Dr. Laura’s Nut Cheese Recipe

Have you tried this? Dairy free, gluten free dreamy nut cheese. Made from raw cashews and nutritional yeast, herbs and spices, this is sure to be a holiday favourite.

A few of my patients came in to me and asked if I had tried nut cheese. I hadn’t. Until this past weekend. It’s much like the cashew basil pesto I made in the summer with lots of basil from the garden, garlic and cashews, but this is more like cheese. It’s the nutritional yeast that seems to give it that tangy cheese like flavour. You can buy it already made and I have found it at Stone Store in Guelph and Goodness Me!

Making nut cheese takes a little forward thinking, but it is not difficult. You can customize the flavour when you make it yourself. So you could do a cinnamon and cranberry, or a garlic and herb, or use crazy amount of basil.

Start with some raw unsalted cashews available at places like Costco, Bulk Barn or Goodness Me! The later two have nutritional yeast (Bob’s Red Mill brand) as well. You can get herbs and garlic, or other ingredients just about anywhere.

Some blogs on line suggest a food processor works better than a blender. I think if you have a high speed Vitamin or Blentec you might get a way with the blender and not have to make it too runny.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups (240 g) raw cashews
  • 1-2Tbsp minced garlic (depends on how strong your garlic is and how you like it)
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 lemons, juiced (1/4 cup or 60 ml)
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) water
  • 2 Tbsp (6 g) nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
FOR SERVING
  • press on dried parsley, dill or other dried garden herbs, as you like.
Instructions
  1. Place cashews in a bowl and cover with cool water. I use a pyrex glass one with a fitted lid. Do it in the morning and leave on the counter for the day (12 hours).  If you can’t get to them right away, drain, place back in bowl, and store in refrigerator for up to 24-36 hours.
  2. Once soaked, drain cashews thoroughly and add to blender/food processor. Add minced garlic,  lemon zest, lemon juice, water, nutritional yeast, salt and olive oil.
  3. Process until very creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed. It should look like the consistency of hummus. Then taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more lemon zest for tartness, nutritional yeast for cheesiness, garlic for zing, or salt for flavour/balance.
  4. If it is a bit wet, scoop out the contents and drain a fine mesh strainer over a large mixing bowl. Discard any liquid.
  5. Otherwise you can directly lay down two layers of cheesecloth (or a clean, fine, absorbent towel) and place nut mix into the centre. Gather the corners and twist the top gently so you may form the cheese into a what looks like a gouda cheese round.  A twist tie or elastic might help hold it.
  6. Place the drained cheese round into a sealed glass container in refrigerator to set for at least 6 hours, preferably 12, or until excess moisture has been wicked away. It is ready if it holds its form when unwrapped from the cheesecloth.
  7. To serve, unwrap from cheesecloth and place onto a serving board. Gently pat a coat of chopped herbs on to the round.
  8. Enjoy chilled with crackers or vegetables. Cheese will hold its form for 1-2 hours out of the refrigerator, but best when chilled. I’ve also seen it whipped up with the herbs and placed in a dollop on the serving tray.
  9. Leftovers keep well for up to 5 days,  if covered in the refrigerator.

From the heart and kitchen of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND

Dr. Laura: Is your thyroid to blame?

One in eight women will develop thyroid disease in her lifetime and 15 Million women have a dysfunction, but don’t even know it. Men can have issues too, although at a less rate than women.

Environmental toxins are largely to blame for the rising rates of thyroid disease. Years ago, it was mostly iodine deficiency and this is why iodine was added to salt. Now we point the finger more often at the rising rates of hormone mimickers in our environment like BPA’s and their alternatives in plastics, cadmium, circadian light disrupters, pesticides, herbicides and more.

Untreated thyroid dysfunction can lead to feelings of:

  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Brain fog, difficulty focusing thoughts
  • Unexpected weight gain, and with it increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease
  • High LDL cholesterol – the thyroid plays an important role in fat metabolism
  • Depression – as many as 15% of women on antidepressants have an undetected thyroid problem as the root cause of their depression –but their problem hasn’t been fully investigated. When I check thyroid I check more than the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone).  I look sub functioning gland by checkin TSH, T3, T4, thyroid antibodies and look for how well cortisol is clearing on the DUTCH hormone test.
  • Anxiety – often because cortisol is not clearing
  • Increased risk of cardiac arrhythmias and congestive heart failure due to the regulatory control of this hormone has on heart rate and rhythm.

Troubles in the digestive track and liver can lead to poor activation of the T4 to T3 hormones. When I work with patients I am always looking for clues in the skin, stress, and sleep and how well the micro biome functions. A good clue to micro biome function is the Comprehensive Stool Analysis by Doctors Data.

If you suspect you may have a thyroid issue, get it tested!  I’ll look at results from a functional medicine perspective, which mean optimal performance, not disease levels of lab markers.

From the heart and research of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.

Feel Rested: How to get a full night’s sleep

How Heart Math has changed my practice

This past spring I had a patient with a really challenging case.  They told me that they have been sleeping less than 6 hours a night for years and that even that was only possible with the help of sleeping medication.  Most nights they were so tired they’d pass out in minutes but weren’t able to stay asleep and never felt rested in the morning.  Worst of all, in the morning they felt groggy and felt slower.  If you were to ask any of my colleagues they’d tell you that I think medications really do have a time and place.  I take comfort in the fact that my patient was being pro-active and reached out for help with their doctor when they needed to. However, not all medications are meant to be taken long-term and in this case my patient really wanted to get off them.

Luckily for me I added Heart Math to my practice this past May.  It uses over 25 years of science to help people like my patient find relaxation and even better sleep.  My patient had just retired and STRESS was a huge reason of why they couldn’t sleep.  Heart Math uses something called Heart Rate Variability (HRV) to see how healthy someone’s nervous system is.  Unlike other stress management exercises like meditation, in heart math you can see your progress in real-time.  Over time my patient could see the changes they were making to their health with every week of practice.

Over the course of a few months I am happy to report my patient finally feels rested.  They do not instantly fall asleep when they rest their head on the morning and they feel awake in the morning.  Instead of going to another pill or supplement my patient was able to train powerful skills that they can use anywhere to feel more relaxed and get better sleep.

Last Call!

Dr. Graeme Rowell is finishing his Heart Math certification and had only a few spots left at a reduced rate.  If you or a friend are looking to get better sleep feel free to book a free 15 minute consult or phone Forward Health at (519) 826-7973 to see if Heart Math is right for you.

 

 

Dr. Laura: 6 Causes of Hip Pain

Slow to move, can’t get up out of the chair, or have pain or stiffness in the hip when walking?  You may have one of these six hip concerns.

What causes pain in the hip?

  1. ™Bursitis
  2. Tendinitis
  3. ™Osteoarthritis
  4. ™Rheumatoid Arthritis 
  5. ™Ankylosing Spondylitis
  6. ™Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
athritisresearchuk.org

What can be done about hip pain?

Bursitis: Bursae are jelly-like sacs that provide cushion between tissues such as bone, muscles, and tendons. Sometimes bursae get irritated with repetitive activities that overwork the joint.  Inflamed bursae are very painful. Classic symptoms are pain when rising from a chair and pain down the front of the thigh. Homeopathy, acupuncture topical ligaments and anti-inflammatories may all be helpful.

Tendinitis may be in just one side of the body, or both. Tendons are thick bands of tissue that attach muscles to bones. Exercising too hard without a proper warm up, or overuse of the joint can lead to pain and immobility. It is important to have the concern addressed as soon as possible to prevent long term mobility issues from the scar tissue from build up. Tissue work, natural anti-inflammatories and acupuncture can be very helpful.

Osteoarthritis (OA) doesn’t have to be a right of passage of aging. There are things that can be done to slow the wear and tear on the joint and actually help restore the proper function of the cartilage that cushions your hip bones. OA can happen on just one side of the body in one joint. Treatment is longer term and can involve diet and lifestyle adjustments and possibly some supplementation.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune condition. This means that the body is attacking its own tissues. Classic symptoms are worse in morning on rising and better with movement. RA usually happens equally on both sides of the body.  One way it can be diagnosed is with blood work to see if there is a rise in the RF (Rheumatoid Factor). Anti-inflammatories will be helpful, but it is important to address the root cause of the autoimmune condition, and this often begins in the gastrointestinal tract. Naturopathic medicine is fantastic for getting to the root cause of an issue.

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is another autoimmune condition. Ankylosing means fusing and spondylitis means inflammation of the spine. Symptoms include  a stiff, inflexible and painful spine and/ or hip area. In AS, ligaments and tendons as well as the bones are damaged. New bone is often formed in response which is thin and fragile and may grow together. Diagnostics include ANA blood factor and HLA_B27 genetic testing. Acupuncture and botanical medicines can be very helpful to reduce the immune system response in tissue, reduce inflammation and maintain strength and mobility.

Systemic Lupus Erythematous (SLE). The classic presentation is a triad of fever, joint pain, and facial butterfly type rash in a woman of childbearing age should prompt investigation into the diagnosis of SLE. Since SLE is an autoimmune disease affecting  many different tissues, something the symptoms can be body wide and unique for the individual, but one of the most common reasons at first is joint pain, including the hip. Diagnostics for SLE involve multiple factors; more information may be found here.  As many factors in SLE present, the naturopathic doctor can piece together the picture and begin the process based on clinical presentation and blood work. Many factors in natural medicine can reduce symptoms of SLE.

From the heart and research of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.

Dr. Laura: Get the Full Hormone Picture

Do you suffer from fatigue, depression, anxiety, hot flashes, decreased libido, stress, acne, insomnia, weight gain, infertility, hair loss or unwanted hair?

Get the full hormone

picture with the Dried Urine Total Comprehensive Hormone (DUTCH) test.

Seminar Saturday, Nov 4, 2017

10-11am

Forward Health

951 Gordon St. Unit 8B

Register Today: info@forwardhealth.ca

We look forward to seeing you here!

Although information gathered in a face-to face appointment is critical to getting to the root cause of an issue, testing is also a key to see the full picture.

Signs and symptoms of different hormone imbalance can look similar, so it is extremely helpful to know exactly what needs to be tweaked.

Through personal experience and advanced practitioner training with Kresser Institute of Functional Medicine, I am more prepared than ever to take you on a deep dive into your own personal hormone picture.

This test allows me as a practitioner to make a more informed decision on a treatment plan. For you, the patient it means more answers of what is really going on in your body and getting better sooner.

The test is easy to do, home-based 24 hour urine collection. Book your appointment today to get a comprehensive clinical intake and prescription for a full stress and hormone analysis. Learn more about the test at dutchtest.com

Did you know?

Botanical medicines are very good to balance all kinds of hormones. They come along side the body and bring what’s down up, and what’s up, down. They modulate. Knowing what plants, at what dose for what duration is key to getting you back to feeling great. Naturopathic doctors have extensive training in blending and prescribing natural plant medicine. In my cabinet I have over 60 different tinctures (individual plant based derivatives) so I can formulate individualized medicine that is just right for you.

Lifestyle measure to modulate stress are key to getting your hormones in balance. Dr. Laura has many different resources available for you to consider.

Acupuncture is also fantastic for balancing hormones and has been effective in reducing stress, fertility, insomnia, anxiety and depression.

So whether you prefer active therapy, a take along tincture, or a little of both, there is a treatment plan waiting right here for you.

 

From the heart and mind of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND

 

Best Waffles Ever

Kale and collard greens, teff and eggs pack a punch of nutrition to start your day.

With all the rainy weather this summer, there is an upside – lots of dark leafy greens. My son is doing his masters in agriculture at Guelph and his hobby garden in our back yard is my paradise.

Dino (laminate) kale, red kale and curly kale, swiss chard and beet greens deck my plate at least three times a day, in some way.

This morning I though maybe I’d steam some greens and have them with my eggs, but I also really feel like have a warm waffle with a little maple syrup. Ideas merged and here is the recipe. It actually tastes pretty good (!), even if the waffles do look green.

GREEN WAFFLES 

Vitamix or blender – blend the following on high for about 2 minutes:

1c almond milk

3 eggs

1 c avocado oil

2c kale/collards/beet greens

In a medium mixing bowl combine well the dry ingredients:

1 cup teff grain

1/2c arrowroot flour

1c quinoa flour

1 tsp xanthum gum

1tsp baking soda

Pour wet with dry and stir well. Heat up waffle grill and oil it up (I used olive oil).

Pour some batter on and bake until waffles are crispy and slight brown on the outside.

Eat right away with a little maple syrup, or some fresh berries.

Sometimes I will mix a cup of thawed frozen blueberries  with 1tbsp or two of chia seeds and a 1/2c hot water and stir. Let it sit for a few minutes to gel up and it makes a lovely sugar free topping.

Store extra waffles in glass container in fridge or freezer for easy toaster warm up on another morning.

Teff is high in iron and calcium, dark leafy greens have iron, calcium and a ton of phytonutrients, almond milk has added calcium, eggs have B12 and protein (as does the quinoa flour).

From the heart and kitchen of Dr. Laura M, Brown, ND.

 

5 Reasons People are Trying Cupping

I was talking with a patient the other week and they asked me about cupping.   They’d seen the marks (these octopus tentacle like circular purple bruises) on celebrities and athletes and wanted to know what they do and how these cups work.  So read on if you want to know a bit more about cupping.

Cupping is nothing new and has made appearances around the world dating back to 1550 BC in Greece, Eastern Europe and China.   They really reached the public eye during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, a lot of people saw that the elite swimmers from the USA like Natalie Coughlin, Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps had these marks on their back.  Diving deeper into the team’s practices I found out that cupping was a new addition to these athlete’s routine.  So why were they using cupping?

Here are 5 reasons why people are trying cupping

  1. Recovery is key and recovery in older athletes is even more important. Athletes and working adults can’t afford to take downtime.   This is especially true when you are expected to compete in multiple events back to back and show up every day at your best.  The USA team praised cupping for shortening their recovery time and as one of the reasons they could come out and compete every day.
  2. If you have ever seen cupping used live you learn quickly that skin is very well vascularized. Meaning that the process of cupping brings a lot of blood to the skin and can make the area look really red.  Whenever it comes to healing, blood flow is important to make sure your body has enough good nutrition to heal and blood to remove any waste.  Cupping is one way to increase blood flow to the tissue.
  3. While cupping will leave a mark, it is actually painless. The bruises are from broken blood vessels in the layers of the skin and don’t hurt like a typical bruise.  You can expect these marks to last for a total of 10 days.  Beyond some painless marks cupping has been proven to be quite safe when used by a professional.
  4. Moving cupping is another application or way to use these cups. By using moving cupping, the vacuum in the cups create a bit of a reverse massage lifting instead of pushing.  This can help people reset some of the muscular tension and help people relax.
  5. The best known use for cupping is for pain. This is also where the most research exists for this tool.  Some clinical trials show that cupping and acupuncture can even outperform medication for pain and disability. (PMID: 25710765)

Dr. Laura’s Electrolyte Replacement Recipes

Working out or exercising outdoors? Have you thought about an electrolyte replacement recipe? If you are active for more than an hour, replacing your electrolytes might help boost your performance, not to mention your health.

Where to start

First and foremost hydrate as your thirst indicates with fresh water. A reminder to use stainless steel or glass to store your water in these hot temperatures because temperature extremes can leach BPA’s (bisphenol A’s)out of the plastic bottles. Even the BPA free ones I don’t totally trust. BPA’s are chemicals that mimic estrogens in the body, only ones the liver doesn’t break down so well, so they end up storing up in body fat and tipping the balance on hormone profiles.

Sometimes a convenient choice is coconut water, if you like it. Some don’t so what else? Water with a pinch of sea salt will work if you’ve had a long work out in hot conditions. If you are looking for something a  little more advanced that is easy to make I have a couple of go-to recipes you may like.

Dr. Laura’s Electrolyte Recipe #1

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (juice of about 1 orange)

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice 1/2 lemon)

2 cups of filtered water

2 -4 tablespoons raw honey

1/8 teaspoon unrefined salt

Mix up ahead and store in the fridge. Best used within a 3-4 days of making it.

Dr. Laura’s Electrolyte Recipe #2

1 liter water

½ teaspoon salt

3/4tsp baking soda

1 c real fruit juice

2-4 tablespoon honey

This one is a little sweeter and not one I would regularly consume. Definitely not recommended for those with insulin control issues or weight issues.

Remember both these recipes are for the long hot workouts or outside jobs that last more than an hour and you are sweating a lot. Consuming 250mL at at every hour of exertion makes sense. If you are out for an hour, a cup should be fine to replace. If you are out for 5 hours, every hour a break to have some would be a reasonable choice. Not a good idea to wait until 5 hours have gone by and then down a litre of it. That is just too much all at once for the body to handle. However that being said, every body’s body is a little different, so some may need a little more, some a little less.

What’s so great about these recipes?

The homemade electrolyte recipes are totally natural and contain no artificial colours or preservatives. Honey is a natural sweetener with antimicrobial factors. Third factor is you likely have these things in your fridge or pantry, so easy access.

Enjoy in moderation!

Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND

Dr. Laura: Fibromyalgia helped by a gluten free diet

There is evidence of non-celiac gluten sensitivity in those suffering with fibromyalgia.

Gluten Free Diet Part of Fibromyalgia Treatment

Research shows those patients with fibromyalgia have remarkable improvement when on a gluten free diet. Other interventions can be additionally helpful, such as a lactose free diet and some basic supplementation to help correct any nutritional deficiencies that are likely due to poor absorption.

How does it make a difference?

Patients experienced reduced gastrointestinal inflammation, and one or more of the following improvements: remission of FM pain criteria, return to work, return to normal life as judged by the patient, or opioid discontinuation.

How to test?

This study used before and after criteria as well as a duodenal (part of the small intestine) biopsy. A simple blood test called Cyrex Array 3 can also show the type of damage wheat can have on the brain, skin, intestine or other body tissues. This type of lab test can be ordered through your naturopathic doctor.

References:

Isasi C, Colmenero I, Casco F, et al. Fibromyalgia and non-celiac gluten sensitivity: a description with remission of fibromyalgia. Rheumatology International. 2014;34(11):1607-1612. doi:10.1007/s00296-014-2990-6.

Dr. Laura: Probiotics to Treat Depression

Research strengthens the GUT-Brain axis connection; McMaster University find benefits of probiotics in cases of depression.

Probiotics may relieve symptoms of depression, suggests a new study.
Credit: © WrightStudio / Fotolia

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170523124119.htm

Specific Strains Identified

A number of patients come to me with a history of depression. Some may or may not be medicated at the time. Probiotics are a safe addition to current regimes and there are specific strains which have been researched for helping depression. One of my clinical favourite multi-strain probiotics happens to carry these four strains, in addition to seven others. This together with other forms of supplementation like B-12 injections, fish oil in the proper format and doses can make a big difference in over all mood and productivity.

Are you a candidate?

After a full intake and physical screening, a review of your latest blood work and any imaging, Dr. Laura M. Brown ND can help you build a plan for a happier healthier you.

Book now