Sunday, March 28, 2010

Activity Before Studying

Love this. Researchers from the University of Illinois recently found that brain cognition significantly improved after 20 minutes of brisk walking in pre-adolescent children.

Taking frequent short breaks while studying or focusing on a project is important for everyone. So next time your kids (or you!) want help studying for a big test at school urge them to grab their sneakers and go for a short walk!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Folic Acid and Cervical Dysplasia

Pleasantly surprised by a patient yesterday who told me their MD(medical doctor) told them to take folic acid and vitamin D for their cervical dysplasia before returning for a follow-up Pap smear!

Of course as an ND (naturopathic doctor), that would be at the top of my list when a woman comes to me with an irregular Pap smear result, along with nutrition and lifestyle changes.

What exactly is dysplasia and what does a Pap smear do? A Pap smear takes a sampling the cells on an area of the cervix and then these cells are looked at with a microscope to determine their abnormality or if it is cancer. Dysplasia just means cellular changes.

Dysplasia is a great example of what preventative medicine can do, because in almost all cases it is a preventable disease. The HPV (human papillomavirus) causes virtually all cases and this virus is sexually transmitted. Many co-factors serve as 'co-carcinogens' in the development of the cellular changes such as smoking, nutrient deficiencies, oral contraceptive use, and immune deficiency. This is where ND's are fabulous. We can advise patients about what they can do about these cofactors.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Not So Polish Beets

I went to visit my parents this past Sunday for a quick lunch and some shopping. It was great to see them as usual and of course come back with some food for the week!

I was really surprised at the beets mom made for lunch. Instead of the standard, she sauteed some onions and then added cumin, cinnamon, and nutmeg before adding the beets, horseradish, and lemon juice. She cooked it all together for half an hour or so and then bam... done... it was delicious. Of course in true mom style, when I asked her for the recipe she stared at me blankly and just said, "oh you know, to taste."

Anyway... just had some leftover beets for lunch and they were even better today then they were on Sunday!

The next trick will be Easter Sunday when I will attempt to make mom's borscht. My parents are off to Edmonton for a little road trip to visit my sister so it's just going to be Chris and I for Easter this year! She refused to write down the recipe of course so quickly explained and I'm supposed to go from there! We'll see how it goes.... I will not be reporting on this however as it this meal will not be suitable for a naturopathic blog. Can anyone say kielbasa?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Kale for My Friends

I'm just about to leave to visit with a group of university friends. We're all meeting at Lisa's house and each of us offered to bring a side dish or dessert to make up the meal.

I'm bringing kale. Not sure if Noreen, Lisa, Cindy, or Stacey has ever had kale but this will be a good opportunity for them to try it.... I was downtown today so I went to Whole Foods to buy some beautiful organic kale. They had 4 or 5 varieties so I went with the dinosaur kale which is thinner, darker, and not as leafy as the other variety I bought. I washed and cut the kale into strips and then steamed it for 3 minutes. While it was steaming I quickly blended 2 tbsp of tahini, 2 tbsp braggs (pure soy sauce), and 1 1/2 tbsp of honey. It seemed a bit thick today so I added a tsp of water to thin it out a bit and then poured it on top of the kale and mixed it all together. I sprinkled 2 tbsp of sesame seeds and did a final quick mix.

Off I go!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Vegan Paella and Garlic Aioli

We made a delicious vegan paella tonight for dinner. The recipe is from Voluptous Vegan, a fantastic cookbook that caters to entertaining vegan. It is organized in full menus with side dishes and everything. The recipes are not quick, as they involve a few steps but are definitely rewarding. I think I've blogged about this before as I've made this recipe a few times.

Traditional paella usually has shrimp, and/or chicken, and/or sausage and is usually made in a wide shallow pan. We've done a traditional version a few times that we love as well but this vegan paella is even more flavour packed... especially because of the tasty tofu-roasted garlic aioli that tops the dish. (Chris yearning for the paella with sausage kept asking when the chorizio sausage was going in the paella tonight!)

Aioli is a garlicky mayonnaise that contains eggs. In this version, tofu is the base. Sometimes I make this aioli as a dipping sauce for sweet potato fries instead of using mayo.

1 small head of garlic, unpeeled, plus 1 garlic clove, peeled
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt
1 box silken tofu
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Roast the garlic in the oven for 30 minutes at 375 F drizzing some olive oil and sea salt on the garlic before wrapping it up in foil. Afterwards in a food processor, combine the other ingredients and pulse. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skins and then add to the tofu mixture and puree until creamy.

Delicious and pretty easy.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Junk Food in Pregnancy

For all you moms to be... new research:

Eating junk food during pregnancy may raise the chance of having obese children who are more susceptible to diabetes.

Researchers at Royal Veterinary College fed female rats doughnuts, muffins, chocolate, potato chips, cheese, cookies and candy during pregnancy, and noted that the offspring of these rats were fatter, had more muscle waste, and showed signs of insulin resistance -- a precursor to type 2 diabetes -- when compared to control groups.

Another interesting tidbit I heard on 680 AM news (but I haven't been able to find the study) is that eating junk food prior to conceiving increases the chances of having a boy versus a girl. Huh? Really?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My Lifestyle

Ok let me just put this out there to all my patients or patients-to-be.... You won't win the diet and lifestyle questioning with me. Try it with your medical doctor or your friends or anyone else that tells you to 'eat more veggies' or 'exercise more' for better health.

This week I've had 3 new patients that have turned the tables on me and I had to chuckle inside. Every month there are always a couple that ask the same thing. The conversation goes like this:

me: how many times a week do you do any formal exercise?
patient: not much
me: like once or twice?
patient: well I'm not consistent but... do YOU exercise every week?
me: actually I do; I try for everyday but definitely 5x/week I do something formal.

Or then the conversation turns to food so I inevitably get asked: Do YOU eat this way? Do YOU eat kale? So YOU NEVER have sandwiches for lunch? or YOU NEVER have deli meat?

And so this week, after 7 years I finally said to a patient that these questions will never work with me because I actually practise what I preach and I value each and every thing that I suggest to a patient. It's not just about treating a health concern like high blood pressure or high cholesterol but it's just good preventative medicine to eat well and exercise.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not perfect. And if my husband Chris reads this then I risk him commenting on this blog about the martini I had last weekend or the ice cream scoops that are sneaked in here and there or my mom's perogies that found their way out of the freezer and onto my plate for lunch on Sunday.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fountain of Youth

Gotta love McMaster! Ok maybe I'm a bit biased because I spent 4 wonderful years there but their research teams are really amazing. Just read about an interesting study they are doing with supplements - including green tea extract, melatonin and a bunch more - that might be able to stave off old age.

The supplements are being found to tackle the key mechanisms of aging when combined (not individually), at least for some lucky mice in the study. The idea is to slow down aging and therefore slow down some degenerative conditions, not prevent them. These lucky mice on the 'anti-aging cocktail' were young and spry like 20 year olds instead of their true '80 year old' age. The researchers found that the supplements were actually affecting their mitochondria (energy production centers), producing fewer free radicals. There was even a cricket that died after 257 days instead of living the usual 120 days! David Rollo, the chief researcher, said they are seeing a 10% life extension in mice which would mean 10-15 years in a human.

The supplement cocktails includes: vitamins B1,B3,B6,B12,C,D,E, and chromium and folic acid, garlic, ginger, green tea extract, l-glutathione, melatonin, selenium, cod liver oil, coenzyme Q10, and flaxseed oil among about 15 others!

More and more reasons to take care of yourself, eat well, and take some key supplements, which have been individually prescribed by your Naturopathic Doctor.