Sunday, October 11, 2015

The C-Word: Oh, the Bones!

The moral of this story is this: if anyone (or even everyone) ever tells you, "There's nothing you can do about it," or "There's only one thing that works, " don't believe it (especially if the only thing that works is a pharmaceutical or something else expensive).

There is ALWAYS something you can do. You just need to put the time into figuring it out.

After my 14 weeks of chemo, even after refusing to take the steroids, my bones were pretty weak. I went to a superfancy anti-aging clinic and was given a bunch of expensive tests including a bone density scan. They diagnosed osteoporosis in my hips and lower back.

Also, I noticed that my teeth were pale and gray and quite porous.

Anyone who's ever been pregnant will tell you that the bones and teeth are connected, if you don't get enough dietary calcium and supporting minerals while pregnant, your body will leach it out of your teeth and bones. Your teeth become more translucent or cracked over time.

Terrified, I asked the doctor what I should do. He said, "Well, there's nothing you can do once you've lost the bone. But I can prescribe you Boniva which slows the loss."

He was a good looking, well-spoken guy but I never trust a pharmaceutical salesman. Lots of people believe that Boniva and Fosamax (and their ilk) make your bones brittle.

A few months' later, I discovered I had a huge cavity in my tooth - also, obviously, due to bone loss. I spoke to my dentist - and I love that guy as a person. But his answer: "Well, there's nothing you can do once you've lost the tooth to decay. It's really all about prevention. We can look into crowns." (More expensive stuff).

Spending a little time thinking about it, neither idea made sense to me. If you break a bone, you set it and it rebuilds itself. So your bone is not only capable of healing itself, it's designed to do that. You just have to figure out how to support your body to do its work. And teeth are bones, so why can't they grow back?

That summer, I researched bone building supplements on a whole bunch of osteoporosis forums and chat rooms. Since I'd gone into menopause post-chemo, the lack of estrogen caused further bone loss. I added lots of minerals to my diet and exercised like crazy.

In the winter, I was crossing the street in front of my kids' school and was hit by a taxi. My face and hip hit the ground. While my face needed to be sewn back together, it turned out my hips were solid. In other words, the stuff was working. No pain and no fractures - not even a hairline - showed up in the x-rays.

This summer - about five years' later - I went to an incredible dentist, Idelle Brand, who practices holistic dentistry. She took a look at the now GINORMOUS cavity which had developed underneath an old filling and said, "Wow. No wonder you didn't have any pain. Your tooth was growing back." Basically, the dentin had grown back over the nerve.

There are actually a lot of schools of thought around re-building teeth and bone with diet, most of them based on Dr. Weston Price's studies of different cultures and their teeth, bones and jaws. (Personally, I don't process eggs or dairy products well - even raw (unpasteurized) dairy which because it isn't heated, has its enzymes intact thus making it more digestible and bioavailable to the body - though I occasionally have raw sheeps' milk cheese - so I can't totally follow his diet.)

Keep reading or scroll down for the useful stuff. What follows is a tried-and-tested bone and teeth building regimen - this is an amalgam of success stories from osteoporosis chat rooms and my own discoveries. I gave this to a friend I worked with recently as a polarity practitioner and a holistic nutrition coach. Teeth seem to be harder work than bones so it will require more of a commitment. But two things to remember, carbonated drinks and pasteurized dairy foods (sugary ones like sweetened yogurt are even worse) actually weaken your bones by stripping the calcium.

The brand names on the supplements are the ones people recommended. You should do your own research - test them out and see what feels good for your body. However, I don't recommend drugstore or Costco/Sam's club/Walmart brands as they tend to use cheap ingredients or substitute other stuff (even cheaper).

Even if you are being presently treated for cancer, you can follow this:

First thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, have a glass of water with the juice of half a lemon, ideally fresh-squeezed. Then take

3 Doctor's Best Strontium Bone Maker (separate from ANY calcium foods or supplements),
2 capsules of Bio-Kult, Dr. Mercola or Nexabiotic probiotic
1 Digest Gold or Life Extension digestive enzyme
1000 mg of a good vitamin C (I like Lypospheric vitamin C by Livon-Labs - squeeze a packet into your water and rub the remaining stuff onto your skin).
1 capsule New Chapter Turmeric Force or other curcumin.

(If you can bring yourself to have a fresh-pressed green juice, this is a good time to do it - add the vitamin c to it. You might also do 10 to 15 minutes of oil pulling if teeth are your main issue. Skip the coffee for a little while as that is not good for your bones. If you must have a coffee now, use coconut milk or cream without any added calcium, not dairy).

Drink lots of water! Personally, I also have two cups of comfrey root and leaf tea or 30 drops of comfrey root extract during the course of the day. Many people don't have comfrey as it can be hard on the liver but I have never had any trouble with it. Here's a video by Dani Katz who healed HER teeth.

Wait 60 minutes to have breakfast. For breakfast, have cooked or raw (if you buy them directly from a farmer) organic, free-range eggs. You should also crush the eggshells and add the powder to your raw egg smoothie or meal. With your breakfast, have 4 drops of Numedica Micellized Vitamin D3 and another packet of the lypospheric vitamin C.

Drink a glass of water and add 1 tablespoon of food grade Diatemaceous Earth. Drink it up as soon as you add it in as it tends to get thick and settle if you leave it. The only salt you should use is grey Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt.

with lunch and dinner

3 Jarrow Bone Up (6/day)
1 JarrowSil 5 mg
1 Digest Gold enzyme
1 capsule New Chapter Turmeric Force
1 packet of vitamin C

Avoid table salt and ALL sweetened and carbonated beverages (they leach calcium from your bones).

Have LOTS of fresh green vegetables - especially spinach, collards, kale, mustard greens - and orange vegetables - squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, carrots -  you can eat them raw or sauteed with garlic, however you like them.

Make and drink bone broth - sear organic, grass-fed beef bones on the stove (I add onions and garlic myself). Then I fill the pot with water and let it simmer for several hours.

To bump up your vitamin K2, eat eggs, brie or (raw milk) gouda cheese, hummus, molasses - just make sure everything is organic.

In order to add more minerals to your system, take 1/2 teaspoon of grey Celtic salt and follow it with 2 glasses of water. Do this any time of day but not with the strontium.

At bed time, take
1 digestive enzyme
1 probiotic

Any magnesium you like because it helps you sleep better.

For gum loss or peridontal disease, before you brush, massage the base of your teeth with one round (one water basin full) of the hydrofloss. It's a fancy version of a waterpik, but it's value comes from the variable speeds as well as the magnetized water which according to medical studies is proven to clean and strengthen gums more effectively. If you read the reviews on, people have regenerated gum tissue within 6 months using this device (or the earlier incarnation) daily.

Also, for tooth decay, there is an incredible mouth rinse called liquid dentist. You swoosh it around your mouth for 2 to 15 minutes (I do it while I slather on all my night time face creams and potions) and then you swallow. I am not sure how it works, though it was created by a Harvard Medical School and Tufts dentist, and if you do it at bed time, you wake up with smooth, unsticky teeth.

An easy bone building exercise - stand or hop on one leg at a time, for 30 seconds. Eventually, try to build to 3 minutes on each leg. I do this on the subway when I can't get a seat. Just leaving out the hopping.

Even easier, stand on a powerplate for 30 seconds on each leg.  I bought one for my dad on craiglist (but my mother refused to allow it in her house) so I use it regularly. Still cheaper - jump on a mini trampoline for 5 or more minutes a day. That's been shown to stimulate bone growth.

Remember, your body is designed to regenerate and heal itself. Your job is just to help it. Unfortunately, the older you get, the more effort your machinery requires to keep it in order - but it is ALWAYS possible!

If you decide to follow or modify any of these recommendations - let me know how it works.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Raw Ramadan or Fearless Fasting

Raw Ramadan! Polarity salad. Photo Cred: Sasha Douglas-Nares

One of the things they say in the healing world is "Hunger: It makes you younger." Fasting is known to re-boot the immune system, help with diabetes and insulin resistance, and help cells all over the body regenerate. Surprisingly, fasting can also help protect your body during chemotherapy, so people with cancer might discuss it with their doctors.

Ramadan 2015. 30 long, hot summer days - each one where one can only eat and drink before sunrise and after sunset - are a 16-hour marathon in NYC and even longer in other parts of the world.

Lots of people find it alarming and are even more shocked that I can't drink water. "That must be dangerous!" First, I am lucky that I work inside. My work doesn't require extreme physical exertion and I can take a rest if I need one. But second, I do keep working and swimming and, when I do energy work, I find I can channel Source much more powerfully. And last, people all over the world and of many different faiths have been fasting this way for at least a century or so.

As an experiment, I tried one fast day drinking water. After the 2nd or 3rd day of Ramadan, I am not hungry. It's as if my entire system is in sleep mode. But the moment I drank water, all the hunger and thirst came rushing back. It was as if I had flipped the switch on the boiler. I could feel my organs all humming back into operation.

My experience has been that if, during the evenings, I hydrate well but eat lightly, the fast wears more lightly on me. 

Thus I started my raw Ramadans. Since it's summer, it's easier to eat raw meals or almost entirely raw meals during the month. I find my body is energized and cool, no matter the temperature outside. The raw food gives me the enzymes to digest easily despite the rest time and is also filling and means one is not in a hot, sweaty kitchen. I choose foods that are hydrating and energizing as well as immune-supportive so that you don't feel weak the next day (or during late-night tarawih).

Also, since you are fasting, make sure that everything you use is organic and has no preservatives. Your body has been resting so you don't want to throw off the balance.

So here is my favorite iftar menu - variations on which I like to make for iftar at my Sufi mosque in Tribeca.

Raw Ramadan: Avocado Gazpacho Photo Cred: Sasha Douglas-Nares

Avocado Gazpacho
(serves 6)

3 large avocados chopped
2 cups cubed cucumber (1 hothouse cucumber)
1 cup of fresh cilantro/coriander or cilantro sprouts
½ cup chopped onion
2 cloves of fresh garlic
½ green chili (jalapeno or Serrano, depends on your sensitivity)
juice of 2 limes (1/4 cup)
1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1-2 large beefsteak tomatoes
¾ cup of filtered water to thin out


1 bell pepper diced
1 jalapeno diced

Place all ingredients except garnish into your blender and puree until smooth. Add salt, chilies and/or more lime to taste. Chill for at least an hour before serving so the flavors become more complicated than guacamole.

To serve, pour into small bowls or shot glasses and add the garnish. You can even garnish with tortilla chips (ideally organic and homemade). Yum!

My professional chef friend, James Akins, mastering the tabbouleh

Fearless Food Class with Ameena Meer and James Akins

Quinoa Tabbouleh
(Serves 6)

1 cup uncooked, sprouted quinoa
4-5 green onions, chopped (3/4 cup)
2 medium tomatoes, chopped (2 cups)
1 1/2 to 2 cups minced parsley (1 large bunch)
1/2 cup minced mint (1 small bunch)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus extra to taste
salt and pepper
8 ounces feta or avocado

Rinse the quinoa under cool water, then combine with 2 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan.  If you are committed to staying raw, rinse, salt and then soak the quinoa overnight in a large bowl.  When you are ready to use, drain the quinoa and toss the water. (There may be some use for it, but I just don't know about it yet!)

If you are cooking, bring to a rapid simmer, then turn down the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until the quinoa is fluffy and chewy, about 20 minutes. Then empty it into a large bowl and allow it to cool almost to room temperature. The quinoa should feel just barely warm to the touch. 

Stir the onions, tomatoes, parsley, mint, and garlic into the warm quinoa. Whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Pour this over the salad and stir to combine. If using, crumble the feta or chopped avocado over the salad and stir it in. Taste a spoonful of the salad and add more salt or pepper to taste. Serve room temperature or cold. This salad is even better the next day, once the flavors have had a chance to mingle.

Raw Ramadan - Polarity Salad Re-Mixed Photo Cred: Sasha Douglas-Nares

Polarity Salad (Asian-Inspired Slaw)
(Serves 10)


½ head of cabbage
4-6 carrots, grated (I like multicolored ones)
1 beet, grated
3-4 scallions, chopped
2 cups of mung bean, adzuki bean or other sprouts
1 cup cilantro/coriander sprouts
1 cup basil sprouts


½ cup chopped basil
½ cup chopped mint
4 cloves of garlic
1 cup of olive oil
½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
Fish sauce and/or coconut aminos (to taste)
1 chopped Serrano or jalapeno pepper (to taste)

Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and all salad ingredients in a bowl big enough to toss them around. Once the dressing is combined into a tangy, complex mixture, pour it over the salad. Wash your hands well with soap and water and then toss the entire salad mixture.

As cabbage is quite a hardy leaf, it will hold up to the dressing so you can put the salad in the fridge and eat it for a couple of days. It's useful to have in there when you are too tired to prepare anything early in the morning. It is increasingly delicious as the flavors of the herbs and the garlic mix and deepen.

Zucchini “Pasta” with Pesto

(Serves 6)


6 zucchini, ends trimmed


3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional
½ cup pine nuts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1 package of cherry or grape tomatoes


1. Use a spiralizer to slice the zucchini into noodles. Set aside.
2. Combine the basil and garlic in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the lemon juice and Parmesan cheese. Pulse until blended. Season with salt and pepper.
If you are pressed for time, buy some freshly-made pesto from the store! Just make sure the ingredients are organic and there are no preservatives – your body doesn’t need them when you are fasting.
3. Toss until zucchini noodles with the pesto until they are well coated. Top with tomatoes, if using. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Note-if you want to cook the zucchini noodles, you can. Just add the zucchini pesto noodles to a skillet and sauté them up over medium heat. It only takes a few minutes.


Happy Birthday! Raw Lemon Cheesecake! Photo Cred: Sasha Douglas-Nares

Raw Lemon Cheesecake
(Serves 6)


1/2 cup dates
1 1/2 cups nuts (I used pecans, you can use almost any kind, even better if you soak them first, overnight)
2 teaspoons of sea salt

In the food processor, pulse the dates and nuts together until you get a rough, sticky mixture that you can pat down with your hands into the bottom of a glass pie or baking pan (only because it looks prettier in glass, otherwise any pan will do). For this cooking class, we doubled the recipe and used a glass 11 x 9 baking pan. If it’s not sticking well, add a little coconut oil, that will make it taste a little more buttery anyway. Put in fridge.


3 cups cashews (preferably soaked for 3-4 hours)
3/4 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup honey/agave/maple syrup/coconut sugar
3/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 teaspoons dried lavender  (if you want, I found I couldn't taste it when it was cold and set)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract/seeds from 1/2 vanilla pod

Put all the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth and creamy.  Taste the mixture. If you've never had raw food, you will be overcome with pleasure. Pour onto crust in cake pan and set in the freezer or fridge until it has the hardness you want (probably 3-5 hours or overnight).  I decorated it with some organic, local blueberries I bought upstate so it still tasted of the country.

Slice and enjoy! Even if it’s not hard enough, it will taste delicious!

For Suhoor (the before sunrise meal to prepare for your fast):

Hydrating Drink
(Serves 2)

1 liter of coconut water
4 tablespoons of chia seeds

Pour the coconut water into any sort of jug. Add 4 to 6 tablespoons of chia seeds (black or white).  Let sit for several hours until the chia seeds are saturated and have sunk to the bottom of the jug. Stir and drink as your last meal before starting your fast or any time you need to be hydrated for long periods of time.

Peaceful Ramadan. Photo Cred: Sasha Douglas Nares

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The C-Word: Mind Games

once i was doing some energy work on my dad because the arthritis was acting up in his knees, i could feel the heat and activity in his joints in the palm of my hands so i asked him what he was experiencing.

he said, "i think i am imagining that i feel something." i've told this story a million times because it made me laugh.

my dad is a scientist and bases his opinions on physical evidence. i explained that from a purely quantitative scientific perspective, the reason one "feels" anything is because nerve receptors fire in the brain saying that there is pain or pleasure or cold or heat or anything in-between. so the reality is that anything one "perceives" is created in the brain. so when one takes a "pain-killer," it doesn't mean that the issue (the inflamed joint, stitches, spinal subluxations) are resolved, it just means that those nerve endings are numbed or quieted down. and one "imagines" that there is no pain.

what does pain mean?

there is a theory amongst health practitioners that all illness starts in the mind, or maybe in the metaphorical heart, if that is the seat of all emotions. the idea is that an emotional or psychological state is so unbalancing or upsetting that it gradually starts affecting the body. in chinese medicine, there are esoteric explanations of illness along with the physical ones - lung issues come from unresolved grief or may cause a sense of sadness, liver issues come from anger or an irritated liver may cause an irritable spirit, lower back pain from frustrated creativity, knee pain from fear, breast health from a woman's relationships or sense of herself as a sexual being. obviously, this is very general.

the simplest example of the idea is tension headaches, TMJ or neck and shoulder pain. while there may be a structural issue, it begins with feeling anxious or stressed and then clenching one's muscles.

to understand further, think about a dog or cat when they feel threatened. involuntarily, they raise the skin and fur on the backs of their necks. do that for a long time and the muscles get tired and pass the information on to the nerves - as an ache.

thus many energy healers say, "the issues are in the tissues." while some people's worries settle in their scalps, others may be in their stomachs or spines. in oprah magazine's april 2014 issue, the article, "The Migraine in My Butt,"  by juno demelo, is about a woman who resolved the painful muscle deep in her glutes using meditation and soul searching for the issues behind it. exploring the nonphysical side of her pain began with a book called The Mindbody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain by a doctor who used to be the director of outpatient services at the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation. dr. sarno's theories draw deeply from freudian psychology and the idea that rage starts in early childhood, perhaps even in infancy, and can take over your life.

so that's all very well to say.

unfortunately, what i've noticed is that when someone with a chronic or systemic condition gets the suggestion that there might be a psychological or emotional aspect to it, they tend to get angry and offended: "can you believe it? the doctor said it was all in my mind!"

when a friend of mine who has an inexplicable, debilitating issue was told a hypnotist might help her, she was so insulted that she decided her doctor was an idiot.

here's the thing:

the idea that an illness may be affected by your mind doesn't mean it's not real.

it doesn't mean your illness doesn't exist or isn't wrecking havoc through your body or your life. it is not reductive, patronizing or dismissive. it doesn't mean the pain isn't keeping you up at night or making it impossible to do what you need to.

when an allopathic or western medicine doctor suggests mind-body or energy therapies, it usually means that they don't understand how to resolve your symptoms. that may be for a multitude of reasons, they may be checking the wrong parts of your body, they have missed a symptom or it may be something else. it also doesn't mean that there isn't also a real external cause.

almost everyone in healing has repeated the story of dr. west and his cancer patient, mr. wright from the 1957 paper by psychologist, dr bruno klopfer, "psychological variables in human cancer."

mr. wright had an advanced cancer called lymphosarcoma. all treatments had failed, and he wasn't expected to last a week. but mr. wright desperately wanted to live, and he heard about a promising new drug called krebiozen that was being offered in clinical trials. 

he begged dr. west to treat him with the drug, but the trial was limited to people who had at least three months to live. despite that, mr. wright was convinced that the drug would be his miracle cure.

eventually, dr. west managed to obtain the drug and injected his patient with krebiozen on a friday. dr. west assumed the man wouldn't last the weekend.

to his complete surprise, when dr. west returned on monday, his patient was up and around. dr. klopfer said, "'the tumor masses had melted like snowballs on a hot stove" and were half their original size. ten days later, mr. wright left the hospital, seemingly cancer-free.

then scientific literature reported that krebiozen wasn't effective.  mr. wright, who trusted what he read, became depressed, and the cancer returned.

so, dr. west decided to try something. he told mr. wright that the initial drug had deteriorated during shipping, but that he had a new supply of highly concentrated, ultra-pure krebiozen, guaranteed to work.

dr. west then injected mr. wright with distilled water. the tumors melted again, the fluid in his chest disappeared. mr. wright made a full recovery for another two months.

unfortunately, the american medical association then announced that krebiozen had proved utterly worthless.

upon hearing this, mr. wright lost all faith in his cure. his cancer returned and he died two days later.

so despite his recovery and relapse - his cancer was very real. the difference with cancer (and a lot of other systemic or chronic illnesses) is that the doctors often can't figure out the cause in order to eradicate it.

so think about it this way, if your mind and body are in balance, you can be exposed to bacteria or carcinogens and never develop any illness. that's why (as i've said before), someone can say, "my grandmother smoked 5 packs a day and lived on lard and sugar and died at 105."

that's also why someone who is physically addicted to cigarettes can be cured of their addiction using hypnosis. it doesn't mean there isn't a physical addiction, it just means that the mind is more powerful than you think (no pun intended). lissa rankin's book, mind over medicine gives even more examples.

for instance, a diabetic with a dissociative identity disorder whose other identity was not diabetic. other people with dissociative identity disorder often have one identity who needs corrective glasses and one with perfect vision.

following that logic, there is another - even more controversial -  theory that i believe.

major illnesses (and major catastrophes) show up to heal your life.

there's an entire school of thought around this, including "an uncomfortable" book by another german doctor, rudiger dahlke.

the idea is that quite often people dealing with chronic illnesses or pain have internal issues that they haven't had the time or space to resolve. when a crisis comes it forces you to re-think.

it's almost a cliche that people who have cancer - or another brush with mortality - become much more sensitive to the simple pleasures of life. certainly, being faced with death, puts the prosaic into perspective.

in my own personal experience, i've found that taking the time to be grateful for things, even horrid, painful, life-damaging things, opens me up in a new way.

if you are not well, or in a difficult situation, you might find this idea disgustingly pollyanna, so i apologize in advance. but i ask that you just entertain the thought. follow it through.

usually, after i swim laps, i take a long shower (terribly drying for the skin, i know) and find myself pondering my latest disaster and wondering what i have gained from it. i keep asking myself over and over again what benefit i enjoyed from being sick, being broke, being broken-hearted or whatever loss or awful humiliation it is that time.

usually, while i am drying off, i say to God or Universal Intelligence, "thank you thank you thank you for letting me be here. thank you for letting the water pipes break, because now i know that i need to remember to pay attention more to every day things. i need to look after them." or maybe "thank you for the water pipes breaking because it is forcing me to fix the floors and i never would have done it."

(apologies again for the pedestrian example, because that makes it seem easy.)

perhaps it is an illusion of control, that events are not totally random, especially events inside my body. and perhaps it is way of letting my mind open to healing. because somehow, when i manage to reach the place of REALLY feeling grateful, everything starts shifting.

it does take me some time to get there, depending on how bad the situation is. i try to be grateful and instead i am mad. i tell myself there is a benefit and then i get mad at myself and say how stupid! what could possibly be good about this? i have to keep searching for the gratitude and keep exhaling the anger but eventually, it comes.

it sometimes takes days. or weeks.

it is hard work.

and it doesn't mean you don't have to do the work of physically changing your habits, your diet, your responses.

there was a painful story in the new york times magazine about a woman called anna lyndsey who is burned by even the slightest exposure to light. her skin has become so photosensitive that she cannot even open the curtains during the day. while living in permanent darkness, she's written a memoir about it. at one point in the article, she warns against the "lure of the reiki healer."

"lyndsey writes of wanting, when the healer suggests that there is always some hidden benefit to being ill, to smash in the woman’s face."

but the end of the article suggests something different:

"she describes the rainbow of colors she sees in the house depending on the weather outside, the various stages of dusk, the subtle differences between the light at sunrise and sunset. 'i went for a walk at dawn on christmas day, which was the first time I’d managed to do that for years,' she said. 'It was absolutely deserted, and the sky was this lovely peachy, bluey gray, very tasteful, and there were all these magpies flying round the houses.' It’s the kind of thing most of us see without seeing, a scene so ordinary it barely registers. sky, magpies, houses: nothing of note. for lyndsey, rare and beautiful — art."

i don't mean to be reductive or dismissive. i can't imagine that experience. and it's possible that lyndsey's beautiful walk was not a reward and, obviously, the physical reality of her illness is so much more than a metaphor.

that said, what makes sense to me and my experience of illness or catastrophe is that if you can understand what benefit you might gain from it, you can what address the need that is not being satisfied and perhaps help your mind heal your body.

i had a similar conversation with the shrinks at memorial sloan kettering. i explained why i no longer needed to have cancer. the shrink was taken aback. "at memorial sloan kettering, we don't believe cancer is a punishment from God!" he exclaimed.

dahlke explains it better in the article:

“the problem is that people confuse responsibility and guilt,” says dahlke over skype. “when I argue that someone is responsible for his illness, i’m not saying that that disease is his fault. the disease provides an ability to respond, however. we have to get to know what that disease means in our lives, what it wants to tell us. a disease presents a task, and when we perform the task, we heal the body.”

if all life is experience created by perception and belief - and both of those things are created in the mind - couldn't changing the mind change the body?

we might even be able to create a new gene.

in my experience, approaching anything or anyone with love, understanding and acceptance always works better than anger, aggression or tension.

anyway, just a thought.

maybe you want to invite it in for a little while.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The C-Word: A Miracle Cure

imagine a forgotten "cure" for arthritis, lyme disease, candida, parasites, respiratory infections, acne, allergies, varicose veins - and some people think - certain cancers.

i'm on a number of listservs where people discuss alternative and complementary therapies. since i'm obsessed with ways to help the body heal itself, i usually do some investigation - online and asking doctors, naturopaths, acupuncturists and healers i know, along with people who've tried it. if it still sounds interesting, i test it on myself and i ask my friends and family if they want to try it.

for most of the people i know who have candida, the effects can be so debilitating and so hard to resolve, that something that may CURE it, permanently, is life-altering.

so far, from everything i've know, this seems to work, despite the scare-mongering around it. it works even better if you take a little time to clean up your body first, drinking lots of water, stopping processed foods, cutting back on animal products, etc. but it seems to work even if you don't do that.

first - here's the legal disclaimer - i am NOT a doctor and am not qualified to diagnose or treat any illnesses. anything i describe is my personal, anecdotal experience and i am not instructing you to do it.

also, every time i mention this stuff on facebook or twitter or something, people get really angry about it. and they are also REALLY scared of it - which in my mind - is always something to watch out for.

so what is it?

yes, bizarre as it sounds - turpentine.

the first time i read about someone drinking it, i thought the guy was insane. then i did some research. a lot of recent information comes from a doctor called jennifer daniels who now lives outside of the u.s.- if you click on the link, she explains how it works.

there's a naturopath in canada called tony pantelleresco who explains how to mix it with honey.

think about it. natural turpentine is pine sap. it's the oil of a pine tree and in its natural state, it's what the tree uses to heal its own wounds. it's a component of propolis (what bees collect) and has strongly antibacterial and antifungal properties. it's been used as a disinfectant and cleaning product most recently. and, in this country, was also taken as a cure-all by native americans. as an essential oil, it's called terebinth.

native americans passed their knowledge to african-americans who, during the time of slavery and afterwards, had limited access to medicines. it also spread amongst poor whites and was used both topically and internally for just about everything, but especially with farm kids, mixed with a little castor oil for "de-worming."

i spoke to an iranian friend recently about trying turpentine for a cold and he said, "oh no, that's what they used to give children for worms! a little turpentine on sugar." i've heard similar things from russian friends.

personally, i've been experimenting myself with the internal and external use of turpentine. externally, i have put 1/2 a cup of it in the bath - mixed with a carrier oil like almond or olive oil (because it can be a little stingy on hot skin) - i have massaged it into sore muscles and applied it to injuries. a dot of it on a q-tip applied to a pimple does clear it quickly.

some people say it reduces varicose veins, so far no real change, but i will add to this if it does.

in theory, taking a little turpentine (1 to 1/2 teaspoon mixed with white sugar or honey followed by a few big glasses of water) kills infectious microbes and parasites almost instantly. after i do it, i have actually passed small (but dead, phew) worms. also, in a few hours, my stomach flattens out - a sign of the candida being killed off. for me, i find the optimum dose is every few months, unless i suddenly have some sort of infection.

the unpleasant side-effects of ingestion can be burping it up all day - which can be minimized by adding 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to the water you drink after ingesting it and brief diarrhea/loose bowels as the parasites leave your body. if it feels too intense, take less turpentine - maybe 1/4 teaspoon to start.

i've also seen the sugar-turpentine remedy work for kids, the elderly, my friends, my housekeeper, my employees and my neighbors for everything from respiratory infections, emphysema, upset stomachs, brain fog, candida, post-stroke to fibromyalgia. it has never failed to produce remarkable results. a kid with a fever and a cold jumped out of bed in a few hours, a girl with severe fibromyalgia immediately relaxed, a 90 year-old woman with a chronic lung condition could suddenly breathe (after just 15 drops in a teaspoon of sugar), a guy with bad brain fog after a stroke felt clear and sharp immediately. with regular use (every other day for five or six days), my friends with candida see relief of their symptoms.

kit campbell, a woman who overcame her IBS by cleaning up her diet and taking turpentine following jennifer daniels and tony pantelleresco shows how she does it. she decided she preferred the honey or olive oil carrier method.

the reviews on amazon for the organic, natural turpentine i buy show that i am not the only person who is using it internally.

so why does every bottle of turpentine carry dire warnings? a few years' ago, turpentine was listed in the merck manual, the NIH and the new england journal of medicine as the cure for a number of illnesses. even webmd suggests it can be used externally for skin conditions.

i've read arguments that it is a poison, but from what i understand, it is only hard on the body if ingested in very large quantities, using that logic, even in small quantities, tylenol or acetaminophen is toxic to the liver and, according to our friends at the FDA, is the leading cause of liver failure in the U.S., leading 15,000 trips a year to the emergency room. (if you insist on taking tylenol or paracetemol, keep some NAC on hand as it helps re-build your stores of glutathione).

according to jennifer daniels, the reason is that turpentine is too cheap and available and resolves too many conditions, thus not appealing to regulating organizations which get a lot of support from corporations.

in any case, the kind of turpentine one uses is important. it should be pure gum spirits which are made from tree sap rather than mineral spirits which are made from petroleum. this is available in any art supply or hardware store, just check the label carefully.

or one can order the organic one from diamond g forest.

last of all, there is a theory that the cancer cell mutation is caused by molds, parasites and other opportunistic microbes - in which case, turpentine might be an effective piece of a healing protocol. my suggestion is to find a doctor or healer who understands it or do your own research.

imho, it's an incredible tool. i keep it in my medicine cabinet!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The C-Word: Not Budweiser, the Budwig Diet

While trolling around cancer online support groups, I have been amazed by the results people report from the "budwig diet." It was popularized and written about by a German doctor, Johanna Budwig. The crux of it is mixing cottage cheese with flax seed oil - in a ratio of 2-1 - in a blender so that it is totally creamy and then topping it with freshly-ground flaxseeds and a little fresh fruit.

I've never tried it but here's what I read: people recovering from stage-4 breast cancer, from pancreatic cancer, from multiple myelomas - however, it doesn't seem to work as well with lung cancer.

According to these happy cancer survivors, one of the crucial things is that one follows the protocol to the letter - with no "cheating" or variations. Though of late, it seems that they are eliminating wheat as well.

If you are pondering complementary or alternative "cures,"I suggest you try it for 8 weeks and see how you feel. Obviously, there are no clinical trials. I am not a doctor so I can't prescribe medicines or treatment, but it's worth looking into.

the information below includes references to her books that, if you decide to follow it, are easy to buy on and elsewhere.

This plan has stopped cancer & other diseases for over 50 years
This can help you to follow Dr. Budwig's protocol. It is based on her book, "Cancer - The Problem and the Solution" [1999], her
cookbook, "The Oil-Protein Diet" [1952]

Most people begin gradually, adding healthy foods & liquids and eliminating damaging ones. The diet seems simple, but foods are powerful and can damage or heal a person. The Budwig plan has healed people of many kinds of cancer and other diseases and conditions.

In liver, pancreatic, stomach and gall bladder disease it's best to begin with a "Transition Diet" - After the transition, begin the diet below with small amounts of the oil & cheese as well as the other foods.

Dr.Budwig had over a 90% success rate with this protocol with all kinds of cancer patients over a 50 year period. Many research studies done in the last ten years support the cancer-fighting value
of foods, juices, sun exposure and relaxation Dr.Budwig recommended.

To start the diet, it helps to have 3 appliances:
1- A coffee bean grinder to grind the whole brown flaxseeds sold in health food stores or online.
2- An immersion hand-held mixer (a stick-shaped mixer), to blend flaxseed oil [FO] and cottage cheese [CC] together so that they become one food, making the oil water-soluble and more absorbable.
3- A vegetable juicer. A masticating or extractor type may give a more healthful juice than a centrifugal type. Many members like Green Star.

Generally, each tablespoon of Flaxseed Oil (FO) is mixed with 2 or more tablespoons of low-fat organic Cottage Cheese (CC)or quark.
That is a FOCC ratio of approximately 1:2. Cold-pressed refrigerated liquid FO is used, for example, Barlean's & Spectrum. It's better
to buy regular FO instead of High Lignan FO. Healthier lignans are obtained at a lower cost by using freshly ground flaxseeds.
[used instead of Linomel].

TO START THE DAY - About an hour before breakfast, have a glass of raw sauerkraut juice. It has cancer-fighting benefits. Home-made is best in order to get the digestive enzymes.

Anything pasteurized has lost its enzymes.
But, you can get healthy lactic acid from Biotta brand juice, ordered online. Lactic acid in the juice helps the digestive tract work better all day.

Start with a cup of green tea or herbal tea. It provides warm liquid required for the ground flaxseeds to swell properly. That is important. Then eat your Muesli [Muesli in the Budwig diet refers to the recipe below. Cottage cheese, quark, homemade yogurt cheese or kefir cheese are OK to use.

Budwig Muesli [FOCC] recipe: [Prepare only enough for one meal - avoid storing. Eat it as soon as possible, do not let it sit.
[1] Blend 3 tbs flaxseed oil with 6 tbs organic low-fat CC and 2 tblsp milk (no water or watery liquids at this point) with a hand-held
immersion electric blender. The mixture should be like rich whipped cream with no separated oil within about a minute. VERY IMPORTANT!!
[2] Grind 2 tblsp whole flaxseeds and add. [This replaces Linomel]
[3] Add fresh [frozen if necessary] berries which contain cancer-fighting ellagic acid. [Use organic fruits, if possible]
[4] Add other fresh fruit if you like, totaling 1/2 to 1 cup of fruit.
[5] Add some fruit juice [e.g. dark grape, blueberry] or milk if mixture is too thick. Fruits & their juices are proven cancer fighters.
[6] Add organic raw nuts such as walnuts or Brazil nuts [no peanuts] and, if you wish, a bit of vanilla. Try various fresh [or frozen if necessary] organic fruits and flavorings for variety. Limit honey to 1 or 2 teaspoons a day.

Freshly-pressed vegetable juice from carrot and/or radish, stinging nettle, beet, celery, lemon, apple [carrot and beet juices are
especially helpful to the liver and are excellent cancer fighters.]

GO OUTSIDE FOR SUNLIGHT - Sunlight on the skin is very healthful for vit.D and other benefits [even in winter]. Dr. Budwig stressed the value of sunlight. Avoid burning & avoid sunscreen & sunglasses.

If you feel up to having some exercise, individualize it according to your strength - DON'T OVERDO IT. Some quotes by Dr. Budwig regarding exercise: "Often yoga or sport is very important, but sometimes the patient should not do this" and "I would never allow a cancer patient with metastases to jog, ride a bicycle, or to practice yoga. His body must relax." She added, "There is no one treatment that applies for everyone. The patient must also feel for himself what is good for him." and "The whole subject of sport must be treated on a very individual basis."

One form of exercise that is beneficial for most people is using a rebounder [a mini-trampoline] because it helps clear the lymph system and promotes better drainage.

A cup of warm green or herbal tea. Use honey if desired (no sugar). Also suggested, one tblsp whole flaxseeds, freshly ground and added to a glass of Champagne, known to help digestion & absorption. [1999 book]

RAW vegetable salad with various homemade salad dressings which may include 1 or more tblsp FO blended with 1 or 2 tblsp organic low-fat CC plus 1 tblsp organic apple cider vinegar or lemon juice and spices. Or, for sweeter dressing, try FO & red grape juice or another fruit juice. You can vary the salad dressings based on the recipes in the Oil-Protein Diet Cookbook. Several recipes do not include cottage cheese at all. The body can utilize 2 or 3 tblsp oil without cottage cheese. Avoid commercial salad dressings. Experiment with spices, honey or garlic for variety.

If still hungry, make baked or steamed veggies. [See dinner]

LUNCH DESSERT: Repeat breakfast recipe with varied fresh raw fruits (organic if possible). This is the second FO/CC serving of the day:
three tblsp flax oil & 6 tblsp CC with fresh fruit but NO flaxseeds. Smaller amounts of food are digested better. Work up to six tblsp FO
per day, if possible, mixed with twice as much CC, depending on digestive ability and size. Chew very well to optimize digestion. Predigestion
starts in the mouth by mixing saliva with the foods. Try to have your meals in a peaceful atmosphere. Stress reduction is important.

Two tblsp whole flaxseeds, freshly ground, stirred into a glass of sparkling wine or Champagne OR one teaspoons flaxseeds, ground and
stirred into a glass of fruit juice: grape, cherry or pineapple. Chew the ground flaxseeds for better digestion.

RELAX, IN THE SUN IF POSSIBLE, to relieve stress. It's healing. Seek out nature, music, chat, laughter, or what pleases you.

One tblsp whole flaxseeds, ground & added to blueberry or papaya juice. Both papaya & pineapple [above] have digestive enzymes if they are fresh. Most bottled juices have lost their enzymes but still have valuable nutrients. If making the juice, drink it immediately after
preparation before the enzymes are lost by air and light. You want to get as many natural enzymes as possible [as well as electrons from flax seeds & oils]. [Note: Instead of the fruit juices, some members heal using homemade vegetable juices as described at 10 a.m.]

Vegetable soup or a variety of veggies and starch-containing foods, well spiced. Add Oleolux and nutritional yeast flakes after cooking. Choices of cooked starchy foods - buckwheat (JB's top choice-digests well), millet, brown rice, lentils, beans, peas, yams & potatoes. Add lightly cooked vegetables such as tomatoes, spinach, beets,carrots, chard, cabbage, brussel sprouts, broccoli, onions,artichokes, asparagus, peppers, kale, green beans, etc. Also, addspices such as cayenne pepper, paprika & others. AFTER COOKING,
add Oleolux 'to taste,' made with coconut oil, flaxseed oil, garlic and onion [recipe in Files under 'Foods']. Also use it as a spread on bread [sprouted grain, homemade or Ezekiel].

A glass of organic red wine if desired.

The above diet can be varied by the many recipes in Dr. Budwig's book "The Oil-Protein Diet Cookbook," sold on Amazon and Barlean's  websites for about $10.

Dr. Budwig stressed that we must AVOID UNHEALTHY FOODS and SUBSTANCES such as hydrogenated fats, trans-fats, most animal fats, butter, sugar, white flour, preservatives and processed foods as well as pesticides and chemicals, even those in household products & cosmetics. Also, drink chemical-free pure water if possible.

++ Avoid leftovers - food should be prepared fresh and eaten soon after preparation to maximize intake of health-giving electrons &

++ At least 3x a day drink warm green or herbal teas, unsweetened or sweetened only with honey.

++ Stress is very damaging. Avoid stress and anxiety; take time to relax & enjoy each day. Listen to beautiful music, laugh, do deep breathing, connect with nature, spend time with people you like. Eliminate anger and sadness through EFT, counseling, support group or some method of letting go of it.

++ ELDI oils are oils for external application. Dr.Budwig had her patients use them extensively.

++ Dr.Budwig did not include supplements in her protocol. Also, as far as we can tell, she did not use drugs with her protocol and generally discontinued those that were taken.

Some supplements, especially high amounts of man-made antioxidants, can seriously interfere with how well the diet works, as can/will some drugs and treatments (particularly cytostatic [chemo and radiation] treatments, cortisones, hormones and many pain killers). She also warned against the dangers of ozone and oxygen therapy
for the cancer patient. Ozone resulted in death for some members.

++ The foods in the Budwig Protocol give your body what it needs daily to stop cancer. Dr. Budwig warned that you should follow the diet strictly for three years before relaxing a little, but you can never stop these foods for more than a day or so, and you cannot regularly include damaging foods or supplements. Doing so
may allow the cancer to return. This has happened to some people.

Dr.Budwig's book "Flax Oil as a True Aid Against Arthritis, Heart Infarction, Cancer and other Diseases" offers an understanding of the scientific principles behind this protocol. Her cookbook "The Oil-Protein Diet" gives practical diet information and recipes. Both of these books can be ordered from or from for about $10.

Her newest (and last) book, "Cancer-The Problem and The Solution," written in 1999, is available from

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015: The Pleasures of the Flesh

i woke up this morning and, since it's the first cold sharp day of the new year, i made my bed, crisp and clean, and washed all the dishes and hung up my clothes from the night before.

as i stood in front of the white porcelain sink, my feet chilled by the wood floor, i was struck by the pleasure of the warm water on my hands and the steady balance of my legs. i picked up each tea cup one at a time and looked at how beautiful it was. it made me so happy that i stopped and took a deep breath and felt how easily and simply my lungs expanded.

all of sudden, i was filled with such overwhelming gratitude that my eyes filled with tears. not just for my body doing easily what i needed it to do, but for clean running water, for warm water, for the heat and light and space in my home, even for the softness and reliability of my ratty sweatshirt.

i felt so happy i could burst.

at our post-yoga dinner (yes! i did bikram yoga for new year's eve and it was my best new year's eve in years), i was talking with friends about the things i did to survive cancer. my friend susan avery reminded me how we met at a funeral of a friend. she had been going through her cancer at the same time that i was. at the funeral, i said to susan, "that could have been me."

i don't remember because when we think about our pasts, how we see them keeps changing depending on the present.

but this is not a post about being sick.

this morning, struck breathless and almost weeping with gratitude, i changed the water in the flowers on my dining table and i remembered one thing that saved me, that still saves me - impulse and hedonism - or the pleasures of the flesh.

one of the hardest things about a life-threatening illness is when you are in the hospital and your friends leave. because they get to walk out. they get to walk out and take a big breath of fresh air and feel the sun on the tops of their heads and go back to their everyday lives.

in the hospital system, you're increasingly cut off from any sensual pleasure. my senses registered pain and nausea from the needles, the drugs and the smells of rubbing alcohol and cleaning fluids. my tastebuds were numbed. my hearing was jumbled and incoherent. my memory was shot. my brain craved sedation.

i couldn't take another minute of it. i felt like i'd rather die than spend one more second looking through the window at life rather than living. (i am a dervish, so i am not scared of death. in my experience, death is liberating and bright.)

if i was going to be alive, i wanted to be immersed in every second of the material world.

so i walked out.

natural medicine gave me a chance to taste, to breathe, exercise, to feel - not that my way is the only way. just that that worked for me.

like most people whose lives are compromised, i learned to be immensely grateful for every pleasure my body and mind offered me.

all those things we do without thinking - letting your tongue roll over something complex and delicious, inhaling the fragile scent of flowers, reading and comprehending rich, intoxicating prose, listening to a song that makes you float, drinking, swimming, bathing, stretching, kissing.

all those things we have but we don't appreciate - clean water, quiet nights, heat, food in the refrigerator, shoes, clothes that protect our skin and keep us warm. a place to keep the objects and, even more importantly, the people we love safe and secure. the ability to pay our bills and keep our electricity and internet and cell phones running.

so for the beginning of 2015,  if you are reading this, i wish you so much love it feels your heart might burst. i wish your eyes, lips, tongue, skin, muscles, tissues, nerves to give you pleasure. i wish you prosperity and safety and security. i wish you a year of days so crystalline and pure in their beauty that you can barely let them end.

i wish you clean air and water and food and week after week where you don't have to worry about your health, your finances, your loved ones. i wish you clean sheets and a bed. i wish you the freedom of forgiving people who have hurt you and i apologize for any way i might have hurt you or made you feel less. i wish i could erase any pain you still carry.

i wish you gratitude and awe and wonder and serenity that life will unfold in a way that supports you and embraces you. i wish you to feel powerful and graceful.


i love you. i kiss you. i am so grateful for you.
please click on the link and keep it open in another window. the music makes all the difference...