January Newsletter 2020

January Newsletter 2020

January 2020 Edition

What's New

Colder temperatures may help reduce allergies and inflammation and research has shown that it can help you think more clearly and perform daily tasks better.

Planning for Your Best Health in 2020

Welcome to 2020. A new year and new - or renewed - resolutions. Whether you're determined to manage weight, reduce stress, strengthen relationships, or volunteer your services, the first step in choosing what to tackle is understanding your values and priorities. Visualize how the change would look for you.

Ask yourself: If I make this change . . .

  • What positive effects will I experience: (example, if you choose to focus on volunteer work, you are likely to create new friendships; if you volunteer as a family, you'll strengthen family ties).
  • What resources or support do I need?
  • How will I feel emotionally? Physically? Spiritually?

Changing behavior is tricky: it takes time, patience, good planning, and the willingness to accept setbacks even as you move forward. It takes at least 30 days to establish a new habit and become comfortable with your new routine, time requirements and available resources. Plan for success and be realistic about outcomes by anticipating how you'll handle challenges that pop up, whether its time constraints, external obligations, or lack of support from family and friends.

The following strategies can help you succeed.

Know Your Why. Why do you want to make this change? Motivation is an important predictor of behavior and, ultimately, success, so be honest about your why. How will success feel to you? Connecting emotion to your why strengthens your willingness to stick to the goal when things get challenging. I'll feel less stress because I will have more space around the house if I clean out the rooms and closets. Write down your 'why' and post it somewhere visible.

Set Goals and Have a Plan. Anything you want to achieve isn't about finding the time, it's about making the time - and that choice is always in your power. If you're unsure about forming goals and plan, ask your holistic health practitioner for assistance. Depending on what you are striving to change, you might set weekly or monthly goals.

Pull Together Resources. Sometimes the people we typically count are less than supportive of our goals, wondering how your commitment to change will affect them or your relationship. If you can't find support in your immediate circle of influence, seek out a like-minded group, an accountability buddy, a life coach or counselor. Your health practitioner can assist with resources and make suggestions for keeping you accountable for your progress.

Celebrate Success! In your plan, note the markers at which you will celebrate success. Rewards need not be expensive, just meaningful for you. Keep in mind that some rewards might be a natural consequence of your lifestyle change: A smile from someone you have helped through volunteer work, donating clothes that no longer fit after weight loss, or having room for a new desk in a cleared out space.

References

Food for Thought. . .

"Be the change that you wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi

Wild about Winter Greens!

If you want to liven up your salads, get wild about winter greens! Here's a list of cold-weather hardy greens that are packed with nutrition, flavor, and color:

Belgian Endive. Add kick to your salad with chopped-up endive leaves.Skip the crackers for your hummus or cheese spread by using a sturdy endive leave, raw or baked. Endive provides potassium, fiber, and vitamins B, C and K, as well as calcium, magnesium, iron and folate.

Beet Greens. With a mild taste similar to kale, beet greens should not be tossed when you chop off the amethyst bulb at the end. The greens provide an abundance of nutrients including vitamins A and C. Look for firm, fresh greens still attached to the root. Beet greens can be enjoyed raw in a salad, sautéed, braised or steamed.

Kohlrabi. A cousin to broccoli, kohlrabi (aka The German Turnip) has purple, pale green, and white varieties. Slightly sweeter than broccoli, it's high in potassium, vitamin B6, manganese, and folate. Use shredded or chopped, add to soups and salads; eat raw or sautéed.

Parsley. Beyond garnish, it's a green worthy of being added to your salad blends. Use parsley in the final steps when preparing soups, sauces, salad dressing, rice or pasta. A cup of parsley provides iron, potassium, vitamins A, C, K and folate.

Radicchio. Abundant in vitamin K and potassium, radicchio is one of the prettiest winter veggies. It adds color and texture to salads and entrees. It's also a great green for digestive health. Don't confuse radicchio with red cabbage; radicchio is a member of the chicory family and has a distinctive, unique flavor that will bring your meals to life.

Watercress. A lovely addition to any salad, watercress is a great source of nutrition, containing fiber, antioxidants and minerals. It contains a high amount of Vitamins K, A and C. One of the more delicate winter greens, it makes for a lovely garnish to any dish.

These powerhouse veggies are loaded with antioxidants, which are associated with reduced risk for chronic disease. Check with your health practitioner for more healthy dietary advice during the winter months.

References

Vibrant Winter Greens with Walnuts, Dried Cranberry and Lemon Vinaigrette

A healthy start to dinner, this winter salad is robust in flavor, color, and nutrition. Cranberries add color and sweetness against the vibrant dark greens and purple radicchio. Walnuts and raw broccoli slaw bring on the crunch and provide nutrition for the mind. The entire salad is complemented by a lemon vinaigrette dressing. The result is super-delicious! Ingredients for Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt, or to taste
  • 3 – 4 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preparation
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, mustard, and fine sea salt, whisking until the sugar and salt are dissolved.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of the oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly until the dressing is well blended. Season with fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. If desired, whisk in the remaining oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly. DO AHEAD: The vinaigrette can be prepared ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days.
Salad Ingredients
  • 2 oz. chopped baby spinach leaves
  • 2 oz. finely shredded radicchio
  • 3 oz. chopped Belgian Endive
  • 3 oz. chopped savoy cabbage
  • 1/3 package of organic shredded broccoli slaw
  • 1/2 cup walnuts halves and pieces (or your favorite nut)
  • 2 oz dried, unsweetened cranberries (or currants, or diced apple pieces if you prefer)
Salad Preparation
  1. In a salad bowl, gently mix greens, cranberries, add nuts with dressing. Divide among plates.
  2. If using apple, dice and sprinkle over the top of each salad plate.
  3. Drizzle dressing over salad plates.
  4. Garnish with a sprig of parsley, if desired.

References

Ashwagandha: Herbal Support for Stressful Times

For more than 4,000 years Ashwagandha has been a staple botanical treatment in Ayurvedic Medicine. Ashwagandha is known as an adaptogenic herb: one that helps the body adapt to physical and emotional stress. It's also regarded as a strengthening tonic to support the immune system and promote healing during and after illness.

Though Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) has potent effects on its own - including mild sedative and calming effects that can help with nervous tension and insomnia - it's often used in conjunction with other herbs carefully selected for each individual. Botanical scientists and Ayurvedic practitioners believe the synergistic effects produced when other herbs are used in combination with Ashwagandha would not occur with a single herb. Research is examining these effects as well as the role Ashwagandha plays in decreasing inflammation and treating certain forms of dementia. Ashwagandha also has been used for some forms of arthritis, anxiety, fatigue, and depression. Various forms of ashwagandha (tincture, extract, tea, liquid capsules) are selected depending on the health concern to be treated.

Ashwagandha, a small, woody shrub with tiny garnet berries, is a member of the nightshade family of herbs. If there is an allergy to other nightshade plants, then Ashwagandha may not be suitable for you. Ashwagandha can interact with other herbs and prescription medication; it is important to consult with a holistic physician who has training in botanical pharmacology before taking this herb.

References

Siberian Ginseng: Botanical Remedy for Immune & Stress Support

Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is a botanical medicine distantly related to the more well-known Panax Ginseng. For a time, it was mistakenly believed to have the same properties as Panax Ginseng and promoted it as a less-expensive substitute.

Like Ashwaganda, Siberian Ginseng is an adaptogen. It has most commonly been used to support the immune system and adrenal glands when the body is under stress (such as after surgery, or during emotionally challenging times). A recent area of research on Siberian Ginseng is its use for upper respiratory infection. In studies to date, Siberian Ginseng has been used in combination with other botanicals, so more research is needed to determine how much of the healing process can be attributed to the ginseng.

In China and Russia, Siberian Ginseng is used to stimulate the immune system, for prevention of infectious diseases, and to enhance stamina and performance. Some research shows that it may help strengthen the immune system.

It's always best to obtain a Ginseng supplement from your holistic practitioners. This will ensure that you have a high-quality product that is the proper variety for your particular health concerns.

References

Keeping a Diet Diary

Whether you need to monitor eating habits to manage a health condition or because you want to lose weight, keeping a Diet Diary is a powerful tool for gaining insight about what, when, and why you are eating.

To often, we eat mindlessly, leading to poor choices and over indulgence, raising the risk for developing heart disease, obesity, diabetes, allergies, colds and food sensitivities. A Diet Diary shows how to improve food choices and helps create a foundation for good health.

Diet Diaries are easy to use. You can opt for paper-and-pencil journal formats or you can use an app from sources such as My Plate, MyNet Diary, My Fitness Pal, Yazio, or See How You Eat. Keep in mind, the apps provide superior data capture and long-term tracking so you can more easily spot pitfalls and see your success. Regardless of the format, track your eating habits during weekdays and at least one weekend day for at least two weeks, but ideally for a month. If you're striving to manage a health condition, your holistic doctor will have additional suggestions for you. What to Track in a Paper & Pencil Diet Diary Food Factors What did you eat? What time of day? Portion size (measure food or estimate: "palm-full of granola"); include # of grams of fat, carbohydrates, protein and calories Why did you eat? (physically hungry? have a craving?) Mind Factors What was your overall mood? Stress level? How did you feel after eating? (satisfied, guilty, ill) Were you distracted or attentive/mindful about your meal? Social & Environmental Factors Who were you with for the meal? Did you eat in a rush or were you relaxed? Were you doing another activity while eating? (working, watching TV, cooking) Physical Factors Did you have any physical symptoms during or after eating? (indigestion, reflux, gas, bloating) Did you have headaches, or mental/emotional fatigue?

Review your journal at the end of each day and summarize your habits. Note the key factors for why you chose to eat at the times you did, whether you made healthy or unhealthy choices, and what were the key triggers for eating at different times.

References

Guiding Principles

The information offered by this newsletter is presented for educational purposes. Nothing contained within should be construed as nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet or fitness program. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information contained within this newsletter.
December Newsletter 2019

December Newsletter 2019

December 2019 Edition

What's New

The average person eats more than 7,000 calories on Christmas day, research carried out by Associated British Foods recently found. That's more than three times the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recommended daily caloric intake.

Holidays: The Healthy, Homemade Way

You've heard the saying, "it's the thought that counts." This year, make your thoughts count with healthy homemade gifts. Do-it-yourself (DIY) gifts allow you to avoid the toxins that lurk in most store-bought products, save money, and promote the wellbeing of friends and family. As an added bonus, making gifts is a fun way to exercise creativity and relieve stress. In the spirit of the season, here are DIY gift ideas that are sure to boost the health and mood of everyone on your list.

Infused Oils. The cooks in your life will devour these infused oils, bottled with love. Place dried herbs of your choice in a sterilized, dry jar and cover with olive oil. Place the jar in a saucepan and fill the pan about a quarter full of water. Gently heat the herbs over very low heat, between 100° and 120° F for one to five hours, until the oil takes on the color and scent of the herb. Remove the jar and cool completely before labeling. Get creative with your label; be sure to date the mixture and list the ingredients.

Aromatherapy Bath Salts. Mix together one cup Epsom salt, a half-cup natural sea salt, 20 to 30 drops of your favorite essential oil and two to three tablespoons of dried herbs or botanicals. Transfer into a glass jar. Decorate the jar with paint markers or attach a creative label. Include directions: add a half-cup of bath salts to warm running bath water, submerge body, and relax!

Healthy Homemade Granola in a Jar. For people on-the-go, give a gift that will keep them energized and running at peak performance. There are tons of homemade granola recipes on the internet, and you can pick any one of them. Be sure to use organic, additive-free ingredients. All this gift takes is a trip to your local natural grocery store, a mixing bowl, an oven, and a jar to put it in. Suggested mix: Dried cherries, pineapple, and cranberries, almonds and cashews, toasted oats, and cacao nibs.

Natural Skin Care Mask. Help the women in your life beat dull winter skin with an all-natural skin care mask made of cranberries and yogurt. Simply puree a half-cup of cranberries in a food processor, transfer the puree into a bowl and mix with a half-cup of yogurt; blend by hand until you have a creamy mixture. For a thicker mask, mix in a little green clay or honey. Bottle the mixture and add a label with instructions to let the mask sit on the face for 20 minutes before rinsing with warm water. High in antioxidants, vitamins A, C, B3 and B5, cranberries not only lend moisture for the skin, they also aid in cell turnover and protect from free radicals, giving an anti-aging effect.

Herb Garden Markers. Perfect for the gardeners - and wannabe gardeners - in your life, these stones are super simple and inexpensive to make. Collect a variety of smooth riverbed stones, clean thoroughly, and on each rock paint the name of a garden herb or vegetable. Feeling extra-creative? Paint little garden-themed designs on them as well.

References

Food for Thought. . .

"The holidays are only holy if we make them so." - Marianne Williamson

Ancient Grains, Modern Health Benefits

We've all heard about the health benefits of eating whole grains - those that have been minimally processed and are void of added sugars and preservatives. You also may be hearing about Ancient Grains. For clarity, most grains have been around since the dawn of time. What makes a whole grain an "ancient" grain is the fact that they have remained unchanged, i.e. have not been genetically modified by humans, over centuries. Modern wheat, then, is not an Ancient Grain.

There are many types of Ancient Grains and none are native plants of North America, though these "supergrains" are gaining popularity for their unique flavors and specific nutrient profile. Here are a few:

Amaranth is gluten-free, rich in fiber, potassium, calcium, iron and protein (9 grams per cup). It's often prepared like oatmeal or can be prepared like rice. Amaranth flour is often used in baking bread.

Farro is a form of wheat (so it contains gluten), rich in B-vitamins, protein, and high in fiber but low in calories. It's great to use in risotto style dishes.

Kamut packs 11 grams of protein in a cup. It contains gluten and resembles whole grain rice, but is more nutrient rich, containing fiber, polyphenols, and minerals.

Millet is a gluten-free yellow grain that resembles cous-cous (which is not gluten-free). Packed with magnesium, it can be steamed like rice or prepared the same as a pastina.

Teff is gluten-free, often used in making polenta. The grain is tiny, like poppy seeds, but more nutrient dense, containing iron, fiber, and calcium.

To learn more about the varieties of Ancient Grains, including those that are gluten-free, visit these resources:

The Whole Grain Council: Ancient Grains

The Whole Grain Goodness of Modern and Ancient Grains (Harvard Health)

9 Gluten-free Ancient Grains

References

Creamy Chicken and Kamut Casserole

Kamut? It might sound like it, but it's not the name of a new Muppet. Pronounced KAH-moot, it is the name of a wonderful Ancient Grain that adds great flavor and texture to this recipe - a unique spin on a basic chicken and rice casserole. Kamut is slightly larger than rice and a bit chewier, with a mild nutty taste. Packed with protein, you can easily use kamut with meatless dishes. It takes a bit longer to cook than long-grain brown rice, but the taste is so worth the wait! Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked kamut (1 cup uncooked, about 180g; see note for cooking)
  • 1 1/2 cups (355ml) cashew milk (or a dairy-free milk of your choice)
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sunflower oil
  • 8 oz (225g) chicken breast, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 large red pepper, chopped
  • 4 cups chopped collard greens, about 6 large leaves
Preparation
  1. Whisk milk, flour, salt, and thyme together until there are almost no clumps left. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a cast-iron or oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic, and stir constantly. Let them cook for about a minute. Add the chicken and cook it for 5-6 minutes.
  3. Add red pepper and collard greens and let cook for a few minutes, until the collard greens have wilted.
  4. Stir the milk mixture into the skillet and reduce the heat slightly (about a medium-low). Cook for a minute or two, until the mixture starts to thicken and bubble. Be sure to stir frequently because the sauce will start to burn at the bottom.
  5. Turn off the heat and mix in the kamut. Enjoy warm.

References

Vitamin C: Support for Strong Immunity and So Much More

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin known for its role in supporting a healthy immune system. However, it's also crucial for many other important biological functions. A deficiency in vitamin C causes scurvy, leaves the body vulnerable to infections, and is an underlying factor in inflammation that can lead to chronic illness. Several Key Functions That Require Vitamin C:

  • the synthesis of collagen, an essential component of connective tissue and important to wound healing
  • the production of certain neurotransmitters (brain chemicals)
  • antioxidant support throughout the body
  • facilitating the absorption of calcium into the bones
Getting Enough Vitamin C

Because our body cannot make vitamin C, it must come from the foods we eat every day. However, many of us are not eating sufficient fruits and vegetables to maintain the levels that optimally support antioxidant activity and immune function. Also, being water-soluble means that vitamin C is quickly excreted from the body. It's important to take a daily vitamin C supplement to ensure the body has the protection it needs.

The recommended daily allowance of vitamin C is around 90 mg per day. Some research indicates a daily intake of 100-200 mg for better protection against new infections, such as colds and respiratory tract illnesses. Many experts recommend supplementing with up to 1,000 mg of vitamin C daily. However, when you are already feeling ill, it's best to consult with a holistic physician to determine the right dose and form (liquid, capsule, etc.) for your needs. Even if you are taking a supplement, you still want to eat a variety of organic fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C, such as:

  • acerola cherries
  • cantaloupe
  • black currant
  • lychee
  • kiwi
  • papaya
  • pineapple
  • strawberries
  • red and yellow bell peppers
  • broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • cauliflower

To get the most nutrients from your fruits and vegetables, eat them as soon as possible after shopping. Consider buying local to ensure freshness, as nutrients decrease with time on the shelf. When cooking, you can limit nutrient loss by steaming or cooking on low heat for short periods of time.

References

Phenomenal Phytonutrients

Most of us are familiar with macronutrients - protein, carbs and fat - the building blocks of a nutritious diet. But do you know that phytonutrients (chemical substances that give plants their vibrant colors) play an important role in your diet because of the ways they support good health and help prevent illness?

Plants produce phytonutrients (aka phytochemicals) to protect themselves from bacteria, viruses, and even from UV radiation from the sun. When consumed in our diet and assimilated by the human body, these substances work just as hard to protect our health. They're especially important in the diets of athletes, weekend warriors, and those who have physically demanding jobs.

Phytonutrients have a role in:

  • enhancing the health of the immune system
  • counteracting inflammation in the body
  • supporting communication between cells in the body
  • detoxifying cells after exposure to environmental toxins
  • supporting muscle activity while you are exercising, engaging in physically demanding work and during recovery.

Here are some phytonutrients and the foods they can be found in:

Polyphenols: found in berries, tart cherries, and pomegranates, which have a powerful anti-inflammatory action in the body.

Quercetin: found in apples, onions, and potato skins; works to support your immune system.

Carotenoids: found in orange and yellow produce like carrots, bell peppers, and sweet potatoes. Supports the health of eyes, skin and lungs.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin: found in green leafy vegetables including kale, spinach, unpeeled cucumber, and kiwi. Supports eye health and may protect against cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.

Many phytonutrients have more than one effect in the body. Because they help reduce inflammation and protect against disease processes, be sure to include more plant-based foods in your diet. If you have specific health concerns and want to know which phytonutrients should be a focus of your diet or supplement regimen, consult with a holistic health physician or licensed naturopathic doctor.

References

What is Cranial Sacral Massage?

No other structures have as much influence over the human body's ability to function properly as the brain and spinal cord, which make up the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS is strongly influenced by the craniosacral system - membranes and fluid that surround, protect, and nourish the brain and spinal cord. A therapeutic modality known as Cranio Sacral Massage (CSM) is used to release tension and relieve pain and dysfunction.

Using a soft touch, generally no greater than the weight of a nickel, licensed massage practitioners who are trained in this modality use CSM to release restrictions in the soft tissues around the base of the skull and other regions of the head. A CSM practitioner uses his or her hands to evaluate the craniosacral system by gently feeling various locations to test for the ease of motion and rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid pulsing around the brain and spinal cord. Soft-touch techniques are then used to release restrictions in any tissues influencing the craniosacral system.

A variety of conditions can be addressed with CSM, including;

  • Chronic headache, Migraine
  • Tension in the neck and back
  • TMJ
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Orthopedic Conditions
  • Stress-related Syndromes
  • Sinus Infection

Research shows that CSM is generally effective for stress and tension-related health problems, but more advanced clinical studies are needed on a wider variety of populations. Individuals who have a diagnosed aneurysm, a tumor in the head or neck, a history of concussion or head injury, or a bleeding disorder should consult their holistic health practitioner before having CSM.

References

Guiding Principles

The information offered by this newsletter is presented for educational purposes. Nothing contained within should be construed as nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet or fitness program. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information contained within this newsletter.
November Newsletter 2019

November Newsletter 2019

November 2019 Edition

What's New

Research shows that about 75 percent of the world’s population loses the ability to break down lactose at some point, meaning that many naturally become lactose intolerance over time. In the U.S., the condition affects around 30 million adults to some degree by age 20, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

More than Belly Aches: Acid Reflux in Children

Acid reflux is often experienced differently in children and teens than it is in adults. Along with a wide range of symptoms, kids typically tell parents they have "fire in the belly and throat," a sign of acid reflux and not simply a stomach ache. Always take it seriously. Persistent reflux can erode tooth enamel, damage the lining of the esophagus, cause sore throat/laryngitis, interfere with swallowing, and increase the risk for diseases of the esophagus.

Acid reflux is triggered by too little stomach acid, which is needed to signal the lower esophagus to close tightly. When it fails to close, stomach acid backs up into the esophagus, creating a burning sensation. When persistent reflux affects a child's ability to enjoy eating, absorb nutrients, and manifests other health problems, it's labeled as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Occasional reflux is common in kids, but GERD is more serious, afflicting up to 84% of children age 2-17 and about 40% of infants.

Causes and treatment approaches vary widely, depending on the age of the child, their diet, and other health factors. Let's take a holistic look at acid reflux in kids including symptoms, causes, and ways to resolve the underlying causes and prevent serious damage to the digestive tract. Symptoms of Reflux & GERD in Kids:

A variety of symptoms accompany reflux - not every child will have all or even most of them.

  • intense irritation to burning pain in the lower mid-chest or behind the breastbone
  • stomach ache
  • bad breath
  • nausea / vomiting
  • problems swallowing or painful swallowing
Causes of Reflux & GERD Include:
  • medicines a child is taking (including antibiotics)
  • being overweight or obese
  • having a food sensitivity or allergy
  • stress
  • use of nicotine, caffeine and alcohol
  • musculoskeletal abnormalities
  • lack of exercise
  • poor diet
  • poor gut health

You may be familiar with prescription and over-the-counter medications for adults with reflux disease, such as proton-pump inhibitors and antacids. At best, these drugs mask symptoms and give only short-term relief. Given to children and teens, these drugs set kids up for a lifetime of digestive and intestinal issues because the root cause of the reflux is not addressed. Addressing the Root Cause of Reflux & GERD:

To get to the root cause of GERD, a holistic physician may test for food sensitivities, assess stomach acid production, and evaluate the child's diet and lifestyle habits. They may also assess for imbalances in gut health. To address underlying causes, holistic physicians may prescribe nutritional supplements / herbal remedies, guide you in making dietary changes, recommend exercise and stress management, and use physical medicine modalities such as abdominal massage. Each approach works in conjunction with the others based on individual needs with the aim to restore balance and health to your child's gut.

References

Food for Thought. . .

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." - Hippocrates

Helping Kids Eat Dairy-Free

If you've been told by a holistic health physician that your child needs to follow a dairy-free diet - don't panic! Today, there are numerous healthy and delicious dairy-free options. The first thing you will want to be clear about is if the dairy-free recommendation is due to lactose intolerance or to a dairy sensitivity. The two share similar symptoms but are very different conditions. Some children will have one, but many have both, and the approach to each is different. If you are unsure which condition your child has, double check with your doctor.

Lactose intolerance means that your child cannot digest milk sugar (lactose). It is a very common condition and you will see many dairy products, including milk, yogurt, butter and others, labeled "lactose free" or "safe for lactose intolerance." A dairy sensitivity or allergy means that your child has difficulty digesting milk protein (whey, casein).

In either condition, symptoms can include, among other things, abdominal cramps, bloating, nausea, constipation or diarrhea, vomiting, rash, sinus infection, and respiratory distress. In some cases, the child is at risk for a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction that can shut down the child's airways - immediate medical attention is necessary.

Once your physician has diagnosed the type of allergy/intolerance, together you can create a plan for finding dairy-free substitutions in order to keep your child deliciously nourished. Here are a few suggestions:

Choose Vegan Foods. Vegan foods are dairy-free, as well as meat-free. Selecting vegan foods is a great way to enjoy a variety of flavors that are free from all sources of dairy.

Try Alternatives to Milk. These days the dairy aisle has a new neighbor: a dairy-free section with a variety of alternative products made from rice, soy, almond, cashew, walnut, hemp, and coconut. The selection of products includes cheese, "milks", ice cream, cream cheese, and yogurt to name a few. Also, Kosher products labeled Pareve do not contain dairy. Different brands of these alternative dairy options will vary in consistency, flavor, and nutrition profiles. Experiment with several to find those that best suit your family's needs. As with other dairy products, keep an eye on the sugar content by reading labels.

Choose More Fresh, Whole Foods. Get your kids in the habit of eating in-season, organic, fresh fruits and vegetables.

Your physician will have other tips specific to your child's needs. It's important to follow your doctor's advice for making these changes easy and enjoyable for your child. Eventually, they won't miss dairy at all.

References

Kid-friendly, SO Yummy! Homemade Dairy Free Ice Cream

There are many ways to make delicious dairy-free ice cream at home, but one simple and proven approach to creating a healthy version of this cool, sweet treat begins with the following essential ingredients:

  • 3 cups dairy-free milk (coconut, almond, cashew, sesame, etc.)
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup natural sweetener (maple syrup, coconut sugar, honey, etc.)*
  • Flavoring to taste (vanilla, cinnamon, cacao powder, maca, mint extract, etc.)
  • Add-ins of choice (berries, peaches, banana, cacao nibs, nuts or seeds, chocolate chunks, etc.)*

The type of *sweetener, flavoring and add-ins that you choose will affect the sugar content of the ice cream. Keep nutrition in balance by choosing wisely. The Academy of Culinary Nutrition has a variety of recipes for you to choose from. Below is one of our favorites. Be sure to include your kids in the ice-cream making fun! Dairy Free Chocolate Mint Ice Cream

  • 1 cup raw cashews (150g), soaked overnight, washed & drained
  • 1 cup coconut cream (250ml)
  • 1/3 cup coconut nectar
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 tsp Spirulina
  • Few drops peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup cacao nibs (or raw chocolate grated)
Preparation

You don't necessarily need an ice cream maker. While these machines do whip air into your frozen desserts, producing a fluffier result, you could easily put your ice cream mixture directly into the freezer instead.

  1. Blend cashews, coconut cream and coconut nectar in a blender until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add coconut oil and blend until combined
  3. Add peppermint oil (add more or less to liking) and spirulina and blend until combined.
  4. Pour into metal loaf tin. Stir through cacao nibs.
  5. Cover tin with foil and freeze overnight until set.
  6. Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving to soften.

References

Papaya Power for Digestive Health

Many foods naturally contain enzymes, which are molecules that speed up chemical reactions. Digestive enzymes, as you may have guessed, support various digestive processes. One food that contains important digestive enzymes is papaya.

A deep yellow, sweet tropical fruit, papaya is rich in papain, which contains the digestive enzyme called protease that helps breakdown protein. If the body is deficient in this enzyme (due to genetics, illness, or food allergy), then protein-rich foods cannot be properly digested; consequently, you may experience indigestion or heartburn. The protease enzymes in papaya (among other tropical fruits), have been shown to help ease symptoms associated with an upset stomach and heartburn.

To reap the benefits of the enzymes in these foods, eat them raw at their peak freshness and chew mindfully as saliva activates many enzymes. If you are taking papaya as a digestive enzyme supplement, check with your holistic health practitioner about taking it individually or in combination with other enzymes as this can make a significant difference in effectiveness for your health concerns.

References

Ginger

An Asian spice, well-known for its sweet and zesty zing, ginger has been shown to reduce pain and inflammation and support digestion. As a digestive aid, this knobby, horn-shaped root is used to nourish and warm the digestive organs, including the mouth, stomach, pancreas, and liver. Ginger stimulates production of enzymes in all digestive pathways.

Research indicates that biologically active compounds in ginger bind to receptors in the digestive tract. This process seems instrumental for minimizing the sensations that create nausea and indigestion. Researchers also note that ginger plays a role in the breakdown of starches and fatty food - all good things when your tummy has gone sour.

There are many preparations of ginger that kids, as well as adults, can enjoy and use when experiencing an upset stomach. This includes ginger chews, lozenges, and fresh or dried tea infusions. Tinctures, capsules, and extracts can be prepared in varying strengths based upon individual medicinal needs, determined through consultation with a holistic physician.

References

Gentle Massage for Tummy Troubles

Giving your infant a gentle abdominal massage is a wonderful approach for taming tummy troubles. It's also ideal for older children and you can teach them techniques for self-care when they're ready. Abdominal massage can improve digestion, lessen gastric discomfort, and help release tension created by stress, thus improving digestion.

The digestive process can become interrupted by health issues such as food intolerance, allergic reaction, or illness, as well as emotional stress and tension. These issues can result in abdominal ache, gas, indigestion, and difficulty with bowel movements. Massaging the abdomen helps soothe the muscles and nerves and can stimulate muscle contractions in the GI tract (called peristalsis), which helps move waste through the bowel.

The following method is wonderful to use with babies and very young children. Always perform abdominal massage when the child is quiet but alert, not when they are fussy or asleep. Use the flat pads of the fingers; never use fingertips and be mindful of your fingernails. You also want to use gentle but firm pressure. Always pay attention to the child's reaction (e.g., facial expression) to make sure they are comfortable.

  1. Undress the child (baby in a diaper; a child can be in light and loose-fitting pajamas). The child should lie face up on a blanket or other soft surface.
  2. Starting at the base of the rib cage, massage the abdomen in a circular, clockwise motion. Make smaller and smaller circles, gradually making your way to the navel.
  3. Hold baby's knees and feet together and gently press knees up toward abdomen.
  4. Gently rotate baby's hips a few times to one side, then to the other side. This can be helpful in releasing excess gas.
  5. Place your hand on baby's tummy horizontally, rocking hand from side to side. Make gentle but firm motions, to avoid tickling the child. Cover area below navel, stopping short of pelvic region. (Note for infants: Do not massage stomach if umbilical cord hasn't healed completely.)

For an older child, the parent can perform the "upside down U" massage and can teach the child how to follow this pattern to perform the massage on their own.

  1. Have child lie on their back. Use a massage oil, such as olive or coconut, which are generally safe for children. (Always do a patch test on the inside of the arm to be sure.) Pour a small amount of oil on your palm and rub both palms together, to make sure your hands are warm.
  2. Massage up the right side of the stomach, then across the top of the stomach below the rib cage, then down the left side. This can help move gas bubbles along the intestines.
  3. A circle should be completed no less than twice, but can be done a few more times. Pelvic area does not need to be massaged.

If this approach does not provide relief, use the "I Love U" massage pattern:

I: Using the pads of the fingers, stroke down from the bottom of the left ribs to the top of the left hip. Do this stroke at least 10 times.

L: Stroke from the bottom of the right ribs, over to the bottom of the left ribs and then down to the top of the left hip. You have made an L shape with your stroke. Do this stroke at least 10 times.

U: stroke from the top of the right hip up to the bottom of the right ribs, over to the bottom of the left ribs and then down to the top of the left hip. You have made a U shape with your stroke. Do this stroke at least 10 times.

Tummy massage on a baby or young child should take 5-10 minutes and can be performed periodically throughout the day or as recommended by your physician. An older child performing massage on their own might need 15-20 minutes, depending upon the method being used and until they have mastered the technique. You might feel gas bubbles or lumpiness under your fingertips – this is to be expected. However, you should not feel hard lumps nor should the child experience pain with gentle but firm pressure. If there is pain with touch, make an appointment with your holistic health practitioner.

References

Guiding Principles

The information offered by this newsletter is presented for educational purposes. Nothing contained within should be construed as nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet or fitness program. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information contained within this newsletter.

October Newsletter 2019

October Newsletter 2019

October 2019 Edition

What's New

The state with the highest incidence of breast cancer is Massachusetts. According the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are 139.5 new cases per 100,000 female residents in the state. Meanwhile, the state with the lowest incidence of breast cancer is Arkansas with 101.9 new cases per 100,000 female residents.

Breast Thermography: An Important Adjunct Test for Detecting Breast Cancer

The moment a woman feels a lump in her breast is likely one of the most frightening moments in her life. What could it be? What if it's cancer? Every year in the U.S., one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die from the disease. Early detection is key to surviving breast cancer.

The gold standard for early detection is a mammogram. However, aside from the discomfort of the test, there can be serious inconsistencies in the results: mammography can generate both false-negative results (not detecting cancer that is actually present) and false-positive results (detecting cancer that is not actually present). If a test is false-positive, the result could be overdiagnosis and a woman going through unnecessary treatment. If the test is false-negative, that could result in a woman not receiving treatment for an existing cancer. That's why an imaging test known as breast thermography has become a valid and important adjunct test (not a replacement test) for detecting breast cancer. A less invasive test, breast thermography is a secondary test authorized by the FDA to be used only as a risk assessment tool in addition to - but not in place of - mammography. What is Thermography?

Breast thermography (also known as Digital Infrared Imaging-DII) is a 15-minute, pain-free, non-invasive test that shows the structure of your breast while measuring heat emanating from the surface of your body. Changes in skin temperature are the result of increased blood flow. This is important because even early-stage cancers need a blood supply to bring in nutrients to feed the cancer.

Because temperature change shows up as colors brighter than those of healthy cells, thermography can identify precancerous or cancerous cells earlier and with less ambiguous results. Studies indicate that an abnormal thermography test is 10 times more significant as a future risk indicator for breast cancer than having a family history of breast cancer. When to Test (may vary based on personal and family medical history)

  • Age 20: Initial thermogram
  • Age 20 – 29: Thermogram every 3 years
  • Age 30 and over: Thermogram annually
Is it Right for Me?

Thermography is not suitable for women who have very large or fibrocystic breasts, are using hormone replacement treatment, have had cosmetic breast surgery, or are nursing or pregnant. Consult with your holistic physician to determine if breast thermography is a good option for you.

References

Food for Thought. . .

"The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today." - H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Red Cabbage, Green cabbage, Chinese cabbage: Oh, my!

Some folks might be surprised to learn that cabbage is not in the same category as lettuce, despite their similar appearance. Cabbage is cousin to kale and broccoli and is part of the cruciferous vegetable family. Varying in color from pale green to red and purple, cabbage contains many nutrients that offer health benefits such as protecting against cancer, lowering risk for heart disease, and supporting immunity and digestion.

Researchers have identified 20 different flavonoids and 15 different phenols in cabbage, all of which have antioxidant activity in the human body. These plant nutrients protect the cells from damage (e.g., reducing inflammation), and are linked to a decreased risk of chronic illness. Cabbage also contains a sulfur-compound called sulforophane, which has been shown to have cancer preventive properties. A study conducted at the University of Missouri, looked at another chemical found in cabbage, called apigenin. In lab studies, apigenin was found to decrease tumor size when cells from an aggressive form of breast cancer were implanted in mice. More research is required to determine if apigenin has the potential to be used as a non-toxic treatment for cancer in humans. Lastly, red-purple cabbage contains the powerful antioxidant anthocyanin that bolsters protection for red blood cells.

Oh My is right: there are so many kinds of cabbage, with so many ways to protect your health. Be sure to include this cruciferous vegetable in your weekly diet. When buying cabbage, select one that is heavy for its size. The leaves should be tightly wrapped, as loose, limp leaves indicate an older cabbage. Store cabbage in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Cabbage can be eaten raw, or steamed, boiled, roasted, sautéed, or stuffed for side dishes or entrees. (If you smell a sulfurous odor while cooking, then the cabbage is overcooked.) Add shredded cabbage near the end of cooking to soups or stews or stir-fry dishes; add it to fresh green salads or chop and drizzle with herbs and olive oil.

References

Parmesan Garlic Cabbage

Turn cabbage-haters into cabbage-lovers with this tasty side dish. The key to transforming what is often perceived as a bland vegetable into a delectable dish is a matter of seasoning selection. You can't go wrong with parmesan and garlic, that's for sure! Turn this side dish into a salad by adding fresh cherry or plum tomatoes. Partner it with eggs, a serving of chicken or your favorite vegan entree, for a more filling meal. Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 red onion finely sliced
  • 7 handfuls shredded green cabbage
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup shredded parmesan
  • Salt and pepper
Preparation
  1. Heat the oil in a large, covered skillet over high heat.
  2. Add garlic and onion - cook for 2 minutes until onion is translucent.
  3. Add cabbage and cook until wilted.
  4. Stir through parmesan, season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve!

Fermented Wheat Germ Extract (Avemar pulvis)

Fermented Wheat Germ Extract (FWGE) is derived from a patented industrial fermentation of wheat germ. It was formulated by a scientist from Hungary, where it is approved as a "medical nutriment" for cancer patients. FWGE contains a number of substances that are believed to have a positive cancer fighting effect. Two of these compounds, both a type of quinone, have shown "cancer fighting" effects in lab and human studies. In addition to halting the growth of cancer cells, some studies have shown the quinones found in FWGE might interfere or halt the migration of certain types of cancer cells.

FWGE has been studied as both a complement used alongside cancer drugs and as a stand alone nutritional supplement. Findings indicate that in both populations of people there was significant improvement. Those who opted for conventional cancer treatment and those who chose a different treatment route both benefited from the addition of FWGE.

While this news holds promise for FWGE as a non-toxic complementary therapy in cancer treatment, more research is needed to determine:

  • What are the physiological action(s) by which FGWE works in the human body?
  • For whom FGWE is a safe and effective option?
  • Which types of cancer FGWE can be used against?
  • What are the side effects and risk for interactions with other health conditions, as well as other herbs, supplements, or prescription drugs?

There is currently a discussion happening in the scientific world about whether FWGE should remain classified as a nutritional supplement or be elevated to a cancer drug. More research is needed before this can be determined. FWGE is typically dosed as a powder in water and the dose varies by individual. As with any new therapy, a discussion should be had with your holistic doctor before using FWGE.

References

The Cancer Fighting Properties of Green Tea

When it comes to tea, the more pure the leaf in your brew, the better the health benefits. Green Tea (Camellia sinensis) leaves, which do not go through an oxidation process, have the richest nutrient profile among all varieties of tea. Research shows that people who drink four or more cups of green tea each day have a lower overall risk of cancer and women who frequently drink green tea have a lower overall risk (or "lower overall incidence") for breast cancer.

The powerful micronutrients in green tea are called polyphenols. One type of polyphenol is EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate), which shows promise in protecting cells from cancer. Lab tests and animal studies have shown EGCG is able to inhibit an enzyme that is necessary for cancer cell growth. EGCG also has been successful as a complementary approach in cancer treatment. For example, topical EGCG provides relief from radiation-induced dermatitis experienced by women in treatment for breast cancer. (Always consult with your physician before applying any ointment to your skin before or after a radiation treatment). While promising, it's important to note that scientists are still investigating the precise mechanisms through which polyphenols such as EGCG exert their effects in the body. One such mechanism is that these compounds are powerful antioxidants that gobble up cellular debris known as free radicals. This scavenging action helps protect cells from damage that could, over time, lead to the development of cancer. While green tea, overall is well regarded among health practitioners, scientists are still pursuing clinical trials to determine if green tea consumption, as well as a dietary supplement of EGCG, may play a role in the prevention and treatment of different cancers.

When selecting tea, be aware that the quality of tea and its nutrient content is degraded by processing. To reap the benefits of tea for wellbeing, use pure, loose leaf tea for hot or iced beverages. Choose organic teas whenever possible. Before taking an EGCG supplement, consult with a holistic health physician to ensure the product is pure and contains the appropriate potency for your health concerns.

References

Breast Self-Exam for a Woman's "Bosom Buddies"

It's important for a woman to be familiar with the look and feel of her own breasts. Performing a breast self-exam (BSE) at least once per month is the best way to detect a lump or other abnormality. It is best to do a BSE the same time every month. For women who are menstruating, choose a time in the month after your cycle completes.

A BSE should be done lying down, or in the shower. You want to feel relaxed, not tense, as you are performing the BSE. Follow these steps:

  1. Use the pads of your fingers. Use the pads (not the tips) of your three middle fingers for the exam.
  2. Use different pressure levels. Your goal is to feel different depths of the breast by using different levels of pressure to feel all the breast tissue.
  3. Take your time. Hurrying through the process could cause you to miss something.
  4. Follow a pattern. Don't move randomly around the breast. Instead, move your fingers in a path around the breast. Also, check the area beneath the armpits.
  5. Look at your beautiful bosom. Women should also look at their breasts in the mirror straight on, as well as while bending forward at the waist. Notice if there is any asymmetry.

If you are uncertain about how to proceed, ask your physician for a demonstration. Also, this video will help you learn how to do a BSE correctly when at home. What You Might Find During a BSE

For women who are menstruating, breast tissue undergoes changes at various points throughout the monthly menstrual cycle. So you may find lumpy areas or changes in your breast that are completely normal. For all women, breasts often feel different in different places. A firm ridge along the bottom of each breast is normal, for instance. The look and feel of your breasts will change as you age. Finally, diet can alter breast tissue, for example, a diet high in red meat can increase the fibrous feel of the breasts. Contact Your Doctor If You Notice . . .

  • A hard lump or knot anywhere in the breast tissue or under the arm
  • Changes in the way your breasts look or feel, including thickening or prominent fullness that is different from the surrounding tissue
  • Dimples, puckers, bulges or ridges on the skin of your breast
  • A recent change in a nipple to become pushed in (inverted) instead of sticking out
  • Redness, warmth, swelling or pain
  • Itching, scales, sores or rashes
  • Bloody nipple discharge

Your doctor may recommend additional tests and procedures to investigate breast changes, including a clinical breast exam, mammogram, thermography, and ultrasound. Additional Resources

How to Check Breasts for Lumps (video).

References

Guiding Principles

The information offered by this newsletter is presented for educational purposes. Nothing contained within should be construed as nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet or fitness program. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information contained within this newsletter.

September Newsletter 2019

September 2019 Edition

What’s New

Before pregnancy, a woman’s uterus is typically the size of an orange. By the third trimester, it can be about the size of a watermelon. In fact, it can expand up to 500 times normal size during pregnancy.

Healthy Pregnancy – for Mom and Baby

During pregnancy, a woman’s body creates an environment in which an entire human being is formed. What could be more amazing than that? As the new mom-to-be strives to protect the integrity of the womb in which her baby will develop, she needs to make good lifestyle choices and commit to high-quality food and nutrients. Here’s some important information to help achieve those goals.

Pregnancy Nutrition Essentials

Daily requirements for macronutrients (proteins, fats, carbohydrates), vitamins, and minerals change dramatically in pregnancy and are crucial to the health of mom and her developing baby. For most normal-weight pregnant women, the right amount of calories is about . . .

  • 1,800 calories per day during the first trimester.
  • 2,200 calories per day during the second trimester.
  • 2,400 calories per day during the third trimester.

These calories should be acquired from a variety of whole grains, fruits and veggies as well as eggs, lean cuts of meat and poultry, and low-mercury fish, such as tilapia or salmon. (Vegetarians and vegans will have dietary considerations to discuss with their holistic doctor in order to ensure they meet their caloric and nutrient needs.) During pregnancy it’s particularly important that food is sourced organic, verified non-GMO and antibiotic-free to ensure chemicals are not passed along to the baby.

Tips For Meeting Pregnancy Nutrient Requirements

Increase Protein. Pregnant women need 75 – 100 grams of protein daily, Good sources include: fully cooked fish, lean meat, poultry, nuts, legumes (black beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.), plain yogurt with added fresh fruit, and tempeh. If you find it challenging to eat high-quality sources of protein, speak with your doctor about using protein powder to make smoothies (or to add to yogurt or oatmeal).

Choose Healthy Fats. Consuming adequate fats is vital to baby’s organ and brain development. Focus on healthy sources such as avocado, nuts and nut oils, olive oil, coconut, eggs, low-fat plain yogurt with fresh fruit.

Snack on Veggies and Fruits. Eating a rainbow of fruits and veggies helps curb cravings, boost energy, and provide essential fiber, vitamins and minerals (calcium, vitamin C, folic acid, and others). Ideally, eat veggies raw or steamed; also consider fermented veggies.

Drink More Water. A woman’s blood volume increases during pregnancy and her body has to supply fluid to replenish the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby. Drinking water is important for hydration levels and may help with morning sickness and prevent constipation. The amount of water needed varies by activity level, climate, food consumption; an average rule of thumb is to drink 1/2 body weight in ounces.

Go for Whole Grains. The carbohydrates provided by whole grains are your body’s primary source of energy. Grains also provide B vitamins and fiber. Ancient Grains (such as millet, flax, farro, oat, and quinoa) are an excellent source of whole grains. Choose fresh-baked breads; opt for whole grain crackers, pasta, and brown rice.

Consume Fermented Foods. Fermented foods are a potent source of probiotics, which are essential to powering up the mucosal immune system in your digestive tract and producing antibodies to pathogens. Both are key to maintaining vibrant health for mom and baby. Your holistic doctor may recommend a probiotic in lieu of fermented foods.

Eat Smaller Meals. Morning sickness, special dietary needs, and other factors can alter the food a woman can tolerate during pregnancy. Many women find eating smaller meals, more frequently, is easier for digestion and managing nausea.

Avoid Chemicals. Chemicals in processed foods, caffeine, and sugar can affect the development of the baby’s brain and nervous system, as well as immunity and gut health. Try to avoid (or significantly reduce) your intake of processed/packaged foods, caffeine, and sugary snacks. If you need a caffeinated beverage, opt for green tea over soda and if you drink coffee, keep it to one cup per day.

Consider Supplements. A prenatal vitamin containing folate is beneficial to many women during pregnancy and many holistic doctors recommend starting it a minimum of three months preconception. A number of other supplements are considered important for mom and developing baby, based on individual needs. Consult your holistic doctor to determine what is safe and best for you.

The Integrity of the Womb

Many chemicals and medicines have unknown risks for the fetus, which can result in birth defects. To protect the integrity of the womb, it’s important for a woman to avoid use of over-the-counter and prescription medicines that are not essential for a health condition. Of course, recreational drugs, alcohol, and smoking are to be avoided. Finally, herbs (botanical medicines) and essential oils should be cleared by your holistic physician before use during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

These tips skim the surface of making healthy choices during pregnancy. To address your unique needs, speak with your holistic doctor, obstetrician or midwife about what is best for you and baby during pregnancy.

References

Food for Thought. . .

“Life is always a rich and steady time when you are waiting for something to happen or to hatch.” – E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

Oh, SO Yummy! Homemade Dark Chocolate

Finally, a homemade dark chocolate recipe that will make your tastebuds sing in delight! Made without artificial ingredients, it’s the ideal treat for any health conscious person who enjoys an occasional sweet indulgence. You can adjust the intensity of sweetness to your preferred taste, and add-in options are endless – berries (fresh or dried, without added sugar), nuts or seeds.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

Gently melt coconut oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir cocoa powder, honey, and vanilla extract into melted oil until well blended. Pour mixture into a candy mold or pliable tray. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

References

Folate: An Important Nutrient for Pregnant Women

You’ve probably heard that folic acid is an important nutrient during pregnancy. However, there’s a misconception around this. And it’s an important one: What you really want is bioactive folate (aka Vitamin B-9). Folic acid is actually a synthetic form of folate and the body has difficulty converting it into the folate needed during pregnancy. Folate is essential during the first several weeks for the development of genetic material, as well as throughout a baby’s growth in the womb.

Low folate levels in pregnant women have been linked to birth abnormalities, such as neural tube defects (NTD), which affect the brain and spinal cord, and congenital heart conditions. While not every type of NTD is linked with low-folate levels (some have other biological causes), the majority can be prevented by taking 400 mcg of folate daily.

The best way to acquire folate is through a diet rich in whole foods, including asparagus, avocados, Brussels sprouts, and leafy greens such as spinach and lettuce. It’s not ideal to rely on foods labeled as being “fortified with folic acid.” A dietary supplement (typically 400 mcg) may be necessary in order to ensure sufficient levels during pregnancy. Some women have a MTHFR genetic mutation which requires a special form of folate called 5-Methyl-tetrahydrofolate. If you have questions about the role of or form of folate you need during pregnancy, consult your naturopathic doctor or holistic physician for guidance.

References

What Every Pregnant Woman Should Know about Herbs

Because herbs come from nature, many people believe they’re safe to take at any time. But, that’s simply not true. In fact, many herbs should not be taken while trying to conceive or during pregnancy and post-partum, while breastfeeding.

The constituents of plants – phytochemicals and other active compounds – can interact with hormones that circulate during the prenatal period and as the fetus is developing. Some herbs can stimulate the uterus to contract. And, if you have other health conditions for which medication is prescribed, there is potential for a drug-herb interaction. Also, once the baby is born, just like with prescription medicines, some herbs can get into breast milk and passed on to the baby. Even if you’ve taken a certain herbal medicine prior to pregnancy, this does not make that herb safe for you to use when pregnant or breastfeeding.

Here are a few of the many herbs that are not safe to use during pregnancy:

Aloe. If you’ve taken aloe vera juice for gastrointestinal symptoms, you should not continue to use it during pregnancy. Internal use of aloe stimulates bowel function, but may also stimulate uterine contractions and cause a drop in blood sugar.

Goldenseal. Often recommended by herbalists for stomach aches, to support digestion and to treat hay fever, goldenseal can cause uterine contractions.

Licorice. Commonly recommended for gastrointestinal complaints, as well as sore throat and cough, licorice is contraindicated for pregnancy because it contains a compound called glycyrrhizin that can deplete potassium and raise blood pressure. There are products, such as Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice (DGL), that contain the benefit of licorice but which have had the glycyrrhizin removed.

Sage. A chemical found in sage called thujone can bring on a woman’s menstrual period, which could cause a miscarriage. Postpartum, sage is not recommended because it can reduce a woman’s milk supply. Avoid using sage essential oil, as well as drinking tea with sage. As a cooking herb, sage is safe to use.

Keep in mind, there are many herbs for which there is no safety data because research cannot be conducted while a woman is pregnant; animal studies, if conducted, may not be applicable to human pregnancy and breastfeeding. While there are many herbs regarded as safe to use at various times during a pregnancy, it’s imperative that you not make such decisions on your own. Your best resource for choosing herbs during pregnancy is a consultation with a holistic physician who has been trained in botanical medicine and women’s health.

References

Holistic Therapies for a Healthy Pregnancy

Sep19_Therapy_img.jpg

Pregnancy brings forth emotional ups and downs along with physical shifts that take place within a woman’s body. It’s a time that is equally exciting and exhausting, which makes it so important for a woman to focus on self-care for her mind and body. The following activities support a healthy, active pregnancy while helping to reduce stress and anxiety that can often comes with bringing a new life into the world.

Keep Moving. Aerobic exercise enhances circulation, facilitates bowel motility, reduces stress, supports restful sleep, and strengthens the cardiovascular and muscular systems. Taking moderately-paced 30-minute walks, twice a day is a good start for most women. If it’s been a while since you’ve engaged in daily exercise, check with your physician about the best way to start. If you’ve been exercising regularly or are an athlete, you may need to modify your usual routine to prevent injury and reduce the risk of strain on the pelvic muscles that support the uterus. Whatever your routine, it’s good for both mind and body to spend time outdoors in nature,

Strengthen Body and Mind with Yoga. Yoga, which is meditation in motion, can be practiced throughout your pregnancy, with modifications made as your belly grows. Yoga strengthens and stretches the muscles, including those that support the pelvis. Specific breathing patterns used in yoga help strengthen the respiratory muscles needed when the time comes for delivering the baby. Be sure your instructor is certified to teach yoga for pregnancy.

Sleep Well. There will be lots of sleepless nights as you get closer to delivery and once the baby arrives, so make sure you are getting adequate rest during pregnancy. Restful sleep supports immunity, enhances resilience to daily stressors, and supports the development of the fetus. Try to keep routine times for lights-out each night and wake-up each morning. Sleeping on the left-side seems to improve sleep in pregnant women. If you have difficulty sleeping through the night, try taking a brief nap at least once during the day.

Get “Ah” Massage. Prenatal and pregnancy massage helps nourish the muscles and organs, lowers stress, and reduces swelling that occurs during pregnancy. It can also help reduce back and foot pain, improve sleep, reduce emotional angst that can arise as the due date approaches. Look for a licensed massage therapist who has been trained in therapeutic massage for pregnancy.

While all of these modalities are considered safe during pregnancy, every woman is different. Please check with your physician before starting or changing your exercise or self-care routine to make sure the modality is appropriate for you and baby.

References

June Newsletter 2019

June Newsletter 2019

Move Well, Move Often – It May Save Your Life

Move well and move often: it’s smart advice for maintaining a strong, healthy body from head-to-toe, inside and out. With mounting evidence of the ill-effects associated with sitting too much, moving well has become essential for living well. 

The way your body moves (functions) is in direct relation to its form (structure) and vice versa. To get a better understanding of this relationship, let’s talk cars…

Imagine you drive a beat-up VW Bug. Your little Bug isn’t designed to accelerate quickly. It doesn’t handle turns with finesse. The way your VW Bug moves is dictated by its structure. Now, let’s put you in a Porsche. You can cruise in and out of traffic with the smoothness of silk. This car handles turns better than a rollercoaster. It accelerates like a rocket and can practically stop on a dime. But if you don’t perform routine maintenance, all that beautiful form is for naught and your Porsche no longer functions well. Form determines function and how well you care for function affects form. Now, back to your body…

Our body’s innate intelligence creates movement patterns that are in dynamic play between form and function, influenced by the type of care we give our body. This complex interaction includes the skeleton, connective tissues like ligaments and tendons, muscles, joints, our breathing, heart function and posture.

Sitting is Killing Us

We sit about 14 hours a day: at meals, in traffic, at school or work, in front of devices and TVs. Prolonged sitting can increase our risk for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. It’s a primary culprit in these health problems:

Chronic back, hip and neck pain: related to weakened core muscles and shortened ligaments connecting the hips and thighs.

Shallow breathing (reduced respiratory capacity): related to compression of the respiratory muscles while sitting and tightness in the accessory muscles around the rib cage, shoulders and neck.

Gastrointestinal issues and indigestion: related to reduced circulation to the gut.

Low energy level, depressed mood: related to lack of engagement of systems that produce hormones and other substances that elevate mood.

But, I go to the gym…

Even if you exercise at a gym, or fitness walk for an hour each day, you’re still sitting too much for that one hour to make a real difference. Leisurely, periodic movement is critical to lowering your risk for chronic health problems and even early death. Some ideas:

  • Every 30 minutes, stand/walk for about 10 minutes.
  • Stand while talking on the phone, using a device, or watching television.
  • Desk worker: Try a standing desk or improvise with a high table or counter; invest in a specialized treadmill desk.
  • Walk with colleagues for meetings instead of sitting in a conference room.
  • Once an hour, stand and breathe deeply for five minutes.
  • Strengthen and stretch with standing yoga poses.
  • Try apps designed to remind you to move and stretch during work hours.

Enjoy the benefits of getting up and moving, which include . . . 

  • Burning additional calories, which can lead to weight loss and increased energy.
  • Better digestion, the result of light movement after meals.
  • Support for the respiratory system’s role in helping the body remove waste and toxins; movement gives the muscles “room to breathe” placing less stress on joints, muscle and ligaments.

If you have chronic pain or other problems associated with too much sitting, make an appointment with a holistic health provider, such as a chiropractor or physical therapist, who can perform a thorough postural and biomechanical assessment. 

References

Food for Thought. . . 

“There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Your Body, On Water

Athletic or not, we all need water. And plenty of it. Hydration affects how our body works in daily activities, how prone it is to injury, and how well it recovers from injury. 

Water facilitates hundreds of critical functions in the body, many of which are essential for maintaining good muscle tone, joint mobility, and even managing pain. Specific to the musculoskeletal system, water helps:

  • transport nutrients and oxygen in the bloodstream (which muscles need to properly contract and recover).
  • flush out waste and toxins (which plays a role in reducing muscle soreness).
  • lubricate and reduce friction in the joints.
  • facilitate muscle contraction.

Dehydrated muscles and joints are prone to:

  • Cramps: resulting from imbalances in the electrolytes needed for muscle contraction.
  • Cartilage wear and tear: joints aren’t receiving nutrients needed for maintenance and repair after injury. 
  • Friction in the joints: dehydration can deprive your cartilage of the water it needs to maintain cushion, which can lead to achy or “creaking” joints and osteoarthritis (OA). 
  • Pain: dehydrated muscle tissue can’t flush out waste products or toxins that build up from exertion, injury or other stress.

Are You Dehydrated?

Dehydration means your body lacks the water required to function. You can become dehydrated if you don’t replace fluids lost through exercise, from exposure to the elements, or from vomiting/diarrhea. Excessive caffeine consumption leads to dehydration.

Your daily water requirement depends on age, gender, activity level, body composition, health status, and climate. The color of your urine isn’t an accurate guide since certain foods, supplements, and medications change urine color. To ensure sufficient water intake, drink one-half (1/2) of your body weight in ounces. Example: If you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 ounces of water each day. 

Dehydration can quickly become a life-threatening emergency. Signs include:

Mild Dehydration: dry mouth, irritability, headaches and muscle cramps.

Moderate Dehydration: dizziness, clumsy, exhausted, racing heartbeat. You may be unable to urinate, stand, or focus your eyes. 

Severe Dehydration: the function of vital organs is impaired. Without water, you will enter a coma and die.

Put Down those Sugary Sports Drinks. Here are Sweeter Ways to Get Hydrated

  • Go Coconut. Coconut water is rich in natural electrolytes. While not scientifically proven, theoretically it can boost hydration and you may enjoy the flavor more than plain water.
  • Infuse It! Add fresh or frozen slices of orange, lemon, or lime to your water. Try frozen berries or melon; also try cucumber, mint, ginger or parsley. 
  • Get Fizzy. Bubbly (carbonated) spring water hits the spot on a hot day. Choose varieties without added sweetener. 
  • Have an Herbal. Iced or hot, caffeine-free and herbal teas count toward your water intake and support healthy hydration.
  • Fruit & Veg Up! Many fruits and veggies have a high water and nutrient content: cantaloupe, honeydew, strawberries, watermelon, pineapple, peaches, cucumber, lettuce and celery. 

For more ideas on hydrating to support a healthy body, talk with your holistic health practitioner.

References

Flexibili-Tea For Your Joints & Muscles

Flexibili-Tea is an aromatic infusion of herbs known to support the health of muscles, bones and connective tissues. In the recipe below we use three herbs.

First, Nettle Leaf, which has a mellow, green tea type flavor that is both nourishing and invigorating. It’s rich in calcium, iron, protein and antioxidants. Second, Horsetail adds robust body to the infusion, similar to what you might find with a strong green or black tea. Rich in soluble silica, and readily absorbed by the body, Horsetail supports the regeneration of bones, cartilage and other connective tissue while improving circulation to the extremities. Finally, we use Marshmallow, which has an earthy flavor. This herb contains an abundance of mucilage, which soothes inflamed tissues and accelerates the healing of our tissues.

If you can’t locate these herbs loose at a quality health food shop, buy individual tea bags and boil them together. To sweeten the tea, use stevia or try dried organic coconut crystals. 

Ingredients

  • 20g Horsetail, Equisetum arvense
  • 20g Nettle leaf, Urtica dioica
  • 20g Marshmallow leaf, Althea officinalis

Preparation

Cover in 1 pint/600ml boiling water. Strain after 15 minutes. Drink throughout day.

References

Glucosamine, Chondroitin Sulfate & MSM for Joint Pain

Glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin are structural components of cartilage, the tough tissue that cushions joints. Both are produced naturally in the body and are available as dietary supplements. Since production and structure of cartilage decline with age, it is thought that boosting the availability of glucosamine and chondroitin may play a role in managing the symptoms of osteoarthritis, which destroys cartilage in the joints, causing inflammation and pain.

Another supplement often recommended for joint and bone health, and which also fights inflammation, is MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane). MSM is a highly bioavailable form of sulfur that is easy for the body to absorb. For people who have difficulty tolerating glucosamine, MSM is an excellent option. It should be used in combination with glucosamine, or where medically necessary, with chondroitin as well. 

These supplements are most often used in combination. Short-term studies have shown good results for people with moderate arthritis, but more long-term studies are needed. A number of other studies looking at pain reduction are being conducted both in the US and abroad. Results currently indicate that it may help some people and not others.

Be aware that glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin are derived from shellfish and should not be taken if you are allergic to shellfish. Vegan forms of the supplements are also available. If you take a medicine called warfarin, you should not use glucosamine and chondroitin. Additionally, there are many forms of glucosamine – only glucosamine sulfate has been studied for arthritis treatment. Speak with your holistic health care provider about whether these supplements are an appropriate option for you.

References

Be Strong & Beautiful with Horsetail 

A cousin of the fern, Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) is a flowerless plant that contains 5-8% silica and silicon acids. The body uses silica in the production and repair of connective tissue and helps accelerate the healing of broken bones. Silica is also necessary to maintain and repair the nails, hair, skin, eyes and cell walls. It’s a common ingredient in hair and skin care products and nutritional supplements. Silica is more abundant in our tissues when we are younger, but declines with age.

Horsetail is available as a dried herb, often prepared in capsule or infusion form, as well as a liquid extract and tincture. It requires storage in sealed containers away from sunlight and heat. Horsetail contains traces of nicotine and is not recommended for young children. In addition to the Equistetum arvense type of Horsetail, there is another species called Equisetum palustre that is poisonous to horses. To be safe, you should never take that form of horsetail.

There there are many other medicinal uses for horsetail — each with unique dosing based on the condition being treated and other individual variables. To ensure the potency and quality of the herb for your health needs, talk with your holistic health practitioner.

References

Biomechanical Physical Therapy Assessment

Biomechanics: contrary to popular belief, it’s not just about sports or exercise performance. It’s about how each of us moves our body, whether sitting, standing, walking, running, dancing, or playing tag with the kids. In humans and animals alike, the laws of biomechanics apply to the structure and function of the entire body, including the cellular level. 

If there’s dysfunction in the biomechanics of your movement, you run the risk of overuse injury, repetitive motion injury, and structural misalignments that can affect the muscles and skeleton, and even organ systems. Pain, tension, stiffness and swelling are usually signs that you’ve got faulty biomechanics. 

Physical therapists (PT) use biomechanical analysis to make a specialized study of how you move and how your movement affects your physical health. It’s a critical analysis of all your moving parts, not just an injured area. 

What to Expect

During a biomechanical analysis, your PT will 

  • ask about aches or pains you may be having, 
  • review your medical or injury history,
  • ask what goals you have for becoming pain free, stronger, more agile, etc. 

During the assessment, the PT will take measurements of joints and will observe movement patterns as you sit, stand, reach, twist or do whatever your body requires to accomplish daily tasks important to your quality of living. 

While observing you, the PT is gaining an understanding of 

  • which body parts and tissues are moving too much or not enough.
  • where muscles are tense or tight. 
  • which joints are “stuck” or hypermobile. 
  • where you have imbalances in muscle strength and joint range of motion. 

All of this information is used to develop a plan of care to get you moving in correct alignment with as little (or no) pain as possible and with less risk for injury.

You need not be injured (nor do you have to be an elite athlete) to benefit from a visit to a physical therapist. While you do not need a referral or prescription for therapy, if you use medical insurance, you will need a referral from your primary care doctor for part or all of it to be covered. Having a biomechanical analysis while you’re feeling good can identify muscle imbalances, poor posture, and faulty movement patterns that put you at risk for injury. 

References