Category Archives: Nourishment

Health & Wealth

 

Do you have to be wealthy to stay healthy? Many people believe they can’t afford healthier options because at first glance, organic produce, higher quality prepared foods, and alternative health modalities appear more expensive. But fiber rich, nutrient dense food is almost always the best bargain for your health and wallet. For example, the plant based option in restaurants is always less expensive than the meat and fish, sometimes by half. When cooking at home, you can feed your whole family for a few dollars with delicious, infinite variations of beans, rice, and veggies.

Not only that, but healthier choices are becoming less and less expensive as they become more mainstream and widely available. There are so many organic products at discount stores like BJ’s, Target, Cosco, and Walmart making it more affordable than ever to eat abundant whole, plant foods. You can get fresh pressed, unpasteurized green juices in most Target stores now! Also, alternative health care modalities like chiropractic are getting better coverage by insurance companies.

Families that embrace good nutrition and natural health save big time on copays and medical bills. In our families, we can count on one hand the times we needed over the counter or prescription medication or went to the doctor for anything besides well checkups and the occasional sports injury. We also save time, miss less work and school, and most importantly, enjoy feeling our best!

Not only do you save money on the usual pesky annoyances like colds, flu, ear infections, cavities, etc, but you save long term by avoiding the big chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. Reams of studies have proven beyond a doubt that nutrition and self care make a huge impact on disease risk. Check out inspiring health documentaries like Forks over Knives, Food Matters, Hungry for Change, What the Health, or Fed Up. Most are available on Netflix or YouTube.

In the US, kids at younger and younger ages are getting the chronic diseases previously associated with old age. Children as young as 10 are getting Type 2 diabetes (previously called “adult onset” diabetes) and atherosclerosis. So US children are going to become patients at a much earlier age, requiring expensive drugs and medical interventions for many more years than ever before. No matter what insurance system we end up with, this is unsustainable from a broader perspective. It may be our patriotic duty to care for our health at this point!

One last thought… It’s interesting that many people who are reluctant to spend a couple extra dollars on organic produce don’t bat an eyelash for expensive {unhealthy} restaurant meals, alcoholic beverages, daily Starbucks, etc. Is there an overall trend in your spending that could be shifted towards healthier options? You could upgrade some choices (for example, getting the veggie stir fry instead of the steak) or set some parameters to limit spending on unhealthy options (for example, getting Starbucks once a week instead of five days a week). Let’s invest in our health rather than subsidize illness!

Photo credit: Rachael Mair

Confused by the Coconut Conundrum?

Like millions of other coconut lovers, you may feel utterly confused about recent media coverage of coconut oil. For some years now, it’s been revered as a skin saving, metabolism boosting, brain building, teeth whitening, virus killing, hair conditioning, fountain of youth and health. But in the last few weeks, we’ve seen respectable news sources telling us that coconut oil is not in fact good for us, and not only that, but it never was. They said it’s full of saturated fat and raises your bad (LDL) cholesterol! Before you pull out your well conditioned hair or grind your pearly white teeth, let’s discuss.

Having studied this for a few decades now, the one thing I can say with complete certainty is that with regard to human nutrition, things are always infinitely more complex than they appear on the surface. Even things that everyone seemed to agree on, like saturated fat and LDL cholesterol. As it turns out, not all saturated fat or LDL cholesterol is bad.

There are multiple forms of saturated fat – some are long molecules, some are short, and some are just right. Coconut oil has medium chain triglycerides, which has been shown to boost metabolism, enhance fat burning, reduce appetite, improve digestion, create energy, boost endurance, bolster brain function, benefit hormone levels, improve cardiovascular health, and like all fats, help absorb fat soluble nutrients. So, some forms of saturated fat are beneficial. Also, not all LDL is bad. There are “fluffy” forms that appear not to be harmful, unlike the smaller, denser form of LDL, which is actually the damaging form. Research has shown us that coconut oil raises the unharmful, fluffy form of LDL.

Dr Mark Hyman reports, “Studies show saturated fat raises LDL (your so-called “bad” cholesterol) but it improves the quality of the LDL and increases its size making it less likely to promote heart disease. It also raises HDL (“good” cholesterol). On the other hand, sugar lowers HDL. Ultimately, the ratio of total to LDL cholesterol and particle number and size are a far bigger predictor of heart attacks than LDL itself.”

The fact that coconut oil is mostly saturated fat makes it a better oil to cook with than other oils. When you expose unsaturated oils to heat, the bonds break down and they form a highly destructive oxygen species called “free radicals”. Free radicals cause oxidation, which results in accelerated aging, break down of cells and tissues, inflammation, and chronic disease. This is exactly why we need antioxidants. So you will expose yourself to fewer free radicals when cooking with a stable, saturated coconut oil than even olive oil.

What trends do we see in people who routinely eat coconut oil? Well, traditional populations have been consuming coconut oils for centuries without any adverse effects. In fact, the 1978 Demographic Yearbook of the UN reported that the death rate due to ischemic heart disease in Sri Lanka was 1 in a million. Other countries reported much higher numbers, between 38 and 188. Guess what dietary oil Sri Lankans eat the most of… You guessed it! Coconut oil.

With all of this evidence of the benefits of coconut oil, we may be left wondering why the American Heart Association would have recommended that we avoid coconut oil. Let’s first consider their track record. They not only recommended for years that we consume margarine, until the FDA actually banned it, but they are currently recommending foods that are shown without a doubt to be harmful to human health, like foods loaded with sugar, inflammatory, highly processed omega 6 oils, and carcinogenic deli meats (also full of saturated fat). They even put their seal of approval on Lucky Charms. Can we really trust anyone that encourages us to buy Lucky Charms?

The authors of the AHA report rake in millions of dollars from canola oil companies, the beef association, drug companies, and the big food companies bringing us all these unhealthy, processed foods. The AHA is unfortunately not doing the job they have been tasked to do – protect the cardiovascular health of Americans. Could their funding be influencing their recommendations? Share your thoughts below!

One finer point we should discuss is that oil (no matter what type) is not a “whole food”, meaning that it was extracted from a food, and is missing the fiber, protein, carbohydrates, etc. Our goal should always be to make our diets more “whole” – focusing on foods the way nature provides them, with nothing artificially added or removed. When you eat primarily whole foods, you don’t have to worry so much about getting enough of this or that, or too much of this or that. For this reason, oil in general should be minimized. But when you do use an oil to create your many fabulous recipes, enjoy coconut oil knowing that it is one of the best choices available.

Also, coconut oil is a wonderful beauty product. You can use it:

  • As a deep conditioning treatment. Just rub a teaspoon or so into your hair and let it soak in for an hour or more. Wash well.
  • As a skin conditioner. Using it as a lotion/cream makes your skin feel so velvety. It also provides a little sun protection! I use it primarily on my body. It is a little heavy for my facial skin. See where it works for you!
  • As a teeth whitener. In the morning, let a couple teaspoons of coconut oil melt in your mouth. Then swish it around for 5 – 20 minutes, as you take care of your morning cleaning up. Spit it out in the trash, not the skink, since it can clog the sink over time. After a couple weeks of doing this daily, you will notice whiter teeth. It also is good for dental health.
  • As an eye makeup remover. Smooth a little bit on your eyelashes and gently wipe off with a tissue. Rinse with water, and gently wipe again.

Celebrating Freedom!

Happy 4th of July week! As the US celebrates freedom and liberty, we wish you sparkling health and freedom from the symptoms of the western diet:

  • Low energy
  • Food hangovers
  • Rapid aging
  • Poor digestion
  • Chronic disease
  • Apathy
  • Brain fog
  • Excess weight

More than anything else, what we put in our bodies determines how we feel on every level, how well our bodies work, and how rapidly we age. What we eat literally makes up who we are. So why not choose nourishing, real food that keeps us energized, strong, and functioning at peak capacity? It tastes just as good, and usually much better, than the processed junk full of calories and devoid of nutrition. It usually only takes a little awareness and a few simple changes to enjoy abundant energy, clarity of mind, radiant skin, and sparkling health.

Frankin D Roosevelt said, “In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed, it must be achieved.” This is true in the health world as well. You are the only one that can create excellent health in your body. You can take medications and get treatments, but these usually provide temporary, superficial benefits, as well as negative side effects. In the truest sense, health is achieved by deep, inner nourishment and self care. Fortunately, in our land of plenty, we have grocery stores brimming with phenomenal options. All we have to do is make the better choices a little more often.

A fantastic and fun way to do that is through the raw food approach. Join us for Raw Rejuvenation this summer – a simple, relaxed, fun program with the most vibrant food you’ve ever eaten and perhaps the best results you’ve ever had. PS That raw blueberry pie with patriotic topping is right out of our raw rejuvenation recipe collection, and it is delicious!

Tequila vs Wheatgrass

Do you love doing shots but want to be healthy? We have a solution… Do wheat grass shots!

This gorgeous emerald green superfood beverage will make you feel SO good* that you won’t even want tequila shots anymore! Let’s be honest, tequila is fun for a few hours, but then your skin looks like a raisin by the end of the night, your sleep gets disrupted, your digestion gets wonky, your liver starts storing fat, and the next day, you probably will need to skip your morning workout because you feel so crappy. That sends you on a downward spiral towards lethargy, aging, missing good times, and generally not being happy with your body, or anything else for that matter.

On the other hand, wheatgrass makes you feel happy, not crappy! In a nutshell, wheat grass shots make you strong, energized, and gorgeous! Check out these gorgeous healthy people trying out wheatgrass shots…!

Some of the many benefits of wheatgrass shots include:

  • Cleanses blood and liver of toxins and heavy metals.
  • Improves digestion.
  • Fortifies blood.
  • Nourishes your whole body with a multitude of minerals, vitamins, all 20 amino acids, and chlorophyll.
  • Oxygenates blood and improves endurance and fitness.
  • Rich in antioxidants and enzymes that reduce inflammation and free radical damage.

Beauty bonus! The sum total of all the nutrients in wheat grass make their way to your skin, giving it a healthy glow, and also help clear up skin issues like acne, psoriasis, and eczema. There is anecdotal evidence that it also helps to prevent gray hair. There may not be a more beautifying beverage out there!

Having a 2 oz shot of wheat grass is equivalent to 5 lbs of produce! You could eat salads all day long and not get all the nutrition in a small shot of wheatgrass.

If this sounds good, but you still want your tequila from time to time, do a wheatgrass shot before you go out for tequila, and again the next morning to detox your liver and energize your body.

You can get wheat grass shots at health food stores, restaurants such as Life Alive, or mix the powder with water. If you are inspired to make wheat grass to be a way of life, you can easily grow it and juice it at home. Consume it ideally within 15 minutes of juicing to get the maximum nutrient density.

* Note, in very rare instances, the intense nutrition of wheat grass shots can cause nausea. It passes quickly. As you get used to wheat grass, that will not continue to occur.

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What do you REALLY want for Mother’s Day?

What do you really want for Mother’s day? The same old, same old – chocolate and flowers? Sure chocolate tastes good, but you don’t necessarily appreciate the after effects. Flowers are pretty, but they don’t last very long. How about the gift that keeps giving… something that makes your body lighter and brighter, your skin glow, and gives you more energy and zest for life? Our spring rejuvenation cleanse will do just that. We guarantee that you will feel better with our program and have fun doing it! Our program is created by a nutritionist – so it’s backed by nutrition science, and a chef – so you know that you will enjoy delicious food. You can get everything you need at the grocery store. Check out our cleanse page for more information! If you’re up for a life changing May, tell your family to give you the gift of glowing health, or give yourself that gift! Your family will also benefit – often we hear that husbands lose 15 lbs just from eating the wife’s cleanse meals with her, and they also snore less or not at all – another gift for Mom. Share with other moms who might like to cleanse with you!

Cleansing Kitchari

This powerful cleansing meal from Ayurveda balances your doshas (energies)! Feel free to adjust the seasonings to your taste. Don’t let the long ingredient list scare you – the active prep time is minimal. Spices are anti-inflammatory and chock full of antioxidants. This meal is also rich in protein and fiber. Some people eat this for a few days as a very simple cleanse.

  • 1 cup split yellow moong beans (also spelled mung, and dahl)
  • ½ cup brown basmati rice
  • 1 Tbsp olive or avocado oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds (or brown)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 Tbsp ginger root, peeled and grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1 Tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 Tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp fenugreek powder
  • 1 pinch hing – also called asafetida, optional
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 piece of seaweed (such as kombu), optional
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Wash split yellow mung beans and rice together until water runs clear. Heat the oil in a large pot on medium heat and add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds and toast until the mustard seeds pop (2 – 3 minutes) add the remaining  spices (except the bay leaves). Stir for a few minutes.

Add beans and rice, carrot, and celery and stir again. Add water, bay leaves, and seaweed, and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Turn heat to low, cover pot and continue to cook until beans and rice become soft (about 30 – 40 minutes).

Remove bay leaves and add the kale.  Cook until the kale becomes soft 2- 3 minutes. Add more salt to taste, if desired. Sprinkle on the cilantro leaves just before serving.

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Lighten & Brighten this Spring with Ayurveda

Your body wants to cleanse in the spring. Even if you do nothing, it will try its very best to cleanse all on its own, just like the rest of the natural world is doing. You can help it along by actually doing a whole food cleanse, eating cleansing spring foods, and making adjustments to your sleep and exercise routines. On the other hand, many people unwittingly block their body’s cleansing efforts by failing to adjust their diet to spring cleansing foods and practices. Then they end up hanging on to winter weight, feeling sluggish, allergic, mucous-y, uninspired, and even depressed.

Ayurveda, the world’s oldest, continuously practiced health care system in the world, offers perhaps the best advice for aligning with spring cleansing. It’s focused on releasing toxins, lethargy, and excess weight that naturally accumulates in the winter, and cultivating a sense of lightness and energy through seasonal eating and self care practices.

In the spring, favor light, low sugar and low fat foods in the spring. That means reducing fatty/heavy foods like oils, diary, nuts & seeds, avocados, meats, and sweet fruits, while increasing leafy greens, sprouts, and low sugar fruits and vegetables. Following these recommendations will help you to shed excess weight, release toxins, and energize your mind and body!

Fruits

  • Favor: Berries, apples, pears.
  • Reduce/Avoid: Heavy or sweet fruits like pineapple, banana, mango, melon, and avocado. A small amount of dried fruits like dates are okay.

Vegetables

  • All veggies are good! Emphasize leafy greens of all types, sprouts, root vegetables, radishes, green beans, onions, garlic, mushrooms.

Nuts & Seeds

  • Eat sparingly.
  • Favor: Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, hemp seeds, chia seeds.
  • Reduce/Avoid: Nut butters, almonds, walnuts, cashews, Brazil nuts flax seeds.

Legumes

  • Most legumes are good in the spring, but lentils are especially wonderful! Check out our recipe for kitchari – a nourishing, balancing, cleansing meal.

Oils

  • Reduce oils in general. This would be the time to experiment with sautéing in water instead of oil! Roasted pumpkin seed oil is so flavorful, that you only need a tiny drizzle to make your salad or veggies totally delicious.

Dairy

  • Avoid dairy, especially ice cream and cold milk. The more dairy you eat, the worse your spring allergies will be.

Grains

  • Favor: Quinoa, millet, dry oats, rye. Long grain brown rice is okay.
  • Reduce/Avoid: Wheat, rice.

Animal Protein

  • Reduce animal protein in general, especially red meat. Seafood, poultry, and eggs are okay in moderation.

Spices

  • All spices are great in the spring, but reduce salt as much as possible. Turmeric is wonderful all year, and especially in the spring.

Supplements

  • Consume cleansing supplements like spirulina and chlorella.

Self care

  • Go to bed early and wake up with the sun.
  • Get moving in the morning with some gentle exercise like yoga or walking.
  • Avoid napping during the day if possible.
  • Exercise and sweat every day.
  • Avoid snacking between meals.

Join us!

For a thorough cleanse for mind & body with expert support – cleanse with us beginning May 7th!

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Super Food Tabouli

I keep running out of hemp seeds, and the other day wished for a way to buy hemp seeds in bulk. That wish manifested in ONE day – faster than anything else I’ve ever wished for! Doing a grocery store tour at Wegman’s, I saw on a low shelf a rather large 5 lb bag of hemp seeds, and felt as if I just won the jack pot! So now I don’t have to ration them or worry about running out ever again. I can get my protein, omega 3’s, minerals, fiber, etc so easily and with so many different meals, including smoothies. So today, I decided to use my hemp seeds for a super food tabouli. I made this like you’d make any other salad, not measuring anything really, just a handful of this, a sprinkle of that, and it came out perfect. Try it and enjoy!

Remember, everything is approximate.

  • 1 small bunch of fresh parsley, large stems removed, and roughly chopped
  • a few scallions, sliced
  • a handful of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • a quarter of an organic, English cucumber, diced
  • about a half cup hemp seeds
  • juice from a half of a lemon
  • a generous drizzle of cold pressed olive oil
  • a couple pinches sea salt
  • a sprinkle of pepper
  • a garlic clove, crushed
  • a sprinkle of oregano
  • a sprinkle of cumin
  • half of an avocado, cubed

Add all ingredients except avocado to bowl, and mix. Add more seasoning, to taste. Fold in the avocado. Enjoy!

 

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How to Prevent 8 Million Deaths

In the video below, Dr Pam Popper from the Wellness Forum discusses a meta analysis involving 95 studies and 2 million people that concluded that if everyone ate 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, we could avoid 7.8 million deaths from chronic disease. Furthermore, if people aren’t dying from chronic disease, most likely they’re not suffering from it in the first place. Imagine how much suffering, medical expense, and disability can be avoided by simply including more of these delicious foods in your diet. Although most Americans consume only a small fraction of the recommended amount, getting ten servings each day is easier than you might imagine. A serving is considered 1/2 cup fruit, 1 cup leafy veggies, or 1/2 cup cooked veggies. Eating fruit for snacks and ensuring that your meals are plant based makes the goal of 10 servings per day perfectly attainable.

10 servings – get it today!

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Revving Metabolism

In our benefit yoga class this weekend, a yogi asked us if The Ultimate Rejuvenation Cleanse speeds up your metabolism. Our program will definitely benefit your metabolism, the healthy way.

The only thing on the cleanse that possibly increases metabolism is green tea, but it’s only a modest 4%, and isn’t significant. The real reason we recommend green tea is for its powerful antioxidant properties (especially matcha green tea).

Although there is nothing in the cleanse that forcefully revs your metabolism, we do avoid the foods that suppress your metabolism – things like sugar, artificial sweeteners, gluten, peanuts, and other allergens. These foods can directly suppress the thyroid, negatively affect insulin sensitivity, contribute to leaky gut, and/or result in systemic inflammation, which is not good for any part of your physiology or metabolism. At the same time, we focus on delicious, whole foods that protect the mitochondria (the cells’ energy centers) from oxidative damage, so that they can work at full capacity.

Unlike unsafe drugs that force your body to burn more calories, our clean eating plan simply removes the blockages to a robust metabolism. The result is that you start losing weight without starving yourself or running 20 miles a day.

Our New Year cleanse begins January 15, 2017! Register here. For more FAQs, click here.

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