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All posts by All Paths Naturopathy & Midwifery

Lettuce pea soup

The pictures of the soup do not bring out its beautiful green color, and I am sure that a few more peas would have not hurt either.  Yet, I had been pining for pea soup and had bags of lettuce sitting in the fridge and no desire to eat salad or much of anything, for that matter while the temperature had been in the upper 90’s.  With inspiration from a recipe I had seen on my search for a chilled pea soup, this little number came into being.  It was a perfect number now that the temperature has finally dropped to a more seasonable 80 degrees here in Southern Oregon, following the veritable heat wave.  It had been so hot, that the mere thought of even turning on the stove top was just unbearable so there would be no fresh made chicken stock for this soup base and we do not usually have boxed stock in the pantry hence, the use of the bullion cubes instead. The meal was also inspired by all of the beautiful summer small plates being served here in Ashland at some of our favorite establishments.

Ingredients: 
1 tablespoon butter or butter substitute of your choice
1 cup onion diced
1 /2 lb salad mix or torn head lettuce
1 lb sugar peas shelled or whole with strings removed
1.5 squares of low sodium vegetable bullion
um vegetable bullion
4 cups water, boiling
Warm the onion with butter until the onions take on a golden hue in a sauce pan approximately 7 minutes.  Melt in the bullion cubes as the onions are cooking.  Add 4 cups of boiling water to the sauce pan.  Add the peas and simmer for 1 minute.  Turn off the heat and add the lettuce to the pan, stir gently until the lettuce is wilted.   Carefully transfer a portion of the mixture to a blender and blitz to incorporate.  Continue in this fashion until all of the soup has been blitzed and transferred to a storage container.  At this point you can either enjoy the soup now.  This soup is also good chilled or at room temperature.  To help chill the soup faster, I transferred portions to their serving bowls which were then placed in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Fresh pea soup with lettuce after it has been chilled in the refrigerator.

This soup paired beautifully with tomatoes filled with baba ganush and cucumber-turnip salad.

In Health,
Dr Amanda Hochman
Naturopathic Physician at All Paths Naturopathy & Midwifery LLC
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Hepatitis A outbreak update.

In an update from last weeks post regarding the Hepatitis A outbreak associated with Townsend frozen berries purchased at Costco stores.  It has been recently announced in the Oregon Live that Evo’s Coffee Lounge here in Ashland was until recently serving smoothies produced from the potentially contaminated Townsend Berries.  The Department of Health located at  1005 E. Main St., in Medford, and is open from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and from 1 to 4 p.m. For information, call the Department of Health offices at 541-774-8045.  Hepatitis A vaccines today may also be available at local pharmacies or for free at Costco for members.

In Health,
Dr Amanda Hochman
Naturopathic Physician at All Paths Naturopathy & Midwifery LLC
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Hepatitis A, another food borne illness outbreak

Since the end of April, 30 cases of Hepatitis A have been reported in 5 states ( Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, California, Arizona) according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  Individuals became ill after consuming ‘Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend,’ a frozen berry and pomegranate seed mix purchased at Costco. The CDC recommends discarding all uneaten product should be discarded even if it has been partially consumed.  For individuals who have consumed the product in the past 14 days, contact your primary care provider or your counties health department to discuss prevention options including receiving the Hepatitis A vaccination or immunoglobulin.  For individuals who have already been vaccinated against Hepatitis A, no further actions are advised at this time.  If an individual develop symptoms after consuming the Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend include yellowing of the eyes or skin, darkening of the urine, abdominal pain and pale stools, the CDC is encouraging individuals to contact their primary care provider promptly.  

Currently there have been no reported outbreaks of Hepatitis A in Southern Oregon.  To help prevent the spread of food borne illness here are 3 simple techniques:

1. Wash your hands with soap and water after using the restroom or changing a diaper.  
2.  Wash your hands before preparing, serving or consuming food.
3.  Regularly disinfect utensils, cutting boards and counters after use.



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Mother’s Saturday Brunch: Come celebrate and be honored!



Join with your friends and family! For Southern Oregon Birth Connections 3rd annual Mother’s Brunch.  This year the event will be held Saturday 11 May 11-2 at  Havurah Shir Hadash, 185 N Mountain Ave, Ashland, Oregon Providing delicious food, beer, wine and mimosas, henna and massage for moms, crafts and face painting for kids, live music, raffles for the whole family all while spending time with practitioners and business owners in our local birth community.


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The Sun Shines On

The sun shines on,
Even in the darkest of times.
Lighting the path,
Illuminating the shadows
We wait for you,
We welcome you,
We are blessed that you choose us.
I open my heart to the possibility of you,
That spark of potential nestled into the dark, quiet recesses of my being.
Waiting and growing.
Trying not to think of not seeing you soon.  Meeting the spirits who have chosen us,
even after all these long years of waiting.  We have learned and made changes.
So that we can do even better by you.
No longer will our meetings be only in dreams.
Soon my arms will be filled with your writhing, screaming perfect little body.
At my breast you will be nourished as I share my very being with you.
We come together to worship the fertile soil, the Mati Zera Zymlia from which we are nourished.
As the fertile soil is renewed in the spring.  As flowers and fruits
begin to proliferate, so too does the womb in which you grow.
The living blood in my veins, used not just by one, but which now sustains us all for a time.
That secret time between us.
The space when you are unknown even to me.
The time when others begin to notice,
To start to wonder who you are.
So many names you already have; inspired, teacher.
Trial maker, for what we have been through in the waiting time is nothing compared to what is yet to come.  And with a love filled heart, we look forward to all the experiences and lessons you offer.
You are loved and always have been.
During the days when my heart felt ripped from its cage and crushed
With the seemingly over whelming, all consuming pain at having lost you again.
The realization that you were only visiting, not here to stay.
Through the nights when we cried together, mourning you.
There will be other times even after we meet, when tears of sadness are shed,
 yet there will also be the joy filled tears.
Watching your adventures and explorations.
The light illuminates even the darkest of spaces.
Slowly the pieces shift, that which appeared to be and was immovable is never truly permanent.
Not always with the desired speed, the transformation occurs.
There is a crack in the glacier
And urgent movements, the weight of sorrow falls
Revealing vulnerable new surfaces.
Not marred with pain and loss
Free to feel love, joy
To know the divine bliss completely.
In healing,
Amanda Hochman, N.D. 
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Changes in the diagnosis of gestational diabetes and what you can do to change your risk

Face made out of fruits and vegetables
With the release of the American Diabetes Association changes in the guidelines for the diagnosis of gestational diabetes, many more women are likely to have this diagnosis.  This is due in part to recommendations to screen women for pre-existing diabetes that has yet to be diagnosed, as well as decreasing the cut off limits for women when they are screened between 24-28 weeks of pregnancy.  In addition, The American Diabetes Association is also recommending that women who were diagnosed with gestational diabetes be screened 6-12 weeks postpartum for diabetes type II.
For some providers and pharmaceutical companies, these changes in diagnostic criteria mean more income through increased numbers of office visits and prescriptions for medications such as metformin.  For other providers, these changes mean more opportunity to educate and counsel patients regarding diet and lifestyle changes that will provide benefits both for mother and baby.

It is already known that women who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes are at increased risk for developing type II diabetes in their lifetime, some research suggesting as much as a seven fold increased risk compared to pregnant mothers who were not diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Hospital based research performed by Kwak and colleagues found in their study of 370 women, 105 went on to be diagnosed with type II diabetes at 8 weeks postpartum, with another 80 being diagnosed within the first year. Additionally, their babies are also at increased risk for the development of type II diabetes.

To help decrease the risk for developing diabetes mellitus following a diagnosis of gestational diabetes, breastfeeding appears to confer some protection to the mother.  This was seen in work performed by Jenum and colleagues who investigated the gestational diabetes rates in European Ethnic minorities who developed the disease even though they tended to be younger and have lower body mass index (BMI) compared to other Europeans.

Here are 4 ways to reduce the risk for developing gestational diabetes:

1.  Achieve and maintain a healthy BMI prior to pregnancy.  Women who are overweight or obese are at risk for impaired glucose regulation both in the pregnant and non pregnant states.

2. Physical activity:  In pregnancy this does not have to mean training for a marathon level of physical activity.  Even a modest 15 minute walk can improve glucose metabolism to decrease risk.

3.  Adopt a whole foods diet which includes minimal amounts of refined sugars.  Eating less processed foods provides increased amounts of dietary fiber which helps to stabilize blood sugar.

4.  Increase protein from vegetable and nut sources while reducing protein intake from red meat.  Research published in Diabetes Care  found that by replacing 5% of protein from red meat with a 5% intake of protein from non-meat sources decreased the risk for developing gestational diabetes by approximately 50%.

For more information please visit: www.all-paths.com, www.southernoregonbirthconnections.com

In health and wellness.
Dr Amanda Hochman, N.D.

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Spring


Spring is in the air on this, the day to recognize the spring equinox.  For some, spring has been making an early appearance for a few weeks. For others, spring may still feel weeks away as the ground is covered in many inches of snow. Here in Southern Oregon, crocuses, daffodils, forsythia and more are showing off their blooms.  There have been days interspersed with weather warm enough for pregnant women to show off their creations and new babies to be introduced to the warmer weathers.
In spite of all of the splendor which surrounds, there may still be an ache.  A feeling of guilt that we do not feel as joyous as we would like at the announcement of pregnancies in our family and communities.  There may be a sadness when seeing the beautiful little babies who have blessed others.

In these tumultuous days of spring, it as though mother nature empathizes with the pain which at times may feel encompassing and all consuming.  Maybe you feel that a physical affliction would be easier as at least then people can see what is wrong.  With the pains that we carry in our hearts such as the loss of babies too early to hold or see fully grown, we have to be brave and open in order to share.  The words may not come easy.  Even thoughts of sharing may lead to a throat lump, which can only mean that tears are not far behind.           For those who struggle with becoming or staying pregnant, particularly when it has spanned years of time, thousands of dollars and countless other sacrifices, it can be hard to always find the blessing and good in life.
Work may be improving, living situations continue to be pleasant, yet it does not fill the void of laughing children in your family. It is however, important to step back from the pain so as to honor and recognize what is going successfully.  This can help you from identifying yourself only by your struggles with conception and pregnancy.

It can be helpful during the transition time from struggling to achieving and maintaining pregnancy to connect with nature in a way that is nourishing and fulfilling. One option is beginning the garden indoors as they foretell of future food for your family.  Nurture them as they are also your children.  See them grow and connect to the energy of the growing things.  Let your tears water the growing seedlings as your suffering is released.  Allow nature to transform the heartache, the longing to feel the babe quickening in your womb; or to experience the right of passage which is labor and delivery and meeting your baby.  Put all of this into the garden.  Let the pain be transformed into something beneficial rather than be consumed with it.

For more information please visit www.all-paths.com

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Stress in pregnancy, bad news for moms and babies

Pregnant woman being held from behind by a man
Two new studies have been recently published investigating stress and its effects on pregnancy.  One study, published in Clinical Psychological Science by Hahn-Holbrook and colleagues investigated the effect of stress on the hormone placental corticotropin releasing hormone and risk for developing postpartum depression.  They found that women with more social support from family had the lowest concentrations of placental corticotropin releasing hormone and were also less at risk for developing postpartum depression.  Hahn-Holbrook and her team also noted that women who had less support, had higher levels of placental corticotropin releasing hormone in their third trimester and were at increased risk of developing postpartum depression.  

In research performed by Tracey Bale and colleagues, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences used a mouse model to investigate the effects of O-linked-N-acetylglucosamine transferase (OGT) on the development of the fetal brain.  This enzyme was chosen because it is active both in mice and humans, is present in differing amounts in the the placentas of male and female babies and is affected by maternal stresses.  Through their work with mice who synthesized half the normal amount of OGT, they discovered aberrant behavior in more than 300 genes within the developing hypothalamus.  In addition, the placentas of boy babies, whose mothers experienced the most stress had the lowest concentrations of OGT.  Through maternal support, it may be possible to increase levels of OGT to protect developing brains.   


From what this new research  suggests, and pregnant women and mothers have known intuitively, they need support in order to decrease stress during pregnancy.  To help decrease stress in pregnancy, consider participating in a group with other mothers.  If you, like many families, live far away from relatives, consider participating in a CenteringPregnancy® program.   This program utilizes a model of care which includes prenatal visits both privately and in a group format to facilitate support and education.   In Southern Oregon, the CenteringPregnancy® program can be found at La Clinica,  In addition, it is important to share how you are feeling with your pregnancy provider.  If you feel that they are not hearing you, or are not offering the care you are looking for, consider a change in provider or provider type.  There are alternatives to brief prenatal appointments, with options including Naturopathic Midwives, licensed midwives and nurse midwives.  Keep the lines of communication open between you and your partner so that each of you can feel cared for and that each partner feels that their needs are being met.  This may mean a change in responsibility at work or home or simply more time spent with empathetic and caring individuals going through similar experiences.  There is no need to suffer alone.

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Coffee, caffeine and pregnancy: The new research

babies,baby,body parts,embryos,females,healthcare,medicine,people,persons,pregnancies,pregnant,wombs,women
     A recent study published in Biomedical Central by Sengpiel and colleagues has found an association between coffee consumption and increased pregnancy length (5-8 hours / 100 mg caffeine).  Additionally, there was also an association between caffeine intake from all possible sources (coffee, tea, chocolate) and delivering babies with low birth weight and at increased risk for being small for gestational age.  This latter finding occurred even in women who did not consume caffeine in excess of the recommended limits (200 mg in Nordic countries and USA, 300 mg World Health Organization recommendation) and were not smokers.  This study included almost 60,000 participants most of whom were >25 years old and were in a partnered relationship.  Coffee and caffeine consumption was recorded in diet diaries at different time periods from the second trimester on wards.  
To investigate the caffeine content of prepared beverages from restaurants, foods, tea and medications, The Center for Science in the Public Interest, has a chart which includes amount of caffeine per serving.  Another resource from the FDA entitled Medicines in my Home: Caffeine and Your Body includes a list of caffeine amounts and serving sizes provided by the University of Washington.  

So, what does this mean?

For women who are pregnant or are in the process of becoming pregnant, it is advisable to limit ones  intake of caffeine from all sources including, but not limited to; coffee, tea, and chocolate.

For help with this or other pregnancy related concerns we are here to assist you on the journey towards parenthood.  More information can be found at www.all-paths.com 

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