Trending Now: Fatal Fad


Smoking, very fortunately, seems to be a thing of the past.  It’s no longer cool to be seen sucking on a cancer- stick and most people will not hold back a complaint or dirty look when a smoker lights up in their general proximity. Unfortunately, something equally horrific is trending now, especially among teens and young adults. Apparently the tobacco companies are not about to ‘go gently into that good night’. Yes, they have found a new way to package and popularize their poison. By glamourizing the product in movies like Money Ball they have quickly manipulated the market and honed in on their target: that generation raised by reformed smokers.

This new FAD-smokeless tobacco is also known as chew, spitting tobacco, snus or snuff and its popularity is spreading like the flu.  For those who don’t know, the moist pack tobacco, packaged or loose, is held in the mouth between cheek and gum while the saliva generated is spit, not swallowed. Like all tobacco products, nicotine is the active and addictive constituent in smokeless tobacco. Although the nicotine in smokeless tobacco is absorbed more slowly, users absorb 3 to 4 times more nicotine than do cigarette smokers, which means they are 3 to 4 times more likely to become nicotine dependant. The side effects and medical problems associated with nicotine dependence and smokeless tobacco range from disgusting to life threatening.  Smokeless tobacco contains at least 28 chemicals known to cause cancer, including tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs), formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, arsenic, benzopyrene, nickel, and cadmium. Smokeless tobacco is a silent killer.

At best, smokeless tobacco users will suffer gum disease, recession and gingivitis that lead to tooth decay and loss. The yellow to rusty brown staining of teeth is often permanent. Add that to bad breath and the disgusting habit of spitting, smokeless tobacco absolutely diminishes a person’s attractiveness.

Unfortunately, ugly isn’t the worst thing chew users have to worry about. Although cardiovascular disease and stroke are not as prevalent for smokeless tobacco users than that of cigarette smokers, studies have proven significant risk. Nicotine is a naturally occurring alkaloid found in tobacco plants. Nicotine binds to receptors on the neuromuscular system, effecting skeletal, smooth and cardiac muscles. This physiological affect can result in chronic muscular dysfunctions such gastrointestinal problems that lead to decreased appetite, paralysis and muscle asphyxiation. Nicotine acts as a stimulant binding to nicotinic receptors at the postganglionic neurons and causes changes in heart rate and rhythm. According to the International Program on Chemical Safety, nicotine causes constriction of the peripheral blood vessels along with tachycardia, or a rapid heartbeat, as well as an increase in blood pressure. Nicotine can also cause cardiac arrhythmia, arterial fibrillation and cardiac standstill. Nicotine does not need to be inhaled to have these effects on the body.

According the American Cancer Society, smokeless tobacco users increase their risk for certain types of cancer by 50%. Oral cancer, effecting the cheek, gums, lips, tongue, floor and roof of the mouth is most common among smokeless tobacco users. Leukoplakia; the white patches on oral epithelial tissue, are the noted precursor to cancers in the mouth. Erythroplakia present shiny, smooth, and red to purple in color. They often become malignant and metastasize, spreading throughout the oral and nasal cavity as well as down the throat. Other symptoms of early stage mouth cancer include a sore that won’t heal, bleeding gums, loose teeth, pain or difficulty swallowing, slipping dentures, lumps in neck area, and chronic earaches.

Some studies have suggested a link between smokeless tobacco and deadly pancreatic cancer, also known as the silent killer. Most pancreatic cancers are difficult to diagnose. That is why diagnosis is often made late in the disease course, contributing to its high morbidity rate. Symptoms include weight loss, back pain, and jaundice. The only course of treatment is surgical removal of the pancreas and all surrounding malignant tissue. Chemotherapy after surgery can lower the chances of the cancer returning, however even stage I pancreatic cancer diagnosis has less than 20% chance of fiver year survival rate. Most pancreatic cancers are not discovered until stage IV, reducing the survival rate to 1.8 %.

As you can see, contrary to what many users believe, there is nothing safe about smokeless tobacco. It disfigures, destroys lives, and kills.

REFERENCES (2013). Pancreatic Cancer and Oral Cancer. Retrieved July 12, 2013, from MedicineNet: and

Scarano, A. (2010, Sept 10). Effects of Nicoteine On The Muscles. Retrieved July 12, 2013, from

Yahoo . (2013, July 12). Yahoo Image Search: Mouth Cancer. Retrieved July 12, 2013, from Yahoo Images:;_ylt=A0PDoTBmEuBR_FUAvnWJzbkF;_ylu=X3oDMTFyYWtsZXZkBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDaW1nBG9pZAM2ZWMzMjU4MmNlYjk0ODNmNThkNmQ4ZmViOGU0YmFiYwRncG9zAzU0?


Natural & Healthy Weight Loss: Part III


Part III: Exercise

In 2008 the US government issued the first ever Physical Activity Guidelines (PAG).  The Food Pyramid was changed to reflect the need for daily physical activity. It was a step in the right direction.  Just one most ignored, probably because 60 minutes of exercise every day is just too big a step. Today obesity in America is at an all time high. US named third fattest country in the world, is not a headline any of us are proud of. After considerable contemplation, I figured there are two things that need to be done. First we need to prove it doesn’t take sixty whole arduous I-don’t-like it-it-hurts minutes of exercise a day to lose that extra 20 lbs 65% of us are walking around with.  Second; support and reinforcement of informing everyone about the importance of daily exercise needs to be paramount. Too many do not know how GLUT-proteins research proved exercise is as essential to any health regimen or weight loss program as water is to life? That GLUT-proteins are metabolized and produced only during exercise. These essential proteins enhance the glucose uptake process optimizing metabolic systems and cellular performance. This means, without exercise, many metabolic systems collapse.

In the last ten years a better understanding of the glut proteins and glycemic index have caused a dramatic shift in our evaluation and utilization of nutritional guidelines for physical fitness as well as the treatment and diagnosis of diabetes and other metabolic syndrome related diseases. It’s a wonderful thing.  In fact, they (being the proverbial “they”) are on the verge of proving that as little as 30 minutes of exercise three times a week can help you maintain your weight and optimize your health (reduce your risk for diabetes, cancer, and stroke). 30 minutes…  3 times a week… Now that’s more like it.  Even the average, busy-around-the-clock with kids, jobs, homes, and life American can handle that.  At the very least, it seems more probable than 60 minutes of exercise that turns into two hours because you have to get into gym clothes, get to the gym, get stretched then socialize with gym buddies for ten before exercising, then get home and showered.  30 minutes can be done in a walk around your neighborhood or in a local park, playing ball with your son, or dancing with your daughter to the music of her favorite band. I can think of a gazillion other ways to get 30 minutes of exercise 3 times a week… without it hurting.

What can you think up? I’d really like to hear.

But before I leave the subject of how important exercise is to natural and healthful weight loss, I want to say that the PAG report also recommended an abundance of fruits and vegetables with an emphasis on whole grains and whole foods. (Gee, doesn’t that sound familiar.)  It suggested limiting sugars and solid fats such as butter, and red meat, and high glycemic index foods such as flour and complex carbohydrates. It also recommends eliminating prepackaged or processed foods. (Go figure.)

To put about as fine a point on it as I can, exercise coupled with whole food nutrition and proper supplementation pretty much guarantees natural, healthful, and sustainable weight loss.  I do not know anything else that does.

There is one final but important note I feel obligated to mention as we cannot speak about wanting to lose weight without discussing depression. According to the CDC, clinical depression affects 1 in 10 adults in the U.S. Because depression is believed to be a multi-factorial consequence resulting from stressors that include obesity and sedentary lifestyles, the Antidepressant-Lifestyle-Physiological-Social (ALPS) model includes moderate aerobic and anaerobic exercise as integral aspects of recovery. Research has proven the benefits of exercise for those suffering from depression, even so little as fifteen minutes a day. 15 minutes!  To a happier and healthier you.

Natural & Healthful Weight Loss: Part II

Part II: Herbs & Supplements

It is no wonder, what with the US being named third fattest country in the world, 50% of Americans already dieting, and nearly 65% of us wishing to lose 20 lbs or more, that in 2012 over $1 billion dollars was spent on weight loss pills alone. Market data suggest the weight loss products and programs make up a $60 Billion dollar a year industry.  Amazingly, over half of all diet industry’s claims are false.  But that explains why  $147 Billion dollars were spent on obesity related medical issues in 2012.

There is no and never will be a little magic pill that shrinks fat cells, burns calories, and curbs cravings… that is in anyway natural.  Pharmacology is derived from the classic Greek word ‘pharmakon’, meaning poison. Pharmaceutical companies have wizened to the market trend, fooling consumers and loop-holing labeling legislation with corporate subsidiary names like

And my all-time favorite, NATUREX. (Am I the only one who sees an oxymoron here?)

So, now these types of manufacturers get away with touting their All Nature, From Nature, or Ultimate Botanical Benefits hoping consumers looking for that healthy pill, will not look past the pretty green label.  They hope you will not remember that it is the processing of “active ingredients” that turns an organic compound into poison.  Below is a list of some of the products these companies are currently producing besides Green Coffee Bean with Svetol®. There’s a bit of redundancy for you. Did you know that Svetol is simply a brand name for Green Coffee Bean Extract? Does too much of a good thing ring a bell?

  • Re-Body/Green Coffee Bean Extract products
  • ResVitale
  • Reserveage
  • Hydroxycut/Hardcore and Hardcore Elite
  • Genesis Today/Pure Green Coffee Bean with Svetol
  • Xenadrine XT
  • RealDose Weight Loss Formula No.
  • Nutrigold®
  • NanoLean™
  • go4trim
  • Diet Formula With Svetol®
  • Total DIET Success
  • Kleissinger Labs
  • Bodylogix®
  • Thermogenesis™
  • Trim Energy®
  • NatureWise™
  • Sports Research SVETOL/Green Coffee Bean Extract
  • Wonder Labs 100% Svetol

When there are more shelves filled with powders, products, and pills than those that carry natural and organic whole foods, it’s easy to understand how we lost our way and why it is so hard to tell the difference between the good, the bad, and the ones that actually work.

The one thing we should all know by now is that health does not come in a bottle.  Be wary when the great O (Oprah) orates on how wonderfully easy it was to lose fifty while supplementing with Hoodia or as Dr. Oz endorses Svetol®. Dr. Oz’s latest wonder product is taking the market by storm: Garcinia Cambogia. Hydroxycitric acid, the active ingredient in this little green pumpkin shaped fruit from India is what is in Hydroxycut and many other diet pills and supplements. It is also the ingredient that like ephedrine was recalled by the FDA because of an association with health problems like liver damage, seizures, cardiovascular disorders, and rhabdomyolysis, (a type of muscle damage that leads to even more health problems). That is not to say that the product itself is bad for you, but the processing used to extract the active ingredients often results in the lost synergy with other alkaloids and tannins in the originating plant. Again I will refer to Food Synergy, written by Eliane Magee.

And don’t get me wrong. There are many pure and natural extracts and whole extract products out there that help curb an appetite, regulate blood sugar, maintain good cholesterol level, and even burn fat.  Ginger root, capsicum (hot pepers), Avena Sativa (oats), and cynara scolymus (globe artichoke) all aid fat metabolism. Turmeric, blue cornflower, berberis vulgaris (barberry) help liver function and therefore possibly lipid digestion.  B12, raspberries, and caffeine (the subtler organic green coffee bean extract, not Svetol®) are all easily accessible supplements that are used to help maintain a healthy weight and stimulate the metabolic processes.  Traditional Chinese medicine often combines the following herbs in weight loss and appetite suppressant remedies.

 Hops-1024x768 Humulus lupulus (Hops) may help with emotional eating, perhaps because of its calming effects.

 LadiesMantle-Alchemillamollis Alchemilla Vulgaris (Lady’s Mantle, Lions Foot, Bear’s Foot, Nine Hooks), is an astringent used for detoxification.

 green-olives Olea Europea, (Olive) is a diuretic and glycolic stabilizer that helps maintain metabolic homeostasis.

 parsley Cuminum Cyminum, (Parsely)  and

 Spearmint-300x185 Mentha spicata, Longifolia (spearmint) are popular digestive aids.

Simply Natural & Cafe carries a wide variety of weight loss and metabolic enhancing products and the staff is always happy to help you find what might work best for you.

Natural and Healthful Weight Loss: Part I


Part I: Nutrition

Natural and Healthful Weight Loss… big subject. Everybody is either talking about it or trying to do it… or both. According to the CDC, 35.7% US adults and approximately 18% of children under the age of 19 are obese. Nearly 65% of Americas admit to wanting to lose 20lbs or more. It is estimated that upwards of 50% of Americans will start or try a new diet this year alone. Nearly all of them will not be able to keep the weight off for 5 years or more. Not a bright and shiny spot in health news today. Personally, any measure of success I’ve had with fad diets, calorie-counting aps, or by stacking my fridge full of pre-packaged and processed products was expensive and pointless. And recently I’ve come to believe a big part of the problem is that there is less and less NATURE in the things we put into our bodies. The Standard American Diet is SAD, unnatural, and most of all… unhealthy. We gorge on animal fats, sugar, and all those pre packaged processed food snacks that even when they tout only 100 calories, made from nature, or guarantee 2 sizes in 2 weeks, are really, really bad for you. Why? Because the majority of them contain high fructose corn syrup.
55 % of all pre-packaged foods on the grocery shelves today contain high fructose corn syrup. It is a product three times sweeter than regular sucrose (table sugar), enabling producers to save money by using less. Economics aside, recent research suggests that corn syrup is absorbed differently in the body than other sugars and may actually act more like a fat. It increases the production of insulin which fatigues the pancreas leading to insulin resistance and other metabolic syndrome conditions like diabetes. It also increases production of the hormone leptin which regulates fat storage while suppressing ghrelin, the hormone that regulates appetite and intake. “Another concern is how fructose affects the liver”, says J.P Bantle who led the University of Minnesota study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Apparently, corn syrup is converted into the chemical backbone of triglycerides more efficiently than glucose, increasing blood cholesterol levels in test subjects.
Eliminating processed and packaged foods from your diet is like a metabolic reboot. Our bodies are designed to work with nature. Like the food they serve at Simply Natural & Cafe. Natural and whole foods (not WholeFoods®) are all we need to survive, heal, and administer. Food Synergy, written by Eliane Magee, describes whole food nutrients and how they work together in the fight against major diseases such as obesity, heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes. The School of Medicine at Texas Tech University recommends whole foods diets for obesity and hypertension. So do I… so quit paying for those fancy prepackaged processed meals. Eat whole. By simply eliminating processed foods from your diet you will shed pounds while actually eating more and optimizing your health potential.

FLU… (Rolling my eyes)

At first I wondered why I would want to write anything on this subject. It seems everybody and their grandmothers have already done so. But I went to several of my favorite blogs, articles, and post (checking out the competition) and saw that they all said pretty much the same thing. What a surprise.

Anyway… how many of us don’t already know that what is commonly known as the flu is a contagious virus caused by one of the many strains of influenza germs that are easily spread and attack the upper respiratory tract and mucus membranes. Well, some 60% of Americans don’t need me to tell them that. They already know all about this year’s flu, and that it is a bad one. Terrible, in fact.  Like most A strain viruses, it comes on strong and fast with chills, fever, body aches, sore throat, cough and extreme fatigue. Other symptoms include headaches, sinus congestions, runny nose, stomach ache, vomiting, and, of course, the dreaded diarrhea. For most, these symptoms will usually resolve in about ten to fourteen days, not to detract from your pain…

But for some these primary conditions are dangerous. According to the CDC children under five, adults over sixty-five, pregnant women, and those with preexisting conditions like asthma, chronic obstructed pulmonary disease (COPD), and congestive heart failure (CHF), obesity and immune disorders, all have a higher risk of suffering complications that may require medical treatment or hospitalization. In worst cases, they can result in death. Last week the CDC reported that 8.3 percent of deaths nationwide were the result of the flu epidemic.

So, what can you do to protect yourself?

Most allopathic doctors, the CDC, and probably even your own mother will tell you to get vaccinated. Reports indicate a 62% efficacy of this year’s flu vaccine, and even I’m thinking that’s pretty good odds. But then, when I see that needle and fluid and remember that I really have no idea what’s in that liquid or what it will do to me, ‘one size does not fit all’ rings in my head. I remember that just yesterday a report came out: Over 800 children in Europe now suffer narcolepsy linked to the swine flu vaccine. I remember we’re not supposed to talk about stuff like that here in America; it is not good for the free market, pharmaceutical companies, and the westernized medical industry that thinks they have it right after only two hundred or so years of trial and error.

But, when was the last time one of those high-profile ‘Health and Nutrition’ or “Medical News’ blogs reminded you that the knowhow behind herbs used in Ayurvedic and Chinese, hell, even Native American medicine, is over three thousand years old, or said, out loud, there is more behind things like astragalus, Echinacea, goldenseal, and even simple cayenne pepper not being approved by the FDA as immune boosting medicine than the old wives tale excuse? It certainly isn’t lack of effectiveness.

What about once you have symptoms?

You can get $10.00 off your Tamiflu prescription. Tamiflu has been clinically proven to reduce and relieve symptoms a whole 1.3 days faster than without taking the drug within 48 hours of your first symptom. Why? Because it has the same antiviral (stops the virus from being able to reproduce) as onions, thyme, oregano, honey, and that home-made chicken soup your mom used to make.

Tamiflu, or oseltmivir, have the following side effects: allergic reaction, difficulty breathing, swelling of face, lips, tongue and throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, nosebleeds, sleeping problems, cough, rashes, blistering and peeling skin, sudden confusion, delirium hallucinations, unusual behavior, and self injury.

So, again, I ask why?

As someone who suffers from chronic lung disease, I know I’m at risk. I know there are people who wish I’d get the vaccine. Because I can’t give statistics on how well my onion soup and daily astragalus supplements or oregano oil disinfectant work to keep me healthy, they think I’m wrong to believe in them. I hope me and Simply Natural & Cafe, where I get my astragalus, Echinacea, and good advice on other products that help keep my immune system strong, will beat this flu season. I just wonder… do they have Laurianne’s Onion Soup on the menu yet?


Laurianne’s Onion Soup


1/2 cup salted organic butter

4 onions, sliced

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 fresh thyme sprigs

Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup burgundy

2 quarts organic beef broth

1 fresh baked baguette, sliced and toasted

Organic goat’s cheese (optional)


Melt the stick of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and cook until the onions are caramelized. Add the wine and reduce until liquid is gone. Discard thyme sprigs. Turn the heat down to medium low. Add beef broth and bring soup to a simmering boil. Serve with dollop of goat’s cheese on baguette toast centered in bowl. (Caution, cheese can cause phlegm: serve without if there are signs of congestion.)

There is no OZ when it comes to your health

DEP recalls, GMOs, Monsanto… Oh my!

With growing concern over the use of pesticides, low nutritional value of hydroponic or commercially grown produce and the Frankenstein abomination known as genetically modified organisms (GMO) being the scariest thing to come out of food science laboratories since high-fructose corn syrup, the health food and supplement industry is now a $20-billion dollars a year business. Unfortunately, not everyone has your health and wellbeing in mind when they offer advice, that latest cure-all elixir, or that next best supplement.

Now more than ever, it is important to be a well informed consumer.

The last time I went to Whole Foods I brought a handful of questions about the herbal tincture everybody was talking about. I walked out confused and with a bag full of product I paid too much for. After taking my son to the local GNC with hopes to learn which protein supplement is best for an athlete of his age and activity, I realized I knew more about the products on the shelf than the store manager.  I find the same to be the case at most health food suppliers and vitamin shops. That may seen an unfair statement as I am working toward my degree in alternative medicine, but making sense of the endless array of product… brain enhancers, gout relievers, natural anti-inflammatory or holistic cures for allergies, is daunting to say the least. You need a degree to wade through the plethora of propaganda and marketing mumbo -jumbo if only to avoid worrying that something you’re taking may have contraindications, be toxic if used incorrectly, or counteract the effects of your current blood pressure medicine.

I’ve been fortunate enough to find a place and people that have sifted through all the holistic hoopla-la and commercialized confusion plaguing the health food and supplement industry today. After witnessing the shift in philosophy and commercialization of the market, Richard Pearl and Sharooz Taheri decided to open their own shop. At Simply Natural Shop and Cafe, they keep some of the old ways intact: things like personalized attention, experienced and knowledgeable staff, and a true commitment to protecting the holistic lifestyle… all while keeping pace with the latest industry and medical developments.

When I first walked into Simply Natural, the hometown feel was comforting but a little disconcerting; I’d grown accustom to being confronted by shelves and walls stacked ceiling high and six layers deep—not by a friendly “hello”. Then, I was allowed to shop at my leisure, not prodded and probed at every turn. I was encouraged to ask if I had any questions and found that after a while all I wanted to ask was why there weren’t more places where the staff was so well versed or how come other stores don’t treat me so well.

I came to find out Richard and Sharooz believe everyone who enters their shop in Sunrise is an honored guest. That is why they serve only the best time proven products, supplements and organics, provide news and information from reliable, unbiased sources, and offer advice backed by thirty years of experience. Sharooz is even a specialist in iridology and Neurofeedback (Brain Training), offering diagnostics and holistic counseling.

So, you don’t really need to get your degree in Alternative Medicine to take better care of yourself or your family. But your health and wellbeing is a precious treasure you must protect by staying alert, capable of telling the difference between market trends, diet fads and current medical findings. Be aware of pharmacological threats, nutritional guidelines, and always bring your questions, concerns, and need for unbiased, honest answers to someone you trust.