Dairy-Free, Detox, Elimination Diet, Fat Free Vegan Low Sugar, Garden Gluttony, Gluten Free, Grain-Free, Paleo, Recipes

Zucchini Bake

zucchini bake
Photo and recipe courtesy of Leaves of Life.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium zucchinis, one sliced lengthways and one sliced crossways
  • Peppers sliced into large rings
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 2-3 tbsps chopped fresh basil
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper and dry oregano to taste

Instructions:

  1. Make one layer of round zucchini slices
  2. Top with a layer of pepper rings
  3. Make a layer of lengthwise zucchini slices
  4. Spread basil evenly over top and add another layer of round zucchini slices
  5. Finish with a layer of tomato slices, olive oil and fresh salsa
  6. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top

Tips:

Try some flavor infused olive oil for a little extra oomph.  Lime or lemon infused or Tuscan herbs would work well here.

Practitioners We Trust

Exercise Can Improve How Young You Feel

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The Fitness Matters team

 

 

 

 

 

Preview of a recent post from our neighboring practitioners, Fitness Matters:

Don’t Act Your Age For A Sharp Mind

Feeling younger than one’s real age could help preserve memory and cognitive function as people get older, says a study in the November issue of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

…a recent study found that younger self-image was more common in physically active people with a lower body-mass index.

The study’s adjusted results showed the association between a younger subjective age and better memory and executive functioning was independent of gender, educational achievement, marital status and chronic diseases.

People who feel older than their age might require closer monitoring, as this may be an early marker of impaired cognition leading to dementia.

Read the full Fitness Matters post for more info on how thinking younger can impact your cognitive and physical health.

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A “Completely” Gourmet Lunch

This was too good to keep to ourselves… The Leaves of Life gang had a fabulous holiday lunch party thanks to the talents of Complete Gourmet chef, Derek Bergemann.

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Our menu included:

  • Baby kale salad with curried almonds, hemp seeds and purple carrots with smoked salt and fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh tumeric and herb-seared chicken with goji berries
  • Mashed sweet potatoes with coconut oil and lime zest
  • Coconut oil roasted vegetables
  • Creme brûlée with grapefruit and peppermint essential oil
  • Weston A. Price style bone broth shooters
Education and Newsletters, Patty Shipley, RN, Naturopath

Tips for Cold & Flu Season

flueFleeing the Flu: A Natural Approach to the Season We Dread

It’s that time of year again – the holidays have come and gone and people are counting down the days until spring. So, during these days when a friend’s sneeze will send you diving for the hand sanitizer, we want to help you cut through some of the hype and stay healthy.

This post gives you a quick run down on our favorite cold and flu tips. From home remedies and supplements to sweat baths – we have you covered!

Planning Your Flu Offensive

The best defense is a good offense, and the quicker you get started, the quicker you’ll restore health. If you start feeling suddenly tired for no reason, this is often the first sign that your body is under attack. If you’re feeling flu-ish, get back on the road to health with these tips:

  • Listen to your body and rest if you feel the need. Lack of sleep depletes your energy reserves, so be sure you are in bed by a decent hour. Also, the immune system works better in a warm environment, so bundle up.
  • Traditional Medicinals has several different medicinal teas available to help ward off illness. I love Gypsy Cold Care and Cold Care PM. And for sore throats, you can’t beat Throat Coat or Throat Comfort. The best way to make a tea that’s truly therapeutic is to use 3 tea bags per cup and allow it to steep covered (to preserve essential oils that would otherwise evaporate) for 10 minutes before sipping slowly and inhaling the vapors.
  • Sitting in a hot sweat bath for 20-25 minutes has been proven to boost white blood cell production (the fighter cells). After you climb limply from the tub, dry off completely and bundle up in bed for best results. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water or tea before and during the bath to avoid dehydration.
  • Avoid sugar and other processed, refined foods, since they rob the body of vital nutrients and energy that are needed to sustain you through your illness. Eat plenty of whole foods, fruits and veggies and drink plenty of water-warm foods are best. Again, listen to your body and eat only if you’re hungry.
  • Most important of all: lighten up! Laughter boosts immunity, so watch a funny movie or TV show or spend some time with a kooky friend. Avoid stress and take some time off from work if you can. Slow down and allow your body to focus on the war within and you’ll be back to work in no time!

Our Favorite Remedies

For prevention:

  • Nat-Stim: a 1-a-day formula particularly helpful for those prone to respiratory infections. ($26 for 45 caps)
  • ImmuCore: packs 1000 mg vitamin C per serving, along with zinc, selenium, and blended mushrooms. Take 3/day. ($34 for 90 tabs)

For treatment:

  • Essential Defense: should be taken 2 tabs every 30 minutes at the first sign of illness. Once symptoms resolve, set aside for the next battle. (30T $19)
  • Andrographis Plus: an aggressive formula that should be taken 2 tabs every 1-2 hours while symptoms are acute. I personally take alongside Essential Defense at the first sign of illness. (30T $21)
  • ALJ: helps clear up thin, excessive, watery mucous, encourages the entire respiratory tract to gently cleanse itself and helps soothe irritated tissues. For extra “punch”, take 4 capsules with your first dosing, then 2-4 for each subsequent dose (every 2-4 hours based on symptoms). (100 caps $15)
  • Fenugreek & Thyme: thins and expels thick, sticky, stuck mucus. Because it is an expectorant, it will increase mucus flow, but remember that you never want to work against your body’s desire to remove unwanted pathogens by suppressing mucus flow. These are common kitchen spices, so take as much as you need to achieve the desired effect. Dose as with ALJ.  (100 caps $15)
  • Emergen-C: can also be taken as a soothing, immune boosting beverage alongside the herbal formulas (3-5 packets per  day).  ($13 for 30 packets)

For flu:

  • Oscillococcinum: These homeopathic vials taste great and are easy to administer. Oscillo has been shown to shorten the duration and lessen the intensity of flu symptoms. Take every 6 hours. (6 doses $18)

Avoid These Immunity Lowering Mistakes

  • Drinking orange juice for the vitamin C. OJ is high in sugar, which lowers immunity by feeding organisms in the gut that compete with our friendly flora.
  • Using cough drops that are high in sugar. Try sipping on an immune-stimulating hot tea instead, like Throat Coat, Throat Soothe, or Gypsy Cold Care.
  • Overusing hand sanitizer. Antibacterial hand sanitizers kill off all the bacteria that live on your hands, including those that are beneficial. Save these types of products for situations where you can’t get to a sink to wash with soap.
  • Poor hand hygiene. Not washing hands often enough allows more germs to collect. Try to get in the habit of regularly washing hands. Many studies show those who do are sick less often.
  • Antibiotics as first line of defense. Resorting to antibiotics first before trying natural remedies that work with your immune system to strengthen it rather than doing the job for it. Though there are certainly times an antibiotic is necessary.
  • Skipping probiotics. Not taking probiotics with antibiotics means the good bacteria, which comprise 70% of our immune system, get wiped out, setting us up for repeat infections.
  • Skipping the coat and scarf. Not bundling up enough in cold weather can lower immunity. Pay special attention to the neck and throat areas.
Education and Newsletters, Francie Silverman, Master of Science in Nutrition, Leaves of Life Practitioners

Top 10 Diet Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Do you start out with good intentions for weight loss only to quickly plateau after your first few pounds?

Frustrating, right?

The most commonly uttered sentence in my office is, “I know what to do – I just don’t do it.”

I find that many people are less knowledgeable than they realize when it comes to eating healthy. Whether we realize it or not, some of our “knowledge” comes from subliminal messaging on TV or online ads… or even what we overhear from co workers or in line at the grocery store.

As we begin the new year, I thought it made sense to publish a quick top 10 list so that we can all start on the same page. Obviously, everyone has individual quirks and needs that might arise, but in my practice, here are the top 10 mistakes I see people making when it comes to diet and weight loss:

1. Skipping breakfast. 

Truthfully, my most overweight patients are the most frequent offenders here. It’s better to tell your body: “Food is plentiful. No need for more storage. Burn baby, burn!”

Eat within 30 minutes of rising for the day to fuel your metabolic fire and burn fat.

2. Skipping meals.

(Notice a theme?) I refer to meal-skipping as the “Sumo Wrestler Diet” because skipping meals leads to overeating at the end of the day—a great strategy if you’re a sumo wrestler. And this still doesn’t take into account the blood sugar imbalances (and other hormonal shifts) that result from meal-skipping.

Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks to avoid the highs and lows of blood sugar.

3. Denial about what (and how much) has been eaten.

Write it down! People often don’t take into account the hundreds, if not thousands, of calories that are consumed after dinner or in sweetened drinks (mocha latte anyone?).

4. Eating in front of the TV or while reading/working.

Studies show distracted eaters consume more calories. For optimal digestion and to avoid overindulgence, it’s best to focus on the flavors and textures of your food, and chew thoroughly.

5. No balance.

There should be a combination of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates at every meal. Too much of one type of calories will throw blood sugar off. Think veggies (carbs), some extra virgin olive oil (fat) and chicken (protein). Half of your plate should be veggies.

6. Worrying about too much fat.

Good, quality fats don’t make you fat—coconut oil (a medium chain triglyceride) actually helps in the fat burning process. Extra virgin olive oil for salad dressing as well as flaxseed oil are also good examples of healthy fats.

So then what does make us fat?

This brings me to #7 and #8…

7. Eating too many grains

Let’s face it. Most of us are eating grains with every meal and snack  (bread, pasta, cereal, rice, cereal bars, etc). These foods are full of carbohydrates and some are even downright harmful, creating an inflammatory cascade in the gut, as well as systemically, and uncontrollable cravings (especially gluten—but that’s a topic for another day).

Try cutting back on grains and increasing vegetables and see what happens to your waistline!

8. Eating too much sugar

Too much sugar = an increase in body fat stores, cravings, hormonal imbalance and mood disorders. Are you addicted? Take it out completely for 3 days and cravings should disappear (yes, you are actually detoxifying from an addictive substance).

The longer it’s out, the less likely you’ll go back to it. If cravings persist after 3 days, consider micronutrient testing. You likely have specific nutrient deficiencies that impair your cells’ ability to use glucose for energy. The most common deficiencies here tend to be chromium and zinc.

9. Drinking diet sodas.

Believe it or not, the artificial sweeteners in diet sodas do impact blood sugar/insulin levels. They are also extremely toxic and create digestive distress in many people.

10. Not enough deep, quality sleep.

We detoxify and repair at night while sleeping, We also create hormones that tell us when to eat and when we’ve had enough. You make more of the hormones that drive hunger when you’re sleep deprived. Aim for 8 hours nightly to improve metabolism and hormone function.

Need more answers? Schedule some time with Francie to start your year off right. Call Leaves of Life at (614) 888-HERB (4372) and reserve your time today!

Education and Newsletters, Multivitamins, Patty Shipley, RN, Naturopath

MultiVitamin – Next Steps

Part 3 of a 3-part multivitamin series

So you’re convinced you need to take a multivitamin… or maybe you’re already taking one.  With so many options to choose from, how do you know which one is best? And how do you know for sure you’re getting the most value out of multivitamin you’ve decided to add to your daily routine?

One a Day? No Way!

If you’re going to spend the time and money to get into this routine, avoid these common multivitamin mistakes:

  • Taking only one per day when the daily dose is more. Certain nutrients will not be present in the amount most commonly needed on a daily basis if you skimp on the portion.  For instance, folate, which is necessary for preventing neural tube defects in newborns is usually targeted at 400-800 mcg/day, but if you’re skimping on the dose, you’ll only get a fraction of the intended daily dose.
  • Taking “one-a-day” multivitamins.  There is simply no way absorbable, quality forms of vitamins and minerals can be crammed into one capsule or tablet in a sufficient amount (unless it’s a huge horse pill).  Choose instead at least a 3 or 4 per day multivitamin.
  • Vitamins create energy and are best taken at breakfast and lunch. Taking them with dinner may contribute to insomnia in some people. If breakfast and dinner are the only times you WILL take your multi, and this doesn’t interfere with sleep, go for it!
  • B vitamins and vitamin C are all water-soluble, so for best results, split between breakfast and lunch (or breakfast and dinner if this is tolerable).
  • Unless you are menstruating or have a proven need for iron, don’t take a multivitamin that contains iron. Excess iron causes oxidative stress and increases cardiovascular and other risks.
  • Buying a multivitamin based solely on price practically guarantees you will be taking the lowest quality versions of the vitamins and minerals it contains. You don’t choose the cheapest cuts of meat, the cheapest clothes, or the cheapest car you can find, so when it comes to your health, don’t choose the cheapest multivitamin. There’s a reason it’s cheap.
  • Choosing a multivitamin based on non-significant extras such as COQ10, enzymes, probiotics or similar ingredients. There is rarely a high enough dose of these to make any difference in overall health…remember you can only fit so much into those capsules/tablets.
  • Taking children’s chewables because you hate to swallow pills means you will only get a fraction of what an adult body requires, and likely some other additives you don’t want, such as sugars and food colorings.

What Else?

Aside from a multivitamin, most people should take the following:

  • Calcium is a MACRO-mineral (meaning we need large amounts) necessary for neurotransmitter signaling, muscle contraction, bone health and more.  Steer clear of calcium carbonate, which is essentially sidewalk chalk. This form of calcium is difficult to absorb, so it can end up in places you don’t want it (plaque, kidney stones, bone spurs). TUMS and the tasty, chocolate calcium chews that I’ve seen all contain carbonate (along with unnecessary sugars).  See tips in my last post for better forms of calcium to choose from.
  • Unless you regularly consume wild-caught, cold water fish and/or high omega-3 eggs, you should include fish oil in your daily regimen.  Nuts and seeds are sources of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), another important omega-3 that your body cannot make, but research shows most people don’t convert ALA into EPA and DHA (found in fish oil), so it’s best to include sources of both.  Generally speaking, fish oil blends that are higher in DHA support brain health, and blends higher in EPA are aimed more at anti-inflammatory and circulatory support. Word of caution: don’t be a bargain hunter when it comes to fish oil. You take more grams of fish oil than anything else in a foundation regimen, and cheaper sources are less likely to be filtered for heavy metals and PCBs, and are more likely to have been handled or stored improperly, causing rancidity. Taking in rancid oils is worse than taking none!
  • You most likely need vitamin D – unless you spend 20 minutes 3 times weekly in the sun during peak hours with arms and legs exposed (wearing NO sunscreen). This is particularly true if you live in Ohio. I have found most Ohioans need around 5000 (yes, thousand) IU daily to maintain optimal serum levels of 60-80 ng/mL. Current serum lab reference ranges don’t reflect the OPTIMAL range that studies indicate for vitamin D’s protective effects against cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, auto-immune disease, depression and bone health. The best form to take is D3 and it’s easily and inexpensively obtained over the counter.
  • Antioxidants are a must, particularly if you aren’t consistent with fruits and veggies. Opt for caps or powder if you have blood sugar imbalance or are attempting to lose weight since juices are loaded with sugar. Some of our favorites are turmeric, EGCG (green tea extract), resveratrol, ellagic acid and vitamins A, C and E.
  • Once or twice yearly (or more often based on specific needs) it’s good to go through a bottle of probiotics. This will keep the colonization of good flora in your gut varied and strong. Good gut flora are responsible for 50% of your vitamin K production, contribute to optimal levels of several of your B vitamins and constitute more than 70% of your immune response. Make sure you are taking at least 15 billion per day, and that there is an array of strains listed, including some lactobacillus (specific to the small intestine) and some bifidobacteria (specific to the large intestine).

And remember – testing is the best way to determine specific individual needs.

Test and Test Again!

As you may have heard us say, we recommend lab testing to establish a variety of baselines by which to measure your progress over time.

Once you have built a good foundational protocol, consider double-checking the specific products you’ve chosen after 3-4 months by doing micronutrient testing.

Personally, I was surprised to find that there were a handful of specific nutrients I wasn’t taking in a sufficient amount.  I noted several improvements in my general health and wellbeing when I tweaked my protocol to account for my individual nutrient needs.

Several doctors in the Columbus area now offer this testing, which is available through SpectraCell Laboratories, and is covered by most major insurances with a copay. Check out the Leaves of Life webite for our lab testing menu for more info on the options we offer and what practitioners we can put you in touch with.

Wishing you vibrant health!

Patty


Copyright Patty Shipley. All rights reserved.