Category Archives: vegan/vegetarian

Dr Weil’s 5 Holistic Health Secrets

The Mean Girl Diet: Why processed food pisses you off

Can dropping processed food from your diet help you drop a bitchy attitude? And maybe even some extra pounds? Don’t miss Cynthia Sass’s recent story on  The author of S.A.S.S. Yourself Slim reports on a new study that suggests eating “bad” foods can put you in a bad mood—and even make you mean. The research  suggests that consuming trans fats increases aggression and irritability…more

Natural Cholesterol Helpers: Safe Alternatives to Statin Drugs

The wildly popular cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins must carry new warnings, the FDA said today.   Users need to be alerted about risks of blood sugar or diabetes problems as well as potential memory issues related to use of the drugs.

If your cholesterol numbers aren’t perfect, don’t forget that there are drug-free ways to push them in the right direction.  Meryl Davids recently wrote this helpful piece that I edited for Whole Living Magazine, Foods that Fight Cholesterol, highlighting the heart-healthy benefits of delicious foods such as almonds, eggplant and soy.

.…Scientists have discovered that certain foods — dubbed “the portfolio diet” for its array of benefits — act like cholesterol-sucking vacuums, removing the excess from the body before it lodges dangerously in artery walls. In fact, when people in studies ate a diet rich in these foods, their LDL levels plummeted 35 percent on average. 

“The results are as dramatic as if they had been on a first-generation statin drug,” says Cyril Kendall, Ph.D.,…MORE

Michael Pollan’s Food Rules: A Stop-Motion/Cliffs Notes Version

  Michael Pollan’s Food Rules has been translated into visual art once again.  Check out this short entered into the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce‘s film competition to illustrate and enhance big-idea talks.(RSA is something like a British version of TED, Ideas Worth Spreading) This cool video interpretation of a talk Pollan gave about the food industry, which we found on Brainpickings by way of Katherine Lanpher, is by Marija Jacimovic and Benoit Detalle.

Hooray for Holistic Healthcare!

More proof that holistic is the way to go when it comes to feeling good and maintaining good health: Integrative medicine is effective for treating everyday problems, according to a national survey by the Bravewell Collaborative.

Some 75 percent of integrative health centers said they had successfully treated chronic pain.  And more than half reported positive results for treating gastrointestinal conditions, depression and anxiety, cancer and chronic stress. Food and nutrition, supplements, yoga, meditation, traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, massage and pharmaceuticals were among the most cited approaches.

What’s more, the multidimensional team approach is cost-effective, personalized and empowering for patients. To learn more about the results, check out  Integrative Medicine in America: How Integrative Medicine Is Being Practiced in Clinical Centers Across the United States.

All You Need Is Psychosocial Support

“What we call psychosocial support in medicine,” explained Dean Ornish, MD, a few minutes into his talk at the Integrative Healthcare Symposium this morning, “is really just another way of saying love.” Speaking about his program’s focus on four key aspects of patient lifestyle, he highlighted food, stress response, exercise, and lastly, love and support.

On the surface, the importance of love in healing sounds cheesy and trite, but like the Beatles song, once you hear it, feel it and experience it, you can’t resist it.

Ornish is certainly onto something. Over the years, he has made real strides bringing integrative medicine to the mainstream.  Recently, Medicare agreed to provide coverage for his comprehensive lifestyle change prescription to reverse heart disease.  Not only will this make integrative medicine accessible to more people, it will help medical practices that approach health holistically fund their important work.

No doubt about it, Dean Ornish is spreading the love.  And to that end, I’ll share some of the things he told us today about the crucial roles of altruism, compassion and forgiveness in health and healing. (Find more on on

Fear is not a motivator for healthy change, feeling better is.

Our need for love, connection and community is as powerful as our need for food, air and water.  (He cited the successes of Facebook and Starbucks as examples of businesses that met an unmet need.  Connecting with others, via the internet or congregational coffee lounges, satisfies us.)

As with more exercise and better nutrition, your brain gets more blood flow and oxygen with more love.

This Valentines day, try spreading around some of that psychosocial stuff.  We need it!

Related story: Dr Vegan Goes to Washington

Jeffrey Bland Opens Integrative Health Conference With Talk On Inflamm-Aging

The Integrative Healthcare Symposium kicked off with a keynote speech from Jeffrey Bland, Phd, the “father of functional medicine.”  He addressed practioners from around the world who came to New York to learn more about integrative healthcare.

You can watch an interview with Dr Bland about last year’s symposium here.

This year, he tackled the Clinical Implications of Epigenetics, and gave an overview of how environment and lifestyle influence the expression of our genes—and the role they place in the development (or prevention of) of disease.

When describing nutrition’s role in health and how food talks to genes, Bland defined “inflamm-aging”:  How eating white foods like sugar and fat leads to inflammation and accelerates aging.

About functional medicine: This approach to medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership…By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms. Functional medicine practitioners spend time with their patients READ MORE