Tag Archives: whole foods

10 Ways To Ditch Your Cravings for Sugar, Salt, and Fats

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According to a recent article in the New York Times, “Food Corporations Turn to Chefs in a Quest for Healthy Flavor,” Big Food companies like PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, and even fast food giants like Taco Bell, are changing their ways in response to the increasing public demand for healthier food options. To improve their image as healthy food manufacturers, Big Food corporations have called upon top chefs to help them create healthy menu makeovers, infusing real, fresh, whole food into old recipe favorites.

Why is this happening now? Intense pressure brought on by politicians and their constituents (you and me!) has given these food manufacturers no choice but to respond to the public outcry for healthier food. It’s no longer enough for these companies to earn a profit by selling food that tastes good. People are beginning to use the power of the pocketbook to show these companies that the food they sell must also be nutritious.

That’s because people everywhere are waking up. They are beginning to see the dangers of genetically modified ingredients and all the sugar, salt, and fats hidden in our food supply. From fancy restaurants to fast food chains, chefs are catching on that people want their food to make them feel good, not just while they are eating it but hours, days, and years afterward.

Really, this news shouldn’t make the headlines. This is common sense! Paying for food that makes us sick is as crazy as shooting ourselves in the foot. It just doesn’t make sense.

Big Food is finally getting the message and getting on board.

But remember, no processed or fast food option will ever be better than a healthy home-cooked meal. The best way to ensure you are eating the highest quality, most nutritious food possible is to prepare your own food in your own kitchen. We are all chefs. You don’t have to be trained at Le Cordon Bleu to know your way around a kitchen. You just need a little knowledge, some imagination, and a sense of adventure.

A desire for real food is a fundamental part of our basic biological blueprint. Given the chance, our taste receptors will naturally gravitate toward the inherent sweetness found in vegetables, fruits, and even nuts and seeds.

So, how do you reprogram your taste buds to ditch the cravings for sugar, salt, and fats? You can start by eating real, fresh, whole foods. Avoid fake, commercialized foods that come in convenience packages or are made in a lab.

Here are 10 more tips to get you excited about ditching the sugar, salt, and fats:

  1. Sauté or roast your veggies to bring out their natural sweetness. Properly searing your chicken or meat brings out the inherent sweetness by way of the Maillard reaction. This is a fancy name for what happens when you create that nice, brown crust on your meat. Want more cooking tips like this? Check out The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook!
  2. Play with herbs like cilantro, parsley, dill, basil, and oregano to add flavor and phytonutrients! Finish a meal by adding fresh herbs before plating or serving. This last-minute addition kicks the flavor up a notch!
  3. Healthy fats found in avocado, coconut, and tahini not only increase the flavor of your meal, they also add that creamy, luscious texture found in many rich foods. See for yourself just how healthy and tasty desserts can be by trying my Dark Chocolate Silk Pudding from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook!
  4. Try creating a savory, umami (Japanese for “delicious”) flavor. Add moderate amounts of tamari, umeboshi plum paste, balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, dried mushroom, or sea vegetables to your next stew, soup, sauce, or stir-fry.
  5. Cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, clove, ginger, and even cayenne or chipotle pepper powder are all extremely flavorful additions to a meal. Spices like these excite your taste buds and grab your attention. This is helpful, because, as studies show, when we are focused on actually tasting our food rather than mindlessly gobbling it up, we actually need less food to feel satisfied.
  6. Befriend some kitchen must-haves like real vanilla extract or vanilla bean or coconut butter. Or use common, every-day foods like lemons in some creative ways. For example, use lemon zest to add real zing to any meal!
  7. For the most flavor, eat seasonally and locally. Canned or packaged foods or foods that have traveled great distances in the back of a truck just can’t compare to the succulence of a fresh piece of locally grown fruit.
  8. Check your hydration. Digestion starts in your mouth with your saliva, which helps us taste all the magnificent flavor in food. If you are dehydrated and not producing enough saliva, you won’t really be able to enjoy your food.
  9. Check your medications. Believe it or not, most medications interfere with the body’s ability to taste and smell. Some of them can even create an unpleasant metallic taste in the mouth. Wondering how you might decrease the number of pills you take? Learn more about functional medicine.
  10. Got nutrition? Nutrient deficiency is an important cause of improper taste perception. A lack of certain vitamins and minerals can markedly impair your ability to smell and taste food. Most Americans have several nutrient deficiencies, but there is one in particular that can especially keep you from enjoying your next meal: zinc. Try adding foods like oysters, pecans, sunflower seeds, and lentils to increase your daily intake of this important mineral. Try the recipe for Hearty Lentil Soup from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook. If you are deficient, you might also need to take a zinc supplement. Work with one of my nutrition coaches to ensure your nutrition status is up to par.

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For more ways to use your kitchen to take back your health, check out The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook. Get tips and tricks for making healthy and tasty meals. Learn what foods you should eat to boost your metabolism, balance your blood sugar, and lose weight. Try more than 175 tasty recipes that appeal to a variety of budgets, taste preferences, health goals, and lifestyles.

Originally published on my website, DrHyman.com.

10 Reasons Why Summer is the Season for Eating Well

raspberriesThere are so many reasons why I love the summertime: the green grass and warm sunshine, longer days and warmer evenings, more time to savor all the beauty of the outdoors. But the best part by far is the amazing abundance of healthy, fresh, whole foods everywhere you look. In celebration of the richness of the season, I’ve put together my top 10 reasons why there’s no better time to eat well.

1. Food is Fresh, Available, and Affordable

It’s easy to eat fresh, locally grown food when fruits and vegetables are as abundant and available as they are during the summer months. And when food is more available, it’s more affordable, too, since choosing local produce cuts the cost of shipping food from some far-off place.

When food is in season, it’s better for you. Except for freezing, most food storage practices cause a loss in nutrition and quality. Think of all the preservatives and toxic chemicals used to keep packaged foods from going rancid on grocery store shelves. Beware these processed and preserved foods that can’t die. Fresh food is alive, filled with all the nourishment and nutrients needed to keep you alive and thriving!

Eating locally is not only healthy for you, it’s great for your community, too. Participate in the grow-your-own movement by shopping at your local farmers’ market or join a CSA (community supported agriculture). See www.localharvest.org to find a CSA or farmers’ market near you. For more adventurous ways to go local, try that interesting little farm stand you drive by during your daily commute (they usually offer great value for seasonal fruit and veggies) or try a pick-your-own farm.

2. You Can Get Back To Basics

Summer is all about unwinding, relaxing, and enjoying the simple pleasures of good food and good company. Always keep basic staples in the pantry, so you’ll be ready for an easy, impromptu meal. They don’t need to cost much. To eat well, you don’t have to indulge in expensive specialty foods or the new, trendy exotic fruit du jour. Keep it simple.

Tip: Get back to basics by creating delectable meals out of everyday foods, such as beans and greens. Beans cost only 50 cents per serving, yet give you 7 grams of blood sugar-friendly fiber. Try the Black Bean Salad recipe from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook.

3. You Can Savor the Flavor

Summer offers so many ways for you to add flavor to your food without resorting to salt and fat. Herbs, spices, and berries are all plentiful during the warmer months. Get creative, and experiment using herbs like basil, cilantro, parsley, or fresh dill. In the summertime, these are so easy to grow right in your own window!

4. You Can Lighten Your Load

Produce is available in huge quantities and varieties during the summer months. This wide array of options makes it easy to enjoy a light, plant-based diet, which can keep your heart healthy, your waistline slender, and your blood sugar levels optimized.

Try incorporating meatless Mondays into your weekly meal plan or try eating at least one meal a day without animal protein. This can help you lighten the load on your digestive system, as well as on the Earth, since raising animals for food has a greater impact on the environment than growing fruits and vegetables.

Tip: Choose non-GMO tempeh to replace ground beef in your next recipe. This one change will drastically trim your shopping bill, because tempeh costs about a third of what you’d pay for the amount of meat needed to feed a family of four!

5. There Are So Many Ways To Enjoy Your Leftovers

Remember all those leftover berries from the pick-your-own farm or all the fresh zucchini you found from the farmers’ market? Don’t waste them—re-use them! Here’s one great way to use Monday night’s chicken dinner in Tuesday morning’s breakfast: the Roasted Chicken and Egg White Cup recipe from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook.

6. Dine Under the Stars

Add flare to your normal weeknight routine by creating your own summery dinner table outside. No need to go to fancy restaurants to make your meal feel special; decorate your outdoor table with some candles, stones, or fresh flowers to enhance your dining experience! Invite friends over. Make it a potluck! Relaxing under the stars, enjoying a fine meal with friends, will soothe your nerves and help you digest your food, while truly appreciating the magic of summertime.

Click to read the rest on DrHyman.com >>

Got Proof? The Lack of Evidence for Milk’s Benefits

Got milk?There is no biological requirement for cow’s milk. It is nature’s perfect food but only if you are a calf. The evidence of its benefits is overstated, and the evidence of its harm to human populations is increasing.

The white mustached celebrities paid by the Dairy Council promote the wonders of milk in their “Got Milk” ads. Scientists are increasingly asking, “Got Proof?” Our government still hasn’t caught on, in part because of the huge dairy lobby driving nutrition guidelines. When I once lamented to Senator Harkin that all we wanted to do was to make science into policy, he cocked his head and with a wry smile and said, “that would make too much sense.”

And the media is also influenced heavily by advertising dollars. Once, when I was on Martha Stewart’s television show, the dairy lobby sponsored the episode, and her trainer was forced to mouth the talking points of the Dairy Council touting milk as a fabulous sports drink. Studies may show some benefit, but studies funded by the food industry show positive benefits eight times more than independently funded studies.

In a new editorial by two of the nation’s leading nutrition scientists from Harvard, Dr. David Ludwig and Dr. Walter Willett, in JAMA Pediatrics, our old assumptions about milk are being called into question. Perhaps it doesn’t help you grow strong bones, and it may increase the risk of cancer and promote weight gain.

It is bad enough that the dairy industry recently petitioned the FDA to sneak artificial sweeteners into chocolate milk. They want their “shake and eat it, too” by pushing milkshake-like flavored milk drinks into schools as a “healthier” option, even though they have 30 grams of sugar per cup. By cutting the sugar and adding artificial sweeteners to low fat or non-fat milk drinks, the idea is that they would be healthier. Except for the fact that recent studies have found that one diet drink a week increases your risk of type 2 diabetes by 33 percent and a large diet drink increases the risk by 66 percent.

What about low fat milk or non-fat milk? These are the healthier options, right? Wrong.

Ludwig and Willett note that there is scant evidence that fat makes you fat, despite this commonly held mistaken belief. Reducing fat in milk reduces its ability to satisfy the appetite (which fat does) and can promote overeating and hunger. Often, the fat in the diet is replaced with sugar and refined carbohydrates, which clearly has been shown to promote obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Studies show that reducing fat in the diet, which parallels an increase in starch and refined carbohydrates in the diet, not only increases hunger but also may actually slow metabolism. In one study, Dr. Ludwig found that those who ate a low fat, higher glycemic diet burned 300 calories less a day that those who ate an identical calorie diet that was higher in fat and lower in glycemic load. For those who ate the higher fat, lower glycemic diet, that’s like exercising an extra hour a day without doing anything!

More concerning still is that, in studies of kids and adults, those who consumed low fat milk products gained more weight than those who ate the full fat whole milk products. They seemed to increase their overall intake of food because it just wasn’t as satisfying as the real thing. In fact, those who drank the most milk overall gained the most weight. It makes logical sense. Milk is designed to quickly turn a little calf into a big cow and contains over sixty different hormones, most designed to boost growth.

But shouldn’t we stick to low fat milk to reduce our intake of saturated fat? The fact is that, while your LDL or bad cholesterol goes down by reducing saturated fat in the diet, the protective cholesterol, HDL, actually goes up by eating saturated fat improving the ratio of total to HDL cholesterol, which is the most important marker of your risk of heart disease. Switching out saturated fat for carbohydrates actually increased the risk of heart attack in a 12-year study of 53,544 adults. In fact, the whole story of the evil of saturated fats is in great debate. The evidence for linkage to heart disease turns out to be pretty weak indeed.

If you ate only whole foods, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains (not whole grain flour), you might be better off overall (although a recent scientific review of saturated fat dismissed the very notion that is it bad for you). But sadly, that is not what most Americans do when they switch to low fat.

The sad thing is that many schools and “healthy” beverage guidelines encourage the idea that flavored milk is better than soda and that getting kids to drink more milk by any means is a good idea. This is dangerously misguided.

There are 27 grams of sugar in 8 ounces of Coca Cola and a whopping 30 grams of sugar in 8 ounces of Nestlé Chocolate Milk. Sugar is sugar and drives obesity and diabetes. It is not a good way to get kids to drink milk.

But that begs the bigger question. Do kids need milk? Is milk necessary for healthy bones and preventing osteoporosis? The data are clear, but our government polices don’t reflect the science.

Dairy and milk products do not promote healthy bones. In a large meta-analysis, milk did not reduce risk of fractures. Other studies have shown it can increase fracture rates. And the countries with the lowest milk consumption have the lowest risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Calcium is not all it’s cracked up to be. Studies show that higher calcium intakes are actually associated with higher risk of fracture.

Milk may not grow strong bones, but it does seem to grow cancer cells. Milk increases the hormone called IGF-1 or insulin-like growth factor, one that is like Miracle-Gro for cancer cells. Dairy products have been linked to prostate cancer. And cows are milked while pregnant (yes, even organic cows), filling milk with loads of reproductive and potentially cancer-causing hormones.

There are other problems with milk, too. It increases the risk of type 1 diabetes. Dairy is a well-known cause of acne. And of course, dairy causes millions around the world (75 percent of the population) to suffer digestive distress because of lactose intolerance. It causes intestinal bleeding in 40 percent of infants leading to iron deficiency. Allergy, asthma, and eczema all may be triggered by dairy consumption.

The US Department of Agriculture’s new My Plate initiative recommends three cups a day of milk for everyone! If you are two to nine years old, you get away with only two to two and a half cups. And the “key consumer message” is to switch to 1% or non-fat versions.

There is absolutely no biological requirement for milk, and the evidence for low fat milk is lacking, along with the bone benefits. The dairy lobby has its tentacles deep in the US Department of Agriculture. One scientist friend who advises the government on food policy confided to me that when he protested that there was no evidence for the government’s recommendations that we all drink three glasses of milk a day and that, in fact, it may be harmful, he was patronized with a “yes, we know, but the dairy lobby makes it difficult to make science into policy.”

Let’s just forget the science and spend taxpayer’s dollars to promote foods that we know are harmful, because money runs politics. To heck with the health of our citizens.

Bottom line: Milk is not nature’s perfect food unless you are a calf and should not be consumed in large quantities by most people, because it can promote weight gain, cancer, and even cause osteoporosis. Write to your congressmen to encourage them to support changes to our food and farm bill policies that shape our nutritional guidelines and make them evidence based. The answer to the question, “Got Proof?” Heck no!

Now I’d like to hear from you…

Do you think we need to drink milk to be healthy?

Do you agree that getting kids to drink more milk is a good idea?

Have you recently cut dairy from your diet, and if so, do you feel better?

What are some good dairy alternatives that you’ve discovered?

 

Originally published on my website, DrHyman.com

Chia Seeds Take Over the World!

chiaheart-article-chia-seedsWe’re declaring it: Chia seeds are the new avocado.

The formerly obscure seeds beloved by ancient civilizations are now a superfood staple of modern urbanities. Lauded for their omega 3s, fiber, and protein, chia seeds are fast becoming a culinary darling among healthy types. Warning: If you haven’t been offered a chia smoothie yet, your chia-free days are numbered.

And it’s not just the seed form that people are flipping for. Chia seeds are now found in nearly every section of the grocery store—including the beauty aisle. You can find chia bars, chia oil, and chilled chia snacks. Innovative chefs are adding it to their menus—witness the Chia Seed Muffin, one of Pain Quotidien’s most popular bakery items (which online recipe writers love to try to replicate). Just how did this happen?

HISTORY

Chia’s got a rich history, starting with its pre-Colombian past as a food that fueled Aztec warriors. And, in Born to Run, Christopher MacDougall explains how the long-distance Tarahumara runners of Mexico chowed on chia. The backstory lent itself to awesome possibility—and marketing with mass appeal.

WHO IS CHIA FOR?

Chia’s a shape-shifter of the Safeway and a chameleon of the Kroger. (And if you don’t see them in those groceries, it’s just a matter of minutes.) It’s got a masculine or sporty side (Health Warrior bars) and a feminine side (Mama Chia beverages and squeezable Vitality Snacks). Both call to the marathon-running athlete and the health-conscious woman working marathon hours. And in between, there’s a healthy, culinary middle range. More on that in a minute.

NUTRITION PROFILE

Chia shotsChia’s nutrient density—high omega 3s, loads of fiber (5g per serving), and nice bump of protein (3g)—and its capacity to expand (and become a tad gelantinous like tapioca) provide stamina, endurance, and a feeling of satiety, says Dan Gluck, co-founder of Health Warrior. (So it’s no wonder chia’s also beloved by women looking to stay trim and away from the office cupcakes and vending machine.) It contains all 10 essential amino acids that you must get through your diet, so it’s considered a top source of complete plant-based protein; and it has an impressive amount of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

CHIA’S CULINARY CRED

Lately it’s been looking more culinary, with chefs sprinkling it on salads, bakers turning out chia muffins, and a stateside newcomer, The Chia Co., a company based in Australia. It sustainably farms the salvia Hispanica in the equatorial Kimberly region. (“It’s a latitude specific crop that grows best and achieves optimum omega 3 levels at 15 degrees from the equator,” explains The Chia Co. CEO John Foss.)

And from its harvest The Chia Co. makes Chia Shots that slide out of a skinny packet into a smoothie or over yogurt, a Chia Oil that can be drizzled over greens, and to-die-for chia pudding called Chia Pods (made from just a few all-natural ingredients) that just launched in Whole Foods. Its peppy, poppy orange packaging looks a piece with an edgy urbanite’s set of Le Creuset pots and Breville Juicer.

 

Read the rest about Chia-infused beauty products and more at Well+Good NYC >>

 

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More reading from Well and Good NYC:

How to Balance pH for the Best Body You’ve Ever Had

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Summer is a season of renewal, and a great time to highlight pH balance, a critical factor in overall health, including maintaining a healthy digestive system, glowing skin, and a strong immune system. Like most things in life, it’s all about balance – in this case, between the level of acidity and alkalinity in your body. If your pH (short for potential of hydrogen) balance is too far in one direction or the other, it can be detrimental to your health.

I enlisted the help of  Dr. Jeffery Morrison to explain the specifics around pH balance, as well as easy dietary choices that help to correct imbalances. A leader in the Wellness field, Dr Morrison is a medical doctor as well as a nutrition expert. He heads up the Morrison Center in NYC and is the author of the book “Cleanse Your Body, Clear Your Mind.

What is the importance of the acid/alkaline balance in the body?

Dr. Morrison: Our bodies work the best when we are able to maintain the proper pH. When the body is too acid or too alkaline, it doesn’t work optimally.

What causes an imbalance?

JM: Our bodies are very efficient at keeping the acid/alkaline balance, but if we carry too much stress and our acid levels get too high, then the body needs to work extra hard to maintain that balance, leaving little energy for healing and repair.

When the body is too acidic, the cells become deprived of the oxygen they need to efficiently deliver nutrients and energy throughout the body. To buffer the acid in our blood and maintain a proper pH, the body also needs to steal calcium from our bones and magnesium from our cells. That is why people who are acidic over an extended period of time tend toward osteoporosis, low energy, and shorter life spans.

If too much acid can hurt us, why do we need it?

JM: We need the acid to help fight infection. We tend to become acidic when we are fighting an acute infection like a cold or the flu or healing a wound. The body’s response to infection is inflammation. Temperature and circulation increase while oxygenation decreases; it’s like localized chemotherapy. As a consequence, acid levels increase.

This is why people tend to get really tired when they are sick. Cells need oxygen to make energy and the acidic environment inhibits the cells from getting that oxygen. This is a healthy response. We want this to happen. This is how our bodies heal. However, when this acute reaction becomes a chronic one, then we get into trouble.

What steps can people make to create more alkalinity in their body?

 JM: Eating the wrong food plays a big role in how acidic we are. People who eat processed food, drink soda, and eat candy tend to be more acidic. Other things that play a role in our pH levels are chronic infections, long-term use of prescription medications, too much protein, and stress.

food-chartWhat foods are best to eat to promote optimum pH?

JM: The best foods to boost your alkalinity are leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, celery, and swiss chard, as well as some fruits. To shoot for an optimum pH, people should eat a diet that is 70% alkaline and 30% acidic. Acidic foods like nuts, grains, and proteins are an essential part of your diet but should make up only 30% of your food intake.

What about non-dietary factors?

JM: The other things that people can do to reduce the acidity in their bodies are moderate exercise, stress management, and to drink plenty of water.

How can people find out if they are acidic?

JM: There is a very simple test that anyone can pick up in a health food store: pH Balance strips. You can choose either urine or saliva, but I feel that urine is more accurate. Use the strips with your first morning urine. If you test below a 5, then it is likely that you are acidic.

What will people feel when they switch over from being too acidic to becoming balanced?

JM: When your body’s pH normalizes, you will feel more energized and less achy. You will sleep better, your mind will be clearer, your skin color will improve, and your ability to fight off infections will increase. This is because your cells will have proper oxygenation which will allow your body to function at its highest level.

For more inspiration, here are 4 pH-balancing recipes:

Kale Chips
pH Balance Juice
Berry Kale Smoothie
Beet Fennel Soup

 

Chart credit: Better Body Choices

Originally published on my website, Tapp’s Tips

The One Diet That Can Cure Most Disease: Part 2

Screen Shot 2013-06-05 at 6.24.34 PMClick here for Part 1.

What if you could cure all your health problems and lose 10 pounds in just 7 days?

That’s an amazing claim, hard to believe for sure, but I have seen this miracle so many times in my practice (and now from all the people who have posted on my website who followed my ideas) that even I am starting to believe it! My true goal is to help people feel better. Period.

Because I once was seriously ill with chronic fatigue syndrome, I know what it’s like to wake up every morning feeling like you can’t go on or to have a thousand and one other minor complaints that lower your capacity to enjoy life. Now, of course, with more serious illness, it may take more than one week to find the cause and the cure (although by using the systems of UltraWellness and functional medicine, it is possible for so many millions with chronic illness to get better over time).

Functional medicine is medicine by cause not symptom. The ONLY way to truly heal chronic disease and address weight problems and disease is to get to the ROOT of the problem, to find the cause, and then get rid of it and help the body heal. And two of the major factors that make people sick and fat are being toxic and being inflamed. So, the secret of the 7 days is to very quickly stop the things that make you toxic and inflamed (sugar, caffeine, alcohol, junk food, processed foods, etc.) and do things that help you detoxify and cool off inflammation (eat whole real foods, stop all potential food allergens, clean out your bowels, deeply relax, and more).

That’s when miracles can occur.

The scientific research supporting the role of inflammation and toxins in illness is overwhelming, but most doctors don’t know how to help their patients deal with it. Think of it as an experiment and try to prove it to yourself. Don’t believe me. I was trained in conventional medicine, practiced it for 10 years, and helped many people using the tools I was trained in—namely, medications and surgery. While I worked in the emergency room, those tools worked amazingly well, bringing people back from the brink of death and relieving suffering. But I realized that I wasn’t helping the tens and tens of millions of Americans (125 million to be exact) who suffer from some type of chronic illness. And that doesn’t include the millions who just don’t feel well.

In fact, I now believe that most people walk around just accepting feeling mediocre—tired, achy, brain fog, memory problems, depression, headaches, congestion, allergies, digestive problems, joint pains, PMS, skin problems—things that may not even be a disease, yet rob them of the possibility of feeling great. Who can say they are fully alive, full of energy, and able to greet the day with joy and enthusiasm? How many of us can really do that?

Well, I know this is possible for most people. And the sad thing is that most people don’t know why they feel less than fully alive and healthy and don’t connect it to their behavior or habits. The key to creating health is figuring out the cause of the problem and then providing the right conditions for the body and soul to thrive. It isn’t taking another medication!

Over the last 20 years of practicing at Canyon Ranch, founding The UltraWellness Center in Lenox, MA, and working with dozens of other leaders in the emerging field of functional and systems medicine, I have found the few simple things that make the most difference for the most people. That is why I write the books I write. But I was overwhelmed by how the lives of people who never even saw me as a patient were changed. When I read these stories, I realized that I could offer what I have been giving to my patients one on one to help them feel great very quickly and lose weight immediately without compromising my true goal of helping people get to the root of their health and weight problems.

And it occurred to me that what I do for nearly every patient who comes to see me is to give them a chance to see just how sick they have been and how powerful making a few simple changes can be in just one week. Once they see by directly feeling how their food choices and their behaviors make them sick—and they experience a taste of UltraWellness—then, they are empowered to make changes that can help them feel great and lose weight for the long term.

The most important things to address at the outset for weight loss and creating UltraWellness are inflammation and toxicity. These are among the two most important causes of chronic disease and obesity. So, I put together a simple program called The UltraSimple Diet Challenge, including all the tricks and tools I have used successfully with thousands of patients for so many years. In one short week, I teach them how to detoxify and to cool off chronic inflammation.

That is The UltraSimple Diet.

I asked many of you in my online community to try it and give me feedback. I was overwhelmed by the response. We had thousands respond but could only accept about 150 into the testing. Even though I know what I recommend is effective, I was very surprised by the power of the program in people who I had never even met or for whom I created a customized plan. It had dramatic effects. We had 131 people complete the program. We asked people to track their medical symptoms—things like headaches, fatigue, digestive problems, congestion, joint pain, depression, and more. In just one week, they had an average of 51.15% reduction in their symptoms. And they lost an average of 5.53 pounds (and many lost over 10lbs) and lost an average of 1.37 inches from their waist and 0.94 inches from their hips!

To me, the weight loss is nice, but it’s not the main objective (it’s a nice side effect and happens automatically if you deal with the underlying roots or causes of illness). The real benefit is the possibility of experiencing UltraWellness, a state of deep and true health and vitality. And it happens so quickly. You don’t need to believe me—just try it for one week. Join me for a webinar on May 29 to learn about how you can join The UltraSimple Diet Challenge that starts in just a few short weeks. It’s only seven days—anyone can do it!

And tell your friends. Pass this along.

I believe that if enough people really get to experience the difference in their health created by one week on The UltraSimple Diet Challenge, it will change them forever. It could create a cultural shift that may be able to fight the overwhelming power of the food and pharmaceutical industry, which controls our health.

Empower yourself, transform healthcare!

 

Originally published on my website, DrHyman.com

Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s Sued By California For Lead in Ginger – 3 Ways to Protect Your Family

Screen Shot 2013-05-20 at 4.43.29 PMEven seemingly benign, wholesome products can contain seriously unhealthy chemicals – it’s so hard to know where you’re food is coming from! In the latest lead scandal, the state of California is suing several major grocery stores – including Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s – for reportedly selling candied ginger and plum products with illegal lead levels.

The charges issued by the state attorney general’s office on April 30 point to the retailers’ negligence in knowingly selling products with high levels of lead without attaching proper warning labels. This goes directly against California’s Proposition 65, which requires businesses to give customers proper warning if any products are known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.

Before you run to throw out all the plum and ginger products in your kitchen, here are some of the specific items included in the lawsuit to take note of:

  • Reed’s Crystallized Ginger
  • Target’s Archer Farms Crystallized Ginger
  • Trader Joe’s Uncrystallized Candied Ginger
  • Whole Foods Bulk Ginger
  • Ginger People Baker’s Cut Crystallized Ginger Chips
  • Red Lantern Plum Candy
  • Kan Rose Plum and Preserved Plum.

Lead and lead-tainted products have been in the news frequently over the years – even just earlier in 2013 when several major baby food companies were brought to trial over lead levels. And it’s not just an issue with packaged food and containers. Fruits and vegetables grown in leaded soil may contain lead, though the primary danger may lie on the plants’ surfaces as residue from soil and pesticides.

Exposure to lead has been correlated with impaired brain development in infants and children, as well as elevated blood pressure, impaired mental function, fertility problems, and memory loss in adults. What can you do to protect your family and home from lead exposure? Here are some tips from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Consumer Product Safety Commission:

  1. Protect your home: Many homes built in the 20th century have materials that contain lead. If you’re buying or renting, check first to find out when it was built and with what materials. If you decide to renovate or repair, hire only EPA or state-approved lead safe firms. Also be sure to regularly clean floors and walls and maintain painted surfaces in good condition. (Contaminated dusk and cracked paint may be hazardous.)
  2. Protect your kids: Again, lead is more dangerous to children under 6-years-old. Wash your kids’ hands often; keep play areas and toys clean (also, older toys may have been painted with lead-containing paint); and keep kids from chewing or licking painted surfaces. (People with babies and toddlers will know what we mean.)
  3. Maintain healthy eating and lifestyle habits: If you are at any risk of lead exposure at work, be sure to remove shoes, wash, and change when you get home. According to the EPA, a diet rich in calcium and iron may reduce the risks of lead poisoning, and the ways food is prepared and stored can also be altered to minimize exposure (ie. using clean, toxin-free water.)
Lastly, we would add: Know where your food and purchases come from! 100% health safety means 100% transparency. With a bit of digging, you’ll find there are plenty of delicious, wholesome products out there that are organically and sustainably sourced.
*****
Editor’s Note: In the interest of full disclosure, Wakaya Perfection – a company that makes 100% organic ginger – is a partner of Intent.  For that reason, when we read about the lawsuit we were particularly interested in researching this story.

20 Natural Disease Fighters in Fruit (infographic)

We all know fruit is good for us. It’s a whole food, comes in its own packaging, and is naturally sweet and delicious.

But the hidden health benefits of fruit sometimes get taken for granted. Did you know that blueberries are No. 1 in antioxidants? Or that lemon helps prevent diabetes? That mangos can help protect your vision?

The list of health benefits is endless. Take your pick below and whip up some delicious smoothies, make a big colorful salad, or satisfy that sweet craving with a wholesome, natural dessert.

Healthier Living: 6 Steps To Start Taking Today

This week’s episode of “Perfectly Imperfect Parents” on The Chopra Well focuses on how parents can teach and model healthy living habits to kids. Dr. Cara Natterson from the show shares her own tips for a healthier, happier lifestyle.

By Dr. Cara Natterson

Frankly, that phrase is pretty intimidating: “Healthy Living.” If you aren’t abiding by it perfectly when you read it, it actually even feels judgy. It’s not meant to be, though. Healthy living is a goal, and so maybe the better term would be “healthier living.”

What is healthier living? It is taking whatever you are doing a step in the right direction. You know when you are really, really craving that chocolate chip cookie after lunch and you fight the urge and choose a juicy tangerine instead? And then you are completely floored that you sweet craving is gone because you have actually consumed something sweet? Yeah, that’s healthier living. It doesn’t mean you will never have the cookie – of course you will – but you are finding ways to make better choices some of the time.

Here are six keys to healthier living:

1. It means eating better by eating more whole foods and fewer processed ones. I do think it means eating more organic foods, but I don’t think organic brownies count.

2. Healthier living means choosing water over juice or soda.

3. It means exercising regularly, which for most people means forcing themselves to get out of the chair and start moving.

4. Healthier living means going to bed earlier and aiming for 8 (or if you are a growing kid, 10) hours of solid sleep. Like I said, it’s a goal. But it is a goal that is far easier to reach when you turn off the TV.

5. Healthier living means reducing screen time and chemical exposures.

6. It means finding ways to reduce stress, which for one person might be a yoga class and for another might be getting through a towering pile of mail and paying the bills.

Perhaps most importantly, healthier living means that you are doing better today than you did yesterday. And so that means it is never too late to start. Sometimes I sit down with families and talk about nutrition and exercise and sleep, and their eyes glass over. If a thought bubble could emerge above their heads it would say, uniformly, “You want me to do what?! That’s waaaaay too much to change.” But if you take little tiny steps and make small changes day-by-day and week-by-week, it really is doable. And you’ll feel better. And one day, you’ll go from aiming to be healthier to just being healthy.

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and stay tuned for more inspiring lifestyle tips on “Perfectly Imperfect Parents.”

Past Articles:

Managing Grandparents: How to Be a Parent When You’re Still Someone’s Child

How to Teach Our Kids About the Perils of Lying

Should Parents Allow Their Kids On Social Media

photo by: AlicePopkorn

Top 10 Healthy Things to Do in 2010

1). New Year; new asana. If you want to broaden your understanding of yoga, try a new style this year. If you’re a dedicated ashtangi, drop into a Restorative, Yin, or Kripalu class. Worship at the sweaty throne of Bikram? Refine your alignment in Iyengar. Love the fast pace of Baptiste or Vinyasa? Experiment with longer holds in Forrest yoga, greater emphasis on philosophy with Jivamukti, or heart-centered intention in Anusara. The purpose of practicing yoga is to evoke balance in our lives, thus it’s important to inspire balance by including some variety in our practice.

 
2). Less reality TV; more reality. Look, I don’t want to be a downer, but too much TV over-stimulates your brain (especially before bed), fattens your ass, saps your creativity, and erodes the personal, one-on-one relationships with real people that matter in your life. This year, watch the shows that inspire and entertain you, but cool it with the incessant background noise, relentless channel surfing, and late-night brain drain.
 
3). Forgive someone. Speaking of real people . . . They make mistakes. Big ones. Hurtful ones. Unforgivable ones. Forgive them anyway. Besides being the compassionate thing to do, it’s crucial to your health. The anger we feel toward others, if allowed to fester, pollutes our thoughts, and as the Buddha once explained, "All that we are is a result of what we have thought."
 
4). Make this your mantra: Eat whole foods. You can eat at the grocery chain Whole Foods too, if you like, but that’s not what I mean here. Whole foods are characterized by being as close to their natural, original states as possible. Skip the latest diets, swearing off carbs, and counting calories. Eat real food; think about where it came from; know how it got to your plate. Savor each bite. Eating mindfully will change your life and your body. Promise.
 
5). Get thee to Goodwill. Most of us have too much stuff. Get rid of what you don’t need; give it to someone who does. It’s a wonderful way to create space, physically and psychologically.
 
6). Turn your world upside down. If you only do one yoga pose all year, make it an inversion. If you’re familiar with uttanasa, viparita karani, shoulder stand, and downward dog (your head is below your heart in all of these poses, directing fresh blood to your brain), perhaps set an intention to learn more advanced poses such as headstand, forearm stand, or handstand. These potent postures provide immediate shifts in perspective and are among the most effective asanas you can perform.
 
7). Get acquainted with karma. Making resolutions to be a better person in the coming year are nice, but they don’t mean squat until you take action. The word karma actually translates to mean "action." To that end, good actions beget good actions and negative ones do the opposite. If this is the year you plan to take action in your community, help others in need, or volunteer for a cause in which you believe, quit talking about it. Find your focus, and take action.
 
8). Skip town. Taking a mental holiday need not be expensive or time-consuming, but it’s important to get a change of scenery on occasion. Maybe you spend a weekend in the mountains, drive to the beach for a day, or simply take a walk in a different part of town. Experiencing new places and people keeps us young.
 
9). Write it down. No matter what your goals are, you are more likely to achieve them if you write them down. Trying to lose weight? Keep a food diary. Need to get your personal finances in order? Write down everything on which you spend money over the course of a month, then strategize where you can make improvements. Hoping to cultivate a better relationship with someone special? Send them a hand-written, heartfelt note. Writing things down allows us to see the truth in black and white, and that is the most powerful step toward change.
 
10). Meditate. It always helps. It never hurts. It costs nothing. It improves everything.
 
Happy New Year!

 

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