Coffee vs. Tea

Drinking coffee is as American as apple pie. You might think we invented the stuff, with a coffee house on every corner.
Green tea has become the first choice for the health food crowd, and coffee is often considered risky. Coffee packs more of a wallop due to the higher caffeine content. Although green tea does contain caffeine, the antioxidant content may provide an acceptable trade-off. But is coffee unhealthy?
What is the truth?
Coffee acts as a stimulant by blocking a brain chemical called Adenosine. This increases other brain chemicals called Dopamine and Norepinephrine. These increase the firing of neurons, which means a temporary increase of brain activity. This may be why coffee can lower risk of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Coffee contains small amounts of B vitamins and minerals. Studies show that coffee drinkers have a reduced risk of Type II Diabetes. It may be the magnesium and chromium in coffee that helps regulate blood sugar levels. So, it is not necessarily the caffeine that is beneficial and decaffeinated coffee seems to have similar effects. Coffee also seems to protect the liver and decrease the risk of some types of cancer.  It lowers the risk of heart arrhythmia and decreases the risk of stroke in women.
Coffee may increase blood pressure, so the benefits must be weighed against the risks. Moderate coffee drinking appears to be safe during pregnancy (2 cups per day) but higher amounts may have an association with miscarriage. Coffee may cause dehydration, which can stress kidneys and interfere with the removal of cellular wastes. So, if you choose to drink it, be sure to also drink water and take a trace mineral supplement. Trace minerals are the ones you need in smaller amounts, like manganese and copper.
White, green, and black teas are all derived from the leaves from the Camellia Sinensis plant. The younger leaves are white. An oxidation process turns the leaves green, to brown, to black. The flavor becomes richer, but the antioxidant level drops. 
The antioxidant level is also determined by how the tea is prepared. Black tea requires short steeping in very hot water. White tea requires longer steeping to release the antioxidants. Green tea is best prepared when steeped in cold water for two hours.
White tea contains the least amount of caffeine. It also contains the greatest health benefits in the form of polyphenols, which have immune boosting properties. Women who drink tea may see a reduction in estrogen levels and therefore cancer protective since some cancers are sensitive to estrogen.
If you are sensitive to the caffeine in coffee, that may indicate an issue of weak adrenals. Add sugar and both your adrenals and your blood sugar may be adversely affected, spiking and then crashing. Stevia is a safer choice for sweetening tea or coffee. And if you prefer cream in your coffee, adding butter, coconut oil or MCT oil avoids the dairy. MCT oil is medium-chain triglycerides, which refers to the type of oil. Coconut oil contains MCT, but also contains other types of triglycerides. Triglyceride is a scientific name for fats. Eating triglycerides in the form of coconut oil will not raise the level in your blood. And may increase your "good" cholesterol and lower your "bad". Your brain needs a lot of good fat and oils, and your heart and brain are buddies, so don't worry about eating unrefined natural fats. It is the sugar and bread that gets yo and cause the tire tummy and heart risk.
Regardless of whether you like coffee, tea or both, I always encourage people to seek out organic versions, since the non-organic coffee and tea plants are heavily sprayed with pesticides.
Both coffee and tea are really water-extracted herbs. Both have some benefits. Having practiced for many years in England, I have seen either one become addictive, so use wisely. Knowing your own body’s reactions and sensitivities is often the best guideline. This only comes with eating real unprocessed foods so that you can gauge the difference when your body protests. 
These delightful herbal beverages have shaped our culture and our history from the days of the East Indian Company to the Boston Tea Party to the presence of Starbucks in most towns in the U.S.A. And there are many strong opinions about coffee vs. tea. Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “The morning cup of coffee has an exhilaration about it that the afternoon or evening cup of tea cannot be expected to reproduce.”
My advice-find the healthiest way to enjoy them (or not) for yourself. I love both. Organic, of course!

Wonder If You Are Eating Too Much Sugar?

You may already know the answer for yourself! In a perfect world, sugar consumption might be zero refined sugar, and only a little fruit or naturally occurring sugar like honey or maple syrup. Non-sugar sweeteners that are healthiest would be Xylitol (made from birch trees) Stevia (from a South American plant leaf) or Monk Fruit.

But we live in the real world and refined sugar is more plentiful than sand on a beach, it seems.  So, how do you know when you are eating too much?

First of all, there is no question that Type II Diabetes is caused by eating too much sugar and refined carbohydrates, such as white bread.

What this study showed is that you can cut calorie consumption and lose weight and inches. But it is only by cutting carb consumption that you can cut down your insulin and triglyceride (blood fat) levels.

Sugar and carbs (think flour, other bread grains and pastas) are passed into the blood stream through the intestinal walls in the form of glucose. Glucose levels trigger the pancreas to produce insulin. The insulin knocks on the “door” of your cells and gets the cells to allow some glucose to pass through the cell wall as fuel for the cell processes. Each type of cell has a job to do, and they all need fuel to act as eye cells or liver cells or skin cells.

In Type II Diabetes the pancreas does not run out of insulin. Instead the cells become resistant and refuse to open the door, kind of like how you would feel if the same salesman knocked on your door three times a day. The result is that there is too much sugar roaming around with no place to park, so the sugar gets shuttled to the liver and made into triglycerides, or fat. That fat gets stored at your waist, hips or thighs. And, without much sugar making it into your cells as fuel, you will feel tired.

Too much of any food group (except pure fat) can be converted into blood sugar. So, over-eating is also a risk factor, just as it is for Diabetes. There are carbs in dairy products, nuts and legumes, too, and these can also easily be converted into glucose (sugar). Our digestive processes break down every thing we eat into the following: proteins break down to amino acids and peptides, fats break down to fatty acids, carbs break down to glucose (sugar). Food also contains nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, enzymes and fiber.

Sugar circulating in the blood causes inflammation, which damages arteries and may be one of the prime causes of heart disease. Cancer cells love sugar. They don’t love green vegetables, healthy fats and protein, which act to balance blood sugar.

So, the first sign you are eating too much sugar is excess fat at waist, hips or thighs (or any place else you don’t want it.) The second sign is that you are tired, despite a full night’s sleep. Or you may be tired because you are waking up in the middle of the night and unable to go back to sleep.

Feeling okay most of the day and then crashing at three of four o’clock is another sign you are eating too much sugar.

Too much sugar can cause frequent urge to urinate. Of course, this may also be a sign of irritation or a beginning infection, but if you chronically need to urinate often, day or night, check your sugar intake.

Frequent urination will cause dehydration, so excessive thirst may follow. And skin may become very dry. Sugar will break down collagen in your skin, so deep wrinkles on the face is another symptom of high sugar intake. Puffy ankles, with purple veins and damaged skin, is also a sign.

Indigestion may be a sign, because sugar will alter the ph (acid/alkaline balance) of the stomach, so that stomach acid is not high enough to digest protein and other foods. Also, minerals will not absorb if stomach acid is too low, so other deficiencies can develop, such as osteoporosis or cavities in the teeth.

Brain fog is another symptom of excess sugar. The brain is very dependent on balanced blood sugar, as is nerve flow. Unwarranted irritability is a sign of sugar imbalance. If you are crabby in the morning, consider what you ate the day before. Don’t skip breakfast, but eat protein early in the day.

Nerve healing does not take place if there is too much sugar in the blood, and that is why Diabetics are at risk for blindness and leg wounds that won’t heal.

These are just a few of the signs, but you can see that sugar is at the root of many common and serious health problems.

It is recommended that women eat no more than 24 grams (6 teaspoons) of sugar daily, and men only 36 grams 9 teaspoons). That is the equivalent of one cookie a day for a woman. Most Americans are eating that much sugar just for breakfast if they are eating grains and cereals.  One soda contains 39 grams. Remember it is not just sugar itself, but also breads and pastas and rice that break down to glucose and raise sugar levels in the blood.

Doing a 10-Day Blood Sugar program can break the sugar habit. Eating more fat and increasing minerals may help. Drinking more water and herbal tea helps to keep you hydrated.

Just like alcohol, you have to take sugar habits one day at a time. If you decide to have a non-sugar day (think no desserts, treats or breads/pasta) keep yourself busy. Eat plenty of protein and fat so you feel satisfied. Know that it may be a real challenge, and don’t get discouraged. Bodies are like children. They can throw tantrums if you deny something they want. Remember who is in charge, and that constant indulgence does not build health, character or confidence. Take it slowly. Parties and events may be extra-stressful and tempting. Read the labels for carbohydrate content of the foods you buy in the market and be prepared to be shocked.

Get your hormone balance checked. Weak adrenals may be caused by excess sugar over time, but taking adrenal support may improve your stamina to change your diet and lifestyle. Menopause or pre-menstrual days are particularly prime for sweet and chocolate cravings. Chocolate made with stevia may see you through. I like unsweetened carob. Still has a lot of carbs, so not a free lunch.

Not everyone has the same response to carbs and sugar. And not everyone who is thin or skinny is healthy. But maintaining a healthy weight is partially reflected in your hip waist ratio. If your waist is smaller than your hips, that is a good sign. A more definitive test is from blood work. Check your fasting glucose, which should be under 100.  The A1C number is another test for risk of Diabetes and that number should be below 6. Email me if you would like more information about this.

Let me know if you are concerned and we can make a personalized program for you. As with most other aspects of living, there can be a long-term reward for your short-term sacrifices.

Life is much sweeter when you are healthy and feeling good. So, treat yourself well.







Simple Painless Test for Food Sensitivities

You may be suspecting food sensitivities. You have noticed that certain foods don’t agree with you, or you have symptoms like bloating, diarrhea, constipation, mood changes, sinus issues, or skin rashes like eczema. There may be other symptoms that you do not associate with foods. Here is a quiz you can take for yourself.

Our modern farming practices, filled with pesticides and chemicals, have altered how the very DNA of many foods so that we are eating proteins and toxins that did exist previously. And they can cause many symptoms that you may not have associated with food sensitivities. But finding out your own sensitivities can make a world of difference. One of my patients visited five different dermatologists seeking treatment for the flaking skin all around her eyes. When I found that her daily yogurt was the cause, the flaking started to clear up in a couple of days.

These symptoms are unsightly and uncomfortable, but there may also be more serious immune problems with food sensitivity for some people. Long term food intolerances tax the immune system and may set up an internal environment that makes you more susceptible to auto-immune diseases, weight gain or a weakened immune system that is unable to handle serious challenges from bacteria and viruses.

Skin prick tests, where different types of food are tested on your skin, may give you false positives, meaning that you are not really allergic to the food tested. Blood work or IgG or IgE testing may not be accurate, either. Many people will show a reaction to a laundry list of foods, which can make dietary planning very difficult and eliminate more foods than are really necessary.

Allergy testing with blood may also produce a long list of foods to avoid, and can be expensive. So, I have been on the lookout for food sensitivity testing that is non-invasive, and reasonably priced. I just performed my own sensitivity test and was impressed with the results.

My test results paralleled the more costly blood testing I did a couple of years ago. And this new test revealed more items that made sense to me. This test also checks for non-food items that may be in your environment, and it checks for nutritional deficiencies. My test results indicated a lack of B12 and, based on what I know about my own digestion, that makes sense to me. B12 can only be absorbed when digestion is strong. You can also test for metal toxicity with this testing.

So, I am very excited to be able to offer this new Food Sensitivity test. If you are trying to lose weight, sleep better, handle digestive issues like gall bladder or intestinal symptoms, or improve skin, this could open some doors to understanding and more precise treatment. Because it is painless, it is easy to test kids. One of my colleagues is having great results helping people lose weight by avoiding the foods they are sensitive to.

It gets better! If you are wondering if you are missing vital nutrients, this test also identifies what vitamins and minerals you need to increase. This can be very important information that is hard to determine without expensive blood work.

And most people in the United States have exposure to toxic metals. If your levels are high, it is a concern because metals cause cellular damage. A program to eliminate metals can be done, giving cells a chance to heal and regenerate.

You can do this test at home, or it can be done in the office. A hair sample is collected and mailed to a lab and results are sent to me. We go over the results, with advice about any dietary changes, or supplements. You can retest down the road to see how those changes are making a difference. You should feel better and see the results, but sometimes changes in the body are occurring silently, and by the time we notice, damage has been done. Remember the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This gives us a peek inside the body in a non-invasive way. All you have to lose is a few strands of hair. And identifying metal toxicity, a food sensitivity, or lack of a nutrient might even help grow more hair if yours is thinning!

Email me at or text to 818-863-6346 if you are interested in ordering the test or have questions. 










Check Your Brain Strain

Using your brain is not like using a muscle. So, you can’t strain it like you can a leg muscle. It does seem true that those who don’t use it seem to lose it! So, if your memory is not what it used to be, what’s up with that?

The brain could be said to be an electronic computer system that gathers data from the nervous system and interfaces and co-acts with the endocrine (hormonal) system to increase or decrease body functions.

Because nerve cells have protective fat membranes, the brain is about 60% fat. And it needs the correct dietary fats to function properly. The fats and oils needed for nerve cell protection are not the fats the brain gets in the average American diet. Trans-fats (think French fries, donuts, and mayonnaise) and Omega 6 fats (corn oil) are associated with inflammation. As Yoda might say, that leads to the dark side; pain, heart disease, Diabetes, risk of stroke, and cognitive decline (as in memory and mental sharpness) such as Alzheimer’s or Dementia.

In fact, researchers consider Alzheimer’s to be Diabetes Type III. So, when your doctor tells you that your blood work says you are at risk for Diabetes Type II you may also be at risk for other diseases that result from blood sugar dysfunction. In addition to Alzheimer’s, these include stroke, heart disease and possibly cancer. All of these diseases of modern civilization are associated with inflammation caused by our high dietary intake of sugar and carbs and insufficient quantities of the types of fat that regulate blood sugar and provide the brain with the right fat it needs to function properly throughout our life. Vegetarian lifestyles bring further risk to the brain because fats occur in fatty-acid chains, and the longer fatty-acid chain fats from animal fats are more brain protective than plant sources of fats.   Yes, that means bacon and butter (along with fish oils) are better for the brain than plant oils, although most natural, unrefined sources of fat have nutrient value.

Usually, by the time that we find out there is brain function decline, it may be too late to restore full function. Add to that the risks we take from contact sports and car accidents and recently brain strain has risen to epidemic levels.

I am always looking for true prevention, and I am very happy to let you know that there is now a lab test called BrainSpan to give you a precise measure of your brain health. A blood spot is analyzed for various markers of whether you are getting the correct fats needed for brain health, and if you are eating too many carbs that lead to inflammation. This is also invaluable data if you are trying to lose weight or handle pre- or existing Diabetes.

The second part of the testing is cognitive (memory and perception and processing speed) performed on a tablet or smartphone, to assess your current state of function. I don’t believe we think with our brains, but they do monitor much of our processing and functionality regarding the body. So, keeping the brain healthy will greatly assist the demonstration of our mental ability. Remember how hard it is to think if you are sick or in pain? A great quality of life has so much to do with the keeping the entire body healthy and whole.

To learn more and view a short informational video go to

I have a very special reason to be concerned about healthy brain function. My dad had a very high IQ and extensive vocabulary from reading thousands of books. But in his later years, he developed dementia, lost his ability to communicate completely, and eventually died of a stroke. There were early signs, but his doctors did not know what was really wrong, nor did they have any effective treatment plan except psychiatric medication. Watching a loved one deteriorate so badly is not something I wish on anyone.

Now there is a way to measure brain health as a baseline, and take any measures needed if there is a risk area. Natural medicine and lifestyle changes can improve test results in 12 weeks.  We can re-measure after a few months, and then on a yearly basis, to ensure long lasting improvement and health. This is a great test for each of us over 40, and a way to test elderly parents for risk, also. And, if your child has any symptoms of cognitive issues, or signs of ADHD, this test will provide helpful information. Kids with food sensitivities can exhibit symptoms when there is nothing physically wrong with their brain. But foods can trigger inflammation that may cause kids to act out.

You don’t need to fear any kind of diagnosis from this test. This is a wellness tool, designed to give you a way to measure your lifestyle choices against the best science on healthy brain aging. Researchers know so much more than your MD or the media. The system is geared towards costly disease-care, not prevention. The science is there, as you can see from the links in this newsletter.

Email me for your kit, or talk to me at your next visit to the office. The test costs $159 for first time testing, and $139 for follow up in six months.

Find out how you are doing, and find out early how to reverse things if there is a problem. We can develop a lifestyle, diet, and supplement program geared exactly to your results.

This test takes the strain our of brain health. You don’t have to worry if your misplacing your car keys is an early sign of Alzheimer’s.  Now you can find out if you will be able to use your noodle when you are dangling grandkids on your knee. Some smart guys figured out how to look beyond the grey matter so we won’t lose our marbles.

My test results are on the way. I’m in this with you.