December 2009
Celebrate Your Health
In This Issue
Chocolate: The Favorite Holiday Libation
Joy Heals
Celebrate Eating: Making Food Your Medicine
Pomegranate Season
Choosing to Care for Others
Chocolate Orange Truffles
Quick Links
About Us
Meet our Doctors and Healers

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Dr. Connie Hernandez:
Awakening, Experiencing and Directing Divine Energy
Thursdays, 7:30-9:00pm, Jan 7th-Jan 28th at Ananda Palo Alto

Dr. Shanti Rubenstone:
How to be Truly Well
Saturday, 10am-1pm
Jan 23rd at
Ananda Palo Alto

Dr. Dhurga Reddy:
Naturopathic Approaches to Cardiovascular Wellness
Wednesday, 7pm
Jan 20th at
Mountain View Public Library

Yoga for Anxiety
starting January 21st
at the Healing Yoga Foundation of San Francisco


We, the healers and staff of Pacific Naturopathic, would like to thank you for the opportunity we've had of serving you over the past year, and to extend our blessings to you as we move through this holiday season and into the year 2010.

In this month's newsletter, our focus is on celebration. You will find articles on the healing attributes of chocolate and pomegranates and mindful dining; of joy and caring.  Our recipe this month, by popular demand,  is Dr. Dhurga's chocolate orange truffles.  
May each one of you find peace within yourself, and be well and happy in the New Year!

In health and celebration,
Your team at Pacific Naturopathic

Chocolate: The Favorite Holiday Libation
Not all that Bad
~Marcel J. Hernandez, ND
Agatha Constance, ND

Most of us love chocolate. Americans eat an average of 12 pounds of chocolate a year. As many of the people I see for nutritional consultation feel guilty about their chocolate intake, I feel bound to tell them that naturopathic physicians may also be found perusing the organic chocolate shelves at Whole Foods.

Chocolate has a long history as a medicinal herb. One of the earliest recorded uses was to treat depression. Chocolate has been traditionally used to treat anemia, to stimulate the appetite, to increase breast milk production, to alleviate tuberculosis and gout, to cure kidney stones, to improve longevity, to enhance digestion and elimination, and to increase sexual appetite.

Chocolate contains vitamins A, B-1, C, D, and E, as well as potassium, phosphorus, sodium, iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, and fluorine. Chocolate also contains a mood enhancing chemical called anandamide, and the amino acid tryptophan present in chocolate provides a mild calming effect.

Compounds called flavonoids that are found in chocolate have a number of positive effects. Chocolate flavonoids possess a very unique chemical structure compared to those found in other plant-based foods and beverages, and are found in dark chocolate at four times the amount found in green tea. The chocolate flavonoids help relax the blood vessels and inhibit an enzyme that causes inflammation and arterial wall damage. These flavonoids also inhibit platelet aggregation (clumping). The heart healthy benefits are helpful in  lowering blood pressure and low density lipoproteins, and in preventing heart attack and stroke.  

Though the potential benefits of chocolate are many, overindulgence in any food can be detrimental to your health. And craving for a food may indicate an underlying nutritional deficiency, such as magnesium in the case of chocolate, or a food sensitivity. Those suffering from migraine headaches may need to avoid chocolate due to its tyramine content.

The darker chocolate with the most concentrated cocoa is the most beneficial. Unlike milk chocolate, dark chocolate contains no cholesterol, and the sugar content is far less. With dark chocolate, a little goes a long ways towards satisfaction.  Enjoy in good conscience!  
Joy Heals
~Connie Hernandez, ND
Connie Hernandez, ND
In naturopathic medicine, we often speak of and practice vibrational or energy healing. We are speaking of homeopathy, flower and gem essences, sound and light therapies, acupuncture or acupressure, and energy and breath movement therapies. These modalities all work with or through subtle energies to impact the energetic patterning that creates your physical body.

We could also speak of the impact of consciousness itself on your physical body. The consciousness of each one of us is represented in a kind of vibratory signature.  We speak of good vibes and bad vibes because we experience that vibration that is the consciousness carried by an individual, or a group of individuals, or by a place or even a thing.  We resonate with each other's vibrations. Your joy brings me joy. My joy brings you joy.

The now well-known Japanese researcher Masaru Emoto illustrated the effect of conscious thought on water molecules.  Through his photography, we see that positive words and emotions and harmonious music make beautiful crystalline structures within the water itself, whereas violent words cause muddied and disintegrated structures.

Think about it. As human beings, our bodies are from 55 to 80% water. What does that say about the impact of every word we speak, and every thought we think?  Every thought, every feeling, every word either harms or heals ourselves and others.

Take the opportunity this holiday season to transform yourself and those around you by opening your heart and allowing the colors, sounds, aromas and activities of the season to exert their vibrational influences on you; and by choosing to express joy and to offer gratitude. Your physical reality will reflect your choice.
Celebrate Eating: Making Food Your Medicine
~Dhurga Reddy, ND

Dhurga Reddy, ND
This holiday season, as you are enjoying meals prepared in the spirit of celebration and community, take a moment to slow down and honor the food you are eating and the people you are eating with.  Not only will slowing down during your meals give you a much-needed break from the hectic activity of the holiday season, but it will also enhance the digestion of your food and balance your autonomic nervous system.

When you rush through your meal, focused on driving or work or anything other than eating, the ability of your brain and your gut to communicate with each other and to support your digestive process is compromised.  When you look at or think about enticing food, you begin to salivate and your stomach might grumble.  Your brain tells your gastrointestinal tract to get to work, since it is about to be fed a delicious meal.  In response, your gastrointestinal tract releases digestive juices and churns in preparation for breaking down the meal it is anticipating into absorbable molecules.  If you're not paying attention to your food, this brain-gut communication doesn't happen and the digestive process is less than optimal.  Your meal does not get broken down as well and you are not able to absorb the healthy nutrients from your food. These nutrients provide you with energy and support all of your body's biochemical processes, including immune function, healing, learning, sleeping, mood regulation, and detoxification.   

Slowing down for each meal is also a great stress management tool.  For those of us caught up in our busy lives, a daily ritual of eating a meal mindfully provides an excellent opportunity to reconnect with ourselves. Reconnecting with ourselves is a grounding and stabilizing experience.  Slowing down to ground ourselves helps balance the autonomic nervous system, which regulates stress response, sleep, mood, digestion, reproduction, and cardiovascular function.  

Optimize your own heath and cook foods that you've grown in your own garden, from a friend's garden, or from a local farmer.  Savor the cooking process, and take some time to infuse your intention into each dish.  Create a peaceful and beautiful space to enjoy the food you've cooked.  Chew each bite slowly, and taste each dish's different flavors and textures.  Think about the food, and talk about it as you eat it with your friends and family.  Enjoy! 

To read more articles written by Dr. Dhurga, please click here to visit her blog.
Pomegranate Season
~Agatha Constance, ND

Agatha Constance, ND
During the winter holiday season, we tend to see more pomegranates since their growing season is between September and February. Pomegranates play a historical role in many cultures and religious traditions. In Hinduism pomegranate represents prosperity and fertility; in Christianity the fruit is a symbol of Jesus' suffering and resurrection; in the Greek Orthodox tradition the pomegranate signifies abundance, prosperity, and good luck; in Judaism the pomegranate is a symbol for righteousness. Many scholars believe the pomegranate to be the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. This dark red seedy fruit is not only festive and fun to eat, but it has some great health benefits as well.   

Pomegranates have been dubbed a super-food due to the fact that the juice is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants. Pomegranate has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine. In western medicine, pomegranates are recently of interest and are currently being studied for their health benefits. They have been shown to have antioxidant properties and to decrease inflammation. These properties play a role in the prevention of  cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and  dental disease. The health benefits appear to be greatest when the whole pomegranate or pomegranate juice itself is taken, as compared to extracts or separate constituents.

When choosing a pomegranate, look for fruit that has a bright red color and is heavy for its size. To prepare the fruit, cut the crown end off the pomegranate, and lightly score the skin from top to bottom in quarters. Soak the scored fruit in a bowl of cool water for a minute or two, then break sections apart. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the rind will float. Discard the rind, collect the seeds and pat dry.  Enjoy!
To read more articles written by Dr. Agatha, please click here to visit her blog.
Choosing to Care for Others
~Elijah Free

Elijah FreeIt all comes around to the good that we do when faced with extreme situations and the choices that we make when faced with difficult decisions. And in the end of ends, it is only love that counts.

The essential being of each one of us is one of supreme goodness. This goodness is an eternal expression of love that binds us all together as one. No one of us should ever be left out of the goodness and supply that is everyone's heritage. Am I my brother's keeper? Yes, I am.

In this holiday season it is more important than ever to share the blessings that you have with those who appear not to have them. The holidays offer a golden opportunity to give. Food, clothing, shelter, and healing are everyone's right and responsibility. No one should ever be excluded.

There are many ways to give. Charities feed people, clothe people, shelter people and  provide  holiday gifts for children that may transform their lives through the spirit of love in which they have been given.

If you are a person who is doing well right now, with food to eat and a place to sleep, then please think about choosing to share your blessings  and care for those less fortunate. It really is a choice you know-a choice that blesses not one-but all. Make your holiday into a celebration of goodness. 

Chocolate Orange Truffles
Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Raw, Delicious!

1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup creamy almond butter
1/4 cup agave sweetener (a lower glycemic, sugar substitute found at health food stores)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
1/4 cup cocoa powder

1. Place cashews in food processor and process until finely ground
2. Add remaining ingredients to food processor and process until all ingredients are fully incorporated
3. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours
4. Remove from fridge and roll into balls
5. Coat each ball with cocoa powder.
Serve!!  Makes 12 truffles

At Pacific Naturopathic, we offer evidence-based, integrated approaches to most acute and chronic health concerns. Bone health, breast health, hormonal balance, autoimmunity, cancer, cardiovascular health, inflammation, digestion, pediatrics, and metabolic cleansing are particular areas of interest to our practitioners. To encourage patient participation, we offer both guided self-help protocols and comprehensive doctor assisted protocols.  Our patients tell us they particularly appreciate our doctors, practitioners, and staff for our caring attitudes and commitment to service.

Discount on Well Woman Exams: $90

Spend only $90 on your annual gyn exam when you schedule your exam with either of our new associates, Dr. Agatha or Dr. Dhurga.  An annual gyn exam will include a full physical exam.  Call 650-857-0226 to schedule an appointment.
Offer does not include the price of the lab fees for processing a Pap smear, urinalysis, or any bloodwork that may be required, or requested by the patient.
Save $30
Special Introductory Rate:

Save $30 on your initial Naturopathic Medicine visit when you schedule with either of our new associates, Dr. Agatha or Dr. Dhurga.  Call 650-857-0226 to schedule an appointment..
Offer applies to those appointments made before December 31st, 2009