Monday, April 18, 2011

Spring Cleanse Time

It's finally looking like spring out there. The sun is shining, the tulips and garlic are up, and everyone is donning their bright colored clothes again. After a weekend of packing to move to Port Townsend and a day of celebration in the sun, I can't help but think about spring cleaning. Out with the old, in with the new. Fresh start. Cleanse.

Cleaning the house is important, yes. Especially what with all the dust and mold that may have accumulated over these long Portland winter months. But our bodies also need a "spring cleaning" per say. A detox. Many people have their preferred way of cleansing, there is no "right" way. It's really about opening the emunctories, or the routes of elimination. In order to eliminate all the toxins and waste metabolites, our digestion needs to be optimized. We need to breathe. We need to sweat. We need to drink water. We need to move.

I usually spend 2 weeks every spring and fall doing a "Detox." This year I plan to spread it out over a period of 1 month as to not shock my system with an abrupt reintroduction of old habits. Here is how I plan to detox this month. Note all the highlighted links to blogs I wrote back in the day.

1. Diet: Stick with my Anti-inflammatory diet which avoids all dairy, gluten, caffeine, corn products, and nightshade vegetables. Continue to eat only free-range, grass-fed, organic meat and eggs. The majority my food will be organic, lightly steamed vegetables. Lots of onions and garlic and home-made broths. Keeping it chemically simple on the gut!!

2. Juices: freshly juiced beets, carrots, celery and parsley is being sipped as I type.

3. Drink >1/2 my weight in ounces of WATER every day. No juices, no caffeine.

4. 100 deep, conscious belly breaths every day.

5. Castor Oil Packs: 6 days of the week for 30 minutes

6. Get outside (rain or shine) every day for 30 minutes

7. Dry skin brushing every day before showering and ending shower in cool spray.

8. Sweat with movement every day for 30 minutes. Take a sauna 2-3 times per week.

9. Epson salt baths, salt glows, and hot springs trips every week!

10. Probiotics, fish oil, and blue-green algae every day.

11. Detox teas with herbs that support the liver. The liver is THE organ of detoxification. Happy liver = happy body.

12. Continue to talk to my naturopathic doctor about specific ways to optimize my wellness!

Detox should not be a phase or event, it should be a way of life. Balancing what comes in with what comes out. Balance.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Craniosacral Therapy

Having started medical school over 4 years ago, I have had plenty of time to appreciate the necessity of utilizing energetic medicine with patients. Most of us go to the doctor and talk about our physical ailments, are given a prescription and sent on our merry way. Some of us are lucky to have doctors that recognize the emotional body, yet their tools for addressing it are usually limited to medications.

So how would a student who aspires to be a naturopathic doctor prepare to help patients balance a mental, emotional, physical and spiritual body? Energetic medicine. Energetic medicine can be veeerrryyy vague. Some forms include: Reiki, crystal therapy, color and music therapy, Emotional Freedom Technique, Feng Shui, etc. You may have heard of some of these modalities, and they are all great. I use many forms of energetic medicine myself, but my favorite by a long shot is Craniosacral Therapy.

What is Craniosacral Therapy?

The body, like all forms of creation, has rhythm. The sun, moon and planets, the seasons, music, our hormones... all have rhythm. Our body's physical structure has rhythm as well. Our bones, including the bones of the cranium, are constantly moving. Though the cranial bones are fused with sutures, a craniosacral therapist can palpate very subtle movements. Over 100 years ago, an osteopath named Dr. William Sutherland discovered that these rhythms were in direct connection with the rest of the rhythms of the body, and the "core" in particular. The "core" is t the center of our being, including but not limited to cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), the central nervous system (CNS) and surrounding tissues.

The intention of craniosacral therapy is to facilitate the "Breath of Life," the patterns from which our energetic body form due to physical, mental or emotional stress, trauma or toxicity. A craniosacral therapist simply lays his or her hands on the patient as they lay still and fully clothed. By monitoring the movements of the CSF, tissues and bones, the therapist is able to identify "energetic cysts" or "obstructions to cure" in the body. Through intention, the body is encouraged to heal thyself, clear blockages and re-sync its natural rhythms. No force or manipulation is used in this practice.

A skilled craniosacral therapist can even extend his or her palpatory skills to the energetic patterns formed by the mental and emotional body. Energetic centers such as the chakras are easily assessed and may be balanced. Some therapists have some shamanic training, helpful for spiritual attunement and harmonizing. But nothing is forced on a patient. The entire session is a process of addressing what the patient's body presents. As the Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy Association of North America says, "The practitioner's deep and clear quality of presence can become a reflective mirror for the patient and an invaluable cue for their potential for change."

This technique is also very safe and wonderful for children as they correct themselves very easily. Children, like animals, have a very strong vitality, where they can overcome physical and energetic dis-ease much stronger than adults. Craniosacral is also wonderful for pregnant women, helping to align the "core" of the fetus and mother. This can be very helpful for preparing for a healthy birth.

Some ailments that I've seen craniosacral therapy work wonders for:

  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Migraines
  • Autism
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Head injuries
  • Spinal misalignments, nerve impingements
  • Motor Vehicle Accidents
  • Neuro-endocrine imbalances
  • Sleep apnea
  • TMJ, dental problems
  • Trauma of all kinds: birth trauma, emotional trauma, PTSD, loss/grief, surgery, etc

Many patients appreciate having a hands-on approach to their health. The session is very relaxing and can be more efficient if the patient falls asleep. I've never had a patient that found that to be a problem. Most sessions are about 45 minutes, though it can be used for just seconds. Do not expect one session to address and correct everything. We are complex beings with many deep-seeded "misalignments." Craniosacral therapy's effects just BEGIN in office, and their effects continue to work days later. Therapists suggest setting appointments once a month to even once a week depending on how acute the condition is, or how much progress you made.


Craniosacral therapy is a wonderful tool to address the WHOLE body. Doctors need to address mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies in addition to the physical body. After all, we want to find the cause of a patient's ailment...and what if that cause is not physically related?

Wanna get trained?

Another tool for the medical box.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Get Organic with the Dirty Dozen

Okay, okay, eating all organic can be difficult financially. Trust me, I know. When I run out of my Organics to You delivery box, I usually have to shop at the grocery store or farmer's market for my produce...but I have to pinch pennies.

The "Dirty Dozen" is a list of the fruits and veggies you MUST buy organic. Why? Because these foods are heavily sprayed with pesticides. Ingestion of pesticides can lead to birth defects, nerve damage and cancer. Honestly, why would you want to eat food that can destroy you when it is supposed to be good for you?

Pesticides are VERY risky for children as their organs are still growing. Exposure can lead to inefficient maturation and higher risk for disease. Kids are like sponges. They will absorb so much more than adults. The amount of pesticide in comparison to their tiny bodies makes it much more toxic and difficult to eliminate. Who wants a toxic baby?!

DIRTY DOZEN- Eat these Organically!

1. CELERY!!!












Okay, so what CAN you buy non-organically, right? :)

THE CLEAN 15- Go 'head and BUY CHEAP
















(Obviously not a fruit or vegetable. I just love the Simpsons)

Print these lists off and put them on your refridgerator. Don't forget to wash your produce before preparing, organic or not!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Go Organic AND Local AND Lazy

I have been known to be a pretty lazy person when I want to be. Usually this does not apply to grocery shopping because it is my favorite thing to do. I always speed-walk the perimeter of the store then walk up and down every single aisle even if I only need a garlic bulb or bullion.

So why would I defeat my pleasures with produce delivery?

Because I go through so stinkin much!!! I enjoy shopping, but NOT EVERY DAY. And I really need to stop buying the same things every time I go to the store. The beauty of having a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) delivery is that I don't have to think while at the store. I simply write down what I receive and think of how to use it all efficiently. What a way to force yourself to eat your veggies, no?

The other obvious benefits of a CSA box:

  • Super fresh food straight from the farmer
  • Certified Organic
  • Supporting Local
  • Cheaper (if you are good about using all of your produce)
  • You can usually receive more than fruits and veggies!! Organic, Cage-Free eggs, good organic meats, herbs, etc, OH MY!
  • Cuts out the middle man- Farmers can make more profits, allowing us to keep farms healhy and OPEN. Farmers are really struggling in these socioeconomic times as well. Which is bogus. We all need to eat real food still. Remember, NO FARMS NO FOOD.
  • Did I mention...easy? Yeah.

Here's my box for this week. I don't really like fruit so I specified that I like the "Box for One" with all veggies instead of fruit. I couldn't even fit everything in the picture. What a score for $27.
For you locals: Organics To You is just one distributer you can go through. Spud! is another one.
Trivers friends: Talk to Lynne Prucha at Waves Wellness Center- she organizes a local farmers drop-off site at her business on Washington Street. SO worth it!
Or you can talk directly to the farmers in town for an even better transaction. I would prefer to do it this way but a lot of veggies aren't in season yet.. Organics to You works with organic farmers locally but also in California during the off-season in order to fill the box. And I'm cool with that. Cali isn't that far and I have a lot of farmer friends down there I'd still like to support :)

Wanna be even more sustainable?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Throw a Juice Deuce

This time of year makes me giddy. Yeah, flowers, trees, bunnies, blah blah blah...and FRESH PRODUCE. The farmer's markets are boomin', local farmers are hopeful and conscious foodies are eating "whole foods" with less effort.
So I know my last post was forever ago, but not much has changed because I can't stop preaching the idea of "cleansing," or detoxing. One great way of accomplishing this without starving yourself or taking some shady pill from the Piggly Wiggly is to JUICE!

A great reference beyond this blog is the book called "Juice Alive" by (Larry Trivieri, Jr.) and Steven Bailey, a naturopathic physician here in Portland. He is incredibly successful with patients, helping them to detox gently and efficiently. This book not only gives an interesting look at the history of natural health and juicing, but it also addresses specific symptoms and ailments with recipes and ideas as to how to make a juice healthy and yumalicious.

I've been doing a very slow detox (with lots of re-toxes, thank you). But I am finally at a position where I can take myself a little more seriously. So with the help of smart anti-inflammatory food choices, bikram yoga and running, craniosacral treatments and massage, I am ready to go full force (along with all the fun ideas I've provided in the past, like skin brushing, castor oil packs, etc).

  • Concentrated vitamins and minerals- you can drink 3 beets in a cup!
  • Increased bioavailability of nutrients- best form of vitamins to absorb
  • Enzyme support for optimal digestion and absorption
  • Support the gut's normal, healthy flora
  • Fiber & Regularity
  • Intestinal cleansing
  • Increased energy
  • Support healthy alkalinity-acidity of the gut
  • TONS of antioxidants which protect against cancer, heart disease, etc.
  • No added sugars, preservatives, colors or creepy additives
  • Efficient light snack
  • Use those vegetables & fruits in the fridge before the go bad!
  • Soooo much more
The juice I made today includes:
3 organic red beets
bunch of organic parsley
3 organic garlic cloves
1 tsp organic lemon juice

Juicers come in a lot of different styles. They come cheap or super spendy. But they all work.

Look at that beautiful pulp!! Don't waste it! You can compost it for your garden or cook/bake with it! Alicia is going to make lentil-beet-parsley burgers tonight! Mmmmm..

Here is the juice just before mixin up in a martini shaker with ice and Green's first package (you can use wheat grass or whatever kind of powder supplement you like, or not).

As Hippocrates once said, "Let food be thy medicine, let medicine be thy food."

This is something that rings true with us all. Think of all the toxic medications you or a friend or family member have been on. Then think of all the benefits of a carrot...or a stick of celery...or sliver of ginger. We can take our healing into our own hands...and juicers.

Juice ON.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Beet It


No one can deny the healing power of food. Beets, whether you like them or not, are one of the most powerful vegetables in the worrrrrrlllld.
  • High in folate (important B vitamin, especially for women of child-bearing age)
  • High in Fiber!
  • Vitamin C
  • Potassium
  • Important Minerals- Iron, Copper, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Manganese
  • Betacyanin- Cancer-fighting agent making them red/orange
  • Liver detoxification assistant- great for juicing during cleanses!!
Track your bowel transit time! This a great way of monitoring how your digestion is working. Simply eat beets and look down when you get up from the toilet for the next couple days (don't even pretend that you don't already). Ideally, you want between 8 and 14 hours for bowel transit but it can take a few days depending on your system. Some people tend to be constipated, well since beets are high in fiber, they help move things along quite nicely too!
You can bake 'em, boil 'em, steam 'em, juice 'em or eat 'em raw. Here's a great EASY and quick recipe to get your fill.

          2 Beet root bulbs- save the greens for a salad or juicing!
          2 Carrots (optional)
          1/4 cup Red Onion- diced

        1. Rinse the beets and carrots
        2. Peel veggies lightly (don't really have to if organic)
        3. Grate them with a cheese grater
        4. Throw it all together with onion in a small bowl.
        5. Add a tablespoon or two of rice vinegar.
        6. EAT.

        So many ways to incorporate beets into your life. Do not get stuck thinking those gross slimy, red canned balls are the only way to eat the delicious root of life.

        As mentioned, beets are great for helping the liver to detoxify. We are approaching the SPRING EQUINOX this weekend. Think about ways to help cleanse the mind and body whilst preparing for the change of seasons. See the these old posts for ideas on how to lightly cleanse the body...


        Broths, Charcoal, Showers, Skin Brushing, Hot Springs, Foot Baths, Warming Socks, Castor Oil Packs, Salt Glows, Garlic, and EMUNCTORIES


        Happy last few days of WINTER!


        Wednesday, February 24, 2010

        If you don't eat your GRASS-FED meat, you can't have any Pudding!

        Beef. It's what's for dinner. Whatever. What I want to know is, what was that beef's dinner before the slautering?


        There are many arguments to address when discussing meat health. We must consider the well-being of the animal being raised and eaten. We must think of the impact that this meat has on our physical health. We MUST remember that all of our farming and eating practices have a direct impact on the environment.

        1. Animal Well-Being: Animals who are raised on grass rather than corn, soy, wheat, etc. have a higher level of inflammation. Just as humans, other animals cannot digest these other forms of foodstuffs as well for they are mostly genetically modified. Their digestive systems become overwhelmed leading to acidosis and rumenitis. These leads to severe bloating, bacterial infections/abscesses and nutrient deficiencies. Thiamin (B1) deficiency leads to paralysis, for example. This cannot be a pleasant life for the animal.

        Since all these complications can arise, many raisers pump their animals full of ANTIBIOTICS and ionophors to reduce these risks, not to mention GROWTH hormones. These medications decrease the vitality of the animal, causing decreased immunity and other side effects. This is animal abuse, they are hanging on for dear life. If they cannot be free to mow on grass all day, they probably aren't moving very much either.

        Just think, if the food we eat is sick...

        2. Human Well-Being: As mentioned, food that has been pumped full of antibiotics can be very harmful to our bodies. Just as pesticides are used in fruits and vegetables, we must use caution and eat as much organic as possible.

        Grass-fed animals are leaner and healthier thus are lower in fat and calories. Lean animal fat is actually beneficial to the body in that it helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Lean meat is also known to be higher in Omega-3 fatty acids; omega-3s are important to brain, heart, digestive and skin health (everything really). They are vital fats that we tend to lack in our American diets. Naturopaths stress supplementing the diet with these fats in foods like walnuts, fresh WILD-caught fish, oils and seeds, but you can also get them from eating GRASS-FED meat and eggs!

        Other benefits of grass-fed animals to human health: increased B vitamins, Beta carotene, Vitamin E, higher CLA (fights cancer) and minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium.

        3. Environmental Health

        Farm-raised animals cause more harm unto the environment than pasture-raised. When animals are able to graze the pastures, less fossil fuels are needed as they are harvesting their own food and organically fertiliizing the ground (and hence their own food) themselves. These fertilized pastures hold moisture and solar warmth, remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and thus help to slow global warming. By allowing animals to take their natural course of feeding and exercise, crops such as GMO corn and soy are not needed. These crops are harmful to the animals as well as the environment due to the heavy pesticides and machines needed to harvest/process.

        OKAY... SO....

        When shopping for organic animal products, here are some things to keep in mind:
        • Be weary of the word "NATURAL." This term is not regulated by the FDA, or any group for that manner. Anything can be called natural. Organic standards, however, monitor all aspects of the animals life, death and processing.
        • EAT ONLY WILD-CAUGHT FISH. Do NOT eat farm-raised. Fish that are farmed are contained, contain high levels of Mercury (which is highly toxic to our brain and nervous system for example). People believe that farm-raised fish is lower in Mercury but in fact, they are wrong. The food served to these fish are pellets made from contaminated fish. A good way to avoid the biggest serving of mercury is to not eat the skin as it is stored in fat most efficiently. Farm raised also has higher levels of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls)- no good. They also are pumped full of ANTIBIOTICS and PESTICIDES and synthetic pigments (so they LOOK healthier). GROSS!!
        • Chicken and Eggs are often available as "Cage Free/Free Range" or "Organic". Either is better than standard commercially farmed birds, but organic is ideal for they are fed organically without antibiotics and growth hormones.
        • DAIRY should also be organic. The milk which comes from animals is just as affected by their care and feeding practices as is the meat. I mean, would you want to breastfeed your child if you were smoking, sniffing Lysol, eating paint chips and crammed in a corner without the ability to move your whole life? No.
        • Get LOCAL- look up your local farms for beef, pork, chicken, eggs, dairy, etc. Not only could they use your help in these economic times, but they may be less allergenic to you as they are being raised in similar climates. Same with produce- ALWAYS shop local and organic.
        As an ex-vegetarian of nearly 10 years, I still live the life of a primarily plant-based diet. I do not order meat unless I know it is local and organic. Granted, life as a true flexitarian manifests BALANCE, MODERATION and FLEXIBILITY when necessary:)

        See this website for more information.