Blog Cookbook Review

The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook: 350 Essential Recipes for Inspired Everyday EatingThe Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook: 350 Essential Recipes for Inspired Everyday Eating by Jack Bishop
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Newsletter published!

Bringing the power of touch and healing to stressed out work-warriors on the Seacoast.

Starry Brook published it’s fifth newsletter last week.  If you haven’t yet signed up, be sure to click on the green tab “Sign Up For Newsletter.”  We look forward to hearing from YOU with article requests or healthy tips to share with others.

You can see our newsletter here:

Posted in Flu, Massage, Natural Remedies for Anxiety, Natural Remedies for Stress, Seasonal Health Tips, Starry Brook Updates, Weight Loss | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mental Health & Acupuncture

Can acupuncture treat anxiety and depression?  Acupuncture is a natural remedy for anxiety and depression. My experience has been that an integrative approach that treats neurotransmitter levels (chemically – either with natural substances or prescriptions), behavior (talk therapy), and the physical body (acupuncture and massage therapy) is effective for a variety of mood disorders.  A health plan that considers the whole person is more effective than a single approach.

Currently, there is an over-reliance on pharmaceuticals; Healthcare Providers need to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of medication for anxiety and depression.  Additionally, many patients struggle with the slow gains in therapy, not to mention the cost and challenges with adequate insurance coverage.

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), we connect the mind and body. TCM is not only highly effective in treating emotional problems, but addresses physical challenges as well. When I treat a physical complaint, I often find a corresponding emotional/spiritual disharmony. Conversely, while treating emotional problems, there often seems to be a corresponding physical component. Therefore, acupuncture is an effective way to address the whole person.

Acupuncture is a 5000 year old treatment under the larger umbrella of TCM that addresses the body, mind, emotions and spirit. It is a holistic medicine with roots in China and includes therapies such as herbs, massage, acupuncture, and nutrition. The goal is to create harmony by balancing various meridians in the body.  Meridians are defined as channels of energy in the body.  It is theorized today that acupuncture works because these meridians and points intersect at key points in the body where the nervous and lymphatic systems meet.

In TCM (as well as other mind-body therapies) it is believed that “intellect” and “feeling” reside in all the cells of the body. If a person is depressed, TCM views this as the result of deficient or stagnant energy, or imbalance of yin and yang (the two polar opposite forces of which all things are comprised). This imbalance can take many forms, and is ultimately evaluated by the acupuncturist through an ongoing evaluation process which encompasses observation of posture, gait, demeanor, skin tone, brightness of eyes, voice, smell, tongue and pulse diagnosis, palpation and asking about symptoms and history.

The experience of having acupuncture is comfortable, relaxing and energizing. The needles are hair thin, sterile and generally painless and never used twice. There may be a brief soreness or pulling sensation which we interpret as activating the energy within a meridian.  Our soft bed has a warmer underneath soft, fluffy sheets to maintain the right body temperature and increase your comfort.  Some patients change into a pair of boxer shorts (both men and women) and a soft tee – this allows Dr. Conte to access various points while protecting your physical privacy.

My approach in treating depression and anxiety naturally is to perform a thorough initial evaluation, offer a complete treatment plan, and check-in with patients during each visit to ensure the best treatment.   A session can take between 45 minutes and an hour and a quarter.

Like many of my patients, you may respond well to natural remedies for stress, depression, and anxiety.   To review studies on acupuncture for anxiety click here.  To learn more about studies on acupuncture for depression, click here.

Posted in Acupuncture, Holistic Mental Health, Natural Remedies for Anxiety, Natural Remedies for Stress | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Newsletter published!

Starry Brook published it’s first newsletter last evening.  If you haven’t yet signed up, be sure to click on the green tab “Sign Up For Newsletter.”  We look forward to hearing from YOU with article requests or healthy tips to share with others.  You can see our newsletter here:

Posted in Acupuncture, Bioidentical Hormone Therapy, Hormones, Male Health, Starry Brook Updates, Women's Health | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Your Support Needed!

Some of my very athletically blessed peers have organized an event to help raise funds to promote naturopathic medicine.  So whether you choose to lace-up, financially donate, or just Facebook “like” The Run, your participation will help promote your access to natural healthcare.

With  just 10 days remaining, I want to see you out there, cheering on runners, or participating as you are able. (San Francisco, California holds the kickoff event, sign up to run in a state close to you – the event starts in CA and ends in CT, so everyone has a chance to run for our lives!)

This month a four person family will embark on a combined 13,000 mile run across 17 states.

Why? Licensure for naturopathic physicians across the US is critical.  Patients in many states are limited to allopathic care, with little say in their own health care plan.  Say it again, THEIR OWN health care plan.  Drastic times (i.e., 1 in 3 children born this century are expected to develop diabetes) call for drastic measures! Your passion and determination will make a difference, and will open doors for a healthy, happy lifestyle.

One person who is working diligently for The Run is Carrie Austin, a special education teacher who is organizing the Reno, NV and Sparks Run, NV events. With little knowledge about the naturopathic profession prior to their Sacramento April 16th event, she was inspired to get involved, and boy, has she!

How can you help, you ask?

1. Donate: The Run has about $110,000 more to raise. If you can donate at least 1 penny per mile for each of the four runners, that would be $130 (.04 x 3,250 miles). Can you imagine, all that you have to do is donate 1 penny, and they have to run a mile…not a bad deal! If you can get five friends to do the same, that would be further our goal all the more! And the donations are tax-exempt through their two non-profit institutions. Please go to donate!

Please post to Facebook and encourage others to donate as well!

Money donated will go to expenses to make The Run happen and have the intended national impact. A few of the expenses for the 4 month Run include: 6 bodies to feed (about 3.5 million calories) and house, 40 pairs of running shoes, motor home expenses (gas, insurance, mechanical work, usage) other insurance, support crew stipend, publicity, marketing, etc.

2. Volunteer: Please email or or call 916-446-2591 to ask them how you can help or be involved in The Run.  Does your company want to offer a sponsorship?  They’re all ears.

Please look at your calendar and their itinerary and to see where you can participate in The Run.

3. Pass the word! Forward the URL of this blog to your friends, join The Run’s Facebook group, post the work on your Facebook page, and email those who support naturopathic and natural medicine. The movement will only spread with your support!

Join the kickoff event in San Francisco, California on Sunday, July 17th, 2011.  It will begin at 9:00 AM at Jackson Recreation Center (17th Street & Arkansas Street on Potrero Hill) and will include a speech by Dr. Carl Hangee-Bauer, President of AANP, and special appearance by Herb Schultz, Regional Director at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (recently appointed by President Obama).

The Run has an itinerary FULL of events as The Run is passing through. For a more information, please check out their website for more information.

Other events include:

Sunday, July 17th (After morning kickoff event)
* 3:30 pm, Larkspur, Marin Natural Medicine Clinic (265 Magnolia Avenue, Larkspur), public reception featuring Dr. David Schleich, President of National College of Naturopathic Medicine, and Doctors Todd Maderis and Sally LaMont, with a tour, refreshments, and health education.

Monday, July 18th
* 8:30 am, Berkeley – Start at Whole Foods (3000 Telegraph Ave) for public event and brief stop at Mariposa Bakery

* 10:00 am-1:00, Oakland- Stop at Whole Foods (230 Bay Place) for public event

* 4:00- 8:00, Lafayette -Stop at Whole Foods (3615 Mt Diablo Blvd ) for public event.

Tuesday, July 19th
* Fairfield Event, Contact: Dr. Noa, DC, for more information.

Wednesday, July 20th
* 4:30-7:30, Davis Farmer’s Market (Central Park, 3rd and C Street), sponsored by the Institute for Restorative Health.  Chiropractic, massage, health screenings will be available, as well as a panel discussion with Dr. Hassid and other healthcare providers.

Thursday, July 21st
* 12:30pm, Sacramento, Health rally at the Capitol West steps.

Friday, July 22nd
* 6:00-8:00pm, Health Festival in Fremont Park (16th & P Streets) with local food vendors, band, and healthcare practitioners!

Saturday, July 23rd
* 12:15 pm, Roseville: Sunrise Natural Foods (1950 Douglas Blvd # C1, Roseville, CA) , BBQ and Health festival!

*Auburn Event, for more information, contact: Dr. Cari Thachuk, ND,, 530. 885. 5908

To continue reading about events in your area, please visit The Run’s itinerary page.

Naturopathic doctors are helping patients thrive – now it’s your chance to help our profession thrive.  Thank you!

Posted in Charities and Fundraising, Natural Healthcare | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Your Support Needed!

It’s All About Sex, Baby

Yes, I said sex.  Doctors, say it with me, “Sex is good.  Sex is necessary.”  It’s one of the most liberating and frustrating conversations I have with patients.  I’m often shocked and horrified that they’ve been seeing the same physician for years, and never asked about their sexuality, or worse, in the face of loss of libido are told that our sex lives deteriorate with age.  But once patients and I start down the path of healthy sexuality, I see significantly healthier (and happier) patients (and their spouses!).

So, what’s the challenge?  Libido loss can be a function of stress, hormonal changes, trauma and medications.  Addressing the root of the issue is only the first, and often simple, step.  We’re simply not taught how to have good sex, or even what a normal sex life is like.  So we’re all out there blundering with the lights off and wondering, is this it?  That’s where I step in.

After the dawn of AIDS, we have been reinforced that sex can be dirty and even deadly.  Menopausal women simply hide the fact that their sex lives have deteriorated because they don’t want to admit to aging or that they can’t control something so fundamental in their lives.  My patients and I discuss what a “normal” sex life looks like, where to have sex, how to orgasm, and are supported with resources.

Let me share some of my favorite resources with you dear reader in hopes that you too can have a lively, healthy sex life:

  1. She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring a Woman by Ian Kerner: a sex therapist talks about how he overcame a personal battle with sexual dysfunction.  This book is an excellent primer for men AND women with down to earth discussions of how female genitalia works.
  2. Owning Pink Blog: we love these authors and their lively take on sexuality.
  3. The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene: the biggest part of sexual excitement for women is between her ears.  This book chronicles the world’s greatest seducers and lovers in a non-explicit manner.
  4. The Fine Art Of Erotic Talk: How To Entice, Excite, And Enchant Your Lover With Words by Bonnie Gabriel: what you do in bed is just as important as what you say in bed.
  5. Hormone evaluation: it’s very important to analyze cortisol, thyroid, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels in men and women to have a deeper understanding of a patient’s libido.

We’d love to hear some of your favorite books, therapists, or blogs on human sexuality.


Posted in Male Health, Natural Intimacy, Natural Remedies for Stress, Women's Health | 2 Comments

LIVE – Dr. Conte on WXEX

Tune in Saturday, May 21st at noon to WXEX to hear Dr. Robyn talking about alternative medicine. For more information on the program, click here:

Posted in Starry Brook Updates | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Math & Girls

For years the stereotype that girls perform less well in math and science persisted despite research that proved otherwise.  This myth continues today, even though the numbers of women entering math and science fields is rising.  Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) was developed in 1974 to entice young women to enroll in more math and science courses.  Their mission is to “encourage young women to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers. Through Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) Network programs, we provide STEM role models and hands-on activities for middle and high school girls.”

Dr. Conte has been chosen to speak at an EYH gathering in Stratham, NH this Saturday, May 21st.  She is delighted that several hundred girls have signed up to participate in the program.  If you’d like to learn more about EYH or to provide a charitable contribution, click here:

Posted in Children's Health, Education | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Autism Studies Show Higher Numbers

Two new studies released this week show a correlation between vaccination and diagnosis with Autism as well as higher numbers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  These groundbreaking studies fly in the face of the US Government which has argued through the CDC and the Supreme Court that there is no link between vaccines and Autism.

The first study asserts that the number of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ASD, is 1 out of 38 children, in stark contrast to the CDC’s estimate of 1 in 100 children.  The study was performed on a large sample size in South Korea.   This important finding should encourage practitioners to rethink how they screen for this disorder.  Many people are mistaken in their belief that ASD children have severe disabilities such as portrayed by Dustin Hoffman in the movie Rainman.  However as a spectrum disorder, symptoms can be subtle.  Parents, teachers and practitioners must work together in diagnosing children.  The defining characteristic in ASD is a patient’s challenges with social interactions: making eye contact, understanding social cues, difficulty making and maintaining friends.

The second study reviewed cases awarded by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.  The authors found that plaintiffs who were awarded compensation were able to demonstrate evidence of autism diagnosis post vaccination.  The group who performed this study will be holding a conference in DC at noon today.

Posted in Autism, Children's Health | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Pregnant? Skip the lawn service.

Three independent studies published today in Environmental Health Perspectives, links prenatal pesticide exposure (measured in the urine of pregnant moms) to a reduced IQ in children. The research teams, from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the school of public health at the University of California, Berkeley, all conclude that pesticide exposure during pregnancy could negatively affect brain development.  So how do you keep the bugs at bay?

Natural solutions for living harmoniously with bugs abound.  In our NH corner, Lyme disease is the biggest bug-related concern.  People vaccinate their pets for Lyme, spray their lawns, and use bug spray while an easier and less toxic solution is available.  Guinea hens!  Learn more about these fine, tick eating foul here.  We like Murray McMurray Hatchery as a source of live poultry.

Perennial herbs like marigold, mint, and valerian give off pungent oils that help balance bug populations.  Notice that we’re talking about balance here – not eradication.  It’s almost impossible and not at all desirable to completely eliminate insects.  To learn how to grow your garden organically and manage pests, John Jeavons book, How to Grow More Vegetables is an excellent resource.  We like the prices and the natural insect controls offered through High Mowing Seeds.

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