Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Thanksgiving Plate and A Yummy Thanksgiving Pumpkin Cheesecake

Once November comes around, the focus of nutrition counseling becomes damage control, reality checking and enjoyment - sometimes a challenging concept! Thanksgiving being the first of the holidays and one of the biggest feast days, is a great place to begin. I use the template of visualizing the plate 1/2-full of veggies, 1/4 protein (about 4-6 ounces) and1/4 starch (1/2-3/4 cup cooked grains/starches). Since many of the favorite foods are high in carbohydrate, it becomes an activity of choosing what to have and how to fill in the 1/4 plate. The starchy carbs include potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, stuffing, cranberry sauce, rolls and most of the desserts. It may be wise to take tablespoon portions of all the favorites or to pick the most important foods that one enjoys. Always be sure to fill 1/2 the plate with non-starchy veggies such as green beans almondine or oven roasted Brussels sprouts, accompanied by a good portion of turkey. Starting the day off on the right foot is so very important. Always have a good protein meal to be full for a long time, such as ham and eggs with a slice of whole grain bread. Muffins and bagels just won't work, as the excessive carbs will cause a crash of energy. When it come to dessert, consider having it a few hours later as the snack and again, balancing some protein and good fat along with carb, will make the treat satisfying not only for the palette, but also for staying full. Try this recipe that I created as a low glycemic option that tastes great! Pumpkin Cheesecake 1# lowfat cream cheese 2 eggs 3 packets stevia 1 tbl vanilla extract 1 cup crushed graham crackers or ginger snaps 2 tbl melted butter or coconut oil 1/2 cup pumpkin puree 1 tsp pumpkin spice Mix together the cream cheese, eggs, stevia and vanilla Press the crushed crackers with the butter/coconut oil into 8" pie plate Pour the cream cheese mixture into the crust Mix the pumpkin puree and spice together and swirl into the cheese mixture Bake 350 for 25 minutes Bon Appetit! Julie

Friday, November 22, 2013

"Potty" Training and Retraining

I see many patients in my office with gastrointestinal issues and at the same time, have been dealing with my own set of IBS/candida/bacterial overgrowth issues, secondary to the type of cancer that I have. While it can help to understand others' suffering, it sure has not been a fun time! In my own personal work, I have certainly attended to the obvious dietary adjustments - no sugar, good fiber, probiotics, antifungal supplements - and yet, my reflexologist and other energy workers, see constipation throughout - meaning that there are habits and ways of being that I am having a hard time letting go of. How interesting a concept! If one thinks of the chakras, energy systems in the body, the second and third chakras have to do with being safe and secure, as well as relaxed with oneself and surroundings, and being able to digest and assimilate nutrients and new information. While pondering this concept, I immediately thought of how proud my Mom was that I was "potty trained" by the age of 2! I recall her telling me that we were moving into a house and she wanted this done and over with before the move. Wow - what pressure for a toddler's body, as well as brain - and yet, this was not an uncommon expectation for those growing up in my era. I learned at a very young age to hold things in and not let go. It now makes so much sense to me. This holding pattern is so well ingrained on the anatomical level as well as the emotional level, but at least with awareness, these traits can be transformed into healthy patterns. I will bring this awareness into my practice with my patients and see how the combination of functional medicine - the diet, supplements, relaxation - along with identifying early life experiences, brings hopefully a more complete healing. To be continued. . .

Monday, November 18, 2013

Visting The Mount

It has been a little over a month since my Mom died and I decided to take my Dad and daughter to visit a lifelong friend, Fr Steve. Fr Steve or his religious name, Fr. Emmanuel, has been an amazing support, an open-minded theological expert, whose life's work has been to bring people of all faiths and spiritual orientations together as "one". This theme speaks volumes to me, as I practice this philosophy in my personal life as well as with my clients. The mount is Graymoor, a full mountain devoted to caring for the poor, the addicted and those with emotional concerns. Graymoor is nestled in the Peekskill Mountains of Garrison, New York. At the base of the mount, the sisters tend people providing seminars, reiki, massage, and when I was a child, they baked fresh Irish Soda bread and sold it for the use of providing programs for those in need. Further up the hill, the brothers tended the farms and worked in the hospital with folks who struggled with addictions. While farming is no longer part of the work, the infirmary is still quite active. As my daughter and I climbed from top to bottom to the top again, we not only had an amazing cardio workout, but had a breath-taking view of the Hudson Valley. This was a spiritually uplifting experience, combined with awesome discussions with Fr. Steve about his open-heart for fostering the spiritual nature of all. For my Dad, this was an opportunity to go back to a place of familiarity - in fact 60+ years of visits - also an opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends. What is the message here? Find what brings you to your core self - the attributes that are important in your life; how to get in touch with those attributes and then to bring them forth. For me and many, being in nature calms the mind, creating an allowance for focus on the inner self. Knowing your inner self will allow you to bring forth your gifts. Now, go forth! Peace and blessings, Julie

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Anniversary

It's been a month since my last post. This has been a month of transition, of pondering, of disbelief, of reality. On Oct 13, my Mom passed away. As I write this, there is still a part of me that really does not comprehend those words. She passed peacefully at the hospital with my Dad, my two daughters and my older daughter's boyfriend, all surrounding her with love, prayers and last conversations. As I've mentioned in other posts, my Mom had been ill for about 1 1/2 years, but especially challenged since being on dialysis 10 months ago. There have been very important correlations between my mother's illness and my own. The day that my Mom went into the hospital for the first time, was the very day that I got my diagnosis of hairy cell leukemis. And from then on, when my Mom was having a complication, I often had a similar medical issue going on - digestive issues that required exploration/surgery, extremely low blood pressure, very low iron that required a transfusion for my Mom and almost required the same for me. It became a bit beyond coincidental for these occasions. During these past 3-4 months as these occasions increased, I chose to seek assistance with a healer who specializes in family constellation therapy. This proved to be very enlightening and brought me great compassion for those parts of my Mom that I struggled with. As with all us parents, we have our loving and amazing qualities, as well as those parts better known as the "shadow side". I have personally done a lot of work on accepting and integrating my shadow side and what a liberating feeling! How nice it is to learn to love all of who we are without having to hide those parts that are less appealing. It remains a work in progress! By learning more about my lineage - my Mom, her siblings, parents, grand-parents - I felt not only a deeper connection with my Mom, but an ability to become less enmeshed and more of my own person. During the few weeks prior to her death, we had amazing talks. I was able to share deep feelings with her that I had been too embarrassed to talk about - to be able to show my vulnerability, to cry with her, to massage her back, legs and feet, to hug her closely as if she were now mine. Since my Mom's passing, I have been very open to listening to messages that she is sending me, to pay attention to the important details in life. I am able to see more clearly that my Mom gave me life in her passing. In her wisdom toward the end, she told me how important it would be for me to take care of myself, to get rest and not feel guilty about not being there all the time. The past year was challenging because there were times that I could not go into the hospital due to my own low blood counts, and times that I was so tired, but would make the trip 1 1/2 hours each way to visit. I feel even more conviction that I will heal my cancer - I learn from it every day! With love and blessings for all, Julie