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Sep 9, 2016

Forty Percent of the Population Has Nutritional Deficiencies

Nutritional deficiencies have become a major issue because our soils are depleted in minerals required for nutritionally dense foods. Based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey more than 40 percent of adults have low levels of vitamin A, C, D and E, calcium and magnesium for their age and gender.  Vitamin deficiencies are common in teenagers 14-18 year old, and younger children are often low in calcium, vitamin D and E.  Most people do not get enough calcium in their diets which can be a main cause of osteoporosis. ( In addition, many people are on pharmaceutical medications for health issues that may be nutritional deficiencies.  Nutritional deficiencies are also known side effects for many pharmaceuticals. This is why everyone should take a good multiple vitamin.

Some of the main nutritional deficiencies include the following:

  • Vitamin B6 and folate especially if the person has been on birth control pills.  Many people with anxiety and/or depression can be deficient in B6 and folate.  And they may have methylation issues in which they do not absorb normal B6 or folate.  Individuals with high homocysteine levels are deficient in methylated B6 and folate.
  • Vitamin B 12 deficiency is common especially in the elderly and if an individual is fatigued and has memory, neurological or mood issues.  Vegetarians and individuals with high homocysteine may have B 12 deficiencies.   Blood test are not accurate for B 12 deficiencies. 
  • Vitamin D is our sunshine vitamin.  It also regulates inflammation in the body.  About eighty percent of the patients I see are deficient in vitamin D.  Blood test are recommended for vitamin D because it is a fat soluble vitamin which stays in our systems longer so when you take too much it can cause problems.  Vitamin D can prevent asthma, flu, osteoporosis, breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer.
  • Magnesium is the number one mineral deficiency today.  It can help with muscle aches, pain, constipation and even sleep.
  • Iron deficiency is common in menstruating women, children with insufficient diets, athletes, individuals with celiac disease and the elderly.  Low energy and depression are common signs of anemia.  In fact, studies show that 1 in 10 Hispanic children are anemic.  This can affect concentration and performance in school.

Studies show that nutrition can play a key role in the onset as well as the severity depression. Many individuals who are depressed, or have other mental illnesses, often have a poor appetite, skip meals, and crave sugar. The general population in many Asian and American countries show deficiencies in many nutrients, especially essential vitamins, minerals, neurotransmitters and omega-3 fatty acids. Many times correcting the nutritional deficiencies will improve mental states such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders and anxiety disorders, attention deficit disorder/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), autism, and addiction.  Most prescription drugs used for mental health, including the common antidepressants lead to side effects.  This usually causes the patients to skip taking their medications. (Nutritional therapies for mental disorders. Nutr Jr. 2008)

Our immune systems are depleted.  This is evident when I do white blood cell labs on my patients.  The white blood cells are our immune system and they are low in most patients I test.  This is because our immune system is always fighting viruses, bacteria, parasites, chemicals and free radicals in our environment.  So to protect our immune systems we need the antioxidants Vitamin A, C, D, E and selenium. If an individual gets repeated colds, they probably are low in antioxidants.  Antioxidants help prevent cancer and heart disease.
Since there are so many nutritional deficiencies we all should be taking a good multiple vitamin. It is like buying an insurance policy for our health.  Prevention can help one avoid a lot of unnecessary health issues and unnecessary medications.  If you feel you have any of the symptoms above, you should go to a doctor who specializes in nutritional deficiencies because you may need a higher dose of a vitamin then what is in a multiple vitamin.   What should I look for in a good multiple vitamin?  You should be taking a vitamin with no added sugar, food sources, coloring or preservatives.  It should only contain vitamin and minerals with no herbs or supplements.  Vitamins and minerals should always be taken with a meal for better absorption.  For a recommendation on dosages of a multiple vitamin see the Riverwalk Natural Health blog. (

Dr. Deborah Wiancek is a naturopathic physician who has a family practice at the Riverwalk Natural Health Clinic & Pharmacy for 18 years.  She can be reached at 970-926-7606 or Visit or follow

Sep 1, 2016

Mango Curry

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp (22 g) coconut oil (or avocado or grape seed oil)
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 Tbsp (12 g) minced fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic (1 Tbsp or 6 g)
  • 1 Thai red chili (or serrano pepper), stem removed and thinly sliced with seeds
  • 3 Tbsp (60 g) red curry paste
  • 2 14-ounce (414 ml) cans light coconut milk (sub 1 can of full fat for extra creamy texture)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 2-3 tsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 zuchinni, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 carrot, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 ripe mango, cubed
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) roasted cashews or almonds
  • 1 lemon, juiced
FOR SERVING optional
  • Lemon wedges
  • Thai (or regular) basil, or fresh cilantro, for serving
  • Brown rice or quinoa
  • Steamed broccoli

  1. Heat a large cast iron or metal skillet with a high rim over medium heat. Once hot, add coconut oil, shallot, ginger, garlic, and pepper. Add a pinch of sea salt and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Add red curry paste and stir, and cook for 2 minutes more.
  3. Add coconut milk, sea salt, tamari, turmeric and stir. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  4. Once simmering, add remaining vegetables and slightly reduce heat. You want a simmer, not a boil, which should be around low to medium-low heat.
  5. Cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, to soften the vegetables, and infuse them with curry flavor.
  6. At this time also taste and adjust the flavor of the broth as needed. 
  7. Once the broth is well seasoned and the peppers are softened, add mango, cashews and lemon juice, and simmer for 3-4 minutes more over low to medium-low heat.
  8. Serve over rice or quinoa

Aug 26, 2016

Creating Optimal Health

Optimal health is all about living and eating to obtain a healthy body, mind and spirit, yet optimal health is different for everyone. We have different genes and grew up in different environments and social economic classes, so health management is not the same for everyone.
Ultimately we all need to take charge and be responsible for our own health. Unfortunately, the majority of us let the pharmaceutical companies take care of our health with the ill-fated result of prescription drugs having become the fifth leading cause of death in the United States.
The side effects of drugs are often worse than what the drug is designed to treat; yet people continue to look for magic-bullet cures. And then there are individuals who go to the health food store clerk to ask what they should take for a health condition self-diagnosed on the Internet. There is a substantial risk letting someone with minimal knowledge recommend a vitamin or supplement to resolve a health issue.

So how can we obtain optimal health? By reviewing our diet and lifestyle with a professional specifically trained to look at your diet and diagnosis and treat disease (e.g., a naturopathic physician or another holistic practitioner). Diet is the key for most chronic diseases. However, the same diet does not work for everyone; it really depends on the health issues of the person.
For instance, high cholesterol is due to too much saturated fat in the diet. Yet many of my patients state they eat healthy and have high cholesterol because of genetics since everyone in their family has high cholesterol. This is not due to genes; this is because they eat like everyone in their family.
Each of us needs to take a good look at our diet to identify what we are eating that is causing the problem. Statins are not the answer because of the side effects, such as muscle aches, dementia, asthma, etc. If we continue to eat a diet high in saturated fat, we will increase our risk for heart disease and cancer.
If one has gastrointestinal issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, one likely has food allergies and malabsorption issues that have not been identified. If one has memory issues or a history of Alzheimer’s, they would do better with a healthy fat diet and lifestyle changes. As you can see, diet can be very different for individuals depending on their health issues.
Despite the fact that diet must be individualized, some things are universal. Sugar is not good for anyone. It increases inflammation in the body and thus increases your risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes and many other diseases. This includes fructose, sucrose, maltose, glucose, etc.
Genetically modified organisms, or engineered foods, are treated with herbicides such as Roundup, which can cause neurological issues and has been associated with cancer. This is why organic, local food is better.
Alcohol should be used in moderation, which means one or two drinks one to three times per week. Alcohol has been linked to many cancers, such as breast, prostate, colon and pancreatic cancer.
What about exercise? Ideally, we all should engage in one hour of exercise five times a week. Studies show that any more exercise than this has no more health benefit. In fact, more exercise can increase our risk for heart disease and cause more wear and tear on our joints. This is why most individuals in the Vail Valley have already had a knee or hip surgery or replacement at a very early age.
What about lifestyle? We all need to eliminate as many chemicals as we can in our environment. Chemicals in our environment cause all kinds of health problems, such as increasing our risk for cancer, Parkinson’s, autoimmune disease, liver disease, etc. Chemicals such as parabens, household cleaners, benzene, formaldehyde, radon, lead, herbicides, pesticides and mercury, just to name a few, are in our skin-care products, lotions, sunscreens, shampoos, supplements, etc. If you cannot identify a name in the ingredients of a product, it is probably not a clean product.
As you can see, we can take charge of our health by taking the responsibility to eat healthy, exercise and eliminate as many toxins as possible in our environment. If you do have a health problem, go to someone with experience to help you diagnose and identify the cause of your health issue, rather than treating the symptoms with medication or supplements.
Deborah Wiancek, a naturopathic physician, has had a family practice at the Riverwalk Natural Health Clinic & Pharmacy for 18 years. She can be reached at 970-926-7606 or or follow

Aug 19, 2016

Curried Beet Soup with Tandoori Chickpeas

  • 1 15-ounce (425 g) can chickpeas, rinsed, drained + dried in a clean towel
  • 1 Tbsp melted coconut oil (or sub grape seed oil)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 Tbsp tandoori masala spice blend* (can be purchased at store or made at home)
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) coconut or grape seed oil
  • 2 shallots, thinly diced (~40 g)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbsp or 6 g)
  • 1 Tbsp (6 g) minced ginger
  • 6 small-medium beets, quartered (~80 g each)
  • Pinch each sea salt + black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp (25 g) green curry paste (or sub 12 g curry powder)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • optional: Pinch each ground cardamom and coriander
  • 1 14-ounce (414 ml) can light coconut milk (optional: more for serving)
  • 2 cups (480 ml) vegetable broth
  • optional: Fresh chopped cilantro

  1. If preparing chickpeas, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C), and add rinsed and dried chickpeas to a small mixing bowl. Top with coconut oil, salt and tandoori masala. Toss to combine, and sample a chickpea. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  2. Spread onto a bare baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until deep golden brown and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
  3. In the meantime, heat a large pot over medium heat.
  4. Once hot, add oil, shallots, garlic and ginger. Saute for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Add beets, salt and pepper, curry paste, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, cayenne, cardamom and coriander (optional). Stir to coat, then cover and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add coconut milk and vegetable broth.
  7. Bring to a low boil over medium heat and then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until beets are fork tender.
  8. Use an immersion blender, or transfer soup to a blender, and purée on high until creamy and smooth. If using a blender, return soup back to pot.
  9. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more dry spices or salt to taste.
  10. Serve with an extra drizzle of coconut milk (optional), a generous amount of tandoori chickpea, and a sprinkle of cilantro (optional).
  11. Store leftover soup covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, or in the freezer up to 1 month. Store chickpeas separately in a well-sealed container at room temperature up to 2 days.

*DIY Tandoori Masala Blend: 3 Tbsp ground cumin, 2 Tbsp garlic powder, 2 Tbsp ground paprika, 3 tsp ground ginger, 2 tsp ground coriander, 2 tsp ground cardamom.

Mushroom, Barley & Lentil Soup

  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup pearled barley
  • ¼ cup brown or green lentils
  • 16 oz button mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1¼ tsp salt (or to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

  1. Place all ingredients in a crockpot. Cook on high for about 3 hours, or until grains are cooked through and vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. If you do not own a crockpot,not to worry, the soup can still be made. Sautee the onion, celery and garlic in a little olive oil, add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil then let simmer for about 30minutes or until tender.

Recipe from Hummusapien

Aug 5, 2016

Beet Hummus

  • 2 small beets
  • 1 small lemon (just using the lemon juice from lemon)
  • 1.5 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 can cooked chickpeas 
  • Cumin, salt and pepper- to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons water

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
  • Lightly coat beets with olive oil, wrap in aluminum foil and let cook for about 45 minutes or until tender.
  • Let beets cool then slice.
  • Add all ingredients to food processor and blend.
  • Let chill in fridge and enjoy! Beets are in season so finding local, organic beets should be very easy this time of year!

Jul 18, 2016

Should you take a multi-vitamin?

You should be taking a quality multiple vitamin because:

  • Our food is not as nutritious as it used to be.
  • Many people have a nutritional deficiency
    • 9/10 Americans are low in 1 or more of the following vitamins and minerals: magnesium, Vit. D, Vit. C, Vit. E, calcium and zinc.
  • We live in a toxic world, antioxidants in a quality multiple vitamin help clean toxins from the body and keep the liver functioning better.
  • Your energy could likely use a boost.
  • Your mood could be better
    • A multiple vitamin with B-vitamins,Vit. C and magnesium promotes calmness and supports a healthy mood.
  • A good multiple vitamin with Vit. A, C and E helps support healthy, radiant skin.
  • Your stressed out, stress depletes our B-Vitamins.
  • A multiple vitamin with Vit. D, calcium and magnesium can help maintain muscle strength and mobility.
  • A good multiple vitamin supports healthy aging.
  • If you are lactose intolerant you may be deficient in calcium and vitamin D.
  • You’re pregnant, of child bearing age or may become pregnant or are breast feeding.
  • To prevent osteoporosis all women should be taking calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, vitamin C, boron, vitamin K, zinc and copper starting at 20 years of age or younger.
  • You have elevated homeocystein, a protein that may be related to an increased risk of coronary heart disease. 
    • Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12 and folic acid has been shown to prevent heart disease and lower homeocysteine levels.
  • You have had an intestinal condition such as inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome or chronic pancreatitis. All this conditions can interfere with nutrient absorption.
  • You’re on a weight reduction diet.
  • You’re a cancer patient 
    • you should be taking antioxidants.
  • You’re a strict vegetarian
    • you are probably lacking in Vitamin B12.
  • To reduce your risk of getting cancer. 
    • Harvard’s famous evaluation of 90,000 nurses for more than 15 years showed that multiple vitamins appeared to reduce the risk of colon and breast cancers.
Dr.Wiancek has formulated her own vitamin, to read about what's in it click here!