Trees

four ways food choices impact mood

A journalist friend recently messaged me asking for help understanding the ways food choices affect mood.

 

It’s a big topic. And since managing mood is one of my clinical specialties, and since food is always the first medicine, you won’t be surprised to hear that I have a lot of thoughts.

 

But it all boils down to a few simple things, which I discuss in this  quick video. (more…)

change your mind, change your life

Do you ever find your thoughts getting in the way of your life? That ideas you have about how things should be prevent you from doing the things you know you want or need to do? Have you ever thought that if you could just change your mind you could change your life?

 

In this video, one patient describes his experience:

 

 

Of all the treatments I’ve used in my medical practice, the most magic I’ve seen comes from using flower essences to address exactly this. (more…)

rites of spring: rose petal honey

Rites of Spring: Rose Petal Honey | Dr. Orna Izakson | herbalist + naturopathic doctor | Portland Oregon

Alchymist climbing rose in front of the clinic.

It’s full-bloom time here in the City of Roses. Which means I’m munching on flowers.

 

Did you know that rose petals are edible? Some taste better than others, and all are somewhat astringent. But the best ones carry both the rose fragrance and flavor. (Try them! Just make sure the plants aren’t sprayed with pesticides.) (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…)

herbal steams for respiratory health

If you’ve watched my herbal origin story video, you know that thyme is one of my secret weapons for colds and flus — any kind of stuck or infected issue in the upper or lower respiratory tract. Steaming with thyme is one of my go-tos in the clinic, and one of the key practices described in my Winter Wellness Toolkit (Haven’t downloaded it yet? Check out the link at the bottom of this post to grab your copy.)

 

I almost invariably recommend that my patients with colds, flus or sinusitis symptom use thyme in an herbal steam. I give them a handout and describe the procedure using hand gestures.

 

This is the kind of thing that sounds confusing until you see it demonstrated or figure out how to do it yourself. So I made a quick video for you.

 

(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?

(more…)

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.

(more…)

thoughts on the new year

Filed under: Uncategorized — Orna @ 9:21 pm
Our campsite at Denali State Park. The Mountain is behind the clouds.

Our campsite at Denali State Park. The Mountain is behind the clouds.

At the beginning of 2016, my wise friend Dr. Samantha Brody published an article about New Year’s resolutions, why they don’t work and what to do instead.

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That struck me as a great idea, so I tried it out. And you know what? The results have been pretty great, and I want to tell you about them.

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But first, take a minute to read her article now. Seriously. I’ll wait. (more…)

you’ve got the power

heart-4A few years ago, a patient came in with some unexplained symptoms. She’d been to the hospital twice, and even had a small surgery that didn’t help the problem. Bad as that was, she’d also gotten some bad news on a related genetic test. You can imagine she was pretty scared.

 

I told her: “Epigenetics is your friend.

 

Translated: Your genes are not your destiny. Your choices can protect against, prevent or override the genetic cards in your hand.

 

With that in mind, I was gratified to read a New York Times story confirming the power of lifestyle choice on health outcomes — even with uncongenial genes. (more…)

join me at the food as medicine symposium

Filed under: Uncategorized — Orna @ 9:12 am

If you’ve watched my second video, you know digestion is one of the three keys to the optimal-health kingdom. And I’ll be talking about spice-rack solutions to help keep your system going strong at the fourth annual Food as Medicine Symposium.

 

I’m thrilled to be on the same lineup as the great Sandor Ellix Katz, who inspired me to start making my own gut-loving sauerkraut and kimchee. (When my supplement-refusing cousin started fermenting, it turned around his health and that of his family. I’m a huge fan!)

 

The symposium is on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017 at National University of Natural Medicine. My topic: Culinary Herbs for Digestive Health. Because making your food delicious literally can make it more nutritious. Register online here.

 

If you can’t wait to learn more, check out the nutrition links I’ve compiled for you here.

 

I hope to see you in February!

 

 

Real food will change your life.

Real food will change your life.

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