Posts in sustainability
Night time meanderings

Even in your neighborhood, slow down, find the beauty cultivated within your direct radius.  All of these incredible flowers were found on a walk less than a mile from my home.  To the beauty creators and cultivators, thank you.  It is crucial to reset by looking at nature and appreciating the small things.

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1. Miyazaki Y., Park B.J., Lee J. Nature therapy. In: Osaki M., Braimoh A., Nakagami K., editors. Designing Our Future: Local Perspectives on Bioproduction, Ecosystems and Humanity. United Nations University Press; New York, NY, USA: 2011. pp. 407–412.

2. Brunet M., Guy F., Pilbeam D., Mackaye H.T., Likius A., Ahounta D., Beauvilain A., Blondel C., Bocherens H., Boisserie J.R., et al. A new hominid from the Upper Miocene of Chad, Central Africa. Nature. 2002;418:141–151. [PubMed]

3. Tanaka A., Takano T., Nakamura K., Takeuchi S. Health level influenced by urban residential conditions in a megacity—Tokyo. Urban Stud. 1996;33:879–894. doi: 10.1080/00420989650011645. [Cross Ref]

4. Dye C. Health and urban living. Science. 2008;319:766–769. doi: 10.1126/science.1150198. [PubMed][Cross Ref]

5. Brod C.  Technostress: The Human Cost of the Computer Revolution. Addison Wesley; Boston, MA, USA: 1984.

You Start Dying Slowly
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Bear with me, this is a message of hope.

Birthdays roll around once a year.  How do you feel on your birthday?  This poem, by Pablo Neruda is close to the thoughts I have.

You start dying slowly...

if you do not travel,

if you do not read,

If you do not listen to the sounds of life,

If you do not appreciate yourself.

 

You start dying slowly...

When you kill your self-esteem;

When you do not let others help you.

 

You start dying slowly...

If you become a slave of your habits,

Walking everyday on the same paths…

If you do not change your routine,

If you do not wear different colors

Or you do not speak to those you don’t know.

 

You start dying slowly...

If you avoid to feel passion

And their turbulent emotions;

Those which make your eyes glisten

And your heart beat fast.

 

You start dying slowly...

If you do not change your life when you are not satisfied with your job, or with your love,

If you do not risk what is safe for the uncertain,

If you do not go after a dream,

If you do not allow yourself,

At least once in your lifetime,

To run away from sensible advice…

 

~~ BY: Pablo Neruda, Spanish poet who won Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971

Green space exercise

There are a growing number of articles that show a clear connection between increased mental wellbeing, stress relief and even immune system activation. when exercise is conducted in forested green spaces. In the UK and Japan, they study this phenomenon extensively, citing active components that are directly responsible for all these positive effects.  That fresh pine smell, for example, is actually alpha and beta pinene.  These naturally occurring volatile aromas increase Natural Killer cells, which help us battle things like viruses and tumor cells.

You don't have to smell the woods, to get the benefit though.  In the UK, researchers found that just looking at peaceful, natural scenery while exercise increased several health parameters.

So, exercise in nature if you can, but also consider switching from zoning out with a TV show on the treadmill to treating yourself to some seriously beautiful views instead.

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Li Q1Kobayashi MWakayama YInagaki HKatsumata MHirata YHirata KShimizu TKawada TPark BJOhira TKagawa TMiyazaki Y. Effect of phytoncide from trees on human natural killer cell function. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2009 Oct-Dec;22(4):951-9.

Li Q1, Kobayashi MInagaki HHirata YLi YJHirata KShimizu TSuzuki HKatsumata MWakayama YKawada TOhira TMatsui NKagawa T. A day trip to a forest park increases human natural killer activity and the expression of anti-cancer proteins in male subjects. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2010 Apr-Jun;24(2):157-65.

Humpel N., Owen N., Iverson D., Leslie E., Bauman A. Perceived environment attributes, residential location and walking for particular purposes. Am. J. Prev. Med. 2004;26:119–125. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2003.10.005. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]

De Vries S., Verheij R.A., Groenewegen P.P., Spreeuwenberg P. Natural environments—Healthy environments? An exploratory analysis of the relationship between greenspace and health. Environ. Plan A. 2003;35:1717–1731.

Radiation protection, re-visited

It's been just over a year since the Nuclear meltdown in Japan.  We had a lot of concerns about radiation for a month or two, and then things sort of simmered down. However, I recently had a patient ask me what she could do to protect her young children from the effects of increased radiation in our atmosphere.  There's a lot out there on the web.  Weeding through all of it to determine an effective set of guidelines for families with little ones (or pregnant ones!) has been my pet project for the past few weeks.

Without further ado, I present "Dr. Roe's Radiation Protection Plan"

1. An apple a day.  Pectins (found in apples) are probably the most well-studied food source for radiation protection, even after exposure has occurred.  People in the Chernobyl radiation zone have been advised for years and years now to consume apples on a regular basis to help the body absorb and eliminate excess radiation.

2. Eat iodine-containing foods, and keep a source of iodine on hand for your family in the medicine cabinet.  There is no need to supplement Iodine on a regular basis, and this can, in fact, put people over the age of 40 at risk for thyroid cancer.

3. Add Spirulina to Smoothies or, even better, applesauce a few times per week.  Spirulina also shows the ability to bind radioactive isotopes so that the body can more readily eliminate them.

4. Find a reputable source for Kombucha tea, and drink it 3-6 times per week (8oz serving).  Besides, the hot-link there, I was able to easily find lots of evidence to show the anti-oxidant, free radical scavenging, radiation-busting effects of this ancient beverage.

5. Most of all, be healthy.  Eat whole foods.  Drink water.  Take a daily multivitamin (a good one!!!!)  Avoid sugar and processed foods to keep all of your organ systems intact and functioning properly.  Your body's ability to combat radiation exposure is only as strong as it is healthy.

So there you have it, the naturopathic doctor-approved, weeded-out version of Radiation Protection, 101.

On being human.

This is an absolutely fabulous article written by a mama on self-forgiveness and being human.  I love it.  I think if we keep in mind what it means to be human, to replenish our stores of grace, and to forgive ourselves when we feel we haven't been our best selves or parents....we can have healthier happier dynamics at home and in the world. Give it a read!

Radiation, averted

Well, the good news for us here in the Pacific NW is that only miniscule amounts of radioactive iodine were detected this week.  I will maintain that everyone keep some Iodine on hand because we are not done dealing with the catastrophe in Japan.  Additionally, if you live on the West coast, you know that we are on the same techtonic plate as the one currently shifting about, causing the earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan.  Make sure you know what to do, where to go, and how to set up a plan for your family in the event of a major earthquake or tsunami here.  I like the 72 hours page, which was developed by the city of San Francisco.  It has great visuals, tips, and checklists to make sure you and your family are prepared (not scared). If you have not already done so, I urge you to help in whatever way you can for our fellow humans in Japan.  It is still devastating the nation over there. Some of my favorite donation/relief websites:

This and That from Japan

Shelterbox

Socks for Japan

Rock Out Japan

Natural Medicine: The healing effects of the exposure to nature

My buddy, Kurt Beil, wrote a really interesting article last summer that I don't think I have shared here on my blog.  Kurt is an ND/Acupuncturist who studied Environmental Public Health as well.  His focus is on how Nature heals us.  I think we all know that getting out into the fresh air and sunshine (when it does shine here in Portland) makes us feel better at a core level.  Kurt's research proves it. I know that when I was in medical school, stressing out over some exam or research paper could easily be remedied by lacing up my running shoes and heading for one of the many green spaces and hiking trails.  They're calling it "Vitamin G", G for green!  It's just so TRUE.  So after you finish reading this article, get outside and bask in nature.  It's for your own good.  :)

Natural Medicine: The healing effects of the exposure to nature.

A handmade healing salve!

Today, I'm working in my kitchen, whipping up a treat for the folks who come to the Green Sprouts Festival this weekend.  I've been infusing fresh organic calendula flowers in olive oil for 2 weeks, and today I'm turning that oil into a salve. salve 1 |sav; säv| noun an ointment used to promote healing of the skin or as protection.

The first 75 visitors to our booth this year will get a free sample of the Family Tree Medicine Calendula Salve!  We use calendula salve for cuts, scrapes, bruises, and other types of boo-boos.

You can also enter your name to win a brand new Moby Wrap.  Dr. Maurer and I both used this wrap for our little ones when they were babies. So, if you or someone you know is having a baby soon, stop on by, say hi, and try your luck at winning.

We look forward to seeing you there, rain or shine!