Author: Joan Haynes

Heartburn – Get Relief with Naturopathic Medicine


by Joan Haynes, NMD

Up at night with heartburn?  Worried about the side effects of acid blocking prescriptions?  Learn what other options you can explore to tame the discomfort and optimize your digestion and thereby your overall health.

Conventional medicine offers patients little insight into the cause of heartburn and instead puts a band aid on the problem by prescribing stomach acid-blocking medications such as Pepcid and Nexium.  Often patients take these medications for many years, leading to nutritional deficiencies and diseases such as osteoporosis and dementia. There are other options. 

Here are factors your naturopathic physician considers in patients with heartburn:

  • Evaluate food and lifestyle factors
  • Improve digestion
    • Consider enzymes, bitters, bile acids
    • Asses stress reduction needs
  • Correct nutritional deficiencies
  • Screen for gallbladder and pancreatic problems
  • Soothe and repair inflamed tissue with natural remedies
  • Screen for H. pylori and dysbiosis – imbalance in the gut flora
  • Evaluate for hiatal hernia
  • Promote smoking cessation if needed
  • Evaluate if weight loss is needed
  • Screen for more serious diseases such as ulcers or inflammation in esophagus

Reducing or eliminating acid blocking medications can be uncomfortable and even impossible without laying the proper foundation for healing.   It often helps to get professional help through the many variables – the naturopathic physicians at Boise Natural Health Clinic can all help navigate your way to pain-free digestion. 

Winter Salad

from Joan Haynes, NMD

Winter Salad – Roasted Cauliflower, Dates, Red Onion & Parsley

Lettuce based salads can feel cold in the winter, this salad is lower carb, crunchy, and fresh tasting.  Great for dinner or left over the next day for a packed lunch.

Recipe from Carmen at http://www.everylastbite.com

Servings: 4

Ingredients

Roasted Cauliflower

  • 1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano

Vinaigrette

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tahini (sesame seed butter)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Salad

  • 1/3 cup dates, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts toasted

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius)
  2. In a bowl toss the cauliflower florets in olive oil and then sprinkle with paprika, oregano and salt. Toss the florets with your hands to make sure they are evenly coated. Lay the cauliflower out on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the cauliflower is tender and golden in color.
  3. While the cauliflower is cooking, in a bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, zest, apple cider vinegar, tahini, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. Once the cauliflower is cooked, remove from the oven and place it in a bowl along with the dates, red onion, pine nuts and parsley. Pour the vinaigrette overtop and toss until all coated. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Our Winter Holiday Gift to You – Recipes!

Our practitioners and staff have gathered some healthy & yummy recipes for you. All these recipes are wheat, dairy, egg, sugar, and soy free but are full of flavor! Enjoy!

Click here  to print them all at once.

Winter Salad

from Joan Haynes, NMD

A lettuce salad can sometimes feel too cold in the winter, this roasted cauliflower with dates, red onion, parsley and tahini dressing is delightful for dinner and leftover lunches.

Immune Boosting Soup

from Nicole Maxwell, NMD

Loaded with proven immune stimulating plants like shitake mushrooms, ginger, and garlic this comforting soup will help prevent and even help treat colds and flus.

Ruby Beets with Balsamic Glaze & Fresh Herbs

from Emily Yuen, ABT

Full of color and antioxidants, beets are one of my favorite foods.

Apple Cider & Herb Brined Turkey

from Emily Dickerson, NMD

Brining a turkey produces very flavorful, juicy, and tender meat. This is from my favorite book I recommend to my patients.

Turkey Broth

from Denise Bartus, Office Manager

When you are done with your holiday turkey, here’s an easy way to make turkey broth in an insta-pot.

Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Variations

from Kara Ferguson, Finance Manager

I love Brussels Sprouts – this is such a quick way to make them.

Nervines:  Herbs to Take the Edge Off

by Joan Haynes, NMD

Life can be stressful (sometimes overwhelming) and when we come home from our demanding work day to our demanding home life, lots of us reach for an alcoholic beverage to help us relax.  But instead, consider a cup of tea that accomplishes the same goals, but without the long-term negative side effects on your body.  In fact, nervine herbs would be good through out the day, not just at the evening.

Nervines are a category of herbs that help support the nervous system.  They can relieve muscle tension, calm anxiety, and some can help us sleep.  They can be taken in capsules, tincture or tea.  You can mix and match combinations to get the effect you want.  Many are also good for children.

Here’s a list of nervines from Mountain Rose Herbs:

Common Nervines

  • Oat tops – Very gentle tonic herb that helps support the nervous system without a perceptibly calming action. Can help reduce fatigue and support nerve functioning over time. Great for anyone who is overworked or relies on caffeine to get through the day.
  • Skullcap – Wonderfully gentle and nourishing to the nervous system. Helps relieve occasional tension and stress, circular thoughts, and nervousness. Can be used throughout the day during stressful situations or at night before bed to calm worried thoughts.
  • Chamomile – A classic, relaxing nighttime tea, this nervine herb is also helpful for relieving mild daily mental stress.
  • Lavender – Calming herb that is often used in aromatherapy applications for its mild calming action. Lovely when used in the bath, massage oils, pillows, room sprays, or body fragrance to uplift the spirit.
  • Lemon balm – Sunshine in plant form, this herb helps with nervous exhaustion, gloom, and restlessness while also providing pure aromatic pleasure. Simply rubbing a leaf between your fingers and smelling its citrusy oils can elevate the mood.
  • Catnip – Gentle, calming herb for sleeplessness in children and the elderly.
  • California poppy – Used for its calming properties, this plant helps promote relaxation in those seeking rest.
  • Passionflower – This stunning plant is helpful for relieving general tension, occasional nervous restlessness, and supporting restful sleep.
  • Hops – With a distinctive flavor and action known well by beer drinkers everywhere, this plant supports relaxation (although the effect can be considered hypnotic) and helps calm a nervous stomach.
  • Valerian – When sleep seems impossible thanks to nervous energy at night, this potent herb can support relaxation for many busy-brained folks. For some people, however, valerian can have the opposite effect of relaxation, causing more anxiety and stimulation, so if this happens to you, we recommend seeking another herbal ally.

How to Turn Coffee into a Super Food

by Joan Haynes, NMD

I’m a coffee lover, as are many of my patients.  Instead of feeling guilty about our habit, let’s focus on how to drink this delicious brew to improve our health:

 

Here are some highlights of health improvements you can look forward to:

  1. Better Cognition The daily and long term performance improvements and neuroprotective benefits of coffee are not due to caffeine alone, but also to other bioactive compounds in coffee.
  2. Decreases Sugar Cravings Caffeine binds to your opioid receptors, prohibiting you from cravings something else, such as sugar.  Coffee also lowers your blood glucose level.
  3. Increases Your Metabolism Coffee increases your metabolism up to 20 % if consumed before exercise without sugar.
  4. Disease Prevention There are many studies about coffee and the majority are quite positive.  Some of the conditions which coffee lowers the risk of include type II diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s Disease, prostate cancer, liver cancer, and stroke.
  5. Benefit to the Microbiome Increases the metabolic activity and/or numbers of beneficial Bifidobacteria in your gastrointestinal tract.

 

For a more in-depth discussion about the health benefits of coffee, see Dr. Mercola’s article.

 

Dr. Joan’s Three Coffee Rules

  1. Amount matters

Stick to drinking coffee in the morning and limit yourself to one mug a day – okay, maybe two.  Although, some studies encourage drinking more.  Watch for side effects like rapid heart rate, anxiety/irritability, trouble sleeping.  (If you are caffeine sensitive or have an adverse reaction to coffee, you may not have the same reaction to a different brand, a different type of bean, or a different brewing method.)

  1. Quality counts

Buy organic, fresh roasted, whole beans and grind them yourself.  Darker roasts have less caffeine and more of the health promoting compounds than light roasts.

  1. Healthful Additives

    • “Milks” – My strong preference is coconut cream. It comes in a can and is thicker than regular coconut milk.  Transfer it to a jar, store in the fridge, and use 1 TBSP in each mug.  Coconut cream is full of MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) shown to provide quick energy, boost fat burning, and help prevent Alzheimer’s.
    • Sweetener – None is best, but I use ½ teaspoon of local honey in my cup. Stevia is another great choice but gives a distinct taste that some don’t care for.  Stay away from artificial sweeteners.
    • Turmeric – 1 – 2 teaspoons in each mug. Don’t be afraid to try this!  So yummy.  All the anti-inflammatory and anticancer benefits of turmeric with an amazing East Indian flavor.  You can add a dash of cardamom, cinnamon, or nutmeg.  Wonderful with coconut milk and honey.

Kale and Biotin Can Interfere with Thyroid Function and Lab Reports

By Joan Haynes, NMD

Kale and Other Cruciferous Veggies

Kale is a cruciferous vegetable related to other well-known healthy veggies such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. Cruciferous vegetables are unique in that they are rich sources of healthy, sulfur-containing compounds known as glucosinolates.  Glucosinolates form a substance called goitrin that can suppress the function of the thyroid gland by interfering with iodine uptake, which can, as a result, cause poor function and enlargement of the thyroid gland.

Cooking Destroys Glucosinolates

Once cooked, cruciferous foods lose up to 80% of their goitrogenic (iodine interfering) chemicals, so they no longer block the uptake of iodine.  Studies show steaming for 3 minutes ensures the bioavailability of helpful nutrients we want from these vegetables but destroys the goitrogenic effect.  Blanching (cooking the vegetable quickly in boiling water) is extra effective because the glucoinolates float off into the water.  I strongly recommend cooked, daily cruciferous veggies with some occasional raw ones weekly too.

Green Smoothie Danger

Many people are under the mistaken impression that a daily raw kale smoothie is a healthy choice.  Certainly, the occasional one is fine, but its when people are having daily, massive amounts of kale that we see interference of thyroid function.  Especially juicing of kale in large amounts and on a very frequent bases is not recommended either, especially for people who may already be iodine deficient such as vegetarians and vegans.

Biotin – A Culprit in Thyroid Testing

Biotin is a B vitamin, and the Institute of Medicine recommends a daily intake of 30 mcg.  That’s micrograms.  But many patients take “hair, skin, and nails” supplements that contain milligram doses – that’s a thousand fold increase.  When patients take megadoses of biotin, it can cause falsely high and falsely low results in a variety of laboratory tests, including thyroid tests.  Inaccurate test results can cause misdiagnoses and even mistreatment.  Be sure to tell your health care providers about  all the nutrients you are taking when you are getting lab work.

 

Here’s some links if you want to read more:

https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/hypothyroidism/news-update-can-kale-cause-hypothyroidism

https://endocrinenews.endocrine.org/january-2016-thyroid-month-beware-of-biotin/

https://hormonesbalance.com/articles/truth-cruciferous-thyroid-not-think/

Caution with Iodine Supplements

by Joan Haynes, NMD

Many patients have come to the clinic taking large doses of iodine, in hope that it will improve their thyroid function and help with fatigue or weight gain. While iodine is critical to human health and proper thyroid function, too much of it can become toxic to the body.  How many micrograms or milligrams should you be taking a day?

In my opinion, the RDI (Recommended Daily Intake)is set too low at 150 mcg per day.  Iodine is probably safe at doses up to 1 mg per day, but a common supplement has 12.5 mg per capsule and people sometimes take 4 of them per day!!  Note the difference between micrograms (mcg) and milligrams (mg).  This is over 300 times the RDI and can lead to trouble.

What is Iodine

Iodine is a trace mineral “critical to human health. It forms the basis of thyroid hormones and plays many other roles in human biochemistry. While the thyroid gland contains the body’s highest concentration of iodine, the salivary glands, brain, cerebrospinal fluid, gastric mucosa, breasts, ovaries and a part of the eye also concentrate iodine. In the brain, iodine is found in the choroid plexus, the area on the ventricles of the brain where cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is produced, and in the substantia nigra, an area associated with Parkinson’s disease.” 1

To understand the technical difference between iodine and iodide, read more here.

Symptoms of Low Iodine

Goiter (enlarged thyroid), hypothyroidism, intellectual disability, and cretinism (congenital hypothyroidism leading to stunted physical and mental development), fibrocystic breast disease, muscle pain.  There is also some concern that low iodine levels permit the over-accumulation of other similar minerals called halides – floride, bromide, chloride which are ubiquitous in our environment.

Iodine Toxicity

Different people have different needs for minerals.  If someone’s genetics come from an iodine-poor part of the world and suddenly they have a large increase in their intake, they may develop thyroid problems.  This may occur because their thyroid has become very efficient at utilizing small amounts of iodine.  In particular, they may develop iodine-induced hyperthyroidism.

Iodism (iodine poisoning) produces a brassy taste, runny nose, and acne-like skin lesions.  It can also cause a goiter, the enlargement of the thyroid gland, thirst, diarrhea, weakness, and convulsions.

There aren’t good statistics on how common these side effects are, but one researcher and clinician who routinely uses up to 50 mg doses of daily iodine reports that side effects occur in less around 5 percent of patients.  He reports hyperthyroidism, allergies, swelling of the salivary glands and thyroid.

There is a big debate going on in the alternative medicine community about iodine.  If you’d like to read more about that read this article The Great Iodine Debate by Westin Price Foundation.

How to Use Iodine Safely

The Reference Daily Intake is 100-150 mcg per day.  Many clinicians think this is too low. This will prevent goiters and other overt signs of deficiency but may not be adequate to prevent other conditions of iodine deficiency.

The average person, who is not using iodized salt, should take a multivitamin-mineral supplement with iodine in it.  We should all also eat plenty of iodine rich foods.

IODINE RICH FOODS 4

 

FOOD AMOUNT OF IODINE PORTION
Iodized salt 45 mcg 1/8 of a teaspoon
Seaweed/dried kelp 19 – 2,984 mcg 1 sheet dried
Cod (wild caught) 99 mcg 3 oz
Yogurt, whole, grassfed 75 mcg 1 cup
Egg 24 mcg 1 egg
Tuna 17 mcg 3 oz
Lima Beans 16 mcg 1 cup cooked
Corn 14 mcg ½ cup cooked
Green Peas 6 mcg 1 cup cooked
Bananas 3 mcg 1 medium

The Bottom Line

Iodine doesn’t work by itself for thyroid health.  Your thyroid also needs selenium, zinc, copper, magnesium, calcium and the amino acid tyrosine from protein.  Using these nutrients along with iodine might prevent problems in cases where high doses of iodine might lead to thyroid problems.

If you are treating a low thyroid, then you want to make sure that if you do use larger doses that you are monitoring your thyroid through lab testing.  Bottom line – I recommend sticking with microgram (mcg) dosages and including seaweed and dried kelp into your diet regularly.

References

  1. https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/modern-diseases/the-great-iodine-debate/
  2. https://www.thyroid.org/iodine-deficiency/
  3. http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v13n14.shtml
  4. https://draxe.com/iodine-rich-foods/

Follow Your Gut: The Enormous Impact of Tiny Microbes by Rob Knight

What I’m Reading

by Joan Haynes, NMD

This little TED book, written for a non-medical audience, is an engaging explanation of the ground-breaking science in the last few years about the microscopic life within our bodies.  It’s a quick read to help us understand how these tiny creatures play a role in nearly all aspects of our health.

Rob Knight is the Director of the Microbiome Initiative at the University of California, San Diego and the co-founder of the American Gut Project and the Earth Microbiome Project.  He wrote the book with science journalist Brendan Buhler to explain why these new findings matter to everyone.  You can also watch Knight’s TED talk at www.TED.com.

As you may have heard before, there are 10 times more microbe cells in our body than human cells.  The average adult is carrying about three pounds of microbes – roughly the weight of your brain.  Knight explains how different sets of species inhabit different parts of the body, where they play specialized roles.

Knight also explains how new technology makes identifying the microbes easier.  Here is a sample copy of the stool test we’ve been running in the clinic with great results:  GI-MAP DNA Stool Analysis.  For just a few hundred dollars, we get a report looking for pathogenic microorganisms (bacterial, viral, and fungal/yeast) as well as the healthy population of bacteria.  Also included are useful gut function measures that look for inflammation, immunity, leaky gut and more.

Dangers of Essential Oils

by Joan Haynes, NMD

Last week, another patient with essential oil burns on her body came in to the clinic.  Since she had no idea that the oils were the cause, she was continually using more and different oils, encouraged by a well-meaning, essential oil distributor – thus causing the rash to blister and weep.  Sadly, this scenario is common.  Many people think that “natural” means “safe”.  But essential oils are highly concentrated substances that can have useful but also toxic effects on the body.  One drop of the oil can be the equivalent to 10-50 cups of the herbal tea.  Since essential oils have become so popular, it is important we understand their risks, especially if we are using them with children, pets, and during pregnancy.

For a good overview, here is an article by Katie Wells aka Wellness Mama, a very reliable website for you to get useful information about essen

tial oils and many other natural health topics.

This popular Dr. Axe’s article talks about diffusing essential oils and lists safety aspects for specific oils, including which ones can cause sun sen

sitivity and which ones are to not be used in pregnancy.

If you use essential oil with your children, please read this article written by a naturopathic physician in Montana, who has put together very good information for there safe use.

There have been recent articles warning cat owners about the dangers of essential oils.  There is some evidence that their livers cannot metabolize compounds in essential oils.  Here is an article that talks about essential oils and both dogs and cats.

This article is by a veterinarian who says that essential oils, when used properly, are likely safe for our cats.

Essential oils can be great medicine when used properly.  Please inform yourself and be careful.  There is a lot of misinformation out there!

Mulligatawny Stew

A Dr. Haynes Favorite

I’ve been making this stew for 20 years and have forgotten the original source.  I save it for entertaining and have even served it to the most discriminating foodies.  It avoids the 3 most common food sensitivities – gluten, dairy, eggs.

Mulligatawny is an English soup with origins in Indian cuisine.  Don’t be afraid of the long list of ingredients.  It is so worth it.  The almonds and banana garnish create a tropical taste and crunchy texture.  Invite people over.

Makes 8 cups (but I usually double the recipe).

Ingredients:

  • 6 TBSP butter (or substitute)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 stalks celery with leaves, diced
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 apple, peeled and diced
  • 1 pound of chicken breasts
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup loosely packed finely shredded coconut
  • 1 TBSP curry powder
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 2 whole cloves, crushed, or ¼ tsp powder
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped tomatoes (canned is fine)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup toasted, sliced almonds for garnish
  • 4 ice-cold bananas, sliced as garnish (optional)
  • 3 – 4 cups hot cooked rice (if you want to serve the stew on top of a scoop)

Directions:

  1. Gently melt the butter (or substitute) over medium heat in a large soup pot.
  2. Add the onion, carrot, celery, green pepper and apple, and whole chicken breasts and simmer.  Stir frequently, for about 15 minutes.  Do not over brown.  Add a little water if needed.
  3. Mix in the curry and nutmeg and cook an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in the broth, cloves, tomatoes, coconut milk, shredded coconut, salt, and cayenne.  Partially cover and simmer for 30 – 40 minutes.
  5. Pull out the chicken breasts out and let cool.  Shred into bite size pieces removing any of those disgusting chewy bits.  Return to pot.  Taste and correct seasoning.
  6. You can serve on a mound of rice if you wish.  Garnish with the toasted almonds.  Pass the bananas separately.