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All About Organics

Far too often the word organic is misused and misunderstood. I think it’s most important to understand the reasons behind the difference staring back at you on the price tag, and then only you can decide for yourself whether it’s worth the financial, physiological, and environmental costs.

Educate Yourself

Organic standards prohibit the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, fertilizers, antibiotics, growth hormones and genetically modified organisms. Additional organic requirements are set to support the environment, including soil improvements and prevention of soil erosion.

What does this mean for you as a consumer? Potentially a greater chance of a reduction in your exposure to harmful chemicals. As an environmentally-conscious consumer? Hopefully refraining from further contributing to soil erosion, energy use, and water pollution while contributing to biodiversity.

Side tantrum: Just because it’s organic does NOT mean it’s healthy. Organic jelly beans (my favorite) are packed with organic cane sugar, tapioca syrup, and full of fruit juice and natural flavors. Can I consume them obliviously thinking I’m fulfilling my quota of that “rainbow” of fruit and veggie servings for the day? Not exactly. Anything full of sugar (even organic sugar) is not a “healthy” food. I would say the importance of selecting organics is greatest for items in the perimeter of the grocery store (think produce, meats, dairy, eggs). Easy, right?

What’s With the Seal?

The USDAs National Organics Program ensures ...

Healthy Traveling Tips

It’s officially summer and many of us—over 36 million Americans—have embraced international travel recently. For students and families in particular, this is the season for exciting adventures overseas. It may not be very glamorous, but, before heading off with passports in hand, how can we ensure the healthiest trip possible?

Your mother was right: plan ahead

  • Check if your health insurance goes beyond the US border. If not, it is easy to purchase a short term travel insurance policy.
  • Find out as much as you can about your destination’s health risks or dangers.
  • Most diseases are preventable. Talk it over with your doctor or see a travel doctor who specializes in such advice.
  • Be certain you have the needed vaccinations and medicines before heading out.
  • Don’t let ....

Culinary Herbs

Like most bright ideas, this one was sparked while sipping a mojito – why am I not growing mint? Well, this “little project” turned into a full-blown garden last year. So my challenge this year is to share with you how to grow some culinary herbs.

Why Growing Herbs at Home is Great…

  • It’s fun. Trust me, the smell of basil straight from the ground will take your mind on a direct flight to southern Italy.
  • It’s economical. How many times have you purchased a ginormous bunch of parsley, only to use a few sprigs? Having live plants means you can take as little (or as much) as you need, when you need it. One $3 basil plant can save you well over $20. You will waste less, and likely will use herbs more frequently since they will always be available.
  • It encourages creativity. When you have an assortment of plants begging to be used, you might take a handful of each and add it to the recipe. You can create endless combinations of herbs and spices to a variety of dishes.
  • It’s easy. Whether you have an amazing boyfriend that will yank rose bushes to make room for your gardening experiment, a balcony that sees the sun, or just a naked windowsill, you really can grow herbs anywhere.

Getting Started…

Spring cleansing - Part 2

 (Read part 1 of this ‘Spring Cleanse' series here for more on how many calories you actually need, how to track your intake, and what you need to know about fluids.)

The Cleanse…

There are thousands of books out there, everything from an intensive fasting period to a detailed 21+ day program. Pick one that seems like it would yield the highest degree of success for you, but remember these basic parameters of all detoxes and cleanses:

  • Don’t go less than 1200 calories a day. (Doing so stimulates a decrease in your metabolism, which unfortunately won’t immediately correct once the cleanse is completed. )
  • Don’t expect more than 2 pounds of weight loss per week. If you see this on the scale, it means you are losing lean muscle mass (not a brilliant idea since this tissue is most metabolically active = your best friend in the battle of the bulge) or you are under-hydrated. The goal is gradual fat loss, hydration maintenance, and preservation of lean muscle mass if you want your results to last.
  • Avoid junk (caffeine, alcohol, sodium, artificial sweeteners, refined sugars and refined grains). You want to get the biggest bang for your caloric buck, so opt for whole grains, fruits and vegetables rather than processed food.
  • Assess your tendency for withdrawal. This can be from caffeine, alcohol, salt, refined grains/sugars, or simply the habit of heading for frozen yogurt on weekends.

What you should know about….

  • Caffeine:

Spring cleansing - Part 1

Spring is finally here! Finally, the opportunity to congratulate Seattle for behaving according to season, and enjoy tulips that Dougie in the spring breeze, and the first panic wave reminds you that you’ve got only a few weeks before bikini season (you get the point). Your innocent neurons automatically fire “detox diet’ and “cleanse”. Well, let me warn you that I am not a fan of the “drink maple syrup and eat lemon wedges” diet. Not because nutritionally they are a joke, but if you follow one, you morph into a mix of Tasmanian devil and Garfield, a creature with a short temper, little patience, an appetite with no boundaries, yet profound laziness.

Instead, how about something realistic with sustainable results? Here are tips to clean up your eating behaviors and make sure you are on track to tackle your goals.

Track Your Intake:

Do you know how much calories, fat, sugar, fiber, fluids, etc. you are concerned about, that you are consuming these days? This is where you need to start...

Happy Doctors' Day, and thank you to all doctors!

Doctors' Day was officially designated as a national day of recognition in 1990 to honor our physicians.  We thank the members of our talented medical staff for their compassionate care of patients and their enthusiastic pursuit of safety, quality and the highest standards in the delivery of medical care.

I want to thank all of our doctors for what they do, and give special thanks to those who are blogging and providing information online.

 

 

Here are some of my personal favorite videos by our physicians from our YouTube channel:

 

 

And of course, the physicians who participate in our livestreams are pretty incredible as well:

 

I've also captured a few tweets and Facebook posts from people who wanted to thank our doctors - see below, and if you want to share any, comment here or on Facebook, and we'll share them with our amazing doctors!

Upcoming livestream on colonoscopy, colon cancer, and colon health

If you're 50 (or nearing it), you should be thinking about getting your colonoscopy. Not a pleasant thought, but it's important for everyone to get screened at 50. If you don't know much about colonoscopies, why they are important, or have questions that you're too embarassed to ask, tune in to the livestream next Wednesday between 9 a.m. and noon (Pacific Time) at www.swedish.org/colonlive.

Drs. Raman Menon and Nicholas Procaccini are hosting a livestream to discuss the benefits of colonoscopy, and why it is important that everyone at age 50 get screened. Patients at risk and those with family members who have had colon cancer may need earlier screening. March is colon cancer awareness month – and Swedish is committed to identifying new ways of communicating to better inform and to provide a new level of education to the community.

You'll be able to watch them chat live, narrate recorded colonoscopy procedures, and answer your questions live (and you can submit them anonymously - so no need to feel embarassed).

What is colon cancer?

Colon, or colorectal, cancer is cancer that starts in the large intestine (colon) or the rectum (end of the colon). Other types of cancer that can affect the colon include lymphoma, carcinoid tumors, melanoma, and sarcomas. These are often rare but can often be detected by a colonoscopy.

What is a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is the endoscopic examination of the large bowel and the distal part of the small bowel with a CCD camera or a fiber optic camera on a flexible tube passed through the anus. By having a colonoscopy, doctors are able to see potential ulcerations or polyps within the colon. During the procedure, if these are found, doctors have the opportunity to biopsy or remove suspected lesions.

Why a livestream of a colonoscopy?

The American Cancer Society says that colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. However, if caught early it often leads to a complete cure. Education and awareness is our goal. Because of awareness, the death rate for colon cancer has dropped in the last 15 years ...

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