Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tomato Pie

The tomatoes in this picture, photographed by The Magnificent Boris, were grown in my own yard from seeds that I planted. One of my neighbors told me "they'll never grow", but I really proved her wrong.
A different neighbor made a tomato pie from her homegrown tomatoes and it made our mouths freak out with happiness, so I had to share her recipe with you!


2 or 3 large ripe tomatoes or 2 cups of cherry tomatoes, sliced
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced
Handful of basil leaves, chopped
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt

Pie crust:
½ cup brown rice flour
½ cup spelt flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Approximately ¼ cup cold water

2 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
2 ounces grated parmesan cheese

Combine sliced tomatoes and all other filling ingredients into a bowl. Cover and let
marinate at room temperature for about 6 hours or so.
Spray a 9 inch pie plate with spray oil.
For the pie crust, mix flours and salt, add olive oil and stir with a fork until mixture
resembles corn meal. Add water, just a little at a time while stirring with the fork, until the very moment it holds together in
a ball. Flour a wooden cutting board with spelt flour and roll out the dough into a circle with a rolling
pin. Transfer to the oiled pie plate.
Sprinkle about ½ of the cheeses onto the crust, add the marinated tomatoes, top with
the remaining cheeses.
Bake at 425 until crust is browned, about 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature before

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tanning Beds--Don't Do It!

This is a deadly serious subject and one that I'm qualified to rag on about because about 10 years ago, I had a mole on my leg that started changing a little. When I went to get it looked at by a dermatologist, he tried to act pretty calm, but I could see that he was alarmed by it. By the way, it wasn't even very big or scary-looking, but it had a light colored ring around it and it was slightly raised. So he cut it off and sent it in to the lab. A couple of days later (he rushed it through to get a quick answer), I got a call from his assistant saying that I had a malignant melanoma and had to have more skin removed from around the original site immediately.

It really wasn't a big deal and I was lucky that it was removed early before it had a chance to spread (it's cured 100%), but now, of course, I'm leery of every mole and freckle because people actually die from melanoma. Bob Marley died from melanoma! Almost 69,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with melanoma and over 8,500 people are expected to die from it in 2009. Of course, I'm sure Bob Marley never used a tanning bed and there are certainly other ways that skin cancer begins to grow besides tanning beds, but doesn't the fact that so many more (50% increase since 1980) skin cancer cases are in young women tell you something? Young men don't use tanning beds as much as young women and they haven't shown the same rise in melanoma incidence.

I have no doubt that the skin cancer I had was caused by the use of tanning beds when I was in my bodybuilding competition days. Truthfully, it's pretty dumb to tan for a contest because everybody uses a really dark skin dye on the day they compete anyway--even those with naturally dark skin such as African Americans, so it's a complete waste of effort.

Anyway, I hope you've all read by now that international cancer experts are confirming in an announcement published in the medical journal Lancet Oncology that tanning beds and the ultraviolet radiation they put out are as poisonous as arsenic. They literally described it as poison and said that they are at about the same level of cancer-causing danger as cigarettes. Personally, I think tanning beds are much worse than cigarettes and I really hate cigarettes. Also, they've said that people who use tanning beds before age 30 increase their risk of skin cancer by 75%.

So, can't we all just learn to love natural skin color whatever color it happens to be?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

One more time...

So now, in the last four posts I've given you four important sources to learn great things about yourself and how to take the best advantage of your body/mind's potential.

Andrew Weil, Big Daddy of Medicine (my title for him), one of the most brilliant thinkers of our time, can help you find answers to just about any health question or concern as well as give you a good direction to follow for health maintenance.

Steven Gurgevich, a great brain coupled with a gentle spirit and an uncanny talent for teaching you to speak to your own subconscious mind, will encourage you to encourage yourself (yay for self-empowerment!).

John Sarno, a revolutionary doc who knows what really works to treat chronic conditions, will educate you in how to make use of your body's own nervous systems so you can heal yourself in a real and lasting way.

Candace Pert, a fearless supernova of energy and enthusiasm who researched it all, will show you the science behind Dr. Sarno's and Dr. Gurgevich's methods to take you even further into the empowerment that comes with knowledge.

The point of all this is to give you some serious resources to learn about a new paradigm of thinking about your own body. The work of all four of these very special people has helped Boris and me in so many ways that I feel compelled to share it with you. So read the posts below, think for yourself, and decide what's for you!

Dr. Candace Pert

I was reading Dr. John Sarno's book, "The Divided Mind", and he mentions that anyone interested in the subject of the biochemistry of emotions (that would be me!) should read a book called, "Molecules of Emotion" by a neuroscientist named Dr. Candace Pert. I jumped up (yes, actually jumped) and ordered myself a copy from and, besides being a lively and entertaining read, it was yet another introduction to a new doorway of thinking for me. Reading this material was like being introduced to my own body's systems for the first time. Learning about how your cells communicate with each other, directing their action, keeping you healthy (or making you sick) is now one of my passions.

Dr. Pert, who once came within inches of winning a Nobel Prize, has centered her work around chemicals called peptides that are what create the communication system in your body. At the present time, she's devoted herself to using this premise to find a cure for AIDS. This communication system in our bodies is so elegant and sophisticated that it makes the internet look like a telegraph, or maybe like paper cups and a string--no offense to the internet, I love it.

It's just too bad that all this isn't common knowledge that we were taught from the time we're little kids, maybe the way we were taught basics about our bodily functions like having a cardiovascular system, for instance. Or a brain, or a liver. It's that basic to our existence and we just never knew about it! And once you get the general idea of how it works, you can use your new understanding to enhance your own health and well-being in ways you never dreamed of.

Dr. Pert is currently Chief Scientific Officer of RAPID Laboratories in Rockville, Maryland which is developing a drug treatment and vaccine against HIV, the virus which causes AIDS.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dr. John Sarno

I was going to talk about Candace Pert next, but I realized that it was Dr. Sarno who led me to Dr. Pert, so it makes sense to talk about him first.
I just love this cartoon! It was drawn by Boris to illustrate Dr. Sarno's point to our son, David.

I first heard of Dr. Sarno's work through Andrew Weil's recommendation. Dr. Weil had been saying forEVER that most any kind of back problem could be helped without drugs or surgery and that Dr. Sarno's book, "MindBody Prescription" was a good place to learn about his theory. I didn't pay much attention until I had a really yucky time with back, knee, and hip pain that just wouldn't go away. I went to all kinds of doctors, got all kinds of tests including blood tests to see if I had some weird rheumatoid problem. To make my long, painful story short and painless, I took Dr. Weil's recommendation and read Dr. Sarno's book and (FOR REAL!)within 2 weeks after finishing the book, I was perfectly pain-free and back to running, weight lifting, and yoga.

Dr. Sarno has put himself out on a limb by spelling out a treatment that really consists of education. No drugs, surgery, or special exercises, just a new understanding of how the body's systems of creating pain works. And it was this new understanding that opened my mind to a completely different approach to thinking about the entire subject of health. The beauty of this education is that once you understand it, the back-and-forth communication between your mind and your body becomes a source of knowledge for you that you didn't know you already possessed!

John E. Sarno is Professor of Clinical Rehabilitation Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, and attending physician at the Howard A. Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, New York University Medical Center. He graduated from The Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1950. In 1965 he became the Director of the Outpatient Department at the Rusk Institute.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dr. Steven Gurgevich

I'm not sure where to start in talking about Dr. Gurgevich's work. Body? Mind? Art? Yep, these three areas of my life have been boosted into new dimensions through listening to his self-hypnosis CDs. It's probably the most painless and effortless way to reach into your unconscious mind and make whatever adjustments you choose to your life. What I've learned from his work that's so valuable to me is how to actually communicate in an effective way with my own mind and body.

Most artists, being such visual people, have a particularly successful time with self hypnosis and visualization. We're used to imagining things in vivid realism, complete with multi-sensory detail. One CD in particular that has helped me with my art in an unexpected and kind of cool way is "Musical Performance Success". It was made for musical performers so that they'll have more confidence when they play in public. I decided to get it because I could just mentally switch out the word "musical" for "artistic" and just see what would happen! (I seriously LOVE experimenting with drug-free--and only drug-free!-- altered states of consciousness!) Not only have I experienced unexplainable easy confidence when I'm painting in front of a crowd (such as at the Illustration Master Class), but it's given me more confidence in my art all together. Artists of all kinds need confidence like life needs water, and all of Dr. Gurgevich's work transmits a sense of calm and confidence to the listener.

The first time I heard about him was through the recommendation of Dr. Weil. At the time, I was having trouble getting a solid night's sleep, so I got some of his CDs and listened to them as I fell asleep at night (so you can see, they obviously worked!). I just got more and more interested in the possibilities I saw with this and now I've really learned how to work it myself. That's the coolest thing about this is that he teaches you how it works so that you can do it yourself according to your own needs.

He also seems to be a dyed-in-the-wool great person. He has an incredibly soothing voice that gently but clearly transmits his peaceful energy. His wife, Joy, also a real sweetheart, shares a section of their website that has some great nutritional advice. Through Dr. Gurgevich's work, I've realized in a very tangible way the unlimited potential that we all have to make use of our amazing unconscious mind.

Steven Gurgevich, PhD is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the
Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Arizona College of Medicine

Dr. Andrew Weil and Boris's Liver

About 11 years ago, just by a complete stroke of luck, I happened upon Andrew Weil's book, "8 Weeks To Optimum Health". Boris was struggling with a team of doctors who, for 15 years, had been mystified over his increasingly problematic liver. The docs were at the point of putting him on a highly toxic drug (Prednisone) with little hope that it would actually fix his problem and simultaneously putting him on a list for a liver transplant! In desperation, I went to the bookstore and looked for anything I could find about liver function and liver health (this was before we had internet). I found several great books, but Dr. Weil's book, as well as another book of his called "Natural Health, Natural Medicine", turned out to have most of my answers. Within 6 weeks, a 15-year long health saga was completely over and Boris now lives with his own liver that Thor or Tarzan or even Zeus himself would envy (yeah!). Since that time, I've read everything I could find that Dr. Weil has written as well as works he's recommended from other doctors and scientists. It was the beginning of a brand new path of thinking for me.

The thing about Dr. Weil that is so great is that he's just so incredibly intelligent, curious, and open-minded. He's not interested in following any one particular line of thinking, or in simply enhancing his own image. He just wants to find out what works. So he researches Eastern, Western, whatever kind of medicine, looks for the sound science behind it, and makes his recommendations. He's one of the great thinkers of our time. His website is amazing in its helpfulness and accessibility.

Dr. Weil attended both college and medical school at Harvard University. He is the founder and Program Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine (formerly the Program in Integrative Medicine), which he started in 1994 at the University of Arizona.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Four people you should know about

I got hooked on learning about mind/body issues back when I was competing in bodybuilding (1984-1989) and have only gotten more and more interested in this passion of mind through the years. As anyone well knows, there are many experts on the subject whose work I've read who have great things to say, but, at this time, four people's work stand out in my mind as Super Supreme, and they are Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Steven Gurgevich, Dr. John Sarno, and Dr. Candace Pert. I'm going to write a separate post for each one of them so that I can tell you why I feel so strongly about their work.
In the meantime, I think we should build a new Mt. Rushmore of Health and Fitness and have these four people's images carved into a mountainside!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Create your perfect breakfast

I think the two most important things to consider in deciding how to design your breakfast are:

1. Make sure you're having some of each of the following:
protein (Ezekiel cereal or toast, eggs, lowfat or nonfat milk or other dairy products, or tofu are good choices),
complex carbohydrates (note the word complex! That means nothing made with sugar or white flour or any other refined grains),
fiber (whole grain, fruit, vegetable),
some healthy fat (as from nuts or eggs),
and some "water food" (juicy fruit or vegetable)
as well as some water (tea or coffee).

2. What kind of mood are you in? Are you feeling slow and want to pick yourself up? In that case, a good choice might be some eggs and a piece of fruit or steamed vegetables. Good beverage choices would be tea or coffee or even a nice glass of cool (not cold) water.
Are you feeling like you need to be soothed? Try some cooked Irish oatmeal or other whole grain hot cereal with fruit on top. Have some tea with cinnamon or other warm spices.
Are you already tranquil and balanced and want to stay that way? I'd have our usual breakfast cereal mix.
It's important to check in with your emotional state so that you can make any adjustments that are necessary. Your choice of breakfast music is also important for setting your speed for the morning. For some reason, when it's first thing in the morning, I only like instrumental music. Songs with words make me nervous in the morning. Go figure!

Some things that are a bad idea for every day are bagels (too densely packed with carbohydrates), muffins and pastries, fatty meats (sausage, bacon, etc.), butter, syrup, jams and jellies made with sugar, and cereals made with refined flour or sugar. I don't recommend imitation meats like soy sausage, etc., if they contain the ingredient Soy Protein Isolate. It's a too-refined ingredient that takes a good thing (soy) and turns it into an artificial food that's really not good for you. Plus, fake meats usually have way too much sodium. Toast is great as long as you are sure that the bread is of really good quality whole grains. My favorite is Ezekiel bread--it's such a great complete food. Put some almond or peanut butter (or sliced avocado with tomato!) on your toast instead of butter.

Another factor to consider is how much time you have in the morning to make and eat breakfast. This should never be an excuse to limit your nutrition because you can always prepare something the night before or get up 10 minutes earlier.