Dr. Brad’s Reading List for Health and Life

19 04 2013

The following post is from my mother’s doctor in Seattle. He has cancer and has created a website to communicate to his patients what he’s doing to treat his cancer, etc. What a great reading list he has compiled about food, health, and cancer. I think there is something here for everybody who wants to find ways to lead a healthier life, but especially for people who are fighting cancer. I have created a list of the books with links at the end of the post to make it easier to check out the book or books you might be interested in or to order them if you are interested. I was especially pleased to see Forks Over Knives on his list – a little validation for what I have been discovering and that he also uses a Blendtec blender (can get at Costco for about $329). ūüôā He closes his post with some words of wisdom about how to lead a full, happy, healthy life. I wish Dr. Brad all the best! If you would like to learn more about Dr. Brad, here is the link to his Caring Bridge page:

Dr. Brad’s Post:

Written Apr 11, 2013 12:14pm

People have been curious about what health measures Krista and I have been taking in addition to chemotherapy and following doctor’s orders.  There have been many changes around here and sharing them is likely to be of help to others.  Had I started along this road earlier, I would probably be a healthier person today.  I have historically had a deep interest in cancer and cancer research.  In medical school I spent two summers working on the cancer research ward and clinic at Yale Medical Center.  My medical school advisor was a Pediatric Oncologist, and we spent a lot of time together on the hospital wards of children with cancer.  I actually came flirtingly close to becoming an oncologist but decided that practicing general medicine would bring a greater variety of experiences to my life.

Treating my cancer has been a multipronged approach.  I feel that dealing with such a disease is a matter of using all modalities at your disposal and being open to alternatives from multiple sources.  A recent and well written book, The Emperor of all Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjea, gives an overall history of cancer that is very helpful at putting cancer into perspective. The author points out time and time again that cancer treatment should be creative and flexible.

There have been dramatic changes in my life since my diagnosis, and the biggest changes are around food choices.   The book, The China Study: Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-Term Health by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell, is a real eye opener for starters.  Watching the documentary, Forks Over Knives, also presents a lot of nutritional information that is not yet common knowledge.   I have seen enough patients with gluten sensitivity and other issues associated with wheat that reading Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health written by William Davis makes for interesting, informative reading.  Another book, Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal, is startling and makes one look at food choices very carefully.

Our Blentec three-horsepower blender has become a standard feature in our kitchen.¬†¬†Eating a wide variety of bona fide organic vegetables and fruits – seeds, skin, and all ‚Äď is our primary goal.¬†¬†We eat them raw, lightly steamed, and blended, and the majority of our meals are vegetarian.¬†¬†We are fortunate to live in Seattle where it is possible to buy almost everything organic.¬†¬†There are three books written by Qigong master, Jeff Primack, that have helped us better understand the healing qualities of natural foods:¬†Conquering Any Disease: the Ultimate High-Phytochemical Food Healing System;¬†¬†Food-Healing, Cooking with Qi; and¬†Smoothie Formulas,¬†Specific Foods For Specific Diseases. (These are available at AbintraWellness@mac.com.) There is clearly some trial and error involved in finding healthy recipes that taste good enough to eat. Fortunately, we have found a number of immune boosting smoothies that I actually like!!¬†¬†Krista has been inspired by¬†Eat to Live¬†by Joel Fuhrman, M.D. and has found dozens of delicious vegetarian recipes at¬†www.drfuhrman.com/library/recipes.aspx.¬†¬†A family member dealing with breast cancer sent us a cookbook,¬†The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen¬†by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, which is full of tasty recipes.¬†¬†¬†Our copy came complete with tags on her favorite tried-and-true recipes. (God bless you, Carol!!)

Regrettably, we live in an age of countless chemical additives and fast food traps, BUT we can educate ourselves and make wiser choices about what we bring into the house and what we eat on a regular basis.  These changes can happen incrementally over time, but we can no longer ignore the link between disease and how we eat. I have given up caffeine and carbonated beverages, but I was relieved to see several good studies showing that the occasional glass of Pinot Noir has an excellent antioxidant effect. With that in mind, going for higher quality wine and less quantity seems to be the right balance.

Three other books I have found very interesting:

Perfect Health: The Complete Mind Body Guide by Deepak Chopra MD.  This book was recommended by the High Voodoo Priestess of New Orleans and I was unwilling to mess with her recommendations.

Anti cancer: A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD. This is a true story written by a thoughtful physician and scientist who has had cancer several times.  He has a lot to say and writes well.  He also agrees with the healthful effects of red wine so he is my kind of guy.

The Quantum Doctor: A Quantum Physicist Explains the Healing Power of Integral Medicine by Amit Goswami PHD.  I saw this adorable man speaking on Channel 9, and I think he is onto something.  He feels that with a conscious, integrative perspective there need be no conflict between using standard allopathic medicine and other modalities of alternative medicine.

If you do all of this: love and appreciate your family and friends, find meaning in life, exercise on a daily basis, get enough rest, follow doctor’s orders, and eat wisely, then general health is certainly fostered and cancer cells will hopefully remain in check or disappear altogether!

Be well!

Dr. Brad

Dr. Brad’s Reading List

The Emperor of all Maladies: A Biography of Cancer: http://www.amazon.com/The-Emperor-All-Maladies-Biography/dp/1439170916/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1366420821&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=The+Emperor+of+all+Maladies%3A+A+Biography+of+Cancer+by+Siddhartha+Mukherjea

The China Study:

Forks Over Knives:

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health:

Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal:

Conquering Any Disease: the Ultimate High-Phytochemical Food Healing System:

Cooking with Qi:

Smoothie Formulas, Specific Foods For Specific Diseases:

Eat to Live:

The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen:

Perfect Health: The Complete Mind Body Guide:

Anti cancer: A New Way of Life:

The Quantum Doctor: A Quantum Physicist Explains the Healing Power of Integral Medicine:

My Acupuncture Story

12 03 2012

I’m writing today about acupuncture because it’s something I’m doing regularly right now and thought I would share my experience. If you have chronic pain and are having trouble getting relief with traditional medicine, acupuncture may be an alternative treatment to consider.

My Story

A year ago January I was on a small airplane and when I got up to exit the plane, I had sharp pain in my lower back. I took a lot of ibuprofen, stretched, applied heat and ice, and went snow skiing anyway! Haha. My lower back did get better, but then the pain shifted to my right glute – I had sharp pain especially when I had to bend over to pick up something. I could feel it pulling. Over the course of the next couple months, the pain in my lower back and glutes started to move around from the right to the left to the lower back and back again. I did stretches (the yoga stretch “pigeon” really targeted the “spot”), I sat on a heating pad, I took ibuprofen and muscle relaxers, I had massages – I could never get it to “release”. In fact, during the Spring tennis season, I could feel my glute muscles seizing and twisting while I was on the court in the middle of a point. It was pretty painful, too.

At about that time, I learned that statins can cause muscle pain and damage. I said to myself, “That must be what’s causing my chronic muscle pain.” So, I went off my statin over the summer. I did not experience any relief or improvement during that time – in fact, the pain continued to get worse. By July, when I bent over to get something out of the fridge or pick up something off the floor, I couldn’t straighten up easily and had significant pain in my right leg in the quad (in front). I’d have to slowly work my way upright by stretching my lower back with my hands on my knees, and then rub my quad to get completely upright again.

In August, I got my blood tested – my cholesterol had gone up again. Since I had not experienced any improvement while I was off the statin, I went back on it. Still, I was at my wits’ end with the constant pain.¬†My friend Kim Quinn told me about the acupuncture treatments she’d been getting and had experienced pain relief, so I decided to give it a try.

OMG! In the first session, I could feel my glute muscles twitching all over the place and reacting to the needles.¬†Within a week of my first acupuncture appointment in August, my quad muscles started to release. By the second and third sessions, my glutes were releasing and I felt I was at about 75%. I couldn’t believe that I could bend over, touch the ground, and stand back up again without tons of pain. I would realize with a start that I had gone hours without thinking about pain! After two months (going once a week), I was at 90% in regards to pain and mobility. Now,¬†I’m at about 95% (still have some occasional radiating pain in my lower back and glutes). I go days and days without thinking about the pain in my butt! I love it! On the tennis court, I continue to have to relieve tension in my lower back periodically by bending over with my hands on my knees and stretching my glutes, but overall, I feel fantastic. I never want to get in that condition again so I get acupuncture about every 3 weeks to stay tuned up.

In November, when I started this blog and learned more about the harmful side effects of statins, I went off my statin for good. I’m convinced it caused all my muscle problems. So, with being off the statin, changing my diet, and continuing with regular acupuncture appointments (every 3 weeks or so), I’m hoping my muscles will eventually repair and heal.

There is a lot of information on the web about acupuncture. I have attempted to distill it at a basic level, but have provided links to various websites so that you can learn more about it should you be curious.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is thousands of years old and is thought to have originated in China. The basic theory is that the body is regulated by an energy called “qi” (chee) which flows through the body along pathways called meridians. The flow can be interrupted or blocked by disease or injury. Using thin metal needles at specific acupuncture points on the body along the meridians, the flow is released¬†and the body’s qi rebalances and restores harmony. If you’ve ever seen an acupuncture chart, you can see that there are many meridians running through the body and hundreds of specific identified points for various aches, pains, and diseases.

My acupuncturist is Sarah Shupe (see link). When she puts the needles in, it does not hurt. However, if she hits a hot spot, the muscle may jump or the inflamed part may hurt initially, but it goes away. When she comes in after 15 minutes to turn the needles, I’ll sometimes feel another muscle jump or it will pulsate. Usually, I take a nap.

This website is a basic, thorough discussion of what acupuncture is and what to expect: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/acupuncture/MY00946

The Benefits of Acupuncture

When performed correctly, acupuncture is perfectly safe and there are very few side affects.¬†Acupuncture is most commonly known for its ability to help relieve pain. Acupuncture can help relieve low back pain, sciatica pain, osteoarthritis pain, and headaches and migraine pain. Additional benefits of acupuncture are faster recovery from injuries, improved circulation, relief from symptoms of stress, and improved circulation. Acupuncture can also strengthen the immune system enabling people to better withstand colds, flu, and minor infections. It is also becoming more common to help relieve post-surgical nausea and can help patients feel more vital and “normal” sooner. Also, you’re not popping a pill.

Of course you can’t talk about the benefits without mentioning the risks. If you have a bleeding disorder or are on blood thinners, you should check with your doctor. There can be some bleeding, bruising, and soreness where the needles are inserted. Also, a good, qualified acupuncturist will always use new needles – unsterilized needles can cause infection. In very rare instances, a needle may break and damage an internal organ or if inserted deeply in to the chest or upper back, it could collapse a lung.


Science of Acupuncture

Whereas I am happy and satisfied with my faith in acupuncture working wonders, there are inquisitive minds that want to know exactly “how” acupuncture works.¬†What is the science? What are the chemical reactions? Is it a placebo effect? Why do some “fake” acupuncture treatments get the same results? There have been some studies that have tried to answer these questions. They are actually quite interesting. I have provided the links below. There are also opinion articles around that claim acupuncture is a bunch of quackery – a majority of these articles are fairly dated, so I have ignored them. The third link below is a major discussion and clarification of rumors of Chinese using acupuncture anesthesia – in case you’ve heard about open-heart surgery using only acupuncture for anesthesia (not true).


Your Story

If you have an acupuncture story you would like to share, please post it in comments. We can all learn from each other!

Getting Started on My Health Discovery Journey

23 11 2011

Greetings Friends and Family!

I am very excited to have started this blog. There is so much I am learning and have to say, but I must start at the beginning. So, I will tell you how and why I got inspired to not only go on this health kick journey but also to include you all along the way.

For years my cholesterol was high but stable. The doctors didn’t like it but they left me alone. Then the year I started weightlifting (don’t know if there’s a relationship), it went up 40 points! Although I’d been resisting going on a statin, I finally did it. That was about 5 years ago. This past year, I have felt a lot of pain around my hips. In the spring, I heard about statins causing muscle problems, so I went off it for about 3 months. I didn’t feel better and my cholesterol went up, so in August I went back on it again. Then, during a recent business trip, my friend Peggy Lockard turned me on to Dr. Sherry Rogers and her philosophy of medicine and holistic treatments. We talked so much about alkaline water, health, vitamins, nutrition, etc. It was so interesting. Then, she handed me Dr. Rogers’ book, “Is Your Cardiologist Killing You?”, and it was like getting hit with a lightening bolt with everything she wrote about statins (poison the liver’s natural ability to make cholesterol, lowers zinc, depletes Vitamin E, lowers CoQ10, etc.) and that while they reduce heart attacks by 30% they also increase incidence of other disease by 30%. I will write more in detail about statins in a later posting. Suffice to say, I have gone off the statins. By the way, Cutler has gone off his statins, too! So he is doing this with me.

Detoxify or Die

I have ordered many of Dr. Rogers’ books: Is Your Cardiologist Killing You?, The Cholesterol Hoax, The High Blood Pressure Hoax, Pain-Free in 6 Weeks, Wellness Against All Odds, and her first book, Detoxify or Die. This book is about 9 years old, but covers¬†good information about vitamins, her detox cocktail, etc. She talks a lot about chemicals (in the air, water, carpet, shower, etc.) and it is still relevant. Basically, if you can eat healthily, take the nutrients and vitamins, and detoxify regularly, you will keep the chemicals in your body to a minimum thereby holding off cancer and other chemical-induced disease.

Top Doc

I have also consulted with our doctor in Maine, Ben Newman (and will continue to do so). He is a retired Navy Surgeon and he believes in holistic medical practices, too, including acupuncture. He has given me lots of guidelines on vitamins and nutrients to take as well and is very supportive of what I am starting.

The Reason for the Blog

Through good eating and taking vitamins and nutrients, etc.,¬†I¬†am determined¬†to lower my cholesterol naturally.¬†Turns out, I think I will also be putting myself on the road to perpetual good health in general as well. The information that I am learning is so powerful, I feel a moral responsibility to share it with you. For some of you this will be old news, and I have been aware over the years of a lot of this stuff, but for the most part I haven’t taken action and I am learning a lot of new information. Obviously, I don’t know your individual health situation, but I do know we are all attacked daily by chemicals, pollutants, and prescription meds and I feel everybody should have good information ¬†to live the healthiest life possible.

Upcoming Topics

There are so many things to write about. Initially, if you sign up for my blog, you’ll probably get email postings fairly often as I am learning a lot and want to get the info out. I’ll slow down – I promise. But I’ll be covering topics such as magnesium, Vitamin D3, alkaline water, cod liver oil, acupuncture, canola oil, aspartame, CoQ10, DHA, Dr. Rogers’ detox cocktail, Niacin, food, Vitamin E, juicing and whatever else I learn about on my Health Discovery Journey!

So, WELCOME, and I hope you sign up and learn along with me!