Archive for tag: nutrition

Nutritional Certification

This week's blog is about nutritional certification. I have had a few students ask me about the nutritional certification program that I heard about through Standard Process. I wanted to share this information with everyone.

The nutrition program is from the International Foundation for Nutrition and Health (IFNH), which is a nonprofit educational organization supporting health care professionals. The Certified Clinician in Whole Food Nutrition (CCWFN) is 100-hour certification program on whole food nutrition. It is designed to help practitioners implement nutrition into their practices through the functional model. The course is in a long distance learning that allows practitioners to review material at their convenience as often as they like. The Nutritional Exam incorporates many simple hands-on tests that help the practitioner better manage his or her patients through quick verifiable results. 

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The CCWFN program is divided into seven parts, each of which consists of audio/visual lectures and supporting manuals. The seven topics that are covered are digestion, sugar handling, musculoskeletal, endocrine and male/female hormones dysfunction, immune/allergy, nutritional biochemistry, signs and symptoms, and also managing and marketing your nutritional practice.

Pros:

  • The certification helps guide practitioners through a systemic approach to implementing nutrition in his or her practice. This national exam gives practitioners a verifiable point to start nutritional program.
  • You can go at your own pace.
  • This nutritional program and certification will benefit your patients' health.

Cons:

  • Time (of course).
  • Money (the program runs between $1,450 to $2,325).

If you would more information about the nutritional exam and certification, please go to the CCWFN website.

Thank for your continued support of the AOM blog! Happy Studying!

Spice It Up

We have all heard the saying, "Variety is the spice of life." It's true. I am currently taking a very interesting class called Oriental Medicine Nutrition and Food Therapy taught by instructor Eric Baker. This class is so wonderful because it discusses Western diet, basic theory of flavors and energetics/temperatures, but also herbs and food and classical theory of diet. The required reading for the class is the Tao of Healthy Eating: Dietary According to Traditional Chinese Medicine  by Bob Flaws. 

I became more aware of the life and death importance of healthy diets after the sudden passing of my father in February 2, 2011 of an acute myocardial infarction, coronary artery disease, and hypotension. My dad loved food but he had a rich fatty diet that he refused to change. I took a good look at my diet and decided this was the year my family would commit to lifestyle change focusing on healthy eating. Many of my patients in the clinic have inquired about Chinese food therapy for weight loss, diabetes, high blood pressure, and overall improving their health.

So let's break out the spices and herbs and look at the health benefits, including higher energy, increased immunity and overall enhancement of our life and longevity.  It is so surprising how easy it is to incorporate herbs and foods in our diet. I wanted to share the spices I have incorporated in my family's diet and an herb I recently learned in Chinese nutritional class last week.                                

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Garlic

Garlic is a plant with pungent flavor. Garlic has been shown to improve cholesterol and lower blood pressure. According to the National Health and Medical Research Council, consuming half to one clove of garlic daily may reduce cholesterol by nearly 10%. In vitrostudies show garlic to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activity. Your breath might suffer, but your heart will thank you. As an antibacterial, garlic is often used to treat minor infections. 

Curry, a staple spice combo in Southeast Asian cuisine, contains turmeric, the yellow spice that gives curry its distinctive color. The active component in turmeric is called cur cumin. If you are a fan of curry, you will be happy to know that this substance is associated with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-tumor, and anti-amyloid properties. Amyloids are plaque-like proteins that build up in brain tissue, and are responsible for diseases like Alzheimer's and rheumatoid arthritis. In one randomized control study, 107 patients with knee osteoarthritis received either 800 mg per day ibuprofen or 2 grams per day Curcuma extract. Both groups showed improvement in pain on level walking and climbing stairs. Basically, curry is linked with joint health.

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Cinnamon

Cinnamon is one of my family's favorite spices. Many clinical studies have linked it to lowering blood sugar. Both in vitro and human studies show improvement in insulin sensitivity with cinnamon polyphenols, as well as improvement in total and LDL cholesterol. Cinnamon is also thought to detoxify the system and stimulate brain function. Its antiseptic properties give it the ability to fight bladder infection, and if taken in the first 48 hours, a cup of strong cinnamon tea might just nip a bladder infection in the bud. Keep in mind that mixed study results make it difficult to prove these benefits on paper - but it doesn't hurt to sprinkle a teaspoon into your next bowl of oatmeal or make a patch of yummy cinnamon pancakes (my kids love them). 

Dang Gui (Bu Due Tang)  is a Chinese herb that tonifies the blood. Dang gui roots contain phytoestrogens, which are chemicals found in plants that mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. Dang gui is said to help balance women hormones level and is good for women's overall health. It is used to treat menstrual and menopausal symptoms, including migraine, cramps, mood fluctuations, and hot flashes. It is also said to help speed a woman's recovery from childbirth and symptoms of low energy/chronic fatigue. Dang gui has been used to treat angina, high blood pressure, and irregular heart. Some studies have shown that the antispasmodic, dilating effects of dang gui may help treat chronic pulmonary hypertension in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), especially when taken in combination with the drug nifedipine. Currently, there is a study to determine if dang gui has the ability to treat cancer, liver and kidney disease. Pregnant women should not take this herb.

Cardamom is found in curries, rice dishes, herbal teas, and breads, and is the spice that gives chai tea its main flavor. In Asia, cardamom has long been valued medicinally for its ability to increase circulation and improve energy. Cardamom may also improve digestion, asthma, bronchitis, halitosis, and even help improve a bad mood. Overall, cardamom helps with energy. 

In last week's blog, I mentioned cumin. Cumin  is an excellent spice addition to meat curries, stews, vegetables, seafood, and sauces. Cumin is thought to boost the immune system and also to improve liver function, reduce flatulence, and aid in digestion. It's good to take to keep colds and flus away!       

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Ginger Root

I saved the best for last. Ginger is a root that helps relieve nausea, arthritis, headaches, menstrual cramps, and muscle soreness. I love ginger because it can treat so many symptoms. I often enjoy a cup of ginger tea. Preliminary research indicates that nine compounds found in ginger may bind to human serotonin receptors, which may influence gastrointestinal function. Research conducted in vitro tests show that ginger extract might control the quantity of free radicals and the peroxidation of lipids. In a 2010 study, daily consumption of ginger was shown to help ease muscle pain associated with exercise by 25%. Ginger root supplement has been identified in one study to help reduce colon inflammation markers such as PGE2, thus indicating a measure that might affect colon cancer.

Word to the Wise: Always discuss with your patients before treating conditions with spices and herbs to avoid any adverse interactions. For example, because garlic and ginger possess natural blood-thinning properties, individuals about to undergo surgery and those taking blood thinners should take extra precaution. An added personal side note, remember to keep herbs and spices in cool and dry places. Especially for spices, the peak life is six months in order to preserve their oils and prevent loss of pungent flavors.

Noted statistical data and research studies cited from Huonker et al. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemist, May 2010, www.sciencedaily.com, www.uofmhealth.org, www.tcmhealthinfo.org.

Remember to "spice it up" - and "herbs can be superb"! Thanks for continuing to support the AOM blog.

Happy New Year

Snake

Before we get started on the blog, I want to wish everyone at NUHS a Happy New Year and a Happy Chinese Year of the Snake!. I have some great tips for everyone this week to keep us healthy in the winter season especially if you cannot make it into National's Whole Health Clinic. 

"During the winter months, all things in nature wither, hide, return home, and enter a resting period. This is a time when yin dominates yang."
-- The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Chinese Medicine 

Thinking of Midwest winters, the first thing that pops into our heads is snow, and more snow, more and more snow, and lots more snow (just kidding, but typically true), winter break, family gatherings, overeating, holiday parties, desserts, hot cocoa, puffy coats, and of course, colds and flu. How do we take care of ourselves mentally and physically? I have four lifestyle changes that we can integrate in our daily lives to keep us healthy in the winter season. I also added Chinese nutritional food therapy, which includes a classic herb and cooking spice that we can add to our diets.

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Keys to Healthy Winter Lifestyle

  1. Exercise
    Even though we naturally slow down during this time, we should still exercise to keep our circulation flowing, immune system strong, muscles stretched, and joints lubricated. Tai Chi and Medical Qi Gong are excellent exercises.
  2. Sleep
    Wintertime is a good time to conserve your energy. This is the time you want to go to bed a little earlier and sleep a little longer. Let your body recharge. Snuggle up with a good book, a pet, or a warm soft blanket, and snooze! 
  3. Meditation
    Give your mind some quiet time. With less stress comes better sleep, which leads to a stronger immune system. Take five minutes minimum daily to sit in complete stillness and quiet--and breathe.

    I also want to recommend the healing sounds. There are six healing sounds that correspond with our organs to rejuvenate energy in our body and bring balance. There are also great YouTube videos and two books that are good reads if you are interesting in learning more about healing sounds: Healing Sounds  by Jonathan Goldman, and Six Healing Sounds: Taoist Techniques for Balancing Chi  by Mantak Chia, that comes with a CD. Dr. Yurasek and John Robertson also teach healing sounds in Medical Qi Gong class here at the National campus in Lombard.
  4. Self-reflection
    The stillness of the winter season is a good time for self-reflection and taking a good look at you. Traditionally, people have made New Year's resolutions in January, which is a form of self-reflection. I have always looked at resolutions as how we can better ourselves in the New Year. Self-reflection is a great tool to use to find the balance and peace we desperately need in our busy lives as students and for our patients.

Cumin: Nutritional Food Therapy Herb 

Gui Zhi Tang is the most important formula in the classical medical text Shang Han Lun, which translated in English means "On Cold Damage" or "Treatise on Cold Injury." This formula can be taken regularly to harmonize your Yin and Yang and to strengthen your immune system. Cumin is a spice that boosts immunity and improves liver function, reduces flatulence and aids in digestion. It is an excellent addition to meat curries, stews, vegetables, seafood, and sauces. 

Grains

According to nature, our bodies are meant to slow down and conserve energy during the winter. Times have changed since the times of the Yellow Emperor thousands of years ago in China, but the basic principles should not. Keep in mind winter's wisdom in order to stay healthy throughout the New Year! Remember this is cold and flu season, so prevention is the key. I would recommend herbs and getting acupuncture at least once a week during this cold and flu season will strengthen your immune system. 

Happy New Year and thanks for continuing to support the AOM blog!