|A Season to Bloom
Such a stark contrast between the glorious blooming season of spring, lush with flowers everywhere and the dim and quiet season of winter. We certainly have these seasons of our life as well, although they may not always be so predictable. During those times that seem more about stuckness rather than abundance it can be difficult to remember this simple truth...that the undercurrent of life continues to flow even if we cannot feel or perceive it. We certainly have our individual seasons when we plant, grow and harvest ourselves.
As a physician I do my best to help people become more in tune with these natural cycles and rhythms that can be so healing. Changing the diet can allow someone to feel more energetic and alert. Offering someone an herbal medicine can decrease their pain so they can walk along the beach each day. We all love to see the splendor of blooming seeds that have been planted -- but it begs the question...what are you planting in the garden of your own health?
Some people feel overwhelmed by how much they have to change or do to achieve better health. But many times it is more about adopting small new habits that stick. If you made one new change each month over the course of one year, your health would be in a completely new place at the end of that year...and perhaps many other aspects of your life as well. Consider some of the ideas presented here to be a starting point for that change.
Here's to new seeds and your own season of blooming.
Stay happy and well -
Funda M. Gulmen, N.D., M.S. - Naturopathic Physician
2505 Main Street, Suite 209B
Stratford, CT 06615
Integrating both traditional (nutritional counseling, herbal medicine, homeopathy) and modern therapies (pharmaceuticals, radiological imaging, minor surgery), Dr. Funda M. Gulmen is a licensed naturopathic physician who offers care for the whole family - children, seniors, men and women - through her private practice in Stratford, CT.
Additional services include: stress management, mind-body medicine, therapeutic movement, lifestyle counseling, cleansing programs, food allergy/lab testing, supplement reviews, annual physical exams, yoga/meditation instruction, Reiki and integrative medicine seminars/publications.
- Accepting Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Aetna, CIGNA and ConnectiCare healthcare plans -
Child on the Spectrum receives "most improved" award
7 year old C came to the office because his mother was concerned about his behavior and level of functioning - he had trouble concentrating in class, problems sleeping, was going to occupational therapy to help him with his fine motor skills. He had been diagnosed as being "on the spectrum" or showing some signs of autistic-like behavior. During his first visit we mostly looked at nutrition. Typically kids with this condition are very picky eaters and eat limited types of foods, so their nutrition is limited as well. This lack of proper nutrition can further diminish concentration and functioning (as with any child) only making things worse. To get C eating more in general, mom had attempted to hide more vegetables and supplements in the foods he would eat. However, children on the spectrum typically have very finely tuned senses so he realized immediately something was different with the food and refused it. Once he associated the food with something different he stopped eating the food even if there wasn't something "hidden" in it. Since that approach didn't seem to work with this child, we talked about the possibility of including him in making meals. Studies have shown that when children are involved in the process of growing food in a garden or preparing it for a meal they are more likely to eat it. So she started showing him some simple things to do in the kitchen to be a good helper and he took to that very quickly, even creating certain foods that were his new specialty. After expanding his diet this way, we were able to offer him several nutritional supplements -- these we had to give him straight so that he wouldn't associate it with a food and potentially backtrack again. With the nutritional modifications, C was doing somewhat better in school and with sleep, but not as much as his mother had hoped. For some children on the spectrum, nutritional modifications alone are enough to make significant improvements, but that was not true for C. The next step with him was to find a homeopathic rememdy that might be helpful. To find a homeopathic rememdy, the physician asksmany questions and observes the patient matching up their particular symptoms with a rememdy that is well suited. These remedies usually come as small pellets which either dissolve in the mouth or can be swallowed. Luckily, they taste mildly sweet without a strong flavor so even sensitive kids like C are willing to take them. By his next visit a month later, C was getting positive feedback from his teachers and therapists...he was concentrating better in class, he was reading at a higher level, he was even able to button his clothes and dress himself for the first time. A few months later C came back for review and he was still making improvements at home and in the classroom and had even received the "most improved" award at school. Both he and mom were very happy and proud that he was able to achieve more of his true potential.
Two major developments in the field of natural medicine have occured recently -- naturopathic physicians may now participate in the Indian Health Services Loan Repayment Program and the State of New Hampshire passed a bill allowing naturopathic physicians to become part of health insurance panels. The Indian Health Services Loan Repayment Program allows healthcare workers to serve underserved communities on Indian reservations in exchange for repayment of medical school loans. In January of 2012, the US Congress passed a bill that will allow naturopathic physicians to be included in this program. Also, on May 16 of 2012, the New Hampshire State Senate and Assembly have passed a bill allowing naturopathic physicians to be reimbursed for medical services. The bill now goes to the Governor.
Natural Medicine in the News
Dr. Gulmen's registered patients receive 25% off supplements ordered at emersonecologics.com.
Please call our office at 203.895.5534 to obtain the discount code. To find other stores in your local area that sell supplements, visit our website: www.naturesourcecare.com/pharma.
The beauty of natural medicine is that sometimes it comes in simple ways - including your kitchen cabinet. The herb ginger has been shown in studies to decrease the queasiness associated with traveling by car, boat, train or plane as effectively as some conventional medications. Ginger comes in many forms: capsules, dried powder, tea bags, crystallized, candied or fresh. The most effective forms to address nausea are fresh ginger or sucking on a slice of crystallized ginger or ginger candy, dried powder is second best and can have some positive effect. Individuals with various digestive health issues such as reflux esophagitis and ulcers should not use ginger, however.
Ginger: Relief for traveling tummies
Doctor as Teacher:
Recent Speaking Events
In order to increase people's awareness of how they can take better care of themselves and achieve better health, Dr. Gulmen gives seminars to the local community. Recent presentations she has given include:
- Speaking to a senior group
at St. Joseph's Church in Stratford, CT
- Offering an introductory yoga class
to Americorps volunteers in New Haven, CT
- Discussing how meditation techniques can be used to help kids stay healthy
to the City Wide Youth Coalition in New Haven, CT
- Teaching 4th and 5th graders how to make healthy snacks
at New Beginnings Family Academy in Bridgeport, CT.
- Discussing natural medicine approaches to staying fit with employees
of the Greater Bridgeport Transit Authority
If you know of a group or organization that could benefit from knowing more about natural medicine, Dr. Gulmen would be happy to create a seminar or yoga/meditation class to address their particular needs and concerns. For a list of previous seminars, please visit: www.naturesourcecare.com/seminars.
Many people complain about the heat of summer, but sweating is one of the best ways to get rid of toxins from the body. If fact, many people go out of their way to get a good sweat if they are interested in doing an internal body cleanse. The skin has often been considered to be the "third kidney" as it is so essential in removing toxins from the body -- sweat therapy even used to be prescribed therapy by conventional practioners because of its ability to decrease the cleansing burden of the kidneys if someone had compromised kidney function. Also, in many cultural traditions such as Northern European and American Indian, sweating was a common social event that invoked both physical and spiritual renewal. Some people find access to steam rooms or saunas through their local gym. Others find sweaty benefits through "hot" yoga classes where the yoga practice is done in a room that is heated above 90 degrees. Of course, you can simply put on your shoes and enjoy some outdoor walking or exercise during the warmer months. Caution should be taken by anyone who has cardiovascular or respiratory health problems, experiencing dizziness/fatigue, is pregnant or is generally in a weakened state. Consult with your physician beforehand.
Summer is a free spa
If you are considering new, healthier options for beverages you might consider hibiscus tea. Hibiscus has a fresh, fruity (almost berry-like) flavor and striking red color that is appealing to many people. The benefits of hibiscus are numerous including offering a natural source of vitamin C and bioflavonoids which are important for the immune system and allergies. Also, hibiscus has been shown to gently cleanse and provide functional support for the kidneys. Hibiscus also has properties that make it a natural diuretic and can be used in the treatment of high blood pressure. The effects of hibiscus are subtle and so it can be used as a daily beverage for the whole family, even kids. Add 8-10 oz of boiliing water per 1 teaspoon of dried herb and let steep for 8 minutes before straining. Add local honey, agave nectar or stevia for a bit of sweetness.
Hibiscus - a brighter version of your daily beverage
Stay close to nature
For many people, they are considering taking some time to travel this summer. The National Park Service offers free entrance to its national parks on different days throughout the year
. Consider visiting one as part of your well-care on the road. Visit: http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm
to find a park and free entrance dates.
Free yoga in the park this summer
For those of you who love yoga and nature, free yoga classes will be offered in East Rock Park, near New Haven: Saturdays 6-7pm, June 9th through Aug 25th, College Woods section near the playground - rain of shine (!). Dr. Gulmen will be teaching the class July 28th.
A very common homeopathic remedy used for bug bites is called ledum. It comes in two forms: pellets that you can take orally or a cream you can use topically. This might be a remedy to keep on hand if you are involved in outdoor activities this summer which usually helps with the swelling, redness and itch of bug bites. While traveling through Nicaragua with a medical team, ledum came in handy to decrease the discomfort of the daily bug bites we received. Homeopathy is considered an energy medicine. Remedies are created by taking a small amount of natural substance such as a plant or mineral and diluting it in water several times. Medicine is then made from this water. If used properly, it can be used even by sensitive people such as babies and fragile elderly.
Homeopathy for Bug Bites
Now that things are starting to bloom in the garden you may find you have a bumper crop of certain foods but not sure what to do with it all. Different food herbs such a basil, mint, parsley and cilantro seem to pop up first. Here are some recipes to enjoy their goodness:
Cooking up the garden
(raw, gluten-free, vegan)
Sometimes people complain that a healthy diet can become bland or boring. If you really want to stir things up, this may be the one for you...enjoy on meats, pasta, sandwiches or crackers.
2 cups fresh herb (basil or parlsey or mint or a combination)
1/2 cup nuts (walnuts or pinenuts or sliced almonds)
1/2 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (optional - do not add if you have high blood pressure)
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional - do not add if you use parmesan cheese, it will be too salty)
Pour oil into food processor. Add herbs then other ingredients to help push herbs to the bottom. Puree mixture. WIll keep in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.
Grilled lamb chops with
If you are ready to get your grill out for the season, this may be the recipe to get the party started. Only a slight modification to the pesto sauce above and you have a lovely, vibrant way to offer your grilled foods to your guests.
- 4 lamb chops
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 2 cups parsley
- 2 cups mint
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 - 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
Mix cinnamon, salt and pepper, rub on lamb chops and grill to desired doneness. In food processor, add herbs, olive oil, garlic and vinegar and puree until smooth. Add chimichurri sauce on top of lamb or on side to serve.
(raw, gluten-free, vegan)
2-3 cloves garlic
1/2 - 1 small red onion minced
juice of one lime
1 cup of cilantro
salt to taste
2 avocados, chopped
If you like your guac chunky, you can chop everything by hand and mix in a bowl. If you like it smoother, add ingredients in order into a food processor and blend. Serve with chips such as "Beanito" brand - they have great flavor, higher protein content and also lower sodium content compared to most chips.
Brazilian shrimp stew
This recipe not only allows you to use some lovely fresh cilantro but also offers an opportunity to incorporate more plant based oils such as coconut and palm.
1 lb large shrimp, peeled, deveined
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves minced
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 large tomatoes - pureed
1 large onion chopped
2 green peppers, chopped
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 can well-stirred coconut milk
1 tablespoon palm oil (optional)
Toss shrimp with salt, pepper, garlic and lemon juice - let sit covered and chilled for 20 minutes. Puree tomatoes in food processor. Saute onions and peppers in olive oil until soft, about 8 minutes. Add cayenne and 1/4 cup cilantro, stir. Add tomato puree to this and let simmer until thickens, about 15 minutes. Stir in coconut milk then add shrimp until they are just cooked through, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in palm oil now if you are using it. Serve with brown rice and garnish with remaining cilantro.