August 2012

My mom is 1/2 Japanese and 1/2 Portuguese and my father was an Eastern European Jew, so I was actually born a Buddhist, Catholic, Jew, if you can believe that. Anyhow, while visiting the Big Island of Hawaii my Auntie (from the Japanese side) showed me the oddly shaped fruit growing in front of the house. It’s a noni plant. It’s one of the key components in many of the herbal programs I design for patients. It was fascinating to find out that my 82-year-old Auntie knows more about what I do than I do!

Also, you can note the donkey/tiger photo.

Yes the donkey is real, but the tiger is a large metal replica of the real deal since they don’t really have tigers in Hawaii. Again, another of my Auntie’s (on the Portuguese side) has an organic farm populated by large numbers of animals on the slopes of the volcano over looking Honoka’a on the Big Island. That donkey is not a nice donkey. While we were visiting, it went after one of the rabits and it took two sheep herding dogs to do the rescue.

What I was reminded of while visiting Hawaii…Eat real food. Get outside every day, in the sunshine, and be active for at least 90 minutes a day, minimum, and you’ll be like my relatives; fit, spry, and smiling and laughing well into your 90’s. Don’t eat processed food. Don’t spend all your time indoors, inactive. And don’t isolate from your community. It’s that simple.

Also, by the way, I’m not planning on working that much longer. So if you’re interested in a training program or becoming a patient, don’t wait, otherwise you’ll have to fly to Hawaii to see me on the Big Island on my farm!

Check out the graveyard, those are my great great grandparents, buried in the front yard of my other (93 year old) Aunties house, right on the coast of the most beautiful land you can imagine.


Dr. Dan

I’m in Hawaii this week visiting my family on the big island. My one uncle, Mike, owns a 550-acre organic farm and ranch that stretches seven miles from the ocean to the mountains and we spent the entire day motoring around on Jeeps. Quite an experience. He grows many, many things. In the picture you’ll see one of the 20 or so heirloom variety of papaya, he has 52 different types of bananas growing including the variety used by the ancient Hawaiians, and even four different varieties of passion fruit, none of which have ever been sold commercially. They are literally the picture of anti-oxidants, brimming with nutrients most people suffer without.

My Auntie Aiyako brings us endless special island dishes every day, fresh bamboo shoots, fresh caught fish, every vegetable and fruit that the tropics have to offer. Her husband is 84 years old and you’d mistake him for a man in his early 50’s. In contrasts to what I am used to seeing with my patients – years of bad food, inactivity, and spending one’s life indoors, at a desk, in front of a screen – this good quality food, fresh air, sunlight and lifetimes of rewarding hard work really do create healthy and vibrant people.

I had the great good fortune to spend the evening last week at Diane Sanfilippo’s book signing party in San Francisco, someone I have known for many years since she took one of the nutrition courses I teach.  Her new book, “Practical Paleo” is the latest contribution to the growing literature on how to eat, in modern times, as our ancestors did, not an easy feat for any of us. The book is full of valuable health information, covering everything from leaky gut issues to recipes. The production value is stunning with gorgeous photos that bring the books ideas and food choices alive. I have two copies at home already and highly recommend the book for those looking to learn more about how to eat well and cook at home.

Before the Summer is Over

Clean up  your diet for two weeks and avoid gluten, soy and dairy, then go out and have pancakes for breakfast, pasta for lunch and pizza for dinner and see how you react.


Gluten intolerance is a very common undiagnosed problem that can be a serious health complaint causing a variety of symptoms, from weight gain and fatigue to Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Although not everyone is gluten-intolerant, everyone benefits from a two-month gluten-free diet, because it forces us to eat less of the processed, refined foods that contain gluten, and more unprocessed foods such as organic vegetables, quality proteins, fats, and healthy carbohydrates. People who are gluten-intolerant need to modify their gluten consumption for life. For everyone else, the two-month period is sufficient, after which gluten-containing grains can be reintroduced into a healthier diet.

Eating gluten-free means avoiding all foods containing gluten, including wheat, rye, spelt, bulgar, semolina, couscous, triticale, and durum flour. Gluten can be hidden, so it is important to read labels carefully. Be wary of modified food starch, dextrin, flavorings and extracts, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, imitation seafood, and creamed or thickened products such as soups, stews, and sauces. Starchy foods that are allowed include amaranth, arrowroot, buckwheat, corn, millet, potato, quinoa, oats, and rice.


Approximately half of those sensitive to gluten are also allergic to soy and soy products. Part of this may stem from the ways in which soy has been genetically modified and the frequency with which it is used as a food additive. Avoid all concentrated soy protein products, including tofu, tempeh, soy protein powders, and bars that contain soy protein, for the initial two months,. Most people tolerate the small amounts of soy proteins found in soy sauce or whole soybeans.

Pasteurized Dairy

Food reactions to pasteurized dairy products are the most easily detected. These products are pasteurized milk, cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese — but not eggs. There are two potential problems with dairy products: lactose intolerance, which is an inability to digest the carbohydrate or sugar portion of milk, and milk allergy, which is a reaction to the protein in milk. Pasteurization and homogenization destroys the enzymes in milk that help us digest it, the healthy bacteria in milk that help keep the gut working well, and the beneficial fats in dairy, rendering what could be a very nurturing and healing food a potentially harmful product.

While pasteurized dairy is to be avoided, raw dairy may be introduced after two weeks of a diet free of dairy. After two weeks, most people will be able to tell if they are sensitive to dairy by drinking a large glass of whole raw milk first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. If you have no digestive symptoms from doing this, then you can likely consume raw dairy products. Raw butter has butyric acid, which along with the healthy bacteria in butter helps heal the GI tract in dramatic ways.


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