Moderation is Key

Today I wanted to just give a brief personal update about me! I embarked on a 21 day sugar cleanse, something that I tend to do 2-3 times a year with mainly positive results.

This past Friday, I had a minor medical emergency where I was seen in the hospital. Nothing ended up terribly wrong, but the doctor’s I spoke with and I agree, that I was anemic, dehydrated, and just overall weak. This is a good reminder to myself and other’s that we must do everything in moderation!

A sugar cleanse can be a really healthy thing to do for your body! It allows you to detox from excess sugar and can help you kick start your metabolism among other things. At the same time, putting your body through a new diet or detox should be done when you are in a mental state and environment that is supportive and as stress free as possible (just starting a new term of medical school, while working, and moving into a new apartment is probably not the best time to cleanse). I thought I was invincible and I could cleanse regardless! Boy was I wrong!

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It has been 3 days since I stopped my cleanse early and while I have not gone back to eating Sour Patch Kids and cookies. My body is definitely thankful that I am eating a couple servings of fruit and some healthy carbs again. I also have regained some strength and I still do not have any bloating or digestive symptoms that I had pre-cleanse. That’s when it dawned on me! Maybe in the future, a 21 day sugar cleanse is too long for me. For my body, a 1-2 week sugar cleanse might be enough.

As Naturopathic physicians and healers and people, it is important to remember that we all are different and our bodies respond to treatments in different ways. What works for one person, might not work for you! Some one might feel great while on a Vegan diet, but someone else may be malnourished! Some people love lifting weights and running, but for others they might do better with swimming or water aerobics!

Being healthy and achieving personal optimal health is not about being extreme, it is about finding the best healthy path for your body and following it! I hope to be able to provide some options and ideas for people through my blog, but also I want to stress that what is healthy and good for some is not necessarily healthy and good for all! LISTEN to your body! Allow IT to guide to towards optimum health!

Motivational Monday Challenge!

Go outside today and reconnect with nature

Go outside today and reconnect with nature

Today take 5-10 minutes to listen to your body with a mindful meditation or grounding exercise. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground, hands comfortably in your lap, and close your eyes. While your eyes are closed, start by focusing on your breath to get in tune with you. Once you are focused on your breath, move to your heart beat. After there, do a spot check head to toe. Check in with yourself and see if you have any aches and pains anywhere. If so, focus on healing those areas while taking some deep breaths. After going through a head to toe check, come back to the present and open your eyes!

If you do this and feel more relaxed or in tune with your body, share with a friend and encourage them to check in with themselves today!

My name is Emma Petshow and I am a 3rd year naturopathic medical student at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR. For more about myself, check out my bio. This blog is intended for information about preventive health and lifestyle improvement. The information contained on this blog is not to be used as medical advice. For specific medical advice you should consult your physician.

Tea Time – Calendula Tea

Try adding tea to your daily routine. Below is the tea of the month to try. Insert the tea in place of your morning cup of coffee or have it instead of a snack between lunch and dinner.

“Better to be deprived of food for three days than of tea for one.” – Ancient Chinese Proverb

A Pot of Gold Tea

(Calendula, Marigold)

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How to?

FRESH

Take 1 teaspoon of Marigold flower petals and add to boiling water for 7-10 minutes (shorter for light tea, longer for strong tea). Strain out petals and enjoy.

DRIED

Take 1 teaspoon of dried Marigold flower petals and add to your cup of boiling hot water for 3-5 minutes. Strain out petals and enjoy OR use an infuser and drink away.

Benefits?

  • Heart health (prevention)
  • Reduces digestive distress & improves inflammatory bowel conditions
  • Decreases swollen lymph glands and encourages lymphatic circulation
  • General detoxification – great before flu season
  • Decreases menopause and menstruation symptoms, can help to regulate menstruation
  • Antibacterial and fungal properties to help fight of pelvic and bowel infections

WORD MASH

All of these are qualities of A Pot of Gold tea…

Antiseptic, Astringent, Antiviral, Antispasmodic, Estrogenic, Anti-Inflammatory, Bitter Tonic, Diaphoretic, Detoxifier, Diuretic

Sugar Cleanse - Day #17 By now I have adjusted to life with no sugar and the weird arm rash went away! I am excited to continue my sugarless journey! But I will probably have some on my birthday in a week. :-) Everything in moderation...

Sugar Cleanse – Day #17
By now I have adjusted to life with no sugar and the weird arm rash went away! I am excited to continue my sugarless journey! But I will probably have some on my birthday in a week. 🙂 Everything in moderation…

My name is Emma Petshow and I am a 3rd year naturopathic medical student at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR. For more about myself, check out my bio. This blog is intended for information about preventive health and lifestyle improvement. The information contained on this blog is not to be used as medical advice. For specific medical advice you should consult your physician.

Menu Decoder – Panda Express

Most of us strive to eat healthy, cook fresh foods, and eat out as little as possible! That being said, we all have those days where there is no time and grabbing something quick from a restaurant is the only option or maybe you want to go out to eat with friends and they pick a restaurant that does not have healthy food options! What do you do? What can you eat? This month I am decoding the menu to a popular quick “fast-food” Chinese restaurant, Panda Express.

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Below you will find food guides to eating Gluten Free, Sugar Cleanse, Dairy Free, Low Glycemic Index, Low Sodium, & Caloric based! I did the work and math so you don’t have to!

Disclaimer, most food at fast-food chains like Panda Express is not really healthy or ideal, but this is a guide to purchase the best options if you are going to eat there and be smart with what you put into your body.

Gluten Free Options:

They are limited at best, but here is what you can eat if you are gluten free. Please note that there will be cross contamination, so if you have a severe gluten allergy, eat here with caution or do not eat here at all.

Brown or White Steamed Rice!

  • Eat with 1 of 4 gluten free sauce options: sweet & sour sauce, chili sauce, hot mustard sauce, or plum sauce

That’s it! Can you believe that their veggies have wheat cross contamination! Sad day…

Sugar Cleanse Options:

Unfortunately there are not many options here or at most restaurants for sugar cleanse or sugar-free folks! Below is your only meal option if you are cleansing.

Brown or White Steamed Rice! Only 1/2 cup per day of rice though if you are cleansing!

  • With chili sauce or hot mustard sauce!

Dairy Free Options:

There are more dairy free options here, but note there still can be cross contamination.

Sides:

Entrees:

Chicken…

  • Black Pepper, Kung Pao, Grilled Teriyaki, Grilled Asian, Teriyaki, Asian, Mushroom, String Bean (chicken breast), Sweet Fire (chicken breast), Sweet & Sour (chicken breast)

Beef…

  • Broccoli Beef, Shanghai Angus Steak
lower-calorie-panda-express-menu-food

Broccoli Beef

Appetizers:

Sauces:

  • Teriyaki, Sweet & Sour, Chili, Soy, Potsticker, Hot Mustard, Plum Sauce

Low Glycemic Food Options:

Let’s say you are not cleansing, but trying to eat only foods that are low on the glycemic food index scale. There are two easy ways of calculating a food’s glycemic index.

  • Sugar to fiber ratio… ideally 1:1
  • Carbohydrate to fiber ratio… ideally less than 10:1

Sides:

  • Brown/White Steamed Rice & Mixed Veggies

Entrees:

Chicken or Vegetarian…

  • Mixed Veggies, Kung Pao, Grilled Teriyaki, Grilled Asian, Teriyaki, Asian, String Bean (chicken breast)
String bean chicken breast

String bean chicken breast

Beef…

  • Broccoli Beef

Appetizers:

  • Crispy Shrimp, Chicken Egg Roll, Cream Cheese Ragoon

Sauces:

  • Chili, Soy, Potsticker, Hot Mustard, Plum Sauce

Low Sodium Intake Options:

Americans on average consume over 3300 mg of sodium per day. Ideally, you should consume less than 2300 mg of sodium per day! If you are 51+ y/o or have high blood pressure, diabetes, or kidney disease, you should strive to consume less than 1500 mg of sodium.

This can be hard to do if you don’t know how much sodium certain foods contain. Unlike calories, this information is not listed anywhere easily accessible. I have created panda ‘meal’s below that contain less than 500 mg of sodium, which is the MOST you should consume per meal.

Panda Bowl:

Start with the side of Brown/White Steamed Rice (0-15 mg).

Then choose one of the following entrees: Mixed Veggies entrée (280 mg), Sweet Fire Chicken Breast (320 mg), Sweet & Sour Chicken Breast (260 mg), OR Honey Walnut Shrimp (440 mg).

Hungry for an appetizer? Check the Sodium levels first and decide if it is worth it!
  • Crispy Shrimp (400 mg)
  • Chicken Egg Roll (340 mg)
  • Chicken Potsticker (250 mg)
  • Cream Cheese Ragoon (180 mg)
Thinking about adding an additional sauce? This is where those sneaking Sodium mg hide! Look at the levels below in the sauces that contain less than 500 mg per serving.
  • Teriyaki Sauce (380 mg)
  • Sweet & Sour Sauce (115 mg)
  • Chili Sauce (125 mg)
  • Soy Sauce (375 mg)
  • Potsticker Sauce (290 mg)
  • Hot Mustard Sauce (115 mg)
  • Plum Sauce (55 mg)

Calorie Counter? This is for you…

I am not a big fan of counting calories! I think there are more important nutrition factors to consider (like the things I listed above). Also, if you learn mindful eating and how to enjoy your food, calorie counting is almost not important. That being said, if you are trying to keep track below are meal options that are less than 500 calories (the most you should eat for one meal, when you are on a 2000 calorie diet).

**These meals also have less than 500 mg of sodium & are on the low glycemic index scale!
Panda Bowls:
The gluten-free and sugar-free menu ideas listed above have less than 500 calories to them, so they are included in this list as well.

Brown Steamed Rice**

  • w/Mixed Veggie entrée
    • Add Chili, Potsticker, Hot Mustard, or Soy Sauce

White Steamed Rice**

  • w/Mixed Veggie entrée
    • Add chili, potsticker, hot mustard, or soy sauce
  • w/Hot & Sour Soup (cup size)

Mixed Veggies

  • w/Black Pepper Chicken
    • Add crispy shrimp OR hot & sour soup (cup size)
  • w/Grilled Teriyaki Chicken
    • Add hot & sour soup (cup size)
  • w/Kung Pao Chicken
    • Add crispy shrimp OR hot & sour soup (cup size)
  • w/Grilled Asian Chicken
    • Add hot & sour soup (cup size)
  • w/Teriyaki Chicken
  • w/Asian Chicken
  • w/Mushroom Chicken
    • Add hot & sour soup (cup/bowl size) OR any appetizer
  • w/Orange Chicken
  • w/String Bean Chick Breast
    • Add hot & sour soup (cup/bowl size) OR any appetizer
  • w/Sweet & Sour Chicken
    • Add cup of hot & sour soup
  • w/Sweet Fire Chicken Breast
  • w/Broccoli Beef
    • Add hot & sour soup (cup/bowl size) OR any appetizer
  • w/Shanghai Angus Steak
  • Crispy Shrimp
    • Add cup of hot & sour soup OR Chicken Potsticker
  • Honey Walnut Shrimp
2 entrée plates:

Mixed Veggies

  • w/Mushroom Chicken & Broccoli Beef
  • w/Mushroom Chicken & String Bean Chicken Breast
  • w/String Bean Chicken Breast & Broccoli Beef
  • w/Broccoli Beef & Crispy Shrimp

Summary:

If you are going to eat at Panda Express, use the above information as a guide. For a list of all the dietary info, Panda has a nutritional & allergen info sheet, which is fairly user-friendly compared to most restaurants! Here is my 5 step guide to eating “healthy” here!

  1. Stick with a panda bowl
  2. Choose Steamed Rice or Mixed Veggies as a side
  3. Pick your entrée from the “Wok Smart” list or my Low Glycemic Index list from above
  4. Add a cup of hot & sour soup if you need some more calories (soup is filling & will help you slow down and enjoy your meal)
  5. Avoid adding additional sauces or a drink outside of water (extra sodium, sugar, & empty calories)

Interested in making your own Chinese Food that is healthy! Check out this website for a list of paleo friendly (therefore also gluten free) Chinese food recipes!

My name is Emma Petshow and I am a 3rd year naturopathic medical student at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR. For more about myself, check out my bio. This blog is intended for information about preventive health and lifestyle improvement. The information contained on this blog is not to be used as medical advice. For specific medical advice you should consult your physician.

Sugar Cleanse Update!

Day #12! I am more than halfway through my 21 day sugar cleanse and I am symptom free! Yesterday I did a lot of meal prep for the week including a vegetable, ginger crock pot soup using my left over veggies from the week!

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Veggie Ginger Crock Pot Soup!

Veggie Ginger Crock Pot Soup!

Daily Food Diary w/Emma

Many of you have asked me to post a daily food diary of what I am eating. At first I was reluctant to do so, because I do not have a perfect diet. Some days I have pizza and candy and french fries and more (ok maybe not in one day, but I am human and I eat real food)!!! But then I thought about it more and realized that my diet is one thing all of the time… REAL! I have good days and bad, but overall I constantly strive to eat well and be mindful of my diet. Below is my daily diet for a few days this past week, WHILE ON SUGAR CLEANSE!

This is the list of foods that are “approved” on the sugar cleanse I am doing. Currently I am on day 10 out of 21!

Example Weekday!

breakfast:
Freshly picked kale and tomatoes from my garden in a veggie/cheese omelet, bacon, and coffee with coconut milk (no sugar added)! #nomnom

Freshly picked kale and tomatoes from my garden in a veggie/cheese omelet, bacon, and coffee with coconut milk (no sugar added)! #nomnom

Lunch:

Large leafy green salad from Whole Foods Market (kale, spinach, romaine) w/tomatoes, chickpeas, celery, carrots, beets, and roasted butternut squash. Also, side of Kale Tahini salad!

Snack:

Green apple w/almond butter (Justin’s brand has no added sugar)!

Dinner:
Roasted cauliflower with thyme, garlic, and parmesan cheese!

Roasted cauliflower with thyme, garlic, and parmesan cheese!

Also, had some carrots with salsa (good substitute for chips, but messier).

Water intake: about 80 oz today!

Yesterday’s Meals…

Brunch:

I decided to go out for brunch today, so I did not eat my typical breakfast/lunch. We ended up going to Elmer’s (not the healthiest option, but breakfast places are easier for those who are cleansing to find food to eat).

Egg, cheese, green onion, bell pepper omelet with bacon!

Snack:

Green apple and almond butter

Dinner:

Roasted Cauliflower Dish from above (I filled mason jars full of my roasted cauliflower to have easy to go meals for school) and sautéed collard greens, garlic, and tomatoes.

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Collard greens are tasty, good for you, and not hard to cook! Saute them in some olive oil with garlic, salt, and pepper!

Today So Far…

Breakfast:

3 egg omelet, cheddar cheese, whole diced green pepper, salsa/salt/pepper to taste. Also, coffee w/coconut milk and a dash of cinnamon (makes me think I am having a cinnamon dolce latte).

coming up for lunch:

I am making brown rice (1/2 cup) with salsa & mexican spiced chicken. I will wrap this up in collard green leaves to make, sugar cleanse soft ‘tacos’. Most likely I’ll also have some carrots with salsa until I am full or celery with almond butter.

My name is Emma Petshow and I am a 3rd year naturopathic medical student at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR. For more about myself, check out my bio. This blog is intended for information about preventive health and lifestyle improvement. The information contained on this blog is not to be used as medical advice. For specific medical advice you should consult your physician.

Yoga Pose of the Month – September

More and more people are jumping on the yoga bandwagon and why not! Yoga has been shown to reduce stress, decrease blood pressure, increases concentration, and improve academic performance. You do not have to be a yogi to participate in yoga, matter of fact you do not even need to be that flexible or coordinated. These yoga poses vary in intensity and focus with the goal to bring out the inner yoga master in all of us.

After a few months of poses, we will start to combine the poses together into routines focused on different themes including energizing, relaxation, core strength, balance, and more!

DISCLAIMER: I am not a yoga master by any means, but I do enjoy doing yoga poses and yoga workouts as a part of my workout routine. If I can yoga, you can yoga.

Mountain Pose

Anywhere from 15 seconds to 1 minute

Why?

Improves posture and grounds you for the workout ahead. Also is used as a starting position for most standing poses we will do!

For an index and pictures of all the yoga poses I discuss, check out My Virtual Yoga! It has the pose, a picture, and more!

For an index and pictures of all the yoga poses I discuss, check out My Virtual Yoga! It has the pose, a picture, and more!

Visualization:

If your into that sort of thing… I find it helps me to feel more grounded and relaxed.

  • Imagine the top of your head reaching towards the sky and the base of your feet rooted into the earth
If you need help visualizing... Imagine you are somewhere beautiful and peaceful in nature, like by the Columbia River out in the gorge.

If you need help visualizing… Imagine you are somewhere beautiful and peaceful in nature, like by the Columbia River out in the gorge.

How?

  • Stand with your feet together, distribute your weight evenly
  • Straighten your legs (don’t lock your knees)
  • Draw your abs in towards your back and elongate your torso and neck
  • Arms beside you, relax your shoulders, reach your fingertips to the ground
  • Practice deep belly breathing, in through your nose and out through your mouth

Bored? Try these variations…

  • Close eyes, move feet hip distance apart, sway back & forth balancing back into the center (this will engage your core muscles and improve your balance)
  • Pilates V Pose: stand w/ your heels together and toes turned out like a ballerina
My name is Emma Petshow and I am a 3rd year naturopathic medical student at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR. For more about myself, check out my bio. This blog is intended for information about preventive health and lifestyle improvement. The information contained on this blog is not to be used as medical advice. For specific medical advice you should consult your physician.
Sugar Cleanse Day #8! No more symptoms or cravings. My energy level is up and my stomach is less bloated. #sugarcleansewin

Sugar Cleanse Day #8! No more symptoms or cravings. My energy level is up and my stomach is less bloated. #sugarcleansewin

Many of you have requested that I post my daily diet during my sugar cleanse. On Friday, I will put up the last few days, some pictures, and a few recipes along with my typical Foodie Friday post.

Today I started my day off with scrambled eggs and white cheddar cheese and some sautéed veggies (garlic, kale, onion, and bell peppers). Of course this was consumed with a nice cup of coffee and some water! #nomnom

Coffee coffee coffee! Mason jars work for everything...

Coffee coffee coffee! Mason jars work for everything…

Herb of the Month – Calendula

Calendula officinalis

a.k.a. Marigold

Calendula flowers

Calendula flowers

Calendula is one of the most versatile herbs and seems to be in flower continuously. It has been in use for a long time throughout history by various cultures. Ancient Egyptians valued it as a rejuvenating herb, Hindus used it as decoration, and Persians and Greeks used the flower petals in food. American Civil War doctors used it as a soothing antiseptic and skin healer to treat open wounds on the battlefield. Even in more recent years, Calendula has been popular in Europe to flavor soups/stews and to color cheese/butter. Check out the various uses of the herb below and some tips and tricks for growing it yourself!

Uses

Medicinal:

  • Soothing, healing, and antiseptic
  • Use in ointments for leg ulcers, varicose veins, bedsores, burns, and bruises. Also, can help to stop bleeding.
  • Use calendula oil in aromatherapy and skin preparations. It soothes inflammations, cracked nipples from breast-feeding (bonus it’s nontoxic for baby), and other skin issues.
  • You can also take in an infusion, such as a tea, to aid in digestion and promote bile production in the liver.
Homemade Calendula Oil

Homemade Calendula Oil

Cosmetic:

  • Add petals to creams, scrubs, and baths for cleansing, healing, & softening of skin
  • We will use our D.I.Y. calendula oil from earlier this month to make a Calendula soap/salve 2 weeks from today!

Culinary:

  • Use fresh petals to give saffron color & light tangy flavor to rice, fish & meat soups, soft cheese, yogurt, butter, omelets, milk dishes, cakes, and sweet breads!
  • Add 1 tsp to fish and venison for flavor
  • Use as garnish for meat platters, pate, and fruit salad
Tomato and calendula salad

Tomato and calendula salad

Household/Decorative:

  • Dry petals add color to potpourri
  • Boil flowers for pale yellow dye

How to grow your own!

Site: Sunny position

Soil: Tolerates most soils, except water logged

Propagating: sow seed in spring in situ or singly in pots

Growing: plant out 12-18 in. apart

Harvesting: pick flowers when open, leaves when young

Preserving: dry petals at low temperature to preserve color or macerate in oil

My name is Emma Petshow and I am a 3rd year naturopathic medical student at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR. For more about myself, check out my bio. This blog is intended for information about preventive health and lifestyle improvement. The information contained on this blog is not to be used as medical advice. For specific medical advice you should consult your physician.
Sugar cleanse day #6! Tired, but strong!

Sugar cleanse day #6! Tired!

Sugar Cleanse Update! Day #6! I am heading back to medical school today and I feel pretty good. Just had a breakfast omelet with olive oil, cheese, and a yellow bell pepper! I will post a typical daily diet on Foodie Friday this week! Only symptom I have this morning is a little sore throat, but I think it is unrelated to sugar cleanse. #nomnom

Recipe of the Month – Mason Jar Salads

Mason jar salads are a great way to get your 5 a day, meal plan, save time and money, and have less clean up. There are many different types of salads you can create, but I have listed one of my favorites below that uses some of those late summer berries!

Berry Kale Salad

Berry Kale Mason Jar Salad

Berry Kale Mason Jar Salad

How to make your jar?

  1. Add 3 tbs of Blueberry Vinaigrette to bottom of jar (See below for a homemade vinaigrette recipe or use your favorite vinaigrette!)
  2. Place 1/2 cup of blueberries/strawberries (raspberries also work) next
  3. Make 2 layers of 2 cups spinach/kale (or other leafy greens)
  4. Place 1/4 cup shaved/sliced almonds (try walnuts or pine nuts)
  5. Lastly place the last layer of 1 cup spinach/kale (leafy greens)
  6. Optional… 2 oz crumbled blue cheese or parmesan cheese or feta cheese

Whenever you are ready to eat your salad, shake up the jar (gently, it is not a shake weight) and pour it onto a plate or just eat it out of the jar (less dishes)! If you are planning on storing the salad for a few days, wait to add the vinaigrette until you are ready to eat (it will stay fresher longer).

Blueberry Vinaigrette

  • 3 tbs fresh blueberries (if you want to make a strawberry or raspberry vinaigrette just substitute those berries in)
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tbs honey (could use agave nectar as well)
  • Pinch of salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 4-5 tbs olive oil

Blend it all up until smooth and add olive oil until it is the consistency you like!

Make your own!

What is your favorite salad… Caesar, Cobb, Fruit, Southwestern, etc.? Below is the basic guide to creating your own Mason Jar Salad Masterpiece!

  1. Dressing first
  2. Salad ingredients that won’t soak up dressing next (i.e. carrots, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, etc.)
  3. Other salad ingredients (i.e. all sorts of things including corn, beans, fruit, cucumbers, etc.)
  4. Salad greens come at the top (avoids S.S.S. – Soggy Salad Syndrome)
  5. Cheese/Nuts come last!
Post your Mason jar salads online with the #masonjarsalads or message me your best recipes. I will feature my favorite one next month on a foodie friday!

Foodie Friday Bonus…

Since I am on day #3 of a sugar cleanse I wanted to post my sugar free breakfast solution of the day! Turns out you can eat a lot of good food that contains no sugar!

Freshly picked kale and tomatoes from my garden in a veggie/cheese omelet, bacon, and coffee with coconut milk (no sugar added)! #nomnom

Freshly picked kale and tomatoes from my garden in a veggie/cheese omelet, bacon, and coffee with coconut milk (no sugar added)! #nomnom

Interested in participating in a 21 day sugar cleanse? In a few months we will have a group 21 day sugar cleanse challenge to start the new year right. There will be prizes, lots of veggies, and no sugar! More info to come…

Basic Sugar Cleanse Foods List

Basic Sugar Cleanse Foods List

Sugar cleanse day #3 selfie! Symptoms decreased, but I definitely am craving the chocolate!

Sugar cleanse day #3 selfie!

My name is Emma Petshow and I am a 3rd year naturopathic medical student at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR. For more about myself, check out my bio. This blog is intended for information about preventive health and lifestyle improvement. The information contained on this blog is not to be used as medical advice. For specific medical advice you should consult your physician.

Lastly, but most importantly, let’s take a moment to remember those lives that were lost on 9/11 and those who served on that awful day 14 years ago. #neverforget