Dried Plum, Apricot and Coconut Breakfast Bars

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From a new cookbook called:  The Nourished Kitchen by Jennifer McGruther

Also see:  www.nourishedkitchen.com

Try these super easy, delicious real food snack bars made with coconut flakes, coconut oil and coconut nectar.  Faintly sweet, dried plum, apricot and coconut bars make for a great snack or a breakfast on the go.

Lightly sweetened with coconut nectar, an amber-colored natural sweetener with a texture and viscosity similar to honey, these breakfast bars are best made with night before or on weekends in preparation for the coming week when a need for quick breakfasts and snacks will doubtlessly appear. I tend to favor the emphasis on healthy fats for breakfast, as their concentrated energy helps to provide satiation throughout the day, and coconut oil coupled with shredded coconut provides that element to these simple bars. Frosting them with stewed dried fruit helps to elevate their sweetness just a touch while also provide trace minerals.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 16 bars

Serving Size: 1 bar

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups dried, unsulphured apricots
1 cup dried, unsulphured plums
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, high-extraction flour or sprouted grain flour
1/2 cup Vitacost Shredded Unsweetened Coconut (buy it from Vitacost here), plus extra for dusting the bars
1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil (available from Vitacost here), softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut nectar (get it from Vitacost here)

Instructions

Heat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 8-inch by 8-inch baking dish.

Place the apricots and plums in a small saucepan, cover with water by about 1 inch and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Continue to simmer until plumped and softened, about 10 minutes. Drain the dried fruit, and place it into a food processor. Add the cinnamon to the food processor, and process until the dried fruit forms a smooth paste. Scrape it into a bowl, cover it, and let it rest at room temperature while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Stir the flour and shredded coconut together in a large mixing bowl with the salt. Work in the coconut oil and vanilla extract until the flours resemble cornmeal. Beat in the coconut nectar. The batter will become firm and sticky. Press it into the prepared baking dish with your fingers, and bake it for 20 to 25 minutes or until it reaches a caramel brown on top and stands firm to the touch.

Set the baking dish on a cooling rack. Spread the dried fruit paste over the breakfast bar base while it is still hot, then sprinkle it with shredded coconut. Allow to cool completely, then cut into 2-inch squares.


The Acute and Chronic Nature of Insomnia

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Dr. Samantha Gray, ND, RAc

“I can’t sleep at night.  The insomnia is becoming so stressful.   Is there anything you recommend?”

I am often asked this question and before I can give any answers, the questions start forming in my head:

Do you have a difficult time falling asleep or is it hard to stay asleep?  What is your sleep environment like?  What is your stress level like?  Do you have restless legs at night?  Are you going through menopause?  Do you have blood sugar issues?  Do you have physical pain?  How is your digestion?

The symptom of insomnia reflects either an acute stress or it is due to a deeper imbalance often reflected in the answers given to the above questions.

Natural remedies can help to relieve the suffering of inadequate sleep especially during times of high stress.  Herbs such as passionflower, valerian and scutellaria can truly be a miracle at these times.  If however, insomnia has become a chronic concern, we want to identify and treat the underlying cause of the imbalance.

Some of the underlying causes of insomnia are due to an interruption of the physiological processes that induce sleep.  Stress, emotional turmoil, digestive tract inflammations, reproductive as well as adrenal and thyroid hormone imbalances, chronic pain and blood sugar abnormalities all have the ability to negatively impact sleep-inducing biochemicals.  Treating the underlying cause of insomnia means identifying and addressing these interruptions.

A complete medical history and functional lab testing such as Salivary Hormone Testing, Neurotransmitter Testing or Comprehensive Stool Analysis identify the body organs and systems involved in insomnia and guides individualized treatment.

Sleep is essential to good health.  If sleep is not coming easily, the body is off balance.  Treating the deeper cause supports the the body in its healing wisdom so that it can put itself back on track for a good night sleep.

 

 

 


Nutrition Tips for the Treatment of ADHD

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Nutrition Avoid List for ADHD:

  • Artificial food colourings – especially yellow #5, yellow #6, yellow #10, red #40
  • Sodium benzoate – a preservative found in many pre-packaged foods
  • Low nutrient, highly processed foods – such as most of the pre-packaged foods marketed towards children
  • Food sensitivities – which can easily be tested for by your naturopathic physician
  • Excessive sugar – especially high fructose corn syrup

 Nutrition To Do List for ADHD:

  • High quality protein throughout the day – such as chicken breast, turkey breast, salmon, raw nuts & seeds, quinoa
  • Variety of nutrient dense fruits and vegetables – such as berries, apples, pears, oranges, dark green leafy veggies, sweet potatoes, and yams
  • Buy organic as much as possible!
  • Eat foods naturally rich in B vitamins and zinc – such as leafy greens, yams, sweet potatoes, chicken, turkey, cashews, and almonds.
  • Make dietary changes as a family

A Naturopathic Approach to ADHD

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Dr. Preet Khangura, ND 

Over the last couple of decades, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, has become one of the most prevalent chronic health conditions affecting children and adolescents.  What has caused this significant increase ADHD?  Based on the most recent research, it has come down to two things – dietary excess and deficiency.

In recent years, wheat has been given a bad name – and for good reason!  Most people know that gluten can cause a variety of problems, regardless of having celiac disease or not.  However, there is another protein in wheat, called wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), which can cross the blood brain barrier.  And when it does, is actually classified as a neurotoxin.  For children with ADHD, neurotoxins add to the overstimulation within their brain, which leads to many symptoms such as inattention, easily being distracted, inability to retain instructions, and hyperactivity.  Studies have shown that when children with ADHD eliminate wheat from their diet, symptoms can decrease by up to 50%.  Another interesting fact is that celiac disease in the general public has a prevalence of 1 – 2%, whereas 15 – 20% of children with ADHD have celiac disease.  There is a definite wheat/ADHD connection.

In regards to what children with ADHD do need more of in their diet, let us switch our attention to omega-3 fatty acid.  Most of us are deficient in this vital nutrient, but children with ADHD seem to be even more deficient.  The two main forms of omega-3 are EPA and DHA.  Because DHA is needed for brain development and helps increase cognition skills and memory, it has traditionally been thought that high dose DHA fish oils would benefit children with ADHD.  However, multiple studies have shown that it is actually high dose EPA fish oils that reduce ADHD symptoms by up 50%.  The likely reason for this is due to the serotonin and dopamine boosting effects of EPA.  Serotonin and dopamine are both neurotransmitters that have been theorized as being deficient in children with ADHD.

Wheat elimination and supplementation of EPA rich fish oil is something that I would recommend for any child with ADHD.  However, naturopathic medicine centers itself around individualized treatments, and many other natural medications and remedies well known for ADHD can be added in.  Therefore, having your naturopathic physician take a full assessment of the case is always the best action plan.

 

 


Supplement Quality Matters

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Dr. Natalie MacIsaac, ND

“Herbal supplements not what they seem!” “Fish oil does more harm than good!” These headlines and have recently run in leading international and local newspapers where the issues with the quality and labeling of supplements have been getting an inordinate amount of press.  Recent studies have highlighted that up to 70 percent of herbal supplements are adulterated and 30% of fish oil potency mislabeled.  These are legitimate issues and can be very confusing for consumers.

Despite the sensationalist headlines, these studies have not demonstrated any lack of efficacy with the supplements themselves, but rather the importance of buying supplements from a reputable company with independent quality control and testing. In contrast to the pharmaceutical industry the supplement business is relatively unregulated with inconsistent standards of quality and testing, which puts more onus on practitioners, and ultimately consumers, to be educated on the products that they are using. While these studies and articles might be novel for consumers, ND’s have long been aware of the differences in quality of supplement producers.

When prescribing supplements Naturopathic Doctors have a responsibility to understand not only the active ingredient but also the quality of the formulation.  This includes understanding the stated ingredients and what fillers or binders are used and extends to evaluating the legitimacy of the production and labelling. It is not uncommon for ND’s to visit production facilities and research the policies and procedures for independent third party testing. At the Sage Clinic practitioners exclusively use products from companies that we have confirmed to follow best practices.

Vitamin and herbal supplements are repeatedly shown to been safe and effective for a variety of conditions when used as indicated.  Using the guidance of a professional will ensure that not only are you using the right product for you, but that the quality is the highest standard.