What a Healthy, Low-Carb Diet Looks Like

Diet decision concept and nutrition choices dilemma between healthy good fresh fruit and vegetables or greasy cholesterol rich fast food with a man on a crossroad The media really distorted the great work of Dr. Atkins, whose low-carbohydrate approach to eating became extremely popular about 15 years ago.

Dr. Atkins never said it was okay to eat hot dogs, sausage and grain-fed burgers as long as you don’t put them on a bun. He never said you could eat steak for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Of course, that’s what you heard in the media.

It’s true that most people are overweight because of high loads of bad carbohydrates. These carbs lead to a host of chronic illnesses. In fact, the marker for type II diabetes in a blood test is hemoglobin A1c, which is also an important longevity marker. Your hemoglobin A1c level is directly influenced by carbohydrates. This is why a healthy, low-carb diet will help prevent type II diabetes.

But that doesn’t mean you can just cut out carbs and load up on bad fats.

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What Are Prebiotics?


The Jerusalem artichoke is one example of a prebiotic-rich food

We’ve all heard of antibiotics. Most people know only of the antibiotics that are prescribed by doctors to fight bacterial infections.

Most of us have heard of probiotics. Probiotics are the good bacteria and yeasts that help with digestion and keep the gut healthy.  By maintaining this good bacteria our immune system functions better.

Yogurt is the most popular source of probiotics. However, once dairy has been pasteurized, it kills the live and active cultures. To receive all the benefits of probiotics in dairy, it must be consumed raw, which is nearly impossible in the United States.

Better food sources of probiotics include fermented foods such as sauerkraut, miso, kimchi, tempeh and pickles. Just make sure you read the labels. If the product has vinegar in it, it is no longer probiotic-rich. The vinegar acts as a stabilizer to extend shelf life and kills the bacteria. Live, probiotic-rich foods will be found in the refrigerated section.

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Understanding the Risk of Prescription Painkillers

prescription drugs, instructions and warnings.

In a previous post, I discussed why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered the makers of over-the-counter and prescription pain relievers to strengthen language on warning labels. Drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen increase the risk of heart attack and stroke by up to 50 percent when taken on a regular basis. Prescription pain relievers create an even higher risk.

Aside from making people aware of the dangers of these medications, I think it’s important to recognize how addiction to pain medication, especially prescription drugs, became an epidemic in our country.

Why is it that 44 people in our country die each day after overdosing on prescription painkillers like Vicodin and OxyContin, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)?

Why are prescription painkillers responsible for more fatal overdoses than cocaine and heroin combined?

Why does the non-medical use of prescription painkillers cost health insurers $72.5 billion each year? Continue reading

FDA Orders Drug Makers to Strengthen Warning Labels

photo of scattered ibuprophen

For many too many Americans, pain killers are part of the daily routine. We pop a pill or two in the morning and another pill or two at night to deal with everything from chronic back pain to arthritis to menstrual cramps. We use these drugs to reduce a fever, even though the body naturally raises its temperature to kill the virus.

Drugs may provide temporary relief from pain, but they could also be killing you, and killing you quickly.

Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered the makers of non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen to update their warning labels to include the following language:

The risk of heart attack or stroke can occur as early as the first weeks of using an NSAID. The risk may increase with longer use of the NSAID. The risk appears greater at higher doses.

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How to Implement a Corporate Wellness Program, Part 2

starting a corporate wellness program

In my last post, I started to explain the steps involved in launching a corporate wellness program. The process begins with understanding the true meaning of health and wellness, building a culture that supports those definitions, and choosing a health educator to serve as the spokesperson and advocate for your wellness program.

The health educator is the most important person involved with your wellness program and should have access to other qualified healthcare professionals who can help implement program services.

Not only should the health educator be a doctor who has been trained to lead a wellness program, but they need to be inspirational. Employees aren’t going to act on newsletters, emails and memos. They need to be motivated and educated through seminars, meet-and-greets, and 1-to-1 interaction.

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How to Implement a Corporate Wellness Program, Part 1

Health Health Care Disease Wellness Life Concept

Wellness program. It’s the hot thing to say and do these days. Companies ranging in size from mom-and-pop shops to large enterprises are realizing that a successful wellness program can reduce health insurance premiums.

Unfortunately, most wellness programs today are just fluff and givebacks. Give employees 10 percent off their gym membership. Give them 10 percent off at Whole Foods. Give them free yoga classes at lunch time.

The real giveback of a true wellness program is that you’re adding years to the lives of your employees. In some cases, you’re saving their lives.

Companies like Johnson and Johnson blazed the trail for corporate wellness because they’ve built a wellness culture. The Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 but Johnson and Johnson had a corporate wellness program back in the 1980s.

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The Physical, Mental and Financial Impact of Presenteeism

the cost of presenteeism

I’m sure you can remember more than one occasion when you were off your game at work. Maybe one of the kids was sick and you didn’t get much sleep, or your mind was elsewhere. You had a lousy day, but you got caught up the next day. It happens to the best of us.

But when your health affects your productivity on a regular basis, that’s a much more serious problem.

When employees are physically present at work, but chronic illness, pain or stress is affecting their job performance, this is called presenteeism. And it’s on the rise.

According to a 2012 study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 30 percent of respondents said more people were going to work ill than during the previous year. 52 percent of these companies noticed an increase in presenteeism.

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The FDA Drags Its Feet Again, But We’re Not Standing for It

caloriesThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is at it again.

A few weeks ago, I expressed my outrage that it took decades for the FDA to finally ban trans fats despite mountains of evidence that trans fats are unsafe. It took another year and a half to make the decision official, and the FDA is now giving food companies three years to eliminate trans fats.

But the hits just keep on coming.

Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that the FDA is giving grocers, convenience stores and other establishments that sell food more time to post the number of calories contained in each food product or menu item.

The rules, which apply to any food outlet with 20 or more locations, was announced last year after being delayed for several years, thanks the ever-present food lobby. Now, the deadline is being pushed back to December 1, 2016.

Apparently, we can look under the hood of a car and see a comprehensive list of what’s inside the car before we buy it, but we can’t do the same when it comes to food that we put into our bodies.

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Why Working 20-Hour Days with No Sleep Shouldn’t Be Rewarded

the problem with no sleep Natural Healthcare CenterI’ll never understand why some workaholics brag about their long hours like it’s a badge of honor. They claim working 20-hour days with little or no sleep gives them an edge and helps them get ahead.

Personally, I think that kind of workload is more likely to give you a heart attack or stroke.

I understand the value of a strong work ethic, not just as a doctor, but as a small business owner. In fact, I recently came down with shingles due to overwork. I know what it’s like to put in long hours every day.

But there’s a difference between putting in extra time to overcome a specific challenge or achieve a specific goal, and trying to sustain that kind of workload throughout your career.

Most people who put in such long hours claim to be able to get by on a few hours of sleep. After all, sleep is an option. Work is the only requirement.

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Understanding, Diagnosing and Treating Ankle Sprains

treating a sprained ankleSprains and strains are the most common sports injuries. More specifically, ankle sprains occur more frequently than any sports injury, according to WebMD, ahead of groin pulls, hamstring strains, shin splints, and ACL tears in the knee.

In the simplest of terms, an ankle sprain is caused by a stretching or tearing of the ankle ligaments. Ankle sprains typically occur after the ankle is twisted, or the foot rolls underneath the ankle.

Although ankle sprains are the most common sports injury, you don’t have to dunk a basketball, catch a touchdown pass, or hit a 300-yard drive to get hurt. In fact, people who don’t get enough exercise and sit around all day are very susceptible to ankle sprains because the ankle hasn’t been conditioned to handle activity.

If you think you’ve sprained your ankle, contact your doctor right away and proceed with the RICE protocol – rest, ice, compression and elevation – to reduce inflammation.

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How Many People Died While the FDA Did Nothing about Trans Fats?

Trans fat banI was in college when I first learned about the health risks associated with trans fat, or partially hydrogenated oils. That was 30 years ago.

Since then, scientific study after scientific study has revealed a direct link between trans fat and obesity, heart disease, cancer memory loss and other illnesses. Advocacy groups have been trying to get trans fat banned for about 25 years.

Yet food manufacturers weren’t even required to include trans fat information on labels until 2006.

And just last week, the U.S. Food and Drug and Administration finally announced that partially hydrogenated oils, the primary source of trans fat, are not “generally recognized as safe” and ruled that food manufacturers could no longer include it in food products.

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The Role of Acupuncture in Cancer Care

acupuncture for cancer care

As I’ve said many times on my blog, we have many tools in the Natural Healthcare Center shed that we use to help our patients feel better, function better and live longer. One important tool that can play a critical role in treating and preventing pain and illness is acupuncture.

In recent years, the American healthcare establishment has gradually begun to come around and accept acupuncture as a method for restoring balance in the human body. While acupuncture has been used to treat everything from headaches and sciatica to allergies and infertility, acupuncture is now playing an important role in cancer care.

In fact, a number of major cancer centers have staff acupuncturists, including Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, Dana Farber Cancer Center in Boston, MD Anderson in Houston, and Cancer Treatments Centers of America.

To be clear, acupuncture is not treating the cancer. The role of acupuncture in cancer care is to treat the symptoms associated with cancer care and the side effects of treatment. Continue reading

Don’t Assume You’re Being Healthy by Choosing Chicken

organic chickenWhen we go to the grocery store or out to dinner, and we want to purchase something healthy, the natural tendency is to look for chicken. Unfortunately, a deeper look into that chicken will usually show it’s far from healthy.

Did you know that the U.S. Department of Agriculture gave the green light for chicken raised in the U.S. to be sent to “certified” Chinese facilities for processing, and then sent back to the U.S. for consumption?

Aside from an awful food safety record in China, where more than $1 million in meat from rats and other small mammals has been sold to the public as lamb, no USDA officials will be onsite to inspect those facilities.

But you’ll avoid that chicken because you can just check the label, right?


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When We Know the Outcome Will Be Bad, We Need to Change

Changing your unhealthy habitsKnowledge of a likely or a guaranteed future outcome does not change present behavior.”

A friend of mine, who is an OB/GYN, recently said this to me when talking about risky sexual behavior and sexually transmitted diseases that she sees every day in private practice. In other words, people know something bad can or will happen when they behave a certain way, but they do it anyway.

This statement can be applied to virtually every aspect of our lives, particularly our health.

We know smoking, at the very least, takes years off of our lives and the lives of those who we subject to secondhand smoke. At worst, a smoker will get lung cancer and die at a very young age. But they keep smoking.

We know fatty foods, processed foods and artificially sweetened foods increase our risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, type II diabetes and other chronic diseases. But we continue to eat food from boxes, cans and fast food drive-thrus.

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A Shining Example of Embracing a Wellness Lifestyle

Citywell success storyOne thing I’m very proud of at Natural Healthcare Center is that we don’t just tell people what to do. We inspire people to make real behavioral changes and embrace a wellness lifestyle.

I bring this philosophy and approach to my role as health educator for the city of Long Branch’s CityWell program, a free educational and clinical resource created to help city employees and their families lead healthier lives. The program goes far beyond your typical wellness program that, frankly, tends to be more about hype than substance.

I provide health education seminars with the goal of educating and motivating people to make healthier choices and identifying what a real wellness lifestyle is. As a result, many employees have made permanent changes and reversed chronic illnesses such as pre-diabetes, type II diabetes, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Others have been able to better control a chronic illness.

By treating chronic illness with a real plan, we become healthier and save money.

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How to Make Your Commute Less of a Pain

easing the effects of a long commuteAccording to the Census Bureau, the average commute time in New Jersey is 30 minutes, which is 20 percent longer than the national average. Portions of Monmouth and Middlesex Counties reported average commute times of more than 45 minutes.

Long commutes do more than take up an hour or more of our day and cause aggravation. They can be physically and mentally painful.

Last summer, I wrote a post that explained why sitting can be more damaging to the human body than smoking. The human body was designed to be in motion, not to sit on the couch or behind the wheel of a car.

When we sit for extended periods of time, the discs in the spine become compressed. You could have the most comfortable seat in the most expensive luxury car, but you’ll still get aches and pains in the back, neck, shoulders and hips when you spend too much time sitting in that seat.

Sitting also makes it difficult for the body to burn calories and convert bad cholesterol into good cholesterol. Then we get fat, which increases the risk of a number of chronic illnesses. Continue reading

Sunscreen Does Not Make You Immune to Skin Cancer

skin cancer and sunscreenWhen you get a fever, that’s not the work of a virus. Your body is raising its temperature to burn out an infection.

But what do we do?

We take medication to suppress the fever so we can go to work. Instead of fighting the body’s natural mechanism for dealing with a fever, we should stay home, drink plenty of fluids, get plenty of sleep and let the body do what it was designed to do.

So what the heck does that have to do with sunscreen?

When we spend too much time in the sun, our skin burns. It hurts. That’s the body’s way of telling us to get out of the sun.

But what do we do?

We slap on sunscreen to block rays that burn from hitting our skin. But we’re not blocking all of the rays that cause cancer.

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Don’t Overlook Acupuncture as a Seasonal Allergy Treatment

acupunture and allergiesThe blooming trees and flower of spring may put smiles on our faces, but the pollen and mold spores can make us feel like we’re reliving our worst winter cold. Seasonal allergies bring congestion, sneezing, a runny nose and itchy eyes.

Seasonal allergies, which affect one in six Americans, occur when the body mistakes pollen and mold spores as harmful substances and attempts to fight them by releasing histamine and other chemicals. This causes inflammation that leads to discomfort and irritation.

How do most people deal with allergies? We load up on over-the-counter medications that provide temporary relief from allergy symptoms but do nothing to treat the problem.

One natural treatment option for seasonal allergies that’s often overlooked is acupuncture. The main reason acupuncture is overlooked is because our healthcare system focuses on treating symptoms with medicine instead of attacking the cause of illness and preventing disease through a wellness lifestyle.

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Want to Get into a Bikini by Memorial Day? Read This First.

warning again crash dietsEvery year, as people make resolutions to dive into the latest, greatest weight loss gimmick for the New Year, I remind them that this is a terrible idea. I guess you could call me the wet blanket of reality. It’s a title I wear proudly because that annual reminder always stops a few people from doing things that are unhealthy.

Of course, most of those New Year’s resolutions are abandoned after two weeks. Any weight lost during a crash diet quickly returns.

Fast forward to spring. A new flurry of resolutions emerge as everyone becomes obsessed with looking great at the beach. All it takes is a crash diet and a discounted gym membership to get shredded abs in eight weeks and turn heads in your bikini!


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Hammers Are Swinging at Natural Healthcare Center. Here’s Why.

Natural Healthcare Center 2nd Floor Renovations

The newly designed Physical Therapy and Nutrition offices on our second floor.

You may have noticed construction here at Natural Healthcare Center during the past few months. Rest assured that this is far more than a simple remodeling project. This is another investment in my 30-year journey that’s been dedicated to doing something different in healthcare.

It would be very easy for me to move to a small medical office, have a staff of three or four employees, work 20 fewer hours per week, treat fewer patients, and offer fewer services. But that would mean bailing on a 30-year journey, and I have no desire to do that. I started Proodian Healthcare because I wanted to do something beyond the norm. I didn’t want to take the safe route.

My goal is and always has been to create a new layer of healthcare. The layer between traumatic medical care and the horrific management of chronic conditions. This involves a great deal of risk and responsibility. It’s not easy. But it continues to be an incredibly rewarding journey.

I’ve very proud of the fact that I graduated from chiropractic school with 62 other people. I obviously wanted to be a chiropractor like everyone else, but I also saw the need for change that others may not have seen. I’m very proud of the fact that most people who come to Natural Healthcare Center, both as patients and as visitors, are enamored with our facility. What started as notebook doodle when I was a pre-med student in college has evolved into a true wellness facility.

Acupuncture, chiropractic care and other forms of healthcare are typically fragmented, but we’ve integrated them under one roof.

Not everything we do here makes money. But everything we do is based on a certain code and core values. Everything we do is driven by the desire to change healthcare. That’s what Proodian Healthcare, Wellness At Work and Natural Healthcare Center stand for.

We’re trying to change how healthcare works in this country and make things easier for our patients. That’s why the construction has been happening.

We’re welcoming a neurosurgeon, an interventional pain management doctor and a physician’s assistant for two reasons. First, we want to minimize the number of places our patients have to visit. Second, we want our patients to receive care in a truly integrated health and wellness center.

All business owners, not just in healthcare, should reinvest in their clients.

I respect my patients. I want them to have a clean bathroom. I want them to enjoy fresh fruit in the lobby. I want to be involved in my community. I want to provide them with everything they need under one roof.

The construction, the new specialists who will be seeing Natural Healthcare Center patients, the little details that make your visit an enjoyable experience – these are all part of a 30-year journey to do something different and change healthcare.

I hope you’ll join the Proodian Healthcare family and me as we continue our mission to help people feel better, function better and live longer.