Exercise Spotlight – The Pushup

Okay okay okay… I know what you are all thinking, “Duh push ups are good for my upper body strength, but they are boring.” But they are the foundation to multiple amazing workouts for your arms, shoulders, back, and chest so before jumping from A to M, we have to start with the basics.

The push-up targets your chest (Pectoralis major), shoulders (front deltoids), and triceps but it is a super exercise because it also targets your abs, lower and upper back, and glutes! So the pushup pretty much trains the whole body and you can do it without a gym!


Goal: 3 sets of 10 reps per workout (make sure you pause for 1-2 seconds at the bottom before pushing yourself back up)

Too easy? Increase the amount of reps for now… there are many more challenging versions of pushups… to be continued ūüôā
Too hard? Keep your knees on the ground, but keep your back straight or place your arms on a chair or couch so that your upper body is higher than your feet!

Stay tuned! I will continue to post more exercises and videos aimed to tone and train!


Food is Medicine – Spanish-Style Eggs

Looking for ways to increase your consumption of Vitamin C in the morning without eating fruit or drinking OJ? Then look no further… this Spanish-Style Eggs & Veggies recipe gives you a full day of your RDA (recommended daily allowance) of Vitamin C (and a good dose of Vitamin A and K) as well as a whole host of other good phytonutrients! It is also gluten free.

Spanish-Style Eggs with summer squash & piquillo peppers

Makes 2 large servings or 3 small. Gluten free. May be made vegan or vegetarian if you substitute out the eggs and cheese.

List of Ingredients:

5 veggies with 5 colors

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 oz sweet peppers
  • 1 summer squash
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 medium Yukon gold potato
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 2 oz roasted piquillo peppers
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil (or other cooking oil alternative)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


  1. Prep the produce:
    1. Dice the potato, squash, and onion.
    2. Thinly slice the sweet peppers into strips.
    3. Roughly chop the piquillo peppers.
    4. Thinly dice the garlic.
    5. Remove the parsley leaves from the stems and chop.
  2. Cook the vegetables:
    1. In a large pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil (or other oil alternative), add the potato, season with salt & pepper, & cook 8-10 minutes stirring occasionally.
    2. Add the squash, onion, and sweet peppers. Season again and cook 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until everything is lightly browned and soft.
    3. Add the tomato paste, stir frequently for 1-2 minutes until dark red and fragrant.
    4. Add the piquillo peppers, vinegar, and 1/2-3/4 cups of water. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until sauce is thickened to desired consistency. Stir occasionally. Season with salt & pepper.
  3. Cook the eggs:
    1. This recipe calls for the eggs to be fried, but you may also scramble them or cook them any way to their liking. I used the same pan so I would have less dishes
  4. Finish your dish:
    1. Split veggies into two plates, add an egg on top with the parmesan cheese and parsley and serve while hot!

This recipe is adapted from Blue Apron!

Nutritional Information:



  • Total Calories: 330 for a full serving
  • Protein: 12 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 33 grams
    • Fiber: 4.9 grams
    • Sugar: 10 grams
  • Fat: 16 grams
    • Omega 3: 0.2 grams
    • Omega 6: 1.7 grams
    • Saturated Fat: 3.8 grams
    • Trans Fat: 0.1 grams
    • Cholesterol: 169.5 mg


  • Vitamin A: 3573 IU (153% of RDA)pexels-photo-259763
  • Vitamin C: 123 mg¬†(164% of RDA)
  • Vitamin D: 40 IU (7% of RDA)
  • Vitamin E: 3.5 mg (24% of RDA)
  • Vitamin K: 78 ug (87% of RDA)
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): 0.2 mg (17% of RDA)
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 0.4 mg (36% of RDA)
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 3 mg (22% of RDA)
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): 1.4 mg (29% of RDA)
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): 0.6 mg (39% of RDA)
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): 0.6 ug (24% of RDA)
  • Biotin: 9 ug (31% of RDA)
  • Choline: 168 mg (40% of RDA)
  • Folate: 105 ug (26% of RDA)


  • Calcium: 126 mg (11% of RDA)
  • Copper: 0.3 mg¬†(34% of RDA)
  • Iron: 2.8 mg¬†(36% of RDA)
  • Magnesium: 69 mg¬†(21% of RDA)
  • Manganese:¬†0.5 mg¬†(30% of RDA)
  • Phosphorus:¬†255 mg¬†(36% of RDA)
  • Potassium:¬†1133 mg¬†(24% of RDA)
  • Selenium: 17 ug¬†(32% of RDA)
  • Sodium: 396 mg¬†(30% of RDA)
  • Zinc:¬†1.7 mg¬†(22% of RDA)

Check back next week for another nutrient packed recipe that is easy to make and tasty to eat! 

Interested in learning why Vitamin C is good for you? Follow http://www.emmapetshow.com for the answer tomorrow afternoon!

The information in this blog is not to be take as medical advice. Please consult your physician prior to starting a dietary change or adding in new foods to your diet. 

Exercise Spotlight – Hip Raise

The Hip Raise is an exercise TRIFECTA! It targets your glutes, hamstrings, abdominals, and lower-back muscles (well I guess that’s a quad-fecta but you get the idea).

Add this to your weekly/daily workout routine to increase the strength of your hamstrings and tone up those trouble spots! I call it the cellulite busting exercise, because it hits all the places where that tends to hide out. Bonus… it requires no equipment what-so-ever!

Goal: 3 sets of 15 reps (make sure to hold the “up position” for at least 3 seconds up to 5)

Too easy? Place your arms out to the side instead of by your hips. Add some weights to your hips and perform the exercise OR hold a piece of paper between your knees and do not let it drop!
Too hard? Decrease the reps and/or sets. Raise your hips as high as you can… even if they are an inch off the ground you are starting to strengthen those muscles.

Stay tuned! I will continue to post more exercises and videos aimed to tone and train!

This blog and blog post are not to be used for diagnostic medical purposes or medical advice, they are for educational purposes only. Prior to starting an exercise routine make sure you consult your doctor to ensure that you are healthy enough to exercise. 

Arginine Containing Foods

Are you training for an endurance event? 

If so try increasing your intake of Arginine to boost your exercise capacity, improve your endurance performance, and improve your body composition by increasing muscle mass.

How can it do such wonderful things you might ask?

Arginine increases Human Growth Hormone, which in turn increases blood flood and mitochondria biogenesis (creation). Mitochondria are involved in the creation of ATP, which is your muscles’ energy source.¬†Since the body is using more energy to create more mitochondria to produce more energy… it burns more glucose (without effecting insulin) and fat, improving body composition by increasing lean muscle.

Arginine is also a precursor for Nitric Oxide (NO), which has been studied to help increase the endurance threshold by vasodilating blood vessels and allowing nutrients to flow throughout the body more freely, increasing oxygen delivery to the tissues.

But I am not saying go pick up a supplement today! No way… you can increase your intake of Arginine by the food you consume.

Top 4 Arginine Containing Animal Sources:

  1. Turkey – has the highest amount
  2. Pork Loin
  3. Chicken
  4. Dairy


Top 6 Arginine Containing Non-Animal Sources:

  1. Pumpkin Seeds – 4th highest source
  2. Soybeans
  3. Peanuts
  4. Spirulina – blue/green algae if you didn’t know, add it to a smoothie
  5. Chickpeas
  6. Lentils


If you can eat at least 1-2 servings per day of Arginine containing foods you will be well on your way to maximize your workout goals!

My name is Emma Petshow and I am a 4th year naturopathic medical student at the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR. For more about myself, check out my bio or my LinkedIn. 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.

Naturopathic Medicine & Sports

Come hear me speak at PSU about Naturopathic Medicine and sports, two of my PASSIONS!! Event description and link to the event details below.

Naturopathic medicine focuses on treating the whole person, preventing disease, teaching our patients, and helping everyone become the healthiest versions of themselves. It is widely accepted that physical activity can decrease a variety of illnesses and conditions including heart disease, diabetes, and even depression to name a few. But what happens when you are trying to be active, but get injured or are ‚Äútoo sore‚ÄĚ to go back out the next day? That‚Äôs where natural medicine can help. Learn how to utilize natural techniques to increase your tolerance to exercise, improve recovery times, and focus your exercises to maximize your health gains and improve your quality of life. Using naturopathic medicine modalities such as exercise prescription, nutritional/herbal supplementation, nutritional changes, and physical medicine techniques including massage, chiropractic manipulation, cupping, and more you too can become a natural athlete and take steps towards becoming the healthiest version of YOU!

More info about the event here!

My name is Emma Petshow and I am a 4th year naturopathic medical student at the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR. For more about myself, check out my bio or my LinkedIn. 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.

Naturopathic Medicine Week -Treat the Whole person

In honor of Naturopathic Medicine Week, I am trying to post a little bit every day about Naturopathic Medicine… what we do, how we do it, and who we are!

Today during shift, I was reminded how important it is for us as doctors to look at the whole patient and treat the whole person not just their symptom or their disease. I mean hello people, a person is not just a cough or fatigue, there is more to that story. In fact, treating the whole person is one of six Naturopathic Medicine Principles.


6 Principles of Naturopathic Medicine

How does this look one might ask?

Let’s say a person has stomach pain. There are billion things that stomach pain could be ranging from really acute, scary things to other things that are much more benign. All medical doctors¬†(in theory) should be able to ascertain the type of pain and obtain a history about the symptom, do a physical exam, and ideally diagnose the patient with the disease or condition. But sometimes, often times more than we would like to admit, the pain is just pain and we do not have a great medical explanation behind it.

Now many doctors¬†(including Naturopathic doctors) would just treat the symptom so the person¬†has relief and hope that it resolves on its own. BUT!!! and this is a big but here folks… that does not treat the underlying problem. A Naturopathic doctor is charged with the goal to not only fix symptoms and figure out the condition, but to try to help correct the underlying reason that the person had the symptom or condition in the first place. This often means stepping away from the focus on a symptom and looking at the whole person…

  • What do they eat?
  • How do they sleep?
  • What are their stressors? How do they deal with them?
  • Do they have other symptoms?
  • What is their lifestyle and environment like?

The Naturopathic Physician is allowed the time to look at these underlying lifestyle issues that often cannot be addressed during a quick visit. This allows us to help the person heal themselves and hopefully avoid having to continue treating the symptom over time.

Homework Assignment!!

I am ‘assigning’ homework for anyone who is interested in supporting Naturopathic medicine, learning more about it, or wanting to do something Preventive for your health…

Take a picture of yourself with something that you would consider preventive health. This could be eating an apple, going on a walk, taking a nap, laughing with friends, getting a check up at the doctors, drinking tea, or more… take that picture and post it to your blog or social media with the caption “Naturopathic Medicine Week” or hashtag “#naturopathicmedicineweek” and “#nmwNUNM2017”. If you do not participate in social media, but want to participate comment in the comments below your Preventive Health picture. ūüôā


Working the Med Tent at the Portland Marathon! #NatMedWeek2017 #NaturopathicMedicineWeek #nmwNUNM2017

Naturopathic Medicine Week – Establish the Foundation of Health

Hey everyone, it is Naturopathic Medicine week from October 10-16th!


One of the amazing things about being a Naturopathic Physician is the wide array of modalities (treatment options) that we have to choose from to help our patients become the healthiest versions of themselves. Today I have been spending most of my day on one of our most basic, but arguably the MOST important treatment modalities, NUTRITION!!!

Nutrition would fall under the therapeutic treatment order category of ‘establish the foundation of health’, which essentially means to help the patient build his/her health foundation without any additional supplements, herbs, medications, etc. This category also includes items like sleep hygiene, basic hygiene, exercise, stress reduction techniques, and more.

To learn more about the Therapeutic Order and Naturopathic medicine, check out the AANMC (Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges) website.

One nutritional assessment I like to have people do, is a self reflection on their feelings surrounding health, nutrition, and food. Often times we have underlying feelings about food/nutrition/health/body image that prevent us from obtaining our ultimate food/fitness/health/weight goals. Some example questions I have people fill out are listed below.

  • What is your food philosophy?
  • What routines do you have for food and eating?
  • What dietary goals or changes do you wish to make in your life?

After that, I then recommend people complete a diet diary (track everything they consume for 3 days to 1 week). I then use this date to do a comprehensive dietary analysis on the person and help them see where they are meeting their dietary goals and where they are missing the bar. Having this data is helpful before going into a large dietary change and people are able to track their own dietary changes overtime, seeing their nutritional improvement with their own eyes.

If you are interested in working on your diet or other foundations of your health, then find a local Naturopathic Physician in your area and schedule an appointment! You can also track your own diet at home using one of my free online diet tracking tools such as: Cronometer, My Fitness Pal, or any others you may find.

My name is Emma Petshow and I am a 4th year naturopathic medical student at the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR. For more about myself, check out my bio or my LinkedIn. 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.

Back Pain – Fact or Fiction Video

This is an interesting video regarding facts and fiction of back pain and how it affects patient care and outcomes…

It is about 15 minutes long, but worth the watch. Chronic pain is an issue for many Americans, especially back pain. This video gets at the Naturopathic doctors’ goal to identify and treat the root cause and do no harm. The professor looks at pain from a different lens.

My name is Emma Petshow and I am a 4th year naturopathic medical student at the National University 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.

Nicaragua Medical Mission – Healthcare Part 5

This is the last installment of my blog series on healthcare in Nicaragua. So far we have gone over…

  1. Clinical logistics and medical training in Nicaragua
  2. Daily operations of the clinic that I served at
  3. Spanish language, barriers, and roles that I held in the clinic
  4. Commonly diagnosed and treated conditions in the clinic

Translator, Doctor, Acupuncture student, Naturopathic medical student, Nicaraguan medical student – working together

This post will discuss where I think Naturopathic medicine, preventive medicine, and public health could be incorporated into the clinic I served at in Nicaragua. I have many ideas, but to organize them in someway, I am going to discuss them within the framework of the 6 principles of Naturopathic Medicine. There are many other ideas that I would have included to this list, but these were some of my first thoughts!

The Healing Power of Nature

Part of Naturopathic medicine involves identifying and removing obstacles to patients cure, which allows their body to recover and heal naturally. A great example of how this can be implemented is with chronic kidney disease. Now once started, kidney failure cannot be completely reversed, but the progression can be slowed if obstacles to health are identified and removed. This includes…

  • Diet! Many local Nicaraguans have a diet high in fat from poor cuts of pork. Education regarding types of foods to consume and avoid as well as¬†encouragement to consume less fat and salt and more fruits and veggies would help slow the progression of disease. Also, resources on where to find these foods in their community or a local clinic garden could be ways to provide patients with these foods if they are not available for them to purchase.

While super tasty… not the healthiest most balanced meal I had in Nica

Identify and Treat the Cause(s)

Most doctors, including the doctors in the rural clinic I served in, in Nicaragua, strive to identify and treat the root cause of disease. In fact, I had several discussions with the doctors in the clinic about how treating the symptoms will make patients feel better more quickly, but they often do not help improve patient outcomes overall and can lead to the patient being more sick than they started. This thinking can continue to be applied in a multitude of situations.

First do no Harm

Almost all healthcare providers have this incorporated into their oath in some form, because we want to heal our patients and improve their health not cause more harm or injury. While many patients in Nica suffer from infections and while the majority are caused by bacteria, we know in the US from experience the dangers of over-prescribing antibiotics especially the incorrect antibiotic (can we say increased antibiotic resistance among other issues).

  • Increased diagnostic testing¬†and more encouraged follow-up would help prevent over treatment with antibiotics and correct antibiotic therapy. While this must be managed with the clinic’s resources and the patients ability to get to the clinic, if it prevents a patient from coming down with an illness that is antibiotic resistant, prevents them from being prescribed antibiotics when not needed, and keeps their gut flora from being completely depleted¬†(which encourages more ‘bad’ bugs to colonize)¬†then the investment would potential lead to decreased return visits for the same condition.

**Antibiotics are greatly needed in these rural areas to combat actual bacterial caused infections. I am just suggesting improved diagnostics to make sure the right one is selected.**


Medications are amazing, but only utilizing medicine when there are more treatment options available is why I have this unimpressed look

Doctor as Teacher

Naturopathic doctors emphasize the importance of being teachers to their patients to try to help them understand and learn more about their body and state of health to ultimately be able to take more control of their personal health situation. An obvious place to integrate this technique is with female patients (men as well, but I will focus on females in this example) dealing with urinary and vaginal infections.

  • Many female patients that we treated did not have much knowledge of their female anatomy, partially due to cultural situations that make it taboo to discuss. That being said, they¬†would benefit from a basic description of their anatomy, bathroom hygiene techniques¬†(wiping from front to back to avoid infectious exposure), and steps they can take to protect themselves during sex¬†(condom use, identify high risk sexual practices, hygiene, etc).

Let me teach you things… excited face!

Knowledge is power and the more empowered patients can be regarding their health, the more likely they will implement plans to live healthier lives. Even if it seems small and silly, it could be a factor that improves their health and quality of life.

Treat the Whole Person

Sometimes going to the doctor feels like a trip to the car mechanic. Which part hurts or which part is broken, fix that part, and then you are good to go until the next part starts to malfunction. As a Naturopathic doctor, we focus on the person as a whole and truly believe that the body is interconnected. We aim to provide care that works together and is cohesive. This could manifest in the clinic in Nicaragua in several ways. In the treatment of chronic pain, which many patients come into the clinic complaining of….

  • Treatment options include licensed massage therapists, manipulation/chiropractic care, acupuncture, and¬†physical therapy exercises/stretching. All four of these options do not necessarily require a lot of expensive equipment. The training/techniques for some¬†could be taught to local Nicaraguan doctors.¬†All of these methods have successfully treated chronic pain and injuries in different ways.¬†This can be used in lieu of or adjunctive to the current pain medication regimen that is prescribed.

A treatment room that could be easily used for multiple forms of physical medicine


The crux of this blog and the goal of most doctors is to help patients achieve a state of health and stay there, preventing further injury/illness. This could be applied with the multitude of children that have anemia.

  • Patients and their families could be supplied with supplemental nutrition, which could help prevent children to become anemic. This could and should be implemented when the mother is pregnant with her child. Also, if it is an issue of iron deficiency¬†(which was more common with adult anemic females), iron supplements could be obtained via donation to help prevent worsening anemia or prevent anemia completely thus improving health overall.

Other Naturopathic/Alternative Treatment Modalities

Besides applying some Naturopathic principles to treatment other modalities can be used as well. Here are some ideas for how these can be implemented:


Plants can be an affordable form of medicine

  • Supplementation: already used in the clinic with multivitamins and calcium, but more could be implemented including iron, folic acid, and probiotics. The issue here is donations would be required to implement.
  • Hydrotherapy: using hot and cold water to treat a variety of conditions including detoxification, chronic pain, decreased stomach motility, and respiratory/nasal congestion. The benefit of this is low-cost and not much equipment required.
  • Physical medicine such as chiropractic care, acupuncture, physical therapy, or massage. You would need to have individuals in the clinic who are certified/trained in these modalities to implement.
  • Nutrition/Diet: education to patients, access to purified water or techniques to purify water, and community clinic garden to encourage consumption of fruits/veggies.
  • Stress Reduction Techniques¬†(meditation, yoga, etc.): provide patients with tools to decrease stress, which will then decrease disease and improve health. Very easy to implement with low-cost to the clinic.

In Summary…

While all of these ideas and options to help support patients and increase their chance at health are viable options to many clinics in the US, the infrastructure of the country, public health policies, limitations on donations and outside aid, and the education and culture of the people are all factors that limit the incorporation of these practices. I will discuss more of the infrastructure and culture that I experienced while being in Nicaragua in further posts after the current election is held.

With all the good work that the clinic I served at and many other NGOs and rural clinics in the country are doing, I hope over time they can begin to incorporate more ideas that encourage long-term, overall health for all.


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My name is Emma Petshow and I am a 4th year naturopathic medical student at the National University 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.

Nicaragua Medical Mission – Photo Journal

Technology sometimes does not go your way and that is what has happened in the case of part 5 of my series on healthcare… my computer crashed and part of it was lost. I am working on recovering it so I can post part 5 to the series as one complete post instead of pieces. In lieu of part 5, I have put together a photo ‘journal’ of some memories outside of the clinic from my time in Nicaragua.



Volcanos galore from the plane


Coming in for a landing soon


The homes in the neighborhood were fumigated due to reported cases of Zika, Chikungunya, and Dengue fever. This is a common thing done by the government to try to prevent these mosquito borne diseases. 


Controversial lighted trees in Managua. They are beautiful, but according to my hosts each one cost $20,000 to install.


Transportation to and from the clinic… I don’t think I have ever felt this unsafe. I would compare it to the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland without seat belts, while standing, and faster…


Beautiful church that was partially destroyed during the last severe earthquake in Managua accompanied by a friend I made


Host family’s living room. Their house was beautiful and was home to multiple family members, a common thing in Nicaragua.


Arrived back at home after a long day of flying. Thankful to be back and for the experiences I had while there.