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We’ve all heard the term “pocket book,” most of us have them. I know I buy pocket books all the time, murder mysteries, romance, diets, etc. I carry the book around with me reading it every day till I have finished it. Then, like everyone else, I put it on the shelf, lend it to a friend, donate it to the bookstore or library, sell it at a flea market... I very much enjoyed the book, but now it’s no longer needed.

Well, that being said, my most recent “pocket book” is still in my pocket, I’ve read it, reread it, referenced it, and shared the information. I carry it with me every day; its contents continue to be valuable to me and to my family and friends! The book, “Health in Your Pocket” by Charles K. Bens, PhD, provides very valuable information on natural treatments for common illnesses, nutrition, supplements, exercise, etc.

This book focuses on functional or holistic medicine as opposed to conventional medicine, two very different approaches. Dr. Bens’ book was originally designed to improve health in the workplace but the information is valuable for everyone having health concerns. Dr. Bens is the CEO of his company, Healthy at Work, in Sarasota, Florida, providing health webinars and workshops to progressive companies that want to improve employee health and thus improve productivity and their bottom line.

Health in Your Pocket” captured my attention immediately with some very interesting and informative health factoids. For example, did you know?

  1. About 80 percent of disease is preventable, yet the U.S. spends less than 5 percent of healthcare dollars on prevention.
  2. Children born after the year 2000 have a 40+ percent chance of having diabetes in their lifetime, and will be the first generation that will not live as long as their parents. (CDC statistics)
  3. The medical profession only has scientific evidence to support 20 percent of what they do. (Business Week, May 29, 2006)
  4. Studies at the University of California Medical School and Creighton University Medical School found that women who took 4000—8000 IU of vitamin D3 daily, with calcium, reduced their risk of breast cancer by as much as 77 percent. (Feb. 2011)
  5. Eating less red meat and processed foods while increasing fiber consumption can reduce the risk of colon cancer by 40 percent.

As a registered nurse, I am constantly asked for my opinion and advice on health related topics. I have added Dr. Bens’ book to my resource library as nutritional supplementation was not a part of my nursing training nor is it included in medical training of the doctors I know. The chapter, Natural Remedies for Common Illnesses, is the most interesting to me. It was truly amazing to learn that only thirty illnesses are responsible for over 80 percent of the cost of health care, and this little book has a fairly complete "protocol" for each and every one of them. There are about two pages for each illness with information on which foods to eat, which foods not to eat, which supplements are scientifically proven to help, and finally, a list of other treatment strategies used by Holistic Medical Doctors. The 29 illnesses covered in this section include:

  • allergies
  • anemia
  • atherosclerosis
  • arthritis
  • asthma
  • backache
  • bladder infection
  • breast cancer
  • bronchitis
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • cirrhosis of the liver
  • depression
  • diabetes
  • hepatitis
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • hyperglycemia
  • hypothyroidism
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • migraine
  • osteoporosis
  • peptic ulcer
  • pneumonia
  • PMS
  • prostatitis
  • sinusitis
  • sprains and strains
  • ulcerative colitis

According to Dr. Bens, the stories about how employees have used this valuable little health resource could fill a thousand pages. Employees have reversed their type 2 diabetes, cured their sinusitis after 15 years of trying conventional treatments, been able to get off their depression and cholesterol medication and lost up to 100 pounds. This may be anecdotal evidence but Dr. Bens assures me there are thousands of clinical studies that validate the benefits of Functional Medicine.

I forgot to mention, I'm also an exercise nut; yes, I confess! Although retired, I have told my entire family and all my friends that I have a part-time job; that job is going to the gym every morning. For me, looking at my workouts as my part-time job ensures that I will work out every day. If I actually had a job I couldn't just randomly miss, right? Well there is another great section in Dr. Bens' book, The Importance of Exercise. This section highlights the health benefits of exercise with complete descriptions of some essential exercises and how to properly perform them, tips on staying motivated, and information on exercise and disease. If you are new to exercise, he has highlighted workout programs with different levels to ease you into being more physically fit.

Another section I found very beneficial, Stress Reduction as a Key Factor in Good Health. This section highlights the effects of stress on your immune system and your body in general outlining the symptoms of stress, several strategies, i.e. relaxation techniques, foods and supplements for stress management.

The last pages of the book concentrate on safety, science and how to make better decisions on becoming and staying healthy. The best examples are as follows:

  • how to use nutritional supplements intelligently and what each supplement does to promote good health.
  • a survey, "Are Your Vitamin Deficiencies Showing" identifying symptoms that can tell you whether your body is calling out for more of a specific nutrient.
  • a very important section describing, in detail, which herbs and other natural products can be used safely and effectively, in place of common prescription medications. These natural remedies are not only safer, with fewer side effects; they are also proven to be effective and cost much less than their pharmaceutical counterparts.

The book concludes with a complete list of the best websites as a resource for you to do more research on natural medicine. Dr. Bens has also included a list of all of the scientific references used in the writing of this book.

Author's note: In my limited conversations with Dr. Bens, I found him to be very dedicated to his profession, extremely resourceful and willing to share his knowledge. I encourage you to check out his website at If you do not have the opportunity to receive this book by participating in one of Dr. Bens' workshops, I highly recommend you purchase it. In my humble opinion, his book, "Health in Your Pocket," might be "pocket sized" but it is anything but small! Dr. Bens has joined forces with Kathleen Barnes, a very well known distributor of health books, and she has created a special site just for Dr. Bens' books,

E. Cheryl Haberstock, RN, BSN

Cheryl’s interest in nursing began when she opened a daycare center after her three children started school. She felt some “medical” training was necessary to address any possible emergencies the children may encounter so she earned her certification as an Emergency Medical Technician and volunteered nights with the local ambulance service. As an EMT, she received great intrinsic gratification from helping others and felt the calling to be a nurse. Cheryl graduated from Carlow College in Pittsburgh, PA, then earned her certification as CCRN (Critical Care Registered Nurse). Her nursing career includes nurse and manager of Surgical ICU, Cardiovascular ICU, and Bone Marrow Transplant ICU. She also worked in an administrative position helping to develop and coordinate various patient programs with the Medical Director of Oncology Services. Cheryl is now retired and has a passion for living a healthy lifestyle with emphasis on nutrition and various forms of exercise.