Healthy Eating

How do you know if your probiotic is active and potent?

Probiotics are living beings. They need to usually be refrigerated. Companies may send active probiotics, but high temperatures or delayed shipping could kill the organisms.

So, how do you know if your probiotic is active and potent? You should be able use the probiotic as a starter to make yogurt. If your probiotic is not making yogurt, your acidophilus is probably not active.

My yogurt maker got a crack after 30 years of use. I searched the Internet for its new replacement. I was most in love with a unit that you poured your milk into and without further work, it heated it and chilled it and overnight made fresh yogurt. Unfortunately, the unit was made of plastic. So my current yogurt making device is to put the warmed milk in canning jars on a seed starter heating mat with a couple of towels on top for insulation. Pretty high tech, huh?

By |November 6th, 2017|Healthy Eating, Supplements|

Avoiding the Holiday Seven

Did you know that the average weight gain over the holidays is—you guessed it—seven pounds?   Starting with Halloween and ending with Valentine’s Day or Easter, it seems holidays that showcase high-calorie, high-fat and high-sugar abound. And don’t even get me started on the fancy cocktails as each host and hostess try to outdo one another with over- the-top drink combinations.


Here are five tips to fortify you against holiday temptation.

Say no to seconds. If you’re a cocktail drinker, take some time to decide on your favorite, and stick with one. Then switch to mineral water or iced tea. Otherwise, sip a glass of wine and then do the same. Your brain cells, and your waistline, will thank you.

Eat first. This sounds counterproductive, but if you snack on some healthy, filling food before you head to a party with a toothsome buffet, you’ll be able to pick and choose more easily–and make better choices–than if you arrive ravenous. Munch an apple or a small handful of nuts while you’re driving over, or eat a yogurt or some celery sticks with almond butter before you leave. You’ll still be hungry enough to enjoy the spread, but will be less likely to overeat.

Stick to favorites. When you eat every holiday food available–and it can be hard not too, holiday food is so delicious–the scale, and your cholesterol labs, will reflect your choices. Think about the foods you truly love–Aunt Sally’s eggnog? Cousin Greg’s apple pie? Take moderate portions and savor them. And pass on the rest.

Compensate. Going out for a fancy restaurant dinner? Maybe you can have a lower calorie breakfast and lunch to help balance the scales. Attending a holiday brunch? Try vegetable […]

By |November 6th, 2017|Healthy Eating|

Mmm… Holiday Treats

Looking for something yummy and easy to bake that can balance all the high-calorie Thanksgiving desserts you’ll be exposed to? Try this crisp for a satisfying, flavorful alternative.

Apple Blackberry Crisp

Servings: 6
Prep: Easy
Bake: 350 for 45 minutes


4 Fuji or Honeycrisp apples
1 cup fresh or frozen blackberries
1/4 cup orange juice



1/4 cup brown sugar (can substitute maple syrup, or date or coconut sugar)

1/4 cup vegetable oil or melted butter

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup unbleached flour (can substitute gluten-free flour or almond flour)

1/2 cup uncooked oats

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1.2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans


Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with a non-stick cooking spray or rub with vegetable oil to prevent sticking.  Slice apples and layer in pan. Add blackberries. Sprinkle with orange juice.  In mixing bowl, add remaining ingredients and mix together. Sprinkle over apples and blackberries.  Bake 45 minutes, (if the top starts to brown too quickly, just put a sheet pan on the rack over the crisp). Serve warm or cold. Store leftover crisp in refrigerator.

By |November 6th, 2017|Healthy Eating|

Tastes like coffee, smells like coffee–but is it?

Nothing starts a morning right like a fresh-brewed cup of…twigs?

Believe it or not, researchers have found them in coffee, along with roasted corn, ground roasted barley, soybeans, sugar, acai seeds and even roasted ground parchment. Ground coffee can easily be bolstered by anything powdered and brown.  Adulterants in instant coffee are every bit as sneaky; they include chicory, cereals, caramel, more parchment, starch, malt, and figs.

Fraudulent coffee occurs all over the world. The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention lists coffee as one of the seven most commonly adulterated foods.

Selling old roasted coffee is another hazard.  The one way to mask damaged coffee is to dark roast it and sell it ground.  Dark roasting takes all of the flavors out of coffee.  Grinding makes it difficult to tell whether the coffee is old, bug damaged or from discarded broken beans.

Always buy whole bean coffee.

Real Food Fake Food by Larry Olmstead 1.29.15

By |September 24th, 2017|Healthy Eating|

The Magic Green Bullet

Mad at yourself because you can’t lose weight? Obesity may not be your fault. In fact, according to Dr. Devin Spelman PhD, environmental factors may play a large part in many health issues, including obesity.

I attended the Northwest Herb Symposium this summer, where Dr. Spelman lectured on mitochondrial dysfunction. He explained that patients with metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that raises your risk for heart disease and other health problems, have a 40% reduction in mitochondrial function.  This means 40% less energy in the building blocks of cellular function. No wonder it’s hard to lose weight or improve our health, with our cells functioning at 60%!

Because metabolic syndrome is a cluster of risk factors, including insulin resistance, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, and obesity, it is unlikely the pharmaceutical approach of giving a drug with one function will be able to address all of these issues. For example, a disease such as diabetes can cause many different diseases such as heart, kidney, eye, and neurologic diseases.  To be effective, a treatment needs to treat more than one issue. More about that in a minute.

We can partially blame fast food for our nation’s ill health and obesity.  I was amazed to learn one in three adults eat at a fast food restaurant every day.  People who eat at fast food restaurants more than twice a week gained 10 pounds over 15 years and were more likely to become insulin resistant. Remember, all but the best restaurants will use cheap oils such as corn oil.  Consuming cheap oils contributes to inflammation and a host of diseases.

17% of plant species provide 90% of the world’s food supply, of which most are grains.  75% of the […]

By |September 24th, 2017|Healthy Eating|

Drinking Soda During Pregnancy Raises a Child’s Risk of Obesity

The Danish National Birth Cohort from 1996 to 2002 asked 900 Danish pregnant women with gestational diabetes about food they ate during the 25th week of pregnancy.  Approximately 9% reported consuming at least one diet beverage a day, and their children were 60% more likely to have an elevated birth weight compared to women who didn’t drink diet beverages during pregnancy.

They also discovered that women who drank at least one artificially sweetened beverage per day were twice as likely to have a child who was overweight or obese at age 7, as compared to women with gestational diabetes who drank water during pregnancy.

Furthermore, women who substituted water for sweetened or diet beverages reduced their child’s obesity risk by age 7 by 17%.



By |August 16th, 2017|Healthy Eating|

Some Not So Sweet News about honey

More than three-fourths of the honey sold in U.S. grocery stores isn’t exactly what the bees produced. Honey is one of our main choices for its healing antioxidants and downright deliciousness. But it’s also one of the most common fraudsters.

You can find honey adulterated with moisture, fructose, glucose, beet sugar, rice sugar and “honey from a non-authentic geographic origin.”  Some honey can also be laced with illegal Chinese antibiotics from abroad, pesticides and heavy metals.  (Food Safety News)

In addition to the above, honey is also considered adulterated if the pollen has been removed.  Also, without pollen there is no way to determine whether the honey came from legitimate and safe sources.

If you’re worried that the bear-shaped container of honey in your kitchen isn’t real, you can easily find out with this at-home test.  Spread some honey on a slice of bread, and wait a couple of minutes—if the top of the bread becomes crunchy, your honey is real. If the bread gets soggy, your honey is fake.

To avoid honey fraud, choose small-batch honey, and buy from local sources.

Additionally, there is the ultimate honey superfood called Manuka, a go-to germ fighter.  It’s antibacterial and bacterial resistant.  It is said that Manuka honey is effective for treating everything from a sore throat to clearing up blemishes on your skin.  Other benefits may include helping to heal cuts and scrapes, clearing infections, easing stomachaches, improving digestion, boosting the immune system and providing energy.

(Note: Diabetics should consult a doctor before using.)

Manuka honey sources label their product with a unique Manuka factor (UMF) rating.  The higher the UMF number, the most beneficial the honey will be.  On a scale of 0-16, a sixteen rating indicates superior, high-grade Manuka honey.  If no UMF […]

By |August 16th, 2017|Healthy Eating|

Enhance your summer with Essential Oil Recipes

Summer has its share of wonderful tastes and smells, and these solutions crafted with high quality essential oils can make nice things smell and taste even nicer. We stock many of these in our office, so be sure to ask about them at the front desk.

Pillow or linen Spray

One 2 or 4 oz glass spray bottle

A pinch of Epsom salt

10-15 drops of lavender essential oil

Distilled or filtered water

First add the pinch of salt and essential oil to your glass spray bottle
Top off with water
Give it a shake to mix it up
Spritz on your pillow each night to promote relaxation and better sleep, or use as a linen spray to refresh tired linens.

Refreshing lemon water–One of Dr. Huycke’s favorite summer drinks!

Mix together:

Sparkling water
Stevia to taste (about 4-5 drops per 8 oz.)
Essential oil “lemon drops” (can also add a couple drops of lavender or peppermint)
Slices of real lemon

Upset Stomach Helper

Summer is upon us! Time for family vacations, road trips, camping, and lots of barbecues. Which could also mean… upset stomachs, bloating, indigestion and heartburn.

Friends, meet “Tummy Tamer” or DigestZen®.

DigestZen® is great to have on hand for when any type of upset stomach occurs. DigestZen® is a healthy, natural, and gentle way to soothe an upset stomach or maintain a healthy digestive system.

Add a few drops to your water to take internally or rub on your stomach before flying or taking a road trip for a calming aroma.

Have DigestZen® on hand when enjoying holiday meals, eating out and barbecues to promote digestion. You can also add to water or tea to maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract.

Directions for Use:

Diffusion: Use three to four drops in a diffuser
Internal use: Dilute one drop in 4 fl. oz. […]

By |June 18th, 2017|Healthy Eating|

How organic are your organic strawberries? The answer might surprise you…

By now we’ve all heard of the “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables that are best consumed without pesticides. Strawberries figure prominently on that list, and many stores provide organic strawberries with a hefty price tag. But how organic are these organic strawberries? Are they truly as pesticide free as they claim to be?

According to natural health education website, certified organic strawberries aren’t so organic after all. Although organic strawberries sell for 50% to 100% more than conventional berries, organic strawberries are fumigated with toxic chemicals, including methyl bromide, at the beginning stages of their life-cycle, and sometimes again after harvest.

Methyl bromide, a soil fumigant, isn’t sprayed directly on the fruit–it’s used to sterilize the soil before strawberries are planted. As many modern seeds can only grow in sterile soil, this fumigant prepares the soil by killing all the organisms natural soil contains.

According to, here’s another grey area– both Federal and state organic regulations allow organic farmers to purchase non-organic starter material when they have no other options, and still call their strawberries organic.

According to the NY Times, California, our country’s largest berry producer, doesn’t have a single organic berry nursery—hence the practice of relying on plants that grew on fumigant treated soil.

Want to make sure your organic strawberries aren’t tainted with harmful pesticides at any stage of their growing cycle? Grow your own (from organic heirloom seeds), or next time you’re at your local farmer’s market when organic strawberries are in season, ask the vendor if he grew his strawberries from organic heirloom seeds, or if he purchased the initial plant material from a conventional nursery.

For more information:

A Dirty Little Secret: Your “Organic” Strawberries Aren’t Really Organic


By |June 18th, 2017|Healthy Eating|

What’s Really Flavoring your Food?


Most of the cinnamon sold in the U.S. is cassia, not cinnamon.  Cassia, grown mainly in Vietnam or China, is related to Ceylon, which is considered the “real” cinnamon.  The cassia bark is hotter and more abrasive than the lighter, more aromatic Ceylon.  The sticks are fairly easy to tell apart – Ceylon quills are composed of many paper-thin layers rolled up, while Cassia is a single sheet of bark – but once the “cinnamon” is ground, the anonymous brown dust might be neither Ceylon nor Cassia but something else entirely.  The most common offender in this cinnamon fraud is coffee husks – nice in a coffee cherry tea, if that’s what you’re going for, not so great in your scones.

How to make sure you’re getting the real thing: Look for real Ceylon cinnamon on the label.


Black Pepper

Like ground cinnamon,  ground black pepper is another item that is practically inscrutable in powder form.  Researchers have found starch, flour, buckwheat, millet, papaya seeds, juniper berries, pepper stems and chaff all lurking in what claims to be black pepper.

How to make sure you’re getting the real thing: As with coffee, it’s always better to go whole, both taste-wise and to avoid spicing your dinner with colored starch.



The second most expensive spice is also ripe for the faking.  Vanilla extract is an aged solution of vanilla beans macerated in alcohol and water and is the most common form of vanilla and less costly than the whole beans.   Much imitation vanilla is made from vanillin, an organic compound that is typically synthesized in a lab, and makes no bones about being a cheaper, if inauthentic, alternative.  But synthetic vanillin often sneaks into extracts claiming to be pure.

How to […]

By |May 5th, 2017|Healthy Eating|
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