From the monthly archives: "January 2011"

I want to touch on something many people probably don’t know: Chocolate and grapes are poisonous to dogs!  What?!?!  That’s right, and I’m certain most people aren’t aware of, since my vet has recommended grapes as snacks for our dogs.  But here it is, right here.  And raisins too.  OK, OK…just thought I should mention that.

First, chocolate is a toxin to canines.  Dark chocolate is worse than milk chocolate by a factor of eight.  In practical terms, one ounce of milk chocolate per pound of Fido’s body weight will kill him; whereas it would take only 1/8 oz of dark chocolate per pound of body weight to kill a pooch.  So keep your Cadbury hidden if you know what’s good for your pet.

Veterinarian Tina Wismer, senior director of veterinary outreach and education at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) says, “Dogs love chocolate and they are gluttons. They won’t stop eating it.”

She goes on to say that over the past few years, there has been a slight increase in the number of chocolate-caused deaths and a larger increase in the number of dogs ingesting life-threatening doses of methylxanthine, which is found in chocolate

Then there are grapes.  Researchers have only found out about grape and raisin toxicity to dogs over the last four or five years.  Apparently the fruit can cause renal failure in canines, although it is currently unknown why.  Only three-quarters of a pound of grapes is necessary to cause very significant toxicity in a dog.  Both seedless and seeded grapes can cause problems, with symptoms including diarrhea, vomiting, weakness, not eating, increased drinking, and abdominal pain.  Undigested pieces of grapes or raisins may be found in the stool.  Acute renal failure develops within 48 hours of ingestion.

So, although this a blog about human health, with dog being man’s best friend, I thought many of you would appreciate hearing what kinds of household items can take out your beloved pooch.  Make note and poison-proof your house–you and Butch should be rollin’ for a few more years that way.

Listen up pet lovers: Be super-careful with your drugs, as they top the list of toxins poisoning household pets.  From dropped pills to medication packets lying around, domestic animals can be sickened by ingesting human drugs.  One ASPCA hotline reports that it received approximately 40,000 calls last year for animals poisoned by human medication–that’s in one city alone!  Dang!

Pet owners do not always know what their pets have gotten into–they just see the animals exhibiting symptoms, like lethargy, vomiting, seizures or refusing food.

The top toxins sending pets to veterinary ERs are over-the-counter meds, antidepressants, and…Ritalin!!!  Ha ha ha ha…no kidding.  Guess little Johnny ain’t paying attention the way he’s supposed to on the dope.  Just try watching your dog fer chrissakes.  Here are the top ten poisons taking out household pets:

  1. Human medication
  2. Pesticides
  3. Rodenticides
  4. People food
  5. Veterinary medications
  6. Chocolate
  7. Household toxins (cleaners)
  8. Plants
  9. Herbicides
  10. Outdoor toxins (like antifreeze and fertilizers)

So clean up your garage, put the Easter candy up high, and please…please…keep your kid’s Ritalin off the floor.

People presenting to my Beverly Hills chiropractic office with neck pain and stiffness can expect a comprehensive evaluation to determine the source of their discomfort.  What I find in the large majority of these people is that sitting in a hunched forward posture for several hours a day either driving or working on a computer leads to tight, sore muscles of the neck and upper shoulders.

The muscles most commonly afflicted are the upper trapezius and levator scapulae muscles.  These two shoulder elevators develop spasm and trigger points when held continuously in a shrugged position–the common postural position of somebody slumping forward.  The muscles will also, over time, develop shortness and tightness or lose length.  Further, being in the contracted state that persistent shrugging causes, the muscles ultimately have difficulty relaxing or going into a rest position.  This is felt by the person suffering as “constant neck stiffness and tightness” that is unrelieved by anything they try whether stretching or massage.

My sports chiropractic work focuses on de-contracting contracted muscle.  I do this through a technique called post-isometric relaxation (PIR), which takes advantage of muscle fiber physiology to get the muscles to understand, neurologically, to relax.  PIR is more than a stretch; in fact, you cannot stretch out a hyper-contraction.  Many people try, but make matters worse.  All muscles have receptors in place that prevent excessive stretching of the tissue.  Stretching into a contraction makes these receptors fire, contracting the muscle even more.  Doh!

Watch the video below to get an idea of how PIR works.  And if you have neck pain and stiffness that seems unresponsive to stretching and massage, call your local sports chiropractor for a full neck pain assessment.  If you are in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills or West Hollywood, sports chiropractic and PIR is just a phone call away.

Got myself a birthday gift this week: The Omega J8003 Fruit and Vegetable Juicer.  Booyah!  Made a promise to myself to imbibe lots of fresh carrot and beet juice daily, and so being a man of my word…ta da!!!

The Omega came highly recommended by a dear friend and avid juicer, who has “tried them all.”  Made my first glass of carrot-ginger juice today, with the help of my girls, and boy-howdee was it good.  Look how much fun we had cranking it out–never thought the girls would like it, too.  Bonus!

Fresh juices are the way to go.  Want great health?  Then juice, period.  The vitamins and nutrients you get from fresh juices are the tops.  And why spend $7.00-$8.00 a pop at the local health food store (Erewhon in L.A.) when you can make a a$$-kicking glass at home for under $2.00 (probably less, but I’m still shopping for the best deals on carrots–any suggestions?)

The Omega is great–easy to put together, easy to use, and dang-easy to clean.  That was a BIG consideration for me because the last thing I need is more work.  I was done in 15 minutes, start to finish, and that included washing the carrots.

So if you’re wondering why I’ve turned orange, don’t think spray tan: It’s the fresh beta-carotene, baby.  Aw yeah! 

Next up: Aspara­gus, car­rot and apple juice!

Having neck pain?  The location and origin of your neck pain can tell you a lot, most importantly, what you can do about it.  Do you need a sports chiropractor, a massage therapist, or is this something you can take care of on your own?  Read the article here to get a better understanding of where your neck pain might be coming from, and watch the video below to help determine how you might find neck pain relief.

A hero of mine has passed today: Jack Lalanne died this afternoon at his home in Morro Bay, Calif.  He was 96.  The cause was respiratory failure as a result of pneumonia.

LaLanne was the godfather of the modern physical fitness movement.  I remember as a kid watching him every morning at 7 am while my mom made breakfast.  He made exercise a household activity, and had many other contributions to the world of health.  He invented the Jumping Jack exercise, as well as the Smith machine (a weight-training machine that has a barbell fixed within steel rails, allowing only vertical movement).

A little known fact is that he was a Doctor of Chiropractic.  Yeah, baby!  And a huge advocate for juicing.  He was a bodybuilder, a vegetarian, and believe it or not, a skeptic of organic foods, which he believed were “a bunch of bull.”

LaLanne was one of the first to advocate weight-lifting for women.  At a time when it was believed that lifting would cause women to look big and bulky, LaLanne was always one step ahead of the crowd when it came to health and fitness.

The Jack LaLanne Show” was the longest running television exercise program.  It was started in my home town, San Francisco–perfect for us hippies and weirdos…but we made him an icon.  LaLanne became a popular inspirational speaker, author of several books, a recording artist (for exercise records), a video producer, and promoter of exercise equipment, many vitamin supplements and two models of electric (one his own, Power Juicer).  He made famous the phrase, “That’s the power of the juice!”

Jack LaLanne was definitely one of my heroes.  He lived an amazing life, contributing greatly to the world we live in today.  He will continue to inspire me, as he has for my entire life.  Thank you, Jack LaLanne for inspiring me to follow the path of natural health and healing that I have chosen.

Stop the presses: German porn star “Sexy Cora” died last week after undergoing her sixth breast augmentation.  The porn actress, real name Carolin Berger, went into a coma on January 11, 2011 following the breast enlargement surgery.  Apparently she suffered two heart attacks during the procedure; she was 23 years old.

The BBC reports that Berger was increasing her silicone implants from 18 oz. to 28 oz.  The two surgeons who performed the operation are being charged with negligent manslaughter related to her death, according to prosecutors.  The Hamburg clinic where she underwent the procedure has released a statement saying the doctors deeply regret Berger’s passing and are saddened by her death.

“Sexy Cora” was also known for being a contestant on the German version of “Big Brother” in 2009.

I’m not reporting this story simply because I’m obsessed with breasts; instead I see it’s relevance in the face of an inordinate increase in the number of breast augmentation surgeries performed every year (for kids, too).  Although we tend to think of these operations as “routine”–or in other words, harmless–I think it’s important to make note that any invasive procedure comes with risks.  Yes, 23-year-olds can have complications related to surgery.  That’s why the doctor’s office has you fill out the forms that say, “I understand I might die.”  OK, just as long as you understand.

Yes, yes, yes…relative to the number of breast augmentation surgeries performed every year, the risks are very low.  I know, I get it.  And of course, that was her SIXTH such surgery!  Which is another point I think is relevant: Just like tattoos, breast enlargements can be addictive.  Nevertheless, these are points to consider if you are thinking about getting a boob job.

Listen, I’m no morality pusher…do whatever the hell you please.  But consider this: Trying to “improve” yourself surgically is a perception issue.  Feeling less attractive, low self-esteem, or the unable to wear the clothes you’d like, or whatever other reason women have for changing their chest sizes, won’t go away just because you increase your breast size.  You might escape your self-criticism briefly, but eventually, if the mental component isn’t addressed, you’ll be back to square one.

Nothing else explains six breast augementations by the same person.  And frankly, doctors performing more than three breast augmentation surgeries (I want a boob job; I want to go back to natural; No, I really liked my boob job–I want another) probably should be responsible if something goes wrong; otherwise, who is going to be the level-headed one?

Don’t expect the porn star to play that role, doc.  RIP “Sexy Cora”.

Listen up pet lovers: Sleeping with the dog or cat might be hazardous to your health.  That’s right–the midnight snuggle with Max-the-mutt just might cause you to get sick; so says a recent report being published in the upcoming issue of the public health journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

According to the report, domestic animals can carry a number of microorganisms like bacteria, parasites and viruses.  Yuck!  And these infectious agents can cause anything from mild to life-threatening illnesses.  Double yuck!

Two hundred and fifty zoonotic diseases that can be spread from animals to humans are known, and of those, more than 100 can be transmitted by domestic pets.  Although the risks are low compared to the numbers of people that sleep with their pets, scientists and veterinarians just want you to know the risks are still there.

“Having a pet in the bed is not a good idea,” Bruno Chomel, report co-author and professor of zoonoses at University of California School of Veterinary Medicine at Davis said.

As I said earlier, the spectrum of diseases transmitted from pets to owners varies, but some of the more common ones are hookworm, ringworm, roundworm, cat scratch disease and drug-resistant staph infections, the report said.  One of the cases referred to was of a 69-year-old man who caught meningitis from his dog licking his hip-replacement wound all night as they laid in bed.  Puke-bucket, anyone?

Especially at risk are people with weakened immune systems—children under 5, the elderly, HIV+, cancer patients–but everybody can decrease their risk of catching zoonotic diseases by practicing a few good hygiene habits:

  • Wash hands with soap and hot water after handling pets, especially puppies, kittens or any aged cat or dog with diarrhea.  Those “high-risk pets,” Chomel says, are more likely to harbor an infection that could be passed to people.
  • Immediately wash any area licked by a pet.
  • Keep animals free of fleas and ticks, routinely de-worm them and have them regularly examined by a veterinarian
  • The authors also discourage owners from kissing their cats or dogs and sharing a bed with them.

Because most zoonotic infections are under-diagnosed or not reportable to health authorities, no one really knows how many cases occur each year.  One expert, Dr. Peter Rabinowitz of the Yale School of Medicine, believes the numbers are in the millions.  He says, “We think there are probably a lot of infections that happen and nobody really figures out that it came from the pet.”

Before anybody gets all up in arms about this report (I know you pet-lovers…), consider this: Sleeping with Killer might be just as risky to his health as it is for yours.  Last year, a cat in Iowa was reported to have contracted H1N1 (swine flu) from his owner.  Unfortunately, pets don’t have their infectious disease reporting down yet–so for now they suffer in silence.

I have seen the future of exercise, and I can’t say I like it.  Aerobitexting seems to be all the rage.  Tonight, I observed 50% of the people in the gym playing with their smartphones while doing something that resembled working out.  Gawd…am I the only one who finds this dorky?

I don’t know, maybe I’m just from the old school, but…doesn’t exercise warrant…focus???  OK, if watching a YouTube video demonstrating stretching, an exercise or something like that, then I get it.  Useful technology making life more productive…yeah, I’m all for it.

But texting…reading e-mails…facebooking?   D’-or-key…with a capital D!  And dangerous, too: exercise does require focus; in fact, if want to increase your risk of injury in the gym, just lose focus–it’s almost guaranteed.

Listen, this ain’t new.  People have been doing distracted workouts for years.  Boob-tubes attached to cardio equipment, computers on stationary bikes, and my all-time favorite: reading a novel while huffing on the treadmill.  Whatever.

WTF is so important that you can’t sweat your nards off without checking the latest tweets(Puff, puff) Oh boy, Justin Bieber’s trending right now!

Yep, I’m from the old school: When I go to the gym, I work out–that’s it.  Go figure.

*If you’re reading this while on the treadmill, pump your fist in the aiy-er.  Oops…sorry.

It was just a matter of time before it would be necessary for me to make a Gargantuan decision–airport x-ray or pat-down.  What to do, what to do?  (sweat, sweat, sweat).

Uh…can I get the pat-down instead?

You mean opt-out?

Yeah, opt-out.

TSA person 1: We got an opt-out here?  TSA person 2: Opt-out!  TSA person 3: Opt-out?  TSA person 4: We got an opt-out!  (Sirens blaring)

I guess the airport security would rather not have to actually do a pat-down, as it took a full 10-minutes (no exaggeration) to get the frisker to come a-friskin’.

So I was a bit surprised by the lack of people requesting a pat-down.  I was the only one!  The airport (LAX) was particularly packed that afternoon, and everyone was walking through the radiation machines.  Hmmm…

I’ve heard lots of talk amongst my chiropractic clients and on news shows that people were going to refuse the scanner…but not that afternoon.  And I was again the only one to opt-out on my return from Houston’s Bush International airport.  Now the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reports that most Americans prefer the scanners to a pat-down.  What the heck???

Are people really that trusting of the government?  I’m no conspiracy theorist, but why would anybody want more radiation than they already get from the dentist and doctors?  Duh!  Perhaps people don’t understand that x-ray can lead to cancer.  Did you ever wonder why they place lead shields on you when you get an x-ray?  Frickin’ duh!  And we don’t know if cumulative exposure increases risk.  If it does, then every time you travel by air should put you at greater risk.  Even worse is that studies have shown that men exposed to x-rays close to fertilization fathered children with heightened risk of developing leukemia.  Still OK with it?  Hey, it’s your life.

With the pat-down, it was no different than a typical police search (not that I know anything about that!!!)  Once my down-patter finally showed up (apologetic, of course), it was quick and painless.  He asked if I was worried about the excess radiation.  I said yes.  He said he understood–he was worried about his children getting brain cancer from cellphones.  I told him he could probably stop worrying.

So, overall, I found the pat-down pretty simple.  In a way I’m glad there weren’t many people waiting to get pat-down–it would have made my wait that much longer.  But do I get it?  Not really–but like I said…it’s your life.

Well surprise, surprise–the U.S. government has finally woken up to its dangerous practice of adding fluoride to drinking water.  A recent report discloses that an increase in “spotting” of childrens’ teeth due to the added mineral has become a concern for health officials.  Oh thank goodness…now perhaps they’ll exonerate Bruno and Galileo, as well.

According to the report, the federal government plans on lowering the recommended fluoride levels in drinking water from an outrageous 4 milligrams per liter to 0.7 mg/L of water–the first recommended lowering of fluoride levels in public drinking water in the last 50 years!  This a result of the increasing changes in childrens’ teeth over the last three decades.

I don’t know if anybody is as pissed off as I am about this total disregard for public health from the federal government.  I speak in detail of this horrific practice in my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health.  My research into the fluoridation of drinking water was extensive, as I consulted with many experts in the field; and they all agreed–fluoride in the drinking water is dangerous!

So why has the government continued this practice, despite numerous groups speaking out against it (including the Fluoride Action Network, Beyond Pesticides, and Environmental Working Group, which all threatened legal action if the EPA did not lower its ceiling on fluoride)?  The power of the American Dental Association (ADA), that’s why!

If you haven’t heard me say it before, you might be surprised to learn that I believe the dental association is the most crooked since auto mechanics and used car salesmen.  With virtually no alternative to American dentistry, this industry is free to practice, advise, and get rich as they please, with the public health taking the hits.  The mass fluoridation of the drinking water supply is greatest example of this abuse of power.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the splotchy tooth condition, called fluorosis, is unexpectedly common in kids ages 12 through 15. And it appears to have grown much more common since the 1980s.  No kidding–experts have warned of this for years.

The report also states that about 2 out of 5 adolescents have tooth streaking or spottiness because of too much fluoride. In some extreme cases, teeth can even be pitted by the mineral–though the powers that be now claim many cases are so mild that only dentists notice it. They say the problem is generally considered cosmetic.  I do not believe this assessment for one instance.

A scientific report five years ago said that people who consume a lifetime of excess fluoride–an amount over EPA’s limit of 4 milligrams–can lead to crippling bone abnormalities and brittleness.  Duh!  Read my book, Kathleen Sebelius!

Speaking of the Health and Human Services Secretary, she could make a final decision on details of the changes within a few months. Why should it take so long, I wonder?

Whereas some health officials are said to be concerned about cavities, I wonder out loud why we all (especially children) should  be put at risk for something addressed by simple tooth brushing.  To insinuate that we need more than brushing and dental cleanings is ludicrous.  Doesn’t anybody else see the enormous scam the Dental Association has levied on us–pay us hundreds of dollars for cleaning, buy special toothbrushes (that you can get in my office!), floss your teeth, stay away from sweets…but wait, that’s not good enough, suckers–we’ve got to dump fluoride in the drinking water, too.  Never mind that it’s an unsubstantiated practice: It’s all based on belief, not empirical evidence.  Read my book.

I was infuriated when Los Angeles succumbed to ADA pressure and started fluoridating in 2007.  And I praise the city of Portland, Oregon for holding out on this bogus practice.  Europe does not take part in the dangerous dumping of fluoride into the drinking water supply.  Is it because they do not care for the health of their people?  Quite the contrary–it’s because they do.  Stay tuned–I will keep you informed of further developments.

**Fluoride levels in drinking water were lowered in 2015 – first time lowered in 50 years! 

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