We’ve all seen the television commercials touting the benefits of prescription drugs, followed closely by the long list of disclaimers which warn of the possible side effects. There doesn’t seem to be a malady that can’t be addressed by popping a pill, and Americans are drowning under a tidal wave of pharmaceuticals.
According to Mayo Clinic and Olmsted Medical Center Researchers, nearly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug, and more than half take two. (HealthDay News 2014) In fact, one in ten Americans admitted to having taken five or more prescription drugs in the month previous to the survey.
In addition to concerns about potential drug interactions, there is also the reported prescription drug spending which reached an astronomical $374 billion in 2014, according to the Wall Street Journal. (April 2015)
Our fast food, on-demand, instant gratification society has led us to apply the same principles to our health care. “Conventional medicine is a quick fix. You take a pill and you get immediate relief. And that’s what Americans love…and that’s why they gravitate to it because it’s instant relief,” explained Christine Andrew owner of Center of Holistic Health & Nutrition in Vacaville.
She went on to reveal the insidious consequences of taking a pill for anything that ails you. “…The pills are quick fixes, but…every pill as side-effects, and then you’re going to need another pill to combat that side-effect…then the list can go on and on…never, ever addressing the root cause of the underlying problem of: ‘Why that high cholesterol…depression…diabetes…gall stone…arthritis…asthma?’…it’s a band aid approach…”
Christine was quick to add her thoughts regarding the proper use of Western medicine in our quest for healing and wholeness. “Western medicine has its advantages, absolutely. ‘Have I needed Western medicine in my past?’ Absolutely…without question I have been grateful for it. But there are somethings that are completely unnecessary that can be dealt with through food and natural methods…”
Through her own personal health crisis, Christine discovered alternative methods which ultimately restored her where conventional medicine had failed. “My own health was declining. I hit 40 and I felt like I hit a ton of bricks, and nobody could help. Conventional medicine was not able to find…or solve the problem. So I turned to alternative health and that’s where I got healthy and healed,” she said.
A holistic approach to health care includes looking at a person’s lifestyle and eating habits, with the aim being to restore balance, rather than mask symptoms. “…we don’t diagnose disease and we don’t prescribe medication, that’s the number one difference…What we want to do is find where there are some imbalances…We look to see where there are some root problems, where there are some nutritional deficiencies, and (we) support the immune system, repair the gut, and bring that back into balance…through either nutritionals, environmental changes, lifestyle factors, timing of meals, what meals…and making sure the food that you are eating – you don’t have allergic reaction to those foods. So we look at what you eat too – and are you getting the nutrients from that food? And if not, what’s blocking or preventing the absorption of those nutrients?” Christine explained.
She went on to depict the problem with simply treating a patient’s symptoms. “And we can’t just go by symptoms, because there are multiple causes for multiple symptoms. Like a migraine – there’s not one cause, there are several causes.”
A variety of tests can be done to determine a course of treatment, including many that are familiar to us such as blood and urine tests, and some that may be brand new. She described a few of the unique modalities they employ.
“We have micro-nutrient testing: it tests all the vitamins from A-Z, it tests the anti-oxidants, and it has an immune index to see how strong your immune system is.” Another method they use is through an Asyra machine, where they gauge a person’s health in a systematic way. “We offer what we call bio-energetic assessment, which…finds out underlying deficiencies or imbalances in the organs and various systems of the body, as well as nutritional deficiencies,” said Christine.
These methods allow a sneak peak into cellular activity that could perhaps be missed through traditional screening procedures. “There’s bio-chemical, and then there’s bio-energetic (testing). Bio-energetic is looking at the sub-clinical, before it will show up on a blood test. We use different methods, and one is that Asyra machine. Disturbances always start at the cellular level – the frequency of the cells. Its either functioning optimally or sub-optimally. And we can find those disturbances…” explained Christine.
She stressed the importance of early detection and intervention in the prevention of disease. “We can see signs through looking through a different lens that there are imbalances long before they really blow up into a huge medical issue. So we can see those subtleties (of disease) long before (it manifests) – like diabetes, cholesterol, gall bladder. There are definite signs long before it shows up at a clinical stage. So, we look at the sub-clinical and intervene so it doesn’t get to that point.”
Once specific imbalances are detected, a proper course of treatment is given to help a patient’s body restore its own natural balance. The route that natural healing follows is a slow and steady journey to optimal health, although some fundamental adjustments at times can bring amazingly quick results.
Christine elaborated, “And natural healing, it just is not instant…some cases it is…a simple change just in food can bring instant relief, very simple changes. I’ve seen that, I’ve seen that a lot. Still kind of surprising, but it does. But with natural healing, because it took them so many years to get where they are at the chronic degenerative state, it didn’t happen overnight, it took years to accumulate to that state….It’s going to take a process of just peeling that away, slowly and steadily, progressively until you bring that healing.”
A commitment to the process of natural healing can bring unprecedented health benefits that can’t be found otherwise, and it is also an ideal way to bring the functional systems of the body into unity with one another.
Christine elaborated, “…we have 12 systems in our body and they all interact with each another. It’s like a matrix…One system does not work all by itself, which is (what is) so wrong about specialties (in Western medicine)…the GI doctor isn’t communicating with the urinary doctor, and the urinary doctor isn’t communicating with the GYN doctor – the respiratory doctor isn’t communicating with the GI doctor…and every part of the body works in concert. So with us, we start with one area of the most concern, usually it is digestion…once we get this going in the right direction and healing (is occurring), then we look at some other parts – like say the adrenals or the thyroid, and we work systematically on those systems to bring them into balance…We work on one thing at a time until those systems are now communicating with one another, and the liver is clearing out toxins, hormones are balanced, their sleep is better, their energy is better.”
Some of the most common ailments that Christine sees involve digestion and the thyroid. She described some of the recognizable symptoms of thyroid problems as, “dry hair, depression, weight gain – with repeated trying (to control it) with diet and exercise – (and) no change (is experienced) – that’s almost always a thyroid.” She added, “…and thinning hair on the eyebrows.”
Christine also debunked some common thinking regarding the effects of genetics on health. “Eighty-five percent of our problems come from our diet; the other 15% (is) environmental, (and) genetics. People think…’Oh, it’s my genes.’ It’s an excellent excuse! You can turn genes on or off at any time just by changing some environmental and dietary factors, it is called epigenetics – you have a lot more control than you think. People are running in droves trying to get their genes tested. ‘Well, I have this gene so I’m going to get breast cancer.’ It’s not what that means. You may be higher at risk, but it’s absolutely not an automatic. We all have bad genes, every one of us, but which person is going to express that gene, and what person isn’t?”
She lays the burden of prevention squarely on the shoulders of each individual, urging people to do a personal assessment of any risk factors to which they might subject themselves. Her checklist included examining things like, “our environment and what we eat, our stress level, our emotional health, all of that plays a part in whether than gene is going to be expressed or not, it’s not automatic,” she insisted.
Since food plays such an important part in health, Christine advises taking a stricter stance, and committing to a higher standard for what we eat, emphasizing the benefits of minimally processed and organic foods. “I would trust raw milk over any pasteurized milk. I would trust grass-fed organic beef over any commercial beef…the organic…has higher mineral content, much higher nutrient content – the organic grass-fed – than the conventional. Yes, it’s all regulated (conventional) it’s just food that’s devoid of nutrients, which is going to be a factor in our health. Or do we want to support the local farmer that goes out of his way and works harder at maintaining the soil that has the proper nutrients to feed us…so that our immune system can maintain good health? Some foods don’t have to be organic, like bananas, avocados – they’re not generally sprayed, or citrus that has really thick skin. You’re getting a better quality food when you do organic or in season. It always pays to buy organic as much as possible,” she recommended.
Addressing one of the common objections that people tend to raise regarding the higher cost of eating organically, she said, “We pay a farmer or we pay a doctor, it’s a matter of choice. We also pay now or we pay later. The cost of a gall bladder surgery alone (is) $300,000. You think about other things – the cost of cancer. One dose of chemotherapy can cost $15,000, that’s one dose! So is that per day, per week, times six weeks, (or) six months, you have to be on that?…Consider the costs of these chronic auto-immune conditions. Surgeries – you know (they cost) hundreds of thousands of dollars! Brain surgery – that’s well over $300,000!
So all these complications, heart surgeries, heart disease, (a) heart attack – that’s (going to cost) tens of thousands of dollars, and that’s (for) standard care. Okay, but natural (treatment), it’s never going to cost that much, ever. Okay, maybe several thousand dollars in a year, maybe. Then you have to look at the quality of health you’re going to have (through natural treatment) vs. standard care (which is) sub-optimal. And again (you can experience) multiple reactions – side-effects, which (then) you have to be on more medications, as opposed to vibrant health with no chronic degenerative disease later in life, where they’re going to be in a convalescent home, and somebody (as to) take care of them, and they can’t manage their daily living functions, or (would they rather) live well in their 80s (and) 90s with vibrant health?
Christine boldly challenges the commonly held belief in our society that most of us will lose our quality of health as we age. “It has nothing to do with age, that’s the standard way of thinking. ‘Oh it’s just your age, that’s the way old people are supposed to be.’ That’s not true! That’s a sign that your body is out of balance. It’s not a 50-year-old thing, or an 80-year-old thing…it’s a sign they have a messed up gut.”
Anyone can make simple changes to positively impact their health. To begin your quest for improved health today, Christine offered three things that can be implemented right away.
- Drink water – Drink spring, filtered, or Brita water. To restore the mineral content removed by filtering processes, she also recommends adding a pinch of Himalayan pink salt to the water.
- Eliminate sugar – Just a teaspoon of sugar depresses the immune system for up to five hours. Consider the effects of drinking one Pepsi, which contains over eight teaspoons of sugar! Drinking soda throughout the day means your immune system would be constantly depressed, leaving you vulnerable to disease. Beware of hidden forms of sugar in your foods by checking the labels for: high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, maltose, dextrose, fructose, glucose, galactose, lactose, cane juice, maltodextrin, barley malt, beet sugar, and the list goes on. A Google search will provide you with even more names for sugars lurking in your foods and beverages.
- Buy organic – You can find a pretty good selection of organic food at affordable prices at Costco and Trader Joe’s.
If you are thinking about taking the next step toward optimal health, there are a variety of natural treatments available at The Center for Holistic Health & Nutrition to help you on your journey. They offer familiar routes of cleansing, such as internal detoxification utilizing supplements and nutrition. They also use less commonly known mode of external detoxification which utilizes mud-packing, a process that zeros in in trauma sites like scars and surgeries in the body. Another popular service is breast thermography, which involves the use of an infrared camera to examine the physiology of the breast tissue. There is no compression or radiation, and Christine suggests it as an excellent choice for younger women who fall below the recommended age for mammograms, which has recently been raised to 40 years old.
Recently relocated to Dobbins Street, they have expanded to become a true center for holistic health, offering services from an esthetician, a massage therapist, and a Pilate’s instructor, along with nutritional counseling, functional medicine, high quality excipient-free supplements, and food-based products.
You can read more about food and wellness in Christine’s book, Food Isn’t What it Used to Be, contact her online at www.individualized.wellness.net, or make an appointment by calling 707-451-4058.
Originally published in Vacaville Magazine. Reprint permission on this website granted by Lauren Runow.