Better Bones Better Body retreat

Our Inspiring “Love Your Bones, Love Your Body Retreat”

Oh what fun, and what inspiration!

We here at Better Bones were delighted with our first-ever “Love Your Bones, Love Your Body” retreat. This amazing four-day event was fun, educational and motivational. I was thrilled that 21 highly motivated women from around the United States and even England joined us in Myrtle Beach to seek better bone health. Each one shared our passion for getting to the root of any bone weakness, building bone strength naturally and creating a loving, healing community.

Some in the group had actually already built substantial bone density by simply learning from my books and blogs and using our Better Bones Builder multi-nutrient supplement. These women attended the Retreat to learn more and advance their personal bone-building programs.

Others in the group were new to the Better Bones, Better Body® Program approach; however, they were committed to exploring the best possible natural ways to build bone strength. For some, the path to Better Bones would be simple—nutritional supplementation, pH balancing, and exercise.

Still others realized that their bone health is likely burdened by hidden medical factors. Empowered by the Love Your Bones retreat, these women were now prepared to explore hidden medical causes of bone weakening, to work with their doctors, and even teach their doctors if necessary. Hear from attendees Jan and Nan about their retreat experiences.

Taking charge of our skeletal health

Every time we step up to the plate and take responsibility for what is happening in our bodies, we enrich our own life and add to the rising global tide of health awareness.  I am reminded of Margaret Mead’s comment, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

All of us in the Better Bones, Better Body community are making a difference, creating an overdue shift in how women’s bone health issues are viewed, evaluated, and treated. The women joining us in Myrtle Beach stood up to take charge of their skeletal health. I was inspired and uplifted by each of them.

Here at the Center for Better Bones, we work toward the day when every interested woman has the information she needs to empower her to take charge of her bone health. The “Love Your Bones, Love Your Body Retreat” was an important step towards fulfillment of this goal; a new wave of natural bone health awareness is spreading throughout the U.S. and even into Europe as these women return home to share what they learned during their four days with us.

Join us!

If you are interested in this more personalized group approach to fortifying your personal Better Bones program know that will be doing more retreats, like our next retreat this coming fall in Sedona, Arizona!  Perhaps even more relevant to many of you, this summer we are launching our first online, empowering Better Bones, Better Body® course.

In the meantime, we will continue to teach the new science of natural bone health through our weekly blogs, our Facebook page and YouTube videos. I hope you’ll share what you are learning with others thus adding to the vision we have for a radical transformation of women’s skeletal healthcare.

5 tips for improving brain health

What’s good for the bones is good for the brain

Not long ago, I spoke with Dr. Steven Masley, whose book The Better Brain Solution I found fascinating. I couldn’t help but notice, when I read the book, that his solution to maintaining longevity and healthy brain function sounded awfully familiar to me!

Stronger bones, stronger mind

Looking at over 100 clinical markers of aging, ranging from brain speed to arterial plaque growth to bone density, in concert with lifestyle factors such as diet, fitness, toxin exposure, and stress management in more that 1000 patients, Steven has found that many of the same things we use to help prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures can also reduce the risk of long-term memory loss. “We’ve been able to show which things help your memory, which things improve your brain, and it turns out many of these things are also good for your heart and your bones,” he says.

The part that may be new to my readers is that this research finds blood sugar to be one of the key elements of maintaining both healthy brain and heart. “We know that probably the number one factor that contributes to memory loss is elevated blood sugar and insulin resistance,” he told me. “When brain cells become insulin resistant, they literally shut down — they’re not able to use glucose as energy. And over time, it leads to brain cell death and literally the brain starts shrinking.”

5 steps for improving brain health

His five-step solution to this problem is where the conversation went toward familiar topics:

  1. Healthy foods: A diet rich in green, leafy vegetables makes your brain, on average, 11 years younger, says Steven, who also recommends eating oily fish and nuts to provide omega-3 fatty acids and lists nearly a dozen other foods that are also part of an alkaline diet.
  2. Exercise: “Just like for bones,” Steven says, “we see a benefit… the fitter you are, the better your brain function.”
  3. Specific nutrients: Vitamin D, magnesium, and B vitamins — all important in bone health — are also key brain health.
  4. Stress reduction: “If you don’t manage [stress], your cortisol rises, your blood sugar goes up, and it literally shrinks your brain,” he says.
  5. Probiotics: “I really like the idea of a probiotic for a healthy gut” as a way to support brain health, he adds.

I named my bone health program “Better Bones, Better Body” because I understood that what was good for the bones would benefit the rest of the body as well—and it’s nice to get still more scientific confirmation that the approach works. But Steven’s research also underscores the sheer number of people who need to learn the value of this approach. “The #1 most expensive disease in America today is memory loss,” Steven told me. “It’s supposed to double in just the next 12 years. It’s skyrocketing.” He points to the fact that “50% of all Baby Boomers, and 30% of all adults, have insulin resistance… they’re high risk for memory loss, heart disease, diabetes, and probably bone loss, too!”

If you want to hear what else Dr. Steven Masley had to say, watch our video interview.

 

 

how do you want to be, feel, and look in 2018?

2018: The Year of Deliberate Creation

On these long winter nights, my attention is often drawn inward. Cozying up to a blazing wood stove, I am ready for my favorite topic of contemplation:

“Knowing that my choices will determine my life experience, what life experiences and personal transformation do I want in 2018? More important, what deliberate actions am I willing to take to achieve my goals?”

As the new year begins, I encourage you to take advantage of these quiet winter nights to answer your own soul-searching questions:

  • How do you want to be, feel and look in the coming year?
  • Have you joined the critical mass of women taking responsibility for their health, perhaps starting with bone health?
  • The ancient Chinese proverb notes, “If we keep going in the same direction we will end up right where we are headed.” Where are you headed, and is that the direction you want?

As for me, I’m using the winter’s quietude to reset my sights and plant new seeds, knowing that after a few months of rest, these uplifting initiatives will sprout, bringing joy, growth, and fulfillment in 2018.

Here’s my plan for 2018:

  • Working with my colleagues at the Center for Better Bones, we will build an even stronger, more informed tribe of women willing and able to take charge of their bone and overall health.
  • I will share my knowledge with women worldwide so they may do what women have done throughout the ages: protect and nurture the fires of health and well-being.
  • I’ll offer a new weekly “Wisdom” social media posting for you to consider, respond to, and share with others. Together we can create an uplifting, positive energy capable of moving everyone forward.
  • My dedicated team at the Center for Better Bones will make our time-tested Better Bones, Better Body Program more affordable and available to every interested woman through our new community online classes. (More on this coming soon!) Together we’ll transform both the way women themselves,and the medical profession, view and treat bone health concerns.
  • Finally, in a spirit of sisterhood and joy, we at the Center for Better Bones are offering “Love Your Bones, Love Your Life,” our first ever 4-day education/inspiration retreat in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, March 2018. (Learn more.) Don’t worry if you can’t attend this time… there will be other retreats!

New Year’s is a logical time of year to appreciate your personal growth and plan for the coming year. I invite you to join me as we create Better Bones and a Better Body in 2018. I’ll be here to support you all along the way.

Together will rewrite the book on women’s bone health!

How To Start An Anti-Inflammatory Diet

An anti-inflammatory diet for healthy bones

Inflammation is one of Mother Nature’s powerful double-edged swords: We need it to clear way damaged tissue, but excessive and uncontrolled inflammation brings unwanted destruction.  Ongoing inflammation lies at the root of osteopenia and osteoporosis.  It’s been known for years that individuals with higher inflammatory markers (like C-reactive protein) exhibit lower bone density and fracture more often.

New research looking at anti-inflammatory dietary components has found the adage that “food is medicine” is true when it comes to protecting bone from the ravages of inflammation. Ohio State University researchers recently reviewed data from over 160,000 women, mean age of 63, collected over 6 years. They found that:

  • Women whose diet ranked highest in anti-inflammatory food components lost significantly less bone density as they aged than those with high intake of pro-inflammatory foods  (even if they had lower bone density at baseline).
  • Higher intake of anti-inflammatory food groups was associated with an almost 50% reduction in hip fracture risk among the subset of Caucasian women younger than 63.

How do I change my eating habits to get these benefits?

I know what your next question will be: How do I change my eating habits to get these benefits? The simplest way to start is to look for anti-inflammatory foods to add to your diet (see below), and think about ways to eliminate pro-inflammatory foods (below) from your regular diet. My Alkaline for Life diet is helpful in this regard, since most of the foods it recommends are anti-inflammatory.

 

 

fecal transplants and your health

The straight poop on fecal transplants

It’s so easy to think that our high-tech, modern culture means we understand the laws of nature and know more than our ancestors.

When it comes to maintaining health, however, this is not necessarily true.

I’m often struck by the wisdom of ancient cultures, and every day modern science validates this wisdom, be it a new appreciation for acupuncture, or scientific support for time-honored herbal preparations, or even documentation of benefit for strange practices like bloodletting (which we now know can be very therapeutic), and, yes, fecal transplants.

If you’re interested in just what all the talk about common, everyday poop might mean for you, tune into on my humorous and informative interview with Martie Whittenkin, CCN, author of The Probiotic Cure.

Watch the video now

 

Here’s more about fecal transplants . . .

As gross as it sounds, treating disease with fecal matter (a practice documented in 4th-century Chinese medical literature as well as WWII-era observations of Bedouin nomads) has been used for centuries to treat many gastrointestinal disorders.

Recently, modern science has found that a simple fecal transplant — and yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like: taking poop from one person and putting it into someone else — has the capability to cure an intestinal infection that is widespread and that can be fatal: Clostridium difficile. Now, this is big news! And it’s interesting because it reminds us of the essential and varied roles our microbiome (the “good bacteria” we carry with us) plays in human health.

Curing of Clostridium difficile in humans is amazing, but it could be just the beginning. Animal studies have been pushing the envelope on just what we can “import” from a fecal transplant.  For example, fecal microbiota from a fat mouse transplanted into a thin mouse resulted in the skinny mouse gaining weight. Even more interesting: shy, fearful mice became more aggressive and competitive after a fecal transplant from a very aggressive, competitive mouse.

 

6 fall tips for better digestion

 

As the days get shorter and colder, I load my wood stove to keep myself warm. And I stoke my “other stove” as well — my digestion. It’s the “burner” of our physical body that miraculously transforms food into energy to keep us strong during the long winter.

Try my 6 tips for strengthening digestion:

  1. Fall is when we transition from light, raw summer salads to more substantial, hot, cooked foods like soups, stews baked and roasted dishes that warm both the house and our digestion. Cooked fall fruits make a great dessert. Try the Apple oat and nut muffin recipe below.
  2. Sip warming teas like fresh ginger root tea and my favorite toxin-busting cardamom, fennel, ginger tea. You can always just drink hot water after your meals too. If that doesn’t seem appealing, I challenge you to try it for just one week. I suspect you’ll make it a regular habit because it feels so good.  Let me know!
  3. Warming spices and herbs not only provide antioxidants, but also warm and enhance digestion. Turmeric and ginger root are my favorites, but cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, mustard seed, red and black pepper are close behind. Try using more of these spices in your everyday cooking.
  4. Eating a larger lunch and an earlier, lighter dinner allows digestion to be complete before going to bed and making for a more successful and restful sleep-repair stage.
  5. Even if your meal is simple, enjoy the food in peaceful surroundings. Take time to chew well and savor different tastes. Just last night, I prepared a quick one-pan meal and enjoyed it while watching the sunset.
  6. One day a week, give your digestion a rest and eat only easy-to-digest liquid foods like soups, smoothies, and juices (made with warm water), protein shakes, pureed foods and plenty of hot water.

Apple oat and nut muffins recipe

From The Amazing Acid Alkaline Cookbook

Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients:
1 1/3 cups light spelt flour (option: gluten-free flour)
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cup Sucanat sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup finely chopped peeled apples
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
½ cup finely chopped and shelled raw pumpkin seeds, unsalted cashews or macadamia nuts
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup melted clarified butter
¼ cup rice syrup

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat a 12-cup muffin pan with vegetable oil or clarified butter, or use a silicone muffin pan or paper liners, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and baking soda. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the apples, milk, pumpkin seeds, applesauce, butter and rice syrup. Mix well with a spoon until blended.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  6. Let the muffins cool in the pan for no more than 2 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

 

How to minimize the damage of toxic metals

5 tips to protect bone from toxic metal damage

No matter how we may try to eat “clean,” our food, water, and environment brings us a serious load of toxic metals — lead, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium.

Lead and cadmium, for example, are “tucked away” in the skeleton to limit damage to the rest of the body — but bone cells are damaged during storage. Worse, during periods of high bone breakdown, such as menopause, in pregnancy and lactation, or excessive weight loss, they are freed up to injure other body systems.

That’s why it’s so critical to do what you can to reduce toxic metals in your body. Here’s what I recommend:

1. Get enough alkalizing nutrients

Chronic low-grade metabolic acidosis makes toxic metals more toxic. Alkalizing nutrients help reduce uptake and enhance excretion of toxic metals. Many of the best detoxification allies are also key bone-building nutrients:

  • Calcium can help limit your absorption of both cadmium and lead. Maintain a calcium intake of 1200 mg a day —more if pregnant or lactating.
  • Zinc is an essential mineral in key toxic metal–removing compounds called “metallothioneins.” Most folks should get at least 15 to 30 mg zinc daily.
  • Magnesium deficiency encourages uptake of toxic minerals. Strive for 500–800 mg magnesium a day.
  • Vitamin C is important for successful detoxification and binding of the average daily toxic metal exposure. Take at least 2000 mg of ascorbate (vitamin C) daily.

All of these nutrients are included in my Better Bones Builder supplement.

2. Limit exposure

You can’t avoid toxic metals altogether, but you can drink pure spring or filtered water, breathe clean air, and avoid products contaminated by heavy metals (such as some seafood, dental “silver” amalgams) to limit exposure.

3. Focus on the “toxic metal–buster foods”

Consume “super foods” high in available sulfur, including garlic, onions, ginger, eggs, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. Such foods enhance production of glutathione, a key antioxidant. Also, high fiber foods help the body bind and excrete toxic metals. Set a goal to consume 30 g of fiber a day.

4. Remember the beneficial bacteria

Microbes (probiotics) in the gut play important roles in protecting you from toxic metal absorption. For example, Lactobacillus microbes can sequester arsenic, lead, and cadmium from the environment. Eat fermented foods and take probiotics daily.

5. Water, air, exercise

Drink several glasses of pure water a day, relax, and breathe deeply several times a day, and exercise often to a light sweat.

As you can see, there’s a lot you can do – right now – to start limiting the effects of toxins on your bone!

What are your favorite ways to detoxify?

 

References:

Engström, A., K. Michaëlsson, M. Vahter, B. Julin, A. Wolk, and A. Åkesson. 2012. Associations between dietary cadmium exposure and bone mineral density and risk of osteoporosis and fractures among women. Bone 50(6):1372–1378.

Gulson, B. L., K. R. Mahaffey, K. J. Mizon, M. J. Korsch, M. A. Cameron, and G. Vimpani. 1995. Contribution of tissue lead to blood lead in adult female subjects based on stable lead isotope methods. Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine 125(6):703–712.

Jaffe, R. 2013. Ascorbate/vitamin C: Effective removal of toxic metals. Presented at International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, June. Available: https://youtu.be/TM_z-cMYplc.

Khalil, N., J. A. Cauley, J. W. Wilson, E. O. Talbott, L. Morrow, M. C. Hochberg, T. A. Hillier, S. B. Muldoon, and S. R. Cummings. 2008. Relationship of blood lead levels to incident nonspine fractures and falls in older women: The study of osteoporotic fractures. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research 23(9):1417–1425.

Sears, M. E. 2013. Chelation: Harnessing and enhancing heavy metal detoxification—A review. Scientific World Journal, Article ID 219840. DOI: 10.1155/2013/219840.

Symanski, E. and I. Hertz-Picciotto. 1995. Blood lead levels in relation to menopause, smoking, and pregnancy history. American Journal of Epidemiology 141(11):1047–1058.

Can parsley reduce cancer risk?

Research suggests parsley has anti-cancer effects

 

You’ve heard me say “better bones = better body” — but the reverse is also true! If you take care of your body, you’re by default improving your bone health.

One fascinating example is parsley, which turns out to be a simple herb with not-so-simple effects.

We hear a lot about “cancer-fighting foods” but parsley always seems to be overlooked. While most people use it as a garnish, several studies suggest it may have anti-cancer effects as well.

Here’s what the research says about parsley and cancer:

  • Parsley contains a flavone called apigenin, which recently was discovered to suppress an enzyme complex called IKKα. Without going into the complicated details, IKKα is used by cancerous cells to support their reproductive cycle, so in suppressing it, apigenin helps prevent cancer cells from reproducing themselves.
  • Many different vegetables and herbs contain apigenin, but it’s especially plentiful in parsely. A cup of chopped, raw parsley has about 180 mg of apigenin, which is 18 times the dose used in a German clinical trial that found that a mix of apigenin and EGCg (an ingredient in green tea) could help prevent recurrence of colon cancer.
  • Another study in prostate cancer cells found that apigenin shut down progression of cancer.

An important note: a third study found some drawbacks when used with chemotherapy drugs often used to treat leukemia — which means people who are actively getting treated for cancer probably shouldn’t add apigenin-containing foods to their diet.

For the rest of us, though, the lowly parsley plant represents an opportunity to give our body some support. It doesn’t take much — parsley has so much apigenin, a tablespoon or so a day is equivalent to the dose in the study. So just add a little tabbouleh to your sandwich for some alkalizing, anti-cancer punch!

 

References:
Hoensch H, Groh B, Edler L, Kirch W. Prospective cohort comparison of flavonoid treatment in patients with resected colorectal cancer to prevent recurrence. World J Gastroenterol. 2008;14(14):2187-2193.

Ruela-de-Sousa RR, Fuhler GM, Blom N, Ferreira CV, Aoyama H, Peppelenbosch MP. Cytotoxicity of apigenin on leukemia cell lines: implications for prevention and therapy. Cell Death and Dis. 2010;1(1):e19. doi:10.1038/cddis.2009.18.

Shukla S, Kanwal R, Shankar E, et al. Apigenin blocks IKKα activation and suppresses prostate cancer progression. Oncotarget. September 2015. DOI: 10.18632/oncotarget.5157

Forest bathing: Healing in nature

With Japan ranking #1 in life expectancy — while the U.S. ranks 34th — I am fascinated by Japanese health innovations. One I love the most is called “forest bathing” (Shinrin-yoku).

What is forest bathing?

Forest bathing is the simple act of taking time to enjoy the forest with all of one’s senses in order to decrease harmful stress.

Leave electronics behind and just let your senses explore nature. You can listen to a babbling stream, inhale the many forest fragrances, note the breeze on your face, touch the bark of a tree and focus on the many striking colors and shapes you’ll see.

Breathe deeply with intention. Japanese researchers suggest a major benefit of forest bathing comes from inhaling the aromas of essential oils.

What are the benefits of forest bathing?

The “Japanese Society of Forest Medicine” has thoroughly documented the multi-faceted health benefits of spending time in the woods. These include raising cancer-fighting NK killer cells, increasing vigor, improving sleep and DHEA levels, as well as reducing cortisol, anxiety, blood pressure, depression and anger. Plus, if this restful activity reduces stress hormones as much as it seems, it will help build bone also.

Planning your forest bathing

Summer is a great time to “forest bathe” and submerge yourself in the beauty of nature renewing itself. Here are some guidelines to get started:

Make your plan based on your current daily physical activity and do not get tired during the forest bathing. This is a restful, mindful stroll in the forest, not a cardiovascular workout.

If you take a whole day, try spending 4 hours in the forest and walking about 3 miles.

If you take half a day, try spending 2 hours in the forest and walking about 1.5 miles.

Drink if you feel thirsty and sit down to rest or read in a beautiful spot.

If you want to boost your immunity, a 3 day/2 night bathing trip is recommended. Research shows that the increase in NK cells persists for 30 days after this forest bathing.

If you can’t make it to a forest, the Japanese researchers say a 2 hour walk in a city park with good tree density can significantly boost vigor and decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression. Please let me know your experience with forest bathing!

 

References:

Quig Li et al., Acute effects of walking in forest environments on cardiovascularv and metabolic parameters. European Journal of Applied Physiology, Nov. 2011, V.111, Issue 11: 2845-2853

Bum Jin Park et al., The physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere of forest bathing): evidence for field experiments in 24 forest across Japan, Environmental Health Prev Med.2010 Jan;15(1):18-26.

Top bone health blog topics you requested for 2016

A big thanks to each one of you in the Better Bones Blog community who took the time to complete our first ever survey!

To my great pleasure, more than a thousand of you sent us your thoughts and suggestions about what you find useful and how to best move forward with the Better Bones blog. Here are some of the major points that jumped out at me that will help guide my blog writing this year:

Your top 5 areas of interest

I will definitely be writing more blogs about new bone health research — which was a favorite topic for an amazing 72% of readers.

1. New bone health research
2. Exercise
3. Successful aging
4. Special bone health concerns of thin women
5. Alkaline diet

If you would like to get even more frequent updates on research, you can always like the Better Bones Facebook page where I post daily.

You’ve got great ideas

I read with great interest all the 125 topic comments and suggestions for additional topics. Here are just a few of your ideas that caught my eye:

• Menopause and bone
• Bone concerns for women over 75
• Osteoporosis in men
• Loss of cartilage
• What negatively affects bone health
• Anxiety
• Inflammation and the effect on bones
• Functional medicine
• Essential nutrients
• Absorbability of various forms of calcium, magnesium, other minerals
• Why would bone breakdown be elevated?

You like recipes too!

As so many of you said you liked recipes, here’s a fun St. Patrick’s Day cabbage recipe to accompany corned beef. While it is impossible to make corned beef alkaline, that’s OK—we need 60 grams of protein a day for strong bones. Cabbage, the typical St. Patty’s Day corned-beef companion, however, is highly alkalizing and here is a tasty variation. And for the Irish green, why not a serving of lightly steamed baby kale sprinkled with apple cider vinegar!

St. Patrick’s Day cabbage recipe

Ingredients
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• ½ head green cabbage, cut into 4 wedges
• 1 pinch garlic powder, or to taste
• 1 pinch red pepper flakes, or to taste
• salt and ground black pepper to taste
• 2 lemons, halved

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C).
2. Brush both sides of each cabbage wedge with olive oil. Sprinkle garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper over each wedge. Arrange wedges on a baking sheet.
3. Roast in the preheated oven for 15 minutes; flip cabbage and continue roasting until browned and charred in some areas, about 15 minutes more. Squeeze lemon over each wedge.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2016 Allrecipes.com
Printed From Allrecipes.com 2/19/2016

What stood out to me about the survey results?

Finally, you are an impressive group when it comes to your commitment to finding natural solutions to bone health issues — no matter what! For example, many of you asked for information about “how to scientifically and knowledgeably argue back to doctors who push big pharma drugs and use scare tactics to do so” or “Find a way to educate physicians. When there is a bone problem for aging women they prescribe Fosamax®.”

Empowering women like you to make the best choices for their own bone health is one of my life-long goals. Based on my experience, creating bone health without drugs is possible and I will continue to provide you with the information you need to do so. Thank you again for everything you do to help me make that possible.

All the best,
Susan