Quinoa Salad—Delicious and Nutritious and Grain-Free

Quinoa is an ancient grain grown in the Andes. The Incas regarded the quinoa plant as sacred, and referred to it as chisoya mama or “mother of all grains.” Quinoa (pronounced “keenwah”) is not actually a grain. It is a seed that is harvested from a species of a plant called goosefoot, making it neither a cereal nor a grain, and more closely related to spinach, beets and amaranth. Quinoa is considered a perfect protein because it contains all nine essential amino acids. With its high protein content, it is often favored by vegetarians. Quinoa is also a good source of fiber, iron, copper, potassium, magnesium, thiamin and … Continue reading

Gluten and Glyphosate

“Is this gluten-sensitivity business just the latest fad among food fanatics?” An older man shopping at the local health food store recently asked me this question, knowing that I was a doctor. When I first began to practice medicine in 1983, I rarely encountered patients with serious gastrointestinal problems or food allergies and sensitivities. Since the early 1990s, various gastrointestinal conditions have become increasingly common. In recent times, about half of the patients in my medical practice have one or more abdominal symptoms, ranging in severity from chronic diarrhea or constipation, chronic gas and bloating, and gastro-esophageal reflux, to multiple … Continue reading

The River of No Return

September 5th, 2017 The much anticipated departure date has arrived. Soon I will be rafting and kayaking the Salmon River in Idaho with a group of remarkable young environmental and socially-conscious entrepreneurs and visionaries. A few days before departure, a friend sent me a map of the fires and smoke in the Northwest. Idaho, like many of its neighboring states, was on fire and choking in smoke. The map looked ominous. Taking into account my sensitivity to smoke, I decided I would fly to Sun Valley and then make the decision whether to proceed or return home. September 7th, 2017 … Continue reading

Coconut-Avocado-Mint Ice Cream—Sugar Free

Coconut-Avocado-Mint Ice Cream—Sugar Free This recipe is perfect for the busy person who has very little time to spend in the kitchen, yet wants to prepare food that is nutritious and delicious and free of sugar. The avocado-mint-coconut ice cream could be categorized as a health-enhancing super food and takes only 10 minutes to make after all the ingredients are assembled. No ice cream maker necessary. Makes Six Servings Ingredients: 2 medium-sized ripe avocados, peeled 2 cups coconut cream (found in health food stores) 6 tablespoons of fresh-squeezed lime juice 1 cup of chicory root powder (can be ordered online, brand … Continue reading

Antioch-Part VII. Breakthrough

When I went home on spring break, something profound happened spontaneously—without effort or intention. Instead of viewing my mother as someone who didn’t give me what I needed growing up, for the first time I could clearly see her as a fellow human being who had suffered tremendously as a child. I saw in her face that she was just as starved for love and kindness and tenderness as I was. All the old residues of anger and resentment dissolved in that moment, never to return—not even once. A flood of love and compassion for my mother filled up my … Continue reading

Antioch-Part VI. My Mother and I

In the next few sessions, Dr. Leonard wanted to focus on my relationship with my mother. When I told him that my mother’s name was Erica, he asked me if I resembled her in any way. At the time, I was not able to see even a remote resemblance to her. It was a mystery to me why my parents gave my mother’s name to me, the fifth out of six children. Years later I came to understand that, while my nature resembled more my father, my physiology resembled that of my mother with her sensitivities to chemicals and her … Continue reading

Antioch—Part V. Slaying Demons and Dragons

“Dr. Leonard, I know that you’ll be shocked when I tell you my secret. You probably won’t like me anymore.” With a flushed face and racing heart, I confessed. “I’m not a very intelligent person. I’m actually pretty dumb. I’ve just been pretending that I’m smart most of my life. I’m a good actress and have everyone convinced that I’m smart.” Dr. Leonard looked puzzled. “What are you talking about, Erica? Of course you’re intelligent. You’re very intelligent. I read your file. You took honors courses in high school and got straight A’s. I read the enthusiastic letters of recommendation … Continue reading

Antioch-Part IV. Archeology of the Soul

In time, Dr. Leonard won my trust and coaxed me into talking about my life. He listened with uninterrupted attention and with disarming compassion. My highly-tuned radar could not detect even a trace of ridicule or judgment in his demeanor—something I had never experienced before. I felt seen and heard for the first time. Therapy became a sanctuary for my troubled psyche. I saw Dr. Leonard every week that I was on campus over the last two years of college, sometimes even twice a week. Jeff’s father generously paid for the therapy. The sessions became an adventure that I looked forward … Continue reading

Antioch-Part III. Breakdown

With the marriage to Jeff, I gave up my family name, Merriam, and switched to Elliott. I practiced saying my new name over and over. “My name is Erica Elliott.” I liked the way it sounded. The new name symbolized a new life and gave me some psychological distance from my family as I struggled to find my own way in the world as an adult. Jeff came from a wealthy background and could have whatever material possessions he wanted. His parents, Edith and Oz, had an elegant home south of Chicago in an upscale neighborhood. Oz was president of … Continue reading

Antioch-Part II. Marriage

“Come mothers and fathers throughout the land. Don’t criticize what you can’t understand. Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command. Your old road is rapidly aging. Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend a hand. For your times they are a-changing.” It wasn’t long before the music of Bob Dylan, the Beatles, and Rolling Stones woke me up to the unrest unfolding throughout the country. I memorized the stirring words to many of Dylan’s songs and sang them to myself as I walked around campus. The potpourri of sounds included ethnic music which I … Continue reading

Antioch—Part I. First Day of College

Coming from Germany where I spent my last two years of high school, the first day at college in the US turned my world upside down. My plane landed in Dayton, Ohio. It was the last week in September, 1966. As the passengers filed into the airport, I looked around with anticipation, having been notified that someone from the college would be holding a sign with my name on it. When the crowd thinned, I finally saw a small, cardboard placard with the words “Erica Merriam” written in whimsical rainbow lettering, held by a tall guy, barefoot, with long, wildly … Continue reading

Vaccines—Are the Safety Studies Credible?

We know that the concept of vaccination is valid and has saved lives. But do we know for sure that the additives in the vaccines made by the vaccine-manufacturers—and endorsed by the CDC—are as safe as they claim? Most of the studies on vaccine safety that get published are designed and funded by the pharmaceutical industry—an inherent conflict of interest. Does the CDC, with CEOs of the vaccine manufacturing companies on its board, deserve our trust when it comes to the safety of vaccines? Let’s look at the information we have available.  Long-term vaccine safety studies Astonishingly, no long-term safety … Continue reading

Vaccines for Newborn Infants—Are They Safe?

In the US, shortly after babies are born in the hospital, they are taken from their mothers and subjected to a number of interventions in the newborn nursery, including antibiotic ointment in the eyes, an injection of synthetic vitamin K to prevent internal bleeding, and often an injection of the hepatitis B vaccine. Three hepatitis B shots are part of the standard government-recommended childhood vaccination schedule, with the first dose given to newborns before discharge in most US hospitals. Even premature infants are given the hepatitis B vaccine while in neonatal intensive care nurseries. What do these injections do to … Continue reading