Thursday, January 28, 2010

Talk to Your Doctor About Breast Health

Confused about the news about mammograms in the media these days? You aren't alone. The US Preventive Service task force issued new recommendations indicating that mammograms not be utilized for screening in women under 50, but this recommendation is argued by the American Cancer Society, radiology groups and others. Rather than try to muddle through these issues yourself, talk to you doctor about what is best for you based on your personal and family history, lifestyle and findings.

In the meantime, here is an article that I wrote for our local paper, Tualatin Life, with a little more information. Feel free to add your questions or comments in the comment section.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

February Talk Schedule: Heart Health and Healthy Aging

Come join us at New Seasons Market for our February-March speaking schedule:

Heart and Cardiovascular Heath for Women: Prevent and Treat Heart Disease Naturally
presented by Dr. Anya Chang, Dr. Bijana Devo and Dr. Wendy Rogers
February is national awareness month for women and heart disease. What better way to celebrate than to learn about a naturopathic approach to prevention and treatment of heart disease. It is amazing how many herbs, vitamins and minerals can help restore cardiovascular tissue, lower blood pressure, regulate rhythm's and decrease unhealthy cholesterol levels. Join us and learn what you can do naturally for your heart.
  • 2/3/2010, 7 PM, Chang -- New Seasons Market Concordia (map)
  • 2/10/2010, 7 PM, Devo -- New Seasons Market Raleigh Hills (map)
  • 2/16/2010, 7 PM, Chang -- New Seasons Market Orenco Station (map)
  • 2/18/2010, 7 PM, Chang -- New Seasons Market Mountain Park (map)
  • 2/25/2010, 7 PM, Rogers -- New Seasons Market Cedar Hills (map)

Healthy Aging
presented by Dr. Jeff Clark
Wrinkles, grey hair, decreased energy, muscle loss, weight gain, increased risk for chronic disease, and mental decline are all inevitable parts of aging, right? Wrong! When our bodies are properly maintained and functioning optimally we can have energy, an active lifestyle, maintain a lean body weight, look years younger, and keep our mental clarity for a very long time. Dr. Clark, himself a "baby boomer", will discuss some "dos" and "don'ts" in a naturopathic approach to healthy aging.
  • 2/11/2010, 7 PM -- New Seasons Market Mountain Park (map)
  • 3/9/2010, 7 PM -- New Seasons Market Orenco Station (map)
  • 3/23/2010, 7 PM -- New Seasons Market Seven Corners (map)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Whole Food Diet Linked to Decreased Anxiety and Depression

One of the mainstays of any naturopathic treatment plan is dietary advice. Though the details may vary, every treatment plan will likely include instruction to pursue a whole foods diet, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, beans and legumes and naturally fed meats and sustainable fishes for those who choose them. The health benefits include decreased inflammation, healthier cholesterol levels, better digestion, fewer allergies and many others.

Due to the modern Western medical paradigm, even such a simple, common sense intervention as eating food as nature is under study. One such study recently published online in the American Journal of Psychiatry focused on the effect of a whole food diet on mental health. Researchers concluded that “a traditional or whole diet … may help prevent mental illness — specifically, depression and anxiety. Conversely, a Western diet high in refined or processed foods and saturated fats may increase the risk of depression...” This study, conducted at the University of Melbourne in Australia, is unique in linking whole diets to mental health outcomes.

One issue raised by this study is the availability of high quality meat in the United States. Most commercial beef in the U.S. is raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and are fed a corn based diet, resulting in a different fatty acid profile than cattle raised on their natural diet of grass. Corn fed beef is higher in saturated fats and omega-6 fatty acids; whereas grass fed beef contains higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and may be a “good proportion of individuals’ dietary intake” according to Dr. Jacka, author of the study.

Grass fed beef is available in the U.S. In the Portland metro area, grass fed beef is consistently available directly thru ranchers and CSAs and from New Seasons Market and other markets. Be sure to look for 100% grass fed beef – cattle are often “finished” on feedlots for 9-12 weeks, but it only takes 6 weeks to affect the fatty acid profile.

Further reading: Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollens

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Getting Rich by Giving More

As I was waiting for volunteer orientation at the Tualatin Library yesterday, I picked up a copy of the current Utne Reader and read an article called Get Rich Now. Rather than stock tips or ways to pay down debt and save more, this article focused on re-evaluating our lifestyles, reducing consumerism and refining our ideals. I found this passage relevant to the day of service:
Communitarianism refers to investing time and energy in relations with others, including family, friends, and members of one’s community. The term also encompasses service to the common good, such as volunteering, national service, and politics. Communitarian life is centered not around altruism but around mutuality, in the sense that deeper involvement with the other is rewarding to both the recipient and the giver. Indeed, numerous studies show that communitarian pursuits breed deep contentment. A study of 50-year-old men shows that those who have friends are far less likely to experience heart disease than those who do not. Another shows that life satisfaction in older adults is higher for those who articipate in community service.
(Emphasis mine.)
As I was reading this and thinking about my own volunteering history and how much I enjoy volunteering at the Tualatin Library, I realize there are lots of reasons why people might not volunteer or might think they cannot. Below are some suggestions to help you get started volunteering - feel free to add your own suggestions or stories in the comments section.
  1. Realize there is a job for everyone. Regardless of your age, experience or physical ability, everyone can give. Volunteers participate with a variety of jobs, including stuffing envelopes, reading to children, visiting the ill or home bound, planting trees and many, many more options.
  2. Try different options out for a day. If you aren't sure if you'd enjoy a particular opportunity, many organizations allow you to volunteer without commitment or you could participate in a special event day to try your hand.
  3. Volunteer with friends or family. Organize a group of friends or family to volunteer together - even a couple of hours really add up when you multiply them by a group.
  4. Volunteer doing something at which you are skilled. If you have a particular skill, be it construction or filing, someone can use it. It can be very gratifying to provide a specialized service.
  5. Do something that you feel passionate about. Find an organization with a mission you support - this will help you stay motivated and enthusiastic about your volunteer service.
  6. Keep your schedule and stamina in mind. It's easy to over commit when we're excited about volunteering and it's easy to get burned out, so communicate your scheduling needs to your volunteer coordinator and keep her updated if your situation or needs change.
  7. Realize that any and all time you donate has value - if you give a couple of hours per month or if you volunteer for the Peace Corps for three years, your donation of time and energy has value and is appreciated!
In any event, I hope that you will get out there and volunteer and have a great time doing it.

Monday, January 18, 2010

MLK Day of Service

In honor of Martin Luther King day, our office is closed today, Monday, January 18th to allow or staff and doctors to participate in service activities outside of the clinic. We will be open today for patients with existing appointments. If you need to pick up supplements, please call the office to arrange a time today to pick up your supplements or we will be happy to help you tomorrow.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Recommended Reading: Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Recipe Book by Jessica Black, ND

Inflammation plays such an important role in our health, not just in distinctly inflammatory conditions like arthritis, but also in cholesterol, digestive health and all of our body systems. Inflammation has a variety of causes and mediators, but one that we have the greatest control over is our diet. Dr. Black's Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Recipe Book provides a great explanation of the role of inflammation in our health and disease states, rationale for the anti-inflammatory diet and easy recipes to get you started with a diet change that can create amazing changes in your health.

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Recipe Book is available in bookstores, online and at True Health Medicine's Tualatin clinic.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

No Soda, Now What?

If your new year's resolution is related to health or losing weight, chances are you're trying to eat better, but what about drinking better? Standard soda pops are very high in sugar and low in nutrients and are no where on my list of what a healthy diet consists of, but if you're a soda-drinker, it can be hard to kick the habit. If cold turkey isn't your style, consider utilizing these transitional beverages while you cut back:
  • Instead of conventional cola, try Zevia sodas. Made with stevia, they are lower in calories, but just as tasty.
  • Instead of ginger ale, add 1-3 tsp of New Chapter Ginger Honey Syrup to soda or mineral water. The natural ginger will give you a boost of energy while the honey has beneficial effects for your immune system.
  • Instead of root beer or cream soda, add 10-15 drops of Root Beer or Vanilla Cream flavored concentrated stevia to soda or mineral water for a delicious calorie free drink.
While "natural" soda may be a better option from the point of view of the type of sugar in them (usually cane sugar instead of corn syrup), they are still high in sugar and empty calories. Keep this jingle in mind when you're thinking your drink:

Drinks with flavor
are fine to savor,
but for your thirst,
drink water first.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Welcome 2010

Happy new year, friends, and welcome, 2010. There are so many ways of making a fresh start and the new year is one of the finest. At new year, we often make resolutions:
  • stop smoking
  • lose weight
  • eat healthier
These are great resolutions to have, but it can be challenging to know where to start sometimes. I would like to suggest a couple of options to help make your new year's resolutions a healthy reality.

1. Simply your resolutions. If your resolutions include all of the above plus 10 other items, it may be hard to focus and achieve all of your goals. What are the most important goals to you?
Sometimes picking fewer items from your list can allow you to really focus on that goal and make it happen. On the other hand, some goals go hand in hand, like eating healthier and losing weight. While these are separate items, these would be reasonable goals to work on concurrently. If all 10-13 items seem essential, are you ready for a drastic life change? How can you best support that change?

2. Turn your resolutions into SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. For example, losing weight is an ideal without measurable or specific outcome and losing 100 pounds in 1 month may not be realistic or attainable. How about setting a goal to lose 10% of your body weight in X timeframe at about 1-2 lbs per week. This is a healthy, sustainable, attainable amount of weight loss and correlates with an improvement in health outcomes. Any resolution can be turned into a SMART goal with a little creative thinking.

3. Consider identifying a guiding word for 2010. No resolutions? Don't want to set the same goals for 2010 that you've done every year? Try choosing a word for 2010. This technique is gaining popularity in diverse circles and is creating awareness and positive outcomes for many. Blogger Christine Kane writes about this technique and has provided a free tool to help you identify a word for 2010 and start learning about yourself.

Whatever resolutions, goals or words you chose for yourself, I wish you a healthy and happy new year.