Saturday, May 30, 2009

Gluten-free Roman (okay, Italian) Holiday

Cropped screenshot of Audrey Hepburn and Grego...Image via Wikipedia

No, I'm not headed to my dream vacay to Italy (not yet, at least), but I do have a patient who is. Because she has an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto's Thyroiditis (the most common cause of hypothyroidism), I have advised her to stay off of gluten. She reports she feels so much better on the gf diet, but is concerned about an upcoming trip to Italy. Gluten-free in Italy? Impossibile!

Apparently not so impossible. I just did a search on The Google and found quite a few sites on staying gluten-free in Italy. Here are just some of the links I plan to share with her (and you, too!):

Gluten-free Italy Celiac Chicks - The Hip & Healthy Gluten-free Guide
Three Simple Words "Lo sono celiaco" The Original Gluten-free Girl
Celiac Travel Guide has resources including gf restaurant cards in 43 languages. Senza glutine!
A Gluten Free Guide's archive to travel in Italy
Associazione Italiana Celiachia (who knew celiac could sound so sexy?) Click on the little flag for the pages in English.
Gluten-free Travel Site Reviews by fellow gluten-free travellers
Not available in stores, books for the gluten-free traveller.
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Rock 'n' Wellness: Sad News

Jay Bennett via

Jay Bennett, former member of the alt-country band Wilco, died at age 45. He had struggled with drug addiction in the past and was in severe pain due to chronic knee and hip damage, according to his MySpace page. He was in need of hip replacement surgery and did not have any health insurance. Did lack of health insurance contribute to his death? asked that question.

Lack of insurance is a national problem, not just confined to the music world, but there are countless numbers of people struggling to make it as artists and performers, unable to afford health care. There are options to join unions if they qualify and organizations such as Future of Music Coalition and MusiCares provide resources for musicians who are in need of advocacy, financial, and medical support. The Artists Health Insurance Resource Center is a national database of health care resources for artists, performers, and freelancers.

If anyone has other resources for artists in need of health care, please post a comment!

Future of Music Coalition
The Artists Health Insurance Resource Center
Health Alliance for Austin Musicians

UPDATE 07/01/09
Last week, an Illinois coroner's office revealed the cause of Jay Bennett's death was an accidental fentanyl overdose. Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate analgesic that is often prescribed for severe and chronic pain that has a high addiction potential. It binds to receptors in the brain to decrease not only the pain, but also the emotional response to pain.

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Think Smoothie!

Lemon Berry Smoothie RemixImage by terriseesthings via Flickr

Smoothies are a delicious, nutritious, quick, and easy addition to a healthy diet. I use coconut milk because I try to avoid dairy and I like the taste (it's very mild). Besides being dairy-free, coconut milk also has medium-chain fatty acids which speed up the body's ability to burn fat. The berries are just full of healthy goodness, including Vitamin C, fiber, and tons of antioxidants, which help repair our cells that become damaged from the stressors of everyday life. Ground flax seeds also contain fiber as well as omega-3 fatty acids. It is important to grind the seeds in a coffee grinder prior to adding to the smoothie and always store the seeds in the fridge or freezer to prevent the oils from going rancid. Only grind what you need for the day.

I add fish oil*, another great source of omega-3s which have antiinflammatory effects that are beneficial to the heart, skin, brain, musculoskeletal system...the whole body, in fact. My favorite is Carlson's Lemon Cod Liver Oil which is very high quality, available in many grocery and health food stores, and I don't find it fishy tasting at all. It has a good ratio of Vitamin A to D (which should be less than 10:1 to prevent liver damage, Carlson’s is), but if you have any concerns or don’t need the extra Vitamin D, you can use regular old fish oil. It is far more cost effective to buy liquid fish oil, and a product like Carlson's is versatile enough to add to salad dressings, yogurt, even popcorn. Again, keep it in your refrigerator or freezer to keep it fresh (and not fishy).

Some smoothie recipes use sugar to add extra sweetness, but fruit is naturally sweet! If your favorite fruit is not in season, try the frozen version (without the added sugar, please).

1/2 can light coconut milk
1 cup frozen berries (if you use fresh, add a few ice cubes to make the smoothie slushy)

2 TBSP ground flax seeds

1 TBSP flavored fish oil

OPTIONAL: one serving of your favorite green or protein powder

Blend ingredients, serve cold.

Toss in slices of peach, nectarines, melon, mango, half a banana or avocado. Be daring and experiment with whatever fruit is in season!

*Vegans can use Udo's Choice instead of fish oil, also found at health food stores.

More on berries and Omega 3s from Oregon State University
Carlson Laboratories, makers of fine fish oils
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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Wheat-Free Crumble 2.0

When looking at my blog traffic, I noticed the Google search that most often brings readers to Holistica Naturopathic is "wheat-free crumble." I posted a recipe way back in 2007 for a wheat-free dessert, and that's my most popular blog entry! I have no clue if anyone is making this crumble, but there are folks all over the globe checking out the recipe.

In the spirit of the holiday weekend, I've decided to repost the recipe (for my new readers who may not be reading the old posts). I did make one with agave, but don't recall the proportions. I'm thinking coconut oil would work well instead of butter, again I don't know the replacement equivalent*, so if you experiment, let me know!

Yummy Wheat-free Berry Crumble

Preheat oven to 325.

Filling (you can use whatever fruit is local and in season!)
1 pint blueberries
1 pint raspberries
2 nectarines (or peaches), peeled and sliced
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 TBSP gluten-free flour
big squeeze of lime juice

Mix filling ingredients gently. Set aside.

1c gluten free flour
1/2 c uncooked oatmeal (rolled, not steel cut)
1/2 c packed dark brown sugar (can substitute maple syrup or honey, but I don't know the proportions)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
8 TBSP butter, chilled & cut in small pieces (can use coconut oil* or any other non-dairy derived margarine)
1/2-1c chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts or pecans) - OPTIONAL

Mix 1st four crumble ingredients, using hands & pastry cutter to incorporate butter. Add chopped nuts, unless you are allergic, of course.

Pour filling into oiled (or buttered) gratin dish. Spread crumble on top. Bake in 325 oven for 30-40 minutes, or until crumble is toasted and berries are hot! Use a baking sheet under the gratin dish while baking, as the berry mixture can bubble over and mess up your oven.

Serve warm. Can top with your favorite ice cream, creme fraiche, or for the lactose intolerant, soy ice cream, rice dream or my personal favorite...Larry & Luna's Coconut Bliss! (Email them requesting their product at a Whole Foods or other natural grocery near you!!!!)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Holistica Newsletter

Sign up for our mailing list and receive the Holistica Healthcare monthly email newsletter with health tips, clinic news and updates on any clinic or health related events! Either click on this link or fill out the form in the column on the right.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Holistica Merchandise: Pill Pocket Protector

Introducing the first in the line of Holistica Healthcare products! Created by the ├╝ber-talented Cari Carter from Motokitty, these mini pouches are perfect for loose change, your driver's license or a couple of homeopathic tubes. Conveniently designed with an attached key chain and handmade from sturdy vinyl (some vintage), no two Pocket Protectors are the same.

Available exclusively at Holistica Healthcare for only $12.00!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Online Appointment Scheduling

Holistica Healthcare is now set up for online appointment scheduling! Naturopathic medical and reflexology appointments need just 24 hours advance notice, non-life threatening acute care appointments only a two hour lead time (if it is a medical emergency, log off the internet, pick up the phone and dial 911!). Cancellations require 24 hour notification or a fee of 50% of the appointment fee will be charged to the patient.

Clinic paperwork will soon be available to download from the up-and-coming Holistica Healthcare website. Until then, email me and I will send you PDF documents (you will need Adobe Acrobat to read them). Bring the filled out forms to your first appointment!

We are offering discounts during the month of May, in honor of Mother's Day. Mommy's Little Helper is a comprehensive wellness package — a one hour initial intake, three 1/2 hour follow up appointments, one 1/2 hour reflexology session, and a special gift from Holistica Healthcare! First time reflexology sessions (75 minute appointment) are 20% off.

For those with insurance, I am working on several options, will update you shortly.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Holistica Open House

Wow. Last night's open house was a huge success! The gathering was a wonderful, eclectic mix of people, some friends, some family, some residents from the neighborhood, some strangers off the street. We even had a visit from Portland, Oregon's esteemed mayor, Sam Adams. I must admit I was positively star struck, and if you know me, that isn't typical. I've met my share of celebs and rock stars and some may consider me a bit jaded, but last night, I was positively gushing over our surprise guest.

Leah Sherman, ND and Anya Chang, ND LMT, and Portland Mayor Sam Adams at the Holistica Healthcare open house, May 1, 2009.

It was such a fun evening, Holistica Healthcare will definitely be participating in future First Friday events!

Have I mentioned that Anya Chang, ND, LMT, of True Health Medicine in Tualatin, will be seeing massage patients at the Holistica Healthcare Portland office?

Leah Sherman, ND and Anya Chang, ND LMT outside the Holistica Healthcare office, May 1, 2009.

So, what's a doctor do the day after her clinic's open house? Help out at the Rosa Parks Community Health Fair at the Mt Olivet Baptist Church in North Portland. The church's women's ministry helped organize the fair and students from the National College of Natural Medicine volunteered their time with hearing and vision tests for the kids and blood pressure screenings for the adults. There also was a bike helmet clinic courtesy of Legacy Emanuel, Northwest Medical Team provided services through their dental van, and Multnomah County conducted testing for lead poisoning.

Richard Barrett, ND supervises students conducting vision screening tests on children at the Rosa Parks Community Health Fair, May 2, 2009.