On Tuesday, October 29, the Astoria Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Sylmar invited its community of physicians and service providers to attend an open house event focused on New Roads to Healing and featuring health experts in the fields of nutrition, longevity, brain health, stress and heart disease. The open house was hosted by Astoria president and cookbook author Grace O, and held to celebrate the anniversary and to promote the important role of nutrition in healing and maintaining good health.
Over 140 guests attended the event, and as part of the festivities, the Astoria and FoodTrients staffs prepared a lunch of age-defying dishes. To feed the doctors, nurses, nutritionists, and other guests, healthy and delicious FoodTrients like Grace O’s Seafood with Wild Rice and Salmon Poached in Pickling Spices with a Pecan-Sundried Tomato Tapenade were served. She had a spread of exotic fruits and healthy desserts that included her new Rice and Corn Pudding made with coconut milk and wild rice, and Banana Citrus Bread.
Astoria also invited an impressive list of doctors, researchers and nutritionists to speak to the crowd about the role of food and supplements in healing the human body. They included:
- John M. Kennedy, M.D. FACC, Director of Preventive Cardiology and Wellness at Marina Del Rey Hospital and author, is a recognized expert in the field of invasive cardiology and a much sought-after authority on complimentary medical approaches. Dr. Kennedy has appeared on The Doctors, The Dr. Oz Show, World News with Diane Sawyer, Anderson Cooper, Katie and PBS. Dr. Kennedy spoke about how stress is directly linked to cardiovascular disease, the most common causes of stress, and what we can do to reduce it and manage it in our lives.
Dr. Kennedy joked, “All of us have stress and most of us have hearts.” He explained that because of our stress we self-medicate with alcohol, tobacco, and comfort foods when instead we should be exercising, practicing yoga, and relaxing through deep breathing and visualization techniques. He’s developed a 7-step stress-reduction tool for his patients and he wrote a book called The 15-Minute Heart Cure.
- Mark Filidei, D.O., Director of Integrative Medicine for the Amen Clinics, brings together conventional medicine and alternative therapies to treat the brain and promote brain health. As an expert in his field, Dr. Filidei advises not only patients at the Amen Clinics, but physicians as well. He stressed the importance of scanning your brain to assess its health and taking genetic tests to determine your risk of dementia. He gave the audience tips on preventing brain diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Filidei gave the audience tips on preventing brain diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s through physical exercise, brain exercises, low-dose aspirin, and supplements like CoQ10, B12, folic acid, vitamin D, and coconut oil. He mentioned how big a role hormones play in brain health and mood. And he said, “The foods you eat talk to your genes.” He agreed with speaker David Getoff’s advice about eating wild fish, free-range poultry, and lots of nuts and seeds. “Protein is like medicine,” he said. “Fat is not the enemy.”
- David Getoff, CCN, CTN, FAAIM, a board-certified Traditional Naturopath and Vice-President of the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, addressed the important but overlooked role of diet and nutrition interventions in nursing care and rehabilitation. “It’s sad that people think that healthy food can’t taste good,” he said and pointed to the FoodTrients spread of delicious food as proof of the opposite. He taught that food choices can be used to help your body heal itself and address illnesses.
“The huge health benefits of switching to better foods and the knowledge of which foods belong in this category are unknown by most M.D.s and R.D.s in the United States,” he said. “The foods we eat can change our DNA.” So which foods are those? Vegetables without starch, no refined sugars or white flours, and protein from animals raised properly (free-ranging chickens, grass-pastured cattle, and wild fish). He’s a fan of heirloom barley, colorful quinoa, raw nuts, and coconut milk. He advises avoiding soy, fructose in any form (high-fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, honey, molasses, agave syrup), and artificial sweeteners like Equal and Splenda. Instead he prefers stevia, yacon syrup, ethritol, and xylitol.
- Dr. Robert Young, researcher of cellular nutrition and author of 17 books including The Ph Miracle for Cancer, explained how “The human body is alkaline in its design.” He said that the body pulls alkalinity from bones and tissue in order to balance the Ph of the blood so we must eat more alkaline foods in order to keep this process to a minimum. He offered free Ph tests to all the party guests and mentioned that avocados were a great alkalizing food. He explained the role of salt in our cells and that chlorophyll can produce red blood cells. He recommended eating lots of green vegetables, especially broccoli, wheatgrass, peppers, citrus fruits, celery, and cucumbers.
Two of Dr. Young’s patients gave their testimonies. Deborah spoke about being healed from cancer how she lost over 100 pounds by following his protocol. Veteran Jonathan explained his struggles with mental health issues after coming home from Iraq and how Dr. Young’s methods helped wean him off of psychotropic medications. Dr. Young revealed that “Former President Clinton is following this protocol.”
All of the medical and nutritional experts agreed that a good diet is essential for overall health and well being. They were impressed that the Astoria event featured healthy and delicious food that was homemade in Grace O’s kitchen. The recipes came from her current cookbook, The Age GRACEfully Cookbook, and from the recipes she is currently developing for her new cookbook which will be released in Fall, 2014.
Among the special guests attending the anniversary celebration were Philippine Deputy Counsel General Daniel Espiritu, who presented Grace O with an award for her service to the Filipino community through her work at Astoria, and Emil Fish, Astoria’s founder.
Astoria is a 218-bed skilled nursing facility serving the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys, and conveniently located within close proximity to major medical centers. In a home-like environment, Astoria maintains the highest level of ethical standards, clinical expertise and professional services. The facility also strives to meet the needs of long-term patients requiring 24-hour monitoring and assistance, and short-term patients requiring rehabilitation or post-surgical recovery.