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Jan 25, 2016

Red Wine Chocolate Truffles

Red Wine Chocolate Truffles



Yields 30-40 truffles
8 ounces (225 grams) high quality semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 (120 ml) cup dry, red wine (I used a Merlot)
2 tablespoons (30 grams) butter, melted
1/2 cup (40 grams) cocoa powder
Place the finely chopped chocolate in a small bowl. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, bring the wine to a boil over medium-high. Remove from heat and pour wine over the chocolate. Let stand for 5 minutes to fully melt the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has completely melted and is silky smooth. Stir in the melted butter.
Allow the chocolate to rest until it begins to firm up, about 30 to 45 minutes. Stir every 5 to 10 minutes. If the chocolate gets too hard, melt over a double boiler and repeat the cooling process. (Do not refrigerate or freeze the chocolate to shorten the cooling time. This will only result in truffles with an uneven texture.)
Place the cocoa powder in a small bowl. Using a spoon, pick up anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon of chocolate (the amount will depend on how large you want your truffles) and roll it between your palms until it forms a sphere. Roll the truffle in the cocoa powder until it is completely covered. Place the truffle in a fine mesh strainer and shake to remove the excess cocoa powder. Set on a baking sheet to firm up.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 week (or in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 weeks). Bring the truffles back up to room temperature before serving. If the truffles have absorbed the cocoa powder, you can re-roll them before serving to give a more polished appearance (in fact, I suggest this for the best results).

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

Wow your Valentine with this super simple vegan chocolate mousse



Ingredients (serves 1-2)
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/4 cup raw cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk or almond milk
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp natural vanilla extract
  • Optional extras: toasted sliced almonds, chia seeds, frozen mixed berries, almond butter, cocoa nibs, coconut oil
Directions
  • Puree the avocado until smooth with food processor (I have heard of some people using cashews instead of avocado for the creamy texture but I have not tried this out yet- I will soon and let you guys know how that was!)
  • Add cocoa powder and your choice of milk to the avocado mixture, mix again.
  • Add other ingredients and mix well
  • Transfer to individual bowls (wine glasses or champagne flutes are a great look), then let sit in fridge for about 2 hours 
  • Garnish if desired- enjoy!

Sugar-Free Chocolate Covered Strawberries (or Cherries)

The perfect sweet treat for Valentines Day! 





Ingredients
  • 2 cups strawberries (or cherries)
  • 8-ounce bag sugar-free chocolate cips
  • Wax paper
  • Crushed almonds (optional)
  • Coconut flakes (optional)
Directions
  • Wash strawberries and allow to dry completely
  • Melt chocolate chips in microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between (or on stove top, stir)
  • Place wax paper on baking sheet
  • Once chocolate is melted, dip each strawberry into chocolate then place on wax paper
  • Roll strawberries in crushed almonds or coconut flakes
  • Put strawberries in fridge for a few hours



What is methylation?

Methylation is needed for every cell and organ in the body. MTHF (methylfolate) is a genetic mutation in which your body is unable to absorb normal B vitamins. If someone has a methylfolate defect this mutation affects our body’s ability to absorb normal folic acid and other B vitamins. Methylfolate is needed to balance our neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine. It also helps produce glutathione which helps our bodies detox from heavy metals, plastics, and other environmental toxins. DNA testing is done to see if you have a methylation problem.  Anyone with the following symptoms should be checked for methylation issues: depression, anxiety, neuropathy, Parkinson’s disease, infertility, memory loss, migraines, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, miscarriages, bipolar disorder, high homocysteine levels, anemia, heavy metal toxicity, etc. The symptoms are many so if you feel that your health issue is not getting better, come in for an assessment. 
 Feel free to call our office for an appointment 970-926-7606.

Do you have Unresolved Intestinal Issues?

Is your intestinal problem not resolving? I see more patients with unresolved digestive issues that have been going on for years. Most of these patients have been to many physicians before they come to see me. These patients are often told that they have irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, or gastritis and there is nothing that can be done for them.  Many of these patients are also misdiagnosed. They have parasite tests where nothing shows up. Yet, when I have tests done at my lab, parasites and bacteria many times do show up. The labs that are being used in the traditional medical system are missing many of these infections. Also, many of these patients have malabsorption which has to be treated at the same time.  Malabsorption occurs from inflammation in the gut which can be caused by food allergies, infections, sugar, Candida etc. If you have unexplained digestive issues come in and get assessed. Digestive issues get worse as we age if not treated appropriately.  
Feel free to call our office for an appointment at 970-926-7606.

The Latest on Alzheimer's Prevention!

Ten years ago I wrote an article for the Vail Daily suggesting that lifestyle changes could impact Alzheimer’s disease. (Click here for the full article).  Despite the fact that Alzheimer’s was discovered one hundred years ago, little research had focused on the relationship between the disease and lifestyle. However, a recent study by UCLA researchers shows that lifestyle changes can reverse Alzheimer’s disease.  In this small but important study nine out of ten patients who made the required lifestyle changes reversed their memory loss. The only patient who did not improve was a late stage Alzheimer’s patient.  Six patients who had to quit their jobs because of memory loss were able to go back to work.

The researchers examined diet, exercise, sleep, brain stimulation, medications and supplements. The approach was personalized to each individual, but an example of the diet and lifestyle changes include:

  • Eliminating simple carbohydrates such as white flour, corn and sugars
  • Eliminating gluten such as wheat, rye, barley and oats
  • Eliminating processed foods nothing in a box or package
  • Increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables
  • Eating only wild caught fish such as salmon, cod, halibut etc.
  • Meditating twice a day
  • Doing yoga
  • Sleeping eight hours a day
  • Using a electric toothbrush and waterpik
  • Exercising at least 30 minutes six times a week
  • Daily supplementation which would change with each individual
  • Not eating three hours before bedtime.
The researchers stated that the major side effects of this treatment approach is overall improved health and weight loss which is a big contrast to the side effects of the drugs that are used for Alzheimer’s.

If you or a family member is experiencing memory loss, come in for an assessment because there are nutritional and vitamin deficiencies and hormonal issues related to this disease.  Each individual is different when it comes to Alzheimer’s.

Jan 20, 2016

Antibiotics Are Not Effective for a Cold

New CDC guidelines state that antibiotics should only be used for respiratory problems if one has strep or pneumonia.  All other respiratory infections are viral.  Viral infections can cause coughs, sinusitis, flu and bronchitis and last 3-4 weeks.  At the Riverwalk Natural Health Clinic we offer a walk in Cold and Flu clinic where we do an exam of your sinuses, ears, throat and lungs and mix up the appropriate anti-viral and antibacterial herbal tincture or homeopathic remedy.  Our treatments can eliminate a cold or flu within 24-48 hours.  No need to miss work or spread your cold to your family and co-workers. Were open Monday thru Friday 9 am to 6 pm.  For an appointment call 970-926-7606.

Jan 14, 2016

How Was Functional Medicine Developed?

John weeks PhD wrote an interesting article on how Functional Medicine was developed in his Integrator blog and in the January 5, 2016 Huffington Post article in which I wanted to share.

Chronicles of Health Creation: The Naturopathic Profession's Impact on Integrative and Functional Medicine

I was called by a consultant to an institute associated with the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians to participate as an outside expert in a strategic process.
I spent the 1983-1993 years working in an intense period of the profession's re-emergence. I have since closely observed its multiple contributions to the subsequent rise of the functional medicine and integrative medicine movements.
The profession has focused on setting and earning recognition of standards for the naturopathic brand of integrative medicine. Despite opposition from the American Medical Association and its affiliates, since 1978 the profession has re-bounded from just a few hundred practitioners, licensing in 6 just states, and a single college. Now, while still a vanguard, the profession boasts 8 federally-recognized colleges, roughly 5,000 practitioners and legal practice rights in 20 U.S. jurisdictions.

The consultant's question: How should the Institute set its course to best advance the profession in the next phase?
My answer grew from dual awareness of the field's small size and its extraordinary influence on the evolution of the "new medicine."
My answer came quickly. I urged that the profession focus on its broad, health-fomenting mission rather than to cling to its narrow guild interests as a profession.  Mightn't the naturopathic guild, paradoxically, benefit from a very non-guild-like, energetic strategy?
First, evidence of the contributions.
1. NDs are Core Educators at the Institute of Functional Medicine
The functional form of integrative medicine, embraced at the Cleveland Clinic, has had naturopathic physicians at its center since its beginning. Naturopathic physicians are the organization's co-directors of medical education. Sheila Quinn, ND (Hon), the editor of the Textbook of Functional Medicine, earned her integrative chops as a co-founder of a naturopathic college, now Bastyr University, and as executive director of the naturopathic professional organization. Bastyr's founding president Joseph Pizzorno, ND - essentially a co-founder of the Institute -- has served as the Institute's chair and remains on the executive team.
Author Mark Hyman, MD, the functional medicine organization's current chair, states frankly: "The origins of functional medicine stretch back into the history of naturopathic medicine -- on the idea that health is not the absence of disease, but the creation of vitality and abundant health. Many of the principles of naturopathic medicine -- the body as self-organizing, self-healing dynamic system, the concepts of detoxification, and digestive health, and food as medicine are all now embedded within Functional Medicine."
2. Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine: NDs as Director of Education and Associate Fellowship Director

When two MD-based holistic and integrative organizations merged in 2013 to form an interprofessional "big tent" organization, the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine, the founders selected naturopathic physicians to serve as the first directors of education and of certification, Tabatha Parker, ND, and Seroya Crouch, ND, respectively. Parker led the organization's robust 2015 conference and Crouch is teaming with Tieraona Low Dog, MD as associate director of the organization's pioneering 
interprofessional fellowship in integrative medicine.

3. Society of Integrative Oncology: NDs as President and Immediate Past President
The guiding organization for opening oncology to integrative practices is the Society for Integrative Oncology. It's immediate past president is University of Michigan family medicine associate professor Suzanna Zick, ND, MPH. Her predecessor, Columbia assistant professor Heather Greenlee, ND, PhD, guided the Society to its crowning achievement: Clinical Practice Guidelines for integrative treatment of breast cancer.

4. Naturopathic Leadership in Whole System Research, Integrative PCMHs, Policy and Academic Consortia
Naturopathic contributions to the new medicine does not end here. Naturopathic researchers are pioneering whole practice research strategies. Naturopathic clinical leaders are leading the demonstration of integrative patient-centered medical homes. Leaders in the profession's re-emergence were core contributors in forming the most significant interprofessional collaborations for the field: the Integrative Health Policy Consortium and the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care.
The integrative model carried by the naturopathic physicians has led integrative medicine leader Tracy Gaudet, MD, the present director of the VA Office of Patient-Centered Care and Cultural Transformation to declare that "naturopathic physicians are a huge part of the solution -- [they] always have been."
Gaudet is right. These are foundational, standards-based contributions across the education-practice-research-policy continuum. Another observer now with the RAND Corporation, aware of the field's flyweight size, famously commented that"naturopathic doctors are fighting above their weight class."
Even with the profession's recent growth, the fact remains that the sheer lack of numbers means that the vast majority of people will never in any foreseeable future receive care from naturopathic doctors.
So, what, in this context, is the best answer strategic direction for the maximum contribution from the naturopathic profession?
4. Naturopathic Leadership in Whole System Research, Integrative PCMHs, Policy and Academic Consortia
Naturopathic contributions to the new medicine does not end here. Naturopathic researchers are pioneering whole practice research strategies. Naturopathic clinical leaders are leading the demonstration of integrative patient-centered medical homes. Leaders in the profession's re-emergence were core contributors in forming the most significant interprofessional collaborations for the field: the Integrative Health Policy Consortium and the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care.
The integrative model carried by the naturopathic physicians has led integrative medicine leader Tracy Gaudet, MD, the present director of the VA Office of Patient-Centered Care and Cultural Transformation to declare that "naturopathic physicians are a huge part of the solution -- [they] always have been."
Gaudet is right. These are foundational, standards-based contributions across the education-practice-research-policy continuum. Another observer now with the RAND Corporation, aware of the field's flyweight size, famously commented that"naturopathic doctors are fighting above their weight class."
Even with the profession's recent growth, the fact remains that the sheer lack of numbers means that the vast majority of people will never in any foreseeable future receive care from naturopathic doctors.
So, what, in this context, is the best answer strategic direction for the maximum contribution from the naturopathic profession?

2016-01-01-1451692321-9331779-TherapeuticOrder1215390x301.jpg

My answer: Magnify the potential of the profession to influence other professionals. Let go of concern for credit. Don't focus on requiring anyone to become a naturopathic physician.
Instead, promote adoption of naturopathic principles far and wide in clinical care of other health professionals. Apply the docere principle -- to teach -- to exporting the naturopathic therapeutic order (pictured above) into the clinical methods of other professions. Expand on what the profession is already doing in integrative and functional medicine. Teach people in other professional domains to problem solve with naturopathic principles.
22016-01-04-1451949714-5482140-LancetChangeAgents.jpg
In 2010 The Lancet Report on Education of Health Professionals for the 21st Century urged radical shifts that are deeply consonant with naturopathic principles. Among these: attention to the determinants of health, focus on primary care, behavioral change, community health, and public health. The report urges that health professionals be educated as leaders who are, above all, "change agents."
Present evidence suggests that the naturopathic profession is proving itself a change agent of the first order. The values and philosophy, birthed of the standards, are now infused into practices of thousands who may have little awareness of these origins. That's mission work.
Following this line, the question for the naturopathic profession and for anyone who seeks to advance health-focused clinical models is clearly something like this: What are the initiatives and social investment that can multiply the profession's change agency work while also attracting allies that will advance the profession's guild requirements?
For many naturopathic doctors, burdened by MD-levels of student loan debt and a still wildly inequitable payment and inclusion practices, to strategically focus on anything other than a narrow guild strategy may seem utter lunacy.
I don't think so. Just the opposite. Go with the energy. Go with the mission. You? Got any ideas?

by John Weeks PHD