General Recommendations

General Recommendations to Improve Your Health 

We are happy to welcome you to our integrative medical practice at the Center for the Healing Arts.  We are dedicated to helping you to achieve greater well-being and balance in all areas of your life: body, mind and spirit, and to providing a healing environment to support your process.  We believe health is a spectrum and our goal is to help you to move towards high-level wellness.

Illness develops when the amount of stressors on the system exceeds the threshold of ability to cope with them.  The threshold is often lowered by deficiencies of hormones, vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients.   Stressors may be due to mental, emotional, physical, social or environmental factors such as infection, chemical toxicity, allergy, weather, pollution, addiction, poor diet, financial or work related stress.  Our aim is to look at the whole picture and develop an individualized treatment plan to lower the stress load while raising and optimizing the threshold, resulting in relief of symptoms, restoration of health and well-being, and prevention of future illness by building a greater reserve.

Our goal is not only to correct illness but also to support and promote overall health and well-being.  By doing so, we prevent illness.  As a service to you, we have compiled some information and ideas for changes you might like to make in your life to increase your health.  What you decide to do and how in depth you might explore each of these areas depends on many factors:  the state of your health, your resources, your interest, and how much you desire to be as healthy and fully alive as you can be.  We are here to support you in this worthy goal and hope that you might pass it on to others so that maybe our world will become a little healthier too!


There are many factors affecting our health, each one impacting positively or negatively. We can help you in any of the following areas you would like to work on – please ask us!

Physical factorsNeed to haveNeed to minimize or eliminate
Diet & NutritionVitaminshe Standard American Diet= Nutrient depleted diet
Amino Acids
Complex Carbohydrates
Essential Fatty Acids
LightFull spectrum LightingFluorescent lighting
Sun lightComputer screens
Too much time in indoor lighting
ExerciseAerobic, cardiovascularSedentary lifestyle
Weight bearing exercise (For strength/bone density)
Earth’s Electromagnetic FieldAdequate exposureElectromagnetic pollution
Supplementary magnetic fieldDeficiency from screening
effect of  many structures: Buildings,cars,trains,etc.
EnvironmentalClean airAllergens
Clean waterToxic heavy metals, pesticides and other chemicals
Clean, organic foodSilver Amalgam dental fillings
Environmentally safe home & workplaceCarcinogens/hormone scramblers in plastics and skin care products
Emotional/Mental FactorsPositive mental attitudeNegative thought patterns
Ability to cope with stress effectivelyOver-reaction to stress
Communication skillsHelplessness (victim mentality)
Ability to relax
Clear idea of goalsHopelessness
Sense of communityIsolation
Spiritual FactorsA sense of meaning and purposeMeaninglessness
Prayer or meditationLack of connection
Sense of connectedness to a higher power which is meaningful to you.


The basic diet must supply nourishment to maintain the structure and well being of the body tissues.  The adult’s diet must supply energy foods, proteins for replacement needs, essential fatty acids for cell structures, and vitamins and minerals for regulation of body processes. Optimally, your diet should consist of whole (unprocessed or minimally processed) foods, organically grown or fed (without pesticides, chemical fertilizers, hormones, or other drugs), and cooked in a non-toxic, healthful way.

Although modern technology and the giant food industry would imply differently, the lifestyle of American adults in food selection and food habits has degenerated considerably in the last fifty years.  A national study of the food consumed by the average family released by the Department of Agriculture a few years ago indicated that out of 7,500 households surveyed, only half had diets that met the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for calories, protein, iron, calcium, Vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin and Vitamin C.  The other half had diets that failed to meet the allowances for one or more of these essential nutrients.  However, it should be noted that vital trace elements such as zinc, chromium and manganese, were not even among the nutrients listed on the questionnaire; these are commonly deficient as well.  The Food and Drug Administration would like to lower the RDA’s that will result in even more widespread malnutrition and deficiencies.

Americans are consuming more soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, refined, processed, canned, frozen, pre-cooked, ready-to-serve items in place of fresh whole foods prepared at home from scratch. They are trying to nourish themselves with coffee and donut breakfasts, eat-on-the-run fast food lunches, and heavy, rich dinners generally consisting of foods filled with sugar, salt, white flour, fats and unnecessary, potentially harmful chemical additives.  This is the Standard American Diet (SAD)!

At the same time, chronic diseases are on the increase.  This is a high price to pay for faulty food habits.  Though considerable controversy continues on the precise role which diet plays in certain diseases, authorities generally agree that it is a major factor in numerous serious illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and hypoglycemia to name just a few.  Diet related problems which commence in the twenties and steadily increase as persons reach their forties, fifties and older ages, are often related to over eating, improper selection of foods and lack of exercise.  Poor food choices may lead to lack of energy, poor performance, osteoporosis, depression, diabetes, heart disease, and general ill health.

As a person ages, the basal metabolism requirement is increasingly lower and total activity is usually less.  Therefore, the calories should be decreased accordingly; otherwise, progressive weight gain results.  Eating just ten extra calories a day means adding one pound a year and forty extra pounds will thus accumulate between the ages of 25 and 65.  Being overweight increases risk for several diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, joint problems, etc.  With so many of these diseases striking during some of the most productive years of an adult’s life, it is sensible to think in terms of prevention which would include weight control and carefully chosen, well balanced diet.  We recommend a diet low in refined carbohydrates, sugar, heat-treated (rancid) oils, fried foods, and other processed and concentrated foods.


Vitamins and Minerals:

These act to modulate many essential functions in the body, including such things as energy production, detoxification of toxins, healthy structure, formation of cells.   Unless we eat high quality organically grown foods, chances are we are not getting enough vitamins and minerals from our diet.  Modern farming methods replenish Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium in the soil by using fertilizers because that is all that is needed for healthy plants.  We who eat the plants also need Magnesium, Calcium, and trace minerals such as Zinc, Chromium, Selenium, Copper, etc.  The continual depletion of these minerals in the soil has resulted in an estimated 40-60% of the American population being deficient in multiple trace minerals.  For instance, Magnesium deficiency can cause mitral valve prolapse, arrhythmias, muscle spasms, high blood pressure, asthma, migraine headaches, PMS, allergies, and other conditions.  Other mineral deficiencies are just as common.  Chromium deficiency, for instance, can cause blood sugar problems and sweet cravings, leading to overeating sugar and nutrient–poor carbohydrates and even diabetes.

Many vitamins are destroyed by processing (milling, bleaching, cooking and packaging) and cooking with high heat or overcooking.  Vitamin C is especially susceptible.  Basic supplementation with a good quality multivitamin with chelated minerals, Vitamin C 1000-3000mg, and Vitamin E 200 units is essential to optimal health and cellular function. Antioxidants, such as Vitamins A, C, E,  Zinc, Selenium,  Co Q 10 and others, are important to prevent damage to the cells and tissues.  Vitamin E has been shown to be very important in preventing heart disease.  Intake of extra Vitamin C has been proven to extend life expectancy.  Vitamins and minerals are delicately balanced in the body so excessive intake of isolated nutrients should be avoided, unless recommended by a knowledgeable doctor or nutritionist.  Quality and Bioavailablity of supplements is critical, otherwise, your body cannot absorb the nutrients. Capsules are generally better absorbed than tablets.

Amino Acids:

With essential fatty acids, amino acids are the building blocks of our cells, especially muscle tissue.  They also are converted into molecules which function as neurotransmitters and other chemical messengers, antibodies and other essential components of the immune system, and act in the detoxification of chemicals.  Amino acids are derived from dietary protein, so adequate (but not excessive) intake of protein and good digestion are important. Meat, poultry, dairy, fish, eggs, grains with beans or nuts are examples of complete roteins (proteins containing all 8 essential amino acids which must be obtained from diet). 3 to 4 ounces of high quality protein should be consumed at every meal.  Organic or natural beef is preferable, grown without use of antibiotics, steroids, etc.  Grass fed animals have healthier fats in their meat.

Essential Fatty Acids:

Not only the amount but also the type of dietary fat plays a major role in maintaining health.  Balanced intake of essential fatty acids is critical because they are the source of energy, structural building blocks, and essential hormones.  In order to build and maintain the tissues of the body, new cells must constantly be formed.  The membrane that surrounds all types of cells is made up largely of the long carbon chains of fatty acids, and the control of what enters and leaves the cell is determined by the kinds of fatty acids present.  The fluid nature of the membrane increases when unsaturated fatty acids are more abundant.  Since fatty acids absorbed in the gut are taken directly into cells without alteration, it is true that “you are what you eat” in terms of dietary fat.

The high caloric content of fats makes them an obvious target for weight loss routines.  Since your body can produce the non-essential fats from other food sources, energy intake can theoretically be adequate with complete absence of dietary fats.  However, such a diet is a very real hazard to long-term good health.  On the other hand, modern diets of fast foods and packaged dinners tend to be rich in saturated fats and hydrogenated oils and are frequently lacking in the balance of essential fatty acids.  To correct this problem changes must be made in food selection with supplementation with essential fatty acids for a period of time.  There are many reasons to expect that improved health and greater extension of active years can result from proper attention to dietary fats. Consuming the wrong kinds and amounts of dietary fats have been found to play a role in the development and complications of obesity, vascular disease, cancer, and various other degenerative disorders.

Saturated Fatty Acids:

These are fatty acids that contain no double bonds.  They are present as major components of most foods and are very high in food such as candy bars.  These are important for energy but excess is stored as body fat.  Oils with high concentrations of Medium Chain Triglycerides such virgin coconut  or palm kernel oil can be very healthy and promote normal weight, energy and immune function, however, can raise cholesterol if hydrogenated.  If only saturated fatty acids are available to the tissues, the energy supply would be in good shape but the other categories of function would suffer.  Cell membranes would lose their fluidity, disturbing the metabolism and function of the cell.

Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids:

Plants are the primary source of unsaturated fatty acids in the human diet.  Unsaturated fats have one or more double bonds. Fatty acids with several double bonds, especially AA, DGLA, and EPA are used to make eicosanoid hormones called prostaglandins, leukotrienes, and thromboxane.  These compounds amplify and balance signals to the organs, the blood clotting system, and the immune system.  These can exert extremely potent biological activities and their homeostatic functions in regulating blood vessel leakage, atherosclerosis, and immune cell behavior are relevant to the initiation and progress of heart and blood vessel disease.  Arachadonic acid is converted to inflammatory prostaglandins, while the others become anti-inflammatory ones.  It is important in inflammatory diseases such as arthritis or allergies to shift the balance to decrease inflammation.

Dietary Sources Of Essential Fatty Acids:

Fatty AcidFood SourceEnriched Source
Linoleic acid (LA)Vegetable oilsCorn oil
Alpha Lenoleic Acid (ALA)Seeds, nutsFlaxseed, Black Currant oil
Gamma linolenic Acid (GLA)Seeds, nutsEvening Primrose, Borage oil
Arachidonic Acid (AA)Red meat
Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA)SeafoodFish oil
Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)SeafoodFish oil

Trans Fatty Acids:

The double bonds of unsaturated fats are always in the “cis” configuration.  Food labels that say “Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” tell you that the natural oil has been chemically modified (usually by heat) leading to the conversion of the natural “cis” unsaturated fatty acids to their “trans” isomers.   The “trans” unsaturated fat interferes with a normal eicosanoid production and normal cell wall structure, making it rigid or leaky increasing the risk of heart disease, allergies, etc.   Butter is preferable to margarine, which is very high in “trans” fatty acids.  “Trans” fatty acids should be avoided totally. Most oils from grocery stores are heat-refined with the exception of extra virgin olive oil, which is cold-pressed.  Other cold pressed oils may also be used. Cold-pressed corn, safflower, and other oils may be obtained from the health food store.

Complex Carbohydrates:

Whole grains, vegetables, some fruit, beans, nuts, etc. contain complex carbohydrates that are slowly digested and utilized to produce energy which is the major function of carbohydrates in the body.  They also contain fiber, which is important for healthy digestion and elimination and lowers risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.  Examples of complex carbohydrates include:

Whole Grains: whole brown wheat, brown rice, millet, oats, barley, rye, buckwheat, cornmeal, bulgur, spelt, amaranth, quinoa.

Legumes: lentils, dry peas, dry beans — soy, mung, black, kidney, chick peas (garbanzo), pinto, lima, adzuki, great northern, black-eyed peas, peanuts, navy, white, etc. tofu, (a soybean cheese that is high in protein and calcium), tempeh (soybean patty).

Nuts and Seeds:  almonds, cashews, brazil, walnut, pecan, filbert, pine nuts, nut butters, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, squash seeds, seed butters such as tahini.

Refined carbohydrates: white sugar, white flour, many processed foods such as candy, cookies, etc.)  They are poor in nutrients and fiber, are quickly absorbed, resulting in a quick energy boost followed by a roller coaster of fatigue and mood swings. Refined carbohydrates are best avoided.


Each person’s body type is unique.  Some do best on a vegetarian diet, others on a high protein, low carbohydrate diet.  Nutritional evaluation and counseling can help you arrive at the diet that is best for you as an individual.  Try to eat only when you are relaxed and not stressed.  Eat with joy, eat slowly and chew thoroughly.  This will help you digest the food properly and at the same time bring out the full flavor of whole, unrefined natural foods.  Deep breathing, plenty of exercise, sunshine, and avoiding mental stress contribute to smooth metabolism of the food you eat to keep your body strong and healthy.

Cooking Recommendations:

Use organic whole foods whenever possible.  Avoid high heat or prolonged cooking.  Steaming, quick stir-frying (with a high quality, heavier oil such as cold pressed olive, canola, or sesame oil), and baking are preferred methods.  Pressure-cooking, especially grains and beans, is excellent.  The more unprocessed, unrefined, fresh, or unchanged a food is, the healthier it is for you.

Foods to Avoid:  Learn To Read Labels

– Processed, refined, prepared, canned foods with artificial flavor, artificial colors or sweeteners, preservatives (BHA, BHT, etc.), all chemicals.


– White flour and products made with this refined carbohydrate.

– All pork products, especially bacon and ham.

– All smoked meats, processed or “deli” meats that contain nitrates and other preservatives.

– Deep-fried foods, fatty greasy foods, rich gravies, heavy cream, processed cheese, ice cream, fast foods in general.


– Frozen and canned foods.

– Alcohol and carbonated beverages including diet soda, Nutrasweet (aspartame).

– Candy, commercial cookies and cakes, gum, cocoa and chocolate.

– Coffee and black tea including decaffeinated variety.

– Hydrogenated oils (margarine, shortening and packaged foods containing “partially hydrogenated oils”).  Supermarket grade oils, rancid oils, rancid nuts and seeds, palm oil, coconut oil.


– Sugar (sucrose, fructose, maltose, lactose, glycogen, glucose, mannitol, sorbitol, galactose,

monosaccarhides, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, corn sweetener, Nutrasweet (aspartame), saccharin).  Refined white sugar adds calories but no nutrients to your diet.  Excess sugar in the diet may lead to tooth decay, obesity, diabetes, hypoglycemia, B-Vitamin deficiencies, high cholesterol, and heart disease.  Reduce the use of sugar by avoiding refined, processed, fabricated foods, and by eliminating white sugar and products made with white sugar or glucose. You can substitute stevia, glycerin, xylitol, or erythritol.

– Salt is a restricted item for some, according to your health.  High salt content is found in almost all processed foods.  Excessive intake may be related to high blood pressure. Reduce the use of salt by eating fresh, whole, unsalted foods and substituting with Tamari (soy sauce), sea salt, miso, kelp, or dulse (rich in iodine, iron and other trace minerals).  Herbs, spices, and lemon juice add natural flavors.


Prevention of heart disease, colon and other cancers, candidiasis, etc. is aided by a healthy digestive tract.  Overall, one feels well when the digestion is working properly and the bowel movements are regular (1-3 times daily, soft, easily passed).  Enough fiber (from sources such as whole grains and vegetables) is important to keep the digestion moving smoothly.  Hydrochloric Acid and digestive enzymes are produced by the body to break food down into absorbable molecules.  Antibiotics kill off the healthy flora (bacteria) in the intestines and lead to intestinal dysbiosis (altered gut flora).  Besides uncomfortable symptoms such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, this can lead to suppression of the immune system, frequent infections, food allergies, and malabsorption of nutrients.  Transit time (the time it takes from eating to elimination) should be 18-24 hours. A simple way to measure this is to take 10 charcoal tablets, note the time, and note the time of the first black bowel movement.  One simple way to maintain intestinal health is to occasionally do a Vitamin C flush (ask for directions) or colon hydrotherapy, followed by taking acidophilus to repopulate the “good” bacteria.


Water:  Since the water we drink and use to clean ourselves can contain substances such as chlorine, fluoride, petro-chemicals, mercury, pesticides and other contaminants, we recommend use of bottled water and a good water filtration system.  Many filters on the market are not adequate so ask for our recommendations before spending your money!  Since these toxins are readily absorbed through the skin, it makes sense to filter all water you come in contact with, including your shower.  Fluoride and chlorine alter thyroid function among other negative effects, despite the fact they are deliberately placed in the water.  Fluoride is also in toothpaste.  Despite minimal evidence that it prevents tooth decay (in children only!), fluoride is highly toxic substance.  Use natural toothpaste without fluoride. We would be happy to suggest several brands.

Mercury fillings: Although the American Dental Association says that silver dental fillings (50% mercury) are safe, there is little evidence to prove it.  In fact, mercury is one of the most toxic naturally occurring elements known to man!  Mercury vapor escaping from the tooth is easily measured, proving that it leaks from fillings and is absorbed by the body.  Symptoms of acute or chronic Mercury Toxicity (from fillings) are diverse because mercury adversely can affect any tissue.  Recent studies have shown neurologic impairment, allergies and immune dysfunction, autism, decreased kidney function, and higher concentrations of mercury in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.  Mercury is passed from the mother to the fetus, in utero.  Please discuss this with us before having any dental work done, so we can make recommendations appropriate for your health.

Indoor and outdoor air pollution:  The number and type of chemicals we are exposed to daily has been dramatically increasing over the last 50 years or so. Symptoms of chronic chemical toxicity may be easily missed: irritability, anxiety, loss of memory, fatigue, weakness, etc. Our liver must detoxify and eliminate these toxins from our bodies and may be increasingly stressed as the amount of exposure increases.  The detoxification process also requires a number of nutrients (cysteine, glutathione, taurine, Vitamin C, E, selenium, zinc, molybdenum, to name a few) and these become depleted the more we are exposed.

Formaldehyde is ubiquitous in new building materials, plastics, furniture, glues, etc.  We are commonly exposed to organic solvents (paints, varnishes, etc.) and petrochemicals (gasoline, oil, kerosene, natural gas).  Pesticides may cause severe problems and may be stored in the body fat for years. Non-organically grown foods contain pesticides that washing will not remove.  We DO NOT know what the “safe” level of exposure is since many of these chemicals have never been studied and nothing is known about the cumulative effect of many chemicals at the same time.

Avoid exposure whenever possible. Here are some suggestions:

– Plenty of fresh air – open windows or ventilate well; install an air exchanger to prevent buildup of pollutants.


– Use personal care products that do not contain carcinogens and hormone scramblers.

– Eat organic food whenever possible.

– Use more naturally derived products – paints and cleaners are available which are less toxic (We have catalogs of companies who specialize in these environmentally safe products.)


– DO NOT USE PESTICIDES, especially on your lawn.  Many lawn services now use organic lawn care products that are just as effective at producing a beautiful lawn. Integrated pest management strategies can be used for eradicating pests.


– If you must paint or use chemicals, make sure the space is well ventilated and use a filtration mask (a carbon filled mask may be adequate). Less toxic paints are available.


– Use a good quality air purifier, especially in your bedroom.

– Use electric heat/stove (where possible); avoid natural gas.

Ask us if you have specific questions.


Exercise increases oxygenation to tissues and also removes toxins that in turn improve health.  It also increases release of the body’s endorphins, which give a sense of well-being.  The endorphins produce the well known  “runner’s high”.  Exercise can also improve one’s mood and help alleviate anxiety and depression. Yoga is also excellent for maintaining flexibility and toning the body, as well as stress management.  Each exercise program should be tailored to an individual’s state of health. If you have any questions about your exercise program, or have complex health problems, please discuss exercise with us. For good cardiovascular conditioning and health, aerobic exercise is recommended 3 to 5 times per week for a minimum of 20 minutes and at your target heart rate. Even walking for 20-30 minutes 3 times a week can help tune the cardiovascular system, tighten abdominal muscles and strengthen the musculo-skeletal system.  Use the following equation to calculate optimal heart rate during aerobic exercise:

(220 – your age) X 70% = target heart rate

For example, a 30 year old (220 – 30) = 190 X 70% = 133 target heart rate

Weight-bearing exercise is important in order to avoid or slow the process of osteoporosis as well as maintaining good muscle tone.  Weight lifting programs can be tailored for each individual.


Our thoughts affect our health, physically and mentally.  Stress can be reduced if we examine the beliefs, thoughts, and reactions that we have to events in our lives and choose differently.  We can become more aware of our feelings thoughts and then release them.  Reacting to situations and persons we encounter makes us feel helpless and dis-empowered.  This has been shown to adversely affect health. We can choose to think differently.  We have the power to choose our attitude.   Releasing old hurts and anger and forgiving those whom we perceive to have harmed us are powerful ways of reducing our stress load.  When we empower ourselves in these ways, we are free to be in the present, cope better with today, and behave in more pro-active ways.

Biofeedback, psychotherapy, relaxation exercises, HeartMath, or meditation can help us slow down and become more aware of our choices.  Setting clear goals and priorities can also reduce stress.  Where there is more awareness and more freedom of choice about our behavior, there is more health.  Our endocrine and immune systems as well as our muscles respond negatively to tension and helplessness.  When we feel in control and relaxed, these systems respond positively as well.

Spirituality:  Developing a clearer, stronger connection to God (the higher order or power in life) is important to balancing our lives and moving towards optimal health.  As God’s light shines in our lives, we become more whole.  Prayer and positive beliefs have been shown in studies to be more powerful and effective than many medications.  We encourage you to explore and deepen your spiritual beliefs, whatever they may be. It is our hope that this information is interesting, stimulating, and thought provoking.  Please let us know how we can be of service in maintaining and improving your health.


LISTEN SYSTEM  This non-invasive, non-provocative method of allergy evaluation is designed to help identify patterns of environmental sensitivities, which has been extensively developed by Lawrence Caprio, ND.  It is used in conjunction with a complete evaluation of the patient’s past history and present symptoms as well as conventional diagnostic methods to provide effective allergy treatment.

THE MARSHALL MANDEL, M.D. ALLERGY CENTER at the Center for the Healing Arts continues the allergy work of Dr. Mandell, famous for his several books on allergies, arthritis, and elimination diets and his ground-breaking work in the area of environmental medicine. Molly Spau, our allergy technician, worked under the direction of Dr. Mandell for 20 years and joined the Center’s staff when Dr. Mandell retired.  The environmental approach to allergy, including Dr. Mandell’s allergy testing and treatment techniques, are often more effective than conventional allergy treatments, and are performed under the supervision of our physicians. We recommend nutritional/dietary counseling for all patients undergoing food allergy testing and treatment in order to understand the principles of elimination/rotation diets.

NEUROPATHWAYS DIGITAL EEG NEUROFEEDBACK is a cutting edge tool in the treatment of many diseases and trauma involving the central nervous system.  Pioneered for 25 years by Margaret Ayers, a researcher in the field of EEG, the Neuropathways Program is the state of the art neurofeedback system.  There are many distinct advantages over earlier prototypes:

The digital capacity allows the actual EEG to be displayed on the computer screen in “real time,” that is, literally as it happens.  This results in the ability to more quickly, easily, and permanently modify the brain patterns by a feedback system and provides the opportunity for immediate correction of abnormal rhythmic patterns called theta waves.  Current brain research has shown that neurofeedback can be an effective adjunct to the treatment of many brain disorders, including open or closed head injury, coma, stroke, epilepsy, anoxia, learning disabilities, seizure disorders, migraine headaches, attention deficit disorder, clinical depression, and others.