No “one size fits all” approach for bone health

I recently had a conversation with a woman in her 40’s who insisted that I list for her the top three things she should avoid for better bone health.

Camel burdens

I told her that while I could certainly tell her the most common bone burdens, it would be much more effective if she could give some thought to what she feels are the greatest imbalances in her life — and then what she might do to make changes.

After all, we all have our own inner guide. When we feel good, we’re generally on the right path. And when we don’t, we often inherently understand what we need to change.

That’s why when I’m working with women, I don’t want to force them into a one-size-fits-all approach. I want them — and you — to think about the choices that make sense.

For example, if you have one cup of coffee a day and love it, well then, I’m probably not going to tell you it is a problem. However, if you tell me you drink the whole pot and feel terrible after you do it (like I do), I’ll tell you this is not a good idea!

And I’m going to ask you to start looking for ways to move away from bone-depleting routines — such as not getting enough sleep so that you “need” a pot of coffee in the morning.

I always remind women that our individual bone burden is made up of multiple factors — as you can see from the camel illustration. We’re all in different places and our lives are heading in different directions.

Anything you can remove or limit from the camel’s back will help your bones. Anything.

Take some time today to consider what your greatest individual bone burden might be. If it’s diet, stress and anxiety, lack of sleep or any other of the camel’s burdens, you can find information throughout this website to naturally improve bone health and prevent osteopenia and osteoporosis — on your own terms.


My favorite detox techniques — for the body

I am often asked what I do to detoxify. I think this has much to do with the perception that detoxification is somehow “mysterious” or “complicated” even though many of the simplest and most effective techniques have been embraced for thousands of years.

My detoxification repertoire is quite expansive. Although you might not use the same techniques as I do, I am sure each of you benefits from your own detox strategies. If you have room for one or two more, you might be inspired to try out a few of my routines.

7 simple detox tips to try now

Alkaline for Life® detox: The foundation for any sound purification program is eating life-supporting whole foods and avoiding acid-forming ingredients like sugar, sodas, caffeine, food additives, and preservatives. Identifying and eliminating foods to which you’re allergic or hypersensitive can provide dramatic benefits including better digestion, weight control, and decreased joint or muscle pain. Speaking for myself, I find elimination of gluten, corn, and most dairy brings an immediate benefit.

Drinking hot water: Drinking hot water helps support digestion and hydration, two key factors for detoxification.

Skin brushing: It is worth noting that our skin is our largest and one of the most active organs in the body. Every minute old skin cells die and new one are created. Using a vegetable fiber brush over the entire body removes dead cells and stimulates new cell growth. Brush your skin while standing on a cloth and you will notice just how many flakes of old skin are removed.

Sesame oil massage: My favorite skin practice is giving myself a full body massage with warm sesame oil just before my morning shower. This Ayurvedic practice nourishes and detoxifies the skin while calming the entire nervous system. If you want exact details on how this sesame oil massage was traditionally done, see Deepak Chopra’s book Perfect Health.

Detox mineral bath: Just add 1/2 cup each of baking soda and Epsom salts to your bath water and soak. I’ll sometimes add a few tablespoons of sesame oil if my skin feels dry. This mineral bath releases toxins from the skin and provides a relaxing environment.

Nasal lavage: Use nasal rinse at the first sign of allergy or sinus symptoms. You can buy a nasal wash spray bottle with the needed alkaline salt packet at most pharmacies, or you can make your own using ¼ tablespoon each of baking soda and non-iodized salt per 8 ounces of warm water (the mixture can be poured into your nasal passages with a neti pot or even a small teapot).

Purifying herbal teas, veggie juices, and supplemental antioxidants: Many herbs are wonderful for detoxifying the blood and bowel. I often enjoy red clover tea, a well-recognized blood purifier, and a daily juice made of fresh carrots and green vegetables to support the liver — my detox powerhouse. Additionally, I consume a good balance of the supplemental antioxidants provided in the Better Bones supplements. I also use a generously buffered ascorbate (a special alkalizing form of vitamin C) for antioxidant and detox support.

Most of what I’ve described above focuses on physical detoxification, but negative emotions can be toxic to bones and overall health, too! I have a routine to limit my exposure to toxic emotions that I’ll share with you in a future blog.

Remember, purification leads to progress, even if it is just one small step at a time!


What if modern medicine didn’t exist?

The other day I got to thinking: what would doctors do without their prescription pads? What did they used to do? With the news about pharmaceutical mislabeling, disturbing side effects, and drugs being produced contaminated laboratories,  I couldn’t help but wonder what we would do without these so-called magic bullets?

I’m not the first to notice that modern medicine has become a bit lazy. Instead of taking a good hard look at why someone may have developed high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, etc. we focus on what drug will make it go away — or at least make it go away on the tests and measurements we’ve created.

Many physicians and healthcare practitioners agree that diet, exercise, and stress reduction are the three big components to healing and health, but most conventional doctors aren’t taught how to implement these interventions in practice. Instead, they’re rewarded for using a drug or scheduling a procedure. It’s not the fault of our doctors or even our insurance companies. We’re all to blame.

Think about how things could change if we walked into our doctor’s offices asking for a natural approach to health? Maybe demanding it? I have no doubt the system would change and embrace healing rather than simply managing disease. Imagine it! We have centuries of healing practices rooted in the innate wisdom of nature and the human body to draw on. I think it’s important for us all to stop and take a moment to think about what we would do without modern health interventions.

From Chinese medicine and Ayurveda to Native American healing practices and plain old common sense, we have many more tools at our finger-tips than you may realize. Here are possible approaches to treating four common disorders in their early stages without modern medicine:
• High blood pressure (diet, exercise, stress reduction)
• Type 2 diabetes (diet, exercise, stress reduction, detox)
• High cholesterol (diet, exercise, stress reduction)
• Osteoporosis (diet, exercise, stress reduction, vitamin D and other key nutrients)

I’m sure you noticed some common themes in the suggested treatment for all four disorders. Many of my patients can agree with the fact that diet, exercise, and stress reduction are three major pillars to health and longevity, but they want specifics. In the next few weeks, I’ll be blogging on tools for a new modern medicine to offer ideas about how to use age-old healing methods and new natural health techniques in our modern lives. These blogs will attempt to answer the question we should all be asking: what if modern medicine didn’t exist?


My Better Bones approach put to the test

As some of you might know, I’m an anthropologist turned bone health nutritionist, and a recent nine-foot fall made me glad I made the career change!

So here’s the story…

susangrandmaMy move to bone health nutritionist was precipitated by three events:

(1) My beloved grandmother in the photo below fractured a hip at 101 (a sure sign of osteoporosis).

(2) I was told I had receding gums at age 36.

(3) I was told I had osteopenia (both of the latter being my own personal early warning signs of osteoporosis).


These events motivated me to comprehensively rethink the true nature of osteoporosis, and to develop the Better Bones, Better Body Program®. Confident in my approach, I followed my own Better Bones approach over the years, and I found out three weeks ago that it really paid off.

As I reached the roof of a house I was inspecting, my “foldable ladder” folded on me. In an instant, I fell nine feet to the ground, landing full force on my right shoulder and back.  Even now, three weeks later, I shudder when I think of the fall.

While I suffered a concussion, whip lash and needed several stitches where the unfaithful ladder hit me, I did not break a single bone. I was honestly amazed (and very pleased). Sure, I suspect my guardian angels helped me a bit, but I also credit my long-term Better Bones philosophy with the building and maintenance of strong bones. As they say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

You can bet I’ll never use that ladder again, and you can bet I’ll stay with my Better Bones approach! For more information on strengthening your bones, read my article on a natural approach to osteoporosis and bone health.


Bones, not Botox

I was amused by a story presented on NPR about how plastic surgeons were just discovering that part of the reason our faces sag as we age is because the bones of our face, particularly the jawbone and eye sockets, deteriorate over time. If you understand how bones change as we age, this is obvious! Our skulls and facial bones aren’t immune to the factors that cause us to lose bone in our arms, legs, hips, and so forth — so if you’re losing bone in any of those places, you’re losing bone in your face, too.

David Hunt, the physical anthropologist at the Smithsonian who was consulted for the story, made the point that the most important thing you can do to keep your face youthful was to take care of your teeth. Well, he’s partly right. Teeth are the “canary in the coal mine” for bone loss, and if you’ve had trouble with receding gums or lost or broken teeth, chances are pretty good you’re losing bone. But taking care of your teeth alone isn’t going to do it; you have to also take care of your jaw and the rest of your facial bones if you want to avoid sagging skin on your face.

So I say, instead of singling out the teeth for attention, why not pay attention to all your bones’ health? After all, if you halt bone loss and start building bone in the rest of your body, your facial bones will respond too. You’ll not only feel stronger and healthier, but the bones of your face will show less structural decline, which means you’ll retain a more youthful appearance. And it’s a whole lot cheaper than Botox or plastic surgery, too!



Shaw, Robert B. Jr; Katzel, Evan B.; Koltz, Peter F.; Kahn, David M.; Girotto, John A.; Langstein, Howard N. Aging of the Mandible and Its Aesthetic Implications. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: January 2010 – Volume 125 – Issue 1 – pp 332-342. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181c2a685


Welcome to the Osteo Blast (now the Better Bones Blog!)

Greetings to all,

Some of you might be wondering why you have not heard from me for several months—no newsletters, few e-mail notices. Well, over the past year I have been very busy writing numerous new articles for our redesigned web site, My goal was, and is, to produce the world’s most informative and useful website on natural bone health. I am very pleased with the new site and hope you like it too. I would love to hear your comments.

In these new articles, I’ve tried to share the many exciting developments in the field of bone health and to capture some of the things we know about bone health that are in contrast to the conventional wisdom about osteoporosis. One article that I’d like to share with you now is a summary of 10 major common myths about osteoporosis. In this article, “It’s More Than Just Thin Bone—The Top 10 Myths about Osteoporosis,” and on my entire web site, I work to sort fact from fiction, helping you to better understand the true nature, causes, and best prevention and treatment of osteoporosis and osteopenia.

It is great to be back in touch with you. I will be writing this blog every two weeks, highlighting the new science of bone health. Let me know what you think of the “The Top 10 Myths about Osteoporosis” and my new website.