Summertime—and the Livin’ is Sneezey Part 1

George Gershwin got it right when he penned, “summertime, and the livin’ is easy.” Here in the northern hemisphere it’s glorious summertime. People are swimming, boating, hiking and biking – enjoying all of the wonders of nature. It’s a time for summer vacations and summer fun. But we’ve noticed something: many people (often children) are succumbing to summer colds, flu virus, and other illnesses usually not seen with such frequency until mid-winter. For them, summertime is more sneezey than easy. In contrast, neither of us are able to recall when we last had a cold. In fact, Gloria has never had the flu, and she has a teenage granddaughter who has never missed a day of school due to illness. Clearly we must be doing something right. There are many ways to maintain health and wellness – to avoid getting sick. Here are some tips from two people who seldom get sick. Follow them, and you’ll be well on your way to a sneeze-free summer.

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A New Beginning

Hello and welcome to the official nutrition blog of Eat to Save Your Life. We’re Gloria Askew, RRN (Retired Registered Nurse, although she’s hardly retired!) and Jerre Paquette, PhD, a teacher and professor of English and Film Studies for some 46 years. He’s hardly retired, as well.

Gloria started out as an emergency room nurse, her career leading her into chief administrator positions supervising other emergency nurses. Her long-term and acute observations of the medical field led her to become concerned about how the medical field was ignoring the connection between food and health (though they understood the link between food and illness). Eventually, she turned her attention to the study of nutrition and became an outstanding speaker, seminar presenter, nutritional consultant, and advocate for those who were experiencing poor nutrition and all the consequent illnesses, from diabetes to cancer.

Jerre’s PhD is focused on learning. His studies introduced him to possible links between nutrition, sustainable energy, and academic performance. That eventually led him to seminars on nutrition offered by Gloria, and that, in turn, lead to a marvelous relationship as co-authors of books, co-presenters at seminars, and business partners in Phyte Media Inc., a company the two formed for the sole purpose of sharing with you all we’ve learned about nutrition, food, and the politics and economics of health and wellness linked to them.

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A Missing Link: Mental Health and Nutrition

Let’s Talk —About Mental Health


Two years ago, Bell Canada announced an initiative to support mental health. This year, their “Let’s Talk” campaign is designed to get people talking about mental illness and help reduce the stigma surrounding it.

So, in response to the “Let’s Talk” campaign, here’s what we want to talk about:

First, it’s important to understand that mental illnesses such as depression, ADHD, obsessive compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, dementia, and the huge range of other mental health problems are, in fact, biological illnesses—not the result of being merely lazy or crazy or weak-willed. Mental illness has its roots in a person’s biology, and people with mental illness truly are ill. They deserve our respect and care, not ridicule or threats.

Second, we want to talk about mainstream medicine’s failure to address the nutritional needs of the brain when mental illness strikes. Time and again, the mainstream medical system recommends cognitive behavioural therapy, drugs, exercise, hospitalization, and even electric shock therapy, but the system gives very little consideration to the brain’s huge nutritional needs—even though this organ is energy intensive and highly sensitive.

Ignoring the brain’s nutritional needs happened again at least once this week: On his daily talk show, Anderson Cooper interviewed a young woman struggling with obsessive compulsive disorder. A therapist who specializes in this debilitating illness explained that the patient’s brain is not working properly and is telling the patient to do things that she doesn’t want to do (completing various rituals over and over again until the patient becomes exhausted and debilitated). The therapist went on to explain that this patient’s brain was genetically pre-disposed to the illness; genetics were the loaded gun and life circumstances pulled the trigger. The therapist advised that intensive cognitive behavioural therapy is needed. However, not a word was spoken about supporting the brain with proper nutrition.

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Calcium Supplements for Women


In Part I of Benefits of Calcium vs. Risks of Heart Attack, we explained three of our objections to the recent meta-study, “Effect of calcium supplements on risk of myocardial infarction and cardiovascular events: meta-analysis” posted in the British Journal of Medicine.

Our three objections were these:

1. Participants of the studies referred to were given calcium in isolation.

2. The meta-study did not indicate which form of vitamin D participants of the studies were given—D2 or D3.

3. Too many of the variables included in the original studies were undeclared by the meta-researchers. As a result, it is not possible for us to determine viability of the present study.

Here is our fourth objection to the stated conclusions of the meta-study: The doctors interviewed by the press said nary a word about magnesium. Anyone worth his or her nutritional salt would hardly mention calcium supplementation without referring to magnesium in the same sentence. These doctors’ response to the research was that: Continue reading



Calcium Supplements for Women



Well—it’s happened again: Researchers have designed a poor study on a particular supplement, and the press has trumpeted the supposed health risks associated with it. In reading the news reports and the published study this week, it looks to us that neither researchers nor reporters have done their homework.

Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack)

The study we’re talking about was published in the British Journal of Medicine and is entitled “Effect of calcium supplements on risk of myocardial infarction and cardiovascular events: meta-analysis.” It concludes that “Calcium supplements (without coadministered vitamin D) are associated with an increased risk of myocardial infarction.” In other words, it contrasts the benefits of calcium supplements with apparent risks of heart attack.  The study was a meta-analysis (research of other research) that looked at the results of 15 previous studies that featured calcium supplements for women.

There’s so much wrong with this study and the way it’s being reported that we almost don’t know where to start with a response, but we’ll give it a try.

First, according to the press and the published text of the study, research subjects were given Calcium. Period. Calcium.  Now, anyone with an ounce of nutritional knowledge knows that calcium is a team player—which means that it should never be administered in isolation.

Designing a study that administers calcium in isolation is a lot like trying to win the Stanley Cup with only one hockey player on the ice: It just doesn’t make sense—and it’s a big waste of time and money. Just as a hockey player needs to be part of a good team to win the NHL’s biggest prize, calcium needs to be part of a good team if it’s going to win health’s biggest prize. Continue reading

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