3 free tools for a healthy holiday











In my home, Thanksgiving involves the gathering of family and friends for a mega cooking event — and the once-a year pie baking contest.  This year, however, we’re doing something different and going to one of our favorite local restaurants, as an act of appreciation for the many faithful cooks.

This Thanksgiving, I also want to take a moment to appreciate you, my readers.  I’m very thankful that my work gives me an opportunity to connect with you and all of the women (and some men too) on their journey to better health.  You challenge me every single day with your experiences and thoughtful questions, which I truly appreciate.

I’m also grateful for your openness to new ways of bringing health and joy into your lives.  Keeping that in mind, I invite you to try some more ideas to help you maintain wellness in body, mind and spirit this holiday season.  These simple tools below will help you prepare holiday meals, deal with the frenzy of the season or think about resolutions for the New Year.

Find Thanksgiving wellness

Choose healthy produce. Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) creates its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in produce known as the Dirty Dozen (fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residue) and the Clean Fifteen (fruits and vegetables with the least pesticide residue).   After looking at this list, you may want to include extra sweet potatoes in your Thanksgiving dinner.

Reduce worry. Many of the women I talk with feel a little out of control. Meditation is one way to relax, and also to alkalize. In this 8-minute meditation, I guide you through the Alkaline Breath Detox Exercise.

Take 10 action steps to build bone naturally. With this free booklet you can learn the same 10 steps I use with my clients at the Center for Better Bones.  I wrote this booklet to empower women who are worried about bone loss, osteoporosis or osteopenia. There’s too much information designed to create fear and self doubt, and instead I believe women should be encouraged to take positive action to increase their self care programs.  You have more power than you realize!

Sending you my warmest wishes for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.


Aging well in 2015: My 2-minute plan

boneWith the start of 2015, I’m reminded that with the passage of each year comes the opportunity to age well.

One great way to do this is with the exploration and maximization of our vast inner resources.

Below are simple techniques I’ll be using in 2015 to tone up and energize my physical, emotional, mental and spiritual dimensions.

Why not give them try?

1. Breathe with awareness — deeply and slowly.

For just 2 minutes, twice a day, create a rejuvenating state of physical, emotional and mental rest. This is your ultimate energetic and creative source. Here’s how:

• Sit quietly and breathe deeply and gently for a count of 4

• Hold for 2 counts

• Exhale for 4 counts

• Pause for another 2 counts

• Put all your attention on the in and out movement of the breath

Release any thoughts that might come to your mind and aim to experience the stillness deep within. Whatever feelings or emotions come up acknowledge them and let them go.

2. Stop and listen to what your mind is saying.

Our thoughts are powerful sources of creation and attraction. Many times, however, it appears as though “our thoughts are thinking us”, instead of us deliberately choosing our thoughts. Vibrant and healthful aging is greatly enhanced by first recognizing our chronic thought patterns, and then eventually transforming them to be truly life supporting.

3. Check into your emotional status.

Our emotions — those we acknowledge and those deeply hidden away in our psyche — are often the hidden directors of our thoughts. Sit for 2 minutes, twice daily, and ask yourself, “What am I feeling right now?” In a few days, patterns of emotions will arise. Recognizing these is the first step. Then deliberately chose a more positive emotion. Choose love over fear, forgiveness over anger, compassion over criticism or judgment, light heartedness over pessimism, possibility over limitation. Say yes to life.

Wishing you the very best this year.


2015 New Year predictions for bone health

image[1]Once again it is time to polish up my crystal ball — and I see a year filled with bone health advancements.

Better Bones Crystal Ball predictions for 2015

  1. Stress will be acknowledged as a major cause of osteoporosis.  Key researchers will publish on the topic in prestigious journals. Sorting fact from fiction, scientists will declare that one’s overall stress index outranks menopause as a major cause of bone loss.
  2. There will be a new awareness documenting how thoughts, intentions and beliefs alter gene expression.  With pure thoughts and focused attention, we will be able to turn on beneficial genes and turn off those that are not serving us.
  3. Conventional docs will break a new boundary going beyond their limited belief that just calcium and vitamin D are essential for bone health. Because of this new awareness, they will begin suggesting that their patients on bone drugs use all the 20 key bone building nutrients. (Unfortunately they’ll still be rote- recommending bone drugs for a while more).
  4. While fractures will still be common, fracture healing time will be greatly reduced as more and more people embrace the natural nutritional and lifestyle ways to speed fracture healing.
  5. Tai chi and Qi Gong will become household words on a par with yoga as the bone- threatening repercussions of poor balance and falls are fully appreciated.
  6. Every physician will realize that steroids such as prednisone cause 20% of all the osteoporosis in this country.  Knowing this, physicians will restrict their use of steroids moving instead to uncover and heal the root causes of the unwanted inflammation.
  7. Sarcopenia, that is aging muscle loss, will also become a household word as muscle loss with aging is found to parallel aging bone loss — and be just as threatening.
  8. The US Public Health Service will declare vitamin D adequacy as a national priority, and vitamin D testing will be offered to everyone at no expense.
  9. The old-fashioned concept of “caring” will return to the field of healthcare. Health professionals will begin to listen and partner with their patients in exploring individual health maximization.
  10. Today everyone knows about the detrimental effects of acid rain, within the next year everyone will become aware of the detrimental effects of excessive acidity within the human body and the oceans upon which life depends.  Given all this, new awareness widespread replenishment of alkalizing mineral compounds will become commonplace.

My best wishes for a happy and healthy 2015!


New goals for the New Year

I find it interesting how some of our most meaningful activities begin with a simple thought, this thought takes on a life of its own, and then something grand happens!

In this case, the simple thought was meeting my client Lynn while on one of my frequent trips to Myrtle Beach. But thanks to Lynn’s amazing energy and organizing powers, our “meeting” turned into an opportunity to talk with dozens of women about Better Bones.  And I think I learned just as much as they did.

I was struck by the personal stories and notable sincerity of these health-seeking women.  As I listened, I wondered what I could do better to share more information.  I found myself setting new goals for the coming year based on their top questions and concerns, which were:

  • Autoimmune disease and steroid–induced osteoporosis. A full 20% of all osteoporosis in this country is caused by the use of corticosteroids such as prednisone.  This doesn’t have to be, as there are excellent natural approaches to recovery from auto-immune disease .
  • Bone health for breast cancer survivors. Many breast cancer treatments lead to bone loss and there is a terrific need for strong, natural bone-preservation programs, as well as nutritional and lifestyle immunity-enhancement programs.
  • How worry and nervous system upset damage bone and lead to osteoporosis. For over a decade, I have noted that worry plays a big role in excess bone loss.  At the same time scientists are uncovering even more ways the nervous system interacts with bone. Many of my clients fall into the “thin and worried” category and it is to them that I will dedicate this new segment of my work.

You’ll be hearing more about all of these topics in the New Year.  Let me know if you have particular concerns or areas of interest, and I’ll be happy to answer your questions.

Oh yes, and to the gracious Lynn Krippel, I send a special note of thanks for arranging the wonderful Myrtle Beach event.


A natural approach to osteoporosis and bone health

For more than 25 years I’ve worked with men and women to strengthen their bones, even when for some, it looked as though osteoporosis would be a life sentence. It may seem easy to simply pop a pill and forget about it, but prescription medication is rarely easy on your body because there are always consequences.

The long-term negative effects of osteoporosis medications are more problematic every day. There is an alternative. The natural approach to osteoporosis and bone health is proving to be highly effective, not just for your bones but for your whole body. Here’s why:

bone healthWhat the Surgeon General recommends

In 2004, the Surgeon General provided unequivocal recommendations for protecting bone health: the first line of action is nutrition, physical activity, and fall prevention. The second tier guidelines involve assessing and treating the underlying causes of compromised bone health. I think it’s so important to note that the last resort is the use of bone drugs.

I understand that some people may need medication for serious bone disorders. Just know that even if you make the decision to take medication, adding the natural approach can provide clear, long-lasting benefits.

5 natural steps to help reduce excessive bone loss

bone health

1. Nourish your body with basic nutrients. It sounds so simple but we are living in a time when demineralized soils, overly processed food, low physical activity, and little sun exposure are the norm. We can all increase our lifespans by providing our bodies with the basic nutrients our cells need to function. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, and avoid processed foods, white flours, and refined sugars. You might also consider a high-quality multivitamin to fill in any gaps.

2. Provide your body with specific bone-building nutrients. For those who have a higher risk for bone loss, a regular multivitamin is okay but it may not be enough. There are many key bone-building nutrients with which we can supplement for improved bone health, including vitamin D and vitamin K. Research shows vitamin D reduces fractures as much or even more than the drug therapies! My own quality bone-building supplement — part of my Better Bones program — has these additional bone-supporting ingredients and more.

3. Eat an alkalizing diet. Acid-forming diets are one of the most significant problems when it comes to osteoporosis. Our diets are filled with acid-forming foods, such as large amounts of animal protein, processed foods, low-quality or damaged fats and refined sugars.

An acid-forming diet upsets the biochemistry of our bodies and leads to low-grade metabolic acidosis. Your body can’t survive long in that state so it quickly turns to the bones to help re-establish acid-alkaline balance. Bone provides alkalinizing or “base” minerals to offset the crushing acid load. This is good in the short-term because it keeps you alive, but it seriously harms bone in the long run. By including more fruits, vegetables (especially root crops), nuts, and seeds in your diet, you can significantly alkalize your diet and reduce acid in your body. The right supplements can help with this too. You can easily test your pH with an at-home test.

bone health

4. Generate stronger bone with some exercise. Our bones respond to the demands we place on them. Any form of exercise can help halt bone loss by building muscle, and extensive strength training can build bone significantly as it builds muscle. That helps you feel — and look — better. Take more walks, enroll in a yoga class, or meet with a personal trainer at your local gym.

5. Minimize your stress. Chronic stress takes a huge toll on health. Cortisol, our major stress hormone, is extremely detrimental to bone and other organs if it remains at high levels — more common than most realize! Be good to yourself — whether it’s a monthly massage or simply reading alone on the couch for an hour. Definitely seek help if you need it. You will be so glad you did.

You have real choices about bone health — make the right one for you

I encourage you to remember that your body is capable of building and strengthening bone on its own when given the needed support and time to do so. If you’re concerned about your risks of excessive bone loss, know that these natural nutritional and lifestyle changes can be powerful protectors of bone.

To help you get started, I’ve developed a comprehensive Better Bones approach for your use at-home with the same guidance I give to my clients at the Center for Better Bones.

How the study of bone health around the world led to a surprising new path to bone health

When I first started studying bone health years ago, I began to question the accuracy of the most firmly held beliefs about osteoporosis. Could the blame for poor bone health truly be traced back to a lack of calcium in our diets? Is low estrogen really responsible for the widespread osteoporosis that plagues American women? As an anthropologist, I had learned that everyone’s bones naturally thin as we age, but I was puzzled by the fact that older people in other countries have much lower rates for osteoporosis, even though they consume far less calcium than we do. I was also struck by the finding that osteoporosis is rare in certain places, like Japan, where people generally have thinner, lighter bones.

That’s how it became clear to me that dietary calcium deficits, estrogen levels, and low bone density are not the main reasons for declining bone health. These conclusions set me on a course of study which has ignited my own personal passion and prompted the quest to find the true explanation for the epidemic of osteoporosis in this country.

The natural state of bones

Most people think that osteoporosis is the breakdown, or resorption, of bone but that is only one half of the story. Though we may not be aware of it, our bones are constantly being renewed with fresh tissue which is generated to replace what has been lost through wear and damage. It’s a natural formula for give and take that is intended to maintain healthy bones indefinitely. However, when the natural balance between regeneration and breakdown is upset or disrupted, bone health deteriorates and weaknesses begin to appear in the bone structure. Unfortunately, this imbalance has become the norm among American women, and its effects extend beyond bone health to threaten our total physical condition.

Happily, the other side of the coin is that when you take steps to improve bone health, you will also create better wellness for your entire body. The philosophy behind the development of my life-supporting approach to bone health blends critical findings from years of medical, nutritional, and anthropological research. This new direction honors the infinite wisdom contained within our bodies and folds in new revelations about how our environment and the food we eat affect our bones and overall health.

Magical bodies, magical bones

When we think about our physical selves, we often consider them as a jumble of single parts: eyes, mouth, arms, legs and so on. But the truth is, we are composed of trillionsof parts, all of which must perform together seamlessly to keep us in working order. This “interconnectedness” is the key to understanding how poor health in one part of your body can quickly undermine the integrity and wellness of other areas. And so it is with the bones.

Bones may seem to be “dead” and inert, but in fact, they are living tissue, charged with many important jobs that the rest of the body relies on, including mineral storage for use in chemical processes throughout the organ systems. Our bones are transforming all the time, breaking down and then building back up. Our bodies are in tune with this type of natural process, which occurs even on a cellular level. Without this constant coordination between our internal systems, we simply couldn’t function and our physical condition would almost immediately become dire.

From the time we are born, our bones are growing and acquiring strength and density, until about the age of 30, when we generally achieve “peak bone mass.” You might assume that it’s all downhill from there, and that systematic loss of bone mass is inevitable. While it is true that the bones tend to thin and become less substantial as we get older, it is possible — and natural — to retain enough bone mass and strength to withstand the stresses and strains of daily life. This information alone confirms that, with just a little help, our bones have the capability of lasting us a lifetime.

Our most popular resources on the bones basics

  • calciumThe calcium myth
    Nutrition for healthy bones requires much more than just calcium. BetterBones.com explains the importance of 20 key nutrients for bone health.
  • drugsDo you really need a drug for your bones?
    Learn the latest on bisphosphonate drugs for osteoporosis from Women’s Health Network and Susan Brown, PhD.
  • plant20 key nutrients
    Minerals in bone health, vitamins in bone health, Recommended Dietary Allowances, Dietary Reference Intakes, bone building nutrients
  • research
    The nature of healthy bones comes from having good information about bone health. Find information on assessing your bone health.

Better bone health begins when you lighten your load

In our day-to-day routines, many of us habitually act in ways that have profound, long-term effects on our bone health — without even realizing it! Some people regularly spend an hour at the gym or go for a run in the early morning — unknowingly giving wonderful benefits to their bones. Other people routinely spend hour after hour late at night in front of a computer screen instead of sleeping, knowing that the double espresso they buy every morning will clear out the cobwebs — but completely unaware of the stresses this habit places on their skeleton. Still others exercise and get adequate rest, but work under highly stressful conditions and unwittingly deplete their bone mineral reserves by eating a quick fast-food lunch at their desk every day.

All habits, good or bad, can affect our bones

But where the bad habits are concerned, we often don’t realize that the effects are cumulative — they add up over time — or that multiple lifestyle factors can eventually form a very heavy burden on our bones. The image below, showing the burdens that lifestyle, diet, and other factors place on our bones, might be something of a wake-up call to some people!

Camel burdens

Total load model of bone-depleting factors ©2009. Please click on the image for a printable version.

To a certain extent, an otherwise healthy person can offset some of his or her unhealthy habits by eating good food and making sure to get the full spectrum of essential nutrients for bone health. But if you’ve had a fracture, a diagnosis of osteoporosis or osteopenia, or even simply reached the understanding that you need to improve your bone health, developing healthy lifestyle habits is a crucial step in the right direction.

By now, nearly everyone understands that smoking cigarettes, eating a lot of fatty, sugary foods, and drinking to excess are unhealthy habits. It’s also no secret that a sedentary lifestyle contributes to disease on all levels. Some people even recognize that stress and negative emotions — anger, resentment, fear, grief, and depression — can generate serious health problems, and indeed we find that the people most likely to have thin bones are those who are habitually worried and stressed.

The association between these unhealthy habits and emotional states has been well documented scientifically, and we’ve seen in clinical practice how they can impact bone health (see our article on the causes of osteoporosis). But even if you know you have these factors, what can you do about them? How do we change ingrained habits and emotions, particularly if they’ve been with us a long time?

A bone-building program you can live with

The first step to changing our lifestyles toward a healthier alternative is to recognize the places that need changing. The second step is to understand that it will take time and may not be easy, but if you’re committed to it, you can succeed. True lifestyle change may require months or even years of vigilance. Behavior change does not happen in one step. Rather, we tend to progress through different stages on our way to successful change. Also, each of us progresses through the stages at our own rate.If you are looking for ways to improve your bone health, our “total load model” of bone depleting factors can be helpful. Click on the image of the overloaded camel for a printer-friendly version and print it out.

Take a few minutes to look at all of the bone-depleting lifestyle factors this camel carries, and circle the ones that apply to you. These are the factors that might be affecting your bone health. Identify one factor you would like to work on first — one straw you would like to take off your “camel’s back.” Next, jot down three to five reasons why altering this lifestyle factor would be good for your bones and your entire body.

Finally, develop a simple action plan — for example, decide that, beginning today, you will walk 15 minutes twice a day, or include 1 cup of vegetables with every lunch, or lower your coffee intake to one cup a day and use green tea as an alternative beverage if you really need caffeine. Develop a simple approach that makes one change at a time and notice how empowering this feels. You will find that each small life-supporting change builds on the others to help you build bone strength the way nature intended.

Bone health tips for underweight women











I’ve talked about how women who can’t gain weight are at heightened risk of osteoporosis and fracture. Just to quickly recap, I identified 3 basic issues that I see fairly often:

  • There are those who tell me, “I eat just fine, but I just never seem to put on any weight.”
  • Others say they simply don’t get hungry or don’t feel like eating, so they skip meals. Sometimes, eating makes them feel sick, so they eat less (or less often) as a result.
  • Some say they eat well some of the time, but that they eat less when they’re under stress — and they’re under stress often.

The question now becomes, what can a woman do to address these issues?

For people who stay thin despite eating well, I look at 3 factors

First, are they really eating enough food on a regular basis, or is that simply their perception? While the average adult needs 2000-2500 calories, that’s an average; some people require more, but may not realize it — and gaining weight might simply be a matter of eating more nutrient-dense foods. I also recommend that underweight women supplement with the 20 key nutrients required for bone health, particularly if they’ve been thin most of their lives, so they can be sure those nutrients are available for bone strength.

Second, I’d consider whether a metabolic or endocrine issue could be at work. Hyperthyroidism, latent autoimmune diabetes in adults, and various other chronic disorders can prevent people from gaining weight, even when they eat well. Simple blood tests can generally uncover the presence of such health issues, which need to be addressed by a specialist.

Finally, I’d look at the possibility that they might not be absorbing the food they eat. Malabsorption syndromes and digestive issues like IBS or Crohn’s disease, have obvious symptoms attached — diarrhea, gas, bloating, pain — but others, such as celiac disease, can damage the GI tract and impair nutrient absorption capabilities, sometimes without causing any distinct symptoms related to the digestion. If I saw indications of poor nutrient absorption (dry, brittle hair and nails, for instance), I might suggest that a client ask for celiac or other GI testing, and we’d look very closely at how to boost the nutritional and caloric content of her food so she gets more of what she needs.

Suggestions for those who aren’t hungry

Those who don’t feel hungry or who don’t feel like eating usually have one of two problems. Either they have an imbalance in the “hunger hormones” that stimulate appetite (often associated with zinc inadequacy), or they simply are so rushed or busy that they habitually ignore their body’s signals that it needs food, to the point that they genuinely believe they’re not hungry even when they are! These folks benefit by taking time to acknowledge and understand their physiologic needs. I would do the following:

  1. Review their diets to make sure they are getting a full balance of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins
  2. Help them schedule their mealtimes, including time for pre-meal “appetizer” foods such as broth (warm liquids stimulate the appetite).
  3. Suggest an elimination diet or allergy testing for those who say they feel ill or uncomfortable after eating.

If anxiety or worry is prohibiting weight gain

For those who stop eating or eat less due to anxiety or stress, part of the problem is their response to anxiety and worry. For clients whose thinness is related to an anxious mind, I’d help them to learn stress-reduction techniques, and also have them focus on their intentions around eating — that is, to find ways to celebrate their meals as an affirmation of their worth. It doesn’t need to be complicated — simply saying grace before each meal, for example, can send a strong signal from the mind and spirit to the body that the food in front of you is a blessing meant to nourish you. The power of the mind should not be underestimated, and focusing it on nourishment (instead of on anxieties and worries) may be an important component of promoting healthy weight gain.

If you’re underweight, taking steps to build strong muscles, eat a nutritious diet, and reduce stress and anxiety can help you gain weight, meanwhile reducing your fracture risk.  Even if the tips outlined above don’t help you to add a single pound of weight, the bone-strengthening benefits of my Better Bones approach may make the difference in staying healthy and avoiding fractures — and isn’t that what matters in the long run?


Building Bone Strength at Any Age — Including 78!

One of the most important things about bone health is that it’s never too late to build your bone strength. That’s why I’m so happy to introduce you to Suzanne, a real-life example of how you can take charge of your bone health at any stage in your life. In Suzanne’s case, she started at age 78.

Meet Suzanne Hoffman (now age 81!)

Four years ago, Suzanne came to talk with me because she was highly concerned after recently breaking her pelvis. She had already fractured five ribs — with all these breaks during the 10 years she had been taking Fosamax. Clearly, her bone drugs were not preventing fractures. What’s more, Suzanne felt her medication might even be increasing her fracture risk, so her doctor recommended that she stop taking it. That’s when Suzanne came to me looking for a better alternative to bone drugs — and found it with my natural approach. She began to implement a personalized Better Bones Program with 20 key bone nutrients, the Alkaline for Life Diet, pH testing, and diet and lifestyle adjustments.

Here’s what happened…

With my natural approach, Suzanne actually gained some bone density in both the spine and in the hip. Her gradual increase in bone density is continuing, with her latest bone density test showing further gains. Even more important, Suzanne has not suffered any new fractures, feels strong, and is sturdier on her feet than she was four years ago.

Suzanne was wise enough to know that the average age of a debilitating neck of the hip fracture is 80 — and that she was likely headed in that direction if she didn’t make some serious changes. Indeed, she “took the proverbial bull by the horns” and made the life-supporting changes of the Better Bones Program.

Kudos to Suzanne! I encourage everyone to use her story as an inspiration to take heart and take action. As you can see, it’s never too late to improve the strength of your bones, build new bone and reduce your fracture risk.



Bone health advice from patient advocate Trisha Torrey

Empowering_w_border (2)Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing my friend and colleague Trisha Torrey. Trisha was thrown into a dramatic transformation due to her misdiagnosis of a rare form of cancer.

After struggling to get the healthcare she needed and deserved, one of the outcomes was her book, “You Bet Your Life! The 10 Mistakes Every Patient Makes.” Plus, she now works as a professional patient advocate to help others from suffering from misdiagnosis, medical errors and treatment that isn’t right for them.

When I read Trisha’s book, I was struck by how many times I see women who are devastated by a diagnosis of osteoporosis or osteopenia and told their only option is to take bone drugs. Many of them are rightfully frightened and worried. And they know in their heart there’s got to be a better way! For these women — and for all of us — Trisha’s book highlights the problems we face as patients within our healthcare system and shows us what we can do to get better care for ourselves or our loved ones.

Below is a video where Trisha and I talk more about her personal experience, as well as what she feels is most important for women who want to take control of their bone health.



If you’re interested in learning more about Trisha Torrey, her book and her work as a patient advocate, visit her site here.