Digestive health continues to be a hot nutrition and health topic. You won’t want to miss this synopsis of a recent gut-centric study — and once you digest and absorb its rich content, share with your colleagues and health care providers!
Over the past two years I have had the privilege of working with adults living with Sickle Cell Disease in the Philadelphia area. This journey has brought many gifts with it, not the least of which has been conducting Mind Body Skills Groups.
Unless you’ve been asleep for a decade, you know Food As Medicine faculty member and CMBM Board Member Mark Hyman, MD, is on a crusade to revolutionize American health. In his latest book, The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook, he makes it easy to satisfy our dual desire for healthy AND flavorful food using simple approaches that work for even the busiest people. Join him in the kitchen as he shows us how quickly you can prepare a delicious power-packed protein shake for a busy day — and one for your mom, too. (Awwww — so sweet, Mark!).
When did you begin meditating and why?
Which meditation practice(s) did you choose?
How has meditation affected your life?
I began meditating in 1974 right after medical school.
I was a psychology major in college and deeply influenced by Albert Schweitzer, who had doctorates in music and theology when he went to medical school as a path to lifelong service in Africa.
So, with this mind-body-spirit perspective, I was thrilled to read two groundbreaking articles that Herbert Benson and Keith Wallace published when I was in medical school. In both studies, practitioners of Transcendental Meditation (TM), silently repeating their word (‘mantra’), demonstrated physiological changes of deep rest while awake. Those changes were often even greater than those found during sleep. Benson called these changes the Relaxation Response, which has formed the basis for his work ever since.
Not long afterwards, I discovered that one of the pathology faculty members was meditating behind his closed door for 20 minutes each afternoon. He referred me to his TM teacher and I learned to meditate.
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Maria and her children waited in line with 400 others for our clinic gate to open at 8 AM. Our 5 doctors and 2 nurses were each waiting with their interpreter at 7 little tables in the one room church.
Maria was quiet and looked very sad. Her unhappy marriage was causing serious sleep problems. Medication made her feel bad and didn’t help. Her 7-year old daughter had warts on her hands and her 4-year old son was grinding his teeth during sleep.
This was my first mission trip. I had been told that our main service would be touching and loving our patients since our medication supply was insufficient to meet the needs of the people in this impoverished community. Stress-related conditions are common among these farm workers raising bananas, cocoa and other tropical foods. Maria and her children had symptoms often associated with stress.
Around two weeks before the start of any school vacation, the Counseling office experiences a cyclical peak of drop-in students. An influx of mostly third graders appear at my door with tears streaming down their cheeks, runny noses, and words that are difficult to decipher between hiccup-like breaths and broken syllables. They are usually accompanied by a friend who guarantees their safe passage to my office then departs, with the I’ve-been-there-too look and a silent nod saying it’s going to be okay.
I’m proud to announce that my good friend, colleague, and CMBM board member, Dr. Mark Hyman has just released his latest book, The Blood Sugar Solution. This book is a must read continuation of his groundbreaking work with diabesity (the continuum of abnormal biology that ranges from mild insulin resistance to full-blown diabetes). It’s a book I recommend to all of you without reservation. Dr. Hyman has elegantly described the complex and precarious situation that many Americans have found themselves in–struggling with multiple forms of chronic illness with severe physical and psychological ramifications. He uses an intelligent and scientifically-validated approach to lay out a clearly guided roadmap for reversing this course.
Center faculty members Bob Buckley, Kathy Farah and Judith Pedersen-Benn , Certified practitioners Matt Erb and Julie Kilpatrick ,and Certification Candidate Noshene Ranjbar, worked with Lakota Indians on the Pine Ridge Reservation in southwestern South Dakota during November 2011. Here are excerpts from their report.
Our week at Pine Ridge was an exercise in flexibility, organizing as we went, practicing and teaching mind-body skills wherever we could, and being persistent but patient in the process. As word of what we were doing spread, more calls came in to have us work with various groups including the staff of the tribal police department. We learned quickly that if 30 people were registered for a group, this meant to expect 10 or 15!
We split up in various configurations and did a combination of workshops, series of groups, and sometimes one-time groups. In the end, we served around 165 people. We worked with teachers, counselors and students in the schools; the staffs of the tribe’s health administration department and the Indian Health Service hospital including the CEO, nurses, doctors and support staff. We worked with a non-profit that provides social services and foster care placement, and staff and clientele of a local non-profit substance abuse clinic. Each night we held a public group at the Jesuit-run Red Cloud School, open to anyone with interest that drew an eclectic mix of participants.
A reminder for those of you who know about it, and an epiphany for those of you who don’t: Magic Mineral Broth!
Food As Medicine Executive Chef & faculty member Rebecca Katz, MA, first published the recipe for this potent potion in her cookbook One Bite at a Time: Nourishing Recipes for Cancer Survivors and Their Friends– and has since generously offered it on her website rebeccakatz.com. She calls it her “Rosetta stone of soup”.
This time of year, with colds and flu swirling about, I feel naked without it. And that’s a simple problem to fix– a trip to the farm market or grocery store for a sack full of everything on the list, a few minutes to wash and chop, and several hours of cozy reading time while the broth simmers and the kitchen fills with a healthy, rich aroma– and you’re good to go. One recipe makes quite a lot of broth– see photo of results in the slide show– most of which I freeze for those moments when you need a mineral-rich broth to pick you right up. My kind of health insurance
Thank you, Rebecca!
I asked our popular Food As Medicine faculty member, farmer, teacher and author John Bagnulo, MPH, PhD, to take a few moments and view this thought-provoking slide show, Marketplace Photo Gallery: The value of a dollar, in which photographer Jonathan Blaustein photographs a dollar’s worth of various types of food.