Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Assessment of Liver Toxicity Cases Associated with Black Cohosh Concludes Lack of Causality

In the past several years, there have been numerous reports of possible liver toxicity associated with the use of various preparations made from black cohosh (Actaea racemosa, Ranunculaceae, syn. Cimicifuga racemosa), popular for treating symptoms associated with menopause.

Although some regulatory agencies and related bodies have reviewed these cases and have announced some preliminary cautions (for example the European Medicines Agency [EMEA]), critical analyses have questioned the causality of such cases.

Pharmacoepidemiological experts from the Teaching Hospital of the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University of Frankfurt/Main, Hanau, Germany, analyzed case reports which regulators have previously considered "possible" or "probable" in causality with black cohosh.

After analyzing 4 cases:


The clinical analysis and structured causality assessment reveal that in one patient there was no valid evaluation possible due to lack of basic information and the remaining 3 cases had no convincing evidence that the liver diseases were caused by black cohosh. These 3 patients were all treated with steroids for acute drug-induced hepatocellular jaundice and fulminant liver failure. The authors note that there is no evidence of steroids’ benefiting this condition, and that since early antiviral therapy is necessary for herpetic liver disease, steroid therapy should not be considered unless all viral causes have been safely excluded. It is fascinating that the reanalysis of the data showed that the EMEA drew inaccurate conclusions. Vigorous causality assessments using a diagnostic algorithm are essential to determine causality for any severe adverse event.

Click Here to download the complete article review from HerbClip, the American Botanical Council.

©
2009 Teschke R, Schwarzenboeck A. Suspected hepatotoxicity by Cimicifugae racemosae Phytomed. rhizome (black cohosh, root): Critical analysis and structured causality assessment. 2009;16: 72-84: http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbclip/372/review020591-372.html

GIY gardening makes for good nutrition and fun

Most of us have a general idea of what the term organic means. We’ve seen the labeling on grocery store products and know that it is “a good thing.” But, beyond knowing that we want to be healthy and feel good, what do we want from our organics?

This question was the focus of a community wellness workshop about organic gardening and standards attended by about 30 people at the Australasian College of Health Sciences in Portland, Oregon, March 21. During the three-hour, free community workshop, Master Gardener and Senior Vice President Erika Yigzaw, repeatedly asked the audience, “Why organic?” Participants shared some of the expected, such as: to protect the environment, to reduce dependence on GMO (genetically modified organism) crops, to save money.

But, as Yigzaw pointed out, there is a bit of unexpected practicality too. Since the end of WWII and the use of victory gardens, subsequent generations have become more and more removed from the garden. This growing dependence on outside food suppliers has also created a gap in education. If we no longer know where our food comes from, we can no longer make informed decisions about health and nutrition. A solution, Yigzaw emphasized, is going organic, gardening within your means. Meaning, you don’t have to go large scale to grow your own; rather, you only need a plot large enough to grow what you can reasonably maintain and eat. (For example, with the help of seedling heat mats, apartment dwellers can start container gardens on their kitchen tables.)

Further, GIY gardening (grow-it-yourself gardening) is an important community-building activity, which teaches children about self-reliance and nutrition. As seen on the news show 60 Minutes and the March 20 New York Times article, “Obamas to Plant Vegetable Garden at White House,” Michelle Obama is making nutrition a top priority.

Evidence of her commitment to community education, Mrs. Obama publically broke ground for an organic garden on White House property, which, according to the Times, will educate children about healthy, locally grown foods “at a time when obesity and diabetes have become a national concern.”

Like Mrs. Obama, this is an effort we can easily make in our own backyards. Teaching children about grow-it-yourself gardening and the health and environmental benefits of organics (namely, synthetic pesticide free fruits and vegetables, increased nutrients, environmental protection, self reliance, cost savings, and sustainability, to name a few), is perhaps one of the greatest investments we can make in the future health of our nation.

For more information and garden-to-kitchen tips, PowerPoint presentations from the ACHS workshop can be downloaded from the Apothecary Shoppe College Store website: https://www.apothecary-shoppe.com/index.php?cPath=45.

Downloads include workshop topics: family-friendly GIY food-growing projects, seed starting, organic composting, soil requirements, health benefits of growing and eating organic, nutrition, and a presentation about organic standards, processing of organic botanicals from garden to teacup, by ACHS Master Herbalist Christina Suarez, owner of The Good Herb Company.


Upcoming ACHS community education events include: a summer kick off open house, a lavender harvesting and distillation workshop, a holistic health fair, and an herb day celebration. For specific dates, check the ACHS Community Wellness calendar: http://www.achs.edu/course-desc.aspx?pid=179&id=6.

Caring for your pets with homeopathy

Caring for pets with homeopathy is a very satisfying experience. The secret is simple: Treat your animals like people.

Your pets are part of your family. They have their own character, personality, and quirks—and individualism, it just so happens, is the foundation of homeopathy.

Yet, unlike other family members, pets cannot answer your questions while you are examining them. So, you must be very observant and sensitive to your pet’s change in appearance, attitude, and demeanor.

Establish the norm. What is your pet’s normal temperature, pulse, average number of breaths per minute, and typical appearance.

Law of Similars

The Law of Similars, or “like cures like,” is the foundation of homoepathy and a universal law of nature. Remedy involves small doses of substances that would produce symptoms of illness in healthy people when given in larger doses.

Most house pets are mammals, and they have similar metabolisms to people. Yet, there will be differences in how they react to homeopathics. For that reason, when caring for your pet, use mineral remedies with herbivores when possible.

Homeopathics

To administer the remedy, it is best to mix a few drops into fresh water. Yet some pets prefer tablets. See what works best in your house.

For guidance about administering homeopathics to your pets, consult a book like Treatment of Cats with Homeopathy by Sheppard.

For more information about specific homeopathic remedies to use with your pets, visit the Bach Flower Essence website, where you can ask a practitioner for guidance: http://www.bachflower.com/Pets.htm/.

For more information about homeopathy for personal use, Click Here
.

Spring allergy relief with natural remedies

Springtime allergies can put a damper on even the sunniest day. But—they don’t have to. If you’ve relied upon store-bought allergy medications in the past—and have been disappointed—this is the season for a more holistic approach to allergies.

Studies show that allergies are often a reaction to a combination of things. For many, budding spring plant life and pollen are irritants. But other, more hidden irritants include: food allergies, environmental irritants (such as, chemical-based cleaners, room sprays, and dryer sheets), and dust.

The good news: There are several alternative products and strategies you can use to sooth your allergies. The benefits: health tools like supplements, herbs, essential oils, and lifestyle modifications are natural, cost effective, and can work fairly quickly to bring relief.

Here are 8 tips for tackling your allergies naturally:

  1. Incorporate native plants into your diet.
  2. Eat 1-2 tablespoons of local, raw honey every morning.
  3. Diffuse peppermint essential oil throughout your home and, or office.
  4. Add fresh herbs to a hot bath and deeply breathe in the steam.
  5. Take supplements, including: echinacea, goldenseal, and vitamin C.
  6. Clean and dust regularly. You don’t have to use chemicals; a steam mop works great.
  7. Exercise. Physical activity strengths the body and boosts immunity. Try to exercise outside in the early morning, before allergens kick up.
  8. Facial massage is a simple way to relive pressure built-up in the sinus.
For more information about holistic nutrition or soothing allergies with homeopathic remedies, visit the Australasian College www.achs.edu.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Earth Hour March 28 is a global call to action

A message from earthhour.org...


VOTE EARTH

YOUR LIGHT SWITCH IS YOUR VOTE

Saturday, March 28, 8:30-9:30pm.

This year, Earth Hour has been transformed into the world’s first global election, between Earth and global warming.

For the first time in history, people of all ages, nationalities, race and background have the opportunity to use their light switch as their vote – Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming. WWF are urging the world to VOTE EARTH and reach the target of 1 billion votes, which will be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009.

This meeting will determine official government policies to take action against global warming, which will replace the Kyoto Protocol. It is the chance for the people of the world to make their voice heard.

Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007, when 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour. In 2008 the message had grown into a global sustainability movement, with 50 million people switching off their lights. Global landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Rome’s Colosseum, the Sydney Opera House and the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square all stood in darkness.

In 2009, Earth Hour is being taken to the next level, with the goal of 1 billion people switching off their lights as part of a global vote. Unlike any election in history, it is not about what country you’re from, but instead, what planet you’re from. VOTE EARTH is a global call to action for every individual, every business, and every community. A call to stand up and take control over the future of our planet. Over 74 countries and territories have pledged their support to VOTE EARTH during Earth Hour 2009, and this number is growing everyday.

We all have a vote, and every single vote counts. Together we can take control of the future of our planet, for future generations.

VOTE EARTH by simply switching off your lights for one hour, and join the world for Earth Hour.

Saturday, March 28, 8:30-9:30pm.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Growing vegetables relieves stress and financial strain

When tough economic times hit, our collective money belts cinch tighter and tighter. People stop looking for entertainment out of doors and hunker down for the at-home experience, including eating in.

Yet—there is a silver lining. Although the current economy may cause us to make the move from sidewalk café to sideboard jockey (for a while), there is much to gain along the way. Say hello to stress relief. It may sound counterintuitive—“I’m stressed because everyone is stressed, so I should be frugal and grocery shop and stay home and cook my own dinner.”

But, cooking—and by extension, growing your own food—is an age-old holistic health practice, which promotes relaxation by shifting your focus from mental worry to physical exertion. As anxiety chills, your immune system and cardiovascular systems work better (otherwise known as, “I feel good.”)

It’s a win-win. You feel better AND your wallet feels better, because GIY (grow-it-yourself) gardening gives you fresh vegetables at a fraction of the store-bought price.

How do you get started?

Seed starting. True, you can also save money with month-old plants from your local nursery or home-supply store, but why would you? Seeds are a fraction of the price and produce more of what you want—lots’o’veggies.

One of the best ways to seed start, according to Master Gardener and ACHS Senior Vice President Erika Yigzaw, is with a seedling heat mat. These mats are portable and lightweight (which means apartment friendly), and allow you to bottom water, minimize the risk of mold.

Seed starting, Yigzaw shared at the ACHS Organic Gardening workshop March 21, has several personal and health benefits:
  • It’s fun and easy.
  • Fresh, on-hand food.
  • You know where your food comes from (if you spend a little time researching your seeds and seed starting mix, you can be sure your food is organic, free of synthetic pesticide and chemicals).
  • Saves money.
  • Lengthens the growing season.
Start gardening...

  1. Check the Farmer’s Almanac for your region to see when the last frost is scheduled to arrive.
  2. Consult a gardening encyclopedia-type reference to see what veggies will grow best in your area. (In Oregon, the Oregon State University Master Gardener program is a good resource.)
  3. Find your local, organic gardening store, where you can purchase your seeds, seedling starting mix, and seedling heat mat.
  4. Read any and all instructions that come with your products.
  5. When it is time to replant your seedlings into larger containers, re-use household materials like old plastic and/or ceramic planters, bowls, glasses, or tubs.
  6. If you plan to transplant your veggies into larger plots, consult a local expert in advance. If you plan to build a container garden, the Gardener’s A-Z Guide to Growing Organic Food is a very user-friendly resource.

Tip: Make sure the container is large enough to avoid root-bound plants. And, you will want to sterilize your containers in a 10% solution of bleach.

For questions about organic, at-home gardening, contact the OSU Master Gardeners or your local organization.

For information about personal nutrition, or holistic nutrition career training, contact the Australasian College of Health Sciences.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Visit ACHS This Weekend at the Northwest's Largest Sustainable Lifestyle Show!

Come join ACHS staff, students and graduates at Booth 1006 of the Energy Trust Better Living Home, Garden & Lifestyle Show this weekend at the Portland Expo Center.

The show is free and a lot of fun, showcasing green living options from local and national companies. This year, ACHS is having its own booth!

You can chat with ACHS staff, faculty and graduates throughout the weekend during the following times:

Friday, March 27: Noon - 9:00 pm

Saturday, March 28: 11:00 am - 9:00 pm
Sunday, March 29: 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

We'll be having a great raffle basket for the show and will do a live drawing Sunday at 3! The raffle basket includes books, herbs, gardening supplies and much more so its well worth the trip! Also, if you bring a friend who is interested in learning more about holistic health education by the booth, you and your friend will receive a free gift (while supplies last).

For more information on the show, visit www.betterlivingshow.org. There are some fabulous presentations and workshops and most are free, so we really encourage you to take a look and come visit us while you're there.

We hope you will join us, and we look forward to seeing you.

How-to aromatic massage guide and recipes

Our sense of smell not only helps to protect us, it is also one of the ways we communicate. Therefore, blending smell with touch massage can create a very romantic and intimate experience.

To create a sensual atmosphere:
1. Create a private space.
2. Fill your space with your favorite colors and fabrics, including pillows and/or blankets.
3. Minimize outside noise.
4. Details: relaxing music, aromatherapy candles, and fresh flowers.

To enhance aromatic massage:
1. Diffuse the essential oil of your choice into the room (essential oils can also be added directly into massage oils and bath water; see the recipes below).
2. Focus on comfort and intent.
3. Communicate through all of your senses; don’t focus on conversation only.
4. Play. Laugh. Enjoy yourself.

Aromatic Massage Recipes

For massage, essential oils are best added into a base oil like jojoba, almond, or avocado.

1. Basic Massage Oil
Sweet almond oil: 4-oz
Rose Rosa damascena oil: 1-2-drops
Jasmine Jasmine grandiflorum: 1-2-drops

2. Rose Water Ointment
Sweet almond oil: 1-oz
Beeswax: ½-oz
Rose water: 7-oz
Rose Rosa damascena: 8-drops

Melt the beeswax and almond oil over a water bath. Remove from heat and cool until lukewarm. Beat in the rose water until the ointment emulsifies, and then add the 8-drops of rose essential oil.

Once relaxed head to toe, follow your sensuous massage with another sensory indulgence:

Chocolate, best shared by two.

1. Liquid Chocolate (makes four servings)*
3-T unsweetened cocoa powder
Stevia: 10-drops
Pinch of salt
3-cups 1% milk
½-t vanilla extract
Ice cubes

Instructions: Slowly warm the milk on low heat, stirring constantly to prevent scalding. In a medium bowl, stir together the cocoa powder, Stevia, and salt. Slowly pour in 1-cup of the milk and whisk until smooth. Whisk in remaining 2-cups of the milk and vanilla. Fill four 8-oz mugs with Liquid Chocolate and serve warm.

For a taste of the exotic (and increased libido), add cinnamon to flavor, or add a few drops of rose essential oil.

CLICK HERE to download a free aromatherapy ambiance blend recipe.

*Recipe provided by ACHS graduate Maureen Jeanson, author of Squeaky Gourmet.

3 stress relieving meals your family will love

Stress has many harmful effects on the body. The demands of modern life have been shown to weaken our immune systems and to increase our risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. Although we may not be able to eradicate stress altogether, we can minimize negative effects by consciously maintaining a healthful lifestyle.

In addition to relaxation and exercise activities, one of the best ways to reduce stress and boost overall health is through nutrition, specifically the daily use of nutritious herbs. Adding herbs to daily meals is important, because it builds health over time. Consistently eating nutritious herbs bolsters the body’s vitality, which makes it easier to fend off health challenges.

CLICK HERE for a free ACHS download with tips for using antioxidants and herbs.

Here are three easy-to-use herbs sure to get good reviews from the whole family.

1. Sweet Basil (Ocimum basillicum)

The health benefits of eating basil include: vitamins and minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins B2, A, and C), healthy digestion, and the essential oil, which has a clove-like aroma, eases anxiety.

Easy-to-make meal:
• Chop fresh and add to pre-made tomato sauces;
• Add raw flowers and leaves to green, leafy salads; or
• Use a blender to combine olive oil, basil, sun dried tomatoes, and garlic—serve as a side dish with bread or on top of pasta.

2. Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

The health benefits of eating fennel include: vitamins and minerals (calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, and vitamins B2, A (as beta carotene), and C), healthy digestion (including indigestion), and healthy respiration.

Easy-to-make meal:
• Add fresh fennel leaves to green, leafy salads;
• Fennel stems can be cooked with in a variety of vegetable or lentil-based soups; or
• Chop fresh into tuna and pasta salads for flavor.

3. Pumpkin Seeds

The health benefits of eating pumpkin seeds include: vitamins and minerals (calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, silica, and linoleic acid), healthy digestion, and healthy kidney function.

Easy-to-make meals:
• Eat the seeds raw or lightly-toasted as a mid-meal snack;
• Grind until smooth and add to granola or breakfast cereal; or
• Grind until smooth and add to a breading for fish or chicken.

To learn more about holistic nutrition, or career training to be a holistic nutrition consultant with ACHS, CLICK HERE.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Debate over the future of NCAAM takes to the blogs

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health (NCCAM), which was established about 17 years ago and provides some of the best studies about homeopathy, acupuncture, therapeutic touch, and herbal medicine, is under fire from the scientific community.

Why now? Economics. Scientists are using the nation's economic hardships as a ballast for a negative campaign against alternative and complementary medicine modalities. Their argument: With funding scare, why should the National Institutes of Health fund a "pseud0-science."

We'd love to hear your thoughts about the article below. "Pseudo-science" or viable alternative to rising health care costs and effective, educative tool about prevention?? Hmmmm.......... we wonder.

According to "Critics Object to 'Pseudoscience' Center," a March 17 article in the Washington Post:

The impending national discussion about broadening access to health care, improving medical practice and saving money is giving a group of scientists an opening to make a once-unthinkable proposal: Shut down the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health.

The notion that the world's best-known medical research agency sponsors studies of homeopathy, acupuncture, therapeutic touch and herbal medicine has always rankled many scientists. That the idea for its creation 17 years ago came from a U.S. senator newly converted to alternative medicine's promise didn't help.

Although NCCAM has a comparatively minuscule budget and although it is a "center" rather than an "institute," making it officially second-class in the NIH pantheon, the principle is what mattered. But as NIH's budget has flattened in recent years, better use for NCCAM's money has also become an issue.

"With a new administration and President Obama's stated goal of moving science to the forefront, now is the time for scientists to start speaking up about issues that concern us," Steven Salzberg, a genome researcher and computational biologist at the University of Maryland, said last week. "One of our concerns is that NIH is funding pseudoscience."

Salzberg suggested that NCCAM be defunded on an electronic bulletin board that the Obama transition team set up to solicit ideas after November's election. The proposal generated 218 comments, most of them in favor, before the bulletin board closed on Jan. 19.

NCCAM has grown steadily since its founding in 1992, largely at the insistence of Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), as the Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM) with a budget of $2 million. In 1998, NIH director and Nobel laureate Harold Varmus pushed to have all alternative medicine research done through NIH's roughly two dozen institutes, with OAM coordinating, and in some cases paying for, the studies. Harkin parried with legislation that turned OAM into a higher-status "center" (although not a full-fledged "institute"), and boosted its budget from $20 million to $50 million. NCCAM's budget this year is about $122 million.

Research in alternative medicine is done elsewhere at NIH, notably in the National Cancer Institute, whose Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine also has a budget of $122 million.

The entire NIH alternative medicine portfolio is about $300 million a year, out of a total budget of about $29 billion. (NIH will get an additional $10.4 billion in economic stimulus money over the next two years, of which $31 million is expected to go to NCCAM.)

Critics of alternative medicine say the vast majority of studies of homeopathy, acupuncture, therapeutic touch and other treatments based on unconventional understandings of physiology and disease have shown little or no effect. Further, they argue that the field's more-plausible interventions -- such as diet, relaxation, yoga and botanical remedies -- can be studied just as well in other parts of NIH, where they would need to compete head-to-head with conventional research projects.

The critics say that alternative medicine (also known as "complementary" and "integrative" medicine, and disparagingly labeled "woo" by opponents) doesn't need or deserve its own home at NIH.

"What has happened is that the very fact NIH is supporting a study is used to market alternative medicine," said Steven Novella, a neurologist at Yale School of Medicine and editor of the Web site Science-Based Medicine (http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org), where much of the anti-NCCAM discussion is taking place. "It is used to lend an appearance of legitimacy to treatments that are not legitimate."
Beyond the Blogosphere

So far, most of the debate has occurred in the blogosphere. But as health-care reform moves toward center stage, so may this fight.

At a Senate committee hearing on integrative medicine held Feb. 26, Harkin said: "I want to lay down a . . . marker: If we fail to seize this unique opportunity to adopt a pragmatic, integrative approach to health care, then that, too, would constitute a serious failure."

At the hearing, Harkin introduced Berkley W. Bedell, a six-term Democratic congressman from Iowa who retired in 1987 after contracting Lyme disease. Bedell credits alternative therapies for his recovery from that infection and later from prostate cancer. He helped convince the Iowa senator of alternative medicine's promise.

Nevertheless, Harkin said he was somewhat disappointed in NCCAM's work.

"One of the purposes when we drafted that legislation in 1992 . . . was to investigate and validate alternative approaches. Quite frankly, I must say it's fallen short," he told the committee.

"I think quite frankly that in this center, and previously in the office before it, most of its focus has been on disproving things, rather than seeking out and proving things."

Critics say this shows Harkin's lack of understanding of scientific inquiry, which tests hypotheses (with negative results as informative as positive ones) but doesn't intentionally attempt to "validate approaches." NCCAM's current director, Josephine P. Briggs, agrees that hypothesis-testing is the proper function of the center.

"We are not advocates for these modalities," she said last week. "We are trying to bring rigor to their study and make sure the science is objective."

Even so, Harkin was on to something: Most of NCCAM's results have been negative or inconclusive, not positive and encouraging.

For example, a randomized controlled trial of the botanical echinacea published in 2003 found it was ineffective in treating upper respiratory infections (although it did cause more rashes). In a study from last year, neither the Japanese "palm healing" therapy known as reiki, nor sham reiki, reduced the symptoms of fibromyalgia, a chronic pain syndrome. A study in December comparing real and sham acupuncture in 162 cancer patients who'd undergone surgery found no difference in their levels of pain.

At the same time, it's difficult to determine the clinical implications of some of the positive studies.

For example, reiki -- but not sham treatment -- blunted the rise in heart rate, but not the rise in blood pressure, in rats put under stress by loud noise. Therapeutic touch, a different modality, increased the growth of normal bone cells in culture dishes, but decreased the growth of bone cancer cells.

Many NCCAM-funded studies examine not the effectiveness of alternative medicine but its use, and how it affects the interaction of practitioners and patients. The idea that the center is spending lots of money running large clinical trials of such practices as homeopathy and ayurvedic medicine "is a misperception," the director said. She noted that most such proposals lack methodological rigor and aren't approved.

A physician and kidney specialist who never used alternative medicine in her practice, Briggs said "mind-body management for pain control and stress reduction" is a large topic of the research at the moment, with mindfulness, meditation, yoga and tai chi all under study.

"Some of the way these approaches work is through 'positive expectancy,' which is part of a placebo effect," she said.

Indeed, many of NCCAM's critics view complementary medicine as nothing more than the placebo effect dressed up in a dozen different costumes.

Carlo Calabrese, a researcher at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Ore., one of the country's five naturopathic medical schools, isn't one of them. But even if one were to concede that view, he thinks the field is still worth studying.

Although the overall effect of therapies such as homeopathy and acupuncture may be small, individual response can be large. The route to the placebo effect -- if that's what it mostly is -- also varies in method and efficiency.

"What can be done to generate a better placebo? Why isn't that an interesting and valid area of investigation?" said Calabrese, who was on NCCAM's advisory council from 2004 to 2007. "Here we have a totally harmless intervention that seems to get a better result in some people than others. Why wouldn't you want to study that?

© The Washington Post March 17, 2009: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/16/AR2009031602139.html

Obamas to Plant Vegetable Garden at White House

WASHINGTON—Michelle Obama will begin digging up a patch of the South Lawn on Friday to plant a vegetable garden, the first at the White House since Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden in World War II. There will be no beets— the president does not like them—but arugula will make the cut.

While the organic garden will provide food for the first family’s meals and formal dinners, its most important role, Mrs. Obama said, will be to educate children about healthful, locally grown fruit and vegetables at a time when obesity and diabetes have become a national concern.

“My hope,” the first lady said in an interview in her East Wing office, “is that through children, they will begin to educate their families and that will, in turn, begin to educate our communities.”

Twenty-three fifth graders from Bancroft Elementary School in Washington will help her dig up the soil for the 1,100-square-foot plot, in a spot visible to passers-by on E Street. (It is just below the Obama girls’ swing set.)

Students from the school, which has had a garden since 2001, will also help plant, harvest and cook the vegetables, berries and herbs. Virtually the entire Obama family, including the president, will pull weeds, “whether they like it or not,” Mrs. Obama said with a laugh. “Now Grandma, my mom, I don’t know.” Her mother, she said, will probably sit back and say: “Isn’t that lovely. You missed a spot.”

Whether there would be a White House garden had become more than a matter of landscaping. The question had taken on political and environmental symbolism, with the Obamas lobbied for months by advocates who believe that growing more food locally, and organically, can lead to more healthful eating and reduce reliance on huge industrial farms that use more oil for transportation and chemicals for fertilizer.

Then, too, promoting healthful eating has become an important part of Mrs. Obama’s own agenda.

The first lady, who said that she had never had a vegetable garden, recalled that the idea for this one came from her experiences as a working mother trying to feed her daughters, Malia and Sasha, a good diet. Eating out three times a week, ordering a pizza, having a sandwich for dinner all took their toll in added weight on the girls, whose pediatrician told Mrs. Obama that she needed to be thinking about nutrition.

“He raised a flag for us,” she said, and within months the girls had lost weight.

Dan Barber, an owner of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, an organic restaurant in Pocantico Hills, N.Y., that grows many of its own ingredients, said: “The power of Michelle Obama and the garden can create a very powerful message about eating healthy and more delicious food. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say it could translate into real change.”

While the Clintons grew some vegetables in pots on the White House roof, the Obamas’ garden will far transcend that, with 55 varieties of vegetables—from a wish list of the kitchen staff— grown from organic seedlings started at the Executive Mansion’s greenhouses.

The Obamas will feed their love of Mexican food with cilantro, tomatillos and hot peppers. Lettuces will include red romaine, green oak leaf, butterhead, red leaf and galactic. There will be spinach, chard, collards and black kale. For desserts, there will be a patch of berries. And herbs will include some more unusual varieties, like anise hyssop and Thai basil. A White House carpenter, Charlie Brandts, who is a beekeeper, will tend two hives for honey.

The total cost of seeds, mulch and so forth is $200, said Sam Kass, an assistant White House chef, who prepared healthful meals for the Obama family in Chicago and is an advocate of local food. Mr. Kass will oversee the garden.

The plots will be in raised beds fertilized with White House compost, crab meal from the Chesapeake Bay, lime and green sand. Ladybugs and praying mantises will help control harmful bugs.

Cristeta Comerford, the White House’s executive chef, said she was eager to plan menus around the garden, and Bill Yosses, the pastry chef, said he was looking forward to berry season.

The White House grounds crew and the kitchen staff will do most of the work, but other White House staff members have volunteered.

So have the fifth graders from Bancroft. “There’s nothing really cooler,” Mrs. Obama said, “than coming to the White House and harvesting some of the vegetables and being in the kitchen with Cris and Sam and Bill, and cutting and cooking and actually experiencing the joys of your work.”

For children, she said, food is all about taste, and fresh and local food tastes better.

“A real delicious heirloom tomato is one of the sweetest things that you’ll ever eat,” she said. “And my children know the difference, and that’s how I’ve been able to get them to try different things.

“I wanted to be able to bring what I learned to a broader base of people. And what better way to do it than to plant a vegetable garden in the South Lawn of the White House?”

For urban dwellers who have no backyards, the country’s one million community gardens can also play an important role, Mrs. Obama said.

But the first lady emphasized that she did not want people to feel guilty if they did not have the time for a garden: there are still many changes they can make.

“You can begin in your own cupboard,” she said, “by eliminating processed food, trying to cook a meal a little more often, trying to incorporate more fruits and vegetables.”

Click here to read the original article.

© New York Times March 18, 2009 By: Marian Burros

Major food safety reforms would be would be gr-r-reat

ACHS Master Herbalist Christina Suarez, owner of The Good Herb Company, led a talk at ACHS Saturday, March 21, about Organic Standards. While outlining the extensive requirements for organic certification, Suarez emphasized the importance of reading food labels to evaluate the health benefits of ingredients. As part of her presentation, Suarez talked about a recent news article in which the CEO of Kellogg calls for a food safety reform program. On principle, it just sounds like a good idea. But, on a practical level, it’s essential because, as Suarez pointed out, many of the foods we have been eating for years are GMO (a genetically modified organism), which many people don’t know.

Here is an excerpt of the article “Kellogg’s CEO calls for major food safety reforms” from the Associated Press, March 18.

“Tony the Tiger's boss says a food safety overhaul would be Gr-r-reat!
The Kellogg Co.’s top official is urging U.S. legislators to revamp the food safety system. The world's biggest cereal maker—its brands include Frosted Flakes—lost $70 million in the recent salmonella outbreak, after recalling seven million cases of peanut butter crackers and cookies.

CEO David Mackay will tell Congress on Thursday [March 19] the company wants food safety placed under a new leader in the Health and Human Services department. He also calls for new requirements that all food companies have written safety plans, annual federal inspections of facilities that make high-risk foods and other reforms.

Mackay’s strong endorsement of major changes could boost President Barack Obama's efforts to overhaul the system. Last week, Obama launched a special review of food safety programs, which are split among several departments and agencies and rely in some cases on decades-old laws. Critics say more funding is needed for inspections and basic research.

"The recent outbreak illustrated that the U.S. food safety system must be strengthened," Mackay said.

"We believe the key is to focus on prevention, so that potential sources of contamination are identified and properly addressed before they become actual food safety problems."

In addition to health prevention and safety, there are several reasons to avoid GMO-grown foods, however used to eating them we are. Here are a few:

1. Sustainability agriculture supports local food growing (like your favorite farmer’s market)
2. Environmental preservation
3. Taste. Non-GMO foods have it!

Click here to read more about Christina Suarez and The Good Herb Company.

To learn more about David Mackay’s presentation to Congress March 19, click here.

What do you know about GMO? Tell us below. Label-reading tips? We want to know those too.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Jobless and stressed? Some offer job-placement assistance


"At Australasian College of Health Sciences, a career change can be stress relieving," Elizabeth Grattan Teater writes in the Sunday, March 15, Learn On special section of the Oregonian.

"The college's new certificate in wellness consulting is already one of its most popular programs. Entrepreneur magazine calls wellness coaching one of the hottest career trends in 2009. The program costs $4,500 and can be completed in as little as four months.

"The holistic nutrition consulting and aromatherapy programs are also in demand.

"Where do graduates work? Some practice in holistic health clinics or develop programs for health care organizations like Kaiser. Some work as managers for nutrition departments in high-end grocery stores. Many are self-employed--creating natural body care products, for example."

"Sometimes when you face losing a job, you start to look at: 'What's important to me?'" says [ACHS President Dorene] Petersen. "Your life takes a turn for the better, and you start to live what you're learning."

Click here to request more information.

To learn more about wellness and nutrition consulting, aromatherapy, and holistic health programs offered by ACHS, go to www.achs.edu or call (800) 48-STUDY.

Click here to read the full-length Oregonian article.

5 stress-relief tips to protect your health

For some people exercise is relaxation. It is difficult to worry and fret about the mistakes and decisions of the day when you are coordinating arms and legs in a dance movement or running that extra mile up a hill. What’s more, relaxation is doing something you enjoy, absorbing yourself in the moment, and nothing else.

Emotional and mental relaxation is as fundamental to your health program as the food you put into your mouth. Do not neglect this aspect of your health regime, regardless of how busy you are.

For easy, at-home, do-it-yourself stress relief and health support, try these techniques:

1. Diffuse your favorite essential oils in your office and home. Lavender, neroli, and anise are pleasant, yet effective stress-reducing aromas.

2. Soak in a fragrant bath, scented with lavender or rose essential oils. Play some relaxing music, light an aromatherapy candle, read a book, and relax. Remember not to have the water too hot, and add the essential oils just before you get in, as they evaporate quickly.

3. Eat a good meal full of fresh vegetables and health-supporting herbs, like rosemary, which enlivens both the senses and digestion.

4. Remember to enjoy life. Do something fun: Walk in the park, watch a comedy, or savor a great meal.

5. Every night, before you go to sleep, write down five things you are grateful for in your life that day.

CLICK HERE for a free download about the history of aromatherapy.

Rosemary is a natural antibacterial herb


Native to the Mediterranean, rosemary is a needle-like evergreen with a camphor-like scent and a fresh, somewhat bitter taste. When used topically, rosemary has antibacterial, antiseptic, nervine (sedative), and stimulant properties, among others. As a culinary ingredient, rosemary imparts flavor and aroma, and helps to facilitate digestion.

In addition, Rosemary officinalis, is one of the earliest and most renowned of the English medicinal herbs. A powerful antibacterial herb, rosemary is often used in hair preparations and as an ingredient in soaps and toiletries and is best know as a memory and circulation support.

Discover the power of practicing sustainable wellness with simple solutions like adding herbs into your everyday diet.

Join our Herb of the Month Club and have high quality, organic, healing, therapeutic grade herbs delivered to our kitchen once a month. Each month an 8-oz package of the featured herb will automatically arrive, including an informational description of the herb and recipes and formulas to help promote your natural health lifestyle. Or, call (800) 487-8839 for information.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Homeopathy for food allergies: Treatment for Peanut Allergies Shows Promise

A March 15 article in the New York Times, " Treatment for Peanut Allergies Shows Promise," talks about the practical applications of homeopathy. Although the article does not use the term homeopathy specifically, it does describe a study in which the treatment for a peanut allergy "uses doses of peanuts that start as small as one-thousandth of a peanut and eventually increase to about 15 peanuts a day."

The article then goes on to describe how in a pilot study at Duke University and Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, "33 children with documented peanut allergy have received the daily therapy, which is given as a powder sprinkled on food. Most of the children are tolerating the therapy without developing allergic reactions, and five stopped the treatment after two and a half years because they could now tolerate peanuts in their regular diet. But four children dropped out because they could not tolerate the treatment."

The article cautions that this specific treatment for peanut (and other food-related allergies) is not ready for home use, yet homeopathics have been in the U.S. since the 19th century, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Homeopathy is based on the principle of "like cures like," and involves, "giving extremely small doses of substances that produce characteristic symptoms of illness in healthy people when given in larger doses," (NCCAM).

Three main concepts of homeopathy include:

1. Homeopathy stimulates the body's defense mechanisms and processes to prevent/treat illness.

2. Treatment involves giving very small doses of substances called remedies that, according to homeopathy, would produce the same or similar symptoms of illness in healthy people if they were given in larger doses.

3. Treatment in homeopathy is individualized (tailored to each person). Homeopathic practitioners select remedies according to a total picture of the patient, including not only symptoms but lifestyle, emotional and mental states, and other factors.

Homeopathy training is often completed as part of a naturopathic training, and individual courses can be taken to adjunct to another holistic health practice, such as holistic health practitioner or nutritionist. In addition, with accredited holistic health training, there is growing opportunity to work in the complementary alternative medicine field, to provide whole person care.

For more information about homeopathy training, go to: http://www.achs.edu/course-desc.aspx?pid=24&id=4

For more information about studies involving peanut treatments for peanut food allergies, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/16/health/16peanuts.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=peanut&st=cse

To read more about homeopathy, visit the NCCAM website at: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/homeopathy/

Monday, March 16, 2009

March is National Nutrition Month


According to the American Heart Association, making wise dietary choices keeps your heart healthy. This month, make a commitment to learn more about cardiovascular health. It may sound difficult, but it's not. Heart health is not about one big, overwhelming choice. It's about the small choices you make throughout your day.

Here are a few simple choices from the AHA website to help get you moving towards a happier, healthier you...

1. Use up at least as many calories as you take in.

Start by knowing how many calories you should be eating and drinking to maintain your weight. Don’t eat more calories than you know you can burn up every day. Increase the amount and intensity of your physical activity to match the number of calories you take in. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week or—best of all—at least 30 minutes every day.

2. Eat a variety of nutritious foods from all the food groups.

Nutrient-rich foods have vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients but are lower in calories. To get the nutrients you need, choose foods like vegetables, fruits, whole-grain products and fat-free or low-fat dairy products most often.

3.
Eat less of the nutrient-poor foods.

The right number of calories to eat each day is based on your age and physical activity level and whether you're trying to gain, lose or maintain your weight. As you make daily food choices, base your eating pattern on these recommendations:
  • Choose lean meats and poultry without skin and prepare them without added saturated and trans fat.
  • Select fat-free, 1 percent fat, and low-fat dairy products.
  • Cut back on foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fat in your diet.
  • Cut back on foods high in dietary cholesterol. Aim to eat less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol each day.
  • Cut back on beverages and foods with added sugars.
  • Choose and prepare foods with little or no salt. Aim to eat less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. That means one drink per day if you’re a man.
  • Keep an eye on portion size.
If you have heart-healthy tips or recipes of your own, we'd love it if you'd share. The more we know about making healthy choices, the better. Thanks!

For more information, visit the American Heart Association website at: http://www.americanheart.org

Friday, March 13, 2009

JJ Virgin & Associates is Hiring World Class Health Coaches


Calling all ACHS grads...trained health coaches needed by JJ Virgin and Associates.

JJ Virgin, is a 25 year veteran of the health and fitness industry, and has worked in nearly every aspect of the business, including numerous network television appearances as a nutritionist, fitness expert and health show host, including and E! Modern Girl’s Guide to Life, NBC’s ivillage Live and Extreme Makeover, where she was part of The Extreme Team on the show’s season finale. She was also a Nutritionist on The Dr. Phil Show for two seasons, assisting the contestants of the Dr. Phil Ultimate Weight Loss Challenge with their nutrition challenges. She recently filmed two pilots for ABC for the international hit show, You Are What You Eat.

Today, JJ Virgin integrates her educational background of nutrition, exercise physiology, psychology, functional medicine and laboratory evaluation into her work as a nutritionist and fitness expert, writer, professional speaker, and television and radio personality.

The Job...

JJ Virgin and Associates is looking to add part-time health coaches to our growing business. Work in tandem with National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP) President and health expert JJ Virgin and our Director of Health Coaching, Miriam Zacharias, utilizing a holistic point of view to provide health coaching, counseling, and consultation to our clients on a variety of health conditions. Our ideal candidates will be highly organized, demonstrate superior and proactive communication skills, and convey professionalism in working with our high-caliber clients.

Our Health Coaches must be very comfortable in a virtual coaching environment, and be well-versed in telephone and computer communication protocols. We expect all Health Coaches to maintain professional membership in the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP) and to pass the board certification in holistic nutrition exam within 6 months of hiring.

Minimum Skills and qualifications include a Bachelor's degree in health education, health science, food nutrition, dietetics, fitness or related field and at last 1 year experience + Masters in a Health related discipline OR equivalent experience working with clients or patients in a health setting as a RN, nutritionist or fitness professional. You may be located anywhere within the U.S., and be able to work independently with limited direction or supervision.

For more information on this opportunity, please send along your resume and cover letter to Miriam Zacharias at mirzacharias@jjvirgin.com.

Check out JJ Virgin's new website, www.healthprovt.com, an online virtual training site for health care professionals.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Better Living Show: Home, Garden, and Lifestyle

The Northwest's Largest Sustainable Lifestyle Show

Visit ACHS at Booth #1006, March 27-29, Portland Expo Center

Live well and have fun doing it. Earth friendly products for you, your home, and garden. From cutting edge technologies and eco chic fashion to better energy efficiency and sustainable outdoor living, if it's green and it's beautiful—it will be there.

Visit with ACHS at booth # 1006. Because you care...

You get it: Green is the new ethos. Sustainability is the new word for livability. Balance and harmony are the new touchstones of healthy living.

You want to: Be a more thoughtful consumer. Make a lighter environmental footprint. Take a holistic approach to life. Do just one thing more for the planet.

The Better Living Show is free to attend and gives you access to local resources that will improve your life in six core areas: lifestyle, home/garden, food/beverage, transportation, clean tech, and conservation. Visit with ACHS, health and wellness experts, and other Portland business that can help you make more ecologically sustainable lifestyle choices.

For information about ACHS at the Better Living Show, call (503) 244-0726 or email admissions@achs.edu.

March 27 (noon-9 p.m.), March 28 (11 a.m.-9 p.m.), and March 29 (11 a.m.-5 p.m.). Portland Expo Center, 2060 North Marine Drive.

For driving directions and a complete list of vendors, go to: http://www.betterlivingshow.org/index.asp




Monday, March 9, 2009

Protect CAM and Health Freedom: HealthRevolutionPetition.org

Health freedom is one of the primary challenges faced by the U.S. today. Though we aren't all suited for frontline politics, the health freedom fight does not have to be all or nothing. There are many ways we can influence, and accomplish, change from our homes and from within our communities. Such as:

1. Ask your employer about natural medicine insurance alternatives.

2. Honor and protect your personal health first.

3. Be a grassroots promoter: Scour your community for the services you want. If they don't exist, ask for them. If they do exist, help to promote natural medicine and CAM services, and the longevity of the businesses that provide them.

4. Support community wellness education.

5. Familiarize yourself with health freedom laws in your state.

6. Help HealthRevolutionPetition.org to reach their goal of 100,000 signatures.

HealthRevolutionPetition.org is a new, grassroots petition that demands revolutionary changes to the health care system in America. It includes reforms of the FDA, drug company advertising, school lunch programs, coverage of natural therapies, and much more. See it and sign it online at HealthRevolutionPetition.org.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Maca: new insights on an ancient plant


The author [of the article "Maca: new insights on an ancient plant," T. Hudson], a naturopathic physician and professor at the Natural College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon, reviews the Peruvian herb maca (Lepidium peruvianum), which she has been prescribing for more than 15 years for common perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms. She examines the different types of maca, history of maca research, the health benefits of maca, and clinical evidence of its efficacy.

The maca species L. meyenii grows all over several South American countries, but the recently differentiated Peruvian maca species L. peruvianum grows only in Peru. In the early 1960s, Peruvian scientist, Gloria Chacón, PhD, presented a dissertation on maca root, which led to the eventual identification of over a dozen different Peruvian maca phenotypes as well as identification of the regions in Peru where these phenotypes grow. L. peruvianum has 13 different phenotypes corresponding to different colors, some of them containing unique DNA profiles and distribution patterns of active constituents, says the author.

Earlier, in 1843, the species L. meyenii had been described by botanist Gerhard Walpers. However, Dr. Chacón suggested, and herbalists around the world have agreed, that the cultivated maca of Peru (L. peruvianum) is a unique species. L. peruvianum is now accepted by many as the species name for medicinal maca from Peru. Though it may be confusing, says the author, "it is critical for a practitioner to investigate the source of the maca used as from Peru and/or ensure it is identified and labeled as L. peruvianum."

Maca has been found to be rich in minerals (with high concentrations of calcium, magnesium, iron, sodium, silica, manganese, copper, zinc, vanadium, and others) and also contains thiamine, riboflavin, ascorbic acid, proteins, carbohydrates, lignans, glucosinolates, phytosterols, and alkaloids.1 The alkaloids in its root are believed largely responsible for its traditional healing use, possibly benefiting the endocrine and reproductive systems by influencing such disorders as chronic fatigue, anemia, and infertility, and aiding in enhanced stamina and "female hormone balance."1

Traditionally used as an adaptogenic plant, maca aids the body in dealing with physiological, biochemical, and psychological stressors. Its adaptogenic properties represent an alternative approach to managing symptoms of menopause, says the author. Researchers theorize that maca stimulates hormonal reserves by strengthening the body's ability to regain and maintain hormonal homeostasis in the face of stressors.2 Other adaptogens have been used by herbal and alternative practitioners for years, but the extent of maca's effects on the range of menopausal symptoms has not been documented in studies of these other adaptogenic herbs. According to the author, this suggests that maca may be unique in its adaptogenic menopausal effects.

The author cites research on perimenopausal and menopausal women using two grams daily of a proprietary maca product (Maca-GO™; Natural Health International; San Francisco, CA), which found that maca can increase the body's production of estrogen and lower its levels of cortisol and adrenocorticotropic hormone. It also helped alleviate numerous menopausal symptoms including hot flashes, insomnia, depression, and nervousness.2 Other research cited, which was conducted on the composition of various powdered preparations of maca root, reported that the herb does not contain plant estrogen or hormones. Some researchers suggest that maca's therapeutic actions rely on plant sterols stimulating the hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal, and ovarian glands, and therefore also affecting the thyroid and pineal glands.3 As such, says the author, maca tends to treat menopausal symptoms as a whole and not any one specific menopausal symptom.

The author reports that the most common symptoms of menopause she sees in her patients are hot flashes, mood swings, and low energy. She prescribes Maca-GO, one gram twice a day, for perimenopausal and postmenopausal patients, and reports an onset of benefits within two to three weeks, although some patients require treatment for two to three months (depending on the patient's overall health and prior prescription history). Benefits include a remarkable reduction in the number of hot flashes, an overall improvement in mood (less depression and irritability), and increased energy levels.

Much research is still needed, says the author, to clarify the role of exogenous estradiol (via prescription) versus endogenous estradiol (produced by the body) in general, and, specifically, for patients in whom exogenous estrogen is questionable or even contraindicated. With confusion and inconsistency looming over the benefits and risks associated with hormone replacement therapy, "it behooves us to seek the lowest dose and the most gentle, least invasive approach to achieve the identified goals—whether these be relief of symptoms, prevention of bone loss, or protection of cardiovascular health," writes the author. Maca research should influence the optimal strategy for treating the symptoms of menopause, especially when trying to minimize unnecessary long-term exposure to exogenous estrogens.

The author also includes a sidebar on current supply issues relating to the commercial use of maca. "Some of the product previously and currently available in the United States may contain less than a therapeutically useful dose" and "may not contain the appropriate combination of phenotypes to elicit the desired gender-, age-, and symptom-related physiological responses, or the product may simply contain the wrong plant." She recommends that practitioners check into the ethics of the companies selling and manufacturing maca products.

References

1Chacon G. Maca (Lepidium peruvianum Chacon). 1st ed. Lima, Peru: Grafica Mundo; 2001.

2Meissner HO, Mscisz A, Reich-Bilinska R, et al. Hormone-balancing effect of pre-gelatinized organic maca (Lepidium peruvianum Chacon): (III) Clinical response of early-postmenopausal women to maca in a double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover configuration, outpatient study. Int J Biomedical Sci. 2006;2(4):375-394.

3Walker M. Effect of Peruvian maca on hormonal functions. Townsend Lett. Nov 1998:18-22.

Review by Shari Henson. © HerbClip 2009: http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbclip/371/review020391-371.html

RE : Hudson T. Maca: new insights on an ancient plant. Integrative Med. Dec 2008/Jan 2009;7(6): 54-57.


Should the FDA have more regulation over dietary supplements?


Following the release March 2, 2009, by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) of a report on the oversight and regulation of dietary supplements (FDA Should Take Further Actions to Improve Oversight and Consumer Understanding), the Natural Products Association (NPA) released the following statement from Executive Director and CEO David Seckman.

"The Natural Products Association appreciates having the opportunity to be included in the GAO's review of dietary supplement regulation, particularly regarding the recent implementation of adverse event reporting and good manufacturing practices. Our initial impressions regarding the four key recommendations of the report are as follows.

"Contrary to opinions stated in the report, the FDA already has a great deal of information about individual dietary supplement products and their manufacturers. The dietary supplement industry has cooperated by registering all manufacturing facilities under bioterrorism regulations that went into effect more than five years ago. Additionally, the NPA is currently working with the government to create a database of all dietary supplement labels to augment this information.

"We also take issue with the implication that the FDA has limited power to remove products from the marketplace. In fact, although the agency has had scant reason to do so, it has exercised its ability to take products off the shelves it deemed a health risk.

"While we supported legislation to establish mandatory adverse event reporting for dietary supplements and over-the-counter drugs, we still believe that reporting should be limited to incidents that are serious. If the FDA's resources are already stretched, as the report indicates, then adding to this burden by mandating that any complaint be dealt with by the agency does not make sense.

"We support further guidance clarifying how the FDA determines when an ingredient is considered 'new' to the marketplace and what evidence is needed to document safety. Likewise, we are in favor of the agency clarifying when it believes products should be marketed as conventional foods versus dietary supplements.

"One of the fundamental principles of DSHEA [Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994] is providing consumers with more information so that they can make informed decisions to maintain and improve their health. So we are in agreement that the FDA should work with stakeholder groups to educate consumers about the safety, efficacy and labeling of dietary supplements.

"There is little scientific data regarding underreporting of adverse events and the data that are cited are not specific to dietary supplements, but represent all FDA-regulated products, including pharmaceuticals, a category that accounts for more than 460,000 reports annually.

"As we told the GAO, we believe regulations governing the manufacturing of dietary supplements enhance the FDA's ability to ensure the safety and purity of these products. These long-awaited regulations, more than 12 years in the making, were greeted with enthusiasm from industry. Likewise, the industry supported the law establishing mandatory adverse event reporting for dietary supplements. However, we disagree with some aspects of how the FDA has implemented this law. Specifically, we told the GAO the following:

1. The changes to dietary supplement regulation exceed the mandate of the law, especially in regarding to prefatory warning language on product labels.

2. The substantial added expenses to dietary supplement manufacturers to redesign and replace their product labels due to the AER law, upwards of $200 million according to the FDA's own estimates, should have been proposed through a formal rulemaking process, not a guidance. Additionally, the FDA is not allowing adequate time for manufacturers to re-label their products in this case, only one year. Previous regulations of this magnitude have allowed manufacturers a reasonable three years to implement label changes.

We are also concerned about the availability of adverse event reports submitted to the agency and how they will be reported to the public . This has yet to be adequately addressed by the FDA.

"As we have in the past, the association supports adequate funding for the FDA to do its job in regulating dietary supplements. This includes fully implementing the law, DSHEA, and taking appropriate enforcement action against those who break it."

Monday, March 2, 2009

Three Tips for Optimism: Positioning Health Products Amid Recession

With the economy hurtling downward, it's not a question of if the economy will affect your business - but to what extent. However, if you're selling health products, you've got some reasons to be optimistic. In fact, the health product market has a history of staying strong despite dips in the economy. And the reasons behind this staying power bodes well for health products today.

A recent survey conducted by Nutrition Business Journal and Avero Research found that 98% of American households spend at least a portion of their budgets on healthy foods. And better yet, on average consumers reported spending 51% of their household food budget on healthy foods.

Now admittedly, this survey was conducted in May 2008, before the real financial travails started, but when you look deeper into consumer thinking, you'll find three significant reasons to feel more positive about your health business' prospects over the next few months.

Furthermore, these 3 reasons provide great ways to position your products for the altered consumer mindset:

1. People see health as a wise investment: This election showed more than ever that people are hurting financially as a direct result of health problems. And as the Avero poll above demonstrates, people are using health, specifically preventative health, as a criteria for where to put their dollars.

Even more telling, people see better health as an investment in their careers. As Cara Morrison reported in her extensive report for Packaged Facts, Sport Nutritionals for Active Lifestyles in the U.S., sports nutrition products are not only used by people for sports performance improvement but increasingly for better performance outside of the gym. The benefits of increased energy, higher acuity and even better physical appearance resonate with consumers seeking to perform better at work.

And on the corporate side, corporations are rewarding employees for good health and investing in personal trainers and gyms to help them achieve it - because they know how much this pays off.

Positioning Tip: Position your product [or services] as a smart investment, an investment that will never be at the mercy of global economic fluctuations, investment scandals or government interventions. Place value on your product by comparing it to the costs of more costly interventions - prescriptions, medical bills or time lost from work.

2. People latch onto health as something they can control: In 2001, the Hartman Group, a Seattle-based market research organization that focuses on the natural health consumer, found to their surprise that sales of organic foods was not declining, despite the economic problems.

When they started to look into why organics had staying power, they found out that consumers did not perceive them as luxury items, but as essentials. But even more interesting, consumers reported again and again that purchasing healthy food was a way of maintaining some feeling of control in their lives when everything else seemed so out of control.

Positioning Tip: Position your product [or services] as something that gives your prospects' control over their lives. When they choose to take care of their health, they are making themselves invulnerable to whatever comes along. With good energy, strength, alertness and stamina, they can take on the changes up ahead and find a way to tackle problems. They are not held hostage by the fears of medical bills, or debilitating chronic disease. And within the health care world, they can advocate for themselves better with better information and be smarter consumers as a result.

3. Health care items can be smart and satisfying indulgences: With a tightening budget, consumers are putting off old rewards like big vacations, a new car or the latest electronics. But consumers are still looking for ways to feel good and treat themselves - even more than ever. As green marketing expert, Darrin Duber-Smith explained, with troubling financial times, people tend to nest more, taking care of themselves and their immediate retreat - their homes. Many health care products - from natural personal care items to tasty but healthy desserts - strike a chord with consumers looking for a guilt-free way to reward themselves and put a soothing balm on their stress-filled days.

Positioning Tip: Emphasize the nourishing, sensual nature of your products [or services]. If you sell a lotion, don't just talk about how good their skin will look, but talk about the scent, the feeling of putting it on, the experience of using it. If you have a wonderfully-flavored whey protein, suggest using it in a delicious smoothie treat when you get home from work. Promote a new cookbook as a replacement for those restaurant meals consumers have been cutting out of their spending habits.

© 2009 Ezine Articles: http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Health-Product-Market-During-a-Recession---Three-Tips-For-Optimism-and-Product-Positioning&id=1699080

Devorah Plewinski, MS RD CDE, newest ACHS instructor

Devorah Plewinski, MS RD CDE

Devorah Plewinski has been hired to teach Holistic Nutrition (Nat 308) for ACHS starting March 16, 2009.

She is a Registered Dietitian, Medical Nutrition Therapist, and a Certified Diabetes Educator. Devorah has been developing and teaching nutrition and health science courses for more than five years at several colleges across the country, including both online and on campus courses.

Devorah’s clinical experience includes medical nutrition therapy in renal and diabetes nutrition. She has more than 10 years of experience working in the hospital setting, including acute, general, and outpatient services. Devorah also has a strong background in community health/nutrition, where she focused on grant writing to help improve health programs for the local Native American Indian tribes. She has started community gardens and children’s programs focusing on nutrition prevention.

In addition to teaching online nutrition and health courses, Devorah is the Director of Nutrition Services at her local hospital. She earned her B.S. in Nutritional Science from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and her M.S. in Nutritional Science from California State University, Los Angeles, where she also interned, in addition to interning at Cedars Sinai and San Pedro.

Devorah lives at the base of the Eastern Sierra Mountains in Bishop, California. She is a single mother of two girls. Her oldest, Raven is finishing her B.S. in Ashland, Oregon, in Environmental Science. Currently she is publishing children’s’ artwork and poetry on the environment. Sage, her youngest, is 5 and if Devorah can keep her safe from her death defying stunts each day, she can say she had a very successful day!

Throughout Devorah’s personal life and professional career, her passion for holistic nutrition and health has been vital to her success as a mother and an educator.

Health Freedom Updates for March

Many states have started their legislative sessions and are going strong. Make sure you check your state update to see if there is anything new.

I have also set up a health freedom website so you can see what is new. This website address is: www.fyhf.synthasite.com.

I also have the yahoo group set up so that you will receive important alerts as they are released. Just send a blank email to: FYHF-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.

We all have friends, relatives, customers, etc. in other states. This is a good way to pass along information to people you know in other states.

Please remember that each state has different laws and regulations regarding what you can and cannot do when it comes to complementary and alternative health care.

There are currently six states that have health freedom laws. These are: Minnesota, California, Rhode Island, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Idaho. If you live in one of these states, you need to know the laws regarding health freedom, what you can and cannot do, and what disclosures you may need to provide to your clients.

There are 15 states and the District of Columbia that license or regulate naturopathic physicians. If your state is one that regulates naturopathic physicians, you need to know what that law says in regards to what you can and cannot do. These states are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia. Minnesota just passed a registration bill for naturopathic physicians that should take effect July 1, 2009.

For questions about health freedom in your state, contact Kim Sharples at kimberlysharples@msn.com or call (719) 390-1979. Kim Sharples, HHP, was the 2008 ACHS Famous Alumni of the Year.

For state-by-state information, CLICK HERE.

ALASKA
Alaska has introduced a Naturopathic Physician bill, SB70: http://www.aksenate.org/index.php?bill=SB70

For more information, contact Boyd Landry at boydlandry@naturalhealth.org.

CALIFORNIA
Prop 65 is proposed regulation that wants to classify all beneficial nutrients with above-RDALink potencies as cancer-causing agents under unless proven otherwise.
For more information, please go to this website: http://www.thenhf.com/press_releases/pr_12_may_2008.html

There is also California Health Freedom Coalition: www.californiahealthfreedom.com and
California Citizens for Health Freedom: www.citizenshealth.org or email: frank@citizenshealth.org.

HAWAII
House bill 1196 has been introduced. This bill has amendments to the Naturopathic Physician Act. For more information, contact Boyd Landry at boydlandry@naturalhealth.org.

IDAHO
Idaho has a bill, S1014 that will repeal the Naturopathic Physician Licensing Act. This has passed the Senate and is now in the House. For more information about Idaho, contact Boyd at: boydlandry@naturalhealth.org or info@naturalhealthidaho.org. You can also visit the website for Idaho CNH at: www.naturalhealthidaho.org.

ILLINOIS
HR0095 creates a task force on the licensure of Naturopathic Physicians: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/billstatus.asp?DocNum=0095&GAID=10&GA=96&DocTypeID=HR&LegID=44565&SessionID=76

For more information, contact Boyd Landry at boydlandry@naturalhealth.org

IOWA
From Iowa Health Freedom Coalition: Our work for 2009 has already begun. Our website improvements include a PayPal button that will make donating or renewing membership a breeze. Check it out at: http://www.iowahealthfreedom.org/join.html.

We now have a Speakers Bureau where groups can request a speaker on many topics relating to health freedom, access to holistic wellness, and current laws or legislation relating to holistic, integrative wellness. Please visit the site and line up a speaker for your event.

IHFC will have a booth at the Iowa Holistic Expo, March 14th and 15th at the Polk County Convention Center. This was a wonderful event last year and this year promises to be as well. Please plan to attend! More information can be found at: http://www.edgelife.net/expos/iowa/index.htm

As we shape our activities for the year, we want to hear from you: your concerns, your experiences, and your questions. The more we know about what is going on throughout Iowa, the better we can serve you. Please be our eyes and ears! And we will be a more effective representative for you at the Capitol. We are also expanding our organization and are looking for people to fill leadership roles or just help out; let us know if you’d like to join us and what you are interested or willing to do. Our email: info@iowahealthfreedom.org.

We have introduced the Iowa Access to Wellness bill once again in the Iowa Legislature. It has not been assigned a bill number yet, but look for an update soon! Or check the website in the next week or so: http://www.iowahealthfreedom.org.

MARYLAND
Alternative Health care bill HB 1380 has been introduced. Here is the link to view the bill : http://mlis.state.md.us/2009rs/bills/hb/hb1380f.pdf.

You may find contact info and email of the HGO committee and Senate EHEA committee members. It will be very useful to send an e-mail to these members in support of the bill. Ask your friends to do the same.

Senators by name: http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/05sen/html/senal.html
You may want to track the bill for next few weeks for hearing dates.

HGO committee members
http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/06hse/html/com/05heal.html
Delegates by name: http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/06hse/html/hseal.html
Members of the Senate EHEA committee
http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/05sen/html/com/02eco.html

MISSOURI
The Coalition for Natural Health was able to stop attempts made to attach amendments to bills moving through legislature last year. House Bill 750 has been introduced and relates to the practice of naturopathic medicine: http://www.house.mo.gov/billtracking/bills091/biltxt/intro/HB0750I.htm.

For more information, contact Boyd Landry at boydlandry@naturalhealth.org.

NEVADA
SB 69 creates the Board of Complementary Integrative Medical Examiners: http://www.leg.state.nv.us/75th2009/Bills/SB/SB69.pdf.

For more information contact Boyd Landry: boydlandry@naturalhealth.org.

NEW MEXICO

A Health Freedom bill, HB 664, has been introduced in New Mexico: http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/_session.aspx?chamber=H&legtype=B&legno=%20664&year=09

And also the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine bill, HB 492: http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/_session.aspx?chamber=H&legtype=B&legno=%20492&year=09

For more information contact Boyd Landry: boydlandry@naturalhealth.org or the NMCAAMP website at www.nmcaamp.org.

NORTH CAROLINA
From North Carolina Citizens for Healthcare Freedom: Citizens For Healthcare Freedom (CHF) has been working to protect your rights to natural and complementary healthcare in North Carolina since 1995. This year, CHF will be working with North Carolina legislators to pass the Consumer Health Freedom Act.

What is the Consumer Health Freedom Act? An amendment to the NC medical licensing law to protect the right to choose nutritional supplements and access alternative, holistic, complementary, or natural health providers or practitioners. The legislation would protect the right of health care providers to offer their services legally and safely, without fear of being prosecuted for "practicing medicine without a license" in NC.

For more information on this proposed legislation and CHF, visit: www.ncchf.org.

Support us! It's imperative we raise funds immediately to cover the costs and expenses needed to pass The Consumer Health Freedom Act in the 2009-2010 Legislative Session. CHF is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization supported solely by membership dues and donations. All donations are 100% tax deductible. Please support our vision of a health freedom state and a sustainable community by becoming a CHF member or by making a donation. To join or contribute with a credit card, visit our website: www.ncchf.org.

OHIO
There are 2 health freedom organizations in OHIO: The Ohio Health Freedom Coalition (www.ohiohealthfreedom.org) and the Ohio Sunshine Health Freedom Coalition.

1. The Ohio Health Freedom Coalition was originally formed in 2004; OHFC is a nonprofit organization that advocates for changing Ohio law to allow for greater access to complementary and alternative health care services. OHFC’s members believe that complementary and alternative health care options should be available to members of the public, that citizens should have the freedom to select the practitioner who delivers them and that the state should not prohibit access to natural health services.

Just in time for the New Year the Ohio Institute of Energetic Studies & Bodywork is hosting a FREE Holistic Health Expo in Cleveland, Ohio and Columbus, Ohio. Come out and meet our Executive Director, Sara Donlon. For more information or questions regarding the Ohio Health Freedom Coalition please call: (614) 888-7351.

2. Ohio Sunshine Health Freedom Coalition (www.ohiosunshinehealthfreedom.info). To learn more, please contact Linda Murray (hertouch@juno.com).

OKLAHOMA
Health Freedom Action Network: contact information: information@oklahomahealthfreedom.org or their website: http://www.oklahomahealthfreedom.org.

OREGON
Oregon Health Freedom Website: www.oregonhealthfreedom.org or
email: john@oregonhealthfreedom.org.

VIRGINIA
Virginia Chapter of Certified Natural Health Professionals: HB1744 Natural Health Care Providers bill (Health Freedom Bill) has been tabled by the Health, Welfare and Institutions committee. What exactly does this mean for us? Over the last few weeks, I have been talking with Delegate Pogge and others to decide what action we can take with a tabled bill. We have decided that for the present time we should not do anything with it, not because we don't want it passed, but the likelihood of passing it this year is slim. We just don't have enough support.

So, here is what we need to do in preparation for next year:
-Form local constituent groups for each of the delegates and senators to educate them about the need for a Health Freedom Bill.
-Arrange for your group to meet face to face with your delegate and senator to let them know your concerns to pass a Health Freedom Bill in the 2010 legislative session and build a relationship with them over this next year. It's an election year for delegates so helping them with their campaign could put you in a position of favor. If they know you personally they are more willing to help you out.
-Arrange a meeting with local supervisors/city council, mayor etc to educate them of the need for a Health Freedom Bill and ask them to contact the delegates and senator that serve their district.
Your local officials know these delegates and senators and have influence.
-Talk with other groups or individuals that may have an interest in our cause; Home school groups, holistic minded groups, your clients.

I am willing to help educate and train the leaders of the constituent groups so they in turn can educate and motivate their groups. I am also willing to go with you when you speak with your representatives. Our message to our officials must unify, so teamwork is a must. If
we are going to be successful we will need many leaders to reach each of the 100 delegates and 40 senators. If you are interested in being a team leader please contact me, let's move forward together.

Sharon E. Hrichak for
Virginians for Health Freedom, a project of the Virginia Chapter of Certified Natural Health Professionals
P.O. Box 316, Chesterfield, VA 23832-0005

WASHINGTON STATE
There are several bills in Washington:

HB 1638 refers to Colon Hydrotherapy: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=1638&year=2009

HB 2007 pertains to Naturopathic Doctors:
http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=2004&year=2009

For information on these bills, contact Boyd Landry boydlandry@naturalhealth.org.

Health Freedom: The bill was heard on the Senate floor on Friday, January 30. It has been assigned a number: Senate Bill 5755 2009-10. The best way to easily stay updated is to use the following website address: www.leg.wa.gov/legislature and use the "Bill Search" tab near the top of the page (enter 5755).

According to the website: The "short title" of our bill is "Concerning alternative health care practitioners" In reading SB5755 as it is posted on the website, Section 1 says: "This act may be known and cited as the health care choice act."; The direct-access URL is: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=5755&year=2009.

After the bill was heard, it was referred to the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee. The next step for our bill is that it will have to be scheduled for a hearing before the H&LTC Committee. Senator Karen Kaiser is the chair of this committee. Our discussions with her have not been promising; she does not intend to hear the bill. That would kill it for this session. We need to convince her to hear the bill. What people can do-call/write their senators and members of the Senate Health Committee. Contact Kaiser requesting that she hear the bill.

For more information, go to the Washington Health Freedom website: http://healthfreedomwa.org/ or email: healthfreedom.wa@gmail.com or call (360) 357-6263.

ShareThis