Ballard Naturopathic Blog | All posts tagged 'life'

Stone Turtle HealthNaturopathic Medicine and Massage Therapy for the Whole Family

6204B 8th Ave NW Seattle, WA 98107 Work (206) 355-4309

Stone Turtle Health Blog

Band of Brothers (and Sisters)

September 29, 2013

I'm a big fan of Kid President. This kid stands for positive change, "being awesome" and "more dance parties". His partnership with local actor Rainn Wilson, of "The Office" and Soul Pancake is a bright light in an often-cynical and sad world I think the message that they are sharing is important. I LOVE dance parties! I want to be awesome!

Last month, I did an awesome thing. Via Twitter, I thanked Anthony Shears, a local recording artist living in L.A., for a beautiful song he had written about domestic violence. He did an awesome thing- he replied. Our dialogue, such as it was, transferred from Twitter to Facebook, to phone & email. We dreamed about what we could do to REALLY make a positive change in the lives of children touched by domestic violence or in difficult home situations. Anthony spent a lot of his childhood at the Ballard Boys & Girls Club. He tells me there were some days where most of his meals came from there. The folks at the Ballard Boys & Girls Club helped keep Anthony, his brother and their friends off the streets by providing them a safe place where they could build healthy relationships and stay out of trouble. Mentors at the Club gave the boys opportunites to play sports and support to succeed in school. Anthony went on to attend Dartmouth and work in L.A. with some legendary recording artists; Norris is an Olympic athlete. They want to give back.

My own work with children spans 20 years, in various areas such as medicine, social work, teaching, and volunteering. I believe that if we support children who need it the most, we benefit ourselves through building a strong community. Another generation will be raised up with the values that we treasure. Values like integrity, honesty, a strong work ethic, creativity, and a sense of community are supported at Boys & Girls Clubs. 

Working with Anthony, Norris, and a team of amazing volunteers, we are designing the first annual "Field of Our Dreams Celebrity Softball Tournament" to benefit the Ballard & Wallingford Boys & Girls Clubs. Money raised will help to re-surface the softball field and provide scholarship funds to the 70% of children that rely on assistance to be a part of the Clubs. Scheduled for May 4 at B.F. Day Playfield, the softball game will have local celebrities and athletes and live performances. This event can't happen without volunteers- let us know if you'd like to help!

Our first step: The upcoming Ballard Boys & Girls Club Auction to begin the fundraising for the field, held October 25th at 5:30 with both silent and live auctions. More information can be found here, as well as tickets ($45, including free childcare and a salmon dinner)

Healthy Fall Recipes

October 14, 2011

As the days get cooler, many people are becoming less active or are worried about putting on weight with holiday food. Tailgating for football games can be damaging to your waistline, too. It all begins with what you put in your mouths, what your options are, and what you provide for your family. Here are some healthy recipe links that run from less processed, homemade sweets for Halloween to healthy and delicious Sunday dinners that are seasonal and easy to prepare.

Halloween:

Burnt Sugar Lollipops

Chocolate Bark with Pistachios and Dried Cherries

Apple "Bites"

Melon Brain

*recipes from www.FamilyFun.Go.Com and www.EatingWell.com

 

Tailgating Recipes:

Guacamole with Chipotle Tortilla Chips

Spicy Black Bean Hummus

Cajun Oven-Fried Chicken

Roasted Potato Salad with Mustard Dressing

Homemade Chunky Chicken Chili

 

*recipes from www.MyRecipes.com and www.recipes.kaboose.com

 

Sunday Dinner:

White Bean Soup with Kale and Chorizo

Roast Chicken with Wild Rice Stuffing

Poached Pears in Merlot with Figs and Hazelnuts

 

Poached Pears in Merlot

4 large pears

1/2 c. hazelnuts, chopped

1/2 c. dried figs, chopped

2 c. Merlot

1 glass baking dish

 

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Core pears, leaving skin on and removing core & seeds. Combine nuts and figs and stuff pears, standing them upright in glass dish. Pour Merlot over tops of pears, cover with foil. Cook at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until pears are cooked and easily pierced with fork. Serves 4 (try adding non-fat vanilla yogurt on top for a decadent twist).

 

*recipes from www.CookingLight.com and Stone Turtle Health

 

 

 

Take a Time Out!

October 13, 2011

Lions, and Tigers and Bears, oh my! It's time for touchdowns, tackles, and tight ends. Whether you're watching your kids play, watching the pros, or playing the weekend warrior playing a pickup game on the front lawn or in the park, fall means football (and soccer) for a lot of people here in Seattle and across the US. Here are a few ways to add some healthy habits to your season!

Stretch! Get all those muscles nice and warm. Stretch your large muscle groups (upper legs- front AND back, calves, biceps & triceps, back muscles and neck muscles) to improve circulation and prevent injuries. Sitting on the couch through a Sunday's-worth of games can take a toll. Get up and move around, grab another glass of water, and keep moving. If you or your kids are on the field, warming up before the game is a MUST to avoid Monday remorse. 

Snack! Healthy snacks, like carrot sticks, orange slices, and peanut butter with crackers are perennial favorites for teams. At home? Add a twist to plain old chips and salsa by making a mix of shredded cabbage, diced tomatoes, onions, garlic and jalapenos to serve alongside. Buy the baked chips this time. Fruit plates, veggie trays with healthy dips like hummus, and chicken skewers instead of ribs and burgers are all great options that are lower in fat and calories. Chili is great, but skip the sour cream and mountains of shredded cheese & bacon bits.*

Drink! Water, that is. The more well-hydrated you are, the less sore you're going to be. Water helps remove waste products from active muscles, making for a more pleasant morning after the big game. Make sure to replace your electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, which are lost when you sweat and can't be replaced by plain water. Healthy options, such as Recharge or Emergen-C are good alternatives to Gatorade and other electrolyte replacement drinks that use artificial ingredients.

Let's be realistic. Lots of folks like a beer while they watch the game. If you're going to drink alcohol, make sure you have a designated driver. Alternate each alcoholic drink with a large glass of water to avoid over-consumption (by filling up with water, you'll be less inclined to drink more alcohol to satisfy your thirst mechanism, and a stomach full of water will also help to stop you from eating the whole bag of chips by yourself). Know your limits. No one likes to deal with drunks at public sporting events or bars, so be aware of how much you're drinking. 

Have fun! Parents, remember that your kids are playing sports to have fun! Overcompetitive parents and those who argue with the referees, coaches, or other attendees are no fun for anyone. If you're playing, go with a laid-back approach. You're there to have fun, get some exercise, and spend time with your friends and teammates. Enjoy!

Remember Stone Turtle Health for school sports physicals (only $40 or insurance), therapeutic massage for sports injuries, and prevention.

*(Check back tomorrow for fall recipes that are great for entertaining during or after the game.)

 

Everybody's Free to Wear It...

July 5, 2011

Sunscreen. Sun block. Suntan lotion. What exactly is SPF? How much is enough? What is the FDA doing about it?

Now that we've (finally) got some sunshine in Seattle, it's time for a talk about sunscreen. Sunscreen is formed of organic and inorganic particles that are designed to block and/or absorb ultraviolet (UV) light from ths sun. Physical sunscreens reflect light, Chemical sunscreens absorb light. Many products have both forms inside. Blocking sunlight also blocks vitamin D creation, an issue that many patients have concerns about.

The SPF number reflects how well a sunscreen protects against UVB light, the type of UV ray that causes squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. It does not measure protection against UVA rays which cause melanoma or infrared light which also affects sun damage levels. UVB causes the most common types of skin cancer, but UVA causes the most deadly. SPF is, unfortunately, very inaccurate because most people don't put on enough. Also, wiping it off, swimming, and sweating all minimize its effectiveness, regardless of whether it is labeled "sweatproof" or "waterproof". Plus, we're supposed to be reapplying it every 2 hours, right? An SPF of 15 means that, theoretically, you're protected for 15 times longer than you would be without sunscreen. This, of course, doesn't take into account the changes in sun exposure throughout the day as the sun changes position in the sky.

The FDA has passed new regulations recently which will go into effect next year. These will require sunscreens to show that they block UVA and UVB rays in order to be labeled "broad spectrum" and only products with an SPF of 15 or higher can claim to prevent sun damage, wrinkles, and skin cancer. Further, no sunscreen manufacturers can label products as having an SPF higher than 50 because there is not enough evidence to prove that going above an SPF of 50 increases the benefit. The term "sunblock" can no longer be used, nor can "sweat-proof" or "water-proof". Instead, a product can be labeled "water-resistant", but then must state for how long, 40 or 80 minutes.

As always, staying out of the sun, avoiding tanning beds, and covering up with hats and long-sleeved clothing are very important in order to prevent sun damage, wrinkles, and cancer. If you're concerned about your vitamin D levels, talk to your doctor about alternate sources or about safer ways to get vitamin D naturally.

For more info:

Understanding Sunscreen Products - FDA

FDA Cracks down on Sunscreen Claims, bans 'sunblock'

What IS Sunscreen?

Skin Cancer, Sun, and Sunscreen

Jamie Oliver is my hero

June 7, 2011

"Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. " This quote from Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine is one of my favorites. The Hippocratic Oath, "First Do No Harm" is commonly used in medical and naturopathic oaths taken by doctors and is the first tenet of naturopathic medicine. Personally, I just love food so much- the tast, the texture, the smell, the sight and sound of cooking and eating freshly prepared meals, the joy of sharing food, drink, and laughter with those closest to me- that it's a natural part of treatment plans that my patients and I create together.

That's why this blog post is a plug for Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. Whether you watch the show on ABC or go to the Jamie Oliver Foundation website to see what the Food Revolution is all about: check it out one way or another. See, Jamie's a chef from the UK who decided he was disgusted by what local kids were getting in their school lunches. He launched a program that changed the way school lunches were made in the UK and now he's come across the pond to help US schoolchildren and their families get educated about what goes into their bodies, how they can make healthier choices, and how they can make changes happen locally and nationally surrounding the food that we grow, process, distribute, and ultimately buy and feed to our families. The TV show is incredibly touching and enlightening in many ways as it shows kids the difference between real vegetables and what they're being served, empowers families to start cooking for themselves, and addresses institutional problems inherent in the school lunch and fast-food systems.

When I was in school, I worked on a project with a grandiose vision: in-school public health clinics (naturopathic, of course) that provided health care, vaccinations, exercise and weight-loss programs, nutrition education, school gardens, worked with the cafeterias on improving school lunch options, and served as hubs for family and community health. Although we would have been the only clinical provider in the city, we met roadblock after roadblock- parents concerned that their children might receive healthcare without their knowledge, shrinking budgets and fewer opportunities (plus stiffer competition) for grants, and other issues. Eventually, the project went on hiatus, but not before our collaborators, who were simultaneously working on a similar project elsewhere offered me a job as the lead physician. Three weeks after graduation, that project folded due to lack of funds. Maybe we were reaching too far, too fast, but a large part of my dream of becoming a naturopathic physician was to work with kids to introduce healthy lifestyle options and prevent many of the chronic illnesses that are epidemic in American culture, like obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, and ADHD. To teach them the joy of healthy, fresh food.

If the thought of what we put in our kids' bodies concerns you at all, if you worry that your child doesn't know what vegetables look like, if you just want to know how, what, or IF anything can be done to stop this downward spiral into poor health at a younger and younger age, please do yourself 2 favors: 1) Don't buy it if you don't know what's in it (tetrasodium phosphate? YUMMY!), and 2) Check out what other people (including some in your community) are doing to make a difference at Jamie Oliver's website. Many hands make light work.

These Dreams of You.. So Real and So True

June 22, 2009

So dreams have been on my mind a lot lately. I've been wondering what they are, where they come from, and what it means to dream lucidly, dream walk, or have precognitive dreams. Maybe it means you've tapped in to part of the 96% of our brains most humans don't use. Maybe you're connecting spiritually with something bigger than yourself, connecting with another layer in the universe or another reality with just as much truth to it as our waking reality. Maybe you're just crazy. Who's to say, really?

Have you ever noticed the synchronicity that happens when you buy a new car? Suddenly all you see are the cars around you that other people bought that are just like yours. It seems that the more vivid my dreams become, the more I hear about other people who are interested in exploring the meaning behind their dreams, are enrolled in dream "schools" or just believe that our dreams are another way to connect rather than just a random firing of neurons in the brain. As skeptical as I am, there are some things I can't always explain about dreams and other experiences I've had. I prefer to lump them under the heading of "things to be explained later, when we have better science" than "paranormal" or, heaven forbid, "crazy". And most of them are quite enjoyable- visiting with relatives and friends who are out of contact, either because of physical distance or because they've passed away.

How do you react when you have a vivid dream? Dream about something that later occurs in your waking life? What do you say when friends or patients tell you their dreams and ask for your advice or interpretation? Something I learned recently from a mentor was the importance of framing your response. For example, saying "if it were my dream..." or some other non-judgmental way of offering an interpretation that doesn't necessarily lend credence to the idea of dreams being real, but still might offer the dreamer some suggestions of topics to consider when they evaluate their own dreams. If they talk about having precognitive dreams, have them keep a journal by the bed and record their vivid dreams upon waking and also journal when the tied-in event happens in real life. This will reduce two common errors: thinking the dream occurred before the event when it actually occurred afterward and retroactively making the events and details in the dream match real life.

So, I'm curious. Do you remember your dreams? How do they affect your daily life? Do you share them with others? What do you say to people who share their dreams with you?

Balance

June 10, 2009

In my recent Ballard News-Tribune post on work-life balance, I offered a few suggestions to help weed out the unimportant things in life, to reconnect with your family, and to find time for yourself. Unfortunately, this had to be done in a 500-word format. The usual stuff, make lists, learn to say no, spend time doing meaningful stuff, cut down on TV.
In looking at my own life over the past weekend, I feel satisfied. I spent time working (I work Saturdays), playing with friends, and spending time alone (and I only spent $30 the whole weekend!) . I would say one of the hardest things for me, though, is to find this moderation in my daily life...Continue Reading Post Here