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One Woman’s Path to Wellness Through Integrative Nutrition

juice

For most if not all of human history, people have recognized the importance of nutrition in healthy living. What we put into our bodies has a clear effect on how feel, how we look, and ultimately how healthy we are. However, while this has always been apparent, we face unique challenges today. We’ve developed and created so many different foods, drinks, supplements, etc. that in ways it’s more difficult than ever before to figure out what’s truly healthy.

Fortunately, along with a more complicated diet, the modern era has introduced social tools that help those spreading strong nutritional strategies and values to reach wider audiences. For this reason, even though nutrition has long been emphasized among the health-conscious, the 21st century has begun to feel like the most nutritionally focused era in history.

Some of this is because of the prevalence of independent nutrition blogs and fad diets across the Internet, some of which make it big for a short time. But for the most part, it’s due to the rise of professional health and nutrition coaches, which is something the Intent Blog covered a few years ago in the article The Coming of the Health Coach Revolution.

In this article I wanted to take a more in-depth look at what it means to be a professional health coach, and what a thorough nutritional education can allow such a person to accomplish. In doing some research, I came across the success story of Jil Larsen, a paralegal-turned-small business owner who opened the Magic Mix Juicery in New York City. Continue reading

Detox For The Holidays Made Safe and Simple

1369381414_83633With the holiday season right around the corner, there is no better time than the present to fortify our diet and cement healthy eating.  Ironically, while healthy eating is our birthright, for many of us it seems like taking the plunge into eating a whole foods-based diet is the equivalent to traveling to some distant land.  But it doesn’t have to be such a scary or foreign experience.

In my work as a functional medicine doctor, my priority is to guide each patient through a safe, simple, realistic, and  pleasurable transition into healthy eating. Because whole foods-based diets remove all the sugary, fatty, chemical-laden, artificial stuff from the diet, they sometimes get called a detox or a cleanse.

Why is detoxification important?

When our bodies become toxic it means that our natural method of ushering out metabolic waste from normal human metabolism, environmental pollution, and what has become known as the Standard American Diet (or SAD) has exceeded the threshold for what the body’s innate detoxification system can tolerate.  With this toxic load, every system in the human body can become affected.  From our head to our toes and everything in between, toxicity makes us sick!

How do you know if you are toxic and need to properly cleanse?

Usually a constellation of complaints help to determine whether or not you are toxic and to what extent you need to cleanse.  Some examples of what might indicate a toxic system are:

  • constipation
  • persistent headaches, muscle aches, and muscle fatigue
  • inclusion of large amounts of swordfish, tuna, shark, etc. into diet
  • mercury fillings and dental amalgams
  • food allergies
  • stubborn weight loss
  • hormonal imbalances and consistent use of hormone replacement such as “the pill” or progesterone cream
  • consistent use of NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • skin abnormalities such as acne, rosacea, or eczema
  • a lifetime of consuming the SAD diet

To find out if you are toxic, take a look at The UltraSimple Diet.

How long should you stay on a cleanse? 

Typical cleanses that harness our body’s natural processes for filtering and removing waste tend to be gentle and can therefore  be tolerated for longer periods of time than more extreme protocols.  A safe cleanse is one which doesn’t make you starve yourself or take fancy pills, potions, or expensive drinks.

Safety means allowing the body to do what it wants to do naturally, with a little assistance from some guided healthy eating, appropriate supplements, and relevant lifestyle modifications.  I usually have my patients do a cleanse for 7 days to 6 weeks, or even longer, depending on their particular needs.  Work with a trained medical provider to help determine what length of time is right for you.

How to prepare for a cleanse?

Like we would plan for any big trip to a new destination, we need to prepare, plan, and set out some main goals for our journey.  And by the way, as in all travels, it’s always a good idea to leave some room for the serendipitous excursions to occur.  When handled properly, they can be the best part of a trip!  So how can we plan for a safe and simple detoxification protocol?

  1. Take some basic measurements before you begin to track your progress as you go through your program.  For example, if weight loss is your goal, measure your waist, hips, and record your weight.  If, migraines are an issue, determine the duration, intensity and frequency.  Keep a journal; this will help you in more ways than one!
  2. Make lists!  Organize your pantry, toss out the junk, gather recipes, sketch out weekly menus, make shopping lists for healthy foods you will be eating and formulate a cooking schedule to ensure you allot time to prepare food for the week.
  3. Use journaling as a way to “cleanse” your inner world and relieve yourself of mental and emotional stress.
  4. Gather any supplements you need to take that have been advised for you by your medical provider.
  5. Think about the kind of exercise that will best complement your end goal and plan for it in your schedule.
  6. Detoxification requires you to slow down.  Make sure you fit time for deep relaxation into your plan.
  7. Often, unsavory side effects appear in the initial phase of a cleanse.  Two side effects to look for and keep track of in your journal are:
  • Constipation.  Move those bowels!  Drink plenty of purified water.  Try warm water with lemon first thing in the morning.  Often, taking 300 mg of magnesium citrate is helpful or try an Epsom salt bath.
  • Food allergies or sensitivities.  These can be obvious or obscure.  But chances are, as your body lets go of toxic waste, it will be easier to recognize a hidden reaction to gluten, dairy, soy or any of the other common food allergies.

Common symptoms the first few days of withdrawal from a toxic lifestyle and the SAD (Standard American Diet)

The following symptoms are very common at the beginning of the program and should dissipate within the first few days. Don’t worry, these symptoms are indicative that your body is eliminating toxins and are a good sign!

  • bad breath
  • constipation
  • achy, flu-like feeling
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • hunger
  • irritability
  • itchy skin
  • nausea
  • offensive body odor
  • sleep difficulties (too much or too little)

These symptoms can occur for a number of reasons. First, eliminating food allergies and un-junking the diet causes reactions similar to withdrawal from other addictive substances like caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, or heroin. Note: We are often most addicted to the foods we are allergic to! Getting off those allergens can cause a brief, flu-like achy syndrome that may last one to three days. Second, toxins in our digestive tract may make us feel ill if we don’t eliminate them. The best way to get relief from these symptoms is to follow the recommendations below.

How to avoid withdrawal symptoms

Initially, those who consume the most caffeine, alcohol, and sugar, and those who have the most food allergies, will have the most difficulty. Symptoms usually disappear after three to four days. It is best to slowly reduce your intake of caffeine, alcohol, sugar, white flour, and over-the-counter medications (except as directed by your physician) a week or two before you start your program.

  1. Drink at least six to eight glasses of filtered water daily.  Stay away from plastic bottles; glass bottles are okay.
  2. To prevent headaches, make sure your bowels are clean.
  3. Fatigue is normal during a cleanse so allow more time for rest and sleep. To boost energy, exercise for 30 minutes a day.  Walking outside in fresh air is best.  Roll up those sleeves and let the sun hit you with some vitamin D!
  4. Take 1,000 mg buffered vitamin C with breakfast and dinner.  Take 300 mg magnesium citrate at dinner.
  5. Don’t wait until you are starving to eat!  Balance your blood sugar by eating protein-based meals and snacks every three to four hours.  Excellent sources of protein are baked or broiled fish, lean poultry, and legumes such as edamame or black beans.
  6. Heat is a great resource while cleansing as it helps draw out toxins from within.  Try a sauna or a warm bath with Epsom salts for 20 minutes a few times per week.
  7. While safe, these types of cleanses can still be stressful on the body and mind so remember to relax.  Actively engaging your parasympathetic nervous system helps restore your energy which your body needs to replenish itself.  Meditation, deep breathing, or any calming activity is good.
  8. Eliminate all refined sugars, flours, caffeine, alcohol, dairy, gluten, or addictive substances.  By allowing certain triggers to stay in the diet the body stays on the vicious cycle of cravings and addictive behavior.  Reset your biology to eliminate all triggers.
  9. Keep a journal and track your symptoms.  You should feel better in three to seven days.  If you do not feel well at this point, please exercise caution and check in with your doctor.
  10. Tune in to your body and listen to the cues it provides.  A cleanse is a great journey to learn more about understanding how to operate your very own owner’s manual!

Originally posted on my site, DrHyman.com

5 Surprising Ways Sugar Gets To Your Family and How to Avoid It

Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 5.02.48 PMWe all eat way too much sugar, many of us without even knowing it. Everyone knows that a candy bar, or a piece of cake, or a soda have a lot of sugar but how about your organic yogurt? Or the 100% real fruit juice you’re putting in your child’s lunchbox? Added sugars are coming from places that we don’t expect, and are way over our daily limits.

Here is a sugar shocker- the recommended daily allowance for sugar for children under 10 is just 4 grams (or 1 teaspoon). So, if your child’s snack has 12 grams of sugar – that is equivalent to 3 teaspoons – then they have already exceeded the RDA for added sugar.

Here are five ways sugar can sneak into your diet, even if you’re sticking to “healthy” options.

#1. Yogurt

Even the good organic yogurts have between 20 and 30 grams of sugar per serving. The yogurts marketed to kids have even more. If a yogurt has 30 grams of sugar that is equivalent to 7.5 teaspoons of sugar. Can you imagine handing your child 7.5 teaspoons of sugar for a snack?

Look for unsweetened and unflavored yogurts. Add your own fruit and a touch of honey for the same effect and WAY less sugar.

#2. Energy Bars

These can be deceiving. They can have as many as 20 grams of sugar (that’s 5 teaspoons of sugar) per bar. Read the labels. Look for bars that have less than 10 grams per bar. Often the same brand will have one bar that has a high sugar content and another that will be reasonable. Don’t be deceived by the organic varieties.

#3. Sports Drinks

These can have as many as 21 grams of sugar per 12oz serving. Keep in mind that many of these sugary drinks have more than one serving per bottle. That means in a 20oz bottle there are  approximately 9 teaspoons of sugar. Ouch!

Another killer is that these drinks contain high levels of sodium which dehydrate you, and dyes which are shown to cause hyperactivity in sensitive individuals. Drink coconut water or water instead.

#4.  Juice

On average a 7oz  juice box has 10 grams of sugar (the worst varieties have as many as 25 grams!) That is 2.5 teaspoons per juice box for the good varieties.

Drink water or dilute the juice 3 to 1. That will cut down on the sugar while still maintaining the taste.

#5. Breakfast cereal

Instant flavored oatmeal has 16 grams of sugar while a simple toasted rice cereal has 10grams. The sugary breakfast cereals are packed with even more sugar and have an average of 12 grams of sugar per ¾ cup serving. That’s 3 teaspoons per serving!

Look for low sugar cereals (less that 8 grams per serving) and eat unsweetened unflavored oatmeal. Add your own fruit, cinnamon and a little maple syrup.

The unhealthy truth is that if you give your child some instant oatmeal for breakfast, add a juice box and a yogurt to their lunchbox, and give them an energy bar and a sports drink for a snack after soccer practice, you have given them 27 grams of sugar. That’s 27 times the recommended daily allowance!

The healthy solution?  Read the nutrition labels carefully on whatever you buy and choose the lowest sugar varieties.

 

Article originally posted on my blog, Tapp’s Tips.

Photo credit: Ben McLeod

Coke’s Sticky Situation Is a Warning Not To Market Sustainability You Don’t Have

 On a wall in Honest Tea’s office is a Chinese proverb that cautions Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt the people doing it. It’s a prescient warning given the story I’m about to tell, but the lesson I want to highlight is that when you invest in sustainability as an image rather than a mission, you’re going to be disappointed.

Honest Tea was created 12 years ago as refreshing, non-sugary alternative to soda and syrupy fruit juices and teas. The teas are all certified USDA organic, eight varieties are fair trade certified and the bottles are made from fully recyclable plastic. In 2008, Coca-Cola’s Venturing and Emergy Brands group bought a minority stake, for $43 million, in the company.  Coke’s purchase was influenced by consumer demand for healthier drinks.  The trouble started several months later when Coke noticed that the Honest Kids’ products prominently stated “no high-fructose corn syrup.”

Coke felt this reflected negatively on the majority of its products, which contained ample corn syrup, and pressured Honest Tea to change or remove the phrase. But Honest Tea co-founder Seth Goldman felt that the lack of corn syrup, as well as the tea’s organic ingredients, was central to the product.Coke’s suggestions (Honest Tea retains ultimate control over its products) went against the tea maker’s principle to provide consumers with products that are not highly processed.  The linguistic debate continues today (you can read more here).

 

Coke, and others like Unilver, Clorox and Danone, has acquired or bought shares in smaller sustainability brands as an entry point into the sustainable market segment. From an initital marketing perspective it makes sense. But that’s the problem. Sustainability is not marketing. And while you can market sustainability, you can’t fake sustainability that you don’t really believe in or stand for. 

Coke hung a metaphorical banner proclaiming its social responsibility in front of a belching factory.  But as soon as the clouds parted and the leeching factory loomed up behind, Coke’s values and priorities were revealed, and they didn’t have much to do with honest-tea.

 

 

One Lucky Duck

 

I am a huge fan of entrepreneurs who pursue their creative talents and passions to successfully promote a healthier lifestyle. That is why I am thrilled to tell you about my recent visit with Sarma Melngailis, 37, at her creation One Lucky Duck. In this raw food boutique (also available on-line), you’ll find tantalizing raw vegan snacks that are handmade in the kitchen of one of NYC’s most acclaimed raw vegan restaurants, Pure Food and Wine. Sarma does raw with such style!

I am a devoted foodie.  Living in Manhattan, my taste buds are spoiled by frequenting some of the world’s top restaurants.  Not only that, I love all types of food.  However, there is one type of food that is not as popular with my friends.  When I talk about raw or vegan food, I’m usually met with a frown or look of confusion.  The response may as well be, “Huh? Do you also go to Burning Man in your stilettos?”

The fact of the matter is that raw food is still a relatively foreign concept in mainstream America. Maybe still on the fringe.  And I am so excited that Sarma and her team at One Lucky Duck are paving the way to help integrate raw food into everyday life. With their considerable talents, I’m convinced that one day soon we’ll all be in awe of raw.


Sarma’s well-versed staff explains: Raw food is defined by plant-based foods cooked at temperatures under 118 degrees, ensuring that the enzymes and nutrients do not get destroyed or depleted by heat. Fruit and vegetables grow naturally from the earth. In their natural state is when food is at their freshest. No facial or spa treatment can beat putting good clean food into your body.



About One Lucky Duck:
One Lucky Duck was “hatched” in July 2005 by Sarma, the co-creator of Pure Food and Wine.  She is the co-author of Raw Food Real World (Harper Collins, July 2005) and Living Raw Food (Harper Collins, May 2009).  Sarma, who dons a duck tattoo on her arm, created One Lucky Duck to bring raw, vegan, and organic lifestyles out of the underground into the mainstream light.

 

One Lucky Duck is a world-wide online boutique where you’ll find raw vegan snacks, handmade in small batches in their kitchen at Pure Food and Wine.  They also offer a wide variety of organic and eco products (including clothing and beauty products) for your lifestyle. If you are in Manhattan, you can visit One Lucky Duck Juice and Takeaway, a café and juice bar in Gramercy Park, which I like to do from time to time.

Sarma’s Story: Financier Turned Raw Foodie
So who is the mastermind behind this raw food mecca? After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with in 1994,with a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School and a B.A. in Economics from the College of Arts and Sciences, Sarma began her career at the now defunct Bear Sterns Inc. specializing in Mergers and Acquisitions, a far cry from the kitchen. 

Over the next few years, she worked for Bain Capital Inc. and joined a high-yield investment fund at CIBC.  Quickly, she realized that she wanted to be doing something else, something she really loved. She left the world of high finance in 1999 to pursue a degree from the renown French Culinary Institute in downtown NYC; thus began her illustrious career in the food world.

In 2004, after learning about raw food, she and a partner decided to open a raw food restaurant, Pure Food and Wine. She was the co-executive chef for two years, and when her co-executive chef left, she founded OneLuckyDuck.com in 2005.  Her culinary team creates everything on the menu.


Green Scout Recommends:
Although a big fan of their fresh juices, I was a little suspicious about some of their packaged products like Blonde Macaroons, Chocolate Cherry Macadamia Cookies and Chees-y Quackers, which I thought defied the raw food rule. I was even more wary of their raw Mallomars (photographed above)! However, as they are cooked under 118 degrees, and use only organic ingredients–like dried almonds, flax, cocounuts, agave, and Himalayan crystal salt—they are bone fide raw.  It was love after my first Mallomar bite, and the snack of choice here at the office.

To start shopping or to learn more, go to One Lucky Duck or visit Sarma and her crew at Pure Food and Wine Restaurant located at 126 E. 17th St.

Photo: Courtesy of Papermag, One Lucky Duck, and Kathy Patasky.

Drink Yourself Beautiful!

  Radiance can emerge from each and every one of us. In order to allow it to do so, we must first provide a sanctuary from modern day assaults. Providing a much-needed sanctuary is actually inexpensive and result-oriented, a fact that is sometimes shocking to even the most impatient and monetarily willing prospects. I have one sure key for that radiance to emerge: 

My best friend Peggy is 74 years old. Years ago over tea, I asked her if she had any “work” done because her skin was amazing. Peggy is a wealthy woman and I imagined that she would tell me that she has a pearl extract cream flown in from Europe that is mixed with placenta oil from the West Indies. Not so. She simply said four magic words, “Extra virgin olive oil.” She continues to use it every night. So does Sophia Loren. 

 And now, so do I. Just the other morning, when I was headed out for a walk, without any make-up, my husband said, “Honey, you look absolutely radiant!!!! 

Here is what I do, besides drinking water and watered-down natural juice regularly: 

 I have a small marble bowl next to my bathroom sink into which I pour extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). I wash my face, barely pat it dry, dip my fingers into the oil, and gently glide it all over my face and neck every night before I go to sleep. It is quickly absorbed and helps lock in the moisture. The high percentage of unsaturated fat, and vitamins A and E are helpful in preventing sun damage. This pure medium also works on the outside to soothe and replenish skin.  

I have also used EVOO for my daughter’s dandruff (twenty minutes on the scalp with a shower cap and then shampoo) and on my son’s chapped lips with almost instant results. Sophia Loren has talked of taking EVOO baths ritually. Dipping bread in EVOO curbs your appetite, because your body has been fed what it needs. 

 I believe our body is ready to drink itself beautiful. You? 

 So, here is something else I am considering and studying to drink ourselves beautiful: Resveratrol. Supposedly, it is similar to drinking and reaping the benefits of 1,000 glasses of red wine without the alcohol. I have seen before and after pictures on the Internet by individuals who have posted them because they are thrilled with the results. They are impressive. 

I was enjoying my glass or two of wine four nights a week, before the most recent study came out that even a glass of wine every other night could increase the chances of cancer in women drastically. My husband thinks I am nuts to stop drinking wine.  

Have you tried Resveratrol? Has it been working for you? Please let me know. 

Today’s Juice Feast

Nearly every morning for the last year, I’ve juiced fresh, organic fruits and vegetables – 16 oz. of fresh juice daily. I am always amazed at how great I feel afterwards. A creature of habit, I usually include at least one red beet, a couple of carrots and some ginger root as my base and then add different combinations based on what I have on hand.

I wanted to share this morning’s combination because not only was is great-tasting, but also gave me an envigorating burst of energy! (Note: the following recipe yields 32 oz. of juice when using a masticating juicer, like the Champion Juicer… why not prepare a glass for your significant other!)

– 1 organic red beet
– 2 large organic carrots
– 1 small piece of organic ginger
– 1 stalk organic celery
– 1 small bunch organic cilantro
– 1 small bunch organic watercress
– 1 large organic grapefruit
– 1 small organic apple

Personally, I find that including one lemon or grapefruit makes all the difference in creating the perfect juice blend. These fruits are also both great for digestion and for cleansing the liver – a great idea first thing in the morning.

The benefits of juicing are numerous and have been touted by nutritionists, health experts and integrative doctors for years. Those who juice on a regular basis find that they have stronger immune systems, clearer skin, increased energy and better mental focus.

I’d love to hear your favorite fruit and/or vegetable combination and what you love most about how juicing makes you feel!

Integrity in Wellness Products

Most of my friends know that I am a very relaxed distributor for Young Living Essential Oils and Wellness products… I’ve started educating myself on these products more and … as if I didn’t love the oils enough already … I’ve come to deeply appreciate the Ningxia Red supplemental juice.

Here are 21 reasons drinking this juice daily is extremely beneficial:

1) The Ningxia Wolfberry provides ample antioxidants to strengthen the immune system. Antioxidants permeate cell walls and attack free radicals before they damage the DNA of the cell nucleus.

2)

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