Love Your Brain

Our brains are magical and mysterious. There is so much to learn about how our brain functions, heals, and prevents disease. What can we do to give our brains the best chance for health now and for the rest of our lives? We do know that a healthy diet can make all the difference.

Fixing the brain starts with fixing the body. The brain is beautifully resilient and can heal when given the proper conditions. Many of us do damage to the brain by consuming processed foods with artificial sweeteners and colorings, MSG, and GMO’s. Not having enough healthy fats, too much sugar and carbs, and low intake of  vitamins and minerals in the diet are important factors to remember.  And, don’t forget the chronic stress, inadequate sleep, alcohol abuse, and lack of exercise.

There is an “Anti-Alzheimer’s Trio,” recommended from the well-known doctor and author, Dr. Perlmutter, with three foods high in “brain-healthy” fat. Grass-fed beef, Avocados, & Unrefined Coconut Oil. This trio is obviously high in healthy fat, but low in inflammatory carbohydrates, helping to reduce systemic inflammation that can lead to so many brain issues. No worries if you want to skip the grass fed beef; the avocados and coconut oil are powerful enough. One of the all-time top winners for brain health is coconut oil, with its rich source of beta-HBA to work magic in the brain. I call it my “Brain Lover”… I use it daily in my smoothies, coffee, tea, tonics, and for my cooking.

Fat needs to be the fuel that we burn, not sugar, which is the most common. Some believe most chronic disease starts with the breakdown of your cells’ mitochondria. It’s important to realize that your brain and body can only be as healthy as your mitochondria.

Top Brain Tips

Exercise High-intensity interval exercise is especially beneficial. Know that the damage that results from lack of exercise is cumulative. The amount you exercise over your lifetime can impact the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer disease. The brain, just like our biceps needs to exercise for stimulation and healing.

Supplements Magnesium is extremely important, as well as B vitamins, omega fatty acids, D3 with K2, and Probiotics. Make sure to buy quality supplements. 

Detox Sweating in a sauna, especially an infrared red sauna, has many great health benefits, including expelling of toxins, improving blood circulation, and improving mitochondrial function. Research has even shown that regular sauna use may help stave off Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Heavy Metals Ditch the fluoride in drinking water and in your toothpaste. Contrary to what some believe, fluoride is toxic to bone and brain cells and is associated with reduction of IQ in children. The best way to prevent cavities and keep your brain healthy is a healthy diet, with a concentration of nutrient-rich green vegetables.

Set Yourself Up For Success Put aside a few hours on the weekends to cook some meals and snacks for the week. Hard boil a dozen eggs, bake chicken breasts or wings, cut up your vegetables, put raw nuts and seeds in mason jars on your kitchen counter, and wash your fruit. Then, you have NO excuse to consume processed foods or high carbs.

Little steps add up!
Try for 100% organic.
Buy fresh, buy local, and enjoy your greens.

Are you bloated?

I hear these confessions frequently from my clients, “Oh, I am so bloated”’, “I have horrible acid reflux”, “I have an upset tummy after almost every meal”. Do you find yourself rubbing your belly after your meals, sucking in your bloated gut at the beach, or have frequent gas or belching? It’s all about what we digest…. It’s almost as simple as stating that the secret to life is a healthy G.I. tract. I do not think that’s very far off. 90% of your serotonin is made in your gut, and many people struggling with depression or anxiety have G.I. issues.

Your gut begins in your mouth, starting with releasing digestive enzymes with your saliva. Chewing your food is essential for digesting your food properly. Also, it is known that chewing with your mouth open causes more air to be absorbed, therefore casing more gas. When you digest your food well, you can burn fat easily and heal the body, reaping the full benefits of what you eat. Aside from digestion, your system must be able to eliminate waste and toxins efficiently. If you take the time to chew your food properly, your G.I. health will be in better shape. If not, you work doubly hard to break down large clumps of food, and that seriously taxes your system.

Most people with reflux or heartburn produce too little hydrochloric acid. Ironically they will run out to buy antacids, which is exactly the opposite of what your stomach needs. What your gut is telling you is that it needs more hydrochloric acid. This provides the acidic environment necessary for the enzyme pepsin to break down proteins effectively, as well as helping to destroy parasites and harmful bacteria.

It’s unfortunate that most of us wait until we have a problem or are already in a diseased state before we decide to take charge of our health. It takes years to cause the deterioration of the G.I. tract, showing symptoms along the way as frequent headaches, low energy, constipation, bloating, gas, and of course, IBS. Every disease starts in the gut. Remember, your body is talking to you, so listen!

Try a morning breakfast smoothie that is easy to digest, healing, and tastes delicious.

Gut-Friendly Smoothie
¾ Cup Fresh Berries
2 tbsp. Hemp, Flax, or Chia seeds
Small Banana
¼ tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Raw & Local Honey or Bee Pollen
Organic Protein Powder, Possibly with Glutamine
Aloe Gel (gel from leaf) or Lily of the Desert liquid – 1 oz.
1 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Milk
Ice

Other gut healing additions you can try…. Collagen Powder, Powdered Colostrum, Fennel Seeds, Slippery Elm Bark Powder, and Coconut Water Keifer

Remember if you have any G.I. issues:

  • Take time to chew your food, even a smoothie
  • Eat raw food daily
  • Take digestive enzymes with meals
  • Consider supplementing with HCl with meals
  • Consume enough essential fatty acids
  • Increase fiber with chia, flax, or hemp seeds
  • Get rid of the chemicals in your food
  • Drink enough purified water

Once I comprehended the devastating effects of eating on the run and not chewing my food well, I realized that gut health was essential to my quality of life. There was no way I could continue to eat processed foods or gobble down my meals in hasty fashion. When the light bulb turned on, my habits changed and so did my health.

Try for 100% organic. Buy fresh, buy local, and enjoy your greens.

Why I Love Juicing

Juicing has changed my life, and only for the better.

Juicing for me is a lifeline to pure health where I feel and see the immediate positive benefits. There is so much research that shows the healing properties of juicing. Not only will juicing facilitate weight loss, strengthen immunity, increase energy levels, and help create that skin glow that we all want, juicing may also reduce chances of heart disease, cancer and strokes. Did you know that 95% of the vitamins and enzymes our bodies need are found in the juice of raw fruits and vegetables? Juicing your vegetables is the best way to hydrate the body and flood it with enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and powerful phytonutrients. It's like getting a transfusion of everything your body can use to generate new healthy cells. Veggie juices are nutrient powerhouses!

Green juice has been shown to be extremely beneficial for people suffering from many degenerative diseases. The quality of the juice is particularly important for individuals who suffer from nutritional deficiencies, IBS and other digestive disorders. That is why we want to focus on 100% organic juicing. One of the main advantages of juicing is that it requires little digesting and can be assimilated immediately into the bloodstream, allowing the digestive system to rest, therefore being able to heal. 

The best time to drink juice is on an empty stomach or at least an hour before eating a meal. This maximizes the amount of nutrients absorbed into the body and makes you less likely to consume unhealthy foods at your next meal. When you drink juice, highly concentrated vitamins, minerals and enzymes rapidly enter the bloodstream absorbing all of the nutritional benefits of the fruits and vegetables. Juicing removes the fiber from the fruits and vegetables, which allows your body to be flooded with the cholorphyll-rich water. These juices will alkaline the body and regenerate healthy new cells. Disease thrives in an acidic environment while health blossoms in an alkaline one. Alkaline juices will help to reset your pH level so that your body can thrive— right down to the cellular level. It’s a healing internal bath, washing away what we don’t want and need for pure health!

How to get started…

If you are new to juicing, I recommend a mid-priced juicer. Many people initially think that juicing will be a huge chore, but the majority are pleasantly surprised to find that it is much easier and fun than they thought it would be.

My Favorite Recipe

Drinking this green juice will alkalize your body and leave you feeling fabulous.

1 and 1⁄2 cups coconut water
2 leafs of kale
1 handful spinach
3 stalks celery
1 green apple
Juice from 1 lemon
1⁄2 bunch parsley

Note: add the coconut water at the end to your juice.
(Try for 100% organic! I feel that organic foods have more intense and delicious flavors. Additionally, buying organic supports chemical and pesticide-free practices that are healthier for our farmers and for our planet.)

The Power of Breakfast

I love breakfast! It sets me up for a fat burning day.

If I eat nutritious, whole food, I don't feel hungry until lunchtime. Even if I'm in a horrible rush, I never leave the house without something in my tummy.  Many of my clients make the mistake of skipping breakfast, which stops the fat burning power your body innately has.  They skip that crucial meal, or drink too much coffee, don’t eat enough protein and healthy fat, or consume high carbohydrates and then wonder why they carry extra weight.  It’s amazing to watch the pounds fall off when people add a healthy breakfast to their life.

A smoothie is my way to go. It fills you up and gets all those good nutrients inside you in one great drink.  It’s important to “chew” your smoothie taking in all those nutrients slowly, therefore allowing proper absorption. I often make my son and daughter a smoothie so that I can sneak in chia seeds, homemade almond milk, coconut oil,  and greens without them batting an eye. Shhhhh, don’t tell them!

If I don’t even have time for a smoothie (which is rare) I will grab a handful of raw nuts or seeds. I always have some in my purse or car for an afternoon snack.  Although raw nuts are an excellent choice to eat, if you have weak digestion they can somewhat be difficult to digest causing indigestion and bloat.  This appears to be due to the enzyme inhibitor, phytic acid that keeps nuts and seeds in a dormant state until conditions are right.  To neutralize this acid and gain the maximum nutritional benefit, it is best to soak or sprout them in water before eating. This will stimulate the process of germination, releasing the vitamin C and increasing the vitamin B content.  Soaking nuts also breaks down the starch responsible for intestinal distress. Almonds and walnuts should be soaked at least 12 hours. Cashews should be soaked at least 6 hours.  Once they are softened, rinse in water and add them directly to your smoothie or some other recipe. I also love to dehydrate them or lightly bake and add sea salt and spices. 

My favorite nuts are almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, and walnuts. My favorite seeds are chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds.  A day does not go by where I don't have a handful of nuts or seeds. I store them in mason jars on my kitchen counter so my whole family can readily enjoy them.  Most of us are deficient in these essential fatty acids within those nuts and seeds.  They help us burn excess fat, improve our immune system, lower inflammation, remove toxins from our skin, intestinal tract and kidneys. They also nourish and feed our brain and eyes,  lubricate our cardiovascular system, which reducing the threat of heart disease and stroke.

 My Favorite Nut Milk Recipe:

One cup raw (natural) almonds, soaked
3 to 4 cups of purified water
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp of unrefined coconut oil
Dash of sea salt

Place almonds in a bowl and cover with filtered water and soak overnight or 6-8 hours. Discard water.

Add nuts, fresh filtered water being careful not to fill your blender past 3/4 full.  Add lid tightly and blend on high speed until nuts are completely broken down, usually 1-2 minutes. Strain with a nut milk bag (available online or at health food stores) into a jug or bowl.  If you don't have a nut milk bag, you can also use cheesecloth. Rinse the blender and add back the strained nut milk. I then add my cinnamon, salt, and coconut oil with the nut milk.  Delicious! I add this to my smoothies, afternoon hot green tea, chia seed pudding,  and granola.

Simple pantry items that may improve your health

While good health is a lifestyle and not just an "instant fix", I do have some top health secrets I have learned over the years. Here are a few of my favorites easy pantry options to spice up your diet. These spices promote health and wellness in your entire body not just in a particular area. Treating the "whole person" is why I believe these spices can benefit you so greatly. Little changes can add up to make beautiful health benefits. Try incorporating a few of these tips in your diet to possibly add years to your life and most definitely put a little bounce in your step.

Turmeric is one of my top favorite foods to add to my diet. Curcumin, which is found in turmeric, is a POWERFUL antioxidant which decreases inflammation and improves joint and connective tissue health. It can improve cholesterol levels and kills bacteria that causes cold and flu. Turmeric is a healing food that displays strong anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, antioxidant, and anti-microbial characteristics.  Some reports indicate that turmeric contains a number of healing agents that block the formation of beta-amyloid, the substance responsible for the plaques that slowly obstruct cerebral function in Alzheimer's disease.

Try adding fresh turmeric to smoothies, salads, herbal teas, fresh juices, and soups. I love to sprinkle turmeric on my mashed cauliflower. Trust me, this is a better side dish than mashed potatoes.

Ginger is another top visitor in my home.  It’s an incredible anti-inflammatory, organ cleanser, and a digestive aid.  It's highly useful for stimulating your digestive enzymes and helping with all kinds of nausea such as motion and morning sickness.  I recommend ginger to many of my clients with G.I. distress, gas, bloating, IBS, and reflux issues.  It’s easy to have fresh ginger on hand at all times. Cut the skin off the roots, chop or lightly blend in blender, put in a bag and freeze. Ginger thaws in less than 15 minutes and is ready for use.  There have been some good studies with gingers’ positive effect on prostate cancer protection.

Cinnamon is high in selenium, an antioxidant that helps reduce oxidative stress from the free radicals in the body.  It also reduces inflammation by inhibiting production of chemicals produced from immune cells. Cinnamon supports insulin sensitivity by slowly raising blood sugar and moving glucose into cells more efficiently.  Add liberally to beverages and food such as coffee, herbal tea, smoothies and sweet potatoes. 

Don’t Count Calories, Count Chemicals

One of the critical factors that people trying to lose weight most often miss is how  environmental toxins -- from chemicals in food, beauty and home products, and even the air we breath in our home, can stand in the way of total health and weight loss. Toxins interfere with your appetite control and fat management functions. They can keep your appetite turned on while instructing your cells to store fat. Fat is a protector of your body, so more toxins equal more fat! 

The so-called fattening chemicals can range from hormones and antibiotic fed of the animals that you consume, to the cleaning products you use in your kitchen, or the artificial sweeteners in your diet drinks. To prevent and reverse disease and control your weight, you must limit your exposure to toxins. When the amount of toxins coming in exceeds our capacity to detoxify them, the result is toxic overload and disease. 

Virtually every chemical found in our food appears to have a significant effect on at least one of the major weight-controlling hormones. These chemicals tend to increase the levels of insulin and steroids, while reducing the levels of the “slimming” hormones such as thyroid, growth hormones, and catecholamines. Catecholamines (hormones such as, dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine) control our appetite and set our energy levels. 

Most processed foods in jars, cans, and packages contain MSG and other food additives in one form or another, which will interfere with your efforts to lose weight and be healthy. MSG stimulates the production of excess insulin, which we all know has a number of negative side effects --- inhibiting fat burning and increasing sugar cravings. 

Every time you buy a processed food, whether it’s dessert, breakfast cereal, candy, prepared frozen meal, or a bag of chips, you most likely have no idea how many chemicals are really in that food. Worse, you have no idea what its doing to your body! Eating genetically modified organism (GMO) foods presents risks with unknown dimensions! GMO are unnatural and completely unsafe, but they are still over 75% of the foods sold in the U.S. supermarkets.  The best way to avoid these is to eat organic as much as possible, 100% would be best. 

Remember, food labels do not list toxic chemical residues, such as mercury in tuna or the pesticides and hormones contained in meat and diary. Start educating yourself for you and your family’s health.  Switch over to organic foods, eat plenty of fresh and local produce, drink pure water, exercise, use organic beauty supplies, and use natural cleaning products for your home.

 

 

Are You Breathing?

I just recently returned from an incredible retreat to Vail and I was advised that I was not breathing to my fullest potential.  My week away included Kundulini yoga, breathwork sessions, meditation, journaling, hiking, and delicious vegan food. I learned how to breathe and how to move my breath from my toes all the way to the top of my head. My cells felt like they were truly awake, leaving my body and mind renewed and refreshed like never before. 

 We all know that oxygen is the cells most vital nutrient. Deep breathing of fresh air is an essential part of health and weight loss. Oxygenating your cells energizes your entire body. The more oxygen available to your cells, the more energetic and less hungry you will feel.  Try this the next time you feel tired or hungry when you shouldn’t be. Go outside if possible and take a few minutes to practice deep belly breathing. Your appetite will likely be suppressed and your sluggishness will be diminished. 

Most people are not aware that they are breathing the wrong way. Although it is simple to change your old ways, effective breathing is accomplished by using your  diaphragm. When you're using your diaphragm you are doing belly breathing rather than just breathing from your chest.  Correct breathing should also be through the nose rather than your mouth. The nose acts like a filter and breathing should be slow and deep.

 I love living at the Northend. I enjoy living close to the shore where there is an abundance of negative electric charges.  You might have noticed that you feel more refreshed near the ocean and this is because it has a higher concentration of negative ions to positive ones. Begin to practice taking in more air by inhaling for 5 seconds, holding for 5 seconds, exhaling for 5 seconds and then wait with no air for 5 more seconds. Move the breath with the least effort possible.  Diaphragmatic breathing involves a gentle expansion at the midriff that can be very quieting, fulfilling, and calming.

Ideally you should sleep with your windows open even if only a crack to allow fresh air into your room where you spend most of your time. Try it and you’ll find you won’t want to sleep without it even in the dead of winter. 

 If you’re feeling stressed, tired, or hungry, take a short break and go outdoors for a few breathing exercises. This is one excellent weight-loss habit.  I am now convinced that proper breathing is the foundation for healing work of all kinds.