21 Free Preventative Medicine Habits!

Doctor#1 Laugh- When we laugh we release endorphins that make us feel good. These endorphins reduce pain and stress. Stress is a common cause of chronic disease.

Maybe you just lost a ton of money in the stock market and don’t feel like laughing a whole lot about it, but can’t you just muster up a deep dark cynical laugh about it? Good. Now that is a start!

Remember, things can always be worse, and we may not have a whole lot of control over them. But, we can always control our attitudes.

Now, go find some other things that are funny. Make your self laugh each and everyday, laugh at your friend’s silly jokes and make up a few of your own. Play some harmless pranks on your coworkers. “Laughter is the best medicine” for a reason. Now is the time to turn off the news and turn on your favorite comedy show. Laughs are free! Go get ‘em.

#2 Get Sunshine-
Why buy vitamins and when you can get them for free? Twenty minutes of sunshine on our hands and face each and every day gives us the needed RDA of vitamin D. Sunshine also boosts our serotonin levels and makes us happy. In order to optimally benefit from “nature’s Prozac” you need to be under the blue sky for 15 minutes, or an hour under a cloudy sky.

#3 Drink Water- Water is free for the most part, delicious, energizing, and prevents horribly uncomfortable conditions like bladder infections, kidney infections, and kidney stones. Water also cuts our appetite and helps us feel satisfied. When most people feel hungry, they actually are feeling thirsty. Water immediately rewards you by detoxing your system, and plumping up your cells so you don’t look old and saggy. Drink plenty of water in between meals and shoot for about sixty to eighty ounces of water per day (depending on your size and activity level) to prevent disease.

#4 Sleep- Most Americans don’t get enough of it. Your system restores itself while you are sleeping. Detox and cellular repair occur at an increased rate while you are sleeping. Your immune system also works best while you are asleep, thus you are less likely to be plagued by colds and flu’s when adequately rested. Sleep is free to nearly everyone but med students and the parents of small children. Try going to bed an hour earlier each night if you can. In order to have the energy to exercise, eat right, and be your best—you need to be well rested.

#5 Give Hugs-The price of a hug is free and the benefits are countless. Hugs reduce stress, build community, and nurture both young and old alike. According to family therapist Virginia Satir, “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” Make it a habit to give out twelve hugs a day, even if they are to your self. Everybody needs a hug right now.

#6 Cut back on activities- Chances are you are doing way too much right now. Cutting back on activities and obligations may not only save you money, but save your life by reducing stress and lowering your risk of being in an accident from needless rushing around. Accidents are the leading cause of death in younger age groups. A few minutes less of rushing each day may save your life.

#7 Meditate-Taking five minutes to breathe, ground your energy to the earth, and release your mind of all thoughts is completely free and is a simple way to ensure your day gets off to a good start. Try “Five Minutes to Zen” if you are new to meditating.

#8 Eat Less-If you are overweight, you are eating too much, or too much of the wrong kinds of foods. Switch to a whole foods diet and eat slowly and until you are full. Overeating is ridiculously expensive and costs you much more than just the rising cost of food. Overeating can cost you your health!

#9 Pet your Pet- Well known for lowering both blood pressure and anxiety, interacting with animals is a great way to get you calmed down. Pets are great stress busters, and also serve as free entertainment. Take your dog to a dog park for a free fun relaxing time.

#10 Breathe- Air is still free last time I checked. You cannot be properly energized without sufficient oxygen. Sit up straight and breathe in and out deeply while watching your belly rise and fall. To further release stress try an activity called “Square Breathing”. If stress is killing you slowly, it is time to start breathing.

#11 Phone a Friend- Talking for the most part is free, and talking about our stressors has been shown to be a key feature in various longevity studies. Now is the time to reach out towards others, you are not the only one with problems. Being a friend for someone else and giving of yourself is also a great way to reduce stress. Studies show that those surrounded by a community live longer than those who don’t. Stay connected.

#12 Exercise- Consistently shown to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, improve well being, attitude and sleep, think of exercise as the hammer and nails in your preventative medicine toolbox. Exercise is the simplest inexpensive way to build your health. You don’t need a fancy gym membership to exercise. Just establish a basic routine of yoga and calisthenics and do them in the same order every day for at least twenty minutes. Then, go out and run, walk, bike, rollerblade, swim or organize a fun neighborhood game of football, basketball, soccer, or tag to burn up some calories.

#13 Play with Children-Engaging your creative mind will help you blow off stress. Most of us are stuck in our analytical left hemispheres all day. Let your creativity loose and take a visit to the right side of your brain. How about an arts and craft project? Research shows that craft products such as knitting reduce stress.

#14 Stretch-With age we lose both muscle mass and flexibility. You can easily sneak in 15 minutes of stretching at the office, in front of the television, or after your workout. At the very least: roll your neck, and stretch your pecs and quads–the muscles that get tight from sitting all day.

#15 Lift Weights-Weight bearing exercise is shown to be MORE effective in treating osteoporosis than the most popular pharmaceutical medications used to treat osteoporosis. So why is everyone on a bisphosphonate you may wonder? Because most people don’t want to take the time to do the work. You can prevent painful fractures in your spine that will occur inevitably from osteoporosis by engaging NOW in daily weight bearing exercise. Try using hand weights when doing lunges, squats, triceps and biceps curls. Push ups and pull ups are also super for driving calcium back in to the bone matrix.

#16 Quit Smoking- Let’s face it. Smoking causes death. Smoking is a leading cause of death. Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do to PREVENT not just lung cancer, but mouth cancer, lip cancer, esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, emphysema, arthritis, heart disease, and every other form of chronic illness. Smoking causes inflammation in the body which is just like throwing gasoline on the chronic illness inflammatory fire. Quit smoking now to save money today, and save your life tomorrow.

#17 Wear your Seat Belt and Helmet-Okay you may not need to do both of these at all times, but the leading cause of death in children and young adults is accidents. It takes you only a second or two to buckle up. That second could save your life. Buckling up is free. Do it.

#18 Write it Down- Freaking out about the economy? Not sure where your next groceries are coming from? Don’t know how you will fill up your car with gas to drive the next car pool? Worried that you are going to lose your house? Just let go from your job? Stressed out of your mind? Write all your worries down in to your journal. Now close the journal, and walk away, leaving your worries in the journal.

Purging yourself of your worries is therapeutic and reduces stress. Use your journal to move through the worry, don’t dwell on it. Dwelling on your worries does not facilitate any transformation processes, it just keeps you stagnant in your stress. Some worry is good. Chronic worrying means chronic stress. Chronic stress means chronic disease.

#19 Wash your Hands- With the cold and flu season upon us, the most important thing we can do to prevent illness is wash our hands. Always wash your hands before eating, after using the restroom, before touching your face, after sneezing and coughing, and after using a coworkers office space.

#20 Pray- A strong spiritual connection is always the key to surviving hard times. Researchers have found that chronically ill patients actually benefit from the prayers of others, even when they didn’t know others were praying for them! Whether you are praying for someone else, or praying for yourself, you are trusting Life and trusting God. Regardless of your religious standpoint, it is inarguable that prayer reduces stress for those that believe.

#21 Commit Kindness- Kindness is free, and is the purported driving force that “keeps the world going ’round”. Everyone needs kindness right now. Be kind to yourself, be kind to your family, your coworkers, your colleagues, your friends. Be kind to strangers, to telemarketers, to bill collectors, be kind to the homeless, to children, to adults in need, to pets, be kind to everyone that you encounter whether they deserve it or not.

Now is the BEST time to “Commit random acts of kindles and senseless beauty”. You may have problems, but are they an emergency or an inconvenience? Chances are they are just an inconvenience. Now is the time to reach out not retract in.

Now is certainly not the time to let your health fall apart, frankly none of us can afford it. Instead, follow as many of these simple and free preventative medicine tips to insure that you don’t miss any days of work. Stay positive to prevent stress from facilitating the formation of a chronic disease in your body. During these tough times when many do not have medical insurance, we all need to stay as strong and happy and healthy as possible.

Feel free to forward on these simple tips to anyone else that may benefit.

Reference: http://KitchenTableMedicine.com

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen table! Feel free to subscribe, leave comments, or ask me any questions about preventative medicine.

~Dr. Nicole Sundene

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

My Basic Vitamin Program

“What Vitamins Should I Take?”

Is the most common question I get as a Naturopathic Physician.

I typically believe the average person that doesn’t eat “perfectly” ie:

  • Eats the “Basic American Diet” (BAD) of white refined, processed foods
  • Doesn’t consume 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies daily
  • Eats Fast Food several times a week Read more
Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Cheapest Health Foods

shutterstock_5570047By Dr. Nicole Sundene

Eating healthy on the cheap can be tough, but if you stock your kitchen with the healthy cheap essentials it should save a great deal in the long run.

I buy certain staples like organic cheese and organic butter when they are on sale and keep them in the freezer.

Consider buying your organic meats, eggs, and fish in bulk and store in a larger freezer out in the garage.

Remember we have to pay for our health one way or another. Prevention is key. The food that graces your kitchen table is the best disease prevention money can buy. President Obama thinks that we will never fix the National Deficit until we fix the Health Care Crisis, I think we will never fix the Health Care Crisis until we fix the crisis at our kitchen tables.

Here are my favorite cheap health foods:

Read more

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Letting Go: Danny Gokey American Idol

Author: Dr. Nicole Sundene

Last week on American Idol, many of us assumed it would be Danny vs Adam in the final showdown, until he was eliminated in a sudden and heart wrenching moment.

Tonight on American Idol we finally determine the Idol of season eight! Will it be Adam or will it be Kris?

I had been rooting for Danny since his very first audition, there was something undeniabably special about him….but it was a tough season.

Probably the best American Idol has ever had, and the Kindergarten Teacher inside of me wants to announce everyone as a winner!

I wasn’t just voting for youth pastor Danny because of his amazing voice, but because of his perseverance. His wife had died suddenly of congestive heart failure a month before the competition started; “Tragedy turned in to Triumph,” as Danny refers to it.

A friend passed along the information for the foundation created for Danny’s wife, Sophia’sHeart.org, and thought it would make for good kitchen table talk. She recommended reading his blog post telling how he was managing to cope with the severe depression brought on by the sudden death of his wife weeks before one of America’s biggest competitions.

“I felt like I had to put on a face for everybody to cover what was really going on inside. Deep down inside, I felt there was not hope for me and I really wanted to die. If I had not dealt with this, it probably could have somehow or someway took me out. So, I began pray and cry out to God for help and I believe I found the answer.

The answer I found was exactly this; “let go” or “cause yourself to let go”. I admit that answer was not appealing to me because I found no justice in it, and most of all it didn’t instantly remove any pain. But I knew that if I continued down this road it would have a price that I could never afford to pay.

You see, the cost of hanging on to the bitterness and anger was actually much greater than the cost of simply letting go. I was very reluctant to do it. At times it was hard and I literally had to cause myself (force myself) to let go. Letting go doesn’t mean forgetting about Sophia but does mean releasing the toxic emotions tied to the situation.”

I have a lot of admiration for someone who can pick themselves up and go on, anyone going through troubled times should take a few minutes to read the insightful blog post on his battle with depression and “letting go” of his wife’s unexpected death. So many of us hold on to everything….we carry around all this baggage from our past and our childhood.

I talk to patients that have been in counseling for years and they sit down and tell me everything that is wrong with them, they bring all these “labels” with them, they blame it all on their parents, or their molester, or their rapist, or their child hood bully, or their father’s death, or that they didn’t get enough attention as a child, they say, “I’m this way because someone else did ____________ to me,” and so forth.

They refuse to let it all go, instead they cling to their core hurts and core wounds, and as a doctor who believes in the mind/body/spirit of medicine….I know they will never be better until they forgive and let go.

Sometimes we have to forgive our abuser, sometimes we have to forgive our parents…. After all they are just human beings too, not demi-Gods…. I know BREAKING NEWS!!!

Let Danny Gokey be a remarkable example of “Letting Go” and trusting Life/God, however you choose to see it.

Even after his elimination he said, “What affirms me as an artist is… [my fans] because week after week they voted…and that shows me they believe in me and that they see something inside of me,” Danny said. “I want to tell them I love them, and I think that they’re the best out there.” Danny continues, “I was a nobody, and this show turned me into a somebody, and I’ll always be thankful for the roots that I came out of because I do believe that the best is yet to come for me, that this is not the end of the road. I’m just very grateful. I’m so thankful my life has turned around, and I can’t say it enough.” (Source)

Today’s Question: What in your life do you need to let go of? Anger, hatred, bitterness, guilt, shame, depression, anxiety, sadness? Are you tired of carrying around all that baggage? May is weight loss month and it is time for us to lose some weight. Let’s start with our own baggage.

Let’s be reminded by the strength of Danny Gokey that sometimes we just have to “let go.”

For more information on how Danny intends to use his gift for future fundraising endeavors visit: SophiasHeart.org.

If you are holding on to something and need to let go….find a rock and carry it around with you for a while, let the rock become the symbol of the thing that you need to let go of.

Squeeze the heat of your anger from your hands into it, cry your tears on it, let it rest on the place in your heart that hurts for a while, keep it in your pocket everywhere you go, or at least try to.

The attempt will remind you what a burden hanging on to this baggage from the past is.

Sleep with it under your pillow….and eventually realize that this rock is weighing you down….this rock needs to be let go. Then take some time down at a special place and throw that rock far into water.

Let go of the pain, let go of the past. Live in the present, don’t live in the past.

We cannot change the past, but we can change how the past affects us today.

Just don’t throw any suitcases in the ocean, or hit any birds or ducks on your therapeutic mission.

~Dr. Nicole

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Disease as Our Teacher

By Dr. Nicole Sundene

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week Everyone!

Who is Your Teacher?

Did you know that even adults have teachers?

We may not knowingly be matriculated into the curriculum, but LIFE is teaching us so many things.

In my opinion, disease is an amazing teacher.

Whether chronic or acute, disease is the only way the body can send us messages.

My friend with diabetes refers to her diabetes as her “teacher.”

Anyone with diabetes who is reading this can commiserate at what a challenging life lesson having this disease can be.

Pain is also one of the most common signals that the body sends to us when it wants to teach us a lesson, but we often miss the other hidden messages, the otherwise less pronounced teachers,  those substitute teachers….you know? The ones that NO ONE wants to pay attention to,  and they are known as SYMPTOMS.

Symptoms are a lot like substitute teachers because no one wants to listen to them.  They are going buh-bye in a day or two. Yippee! We can do whatever we want….

But we can’t.  What we need to do is listen to that inner wisdom of the body…pay attention to those symptoms.

Wow….symptoms are our teachers too! How amazing is that to think about? The body is trying to tell you something when you are spending hours on the toilet with The Swine Flu (or nature’s Spring Cleaning as I like to call it.) We know that this virus causing gastroenteritis is upsetting the digestive system, and the body is smartly shooting it out of us as quickly as possible (no puns intended…I promise with all due respect.)

Same thing happens when we get a bad cough, or when we have to sneeze…..and maybe boring yawns even have something to teach us.

Speaking of yawns, bear with me here for a second while we transport back in to time….

Picture it– Issaquah High School 1993:

When I was in high school, my best friend and I had this substitute teacher who eventually became our full time teacher.  He was fresh meat out of grad school, and not much older than we were. Smelling his fear, everyone in the class acted like the typical high school students that knew more than everyone else in the world (let me tell you when I was 18, I was the smartest I will ever be in my entire lifetime. The more I learn, the more I realize how little I will ever know.)

It seemed that everyone in the class had fun taking turns making his day a nightmare.  We were a bunch of arrogant Honor Society Students.  We were used to receiving “A’s” for thinking out of the box and leaving a tiny dot on a science test that asked us to draw a scientific model of a geographical system, and the teacher gave credit.

We had been tested, we had applied to schools, we already knew where we were going for college, many had full ride scholarships, we had it made….

In all nerdy honesty, I was just taking the Advanced Physics as an elective because I almost failed small engines, and in the 17 years that Mr. Endicott taught his curriculum, he never had a group of students not have their lawn mower run.  He even took it apart and put it back together again, and it still didn’t work.

He never had a group of students like us, who thought we were taking the class for an easy “A,” kind of like the “nerd” in “Breakfast Club” who wanted to kill himself with a flare gun because he couldn’t get his elephant lamp to work. Anyway, I got a C in the small engines class, the worst score I had ever received, and never had to work harder to almost not fail.  My BF and I would stay up late with flashcards talking about “tulip valves” and memorizing auto parts. To each his own genius right?

I digress….

In advanced physics class we refused to listen, we had already had six months of physics and thought we knew more than the teacher. We caused trouble just to cause trouble. We made our poor teacher work a million times harder than necessary. We chatted loudly amongst ourselves while he was forced to just yell louder and louder over us to gain our attention. In guilty hindsight, I’m quite certain we must have driven him to drink. I think he may have even given up teaching.

One morale of this blabbering story is that: He kept yelling louder and louder….and we didn’t listen. Hmmm…sound familiar? Pain and other disease symptoms can keep yelling louder and louder too….when we aren’t listening.

I think many of us that now work with super scary teenagers wish that we could flash back in time and apologize to or thank a particular teacher who worked really hard to make us better.

Teachers are some of the most under-appreciated professionals in the working world in comparison to what they are asked to do, and how much they are asked to give.

As a doctor, I have grown to accept that disease is one of our best under-recognized teachers.

Why else does the public speaker develop laryngitis when he does, or the athlete sprain their ankle? Why do most people have heart attacks at 8am on Monday mornings? Why does the skin problem finally show up on your face where your own vanity is forced to recognize it? Why do we get sick when we get sick? Why do we get sick with the things that we get sick with?

Why does our body choose the particular messages in the form of disease that it chooses to communicate with us?  Why aren’t we listening to the inner wisdom, or in Naturopathic Medicine we call it, “The Vis Medicatrix Naturae” or “The Healing Power of Nature.”

We recognize that although their is no cure for the common cold, for instance, the body manages to still recover.

The problem with symptom suppression is that we are ignoring the body’s inner wisdom. Obviously there are times when we have to ignore this “inner wisdom” and intervene to do what is safest, such as in the case of a high fevers! But let’s stop and think about what the purpose of a low grade fever is before we choose to immediately suppress it with acetaminophen.

When the immune system first interacts with a virus or bacterial particle, a message is sent to the brain to increase our thermostat. When the body has a higher temperature, it makes oxygen more available to white blood cells that kill the very bugs that are making us sick.  This is the immune system equivalent to the President giving a report that then gets distributed and the captain of the ship then says, “Computer–activate our shields.”

Sorry once a Trekkie always a Trekkie.

When we ignore our teachers, and assume we are better than our teachers, we are not quite present for life’s lessons. We miss the growth opportunity in the challenge. When we don’t listen to the messages sent by disease, disease just shouts back louder at us. What is that cold really telling you? Why did you have a heart attack? What is your chronic heart burn telling you?  Why does your back really hurt so bad?  Why do you do more nurturing for other people than you do for yourself?  Why aren’t you taking care of yourself?  Why aren’t you listening to your teachers?

Today is the day to start thinking about these things.

And, if you happen to be the 6th period Advanced Physics teacher at Issaquah High School in 1993, I would like to offer my sincerest apology!

God bless all of our teachers!

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Doctors Fighting in Washington D.C. to Support H.Con.Res.58!

By Dr. Nicole Sundene

If you want to see health care reform, and if you blog for health care reform, please re-post the following press release on your website, share with friends, family, and well…everyone that will listen!  You can even include my introductory spiel, or make your own. Please just share the word!

Doctors are fighting to reform health care in America!!!

We are doing this for YOU! For your children!  For your children’s children.  We are doing this for the well being of America…the 2nd most unhealthy country only second to Finland….while we just so happen to spend the MOST on health care….hmmmm….why is that?!?!??!

How can you help Dr. Nicole and friends fight the Kitchen Table Medicine fight?  Just pass on this info to those that are in Washington D.C.  or join them!

Write your congress and let them know that preventive medicine treatments, consultations, and education are IMPORTANT to you.  After all, the Latin root for the word “doctor” is “docere” meaning….to teach.

We want to teach you how to be healthy.  We want to teach you how to live without unnecessary medications.  We want to teach you how to be the best version of you possible.

Thanks so much for passing along the following press release, and helping us fight the fight to offer Americans the finest health care!  We want you to have every option available as we revise the current health care system.  But we need your input.  We need you to write your local congress, to congregate with those in Washington D.C. and let your government officials know that the well being of our nation is important to you and your family.

As a physician, I believe the health care crisis will never be reformed until we fix the crisis at our Kitchen Tables and we need fine doctors, and nurse educators PAID to coach you to a whole food diet and lifestyle. We need acupuncturists, chiropracters, masssage therapists, all working as a team with your MD and naturopathic physician.   Why are these “premium” modalities not part of every insurance plan?  Why don’t you have access to the information you need? Why is organic food SO expensive but refined crap is readily accessible and CHEAP.  Why is the health care crisis I read about in the newspaper at my grandmother’s obituary from 1976 (reporting her as the first female bartender in Olympia) not improved but worsened? We are not headed in the right direction people.  We are going the WRONG WAY.

Why are we worried about the Swine Flu so much when 1 in 3 adults will develop adult diabetes, and if the current trends in America continue then 1 in 2 children born TODAY will end up with diabetes.  If you have two children that means that statistically one of them could end up with diabetes, unless you model healthy whole food eating and lifestyle NOW.

For every $1 a healthy person costs our health care system a diabetic costs $13….now I am no mathematician….but how are we going to reform health care if we don’t start with a whole foods diet and lifestyle?  How are we not going to be in an economic crisis when 50% of Americans have diabetes?

Being healthy really isn’t that hard:

80% Whole Foods + 20% Who Cares = Disease Prevention

You can do it! I believe in you.  Thanks for sharing my message and helping improve preventive medicine legislation.

~Dr. Nicole


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact: Jenna Huntsberger
(202) 237-8150 jenna.huntsberger@naturopathic.org

Naturopathic Medicine Supporters Advocate For Health Care System Based On Wellness, Disease Prevention, And Natural Medicine:

More than 100 naturopathic doctors and supporters will descend on Capitol Hill Monday, May 4, to advocate for an overhaul of the nation’s health care system. Advocates from across the country will ask their Members of Congress to support H.Con.Res.58, a resolution that would transform the health care system from one that manages disease to one rooted in prevention, health promotion, and wellness.

“The health care system must address the underlying factors that lead to chronic disease,” says Karen Howard, Executive Director of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. “Nearly forty percent of all U.S. deaths are from heart disease, and more than two thirds of Americans are overweight. Clearly, the current system doesn’t do enough to prevent these costly health conditions. We need to move past this broken model and create a system that focuses on overall health, wellness, and enabling the body’s natural healing process.”

Naturopathic medicine is based on the belief that the human body has an innate healing ability.

Naturopathic doctors teach their patients to use lifestyle changes and cutting-edge natural therapies to enhance the body’s ability to ward off and combat disease.

Naturopathic doctors craft comprehensive treatment plans that blend the best of modern medical science and traditional natural medical approaches to not only treat disease, but also to restore health.

“Today, our definition of ‘wellness’ is limited to drug screening, vaccinations, and other preventative strategies such as drug therapy,” continues Howard. “But we drastically undervalue how changing behavior can prevent disease. If the nation is to move past the current health care crisis, we must adopt a patient-centered health care model that will restore and maintain optimal health.”

The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians is a professional association strives to make naturopathic medicine available to every American, and to increase recognition of naturopathic physicians as the identified authorities on natural medicine. Our members include accredited schools of naturopathy, students, physicians, and individual and corporate supporters, participating independently or though 40 state-level affiliate organizations. Learn more at www.naturopathic.org

Jenna Huntsberger

American Association of Naturopathic Physicians

4435 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Suite 403

Washington, D.C. 20016

Phone: (202) 237-8150;  Toll-Free: (866) 538-2267;  Fax: (202) 237-8152

Email: Jenna.huntsberger@naturopathic.org

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Naturopathic Medicine Series Airs Tonight on PBS! April 8th

PhotobucketPress Release: For Immediate Release

On April 8, 2009 the country’s first series on naturopathic medicine will air on southern California’s KOCE, the sixth-largest PBS station in the country.

Produced by the award-winning American Health Journal in conjunction with the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), the series will educate the public about the practices and philosophy of naturopathic medicine.

“The public is hungry for a system of health care that is patient-centered, wellness focused, cost-effective, and which uses natural remedies without side effects,” said Karen Howard, AANP’s Executive Director. “Naturopathic medicine is what the public wants and needs. We’re excited about this opportunity to educate the public about naturopathic medicine.”

The program will cover a broad range of topics, including the training and education of naturopathic physicians, environmental health and cancer, naturopathic approaches to chronic disease, family medicine, preventing heart disease and diabetes, mental health, allergies, and chronic pain.

The six-part series (with a seventh “best of” episode) will begin airing April 8, 2009.

Naturopathic physicians combine the wisdom of nature with the rigors of modern science. Steeped in traditional healing methods, principles and practices, naturopathic medicine focuses on holistic, proactive prevention and comprehensive diagnosis and treatment. Naturopathic medicine embraces the medical oath “first do no harm.”

By using protocols that minimize the risk of harm, naturopathic physicians help facilitate the body’s inherent ability to restore and maintain optimal health. It is the naturopathic physician’s role to identify and remove barriers to good health by helping to create a healing internal and external environment.

Currently, 15 states, the District of Columbia, and the United States territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have licensing laws for naturopathic doctors. In these states, naturopathic doctors are required to graduate from a four-year, postgraduate naturopathic medical school and to pass an extensive postdoctoral board examination (NPLEX) in order to receive a license.

Please Repost this Press Release to Your Website or Newsletter

* * *
The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians is a professional association that strives to make naturopathic medicine available to every American, and to increase recognition of naturopathic physicians as the identified authorities on natural medicine. Our members include accredited schools of naturopathic medicine, students, physicians, and individual and corporate supporters, participating independently or though 40 state-level affiliate organizations.


Learn more at


Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Why Pomegranate Juice is Wonderful


By Dr. Nicole Sundene

When the Pomwonderful people asked me if they could send me some of their juice to taste and report on, I was thrilled because I am already a huge fan, as I mentioned in my articles on “How to Make Your Own Sports Drinks” and “Healthy Herbal Cocktails.”

Plus all my readers know how I shamelessly love free stuff.

Heck even Oprah loves free stuff.

Although I don’t typically recommend any juice in lieu of whole fruits, a few juices such as pure pomegranate, blueberry, and cranberry and such are my exceptions to that rule.

The reason is that they are magical juices chock full of antioxidants. Now, be sure to read the labels and make sure they are PURE and not diluted with apple juice or grape juice, or even worse, the evil High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Pomwonderful is 100% pomegranate juice and thus does not contain the evil HFCS.

As I discussed in my article, “Trifecta of Red Wine, Tea, and Chocolate Shown to Improve Cognitive Function in the Elderly,” we need as many flavonoids in our diets as possible because these antioxidants fight the daily damage caused by free radicals that age us.

PhotobucketAlthough I was aware that pomegranates were a potent inhibitor of cardiovascular disease and a therapeutic food for gingivitis through its antioxidant mechanism (more potent than red wine or green tea according to the ORAC). After reading the literature, I learned that it also is important in prostate health and erectile dysfunction.

Antioxidants are the key to men’s health as I stated in my diatribe, “Chocolate Chips Better than Viagra?” The key to preventing disease is drinking pomegranate juice, and eating a diet rich in whole foods and other antioxidants.

When I asked my “normie tester” aka “normal person that doesn’t typically like ‘Bastyr Fear Factor’ healthy stuff I eat”, to taste the juice for me he said, “It tasted healthy and refreshing, but still had some sweetness to it. It didn’t have that “bitter” taste to it that other pure juices sometimes have. The bottle could be bigger though.”

I informed him that eight ounces was the therapeutic dose stated in the research trials was all he needed daily to prevent cardiovascular disease, prostate problems, and erectile dysfunction he said, “Give me 16 ounces a day!”

Try my PomWonderful challenge: 30 days of 8 oz of pomegranate juice daily and let me know how you feel.


PomWonderful is the only juice company that has invested $25 million in medical research. You may find the juice to be a bit expensive but it is really worth every cent. And if you are already paying $40 a bottle for Mangosteen Juice, you should switch to Pomegranate or blueberry to save you money.

They actually make a pomegranate blueberry blend that is my personal fav.

My only complaint with Pomwonderful is that I can’t seem to find the green tea/pomegranate juice glass jars anywhere anymore and those make for the best travel jars for hot beverages, soups, and such.

My mom even came over and said, “Where did you get these great glasses?” And I replied, “Free with my Pomwonderful Iced tea!”

Pomwonderful juice is available in nearly every grocery store, and if you are looking for the fountain of youth I suggest you pick some up. This is one of my favorite healthy indulgences to recommend! It is 150 calories per 8 oz so keep in mind that this healthy “vice” doesn’t come without calories, but in my weight loss lifestyle plan I use it as the rewarding healthy indulgence that it is.

For more information about the research discussed visit: Pomwonderful.com
If you have a healthy product you would like me to taste and report on please contact us to make arrangements.

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Parental Alienation

PhotobucketBy Dr. Nicole Sundene

I am sure that many of us have witnessed parental alienation first-hand, and it wasn’t until Dr. Phil’s expert labeled it as “child abuse” did I realize it is my obligation to be a “mandated reporter” when I witness an ugly divorce battle between two parents.

Much of what I do as a naturopath is counsel and work to “undo” that which happened during a divorce or other childhood trauma.

Recently, I have been following the story of David Goldman, a man who has been estranged from his son for the past four years, and it got me thinking about the core wound that parental alienation can create in a child.

Children experience the world much differently than adults do, and I would like to invite all parents to consider how important it is to allow both parents be involved in the child’s life, regardless of whether he is a “worthless bum” or she is a “cheating lying witch.” Really, I have heard it all. Divorce is tough enough but the delicate emotions of the children should always be the prime directive.

Nothing makes me more sick to my stomach than parental alienation. This is when one parent uses the court system to push another parent out of that child’s life in an ugly custody situation. Occasionally these acts are necessary and done out of safety, but mostly they are done by one parent, whether consciously or unconsciously, to punish the other parent for cheating, giving up on the marriage, or whatever other reason.

Taking a child away from their parent is the cruelest of punishments of course, but who is suffering the most? The child. The child is suffering, and parental alienation without good cause is emotional child abuse.

If you are doing this, or if you see someone doing this, what you are witnessing is, technically, child abuse. Physicians and teachers are “mandated reporters” which means that it is our duty to report child abuse to CPS when we see it happening.

Of course it is always best to try to talk to the parent that is instigating the alienation first, if possible. But if you don’t feel comfortable doing that then you should make a call to CPS so that your information can be added to the court’s custody decisions. Many states automatically favor the mother and give fathers little to no rights. Being a parent is more than just one Wednesday a week and every other weekend.

The court may set the schedule, but the real decision should be made by your own children. If they need more time with a specific parent then that is what they should get. A child’s mind sees parental alienation as abandonment. “My daddy left me, he doesn’t love me or care about me,” is the typical thought process of the alienated child.

After working with kids and babies for eight years, my advice for new parents when asked is always the same thing, “this baby was born perfect and you are going to mess it up. Every parent messes up. Sometimes trying too hard to be such a perfect parent messes your kid up more than anything, so just relax and enjoy the process.”

But, parental alienation is a preventable mistake. If you are doing it, if you see a friend or family doing it, try to talk some reason in to them. If there are concerns about the parent and they are under investigation, or a restraining order is present, then the visitation can and should still be conducted supervised. The child should be allowed to see the estranged parent at least twice a week, or as often as they need.

If a child is being beaten or sexually molested, they should of course be alienated from the abusive parent; however, a child needs both a mom and a dad if not “a village,” in order to be healthy, and I can guarantee that the worst thing you can ever do to a child is alienate it from either it’s mother or father.

I don’t care how crappy a parent they are. I don’t care if they are a “useless unemployed alcoholic bum,”all parents are perfect in their child’s eyes (well until they become teens.) The interesting psychological aspect of parental alienation is that the child notoriously bonds with the parent they were alienated from and secretly holds a grudge or becomes estranged from the parent that did the alienating. Karmic retribution perhaps.

We need to always be thinking about what is best for our kids, not for ourselves.

Sorry, tough love today, maybe some of you don’t want to hear this from me, but children everywhere are being abused by our court system and all I can do is speak up and encourage parents to open their hearts to what is the absolute best thing for their children.

For more information on parental alienation visit: DivorceSource.com

~Dr. Nicole

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Pesticides: The New Dirty Dozen

PhotobucketBy Dr. Nicole Sundene

There is a new dirty dozen out by the Environemental Working Group.

Check out the top 12 dirtiest most pesticide ridden foods we should buy organic and the “Clean Fifteen” that we don’t have to worry about so much.

Although we should always take a spin around the organic foods section even if we are on a budget, it is nice to know what foods are safe to eat non-organic.

Still organic foods are not always pricier than the pesticide grown alternatives. Pesticide free is good for the environment as well as our health.

I know everyone is strapped during these tough economic times, but remember that your money counts as ballots and the more you spend on organic, the more you support organic farmers, and the cheaper organic food will inevitably become, if not the standard.

And along with everyone else, organic farmers are likely suffering more than anyone because no one can afford pricier food.

Stop by http://www.foodnews.org/ to download the latest guide. And if you make a donation to the efforts of this group of scientists who are independently working to tell us what the FDA, and EPA won’t…you get a groovy magnet of the Dirty Dozen to put on your fridge.

You can download the guide for free.

Or just bookmark this page!

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Aura Cacia Essential Oil Diffusers Voted Best!


By Dr. Nicole Sundene

Okay it is not that often I get REALLY REALLY REALLY excited about something so simple and silly, but I just have to say that these new Aura Cacia essential oils diffusers are simply the best thing since sliced bread.

Traditional plug in air fresheners purchased in the drug store are basically just infusing synthetic toxic poisons in to your air. Certainly not a good thing for those with asthma or respiratory problems. Sure you can buy a bunch of spider plants and open the windows…but wouldn’t you rather just use some pure essential oils to scent your home instead?


I have always been a fan of Aura Cacia, having been in the natural medicine industry for 15 years, and the great thing about the “plug in” diffuser is that you just add a few drops of your favorite essential oil scent to the foam pad (that occasionally has to be replaced when it gets hard) and it makes your home smell WONDERFUL!

This is great for me because with all the pets I have I need to cover up some serious old dog stench (yes I do bathe them.) But, a few drops of the Aura Cacia essential oil on the diffuser is enough (I hope.)

To make an instant spa scene just grab your favorite essential oil and add a few drops to your bath, and a few drops to the plug in diffuser.

At nighttime I sleep like a baby by putting a few drops of their organic lavender on my bedroom diffuser. You can read “The Fifteen Most Fabulous Herbal Sedatives” for more information on how to use lavender to calm down.

I did a test with the car plug in and found that I was much less road ragey by using my favorite calming blend, “Panic Button,” a deliciously soothing blend of lavender, rose, and citrus. Until I have my own chauffeur, I will be heavily relying on panic button! Yay Panic Button!

They also make a battery operated essential oil diffuser option as my beauty editor Kat Lee mentioned in her article “Aura Cacia’s Lavender Harvest, Mommy’s Secret Weapon.” I like to place mine at the entry way so I can open the door to something that smells good.

These aromatherapy diffusers by Aura Cacia are great for traveling, office, placing by your entry way so your guests feel properly welcomed, or you can place a little of the Heart Song blend on your nightstand to set a romantic mood. Be sure to check with your co-workers and those around you that may be scent sensitive, but otherwise they will probably love them too! These are non-toxic scents at their finest!

Thank you Aura Cacia for giving us some great home scent options that aren’t poisoning the air we breathe!!!

For more information visit www.AuraCacia.com


Martha Stewart…er I mean Dr. Nicole Sundene

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Back Pain: Try a Half Bath

KitchenTableMedicineBy Dr. Nicole Sundene

If you have chronic neck or back pain, you might want to try a half bath next time instead of a full one. Now, many with big Jacuzzi bath tubs may not need this tip, but if you have a standard little bath tub you may want to try this out.

As a med student I was always hunched over a book, which resulted in chronic neck and upper back tension. If you fill the bath tub up so that you can lie with your legs up and your neck and back in the water you may be able to decrease spasming muscles and prevent the tightness from progressing in to a full blown event that leaves you laid up in bed in pain for days on end.

This tip is also great to do right before you go in for a massage, chiro adjustment, physical therapy, acupuncture, or other body work. The looser you are before your appointment, the easier it will be for your practitioner.

Tight muscles can make chiropractic adjustments very difficult. If you always suffer from chronic back and neck pain, be sure to check your office desk ergonomics in addition to being fully worked up by your physician and the proper experts.

If you suffer from high blood pressure, heart problems, or other chronic health conditions, please contact your doctor before implementing any hydrotherapy techniques, and ask someone to assist you whenever you are not feeling well.

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Scientists Urging Obama to End Natural Medicine Research?

By Dr. Nicole Sundene

Please contact your local congress if you want to help support natural medicine research that is currently at risk, and while you are at it, please tell Presdent Obama that he should include preventative medicine providers such as Naturopaths, Chiropracters, Acupuncturists, and so forth in his new “Universal” health care plan.

Although President Obama has the right idea with focusing on prevention, he is unfortunately being advised to not include all the people who can actually make disease prevention happen. Ironically, preventative medicine has never been at a greater risk than this exact moment – a time that Obama is working to create this Universal Health Plan that got my vote because it was supposedly “focused on disease prevention.”

Recently I read this article “Critics Object to Pseudoscience Center,” and it had me in such fits I could barely restrain myself from screaming out loud when I realized that all the progress in natural medicine research we have been fighting for may be wiped out:

“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. ”

First of all, the research examples cited are not properly demonstrating all the different natural medicine studies the NIH has granted. Second of all, unless you are a doctor you have NO right to decide what is best for the condition of other human beings. Scientists only know their focus of interest. Most aren’t trained to see the big picture unless they end up in medical school.

“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.”

Salzberg and similar scientists have a very focused understanding of human physiology, and as a former biochemistry student in undergrad, I can personally attest to that fact, although highly over-educated at the time, I still understood science only on a very focused level.Photobucket

As a biochemist, I understood the human condition in a series of mathematical equations, and biochemical formulas that basically add very little to understanding the complex machine of the human body as a whole.

Are you a mathematical equation? Are you a biochemical formula? I certainly hope not. You are a human being.

Just because someone knows how to change some spark plugs doesn’t mean they know how to build a car.

The scientists urging Obama to end CAM (complementary alternative medicine) research with the NIH (National Insititute of Health) has absolutely ZERO understanding of the human health condition unless he has an MD, DO, RN, or ND behind his name, and to my knowledge Salzberb is a human genetics researcher, not a doctor. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I would even be happy if this scientist was at least an RN, but he isn’t, and to my knowledge has NO actual medical training outside of a deep understanding of human genetics. What makes this person have the right to dictate what research is conducted in health care when they haven’t worked in the trenches of primary care?

Why should President Obama even consider taking health care system advice from someone that works on gene research and knows absolutely nothing about human health in the big picture?

“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.”

Frankly, in my opinion at this prudent juncture, “pseudoscience” is wasting millions of dollars on gene research that will not make a significant difference in the lives of human beings for several generations out.

After medical school and eight years of working in family practice care throughout as a medical assistant, I have learned that prevention is the key to a highly functioning health care system, as I stated in my recent article, “Is Your Body a Money Pit?”

The CAM approach is really the only way to prevent your body from falling apart. Drugs are band-aids. Gene research is the research that should be THROWN OUT! Do we really need gene research? No, we need PREVENTION.

Gene research is an unnecessary expense and is pseudoscience in itself. Gene research is maybe the medicine of the future for elitists but will likely not solve the health care issues of “Joe the Plumber.”  What “Joe the Plumber” needs is to understand that genetics may in fact play a role in human disease processes, but they are a multi-factorial part.

I have cancer cells in my body as I write this, as does everyone else reading this, it is a matter of a variety of environmental influences that determine whether cancer gene expression will be allowed to be turned on, and it is a matter of a suppressed immune system to determine if the cancer cells are allowed to proliferate.  If you have a weak immune system, you are at risk for cancer.

If you smoke, don’t eat fruits and veggies, have an unhealthy diet and lifestyle, don’t exercise, and so forth you are allowing these cancer cells made in error to proliferate.   The cancer cells in my body right now are cells that are naturally made by accident as I discuss in my article on the “Anti-Inflammatory Diet,” using a factory as my paradigm for disease proliferation.  Mistakes are bound to occur. Your immune system does the “clean up on aisle nine” in the cancer picture.

After talking to patients for eight years as a telephone triage nurse, and working urgent care, family practice, and a variety of other specialties, I was gifted the opportunity to see how dysfunctional our health care system truly is (in one of the BEST medical settings possible, I should add). I have come to the conclusion that prevention and patient education are the missing links to American health care. That is why I started Kitchen Table Medicine.

This article about cutting a ridiculously small amount of funding to natural medicine research really ticks me off because you know how many negative drug trials there are out there?

Hundreds if not thousands… if not hundreds of thousands.

YES we are trying to conduct scientific research on natural medicines….NO we are not going to find everything to be more beneficial than placebo. This is no different than the pharmaceutical companies finding that their NEW DRUG doesn’t work either. A new drug is found to be ineffective or unsafe nearly every day, maybe even every hour, and do scientists call that “pseudoscience?”

The placebo rate for menopause, for instance, is as high as 40% for ANY treatment up to the first 12 weeks. So of course hormone replacement therapy (which was found to cause breast cancer…etc etc) or ANY treatment can be shown to be efficacious when scientists properly distort the information.

Why is natural medicine labeled “pseudoscience” when it is has been used respectfully and successfully in Asia for at least 3000 years? I think the REAL pseudoscience is drug companies making up synthetic drugs and trying to feed them to us at ridiculously over-inflated prices.

That is pseudoscience at it’s finest. People paying $800 a month for an “off label drug” (not even proven to be efficacious) that gets pulled off the market a few years later because it is going to give you cancer or a heart attack or result in some other terrible outcome.

Do you smell that? Yeah smells like pseudoscience!

What about kids with autism being given anti-psychotic and anti-seizure meds that have absolutely no research to vouch for them? Ummm…pseudoscience.

The whole problem with health care in America is that we don’t have enough prevention. Doing away with research and shutting prevention oriented docs such as myself out of a universal health care plan is politics at it’s finest, because who owns the politicians and the FDA?

The pharmaceutical companies.

If Obama really wants to make a difference during his time in the White House, he should go after companies that are allowed to charge a gajillion dollars for their drug that they can afford to advertise during the Super Bowl.

Natural Medicine companies, for the most part, won’t pay to study natural medicines because no one can patent and make billions off of a well known and effective natural medicine such as garlic. So without the NIH, we have very little hope of understanding how best to use our natural modalities, and which were shown to be the most efficacious.

Enough independent studies on fish oil have finally been done and now there is a pharmaceutical version available at a ridiculously over-inflated price.  If your co-pay is only $10 it is probably saving you money, but it is not saving the overall health care budget for insurance to pay $60 for some fish oil that can be picked up at your health food store (like Carlson, Arctic Omega, Pharmax, Twinlab, etc).

Insurance won’t pay me $120 to educate someone on how to eat to prevent gall stones but they will pay $20,0000 for a gall bladder surgery removal!!!! So they have the surgery…and then guess what? They have to be on the SAME diet that would have prevented the gallstones from forming. And the patient then comes running to me for advice because their MD can only tell them to live with the chronic diarrhea. Does this make sense to anyone? It sure doesn’t make sense to me.

If Obama wants to make a difference in health care he should not be listening to “scientists”, he should be listening to doctors, nurses, medical assistants, insurance companies, and referral coordinators….the people fighting the primary care battle in the trenches day in and day out. I slaved away in the primary care trenches for eight years.

Did this geneticist do it? Did he listen to little old ladies crying about how they can’t afford food because their drugs were so expensive each month. Did he listen to the depressed obese old man tell me he would rather die from diabetic complications than follow the diabetes diet. Doubtful.

Don’t expect Medicare to cover all your drug costs when you retire, and don’t expect Obama to actually fix the health care crisis until he guts the system, guts the corruption in the FDA, caps the pharmaceutical industry, and turns health care in to a paradigm that is focused on prevention. Doing away with research on CAM isn’t going to stop me from doing my job, but it certainly isn’t helping it.

Nor is it helping any other American.

No wonder America is the second most unhealthy country in the world next to Finland, and we pay more than any other country for health care. I propose that Obama think outside the box and implement a Chinese or Ayurvedic model of medicine where patients are actually taught how to live well on a daily basis. Where they see their doctor more than once a year, and follow the health care models of China and India where healthy people exist in a system that doesn’t pay much to keep them healthy.

The answer to the health care crisis is not removing Preventative doctors from Premara or taking funds from CAM researchers. If we really want to save money on health care, the plug should be pulled on whatever those human genome researchers are doing. Genetic research is costing us millions if not billions in funding…not a study to see if human touch is helpful in disease management and patient comfort levels, a study that may inspire more doctors and nurses to step down from their pedestals and interact with their patients on more of a human level. A study that might encourage health care providers to put the “care” in health care.

What it all comes down to, is that treating diseases through gene therapy is so far out in the future it won’t even touch the health care crisis for several generations out, if ever, and we need to act NOW.  Forget the eldery, forget the baby boomers, the crisis is going to break when our current generation of children reach their fifties and one in three of them are diabetic.  If the diabetic crisis continues at it’s current trend, this is what will happen.

Please contact your local congress
and let them know you want CAM research supported, that you want preventative medicine doctors and options on your health care plans, and if you need information on how to go about doing that visit the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

Feel free to send me hate mail on this one, but I have the “Trifecta of Experience” to speak out against these “pseudoscientists” calling me a “pseudoscientist.”  The proverbial pot calling the kettle black.

Well this kettle has been traditionally trained as a scientist, and has also been a triage nurse in a family practice setting for eight years, and now is a preventive medicine doctor with the ability to understand this debate from a myriad of perspectives, and the only way out is to solve the crisis at our very own kitchen tables. We need healthy whole foods that we can afford, we need to implement exercise programs in work places, to get America HEALTHY and not pumped full of billions of dollars worth of monthly drugs.

The only way out is to focus on PREVENTION, Obama has that part right, he is just listening to the wrong panel of advisers.  They are all likely corrupt with their own initiatives, and owned by the FDA, which is in turn owned by the Pharmaceutical companies.

How do I know? Just take a look at the health care systems of other countries that aren’t paying small fortunes to researchers to study human genetics when we are several generations out to even efficaciously applying these modalities.

What the NIH should actually do is ditch the geneticists and focus all of their research on CAM and prevention. It is truly the only hope that American health care has. Gut the health care system. Throw out the baby and the bath water.

Maybe that is unnecessarily harsh, but what kind of human being doesn’t want to promote the healing power of human touch? Someone that has no clue about humanity.

Keep the Cam research. Do away with NIH grants that are funding the unnecessary luxury of genetic research, and allow every American the opportunity to PREVENT disease instead of putting a band-aid on it. And if they do get a disease, they still will need a naturopath to help them with the long term big picture of how to prevent the disease from progressing.

Heck I’ve got an electrician here working away right now who says, at 55 years of age, the only thing that holds him together is his weekly appointment with his naturopath.

A human geneticist telling us what to do with the human body is exactly like an electrician telling us how to build a house. Just because you know about the wiring doesn’t mean you know what is best for the entire structure, and yes, I did just ask this electrician if he could build a house from the ground up and he said, “Nope.”

~Dr. Nicole Sundene

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Is Your Body a “Money Pit?”

PhotobucketBy Dr. Nicole Sundene

I have been having a lot of household disasters of late and decided to watch the free Comcast on demand movie “The Money Pit,” starring Tom Hanks and Shelley Long so I could be reminded that my few household problems really aren’t that bad compared to theirs.

Misery sure loves company ;)

If you haven’t seen the movie, basically this young couple gets a smoking hot deal on a beautiful looking home that turns out to be riddled with architectural, plumbing, carpentry, and electrical issues.

They keep sinking more and more and more money in to this house to fix all the problems going haywire until they finally go broke and the house crumbles around them.

Sorry to spoil the ending, but the movie has been out some 20 odd years, and it is always enjoyable for a good laugh. Many home owners can commiserate with the annoying dilemmas of having to fix this and repair that, or be held hostage by a plumber for a ridiculous amount of money.

As I was watching the movie I was reminded of the Chinese proverb, “The time to repair your roof is when the sun is shining.”

For many of us younger, healthy folks it is easy to not want to bother with preventive medicine. It is easy to think we will just “deal with it tomorrow,” or “DWIT” (one of my own personal favorite mottos when crossing things off my “To Do” list.)

However, after working eight years in primary care, I’ve realized that many of us when we hit our 50’s and 60’s turn into the house in the money pit. And let me tell you, being chronically sick is VERY expensive. It can cost you around $800 a month in meds, appointments, co-pays, and so forth.

Preventive medicine for ourselves is pretty much the same as preventive maintenance for our homes.

What was the first clue that the house was going to be in disastrous condition in the movie, “The Money Pit?” I would say it was the alcoholic widow stumbling in all her glory to answer the front door complete with bathrobe and vodka tonic in hand.

The first thing that popped in to my mind is that a vodka loving woman without a husband around is not likely keeping up on the basics of preventative home care (and please no fem-nazi hate mail). Who is she paying to do all the upkeep and preventive maintenance of this glorious mansion? Is she doing it all herself?


Chronic illness is just like the disastrous progression we watch in “The Money Pit.” First it starts with a simple broken step repair, then we get a few bits of ceiling crumbling on our head, next thing we know the ceiling is crumbling around us, the whole staircase has fallen down, the front door has fallen off, the pipes and septic tank are shot, and Tom Hanks is left trapped in a hole in the floor of the den.

I am sure that many of you that are chronically ill, or elderly, can attest that feeling sick and unhealthy is exactly like being trapped in a hole in the floor of your den. There is all this work around you, yet you are now a victim of your own body and capable of doing only that which your body will allow.

If anything.

The best thing to do with our health, as well as our homes, is to stay on top of these repairs. To have the “roof repaired when the sun is shining” as the Chinese wisely recommends, instead of waiting for the rain to come and dealing with it later.

If you want to stay on top of your health, just subscribe to my blog, follow the simple diet and lifestyle tips that you can readily adopt and think now of how you want to treat your mansion…aka your temple…aka yourself.

Don’t become a money pit.

Preventive medicine is self love at it’s finest and in the long run, that which you invest in yourself will save you money and insure a long, happy, mobile life.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen table,

Dr. Nicole

Related Reading:

21 FREE Prentive Medicine Tips

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Best Multivitamin 2008

PhotobucketThe Best Multivitamin for 2008 Kitchen Table Award is granted to Whole Food Nation!

Congratulations for formulating a fantastic whole food multivitamin at a reasonable price we can afford!


Today I will be discussing why I chose the whole foods “Purple and Green Pops” as the best, so that everyone can understand what key features to address while shopping for a multivitamin.

“Do I need a multivitamin?”

Everyone that doesn’t eat perfect, or is under stress, or has a chronic disease should be on some form of a multivitamin. First of all, our soil is not as nutrient dense as it once was, second of all I don’t know anyone that eats perfectly every single day, and at every single occasion, and is never under any form of stress.

Drinking alcohol, stress, and eating white refined foods actually depletes our bodies of vital nutrients.

Most importantly though a high quality whole foods multi is a great “insurance policy” that all of our necessary vitamin and mineral cofactors are always topped off for optimal biochemical functioning.

For most patients I recommend a standard wellness program that includes a whole foods multi, Omega 3 oils, enzymes, probiotics, and glucosamine for older and more active folks.

The nice thing about “Pops” whole food multi is that it comes complete with enzymes and probiotics, so my wellness program just got that much simpler. I don’t know about you, but I hate taking pills so prefer efficiency when at all possible.

Without vitamins and minerals our bodies can’t do the work they need to do each day. Most people aren’t actually deficient in one or two nutrients, most people are deficient in a myriad of nutrients because what they are REALLY deficient in is nutrition, and that deficiency of whole food nutrition is compounded by the fact that most Americans are not properly digesting their nutrients.

What features should a great whole food multivitamin contain?

  • Organic and pesticide free or eco-harvested whenever possible.
  • No tablets! Capsules are the best and help us avoid chemical binders and fillers.
  • No food coloring! If your multivitamin has food coloring in it, it is hype, or it is garbage. Phase it out and find a food coloring free alternative.
  • Minimal excipients and stabilizers. Check the labels and see if there other artificial ingredients such as food coloring. These are typically the last ingredients listed.
  • A full spectrum of all the colors found in nature. We need to “eat by the rainbow” to get the full spectrum of nutrients found in nature. The most important colors being green, purple, and the yellow/oranges found in the carotenoid family.
  • No synthetics or synthetic isolates. I am obviously not a fan of synthetic vitamins, as the biochemist in me knows to only trust nature and never man, but I am also against the consumption of isolated nutrients taken in high quantities. Nature intended for us to get our vitamin C from foods like oranges and broccoli, not chewable candies. Whole foods come complete with bioflavonoids that further help vitamin C work to heal and repair damaged tissues. While a synthetic vitamin can promise you 1333% of the USRDA, it can’t promise you a dose of healthy nutrition that your diet is likely lacking. We don’t just need vitamins, we need nutrition. Obviously children and pregnant women need standardized doses of specific vitamins and minerals, but the majority of us looking to prevent disease, just need a comprehensive spectrum of daily nutrition to cover up for those inevitable times that we fall off the whole food wagon.
  • No plastic bottles. In an effort to reduce the amount of plastics that are added to our environment annually, I will avoid recommending products that are packaged in plastic bottles when there are better alternatives such as glass bottles, and blister packs that minimize plastic waste put in landfills.

Why are Whole Food Nation “Pops” a great choice?

  • Potent antioxidants. The formulators of this product have smartly taken all of nature’s finest superfoods and placed them in to two blends. An AM energizing/weight loss/antioxidant herbal blend or “Purple Pops” and an evening calming herbal food blend found in the “Green Pops.” Antioxidants are the foundation to every healing and anti-aging program.
  • What they DON’T have: No food coloring. no sugar, no synthetic product stabilizers, no binders (easily avoided by purchasing only capsules.) Regardless of what multivitamin you choose to use, you should never be taking a daily dose of these artificial chemicals.
  • Natural vitamins. These are not synthetic vitamins, or even vitamins isolated from foods. These are whole food nutrient concentrates, brought to us by nature’s finest superfoods, and in the form that nature intends that we take them. With that being said be sure to take this supplement with food so that the vitamins and minerals can be properly digested and utilized.
  • More than just vitamins. Do you get confused about the latest new hot nutrient that scientists have “just discovered?” Well these nutrients have existed in nature for centuries, and just because a scientist discovers them in a lab, doesn’t mean that we need to suddenly start taking them in a high dose supplement. We should be taking these healing plant pigments, cofactors and coenzymes in our food on a daily basis, and if we don’t eat perfectly we should supplement with a whole food multi, not one that contains only the vitamins that scientists are currently capable of recognizing. Twenty years ago we only recognized about twenty vitamins and minerals as “essential,” but think forward to the next twenty years. The best way to ensure you have everything in your system that is “essential” is to take a whole food multivitamin, or start juicing. Or if you really want to feel awesome-BOTH!
  • Enzymes aid digestion. You aren’t just getting whole food nutrients, you are getting plant enzymes that will help you digest, break down, and absorb your food better.
  • Probiotics. Acidophilus helps us digest our food, metabolize hormones and vitamins, and is killed off by antibiotic use. Most cooked and processed foods we eat are deficient in probiotics and is vital to our health that we supplement them daily or consume in yogurt, kim chee, sauerkraut, kefir and other fermented foods.
  • You Need Greens! Have you had 2-3 servings of leafy green vegetables today? Greens are important because they are rich in magnesium. The chloryphyll molecule is shaped just like the hemoglobin in our red blood cells, the only difference is that an iron molecule sits in the middle of the hemoglobin ring, and magnesium sits in the center of a chlorophyll ring. This is why all green foods are particularly healing to those on the Standard American Diet (SAD), as the SAD diet is deficient in minerals such as magnesium found in green foods.
  • You Need Purples! If you peruse all of my treatment plans you will see that a cup of frozen blueberries a day is recommended pretty consistently throughout, as blueberries are a featured food on the anti-inflammatory diet. In addition to fighting inflammation, purple plant pigments known as proanthocyanins are especially healing to the skin, blood vessels, and cardiovascular system. Be sure to eat a cup of purple/red/blue foods everyday!
  • No Plastic Bottles! Plastics are destroying our ecosystem, and we need to use glass and paper alternatives when available.
  • Capsules NOT Tablets: To form tablets natural ingredients have to be attached to binders and mechanically pressed in to a tablet which may alter their molecular stability and thus efficacy. Avoid tablets and take capsules. You will have to take a couple more capsules to equate what is super-compressed in to tablets, but it is well worth it.
  • Great Environmental Shipping. My product arrived within two days, was packed in recycled boxes and recycled paper. I can’t tell you how many times I have stopped purchasing a great product because my values did not align with their shipping methods. Kitchen table only promotes companies with firm environmental efforts.
  • Great Company Business Model. You know something is good when you ask to try it for free and the company is happy to send you free samples. A company confident in their product knows you will become a customer, and they were right. This is the multivitamin that I have chosen to take myself every day. I also signed up for their mailings, and couldn’t agree more with the great advice from the Harvard grads that put the whole food “Pops” together. I typically find companies that oversell annoying, but the weekly newsletters are clearly designed to educate. Really a good product sells itself, and the formulators of this whole food multivitamin are smart enough to know that.

PhotobucketTo read more about Whole Foods Nation you can visit sign up for their free report:

“Are Your Vitamins Safe?”

or visit www.WholeFoodsNation.com

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

The Healing Power of Thanksgiving


Contrary to popular belief Thanksgiving Dinner is actually quite healthy.

When we remove all the notorious “white foods,” such as white refined flours, sugars, and other carbohydrates devoid of nutrients we are actually left with a very colorful whole food fare.

Of course you should never try a new recipe while entertaining, but I have given each popular dish a “whole foods makeover” so that you can try a healthier option next time. There should be a next time–in just a few weeks. We should try to eat a turkey dinner more than once a year! Baking a whole turkey is a fantastic healthy and frugal way to optimize your grocery budget, and turkey is the hottest trend this winter. Plus it just makes the house smell good. I freeze carcasses until I have enough to make into a great turkey wild rice soup.

Here are the top eight superfoods found in our traditional American Thanksgiving spread.

1. Turkey

Renowned for its high tryptophan content, turkey has the potential to lift our mood and/or make us sleepy. It really depends on how we choose to pair up the amino acids in turkey. When turkey is consumed in conjunction with refined carbohydrates found in mashed potatoes or dinner rolls, the tryptophan converts to serotonin, and in low light conditions the excess serotonin converts in to melatonin, the nighttime hormone that makes us feel sleepy. Serotonin gives you that good “Turkey Buzz” and Melatonin is what sends you straight to the couch for a nice nap. If you are depressed you should work turkey, cottage cheese, and salmon in to your weekly rotation so you can benefit from my other favorite high tryptophan foods, or you can also just try some 5-HTP.

When we eat turkey in the absence of carbohydrates the amino acids that increase energizing catecholamines are able to cross the blood brain barrier and the result is an energized good mood. If you aren’t a breakfast person try a bit of salmon, cottage cheese, or turkey to start your day, support your adrenal glands, and keep you energized until lunch.

Turkey Makeover: Hold the butter, skip the stuffing and go straight for olive oil and lemon as your poultry flavorings of choice. If you bake your turkey at 320F you will be well below the smoking point of olive oil.

Stuffing the cavity of the turkey with whole lemon halves will also give the turkey a “salty flavor” so you can use the least amount of organic sea salt necessary. Stuff some garlic cloves and thyme under the skin of the turkey, and in the cavity along with the lemons.

Medical geeks like me can get crafty and inject herbal seasonings mixed with your basting solution of olive oil and lemon straight in to the meat with syringes (yes you can buy meat syringes at the store too.) Then just baste and bake as usual. Salt and pepper your turkey mainly on your dinner plate, not in the oven. Salt always loses flavor as it cooks and the best flavor comes from that final sprinkling. Salting your meat while cooking also dries it out, so really it is not just healthy but smart.

To benefit from the tryptophan in turkey don’t over do it with your carbs….that is unless you are heading straight to bed! To boost your mood opt to pair your turkey with the “slow carbs” found in fruits and veggies. Skip the dinner roll and the mound of mashed potatoes.

If you are adventurous, you can also go outside for a little walk after you eat your turkey to stay energized. The full spectrum light will prevent the melatonin formation that makes us all so sleepy.

The moral of the turkey story is that tryptophan converts to serotonin which makes us happy, and in the presence of excess dietary sugar and darkness serotonin converts to melatonin, and melatonin makes us drowsy. That is why all of us in Seattle are so darn tired all the time and left with no choice but to hang out at Starbucks or stare at a light box.

Got that? Fabulous. Moving on.


2. Thyme

Did you ever wonder where that traditional flavor of Thanksgiving came from? You may not know if you haven’t ever prepared the meal. That certain flavor comes from the herb thyme that we traditionally use to flavor our stuffing. Thyme is a fantastic healing herb as it is antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal just like most of it’s relatives in the “laminacea” or mint family.

Thyme is used in making “Listerine” mouthwash, or at least it traditionally was. The aromatic oils in thyme are also fantastic for indigestion, no wonder this is the key point herbal medicine of our great American overeating day!

Stuffing Makeover: Just lose the stuffing! Stuffing although delicious is one of the biggest calorie mongers on the menu. If this is your favorite thing you will need to cut back somewhere else on your plate. The trend of white bread went out with eating McInflammation. The new America is a whole foods America.

Whatever you do, please don’t bake your stuffing inside the turkey, this makes it that much more fattening, and sets people up for food poisoning if not adequately cooked through. You HAVE to check the temperature of your stuffing AND your turkey.

Instead try a stuffing in your crockpot of brown rice or quinoa, thyme, raw nuts and seeds, dried fruit, garlic, and your favorite stuffing spices instead of the traditional white food fest. At least experiment with healthy stuffing alternatives for your non-holiday feasts. I will allow everyone to eat stuffing one day a year on my whole foods diet. If you can “just say no to stuffing” then you get bonus points and will immediately benefit by feeling good about yourself and not overstuffed from stuffing.


3. Cranberries

Delicious and healthy antioxidant rich fruit that fight aging, inflammation, and bladder infections.

Why are berries all the latest rage? In my Mangosteen Scam tirade I discussed that all deeply pigmented fruit skins are high in antioxidants. From a botanical standpoint the plant smartly creates these antioxidant polyphenols known as “proanthocyanins” to protect the skin of the fruit from the sun. The fruit cannot use sunlight to produce energy in the manner that the leaves of the plant do, so the antioxidants are “nature’s sunscreen”. Without their protective antioxidants, berries would shrivel and burn under the sun’s harsh rays.

The ingenious antioxidant protection devised by the plant also kindly protects us from the free radical damage that results from the reactive oxygen species we are constantly exposed to in our polluted stressful environment. The skin, eyes, and blood vessels are especially protected by the proanthocyanins in berries.

Most people know that cranberry juice is good for bladder infections. E. coli, the bacteria that causes most bladder infections is unable to adhere to the lining of the bladder thanks to cranberry.

What most people don’t know though is that there is not a therapeutic cranberry juice out there that really tastes that good! If you are drinking a “delicious” glass of cranberry juice every day then you are probably not doing much to prevent a bladder infection. You should read the label because you are probably drinking a delicious glass of high fructose corn syrup(HFCS) and food coloring.

When shopping for cranberry juice, be sure to read the label and purchase only 100% pure cranberry juice. The HFCS juice trend faded out in the nineties. And a cranberry juice loaded with grape juice, apple juice or heaven forbid high fructose corn syrup is simply not going to be effective for preventing disease or bladder infections. To make cranberry juice more palatable, mix with 50% pure blueberry juice. Blueberries are also fantastic antioxidants that prevent bladder infections and aging.

Cranberry Sauce Makeover: Try experimenting with healthier natural sweeteners like agave, brown rice syrup, and stevia for homemade cranberry sauce. Adding a bunch of refined sugars and other refined pollutants to cranberries defeats their protective healing purpose.


4. Yams

Because of the beautiful orange and yellow pigments, yams, sweet potatoes, and even that delicious pumpkin pie are all a rich source of beta carotene and other important carotenoids that prevent cancer and support a healthy immune system.

Yellow and orange foods are particularly protective to the lungs, reproductive system, and eyes.

No, carrots probably don’t improve your vision, but the carotenoids in them have been shown to be protective and preventative for both cataracts and macular degeneration. So they may not perfect your vision, but they will prevent its degeneration. Certain antioxidants have affiliations for certain tissues in our systems. Be sure to eat something yellow and orange every day, and I’m not talking about circus peanuts! Eating by the rainbow is the diet for the new millennium. If you are struggling with this new trend you may need to grab my favorite Whole Foods Multi that just happens to be “Buy One Get One Free” right now.

Yam Makeover: Lose the marshmallows! Marshmallows are completely out of style. Less is more now. “More is more” went out five years ago, and for some of us a few months ago when the stock market crashed. Try your traditional whipped yam recipe without the marshmallows. Garnish with pecans instead, or just let them stand alone as the amazing super food they are. Try healthier sweeteners in your candied yam recipe like brown rice syrup, agave, or stevia and flavor with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, or pumpkin pie spice.

Baked yams as pictured are delicious and simple! Try roasting yams in the oven at 350F 30-40 minutes until fork tender. You can also steam yams till tender, drizzle with olive oil and give a sprinkle of sea salt for a regular dinner side dish. The peel of vegetables is where all the nutrients and fiber lies. Buy yams organic if you are going to eat the peel since they are a root vegetable. All root vegetables are naturally riddled with pesticides as they absorb and concentrate them from the soil. But, since yams and sweet potatoes are dirt cheap, they are worth the extra splurge. Everyone that is “cool now” is eating yams and sweet potatoes, so hopefully that includes you.

For a healthy wheat free “sweet potato pie” scoop out freshly baked sweet potato just like what is pictured here, sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice, drizzle with honey, and top with shredded coconut! Without the pie crust you have earned the calories to add a small dollop of your favorite organic vanilla ice cream. It sounds weird, but it is truly delicious. Who has the time to bake an entire pie anyways when you can just toss a couple sweet potatoes in the oven? Isn’t healthy easy? That is why it is so stylish.


5. Green Beans

Green beans are loaded with fiber, beta carotene, B-vitamins, calcium, and potassium. Eating any beans are a fantastic diabetic trick for lowering the glycemic load of a meal. Beans truly are the “magical fruit” for a reason. Now eating too many beans may not make you too popular, but at least they will make you more attractive and youthful and trim your waist line.

Green Bean Makeover: Lightly steam your green beans, they are done when they turn bright green, don’t boil them in to a nutrient devoid lifeless brown mess. We just don’t boil vegetables anymore. If you boil them you should drink the water too as that is where all the vitamins go. It is just wrong on so many levels, and the kind of thing that only belongs in the “worse dressed” section of the tabloids. Canned green beans went out with acid washed jeans. Always opt for fresh or frozen before grabbing for cans.

I don’t mean to sound bossy, but you have to lose the white canned cream of mushroom soup garbage, and dress your beans with olive oil or your favorite olive oil based salad dressing. If you have to defy me and use a cream based soup then grab an organic one, as most cheap soups are the worst of the worst processed food fests.

Now add carmelized REAL onions, not those fake canned crunchies that were SO 1981. It is important that you keep up with the latest trends. Almond slivers should be RAW to maximally benefit from the cancer fighting phenolic acids and healthy fats, and of course that also is the stylish thing that everyone else is doing. Especially celebrities. This is how celebrities eat on their “designer diets” so if you want to send me a thank you check you are welcome to make a donation.


6. Mashed Potatoes

If you keep the peel on the potatoes before you mash them, then I will give you permission to eat them.

Potatoes get a bad wrap because we don’t eat the peel. Buy organic potatoes and mash them WHOLE. The peel of the potato contains fiber, vitamin C, thiamin, and potassium.

Some people with arthritis don’t tolerate potatoes well, if you have arthritis, potatoes and foods in the solonacea family like eggplant, peppers, onions, and so forth just may not be the right choice for you.

Mashed Potato Makeover: There are a few great makeover tricks you can implement to freshen up a rather dead ugly lifeless food like mashed potatoes. Definitely stand by ready and loaded with your garlic press and press about a clove per large potato. Garlic supports the immune and cardiovascular systems. Garlic also prevents and kills parasites.

I always add cottage cheese to my mashed potatoes to give them that creamy consistency, this protein bump also decreases the glycemic load for dieters, and diabetics. Cottage is also rich in mood boosting tryptophan. Remember we have to eat protein, and fiber with EVERY meal to prevent diabetes, blood sugar crashes from hypoglycemia, and obesity. Plus all the cool kids are doing it.

Try olive oil instead of butter, try adding some steamed arugula or spinach in at the end to create a gourmet effect, and if you HAVE to have that buttery flavor from organic butter (please don’t EVER use margarine if you learn anything from my nags. Please just go throw out your tub of margarine in the garbage where it belongs, and never buy it again, or any other hydrogenated oil product that serves no other biochemical purpose in life but to rapidly age you, clog your arteries, and make you unnecessarily fat. We want to be the least amount of fat right? Your body can’t use margarine so it converts it to fat storage…) just add some low fat buttermilk in lieu of regular milk if you must do dairy and NEED that butter flavor. Sprinkle with sea salt and organic pepper. Enjoy!


7. Minced Meat Pie

Are you terrified of minced meat pie? Well most of us are, until we discover that modern “minced meat” is just a fruit sauce made of dates and other dried fruits and not some leftover cafeteria meat concoction.

Well the beauty of this is that dates, figs, prunes, apples, and most dried fruits score high on the ORAC, meaning they have extremely high free radical fighting potential. Antioxidants=Anti-aging. Memorize that. Aging isn’t just about vanity and outer appearance. Your organs and blood vessels are aging on the inside as we sit here. If it doesn’t look good on the outside it doesn’t look good on the inside either. True beauty is an inside out job. Eat more antioxidants to prevent disease and you will be rewarded with a continuously youthful glow.

Let me be the first to announce that Minced Meat Pies are now the HOTTEST trend for fall. Don’t worry they only show up on the whole foods runway once every 50 years.

Minced Meat Makeover: Opt for a whole grain crust and use organic butter rather than margarine (heaven forbid.) If you really want to impress those avoiding gluten with your gourmet skills, you can add a dollop of your favorite organic minced meat filling to half a sliced date and top with a splash of real whipped cream. Dates are also delicious stuffed with various nut butters, and chocolates as I just recently learned from RN, Rod Newbound.

8. Red Wine

“Yes! Dr. Nicole says I can have a glass of red wine!” Just remember that is only ONE to two glasses of red wine–max. That is one drink per day not per hour–and no you can’t save them all up for the end of the week. It just doesn’t work that way. The benefits of the cancer fighting, anti-aging polyphenols in red wine known as resveratol go down as you burden your liver with alcohol. As with everything, moderation is key. Even too much water will kill cause hyponatremia and kill you.

Red Wine Makeover: Remember that one glass is better for you than the entire bottle. Opt for an organic alternative like our Kitchen Table 2008 Favorite, Badger Mountain. Remember to never drive while you are drinking. The most stylish people always have a driver…er…cab driver. Even one glass of alcohol impairs your judgment enough to put an end to your happy holiday–or worse yet–someone else’s.

Please always be considerate to the safety of others when imbibing during the holiday season.

Hope you all have a Happy AND Healthy Thanksgiving! Have fun wowing all your friends and family with this questionably boring kitchen table talk of the Thanksgiving superfoods and how to give them makeovers. Let me know if you manage to pull it off and keep them interested! Feel free to share any of your healthy Thanksgiving recipe tips in the comments section.

Thanks much for sharing my whole foods tips with your friends and family.

~Dr. Nicole Sundene
Naturopathic Physician

References: Medical Nutrition from Marz by Dr. Russell Marz, Medical Herbalism by Hoffman

Related Reading:

The Healing Power of Cauliflower
The Healing Power of Music
The Healing Power of Positivity
The Healing Power of Mexican Food
The Healing Power of Stinging Nettles

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Chocolate Chips Better than Viagra?


Are chocolate chips better than Viagra? According to Journal of Nutrition’s latest September and October issues, chocolate has some pretty exciting therapeutic potential.

If you want to avoid being on “the little blue pill” you should consider taking a daily dose of the little brown pill.

That’s right—50-200 chocolate chips a day may prevent the cardiovascular damage that is a leading cause of erectile dysfunction. 1

According to recent studies, the flavonoids in dark chocolate naturally enhanced natural nitric oxide levels. The drug Viagra works mechanistically as a phosphodiesterase inhibtor to enhance nitric oxide. Our bodies also synthesize nitric oxide, and nitric oxide works on our blood vessels to dilate them and increase blood flow. With psychogenic etiologies ruled out, erectile dysfunction is typically an issue of blood flow. Increasing blood flow is how Viagra manufacturers have made a fortune.

In September of 2008, Journal of Nutrition published an Italian university study investigating the therapeutic potential of chocolate and found that, “Flavanols from chocolate appear to increase nitric oxide bioavailability, protect vascular endothelium, and decrease cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors….our findings suggest flavanol-rich, low-energy cocoa food products may have a positive impact on [cardiovascular disease] risk factors.”

Now as a women’s health physician, I typically avoid topics such as erectile dysfunction like the plague, so I am going to drop my men’s health commentary today and then run for dear life… Photobucket Working as a family practice medical assistant for eight years throughout medical school taught me an important early lesson about men’s health. Most men simply DON’T care about cholesterol, blood pressure, atherosclerosis, diabetes, blood sugar, antioxidants or inflammation.

The second you start to nag about this stuff their eyes just glaze over. You can nag and nag and nag about cholesterol and blood sugar lab values, and still no changes will be implemented.

Eventually I realized the secret to men’s health while working as a urology assistant, the only way to get men to care about their health is to hit them below the belt with the facts that matter. Women are typically all about vanity and men are all about virility. These are the motivators I rely on to market and sell my preventive medicine concepts.

PhotobucketDoctors know that all of the aforementioned health issues contribute to erectile dysfunction. But, what most men don’t know is that without a properly functioning cardiovascular system, things below the belt aren’t going to function either.

It’s all about blood flow and elasticity. Photobucket We would never leave our garden hoses to freeze out in the cold of winter, we instead take the time to properly care for them to insure they don’t harden and become permanently dysfunctional. Although garden hoses cannot auto-repair, our arteries do by making scar tissue, and the similar type of destruction from high blood pressure, cholesterol, inflammation, and diabetes is repaired by the body by throwing down scar tissue and inflammation.

The more scar tissue and inflammation in your arteries the less elastic they are, and thus the narrower their diameter. Blood pressure just continues to escalate and the damage to your arteries continues in a vicious cycle. Viagra and similar medications such as Levitra and Cialis all work to enhance blood flow.

They are designed to promote the elasticity of those frozen old er…stiff garden hoses. Viagra is a phosphodiasterase inhibitor which increases levels of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide causes our blood vessels to EXPAND. Eventually arteries become damaged and hardened to the point where they will no longer respond to nitric oxide. Photobucket Keep in mind though that a “garden hose” left out in extreme harsh “winter conditions” will inevitably lose it’s elasticity, and the hose will have to be replaced. How many “winters” have you left your body out in the cold, not caring about diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol, and inflammation? This is why many men with erectile dysfunction don’t find benefit from Viagra. Blood vessel expansion is the premise of which Viagra has made millions.

I am going to instead give away my natural medicine tips for free, and if the Toll House Chocolate Chip Company wants to send me a billion dollar thank you check, they are more than welcome. What is more important to me is that TODAY you feel inspired and motivated to prevent problems that will inevitably occur down the road TOMORROW.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”—right?


If you don’t have erectile dysfunction now wouldn’t you like to prevent it from happening? Medicine’s used to treat ED are expensive, have multiple side effects and drug interactions, and are not as well tolerated as the commercials on television make them out to be.

When I worked as a Urology assistant the main complaint was always headaches and that “it just didn’t work”. Well after a while when disease has advanced too far, no medication will be able to work. Think back to the garden hose example. You want your arteries to be elastic and healthy, not hardened from the “harsh winter conditions” of sub-optimally controlled high blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol.


So why chocolate chips?

Well chocolate chips are fantastic prevention because they are DARK chocolate and the darker the chocolate the more nitric oxide enhancing flavonoids.

A study was done on Italian men and found that Italian men that ate an ounce of dark chocolate had healthier lab markers.

Keep in mind that 50 chocolate chips or roughly an ounce of dark chocolate is the minimum amount needed to prevent disease according to that study.

I weighed them out and found that 48 chocoalte chips= 1oz. But you have my permission to throw in two extra chips for preventive measure!

Another study cited previously, showed therapeutic benefit with 100 grams of dark chocolate which is about 200 chocolate chips! Is this not the best news ever for chocolate lovers?

Remember though that chocolate as a medicine is not free of calories, cocoa butter, or refined sugar. Pure cocoa products are a great alternative as an ounce of chocolate chips have 140 calories. While 200 chocolate chips pack a whopping 500 calories!

But, for those of you that are already eating too much sugar and saturated fat, chocolate chips are a fantastic way to transition to a healthier dessert diet. I know most of you are probably eating fattening desserts anyways (I mean we do have to enjoy life a little bit right?) so dark chocolate chips are a healthier alternative and I like that they conveniently come in little bits that can be savored throughout the day.


But, chocolate chips are not the only foods that contain disease fighting flavonoids. So here is the bait and switch. Most fruits and vegetables are also rich in flavonoids.

Berries are chock full of proanthocyanins, citrus is a fantastic source of hesperidin and rutin, and onions are an excellent source of quercetin. Fruits and vegetables are likely going to prevent the need of Viagra too!

Yes–really this is just a giant strategically planned nag on my part to inspire the consumption of more whole foods, especially those rich in flavonoids. And yes it really was too easy to grab your attention with chocolate chips and Viagra and then turn this in to a fruit and veggie nag. But, my point with this “gotcha” is that preventing disease is where it is at when it comes to ED. Winter is coming, and it is time to think about your preventative plan for your “garden hose.”

A healthy dose of fresh fruits, raw or lightly steamed veggies, raw nuts and seeds, and chocolate will work synergistically to prevent the cardiovascular damage that causes disease.

I think any man suffering with ED reading this article would absolutely agree that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

For diabetics that want to gain the flavanol benefits of chocolate chips, simply enjoy them with a small handful of raw almonds to decrease the glycemic load and increase phenolic compounds (anti-oxidant/anti-inflammatory/anti-cancer). Almonds are also high in fiber, and fiber consumption also is protective to the cardiovascular system. So add about ten raw almonds to your 50 chocolate chips or make a healthy trail mix with your other favorite raw nuts and seeds.


I don’t want to leave women out of this nag, so chocolate chips are good news for women too as Dr. Christiane Northrup in her latest book “The Secret Pleasures of Menopause” also emphasizes the importance of naturally enhancing nitric oxide levels through diet and lifestyle to improve sexual function. Grab the book through Amazon, if you care to learn more about ways to naturally enhance nitric oxide.

Those in need of losing weight should also benefit from this simple chocolate chip tip as eating a few chocolate bits throughout the day should help you feel satisfied for sweets and prevent those binges brought on by extreme deprivation and yo-yo dieting that sets the stage for binge eating.

Stick with me, subscribe to my feed, and I will teach you how to be healthy & enjoy life.

Dr. Nicole Sundene

Want more tips for preventing and treating erectile dysfunction through diet and lifestyle?


Try: Exercise, The Low Glycemic Index Diet, The Anti-Inflammatory Diet, Kegels for Men, Cholesterol Lowering Diet, Hypertension, Low Sodium Diet, Antioxidants, Anti-Inflammatory Diet and subscribe to my feed as we discuss the therapeutic potential of other healing foods and natural supplements for cardiovascular health and erectile dysfunction.


1. Grassi D, Desideri G, Necozione S, et al. “Chocolate and Blood Pressure” J Nutr. 2008 Sep;138(9):1671-6.

2. Romina di Giuseppe, Augusto Di Castelnuovo, et al. “Italian Men that eat Dark Chocolate are Healthier” J. Nutr. 138:1939-1945, October 2008

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Living With Diabetes: An Interview with Joe

I hope all my readers today have a chance to read this interview.

If you have diabetes you could use the empathy, and if you are currently free of chronic disease you may want to read and feel motivated to take better care of your body NOW to prevent disease.

Do you ever wonder what it is like to live with diabetes? Ever wonder how your friends or family members are secretly doing day to day with this difficult disease?

Today I will be interviewing Joe, otherwise known as “Crotchety” to all the readers of his widely read, popular and hilarious humor blog, “Crotchety Old Man Yells at Cars” about living with diabetes.

You can only imagine my terror when I first saw that some website “Crotchety Old Man Yells at Cars” was linking to Kitchen Table Medicine. I thought for sure we were under some sort of blog terrorism attack, until I realized that he just was reading my blog, and had added it to his list of favorite sites. Phew! Disaster everted. For professional reasons today I will of course refer to Crotchety as “Joe” throughout the rest of the interview. *wink*

I invited Joe to lead the discussion of what it is like to live with diabetes because he always tells it exactly how it is, and I don’t want diabetes to be sugar coated–no pun intended. I appreciate his incessant honesty and that is why he is so darn funny over there. If you need a daily dose of Rated G or–er? PGish humor to keep you laughing each morning you can subscribe to his blog.

He also has a site called “Diabetes Destroys” and has posted some very graphic pictures (don’t look at those if you are eating right now) of his latest skin infection from diabetes. You may just want to bookmark the page and take a look before you decide to have another ice cream sundae today, especially if diabetes runs in your family. These days Type II diabetes is epidemic though, and runs in nearly everyone’s family. Please welcome to the kitchen table my dear friend Joe!

Hi Joe, How did you feel when you were diagnosed with type II diabetes?

Joe: I’ve been diagnosed for over 20 years, probably closer to 30. Kind of silly that I don’t remember, but thinking about it, that probably points to what I felt about the disease.
I had failed badly in taking responsibility for my health. I was told that it was unlikely that I would ever make it to 30, and rather than scaring me, it made me not care at all.

So, diabetes was just one more thing I would be taking pills for. Big deal.

What was your diet and lifestyle like before diabetes?

Joe: More or less, I treated my body like an amusement park. I did what I wanted, partied pretty heavily at times (lots of beer and alcohol…ok, lots was an understatement.)

I drank more in less time than any one of my friends. Most days, more than any 2 of them. I often went out with 2 of my friends, and the first round was 2 beers, and 6 screwdrivers. They each had one beer, I had all 6 screwdrivers.

We never had less than 2 such rounds, usually 3 if we stayed a second hour. I ate lots of fast food, nearly every day. Never exercised, just drank heavily and ate a lot of junk. Weight became a major issue, but I didn’t care because I was going to die by 30. I was pretty pissed when I didn’t.

What is your diet and lifestyle like now?

Joe: I still don’t exercise enough because I’m pretty lazy. But I do eat a fairly healthy diet. I’m far from perfect. My metabolism is unbelievably slow, as I eat very little most days, yet can’t seem to lose weight. I don’t eat a lot of substitutes as I firmly believe they are junk.

Most are either empty calories or poison.

For instance, I don’t rely on diet sodas or drinks with sugar substitutes. I drink mostly water or green tea sweetened with either a few ounces of juice or plain. I may have one regular soda per week, maximum. And not a big Gulp or anything like that. Either one Snapple Peach Tea or one 12 oz. Jones Cream Soda. I’d love to be perfect, but that isn’t going to happen.

Most of my food choices are whole grain, and I do limit amounts. Back in the day, the Mrs. and I would get, at most, two meals from a pound of spaghetti. And, to be honest, the second meal was a bit skimpy. Today, one pound lasts us 3 or 4 meals, sometimes more.

Most meals are heavy on vegetables, and very light on carbs like potatoes and breads.
I also don’t have a lot of animal protein. Maybe 3 times a week, and nearly dairy free.
I should exercise more, but at least I feel guilty about that, so that’s a good sign, I guess.

What were/are your biggest challenges with a diabetic diet and lifestyle?

Joe: The biggest challenge is thinking about what I’m eating.

I’d love to start out my day with a breakfast of bagels and cream cheese and a quart of chocolate milk. And then gulp down a large Coke with a couple double cheeseburgers and fries, and maybe an apple pie. And then have a pizza for dinner with extra pepperoni.

But if I were to eat that way, it would make me feel sick for days. I always consider what I’m eating and what comes next. If I don’t make a good choice for breakfast, I have to be careful to not follow it up with a bad lunch and dinner or else my sugar will skyrocket and take days to get back to normal. And I’ll feel terrible the whole time. I try to make good choices all the time, but life happens. I don’t know if that makes sense, but it’s working for me. I don’t give myself free reign, but by the same token, I realize that I don’t live in a vacuum.

As far as lifestyle, well, it has pretty much put a serious crimp in mine. At least 4 times I have been hospitalized for a couple months at a time. It’s tough to have a job remain open when I take off for 4 months to sit in a hospital and rehab. That and I have some serious ambulation problems now. It stinks when they start to cut off parts.

What has living with diabetes taught you?

Joe: It’s taught me that there is no magic pill. I have to take responsibility for myself. While some medicines do help control sugar, and some people need insulin, the majority of help comes from within.

If you had a friend that just learned they were diagnosed with diabetes today what would you tell them?

Diabetes is an insidious disease. It moves slowly and destroys you in ways that aren’t visible. No pill, no food, no exercise will ever take over for learning to care properly for yourself. Every illness that I have had over the last 20+ years can be traced, in some degree, to diabetes. It can not be cured, but it can be managed.

I often ask someone which glass will break first, one with a crack or one that is perfect? They always say the perfect one. But I contend the cracked one will last longer because one takes better care of it.


What are five simple things every person reading this article can do to prevent type II diabetes?

Joe: It is pretty simple.

1. Get proper rest
2. Get proper nutrition and maintain a healthy weight (diabetics are always hungry, it seems, and empty calories just make it worse)
3. Get sufficient exercise
4. Laugh (You do know I write a humor blog, right?)
5. Take responsibility for your life

Thanks for a great interview Joe, I am sure everyone has really appreciated your honesty around this tough disease. Stop by “Crotchety Old Man Yells at Cars” or subscribe for a daily dose of candid humor, and “Diabetes” Destroys” for more support and information around living with diabetes. If you have any questions for Joe or would like to share your own story with diabetes please do so in the comments section of this article.

Read more: Diabetes Category

FREE Diabetes Diet: Low Glycemic Index

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Are You a Sugar Zombie?

By Dr. Scott Olson

Author of Sugarettes.

If you were a normal zombie, you would rise up out of your grave and stumble off in search of your craving: flesh. Sugar zombies, however, typically rise from their couch and go off in search of their craving: sugar. Sugar zombies yearning for sugar can sometimes only be satisfied with a pure sugary treat, but remember, certain foods act like sugar in the body (such are grains, chips, crackers, French fries and others…) and these “foods that act like sugar” are sometimes what the sugar zombie are searching for.

A funny thing about sugar zombies is that they can sometimes eat sugar even when they are not hungry and have just eaten. Do you remember going to a restaurant and having a full meal, and yet you still ordered desert? True sign of sugar zombieness.

Most people, when asked, will admit to some kind of sugar addiction and zombie-like behavior, but they often don’t realize just how strong that addiction can be, nor do they realize how much sugar can do to destroy their health.

What Science is Discovering about Zombies

Science is beginning to take sugar addiction serious. They have investigated how animals (mostly rats) act when they become addicted to sugar. Let’s take a peek inside the laboratory and see what they found out:

  • Rats who were allowed to eat as much sugar as they like, eat a ton of it. If fact, they will often eat more sugar than any other type of food. Sometimes, they become so addicted to sugar that they become rat sugar zombies and sugar is all they will eat.(1)
  • What happens when you addict rats to sugar and then take it away? Typically, they shake, tremble, become anxious and their teeth can even chatter.(2) They can also become much more aggressive. If this sounds like the symptoms of a junkie (or a zombie), you are exactly right. These typical withdrawal symptoms, show up in all sorts of other addictions, including smokers, drinkers, and drug addicts.
  • Scientists took the next step, they addicted rats to sugar, took it away and then they brought it back. Guess what happened? The rats binged on the sugar and ate much more than they previously did. If this sounds a bit like the last time you went on a diet and gained more weight than you lost, then you are a true sugar zombie. Binging when the addiction is removed and then brought back is a clear sign of addiction.(3)
  • When rats are under stress, they eat more sugar.(4) Once again, I’m guessing that this sounds a bit familiar to you? Do you eat more sugar when you are stressed?
  • Scientists have discovered that the brains of rats change when they become addicted to sugar and the changes in their brains are very similar to those of other addicts, including smokers, alcoholics and drug addicts.(5)
  • To test if a substance is really addictive, scientists will give animals the addicting substance (alcohol, drugs, nicotine…) and then give them a drug called an opioid antagonist. What the opioid antagonist does is block the brain from sensing the pleasurable aspects of the addicting substance. When opioid antagonists are given to sugar addicted zombie rats, they experience withdrawal exactly like rats addicted to morphine, alcohol or cigarettes.(6)

But are Zombies Hurt By Sugar?

Here is the real question you want to get to: You are a confirmed sugar zombie, but what is wrong with that? Well, it turns out, a lot! Sugar harms your body in three ways: it increases your weight, it leads to problems with insulin and blood sugar control, and it has a toxic effect on our blood vessels.

Let’s take a look:

  • Weight Gain: According to the scientific and medical communities sugar is really not associated with weight gain. These health professionals will tell you that sugar contributes to weight gain because it contains calories. This is true. But sugar also contributes to weight gain just because it is sugar. It works this way: Your body has certain basic energy needs and sugar (mostly glucose) is the fuel that runs your body. Once you have enough sugar-fuel for all your energy needs, your body tends to store all the extra sugar as fat (and sugar zombies eat meals that often create a large amount of extra sugar in the blood that will get turned into fat).(7)
  • Insulin Resistance: Sugar contributes to insulin resistance whenever blood sugar levels in the blood spike too high too often. When blood sugar levels in the body rise, insulin in the body also rises. Consistently high amounts of insulin in the body will eventually lead to cells down-regulating (or removing) insulin receptors; this eventually leads to a condition called insulin resistance (were the cells of the body are resistant to insulin) and diabetes. Insulin resistance does not develop when blood sugar levels are kept low.(8)
  • Toxic Effects: Surprisingly, sugar is actually toxic blood vessels in the exact same way cigarette smoke is toxic to the lungs. Sugar causes harm to the protein structure of the blood vessel walls, eventually leading to destruction. This destruction can be seen dramatically in diabetics who have kidney disease, eye disease, heart disease, tingling in hands and feet, and even blindness and loss of limbs – all due to the destruction of blood vessels. (9) This same destruction happens in sugar zombies who don’t have diabetes, only at a slower pace.

How to Break the Zombie Spell

Getting over sugar cravings is not easy, especially when you are a sugar zombie, but then getting over any addiction can be hard. Know that the efforts you make are well worth it as the destruction that sugar creates is enormous.

Try these tips to stop your zombie sugar cravings:

  • Eat more often: while this seems backwards, eating more often is much better for your blood sugar, your metabolism, and your sugar cravings.
  • Eat fruit: It is easy to overdo this, but focus on fruits that are low on the glycemic index and try to eat them after a meal where they affect blood sugar less.
  • Brush your teeth: This is a trick many people use to stop cravings and it will help your zombie smile.
  • Exercise: A simple walk is often enough to stop cravings as it gets you up and moving and away from your temptations.

Take these tips and walk away from your zombie life. Simply being aware that you are a sugar zombie will make a huge change in your life. Take your sugar craving seriously – as you would any other addiction: know that the road will be tough at times, but that you can do it. Your reward, on the other side of your addiction, is better sleep, more energy, less sugar zombie-like behavior and a healthier life.

Recommended Reading: Sugarettes

Dr. Scott Olson is a Naturopathic doctor, expert in alternative medicine, author, and medical researcher. Spurred on by his patients’ struggles with sugar addiction, he was determined to discover how addictive and harmful sugar can be and ways to overcome that addiction.

The result of that study is his book Sugarettes, which details the addictive qualities of sugar and the harm that sugar does to our bodies.

Dr. Scott also maintains a blog which highlights the latest in health and healthy living. Subscribe or stop by to check out his latest research on sugar addiction.


1.Spangler R, Wittkowski KM, Goddard NL, et al: Opiate-like effects of sugar on gene expression in reward areas of the rat brain. Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 2004 May 19;124(2):134-42.
2.Colantuoni C, Rada P, McCarthy J, et al: Evidence that intermittent, excessive sugar intake causes endogenous opioid dependence. Obes Res. 2002 Jun;10(6):478-88.
3.Pelchat ML. Of human bondage: food craving, obsession, compulsion, and addiction. Physiol Behav. 2002 Jul;76(3):347-52.
4.Gosnell BA. Sucrose intake predicts rate of acquisition of cocaine self-administration. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2000 Apr;149(3):286-92.
5.Avena NM, Rada P, Hoebel BG: Evidence for sugar addiction: behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2008;32(1):20-39. Epub 2007 May 18.
6.Avena NM, Long KA, Hoebel BG: Sugar-dependent rats show enhanced responding for sugar after abstinence: evidence of a sugar deprivation effect. Physiol Behav. 2005 Mar 16;84(3):359-62.
7.Livesey G: Low-glycaemic diets and health: implications for obesity. Proc Nutr Soc. 2005 Feb;64(1):105-13.
8.Henriksen HB, Kolset SO: Sugar intake and public health. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2007 Sep 6;127(17):2259-62.
9.Friedman EA: Advanced glycosylated end products and hyperglycemia in the pathogenesis of diabetic complications. Diabetes Care. 1999 Mar;22 Suppl 2:B65-71.

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

How are you Voting for your Health?

Call me old fashioned but I refuse to vote by absentee ballot. I just love Election Day, and to me there is something really special about driving to the same elementary school year after year and filling out my ballot alongside everyone else in my community. There is that certain spirit in the air. That friendly neighborhood free cookie and coffee hour that can’t quite be replicated anywhere else. “Does my vote really make a difference?” I always wonder to myself as I look around the crowded room.

It certainly does to me.

Election time is about much more than voting for the lesser of two evils, it is about taking the time to educate ourselves about the issues.

As I carefully went through my voter’s ballot one last time, I realized, “wow voting is just like making healthy decisions!” Voting can be simple, and voting can be tough. There is that clear section in your voter’s pamphlet that you quickly breeze through, and then there are those decisions that you still aren’t certain about after never ending research and reading. What does this issue even mean? Do I need to hire an attorney to translate this legal gibberish? You may be left even at the last minute to deliberate over what is right and what is wrong.

Whether my vote is actually counted or not, I am left that much more educated as I submit my passionately researched opinions on how this world should be –in to the giant garbage can er…ballot counter.

We are truly blessed in our country to at least be given choices, even if they aren’t the best choices, they nevertheless are still choices. The freedom of choice is what makes America the amazing country that it is. Your choice may not always make the difference in America, but it does make a difference in you.

One thing that always ticks me off year after election year though is the blanket statement “everyone should vote.”

Do you really think everyone should vote? Sometimes I think that people should be forced to take a basic test on the issues and pass it before they can vote. Now I am not saying this to offend people that can’t read. Really, you shouldn’t have to even know how to read in order to vote, illiterate people can and should still be allowed to vote—as long as they are educated on what they are voting about!

What happens when we don’t educate ourselves on the issues and just go blindly vote? Does the thought of hundreds of thousands of uneducated voters making decisions about our government terrify anyone else?

One uneducated vote is actually enough to throw off an entire election.

In this year’s presidential election the “vote was rocked” by all the previously apathetic people that never really cared enough to go out and vote. That is what made the difference. That is what got the underdog in to office. That is what has created a great deal of hope that, “change is coming”, “that race is not an issue”, “that the average person can be president” (well George W. already demonstrated that) and that MLKJ’s dream that “people are not judged by the color of their skin, but the content of their character,” has alas come true. At least the majority of the American population is now looking at character and not color. We are progressing!

The votes of the previously apathetic are what has made American history. In all reality that is more amazing than the first African American being elected to office. Apathy is a far bigger problem than prejudice these days. Of course there are still and will always still be ignorance around race, but we have an entire Generation of “X”ers that don’t care about anything except video games and Sex in the City. Young people everywhere are starting to take pride in their country, starting to see that “this is MY country too.” People in Seattle have been dancing in the streets, making eye contact, and some strangers have even been caught making polite small talk despite the start of the nine month rainy season.

Regardless of your party preferences, I think we can all agree that the choice to vote is a right that many Americans take for granted. You shouldn’t just go blindly vote, it is important to educate yourself on the issues at hand, the pros, the cons, and then to support things moving in a positive direction.

Every day, everywhere you go, you are given a choice. You are given an opportunity to vote for your health. Sometimes the choices aren’t that great like “do you want fries with that?” or “diet coke or regular coke” or “pumpkin pie vs mince meat pie” and “sugar or something made from sugar?” But nevertheless they are choices that we should still attempt to think about.

Is Barack Obama right? Is change really coming? Only you can decide.

It’s the synergy of these little daily choices that build us up; or stack up as obstacles in our path.

In naturopathic medicine one of our main nature cure healing principles is to “remove the obstacles to cure”. The body wants to heal. The body wants to repair. It is the intrinsic nature of the body to constantly heal and repair, but the body also requires the right tools, the foundation has to be properly set, and obstacles must be removed from the path of “The Healing Power of Nature” or “The Vis Medicatrix Naturae” or “The Vis” as most naturopaths fondly refer to it. “The Vis is strong in this one,” you can go around joking to all your healthy friends if you want to be nerdy like me.

Obstacles to healing typically come from our unhealthy diet and lifestyle choices. All the white refined food garbage we eat, stagnation, negative thinking, unhealthy relationships, drugs, alcohol, smoking, etc, etc…nag, nag, nag…these are all the roadblocks to healing.

Sometimes the right choices are crystal clear. Everyone knows drugs are bad. Everyone knows smoking kills. Everyone knows 1-2 glasses of wine a day not the whole bottle, right? But when it comes to our diet things can be a bit trickier. We usually are left picking between what appears to be the lesser of two evils. So what would you vote for:

High Fructose Corn Syrup or Aspartame?

Wow!!! Did I really just vote for High Fructose Corn Syrup? Well, I was left no choice when it went head to head with aspartame. *sigh*

Which is the lesser of the two evils? High fructose corn syrup as noted in Dr. Scott Olson’s amazing book about sugar addiction, “Sugarettes” is linked to obesity, diabetes, aging to our arteries, and hypoglycemia. Whereas aspartame, is guilty of causing a “cephalic response” which leads to obesity and weight gain. In the cephalic response the brain is tricked by the sweet taste of aspartame and then tells the pancreas to secrete insulin, despite normal levels of glucose. This insulin dump causes low blood sugar or “hypoglycemia” which makes you hungry, and ultimately leads to being overweight.

Is aspartame not the biggest joke in health “care”? The man made garbage you are drinking to lose weight is making you fat? Yikes the issues can be deceiving, and just like in politics, the government refuses to acknowledge this conundrum, while both the FDA and American Diabetic Association also refuse to acknowledge that sugar causes diabetes (type II) and weight gain. (Source: OlsonND)

Yet another reason that politics mirror health care—you don’t always agree with the government!

Do you trust the government? Do you believe every single bit they tell you? Whether you do or you don’t the correct answer is “you shouldn’t always.” The government has to keep prison and school caffeteria programs funded so the average American best not base their “optimal daily allowance” off what the government says. I think the RDA should be called the MDA for “Minimal Daily Allowance”. The government also only cares about the collective and not the individual. There is no “NDA” (Nicole’s Daily Allowance).

So—now that you have been educated on aspartame vs high fructose corn syrup, do you still want to vote for aspartame? My guess is “no” if you are trying to use aspartame as a weight loss aid.

“Well Dr. Nicole, sugar makes people fat too, and high fructose corn syrup is converted by the liver to fat–all biochemists know that fructose is typically converted in the liver to fat,” you may argue.

Which I would then deliberate back that aspartame has MORE consumer related complaints than any other man made substance we consume. Frankly I don’t even have all day to rattle off the ever-growing list of skin rashes, autoimmune disease, fibromyalgia, arthritis, cancer, mood disorders, so forth and so on that consumers are reporting to the FDA. Thus I am left to make an ugly vote for high fructose corn syrup.

Rarely in health just like in politics, are we ever given a win-win situation to deliberate over like “soup or salad?” You can’t fail on that choice, unless the soup is a rich fatty cream base with chunks of sausage, or the salad is a lifeless sad case of iceberg lettuce and Thousand Island dressing.

My point with this rambling about voting for our health is that every single day, every place you go you are given the power of choice. Exercise that power with extreme privilege. Educate yourself on the issues. Read one new health tip every single day. Create a new whole foods recipe each day. Our day to day choices do in fact have influence not just on us but on our environment and those around us.

We live in a country where we have the constitutional right to choices, and many of us are not exercising these rights when it comes to our health. It may initially be overwhelming to think about all the diet choices we have to make, but in the end it all boils down to the same thing whether you are voting for a candidate or voting for your health—education. Educate yourself on the issues and then make your decisions based off your values, based off what works for YOU.

The more you educate yourself on the things you choose to put in your body the healthier you will inevitably become. We truly “are what we eat,” and the tritest expression in nutrition should be the motivator behind all your health decisions. What are your values? Who do you really really really want to be? Fat or thin? Healthy or unhealthy? Organic or Polluted? Positive or negative? Fit or fat? Selfish or contributory? Environmental or Apathetic? Believer or Non-believer? Who do you want to be?

You are invited to decide that today.

If you want to prevent disease, if you want to be healthy, if you want to teach your children by example; if you want to be that positive person and most importantly if you want to inspire the people around you by the choices you make—the bigger “votes” although initially tough—become that much simpler.

Hmmm…that gym membership is suddenly worth it, that home cooked meal at the kitchen table is suddenly worth the extra effort rather than just another night of drive through dining. Reading your child a book before bed suddenly becomes a million times more special than drinking a fat glass of wine in front of the television. Maybe that extra 20 cents for that organic apple really isn’t that bad after all when we decided to vote with our consumer dollars against pesticides being allowed to poison our environment and our children, and our children’s environment. Your consumer dollars are always voting too.

It all boils down to living by your values.

What is it that you really value? Life coach and author, Tim Brownson is constantly nagging me…er…um…I mean… he is always INSPIRING me to consider my values, and some of the healthy or environmental things I have previously been in a naturopathic rebellion against have more easily slid into place.

Anyone that has been chronically ill—that has been so sick that they have seen death’s door and made it back again knows the value of their health. If you have visited death’s door you do not take your health for granted. You realize you were given a second chance, you were given life. You choose life and you choose everything that supports the existence of your life. Unfortunately those of us that have not been forced to pay that visit to death’s door, have no clue what the true value is in our health. We may never fully understand until it is too late.

As a result, our health is always a value that will get cast aside with apathy. And apathy is the biggest war we have to wage for this century.

Whether you are traveling, visiting a friend, dining out, or eating at your kitchen table–you are always given choices. Get political, vote for the lesser of the two evils. Use your money as your ballots. That is exactly what keeps us always moving in a healthier direction. That is how we save the environment and ourselves. That is how we prevent disease. One day at a time, one choice at a time.

One healthy vote at a time.

Ha- you thought Election Day was over now did you? Sorry I can’t let you off the hook that easy, voting season has just begun. Now get out there and make your votes count!

“Progress not perfection.”

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen table.

~Dr. Nicole Sundene

Related Reading: 45 Years to American Health Care

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
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