Honey: Nature’s Allergy Cure?

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Springtime bring the glorious smell of flowers in bloom.  It happens every year, without fail, yet I never cease to be amazed at the persistence of nature.  I also know many of my patients suffer with seasonal allergies, so I’m mindful of preparing them early, before the itchy-sneezy season kicks in.  While there are some effective natural treatments for allergy symptoms, I’ve found (like with many ailments) prevention trumps treatment.  Conventional medicine, in my experience, does not offer much in the way of safe and effective seasonal allergy preventive strategies – but the natural world does.  One remedy, in particular, would make Winnie-the-Pooh very happy.

(CONTINUE READING IN THE DEIRDRE IMUS ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH CENTER NEWSLETTER)

Rx LOVE: Why You Need To Let People Know You Love Them

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February marks our national “Heart Month,” with Valentine’s Day smack in the middle as a reminder to love and be loved.  Of course, it just plain feels good to both give and receive, but it turns out a number of research studies have demonstrated that love is also good for your health. How so? There is a neurobiological connection between the emotional state of love and various neurohormones (e.g., oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine) associated with the following health benefits…

(Continue reading at MINDBODYGREEN)

Top 5 Books For Thriving This Winter

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Depending on where you live, winter can be a time of contraction – shorter days, less sunlight, colder weather.  It’s important to remain balanced, focusing on lifestyle strategies (e.g., nutrition, exercise, rest/relaxation) to promote optimal physical and emotional health.   One of my favorite wintertime activities is reading; curled up with a good book, by a warm fire, with nothing else to do or think about.  To help support your efforts to stay healthy and centered, here are my top 5 books to beat the winter blues.

1. Deirdre Imus – The Essential Green You!

In this book, the third volume in the terrific “Green This!” series, Deirdre shares tips on how to “green” the way you take care of yourself – the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the products you use every single day.  Motivating and practical.

2. Stephen Cope – The Great Work of Your Life

Cope, the Director of the Institute for Extraordinary Living at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, masterfully weaves real-life biographical sketches through this thoughtful examination of the Bhagavad Gita.  The Gita, an Sanskrit scripture and essential yogic text structured as a conversation between Arjuna and Krishna, covers a variety of complex theological and philosophical issues – but don’t let this scare you away!  Cope’s tale is very accessible yet profound, offering us a chance to consider our dharma – our calling – in order to live a fully present, authentic life.

3. Richard Louv – The Nature Principle

Do not let yourself suffer from Nature Deficit Disorder!  Louv, author of this follow-up to “Last Child in the Woods,” urges us to spend more time outdoors, noting, “A reconnection to the natural world is fundamental to human health.”  Read this book in between hikes in the snowy woods.

4. Brene Brown – Daring Greatly

First coming to prominence based on her folksy and provocative TED talks, “shame” researcher Brown forces us to reconsider the concept of vulnerability as a courageous path to “live wholeheartedly,” connecting with others in our lives.  As a physician, a parent and, simply, a person, I’ve found her teachings liberating, encouraging us to make peace with our imperfection.  It is our very humanity that makes us approachable and lovable – an important life-lesson we must model for our children.

5. The Arbinger Institute – The Anatomy of Peace

Struggling with conflicts at home or at work?  Who isn’t?  The think-tank that brought us the seminal “Leadership and Self-Deception” offers a road map to peace in this profoundly groundbreaking work.   The central concept – that it is our “way of being” that ultimately serves as the root of both war and peace – is embedded in a captivating tale of multigenerational, multi-family conflict between parents and children.  Read it as a story, yet consider all the while how you, in your relationships, can nurture a heart at peace.  Your life will never be the same.

(originally posted for the Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center)

5 Reasons Why Gratitude is Good for Your Health

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Gratitude: An intentional appreciation of what and who you have; an acceptance and explicit acknowledgment of what life brings you.

That’s how I define gratitude, one of the 10 words I believe everyone should live by.

We’re knee-deep in the season of gratitude. Thanksgiving, in fact, could be seen as the high holy day of gratitude practice.

(continue reading at MindBodyGreen)

“I am Thankful for…”; Answers from 7 Health Care Professionals

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I was honored to be one of several health professionals asked by athenahealth to contribute to their Thanksgiving blog post.

The question I was asked: “What are you thankful for in Healthcare?”

My answer was broad, with respect to “healthcare” with a capital “H.”  Honestly, I’m not so thankful for a lot of the administrative gobbledygook (pun intended) that we all have to deal with, but it is what it is.  However, I do have incredible gratitude for the ability to wake up, each and every morning, and bear witness to families’ lives and be inspired by special, amazing children.  All of them.

My official answer:

“I am grateful for my patients and their families, who always remind me what is truly meaningful in life. Caring for children, with the explicit goal of working together for their optimal health, keeps me firmly engaged in the present moment. For that, I am forever thankful.”

To read more, see the original post here.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Moms: Everyday Superheroes

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I had the great honor of giving the keynote address for the first Moms Meet “Wow Summit” hosted by KIWI magazine earlier this October. While I appreciated the chance to share my passion for Whole Child Medicine, the most amazing part of the experience for me was connecting with the courageous and dedicated moms who made the journey to Philadelphia from around the country. I was reminded of so many parents in my practice with whom I have the privilege of working to better their children’s health. This work has moved me previously, in one of my first posts for KIWI, to write about the courage I’ve witnessed as moms fight the fight, day in and day out, to green not only their families but their communities as well.

(continue reading at Kiwi Magazine Online)

Climate Change: The Impact On Children’s Health

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We have reached a point where there is global scientific consensus that climate change is real.  While some will debate the degree of human contribution as a cause, there is no doubt that climate change is already having a major impact on our health.

Linda Marsa, author of the compelling new book, “Fevered: Why a Hotter Planet Will Hurt Our Health—and how we can save ourselves,” skillfully connects the dots between the warming of our planet and the effects on our health.  She warns, “Protecting ourselves from this oncoming medical meltdown is the most critical issue affecting our very survival in the coming century.”

 As Deirdre Imus and I have previously written, children are most vulnerable to environmental health ills and victims of what we call “environmental injustice.”  In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Environmental Protection Agency have both published statements documenting the major impact global climate change has specifically on children’s health.

(continue reading at the Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center web site)

7 Prescriptions Every Child (And Frankly Every Adult) Needs Now

MotherAndChildWalkingTheTracks-850x400While you are doing your best to live a “MindBodyGreen” life, you’ll notice that more and more children are suffering from asthma, allergies, ADHD, autism, and autoimmune diseases like diabetes. The conventional health care solution has been to prescribe more medications, a one-ill-one pill approach that is increasingly expensive, ineffective and unsafe.

Time for a paradigm shift!

In my integrative pediatric practice, I choose instead to prescribe deceptively simple yet profoundly transformational lifestyle changes that are effective, safe and inexpensive. These solutions are truly preventive rather than reactive, helping families create health and wellness.

(continue reading at MindBodyGreen)

DIY: Make Your Own Natural Hand Sanitizer

KidWashingHandsInSink900-850x400One of my all-time favorite messages for families is: Go to your kitchen cabinet before your medicine cabinet.

That’s one I work with at the Whole Child Center and a core theme of my book, Treatment Alternatives for Children. (sidenote: all these remedies work for us big kids, too.) Some of the most amazing safe, cheap and effective treatments can be grown in your garden or found at the market rather than in the pharmacy.

A prime example is my DIY natural hand sanitizer. Modeled on the mythical “Thieves” blend of essential oils, my hand sanitizer recipe includes oils with proven anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties and adds aloe vera gel for smoothness.

(continue reading at MindBodyGreen)

10 Things I Wish Every American Knew About Health

shutterstock_59208547-850x400Despite throwing tons of money at the problem, Americans really are sicker than ever. Chronic health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, asthma, anxiety and depression are wreaking havoc with our minds, bodies and bank accounts. Our “one ill—one pill” solutions are expensive, and frequently associated with adverse effects.

What to do?

For my part, I engage families every day, counseling about lifestyle prescriptions that include nutrition, fitness, rest, and stress-coping mind-body strategies. While my patients trend towards the greener, more holistic variety (as I’m sure do all you MBG readers), I find I’m revisiting the same themes in my quest to helps folks create a healthier life.

So here they are, the top 10 things I wish every American knew about health. Spread the word and put me out of business. I’ll happily spend more time doing yoga.

(continue reading at MindBodyGreen)