1. January 24, 2017: Judy McCraw Was Told She Had 6 Months To Live.



    The Optimal Health Hour

    Tuesday at 2 PM Pacific

    January 24, 2017: Judy McCraw Was Told She Had 6 Months To Live.

    Judy McCraw is an inspiration, a beacon of light and love. She was told multiple times she had 6 months or less to live and that was 6 years ago. We are honored to listen as she shares her journey over the last 6 years and walk in her shoes. Judy shares her many insights, knowledge and bold decisions that allowed her to take control of her health and wellbeing.This is very special show you don’t want to miss.
    Join us for the next Optimal Health Hour episode.



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    Featured Guest

    Judy McCraw

    Judy McCraw is an inspiration, a beacon of light and love. She was told multiple times she had 6 months or less to live and that was 6 years ago. Throughout her life she was healthy, happy, and active doing Yoga since the 1980’s. Her family ate organic foods always paying attention to diet. In 2010 she started having what appeared to be sinus infections. After nine months of treatment in which infections did not clear an MRI was performed. The results showed a tumor at the top of her sinus cavity. Thus her journey began with Head/Neck cancer at age 68. Judy has accumulated a wealth of knowledge and insight during this 6 year journey. She had to make bold decisions to take control of h…..

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  2. Conquering Negative Thinking



  3. Exercise: The Perfect “Natural Antidepressant”

    Working out not only does a body good, but it’s a natural antidepressant that can make an immediate impact on your mood and mental state.

    Wondering how to boost your mood with a natural antidepressant? The best starting point is regular exercise. Physical activity releases endorphins, which are brain chemicals that help you feel good while also promoting nerve cell growth, as noted in the University Health News report Overcoming Depression.

    Go Natural: Antidepressant Help in 30 Minutes

    Research has found that exercising for as little as 30 minutes per day can be an effective natural antidepressant. A number of studies have focused on aerobic exercise but some have shown that resistance training can also work well.

    Regardless of which type of exercise you pursue, consistency and intensity are important. According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, adults should do at least 150 minutes (two and a half hours) a week of moderate-intensity exercise, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.

    Not only is exercise a natural antidepressant, it also may protect you from depression or having depressive episode. A report supported in part by the National Institutes of Health details how exercise can work as a natural antidepressant as well as delving into the optimal amounts of exercise needed.

    “Observational studies suggest that active people are less likely to be depressed, and interventional studies suggest that exercise is beneficial in reducing depression,” the report concludes. “It appears that even modest levels of exercise are associated with improvements in depression, and while most studies to date have focused on aerobic exercise, several studies also have found evidence that resistance training also may be effective.”

    Exercise v. Medication

    In a telling study at Duke University, researchers compared exercise and medication. Study participants included 156 older adults with major depressive disorder (MDD) split into three groups. One group did aerobic exercise three times per week, the second took sertraline (Zoloft), and the third group combined exercise and sertraline.

    After 16 weeks, there was no difference in the level of depression among the groups, suggesting that both medication and exercise were equally effective. But after 10 months, the exercise-only group showed lower rates of depression relapse compared to the other groups.

    Also, those who exercised during the 10-month follow-up period were 50 percent less likely to be depressed. The data suggests therefore that exercise can be a natural antidepressant in patients with MDD.

    Duration, Frequency, and Intensity of Exercise

    Research has shown a range of results with respect to how often and how intense exercise should be in order to work as an effective natural antidepressant. One study found that high-intensity exercise is most effective, although those who exercised less intensively also showed some modest benefits. In the Duke study mentioned above, researchers reported that three aerobic sessions per week of 30 to 45 minutes was enough to reduce depression.

    In general, elevating your heart rate is what matters. If you can talk but not sing while you are exercising, you are working in a moderate aerobic zone. Do that for 30 to 45 minutes at least three days a week to help keep depression at bay.

    How to Stay Motivated to Exercise

    For most people, getting started with exercise is often the hardest part. Not having enough time is also a common hurdle. If you can’t exercise for an hour, try 10-minute bursts of exercise throughout the day. To stay consistent, ask a friend or spouse to work out with you. For some people, a fitness-related fundraiser can be a powerful motivator.

    The Duke study, published in the American College of Sports Medicine Health Fitness Journal, offers “Seven Tips for Highly Effective Exercises” tips; click here to view.


    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a list of useful tips (adapted here) on how to get motivated to become physically active—and how to stay motivated.

      1. Pick an activity you enjoy. If you do not like the exercise you are doing, it is hard to keep it up. List the activities you would like to do, like walking, joining a sports league, exercising with a video, dancing, biking, or taking a class at a fitness or community center. If you are already active, what types of activity can you add? Select an activity that sounds like fun and try it out.
      2. Start slow and add a little at a time. If you are not active now, the idea of doing 30 to 60 minutes of activity each day may seem like too much at first. Start by being active 10 minutes on 5 days each week. Every few weeks, add 5 to 10 minutes until you are getting at least 30 minutes of activity most days.
      3. Set a goal, make a plan, and add it to your calendar. Set short-term goals that are specific and that you can track. For example, instead of saying “I’m going to be more active this week,” set a goal of walking 30 minutes a day, three days a week.
      4. Decide on the days and times you could do the activity, such as first thing in the morning, during lunch break from work, after dinner, or on Saturday afternoon. Look at your calendar or planner to find the days and times that work best, and commit to those plans.
      5. Overcome the common physical activity roadblocks. Starting a physical activity program and sticking with it may be easier than you think. Here are some ideas on how to overcome your roadblocks to physical activity.

    No time? If work, family, and other demands make it hard for you to be active, try doing 10 minutes of exercise at a time. Spread these bursts of activity out throughout the day. Add a daily 15-minute walk during your lunch break or after dinner. If your schedule allows and you can do so safely near your home or work, taking a walk may help you clear your head.

    Low motivation or interest? Is it hard to get moving? Does working out seem boring or like a chore? Switch it up; try a new activity each day like dancing or planting a garden to find out what you enjoy most. Make it social; involve your family and friends in physical activity to have fun, spend quality time together, and stay on track. Use videos. Work out to fitness videos or DVDs. Check out a different DVD from the library each week for variety. And enlist support. Who will remind you to get off the couch and help you reach your goals? List the people—your partner, brother, sister, parent, kids, or friends—who can support your efforts to be physically active. Give them ideas about how they can help, like praising your efforts, watching your kids, or working out with you.

    Bad weather? Wear the right gear: A rain jacket, sunhat and sunscreen, or winter clothes will help you beat the weather. Find a place to exercise indoors: Walk in a mall when the weather is bad. Your local community center may offer low-cost options.

    Tight budget? Working out does not have to cost a lot of money to help you meet your goals. Check out your local recreation or community center. These centers may cost less than other gyms, fitness centers, or health clubs. Find one that lets you pay only for the months or classes you want, instead of the whole year. Choose physical activities that do not require any special gear. Walking requires a pair of sturdy shoes. To dance, just turn on some music.

  4. People With Well-Treated HIV Still Have Nearly Double the Risk of Heart Attack

    The virus itself appears to be the primary driver, likely due to the chronic inflammatory state it prompts.

    December 28, 2016, from the POZ website, www.poz.com

    Even when people’s HIV is well treated with antiretrovirals (ARVs), their risk of heart attack is apparently nearly double that of the general population. This risk is likely driven by the chronic inflammatory state to which HIV gives rise, even when the virus is suppressed to undetectable levels. Lifestyle factors such as smoking, which is more common among the HIV population, also likely play a role. Researchers also found that a standard calculator for estimating the risk of heart attack and stroke underestimates the risk for those living with HIV.

    Publishing their findings in JAMA Cardiology, researchers studied a multicenter clinical cohort of people receiving care at one of five Centers for AIDS Research Network of Integrated Clinical Systems sites in the United States. The scientists looked at data on 19,829 people who had received inpatient and outpatient care since 1995. Ultimately, they narrowed the cohort to 11,288 people with sufficient data.

    The study authors found that even when members of the cohort had an undetectable viral load, they still had about a 1.5- to 2-fold increased risk of heart attack or stroke compared with the general population. The risk of heart attack and stroke was also about 50 percent higher than predicted by a common algorithm used to predict such risk in the general population. The researchers believe that scientists should develop a new cardiovascular disease–predicting algorithm specifically for HIV-positive people.

    Among the HIV-positive cohort, the rate of heart attack per cumulative 1,000 years of follow-up was higher for black men (6.9) and black women (7.2) compared with white men (4.4) and white women (3.3). The rates per cumulative 1,000 years of follow-up were also higher for people age 40 and older (7.5) compared with those younger than 40 (2.2) and for those who were not virally suppressed (6.3) compared with those who were virally suppressed (4.7).

    To read the study abstract, click here. To read a press release about the study, click here.

  5. Sugar is the ‘alcohol of the child’, yet we let it dominate the breakfast table

    With kids consuming half their sugar quota first thing, it’s no wonder they’re getting diabetes and liver disease. We have to fight corporate interests.
    Children eating breakfast.
     ‘On average, cereal contains a whopping 12g of sugar, all added, in a typical serving.’ Photograph: Stockbyte/Rex Features
    Breakfast is considered by most nutrition experts, including Public Health England, to be the most important meal of the day. It gets your brain and your metabolism going, and it suppresses the hunger hormone in your stomach so you won’t overeat at lunch. But in our busy lives, it’s easy to turn to what is quick, cheap, or what you can eat on the go. Cold cereal. Instant oatmeal. For those die-hard “I’m gonna serve something hot for breakfast” types, it’s microwaveable breakfast sandwiches. Gotta get out the door now? Granola bars. Protein bars. Yoghurt smoothies.

    Alcohol provides calories (7kcal/g), but not nutrition. There’s no biochemical reaction that requires it. When consumed chronically and in high dose, alcohol is toxic, unrelated to its calories or effects on weight. Not everyone who is exposed gets addicted, but enough do to warrant taxation and restriction of access, especially to children. Clearly, alcohol is not a food – it’s a dangerous drug, because it’s both toxic and abused.

    Dietary sugar is composed of two molecules: glucose and fructose. Fructose, while an energy source (4kcal/g), is otherwise vestigial to humans; again, there is no biochemical reaction that requires it. But fructose is metabolised in the liver in exactly the same way as alcohol. And that’s why, when consumed chronically and at a high dose, fructose is similarly toxic and abused, unrelated to its calories or effects on weight. And that’s why our children now get the diseases of alcohol (type 2 diabetesfatty liver disease), without alcohol. Because sugar is the “alcohol of the child”. Also similar to alcohol, sugared beverages are linked to behavioural problems in children.

    On average, cereal contains a whopping 12g of sugar, all added, in a typical serving. In the US, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in 2011 identified 17 breakfast cereals marketed to children in which added sugar constituted more than 50% of calories, and 177 with 40% or more. Despite the notoriety of that disclosure, the EWG follow-up study in 2014 noted that not one of these breakfast cereals on the top 10 worst list had reduced its sugar content.

    Here are two examples of the corporate ploy to ply our kids with sugar. Consider Raisin Bran. Just raisins and bran, right? There are 19g of sugar in a serving; but the raisins only account for 11g. That’s because the raisins are all dipped in a sugar solution to make them much sweeter. Second, my favourite – Lucky Charms – they’re “magically delicious”. Why are there marshmallows in the box? Because oats cost more than marshmallows. They take up room in the box, yet the company gets to charge more. A great business strategy.

    But it doesn’t end there. Consider a pot of pomegranate yoghurt, which has 19g of sugar. A plain yoghurt has 7g of sugar, all lactose (milk sugar), which is not a problem. Thus, each pomegranate yoghurt has 12g of added sugar. Plus, the industry hides the sugar well. There are 56 different names for sugar; by choosing different sugars as the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth ingredients, sugar can rapidly add up to be the dominant ingredient. The US Food and Drug Administration has promised labelling changes to abolish this practice, but the EU has yet to follow suit.

    Perhaps the most pernicious danger is that of infant and toddler food. In 2015 the US Centers for Disease Control examined the nutritional information of 1,074 infant and toddler food products. It found 32% of toddler dinners, the majority of child-orientated snacks, and infant-aimed juices contained at least one source of added sugar, with 35% of their calories coming from sugar.

    Don’t let your child be a loser by succumbing to corporate interests. Make sure they eat a real breakfast of champions.