Articles by Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D.
Covering important and timely topics. Many of the articles have accompanying recipes.
Articles have been organized into categories for easier browsing.
Food and Foodstuffs
| General Health |
Politics of Health
Illness & Healing |
Mind and Spirit |
Food and Foodstuffs
How to be a Healthy
It is possible to be a healthy
vegan, but one needs to pay attention. Here is the problem: humans
are designed to just eat what they catch or grow and not give it too
much thought. But in our society, with its hyper-abundance of edible
stuff that is quite “new to nature” as Jeffrey Bland would say, it
is not advisable to eat without giving it some thought.
Cooked or Raw
From what I’ve seen, there is a
huge amount of work required to follow this diet, what with the
chopping, blending, dehydrating, juicing, and so forth and so on.
Often, food is prepared to make it look like something it’s not –
e.g. squash “spaghetti” and “mashed potatoes” made with raw
Why Should We Eat Whole Foods?
For many years I have been teaching that it is a good idea to
consume whole foods for our health and well-being. The reasons
seemed obvious. Whole foods are those that nature provides, with all
their edible parts.
Calories - How Much Do They Count
Not that they ever left, but calories are back in the news. New York
City has recently passed an ordinance that requires restaurants with
more than 15 outlets (i.e., chains) to post the caloric count in
their dishes next to the prices.
Acid and Alkaline
I have been teaching the importance of understanding acid and
alkaline for more than 25 years. It’s a great concept, and is
getting more and more attention.
How Hungry Are You
You have been watching your diet for years by now, and you feel
pretty confident that you’re eating very well for your own health.
But what I can tell you, that as soon as you think you know
something, life laughs in your face...
Fat-free Food: A Bad Idea
Mention was made the other day in a class I was teaching about the
delights of a specific brand of fat free cookies. "Have you had
them?" one of the students asked me.
High Fat Healing
Our scientific dogma says that the latest research is the closest to
the truth; yet as soon as new research comes out, it will be
obsolete. This paradigm always ignores context. For example, for the
past 15 years it has become assumed truth that a low fat diet is a
Protein and the Bones
Thanks to excellent marketing, most people know they should take
care of their bones to prevent fractures. A lot of the attention has
gone to “getting enough calcium,” through food and preferably
SUGAR! Delicious and deadly
More than 30 years ago I noticed that eating sugared foods made me
extremely tired in the mornings. A little sugar in the water to boil
carrots gave me “sugar eyes” - that’s what I called the sense of
glue in the morning as I tried to open my eyes.
Aspartame: The Real Story
Sugar is bad for you, right? It has calories and makes you fat.
Therefore, anything that tastes sweet and doesn't have calories is
preferable, because it won't make you fat. Right?
New Concepts: The Zone and the Blood Type
on how to eat are a dime a dozen. Many of them contradict each
other: raw food or cooked? Vegetarian or high protein? Food
combining or everything in balance?
New Concepts in Diet II: The Old Traditions
I have been teaching for more than thirty years that we should eat
according to the tradition of our ancestors, in addition to other
concepts. Much of my work was based on a book I read in 1967 called
Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, by Weston Price, a
GMO’s: Frankenstein Food
Perhaps a little dramatic, but not altogether off the mark. We're
talking about food that has had certain characteristics cut out, and
others, perhaps from a different species, pasted in. How appropriate
for the end of the 20th Century!
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Drinking: How to Quit
I smoked from age 14 to 37. Not
much, mind you – average 5-6 cigarettes a day. But of course I did,
everybody did. Smoking was the cool, the elegant, the sophisticated
thing to do. All the movie stars did it, as you can see in the old
40’s and 50’s movies on TV reruns.
Why I Don't
This is a hairy subject. You
will think I am probably way off left field. But anyway, here we
go. First, let’s make sure I’m clear about what it is I’m talking
Your Genes Are Not
How living things get to be what they are is
a question that has occupied philosophers and scientists for a
very long time. In the past two or three hundred years, the focus
has been on what Gregor Mendel has called
or the physical elements that are transmitted from parents to
offspring. These are now called genes, and have become an
integral part of the conversation about human beings and their
Vitamin D and Light
There are rumblings in the health field about a nationwide
deficiency of Vitamin D. Physicians and other health professionals
on a botanical medicine list-serve that I am on have been finding
low levels in their patients.
Summer is coming, and so is the annual ritual of spending time
outdoors by the beach or the lake. And of course most people follow
the modern ritual of going into the sun covered by a plastic goo
called . . . sunscreen!
Energy - What Is
Recently I was involved in a conversation between a physicist, Bill,
and a former physician, Steve, who now does what he calls “energy
The Uncommon Cold
Comes the fall, and the winter, and we believe this is flu season.
We expect to get sick, and then we suffer from coughs, sore throats,
stuffy noses, fevers; we're under the weather, we sneeze and
sniffle. What makes this all happen?
A Bug In The Dark
Our language is so curious. "I have a bug," we says, and the mental
images can be varied: we hold a small cage with a little bug in it;
we cradle a bug in her hands; a bug sits in our throat.
What's Wrong with Aging?
culture is obsessed with youth. Only youth is desirable. Once you
get "older," you're "out." Everywhere I look, there are these books
and articles: "Beating back the clock" - "Ageless body " - "Stay
young forever" - "Banish wrinkles!" - and so on and so forth.
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Politics of Health
Economics of Health Care
Now with all the complaints about the rising costs of health care,
the one element no one seems to be looking at is the input of the
patient. First of all, the consumer, or “patient,” should be told up
front what will be done and how much it will cost, regardless of who
Is There a Right to
With all this talk about healthcare, I
feel the need for clarification. For example, we are not talking
about health care, we’re talking about who pays for it. Most people
think that insurance pays for it – but the truth is, insurance pools
all the money paid in premiums, and out of that pool they pay for
those who get sick.
Complementary/Alternative Medicine: The People's Choice
I used to think of it as "the underground health economy." For those
of us who have been involved in complementary/ alternative medicine
(CAM) for ten or more years, there was little surprise in David
Eisenberg's findings, published in the January 1993 New England
Journal of Medicine, that a sizable portion of the public was using
Fats and Trans Fats
In November of 2006, the New York City Department of Health issued a
citywide ban on the use of trans fats in restaurants.
Panic-Marketing with Pandemics
We live in a marketing society. Everybody needs to sell something,
make money, make a living – and so we market. Overtly or covertly,
we all do marketing. And so it is also in the “health field,” or
should I say the “disease field.”
Tap Water or Bottled? The Fluoride Issue
The New York Times published what seemed to me a somewhat
cranky Op-Ed piece on August 1, 2005, called “Bad to the Last Drop,”
by Tom Standage. Mr. Standage, who is the technology editor of
The Economist, conducted a blind taste test of ten bottled and
tap waters with his friends.
Cholesterol – Is it really so bad?
Have you been told your cholesterol is too high? And has it been
recommended that you take one of the cholesterol lowering drugs?
Before you let yourself be scared into submission, let me show you a
little more about the whole picture.
Complexity in Health and Medicine
Getting vindicated for announcing bad news years before anyone
recognizes them is a bittersweet validation.
OK, it means: the potential for causation of illness by medical
treatment. The word is not in my dictionary, but I think it’s a good
word. And it defines what I believe is a major health problem of our
Cow Stuff and Culture in Healthful Eating
Finding the magic way to health and longevity is a major quest in
our society. We think about it, read about it, write about it with
frightening frequency. Yet we are not really willing to do what it
takes, because that would mean abandoning our culture, and that is
way too radical and difficult a gesture.
The Fine Line: (W)holism and Science
There are so many interesting things going on in the world today,
especially in the fields dedicated to understanding what human
beings are like and how to keep them well.
The Mainstreaming of Natural Therapies
medicine for all is historically a very recent development of the
20th Century. In the United States in the 1800's, there were many
different types or "schools" of medicine, including homeopaths,
herbalists and many others, all of whom incorporated local folk
remedies in their repertoire.
Judge Not Your Neighbors By Their Diet
Pretty much all of us who get into "healthy eating" do it, at least
for a while. It’s an inevitable part of the process. We do judge
others by what they eat, and harshly most of the time.
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Illness & Healing
Homeopathy, Medicine, Food
Homeopathy is a type of medicine that makes no
sense at all to the Western scientific paradigm. Science is
mathematical, linear, and logical. Homeopathy is energy-based,
non-linear, and intuitive or sensory. Scientific medicine works with
a dose/response concept of what creates a pharmacological effect;
homeopathic remedies are highly diluted, in a serial process which
includes shaking against an elastic surface.
Healing Your Bones
after a Fracture
In early 2002, I was marching
along very purposefully to teach a class on healthy bones. It was
winter, and still dark early. I was carrying some papers. While
crossing the street, there was one of those metal plates covering a
hole. My right foot struck the edge of the plate, and I lost my
When are We Sick?
Here is an issue that has been bothering me. Time and time again I
hear from people that have been feeling just fine, they go for a
routine checkup and then – tra la! Something terrible is found in
Why Do We Get Sick?
This one is difficult. Is it the germs? Is it the genes? Is it the
air pollution? What is it exactly that triggers illness?
Sickness or Health? Not an easy choice
You probably wonder what on earth I mean by the headline. Who would
choose to be sick? Doesn’t everyone want to be healthy? Isn’t that
an obvious choice? Well, on first take, yes, but if we look at how
society sets things up, we might do a double take.
Food and Our Bones
Osteoporosis has been talked about at length since the early 1980's,
when studies found it to be a public health issue. It is estimated
that over 25 million people in the United States are affected by
Headaches - What to do About Them?
Whether you get one a month or one a year, headaches are nasty
stuff. Lots of money is spent on dealing with them. I used to get
them regularly when I was young, until I figured out how to handle
them, and then my life became much more pleasant. In fact, learning
how to get rid of one headache is what put me on the path of food
and healing that I have been on for the past 45 years.
Breast Cancer: Risk Factors Rarely Mentioned
been told that women have a 1-in-8 lifetime risk of getting breast
cancer. To the statistically naive, that appears to mean that one in
eight women will be stricken at some point in her life. Scary?
A friend of mine recently began to look and feel quite unwell –
blotchy face, nervousness, anxiety, a drugged feeling, and
nightmares. Turned out she had began taking a drug to help her sleep
Path to Healing
The first time I tried it I was about eight years old. My father had
had a heart attack after World War II had ended and I was about six.
We were living in Holland. In those days, people with heart disease
were put in bed rest for months on end.
Benefits of Illness
Measles is an important developmental milestone in the life and
maturing process in children. In other words: Is it possible that
being sick is actually healthy?
When I was a child, my mother had all kinds of home remedies for
when I got sick. Some of her more dramatic ones were cold compresses
on the head, throat, or (brr) stomach.
Obesity - How Big an Issue?
When I hit menopause, the weight started creeping up. Whereas I was
used to being able to lose 3-5 pounds if I didn't eat for a few days
(as when I had a cold or such), my metabolism seemed to have changed
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Mind and Spirit
Intentionality and Food
“Made with love” is an ingredient I have often seen on home-made
packaged cookies and other home-made foods in health food stores. It
always seems like a sweet and nice thing to say, but without real
meaning, a friendly, new-agey kind of sentiment. Turns out it’s
quite real, and measurable.
Nutrition and Mental Health
Mental health problems are quite pervasive in our society. For
example, it has been found that generalized anxiety disorder may
have a lifetime prevalence rate of about 5% in the population...
The Spiritual Bank Account
About 12 years ago or so, I was consulting Peter Roth, an intuitive
consultant, healer, and the founder and director of Heart River
Center for Intuitive Healing...
Everywhere, there are messages of fear -- the flu is coming, the
terrorists are coming, the glaciers are melting, everything is
polluted, we can’t live here much longer.
The Placebo Effect
I was listening to the radio news as I was getting ready for the day
on May 7, and suddenly I laughed out loud. What was it that I found
so funny? Well, the news just came out that antidepressant drugs do
not perform any better than a sugar pill, or placebo, in overcoming
Mind Over Food
News on the food front gets worse by the day. In December we were
deep in the mad cow issue. Just one mad cow, its pieces sold over 6
states plus Hawaii and Guam, and next thing you know several
countries put a ban on importing beef from the USA.
High blood pressure is considered a “silent epidemic,” as lots of
people have it but don’t know it. The usual treatment is drugs, and
there are some dietary suggestions as well, especially cutting down
on salt and fat as promoted by Dean Ornish and Nathan Pritikin.
Gloom: How to get out
Two recent movies presented a view of the slow, sad grind of
purposeless middle America: The Good Girl (with Jennifer
Aniston), and About Schmidt (with Jack Nicholson). In both of
them, the characters were caught in a bleak environment where life
seemed to have no purpose in particular, and they couldn’t get out
Food and the Mind
The hold on the mind is so tenuous. I'm always amazed to see how
well people communicate, make decisions, implement plans, and
generally do things, considering that it all depends on a fleeting
neurotransmitter, a capillary that remains open, a couple of neurons
that speak to each other.
How Food Affects Your Love Life
Perhaps you remember the scene from the movie Tom Jones,
later repeated in Flashdance, where the male and female
protagonists eat slowly, sensuously, chomping on a chicken leg (I
think it was), slurping and licking their fingers, looking
provocatively at each other...
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Getting Ready for Baby
It used to be that having a baby was only mildly interesting, as
women routinely had ten, twelve, fifteen children. Now that we have
birth control, and it’s in the hands of the women, most people have
two or three, so they invest a lot in each child.
Raising Drug-Free Children
Being a parent is the hardest job in the world. It’s a 24/7
schedule, and it goes on full time for 18 years, and part time after
that until the end of your life. There is really no way out.
Low Stress Parenting
There have been a number of books and articles recently about the
high stresses of motherhood, the search for perfection, the anxiety
to “balance work and family.”
What the World Needs Now: Love in Birthing
My granddaughter was born on July 30, the night of the blue moon. I
was there, I saw her emerging, sputtering and coughing, turning from
pale to pink in a minute or two.
The inflammation of the middle ear (behind the eardrum), known as
otitis media, is a veritable epidemic among our children,
although adults can also get it. This condition is commonly treated
with antibiotics, even though when these problems are treated with
drugs they recur time and again.
Preventing Childhood Obesity
There have been a number of articles about obesity and children, and
frequently there are words used such as "surge," "epidemic," and
"growing problem." Let's take a look at what the issues are.
Dealing with Childhood Fevers
We have nothing to fear of fever but our own fear. Fever is a very
sensible, rational activity of the body when it is faced with
certain types of stress. It is the activation of the body's garbage
incinerator, burning up debris and toxic matter that are of no use
to the body's normal functioning.
Riding the subways and buses of New York City, I have often
encountered people with children in large baby carriages. These
carriages are at times quite elaborate, with beautiful padding, a
sun roof, lots of toys..
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