Keith McFarlane of
HealSA & Light in SA, is writing a series of articles for the
Citizen newspaper's monthly CITI HEALTH section
printed on the last Tuesday of every month.
The articles are in order from
first through to most current.
Should you have missed an article in the newspaper
please click on the quick link's indicated below.
CITI HEALTH ARTICLES
Food for Thought |
Bone of Contention |
Heartfelt Thanks |
Hormonally Yours |
Boys to Men |
Up in Smoke |
The Simple Life |
Detox for Energy
| Health in the Sun
| Keeping Abreast With Cancer
Thanks for the
HPV - Get Informed
Food for Thought
- Article by Keith McFarlane
for CITI HEALTH
‘Food glorious food - don’t care what it looks like’. For most people
there is a deep sense of comfort that comes from eating, we eat to
celebrate and to mourn, we do lunch to ‘seal a deal’, catch up over a
small bite and even keep ourselves company with a midnight feast. It
seems that everything we do revolves around eating – we work to earn
money, to put food on the table, to sleep it off and then start all over
You are what you eat
It seems logical to assume that whatever we put into our mouths will
have an effect on our health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, in all of our
revelry, we seem to have forgotten Hippocrates’ sound advice “Let food
be your medicine and medicine be your food”.
According to the Dietary Goals of the United States; ‘without commitment
to good nutrition, people will continue to eat themselves to poor
health.’ The study further suggests that ‘six of the ten leading causes
of death have been linked to our diet.’ These include heart disease,
cancer, obesity, stroke and diabetes.
World Diabetes Day
The world is currently facing a diabetes pandemic. Every 10 seconds a
person dies of diabetes related causes, while in the same 10 seconds
another two people develop diabetes. Currently 246 million people are
affected by the condition worldwide and that figure is expected to reach
380 million by the year 2025.
In South Africa, approximately 1 in 5 people over the age of 35 has type
2 diabetes and more than 50% of them do not even know it. Following the
current trend, 1 in 3 children born after 2000 will have diabetes;
however it at the turn of the century (when our eating habits were more
natural), it was under 1 in 100.
Most of what we eat is broken down into glucose, which is used by the
cells of the body to produce energy for health and wellbeing. Diabetes
is a metabolic condition where glucose levels become elevated, either
because the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the cells have
become insulin resistant. In both cases, the body cannot get the energy
it needs from your food. In addition high blood sugar levels increase
the risk of heart and kidney disease, strokes as well as nerve and eye
The number one risk factor for diabetes Type 2 is obesity. Greater
weight means a higher risk of insulin resistance, because fat interferes
with the body’s ability to use insulin. Closely following that is a
sedentary lifestyle - inactivity and obesity go hand in hand. Exercise
lowers blood sugar levels and increases the uptake of glucose by muscle
cells, which have more insulin receptors than fat cells.
Perhaps the underlying trigger for both obesity and inactivity is
unhealthy eating - diets comprised of processed, refined and artificial
foods, high in fats and sugars and almost devoid of fiber. Diabetes is
commonly thought of as incurable; however, depending on the type and
severity of the condition, most patients are required to follow a strict
regime of diet, exercise and a lifetime of medication.
In his book, ‘There Is a Cure for Diabetes’, world-renowned holistic
medical doctor Gabriel Cousens offers a breakthrough approach to reverse
type-II diabetes through practical changes in nutrition and well-being.
Using mainly green juice fasting and live foods, Dr Cousens has shown
that it is possible to get people off their medication within 4 days and
return fasting blood sugar levels to less than 100 in just 21 days.
Raw for 30 Days
To document his program, Dr Cousens invited six people who had been
diagnosed with Diabetes (type 1 and 2) and who were eating the
traditional American fast and junk food diet to spend 30 days with him.
Each participant had to give up give up meat, dairy, sugar, alcohol,
nicotine, caffeine, soda, junk food, fast food, processed food, packaged
food and even cooked food. The entire program was filmed by an
independent documentary maker, including before and after case studies
and the results were exceptional. By the end of the month, following a
live food lifestyle, all of the participants’ blood tests were normal;
they had cured their diabetes.
• Digestive enzymes should be taken before every cooked meal to optimize
digestion and reduce pancreas workload. Take 1 to 3 caps, depending of
size of meal.
• Cinnamon stimulates fat cells to respond to insulin, greatly reducing
blood sugar levels. Take a quarter to one full teaspoon every day
• Chromium is essential for the action of insulin. Some scientists
believe that chromium deficiency may be the underlying cause of insulin
resistance, as sugar overloading increases the levels of chromium
excreted in the urine. Always consult with your doctor before
supplementing with chromium, as it may affect medication. A safer
alternative is Brewer’s Yeast, take 3 tablets with each meal.
Bone of Contention
- Article by Keith McFarlane
for CITI HEALTH
It is well known that as we get older, men
need to supplement their diets with zinc to maintain prostate health,
while women need calcium to protect their bones.
Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become thin, fragile and
highly prone to fracture. It is one of the most important health issues
facing middle-aged women, especially after menopause. While there is
currently no cure for osteoporosis, treatment of the symptoms includes
calcium supplementation, exercise, nutrition and estrogen replacement.
While 99% of the body’s calcium is found in the bones, it is also
necessary for a number of other important functions like regulating
blood pressure, secreting hormones, blood clotting, muscle contraction,
nerve conduction and maintaining cell membrane functioning.
If there is not enough circulating calcium to support these functions,
the body will make withdrawals from the bones to compensate this
The most common approach to calcium deficiency is supplementation;
however studies show that food sources provide better bone mineral
density than supplements. Foods high in calcium include spinach and
other greens, sesame seeds, sardines and oranges.
Our bones are fully developed by the time we reach 30 and from then on,
we lose a small percentage of bone density every year. This is accepted
as a part of ‘growing old’, however it has been noted that inactivity
can also lead to reduced bone density. The extreme of this is
experienced by astronauts, who lose 15% of their bone density after just
two weeks in space. In this microgravity environment, the cells of the
body register the decrease in gravitational pressure and literally
downsize. This also happens to people who are bedridden for long periods
and even to those living a sedentary lifestyle – it just takes longer!
Weight bearing exercise is essential for maintaining strong healthy
bones as the extra weight stimulates the weight bearing bones to
remineralise and increase in density. Unfortunately, most women do not
regularly pump iron. One of the most powerful ways that NASA identified
to recondition their astronauts was rebounding. By increasing the force
of gravity, rebounding on a mini trampoline strengthens every cell in
the body, without the jarring impact of hard surface exercise.
The D Factor
Aside from our sedentary lifestyles, most people do not get adequate
daily sun exposure. As well as being essential for good immune
functioning, Vitamin D is also important for efficient absorption of
dietary calcium, making it vital for the strengthening of bone tissue.
Depending on your skin tone, you may need as little as 15 minutes a day
to satisfy your daily vitamin D needs.
One of the most important balances the body strives to maintain is that
between acid and alkaline. Acidosis or increased blood acidity has now
been linked to all degenerative processes in the body, including
osteoporosis. As our bodies become more acidic through environmental
toxins, poor diets and lack of exercise; alkaline minerals are drawn out
of the tissue to compensate and neutralize the acids. One of the most
potent alkalizers is calcium.
According to some schools of thought, osteoporosis may not be a sign of
calcium deficiency, but rather one of acidosis; in which case simply
taking calcium supplements will not do the trick, you must alkalize.
The most natural way to alkalize is through an alkaline diet
(particularly green vegetables), moderate exercise and cleaning out your
colon, which leaks acidic toxins back into the blood stream. It is also
important to eliminate foods that cause acidity like processed, refined
and artificial foods, meats and dairy products.
This also explains the link between menopause and osteoporosis. In his
book “Natural Way to Sexual Health’, Dr Henry G. Bieler suggests that
toxic blood finds an outlet through the menstrual function. This is
echoed in a number of traditions, which see the menses as a cleansing
process. With the onset of menopause, this all important function is
lost, leaving the body vulnerable to the ravages of acidity. Dr Bieler
further suggests that menopausal hot flushes arise because the body is
no longer able to eliminate toxins through the menstrual cycle. By
following a purer, natural diet and clearing their colons, many women
have found that the menses lighten and in some instances disappear all
together. In addition, associated symptoms also disappear leading the
way to a more healthy transition at menopause.
Once again, the secret lies in simplicity - breathe, bounce, drink pure
water, eat healthfully, get some sunshine and of course rest.
- Article by Keith McFarlane
for CITI HEALTH
Hearts are traditionally recognised as symbols of love; however with
heart disease one of the leading causes of death in the world, one might
be left wondering how much we love or even appreciate our own hearts.
Weighing less than a half a kilogram, the average heart beats about 100
000 times a day, pumping over 7500 litres of blood through the 95 000km
of blood vessels in the body. It takes about 20 seconds for blood to
circulate through the entire vascular system and in a 70 year lifetime,
the heart will beat over 2.5 billion times and pump more than a million
barrels of blood.
As one of the hardest working organs in the body, the heart’s vital role
of circulating life-giving oxygen to every part of the body, is often
thanklessly taken for granted. Worse yet, most of us increase its daily
workload through our lifestyle and dietary choices.
Fortunately, taking care of our hearts may not be as difficult as we
Heart Lung connection
At the turn of the 20th Century health pioneer Prof Arnold Ehret offered
the radical opinion that the blood stream drives the heart and not the
heart the blood. He believed that the lungs create the pressure that
maintains circulation, while the heart acts as a valve, regulating the
flow. He noted that increased breathing would increase the pressure and
therefore the speed of the heartbeat as would increased muscular
tension, whether through exercise or stress.
Most people have erratic breathing habits and live stress filled,
sedentary lives, which creates an imbalanced pressure and puts a strain
on the heart and the vascular system.
Healthy Heart Step 1
• Take time out throughout your day to stop what you are doing and take
a few deep relaxing breaths. Extend your out breath by half again to
reduce accumulated pressure (in for 4, out for 6).
• While breathing, relax your body from head to toes and breathe out all
your stress and tension.
• Take regular aerobic exercise like rebounding or brisk walking to
maintain good blood flow.
Prof Ehret also noted that when a stimulating or sedating poison was
introduced into the bloodstream, it would also affect the heart rate;
this includes coffee, tea, alcohol, sugar, salt, nicotine and drugs.
Healthy Heart Step 2
• Reduce or eliminate your intake of ‘poisonous’ substances and increase
your intake of pure water.
Erratic breathing habits and inactivity inevitably lead to poor eating
habits, which always result in an accumulation of toxins. Prof Ehret
discovered that health and vitality are directly affected by the amount
of acid waste or mucous in the system. More recently Dr Robert O Young
has confirmed these findings; in his book ‘The pH Miracle’, he suggests
that an imbalanced pH can lead to higher LDL levels (bad cholesterol)
and increased fat tissue, both of which are linked to heart disease and
Healthy Heart Step 3
• Cut out acid forming processed, refined and artificial foods and
reduce your intake of animal products and cooked starches.
• Increase your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables (especially
In addition to a healthful diet, add the following happy heart foods to
• Blueberries for antioxidants, which protect the arteries from free
• Oatmeal for fiber, which reduces LDL levels
• Salmon for Omega 3 essential fatty acids, which lower blood pressure,
reduce blood clots and protect the arteries from plaque build up
• Garlic and ginger to stimulate circulation and promote healthy blood
The Heart Warming Spice
Cayenne pepper deserves a special mention for its heart health benefits.
Apart from stimulating blood flow, balancing blood pressure and
strengthening the heart; cayenne also helps blood vessels to regain
their youthful elasticity, cleans the arteries and has been known to
stop a heart attack and a stroke in just 30 seconds.
Healthy Heart Step 4
• Take ¼ teaspoon (building to a full teaspoon) of cayenne pepper in
warm water every day. Add a squeeze of lemon to boost the detoxifying
If life is becoming too serious, lighten up for the sake of your heart.
Research has shown that laughter can relax blood vessels and increase
blood flow for up to 45 minutes after a laugh attack.
- Article by Keith McFarlane
for CITI HEALTH
As much as we would like to believe that gender equality has finally
arrived; when it comes to health, you still seem to be juggling a few
more balls than men. Don’t get me wrong; as men, we certainly have our
own unique challenges to face, but I have yet to hear a man say ‘My
hormones are raging!’
We live in an age when women’s hormones are out of balance. It may be
that this has been going on for as long as there has been gender
inequality; however more and more evidence is emerging that hormonal
imbalance can be linked to our current way of life, producing symptoms
as diverse as anxiety, fatigue, mood swings, unwanted hair growth and
water retention to acne, depression, low libido, infertility and cancer.
The human body is literally a chemical soup, with billions of chemical
reactions taking place every moment. Hormones are the intrepid chemical
messengers produced by the endocrine glands that orchestrate the
organized chaos; responding to our ever changing state of mind and body.
Their job is to make sure we live in harmony and balance.
Estrogen and progesterone are two important female hormones that are
produced in a woman’s body between puberty and menopause. Ideally they
are produced and released in even quantities; however estrogen
production can sometimes increase, causing an imbalance to occur.
Most of the problems unique to women are related to this increase in
Causes of Imbalance
Some argue that chemicals and pollution are responsible for many cases
of hormonal imbalance in women; however current medical opinion favours
disease, genetics and lifestyle as the culprits. Other possibilities
include medication, oral contraceptives, antibiotics and pain relievers.
One thing seems logical, adding unnatural chemicals to the soup, will
surely spoil the broth.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), one of the most common conditions
linked to hormonal imbalance, is more commonly found in families with a
history of the disorder. While the causes of the disease are not really
understood, it is believed that chronic stress, nutrient deficiencies
and excess consumption of animal foods may contribute to the disease. It
is worth bearing in mind that most non-organic animal products available
today are seasoned with antibiotics and hormones.
Exercise and weight reduction have shown to be highly beneficial in the
treatment of PCOS. In addition, a diet high in fiber and low in simple
carbohydrates and animal products will help to regulate blood sugar and
circulating insulin levels as well as reduce the risk of diabetes and
heart disease, which are associated with PCOS.
The Fat Issue
Many breast tumours are fueled by estrogen, with research showing the
higher the level, the greater the risk. Studies have revealed that the
amount of estradiol produced by a woman’s body corresponds to the amount
of fat in her diet. High fat diets increase production, while low fat
diets decrease it. It has also been found that fat influenced high
estrogen levels may hasten the onset of puberty, which also increases
the risk of breast cancer.
In 1840, the average age of puberty in western countries was 17, while
today young girls reach puberty by 11 or 12 and in some cases even
younger. In his China Diet Study, Dr Colin Campbell discovered that the
lower the fat content and the stricter the vegetarian lifestyle, the
lower the estrogen levels and the later the onset of puberty. He also
found a virtual absence of coronary heart disease, osteoporosis and very
low rates of western adult cancers.
In addition to the high fat content of the western diet, it is also
notably low in fiber. This is primarily due to the high inclusion of
animal products, processed, refined and artificial foods. Low fiber
diets always lead to constipation, a problem more commonly experienced
by women. The link between toxic waste build up in the colon and
estrogen dominance is now becoming more evident.
Ideally we have a healthy 80-20 balance of good to bad bacteria in the
intestines. Dr Denis Burkitt noted that the type and number of bacteria
in the colon was influenced by the type of food eaten. This in turn
influences the stool volume. The more fat eaten, the more bile salts
produced in the intestinal tract and the greater the number of
unfriendly bacteria, which convert the salts into carcinogenic
substances. By increasing fiber intake, the concentration of salts is
diluted and they are removed much quicker, reducing their impact. In
addition good bacteria have a neutralizing effect on estrogen and bile
salts. Without them, estrogen is reabsorbed into the system, throwing
the balance. This estrogen leakage is now a main factor linked to breast
The first step to restore hormonal balance, is to optimize your body
weight by eliminating fatty, processed foods, simple sugars,
hydrogenated and transfats and reducing animal products. Increase your
water and fiber intake, as well as essential fatty acids (omega 3’s) and
cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. It is also
important to rebalance your intestinal flora with a good quality
While men may never fully understand the mystery of women, perhaps we
with a better understanding, we can be a little more compassionate, when
‘you get a little crazy!’
Boys to Men
- Article by Keith McFarlane
for CITI HEALTH
If there’s one thing about men that makes
a woman see red, it’s the inherent stubbornness displayed when it comes
to asking for directions. We would rather ‘drive in’ head first, boldly
going where no man has been before, than admit we don’t know where we’re
going; or worse yet, lost. Women on the other hand take comfort in
preparedness, ensuring that every eventuality is covered; from wet wipes
and snacks to the odd change of clothing and if you need help, just ask.
In ‘defense of the caveman’, every young boy is traditionally encouraged
from an early age, to take the initiative and develop the leadership
skills that will one day earn him the proud place of patriarch in his
family, his place of work and maybe even his community. Now while this
idea might seem dated, and women are more than capable leaders; when it
comes nurturing, women tend to have the genetic upper hand. From a young
age, women are prepared to be prepared.
This is all too evident, in matters of personal health. Every mother
knows that she will have to guide her daughter through the intricacies
of personal hygiene and the ‘dangers of boys’; while fathers on the
other hand, focus their son’s attention more on the finer details of
‘braaivleis, sunny skies, rugby and Chevrolet’.
Anything below the belt is left strictly for the developing imagination
and in the spirit of all great pioneers - ‘keep trying until you get it
right’. Most men cringe at the thought of having a heart to heart with
another man about their more personal issues; preferring to discuss the
intricacies of a camshaft and bearings rather than their own penis and
testicles. The dangers of this approach however, are now becoming all
While relatively rare, testicular cancer is seen as a young man’s
disease, commonly affecting young men between the age of 15 and 45. With
the incidence rising, it is alarming to find that only 28% of men
regularly check their testicles for abnormalities.
It is important to recognize that many of the health risks that men face
can be prevented and treated if diagnosed early enough. One thing is for
sure; men need to become more aware of their bodies (aside from their
muscles) and more willing to ask for help when necessary.
While the causes of testicular cancer are largely unknown, risk factors
include having an undescended testicle, abnormal development of the
testicles, genetics and most interestingly race and ethnicity, with the
risk for Caucasian men more than five times that of African and twice
that of Asian men.
With early detection, treatment success is greater than 98%. You should
make an appointment with your doctor if you:
• find any lumps in your testicles
• experience burning or pain when you urinate
• have difficulty or delay in urinating
• find blood in your urine or semen
• notice a discharge from the penis
• experience pain during or after sex
Most men do not even know that they have a prostate until they reach
their 50’s, when the incidence of enlargement and risk of cancer greatly
increases. It is estimated that 80% of men will have an enlarged
prostate by the age of 80, while prostate cancer is now one of the
leading cancers affecting men.
Most men usually go for their first ‘check up’ at the age of 40. For the
uninformed, this can be a somewhat harrowing experience, often creating
a greater empathy for women. A PSA blood test can also determine risk
The most common symptom of a prostate problem is the need for frequent
urination; however, this doesn’t automatically indicate cancer. Other
signs can include pain when passing urine, blood in the urine, impotence
and hip or lower back pain.
Risk factors include:
• Age - more than 70% of prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over 65
• Race - prostate cancer affects 60% more African men than Caucasian
men, with Asian men showing the lowest rates, unless they have adopted a
• Diet – this may be one of the most important factors, connecting both
age and race to colorectal health. Studies have implicated high meat
consumption and poor fibre intake as potential health time bombs,
especially with regards to cancer.
It is evident that men need to be more
prepared, if we are to beat the current odds facing us. Regular self
examination as well as informed lifestyle and dietary choices can make a
world of difference. It all begins with understanding. When it comes to
health, there is no substitute for a good education - the earlier the
Up in Smoke
- Article by Keith McFarlane
for CITI HEALTH
tried the habit, it might seem a little biased on my part to comment on
smoking. However, in saying that, I still think the whole thing’s a
little absurd and what makes it all the more so, is smokers always seem
to be trying to quit. My question is: ‘why start in the first place?’
Whether you’re a smoker or not, I highly recommend listening to comedian
Bob Newhart’s sketch, in which Sir Walter Raleigh ’phones home’ to
explain the uses of tobacco to the ‘civilized world’. By the time he
describes ‘shredding the leaf, rolling it in paper, setting fire to it
and then inhaling the smoke’; the listener (amidst greater laughter)
replies ‘you’re going to have a tough time getting people to stick
burning leaves into their mouth!’
With an estimated 1.3 billion smokers around the world, it would seem
that we didn’t get the joke.
Smoking is now recognized as the leading cause of preventable death,
with an estimated 1 in 5 deaths linked to the habit.
According to the National Foundation for Cancer Research, if you smoke,
you have 10 times the risk of getting lung cancer than a non-smoker. You
also greatly increase your chances of developing other forms of cancer,
including adult acute and chronic leukemia and cancers of the throat,
mouth, larynx, esophagus, kidney, stomach, bladder, pancreas and cervix.
Besides cancer, smoking is also associated with a host of other
diseases, particularly heart disease and emphysema.
Tobacco smoke contains at least 43 carcinogenic or cancer-causing
substances, which can damage the DNA of living cells, causing them to
divide out of control. In addition, smoking not only harms the smoker’s
health but the health of those around them. Research has found that
exposure to second-hand smoke (passive smoking) can be just as
detrimental as smoking itself. In fact, children raised in a household
with a smoker suffer many more health problems, especially respiratory
illnesses, than children raised in nonsmoking households.
Nicotine is a drug found naturally in tobacco. When smoke is inhaled,
the nicotine is carried into the lungs where it is rapidly absorbed into
the bloodstream, then carried to the heart, brain, liver and spleen.
Several studies have found nicotine to be as addictive as heroin and
Because nicotine produces pleasurable feelings, smokers find themselves
wanting more and over time, as the nervous system adapts to nicotine,
tolerance to the drug develops. This usually leads to an increase
nicotine intake in order to attain the ‘feel-good’ effects. Those who
choose to break the habit, face both physical and psychological
withdrawal symptoms, such as nervousness, headaches, irritability and
Since the 1960’s smoking has been progressively outlawed, with media
advertising all but eradicated, health warnings on the pack and smoking
in public places banned. You’d think we got the joke!
Not so, according to a new report entitled ‘Big Tobacco’s Guinea Pigs’,
which reveals how the tobacco industry is responding to declining
smoking rates and ever increasing restrictions by designing and
marketing new and novel products to recruit new youth users, create and
sustain addiction to nicotine and discourage current users from
Current trends include:
• Candy, fruit and alcohol flavoured products, which mask the harshness
of the cigarette and make them easier to inhale and more appealing to
children and first time smokers.
• Novel smokeless products, to help smokers sustain their addiction in
the growing number of places where they cannot smoke.
• New products aimed at specifically at women and girls.
• A growing list of products marketed with misleading health claims that
they are less harmful than traditional cigarettes.
Time to Quit
What makes a sensible person want to fill their lungs with smoke? Most
smokers begin their habit in their early or mid teens, due to peer
pressure, a desire to fit in or as an act of rebellion. However, once
the addiction sets in, it becomes harder and harder to quit. In fact
most smokers continue their habit simply because they are unable to
Smoking is no joke. If you are serious about breaking your habit, there
are many successful programs available to assist you; however it all
begins with a decision. In the words of screen legend Yul Brynner, who
died of lung cancer, ‘Don’t smoke, whatever you do, just don’t smoke’.
The Simple Life
- Article by Keith McFarlane
for CITI HEALTH
The Dream Life
What it is that you most want in life; more money, a fancy car, a new
home, the job of your dreams or maybe even to meet that special someone
to share your life with. Rarely when asked, do people respond - better
All too often, health is taken for granted. When we are young, there are
far too many other things to think about; while as we get older, fading
health is accepted as simply an inevitable part of life.
One of the main problems we all have with health, is it is just too
complicated. Every week there is a new diet to follow - usually one that
contradicts last weeks miracle program; exercise is in, but is it 3
hours a week or just 30 minutes; and when it comes to supplements, do
they really help or is it just expensive urine?
It’s no wonder that the vast majority simply put their heads down and
carry on with life, hoping that the wheels don’t fall off too seriously.
Keeping it simple
Understanding the body can take years of study; however, meeting your
basic needs can be relatively simple – you need fresh air, good
hydration, quality nutrition, balanced exercise and rest and a little
bit of sunshine every day. Each of these is generally affordable and
available; however like health they are often taken for granted or worse
yet ignored due to lack of understanding.
How would you rate your breathing habits? If like most you have shallow
erratic breathing, then this is your first step to better health. Right
now, take a deep relaxing breath. Apart from relaxing your body and mind
and stimulating your circulation, by filling your lungs, you have just
boosted your oxygen intake by as much as 15 times. Oxygen is the most
important nutrient needed by your body. You can go weeks without food,
days without water, but only minutes without oxygen. Medical science has
now confirmed that oxygen deficiency is the underlying cause of all
illness and degeneration. Make it a habit to take at least 3 deep
breaths every hour of the day.
Next to oxygen, water is your next most important need. Making up about
70% of your body, water not only ensures optimum circulation for
nutrient delivery and waste removal, it also keeps your hydro-electric
cells pumping life giving energy. The most important times to drink your
water are: 2 glasses first thing in the morning (to replace fluid lost
through breathing and urination), a glass 15 minutes before major meals
(to assist in the digestive process) and another glass mid morning and
mid afternoon (to replenish lost fluid and keep your energy high).
When it comes to food choices, there are as many eating plans as there
are people. For optimum health, first cut out all processed, refined and
artificial foods as well as foods with added sugar and salt. These
should be replaced with whole foods like fresh fruit, vegetables seeds
and nuts, as well as quality grains, fish and meats. Work towards a
ratio of 70% fruits and vegetables (raw if possible) and 30% more
concentrated cooked foods. This will ensure that you are getting the
necessary building blocks to restore and maintain good health. Due to
soil deficiencies, it is a good idea to take a food state multi vitamin
and mineral supplement as well as an omega oil supplement (either flax
or fish oil).
Exercise, rest and sunshine
Most people have a very sedentary lifestyle. Rushing to the gym to pound
your body for an hour 3 times a week could be more detrimental for you
than good. Exercise should be enjoyable and functional, stimulating both
lymphatic and blood circulation as well as offering enough resistant to
the cells to ensure they stay healthy and strong. 10 to 20 minutes a day
of brisk walking, swimming and playing with children are all great
circulation boosters, while body-weight exercises like pushups, dips,
lunges and squats, performed 3 times a week will offer more than enough
On the other side of the coin it is just as important to get enough
rest. Apart from a good night’s sleep, take time out of your busy day to
simply relax into the moment. This will often be enough to revamp
flagging energy and get you through the day with some to spare. Winding
down is especially important before bed, as it allows your mind to calm
and encourages your body to fall asleep.
Get at least 10 minutes a day of ‘safe’ sunshine (before 10am and after
3pm) every day, to fill your essential vitamin D quota.
Life can be a full time job; however, keeping healthy can be as simple
as making sure your basic needs are met. It is only when we knowingly or
unknowingly take our health for granted, that we realize how precious it
is. Perhaps the most important ingredient to a healthy lifestyle is
gratitude. Life truly is a gift, one we should value above all else.
- Article by Keith McFarlane
for CITI HEALTH
part of the body below the waistline and you’ll be sure to elicit an
awkward response - from a nervous smile and a light blush to a cold look
that declares ‘we don’t talk about things like that’. We tend to shield
our discomfort by making fun of our reproductive system with a nudge,
nudge, wink, wink and a say no more. However reproductive health is a
very serious issue.
Throughout history, childbirth has been the leading killer of women and
even today, with our tremendous advances in medical understanding and
technology; a women dies and 30 others are seriously injured or disabled
during labour every minute of every day. The most common causes are
uncontrolled bleeding and infection and the most vulnerable are also the
most poor. In sub-Saharan Africa, the life time risk of maternal death
is 1 in 16 compared to 1 in 2 800 in developed countries.
Apart from the need for family planning and skilled obstetric birth
attendance, one of the major contributors is nutrient deficiency. Often
the result of inadequate dietary intake and poor bioavailability; this
inevitably leads to compromised immune functioning, affecting both
mother and child.
Aside from AIDS, the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases is
escalating, with worldwide figures for Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Syphilis
and Trichomoniasis now well over 300 million. While curable, they can
weaken the system, paving the way for more serious conditions to occur.
In addition, as many as 1 in 4 may be living with an incurable form of
STD like genital warts and herpes. Aside from the physical discomfort,
this can have devastating emotional side effects, which can greatly
influence the quality of intimate relations.
The most effective form of prevention is of course abstinence. However,
monogamy and using a condom can greatly reduce the risk and lay the
foundation for more responsible sexual practices and lifestyle choices.
In addition, according to statistics, cancer of the reproductive system
now ranks amongst the highest, with breast and prostate cancer being the
most prevalent. While there are many cofactors involved in the
development of cancer, it is clear that regular self examination is
vital for early detection and treatment. In addition, lifestyle and
quality nutrition are now recognized as key factors for reducing the
risk of contracting the disease.
It is estimated that about 40% of women and 30% of men suffer from some
form of sexual dysfunction. This includes infertility, lack of desire,
arousal problems, inability to climax or ejaculate, climaxing or
ejaculating too rapidly, physical pain during intercourse, not finding
sex pleasurable and anxiety about sexual performance. While not in
itself life threatening, this can seriously impair personal and
relationship wellbeing, adding to the emotional discomfort that may have
triggered the problem. Stress is a major factor; however other
underlying contributors include diabetes and obesity (two major health
concerns directly related to poor nutrition and inactivity) as well as
past abuse, unhappy relationships, smoking, drug abuse and alcoholism.
When it comes to reproductive health, the single most important factor
must be how we relate to ourselves. The current lack of respect for our
bodies and life itself is well reflected in our society; as evidenced by
the ever increasing rise in abuse, pornography and violence, not only in
the news, but also popular media. Could all of this have anything to do
with our early education?
From the moment we discover our most intimate parts, we are all too
often warned ‘not to touch’ and even reprimanded for being ‘naughty’.
Rather than enforcing this outdated Victorian attitude, which not only
shrouds the body in dark mystery, but also creates a deeper sense of
mistrust; isn’t it time we began teaching a deeper appreciation and
value for our incredible bodies. Let’s face it children are often taught
to take more care of their toys than themselves. In our mind dominated
world, the body is often seen as a functional necessity.
However when we remind ourselves of how miraculous it is that a single
cell can become a multi-trillioned, conscious living being; then it
would make sense to begin our education with a healthy attitude of
respect. After all a healthy mind creates a healthy body.
Reproductive health is much more than maternal mortality, family
planning, disease or sexual problems; it is a state of complete
physical, mental and social wellbeing. In short, it is an indication of
how we look after ourselves. Good breathing habits, hydration and
optimum nutrition coupled with appropriate exercise and rest and the
ability to communicate openly are a small price to pay for health and
vitality. Ultimately, it is about caring and self- responsibility is the
Good health is a birthright and the basis for having right relationships
both with ourselves and others and this in turn will inevitably lead to
a more peaceful, productive future for all
Detox for Energy
- Article by Keith McFarlane
for CITI HEALTH
One of the quickest ways to boost your energy and sense of wellbeing is
to undertake a ‘detox’ program. With the year newly underway, it is also
a good time to balance the indulgences of the festive period and give
your digestive system a well earned rest.
While traditionally seen as an alternative health practice, used to
complement the treatment of ill-health conditions; detoxification is
actually a very natural process and one that is constantly taking place
in your body. In fact your body is designed to constantly gather up and
remove toxins from in and around the cells, so that they can continually
produce vital energy and keep you living life to the full.
It is normal for your cells to contain some toxins; however it is only
when they accumulate to a point where they interfere with normal cell
function that problems can arise.
There are two major types of toxins that can accumulate in the body:
• environmental toxins like chemicals and pollutants that we are exposed
to through the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat
• metabolic toxins, which are produced naturally by the cells and by
microorganisms that assist in breaking down indigested food.
The first sign that toxins are building up is energy loss; however, if a
group of cells is affected, specific health challenges can develop. If
the condition continues, it is possible for the DNA of the cells to be
While most chronic health conditions are the result of a number of
co-factors; allowing your body to accumulate toxins can eventually
contribute to a wide variety of health problems including inflammation,
skin conditions, hormonal imbalances, chronic fatigue, major organ
dysfunction, autoimmune disease and even heart disease and cancer.
Most of the toxins released by the cells, or ingested from the
environment are broken down in the liver and then eliminated from the
body. Every time you urinate, defecate, exhale, cough or sneeze, your
body is eliminating toxins from your system.
As your exposure to toxins increases, so too does the process of
elimination. This can result in bad breath, nausea, diarrhea, skin
eruptions and headaches and can be misinterpreted as a cold or an
In order to preserve your health, your body will attempt to store some
of the toxins in your fat tissues. This is one of the reasons some
people find it so hard to lose weight.
Keep it Simple
The first step is to cut out or at least reduce anything that may
contribute to your existing toxic condition. This would include:
• all processed, refined and artificial foods as well as
• coffee, tea, alcohol, sugar and sweeteners, salt and animal products.
Now give your body the support it needs by:
• breathing plenty of fresh air
• resting physically and emotionally
• staying hydrated with purified water and herbal teas
• eating fresh, colourful fruits and vegetables
• gently increasing lymph circulation through rebounding
For most, an ideal time would be over a weekend; however this can be
extended to 10 days. Be aware that you may experience ‘detox’ symptoms
like light headedness, tiredness, nausea and headaches. Always cleanse
safely and when necessary under the guidance of a trained professional.
Be aware that chronic health conditions take time to develop and will
take time to heal. The secret lies in regular maintenance cleansing. In
addition, any positive benefits that you may gain will only last as long
as your dietary and lifestyle choices support your health. To get the
most from life, you need to be supporting your body’s self cleansing
mechanism every day.
HEALTH IN THE SUN
- Article by Keith McFarlane
for CITI HEALTH
Something magical happens
when the sun shines. It’s as though we get a new lease on life -
everything is bathed in a golden glow of health and vitality. When I
lived in the UK, I used to think they shipped a whole new nation of
people in, each and every summer - the difference was that noticeable.
Like bears, we seem to come out of hibernation, filled with a renewed
sense of purpose and vision. People genuinely seem happier, freer and
more sociable. Living in the Southern Hemisphere, we have the added
festivities of the year end and Christmas time.
The health benefits of the sun have long been recognized. Ancient
cultures worshipped the sun god Ra, as the bringer of life; while the
Indian Vedic scripts teach that all living beings get their energy from
the sun. Today, science agrees that life on Earth could not exist
without the sun.
Light energy is one the 50 essential nutrients that we need to build and
maintain our health; along with oxygen, water, vitamins and minerals, it
is a veritable feast for the body, mind and soul. Apart from providing
light and warmth, sun energy is absorbed by chlorophyll in green plants
and used to convert carbon dioxide and water into the nutrients that
perpetuate the food chain. While the effects of light depravation are
not as instant as a lack of oxygen, in the long run, they can be just as
One of the most recognized conditions relating to sun depravation is SAD
or Seasonal Affective Disorder. Occurring more in Northern Hemisphere
countries, SAD is characterized by depression associated with a lack of
light. A milder form, known SSAD or Subsyndromal Seasonal Affective
Disorder, can affect an even greater number of people.
Few people realize that our current indoor lifestyles may well be
creating the same depressing effect. Many people rarely experience sun
on their bodies, spending most of their days and nights in artificial
sub-lighting. One of the more successful remedies for SSAD is simply
getting more outdoor activity time, particularly on sunny days, to
increase solar exposure.
Throughout history, sunlight has been used as a healing protocol. In the
early twentieth century, heliotherapy was used to treat many disorders,
including tuberculosis, rickets in children and even war wounds; in
fact, hospitals were designed to allow access to more sunlight. Even
today, sunlight remains an important hospital design consideration, with
a recent study showing that spinal-surgery patients need much less pain
medication when assigned to bright, sunny rooms. Studies also show that
MS sufferers benefit greatly from basking in the sun. Studies show that
the incidence of MS is up to five times greater in the northern
hemisphere than near the Tropics.
Vitamin D Factor
Unfortunately, our reliance on medication and the flood of marketable
vitamin D enriched products, means that one of Nature’s most potent
healing aids has faded into the background. This has been greatly
accelerated by the fear of skin cancer. Few people now venture outdoors
without first lathering themselves with the highest available protection
factor sunscreen. Evidence suggests however, that this practice may
promote a vitamin-D deficiency that could well have life-long
Sun exposure is essential for the natural production of Vitamin D. It is
now well established that higher levels of vitamin D are associated with
lower levels of cancers of the breast, colon, kidney and reproductive
organs. It has been noted that people with Spinal Cord Injuries and MS
often have decreased levels of Vitamin D. Evidence suggests that Vitamin
D may also play a preventative role in diabetes, arthritis, high blood
pressure, cardio vascular disease and infections.
Safe in the Sun
While the sun has tremendous healing value, it can also be very
dangerous. As with anything, moderation is the key. The best times to
get sun exposure are before 10.00am and after 3.00pm. It is important to
be aware of your skin typing, as this will determine your safe sun
exposure time. Fair skinned people may only need as little as 5 minutes
a day, while dark skinned people may need as much as 4 hours to make the
same quantity of vitamin D. Supplementing with essential fatty acids
(Omega 3) will enhance the benefits of the sun and increase your natural
If you are spending longer periods in the sun or during peak sun time
(between 11am and 2 pm) always make sure that you are well protected,
with hats, clothing and appropriate sun screen lotion.
For more information and other sun related information, please visit
- Article by Keith McFarlane
for CITI HEALTH
The first time I heard about young women voluntarily having their
breasts removed, to prevent genetically inherited breast cancer, I was
shocked. However, prophylactic mastectomy, or breast cancer prevention
surgery is a very real option for women who are considered high risk due
to family history; even though they may never get cancer.
Aside from skin and lung cancer, breast cancer is one of the most common
and deadly cancers, affecting an estimated 1 in 8 women. More than 80%
of cases occur in women over the age of 50 and while the exact cause is
not yet fully understood, it is believed to be hormonally related.
Fortunately, early detection can make a significant difference in
fighting the disease and for this reason, regular self examination is
Every woman should become aware of her breasts, to determine what is
normal for her body and to be able to recognize any changes. Breast size
and shape vary considerably from woman to woman, as do nipple size and
shape. In addition, many womens’ breasts change before their menstrual
period, making them feel tender and lumpy. It is recommended that a
monthly self-examination should be practiced by all women over the age
of 18, the week following her menstrual period.
To examine your breasts, use a gentle circular motion and move the flat
side of your hand over each breast to check for any lump, hard knot or
thickening. Do not squeeze or prod your breasts. It is also important
that you feel around your collarbone and armpit for any swellings or
What should you keep an eye out for?
• A new lump or hard knot found in your breast or armpit
• Dimpling, puckering or indention in your breast or nipple
• Change in the size, shape or symmetry of your breast
• Swelling or thickening of the breast
• Redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin
• Nipple discharge, especially any that is bloody, clear and sticky,
dark or occurs without squeezing your nipple
• Changes in your nipple such as tenderness, pain, turning or drawing
inward, or pointing in a new direction
• Any suspicious changes in your breasts
If you should find any changes from what is normal for you, discuss your
concerns with your doctor. Remember that 9 out of 10 lumps are not
caused by cancer and will prove to be benign.
Bras - In their book ‘Dressed to Kill – the Link Between Breast
Cancer and Bras’, researchers Sydney Singer and Soma Grismaijer reported
that wearing a bra can increase the risk breast cancer, by compressing
the breast tissue and reducing circulation. Oxygen deficiency causes
cells to mutate and become cancerous. They found that women wearing a
bra 24 hours a day, had a 3 out of 4 chance of developing breast cancer;
women wearing their bras more than 12 hours a day, but not to bed, had a
1 out of 7 risk and women wearing bras less than 12 hours a day, had a 1
in 152 risk of developing breast cancer. Women who rarely or never wore
bras had a 1 out of 168 risk.
It is a good idea for every woman to gently massage around her breasts
and underarms, to stimulate circulation once she has removed her bra.
Dairy - There is a growing body of evidence to support the
contention that hormones found in dairy products increase the risk of
hormonally sensitive cancers. Indeed, some studies suggest that dairy
food may be the most potent factor in the development of breast cancer.
Further studies show that breast cancer incidence can be associated with
higher consumption of cheese, meat, and alcohol, while vegetable
consumption (particularly green leafy vegetables) and drinking 6 to 8
glasses of water a day offers significant protection.
Interestingly Eastern communities traditionally have a very low
incidence of breast cancer, until they adopt a more westernized
lifestyle. In China, the slang name for breast cancer translates as
‘Rich Woman’s Disease’.
THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
- Article by Keith McFarlane
for CITI HEALTH
Most of us have
faced that awkward moment of silence, when we frantically scan our
memory banks looking for a name to match the face of the smiling
stranger standing in front of us. Stress is usually to blame for these
momentary lapses and the best advice is to simply stop trying, relax and
your memory will return.
Unfortunately, for millions of people, memory loss can signify something
much more serious.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia found mostly in
people over the age of 60. It is a progressive degenerative brain
disorder, which causes thinking and memory to become seriously impaired.
First identified by Dr. Alois Alzheimer in 1906, Alzheimer’s Disease now
affects up to 10% of people between the age of 60 and 75 and as many as
50% over the age of 85. Statistics suggest that even though people are
living longer, healthier lives, the number affected by the disease may
triple by the year 2050.
The disease is characterized by widespread loss of brain cells, caused
by toxic ‘plaque’ deposits scattered throughout the brain and nerve
fiber ‘tangles’, which interfere with vital cognitive processes and
eventually choke off the living cells. As brain cells degenerate and
die, the brain noticeably shrinks causing not only memory loss but also
disorientation, inability to perform routine tasks, personality changes,
disturbed sleep patterns, loss of speech and bowel function and eventual
Mainstream medical opinion has not yet fully determined the actual
causes of Alzheimer’s disease and as a result, the condition currently
has no cure or effective treatment. However, numerous studies have shown
that risk factors can be greatly reduced by taking appropriate
precautionary measures. Professor David Smith, Deputy Head, Medical
Sciences Division at the University of Oxford goes as far to suggest
that ‘Alzheimer's is a preventable disease, not an inevitable part of
ageing.' Some of the possible related causes currently under
Some, but not all, studies suggest that an accumulation of aluminum in
the brain may be linked to Alzheimer's disease. One hypothesis suggests
that aluminum induces production of free radicals, which generate an
inflammatory response that may affect the progression of the disease.
In his book ‘What Really Causes Alzheimer’s Disease’, Professor Harold
D. Foster links mineral depleted soils – specifically calcium and
magnesium, which increases susceptibility to aluminum toxicity,
increased use of aluminum in everyday products like packaging, canning
and anti perspirants; as well as acidic drinking waters, which increases
the levels of dissolved aluminum with the rapid increase of the disease.
His book is freely available at www.hdfoster.com.
High levels of Homocysteine have been identified as a risk factor for
the development of cognitive disorders. Homocysteine is a toxic
substance produced everyday by the body during metabolic chemical
reactions. This substance is usually converted into important body
chemicals that are used to maintain health. These include SAMe a
powerful brain chemical and Glutathione, a very powerful antioxidant.
Specific nutrient deficiencies, including Folic Acid, Zinc and vitamins
B2, B6 and B12 can result in a build up of Homocysteine in the body.
High levels of Homocysteine have also been linked to cardiovascular
disease, poor blood circulation to the brain and silent strokes, which
are also associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s.
The old saying use it or lose it certainly seems relevant when it comes
to brain functioning. According to the Nun study, there is a
statistically significant correlation between using your brain at a
young age and the development of Alzheimer’s Disease. The study found
that people who have had mentally stimulating jobs tend to have a lower
incidence of the disease.
Old age should be about having wisdom, peace and happiness. You should
be able to enjoy good friends and family with many fond memories. Don’t
wait until it’s too late to start the fight for the health of your
brain. There are ways in which Alzheimer’s can be prevented, or have
it’s progress slowed or halted in the early stages. The key to beating
the disease lies in taking early preventive measures.
• Reduce potential aluminum toxicity, by avoiding aluminum linked
• Increase your intake of antioxidant rich foods to minimize free
• Regularly consume cold water fish to increase essential fatty acids,
which play an important role in brain health.
• Ensure that you are getting enough magnesium and calcium to reduce
• Increase your intake of foods rich in vitamins B2, B6, B12, Zinc and
folic acid to ensure that Homocysteine levels are kept low.
All of these nutrients are abundant in a diet rich in fruits,
(especially berries) vegetables (especially leafy greens), whole grains,
seeds and nuts. It is also important to drink plenty of water and keep
your mind and body active throughout your life.
HPV - GET INFORMED
- Article by Keith McFarlane
for CITI HEALTH
Commenting on health
issues can be a very precarious occupation. There are always at least
two sides to every argument and only time can tell how the big picture
plays out. This is especially true when it comes to the topic of cancer,
which can be a highly emotionally charged event with potentially
devastating consequences. It is important, when dealing with any health
condition, that we hear all sides of the debate, so that we are able to
make well informed decisions.
Cervical Cancer and HPV
In South Africa, an estimated 6 700 women develop cervical cancer every
year; this means a lifetime risk for 1 in 26 women. It is currently
believed that certain strains of the HPV or Human Papillomavirus are
responsible for this cancer.
Genital HPV infections are very common and are sexually transmitted. Of
the more than 100 types of HPV, more than 30 types can be passed from
one person to another through sexual contact. Although HPVs are usually
transmitted sexually, doctors cannot say for certain when infection
occurs. Most HPV infections occur without any symptoms and go away
without any treatment over the course of a few years. However, HPV
infection can persist for many years, with or without causing cell
abnormalities. Of the 100 strains, only 10 to 30 can cause cancerous
lesions on the cervix (the outer end of the uterus), making them the
primary culprit of cervical cancer. The rest lead to skin infections
that cause genital warts or common warts on the hands and feet. Certain
Recently, a new vaccine called Gardasil, which contains 4 types of HPV,
hit the market, offering women protection against the cancer linked
strains of HPV. While the initial possibility of eradicating the cancer
causing virus offers tremendous hope, the vaccine has also heralded a
clash between health advocates promoting the vaccine and social
conservatives who say immunizing teen-agers could encourage sexual
In addition, there are also those who question the actual threat of the
virus, believing that immunization, can in fact lead to a higher risk of
developing the cancer.
Following studies, the vaccine appears to be virtually 100 percent
effective against a few of the most common cancer-causing HPV strains;
however, if infection has already occurred, then it is not effective.
Mandatory for school girls
Promoters of the vaccine would like to see it become part of the
standard roster of shots that young girls receive just before puberty.
While this may prevent viral infection, it may lead to further health
complications as well as promoting promiscuity.
In addition, school-age boys are now being advised to get vaccinated
with the cervical cancer vaccine, based on the notion that boys could
get throat cancer if they have oral sex with an HPV-infected girl.
As of August 2007, a review of the National Vaccine Information Center
revealed the following, quite alarming, statistic about this: 2,207
adverse reactions to Gardasil have been reported. Among them:
• 5 girls died
• 31 were considered life-threatening
• 1,385 required a visit to the emergency room
• 451 of the girls have not recovered as of July 2007
• 51 of the girls were disabled
It should be mentioned however, that the
number of women vaccinated was not given.
What is Cancer?
When emotions are involved, most of us forget our basic understanding.
It is well known that cancer is an oxygen deficiency condition,
primarily due to poor immune functioning. It would therefore make sense
that our first line of attack would be to look at our lifestyles and
take steps to strengthen our immune systems. Otherwise we will always be
chasing a bug or one of its mutant strains.
If you eat right, exercise and keep stress under control, your immune
system should be healthy enough to clear up HPV. Secondly, while the
vaccine does show effectiveness, it is not fool-proof. You can still get
non-vaccine types of HPV even if you get vaccinated. It is wise not to
put all of your ‘eggs’ in one basket.
Finally, remember that HPV is a sexually transmitted disease, which
means that the risk can be greatly reduced by modifying your lifestyle