Q&A with Stacey Bell
How did you get involved with the book process?
When Ms Balch died, Avery asked key leaders in the dietary supplement industry for someone to continue the editing task. A friend of mine, Dr. Mark Blumenthal, who is the founder and executive director of the American Botanical Council, recommended me. Avery asked me to review the book and I was immediately hooked. The book captured my passion—use of conventional medicine along with complementary and alternative therapies to help manage disease. Most people I come in contact with want both conventional and alternative treatments. Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 5th Edition shows readers, in an orderly fashion, how to accomplish that task for a wide variety of common, and not so common, disorders.
What will people get out of this fifth edition that is new?
- Updated care of certain diseases. Since the last edition of Prescription for Nutritional Healing, there have been new developments in the world of nutrition. I added new information on low-glycemic index diets, which seem to be better than the low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets. I added some new thinking about dietary fish oil. The importance of omega-3s has been realized recently for a variety of conditions (e.g., heart disease, arthritis, obesity, etc.). In addition, obesity research has advanced since the last edition of Prescription for Nutritional Healing, there are new techniques for losing weight.
- More considerations: For each chapter related to a disease, at the end of each section, is a list of other things to consider. For most conditions, I added some things to ponder based on the latest research. For example, although vitamins were recommended for children with autism, newer science questions this wisdom. Similarly for heart disease, the use of excess amounts of all of the B vitamins may not help reduce the severity of the condition.
- Manufacturers updated for all of the dietary supplements recommended: Each condition mentioned in the book has associated supplements that should be taken. I've updated the listing of the companies where you can get these products.
How has the natural and alternative health world changed since the previous edition of Prescription for Nutritional Healing?
Since the last edition of the book, much as has changed—and for the better. First, many more high-quality scientific articles have been published on the use of dietary supplements and other alternative therapies to help with disease management. Many of these are published in conventional medical journals that mainstream physicians read. To me, this shows that many supplements work but this may not been fully appreciated until now. Because of this, conventional medicine can no longer ignore the use of supplements. This is good for the patients, who no longer have to hide the fact that they are seeking alternative remedies. Second, oversight of manufacturing, and therefore safety issues related to dietary supplements, has improved. Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) enacted methods by which supplements must be manufactured. Companies are subjected to spot-checks at their manufacturing facilities of their products. This should increase the likelihood that what is on the label is what is in the product, and that it is free of contaminants. Third, the importance of diet has come into the forefront of medical care. When I started as a dietitian over 30 years ago, we were seen by most physicians as not adding much value to patient care. Today, and as captured in this book, diet is key for convalescence and for maintaining a healthy state.
What do people not know about nutritional health that Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 5th edition provides?
I am always a bit surprised at the questions that I get regarding how to eat, whether someone is healthy or has a disease, and what supplements to take. Ms. Balch carefully and thoughtfully made it easy to answer these questions. The beginning is an overview of how to eat and which dietary supplements to take. Ms. Balch carefully considered all of the essential nutrients that a healthy person needs in a day to remain healthy, and assembled them into an easy to read table. If you are healthy, that table is worth the price of the whole book. If you have a specific condition, or suspect that you do, the middle sections spell out how to eat and which supplements to take based on a certain disease. There are numerous references to children, so if your child is ill, the book offers a comforting guide to caring for them naturally with foods and supplements.