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Leaning into Fall

Fall is in full swing and as many people in my life know, I carry an affection for Fall. From the refreshing and rejuvenating crisp morning air, to the ritual festivities of the season, it has its charm. As the colder temperatures slowly make their way in, we seek ways to warm ourselves on a mind, body, and soul level. With the change of temperature and days getting shorter, many people report an increase in feelings of depression, sadness, and loneliness.

So what are some ways we can stay connected and soul-nourished this Fall/Winter?


Ground in community- I find being part of a group that meets on a weekly basis for a common purpose is a great way to stay connected and reduce social isolation which can occur as a result of the seasonal change. Local community colleges often offer a wealth of classes in a variety of disciplines. I recently re-connected with a childhood passion of mine, tap dancing, and knowing I will be seeing the same familiar faces gives me incentive to return each week and feel part of a local community.

TLC- Doesn’t this weather make you want a cuddle buddy?! Whether you are single or partnered up, TLC can take many forms. Whether it’s a juicy nourishing hug from a friend, getting a massage, soaking in a hot tub, or cuddling. Loving touch is one way to lift our mood and help us feel connected and cared for.


Attune to nature- Fall is a great season for hiking, camping, and being in nature in general. There is so much happening by way of transformation which can be observed spending time in nature. It can also be a portal for delving deeper into our own emotions that arise during this time of year and becoming better acquainted with them. I find this time of year to be conducive and deeply supportive of spiritual practice and inquiry.

Warm it up- This season screams of a hot cup of spicy chai! Notice how the needs of your body shifts with the change of season, and try and pay attention to what it’s asking for. I find my body wanting healing warming spices and more grounding foods. Some great Fall healing herbs include cumin, fresh ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, rosemary, nutmeg, and saffron. All of which can be incorporated in teas, desserts, soups, curry dishes, veggies, etc..

How are you nourishing yourself this Fall?! We would love to hear!





Treating Heartburn Naturally

Please excuse our error – the correct author for this entry is now displayed below (Jenna Katzman ANP). Jennifer Weinberg MD is one of our other collaborators and we are excited to show you her work soon! – The Practice Vitality Team.

Heartburn is an incredibly common problem, and often can be really distressing to people. Heartburn can show up in many ways; from the classic pain in the stomach or chest, to coughing, sour taste in the mouth, feeling of a lump in the throat, and even shortness of breath. The most common cause of heartburn is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). When someone go to their primary care provider with symptoms of heartburn, they are usually prescribed a type of medication called a proton-pump inhibitor (examples: Nexium, Prevacid). Ideally, they should also be given lifestyle change recommendations to help with their symptoms. Two months after these measures are put into place, hopefully the symptoms have resolved. Then the challenge comes of taking people off medications.

GERD can be managed with lifestyle changes, medications, and/or supplements.  While medications are helpful at minimizing symptoms, they also have side effects, including decreased nutrient absorption in the gut when used long term or increase risk of certain stomach infections.

Lifestyle changes

  1. Foods & beverages to avoid. Many foods and drinks are associated with relaxation of the LES. Beverages to avoid include alcohol, coffee (both caffeinated and decaf), cow’s milk, orange juice, caffeinated tea, and tomato juice. Foods to avoid include: chocolate, fatty foods, spicy foods, tomato sauce.  Sometimes people tolerate certain foods better than others, so I often encourage my patient to keep a symptom diary to determine which are okay for them. Smoking is a bad idea when it comes to reflux. Increased abdominal pressure, such as from obesity, pregnancy, or even tight clothes can lead to GERD.  If you are overweight, losing weight can improve symptoms and can sometimes eliminate them completely.
  2. Avoid laying down within 2-3 hours of eating
  3. Raise the head of the bed 4-6 inches using blocks under the bedposts (it’s not recommended to use extra pillows, because this may compress abdomen and worsen symptoms).
  4. Supplements: Probiotics: Probiotic pills often found at the health-food store and probiotic foods in the diet can be helpful, including: fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, pickles), fermented dairy (yogurt, kefir), fermented soy (miso, tempeh), kombucha. Pu-erh tea is another option. Apple cider vinegar- although there haven’t been many studies, 2 or 3 teaspoons (10-15 ml) alone or in an 8 ounce glass of water may be helpful. Licorice (DGL)- Dose: 2-4 280mg tablets before meals. Other supplements that may be helpful: chamomile, marshmallow, ginger, slippery elm, aloe-vera (click for aloe-vera recipe).

Without treatment, remember that reflux can lead to the beginnings of esophageal cancer. If symptoms persist, people need to see a Gastroenterologist once a year and possibly undergo further testing. Going off the medication can be tricky too because after stopping the meds, sometimes you get rebound heart-burn. Coming down very slowly can be helpful, and asking your doctors help in this regard can be useful. Medications can be a good temporary solution. Medicine comes with its own risk, but if you don’t get better with lifestyle change or other integrative methods, it may have to be the option.

-Written by Jenna Katzman, ANP-BC (edited by the Practice Vitality team)


  1. Rakel, D. Integrative Medicine, 2nd edition. Chapter 42. Elsevier, 2007.
  2. Williams, D. http://www.drdavidwilliams.com/acid-reflux-natural-treatments/#axzz344fxyfu6.

Jenna Katzman is an Adult and Holistic Nurse Practitioner. She works as an NP at One Medical Group in Manhattan. Her background includes Bachelors degrees from Rutgers University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She has a Masters Degree from NYU College of Nursing and previously worked as a neuroscience nurse at NYU Langone Medical Center. Her interests include integrative healthcare, aromatherapy, nutrition, Kundalini yoga, Reiki, and diabetes management.


Healthy Version of Tropical Greens™ Recipe

While the rest of the country might be getting ready to put on their fall coats and boots, in San Francisco, we are getting our Indian Summer…the temperature have been in the 80s, reaching up to mid 90s during parts of the day. So I’ve been craving a lot of liquids, especially green juices.

I want to share a great juice recipe based on Jamba Juice’s Tropical Greens™. The original recipe has too much fructose (each serving has 28 grams of sugar). So I tweaked the recipe a bit to make it more guilt-free.

Tropical Greens

Healthier Variation of Jamba Juice’s Tropical Greens ™


  • Coconut water (1/2 cup)
  • Fresh pineapples (1 cup)
  • Organic red and green chard (2 cups)- you can also substitute it with spinach
  • Ice (~1 cup)
  • Chia Seeds (1 tablespoon)-optional

Blend all together until smooth and enjoy!


Foods rich in Vitamin C

Vitamin C (aka ascorbic acid) is a key antioxidant important for everything from healthy skin, strengthening bone and wound healing, helping to boost the immune system, and helping to fight against allergies. It even helps to manage your stress by balancing the cortisol release. Vitamin C is also important in helping your body absorb other important nutrients, such as iron and calcium.

While oranges do contain vitamin C, drinking orange juice might not be the best way to get all your vitamin C. Firstly, many store-bought OJs are made from concentrate and the orange juice has been stored in factory containers for over a year. Most of the vitamin C would have degraded which is why manufacturers often add synthetic ascorbic acid back into the OJ as it gets pumped and packaged into a container.  Secondly, OJ high in fructose and glucose- all in liquid form, making it a high glycemic index- which can contribute to weight gain and decrease insulin sensitivity.

Foods rich in Vitamin C

For a healthy alternative, try to get your vitamin C from whole fruits and vegetables. The kale and bell pepper slaw is a perfect recipe if you need a boost of vitamin C.

Foods rich in Vitamin C:

  • Kale
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Tomatoes
  • Citrus (oranges, grapefruits, clementine’s, lemons, limes, etc)


Kale and Bell Pepper Slaw

For foods rich in vitamin C, think greens (more on this in future entry). Vitamin C is important for everything from healthy skin, to immune system, to your bones. Below is a slightly different version of coleslaw where you use kale instead of cabbage…to increase the vitamin C and other antioxidant factor!


  • 1 bunch of kale, center stem removed, cut into shreds
  • 1 bell pepper of your choice, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 cup of virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup of plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon of agave (or honey, stevia, etc)
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt


  1. Stir yogurt, oil, vinegar, and agave together in a bowl (or you can puree them in a blender).
  2. Toss kale, bell pepper and carrots together in salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  3. Season with salt and pepper. Add coleslaw mix and toss to coat.
  4. Pour dressing over vegetables just before serving.

Non-Dairy Foods for Bone Health

Bone Nutrition isn’t just about calcium.  Crucial to bone nutrients are vitamin D, vitamin C, and magnesium. Vitamin D is important for calcium absorption and vitamin C is a crucial part of collagen building, which makes up a big part of the bone matrix. More than half of the magnesium in your body are in your bones.

Other key nutrients include potassium, manganese and folate. A diet that promotes bone health has 2 aspects: helping your body absorb the essential nutrients, (like calcium and magnesium) and preventing bone resorption (process of bones breaking down and releasing minerals into blood).

Foods rich in these key nutrients (such as calcium and magnesium) include:

  1. Dark leafy greens, such as kale, bok choy, and spinach
  2. Vegetables such as celery, peppers, carrots, beets,
  3. Fish such as wild salmon, shrimp, sardines,
  4. Nuts and beans such as quinoa, chickpeas, almonds, and chia seeds

Food that increases bone resorption (aka bone breakdown) :

  1. Excess salt- too much salt increases calcium loss
  2. Alcohol- alcohol inhibits your body’s ability to make new bones, thus decreasing bone density. It increases the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.


Vegetarian Thai Curry

We did a post a awhile ago on easy vegetarian recipes, where you can use vegetables readily available to you and customize the spice to your own preference. The vegetarian thai red curry is another example of such dish.

I use zucchini, carrots, onions, and mushrooms in the recipe. However, you can adapt this to whatever you prefer, such as adding potatoes or pumpkins for zucchini, or you can substitute with some hearty greens like bok choy or kale.red curry


  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoon red curry paste
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon Thai Kitchen® Premium Fish Sauce
  • 1 cup onions, cubed
  • 1 cup of carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup of zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup of mushrooms, chopped
  • ¼ cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Spices: curry powder, basil, cayenne pepper (~1 tbsp each)
  • 2 cup of brown rice


  1. Cook brown rice in rice cooker, or a medium pot (~1 hr)
  2. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet on medium heat.
  3. Add chopped onion and carrots to the skillet, cook for ~5 minutes
  4. Add the rest of vegetables, and coconut milk. Cook in medium heat until coconut milk boils.
  5. Stir in the red curry paste, bring to simmer on medium heat.
  6. Stir in the other spices and cook for another 1 minute, then add the cilantro.
  7. Remove from heat and serve hot over rice, Enjoy!