Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Friend Shout Out - Sarah

This week's Friday Friend Shout Out is dedicated to Sarah Forney. Even though she is my sister, she is still is one of my best friends! And besides, she is friends with Terra and Jill anyway!

Everyone who knows Sarah is familiar with her hilarious sense of humor. When you are hanging out with her, you can be sure that you are going to have a great time!

Sarah has been such an inspiration to me this past year. She has taken on a successful new job working as a freelance director for News 12 NJ (the TV station!) and has enrolled back at school to study history and medieval studies at Rutgers University. She has been completely devoted to work and school. Going to and from classes, the library, study groups, then off to work all weekend long. When she's lucky and can come across some down time, she plays some of her instruments and work on her music.

During this busy time of her life, she's realized how important her health is. She began seeing a holistic health counselor early this Fall, and has been incorporating wonderful lifestyle changes into her daily life. She has been cooking in the kitchen, experimenting with new, fresh foods all while taking notice of how these foods are effecting her body. Sarah has incorporated more whole grains and greens into her diet because she now understands the benefits of these healthy foods. Her health counselor is helping her learn how to balance all the areas of her life (diet, career, lifestyle, etc.) in order to be healthy. Sarah has been positively responsive to all of it!

I admire her studious personality with her schoolwork. She's completely enveloped in her studies because she adores what she is learning. Her excellent grades have shown just how much all of her reading, homework and studying has paid off!

I am very proud of my hard working sister and all of her efforts to improve her health and life goals. Even though we haven't hung out in a while due to her schedule, it makes me happy to know that she is taking good care of herself while she's got so much going on. I am looking forward to her Winter and Spring break so that we can spend some quality time together.

Since Halloween is tomorrow, I included this picture of Sarah when she was a 'whoopie cushion!' Haha!!

Keep up all of your hard work, Sarah!! I love you!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Heart Attack Risk Reduction: The Low-Hanging Fruit

Dr. Yongsoon Park and colleagues recently published a great article in the British Journal of Nutrition titled "Erythrocyte fatty acid profiles can predict acute non-fatal myocardial infarction". Stated simply, the title says that the fat in your red blood cell membranes, which reflects dietary fat composition, can predict your likelihood of having a heart attack*. More accurately than standard measures of heart attack risk such as blood cholesterol.

Let's cut to the data. The investigators examined the fat composition of red blood cells in people who had suffered a heart attack, versus an equal number who had not. Participants who had heart attacks had less omega-3, more long-chain omega-6, and particularly higher trans fat in their red blood cells. In fact, 96% of the heart attack patients had elevated trans fat levels, compared to 34% of those without heart attacks. This is consistent with a number of other studies showing a strong association between blood levels of trans fat and heart attack risk (ref).

92% of heart attack patients were in the lowest category of EPA in their red blood cells, as opposed to 32% of those without heart attacks. EPA is an omega-3 fat that comes from fish, and is also made by the body if there's enough omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (think flax and greens) around and not too much linoleic acid (industrial vegetable oil) to inhibit its production. 96% of heart attack patients were in the lowest category for alpha-linolenic acid, compared to 34% of the comparison group. 0% of the heart attack patients were in the highest category for alpha-linolenic acid.

62% of heart attack patients were in the highest category of arachidonic acid (AA), compared to 34% of the comparison group. AA is made from linoleic acid, and is also found in animal foods such as eggs and liver. Animal foods from pasture-raised animals are lower in AA than their conventionally-raised counterparts, and also contain more omega-3 fats to balance it.

The investigators found that low omega-3, high AA and high trans fats in red blood cells associate with heart attack risk far better than the Framingham risk score, a traditional and widely-used measure that incorporates age, sex, smoking status, total cholesterol, HDL, hypertension and diabetes.

If the associations in this study represent cause-and-effect, which I believe they do based on their consistency with other observational studies and controlled trials, they imply that we can have a very powerful effect on heart attack risk by taking a few simple steps:
  1. Avoid trans fat. It's found in margarine, shortening, refined soy and canola oils, many deep fried foods and processed foods in general.
  2. Avoid industrial vegetable oils and other sources of excess omega-6. Eating pastured or omega-3 eggs, rather than conventional eggs, can help reduce dietary AA as well.
  3. Ensure a regular intake of omega-3 fats from seafood, or small doses of high-vitamin cod liver oil or fish oil. Flax oil is also helpful, but it's an inferior substitute for fish oil.
This study was conducted in Korea. It's a striking confirmation that basic nutritional principles span races and cultures, likely affecting disease risk in all humans.

In the future, I hope that most doctors will measure blood fatty acids to predict heart attack risk, with more success than current approaches. Instead of measuring cholesterol and prescribing a statin drug, doctors will prescribe fish oil and easy-to-follow diet advice**. Fortunately, some doctors are beginning to measure red blood cell fatty acid levels in their patients. The forward-thinking cardiologist Dr. William Davis has discussed this on his blog here. Take a good look at the graphs he posted if you get the chance.

*The title of the study is misleading because it implies a prospective design, in which blood fatty acids would be measured and volunteers followed to see who develops heart disease at a later time point. This study was cross-sectional (also called case-control), meaning they found people who had just had a heart attack and measured their blood fatty acids retrospectively. The other study I referenced above was prospective, which is a nice confirmation of the principle.

**"Eat butter on your toast. Ditch the margarine."

Have a Healthy Halloween

Halloween is a really fun night for kids as well as us adults. However, all of the gooey, sugary candy left over isn't good for any of us! Instead of writing the laundry list of the harmful effects that sugar has on the body (besides, this email would go on for pages!), we'd rather just list a few. Sugar can suppress the immune system, (which is something that we DON'T want during this time of year), sugar contributes to obesity, can cause arthritis, increases cholesterol, contributes to diabetes, can cause cardiovascular disease, can cause depression...and we're only getting started! To sum it up, sugar is the white devil! We are all about encouraging children to enjoy some healthier alternatives to the traditional candy treats, and you should be too. We've listed a few ideas below for you to try:

Healthier Halloween Treats
- mini boxes of raisins
- pretzels
- single serving packets of microwave popcorn
- whole grain crackers (you can find small packets of these in the grocery store)
- packages of trail mix (if you live near a Trader Joe's, they have pre-packaged 'Handful of Nuts' that are a wonderful treat for kids...and you!)
- stickers, party doesn't have to be all about food!

If you are going to be trick or treating with a little one, check out these helpful, easy tips.

Like heroin, cocaine and caffeine, sugar is an addictive, destructive drug, yet we consume it daily in everything from cigarettes to bread.
-William Dufty, author of Sugar Blues.

DO NOT Support Mars Candy
Something for you to be aware of: Please think twice before picking up a Mars candy bar! You should know that candy maker Mars, Inc. - creator of M&M's, Snickers, Twix, Dove, Three Musketeers, Starburst, Skittles, and other candies - funds deadly animal tests. We won't go into the horrific details, but if you would like more information on their cruel experiments, click here.

Remember that every time you buy something from the grocery store, you are casting a vote.

Farm to Table

All the people that asked me before I left for Rwanda if I would be able to eat here obviously have never seen the Kimironko market in Kigali. I was often asked this question because I follow a vegan and gluten-free diet, which can be difficult even in the states where so many things are accessible. Admittedly, I packed a few things in my suitcase that I could not live without (quinoa, agave, Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar!) but for the most part I was not concerned. I was actually looking forward to living in a society that lives mostly off real food.

One of the books that I brought with me was Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma, which surprisingly I had not yet read. I started reading it this weekend and realized how appropriate it will be to read while I'm here. In my opinion, one of the biggest problems that American's face when it comes to nutrition is industry is the lack of real food. Between factory farms and processed and refined foods, most American dinner tables rarely see whole foods. Yet we wonder, why in places around the world where diets may be heavy in fat or starches the people are still so much healthier.

Its amazing to be immersed into a society where there is such a direct connection between the people and the foods they eat. Their are no fad diets or diet books, no factory farms, no cows pumped with steroids and antibiotics. The food here is real. It is whole. It is local. Every inch of the Rwanda landscape is covered in land that is being harvested for one crop or another. You can not go anywhere in this country that I have seen thus far without seeing local women walking the streets, transporting huge sacks or baskets on their heads full of fruits or vegetables.

I just returned from the Kimironko Market, a huge open-air market a few miles from our home in Kimironko. You can find nearly anything there. For probably the length of a football field, stretched tables are filled with all types of produce. I found fruits from bananas to papayas, pineapples, mangoes, oranges and my favorite - avocados. I found vegetables, from beets to cauliflower, broccoli, garlic, onions, eggplant, zucchini. Starches such as rice, white potatoes and sweet potatoes. Beans of every variety, meats, eggs, milks. All grown here in Rwanda. John, our gardener and housekeeper, who escorted me to the market asked me if we had anything like this market in my country. I laughed out loud as I imagined the typical American grocery store in comparison. Even a typical Jersey farmer's market is light years away from anything quite this extensive.

But this is the way of life here. In some ways so simple, and so the omnivore's dilemma is not such a burden. When an American goes to the grocery store they are faced with shelves and shelves of brightly colored packages boasting all sorts of health claims and advertisements, making it difficult to decide what you want to eat and especially, what you should eat. Here what you eat is what you grow or what you raise. Simple as that. Part of the beauty of it is that food is so much fresher and more flavorful when it is eaten at its source! Food goes literally from the farm to the table - it does not get much fresher than that! The bananas are so sweet. The avocados are huge and delicious. And I can take pride in buying them (which at 100 Francs each, roughly .20¢, yes please!) because I know that my money is going directly to the farmer to feed his family, and that in general I am supporting the economy of a country that is so in need.

I can not wait to see more of how many Rwandas live and eat as I start working with Gardens for Health. Gardens for Health is an organization that connects families living with HIV/AIDS with co-op supplied land to in order to grow their own produce, which will provide food security and nourishment. I will hopefully be assisting them in conducting surveys in households affected with HIV and then contributing to their plans for nutritional counseling for those households as well.

I will continue to post about my experiences here with the organization, the people, the culture, and of course the food, so please stay tuned. Now it is time to decide which of these wonderful vegetables to cook for dinner!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cell Phone Donations.....

Natural Health Magazine online recently posted in their Green Living section a bit recycling old cell phones. Apparently more than 165 million cell phones are thrown out for up grades each year creating 65,000 tons of waste each year!! I know that I have at least 4 phones stashed away in my desk drawer. Obviously I realized that it wasn't a good idea to toss them into the trash and I knew there were recycling options out there, but I had no idea how many!

Not only can you bring your phone back to your provider (Verizon, Sprint, TMobile, AT&T etc.), donate it to charity, but you can get paid for recycling your old phone too! So Instead of letting your old phones take up precious space in your home office, here are a few options to recycle or donate:

1. Flip Swap: Free, easy and green. Flipswap pays you to recycle your old cell phone. Fliipswap appraises your cell phone value and then gives you the money or the option of donating the money to one of 80 associated charities. What's really cool is if your phone is really old or broken, they will accept it, recycle it in a environmentally responsible facility and then plant a tree!!

2. was created in 2004 to attempt to reduce cell phone e-waste and to "provide an ongoing and readily available source or 911 emergency cell phones and funds to meet the unexpected and urgent needs of participating law enforcement and affiliated victim services agencies." The organization has a number of drop off locations in NJ or you can simply ship your old phone to them.

3. Shelter Alliance: Shelter Alliance is a GRC wireless recycling program that offers services for collection programs for organizations, cell phone donation programs for businesses and individuals. Basically, they help organizations start cell phone recycling programs to raise money! They call it fundraising with accountability, I call it a fabulous, socially responsible idea for NPOs and other organizations looking for funding!

I did a couple of google searches and found that the options are really endless! If you want to get paid for your cell phone, you can. If you want to donate it to a good cause, you can. If you want to donate it to an organization so they can recycle it and get paid, you can. It's just a matter of preference. So, don't let those old cell phones collect dust! Recycle them, get paid or donate them.

And as always....
Keep it Fresh!

Sunday, October 25, 2009



People ask this question..WHY EAT RAW FOOD......or want to know how and why anyone could or would do this.

Raw and living foods are uncooked, unheated, unfooled around with foods. Well, we rawfoodies DO process some stuff yet it is minimal...(blending, spiralizing, food processing) keeping food raw and fresh!

These foods are LIVING in the sense that they have all the enzymes and nutrients intact due to being eaten in their natural state. Any foods heated above 105 to 115 degrees has lost enzymes and nutrients, and in many cases, it no longer is food fit for the body. Some foods actually change into toxic materials (for instance, when potatoes go to france(fries) they turn into something called acrylamide. Sounds like plastic? ever eat cold fries (yup plastic like and hard) and these things cannot be digested.

So why fuss with this? Why not just eat what people eat and forget about it?
Are you sick? Hurting? Have aches and pains? Headaches? Constipation? Bloating? Weight challenges? Poor skin? Major disease? Or just plain dont feel good?
ALL, yes I said ALL, of these above conditions and MORE can be cleared up with raw and living foods !!!

Why? Because when the body is receiving more nutrition than it needs, the repair guys can take these new tools (actual nutrient dense foods) and go to work repairing the body.
With cooked foods and processed stuff, the body is in continual work to digest and handle the overload of poor food choices.
Even if the choices are great, cooked food has lost important nutrients and vital enzymes. Raw foods provide a suitable environment for healing to occur on a day to day basis.
What results have people experienced? You would be blown away to see most raw faces and bodies. Raw changes and transforms a person like no other eating on the planet!

Energy is abundant
Skin is gorgeous
Weight falls off

Brain clarity is wild

Bliss after eating is common

Life is so very good

Ones mental outlook is enhanced
Spirituality goes wild

Emotions stabilize
Love rises to the top
This is the SHORT list.


Are you SICK of it? Are you one who is tired of this sickness/medicine/death oriented world we live in (look at drugstores rising on every corner while many business are closing).
Want to stop buying into "what the people do just because thats what there is to do".
Want to pave your own way? Be a stand for your own health and energy and vitality?
Ok I heard you say YES! I said YES and I am (two years raw) so incredibly happy I did.
Life on raw and  live food is extraordinary. One can only experience it for yourself.

Contact me and I will be happy to walk beside you on your journey to a new life.

Love from my  living food heart to yours! Muah! Bette Bliss


A Raw Beet Soup!!!

Its a raw blueberry pie...woweeeee. Nuts and dates crust with blueberry banana date and honey filling. Yummmayyyy

And lunch....rawkin the house today!!

Ah yes, yet another fruit filled morning!!!

Apple Raisin (marinates/soaked overnight) Breakfast Porridge.

Banana Strawberry Ice Cream!!!!

LIVING PIZZA!!! One of my most favorite raw foods!

Pumpkin Spice Smooothie

Choco Spice Smooothie

"Chompa" Chocolates
Jicama "Potato" Salad

A Berry Smoothie in Bali





"BANANA SPLIT" WITH EDIBLE FLOWERS (oooo pansies drizzled in raw choco are the best!!)







MICRO GREENS with a passing rainbow wash

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Friend Shout Out

Embracing your community is one of the most important philosophies behind what 3 Healthy Chicks do. A sense of community can be many things and while it can, it doesn't necessarily have to relate to your geographical surroundings. Becoming active in your community and fostering friendships and business relationships is the most significant way to make change. Hiliary Clinton said, "it takes a village" we at 3HC know that what she meant was, it takes a community. ;-)

In fostering our own wellness community, I have decided to start a weekly tradition at the 3 Healthy Chicks blog...The Friday Friend Shout Out. Each Friday we will give a shout out to a person or organization in the wellness community that has touched our life or taught us something about health and wellness or is making health and wellness waves in their community .

I decided to give the firs Friday Friend Shout out to my amazing friend and mentor Taraleigh Silberberg at the Healthy Hippie Magazine. Taraleigh is a graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, Holistic Health Counselor, Hippie Fashionista and clothing designer, writer, dancer, sex kitten fiance to Dan and all around do-gooder.

Taraleigh is a furor of positive energy taking daily steps to change the world. In her own words she, "inspires people to live green, healthy and happy lives full of love art and music through the Healthy Hippie Magazine." She coaches people "to respect their body by feeding it nourishing whole foods and in turn teaching them a respect for not only themselves but the earth." And "by committing to be myself no matter who wacky people think I am and to have fun while doing it others feel free to let their freak flag fly."

Go Taraleigh! You are amazing!
Check out the Healthy Hippie Magazine for an online subscription.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

In Health and Science News Today.....

Junk Food Turns Rats Into Addicts....Junk food elicits addictive behavior in rats similar to the behaviors of rats addicted to heroin, a new study finds. Pleasure centers in the brains of rats addicted to high-fat, high-calorie diets became less responsive as the binging wore on, making the rats consume more and more food. The results, presented October 20 at the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting, may help explain the changes in the brain that lead people to overeat. Read the full article here.

Is it sad that I don't find these scientific findings shocking? Anyone that has ever ridden the sugar-salt roller coaster knows that junk food is addicting. No One Can Eat Just One. Right? Perhaps it's the conspiracy theorist in me that rolls my eyes and and wants to scream "duh!!!!" at the world? I also know that industrial food corporations (Kraft, Nestle, General Mills, Kellog etc.) are simply looking out for their bottom line.

Unfortunately, their bottom line is a fiduciary responsibility to their share holders. That duty is to make the share holder's wallet fat. Making the waistline of the American public fat, the corporations are raking in the dollars. I can pretty much guarantee if it were possible to file a Freedom Of Information Act request to review the files of the top corporations you would find that ever elusive needle in a haystack pointing the direction to a fat wallet. I can only imagine there are years of corporate scientific findings stating additives, such as high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils lead to excess eating and therefore higher sales and a better investment return. Just as heroin addicts require more and more of the drug to feel good, rats (Americans!??) needed more and more of the junk food.

On a side note, when I googled "junk food" for an image for this blog entry, the image that I found (and used) was originally from a post about National Junk Food Day, which apparently took place on July 21st this year. Serioulsy? I mean....SERIOUSLY? Do Americans really need a day actually designated to eat more junkfood? BAH! Do you know what the kicker is? The BIG RED weight loss advertisement right below it reading "Do you try diet after diet only to have your lost weight come right back?"

I might add "make eating kale a national day" on to the 3HC to do list. I should contact the people at

As for me, I am going to munch on a little junk food provided by Mother Nature. It's round, red, crisp, sweet and goes by the name of McIntosh.

Keep it Fresh!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Butter vs. Margarine Showdown

I came across a gem of a study the other day, courtesy of Dr. John Briffa's blog. It's titled "Margarine Intake and Subsequent Coronary Heart Disease in Men", by Dr. William P. Castelli's group. It followed participants of the Framingham Heart study for 20 years, and recorded heart attack incidence*. Keep in mind that 20 years is an unusually long follow-up period.

The really cool thing about this study is they also tracked butter consumption. So it's really a no-holds barred showdown between the two fats. Here's a graph of the overall results, by teaspoons of butter or margarine eaten per day:

Heart attack incidence increased with increasing margarine consumption (statistically significant) and decreased slightly with increasing butter consumption (not statistically significant). That must have been a bitter pill for Castelli to swallow!

It gets better. Let's have a look at some of the participant characteristics, broken down by margarine consumption:

People who ate the least margarine had the highest prevalence of glucose intolerance (pre-diabetes), smoked the most cigarettes, drank the most alcohol, and ate the most saturated fat and butter. These were the people who cared the least about their health. Yet they had the fewest heart attacks. Imagine that. The investigators corrected for the factors listed above in their assessment of the contribution of margarine to disease risk, however, the fact remains that the group eating the least margarine was the least health conscious. This affects disease risk in many ways, measurable or not. I've written about that before, here and here.

Can this study get any better? Yes it can. The investigators broke down the data into two halves: the first ten years, and the second ten. In the first ten years, there was no significant association between margarine intake and heart attack incidence. In the second ten, the group eating the most margarine had 77% more heart attacks than the group eating none:

So it appears that margarine takes a while to work its magic.

They didn't publish a breakdown of heart attack incidence with butter consumption over the two periods. Perhaps they didn't like what they saw when they crunched the numbers. I find it really incredible that we're told to avoid dairy fat with data like these floating around. The Framingham study is first-rate epidemiology. It fits in perfectly with most other observational studies showing that full-fat dairy intake is not associated with heart attack and stroke risk. In fact, several studies have indicated that people who eat the most full-fat dairy have the lowest risk of heart attack and stroke.

It's worth mentioning that this study was conducted from the late 1960s until the late 1980s. Artificial trans fat labeling laws were still decades away in the U.S., and margarine contained more trans fat than it does today. Currently, margarine can contain up to 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving and still be labeled "0 g trans fat" in the U.S. The high trans fat content of the older margarines probably had something to do with the result of this study.

That does not make today's margarine healthy, however. Margarine remains an industrially processed pseudo-food. I'm just waiting for the next study showing that some ingredient in the new margarines (plant sterols? dihydro vitamin K1?) is the new trans fat.

Butter, Margarine and Heart Disease
The Coronary Heart Disease Epidemic

* More precisely, "coronary heart disease events", which includes infarction, sudden cardiac death, angina, and coronary insufficiency.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bon Voyage!!

Tomorrow, one of the 3 Healthy Chicks is embarking on an incredible journey.

Jill is leaving for Kigali, Rwanda to spend time with her significant other and for 8 months of volunteer work. Jill will be updating the blog about her travels and experiences remotely. It will be an incredible journey to follow.

Keep it Jersey Fresh in Rwanda, Jill!
We love you and will miss you so very much!


What is it that creates, in people, the "its hard" mentality when it comes to eating well?
Did you know that eating well is not only EASY it is pure JOY! Thats right!

When we get down to basics,eating clean food, of the earth, where we all came from, we find it easy to eat right. And amaZINGly, when you eat well, you want to eat even better. It is an incredible process.

I have been on this extraordinary journey for over two years and I am here to tell you this: You cannot even begin to imagine how, by eating whole and living foods in their unheated, uncooked state, your body will change and transform in ways you have never dreamed possible!

I have lost weight, got brain clarity, gained vibrancy and health, look younger, feel younger, am happier, am more in harmony with this earth, plants, nature and other people. I am so healthy now that I cannot even remember how bad I felt or all I have healed from.

This is me before I began my raw food journey!This is me after six months on raw and living foods.

Love, from my raw food loving heart to yours! Muah! Bette B

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Little Hiatus

I'm going to a conference next week, followed by a little vacation. I've written two posts that will publish automatically while I'm gone. I may or may not respond to comments for the next two weeks. I probably won't respond to e-mails. I'll resume the malocclusion series when I get back.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I dont often (ever?!) repost articles from other blogs or newsletters but I thought the Quote of the Day from the Organic Consumers Association was worth a repost by 3 Healthy Chicks...

"Organic agriculture puts the needs of rural people and the sustainable use of natural resources at the centre of the farming system. Locally adapted technologies create employment opportunities and income. Low external inputs minimize risk of indebtedness and intoxication of the environment. It increases harvests through practices that favor the optimization of biological processes and local resources over expensive, toxic and climate damaging response to a frequently asked question: Yes, the world can be fed by the worldwide adoption of Organic agriculture."
-International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements World Food Day, October 12, 2009

It's important to be reminded of the abundance of fresh produce we from the Garden State have the opportunity to enjoy. Organic, sustainable farming is the first step in security and independence. Support your local Jersey growers!

Keep it Fresh!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Malocclusion: Disease of Civilization, Part IV

There are three periods during the development of the face and jaws that are uniquely sensitive to environmental influences such as nutrition and muscle activity patterns.

1: Prenatal Period

The major structures of the human face and jaws develop during the first trimester of pregnancy. The maxilla (upper jaw) takes form between the 7th and 10th week after conception. The mandible (lower jaw) begins two weeks earlier. The nasal septum, which is the piece of cartilage that forms the structure of the nose and divides the nostrils, appears at week seven and grows most rapidly from weeks 8 to 11. Any disturbance of this developmental window can have major consequences for later occlusion.

2: Early Postnatal Period

The largest postnatal increment in face and jaw growth occurs from birth until age 4. During this period, the deciduous (baby) teeth erupt, and the activity patterns of the jaw and tongue influence the size and shape of the maxilla and the mandible as they grow. The relationship of the jaws to one another is mostly determined during this period, although it can still change later in development.

During this period, the dental arch widens from its center, called the midpalatal suture. This ensures that the jaws are the correct size and shape to eventually accept the permanent teeth without crowding them.

3: Adolescence

The third major developmental period occurs between ages 11 and 16, depending on the gender and individual, and happens roughly at the same time as the growth spurt in height. The dental arch continues to widen, reaching its final size and shape. Under ideal circumstances, at the end of this period the arch should be large enough to accommodate all teeth, including the third molars (wisdom teeth), without crowding. Narrow dental arches cause malocclusion and third molar crowding.

Growth of the Dental Arch Over Time

The following graph shows the widening of the dental arch over time*. The dotted line represents arch growth while the solid line represents growth in body height. You can see that arch development slows down after 6 years old, resumes around 11, and finally ends at about 18 years. This graph represents the average of many children, so not all children will see these changes at the age indicated. The numbers are in millimeters per year, but keep in mind that the difference between a narrow arch and a broad one is only a few millimeters.

In the next few posts, I'll describe the factors that I believe influence jaw and face structure during the three critical periods of development.

* These data represent many years of measurements collected by Dr. Arne Bjork, who used metallic implants in the maxilla to make precise measurements of arch growth over time in Danish youths. The graph is reproduced from the book A Synopsis of Craniofacial Growth, by Dr. Don M. Ranly. Data come from Dr. Bjork's findings published in the book Postnatal Growth and Development of the Maxillary Complex. You can see some of Dr. Bjork's data in the paper "Sutural Growth of the Upper Face Studied by the Implant Method" (free full text).

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Malocclusion: Disease of Civilization, Part III

Normal Human Occlusion

In 1967, a team of geneticists and anthropologists published an extensive study of a population of Brazilian hunter-gatherers called the Xavante (1). They made a large number of physical measurements, including of the skull and jaws. Of 146 Xavante examined, 95% had "ideal" occlusion, while the 5% with malocclusion had nothing more than mild cro
wding of the incisors (front teeth). The authors wrote:
Characteristically, the Xavante adults exhibited broad dental arches, almost perfectly aligned teeth, end-to-end bite, and extensive dental attrition [tooth wear].
In the same paper, the author presents occlusion statistics for three other cultures. According to the papers he cites, in Japan, the prevalence of malocclusion was 59%, and in the US (Utah), it was 64%. He also mentions another native group living near the Xavante, part of the Bakairi tribe, living at a government post and presumably eating processed food. The prevalence of malocclusion was 45% in this group.

In 1998, Dr. Brian Palmer (DDS) published a paper describing some of the collections of historical skulls he had examined over the years (2):
...I reviewed an additional twenty prehistoric skulls, some dated at 70,000 years old and stored in the Anthropology Department at the University of Kansas. Those skulls also exhibited positive [good] occlusions, minimal decay, broad hard palates, and "U-shaped" arches.

The final evaluations were of 370 skulls preserved at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. The skulls were those of prehistoric North American plains Indians and more contemporary American skulls dating from the 1920s to 1940s. The prehistoric skulls exhibited the same features as mentioned above, whereas a significant destruction and collapse of the oral cavity were evident in the collection of the more recent skulls. Many of these more recent skulls revealed severe periodontal disease, malocclusions, missing teeth, and some dentures. This was not the case in the skulls from the prehistoric periods...
The arch is the part of the upper jaw inside the "U" formed by the teeth. Narrow dental arches are a characteristic feature of malocclusion-prone societies. The importance of arch development is something that I'll be coming back to repeatedly. Dr. Palmer's paper includes the following example of prehistoric (L) and modern (R) arches:

Dr. Palmer used an extreme example of a modern arch to illustrate his point, however, arches of this width are not uncommon today. Milder forms of this narrowing affect the majority of the population in industrial nations.

In 1962, Dr. D.H. Goose published a
study of 403 British skulls from four historical periods: Romano-British, Saxon, medieval and modern (3). He found that the arches of modern skulls were less broad than at any previous time in history. This followed an earlier study showing that modern British skulls had more frequent malocclusion than historical skulls (4). Goose stated that:
Although irregularities of the teeth can occur in earlier populations, for example in the Saxon skulls studied by Smyth (1934), the narrowing of the palate seems to have occurred in too short a period to be an evolutionary change. Hooton (1946) thinks it is a speeding up of an already long standing change under conditions of city life.
Dr. Robert Corruccini published several papers documenting narrowed arches in one generation of dietary change, or in genetically similar populations living rural or urban lifestyles (reviewed in reference #5). One was a st
udy of Caucasians in Kentucky, in which a change from a traditional subsistence diet to modern industrial food habits accompanied a marked narrowing of arches and increase in malocclusion in one generation. Another study examined older and younger generations of Pima Native Americans, which again showed a reduction in arch width in one generation. A third compared rural and urban Indians living in the vicinity of Chandigarh, showing marked differences in arch breadth and the prevalence of malocclusion between the two genetically similar populations. Corruccini states:
In Chandigarh, processed food predominates, while in the country coarse millet and locally grown vegetables are staples. Raw sugar cane is widely chewed for enjoyment rurally [interestingly, the rural group had the lowest incidence of tooth decay], and in the country dental care is lacking, being replaced by chewing on acacia boughs which clean the teeth and are considered medicinal.
Dr. Weston Price came to the same conclusion examining prehistoric skulls from South America, Australia and New Zealand, as well as their living counterparts throughout the world that had adhered to traditional cultures and foodways. From Nutrition and Physical Degeneration:
In a study of several hundred skulls taken from the burial mounds of southern Florida, the incidence of tooth decay was so low as to constitute an immunity of apparently one hundred per cent, since in several hundred skulls not a single tooth was found to have been attacked by tooth decay. Dental arch deformity and the typical change in facial form due to an inadequate nutrition were also completely absent, all dental arches having a form and interdental relationship [occlusion] such as to bring them into the classification of normal.
Price found that the modern descendants of this culture, eating processed food, suffered from malocclusion and narrow arches, while another group from the same culture living traditionally did not. Here's one of Dr. Price's images from Nutrition and Physical Degeneration (p. 212). This skull is from a prehistoric New Zealand Maori hunter-gatherer:

Note the well-formed third molars (wisdom teeth) in both of the prehistoric skulls I've posted. These people had ample room for them in their broad arches. Third molar crowding is a mild form of modern face/jaw deformity, and affects the majority of modern populations. It's the reason people have their wisdom teeth removed. Urban Nigerians in Lagos have 10 times more third molar crowding than rural Nigerians in the same state (10.7% of molars vs. 1.1%, reference #6).

Straight teeth and good occlusion are the human evolutionary norm. They're also accompanied by a wide dental arch and ample room for third molars in many traditionally-living cultures. The combination of narrow arches, malocclusion, third molar crowding, small or absent sinuses, and a characteristic underdevelopment of the middle third of the face, are part of a developmental syndrome that predominantly afflicts industrially living cultures.

(1) Am. J. Hum. Genet. 19(4):543. 1967. (free full text)
(2) J. Hum. Lact. 14(2):93. 1998
(3) Arch. Oral Biol. 7:343. 1962
(4) Brash, J.C.: The Aetiology of Irregularity and Malocclusion of the Teeth. Dental Board of the United Kingdom, London, 1929.
(5) Am J. Orthod. 86(5):419
(6) Odonto-Stomatologie Tropicale. 90:25. (free full text)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Create Change

A couple of months ago I was lucky enough to dine at a delicious raw food restaurant in northern California. at a place called Cafe Gratitude, it should come as no surprise that it is customary for the waiter to ask guests to share with their table what they are grateful for. However, on this particular night, ours asked us to share “what we were creating”. As the rest of us pondered our response, a resolute member of our party announced “I am creating the exact world that I want to live in”.

Admittedly, I was a bit jealous of his answer and too intimidated to share mine. But, if I were sitting in the restaurant tonight I would say that I, too, am creating the exact life that i want to live, and that I am so grateful for the opportunity to do so.

This year has certainly been a transformational one for me. Autumn always marks a time of change, and this time of year has always seemed to be a transformational stage in my life as well. I remember last October well. There is one day in particular that sticks out. It was an ordinary Saturday, and I was enjoying some fall festivities. I didn't know at the time, but this day would begin a chain of events that would culminate exactly one year later...another October, another fall, another transformation.

So here i am, in the midst of the presence of autumn, and in the midst of probably the biggest changes of my life. In the past year I have begun many new relationships, both platonic, romantic and professional. I have gone back to school to follow my passion for health and wellness. I left my office job of two years with the hopes of turning that passion into a career. I moved out of my apartment, where I lived as a bachelorette for two years. And in two weeks I will be boarding the first of three flights on my way to Kigali, Rwanda where I plan to live for the next 6-9 months doing volunteer work. If you had told me a year ago the world that I would create for myself, I never would have believed it.

There are so many things that nourish our bodies, aside from what choices we make concerning food. When all the different aspects of our lives are in balance, this is when our body, mind and soul thrive and we are at our healthiest. Think about the different areas of you life (relationship, career, geography, physical activity, etc.) and recognize imbalances. What areas would you like to change, where is there room for improvement? How can you create the exact life that you want to live, in the exact world that you want to live it in?

Set goals for yourself. Write them down and hold yourself accountable for reaching them. Express gratitude towards the people or opportunities that helped you attain each goal.

We have the power to create the life we want and we have the power to change the things in our lives that we are unsatisfied with, but we all too often let fear hold us back. Every baby chick must face that first daunting flight. Some take off without hesitation, some need a little push, but in the end they all take that leap of faith, spread their wings and learn to fly.

Returning home sooner: Good for patients and for the hospital

By Dr. Romas Stas, Associate Chief of Staff

The term conservable days is an internal hospital expression that probably means nothing to our patients and their families. Yet, reducing the number of conservable days has an enormous impact on their health and well-being.

Conservable days are the number of days patients remain in hospital past the benchmark average length of stay. (We benchmark, or compare, ourselves to the best performing hospitals to improve our patient care.)

Rouge Valley Health System is working with its physicians and staff to reduce our hospital’s number of conservable days. If we focus on this aspect of patient care, we can greatly improve the flow of patients through the hospital, thereby easing bed pressures and reaping the benefits of efficiency.

There are several benefits of timely patient discharge, including the following:

* Lower risk of infection;
* Improved patient recovery, allowing patients to recover in familiar surroundings with family;
* Reduced costs to the hospital, allowing the hospital to reinvest in new equipment and new technologies, thereby improving quality of care.

Let’s all work together for the benefit of our patients. Remember, there is no such thing as a good conservable day unless it has been eliminated.

Here are a few reminders on how to reduce conservable days, from Michele Jordan, RVHS vice-president and chief transformation officer.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Healthy Chicks Eat Pancakes Too!

Sometimes pancakes are just in order. Often the healthiest thing we can do for ourselves is give ourselves a break. Sleep in, relax, and maybe indulge...just a little. And what better way to indulge than with some banana pancakes! Inspired by one of my happy day song choices, I decided to share a few healthier banana pancake recipes. With gluten free and vegan options, everyone gets a chance to indulge. Whip some up and use your finest china - pancakes surely constitute a special occasion! Eat them with out guilt, with intention and with some syrup!
"maybe we can sleep in, I'll make you banana pancakes, pretend like it's the weekend now" - Jack Johnson

Buckwheat Banana Pancakes
1 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbs. granulated sugar (substitute maple syrup or agave nectar for a healthier option)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch unrefined sea salt
2 large free range eggs
1 cup organic nonfat milk or soymilk
1/2 cup organic plain nonfat yogurt
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 firm banana, diced
3 tbs. organic shredded coconut

1. Put buckwheat flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl, and set aside.
2. Beat eggs until foamy in a second bowl. Stir in milk, yogurt and vegetable oil. Stir milk mixture into flour mixture just until free of lumps. Carefully fold banana and coconut into batter.
3. Heat a nonstick skillet, and spray it with nonstick cooking spray. Ladle 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup of batter onto hot surface, and turn when bubbles appear on surface and bottoms turn golden, after about 2 to 3 minutes. Cook second side for 2 to 3 minutes, or until bottoms turn golden. Remove from heat, repeat with remaining batter and serve pancakes hot.

Gluten Free Banana Nut Pancakes
Dry Ingredients:
2 1/3 c. organic brown rice flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Wet Ingredients
1 1/2 c. organic soy milk (or organic cow’s milk)
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten (or 6 Tbsp. water and 2 Tbsp. ground flax seed)
1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 c. walnuts, roughly chopped
1 ripe banana, mashed

Instructions: Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and give it a few whisks. Crack the eggs into a separate bowl and whisk them until they are well beaten. Add the soy milk, oil, and vanilla to the eggs and whisk again.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir with a spoon until the ingredients are combined. There will still be a few lumps in the batter, and that’s okay. Now add the nuts and mashed bananas and stir those in. Put the batter aside while you heat up the griddle.

Lightly spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium.

Using a 1/4 c. measuring cup, dip the batter out of the bowl and pour onto your skillet. Let the pancakes cook and do not touch them until you see bubbles popping in the middle of the pancake, then flip them over. They will only cook for a minute or two on the second side, and you can use your spatula to peek and see if they are as brown as you want them.

Easy Vegan Banana Pancakes
2 slightly soft organic bananas
1 1/2 cups whole wheat or buckwheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 3/4 cups organic soymilk
1/2 cup brown sugar (substitute maple syrup or agave nectar for a healthier option)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth.
2. Pour onto oiled skillet at medium heat, until bubbles form and pop.
3. Brown both sides and serve.
(You may have to thin batter with water to get it to spread easily.)

Pomegranate Syrup

1/2 cup organic all natural pomegranate juice
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons cup organic all natural pomegranate juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch
To prepare syrup, combine 1/2 cup juice and syrup in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Combine 2 tablespoons juice and cornstarch in a bowl; add to pan. Cook 1 minute or until thickened; remove from heat. Serve with pancakes.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Healthcare Debate....

"In health there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties”
~ Henri Fredric Amiel

When you say the words "Integrative Health" or "Integrative Nutrition" most people don't have a clue what you mean. American's today are used to going to their health care practitioner only when something has already gone wrong. And most are seeking a quick result in pill form or an easy access cure. They want one answer. This philosophy, which has been promulgated by the traditionalist training of the medical community and the boom of the pharmaceutical industry is reason number one the United States is in a health crisis. This health crisis and the current healthcare debate is plastered all over the news. Democrats and Republicans alike are duking it out over what the answer should be. Everywhere you turn there's talk of insurance, money, Medicare, pharmaceutical companies. Big Healthcare, big dollars, small results.

Please don't be mistaken, we are indeed in a health crisis. A vast number of families in the United States can't afford health care, yet we are the unhealthiest First World nation in the world! The United States ranks 29th globally in infant mortality - tied with Poland and Slovakia (we were 12th in 1960). Sixty percent of adult deaths are attributable to chronic disease. Chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, stroke, and certain preventable cancers like prostate, colon and often breast and ovarian. Our nation is being crippled by chronic disease. Over 46 million citizens are uninsured or under insured. Health insurance premiums rise four times as fast as our pay rates. More than half the bankruptcies in the United States are from medical bills. 66%, SIXTY-SIX percent of US citizens are overweight or obese. Obesity in children has doubled in the past 30 years and tripled in adolescents! (this information was obtained from a presentation given by Dr. Theresa Kennedy).

The flaw in our system lies in its "curative" nature coupled with the fact that it's driven by corporate profit and greed. Health in this country is addressed when something goes wrong. People don't pay attention to what they put in their body or what their body interacts with. We don't have a health care system; we have a SICK care system. We need to change to a preventative system. Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing. It's not merely the absence of disease. And this is one of our fundamental rights as human beings and as citizens of the United States.

I will say that again, it is a fundamental right for us to live in a state of complete physical, mental and social well being!!

There is hope.

Seven months ago, President Barack Obama requested the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions to investigate the health crisis. On February 26th the Committee held a hearing. That hearing directly addressed integrative, yes Integrative Care: a Pathway to a Healthier Nation. Esteemed doctors including Dr. Oz, Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. Dean Ornish, and Dr. Andrew Weil testified. Words that each of highlighted were integrative health, and health Coach. Click here to watch the Senate hearing.

I remember watching this video on the Senate's website days after the hearing was held. I was elated and invigorated knowing that our elected officials were learning about integrative health. I thought back to one of my first days at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition when founder, Joshua Rosenthal said we were on the cusp of something great, that we were creating a health revolution. I believed him, I still do, but I was worried about the rest of the United States. I have seen many people simply roll their eyes when topics like positivity, primary foods, organic produce, environmental toxicity, GMOs and hormones in beef come up. They either don't care or don't believe me or are in denial.

Even though the Senate seems at least open to "alternative" ideas such as health coaches, history makes it obvious that change is not going to happen swiftly. The health care debate raging now is the same one that raged through the 1990s when President Bill Clinton was in office. The only difference is the stakes. They're higher now, Americans are sicker.

I am not posting this blog to seem downtrodden about our Government, its process and the action or inaction it takes. In the words of Mike Adams, the Health Ranger we need a "popular health care revolt; people marching in the streets, setting fire to packets of aspartame." While I think the Health Ranger may be on to something, lets start a health revolution with our own health first. We are the first step in health reform. You are in charge of your own health. A healthy life starts with the choices you make daily, make them good ones! If you are unsure of how to make positive choices to improve your health, reach out to a health coach to help guide the way for you.

Keep it Fresh!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Music is good for your health!

The beauty of music is its ability to move your soul.

I was listening
to Michael Franti and Speahead after having a bit of a disappointing late afternoon and I realized that in the span of one song, my mood turned from discouraged to optimistic- down right giddy in fact. The beauty of music is it's ability to alter your mood. It's something we need to remember to incorporate this into our daily life. When you have identified which music lifts your mood or alters it for the good, you can create your own reality. A single Ipod playlist can change your day.

A study at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore discovered that listening to music that you find to be joyful or uplifting can actually improve your cardiovascular health. When participants in a study listened to happy (in their opinion) music, their blood vessels dilated by as much as twenty three percent. Meanwhile, when they listened to music that caused them anxiety, their blood vessels constricted as much as nine percent.

Music also directly affects heart rate as well as breathing rate. To slow down, relax, and meditate, listening to music that is calming can help you relieve stress and enter a meditative state. Decreasing stress levels is one of the best things you can do for your health, both physically and mentally, so when you plug into your Ipod, think about your choice in music and how it will affect you.

The next time you're feeling down, think about what kind of music you feel like listening to. Oftentimes we choose sad music to match our sad or depressed mood. When you catch yourself doing that, remember to choose music that feels joyful to you and listen to that instead. Before you know it, you'll be feeling better. One thing that happens in your body is that your brain waves shift to match the tempo of the music. A faster tempo will enhance your alertness and lengthen your concentration span.

To make a long blog post short....Music Is Good For Your Health!! So put on something you love, smile and know that it's doing your body good.

Terra's Happy Day Ipod Playlist:

Lovely Day - Bill Withers
Antelope - Phish
Say Hey (I love you!) - Michael Franti
Ups & Downs - Juggling Suns
Joyful Sound - The String Cheese Incident
Sparkle - Phish
75 and Sunny - Ryan Montbleau Band
Who Cares - Gnarles Barkley
Ray Of Light - Madonna
I Had A dream - Joss Stone
Could You Be Loved - Bob Marley
Last Dance - Donna Summer
A Little Bit Of Riddim - Michael Franti

Jill's Happy Day Ipod Playlist:

Ani DiFranco - As Is
Indigo Girls - Rock and Roll Heaven's Gate
Jack Johnson - Banana Pancakes
Jennifer Nettles - With Me
Liz Phair - Baby Got Going
Ani DiFranco - Swing
Poe - Hello
Regina Spektor - FidelityJennifer Nettles - With Me
Sugarland - All I Want To Do
Come on Get Higher - Matt Nathanson
Indigo Girls - Romeo and Juliet
4 Non Blondes - What's Up
Ani DiFranco - Jukebox

Lauren's Happy Day iPod Playlist:

Foux Du Fafa - Flight of the Conchords
I Got Mine - The Black Keys
Funky Kingston - Toots & The Maytals
To Be Young - Ryan Adams
Electric Feel - MGMT
Government Magic - Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra
Take Your Mama Out - Scissor Sisters
Fireworks - Animal Collective
Nighttrain - James Brown
Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa - Vampire Weekend
State of Shock - Michael Jackson
Gold Guns Girls - Metric
Half Mast - Empire of the Sun
I Ain't Hiding - The Black Crowes
Long Haired Child - Devendra Banhart
I Love You, Awesome - The Phoenix Foundation
Crying - TV on the Radio
Two Weeks - Grizzly Bear

(you can download all of the songs above from Itunes!)