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Stone Turtle HealthNaturopathic Medicine and Massage Therapy for the Whole Family

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Stone Turtle Health Blog

Challah back girl!

August 25, 2013

Here is a nice, nourishing recipe for a nice family Sunday brunch, using local ingredients. I love locally-made Essential Baking Company breads

Essential Baking Company Challah- sliced to 1 1/2 inch thickness

2-4 local cage-free eggs

1-2 tbsp of organic cows milk or almond milk

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4-1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 stick of butter

Combine eggs and milk (1/2 tbsp milk to each egg). Whisk until fully combined. Add spices. Pour into flat dish or plate.

In frying pan, melt 1 tbsp of butter for each slice of bread.

Dip slices of challah in egg mixture (both sides). 

Add bread to frying pan, allow to saute in butter until toasted, then flip and toast on the other side.

Serve with syrup (I love a gift that I got- Brandy Infused Vanilla-Hickory Syrup) or jam (homemade blueberry jam is my current go-to for my jam needs). 

Dance moves

May 24, 2013

 

Music, for one reason or another, has always been an integral part of my daily life. I meet people who can have music in the background at dinner or a barbecue, but how can you focus on anything without reveling in the songs, the lyrics and melodies changing you into whoever you were, wherever you heard that song for the first time?

Odd, this, but every few months or so, I'll just cling to some music, one particular artist or one song covered by many, as I use it to process whatever is happening in my life. Last spring, I was drawn to Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". Life was not good. Love was not good. Love ended in brokenness.  Suffice to say, I survived and that song (although on repeat for a few, wallowing months) stopped being so personal. I was bright and shiny and life was beautiful again. Showtunes, old school R&B, anything that was sunshine and hope and the rush from dancing at home on my lunch break or after work, became preferred again.

What I've been feeling lately is spring and summer and hip-shaking solo dance parties. I've been moving through the world, walking for miles on my lunch break. The only trouble is trying to keep from dancing in the streets to the beats in my ears.  Right now, I'm grooving to "Fugees Radio" on Pandora, which I've filled with my own personal blend of 80's & 90's rap & hip-hop (memories from middle school through college) and today's new discoveries. For a few songs, I'm no longer staring 40 (well, ok, 36) in its exhausted eyes, I'm back in middle school, before the self consciousness, before any aches and pains, when we all danced in tight circles in the gym, trying to pick up new moves.

Which brings me to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis's "The Heist", only the second album I've purchased on my iPhone (the other being Johnny Cash's "Unchained", if you must get all the details of my "diverse" music tastes). There's that resonance again. I will warn you that there's cursing, so it's not something to spring on your kids without listening first. But, as an adult, I would definitely recommend you give it a listen. Listen to the words...

"My, Oh, My" makes me tear up at the loss of Dave Niehaus a few years back, remembering how I couldn't get my mom to get out of the car and come in for dinner until the M's game she'd been listening to all the way home from work was over. "Can't Hold Us" had me freak out,  dancing with a classmate in my improv class, "Thrift Shop" has its own dance routine worked out at home (with or without my vacuum cleaner),  "Victory Lap" and "Ten Thousand Hours", about the journeyman process to getting good at what you are passionate about rings true for me every day I step in my clinic, especially those times when I wonder what the heck I'm doing and when I should know enough to give up and let it crumble versus buckling down and riding out the rough spots. "Same Love" is thrilling to me now that marriage equality is a reality in our state, in so many other states and countries. How principled, how upright to stand up for this belief in equality in a genre that routinely diminishes and demonizes those who love people of the same gender, especially before it was the law to allow everyone the freedom to marry. I am so happy that all my friends, gay or straight, can choose to live the way they want to live with the partners that they love. 

But, oh, the heartbreak on "Starting Over", his follow up to "Otherside" makes me cry every time. I want to punch a hole in something when I think about addiction and the people I love that struggle with it. I hate that these are the stories that pretty much everyone has, that there's a saboteur in so many brains.. that this disease called addiction waits patiently for so many people to have a moment of weakness. The closing line is exactly what I want to hear: "If I can be an example of getting sober, then I can be an example of starting over..."

Macklemore's willingness to share his own struggles, his openness about what he's gone through and about his beliefs, and his positive attitude as reflected in his work are all inspiring to me. I became a doctor to make a difference in someone's life, to provide caring and healing for the people in my community who need it, to help build a stronger Seattle, a stronger and better world. He's made such a name for himself as an independent artist- that, too, I admire. The hard work and heartbreak, the two steps forward, one step back process of getting recognition, especially without the backing of a large corporation. If I could say anything to him, it would be "Well done. Keep making a positive change. Share your message with as many people as possible. You are a force for good. You matter and you have a chance to change so much. Keep moving. " I realize as I write this, these are the words we should say to everyone.

So, I guess this post is just a mash note to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, but it's also for everyone I see making a choice every day to make a positive difference in the world, to reach out and connect with people around them, to stand up for the changes they want to see happen. Yeah, "The Heist" hits me. It's beautiful. You should listen to it. And you should dance.

 

Food Revolution Day 2013

May 9, 2013

You all should know by now how much I love Jamie Oliver and his Food Revolution, promoting healthy foods in schools and communities. May 17th is the date for his Second Annual Food Revolution Day, a worldwide grassroots effort to provide fun and education experiences around food to local communities. I love what he is doing for so many reasons: healthy kids are better learners, healthy families can work together to make changes in their communities, and healthy communities can provide better support for those who need it most. I strongly encourage my readers to attentd or even host a Food Revolution Day activity in their neighborhood, even if it's as simple as hosting a vegetarian potluck or barbecue for their friends and neighbors. Check out a book about food from the library and read it to your children. Reach out to the local food bank and donate or volunteer to provide more healthy food to their customers. Visit your children's school to see what their school lunch program offers. Try a healthy new dish from a cuisine you aren't familiar with. There are TONS of ways we can improve our diets and our family's lifestyle, from meatless Fridays to making sure we "eat a rainbow" every day. We have the tools within our reach to fight the epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses that are distinctly related to our lifestyles. This is one thing that we can do something about. Viva La Revolution!

 

Fakin' it!

February 26, 2013

Dr. Ted Kaptchuk of Harvard, who has his doctorate in Chinese medicine, is at the forefront of studying the placebo effect and its place in medicine. For many folks, the term "placebo effect" has a negative connotation, used to describe why many people get better with treatment, in the absence of any measurable therapeutic chemical interaction (as in homeopathy or in drug studies where the control group is given sugar pills). However, an article released in the latest Harvard Magazine discusses how doctors can use the placebo effect to positively affect patient outcomes. Whether it's a sugar pill or sham acupuncture (as in this study), who wouldn't feel some symptomatic improvement just from feeling respected and listened to by their practitioner, rather than dealing with a curt professional who dismisses your concerns abruptly or who doesn't seem to have enough time for you? There is a very interesting and, to me, exciting field of research surrounding patient-doctor interactions and the effects that they have on care outcomes and I look forward to reading more about how I can improve my patients' health by taking the time to listen and care for them. It also inspires me to ask the following questions (please post your responses below): what makes a doctor effective? Why do you return or choose another doctor?

Winter Comfort Foods- Lightened Up!

January 21, 2013

This great post on HuffPo shows you ways to lighten up those lovely, tasty, heavy winter comfort foods. 

Some other great ways to make your favorite foods healthier:

1. For breads, like banana bread or pumpkin bread, try adding apple sauce or smashed banana in place of oil.

2. Use this list for sugar substitutes in baking: zylitol, honey, agave nectar, succanat/rapadura, barley malt, brown rice syrup, corn syrup (NOT HFCS), sorghum, blackstrap molasses, stevia. For many of these, you can find conversion charts online as they don't always translate directly to an equal amount of granulated (white) sugar. With liquid sweeteners, you may need to compensate by lowering the amount of liquid or increasing the total amount of solids in a recipe.

3. To thicken soups or sauce, add cooked, pureed califlower, potato, or zucchini

4. Lots of dairy in the fridge from the holidays or parties? Add it to soups for more flavor and to minimize the amount you'll get in each serving. I did that last weekend and came up with Baked Potato Soup, Split Pea & Bacon Soup, and Broccoli Cheese Soup. While butter, bacon, heavy cream and cream cheese don't need to be in your diet on a daily basis, this is a great way to use them up if you already have them and don't want to waste money by throwing them al out. Plus, adding a small amount of fat can increase satiety, making you more full from eating less.

5. Avoid dairy (if you don't have the problem in #4) by using stocks and broths for liquids instead of milk or cream. 

6: For richness in vegetarian dishes without adding meat, use 1 tsp of miso paste instead. It contains glutamate, which triggers the "umami" tastebuds that tell us when something tastes rich or full (which usually requires meat or butter).

Dream a Little Dream

January 11, 2013

My friend and inspiration, the comedian & musician Greg Behrendt (@gregbehrendt on Twitter) has always been someone I admired. I used to skip Chemistry class as an undergrad in order to watch his stand up specials on Comedy Central (don't worry, I passed and took 2 more years of Chem). Beyond his original voice and his incredibly spot-on sense of humor which I enjoyed a great deal, he seemed very relatable. very much a guy next door finding humor in everyday life. This was in the mid 90's and I had free cable and my own room for the first time in my life. Both were exhilarating!

Fast forward a few years: Greg goes to work on the set of "Sex and the City" and co-writes a book that a few people seem to enjoy called "He's Just Not That Into You", which gets made into a movie. He goes on Oprah, gets a talk show, and slowly stops doing what he loves. He fell off my radar for awhile, what with school and starting my first job, going back to school, and starting my career as a doctor.

Then, one day, I was listening to a local podcast, The Marty Riemer Show, that was broadcasting interviews from Bumbershoot. Marty & Jodi Brothers were talking to comedians. I'm a comedy nerd. I listened every day and heard Greg, Marc Maron, Jimmy Pardo, and others, all with their own podcasts. Greg was as charming as ever and talked about a little podcast project he was working on with his best friend, Dave Anthony, called Walking The Room. A warning: this podcast is both charming and vile. Definitely not safe for work and definitely full of gems that have actually made me fall down when listening to it on my lunchtime walks. Greg enjoys a short pant, a cardigan, and designing clothes. Somewhere in there, he began taking guitar lessons from a friend, Mike Eisenstein (formerly of Letters To Cleo, on Twitter as @USAMike). They formed a band.

Because of the podcast, I eventually got the opportunity to see Greg perform live and to meet him. As awesome as it was to do that, it was even cooler to find out that he was even more excited to meet me! We've hung out together at various podcast-related events and correspond on occasion. And he is the most encouraging person I know, bar none. As busy as he is, he always takes time to support his friends who are just starting out, or trying a new side-project. He's just good people.

So, this year, he had a bit of a mid-life crisis (which means he'll have to live to 100), had some emotional ups and downs. And he hasn't been shy about getting some help for this and talking about it. In fact, in speaking about it on his podcast, he's inspired a few of my friends around the world to seek therapy as well, which has been life- changing, even life-saving, for them. 

And what came of his therapy? This dream: to take his band, The Reigning Monarchs and, over the course of this year, create a second LP, promote the album, tour the U.S. and film it all for a documentary about "old men living their dreams". Funding is all that stands in the way. For awhile. 

The band started an IndieGoGo fundraising campaign and Greg put the word out to his fans and friends. The word spread. Their goal was $10,000 to record an album. Fans, friends, and family donated, tweeted about it, posted on Facebook and Google Plus. Everyone seemed invested in making someone else's dream come true. But, very specifically, the dream of a certain someone else who has supported them each individually with words of encouragement, enthusiasm, occasionally with connections to other folks who can help, and with an honest belief in them and their dreams, an honest concern for them and their lives.

Tonight, with 8 hours left in the fundraising, they have raised almost $26,000. They will use this money to create and produce the album, hire a publicist to promote it and book their tour, pay for tour travel expenses, and begin filming the documentary. And the day ain't over yet. 

 

Mindfulness

December 13, 2012

An absolutely great article in the Huffington Post about Mindfulness, written by Michael Broder, PhD.

60% of the time, they're right 100% of the time..

July 10, 2012

A friend of mine posted a screenshot of Fox News' latest propaganda attempt. Across the screen was the large print shocker: 83% DOCTORS CONSIDER QUITTING OVER OBAMACARE it screamed out. What? First of all, 83% of doctors can't even agree on basic healthcare screening guidelines like when to get a mammogram or how frequently your cholesterol should be checked, much less something as "controversial" as national health care. There was a survey done by DPMA, a conservative lobbyist group that is trying to raise funds to overturn the National Healthcare Act. 83% of their survey respondents were "considering quitting", but it wasn't linked directly to the passage of the bill. This sort of bogus "reporting" is part of what created the political divide today between states, neighbors, and even families. When all anyone hears is vitriol spewed about members of the opposing political party, other countries, our own government, and about people who earn more or less than us, it's bound to overthrow our reason and our critical thinking skills. 

That being said, I'm for "Obamacare". As a physician, I try to avoid getting too political for fear of alienating any of my patients. But coverage and healthcare for everyone does have a nice ring to it. I want to see more patients. I want to provide patients with preventive care and early interventions that keep them from seeking care at the emergency room for non-emergent medical problems. I want to be covered by Medicare and Medicaid- I would take more Medicare and Medicaid patients if I could. Right now, I choose to see them on my sliding fee scale because Medicaid and Medicare do not cover naturopathic physicians. I have committed myself to improving the lives of people in my community and that means seeing sick people who need care, not just sick people with insurance.

But, it would be easier to do that if I could get paid better. 

Part of what "Obamacare" does is to require insurance companies to use more of their member's premiums to pay doctors instead of their own CEOs. Yet Cigna's CEO made over $19 million last year. Last month, I got $37 from them for a patient visit that lasted 30 minutes. And the patient had a $40 copay on top of that. Any complaints about the unfairness of this to the patient or to the provider are met with cries of "free market economy" and "who are we to prevent businesses from making money" and "socialism".  And I am free to do as many of my colleagues do and not accept insurance or be an out-of-network provider. But I rely on insurance directories for some of my referrals and to allow more people to take care of themselves and to see a naturopathic doctor than might otherwise be able to. Yet there is a sharp divide between how much insurance companies are making and how much they are reimbursing doctors and patients are stuck in the middle (see my blog article on "The Insurance Secret" for more). 

Obamacare also provides subsidies for patients who can't afford policies on their own. Covering more of our vulnerable populations will keep them out of emergency rooms. Covering naturopathy would aid this and shift their burden of care to doctors who are willing and able to provide preventive and primary care medicine to reduce the numbers of people suffering from chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and allergies, etc that are a huge percentage of healthcare costs. A small study in Vermont showed that members of a professional association that joined a preventive healthcare program run by an ND were able to lower their direct healthcare costs by $21 for every $1 spent. This is phenomenal and, at the very least, should provide impetus for studies on a larger scale about the potential impacts by naturopathic medicine on the national healthcare debate.

The time for rational and intelligent merit-based and well-thought out discussions about where our country and our planet is going is rapidly dwindling as news outlets push their ratings up at the expense of the common good. Turn them off. Think for yourself. Teach your children (as my parents taught me) the power of emotional appeals and the importance of critically parsing statements to discover verifiable facts and how to make decisions based on those facts and how they impact our families, communities and our world.

Should My Baby Wear Sunscreen? FDA article reponse

June 25, 2012

According to this article on FDA.gov, it really depends. Babies' skin is more permeable to the chemicals in sunscreen and their higher skin-to-body ration means more will be absorbed. Avoiding exposure is best! There are also tips and tricks for protecting infants from harmful UV rays. A big thank-you to Vital Family Medicine for sharing this article with us!

Guest Blog: Faith Franz for The Mesothelioma Center

June 21, 2012

 

What is Mesothelioma and What Causes It?

Caused primarily by exposure to a natural mineral fiber, mesothelioma is a rare but complicated cancer that affects around 3,000 Americans each year.

Asbestos is responsible for nearly all mesothelioma cases. When disturbed, the naturally occurring fibers can become lodged in the lining of the lungs, stomach or abdomen. Internal damage occurs over a period of several decades. Eventually, cancerous changes may occur, and mesothelioma tumors may develop.

Although asbestos is the cause of most mesothelioma diagnoses, several other risk factors have been identified. These include:

·        Exposure to non-asbestos mineral fibers (i.e. erionite and taconite)

·        Exposure to SV-40

·        Exposure to radiation

When a genetically pre-disposed person is exposed to one of these risk factors, the cancer may begin to develop.

As it progresses, the cancer causes few to no symptoms. Once it has reached its later stages, however, the asbestos-related disease can trigger a number of uncomfortable symptoms, such as coughing, chest pain and difficulty breathing.

What to Do if You Think you Have Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is notoriously difficult to treat – especially when it is diagnosed in its later stages. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are the most common mesothelioma treatments, but patients can also turn to naturopathic solutions.

Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, aromatherapy, massage therapy or chiropractic care may also be used in the treatment of mesothelioma. These treatments are typically palliative rather than curative in nature.

To be prime candidates for curative mesothelioma treatments, patients should be diagnosed in the earliest stages of the disease.

 Since mesothelioma grows without causing many symptoms, early diagnosis is most common in patients who have been scheduled for asbestos-related disease screenings. To help detect the cancer as soon as possible, anyone who suspects they have been exposed to asbestos (or another mesothelioma-causing substance) should register for regular disease screenings.

Author bio: Faith Franz researches and writes about health-related issues for the Mesothelioma Center. One of her focuses is on living with cancer.