee bit of the grape. References to alcohol in Jewish writings are to moderate wine consumption. In much of France, Germany, Scandinavia, and Italy, from childhood, wise people thought of wine as a food, so liquor was not such an enthralling curiosity.

Alcohol as medicine has been recorded throughout history and is mentioned 191 times in the Old and New Testaments. If you drink moderately, there’s ‘proof’ alcohol improves health while tranquilizing your frenetic everyday life. Moderate drinkers tend to have enhanced health and live longer than those who are either abstainers or booze hounds. In addition to having fewer heart attacks and strokes, moderate drinkers are less likely to suffer hypertension, high blood pressure, peripheral artery disease, Alzheimer's disease and the common cold.
Commonsensical consumption appears beneficial in reducing or preventing diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, bone fractures and osteoporosis, kidney stones, digestive ailments, stress and depression, poor cognition and memory, Parkinson's disease, hepatitis A, pancreatic cancer, macular degeneration, angina pectoris, duodenal ulcer, erectile dysfunction, hearing loss, gallstones, liver disease, Alzheimer’s, the common cold and poor physical condition in elderly.
A Harvard Study found the risk of death from all causes to be 21% to 28% lower among men who drank alcohol moderately compared to teetotalers. Loathe hangovers? Try drinking a glass of alkaline Smart Water every 2 or 3 drinks to get fluid into the temple before the end of the night. When you wake up with a big head and your liver quivers, consider adding Milk Thistle, a restorative liver tonic, to your daily vitamin regimen everyday for a month whilst not drinking. You’ll feel a lot better, even after drinking is resumed; in moderating, of course. Cheers!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

'Green' Tea and Sympathy

Wherever I wander, friends jest on the subject of my ever-present mug-o-tea. Tea’s my morning java, diet coke fix, and cocktail; my ‘longevi-tea’. The simple, focused act of brewing tea touches our souls. Tea is a ceremony; a stand-up performance in simplicity.

After decades in the wacky food industry, I corroborate food servers consider tea drinkers pains in the tea bag because serving a proper cup of tea requires more attention than simply topping off a steamy cup-o-Joe. The bag needs refreshing, the water needs to be kept hot; topped off, and, “Would it kill you to warm the stone-cold cup with a bit of hot water first?”, I queried as the waitress ‘s eyes rolled back into her head. I accept I’ve morphed into “one of them”; the needy nerdy. Yes, I am a tea-junkie; snob sounds too severe. For if I am too cold, tea warms me up; if I’m too heated, it will cool me down; if I’m depressed, it will cheer me up, and if I’m excited, it will calm me down. After water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world. Green tea has always been, and remains today, the most popular type of tea from China where historians and botanists believe the plant originated.
Good news! Green tea drinkers appear to have a reduced risk for a wide range of diseases, from simple bacterial or viral infections to cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke, periodontal disease, glaucoma and osteoporosis. Might it be due to the fact one cup of green tea provides 10-40 mg of polyphenols and has antioxidant effects greater than a serving of broccoli, spinach, carrots, or strawberries?
Tea contains antioxidants that mop up the free radicals before they trash the Temple like an attention-seeking rock star. Green tea contains heavenly-gifted catechins; powerful antioxidants created to mop up free-radicals. According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, in laboratory studies using animals, catechins scavenged oxidants before cell damage occurred, reduced the number and size of tumors, and inhibited the growth of cancer cells. White tea is said to be even more effective. Smell what’s brewing?
The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry reports the antioxidants in green tea are absorbed into the lens, retina and other eye tissues. They speculate the antioxidant catechins in green tea protect the eye proving that eye structures can absorb significant amounts of catechins that reduce harmful oxidative stress in the eye for up to 20 hours. Hootchie Momma! Visualize your good health if you drank 5 cups a day.

If you have the propensity to clot a lot, green and black tea act like aspirin by blocking the formation of thromboxane A2, hence reducing the risk of heart attack and thrombotic stroke. If you take Coumadin, don’t fret, just be consistent and inform your phlebotomist.

Recently, the Journal of Preventive Medicine published a study revealing the correlating between tooth loss and green tea consumption. Those who one to two cups daily had 18% less risk of losing teeth, and those who drank five or more cups daily faced 23% less risk.
Regarding the glittery caffeine conundrum, a 5 ounce cup of coffee contains 80 milligrams; a 1 ounce bag of black tea 40 milligrams; Oolong, 30 milligrams and one ounce of green tea a paltry 20. The reason I say this is because some of us with heart concerns, including me, cannot let their heart become over-stimulated for we will roll into arrhythmia.
In the book, The Green Tea Book, “Despite a high percentage of smokers (75% of adult men), Japan has an astonishingly low rate of heart disease. It seems possible the polyphenols in black and especially green tea cause the same paradox that polyphenols in red wine lead to. An encouraging Japanese epidemiology study concluded drinking eight to ten cups green or black tea per day can positively affect cholesterol levels whether you smoke, drink are overweight or obese.
Armed with these nutritional nuggets, it shouldn’t be too long till you’re brewin’ Oolong.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pure Food: A healthy investment

After presenting my Eat Right Now program at a continuing education health conference in Chicago last week regarding Autism, ADD & ADHD, Celiac Disease and food allergies, I confidently proclaim my wacky passion regarding the subject of nutritional stewardship of the Temple as widely common. Yes, dear readers, it’s a disturbing thought, but there are millions of everyday folks and scientists who believe like me. The unanimous conclusion; our toxic American diet of dead food has led us into this health care ‘snafu’. So, please stop beating yourself up for being weak, chronically ill or overweight. It’s not your fault. Your taste buds and brain have been hijacked.
Deeply traditional Hoosiers can be an inflexible genus. This resistance to re-align self-destructive eating habits is displayed like an all-you-can-eat buffet by Indiana’s recent ranking as 44th unhealthiest state in the US. Hoosier risk-takers dread change; consequently, many good folks experience Alzheimer’s, ulcerated colitis, lousy cognition, exhaustion, costly hospital visits, or abridged life.
For decades I’ve encouraged faithful readers to eat fresh, pure local food and to avoid food-like substances extruded from machinery and GMO plant foods. It’s a hard-sell. Americans are deceived and programmed by fuzzy advertising, the FDA, and Big Food to eat profitable troughs of industrial-strength twaddle composed of by-products not in the least compatible with the temples cellular requirements. Do you know the ingredients of soy burgers; scrumptious residue from soy milk production and my personal favorite, hexane? Ack! Wouldn’t it be nice if over the last century food industrial Fat Cats focused on premium, celestially-endorsed human nutrition rather than profiting from dregs.
The 25 to 45 age group lived their entire lives thus far eating pre-packaged, prepared food; that’s all they’ve known. However, these parents set the stage for future illness. You may recall when I observed mother and child shopping the produce section. Mom selected pre-packaged, pre-cut veggies basted in MSG. Attracted to the display of fresh broccoli, her child pointed in curiosity. As if it were rock of meth, a dour faced Mom said, “Oh, you wouldn’t like that. I’ll give you a Pop Tart when we get home”. On the plus side, due to Food Inc and Omnivore’s Dilemma, it’s inspires hope to see the growing number of ‘green’ teens who get it.
Change is the one constant in our lives. Each week, make a change for the better that will improve metabolism, brain function, and the Temple’s ability to self-heal. Refreshing the Temple by clearing out the processed debris in the pantries, refrigerators, and medicine cabinets is a good start. Affirm to wake up each morning and eat for health by choosing fresh, seasonal, chemical-free, nutrient-rich, organic foods which replenish the reserves drained by the poor quality foods you have been living on. Unlock the dietary door to rejuvenation and glowing health. You deserve the best.