Diet scams: 5 ways to keep money in your pocket and get blubber off your booty.


No. Just no. Just as night follows day, the season of dietary repentance follows the season of holiday feasting. Spiritually, all that supports the world right now are leftover well-wishes and good intentions generated by a week or two of waking up in the morning feeling like a mushroom past its prime.

And this, all good health industry marketers know, is the best time to pounce on you, prying loose those few remaining dollars in your pocket, using the time-tested tools of empty promises and before-and-after photoshoots.

So here I am, the postprandial anti-Santa, to tell you the five best ways to lose all that holiday fat (and, let's face it, you also need to lose the fat leftover from last summer and fall), and keep a few dollars in your thinning fist so you can pay the credit card bill.

1. If it's a multi-level marketing plan, don't do it. Just don't.

You've seen them. Being a doctor specializing in nutrition, I get hit up a couple of times a month. A friend starts telling you about this terrific shake/powder/meal replacement that they've started doing, and they're losing a ton of weight (and it's true, too. They're living not quite so large these days) and THEY'RE MAKING MONEY AT THE SAME TIME! IT'S TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE!!

Yes. Yes it is. Do you remember when merchandisers would sell items at low prices, saying "we've cut out the middleman, and passed the savings on to you!"

Well, multi-level marketing (MLM) is the exact opposite. By the time the consumer gets their hands on an MLM product, it's passed through so many middlemen that you could fill a small school bus with them. And every single one of them takes a cut.

Of course, it is explained to you how you can get your product virtually free if you "join the team" of the "most successful product launch in history" and begin selling product yourself.

Unfortunately, that requires a large circle of rather gullible friends, most of whom will probably come to hate you when they realize the only reason you reach out to them is because you want to sell some product -- and make them a team member too.

"Oh, your father died suddenly? I'm so sorry! But I have just the thing, my company's Anti-Blues Chocolate bar! It's filled with antioxidants that combat depression and you'll lose weight every time you eat one!"

You don't want to be one of Those People.

Also, the products are just plain not that good. One of the most popular MLM parades in my area for the past couple of years has been Isagenix. They push their weight-loss plans hard. Of course, it comes with about $600 worth of supplements, bars, meal replacements, and other items you don't really need.

I looked at the label of one of their weight loss products the other day, and -- I kid you not -- the third ingredient on the label was sugar. Of course, they hid the sugar in a fancy molecule and dressed it up in a beach-body bikini so you wouldn't notice, but it was sugar nonetheless.

You don't have to be board-certified in nutritional medicine to know that lots of sugar in a weight-loss product is probably Not A Good Thing.

There are a lot of problems with MLMs in general and Isagenix in particular, but the key ones to remember are the three Os: Overpriced, Overhyped, and Overpromised.

2. Look at the photos.

Every weight loss plan worth its hype will have tons of before/after photos to support their claims, in which frumpy housewives and flabby dadbods turn into seaside eye candy. I hate to tell you, but most of those pictures are a crock. Here's how they do it.

Photoshop. There is almost nothing that a good Photoshop hand can't do. They can remove pounds, smooth cellulite and lift boobs and cheekbones with a quick wave of the mouse. It's hard to tell with the naked eye, but there are a few sites which will tell you how massively 'shopped a picture is.

Ok. There are some pictures that Photoshop can't fix.

There are some easier ways to tell as well. Look at the lighting and the makeup. The "before" picture is almost sure to be potato-quality, with the poor schlub standing in front of a dingy mirror reflecting a sink top full of forlorn, unused, cosmetics. The "after" picture, on the other hand, will have full lighting, a pose straight from Bodybuilder 101 class, and the unused makeup from the previous shot is getting full-on pro application. Yeah, she looks great. Unfortunately, you probably won't, unless you keep your money in a belt, which will be considerably looser after you are done paying for The Product.

Also, look at the camera angle. Every Millenial-aged single male is familiar with what's known as "the Myspace angle," which is used on every dating-social media app in the universe. The camera is placed high up and close in, which makes the subject look much thinner than they are. This photography technique has led to more disappointing first dates than pretenses of a fondness for James Joyce and Emily Bronte.

The most famous -- and easiest -- before/after sleight of hand is to just simply switch the photos around in time. A supplement company popular with the body building set once pulled this stunt. Unfortunately, the company used well-known bodybuilders as their frontmen, and some fans with dated pictures of their idols, caught them in the act.

There were apologies all around, and continued claims of massive gains with dramatic weight loss. Plus, new "real" pictures.

3. The gym has pizza night.

Yes, there are gyms that offer tremendously low cost memberships; but they are also the gyms which market directly toward people who won't use their services. Thus, they can oversell memberships without worrying about taxing their rooms and equipment beyond tolerable limits.

You can tell these gyms by the fact that they use non-fitness oriented marketing techniques, such as pizza nights.

A telltale sign that this is not the gym you want to join.

They also promote "judgement free" workouts and have restrictive dress policies that prohibit members from demonstrating that their fitness regimen is actually working.

Yeah, I'm looking at you, Planet Fitness.

The biggest advantage of joining a gym, in addition to the equipment, is the ability to work out with, and be inspired by your peers. When you hang out with active people training to acheive their best in weight and fitness, it rubs off on you. Your energy is shared, and the camaraderie of a gym is a great support when you are working toward your goals.

The trouble is, Planet Fitness and its imitators, are not looking for those people. They don't want people who will actually come and use the facilities. They make more money by selling a service that people want but don't use.

As a result, the people at such gyms are generally not the ones who will inspire, teach and lead you. Those folks are all at the other gym where it's ok to grunt when you deadlift and wear shirts that show your biceps.

4. The weight loss plan and products use [insert aboriginal tribe] secrets.

Weight loss products that are attributed to herbs, foods, or techniques developed by ancient societies or indigenous cultures are invariably utter and complete rubbish. You know why? Because the problem of obesity is a byproduct of industrial culture. Historically, insufficient calories were more of a problem than excess calories and dysfunctional nutrition. Excess weight was therefore seen to be a sign of wealth and something to be aspired to, just as Victorians aped the pale complexions of the rich of their time, and modern Westerners imitate the tanned (and toned) bodies of what in the Sixties were called the "jet-setters."

Which brings me to another point. The incredibly toned bodies that some people aspire to are controlled works of mutable art requiring multiple hours of daily upkeep. Which is fine; dedicating yourself to that level of fitness is commendable. But the vast majority of people have not the time, money, or desire to achieve that. Also, for a large number of fitness models and bodybuilders, pharmaceuticals, legal or not, are part of what makes it work, and the fitness is for show only.

5. So what can you do to lose weight?

Losing weight can be amazingly simple. If you are starting with an overweight but generally healthy body, simply eat less and exercise more. You don't need any special supplements, aside from a multivitamin/multimineral supplement, and your nutritional knowledge is more important than your nutritional supplements. Although, honestly, if you just calculate your base metabolic rate, and keep your intake lower than your caloric usage, you will shed pounds.

It gets more complex if you have certain health issues, such as hormone imbalances or gastrointestinal dysfunction such as leaky gut or bacterial overgrowth, depression, insomnia or other conditions. Fixing those in a healthy manner is where I come in. But still the essence remains the same: Eat less and do more.

I have not put anyone except for morbidly obese patients on a weight loss diet for the better part of a decade. I use specialized diets and supplementation to help heal sick people, and weight loss is often a side effect of the nutritional therapy. As you heal, your body will find a healthy weight range on its own. After regaining your health, if you want to further decrease your weight, the answer is simple: Eat less and do more.

Rather than having to pay for it, losing weight is essentially free. Eating less de facto costs less, although the savings will be eaten up (heh) by the increased cost of better food. And anyone can exercise without a gym membership or special equipment. There are hundreds of bodyweight exercise routines on the web; you can also just step out the front door and go for a run.

So anyone trying to sell you a product-loaded weight loss plan or pills or drugs is selling you something that you already have and don't need. To lose weight, all you need are three things: A goal, some discipline, and a willingness to embrace change.

Each of those are free. Keep your money in your pocket, follow my advice, and prepare to buy new clothes.

Dr. Avery Jenkins is a chiropractic physician and board certified in Clinical Nutrition and Medical Acupuncture. He can be reached at or by calling 860-567-5727.


(Special thanks to Chris Herrington, DC for his inspiration for this post.)

Being up front about things.


It is often overlooked by doctors, but the person sitting at the front desk is perhaps the most important person in the practice. She is the first voice that a new patient hears when they call and the first face they see when they walk in the door. If a patient doesn’t like her, or she is rude, or incompetent, it is very likely that the patient will leave unsatisfied with their care. In this, my 20th year of service to Litchfield County, I will occasionally be writing posts looking back at the history of my practice, and I’m going to start where most of the action happens: Up front.

It’s not always been a pretty picture. After all, I’m a doctor, not an HR specialist, and I’ve made a few hiring mistakes. In fact, one of my best friends, who is a big wheel in executive employment and the founder of what is now a multi-million dollar placement firm, once said to me, “Avery, do you know how I’ve managed to be so successful? All I have to do with a hiring problem is think to myself, ‘how would Avery handle this?’ and then do the exact opposite.”

Hmmph. Granted, my hiring process is perhaps not the best, but I have learned a thing or two over the years.

After opening my practice in Kent, CT, I was not initially busy enough to need someone at the front desk. The phone did not ring all that often and the two treatment rooms I had were more than sufficient. Within about six months, though, trade was brisk enough to require a hired hand, at least a few times a week.

This was long before the Great Recession, and, in fact, was during a boom part of Kent’s oft-anemic business cycle. So good help was hard to find.

But I got lucky. Through a colleague, I found out about a young woman, single mother, who was going to school part time in accounting, and looking for work. Bingo.

I immediately hired J., and she stayed with the practice for several years, until she graduated from college. Her daughter was just a baby, and during those early (and rather slow) years, J. would bring her daughter into work, and set up a playpen in one of the treatment rooms, where the baby would nap and occasionally yell for her mother. It was a situation that worked out well. J. was young, intelligent, and of course, could whip numbers around in her sleep, so my accounting and billing was always up to snuff.

It didn’t hurt that J. was cute and friendly, so the patients really liked her as well.

I didn’t know it at the time, but during those first few years, J. and I were putting into place procedures that have lasted until this very day. It’s interesting that even now, when I’m faffing about the file room looking for some ancient document, I will find a file labeled in her handwriting, under a filing system she developed and that has only been built upon by her successors.

Of course, as soon as she graduated, she was snapped up by Mighty Big Corporation, and went to work full time on a salary almost equal to my own at the time.

At this point, I started on a personnel cycle that has seemed to repeat itself periodically.

After J.’s departure, I went through a bit of a merry-go-round with staff. There was the 30-year-old redhead who was moonlighting as a dominatrix. Then there was the ex-postal worker with authority issues. Neither of those lasted more than a few months, which is when I hired my First Big Mistake.

She lasted several years, and there seemed to be nothing wrong with FBM. She had a great personality, patients loved her, and she exuded competence. It seemed that I had made a great hire, initially. And for the majority of the time she worked for me, it seemed like she had great control over the financial end of the business.

Unfortunately, as I found out later, she was also moonlighting. In this case, however, she was moonlighting for my competition, and doing it when I thought she was actually working in my office. She also called to quit -- to go to work full time for the competition -- when I was out west dealing with a terminally ill family member. That wasn’t a good time. Also, the billing had kind of gone to hell in a handbasket while she moonlighted while I imagined her being at my front desk.

Once again, I found myself on the staffing merry-go-round. There was the woman who interviewed great, looked great on paper, and had hand tremors. By the second day, the tremors disappeared, and by the second week, a couple of patients had complained about the smell of alcohol. Meanwhile, she was telling me how she had taken to falling asleep at night in her front yard.

She was replaced by the top-of-her-class college graduate, who oddly enough, had been unable to find any employment. It didn’t take long to discover why. For the two weeks she worked for me, she actually only came in for two days. On her final day of “work,” she called in with yet another excuse for not showing up, and I told her not to bother at all, that she was fired.

She started shouting at me, about how dare I fire her, and it was so unfair, and she was doing her best...she was outraged that she was being fired from a job that she hadn’t really shown up for.

This is what gives the younger generation a bad name.

There was also the woman I hired who came for her first day of training. After training all morning, she went out for lunch, whereupon she called me and quit. She didn’t even want to come back for a paycheck.

But, about this time, T. agreed to start working for me more-or-less full time. I had initially hired T. only for Saturday morning hours. She was actually perfect for the job, working weekdays as a bookkeeper, and possessed of a warm and outgoing personality. I finally convinced her that she was working for a dead-end firm, and she signed up for the ride with the Center for Alternative Medicine.

And what a ride it was! T. worked for me for over a decade (I said 13 years, she said 12, so I concluded that maybe it was only 12, it just felt longer), through phenomenal change. During that time, I introduced acupuncture and nutrition into my practice, bought a building, closed the Kent office and moved the whole kit and caboodle to Litchfield.

The thing about this type of job is that you work cheek-to-jowl with one another, and so fundamentally, your personalities have to match. T. and I worked well together, so much so that very frequently patients asked if we were married. To which T.’s response was usually something along the lines of “I’d rather shoot myself first.”

That was the nature of our relationship, and over the years it got to be a habit for me to gauge the success of any day at work by whether or not I was able to get T. to say “I hate you!” to me. A truly successful day was “I hate you!” followed immediately by “I quit.”

Which was all fun and games of course, until the day she came in and said “I quit” and really meant it. There was no discord or ill-will. She had simply tired of the job, and found one with better benefits and more suited to her current needs. T. left on good terms, and left an impression on the practice that has dimmed little with time. Patients will still ask me about her and how she is doing.

You get the story by now. T. was followed by a couple of unsuitable candidates, one of whom informed me shortly after taking the job that she considered me working for me to be probationary, and then was wholly excised when she was terminated after herself going AWOL.

That was followed by Second Big Mistake. SBM similarly had me under the impression that all was under control, while the cart was careening wildly down the mountain. Once again, I only discovered the condition of things after she left.

While I’m still paying the cost of SBM’s duplicity, the bright side of that stormy cloud was that SBM’s employment convinced me to restructure the practice. Part of the problem was that the front desk job had just grown too large. So I split one job into three, and have put checks into place that help me independently spot problems before they become too large. This has also enabled me to hire people who are specialists in each discipline, which has resulted in even better performance.

Again, after a bit of faffing about, I hired G., who is -- at least at the time of this writing -- sitting at the front desk. G. represents a bit of a change, and is reflective of my new thinking about what the front desk job entails and where I want to take this practice in the next 15 years.

G. actually got hired because of something my big-pooba HR friend had said. “Avery,” he said, “you need someone who really wants that job.”

That was G. Although G. was young and untried, she was hungry. She had the basic skills I needed and, more importantly, I felt her to be fundamentally honest. She also had -- there’s no other way to put this -- attitude. I’ve been doing this for two decades, and the practice at this point needed an injection of passion and energy. G.’s got that.

Something else that she brings, which has been missing ever since T.’s departure, is an abundance of laughter. The other day, one of my patients said to me, “You know why I like coming here, Dr. J?”

I was somewhat hoping that he would mention my phenomenal diagnostic skills, or my skillful touch with hand, herb or needle.

Nope. “I like it here because there’s so much laughter,” he said. “You go to other doctor’s offices, it feels like walking into a graveyard. But not here.”

The incident that made me feel best about hiring G. happened just a few weeks into her employment. I was asking her to do something, and explaining how to do it, and explaining how I should have done it, but hadn’t had the time to. She just cut me off in mid-explanation, looked at me with a serious expression, and said “Don’t worry. I got your back.”

She did, too, fixing my mistake with efficiency and aplomb.

After 20 years in this game, and, as I’ve been told, “more receptionists than Seinfeld had girlfriends,” it’s good to know that once again, somebody’s got my back.

5 Ways to Improve Your Health Immediately.


1333254191_healing handsAlmost as much as education, experience counts in health care. The more patients that I have seen, the more conditions I have treated, the more times I have treated the same condition in different people, the more I have learned. And the better I am able to help my patients become healthy. This month begins my 20th year as a doctor. As I look back over the past two decades, I can see certain commonalities emerge from the background of doctor-patient interchanges. The things that I have taught my patients not once, not twice, but hundreds of times. The mistakes that I have observed my patients make. The simple short-cuts which I have learned that, once applied, can make immediate and dramatic positive changes in someone's health.

Unlike most other health advice you're going to get from the internet, the information I'm about to give you will not cost you anything. As a matter of fact, most of my recommendations will save you money. And, with a few exceptions, none of them will be difficult or time-consuming. None of them require special equipment, special diets, or hard-to-get foodstuffs. As a special bonus, all of these recommendations are not only backed by a doctor with two decades of experience, but also by research and the collected wisdom of the doctors and healers that have preceded me by hundreds, and in some cases, thousands, of years. As Isaac Newton said in his letter to rival Robert Hook, "If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants."

Though there are a few more, I am giving you one work week's worth of ideas that you can use to improve your health. Everybody should implement all five of these recommendations, although the gains you will receive from each will vary wildly from person to person.

1. Turn off the TV and cut the cable.

I can think of no other piece of advice that will fundamentally change your life more than this one. Despite the recent flattening in the growth of cable companies, Americans still watch a tremendous amount of television -- 34 hours a week, according to a 2012 Nielsen study. In younger people, the amount is 10 hours less, and dropping, which is a good sign. Nonetheless, 24 hours a week turns television watching into a part-time job for most people.

So why is it bad for you? First of all, watching TV makes you fat. It makes you less fit. It makes you stupid. Do you need more reasons?

Interestingly, this recommendation, perhaps my most important one, is also the most ignored. Patients will nod their heads, dutifully agreeing with me, and proceed to completely forget every word that I said. The reason why is simple. Television is highly addictive. Like all addictions, it is difficult to break.

Also like all addictions, the best way to break this one is to go cold turkey. Call up the cable company, and terminate your cable channels. (Keep in mind that this step will save you anywhere from $75 to $200 per month.) The first thing that you will notice is that all of a sudden you have a bunch of spare time on your hands, time you once spent plugged into the television. Here's things that you can do with that time:

1. Learn another language.

2. Join a club or service organization.

3. Get a hobby! Knit, woodworking, model rocket building, fish, make pottery.

4. Spend time talking to your kids, spouse, husband. Walk the dog. Call your father.

You get the point. There's an infinite number of activities that you will not do today because you make the choice to sit in front of a 40-inch screen listening to retreaded jokes told over a laugh track. On your gravestone they can put the epitaph: "He Watched TV."

 2. Hide the car keys.

There's a reason that studies have shown city dwellers are thinner and more fit than rural residents. It's because city folk walk or ride bicycles more than people in suburbs or rural areas.

That doesn't have to be the case, though. Despite living in a small rural town, I rarely need to use my car. Trips to the grocery store, bank, and other daily chores are all done on my bicycle, most of the year. I usually ride to work, though more recently these days, I've been walking to my office a lot.

A lack of exercise is the number one cause of virtually every major health problem in this country, from heart disease to diabetes. Exercise also reduces the risk of breast cancer and other cancers as well.

My recommendation is to walk to any destination that is 1 mile away or less, and ride a bike if it is 3 miles or less. Don't think you have the time? Just remember Health Tip #1. You're already doing that, right? So you've got plenty of time. Use it to become healthier.

Interestingly, riding or walking will change your entire perception of time. For a variety of reasons neurological, travelling at speed tends to compress time; when we are driving our automobiles, we feel the constant pressure of needing to arrive at our destination. Our minds are focused on what's ahead of us, not what is immediately around us. After several months of low-speed transportation, you will find that pressure easing. You just notice things more as you walk and ride, putting your mind on the present rather than the always-unattainable future. Also, you will find yourself winnowing out the necessary tasks from the unnecessary, or better coordinating your daily journey to get more done with less. And you will soon realize that it is such a relief to not be constantly rushing about to get things done.

3. Look at the sky. Twice each day.

How someone carries themselves tells us much about them. A slouched posture is often associated with negative traits, from illness to depression to low self-esteem. The fact of the matter is that posture does indicate psychological health, relational status and physical well-being.

Most people, when trying to improve their posture, use the large muscles of the back to straighten the spine, creating a stiff, unnatural form that cannot be maintained longer than a minute or so. That's because the large muscles of the spine are intended to control movement, not posture. They need way too much energy to maintain contraction for any length of time. The postural muscles are much smaller, and positioned to use leverage to make the most out of minimal effort. These muscles, for the most part, are out of our conscious control.

To improve your posture, you must retrain your unconsciously controlled postural muscles. And how do you do that? Simple. Just keep your body relaxed, stand up, and tilt your head back as far as it can go to look at the sky directly above you. Your spine will naturally straighten when you do that. Bring your head back down, while remaining in that relaxed, straightened posture, and voila! You have straightened your spine without engaging the large movement muscles.

Of course, you'll forget about that in two minutes. Which is why you'll do the exercise later the same day. If you repeat that daily for 3-6 months, you will find that you will begin to retain a straight posture naturally, without conscious intervention. Now you can brush your teeth, comb your hair, and go get that job of your dreams.

4. Read 1 book every month.

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. In ways large and small, reading is good for you. Reading improves mood and reduces stress. Reading reduces the impact of dementia. Reading reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

I know I'm fighting an uphill battle on this one. Anti-intellectualism in America has deep roots. As a result, 25 percent of Americans haven't read a single book in the past year.

What you read tends to be less important than the act of reading itself. Whether you're reading Emerson or Evanovich, the result is the same; you're smarter, think better, and have more to talk about with others.

5. Laugh.

When there is nothing else I can do for a patient -- no way to relieve their pain or ameliorate their illness before they leave my office -- I do my best to make them laugh. And when I'm performing possibly painful procedures, I almost always crack wise. Patients will sometimes mistake my eager rush for laughter for sadism, but it's actually quite the opposite. Laughter is an effective painkiller; not only that, it improves immune function in cancer patients.

Laughter increases tissue oxygenation, exercises the trunk muscles, burns calories and provides cardiovascular benefits. As an all-around health stimulator, laughter ranks right up there with exercise. Heck, laughter reduces blood sugar in diabetics.

If I've done nothing else but make a patient laugh, I know I've improved their quality of life, perhaps for the rest of the day, as laughter's physiological benefits can linger.

Of course, laughter therapy can backfire as well. There was that time that I was explaining to a new patient how to get to my office. I said that my building was right across the street from the funeral home. "Yeah, it makes it really easy to take care of my mistakes," I said.

She never showed up.


I have more of these, perhaps a dozen. But these are the nuggets of gold that have consistently worked for my patients, and not infrequently helped them to navigate difficult waters to a healthier life.


RANS Xstream review: Pretty fast for a slow guy.


Built for speed and long distances, the Xstream fulfills its promise. The RANS Xstream is a bike with a pedigree. Designed by one of recumbent cycling's pioneers, Randy Schlitter, the Xstream was a bicycle born, I suspect, with a single purpose: To, for once and for all, bury the myth that long wheelbase (LWB) recumbents are heavy, slow, and poor climbers.

I can state with a fair degree of certainty that Mr. Schlitter achieved his objectives.

Before I get into the meat of this review, however, permit me to note a few things. Though I knew of the Xstream through reputation, and had actually taken one out for a spin at Basically Bicycles prior to purchasing mine, there were few cogent reviews of this recumbent bicycle to be found on the internet. There is one review at, and a couple of "happy new buyer" notes on the cycling fora, but thorough reviews were notably absent.

I feel somewhat justified in taking on the task, as I have been riding recumbents almost exclusively since the mid-1980s, and in fact, my first recumbent bicycle was the first one designed and produced by RANS -- the RANS Stratus Model A. Though I'm no racer, I commute and tour on bikes, and have been known to complete a couple of 200k randos. I pretty much live on my bikes and I do my own wrenching. So, yes, I feel very comfortable around bikes in general, and recumbent bikes in particular.

My interest was drawn to the Xstream during the 2009 Ride Across America (RAAM). RAAM is a grueling, non-stop race beginning in southern California and grinding on, shedding the weak like Darwin on steroids, until the riders that are left reach Annapolis, MD. With many other recumbent bike riders, I watched with pleasure as the 4-man recumbent team, all riding the Xstream, crushed the competition and won their division by more than four hours, taking their steeds across the continent at an average speed exceeding 20 mph. Mr. Schlitter himself said that "The Xstream was designed for this race."

Unsurprisingly, the RAAM win pumped sales of this bike. Oddly, though, after the initial buzz, talk about the Xstream died down considerably.  Though I was favorably impressed by my brief test ride at the time, the performance of this bike was matched by the price tag, and I never could justify the expense. And so the thing sat, at least until this spring, when, with a nudge from a friend, I stumbled on a great deal from a rider who couldn't make the Xstream work for him after his back surgery. He had only ridden the bike around the block a few times, so for all intents and purposes, it was a brand-new bike at a garage sale price. I jumped at the chance.

My Xstream sports a cool gray aluminum frame. Handlebar and stem were stock RANS. Up front is a  RANS Apex 165mm compact double (50/34) and Ultegra derailleur. A SRAM 970 chain drives a SRAM 971 cassette (11-34) through an X-9 rear derailleur. That gives a gearing range of approx. 26-118 gear inches. On the bars are SRAM X-9 twist shifters and Avid 7 Speed Dial brake levers. Wheels are Avid XM317 (559) turning on Deore hubs. Continental Sport Contact tires complete the package. Brakes are Avid 7 Single Digit linear-pull  and the cables and housings are by Alligator.

The front brake is worthy of comment as brake interference with the crankset is a chronic problem with the Xstream. The front calipers are specced with KwickStop low profile pads. These allow the calipers to run in a slightly more closed position. Using a Travel Agent instead of a noodle narrowed the profile more.

I was initially concerned with the gearing. For starters, I have never had a recumbent with less than triple chainrings, and I was worried that the slightly higher low end of the compact double would be insufficient for this slow old guy who lives in the foothills of the Berkshire mountain range. I was also concerned about the slightly higher bottom bracket than what I am used to. I'm at the short end of normal height, and the leg drop required by a high racer recumbent is thoroughly out of my league. With fingers crossed, I hoped I would adapt.

After 300 miles on the Xstream, including the omnipresent hills as well as rolling terrain and flats, and with a couple of metric centuries under my belt, I think I have a handle on this bike. It's worthy to note that during this 300 miles, I set two personal bests, not an easy feat for a man who has been riding for 38 years.


Getting the Xstream dialed in is not a task for the impatient. Seat angle affects longitudinal seat position, which in turn affects handlebar height and stem distance, as well as handlebar get the idea. That, coupled with the fact that knee interference with cornering is a very real consequence of poor setup on the Xstream had me riding with bloodied left knee and allen wrench gripped tightly in the right hand for the first 50 miles or so. Interestingly, it was at about mile 100 that I finally hit the sweet spot. I popped over a friendly New England pothole, which torqued the handlebars down ever so slightly, and voilà, it all clicked into place. I tightened up the nuts a squidge and let it be.

Though the frame accommodates a wide range of heights and X-seams, I'm a touch shorter than average height. I found that to keep the handlebars correctly place for my north-of-normal seat position, I had to cut away a good 3 inches of stem.

The Xstream also suffers from the RANS shifting seat clamp problem, so that the seat imperceptibly slides backwards under heavy pedal pressure until, after 30 miles or so, you realize that you are stretching a bit too much to reach the pedals. This is a well-known problem with the RANS clamp, and there are various ways to fix it -- the easiest being a piece of innertube situated between clamp and frame.

Surprisingly, I found that I was very comfortable with a fairly extreme reclined position on the Hoagie seat. On my other recumbents, with more standard mesh seats, a highly reclined position makes my neck very sore after 10 or so miles. It was nice to find that the intersection of aero and comfort exists.


That long wheelbase builds in a lot of suspension, so even with the fairly tight Conti tires, the Xstream runs sweetly on the chipseal and over the potholes of my riding range. Not once did I feel my teeth chattering as it has on other bikes. The LWB design also makes for very stable high-speed handling, and for the first time on a 'bent, I really felt like I was carving the curves at 60 kph.

At the other end of the scale, like any other LWB, the Xstream is not a fan of low speeds. Keeping a line at 9 kph is dicey, though it can be done, and I didn't really feel that I would be easily toppled until I dropped below 7 kph. I had read about people's complaints of the Xstream's low speed handling, but frankly, this is pretty typical for a LWB. If you want to go that slow up the hills, get a trike.

At any speed, though, the Xstream requires your attention. This is a thoroughbred you're riding here, not your typical stable nag, and it's not going to let you get away with sloppy handling. And there's no chance of a low-speed sharp turn. This bike is designed for the open road, not city traffic.

The best way to handle the Xstream, I found, is with a combination of attention and relaxation. Actually, 38 Special put it better than I.


What the Xstream gives in spades, however, is speed. This bike simply leaps at the hills, begging me with its efficient power transfer to bound up them. Once I learned to respond to the Xstream's clarion call, my concern for the lack of an extra-strength granny gear disappeared. Because, quite frankly, it won't let me go slow up the hills, and I don't need the lower gear inches.

This is really the first bike that I found I could appreciably accelerate up hills. It has been a unique experience for me, passing other riders like they were standing still in the middle of a climb. More often than not, in my experience, it has been the other way around, but the Xstream puts the power to the wheel very expeditiously, even when I am deeply reclined, a position traditionally weak for climbing.

The Xstream also wants its own head on the downhills. Because of the extremely aero position I can achieve, my downhill runs have increased by several kph, without me even trying. Since the bicycle feels like its running on rails, I can also corner with greater assurance, and I can lean into a curve at 57+ kph. On rolling hills this is a killer combination, allowing me to outdistance far stronger engines, because I don't even feel the hill until I'm halfway up it, and can relatively easily maintain speed over the crests. On the flats, I've found that I can maintain an average speed of 30 kph comfortably. Let's face it, that's pretty fast for a slow guy.

The brakes work as you would expect from a pair of reasonable Avid V-brakes. They have more than sufficient stopping power, and I've experienced no fade on longer descents.

The Whole Package


What all of this translates into is the perfect long-distance bike. Both centuries I've ridden on the Xstream have been fast pleasures, in one case setting a long-distance personal best. I can hop on the bike with the intent of rolling for miles and not be dissatisfied.

At the same time, I think I understand better the more recent silence on the part of Xstream owners. The Xstream is a demanding ride. It's not a commuter, it's not an around-town bike, it's not a mosey-down-the-bike-path bike. It is a get on, go fast and go far bike, which isn't everybody's cup of tea.  You aren't going to get away with napping in the saddle on an Xstream, and that makes for a lively and fun ride.

Perhaps the best way I can describe it is that riding the Xstream is like riding a stallion. You have to pay attention and realize that while your steed will demand much of you, it will deliver so much more performance than any other kind of ride.

For me, the Xstream filled a perfect niche in my stable. I have the all-rounder, the tourer, the utility bike and the French country bike that carries wine and baguette to the picnic. What I needed was a bike built for eating miles on the open road, a bike that challenges me to greater performance with performance of its own. The Xstream is all that and more.

Note: There have been some design changes on the Xstream since my model came out. Nothing radical, but you can see the latest specs at the RANS website.

5 ways to absolutely not get hired by me.


None of us really want to be here, do we? It's official. My office manager of 13-odd years, Teresa, is moving on. She will be missed, and I'll write about that later. But right now, I'm in the throes of a replacement search, knee-deep in a swamp of semi-legitimate candidates. And it's getting uglier by the minute.

If I were smart and good, I would probably get a professional, someone like my friend Bob Corlett at Staffing Advisors, to help me find a new admin. But, like an overambitious homeowner with a dull saw, I'm engaging the project by myself. The trouble is, so are the job candidates. And the results are beginning to look ugly:

This is how my search for a new office admin is going.

So, in the interests of humankind, my sanity, and to bolster the increasingly faint possibility of actually hiring somebody before the next equinox, I am going to share with you, dear candidate, the errors that your predecessors have made that have guaranteed them a place in my personal Hall of Amazing Ineptitude, or in other words, the Would Not Hire Ever file.


1. If you make an appointment for an interview, SHOW UP FOR IT.

No, seriously. Wednesday night I scheduled two candidates to interview. Neither of them showed up. Neither of them called.

If I wanted to interview myself, I'd at least get a Mountain Dew and a bag of pork rinds.

 2. Don't wear yoga pants to your interview.

So long as it isn't loaded with enough metal to give the TSA the fantods, I really don't care about your body. I do, however, care about what my patients would think about being greeted by someone in the universal I-didn't-get-out-of-bed-in-time-to-get-dressed outfit. How would you feel if you came to the interview and I was wearing my bike shorts? Ewww.

A job interview is not a booty call.

3. For the love of all that's holy, please clean up your email address.

When I am emailing a candidate to schedule a job interview, and I have to send the email to, I'm not going to do it. I'm just not. You could have the best resume in the world, have all the right experience, be willing to sign a 10-year contract and work for $8/hour with no days off, and I'm still not going to do it.

4. And while you're at it, clean up your social media.

You can bet that the first thing I'm going to do if I may hire you is google the heck out of your name. If 37 of the 40 pictures you're tagged in have someone holding a handle of marshmallow-flavored vodka, I'm not going to call, because of the very poor judgement such pictures indicate. Marshmallow-flavored? Really?

"I am a responsible, reliable, hard-working employee. And sometimes sober."

 5. Do not tell me your chiropractor horror stories.

I don't know even why I have to say this, but it's happened. More than once. If you're being interviewed by a chiropractor (me), it is generally regarded as Bad Form to tell me how you, or your nephew, or your Aunt Myrtle had their head almost ripped off by a chiropractor who - gasp! - ADJUSTED THEIR NECK! OMIGOD THE HORROR!

Odds are, I probably adjusted someone's neck less than an hour before seeing you, and that was probably the umpteenth time I had done a neck adjustment that day. It's not dangerous. In fact, it is quite beneficial for many people.

No, this is not how chiropractic adjustments are done.

If you follow these relatively simple guidelines, I can guarantee your chances of getting hired by me will go up exponentially. Of course, then you have to deal with the whole working-with-Dr.-Jenkins-issue. But that part is easy. Just ask Teresa.


It's in the Bag.

Cycling -- at least the way I do it -- is all about the bags. Rarely do I take off on a jaunt when I don't feel the need to carry a few extra things. Think of your car. Who would use a car lacking a glove box or a trunk? Nobody, of course. Even if you don't treat your vehicle as a beast of burden, that storage space is a necessity for just your normal motoring activities.

When you use your bicycle as your primary form of transportation, the same rules apply. You still need a glove box. You still need a trunk.

So when I completed the transformation of a 1974 Fuji Sport 10 into a retro/commuting/tweed & vest bicycle, I still needed a couple of finishing touches. I needed some place to keep the detritus of daily life; my wallet, my keys, my phone, a jacket, a multitool; a tablet or netbook, and the odd bottle of wine or baguette that is the primary task for which such a bike is created.

My current pannier/briefcase, an Axiom Legacy, was certainly up to the task functionally -- after all, it weathered the winter of 2010 on the side of the trike with nary a complaint. But the briefcase's 21st-century materials and styling was all out of place on a bike with pretensions to the Golden Age of cycling.

Recalling the testimonials of my UK friends, I next looked at Carradice -- a company that brings cotton canvas and a stiff upper lip to the damp, streaky, misty fog that the British sportingly call "weather." And while Carradice certainly had both the style and the quality I sought, I recalled warnings about it's eccentrically English supply chain, which seems to consist of "we'll get it to you when we send it, and thank you ever so much for your order."

In fact, not a single US dealer could be found which actually had any of the bags in question in stock.

I finished my search where I should have started it, specifically on Etsy, and even more specifically at Anhaica Bag Works. Anhaica, which takes its name from the capital of the Appalachee tribe (today known as Tallahasee, Florida), is the home of a cycling needlewoman who combines her experience on bicycles with considerable skills as a seamstress and designer, using waxed canvas to create waterproof bags of considerable durability.

My first purchase from Marina, Anhaica Bags' proprietress, was a custom handlebar bag with pockets for all of the essentials of a Modern Man. Over a few email messages, Marina and I discussed what I would be using it for, what I would be putting in it, and  the size and type of pockets I would need. Marina had the bag finished and mailed to me in less time than it takes Carradice to return an email, and within four days of use it easily replaced my briefcase. By the second week, it had become indispensable, even on the rare occasions that I hop into a car. By the third week, it had become, God help me, a man purse. I don't leave home without it.

I was so impressed with the workmanship of the handlebar bag that I ordered a rack bag to replace my aged Nashbar rack bag, which was developing holes and looking a little too rickety for the 200 miles I was planning to pedal over my upcoming holiday. Again, I looked to Carradice for inspiration (well, mostly dimensions), and asked Marina to make me something like that. Once again, in record time, I had a canvas rack trunk which matched the handlebar bag and which used re-purposed lightweight coroplast to give it shape. It consisted of a single compartment with a rear pocket on the outside. Like the handlebar bag, it was strapped and closed with durable webbing and strong plastic buckles.

My multi-century vacation is now a note in my journal and pictures on my PC, and I've logged a hundred more miles in about-town riding, and all I can say is that the bags produced by Anhaica Bags simply rock. I had no idea that a rack bag, made so simply, could be so unbelievably useful. The two quick-release buckles make accessing the bag a snap, especially compared to the drill I had to go through with my old rack bag: (1) Fold back the weatherproof flap (2) unzip the bag expander by mistake (3) re-zip the expander (4) find the zipper pulls for the real opening (5) open the bag (6) reach in blindly as the flap falls back get the idea.

With my Anhaica Bags rack bag, all I do is unclip the buckles, flip open the top, and I have full and unfettered access to the entire contents, organized just the way I want it. There is one large pocket in back for tools and a spare tube, and that's it. Opening and closing it was so simple that, while I was touring, I regularly had to stop and double check that I'd actually closed the lid -- it was that simple.

Oh, yeah. What about the weatherproofness of these bags? If you are used to high-tech fabrics like Gore-Tex, the quaint simplicity of waxed canvas might strike you as somewhat backward and unreliable. Let me be the first to tell you that it is not. As luck would have it, the first day I used each bag, I got caught in severe downpours. When I got back home, I found my contents inside utterly dry. I mean bone dry. Marina makes her own waxed canvas, and strategic flaps and design creates a bag that is as waterproof as I could wish for, while avoiding the mold-inducing hermetic sealing of, say, Ortlieb bags.

I know I'm beginning to sound like a shill for Anhaica, but if I do, it is only because I am so enormously impressed by the level of skill that went into the construction of these cycling bags. As I mentioned before, Marina is a cyclist herself, and her knowledge of how to design and make a bag comes from day-in-day-out experience; the kind of experience that you will rarely see reflected in a mass-market product. And if you are worried about the responsiveness of a single-proprietor business, you needn't. At one point, I mangled one of the pockets on the handlebar bag, and I emailed Marina about getting it repaired. She returned my email the same day, while she was on vacation, and had the repaired bag in the mail to me the day after she got it. Service? Yeah, she's got it.

Anhaica offers other bags besides the rack and handlebar bags I bought. She has tool rolls (and will whip up a custom one for you), backpacks, and hip packs, from a variety of materials. Frankly, I'm thinking about trying to talk her into making a set of panniers for me.

Marina's products are not something you come across often these days, being the product of the experience and skill of a single person who obviously takes great pride in her work. The durability is built in the cloth and the stitching, and the attention to detail makes these bags suitably handsome for any bike, not just my moustachioed retro bike. If you are considering adding bags to your bike, I strongly recommend that you check out Anhaica Bags on Etsy.

Dr. Avery Jenkins is a chiropractic physician specializing in the treatment of people with chronic disorders. He can be reached at or by calling 860-567-5727.

The DocAltMed IQ Test

The word "doctor" comes from the root latin word, docere, which means "to teach." So, at the heart of it, a doctor's primary job is to teach. That is one of the reasons that I started this little blog, and why I send out my monthly DocAltMed newsletter to my patients and other interested people. I try to educate people, so that they know what the research really says about mainstream and alternative medicine, as well as give some insight as to what makes a doctor working in alternative medicine tick, and how he thinks about health, his patients, and their problems.

For several years now, I have written about everything from the folly of flu vaccines to the extraordinary success chiropractors have had as primary care physicians. But there is one thing I have never done for my faithful readership which is now, I am told, quickly approaching the double digits.

I've never given a quiz.

And if my job is, truly, to teach, then one of my primary responsibilities is to test. Because, through testing comes understanding, as China knows well. And I confess that I have clearly fallen down on the job, in letting all of this time pass without administering some kind of test.

So the time has come. But rather than present some complex multi-answer multiple choice test with an added essay at the end, I have settled on something decidedly more prosaic. A single-question quiz. The topic will be, as always, related to alternative medicine. The answer may be searchable on the internet, through the auspices of Mr. Google or Cap'n Bing. But it won't be easy to find, lest the winner of the quiz simply be the person with the most Google-fu. It will help if you are a frequent visitor to this blog or you subscribe to the DocAltMed newsletter, as the answers may have been alluded to previously.

Wait. Did I say winner? In fact, I did. Because accomplishment deserves recognition, and anyone who can answer one of these quizzes correctly deserves something more than the distant approbation of one's fellow readers.

Hold up just a minute. Did I say quizzes, as in more than one? Indeed, I did. Because their will be multiple quizzes, multiple winners and multiple prizes to be handed out.

Backup a second. Did I say prizes? Quite so. Because everybody loves a prize.

So here's the deal. Every Friday around 2 p.m., I will post a new quiz; we'll call it the DocAltMed IQ Test. The quiz will remain open to answers until Wednesday, but the first person to submit the correct answer will claim the prize! I will add a post on Wednesday with the answer to the quiz.

I can hear you now, saying "Ok, doc, that's all just dandy, but get to the good stuff. What's the prize?"

If you are the first person to answer the quiz, you get a one-time 10% discount on any supplements purchased from our Dispensary. This includes supplements from any one of the following manufacturers (in alphabetical order):

  • Biotics Research
  • Designs for Health
  • Integrative Therapeutics
  • Kan Herb
  • Mayway
  • Mediherb
  • Nordic Naturals
  • Standard Process

You can purchase any amount, and any available product from one of these companies, even if I do not have it in stock at the dispensary.

Now, as with any contest, there are some rules, and those rules are as follows:

  1. You can't be an employee of the Center for Alternative Medicine (sorry Teresa) or related to me (sorry, kids, but I pay for all your vitamins anyway).
  2. You must claim your prize within two months of winning.
  3. If you have won within the past month, give your keyboard a rest.
  4. You must be a resident of the U.S. Though I know I have a small European fan club, exporting herbs is not someplace to which I'm really willing to go.
  5. You must be 18 or older.

Please note that you do not have to be a patient of Dr. Jenkins in order to enter or win! You can be anybody and win!

So that's it. If you have any questions about eligibility or anything else, feel free to email me.

Now, on to the first ever DocAltMed IQ Test:

In 1972, President Richard Nixon opened diplomatic relations with China, from whom the U.S. had been estranged for the better part of its existence. As part of that process, President Nixon visited China, and of course was accompanied by a large retinue of reporters.

One of them was a rather famous reporter for the New York Times named James Reston. Mr. Reston -- to his detriment and our edification -- suffered a case of acute appendicitis on that trip, which necessitated immediate surgery. The Chinese surgery team used only acupuncture as an anaesthetic, which astounded Mr. Reston to the extent that he wrote about the experience upon his return to the states. That, coupled with the renewed interest in things Chinese in general, brought great public interest in this "alternative" health care discipline. The first acupuncturists in this country were doctors who obtained post-graduate education in the discipline.

Your question is: What institution provided the first acupuncture education for doctors in the U.S.? Submit your answer to me at

Dr. Avery Jenkins is a chiropractic physician specializing in the treatment of people with chronic disorders. He can be reached at or by calling 860-567-5727.

Must-Have Android Health Apps, Part II

It should come as no surprise that many of the free apps in the Android market are ineptly named -- after all, these are programmers doing their thing, not marketeers. Expecting a programmer to come up with a sexy title is a little bit like having a chiropractic doctor create a drug name. "Sideffecta" is the first one that comes to my mind, which is probably why SmithKlineBeechamKilla hasn't come around knocking on my door with money in hand.

Which is all a backdoor way to introduce the Center for Alternative Medicine's second winner in the Next-Year-It-Will-Be-Annual Health App Awards: Jefit

I don't know where the name comes from (somebody's android dog, maybe?) but just ignore that. This is the best app a gym rat could ask for.

Maybe a little background is in order. Back in the stone ages, I spent my summers working for the AMC Trail Crew, in the high peaks of the White Mountains. It was intense physical labor, consisting of cutting trees with axes, rolling multi-ton rocks up and down jagged slopes, and carrying ridiculously heavy loads of tools, supplies and food up steep mountain trails. And if you spent your winters as a student of the liberal and hard sciences, as I did, that first week of summer could be a real bear. So I took it upon myself to start keeping in shape during the off season.

Now this was long before gyms became the cheery, chic places they are now. At the university I attended, the weight room was in the corner of the basement of the fieldhouse, and was occupied by two groups -- the football team, and the body-builders. It smelled like stale sweat socks, or worse if somebody's lunch got the better of them in the middle of some squats, had one Nautilus machine and a bevy of free weights, bars and benches. No juice bars, no stereo, no carpeting, just a fan to blow around the stale air.

I knew little about lifting. All I knew is that I needed to be stronger than I ever had been before by the time spring rolled around. While the football squad was less than welcoming, the bodybuilders, who worked out in the odd times that I had available, were a pretty friendly crowd. They took me under their wing, and taught me a lot about lifting, in that time-honored personal transmission of tradecraft that occurred before the internet. And though some of them were assuredly juicing, I was never part of that inner circle in which the "true knowledge" was imparted.

So I learned -- the good techniques as well as the bad -- and gradually developed an addiction to the art of being strong, an addiction which has never really left me. One of the techniques that I learned was that you couldn't evaluate your progress unless you wrote it down. And as you altered your routines to combat your weaknesses, as a general might alter his troop strategy, you were lost unless you had a map of where you had been. After a while, I began keeping a small spiral-bound notebook in my gym bag in which I charted my progress. I still have a few of those notebooks tucked away up in the attic. Last time I looked at one, I could see where the ink had run from my sweat dripping on them, and the thing still smelled like that poorly-ventilated room with a wall of mirrors.

Fast-forward to the next century. I have a dedicated workout room in my house, equipped with weights, which sees heavy use in the winter as my long cycling trips become warm-weather memories. In the corner sits a stool with a 3-ring notebook, pages full of workout information -- weight, sets, reps, rest times -- the unrefined data documenting what is no longer my preparation for a season's high-altitude adventures, but is instead my fight against age and encroaching debility (not to mention my number one prevention strategy against infection, cancer and heart disease).

Until a couple of months ago, when I stumbled onto Jefit in the Android Marketplace (you were beginning to wonder if I was ever going to get around to actually reviewing the application, weren't you?). After looking over many of the purported apps for tracking exercise, none of them come close to doing as good a job as Jefit.

The opening screen allows you to define multiple routines, and assign them to particular days. You can set up a profile with measurements from weight to bicipital circumference. There are a wealth of pre-defined exercises, with visual triggers, and even animated demonstrations. You can also define your own, for those of us who have found, err, novel ways of exercising, or who employ some of the Naked Warrior training techniques which have gained popularity with the rise of the UFC.

You can also add your one rep max data, which will be tracked automatically. After setting up your routines, use is simple. You do the exercise, then use the drop down values on the screen to input weight and rep. Hit the "Save and Time" button, and your data will be logged and the timer set for your next exercise. The input fields default to your last used value, on the assumption (in my case, all-too-frequently correct) that you haven't thrown another plate on for this set. If you are proceeding to another exercise, the timer screen will tell you what it is and how much you lifted last time, so you can set up your equipment during the rest period.

When you've finished your routine, the app tells you "Congratulations" -- always a nice thing to hear, even if it is coming from your smartphone -- and gives you the option of reviewing your log or exiting.

And that's it. Jefit offers a clean, simple interface that doesn't take too much thought when your brain is awash in that pecular combination of enkephalins and Substance P that are the hallmark of a good weight-training session, and your hand is trembling too much to accomplish fine coordination skills. The app will soon have a website to which you can upload your data and track it more thoroughly, in much the same way that my previous winner, Endomondo does.

In any event, it is the perfect next-generation replacement for my old spiral-bound notebooks, and keeps my workouts incredibly productive. What more could an aging gym rat ask for?

Annual Fear Campaign Set To Begin

The annual Fear Campaign is about to begin, as everybody with a pulse will have it hammered into their heads that if they don't get a flu shot, They Will DIE! Remember the swine flu campaign of last year? It turned out, as I predicted, that the projected swine flu pandemic was vastly overrated, and was primarily a marketing campaign, as opposed to a public health campaign.

Epidemiological research has consistently shown that flu shots are minimally effective and do very little to influence the course or spread of the disease -- as this picture so aptly demonstrates.

Fortunately, 2010 will see the return of the Center's Alternative Flu Clinic. Details to come soon.

Dr. Avery Jenkins is the president of the Center for Alternative Medicine in Litchfield, CT. You can email him at

Combating Child Obesity…One Step At A Time.

30% of morning traffic consists of people taking their children to school.

Childhood obesity is skyrocketing.

Coincidence? Not hardly.

I remember the walks to and from school as often being the highlights of my day. When I was younger, it was the source for many an adventure, and as I reached adolescence, an opportunity for romance.

My children have the option of taking a bus, but frequently have chosen to walk. As a result, they have gotten to know shopkeepers in town, in one case leading to an after-school job offer.

It is these simple things that can begin to reverse our nation's downward spiral into disease and drug dependency.

To help your kids begin walking to school, start here.

Comment of the Week

One of the things I like about being the type of doctor that I am is that patients feel free to speak their mind to me. As happened today, while I was performing trigger point therapy (a highly effective but admittedly somewhat painful technique for some muscle problems), my patient said to me:

Patient: "Doc, that #$%^&! hurts!

Me: "Yeah, I know, sorry about that."

Patient: "That's your bike out front, right?"

Me: "Yeah. Rode it in this morning."

Patient: "Yeah, well, when you're done with me, I'm taking care of it. You're walking home tonight."