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Welcome to Interactive Medical Co-op

Posted By Submitted by ACAM member Garlos Garcia, Monday, September 5, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, September 7, 2016

My name is Carlos Garcia and I am a physician who practices a blend of both non-­‐traditional and traditional medical therapies. I invite you to visit my website, to familiarize yourself with my practice. Interactive Medical Co-­‐op is the new response to out-­‐of-­‐control healthcare insurance costs, which wreak havoc on America's corporate profitability and keep individual employees from enjoying better health and proactive wellness.

Our government and corporate America both acknowledge that our healthcare system is in need of revision,however, neither knows what to change. Interactive Medical Co-­‐op is the first Co-­‐op network to break the mold from the usual and customary conventional, symptom relief driven, traditional medical plans. Interactive Medical Co-­‐op is America's first Co-­‐0p network that embraces prevention, wellness and providing patients with a blend of both traditional and integrative treatments.

Why was IMC created? IMC resulted from the request of a fortune 500 corporation, which self-­‐insures, seeking a blend of traditional and non-­‐traditional medical services. The corporation tasked Utopia with the integration or blending of both realms of the medical world. The driving force for the corporation is to manage costs, while providing their associates with better healthcare options and treatments.

What is self-­‐insurance and how does it differ from ordinary healthcare insurance? Traditional health insurance is Obama care insurance. Someone, God only knows, decides what is medicine by deciding what gets paid, i.e. pre-­‐authorization. Now, one would think that the megaliths of the fortune 500 would understand health insurance.   I thought so, however the shocking reality, at least to me, is that the majority hire or purchase insurance through  a  broker,  who  tells  the  corporation  what  insurance  products  will  comply  the government’s mandate.

Usually, fiscally savvy brokers will steer a corporation into accepting a premade plan from a huge healthcare insurer, i.e. Aetna, Blue Cross, etc. The corporation, as we, in this case is at the mercy of the traditional health insurance company, who also works along side with the traditional health insurance broker. One would think savings would be returned, or passed on, to the buyer, the self-­‐insured corporation. This is a nice theory, but not the practice. In this case, which is the norm, the corporation is no better off than we are. The deals, or discounts, made to the large health insurance companies, i.e. Aetna, etc. is not  normally disclosed to the self-­‐insured corporation. I suspect the “logic” being, because we insure so many, this really is not because of you, corporation, it is because we risk so much more than you. Because corporations realize this, they are desirous of change. However, the corporations are not sure what to do. IMC is the physician arm of this change, the evolution of healthcare delivery.

Successful corporations adapt to situations. They analyze failures and learn from them. Thus IMC is the realization that self-­‐insured corporations, those mandated to provide healthcare for their employees have requested. They want us to help them provide a better product and delivery for the healthcare for which they are willing to pay. Corporations function with profit in mind, they understand everyone expects to be reimbursed fairly for services rendered and they expect that a profit will be incorporated into the reimbursement schedule. By the same token if fair reimbursement is given, they expect service commensurate with that payment. For equitable reimbursement, corporations expect face-­‐to-­‐face time between practitioners and patients. This is perceived value.

 In a self-­‐insured health plan, the corporation designs its own health insurance plan, since the corporation funds and pays for all services, however in this case, practitioners are invited to make recommendations in order to diversify options. The theory being by diversifying, or increasing treatment options and instituting a wellness health maintenance plan everyone benefits.

The corporations will benefit by: Decreasing lost productivity due to illness.

Better productivity because the workers are in a better state of health and wellness. Decreasing interventional costs, i.e. number of E.R. visits will decrease.

Get to understand how their monies are being utilized.

Are able to propose healthcare delivery options from their perspective, i.e. what works. for that company and what does not in order to arrive at a mutually beneficial solution.


We, the practitioners, benefit by:

Doing what is in the patient’s best interest from a broader medical treatment palette. Ability to monetize our non-­‐traditional educational investment, while keeping your current revenue streams and treatment options.

Timely reimbursement, i.e. less paper work.

We provide input to better cost effective healthcare delivery. We get to decide and influence medicine for today and its future.


The patients benefit by:

Being able to use natural treatments, which when administered correctly has few side effects.

Spending face time with their practitioners, i.e. bonding with us.

Learning it is time to start respecting and treating our bodies as we do our automobiles, and hopefully better.

Being able to do what my insurance will pay for…

By working synergistically, in a win-­‐win environment, everyone begins to breakdown antagonistic barriers, which just add inefficiency to the equation. Actually self-­‐insured companies have a fiduciary responsibility to manage their healthcare plans with cost savings in mind. 

In very simplistic terms, an actuary, based on fiscal data, tells the corporation, the consumer and payer of services, what is its financial risk. The corporation usually wants a cap on its financial exposure for an illness per employee. The corporation hires a management corporation, known as a third party administrator, TPA, which deals with claims. The TPA evaluates claims and disperses reimbursement. They also keep and provide all sorts or statistics and reports on a periodic basis to the corporation. Some of the healthcare funds are also used to buy reinsurance to cover expenses above and beyond the actuarial employee cap. Since many of the fortune 1000 companies self-­‐insure, they have the right to dictate terms and conditions with respect to services covered and reimbursement under ERISSA law. The management corporation then follows instructions. 

For example: the average person diagnosed with cancer in America, spends about 1.250 million dollars. The corporation may be responsible for the first $250,000, while the reinsurer may cover the next $500,000 as stop loss insurance, and yet a second reinsurer covers the remainder. There are even additional, secondary insurers to cover transplant procedures and medications. Indeed, it is commonplace for insurance companies to buy reinsurance(s) to cap their own financial exposure as well.

Back to Interactive Medical Co-­‐op:

The biggest issue most corporations face is that they do not practice medicine and need guidance from vetted medical sources. By the way of example, Interactive Medical Co-­‐op asked me to present a list of services provided at Utopia Wellness. These include chelation therapy, intravenous hydrogen peroxide, colonic irrigations, hyperbaric oxygen treatment, high dose Vitamin C, etc. The approved services list to date is part of the IMC application documents. This list will grow from your input. Once the corporation and Utopia agreed on reimbursements, the corporation contacted its management corporation and instructed them to accept the additional medical codes, which I created and the associated fee schedule. Although the TPA initially baulked at accepting my codes, which are nothing like the traditional ones on purpose, the TPA’s employer demanded its incorporation. It is now part of this corporation’s approved and reimbursed healthcare insurance program.


How is this Co-­‐Op any different than a PPO?
PPOs service members of traditional medical treatment plans. PPOs place very little, if any, emphasis on preventative, wellness-­‐based treatments. There is no practitioner representation when it comes to major decisions in traditional PPOs. [You may speak with, or have access to a representative, but not with executive management.]

-­‐ IMC services employees and family members covered by the self-­‐insured corporations not traditional insurance healthcare programs, i.e. Obama care, HMOs, etc.

Our Co-­‐op knows how to provide better healthcare than traditional health insurance companies. Members can approach the Co-­‐Op executives with ideas providing better services  while  providing  savings  to  the  companies.  In  short  our  Co-­‐Op  is  the  first practitioner-­‐based entity that is able to sit at the table with those executives seeking healthcare and that process our claims. Our Co-­‐Op is an integrative forum. IMC values prevention over intervention, elucidation of the route cause of illness versus symptom treatment (Band-­‐Aids). Our medical treatment palette is broader and better than the traditionally limited medical treatment palette.

Who is Interactive Medicines Co-­‐operative’s target market?
IMC’s target market is that of the self-­‐insured corporations, the fortune 1000 being the most prominent within this group. We are interested in corporations who invite us to the decision making process on the executive level, since it is we, the practitioners, who should be telling the health insurance companies what to reimburse. This is not a theory; I have done this. This is a reality; please look at the application documents.

How does IMC practitioner members get reimbursed?
IMC interacts directly with the end payers, and their third party administrators, TPAs, who represent the corporations that self-­‐insure. IMC corporate participants acknowledge the value and efficacy of non-­‐traditional therapeutic modalities and have instructed their TPAs to reimburse the services via a HCFA 1500 standard insurance form submission, with the codes provided to them by us.

Do you have to renounce or resign from any other revenue stream?  NO!
Medical Co-­‐Operative is another source of revenue for us. However, it is the first, which deliberately reimburses for non-­‐traditional medical treatments, i.e. intravenous hydrogen peroxide, etc.

The corporation, which tasked me with advancing healthcare choices, has numerous locations throughout America, as well as various operations overseas. Thus, we need well-­‐ qualified clinicians seeking alternative fee for service revenue sources to provide services across America. Additionally, the corporation that hired Utopia Wellness frequently associates with other fortune 1000 companies. Interactive Medical Co-­‐op has also been promised introduction to other prominent and successful companies in America. To date, other self-­‐insured companies, which have been told about the development of this evolutionary healthcare opportunity, have expressed great interest in joining the Interactive Medical Co-­‐op healthcare system as payers. This is a work in progress but clearly one with great potential for us physicians who want to provide both traditional and integrative/alternative medicine to our patients and qualifies for fair and equitable reimbursement for our expertise and services.

IMC will be interacting with its members who wish to participate in the evolution of the Co-­‐ operative on various levels. IMC seeks therapeutic treatment algorithms and protocols expertise from medical practitioners from versed medical palettes in traditional and non-­‐ traditional medicine to provide the best blend of healthcare possibilities for its participants, our patients. This partnership between the payers, the self-­‐insured corporations, and the broad based medically diverse practitioners is the evolution of medicine. Interactive Medical Co-­‐op is the evolution of health services, which are currently limited and costly.

How often have we heard verbiage such as: I'll do whatever my health insurance plan will pay for... Interactive Medical Co-­‐op is offering a fee for service opportunity to practice and get insurance reimbursement for both non-­‐traditional and traditional medical therapies. To date, insurance reimbursement is the limiting factor for patients to access non-­‐traditional alternative and integrative therapeutic modalities because traditional insurance plans do not yet acknowledge integrative medicine's advanced therapeutic efficacy and frequent cost savings. However, self-­‐insured corporations recognize this and are willing to pay for a broader medical palette. Their motivation is profit through better productivity and cost savings through healthier employees.

Over the years many practitioners have diligently studied and pioneered non-­‐traditional modalities to assist the healing of patients. These treatments are often effective and typically lack side effects, when done correctly. However, when traditional insurance healthcare plans are approached for acceptance and reimbursement, the clinical experience falls upon deaf ears. Whereas insurance companies are experts on mitigating financial risk and maximizing their own profits, they know little about healthcare and its delivery. They apparently never learned that medicine is an art and will never be just a science, mainly because each patient is his or her own unique environment, but the best clinicians know this well.

Interactive Medical Co-­‐op is now asking physicians who desire to practice and provide both non-­‐traditional and traditional therapies to join. With a large enough physician base, we will be able to service other self-­‐insured companies nationwide, providing them with the savings that come from integrated medical interventions, while providing their employees with blended treatment options, pre-­‐illness wellness interventions, and more efficacious treatments. Joining  Interactive Medical  Co-­‐op  offers highly  qualified  practitioners the opportunity to provide care with a broader therapeutic palette, with easy reimbursement.

Interactive Medical Co-­‐op is today's reality of medicine's evolution. Please join us in this groundbreaking endeavor. We welcome you; your input is valuable and needed!


I thank you for your consideration,
Carlos Garcia
Interactive Medical Co-Op, LLC.
110 State Street East
Oldsmar, FL 34677

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Homemade Potato Salad

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Tuesday, August 9, 2016
One bag of Idaho (or other) potatoes
A dozen sprigs of parsley
A dozen sprigs of cilantro
Half dozen green onions
Half of a large purple onion
Half a green bell pepper
Half a yellow or orange bell pepper
Dozen celery sticks
3 hardboiled eggs (optional)
Two teaspoons horseradish
One small jar of safflower mayonnaise
One teaspoon of Door County traditional Balsamic Vinegar (
Two tablespoons of mustard (Grey Poupon)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
A sprinkle of tarragon
A sprinkle of paprika

1)    Peel the potatoes and put them into boiling water and test them with a fork after about 25 to 30 minutes. When tender and falling apart, drain in a colander and set aside to cool.
2)    Soak all vegetables in a white vinegar bath and stir them around. I do this in batches. Rinse under cold running water and dry. It is especially important to dry the parsley and cilantro well in a paper towel before mincing. You want to introduce the least possible amount of water into the potato salad.
3)    Finely mince the parsley, cilantro, green onions, purple onion, celery, bell peppers and hardboiled eggs and set aside.
4)    In a small mixing bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, horseradish and mustard, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, tarragon and paprika.
5)    In a large bowl, mix the cooled potatoes, vegetable and egg mixture, and mayo mixture all together. Salad tongs do this well.
6)    Transfer to the serving bowl you want to present it in and decorate with parsley sprigs around the sides.  Sprinkle a bit of paprika on top of the potato salad and Voila! There is nothing better than homemade potato salad . Be creative and add in your own favorite vegetables. The sky’s the limit!  A word about Door County products; they are delicious! My Balsamic vinegar was a gift from my daughter and son in law, who grew up in Door County, Wisconsin. Bon Appetit!
Nutrition Facts: one serving is 8.8 ozs. From
Calories 358    (1495 kJ)
Calories from fat 185
% Daily Value 1
Total Fat    20.5g    32%
Sat. Fat    3.6g    18%
Cholesterol    170mg    57%
Sodium    1323mg    55%
Total Carbs.    27.9g    9%
Dietary Fiber    3.3g    13%
Protein    6.7g    
Calcium    47.5mg    
Potassium    635mg    

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Since Americans Love Meetings

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP,, Tuesday, August 9, 2016
At 6:45 PM on a Thursday evening, when I was feeling quite tired from my week, I received a text from the clinical lead of our therapists at my job, asking me to see if there were any outstanding billing issues with any of my patients in June. She is not my direct supervisor and being more a friend, I didn’t hesitate to fire back to her that she should use caution when making demands of her team after hours. “After all, the healthy ones need time and space.” She is new in this position in this location although she has experience as a clinical director. And much to her credit, she has a high degree of likability and is good at making people laugh. Unfortunately, she is showing signs of micromanagement and I have already witnessed the eye rolling despite her amicability. I want my friend to succeed in her position, but supervisors sometimes don’t realize how much pressure they exert, even if it’s done in a friendly manner. She responded that she was hesitant to send out the emails and she promised it wouldn’t happen again. I don’t see this as her problem at all and so I responded, “I think we can problem solve this issue so you won’t have to (make a habit of it!) She’s between a rock and a hard place. To offset such situations, why not approach the person above her and ask what can be done to eliminate the last minute struggle of getting documents signed (or any other time sensitive matter)? If asked in a respectful manner, you poise yourself as a solutions oriented employee, dedicated to eliminating problems!!

The unfortunate truth is that situations that are not fully and easily dealt with at the top of the hierarchy are then passed down the line. Those people in management who cannot fulfill their job requirements then pass the problem down steam. And most of the time, the request has some sort of urgency to it, whether the deadline is in an hour or by tomorrow at 3pm. Such situations have nothing to do with fair treatment of employees; they are about financial compensation for the company.

Of course we want our employers to succeed, but not at the expense of our mental wellbeing. Later, she admitted she was working 60 or so hours per week. It’s not that that amount of time is required of her; it’s just that in a crunch, that’s what middle managers do, play catch up. I suppose my concern is that if employees have to work that much overtime and not get paid for it when they are on a salary, someone is not doing their job above them. Most employees are in need of their income and are hesitant to do anything that might result in a loss of their job, so they often rise to the occasion, keep a stiff upper lip and endure the loss of their down time. That’s fine for the interim, but such a continued stress load will have consequences.

Whenever you have a complaint as an employee, the best remedy is coming up with possible solutions. This takes your mind off your emotions and centers it on executive actions. But in order to be creative, we need a safe forum in which to express ourselves without fear of retribution. What better way to make employees feel valued than to offer them an opportunity to gather with their peers to gain and offer support, come up with new ideas and have a few laughs. Call it an employee support group, call it a brainstorming group, call it a solutions group, but make it happen and see how it can transform peoples’ attitudes towards their work duties. And while you’re at it, bring in a bounty from your garden if you have one. Most folks don’t have gardens and fresh vegetables at their reach, so they are particularly appreciative of the effort. If you don’t have a garden, bring in a platter of veges from the grocery store, but make sure the dip is healthy. My favorite is Simply Organic, a powdered dip packet that makes about 16 servings mixed with two cups of sour cream. I would recommend substituting nonfat plain Greek yogurt instead. I love the Creamy Dill and the French onion dip! If you don’t have time to prepare anything, just bring in a big bag of your fresh veges and watch people eagerly take some. Right now, the star in the garden is the squash, green and yellow, long and round. This is the first time I have grown squash that produces different shapes from the same plant: fun! Remember, when we eat healthy, our minds and emotions function at their peak performance.

We spend so much of our time at our work place, we might as well have fun with it and make it as enjoyable as we can. In my work place, it is sometimes very challenging to have conversations with peers; there’s just not much time for it and so last summer I decided to have a PARTY!! We have been doing it for some years now and rotate ourselves as hosts. It brings us all closer as a team. I work with an amazing group of individuals and consider myself to be very fortunate.

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Saving Compounded Medications: All You Need to Know

Posted By Mike Jawer, Director of Government and Public Affairs - American Assoc. of Naturopathic Physicians, Wednesday, July 20, 2016
This Monday, July 25, from 7-8 pm ET, join an AANP webinar to learn the latest on the FDA’s treatment of compounded medications – and all the ways AANP is fighting for NDs and their patients on this important issue.

Compounded medications remain in the cross-hairs of the FDA and its Pharmacy Compounding Advisory Committee. AANP scored a victory on June 23 with a successful defense of DMPS. However, many compounds - including MSM, curcumin, boswellia, germanium, and acetyl-l-carnitine - are being put on the FDA's "do not compound" list and the fate of many more remains undecided.

In this webinar, you'll hear from the leader of AANP's Work Group – Michael Cronin, ND – and from Paul Anderson, NMD, who defended the value of DMPS and other compounds at the recent FDA meeting. Attorney Alan Dumoff will also explain what it takes to challenge the FDA's process and actions.

Learn not just what's transpired but how AANP is stepping up its campaign to preserve office use and to maintain access to safely compounded medications. Most important, learn how you can pitch in! Register now.

Michael Jawer
Director of Government and Public Affairs
American Association of Naturopathic Physicians
818 18th Street NW, Suite 250
Washington, DC 20006
Ph: 202-237-8150
Fax: 202-237-8152

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RECIPE: Ratatouille

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Tuesday, July 5, 2016

With the Mediterranean Diet so well received today , not only in terms of positive research results for health but also for great taste, ratatouille is right up there on the menu. It’s a wonderful side dish or it can be the foundation for other great dishes. Enjoy!


Two medium eggplants

3 large or 4/5 medium tomatoes

2 medium purple onions

6 garlic cloves

2 large bell peppers: green, red, or orange

3 large zucchini

2 large summer squash

One small container of organic mushrooms

One small can of organic tomato paste

3 cubes of vegetable or chicken broth dissolved in 3 cups water

1/8th tsp each of parsley, oregano, thyme, basil, tarragon, garlic powder

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Freshly grated parmesan/romano cheese


Heat a heavy skillet with a small amount of virgin, cold pressed olive oil. Add finely chopped onions, mushrooms, garlic cloves for about 10 minutes until onions are clear and mushrooms shrunk. Set aside.

In the same skillet, put in the eggplant, chopped into small pieces, about quarter size. Saute until browned and the sponginess is gone, about 20 minutes or so.

In a large pot, add the onion/mushroom mix, the eggplants and the uncooked remaining vegetables chopped into bite size pieces. Add the chicken broth dissolved in water along with the tomato paste, herbs and salt and pepper.

Simmer for at least a couple hours; the longer the cooking time at low heat, the better the results.  Some recipes call for each vegetable to be sautéed separately in hot oil before combining into one pot. The problem with that approach is that too much oil is used in the process and the final product is much too oily. Go light on the oil, although with eggplant, you just have to adjust the amount due to its absorption. 

The taste is amazing and it is a wonderful side dish and also could be the basis for a moussaka if that’s where you’re headed. Bon Appetit!

Tags:  food and drink  nutrition  ratatouille 

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Chelation Remains a Hopeful Heart Therapy

Posted By Reposted from | Written by Joel Kahn, MD, Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Maybe you know someone who has suffered a heart attack. You’re concerned about their well-being, particularly if they’re diabetic or suffered a large heart attack. You want to make sure that absolutely everything that can help this loved one stay healthy and alive is discussed with their doctors. Odds are very high, however, that there’s one promising therapy the doctor won’t tell them about: chelation therapy.

Chelation therapy was designed decades ago to trap and remove serious environmental toxins like arsenic. While using it, some practitioners noted improvements in symptoms of heart disease, and chelation began to be used in some clinics for heart patients.

(There’s quite a large body of science that suggests “heavy metal” toxins like lead, mercury and arsenic can poison systems important to heart health, so even at the time, it made some sense.)

Physicians in traditional practices, however, viewed chelation therapy as quackery, since there truly was little science to support it. As a physician, I advised my patients to avoid it, since I couldn’t find much research to support its use.

Fast forward and the National Institutes of Health agreed over a decade ago to provide $31 million to fund the “definitive trial” for chelation therapy. This trial was called the Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT).

Over the course of about 10 years, more than 1,700 people who had suffered a heart attack received real chelation therapy, or sham IV therapies, planned once a week for 40 sessions. Despite the fact that not all patients finished the treatments, and enrollment was slow, the trial was completed and the results were presented for the first time in November 2012.

These results showed that chelation therapy modestly reduced the risk of bad cardiovascular outcomes, but though the study provided a platform for further research, researchers cautioned that the study wasn’t conclusive enough to support routine use of the therapy after heart attack.

However, since the TACT trial, a number of additional papers have been published. Taken together, this body of research has identified that:

1. Overall, chelation therapy modestly reduced bad outcomes (hospitalization for chest pain, stroke, heart attack, and need for a stent) compared to the placebo group.

2. In patients with a prior heart attack and diabetes, chelation therapy reduced bad outcomes in the five years of follow-up by nearly 40%. Powerful therapy.

3. In patients with a large heart attack before chelation therapy, the treatment also reduced bad outcomes in follow-up by nearly 40%.

4. When chelation therapy was combined with high dose oral multivitamins, even more benefit was obtained with chelation therapy.

5. Adverse effects from chelation therapy were infrequent.

Imagine a new pill that reduced the risk of heart problems by 40% in large numbers of patients. Do you think it would generate billions of dollars in sales? By contrast, since the TACT trial published its results, the therapy has made no impact on the routine care of patients.
Recently, it was announced that the TACT 2 trial has been funded and will provide further information in a large trial of chelation therapy for heart disease. This was announced to the medical world in a major medical publication. The new study will focus on patients with both heart disease and Type 2 diabetes mellitus, a very high risk group.

There are some challenges to the therapy: IV chelation therapy is more involved than taking a pill (there are oral agents that can be used but these weren’t studied in the TACT trial), and chelation therapy is not covered by insurance programs. But what does it say about a medical community that selectively uses some data to advance patient care and ignores other important breakthroughs?

In my practice I have identified physicians in my area who have trained in chelation therapy and have experience with heavy metal testing and treatment. I’ve referred patients to these colleagues to discuss a course of oral or IV chelation therapy. I also routinely prescribe oral agents like n-acetyl cysteine (NAC), organic cruciferous and leafy green vegetables, and infrared saunas to promote the detoxification of chemicals from the body. Avoiding exposures to heavy metals by not smoking, limiting fish consumption, and considering the removal of dental fillings made with mercury is key.

Raising awareness that another therapy, in addition to lifestyle changes, pills, bypass surgery and stents, exists to help benefit the well-being of heart patients is so important. As the organizers to TACT2 indicate in the words of Victor Hugo “All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”

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URGENT ACTION ALERT: Bad GMO Labeling Bill Fast-Tracked

Posted By Administration, Friday, July 1, 2016

On Wednesday, June 29th, members of Congress used a procedural trick to fast-track the new GMO labeling bill, meaning that this gift to Big Food and the biotech industry could be voted on as early as next week.

We must kill this bill. It allows industry to decide how to label its products, and you can bet that most companies will choose the option that requires consumers to scan a code or call a number to find out what's in their food. Companies know that few people will want to do this and even fewer will be able to.

Worse, there do not seem to be any penalties for a company that doesn't label its food. So for those who choose to simply ignore this law, there are very few consequences—unless the state separately imposes fines for mislabeling.

This bill is a wolf in sheep's clothing: it pays lip service to mandatory labeling but is designed to block Vermont's GMO labeling law and keep consumers in the dark about what's in their food.

Click the link below to tell your senators and the White House to vote NO on S. 764!



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How Integrative Medicine and Dentistry Can Work Together for Everyone’s Benefit

Posted By Eric Zaremski, DDS, Monday, June 20, 2016

As healthcare practitioners, our main goal is our patient’s well-being. In an integrative healthcare model, all practitioners, need to learn to work together for a common goal. Dental professionals need to educate themselves about different treatments and diagnoses that relate to the body as a whole. Medical practitioners need to educate themselves about oral conditions and diseases that affect the overall health of their patients.

Everyone needs to learn the potential effects of conditions and issues and how they interact to create dis-ease. There needs to be more sharing of information on the fine points of disease and conditions and the different treatments available.

From an oral perspective, dental practitioners must see their patients as a whole and realize that systemic issues and conditions can affect the health of the mouth and also that oral conditions can affect whole body health. We need to be more exacting in that relationship of how oral pathology can influence other organs and metabolic pathways, leading to systemic effects. We also need to learn to speak and communicate in ways that physicians and other medical providers can understand. One of the most beneficial things that dental professionals can do is to help inform and educate their medical, naturopathic, chiropractic and nursing colleagues in identifying and understanding oral diseases and conditions.

Medical professional also have a responsibility to help dental professionals understand systemic diseases and conditions. There are many ways that systemic illnesses can affect the health of the head and neck area.

For example, in considering the posture of a patient, the alignment of the body can affect how healthy and functional the mouth is. If the body is misaligned or canted, the occlusion or bite can be pathologic. This can affect the health of the tempromandibular joints. It can also affect the health and condition of the teeth, the musculature of the mouth and surrounding structures. Once the body is aligned, the mouth can be stabilized and vice versa.

We can also look at thermographic images of the body and see direct influence or connections between the mouth and body structures.

It is widely recognized in integrative medicine, that direct connections between certain teeth and body parts or organs exist. When a tooth is diseased, the corresponding body part can be affected as well.

When we look at the traditional training and education that we all acquired in dental and medical schools, we realize that we were all taught an amputation model of delivering care. We were taught that if we cut away disease, then health will appear.

As more open-minded professionals, we realize this model does not work well for most patients and only further prolongs their morbidity and possibly can cause a faster mortality.

It becomes incumbent on all health professionals to to educate ourselves and to find and help educate colleagues who are open-minded enough and willing to learn new modalities in order to work together towards common goals.

Tags:  dentistry  integrative medicine 

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Using Life Insurance to Pay for Medical Expenses

Posted By Dr. Andrea Brockman and Dr. Vincent DiLorenzo of Lifetime Horizons , Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Adding to a patient’s stress of the diagnosis and treatment, the costs of uncovered healthcare combined with a loss of income can quickly drain a family’s resources. When available, a life insurance policy can provide the needed financial relief through a process known as a life settlement. The article below, written by Dr. Andrea Brockman and Dr. Vincent DiLorenzo of Lifetime Horizons, explains the basics of life settlements and when that option would be appropriate.

Life Settlements Defined
A life settlement is a financial transaction that enables qualified life insurance policy owners (individual, company, Trust, or charity) to receive a cash advance on their life insurance coverage by selling it to a state licensed financial institution - a bank, hedge fund, pension plan – known as a life settlement provider. It’s a little known fact that, like stocks, bonds, art, or antiques, life insurance is a financial asset that can be bought and sold by the policyowner. Rather than cashing in a policy for its cash surrender value (CSV), it may be leveraged via a life settlement for its fair market value (paid by the investor) which typically yields 3-5 times more than the CSV offered by the insurance company. The purchaser handles all the recurring premium payments and becomes the new owner and beneficiary of the policy, receiving the death benefit upon passing of the insured.

Is Getting Rid of a Life Insurance Policy the Right Choice?
When personal or business needs change, sometimes a life insurance policy no longer serves its original purpose. Below are examples of common scenarios in which existing insurance policies may no longer be necessary:
•    Changes in circumstances –there’s a need to raise cash for immediate expenses
•    The insured’s heirs are financially independent – student loans are paid off
•    Estate tax law changes- Policies purchased to cover estate taxes that are no longer due after recent estate and gift tax law changes.
•    Insured outlived the beneficiary – Policy is no longer needed.
•    Multiple policies – Where not all are necessary.
•    Premiums too expensive –
             - Term Conversion Option Due – Most people let their policy lapse; however, if exercised, the policy may be valued for significant cash in a life settlement.
             - Poorly Performing – UL policies tied to the stock market may eat into cash value or require additional premiums during a down market.
             - Joint or Survivorship – Surviving spouse may not be able to afford the premiums or need the coverage due to change in circumstances.
•    Key Man Retires – Company or split dollar policies that do not need to continue to pay premiums due to key man retirement or change in firms.

Parameters for Life Settlements
Not all life insurance policies will qualify or benefit from life settlements. The factors below are indicators of the type of policy that may be eligible for a life settlement:
•    The insured has an in-force (owned for at least two years) qualified policy with a death benefit of at least $50,000.00 - Universal, Whole life, Convertible Term, Joint, or Group
•    The policy owner must have an insurable interest - Family member, business, or trust owned.  
•    The insured has a life expectancy of 15 years or less
•    Insured is verifiably mentally competent to enter into a life settlement transaction or have a valid Durable Power of Attorney.
•    Beneficiaries must agree in writing to the transaction

The primary benefit of life settlements is the opportunity to put money in motion for needed treatment, living expenses, or desires. When considering a life settlement, other options should be explored and suitability must be established. The policy owner and the insured are strongly advised to seek legal and professional tax advice prior to accepting any life settlement offers. If your patients are considering a life settlement or believe they may have a policy that may no longer be necessary, we can assist them, at no cost, in reviewing whether a life settlement may be a good option. They may call Lifetime Horizons at 800-430-8849 to confidentially speak with one of our life settlement experts regarding their situation.

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Summer Fruit Tart

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Wednesday, June 8, 2016
¼ cup Blueberries
¼ cup raspberries
½ cup strawberries
2 peaches, medium
2 kiwi, medium
½ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp cardamom, allspice, and nutmeg each
5 tbsp ice water
1 package gluten free pie crust by Bob’s Red Mill

Wash and peel the kiwis and peaches and set them in a bowl with the washed berries. Toss them in the sugar, vanilla and spices and set aside.

Follow the package directions on the pie crust mix. It is best mixed with a dough hook in a mixer or you can mix by hand. Divide the dough in two halves and form into balls and cover with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for one hour to chill, then roll out between two pieces of plastic. Peel off one layer of plastic, place tart dish on top and carefully turn over. Take off top layer of plastic and press dough into flutes or trim as desired.  Brush the edges with egg whites if desired. Add the fruit mixture and place in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes.  Juices should be running and the top browned .  There is enough dough for two tarts.

Note: When you get distracted by a phone conversation, your piece de resistance may suffer the consequences! Despite cooking a bit too long, I can say the flavor was still extraordinaire!!! Bon appetit and an Irish toast to the bride and groom!

Tags:  Carol Hunter  nutrition 

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Fresh Seasonal Fruit

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Sunday, June 5, 2016
Updated: Thursday, June 2, 2016
It’s peach season along with other fruits and it seemed the perfect time to bake a colorful fresh fruit tart. It really is so easy to make due to the simple ingredients, that I think it just may become my staple for a summer dessert. With the gluten free pie crust I use, it’s a breeze to prepare using my dough hook. Most of the time is spent peeling and chopping the fruit which then marinates in its own juices along with some sugar, vanilla and spices. If you use a couple different fruits, it can bring out your creative side trying to decide just where to place what. Kiwis are so eye catching with their little seed pattern that they usually get a seat of honor on the tart where they are immediately noticed. The berries and peaches make a splash of color pleasing to the eye.  Another easy and beautiful recipe is from:  I loved this one too; I just decided to add more fruit and use the packaged pie crust. Sally’s recipe makes the crust from scratch. We will get to the recipes shortly but first, a word from the mother of the bride.

Yes, next month my third daughter will become a June bride. Like any mother of the bride I am eager to help, but in this particular case, it is imperative. You see, my daughter resides in Bogota, Columbia where she has made a life for herself with her fiancé, a Columbian native. The wedding will be in Santa Fe and so my daughter and I are often skyping or whatsapping about all the details. So far, I’ve nailed down the flower order which was a feat in itself. You see, unlike most brides, my daughter decided on a wildflower theme in bright colors of orange, red, yellow and a palette of blues. I knew I had found the right vendor when she said to me, “I know exactly what you mean; she wants it to look like she just ran into the meadow and gathered an armful of wildflowers.” Unfortunately, this particular vendor got booked up before I could make a decision but we were lucky to find another such insightful vendor and I know it will be beautiful.  My other duty was the cake and the orders were vegan and vegan only. Now you wouldn’t think that would be a tall order in today’s world, but I can tell you I searched and searched for a maker of vegan wedding cakes in our great state and I found only two. One was a chocolate cake from Whole Foods, which only came in chocolate with raspberry filling. Thankfully, they sell this cake in slices and so I was easily able to sample it and it was really delicious. The second was  Bittersweet bakery and I made an appointment for a tasting. They made vegan wedding cakes in either chocolate or vanilla and so I took daughter #4 and granddaughter #1 with me to provide some immediate feedback. The bride to be wanted both chocolate and vanilla but her older married sister who has “been there done that” insisted that vanilla is traditionally the wedding flavor and chocoholics could just go to the end of the line. My experience is that sometimes vegan cakes can be dry, that was a major concern. We began to taste, taking sips of water between cupcake bites.  We looked at each other and either shook our heads yea or nay. The consensus was complete. The chocolate cake and frosting was dry; the vanilla cake and frosting was delicious and moist. It was just a bit dry as you put the fork in your mouth but as soon as you started to chew, it became moist . Now with the bride being 2955 miles away, she had to trust her family to steer her right. The cake will be decorated with guess what: wildflowers!

Just a word of nostalgia: we humans are so blessed to have these important life events at our door and this is a very special time for me. I don’t think I can remember the last time I was with all four of my daughters. They are living all over the planet and our get together times most always leave one member out due to other obligations. The Mother of the Bride is indeed a very fortunate person when she can see all her children together!

Tags:  fruit  nutrition  peaches  summer 

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Threats to Compounded Medicine and What You Can Do

Posted By ANH - Alliance for Natural Health USA, Friday, June 3, 2016

In 2013, Congress passed the Drug Quality and Security Act (DQSA), which tightened federal control over compounding pharmacies.
To implement the law, the FDA is setting guidelines for what can be compounded at “traditional” pharmacies (503A facilities) and outsourcing pharmacies (503B facilities).

In general:

·        503B facilities will only be able to compound drugs that appear on a separate pre-approved list, which has not yet been finalized. Current thinking is that this list will be extremely limited in terms of the needs of integrative physicians. 

·        503A pharmacies are also facing harsh restrictions. DQSA rules limit the substances that can be compounded by traditional pharmacies to those that either 1) have US Pharmacopoeia monographs, 2) are components of approved drugs, or 3) appear on a pre-approved list by the FDA. The FDA is developing a separate “Demonstrably Difficult to Compound List” that will exclude many other important ingredients from compounding.

What is threatened?
Bioidentical Hormones
—Estriol, progesterone, testosterone, and other hormones have been nominated to the “Demonstrably Difficult to Compound” list, meaning that access to compounded hormones is in grave danger.
Supplements—Although many supplements have USP monographs, the FDA has stated that supplements must be pre-approved to be legally compounded. Many supplements and natural ingredients that have been nominated have been rejected, such as curcumin, aloe vera, boswellia, and acetyl-L-carnitine, to name just a few.
IV Nutrients—It is unclear whether the FDA will allow the compounding of nutrient IV bags—especially due to the threats to compounded supplements.
Office Use— The FDA has made it illegal for doctors to keep compounded medications from 503A facilities in their offices without a prescription, a practice known as “office use.” This has increased the cost of these medications, not to mention the added hassle for patients. Medications without prescriptions from 503B facilities can continue, but the list of medications that can be legally compounded by 503B facilities will be limited.
Affordability—Due to the above-mentioned restrictions, and the threat of more to come, it has become extremely difficult for doctors to obtain medications. For example, the price of injectable B-12 has climbed just under 700% from the mid-2000’s.
Interstate Commerce—DQSA limits the amount of interstate shipments that 503A facilities can make to 5% of total sales. This is extremely problematic given that certain pharmacies specialize in specific preparations. A memorandum of understanding released by the FDA increases this amount to 30%, but then states must take over regulatory responsibility over these facilities. Since it is likely that many states will not elect to take on this additional burden, the upshot is 503A facilities will only be able to ship a small portion of their medications out of state, which could create shortages and increase the price of compounded medications further. 

What Can You Do?

·        Follow the developments regarding compounding at 

·        Participate in ANH-USA action alerts that urge lawmakers and regulators to preserve access to compounded medications.

·        Share your story with ANH-USA at

·        Support ANH-USA in its efforts to rein in these excessive, burdensome, and costly regulations at

Tags:  chelation  compounding pharmacy  FDA compounding 

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Chelation Therapy: What You Need to Know

Posted By ANH: Alliance for Natural Health USA, Friday, June 3, 2016

Chelation therapy has been receiving a lot of attention lately for the accumulating evidence of its effectiveness in treating patients—but also from regulators whose recent actions threaten to eliminate access to important chelation drugs.

Is chelation safe?
Despite concerns voiced by regulators, recent evidence has shown that intravenous therapy with edetate disodium (EDTA) to treat cardiovascular disease is safe. In a study of the NIH-sponsored Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT), Dr. Jeanne Drisko and co-authors concluded, “The experience with 55,222 infusions of edetate disodium or placebo in TACT shows that this therapy is safe when used according to the TACT safe infusion protocol.”[1]

What are the threats to future access?
Recent events show a number of reasons to be concerned about continuing access to chelation therapy in your practice.

FDA compounding rules.
In 2013, Congress passed the Drug Quality and Security Act which tightened federal control over compounding pharmacies. This law set guidelines for what can be compounded at “traditional” pharmacies (503A facilities) and outsourcing pharmacies (503B facilities). Among other things, these rules limit the substances that can be compounded by traditional pharmacies to those that either 1) have US Pharmacopoeia monographs, 2) are components of approved drugs, or 3) appear on a pre-approved list by the FDA. 503B facilities will only be able to compound drugs that appear on a separate pre-approved list, which has not yet been finalized.

Recent meetings strongly suggest that many natural substances and substances used by integrative doctors are being rejected for inclusion on the FDA’s pre-approved list for 503A pharmacies, meaning they will be illegal to compound. An FDA advisory committee has already rejected curcumin, aloe vera, boswellia, and acetyl-L-carnitine, to name just a few.

This means it is extremely unlikely that doctors and patients will continue to have access to:

·        Compounded chelation drugs such as dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA)

·        DMPS (sodium 2,3-dimercaptopropane-1-sulfonate)

·        Compounded IV nutrients

·        Compounded supplements (even though many supplements have monographs, the FDA has said supplements must be pre-approved to be legally compounded)

Recent regulations have also made it illegal for doctors to keep compounded medications from 503A facilities in their offices without a prescription, a practice known as “office use.” This has increased the cost of these medications, not to mention the added hassle for patients. Medications without prescriptions from 503B facilities can continue, but the list of medications that can be legally compounded by 503B facilities will be limited.

EDTA on the chopping block?
In response to patient deaths allegedly linked to chelation therapy, the FDA is reviewing the “benefit/risk profile of [EDTA] to determine if the benefits of its intended use continue to outweigh the serious risks.”[1] Given the agency’s antipathy towards integrative medicine, it is likely to take action against EDTA.

State Medical Board Hostility.
State medical boards have been historically aggressive against doctors using chelation therapy—totaling 194 actions over 40 years. Mostly these actions have been against doctors using chelation without proving heavy metal toxicity with a blood—even though blood tests are not a reliable measure for heavy metal toxicity, since metals circulate in blood for a short time before concentrating in tissue.

Medical boards in Tennessee, New Hampshire, and Oregon have taken official positions on chelation that threaten action against doctors using chelation beyond FDA-approved uses.[2]

What can you do?

·        Follow the developments regarding chelation therapy at 

·        Participate in ANH-USA action alerts that urge lawmakers and regulators to preserve access to chelation therapy.

·        Share your story with ANH-USA at


[1] Poster: Post-myocardial Infarction Treatment with Edetate Disodium Was Safe in the Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT) - Jeanne A. Drisko MD, Karen P. Alexander MD, Rhonda S. Roberts MSPH, L. Terry Chappell, MD, Kerry L. Lee PhD, Robin Boineau MD, Daniel B. Mark MD, Richard L. Nahin PhD, Christine Goertz DC PhD, Yves Rosenberg MD, Gervasio A. Lamas MD. TACT chelation infusion: disodium EDTA, 3 grams, adjusted downward baed on eGFRl ascorbic acid, 7 grams; magnesium chloride, 2 grams; potassium chloride, 2 mEq; sodium bicarbonate, 840 mg; pantothenic acid, thiamine, pyridoxine; procaine, 100 mg; unfractionated heparin, 2500 U; sterile water to 500 mL


[3] See, for example, this notice from the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners:


Visit to learn about ACAM's exclusive Chelation Advanced Provider Training

Tags:  alliance for natural health  chelation therapy  edetate disodium  EDTA  FDA compounding  TACT  Tact2 

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Getting to Know Yourself

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Updated: Monday, April 25, 2016

Are we ever finished getting to know ourselves? The answer to that question may vary depending on one’s current circumstances and begs the next question which is, are we ever finished working on ourselves? The obvious answer is that if life is a process then we must keep ourselves open to being transformed into a better, more caring human. I remember one job interview I had when I was asked about the condition of my emotional and spiritual state. My response was, “I’m a work in progress, like everyone else.” The interviewer had no response to that!

Recently I decided to see a professional therapist even though I am one. I wavered back and forth telling myself that if I just stood in front of the mirror, I could tell myself anything I may need to hear. But instead of helpful suggestions, I kept hearing the phrase “you’ve been a stupid idiot.” Now I don’t really mean that and am much more forgiving of myself than that, but sometimes we fall into the trap of negative thinking. People call me an optimist and yet, such negativism still happens to me. It was time for a tune up!

So how do we go about fighting these negative messages that our brains sometimes send us in what seems to be a relentless stream? First step is always acknowledgment. If you can recognize yourself going down that path, you are half way home. Next step is taking action. What I often tell my clients is that once you have the recognition, take immediate action by telling yourself “STOP.” Put your hand up in front of your face and say the word “stop” out loud. This interrupts the unhealthy thoughts and sets you on your way to not only terminating the negative thoughts, but also getting you back on track.

The next mental leap is tapping into your coping strategies, the healthy ones that have served you well over the years. The simpler the skill is, the better it is. So if putting on your running shoes is the antidote, it will get you out the door. One of the things I have noticed about my clients over the years is that many do not have any interests, hobbies, pastimes, or passions.  Oftentimes, this becomes a homework assignment and for some, it’s like climbing Mount Everest.  Clients will come back and declare that they cannot think of a single thing they would be interested in doing. The caveat being that until their survival needs are met for food, shelter and safety, nothing else can be entertained. But once these basic needs are met, it is time to explore the world before us. What is it that attracts you? For some, it is the mechanics of machinery. For others it is the beauty of art, interior design, flower arrangements or volunteering. When we look around our world, we see such great need in every arena of life. The happiest of us are those who share talents, skills and passions with others. If you’re just starting out in your field, not to worry, you concentrate on your learning and down the road, you will also be a beacon for others.

I remember the psychiatric nursing instructor that set my heart on fire for my career. She could somehow communicate with the mentally ill who had been institutionalized for 20 to 30 years. Many were unintelligible and incoherent, but not to her. She would smile in our post conferences and tell us exactly what the patients were trying so hard to communicate. Many had the unfortunate side effect of the medications called tardive dyskinesia, a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary movements of the face and extremities. This affliction could interfere with the ability to communicate. I remember at first being fearful and later being heartbroken by the patients’ conditions but also in awe over the dedication of my instructor and her ease in dealing with people of such incapacitations.

Everyone has something to work on within themselves. It takes courage to get help. But once you have opened that door of opportunity for yourself, you will be amazed at the gain of insight you have into your own life and how that will benefit every person whose life you touch. The more forgiving and accepting you can be towards yourself, the more you can be towards others in your life.

Can therapy help? First off, get some good references on the therapist you choose. It is always best to get a firsthand reference if you can. Write down questions you may have for your therapist on that first visit, so you can use that time to determine if you are a good fit. Don’t expect to hear everything you want to hear and this is very important. Therapists are not in the hospitality business of making you feel good like the therapist s at the spa and this is an important distinction to remember.  Mental health therapy is serious business and is intended to act as a guide with you at the helm. You and your therapist are partners and if something doesn’t sit right in your gut, pay attention to it. By that I mean that not every therapist will be the right one for your needs and that is Ok and often expected. A good therapist will thank you for coming and give you referrals to other therapists who can help.

Another great reason to seek psychotherapy is that it gives an individual a chance to get away from the good intentions of friends and family. Well intended as they are, they are fully invested in you in a way that reflects back upon themselves; meaning that as humans, what happens to you also affects them. What affects you may stimulate all kinds of emotional responses from others; whereas, with therapists, they are simply a sounding board upon which you offer up your emotional experiences on a clean slate. Therapists are trained to remain nonjudgmental but they are also human, so part of their education is to help them learn to identify their own “hot buttons” and know how to manage those without jeopardizing the client. Make sure you understand all the expectations on that first visit, including financial arrangements. Making copayments on a regular basis is the client’s responsibility and may even become part of the treatment plan if left neglected, so be sure you do your part.

A couple important points to remember is that change slowly occurs over a period of time, so don’t expect “miracles.” Since I prescribe medications and supplements, I tell my clients that I wish I had a magic pill for them but I don’t. One must be patient and expect to work hard to obtain significant results. I wish you a very special journey as you get to know yourself better and begin to see the very best of you brought out for others to enjoy.

Tags:  Carol Hunter  emotions  psychotherapy 

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New Mexican Got Cheese - A True Delight!

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Updated: Monday, April 25, 2016
I love to discover delicious culinary delights that come from the Southwest, my home state in particular. New Mexico is probably best known for its red and green chiles, ranging in heat from mild to superhot. Another tasty find is the organic goat cheese that is made from the milk of free range goats at an altitude of 8000 feet by a company called CoonRidge located in Pie Town, NM.  Their products are USDA certified organic and what they do is mix the cheese with various herbs and oil to produce some delectable combinations. Two kinds I happened to have on hand when writing this article were “Organic Dillweed Onion” and “Organic Scarborough Faire.” It is wonderful on crackers or as I am offering in this recipe, on pasta. The website is, their email The number is 888-410-8433. There are many kinds of healthy pasta choices and two such examples are Organic Brown Rice Fusilli by Field Day, 200 calories per serving (  and Ancient Grain Pasta Fusilli imported from Italy by TruRoots, 210 calories per serving, (

Ingredients: serving size, one to two
One small onion, finely chopped
One small package of organic mushrooms
Two small tomatoes
¾ cup of dry pasta
4 tablespoons of grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons of fresh parsley
2 tablespoons of CoonRidge  organic goat cheese
1 tablespoon parmesan or romano cheese

In a medium saucepan, saute the finely chopped onions, mushrooms, tomatoes and fresh parsley until the onions are translucent and the tomatoes and mushrooms have shrunk.  Place on simmer or keep warm.
Boil the water for the pasta and add in a small amount of sea salt and grapeseed oil. Cook the pasta until it is done the way you like it, al dente or well cooked.  Drain well and then mix in the vegetable combination. Place the two tablespoons per person of the goat cheese on top of the pasta and let it sit until melted. Toss well and then sprinkle the parmesan or romano on top. There should be enough oil in the goat cheese to keep everything moist, but if you like it moister, just add in a splash of cold pressed, virgin olive oil. Bon appetite!

Tags:  Carol Hunter  goat cheese  new mexico  nutrition 

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ANH Action Alert: Stop the Glyphosate Madness

Posted By Alliance for Natural Health, Thursday, April 28, 2016

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the most common weed-killer in the world known as RoundUp, is saturating our food system. Federal regulators have failed thus far to protect the public from this dangerous chemical, so ANH-USA is raising funds so we can ramp up the pressure on the feds to REMOVE RoundUp from the market, NOW!

After years of claiming that glyphosate offers no threat to humans, the FDA recently declared it will begin testing specific foods for these toxins, which are known endocrine disrupters. But we at ANH have taken testing into our own hands using an independent lab, and have found glyphosate levels in products like eggs and dairy--products that are not supposed to come into contact with the herbicide. This testing doesn't even include glyphosate analogs found in competing weed-killers, which could make the amounts even more alarming!

ANH-USA is working to expose the dangers of glyphosate and put pressure on the EPA to remove this dangerous product from the market, before this becomes even more of a public health nightmare. We need to raise $40,000 to sustain this campaign and protect our children from this horrific chemical!

ANH-USA relies on the generous support of the public to act as your watchdog group, and we're grateful for every dollar that sustains our efforts to show the EPA that we won't take no for answer. Please, make your tax-deductible contribution today and help us fight this toxic chemical! 


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For the Love of Horses!

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Since I was 9 years old I have tried to convince my Mother that horses are fantastic creatures! Her answer was telling as she would always respond “I don’t know them” and therein laid the problem.  As a child I begged and begged for horseback riding lessons and one day my dream came true. I can see it all right now as it unfolded before my eyes and nose. The barn with stalls on both sides, rather dark inside, was where my first lesson took place. The smell of manure was a new one then but one I would not only become very familiar with over the years but come to cherish. I sat upon a huge horse which was probably not the best idea for my first lesson, but he/she didn’t misbehave and I was patiently led back and forth along the barn corridor until time was up. What was it about these not so friendly animals that captured my attention to such a degree, that I could not stop reading horse stories and every time I drove in the car, I imagined I was riding the black stallion bareback, running alongside our car.

As you can imagine, I wanted more, but what I got was this response, “well, you wanted a lesson and you got one.” That was the beginning and unfortunately the end, at least for that period of my life. I had many other experiences as a teen because I could not stay away, yet did not have the skills to participate safely.  I had a friend whose family had a farm in the countryside with horses. We would go out there and I remember one particular ride in which my friend took off on her horse at a gallop. She was well trained and competed in equine events. The only thing I had going for me was love of the horse and hung on for dear life. To this day I don’t understand how I stayed on until the end of the pasture, but unbeknownst to me, there would be many falls off horses in my future.

At 16, I was fortunate enough to go to a dude ranch in Wyoming for a couple weeks in the summer with some of my classmates.  Peaches and I clicked and she was my beautiful Palomino mare for the time I was there. But I had the chance to go on a cattle drive and had to ride a different horse, one that turned out to be “head shy.” Now if you are moving your arms around and shouting at cattle to “get along little doggie,” it might be disturbing to a head shy horse and sure enough, my horse shied and bucked and sent me flying off to land with my right hip hard against a  very large rock.  Crying out in pain that night, I was gently picked up on my mattress by a number of cowboys who laid the mattress in the back of a pickup truck and drove me to the hospital, at least 60 or so miles away.  In the morning I awoke to my bright eyed roommate who was in her 80s, telling me one joke after the other. The problem was that when I laughed, the hip spasms started and I ended up crying in pain. I hated to tell her she needed to please stop.

I finally owned my first horses when I was 32. My husband, who had just finished his residency at the time, was excited as well and we bought a 14 hand Morgan horse and a 17 year old Thoroughbred who had been on the track. Our property backed up on the national forest in New Jersey and so we had room to ride. We had a barn, arena and my husband built a separate hay barn. My children learned to ride and life was good until one day my husband and I were out on the trial and he decided to pass me on Ramah, the former race horse. A bell went off in Ramah’s head and he took off like a rocket with me clinging on.  Unfortunately, for us humans, we cannot stop a horse if he wants to run. On my right was the reservoir; on my left was the rock cliff, at least 100 feet tall.  In such a situation, it is advised to turn your horse in circles, but in my case, it was impossible. I thought about jumping off but he was going too fast and I knew that would be disastrous, so I decided to stay the course and thank goodness, he eventually tired and settled down.

Years later in New Mexico, my daughter and I competed on our Quarter horse, Sassy, she in 4H and me on the Palomino show circuit. Showing was fun but was not nearly as much fun as having a horse in my back yard. I can still see my daughter and her friend riding their horses bareback along the quiet streets of our neighborhood.  My fondest memory was going out with my friend for an early morning ride in the Corrales bosque and after enough of those rides, I still follow those trails in my sleep, knowing every twist and turn. It was amazing that Sassy learned to tolerate skateboarders, bikers, runners, hot air balloons, speed boats on the river, unleashed barking dogs, coyotes, rattle snakes and everything else that was scary. I was able to ride her alone, in parades and in other new circumstances knowing that she had the confidence in me as her leader to comply. I remember Sassy being due to foal and how many nights sleep I had missed waiting for this new family member to arrive. Knowing that horses tended to foal at night, I would set my alarm and go to the barn to quietly look inside the stall. On one particular night, long after she was due to foal, I peeked into the stall and saw the dark outline of a long legged foal standing quietly by her side. Welcome to the world, Sheridan! Years later Sassy had her second foal, Samson, a bay colt and grandson of Seattle Slew. Although he didn’t have his grandpa’s talent on the track, Samson more than made up for it with his always willing disposition to do his best.

In looking back upon my years, now measured in horses, I can see how therapeutic and healing they were for me in terms of stress reduction, motivation, diligence, perseverance, acceptance and companionship. Although they can definitely trick you into thinking they are indifferent, they are always curious when feeling safe. And yes, they can form an enduring relationship with you, recognizing your voice and whinnying or running along the fence line when they see and hear your vehicle. I decided to write about horses as I am now reading a book entitled Riding Home, The Power of Horses to Heal by Tim Hayes. I would highly recommend it whether you are new to the world of horses or an old hand as it is inspirational. Therapeutic riding has opened up a whole new dimension in the treatment of those with mental disorders, from children to adults, with sometimes astonishing results. The bibliography contains lots of great references to further pursue this great subject. Happy Trails!

Tags:  animal therapy  Carol Hunter  horses  therapy 

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Asparagus & Two-Cheese Quiche

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Tuesday, April 5, 2016
If you expecting a recipe for alfalfa cookies, you will be disappointed, but your horse would love it if you could find one! This month in honor of Easter, I found a wonderful recipe from Anna Stockwell in the March 2015 online edition of Epicurious. What makes this recipe so interesting is the fact that the pie crust is made with hash brown potatoes. This is a wonderful dish for a family brunch because you can make it ahead of time and simply warm it up when ready to serve. Bon appetite!

4 medium russet potatoes (about 2 pounds), peeled
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
4 medium shallots, thinly sliced
6 large eggs, room temperature
1 ¼ cups half and half
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon
5 ounces Fontina cheese, grated (about 1 ½ cups)    
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled (about ¾ cup)
½ bunch asparagus (about ½ pound), ends trimmed
Special equipment: a 10 inch cast iron skillet

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using the coarse grater disk on a food processor or the largest holes on a box grater, shred potatoes. Toss with 1 tsp. salt and ½ tsp. pepper in a large bowl. Transfer to a clean dishtowel, gather together ends of towel, and thoroughly wring out excess liquid over the sink; transfer potatoes to a bowl and set aside.

Heat oil and 2 Tbsp. butter in a 10” cast iron skillet over medium high until butter is melted. Add potatoes and immediately start forming into a crust by pushing potatoes flat against bottom and sides of pan with a ½ cup dry measuring cup. Continue cooking, pressing potatoes up sides of pan until they start shrinking and potatoes are bound together and bottom of crust is starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt remaining 1 Tbsp. butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and saute’ until translucent, 5-6 minutes; set aside.

Whisk eggs, half and half, mustard powder, nutmeg, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper in another large bowl. Whisk in tarragon and set aside.

Sprinkle Fontina cheese, goat cheese, and sautéed shallots evenly over bottom of crust, then pour in egg mixture. Arrange asparagus decoratively on top. Bake until quiche is set and crust is well browned, 30-35 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before cutting into wedges and serving from the pan.

Do Ahead:
Quiched can be made up to 1 day in advance. Cool to room temperature, then wrap with plastic and refrigerate. To reheat, bake at 325 degrees F until warmed through, 15 to 20 minutes.

Photo credit: Chelsea Kyle, Epicurious, March online edition, 2015.

Tags:  asparagus  Carol Hunter  nutrition  quiche  two cheese 

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Eat Healthy on a Budget: 3 Easy Ways

Posted By Wholeshare Food, Monday, March 21, 2016

We all know healthy food can be expensive, and is often hard to find. The good news is that shopping for your family on a budget and eating well don’t have to be mutually exclusive. The healthy food movement has introduced many new and innovative ways for people to access high quality food at budget-friendly prices. With the help of these tips, building a healthy diet for your family doesn’t have to be a luxury anymore. Check out our top 3 tips for eating well on a budget.

Shop Seasonally
Fruits and vegetables are cheapest when they are actually in season.  When crops are abundant and farmers have more competition, prices are driven down. Sticking with what’s in season will save you extra cash and will keep your food nutrient filled and tastier too.  Check out this seasonality chart to learn the best seasons for buying your favorite produce items.  Shopping at farmers markets is a great way to shop seasonally as well as  support your local community.  As an extra tip, try shopping at markets near closing time.  Farmers are often hoping to get rid of leftovers and you can end up going home with better deals on grab bags full of produce. Bonus points for doing your part in the #uglyfood movement. If you don’t have access to a farmer’s market, consider growing your own herb or vegetable garden. Planting seeds is much more affordable and rewarding than taking multiple trips to the grocery store.  

Bulk Up

Buying in bulk is one of the best ways to save money on your groceries. If you notice one of your household staples goes on sale, stock up. Essentials like oatmeal, grains, beans, spices, dried fruits, nuts, and nut butters all make great bulk buying choices because they hold well in the pantry.  Consider your freezer your new best friend. Don’t be afraid to freeze extra meat, produce, breads, and seafood for later use.  Make swaps for expensive processed foods by combining your bulk oats, nuts, and dried fruits together as a healthy and affordable alternative. Cook up large portions at the beginning of the week and enjoy the leftovers in your packed lunches.  When buying in bulk, it’s also helpful to have a few versatile recipes like soups, stir fries or fried rice which can incorporate whatever produce or meat you happen to have on hand.

Join a Healthy Food Buying Club

Buying clubs are a great way to get healthy food for your family at wholesale prices.  Here’s how it works – a couple households get together and order their food directly from wholesale food distributors and farmers.  Because the club all orders together, everyone increases their purchasing power so wholesalers and farmers will deliver directly to the club.  Not only does the community get access to great food, they get it at wholesale prices.  It’s easier than ever to join or start a healthy food-buying club in your community through Wholeshare.  These are especially helpful if you live in an area without great natural food options.

Check here
to see if there are Wholeshare buying clubs in your area. If not, starting a club is a great way to help your community save money on sustainable food and support their health.  Folks who run their own buying clubs on Wholeshare also receive a reimbursement for every order, so many of them are able to buy their families’ groceries for free.

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RECIPE: Basic Chili

Posted By Carol L. Hunter, PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Monday, March 7, 2016

before winter is truly behind us, let’s take a look at a recipe for the cold weather dish of chili, sometimes known as Texas chili. My favorite cook wear is Le Creuset and they provided this hearty recipe from My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes that Saved My Life from Ruth Reichl.

Ingredient List:

3 medium onions

Olive oil

6 cloves garlic, smashed

Salt and pepper

Cumin and oregano

Homemade chili powder (recipe below)                

1 pound ground bison

1 small can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

1 large can chopped tomatoes

1 cup chicken stock

1 bottle robust dark beer

1 can black beans (kidney beans if you prefer)

Ruth gives options for adding in an ounce of dark chocolate, fish sauce, balsamic vinegar, cream sherry, soy sauce, cilantro, scallions, sour cream (or Greek yogurt if you prefer) and grated cheese. (Also if you can’t find ground bison, you can use lean ground beef.)



Dice the onions and saute them in olive oil until they’re soft. Add the garlic and let it soften, too. Add the oregano, some salt and pepper, a bit of cumin and 2 teaspoons of your homemade chili powder- more if you really like hot food.

Add the ground bison and cook, stirring, until it loses its redness. Puree 3 or 4 of the chipotle peppers and stir that in, along with the tomatoes and another teaspoon of your chili powder. Add the chicken stock (preferably homemade) and a cup of the beer and let it all simmer at a slow burble for a couple of hours.

Ruth writes, “Before serving, stir in a cup or so of cooked black beans. Now you get to play with the flavors. Is it hot enough? Do you want more chili powder? Sometimes I’ll melt an ounce or so of really good chocolate and stir that in to give it depth. Other times I’ll add a spoonful of fish sauce, or a splash of balsamic vinegar. Sometimes soy sauce to spark it up, other times cream sherry to mellow it down. It all depends on my mood. The point is, when you’ve made your own chili powder, everything else is just window dressing .

You can serve this with cilantro, scallions, sour cream and grated cheese. Or not. It’s that good. “

Preparation of chili powder:

Ruth writes, “I like to use anchos for their winey richness, habanero for their fruity heat, and New Mexicos for their earthy sturdiness.

Wearing rubber or latex gloves to protect your hands, sponge off 2 ancho, 3 New Mexico and 3 habanero chilies (they’re almost always dusty.) Cut them in half and removed the tips, where the majority of seeds congregate in dried peppers. Discard the seeds.

Put the chilies into a heavy-bottomed pan ( I use cast iron) and toast them over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes, turning from time to time with tongs, until they have darkened slightly. Allow them to cool and then grind the chilies to a powder in a spice grinder or coffee mill. Stir in a teaspoon of toasted ground cumin.

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Tags:  Carol Hunter  chile  recipe 

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Preparing for Your Garden

Posted By Carol L. Hunter, PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Monday, March 7, 2016

Yes, the long dreary days of winter are quickly passing by and visions of spring flowers are in our heads. It is that important time for planning the spring garden. Every year I seem to feel like I am getting a bit of a late start on my garden plans. Before I know it, it’s the middle of March and I have yet to start my seedlings indoors. So this year I am resolving to be more on top of this process that ultimately brings me so much joy for the summer months. Just stop and think for a moment about juicy red beefsteak tomatoes shining on the vine in the heat of a summer day. Picture a basket filled with your favorite veges, freshly harvested and ready to go into your summer dishes. Think about a beautiful flower garden that attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. I hope your imagination is now running wild! Step one is going through seed catalogues to decide what seeds to plant. Last year I told you about Annies and another one called Seeds. This year I have also ordered from Heirloom Organics out of Oregon. Try to stick with seed companies that offer heirloom seeds that have thrived and survived pests and diseases for many, many years. They are hardy and nutritious and you won’t have to worry about GMO hybrid seeds. Organic is always best but there are high quality seeds that do not have the organic certification, much the same as many types of wine which are made with sustainable farming practices but lacking the label. As many of you know who have gone through the process, obtaining organic farming certification is a long and painstaking process that may be more suitable for large operations than small.

Most seed catalogues now have “collections” of seeds to fulfill a particular purpose. Purchasing a collection will give you a variety but take the guess work out of it, if you are not sure what to buy.  Examples would be a herb collection or a salad collection. This year I am planting Annies’s butterfly collection, a variety of flowers to attract butterflies and am hoping to attract hummingbirds as well. I feed my favorite feathered friends each summer and at 8:00pm on a summer’s evening, there are dozens and dozens around the four feeders that are hanging on the front patio. They may be tiny birds but they have a beastly appetite and at the peak of the season, I am refilling the feeders every day.

Once you have decided what vegetables, flowers and herbs to buy, it is time to do your “companion planning.” Garden and define companion planting as “the process of seeding amicable species along with one another to promote growth.” There are many charts and information on the internet about this subject, but as a rule of thumb, it is typical to plant your lettuce and lettuce type plants together which would include kale, collards, swiss chard, raddichio and radishes. Another bed would house your cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts. Tomatoes are in the nightshade family along with eggplants and all types of peppers. Certain herbs/flowers  go very well with certain vegetables. Tomatoes love parsley, marigolds and especially borage which helps to detract the hornworms. Cauliflower and cabbage love oregano; Brussel sprouts love thyme, broccoli loves dill and rosemary and beets love sage.  Flowers like nasturtiums are edible and provide lovely color for a vegetable garden and they are especially compatible with squash. Make a drawing of your bed to lay out your plans so when the time comes to plant, you will know where everything goes. Believe me once the weather and especially the soil warms up, you’ll be in a hurry to plant those seeds.

Always read the directions on your seed packs because some seeds have such a long propagation time that they are best started indoors.  One of the downsides to this approach is that you need a fair amount of space and light for your seedlings. Another idea is to start them outdoors in a cold frame which ultimately is easier as they are planted where they will stay. I like small cold frames that you can lift off when the time comes to avoid an unnecessary transplant of the fragile seedlings. If you want to start tomatoes by seed, start early because a late planting may lead to disappointment in terms of the yield, unless you live in a location where the fall weather stays warm well into October.

Every year is a learning experience for me and no two seasons have ever been the same in terms of weather patterns, insects, irrigation scheduling or even yield. The important thing is to have fun with it and you will when you take your first delicious bite of something you have grown yourself. There is simply no comparison!

Tags:  Carol Hunter  garden  Heirloom Organics 

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GETTING THE LEAD OUT: ACAM Offers Solution for Latest Round of National Lead Poisoning

Posted By Administration, Friday, March 4, 2016

In February Flint, Michigan declared a "State of Emergency" in the wake of lead contaminated drinking water. Now we’re hearing of lead poisoning in other areas across the United States, including Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. As a result, we are once again faced with the age-old discussion regarding the health implications of lead accumulation. We know that protecting all people from lead exposure is extremely important to lifelong good health. Children, however, are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of lead because they absorb lead much more readily than adults. The current controversy over treatment revolves around three questions:

  1. Who should be considered at higher risk for harm and offered treatment?
  2. What treatments should be offered to individuals with elevated lead levels?
  3. At what blood lead level burden is it appropriate to start therapy?

Unfortunately, this type of water crisis is not uncommon. People worldwide continue to be exposed to potentially harmful levels of many toxic metals that can profoundly affect their health. They face potentially enduring, serious and complicated health issues.  Perhaps the major question, especially in children, is the level of lead in the blood to cause concern.

The American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM), an educational organization and a leading authority in the field of metal toxicity and treatment believes, as the CDC does, that “no safe blood lead level in children has been identified.” The effects of lead exposure on child cognitive development and behavior may be permanent if no intervention occurs. Experts from ACAM believe that certain interventions may be useful in lessening the symptoms and long-term neurocognitive damage that lead causes in children.

ACAM experts also contend that the myriad, harmful effects that lead can cause in other organ systems in people of any age should also be lessened. The original guidelines for intervention in lead poisoning were based on early FDA drug approval studies from the minimal research conducted in pediatric patients with blood lead levels above 45 mcg/dL. ACAM believes that appropriate medical intervention may be beneficial to those suffering from lead levels even at the current CDC cutoff of 5 mcg/dl, the level that places the child in the upper 2.5% of tested individuals.

Practitioners can now take a more proactive approach to prevent permanent damage and disability due to toxic metal exposure. ACAM has announced two offerings of its national recognized Chelation Certification – now titled Chelation Advanced Provider (CAP) Course & Certification. Whether you’re new to detoxification education or a seasoned practitioner, ACAM’s rigorous CAP training will enhance your practice’s treatment options and improve health outcomes. One step cannot be completed without the other – this is a sequential course designed to provide the most in depth chelation training available to date.

As the recognized leader in metal detoxification/chelation therapy education, ACAM works diligently to ensure our curriculum is robust, relevant and of the highest caliber. The CAP Program covers a broad spectrum of detoxification topics for from biochemistry to billing. Our faculty ensure scientific rigor, complete understanding, and safe, practical application of therapy to maximize health worldwide.

“This is a chelation dream team,” Lyn Patrick, ND, co-chair of the ACAM Chelation Committee and co-organizer of the CAP Program said. The Basic Chelation Webinar Series (step 1 in the 3 step program) offers chelation insights and training from Tony Lamas, MD, FACC, FAHA, FESC, Dorothy Merritt, MD, David Quig, PhD, Walter Crinnion, ND, Jeffrey Morrison, MD, and Roy Heilbron, MD. The live training and certification exam (steps 2 and 3, offered in the spring and fall) give experts W.A. Shrader, MD, Merritt, Quig, Patrick, and Stuart Freedenfeld, MD time for didactic lectures and thorough back and forth question/answer time.

Registration for the spring CAP Training is currently open at For more information or if you have questions, please contact ACAM at 1.800.532.3688 or email

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Chestnut Chocolate Torte

Posted By Carol L. Hunter, PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Monday, February 8, 2016

One 8 oz stick of Earth Balance vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 tablespoon of confectioner’s sugar
18 ounces of fine quality, bittersweet chocolate, divided
1 (15) oz can of pureed chestnuts (Clement Faugier, available on
1 box marrons glaces (Frutignac, available on
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of good quality bourbon
½ teaspoon vanilla
6 eggs
1 cup of half and half


  • Line a 9 inch springform pan with baking paper and sprinkle ¼ cup sugar on the bottom of the pan. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and put the rack in the middle of the oven.
  • Whisk 6 eggs and 2/3rds cup of sugar together in an electric blender until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  • Set 12 ounces of dark unsweetened chocolate on a double boiler to melt. Add one half cup of half and half.
  • In a large bowl, mash together the 15 oz can of pureed chestnuts, one tablespoon of bourbon, one half teaspoon of vanilla and the stick of softened vegetable oil.
  • When thoroughly melted and mixed, add the chocolate mixture to the chestnut mixture until smooth.
  • Gently fold in 1/3rd of the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture until well mixed. Add the remaining egg mixture in two more batches and gently fold until it is mixed well.
  • Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 35 minutes or until the top is cracked and it is mainly firm but a little wobbly in the middle. Set on a rack and cool and then chill until set, about 4 hours.


  • Melt 6 ounces of fine quality bittersweet chocolate in a double boiler with one half cup half and half and one teaspoon of bourbon.
  • Dip the marrons glaces (candied chestnuts) half way into the chocolate and set aside on foil to set.
  • Invert the chilled torte onto a serving plate big enough to catch the drippings from the glaze. Pour the glaze over the torte and let it run down the sides. Dust the top with confectioner’s sugar, shaved chocolate and the marrons glaces.

For Vegans, there are many choices for substitutes for eggs: here is a great website to explore:

Tags:  chestnut  chocolate  food and drink  nutrition  torte 

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Love - A Complex Emotion

Posted By Carol L. Hunter, PhD, PMHCNS, CNP , Friday, February 5, 2016

As we approach this Valentine’s Day and think about romantic love, let us remember that love is one complex emotion.  Love arises out of multiple structures and specific neurotransmitters for its origins. Love increases blood flow to the nucleus accumbens which in turn floods the caudate nucleus with dopamine, the reward neurotransmitter. The resulting feeling is one of need, urge, craving, want, and obsession, much like addiction to substances. In fact, in functional MRIs, love lights up the same areas of the brain that cocaine does. Something as simple as receiving a text from someone you love affects the brain the same as cocaine. Researchers are now starting to state that love is showing up in the brain like addiction, not an emotion. Love can have highly positive effects however, increasing energy level, sharpening focus and cognitive performance as well as improving motor skills. What is it about love that makes us lose our perspective and sometimes even our rational balance? What blinds us to the shortcomings of our beloved and allows us to project their attributes as bigger than life? What is it about love that makes us go around with a goofy smile on our face humming our favorite song? Well, maybe only Cupid has the answers to those questions because even science struggles to find them.

Advice to the lovelorn is abundant but elusive. As a professional who has facilitated relationship and marital issues over the years, it is clear there is never any easy answer, perhaps because we are ultimately so unique in our thoughts and perceptions. However, we try to generalize the human condition so we can come up with theories and strategies that work with the majority of clients. So let’s take a look at some situations and try to make some sense out of mishaps in the world of love. Let us begin at the beginning, that magical time when our hearts race upon seeing our beloved’s face, when our knees are weak when our beloved offers us a smile, and when our minds drift off to the newly familiar place of safety and exhilarant being. Despite this euphoria, there is anxiety. It is a time of sharing which begs the question, “how much should I share?” Your story will take form over time but it is important to be open and transparent at the very beginning about issues which could end up hurting the one you love. The sooner you share the fact that you have a roommate of the opposite sex, the better. The sooner you share the fact that you are the parent of three young children, the better. You get the idea; it is better to eliminate surprises that could be hurtful down the road. Such openness at the beginning goes a long way towards the establishment of trust, a key ingredient in any relationship.

You might have great chemistry but are your long term goals and dreams in alignment? The closer you both are in your core values and in your long term plans, the more solid the relationship. I once did marital therapy with a couple in their 50s that eventually got divorced. Her dream was to have an organic farming business and he endorsed the idea for years. At the end before he walked out, he declared he had never really been on board with the idea. At first he hadn’t wanted to hurt her feelings; later he became vindictive allowing her to think the plan was moving forward when it clearly was not. He later married a much younger woman and moved into an apartment in Brooklyn.  What had she missed? Perhaps his ongoing agreement never challenged her to truly explore her husband’s mind in terms of his own dreams. Lesson learned: it is easy to take things for granted, to accept what is presented on the surface. Try to avoid being complacent about your beloved’s thoughts. Unless you routinely check in with him/her, you will not truly know. In doing so, you will also benefit from the nonverbal language that gives us much information about a person’s emotional state.

Since we all are human, we make mistakes and hurt the ones we love, hopefully in small ways only. Handling this situation is extremely important in relationships. Some say women have higher emotional intelligence than men but both genders can be reluctant to take responsibility for their “lapses in judgment.” Here is a pattern I have discerned over the years: the higher a person’s self-esteem, the more easily they are able to apologize for their actions. Why would that be the case? When a person feels good about him/herself, an appropriate apology is a tool to simply get life back on track again. It is not construed as a blow to the ego. Such a person knows that making silly, but hurtful mistakes can cause pain for the one they love and they also know how to rectify the situation. Apologies come in all forms and adding in a special treat or surprise cannot hurt at all! But it’s those three little simple words “ I am sorry” that can literally put a relationship back on track again and all is forgotten. That is something well worth remembering on this special day.

A recent study in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that couples who placed a higher value on friendship with their partner, were more committed, more in love and more sexually satisfied than their friends who did not place as much value on friendship.  Another study discovered that couples that laughed 10 or more minutes per day were happier than those who did not laugh that much. Think about being a good friend to your partner as it just might be the most important tool in the toolbox of love. It provides an opportunity to make your partner feel accepted, be it fair or stormy weather.  Friendship can be a powerful foundation upon which you can build a “home” in your heart. It is one of the greatest gifts you can give your partner.

So what is love? Love knows no boundaries in terms of time, age, distance or expectations. Love is its own master, beholden to none. It is so powerful it can topple hierarchies and governments; it can bring the most unlikely together in unison and song. It is the basis of joy and ecstasy; it is the glue that brings people together; it brings meaning to life.

Hold your loved one tight this Valentine’s Day and tell them why they are so special!

Tags:  emotion  love  puberty 

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ACAM Addresses Flint, MI Water Crisis

Posted By Administration, Friday, January 22, 2016
Updated: Monday, February 8, 2016

Flint, Michigan recently declared a "State of Emergency" in the wake of lead contaminated drinking water. As a result, we are once again faced with the age-old discussion regarding the health implications of lead accumulation. We know that protecting all people from lead exposure is extremely important to lifelong good health. Children, however, are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of lead because they absorb lead much more readily than adults. The current controversy over treatment revolves around three questions:

  1. Who should be considered at higher risk for harm and offered treatment?
  2. What treatments should be offered to individuals with elevated lead levels?
  3. At what blood lead level burden is it appropriate to start therapy?

Unfortunately, this tragedy goes far beyond Flint, Michigan. People worldwide continue to be exposed to potentially harmful levels of many toxic metals that can profoundly affect their health. They face potentially enduring, serious and complicated health issues.  Perhaps the major question, especially in children, is the level of lead in the blood to cause concern.

The CDC states, “Experts now use a reference level of 5 micrograms per deciliter to identify children with blood lead levels that are much higher than most children’s levels. This new level is based on the U.S. population of children ages 1-5 years who are in the highest 2.5% of children when tested for lead in their blood.  In the past, blood lead level tests below 10 micrograms per deciliter of lead in blood may, or may not, have been reported to parents. The new lower value means that more children will likely be identified as having lead exposure allowing parents, doctors, public health officials, and communities to take action earlier to reduce the child’s future exposure to lead.”

The CDC also states, “What has not changed is the recommendation for when medical treatment is advised for children with high blood lead exposure levels. The new recommendation does not change the guidance that the therapy used to eliminate lead from the body be considered only when a child has been tested with a blood lead test result greater than or equal to 45 mcg/dL.” []

However, medical science has determined that even very low blood lead levels in children can affect IQ, ability to pay attention and future academic achievement. It is now clear that IQ loss in lead-exposed children can occur at levels below 5.0 mcg/dL., from Neurotoxicology, 2006 Sep; 27(5): 693–701.

The American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM), an educational organization and a leading authority in the field of heavy metal toxicity and treatment believes, as the CDC does, that “no safe blood lead level in children has been identified.” The effects of lead exposure on child cognitive development and behavior may be permanent if no intervention occurs. Experts from ACAM believe that certain interventions may be useful in lessening the symptoms and long-term neurocognitive damage that lead causes in children.

ACAM experts also contend that the myriad, harmful effects that lead can cause in other organ systems in people of any age should also be lessened. The original guidelines for intervention in lead poisoning were based on early FDA drug approval studies from the minimal research conducted in pediatric patients with blood lead levels above 45 mcg/dL. ACAM believes that appropriate medical intervention may be beneficial to those suffering from lead levels even at the current CDC cutoff of 5 mcg/dl, the level that places the child in the upper 2.5% of tested individuals.

Due to the lack of current, cohesive, long-term studies in children with elevated blood levels below 45 mcg/dL, the decision when to initiate chelation therapy is a personal choice between a patient and their physician. To better elucidate what is the best treatment strategy for lead poisoning, ACAM is calling for the immediate initiation of a collaborative long-term research project. The project, conducted through appropriate channels, could provide immediate medical attention and intervention to all children and adults in Flint who have high blood lead levels (>5 mcg/dl). This research project should also investigate assessing those common genetic and metabolic defects that could render individuals even more susceptible to the harmful effects of lead.

We can take a more proactive approach to prevent permanent damage and disability not only in the population of Flint, MI but to everyone exposed to the potential devastation caused by lead.

The American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating physicians and other health care professionals on the safe and effective application of integrative medicine. ACAM's healthcare model focuses on prevention of illness and strives for total wellness. ACAM has been educating physicians in metal removal techniques such as chelation therapies since 1973. A recent NIH sponsored study has demonstrated that the chelation technique using EDTA is safe when it is used by physicians educated in these techniques.

ACAM offers Physician+Link – a free service provided to the public for finding integrative practitioners in their area. Call
1.800.532.3688 for personal assistance or visit

A rationale for lowering the blood lead action level from 10 to 2 μg/dL

Effect of Chelation Therapy on the Neuropsychological and Behavioral Development of Lead-Exposed Children After School Entry

American Academy of Pediatrics: Lead Exposure in Children: Prevention, Detection, and Management

Safety and Efficacy of DMSA in children with elevated blood level concentrations

Children with moderately elevated blood lead levels: a role for other diagnostic tests?

What level of lead in blood is toxic for a child?

Tags:  chelation  detoxification  Flint Michigan  water 

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The American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating physicians and other health care professionals on the safe and effective application of integrative medicine.