A Worm's Eye View Monthly Newsletter
Doc Grubb
About Doc Grubb
Doc Grubb Store
Read our Newsletter
Medical Practice Information
Color Your PlateCalendar
Contact Us



Welcome to the Doc Grubb newsletter for December 2008. We hope you had a safe and happy Thanksgiving and wish you the best for this holiday season.

We know you enjoy the Christmas poem, “Twas the night before Christmas” and thought you might like to learn more about how the poem came to be written. Clemnt Clarke Moore, a professor of Greek and Oriental Literature at the Episcopal General Theological Seminary in New York City, wrote “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” also called “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” for his son Robert in 1822 after they had to put his pony, Lightening, to sleep following being hurt in a fall. His son loved his pony so much that he was inconsolable. Mr. Moore thought if only he could write a Christmas story that would interest his son it might help him to forget the death of his pony. He finished writing “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” on Christmas eve and his son immediately responded to the story, and to the love his father had put into writing it for him. Moore’s holiday poem is now a classic American Christmas story. It’s interesting to know that Professor Moore was such a private person and embarrassed by the popularity of his Christmas poem that he didn’t acknowledge writing the poem until 1837, 15 years later!

This poem has become a holiday favorite for many generations of children and their families.


        Thousands or years ago, people believed evergreen trees were magical. Evergreens were a sign that sunshine and spring would soon return because even in darkness of winter, when all the other trees and bushes were brown and bare, the evergreens stayed green and strong. The electric lights we use to decorate our Christmas Trees are also an ancient symbol which represent the light of spring triumphing over the darkness of winter. The Romans even decorated their homes and temples with greenery during a special December feast when the schools were closed, and people everywhere joined in the carnival-like atmosphere and gave each other presents.

The current practice of having a Christmas Tree as part of the home decoration started in Germany in the 1600s and spread all over the world as people traveled to other countries. It was common in Germany to decorate Christmas Trees with apples, nuts and colorful strips of paper, especially red paper. Edible ornaments became so popular on Christmas Trees that they were often called “sugartrees.”

In England, the first Christmas Tree appeared after Queen Victoria married Prince Albert who was from Germany. To remind him of his native country, Prince Albert set up a Christmas tree at Windsor Castle near London in 1841. People from England as well as many German immigrants who came in the 1800's brought the Christmas tree custom to the United States in the massive immigrations of the 1800s. Christmas trees were first sold commercially in 1851 and by the end of the 1800s families started to put glass ornaments on trees. The first ornaments were balls, but later chains of balls, toys and figures became more common. Around 1883, Sears, Roebuck & Company began offering the first artificial Christmas trees.  Today about 25-30 million real Christmas Trees are sold each year in the United States and almost all of these trees come from Christmas Tree plantations because of very real concerns in the past about the destruction of forests by people cutting down trees for their homes.

The Christmas Tree has become a beautiful symbol of growth and renewal for everyone who celebrates this marvelous Christmas tradition.

Back to Top


This Christmas is very different for many of the families I see in my office. For some of you children a father or mother may have suddenly lost their job and are concerned about what is going to happen to them and to you during this important time of year. Your parents may be cutting back on spending. You eat fewer meals in restaurants, go to fewer movies and they don’t really want to hear about the new toy that you want.

It’s probably harder than you think for your mom and dad to sit down with you and tell you why THIS Christmas is different. Parents don’t seem to realize that you know when they are stressed out about finances. There is no money monster hiding in the closet. But if your parents try to hide the problems it can make you worry more. With Christmas approaching it may not be just your parents who are cutting back. It might be YOU. My son had an extensive Christmas list and he took it upon himself to revise it down to about half of what he had asked to get for Christmas. It was kind of cool that he did that himself.

Instead of giving your parents something you buy from a store, maybe you can give them something that has more meaning. My wife remembers the most appreciated gifts her family ever received were gift vouchers written by hand. Think how your mom and dad will feel if you give them “A day without complaining,” “Two hours of working in the yard,” and “Mom’s night off from making dinner and cleaning up.”  These types of simple gifts may become the one’s that your mom and dad will look most forward to for all occasions because it comes from YOU and really shows how much you love them.


Another important thing you can do with your family is to help others who aren’t as fortunate as you. With our son, a day or two before he is supposed to take food into the school as a Christmas Offering, he looks through ads from the grocery stores to see what is on sale that is on the list for donations from the school. We give him a price limit on how much he can spend (Thanksgiving was $10.00) and he can pick out any of the foods on his list. He learns many useful lessons of life and with a full paper bag of much needed items he understands how much more important it is to give than to receive.

              Some other activities that you and your parents might do together include:

  • Put a bird feeder or seeded treats hanging from a branch where you can all see them from a window. Watching the birds, and squirrels, eat the treats is always exciting and a wonderful gift for the family and for nature.
  • Go caroling at a senior center or help out at a food pantry or soup kitchen are ways to get involved that don't require financial donations. It might be hard for you to imagine not being able to afford food but the simple act of you being there can mean an enormous amount to others.

The most important thing to do at Christmas is to spend time with your family and friends and to give, share and to care for those who are less fortunate.

Back to Top



Christmas is an exciting and busy time of year for many families. You might have family coming home for the first time in many years; there may be a new addition to the family, possibly a new baby or a new pet; you trying to get all the Christmas shopping done and if you plan a big meal you try to get all the food and recipes together. THIS IS A FULL PLATE FOR ANYONE TO MANAGE!

I had thought about writing about crafts that mom’s and kids could do together for Christmas but then several of the families I see asked me “how do you talk to you children about whether or not Santa is real?” and “at what age should you bring this up?” For most parents this is really a quandary.

Children, and adults, stop believing in Santa Claus at different times depending on their age, changes in the way they think and their school, community and home environments. Believing in Santa Claus also varies greatly from country to country and culture to culture. In the United States, most children believe that Santa is real; he comes to your home on Christmas night in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer; he rewards good behavior, punishes bad behaviors and has a large number of elves that work at the North Pole building toys.

It’s really important to realize that children don’t think in the same way adults think. The best way to remember how young children, usually up to the age of five years think is to picture one of your dreams. There is no sense of time, there are a lot of magical characters, trees and animals that can talk just like you! There is a change in the way children think at about five years of age but when they are about eight years old children really begin to think like adults and start to question the existence of Santa when they see presents in the closet before Christmas, or suddenly notice that all gifts “From Santa” are in Mom or Dad’s handwriting. Hummmm, what’s wrong with this picture? Children may also start to question whether Santa is real when they talk about Santa with other kids in school or at play who have already been told the “truth” by their parents. The United States is a “melting pot” of children from different cultures so it is very common for some kids not to believe in Santa Claus at all and this might start your children wondering about Santa. Finally, the shock of seeing three Santas on the same street corner may also cause children to start asking “is Santa real?” I think my older brother told me that Santa wasn’t real and I’m still recovering from the shock.

As a mother, you want to avoid causing your children unnecessary pain when they stop believing in Santa so how do you answer when your kids says, “mommy, is Santa Claus real?” The first thing to do is to ask why they are asking? Usually they will tell you that someone at school told them Santa Claus isn’t real. Next ask them what THEY think? Try to understand what they believe before you give them an answer. If you feel the time is right, tell the truth, saying something like “I didn’t want to talk about this until you asked me. I’m not sure whether Santa Claus is real or not, but when we hear the story of Santa Claus it makes all of us feel good and helps us to remember the true spirit of Christmas giving.” 

Tell your child to keep the traditions of Santa and not to argue with anyone who believes that Santa exists because his spirit is real and enduring. I like to tell children, that Santa Claus is more than just a person and it’s important that he lives in all of our hearts. Teach your children that Christmas is as much about giving as receiving, and that the most important thing is to spend time with the people we love. You might even help your children become one of Santa’s helpers. They can help pick out and hand out toys to children who are less fortunate and share with them the joy Christmas during the holidays and throughout the year.

This year maybe you can watch “Miracle on 34th Street” again. That is probably my favorite movie (either the old or new version) that really answers the question “does Santa Claus really exist?”

Back to Top


This is THE year to start a new Christmas Tradition in the family. Traditions define who we are and help us understand our place in the world. The first year my future wife and I were together, we had a tree trimming party at her place. We asked everyone to bring a favorite ornament to become a part of our lives for years to come. It was a very snowy day with lots of home cooked foods. Our friends knew how important this was to us as a new couple and that we really wanted to remember their friendship so they freely shared their favorite ornaments, and most of them came from their own trees. Every year those ornaments remind my wife and me of our first holiday together as a couple. This same tradition can be repeated by other couples for Christmas.

Some other traditions families have include:

Decorating the House. In most families, dad takes responsibility for decorating the outside of the house and mom and children decorate inside. Let your kids help you do outside decorations and be sure to involve the kids. Maybe they can’t get up on the roof, but maybe they can put lights around a couple of shrubs in the front yard and find ways to hide the extension cords.

Christmas Trees. Some families like artificial Christmas Trees and some families will have nothing but a freshly cut or living Christmas Tree, whatever you have make your Christmas tree unique to your family. Some families have the tradition to cut down their own tree from a tree farm or from the forest. In our community the local church has an annual Christmas Tree sale. This year my son wants to get some of the left over greenery to make wreaths that he can give away to other families.

Christmas Tree Ornaments. Some families like to have traditional ornaments while other families like ornaments that have a special meaning, for example, ornaments made by their kids at school or ornaments that are gifts from special family members or close friends. I’ve seen some families have TWO Christmas trees…one with all the fancy lights and ornaments and another, smaller tree in a special place with just a few ornaments that are especially treasured by the family.

Serving Others. The more you give the more you get in life. The more you help others, the more others will help you. A great way to help children learn how blessed they are is for them to volunteer at a local homeless shelter serving Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners. Or your church or children’s school may have a “Secret Santa” plan where they take gifts and food to a family in the neighborhood. A special activity we have with our son is to decide on a set amount of money he can spend on a gift for other children his age. We go out for a special shopping trip, have lunch as a family, he picks out the gift and then we put it in the “Toys for Tots” box. My wife and I may also buy gifts for adults but the important thing is that we do it together.

Favorite Activities. Many families plan fun activities during the Christmas season such as driving around looking at Christmas lights; going to a Christmas concert; a special skiing vacation; or going to see “A Christmas Carol” at the local theatre. The most important thing is that you do it every year, together as a family.

Traditional. Many families have a traditional meal of turkey with dressing or ham, or they may to a buffet that serves a Christmas brunch. For our family we go to a special grocery that carries a wide range of meats, cheeses, side dishes and salads and pick out several special meals for the holiday season. The act of shopping is just as important as the meal itself because we do it as a family.

Back to Top


Have a Green Christmas

We had just talked in the Dad’s section about the importance of Traditions and Christmas is a great time to start a family tradition of giving back to the earth by reusing, recycling or cutting back on material we use at Christmas time.

It is estimated that just in this year, Americans will send nearly 2 billion holiday cards, use more than 38,000 miles of ribbon and leave millions of Christmas trees on the curb. Here are a few ways to help the environment and still have a great holiday season:

Shopping. Take your own shopping bags to the store. If there are concerns about being seen as a shoplifter, be sure you carry the bag in a way that store security can clearly see what you have. We always make sure our bag is an open mesh grocery bag so anyone can see what we have in it.

Christmas Cards. Christmas cards bought in stores consume a huge amount of natural resources for an item that you read and throw away. And have you seen how much they cost?????  Homemade cards are more personal and just as appreciated. We use last year’s calendars that have beautiful winter scenes. We cut them up and glue them to a fold-over piece of paper. Art work from your children is another good source for Christmas card pictures.

Wrapping. Did you know that half of the paper America consumes each year is used to wrap and decorate consumer products? Glossy foil or metallic wrapping paper is especially difficult to recycle. Instead of buying new wrapping paper every year use what you have around the house such as decorated department store bags or pages from glossy fashion magazines. Wrap small present in a beautiful scarf the wrapping suddenly becomes part of the gift. Gift wrapping paper, ribbons and bows are especially easy to save and reuse. When you wrap gifts don’t use too much tape so the recipient can save the wrapping for reuse. I’ve always noticed that when I remove paper from large presents there are large uncreased sections that I can reuse for wrapping small gifts. Even creased wrapping paper can be ironed so it’s flat. I bet you have a bag of wrapping paper somewhere in your home or apartment, or maybe your friend has extra paper they want to get rid of. In our own efforts to reuse and recycle we donate our extra roles of wrapping paper to our church or “Toys for Tots.”

Trees. Artificial Christmas Trees are made from oil and is not biodegradable. If you buy a living tree with its roots intact you can plant it outside after Christmas.  Or get a cut tree so that after the holidays, leave it on the street curb or take it to the county recycling facility, where it can be turned into mulch. We cut the branches off or our tree and put them over our garden plants to protect from the cold of winter.  Each year, 50 million Christmas trees are purchased in the U.S. Of those, about 30 million go to the landfill. Look for tree drop-off locations in your neighborhood. Never burn Christmas tree branches in your fireplace. It can cause the buildup of creosote, which is a highly flammable compound.

Lights. Buy strings of LED lights instead of incandescent bulbs. The LEDs last much longer (up to 100,000 hours when used indoors) and use 80 to 90 percent less energy. They are also safer since they generate only a little heat. Turn tree lights and outdoor house decorative lighting off at bedtime or invest in timers that automatically shut off your lights to save even more electricity. Don’t waste energy by leaving the holiday lights on at night after everyone's gone to sleep. Reduce the size of outdoor lighting displays, the most brightly lit up house is no longer the “best on the block.”

Parties. Use metal flatware and real glasses and dishes. Use cloth tablecloths instead of throwaway paper, and then wash the tablecloths in cold water to save energy. Use recyclable paper products and don’t use plastic or Styrofoam because they don’t biodegrade.

Back to Top


The song “America the Beautiful” begins with the words “Oh beautiful for gracious skies, for amber waves of grain…”  Whenever I hear this song I feel overwhelmed by the abundance of foods that we grow in America. You can imagine my great surprise when I heard on a news show the other morning that “we import 50% of the apple juice we use in America from China” and they showed a juice package that clearly stated “concentrate from China.”  How can this be…don’t we have huge apple orchards in many parts of the United States?

This made me look into how much food we really import into the United States. I decided to focus on China because a recent article in USA Today reported that the overall dollar figures for food imports into the USA from China were $29 million worth of fresh or frozen fruit and $131 million worth of fresh or frozen vegetables in 2006. Surprisingly, this is only 1% of the US food supply because most of what they grow goes to nearby Asian neighbors. However, because China grows half the world's vegetables and 15% of the world's fruit they have made a major push to become a global exporter of fruits and vegetables.

Here is some information about what we DO import into the US from China that should make you stop and think about eating more locally grown foods,

Garlic:  China produces 75% of the world's garlic. 2007 was the first year in which U.S. consumers bought more garlic produced in China than garlic grown in California even though most of the garlic grown in the United States comes from California.

Apple juice: About 40% to 45% of the apple juice consumed in the USA comes from China. China grows almost 50% of all the apples on the planet and is the No. 1 apple producer in the world. In comparison, the United States grow about 10% of the apples in the world. China isn't allowed to directly export apples to the USA because of concerns about introducing apple diseases and pests but China is allowed to export apple juice concentrate because processing eliminates some of the health concerns.

Honey: China is the world's largest producer of honey and the largest single importer of honey to the USA. Americans ate 400 million pounds of honey in 2006, 70% of which was imported. This is because bees are an integral part of China's population which is based in rural agriculture.

Seafood: Almost 80% of the 5 billion pounds of seafood eaten in the USA is imported.  Almost 1 billion pounds of that seafood comes from China. China provides about 10% of all the shrimp and catfish we eat in the United States.

We started off this part of the newsletter with our wondering why we are importing food into the United States, with all of its natural resources. There is a new movement in California in which volunteers ask permission from homeowners and pick fruits that would otherwise go to waste and donate it to local food banks. On television they showed a large truck that was full of oranges, apples and persimmons that had just been picked. The staff at the food bank said how grateful everyone was for the fruit. This is a wonderful example of one community using nature’s bounty to eat locally and eat fresh!

Have a safe and happy Holiday Season, from our family to yours, wherever they may be.

Back to Top


Our free newsletter “The Worm’s Eye View” is uploaded to the computer each month. Each issue includes valuable information for all members of the family as well as the inclusion of the most up-to-date information concerning medical research and treatments.

As a subscriber you will be sent announcements of my new books, CD, and seminars at reduced prices and fees. Sign-up now.

You should read my latest book, “Solving the Weight Loss Puzzle.” Please go to the order page and read part of the first chapter. You will learn a lot from this book why everyone has gained weight and the Three Secrets to normalize your weight.


Doc Grubb Logo

larry.grubb@docgrubb.com | Suite 217 | Executive Court | 1738 Elton Road | Silver Spring, MD 20903 | 301.434.2424 or 877.362.4872