As you know...It is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast cancer affects men as well as women, but at a much smaller rate. 1 in 1000 men will develop breast cancer during their lifetime and about 1 in 8 (12%) women in the US will develop breast cancer during their lifetime.

Boost Breast Health with these Bust Musts

From the bare-breasted days of the cave woman, through the Renaissance and into the era of blonde bombshells, a woman's bosom has been an icon representing both sexual prowess and vitality. But the breasts are also vulnerable. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and, each year, about 40,000 women die from the disease. From puberty through the elder years, it's imperative for a woman to take care of her breasts, from the inside out, both physically and emotionally.

The "bust musts" for breast health go beyond screenings and routine self-exams. Until recently, the prevalent thinking was that screenings are the best way to detect and treat cancer before it metastasizes. However, increasing numbers of false-positive tests have led to unnecessary medical treatment. In some cases, screenings have failed to detect active tumors. It could be that timing for screenings should be personalized, based on health and family history, age, and lifestyle habits.

More important than early detection is the power of prevention in the hands of every woman. This includes properly performing breast self-exams (BSE), and taking care of body and mind in ways that boost health.

Six Ways to Boost Breast Health

~ Know Your Body. It's important for a woman to be familiar with the look and feel of her own breasts. Performing a monthly self exam is the best way to detect a lump or other abnormality.

~ Chill Out. In general, excessive stress has negative effects on health. Research indicates that stress can also increase your risk for breast cancer as well as its recurrence (Ohio State U). Because stress impairs immunity, there's evidence that it can alter how aggressively cancer develops. To manage stress, try yoga and meditation. I recommend getting out into nature as often as possible as well.

~ Go for Green. A component of green tea called ECGC. It is a powerful antioxidant that is believed to suppress the growth of new blood vessels in tumors. ECGC also seems to play a role in keeping cancer cells from destroying healthy tissue. Enjoy at least a cup or two of tea daily.

~ Get Crunchy. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables contain cancer-fighting compounds that convert excess estrogen into a form that is more "friendly" to a woman's body. Women who eat a high percentage of cruciferous veggies on a daily basis are less likely to develop breast cancer. Enjoy a "crunchy salad" or add steamed mixed veggies to your daily meal plan.

~ Get Spicy. The turmeric plant contains curcumin, which is known to support a strong immune system. Some research shows curcumin can reactivate genes that suppress tumor development and stave off cancer cells. Add a curry night to your weekly meal plan.

~ Fiber Up. Fiber from fruits and whole grains (Such as Barley and Quinoa) helps rid the body of toxins. In addition, flax contains cancer-fighting compounds, called lignans, which can block the negative effects of excess estrogen on cells. Sprinkle flaxseed on your salad or add to your smoothie.

Food for Thought. . .

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Broccoli: Superhero of Vegetables

Shaped like green mini-trees, broccoli is the superhero of vegetables, containing a powerhouse of nutrients beneficial for digestion, heart health, and the immune system. High in fiber and vitamin C, broccoli is a good source for potassium, vitamin A and B6. Research has established that these nutrients, along with other compounds in broccoli, have anti-inflammatory and cancer-preventing properties.

Broccoli is packed with phytochemicals and antioxidants. These amazing substances influence cancer-fighting activity within our bodies, such as stimulating the immune system, stopping substances we breathe or eat from becoming carcinogens, reducing inflammation that makes cancer growth more likely, and even slowing the growth rate of cancer cells.

Broccoli's secret weapon is actually two chemicals: sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol (I3C). These chemicals boost the body's ability to detoxify, help moderate estrogen levels, and have been shown to slow the progression of tumors.

It's easy to add broccoli to your diet because you can enjoy it raw, steamed, in stir-fry, soups, slaws, and even in a green smoothie. A serving is one cup; aim for two to three servings per week.

Purchasing tips: Choose organic broccoli florets that are uniformly colored (dark green, sage or purple-green, depending upon variety) and with no yellowing. Store in a vegetable bag, in the fridge for up to a week.

Recipe of the month:

Quick Cruciferous Crunch
(Thank you Dr. V)

In a food processor, add the following:
2 celery stalks, chopped
¼ onion, chopped
2 cups broccoli chopped
2 cups cauliflower chopped
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
Pulse the ingredients until finely chopped.
In a stir-fry pan, melt 1-2 Tbsp. coconut oil. Add the vegetables and continuously stir for about 2 minutes, just enough to slightly heat the vegetables.
Add a few teaspoons of organic, pasture-raised butter and salt to taste.  Enjoy!

More to Love about Green Tea

Next to water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world. There are health benefits to drinking a variety of teas and the more pure the leaf in your brew, the better. Green Tea leaves, which don't go through an oxidation process, have the richest nutrient profile. Public health scientists report that people who drink at least four cups of green tea daily have a lower overall risk of cancer; additionally, pre and post-menopausal women have a lower overall risk (or "lower overall incidence") for breast cancer.

Green Tea contains powerful micro nutrients called polyphenols. One of these, known as ECGC (epigallocatechin-3-gallate), plays an important role in cancer prevention. Lab tests and animals studies show that ECGC inhibits an enzyme required for cancer cell growth. Purdue University researchers found “ECGC, in lab studies, was also able to kill active cancer cells with no ill effect on healthy cells." These chemicals are powerful antioxidants with "scavenging" activity that can protect cells from damage.

Green Tea for health enhancement and cancer prevention is well established. However, there hasn't been extensive research on the effect of tea and/or tea polyphenols in human cancer treatment. Scientists are pursuing clinical trials to determine the role of green tea consumption, as well as a dietary supplement of ECGC, in the treatment of different cancers.

To reap the health benefits of tea, drink pure, fresh hot or iced tea. The processing necessary to bottle tea for supermarket shelves actually degrades the quality and availability of nutrients.

Nutrient-Rich Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)

Red Clover has a history of medicinal use that crosses continental divides. It is a native plant of the Mediterranean region, central Europe, the Far East, Siberia, and the Himalayas. It was eventually brought to England and America where its use grew from folk remedy to herbal medicine. Red Clover has been used medicinally as a blood cleanser, for balancing estrogen levels, to treat whooping cough, and to soothe skin inflammation such as eczema. It's also used as part of anti-cancer herbal preparations.

The nutrients abundant in Red Clover include the minerals calcium, zinc, chromium, potassium and magnesium, as well as the vitamins A and C, and several B vitamins. It also contains isoflavones, a plant estrogen. Isoflavones may be helpful for menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and night sweats. However, some studies showed little or no beneficial effects so more thorough clinical trials are needed.

Researchers have begun studying the role of isoflavones from Red Clover in cancer prevention and treatment. Preliminary evidence suggests these isoflavones may stop cancer cells from growing or actually kill cancer cells in test tubes. Researchers theorize that Red Clover may help prevent some forms of cancer, such as prostate and endometrial cancer. If you have a family history or personal history of cancer, please consult your holistic doctor to determine if Red Clover is appropriate for you.


One key to breast cancer survival is early detection. And breast screenings remain the gold standard for that early detection, typically in the form of routine mammograms. However, often painful, and sometimes inaccurate, mammography has generated false-positive test results, leading women to unnecessary medical treatments. To counter this, an imaging test known as breast thermography is becoming an important adjunctive procedure.

Breast thermography (also known as Digital Infrared Imaging-DII) is a pain-free, non-invasive test that shows the structure of your breast while measuring heat emanating from the surface of your body. Changes in skin temperature are the result of increased blood flow. This is important because even early-stage cancers need a blood supply to bring in nutrients to feed the cancer.

Because temperature change shows up as colors brighter than those of healthy cells, thermography can identify precancerous or cancerous cells earlier and with less ambiguous results. Studies indicate that an abnormal thermography test is 10 times more significant as a future risk indicator for breast cancer than having a family history of breast cancer.

Is it Right for You?

The FDA has authorized breast thermography as a risk assessment tool to be used in addition to - not in replace of - mammography. Women must be at least 20 years old. It's not suitable for women who have very large or fibrocystic breasts, are using hormone replacement treatment, have had cosmetic breast surgery, or are nursing or pregnant.

When to Test (may vary based on personal and family medical history)

Age 20 - Initial thermogram

Age 20 – 29 - Thermogram every 3 years

Age 30 and over - Thermogram annually


This information should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet or fitness program. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information contained within this newsletter.


Food & You: The Body-Mind Connection

There's no doubt about it: what we eat, and how much we eat, has a direct impact on our physical health. But did you know that those same choices also influence mood, mental alertness, memory, and emotional well-being? Food can act as medicine, have a neutral effect, or it can be a poison to our body and mind.

When food acts as poison, it creates inflammation, which alters the body's balance of nutrients, hormones, and neurotransmitters. This directly affects your body's ability to manage and heal from stress or illness.

While some body-mind effects are due to naturally occurring nutrient content in food, much is due to hidden additives. Below, are four common culprits. If you're experiencing symptoms that interfere with your quality of living, talk with your nutritionist or health care practitioner about the role these or other foods may play in your health.

Foods that Impact Body-Mind Well-being

Caffeine: The most socially accepted psychoactive substance in the world, caffeine is used to boost alertness, enhance performance, and even treat apnea in premature infants. Caffeine is frequently added to other foods, so be mindful of total consumption. Too much caffeine (500-600 mg daily) interferes with sleep quality, which affects energy, concentration, and memory. Caffeine can aggravate other health conditions, cause digestive disturbances, and worsen menstrual symptoms and anxiety.

Food Dye: Those brightly colored, processed and packaged foods come with a rainbow of health risks. Listed on ingredient labels as "Blue 2," or "Citrus Red," food dye has been documented to contain cancer-causing agents (e.g., benzidine). They're also associated with allergic reactions and hyperactivity in children. Dyes are sometimes used to enhance skin color of fruits and veggies. A number of dyes have been banned from use in foods and cosmetics around the world.

Sugars: Increased sugar consumption (as much as 30% over the last three decades for American adults), is linked to decreased intake of essential nutrients and associated with obesity, diabetes, inflammatory disease, joint pain and even schizophrenia. Too much dietary sugar can result in blood sugar fluctuations, causing mood swings, anxiety, irritability, headaches, and increased depression. Sugars that can act as poison include High Fructose Corn Syrup, table sugar, artificial and "natural" sweeteners.

MSG: Mono-sodium glutamate is a flavor enhancer common in packaged and prepared foods. Although the FDA considers MSG "generally safe," some individuals experience a complex of physical and mental symptoms after eating MSG-containing foods. I know I do!  Symptoms vary but can include headache, sweating, nausea, chest pain, heart palpitations, and over stimulation of the central nervous system which can lead to alterations in sleep, mood, and immunity.

Becoming aware of your food choices, why you make them, and how you feel mentally and physically is an important first step in understanding your personal body-mind food connection. Your practitioner may ask you to keep a mind-body food journal to provide a clear picture of how your food choices affect your health.

Food for Thought. . .
Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul." - Dorothy Day

Eggplant: Versatile and Good For You!
A favorite in vegan and omnivore cuisine, eggplant can be baked, roasted, grilled, and used as a pizza topping or in stir-fry recipes. It has a pleasantly bitter taste and spongy texture that may vary depending on the color/variety of eggplant selected. Dress your cooked eggplant with herbs, sauces, and condiments and you'll be sure to please even the pickiest guest at your dinner table.

Eggplant contains a phytonutrient (plant chemical with nutritional benefits) called nasunin. Nasunin acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage. In addition, eggplant contains a wealth of other antioxidants that support brain and heart health. In research studies, one variety of eggplant - called Black Magic - was found to have three times the antioxidant properties compared to several other types of eggplant. It's also a terrific source of dietary fiber, copper, potassium and B vitamins.

It's best to buy eggplant in-season during the months August through October. It comes in all sorts of shapes (baseball size to a thick crescent) and a cornucopia of colors such as lavender, jade green, and yellow-white. Choose eggplants that are firm, vivid in color, and heavy for their size. The skin should be smooth, shiny and without damage.

To test for ripeness, press your thumb into the eggplant. If the skin doesn't "spring back," it's not ripe. Eggplant is highly perishable so don't cut it before storing. Keep it stored in a food crisper or on the shelf in the fridge for a few days.

Recipe of the Month

Eggplant Caponata

Satisfying and versatile, eggplant can handle a variety of flavorful accompaniments, several of which give a kick to this Sicilian favorite. The tomato base is spiked with anchovies, garlic, and capers, creating a mouth-watering aroma and a burst of flavor in every bite. Serve as an appetizer, a main dish or as a side with your favorite fish.

Makes 4-6 Servings

2 large Italian eggplants, peeled and cut into medium dice
2 Tbs kosher salt
5 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 celery stalks, thinly sliced on an angle
2 anchovies, in oil
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup capers, in brine


1. Peel and dice the eggplants, peel and slice the onion, peel and slice the garlic, slice the celery.

2. In a large bowl, toss the eggplant with the salt. Transfer the eggplant to a colander to drain for 2 hours. In order to facilitate the draining, top the eggplant with a heavy weight, such as a dinner plate topped with full cans.

3. Heat 3 Tbs of the olive oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and celery and sauté for 5 minutes more or until the garlic softens but does not brown. Add the anchovies and cook for 1 minute.

4. Add the tomato paste and stir to thoroughly combine. Cook for 2 minutes, or until the paste turns a deep red, almost brown, and starts to stick to the pan. Add the vinegar and sugar and stir until the mixture thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off the heat.

5. In another large sauté pan, heat the remaining 2 Tbs olive oil over high heat until smoking. Add the eggplant and carefully toss it in the oil, letting it sear before stirring. Turn the heat down to medium and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the eggplant is translucent and soft.

6. Transfer the eggplant to the caponata mixture and cook over low heat for 3 minutes, until the flavors combine. Add the capers and their brine and stir to incorporate.

7. Serve warm or at room temperature accompanied by toast points or crostini.

Oat, My Goodness!

Avena sativa, also called the common oat, is a grain full of healthy goodness. Oats are often used for breakfast cereal, oatmeal, granola and as flour for baking. A dietary source to fuel the body, a 3.5 ounce serving of oats provides over 60 grams of carbohydrates, 16 grams of protein, and about 7 grams of fat.

Oats contain beta-glucans, which are known to decrease saturated fat in the blood and may reduce the risk of heart disease. Most people are familiar with oat as a medicinal food for its ability to regulate cholesterol.

Other important effects of having a serving of oats in your daily diet include: support for digestion, sexual health, and bone health, as well as enhancing energy and maintaining a positive mood. Oat is a fantastic source of dietary fiber, which helps maintain a healthy gut. Oat has been studied in the management of male sexual dysfunction as well as managing menstrual symptoms and regulating blood sugar levels. It's also an excellent source for B vitamins and the mineral manganese, which play important roles in physiological processes that support the health of mind and body.

Soothe Emotional Angst with Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)

A plant in the mint family, Motherwort gets its name from its ancient use: helping women who had a tendency to "over-mother" and thus experienced more stress, and less joy, in their maternal role. Today, throughout Europe and in Traditional Chinese Medicine, it's used as a medicinal herb to treat emotional conditions such as anxiety and depression. It also helps ease symptoms of menstrual distress, as well as physical and emotional exhaustion.

Motherwort can be prepared as a tea, tincture, or in capsule form. Depending on the type of preparation, it can have a rather bitter taste and an odor some may find unpleasant. However, for many users, it becomes an "acquired taste" and the benefits outweigh any bitterness.

Motherwort has the ability to calm without causing drowsiness, and it has medicinal effects on circulation and heart rate. Because it can thin the blood, this herb should be used carefully and under the guidance of a qualified herbalist or natural health practitioner.

Keep a Mind-Body Food Journal for Health and Healing

How would you like to understand, once and for all, the relationship between what you're eating and how you feel? Keep a mind-body food journal. It's a powerful way to gain insight into eating habits and the impact of food choices on your mental and physical well-being. A mind-body food journal is different from a "diet diary" because the intention is different: it's not just about the fit of your jeans; it's about how food fits your life and your lifestyle.

Too often we eat mindlessly - on the run, watching television, behind the computer. A mind-body food journal helps create clarity between what we choose and how we feel. It leads the way to improved choices and - because food is medicine - supports total mind-body health and healing.

Start your journal today. Track your eating habits for a few weekdays and at least one weekend day. Do this for at least two weeks.

What to Track in a Mind-Body Food Journal:

Food Factors
When did you eat?
What did you eat?
How much did you eat?
Why did you eat?
How did you feel after eating?

Mind Factors
What was your overall mood before and after eating?
Did you have headaches, or mental/emotional fatigue?

Body Factors
What did you notice about your body before and after eating?

Social & Environmental Factors
Who were you with for the meal?
Did you eat hurriedly or calmly?
Were you doing another activity while eating?

Review your journal at the end of each day and summarize your habits. Note the key factors for why you chose to eat the way you did, what was going on, how you felt and if there were any physical symptoms. I, in my practice use this information to help clients make healthier food choices.


The information offered by this newsletter is presented for educational purposes. Nothing contained within should be construed as nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet or fitness program. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information contained within this newsletter.


July 2016 Edition

Food for Thought. . .

Did you know that only 36% of people are able to accurately identify their own emotions as they happen?

"Our emotions are often beautiful, but they can also be dangerous. They represent our spontaneity, and seem to speak to us of our freedom."
- Tariq Ramadan

Awesome Avocado

There are so many reasons - and so many ways - to love avocado. A culinary super-food, avocados provide up to 20 nutrients including vitamins K, C and E, as well as folate, magnesium, zinc, and potassium. In fact, they actually have more potassium than bananas.

Unlike most fruits, avocado is low in carbohydrates and high in a healthy fat called oleic acid. Like olive oil, oleic acid has been linked to health benefits such as reducing inflammation, protecting cells against cancer, and reducing cholesterol. This amazing fruit also improves digestive health and helps your body absorb other nutrients.

There are limitless ways to add avocado to snacks or meals: Use avocado as a healthy spread on toast; blend it into scrambled eggs; add it to dips, salsa, or soup; slice for a salad topping.

Avocado is optimally ripe when the fruit is mildly soft to touch. Its flesh should be creamy and green-gold in color. If you don't use the whole fruit at one time, keep leftover avocado fresh by leaving the pit in the unused portion and allow it to sit, uncovered, on a counter for a few hours before placing it in the fridge (still uncovered) for up to two days. When you want to use the other half, simply peel off the brown crust to reveal a soft and deliciously ripe avocado beneath.

Vegan Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Want to satisfy your sweet tooth without adding inches to your waistline? This rich, creamy avocado mousse is about as close as you'll get to a truly healthy chocolate treat. Serves 1.

1 ripe avocado, skin and pit removed, mash slightly with a fork
3 1/2 Tbs unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder
3 1/2 Tbs RAW honey
Unsweetened almond, coconut or hemp milk

1. Place avocado and cocoa powder in food processor. Add honey.

2. Process avocado, cocoa powder and honey for approximately 1 min, pausing to scrape the sides, or until a thick, smooth mousse forms.

3. Add milk as needed to bring to desired consistency.

4. Spoon mousse into a small bowl; top with almonds or fresh fruit.


Beta-carotene has two important functions in the body: It functions as an antioxidant, protecting cells against damage, and it can be converted to Vitamin A (retinol), critical to maintaining skin and eye health.

Without beta-carotene, our bodies are unable to manufacture Vitamin A. And without sufficient Vitamin A, nearly all of our systems are at risk, including lungs, kidneys and immune function. Research shows that people who consume the necessary levels of beta-carotene are able to lower their risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, macular degeneration, and other age-related diseases.

You can get beta-carotene from a variety of foods:
Chinese cabbage
Yam/Sweet Potato

The National Institutes of Health recommends a daily intake of 3,000 IU for adult men and 2,310 IU for adult women. For children, amounts vary according to age. While beta-carotene deficiency is rare in most industrialized countries, it can be difficult getting the recommended levels simply from food. That's where supplements come in. In consult with your healthcare practitioner, design a plan that meets your individual needs. You may want to consider a supplement with a mixture of carotenoids, including beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lycopene, astaxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin.

It's possible to take too much beta-carotene. This is usually indicated by a yellowing of the skin, palms or soles and is known as carotenemia. Once consumption of beta carotene is reduced, this yellowing fades over time. As always, your best outcomes are achieved when working closely with your healthcare practitioner.

Rose Hips for Wellness

There's nothing like a rose to stimulate feelings of well being and nothing quite like rose hip - the actual fruit of a rose - to enhance health and promote wellness.

Of all the roses, the beautiful Wild Dog Rose is the type most often cultivated for their hips. Once the flower has bloomed, and all the petals have fallen off, the hip is picked and used in a range of herbal preparations. Rose hips contain a variety of antioxidants (especially Vitamin C), Vitamin A, carotenoids, and other plant compounds that are recognized for their role in preventing degenerative disease, including heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Many natural health practitioners use rose hip to treat wounds and inflammation. Rose hip oil is commonly used in cosmetics as it has the ability to revitalize skin cells. It has been used to treat scars, acne and burns. In Germany, rose hip powder (capsule) has been used to treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Herbalists have long used rose hip tea to ease constipation and as a supplement to treat a cold.

Rose hip pulp can be incorporated into sauces or made into a jelly. Standardized extracts are also available in capsules. Always check with your wellness practitioner before using any herbal remedy.

Homeopathy: Finding the Cure in the Cause

Like cures like. That's the concept behind homeopathy, a centuries-old system that stimulates the body's innate healing ability. In 1796, Samuel Hahnemann, M.D. observed that Cinchona Bark, a medicinal plant used by native people in South America to treat malaria, could also caused the symptoms of malaria in healthy people. After testing the theory on himself, he continued his research, establishing the "dynamic" effect of a homeopathic substance: The less potent the disease-causing agent in the remedy, the better it stimulated the healing process and with fewer side effects.

Whether you have an acute illness, such as a cold or flu, or a chronic illness, such as thyroid disease, homeopathy can play an essential role in your wellness. Within the homeopathic model, as in most holistic approaches to health, illness is believed to be caused by imbalance within a person. Employing the system of "like cures like" -- often along with other therapies -- balance is restored; the body begins to function as it should and the symptoms of disease go away.

A homeopathic physician will conduct an extensive interview with a patient, identify potential remedies, and closely monitor a patient's progress until the person is well. During treatment, symptoms may come and go as the body heals. While it's a very safe therapy, it's important to work with a practitioner who has been fully trained in order to achieve the best results possible.


The information offered by this newsletter is presented for educational purposes. Nothing contained within should be construed as nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet or fitness program. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information contained within this newsletter.


June 2016 Edition

"The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely." - C.G. Jung

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement: Is it Right for You?

When experiencing menstrual changes - from PMS to menopause - women are often confused about the differences between natural, synthetic and Bioidentical hormones. With more than 48 million women going through The Change at the same time, it's important for them to understand their choices and whether or not they need Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).

Natural Hormones come from a plant, mineral, or animal source. They are not easily, if ever, converted to an identical match to those found in the female body. Products in this category include prescription HRT formula's and over-the-counter soy and yam-based products.

Synthetic Hormones are created in a lab and are a close match to Bioidentical. These are available by prescription or over-the-counter.

Bioidentical Hormones (Bi-HRT) are identical in chemical and molecular structure to hormones made by a woman's body. They have been prescribed by doctors for years, are easily adjusted to a woman's individual needs, and may be based on a panel of hormone tests. Many formulas are available from retail pharmacies and formulary (compounding) pharmacies, which create custom products based on a physician's order. The molecules for which we generally seek replacement include progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, and three types of estrogen (estrone, estradiol, and estriol).

How do Bioidentical Hormones Work?

The body is swimming in hormones that act like keys in a lock. Basically, hormones are comprised of a solid steroid base decorated with "arms" and "legs." These attachments turn hormones into specialized molecules (the keys), which plug into receptor molecules (the locks), triggering biochemical reactions in the body. If hormonal replacement therapy doesn't follow the design our cells have evolved to recognize, women may experience side effects ranging from general discomfort to increased risk for serious illnesses.

How are Custom Bioidentical Hormones Made?
A healthcare practitioner begins with a saliva or blood test to assess hormone levels and ascertain a "recipe" for Bi-HRT unique to the patient. That formula is filled as a prescription by a compounding pharmacy, which is regulated by each state.

Is Bi-HRT a Safer, More Effective Alternative to Conventional HRT?

The long-term study, Women's Health Initiative (WHI), looked at combined estrogen and progestin for preventing later-life illness. In 2002, the study was stopped because hormone users had a higher risk of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, and blood clots. Fearful of these results, many women and their doctors concluded they must discontinue hormone therapy. For these women, hot flashes, sleeplessness, and other menopausal symptoms returned with a vengeance. However, it should be noted that conventional HRT is considered an effective approach and studies of Bi-HRT have had promising results; several have gained FDA approval (e.g., Estraderm, Vivelle, Estrogel, Provera) and may ease mood, sleep disturbance, anxiety and hot flashes. Bioidentical estrogens are the treatment of choice in Europe and becoming more widely used in the U.S.

Not every woman needs HRT, nor does every doctor recommend it. This is best decided on an individual basis between each woman and her holistic health care doctor.

Did you know…?

Smoking can not only cause early menopause in women, but it can also make menopausal symptoms more severe compared to women who don't smoke.

Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum)

While research results are mixed around flaxseed and its ability to reduce menopausal symptoms, there are enough positive findings to support use of this nutrient-rich herb. For many women it has made the difference between comfort and discomfort when it comes to reduction of hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings). Here are three nutrients unique to flaxseed, all of which play a role in supporting good health.

1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: beneficial for preventing or treating certain health conditions, including heart disease and depression.

2. Mucilage: refers to water-soluble, gel-forming fiber that can provide special support to the intestinal tract. This makes flaxseed an excellent support to digestion and relief of constipation.

3. Lignans: provides fiber-related polyphenols that have two important health benefits. They provide antioxidants, which help prevent damage to other cells in the body and are associated with preventing disease. Additionally, polyphenols in lignans influence hormone metabolism.

Purchasing and Storing Flax

Raw flaxseed ranges in color from amber/gold to tan/brown. White or green flaxseed has been harvested before full maturity; black flaxseeds were likely harvested after full maturity. To reap the full health benefits, select the amber or brown variety. If possible, purchase the whole seed in bulk, store in the freezer and grind only the amount needed for immediate use. Flaxseed can be ground, sprinkled on cereal, added to baking mixes and used as a thickening agent in many recipes.

Food for Thought. . .
Gluten-free Flaxseed Apple Muffins

Whether you're serving breakfast on the deck or packing a picnic lunch, these muffins add a perfect combination of sweetness and nutrition to your meal.


2 medium apples

1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour

1 1/2 cups flaxseed meal

1 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup whole flaxseeds

Makes 6 muffins.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a six-muffin tin with large paper cups and set aside. Peel and puree the apples in a blender or food processor. Set aside (mixture will turn brown).

In a large bowl, mix flour, flaxseed meal, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and vanilla. Mix well, and slowly pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring. When wet and dry ingredients are combined, add the apple puree; stir to combine.

Using a measuring cup or scoop, evenly divide the batter between the muffin cups. (Fill nearly all the way to the top; because these are gluten-free, they won't rise very much.) Sprinkle flax seeds on top of each muffin. Bake, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. Cool in the muffin tin for 5 to 10 minutes.

Muffins will keep in an airtight container for 3 days.

Could Diindolylmethane (DIM) Protect Against Cancer?

Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a compound found in cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli. Scientists think these crunchy vegetables may help protect the body against cancer because they contain diindolylmethane and a related chemical called indole-3-carbinol (I3C).

Dim helps balance the sex hormone estrogen and testosterone. When the body breaks down estrogen, for example, it can form either a harmful or beneficial metabolite. DIM, in some clinical and animal studies, has been shown to help the body form the more beneficial estrogen metabolite and reduce formation of the harmful metabolite. The beneficial estrogen metabolites can have many positive effects, including reducing the risk for some types of cancer. DIM may benefit patients with certain types of prostate cancer and may help reverse abnormal changes in cells on the surface of the cervix. Some scientists think DIM will be useful for preventing breast, uterine and colorectal cancer. However, because of the variability in types of cancer and the sensitivity of the estrogen system in the body, DIM and I3C supplements may not be appropriate for everyone.

Natural Soothing for Menstrual Distress: Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa)

There's a long history to the medical uses of Black Cohosh. Native Americans have used it as a diuretic and to treat fatigue. European settlers used preparations of the roots to treat fever, menstrual problems, and pain following childbirth. Into the 19th century, black cohosh became a staple ingredient in medicines for "women's complaints." Over time, it faded from use in the U.S. while still being used in Europe. New studies in the U.S., however, are investigating the safety and long-term effectiveness of black cohosh and there's an almost mainstream resurgence of its use for treatment of women's health concerns.

Black cohosh is considered a menopause tonic for a number of reasons. It can improve mood and soothe anxiety. Also, herbal practitioners recommend it for taming hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. It's commonly prescribed for women who - for medical reasons - don't take conventional hormone replacement therapy.

Tinctures, capsules and standardized extract are available for medicinal use. The specific dose of this herb will depend on your individual needs and health concerns. Black Cohosh should not be used during pregnancy or nursing. It is not recommended for persons who have a heart condition or liver disease. Always check with your holistic health practitioner before using an herbal remedy.


Acupuncture is likely the most recognized and widely practiced modality in Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Over the past 25 years, the most dramatic increase in use has been in America, second only to China where it's a key component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

According to TCM, when you experience illness, it's because there's an imbalance in your life force, or Qi ("chee"). Acupuncture involves stimulating the energy pathways (called meridians) by applying slim needles to the surface of the body. Stimulation of the meridian points is believed to re-balance Qi.

Many of the energy pathways identified in TCM correspond with known neurological and electrical pathways that are organized throughout the human body. These pathways connect with muscles, connective tissue, organs and other physiological systems in the body. Scientists believe this is the foundation for how acupuncture works.

Based on your primary concern, an acupuncturist will assess your lifestyle habits, energy level, emotional state and medical history. Your practitioner will then describe a course of treatment, including the use of extremely thin needles, which can be placed anywhere on the body to stimulate healing.

While many people are relaxed during treatment, some experience a dull ache or numbness around certain needles. This is an indication that "healthy flow of Qi" is being restored. Generally, there is no long lasting sensation during or after an acupuncture treatment.


The information offered by this newsletter is presented for educational purposes. Nothing contained within should be construed as nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet or fitness program. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information contained within this newsletter.


April 2016 Extra Edition

Your Organic Garden

It's really quite easy to plant and grow a flourishing organic garden. It all begins thinking of your organic garden as an integrated ecosystem built upon nature's principles, not man's laboratory creations.
The foundation for organic gardening is biodiversity. In the wild, a variety of plants and wildlife exist interdependently-providing shelter, moisture, continual bloom when pollen is available for insects, and support for all the creatures within the system.
You can apply the biodiversity principle at home by following these key steps in organic gardening:
  • Build-up the soil
  • Use natural fertilizer and pest control
  • Choose companion plants for your climate zone
  • Arrange plants so they provide a habitat for insects and wildlife that actually benefit garden health.
If you combine these principles with good gardening habits, you'll soon have an organic green thumb (and lots of delicious, good-for-you vegetables to eat)!

It's Not Just Dirt!
What's the difference between how the organic gardener feeds a garden compared to the conventional gardener? The conventional gardener feeds the plant (with chemicals from a lab), while the organic gardener feeds the soil.
Soil is living matter full of as many as 50 billion microscopic plants and organisms! Soil, and the creatures living in it, requires air and water to thrive. If you don't know the condition of your soil, contact your local master gardening organization, or university agriculture department-both will usually test soil for free or a nominal fee. When buying soil, you want it largely composed of organic material (read the package label).
To maintain and protect organic soil:
  • Continually feed with organic matter-compost, manure, leaves, straw, and grass clippings.
  • Weed regularly.
  • Incorporate companion plants that naturally tame weed growth.
  • Check plant packaging or a regional organic gardening guide to learn how to properly select and space plants to best match the yield you want from your garden.
  • Use mulch.
Protect Against Pests and Fertilize, Naturally
Synthetic herbicides and insecticides seep into groundwater, affect the health of wildlife and plants, and can contaminate your food. These chemicals also kill off beneficial insects that are part of nature's pest control system.
Synthetic fertilizers are not recommended for an organic garden because residual chemicals, including salts, can interfere with plant growth and even build-up in lawns. For example, quick-release high nitrogen fertilizers produce lush foliage but damage root structure - a plant's only way to extract nutrients.
Your best defense against pests is preventing a problem to begin with. You can accomplish this in a number of ways, all of which will invite natural enemies of pests into your growing area. Plus, these are great practices for any size garden:
  • Carefully select plants for your climate zone, build-up your soil and plant in appropriate light/shade and space for the growing season.
  • Water early in the day, not at night. Keep water in the root zone, not aimed at the plant.
  • Maintain "plant personal space." Prune plants and weed to maintain good air circulation and prevent crowding, which can spread disease.
  • Use netting or chicken wire to keep out pests that scurry around your yard.
  • Learn to properly use botanicals from plants or minerals that are toxic to plant predatory insects (ex. Neem, essential oils).

More Ways to Earn Your Organic Green Thumb
Once your soil is in good condition and you’re ready to plant, follow these tips to start, and keep, your organic garden growing.

Prepare & Maintain: Clean-up your garden area in the fall. Remove all debris and weeds from a vegetable garden. Do not compost weeds - you might transfer seeds to your compost pile. Prep the soil. In spring and summer maintain weeding and mulching. If you don't have a local seed supplier, check online for a seed catalog and order early.

Right Plant, Right Place, Right Time. Decide if you will start from seed or young plant. Planting time will vary. Choose plants based on your growing zone, which is shown on the seed packaging or found online. Consider a vegetable plant's need for light/shade, moisture and the weather patterns typical for your area. Check the yield on the packaging for plants that you intend to grow. Some plants produce rapidly, such as cucumbers and tomatoes.

Go Native. It makes sense to use plants that are known to successfully grow in your area. Native species, seeds or plants, can be found at local growers and community supported agriculture (CSA) farms. These farmers can also tell you if a native plant has been prone to disease in your area.

Go Disease-Resistant. Certain varieties of vegetables are the superheroes of disease resistance, and are easy to grow. A partial list: Green beans, snap beans, yellow wax beans, cucumbers, Zucchini elite, black magic eggplant, Lady Bell Pepper; Klondike Yellow Bell; Cubanelle, Italian Sweet, Cherry Sweet. Tomato- Jet Star, Jackpot, Super steak, Super sweet Cherry, Cherry Presto.

Companions. Include, and properly space, a variety of companion plants - herbs and flowers - with your vegetables, according to your growing zone. For example, dill and parsley can be planted near your vegetable garden to attract beneficial insects and enhance biodiversity.

Keep a Garden Journal. Note weather patterns, combinations of plants and effects on growth and pest control. Record the yield from your plants and their quality (appearance and taste). Take photos throughout the growing season.
The information offered by this newsletter is presented for educational purposes. Nothing contained within should be construed as nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet or fitness program. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information contained within this newsletter.


March 2016 Edition

Detoxing: Strengthening Your Body's Defense Team
Detoxification is a natural healing process that incorporates resting, cleansing, and nourishing the body from the inside out. By eliminating toxins, then fueling your body with healthy nutrients, a planned period of Detox can strengthen your body's natural "Detox Team" and help maintain optimum health.
I suggest following a Detox plan at least twice per year, with spring and fall being the ideal times. You may have heard critics argue the human body is designed with just the right physiological processes necessary to clear the body of impurities and maintain health. Unfortunately for many people, lifestyle habits and the environments where we live, work, eat and play often expose us to toxins that our bodies don't efficiently eliminate.
The toxins you can be exposed to everyday include:

·         heavy metals in the food and water supply
·         environmental pollution
·         chemical food additives
·         smoking, use/overuse of Rx medication
·         prolonged high stress
·         poor quality diet and lifestyle habits
·         frequent colds or chronic illness

Your Body's Natural Detox Team
Your body naturally detoxifies itself via a Detox Team of organs that work synergistically to neutralize and eliminate toxins, with the goal of keeping the blood and cells free of impurities. The liver leads the Detox Team by processing toxins for elimination. The supporting Detox defense players are the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymph, and skin. When your body's natural Detox Team becomes compromised, impurities aren't properly filtered out. This makes it a real challenge for the Detox Team to maintain or restore health and well-being.

Detoxing Boosts Your Health
Following a Detox program suited to your personal needs supports the body's natural cleansing process and boosts your health in many ways:
·         Allows digestive organs to rest
·         Stimulates the liver to process toxins more efficiently
·         Promotes movement of bowels
·         Improves circulation
·         Enhances sweating, which facilitates release of impurities
·         Restores vital nutrients and energy to the body

6 Things to Know Before You Detox
Before you begin a Detox, prepare mentally and physically. Plan your dates a few weeks in advance. Inform the people closest to you about the time you've set aside to take care of yourself. Clear your schedule of routine obligations that may create stress. Stock up on inspirational music and reading material.
Gather Herbal Support. Herbal and nutritional supplements such as burdock, milk thistle, dandelion, and vitamins C and B protect and support the body's Detox Team, especially the liver. They also have antioxidant effects that benefit the whole body.
Hydrate! Without enough water, toxins will not be sufficiently flushed from the body. Aim to drink at least 2 quarts of water per day with lemon/lime during a Detox.
Dry Brush Your Skin. Look for a brush with soft natural bristles. Begin with light, gentle brushing over the skin (don't make the skin red). Always brush towards the heart. Shower immediately after to rinse off exfoliated skin.
Sweat! Therapeutic use of water also supports detoxification. A steam or Infrared sauna can accelerate the release of toxins. Hydrotherapy provides support to the muscles and promotes relaxation. Mineral bath salts also help release toxins.
Exercise facilitates digestion, circulation, metabolism and hormone balancing. During a Detox, decrease the intensity of your usual exercise routine, but do break a moderate sweat. Get outdoors for fresh air and natural sunlight. Good exercise options are easy hiking, brisk walking, dancing, walking, and yoga. 
Rest.  For your mind and body to fully assimilate the benefits of Detoxing, you need good quality sleep. Plan your least stimulating activities (reading, meditation, guided imagery, bathing) for right before bed.

How to Detox?
There are many ways to approach Detoxing, from fruit and vegetable juice fasts to herbal tea cleanses. A typical approach is a short period of fasting with proper fluid intake followed by whole or raw foods and beverages before resuming your usual daily routine. There are people who must be under the care of a health practitioner, such as pregnant or nursing women or those diagnosed with certain conditions such as diabetes. In general, it's important to work with your doctor to select a program that matches your health needs.
Food for Thought. . .
"We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves." - Buddha
Go Wild with Dandelion Greens

You might not want dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) dappled across your lawn, but you definitely want to make them a part your healthy diet. For centuries, the sunny yellow dandelion, its greens and roots, has been embraced across cultures for its culinary and medicinal uses.
Dandelion roots contain several compounds beneficial to health, one of which is bitter taraxacin, which stimulates digestion. The leaves are rich in potassium, antioxidants such as Vitamin A and Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and several B vitamins.
Dandelion helps filter waste products from the bloodstream. In many cultures it has been used as a liver tonic, diuretic, and digestive aid. Herbalists have used dandelion to treat jaundice, cirrhosis and liver dysfunction. Preliminary research suggests dandelion may even strengthen liver and gallbladder function.
All parts of the dandelion are edible. The bittersweet roots may be eaten raw, steamed or dried, roasted and ground for a coffee substitute. The flowers are commonly used to make wine and jam. Dandelion greens can be eaten steamed, boiled, sautéed, braised or raw in salads.
Try adding dandelion greens to:
·         quiche, omelets
·         pesto
·         sauce such as garlic & olive oil
·         dips
·         seafood soup
·         sautéed vegetables and Salads
·         in a green smoothie

Dandelion packs as much power in its flavor as it does in its nutrition. It can quickly overpower more delicate herbs and flavors-a little goes a long way.
When harvesting dandelion, especially for salad, take greens from young and tender plants, before the first flower emerges. Greens from older plants will be larger, but also tougher and more bitter. Older leaves are better suited for cooking. At the grocery store, look for organic dandelion with vibrant green color.

Tea to Nourish & Support Detoxing

Sipping Detox tea may help nourish your liver and support the body's natural process for eliminating toxins from the body. Herbs that strengthen, tone, and stimulate the secretive functions of the liver are known in the Western herbal medicine tradition as hepatics. Although research is limited, many hepatics (aka 'detox teas') have been found to boost the activity of liver cells and support the functions of the liver and digestive system.

Pre-made versions of Detox teas are widely available in health food stores. These products often contain ingredients that have long been used in herbal medicinal teas and Traditional Chinese Medicine, including herbs such as:
Burdock root, seeds, and leaves are recognized for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
Burdock has been used to protect liver cells from damage, particularly for alcohol or acetaminophen-related damage, and to purify the blood.
Dandelion leaves and roots have long been used by herbalists as a diuretic, antioxidant, and for anti-inflammatory effects.
Schisandra berries, among the most important herbs of traditional Chinese medicine, are used to protect the liver against inflammation. In some studies, Schisandra berry extract has been shown to improve the health and function of the liver in people with fatty liver disease.

Milk thistle seeds are abundant in an antioxidant silymarin; a free-radical scavenger thought to help prevent toxins from entering liver cells and stimulate liver cell regeneration, among other benefits.
Other common Detox tea ingredients include ginger root, licorice root, and fennel seeds to facilitate digestion, and decrease inflammation. These herbs also help tame the more bitter flavors from ingredients such as dandelion. Fresh lemon and maple syrup can be used to flavor as well.
Some Detox herbs interact with other medications. Check with your health practitioner to choose the best Detox tea for you.

Massage Supports Your Body's Natural Detox
Your body's innate Detox system can get sluggish for a variety of reasons such as lack of regular exercise, too little fluids or fiber in your diet, frequent colds, or high stress. A massage can rev-up your body's natural Detox process.
During massage therapy, the rhythmic strokes and pressure applied to muscles, tissues, and organs stimulates the circulatory system. When pressure is applied to body tissues, toxins are released from in between the muscle fibers and cells. Toxins are carried into circulation throughout the body and eliminated in a variety of ways.
The increase in circulation during massage positively affects other systems and organs in your body. Massage helps move oxygen-rich blood and nutrients into your organs, especially the kidneys and the liver. Massage also facilitates relaxed, deep breathing-another important way in which the body naturally detoxes.
Working in tandem with the circulatory system is the lymphatic system, which carries immune cells throughout the body to help defend against infection. The lymph system doesn't have a big central pump like the heart to keep things moving. Instead, it relies on gravity, exercise, breathing and massage to work efficiently.
If you're not feeling your best or haven't been as good about your diet and exercise routine lately, a massage can help you Detox, and get back in balance-naturally.

The information offered by this newsletter is presented for educational purposes. Nothing contained within should be construed as nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet or fitness program. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information contained within this newsletter.