Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year!

Welcome to the first NFC blog edition of the New Year! We have a lot of exciting events coming up in 2010. For all of you that are starting the New Year with health focused resolutions, Dr. Psenka is heading up the NFC Health Challenge. The NFC Health Change is ideal for those of you that find it difficult to squeeze a doctor visit into your busy work week, it will be offered every 4th Saturday of the month through March. For more details about this or any other meet up hosted by Naturopathic Family Care visit The Phoenix Alternative Health Group.

January is thyroid awareness month and at NFC our physicians work to educate our patients and the community on this and many other health related topics. This month we have two free informative health talks. Dr. Psenka will be educating us on Natural Ways to Boost the Immune System on Wednesday, January 13th and Dr. Orona will be helping you in Understanding Your Thyroid on Tuesday, January 26th.

This month we have 3 articles from our NFC docs :

Dr Jonathan Psenka, NMD - Thyroid Cancer Risk Factors
Dr. Ross Kerievsky, D
C, NMD - Incentives for Losing Weight
Dr. Raushanah Najeeullah, NMD - A New Year's Cleansing

Thyroid Cancer Risk Factors
Dr. Jonathan Psenka, NMD

The incidence of thyroid cancer has been rapidly growing in the US over the past few decades. There are now roughly 25,690 new cases diagnosed every year, with a female to male ratio of close to 3:1. For a long time there has been an established association between radiation exposure and thyroid cancer risk. The thyroid gland of children is especially vulnerable to the carcinogenic action of ionizing radiation. Thus, the incidence of thyroid cancer in children in the Belarus area (think Chernobyl) was less than 1 case per million per year before the Chernobyl accident, increasing to a peak exceeding 100 per million per year in certain areas after the accident.
Recently, a new study was published which identified several new potential risk factors for thyroid cancer. This study, which was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, assessed thyroid cancer risk among 90,713 radiologic technicians in the US between 1983 and 2006. This study found that benign thyroid conditions, benign breast disease, asthma, and elevated body mass index were all associated with increased risk for thyroid cancer. Considering the results of this study, it’s possible that the benign conditions listed really aren’t that benign at all.
Conditions such as Grave’s disease, Hashimoto’s, and thyroiditis are all examples of benign thyroid disorders. Fibrocystic breast disease is a good example of something considered to be a benign breast condition. Both these types of conditions are routinely seen, and treated, by Naturopathic physicians. From a thyroid cancer-prevention standpoint it would seem that treating the potential causes of these diseases would be more important than treating only the symptoms. By addressing the cause of disease it may be possible to decrease both the severity of disease itself, and any additional risks that occur as a result of carrying the diagnosis. This hypothesis would also carry over to the increased risk observed with asthma; eliminate the allergy altogether and maybe risk levels fall as well.
Increased body mass index, aka. being overweight, is well established as a risk factor for many diseases. It is not just the fact that carrying extra pounds increases risk for disease, but also that those who are overweight tend to be less physically engaged. Over the past 8 years I have been practicing integrative oncology at NFC I have rarely seen any treatments with as much potential to positively effect a person’s outcomes at regular physical activity. Unfortunately, increasing physical activity levels and maintaining a regular exercise regime is not an easy thing to do. Fortunately, it seems like the more articles like the aforementioned one that are published, the more our society begins to realize the importance of living healthy and happy lives as a way to prevent disease.
PS- and for those of you I see with thyroid cancer, I’ll see you at the gym!

New Year, New Goals:

Incentives for losing weight and guidelines for exercise

Ross Kerievsky, DC, NMD

Welcome to 2010! This time of year is the time I see many new and established patients return to the clinic with the goal of losing weight. There are many questions I hear from patients regarding what they should eat, supplements to take and how much exercise they should be doing. All of these questions are very reasonable and require individual assessments to make a medical weight loss program effective and long lasting. A common question I hear from patients is how much exercise is recommended for weight loss?

The American College of Sports Medicine released guidelines for appropriate physical activity for adults in 2009. These new guidelines were release because up to 66% of Americans are either overweight or obese. The new guidelines recommend that adults participate in at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity to prevent gaining weight. Greater weight loss is seen when adults perform 250-300 minutes of exercise per week or more. I typically recommend patients perform physical activity one hour a day for 5 days during the week combined with a specific diet and nutrition guidelines. This can be modified for an individual and I recommend that you have a physical examination and appropriate workup before starting any exercise program.

Also, interesting incentives that seem to be gaining ground are websites such as This site will pay you to lose weight! Other possible incentives include deductions on premiums and incentives depending on your insurance and employer group benefits.

This is a great time of year to have a wellness screening physical and to discuss your personal health goals with me. For more information, please schedule an appointment with Dr Ross Kerievsky at 602-493-2273.

A New Year's Cleansing
Dr. Raushanah Najeeullah, NMD

It’s the start of a new year and the perfect opportunity to make some healthy changes. I personally like to start the new year off with a cleanse or detoxification protocol. It works like a ‘spring cleaning’ of sorts to get your healthy new year off to a great start.
It is important to know there is a difference between a cleanse and detoxification. Which one you need depends on your own individual circumstances.
A cleanse is defined by Webster as to rid of impurities by or as if by washing while detoxification is defined as to remove a poison or toxin or the effect if such. So, you can do a cleanse without detoxing, but you cannot (should not) do a detox without cleansing.A ready example of this is a laxative can be used to cleanse, but a proper detoxification protocol would involve more treatments such as hydrotherapy, dietary modification with rid your GI system of impurities and toxins we all accumulate over time.
There are other modes of detoxification that should only be performed under medical super
vision. These methods are usually applied to more serious cases of toxicity:

Depuration This technique is used to cleanse or purify or become cleansed or purified. It is similar to detoxification but cleanses at the deeper organ level. It involves freeing of toxins from fat stores with the use of sauna therapy as well as colon hydrotherapy to assist in flushing out toxins.

Chelation This treatment is used for patients with toxic heavy metal burdens on their body. It works by pulling metals or physiological substance (solvents, plaque buildup) from visceral structures like arteries and vital organs. Some metals removed with chelation are mercury, cadmium, arsenic and lead.

Again, the appropriate cleanse for your individual situation should be discussed with a health care provider skilled in applying these therapies.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


We all have new year resolutions in mind this time of year and that means weight loss and health goals for 2010. It never hurts to get a head start so here are some healthy recipes for your holiday meals and for any occasion in the new year.

January is Thyroid Awareness Month and we will have free informative talks from Dr. Orona and Dr. DiCampli and much more for our patients and blog followers. Also in January we will have our highly anticipated NFC Health Challenge so don't miss out on the opportunity to start off the year focusing on your health and longevity. See our January blog for all the details on these events and all the other exciting items we have planned for next year!

Honey Roasted Chicken with Dijon and Rosemary

Number of servings: 4


1 whole chicken, about 5 pounds
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1/4 cup honey
1 lemon, zested, halved and juiced
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 yellow onion, quartered

Cooking Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Rinse the chicken under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Season inside and out with salt and pepper.

2. Place the chicken in a large roasting pan.

3. Roughly chop two sprigs of the rosemary. In a small bowl, mix together Dijon mustard, honey, chopped rosemary, lemon juice and lemon zest.

4. Place the remaining sprig of rosemary, a lemon half, the onion quarters and garlic in the cavity of the bird. Using a pastry brush, coat the outside of the bird with the lemon honey glaze.

5. Place the roasting pan in the oven and baste the chicken every 15 minutes with any remaining glaze. Roast until a thermometer inserted into the thigh reaches 180° and juices run clear, about one hour. Remove and discard the skin. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Nutritional Information
(per serving)

Calories 341
Sodium 333 mg
Protein 47 g
Fiber 2 g
Carbohydrate 24 g
Total fat 7 g
Saturated fat 1 g

Spinach Lasagna with Sun Dried Tomato Sauce


2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose (plain) flour
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup plain soy milk
1 cup vegetable stock
2 green (spring) onions, including tender green tops, sliced
1/2 cup dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in water to rehydrate, drained and chopped
10 ounces fresh cremini or shiitakeShiite mushrooms, sliced
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 cups baby spinach leaves, chopped
2 cups fat-free ricotta cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg white
12 no-boil spinach lasagna sheets, about 7 by 3 1/2 inches
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Cooking Instructions

In a saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the garlic and continue to whisk until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk in the soy milk and stock all at once. Cook and stir until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the green onions and sun-dried tomatoes. Set the sauce aside.

In a large nonstick frying pan, heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and shallot and saute until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the parsley and salt. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool.

In the same pan, heat the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the spinach and stir quickly until the spinach is wilted but still bright green. Remove from the heat. Let cool slightly.

In a large bowl, beat together the ricotta, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan and the egg white. Stir in the spinach and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in the dish and cover with 3 sheets of the pasta. Spoon half of the spinach mixture onto the pasta and spread gently. Cover with 3 more pasta sheets. Top with another 1/2 cup of sauce. Spread the mushroom mixture on top and cover with another 1/2 cup of sauce, then another layer of pasta. Spoon in the remaining spinach filling and top with the last 3 pasta sheets. Add the remaining sauce and the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until golden, about 10 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with the basil.

Nutritional Information
(per serving)

Calories 288
Monounsaturated fat 4 g
Protein 17 g
Cholesterol 6 mg
Carbohydrate 39 g
Sodium 526 mg
Total fat 8 g
Fiber 4 g
Saturated fat 2 g

Cajun-Spiced Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Number of Servings: 4


2 large sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 2" pieces
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/3 cup milk
Cajun seasoning to taste
salt to taste

Cooking Instructions

1. Place the sweet potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring the potatoes to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer about 20 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes are done. Check for doneness by piercing with a fork; there should be no resistance. Drain well.

2. Mash the sweet potatoes with a potato masher or fork, or use a food mill.

3. Add the lime juice and stir well. Add the milk and stir. Add Cajun seasoning, to taste.

Nutritional Information
(per serving)

Calories 171
Protein 3 g
Cholesterol 6 mg
Carbohydrate 38 g
Sodium 91 mg
Total fat 1 g
Saturated fat 1 g

Fall Salad with Asian Pears, Walnuts, and Sherry Vinaigrette
Number of servings: 6


For the vinaigrette:

1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:

12 cups red or green leaf lettuce, washed and torn into bite-size pieces
3 Asian pears, cored and sliced (peeling is optional)
2 cups red grapes
3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
6 slices thick, crusty bread

Cooking Instructions

For the vinaigrette:

1. Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
(This can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.)

For the salad:

1. Toss the lettuce, pears and grapes with the vinaigrette in a large bowl.

2. Divide the salad among 6 serving plates and sprinkle with the walnuts and blue cheese. Serve with bread on the side.

Serving Size: 2 cups of salad with 1 tablespoon of vinaigrette

Nutritional Information
(per serving)

Calories 320
Protein 7 g
Fiber 6 g
Carbohydrate 46 g
Sodium 477 mg
Total fat 11 g
Saturated fat 3 g

Caramelized Pear Bread Pudding

Number of servings: 8


2 1/2 cups low-fat milk
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 cups cubed, day-old country-style bread, crusts trimmed (4-6 slices), preferably whole-wheat
2 tablespoons raisins, or currants
1 teaspoon butter, softened, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
2 ripe pears, peeled, halved and cored
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1. Heat milk in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring, until steaming, 4 to 6 minutes. Whisk eggs in a large bowl until blended; gradually whisk in 1/4 cup sugar. Slowly whisk in the hot milk until blended. Whisk in vanilla, lemon zest and nutmeg.

2. Add bread and raisins (or currants) to the milk mixture; gently fold together. Press down lightly with the back of a large spoon. Cover and set aside at room temperature.

3. Butter the bottom and sides of a round 2-quart baking dish with 1 teaspoon butter. Preheat oven to 350°F. Put a kettle of water on to boil.

4. Cut each pear half lengthwise into 4 slices. Place in a medium bowl and toss with lemon juice.

5. Heat a medium skillet over low heat until hot. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and swirl until just melted and the foam subsides. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup sugar over the melted butter. Arrange the pear slices on their sides in the pan in an even layer. Increase the heat to medium-low and, without stirring, let the pears begin to brown and the sauce slowly caramelize, adjusting the heat as needed to prevent burning, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully turn each pear slice with a fork. Return to the heat and cook until the sauce is uniformly golden, 2 to 4 minutes more.

6. Carefully transfer the pears one at a time to the prepared baking dish, arranging them decoratively in a circle and slightly overlapping them if necessary. Use a heatproof silicone spatula to scrape any remaining syrup over the pears.

7. Set the baking dish in a shallow baking pan. Spoon the bread and custard mixture into the baking dish. Press down on the bread until it is submerged in the custard. Place the pan in the oven and carefully add the hot water to the shallow baking pan until it is halfway up the sides of the baking dish.

8. Bake until the pudding is browned on top and set in the center, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Carefully remove the pan from the oven. Transfer the baking dish to a wire rack and let cool for at least 45 minutes. To serve, run a knife around the edge of the pudding. Place a serving platter over it and invert the pudding onto the platter.

Tips & Notes

* Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

Nutritional Information
(Per serving)

Calories 217
Total Fat 7 g
Saturated Fat 4 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 119 mg
Carbohydrates 31 g
Protein 8 g
Fiber 2 g
Sodium 142 mg
Potassium 89 mg

Happy New Year!