Friday, December 25, 2015

No more old fashioned oatmel: NEW Super-food Oatmeal recipe

I never really liked oatmeal until I was in my 30s.  It was bland, sticky, and no matter how hard I try, I could not find a good flavor using old recipes.  The instant stuff was delicious, but it was processed and full of sugar.  I had tried it with raisins and cinnamon like my mother taught me, and while it kept me satiated, it was no my favorite breakfast.  My how things have changed!  Maybe it was all the nutrition knowledge I gained in grad school, or maybe it was the need to eat a healthy breakfast even when I was on the go, or maybe I just decided to experiment until I found a great recipe, but no matter the reason why, oatmeal is now one of my favorite quick breakfasts.  I love the fiber in it, and the versatility.  Instead of seeing it as a sticky, bland, boring breakfast, NOW I use the dish as a carrier for as many super foods as I can fit in it, and yes, it is delicious.  Here's one of my tried and true recipes.

1/2 c dried old fashioned rolled oats
1 Tablespoon of coconut oil
1-1/2 Tablespoons dried goji berries*
1/4 cup of walnuts**
1 teaspoon of chia seed, flax seed, or hemp seed***
1-1/2 Tablespoons of honey****
3/4 cup boiling water

This is the convenient breakfast that can be prepared the night before.  Simply put all ingredients EXCEPT the water in a bowl.  You can carry this with you anywhere and add water when you are ready to eat.  Most work places have a hot boiling water tap attached to the water cooler or a hot bun water filter. If not, you can "brew" water in a coffee maker by sending it through the coffee machine without the coffee grounds.  This will also get the water hot enough.  Add the water to the oatmeal,  stirring thoroughly to mix in the coconut oil as it melts while you stir in the hot water.  Cover and let steep for 3-5 minutes until majority of the water is absorbed.  Eat hot.

* You can get these from most high quality grocery stores, but I also like dried unsweetened cranberries or raisins
** You can use any nut you wish to add protein.  I found that whole pistachios are not as good as other nuts.
*** Feel free to try  1 Tablespoon of this blend in place of the above.  This can be purchased at Whole foods or online.
**** Feel free to substitute maple syrup in place of honey, or you can use Stevia leaf to taste for less calories, or skip sweetener altogether.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Fall Eating w/Turkey Soup Recipe

Eating For the Seasons—fall
As the trees let go of the leaves because they are no longer beneficial, so to begins the phase in the seasons to let go of unhealthy patterns. Autumn is the time for turning inward, releasing, reflecting, finishing projects, and according to Chinese medicine; it is the period for nourishing the lung and large intestines.  This is a perfect season to do a full body cleanse and to support and clean the intestines.  It is also time to focus on nourishing the lungs through increased exercises like yoga, cardio, and stretching.  Skin brushing and exfoliation are an ideal remedy to permit the skin to assist in a full body detox and act as a third lung.  This allows the skin to breathe and further remove toxins.
Eating seasonally and locally nourishes overall health, so for this autumn, here are a few items to look for to nourish the body & mind.
  •      Nuts and seeds: pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds, or sunflower seeds
  •          Seasonal Mushrooms to assist in minimizing colds and flu.
  •          Beans and legumes for health easy to digest protein.
  •          Spicy herbs like cayenne & ginger to add heat and nourish digestion.
  •          Squashes & root vegetables like beets, carrots, parsnips, turnips, and celery root (celeriac) will ground you and soothe digestion.
  •          Garlic and Onion are perfect for boosting the immune system.
  •          Increase LEAN proteins like chicken and turkey
  •          Enjoy cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli,  bok choy, and cauliflower

Tip for the season: Make some Chicken and vegetable soup and/or use your left over turkey from Thanksgiving to make a wonderful soup.  Throw some of the items listed above into a pot with some chicken or vegetable broth and let it simmer for an easy nourishing soup.

(This article is also written and posted at Vitality Chiropractic Center by me, Shandalla Seirawan-Oct. 2015).

Post Thanksgiving Turkey Soup
  1. 3 cups Leftover Turkey meat from Thanksgiving, as well as, bones and drippings
  2. 2 quarts of chicken broth
  3. 1 Tbs of  white, rice, OR apple cider vinegar (this will get the turkey bones to release it's immune boosting properties, and the vinegar will go unnoticed and evaporate off)
  4. 2+ cups water
  5. 4 cloves garlic minced
  6. 1 onion chopped
  7. 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  8. 2 carrots, sliced
  9. 2 leeks whites only, cleaned thoroughly and loosely chopped
  10. 8 oz mushrooms, chopped
  11. 1/4 of a cabbage, loosely chopped
  12. 4 Tbs fresh Parsley, divided and minced finely
  13. 2 Bay leaves
  14. 1 Tbs Dry Italian Seasoning
  15. 1 Tbs Dry Basil
  16. Salt and Pepper to taste


In a large saute pan, add olive oil and saute garlic, onion, and celery until onion is transparent. Add in carrots and leeks.  Saute another 5 min and transfer to a large stock pot.  Add in all remaining ingredients, reserving 2 Tbs of fresh parsley as a garnish. Simmer for 1-1/2 hrs, adding water as needed due to loss because evaporation, keep bones covered with liquid. Once the soup has simmered, REMOVE bones and Bay leaf and discard, add parsley garnish on top, and serve hot with leftover rolls or any other bread.  BEWARE of small bones that may have been missed, this could be a choking hazard.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Fun fall Kale recipe

Hey all, how about a delicious fall kale recipe? This was requested by one of my super awesome patients who wants to eat more dark green vegetables, but hadn't found a kale recipe she liked. This is one of my all time favorites, so enjoy.

1Tbs olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bunch of kale stemmed and lightly chopped
1/2 c water/chicken/OR vegetable broth
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp of Nature's Seasoning
salt to taste

In a frying pan, add olive and garlic.  Sauté garlic on med heat until it just starts to turn a nutty brown color. Toss in kale and sauté until it begins to change color to a darker brighter green. Next, add in broth and cover to steam for about 7 min. Uncover and turn heat to medium high stirring constantly until broth almost completely evaporates. Reduce heat to med low and stir in lemon and Nature's Seasoning making sure to coat evenly. Cook about 3-4 min more.  Serve hot. Salt to taste.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

10 Tips to Avoid Getting A Cold or the Flu

10 Tips to Avoid Getting A Cold or the Flu
By: Shandalla Seirawan, M.Sc., LMP

As a natural health practitioner, during this time of year, I get asked regularly, "How do you prevent yourself from getting a cold or the flu?" Here I'm going to reveal what I, and other natural health practitioners due on a regular basis to prevent illness.  The best offense is a good defense.  The biggest thing I do for myself is keep my immune system functioning at it’s most optimal.  Prevention is the key because once you have an illness, the only thing you can do is support the immune system, rest, hydrate, and wait until your body does its job to fight off the virus.

·         First and foremost, WASH YOUR HANDS....A LOT! I can't express this enough. If someone sneezes into their hand, opens a door, and then you touch the same door they did, BAM, you have just contacted whatever nastiness was lurking on their hands from the sneeze. Then, you scratch your nose, rub your eyes, touch something, or worse, you eat something and/or lick your fingers. Now you've just ingested that nastiness they were carrying.  By touching your eyes, nose or mouth, you just let it enter your body through the thin mucous membranes and turn you into a host.  Now you have a virus.  Wash your hands, often, especially before eating anything.  Avoid rubbing your eyes, nose, or touching your mouth without a barrier or cleaning your hands.  Most viruses and bacterium enter the body through these locations.

·         Stay hydrated, especially during those long holiday trips when it's easy to skip water. Carry a water bottle with you and fill it up with water when you can.  Try to stick to the guideline of 8-8 oz glasses/day. This is easy to incorporate by filling up when you stop to get gas or using the airport water fountains.  This will give your body some well needed benefits, like the ability to have your blood move around more easily, which transports ALL your cells, including the cells responsible for boosting immunity.  Further, it helps to eliminate toxins and prevents dehydration, which can prevent travel fatigue.

·         Absolutely get 8 hrs of rest to keep your brain and immune system at maximum capacity.

·         Get a least SOME exercise 3-5 times a week. Even if it's just walking for 20 -30 minutes or running up and down the stairs at home or work. Any exercise counts. With the New Year right around the corner, get a jump start and invest in your health by getting a fitness tracker like a Fit Bit or getting a gym membership.  If you want something SUPER COST EFFECTIVE, get a plain old pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps a day.  Exercise has been shown to boost your body's natural immune system.
·         Take a probiotic. This contains good bacteria that increase your immune system. They are found in yogurt, kambucha, and fermented foods. This will increase the good bacteria in your intestines and prevent the bad bacteria that cause intestinal issues and other health problems from colonizing in your body.  Probiotics help your intestines stay in proper working order.  This is important because elimination through bowl movements gets rid of your body's toxins. In natural medicine, one of our main pieces of treatment to boost the immune system is to promote proper intestinal function and assist in elimination. 
·         Eat mushrooms, on everything. Or better yet, see your naturopathic physician to see if a mushroom extract is right for you. Mushrooms have been clinically proven to boost the immune system even better than the more well-known cold fighter, Echinacea.

·         Consume vitamin C and eat citrus fruits.  This time of year, I personally take 1 packet of Emergen-C and eat citrus regularly to boost my immune system.

·         Eat a lot of garlic or take encapsulated garlic. This boosts your immune system function and has been shown to be antibacterial and antiviral.  Take the encapsulated garlic as directed. You can take it with orange juice to get your vitamin C and kill the taste. The smelly kind works best, but for those who just cannot handle that, they make a garlic pill that is odorless. 

·         Get your vitamin D levels checked.  With winter coming, there's very little sun available to those located in the Pacific NW.  Our body uses the sun to create vitamin D. Without it, we're at risk for depleted vitamin D levels. This can cause depression, winter seasonal affective disorder, fatigue, chronic pain, and decreased immune function.

·         Finally, for the sweetest immune booster, my personal favorite is elderberries. This can be taken in pill form, extract form, as a tea, or in syrup.  Not only are elderberries delicious, but they give your immune system a huge bump when taken regularly throughout the season. You can sweeten your tea or water with the syrup, or take about a 1/4 of a spoonful of the syrup for the fullest flavor. Consume daily as directed for fullest benefits.

So there you have it.  A natural healthcare practitioner's guide to keeping her immune system strong.  This is in no way completely inclusive, but this is a good start as we enter the holiday season.  If it seems like too much all at once, the first 4 tips are the most important and then you can add any of the others, 1 or 2 at a time where possible.  Keep your eyes open for more tips to come on staying healthy.

I want to say that this material is meant for the average healthy adult who is not taking any medications, with no allergies or medical illnesses. Further, it is in no way meant to replace any doctor's advice or the advice of your primary medical practitioner. Consult with your physician with any questions or before adding any new herbs, health regiments, exercise, or health practices to your lifestyle. This advice is not meant to treat any illness or meant to take place of any advice, recommendations, prescriptions, or treatments from your doctor. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Eating Healthy On A Dime

Yes, eating healthy on a dime can be done. Especially if you're used to buying a decent lunch; by decent,  I mean those who skip the fast food chains and opt for things like gourmet soups,  sandwiches and salads. 
I hear so many people complain that eating healthy is so expensive,  but in truth,  I think they may just not know how to shop.
First let me tell you what inspired this post today. Let me start with this.  SOOO here's what happened to me this month,  my car broke down, yep, it sucks,  but it happens to all of us, but this was a bit exceptional.  Let me precise with this, being a younger 30 something just getting my bearings in life right after grad school, I know enough to save money in the event of an emergency,  but being young and just getting started,  there's not a huge amount of excess available yet.  Thankfully,  I had enough to fix my car,  but this is what my month looked like. (Please no complaints about grammar,  this is meant to be a satiric representation of the events that transcribed).

Driving, driving, driving, all of a sudden, every sensor in my car comes on, thermostat gauge jumps to "I'm on fire," just kidding, but seriously "I'm WAY over heating" Oh crap, where am I at,  great on the I-90 bridge heading into Seattle for the day. Not a good place to leave your car, because it's likely to be towed right before rush hour, so I quickly roll down the windows and blast the heat to pull the extra heat off the engine,  and take the next exit. Cognitive mapping system kicks in once I'm on the exit, and I realize, "great, I'm in one of the worst possible areas ever to be female and alone with a broken down overheating car." Ok, now what?  Keep driving, slowly taking the back roads to West Seattle until I reach the home of my Seattle mom (one of the best woman I know, she's is not my mom, but lives in Seattle, and claims me as her adopted daughter). Anyway,  by the time I arrive at her house 15 min later, my car is very steamy, very overheated, and I'm praying I didn't do major damage. Sweet, Seattle mom calls AAA and has me towed to a nearby mechanic's garage. The result?  Broken serpentine belt and water pump,  boo. That will be $600, OMG.  Tap into savings, thank you to my loving husband for the assist on that one. I finally get my car back, and I'm happy because the bus system takes FOREVER, to get me to work,  I'm talking 1.5 hrs+20 min walking,  for what is normally a 12 min,  7 mile drive.   Celebrating my survival of this short term personal catastrophe, 3 days later I'm driving and my car yells, "But wait there's more." Well, actually,  my car temperature gauge suddenly keeps reading that my car is overheating (but no check engine light). WTF CAR?  After visually checking and inspecting my car, everything seems fine. Ok, weird.  Well its time to change the oil and flush the radiator anyway, so maybe that's all it needs. Radiator fluid is low and purple instead of pink,  yes,  it's definitely time to fix that. Total due $180. Ok,  NOTHING ELSE CAN GO WRONG WITH THIS CAR BECAUSE I CAN'T AFFORD IT. Then 3 days more go by,  yay, happy car,  WRONG,  thermostat starts acting up again,  but everything still seems fine, I will get that checked this weekend. Driving, driving, driving OH CRAP,  ALL MY SENSORS CAME ON...AGAIN! "NOOOO! What now car? WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU? " The car is still not overheating,  but says it's overheating, my check engine light came on with a few other sensor lights, and I'm in panic mode. "Please,  please, please just let my car be a hypochondriac because i can't afford this anymore."  So I take the car to another shop,  no such luck on the hypochondria wish.  As you can guess by now what the problem is, the thermostat sensor went out, "that'll be $225." Omg.  THANKS SWEET HUSBAND for a second assist...  AND NOW,  I AM BROKE... with 6 days left until payday. A woman has to eat.  Which leads me to the second part of this post. 

Eating healthy on a budget :)

As a woman who works in the alternative medicine and natural health industry,  I constantly preach eating healthy,  a good plant based diet,  moderate exercise, minimizing sugar,  and participating in preventative health care for the body.  Just like a car needs routine maintenance,  good fuel,  good oil,  etc etc,  so too does the body if you want to keep it functioning at an optimal level. That being said,  as a natural health practitioner,   my integrity is based on practicing what I preach. Don't get me wrong, I still eat cake occasionally,  and this may come as a shock,  but I'll indulge in a giant cheeseburger from time to time,  but over all,  I try to eat very healthy. This can add up if you don't know how to do it, but being on a VERY TIGHT budget this week which means,  absolutely no splurging. It's Sat, and I have to go to work. I have $25 to spare on lunch extras this week. What can I do?  Eating out is obviously not an option for lunch with the average cost of a healthy lunch being roughly $15 in my location. What to do,  what to do?

Time to go grocery shopping (or hit your local farmers market if you can), so here's what I did. I went to our main grocery store chain and hit the produce isle.  I basically live there when I'm in the grocery store anyway because that's where all the best healthiest stuff is. I stay out of most of the other isles with the exception of the natural food isle.  They don't have much to offer a healthy eater like me. Here's what I bought. 

1 pound of washed, chopped ready to serve organic arugula.
2 organic red delicious apples
1 bag of organic baby carrots
1 head of celery
32 Oz free range chicken broth
1 small container of humus
3 bananas
2 small avocados
1 pouch of Seeds of Change organic brown rice quinoa mix (it's already cooked,  so it's perfect for lunch)
Ginger root

Wow,  I'm impressed with myself. That's a healthy lunch for at least 3 days.

Some of you are looking at this like,  "what the hell are you going to do with this mix matched group of ingredients?" Here's what you can do.

Day one:
Yummy green smoothie:
Handful of arugula
5-6 baby carrots
1 stock of celery
1/2 an avocado
1 apple, cored
1 in piece of ginger
1 banana

Yep,  it was delicious. Some people may think this is weird because the arugula,  but I love the spicy, nutty flavor arugula provides on a smoothie.

Day two:
1 cup of hot chicken broth (heat in microwave)
Small handful of arugula
1/4 cup of quinoa mix
Tiny amount of chopped ginger

Veges with humus:
carrots and celery with humus
1/2 avocado chopped with salt, pepper,  and lemon juice (optional)

Day 3:
1 cup hot chicken broth w/ 1/2 stalk chopped celery,  3 chopped carrots
1/4 c quinoa mix

1 cup arugula
1/2 chopped apple
1/2 chopped stalk of celery
4 chopped baby carrots
Whatever salad dressing, or 1-2 tsp olive oil and 1Tbl apple cider vinegar (hopefully you have dressing or something like this on hand)

This is a 3 day sample menu. I still, easily, have enough produce to repeat this menu for the last 3 days until I get paid. Healthy lunch problem solved. Woop woop!

If you'd like easy cheap additions to this menu, look in your refrigerator. I have eggs on hand that I can boil and bring to add to my menu. I also usually have a selection of Mediterranean olives in my fridge, which are a delicious addition to add some good fat.