Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What kind of fish oil?

Fish oil is made up of EPA and DHA.  If you want to reduce inflammation Metagenics 6:1 fish oil is great, as EPA directly reduces inflammation. Brain function is heavily dependent on DHA so a high concentrated DHA is great for mental health, cognition, and memory. General health support where you can reap benefits of both is where a traditional 3:2 blend fits in. 

3,000mg per day is a good amount. If you take less you are not likely getting the full benefits. It may be ok to take more but realize that fish oil is a natural blood thinner so watch how much you take if you are on a blood thinner. If you are not sure how much, ask a nutritionist, naturopath, or chiropractor. Often times labs or other simple tests can help with the appropriate dose.

Should it be a capsule or liquid? Personal preference. At Backbone you can get either. The quality must be high. It should be purified to remove mercury or other contaminants. If you have tried fish oil in the past and got the "fish burps" then you need the best quality. You can also try taking capsules and freezing them first. If that doesn't help then you may have a gut problem (weak digestion). 

For maximum benefits combine fish oil with 45 minutes per day of moderate exercise, healthy eating habits, chiropractic care, adequate sleep, multivitamins, and personal time to reduce stress.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Injury vs Chronic Flare Up, part 1

Many people come in to see me with back pain. I always ask if they have ever had the problem before. There is a reason why I ask and why it is important. You may have just injured the area or you may have exacerbated a problem that was already there.

There is a drastic difference between a fresh injury and a flare up of a chronic problem. 

A fresh injury that gets treated properly can greatly reduce the amount of scar or fibrous tissue making the recovery shorter and with better strength. An improperly treated problem becomes a chronic battle with painful flare-ups for the rest of your life. It would be like going to the gas station to have air put into a flat tire every week instead of removing a nail and patching the hole.

An acute flare up of a chronic problem means the pain is not from fresh damage to the original tissue but is from inflammation. Pain is just 1 sign of inflammation. The others being redness, swelling, heat, and loss of function. Just because the pain goes away does not mean the problem is really fixed. It is just less inflamed. Fixing the problem is an entirely different animal. Scar tissue can be dealt with but not the same as a fresh injury.

In part 2 of this topic I will address why scar tissue forms, why it is a problem, and most importantly how to correctly address dealing with it. Until then, stay healthy my friends.

Dr. Christian Cohen

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Debunking Organic Food Myths

If this is healthy- why is he wearing a mask?
I never really know if I should laugh or cry when I hear someone talk about "regular" vs organic food. We come up with lots of reasons for not buying organic: cost, availability, not visually appealing, and so on. The organic section in the grocery store is called "health" food. What does that make the rest of it? Yes, you got it - unhealthy food. The truth is...organic food is REAL food that has not been doused in bug spray and weed killer or worse had it genetically fused into it.

The 2 biggest things I hear why someone doesn't eat organic:

  1.  There isn't really any difference. They just want more money.
    Well, if I handed you an apple and told you I hosed it in bug spray first, would you eat it? I don't think so. If I gave you a choice of 2 apples and one had bug spray and the other cost 30 cents more which would you choose? I have posted before about the damage pesticides and herbicides do to the hormone system. The 30 cents somehow seems insignificant after reading this.
  2.  It costs too much to eat organic.
     This one is a bit tricky to just throw out. Yes- real food costs more per fruit or vegetable BUT you also get more nutrition out of it so after a couple months of eating real food your appetite will naturally drop and the cost of food per month will not really change. This is also a very short sighted response. Is it better to save a few bucks now and spend vastly higher amounts on unnecessary illnesses, lost time at school or work due to doctor's visits, and generally lower health status?

Real Food Has No Bug Spray!
The good new is that there are solutions:
  1.  I very highly recommend my friends at Terra-Organics for a great way to shop for fruits, veggies, and some other miscellaneous items. You tell them what you want and they deliver it. It doesn't get much easier than that.

  2.  Use the web to find great recipes with lower cost items. I love a black bean chili (in fact, I have a pot full on the stove right now simmering for dinner). Beans are an amazing source of high quality protein. Great for lowering cholesterol, improving your waist line, and saving money.

  3.  Most importantly: Decide to be okay with it! 100 years ago almost 25% of a family's annual income was spent on food. Today it is closer to 10%. Food (and I use the term loosely) has become overly-available and inexpensive and we are paying for it with our waist lines and our health.

As always, I remain available to answer questions one-on-one or in a group health talk. Reaching me is easy.  Stay healthy my friends.

In health,
Dr. Christian Cohen

Saturday, January 14, 2012

How do you value health care?

  This last week we saw a large number of clients with drastically different insurance benefits as we start 2012. Less massages, tighter limits on adjusting, less rehabilitation and all for more money. It is not really shocking to see premiums and deductibles get bigger while coverages and limits get smaller. After all, insurance companies are a business and have to answer to shareholders first and you, the patient, later.

 More and more, people are referred to as "non-insured" - insured patients. These are people with such large deductibles or ridiculously low limits that they have essentially no coverage. For example, someone might need $1500 worth of care and have a $3000 deductible. Or they may require 24 visits to fix a problem and their insurance will only pay for 8. 

 What do you do when presented with this situation? Sadly, many people never address their health care budget with the doctor's office and simply continue to suffer with a problem they should have fixed. In my office, we recognize that each person's financial situation is as different as their health concerns. This is why as a progressive and concerned provider office, we have options to work with every budget so each person can be treated with respect and dignity to get the care they need without feeling like a charity case.

 I am not trying to do a commercial. Many offices will work with a patient financially. Very few are so cold as to turn away a suffering patient. My point is that it is up to you as a patient to bring up any financial concerns and even better - propose a solution that is fair and reasonable to both you and the doctor. This way you get the care you need and the doctor gets to stay in the business of helping people.  

In health,
Dr. Christian Cohen

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Make Procrastination Work for You

Chances are, you are making (or just made) resolutions for the new year. Some of the most popular resolutions are to eat healthier, exercise more, and lose weight.  For improving eating habits, the best thing may be to procrastinate. Procrastination has gotten a bad rap for so long that it is time we start leveraging it to our advantage for a healthy lifestyle. 

I used to eat ice cream like it was going out of style. I would get a pint of Ben & Jerry's cookie dough and down it in a single sitting after dinner. I didn't even bother with a bowl. I knew the whole thing would be gone. And this wasn't once in a while- it was every day. The thing was...I liked it. Who doesn't love rich, sugar and fat-laden ice cream? To make it worse, as soon as I "decided" I couldn't eat ice cream anymore it was the only thing I wanted.

As my waistline grew and my blood sugar climbed I knew I had to do something different. I was reading a book called Body by God by Dr. Ben Lerner. He suggested procrastinating. So I did. I would walk to Baskin-Robbins in Gig Harbor for a scoop. I had to wait 15 minutes to get to my ice cream (and I was walking 15 minutes each way for it). Then I decided to up the ante. I would say to myself, "I can wait an extra day".  Then it became 2 days, then 3 days. Then I was procrastinating to eat ice cream only on Sunday. When I got a Friday craving for ice cream I would put it off until Sunday. Don't get me wrong, I ate ice cream on Sunday and I was guilt-free. I was leveraging the power of procrastination to my advantage. 

Then a funny thing happened. I realized one Monday morning that I had missed my Sunday ice cream!  I was doing a lot of weekend travel for work and would be flying home on Sunday nights. It was purely by accident that I missed my dose that week. The next thing I knew it had been weeks since I had ice cream at all. Now it has been years since having ice cream (although I do enjoy a semi-annual bowl of coconut milk ice cream, sweetened with agave instead of sugar). I successfully leveraged procrastination to eliminate a bad food habit! 

You can do the same thing. Take a food you know is bad for you and just start procrastinating. Get to the Oreo cookies later. Save that pizza for another day. Put the sweets away for a while. It works if you just get to when you get to it.  Of course, you can call me now to help you through it and get some measurements to track how well procrastinating can work for you. Call me at 253-858-2474 and I will not procrastinate in helping you reach your goals.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thrive, Don't Just Survive the Holidays

So many people go through Thanksgiving and Christmas and just plan to put on extra weight, let their cholesterol climb, and add inches to the waist. 

It is possible to go through the end of the year and actually come out healthier! Here are my top 7 health tips:
  1. Stay hydrated. Drinking enough water is a natural appetite suppressant. It reduces joint and muscle pain, improves digestion, and flushes the body.
  2. Don't skip breakfast. Breakfast gets your metabolism revved up and keeps your blood sugar stable. Wild swings in blood sugar can add inches to your waist quickly.
  3. Try a new twist on old recipes. Instead of smothering sweet potatoes in sugar (marshmallow) try mixing in cinnamon and raisins or baked as "fries" coated with a mix of lime juice, olive oil, and a pinch of crushed red pepper.
  4. Avoid the eggnog. I gave up eggnog 2 years ago as it is so terribly unhealthy. This year I have a great alternative. Metagenics Ultrameal + 360 Eggnog protein shake tastes great and lowers cholesterol at the same time!
  5. Commit to exercise daily. This one is very manageable if you plan for just 10 minutes on the busiest days and 45 on all others. Just decide you will do something everyday and then do it.
  6. Keep eating your veggies. Raw, steamed, roasted, baked, grilled - have them however you enjoy them. Just keep them going in. Half you plate in veggies every meal.
  7. Breath. This time of year is stressful for many people. Deep breathing reduces stress and helps manage weight, blood pressure, and improves cardiovascular function.
Of course, if you prefer some customized health advice, call me at to set up a time just for you. Most of all, Merry Christmas and stay healthy my friends. 

In health, 
Dr. Christian Cohen

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Flu Shot? No Thanks, I don't want the flu.

So it's that time of year when many patients come to me and ask, "Doc, should I get the flu shot?"
Since the laws regarding my license do not give me prescriptive authority (I cannot tell them yes or no by law).  I respond with, "Well, do you want the flu?".

Puzzled, they look at me.  So I explain, there are several questions that each person should be asking their MD before getting any vaccine. My list goes something like this:
  • What is in the shot besides the virus? Most have additives that I wouldn't touch, much less let someone inject into me.  Check out some of the ingredients here. Pay attention to Thimerosol (Mercury) which is know to cause brain (neural) damage and is linked to Autism.
  •  What is the risk to me if I don't get the vaccine? Are you an otherwise strong individual who is not likely to die from the flu? Uncomfortable for a few days? Yes.  Death, not so much.
  • Who should not get the vaccine? People with certain allergies, history of reactions to vaccines, people with a compromised immune system.
  • How effective is it really? Polio was already on the decline according to government statistics prior to the introduction of the vaccine by Jonas Saulk. 
  • What are the potential side effects?  This is a standard risk to benefit question that should be very straight forward and easy to answer.
  • Last is one of my favorites, "Doctor, have you had this vaccine?" Obviously, many won't even answer the question. That alone should be a huge red flag. 
What do you do if you are sitting nose-to-nose with your doctor and they are pressuring you into a vaccine you don't want? There are 2 different ways to deal with it.
  1.   If you don't mind some confrontation- these 4 words are the most powerful that can be spoken to any doctor: "I DO NOT CONSENT."  Bam! Procedures halt in the throws of it all.
  2. If you don't like confrontation- simply ask the question, "Doctor, are you willing to personally take full responsibility for any and all adverse reactions?" If the answer is no, well, you get the idea.
 So what are my options besides just accepting whatever happens to float on by? Well, try boosting you immune system so it can effectively fight off any virus. This can be done (and is done all the time) without so much as a hint of symptoms. How do we accomplish such a marvelous feat? Try any of my favorites. In fact, try them all. You can only get healthier because of them!
Want more specific help? I am here to serve your health needs. Simply call 253-858-2474 to schedule a time just for me and you. 

In health, 
Dr. Cohen

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bug Spray and Hormones

Have you heard the radio ads recently talking about the choice or organic food and food produced by "conventional farming"?  Organic (that is, USDA Certified Organic) food is free from pesticides, herbicides, or other chemicals. Conventional farming methods employ the use of weed killers and bug spray on your food. (Yes, you read that correctly- bug spray.)

The concern about "conventional" foods is that the chemicals in them are categorized as endocrine disruptors. This means they interfere with hormone production and signaling, cause cellular damage, tumors, cognitive problems, ADD, and learning disabilities.

Hormone disruption for men means less testosterone. When it drops sex drive goes down, muscles gets smaller, and you get fat stores in the chest/pectorals. That's right guys- man boobs. For women, interference with estrogen balance leads to a list of symptoms: meunstral  cramping, endometriosis, and breast cancer. There is also a strong link between xenoestrogens and thyroid problems.

The good news is that you have a high level of control over your exposure to these terribly damaging chemicals. Here is a list of common offenders and healthier options you don't have to go searching for:

Personal care products: lotions, shampoo, conditioners, facial cleansers, etc. that contain ANY kind of "parabens".  Replace with Sense Products from USANA Health Sciences.

"Conventional" foods: produce with bug spray on it, meats injected with growth hormones, antibiotics, and who knows what else.  Replace with organic produce and grass-fed (free range) meats.

What should you do if you are already hormone imbalanced and you suspect xenoestrogens? You may do well to perform an "Estrogen Detox". This is accomplished without much difficulty as your body is supported nutritionally to rid the offending chemicals and restore proper hormone balance. Many hormonally related symptoms simply disappear. My favorite is to use Estrium, a protein-based neutraceutical shake from Metagenics.

Want specific help? Visit me here to learn about working with me or call 253-858-2474 and we can easily set aside a few minutes just for you!

In health,
Dr. Christian Cohen

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fear of the Unknown

So I have to give fair warning - I am on the soapbox for this post...

I have a patient who's 1 year old has lost a few ounces of weight since her last check up. A few ounces doesn't sound like much but for a 1 year old it is significant. At the pediatrician's advice she took the little one to a nutritionist.

Here is where it gets interesting: the nutritionist discovers that I have her on a high protein, loaded with nutrients, low glycemic shake to supplement her eating but doesn't know Metagenics as a company or product (by her own admission to the patient/mom). Her advice- stop taking the high quality shake and instead use carnation instant breakfast.


Ever see the ingredients? Milk, sugar, maltodextrin (sugar), lactose (allergen to many people), natural and artificial flavor (hidden things like MSG, flavor enhancers, etc), corn starch (sugar-based thickening agent), wheat starch, salt, and the cheapest (read that worst quality) "nutrients" they can shove in just to say they are there. The form of zinc that they add is essentially a form of rust. Vitamin D without the co-factors necessary to absorb and use it.
Did I mention the kid is gluten sensitive? Breaks out in a rash every time something is ingested that has wheat in it. And the nutritionist was put off by the fact that I worked with the mom to get the kid off gluten.  This is the equivalent of saying to the poor mom- stop giving the kid food and nutrients and start with a healthy dose of crack instead.

So here is what happens- I advised mom on simple, healthy eating changes for the whole family not just the baby and mom says the baby is already doing better (eating regularly, active, and better mood). This is just in the last week so it is too early to see an appreciable weight gain but it is coming. And, it is healthy weight. We want the baby to become strong and healthy not fat and "up to normal weight".

Helping clients with Body Composition change is something I excel at. Whether you want to trim down the body fat, add some bulk, or just get to an ideal weight I can help. Nutritional work with me does not require you to come in for adjustments. Diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes are important.

Call me to schedule your nutritional consultation and get on the way to your healthiest ever.  I Love This!

Monday, August 8, 2011

An Ounce of Prevention.

  Saturday night at The Art Space Gallery @ Backbone Art Reception, a very nice lady I met explained to me about her bad back and the problems she had with it. When I offered to help improve her spine (really her whole health), she declined because "it isn't acting up right now".  
  To me, this is the same as saying, "I'm not going to brush my teeth until they hurt."  The sad truth is pain is not an indication of poor health any more than no pain is an indication of good health.

  Pain is a sign of inflammation. It is to stop us from causing further damage to ourselves. That's all. Having no pain and thinking you are healthy is like sticking your head in the sand.

  Many people have cancer and don't know it. For a majority of heart attack victims, the actual heart attack is the 1st "symptom" of heart disease. Clearly the injury to the heart didn't begin at the moment of the heart attack. We all know this. Don't fool yourself into thinking that no pain = health!

  Be proactive. We all know the expression about an ounce of prevention. Prevent sickness and dis-ease. Get a massage and adjustment regularly. Exercise daily. Eat organic fresh veggies and fruits, lean meats, nuts, and seeds. Be informed. Check out FoodMatters.tv, Food, Inc., Super Size Me and other shows that tell the truth about food, farming, and food handling. 

Seek out guidance from specialists and health care providers who go beyond the surface and only treat the symptom. 

As always, my door is open and I love to help people improve their health. Call 253.858.2474 and check out BackboneRestored.com to see what I can do for you.