Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Surfin' the net 2009

How to make a New Year's resolution? Make BIG changes, act like the person you aspire to be.

High blood sugar leads to cognitive decline. And exercise can help, so move, move, move!

The new yoga? Mindfulness without judgement.

20 Healthy foods under $1 Broccoli, beets, and squash, oh my!
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Recycle, reuse: Dish scrub

Mesh bagImage by hownowdesign via FlickrImageI wish I could remember where first I saw this idea so I could give credit where it is due. A quick and easy way to make a dish scrubber is to take a sponge and slip it into a plastic mesh bag, the type onions come in. Tie the excess into a knot and cut the mesh. Instant dish scrubber!

Watch out Martha, here I come. Oh...I think I got my idea from Martha.

For the advanced DIYer, Girl on the Rocks knitted a dish scrubber. You can check it out here.
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Super handy guide

Cold, winter air brings dry, cracked skin. Luckily for us, The Green Guide has just published their hand and body lotion buying guide. An easy to use resource, it provides information on ingredients to look for and offer other tips to keeping your skin smooth and silky in the winter months. Be sure to click on the tabs explaining the environmental impact of moisturizers as well as the product comparison chart, which shows whether or not the products have been certified as USDA organic, Leaping Bunny certified, or are Dirty-Dozen Free.

Another tip from The Green Guide is to not rely on terms such as fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, and cruelty-free. These labels are not defined by the government or by independent third-parties (such as Environmental Working Group or Leaping Bunny) so manufacturers don't need to follow any specific guidelines in order to include these labels on their products.

They also recommend drinking plenty of water, avoiding long, hot showers, and moisturizing after bathing. I would include adding good oils to your diet (and eliminate bad trans fats). Eating olives, walnuts, ground flax seeds, cold water fish such as salmon or sardines, and drizzling extra-virgin olive oil over your favorite foods are all good ways of moisturizing from the inside out!

A favorite and inexpensive trick for smoother feet and hands is applying a thin layer of castor oil to cracked fingers or heels and then putting on a pair of gloves or socks overnight. Take care as castor oil can stain, so have those socks ready to slip on so as not to leave a trail of oily footprints behind.
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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pumpkin Pancakes

Eating wheat- or gluten-free doesn't have to be a challenge. There are plenty of products available, at local and national grocery stores, to help make the transition in your kitchen. Ideally, the breads, cakes, and pastas in the diet get replaced with whole (gluten-free) grains, and fresh fruit and veggies, but how does one satisfy that comfort-food craving? Normally wouldn't recommend baking using mixes but I find gluten-free mixes help my busy patients "make the change."

My usual winter breakfast is oatmeal with walnuts, berries, and ground flax, but this snowy, Portland morning I woke up thinking "pancakes." Fortunately, I had a package of Trader Joe's Gluten-free Pancake and Waffle mix and some leftover pumpkin...pumpkin pancakes! I recommend the Trader Joe's mix to my gluten-free patients because it doesn't have soy or corn and many of them also avoid those two common allergens.

Make your own substitutions as needed. I used milk and butter, but the original recipe calls for water and oil.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pancakes (or Waffles)
Preheat pan or griddle.

1 package Trader Joe's Gluten-free Pancake and Waffle Mix
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
(can instead use equivalent amount of premixed pumpkin spice)
Using a fork, combine dry ingredients in large bowl.

1/2 can pumpkin (half a 15oz can)
2 Tbsp melted butter or oil
2 eggs
Mix together in small bowl. Add to dry ingredients and blend well.

Slowly add in
1 - 1 1/4 cup milk (or dairy-free substitute or water)
to ingredients, until good consistency (less liquid for waffles or thicker pancakes).

Prevent sticking to pan by using oil or butter. Pour batter onto pan, you decide on the pancake size! Flip pancakes when the bottoms are golden brown.

I sprinkled pecans onto the batter before I flipped the pancakes. Pecans can also be folded into the entire mix, if desired.

Serve with your favorite pancake topping – maple syrup, honey, butter, jam...enjoy!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Gluten-free Pumpkin Scones

Although it's hard for me to admit (okay, not so hard), I am a huge fan of Starbucks pumpkin scones, but this whole 'avoid wheat' thing has put a kabosh on indulging. Until now. This morning, waking up to a dusting of snow outside, I was inspired to bake. I grabbed a box of Gluten-Free Pantry Muffin & Scone mix from my shelf, then Googled "pumpkin scones" and found this recipe. I merged the recipe from the mix box with the Googled one (based on what I have in the kitchen) and now the almost finished product is cooling on my stove!

Gluten-free Pumpkin Scones
Preheat oven to 375°

Bag of Muffin & Scone Mix (I used Gluten-Free Pantry)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
(1/4 tsp ginger - I omitted because I don't have any)
1 stick, cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Using pastry knife or fork, cut butter into dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly, without any big chunks of butter.
Combine 1/2 can of pumpkin, 1 egg, and 3 Tbsp of buttermilk in a small bowl, then fold into well mixed dry ingredients.
Form into a ball, gently roll out on floured surface into a 1" thick rectangle. Cut into triangles, then transfer onto greased baking sheet.
Bake 15 minutes, until slightly brown.

Cinnamon spice glaze
1 c + 1 tsp powdered sugar
2 Tbsp milk
dashes of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove (sorry, didn't measure but I did use mostly cinnamon)
Brush onto cooled scones.

Since starting this post, I have eaten two—didn't even wait for the icing to harden! These pumpkin scones are much less dense than their Starbucks inspiration (which actually is a good thing) and they are a wonderful, sweet treat on this blustery, winter day.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The BEST gluten-free cookies

This past Thursday, a student on my shift brought some homemade gluten-free, chocolate chip cookies that were quite possibly the best I have tasted. I have found the problem with gluten-free baking is the product comes out too crumbly, they aren't chewy and moist. The following recipe uses nut butter and coconut flour, which helps hold the cookie together and keep its chewy goodness intact.

Anna's Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 eggs
1 1/2 c sugar
1/2 c coconut flour
1/2 c gluten-free flour (she recommended Bob's Red Mill)
1 c nut butter (cashew, almond, etc)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla

Combine above ingredients and mix well.
Stir in 10 oz chocolate chips and enough oil or water for a 'good consistency,' around 1/2 cup.

Bake for 15 minutes at 350° until just golden. Do NOT overcook!
Cool 2 minutes, then remove from baking sheet with metal spatula, placing on cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe courtesy of Anna Boyd.
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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Green Gifts that Keep on Giving

There are some of us who would find a year's membership to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program the perfect holiday gift (hint, hint), but thinking beyond the kitchen can be a challenge when it comes to eco-gift giving.

The Green Guide offers tips on green gift giving. Be sure to explore the How to Go Green links for tips on shopping for gifts such as clothing, high tech gadgets, and toys.

The Daily Muse email from lead me to Global Girlfriend, an online, fair-trade boutique featuring eco-friendly gifts made by women, providing them with economic opportunities they might not have otherwise. Whether it's Thistle Farms Moisturizing Body Balm or a yoga mat bag made from recycled rice bags, artisans from all over the world learn craft and business skills while creating unique gifts benefiting themselves and others.
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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Organic News

• Dr. Alan Greene ate exclusively organic food for three years, the amount of time the Department of Agriculture reports it takes an animal to be certified organic. A California pediatrician, Dr. Greene reported feeling more energetic and less ill since changing over to his all organic diet. Eating less meat balanced out the costs of buying veggies at farmers' markets and CSAs, but I'm thinking even though eating organic can be more expensive, the long term savings on healthcare makes it all worth while.

• My new favorite site, Treehugger, talks about the seven foods you must eat organic. I'd like to add to the list and include all dairy, eggs, and meat. If it's got fat, it's gotta be organic. Fat is where all the bad stuff is stored, the pesticides, the antibiotics, the toxins.

• My other new favorite site, ShopOrganic, is an Arizona based company that specializes in organic products for not just the kitchen, but the entire home. Check out their special diet sections, they even carry gluten-free and kosher supplements!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Become a fan!

Blogger has a new feature that allows you to follow the blogs you read most often. Use the "FOLLOW THIS BLOG" link on the top right hand column and stay up-to-date on the latest entries from Holistica Naturopathic.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Grateful for leftovers

Tired of traditional turkey leftovers? Turkey soup, turkey sandwiches, maybe even a turkey quesadilla? My favorite way to prepare leftovers is to layer everything into a casserole dish, then top with leftover mashed potatoes...Thanksgiving Shepherd's Pie! Check out my inspiration on

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has always been a favorite holiday in our house because it revolves around food, friends, and family. For many years, my Thanksgiving tradition has been to wake up early to prepare the meal while watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (and later the National Dog Show). This year I will be preparing a wheat-free dinner featuring a brined turkey, vegetarian spelt stuffing, horseradish mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables with brussels sprouts, homemade cranberry sauce, and gluten-free desserts: brownies and pumpkin cheesecake!

Here are some resources I've used this year to help prepare my Thanksgiving dinner:

New Seasons Market is where I have ordered my turkey since moving to Portland. I placed the order online, then picked up the bird on Tuesday. With each purchase you also receive a bag of potatoes and a box of broth.

Calculate your cooking time
with Butterball's Calculator and Conversion page. Just enter the weight of the turkey and it instantly calculates cooking time.
features a great article about Thanksgiving safety in the kitchen, from cleaning to cooking times.

Don't get stuffed!
At least, not if you're the turkey! According to the USDA, cooking a bird with stuffing inside not only can lead to an unevenly cooked bird but increases the risk of foodborne illnesses. My experience has been that a stuffed turkey is a dry turkey and I prefer to place herbs, carrots, and onion inside for extra flavor.

Gluten-free Pumpkin Cheesecake Adapted from this site, I just subbed Trader Joe's Gluten-free Ginger Snaps. The g-f brownies were made from a Trader Joe's mix, with added chocolate chips.

Safely store your leftovers
My favorite food storage containers are glass with plastic lids, because they don't stain and can easily go from fridge to microwave to dishwasher (just take the lid off first). If you prefer plastic, or have yet to make the change to glass, go to The Green Guide for their guide to plastic storage supplies.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Over ten years ago, I enrolled in a 200-hour Reflexology certification program at New York's Open Center. After completing the program, I was inspired to return to school and study naturopathic medicine. Reflexology is all about relieving stress by applying pressure to specific points in the feet (or hands or ears). By doing so, the body returns to a balanced state where it can heal. What a perfect way to treat the whole person...through their feet!

A couple of months ago, I was interviewed for a story in Health Magazine. The editor was looking for a doctor who uses reflexology in their practice and found me through NCNM. Well, the story is now available online!

Teaching patients is fundamental to being a doctor—naturopathic or conventional. In fact, the word "doctor" comes from the latin word "docere" or "to teach. One of the reasons I love using reflexology in my practice is I can teach my patients "homework" to work on their own feet at home. This is very empowering to many people, taking an active part in the healing process.

Check out the story, learn a little about the wonders of reflexology.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fall for Eating!

Autumn is definitely here! The cool weather reminds me of walking through the Union Square Farmer's Market in NYC on my daily commute to work, admiring the varieties of apples and squash. Buying food that is in season is not only more affordable, it is also fresher and more nutritious! When cooking, add spices such as ginger and cinnamon to your recipes to further warm you on a crisp autumn day.

Food Network - In Season Now A resource for finding out what food is in season and how to prepare it!

Local Harvest Check out this website to find farmers markets, family owned farms, and even restaurants and groceries that emphasize local, organic food.

And speaking of local, Mixed Greens is a blog out of Seattle that shares wonderful information (including recipes) on sustainable living in the Pacific Northwest. I just learned that pears are best when picked unripe, so today I need to grab a ladder and investigate the tree in my own backyard. Eat Local Northwest blogs about sustainable eating and cooking in Seattle and Anchorage (yes, Alaska).

And just for fun...
The 100 Mile Diet Local is the new organic

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Now seeing patients...

Tomorrow I start my first teaching clinic shift at the NCNM Natural Health Center. I will be supervising student clinicians as they see patients and guide them through diagnoses and treatment plans. This is a great opportunity to get affordable, integrative health care, while taking part in the education of fledgling physicians. Many patients have commented that they have never received so much attention while at a doctor's appointment than they have at NHC!

The shifts are General Medicine (acute and chronic care), incorporating my interests including preventive, performing arts, anti-aging, and integrative medicine. Treatments plans include modalities such as nutritional counseling and IVs, hydrotherapy, botanical medicine, homeopathy, flower essences, and conventional medicine. The wonderful part of naturopathic medicine is its focus on the whole person – instead of just treating a symptom, we look for and treat the cause. Naturopathic medicine offers many diverse options to approach the path to good health.

I love practicing naturopathic medicine because I can teach patients tools they can use to take charge of their own health. I first learned how beneficial this can be when I practiced reflexology. I would send clients off with 'homework' to do, showing them points on their feet they could work on to support the treatment that I gave them. The response was tremendous, and they noticed positive changes in their overall health more quickly.

In several weeks, I will be starting my own private clinic shift at NHC, so stay tuned for more information! Pretty much the same focus as my teaching shifts, my private shifts will also include reflexology as a treatment option.

For an appointment on a teaching shift, call 503-552-1551.
Wednesday 4-8pm
Thursday 4-8pm

Monday, September 1, 2008

Human Race

Yesterday I ran the Nike+Human Race 10k, the world's largest one day running event. Races were held in 25 cities across the globe. A portion of the proceeds went to one of three charities: the Lance Armstrong Foundation,, and the World Wildlife Fund.

My training for this race included running short distances and Friday noticed a tightness on the lateral aspects of my leg, in my iliotibial band. Saturday morning I went by the Natural Health Center for kinesiotaping and some racing advice from Dr. Minarik. Kinesiotaping is a method of therapeutic taping used by physical therapists, chiropractors, and physicians to help support muscles in daily activity or in rehabilitation and to increase circulation of blood and lymph. After a brief consultation with a student clinician, Dr. Minarik taped my ITB and my shins, to ward off shin splints. After the initial application, my legs instantly felt lighter. It was as if the tape was lifting my legs, defying gravity itself. I did not get black or a fancy, bright colored tape as seen at the Olympics, but a more subtle beige. He then gave me advice on staying hydrated and what and when to eat the morning of the race.

A friend lent me a water bottle carrier that strapped around my waist which supplied me with electolyte-infused water during the run. I also carried some homeopathics and my cellphone, which I used to text friends when I reached the halfway point. Cheesy, yes, but I couldn't believe I had actually run that far, I had to share!

I completed the race in 1:13'57", a full half hour faster than I originally calculated. Running with others inspired me to keep going, and I picked out certain runners to keep up with and maintain my pace. I started slow, then after the first 2.5k only slowed down up the few inclines along the course. My iPod played a carefully chosen song selection to keep me motivated. I even placed Nada Surf songs every 12-15 minutes so I could keep track of my timing. The Brooklyn-based band played the post-race concert, and even though I had just run farther than I every had in my life (and faster, too), I danced throughout the hour-long show (that's me with the ponytail at the front of the stage, to the right).

I asked one woman at the start of the race what inspired her to participate and she told me she wanted to start getting in shape as well as be a part of something big. I admit it was pretty amazing being part of such a huge event, and I am now inspired to keep running to maintain my health, help reduce stress, and inspire others to do the same.

Photograph of concert: Official Nike Running Blog

Friday, August 22, 2008

Bike Commute Challenge 2008

It's back! Register now for the 2008 Bike Commute Challenge. The Bicycle Transportation Alliance, which promotes bicycling in Oregon and SW Washington, organizes this challenge and has extensive resources on their site for anyone interested in biking, whether you're a commuter or just a weekend rider.

The challenge begins September 1st, so organize your co-workers, form a team, and sign up today! Why should I join, you ask? Well, check out their benefits page and learn how biking to work is not only good for you, but good for your employer!

Commuter workshops are available for new riders, and they're free! Topics covered include (as listed on their site):
* Safe and legal riding
* What you need to know about lights and rain gear
* Carrying stuff - including clothes, groceries and kids
* What to do about your hair
* Route planning and maps

Don't live in the OR/SW WA area? Your workplace can still register and use the BCC website, but will not be included in the final rankings or in the awards at the end of the month.

And as a side note, my alma mater and current employer, The National College of Natural Medicine, has won the bike challenge for the past two years. Way to go, NCNM!


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Keep cool!

A few more tips on how to stay cool, especially if you don't have air conditioning. I lived in New York City and Richmond, Virginia for years without air conditioning, mostly because I lived in old apartments with faulty wiring. Air conditioning + other electric appliance = blown fuse. I found several ways to stay cool on those hot, sticky, east coast summer days (and nights).

• Close windows, curtains, and shades during the day. Keep the hot sun out and the cool air in.
• When it cools off at night, open windows and position several fans to blow cool air in and hot air out. Cross ventilation is key. Ceiling and window fans work great to get air moving!
• My mom taught me a trick she learned when she was young: run cold water over your wrists. You can place a cool cloth on the back of your neck, too.
• Hang out in the basement (or any lower level room), because heat rises. I'm blogging from there right now. Usually it's way too cold down here in the rec room, but tonight I have a feeling it's gonna feel nice.
• Stay away from the beer! An icy cold alcoholic beverage might sound good right about now, but it alcohol is dehydrating.
• Use a spray bottle with water to mist yourself in front of a fan. Or use a spray bottle with a battery operated fan attached. It acts much like perspiration, cooling you off as the water evaporates from your skin.
• Public air conditioning...go to the mall. Or the public library, the movies, or a museum. Learn something new while you escape the heat.
• While it may be tempting to run through your sprinkler in your front yard, there are public water sources you can take advantage of without contributing to water waste. Check around your area for community center pools and recreation centers. In Portland, here are also public fountains that allow waders, just be sure to follow a few simple safety rules.

A few more cool things I stumbled upon this evening:
The Better Ice Cream Scoop
Watermelon salsa!

Finally, a reminder to bring your pets indoors and make sure they have plenty of water to drink. Check your local pet store for a cooling pad for your pet's bed or crate. There are a number of different brands, just use the Google to find a pet store near you. One company advertises their pad works for cooling off people as well! Here are some more hints from Martha Stewart's website to keeping your pets safe in a heat wave.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Holistica Naturopathic: the graph

Okay, this site truly is the coolness. Above is the visual interpretation of my humble little blog. Try it yourself with your favorite website.

I need to log off now or I will never go to work.

Hot and coolness

It's going to be another hot day here in the Pacific NW...over 100°! Stay cool wherever you are by staying indoors and keeping yourself hydrated. I've requested (and dispensed) advice on ways to increase water intake for those of us who tend not to drink as much as we should. Not to repeat myself (as I did in yesterday's post about healthy houseplants...I originally posted that link last year!), I will now include other ways of staying hydrated...eating!

Eat your water! Foods that contain high water content include fruits and veggies, such as watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, tomatoes, zucchini and greens like lettuce, spinach, and celery. Make a refreshing fruit soup or a delicious cold veggie soup, like gazpacho (see picture...I made that!) or chilled pea, for lunch or dinner. Serve it with a mixed green salad and add some protein like nuts, fish, or chicken.

Pretty cool, right? Here are some more cool things I found on the 'net (courtesy of Weiden+Kennedy):

The Girl Effect

Wordle! Make word cloud art.

Websites as graphs? Not sure of it's purpose, but just some more things to look at as you cool off indoors.

For more strange, behind the scenes insight into the world of advertising, check out the W+K Portland blog.

Surfin' the 'net

The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network offers information for those who are diagnosed with just allergies. Not the same as food sensitivities or intolerances, an allergic reaction produces almost immediate symptoms such as a rash, difficulty breathing, swelling of throat or tongue, even death. The FAAN even allows readers to sign up for alerts that inform of any possible allergen contamination of food, such as undeclared soy found in certain chicken products.

Healthy Houseplants I have terrible luck with growing houseplants, but perhaps I should give it another go. Every once in a while I come across articles that extol the virtues of houseplants, how they clean the air of common indoor toxins such as toluene and formaldehyde. The Green Guide (one of my favorite websites brought to you by one of the greatest magazines ever) ran an article last year that discusses just this topic.

Discovery Channel's Planet Green has a guide to green cleaning. I haven't had a chance to see if we get Planet Green on our tv, but even if it's not part of our (very basic) cable plan, the website provides some great information on green living, including travel!

Friday, August 8, 2008


Taking a few minutes a day to breathe helps to relax and reduce stress, but telling someone they need to find time to relax can sometimes create more stress! I have been looking for free, online resources for patients to use to help them relax during the work day. Finally, I've found what I've been looking for!

The Mayo Clinic offers some good advice on various relaxation techniques, including this short video that demonstrates how to meditate on a candle flame.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Saturday, August 2, 2008

In the news...

Butter is better? And so is meat? Just because it says organic, doesn't mean it's healthy? Check out the top 10 things you may not know about your diet.

That Stinks! Artificially fragranced products may contain toxic chemicals that can cause allergic reactions in some people. A study published in the Environmental Impact Assessment Review looked at products including laundry detergent, air freshener, and dryer sheets and discovered they all emit at least one toxic chemical. Find alternatives to freshening your room and your laundry.

Music as Medicine And finally, in an eight year study conducted by scientists at two British universities, experts have found rock drummers have the physical stamina of 'top athletes.' Blondie drummer Clem Burke took part in this research and has an organization dedicated to developing outreach programs targeted at 'overweight and disengaged' youth.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Stumbling along...

I recently joined StumbleUpon and am having way too much fun hitting the Stumble! button just to see what comes up next. You might guess I like websites that pertain to cooking, sustainable living, and health, and are well designed. Here are a few that I stumbled upon today:
Table of Condiments that Periodically Go Bad
rVita provides information about Integrative, Complementary, and Alternative medicine, treatments, and practitioners
Garden Girl Urban Sustainable Living
Practically Edible The Web's Biggest Food Encyclopedia
fork a gorgeously designed online gardening magazine
The Victory Garden the Emmy award winning PBS series

Dinner is ready, so I'll stumble along now...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Coconut Milk Yogurt?

Kokusnuss, in Hälften gebrochen; Coconut, brok...Image via Wikipedia
Yesterday I was thinking "Why have I not seen yogurt made from coconut milk? There is coconut milk ice cream..." and today I stumbled upon a recipe! It looks a bit complicated, but for those who can (as in canning can), it might not be that difficult. There may be other resources for recipes, but this is what I found. Scroll down the page for the recipe...oh, and I bet a yogurt maker would make things a lot easier.

Oh, you may also be able to find coconut milk yogurt at a store near you! Eugene, Oregon based company Turtle Mountain has a line of dairy-free (and soy-free) products that I'm just going to have to check out. The yogurt is sweetened with organic evaporated cane juice, even the plain, but it probably is worth it as a sweet treat every once in a while.
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Eat Wild!

Find local, grass fed meats and more on Eat Wild. They have strict criteria for the farms they list, including stress-free, free-roaming environments for the animals. The website also provides a page with references, to answer those questions such as "But what about the environmental impact of raising cows?"

Enter your zip code on Sustainable Table website and find listings of local vendors who specialize in organic and/or sustainable edibles.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Fresher Fruits and Veggies

As I've mentioned before, I LOVE my biweekly delivery of organic veggies. Even though we order a small box, we often find some of the veggies go bad quickly and end up in the compost pile.

I found this great list on produce care, courtesy of Door to Door Organics. I suggest printing it out and posting on the fridge as a reminder how to tend to your precious produce! Of course, it's best to eat the veggies when fresh, so make sure you're eating your daily dose. Eat Local, a website out of Portland, Oregon, has some information on preserving locally grown/raised products.

Citrus is best kept at room temperature of 60-70 degrees and used within two weeks.
Berries and cherries are best kept covered in the fridge. Don't wash until you use them - too much moisture in the package speeds spoilage. Use within 2 - 3 days. Same for cranberries but they can be stored for a week.
Apricots, peaches, pears, nectarines and melons should be ripened before refrigeration. Cut portions should be covered before refrigerating. Use all within 3-5 days except melons, which should be used as soon as possible after ripening.
Apples are best kept in the fridge stored loose - they need to breathe to stay crisp. Use within a month.
Avocados and bananas are best stored and eaten at room temperature, but can be refrigerated after ripening. To speed ripening of green bananas, place them in a paper bag in a drawer, cupboard or other dark place with a wrinkled apple. If they still don't ripen after one week, they have been transported at a low temperature, and you might as well make chutney out of them. I place unripe avocados in a paper bag to speed up the process.
Eggplants, mature onions, winter squash, rutabagas and sweet potatoes are best kept moderately cool - no lower than 50 degrees.
Potatoes need a colder area of 45 - 50 degrees. A cool dry dark place is best. Use within a few weeks. However, they will keep longer.
All other fresh vegetables belong in the refrigerator:
Keep tomatoes uncovered and green beans and lima beans in their pods, or, if not in their pods, in plastic. They'll last 3 - 5 days in the fridge.
Keep corn in it's husk in the fridge. Eat as soon as possible because its sugar quickly turns to starch,causing it to lose its flavor.
Carrots, radishes, turnips, beets and parsnips should be stored in plastic once the leafy tops are removed. They'll last two weeks in the fridge.
Most other fresh vegetables store well in the crisper bin, but usually need plastic to avoid dehydration.
Broccoli, brussel sprouts, scallions and summer squash will last 3 - 5 days in plastic bags in the crisper. Spinach, kale, chard and collards have the same crisper life, but should be washed and drained thoroughly before packing in bags.
Lettuce, Salad Greens, Peppers and Cucumbers should be washed and stored in the crisper.
Cauliflower, Celery and Snap Peas don't have to be washed - use within a week.
Cabbage has a long fridge life of up to two weeks.
Asparagus is delicate and should be used within 2-3 days.

Walk There!

An avid, walking commuter when I lived in the City, my walk to work was 1.7 miles and if I didn't stop at the farmer's market, I could get to work in a little over 20 minutes. I was fit and I was fast, no leisurely lolly-gagging for me — I was all business. Walking wasn't exercise for me, it was transportation without the crowds, the public transportation delays, the heat (and smells) of the subway tunnels in the summer. I would arrive to work invigorated, arrive home relaxed.

After reading about Walk There!, a new guidebook on walking routes in the Portland Metro area, I've become inspired to walk again. The website lists 50 treks through the metro area including lunchtime strolls, city cruises, and history walks.

A fun tool I like to use to plan my dog walks is Google Maps. Just click "Directions," then enter your starting point and your destination. A driving path is highlighted, but just click on a point on the line and drag it to plan a more pedestrian friendly path. The distance is noted on the left of the screen.

Another cool site, allows you to plan your route (for walking, running, or biking), enter your stats in a box on the lower left corner of the page, and it calculates your speed, your pace, and calories expended. The info can then be saved to a training log. And the best part? It's free to register!

Walking has all of the benefits of jogging, without the stress on your knees and ankles. Whether it's commuting to work or just a trip to the neighborhood store, hang up those car keys and start walking!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

11 Best Foods

Nutritionist Jonny Bowden, contributed a list to the wellness blog on the New York Times website of the 11 best foods you should be eating but aren't. Here is a revised version of the list (I added some comments/recipes of my own).

1. Beets: Think of beets as red spinach, Dr. Bowden said, because they are a rich source of folate as well as natural red pigments that may be cancer fighters.

How to eat: Fresh, raw and grated to make a salad. Heating decreases the antioxidant power. For a simple single-serving salad, wash and peel one beet, and then grate it on the widest blade of a box grater. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the juice of half a lemon.
You can eat the leaves and stems, which are also packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Simply cut off the stems just below the point where the leaves start, and wash thoroughly. They're now ready to be used in a salad. Or, for a side dish, sauté the leaves, along with a minced clove of garlic and a tablespoon of olive oil, in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook until the leaves are wilted and the stems are tender. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice, and sprinkle with fresh Parmesan cheese.

2. Cabbage: Loaded with nutrients like sulforaphane, a chemical said to boost cancer-fighting enzymes.

How to eat: Asian-style slaw or as a crunchy topping on burgers and sandwiches.

Fabulous Summer Slaw
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar (or mixed with apple cider, sometimes I think I use more vinegar than you're supposed to)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (or 1/2 if you are using powdered)

1/2 head green cabbage, thinly sliced
1/4 head red cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dry herb/spice of choice (caraway seeds, poppy seeds, celery seeds)
Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk the oil, vinegar and mustard. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and toss in the dressing. Refrigerate several hours before serving, it's even better overnight.

3. Swiss chard: A leafy green vegetable packed with carotenoids that protect aging eyes.
How to eat: Chop and saute in olive oil.

Green Eggs
Makes about 2 servings
2 Tbsp oil
1/2 onion, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 cups washed, chopped chard
4 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
hot sauce, such as sriracha

In large frying pan, sautée onions and garlic in oil until soft. Do not brown garlic. Add greens to pan and continue cooking. Lower heat and cover with lid until greens are soft. In small bowl, scramble eggs, adding to soft, cooked greens. Keep stirring the mixture to cook thoroughly and keep eggs fluffy. Flavor with salt and pepper. Serve with hot sauce.

Use silken tofu for a vegan alternative to the scrambled eggs. Use approximately 1/4 cup of chopped, silken tofu per egg, flavored with turmeric or curry powder.

4. Cinnamon: May help control blood sugar and cholesterol.
How to eat: Sprinkle on coffee or oatmeal.

5. Pomegranate juice: Appears to lower blood pressure and loaded with antioxidants.
How to eat: Just drink it. Find a brand that does not have any added sugars.

6. Dried plums: Okay, so they are really prunes, but they are packed with antioxidants.
How to eat: As an appetizer. Wrap a paper-thin slice of prosciutto around each dried plum and secure with a toothpick. Bake in a 400°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the plums are soft and the prosciutto is crispy. Most of the fat will cook off, and you'll be left with a decadent-tasting treat that's sweet, savory, and healthy.

7. Pumpkin seeds: The most nutritious part of the pumpkin and packed with magnesium; high levels of the mineral are associated with lower risk for early death.
How to eat: Roasted as a snack, or sprinkled on salad.

8. Sardines: Dr. Bowden calls them “health food in a can.'’ They are high in omega-3’s, contain virtually no mercury and are loaded with calcium. They also contain iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese as well as a full complement of B vitamins.
How to eat: Choose sardines packed in olive or sardine oil. Eat plain, mixed with salad, on toast, or mashed with dijon mustard and onions as a spread. (I just like them straight out of the can).

9. Turmeric: The “superstar of spices,'’ it may have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
How to eat: Mix with scrambled eggs or add to any vegetable dish.

10. Frozen blueberries: Even though freezing can degrade some of the nutrients in fruits and vegetables, frozen blueberries are available year-round and don’t spoil; associated with better memory in animal studies.
How to eat: Blended with yogurt or coconut milk as a smoothie, add some ground flax seeds for added fiber and omega 3s. I like to add them to my oatmeal, with some cinnamon and walnuts.

11. Canned pumpkin: A low-calorie vegetable that is high in fiber and immune-stimulating vitamin A; fills you up on very few calories.
How to eat: Mix with a little butter, cinnamon and nutmeg. I think adding this mixture to applesauce sounds delish, as a perfect side to grilled chicken or pork chops.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Not so crystal clear

Step away from that bottle of flavored 'nutrient' water. I'm not naming names, but there is a product that I must admit is a favorite in this household, that is made with an ingredient that might not be so good for you. Looking at the label*, I noticed an ingredient called 'crystalline fructose' and did the next obvious step: I Googled it. Crystalline fructose is pretty much what it sounds like, a crystalized version of fructose, most often derived from corn. Is this just a powdered version of high fructose corn syrup? reports this crystalized product and HFCS are not the same. But they also report that the press and scientists have been giving fructose, and HFCS, a bad name. According to, the FDA claims HFCS is "as safe for use in food as sucrose, corn sugar, corn syrup and invert sugar."

Now we've all heard the uglies about high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), it's link to diabetes, obesity, insulin resistance, and how it suppresses leptin, the hormone that tells your brain when you are full. Is crystalline fructose the same thing? Inquiring minds want to know. (By the way, one 20oz bottle is actually 2.5 servings, with 13 grams of sugar per serving. Drinking an entire bottle of this product is still less sugar than an entire can of cola. Have you seen what actual serving sizes of soft drinks really are? Sometimes it's less than a can, ya'll.)

I am just going to say don't drink it. Not a fan of straight water? Make your own flavored water drink by adding a few slices of fresh citrus (lemon, lime), crushed berries, mint leaves, ginger, or my personal fav, slices of cucumber (so refreshing in the summer). Experiment with your favorite fruits! Just don't forget to leave out the sugar.

Some interesting related (and not-so-related) information:
A 2006 article from The New York Times
From the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Another from JCEM
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
American Chemical Society (2007, August 23). Soda Warning? High-fructose Corn Syrup Linked To Diabetes, New Study Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 5, 2008, from­ /releases/2007/08/070823094819.htm

I found this link to when looking for an image for this blog.

*I looked on the website for the product in question and wasn't able to find any additional nutrition information.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Safe sunning

Gone are the days of slathering on the orange gelee or baby oil and baking in the sun for hours. Sunblock is everywhere now that the ozone layer is not. Environmental Working Group's Cosmetic Safety Database, Skin Deep, has once again announced their top ten picks for best/safest/most effective sunscreens. They also feature a list of more common brands that are zinc oxide, paraben, or oxybenzone free. These are ingredients often found in sunscreens. According to the EWG and the NIH, oxybenzone, also known as 2-hydroxy-4-methoxybenzophenone and benzophenone-3, is used as a UV blocker but may cause an allergic reaction in the skin when (or even when not) exposed to sunlight. Zinc oxide also has been found to be an allergic agent in some, but can pose greater health concerns when inhaled, so best not to use an aerosolized sunscreen product with this ingredient. Paraben is a preservative that is found in a multitude of items such as food and cosmetics and may be an endocrine disrupter.

As if all of this isn't bad enough, sunscreens have been found to cause coral bleaching in reefs where people tend to vacay.

So, grab your sunglasses and a big floppy hat, don a caftan made of UV fabric, and sit under that giant golf umbrella when you hit the beaches this holiday weekend!

More, cool info:
NIH Household Products Database
European Food Safety Authority
Environmental Health Perspectives

Saturday, June 7, 2008

in the news...autism , allergies

From Environmental Working Group blog Pet shampoo ingredient linked to autism spectrum disorder

Pass the shows curcumin inhibits allergic response.

More allergy news...
Research suggests good gut bugs may alter immune response to pollen. Not so sure I would advise drinking milk with probiotics, as the milk itself may be contributing to allergy symptoms.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

inur magazine: intentionally urban, can we have it all?

I've been working pretty hard lately, not just on my residency, but as creative director of a new web-based, digital magazine, called in|ur (intentionally urban). The magazine is now live (yay) and I can relax. No, just kidding, I'm hurriedly working on Issue #2!

Woke up early this morning, thanks to the dogs, and have been researching ideas for future issues. I've been thinking a lot about a lot these days, and how I can live my life in the city in a more sustainable way. I will definitely be fixing the bicycle so I can use it as a mode of transportation instead of just a space filler in the garage. A vegetable garden in the side yard is in talks but the bf is not going to budge on the whole raising chickens subject (sigh).

As I'm eating my breakfast of organic mango (part of my biweekly fruit & veggie delivery service—very convenient for the busy, working, urban couple that we are) and drinking my organic coffee, I think how although ORGANIC, this is not really an earth-friendly meal. Mangos nor coffee grow in the Pacific Northwest. How much fuel does it take to get that half-way around the world? J and I were talking the other day about how green, organic, and sustainable aren't always the same thing. Sure hybrid cars use less gas, but their batteries are difficult and dangerous to dispose of. Bamboo, what a great natural resource! Bamboo grows like a weed, uses less pesticides, makes a durable fabric, but the process to convert it to fabric is laden with chemicals.

Then there is the issue of food prices increasing due to the cost of gas rising. Due to the cost of fuel, my beloved organic delivery service just increased their prices, and the New York Times mentions the increasing costs of running restaurants. Am I sounding like a big, whiny yuppie? Let me fill my 1980s Volvo with $4.19/gallon gasoline and I'll get back to you on that one.

For now, do the best you can. Eat local, shop local as much as possible. Find alternative forms of transportation, carpool, compost. Love the earth, the air, the water. We've only got one planet, let's keep it.

UPDATE: I am no longer working with the magazine. After creating concepts and initial layouts for the second issue, I realized all of the creativity and time spent on the magazine would be more beneficial to my residency and my own medical practice.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

what's in YOUR water?

Environmental Working Group has assessed the quality of our drinking water and recently revealed our water is contaminated with commonly used pharmaceuticals! So, you may be eating your grass-fed, free-range, antibiotic-free meat, but washing it down with some penicillin or even oral contraceptives. This isn’t really news, I remember hearing about this years ago, but it really is something to keep in mind. We may buy fancy filter systems for our homes, but do they really clear our drinking water of these medications? Check out this link to find out what else can be found in tap water near you.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

hold that chip!


"And finally, from South Carolina - You may want to think twice before double dipping. Just in time for the Super Bowl, a new study from Clemson University found that for 3 double dips of a cracker into dip, about 10,000 bacteria are transferred from a person's mouth into the remaining dip. According to the researchers, double dipping is tantamount to kissing a person, due to the transfer of saliva."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Nasal irrigation with seawater-derived saline improves cold symptoms

I'm thinking using sea salt, warm water and a nasal bulb (or neti pot) would work just fine.

RCT Shows Saline Lowers Illness Days and Use of Antibiotics in Children with Colds
(January 21, 2008 - Insidermedicine) Regular nasal irrigation with a seawater-derived saline solution improves nasal symptoms and may reduce a childs risk of recurrence of upper respiratory tract infections, according to research published the Archives of Otolaryngology.

Conservative treatment of respiratory illness in children and adults should include:

• Increased water intake and decreased caffeine and alcohol intake.

• Nasal saline irrigation.

• Addition of humidity in bedroom if significantly less than 50%.

Researchers from Teaching Hospital Brno randomized over 400 children aged 6 to 10 suffering from cold or flu to treatment with standard cold and fever medications or these same standard medications combined with nasal irrigation using an isotonic saline solution made from processed seawater. Patients were followed-up regularly for a total of 12 weeks. Parents of the children were instructed to use the nasal irrigation six times a day during the acute phase and then three times a day during the remainder of the study.

Those in the irrigation group saw benefits at follow up in the acute phase, when they had less nasal congestion and runniness. By eight weeks, these patients also had significantly less severe sore throats, coughs, nasal obstructions, and secretions than those not using nasal irrigation. In addition, significantly fewer children in the nasal irrigation group were using fever-reducing drugs (9% vs. 33%), nasal decongestants, mucus-dissolving medications or antibiotics (6% vs 21 %). They also experienced fewer days of illness, missed school days, and complications.

Today's research highlights the benefits of regular nasal irrigation with modified, processed seawater in children for the prevention and treatment of upper respiratory tract infections. The therapy may offer benefits because it clears away mucous or because salt and trace elements in the seawater have other beneficial properties.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

New Year

have a happy one! and check out this site. it's so rock.