Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dear Drug Company: Thanks, but I'll Pass on the Free Food

During pharmacy school, my classmates and I were promised a future with seemingly endless streams of cash - $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

In fact, I remember on several occasions when one of my pharmacy professors would bring this up in a joking, yet lighthearted manner each time we'd face a grueling assignment or exhaustive exam in his class. "Just remember, you make lots o' money one day as pharmacist," he'd say in his fun-loving, Southeast Asian accent, as he rubbed his index finger and thumb together towards us. He meant well and was a very nice man, one of our class favorites actually. He always seemed to make things more bearable while going through academic torture during those tough years in pharmacy school.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Calcium Myth - More Is Not Better

Adopting a healthier lifestyle leads to a lot of questions. Adopting a whole foods, plant-based diet as part of a healthy lifestyle leads to even more questions. Aside from the question of, How do you get enough protein?, the question of How do you get enough calcium? is usually next on the minds of others.

Getting enough calcium without consuming dairy products can seem like an impossible feat for those unfamiliar with the science behind calcium and human nutritional needs. It's not as complex or difficult as it may seem though. Unfortunately, the dairy industry has marketed immense fear into the minds of both healthcare professionals and lay people that a severe calcium deficiency will unfold if you don't consume their products. This is not true. Allow me to explain.

The Role of Calcium in the Human Body

Calcium plays several roles in the human body besides its responsibilities in maintaining strong, healthy bones. Calcium helps regulate muscles contractions, blood clotting, cell to cell signaling, and proper functioning of the nervous system (nerve impulse transmissions) [1,2]. While less than one percent of calcium is used for non-skeletal functions, greater than ninety-nine percent of calcium can be found hard at work in the bones. Calcium provides our skeletal system with the strength it needs to support the human frame. Without it, we'd be limp noodles unable to stand up and walk around upright. Calcium is definitely a vital mineral.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sugar Wars

by guest blogger Jody Perrecone

A war going on in the courtroom between competitors you may not be aware of. Both parties are trying to convince you they are right and are fiercely competing for your dollars.

This is not just a sweet disagreement between two competitors. The Western Sugar Cooperative, which represents sugar growers and processors and the Corn Refiners Association, representing high fructose corn syrup manufacturers including Archer-Daniels Midland and Cargill, are in an all-out high stakes battle. In addition, each have spent millions of dollars on lobbying lawmakers in Washington, each attempting to discredit the other.

It’s a battle between the sugar industry and the corn refiners. And the stakes are high. We unknowingly eat a lot of sugar -150 pounds of sugar per year per person according to the USDA. (Picture thirty 5# bags of sugar in your cupboard!) Impossible you say? A form of sugar is present in nearly all packaged foods as well as in foods you may not think have added sugar including ketchup, yogurt, peanut butter, salad dressing, canned vegetables, and frozen foods.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Plant-Based Pharmacist on Hawk Health Hour Radio Show

Recently, I had the pleasure of being Joel Chudnow's special guest on his weekly radio show, Hawk Health Hour. Joel has done over 800 health radio show segments to date and is very passionate about wholistic health.

Joel and I had a lot of fun during the show and hope it is entertaining and informative. Topics discussed were my upbringing in rural Montana, my pharmacy background, and a look into some of the most common chronic diseases that affect a wide spectrum of the population such as heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and more.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

**Note** - Joel asked me about supplements at the end of the show. We had only a few minutes left. I did not get a chance to mention that I encourage and recommend that those on a plant-based diet take a Vitamin B12 daily. Other than that, supplements have not been shown to make a meaningful or significant difference in improving chronic diseases and overall health. What's more, some supplements increase your risk of cancer. To learn more check out my webpage - Supplement Wisely.

If the audio isn't working click HERE for the mp3 file.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Heart Health - Statins vs Diet

February is American Heart Month and everybody is going red in support of building healthy hearts. There's fundraisers, walks for the cure, and even activities to teach kids about healthy hearts. While these events are a great way to raise money and awareness for cardiovascular disease, many of them fall far short of spreading the message that truly needs to be heard to rid ourselves of this devastating disease.

The video below is a portion of my lecture on using drugs vs diet for the prevention, treatment, and reversal of cardiovascular disease. I discuss the evidence-based data from clinical trials on both treatment approaches allowing you to see how well (or not) each approach works in tackling the number one killer in the world—cardiovascular disease.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Become a Certified CHIP (Complete Health Improvement Program) Facilitator

by guest blogger Jody Perrecone

If you read Dustin’s “Pursue a Healthy You” on a regular basis, you are one of the thousands of people seeking good scientifically-proven information to educate yourself on what you can do to regain or preserve your good health. If you would like to share your passion for health and wellness with others, now you can.

CHIP (Complete Health Improvement Program) is a wellness program that teaches people how to make better lifestyle choices to slow down, stop, and reverse many chronic diseases as well as maintain good health.

Published in more than 20 peer-reviewed medical journals, CHIP is a results-based wellness video program facilitated at workplaces and in communities.  With over 50,000 graduates, CHIP has shown people how to have the “best life” through good health.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Type 1 Diabetes - Avoiding Dairy Is Key To Prevention

Diabetes is a very serious and complex disease. It carries with it several other complications during its progression including increased risks of heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, blindness, neuropathy (nerve damage), serious skin infections (i.e. gangrene) leading to lower limb amputations, and even premature death [1]. Needless to say, it’s not something to take lightly.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type, but type 1 diabetes accounts for 5%-10% of all cases worldwide [2]. Type 1 diabetes is most commonly diagnosed during childhood. Hence, the term juvenile-onset diabetes. It is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes because it requires lifelong insulin therapy. Its prevalence has been increasing worldwide, and it also affects many in the United States. It is believed to affect 1 in 300 children by the age of eighteen in America.

The diagnosis of type 1 diabetes typically increases in incidence from birth to early teen years, peaking at ages 10-14. However, it can also develop in adults, specifically for those in their late 30’s and early 40’s.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Loving Your Liver

by guest blogger Jody Perrecone

I would guess all of us have read something recently about heart disease, obesity, high cholesterol, exercise, type II diabetes, weight loss programs, or the latest superfoods. Anyone read anything about the liver lately? Thought not. Although the liver is a topic not often written about, it is an amazing organ that sadly doesn’t get the publicity it is due.

The Chinese call the liver “the father of all organs” for a very good reason. The responsibilities of the liver are too numerous to mention here - over 500! Just to name a few, at this moment our liver is cleaning our blood, regulating blood clotting, converting fats, proteins, and carbohydrates into energy and nutrients, and helping our body to resist infection. It is regulating many of our body’s functions including that of cholesterol, the supply of essential vitamins and minerals, and the balance of many hormones. It is producing bile that breaks down fats and is eliminating fat-soluble toxins and excess hormones.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Plant-Based Diet Starter Guide - Book Review

As 2014 gets underway so do the goals of many individuals finally promising to make good on adopting healthier lifestyle habits. This is the year that you’re going to get fit and drop the extra pounds you always wanted to. You’re tired of being tired and sick of being sick. You know that diet and exercise are your keys to success, but where do you start?

With so much confusion on what constitutes a healthy diet it can be a huge undertaking to say the least to sort it all out. Thankfully, Holly Yzquierdo has already done this for you in her new ebook The Plant-Based Diet Starter Guide: How To Cook, Shop and Eat Well. I had the pleasure of reading Holly’s newly released book recently and wanted to share my thoughts.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Bring On 2014!

by guest blogger Jody Perrecone

This year drew quickly to an end.  I don’t know about you, but for the last two weeks of 2013, my inbox was inundated with appeals to make last minute tax-deductible donations to charitable organizations that will help among other things preserve the arts, stop cruelty towards animals, improve the environment, save the bees, advance living conditions in third world countries, and support cancer research. Giving to a nonprofit organization at year end is the final opportunity for us to give to meaningful causes and at the same time do what we can to reduce our tax bill.  I have taken the time review my checklist once again - can I add to a deductible IRA account?  Do I have records confirming my business costs so they can be deducted? What else can I do to reduce the amount of taxes I owe? As with all of us, I want to maximize deductions to minimize my tax burden. (Yes, this is a blog on health and wellness - read on!)

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

5 Prescriptions For Optimal Health (Plus a Bonus Tip)

We’ve become dependent on prescription medications in the U.S. This is a fact. A Mayo Clinic report published in July of 2013 says so. Over a 12-month period, 68.1% of all Americans received a prescription from at least 1 drug group, 51.6% received prescriptions from 2 or more drug groups, and 21.2% received prescriptions from five or more drug groups [1]. To say it another way, we’ve become a nation of pill poppers desperate for answers to our most pressing health concerns. 

Now turn back the clock a bit as I enlighten you with a glimpse into my personal background. At the turn of the 21st century, I found myself sitting in a university classroom trying with all my might not to nod off, as I gazed half asleep at my college professor lecturing intensely in the front of the room. He was describing in great detail how zero- and first-order kinetics of various types of drugs required separate algorithms to calculate their final half-lives and serum concentrations. (Now you understand why I was trying not to nod off!) Had I known back then that my professor’s valiant teaching efforts—well-intentioned as they may be—would largely prove inadequate in my efforts to bring health to others as a pharmacist, I would’ve undoubtedly found a different classroom to sit in. I was, however, naive to the point of understanding the actual shortcomings of the pharmaceutical world as they existed. And so I carried on.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Vitamin D - To Supplement Or Not To Supplement?

Vitamin D has been a hot topic for the better part of two decades now. It's been hailed as a cure-all vitamin used for everything from heart disease to diabetes and everything in between. Previously, I had written about the benefits of vitamin D in my article titled, How To Feel Vitamin "D"errific!

Now, I provide an update on vitamin D, specifically as it pertains to vitamin D deficiencies and who should supplement in such cases. These findings are based on the latest research.

Supplementing To Treat Vitamin D Deficiency

Two large-scale, systemic reviews published earlier this month have provided some keen insight on this topic and may just change the rules when it comes to supplementing with vitamin D.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

35 Ways To Counter The Vegan Protein Interrogation

Protein is plentiful in plant-based foods
If you're thinking of going vegan (or vegetarian) you're probably obsessed with it. If you're vegan you hate it. And if you've conversed with anyone who eats food (of any kind) it seems to be the only thing that matters to them. It's the protein question.

Where Do You Get Your Protein?

The protein topic is the most talked about subject in modern nutrition. Doctors and dietitians warn you about getting enough of it. Friends and family scare you by claiming you'll wither away and die without it [because vegan diets obviously contain none of it! **Sarcasm**]. And the food industry slaps the protein label on the front of almost everything they make so they can sell more of their mostly worthless food products.

So what's all the fuss about? Is protein some sort of miracle nutrient that keeps the human race from going extinct? Will humans just disappear, vanishing into thin air, if supermarkets fail to stock meat and dairy? More importantly, how does one get protein on a plant-based diet? And how much is enough?

These questions and more are answered below in a comprehensive list of articles and resources detailing everything you need to know about protein. They come from the best and the brightest in their respective fields of health, fitness, nutrition, and medicine. So anytime someone asks you, 'Where do you get your protein?' be sure and direct them this way. With any luck, it's bound to put their mind a little more, or maybe even completely, at ease about the subject.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

2013 AHA/ACC Cardiovascular Risk Reduction Guidelines - Drug Companies Win Again

Last week the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) published new updated guidelines in the journal Circulation for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease in individuals [1]. Their goals aim to "prevent cardiovascular (CV) diseases, improve the management of people who have these diseases through professional education and research, and develop guidelines, standards and policies that promote optimal patient care and cardiovascular health".

To accomplish these commendable goals, AHA/ACC targets better management of blood cholesterol levels, overweight and obesity in adults, and provides information on lifestyle modifications [2]. They also provide extensive guidelines on the use of cholesterol-lowering medications, mainly the statins [1].

After reading through the updated guidelines it is clear to me that the state of cardiovascular health, as it stands currently in the United States today, will remain dismal at best. The chance of heart disease and strokes being displaced as the number one and number four leading causes of death in the U.S. [3] are slim to none. Here's why...

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Eliminating Trans Fats - Another Government Mandate?

by guest blogger Jody Perrecone

Last week the FDA took initial steps that will eliminate trans fats from all foods.  Food scientists and others can respond to this mandate to the FDA over the next 60 days.  This will help the FDA determine when to phase out all trans fats since manufacturers may need to reformulate some of their products. After that, food manufacturers will need to petition the FDA to allow trans fats in a particular product. 

By forcing hydrogen atoms into vegetable oil and changing its molecular structure, trans fats are created. This saturates the oils and makes them solid. Trans fats improve the texture and extend the shelf life of manufactured food products. (Have you ever seen a moldy Twinkie?) Among the foods trans fats are commonly found in are frozen pizzas, frostings, popcorn, snack foods, crackers, pizza and cookie dough, stick margarine, cake mixes, fried foods, muffins, pies, cookies, and other baked goods. Most experts consider trans fats as the most damaging fat to our health. Clinical trials have shown trans fats to increase the risk of a heart attack and premature cardiovascular death. Our body metabolizes trans fats differently than other fats and is linked to liver dysfunction.