Friday, January 30, 2009

Alternatives If Allergic to Nuts?

2 patients asked me this week what they could eat if they were allergic to nuts.

One of the best mid-morning or afternoon snacks to keep energy up, balance blood sugar, and keep metabolism working efficiently are almonds or walnuts. These nuts are great sources of healthy fats, protein, and vitamin E. Nuts are also high in choline which help decrease inflammation and is important for brain health.

However if you have to stay away from nuts you can easily substitute avocado, olives, and olive oil, and wheat germ. Soybeans are a good source of choline and protein while legumes (beans like lentils) are full of the similar minerals found in nuts.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Detox Update

Well it's been a while since my last post because of my detox. Today is officially day 13 and feelin' great. This detox more than ever required a lot of pre-planning and organizing as both weekends were busy with events and evenings were tight to do too much cooking. I've written out alot of tips and time-saving techniques in my little notebook so I can share once my detox cookbook is out.

As I've said to many patients over the years, a bean soup always saves me and home-made hummus to come home to after work keeps me from sabatoging the detox. This time I spent 2 hours on Saturdays and 2 hours on Sundays making enough food for my lunches and at least 4 dinners. Chris would always take the left-overs for lunch the next day so we just made sure we made enough for dinner.

Try to save a cleanse-friendly pasta dish for that one or two nights during the cleanse that you know it's going to be too rushed to make dinner and you know you've already run out of food in the fridge! My parsley pesto recipe is wonderful to thrown on brown rice pasta for a quick and delicious meal.

Parsley Pesto

2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted
½ tsp salt
2 cups loosely packed parsley
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Finely grind the garlic, walnuts, and salt in a food processor. Add the parsley and process until minced. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil in steady stream through the feed tube until the pesto is blended into a paste.

Transfer to a bowl, cover tightly, and refrigerate until ready to use.

And for those keeping tabs on Chris.... he did great! There were a couple of 'dark days' around day 5 or 6 that he said he would vomit if he had anymore vegetables.... but other than that he was a trooper. Like I say to any of my patients it's always easier when your spouse or a friend is doing one with you for additional support!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Being Green Hazardous to Your Health

The British are looking at how much UV radiation the energy-efficient lightbulbs (CFLs) emit. A study is saying that sitting closer than 30 cm from a CFL is like exposing your bare skin to the sun. So while we are all trying to be green, finding cost-saving measures for our homes and workspaces, we may be harming our health.

Another potentially negative effect of CFLs are the fact they have mercury; thus causing a concern for when they break. Zawada Health's february newsletter is featuring an article on CFLs and how best to use them and clean them up if they break.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Picky Eaters!

Wow the month of January has been filled with parents pulling their hair out trying to get their kids to eat and eat better. Most of the parents and the kids have been pretty receptive in learning how to avoid feeding mistakes and trying new foods. Here's a few things that may help those picky eaters!

1. Offer your kids small portions of everything on the table. Never force your kids to clean their plate or scold them for wasting food. Teaching your kids to be 'in tune' with their hunger and fullness cues at this age will help their relationship with food be comfortable.
2. Encourage them to try at least one small bite of the foods they dislike each time they are offered. Over time, the food may become more familiar to them, and their distaste may wear off.
3. Model good eating behaviours yourself. Pile plenty of vegetables onto your own plate, and let your kids know how much you enjoy them.
4. Try to stick to a consistent meal and snack schedule, and allow at least two hours between your child's afternoon or afterschool snack and dinner. This way, they are more likely to fill up and try new foods at lunch and dinner.

These are just some easy little things to try while also trying to possibly 'disguise' healthy foods. Putting grated zucchini or pureed carrots into a pasta sauce or a meatloaf, mashing cauliflower or zucchini into muffins, making healthy dips for veggies......

Good luck!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Today is Day 2 of Detox

Yes it's that time again. I don't usually recommend doing a detox or cleanse in the winter time when it's this frigid outside but I wanted to create a few more recipes for my cookbook that I'm TRYING to get done!

So the complaining begins in the Morley house.... Chris is being dragged into this craziness yet again and to no surprise is already saying his "stomach feels empty".

This afternoon I spent organizing and preparing for the week, making a few key things that always get us through. I made hummus (always a good snack when you come home ravenous), parsley pesto (great for brown rice pasta and as a topping for fish), made some adzuki beans for some lunches, cut some pineapple for a few days for some protein shakes, and got some snacks organized for us like almonds, and apples. It's all about the preparation and organization for a successful cleanse. I've done this enough that I know the worst thing is coming home hungry and having to think what to make or what you can eat. If there are things ready in the fridge or written down you are more likely to succeed. And this doesn't just go for doing a cleanse. It also is the key healthy eating in general. Eating healthy isn't easy. It also takes time and effort to be organized and to have the proper foods around the house. Otherwise you are more likely to snack on unhealthy foods.

Wish us luck!

Homemade Vanilla Extract?

Just sitting here reading the magazine Life Peak, a magazine started by Dorothy Adamiak, a Naturopathic Doctor. It is usually found in health food stores next to the Vitality magazine and Alive magazine.

There's always good articles, some written by NDs, some by homeopaths, and some by acupuncturists among others.

This issue had a little blurb on how to make your own vanilla extract; something I never knew you could do! So if anyone feels like being Martha Stewart start by splitting 5 vanilla beans and placing them in a 750 ml bottle of inexpensive vodka. Seal and store in a cool dark area and shake once a week for 3 weeks. It will become more flavourful the longer it sits. With each use, you can continue to top with vodka as the same beans will continue to flavour for about a year.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Botox and Health Canada Concerns

Botox is approved for neck and eye spasms, excessive sweating and of course esthetically for wrinkles.

Botox is the botulinum toxin that relaxes muscles. In a recent Health Canada safety review there were concerns of distant toxin spread potentially affecting speech and breathing.

There are other options. For the last 4 years I have been doing cosmetic acupuncture, or acupuncture facelifts. The results aren't immediate and dramatic but within 6-10 sessions skin feels firmer, texture is improved and there is a lift throughout the face. Usually I see either one of 2 camps: one that opposes botox use completely and wants a natural anti-aging procedure and the second that uses the cosmetic acupuncture to prolong the effects of botox. As with everything the results are heightened when the person has a good lifestyle and past history i.e. non-smoker, drinks water, uses sunscreen.....

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Vicks Vapor Rub

I grew up with Vicks Vapor rub. Everytime I was sick my mom rubbed Vicks on my chest and bundled me up on the couch, made some chicken soup and some chamomile tea with honey and lemon. Was it the chicken soup, was it the actual rub ingredients, was it the love of mom making me feel better? Who knows... a combination of everything I'm sure!

A story in today's paper cast a shadow over the popular chest rub that has been used for years safely with kids and adults. I think the story is misleading as labels clearly state not for use in kids under 2 and not to be used in noses and eyes.

The essential oils used in the formula can be fantastic for clearing coughs and opening airways. If I'm sick or a patient or family member is sick, one of the easiest things to do is to put a few drops of eucalyptus oil in a bowl of hot water and do a steam inhalation.

For a peek at the story look at the following link:

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sprained Ankle

Chris came home from basketball today with a sprained ankle. He emailed me asking for the arnica!

If there is one thing everyone needs around the house it's arnica. Arnica is a homeopathic remedy very specific for bumps, bruises, sprains. It's that first go-to remedy if someone hits their head, is in a car accident, sprains an ankle, or anything like this. It's great to speed up the healing of any inflammation... reducing the bruising and the swelling.

So first things first.... RICE .... rest, ice, compress, and elevate. So all afternoon Chris has been icing his ankle on and off, elevating it, taking arnica every 2 hours and tonight, while we watch the premiere of 24, I'll do some acupuncture and massage with traumeel. Traumeel is a cream that has a few different homeopathic remedies to help with inflammation, stiffness, and swelling.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Legume. Bean or Vegetable?

If you are reading this, please email me if you think legume means bean or vegetable.

Currently there is a discussion in our household. I'm going to take this to the internet and confirm.... (that I'm right of course.)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Malcolm Gladwell - Outliers

Loved this book. As many of you know Chris and I decided to spend the holidays at home relaxing. No crazy trips or adventures .... As Chris was trying to finish War and Peace (yes it's true... he started in July!!!) I was given Outliers as a gift so reading was one of our major activites.

I had read his other two books The Tipping Point and Blink and loved them. They are all such quick and easy reads, especially if you love theories on how things may work or how people think/react/function. I'm sure there is a name to this genre of books - maybe social psychology?

Anyway.... fantastic.... it explores why the people that are successful are. For example why are Canadians great at hockey? One theory Gladwell explores is that most of the kids at a young age that are picked for better hockey teams seem to be born in January, February and March. These kids are naturally bigger and stronger than their counterparts and then they get picked for the teams with more games so they practice more and get better faster.

10,000 hours is apparently what it takes to become a real expert in a field and be successful. He explains why Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are outliers, why Asians are good at math, and how ethnicity plays a role in plane crashes.

It's an easy read with a lot of 'ah-ha' moments. I was getting so excited reading it that I was telling Chris all these little points along the way. Now he's reading it!

Detox - "Legalized Lying"

Wow. This got me fired up. I heard about a study that was published on 680 news on my way home a couple of nights ago and have received a few emails from patients regarding the cbc version of the story.

The study done was set out to explore detox claims attached to various consumer products. I have yet to go to the source to actually read the study but the cbc article fired me up!

As a board-certified naturopathic doctor that has gone to school for 8 years postsecondary to study anatomy, physiology, pathology, biochemistry, differential diagnosis, acupuncture, herbal medicine....... I have to agree there are many products on the market that claim to 'detox' that are just combinations of laxative herbs or whatever. It is consumer beware. However to imply there isn't such a process in the body as detoxification is misleading.

You can't expect to use a 'detox shampoo' or put your feet in a solution and expect to be 'detoxified'. There are actual biochemical reactions that happen in the liver as part of phase 1 and phase 2 detoxification that serve to make toxins or metabolites water soluble for proper excretion from the body. To 'detox' is not that easy.

As an ND I take a look at the food and lifestyle choices that people make and how it can be affecting their health. If and when I put someone on a detox it's primary focus is the food aspect of it. Everyone can benefit from eliminating caffeine, alcohol, and sugar for certain amounts of time. Some people like people with arthritis will benefit from eliminating inflammatory foods like tomatoes and eggplants and other night shades. Some foods can actually induce the phase 1 detox process in the liver whereas some foods can induce phase 2 processes.

There is proven biochemistry behind the detox process and to imply there isn't one is not correct. Just because something is 'natural', doesn't mean it's safe. One has to seek professional advice from someone that has spent years studying the biochemistry behind each vitamin or mineral or herb. You wouldn't get your neighbour to fix your plumbing so why would you entrust your neighbour with your healthcare?

I could go on and on and on but I have a patient waiting so I'm off!