For this, our hundredth issue, What Doctors Don’t Tell You offers the best of the advice we’ve offered over the years for leading a long and healthy life.
In celebration of the 100th issue of What Doctors Don’t Tell You, we ‘ve compiled what we consider the 100 most important pieces of advice we’ve written over the years into a ready reference guide to leading a healthy life. In our view, this advice tends to run counter to what your doctor tells you, but all our tips are backed up by solid medical evidence. These include 50 general tips about diet, supplements,
children, your environment and also a final 10 suggestions for your spiritual health. We also included five boxes of 10 tips apiece concerning which medical practices are useless or downright dangerous. Limited space has allowed only the briefest of summaries, but we’ve listed the relevant back publications (including those of WDDTY’s sister publications PROOF! and Natural Parent), for anyone who requires more information. Happy hundredth!
Your Healthy Diet
1 Experiment until you find a diet that works best for you and follow it as much as you can. Research shows that no one diet is best for everyone. Your genes, your native environment and possibly even your blood type will determine whether you are a vegetarian or a carnivore. American cancer pioneer Nicholas Gonzalez estimates there are 10 types of people with 10 different types of diet, ranging from the rabid carnivore to the vegan. Choose foods native to your cultural heritage and try to buy seasonal produce (See WDDTY, vol 9 no 2).
2 Whatever diet you choose, make sure to eat organic fresh whole foods whenever possible. Pesticides have been implicated in many illnesses, including infertility, cancer, birth defects, skin irritations, and impotence. They can even damage the genetic potential of your children. Besides non organic food, you should also avoid anything canned, fried, preserved with nitrates, packaged, processed, refined or in anyway interfered with (The WDDTY Better Diet Guide). That includes avoiding plastic food like margarine, which contains high levels of trans fatty acids, which may increase the risk of cancer.
3 Vary your diet as much as possible. Most allergy specialists claim that allergies are more likely if you repetitively eat the same foods.
4 Make vegetables and fruits your main foods, even if you are an omnivore. Countless studies show that vegetables protect against all the major degenerative illnesses. Eat at least five servings per day.
5 Cut down or avoid eating wheat. Wheat is a recent addition to the food of humans only about 10,000 years old. Many types of wheat have been so genetically tampered with to enhance the quality of the gluten the sticky substance that makes bread and cakes chewy that it has become indigestible for most of us. Many people who cannot tolerate wheat can tolerate oats. According to the Institute of Optimum Nutrition, wheat is the most common allergen, and the main culprit in behavioural allergy symptoms like hyperactivity. Avoid or cut down the other six of the big eight allergens: corn, soy, sugar, the nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, aubergine, etc), yeast, egg. Few people don’t react to one or more of them. Also cut out or limit chocolate, coffee and black tea.
6 Consume sources of calcium other than dairy produce. Milk from the supermarket or your friendly milkman is pasturised, homogenized and fortified, and intensive farming methods mean there are few nutrients left. Far from preventing osteoporosis, dairy produce actually accelerates the rate at which calcium is lost from the body. And cow’s milk now is shot through with pesticides, hormones and trace metals and even radioactivity (WDDTY vol 5 no 1 and vol 9 no 1).
7 Include substantial portions of essential fatty acids in your diet. This includes the omega-3 EFAs, which are found in fatty deep water fish like tuna, salmon (or fish oil capsules), or in linseed or walnut oils. The best non flesh sources besides linseeds are soy, kidney or haricot beans. But cook with olive oil, which is monounsaturated and doesn’t get damaged as polyunsaturated oils do in the cooking process, creating free radicals.
8 Make grains and vegetables, rather than flesh foods, the centrepiece of your diet. These should total 55 to 60 per cent of your total calories. Grains should total three to four servings a day.
9 Consume good bacteria, in the form of live yoghurt or fermented soy products like miso or tempeh, which contain Aspergilus oryzae, another form of friendly bacteria. Alternatively, take excellent probiotic supplements.
10 If you are vegetarian, be sure to get enough complete proteins, which requires combining several plant proteins to make a whole one (such as rice with pulses). Try to avoid the habit of many casual vegetarians or “demi veggies”, who consume loads of wheat and dairy (The Better Diet Guide).
Your best supplements
Unlike our forebears, we live in a highly processed, polluted, allergic world. Unless you live on a farm, grow all your own organic vegetables, and have access to free range meat, it’s almost certain that you have vitamin deficiencies, even on the best diet. Before you race to the healthfood store, though, and start megadosing with vitamins, get yourself tested by a knowledgeable nutritionist. He or she will determine which nutrients you don’t absorb from your food and supplement accordingly.
For a doctor: Write to the British Society for Allergy and Environmental Medicine (PO Box 28, Totton, Southampton, SO40 2ZA).
11 Choose a good multi vitamin mineral supplement that has been tested for efficacy, and think twice about those which contain a load of herbs. A herb is a drug and is used for specific illnesses.They are not necessary or safe for everyone. If you can’t find one to your liking, you can customise your supplement programme by taking the nutrients individually.
12 Make antioxidants the mainstay of your supplement programme. To minimise the damage of free radicals, the toxic byproducts of metabolism or from car exhausts, lead or lack of oxygen, take adequate daily levels of vitamin A (up to 25,000 IUs as beta carotene or 10,000 IUs as retinol), C (1-3 g) and E (up to 600 IUs,) minerals like zinc (10-50 g), and selenium (200 mcg), and the amino acid cysteine (500 mg).
13 Make sure to supplement with magnesium (200-400 mg per day) and chromium (100 mcg per day). According to a study by Dr Stephen Davies of more than 50,000 patients, virtually everyone became low in both minerals, the older they got. Both nutrients are essential to maintain the health of your heart.
If you are over 50, consider taking boron (30-90 mg Borax). Naturopath Rex Newnam cured himself and hundreds people of arthritis with this much neglected nutrient.
14 Take EFA supplements. These include 2000-4000 of evening primrose oil, half as much of blackcurrent seed oil, and 1 to 2 tablespoons of linseed oil (food grade only) or 200-500 mg of EPA as fish oil capsules.
15 Check out how well you are digesting food. No supplement programme will do any good if you don’t have adequate stomach acid. Two such laboratories which will test your digestive capacity are Biolab in London (9 Weymouth St, London W1 tel: 0171 636 5959) and Jonathan Wright in Seattle, Washington (Meridien Valley Laboratory., 24030 132nd Avenue, SE Kent, Washington 98041).
16 Also check whether your gut is leaky that is, your intestinal membrane is excessively permeable, which will also make you allergic and interfere with the absorption of food. Again, the labs above will test for such a problem. The best substances to repair the gut wall are the amino acids glutamine or liver glutathione, an important antioxidant (WDDTY vol 8 no 9).
17 If you are having absorption and digestive difficulties, have yourself tested for parasites, such as gardia lamblia, by having a stool test. Parascope Labs perform it in the UK (Microbiology Department, Chapel Allerton Hospital, Chapletown Road, Leeds LS 7 4SA. Tel: 0113 392-4657).
18 Avoid calcium megadosing, which will not prevent osteoporosis and may actually increase your risk of developing the disease. In several studies, it was low levels of magnesium that were actually linked with osteoporosis (The Guide to Menopause).
19 Despite recent bad publicity, vitamins B6 and C are indispensible supplements. B6 enhances the absorption of essential fatty acids, and helps to prevent heart disease and PMS. Dozens of studies have demonstrated its safety at daily intake under 200 mg. Copious research shows the ability of vitamin C to stop the spread of cancer by strengthening the cell walls and stimulating natural killer cell activity (PROOF! vol 1 no 2).
20 Make sure to take adequate vitamin D, particularly as you age. Many cases of osteoporosis are caused by inadequate absorption of calcium, due to inadequate levels of vitamin D3, a potent regulator of calcium absorption and bone production (WDDTY vol 6 no 7).
Your healthy house
21 Choose a site away from power lines, electrical meters and substations, and railway lines. Of 12 studies of residential exposure to electromagnetic fields, nine show an elevated risk of leukaemia in children (The Environment Handbook). If in doubt, you can measure the electromagnetic fields in your home, especially in your bedrooms. Have either independent monitoring done or buy a magnetometer. PowerWatch (Orchard House, High Common, Beccles, Suffolk NR34 8HW) can advise.
22 Consider moving your gas boiler outside and cooking with electricity. One of the main culprits in arthritis, asthma and other allergies is nitrogen dioxide, which is spewed out of gas cookers and gas and oil boilers and it remains concentrated in the home, particularly in this age of double glazing. One American study concluded that gas cookers generate concentrates of nitrogen dioxide of 200-400 parts per billion, levels which would only be found outside during periods of severe air pollution. This means the average kitchen with a gas cooker has an atmosphere comparable to levels of pollution usually accompanied by government health warnings (Natural Parent, July 1998).
23 Don’t drink tap water. Some 350 chemicals have been identified in our drinking water, including pesticides and nitrates leaching through the soil, hazardous contaminants from disposal landfills, chemical effluents and toxic wastes which pollute rivers, additives like aluminium sulphate and disinfectants like chlorine at the water treatment works, which create further toxic chemicals as by product of disinfecting, lead from leaky pipework and, increasingly, parasites, not to mention fluoride. Instead, drink mineral water (from glass bottles), or install a reverse osmosis filter or under sink carbon filter (Natural Parent, November 1997 or WDDTY vol 3 no 12).
24 Check your radon levels. This naturally occurring gas, is caused by radioactive material being broken down and seeping up from the ground. It is found at dangerously high levels in 30 per cent of homes in parts of England such as Devon and Cornwall and some 100,000 homes in all of England.
According to the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, high levels of the gas cause 1 in 20 deaths from lung cancer and some 1800 people a year, particularly among smokers. Ask the National Radiological Protection Board (0800 614529) to check if your home has excessive levels of radon (Natural Parent, July 1998).
25 Check to see if you have old lead pipes. Although lead pipes have been banned since the 1970s, most of the water in Britain still runs through rickety old Victorian pipes, and the drinking water of one in 10 people has lead content far in excess of World Health Organisation standards. This is a particular issue for children. Lead is known to damage the brains and lower the intelligence of children chronically exposed to it (Natural Parent, November 1997).
26 Whenever possible, consider having wood floors and area rugs. At our recent allergy conference, Dr William Rea confirmed that carpeted homes have more allergens and leach more chemicals in the home than do homes with stripped floors.
27 Reposition your furniture and especially your beds away from protential sources of EMFs. Avoid locating beds or chairs near large domestic sources of EMFs, such as electricity meters or TVs. Allow at least six to eight feet from such sources. Also keep bedside electrical or battery operated applicances at least two feet from your head, and don’t keep battery packs of any source for your portable computer, say near your bed. Electric blankets can also be an unwanted source of EMFs (WDDTY vol 5 no 3 and Natural Parent, July 1998).
28 Minimise your exposure to VDUs and television screens. The latest research from Montpelier University in France shows that more than double the number of chick embryos exposed to computer and TV screens die, compared to unexposed groups. The culprit, say the Montpelier team, is the non thermal effects of the mixed frequency of extremely low frequency and very low frequency radiations. In other words, these currents of differing radiation create a tension in the energy fields of our own bodies, tearing out calcium ions from their molecular bonding in our bodies and causing a range of illness. If you use a VDU at work and are pregnant, negotiate with your employer to use low radiation monitors (such as on powerbooks) (WDDTY vol 3 no 6 and Natural Parent, July 1998).
29 Cut down on your use of indoor chemicals, particularly cleaning fluids containing phenols, bleaches and the like, to which many people are allergic. Phenol is another common allergen.
30 Use non lead paint when you are painting your exterior. Unbelievable as it seems, paint containing lead is still sold in countries outside the US. Leaded paint is an often ignored source of lead in the blood and the greatest source of lead poisoning in children (Natural Parent, July 1998).
Your healthy children
31 Get fit six months before you conceive. This includes working with a doctor experienced in preconception nutrition, who will assess your nutritional status and help you to correct any deficiencies, sort out any hidden genital infections, allergies, malabsorption problems or possible candida albicans overgrowth, all of which contribute to infertility and pregnancy loss. This doctor will also help you to follow a low allergy wholefood diet and supplement programme. A recent study of 418 couples with previous infertility problems who followed this programme, espoused by Foresight, the Association for the Promotion of Preconceptual Care, found that 81 per cent went on to have healthy babies (WDDTY vol 6 no 7).
32 When you are pregnant, minimise your exposure to prenatal tests like ultrasound scans. Studies have shown that ultrasound has not made one bit of difference to the ultimate health of either mother or child, but does increase your risk of losing the baby. Some research has shown that ultrasound results in a higher number of small babies, delayed speech and dyslexia. It’s also not particularly accurate, with mistakes some one third of the time (WDDTY, the book).
33 Consider having your children at home. Statistics do not support the widely accepted view that the advent of the hospitalised birth has contributed to lower perinatal and maternal mortality rates. The Netherlands, the only Western country in which one third of all births happen at home, has a perinatal morality rate lower than 10 per 1000, a maternal mortality rate lower than 1 per 10,000 and a caesarean section rate of around 6 per cent all far lower than Britain’s and America’s. The key, according to active birth pioneer Michel Odent, is to ensure that you have an experienced home birth attendant and privacy (WDDTY vol 3 no 5).
34 Question redoubled efforts by the “experts” to inject newborns with vitamin K. Two studies from Bristol linked the practice, which aims to prevent haemorrhagic disease of the newborn, with increased risk of leukaemia. Although the studies have never been replicated, there is enough evidence to demonstrate that doctors don’t know what they’re doing with regard to vitamin K (WDDTY vol 6 no 4).
35 Whenever possible, give your children the lifelong gift of breastfeeding. Breastfeed for as long as possible at least one year, according to the World Health Organisation. Breastfeeding has indisputable benefits. Besides providing perfect food for your child, it prevents against allergies and ear ache, and helps to improve visual acuity and IQ. Unless you must, resist the suggestions of experts to add supplemental feeds.
36 Get informed about both sides of the vaccination issue before vaccinating your children. Ignore the blithe assurances of doctors. America’s National Academy of Science reviewed all the literature about vaccinations and discovered that all vaccines have the ability to cause harm. The UK government’s assurance that the MMR vaccine doesn’t cause autism is not borne out by research or the sheer number of cases of families in Britain presently making legal claims that their children’s autism was caused by the vaccine.
For any vaccine, ask: How necessary is it (ie, is this a life threatening disease)? How effective is this vaccine? How safe? (The Vaccination Bible; What Doctors Don’t Tell You, the book).
37 Consider a substitute for cow’s milk. Cow’s milk blocks the absorption of iron and zinc, causing anaemia. It also blocks zinc absorption. As zinc controls the appetite, children with low levels of zinc are often picky eaters. The high calcium in milk also imbalances a child’s magnesium levels, making him low in energy and often irritable. Children taken off milk usually become better at eating their greens (Natural Parent, December 1997).
38 Severely restrict your children’s exposure to sugar. The most recent research shows that sugar taken in place of a well balanced meal or without adequate protein can increase a child’s hyperactive behaviour (New Medical Science, December, 1987). Too much sugar causes blood sugar levels to plummet, making a child irritable and also hungry and likely to crave more sugar (WDDTY vol 4 no 4 and Natural Parent, December 1997).
39 Determine if your children are allergic to foods, chemicals or food additives. One study demonstrated that 82 per cent of overactive children improved when treated with a low allergy diet. Artificial colourants like tartrazine, often contained in juice “drinks” and squash, and salicylate foods, often cause hyperactivity and attention deficit (WDDTY vol 4 no 4). Asthma isn’t necessarily caused by airborne allergies, but by high allergy foods like wheat, dairy produce, orange or soy. If your child has any chronic illness like ear ache, eczema or bowel problems, suspect food or chemical allergies, get them located and treated, (The WDDTY Allergy Handbook).
40 Most children are extremely low in essential fatty acids, which can heighten their susceptibility to allergies. Supplement their diets with linseed oil (1 tablespoon per day) or two Efamol marine capsules, stirred into a drink, or, if they are infants, rubbed on the insides of their thighs.
10 tips for a healthy lifestyle
41 Choose a reasonably vigorous exercise programme you love and stick with it regularly. Every study of ageing shows that the more active you are, the less likely you are to die from all causes, including heart attacks and cancer. Twenty minutes of low impact, weight bearing exercise three to four times a week is best for your bones. This can include walking, rebounding, cycling, using a Stairmaster or low impact aerobics. Staying trim with a lean body mass is also linked with lower overall mortality. Exercise has also been shown to keep your mind sharp and improve mental health, and help avoid depression (WDDTY vol 9 no 1).
42 Try not to settle for anything less than challenging work or an activity that you love that makes your ‘heart sing” as US naturopaths Judyth and Robert Ullman put it and do it with gusto. Again, studies indicate that people at peace with their lives and life’s work live longer than those who are warring with their world or don’t keep their minds active (WDDTY vol 9 no 1).
43 Try to be of service to others, on or off the job. The Ullmans recently wrote that they consider loving and being of service to others the highest priority. (Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, July 1997).
44 Reduce the number of poisons you put in your body. Smoking, drinking, salty processed foods, all have indesputable detrimental effects on your health and your life. Caffeine and tannin are perhaps the main culprits in benign breast disease, and are also linked with joint problems.
45 Make your home a sanctuary and refuge. Fill your environment only with objects, friends and family and animals that are supportive. Dr William Rea suggests that, if at all possible, live with some land around you, even in the form of a small town garden. (If possible, also live detached from your neighbours, so that you don’t take on their EMFs and other pollutants.) If this is not possible, be sure to spend time in nature as much as you can. Many clinical ecologists like Dr Rea find that patients have too low levels of oxygen the effect of living in a polluted, congested, urban world.
46 Be connected with others and yourself. Only half of all heart disease is called by a sedentary lifestyle and high fat diet. The other half appears to be caused by isolation from other people and our own feelings. A Finnish study has shown that those who were lonely and isolated socially were two to three times more likely to die from heart disease and other causes than those who felt connected to others. Conversely, studies of populations show that social networks and social support protect people against heart disease regardless of whether they smoke or suffer from high blood pressure (Am J Epidemiol, 1983; 117: 384-96). Making friends, expressing your feelings even owning a pet could prove a lifesaver (PROOF! vol 1 no 1).
47 Cultivate some sort of spiritual connection whether with a god or a less directed religious entity. Copious evidence shows that prayer actually has positive effect upon the body, whether you are the one doing the praying or are being prayed for (PROOF! vol 1 no 1). A study of centenarians found that faith in God was one common element to which they attributed their longevity (WDDTY vol 9 no 1).
48 Engage in regular relaxation techniques, particularly those which calm the mind as well as the body. The latest evidence shows that techniques like yoga, Transcendental Meditation and other disciplines likely to put you in touch with your own spirituality, in addition to providing relaxation, work better than stress management and other techniques which solely concentrate on relaxing the body (PROOF! vol 1 no 1).
49 Don’t hold grudges cultivate a sense of forgiveness, of your enemies, your family, your parents. Most importantly, forgive and love yourself. Get rid of unfinished emotional business in your life. Again the evidence shows that psychological and emotional health is an important predictor of longevity (WDDTY vol 9 no 1).
50 Take responsibility for your own health. Taking responsibility for every decision in your health care means that you are less likely to be a victim of your doctor’s decision. You also derive the psychological benefit of staying in charge again, an important predictor of mental and physical health (WDDTY, the book).