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Sunday, January 19, 2014

HRT - Hormone Replacement Therapy

HRT - Hormone Replacement Therapy
HRT involves replacing hormones that you are lacking in usually due to the aging process. I'm a huge advocate and believer of bioidentical hormone creams. "Bioidentical" means biologically identical to human hormones. Meaning it is the exact replica to what we already make in our bodies. Bioidentical hormones can be made from soy, wild yam, and other plant extracts, or synthesized in a lab to replicate human hormones. Bioidentical hormones are not drugs, they're hormones, whereas synthetic hormones like Premarin and Prempro are drugs and have been proven to be harmful to your health by creating hormonal imbalances.

I have been taking bioidentical creams for about 3 years now and it has improved my well being. I have the worse PMS symptoms and it can be pretty scary to be around me during that time. One minute I'm crying over spilt milk and the next I'll give you a tongue lashing for just talking to me the wrong way. I'm here to tell you that you don't need to live like this!


Bioidentical Hormone Cream, Progesterone 300mg/ml made by Medical Center Pharmacy in Aiea, Oahu, HI

In the past, I would discuss this issue with my doctors for years and it was always brushed off that it was "normal" and that my blood test results were "in the normal range" and I was told to exercise more or meditate more. I was a professional polynesian dancer working non-stop and taking adult dance classes for fun on top of zumba and surfing activities and I was being told to exercise more?! I did everything, but nothing helped. I finally read Suzanne Somer's book, "Ageless: the naked truth about bioidentical hormones", where she wrote about optimal health and not buying into the idea that we have to accept the idea that aging comes with aches and pains because it doesn't have to! You just need to replace the hormones that are missing and you can continue to have the same energy and vitality as you did in your youth.

When PMS occurs it's because your progesterone hormone is plummeting, usually the week or two before you get your ma'i (menstruation), and the only thing left is estrogen. When this occurs your hormones are not balanced because your need both your progesterone and estrogen to be balanced and this is why you become very emotional when you lack progesterone.  I finally found a doctor on Oahu named Dr. Curtis Takemoto-Gentile who is an M.D. and a Naturopathic medicine doctor on King Street who understood everything that I was talking about and had even read Suzanne Somer's book and it was through him that I received my hormone blood test and bioidentical creams that have improved my life.  Finally, after seeing so many western doctors, who just expected me to live with and accept such poor health care (just because I fell within the "normal range" even though it was at the low-end of the spectrum).  You have options!

The PMS Treatment Clinic in Arcadia, California descrribes PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) as a condition of estrogen dominance-progesterone deficiency. It occurs in the two weeks before the period and goes away when the period is over. 150 emotional and physical symptoms can occur. Symptoms may include headaches, migraines, menstrual cramps, depression, irritability, fatigue, emotional outbursts, low blood sugar, rage, out of control behavior, dizziness, decreased resistance to infection and epileptic seizures. An underactive thyroid is commonly an underlying disorder that is present.
Patients can become symptom-free on natural progesterone therapy. If the patient is hypothyroid, treatment involves thyroid supplements.

Synthetic hormones (premarin and provera) have recently been linked with a 20%-40% increased risk for breast cancer, heart attack and stroke.

Bioidentical hormones are made up by a compounding pharmacy and are covered by major insurance. Bioidentical hormones, when balanced by an experienced medical professional, do not cause side effects. They are estradiol, estriol and progesterone-the very same hormones (bio-identical) produced by the female body. Bioidentical hormones are the effective choice for women in the 21st century.



The little puka (hole) at the top is where the cream comes out from 

I turn the pink top with two clicks for my dosage

Then I place it on my wrist and rub my two wrists together. It enters the bloodstream immediately through this area.

This is what it looks like after its been rubbed in. All Pau! 

HRT is also great for women suffering from perimenopause and/or menopause. So if your mother or Tutu is acting pupule (crazy) or complaining that they are "soooo hot!" all the time, you may want to check with their doctor for perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms. 




Highly recommended books to read on HRT


Natural Wellness Center

It's so refreshing to see more alternative forms of healthcare on the rise here in Hawaii. In the past, alternative options were always looked down upon by locals because it often was thought of as being some hippie dippy place with a haole guy named "Dolphin" with stinky dreadlocks in a musky incensed room (or maybe it's his lack of deodorant?!) with crystals and indonesian pareos (sarongs) hanging everywhere in an odd bohemian slash "hawaiian" theme that just ends up looking tacky instead of cool.  Dolphin most likely looks stoned from the glassy red look in his eyes and his forgetfullness of what items he needs for whatever procedure your doing. And your gonna get a colon cleanse from him? Sorry, Brah, I don't think so.

On the island of Oahu, there is an Integrative & Naturopathic Medicine doctor's office that looks like you are walking into a normal doctors clinic, except it is so much better! It's called the Natural Wellness Center and they have locations in Manoa, Pearl City, and Kailua.

Natural Wellness Center in  Manoa, Oahu, HI

Here's some info from their website:

The Natural Wellness Center is dedicated to improving your health and that of your family by providing effective, non-toxic health care. We are a group of doctors, trained as primary care providers, who use natural therapies to bring the body, mind, and spirit into balance. In our relaxed clinical environment we offer naturopathic medical consultations for people of all ages and conditions.
With each patient we aim to:

  • Identify the cause of disease
  • Stimulate the body's healing mechanisms
  • Provide the remedies needed for recovery
  • Help patients transition into a healthier lifestyle.
"Our doctors blend the best of clinical nutrition, homeopathy, herbal medicine, and hydrotherapy with extensive training in modern medical care to bridge the gap between alternative and conventional medicine."

I love that the facility is clean and professional looking. You don't feel like your walking into some strange psychedelic vortex. The rooms are very zen-like and soothing. Exactly the way a doctor's office ought to be! I used to go to the Queen's clinic in Kapolei and every time I went there my blood pressure would shoot through the roof after finally being seen by the nurse (1.5 hrs later, no joke!) Not only was the clinic cold and instutional looking like most clinics, but my doctor rarely reviewed my file let alone remember seeing me the week before because I was only allowed to ask him one medical question at a time. My health (mind, body, & spirit) was actually deteriorating under their care due to the stress of the experience (taking off from work, waiting 2 hours to be seen by the doctor, the doctor not being prepared, etc.).  Ever since I left that clinic and the stress of dealing with them my blood pressure as improved drastically.

I also love the fact that the Natural Wellness Center provides anti-aging services:
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) 
  • IV Therapy
    • Vitamin C
    • Glutathione
  • Vitamin B12 Injections

HRT - Hormone Replacement Therapy
HRT involves replacing hormones that you are lacking in usually due to the aging process. I'm a huge advocate and believer of bio-identical hormone creams. I have been taking it for about 3 years now and it has improved my well being. I have the worse PMS symptoms and it can be pretty scary to be around me during that time. One minute I'm crying over spilt milk and the next I'll give you a tongue lashing for just talking to me the wrong way. I'm here to tell you that you don't need to live like this! Check out my post on HRT.

IV Therapy
IV therapy is the infusion of liquid substances directly into the vein and is useful for patients who are nutritionally deprived.

Glutathione, the master antioxidant in our body that is depleting as we age without proper nutrients. Remember how much I love this as mentioned in my earlier post? If not, please revisit it and and learn more about it. It's cool to hear that the Natural Wellness Center is providing glutathione IV therapy. They may not be using it for anti-aging purposes, but as I mentioned before, it is commonly used in beauty clinics throughout southeast asia for it's antioxidant properties and skin lightening side effect. I'm going to add a post with a youtube video by Dr. Mark Hyman, MD, a family physician and six-time New York Times best-selling author who explains glutathione further.

Vitamin B12 Injections
Vitamin B12 shots will make you feel fantastic! I used to take Vitamin B12 sublingual tablets (melts on your tongue bypassing the stomach so it goes straight into your bloodstream) and it would give me a lift. Everyone can benefit from these vitamins for health and vitality. The Natural Wellness Center has a Groupon out right now for Vitamin B12 injections for $69.00  Hopefully in the near future medical insurance companies will accept Integrative & Naturopathic Medicine and Oriental Medicine as providers for healthcare.


Logo with kalo (taro) leaves






Monday, January 13, 2014

Soursop - The Miracle Fruit

Soursop fruit has been in the media a lot lately because of recent studies that came out that stated that it can cure cancer. Various websites have reported that soursop has certain properties that can kill cancer cells 10,000 times more than chemotherapy and that it only kills the cancer cells, leaving the healthy cells unharmed.

Soursop trees can be found in Hawaii and if your lucky you'll have one in your back yard like I do. If not, you could probably take a drive and find one along the roadside or a neighbor's yard (but make sure you ask permission first or they'll be huhu with you!). It's a rather unattractive fruit with its porcupine-like skin and strange shapes. It can be found growing on the bark of the tree or hanging from a branch.

My Soursop Tree

Sour Sop is a fleshy white fruit on the inside with many black seeds. It's sweet and tangy and has a taste unlike anything else. You do not eat the spiky skin. Most people like to eat it when it's ripe (slightly soft to the touch and gushy), however, I like to eat it when it is still young and crunchy, which most people don't realize you can do. The young fruit can be sliced and looks similar to the lotus root and is crunchy like jicama. Ripe soursop also makes for a delicious juice, which one should drink immediately after for the full health benefits.

Young Soursop sliced in half and soursop leaves


Young Soursop Fruit whole and sliced (similar to jicama)



Soursop smoothie from Chinatown, Honolulu, HI



Mai Store in Chinatown, my favorite place for fresh fruit smoothies

Sour Sop has many health benefits. It can alleviate:
  • migraine headaches
  • diarrea
  • high blood pressure
  • insomnia
  • diabetes
  • inflammation
  • cancer
  • herpes simplex virus
  • stress/depression
  • gout
  • back pain
  • acne

I would say that Sour Sop is a miracle fruit that is good for overall health in general and not just what has been listed and reported. I know that within my own family it has worked wonders. For example, my elderly uncle on Kauai was in poor health; his arteries were clogged and he was scheduled last year to have surgery at Queen's Medical Center (QMC) to remove a kidney stone. He began drinking Soursop tea 2 to 3 times a day. The week of his scheduled surgery, he had xrays done at QMC, a normal formality before surgery. To his doctors amazement, his kidney stone had completely vanished and his arteries were clear and no longer blocked. Needless to say, his surgery was canceled and the Soursop tea had cured him!! I also have a friend who lives in San Jose, California, who's uncle had stage 4 throat cancer and was being fed through a tube because he couldn't swallow. He too started drinking the Soursop tea and now he can eat solid food on his own and is cancer free.

If someone you know is suffering from cancer or any kind of ailments it doesn't hurt to try eating Soursop fruit or drinking Sour Sop tea. Of course, they should always check with their doctor first to make sure it does not interact with any of their medications or medical treatment. Soursop should be eaten as preventive measures from all illnesses.

Soursop tea is very easy to make:
  • get a hand full of young or mature leaves (as long as they're not old leaves your okay)
  • leave them out to air dry for about 3 days  (or you can use it immediately if needed)
  • place leaves in a pot of water and boil until it turns dark brown like tea 
  • *you can also use pieces of bark to make the tea along with the leaves

Ratio:
  • Approxiametly 15 Soursop leaves for 1liter of water
  • 3 leaves for  a single cup of water

Young Soursop Leaves


Mature Soursop Leaves



Soursop leaves air dried for 3 days




Place Soursop leaves in pot of water and boil




Boil for about 20-30 minutes or until it turns dark brown like tea





Remove leaves from pot





Leaves removed from pot. Pour Tea into jars or container when cooled off.




Tea up close in glass jars. Made with Aloha for my friend Cheri whose thyroid cancer is in remission. Refrigerate tea for up to a week. Drink at least once a day or up to 3 times a day. 




Sunday, January 12, 2014

KAPU Foods & Drinks


KAPU in Hawaiian means that something is prohibited or taboo. You will often see signs in Hawaii that say KAPU in front of properties, which means your not allowed access into the area. At least that is where the word is most commonly seen in public.

KAPU sign at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center in Waikiki.
Below is a list of KAPU Foods & Drinks you should stay away from. These food items have lots of sugar and will add fat to your body and wrinkles to your face. Always remember you are what you eat and drink and what you do today will be your results in the future. So if you want to stay healthy and glowing, be choosy about what you put into your body today and everyday as much as possible.

KAPU Foods & Drinks:

  • "fat-free" foods like cakes, cookies, cereal bars, & salad dressing (they take away the fat and replace it with tons of sugar instead).
  • "sugar-free" juices, sodas, & treats
  • bagels
  • cakes and pies
  • candies
  • cereals
  • rice
  • pasta
  • bread
  • french fries
  • hamburger and hot dog rolls
  • processed meats (spam. baloney, luncheon meat, hot dogs)
  • soda
  • juice "drinks" (Meadow Gold guava juices, etc., and POG juices)
  • fried foods (won tons, chicharron, korean chicken, etc,)
Bread

Spam


Meadow Gold "Juice" and POG

Chicharron

If your born and raised in Hawaii, then you probably grew up  eating white rice with all your meals like I did. A local persons house will ALWAYS have a full pot of white rice in the rice cooker at ALL times. It is also mind-boggling to local families that one could eat a meal WITHOUT white rice on your plate. In fact, it may be pretty strange to malihinis, but we even eat rice with meat spaghetti (noodles and all).

White Rice, my form of Crack

I LOVE RICE. But I gave it up 3 years ago because I could eat heap fulls of it, especially with some kind of gravy or even mayo (I know, GROSS! a local "potogee" staple/condiment). You see, I suffered from "Skinny-Girl Syndrome", which meant that no matter how much weight I started to gain, I still thought I was relatively skinny. This is the opposite of "Fat-Girl Syndrome", when a big girl gets thin, but still sees herself as large. One day I saw my picture and realized I had gained 30 pounds and I couldn't relate to the picture staring back at me. It was a real eye-opener and I decided that day that I would delete all refined sugars from my life and my mantra became "White is Not Right!" It is also important to note that I had always been able to eat whatever I wanted my whole life and not gain weight and that my metabolism was slowing down with age causing me to gain weight.
White Rice with Gravy: Soooooo Gooooooood AND Sooooooo Baaaaaaaad!
Best Foods Real Mayonnaise, the ultimate "Potogee" (local Portuguese people) condiment for rice, beef stew, chili, and whateva your heart desires. 
Your average "plate lunch" in Hawaii, consisting or white rice, macaroni salad, teriyaki beef,  & chicken katsu.


SUGAR = CRACK

Have you ever heard the saying, "Bad Boys are are like dessert, they taste good, but are bad for you"?
Well, sugar is the baddest boy out there and you should stay as far away from it as possible. It is a TOXIC relationship to have. In fact, Sugar (refined sugar) should not even be considered a food, but rather a drug, which is why I personally refer to it as "Crack." If I even have a small taste of it, I want more and more of it. It's addicting and before you know it, you've become a full blown Sugar Addict.

Refined Sugar AKA "Crack"

Sugar does absolutely nothing good for you. Sugar will add extra pounds to your waistline and age your face faster than you know it.

Key Points to know about Sugar:
  • Refine sugar is common table sugar (sucrose)
    •        corn sugar (destrose)
    •        malt sugar (maltose)
    •        fruit sugar (fructose)
    •        milk sugar (lactose)
  • There is nothing "natural" about sucrose no matter what the food item claims.
  • Sugar eats up the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and weakens your immune system.
  • Sugar releases the same natural brain opioids released when shooting heroin, which is associated with euphoria and in return withdrawal symptoms. 
  • Sugar turns to fat; high fructose corn syrup metabolizes fat quickly and prevents the body from knowing it's full (that's how you ate the whole box of Big Island shortbread cookies in one sitting.) 
  • Cancer loves Sugar. Cancer cells can multiply rapidly and uses the the energy from glucose (sugar) to grow radically. 
  • Sugar helps tumors grow.
  • Sugar increases your insulin levels, which could result in Diabetes.
  • Sugar ruins your immune system giving you less energy and vulnerable to illnesses.
  • Sugar give your wrinkles
    •       High levels of glucose in your blood create Glycation (the binding of sugar to proteins,       which promotes aging).
    •       Glycation breaks down collagen and elasticity in your skin prematurely aging you.



Refined Sugars (Glucose)


Unfortunately, most of the food items today are made up of lots of grams of sugar and it's hard to get away from it unless you are meticulous about reading the ingredient label. The best way to stay clear of sugar is to stick to a "clean diet", which consists of only whole foods, which is anything that was grown out of the ground (except for GMO frank'n foods) or born into this world. Examples would be organic fruits and vegetables and proteins like eggs, pork, chicken, and fish. A good rule of thumb to follow when shopping at the grocery store is to shop only the perimeters of the store, which carries whole food type of food items and stay completely away from the middle aisles that usually carry processed foods. Remember, if it comes out of a box, then it's probably not that healthy or nutritious for you. It's always better to eat fresh fruits and veggies and it's easy and cheaper to buy them at your local farmer's market. I know that it is much cheaper in Hawaii to buy at the Farmer's market compared to the same thing at Safeway or Foodland. And, if your in Honolulu, Chinatown is also a cheap place to purchase fruits and veggies, but beware of the rats! haha, then again that's what us locals like to call "flava" (flavor).

Shop the Perimeters of the Grocery Store for a Clean Diet.
References: "This is Why You're Fat" by Jackie Warner
                   "Dr. Denese's Secrets for Ageless Skin" by Dr. Adrienne Denese