Archive for September, 2010

Basics of a Healthful, Antidepression Diet

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

For some people, the phrase healthful diet is enough to send their mood tumbling. “Guess I’ll have to give up everything I enjoy, like chocolate and hamburgers and french fries,” sighed one patient. “That’s enough to make me even more depressed!” But healthful need not be equated with unappetizing or boring. Different, perhaps, and for some people a change to a more healthful diet requires big adjustments — in the foods they buy, where they eat out, and how they prepare their choices. The rewards, however, are many, including improved mood, more energy, enhanced immune system, better concentration, and invigorated sex drive, to name but a few.

I’ve found that laying down a few basic but critical guidelines for a healthful diet, and then tweaking them for individual patients, works much better than expecting people to follow a complicated program that involves counting grams of carbohydrates or protein, weighing foods, referring to charts, or combining certain items in complicated ratios. That being said, here are my lists of “Positive Foods” and “Foods to Avoid.”

Positive Foods

Sweets. In moderation, natural sugars such as rice syrup, date sugar, pure Vermont syrup, unsulfured blackstrap molasses, and unfiltered honey are all acceptable. An herbal sweetener — that has nearly no calories — is stevia, which can be found in health food stores and increasingly in mainstream grocery stores.

Fats. Some fats are healthy and instrumental in maintaining mental health, especially omega-3 fatty acids. When you choose oil for cooking, your best choice is probably cold-pressed olive oil. Butter and other saturated fats (like coconut oil, but not margarine that contains transfatty acids) may be used in moderate amounts. I suggest you avoid fried foods (especially deep-fried).

Whole fruits and vegetables. Whenever possible, choose fresh, organic fruits and vegetables and eat at least five to seven servings daily. To derive the most benefit from these rich sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and carbohydrates, eat them in as pure a state as possible, preferably raw or lightly steamed. (Sorry, deep-fried potatoes and onion rings don’t count as servings of whole vegetables.) Fruit and vegetable juices are good as well, and if you have a juicer, please learn how to make your own fresh juices, remembering to drink the pulp as well!

Whole grains and cereals. Whole grains and cereals (organic if possible) are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates. These foods include whole grains, brown rice, and unprocessed cereals. Complex carbohydrates break down gradually and provide a more steady supply of glucose — brain fuel — thus helping maintain an even or calmer mood. Simple carbohydrates, however, such as those found in sugary foods or those made with white flour, metabolize rapidly, contributing to and causing mood swings and energy highs and lows. Also, be aware that some grains and even other whole-food starches may be problematic for some people.

Beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Choose organic foods in this important category as well. Foods in this group are excellent sources of protein, especially for people who want to reduce or eliminate animal protein. Beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds are also high in fiber and many nutrients. Also in this category are tofu and other forms of fermented soybeans (miso, tempeh) and flaxseed.

Eggs and dairy. Eggs and dairy foods — milk, cheese, butter, cream, and yogurt — are good sources of protein, calcium, and other important nutrients. They are also rich sources of saturated fat, which may be fine for many people. The major concern I have about eggs and dairy relates to whether hormones were used in raising the animals; whether or not they were given foods containing pesticides, antibiotics, toxic minerals, or other chemicals; and whether the animals were confined to inhumane cages. Soft-boiled eggs are best because heat is applied without exposure to oxygen, thus reducing free radical damage. I recommend organic eggs and dairy products and prefer nonhomogenized milk. Although pasteurization of milk products is the norm today in order to eliminate harmful bacteria, certified raw milk is preferred in areas where it is available, provided the cows are clean and hygienic principles are used in caring for them. If you are lactose-intolerant because of a deficiency of the enzyme lactase, or you choose not to consume dairy items, nondairy foods may be used. These include products made from soy, rice, or nuts, such as soy milk, rice milk, and almond milk; cheese made from these “milks”; and nondairy desserts. These “dairy” foods are also good sources of protein.

Organic meats and poultry. Despite a push for people to eat more fish, meat and poultry continue to be major sources of animal protein for many people. For patients who eat meat, I recommend organically raised products, which are virtually free of hormones, pesticides, antibiotics, and other unnatural additives, all of which can have a detrimental effect on mood and general health. Such meat and poultry choices are slowly becoming more accessible and typically are available in natural and whole-food stores. Meats and poultry are sources of methionine, which is critical for methylation; this amino acid is difficult to get from plant-based sources.

Fish and shellfish. Fish and shellfish can be excellent sources of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, if you make judicious choices. I’m calling for “judicious choices” because of the persistent and very real problem of mercury, pesticides, PCBs, and other contamination of the fish supply. Fish that I tend to recommend that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, but relatively low in mercury, are wild Alaskan salmon and sardines. I am wary about farm-raised fish because some studies indicate that they are high in PCBs and other contaminants. The smaller the fish (say, sardines), the less likely they are to accumulate mercury. But if you eat fish fairly frequently, I recommend that you have your blood mercury levels checked, because there is no way to guarantee the fish you eat regularly is not contaminated. Everyone whom I have checked for mercury who eats sushi more than once a week is quite high in it. Swordfish, king mackerel, shark, and most tuna tend to be quite high in mercury.

I would like you to consider two factors when choosing foods from this list. One, do you have any reactions to these foods that may be contributing to or causing your depression? Two, do you have any specific food preferences based on religious, ethical, and/or moral beliefs? If you are a vegetarian, for example, you will not select meat, poultry, or fish, so you will need to choose other protein-rich foods such as soy products, legumes, beans, seeds, and, depending on the type of vegetarian diet you follow, eggs and/or dairy.

Foods to Avoid

Most of the foods included in this list should come as no surprise to you. In most cases, foods on the “Avoid” list have been highly refined and processed. Fortunately, for every food you should avoid, there is a healthy alternative on the “Positive Foods” list. You may find that the “Avoid” list reads like your current grocery list; or you may discover that only one or two categories apply to you. Next time you’re in the grocery store, here are the items you want to skip:

Sugar. Avoid all foods that contain added sugar, such as soda, candy, cakes, ketchup, some breakfast cereals, and so on. Become a label reader. If sugar (or one of its companions, such as corn syrup) is one of the first few ingredients, put the item back on the shelf! Sugar can give you a burst of energy, but in the long run it can leave you depressed and tired.

White-flour products. Just say no to white bread, white pasta, and other products that use white flour, including many crackers, rolls and bagels, refrigerator biscuits, pizza dough, and baked goods. Also avoid white rice. These overly processed food products have been stripped of their nutritional value, and then they are “enriched” with some nutrients, along with synthetic additives.

Alcohol. This includes beer, wine, and liquor. People often forget that alcohol is a depressant, even though it provides an initial kick. Drinking alcohol can also disturb your sleep, which is a problem with many people who are depressed.

Caffeine. Avoid coffee, tea, colas, and chocolate. (Okay, you can have a limited amount of organic dark chocolate on occasion.) If you must have coffee, choose an organic coffee, since most coffees are high in pesticides. Decaffeinated coffee is fine for most people, provided that it is organic and does not use toxic chemicals in processing.

Hydrogenated fats. Hydrogenated fats are oils to which hydrogen atoms have been added in the factory in order to harden them and improve shelf life. These hydrogenated oils or fats contain high concentrations of trans-fatty acids, which have recently been clearly shown to disrupt fatty acid metabolism in the body and cause serious disease. Hydrogenated fats are found primarily in margarines, snack foods (potato chips, corn chips), crackers and cookies, baked products, and fast foods. When you read ingredient labels, look for the words hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated, margarine, or shortening, which indicate the presence of trans-fatty acids, or look at the nutritional panel for the percentage of trans-fat in the product. Beginning January 2006, food manufacturers were required to list trans-fat content on labels.

Chemical food additives. To avoid artificial preservatives, flavorings, colors, and sweeteners, you need to read labels. Not all labels list all the chemicals in the food item, but the general rule is: If the product has been processed, it probably contains chemicals. For example, artificial preservatives such as BHA, BHT, nitrites, monosodium glutamate, and nitrates are often seen in cereals, breads, frozen dinners, boxed meals, and crackers. All foods containing artificial colors (such as red dye 40) or artificial flavorings should be avoided. Artificial additives can cause various adverse reactions, including mood swings, depression, fatigue, headache, rash, aggression, irritability, and attention difficulties, among others. I believe all artificial sweeteners, including saccharine, aspartame, and sucralose, should be avoided. In particular, avoid diet sodas containing aspartame.

Fluoride. Do not drink fluoridated water or tap water (unless filtered) or use fluoridated toothpaste. Despite the popularity of fluoride dental treatments for both adults and children, I strongly recommend you not get them. Also, avoid fluoridated vitamins for children. There are a number of excellent books and websites that clearly document the lack of efficacy and dangers of fluoride ingestion and fluoride use. If you live in an area where the tap water is fluoridated and you want to drink the tap water but not the fluoride, you need to use a water filter with a reverse osmosis component; carbon filters will not remove fluoride.

Chloride. Do not drink chlorinated water (unless the chlorine has been filtered out), as chlorine is toxic. A simple carbon filter will remove chlorine from tap water.

From the book WHAT YOUR DOCTOR MAY NOT TELL YOU ABOUT DEPRESSION: The Breakthrough Integrative Approach for Effective Treatment by Michael B. Schachter, MD, with Deborah Mitchell. (Published by Warner Wellness; November 2006;$14.99US/$18.99CAN; 0-446-69494-0) Copyright (c) 2006 by Michael B. Schachter, MD, and Lynn Sonberg. Reprinted by permission of Warner Books, Inc, New York, NY. All rights reserved.

Michael B. Schachter, Md, With Deborah Mitchell

The Dangers Of The Great Fluoride Experiment

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

In America today, one can easily see the effects of fluoridation to over consumption of fluoride in our everyday lives. The effects of fluoridation are numerous: children with darkened teeth and behavior disorders, brittle bones, neurological disorders, migraine headaches, clinical depression, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease. All of these conditions have a close association with over use of fluoride in the public water supply.

Aside from the fact that fluoridation is hazardous, Americans should be concerned about the use of the public water supply as a distribution method for this substance. Dentists and public health officials are basically forcing the public to medicate themselves with fluoride. Adding drugs and other substances should not be permitted. Many officials and doctors are pushing the consumption of statin drugs in the water supplies due to their blanket benefits. Putting a statin drip into the public water supply sounds far fetched, but that is exactly what happens with fluoride.

Dentists promote the use of fluoride, as do their associations, as a necessary drug for the body, when in actuality the public would benefit to a larger degree from a promotion of magnesium, zinc, vitamin D, and the B vitamins, because they are the most common nutritional deficiencies in our bodies.

Dentists tout fluoride as a nutritional deficiency because their organizations tell them to. Dentists are not qualified to address any areas outside the mouth. What the body ingests and processes are entirely under the jurisdiction of the doctor, and many doctors are not qualified to talk about nutrition either.

Putting fluoride in the public water supply is basically an experiment on the largest and most dangerous scale, and is being conducted on the American population right now. One can see the increase of health problems with the use of fluoride. High doses of fluoride were used during World War II as a truth serum and for prison control. Maybe there is an alternative agenda.

As a consumer, you can stop drinking the public water and only drink natural spring water. You can also avoid tooth pastes and mouth washes that have added fluoride.

If you continue to drink tap water (which has other harmful chemicals like chlorine) you can attach a faucet mounted PUR water filter or use the Britta filtration system. Both use carbon filters to remove fluoride. This is a simple way to protect yourself, and your family from consuming too much fluoride. Distilled or reverse osmosis water is even better.

Drinking water that has added chemicals is not only dangerous, it is irresponsible. The addition of fluoride to the drinking supply is based on bad science, misinformed medical authorities, and political power grabs, and has nothing to do with the well being of the public.

Gregg Hall

How Do Brita Water Filters Compare to Other Products in the Marketplace?

Friday, September 10th, 2010

How do Brita water filters compare to other products on the market?  There are several criteria that should be used when choosing a point of use or home filtration system.  You should look at the contaminants that are reduced, the percentage that is removed and the annual cost of replacement cartridges or other maintenance needs.

Generally speaking, today’s home filtration units require far less maintenance and a much lower cost than the older systems.  Distillation, for example, is the oldest purification method around.  It is still being used today, but the maintenance involved, which includes constant cleaning, and the cost to operate, which includes electrical usage, has made them less popular. 

In addition, distillation also de-mineralizes.  Something that Brita water filters and other selective filtration devices do not do. 

Distillers were fine in the days before synthetic chemicals.  Many chemicals have a lower boiling point than water.  So, they become vaporized, along with the steam and pass through to the collection tank.  Since, chemical contaminants are the biggest problems that most homeowners are faced with, distillation is simply impractical.

By the same token, reverse osmosis was developed many years ago.  Both distillation and reverse osmosis were created to deal with hazardous, naturally occurring substances like lead.  Neither of them was designed to deal with chemical contaminants that become dissolved in the water.

Chlorine is one of the chemicals that most people are aware of.  The taste and odor is easily recognized.  But, what many people do not realize is that when chlorine interacts with bacteria, algae and other water-life, cancer-causing byproducts are released.  Typically, they are referred to as THMs or trihalomethanes.  In scientific studies, they may be referred to as disinfection by products or DBPs, because regardless of the disinfection method that a treatment facility uses, DBPs are always created.

While Brita water filters reduce chlorine, they do not (at this time) have the necessary filtering media to trap THMs or DBPs.  Special resins are required and there are only a few products on the market that remove them.  Public organizations try to down-play the cancer-risk that is caused by our exposure to THMs, but in the most recent studies, the researchers have stated emphatically that the normal exposure that occurs in our homes doubles our risk of developing certain types of cancer, in our lifetime.  If you’re like me, you would prefer to avoid that.

When it comes to the annual cost of replacement cartridges, Brita water filters end up being more expensive than the more effective systems.  The average family of four would spend $217 in the first year and $182.50 in subsequent years, assuming that the system holds up for that length of time. 

Those costs are for the faucet mount, not the pitcher types.  The pitchers provide very little protection against contaminants and the annual cost of use would be around $281.  You see, what looks cheap, sometimes ends up costing more.  When you compare Brita water filters to other products on the market, they just aren’t the best value. If you have a few minutes to spare, please feel free to browse through my website.

Gordon Hall

Bad Drinking Water Purification Systems and How to Avoid Them

Monday, September 6th, 2010

It’s simply unbelievable how many different types of drinking water purification systems there are on the market today, and the majority of them won’t help you attain clean, safe water.

For a drinking water purification system to be effective it must remove more than simply chlorine because, according to a recent study there are over 2100 toxic cancer causing chemicals in our tap water. This means we really must protect ourselves and our family with the right system.

So forget reverse osmosis systems right off the bat.

These were originally designed for the photographic industries which needed large quantities of demineralized water. Crucially these drinking water purification systems remove vital trace minerals like calcium and magnesium, which we need to stay healthy.

They are expensive to maintain, waste an enormous amount of water, which in today’s world is unacceptable, and are actually very noisy. One guy had one in his kitchen which drove him so mad with the continual noise, he disconnected it and threw it out on the porch!

The next type is maybe one you already use out of convenience, a kitchen jug or pitcher style. Whilst these are better than nothing, they are not an effective drinking water purification system due to their small size.

They tend to only remove chlorine, and prove very expensive per gallon, as you may know when you go to buy replacement cartridges!

By far the best drinking water purification systems are carbon block and granular carbon filters. Activated carbon is recognized by the U.S. EPA as the best available technology, filtering out around 99% of all contaminants in your water.

These will filter out everything from pesticides to growth hormones, all chemicals which have been found in our drinking water, incredibly.

These drinking water purification systems use a multi-stage or twin filter process and are the only choice if you want pure, safe water. They are also the most cost effective solution, costing only around 9.6 cents per gallon, and are very easy to maintain.

Make no mistake about it, today’s water is seriously contaminated and we must protect our families from the damaging long term health effects of this.

I hope this article will encourage you to research a little more and help you realize the dangers of not having a high quality drinking water purification system in your home.

If you would like to learn more about the drinking water purification systems I recommend to use and which to avoid, visit my website today.

Ray Hamilton

Discover the Crucial Mineral Water Benefits Guaranteed to Improve Your Health

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

You’ve probably heard it a hundred times how we all need to drink more water, but it is vital we enjoy the mineral water benefits available to us by using one of the mineral revitalization water purification systems.

Mineral water benefits us in many ways. Above all, studies have shown how minerals are more easily absorbed in the body via water than by many of the foods we eat. This means it is vital for us to get many of the minerals we need from our drinking water.

After a multi-year study, the World Health Organization concludes that “drinking water should contain minimum levels of certain essential minerals.” That should leave us in no doubt at all of the mineral water benefits.

Nowhere on the planet has water ever existed without the essential minerals such as calcium and magnesium. If we don’t get enough of these from our water, our bodies will literally pull them from our teeth and bones to compensate.

Many systems on the market today are mineral revitalization water purification systems, like reverse osmosis, which strip the water of its minerals and then you have to add a filter to try and restore those lost minerals. What’s the point of that? And boy are they expensive!

To gain the mineral water benefits you need a system that will leave them in and not remove them in the first place. This is crucial to preserve the original integrity of the water, and the correct ph balance so the water does not become acidic.

 Drinking mineral water helps keep our body in balance, and aids our immune system in the process. Scientific research has shown that mineral water aids the natural cleansing of toxins from the body as well.

So how do we get the vital mineral water benefits we need from our drinking water, without using mineral revitalization water purification systems.

The first thing to do is to find the right water filtration system. Remember, you need to protect yourself from the 2000 known toxic chemicals present in our drinking water as well as getting those minerals.

Look for one that employs multi-stage filtration using an activated carbon filter to get the most mineral water benefits. According to the US EPA these are proven to be the most effective. They are cutting-edge and easy to maintain, and the water can cost as little as 9.5 cents a gallon.

Do yourself a favor and make sure you protect yourself with a good system as outlined above to give you those mineral water benefits, and make it a point to improve the quality of the water you drink, and also safeguard your future health.

Want to learn more about the systems to avoid and which to use? Visit my website today.

Ray Hamilton