Health Notes

Start a New American Tradition: Bring Bitters to the Table

Urban Moonshine Bitters

By Guido Masé, RH (AHG), Chief Herbalist at Urban Moonshine

Come early evening, around six o’clock, when the sun is still strong but a cool breeze begins to lift the heat of the day, Italians gather at the local bar for aperitivi. Sitting under striped awnings, they sip from wine glasses full of a light, sparkling drink made from seltzer water and mild bitter preparations. The glasses vary in color from dark brown, through red, and into an almost electric orange, reflecting the ingredients they contain. These drinks are preferred over strong cocktails, and are really the beginning of the evening meal as they support digestion and can help prevent indigestion and heartburn. After the aperitivi, a short walk through narrow streets leads to the main restaurant, where the real eating begins: three, often four courses featuring rich cream and meat sauces, lots of prosciutto and thin cuts of beef, plenty of seafood and crisp vegetables. Visitors are often encouraged try aperitivi, as the rich (and abundant) combinations of food can be too much for the digestion, and the bitter drinks before meals really help.

November's Health Genie: Coconut Oil

Coconuts

Note:This article is not meant as a substitute for proper medical advice. Please consult with your medical practitioner before using any type of remedy, herbal or otherwise.

Hello Health Genie,

I know this is a common complaint, but nothing I’ve tried seems to really help.  I typically have pretty dry skin, but with the colder drier weather approaching, I just can’t seem to keep my skin hydrated.  I’ve heard that coconut oil can be effective, but I’ve never used it outside of the kitchen.  Can you tell me more about its medicinal properties?

Thank you,

Debbie Dry

E-newsletter Features: 

Fiber: The Fourth Macronutrient?

By Robert Luby, MD

Note: This article is not meant as a substitute for proper medical advice. Please consult with your medical practitioner before using any type of remedy, herbal or otherwise.

“Fiber” may be the most underappreciated “nutrient”.  The trio of fat, carbohydrate, and protein are traditionally considered to be the three “macronutrients”.  However, it could easily be argued that fiber is so important for human health that it might be considered the fourth macronutrient.  There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble, and they both impart a variety of health benefits.

Warming Foods for Winter

Note: This article is not meant as a substitute for proper medical advice. Please consult with your medical practitioner before using any type of remedy, herbal or otherwise.

By Robert Luby, MD

Advances in agriculture, transportation, and the food industry have made it possible for Vermonters to consume nearly any food from any part of the world year-round. But is this optimal for our health? While conventional western nutritional sciences concern themselves primarily with nutrient quantities and ratios, the principles of non-western medical paradigms, most notably Chinese medicine, place a high priority on eating optimally for the season.

Food and Mood

By Robert Luby, MD

Note:This article is not meant as a substitute for proper medical advice. Please consult with your medical practitioner before using any type of remedy, herbal or otherwise.

Interested in more information on how inflammatory foods may contribute to depression? To learn more about the subject, sign up for our Depression... An Inflammatory Condition? class on Thursday, January 24 from 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.

Food can play a significant role in initiating, perpetuating, exacerbating, and treating depression.  In order to understand how this may be possible, it is necessary to understand the role of inflammation with regards to depression.

Inflammation is the normal transient response manifested by the immune system in the presence of microbial infection, tissue trauma, psychosocial stress, and inappropriate foods.  In the short term, inflammation is a necessary and beneficial response to each of these adverse environmental encounters.  Inflammation mediates the natural healing processes of the body to facilitate recovery.

A problem arises however, if the environmental “encounter” becomes a “sustained exposure”.  One such sustained exposure is the regular ingestion of foods which are “pro-inflammatory”.  This type of eating pattern has the potential to create a sustained and prolonged inflammatory response of the immune system.  Unlike the beneficial outcome of a transient inflammatory response, a sustained inflammatory response can have devastating effects, especially upon the brain and the “neurotransmitters” which mediate the state of our mood.

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