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April 2007 - Vol 4, Issue 4
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Although it's officially Spring and the days are finally a little longer, it's not yet time to put away our sweaters and rain paraphernalia. But at least Portlanders have one thing to look forward to....... the opening of the PSU Portland Farmers Market this Saturday (April 7th). So if you're tired of being cooped up, the downtown farmers market is a great way to get in the mood for Spring and stock op on fresh, local veggies, plants/plant starts, and seafood. By the way, if you go to their website you can preview which items are available. (http://www.portlandfarmersmarket.org/? sm=product_avail)

If you are looking for current information on women's health issues, consider attending the OHSU Women's Health Conference on Saturday, April 28th at the Convention Center. Topics covered range from recent medical breakthroughs to how to get a good night's sleep. Best-selling author and New York Times personal health columnist Jane Brody will be the keynote speaker. Her powerful talk can help you change the way you think about your health. And while you're at the conference, make sure you stop by our booth and register for a chance to win a free cooking class!

Over the years we have been asked about the differences between fish oil and flaxseed oil in terms of health benefits. In this issue we will attempt to answer the burning question: "which is a better source of omega 3 fatty acids: fish oil or flaxseed oil?". A diet rich in omega 3s can be good for your health; stay tuned for more information on their potential health benefits in our May e-newsletter.

Don't forget to check out our recipe of the month. This month we will focus on a recipe high in omega 3 fatty acids that you will want to try out.

Portland Health and Wellness is anything but your typical medical clinic. We offer health-based cooking classes, a drop-in weight control group, and group psychotherapy for individuals with eating disorders or food and body image issues. We continue to offer exceptional individual healthcare services, and workshops and classes on various health topics. We also offer a year-long comprehensive weight reduction program. Victoria Mosse, MA, ATC, CNT, offers pilates at ph&w; on Monday evenings and Wednesday mornings.

We are pleased to announce that we will be offering yoga classes once again in the very near future. Please call or visit our website for updated information.

Our clinical team is committed to providing cutting-edge healthcare services. Donald Altman, MA, in addition to being a counselor, is a former Buddhist monk and award-winning writer. He offers '12 Weeks to Mindful Eating', a program he created to help individuals develop a healthier relationship with food, as well as workshops on stress management and mindfulness. Donald also offers individual counseling at ph&w.; Juleeanna Andreoni, MS, RD , is a clinical nutritionist with a broad range of experience. She is certified in adult, adolescent, and childhood weight management. Juleeanna has appeared on AM Northwest. Christine Howard, PsyD continues to provide individual psychotherapy and is now offering group psychotherapy for individuals with bulimia or binge eating disorder. Marcela Vinocur, MD serves as the director of PH&W;'s unique weight reduction program and maintains a psychopharmacology practice.

  • Apr 7.........mindful cooking/mindful eating
  • Apr 14.......cooking with greens
  • Apt 21.......cooking 101: a class for men who hate to cook
  • May 9........intro to mindful eating
  • May 12......one pot cooking
  • May 19......cooking for diabetes made easy
  • May 23......intro to mindful eating
  • June 27.....12 weeks to mindful eating

  • Ongoing groups include a weekly drop-in weight loss group on Mondays from 4 to 5 pm (led by Juleeanna Andreoni, MS, RD / cost:$15 per session) and weekly group psychotherapy for individuals with binge eating disorder or bulimia on Tuesdays from 4 to 5:30pm (led by Christine Howard, PsyD / cost: $45 per session). Please call us for additional information.

    For up-to-date information about our upcoming workshops and classes, please check our website or give us a call. Registration and payment in advance are required for all ph&w; events and space is limited to 12 (cooking classes are limited to 6). We strongly encourage early registration.

    With all of this talk about the importance of essential fatty acids for good health, there remain some lingering questions about how much we ought to consume and from which source(s). Well, the Inuit people who live in Greenland have provided some insight into how we might benefit from omega 3s and prevent heart disease. Inuits eat a lot of fat - about 40% of their total caloric intake - but ironically have low rates of degenerative diseases including diabetes and heart disease. The catch is that these indigenous people, when they follow their traditional diets, consume different types of fats than we do with our Western diets. Inuits eat a lot of marine-derived omega 3 fatty acids in the form of fatty fish and fish-eating mammals (seal, walrus and whale). Although walrus burgers are unlikely to become the next trendy food to be served in the U.S., there are other ways to incorporate these healthy fats into our diets.

    Omega 3 fatty acids come from 2 different sources: marine-derived and plant-derived. There are 2 marine- derived essential fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. Eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA as it is known for short, is a polyunsaturated fatty acid that acts as a precursor for eicosanoids and is known to inhibit platelet aggregation. By lowering inflammation, EPA can play a beneficial role in various medical conditions including heart disease and arthritis. Docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, is found in microalgea and is concentrated in cold-water fish such as Chinook salmon (1.48 g/3-oz serving) and sardines (0.98-1.70 g/3- oz serving). White canned tuna (.73 g/3-oz serving) and capsules of omega 3 concentrate (0.5 g/g oil) can also be good sources. Interestingly, you can also obtain DHA from the marine algae crypthecodinium cohnii. Spirulina and chlorella may also be DHA sources. DHA is required, for example, for normal brain function in adults. Certain plants contain alpha- linolenic acid, or ALA. Sources of highly concentrated ALA include flaxseed oil (8.5g/tbsp) and freshly ground flaxseeds (2.2 g/tbsp). You can also find ALA in walnuts and walnut oil (1.4 g/tbsp of oil), canola oil (1.3 g/tbsp), soybeans and soybean oil (0.9 g/tbsp of oil) olive oil (0.1 g/tbsp), pumpkin seeds, and pursulane. Unlike EPA and DHA, in order for ALA to exert its positive effects, it must first be converted by enzymes in your body to EPA and DHA. Some people either lack these enzymes or have a reduced ability to carry out this conversion, potentially rendering ALA useless.

    There is mounting evidence that the consumption of marine-derived omega 3 fats does, in fact, offer health benefits. Epidemiological and clinical trials have shown EPA and DHA to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease. The dosage for benefit remains unclear at this time. There is some research suggesting that EPA and DHA supplementation ranging from 0.5 to 1.8 g/d (either as fatty fish or supplements) significantly reduces death from cardiac events.

    In terms of the health effects of ALA or plant based omega 3 fatty acids, the data is much more limited. Since ALA must be converted by a limited supply of enzymes into EPA and DHA, the ability of this essential fatty acid to have health-promoting effects is reduced. As a result, only 10%-20% of the ALA consumed is converted into the active fatty acids EPA and DHA. Flaxseed oil capsules, for example, deliver roughly 340 mg of omega 3s in six capsules when the conversion is considered. A single fish oil capsule could deliver the same amount. Flaxseed oil may be best used as a boost to your omega 3 intake, but, at least until further research is completed, should not be considered a substitute for fish or fish oils. There is some evidence to support total intakes of approximately 1.5 to 3 g/d of ALA for health benefits.

    Not all fish are created equal when it comes to both quantity of omega 3s or safety. Some species of fish may contain methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins, and other environmental contaminants and may represent a potentially significant source of contaminants for humans. Some types of fish, such as small or young fish that do not eat other fish, are low in contaminants and considered safe. These fish include all forms of salmon, including canned salmon (except from great lakes), rainbow trout, sardines, herring, and pilchard. Many fish oil capsules are made from small, young fish. Fish that eat other fish and fish that live many years, such as swordfish, shark, marlin, and large tuna, accumulate the most contaminants and are therefore not as safe to eat. Pregnant women, women who may become pregnant, and children should avoid eating these fish altogether and focus on eating other omega 3 food sources such as salmon, sardines, herring and, as a supplemental source, flaxseed oil.

    While the jury is not completely in, it appears that marine sources of omega 3s have a considerable advantage over plant sources by bypassing the need to convert ALA to DHA and EPA. When choosing either fish or fish oil capsules, it is important to keep in mind the possibility of contamination. Generally, these oils should be kept refrigerated and flax oil should never be heated. If you would like to add omega 3s or are already taking a dose larger than 3g/day, you should consult with a physician since these substances may be harmful to your health (increased LDL cholesterol, increased bleeding, etc,). Stay tuned for information on the potential health benefits omega 3 fatty acids may offer you in our May e-newsletter.
    poached salmon with citrus and tarragon sauce

    Tarragon is traditionally used in herbal vinegar for marinades and vinaigrettes, as well as in B?arnaise sauce. In this recipe, I have added the tarragon to the poaching liquid. With its sweet and spicy licorice flavour, it is a great partner for salmon. Serve with your favourite rice.

    Serves 4.

    4 ? 6 oz. filets of wild salmon; ? cup of freshly squeezed orange juice; 2 Tbsp. butter; 1 Tbsp. flour; ? tsp. salt ; ? tsp. black pepper.

    POACHING LIQUID 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil; 1 large shallot, minced; 2 cups filtered water; 4 Tbsp lemon juice; 1 heaping tsp fresh tarragon leaves, chopped.

    In a large skillet, over medium heat, SAUTE shallot and tarragon in olive oil for 1 minute. ADD water and lemon juice; BRING poaching liquid to a gentle boil; PLACE salmon, skin side up, in liquid; POACH covered for 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily; REMOVE skin and TRANSFER fish fillets to a serving platter; KEEP warm; ADD orange juice and butter to poaching liquid and HEAT. WHISK in flour and COOK until liquid thickens; SEASON with salt and pepper; POUR over salmon fillets.

    copyright 2007 portland health and wellness

    We are very interested in your comments and suggestions. Please let us know if you have a topic you would like to see covered in future newsletters. We look forward to hearing from you.


    the staff of
    Portland Health and Wellness

    phone: 503.236.4506