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Whole Human Care

How Much Animal Protein Should I Eat?

July, 2013:  This is a question that gets asked all the time, and the answer is: it depends on how grounded you need to be! So, sadly (perhaps, if you were looking for the one and final answer), this means that there really is not a universal dietary recommendation for everyone! This is a truth which gets reinforced in the medical practice all the time. And what is even more interesting, is that the correct amount may change for an individual person over the course of different life stages. Why? Because animal protein makes you more focused, more "earthy" and at some stages that feels very good, and at others it is way too much. Infants (less than a year) get all of the protein they need through breast milk, in a form which is very easy to digest and assimilate. There is actually not a lot of protein in breast milk (as a percentage of total calories, only about 6%). This makes sense because a small child is only very gradually coming into life, and this model of a lower protein diet can be extended fo ...

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What is an allergy?

April 2013 Three Paragraph Newsletter It's clear that allergies are much more prevalent today than they were in the past. One study estimated that rates of pediatric allergy have increased by 600% since 1970, so that a child today is about 7 times more likely to have an allergy than 40 years ago. What is contributing to this? There are probably many factors, but when we begin to think about allergy as a disruption of our healthy borders--first a loss of border too far in, and then a pushing of our border too far out--we can better understand how it can be addressed. Because we need to start at the root cause. Antihistamines and steroids reduce the inflammatory symptoms, but they do not heal our boundary. So it is useful to look at two extremes of border imbalance. The first step of allergy (which does not garner as much attention as the second), happens when something comes too far into our body. It oversteps the protective barriers of our skin, the lining of our nose, mouth, lungs or intestines. Substa ...

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Falling Asleep is Hard to Do-Some Useful Tips

March 2013 Three Paragraph Newsletter   Falling asleep should be easy, right? Because we don't have to do anything special, we just stop our daytime activities and we should be able to go right to sleep. This may make sense logically, but it is a fallacy, mostly because in many areas of life we have lost our appreciation of the importance of transitions. That is partly because we are all trying to fit so many things into our day, and partly because we have become more and more accustomed to quick convenience. For a perfect example of where we have become accustomed to quicke convenience, just think of food. When we are hungry, or when it's dinner time--we are ready to eat. And so if we too often think that if we can just grab food, which is ideally ready instantly (or second best only takes as long as it takes to stand in line at the fast food restaurant, or to work the microwave), then we are ready to eat! But this, actually, also is a misperception, because we digest a meal so much better when we are ...

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Strengthening our Vitality During Cold and Flu Season

February 2013 Three Paragraph Newsletter This winter has been tough, with a lot of people experiencing a wide variety of colds, flu, bronchitis, you name it! One method to try to avoid getting sick is to stay away from anyone that is sick (which unless you are a hermit in a cave is pretty challenging). A different approach is to say: well, when I get sick my body makes me do certain things, and one of them is to slow down. Indeed, having to lie in bed for a week is an effective way to slow down, but one that most of us would rather avoid. We can influence our health by remembering that very many people find they get sick when they have been over-extending themselves—trying to cram in too much into too little time. They have gotten “toxic” (think of work deadlines, studying for final exams, travel with disrupted sleep and eating rhythms). And a process of inflammation makes us slow down and simplify (whether we want to or not), and cleanses the body. We can help the body not get so out of ...

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Can we consciously influence our health?

January 2013 Three Paragraph Newsletter   When you ask this question of a large group of people, you are certain to get a variety of answers. Some will say "yes, absolutely!" and will give you examples of how mindfulness exercises (like meditation), exercise, a healthy diet and good social connections all improve your health. And there are indeed many clinical studies which have shown this to be true. How we think, and what we decide to do can have a definite influence on who we are and how we live. But there will also be a group of people who will say "no, not if you are really sick," and can tell you that when you are having a gallbladder attack you can meditate are hard as you want, but what you really need is a surgeon. In a similar way, anyone who has experienced a major depression (which seems like it should be more accessible to our thinking than an inflamed gallbladder) can tell you that feeling better is not a matter of merely sitting down and deciding to feel "happier." It doesn't work like t ...

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What is an anthroposophic medicine and how is it chosen?

December 2012 Three Paragraph Newsletter   The medicines that are used in anthroposophic medicine (also often referred to as "remedies") come from the natural world. Most are prepared from plants and minerals, a select few from the animal world, with very special attention given to the purity and quality of the substances. While most conventional pharmaceutical drugs are made synthetically, usually from petroleum, anthroposophic medicines are sourced from nature, and handled thoughtfully and carefully to protect the living qualities of the substance. This is important, because the chemical composition of a substance is an important "footprint" of the particular plant, but it is not the whole thing. In a way it is at most a marker of what happens when the process of a plant comes to rest. There is a chemical pattern which is representative of a process, but it is not the whole process. Anthroposophic medicines are trying to incorporate the whole process of a mineral, plant, or animal. To understand t ...

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Is there a link between the body and the mind, the soul, the spirit?

Three Paragraph Newsletter, November 2012   This question strikes at the very heart of anthroposophic medicine, because the answer is: yes! This is done out of the fundamental understanding that the human being's physical body is indeed a miraculous structural and biochemical organization. But there is more to a person than the physical body with its bones, muscles and organs, and this "more" can be observed and worked with. This larger perspective is actually part of almost every healing tradition around the world--what makes anthroposophic medicine unique is that it is trying to bridge that broader spiritual understanding with modern scientific insights. Everyone who practices anthroposophic medicine has done a full conventional medical training, and then does extra study and training to incorporate a truly holistic picture (body, soul and spirit) into medicine. Can this be put into practical use? Again, yes. Larger perspectives allow for the opportunity to frame a particular problem or symptom in ...

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