Is it time to get back to “normal” ?

I know so many people are itching to get back out there, to get back to pre COVID-19 “normal.” But the truth is we are far from that possibility. At some point we will all, personally, be touched by this virus. 

Today, July 2, 2020 there have been 516,000 deaths reported worldwide from COVID-19.

FWIW I think in the end we will find that this is a significant underrepresentation of the numbers as it now appears that this virus was circulating for months before we caught wind of it. I bet anything that thousands of people in the US, or even tens of thousands who were thought to have died from pneumonia or stroke actually died of COVID-19 related pneumonia or stroke.

But let’s stick with reported numbers for now. In the US alone today total confirmed cases in the country have reached more than 2.7 million, with more than 130,000 deaths. 

And it’s not just old people or those with chronic illnesses who are falling prey to this virus.

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To Sunscreen or Not to Sunscreen?

Why wear sunscreen?

Put simply, to keep our skin from burning: Sunburns are linked to cancer. It is not known if sunscreen use prevents skin cancers like melanoma and basal cell carcinoma, but it does lower your risk. Keep in mind that sunburn is different than sun exposure. Regular sun exposure can means higher vitamin D production which means greater support for the immune system, stronger bones and other health benefits including possible reduced risk of melanoma (please see your naturopathic doctor or PCP to have your vitamin D tested, click here to read about why that’s important!) Please note that skin cancer is a risk for people with dark skin as well. I have a friend whose sister died of melanoma who runs a foundation called the Brown Skin Too Foundation. If you have dark skin I would highly recommend you look at their resources and information.

And although obviously health is the most important part of this, don’t forget that sun ages your skin more quickly. I do wish I didn’t care about wrinkles but I do…and although they’re obviously inevitable, I’m all good with postponing them if that’s an option.

Some days I wonder if I would have done anything differently had I known the risks of sun exposure (and tanning beds) when I was a teenager. I mean…I tend to tan pretty easily but a simple tan wasn’t enough for me. We had a flat tar roof outside of my bedroom that I could access by popping out my window. I would (not kidding) lay out 8 square feet of tin foil, plop down on it, slather myself silly with Coppertone oil and bake myself for hours every day in the summer while my parents were at work. (OK, true confessions here I also had in tow wine coolers and Marlboro lights…please don’t tell my 12-year-old.)

Now we know better, but still… (more…)

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Cook This: Vietnamese Lettuce Wraps (paleo and gluten-free)

We are always looking for fun, easy, high-protein, low-carb dinners that everyone in the family loves. We tried the Vietnamese Lettuce Wraps from Nom Nom Paleo and we liked them but I didn’t care for the spice balance or the pickled carrots. So per usual I set to changing the recipe up to meet my own family’s needs!

This is something I encourage everyone to do. Learning to follow your own tastes can make all the difference in the world as far as truly loving the food you make and eat.

But I digress. The last time I made these I also had some leftover sauce that came with one of our favorite take out dishes from one of our favorite restaurants (shout out to PaaDee in PDX). We added the sauce to the wraps and *BAM* the wraps went to top of our dinner favorites list. I recreated the sauce as best I could. Tweak that out if you will as well. 🙂

Note, we served this with a Chinese broccoli sauté and it made for an even more balanced meal.

The ingredients and instructions list may make these lettuce wraps look like a time consuming recipe but it’s actually pretty simple. And fun. As a matter of fact, if you’re a parent it’s a great meal to get your kids helping. (more…)

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Ask Dr. Samantha: Food Tracking Edition

One of the most common things I investigate is how my patients and clients are fueling their bodies. After all, what we eat literally becomes who we are. Sometimes my they come to me saying they want to make dietary changes. And sometimes they come to me saying they are already eating very well, thank you and that they don’t need to address this.

But, thanks to 20 years of working with humans, I like to put this patient assumption to the test by asking each person to track their food…the truth is that most people aren’t eating anywhere near as healthfully as they think they are. If that’s ok with them…great. But most often people do want to eat more healthfully. And there is only one way to find out. Tracking.

And I get it, most people think it’s a mammoth pain in the ass to track your food. But it’s also just that important! In this Ask Dr. Samantha Video I go over three systems that will help even the busiest of people track their food, as well as why I think it’s one of the best things you can do for your overall health.

Let me know if you have any more ask Dr. Samantha questions about health or wellness — find me on social @DrSamanthaND or use the form here!

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Cook This: 20 Minute Dinner – Prosciutto Wrapped Halibut, Quinoa, and Garlic Spinach

This halibut main is one of our old staple dishes that I haven’t made in forever. For some reason I thought of it this week so thought I would go ahead and re-share it with you all (with edits of course.) A perfectly balanced meal (although now I would serve double the fish for more protein, less quinoa, more spinach, and probably another veggie on the side. 🙂

In addition to the fact that this meal is legit delicious, it cooks up in a jiffy. The trick is cooking the main dish at the same time as the sides (and possible your snacks for tomorrow—see tip below.) Even those of us who love to cook can use some quick and easy prep meals.

This is an adapted recipe from a fabulous cookbook my sister gave me a zillion years ago called Fast Fish.

PS wow, my photography skills have improved, uh, a bit over the last 8 years!

THE FISH

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Overcoming Overwhelm: One Change

Change is hard. For some people making changes is hard. For others maintaining changes is hard. And no matter how many times you read “it takes x days to make a new habit” or “fake it ‘til you make it” the reality is that our brains will fight us tooth and nail when we try to do something different because that’s what brains do.

Believe me, I get it. We all have places where we struggle to ‘do the right thing’ for our health. My struggle is putting away my work and just chilling. Part of this is because I like my work, but part of it is because I’ve been working so hard for as long as I can remember. My brain will reach for what it knows.

The only way to really interrupt this is to have a strong enough why to push you to the how.

But here’s the catch.

Only you know what is really important to you. It’s imperative to work to figure out what those things are.

And if something is really important to you and you still can’t make the change you need to make, then it’s what I lovingly call a “therapy issue.” The subconscious is a powerful force.

I want you to think about one thing that you want to change. One change that you can commit to today? (more…)

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