I love the Thanksgiving holiday. It is a time when Americans gather with family and friends to express gratitude for the blessings we enjoy throughout the year.
Photos by Dr. Scott’s daughter, Sarah~2015.
This year my heart is overflowing with thankfulness and gratitude to each person who helped me create the physical space, the logistics, and the atmosphere that has become Asheville Gynecology & Wellness.
As the holidays approach, many women anticipate feeling stressed. This can detract from the essence of the season. Much of the stress during the holidays comes from there being too much to do and not enough time to do it. If you know this, you can change your approach to the holidays and proceed with calm confidence. The staff of Asheville Gynecology & Wellness would like to share a few tips to help you embrace the holidays more joyfully. is a season to gather with friends and family, to share with others, and to show that you care—key elements of the holidays.
Plan ahead. Make a TO DO Lists and separate the list into items you HAVE TO do, those you ENJOY doing, and those you’d prefer to FORGO or DECLINE.
Know your limits.
Be willing to SAY NO. If this is hard for you, try saying no to at least one thing that is not on your list.
Ask for help. Reach out and ask for assistance and be prepared to assist others in return.
Don’t neglect your sleep.
Focus on one thing at a time. A 2009 Stanford University study showed that people performance on various tasks suffers when we multitask.[i] who multitask per
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Let things go. Nothing’s going to be perfect. Relax and enjoy time with family and friends, even if a pie burns or your team loses. Reconcile the situation, move on, and forget about it!
Be flexible. Plans change. When plans need to change, take a moment to regroup and prepare go in a different direction. Trust yourself and trust that things will work out.
Take care of yourself.
Stay hydrated. This is one of the easiest things to overlook.
Eat nutritious foods.
Remember exercise releases endorphins
Avoid caffeine and sugary foods and drinks. Caffeine speeds up the nervous system, increases heart rate, and increases the rate of our breathing—all these can provoke feelings of stress.
Consume calming drinks: Chamomile tea, Green tea, Green Mulberry tea, and others.
Eat calming foods. Emphasize foods that are easy to digest and that contain nutrients thought to calm the nervous system, foster relaxation, and boost mood naturally. Foods containing magnesium, vitamin B 12 (and other B vitamins), zinc, and antioxidants can help you manage stress. Certain herbal supplements like kava and passionflower are touted as calming ingredients.
Omega-3s Foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids such as walnuts, salmon, flax seed, chia seeds, cooked spinach, and omega 3 fortified eggs have anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce pain and these foods may support brain health.
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid required for the production of serotonin. Serotonin is important in the regulation of mood and emotions and can foster feelings of calm. Absorption of tryptophan can be improved by combining tryptophan rich foods with complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and fruit. Good sources of tryptophan include seeds and nuts, chicken, reduced fat mozzarella, tuna, oat bran, eggs, shrimp, spinach, chicken, beans, tofu, milk, salmon asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, and of course, turkey.
Blueberries, Maca Root, Acai Berries. These all are high in anti-oxidants and other phytonutrients that may produce calm.
Zinc rich foods can help stabilize metabolic rate, balance blood sugar, and boost the immune system. Zinc is a trace element found in sesame seeds, pumpkins seeds seafood, wheat germ, squash, nuts, beans, chicken and even chocolate.
Remember the Deeper Reasons for the Holidays. The deeper significance of the holidays provides a framework that can keep you grounded.
Breathe and remain mindful of others as well as yourself. Remind yourself daily basis that when you remain calm your effect on others will become calming.
Gratitude & Joy
Engage the holidays confidently and calmly and seek opportunities to cultivate an attitude of joy and gratitude.
Join team Breast Buds and walk with us on the 24th of October.
Make a Donation through our team.
Direct others to our team Breast Buds page. http://tiny.cc/fckx3x
Why We Walk
There is no other disease that touches the lives of women around the world more than breast cancer. If a woman has not personally received the diagnosis of breast cancer, she surely knows someone who has experienced the diagnosis and undergone treatment. It is the strength and perseverance of women with breast cancer that is most inspiring to me. Participating in Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Asheville is a wonderful way to express support for women and men with breast cancer. I would love to see more strides being made not only in the understanding of the causes and treatments for this disease, but I also want to see strides being made in caring for women in the years following original treatment.
Labor Day marks the traditional end of summer. With fall around the corner, I wanted to share some thoughts about Vitamin D and the end of Summer. This is important to maintaining a good health and as a gynecologist I am routinely finding deficiencies. There is a lot of talk and a lot of press about healthy Vitamin D Levels. First let’s cover a a few facts about Vitamins in general.
Vitamins are any of a group of compounds that are essential for normal growth and nutrition and are not typically synthesized by the body.
Vitamin D is actually synthesized in our skin when ultraviolet B light is absorbed by 7-dehydrocholesterol that transforms it to pre-vitamin D3, which is then converted to Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is metabolized in the liver to 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 and then in the kidney to its biologically active form, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. Vitamin D is unique among vitamins in that it is also a hormone since it is manufactured in one organ and exerts its effects at a distance upon other organs. Asheville enjoys about the same number of sunny days throughout the year, but most of us are likely to be outdoors more during the summer months.
RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) is the amount of vitamin intake that would meet the healthy requirements for 97.5 percent of the population. The Institute of Medicine website explains the method for determining the RDA for Vitamin D.
Although chronic sun exposure increases the risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer; complete avoidance of sun exposure increases our risk of vitamin D deficiency. This can have serious implications including associations with cancers, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, heart disease, mood disorders, and some autoimmune diseases. Remember that darker skinned individuals require more sun exposure to produce the same amount of Vitamin D as fairer skinned individuals.
Healthy Vitamin D Levels
The amount of sun exposure that causes our skin to turn just a little red produces about 10,000 to 25,000 international units (IU). Effective UV protection significantly reduces our risk of skin cancers, but also can reduce our production of Vitamin D substantially. Another factor that can affect our health is that as we age our ability to produce Vitamin D declines. In addition, some individuals whose religious or social customs require them to remain covered are at higher risk of developing Vitamin D deficiency because of their almost complete blockade of the sun.
As fall approaches we are less likely to be out in the sun and the need to supplement our diet to maintain healthy and adequate Vitamin D levels becomes more important.
Dr. Mark Hyman recently posted a blog in which he reports that “Two recent studies in The Journal of Pediatrics found that 70 percent of American kids aren’t getting enough vitamin D, and this puts them at higher risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and lower levels of good cholesterol. Low vitamin D levels also may increase a child’s risk of developing heart disease later in life.”
Vitamin D Regulates Functions
Vitamin D has widespread effect in on health and the function of our cells. It regulates cellular growth and proliferation and is important in the differentiation of cells into specific types of tissue. This may account for its importance in reducing the incidence of various types of cancer including cancer of the colon, prostate, breast, and ovary. It is thought to be an inhibitor of these cancers.
Dr. Michael Holick, a Boston University School of Medicine researcher, recommends intakes of up to 2,000 IU a day. This is likely to achieve blood levels of 25 hydroxy vitamin D at between 75 to 125 nmol/L (nanomoles per liter). The government recommends 2,000 IU as the upper limit for vitamin D3 .
6 Tips for Getting the Right Amount of Vitamin D
How much Vitamin D you should take will depend on your age, how far north you live, how much time you spend in the sun, the time of the year, and to a smaller extent your dietary intake. Many people report feeling better when they achieve optimal levels of Vitamin D.
Dr. Mark Hyman offers the following advice for getting optimal levels of vitamin D:
Get tested for 25 OH vitamin D. The current ranges for “normal” are 25 to 137 nmol/L or 10 to 55 ng/ml. These are fine if you want to prevent rickets – but NOT for optimal health. In that case, the range should be 100 to 160 nmol/L or 40 to 65 ng/ml. In the future, we may raise this “optimal” level even higher.
Take the right type of vitamin D. The only active form of vitamin D is vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Look for this type. Many vitamins and prescriptions of vitamin D have vitamin D2 – which is not biologically active.
Take the right amount of vitamin D. If you have a deficiency, you should correct it with 5,000 to 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 a day for 3 months — but only under a doctor’s supervision. For maintenance, take 2,000 to 4,000 IU a day of vitamin D3. Some people may need higher doses over the long run to maintain optimal levels because of differences in vitamin D receptors, living in northern latitudes, indoor living, or skin color.
Monitor your vitamin D status until you are in the optimal range. If you are taking high doses (10,000 IU a day) your doctor must also check your calcium, phosphorous, and parathyroid hormone levels every 3 months.
Remember that it takes up to 6 to 10 months to “fill up the tank” for vitamin D if you’re deficient. Once this occurs, you can lower the dose to the maintenance dose of 2,000 to 4,000 units a day.
If you eat fish, try to eat dietary sources of vitamin D. These include:
Fish liver oils, such as cod liver oil. One tablespoon (15 ml) = 1,360 IU of vitamin D
Cooked wild salmon. (3.5) ounces = 360 IU of vitamin D
Cooked mackerel. (3.5) ounces = 345 IU of vitamin D
Sardines, canned in oil, drained. (1.75) ounces = 250 IU of vitamin D
One whole egg = (20) IU of vitamin D
I welcome your comments—but remember, this site does not offer personal medical advice and is not intended to replace consultation with your physician.
This recipe for Quinoa Vegetable Soup with Kale is offered as a courtesy of Asheville Gynecology & Wellness. This was sampled on Thursday, September 3, 2015 by the CHIP participants. Quinoa is a popular grain that is indigenous to Peru. It is also cultivated in other countries in the Andes Mountains. Quinoa grows well in these regions with sparse rainfall. This grain provides an excellent source of protein. Dr. Scott has many fond memories of time spent in Bolivia and Peru on medical mission trips. She offers this soup recipe that was adapted from the Cookie and Kate website. It is based on the traditional, staple grain of the Andean people. There are abundant Quinoa recipes available online and here are some others from Cooking Light.
Quinoa Vegetable Soup and Kale
Quinoa Vegetable Soup with Kale
Author: Cookie and Kate
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: Cook time: Total time:
Serves: 4 to 6 servings
This nutritious soup is packed with vegetables, kale, and quinoa. Quinoa is an ancient grain that is gluten free. This easy-to-make soup is delicious as leftovers. It is also vegan. The recipe makes 4 to 6 servings of soup.
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped.
3 small or 2 medium/large carrots, peeled and chopped.
2 celery stalks, chopped.
1 to 2 cups chopped seasonal vegetables, like zucchini, yellow squash, bell pepper, sweet potatoes or butternut squash.
3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced.
½ teaspoon dried thyme.
1 can (28 ounce) diced tomatoes, drained.
Scant 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well in a fine mesh colander.
4 cups vegetable broth (low sodium).
2 cups water.
1/2 teaspoon salt.
2 bay leaves.
Pinch red pepper flakes.
Freshly ground black pepper.
1 can (15 ounces) great northern beans or chickpeas.
1 cup or more chopped fresh kale or collard greens, tough ribs removed.
1 teaspoon lemon juice.
Warm the olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chopped onion, carrot, celery, seasonal vegetables and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onion has softened and is turning translucent. This is about 6 to 8 minutes.
Add the garlic and thyme. Cook until fragrant while stirring frequently for about 1 minute. Pour in the drained diced tomatoes. Cook for a few more minutes, stirring often.
Pour in the quinoa, broth and the water. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 bay leaves and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper. Raise heat and bring the mixture to a boil, then partially cover the pot and reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer.
Cook for 25 minutes, then remove the lid. Add the beans and the chopped greens. Continue simmering for 5 minutes or more, until the greens have softened to your liking.
Remove the pot from heat and remove the bay leaves. Stir in 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Taste and season with more pepper until the flavors really sing. (You might need up to ½ teaspoon more salt, depending on your vegetable broth and your personal preferences.) Divide into bowls.