Grain Free Pancakes

IMG_1544Whether you are gluten-free, paleo, or just looking for a healthier alternative to your usual breakfast routine, these grain-free pancakes are a delicious way to start your morning! An added bonus: almond flour is lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein than wheat flour, contains heart healthy fats, and has an amazing buttery taste.

  • 1/2 cup milk (cow, goat, almond, hemp, or coconut)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 to 3 tsp coconut oil (for cooking)

Mix all ingredients except the oil together in a large bowl. Warm 1 tsp of coconut oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. Pour 1/4 cup of pancake batter into skillet, spreading and shaping with the back of a spoon as needed for uniform thickness. Watch the pancakes carefully as they cook, grain free pancakes tend to cook quicker and burn faster than their wheat counterparts. Flip the cakes after bubbles rise to the surface, about 1 to 2 minutes. Cook on the second side for another 1 to 2 minutes then transfer to a warm (200 degrees Fahrenheit) oven while you cook the remaining batter. Add more oil to the pan as necessary. Serve these pancakes warm with your favorite toppings. I added a drizzle of raw honey, fresh bartlett pears, and roasted hazelnuts to mine.

Walnut Stuffed Figs

These are a beautiful treat for late summer parties.

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Serves 5.

Stuffed Figs

  • 10 fresh ripe Figs (I used Mission variety, but any kind will do)
  • 1/2 cup Walnut halves or pieces
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground Cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground Nutmeg

Vanilla Cashew Creme

  • 1 1/2 cups raw Cashews
  • 6 pitted Dates
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place the dates and the cashews for the vanilla cashew cream in a bowl. Add just enough water to cover the ingredients and let soak for 30 minutes. Slice the figs and arrange in a glass baking dish. Chop walnuts into small pieces and mix with salt and spices in a bowl. Make a depression in the figs with your finger or a spoon and then spoon spiced nut mixture into the fig halves. Bake figs for approximately 20 minutes or until they have slightly softened.

While the figs are baking, remove and strain the cashews and dates, making sure to reserve the soaking water. Place all ingredients for the vanilla cream in the food processor and blend, adding 1 Tbsp of the soaking water at a time until the mixture is the consistency of smooth frosting. Set aside.

Serve the figs warm and drizzled with Vanilla Cashew Cream.

Spiced Date Rolls

These delicious and healthy date rolls are perfect for sharing.

Makes about 1 dozen.

  • 1 cup Dates
  • 1 cup raw Almonds
  • zest of 1 Orange
  • 1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened Coconut
  • 1/2 inch fresh Ginger root, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon
  • 3 Tbs water

Place all ingredients except for water and coconut into a food processor. Blend while adding the water a small amount at a time until ingredients form a smooth paste. Place shredded coconut onto a plate. Scoop out a small amount of date paste and roll in your palm to form a 1 inch ball. Roll the ball in the coconut and set aside. Repeat until all the date paste has been used.IMG_0518

Chicken with Summer Tomatoes, Fennel, and Green Olives

A great way to celebrate summer produce!
Serves 4.
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 fennel bulb, cored and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 2 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup fresh basil, julienned
  • 1/3 cup green olives, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Heat 1 Tbs oil in a heavy bottom skillet over medium heat. Sear chicken breasts for 5 minutes on each side and set aside. Add 1 Tbs of oil to skillet along with sliced fennel, onions, and salt. Saute for 8 to 10 minutes or until veggies are slightly browned and softened, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes and wine along with partially cooked chicken breasts. Nestle chicken amongst the veggies and cover with a lid. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Add olives and basil and cook for 8 to 10 minutes more or until chicken is cooked to 165 degrees.

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Natural Ways to Fight the Flu

frosty winter leafIs it just me, or does the flu always seems to come at the worst times? The illness we call the flu is caused by a number of influenza viruses. This year’s flu  may be especially bad, with lots of high fevers, body aches, and a productive cough. Unfortunately, the flu vaccine that’s currently available appears to only be about 10% effective. Fortunately, there are some natural ways that you can keep you and your family healthy and flu-free this season.

Preventing the Flu, Naturally!

The best strategy for health is always prevention. Here are some easy things you can do to build a strong foundation of health:

  • Get Plenty of Rest!
    • Sleep is your body’s chance to repair and heal and we all need to get plenty of sleep to allow this natural process to happen. Most children need about 12 hours of sleep each night, adolescents need about 9 or 10 hours, and adults need 7 to 8 hours to function optimally.
  • Eat Well!
    • Have you ever heard the saying, “You are what you eat”? For the immune system to function properly we need to give it the building blocks that it needs to do its job. This means getting plenty of protein and fresh fruits and vegetables.
      • Protein is needed to make sufficient antibodies. A good rule of thumb is to base your daily protein needs on your weight. Most healthy people should aim to eat 0.35g of protein per pound that they weigh. For example, someone who weighs 100lb would need 35g of protein and someone who weighs 150lb should eat about 52g of protein every day.
      • Fresh fruits and vegetables contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help keep our bodies healthy and functioning properly. A daily goal for most healthy adults is 1 to 2 servings of fresh fruit and 4 to 6 servings of vegetables every day.
      • A healthy diet should also contain good sources of fat and carbohydrates and be low in processed, sugary foods. Examples of some of the healthiest fats include: olives; nuts; seeds; fish; avocados; free-range poultry and eggs; grass-fed beef and lamb; and coconut, olive, or avocado oil. Healthy sources of carbohydrates include: whole grains (i.e. quinoa, oats, millet, whole wheat, spelt, barley) and starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, and winter squashes.
    • Don’t Smoke Cigarettes
      • Tobacco smoke irritates the cells of the respiratory tract and may make you more susceptible to infections.
    • Hygiene
      • Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough
      • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water

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Natural Treatments for Flu Season

Sometimes prevention just isn’t enough. If you do get sick this cold and flu season there are many things you can do to soothe your symptoms and shorten their duration, while also giving your body a general immune boost.

  • Vitamin C
    • Regular supplementation of Vitamin C may help to prevent and reduce the severity and duration of cold. This effect seems to be greatest in people undergoing physical stress (i.e. strenuous exercise) and in children. Vitamin C is less effective if it is started after cold symptoms have already begun.
    • Common dosages:
      • Dosages for children 1-3 years old: 250mg
      • Dosages for children 4-13 years old: 500mg
      • Dosages for most adults and children 14 and older: 1000-2000mg per day
    • Caution: Excess Vitamin C can cause digestive upset and diarrhea; do not exceed recommended dosages.
  • Vitamin D3
    • There are receptors for Vitamin D on most cells in our body, making it important for a wide variety of normal functions. Vitamin D is also needed for appropriate T lymphocyte function, a key way that our immune systems protect us from viral illnesses.
    • Although Vitamin D comes in two forms, D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol), Vitamin D3 is the form of the vitamin that is more easily absorbed.
    • Common dosage ranges:
      • Dosages for children 1-3 years old: 400IU
      • Dosages for children 4-13 years old: 800-1000IU
      • Dosages for most adults and children 14 and older: 1000-2000IU per day
    • Caution: Vitamin D is fat-soluble so it is stored in the body for long periods of time. Because of this, it is important not to take high doses of the vitamin for long periods of time unless recommended by a health care professional due to deficiency. If you haven’t had your Vitamin D levels checked, it’s a good idea to do this at least once a year.
  • Zinc
    • Zinc is an essential trace mineral needed for structural integrity (i.e. skin and bones), growth and development, reproduction, and neurological function, and is essential for normal functioning of the immune system.
    • Zinc plays a role in the normal development and function of cells that mediate both innate immune responses (i.e. the immunity we are born with) and adaptive immunity (i.e. acquired immunity to specific targets).
    • Zinc may reduce the severity and duration of cold and flu symptoms when started within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms. Zinc should be continued until symptoms have completely resolved.
    • Supplementation with zinc may also reduce the incidence of lower respiratory infections, like pneumonia, which can follow the flu.
    • Common dosage ranges:
      • Dosages for infants 0-6 months: 2 to 4mg/day
      • Dosages for infants 7-12 months: 3 to 5mg/day
      • Dosages for children 1-3 years: 3 to 7mg/day
      • Dosages for children 4-8 years: 5 to 10mg/day
      • Dosages for children 9-13 years: 8 to 20mg/day
      • Dosages for adolescents 14-16 years: 10 to 25mg/day
      • Dosages for adults 19 and over: 10 to 30mg/day
    • Caution: You should avoid long-term supplementation of high doses of zinc (i.e. in excess the recommended doses below), as this can result in a copper deficiency.
  • Echinacea
    • Echinacea is one of our most studied herbs and for good reason. This beautiful native flower has profound effects on the immune system. Extracts of Echinacea were shown to be as effective as the pharmaceutical anti-viral Oseltamivir in treating influenza, and with significantly less side effects.
    • There are many strains of Echinacea available, but the variety that has been shown to have the greatest effect on the immune system is Echinacea angustifolia. Echinacea purpurea has also been studied for its ability to support immune functions. Look for either of these varieties when you are choosing supplements!
  • Black Elderberry
    • Black Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) has been traditionally used for centuries to prevent and treat respiratory infections. It is especially useful for preventing and treating viruses and studies have shown that Elderberry extracts may actually block the influenza virus from attaching to the cells of the respiratory tract. Elderberry also helps to boost our immune systems by increasing the activity of certain immune cells and their messaging systems.
  • Probiotics

Wishing you all a healthy and happy 2018!

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Paleo Coconut Mango Sorbet

SONY DSCCraving something that’s sweet, creamy, AND healthy? My Coconut Mango Sorbet is a refreshing, tropical treat that’s also nutrient-dense and Paleo-friendly. This delicious sorbet is free of dairy and refined sugars and perfect for a hot summer day.

Makes 1 quart and requires an ice cream maker.

  • 2 cans Coconut Milk (full-fat, not light!)
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 cup Raw Honey
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • 1 1/4 cup Mango, peeled and diced into 1/4 inch cubes

In a large bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, salt, honey, and lime juice. Stir in the mango chunks. From here, follow the directions on your ice cream maker. The sorbet will most likely need to sit in your freezer for a few hours to firm up before serving.

Note: If you’ve never cut a mango before, here is a great step-by-step video!

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Do Longer Lives Equal Healthier People?

veggie_heartNot surprisingly, a recent study found that people around the world are generally living longer lives than ever before with less cases of childhood mortality. While this is obviously great news, does this also mean that humans are healthier now than in the past? Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case. In most countries there have been strides over the last hundred years in better hygiene and living conditions, increased access to vaccinations, and less risk of starvation. While all of this has allowed more humans to live to old age, it doesn’t always equate to greater health status for these people. As an article in the newspaper, the Oregonian points out, “With more children surviving, chronic illnesses and disabilities that strike later in life are taking a bigger toll, the research said. High Blood Pressure has become the leading health risk worldwide, followed by smoking and alcohol.” Chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease are quickly overtaking infectious disease as the top health priority world-wide.

Luckily, most chronic diseases are considered preventable. There is a great deal that we can do, both as individuals and as a matter of policy, to address and turn around these statistics. There are many organizations working to promote health education, access to fresh fruits and vegetables to poor and urban communities, and safe and fun ways for children and adults to exercise. Here are just a few:

Ending Childhood Obesity Project: Portland, Oregon

Portland Fruit Tree Project: Portland, Oregon

Spiral Gardens Community Food Security: Berkeley, California

Edible School Yard: Berkeley, California

Roasted Cauliflower with Pistachios and Thyme

This recipe is simple and delicious, with a rich nutty flavor. I often serve it in place of rice or couscous when I make a tagine, curry, or stew. Serves 4-6.
  • One headof cauliflower, stemmed and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp melted coconut oil orothervegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup unsalted, shelled pistachios
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried Thyme

Preheat oven to 375 F. Place the chopped cauliflower on a cookie sheet and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the mixture and then spread it out into one even layer. Bake for about 40 minutes total, stirring once at 20 minutes and adding the pistachios and thyme after 35 minutes of cooking. Cauliflower should be tender and lightly browned. Serve warm.

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Naturopaths Can Fill Shortage in Primary Care

Most people agree, the shortage in primary care doctors is a real problem. Here are some statistics from a recent article in the San Jose Mercury News:

  • Two to 4 million Californians, and 32 million people nationally, will obtain insurance in 2014 under the national health reform law.
  • The nation will need 45,000 additional primary care doctors within 7 years, including 2,000 or more in California.
  • Nearly one-third of all physicians are expected to retire in the next decade, just as more Americans seek care.
  • Only about 20 percent of American medical students go into primary care, according to the Council on Graduate Medical Education.

So, what can we do about this? How about making it possible for a group of licensed doctors, already trained in primary care and excited be in this role, to gain the legal recognition necessary to fulfill this need on a national level. There are perhaps 400-500 naturopaths graduating every year from accredited schools, but most graduates end up moving to one of the 17 states where naturopathic doctors are currently licensed. By creating legal recognition on a nationwide scale, naturopathic doctors would be able to spread out and help meet the need for primary care doctors throughout the nation. If your state does not already license and regulate naturopathic medicine, contact your legislators and let them know you want access to licensed Naturopathic Doctors.

Additionally, the Affordable Care Act states that insurance companies must allow you to choose to receive medical services from any practitioner licensed to provide that care. Many insurance companies are still not following the law. If your insurance company does not cover naturopathic services ask them why they are not following the Affordable Care Act. You can also find out more about legislative advocacy by going to the website of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

A Look at Naturopathic Education

I find that many people are surprised that Naturopathic Doctors go through a full four years of medical training. Although there are many differences between Naturopathic and Medical Doctors, our basic education is actually very similar. Naturopathic Doctors go through thousands of hours of basic sciences, medical sciences, and clinical training, along with extra training in nutrition, herbal medicine, and homeopathy, all so that we can provide the best possible care for our patients.

The charts below compare the clinical and basic science educations of various practitioners. number of educational hours students receive at various accredited naturopathic and medical colleges. It also compares the differences in education of Naturopathic Doctors who attend accredited medical schools and unlicensed naturopaths who attend two-year vocational schools. There are currently six accredited naturopathic colleges in the U.S. and two in Canada. In states that do not license and regulate naturopaths, the difference can be quite confusing! If you live in a state that does not currently license naturopathic medicine and you are in doubt, you can always ask your naturopath about their education and credentials.

You can also find listings of licensed Naturopathic Doctors in your area by checking out the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. If you would like to see Naturopathic Doctors licensed in your state, write your legislators and let them know this is an important issue to you.

Here’s how the schools measure up:

Comparing Educations Hours and NDs and MDs
This chart compares two accredited Naturopathic colleges (NCNM and Bastyr), three allopathic medical schools (Yale, Jogns Hopkins, Medical College of Wisconsin), and two vocational schools for naturopaths (Trinity and Clayton).
Compare Medical Education Hours
Total Educational Hours by Practitioner Degree