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........taking health and wellness to a whole new level
September 2007 - Vol 4, Issue 9
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Welcome to our monthly e-newsletter! We hope that you will find this and future issues helpful and relevant. We are very interested in hearing from you. Please let us know about topics you would like to see covered in the future. In our last newsletter we explored the basic elements of summertime food safety. This month we will focus on a rather complicated topic: are organic foods really better than foods grown or produced with pesticides, herbicides, and other synthetic chemicals? Look for a discussion on gluten intolerance in our October e-newsletter.

Don't forget to check out our recipe of the month. September is national fruit and vegetable month, and our recipe this month is one you will want to try.

Portland Health and Wellness is anything but your typical medical clinic. We offer health-based cooking classes, a drop-in weight control group for men and women, and group psychotherapy for individuals with eating disorders or food and body image issues. We continue to offer exceptional individual healthcare services, workshops and classes on various health topics, and our year-long comprehensive weight reduction program. Victoria Mosse, MA, ATC, CNT, will no longer be offering pilates at ph&w;, but she can be reached at 503.546.0620 for information about her new location. Heather Rice offers small yoga classes, including yoga for larger bodies and beginner yoga. Heather is also available for individual instruction. Please call us to schedule an appointment with her.

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


  • Sept 8........Cooking 101: a class for women who hate to cook
  • Sept 10......Vinyasa yoga for beginners
  • Sept 15......One Pot Cooking for teens
  • Sept 19......12 Weeks to Mindful Eating
  • Oct 13........Cooking 101: a class for women who hate to cook
  • Oct 20........Cooking 101: a class for couples
  • Nov 17.......Mindful Eating boot camp

  • We are now offering yoga for larger bodies on Mondays from 6:45 to 7:45pm and a beginner yoga series. 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.

    Are organic foods better for us than their "conventional" counterparts? While many of us intuitively think that organic must be better for us, there is surprisingly little research on this topic. We know that organic farming is much better for the environment (and farm workers, too), but what do we really know about the risks of pesticide residues and the actual health benefits of eating organic foods?

    According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest's Nutrition Action Health Letter, out of the 900 active ingredients in pesticides legally used in the United States today, 20 are scientifically proven to cause cancer in lab tests and are considered possible carcinogens in humans. In fact, crop-duster pilots, farmers and workers who use pesticides have higher rates of asthma, Parkinson's disease, leukemia, and a variety of cancers involving the brain, skin, and prostate, etc. So, there is little doubt that people who work with pesticides, especially those who do this for a living, are at higher risk for developing serious health problems. But what if you just buy and eat foods grown with pesticides and other synthetic chemicals? And what if you have done this all of your life? Well, there is surprisingly little data on the cumulative health risks of pesticide residues on human health. We do know that older organochlorine pesticides such as DDT (which was banned years ago) are stored in body fat and persist in the environment. Newer pesticides are metabolized quickly by your body but there is no way to prove their long-term safety. A lifetime of consuming pesticide residues may well be carcinogenic, but it is extremely difficult to study the impact of pesticides on health since we are all exposed to hundreds of chemicals, from the air we breathe to the vast array of chemicals that come into contact with our skin, lungs, and digestive tract. The EPA estimates that Americans use "more than a billion pounds of pesticides each year to combat pests on farm crops, in homes, places of business, schools, parks, hospitals, and other public places."

    While the jury is not completely in for adults, the effects of pesticide residues in children are clear. Pesticides are known to affect the development of the brain and nervous system, and may well pose additional risks such as asthma and cancer. According to the EPA, "exposure to a toxin can permanently alter the way an individual's biological system operates ... Adverse effects of pesticide exposure range from mild symptoms of dizziness and nausea to serious, long-term neurological, developmental and reproductive disorders." Experts in the field of environmental science urge that babies and children be protected from the potentially harmful effects of pesticides by completely eliminating these chemicals from baby food.

    Although there is much we don't yet know about the health effects of pesticides, one thing that is certain is that some fruits and vegetables are more likely to be contaminated than others. The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a Washington, D.C-based non- profit, recently ranked the pesticide contents of commonly eaten fruits and vegetables using data obtained from the FDA and the US Department of Agriculture. According to the EWG, the 10 most heavily contaminated fruits and vegetables, in order, are as follows: 1) peaches, 2) apples, 3) sweet bell peppers, 4) celery, 5) nectarines, 6) strawberries, 7) cherries, 8) pears, 9) imported grapes, and 10)spinach. Of the 43 fruits and vegetables analyzed, the 10 least contaminated, in order, are: 1) onions, 2) avocado, 3) frozen sweet corn, 4) pineapples, 5) mango, 6) asparagus, 7) frozen sweet peas, 8) kiwi, 9) bananas, and 10) cabbage. So if you're watching your food budget, you might want to buy conventionally grown onions and avocados but insist on organic peaches, apples, and bell peppers.

    In terms of potential health benefits of organic foods, there is research indicating that some organic foods may provide a higher level of certain nutrients. For example, a recent study found that organically grown tomatoes contained significantly higher levels of the flavonoids quercitin and kaempferol. Organic oranges have been found to have higher levels of vitamin C than commercially grown oranges and organic ketchup contains more lycopene than ketchup made from conventionally-grown tomatoes. A small study found that rats fed a diet of organically grown foods had slightly better immune status, a tendency toward lower weight and less fat mass, and higher levels of vitamin E. Clearly there is a need for more research into the potential health benefits of organic food.

    There is limited research supporting the actual health benefits of organically grown food, but there is research suggesting that pesticides can be harmful to human health, especially to children. Pesticides are clearly damaging to the environment and people who work with these products for a living. By avoiding foods known to have a high pesticide content and choosing the organically grown variety, you may be minimizing any potential health risks. So the next time you're in the mood for a peach or apple, by choosing the organic one you will not only be exposed to fewer residues but your choice will be better for the environment.

    lavender peaches with lime

    We used this recipe at the Providence Bridge Pedal health expo last month and our samples were gone in no time at all! This makes a wonderful dessert and is a great way to increase your consumption of fresh fruits.

    4 large peaches (preferably organic); 2 limes; 1 tsp. Cointreau orange liqueur (optional); 6 mint leaves (dried or fresh); ? tsp lavender.

    RINSE peaches. CORE and pit peaches by slicing in half and giving a quick twist to both halves and removing the seed. SLICE each half into bite-sized chunks and place in a bowl. SLICE the limes in half with a paring knife and squeeze juice onto peaches. TOSS together with lavender and mint leaves in the bowl. DRIZZLE with Cointreau and set aside for a few minutes so the flavors can blend. SERVE peaches in a dessert bowl topped with a dollop of whipped cream or plain yogurt. GARNISH with a fresh mint leaf or a sprig of fresh lavender.

    Serves 4-6, depending on willingness to share.

    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