Tag Archives: nutrition, food, eating

sketch of a stack of books with an apple on top

non-drug ways to get well and stay well

In a previous post I introduced you to Mind Over Meds by Dr. Andrew Weil . I reviewed 7 classes of medications he teaches we should use less often. MIND OVER MEDS- book cover

In another previous post I shared 7 drug classes I consider overused, 4 of which he discusses in his book.

In this follow up post I list alternatives to drug therapy. These are also adjuncts to medication- meaning we recommend using them even if you do need medication.

Dr. Weil mentions these in his book, and I’ve pulled from other sources too.

This is a brief overview of several approaches, not a complete list. If you are interested in knowing more, I suggest exploring the reference links. I invite you to send me a message about a topic you would like me to explore in more depth here.

This post uses affiliate links  that support this blog and non-affiliate links that don’t.


I, Dr. Weil and most physicians recommend diet changes to treat and prevent many common medical conditions. Almost any health issue can be improved with better food choices.

bottle of olive oil

Olive oil is an important ingredient in the Mediterranean diet .

The Mediterranean diet, emphasizing fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish,  and healthy fats like olive oil, seems to protect against heart disease and increase longevity.

The DASH diet is the first choice to lower blood pressure. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension and also emphasizes fresh foods and healthy choices.

The American Diabetes Association offers extensive information on eating to control diabetes.

Food choices are also important in treating high cholesterol, GERD, allergy, heart disease, overweight, gout, kidney stones and other kidney disease, and possibly other conditions.


Herbal medicines are endorsed by Dr. Weil; he points out that early synthetic drugs were derived from plants. Unfortunately most physicians have not had extensive training in their use. They are also not regulated as stringently as prescription drugs so quality may not be uniform.

Herbal medicines are used to treat a wide variety of conditions and symptoms including headaches, gastric distress, hot flushes, depression, insomnia, pain, allergy among others. Scientific confirmation of their effectiveness is lacking for most, but some patients find them helpful and some physicians endorse, or at best tolerate their use.

The unsupervised use of herbs and other dietary supplements can be dangerous, especially if combined with other drugs.


Mind-body therapies can be helpful in managing painful conditions such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), migraine, joint pain, and anxiety/depressive disorders. These include

  • Hyposis
  • Biofeedback
  • Meditation
  • Relaxation techniques



Breath work- changing habits of breathing and specific breathing techniques can relieve anxiety, and manage stress. Dr. Weil calls

Breathing: The Master Key to Self Healing and teaches how to do it in this recording. 


Exercise and other forms of physical activity help manage all kinds of musculoskeletal pain, fibromyalgia, lowers blood pressure, aids weight loss,relieves anxiety and depression.  They may even have a role in preventing or delaying the onset of dementia. This includes

woman standing on a rock in a forest

Walking, especially outdoors, can relieve feelings of stress and tension as well as improve physical fitness.  Photo from Lightstock.com



Tai chai


Strength training







Manual medicine is used to manage back, neck, and other musculoskeletal pain and headaches.

  • Chiropractic manipulation
  • Osteopathic manipulation
  • Acupuncture
  • TNS-transcutaneous nerve stimulation
  • Massage
  • Support with splints, wraps, slings, braces


CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and other forms of psychotherapy should be a part of the treatment of most mental disorders and may be the only treatment needed for mild conditions. The use of therapy animals also fits here.


Lifestyle evaluation and adjustments can improve any medical condition and is also one of the most important factors in prevention of disease.



a sink with colorful wall decorations

Who knew handwashing could be entertaining?

Hand washing is the most effective way to prevent many infections, especially those that can be transmitted by food and water. Proper food preparation and storage and kitchen clean up also contribute to safety.






Habits that create sleep deprivation or poor sleep contribute to depression,musculoskeletal pain, headaches, fatigue, and even make us more prone to infection. Check out this previous post on how to get a good night’s sleep

a bed in a room

One’s sleep environment affects quality of sleep.








Chemicals and pollutants

Avoidance of allergens and toxins should be automatic. For allergy, any known allergens -substances that cause allergy symptoms-can often be eliminated from one’s immediate environment, although I have had patients who insisted on keeping pets that they were allergic to. If the allergens cannot be completely eliminated, you can at least minimize exposure.

At this affiliate link you can find products to help eliminate allergens in your home


It seems we call everything a “toxin” these days, and detox regimens are popular. (although our bodies naturally detox us every day).

Anything in excess can be harmful. But our overall health as a society would improve immensely if more people would avoid the obvious toxins of tobacco, excess alcohol, and illicit drugs.

sign says NO smoking, wilderness area

When walking, wear proper shoes; and don’t smoke.

Review 7 surprising reasons to be smoke free







Stress management 

Many of the techniques I’ve mentioned help with stress management. In turn, managing the stressful events and situations in our lives can help us feel more rested, less tense, more relaxed, calmer, and able to manage our other medical problems better.

FamilyDoctor.org offers these steps to Managing Daily Stress 



Dr. Weil recommends these resources about  integrative and complementary medical treatments

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

The Office of Dietary Supplements 


Dr. Weil’s books are also available at

Barnes & Noble – Free Shipping of $25+


If you found this post helpful, please share with friends and colleagues. And let me know too. I welcome feedback and use it to plan future posts.

the word BLOG

Doctor bloggers you need to know

This post has several affiliate links, for your convenience and to support this blog. thank you!

In a previous series I recommended several physician written health blogs. In this post, I revisit some of those sites, and introduce you to a few more I have discovered.

These blogs are all written exclusively or mostly by physicians, or other healthcare professionals. While personal health blogs can be interesting and helpful, blogs that offer information from people who study and practice health and health care professionally offer extra benefits.

White Coat Pink Apron– good food for busy people

White Coat, Pink Apron web site

Dr. Diana, a Boston allergy specialist, blogs about food and shares recipes that are

“quick, easy, generally toddler-friendly, and sometimes Armenian, that anyone can make.”

In this post she shares two recipes for fish, salmon and cod, that adhere to the Paleo concept- no grains ,no beans, no dairy, and no sugar.


dinner plate with fish, green beans and rice

illustration only, not actual recipe

Alert and Oriented.com

Dr. Michel Accad continues to blog about health care policies and economics, the doctor-patient relationship, and medical history, philosophy, and ethics.


According to Dr. Accad, human health is uninsurable; our bodies are not machines so cannot be evaluated objectively. He argues that health insurance is an income subsidy that helps sick people pay for medical care. In this thought provoking post, he explains why

Health insurance is not insurance

He has also published a book,

Moving Mountains: A Socratic Challenge to the Theory and Practice of Population Medicine

“This book will be of great interest to any reader concerned about healthcare. It will be of particular appeal to medical and public health students, as well as to healthcare professionals, including academics open to a challenging perspective.” Amazon



2 peds in a pod– (peds meaning pediatricians)

Practical pediatrics for parents on the go

Dr. Julie Kardos and Dr. Naline Lai practice pediatrics together and co-author this blog about infant, child, and adolescent  health issues. Including  “Essentials of Life- eat, sleep, drink, pee, poop, love”

Here they explain how to read food packaging labels accurately.

Deception in Packaging: Navigating the Nutrition Information Highway

Family of 4 sitting at a dining table.

Read food packing labels carefully to create nutritious meals.

Freud and Fashion

by psychiatrist Vania Manipod, DO


sketch of clothes, shoes, pants

because it’s fashionable to talk about mental health

Dr. Manipod is active on several social media sites as well as her blog. As a psychiatrist, she focuses on mental health, for both patients and other physicians.

She offers Advice on How To Cope With Burnout,  advice she tries to take herself.

And in an interview post she discusses

how a New York woman fights the stigma of mental illness


Just a family doctor speaking up from the frontlines of medicine

Dr. Linda Girgis, M.D. has published a  fiction book, Pandemic Rising

Pandemic RISING- a book

“The year is 2025 and there is a war of worlds in full swing: pathogens versus humanity. In the antibiotic-resistance era, people are living in a petri dish of toxic microbes. Unfortunately, humanity lost its most powerful weapons, antibiotics, when previous generations of doctors prescribed them indiscriminately. Additionally, the efficacy of vaccines waned when people refused these fortresses based on mythological beliefs. Across the globe, tens of thousands are dying while scientists and doctors race to find a cure and vaccine for these super-bugs. Will the medical community of scientists and doctors succeed in developing new ammunition? Or will humanity die off in the battle against the new world order of infectious diseases and pandemics?” Amazon



On her blog, she shares a poignant story about a terminally ill patient with an unshakable will to live in this post-

A Lesson a Patient Taught Me about Defying Death 

Please visit at least one of these doctor bloggers, and leave them a comment. They will appreciate  the support and you may learn something new.

Previous posts about  doctor bloggers

10 health blogs you should read- a pair of docs and more

10 health blogs you should read- a family (doc) reunion

10 health blogs you should read- blogs by docs

10 health blogs you should read- 3 blogs by 3 docs


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