Category Archives: Nutrition


Judging from the commercials and advertisements, it would seem that we Americans have a lot of gastrointestinal problems and are in need of laxatives and stool softeners. Yes, as we age we may need to take more medications and some have side effects that may affect, or upset our “gi” system in some ways. But more so, our American diet leaves much to be desired, including the need for more fresh fruits and vegetables, and less “junk food”.

But instead of saving those coupons, instead of watching commercials and clipping ads in magazine and newspapers, why not take a dried prune or two. Or if you prefer, a small amout of prune juice. A few sips from those handy little cans may just do the trick. For a lot less money and grief.

When I was hospitalized I was practically “forced” to take colace, which I refused. I didn’t want nor need the cramping sensation and “urgency” to find an available toilet! I requested prune juice, instead of the strange mixture of leftover fruit juice that I was offered with my breakfast. One so called “nurse” even told me that my “…doctor wanted me to have the colace.” To which I responded “I don’t care what my doctor wants. I am a well educated nurse who has studied a year of nutrition as a part of my academic education years ago.”

Who are the Beneficiaries of Prescription Medications?

Certainly not the person who pays for prescriptions and ingests them. Yes; it’s the drug companies and it’s only getting worse. As I age I seem to have more prescription drugs recommended, mostly for minor and /or temporary, diagnoses. And when I ask for generics, I find that their cost is no less, or maybe not much less, than the prescribed medications. I was told today by a reputable pharmacist that generics, when they are first developed, do in fact cost the same as the usual medications. So what’s the benefit in buying generics. Oh sure, I could drive for miles to the big box stores in nearby cities to get a bit of a discount. But what’s the discount in wasting money and stress on fuel to drive around for comparison shopping?

The consumer is certainly not the beneficiary in all of this asking for generics and driving around.

I have been spending on the average of about $500/month on medications, some generic, and some with pharmacy discounts. And I do not have several diagnoses. These are for hypertension, and bladder muscle insufficiency. And a temporary edema of my cornea. And due to lay offs from work in my profession, I have no insurance coverage of any sort, and have finally resorted to living on nothing but Social Security benefits, having exhausted my retirement savings, after only 5 years into a forced “retirement”.

I don’t think I am the only one in this dilemma. Any ideas to share with me and others? Yes, AARP offers plans to somewhat solve these problems, but they can be costly as well, deducted from my Social Security benefits!

I recognize two societal problems that need to be dealt with, though both are long term problems ingrained in the core of our economic system.

First, physicians are “trained” by the pharmaceutical industry to treat every ailment with drugs when a sometimes simple lifestyle adjustment can solve a problem. An example: prescribing laxatives and stool softeners when an ounce or two of prune juice is just as effective. Another example is recommending an over the counter drug like prilosec when avoiding acidic or fatty food might be just as effective.

Secondly, some action, perhaps governmental, must be taken to control the costs charged by the pharmaceutical companies. Why do they choose to WAIT before lowering the cost of a new generic? Obviously to make more money awhile longer, certainly for no reason that benefits the consumer.

Eating Healthy: Matzo Brie for Pesach

Ever made matzo brie? What to do with all the matzo for the 8 days of Pesach? Matzo Brie for breakfast!

Crumble (break into bite sized pieces) matzo. Beat eggs as for scrambled eggs, and add to the matzo. Fry chopped white onions and saute in butter. After onions are sauted, add the egg and matzo mixture. Fry till done. Enjoy.

Or try frying a “clump” of the matzo and egg mixture, as in pancakes. After frying, add syrup and serve like pancakes!

fat foods

every grocery store, it seems, sells food for those watching their weight, with the implication that shoppers want and need low cal foods. but what about some of us poor souls, and bodies, wandering the earth who need to GAIN WEIGHT? where do we buy high cal foods anymore? well maybe only soda shops.

just suppose we wanted to open a franchise in a large grocery store: an aisle, a counter where the old fashioned high cal foods are sold? would we be able to do so? half in jest i asked a grocer where i usually shop. his response was “who do you think would shop that aisle, that counter? folks wanting all the tasty cals they could get!”


any comments or advice?

the victim, the guinea pig caught in a web

4 months ago i moved to a new community, and now cannot wait to leave. not my idea of where to live. nevertheless, i have had to find a new provider for health care. he is drug happy and referral happy. so now i have been seen by a hemotologist to correct a mild anemia (with diet) and a orthopedist (have a fractured  femur  and pelvic bone, thanks to a fall in my own house! ) to be corrected by use of the leg and prn pain pills. at any rate, be careful not to get caught in the web of health care that you may never really and truly need. for an expense…see next post.


About a month ago I was diagnosed with severe anemia. I had to have a transfusion of red blood cells. I will probably have to go through this again in about six weeks. Hmm… I wonder what donors red blood cells are floating around in my veins. One of the side effects of this condition that really stresses me is hair loss and breakage. I have always had long hair. Suddenly, it comes out by the brushfull every day. I’m finding it really hard to change my self identity.

My hematologist says that he is seeing more of this condition in people my age (62). He thinks it is due to exposure over a lifetime of environmental toxins. This is not surprising since I grew up just outside of Detroit with polluted air from the auto industry. I hope the government does not bail out the American auto industry. Another possibility is a dietary cause, which is not surprising since I am returning back to a more vegetarian diet, and forgot how to do this. I was a vegetarian for years until my pregnancy and breast feeding days.

Veterinary Medicine?

I have often talked about the misuse of drugs in health care. That is, prescribing drugs we don’t need, thanks to the pharmaceutical industry “training” our health care providers. But only recently have I observed this to also be inherent in veterinary medicine. Maybe I need to find a new veterinarian?!

 I took my dog, a 10yo Tibetan Terrier, to the vet on Tuesday because she was having some diarrhea. So what did I come home with?

  • cephalexin capsules for her itchy belly
  • bordatella vaccine (for potential kennel cough, which she has never had)
  • a fecal test for ova and parasites (just in case that was the cause of the loose poop) just got a call; test normal!
  • panacur (to add to her food to kill parasites that she MAY have had; and MAY NOT have had) obviously she didn’t.
  • 8 cans of low fat food
  • a creamy conditioner to rub on her belly to take away the itching. I believe that meditation and talking to her would have worked just as well.
  • a topical spray when the itching gets crazy. She hates it. Smells and tastes like ethanol.
  • a special order for the new drug that is being pushed for allergies: atopica. I have decided that I would rather deal with the allergies in a naturopathic way.
  • biohazard fee. For what? recycling the   syringe used for the nasal inhalant bordatella vaccine?

The bill: $258.91. And I have decided not to give Sara most of this stuff. I am very sorry that I was in a naive mood and bought this junk. I was being stupid and forgetting my same anger toward the human medical industry. I need to find a naturopathic veterinarian.

More About Diagnoses And Pharmaceuticals

To those of you who have read my blog, I apologize for repetition. But some issues just don’t go away.

I just heard an ad on tv for health insurance plans to supplement what medicare offers. First of all, just what does medicare offer? And what about the 47 million of us who have no health insurance and are not yet ready for medicare? The ad was about a certain supplemental insurance company, and it was recommended that you discuss this plan with your “doctor” who will help you decide if this plan it right for you. Yah sure! Since when do “doctors” recommend health insurance plans? Well, someone is getting a kick back here from an insurance company. You need to count on your friends and colleagues for this kind of advice: not your “doctor” and not the insurance companies!

All research must be taken with a grain of salt. I was recruited, years ago, for the Nurses’ Health Study. After filling out their questionnaire, I received a letter informing me that I was ineligible as a participant since I had taken steroids. I had  never taken steroids in my life! I didn’t write back because I didn’t have the time (full time working mom, grad student, with two little boys). So now I look at all health care research with more acute skepticism.

As for HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy), I did that for about 5 years, then quit cold turkey because my gynecologist told me she could not in good faith prescribe it anymore. I have a friend who has been “tapering off” HRT for the 3 years I have known her. Tapering off HRT? No need to. Doing this will not affect your blood pressure and heart rate, and will probably do nothing except have you discontinuing HRT.  I can only suspect that her gynecologist is her age as well, and the looks of skin and hair are more important than the total health picture? Or maybe not? Maybe it doesn’t matter if we do HRT or not? Once again, conflicting conclusions from research.

There is a lot of spurious, and confounding, information in these studies…I am a medical professional, but also a skeptic. I have attended prestigious universities, have worked at prestigious universities. But that doesn’t mean anything. What is important is the integrity of their representatives,  their scientists, of their reporting of results of their studies. They need to be honest, not just writing what the public wants to hear.

So now we need drugs to fall asleep, drugs to stop restless leg, drugs to make us “regular”? Soon we will need drugs to wake up, get our legs going, and be able to use the bathroom normally?

Have we forgotten to eat a normal, well balanced diet, with fiber,  that would prevent some of these “problems” in the first place? Have we forgotten to just go to sleep to some nice music at 10pm after walking the dog in fresh air? And though I am lax myself about taking vitamins, popping a pill or two each day, if it doesn’t burn up your stomach (drink plenty of water), you won’t have legs that fly around or get stiff and achy, most likely.

No Health Insurance

Thankfully the democratic party candidates are in tune with the fact that we have 47 million Americans without health insurance, sometimes due to job elimination, like myself. And health insurance is not affordable without assistance from an employer, except for the very wealthy, and those that have spouses and domestic partners whose insurance they can tag on to.

And why is health insurance beyond our reach? Obviously, the insurance industry wants profits by driving up rates. And I believe that the pharmaceutical companies are creating diagnoses, and recommending drugs, that we all “need! “Just ask your provider,” whoever that is…

And who are two strong lobbies: the insurance industry and the pharmaceutical companies? And who is helping to finance most of the presidential aspirants?

What on earth is a “nervous breakdown”? why can’t people sleep at night? what is “restless leg syndrome”? Where did this stuff all come from? We should all be taking 21 drugs each day? Oh, and you need a stool softener, and laxative for breakfast that may make you “regular”. And a daily decongestant, whereas just being in a vertical position and blowing your nose in the morning may work just fine. Why? Why not choose a healthy lifestyle instead?

Why not jog or walk your dog (you would both benefit), stretch, swim, eat properly i.e. a diet rich in fruits, veggies, grains? Try to avoid anything but the essential drugs that you really need to stay alive.

All of these drugs, too many drugs, interact with each other, and can kill you. Less is better.