Medical Advice

How To Get Your Child Ready To Go Back To School

School is starting and it is time to start getting your children ready. One of the best ways to get them ready is to start shifting bed time to align with when they’ll be getting up for school.  If you have not been doing routine supplements, then it’s time to get back on “Molly’s 5 Point Health Plan” which includes good hydration, healthy diet, sleep and routine supplements.  In addition, please make sure you have appropriate immune support. This would be most beneficial by starting your children on something a couple days before and for the first few days while they adjust. Some examples of good immune support would be Thymactiv, extra vitamin C, or some of our new gummy products for the more taste oriented child.  Remember sleep, diet and water are the best immune support. As usual, always contact your doctor before drastically changing your child’s supplement regime.

During the remaining days of August and the month of September, all supplements on our Calendar special shelf up front are 25% off. Take advantage of these fantastic discounts to stock up for the school year!

In Health,
Chelsea Kern
Pharmacy Coordinator

Rethinking Receipts

By Jessica Bernardy, ECN Intern

Receipts seem harmless enough. A little piece of paper telling you what you bought, how much you spent, etc. However, recent pilot study at Harvard showed evidence that handling receipts can increase your blood levels of harmful chemicals. Some types of receipts, thermal receipts, contain high amounts of bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is part of a class of pollutants we refer to as POP’s, or persistent organic pollutants. They are persistent in our bodies and in our environment. BPA in the body has been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, some cancers, cardiovascular disease, reproductive and brain abnormalities. In the study, while the levels did increase by 300%, the increase in BPA while handling receipts was not at dangerous levels, being 1/7th what you would get from eating soup from a can.  However, all of our exposures to POP’s are additive, in our bodies and in the environment. It makes us at ECC think how we can avoid excess BPA when possible.

How do you tell if your receipt is printed on thermal paper? It has a sheen to it and when scratched on a hard surface will leave a black mark.

Here at Emerald City Clinic we are looking into ways to get away from handling these thermal receipts. If you don’t need your receipts to balance accounts, say no when asked if you want your receipt. Thermal paper is also found in airline boarding passes, tickets for movies, sporting events, and amusement parks tickets. Many smart phones have the ability to store these tickets in digital form, allowing us to avoid touching the thermal paper copy. We recommend that if you will be handling receipts for extended amounts of time, like when balancing bank accounts or if you work as a check out clerk, that you wear nitrile gloves.

There are things that the Doctors at ECN can recommend to help your body process and excrete BPA. Make an appointment to find out more.


No Amount Of Alcohol Is Safe

A recent report by Medscape reads:

“Responsible drinking” has become a 21st-century mantra for how most people view alcohol consumption. But when it comes to cancer, no amount of alcohol is safe.[1] That is the conclusion of the 2014 World Cancer Report (WCR), issued by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

Declared a carcinogen by the IARC in 1988,[2] alcohol is causally related to several cancers. “We have known for a long time that alcohol causes esophageal cancer, says Jürgen Rehm, PhD, WCR contributor on alcohol consumption, and Senior Scientist at the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, “but the relationship with other tumors, such as breast cancer, has come to our attention only in the past 10-15 years.

The Grocery Dilemma: Some tips from Dr. Erin Westaway on how to shop healthy!


  1. Shop around the perimeter of the grocery store.  This is where you’ll find whole foods that are less processed and contain fewer chemical additives.
  2. If an ingredient was never alive you might not want to eat it as it’s not actually a food.  A general rule here is that if you don’t know what it is or what living thing it came from, don’t eat it.  This includes food dyes, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, etc.
  3. If you can’t pronounce it, you might not want to eat it either (quinoa is the exception here J).
  4. If you’ve never read ingredient labels regularly, you will be shocked at how many foods have sugar added.  Assume there is added sugar unless you’ve checked.
  5. When buying animal products, buy grass fed or organic whenever possible.  This is probably generally more important than organic produce if you have to choose.
  6. When possible buy organic produce, but if you can’t, pay attention to the Dirty Dozen list to see which produce is most important to buy organic.
  7. If you can, buying local seasonal food is also a really great way to increase the nutritional value of your diet, support your local economy, and decrease your negative impact on the environment.
  8. Keep in mind that your food is your first medicine and that the quality of what you put in your body will be directly reflected in the health and quality of each of your cells.

Are You Exhausting Yourself Unnecessarily?

By Dr. Erin Westaway

Try this.  Close your eyes.  Check in with your body.  Notice your back, your abdomen, your face, your neck, your knees.  Note anywhere where you are holding your muscles.  Notice where your breath feels tight or difficult.  Now think of a situation that stresses you out.  Did you tense those areas more?  Did you tense new areas?  Playing with this simple exercise is one way you can start to identify where you are losing energy through the day. 

Many of us hold muscles unnecessarily all the time.  We do it instinctively, usually when we are trying to protect ourselves from something real or imagined.  We do it even when we don’t realize we’re doing it; even when we’re not conscious of being under stress or feeling anxious.  It turns out that holding those muscles doesn’t actually tend to protect us from most of the situations we do it in.  It doesn’t even make those muscles nice and toned.  It mostly just compresses, shutting off the flow of blood, breath, and energy through our bodies and to our vital organs.  It sends more signals to our brain that we should be stressed or anxious.  It’s pretty much just a literal waste of energy.  Imagine what you could do with all the energy that goes into holding those muscles all day long!

Building awareness is part of breaking the patterns of how we lose our energy.  We can’t change the pattern if we don’t know it’s there.  You can work with simple exercises like this at home.  In person bodywork and biofeedback can also be a nice complement to help you become more aware of patterns you can’t even see yet.

The Great Outdoors for Your Health

It will not surprise you to hear that we’re seeing more patients lately struggling with mood, sleep, attention, and clarity of thought.  There are a lot of factors that can contribute to symptoms in these areas including diet, sleep, toxicity, lack of exercise, and hormonal imbalances to name a few.  What I am most interested in right now is how much time we spend outside in nature.

We hear a lot in the media about the effect of video games on children.  We hear parents talk about limiting screen time (time in front of computers, televisions, etc) for their children who struggle with ADHD.  There’s plenty of evidence suggesting that more time in front of electronic screens is not helping our health, our brains, or our mood.  What we don’t hear as much about is time in nature.  There is, however, a growing body of research suggesting that the more time we spend out in the natural world, the more focused we are and the more balanced our mood tends to be.  One study in particular had people take either a walk through the city or a walk through a forest.  On a before and after attention test, the forest group scored higher after their walk, but the city group scored worse.

We live in a world of over-stimulation.  There is constant input into our brains from electronics, busy streets, and closely packed buildings.  Our brains need a break.  While we often think that turning on the TV gives a break, because it allows us to check out, what research suggests is that it is really just more information for your brain to process.  Taking a walk outside where there are trees and other plants can have a profound effect on mood, attention, motivation, and clarity of thought.  This seems to be true even if it’s a city park.  So consider, next time you go to turn on the television, or sit down in front of the computer, what might happen instead if you just went outside and found a little green.  Luckily for us, there’s plenty of it in Seattle.  I’m not saying you need to actually hug a tree, but it probably wouldn’t hurt.

– Dr. Erin Westaway, N.D.

Probiotics on the Daily

Taking your probiotics daily is a great preventative immune support during the cold and flu season. There is evidence to suggest that in healthy individuals regular consumption of probiotics may help lower the incidence of respiratory tract infections. Probiotics help to alter the gut flora in our digestive tracts and may play a role in enhancing our immune function when we are exposed to viruses and bacteria. Talk with your Emerald City Naturopathic physician if you have any questions or concerns about the use of probiotics for yourself or your family.

— Dr. Chad Borys

Skin Health

From Dr. Kelley Barnes-Valdes

Skin issues are common among people of all ages.  We all tend to reach for lotions, creams, or salves when this sort of thing arises, but the truth of the matter is that our body is telling us that there is something going on at a deeper level.    The most common cause of skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, and candida rashes is poor digestive health.  If these rashes appear in young children, we first look at the most recently added food in the child’s (or nursing mother’s) diet.  Often times a food elimination is all that is needed to cure the rash and keep the child from having more worrisome complaints in the future.  In adults, we look at quality of digestion, probiotics, and antibiotic use among other things- your doctor can help you assess what needs to happen to bring your skin back to health.