Treats & Snacks, Back to the After-School Dilemma

School is just about to start up again and one of the questions I hear often is “what’s a good and easy after school snack I can feed my children?”

Good question.

First off, let’s define what a “snack” is…. words it as;

a small portion of food or drink or a light meal, especially one eaten between regular meals.

Now, let’s look at what a “treat” is….

entertainment, food, drink, etc., given by way of compliment or as an expression of friendly regard.

The reason I’m looking at the distinction between these terms is that we’ve gotten caught up in serving “treats” as “snacks” these days and believe it or not – too  much of a good thing is no longer a good thing!   The following are some examples of tasty and nutritious snacks:

Sliced apple with nut butter
Celery stalks with nut butter and dried fruit (the old “ants on a log” idea)
Guacamole with a spoon!
Hot dog – slices of nitrate, nitrite free, grass-fed only
Salmon Jerky
Roasted veggies – beets, carrots, butternut squash cubes make wonderful sweet snacks
Dried fruit
Plain yogurt with berries and a squeeze of raw honey or grade B maple syrup
Kefir “milkshakes” – blended with frozen berries
Hummus and cucumber slices

And, for the occasional treat –an abundance of help awaits you! Here’s to a delicious school year!


“Simply put; They make me feel better.”

I was pretty weak, sick and scared when I first started my treatments at Nature’s Cures Clinic, but the kind and personal treatment I have received has brought my health back around pretty dramatically.  Everyone I have encountered there is friendly, professional and brimming with a passion for their work, armed with vast expertise in a multitude of healing arts.

Simply put; They make me feel better.

xoxo Storm Large

The Blood Sugar Roller coaster (This is one ride you don’t want your kids to get on)

Our brain’s primary fuel source is sugar (glucose). When our blood sugar gets low- the brain cries “FEED ME NOW!” and will stop at nothing to be satiated. This will make a sensible person eat half of a birthday cake at the office before coming up for air and realizing what she has done.

When kids eat a high carbohydrate meal (plain noodles, bread with jelly, pancakes with syrup) or too many sweets (soda, candy), they will get the sugar HIGH and then the sugar CRASH.

First their blood sugar will climb the roller coaster, sending them into hyperactivity. The body wants to keep the sugar level in control so it will pump out insulin to bring it back down. Large amounts of insulin will quickly drop blood sugar and even overcompensate, causing blood sugar to fall below the balanced level. The brain detects this and in an effort to survive starts the process over again with a dramatic call for “MORE FOOD NOW!”

When glucose levels drop too low, we crave more sugar instead of a healthy salad or sandwich. It also makes us feel irritable, unable to concentrate and fatigued. Many kids actually ride this roller coaster all day long! The extra glucose being removed from the blood gets put away in storage for future use, this leads to weight gain if it goes unused. Over time, with high glucose and insulin in the blood, the cells become resistant to insulin – the cause of type 2 diabetes (no longer called “adult onset” because we are seeing it in kids now!). Obesity and diabetes are on the rise in US children and can often be prevented with smarter food choices and exercise. Continue reading “The Blood Sugar Roller coaster (This is one ride you don’t want your kids to get on)”

New Breed of MDs: More like NDs

An article in the Washington Post this week tells how medical school programs are adapting their curriculum to include a more holistic approach to medicine – focused on the patient as a whole, and not just one particular ailment they might have. At Johns Hopkins University, medical students are now taught to analyze “genetic, environmental and socioeconomic factors” that contribute to the patient’s health.

We say it’s about time. Continue reading “New Breed of MDs: More like NDs”

Reform Health Care, and Start With Your Own

A substantial overhaul of our national disease management system is now highly unlikely. What we will get is possibly an alteration in its financing. Perhaps insurance companies will form cooperatives, perhaps the government will pay for the treatment of more currently uninsured individuals, perhaps some costs will be contained with malpractice reform.

And of course, those changes are desperately needed. Medical bills are, by a large margin, the number one cause of bankruptcy in the United States. It is a strong testament to the fundamental flaws of our system that two-thirds of those filing bankruptcy due to medical bills had health insurance.

Meaningful health care reform may not happen at the national level for many decades to come. However, there’s another way to reform health care in this country. It’s not reform that starts at the top level of government and trickles down to individuals. It is reform that starts with each individual. And someday, eventually, it might just trickle all the way up to the top. Continue reading “Reform Health Care, and Start With Your Own”

Over Prescribed, Record Broken

I have a running record that you don’t want to break. Previous record was a person on 26 different daily medications, which I thought was outrageous. Then it happened at the Diabetes Expo in Portland, Oregon. A woman sat down and pulled out her list of medications. 33. She is on 33 medications a day. I looked at her, looked at the list, looked at her symptoms she had checked off a list of stress survey, and wanted to scream. Modern medicine is failing her. This can’t be what we are hoping Americans have access to. I am hoping patients can explore their options and try Chinese medicine, acupuncture, and naturopathic medicine as they might be able to help at the very least reduce the amount of medication they are on, at best help them correct the underlying imbalance and thrive. Continue reading “Over Prescribed, Record Broken”

Big Pharma’s unspoken influence on health care and other musings

In a recent NY Times article students at Harvard medical school were surprised at the extent big pharma had on their education.  In recent grades Harvard received an F for failure to disclose the conflicts of interest of their lecturers among other things.  We have discussed this topic in our podcast ‘Nemesis of Medicine‘.  This marriage of the pharma industry and medical education institutions is sadly absent from the current discussion of health care reform.

Journal of American Medical Association Dr. Catherine DeAngelis said, “The influence that the pharmaceutical companies, the for-profits, are having on every aspect of medicine…is so blatant now you’d have to be deaf, blind, and dumb not to see it.”  When seniors argue for prescription rights as if this is true medical reform we are in trouble.  The marketing machine of big pharma masked as health care is the big elephant in the room.  What we have currently in the U.S. is a disease management, symptom based model of care and it’s very expensive.
While access is one component of the discussion, we need to question access to what? Continue reading “Big Pharma’s unspoken influence on health care and other musings”

Hit Job

A recent study on antioxidants is a classic “hit job” on alternative medicine.

This study compared aspirin to a combination of antioxidants for their ability to prevent progression of arterial disease and diabetes. The study found that there was no difference in effectiveness between the two therapies. And without missing a beat, newspapers around the country proclaimed this new finding.

The dose of antioxidants used in this study is ridiculously low. For instance, this study used 100mg of vitamin C daily in their antioxidant supplement. While this is higher than the US RDA, it is somewhere between 1/5 and 1/20 the dose that is widely recognized to confer therapeutic benefits. Continue reading “Hit Job”

Growing Smarter Kids

A Canadian study found that eating more fruits and vegetables was associated with better academic performance among high schoolers.
A second study looked at brain performance in children 6 to 14 years old before and after one year of taking a multivitamin/mineral supplement. The results are hardly surprising: there was a significant improvement on two different attention tasks than kids not taking the supplements.
Ironically, what are the most commonly prescribed medications for school aged children? Of course they are medications for attention deficit. How much more sensible would it be to supplement these kids with multivitamins than to “supplement” them with pharmaceuticals?

Respiratory Infections in Children

Children’s cough/cold medicine has been shown to be more dangerous than helpful. But a recent study suggests that there are other kinds of therapies that will benefit kids with colds.

A recent study in the Journal of Pediatrics found that school-aged children supplemented with fish oil experienced upper respiratory infections with less frequency. In addition, those who did get a cold had it for a shorter length of time when compared to kids not receiving the fish oil supplementation.

The general thought within the medical community is that, if there is no conventional therapy for a given problem, then there is no useful therapy. This is just one more example of a natural therapy that not only reduces illnesses in children, but will enhance their health overall.

Do we think that pediatricians across the country are going to start recommending fish oil supplements to children to prevent colds?

Children and the Flu Vaccination

The CDC’s position on vaccinating children is straight-forward: all children ages 6 months to adult should get a vaccination every year.

Which is just great, except for the fact that there is no evidence vaccinating children prevents hospital visits or reduces trips to physicians. As if to add insult to injury, according to the CDC, “the majority of influenza vaccines distributed in the United States currently contain thimerosal [mercury] as a preservative.”

Those looking for options that might actually reduce the risk of influenza in their children and themselves might want to contact their nearest naturopathic physician.

Vitamin D Levels and Metabolic Syndrome

Do we still need reasons to supplement with vitamin D? A recent study
published in the European Journal of Endocrinology found that subjects
with the highest blood vitamin D levels had an astounding 73% reduced
risk of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is the name given to a
collection of signs and symptoms that together indicate an increased
risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The syndrome includes
elevated blood sugar and triglycerides, abdominal obesity, high blood
pressure and low HDL (“good”) cholesterol.

Another study, just published in the Archives of Internal Medicine,
found that men with the lowest blood levels of vitamin D had *2.5 times
the risk* of a heart attack as men with the highest levels of vitamin D.

Oh, vitamin D, is there no disease you can’t protect against?

Fish Intake and Colorectal Cancer

In a very large, long-term study of colorectal cancer, it was found
that intake of fish oil and dietary fish dramatically decreases the risk
of colorectal cancer. In this study, which monitored over 21,000
subjects for 22 years, it was found that those who consumed fish 5
times/week had a 40% reduction in colorectal cancer. In classic “let’s
understate the benefits of natural therapies” fashion, the authors
concluded, “Our results … suggest that intakes of fish and long-chain
omega-3 fatty acids from fish may decrease the risk for colorectal
cancer.” If a drug had this kind of protective effect, we’d all be
forced to take it as a matter of national security.

Nature Cures Clinic On TV!

Our clinic was recently featured in three segments on Portland Channel 12 KPTV. If you didn’t catch us on TV, you can check it out at these links:

Part One: IV Therapy and the Treatment of Fatigue

Part Two: Naturopathic Therapies for Cancer Patients

Part Three: Treating Migraines with Naturopathic Therapies

New Podcasts

We’ve posted two new podcasts in the past few weeks, and they are getting more listeners than any before! One is on the health consequences of gastric bypass surgery, and the most recent podcast questions the relationship between genes and many common diseases.

You can listen to any of our podcasts by visiting our podcast page. And as always, if you have a health-related question you’d like us to address in a podcast, please send your question to