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Cindy’s Tahini Cookies

6 tablespoons tahini
½ cup sunflower seeds
1 ½  cups oatmeal
¾ cup maple syrup or honey (these are quite sweet-use less if desired)
¼ teaspoon salt
Handful of raisins or dried cranberries

Mix all ingredients together. Shape into small balls, flatten very slightly (these do not spread much) and bake at 325°F  for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned.

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Paleo Raisin Cookies (gluten free, grain free, dairy free & no refined sugar)

1/3 cup coconut flour
1/4 coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
2  eggs
1/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup shredded coconut

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients, then add dry ingredients (except raisins) and mix until uniform. Add raisins.
3. Using a heaping teaspoon, drop cookie dough onto baking sheet and flatten slightly. The cookie dough will not spread.
4. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until edges are golden brown. Allow to cool on the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

A few months ago I received an email criticizing the organic movement and forwarded it to my good friend Tom Manley.  Tom runs Homestead Organics, which distributes organic crops and teaches farmers how to convert their regular fields to organic ones.  He is one of the most intelligent speakers on organics I have heard and I wanted to hear his response.

Here it is…
The Value of Organic Agriculture

I came across yet again another argument against organic agriculture that repeats the same confusions, generalizations and misconceptions about organic production. Although the article is a year old, it is an example of pervading opinions that need clarification.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/henrymiller/2012/11/07/organic-agricultures-bitter-taste-or-is-organic-agriculture-affluent-narcissism/2/

Is organic food a cure to all environmental hazards? Let’s be clear. We live in a dangerous world with a multitude of natural and man-made toxins in the air, everyday materials and in the food, which if consumed at high levels, can hurt us. Organic food does not claim to address this broad challenge, which would take nothing short of a miracle. Organic agriculture takes the practical and reasonable step of eliminating synthetic chemicals in food production and favouring extensive soil management for the benefit of the farmer, the environment, the animals and the consumer.

Is organic food safer? Canada has one of the safest food systems in the world. Good hygiene and food safety practices produce safe food, whether organic or conventional. E-coli is a food safety matter, tightly controlled by government regulations applicable to all producers and processors, which is over and above the scope of organic standards.

What about all that dangerous manure? It is the most absurd criticism to be concerned about manure going on organic fields. All manure goes on fields that produce food of one type or another. As organic farming is about 2% of agriculture, then 98% of farm animals are conventional and their manure goes on conventional farm fields. The difference is that conventional manure typically goes on the field raw with all its pathogens. Organic standards require that manure be composted to neutralize the pathogens and stabilize the nutrients, and/or applied with a long lead time prior to harvest.

Do organic farmers still use pesticides? Let’s get the definitions straight. Any pest-controlling tool is considered a pesticide. Organic production favours natural, harmless pesticides like vinegar, hydrogen peroxyde, essential oils and diatomaceous earth. Accusing organic farmers of still using pesticides is misleading. Some of the more dangerous natural pesticides like BT are tightly controlled in the standards and used in very limited situations. The organic standards eliminate synthetic pesticides and fertilizers that add an undesirable level and persistence of toxicity in our environment and food.

Is organic food pure? Organic standards pertain to production methods, not the quality or purity of the end product. This is the only reasonable approach as we cannot control the contaminants from the environment around us. Secondly, the measurement of a purity level would open the door to low scale use of synthetic pesticides that could slip under the threshold.

But antagonists say that conventional food contains pesticides below the allowed limits! That is the whole point. Organic enthusiasts point to past experience that tells us that these thresholds are still too high. Some compounds considered to be safe are often later found to be unsafe (asbestos, lead in gasoline, smoking, DDT, etc). Organic agriculture takes a long term precautionary approach vis-à-vis synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.

There are many more details that could be written, but this short list suffices to make the point.

Learn about the organic grain value chain in Ontario.

Thank you.

Tom Manley
Homestead Organics
1 Union Street
Berwick ON K0C 1G0
Tel 613-984-0480 ext 225
Fax 613-984-0481

tom@homesteadorganics.ca
www.homesteadorganics.ca

NEONICOTINOID

According To the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) of Health Canada, during 2012, the Agency received a significant number of honey bee mortality reports from across Canada. An unusually high number of reports of honey bee mortality were received from beekeepers in corn growing regions of Ontario (southern). The majority of reports were from southern Ontario involving over 40 beekeepers and 240 different bee-yard locations. Timing and location of these honey bee mortalities appeared to coincide with planting corn seed treated with insecticides.

Residue analysis was conducted to determine whether bees were exposed to the insecticides used on treated corn seed. Information from Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Foodland Ministry of Environment confirmed large areas of corn planted near these affected bee-yards and that the insecticide coated corn seed was planted with negative pressure (vacuum) planters and talc seed flow lubricants. On a bee-yard basis, these residues (clothianididn) were detected in approximately 80% of the bee-yards where dead bee samples were collected and analysed.

PMRA implemented “Best Management Practices” however, major losses appear to be continuing and bear in mind that PMRA are not studying the effects on wild bees, butterflies and birds, let alone humans. It is common for us to see praying mantis, spiders and fly catchers picking off our honey bees and we all are aware of the decline in the Monarch Butterfly.

Europe has placed a moratorium on the use of this pesticide. It’s time for Canada to take action. Please call or email your Federal MP, Provincial MPP or Pest Management Regulatory Agency at:
1-800-267-6317 and pmra.infoserv@hc-sc.gc.ca.

Researched and submitted by Russell Corbett of Russell’s Honey.

Ask a Naturopathic Doctor

Restoring our Sleep with Correct Lighting

In this column I’d like to introduce the correct wavelengths of light that we need in the evening to have a nourishing sleep.

The benefits of regular, deep sleep include: energy, alertness, quick reaction time, natural craving control, a healthy libido, balanced weight, resilience to stress, longer life and reduced risk of cancer, diabetes, depression and chronic disease.  Sleep deprivation leads to the opposite and is predominant in modern life, with many of us being chronically fatigued, overweight and unwell.

One of the most important factors for a good night’s sleep is the amount, intensity and type of light we are exposed to in the evening.  It turns out that artificial light, with its blue wavelength, makes the body think that it is still day and consequently suppresses our melatonin production and stimulates the stress hormone cortisol.  The result is that we are stimulated and unlikely to go to sleep—or be able to go to sleep.

Our fullness hormone, leptin, is also decreased by exposure to blue light, leading to excess eating in the evenings.

This phenomena is particularly emphasized when we gaze into a screen in the evening hours: TV’s, computers, cell phones and tablets all have too much blue light and prevent us from sleeping well.

When we look at our evolution, this disruption is easy to understand.  A bright day has about 50,000 lux of light which goes down to 1 lux at dusk.  For most of our past, we relied on fire (red/orange) for night visibility.  Our bodies evolved to fit in to this cycle.  The introduction of electrical lighting at night has brutally offset our normal circadian rhythm.

Luckily there are a few effective solutions that don’t require the total elimination of lights or screens.

  •  The best all-around trick for avoiding blue light in the evening, (short of going to sleep early), is to wear amber glasses or goggles for 1-2 hours before your bedtime—or from dusk on.  These filter out the blue rays and allow the body to relax into its normal sleepiness.
  • There is also a program for computers, phones and tablets that dims the light.  One needs to dim the other lights in the room as well.
  • Use a red nightlight for getting up when it’s still dark to avoid getting restimulated with blue light and not be able to get back to sleep.
  • Keep the bedroom totally dark, even eliminating light from alarm clocks.
  • Change from doing screen work at night to getting up early, which is better for our health as the time asleep before midnight heals and rebuilds our bodies
  • Candles, oil lamps and fire don’t trigger melatonin suppression so can be used as a source of light.
  • Spending time out in daylight in the afternoon helps balance our circadian rhythm, optimizing alertness in the daytime and sleepiness at night.
  •  Parents of young children can buy nursery packages.  Babies don’t start making their own melatonin until they are about 10 weeks old (longer for preemies).
  • Consider adding supplemental melatonin for yourself and/or children; see a naturopathic or medical doctor for appropriate doses and how to monitor.  (parentingscience.com for info)

Sources
https://www.lowbluelights.com/products.asp?PageIndex=1  (amber glasses, low blue light bulbs, screen filters, night lights)
http://www.eschenbach.com/products-absorptive-filters-wellness-protect-eyewear.htm (blue light reducing eyewear)
http://justgetflux.com/ (app for computer to adjust light output of computer screen to reduce blue light emitted during night time hours)

Coconut Crisps

¾ cup chickpea flour (can also use romano bean flour)
1 tsp gluten free baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup coconut butter (can use butter if not dairy sensitive)
1/3-1/2 cup sucanat
1 egg (or equivalent  egg replacement)
2 tsp good quality vanilla
½ cup unsweetened dessicated coconut

In bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt.
In mixing bowl, cream together butter and sucanat.  Beat in egg and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Stir in dry ingredients and coconut.
Drop by spoon about 2 inches apart onto non-stick baking sheet.
Bake in 350°F oven for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.

It’s a rainy Sunday evening of the first afternoon alone in a month.  I spent four hours on the couch sleeping beside the woodstove and am beginning to feel human again.  I had become exhausted from some extra family responsibilities, with less and less reserve to manage my stress levels.  Scary place.
 
My healing is progressing slowly, still stuck in the “hanging” phase.  As suspected, my thyroid is sluggish, with thyroid antibodies at 166 (normal around 30).  In the mainstream medical/naturopathic world-view I would be diagnosed with Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroiditis.  In the German New Medicine framework, this is my thyroid recovering from a lifetime of control issues.  What is required is to let go, rest and recharge.  A little Armour thyroid through my medical doctor will help nudge the thyroid back into activity as well, but without the rest, it will stay in hanging healing and not be able to finish.  Tired adrenals, the energy glands, also keep the thyroid from recovering, and mine are chronically on the verge of burnout.  The key thing is regular, early sleep and I’m still not getting enough.
 
This is a little humbling given that I’m co-facilitating a workshop on sleep soon!  I’ve always known that healthy sleep is not easy in our culture, but this is my first experience struggling with it.  My newest strategy is using yellow light in the evening to avoid the over-stimulation of normal lighting.  I’m wearing amber goggles as I write this to counter the extra light from the computer.  (link to article on sleep and light here)  This should help me overcome the pattern of staying up too late doing online work after putting 5 year old grandson Felix to bed.  My goal is to go to sleep early and get up early enough to answer emails before he wakes up.  I’ll keep you posted on how this works—so far it hasn’t!
 
The other areas of my health are equally stuck.  My eyesight is now in the legally blind range, past my optometrist’s machine’s ability to measure.  She’s amazed that I can still read and drive safely (ie that my glasses are able to correct my vision to that extent).  I’m more determined than ever to avoid the prescribed cataract operation.  Here again, rest and relaxation are the key factors.  Cataracts are another healing phase, this time for the shock of not being able to see someone we love, maybe finally recovering from the death of my late husband Mickey…
 
My joints still hurt, a third healing phase, this one related to feeling devalued, and I’m getting much better at reminding myself that I’m not sick and decrepit but need to be patient and allow my body to rebuild.  On a positive note, my back is finally getting better with the exercises from our amazing chiropractor Carole, providing the additional benefit of learning a whole new way of moving and regenerating core strength.  I can put on my socks standing up again, grin, and recently found myself chasing Felix up the driveway.
 
It is an extremely valuable experience for me to go through this plodding, tiring process.  It allows me to see how difficult it is to truly and deeply heal with family and work responsibilities and how to develop the awareness, thinking patterns, breathing and other lifestyle tricks for invigorated living.  The trauma therapy (EMDR) that I continue to undergo is central because my inner tensions led to an off-balance life in the first place, with me creating constant stress because that’s what I expected and to what I was accustomed.  I’m amazed at how persistent this is even when I know better.  I like to remember that all of this can change for the better very quickly and to leave an opening for that possibility while committing to the everyday work and creating a climate for this change.
 
In the background of all the physical efforts is the spiritual, the core part of healing.  In my case it goes hand in hand with control issues, learning to feel safe enough to relax my ego so that Spirit can manifest.  For me it’s moving from intellectual lip-service to remembering to be humble and that ultimately I’m not in charge.  Meditation, prayer and tapping are still my practices.
 
Heartfelt thanks to my patients’ understanding when your emails take so long to get answered!
 
slowly and cheerfully,
katherine
A new approach to illness & healing.
This takes place in the clinic kitchen, $20 donation at door – please RSVP to 613-839-1198.

Find out how emotions impact our health and which symptoms mean you are on a healing path. (Next Intro to Mind-Body Medicine: Thurs, Dec 12th)

Integrating yoga and naturopathic medicine.

Saturday, Nov 23, 1-4pm at Yoga & Tea/Carp  $60

RSVP at 613-839-1198 or www.ecowellness.com

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