RECIPE: SPICED PUMPKIN BREAD
Adapted from Bon Appetite Fast, Easy and Fresh cookbook
Yields: 2 loaves
Preheat oven to 350F
Butter and flour two 9x5x3 inch loaf pans
- 1.5 c. all-purpose flour (or gluten-free flour mix)
- 1.5 c. whole wheat flour (or gluten-free flour mix)
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 c. raw sugar (or raw honey, or coconut sugar)
- 1 c. sunflower oil
- 3 large eggs (room temp)
- 15 oz. (1 can) pure organic pumpkin
- 1 c. chopped organic raw walnuts (optional)
Sift first eight ingredients into a large bowl. In second bowl, beat sugar and oil to blend, and then add eggs and pumpkin. Mix well. Stir dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture in two additions, just until blended. Add nuts, if desired. Divide between loaf pans. Bake approximately 1 hour 10 minutes, or until tester inserted into center comes out clean. Transfer to racks and cool in pans for 10 minutes. Cut around sides of pan with a knife to loosen. Turn loaves onto rack to cool completely.
WHAT DO YOU REALLY KNOW ABOUT YOUR DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS?
There’s a frightening and emerging trend plaguing the dietary supplement (DS) industry. Recent studies (conducted by independent labs, scientists, and/or newspapers) in which DS were randomly and independently tested have shown that DS products do not always contain the ingredients (or the purity of ingredients) stated on the product label. This concern goes across all supplements: vitamins, minerals, herbs/botanicals, and amino acids.
To complicate matters, manufacturers of DS are not required to submit products to the scientific scrutiny of the FDA because DS are regulated as a food product, not a drug. The Federal Trade Commission regulates advertising of product claims, but that has nothing to do with the purity and quality of the pill you’re taking. The FDA has the authority to spot-check supplements (and to remove products that violate certain regulations) but is not required by law to test, or require testing, on all over-the-counter supplements.
Several private groups, as well as the Government Accountability Office (Natural Resources and the Environment Division) want more done to hold supplement makers accountable for the purity of their products. It’s a heated debate, but as more clinicians, consumers, and retailers call for standardized practices for testing, producing, and marketing DS before they go on the market, the more confident we all can be about what we’re buying.
BE AN INFORMED CONSUMER:
- Read labels and understand what the terms on the label actually mean (see diagram above). Ingredients you don’t want to see include fillers, dyes, lead, dextrose, and titanium dioxide.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Look for a Quality Assurance seal of approval: Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP).
- Purchase products from your healthcare provider or a reputable company.
- Research the product and company on the Internet: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). Look for product recalls and scams: FDA Health Fraud Scams & Tainted Supplements.
Your best source of educational support is your health care practitioner.
- ConsumerLab Independent Testing of Supplements
- Council for Responsible Nutrition. “One Dozen Tips for Consumers.”
- Harel, Z., et al. “The Frequency and Characteristics of Dietary Supplement Recalls in the United States.” JAMA Internal Medicine 173, no. 10 (2013): 929-930. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.379.
- National Institutes of Health Quality Assurance Program
- U.S. Government Accountability Office. “Dietary Supplements: FDA Should Take Further Actions to Improve Oversight and Consumer Understanding.” Published January 29, 2009.
- U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention. “USP & Dietary Supplement Manufacturers.”
WHAT’S REALLY IN YOUR HERBAL REMEDY?
Herbal supplements (botanicals; plant-based medicine) have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Today they are recognized for having drug-like effects such as improving mood. Products that can have medicinal effects also carry risk, especially if taken with other medicines or supplements. However, most over-the-counter herbal supplements are not subjected to the same scientific scrutiny and aren’t as strictly regulated as medications.
As noted in our article about dietary supplements, makers of herbal supplements are not required to submit their products for FDA approval before going to market. Their only requirement is to demonstrate their products meet quality manufacturing standards. Studies have shown this is not enough: Many over-the-counter herbals are contaminated or substituted with alternative plant species and fillers that are not listed on the label. According to the World Health Organization, this adulteration of herbal products is a threat to consumer safety.
Before buying herbal supplements, do your homework and investigate potential benefits and side effects. Follow our tips below to help identify quality herbal supplements. Before taking an herbal supplement, talk your health practitioner- especially if you take other medications, have chronic health problems, or are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Look for products that indicate standardized extracts; no fillers, preservatives or additives; naturally harvested; fair-trade and sustainable manufacturing practices.
Quality control (QC) refers to processes for maintaining the purity of a product. Without QC, there is no assurance that the herb contained in the bottle is the same as what is stated on the outside. One of the key solutions to the QC problem that exists in the United States is for manufacturers and suppliers to adhere to standardized manufacturing practices.
Products should indicate they are third-party tested. Look for a USP (U.S. Pharmacopeia) seal of approval. Check products (and product recalls) on these websites: Council for Responsible Nutrition, ConsumerLabs, and the National Institutes of Health Dietary Supplement QA Program. Check the product website for more information.
- Cleveland Clinic. “Herbal Supplements: Helpful or Harmful?” Reviewed December 2013.
- Mayo Clinic. “Herbal Supplements: What to Know Before You Buy.”
- Newmaster, S., et al. “DNA Barcoding Detects Contamination and Substitution in North American Herbal Products.” BMC Medicine 11 (2013): 222.
- Pizzorno, J.E. Textbook of Natural Medicine. Fourth edition. St Louis, Missouri: Elsevier Publishing: 2014.
- U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention. “USP & Dietary Supplement Manufacturers.”
CUPPING: A TRADITIONAL CHINESE THERAPY
Cupping is one of the oldest methods of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) dating back to 300 A.D. It was first described in A Handbook of Prescriptions for Emergencies, written by Ge Hong, a noted Taoist herbalist. Historical texts describe the use of various types of cups including bamboo and pottery, and medicinal treatment for headaches, dizziness, respiratory illness, and abdominal pain.
Today, cupping methods vary by intensity, size of the cups, use of heat or air, cup movement, and whether or not acupuncture is combined in a treatment session. Glass or thick, clear plastic cups are preferred because they allow the practitioner to evaluate the effects of treatment.
Like acupuncture, cupping follows the lines of the meridians. There are five meridian lines on the back, and these are where the cups are usually placed. In TCM, cupping is believed to purge toxins and help to restore qi (life force energy) by opening the meridian channels so that qi flows throughout all tissues and organs to promote healing and vitality.
WHAT HAPPENS IN A CUPPING SESSION?
In a traditional cupping session (“dry” cupping), glass cups are warmed using a cotton ball that has been soaked in alcohol, is lit, and placed inside the cup. Burning a substance inside the cup removes all the oxygen, which creates a vacuum. Next, the practitioner turns the cup upside-down and places it over a specific area on the body. The back, chest, abdomen, and buttocks are the most common sites on which the cups are applied. The vacuum effect anchors the cup and pulls the skin upward inside the cup. Cups are left in place for 5-10 minutes (sometimes longer depending on the condition being treated). Several cups may be placed on a patient’s body at the same time. Small amounts of medicated or herbal oils may also be applied to the skin just before the cupping procedure; this allows a practitioner to move cups up and down meridians (“gliding” cupping).
In addition to “dry” cupping, some practitioners also use “wet” or “air” cupping. In “air” cupping, after the cup is applied to the skin, a suction pump is attached to the cup to create a vacuum. In “wet” cupping, the skin is punctured before treatment. When the cup is applied and the skin is drawn up, a small amount of blood may flow from the puncture site, which is believed to help remove harmful substances and toxins from the body.
WHAT DOES IT TREAT?
In China, cupping is used primarily to treat respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, asthma, and congestion; arthritis; gastrointestinal disorders; and for management of pain and swelling. Clinical studies are limited, though there is growing interest from researchers. For now, there isn’t conclusive data on the effects of cupping for specific health concerns.
IS CUPPING SAFE?
While cupping is considered relatively safe for most people, it can cause swelling and bruising on the skin where the cups were applied. Bruising may last anywhere from a few days to two weeks. You may feel sore after treatment, but this will subside within 24 hours after a session.
Cupping should not be performed on individuals with inflamed skin, high fever, or convulsions, or with persons who bleed easily or who are pregnant. It’s wise for you to learn about the credentials of any practitioner who offers cupping treatments.
- Cao, H., X. Li, and J. Liu. “An Updated Review of the Efficacy of Cupping Therapy.” PLOS ONE 7, no. 2 (2012). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031793
- Chinese Cupping. “History of Chinese Cupping.”
- Institute for Traditional Medicine. “Cupping.”
- Kim, J., et al. “Cupping for Treating Pain: A Systematic Review.” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2011).
- Mehta, P., and V. Dhapte. “Cupping Therapy: A Prudent Remedy for a Plethora of Medical Ailments.” Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine 5, no. 3 (February 2015): 127ñ134.
First Do not Harm
Identify and Treat the cause
Healing Power of Nature
Doctor as Teachers
Treat the Whole
Prevention is best Medicine
The information offered by this newsletter is presented for educational purposes. Nothing contained within should be construed as nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet or fitness program. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information contained within this newsletter.