Dr. Olson’s Comments on Health Books

Women’s transitions: health/menopause/sexuality

1) Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom: Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing, by Christiane Northrup

Christiane has been a pioneer for women’s wellness at all ages and has been a premier promoter of having awareness of emotional and physical needs for achieving balanced health.

2) Yoga for Healthy Bones, by Linda Sparrowe

This book is interesting because it focuses on the use of gravity exercise such as yoga to strengthen your bones. It also has a section in the first part of the book on avoiding empty foods or sodas and choosing bone healthy choices and adequate alkaline foods, and discussed that the treatments for inflammatory conditions with steroids affect access to Calcium and vitamin D.

What this book does not discuss is the concept that inflammation itself in inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease, there is release of cytokines that activate osteoclasts to break down bone. We now have good western medicine that block this process and I am a believer of using good western medicines to prevent the damage leading to bone loss if you have to.

3) Discovering your Couple Sexual Style, by Barry W. McCarthy and Emily McCarthy

As a married woman for 30 years this summer, I am always looking for good books that enhance sexuality and loving long-term relationships. It is good and healthy to explore sexuality and have creativity for you and your life partner in this very important aspect of your life.  Remember intimacy comes in many flavors. Intimacy is necessary for the wellness of a marriage or long-term relationship of any gender combo.  Intimacy can be emotional and physical without having to have a specific goal or termination such as intercourse.

Please see my other recommendations on this topic, listed in the links section

4) Balance your hormones, Balance your life, by Claudia Welch, MSOM

This book uses the ideas of Ayurveda, the traditional 4000 year-old Life science Indian medicine for self healing. A diet and lifestyle that matches your constitution (Vata, Pita or Kapha), good sleep hygiene. It suggests avoiding medicines unless absolutely necessary. A small section on HRT (hormone replacement therapy) notes how old estrogens like Premarin and progesterone like Provera have been associated with breast cancer and stroke, and how birth control pills are equally unnatural. A small section on bioidentical hormones notes the authors concern that there is no data for the use of these and that breast tenderness while these are used may be associated with a higher risk of breast cancer.

One other concern that I have with Ayurvedic supplements bought online is that its been published that about 20% contain heavy metals that exceed what is allowed of lead, mercury and arsenic, and who wants excess metals in their body!

5) End your Menopause Misery, by Stephanie Bender, Treacy Colbert, and Fred Grover

This book has a ten day plan for you to become educated about the menopause from mood and memory issues to appearance bones, review of medications and lastly meditation

6) Detox 4 Women, by Natalia Rose

I like this book because it is a similar program that I use for detoxification of my patients.  It uses a whole food, non-starch carb program toward giving nutrition to your body while detoxifying from processed foods. It saved me the effort of trying to publish a book on this.

7) For Women Only: A Revolutionary Guide to Overcoming Sexual Dysfunction and Reclaiming Your Sex Life, by Jennifer Berman, MD and her sister Laura Berman PHD

This is a fabulous book on sexuality for women. It was published in 2001 when I first read it and got my copy of the book signed by Laura Berman at Sun Valley during one of my husbands orthopedic meetings. I just found and reread this book and it is as good now as it was then when it comes to the psychology and sexuality of women.

Books for Everyone: Concepts and approaches for achieving vibrant health and altering aging through knowledge, active engagement in lifestyle, and diet

1) Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande

This is a must read for everyone.  It deals with the process of dealing with ageing and end of life issues.  It discusses importance of 1) creating successful living environments as we age that allow independence and autonomy; 2) having a geriatrician (a specialist in elderly health issues that matter to enhance quality of life), 3) having a quality end of life with hospice and family cohesiveness to avoid unpleasant exit alone in the hospital.

2) Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant, by Roz Chast

Famous and fabulous New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast deals with the ageing and death of her parent with humbling honesty and tenderness.  We can all benefit from hearing her because she is a voice for the love, loss, dysfunction and function of family ties.

3) The End of Illness, by David Agus, MD

While the general concepts of this book are not new, I feel that the package is very useful.  He notes that it is important that you be aware of your health risks and predisposition so that you are empowered to help yourself decrease the risk of cancers, chronic illness and improve the quality of ageing: he notes that having a routine to your life avoiding toxins, decreasing inflammation (aspirin, Flu vaccines and cholesterol lowering medication), mild-moderate exercise all can alter genetic expression.  He is also a propronent of having your genes sequence as part of creating the best healing plan for you. David Agus had a company that did genetic testing using saliva and or mouth inner cheek cell to evaluate your DNA.  This company has since been sold to LifeScience Labs.

You can have your DNA analyzed in 2013.  Having the gene for a disease just says that you are at higher risk, not necessarily that you will have the disease.  This testing may be specially useful if there are conditions in your family which worry you, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.  If you do this, you have to be willing to know and deal with the possibility that you may have a gene that gives you high risk of having a disease for which there is no current cure. Knowing this may affect positively or negatively the experience of your life.
This is one of the many websites available to have your DNA evaluated: 23andMe.com

4) Super Brain, by Deepak Chopra and Rudolf Tanzi

I first became inspired to transform into an integrative doctor by taking the course of” Mind body medicine and Ayurveda” with Deepak, David Simon (bless his soul) , and Dr. Geffen (oncologist)  in La Jolla in 1997.  I have since read all of Deepak’s books, but this book is one is one of the best because it has Rudy Tanzi a neuroscientist and professor at Harvard.  Dr Tanzi has done the research that has identified genes linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

The central concept of this book is that there is a difference between the mind and the brain.  Harnessing the mind to be in charge to guide our brains to be and to do things that promote health is a higher level goal that requires not just awareness, but self awareness.  The book also has specific ideas of suggested thoughts that you can use to reverse negative thinking patterns that promote unhealthy conditioned behaviors from occurring.

I also enjoyed the discussion of stress and emotion and how anxiety was discussed as a conflict of primal opposing basic needs such as Desire versus Fear. Examples of desire  could be wanting to be successful, to be popular, to be thin, to be youthful, whereas the opposing fears to the individual desires consecutively could of failing to the extreme of being paralyzed to do the work, acting out to be noticed, fear of gaining weight and undermining by over eating, lastly fear of loosing youth can lead from engaging in healthy exercise to an extreme of excessive and self deforming plastic surgery.

They also advise on the importance of healthy diet, exercise, a daily routine, mental stimulation stress reduction and meditation to enhanced vibrant ageing and perhaps alter how your genes get expressed.

The book can come with a work book and multimedia (CD) work book access

5) Wheat Belly, by William Davis, MD

My patients have been very educated and subsequently transformed by learning how wheat varieties have changed over time and how wheat is insidious and pervasive in the American diet.  This is the book I am now recommending when people are hesitant to leave or decrease intake of processed food. The author is a preventive cardiologist and has a website called TrackYourPlaque.com

6) The Belly Fat Cure, by Jorge Cruise

I like this book because many of my patients are very hesitant to leave processed food behind even though they want their belly fat off. Did you know that  the Agricultural department says that we consume anywhere from 96 to 76 pounds of sugar per person per year!  In this book Cruz gives a visual guide that has alternative food options if you do not what to do the whole foods pure food program or if you are in the run, on the road, and need healthier alternatives. I like that it has on the left page a picture of the unhealthy choice and on the right the healthier one and why they differ even though they both look the same.  For example, avoiding the croutons and having the regular ranch dressing on the side rather than the fat free option, has less simple sugar and ultimately better for you.

7) The Telomere Effect, by Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel

Dr. Blackburn won the Nobel prize for discovering telomeres and, the enzyme that maintains them healthy, telomerase. This book tells you about the telomeres, which are the end caps of your chromosomes. Telomeres are similar to the aglets at the ends of your shoe laces, as they shorten or brake with time the shoe lace ends become frayed and unusable.  The length of telomeres is directly associated with how we are aging and how long we live. People with longer telomere lengths live longer, conversely people with chronic health conditions have shorter telomeres. Inflammation, high oxidative stress, and high sugar and insulin, all  shorten telomere length. The data from this book shows evidence that environmental factors, such as prolonged caretaker stress, can also shorten telomere length.  Conversely, their findings suggest that healthy lifestyle and stress management protects telomeres from premature shortening (or aging) which translates to living a longer and healthier life.

8) Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions, by John C Norcross

This book shows evidenced-based approaches to changing habits and behaviors that are not supportive or conducive to your wellness and best health. Examples of these problems are not exercising, eating or drinking too much, spending too much, internet-related or other addictive behaviors, smoking, or whatever it is that gives transient reward, but is followed by negative feelings, regrets, and consequences. This book gives the tools to actively work through these conditioned or habitual behaviors over a 90-day period offering a higher likelihood of success. The data shows that 3 months are required to make new behavior changes become routine. See also www.changeologybook.com where you can learn if you are ready or not to begin to make change now!

9) Neurowisdom, by Mark R Waldman

This, as are his other books, is a gem for learning the latest neuroscience behind behaviors, effect of stress, motivation or lack thereof, and how to retrain the brain to experience more happiness and pleasure despite past conditioning and inevitable stress. I know Mark personally as a friend and mentor. I have studied his work and recommended his work last year under links and recommended sites for 2016. I fully endorse his mindfulness approach and efforts, work, and intension to help others. See also www.neurowisdom.com or markrobertwaldman.com