Options Naturopathic Holiday Greetings!
TWe decided to go with an e-message this year, in lieu of more paper to recycle. We also felt perhaps the information shared would be better stored if in an electronic format. This month we are providing some ideas you can use throughout the holiday season (and beyond) to support digestive overload. We know how hard it is to maintain a particular dietary regimen at this time of year when every tempting restriction comes your way. Whether it's an excess of baked goods and the Holiday work party, or your aunt Ruth offering homemade fudge on Christmas eve, the "no-no's" come in such abundance and frequency, the little voices start to say, "oh just one, it's ok". See "7 Ideas" for some fresh thoughts on avoiding dietary mishaps-with provisions for those of us with less than perfect will power! Then, whether before or after the holiday season, see the approaches for supporing digestive strength. We're including a few recipes here, as well, in the hopes that you are starting your own collection. Bon AppÈtit!
Office Updates & Holiday Hours!!!
Dr. Erin is actually going on her honeymoon and will
be unavailable (even by e-mail!) from December 21st through January
1st. The office will also be closed this year for the first time ever
between Christmas and New Year's. Hence if you need something, please
make sure you order it by this Friday, December 22nd, which is the
last day Alissa will be in the office before January 2nd. Dr. Liz will
be visiting family but will make a point to check e-mail every day
or so for any non-urgent matters or acute problems.
7 Ideas on How to Stick with the Program
(during the Holidays!)
(and what to do if you give in...or are allowed!)
These suggestions cover the spectrum of strictness we ask our patients to follow. You know where you lie on the spectrum, so follow the suggestions accordingly ( i.e. if we've told you absolutely NO wheat or gluten-this should apply throughout the season, but perhaps you could have a chocolate mousse once and use the digestive supports to aid you when doing so).
1. Remember: sugar, wheat and dairy-will always be there. There won't be a holiday season without it. So, just because it's in front of you now, doesn't mean you won't ever be offered it again. Many patients are on a restricted diet only until they clear a particular set of problems. This doesn't mean that someday you won't be able to eat these foods again. Try to engage the will by thinking-"ok, just this year".
2. Make it a black and white issue-"Just say no!" For some, it is best to avoid sweets altogether during the holiday season-since doing so would throw you completely off your diet (and make matters worse therein). See the notion as BLACK AND WHITE-so you are not tempted at each offering-instead of allowing a grey area of "maybe", where you have to resist temptation at each offering. This technique often strengthen's the will and makes for success when trying to avoid what is ubiquitous in our society: poor quality food.
3. Bring or make your own dessert! If you do any of your own baking, try these substitutes:
-Maple syrup instead of cane sugar, Splenda, or the like.
-Soy milk can be sustituted for milk in most any dessert recipe.
-Spelt flour (spelt is ok if gluten is acceptable)for cakes and pie crusts.
-Soy, rice, potato, etc. if gluten-free flours are needed.
-Tofu, in some cases, can be substituted for eggs (see Pumpkin Pie recipe below).
And keep in mind it is better to use 2T. water mixed with ground flax for other recipes (like cake), when trying to avoid eggs. There are countless recipes online if looking for an allowable tasty dessert or other recipe.
4. Use digestive aids. Follow the suggestions Dr. Cavin proffers below and consider using a digestive aid through the holidays such as our vegetarian digestive enzymes: Plantizyme. Many people think using "Lactaid" is enough when dairy is a problem, but we beg to differ. Lactaid helps digest the milk sugar, but what most people don't realize is that milk intolerance or allergy is related to the entirety of milk: the homogenized fat, the ultra-pasteurized (and thus denatured) protein, and the hormones and antibiotics used in conventional milk products. If you do have dairy when you know you shouldn't, consider using the Plantizyme as a support to your pancreas and liver. This can cut down on negative symptoms as a result.
5. Take B Vitamins to help metabolize sugar. One reason refined sugars are particularly more depleting than most natural sugars is that they have no vitamins or minerals in them. Cane juice is stripped to the bare bone carbon in white sugar-the choice of most holiday dessert recipes. Vitamins and minerals work as required adjuncts to the normal processes of our pancreatic enzymes. If you know you are going to have sugar, or worse yet, you can't keep your kids away from it, add 1 T. of the Genestra Liquid B Complex twice a day (once a day for kids) to your plan until one week after the holiday season. The best sources of supplemental minerals is a mixture of 12 Tissue Salts, known as "Melange" and the AFA-gen many take as a multi-vitamin/mineral.
6. Use Homeopathy to manage overloading the liver. IF OVEREATING is your vice, consider the following homeopathics to help the liver manage the consumption of heavy or rich foods: Nux vomica 30K or 5CH, after any heavy meal or overeating. Unda #243 for the same (add to other Unda's), or take 1-30 drops as necessary for excessive alcohol consumption. (Some will remember the story of the executives at Unda's laboratory in Belgium who would take a capful of Unda #243 to avoid hangovers after a night of heavy drinking!).
7. Exercise exercise exercise. As time runs short with everything
you need to get done, don't forget to take care of yourself and help speed
up the metabolism. Even if it's a brisk 20 minute walk, doing something everyday
helps to keep the blood flowing and the metabolism thriving. Cardiovascular
exercise also helps us burn off the excessive sugars and lessens their negative
Amen for Acid Amen for Acid & Gastric Grievances
Despite the common belief that many people suffer from digestive problems because of excess stomach acid, most people are actually troubled by a deficiency of stomach acid. The stomach, designed to be acidic, has a thick layer of mucus protecting the cells that line it. High acidity prevents fungal and bacterial overgrowth in the digestive tract, as most fungi, bacteria and other organisms that are on our food can't live in the high acid environment that the stomach is designed to contain (think: immunity!). High gastric (stomach) acidity also plays a key role in the breakdown of dietary proteins into amino acids, which are used as building blocks by our cells.
Likewise, heartburn is also not caused by an excess of acid, but from a weak esophageal sphincter. Caffeine, smoking and food allergies are all suspected as the most probable triggers for weakening the sphincter. Since the esophageal tissue isn't equipped to withstand the digesting hydrochloric acid as the stomach is (with no mucous-producing cells), burning occurs when the stomach acid leaks up through the weakened sphincter and into the esophagus. Thus even low stomach acid can result in heartburn with such a poorly functioning entrance into the stomach itself-the sphincter. Taking anti-acid medications does not heal the esophageal sphincter, but only lessens the stomach acid even further, thereby interfering with our body's ability to absorb various nutrients.
Nutrients to Stomach
Iron, zinc, copper, calcium, vitamin B12 and folic acid are some of these critical nutrients whose absorption is greatly impacted by the level of gastric acidity. These nutrients are critical to normal organ functioning elsewhere in the body. Here are some examples of their actions:
-Iron is part of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying component of the blood.
-Zinc is a component of more than 300 enzymes that are needed to repair wounds, maintain fertility, synthesize protein, repair damaged cells, preserve vision, boost immunity and protect against free radicals.
-Calcium is used to build bone, plays a key role in the contraction of the heart and is used for proper nerve function.
-Copper is needed to absorb and use iron. It is also part of the antioxidant enzyme super oxide dismutase and is needed to make adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP), the energy the body runs on.
-Folic acid is necessary for proper DNA synthesis. It is also needed to keep homocysteine in the blood from rising, which when excessively high, dramatically increases the risk of heart disease.
-Vitamin B12 is needed for normal nerve cell activity, DNA replication, and production of the mood-affecting substance called SAM (S-adenosyl methionine). Vitamin B12 also works with folic acid in managing homocysteine.
Why the Vinegar, Doctor?
Patients are often inquisitive as to why we suggest apple cider vinegar as part of our Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC). Low stomach acid may include gas, bloating, anemia or constipation-not uncommon signs and symptoms in our office. It has been shown that as we age, our stomach acid decreases--not so incidentally paralleling the increases in most chronic diseases often associated with "aging". From a naturopathic perspective, this is not a correlation that should be ignored; improving digestive function is paramount to everything we do.
Since apple cider vinegar (ACV) contains acetic acid, it helps to increase the acidity of the stomach. It has even been shown to increase the release of pancreatic enzymes further down that tube we call our intestines. Thus, as always, take your apple cider vinegar consistently, 1 tablespoon, in 4-8 oz. water, 10-15 minutes before meals. (You might want to put in a special effort for all that junk that will be passing under your nose through the holidays!). You should notice less symptoms of poor digestion, less heartburn, possibly more energy.
"I can't handle the taste, Doc!" Alternative Digestive Supports
Unfortunately, some folks can't tolerate the taste of vinegar, although many grow to like it since it helps them to feel so much better! For those not managing blood sugar or bacterial problems, we suggest adding 1 T. of maple syrup to help down the vinegar/water mix.
In addition to the apple cider vinegar, another way you can support and improve your digestion is to take digestive bitters before meals. The bitter taste on the tongue stimulates the digestion from mouth to pancreas. People from various cultures have used digestive bitters for centuries to stimulate the secretion of digestive enzymes by the mouth, stomach, intestines and pancreas. The Standard American Diet no longer contains bitter tasting foods, even though we can still choose to include these foods for meals at home. Such foods would include dandelion greens and radicchio lettuce. One herbal product of bitter tasting herbs we like to use is the Chicory/Ginger Bitters. The wonderful quality of herbs is that they have multiple uses: the Chicory Ginger bitters stimulate digestion but also serve as anti-inflammatories, liver stimulants, carminatives (gas reducers), and tonifiers of digestive tissues. Using digestive bitters before meals can stimulate enzymes and heal your digestive tract at the same time. Bitters also often help to reduce blood sugar. Now that sure beats Zantac!
If you know you will be dining out often you can use hydrochloric acid ("Betaine HCL") capsules and carry them with you. Hydrochloric acid is the actual acid your stomach produces. You can take several HCL capsules before a meal. You will know you have taken just more than enough when you feel a slight burn in your empty stomach. For some people this may be 3 capsules and for other people this maybe 6 capsules-so increase by 1 cap per meal until the sensation is felt and then cut back by one capsule until the tinge is not felt. Our Betaine HCL caps, also have Gentian-another bitter herb, so you know what that means! Finally, as mentioned above, Plantizyme capsules can also be used during the holiday season to insure complete digestion. For most patients and regular consumption, we prefer the ACV, however, since it is not replacing what your body can secrete itself, but rather more stimulating to the body's own normal function.
If you want to read more about stomach acid, I recommend the book Why
Stomach Acid Is Good For You by Jonathan V. Wright, MD and Lane Lenard PhD.
Dairy-free, Wheat-free, Sugar free Recipes:
1. Pickled Ginger
From Padma Raman Caplan, ND
You will need:
‡ cup fresh ginger root, thinly sliced
‡ cup fresh turmeric root, thinly sliced (if available, otherwise double the ginger)
Lemon juice to cover
‡ tsp sea salt
Glass jar with non-metal lid, 4 oz or 8 oz is a good size to start with
Directions: Scrub the ginger and/ or turmeric to remove and dirt and dry it with a clean towel. Slice the roots into thin rounds (about 1/8th inch thick) Combine the ginger and turmeric in the jar Add salt and lemon juice to cover the roots Shake well and refridgerate
Note: Choose young ginger and turmeric roots if available. Young roots are tender. Mature, large roots will make a more fibrous pickle. These tender roots will be about the width of your thumb. Tender ginger and turmeric can be found at Asian markets if not available in your grocery store. Use only clean utensil to serve the pickled ginger to prevent it from spoiling. With proper handling pickled ginger can be stored in the fridge up to several months without spoiling. Ginger pickled in lemon juice is a variation of traditional south Indian digestive.
2. Veggie Loaf
From the Glutenfreegoddess.com
Karina's Veggie Loaf
I (Erin) tried this a few weeks back and it was delicious!!! If you are making a dinner for your family or guests, my guess is that with the coming of Whole Foods to town, vegan dining is a lot more acceptable to the mainstream (or maybe I'm just really out of touch!) I was thinking the sauce might be too much (sweet), so I spread it down the middle of the pan instead of covering it entirely as suggested here. That was fine, as it gave me plentyof leftover sauce to offer as a condiment to my guests, but it would have been fine to cover the whole thing, since it tasted great together. One final suggestion is to be sure not to put it in the pan too deeply-I had doubled the recipe and used a smaller deeper pan and the center was not done to my satisfaction. Finally, this is my sister's secret to geting greens into her three-year old!!
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
5 portabella mushrooms
5 large leaves Swiss chard, spinach or other greens
1 roasted red pepper, drained
1 carrot, cut up
1 cup cooked brown rice, packed
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts
2 tsp Italian Herbs or dried basil/thyme/sage
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1-2 Tbs GF vegan Worcestershire sauce or molasses
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 large organic free-range egg, lightly beaten (or vegan egg substitute)
1/3 cup real maple syrup
1/2 cup Muir Glen or other gluten-free ketchup
2 tsp gluten-free honey mustard
1/2 tsp McCormick or other GF mild curry powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet and cook the portobellos, and chard till soft. Remove from heat; cool a bit; and process, along with the roasted pepper, by pulsing the food processor on and off until the vegetables are an even dice. Scrape into a large mixing bowl.
Process the raw carrot, cooked brown rice, almonds and pecans until the mixture forms a coarse meal; toss into the mixing bowl. Add the herbs, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire and spices. Add the beaten egg and stir the mixture until well blended.
Press the mixture evenly into an oiled loaf pan.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Make the sauce by combining all the sauce ingredients with a whisk. Optional: add a spoonful of brown sugar to the sauce.
Pour the maple sauce over the top and bake for about 45 minutes, until the loaf is firm and done. Remove the loaf from the oven and allow it to rest. This eases cutting and serving; though the slices are a bit fragile while it is warm. I use a thin vinyl spatula to remove the slices from the pan.
Serve with garlic mashed potatoes or Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Milk, and some lovely roasted green beans.
3. Pumpkin Pie
This is a recipe I've been making for years when I have
a sweet tooth, since there is some protein in it and not a whole lot
of sweetener. As you may have guessed, I'm not the biggest baker in
town, so forgive me for starting with a wheat-free crust I find in
frozen section of Wild Oats! Also, I never use a recipe-so these amounts
are estimations-but even if you are off, it will still taste good!
You might want to add more of some of the spices, but be careful with the nutmeg,
as it overpowers things easily.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Poke the frozen pie shell's bottom with a fork several times and bake it, empty, for 20 minutes, or until very slightly browned.
Mix the following in a food processor:
1 container of EXTRA firm silken tofu (or any firm, regular tofu)
1/2 c. maple syrup
1 can of organic pumpkin (or half of one small pumpkin)
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cardamom
1 tsp. cinnamon
Put the smooth, pudding-like mix in the pre-baked pie shell and bake for 45-min-1 hour, at 375-400 degrees until the pie is browned on the top. Voila! Enjoy!
Dr. Cavin has several speaking engagements in
Jan and Feb. They are all open to the public and free of charge.
1. "Ways to Maintain a Healthy Brain as You Age" at WILD OATS
Wednesday, Jan 10th from 6:30-7:30 pm
2. "Creating Your Holistic Medicine Cabient" At WILD OATS
Thursday Jan 11th, from 7:00-8:00 pm
3. "Healthy Hair Skin and Nails" at WILD OATS
Saturday Jan. 20th from 3:00-4:00 pm and
on Wednesday Jan 24th from 6:30-7:30
1. The Women's Health Series at WILD OATS
Thurs Feb 1st, 15th and 22nd. 6:30-7:30.
Each night will be a different topic, but will include:
Menopause, Preventing Osteoporosis and Preventing PMS.
2. "Creating Your Natural Medicine Cabinet" at
the Botanical Gardens,
for the The Winter Wellness Weekend
Saturday and Sunday, February 3rd and 4th. (TIME TBA).
3. "Introduction to Homeopathy" at the
Coventry Village Library
Thursday Feb. 8th, 7:00-8:00 pm
We wish you a wonderful and relaxing Holiday !!!!!
Please let us know if you would like certain topics covered
in future newsletters!
We will be choosing the 2007 topics shortly!
Erin H. Holston Singh, N.D.
Liz Cavin, N.D.
2460 Fairmount Blvd. #219
Cleveland Heights, OH 44106
O: 216-707-9137 F: 216-707-0162