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Jul 14, 2017

Grilled Peach Salad with Radishes, Prosciutto & Jalapeno Vinaigrette


  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, divided
  • 1.5 lbs. peaches at room temperature, sliced into wedges
  • 1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced rounds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeno
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 oz. prosciutto, torn into pieces
  • Small handful Italian parsley leaves, for garnish

  • Heat a grill or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add 1.5 teaspoons coconut oil and half of the peaches.
  • Sear on both sides until you see light-colored grill marks or browning. Repeat with remaining coconut oil and peaches.
  • Remove from heat and toss with radishes in a medium bowl.
  • Combine olive oil, lime juice, jalapeno, maple syrup and salt in a small jar, shake vigorously to emulsify.
  • Stir dressing into salad until well combined.
  • Before serving, top with prosciutto and parsley.
By Genevieve Doll

Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Maple Pecans and Mint Vinagrette


  • 2 lbs. medium beets, mix of red and golden if available 
  • Maple Pecans
    • 3/4 cup whole raw pecans 
    • 2 tablespoons maple syrup 
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Mint Vinaigrette
    • 1/4 cup firmly pack mint leaves, minced
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
  • Mint leaves, for garnish 

  • Prepare a medium pot for steaming. Add a couple inches of water to a medium pot, add a steaming basket and cover. Place over medium heat and bring water to a lively simmer.
  • Meanwhile, trim ends of beets and peel. Slice each beet into 8 wedges.
  • Steam 18-20 minutes, until tender and easily pierced with a fork.
  • Meanwhile, toast pecans in a medium saute pan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. When fragrant and lightly browned, add maple syrup and salt  and stir continuously for a couple of minutes, until sugar crystallizes. Remove from heat.
  • Combine all ingredients for vinaigrette in a small jar and shake vigorously to emulsify.
  • In a medium bowl, combine steamed beets and vinaigrette until beets are well coated.
  • Before serving, top with pecans, crumbled goat cheese and mint leaves.

Garlic Miso Slaw


    • 2 cups shredded white cabbage
    • 2 cups shredded purple cabbage
    • 1 cup julienned carrots
    • 1 cup julienned apples (try Fuji)
    • 4 large radishes, sliced thin
    • 1/3 cup scallions, chopped
    • ¼ cup olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
    • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
    • 1 teaspoon honey
    • 1 tablespoon lime juice, freshly squeezed
    • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
    • ½ tablespoon white or yellow miso
    • 1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, chopped
    • ½ teaspoon celery salt
    • ½ tablespoon sesame seeds
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper


  • In a large mixing bowl, add salad ingredients and toss to combine.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients until well combined. Keep in mind the miso will not totally break down. If you desire the dressing smoother in consistency, pulse it in a blender.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add dressing to salad ingredients and gently toss to combine. Let mixture sit for about 30 minutes to allow vegetables to absorb dressing.

PER SERVING: 217 cal; 2g prot; 17g fat; 15g carb (9g sugars); 820mg sodium; 3g fiber

What Is Miso?

Miso paste is made from fermenting soybeans, sea salt and koji (a mold starter), and sometimes rice or barley. The fermentation creates healthy nutrients, including copper, manganese and vitamin K, as well as probiotics.

Miso has a potent and salty flavor, so use it in small amounts. Here are three common varieties:

White: The most mild. Made from soybeans and rice. Use for marinades or dressings (like a coleslaw).

Yellow: Mild, earthy flavor. Made from soybeans, barley and bit of rice. Nice addition to soups, glazes and marinades.

Red: More concentrated flavor. Made from soybeans and barley. Best for hearty dishes, such as roasted vegetables, braises and stews.

You’ll find miso in plastic tubs in the refrigerated section of your grocery store.

By Dina Deleasa-Gonsar

Summer Ice Cubes

  • Blackberry + Basil + Coconut water
    • Fresh berries make for a striking appearance- picture a berry suspended in a clear cube- while frozen berries color the whole cube and impart a stronger flavor as the cube melts. Coconut water adds nutrients, but you can opt out for seltzer or plain water if you prefer.
  • Lime + Cucumber + Mint
    • Limeade, fresh-squeeze lime juice and bottled lime juice all work well as the base. Use a fresh mint leaf and a quarter slice of cucumber per cube.
  • Pineapple + Coconut
    • Aesthetically, this works best as a puree. Puree canned coconut milk and fresh or frozen pineapple chunks, and then pour into the tray. Great for a tropical twist.
  • Green Tea + Lemon + Honey
    • Dissolve the honey in the tea when it's still hot. After the tea cools, pour it into the tray and add a lemon wedge. If you pour the honey into the tray, it sinks to the bottom and stays there when you pull the cube out. Same goes for agave nectar or other sweeteners.
By Kellee Katagi

Jul 7, 2017

Tridoshic Mung Dal Kitchari


  • ½ cup whole green mung beans
  • ½ cup split yellow peas (split yellow mung dal)
  • 1 cup uncooked red or basmati rice
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1 small handful chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons Homemade Ghee or coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon whole fenugreek seeds
  • ½ teaspoon whole fennel seeds
  • ½ teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6-10 cups water
  • Fresh Green Chutney

Optional: Whole-milk yogurt, thinly sliced red cabbage, chopped snap peas, sliced radishes, fresh lime and/or cilantro for toppings


  • Wash green mung beans, yellow mung dal and rice under running water until water runs clear. Alternatively, you can soak beans and rice overnight; then rinse.
  • In a blender, blend ginger, shredded coconut, cilantro and water until liquefied.
  • In a large pot over medium heat, melt and heat ghee until sizzling. Add mustard seeds, and cook until they pop and turn gray. Add cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds and coriander seeds; heat and stir until fragrant. Quickly add turmeric and bay leaf; stir until turmeric is lightly browned. Slowly stir in ginger liquid mixture, and cook until liquid reduces by half, 10–12 minutes.
  • Stir in mung dal, yellow split peas and rice; mix well. Pour in 6 cups water, cover, and bring to a boil. Boil 5–10 minutes; then reduce heat to a simmer, and cook over low heat, covered, until beans and rice are soft and creamy, which can take up to 75 minutes. Add more water as needed to maintain a creamy consistency.
  • When desired consistency and creaminess is reached, add salt to taste. Serve kitchari in bowls garnished with Fresh Green Chutney and other desired toppings.

PER SERVING (about 1 cup): 97cal, 7g fat (2g mono, 0g poly, 5g sat), 11mg chol, 24mg sodium, 8g carb (1g fiber, 0.5g sugars), 1g protein

Heather Baines

Beet Sabji

2 tablespoons Homemade Ghee or sunflower oil, divided
4 medium carrots (cut into small circles)
2 yellow beets (scrubbed and cut into triangles or ½-inch cubes)
1 daikon radish (cut into half-moons)
1 bunch bitter dark greens (turnip, kale, collard or beet greens)
1-inch piece fresh turmeric, minced; or
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1-inch piece fresh ginger (minced)
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon ground coriander
Pinch of hing powder (asafoetida powder)
½ teaspoon Himalayan pink mineral salt
1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves (finely chopped)
In a wok or large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon ghee. Stir-fry carrots, beets and daikon pieces for 1 minute; then cover and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover, stir and test for tenderness. Cook up to another 5 minutes, if needed.
When vegetables are almost softened to desired texture, add dark greens, cover and sauté until greens start to wilt.
Meanwhile, in a small pan, heat remaining 1 tablespoon ghee. When ghee is hot but not smoking, reduce heat and add turmeric, ginger and cumin seeds. Heat until cumin seeds turn brown. Stir in coriander and hing powder.
Toss ghee mixture with vegetables. Stir in salt and cilantro. Serve Sabji in bowls garnished with Fresh Green Chutney.

Recipe Additional Notes: 
PER SERVING (about 1 cup): 143 cal, 4g fat (1g mono, 0g poly, 3g sat), 10mg chol, 171mg sodium, 25g carb (8g fiber, 12g sugars), 3g protein

Heather Baines

Trust Us, It's Harmless

Roundup® herbicide hit the market in 1974 and was lauded as “the premier solution for the control of perennial weeds” by its maker Monsanto. Forty years and hundreds of millions of pounds
later, glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, has insidiously made its way into our soil, water, food, and bodies. But don’t worry, it’s harmless, they say.

Between 1996 and 2011, glyphosate use increased by 527 million pounds, and according to the most recent data available from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 180-185 million pounds of
glyphosate are applied on U.S. soils each year (compared to about 90 million pounds in 2001). The steady increase in glyphosate’s use directly coincides with the increase in crops genetically modified
(GM) to be resistant to the herbicide. A 2014 USDA report states, “Glyphosate has been the most heavily used pesticide in the United States since 2001 due in part to the popularity of herbicide tolerant crops, an overreliance on glyphosate, and a concomitant reduction in the diversity of weed management practices by U.S. crop producers.” The emergence of “super weeds,” weeds that have become resistant to glyphosate, has led farmers to use ever-increasing amounts of the herbicide, leading the biotech and chemical industries to push for higher residue levels allowed in food. In fact,
in 2013 the EPA doubled the allowable residue for glyphosate in “oilseed” crops like cotton and soybean, two of the most prolific herbicide-resistant GM crops, from 20 parts per million (ppm) to
40 ppm. The EPA concluded that “there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result to the general population or to infants and children from aggregate exposure to glyphosate residues.”
Numerous scientific studies are proving otherwise.

Growing evidence is invalidating the claims that glyphosate is harmless. It is a proven endocrine disruptor, a substance that either mimics or blocks the biological actions of our hormones; it has been found to cause DNA and mitochondrial damage and cell death, at doses relative to the residues found in foods; and it disrupts the healthy balance of bacteria in the gut, killing beneficial bacteria while increasing pathogenic bacteria. Glyphosate’s action on bacteria is so strong that Monsanto patented it as an antibiotic in 2000. But beneficial bacteria aren't the only bacteria affected. Recent research has found that the normal application of glyphosate actually contributes to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance by turning on cellular processes in disease causing bacteria, such as E. coli and Salmonella, which makes them resistnat to the effects of a variety of antibiotics.

A 2013 MIT study found two key ways that glyphosate negatively impacts human health: It inhibits enzymes that are critical for detoxification and other essential biological processes, including vitamin D3 synthesis, and it drastically alters the gut microbiota. Their findings led the researchers to say that glyphosate is likely to contribute to the development of inflammatory bowel diseases, infertility, obesity, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, Parkinson’s disease, liver diseases, and cancer. “While many other environmental toxins also contribute to these diseases and conditions, we believe
that glyphosate may be the most significant environmental toxin, mainly because it is pervasive and it is often handled carelessly due to its perceived nontoxicity,” the researchers wrote.

According to professor emeritus of plant pathology at Purdue University, Don Huber, PhD, glyphosate is a chelating agent, meaning it binds to minerals in the soil and the plants, immobilizing
essential minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, manganese, and copper so they are no longer available to perform important functions in the plant—or our bodies. If you eat a plant that has been sprayed with glyphosate, the minerals in the plant will not be available for your body to use. Minerals are required
for thousands of biochemical processes in the body and mineral deficiencies are common and widespread in this country. Indeed, a number of studies comparing the mineral content of modern fruits and vegetables to those grown even 50 years ago consistently find significantly lower levels of important minerals like calcium, iron, and magnesium. Glyphosate hits with a one-two punch—it binds to minerals in the plants it is applied to, making them unavailable for our bodies to use, and it changes the composition of gut bacteria, leading to a reduction in beneficial species, and an unhealthy gut cannot effectively absorb nutrients.

Whether you like it or not, glyphosate is probably lurking in your body. In a recent European study, 182 volunteers from 18 countries provided urine samples to be tested for glyphosate residues;
all of the volunteers were city dwellers who had never used or handled glyphosate. Lab results concluded that 44 percent had traces of glyphosate in their urine. A small pilot study in the U.S.
found glyphosate residues in the breast milk of 30 percent of the donated samples and urine residues at levels 10 times higher than those found in the European study. Glyphosate translocates and
accumulates throughout the entire plant that it is applied to, and it can’t be washed off. Residues can remain stable in foods for a year or more, even if the foods are frozen, dried, or processed. It has also been shown to accumulate in the organs and muscles of cows, so the meat, eggs, and dairy products that come from animals that eat glyphosate-contaminated grass, alfalfa, corn, and soy are also likely sources of the herbicide as well (current allowable residue levels in animal feed are exceptionally higher than in those foods meant for human consumption—around 400
ppm vs. 40 ppm).

While the current state of agriculture makes it difficult to completely avoid glyphosate, you can minimize your exposure to the herbicide by choosing organic foods. A 2014 German study found that those subjects who ate a mostly organic diet had significantly lower levels of glyphosate in their urine
compared to those who ate a mostly conventional diet. Organic standards do not allow any genetically modified foods or the use of glyphosate herbicide. Same goes for organic meat, eggs, and
dairy products—organic standards require that the animals eat an organic diet, which includes no genetically-modified feed. By choosing organic, you are at once protecting your own health, and
letting farmers know that there is a demand for organic food. With enough consumer demand and perseverance, we can create the markets that allow farmers to choose healthier, more profitable,
and more sustainable organic practices.

According to the most recent estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), more than one billion pounds of pesticides (including insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides) are used each year in the U.S.—that’s nearly 25 percent of the world’s total use. One billion pounds of chemicals in
our soil, our water, our air, and our bodies… and in our children. Pesticides are a major environmental stressor on adults and children alike, but children’s developing brains are especially susceptible to these chemicals.

A study published earlier this year from Rutgers University found that exposure to pyrethroid pesticides, a class of chemical insecticides, may increase the risk of ADHD in children. The researchers analyzed data and urine samples from 2,123 children ages 6-15 and found that those children who had higher metabolites of the insecticide in their urine were twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. The same study also discovered that mice exposed to a pyrethroid pesticide in utero and through their mother’s milk exhibited several symptoms of ADHD, including dysfunctional dopamine signaling in the brain—which is responsible for emotional and cognitive
function—hyperactivity, attention deficits, and impulsive behavior. Male mice were affected more than female mice, similar to what is observed in children with ADHD.

A 2013 Canadian study including 779 children ages 6-11 found at least one urinary metabolite of organophosphates (another class of chemical insecticides) in 91 percent of the children and metabolites for pyrethroids in 97 percent of the children. The children with the highest levels of pyrethroid metabolites were twice as likely to have parent-reported behavioral problems.

The health effects of pesticides are so serious that The American Academy of Pediatrics issued an official statement several years ago that calls on the government, schools, parents, and medical professionals to take serious action to protect children from pesticides. “Epidemiologic evidence demonstrates associations between early life exposure to pesticides and pediatric cancers,
decreased cognitive function, and behavioral problems,” the statement says. It continues, “For many children, diet may be the most influential source of pesticides.”

Indeed, in one study, researchers were able to drastically and quickly decrease the urinary output of pesticide metabolites in children by switching them to an organic diet for only five days. Another study published early this year found that those subjects who ate mostly organic produce had consistently lower levels of pesticide metabolites in their urine compared to those who ate mostly conventional produce. The lead researcher concluded, “The study suggests that by eating organically grown versions of those foods highest in pesticide residues, we can make a measurable difference in the levels of pesticides in our bodies.”

Just one more good reason to always choose organic

“Locavore” has quickly become one of the buzzwords of the modern food movement. But what does it really mean? Buying local can certainly help stimulate the local economy and cut down on food miles, the distance food travels from farm to table (both good things), but the term local tells us nothing about how the food was grown, aside from the fact that it was grown near you, and “near” is a relative term. There are no legal standards for using the term, but more importantly, locally grown
foods can be, and often are, grown with the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and genetically modified seeds. All of those saved food miles don’t compensate for the fossil fuels used to produce, ship, and apply the chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers and do nothing to make up for
the long-term environmental and health effects of these chemicals, which are now in your own backyard.

The only way to really know if you are buying food produced without the use of chemicals and free of GMOs is to look for USDA certified organic. Organic food production is the only system that has legal definitions, concrete standards, an inspection process, and a legal label. When you buy certified organic, you can feel good knowing that you are supporting a healthy and sustainable food production system, for your own community and beyond. Look for the USDA certified organic label first, and if it is also local, then consider it the cherry on top!

By Lindsay Wilson

Jun 23, 2017

Daily Practices for Creating Happiness

  • Don't believe everything you think
  • Let go of belief patterns that do not serve you
  • See negative thoughts as merely byproducts of the Velcro phenomenon, and just let them go
  • Register positive thoughts more deeply and take time to savor positive experiences 
  • Look into your own eyes every morning and take time to appreciate yourself
  • Have the daily intention to seek out and notice all the good around you 
  • Instead of forcing yourself into positive thoughts that don't feel true, gently lean your mind each day toward thoughts that make you feel happier
  • Stop feeling sorry for yourself
  • Turn on the feeling of love in your heart by sending loving energy to any and all people around you, including yourself
  • Write a gratitude list 
  • Upon waking, set an intention to have a great day; this will set the tone for the day ahead
  • Let go of anger and resentment 
  • Practice forgiveness
  • Practice compassion
  • Commit to laughing 5 minutes everyday, even if you have to force it
  • Pray
  • Meditate
  • Fill your body with white light
  • Smile at strangers
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Stay well hydrated
  • Exercise
  • Go to bed by 10 PM
  • When feeling anxious, take 5 deep belly breaths
  • Avoid slumped posture and sit up straight
  • Accept all in your life exactly as it is right now and trust the universe is here for you
  • Cultivate a feeling of reverence and gratitude for this amazing journey called life
Happiness is akin to a muscle. Any of these exercises, when used consistently, will make it stronger. Doing more than one of these is not even necessary. Just pick the one that calls to you the most and do it daily. Committing to a happiness practice over weeks, months and years is what makes all the difference. With patience and consistency, anyone can raise their happiness set-point and enjoy a happier and healthier life.

From Dr. Stanislaw

Sleep & the Camping Effect

American adults don't sleep enough: On the average work night, we come up 30-90 minutes short of what our bodies need for long-term health, according to a poll by the National Sleep Foundation.

Maybe we should go camping more often.
Recent research by CU Boulder sleep experts Ellen Stothard and Kenneth Wright show that exposure to the natural light and total darkness available outdoors helps reset our internal clocks in as little as two days- a weekend camping trip. By resetting our clocks, we get a chance to establish a more satisfying sleep pattern back at home.

Naturopathic Medicine and Mental Health

Stress, anxiety, ADD, ADHD, autism, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and depression are some of the most common reasons people go to their physicians today. According to the National Institute of Mental Health 9.5% of the population in any one year period or about 20.9 million American adults suffer from a mood disorder.  By the year 2030, the World Health Organization states, depression will be second only to HIV in terms of disability caused worldwide.  A concern for safety of antidepressants is driving many patients to naturopathic medical care.  For naturopathic physicians, the best approach to mental health is getting to the cause of the issue.  There are many reasons a person has anxiety, depression, stress issues and ADHD.  The typical approach is to take an antidepressant which can have many side effects such as anxiety, irritability, low libido and even suicide.
A better approach is to assess the cause of the problem.  For instance, stress can be related to the body producing too much or too little cortisol.  Cortisol issues can cause anxiety, hypoglycemia, inflammation and memory problems. Cortisol should be assessed and treated accordingly.
A person can have a hormone imbalance such as thyroid, excess testosterone, estrogen and progesterone imbalances that can cause all kinds of mood disorders.  Iron deficiency is a common problem which is rarely identified which can cause fatigue and depression.  Anemia is commonly present with poor diets and in menstruating woman. 
Nutritional deficiencies are a common issue with mood disorders.  These can include vitamin deficiencies, methylation issues which is related to B vitamins, especially if anxiety is present.  Antioxidants have been shown to prevent neuronal damage and vascular disease thus can be effective in treating depression.
Diet can play a big role with our mood.  Food allergies, alcohol, sugar, dyes, preservatives and artificial ingredients can all effect our mood causing ADD, ADHD, bipolar disorder, autism and depression.
Omega fatty acid deficiency is very common and can also cause mood problems and depression.
Many medications can cause vitamin deficiencies. These can include oral contraceptions, proton pump inhibitors, diuretics, metformin etc. which can affect our mood.
Many people are low in neurotransmitters such as serotonin, GABA and dopamine so testing for these deficiencies and giving the correct neurotransmitter will help get to the problem.
As you can see mental health issues are complicated.  Mental health issues can be due to psychological issues such as divorce, loss of a job or a death in the family or physical problems such as vitamin, hormone, nutritional deficiencies, neurotransmitter imbalances and dietary factors.   It is always best to get to the cause of the issue and get a complete assessment before starting a drug with side effects.
Mental Health America has launched a web site “Live Your Life Well” promoting mental health thru ten steps which are 1) Connecting with others this can make a person happier and live longer, 2) Staying positive 3) Exercise can prevent depression and insomnia 4) Helping others these individuals have less depression and pains 5) Getting enough sleep, not sleeping effects weight issues, memory, mood, stress and heart disease. 6) Create joy and satisfaction in your life.  Positive emotions can help a person bounce back from stress. 7) Eating healthy - make sure you’re getting protein with each meal and 5-12 veggies a day 8) Take care of your spirit. People who are spiritual are healthier and live longer. 9) Deal with hard times. People who tackle problems and get support live longer 10) Get professional help when needed.  Assessing mental health issues can be very complicated.  These are simple steps to start with that can produce an awarding life.
I assess the whole individual when addressing mental health such as hormone deficiencies, nutritional and vitamin deficiencies, medications and neurotransmitters.  You can live your life to the fullest with the correct therapies.

Dr. Deborah Wiancek is a naturopathic physician at the Riverwalk Natural Health Clinic in Edwards, CO.  She is an author, educator and practitioner.  She has been in the medical field for forty years.  She can be reached at or 970-926-7606.   

Jun 16, 2017

GMO Crops to Avoid

Look for USDA Organic or Non-GMO Project Verified versions of these foods as well as indirect sources of GMOs such as meat, milk, and eggs from animals that are fed these foods.

Jun 8, 2017

Vegan Strawberry & Coconut Whipped Cream Cups

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (melted)
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate (chopped into small pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Aleppo chile or chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound strawberries (thinly sliced)
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice (about 1 orange)
  • 4 (13- to 14-ounce) cans full-fat coconut milk or cream (TRY: Thai Kitchen Organic), refrigerated overnight
  • 1 tablespoon agave syrup
  • Zest of 2 navel organic oranges
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • Melt coconut oil in microwave or over stovetop; then place it in the freezer for 3 minutes to bring the temperature down.
  • In a small bowl, toss chocolate chunks, 1 tablespoon chili powder, cooled coconut oil and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, toss sliced strawberries with orange juice; set aside.
  • Open the cans of coconut cream, and carefully scoop the waxy, solid layer of coconut cream from the top of the cans and into a mixing bowl. Be sure to scoop as little of the coconut water beneath as possible. Or see tip above.
  • Using a mixer or hand beaters, whip coconut cream on high for 2–3 minutes, until it becomes fluffy and soft peaks form. Add agave syrup, orange zest and vanilla; whip to combine.
  • In small parfait glasses or other glasses, layer 2 heaping tablespoons coconut whipped cream, 2 heaping tablespoons strawberries and 1 tablespoon chocolate mixture; repeat layers. Finish each parfait with 1 tablespoon coconut whipped cream on top, and dust each with a pinch of remaining chili powder. Alternately, instead of layers, scoop the separate components into glasses and garnish with orange peel and a dash of chili powder on top.
*Here’s a helpful trick: Turn the cans of coconut milk upside down, and open the cans from the bottom. That way you can simply pour the coconut water out of the can, saving the solids you need for this recipe. Use the coconut water in smoothies or to cook rice or oatmeal. Coconut whipped cream is best served immediately. It may be stored in an airtight container for  5 days, but it will likely harden and need to be whipped again before serving.

Ancho Chili Chocolate Bark


  • 2/3 cup raw, unsalted pepitas
  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ceylon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup toasted pistachios, chopped and divided 
  • 1/3 cup candied ginger, finely chopped
  • In a skillet over medium heat, toast pepitas for 4 to 5 minutes, until fragrant and just beginning to pop. Transfer to plate and let cool. 
  • In a small saucepan over very low heat, melt chocolate, stirring often to avoid burning. Once melted, fold in ancho chili powder, clove, cinnamon, cayenne, 1/2 cup pistachios and 1/2 cup toasted pepitas.
  • Pour chocolate mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle remaining pepitas, pistachios and candied ginger on top. Lightly press into the chocolate, then refrigerate for 45 minutes to 1 hour or freeze for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Once cool, break into pieces and enjoy immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Foods That Lift the Mood

 1. Carbohydrates – When we eat breads, rice, and pasta our bodies convert these foods to glucose (sugar) which is what our brains need to help us think clearly and feel our best. Consuming whole grain carbohydrates (brown or wild rice, bulgur, and oats) will provide your brain with a longer lasting source of glucose making you feel happier, longer!

2. Omega-3 fatty acids – Salmon, mackerel, and trout are good sources of these healthy fats. Not only do these fats help protect the heart, but they may protect some of the neurological connections in our brains as well. Add fish to your weekly menu… your brain will thank you for it!

3. Vitamin D – This important vitamin increases serotonin levels in the brain which may prevent feelings of depression. Mushrooms, whole milk, and fish contain vitamin D. Exposing skin to sunlight (without sunscreen) also triggers our bodies to make vitamin D naturally! If you are fair skinned check with your dermatologist before using this method.

4. Beans and legumes – High in folate, which is most often associated with maintaining gut health, we often forget that folate has also been associated with fewer depressive symptoms particularly in the elderly.

5. Nuts and seeds – A favorite mid-afternoon pick-me-up snack, nuts and seeds are good sources of an important mineral, selenium. There is some evidence that selenium helps reduce symptoms of depression and improve mood.

6. Probiotics – when consumed regularly, those that take probiotic supplements reported having lower perceived levels of stress and anxiety when compared to those that don’t take these supplements. It is possible that these good bacteria not only help with digestion, but may decrease the amount of inflammation throughout the body, and improve mood! We need more research to know whether this mechanism truly exists, but the research so far appears very promising.

7. Unprocessed grains – full of B-vitamins which, if missing from the diet, may lead to feelings of irritability and depression. This is because B-vitamins are needed to help our bodies create serotonin, a good-feeling hormone. Preventing B-vitamin deficiencies can be relatively simple by incorporating whole, unprocessed grains into your diet!

8. Cobalamin (Vitamin B-12) – this is one of the B-vitamins mentioned above, but B-12 is unique when compared to its B-vitamin cousins. Its most active form is only found in  animal products like lean animal products, such as fish, poultry and eggs. Low levels of B-12 has been linked with symptoms of depression.

9. Chocolate – chocolate help elevate mood, but before we get too ahead of ourselves, let’s remember that 1 oz. of dark chocolate would likely do that trick… one whole chocolate bar isn’t necessary! Artificial trans fats can also be found in some forms of chocolate which may lead to an increased risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Moderation is key!


Roasted Carrot Lentil Salad with Tahini Dressing

  • 1 cup dried green lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 small yellow onion, cut into quarters
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed, divided
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 bunches of rainbow carrots (8-10 medium carrots), scrubbed well and trimmed (leafy stem tops cleaned well and reserved for garnish)
  • 7-8 red radishes, stems trimmed and scrubbed well, divided
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, skin-on
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 of a red onion, very thinly sliced

Tahini Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup tahini paste
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons warm water (depending on thickness of tahini paste)
  • Soak and cook the lentils: Place the dried lentils in a medium saucepan. Cover with cold water and allow the lentils to soak for one hour. Drain the lentils and  return to the same saucepan. Add 3 cups of water, the quartered onion, smashed garlic, bay leaf, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Bring the lentils to a boil, reduce the heat to  simmer, and cook the lentils for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tender. Drain in a fine-meshed sieve and discard the onion, garlic, and bay leaf. Place in a large serving bowl to cool. Toss with a tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Roast the vegetables: Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice the carrots into 1/2-inch rounds (the skinny ends of the carrots can be left in larger chunks, try to keep the carrots as consistently sized as possible) and cut the radishes into quarters (reserving one radish for garnishing. Place the carrots and radishes on a large sheet pan, along with the garlic cloves (leave the skin on), and toss with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
  • Roast for 20-30 minutes, tossing the vegetables every 10 minutes or so, or until the carrots and radishes are caramelized and tender. Remove the roasted garlic cloves from their skin (discard the skin, but keep the cloves) and allow the vegetables to cool to room temperature. Add the roasted vegetables and garlic to the cooked lentils, along with the sliced red onion, and toss gently to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Prepare the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini paste, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. It should be thick. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of hot water (depending on your brand of tahini paste, you might need more or less to achieve the right consistency) and whisk gently until smooth. The dressing should be the consistency of a thick salad dressing, but should still easily drizzle from a spoon.
  • Cut the remaining radish into very thin slices. Roughly chop some of the reserved leafy stem tops of the carrots (roughly 1/4 cup or so). Garnish the salad with the sliced radish and chopped carrot stem tops. Drizzle the salad with the tahini dressing and serve at room temperature (this salad makes great leftovers and can be served cold from the fridge).

Pomegranate Quinoa, Almond and Avocado Salad


  • 4 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 4 chopped scallions
  • 1 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • ½ cup toasted sliced almonds
  • ½ lime - zest and juice
  • ½ orange- zest and juice
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon cracked pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • 1-2 chopped avocados

  • Place cooked quinoa, pomegranate seeds, scallions, parsley and almonds in a medium bowl.
  • Toss with olive oil, orange juice and zest, salt and spices.
  • Taste and adjust salt.
  • Gently fold in the avocado right before serving ( or serve the avocado on the side, if wanting to keep leftovers)

Five-Minute Super Bean Sun-dried Tomato & Basil Salad


  • 1 (15 oz) can Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas)
  • 1 (15 oz) can Great Northern Beans or other favorite bean
  • 1 cup chopped Vegetables of choice*
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped Parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped Basil
  • 2 Tablespoons Oil from Sun-Dried Tomatoes
  • 8 Sun-dried Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 - 2 Tablespoons very high quality Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon Salt


  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and serve. 
  • Start with the lower amounts of vinegar and salt; taste and then add more according to your preferences.

*Some great choices for chopped vegetables include cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, tomato, summer squash, green beans, and spinach.
If making this salad in advance, keep the fresh vegetables separate from the bean mixture and mix together right before serving.

Is it a Cold or an allergy?

Is it a cold? Or allergies? If your runny nose and sneezing linger for more than a week or two, there's a good chance it's allergies. If you have allergies, your immune system, your body's defense system against bacteria and viruses, is on overdrive. It's reacting to a normally innocuous substance such as pollen, trees, grasses or ragweed as if it's a foreign invader. Often, it's bugged by more than one thing such as pollen, dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, or even food.

In order to defend the body, the immune system produces antibodies called immunoglobulin E, or IgE. These antibodies attach to the body's mast or tissue cells and basophils, or blood cells. When an allergen like pollen encounters its unique IgE, it fits like a key into a lock and releases histamines that result in inflammation and all the uncomfortable symptoms of allergies like a runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, itching, rash, swelling, and even asthma.

If your parents are allergy prone, you may be too. Or you can develop them when your resistance is low when you’re under stress. The most common substances that can provoke seasonal allergies in Colorado include: Trees such as Elm, Cottonwood, Cedar, Juniper, Pine and Aspen. other plants such as ragweed, pollen, thistle, dust and sage.

Other substances that can provoke an allergy include: Nickel, cosmetics, lanolin, animal dander, dust mites, some common drugs such as penicillin, aspirin and sulfa drugs, some food additives such as benzoic acid, food colorings and sulfites and chemicals found in soap and laundry detergents.

Many people are allergic to molds. Molds can live throughout the house, under the sink and in the bathroom, basement, refrigerator or any dark and damp place. Mold spores are carried in the wind and predominate in the summer and early fall. Cutting grass, harvesting crops or walking through tall vegetation can provoke a reaction.

Foods can also provoke allergic reactions. Some of the most common allergenic foods include chocolate, dairy products, eggs, shellfish, strawberries, citrus fruits, corn, wheat, peanuts, food additives, preservatives and dyes.

What causes environmental allergies?  Many environmental allergies are caused by food allergies.  When your internal environment such as your digestive tract and immune system is not working very well you develop environmental allergies.

What kind of natural treatments are available for environmental allergies? You can get rid of both food and environmental allergies.  Allergies tend to get worse every year if not treated.  Dr. Wiancek uses homeopathy to desensitize a person from their specific environmental allergies. She also uses natural anti-inflammatory products and Chinese herbs depending upon how severe the reaction. 

What is the difference between a food intolerances and food allergy? A person with a food intolerance is unable to digest and process food correctly, usually due to a lack of a certain enzymes and inflammation in the gut. A food allergy occurs when a person's immune system generates an antibody response to the injected food. Food intolerances can lead to an allergy, if particles of undigested food manage to enter the bloodstream and cause a reaction.

What are the most common symptoms of food allergies?  There are many symptoms related to food allergies these include:

Recurrent colds, sore throats, chronic tonsillitis, ear infections, ringing and buzzing in the ears, chronic nasal congestion, postnasal drip, Meniere's syndrome, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, ulcerative colitis, gallbladder disease, irritable bowel disease, migraines and other headaches, hives, canker sores, psoriasis, eczema, acne, asthma, frequent urination, teeth grinding, bedwetting, colic, muscle aches, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, unexplained fatigue, anxiety, depression, insomnia, food cravings, obesity etc.

Most of these disorders have more than one cause, but food allergy is a relatively common and frequently overlooked cause. How a food allergy is best diagnosed? Food allergies are best tested thru a blood test.  The skin scratch test is used mainly for environmental allergies and immediate reactions to food.  Most people have delayed reactions to food which can be a symptom happening up to three days after eating an allergic food. A person can become allergic to almost any type of food and any combination of foods. Therefore, an accurate diagnosis is important.

Environmental and food allergies do not go away on there own.  If left untreated allergies tend to get worse every year.  Allergies can be treated successfully by improving your overall immune function, desensitizing a person from environmental allergies, eliminating the allergen, improving digestion and overall intestinal health.

Dr. Wiancek is a naturopathic physician who has been practicing at the Riverwalk Natural Health Clinic & Natural Pharmacy in Edwards, Colorado.  She is an author, educator and practitioner specializing in natural medicine. For questions you can e-mail her at or call at 970-926-7606. 

Apr 28, 2017

Ways to protect our DNA and telomere length

Ways to reduce your toxic exposures- insert from renewal lab

  • Eat less animal dairy and fat. The fatty parts of meat are where certain bioaccumulative compounds collect and concentrate. The same goes for the fat in large, long-lived fish, except that there is a balancing issue to weigh. Fatty fish such as salmon and tuna contain omega=3s, which are good for your telomeres, so eat in moderation.
  • Think about the air when you turn up the heat with meat. If you cook meat on a grill or on a gas stove, use ventilation. Try to avoid the food directly on open flames, and try not eat the charred portions, no matter how tasty they are. A good idea for any food.
  • Avoid pesticides in your produce. Eat foods that are free of pesticides when possible; at the very least, wash your produce thoroughly before consuming. Purchase organic fruits, vegetables and meats, or grow your own, Consider growing lettuce, basil, herbs and tomatoes in pots on your balcony. Safe alternatives for dealing with pesky critters can be found clicking here
  • Use housecleaning products containing natural ingredients. You can make many of these products yourself. We like the housecleaning "recipes" found here.
  • Find safe personal-care products. Carefully read the labels on personal-care products such as soap, shampoo, and makeup. You can also visit to identify which chemicals are in your beauty products. When in doubt, buy products that are natural or organic.
  • Buy nontoxic house pants. Avoid paints the contain cadmium, lead, or benzene.
  • Go greener. Buy more house plants: two per one hundred square feet is ideal for keeping your air filtered. Good choices include philodendrons, Boston ferns, peace lilies, and English ivy.
  • Support urban forestry with your money and your labor. Green spaces offer so many benefits to mind and body, as well as to healthy communities. One newer idea can be considered in dense urban megacities, where one cannot plant enough trees to ride the air of toxins. If you live in a city, consider lobbying your municipal government to install air-purifying billboards. These billboards do the work of 1,200 trees, cleaning a space of up to 100,000 cubic meters by removing pollutants such as dust particles and metals from the air.
  • Stay up to date about toxic products by downloading the "Detox Me" app by Silent Spring:

Mar 31, 2017

Sweet Potatoes Studded with Braised Cabbage

A great dish for weekly dinners, the components of this dish can be made ahead of time and assembled just prior to serving. Bake sweet potatoes and cook the cabbage in advance and store them in the fridge for up to four days for a quick, easy dinner that takes minutes to prepare. For best results, make the sauce right before serving and ladle it piping hot over the stuffed sweet potatoes.

4 Sweet potatoes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 red cabbage, shredded
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 lemon

For Sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

For Garnish:
4 tablespoons minced parsley

Preheat oven to 400 F. Bake sweet potatoes on a baking sheet for 45-60 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork.

In a large pan, saute garlic and onions in 1 tablespoon of coconut oil over medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and soft. Add the cabbage and sea salt, along with 1/2 cup of water. Cover and cook over medium heat for 30 to 40 minutes until the cabbage is tender, continuing to stir occasionally and adding a splash of water as needed to moisten.

Split open sweet potatoes and mash each side slightly with a fork. Stuff as much braised cabbage into the openings as possible.

For 4 servings, double the ingredients of the sauce, Add all ingredients to a small sauce pan. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat until it bubbles slightly. Continue stirring for 1 to 2 minutes until the sauce is well combined and slightly thickened. Pour over the sweet potatoes. Garnish with parsley, enjoy!

Cilantro Pesto

2 cups packed cilantro
1/4 cup walnuts
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until well combined. Scoop pesto into a small bowl and enjoy as dip, salad dressing or sauce.

Lemon Balm Tea

This lemon balm tea is soothing and mild. Having lemon balm before bed will help calm your nerves and give you a better night's sleep.

2 tablespoons lemon balm
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Mix the lemon balm, lemon zest and thyme together. Boil 4 cups of water. For each serving, use 1 teaspoon of the blend per 1 cup of hot water. Steep for 5 minutes or more. Add 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice to each cup just before serving.

*If a stronger, more medicinal tea is desired, use 2 teaspoons or up to 1 tablespoon of the tea blend per serving.

From Life-Changing Foods Anthony William

Berries and Cream

1 cup blueberries
1 cup blackberries
1 cup raspberries
1 cup strawberries
2 13.5 ounce cans full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated
1/3 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon maple syrup
Lemon juice (from about 1/4 lemon)
1 2-inch piece vanilla bean pod, split lengthwise
1 teaspoon lemon zest
4 leaves fresh mint, minced

Rinse berries, mix together , and divide evenly into 2 bowls. Open the cans of coconut milk, being careful not to shake them. Coconut milk naturally separates in the can, leaving a thick, heavy layer on top. Scoop out the solid cream from each can and place it in a small mixing bowl. (You will need 1/2 cup of cream). Discard the thin liquid that remains. Using a fork, whisk together the coconut cream, ginger, maple syrup, lemon juice, and the scraped seeds from the vanilla bean pod.* Whisk until the mixture is well combined and smooth. Scoop a generous dollop of cream over the berries in each bowl. Top with lemon zest and mint.

*Save the exterior of the vanilla bean pod for use blended into a smoothie or dessert.

From Life-Changing Foods Anthony William

Salsa Avocado Boats

2 avocados
1 1/2 cup diced tomato
1 cup diced cucumber
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lime, juiced
1/8 cup minced jalapeno
1/8 teaspoon seal salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne or red pepper flakes (optional)

Halve the avocados and remove pits. Combine all the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Scoop salsa into the center of each avocado.

From Life-Changing Foods Anthony William

Apricot Bars

1 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup dates, pitted
1/2 cup almonds
1/4 cup coconut

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until well combined. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and press the mixture into a large, flat rectangle about half an inch thick. Chill in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before cutting into bars. store bars in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month.

From Life-Changing Foods Anthony William

Cinnamon Licorice Root Tea

2 tablespoons dried licorice root
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
(Makes 4 cups)

Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Boil 4 cups of water. For each serving of tea, use 1 teaspoon of the blend in 1 cup of hot water*. Steep for 5 minutes or more.

*If a stronger, more medicinal tea is desired, use 2 teaspoons or up to 1 tablespoon of the tea blend per serving.

From Life-Changing Foods Anthony William

Apples with "Caramel' Dip

This is the perfect snack to have waiting when your kids get home from school: crispy apple slices laid out alongside a gooey caramel dipping sauce. You may want to double the recipe, because this dish will disappear before you know it.

1 large apple, sliced
6 dates, pitted
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Blend dates and the cinnamon with a splash of water until combined. (If working with dry, firm dates, soak them in water for 2 hours beforehand until they are soft). Spoon the mixture into a serving cup and serve alongside apples.

From Life-Changing Foods Anthony William

Cucumber Noodle Bowl

This clean, cool noodle bowl will leave you feeling light and refreshed. The Asian-inspired flavors of lime and sesame are tossed with cucumber, carrot, and cashews in a beautiful mix of color and crunch. This nice, mild dish can easily be made spicier by adding extra red pepper flakes at the very end to find your perfect flavor. You'll end up with a bowl that is just as beautiful as it is delicious.

4 cucumbers
2 large carrots
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
Lime juice (about 2 limes)
Red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped basil
1/2 cup chopped cashews
(2 servings)

Cut the cucumbers and carrots into thin strips using a julienne peeler, knife or spiralizer. In a large bowl, toss the cucumber and carrot "noodles" with sesame oil, sesame seeds, lime juice, and red pepper flakes. Just prior to serving top with cilantro, basil and cashews. Enjoy!

From Life-Changing Foods Anthony William

Raw Date Granola

This recipe is perfect for anyone on the go. Make a big batch and store it in a jar in the fridge for anytime snacking. The sweet and salty combo will be a major hit with the whole family. It can be eaten by itself or as a snack, or on top of any fruit or smoothie bowl.

2 cups dates, pitted
1/4 cup coconut flakes
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Process all the ingredients in a food processor until roughly combined. Store in a jar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

From Life-Changing Foods Anthony William


Tender pears filled with warm maple syrup and toast walnuts- this dish is comforting and perfect for chilly winter days. The aroma of the cinnamon baking in the oven will fill the whole house with warmth, and the end result will leave everyone feeling cozy and full. These are incredibly simple to make and a big hit with kids and adults alike.

4 pears
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Slice the pears in half length wise and remove seeds. Arrange the pear halves face up on a baking tray. Drizzle each pear half with maple syrup, brushing over the face of the pear and leaving some inside the center. Divide the walnuts evenly into the centers of the pears and sprinkle cinnamon over the top of each. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the pears are tender and cooked through. Serve warm from the oven and enjoy.

From Life-Changing Foods Anthony William

Pomegranate Bark

Heaps of juicy pomegranate seeds and a smooth layer of creamy chocolate go together beautifully in this treat. Offer it as a gift, or make it for those moments when you're craving indulgence you can feel good about.

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (at least 60% cacao)
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 cups pomegranate seeds

Stir the chocolate chips in a saucepan over low heat until melted. Add maple syrup. Spread an even later of melted chocolate on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Press the pomegranate seeds firmly into the chocolate layer. Place in the freezer and allow to set for at least 30 minutes. Break apart and enjoy!

From Life-Changing Foods Anthony William

All About Supplements

I  C A N  G E T  I T  C H E A P E R  A T . . .

How often have you heard, "I can get it cheaper at GNC ( Walgreens or other retailer)? Let your patients know that there can be problems with shopping for the lowest price. One big problem is that the product may not contain any of the ingredients you think you are buying. In 2015 the New York State attorney general's office accused four major retailers of selling fraudulent herbal supplements. Products from GNC, Target, Walgreens and Wal-Mart were tested. They discovered that most (80%) of the products did not contain ANY of the herbs listed on their labels. The tests revealed that most of the herbal products often contained little more than cheap fillers like powdered rice, asparagus and houseplants, and in some cases substances that could be dangerous to those with allergies. Ginseng pill that were purchased at Wal -Mart contained garlic powder and rice, but no ginseng. The Wal-Mart brand of Ginkgo biloba contained powdered radish, houseplants and wheat, but no Ginkgo biloba. At Target, Ginkgo biloba, St John's wort and valerian were all found to be lacking in the label denoted claims. At GNC Ginkgo biloba, St John's wort, genseng, Echinacea and Saw Palmetto were also being sold without containing the herbs promised on the label. At Walgreens Ginkgo biloba, St John's wort, ginseng, garlic, and Echinacea did not contain the herbs listed on the label. Since regulation of supplements is spotty at best, it is a good idea to buy your nutritional products from a trusted source. Biotics Research is licensed as a producer of pharmaceutical grade nutritional products.


Does the company actually make the vitamin? Many companies do not do vitamin? their own manufacturing, making it very difficult to do any kind of quality control.

Quality of components: Oyster shell has Quality of components: calcium, but the body can’t use it (just like your car can’t use the gasoline in coal). Calcium carbonate is cheap, but is not well absorbed, and it may contain lead. Calcium citrate is much more expensive than the oyster shell or the carbonate. A high quality supplement will use the citrate, a poor one will use oyster shell or carbonate. There are similar quality issues for just about every vitamin and herb. The quality of herbal constituents in a lot of products is often questionable. Herbs contain various active ingredients and if the quality or the preparation of the herb is not good, the product can be completely useless.

Label claims: Are the ingredients listed Label claims: on label actually contained in the product? You would be shocked at how often they are not (see page 1). Many companies don’t actually produce their own vitamins, and they don’t test what they buy. Without testing, you can be misled about the content of the product. Second, by the time the product changes hands several times, anywhere along the line someone can substitute cheaper or even phony ingredients and not be held accountable. The product can be contaminated when it changes hands. Sometimes the label claims are fraudulent. Health care practitioners that deal with nutrition should take the time to find reputable manufacturers—like Biotics Research.

Are the products tested for quality or for contaminants? There is not a or for contaminants? lot of government regulation in this industry. The best way to protect yourself is to find a company that you trust, that makes its own products and tests the quality and purity of its products.
Where did the materials come from? Most of the botanicals from? purchased in the US come from the Far East. There are manufacturing practices in some Third World countries that would surprise many Americans. You want to buy from a manufacturer that checks on their suppliers—like Biotics Research.

How is the tablet or capsule made? Something as simple as how a tablet is produced can affect bioavailability. Many manufacturers use inert ingredients that interfere with the absorption of the nutrients. Capsules generally have less inert material than tablets. Biotics Research makes tablets that are extremely bioavailable, they are made of food. In general, supplements in capsules are better absorbed than supplements in tablets (with the exception, of course, of the vegetable-based tableting mentioned in the last paragraph). But even capsules can contain inert ingredients that interfere with absorption. Sometimes it is necessary to use a little cellulose in capsules that contain very little active ingredient or with nutrients or herbal extracts that will not flow properly in the capsuling machine. When high volume is a concern of the manufacturer, inert ingredients are added to enable the machines to work faster. It speeds up production, but makes the vitamin less absorbable. How long will the product keep its potency on the shelf? This is another “label claims” issue. shelf? Vitamins break down over time. Will the label be accurate after six months? A year? Is there a clear expiration date on the vitamins? If the vitamins (minerals, herbs whatever) are produced in exactly the amounts that are listed on the label, in a short period of time the label will be inaccurate because the nutrients will break down. A good company will put more of each ingredient into a capsule or tablet so that the label claims will be true in one or even two years.

Are the formulations good? Is there research and Are the formulations good? clinical evidence to support the use of a given supplement? Is it a reasonable formulation for the desired outcome? Is there support information that is reasonable and credible? Has the company designed a product that will get results? Many times companies jump on bandwagons and aggressively market substances that really don’t work the way consumers think they will. We can help you know the difference between marketing and science.


While everyone loves a bargain, there are some problems with shopping for supplements using only price as a guideline. The difference in quality between different brands of supplements is often considerable. Also, treating yourself or relying on untrained individuals for health advice is not a good idea. Vitamins are cofactors that help the thousands of biochemical reactions that occur in the body. If they are not absorbed well or are in a form that is not well utilized by the body, they will not produce the desired result.

Does Quality Matter in Ice Cream or Wine? Does Quality Matter in Ice Cream or Wine? Herbs, vitamins and minerals are meant to be utilized by the body, to help with physiology and biochemistry. Think of wine or ice cream. The only physiologic concern with these products is taste, but what a difference between the quality of a cheap product and a good one. Compare the taste of a premium ice cream to the cheap store brand; the difference is considerable. Compare inexpensive wine to Laffite Rothschild. It should be obvious that the difference between the quality of vitamins and herbs should be at least as great.

What is Bioavailability? You need to realize that supplements are molecules that promote physiologic activity in the body. Just as a good ice cream gets a favorable response from your taste buds, a good supplement creates chemical reactions that are favorable to the body. Quality and bioavailability are important. Bioavailability is a difficult concept for some patients to grasp. It has to do with how well the supplement is utilized by the body. There is gasoline in coal, however you just can’t run your car on coal. Similarly, there are ingredients listed on a supplement’s label that are as useless to your body as coal is to your automobile. Let's talk about something a basic as calcium, for example. Some companies use calcium carbonate as their calcium source because it is cheap. Calcium carbonate is limestone, and it is not absorbed by the body very well. Also, some studies have shown that calcium carbonate can be a source of lead, which is very toxic. If you decide to save money and buy a product with calcium carbonate, not only will you not absorb the calcium, but you may be damaging your nervous system with highly toxic lead. Since there is not a lot of federal control over the quality of supplements, it is vital that you become a smart consumer and not make your supplement decisions based on price alone.Basically you have to trust your manufacturer, or at least have checked them out. Many of the best manufacturers sell only to health care practitioners. There’s a lot to know when buying supplements and herbs. Health care is complex and you may realize that the quality of the products you use may make the difference between getting a good result and not having your patient improve. Quality is so important when talking about health.

By Dr. Paul G. Varnas &

Mar 3, 2017

Lifestyle Factors and Immunity

Bastyr alumni Kelly Morrow MS, RD, CD shares some lifestyle and nutrition facts to maximize your immune health

  • Stress
    • Chronic stress and chronic exposure to stress hormones can weaken the immune system by reducing the activity of essential immune cells
  • Sleep
    • According to the CDC, 50 - 70 million adults in the US suffer from sleep disorders and do not get enough sleep. Multiples studies show that sleep deprivation causes a dip in immune cell numbers which can increase the likelihood of contracting a virus or an infection.
  • Alcohol
    • A high level of alcohol intake can also weaken the immune system in a similar way to stress and sleep deprivation.
  • Physical Activity 
    • Physical activity helps support immune function in multiple ways. Increased circulation helps flush out bacteria from mucous passages and helps white blood cells become more efficient. The rise in body temperature that comes from physical activity also helps to slow the growth of bacteria.
  • Vitamin A
    • Vitamin A helps support the protective mucosal barriers that line the digestive tract and nasal passage and is important or the creation of immune cells. Foods rich in vitamin A include green, yellow and orange vegetables.
  • Vitamin C
    • Vitamin C concentrates in the cells of the immune system and is an essential nutrient. Food sources of vitamin C includes oranges and citrus fruits, peppers, broccoli, kiwi fruit and rose hip teas.
  • Vitamin D
    • Vitamin D helps coordinate the immune response and is important for preventing infections. It is known as the sunshine vitamin because we can make vitamin D with exposure to sun - but only in the summer months. There are not many meaningful food sources apart from fortified milk and fish, so it is best to take a supplement.
  • Zinc
    • Zinc is a mineral that helps white blood cells work efficiently and also keeps the gut barrier strong and intact. Food sources of zinc include pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, meats, fish and legumes (especially lentils).
  • Plant Medicine
    • Some plants, including garlic and elderberry have antimicrobial and anti-viral properties. Add garlic liberally to your meals, sauces, marinades, and condiments. Black elderberry has a natural hemagglutinin inhibitor which prevents viruses from entering a cell and becoming ineffective. Typical dose is 1-2 teaspoons per day for prevention and 3-4 tablespoons a day for treatment.
  • The Probiotic Connection
    • Good gut health is essential for immune health, as roughly 60% of the immune system resides in the gut. Probiotic bacteria help regulate the immune response by communicating with the cells and nervous system of the gastrointestinal tract. Fermented foods such a yogurt, sauerkraut and kombucha support a healthy bacteria balance. Eating a variety of high fiber plant-based foods is also supportive.

Comparing Thorne and Riverwalk Mutliple Vitamin

The vitamins and minerals highlighted are those that the optimal health multiple vitamin contain more of, both of these vitamins are the same price.

Thorne Basic Nutrients III (Citrate) [w/o cu and fe]
Serving Size: 6 capsules
Price: $42.00

Amount Per Serving:
Vitamin A ... 15, 000IU
(12, 500 IU from Beta Carotene and 2, 500 IU as Palmitate)

Vitamin C ... 850mg- Optimal health contains 1,000mg 
(as Ascorbic Acid)

Vitamin D ... 1, 000IU- Optimal health contains 2,000 IU 
(as Vitamin D3)

Vitamin E ... 400IU
(as d-Alpha Tocopheryl)

Thiamin ... 40mg (B1)- Optimal health contains 50mg 
(as Thiamin HCl)

Riboflavin ... 11mg (B2)- Optimal health contains 50mg
(as Riboflavin 5-Phosphate Sodium)

Niacin ... 160mg
(130 mg as Niacinamide and 30 mg as Niacin)

Vitamin B6 ... 10mg- Optimal health contains 50mg
(as Pyridoxal 5-Phosphate)

Folate ... 1mg
(500 mcg as Calcium Folinate and 500 mcg as L-5-Methyltetrahydrofolate from L-5-Methyltetrahydrofolic Acid, Glucosamine Salt)

Vitamin B12 ... 450mcg
(225 mcg as Adenosylcobalamin and 225 mcg as Methylcobalamin)

Biotin ... 400mcg

Pantothenic Acid ... 413mg
(as Calcium Pantothenate)

Calcium ... 240mg- Optimal health contains 1,000mg
(as Calcium Citrate)

Iodine ... 225mcg
(as Potassium Iodide)

Magnesium ... 180mg- Optimal health contains 500mg
(as Magnesium Citrate)

Zinc ... 15mg- Optimal health contains 30mg
(as Zinc Picolinate)

Selenium ... 200mcg
(as L-Selenomethionine)

Manganese ... 6mg
(as Manganese Picolinate)

Chromium ... 200mcg
(as TRAACS® Chromium Nicotinate Glycinate Chelate)

Molybdenum ... 100mcg
(as Molybdenum Picolinate)

Potassium ... 60mg
(as Potassium Citrate)

Choline Citrate ... 100mg

Boron ... 3mg
(as Boron Picolinate)

Lutein ... 144mcg
(from Aztec Marigold extract (flower) (Tagetes erecta))

Vanadium ... 100mcg
(as Vanadium Picolinate)

Optimel Health Multiple Vitamin
Serving size: 6 Capsules
Price: $42.00

Amount Per Serving:
1,000 mg of calcium citrate

2,000 IU of Vitamin D3

400 IU of Vitamin E

1,000 mg of Vitamin C

15,000 IU of Vitamin A

100 mcg Selenium

30 mg of Zinc

50 mg of all the B Vitamins.

Vitamin K2 150 mcg

Vitamin B12 100 mcg

Biotin 300 mcg

Pantothenic acid 70 mg

Magnesium citrate 500 mg

Copper 1 mg

Manganese 15 mg

Chromium 100 mcg

Potassium 50 mg

Boron 2 mg

Molybdenum 50 mcg

Vanadium 20 mcg

Choline 70 mg

Inositol 70 mg

Methylfolate 800 mcg

Feb 22, 2017

Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Ingredients  (2 servings)

  • 1/2 cup of quinoa cooked in almond or coconut milk (instead of water)
  • 1 banana 
  • Coconut oil
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon nut butter of choice
  • Coconut flakes, strawberries, pomegranate seeds, mango, blueberries (optional)

  • Saute sliced banana in coconut oil and cinnamon 
  • Add to cooked quinoa
  • Add nut butter 
  • Top off with coconut flakes or other fruit and chia seeds

Feb 21, 2017

Thai Salmon Vegetable Salad

  • 1 lb sockeye salmon
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ginger

  • Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 4 tbsp coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salad:
  • 1 zucchini, spiralized
  • 1 cucumber, spiralized
  • 1 carrot, spiralized or sliced with a vegetable peeler
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned

  1. Mix together the marinade for the salmon in a shallow dish. Place salmon, flesh side down in the dish. Let marinade for about an hour.
  2. Meanwhile, grind up the cashews in a food processor until finely ground, almost a paste. Add in the rest of the dressing ingredients and blend until smooth.
  3. Set the oven to broil on high. Place the rack about 6 inches below the broiler. Place salmon steaks skin side down on a oiled baking sheet. Broil for about 8 minutes, or until fully cooked.
  4. Portion out about 2 cups of the spiralized vegetables into a bowl. Top with salmon and dressing.