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© 2017 by Erika Siegel

Nourishing Tips & Recipes

November 2, 2018

Welcome to my multi-part series on living well. Watch for Part 2 coming soon!

Part 1: Aikido

We often teach what we most need to learn, right? Well this is my life lesson for sure: keeping all the balls in the air while enjoying myself fully; trying to live to my highest potential as a mom, doctor, wife, friend, community member and generally fun-loving person; and raising the best little humans I possibly can. As any good juggler (aka mom) knows, keeping all those balls in the air requires not only balance, but flexibility, strength, pretty awesome hand-to-eye coordination, and a zen-like ability to focus on the present moment.

​Lately I've been thinking about Aikido, a Japanese martial art which is translated as "the way of unifying with life energy.” The goal of this defensive art form is to defend yourself while also protecting your attacker from injury. “Aikido is performed by blending with the motion of the attacker and redirecting the force of the attack ra...

February 14, 2018

The breast tissue likes to move and be massaged just like the rest of you! Tucking your breasts away in constrictive bras--along with lack of exercise, shallow breathing, and poor posture--restricts the blood and lymphatic flow to this very important part of your body.

It’s time to start celebrating and massaging the breasts!

Breast tissue is rich with glands and lymphatic tissue, and therefore can be a place of stagnation and toxicity if not moved. Some breast tissue can be very dense and tender, which will actually change with regular breast massage! Simply bringing more circulation and loving attention to your breasts will regenerate the cells and lead to better breast health. You can massage your breasts if you have had surgery or cancer, even on scar tissue; in fact I think it is vital.

The skin on the chest is thin with a lot of fatty tissue, making it a wonderful place to absorb therapeutic essential oils. The center of your chest is home to an important confluence of lymphatic ve...

December 15, 2017

Rosemary Gladstar, one of my herbal heroes, has a mission to help bring medicinal herbalism back into people’s kitchens. She perfected and popularized this folk remedy in the 80’s and it has been passed along ever since. With a quick search, you will find many variations to this recipe and you can feel free to slightly vary to your liking. Fire Cider is somewhere between a medicine and a condiment, and is ideally made just as the summer starts to cool off so that it's ready for you in the fall.   

Fire Cider is a warming, mineral-rich tonic combining the healing effects of immune-supportive roots and herbs steeped in raw apple cider vinegar and honey. This fiery tonic is perfect for cold days to chase away the chill. It supports the immune and digestive systems within minutes. I suggest taking a little or a lot daily during the cold months as your immune insurance policy, and take more at first signs of a cold. For weak digestion (bloating, gas), I suggest a hearty splash...

November 2, 2017

It seems that every few years a vitamin becomes famous. Vitamin D has been enjoying the spotlight for a few years now as the “it” vitamin. Medical doctors, who seldom get as excited about vitamins as Naturopathic doctors do, are also testing and prescribing Vitamin D with fervor. Here are the most common questions I get on this crucial and often-deficient vitamin.

So the SUN gives us vitamin D! How does that happen and what does that mean for people in rainy climates?

Well, actually the sun’s UVB light triggers a reaction in our exposed skin to form Vitamin D. Living in Portland, I experience our little secret that the Great Northwest is greatly covered in clouds for half of the year. What this means for us and for other folks that miss out on ample sun exposure is that we have chronically low Vitamin D levels and really need to get those levels up! Studies have shown that people ’round the world are significantly deficient as they get farther from the equator. Almost every Portland pati...

September 20, 2017

My husband says that fall is lovely for a week or so but then it’s a slow and sometimes sad prelude to winter. He is singing a different tune today as he tasted my beautifully orange PUMPKIN MUFFINS and knows there are more pumpkin creations on the way.

These muffins are moist in the center, reminiscent of a pumpkin pie. I like to use pumpkin wherever I can because it offers a good deal of betacarotene and antioxidants. Even if you can tolerate eggs, this is a great recipe to try flax meal, which I often use as an egg substitute. Flax seeds offer special fiber, fats and a lot more. I double this recipe because they freeze well, but honestly it is so I can eat as many as I want and not feel like I am stealing the kids' muffins!

These simple pumpkin muffins are gluten free, filled with healthy fat and protein, and contain no cane sugar. Our boys ate pumpkin muffins this morning topped with organic pasture butter. They thought they were starting their day with dessert. Truth is they were r...

August 15, 2017

Environmental Allergies

This post addresses seasonal, environmental, and animal dander allergies; the kind that make for running noses, itchy eyes, scratchy throats, and lots of sneezing.  

Controlling allergies requires focus on two things: 

reducing exposure

and

minimizing the body’s reaction

To reduce allergy symptoms, consider the following suggestions:

  • Wash hands often 

  • Avoid touching eyes 

  • Use home air filtration, change furnace filters every 3 months  

  • Keep windows closed (during hay fever season if you suffer)  

  • Use hypoallergenic bedding  

  • Create an allergy-free sleeping environment  

  • Cleanse sinuses often (check out “sinucleanse,” “nasaline”) 

  • Drink lots of water to dilute allergens  

  • *Avoid any suspected or known FOOD allergens/sensitivities.  

  • *Reduce burden on immune system by decreasing stress, getting good sleep and eating the right foods 

Many people with allergies are very fa...

July 29, 2017

Strawberry basil lemonade is the perfect afternoon refresher. We need to step up our hydration efforts in this warm weather, and this recipe will do the trick! Basil offers a unique aroma as well as flavonoids which act as antioxidants, protecting our cells from damage. And the lemons and strawberries make this drink high in Vitamin C.

Strawberry Basil Lemonade

Makes 5 cups

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 6-7 lemons)

  • 15 large organic strawberries

  • 3 cups cold water plus few tablespoons of hot water

  • 3-5 tablespoons honey (depending on desired sweetness)

  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil (alternately mint, or combination) (about 10 leaves)

  • OPTIONAL: use 1-3 drops of lemon essential oil to replace some of the fresh lemon juice

  • OPTIONAL: use stevia for sweetening or a combination of honey and stevia. Go slowly with stevia, as it’s very concentrated. I usually add about 10 drops in addition to some honey.

Directions:

  1. In small cup, add just enoug...

May 19, 2017

Maximizing Fertility with a Healthy Luteal Phase 

This great diagram shows the hormonal influences and activities over the course of a “normal” 28 day cycle. Now, many women do not necessarily have clockwork cycles, but they will likely still follow a similar rhythm. When determining causation for irregular cycles or sub-fertility it is important to evaluate both phases of the cycle to find where the hormone action may be out of balance.

The follicular phase is the time during a woman’s monthly cycle from the first day of menses to ovulation. It typically lasts two weeks. During this time estrogen is dominant. The luteal phase refers to the time in a woman’s cycle beginning at ovulation and ending when menses begin. The luteal phase typically lasts two weeks. The luteal phase culminates in the production of the corpus luteum that secretes progesterone. Progesterone helps to thicken the lining of the uterus in preparation for the possibility of pregnancy as well as helping to maintain pre...

March 25, 2017

Greetings, fellow food recyclers!

I bet you also get great satisfaction in recreating leftovers into something fresh and new. Giving tired-seeming food another hat to wear is a delicious and economic way to earn some good kitchen-karma! Here are some ideas to try out with your family!


After the morning rush we are often left with half eaten bowls of cereal or oatmeal. (you too?) well, those bowls of not-so-appealing-cereal-mush can miraculously become….

Cereal Cookies

Sometimes I feel particularly proud of a leftover discovery; this is one of those times. All you do is collect mushy leftover cereal and/or porridge over a couple of days and keep it in the fridge covered until you are ready to get baking. (Baking will kill bacteria that may have been left behind but since those spoons have been in your mouths, perhaps you won’t be serving these cookies to your guests. :))

Ingredients:

These are approximate measurements as ingredients vary*!

  • 2 cups leftover soaked cereal, oatmeal or porrid...

January 8, 2017

Chia seeds are a remarkable food. They swell in liquid, revealing a soft, slippery inside, chock full of impressive nutrition. The word “chia” is a Mayan word meaning “strength,” as this unassuming seed served as a superfood for the Mayans and Aztecs as far back as 3500 B.C. Members of the Tarahumara Mexican Indian tribe (popularized in the book Born To Run) use chia seeds to sustain them as they run up to fifty miles a day. For me, I enjoy these seeds for excellent nutrition and stamina to get me through my own version of ultra-marathon days. I notice that when I have chia pudding for breakfast, my blood sugar and energy stay remarkably stable for longer than usual.


 

People either really like chia seed pudding or really do not. It’s a consistency thing. This pudding is well worth the try to be able to enjoy such a dynamic super seed. (And if you don’t like your chia creation, add a few spoonfuls to smoothies where it will disappear.)

When mixed with a little milk and something sweet,...

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