Athletic Success and Sleep Habits


We can’t talk about athletic success without mentioning Quarterback Tom Brady. Congratulations on his win. Part of Tom’s health regimen includes early bed time. The six-time Super Bowl winner says he goes to sleep at 8:30 p.m. or 9 p.m.

“Tom Brady says he can only work as hard—or perform as well—as his ability to recover. And he considers sleep the best way to recover, exactly why he strives for eight to 10 hours of uninterrupted zzz’s every night. ‘We push our bodies so hard and our bodies need time to rejuvenate,’ says Brady. ‘It is something I have been doing for a long time and is really important.’”

Tom’s other healthy habits regarding what he eats, drinks and avoid are documented in his book. One health reporter says Brady’s claims aren’t “evidence-based.” Really? He’s   41-years-old, looks 25 and just won his 6th Super Bowl.  Plus, I know first hand maintaining an alkaline and anti-inflammatory state works. He’s right.It usually takes evidence-based science ten years to catch up.Meanwhile, another choice Tom is right about is the need for a good night’s sleep for peak athletic and mental performance.

The following is informative if you’re a student athlete, professional athlete or anyone who wants to be healthy. As I always say, it’s not a fad. It’s not something you brag about on social media. It’s a lifestyle.

Learn how promoting a culture of proper sleep health can boost academic, athletic success for student‐athletes

When student‐athletes tell coaches or athletics staff they’re tired, they’re likely to encounter the brushoff, with responses like “I’m tired, too. We’re all tired. Now let’s get going.”

When student‐athletes tell coaches or athletics staff they’re tired, they’re likely to encounter the brushoff, with responses like “I’m tired, too. We’re all tired. Now let’s get going.”

Instead, coaches and staff should treat fatigue complaints just as seriously as nutritional concerns. That’s because lack of sleep has far‐reaching impact on health, safety, and well‐being, as well as academic and athletic success, according to Roxanne Prichard, scientific director for the Center for College Sleep at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.

She spoke about sleep health as part of a panel at the annual convention of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. Jack Ford, correspondent and host with 60 Minutes Sports and PBS, moderated the panel, which also included Kim Record, AD at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Tommy Doles, a student‐athlete at Northwestern University.

Poor sleep health impacts more students than you think, Prichard noted. In fact, many students graduate high school sleep‐deprived, so they don’t see why that should change when they reach college, Ford noted.

Prichard agreed. “A generation of college students are so exhausted they don’t know what it’s like to not feel exhausted,” she noted.

The first step to improving sleep health among student‐athletes is to raise awareness by providing student‐athletes, coaches, and staff with accurate information about sleep, the panelists advised. And everyone involved in athletics should learn to recognize and address the signs of poor sleep health, they said.

You can start by asking student‐athletes “Are you tired when you wake up?” If your own reaction to this question is “Aren’t we all tired? We’re so busy!” or if your student‐athletes respond in a similar fashion, that only confirms the need for sleep education and awareness, Prichard said.

“You should wake up when you’re fully rested, and when you’re done sleeping,” she noted. “Sleep is just like nutrition,” she added. And just as student‐athletes already know the importance of monitoring their food and liquid intake, they should also learn to monitor their sleep habits, she advised.

Prichard and the other panelists shared other tips on how to handle common pushbacks and barriers regarding student‐athletes’ sleep health.

For example, student‐athletes tend to present such arguments as “I can’t afford to get enough sleep because I need the extra time to devote to my studies and workouts. Sleeping more would mean I’m taking that time away from something.”

But the reality is actually quite the opposite — they can’t afford to skimp on sleep, Prichard said. “Students who sleep well have higher GPAs. When you’re well‐rested, it takes you half the time to do homework. Sleep benefits your academics and athletics. When you sleep enough, you feel strong, you’re quick,” she noted.

Student‐athletes are likely to counter with such comments as “The stakes are higher and it’s tougher now. I’m a junior fighting for a position on the team and I need to bring my grades up,” Ford acknowledged.

But coaches and staff should respond by challenging the student‐athlete to just try sleeping more for a week to see the difference it will make before giving up on the importance of sleep health, Prichard advised.

When coaches or athletics administrators hear about a student‐athlete who’s struggling (whether academically, athletically, behaviorally, or health‐wise), athletics administrators should look for the underlying cause, starting with inquiring whether the student‐athlete is sleeping and eating well.

And when student‐athletes say “I’m tired,” coaches and administrators need to resist the tendency to flippantly respond “Well, I’m tired, too,” Record advised. Talk to them about good habits and time management, she said.

Athletics administrators and athletic trainers have begun placing more of a priority on sleep among student‐athletes, Record and Doles said. “We’re seeing a trend toward that being more valued,” Doles noted.

But sleep still isn’t getting the attention it deserves, especially in football. In fact, football players and football coaches tend to have the least amount of sleep out of any collegiate sport, Prichard noted.

All student‐athletes need to understand that “when your body doesn’t get enough sleep, it shifts into fight‐or‐flight mode, which means you’re easier to get overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed,” Prichard explained.

When coaches suspect a mental health concern among their student‐athletes, encourage the coaches to look for what’s going on outside their sport, Record advised. Sometimes student‐athletes resist telling their coaches about mental health issues or anything else they fear might impact their playing time, she noted.

Besides, coaches aren’t psychologists, so they do need to refer their student‐athletes to mental health resources, she said. Start by asking the student‐athlete some specific questions, and follow up with “I get it if you don’t want to talk to me. There are resources where you can go to talk to someone.” And then refer them to athletic trainers, academic support, and/or counseling.

You might be tempted to pull their teammates/friends into the situation to try to figure out what’s bothering the student‐athlete you’re concerned about. “But you have to be careful. That puts that teammate in a position where they don’t want to rat on their teammate,” Record warned. She advised that instead you go to the student‐athlete and say “Hey, people are worried about you.”

Athletics administrators and coaches have the responsibility and obligation to identify student‐athletes of concern and refer them to resources, Record stressed. “The last thing you want is having something be seriously wrong and risk overlooking it,” she noted.

Destigmatizing mental health also plays a critical role, Doles noted. He recommended that student‐athletes, coaches, and staff convey the message that “you need to care for your mental health to be mentally tough. Not only because I care about you, but it’s also a competitive advantage,” Doles said.

Another resource Doles recommended is the organization

If student‐athletes feel tired or “are zonked out on the bus and the plane, they’re not getting enough sleep,” Prichard said. That sleep deficit impacts their circadian rhythm and hormone balance, she noted. Prichard recommended taking the following steps to address and prevent sleep problems among your student‐athletes:

  • ❏ Have tired student‐athletes screened for sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome.
  • ❏ Look into whether their residence halls are too loud, bright, or hot.
  • ❏ Identify what you can do to improve their sleep environment, with such items as lavender mists, blackout shades, and gravity blankets.
  • ❏ Conduct a point‐by‐point assessment, starting with screening for sleep on pre‐performance.
  • ❏ Develop policies, programs, and procedures to improve sleep habits among student‐athletes.
  • ❏ Encourage student‐athletes to discuss with their roommates — from the outset — what their guaranteed quiet hours will be and how many times they’re allowed to hit the snooze button on their alarm.
  • ❏ Promote a college culture that values sleep as playing a critical role in mental health.

As a senior, Doles said he has become more disciplined with his time and gets more sleep. Although he acknowledged that learning to say no to some things can be difficult, he realizes it’s necessary so he can fit more sleep into his schedule, he said.

For more information,

Better sleep leads to better free throws, study shows

One way to convince student‐athletes of the importance of sleep is by showing them evidence that adequate sleep will improve their game, recommended Roxanne Prichard, scientific director for the Center for College Sleep at the University of St. Thomas.

She advises telling your student‐athletes that elite‐level basketball players improve their on‐the‐court performance by increasing their amount of total sleep time, according to the results of a study by the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory involving basketball players at Stanford University.

The results suggest “sleep is an important factor in peak athletic performance,” and “athletes may be able to optimize training and competition outcomes by identifying strategies to maximize the benefits of sleep,”


First published: 15 January 2019


Health: Longevity and Vegetables

This video and blog were originally published in 2015 by Michael Greger M.D. FACLM.

Worth repeating.

The dietary guidelines recommend that we try to choose meals or snacks that are high in nutrients but lower in calories to reduce the risk of chronic disease.

By this measure, the healthiest foods on the planet, the most nutrient dense, are vegetables, containing the most nutrient bang for our caloric buck.

So, what would happen if a population centered their entire diet around vegetables? They might end up having among the longest lives in the world.

Of course, any time you hear about long-living populations, you have to make sure it’s validated, as it may be hard to find birth certificates from the 1890s.

But validation studies suggest that, indeed, they really do live that long.

The traditional diet in Okinawa is based on vegetables, beans, and other plants. I’m used to seeing the Okinawan diet represented like this—the base being vegetables, beans, and grains, but a substantial contribution from fish and other meat.

But a more accurate representation would be this, if you look at their actual dietary intake. We know what they were eating from the U.S. National Archives, because the U.S. military ran Okinawa until it was given back to Japan in 1972.

And if you look at the traditional diets of more than 2,000 Okinawans, this is how it breaks down.

Less than 1% of their diet was fish; meat; dairy and eggs, so it was more than 96% plant-based, and more than 90% whole food plant based—very few processed foods either.

And, not just whole food plant-based, but most of their diet was vegetables, and one vegetable in particular—sweet potatoes.

The Okinawan diet was centered around purple and orange sweet potatoes—how delicious is that? Could have been bitter gourd, or soursop—but no, sweet potatoes, yum.

So, 90 plus percent whole food plant-based makes it a highly anti-inflammatory diet, makes it a highly antioxidant diet.

If you measure the level of oxidized fat within their system, there is compelling evidence of less free radical damage.

Maybe they just genetically have better antioxidant enzymes or something?

No, their antioxidant enzyme activity is the same; it’s all the extra antioxidants that they’re getting from their diet that may be making the difference—most of their diet is vegetables!

So, six to twelve times fewer heart disease deaths than the U.S.—you can see they ran out of room for the graph for our death rate; two to three times fewer colon cancer deaths; seven times fewer prostate cancer deaths; and five and a half times lower risk of dying from breast cancer.

Some of this protection may have been because they were eating only about 1,800 calories a day. They were actually eating a greater mass of food, but the whole plant foods are just calorically dilute.

There’s also a cultural norm not to stuff oneself.

The plant-based nature of the diet may trump the caloric restriction, though, since the one population that lives even longer than the Okinawa Japanese don’t just eat a 98% meat-free diet, they eat 100% meat-free.

The Adventist vegetarians in California, with perhaps the highest life expectancy of any formally described population.

Adventist vegetarian men and women live to be about 83 and 86, comparable to Okinawan women, but better than Okinawan men.

The best of the best were Adventist vegetarians who had healthy lifestyles too, like being exercising nonsmokers, 87 and nearly 90, on average.

That’s like 10 to 14 years longer than the general population.

Ten to 14 extra years on this Earth from simple lifestyle choices. And, this is happening now, in modern times, whereas Okinawan longevity is now a thing of the past. Okinawa now hosts more than a dozen KFCs.

Their saturated fat tripled. They went from eating essentially no cholesterol to a few Big Macs’ worth, tripled their sodium, and are now just as potassium deficient as Americans, getting less than half of the recommended minimum daily intake of 4,700 mg a day.

In two generations, Okinawans have gone from the leanest Japanese to the fattest.

As a consequence, there has been a resurgence of interest from public health professionals in getting Okinawans to eat the Okinawan diet, too.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.


Stay healthy!


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Noninvasive Colon Cancer Screening Option

Now that you’re 50 years young like Harry Connick, Jr., join him and Jill and take the #ScreenWithMe Challenge and talk to your healthcare provider about screening for colon cancer. Then encourage your loved ones over 50 to do the same.

When caught early, colon cancer is almost 90% treatable.*

Cologuard is a modern noninvasive screening option.

If you are like many people, you may feel anxious about getting an invasive procedure like a colonoscopy that requires unpleasant prep and time off of work.

Luckily, times have changed. Now there’s Cologuard, an easy, noninvasive test you can use at home.


Cologuard is indicated to screen adults of either sex, 50 years or older, who are at typical average-risk for colorectal cancer. Cologuard is not for everyone; not for high risk individuals, including those with a family history of colorectal cancer, a personal history of colorectal cancer or advanced adenoma, IBD and certain hereditary syndromes.

For Harry Connick, Jr. and his wife, Jill, cancer awareness hits close to home.

In 2012, Jill was diagnosed with breast cancer. Fortunately, the cancer was detected early through a routine screening, and now the couple is celebrating the 5-year mark of her remission.

Because of their deeply personal experience, Harry and Jill have made cancer screening awareness their mission.

A routine screening for breast cancer saved Jill’s life. When Harry turned 50, she wanted him to make colon cancer screening a top priority.


Take the #ScreenWithMe Challenge

Join Harry and Jill and make your pledge to ask your healthcare provider about colon cancer screening. For every pledge, $1 will be donated to colorectal cancer research and advocacy!


The initiative is also supported by leading colon cancer advocacy groups, including:



Show your support for colon cancer screening by sharing a #ScreenWithMe badge on your Facebook page.

Screening with Cologuard is easy.

Harry took the test and can check this important task off his turning 50 to-do list. Now it’s your turn to get screened and encourage your friends over 50 to do the same.



When it comes to colon cancer, there are a lot of misconceptions.

Many people think that getting colon cancer is tied to diet and lifestyle—or that you need a family history of the disease to be at risk. Unfortunately, none of these things are true.

Facts are:

  • Your risk for colon cancer increases dramatically after the age of 50*
  • Colon cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer-related deaths among men and women combined
  • When caught in its earliest stages, colon cancer is 90% treatable

Harry Connick, Jr. and his wife, Jill, are touring the country to educate local communities on the importance of colon cancer screening. Join them at the next free event to learn more about why early detection matters and noninvasive options that make screening easier.


  • Take charge of your health while enjoying great food and lively conversation
  • Enter for the opportunity to win prizes and join Harry and Jill on stage
  • Have a chance to meet Harry after the show!



is about speaking up for yourself and taking charge of your health.

Don’t wait! Talk to your healthcare provider about your screening options, including Cologuard.



Cologuard is intended for the qualitative detection of colorectal neoplasia associated DNA markers and for the presence of occult hemoglobin in human stool. A positive result may indicate the presence of colorectal cancer (CRC) or advanced adenoma (AA) and should be followed by diagnostic colonoscopy.

Cologuard is indicated to screen adults of either sex, 50 years or older, who are at typical average-risk for CRC. Cologuard is not for everyone; not for high risk individuals, including those with a family history of colorectal cancer, a personal history of colorectal cancer or advanced adenoma, IBD and certain hereditary syndromes. Positive Cologuard results should be referred to diagnostic colonoscopy. A negative Cologuard test result does not guarantee absence of cancer or advanced adenoma. Following a negative result, patients should continue participating in a screening program at an interval and with a method appropriate for the individual patient. Cologuard performance when used for repeat testing has not been evaluated or established. Rx only.


*American Cancer Society. Colorectal Cancer Facts & Figures 2017-2019. Accessed February 9, 2018.

American Cancer Society. Key statistics for colorectal cancer. Last revised January 4, 2018. Accessed January 25, 2018.

Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, Miller D, Bishop K, Kosary CL, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2014, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD,, based on November 2016 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2017. Accessed February 9, 2018.



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World Diabetes Day Link To Kidney Disease

diabetes52Diabetic Nephropathy is the #1 cause of kidney failure

Almost a third of people with diabetes develop kidney disease.

People with diabetes often have other chronic conditions, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and blood vessels disease, as well as nerve damage to their bladder, bladder infections and nerve damage, which means kidney disease is either already present or likely to be on the horizon.

Diabetes comes in two main types and each one requires different treatment.

There are two types of kidney disease in people with diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the kidney disease may already exist by the time they’re diagnosed with diabetes.

About 90% of people with diabetes have the Type 2 version. In this case their bodies don’t produce enough insulin naturally or work well. Diet and exercise are critical for them.

Symptoms of Diabetes


Symptoms of diabetes include: always feeling tired and hungry, frequent urination, blurry vision, numbness or tingling in hands or feet, always thirsty, wounds that won’t heal, sudden weight loss, sexual problems, vaginal infections. See your medical provider to get tested if you recognize these symptoms in yourself.



In type 1 diabetes, diabetic nephropathy develops a decade post diabetes diagnosis.

Type 1 sufferers need to regularly inject themselves with insulin or use an insulin pump. It may develop at any age.diabetes8

Symptoms of Diabetic Nephropathy

Early onset of diabetic nephropathy has no symptoms. As kidney function worsens, symptoms may include:

  • Poor appetite
  • Weakness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Swelling of hands
  • Swelling of feet
  • Swelling of face
  • Nausea
  • Itching (a sign of end-stage kidney disease)
  • Extremely Dry Skin
  • Drowsiness (a sign of end-stage kidney disease)
  • Muscle twitching
  • Irregular heart rhythm (a sign of increased potassium in blood)

It’s a condition known as uremia that’s extremely dangerous as people can become confused and occasionally comatose.


Diagnosing Diabetic Nephropathy

Specific blood tests and urine tests can diagnose kidney damage. It also can be detected early by finding protein in the urine.

If you have diabetes, make sure to have your urine tested annually.

Treatment for Diabetic Nephropathy

Treatments are available that can help slow the progression of kidney failure.

It’s important to maintain blood sugar control to lower blood pressure. Some medicines called angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors can help slow down the progression of kidney damage.

Although ACE inhibitors — including ramipril (Altace), quinapril (Accupril) , and lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril) — are usually used to treat high blood pressure and other medical problems, they are often given to people with diabetes to prevent complications, even if their blood pressure is normal.

If a person has side effects from taking ACE inhibitors, another class of drugs called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) can often be given instead.

If not treated, kidneys will continue to fail and larger amounts of proteins can be detected in the urine.

Advanced kidney failure requires treatment with dialysis or a kidney transplant from a cadaver donor. The waiting list for a kidney is currently close to 100,000 people. The other option is finding a living donor that is a match–a family member (they’re not always a match), spouse, friend or a stranger willing to give you the gift of life.

A kidney specialist is called a nephrologist and you need to find one as soon as your kidneys begin to fail so they can help you with diet and treatments.

With medical guidance and dietary changes, symptoms can be eased, and progression of the disease can be slowed.

FLOOD SISTERS KIDNEY FOUNDATION  is an excellent resource if you’re experiencing kidney failure or are in need of finding a living kidney donor.

Jennifer Flood and her sisters founded the foundation after finding a total stranger to be a living donor for her father ten years ago. It began with her tenacious use of social media (on Craigslist) that caught broadcast media attention nationwide.

The awareness not only saved her dad’s life, but left her and her sisters with an abundant supply of willing living kidney donors, which then sparked the idea to start a foundation to help other people.


“Upon kidney failure, a lot of people end up on dialysis and then enter themselves on the long waiting list without realizing we have resources available to help them understand their best option is to find a living kidney donor.”

“Our foundation helps by actively seeking perfectly healthy strangers who are willing to donate their kidney now.”  

Jennifer Flood, President/CEO, Flood Sisters Kidney Foundation

Dolly Parton with (left to right) Jennifer Flood’s daughter, Heather Flood and their Mom Roseann Flood

Flood Sisters Kidney Foundation has gained the attention and support from celebrities like Jon Bon Jovi, Barbara Corcoran, Dolly Parton, Geraldo and many more who helped a loved one find a non-related living kidney donor through their foundation.

“For us today, it starts with a commitment to provide trusted MDTV compliant education and awareness. Working with MDTV select hospitals to navigate through the clutter and ultimately providing an altruistic living donor for our client in need.”- Jennifer Flood, President/CEO, Flood Sisters Kidney Foundation 

Rachel Ray, Barbara Corcoran with friend matched with living kidney donor

But Flood sisters are not stopping there because as Jennifer says:

“Almost one-third of people with diabetes develop kidney disease. Kidney failure is not just for the rich and famous. It’s actually even more pervasive in poor communities.”


Since 1972, poor people who get stuck on dialysis automatically become covered by medicare insurance and the dilemma is they lose all hope or just don’t know about the living kidney donor transplant option.

According to MDTV it costs over $75,000.00 to educate a community and find just one altruistic living kidney donor. It seems such a small price to pay to save a life, especially since the cost of dialysis is $84,000.00 per year (paid for by Medicare).

Paul Argen
, CEO and Executive Producer of MDTV says, “Flood Sisters broke the code for people who are stuck on dialysis and want the best option to return to some normalcy. I am so impressed with the great work of Flood Sisters Kidney Foundation that we now have formed an exclusive partnership of collaboration to fund this effort with a long-term commitment to penetrate hundreds of these communities nationwide. Our partnership not only will give people renewed hope and save lives, but deliver a unified channel of education for families, hospitals, caregivers, providers, public health and the media to embrace. We are getting ready to move the needle in this disease state –a much-needed Angelic Gift for society. Stay tuned. Coming soon.”

Jon Bon Jovi with his good friend and attorney Jerry who found a living donor match

Remember, only people with end stage kidney disease can be listed for deceased donor transplantation. But living donor transplants can be “pre-emptive” taking place before the need for dialysis. This has a lot of health advantages.

People who choose pre-emptive transplantation have a lower risk of death and loss of kidney transplant function, compared to those who spent time on dialysis beforehand.

The good news is according to 26 studies involving almost 500 kidney donors, 95% of kidney donors in the United States, rate their experience as good to excellent.

Chuck Scarborough with 3 sisters (twins Cynthia & Jennifer and Heather on rt) and their dad, Daniel Flood


We support the work of Flood Sisters Kidney Foundation as the best resource for matching people with living kidney donors and raising awareness about it.


You’re not a celebrity, non-celebrity or number to them. You’re family.

Other complications of diabetes include:

  • dental and gum diseases
  • eye problems and sight loss
  • foot problems, including numbness, leading to ulcers and untreated injuries
  • nerve damage, such as diabetic neuropathy

Fatal complications include heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.

In the case of kidney disease, this complication can lead to kidney failure, water retentionwhen the body does not dispose of water correctly, and a person experiencing difficulties with bladder control.

Regularly monitoring blood glucose levels and moderating glucose intake can help people prevent the more damaging complications of type 2 diabetes.

For those with types 1 diabetes, taking insulin is the only way to moderate and control the effects of the condition.

Meantime, everyone in the world can benefit from paying attention to their nutrition and how it affects them.


Here Are Nutritional Tips for People With Diabetes and Kidney Disease


Sodium can build up when kidneys start to fail, causing fluid to accumulate in tissues. It’s called edema, and will show up as swelling in hands, face and lower extremities.

Most organizations recommend limiting sodium to 1,500-2,300mg/daily.  Besides table salt itself, other high sodium foods you want to avoid are: bacon, ham, canned or instant soups, canned vegetables, cheese, crackers, salted nuts, olives, potato chips, processed foods, soy sauce, barbecue sauces, bottled sauces, pickles, bouillon cubes, dehydrated soups.

Read sodium content on all labels.

Reduce or eliminate processed foods.



When kidneys can’t filter out potassium, too much can circulate in your blood.

An excess of potassium can be very dangerous because it can cause irregular heart rhythm, which could become severe enough to cause your heart to stop working.

Restricting high potassium foods can help prevent this from happening.

Regular blood tests to monitor your potassium levels can alert your doctor to potential problems. If you must restrict your potassium levels, most people need to limit their intake to ~2000mg/daily.

If you are someone who has diabetes and often experiences low blood sugar, you’ll want to avoid treating with orange juice and will want to use glucose tablets instead.

High-potassium foods include bananas, broccoli, raisins, tomatoes, apricots, baked beans, beets, cantaloupe, collard and other greens, molasses, mushrooms, nuts, oranges, peanut butter, potatoes, dried fruit, salt substitute, and chocolate.


Hyperphosphatemia (high phosphorus levels in the blood) does not typically become evident until stage 4 chronic kidney disease.

When kidneys start to fail, phosphorus can start to build up in your body. This causes an imbalance with calcium, which forces the body to use calcium from the bones.

It’s important to keep phosphorus levels close to normal to prevent weakening bones.

Reducing high phosphorus foods you eat is one way to keep phosphorus levels down. If you must, most people benefit from restricting phosphorus to 800-1000mg/daily.

Reducing phosphate additives includes eliminating foods that contain ingredients such as, sodium acid pyrophosphate or monocalcium phosphate.

Other foods rich in phosphorus to avoid include beer, bran cereals, peanut butter, caramel, cheese;, cocoa, cola, dried beans, ice cream, liver, milk and milk products, nuts, and sardines.


If you have diabetes and kidney disease you still want to include carbohydrate sources, but from vegetables, fruit, and whole grains.

You want to avoid beverages and sugars with sucrose and high fructose corn syrup.  .

If you are someone with advanced kidney disease you may have to discuss reducing intake of high potassium and high phosphorus sources of carbohydrate with your dietitian.


Too much protein can be bad for your kidneys if you’re living with kidney disease.

When choosing proteins, aim to include lean sources of protein, such as white meat chicken, fish, turkey, and lean beef.


Focus on incorporating healthy fats into the diet such as oils, and fatty fish and avoid saturated fats and trans fats – processed meats, full-fat cheese, and desserts.

It seems like there’s almost nothing left to eat after you see this list. Fear not.

See “The 20 Best Foods For People With Kidney Problems” by Jillian Kubola, MS, RD at:

Discuss your nutrition with your dietitian as it can vary depending on your treatment plan. 

Again, symptoms of kidney damage are:

Urinary issues, anemia, itchy skin, feeling excessively cold, chills, nausea, vomiting, swelling in ankles, legs or face, shortness of breath, metallic taste in mouth or bad breath.

See your physician for a blood and urine test to check the wellness of your kidneys if you’re concerned. They don’t automatically check this. You need to ask.

Stay informed.  Stay healthy.




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How To Adapt To Dark Winter Days Ahead



NPR brings us tips on how to adapt and adjust to dark, cold winter days.

Our smartphones automatically adjusted last weekend to the time change. But our internal clocks aren’t as easy to re-program.

When daylight comes an hour earlier each fall, it throws us off.

Our bodies crave consistent routines. When we disrupt our routines with erratic sleep or eating habits, it can increase the risk of metabolic disease, diabetes and obesity.

And, as the amount of daylight continues to decrease, it’s easy to fall into bad habits. Luckily, there are smart ways you can adapt.

Changes in what you eat, when you eat, and even your social life can all help.

Read on for tips for adjusting to the darker days of winter at NPR

Stuart Kinlough/Ikon Images/Getty Images

The Shape Of Sadness In The Human Brain

Scientists may have caught a glimpse of what sadness looks like in the brain.

As NPR’s Jon Hamilton reports, a study of 21 people found that for most, feeling down was associated with greater communication between brain areas involved in emotion and memory.

“There was one network that over and over would tell us whether they were feeling happy or sad,” says researcher Vikaas Sohal.

The finding could lead to a better understanding of mood disorders, and perhaps new ways of treating them.

The study’s design was pretty unusual. The team inserted tiny wires into the brains of 21 people who were in the hospital awaiting brain surgery for severe epilepsy. They then monitored the patients’ brain activity for up to a week.

The study provides a detailed map of what’s going on in the human brain, which is what doctors and scientists need to look for better treatments for patients with mood disorders.

“It’s really important that we find the circuits underlying mood so we can learn more about them and treat them,” says Dr. Joshua Gordon, who directs the National Institute of Mental Health.

Read more about this novel study on NPR.

15 Subtle Symptoms of Kidney Disease

kidneytransplant2Here are subtle symptoms you should be aware of so you can see your health care provider for blood and urine tests if you experience many of them and are concerned.

  1. 1. Fatigue – being tired all of the time

    Why this happens:

    Healthy kidneys make a hormone called erythropoietin (a-rith’- ro-po’- uh-tin), or EPO, that tells your body to make oxygen-carrying red blood cells. As the kidneys fail, they make less EPO. With fewer red blood cells to carry oxygen, your muscles and brain tire very quickly. This is anemia, and it can be treated.

    What patients said:

    “I was constantly exhausted and didn’t have any pep or anything.”

    “I would sleep a lot. I’d come home from work and get right in that bed.”

  2. 2. Feeling cold – when others are warm

    Why this happens:

    Anemia can make you feel cold all the time, even in a warm room.

    What patients said:

    “I notice sometimes I get really cold, I get chills.”

    “Sometimes I get really, really cold. It could be hot, and I’d be cold.”

  3. 3. Shortness of breath – after very little effort

    Why this happens:

    Being short of breath can be related to the kidneys in two ways. First, extra fluid in the body can build up in the lungs. And second, anemia (a shortage of oxygen-carrying red blood cells) can leave your body oxygen-starved and short of breath.

    What patients said:

    At the times when I get the shortness of breath, it’s alarming to me. It just fears me. I think maybe I might fall or something so I usually go sit down for awhile.”

    “I couldn’t sleep at night. I couldn’t catch my breath, like I was drowning or something. And, the bloating, can’t breathe, can’t walk anywhere. It was bad.”

  4. 4. Feeling faint, dizzy, or weak

    Why this happens:

    Anemia related to kidney failure means that your brain is not getting enough oxygen. This can lead to feeling faint, dizzy, or weak.

    What patients said:

    “I was always tired and dizzy.”

    “It got to the point, like, I used to be at work, and all of the sudden I’d start getting dizzy. So I was thinking maybe it was my blood pressure or else diabetes was going bad. That’s what was on my mind.”

  5. 5. Trouble thinking clearly

    Why this happens:

    Anemia related to kidney failure means that your brain is not getting enough oxygen. This can lead to memory problems or trouble with concentration.

    What patients said:

    “I know I mentioned to my wife that my memory—I couldn’t remember what I did last week, or maybe what I had 2 days ago. I couldn’t really concentrate, because I like to work crossword puzzles and read a lot.”

    “I would get up to do something and by the time I got there I couldn’t remember what I was going to do.”

  6. 6. Feeling very itchy

    Why this happens:

    Kidneys remove wastes from the bloodstream. When the kidneys fail, the build-up of wastes in your blood can cause severe itching.

    What patients said:

    “It’s not really a skin itch or anything, it’s just right down to the bone. I had to get a brush and dig. My back was just bloody from scratching it so much.”

    “My skin had broke out, I was itching and scratching a lot.”

  7. 7. Swelling in hands or feet

    Why this happens:

    Failing kidneys don’t remove extra fluid, which builds up in your body causing swelling in the legs, ankles, feet, and/or hands.

    What patients said:

    “I remember a lot of swelling in my ankles. My ankles were so big I couldn’t get my shoes on.”

    “Going to work one morning, my left ankle was swollen, real swollen, and I was very exhausted just walking to the bus stop. And I knew then that I had to see a doctor.”

  8. 8. Swollen or puffy face

    Why this happens:

    Failing kidneys don’t remove extra fluid, which builds up in your body causing swelling in the face.

    What patients said:

    “My sister, her hair started to fall out, she was losing weight, but her face was really puffy, you know, and everything like that, before she found out what was going on with her.”

    “My cheeks were always puffy and tight. Sometimes they would even hurt.”

  9. 9. Food tastes like metal

    Why this happens:

    A build-up of wastes in the blood (called uremia) can make food taste different and cause bad breath. You may also notice that you stop liking to eat meat, or that you are losing weight because you just don’t feel like eating.

    What patients said:

    “Foul taste in your mouth. Almost like you’re drinking iron.”

    “I don’t have the appetite I had before I started dialysis, I must have lost about 10 pounds.”

  10. 10. Ammonia breath

    Why this happens:

    A build-up of wastes in the blood (called uremia) can cause bad breath.

    What patients said:

    “My husband always tells me I have fish breath.”

    “Sometimes my breath smells like urine and I need to brush my teeth more often.”

  11. 11. Upset stomach, nausea, vomiting

    Why this happens:

    A severe build-up of wastes in the blood (uremia) can also cause nausea and vomiting. Loss of appetite can lead to weight loss.

    What patients said:

    “I had a lot of itching, and I was nauseated, throwing up all the time. I couldn’t keep anything down in my stomach.”

    “When I got the nausea, I couldn’t eat and I had a hard time taking my blood pressure pills.”

  12. 12. Getting up during the night to make urine

    Why this happens:

    Kidneys make urine, so when the kidneys are failing, the urine may change. How?

    • You may urinate more often, or in greater amounts than usual, with pale urine.
    • You may feel pressure or have difficulty urinating.

    What patients said:

    “My urine is what I had started noticing. Then I was frequently going to the bathroom, and when I got there, nothing’s happening. You think, ‘Hey, I’ve got to go to the john,’ and you get there, 2 or 3 drops.”

    “I would get up two or three times at night and had lots of pressure each time.”

  13. 13. Foamy or bubbly urine

    Why this happens:

    Kidneys make urine, so when the kidneys are failing, the urine may change. How?

    • Urine may be foamy or bubbly.
    • This can lead to an above-normal amount of protein in the urine.

    What patients said:

    “The bowl would be filled with bubbles.”

    “Sometimes I would notice my urine being very foamy, so I made an appointment with the doctor.”

  14. 14. Brown, red, or purple urine

    Why this happens:

    Kidneys make urine, so when the kidneys are failing, the urine may change. How?

    • You may urinate less often, or in smaller amounts than usual, with dark-colored urine.
    • Your urine may contain blood.

    What patients said:

    “I was passing blood in my urine. It was so dark it looked like grape Kool-Aid. And when I went to the hospital they thought I was lying about what color it was.”

    “I thought I had a urinary infection when I first saw blood in my urine.”

  15. 15. Pressure when you make urine

    Why this happens:

    Kidneys make urine, so when the kidneys are failing, the urine may change. How?

    • You may feel pressure or have difficulty urinating.

    What patients said:

    “When you go to use the restroom, you couldn’t get it all out. And it would still feel just like tightness down there, there was so much pressure.”

    “The pressure was so great, yet it would come out so slow. Like 2-3 minutes slow. I thougth what is going on here.”

    If you have one or more of the 15 symptoms above, or worry about kidney problems, see a doctor for blood and urine tests. Many of the symptoms on this list can be caused by other health problems.

    The only way to know the cause of YOUR symptoms is to see your doctor.

    NOTE: Low back pain is not a sign of kidney disease. Your kidneys are above your waist in the back of your body. If you have pain there, tell your doctor.

    For more information visit:


    Here’s a visual of where male kidneys are located



    When kidney failure happens people have 3 options: 

    1. Go on dialysis with a life expectancy of 5 to 10 years (some live longer) and a cost of 89K per year. Most medical insurance covers this cost, but still.

    2. Go on a waiting list for a kidney transplant. Current waiting list has over 100K people on it. Basically, you’re waiting for someone who is an organ donor to die, and even then your body could reject the transplanted organ.

    3. Get what’s called an Altruistic Living Donor to donate a kidney to you. This can be a family member, friend, colleague or complete stranger. People who are strangers and do this are absolute Angels.  Matching people in need with altruistic donors is an area of expertise of The Flood Sisters Kidney Foundation atSite:



    Educating yourself on taking good care of your kidneys and preventing chronic kidney disease is vital today.  Be aware of what foods and beverages are harmful to your kidneys. Even over-the-counter pain medication harms your kidneys.

    I’ll blog again about what foods, beverages and other things to avoid. Until then,

    healthyweekendBlog contact:

    Have you experienced symptoms not listed here? Let us know in comments.

Healthy Teeth Tips for Halloween

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With Halloween right around the corner, kids are finalizing the perfect costume and making trick or treat plans with friends and family.

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Although Halloween might be many kids’ favorite holiday of the year, it’s also one that puts parents on high alert when it comes to candy consumption.

close up view colorful candy chocolate
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Parents might take steps to limit the volume of candy their kids collect, or filter out some of the unhealthiest options in the bag, but at the end of the day (or should we say night), there’s going to be plenty of sugary, tooth-attacking treats left to fret about.

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With that in mind, Consumer Guide to Dentistry has some helpful Halloween candy tips to minimize the potential damage at your kids’ next dental visit.

Halloween candy pale filled with candy

All Hail Chocolate

Believe it or not, chocolate is actually one of the better candy options when it comes to tooth health.

It’s relatively easy to clean off the teeth after eating, and is usually quite soft, meaning it’s unlikely to chip or crack teeth or damage soft tissue like hard candy.

Dark chocolate is a particularly good option because it has less sugar than milk or white chocolate, and also has a number of other healthful benefits. It’s rich in antioxidants, packed with nutrients and has actually shown to aid brain function.

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So when it comes time for parents to rummage through the Halloween haul and filter out the bad (and the occasional snack for mom and dad), be sure to leave as much chocolate as possible.

girl sucking lollipop while sitting on bouncer seat
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Avoid if Possible

The older your kids get, the harder it’s going to be to filter out too much of their haul. So it’s important that you zero in on the worst offenders when it comes to pinching a few pieces here and there.

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Candies that your kids are going to have in their mouth for a long time are red flags. Lollipops, chewing gum and hard candies like jawbreakers (the name says it all) should be the first to be sacrificed.

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Candies that your kids suck on or chew for long periods of time increase the risk for tooth decay. And hard candies obviously pose a risk of chipping or cracking your kids’ teeth.

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Say “No” to Sour

Kids love to dare each other to eat sour candies, which can make it that much harder to get rid of them without your kids noticing.

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But there’s more to sour candies than just the pucker. Sour candies can be highly acidic, which can spell trouble for tooth enamel, the protective layer against decay. Too much sour candy can be a gateway to decay.

chocolate pieces on aluminum foil
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Lead by Example

You don’t want your kids getting overloaded with sugary, sticky treats this Halloween, so you can do your part by handing out something a bit healthier.

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We’re not suggesting you be “that house” that hands out miniature tubes of toothpaste or a handful of pennies, but maybe think twice about handing out sugary gum or lollipops.

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A selection of dark chocolate and some sugar-free candies could go a long way to helping other parents out whilst still giving your neighborhood trick or treaters something to smile about.

sliced tomato and avocado on white plate
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Timing is Everything

No matter how many steps you take to limit the amount of candy and filter out the really bad stuff, your kids are still going to have a lot of sugary treats they’re anxious to get their mitts on.

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If possible, try and sync up the eating of Halloween candy with meals. Saliva production increases as we eat, which is helpful for washing away bacteria and food particles.

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You can use candy as a motivator for your kids to finish their meal.

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If your kids are eating candy as a treat outside of mealtime, make sure they wash it down with a cup of water (preferably fluoridated).

Replace the Sugary Drinks

When it comes to dealing with the immense amount of candy consumption that comes with Halloween, moderation is everything. In addition to the things you do to filter out the worst types of candy and moderate the timing of when your kids are allowed to eat their candy, it’s important to think about the other foods your kids are eating/drinking during this time and making adjustments accordingly.

photo of boy drinking glass of milk
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For example, if you let your kids drink soda with dinner, or have a juicebox once a day, consider replacing those sugary beverages with something like water or milk during the Halloween period. These sorts of changes can help mitigate the dental effects and the chaos that comes with the mighty sugar rush.

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And make sure they’re not skipping out on their dental hygiene during this time. Brush, floss, repeat.

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Schedule Dental Visits Accordingly

The ADA recommends twice yearly checkups for optimal dental health.

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Everybody’s schedule is different, but if possible, try scheduling your kids’ appointments after the Halloween period rather than just before.

red and white mouth plastic toy and food plastic toys
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If you follow the tips listed above, you can help to minimize any dental damage associated with Halloween candy, but it’s no guarantee.

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Scheduling a trip to the dentist after-the-fact can be the ultimate safeguard to help your kids avoid the dreaded candy cavity.

Courtesy Consumer Guide to Dentistry   

For more information, you can check out our slideshow, Combatting Cavities – 6 Surprising Ways to Prevent Tooth Decay.



BIOLASE is a global leader in dental care using the latest technology to keep patient smiles their brightest, and make dental visits comfortable, gentle and pain-free for kids and adults.

They’re experts on how your dental health affects your overall health.

You can find a BIOLASE dentist near you here by entering your zip code:

BIOLASE, Global Leadership in Lasers (PRNewsFoto/BIOLASE, Inc.)

Have A Happy Healthy Halloween!


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New Study: Eating Organic = Less Cancer


We’ve all heard about the benefits of eating organic food when it comes to a healthy diet. I’ve blogged about it here. Now, a new study shows a decrease in risk for certain cancers in those who eat more organic. And it’s a large study.


CG: Dr. Dale Shepard/Cleveland Clinic

“What they found, was that in patients who ate mostly organic foods, there were less cancers, specifically post-menopausal breast cancer and lymphoma.”

The study looked a nearly seventy-thousand people and followed them for about a five-year period. The people were divided into three groups.










CG: Dr. Dale Shepard/Cleveland Clinic

“In general, we know that healthier diets are better for you from cancer risk. So, anytime people can incorporate more fruits and vegetables and minimize processed foods; the better.”




Link to JAMA Study:

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10 Foods To Detox Your Body


First, let’s explain toxins. Toxins can come from contaminants in food and water, junk food, stress, smog, vehicle emissions, airborne fungal spores, pesticides, and pollution. We’re exposed to them daily. Add alcohol, smoking, secondhand smoke and more exposure to cell phones and computers and you’re in Toxic City, which is why I prefer being around nature. It’s healthy and healing. In fact, I get serious nature withdrawals if I don’t see trees or greenery.  Maybe my parents growing up on a farm is in my DNA. I don’t know, but love nature.


Speaking of, when um, nature calls, it also eliminate toxins. But your liver and kidney need to work overtime when there are too many toxins in your body. If you need reminding, alcohol is a major toxin as bad as soda. Yes, that includes diet soda. I’ve never been into drinking alcohol and quit drinking diet soda (and coffee) in 2005. Amazing difference in how I feel. Only thing I drink is alkaline water. And I don’t need coffee to wake up. I wake up naturally with energy. Imagine that.


Healthy drinking is none at all or 1 or 2 glasses of red wine with dinner. More than that and you risk brain damage, addiction, stroke, blurred vision, slurred speech, bleeding throat, breathing difficulties, stomach ulcers, liver disease, liver failure, intestinal cancer, intestinal ulcers, impotence for men, infertility for women and osteoporosis.


Even people who don’t drink can get something called “Fatty Liver Disease” when inadvertently exposed to external toxins. Pharmaceutical medications and over-the-counter medications are also toxic.


Remember, your kidneys and liver were created to naturally help your body detox. Your body is a natural healer. But when it encounters too many man-made toxins, you could end up with cirrhosis or kidney disease. Help flush them out with daily exercise.


SWEATING through exercise, sauna, steam is great. Taking a hot bath with Epsom salt twice a week helps too.  My favorite is Dr. Teal’s lavender bubble bath epsom salt. Smells nice and bubbles!


You want to avoid sugar as much as you can. Again, avoid soda at all costs.

SLB_Poster-English and spanish.indd

You also want to avoid foods with refined flour, (breads, rice),  junk food (yes, cakes and cookies), processed starchy (crackers), fast food, coffee, soft drinks, anything with high fructose or artificial sweeteners, saturated and trans fats, dairy and animal products.


I know. You’re thinking OMG, nothing is left. Yes, there is.


What remains is dark green vegetables and you can toss olive oil with garlic in a pan and make string beans, Brussel sprouts, spinach, mushrooms or any veggie taste delicious. Add a pinch of sea salt and you have a nice big heaping serving of deliciousness.


Photo above has iceberg lettuce. It’s worth noting you want to go for DARK, LEAFY, GREEN LETTUCE. That one has nutrients, not white iceberg. Wild caught salmon and fish high in Omega 3 are healthy and real easy to cook too.


Healthy food keeps you satisfied and feeling good. No cravings. No anxiety. No depression. Junk food makes you whine about aches, pains, anxiety and cravings.



Tip: Stock your pantry and refrigerator with healthy foods, water and snacks.


Whenever I blog about favorite brands they fly off shelves and I regret it. So, I reluctantly tell you I’m a big fan of Veggie Straws and Veggie Stix with Sea Salt. They’re so cute and look like French fries. Hollow inside, so dip (I use Hummus) goes all the way through; clever design. Check them out at:


Again, drink lots of alkaline water daily.  You can search how much water you should drink daily based on your height, weight and activity level. I highly recommend alkaline water. I have two brands I rave about. Carlsbad Alkaline Water on west coast and Essentia on east coast.


Dr. Edward Group recommends the following in terms of detoxing through food:

“When it comes to detoxing your body, there are many techniques you can follow and supplements you can take. One plan, in particular, is to eat detoxifying foods. Here is a list of 10 detox foods that are a great addition to anyone’s diet.”


1. Fruit

Fruit is high in liquid-content which helps the body wash out toxins.[1] Fruit is also easy to digest and is high in antioxidants, nutrients, fiber, and important vitamins.


2. Green Foods

Fill your refrigerator with blue-green algae, barley, wheatgrass, kale, spinach, spirulina, alfalfa, chard, arugula, and other organic leafy greens to give your digestive tract a detoxifying boost of chlorophyll.[2]

Chlorophyll rids the body of harmful environmental toxins from toxic metals, herbicides, cleaning products, and pesticides.[3] They also aid the liver in detoxification.


3. Lemons, Oranges, and Limes

Citrus fruit aids the body by flushing out toxins and jump-starting the digestive tract with enzymatic processes.[4] Lemon juice supports the liver and kidneys in their cleansing processes.[5] To increase detoxification, start each morning with a warm glass of lemon water.

Detox Foods Garlic

4. Garlic

Garlic is one of the best detoxing foods out there. It stimulates the liver into producing detoxification enzymes that filter toxic residues from the digestive system.[6] I recommend adding sliced or cooked garlic to a suitable dish, as it will help any detox diet.


5. Broccoli Sprouts

Extremely high in antioxidants, the ability for broccoli sprouts to stimulate detoxification enzymes at the cellular level is unparalleled.[7] The sprouts are even better than the fully-grown vegetable.


6. Green Tea

Packed with antioxidants, green tea washes toxins from the system via its liquid content. It also contains a special type of antioxidant called catechins, which are known to increase liver function.[8]


7. Mung Beans

The mighty mung bean has been used by Ayurvedic doctors for thousands of years. It is incredibly easy to digest and absorbs toxic residue from the intestinal walls.[9]


8. Raw Vegetables

Whether juiced or eaten raw, onions, carrots, artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, garlic, beet, turmeric, and oregano provide a great foundation for a healthy diet. The combination of these foods will help your liver purge toxins during the cleansing process. They are also high in naturally occurring sulfur and glutathione—sulfur helps the liver detoxify harmful chemicals.[9, 10,11]


9. Seeds and Nuts

Incorporate more easily digestible seeds and nuts into your diet. Flax seed, pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, Siberian cedar nuts, and sunflower seeds are all excellent options. While detoxing, avoid nut butter with added sugar.


10. Omega-3 Oils

Use hemp, avocado, olive, or flaxseed oil while detoxing to help lubricate the intestinal walls. This allows toxins to be absorbed by the oil and eliminated by the body.[8

There is no way to completely avoid toxins. There are simply too many sources, as previously mentioned, such as contaminants in food and water, junk food, stress, smog, secondhand smoke, vehicle emissions, airborne fungal spores, pesticides, and pollution.

Maintaining a diet high in detox foods is one of the best ways to maintain overall health.

What are your favorite detox foods? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
Dr. Group

by Guest Author, Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM, Global Healing Center

The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, always see your physician.

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Help For Kids with Autism Sensitive to Dental Visits


About 1.7 percent of children — one in 59 — are now believed to have autism spectrum disorder (ASD), up from an estimated rate of 1.5 percent in 2016, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Turns out, another challenge kids with autism have we rarely hear about, is they are extremely sensitive to both oral injections and the sound/vibration of a drill.  They often require going to an OR for anesthesia.

They may also be hypersensitive to bright lights, loud sound, touch, odors, or taste which can lead to negative dental experiences if ignored.


According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), patients with autism have a lower hygiene level. but a comparable caries index compared with patients without autism.


Poor oral hygiene and periodontal problems could be related to irregular brushing habits resulting from the difficulties encountered by trainers and parents while brushing these children’s teeth.


Biolase technology offers a great solution for these kids. Biolase is a global leader in dental lasers and products that provide biological treatments to reduce pain and improve dental patient safety.

I spoke with Sarah Mathias, DDS, MS.  She specializes in pediatric dentistry –a distinction held by fewer than 3 percent of all dentists.

QUESTION:  Welcome Sarah. How does the Waterlase lasers by Biolase work to help children with autism?
Waterlase lasers by Biolase are a tremendous tool in the treatment of all children, especially those on the autism spectrum.  The biggest barrier to treatment in children, neurotypical and ASD,  is the dreaded shot.  With laser technology you can eliminate this in almost all pediatric patients. This has been amazing for a lot of ASD patients in my practice because we now have the ability to perform a procedure that would have required general anesthesia in the  operating room. 
Not only are you avoiding the injection, you have a “handpiece” that is emitting a laser beam that is active only when it is approximately 3mm from the treatment area.  This is a big advantage from a safety perspective.  Children with ASD will often move unexpectedly or very quickly when they are uncomfortable with a situation.  This can result in injury to the mouth and face if an operator is using a traditional rotary handpiece (aka The Drill).  

QUESTION: How do autistic children who have experienced it feel afterwards?

They feel normal, which is key for autistic children.  Almost all autistic children are uncomfortable with the unknown, especially if they have no way of controlling the environment. By not having to use local anesthesia you are eliminating the feeling of a fat lip after treatment. 
Because communication can be an issue for children with ASD it is often difficult to explain, let alone convince them that their mouth will return to feeling normal. I have seen many ASD children become extremely agitated after local anesthesia because they cannot handle the feeling of numbness. 
I have even had patients who after receiving the local anesthetic were so upset by the feeling we were unable to proceed with the appointment.  
QUESTION:  How can parents find out if it’s offered by their dentist?
Just ask.  Even if your dentist does not have laser technology , they may work with a dentist who does.  
QUESTION:  What if it’s not offered at their local dentist’s office?
SARAH MATHIAS, DDS, MS: is a great resource for finding a dentist who offers laser treatment. You can even request an appointment from the website. 


QUESTION:  Anything else parents should know about it?



Not only is the Waterlase laser great from a safety and comfort perspective it is actually kinder to the tooth.  Lasers do not cause microfractures like traditional handpieces so you’re actually preserving more healthy tooth structure. 

Lasers can also be used to treat canker sores, perform biopsies, treat periodontal disease and perform frenectomies – all with just topical anesthesia. 


QUESTION: Where can Dentists go to get it into their practice?



Dentists who are interested in laser dentistry should contact Biolase, either via the web at BIOLASE | The Global Leader in Dental Lasers
They can call Biolase directly at 888.424.6527
Biolase has an amazing training program to help dentists incorporate this technology into their practice. 
QUESTION: Where can parents get more information?
SARAH MATHIAS, DDS, MS:  has a section for parents.  You can review different treatments that are of interest for your situation, as well as hear some testimonials from patients and parents. 
QUESTION: Would this help children or teens with severe autism and how? I spoke with a mother of a child with severe autism who says dental visits are a nightmare and it takes 4 dentists to hold her daughter just for a cleaning.
As we all know autism is a spectrum.  There are varies symptoms and how they are expressed and to what severity is different for every single person living with ASD. 
I have used the laser with several severely autistic children with various results. 

Sometimes the noise and water are too overwhelming, but if we can overcome those obstacles  we are able to get great results by taking several breaks and eventually completing the restorations. 

We have also had success with bringing the patient in to see the laser and feel the the water on their  hands and hear the sound.

This desensitization has helped us to begin introducing the laser into the oral cavity.  Although not every patient with severe ASD is able to tolerate treatment with the laser, some are, and if we can keep a child out of the OR for a simple filling that is a success.



Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) affect 1 in 110 children; and 1 in 70 boys according to Autism Speaks. Individuals with ASD may have difficulties with social situations, communication, and verbal interaction.

Here are a few tips from Biolase for successful dental visits for your ASD child:

Be Consistent

Consistency is key for developing a long term dental relationship. End each visit on a positive note and build upon the success of every office visit.

Be Patient

It may take several visits in order to complete one dental exam. Work with the dentist to find positive solutions for difficult situations.

Be Prepared

Communication is the cornerstone of a successful first visit. The dentist wants the visit to be a positive one too. Be sure to share medical history and behavioral issues with the dental team.

Be Proactive

Think about alternatives to drills and shots. Dental lasers are quieter than noisy drills and safer for ASD patients.

Dr. Amy Luedemann-Lazar treats autistic children at her practice in Katy, Texas. She says, “I can do almost any procedure without using shots. I use dental lasers for filllings, crowns, pulpotomies, frenectomies, gingivectomies and even some extractions. Lasers make children much more relaxed and happy to come to the dentist.”

Find a Dentist

Finding the right dentist for your child can be a long and tedious process. Look for a dentist that works successfully with ASD patients.

Find a doctor who is interested in developing a relationship with your child. The Autism Speaks Resource Guide can help find a dentist in your area.


For more information visit



Children with autism dread the dentist, but USC research may help

Sharon Cermak wants to make the experience more kid-friendly

Taking a seat in the dentist’s chair can be traumatic for children with autism. (USC Photo/Beth Newcomb)

Whirring drills may frighten even the most stoic dental patient, but for children with autism, the noises, bright lights and strong scents of a dental office visit can be a profound, if not traumatic, experience.

Now research by Sharon Cermak, professor in the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, is identifying ways to improve the dental experience for children with autism.

Sights and sounds can be disturbing

Parents of children with autism attest to the challenge of dental care. “The first time we took [my son] to the dentist, when I heard him screaming from the front, I understood how bad it was,” said Peter, father of 10-year-old Tate (only first names are used to protect anonymity). “They had him in restraints, and my wife was in tears.”

Such distressing experiences are common. According to a 2010 survey of nearly 400 parents of children with autism, almost two-thirds reported “moderate to extreme” difficulty with oral cleaning at the dental office.

“As soon as we put him in the [dental] chair, he started freaking out,” said Andrea, mother of 4-year-old Evan. “It’s funny because he likes to touch other people, but he doesn’t let other people touch him.”

While a typically developing child can usually adapt to sensory stimuli, many children with autism process sensation atypically.

That processing can manifest as behaviors ranging from physical withdrawal to self-stimulation, outbursts and tantrums.

Because many dentists simply aren’t equipped to deal with such challenging behaviors, they often use sedation or restraint.

A 2012 study published in Pediatric Dentistry by a team of USC researchers found that 18 percent of parents of children with autism reported the use of restraint “often” or “almost always” during dental visits, while nearly 40 percent reported the use of pharmacological methods such as general anesthesia to complete routine cleaning.

Simple changes in the dental office can help

Cermak’s study of “Sensory Adapted Dental Environments,” funded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and conducted with the Ostrow School and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, is studying how adaptations to the dental office can create a more manageable experience.

By replacing fluorescent lights with softer and colored lighting, playing soothing music and using butterfly wraps that provide calming deep pressure, Cermak’s research aims to decrease levels of anxiety and negative behaviors among children with autism.

Improving the experience and quality of oral care within this population is especially critical in light of recent statistics suggesting that the number of children with autism is rising.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a new estimate that 1 in 68 children in the United States are identified with autism spectrum disorder, roughly 30 percent higher than the previous estimate of 1 in 88 children.

Preliminary findings from Cermak’s study are positive. Children in the sensory adapted dental environment were less anxious, and fewer people were needed to help restrain children during cleanings compared to ordinary dental offices.

“As crucial as oral care is to overall health and wellness, finding a way to help both dentists and their patients has to be a priority,” Cermak said.

“Down the road, we hope this will lead to a better quality of life for children with autism and their families,” she said. “If occupational therapists can work together with dental practitioners on ways to make their offices more kid-friendly, we will be taking one important step in that direction.”




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These gentle treatments are especially helpful for kids with autism.


Famous Autistic People in History

  • Dan Aykroyd – Comedic Actor
  • Hans Christian Andersen – Children’s Author
  • Benjamin Banneker – African American almanac author, surveyor, naturalist, and farmer
  • Susan Boyle – Singer
  • Tim Burton – Movie Director
  • Lewis Carroll – Author of “Alice in Wonderland”
  • Henry Cavendish – Scientist
  • Charles Darwin – Naturalist, Geologist, and Biologist
  • Emily Dickinson – Poet
  • Paul Dirac – Physicist
  • Albert Einstein – Scientist & Mathematician
  • Bobby Fischer – Chess Grandmaster
  • Bill Gates – Co-founder of the Microsoft Corporation
  • Temple Grandin – Animal Scientist
  • Daryl Hannah – Actress & Environmental Activist
  • Thomas Jefferson – Early American Politician
  • Steve Jobs – Former CEO of Apple
  • James Joyce – Author of “Ulysses”
  • Alfred Kinsey – Sexologist & Biologist
  • Stanley Kubrick – Film Director
  • Barbara McClintock – Scientist and Cytogeneticist
  • Michelangelo – Sculptor, Painter, Architect, Poet
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Classical Composer
  • Sir Isaac Newton – Mathematician, Astronomer, & Physicist
  • Jerry Seinfeld – Comedian
  • Satoshi Tajiri – Creator of Nintendo’s Pokémon
  • Nikola Tesla – Inventor
  • Andy Warhol – Artist
  • Ludwig Wittgenstein – Philosopher
  • William Butler Yeats – Poet
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