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VIDEO: Your Children Aren’t Making You Crazy, Their Guts Are

Did you know that our mental and emotional lives originate in the gut? Remember the saying, “You are what you eat?” Well, research proves that to be true. How? Find out as Siskiyou Vital Medicine Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach Ron Veitel talks about a nutritional approach that supports our mental and emotional development, specifically for children.

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Confused about all of the latest warnings regarding coconut oil and other fats in your diet? Siskiyou Vital Medicine Nutritionist Ron Veitel, BSc, gives you the skinny on fats right here. Learn about the truths and myths surrounding the connection between saturated fat consumption and cardio vascular disease. Click on the video image below for more on this subject.

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With the summer growing season in full swing here in the Rogue Valley, I thought it would be a fun and helpful resource to put together a blog of all that’s growing locally. Whether it’s hitting up the farmer’s market or stopping by a local farm, you will be sure to find a plethora of healthy choices to add to your diet.


First, let’s talk farmer’s markets. The Rogue Valley Grower’s Market consists of four markets located in both Ashland and Medford.

  • Ashland ~ Tuesday: National Guard Armory 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
  • Ashland ~ Saturday: Oak St. Downtown 8:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
  • Medford ~ Thursday: Hawthorne Park 8:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
  • Medford ~ Saturday: Hawthorne Park 8:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.

The Rogue Valley Growers Market includes over 100 local farmers and vendors in total, conveniently located in one space for you to shop the freshest fruits, vegetables, grass fed and pasture raised meats, local honeys, mushrooms, baked goods, and so much more.

As I tell my naturopathic patients, “When in doubt about your diet, eat local—highly plant-based—and diverse.”

You can check out everything you need to know about the Rogue Valley Grower’s Market (like vendors, locations, times, events) on their website.

Here is a summary of why our own Siskiyou Vital Medicine (SVM) employee (Natalie Kennedy) loves the Thursday Medford Market:

“My favorite thing about going to the Medford Farmer’s market at Hawthorne Park is the incredible connections I’ve built. I’ve made friends with so many of the friendly farm-stand workers. I love Barking Moon for my lettuce greens, Black Dog Farm for basil and ‘Kraut’ crackers, By George for grass-fed raw cheese, and Rise Up Artisan Bread for your good-old sourdough. There are amazing alternative booths too; like goat cheese stands, raw food treats, and gluten free baguettes and pita bread. It’s a great place to meet up with friends for lunch as well with the diversity of food trucks and setups. I’ve made going to the market my weekly routine and it brings me back to how I imagine my great-grandparents used to buy food—getting back to my roots and feeding my body and soul with good food and lifestyle. We have a wealth of local food growers in our Rogue Valley! It’s important to support our neighborhood farms to help our global environment and our local economy.” ~Natalie


Can’t make it to the markets? Then go to the farm!

Fry Family Farm ~ The Farm Store

The Fry family has been farming in the Rogue Valley since 1990. What started in Talent has now expanded to over 90 acres in Phoenix, Medford, and Ashland; growing organic veggies, fruits, and flowers. Fry Family Farm has opened a retail store at their Medford farm on Ross Lane and also offer a CSA program where you can have seasonally fresh organic produce delivered on a weekly basis throughout the growing season!

The Farm Store
2184 Ross Lane
Medford, OR 97501
Sunday-Tuesday 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Wednesday-Saturday 10 a.m.–6 p.m.

Whistling Duck

Whistling Duck Farms is located in the Applegate Valley between Medford and Grants Pass.  They are a certified organic family farm growing high quality produce—especially vegetables.  Whistling Duck also has a farm store, which features their homemade ferments, a wealth of produce, and other tasty foods from local vendors. You can also find their produce at the Ashland Food Coop, Medford Food Coop and Food 4 Less in Medford.

Whistling Duck Farm Store
12800 Williams Hwy (238)
Mon-Fri 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Sat and Sun 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

Valley View Orchard

Valley View is a certified organic U-pick and farm stand. Peaches are in full swing this time of summer! They also offer pears, apples, and cider!

Valley View Orchard
1800 Valley View Rd.
Open 8 a.m.–5 p.m. daily

Little Sprouts Farm

Little Sprouts is a farm dedicated to high quality and humane animal husbandry. They raise turkeys, chickens, red wattle pigs, Jacob sheep, guard llama, goats and ducks. You can choose between farm pickup and home delivery of their high quality meats, dairy, eggs, soy-free livestock feed, cultured foods and more!

Little Sprouts Farm
4446 Dodge Road
White City, OR


Enjoy the Bounty of Summer!

Yours in Health,
Sonja Halsey, ND

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WTF?! What the Fat

by McClane Duncan, ND

I’ve had several patients and friends approach me about a new documentary proclaiming the evils of fats and proteins and singing the praises of sugar. Of course being that I’m a naturopathic physician who treats cardiovascular disease and diabetes with diet and lifestyle modification, I had to investigate.

What I found was a little shocking and, quite frankly, a little irritating. The film featured physicians proclaiming sugar was not to blame for diabetes and heart disease. Despite the film’s agenda-driven half-truths to lambasting fats and proteins, it did talk about the importance of eating clean environmentally friendly food.

In an effort to clear up some confusion here are some of the facts that I believe the film misrepresented:

MYTH: Fats cause diabetes and raise cholesterol leading to heart disease.

TRUTH:  Fats alone do not cause diabetes and heart disease. Diabetes is a result of too much sugar remaining in the blood stream due to either insulin resistance or lack of insulin. It is true that fatty acids do reduce insulin sensitivity. However, fat and sugar should not be consumed together in equal parts. Eating sugar causes an increase in insulin levels in the blood. Insulin is an energy storage molecule promoting fat storage and fatty acids are an energy burning molecule. They oppose one another.

TRUTH:  Cholesterol does not cause heart disease and is not ultimately responsible for clogging the arteries (atherosclerosis). In the cardiovascular system, cholesterol’s function is to heal damaged arteries and veins. Cholesterol can be compared to a Band-Aid covering a skin wound where they both form a protective barrier to facilitate healing. Cholesterol becomes dangerous in the arteries when it is in the presence of inflammation and oxidation where it hardens, blocking arteries. Blaming cholesterol for heart disease is like blaming gas pumps for empty fuel tanks or firemen for fires.

MYTH: Sugar can be consumed without causing diabetes and heart disease.

TRUTH: Again, sugar causes the release of insulin which stores energy in the form of adipose tissue (fat tissue). The more adipose tissue you carry on your body, the more insulin resistant you become. Sugar is also inflammatory and responsible for the degeneration of the kidneys, small nerves in the hands and feet, eyes and brain. If you don’t believe me, look up the signs and symptoms of diabetes or Type III Diabetes of the brain. Furthermore, the production of energy from sugar produces more free radicals (inflammatory) than does the production of energy from fat.

Not one diet is good for everyone as we are all individuals having our own biochemical idiosyncrasies. I suggest that before you drastically change the way you eat or give up on eating entirely, speak with a functional nutrition expert. The practitioners at Siskiyou Vital Medicine can help you discover what diet is right for you and give you the tools to become your very own nutrition expert.

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Why Food Quality & Diversity is Important—It’s Not Why You Think

By Ron Veitel, BSc

As a nutritionist I have studied the topic of the nutritional value of foods for over 20 years. It has become increasingly more obvious to me that the most important topic regarding food today is its quality, or more appropriately, its decreasing quality. The second major issue I see regarding our food supply is the decline of agrobiodiversity, which is the diversity of edible foods available in the marketplace. These two issues are connected to each other and even developed side-by- side since the inception of the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago. This relationship between food quality and food diversity has led to the steady, and now rapid, decline in the health of the US population.

During the Paleolithic era, which lasted between 40,000 BC to 8,000 BC, our ancestors were hunter-gatherers. In all actuality, they were more gatherers than hunters consuming upwards of 300 different plants for food and medicine. This wide variety of plant consumption made it significantly easier for them to meet their nutritional needs and experience a high degree of health and well-being. Even today, modern hunter-gatherer societies do not suffer from chronic degenerative diseases such as diabetes, heart disease or obesity. But something happened about 10,000 years ago that changed everything, the agricultural revolution.

The agricultural revolution was the beginning of humans domesticating plants and animals, which has been a double-edged sword for humanity. The benefits of this revolution were that foods could be produced in large quantities and stored, which meant the capacity to feed more people. The downfall was an over dependence on less nutritious foods, a decrease in food diversity, and a decline in overall health.

There is an abundance of evidence that shows compared to the hunter-gatherers before them, skeletons of agrarian societies indicate a significant increase in enamel defects, iron-deficiency anemia, bone lesions, and degenerative spinal conditions.[1] The agricultural revolution was the first big step towards our current state of poor quality food and decreased health.

The next major mark in food history came with the industrial revolution. Through mechanization it became possible to start processing grains, using tractors for farming, and increasing yields of specific foods like wheat, corn, and soy. When grains are refined, they are stripped of key nutrients making them calorie dense and nutrient poor, which means they provide an abundance of calories but little nutritional value.

The other two factors mentioned led to what isknown as mono cropping, which is exemplified in the Midwest with its miles and miles of either corn, soy or wheat. Such farming is chemically intensive with high use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, all of which disrupt the nutrient and microbial balance of the soil and therefore the overall health of the soil and the plants grown it.

One of the major effects of mono cropping has been the drastic reduction in agrobiodiversity. Since the early 1900s we have lost over 75% of our plant genetic diversity, 30% of livestockbreeds are at risk for extinction, more than 90% of crop varieties have disappeared from farmers’ fields, and of the 300,000 or so edible plant species that exist humans only use 150-200 of them, with just three (wheat, rice and corn) making up over 60% of our food supply.[2] This is a dramatic decrease in phytonutrient consumption compared to our ancestors and we can trace this decline with the steady decline in human health.

What’s the Solution?

This may all sound quite dire, and it is, but there are steps we can take to work against the current trend. We can begin by eating by what I like to call a rainbow diet. The more colorful your diet is, the more nutrients, antioxidants and phytochemicals are consumed, which will help with meeting your nutritional needs and providing your body the reserves it needs to function at an optimal level. Along with incorporating a rainbow of colors into your diet you can make the foundation of each meal vegetables.

I like to recommend to patients that at least half of their plate is comprised of high quality, nutrient dense vegetables. Support sustainable and regenerative farming practices by either growing your own garden or shopping at your local farmer’s market, as these farmers are doing the best they can to care for the soil and the health and well-being of the foods that they grow.

An added bonus is that the produce is much fresher than anything you’ll get at the grocery store, unless where you shop carries local produce. And last but certainly not least, get to know the wild edibles that surround you. Some that exist in this region are miner’s lettuce, chickweed and dandelion. These can be found in your yard, in wild fields and in your garden. Don’t pull them to kill them! Harvest them. This can increase the variety and quantity of phytonutrients you consume and many times such foods are actually more nutritious than their domesticated relatives.

Phytonutrients help maintain balance in the body. They provide us the nutrients we need for organs to function at optimal levels. When our organs function at optimal levels, we have increased resistance to disease.

If you are interested in learning more about this subject and how to create a diet that meets your own personal needs, please join naturopath Dr. Halsey and myself for a 6-week course entitled My Nutrition Map. In this course we will cover the key topics for creating a diet that is right for you as an individual, which is the only right diet that exists.

My Nutrition Map starts August 17th and meets every Thursday until September 21st from 6-7 p.m. in our new classroom at Siskiyou Vital Medicine. This series is FREE FOR MEMBERS, $125 for non-members and $35 for drop-ins. Space is limited so you’ll want to reserve your spot soon. We look forward to seeing you there!

  1. Diamond, Jared (May 1987). “The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race”. Discover: 64–66.
  2. FAO. 1999b. Women: users, preservers and managers of agrobiodiversity (available at

Ron Veitel is Siskiyou Vital Medicine’s resident nutritionist. He is life scientist whose passion for physiology, nutrition, medicinal plants and esoteric studies spans more than 20 years. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from the Union Institute and University and is a Certified Nutrition Consultant by the American Association of Nutritional Consultants, as well as a Certified Metabolic Typing Advisor,

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Holiday Comfort Treats

Christmas is just days after the winter solstice, which is the shortest day, and longest night, of the year. By Christmas, we’ve entered wintertime and our stores of energy from the sun and fresh foods are beginning to run low. This time of year can also be stressful, for the many reasons of which we are all aware.

Almost all of us start looking for comfort from outside of ourselves. And when we start looking for external comfort, that often involves food. And when comfort food is involved, sugar and flour seem to take the stage. The problem is, hollow foods made of processed sugar and flour are only going to lead to further depletion and physical stress.

So, here are some nutrient-dense, heart-warming, super comforting recipes to try out, for you and yours. Cheers to happy, comforting and truly satisfying holidays!

Chai Tea

The following recipe uses all ground spices for simplicity…

1 Tbs              Cinnamon
1 Tbs              Turmeric
1 Tbs              Ginger
2 tsp              Black pepper
1 tsp               Cloves
1 tsp               Nutmeg
1 tsp               Cardamom
¼ C                 Loose leaf rooibos tea, or 4 rooibos teabags
½ gallon         Water

  1. Combine all ingredients in a lidded pot and bring to a boil
  2. Simmer for 15 more minutes
  3. Strain through a fine strainer or cheesecloth
  4. Add desired milk and/or sweeteners

For an extra special treat:
Blend tea with sweetener, desired milk, and a little ghee or butter. Whir in a blender until frothy. Sprinkle with turmeric, cinnamon and black pepper. Take a break, you deserve it!

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

4                      Ripe avocados
½ C                 Coconut oil, melted
½ C                 Honey
½ C                 Cocoa powder

  1. Blend Avocados and oil until smooth
  2. Add honey & cocoa powder and blend until smooth
  3. Chill for 1+ hours
  4. Garnish with fresh berries, if you would like that
  5. Enjoy!

Nutrient-Dense Cookies

1 ¾ C              Almond Flour
½ C                Arrow Root Flour
¼ C                Coconut Flour
½ tsp              Sea salt
1 tsp               Baking soda
1                     Egg
½ C                Honey
½ C                Coconut oil or butter, melted

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor
  2. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 1+ hours
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°
  4. Optional: Get creative! You can separate the dough and add different ingredients as desired. This recipe is really flexible! Add some cocoa powder, peanut butter, chopped nuts, cinnamon & ginger, etc. to make any kind of cookie you would like
  5. Divide the dough into 1 Tablespoon portions. Roll into balls and flatten slightly (or make them into any shape you want!)
  6. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes, allowing the cookies to become golden brown on the bottom and edges

This blog was written by Siskiyou Vital Medicine resident nutritionist Stacie Bailey. She has formal training as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and as a GAPS Practitioner. Stacie has extensive experience working with gut healing diets and creating delicious gut healing recipes. She works in the world of nutrition from the ground up as an organic gardener, certified nutritionist, fresh food chef, fermentation artist, and real food advocate & educator. 

Stacie’s focus as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, GAPS Practitioner, and chef is directed toward the digestive system, the roots of our health. Digestive health is foundational to overall health, and focusing attention here results in thorough, lasting improvements in health. Approaching health foundationally, from the roots up, inspires a lifestyle change that brings us closer to the earth, our community and ourselves. Stacie provides the guidance, support and recipes needed to enact these lasting nutritional habit changes. After all, a nourished belly makes a happy life.