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Plews News

Building Strong Bones


(Originally published in Sarasota's Natural Awakenings magazin May 2011) 

                Bones are so much more than calcium. American women are taking too much calcium and creating more problems (like hypertension) than they solve.  The U.S. is among the 4 top nations of calcium and yet one of four nations with the highest fracture rate. Go figure. Calcium alone can’t be the answer to building strong bones! 
             The recipe for making good strong bone starts with protein.  The matrix or internal grid of the bone looks a lot like a prom dress crinoline crushed into a paper towel tube. That interlocking network, highest in the amino acid glycine, allows the minerals to be deposited with the glue of collagen protein.  That’s what the calcium, magnesium, boron and other minerals bind onto: the matrix.  Low protein diets do as much damage to bone integrity; as too high protein diets do, but for a different reason. High protein diets one too acidic and this leech bone minerals.

                Bones foundational matrix is made of the protein collagen the same as your skin, teeth, blood vessels, eye and heart.  Collagen is the body’s most abundant protein of the thousands of different proteins in the body.  These strong, white fibers of collagen are stronger than steel wire of the same weight.  Yet you can’t make collagen without Vitamin C.  It does matter if the C comes from pills or pineapple, citrus, peppers, cabbage or strawberries. The study from the Journal of Epidemiology showed that women who took supplemental vitamin C, 500-1000mg/day, had heavier bones than women who just got their “C” from food.  An excellent multi may have all the extra C you need.

                After protein and vitamin C comes another player in the bone matrix:  choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid.  “What!” you say. It is the activated form of silica found in all green leafy vegies from lettuce to beets, but best from a supplement.  Bones require both vertical and horizontal stress resistance.  Walking, standing and lifting all use your bones’ vertical strength.  Horizontal strength of bones is improved with this highly absorbable form of silicon. That’s why you’ve likely heard stories about how the bone drug FOSAMAX does not protect against breaks in the thigh as a result of lateral trauma or strike.   The magic of ch-OSA is that it also improves hair, skin and nails. Less wrinkles, better nails, thicker hair AND stronger bones. Sounds good.

                Never forget the role of the Sunshine Vitamin “D” in bone health.  Get your level checked next time you get blood work. The test is 25-OH-Vitamin D and you want your results to be over 50.  Few women, even Floridian sun bathers, need less than 2,000-4,000iu daily. Not only will it benefit your bones, it will cut women’s risk of breast cancer in HALF! 

                Now when we talk about minerals like calcium, magnesium and boron, it’s done so in light of the acknowledgement that bones are a “soup” of ingredients, not just minerals.  The worst of the calcium is carbonate (only 40% calcium) which may be malabsorbed in those with poor digestion and can cause gas, but it’s real cheap.  The only complete bone food is microcrystalline hydroxyapatite complex (MCHC) derived from bone and containing much greater nourishment that calcium offers alone.  Also present in MCHC are magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese and more. Studies demonstrate increase in bone density at 1,100mg of MCHC daily in divided doses.

                Bone is a dynamic tissue that is constantly breaking down and reforming.  Hard bone is 80% of the skeleton.  The soft spongy bone is the internal framework that makes up 20% of bone density.  That spongy bone allows flexibility, acting like a shock absorber for mechanical stress.  Collagen is the mortar that binds minerals together.  Just like bricks (MCHC) lay atop the mortar (collagen) so bone is built in a process called mineralization, bricks then mortar, more bricks, more mortar, etc.

                The dangers of treating the brittle bone conditions, known as osteoporosis, with drugs is huge. First, there are no long term studies on the safety or efficacy of bisphosphonate drugs, the main category of treatment. Bisphophonates, like Fosamax, work by poisoning and killing the bone remodeling cells called osteoclasts. These cells are partnered with osteoblasts that rebuild bone. Ironically, osteoclasts stimulate osteoblasts. So eventually the abnormally altered bone metabolism kills the bone building cells, too.

                New studies link the action of bisphosphonates (which includes Actonel, Bonia, Didronel, Reclast and Fosamax) with increased microfractures, bone death of the jaw and, most recently, increases in esophageal cancer. Skin reactions, muscle spasms, gastric inflammation, kidney failure and ocular damage have all been reported as side effects. Arthritis and anemia are reported in up to 9% of Reclast users. Evidence published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows three times more risk of atrial fibrillation and thus, risk of stroke in users of Fosamax, Reclast, or Zometa, an intravenous osteoporosis drug.

                It should also be noted that building great bone happens in the teens and twenties. So every dark colored soda pop weakens future bones. In the last century, it was common that kids got a glass of milk at every meal, never soda. Perhaps this is a habit that could use a comeback in the homes of the readers with children.

                We take our bones for granted thinking they are just a frame to hang our bodies on.  But they are not a lifeless Halloween skeleton.  Bones are a dynamic living system important to every other system in the body most especially blood building and immunity. Use of the nutrients the bones need for good health will help assure the future of your bones.



What is Your Snore Score?


(Originally published in Sarasota's Natural Awakenings magazine June 2011)


What is your Snore Score?  Anyone ever tell you that you were “sawing logs?”  Ever wake to the sound of your own snoring?  Nobody loves snoring and now we know it poses a true danger to health.

                As we age, the tissues of the uvula and soft palate of the throat can lose their tightness, causing obstructive sleep apnea or OSA.  From the Greek, apnea means “without breath.”  During sleep, this throat weakness can cause the throat to close, blocking the breathing passageway- a moment later- a gasp is heard as the breath is restored. Repetition of this is the snoring one hears, soft or loud, it’s still snoring. More than 24% of men over age 40 snore and likely have sleep apnea or OSA, which accounts for 85% of all apnea. Just poking the snorer awake or rolling on your side doesn’t solve the problem even if it stops the snoring for a little while.

                The risk is much greater than simple sleep deprivation.  Irritability, lack of focus and concentration, day time sleepiness and decreased libido are the mild consequences of apnea.  The real dangers are diabetes, hypertension and fatty liver (NASH- Non-Alcoholic  Steato-Hepatitis).  Add those to a 34% increase in risk of heart attack and 67% increase in risk of stroke and suddenly snoring is more than just annoying!

It was only a few years ago that Swiss researchers found a connection between liver disease occurring in people who drank no alcohol and low blood oxygen. “Hypoxia (lack of oxygen) may be the link leading to accumulation of fat in the liver and progresses to NASH according to lead researcher, Dr. Pignet of University of Bern as published in Clinical Science.

Being male, over 40, obese, having large tonsils, sleeping on your back, relaxant drugs or alcohol and poorly positioned jaw (often due to muscle tension) are all contributors to apnea. But thin women can have apnea, too.  Don’t exclude yourself if you snore just because you’re not overweight or male.  Ask your doctor for an oxymetry test.

Humans don’t store oxygen. You can go a month without food, a week without water and 3-4 minutes without air. Guess what’s most important for survival?  Most people can only hold their breath voluntarily for 1-2 minutes. Prolonged apnea ultimately leads to severe deficiency of blood oxygen.  This affects energy, mental clarity and even risk of cancers.  Death ensues in minutes without life giving breath.

Sleep studies called oxymetry tests determine if apnea is indeed happening. A simple device clipped onto the finger overnight and attached to a wrist band computer are all that’s needed to find out if someone “desaturates” or drops their blood oxygen too low repeatedly during the night. More complex sleep studies are done in a sleep lab to differentiate obstructive apnea from central or mixed apnea, which are more complex.  Central apnea comes from poor breathing signals from the brain, not simple obstruction and affects only .4% of apnea sufferers.  The balance of sufferers, nearly 15%, is mixed apnea types.  

Now that the development of diabetes has been linked to apnea, a “chicken & egg” question appears.  Does the apnea cause the diabetes or does the diabetes cause apnea?  Since diabetes progresses heart disease by 400%, it is linear logic to connect apnea to diabetes to heart attack or stroke.  Yikes!

Treatments all involve clearing the air passageway through the throat. Losing weight, elevating the head of the bed 30%, sleeping on your side, using nose clips and nasal sprays all create some benefit.  Best of the treatment thus far is the CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) treatment where a plastic mask is worn attached by a flexible hose to an air pump to provide, as the name implies, continuous pressure to the airway. Other than just getting used to it, it can relieve symptoms from the very first night.

Obviously, removing enlarged tonsils would be appropriate as a surgical intervention if needed. Surgery to permanently remove the loose tissue in the throat is successful 90% of the time, but is highly invasive and miserably uncomfortable. Ablation techniques using radio frequency is a newer strategy that avoids scar tissue and thus the risk of further reducing the airway.

The best novel treatment for snoring is learning to play the Australian Aborigine musical instrument- the didgeridoo.  Apparently, the muscles of the throat tighten with the regular practicing of this ancient instrument.  You can stop snoring and entertain the neighborhood.

Infomercial television periodically has a new spray, pill or device which claims relief from snoring.  But, alas, claims don’t tighten tissue.  Many dentists custom design “night splints” or retainers that change the way teeth meet by thrusting the jaw forward.  These expensive mouth guards do work for some people to reposition the soft palate upward so the air passageway is more open.

Only an oxymetry test can confirm apnea, so if you are snoring, this action is the next step to reduce your risk of major health issues.  Abnormal liver enzymes (SGOT & SPGT, also referred to as ALT & AST) call for investigation. Are statin drugs, alcohol or hepatitis causing high liver enzymes?  Or is it snoring causing NASH?  The best news of all is that if the apnea stops, the risks decline, plus you’ll feel better, more rested, brighter and refreshed.  Still, it will only be a matter of time until there are CPAP machines for snoring dogs too.

Green Homes and Gardens

By Eve Prang Plews
Licensed Nutrition Counselor
(Originally published in Sarasota's Natrual Awakenings magazine April, 2011)

You don’t just eat what’s on your plate.  Everything you eat becomes you.  The external intrudes continuously.  The external is all through us.  It doesn’t matter if you eat it, drink it, breathe it or rub it in your skin, toxins can affect your health and future no matter how they enter your body.  It’s one thing to clean up your diet by moving to more organic and whole foods, but it takes a deeper commitment to clean up your house and surroundings.

Start with the most prevalent poison:  pesticides.  Most everybody hates bugs in their house.  Ants, yucky roaches, silverfish and others threaten our very comfortable illusion of hygiene.  We think all bugs are dirty and carry disease.  Yet much more damage comes from the chemicals to control pests than the pests themselves.  Pesticides exposure can initiate cancers, cause developmental challenges, alter the nervous system and create reproductive problems.

Easy natural pest deterrents start with bay leaves placed behind every switch plate or electric outlet and shoved into every crack around plumbing.  Boric acid sprinkled around baseboards, the attic and garage deters more critters.

Pesticide exposure has been clearly connected to Parkinson ’s Disease, the thief of mobility.  Frequent users of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides used by landscapers and farmers increases their risk of Parkinson’s Disease.  When we spray outside, we carry it inside on our shoes.   Then it’s on our carpet for the next time the kids or the dog lays on the rug.

Natural Pest Control companies abound.  There is a choice to go the non-toxic way.  Exposure to neurotoxins, endocrine (hormone) disrupters and nerve gas doesn’t do a body good.  With 100 toxic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and algaecides listed in the FDA list of potential poisons, it’s important to reduce your toxic load by keeping pesticides and the like off your yard and out of your house and workspace.  Since you can’t control what the neighbor or golf course sprays, you’ll still get exposure even if you don’t use poisons yourself.

Building materials from dry wall to bath and kitchen cabinets can off-gas formaldehyde and more bad news.  Carpet glue, paint fumes and foam sofas and beds contribute even more headaches, literally.  Pressed wood products from plywood to particleboard used to make furniture, cabinets, shelves, paneling and countertops are common sources of formaldehyde.  Burning eyes and throat, asthma, and other breathing difficulties as well as nausea can be formaldehyde exposure symptoms.

The laundry room can be a major source of harmful toxic exposure form seemingly benign items like fabric softener. You may not have heard of benzlacetate and pentane but likely have heard of chloroform, all fabric softener ingredients made more dangerous in the heat of the dryer.  Slow release of these chemicals from the clothes fibers can affect the health of the wearer.  Concentration, memory, fatigue, rashes, headaches and dizziness have all been attributed to fabric softener exposure.  Who knew? 

Indoor air quality can be hazardous from exposure to the natural radioactive gas, radon.  After smoking, it’s the second-leading cause of lung cancer.  Happily, Sarasota County is a low-risk area for radon exposure.

 Personal care products with so-called “anti-bacterial” properties contain an ingredient more harmful than the germs they’re designed to kill.  Triclosan is not just found in hand sanitizers, soaps, cosmetics, toothpastes and clothes; it’s also in children’s toys.  Now it can be found in rivers and streams and the sewage sludge used to fertilize crops.

Another endocrine disrupter, triclosan imbalances estrogen and testosterone levels and impairs thyroid function.  Yet it is no more effective at killing germs than washing with soap and water.  A class action lawsuit was filed against Dial Corporation for false claims claiming triclosan-containing products kill 99.9% of germs.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not protect consumers when under current law, chemicals are innocent until proven guilty.  This is a failure to protect from the Protection Agency.

“Fragrance” may be the most common ingredient in a myriad of household products.  From cleaning supplies to disinfectants, soaps to sunscreens, candles to dryer sheets, fragrances are everywhere.  The listing can include hundreds of carcinogenic and toxic chemicals that can be shielded under the term: fragrance.  Go the unscented route whenever possible.  Avoid any kind of air freshener be it spray, disk or oils.  A dish of white vinegar will dispel a funky odor quickly without exposing you to harm. Awakening awareness requires a constant vigilance to reduce your risks of repetitive toxic exposure.  It’s worth the effort.  It’s about your health.

Vinegar, steel wool and baking soda can replace more than half of the sprayer bottles and aerosol cans under your sink.  Ironically the very things that clean your house don’t leave you or your liver cleaner.  The opposite is true.  Seemingly harmless fragrance may be the most carcinogenic (cancer causing) ingredient in everything from scented candles to plug-in air fresheners.  Clean doesn’t actually smell like “lemon-fresh” whatever or like a mountain stream.  Clean smells like, well, nothing.  That’s the point.  Why trade “the smell of the sea” in your home for lungs that are polluted, glands imbalanced and a nervous system misfiring.

Make a change the next time you replace a product, be it window cleaner or dish soap, fabric softener or cosmetic.  Seek out non-toxic alternatives.  Food and Water Watch, Beyond Pesticides and Environmental Working Group are just a few organizations designed to inform you and protect both personal and planetary health.  Don’t count on industry or government to remove profitable toxic products from the marketplace.  Becoming informed is the first step to protecting your health.

Eve Prang Plews, a licensed Nutrition Counselor, has been in practice at her Sarasota clinic, Full Spectrum Health, for 22 years. You may contact her at 941 952-1200 or  Her previous articles are available at  Eve’s radio show,  No Nonsense Nutrition, airs Mondays at 9 AM on WSLR 96.5 FM, or stream it live at  Alternate Mondays at 11AM she answers callers questions on WMNF, 88.5FM  Alternative Health with host Rob Lorei.


Eating Natural Isn't Easy

Eating Natural Isn't Easy
By Eve Prang Plews
Licensed Nutrition Counselor
(Originally published in Sarasota's Natrual Awakenings magazine March, 2011)

You can’t help but giggle when you see the sign in the grocery store that says, “health foods.”  After all what is the rest of the store filled with – non-health foods?  It certainly seems so.  Even the noble health food store is filled with soda, chips, snacks and fruit bars that are a long-long way from healthy choices.  Just because the potatoes in the chips are organic, and the oil that they are fried in is canola, doesn’t make it health benefiting food.

There’s an easy argument to be made that trading up for better ingredients is at least a step in choosing a healthier diet. You’ll get no argument from this author. Yet eating natural food that looks like it came from nature is still not the norm for many.  It’s easy to relegate food preparation time to the bottom of the “all-I-have-to-do” list.  Certainly that contributes to choosing already prepared food, whether it comes from the deli, hot bar or frozen food section.  It doesn’t imply that these are bad choices, just not optimal.

The awareness that every bite and every swallow of food and drink are chemical letters written to your DNA telling your genes how to behave is a HUGE realization.  Genes are NOT fate. They are only the blueprint, not the building materials.  No matter how superb the blueprint is, if you use poor quality building materials you’ll end up with a defective or weak or toxic structure: note Chinese drywall.  When you finally come to terms with the all too coarse fact that every meal either makes you more alive, more optimally healthy or it makes you more dead. Then and only then can you dedicate yourself to really choosing quality food that adds aliveness to your future and better functioning to your body.

Eating natural isn’t natural in this preservative laden, artificially flavored and colored, sugar and salt loaded selection of choices put in front of us with every other TV advertisement, fast food sign and celebratory party.  Attention to your committed values to eat well takes perseverance and tolerance of the barbs of friends and detractors alike.

It’s convenient to eat badly.  Your friends are reassured that their poor decision to go face down into that plate of deep fried whatever is not so terrible when you join in.  It’s easy to say “Well, it was holiday time or vacation or my sister-in-law is in town – she made it. I don’t usually eat that”.  Right.  You can’t fool Mother Nature, but more important, you can’t fool your DNA or your cells.

That’s not to say that either the beer or the brownie is trouble in and of itself.  Not true.  But come on, you either value for your own health and wellbeing, or you are cavalier thinking the diseases of aging won’t happen to you.  Get real. To not really care about food quality when two thirds of all American deaths are diet related (heart disease and cancer) is tantamount to ripping pages off your calendar of life.

You don’t have to be food neurotic to recognize the difference between a Pringle and a potato or a chicken and a chicken (gag) nugget.  If you can’t pick it up or dig it up it’s not a member of the plant family.  Fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, fungus, nuts and seeds are all Mother Nature’s carbohydrates.  Everything that grows out of the ground is a carb. The largest portion of your dietary choices, by weight or volume, should be plants.  But when you turn fruit into fruit leather with 26 ingredients, it’s no longer fruit.  Duh. Eat an apple, have a pear, chomp down on some juicy pineapple; those are fruits.  Yes organic anything is better for you and the planet than pesticide laden produce.  But if the organic sweet potatoes, beets and carrots are deep fried in high inflammatory creating omega 6 oil like sunflower – it’s still junk food.  Don’t kid yourself.

If you knew what processors did to make a burger sold at a drive–through restaurant you’d never eat it.  After all, do you pour ammonia over your ground meat to kill bacteria?  When you buy meat, fowl or fish, make sure to avoid processed, ground, sausaged and otherwise re-tooled meat.  Buy a whole chicken instead of parts; get a turkey breast instead of sliced deli meat.  Buy an eye round of beef and hand it to the butcher to grind on the spot instead of buying a tube of mystery ground meat.  Every food decision for health counts.  And it counts a lot.  No matter if you shop at the big box stores or the farmers market, choose things as close to the way they occur in nature as possible.  Your DNA and your future will thank you and so will the Earth. 

Eve Prang Plews, a licensed Nutrition Counselor, has been in practice at her Sarasota clinic, Full Spectrum Health, for 22 years. You may contact her at 941 952-1200 or  Her previous articles are available at  Eve’s radio show,  No Nonsense Nutrition, airs Mondays at 9 AM on WSLR 96.5 FM, or stream it live at  Alternate Mondays at 11AM she is on WMNF, 88.5FM Radioactivity call in show with Rob Lorei.


Consciousness Café

Consciousness Café

By Eve Prang Plews

Licensed Nutrition Counselor
(Originally published in Sarasota's Natural Awakenings magazine December, 2010)

Every bite and every swallow of food and drink you share with your body affects your consciousness.  In subtle ways, science is only beginning to understand how the compounds in your diet drive your brain (and thus your emotions) to express changes in awareness and behavior. 

New research from Harvard based on a quarter million responses from 2,200 people indicates that letting the mind wander reduces our feelings of happiness.  Rating from 0 to 100, with 100 being “very good”, having sex received a 90 average rating and exercise was in the number 2 spot with 75 points.  Next best activities rated were conversation, listening to music, taking a walk, eating, praying and meditating, cooking, shopping, caring for one’s children, and reading.  Personal grooming, commuting and working were near the bottom of the list.

Yet our minds wander on average 47% of the time with as little as 10% wandering during sex and 65% wandering while engaged in personal grooming.  Clearly sex is more captivating than flossing your teeth.  Trouble is that nearly half of every crowd you see – on the street or anywhere – aren’t really there, at least not there mentally.  In nearly all cases, people rated their happiness higher if they focused on their activity instead of thinking about something else, even if it was a positive thought.  If and where your mind wanders is a better predictor of your happiness than what you are doing.  According to researcher Dr. Daniel Gilbert, “The heart goes where the head takes it, and neither care much about the whereabouts of the feet.”  The psychologist Matthew Killingsworth says, “We see evidence for mind-wandering causing unhappiness, but no evidence for unhappiness causing mind-wandering.”

 This author submits that static in the brain caused by toxic and artificial chemicals increases the inability to focus and thus allow the mind to go down the road of stray thoughts.  The body evolved to consume molecules that occur in nature.  Until the last hundred years (or less) of the 3 million years humankind has been evolving, our diet and thus our consciousness was not exposed to Yellow Dye #5, aspartame, pesticides, caffeinated cola or lead in lipstick.  We continue to fail to see the relationship between our exposure to new-to-nature molecules and how we think and feel, both physically and emotionally. Yet we are chemical beings living in a chemical world. We need to know that these chemicals, good and bad, affect us in positive and negative ways.

That leads to the conclusion that drinking and eating foods as close to the way they occur in nature is just what your body is designed to thrive on.  The more chemical creations, or Franken-foods you put in your plate, the less likely your nervous system will transmit appropriate messages all throughout your mind and body.

Carol Simontacchi’s book The Crazy Maker’s: How the Food Industry is Destroying Our Brains and Harming Our Children, shows us how food manufacturers knowingly put toxic products into our cereals, soups, breads, beverages and more, and call it progress.  Foods can cause receptor sites to beg for synthetic stimulation.  We try to satisfy artificial cravings from a brain that isn’t working right.  We eat, but are not satisfied.  We’re full, but not contented.  We’re being poisoned, but don’t know it.

It’s hard to eat clean.  There’s nothing natural about natural health when you have to work so hard to preserve it or get it back.  Awareness is always the first step for change.  Becoming aware that our food choices affect more than our waistline adds another layer of responsibility to every restaurant order and every shopping trip.  When you become aware that the chemicals that make up your breakfast set the stage for not only how much energy you will have for the day, but how your mood can fluctuate during that day; you bear a new dimension of self-care and a further responsibility to eat well if you want to think well, too.

When Ram Dass wrote Be Here Now nearly 40 years ago, he was all about training the brain to “be in the moment.” Every meditative path and every martial art are training the mind to focus.  Doing breath work, chanting, staring at a candle’s flame – all are designed to improve concentration. Awakening consciousness begins with wanting to discover our place in the universe, to awaken our relationship to all the life that’s out there from algae to galaxies, from bacteria in your gut to God, from your household pet to all there is.  If you desire to awaken consciousness, perhaps in addition to your meditation and exercise you could consider that your next meal tonight may inhibit or allow you the opportunity to focus that exquisite instrument of awareness known as your brain/mind. 

There’s a big adventure awaiting people who chose to enhance their lives by exploring the realms of awareness.  No one knows where that trip will take you.  We’re only beginning to learn that more than intent is involved in successful exploration of the consciousness.  Lunch may also be an ingredient in the recipe of examining consciousness awareness.  Focus may be the key that opens the door of a new reality and food may be a key to enable one to focus. 

Eve Prang Plews is a Licensed Nutrition Counselor.  She has been in practice in Sarasota for 22 years.  Her clinic, Full Spectrum Health, is located at 2106 Bispham Road, Sarasota,FL 34231(phone  941-952-1200).   Her previous articles are available on Eve’s Blog at   Eve radio show, No Nonsense Nutrition airs Mondays 9-10 AM on WSLR 96.5 LPFM.  Stream it live from


Deliberate Self-Care

Deliberate Self-Care

By Eve Prang Plews

Licensed Nutrition Counselor

(Originally Published in Sarasota’s Natural Awakenings magazine February, 2011)


Consciously or unconsciously, we all design our lives.  The gift of 168 hours each of us receives every week can be spent wisely or foolishly.  Our daily opportunity to live a more fulfilling and happy life is based in part on how all the elements that promote and provide health are prioritized and balanced in your life.  For without health, all the details of living life pale in comparison to regaining health.

We all have to sleep – and likely more than we’re doing now.  Research clearly documents a reduction in all major mental and physical functions when we are sleep deprived.  Memory, accuracy, fine and gross motor skills, mathematical skills and mood all suffer when we get less than 7 hours sleep nightly.  Those folks who say, “I do fine on 5 hours,” are just kidding themselves.  Only teens actually need 9-10 hours of shut eye to effectively navigate the world.  Too little (5.5 hours) and too much (9 hours) have both been linked to increased risk of premature deaths in a meta-analysis of over one million people.  A 12% risk increase was incurred by those sleeping less than 6 hours nightly.  Nine hour sleepers increased risk of death by a whopping 30%!  Researchers suspect an underlying health issue is suspect in the over sleepers, while sleeping too little actually increased risk.  They are the ones that show up in clinic at ages 46-54 with chronic exhaustion that no amount of coffee or energy drinks can repair. Does that last hour of TV, computer games or social networking really add value to your life?  Just try 30 minutes more sleep each night for one month and you’ll see both mood and productivity rise.  Plus the newest research demonstrates that adequate sleep reduces weight gain and aids those who want to lose weight.  With 73 million Americans now obese, sleep is an easy tool to help lose extra pounds. 

Thus we are all left with over one hundred hours each week to live our lives awake. No doubt we must assign a bare minimum of 3 hours weekly to deliberate exercise.  There is no Fountain of Youth as powerful as exercise.   That scant 30 minutes 6 days a week of simple walking reduces brain shrinkage as we age.  Yikes!  If brain atrophy doesn’t sound like a good thing, you’re right.  Dementia of all kinds is reduced in regular exercisers plus they feel better, have better joints, better memory and better mood.  Exercise doesn’t have to be all about muscle building.  It’s best result is from the increase in blood flow and thus oxygen.

Time to shop, cook and eat is rarely put in a weekly calendar; but should be.  After all, that’s where the fuel comes from to do all the other activities of life that you value.  Planning is a key to success with eating well.  Surprisingly, people who cook for themselves spend less than 10 extra minutes per meal than those who choose drive-thru and take the food out.  They exchange prep time for waiting and transportation time.  Seems foolish and expensive, and raises the overall toxic load as mass prepared food often contains ingredients not found in your kitchen pantry.

It doesn’t take twice as long to fix 6 things as it does to fix 3.  When you roast a chicken, add a sweet potato or two to the oven.  Make a pot of bean soup every week.  Split pea, lentils and black eyed peas require no presoaking and are ready in less than one hour.  Beans are inexpensive, tasty and healthy.  Put on a pot of brown rice at the same time. Then sauté up some meatballs (could be turkey instead of beef.)  Lastly, make a novelty salad like cole slaw or carrot salad.  You’re now set for at least 4 days of meals with very little extra prep.

Day one could be chicken, sweet potato and some freshly steamed broccoli.  Day two lunch: bean soup over rice with a green salad.  Day two dinner might be spaghetti sauce from a jar over pasta with the meatballs and leftover broccoli. Day 3 midday meal may be a chicken sandwich with slaw.  Day 3 dinner: puree some bean soup to fill a wrap and top with a broken up meat ball, finish the slaw. 

You get it.  If you have 2 proteins, (chicken and meatballs) 2 starches (sweet potato and rice) plus a bean soup and a salad, you can mix and match for 4 days with no repeats.  The variety would change each week. Next week’s choices might be turkey breast and salmon plus acorn or butternut squash and another kind of bean soup. Add a cucumber or tomato salad and you’re set again for low maintenance meal preparation. You’ll actually spend less time (and money) and eat better without the ongoing 6 pm stress of “What are we gonna eat tonight?”

Want your life to be a “pleasing harmony of various elements?” That’s one definition of balance.  Then start with putting sleep, exercise and great food at the top of your health priorities.  Those 3 commitments will give you the energy, the vitality to fill the rest of your 168 hours each week with the work and play that can fulfill you.  That equilibrium can help you paint a picture of a happy, balanced life.

Eve Prang Plews, a licensed Nutrition Counselor, has been in practice at her Sarasota clinic, Full Spectrum Health, for 22 years. You may contact her at 941 952-1200 or  Her previous articles are available at  Eve’s radio show,  No Nonsense Nutrition, airs Mondays at 9 AM on WSLR 96.5 FM, or stream it live at  Alternate Mondays at 11AM she is on WMNF, 88.5FM Radioactivity call in show with Rob Lorei.



Living the Simple Life

Living the Simple Life

By Eve Prang Plews
License Nutrition Counselor
(Originally published in Sarasota's Natural Awakenings magazine November, 2010) 

            The foundational basics of what it takes to be healthy haven’t really changed despite the plethora of “facts” from science and observation.  We need the simple life.  We need quality sleep nightly.  The body really wants and needs 7-9 hours nightly to recharge body and brain.  We need more veggies then we are likely eating, both raw and cooked.  We need less meat, more beans.  Stop already with the sweetened beverages.  Water is one key to the simple in medicine.  Dehydration is the fountainhead for pain.  We gotta move and move in every direction and plane.  Walk, bike, yoga or rock out dancing, you gotta move to keep balance, stay strong and be limber enough to bend but not break.  And hardly last (but it ended up that way) there’s a must for something fun to do.  It’s whatever is your fun.  That’s the list, now how do we do it? Living the “Simple Life” may not be so simple.

          Quality sleep can be aided by taking 100mg of 5-HTP (5 hydroxy tryptophan) to support the production of the anti-depressive neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain.  This magical brain juice is the source of the hormone melatonin, the key to the gate of sleep.  We also need a little dab of Vitamin B-6 at the same time to convert 5-HTP to serotonin and then convert serotonin to melatonin.  Some people may need 200 or 300mg of 5-HTP to support sleep, but 100 mg helps nearly everyone who tries it.  Of course the caution is if you’re on anti-depressive meds, you tell your doctor.

    More veggies is the rule in every meal, even breakfast.  More veggies, less meat.  More veggies start at breakfast with easy additions of the millions of egg dishes possible from omelets to frittatas.  Yea, egg or scrambled tofu, which surprisingly looks and acts like eggs.  Get in at least 7 little powerhouses of good, egg protein and egg fat per week or an 8 oz package of firm or semi-firm tofu. Drop that nonsense myth about eggs being bad for cholesterol.  You need those great fats in the yolk for your brain and nerve sheaths.  Phosphatidyl choline may not be a part of your vocabulary – but it should be.  It’s the very groovy fat your nerves use for insulation and message transmission wires in the brain and everywhere else.           

            Less meat is just smart all the way around.  Better for the body, better for the planet, reduces greenhouse gas emission, and gives us a chance to learn a hundred bean recipes.  Yippee!  It’s an easy A+ …just eat less meat.

                                                        More beans – even at breakfast; the famous Mexican day-starter, “Huevos Rancheros”is a soft tortilla mounded with refried beans (I like the low fat, low sodium, refried, black beans personally). Top those nourishing legumes with the over easy egg or two, a bite of grated sharp, low fat cheese (sautéed onion if you’re in this household), and a dollop of salsa. YUM! As a breakfast variety, try a black bean cake with a great piece of whole grain toast.  Beans at breakfast taste quite good! Make a small pot of bean soup EVERY week. You’ll thank yourself that it is in the frig waiting for that night you need dinner in 15 minutes and have no oomph to make it. Pair a salad or sandwich, a great piece of cornbread or a scoop of rice under the soup, and you’ve got fast food of merit.

            Water is the key to life.  You’ll never know if your complaint is at least in part due to dehydration until you’re finally, fully hydrated.  Divide your body weight in half (like: 150 pounds/ 2 =75), express that number as ounces.  For a 150 pound person, a need of 75 ounces daily of water may seem like a stretch since that’s 2 quarts plus – but try it for a week and see how your body changes.

You’ll never know it till you do it!  Don’t count soda, soup, beer, wine, juice, tea, coffee or sports drinks. Just count water. Beautiful, healthy water.

            Movement is the pump for the Fountain of Youth.  Nothing reveals itself more clearly in slowing the aging process than exercise.  We are made to “move it or lose it.”  Our energy is made in our muscle, that’s where we metabolize – not our bones or our blood and certainly not our fat – we metabolize in our muscles.  So less muscle = less energy; simple.  You want to keep your energy, then keep your muscle.  Exercise in whatever way you’ll keep doing it.  Dancing?  Walking?  Yoga?  All of the above plus more?  Great.  Just find one or two you’ll keep doing, forever.

            And don’t forget fun is a nutrient you can’t find in a pill; nor is joy, delight or affection.  Simple living can offer complex delights.  The gorgeous sun just above our horizon, a perfect shining orange –just as you open the drapes. Enjoy those moments; find joy in places you never stopped to see before.  Joy in the beauty of those veggies you’ll cut for your next meal only to discover a beautiful pattern of color in the red cabbage or the scent of fresh crushed rosemary to add to the dinner.  Little delights in the day can be called, “Bliss Breaks.”  They feed us too.  The Simple Life: great sleep and lots of veggies. More water, less meat, and more fun. When was a prescription easier to follow than these easy tips? Who knew simple could be the best of the best?





Feeding Our Children

Feeding Our Children

By Eve Prang Plews
Licensed Nutrion Counselor
(Originally published in Sarasota's Natural Awakenings magazine August, 2010)

          Yes, they’re our children – even if you never had a kid or raised a kid.  They are the bodies and minds that will govern you as future politicians and leaders, care for you as physicians and other health care helpers and be your future family.  Thus any support you give to build good brains and functioning bodies is to your advantage ultimately, even if they’re not your kids.  No population is more tragically affected by plate after plate of nutrient stripped processed foods than our children. 

          There is no shortage of calories in the American Kid Diet.  That is obvious!  Every other TV show and fast food joint beckon kids to eat food-like altered substances loaded with fats and sugars that fail the definition of FOOD: a substance consumed to keep alive an animal or human and enable it to grow. 

          Advertising could influence kids to eat fresh fruits, vegetables and less processed choices, but the odds are against it. The U.S. Department of Agriculture spent $268 million to promote real food.  A measly amount compared to the $11 BILLION food-makers spent to push their non-foods on the public.  Produce doesn’t stand a chance against those 98 – 2 odds!

          When a child isn’t getting good fats from foods such as nuts, seeds, avocado, egg yolks (especially) and fish, the developing brain will make do with whatever fats it can derive from available sources such as pizza, hot dogs and pretend chicken.  This is especially detrimental for developing brains because bad fats interfere with normal cell signaling or firing.  Eating burgers, fries and nuggets regularly will slow brain function, dull thinking capacity and set the stage for the poor lipid profile that leads to heart disease and diabetes.

          Kids need adequate protein early in the day to learn well. Amino acids from protein foods like egg, poultry, fish plus lean pork, beef and lamb don’t just feed the brain, they are mood food too. The chemicals that allow cells to talk to each other – the neurotransmitters – are made of protein. Learning, memory, coordination, alertness are just a few of the control arenas that require adequate dietary protein to function vibrantly.

          WHITE FLOUR: In the book, Are Your Kids Running on Empty?, food biochemist Paul Stitt explains what happens when they refine flour. They take 30 nutrients out of wheat flour and put back eight, and can call it “enriched”. The marketing of soft white “wonder” bread started after World War II.  Now it is used in pasta, pizza, cookies, doughnuts, cakes, buns, rolls and fillers in hundreds of foods.  What percentage of your or your kid’s diet is synthetically enriched flour?

          SUGAR AND HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP: According to studies from Washington State University, the average child consumes 275 pounds of sugar a year.  That’s 20 pounds a month! or 12 ounces of sugar a day from all sources of sugar, high fructose corn syrup and juice flavored drinks.        


          How can parents stand up to this constant onslaught of TV commercials, some actually viewed at school? Make a strong commitment to give your kids only the foods that can help them grow the best, most optimal brain and body possible. It’s really NOT hard once we decide that our hopes for our children are always to see them succeed physically, emotionally and mentally. A nutrient rich diet, (as organic as possible) builds a strong, healthy body and a powerful brain. 

          Without a strong commitment to health, any food within reach or drive-thru on the way home becomes OK.  Children need food as close to the way it occurs in nature as possible. The more processed the food is, the more poisoned.  So stop buying the junk already!  Remember, when you replace a poor quality food with a healthier replacement, the first few days are the hardest.  By the end of the second week, most kids have forgotten about the “give-up” food.  After three weeks, the new “like-it” food will be in place.  Have courage! Stick to your commitment! 

          Kids are motivated by their dreams to become dancers and firemen, doctors and astronauts, ballplayers and musicians.  Use phrases that put emphasis on better choices:

  • Eat for better grades, smart kids don’t eat fake food.
  • Fish sharpens your mind
  • Fuel your brain, athletes say most of the game is mental
  • Good breakfast equals good grades
  • Soda dehydrates muscles, water gives you an edge
  • Well watered brains think better, well watered muscles are stronger longer
  • Gorillas don’t eat French fries and burgers, they eat plants to grow super strong



DRINKS:  If your kid thinks water is boring, add 1-3 drops of non-caloric flavored Stevia.  It comes in a myriad of liquid flavors. Try Root Beer or Lemon Mandarin or add to bubbly seltzer!


  • Healthy shake with frozen berries and vanilla yogurt
  • Frozen grapes or pineapple
  • Apples or celery with peanut butter –yummm.
  • Watermelon cubes, pineapple spears, fresh berries
  • Real fruit Popsicles
  • Dates stuffed with an almond or cream cheese or roll in coconut  


  • Raw vegetables get eaten with Ranch dressing, guacamole or hummus
  • Keep an easy-open frig container full of carrots, celery, cucumber, grape tomatoes, snow peas, jicima (sweet & crunchy)


  • Healthy shake with frozen berries and vanilla yogurt
  • Blend equal parts of cottage cheese and Ranch dressing for a tasty, high protein dip.
  • Vanilla yogurt sprinkled with granola and toasted coconut 


  • Hard boined or devilled eggs
  • Chicken or turkey tenders with a little Bar-B-Que sauce - baked in a 350* oven for 15 minutes
  • Baked chicken legs


  • Whole grain crackers
  • Air-popped popcorn

They will soon become your kids’ favorite.

     Eve Prang Plews is a Licensed Nutrition Counselor.  She has been in practice in Sarasota for 22 years.  Her clinic, Full Spectrum Health, is located at 2106 Bispham Road, Sarasota, FL 34231. The phone number is 941-952-1200.

     Her previous articles are available on Eve’s Blog at

Eve radio show, No Nonsense Nutrition airs Mondays 9-10 AM on WSLR 96.5 LPFM.

Stream it live from


Get Old Later

What if You Just Get Old - Later - Rather Than Sooner?

By Eve Prang Plews, L.N.C.

Licensed Nutrition Counselor
(Originally published in Sarasota's Natural Awakenings magazine June, 2010)

            What if you just got old a decade later than is common?  Or than you would expect? In the mountain villages of Sardinia, shepherds commonly have active lives past the age of 100.  Hiking up and down hills all day and growing your own food is really good for longevity.  In Sarasota, you don’t see shepherds or hills.  It’s rare to see  centenarians running marathons or pumping iron.  But you do see some people surviving many decades. The question is survive or thrive? The ones who thrive have made it their practice to move, move, and move some more.  They walk, bike, garden do whatever is active and then do it again tomorrow.  There is no substitute for activity.  You can’t put it in a pill.

            There are youth potions today: exercise and antioxidants.  Both are realistic ways to slow physical demise.  There are three components to lifetime fitness.  Aerobic fitness comes from tasking your body – not to the max – just moving longer and more intensely, rather than sitting with the remote or driving around a parking lot for 10 minutes looking for a closer parking place.  Flexibility increases with stretching which can be done in the yard or in a class: yoga, Zumba; oh, so many styles to choose from these days.  Just make sure it’s an activity you will sustain.  No one wants to be old and weak, it’s a good goal to be old and strong.  Strength building is the third component of lifetime fitness. It doesn’t matter if you tax your muscles with a machine, free weight, rubber band or swimming pool, any resistance strengthens.  If the yoga studio or gym is too costly, buy a DVD or even get one to use free at the library.  Remember you’re looking for activity you can do often and enjoy.  Easy.  Now do it for years and years and years.

            Surprisingly, exercise reduces the risk of cancer, heart disease and disability.  “Health years” are different from lifetime years, and no one wants to spend their last decade disabled.  Look around, too many people spend their last decade of life suffering from disability – that’s a loooong time.  Over half of all men of all ages in the USA die from heart disease or cancer.  It’s easy to see who the enemy of healthy long life is for men (and women too).  Some folks seem to want to hasten poor health instead of delay it.  You can choose to reduce the disability zone to weeks instead of years.  But you have to decide it’s worth it to change long-standing habits and treat yourself better.  You deserve it.

            Antioxidants help slow aging by blocking free radicals.  Free radicals damage cells, causing aging. We can’t live forever, but we can get old later rather than sooner by flooding our cells with anti-aging antioxidants and shunning the cell-wreckers that are easily oxidized like corn and sunflower oils, fried food and excess sugar.  We have set our nutritional standards too low for health and longevity.  Some strategies are so easy:  nutrient rich food and supplements.

            A bright, colorful diet is rich in antioxidants.  Eating a MINIMUM of one quart of fruits and veggies daily – not counting French fries, tomato sauce or iceberg lettuce - will go a long way toward creating a long life.  Your weekly diet should include mostly plants, small amounts of meat, at least 6 oz of fish, whole grains and beans, plus nuts and seeds.  The evidence for the benefits of eating a LOT of fruits and vegetables is overwhelming.  “Scientists may argue about many health issues but everybody agrees that increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables can help prevent heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases” according to the University of California Berkeley Wellness Letter.

            Thousands of studies show nutrient supplements reduce disease, slow aging and chop death risk; yet most media highlight biased studies that fail to find benefits of nutrients.  Even the conservative National Institute on Aging found deaths from any cause cut in half among 10,000 elderly people aged 67-105 from only taking Vitamin C and E supplements.  Ignore those RDA’s- recommended dietary allowances (this author calls them recommended dumb allowances).  They are increasingly irrelevant in the prevention of age-related disease.  For instance, the US RDA for Vitamin C is 60milligrams per day.  UCLA researcher, Dr. James Enstrom said, “A thirty-five year old man who eats foods rich in vitamin C and takes Vitamin C supplements will slash his chances of heart disease two-thirds and live 6.3 years longer,” Dr. Linus Pauling, a two time Nobel Prize winner, declared, “We could add 12-18 years to our lives by taking 3,000 to 12,000 milligrams of Vitamin C daily.”   Even government data on 11,000 Americans found that even a mere 300 mg of Vitamin C daily added 6 years to a mans life and 2 years for a women, even those who were overweight, lacked exercise or had poor diets. Yet, one fourth or more of Americans do not even get the rock bottom daily amount of 60mg of vitamin C needed to prevent scurvy, the amount in a medium orange or ½ cup of raw broccoli. 

            Take a high quality multi-vitamin and mineral supplement.  You don’t need always “mega-vitamin therapy.” You do need vitamins C, D, and E along with the minerals zinc, selenium, chromium and calcium plus magnesium.

            Health care in America is more focused on alleviating symptoms and treating disease, than creating or protecting HEALTH. When health care dollars are used to heal preventable existing disease, we miss the entire wellness approach: PREVENTION.  Exercise daily, eat antioxidant rich foods and take high quality vitamin and mineral supplements.  These are much more vital to your health and longevity than the benefits of cutting cholesterol or lowering fat.  Why not start today?


Eve Prang Plews, a Licensed Nutrition Counselor, has been practicing at her Sarasota clinic, Full Spectrum Health, for 22 years. You may contact her at 941 952-1200 or  Her previous articles are available at  Eve’s radio show: No Nonsense Nutrition, airs Mondays at 9 AM on WSLR 96.5 FM, or stream it live at



Super Tired

  Women’s Health

By Eve Prang Plews
Licensed Nutrion Counselor
(Originally published in Sarasota's Natural Awakenings magazine May, 2010)


NOW they tell us.  After a lifetime of thinking that a couple of classes at the gym every week would do it – research indicates women need an HOUR of exercise DAILY to maintain weight.  Yikes!  Work that in between your meditation, bread baking and knitting scarves for the orphans in Bomlovia.


Super woman.  It’s what we expect from ourselves.  Do it all.  Be it all.  We want to be super partners, super Moms, super daughters, super girlfriends and super contributors to society.  We can do it all – but at what cost to our future.


Frequently in my practice, I see 40 plus year old female clients whose primary complaint is fatigue.  They have tried every Pep-up formula in the check out aisle of the health food store with little results other than a thinner wallet.  They ask, “Is it my thyroid or my adrenals or my caffeine deficiency?”  Let’s go through the list to find out why women are so tired.  So, so tired.


That magic thyroid gland in your neck need L-tyrosine (an amino acid,) B6, zinc selenium and that critical and underrated nutrient, iodine to make thyroxin, the thyroid hormone known as T-4.  If the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) goes above 2. on your annual blood work, your thyroid is losing optimal functional capacity.  Even though the “within normal limits” number for TSH may go as high as 4 or 5, depending on the lab, over 2 indicates that this gland is not operating efficiently.  Hyperactivity of the thyroid is most frequently a nutrient dependent pathway that is malnourished.  In other words, your thyroid is STARVING for what it needs to operate well.  The most common deficiency seen is low iodine.  Buy regular iodine and paint a 2” square of it on your belly with 1-2 drops.  It will stain you skin a yellow-brown.  Check the spot hourly to see how quickly  it disappears.  If there is no trace of stain left in 24 hours, you are likely iodine deficient and need to be supplemented so your thyroid can help you make more cellular energy and keep your body temperature normal, even in a cool room.  The seaweed (Nori) used on sushi – even the vegetarian version – is one of the best dietary sources of iodine.  Seaweed salad is good and good for you.


The adrenal glands are walnut sized glands that sit on top of the kidneys (also called renals).  Hence the name ad (on top of) renals. Adrenals make dozens of hormones including cortisol and norepinephrine.  These fight, flight or freeze compounds are over stimulated in our too fast society where you have too many call to make, too many appointments to keep, too many crisis to calm and all that before lunch.  Why not stop right now and take 3 deep, looooooong breaths – in the nose, out the mouth – and feel yourself relax.  Do it.  Do it now.  What are you waiting for? Do you like feeling stressed?


Don’t you feel better already?  We hammer our adrenals first by not getting enough sleep.  Everyone who says they do fine on less than 7 hours nightly is just delusional.  Years of sleep research has demonstrated that we need 50 + hours of sleep weekly to perform well physically, mentally and emotionally. 


Adrenals need sleep; they need B5 & B6 and surprisingly cholesterol to make their payload of hormones.  Adaptogen, herbs like licorice and rhodiola rosea help support the adrenals rather than flog them to perform.  There are easy questions to discover your adrenals health:  Do you wake foggy and tired only to head directly for a double shot of caffeine wake up juice?  Do naps make you worse?  Are you bright-eyed with the “second wind” and ready to work at 9 o’clock at night?  Then you have overtaxed your adrenals.  Get real with your sleep and your schedule.  Repeat after me—“No.” That’s a power word, “No.”  No, I can’t/won’t do one more thing.  Your emergency is not cause for me to be alarmed.  I have a calm center where I choose to live.  Chill out.  Adrenal fatigue can be recovered, adrenal exhaustion can not.


The dilemma is not to reduce your performance criteria or even your expectations.  It is to choose more wisely what you can do well, the activities that nourish and serve you (and others.)  Learn to love and respect those little glands.  Who knew that a few tiny glands were the keys to vitality?  Take care of them and they serve you all your life.  Abuse them, don’t feed them well and they’ll show you who is boss.


Eve Prang Plews, a licensed Nutrition Counselor, has been in practice at her Sarasota clinic, Full Spectrum Health, for 22 years. You may contact her at 941 952-1200 or  Her previous articles are available at  Eve’s radio show, No Nonsense Nutrition, airs Mondays at 9 AM on WSLR 96.5 FM, or stream it live at



April 2014

Recent Posts

  1. Building Strong Bones
    Monday, June 06, 2011
  2. What is Your Snore Score?
    Monday, June 06, 2011
  3. Green Homes and Gardens
    Tuesday, April 05, 2011
  4. Eating Natural Isn't Easy
    Tuesday, April 05, 2011
  5. Deliberate Self-Care
    Tuesday, April 05, 2011
  6. Consciousness Café
    Tuesday, April 05, 2011
  7. Living the Simple Life
    Tuesday, April 05, 2011
  8. Feeding Our Children
    Tuesday, April 05, 2011
  9. Get Old Later
    Tuesday, April 05, 2011
  10. Super Tired
    Tuesday, April 05, 2011

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