Archive | January, 2016

ChocolateFest to Benefit World Forestry Center

Posted on 05 January 2016 by Jason

ChocolateFest, a fundraiser for the nonprofit World Forestry Center, promises the opportunity to sample, taste, savor and delight in some of the finest chocolate from the Northwest and beyond. Attendance at this delicious event helps support the Forestry Center’s mission of educating people about the world’s forests, trees and environmental sustainability.
In 2006, the Forestry Center created ChocolateFest as a fundraiser that would not only expose visitors to wonderful chocolate products, but educate about the tropical cacao tree and how chocolate is made from bean to bar. Eleven years later, ChocolateFest has grown into a Northwest tradition. In 2011, they decided to move the event to the Oregon Convention Center in order to accommodate their exhibitors with more room, create a more spacious atmosphere for visitors and build on a very important fundraiser that supports the Forestry Center’s education programs. They now have close to 10,000 chocolate lovers from around the country joining them for this fun and educational event, which also includes cooking demonstrations plus, for a nominal fee, a variety of wineries and distilleries for those 21 and older to enjoy.
ChocolateFest will take place January 22-24 at the Oregon Convention Center. Hours are Friday 4 to 9 p.m. (over 21 only), Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday open to all ages.
For more information, call 503-488-2117 or visit ChocolateFest.org.

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New Doctor Teams Up with Immersion Health

Posted on 05 January 2016 by Jason

Immersion Health Naturopathic Cancer Care, in southeast Portland, offers intensive, comprehensive and individualized programs for the treatment of all types and stages of cancer. Chris Hatlestad, MD is not technically a practitioner at Immersion Health; he will maintain his own separate business, Integrative Medicine & Family Medicine, in an office located within the clinic space of Immersion Health. Immersion Health is including him as a practitioner, however, because they work in close collaboration with Dr. Hatlestad to provide all of their patients with optimal and comprehensive care.
The cancer treatment approach at Immersion Health is unique, recognizing cancer as a metabolic disease. At Immersion Health, they are delivering therapies that address all aspects of health and vitality because long-term success against cancer depends on a strong immune system, low inflammation, ongoing detoxification, lifelong nutritional strategies, stress management, physical activity and much more. Immersion Health brings this all together into individualized treatment plans that optimize every individual’s potential for recovery and ongoing wellness.
In addition to cancer treatment, Immersion Health’s Dr. Nigh offers primary care services. In practice for over 13 years, he works collaboratively with nutrition therapist Maria Zilka. Together, they have had great success treating patients with thyroid disorders, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, menopausal symptoms and much more.
For more information, call 503-719-4806, email info@ImmessionHealthPdx.com or visit ImmersionHealthPdx.com.

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Kids with Cancer Family Wellness Event

Posted on 05 January 2016 by Jason

On January 23, from 2:30 to 7 p.m., Taking Care Portland, a cancer survivorship program, is hosting a Wellness Event for Families Living with Cancer. This free event is meant to highlight holistic health modalities to support the immune system and support the health of the kids. Each child may bring a buddy or sibling, and up to two grownups.
Intake for this event begins at 2:30 p.m.; activities begin at 3:30 p.m., with dinner at 6 p.m. There will be live music and fun, interactive art projects for kids 12 and under during the intake hour. Offerings include: Kids Creative Yoga and mindful movement; Interactive, fun Sensory Stations to highlight health modalities; Art and Sound Therapy; Storytelling; a lecture for the parents on these different health modalities by a naturopathic physician specializing in pediatric oncology and a beautiful “food as medicine” dinner, plus a presentation on the food featured for the dinner.
This is a fun, hands-on event to provide kids and their grownups with the tools they need to better care for themselves now and for the rest of their lives—including acupressure, nutrition, mantra and breath work, yoga, storytelling and more.
Free educational event, at Tabor Space, 5441 SE Belmont St. Portland. For more information and to register, visit TakingCareCancer.org.

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Win a Free Forecast Reading for 2016

Posted on 05 January 2016 by Jason

What do the stars have in store for you in 2016? Enter to win a FREE astrological reading with longtime astrologer Liz Howell, founder of Celestial Living Arts.
According to Howell, an important theme for the year ahead can be summed up with the acknowledgement that, “you are perfect the way you are—and there is room for improvement.”
Much of our success in 2016 will come as a result of examining our core beliefs and right-sizing our approach to our desire for growth and expansion, all the while employing the required self-assessment and self-inquiry necessary to nourish the process.
Find out what part of your natal chart is being highlighted and how and where you can cosmically align to change the outer realities of your life through the internal review of your personal belief systems and structures.
Enter to win by sending an email to Liz@CelestialLivingArts.com with 2016 Astrology Reading in the subject line. Please include one sentence indicating your number one aspiration for 2016. All entries must be received by January 31. The winner will be notified the first week of February.

For information on Celestial Living Arts, visit CelestialLivingArts.com.

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Good Reasons to Try Acupuncture Thousands of Studies Show Healing Results by Kathleen Barnes

Posted on 05 January 2016 by Jason

The ancient Chinese art of acupuncture is gaining popularity in modern Western medicine for many reasons. “There’s lots of research to support the effectiveness of acupuncture for a wide variety of conditions,” says Thomas Burgoon, a medical doctor who practices internal medicine in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and is president of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture, an association of doctors of medicine and osteopathic medicine that use acupuncture in conjunction with conventional treatments.

Acupuncture treatments typically involve the nearly painless insertion of very thin needles to stimulate the body’s natural repair and regulation mechanisms based on the fundamental Chinese medicine principle that the inside of the body can often be treated from the outside. Burgoon explains that acupuncture works by stimulating and releasing the body’s natural pain relievers, including endorphins, producing the feel-good brain chemical serotonin and relieving inflammation, as well as bringing many body processes into normal function.

Brevard, North Carolina, licensed master acupuncturist Paul Buchman, adds, “Acupuncture differs from conventional Western medicine in many ways, primarily in that when we treat a disease on the physical level. It also has far-reaching effects on our mental, emotional and spiritual aspects.”

Chronic back pain: Chronic low back pain affects 80 percent of us at some time and is the second-most common cause of disability in American adults, according to a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

A recent study of Australian patients arriving in Melbourne hospital emergency rooms complaining of low back pain found that those treated with acupuncture experienced as much pain relief in an hour as those given drugs.

“When I treat a person for low back pain, I always take pulses in several parts of the body, and then I take into account many factors, including age, gender and life situation,” says Buchman. “The underlying causes of the pain may be different in a 20-something student with a stressful academic load than a 50-something woman that’s a recent empty nester redefining her future,” he explains.

When researchers at China’s Central South University reviewed 13 studies on acupuncture and low back pain, they concluded that comprehensive treatment plans that involve acupuncture are urgently needed.

Headache: Acupuncture has long been used to relieve the pain of migraines and tension headaches. Australian research published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that 16 acupuncture sessions cut in half the number of days that patients experienced migraines, significantly reducing pain.

“Acupuncture is a must-try therapy for anyone with migraines or chronic or tension-type headaches,” says Burgoon. He notes that Aetna Insurance Company policy considers acupuncture among accepted, medically necessary treatments for migraines, chronic low back pain, knee osteoarthritis, postoperative dental pain and nausea associated with surgery, pregnancy and chemotherapy.

Asthma and allergies: More than 25 million Americans have asthma, including 6.8 million children. Danish research published in the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine showed that 10 acupuncture sessions given over a three-month period reduced asthma symptoms and use of inhaled steroids, but only when acupuncture was ongoing. Benefits diminished when treatments were discontinued. German researchers at Berlin’s Charité University Medical Center found similar effects for seasonal allergies by comparing it with the effects of antihistamines and sham acupuncture.

“Patterns of bad health get more ingrained in our body systems as we get older,” says Melanie Katin, a licensed acupuncturist who specializes in treating children in New York City and professor at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. “If we can catch an illness in a child’s first seven or eight years, we may be able to prevent it from becoming chronic in adulthood.”

Digestive problems: Acupuncture has been found to be effective for treating colic in babies, irritable bowel syndrome, morning sickness and postoperative nausea caused by anesthesia and chemotherapy treatments verified in research from Australia’s University of Sydney on patients after surgery for metastatic live cancer. Several other studies, including one from the Milwaukee’s Medical College of Wisconsin, show that acupuncture rebalances the nervous system and restores proper digestive function, while relieving pain.

The World Health Organization’s review of research notes how acupuncture relieved gastrointestinal (GI) spasms better than atropine injections, and also recommends acupuncture for relief of nausea. “Acupuncture helps calm down an overactive GI tract and stimulates an underactive one,” explains Burgoon.

Acupuncture is a non-pharmaceutical remedy for many health problems, Burgoon says. “I fell in love with acupuncture when I discovered I could use it to treat some problems that nothing else helped. I almost never prescribe any medications. Instead, I help people get off pharmaceuticals.”

Kathleen Barnes is author of many natural health books, including The Calcium Lie 2: What Your Doctor Still Doesn’t Know, with Dr. Robert Thompson. Connect at KathleenBarnes.com.

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The Right Vet for Your Pet Animals Thrive with Gentle, Safe and Natural Approaches by Shawn Messonnier

Posted on 05 January 2016 by Jason

Pet parents have many criteria to consider when choosing a healthcare provider for their prized pet, and among the most vital is trying to find a doctor that uses holistic therapies, because the advantages are many.

Wellness care is more than vaccines. While conventional vets consider giving vaccines and flea medications to all of their patients their best form of wellness care, holistic vets know these aren’t always necessary and can potentially be harmful. Instead, true wellness care involves careful consideration of proper diet, blood titer testing instead of vaccines, natural parasite control when appropriate and a heavy dose of diagnostic testing (blood, urine, fecal) to monitor organ function, check for parasites, screen for disorders of the urogenital system, liver and pancreas and early screening for cancer and other inflammatory conditions. There’s also a full physical check for common diseases like dental and heart disease and tumors.

Individualized prescriptions for a proper diet and supplements to maintain health is a big reason many owners prefer a holistic vet.

Natural treatments include disease prevention. Many pets treated via a more natural approach don’t experience the level of illness as those that don’t enjoy this specialized care. Natural therapies can quickly restore an ill pet to its homeostatic balance without the side effects often associated with multiple drug doses.

A team approach is expected. A holistic practice is a team effort, and the family doctor will suggest options for care, helping an owner decide on the best therapies for each pet.

A fuller range of options is available. While holistic vets prefer a more natural approach, they know that if necessary, conventional therapies can sometimes be an appropriate complement if they follow holistic principles, which means infrequent use of low-dose medications and only when absolutely needed. In general, most conditions can be treated successfully without drug therapy, extending the health and life of the patient and reducing medical costs.

Gentler anesthesia means quicker recovery. A naturally balanced and gentler approach means less drugging if anesthesia becomes necessary, close monitoring of an anesthetized pet, a smooth and quick recovery for prompt discharge from the hospital and natural forms of follow-up treatment to control post-operative pain and inflammation.

New hope rises for the hopeless. Many pets are brought to holistic doctors after conventional care has failed to help them. Some have been turned away by practitioners of conventional medicine because their cases are diagnosed as “hopeless”. Holistic vets and pet parents alike experience considerable satisfaction in helping to give a joyful pet a whole new lease on life.

Shawn Messonnier, a doctor of veterinary medicine practicing in Plano, TX, is the award-winning author of The Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats and Unexpected Miracles: Hope and Holistic Healing for Pets. For more information, visit PetCareNaturally.com.

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It’s Easy to Be Green At Home and On the Road by Avery Mack

Posted on 05 January 2016 by Jason

“Living green means living well, using what you create with minimal waste,” sums up Mike Bond, an ecologist and bestselling activist author in Winthrop, Maine. Here, he and other savvy sources share tips to go ever greener in ways that are painless and affordable.

Start Small

Choose the best bulb for the job. Light bulbs can confuse even informed shoppers. Incandescent bulbs last more than 750 hours, but aren’t energy-efficient. Fluorescent bulbs use 75 percent less energy than incandescent and last 10 to 15 times longer. A 20-watt compact fluorescent light (CFL) uses 550 fewer kilowatt-hours than a 75-watt incandescent bulb. For additional information, check Tinyurl.com/EnergyInfoLightBulbs. For a free app showing the best buy, visit LightBulbFinder.net.

Use appliance thermometers. Widely available, this useful tool will confirm a correct operating temperature of 37 to 40 degrees in the refrigerator and zero degrees in the freezer. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a warmer fridge allows bacteria to grow, while 10 degrees cooler than the ideal range increases energy use 25 percent. Chiller units work harder if the room temperature exceeds 70 degrees, so keep appliances out of direct sunlight and away from the stove.

Find the right seeds and plants. Then get quick advice on how many to buy and how and when to plant using the SmartGardener.com step-by-step app. It encompasses more than 3,000 organic, GMO-free, edible varieties.

No dishpan hands. A full load of dishes in a water-efficient dishwasher uses four gallons of water versus 24 gallons for handwashing them, according to Seametrics, which manufactures flow meters.

Test the toilet. If a few drops of food coloring added to the toilet tank colors water in the bowl, replace the flap. It’s an easy and inexpensive DIY task. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that one in 10 homes leaks a cumulative 90 gallons a day.

Fix the faucet. One drip per second equals 3,000 gallons a year wasted, Seametrics calculates.

Reset the hot water heater to 120 degrees. This safe and efficient setting also reduces corrosion and mineral buildup.

Discover soap nuts and wool dryer balls. Dried soapberry fruit shells contain saponin, which works like most detergents and soaps. Toss five or six whole shells (one-half ounce) in a wash bag with the laundry. They’re good for five to eight reuses. All-natural sheep’s wool dryer balls shorten drying time, soften and fluff fabric, reduce static and help keep pet hair off of clothes.

Change the car’s air filter. Maintain a clean filter according to manufacturer’s guidelines and visual inspection, about every 30,000 to 45,000 miles.

Use an oil-change service. In Connecticut alone, do-it-yourselfers change 9.5 million gallons of motor oil a year, and 85 percent of it ends up in sewers, soil and trash as a major groundwater pollutant. Earth Talk reports that one quart can create a two-acre oil slick; a gallon can contaminate a million gallons of fresh water. While the more costly chemicals in synthetic oil create the same amount of pollution as traditional oil, it doesn’t need to be changed as often.

Carpool. The Green Living Ideas media network condones Uber, Lyft and Sidecar apps for making ridesharing ultra-accessible.

Go Greener

Replace old appliances with energy-efficient models. Check out a unit’s Energy Star rating. Consider a tankless heater for hot water on demand, rather than 24/7 heating.

Choose eco-tires. Low rolling-resistance improves gas mileage and reduces emissions. Keep tires properly inflated and periodically rotated for longer wear. Watch for future innovations in sustainable materials currently in research and development.

Ban idling. Don’t idle an electronic fuel-injected engine for more than 30 seconds when parked in cold weather; it warms up faster by being driven, explains the U.S. Department of Energy. Fuel injection engines took over in the 1980s and early 90s. Only older carburetors need a couple of minutes’ warm-up. The Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory further advises, “Idling for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel and emits more CO2 than engine restarting.”

Ask for pet- and eco-friendly antifreeze. Choose less toxic red-orange propylene glycol antifreeze instead of green ethylene glycol antifreeze, which is poisonous to pets and people. Dispose of both types properly, as they are toxic to wildlife and fish, via groundwater, as well.

Green-clean car windows. Choose a brand like EvergreeN Windshield Washer Fluid, which is plant-derived, eco-friendly, non-toxic and biodegradable. Traditional blue fluid is methanol, combined methyl alcohol and wood alcohol, and extremely poisonous, especially to children and pets.

Go Big

Switch to a heat pump. “A heat pump is the reverse of a refrigerator; it takes cold air from the outside and turns it into warm air inside, and uses no oil or gas,” explains Bond.

Go solar. It’s the eco-alternative to conventional electricity generation. “Solar means that you’re creating your own power,” says Bond, who has used solar for years. “It works on an elegant cycle—create energy, use energy.” Leased solar panels reduce the cost of equipment, which has dropped dramatically in recent years.

Get a hybrid car. In combination with solar power, a hybrid vehicle can reduce or eliminate daily energy costs. “An electric car is perfect when commutes are not long,” Bond discloses. “If charged in the day, can serve as the battery for a solar home at night, when no power is being created.”

Connect with freelance writer via AveryMack@mindspring.com.

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The Rise of Functional Medicine New Paradigm Gets to the Root Cause of Disease by Lisa Marshall

Posted on 05 January 2016 by Jason

By the end of 2014, Trina Mills, of Parker, Arizona, had given up on conventional medicine. She’d been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder 17 years earlier and taken medication ever since without feeling her symptoms of fatigue, muscle aches and stomach problems ever fully subside. She’d visited endocrinologists, gastroenterologists and a half-dozen other specialists, each of which offered a different diagnosis and prescribed a different drug.

At one point, she had her gallbladder removed. At another, her doctor suspected she had bleeding in the brain and sent her for a computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan. Some thought she was a hypochondriac; others said she was depressed. “I would tell them, ‘I’m just depressed that you can’t figure out why I’m so sick,’” she says.

Weighing a skeletal 82 pounds, the 54-year-old mother of three finally wrote out a living will and braced the inevitable. Then she heard of a new Center for Functional Medicine opening at the prestigious, century-old Cleveland Clinic. As the first clinic of its kind to open at an academic medical center, it promised to look at the underlying causes of disease, while focusing on the whole person, rather than isolated symptoms.

Intrigued, Mills caught a flight to Ohio and soon was offering up 30 tubes of blood, stool and saliva samples, as well as an exhaustive life history. One year later, thanks to a series of personalized diet and lifestyle changes, she’s 10 pounds heavier and feels better than she has in decades. “I spent a lot of years and money in the traditional medical system and got nothing,” says Mills. With functional medicine, “In a very short time, they had me feeling nearly 100 percent.”

Distinctive Characteristics

In the 25 years since nutritional biochemist Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D., of Gig Harbor, Washington, coined the term, this science-based, whole-body approach to addressing chronic disease has gained widespread traction. More than 100,000 physicians —60 percent of them medical doctors —have trained with the Institute for Functional Medicine he founded in Washington and New Mexico, and numerous medical schools have added its tenets to their curricula. More naturopaths and chiropractors are also distinguishing themselves with a functional medicine emphasis.

“It is not alternative medicine at all,” stresses Bland, whose latest book, The Disease Delusion, details how functional medicine can curb chronic diseases like arthritis, diabetes, dementia, and heart disease which constitute 78 percent of U.S. health care costs. “It’s the basis of 21st-century health care,” he says.

For most of the 20th century, conventional medicine centered on a singular objective: Arrive at a diagnosis and treat it with drugs or surgery. Then alternative medicine movement proffered a toolbox of more natural therapies, including acupuncture, herbs and massage to address these same diagnoses. The 1990s brought integrative medicine, a best-of-both-worlds approach.

“While all of the above have merit, they lack the necessary guidance to help practitioners determine which tools work best for which patient,” says Dr. Mark Hyman, director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine. “Alternative therapies and conventional treatments are tools. We need a new map that can teach us how to skillfully use those tools,” maintains Hyman. “That map is functional medicine.”

Because one chronic disease such as diabetes can have dozens of underlying causes, or one culprit such as a genetic predisposition or exposure to toxins can lead to multiple chronic conditions, functional medicine focuses on systems, rather than organs, and origins, rather than diseases. “It’s about listening to the patient’s story in a different way, where the objective is not simply about arriving at a diagnosis,” explains Bland.

Ferreting Out Key Clues

Key to discovering the underlying origins of a health issue are a host of new gene, blood and gut health tests. “They allow us to look under the patient’s ‘metabolic hood’ at the genetic and biochemical factors influencing a patient’s health,” says Naturopathic Doctor Kara Fitzgerald, who heads up a functional medicine clinic in Newtown, Connecticut.

For instance, certain genes influence how a person burns and stores fat. Depending on which variant a patient has, based on a genetic test, they might be guided toward a higher- or lower-fat diet. Those genetically prone to difficulty in metabolizing the amino acid homocysteine (an excess of which can raise the risk of heart disease) might be advised to take folic acid supplements.

If a patient displays intractable gut problems, rather than simply look for blood or pathogens in the stool, Fitzgerald also looks at the DNA of their gut microbiome, mapping out which strains of good bacteria are present or absent and prescribing prebiotics, probiotics or whole foods to promote a healthful balance.

For another patient with thinning hair and aching joints, she might use specialized blood tests to look for micronutrient deficiencies, signs of allergies or certain autoantibodies—proteins produced by the immune system that mistakenly attack one’s own tissues—that might herald a brewing autoimmune disorder. “Research shows that predictive autoantibodies can show up in the blood 10 or even 20 years before an autoimmune disease such as Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis makes itself known,” says Fitzgerald, pointing to a seminal review published in 2007 in Scientific American “If a patient with mild, early-stage symptoms is proactive with diet and lifestyle changes, they may be able to fend it off.”

High-tech tests aside, Bland stresses that what’s most important is “a tool that has been largely lost in medicine today: Knowing how to listen to the patient.”

In a typical exam, Fitzgerald thoroughly inspects often neglected body parts, including the tongue and fingernails, which can hold important clues to underlying health. She asks about past emotional trauma which might trigger chronic disease, and inquires about what environmental toxins and harmful chemicals both the patient and their birth parents may have been exposed to. One example might be a patient exposed to cigarette smoking in utero having a bias toward an allergic disease. If their parents grew up in a period of famine, they might have inherited a genetic disposition for rapid weight gain.

“She spent two-and-a-half hours with me,” in her initial consultation, recalls 52-year-old Lauren Zambrelli, of Long Island, New York, who credits Fitzgerald for helping her tame her multiple sclerosis into remission. “It was like having a sister for a doctor.”

Who Pays

Functional medicine doctors don’t shy away from prescription drugs when necessary, but they do lean decidedly toward the lower-tech modalities, using dietary supplements, allergen-free diets, exercise, mind-body practices and toxin avoidance as their primary tools. “We basically take out the bad stuff from the body and put in the good stuff,” says Hyman.

Maintaining good health is priceless, but without conventional insurance coverage, it can be expensive. While Mills’ doctor visits were covered by insurance (which is rare), she spends roughly $1,000 a month on supplements to address her diagnosed leaky gut syndrome, nutrient deficiencies and mercury poisoning. Zambrelli has paid thousands out of her own pocket, too.

Some people worry that, like most conventional physicians, some functional medicine practitioners place too much emphasis on expensive tests and too little on the most crucial and affordable remedy—self-care. “Functional medicine as a concept is an important step forward,” says integrative medicine pioneer Dr. James Gordon, founder of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. “However, some practitioners do a lot of tests and prescribe a lot of supplements and work on cleaning out the gut, but neglect the psychological, spiritual and social issues. That concerns me.”

Bland and Hyman concede that some practitioners over-test, but say that will fade over time as they learn to better discriminate which ones are useful for specific patients. Several efforts also are underway to get more functional medicine providers and the acupuncturists, massage therapists and nutritionists they work with covered under the Affordable Care Act, which expressly emphasizes a need for more preventive medicine.

Viewing the big picture, Bland believes that functional medicine is just what the country needs to save on exploding healthcare costs. Rather than spending dollars on extraordinary measures to save heart attack victims or diabetics in emergencies, we can prevent such dire situations by identifying underlying problems sooner and halting their progression.

In the meantime, some patients are finding priceless relief. “Am I poorer right now? Yes,” says Mills. “Am I healthier? Way. It’s been so worth it.”

Lisa Marshall is a freelance health writer in Boulder, CO, who specializes in healthcare. Connect at LisaAnnMarshall.com.

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Soup’s On! Tasty Recipes for Winter Meals

Posted on 05 January 2016 by Jason

Tuscan Vegetable Bean Soup

Yields: 6 servings

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 cup frozen, cut green beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, with liquid
4 cups bone broth or 1 carton (32 ounces) vegetable broth
2 tsp Italian seasoning
⅛ tsp crushed red pepper flakes, optional
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup chopped fresh broccoli
1 can (15 oz, BPA-free) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp minced fresh basil, plus additional for garnish
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onions, carrot and celery and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Stir in the green beans and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, vegetable broth, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Heat, covered, until boiling, and then reduce heat to a simmer and cook 15 to 20 minutes.

Stir in broccoli, cannellini beans and minced basil. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are as tender as desired. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Garnish if desired with additional minced basil.

Adapted from PluggedIntoCooking.com, by Kathy Moore and Roxanne Wyss

Pumpkin Sage Soup

Yields: 1 serving

¾ cup ready-to-use chicken or vegetable broth
⅔ cup pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
¼ tsp dried rubbed sage
3 Tbsp half-and-half, whole milk or coconut creamer
Salt and ground black pepper

In a saucepan, bring the broth, pumpkin and sage to a simmer over medium-high heat. In the mug, stir broth, pumpkin and sage until blended. Stir in cream and heat for 1 minute more. Season it to taste with salt and pepper before pouring into a mug. Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds.

Adapted from 250 Best Meals in a Mug, by Camilla V. Saulsbury

Roasted Tomato Bisque

Yields: 8 servings

4 large beefsteak tomatoes, sliced
2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced
1 large red onion, peeled and sliced
2 Tbsp plus ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp hot pepper sauce
Bone broth or vegetable broth, if necessary
Add fine dry or gluten-free breadcrumbs and sliced green onion for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425° F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Arrange the tomatoes, bell peppers and onion on the baking sheets and drizzle with the two tablespoons of olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes or until soft and browned at the edges.

Transfer to a Vitamix or similar blender. Add the remaining half-cup olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and hot pepper sauce and blend until smooth. Add a little bone broth or vegetable broth if the soup is too thick. Serve each bowl with a sprinkling of breadcrumbs and thinly sliced green onion.

Adapted from The Gardener and the Grill, by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig

Lemon, Cucumber and Dill Soup

Yields: 2 servings

2 cups chopped peeled, seeded cucumber
½ cup chopped romaine lettuce
¼ cup filtered water
¼ cup chopped fresh dill fronds
1 clove garlic
3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp fine sea salt

In a food processor fitted with its metal blade, process cucumber, lettuce, water, dill, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and salt until smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours. Serve garnished with a dollop of vegan sour cream, if preferred, and additional dill.

Adapted from Eat Raw, Eat Well, by Douglas McNish

Coconut Curried Chickpea Soup

Yields: 6 servings

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 lb small, red-skinned potatoes, ½-inch diced
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
½ cup salt
2 cans (each 14 to 19 oz, BPA-free) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 zucchini, ½-inch diced
1 Tbsp packed light brown or date sugar
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
2 cups (about 3 oz) packed baby spinach
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Toasted shredded coconut for garnish

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add curry powder and sauté another 10 seconds. Add potatoes and stir to coat.

Add stock and coconut milk; cook for 10 minutes. Add chickpeas and zucchini; cook another 10 minutes, or until potatoes and zucchini are tender. Stir in brown sugar and lime juice. Add spinach and stir until wilted. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into heated bowls and garnish with coconut.

Adapted from 300 Sensational Soups, by Carla Snyder and Meredith Deeds

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Super Soups New Twists on Old Favorites Heal, Nourish and Soothe by Judith Fertig

Posted on 05 January 2016 by Jason

Winter season soups on chilly days can warm us, both body and soul. Whatever our food preferences or time constraints, some new twists on traditional favorites will satisfy everyone’s tastebuds—with an accent on healthy pleasure. Here’s where to start.

Reinventing the past. From her Colorado mountain home, Jenny McGruther, author of The Nourished Kitchen, celebrates the wisdom of traditional foodways, making nutrient-dense, healing soup broth from bones, water, vegetables and seasonings. McGruther’s twist is to make it in a six-quart slow cooker.

Once her family has dined on organic roast or rotisserie chicken, she simmers the bones with purified water, a bay leaf or two, a few whole peppercorns and a few chopped organic vegetables like onion, carrot and celery on the low setting for 24 hours. Then she ladles the broth through a coffee strainer into another container, refreshes the slow cooker with more water and simmers the bones and seasonings for another 24 hours. Eventually, the broth will have less flavor and color, and that’s when McGruther starts all over again.

“I call this perpetual soup,” she says. She blogs at NourishedKitchen.com.

Slowing it down. With homemade broth on hand, it’s easy to make the Italian winter staple of Tuscan Vegetable Bean Soup. Cookbook authors and slow cooker experts Kathy Moore and Roxanne Wyss, from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, love to make this when they’re working on a cookbook deadline. They simply use what they have in the refrigerator, freezer or pantry.

“With a soup like this you can always substitute one vegetable for another, adjusting the recipe to what you enjoy and have on hand,” advises Moore. The pair blogs at PluggedIntoCooking.com.

Speeding it up. Sometimes, we need a single serving of homemade soup fast. Award-winning recipe developer and cookbook author Camilla Saulsbury, of Nacogdoches, Texas, whips up a Pumpkin Sage Soup that can simmer in a saucepan within minutes, ready to be enjoyed in a mug.

Saulsbury uses organic canned pumpkin, full of vitamins, which can vary in sweetness. “If needed,” she suggests, “add a drizzle of maple syrup to enhance the flavor of the soup.”

Making “bisque” in a high-speed blender. Karen Adler is an avid grower of organic tomatoes in her Kansas City garden. When the seasonal harvest comes to an end, Adler grills or oven roasts the tomatoes, along with organic peppers and onions, and then freezes them, ready to make Roasted Tomato Bisque any time of the year.

“My secret to a light bisque without using cream is to blend all the roasted vegetables together with a high-speed blender to give it body. A swirl of extra-virgin olive oil at the end finishes ensuring the satisfying flavor,” she says.

Going cold. Douglas McNish, head chef at Toronto’s raw and vegan restaurant Raw Aura, serves a popular Lemon, Cucumber and Dill Soup, which is easy to make in a food processor. “This soup is amazing this time of year, when most of our diets may be lacking in healthy fats and trace minerals,” says McNish.

Warming up. Two cookbook authors teamed up across many miles to write 300 Sensational Soups. Meredith Deeds lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, while Carla Snyder resides in Cleveland, Ohio. They’ve mutually discovered the naturally warming properties of curry powder in Curried Coconut Chickpea Soup.

Snyder observes, “A good soup nourishes the heart, as well as the stomach, spreading a feeling of satisfaction and contentment.”

Judith Fertig blogs at AlfrescoFoodAndLifestyle.blogspot.com from Overland Park, KS.

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