Dr. Laura’s Veggie Wraps

Veggie Wraps: Easy Quick and Simple Lunch

 The collard greens make great wraps, warm or cold.

Ingredients:

Sprouted Mung beans, cooked according to package.

Quinoa, cooked according to package

2 tbsp olive oil.

Collard leaf greens

Cooking Quinoa:

Generally quinoa needs twice the amount of water to cook. You bring it to a boil without the lid, then turn it down to a simmer, add the olive oil, cover the pot and give it 15 min or so.

Quinoa is high in protein and, for most, very easy to digest. Gluten free quinoa grown in Canada is available at Costco and most local grocery stores.

Cooking Mung Beans:

Sprouted mung beans should be rinsed in a sieve with water, placed in the pot and then covered with three times the amount of water than beans. Bring them to a boil with out the lid, then turn down and let simmer for about 30 minutes. Drain and rinse again.

Mung beans are a cooler neutral food with a sweet flavour. Mung beans detoxify, improve digestion and alleviate inflammation in the body. They are also useful in the treatment of edema (swelling) of the lower extremities, high blood pressure, impatience and restlessness. I found sprouted mung beans by the Sasha Bread Co. at Longo’s in Guelph, and they are commonly available at most local grocery stores.

The quinoa and mung beans may be mixed, then placed into small jars like the one pictured above. these can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days or frozen for up to a month. Easy to grab and go for lunch.

Collard Greens

Collard greens are a part of the cabbage family and therefore are helpful to detoxify. They help both phase I and II liver detoxification and provide a good source of fiber. It’s a dark leafy green so a good source of magnesium as well. Break off the end and eat it or tuck it up into the quinoa and mung bean mix and make your wrap. They can be eaten raw, or lightly steamed. To steam, rinse then place on a plate and put in microwave for 30 seconds.

Plastic Free Beeswax Wrap

I make wraps travel well in a beeswax dipped cotton cloth. It’s a bit sticky so it sticks when you fold it. Mine was a gift. I’ve seen them at Goodness Me! and Stone Store in Guelph, and also found a great recipe to make your own plastic free food wrap.

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

Dr. Laura: A Valentine’s KISS Recipe

Valentine’s Day Dessert- a KISS Recipe!

Keep It Simple Sweetie!

Don’t you just love simple desserts? This won’t take long to make. There is no baking. It is free of gluten, dairy, egg, corn & soy! haha – It’s just fruit. So it’s vegan too.

How easy to please  any squeeze.

All you need is a heart shape cookie cutter, a knife and some fruit. Any melon will do. To cut the kiwi fruit, just peel it, then carve out a little notch along the oblong. Then sliver off a little along either side to make it shaped like a heart. Then cut across to make slices.

Voila!

Spread a little love!  It keeps you young & vibrant.

Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND

Dr. Laura: Is it aging or low B12?

B12 deficiency has been estimated to affect about 40% of people over 60 years of age, and about 40% of the general population are on the lower end of normal.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can look like the signs and symptoms of diseases that are commonly associated with aging such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, cognitive disorders, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and other neurological problems; depression and anxiety; cardiovascular disease; cancer; and low libido. If someone you love has these symptoms, best to get there B12 levels checked and supplement if help reduce the symptoms.

Supplementing with an active form of B12 can help reduce inflammation, which has improved symptoms of arthritis and eczema.

Vitamin B12 works with folate to make DNA, red blood cells and the insulating sheath around the nerves to help with nerve signalling. This is why when I inject B12, I always include folate with it.

Causes/Risks of B12 deficiency

  • Vegan/vegetarianism
  • Intestinal malabsorption due to low stomach acid
  • Celiac disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Pernicious anemia (an autoimmune condition affecting our ability to absorb B12)
  •  Atrophic gastritis (usually H. pylori infection in the elderly)
  • Long term use of Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI’s)
  • People on Metformin therapy

If someone you know or love fall into any of these categories, best they get tested even if they don’t have symptoms, as deficiency can start before the symptoms show up.

Symptoms of B12 Deficiency

  • not much if  it’s mild
  • weakness
  • fatigue
  • strange sensations
  • numbness, or tingling in hands, legs, or feet
  • difficulty walking such as staggering or balance problems
  • anemia
  • a swollen, inflamed tongue
  • yellow skin
  • jaundice
  • difficulty thinking and reasoning
  • memory loss
  • paranoia or hallucinations

Testing for B12

It is easy to run a B12 test, however there are other blood and urine markers that can provide a more complete picture, such as methylmalonic acid (MMA) and homocysteine. Homocysteine may be more sensitive and accurate for detecting the early stages of B12 deficiency. When I run tests, I look at things from a functional medicine perspective and this may involve the more complete profile.

If there is an absorption issue suspected, we need to identify and correct that, if possible. Further testing and treatment may be required to do that.

The results of the tests are also interpreted differently when you come to see me. I look at things from a functional range – your optimum level of performance- not the point at which you have disease. The conventional medical system in North America regard a low B12 to be below 200 pg/mL. This is the point where irreversible neurological damage can happen. I prefer to go at the guidelines set out by Europe and Japan – somewhere over 550 pg/mL.

Supplementing

Best to get B12 from animal based sources – strongest providers are the organ meats (liver, kidney) and seafood like oysters and clams. To get ahead quickly or to supplement a vegan or vegetarian diet, you will need activated B12, so hydroxy or methyl based cobalamin are the best. If there is intestinal absorption issues, then you’ll need a pill to dissolve under the tongue or an injection to provide the boost. What I carry in the clinic is an activated form of B12/B complex so it absorbs easily and we see good results on the before and after blood work, or we can go for the injection – usually weekly for a month and then once a month for a few months. Then we re-test.

 

Dr. Laura M. Brown ND is a Naturopathic Doctor with a Functional Medicine approach. She is a Certified Gluten Practitioner, A HeartMath Certified Practitioner and is engaged in ongoing education with the Kresser Institute of Functional Medicine.

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

New! B12 injections & more

B12 intramuscular injections are useful for those deficient in B12, pernicious anemia, fighting depression, stress or fatigue, diabetic neuropathy, chemotherapy induced neuropathy, herpes zoster (including prevention and treatment of shingles).

Book your Appointment Now

Existing patients:

Injection B12 1000ug + 1mg Folic Acid = $16.00b12folic
Injection B12 5000ug + 1mg Folic Acid = $18.00
You could be at risk for B12 deficiency if you are taking the following medications: Metformin, H2 blockers (Pepcid, Zantac), Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI’s) (Nexium, Prevacid, Losec, Tecta, Pantoloc, Pariet, Dexilant) , Phenytoin, also long term use of Oral Contraceptives or Aspirin. Excessive alcoholic intake longer than 2 weeks, inflammatory bowel disease, Celiac disease,  gastric or small intestinal resection, prolonged vegan diet, no meat, poultry or dairy product consumption, age over 75 years. Long term supplementation of Folic Acid.

Signs of B12 deficiency: Unexplained neurologic symptoms like paresthesias, numbness, poor motor coordination, memory lapses or cognitive and personality changes.

B12 status is measured through a Complete Blood Count (CBC), blood analysis and Serum B12 (cobalamin), and folate. Related tests include Complete Blood Count, Methylmalonic Acid, Homocysteine, B Vitamins, Intrinsic Factor Antibody, Parietal Cell Antibody, Reticulocyte Count, Blood Smear. It is a good idea to get tested when you have symptoms of anemia such as weakness, tiredness, pale skin and/or tingling or itching sensations, eye twitching, memory loss, altered mental status which are signs of neuropathy. It is useful to have a baseline status before supplementation so you can monitor treatment effectiveness when if you have vitamin B12 or folate deficiency. Ask about costs of testing.

Why is folic acid included?  It helps B12 get into the red blood cell.

Naturally occurring Folic Acid, known as folate,  is found in leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, dry beans and peas, liver, and yeast. Vitamin B12 is found in foods from animals, such as red meat, fish, poultry, milk, yogurt, and eggs.  Dietary sources of B12 and folate also include fortified cereals, breads, and other grain products.

What else is new?

2) New naturopathic service – Ear lavage – for those with a lot of ear cerumen (wax)  a naturopathic protocol involves home treatments then an in-office ear wash. This will be assumed as part of the appointment fee, however please note we can do this! Some ear cerumen is healthy, but too much or a blockage can impact hearing and can be uncomfortable.

Also a reminder that these services are available to patients:
a) Laboratory analysis pay for service – many of the same lab tests requested by your family doctor may be ordered through Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND, just know you have to pay out of pocket. I cannot post a price list but can provide pricing on an individualized, as needed basis.

b) Urinalysis $3 -additional to appointment fee Naturopathic medicine has great choices for relieving chronic cystitis and acute or persistent urinary tract infections. We also are trained to know when to get the patient to their MD for antibiotics.

c) Strep Throat Swab – $7 fee additional to appointment fee. Rapid Strep Test – the same one your family doc will do, just added convenience of getting some great advice and prescription for natural medicine and antimicrobials, if it turns out you don’t need mainstream antibiotics.

From the heart and mind of your local naturopathic doctor, Dr. Laura M. Brown , ND