Trees

does summer make you SAD?

Working in the Pacific Northwest, I see a lot of patients who have issues with seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

 

 

Most people understand SAD as a depression response to the short, dark days of winter. And indeed, that is the most common form.

 

 

But summer SAD is also truly a thing: hot days, unrelenting brightness that makes you think you have to be cheery and energetic, wildfire smoke in certain parts of the country — all of these contribute to seasonal depression in the summer.

 

 

Seasonal affective disorder, whenever it hits, has some common characteristics: depression is key, but also over- or undersleeping, anxiety and others. And some of the herbal and, if necessary, pharmacological prescriptions can help both types.

 

 

One simple treatment that works well for most types of depression is especially suited to summer SAD: getting into cold water.

 

 

 

natural mental health | wild water | summer SAD | depression | Dr. Orna Izakson

Cold water helps beat depression.

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the forgotten garden flavor

When you see a lavender plant in flower, what comes to mind?

 

Maybe you think of bees. Or the familiar fragrance. That it grows easily without tons of water. That it’s just plain pretty.

 

If you know its medicine, you may be reminded that it helps heal skin and calm the mind.

 

But how often do you think of lavender as a flavor?

 

Until recently, lavender was a largely forgotten flavor in most of the United States. Its culinary renaissance has been inhibited by its association with soap — some folks just can’t untangle the tastes. But lavender’s profile is rising again, and you can find it in items ranging from tea to ice cream. (more…)

zebrafish and brain repair

Filed under: healthy living,insomnia,sleep — Tags: , , — Orna @ 1:58 pm

Healthy brains require healthy sleep.

 

Really, you can’t fudge on this. At least not for long.

 

This cool study looked at zebrafish (fun in itself.) (more…)

terrain

Filed under: chronic disease,healthy living,Uncategorized — Orna @ 8:50 am

Gardeners know that healthy plants have certain basic requirements: they need the right temperature, the right amount of sun, the right amount of water, and the right amount and kind of nutrients in the soil. Different plants have different needs, but one that has all these will be the most resilient, able to withstand pests, diseases and climate variations.

 

People are no different.

 

I was a gardener long before ever thinking about becoming a doctor. And I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the idea of feeding the soil is fundamental to naturopathic medical philosophy.

 

The profession even has a specific term for it: Terrain. (more…)

the sun is more than a vitamin

I talk about vitamin D a lot. It’s useful for healthy bones, healthy immunity, healthy levels of inflammation, healthy mood. In the past decade it’s gotten a lot of press.

 

But in the same way whole foods are a better source of nutrients than a multivitamin, there are things the sun can do that a supplement cannot. When it comes to health, Nature almost always does it better. And it turns out that sun is more than a vitamin.  (more…)

bye bye, joint pain

Filed under: food as medicine,healthy living,weight management — Tags: , , , , — Orna @ 11:08 am

I talk a lot about food being the first and most fundamental medicine. You know that vegetables are good for you, and that donuts aren’t so much.

 

But what does that actually mean in terms of making you feel better? That’s what my patient Kelly wants to tell you about.

 

 

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healthy presents for the holidays

Stumped about what to get friends and family for special occasions? Want to help them get and stay healthy? Here are my top recommendations. (more…)

do you know how to eat?

Filed under: food as medicine,healthy living,Uncategorized — Orna @ 4:53 pm

Portlanders are a pretty food-savvy bunch. We know what to ask about the provenance of our food. We pay attention to ingredients, to gluten, to dairy, to grass-fed/free-range/high-omega-3/sustainability parameters (except when we just go for a donut.)

 

So it sometimes surprises me that folks who know what to eat often don’t know how to eat. And while great food matters, what’s the point if we don’t digest it well?

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Dr. O’s Holidays Stress Less Vitamin N Challenge

Filed under: healthy living,mood cures,Uncategorized,Vitamin N — Orna @ 2:23 pm

It’s two days before Thanksgiving and even though my plans are pretty mellow, I’m starting to feel the stress creeping into my body. This morning it woke me up, feeling like tendrils of tension wrapping around my throat and heart.

 

My still-half-sleeping brain began noodling on the question of what to do about it. And I thought, if Nature is the best medicine, what about committing to spending time out in it each day until the holiday craziness is safely past?

 

And then I thought, wouldn’t this be easier, more joyful and more effective if a bunch of us did it together?

 

And so I bring you my very first Vitamin N (nature) Challenge, which you can join on Facebook here.

 

Dr. Orna's Holidays Stress Less Vitamin N Challenge

 

Each day between now and January 2 I’m committing to a minimum of 7 intentional minutes with Nature as a way to tame my holiday stress.

 

Will you join me?

 

The rules: Since this is about reducing stress, the goal is to keep it simple and manageable. Say hi to an urban street tree for a few minutes. Put yourself into an amazing vista. Tickle whatever’s alive in your garden. Walk along a creek, river or beach. Get to wilderness, if doing so won’t increase your stress. And if you live in a deeply rural setting? Just take that 7 minutes a day to be in and appreciate some aspect of your landscape.

 

It all counts if you do it purposefully — as a commitment to connecting to nature, ideally outdoors, to reduce your holiday (or other) stress.

 

I’ll be taking and posting pictures of my daily Nature time to the Facebook group because 1) it’s fun and 2) it will hopefully inspire you. Please share your own pictures, stories and questions!

 

So here’s to a smooth slide through the upcoming season. Thank you for getting into Nature with me.

 

PS. Want to learn about my other challenges, classes and healthcare offerings? Sign up for my newsletter here.

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An easy way to eat more veggies

November 8, 2018

Wednesday is veggie box day at my house, and it’s been really helping me up my personal food game. I often recommend delivery services like this one from Full Circle to patients as a way to help keep fresh vegetables in the house — because eating veggies is a non-negotiable part of healthy living.

 

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