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Dec 30, 2013

Supplement Use Saves Billions In Healthcare Costs

Chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis are among the most preventable.

The distribution of Healthcare costs in the United States may not be the most ideal. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) the United States allocates as much as 75% of funds toward the treatment of chronic disease and only 3% towards prevention. This is a staggering number since chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis are the most preventable.

An in depth literature review conducted by the Council for Responsible Nutrition demonstrates that the use of dietary supplements among those of high risk for chronic disease can be an effective preventative method. This may be for both billions of dollars of health care cost savings and a better quality of life for the individuals taking them (Frost & Sullivan.)

For more information please visit:

Pumpkin or Squash Soup Recipe

This recipe is Gluten free, Vegetarian friendly, Vegan friendly, and Low-sodium


      2 onions chopped up small
      2 cloves garlic smashed and minced
      2 acorn or butternut squash or even a small pumpkin
      4 sweet potatoes
      2 white potatoes
      5 carrots sliced
      2 apples peeled, cored & sliced
      maple syrup to taste
      dash cinnamon & cardamom
      4 pats butter (Vegan-sub 1/2 butter substitute and 1/2 applesauce)
      1 tbs any flour (GF- sub corn starch, potato starch, or gf flour mix)
      salt to taste (Low sodium- sub for garlic powder and pepper)
      2 cups milk (Vegan-switch to almond, rice, or soy milk)


The key to a good squash soup is to bake the squash and sweet potatoes and white potatoes and to not rush them along. With pumpkin or squash, I will cut the vegetable in half, scrape out the seeds and bake face down on a cookie sheet.

Saute the garlic and onions in olive oil until clear. Add the carrots and apples until soft.

Once the squash and potatoes are soft, let cool & peel. Put innards into the pot with the other simmering veggies. Let it all meld.

Next, make a roux. Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the flour (I use oat flour or spelt. Most flours will do.) With a fork, mix in the butter and the flour until the flour is slightly brown. Add one cup milk and keep stirring, the milk will thicken right up. When it is thick, add the other cup of milk. When that thickens up again, add to the veggies.

Blend it all together until desired degree of smoothness. I use an immersion blender, but you can also use an upright blender.

Add the maple syrup, dash cinnamon, cardamom. Salt to taste. Serve warm with a good piece of bread. I like to garnish with a think slice of dried pear. This year I dried lots of red pears with the skin on and it looks so pretty! 

Vegetable & Lentil Soup Recipe

IMG 3770e final small

This recipe is Vegetarian friendly, Vegan friendly, Gluten-free, Low-sodium, and Sugar-free

Nothing beats a good, hearty soup that has inexpensive ingredients, feeds a lot of people, and doesn't take long to make. To prepare a vegetarian lentil soup, don't add meat and substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth. Original recipe for this soup was from Mad Hungry (Artisan Books) by Lucinda Scala Quinn.

2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped (3/4 cup)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped (3/4 cup)
2 celery stalks, peeled and chopped (2/3 cup)
3 garlic cloves, minced (1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 small tomato, chopped (1/3 cup)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups brown or green lentils
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 small bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
4 cups water, plus more if needed
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
Garlic Croutons (optional)
One bunch firm curly kale, chopped up
2 pieces grilled chicken breast, sliced into bite-sized pieces (optional)

Heat a large soup pot over high heat and swirl in the olive oil. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Reduce the heat to low and saute until the vegetables are lightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the lentils, thyme, bay leaf, pepper, and the remaining 2 teaspoons salt. Add the broth and water, and bring to a boil, skimming and discarding any foam as it rises to the surface. Reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. (The cooking time depends on the age of the dried lentils.) Stir in the vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If needed, thin the soup with additional water or broth for the desired consistency. Serve in a bowl topped with fresh croutons, if using.

Dec 23, 2013

Potato Leek Soup Recipe

This recipe is Vegetarian friendly, Vegan friendly, Gluten-free, Low-sodium, and Sugar-free


One big onion
One head of garlic
10 potatoes
6 leeks (but any green onion will do)
Olive oil
1 quart water, or vegetable or chicken stock
One hand full of chopped up kale (something I often add to soups right at the end, to boost the vitamin and fiber content!)


Slice onions into small pieces, smash garlic with a flat knife and then mince. Sauté the garlic & onions until clear.
Cut potatoes into 1-2 inch cubes. Add to onions & garlic. When half way to soft, add the leeks.
Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add liquid. Simmer another 20-30 minutes. Add kale. Salt to taste.

This recipe is Vegetarian friendly, Vegan friendly, Gluten-free, Low-sodium, and Sugar-free

Small Packaged Foods: Price vs. Convenience

When we walk into a grocery store we can now choose between a conventional sized product or smaller individual sized products such as chips, candy bars, and yogurt cups. Lets take chips for example. Looking at the smaller containers they are often labeled an alluring “100 calorie” count, and are portioned in individual packages so you won’t overeat.

The convenience of this size may remove the temptation of many to indulge in too much of a snack. Yes, small packages offer convenience yet are often pricey- sometimes up to three times the price of a normal sized unportioned container. To avoid these costly options there are many foods that can be both cost efficient, low in calories, healthy, and easy to portion if you plan ahead.

Here are a few economic alternatives around 100 calories to enjoy:

Tomato (1 med.) with sprinkle of feta cheese and olive oil
Edamame in shell (1/2 c) with low sodium soy sauce
Shrimp (8) and cocktail sauce (4 tbs)
Baby carrots (1 c) with hummus (2 tbs)
Cantaloupe ( ½ fruit)
Raspberries (1 c) with Greek yogurt (2 tbs) and honey (1 tsp)
Raisins (50)
Egg whites (2) with toast (1 slice)
Tortilla chips (12 chips) with salsa (1/2 c)
Frozen yogurt (1/2 c) any flavor
Hershey dark chocolate kisses (5)
Raw nuts such as almonds or peanuts (a handful or 1 oz)
Applesauce (1c) with cinnamon
Skim milk latte (8 oz)
Air-popped popcorn (3 c)
Thin pretzel sticks (48 sticks)
Celery (5 pieces) with peanut butter (1 tbsp)
Unsweetened applesauce (1 cup)
An apple (small) with low-fat cheese (2 oz)

Here is a pdf compiled by the State University of Utah full of visual charts on cost saving food strategies:

Dec 20, 2013

A New Look on C-reactive Protein and Inflammation

Incorporating lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into our diet is a great way to maintain optimal health.

Incorporating lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into our diet is a great way to maintain optimal health. Expanding on the benefits of a healthy diet, a new study draws attention towards the benefits of consuming these foods and their direct relationship with regulating C - reactive protein. C-reactive protein, or CRP, is produced naturally in the human liver. This protein has the ability to reduce chronic inflammation, lower the risk for heart attack and diabetes.

 A study conducted by the Department of Behavioral Health and Nutrition at the University of Delaware  recently explored these findings. The highlight of their findings was described most notably by lead researcher Kuczmarski who stated “We found an inverse relationship between diet quality and CRP levels in low-income adults.. The lower the quality of the diet, the higher the levels of CRP.”

This poses an incentive for further research on diet across socio economic statuses, how their body is affected by it, what can be done to decrease chronic disease rates, and ultimately improve our populations’ health.

For more information please read:

Study: Healthy Aging in Neighborhoods of Diversity across the Lifespan (HANDLS) by the National Institute on Aging


Irresistible Reasons for Food Cravings

The thought of enjoying an ice cold, creamy chocolate milkshake on a hot summer's day would make anyone’s mouth water. That’s the same sensation our brain feels every time we consume sugar.

When we consume foods containing fat and sugar the part of our brain associated with award systems becomes active making us crave more. In a recent study conducted on over 100 healthy high school students funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), brain activity while drinking chocolate milkshakes was recorded. The milkshakes were identical to each other yet had different amounts of sugar and fat content in them. The researchers initially hypothesized the first group consuming high fat-low sugar content milkshakes would affect their brain rewards systems more than the second group consuming milkshakes of low fat-high sugar content. 

The researchers were surprised to find out that the milkshakes higher in sugar actually increased reactions in the reward center of the brain most responsible for compulsive eating. Conclusions suggest that when sugar was consumed, more sugar was craved.  In contrast to conventional American’s diets which include higher levels of sugar than fats, the study concluded that a diet higher in fat than sugar resulted in lower levels of reward center activity in the brain.

With rising levels of obesity within the United States, this knowledge can be used to better suit dietary recommendations, knowing that against any amount of willpower, sugar may win, and to avoid it more so than fat.

For more information please visit:


Obesity Negatively Affects Sperm Health in Men

findings can hopefully encourage perspective fathers to maintain a healthy weight not just for themselves but for their future children too

Obesity raises a slew of health concerns for the American people. One in particular is an issue surrounding perspective fathers’ weights during time of conception.

Recent findings published by the Research Center for Reproductive Health at the University of Adelaide in South Australia, find that a father’s weight during conception can negatively affect the genes given to their offspring increasing their chances for diabetes. They also found that these genes could negatively affect the second generation too. Dr. Tod Fullston states "Fathers should aim to be as healthy as possible at the time of conception to give future generations the best possible chance of good health."

These findings can hopefully encourage perspective fathers to maintain a healthy weight not just for themselves but for their future children too.

Perceived Children’s Weight by Parents Contrasts Actual Children’s Weight

In a study conducted in the Netherlands, opinions were collected from 800 parents of children 4yrs-5yrs of age regarding their child’s current weight. When shown a visual BMI scale of a child and asked to match their child’s weight to one an astounding 95% of parents chose a BMI lower than that of their child's.

What makes this information more weighty is that parents were also asked to report real data on their childen’s body such as height and weight, yet still perceived a lower image to match their children’s current weight. Parents with normal weight children often chose a Body Mass Index (BMI) one size smaller than actual, and parents of overweight or obese children chose on average three sizes smaller.

Conclusively, even though many parents were unaware of what an average healthy weight of children was, they were willing to receive information on healthy weight management for children no matter what their children’s current weight was. This information poses a need for health education classes for parents of younger aged children, especially since starting a healthy lifestyle at a young age could set them up for a healthy future.

A good child BMI calculator is available at:

For more information please read:

Luttikhuis et al. How do parents of 4- to 5-year-old children perceive the weight of their children? Acta Paediatrica, 2010; 99: 263-267 DOI: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2009.01576.x


Dec 16, 2013

Poor Food Choices Associated With Depression

"Dietary choices truly affect the way we feel"

While everyone has undoubtedly heard the quote, “You are what you eat,” some of us still prove to need convincing that dietary choices truly affect the way we feel.  According to a large cohort study that included nearly 9000 adult participants in Spain, over consumption of junk foods is associated with depression.  For participants who regularly ate “fast foods” like hamburgers and pizza, there was a 40% increased likelihood for becoming depressed compared with participants who ate smaller amounts or no “fast foods.”  Interestingly, risk for depression rose steadily when higher amounts of junk foods were eaten.  Risk for depression was also found to be higher in adults who frequently consumed baked goods like doughnuts, muffins, and croissants.    

“We were not surprised with the results.  Several studies have analyzed the association between fast food and commercial bakery consumption and physical diseases, such as obesity or coronary heart disease,” according to Almudena Sánchez-Villegas, PhD.  Dr. Sánchez-Villegas is from the Department of Clinical Sciences at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the University of Navarra in Spain. 

The study, published in Public Health Nutrition, aimed to determine the role that fast food and processed food consumption plays in the development of depression.  Starting in 1999, researchers began tracking diet and lifestyle choices on an ongoing basis.  Prior to the beginning of the study, no participants had taken any antidepressants before or received any diagnosis of depression.  

On a bi-annual basis, participants were asked to fill out surveys as a way of assessing dietary intake.  Researchers analyzed total consumption of “fast foods” and commercial baked goods, including things like hamburgers, pizza, hot dogs, croissants, doughnuts, and muffins.  Researchers also analyzed incidence of depression, use of antidepressant medications, as well as lifestyle data.      

Results of the study indicated that within about 6.2 years after study initiation, 493 participants had been diagnosed with depression.  Those adults who consumed the most “fast foods” had a corresponding higher risk for developing depression.  These adults, in addition to those eating high amounts of commercial baked goods, also tended to be single, less active, smoke, work over 45 hours weekly, and eat diets lower in fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, and/or olive oil.  Even small amounts of “fast foods” were found to be associated with a significantly increased depression risk. 

A number of studies now support the idea that mental well-being is heavily influenced by daily dietary and lifestyle habits.  Any comprehensive treatment approach for depression should absolutely take into account and work to optimize a person’s lifestyle choices and the foods they put into their body on a regular basis.  This will surely increase the odds of success!  

Dr. Shana McQueen

Dec 11, 2013

Mind and Body Connection for Weight loss Maintenance using Acupressure

The Human Mind-Body Connection

The human mind-body connection is most evident when our emotions pay a physical toll on our bodies. Examples include anxiety leading to a headache, receiving negative news resulting in an upset stomach, and in contrast, a happy life event leading to more physical energy. Knowing how closely our emotions and our bodies are connected, we can use this to our advantage; in this instance acupressure. Acupressure is an intervention derived from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). This technique involves the utilization of pressure points along our body, and when stimulated can correspond to addressing the onset of ailments the body is experiencing.

Losing weight is not just diet based rather it includes other various health conditions to be resolved that are going on in the body (More Info). Once an amount of weight is lost, maintaining the current weight requires continuation of this lifestyle change the individual has made to initially lose it. In an article published by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine the largest ongoing randomized control trial of an energy psychology intervention was reviewed.  In a cohort of adult subjects  they were categorized into an acupressure intervention and a self-directed social support group. The acupressure group utilized the Tapas Acupressure Technique (TAT) by self administration. The acupressure group’s results would support positive findings that its use as a weight-loss maintenance tool could be applied in a variety of care settings, control food cravings, and reduce stress levels.
For more information please visit:

5 Easy Skin Protecting Tactics for Skiers & Snowboarders

Colorado is known for its high mountains, beautiful scenery, and great winter snow recreation. As high altitude equals thin air this also increases sun exposure resulting in Ultraviolet Ray (UV) levels being dangerously high. The importance of using sunscreen through all seasons is a must. Here are a few ways to decrease your exposure and additional research to back it up! 

1. Apply SPF 15+ sunscreen to exposed areas on the face about 30 minutes before going into the sun to allow sunscreen to absorb and become effective 
2. Re-apply sunscreen every 2 hours: this is the optimal recommendation to reduce exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight for the prevention of skin cancer
3. Wear a brim: wearing a helmet with a brim or a helmet with a hat underneath that has a brim is an easy way to protect your skin from sun exposure all day long- no need to re apply!
4. Carry lip balm with you that has an SPF 15+ , this will improve sun protection on lips and avoid them chapping too
5. Wear eye protection even on cloudy days: overcast may seem to be less sunny however sun exposure remains the same. Continue wearing goggles during sports and sunglasses in between activities to keep your eyes along with the delicate skin around your eyes free of the sun’s harmful rays

Studies suggest that the compliance of wearing sunscreen during winter sports is well under the recommended amount. In a study published by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, aspects of compliance were examined. Among a cohort of 4,837 adult skiers, sunscreen advice was given and results were measured. Based on the aforementioned suggestions, a low compliance rate resulted. This suggests the general skiing public perceives there susceptibility to skin cancer as low- even when provided with skin protection advice and statistics on adverse outcomes of noncompliance.

Natural Sunscreen Vs Chemical

When shopping for sunscreens be wary of your options. Sunscreens can often times contain toxic additives that are harmful to the body. Always opt for a truly natural sunscreen that does not contain parabens or pthalates.

Skin Deep provides the public with a searchable database of cosmetic products along with safety information please visit:

For more information about AAD's study please read:

Dec 9, 2013

The Natural Sweetener Xylitol May Prevent Ear Infections in Children

A Look at Natural Earache Remedies

Acute Otitis Media is defined as the first 3 weeks of a process in which the middle ear shows the signs and symptoms of acute inflammation. This is also the most common condition parents seek medical therapy for children under 5 years of age. 

Studies indicate that xylitol chewing gum, lozenges or syrup may reduce the occurrence of acute otitis media by as much as 25%.  Other preventive measures is control of nasal inflammation in children, whether caused by an allergy or by recurrent infection, appears to decrease the recurrence of acute otitis media.

Some of the risk factors for acute otitis media can be removed by not sending your child to day care where many infections are passed on, providing a tobacco-free living space, and stopping bottle use in children older than 1 year.

Most recurrent ear infection are caused by allergies in children. As a naturopathic physician I identify the allergen and the ear infections resolve. 

Why Can't I Lose Weight? Preping for Your New Year's Resolution

The New Year is upon us and one of the top resolutions is to lose weight.

The New Year is upon us. Many people have made their resolutions, but have not started them yet.  One of the top resolutions people make is to lose weight.  Most people gain from five to seven pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.  If they do not lose that weight right away it starts accumulating year after year, and over time the weight becomes harder to lose. Most diets do not focus on obtaining a healthy state of being which is essential for maintaining an optimal weight. Thus, any one diet will not work for everyone. Once individuals get off their diet, the weight comes back on because they go back to their old eating habits.

As we get older it becomes harder and harder to lose weight. There are many reasons why a person cannot lose weight.  For example, the thyroid may not function optimally. Since the thyroid regulates metabolism, if the thyroid is not functioning, one will not lose weight regardless of the diet.  The adrenals work with the thyroid to control ones energy and inflammation in the body.  If a person does not have the energy to exercise, their adrenals may not be functioning properly.

Menopausal women also tend to have a problem with weight gain. This is due to hormone fluctuations such as estradiol, progesterone, thyroid, adrenal, DHEA and testosterone. Thus, if a woman is going through menopause she may want to get her hormones checked. 

Insulin resistance and adult onset diabetes also plays a role with weight gain; individuals with insulin resistance generally have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and are over weight.  Many individuals also have food allergies that affect weight gain.  By identifying food allergies and eliminating these foods, individuals can lose 8 to 10 pounds in two weeks. Other individuals may have celiac disease. When these individuals get off gluten they lose weight more easily.  As you can see, there are many different reasons why a person cannot lose weight. This is why no one diet will fit everyone.

Enhancing Weight Loss Programs with Mobile Technology

Weight loss? There's an App for That!

There is little known surrounding the integration of technology with weight loss intervention. Noting this, The American Medical Association has recently implemented a study involving technology in a weight loss intervention to further the medical knowledge base surrounding it.

In this study participants were enrolled for a 12 month period in a weight loss program at the VA  outpatient clinic.  The two groups were assigned to a control group that received a weight loss intervention alone; and the second group received the intervention along with mobile technology additions. These included a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) to log diet and physical activity and receiving bi-weekly coaching sessions over telephone. All participants’ weight were measured at baseline, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months, along with a follow-up.

The group that did not receive the technology support lost an average of 8.6 pounds less than the intervention group that also received the technology support. This equals to a 5% weight loss difference between the two groups. Results suggest that the use of technology can improve weight loss outcomes. Further research is needed to strengthen the amount of evidence that supports this.

For more information please visit:

Dec 4, 2013

A Review of Low-Volume High-Intensity Training and Its Benefits

Would you like to complete a three hour workout in 20 minutes? Read ahead.

Low-volume high-intensity training is not for everyone, but if you are in general good health you may be able to reap the benefits of this trendy exercise. Low-volume high-intensity training is noted for its structure, offering a very intense workout regime that gets your heart rate up. Since this “all out sprint” model cycles shortly timed but quick movements to times of rest, it results in a workout that takes a short length of time in all; yet also increases metabolism. Research suggests such exercise models may offer as much as an average aerobic workout would produce in three hours- in as little time as 20 minutes.

In a study published by the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine a cohort of men randomized between groups, low-volume high-intensity and all out sprint training were compared. The first group in the high- intensity completed 3-5 cycling bouts with 4 minute recovery, and the second completed 6-10 cycling bouts with 2 minutes recovery. Both groups resulted in similar performance at the end of four weeks. As this workout regime may not be for the faint of heart, the benefits are unweighable. By combining aerobic with anaerobic workouts this training provides great results with half the time and double repetitions.
This regime does support previous investigations of optional workouts such as continuous running, brisk walking, and various prolonged aerobic workouts that are effective in lowering ones risk for developing metabolic diseases.

For more information please visit: A Practical Model of Low-Volume High-Intensity Interval Training Induces Performance and Metabolic Adaptations That Resemble ‘All-Out’ Sprint Interval Training

Supporting a Healthy Immune Response Through Diet and Exercise May Prevent Cancer Progression.

It is estimated that 180,000 women are diagnosed with Breast cancer within the United States each year

It is estimated that 180,000 women are diagnosed with Breast cancer within the United States each year.  Most diagnoses are determined at the localized stage, which means an estimated 5 year survival rate of 96%. With current technologies finding cancer in earlier stages along comes increased hope for higher survival rates. As technology is an asset for this cancer however, certain factors can predispose an individual to complications throughout the treatment. This includes co-morbidity rates, which are the simultaneous presence of two chronic diseases or conditions in a patient,  such as diabetes, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and most notably, obesity. Obesity is pervasive epidemic that contributes to complications throughout cancer treatments and recovery.

Luckily, obesity is manageable.  In a recent study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, the effects of a weight loss intervention on body mass, fitness, and inflammatory biomarkers in overweight or obese breast cancer survivors was reviewed. During the study participants were enrolled in a 16 week long diet and fitness regime that promoted weight loss. At the end of the 16 weeks, the intervention group had many favorable outcomes compared to the control groups. The intervention group not only lost more weight, but also showed changes at a molecular level. What researchers particularly reported was an improvement in IL-6, an important gene involved in tissue cell mending and immune response, both very important aspects of cancer recovery.

Conclusively, reversing obesity among cancer survivors not only reduces weight between individuals, but also reduces inflammation and supports a health immune response which may influence the risk of cancer progression

For more information please visit: Effects of a Weight Loss Intervention on Body Mass, Fitness, and Inflammatory Biomarkers in Overweight or Obese Breast Cancer Survivors