Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Where Does your Joy Come From? By Dr. Buchele


Plastic Surgery:

Facts, Fads and Fiction




by Brentley A. Buchele, MD, MBA

Buchele Plastic Surgery, Kalispell


I hope you have a joyful life.  And I hope your joy comes from many directions.  And I hope it comes to you in many sizes.

     I wish everyone could have the big joy of a spiritual epiphany and the small joy of finding the lost car keys, the big joy of pride in your child who grows up to be a wonderful adult, and the small joy of a stranger’s smile at you doing for them an unnecessary act of kindness.

     In terms of joy, I have a great job. Thanks to good training, I have the skills to help people have joys of different sizes.  I help with the small joy of getting your eyelid sutures out and the big joy of removing 35 pounds of excess skin and fat from a woman’s abdomen.  I give the small joy of information from your burn will heal without a scar, to the bigger joy that we can do a breast reconstruction which will help you feel whole again.  I’d like to think that every day I bring joy to the lives of my patients.

     I hope so, for every day they bring joy to me.

     I get the little joys of their smiles and the big joys of them referring friends to come and see me.  I get the little joys when they say, “Thank You,” and the big joys when they expound on how grateful they are that not only did I do a good job, but I listened to them.

     It is a joy to have the privilege to be a given patient’s plastic surgeon.  And a responsibility.  I am responsible to give them enough information that our collective decisions yield joy not disappointment.  To that end, I am glad we have a revamped expanded web site ( with photos, post op care instructions, brochures about procedures, and fun info about plastic surgery.

     Take a moment, and ponder where does your joy come from and where it could come from.  Then ponder a bit how you do and could create joy for others.  Take a moment to be thankful, and then do something worthy of deserving thanks.

     Now, where ARE those car keys?


‘Til next time,


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Herbal Remedies - Dr. Betty Kuffel





Lipstick Logic




by Betty Kuffel, M.D.


The thought of avoiding non plant-based medicinals and prescription drugs is commendable, but just like being a healthy vegetarian, it is important our informational sources are accurate and do not lead to false conclusions.  Traditional medicine certainly does not have all the answers, nor does alternative or complementary medicine.  The latter two complement science-based medicine.

     Many people believe natural products are totally safe.  They are not.  Because of potential drug interactions, anyone taking supplements should bring the bottles with them to appointments with their physician.  Just a list is not adequate as some supplements contain numerous products

     At times, answers are clear: studies confirm and justify changes in guidelines, such as taking new products and discarding old.  However, with so much Internet information available at our fingertips, it is difficult to keep up with the changing fields of study and sort through information that may be inaccurate.

     Before recorded history, plants were used for medicinal purposes.  African and Native American cultures used herbs in healing rituals.  Ancient Chinese and Egyptian writings also described medical uses of plants.  When some ancient treatments around the world were compared, researchers found similar plants were used to treat similar health problems.  Now, with chemical analysis, the active ingredients in plant compounds can be extracted, purified and chemically formulated into pill form.

     Many plant products are marketed as herbal supplements.  Unlike prescription drugs that are manufactured under strict guidelines, supplements are sold at high prices without being tested to prove either safety or effectiveness.  Product testing of supplements has shown that levels of active ingredients vary significantly, based on where the plants are grown and how the supplements are processed and stored.  Some natural products may be far from healthy as testing of some have found contaminants of heavy metals, fertilizers and pesticides.

     Ginseng is an interesting product to examine.  For example, some studies have shown ginseng not only enhances the immune system, it may also improve mental performance and well-being, and even lower blood sugar levels in Type II diabetics.  Of the three forms labeled as ginseng, American and Asian ginseng are similar, while “Siberian ginseng” is extracted from a different plant altogether and produces different effects.

     Because American ginseng is endangered in the wild, it is now cultivated on farms in the U.S. These plants take six years to mature and are expensive to produce.  American and Asian or Korean ginseng contain “ginsenoside”, the active ingredient, but in different ratios. If you decide to take a product like this, read about it on reputable university-based websites.

     Non-prescription drugs are recommended by medical doctors daily.  Common examples include fish oil products and the B-vitamin niacin.  Both are known to lower elevated blood cholesterol.  However, for adequate effect, these products need to be used in combination with a cholesterol-lowering prescription medication.  It is important to monitor blood cholesterol levels for accurate dosing.

     Because of the increased use of herbals, medical schools and pharmacy schools now provide herbal medication information to their students.  Major pharmacies and universities also have computer data bases that can sort through lists of prescription drugs and supplements to evaluate for interactions.  For example, some herbs are linked to dangerous health risks.  Even garlic, ginkgo, feverfew and ginger may increase bleeding.  They should never be used by anyone taking warfarin (Coumadin).  Kava kava, which is  possibly helpful in treating anxiety and insomnia, can result in serious liver problems including liver failure.

     The field of herbal medicine is complex.  The products are variable and not always safe.  They should not be given to children.  Read information thoroughly and have a conversation with your doctor or pharmacist before you begin taking any untested substance.


Some sites to check out:

University of Maryland Medical Center, Complementary Medicine,

National Institutes of Health (NIH) medicine/








Monday, August 9, 2010

Tea Time





by Carl Easton,

      Chris’ Tea Cottage


My last few articles have been some general, sweeping discussions on using tea generically in cooking and food preparations.  But each variety of tea possesses its own set of unique characteristics that lends itself more specifically to certain foods, dishes and types of preparations.  So I thought I might take a few issues to address several of the more interesting and useful ones.  And there is perhaps no better, nor more timely, place to start than with Rooibos tea, that wonderful red-bush “tea” from South Africa.

     Rooibos Tea is marketed globally by the Rooibos Limited, LLC marketing organization.  They have just released a limited production cookbook that features the favorite recipes from ten South African chefs that all feature Rooibos tea usage.  This book is entitled “A Touch of Rooibos”, and was voted the best cookbook in the world at the recent Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Paris.  A photo of the cookbook is included here, but it is not available on-line or in bookstores. As a tea book to promote Rooibos tea, it is available ONLY at tea shops.  It is a collection of soups, appetizers, salads, entrees, side dishes, desserts, cakes and cocktails... truly a wonderful collection of over 200 pages of creative recipes.

     Let’s for a moment address specifically the properties of Rooibos tea that lend themselves to food preparation.  First off, rooibos is ideal for usage in food preparation— simply use it (in its liquid tea form) as a substitute for water or milk in any recipe.  The rooibos taste complements and intensifies the natural flavors of most foods.  And, as I pointed out last month, it is also a natural tenderizer, which makes it a perfect base for meat and chicken marinades.  You can readily use rooibos tea as a replacement for any liquid you might otherwise use in stews and Dutch ovens.  It adds a rich aroma to whatever you are cooking while tenderizing the meat.  And, of course, rooibos is completely pure, has no additives and is naturally caffeine free.

     Different recipes require different strengths of rooibos tea, so we need to define the various ways that the rooibos tea needs to be prepared for usage in recipes.  There is essentially a medium strength blend, a stronger blend, and a very strong blend.  The determining factor is how much tea to add to a pint of boiling water that you let steep for 15 minutes.  For medium strength, add 3 tea bags (3 tbsp) to the pint of boiling water; for strong mix, add in six (6) tea bags; and for the super strong mix add in twelve (12) tea bags.

     So, here is one beef entrée and one dessert that use rooibos from the cookbook:


Beef & Apricot Dutch Oven

1 large onion, sliced

1 clove garlic, crushed

2½ tbsp. virgin olive oil

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

1 cup rindless bacon, diced

2 lbs stewing beef, diced

5½ tbsp all-purpose flour

1 can (15 oz) whole tomatoes, chopped

1 beef broth cube, dissolved in 1 cup hot, STRONG rooibos mix

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp dried, mixed herbs of your choice

Salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup red wine

1 cup dried apricots, soaked in 1 cup cold STRONG rooibos mix

1 can (10 oz) whole button mushrooms, drained



1)    Preheat oven to 340 ºF.

2)    Sauté onion and garlic in 3 tsp of olive oil until tender.  Add celery and sauté gently.  Turn into an 8-cup Dutch oven dish.

3)    Fry bacon in remaining olive oil.  Add to Dutch oven.

4)    Toss the beef in the all-purpose flour to cover.  Brown the meat, in batches (add a little extra oil if needed).  Stir in the remaining flour.  Fry gently and add to Dutch oven.

5)    Add tomatoes, beef broth, Worchester sauce, herbs, salt, pepper, wine, apricots with the rooibos and mushrooms to Dutch oven.

6)    Cover and bake for 30 to 40 minutes.


     Serves 6.


Rooibos Crème Brulee

12 egg yolks

1 egg

1 cup superfine sugar

1 cup milk

2 pints cream

4 rooibos tea bags

Regular sugar for topping/melting


1)    Preheat oven to 230º F.  Grease 6 ramekins lightly.

2)    Cream the egg yolks and egg together with the superfine sugar.

3)    Place milk, cream and rooibos tea bags in a saucepan and bring to just below boiling point (scald).  Do not bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.  Discard tea bags.

4)    Pour a little bit of the milk/rooibos mixture into the eggs and stir well.  Add remainder of milk/rooibos mixture and stir to blend thoroughly.

5)    Strain the liquid through a fine strainer, taking care to strain out any tea leaf particles that may have escaped the tea bags.  Allow to cool completely, skimming off any foam on top.

6)    Pour the combined mixture into the prepared ramekins.  Using a cooking torch, lightly burn off any remaining foam on the tops of the brulees.

7)    Place in a roasting pan filled with water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  Bake for one hour or until set.

8)    Remove from the oven and leave to cool.  Place in the fridge to cool completely. Dust with regular sugar and use a cooking torch to brown the surface.