GIVEAWAY!! Food Matters!!!

Posted: March 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

I receive phone calls and emails regularly asking questions about natural and alternative treatments to various ailments.   I must say, I LOVE it when you ask  :).  Asking means you want to make changes in your life for the better, and that is my goal with Drug Free Pharmacist.  The funny thing is, my answer is almost always the same: the food you eat really matters.  There are definitely other contributing factors to poor health  (environmental factors, genetics, etc.), however with 80% of our immunity occurring in our intestinal tract, the fact is you actually are what you eat.

I’m not a fan of the conventional medical system; I don’t buy into the current medical protocol of  “a pill for every ill”.  Instead I like to follow Hypocrite’s philosophy of  “Let thy food be thy medicine and let thy medicine be thy food.”  Sound crazy?  Well it can’t be that crazy, after all, medical doctors today swear by his oath (the Hippocratic oath) upon becoming a physician.

I recently stumbled upon a documentary called Food Matters that shares in my above beliefs.  When I read the description of the documentary I knew it was something I had to see.  I contacted a team member at Food Matters (www.foodmatters.tv) and they sent me a copy of the DVD to view and a copy to give away to one of my lucky fans!  The film is phenomenal.  It discusses natural approaches to preventing and reversing chronic diseases such as cancer, depression, and heart disease.  It goes on to further discuss how nutritional therapy is more effective than most conventional medical treatments.   Nutritional experts from around the world discuss what works, what doesn’t, and what’s killing you.  You can check out their Facebook fan page here.

This documentary is a MUST see!!  The DVD retails for $24.95.  Here’s a chance for one of my lucky fans to get it for free!!

Here’s how to enter the Giveaway:

1.  Become a fan of Drug Free Pharmacist on Facebook (if you haven’t already done so)

1.  Share this article with your friends

2.  Comment on my facebook wall that you’ve shared my article and would like to enter the giveway

Simple 🙂

A winner will be selected by the end of the day on Wednesday March 23, 2011.  Good luck to all!

**Remember there is a cure for widespread diseases like cancer,  the best way to cure cancer is to prevent cancer as best we can.   If you like what you are reading help me spread the word by sharing my articles with your friends.  Follow me, Drug free pharmacist, on facebook**

–Hoda Elkassem, RPh, BSc Pharmacy, BSc Allied Health Sciences

My obsession with cancer started 17 years ago when my father was taken by the disease.  He had cancer of the liver and lived a little over a month after being diagnosed.  Feeling a little tired and not quite himself, he went in for an annual checkup at the end of January in1994, and died on February 27th that same year.  Here I am now, 17 years later, reliving his death.  This past week yet another loving son, brother, husband, father and dear friend to so many, who’s middle name is that of my father’s, passed away from the same disease as my father, striking the exact same organ, and giving his final breath on almost the exact day.

Seventeen years ago I was absolutely terrified of cancer.  I insisted any ache or pain anyone around me ever experienced be ‘checked out’  by their doctor just in case.  My mind lived in a constant state of fear that another loved one would be diagnosed with this horrid disease and lose the battle.  According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 2 males and 1 in 3 females will develop cancer during their lifetime.  That is HUGE.   Take a look around you.  That means it may be either you or your son, or perhaps you or one of your sisters.  Unfortunately it hits closer to home than we think.

So what are we going to do about this?

If, as you are reading this, you notice water dripping from your ceiling what will you do?  Will you simply grab a bucket, place it under the leak, and then go about your day?  Unless you actually determine what is causing that leak, the bucket alone will not fix the problem, and throughout the day you will have to continue to empty that bucket because the ceiling will continue to leak.  However, if you examine the ceiling, find a crack and determine what the root of the problem is, and then try to fix that problem, chances are you will be more successful at keeping your house dry long term.  Better yet, if you are proactive and make sure to always take good care of that ceiling, protecting it from all external harm, imagine how long it could last without any serious issues?

That is the problem we are facing.  We focus so much of our attention on curing cancer by placing that bucket under the ceiling.  However, eventually that ceiling will fall apart, and that bucket is going to fill causing problems beyond our ability to fix.  At times that bucket is needed to help, but the bucket alone is not sufficient if we choose to ignore the root of the problem.

What is causing the leak?  What is causing cancer?

That is my personal goal with Drug Free Pharmacist:  to do what it takes, to educate us all on what needs to be done to prevent disease.  Is it a mere coincidence that cancer rates and other widespread diseases have gone up in correlation with poor eating habits, sedimentary lifestyles, polluted air, and toxic chemicals regularly introduced into our bodies?

I’m not willing to take a chance to find out.

Let us work together in preventing disease by taking care of our bodies so we are strong enough to fight disease and so that our ceiling will last as long as it was built to last.

May those left behind after losing a loved one gain strength in getting through the difficult days ahead, and may we reach the point that we know enough to not lose anymore to such tragic diseases.

Hoda Elkassem, RPh, BSc Pharmacy, BSc Allied Health Sciences

If you like what you are reading help me spread the word by sharing my articles with your friends.  Follow me, Drug free pharmacist, on facebook

Hidden BPA

Posted: February 16, 2011 in Toxic Chemicals

Most of us, especially parents, have at some point or another heard of BPA.  Even if you don’t know what exactly BPA is, you know enough to avoid it.  Baby bottles,  sippy cups,  even adult water bottle now boast of the fact they are  “BPA FREE” with bold labels shouting out to the consumer.

Bisphenol A, or BPA, is known for it’s use in the production of polycarbonate plastic.   Unfortunately this compound does a lot more than simply keep your plastic bottles together.

BPA, which mimics estrogen, has been classified as an endocrine disruptor and as a result can disrupt hormones in the body.  This in turn can cause a long list of problems  including, but not limited to,  low sperm count, reproductive disorders, early puberty, cancer,  diabetes, infertility, attention deficit disorders and the list goes on.  In September 2010, Canada became the first country to actually declare BPA as a toxic substance.

It should therefore come as no surprise that BPA should be avoided at all costs.  Unfortunately simply sticking to BPA free plastic doesn’t guarantee that you are not being exposed to this toxic chemical.   Although BPA can be found in anywhere from pizza boxes to credit card receipts, what we need to avoid the most is putting ourselves at risk of introducing this toxic chemical into our bodies.

Consumer reports conducted a study on 19 canned brand name foods (including ones that were organic) and found that almost all of the 19 tested were contaminated with BPA.   How so you ask?  Not only is BPA used in the production of plastics, but it is also used as a lining in canned foods.  That’s right, your canned veggies, fruits, tuna and even pop cans (hopefully you’re not drinking pop anymore!) may be contaminated with BPA.

Although the FDA has recently become aware of the potential harm BPA may cause, it is going to take some time for thorough studies and action on their end and so it is up to us to be proactive and protect ourselves.

I’m an advocate of eating as much fresh raw foods as possible.  The discovery of BPA in canned foods is yet another reason to ditch the cans and opt for whole fresh foods instead.  When food is preserved in a can nutrients are lost, and unfortunately replaced with preservatives.  By eating organic raw food not only will you be protecting yourself from exposure to BPA, but you are also ensuring you are getting the most nutrients out of your food.

So my dear readers, my advice for the day is stay away from BPA.  Take a look in your refrigerators and cupboards and make a plan of how you are going to take steps to be as BPA-free as can be.  If plastic is something that is difficult for you to give up, be sure to check the triangle label (usually found on the bottom of plastics), anything with a 3 or 7 most probably contains BPA.  Also,  make a commitment to start using fresh foods.   Fresh food will taste better, look better and make you feel better in the long run. Let me know how it goes 🙂

**Remember there is a cure for widespread diseases like cancer,  the best way to cure cancer is to prevent cancer as best we can.   If you like what you are reading help me spread the word by sharing my articles with your friends.  Follow me, Drug free pharmacist, on facebook**

–Hoda Elkassem, RPh, BSc Pharmacy, BSc Allied Health Sciences

One of the best things that has ever happened to my family was the discovery of my son’s mouthful of cavities.  I sincerely mean that.  I have never given my children candy, they do not eat sugar, nor have they ever even tasted chocolate.  I’m pretty strict when it comes to the foods they eat, trying only to give them what is healthy, which is why I was left in utter disbelief the day my son went to the dentist for a checkup.

My husband took him for his appointment and called me to update me on the checkup.  The dentist suspected eight, yes EIGHT, cavities!  How could that be possible?!?! He brushed and flossed daily, and never ever ate any type junk food, yet his mouth was full of cavities?!  I was literally devastated.

The dentist gave us his list of all the procedures he felt necessary:  fillings, tooth extraction, and a ‘child version’ of a root canal.  Hearing this was even more devastating to me then the news of the actual cavities.  He wanted to get started later that week.  I called my husband’s aunt, who is a physician, to get her take on this.   She insisted it was his diet that had caused the cavities and advised that I make some changes.  I was confused, his diet?  He ate so well, or so I thought.

That night I was online for hours, researching, reading, watching videos and learning all about cavities, what actually causes them and natural ways to treat them.  I read about Weston A. Price, a world renowned dentist who studied eating habits in different regions of the world and the effect such eating habits had on one’s health and teeth.  His findings are fascinating and can be found in detail in his book entitled Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.

What I learned that evening, is when we suffer from cavities, or any other type of disease, it’s our body’s way of telling us something isn’t quite right.   I came to realize that although I may not have been giving my children any wrong foods, I wasn’t giving them all of the nutrient rich right foods, and that was the problem.

Although it was devastating to learn he had so many cavities, it was in fact one of the best things that ever happened to us because we were able to see where changes needed to be made in our diets to make sure we were nourishing our bodies as they needed to be nourished.  Amazingly, by making these changes in our diets we were able to stop the tooth decay and avoid the entire dental treatment plan.  It has not always been easy, but it is definitely worth every bit of effort we have put into it.

I plan on going in detail in future posts about specific life changes we made that actually stopped my son’s tooth decay.  I have decided, however, to take this a step further right now in the hopes of helping some fans who may be currently struggling with this.  I contacted Ramiel Nagel, author of an excellent book called Cure Tooth Decay to see if we could do a giveaway of his  book.   His book  summarizes Weston Price’s  findings and outlines actual causes of tooth decay (it’s not what you think!!) and what can be done to stop it.  He also has a facebook fan page with a lot of really good information on maintaining a healthy set of teeth.

So my dear fans we have a couple books to giveaway courtesy of Ramiel Nagel!!  The book retails for almost $30 on amazon (which by the way it has been rated 4.5 stars out of 5 by 80+ people) and is an absolute must read!

How to enter:

1.  First, share this post on your facebook wall

2.  Then comment on my drug free pharmacist wall by simply saying you’ve shared my article with your friends and you would like to enter the giveaway

Simple 🙂

A winner will be  selected randomly by the end of the day on February 2nd, 2011.   Good luck to everyone!

**Remember there is a cure for widespread diseases like cancer,  the best way to cure cancer is to prevent cancer as best we can.   If you like what you are reading help me spread the word by sharing my articles with your friends.  Follow me, Drug free pharmacist, on facebook**

–Hoda Elkassem, RPh, BSc Pharmacy, BSc Allied Health Sciences

Congested? Start Cooking!!

Posted: January 16, 2011 in Natural Remedies

Not too long ago I was feeling extremely congested.  This is not something I suffer from regularly, however on that particular day I was definitely suffering.  My head felt heavy, and my nose extremely stuffed.  All I wanted to do was close my eyes.  With my pen name being “Drug Free Pharmacist” it should come as no surprise to all of you that I didn’t rush to my medicine cabinet and pop a Sudafed (pseudoephedrine) to treat my symptoms.  Pseudophedrine is not my drug of choice for congestion, or anything for that matter.  Believe it or not, it’s not something many doctors will actually take themselves.  A couple of years ago, pseudoephedrine made it on a list by MSN health as one of the top 8 drugs doctors would never take!  It constricts your blood vessels, which can lead to an increase in your heart rate and blood pressure, and has therefore been linked to heart attacks and strokes.

So what to do?  Suffer in pain and not treat your symptoms?  That’s no fun.

That day when I was suffering from congestion I tried to go about my day as best I could and started on dinner.  I grabbed an onion and began slicing.  When I cut up onions my eyes always naturally water, and this time was no exception.  I teared up quite a bit.  As I was finishing up cooking I all of the sudden realized I was no longer congested.  Strange.  I then remembered the onions and went did a quick search to see what I could find about onions and congestion.

The beauty of nature.

Onions contain a natural decongestant called quercetin.  Aside from the fact your home may smell like onions for a while as you are treating your congestion, the side effects of cutting up a raw onion and sniffing it are less harmful than taking Pseduoephedrine, and if sniffed regularly onions can be just as effective.  All you have to do is slice up a raw onion, breathe in the aroma, and see what naturally happens.

It’s worth a try isn’t it?

As a side note, if you normally wear contact lenses, to get the best results, remove your contacts before slicing your onions and ‘sniffing’.

**Remember there is a cure for widespread diseases like cancer,  the best way to cure cancer is to prevent cancer as best we can.   If you like what you are reading help me spread the word by sharing my articles with your friends.  Follow me, Drug free pharmacist, on facebook**

–Hoda Elkassem, RPh, BSc Pharmacy, BSc Allied Health Sciences

When I decided to start Drug Free Pharmacist last month, my goal was, and still is, to educate the public on how to stay healthy and drug free.  As most of you who are following my blog are aware, I believe the key is prevention.  Avoiding every day toxins, nourishing our body by eating healthy foods, and using natural remedies etc, with the long term goal being prevention of widespread diseases such as cancer.  The ultimate goal of preventing such disease is to do our best to prevent what most of us fear: death.  The reason I haven’t posted anything recently is because my mind has been a blur.  Every time I sit to write I am at a loss of words, and not because I don’t have plenty to talk about when it comes to bettering our health (because believe me I have plenty to share), but instead because last week a young friend was tragically killed in a car accident.  Although his passing really does not pertain to Drug Free Pharmacist, I felt it necessary to reflect on his sudden death and life in general.  We can all do our best to prolong our lives by trying to be as healthy as possible and taking care of our bodies, but the reality is, no matter how healthy we are, when it is our time to go there is not a thing we can do about it.  Some things are just not preventable, death, unfortunately, is one of them.  I still strongly believe in the need to take care of our bodies, however I also believe that we should live our lives knowing that anything can happen at any given time.

Live today as though tomorrow may never come.

Be kind to the world around you, give generously without telling anyone what you gave, be good to your parents, love your spouses, play with your children, give gifts with no strings attached, smile at your neighbor, don’t hold grudges, make excuses, say I love you, say it again, and be thankful for every single breathe you are able to take.  My goal is still to help us all make sure that each of those breathes are good and healthy ones, but in the meantime let us live today and each day that follows as though it were our last-because we truly never know when our last will be.

**Remember there is a cure for widespread diseases like cancer,  the best way to cure cancer is to  prevent cancer as best we can.   If you like what you are reading help me spread the word by sharing my articles with your friends.  Follow me, Drug free pharmacist, on facebook**

–Hoda Elkassem, RPh, BSc Pharmacy, BSc Allied Health Sciences

Although my title may seem ridiculous, there is a story behind it.  I have very recently reached the point that if a product contains ingredients that I would never eat then that product will not go near my skin.

Seem a bit much?  Take a look at my reasoning and then decide.

Remember, your skin is your largest organ, whatever comes in contact with the skin is absorbed by your body.    In order to make these personal care products lather, smell wonderful and last long enough to be on store shelves and in your home for months and oftentimes years before expiring, additives, preservatives, and many toxic chemicals are used.  So what’s the big deal?  It’s not like we’re eating it right?  Using such products on your skin may cause more harm than if you were to actually eat them.  Sound crazy?  Keep reading.  For the record, I am in no way encouraging eating your personal care products 🙂 however if you were to eat, let’s say, your favorite lotion, it would go through a number of steps before reaching your blood stream as the enzymes in your saliva and stomach would help digest it and then flush it out of your system.  Now if you put that same lotion on your skin, it is not digested but instead it is absorbed by your porous skin and then goes straight into your bloodstream which will then in turn be sent to your organs.  If your personal care products contain toxic ingredients (which unfortunately many do) and you are using such ingredients often and long enough,  your body may begin to store these ingredients, which is obviously not good.

Since the list of chemicals found in personal care products is unfortunately rather endless, it’s impossible for me to go into detail right now of specific chemicals and what introducing them into your body may cause.  Depending on where you are in your journey to better health, I don’t think it’s realistic to expect everyone reading this to trash any product they wouldn’t eat.  However, it’s all about taking small steps in the right direction towards better health, and being aware of what you are exposing your body to.  Part of becoming aware is knowing what is in the products you use and what potential harm these ingredients may cause.  Not sure where to begin?  I want to share with everyone a website that I find to be invaluable when it comes to personal care products.  This website allows you to search your personal care products (there are over 50,000 name brands to search from) and tells you which ingredients are hazardous and why they are hazardous ie, cancer causing, developmental/reproductive toxicity etc.  You can even do a search for healthy products based on their hazard score, so for example if you are trying to find a healthy baby shampoo you can do a search and filter it according to it’s hazard level.   So I present you all with another challenge, better yet let’s call it your ‘homework’ for the week.  I would like everyone reading this to take a few of your personal care products and do a search on www.cosmeticdatabase.com.   Let me know how it goes!

**Remember there is a cure for widespread diseases like cancer,  the best way to cure cancer is to prevent cancer as best we can.   If you like what you are reading help me spread the word by sharing my articles with your friends.  Follow me, Drug free pharmacist, on facebook**

–Hoda Elkassem, RPh, BSc Pharmacy, BSc Allied Health Sciences

I’ve received quite a few questions asking about baking soda and what brands are safe to use and are free from aluminum.  The majority of baking soda on the market today is aluminum free (this was not the case many years ago), however the only way you can be certain about the brand you are using is by calling the manufacturer and asking.  The Bob’s Red Mills brand is obviously aluminum free since it is stated on the package.  Also, a lot of baking soda on the market today is synthetic or man made through a chemical reaction, whereas Bob’s Red Mill is simply naturally occurring Sodium bicarbonate.  Finally, their products are  cruelty free, unlike one of the major manufacturers of baking soda on the market today.  Don’t forget to enter the Bob’s Red Mill Baking Soda giveaway by simply commenting on my post below.

**Remember there is a cure for widespread diseases like cancer,  the best way to cure cancer is to prevent cancer as best we can.   If you like what you are reading help me spread the word by sharing my articles with your friends.  Follow me, Drug free pharmacist, on facebook**

–Hoda Elkassem, RPh, BSc Pharmacy, BSc Allied Health Sciences

A number of people have been asking me what type of baking soda I use.  I’m a fan of the Bob Red Mills Aluminum Free Baking Soda and that is what we have been using ever since we made the switch.  I contacted the company, and the friendly staff at Bob Red Mills are going to give 3 lucky Drug Free Pharmacist fans a package of aluminum free baking soda! If you are going to take the Baking Soda Challenge (see my previous post for details on the challenge) and would like a free package of aluminum free baking soda delivered to your doorstep please enter the contest by commenting on this facebook post.  Contest details will follow.

**Remember there is a cure for widespread diseases like cancer,  the best way to cure cancer is to  prevent cancer as best we can.   If you like what you are reading help me spread the word by sharing my articles with your friends.  Follow me, Drug free pharmacist, on facebook**

–Hoda Elkassem, RPh, BSc Pharmacy, BSc Allied Health Sciences

We all use some sort of deodorant (well at least I hope we do). Ever wonder if this daily application could be harming you?  Your skin is your largest organ.  Everything that is placed on your skin gets absorbed on contact.  Unfortunately most commercial deodorants are made up of a lengthy list of harmful chemicals that have been linked to various diseases including cancer .  Even some of the ‘natural’ or crystal deodorants out there contain aluminum, which is also on the list of things to avoid because of the possible link between Alzheimer’s disease and high levels of aluminum.  So what to do?  Our family has made the switch to baking soda, yes baking soda (you can actually find aluminum free baking soda at health stores or online).  It’s inexpensive and works better than any deodorant we have ever tried, and BEST of all, it’s non-toxic.  Just use a pinch of baking soda with a small amount of water to make a paste and apply.  Works wonderfully!!  And so I present you all with the Baking Soda Challenge.  Give it a try this week and let me know how wonderfully it worked for you 🙂

**Remember there is a cure for widespread diseases like cancer,  the best way to cure cancer is to try to prevent cancer as best we can.   If you like what you are reading help me spread the word by sharing my articles with your friends.  Follow me, Drug free pharmacist, on facebook**

–Hoda Elkassem, RPh, BSc Pharmacy, BSc Allied Health Sciences