Ballard Naturopathic Blog | All posts tagged 'naturopathy'

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

Affordable Care?

November 20, 2013

With the new year fast approaching, the Affordable Care Act is on everyone's minds. The Washington state website and the federal website have both been prone to errors and delays because of the overwhelming amount of traffic, making researching and enrolling in new plans a pain in the neck. It's also difficult to tell if your plan costs are going to be slashed because you are eligible for a premium subsidy, stay the same (as for those with employer coverage) or increase ridiculously (as some older patients are seeing). The first time I logged on, I was told that my demographic (36 year old non-smoking female) had no plans available (we are, after all, quite a rarity!). The second time, I was told that of course there was a plan for me, as a 25 year old male smoker..

With all this confusion. surrounding the ACA and the state benefits exchange, I find it helpful to enlist the aid of my healthcare broker, who previously spent time discussing my options for individual v. group coverage as a business owner as well as comparing and contrasting my plan options. Personally, I work with and highly recommend Kathy Miller of The Miller Connection in Everett. She takes the time to find out your unique situation to provide you with the best tailored advice. In the case of the healthcare exchange, she knows tips and tricks for getting the best possible quote, which takes a more nuanced approach than just filling in the blanks on the website. 

For my patients, I want to reiterate our commitment to providing affordable care. We will continue to offer cash discounts and a cap on our office visit charges for those who are eligible. As our sliding fee scales are only offered to uninsured patients, we hope to phase this out as more Washington state residents become enrolled in insurance plans. We will continue to offer payment plans to all of our patients. Our biggest news is that Stone Turtle Health is in the process of becoming a Medicaid provider with the state of Washington. This means we will be able to provide services to patients on various Medicaid-funded state health plans who were previously not offering naturopathic coverage. 

Families will continue to be able to schedule group appointments to cut down on costs, as well. Please consider bringing in your children in the months of November and December for a free 30-minute consultation to see if naturopathic medicine is a good fit for your family. 

As we move into the new era in medical reimbursement, I look forward to being able to provide care for more families in the community and to showing patients from all walks of life how affordable and sustainable naturopathic medicine really can be! Stone Turtle Health is committed to providing safe, effective, and financially-conscious care for your family!

 

Flu Season

October 4, 2011

With predictions of wet and windy La Nina months ahead, now is the time to prepare your immune system for the onslaught of viruses that cause colds and flu. At Stone Turtle Health, we have a wide variety of conventional and alternative options for cold and flu prevention.

Kids can get flu shots at our office, true, but we also offer an array of choices for natural immune support and safe, alcohol-free choices for dealing with nasty coughs, runny noses, and fevers if your child already has one. Common ingredients include kitchen spices that are known to have antibacterial and antiviral effects, like thyme, hyssop, garlic, and oregano, vitamins and minerals like vitamin B, C and zinc, as well as botanical medicines like astragulus, echinacea, and elderberry, all extracted in glycerine for alcohol-free formulations that are safe for children and pregnant women. 

If you can't make it in to the office, or it's the middle of the night, we've got a handy Handout on Home Remedies on this website that can earn you some relief from common symptoms, such as earaches, nausea and vomiting, cough and cold, fevers, and headaches. Perfect for getting a few more hours of sleep for you and your child. 

We're open until 7 at night on Tuesdays and Thursdays, as well as Friday and Saturday mornings to keep kids in school as much as possible. Please contact us today to schedule your child's flu shot, your immune wellness appointment, or your acute care appointment to keep your family healthy all through the year!

 

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.

Big Plans!

February 15, 2011

I'm excited to announce that in the coming weeks, we'll be launching two new programs that focus on health education.

First, we are in the process of recording podcasts addressing health topics, such as diabetes and weight loss, in our new podcast. We're still trying out names for the show. If you've got suggestions for names or topics, send them to us!

Secondly, we're taking it on the road! Do you and your friends spend your time talking about common health concerns, like aging or child development? Would you like to have an expert answer questions on topics you're interested in? Stone Turtle Health and our associates are launching health education parties. Bring some snacks, have some wine, hang with your friends and get your health questions answered in the comfort of your own home. A safe environment to ask whatever you have questions about your family's health.

If you want more information or have suggestions for either of the above new programs at Stone Turtle Health, please feel free to email us via the Contact page.

When is it "being reasonable" and when is it "giving up"?

March 29, 2010

The thought crossed my mind last night as I was reading a friend's blog post, "Why try? Why not settle for 'good enough? Why do I get so frustrated when I see people I care about decide to give up their search for the best in what  matters (or what I think should matter)?" We all settle for some things, continue to strive for others, but what is it in our minds and hearts that allows us to decide which is which? And why do other people's choices matter so much to me? Where do I "give up" and where do I refuse? Why?

For me, I "give up" on exercise because I'm afraid of spending my whole life trying and failing to be healthy, be a certain size, and be pain-free. I feel like I've set my goals astronomically high and that may just be what prevents me from attaining them, albeit in a step-wise fashion. Maybe if I set a goal to do a certain set of exercises each week, add on to that as the weeks pass, I'll be more likely to complete that goal and find the other goals (weight loss, pain reduction, etc) fall into line automatically. For me, exercise is an easy area to give up in, it's not always enjoyable, the results are not immediate, it's more of a long-term endeavor. Wouldn't it just be okay to say "this is where I'm going to drop the ball so I don't drop it in more important areas of my life"? These days, a lot of articles talk about how women spread themselves so thin, trying to be everything to everyone and to meet their own expectations. I'm sure this applies to men, too, but I can't speak from experience there. What I do know is, something's gotta give. So maybe the way to become "active" is to give up my ideas of what I have to be/do/look like in order for that label to apply to me? Maybe I can get around "giving up" by not setting such lofty goals for myself? Maybe I can get away with doing the same for housework?

One area I refuse to settle in is romance. As I entered my 30s, doubts began to creep in about whether settling wasn't such a bad idea, whether I would be able to find somone who met my lofty ideals, and whether I was even capable of achieving the type of personal relationship with the partner of my dreams. My biological clock felt like it was speeding up. Tick-tock-tick-tock.chil-dren-ba-bies-tick-tock.. I began worrying when the alarm would ring, telling me my time was up and I'd better resign myself to dying alone. But underneath that incessant beating, there has come a relaxation. A softening of the absolutes of my 20s when I would never date someone who...never fall in love with...never enjoy... While my preferences and morals remain the same, I've opened my eyes to see a wider range of potential partners who fit into them. I still refuse to settle for someone who doesn't love me unconditionally (or vice versa), someone who doesn't love themselves, or someone who is more concened about their personal profit than the future of the planet. I've learned that those who "need saving" need to do it themselves. Fortunately, the more people I meet, the more I find to like about them and the more forgiving of other people's faults I become (and my own as well).

What hurts my heart is when I see people I love actively settling for something less than what would bring them happiness. I'm not just talking about people doing something other than what I would do myself; I hope I'm more mature than that. I mean people who have confided in me that they're settling for the least terrible option without even exploring all their possibilities. I am a creature of possibility. If I'd settled for the least painful option, I'd probably have been married three times over, stayed in a job that paid the bills but killed my soul, or have given up altogether. Why does it bother me when other people choose to take the path of settling, knowing that they want something more? Maybe they find other rewards in settling, reasons why they choose what they do.

I, like many other people, have seen friends die young with their potential untapped. I've seen children die who never had a chance at the kinds of opportunites taken for granted or fearfully shied away from. A large part of my frustration, and a large part of my struggle to help other people achieve their dreams and to realiza my own, comes from grief and anger that the ones I lost never got a chance. I would say it's anger at opportunities for happiness squandered in the face of people who never got to have that opportunity. It's what keeps me moving forward and what makes me want to carry (or drag) others forward as well. I know it's their choice. I know it's their decision. My argument would be "you're only given an unknown amount of time in this form on this planet. Why wouldn't you grab life with both hands?"

So, I guess, I need to grow up, learn to let other people make their own choices and leave them be about the decisions they make. I need to stop taking such a personal interest in whether someone else has joy or is just settling for less pain. I'm working on that and I hope you'll bear with me as I learn that other people's pain is not my pain, that decisions painfully made are never without their own rewards, and that 17 minutes of a 30 minute yoga video is not "settling" but progress.

 

Supplements

March 5, 2010

Today, I was given a link (via a FB friend and colleague) to what was termed "a visual representation of the research done on supplements". It's very pretty and interactive (you can click on a tab to gauge the benefits of a supplement as related to a specific category of illness). The link is here: http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/2010/snakeoil-scientific-evidence-for-health-supplements/

It's an interesting site, not just because of the visual qualities, but because they use interesting parameters to affect the size of the "balloons", each depicting a different supplement. The higher up the page, the more "large, human, randomized, placebo-controlled trials" were found in searches of two top search engines, PubMed and Cochrane. The size of the balloon reflects the number of Google hits for a supplement. I'm not entirely sure of the relevance of this, myself, since anytime a supplement comes into fashion, the number of websites and Google searches will correspondingly shoot up.

I look forward to seeing this specific illustration grow and change as the authors find more studies to validate or invalidate health claims made by people on both sides of the supplement argument. I would posit that, while many herbs, vitamins, and minerals have not been included because they have not been the focus of these large studies, there is something to be said for an herb with a 3000-plus year tradition of being used for a certain condition. This is termed "empirical evidence" (as opposed to evidence found using the scientific theory of forming a hypothesis, eliminating variables and testing the hypothesis) by people supporting a specific issue and "anecdotal evidence" by those opposing it. As humans, we have a wonderful capacity for assigning value to an object through spin, or, as I like to call it, creative wordsmithing.

For my practice, I will continue to suggest treatments that I've seen work, have been educated to understand why they work (what effect they have on the body physiologically), and have seen research on that is compelling enough for me to feel comfortable prescribing to my patients. Many, many of the treatments I use fall outside of the scope of this link and it's graphical representation, but I feel that they have a good grasp on the need to protect consumers from false health claims and a strong commitment to recommending demonstrably useful supplements. It's a great start to educating the public.

 

Food for thought

July 14, 2009

Last spring I took a class on weight loss froma new perspective. It was called Weigh to Go, administered by students in Bastyr's nutrition department, and was a combination of individual counseling sessions and group sessions, including a lot of recipe sharing. I thought it had real merit for anumber of reasons.

First of all, the group sessions were attended by all the participants and nominally run by a group of students. But the students simply offered up a topic of interest around food and our relationship with it, and then let the participants have at it. One day, a student handed around strawberries and talked us through a conscious eating exercise where we used all of our senses to experience the strawberry before finally eating it. A few ideas were reinforced (such as, strawberries don't make a lot of noise, but they smell heavenly), and some new ones introduced. Particularly when we got to the part where the demonstrator for the day listed all the ingredients in Cool-Whip and artificial strawberry flavoring on the board next to the words: strawberry, heavy cream, vanilla, sugar.Which would you rather eat?

It really opened my eyes about the difficulty found when trying to eat healthily and yet avoiding processed foods labeled "low-fat" or "light". Foods that are highly processed, even if they tout fewer calories, are a far cry from healthy, as much as we are taught to seek out words like "low-fat" and "fat-free". We discussed how fat is an important component in telling your body when you are full to prevent overeating in addition to all of the ways that your body uses it for tissue and cell repair. Without fat in our diet, especially with access to processed foods, people tend to not see their stopping point, eating 2 or 3 or more times the suggested serving, which cancels out the point of buying things with fewer calories. Finally, foods that are highly processed are stripped of fiber and nutrients found in whole foods. Even if they carry less calories, we're still not seeing the nutrients we need to survive that we find in more calorie-dense whole foods. As overweight as our culture is, it is also a culture of malnutrition and deficiencies because of our reliance on processed foods to fill the void.

A truly healthy diet is one that is based strongly in local, fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, augmented by protein in the form you choose, meat, fish, or vegetarian. A healthy addition of fat allows us to absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E, and K) as well as providing essential fatty acids for our optimal health. Unsaturated fats, those that are liquid at room temperature, should be our primary sources, but solid fats such as real butter, coconut oil, almonds, and avocados should be used as well. Other saturated fats, from red meat or from hydrogenated oils should be ingested sparingly, if at all. With so many sources of healthy fat, and proper portion sizes, weight loss is much simpler because we feel full after eating an appropriate amount and have less desire to overeat.

Another point that was addressed (particularly in my individual sessions) was the effect of emotional eating. Now, for many, emotional eating equates to an extra brownie covered with vanilla ice cream after a break-up or a tough day at work. For me, emotional eating comes in the form of celebrations. If something good happens, i reward myself. If there's a big family event, it revolves around food. And not just the eating of, but the planning of menus, the preparation for the party (including multiple shopping trips), the creation of the dishes. Ninety percent of my conversations with my family revolved around what marvelous meal I had recently eaten or what my mother, aunt or sister was looking forward to preparing for friends. And no one in my family has been in the food industry for years, if at all.

The student running my individual sessions told me she always looked forward to sessions with me because she would hear about such wonderful food. But, it was counterproductive to my goal of weight loss just to be regaling even more people with temptations and delights I'd experienced. She suggested I try to find another way to celebrate the next big event in my life, which just so happened to be graduation. I signed up to learn how to sail at Seattle's Center for Wooden Boats, an eight-week course on the water where I would learn the rudiments of sailing a small sloop single-handedly. Saving up for the class turned out to use up all of my restaurant money for the whole quarter and some nights I came in so exhausted and excited about learning to sail that I fell asleep before dinner or after forcing down another bowl of lentils and rice that I didn't even taste. My counselor was right. There are many other great ways to celebrate without eating and I was lucky enough to begin on the path to my dream hobby by exploring one of them. And a boat is a great place for a picnic.

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

Summertime and the living is easy…

June 10, 2009

I think I can honestly say thanks, summer, it was awesome. I’m done. 90+ degrees on the bank sign outside my Bellevue office and it’s only June 3rd. Summer makes me grateful for many things like box fans, gelato, homemade blueberry-mango granitas, cold beer, cool sheets at night, water fountains, sailing, you get the picture..Continue Reading Post Here