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The Whole-Food Guide to Strong Bones

"The bones of the body renew themselves every seven years. With the wholesome wisdom of this book, you can help your bones provide a firm scaffold for your body."
Mehmet Oz, MD - co-author of YOU: The Owner's Manual and YOU: Staying Young.

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Smoking and 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.
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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 | Parenting
 

Food and Foodstuffs

How to be a Healthy Vegan
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 cauliflower.

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 healthy diet.

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 supplements.

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
Books 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 dentist.

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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General Health

Smoking and 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 Take Supplements
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 about. 

Your Genes Are Not Your Destiny!
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 units of heredity, 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 health. 

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.

Sensible Sunning
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 It?
Recently I was involved in a conversation between a physicist, Bill, and a former physician, Steve, who now does what he calls “energy healing.”

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?
Our 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

The Weird 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 pays.

Is There a Right to Health Care?
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 these therapies.

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.

Iatrogenicity
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 times.

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
One 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 balance.

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 the test.

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 this condition.

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
We have 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?

Sleep Tight
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 better.

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?

Healing with Water
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 quite drastically.

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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...

Refusing Fear
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 depression.

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.

Mind-Body Hypertension
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.

Despair and 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 of it.

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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Parenting

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.

Ear Infections
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.

Carrying Baby
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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