Delicious wheat-free cheese blintzes

July 22, 2009


Cheese blitzes are easy to make without wheat. To make two blintzes, whip up three eggs and about 1/8 cup cream to make a thin batter. Pour out on a fairly hot buttered pan. As the blintz congeals, add cream cheese near one end and then roll it up. Let cook a little longer until the cream cheese melts. Serve with a fruit topping. This one is is leftover from a smoothy — blueberries, strawberries, whey powder, egg-white powder and a little honey.

Phil goes audio with ‘Mailbag’

July 16, 2009

Dr. Maffetone has launched a new feature to his website called “Phil’s Mailbag.” In this audio show he answers questions from readers of his website. In the first installment this week, Phil discusses Lance Armstrong, heart-rate monitors, artificial sweeteners and how to make healthy fudge.


Elvis, Johnny Cash and Michael Jackson

June 27, 2009

By Dr. Phil Maffetone

Elvis, Johnny Cash, and now Michael Jackson. These are just three famous musicians whose deaths appear to have been related to prescription drug use. But how many deaths from these drugs go unnoticed every day? Probably many thousands. 

We all know people who are taking a drawer full of prescription and over-the-counter drugs. We live in a “pill for every ill” society. Johnny Cash was taking, at his doctor’s advice, more than 40 prescription drugs each day. In my book “In Fitness and In Health” I discuss my work with Johnny, the negative effect these drugs may have had on his health, and ultimately, how they may have led to his death.

While illicit drugs often make headlines associated with musicians and other famous people, deaths associated with prescription drugs may be much more common. 

Michael Jackson may have been taking too many prescription drugs, too. As reported by National Public Radio, Jackson’s friend and attorney, Brian Oxman, said that in 2007 a pharmacist sued Jackson for prescription bills totaling more than $100,000. This debt occurred over a 13-month period! Oxman said he thought Michael should have received better health care.

Even worse are how the stories of these cases unfold. After getting Johnny Cash to the hospital via ambulance so he could say goodbye to family, I had a very restless night’s sleep. I awoke to the news of his death. In my Nashville hotel room, the TV reports said he died of diabetes. How absurd is that, I thought — another cover up.

What will the media — and all of Michael’s fans — be told about his death? I just hope more of the truth gets out about these cases so the real problem that caused them can be remedied. I’ve been the only voice to tell about part of the problem with Johnny Cash. Perhaps Brian Oxman and I, along with many others, can finally bring these issues to the public and professionals to help prevent the deaths of many more to come.

Measuring Fitness and Health: Part 1, Breathing

June 20, 2009

By Dr. Phil Maffetone

In the new 5th edition of “In Fitness and In Health,” I discuss many simple ways to evaluate various aspect of your health. This includes simple measurements such as body pH, evaluating your breathing and many questions pertaining to a variety of common signs and symptoms usually ignored by doctors. This is an important part of the overall philosophy of self-health care. In this first article, I’ll discuss breathing tests.


Earlier editions of the book contained other tests not contained in the new book, but just as valuable. I’ll highlight them in this mini series on Measuring Fitness & Health. They include other important breathing tests, making sense of other blood pressure numbers, a simple Step Test, the cold pressor test, morning pulse and the axillary temperature. 


Physical, chemical and mental imbalances often develop over time in most people. These problems occur less in a healthy body, mainly because of the innate ability of the body to correct its own problems (often before you even notice them). If this does not happen, a variety of subtle clues may emerge, even before more obvious signs and symptoms develop. You don’t want to wait until you develop more serious problems before realizing there’s something wrong. Measuring certain aspects of your body can help you find weak areas, enabling you to not only correct them but improve overall fitness and health — sometimes dramatically.


This series of articles will include some general tests you can easily perform at home or have done by a professional due to the need for special equipment. It’s important that you record the results of all these tests, including those a health-care professional may perform during a routine exam.


None of these tests are meant to replace the ones your health-care professional may wish to do. And, they are most accurate when viewed together, especially in conjunction with other standard diagnostic tests. The result of one test is not as meaningful as seeing the same test results over two or three consecutive days, weeks or months.


Breathing Tests

As discussed in the new “In Fitness and In Health,” one of the most important muscles in your body is the diaphragm. This large flat muscle, which allows us to breathe, makes up both the floor of the chest cavity and the roof of the intestinal cavity. There are three general tests we can use to measure the effectiveness of the diaphragm muscle. Poor breathing potentially is associated with a diaphragm problem, but also can be a reflection of overall poor health.


1. Breath-Holding Time is a simple test that measures the overall function of the diaphragm. It’s simple to perform. Take a deep breath and see how long you can hold it. This test is best performed while standing and with an empty stomach. Anyone in good health should be able to hold the breath for at least 50 seconds. If you can’t, it may indicate some functional problem, as discussed below.


2. Another test related to the diaphragm is Snider’s Test, which measures the strength of the diaphragm using the power in the breath. Carefully hold a lit match six inches away from your mouth. With your mouth wide open, try to blow the match out. You should be able to do so easily. (Don’t burn your hair!)


3. The Vital Capacity is a good test for measuring general diaphragm function, and is related to lung capacity. Vital capacity can be measured with a handheld spirometer, or with more accurate units that also measure the rate of expired air. Many health professionals have this equipment. The spirometer measures, in cubic centimeters (cc), the amount of air that you can force out of the lungs. This figure can be converted to a percentage of normal capacity, as related to your height. This conversion can be made by your doctor or calculated by the charts that accompany spirometers. You should be at least 85 percent to 110 percent on a scale that goes as high as 120 percent. Vital capacity is directly related to physiological age: the lower the vital capacity, the older you are physiologically, and vice versa.


Poor breathing function as indicated by any of these tests usually indicates a diaphragm muscle weakness. Often, it’s due to improper breathing, a topic discussed in detail in the new book. This can be remedied by re-learning to breathe properly.


Poor breathing is often associated with asthma. This is sometimes called exercise-induced asthma (they’re both the same problem). In cases that are not so obvious, measuring vital capacity at rest then again after an easy jog-in-place would show a worsening of lung capacity after exertion. In a healthy person, slight exertion should improve lung capacity. Asthma and ways to reduce or eliminate it are also discussed in the new book, including the use of the nutrient choline.


Other nutrients may also be related to poor diaphragm function, including low doses of vitamin B1.


Easy aerobic exercises won’t always correct a diaphragm problem, but will usually maintain it once it is corrected.

Glycemic Index Update: 2009

June 13, 2009

By Dr. Phil Maffetone


In 1981, the first glycemic index (GI) of carbohydrate foods was published. It was a major shift in paradigm from most previous studies on this subject because it considered the body’s response to food instead of just the food’s chemical composition. The concept that people can respond differently to foods containing the same amount of carbohydrates was not new — it’s been part of the holistic philosophy for centuries. I have used and referenced the GI in my writings often since that time.


As a quick review, foods listed at 55 and below are considered low glycemic, and those above, higher glycemic. In the middle areas of this very general scale are moderate glycemic foods.


Today, the glycemic index continues to be expanded and is accepted by most professionals and researchers as a valuable dietary guideline. The relationship between consumption of higher glycemic foods and heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other chronic illness is also well accepted.


The glycemic index does have drawbacks, mainly because many people abuse it. They do this by misinterpreting the data, twisting the information. For example, the GI is not a list of healthy vs. unhealthy food. Regardless of a food’s GI, it can be healthy or unhealthy. In fact, most of the foods on the GI list are unhealthy.


Another problem is the ability to manipulate a food’s GI. Many people have learned to lower a food’s GI by adding other food. For example, a French baguette has a very high GI of 95 (pure white sugar being 100). But add butter and sugary strawberry jam and it’s lowered to 68! That’s interpreted as: “Hey, I’m eating healthy.” No, it’s still junk food. You’ll still convert a significant amount of that carbohydrate into body fat!


Another problem is that people misread the GI numbers. Bananas are a good example. The average GI for five different bananas studied is 51. While many people would think that’s OK, that’s the same as ice cream and almost the same (52) as sweet corn, two foods a health-conscious person would avoid. And, consider the range of GI for different bananas: from a low of 30 to a high of 75! Clearly some bananas – the very small ones – have a much lower glycemic index while the common large ones are much higher.


Foods on the GI are from various locations around the world. The same food, whether grown natural or manufactured, can vary significantly by location. Coke in Australia, for example, has a GI of 53; In the US, 63. And cranberry juice can range from 52 vs. 68!


Other problems with using the GI as a concrete guide is that some of the results were obtained using healthier individuals while others were performed on diabetics. The difference can be significant. And, while eating low GI foods can improve blood sugar control they may not necessarily control weight or blood fats (an indicator of heart health).


While ripeness and other features of natural foods, and other aspects of manufactured foods can all affect GI, one thing is certain. Some foods that appear lower on the index, and often interpreted as healthy, may not be. For example, there’s a major difference in foods made up of single-sugar foods (monosaccharides) compared to starch (polysaccharides). Many people don’t digest starch well, which can adversely affect their gut bacteria influencing their entire system in an unhealthy way. So taking a fiber supplement or adding butter to your pasta won’t make it healthier — it still can induce sleepiness afterwards or bloating and intestinal distress.


Without looking at the big picture, the GI is just another cookbook type diet people blindly follow. Indeed, that’s what is happening. Thousands of people, seeking the ultimate diet, are GI-obsessed. The problem created by this movement is that many are grasping for unhealthy food under the guise of low glycemic.


Resveratrol? Avoid the hype, get healthier

June 9, 2009

By Dr. Phil Maffetone

Being online, you’re probably spammed by e-mails or banner ads touting the gross exaggerations about resveratrol.

Now, the facts. Resveratrol is found in red wine, grape skins, peanuts and Itadori tea (popular in Japan and China). Thousands of phytonutrients, including the various forms of resveratrol, have many potential health benefits. They can reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and the many other inflammatory-related conditions including Alzheimer’s. These compounds — only found in natural foods — have well-defined antioxidative, anticarcinogenic, antitumor and other properties that make them an important part of a healthy diet. 

However, as I discussed extensively in the new edition of In Fitness and In Health, isolating one compound from food is the least effective way to obtain its benefits. And, these cheaply made supplements may not provide any benefits. Worse yet, some can actually be harmful. 

There are numerous reasons for these problems. First, these compounds work with other phytonutrients (and probably other micronutrients) in foods. Isolating them out of food removes these synergistic benefits. In fact, studies show the therapeutic value of an individual substance should not be based on its isolated effects because it involves a synergistic enhancement of other compounds in the same foods. Resveratrol is just one of many examples.

Another potential problem is processing. Most compounds like quercetin and resveratrol are extracted from food using high heat. Not only are thousands of other nutrients (many that are even more potent) left behind, but the high heat may destroy or alter the therapeutic compounds in question.

Of course, if you eat junk food, thereby continually fueling your chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, taking some little purple pill or capsule won’t help you at all. 

The bottom line, whether it’s resveratrol, quercetin or one of the thousands of other phytonutrients with potentially powerful therapeutic benefits contained in natural food, the best, most effective and least expensive source is real food.

Real cancer prevention

June 5, 2009

Cancer prevention is a hot topic. But is the early detection promoted by the so-called health-care industry really prevention?


You go for your regular checkup for the usual tests. You heed the warning signs for cancer — changes in bowel or bladder habits, a sore that does not heal, unusual bleeding or discharge, or chronic indigestion.


But detecting cancer early is not prevention — heeding warning signs that cancer is already present is reactive, not proactive.


If you want to avoid getting a diagnosis of cancer you must be proactive and avoid creating an environment that can trigger cancer. You can do this by addressing the issues scientists have known about for decades.


Here are two common ones: 


• Avoid refined flour products — the staple of many people’s diet.


• Avoid white sugar and the many products containing it.


Millions are addicted to both these substances, and most people are not willing to stop eating them.


So the next time you start eating that white roll with dinner, a cookie or any of the many foods that cause the body to produce more cancer-causing chemicals and switch on cancer-causing genes, ask yourself: Is this worth it?

Cutting carbs slows cancer growth

June 1, 2009

A study published in Cancer Prevention Research and reported in 

USA Today indicates that reducing carbohydrate intake may slow the growth of prostate tumors. This research follows other studies showing lower carb intake could slow tumor growth.


According to Dr. Phil Maffetone, these studies simply reaffirm what has been known for some time.


“Not only do animal studies show this, but physiology and biochemistry has told us this is the case with all cancers,” Dr. Maffetone says. “The reason is that carbs — especially refined-flour products and sugars — promote cancer-causing chemicals to be produced throughout the body.”

Check out our new flyer

June 1, 2009

Health-care professionals wishing to get information about “In Fitness and In Health” to their patients, as well as others wishing to pass on the word of good health will want to check out the new downloadable, printable and e-mailable flyer. It includes more details about the book and ordering information.

Best and worst foods for your health

May 28, 2009

3 foods that are killing you:
1.    Refined wheat flour. It’s in many foods, and a staple for most people.
2.    White sugar. It’s everywhere and in many foods, and a staple for most people.
3.    Bad fats. Vegetable oils — corn, peanut, safflower, canola and soy; and trans fat. Read the labels.
Remember: Even one meal of these foods can turn on genes that cause disease!

3 foods that will heal you:
1.    Fresh vegetables. At least 7 servings, and preferably 10, a day of a variety of colors, raw and cooked. Eat organic. Avoid potatoes and corn. 
2.    Fresh fruits. At least 3 servings a day of a variety of colors. The best ones: berries, apples, plums, peaches, cherries. Eat organic. Avoid large bananas, watermelon, pineapple and dried fruit. 
3.    High quality protein. Meats and eggs. Always natural/organic, with meats being grass-fed. 
Remember: eating these foods can turn off genes that cause disease!

More detailed information is avaiable from In Fitness and In Health and