Blog Article Archive

Don’t Believe Everything you Read

As you make purchases for your home library or search the Internet, keep in mind that not all information is written by qualified medical experts. Your doctor or a health organization may be able to recommend some good books or helpful Internet sites. When looking for health information on the Internet, don’t believe everything you see. Articles published in peer-reviewed medical journals are checked for accuracy, but anyone can put information on the Internet, so there’s no guarantee that the information you find is accurate or up-to-date. In addition, many companies set up Web sites primarily to sell their products. It may be helpful to ask a health professional about the information you find on the Internet, particularly before you buy any products. If you search and shop with care, you can add some medically sound reference materials to your home library and find accurate information on the Internet.

Use Information Wisely

It can be hard to judge the accuracy and credibility of medical information you read in books or magazines, see on television, or find on the Internet. Even people with medical backgrounds sometimes find this task challenging. Following are some important tips to help you decide what information is believable and accurate on the Internet.

The Internet

Compare the information you find on the Internet with other resources. Check two or three articles in the medical literature or medical textbooks to see whether the information or advice is similar.

Check the author’s or organization’s credentials. They should be clearly displayed on the Web site. If the credentials are missing, consider this a red flag. Unfortunately, there are many phony doctors and other health professionals making false claims on the Internet.

Find out if the Web site is maintained by a reputable health organization or reviewed by board certified doctors. Remember that no one regulates information on the Internet. Anyone can set up a home page and claim anything.

Check for the Web sites Editorial Policy. Web sites that provide health or medical information should have a Medical Editorial Board and an Editorial policy (that includes peer review by their doctors).

Be wary of Web sites advertising and selling products that claim to improve your health. More important, be very careful about giving out credit-card information on the Internet (check to see if they have a secure database such as VeriSign™). Further, even if nothing is being sold on a Web site, ask yourself if the site host has an interest in promoting a particular product or service.

Ask yourself whether the information or advice seems to contradict what you’ve learned from your doctor. If so, talk to your doctor to clarify the differences in the information.

Be cautious when using information found on bulletin boards or during “chat” sessions with others. Testimonials and personal stories are based on one person’s experience rather than on objective facts or proven medical research.

To Make Informed Decisions About Your Health Care, You Need to Understand Your Health Problem

Medical information, especially material written for health care providers, can be hard to understand, confusing, and sometimes frightening. As you read through your materials, write down any words or information you don’t understand or find confusing. Make a list of your questions and concerns. During your next office visit, ask your doctor, nurse, or other health professional to review the information with you so that you understand clearly how it might be helpful to you. If the medical information you gathered is for a personal health problem, you may want to share what you found with your spouse, other family members, or a close friend. Family members and friends who understand your health problem are better able to provide needed support and care. Finally, you might want to consider joining a support group in your community. You may find it helpful to be able to talk with others who have the same health problem and share your feelings or concerns.

Ultimately, the information you gather from print and electronic resources can help you make decisions about your health care–how to prevent illness, maintain optimal health, and address your specific health problems. Armed with this knowledge, you can more actively work in partnership with your doctor and other health care professionals to explore treatment options and make health care decisions. Health care experts predict that today’s computer and telecommunication systems will result in a new era–the health care system information age–built around health-savvy, health-responsible consumers who are the primary managers of their own health and medical care.

The above information has been provided by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, and Society for Integrative Oncology.

Yummy Brownies

Who doesn’t like brownies? These are vegan friendly and can be adapted to suit what you have available or what you like best.

Yield: Makes 16 brownies.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup melted ghee or unsalted butter
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup cocoa or carob powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unrefined sugar
  • 1 small ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 1/3 cup spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, coconut, carob chips or walnut pieces

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 8-inch square pan.
  2. In large bowl, beat all ingredients with fork until smooth. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cut into squares when cool.

Variation: For gluten-free brownies, replace spelt flour with 1 cup brown rice flour, 1/4 cup amaranth flour and 1 tsp arrowroot flour.

Recipe Source: Thirteen Moons by Louis Racine

Coconut Curried Chowder

This chowder has a beautiful colour and sweet taste.

Yield: Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp ghee or oil
  • 2/3 cup chopped onion
  • 3 chopped green onions, white and green parts separated
  • 1 cup peeled diced sweet potato
  • 1/3 cup diced red pepper
  • 3 tsp grated ginger root, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • One can (14 oz) light coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh corn kernels
  • 2 1/2 tsp curry powder (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 block (16 oz) extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed*, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Directions:

  1. In large pot, heat ghee or medium-low heat. Add onion and white part of green onions. Saute 2 minutes. Add sweet potato, red pepper, 2 tsp ginger root and garlic. Saute 3 minutes. Stir in broth and heat until boiling. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 10-15 minutes or until sweet potato is tender.
  2. Add coconut milk, corn, curry powder, lemon zest, cayenne, salt, remaining 1 tsp ginger root and green onions. Gently stir tofu into mixture. Remove from heat and let stand for at least 30 minutes to allow tofu to absorb seasonings.
  3. Just before serving, reheat soup over low heat (do not boil). Stir in cilantro, if desired, and serve.

*Draining and pressing tofu: Cut brick of tofu in half lengthwise to make 2 slabs. Cover a cutting board with foil and prop it up slightly so that it slants and drains into sink. Place tofu slabs on board. Cover tofu with another piece of foil and place baking sheet on top. Weigh it down with cans or books and let stand 20 minutes.

Recipe Source: Thirteen Moons by Louis Racine

Banana Rhubarb Muffins

Rhubarb, so readily available and inexpensive in spring, contains fiber, calcium and other minerals. Its tartness is a nice contrast in baked goods, including these muffins, which are low in fat.

Yield: Makes 12 muffins.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium banana
  • 1/3 cup ghee or oil
  • 1/2 cup Sucanat
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 cup whole spelt flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup chopped rhubarb
  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease muffin tins.
  2. In large mixing bowl, mash banana. Add ghee and beat in Sucanat. Blend in egg, then yogurt.
  3. In small bowl, mix oat flour, spelt flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg, and gradually add to wet ingredients. Stir until just combined and quickly mix in rhubarb and hemp hearts. Scoop into muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  4. Remove muffins from tins and let cool on rack.

Recipe Source: Thirteen Moons by Louis Racine