Sunday, April 24, 2011

DAY 203 - The Non-Comparison of Private Enterprise to Government

Please excuse the generalizations, which of course, are not true in all cases. I write this with no intent to harm.

Most of us understand the impossibility of comparing apples to oranges. How interesting then, that many folks directly compare work accomplished, and the price tag for projects carried out by a private business and by a governmental agency. One must assume that discussions about whether private or public organizations can best do work, is more emotionally charged than discussions about which fruit is “best”. Why, other than the cognitive disorientation that often accompanies a charged emotional state, would one try to directly compare the efficiency and cost of a governmental project, to that of a private enterprise?

I am neither an economist, nor particularly knowledgeable about governance, but I know enough to know that businesses and democratic governments have different primary goals, operate in different arenas, and function under different constraints.

Businesses focus on making a profit. They are free, to a great extent, to carry out their plans without concern for the public, the environment, or the future; and often do so.

Democratic governments, on the other hand, are committed to the common good, and are responsible to protect the common good in every possible realm.

Seems clear that making a profit, while abiding by some laws, would be child’s play compared to the mind-numbing complexity of trying to productively serve and protect the public good.

Most adults have seen the harm that can be done in the name of profit, even when governments are trying to protect the people, the environment and the future. Some of the greatest profits have been made outside the realm of the common good, in the realm of sweatshops.

Governments are not the most efficient producers, the least expensive, nor are they known for turning a profit. Fortunately, that is not what they were designed for.

 Let us recognize an orange as an orange, an apple as an apple, and let us clearly ask ourselves what we want from our government; a profit, or the common good.

Friday, April 22, 2011

DAY 201 - Magnesium: More Than a Laxative

In 1983, having recently graduated from chiropractic college, I established my practice in Ventura, California. At that time, it had not crossed my mind that I would spend my career looking for, learning about, and teaching patients about simple, powerful, critical, and often underutilized approaches to health. But, a few months of practicing, with therapeutic successes not being what I would have hoped, my search began.

I was looking primarily for keys to health that were inexpensive, or free; and that patients could utilize or  practice on their own, rather than having to pay a doctor or therapist to do it for them.

One of my first finds was the powerful, yet safe and gentle mineral, magnesium.

I am often asked, “Why do you talk so much about magnesium?” It is because magnesium is a critical mineral that affects every part of the body, and because most Americans are deficient in magnesium. Magnesium is so basic to all bodily functions that when a person does not have enough, a wide variety of mild to severe symptoms can occur. Most Americans are getting approximately 200 mg of magnesium from their diet. The RDA (the minimal requirement, not the optimal level) was 400 mg/day. The current DRI is 420 mg/day.

Signs that may indicate magnesium insufficiency include, but are not limited to; back or neck pain, muscle spasms, headache, panic attacks, tiredness, poor sleep, depression, anxiety, tension, nervousness, high blood pressure, kidney stones, gall stones, osteoporosis, breast tenderness, PMS, mitral valve prolapse, constipation.

A few of the most serious diseases that have been linked to magnesium deficiency are heart disease, diabetes, depression, and osteoporosis.

Some of the conditions that are benefited by magnesium are:
menstrual cramps - preeclampsia - back or neck pain - muscle spasms - headache - panic attacks - tiredness - poor sleep - depression - tension - nervousness - high blood pressure - kidney stones - gall stones - osteoporosis - breast tenderness - PMS - mitral valve prolapse - constipation

Not all magnesiums are created equal: Magnesium in nutritional supplements is delivered in a variety of chemical forms, including glycinate, chloride, citrate, oxide, sulfate, aspartate, and others. The most common, least effective, and cheapest form of magnesium is magnesium oxide. It is used in most multivitamins, and tends to cause intestinal gas and diarrhea. Because of the ill effects, manufacturers reduce the amount of magnesium in their supplements to 1/4 of the RDA level; never advising potential buyers of the low potency.

The greatest dangers of supplemental magnesium are: 1) forgetting to take yours, 2) taking an ineffective and/or insufficient amount and thinking that you are protected.

The most effective magnesium I have worked with since 1995 is Mag Glycinate from Metagenics. I have watched hundreds of patients try other forms of magnesium with little or no success or relief. This simple nutrient has markedly improved the lives of many of my patients, often without making any other lifestyle changes. This brand and chemical form of magnesium is only sold in doctor's offices, and can be difficult to find.

Using magnesium glycinate often provides so much relief from musculoskeletal conditions that a patient may not need treatment from a DC or MD.

I recommend 400 mg/day of elemental magnesium in the form of magnesium glycinate. Remember, you need more than the RDA.

Take the test: Take Mag Glycinate as I have recommended (below) for two weeks; consistently. Then stop taking it for two weeks. Repeat this cycle 3 times and keep some notes on how you feel and function on and off of it. Many people clearly feel better on than off. Warning - not feeling better does not prove that you do not need magnesium - there may be too many other health-deterring factors in your life for you to feel the effect of the magnesium.

When and how to take Mag Glycinate: Mag Glycinate is best taken away from food, though many patients report excellent results when taken with food. I suggest that patients take 2 tablets when they wake up in the morning, and 2 when they go to bed. It is fine to take one at a time, four times throughout the day.

Some individuals are gut-sensitive to magnesium. They may experience intestinal gas or loosening of the stool. If this occurs, the dose should be decreased, if need be, by breaking tablets in pieces, until no symptoms occur. Discuss this sensitivity with your doctor for guidance in selecting an appropriate dose. Those who are gut-sensitive are usually those who are most deficient in magnesium.

How to find an effective magnesium, wherever you are in the United States: you can buy SlowMag, or its generic at most any pharmacy, over-the-counter. To achieve the same effects as Mag Glycinate, you will need to take 6 of the SlowMag tablets per day.

Testing for magnesium has historically been done by measuring magnesium in the serum (liquid portion of the blood). However, it has been known for years, and has been published in medical journals that serum magnesium is an extremely inaccurate test. Even so, most doctors still order serum testing. Superior tests include:
RBC magnesium: Red blood cell testing is not the most accurate, but is the most readily available.
Intracellular testing: of cells from the inside of the mouth by means of an electron microscope: see EXA test
Growth assessment: see SpectraCell

Insist on accurate magnesium testing. Your life may depend on it! Cardiologists with whom I have talked are as amazed as I am that most doctors still order inaccurate serum magnesium testing. If you have only had serum magnesium testing, you don’t know anything reliable about your magnesium status. Beware and be in charge of your health.

Epsom salts baths: Epsom salts are the salt of magnesium sulfate. It is best used in a warm to hot bath. Because of the heat, they are not suggested during the first 24-48 hours following acute injuries (sudden onset such as a sprained ankle) in which swelling is present. Epsom salts are highly effective in treating chronic aches and pains, soreness from overuse, and sprains and strains after the acute phase (usually 24-48 hours following injury). Epsom salts can be purchased at large grocery stores and drug stores for $3-4.00 per half gallon. Put ½ gallon of Epsom salts into a hot bath. Soak for 15 minutes.

Epsom salts are not just good for aches and pains. Many people find a soak very relaxing. It can improve sleep and leaves the skin feeling very soft.

If you are using a bath for treatment of significant back pain, be sure to get out of bath while the water is still in the tub. The water will buoy you and assist you in getting out of the tub. If you think you might have trouble getting out, and you don’t want to be left sitting in a cold and empty tub, it is wise to have another person in the house when you take your bath in case you need assistance.

A laxative can be worth its weight in gold. Magnesium is worth so much more!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

DAY 200 - Big Really Big Family

Imagine you had a really large family. And imagine that every time you turned around, there was another family need, responsibility or occasion that you felt drawn to respond to. Grampa needs a ride to his chiropractic appointment. Your niece is getting married; shop for gift, pick up tux, rehearsal, bachelorette party, wedding and reception. Aunt Tori is dealing with cancer; send a card, make a call, discuss possibility of a visit, reflect on her life and the meaning of life. Who’s picking up the CSA? And tomorrow is Liel’s birthday .....

Not recognizing and not responding to these family needs has consequences. A simple lack of planning ahead, also has consequences.

In this world, there is no need for anyone to simply imagine; we all do ... have a really large family; humankind. We are members of communities, states, nations, and are citizens of the world. Not recognizing and not responding to these family members has consequences. A simple lack of planning ahead, also has consequences.

My Mom and Dad raised us to know that others in the world were important, but their actions showed me that their real focus and attention was on the wellbeing of our nuclear family. As I grew, raised a family, and got older, I cared about others, but put almost all of my effort into the wellbeing of my own nuclear family.

I am drawn today to think and write about families, the boundaries that we imagine and live, and the allocation of our efforts during our lives, because of a recent, even literal, watershed event. This last Tuesday night, the Ventura City Council voted 6-0 to not annex the North Ventura Avenue area, nor Canada Larga, areas that had been proposed, if not pushed, for development, i.e., building and expansion. In the minds of a number of residents of Ventura and Ventura County, the annexation of North Ventura Avenue or Canada Larga would have been unsustainable, unecological; a clear step on the road to mirroring the sprawl and unlivibility of Los Angeles, here in Ventura County.

But, it was not the minds of the residents that helped to guide the Ventura City Council to this 6-0 vote, it was the actions of these same people who organized, planned, communicated, and came to City Council meetings. These people came out, stood up, and spoke up because they don’t need to read this essay. They already knew their large family, knew the consequences of not responding, and chose to plan ahead.

If you have appetite for a little more, I would highly recommend the following essay in The Ojai Post, by Steve Sprinkel, Ojai organic farmer, really-big family man, and visionary planner-activist for our future.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

DAY 198 – YELP!!! Reviews Locked Up

Yelp, in my vocabulary, has always meant a sharp cry or bark, usually arising from an animal or human, startled or hurt. Today, in this writing, I use the word both in its common meaning, as I have known it throughout my life, and the modern, referring to an online website dedicated first to reviews of restaurants, and now to reviews of all manner of businesses, including chiropractic practices.

My son, Kenn, recently used to find a dentist for himself in New York City. What a success story! The reviews he read lead him to a dentist that provided exactly the care he was looking for.

My son’s experience got me thinking about the power of online reviews for helping folks find just the service they are looking for. It provided me the opportunity to recognize how limited, if not outdated the Yellow Pages are. The Yellow Pages, of course, are mainly a compilation of business owners' own reviews of themselves; possibly not the most helpful. It’s the customer, the client, the patient that we want to hear from.

Thus inspired, I located the Yelp-created shell of an online listing of my chiropractic office, and began to fill it in with information about the practice. The next step was to publicize that we were Yelp-friendly.

Having been in practice for 28 years, and currently serving satisfied new patients each week, I figured there would be a few who would start Yelping "with something to say". And I was right.

Over a period of 4 weeks, reviews trickled in. To date, 12 have been posted. But within a week of the first review being posted, I had my first encounter with the grim filterer. You’ve heard of the grim reaper? That’s old school. The grim filterer is a computer algorithm used by Yelp to try to determine if a review is bogus or legitimate. Apparently there are risks, some deadly, inherent in trying to sort human expressions by computer.

As the reaper, uh filterer, came through on its periodic mission of cleansing, one review was destroyed completely, 8 were banished to a purgatory-like existence called “filtered”, and 3 remain, as of this moment, on the net, easily accessible to those who might be trying to find their perfect chiropractor in Ventura, California.

The “filtered” existence of these reviews is an invisibility, not unlike having been swept under a carpet. The dust can be found by lifting a corner of the carpet. The “filtered” reviews can be seen by going to the bottom left corner of the last visible review and clicking on the grayed-out link “(8 Filtered)”. Presto, the dust, and the suspect reviews.

One can read the remaining 3 reviews of my practice at: , the “filtered” reviews at: , and, like I said, you’ll never find the 12th review.

For clarity, each and every one of the 12 reviews that have been written about my practice, Ventura Chiropractic & Massage, are legitimate reviews, written in each case by patients of mine.

Lest a rebellion get underway, I want you to know that I have not been singled out. There are thousands of the sharp-cry-or-bark-usually-arising-from-an-animal-or-human-startled-or-hurt type yelps ricocheting around cyberspace, some resembling profanity, that decry the removal of legitimate complimentary (4-5 star) reviews. Nonetheless, I believe that is committed to benefiting all of us as best it can.

For now, let me say that I support because I believe that Yelp is working on providing a functional network of feedback that can help you and I find better matches in our lives.

Finally, as with individuals in purgatory, I am told that some of the "filtered" reviews may be moved once again into the light, if their creators become "Yelp-established" rather than one-shot, questionable reviewers. There is hope; these reviews may not be on their way to hell.

Monday, April 18, 2011

DAY 195 - Learning From My Little Sister

Me and Tori
I have one sister, Tori Janaya. She was born in the late spring of my fourth grade year. I remember my Mom being pregnant, tiny Tori coming home from the hospital, and I held her in my arms.

Before long she was a toddler; so cute, such a joy. Then time sped up.

Today, Tori is 49, and dealing with ovarian cancer.

Through this process she is teaching me more about life.

From the beginning, June, 3, 2009, Tori has talked openly with us about her feelings, her experiences, her life. On August 23, 2010 she sent us the following note.

“so...if it's true that none of us know for sure....then the only choice we have is to live moment my moment...what you can do for me is to stay in the presence of that moment by moment view and to lift me with your love and strength...instead of predicting my with me as I continue to live...if it looks like I'm passing's still the same...moment by moment...

I would also encourage us not to put off ...not to wait to tell someone you love never know when it's your time...their time..

If you look at me like I'm's not helpful for's an interesting time...some friends who fell away in my life have returned with even more love and other friends have disappeared because they can't handle what is happening to me...I guess fear is a powerful sword...a sword that can pierce the hearts of people we love...I hope all of us in our own lives with our own challenges will find the sword of strength and honor and love....not the weakness that shows and takes over simply because we are afraid....we have to be better than that....we must be better than that!” ***

In the way of my heart, she is my little sister. In the world, while a sister to all, she is anything but diminutive. She is strong, gentle, and powerfully alive.

I am more than prepared to continue walking this road with you my sister, wherever it may lead us; and I have much to learn.

From just one of your brothers who loves you,

Monday, April 11, 2011

DAY 189 - No Better Gift from My Kids

Kenn and Jenny
I’ll tell you the backstory on another day, but wanted to say that my kids, Jovi and Kenn, give me the greatest birthday gifts.

What I really wanted was a guarantee of their health; but that wasn’t possible. So I asked for the next closest thing; I select a book on health, they read it, and then provide me with a book report on what was valuable to them.

Each year they learn more about health, and each year they know that their wellbeing is one of the most important things in my life.

This last October, for my 59th birthday, Kenn, and his sweetheart, Jenny began reading The Better Brain Book by David Perlmutter, MD. Let me say here, that Kenn and Jenny have had a very busy life recently. On March 27, 2011, they finished and delivered their book report.

My kids have been giving me these gifts since 1997, but, for the first time, Kenn and Jenny created their report as a video that is now available for all on Vimeo at:

I am so grateful for this gift and for my kids’ interest in health! I am comforted by their closeness and increasing connection to health. Feels good now, great design for the future! Doesn’t get much better!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

DAY 187 - Folks Without Homes

photo courtesy of at flickr commons
folks without homes
at the street corners
looking into my eyes

cardboard signs
asking me my role

light’s red
can’t drive away

my gut winces
got to feel
got to see

what is it that I want to go away?
the folks without homes?
or my feelings?

as long as there are folks without homes
you and I have the opportunity to lend a hand
or just drive by, as I often have

I wasn’t intentionally unresponsive
I just didn’t have a plan

part of my current plan is ( lift up your voice )

my thanks
to those who didn’t let me
just drive by

KY - 4/8/11

Friday, April 8, 2011

DAY 186 - Delicious Way to Prevent Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Guaranteed delicious; prevention can’t always be delivered with one recipe, nor guaranteed.

Zeaxanthin is the primary xanthophyll carotenoid in the central, macular portion of retina of the eye. Several observational studies have connected high dietary intake of foods providing zeaxanthin, with lower incidence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Zeaxanthin is found in many plant foods, including collard greens.

So, please, let’s start with a 6 foot-tall tree collard.

Harvest lots of leaves.

Chop into thin strips.

Lightly stir-fry in olive or coconut oil, with a splash of gluten-free tamari.

Serve on a bed of freshly steamed brown rice, with just a squeeze of lemon.

Now, don’t tell me you can’t see better!

Health Note: let’s face it, we all know that our lives and health are improved when we eat lots of fresh, organic vegetables; especially greens.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

DAY 185 - Path to a Dairy-free Cancer Cure

photo from the Center for Food Safety
This is more like stepping stones in a stream of consciousness, rather than a path, but, walk with me if you will.
We start in 1961; me with severe back pain at age 10.
My first chiropractic treatment in Fillmore, CA in 1976.
I graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1982.
In 1991, Dr. Steven Shuel, chiropractor, brings me an audio tape of a lecture on inflammation, by biochemist, Jeffrey Bland, PhD.
Almost overnight I recognize Dr. Bland as my first (and still only) professional mentor.
I subscribe to Dr. Bland’s Preventive Medicine Update (PMU); a monthly review of cutting-edge, scientific medicine (now called Functional Medicine Update).
In 1991 Dr. Bland interviewed Sherry Rogers, MD on PMU regarding her new book, Tired or Toxic?
I subscribed to Dr. Rogers newsletter – Total Wellness – in 1999.
Today, April 7, 2011 – sorting through a stack of Total Wellness newsletters, my attention was drawn to the title, Cancer is Just a Label, in the December 2006 edition. The story was that of a remarkable woman and a remarkable cure through foods, of a would-be-terminal, metastatic, multi-organ cancer.
I searched the internet to see if I could learn more about this case, and found
On this webpage I read the following:
Healing Metastatic Cancer with Diet By: Janet Vitt, R.N, B.S.N.
“Looking back, I think the main cause of my problems was cheese. I was obsessed with cheese. Not a day passed when I didn't eat it. I loved cheese omelets, I enjoyed cheese on hamburgers, and added cheese to all my vegetables. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, after aerobics class, I would come home and eat cheese and crackers. I was a cheese-a-holic.
There were several positive side effects of practicing macrobiotic. The migraine headaches I suffered from for over 20 years were now gone. The Joint pain in my knees and ankles, which I attributed to playing tennis and growing old, disappeared. My restless nights of sleep and waking to go to the bathroom became a thing of the past.”

The End
50 years of hopping from stone to stone. It has been an interesting and valuable path for me. One of the clear threads that runs from beginning to end is; Warning! Dairy may be dangerous to your health!

Dairy products were clearly the single greatest cause of my own arthritis, back pain, fatigue and digestive issues. Janet Vitt suspects dairy products as being central to her nearly fatal cancer. In practice since 1983, I have seen the following conditions caused by dairy products: headache, migraine, ear infections, ringing in the ears, sinus infections, acne, tonsillitis, vertigo, neck pain, TMJ pain, back pain, knee pain, muscle pain, neuritis, arthritis, reflux, constipation, intestinal gas, nausea, gastritis, bedwetting, frightening dreams, carpal tunnel syndrome, menstrual cramps, menopausal symptoms, anxiety, depression, fatigue, sciatica, elevated blood pressure, hyperactivity, colds, flu, snoring, asthma, and weight gain.

Let the eater beware!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

DAY 184 - A Moment of Compassion at TJs

Another hectic afternoon; I scurried down the aisles dodging slower-moving shoppers. Our new Trader Joe’s just opened last week in Midtown Ventura and the place was a mad house. No question, I wasn’t present, in that spiritual sense. I wasn’t in-the-moment.

My shopping didn’t take long, and fortunately my hyperactivity was slowed by the checkout line. I took a cleansing breath. Felt the humanity that surrounded me. Became aware of the chill of the one quart plastic container of organic carrot juice in my right hand, and was grounded again.

Awakening, coming to my senses, I reflected on the music playing throughout the store; 60’s music. While scurrying through the aisles, thinking only of myself, I had snapped my fingers, sang softly, and had even thrown in a subtle dance step or two, as I grooved to the music of my generation.

But my reclaimed cosmic clarity snapped me out of self-centered indulgence. As Manfred Mann sang Doo Wah Diddy Diddy over the store's Muzak, I realized the suffering of the young TJ’s staff as they toil through their days, serving us while being ground down by the relentless loop of 60’s music.

Carried back in time, I heard my parents’ music, and quickly turned it off. I cringed, knowing that these young people can’t turn it off.

Now at the front of the checkout line, I waved off the disposable bag, and in a very caring tone told my “crew member” that I felt her pain at having to listen, non-stop to her parents’, my generation’s music.

We had a good laugh. She sensed that I was totally present, maybe even hip, and the beat went on.

PS – Note to TJ’s General Management; please don’t take this compassion thing too seriously. Many of us in the last third of our lives, love your music. The kids can take it. And who knows, maybe we old-folks are in a better mood when we greet our “crew member” at check out.

Friday, April 1, 2011

DAY 180 - The Yoga of Nuclear Power

photo courtesy of topato at Flickr Commons
doing my yoga today

responding to the ever-tightening nature of human existence

asking myself, to what degree the restriction and mild soreness in my traps, lumbar spine and hamstrings are the result of my fear that we humans will continue to choose instant gratification over care and safety, as we are now by creating dangerous nuclear power plants, and leaving a legacy of highly toxic radioactive waste for countless generations of our children, at incalculable expense, over hundreds of thousands of years

is that any way to treat our children?

ah well .... back to my yoga

I’m not ready for rigor mortis yet