Recipe: Springtime Vegetable Bowl

Ah, spring!

Time to spring clean our homes and our bodies too.  Things move faster in the spring, and our bodies want to move faster too.  To enable this, lightening up the diet and including more veggies is the perfect way.

Since this is considered seasonal cooking, you can find any of these food (in the northern hemisphere) at the farmer’s market or organic section of your grocery store this time of year.

For those of you with food allergies, no worries.  Just eliminate what you’re allergic to (for example, eggs, nuts, grains, etc.)  The recipe will still work! 

Ingredients:

1 cup brown / wild rice of quinoa

2-3 cups bone broth

4 medium-sized carrots

2 cups crimini mushrooms

1 large bunch of arugula

olive oil

red wine vinegar

2 free-range eggs

1/4 cup pecans

butter

sea salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425.

Prepare rice / quinoa according to its directions:  making it with 1 tsp of sea salt and using bone broth instead of water.

Cut carrots into 1/2″ thick rounds.  Slice mushrooms in half.  Toss in 1 T oil, and pinches of salt and pepper.  Arrange on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through the cooking time.

Wash arugula and dry thoroughly.  Chop or tear into bite-sized pieces.

Roughly chop pecans.

Toss arugula, pecans, 2 T olive oil, 1 T vinegar, and pinches of salt and pepper to taste together in a bowl.

Bring a sautee pan to medium high heat.  Add 1 T butter to the pan when it gets hot.  Crack eggs into the pan, reduce heat to medium, and cook until desired doneness.  Season with salt and pepper.

Add a scoop of rice/quinoa to your bowl.  Top with roasted carrots and mushrooms.  Add arugula and pecan salad.  Drizzle with more olive oil and vinegar if desired.  Add a fried egg on top.

Enjoy!

What Your Sweet Cravings Are Telling You

When you’re craving sugary snacks, it’s possibly a signal from your body that it’s deficient in some nutrient, and oftentimes, our brains turn towards sugary things to satisfy that physical need.  NOTE:  The physical needs often feel emotional in nature.  That’s just how our brains interpret things.

CHROMIUM

If you’re diabetic (type II), you’re probably deficient at some level in chromium.  Signs of chromium deficiency include glucose intolerance, high blood sugars, peripheral neuropathy (tingling or numbness in the fingers or toes), and mental confusion.

Good sources of chromium include sea vegetables (try seaweed chips if you haven’t already!), mushrooms, beets, nutritional yeast (you can sprinkle this on popcorn – delicious!), broccoli, grapes, dried beans, liver, and chicken.

PHOSPHORUS

Signs of phosphorus deficiency may include anxiety, irregular breathing, fatigue, joint stiffness, numbness, osteoporosis (calcium deficiency) and changes in weight.  Excess phosphorus in the form of phosphoric acid from drinking soda can lead to craving sugar and alcohol as well.  Both excess and deficiency of phosphorus inhibits absorption and use of calcium in your body.

Good sources of phosphorus include chicken, beef, liver, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, legumes, and whole grains.

SULFUR

Signs of sulfur deficiency include obesity, muscle pain and inflammation, fungal and bacterial infections, and heart disease and other forms of muscle wasting like Chron’s disease.

Good sources of sulfur include dark leafy greens like broccoli and kale, garlic, eggs, onions, meats, nuts, and seafood. 

In theory, most reasonably healthy diets should contain enough sulfur, as we only need very small amounts, but sulfur is lost when foods are broken down and then reassembled, as they are with processed foods.  Also the loss of minerals in our soil, as a result of “modern” farming practices, has led to less available minerals – including sulfur – in our foods.

If you’re craving sugar, what you need is a balanced diet of many types of vegetables, whole grains, and animal proteins and fats.  Today’s sugar craving is rooted in yesterday’s candy bar. 

In a pinch, when I crave sweets, I like to eat plain, whole-fat yogurt; roasted sweet potatoes; or sprouted grain toast topped with grass-fed butter and almond butter. For a quick, short-term solution, this has worked for me.

Also, gymnema, an Ayurvedic herb, is known to reduce cravings for sugar.  If you hold the herb in your mouth for 1 minute, then try to eat something sweet, it will actually taste like cardboard.  Something fun to try if you get bored. 

Have you found something that works for nipping a sugar craving in the bud?  Please let me know in the comments!  

Easy Winter Dish

 

My 3 philosophies for cooking are (in order of priority):

  1. EASY – If it’s hard to make, I ain’t makin’ it.
  2. DELICIOUS – If you don’t like veggies, maybe… it’s because you’re not cooking them right.  Even healthy food should taste good.  Which brings me to the last point –
  3. HEALTHY – Seasonal and organic veggies.  Organic, free-range and local meats.  Healthy fats.  Low carb.  No sugars or refined grains.  You’ll probably never see a vegan recipe on my site, not because I’m opposed to eating vegan meals, but because … butter…

Here’s a perfect winter recipe to try.  It’s a one-sheet pan dish and will warm up your house nicely too.

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb organic, grass-fed ground beef or lamb

1 T seasoning (or just sea salt and pepper is fine)

1 bunch of organic broccoli – use the real stuff, not frozen (it tastes SOOO much better)

1 large sweet potato

1/2 head of cabbage

olive oil and red wine vinegar

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400. 

Cut broccoli into small (approximately 1″) florets.  Peel sweet potato (optional) and cut into 1/2″ chunks.  Mix the vegetables with 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil and a large pinch each of salt and pepper.  Arrange the vegetables flat onto the sheet pan and cook at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.  While those are roasting –

Put the ground meat into a bowl and mix (use your hands!) with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, or 1 teaspoon seasoning spices.  Form into golf ball-sized balls, approximately 12 of them.

After the vegetables have cooked for 10 minutes, flip them around carefully with a spatula, then place the meatballs around the veggies and cook for 10-15 more minutes.  The internal temperature of the meatballs when they’re done should read 165 degrees if you want to test it (or just slice one down the center to look.)

While that’s cooking, thinly slice the cabbage into 1/2″ strips, place into a salad bowl and toss with 1/4 cup vinaigrette or 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar with salt and pepper to taste. 

Arrange the meatballs and roasted veggies on your place and have the salad on the side. 

Enjoy! 

 

Q: Do I Need CBD Oil?

In the field of natural healthcare, I could mark time by the latest trending superfood, super-nutrient, magic-bullet herb or diet.  Like, remember back in the Master-cleanse Era of 2003?

The late 2010s marks the beginning of CBD oil fascination.  We all want to know – is this something that would help me?

For all of these herbs, foods, and nutrients, sorry, but there’s never a clear answer.  Because it depends on your own unique chemistry and your body’s needs – which may vary from day to day.

What I can do is tell you a little more about your body’s cannabinoid system and how CBD (and THC) react with it.   

Your body contains – naturally – cannabinoid receptor sites.  Your body regulates these receptor sites naturally – with or without taking hemp or marijuana.  The chemicals in your body that react with these receptor sites are called endogenous ligands.

The main receptors in your body for cannabinoids and endogenous ligands are called “CB1” and “CB2.” 

CB1 activation mostly happens in your brain and can include increased appetite, pain reduction, and reduced psychological stress. 

CB1 activation areas

CB2 activation happens in a broader part of your body:  brain, immune cells, GI tract, and peripheral nerves.

CB2 activation areas

Depending on your diet, stress levels, and some genetic tendencies, CB1 and CB2 receptors can stay in balance all by themselves or not.  Some people may have more of one receptor than the other.  Or your body can favor activation of one system over the other.

Hemp and marijuana plants both contain cannabinoids, which are the some of the components that attach to the receptor sites and activate them. 

THC is a psychoactive component (meaning that it gets you “high”).  CBD is not by itself psychoactive.  Hemp is <.3% THC and 15% CBD whereas most recreational marijuana is around 20% THC and 2% CBD. 

Smoking marijuana – or ingesting in some way THC – activates mostly CB1.  For different people, this will affect you in different ways.  Some people eat too much (the “munchies”) and sit on the couch (the calming effect).  For some people with PTSD, anxiety, or depression, it may help.  Since there is currently no way of testing what kind of receptor sites your body has and in what condition they are, if *you decide to use THC medicinally, start with a very low dose and go from there.  *If it’s legal where you live, of course.

CBD supplements focus more on CB2 activation.  So for people with nerve system problems, epilepsy or pain, or people who get drug-tested at work, this may be a better choice.

The effect of diet on cannabinoid receptor expression is interesting as well.

The Standard American Diet, or SAD ( 😆 ) is heavily loaded in omega 6 oils.  This includes almost all prepackaged foods.  Try this:  the next time you buy a bag of chips, cereal, bread, or pretty much anything that comes wrapped in a box or in plastic, read the label.  If it contains:  soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, or cottonseed oil, it’s an omega 6 oil.  Also:  this is what most restaurants are cooking your food in. 

We do need some omega 6 oils in our diet, but to effectively reduce the likelihood of obesity and overall body pain and inflammation, we need to optimize and favor omega 3s in our diets.  Omega 3s are our body’s sources of DHA and EPA. 

Omega 3 oils actually preserve your endogenous (meaning naturally inside your body) cannabinoids.  In a laboratory study, CB1 and CB2 cells light up in the presence of certain oils.  More CB1 and CB2 activity happens in the presence of CBD oil and with omega 3 oils.  The most activity happens in the presence of both oils.  In the presence of omega 6 oils, not much happens to the CB1 and CB2 receptors.  Slavko Komanytsky, PhD lab
Also:  fun fact:  omega 3 oils have been shown to increase the overall number of CB1 and CB2 receptor sites.  The omega 3 oils seem to make your body a more habitable environment for endocannabinoids.  Brown I, Cascio MG, Wahle KWJ, Smoum R, Mechoulam R, et al. (2010) Cannabinoid receptor… Carcinogenesis 31:1584-1591
So, in short, CBD oil can be a balanced part of your supplement schedule.  Especially when it’s combined with a healthy diet. But, even just having a healthy diet (low on processed foods, and high in omega 3-rich foods and always a variety of vegetables) can preserve your body’s natural “high” by itself!  

The Insurance Game

 

Several years ago I conscientiously opted out of health insurance.  

For most people that’s just not an option because of chronic or genetic dis-ease and the cost of medications and doctor’s visits, so I know I’m lucky that I can make this decision.  It’s not for everyone.  And I’m not necessarily recommending it either.  I just want to make a point that

  1. Our healthcare system is deeply flawed.
  2. I don’t want to participate in it.  I choose not to.  

MY HEALTHCARE EXPENSES FOR 2018

I pay out of pocket for the expense of staying healthy.  That being said, I spend most of my money (just a little less than my mortgage LOL) on healthy food. 

  • I pay cash for massages (luckily I can trade for most of my massages),
  • Chiropractic care (around $500 total for 2018),
  • Around $400 total for out of pocket dentist expenses (for myself and 2 kids – just cleanings this year.). 
  • One eye exam for $125.  Glasses cost $12.50 (Zenni.com is fabulous for prescription glasses; you should check it out) and contacts $120. 
  • We had 4 therapy sessions @$65 = $260. 
  • Other out-of-pocket expenses, that insurance wouldn’t even cover anyway:  herbal medicines and nutritional supplements $400 (wholesale :). 
  • I would probably also throw a consultation I had with my psychic in there too.  Talking to her does more good than therapy for me.  Cost:  $80. 
  • Acupuncture I can do for free; but, if I had insurance there’s a 50/50 chance they’d actually cover it, and I would end up paying the $800 or so out of pocket or towards deductible anyway.

Total for myself and 2 kids = $1897.50

Total that insurance would have covered if I had it = $0 (pretty sure, based on deductibles, coverage limitations, etc.)

Total saved every month NOT having insurance = $6000 (x 5 years) = $30,000

I WOULD GET INSURANCE IF

  • If I worked for a company that provided good coverage at a decent price or if – like most other countries in the world – it was included as part of our citizenship
  • If the cost of health insurance didn’t far exceed what you get in return

I’ve had insurance before, and when it came time that I actually needed it, they denied all my claims.  The claim was an emergency trip to the hospital.  They should have covered that.  Even if they had, I still would have had a $7500 deductible.  The hospital bill was $13,000, so I just negotiated the bill with the hospital and ended up paying it with cash over a few months.  A pain in the butt, for sure, but at least I was able to do it.  After that is when I canceled my policy.  “What’s the use?” 

At the very least, they need to be covering emergency trips to the hospital.  If that’s not what insurance is for then I don’t know what.  But a lot of people don’t realize is that you can negotiate with the hospital if you’re paying out of pocket.  Just tell them what you can afford and they’ll work with you.  Don’t be afraid to make demands.  Hospitals routinely bill 10-20x more than what the services actually cost and what insurance would actually pay them.  Insurance companies make deals with hospitals to reduce their cost, and so can you.

THE CONCEPT OF RISK

Buying insurance is buying into a risk pot.  I don’t want to be put into a pot – so to speak – with people that eat McDonald’s for dinner every night and call looking for the remote control exercise.  It’s not fair.  I’m basically paying for their healthcare costs.  

Another healthcare option that is working for some people are healthshare groups like Liberty Healthshare which is still pricey, but not as much, and what they cover is more clear. 

BUT WHAT IF SOMETHING HAPPENS?!?!

Of course.  Yes, my family and I have been lucky so far.  Yes, we could have a terrible accident or – goddess forbid – cancer. 

But here’s probably where I differ from most people.  And I AM NOT NECESSARILY RECOMMENDING THIS AS AN APPROACH TO HEALTHCARE FOR YOU – it’s just what works for me.  If I did come down with a terrible dis-ease, I would not opt to treat it with Western medicine.  That’s just me.  I pass no judgement down on anyone who chooses differently. 

If I or my child need surgery or an in-patient treatment of some kind, I will just pay out of pocket and negotiate with the hospital.  The bottom line of rising healthcare costs is that the big players:  the pharmaceutical companies, the big hospitals, and the big insurance companies keep raising the rates.  Rates that no normal person can afford!

So, what do you think about this?  Do you think I’m overlooking anything?  Just curious.    Health insurance is one of the most controversial topics out there now.  Mostly in the US, though.  Other countries seemed to have figured this out.

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Kevin M.

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I started coming to the Health Center for issues I was having with my stomach.  Even while making the initial appointment I felt like the person I was speaking with was empathetic about my situation.  I had gone to two medical doctors before trying NAET and acupuncture, but had not seen results.  After my treatments at the Health Center, my stomach feels better than it has in years and continues to get better every day with the help and support of the staff.  I am thankful for all they do for me and our community.

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Stress!  Stress!  & More Stress!  Coming to this office gives me one hour to decompress and slow down.  I look forward to my visits.  They are the highlight of the day and week for me.  Positive energy. 🙂  This has given me another (or better) avenue to release tension and bad mojo.  Thank you.  The doctors really connect with you and truly care about your well-being.

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I originally came in for a tweak in my shoulder which soon disappeared with regular treatments.  Since I’ve had the pleasure of treatments from Nicole and her outstanding staff, my inner calm and overall attitude toward the stresses of life have vastly improved.  I’ve come in crying, anxious, distressed, in pain and leave – every time – well-cared for and successfully treated.  I wholeheartedly believe that acupuncture can be so much more than a go-to for emergency pains.  I intend to incorporate it into my regular lifelong health regime.

Molly C.

Back is Stronger

My back has been feeling significantly better.  I no longer have the daily aches and pains that I had before.  My back feels stronger and my posture feels better.  Before acupuncture, I tried stretching to relieve my pain, but the results were unsatisfactory.  Stretching is great, but does nothing if it is not done in conjunction with acupuncture.

Carrie

Chron’s Relief

I’ve been going to the NHC for acupuncture and NAET for my Chron’s disease.  To say that the treatments helped me would be an understatement.  I have been hospitalized multiple times for my condition and was in constant, severe pain before I decided to go to the NHC.  I can’t remember the last time I felt this good.  The staff are all friendly, care for their patients and are truly there to make you better.  I can’t say enough great things about these ladies.

Anon.

Fibromyalgia Support

A few months ago at my wits end with extreme pain, I attended a Fibromyalgia support meeting and met Nicole Lentfer.  From that night on, I am a different person.  Like many others I tried all the conventional Western medicines with no relief.  After having a mini-trial of acupressure that night, I put 100% trust in Nicole and her staff and the Natural Health Center.  After starting the acupuncture and NAET treatments, I am much calmer, and I have less pain and more energy.

Becky Goad

Allergy-Free Family

My son and I had both food and environmental allergies.  We tried over the counter medications and different supplements over the past 2 years or so. We were both suffering with skin rashes, runny noses, and itchy eyes.  We started coming to the NHCA for treatment after a recommendation from a friend.  My son and I saw a big improvement of our symptoms.  We are happy to be allergy-free at the end of our treatments!

Sandra Ojong

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I started acupuncture for numerous reasons but primarily anxiety.  The process has helped me feel calmer, more relaxed, and less like I am living in a mental box.  It has helped me feel free.

Sherity

Inhaler is Out

I came to acupuncture due to constant short breaths which made working out difficult.  I also had tension in my neck and shoulders that felt like I had been holding a shrug for 10+ years.  Now I’m more comfortable since my neck and shoulders have relaxed.  I can work out harder and for longer periods of time since I don’t need to use my inhaler anymore.

Anon.

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I found the NHCA after 10 years of pain and discomfort.  I was a mixed martial artist, high school football player, and infantryman in the Marine Corps.  I had put my body through entirely too much torture, and I was suffering for it.  When I left the Marine Corps in 2009, I had ankle, knee, hip, back, shoulder and neck pain.  I suffered from insomnia, restless legs syndrome, and post traumatic stress disorder.  I would take close to 20 painkillers a day, and I was still in pain.  I was hurting far from happy.  With acupuncture, I felt instant improvement and I’ve been coming to the office ever since.  I do acupuncture and NAET treatments and I have never felt better in my life.  I’m able to live again.  Thank you.

Miles

Fibro Improving

I have fibromyalgia and have had severe body pain for the past 5 years.  Every day, hands were numb, feet throbbed, sternum hurt, shoulders and hips were sore, calves and thighs hurt, arms were heavy.  Doctors really don’t know what to do for me since I didn’t want pharmaceuticals.  I can’t believe acupuncture has helped me so much.  I noticed it right away.  Things aren’t perfect yet, but they’re improving with each treatment.  I am so thankful.

Happy Patient!

Healing From the Inside Out

I came to the NHCA for food sensitivities, poor sleep, moodiness, and lack of energy.  Now I sleep better so I am more awake and in a much better mood during the day.  I was surprised by how well I felt after treatments and feeling my body heal from the inside out.  Unlike Western doctors, this office runs on time, all the time.  Nicole explains everything, answers all your questions and doesn’t talk down to you.

Kim

Less Medication

My chronic pain and fatigue are much better.  I’ve been able to come off some medications completely and reduce the dosage of others.  I had never tried acupuncture before but decided to try it.  Nicole and her staff are very informative and I was surprised that the needles don’t hurt.  The services are affordable, relaxing, and it works!

Sharon

Sports Injury Healed

I was surprised how the treatment was able to heal my sports injury when regular doctors could not.  Sometimes a pill won’t cure everything!

Kimberly

Health Answers

Western medicine has left me with no answers to help me manage a long-standing condition of inflammation that comes and goes in various body parts and for various lengths of time.  I am not fond of taking pills and found the Natural health Center at a point when I was feeling tired, flamed and with no solutions in sight.  The herbal tonics, weekly visits, acupuncture and encouragement to lose weight eventually led to a healthier, happier, pain-free existence!  My energy is back; I do not hurt.  I repeat; I do not hurt.  Such a joy!

Cathy C.

Quality of Life Improved

I came in due to pain from fibromyalgia.  Constant pain from the neck down to my toes and could never sleep more than a couple of hours at a time.  I tried antidepressants, muscle relaxers, sleeping pills and several types of pain pills.  Nothing would work.  I used to sit, sleep and eat in a recliner.  After coming here, my quality of life is so much better.  I can actually plan outings and enjoy myself.  I don’t have as much pain and I can actually sleep at night in my bed!

Mary

From Anxious Exhaustion to Calm Energy

I started acupuncture treatments for extreme adrenal fatigue and body pains that I had for over 3 years.  I didn’t sleep and had panic attacks.  I had been to numerous doctors and they’d spend 5 minutes with me and prescribe something; I was on a lot of different medication.  I’ve had absolutely incredible results!  I was at my wits end trying to get help from doctors but no one could figure out what to do other than give me pills.  Nicole listens to what you have to say and then designs a plan to get you back to optimal health.  She completely turned my life around and I don’t say that lightly.  I had given up hope that I’d be the same person I was 4 years ago.  Even my family is amazed at the change and I will recommend her services to everyone I know!

Anon.

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