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........taking health and wellness to a whole new level
March 2008 - Vol 5, Issue 3
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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. 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.

Whether you receive services at ph&w;, attend classes or workshops periodically, or read our monthly newsletters, we strive to support you on your path to good health.

March is National Nutrition Month, so we've decided to take this opportunity to dig up some interesting nutrition facts and dispell some common myths. We will also explore what constitutes a healthy diet and offer some practical suggestions for how to maintain a diet that is packed with the nutrients your body needs to thrive. And don't forget to check out our newsletter next month which will explore the role of food in causing inflammation.

Our recipe this month is inexpensive to prepare and packed with fiber and vitamin A, and is a great source of protein, iron and vitamin C.

Portland Health and Wellness is anything but your typical medical clinic. We offer health-based cooking classes, yoga classes, 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 yoga for depression. 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. He also offers '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. Christine Howard, PsyD continues to provide individual psychotherapy and is now offering group psychotherapy for individuals with bulimia or binge eating disorder. Marta Vaughn, RD, LD is a registered dietitian who provides individual nutrition therapy and offers workshops and cooking classes. She is passionate about the connection between food and health. Marcela Vinocur, MD serves as the director of PH&W;'s unique weight reduction program and maintains a psychopharmacology practice.


  • Mar 8..........cooking 101: a class for women who hate to cook
  • Mar 22........diabetic cooking made easy
  • May 2 & 3....mindful eating boot camp part I
  • May 17........mindful eating boot camp part II
  • date tba......one pot cooking: a class for high school seniors
  • date tba......gluten-free cooking
  • date tba......cooking 101: a class for couples
  • date tba......sauces 101

  • We offer 'yoga for depression' on Mondays from 4:30 to 5:30pm, and '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.

    We now offer private cooking lessons for families and small groups. In addition, we offer corporate cooking classes, which provide organizations a unique opportunity for team building.

    In honor of National Nutrition Month, for the month of March only we will offer 3 nutrition therapy sessions with Marta Vaughn, RD, LD for the price of 2, as long as the 2 sessions are pre-paid and the sessions are completed by June 30. This offer is non-refundable and non-transferrable. Marta is a Regence Blue Cross/Blue Shield preferred provider. If you are using insurance, there would be no charge to you or your insurance carrier for the 3rd visit. Please call Joyce at 236.4506 for more details.
    March is National Nutrition Month, and with good reason. Although we all know it's important to have a healthy diet, what, exactly, a healthy diet consists of is less than clear. Does it mean a diet that is low in fat? Low in sodium? Free of animal products? Low in calories? What may be a healthy diet for you could very well be different than for your spouse, friend, or children. And with so much information available through the internet, printed media or other sources that profess expertise in nutrition, it's never been more challenging to sift through the facts and the myths. While the best way to determine your particular nutritional requirements is to meet with an expert in the field - a registered dietitian - the aim of this article is to provide you with some rough guidelines and helpful tips.

    There are 3 major components to a healthy diet: caloric content, macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats and proteins), and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). On the other hand, the presence of synthetic chemicals (hormones, pesticide residues, artificial colors, preservatives, etc.) may pose some health risks. Ignore any one of these key components, and an otherwise healthy diet may not deliver as many healthful benefits. While many of us eat what we want, when we want, the reality is that these choices, genetics aside, can play a major role in our health, especially as we age. For example, a low fat, low calorie diet may help you lose or maintain your weight, but you may be short on fat-soluble vitamins that require the presence of fats in your diet for proper absorption. If you eat a diet full of fresh vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats but consume too many calories, the extra pounds you are carrying around may put you at risk of weight-related diseases down the road, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc. In our September 2007 newsletter we covered some of the risks associated with the use of pesticides and suggested that in some cases, it likely is better for your health to eat organic.

    In terms of macronutrients, there continues to be some debate over just what percent protein vs. carbs vs. fat we ought to eat. In general, most of us should consume 45-65% of our calories from carbohydrates, 20-35% from fat, and 10-35% from protein. In terms of health effects, not all carbohydrates are created equal. Fast acting carbohydrates, or fast carbs as they are also known, can cause blood sugar levels to spike and fall rapidly. A diet high in processed fast carbs may increase your risk of central vision loss as you age, even if you don't have diabetes. And all fats are not bad for your health. For instance, after consuming an oil-rich fish such as salmon, volunteers had a 22 percent reduction in the number of small LDL (low- density lipoprotein, also known as 'bad cholesterol') particles. Pinto beans, which are a great source of protein, also happen to lower your LDL level.

    What you eat matters, and so does when you eat. In a study that looked at people who ate one meal a day versus the same food and number of calories spread over three meals, eating one meal a day resulted in significant increases in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and in blood pressure, compared to when they ate three meals a day. Although eating one meal a day resulted in slight weight loss and decrease of fat mass, when volunteers ate only once a day they had higher morning fasting blood sugar levels, higher and more sustained elevations in blood sugar concentrations, and a delayed insulin response.

    There are a number of vitamins and minerals, or micronutrients, which are essential for good health. An extreme example of the importance of micronutrients is folate. Pregnant women who are folate-deficient have a much higher risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect such as spina bifida or even anencephaly (failure of the brain to form). The current recommendation is for all women of childbearing age, whether or not they are planning a pregnancy, to take 400 mcg (0.4mg) of folic acid. During pregnancy, women should take 800 micrograms daily. Another example is selenium deficiency, which appears to play a role in autoimmune thyroiditis. And did you know that magnesium deficiency is associated with elevated triglyceride levels, decreased HDL ("good") cholesterol levels and an increased risk of developing gallstones?

    To complicate matters, an otherwise healthy diet may not be providing all of the micronutrients that your body needs to function optimally. For example, if you need 1000 mg of calcium per day and you take a supplement once a day, your body is only able to absorb about 500 mg at a time, so you won't get the full amount. Ever heard of nutrient-nutrient interactions? Well, it's true. Some components of foods can impair the absorption of other nutrients. For example, if you eat foods high in phytic acids (such as bran) or oxalates (such as spinach, beet greens, rhubarb, chocolate, and black tea), or consume excess sodium (>2400 mg/day), then your ability to absorb calcium can be impaired. Use of zinc supplements can inhibit the absorption of iron, as does the simultaneous consumption of tea or coffee. Conversely, a diet inadvertently too high in fat soluble vitamins or iron can lead to toxicity.

    Without a doubt, the best way to meet your daily requirement of essential nutrients is by consuming a healthy, varied and balanced diet, and to eat three meals a day. Despite commercials and advertisements, dietary supplements are not intended to be a substitute for healthy eating. There is a wealth of information available at your finger-tips regarding nutrition, but you may want to consider a health tune- up by meeting with the expert, a registered dietitian (RD). An RD can identify missing or excess micronutrients, recommend a balance of macronutrients tailored to your needs for weight loss or weight gain, and walk you through the maze of pesticides/additives in foods in order to optimize your health.
    creamy lentil soup

    This thick and creamy soup is easy to prepare and tastes great. Although you will need to allow several hours of preparation time, it is worth the wait! May be prepared in advance and re-heated. Makes 4-6 servings.

    2 c of lentils, sorted and washed; 4 c of boiling water; 1 small onion; 3 stalks celery ; 1 c chopped frozen spinach; 1 TBSP tomato paste; 1 ham hock; 1/2 tsp marjoram; salt and pepper to taste.

    SORT and WASH lentils and place in a crock pot (or sturdy pot.) COVER lentils with boiling water and turn crockpot on high. ADD ham hock to pot. Cook for 1 hour. SLICE celery and onion and SAUTE in olive oil until onions are soft and translucent. ADD onions and celery to soup. ADD tomato paste and marjoram. Continue to COOK until the lentils are soft. When lentils are fully cooked, remove about a cup of soup and PUREE in a blender. ADD this puree back to the soup. ADD the chopped spinach. STIR well and season with salt and pepper to taste. PLACE soup in bowls. GARNISH with parsley. Serve with warm, crusty bread. ENJOY.

    copyright 2008 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