portland health and wellness news
........taking health and wellness to a whole new level
December 2007 - Vol 4, Issue 12
In This Issue
Sign Up
web links

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. Email us a topic (or more) you would like to see covered in future enewsletters and you will be entered for a chance to win a free cooking class.

This month we will tackle an issue that is familiar to many of us here in the great Pacific Northwest: seasonal affective disorder. We will shed light on how common this illness is in our part of the world and offer tips on how it can be treated. Next year we plan to cover a broad range of topics including vitamin D and health, how to properly dispose of expired or unused medications, and tips for avoiding the flu.

If you are struggling with maintaining your weight while you are surrounded with high calorie confections and treats at work, click on the web link on your left 'preventing holiday weight gain' for tips from our past newsletter on this topic.

Don't forget to check out our recipe of the month. Our recipe this month comes from Birgitta Hellman's cookbook 'taste this: ordinary ingredients/extraordinary flavours' .

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. 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. In early 2008 he will offer 'Mindful Eating Boot Camp'. This 2-day workshop allows people who struggle with food and time to focus on developing new skills that can have a profound impact. Donald also offers individual counseling at ph&w.; Juleeanna Andreoni, MS, RD , is a nutrition therapist 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


  • Jan 5.... .....sauces 101
  • Jan 19........mindful eating boot camp part I
  • Jan 26........healthy superbowl food
  • Feb 9..........Valentine's day cooking
  • Feb 16........mindful eating boot camp part II
  • Mar 8..........cooking 101: a class for women who hate to cook
  • Mar 22........diabetic cooking made easy
  • date tba......one pot cooking: a class for high school seniors
  • date tba......gluten-free cooking
  • date tba......cooking 101: a class for couples

  • We offer 'yoga for larger bodies' on Mondays from 5:30 to 6:30pm. 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.

    As the year draws to a close, we would like to express gratitude to all of you for your support. Whether you receive services here, attend classes or workshops periodically, or read our monthly newsletters, we hope that we have been able to support you in your path toward good health.

    2007 marks a year of many accomplishments for PH&W.; We were the proud sponsor of the Portland Farmers Market located at the Ecotrust building. We participated in the OHSU Women's Health conference, Women in Business EXPO, and the Providence Bridge Pedal Health and Wellness EXPO. We volunteered and donated services to the Diabetes EXPO. In 2007 we launched our corporate cooking classes which promote team building and wellness at the same time. Also, we offered a number of new wellness and cooking classes.

    In the New Year we plan to offer 'yoga for depression'. This class will be appropriate for anyone suffering from depression or with a history of depression. It is not intended to be a substitute for medical care. During the month of January, we will be offering yoga classes at 1/2 price for anyone who brings a friend. This offer is limited to 'yoga for larger bodies'.
    Thanksgiving has passed and Christmas is fast approaching. For some of us, this is a season to savor, full of brisk walks and long relaxing evenings warmed by a hot cup of tea. For others, however, this season marks the onset of a downward spiral into depression which is remedied only by the coming of spring. Here in the Northwest we are especially susceptible to what is known as SAD or seasonal affective disorder, due to our long dark winter days. Some experts estimate that up to 9% of people living in the northern part of the US (that includes us Oregonians!!) may suffer from SAD, while only 1.5% of our fellow Americans living in Florida are afflicted.

    So what exactly is SAD and how can we treat it? SAD is a subtype of depression or bipolar disorder that begins in the fall and dissipates in the spring as amount of daylight increases. Technically speaking, SAD is most likely caused by a disruption of the sleep/wake cycle, or circadian rhythm. The short and dark days of winter may result in the increased production of melatonin. The neurotransmitter serotonin may also play a role in seasonal affective disorder.

    If you have the following symptoms in the fall and winter only, you may be suffering from SAD: anxiety, sadness, frustration, irritability, increased appetite for foods rich in carbohydrates/sugar, weight gain, fatigue, increased need for sleep or sleep disruption, loss of libido, and avoidance of social interactions. These symptoms are specifically related to SAD if they consistently occur over the fall and winter months and then subside in the spring. People who suffer from SAD may experience increased energy in the first month of spring, in response to increasing daylight.

    The further you live from the Equator, the higher your risk becomes for developing SAD since this illness is directly related to a lack of sun exposure. So if you live in the Pacific Northwest, then you are at higher risk of developing SAD than, say, someone living in Hawaii. If you live in the Northwest and you are a teen or young woman, then your risk is even higher. Women with SAD outnumber men by at least two to one. Having a close relative with this condition also puts you at increased risk. The good news is that if you are an older adult and you have not yet had SAD, your risk is quite low of developing this condition.

    Seasonal affective disorder may occur in varying degrees of severity. While some people with SAD have debilitating symptoms which requires psychiatric treatment and even inpatient care, others may feel like they simply have a case of the "winter blues". It is also possible to have clinical depression or bipolar disorder andseasonal affective disorder. If you experience seasonally related depression but are still able to participate in your normal daily life without treatment then you may have "subsyndromal SAD". If you have subsyndromal SAD, you may still benefit from treatment.

    Fortunately, there are effective treatments for SAD. The most widely used treatment is light therapy, which consists of sitting in front of a specially designed high powered light (ten times more powerful than the average household light). Light therapy has a high success rate for treating SAD. Like other medical treatments, light therapy, or phototherapy as it is also called, should be prescribed and monitored by a knowledgeable physician. It is important to get bright light exposure on a daily basis during the fall and winter months. The length of each treatment session may vary from 30 minutes up to 2 hours a day. You may feel the positive effects of light therapy within 3 to 4 days, although it may take longer for some individuals. Side effects of phototherapy include headaches, eye strain, nausea, agitation, sedation, sweating, and, in rare cases, hypomania or mania. In combination with this treatment you may benefit from having a light in your bedroom which slowly gets brighter 1 to 2 hours before your alarm goes off in the morning to simulate a rising sun. Depending on the severity and type of your depression, a doctor may prescribe antidepressants with light therapy to help balance your brain chemistry. Recently one particular anti- depressant was FDA approved for the treatment of SAD. There have been at least 2 studies supporting a role for St. John's wort in the treatment of SAD. Psychotherapy may be beneficial for people suffering with SAD. Regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy diet, spending time with family and friends, and getting as much exposure to natural light as possible may also help alleviate SAD symptoms. A tropical vacation may be therapeutic as well. So if you are one of many Oregonians suffering from the winter blues, now may be the right time to seek help. If you would like to know more about SAD please visit some of the web links above.

    by Laurel Shonerd
    chocolate coconut almond clusters

    This recipe can easily be varied to suit your taste. You can experiment with other nuts or seeds, and dried fruits such as cranberries or cherries. While this recipe is not particularly low in fat, it is tasty and sure to be a hit if you serve it at a holiday party.

    1 cup toasted almonds, coarsely chopped; 1/2 cup shredded coconut; 6 ounces good quality dark chocolate or chocolate chips.

    MELT chocolate in a double boiler using low heat. If you are not using chips, make sure you chop it in to small pieces so it will melt more easily. STIR often and make sure it melts evenly. SET aside once the chocolate has completely melted and is of smooth consistency.

    Take a cookie sheet and line it with waxed paper. MIX together the chopped almonds with the coconut in a medium bowl. ADD this mixture to the melted chocolate. If your double boiler is too small, you may add the chocolate to the nut mixture. STIR until the chocolate evenly coats the nuts and coconut. Using a large spoon, place heaping clusters on the cookie sheet at least an inch apart. PLACE cookie sheet in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to set. STORE refrigerated or in a cool place. SERVE at room temperature.

    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