Interview With Sharon Salzberg About Her
New Book, Real Happiness at Work

Real Happiness at Work

Dr L: As you know, the title of your book is Real Happiness at Work. Some might object to the title and say that happiness is not possible, and perhaps not even desirable, in the workplace. What do you think about this position? 

SharonI don’t define happiness simply as pleasure or having fun, but as something much more than that. I think happiness is deeply related to resilience, an inner sense of wholeness that prevents us from feeling depleted or overcome by difficult circumstances. Happiness is born of our ability to tap into our inner sources of strength while also connecting to a bigger picture of life.

In the context of work, it’s not only possible, but necessary, to achieve this kind of happiness. Otherwise, we either burn out or become indifferent. Neither is a good position from which to sustain our efforts.

Dr LIn the introduction to Real Happiness at Work, you introduce the five Core Meditations as the basis of all the meditations in the book. What are the five Core Meditations?

Sharon: The core meditations include the basic breath meditation, paying attention to emotions, walking, letting go of thoughts, and Lovingkindness. 

The core meditations form a comprehensive path to meditation skills. If we practice them, we build a strong set of foundational skills that allow us to deepen concentration, mindfulness and compassion. Concentration helps steady and center our attention. Mindfulness refines our perspective by helping us see things more clearly, including the many old reactions and fears that can cloud our vision. Compassion strengthens the forces of Lovingkindness towards ourselves, and towards others. 

Dr LWhy write about mindfulness in the context of work – and why now?

SharonIf we practice mindfulness—a balanced quality of awareness that allows us to connect to a given moment’s experience without becoming lost in immediate reactions to it – our worlds open up. By practicing mindfulness, we open up the door to discernment, compassion, and intelligent, empowered choice. All of these are valuable whatever kind of work we do. 

Mindfulness is also the basis for insight. If we try to deny or avoid a difficult thought or scenario as soon as it appears, we don’t make adequate space for learning. If we become swamped by reflexive reactions, we leave little room for a sense of perspective. Mindfulness transforms our lives by enabling us to be more present and aware, which becomes the platform from which we can reach greater wisdom and compassion.

And why now? Recent research has shown that mindfulness meditation improves one’s concentration, memory, energy and mood while on the job. We’re seeing more and more corporations, non-profits, tech companies, universities and government agencies exploring the potential benefits of mindfulness for their employees.

Dr LWhat can we gain from being fully present in the workplace? How does that contribute to greater happiness?

SharonIn a previous book, Real Happiness, I wrote about “continuous partial attention,” the fragmented and hyper way we often pay attention these days. We ostensibly pay attention in this way so as not to “miss” anything – but this scattered way of “paying attention” often leaves us feeling stressed and unfulfilled.

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Posted by on Apr 18, 2014| 0 Comments

From the Be Well Kitchen:
Bulletproof Coffee Recipe

Bulletproof Coffee
By Be Well Health Coach Kerry Bajaj

I bet you never thought you’d hear someone from Dr. Lipman’s office touting the benefits of coffee, but we are constantly learning and evolving here, and Bulletproof Coffee is our latest experiment!

While our cabinets are full of tea, we do have an espresso machine at the wellness center and it gathered dust for a long time. Until one day, when a patient who had reversed his rheumatoid arthritis by following a Paleo diet told us about his new morning beverage. He described a drink that sounded quite odd: coffee + MCT oil + grass-fed butter.

Be Well Bulletproof Coffee Recipe:

Makes 1 serving
- 1 shot of espresso (or one cup of organic coffee)
- 1 tbsp MCT oil
- 1 tbsp unsalted grass-fed butter (like KerryGold butter)

Combine all three ingredients in a high-speed blender for about 20 seconds, until the drink takes on a frothy consistency. Enjoy!

Who is Bulletproof Coffee good for?

This is a good option if you don’t normally have breakfast, or if you practice intermittent fasting. It’s a good option if you are hooked on coffee and want to upgrade the health benefits of your morning cup. It’s good if you have very low energy or brain fog in the morning. (Even though I’m quite sensitive to caffeine, I don’t get jittery from Bulletproof Coffee. But if you’re not a fan of coffee, no pressure to try this!)

When is the best time of day for Bulletproof Coffee?

We recommend having this drink first thing in the morning. You may find that it gives you a boost of energy that will last for hours. By having this drink in the morning, it will signal to your body to burn fats for energy and will boost your cognitive function.

Why do we like MCT Oil?

MCT’s (Medium-chain triglycerides) are a unique form of fat that require less energy and enzymes to be digested. As a result, they are a readily available source of energy, leading to an increase in metabolism and providing quick energy replenishment. Unlike other dietary fats, MCTs don’t get stored as fat in the body, they get burned for energy. MCT’s improve satiety, which means less hunger and less cravings, two important components in healthy weight management.

Why do we like grass-fed butter?

Butter from grass-fed cows supplies a ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids that’s much healthier than what comes from cows that are fed corn or soy. Grass-fed butter is a good source of carotene, vitamin A and vitamin K2. While we often encourage people to avoid most dairy, grass-fed butter is generally not a problem because it contains fats, with only minor traces of dairy proteins. You’ll also find the color is a more vibrant yellow and the flavor is much better than butter from grain-fed cows.

Isn’t it too much fat?

It’s a lot of fat! The caveat I would make is that you should not be having butter-coffee along with a big heavy meal — I think of this as a “mini meal” or meal replacement. More and more research is showing that refined carbs and sugar are making us fat and leading to heart disease — not fats. Dr. Lipman has been working to set the record straight on fats:

4 Reasons to Put Grass-Fed Butter Back on Your Plate
A Big Fat Mistake
A Chef and Doctor Talk about Butter

Please let us know if you try out this recipe! And a special thanks to Dave Asprey, the Bulletproof Executive for teaching us about Bulletproof Coffee.

Posted by on Apr 17, 2014| 3 Comments

Gluten-Free Living 101

Gluten Free Foods
By Be Well Health Coach Katrine van Wyk

Are you ready to cut out gluten once and for all?  Although the task can seem daunting at first, it’s really quite manageable by making a few small changes to your habits, and remembering to relish all of the delicious foods that are naturally gluten free!

Here are 5 easy tools to get you started.

1. Breakfast Plan

Make a plan for breakfast and avoid getting stuck picking up a bagel or sugary pastry on the go! A quick smoothie with Sustain or Recharge powder in the morning is easy, nourishing and delicious for people short on time.  Eggs are another great breakfast option – soft boiled only takes a few minutes to prepare, or whip up an omelet or frittata full of vegetables chopped the night before.  Have you considered leftover grains for breakfast?  Warm up your quinoa, buckwheat or brown rice with coconut milk, cinnamon, cardamom and vanilla. Delicious with a touch of maple syrup and coconut oil!

2. Get Familiar with the Alternatives

Instead of reaching for the gluten-free processed foods (a cookie is still a cookie) familiarize yourself with naturally gluten-free whole foods.  Quinoa, buckwheat, millet, wild rice and amaranth are delicious grains that are also good for you. If you like baking, you’re in luck!  There are thousands of delicious gluten-free recipes online.  Try one out that uses coconut or almond flour instead like these carrot banana muffins. Don’t forget your fruits and veggies! Baked sweet potatoes are a healthy and satisfying alternative when you crave something sweet and soft.  It’s hard not to see this sweet potato and spinach salad as a treat!

3. Wrap It Up

There is something so convenient about a sandwich or a wrap. Luckily, going gluten-free doesn’t mean you have to give that up. Try using collard leaves, romaine lettuce or nori (the seaweed used for sushi) instead.  Some brown rice, cucumber and avocado make a great sushi style roll. Grated carrots, sunflower seeds, sprouts and lettuce work great in a collard wrap, or try some leftover chicken, mustard and tomato in a romaine lettuce cup.  Fresh, healthy, and convenient too.

4. You Can Still Go Out

Fret not. Going gluten-free doesn’t mean you have to become a hermit or never eat out with your friends. When you first make the switch, use the Boy Scout tactic and Be Prepared! Be the one to pick the restaurant if you can, and try to take a few minutes to check out the menu online before you go.  When you know which delicious options on the menu are gluten-free, it will be easier to make a wise choice when it’s time to order.  Get in the habit of looking for the possibilities!  Even Italian restaurants usually have a clean fish or protein dish, or you could always make a meal in a place with plenty of vegetable sides. That being said, maybe stay clear of a pizzeria for now ;)

5. Cut Yourself Some Slack

For many of us, going gluten-free can be a big change from our usual eating habits and daily routine. Take it step by step! You could start by committing to the switch at breakfast.  Stick with that for a few weeks and then tackle lunch and dinner. Go easy on yourself and celebrate the healthy choices you’re making everyday.

I hope you’re feeling inspired and excited to try some new delicious foods that also happen to be gluten-free!  If you’re hungry for more tips and great recipes, check out Dr. Frank Lipman’s Pinterest page, packed with gluten-free goodies and cleanse friendly recipes.

Have a favorite tip for going gluten-free?  We’d love to hear it, so please share with our community in the comments below.

Posted by on Apr 16, 2014| 0 Comments

Healthy, Delicious, and Easy Recipes from The Coconut Oil Cookbook

Cooking with Coconut Oil

By Be Well Health Coach Laura Kraber

The recipes in this new cookbook from the GuiltyKitchen blogger meet all my criteria for an excellent kitchen companion: enticing, healthy, and, most importantly, easy. Full of delicious Paleo-friendly recipes utilizing coconut oil, Elizabeth Nyland’s book is an inspiration for all types of eaters, Paleo or not.

Admired for its many health benefits, coconut oil contains lauric acid, a medium chain triglyceride which supports the conversion of cholesterol to pregnenolone, lowering cholesterol, boosting thyroid function and improving overall hormonal health. MCTs are absorbed directly into your liver where they are metabolized to provide instant and sustained energy for your body and brain. To reap all the benefits of MCTs, supplement with MCT oil, starting with one teaspoon per day and gradually building up to 2 teaspoons, two or three times per day.

Coconut oil is also celebrated as an immune booster and its antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. Additionally, coconut oil wards off free radicals that cause degenerative diseases and premature aging, and it is helpful in fighting wrinkles and reducing inflammation.

As author Elizabeth Nyland says in her introduction to her cookbook, coconut oil is not only healthy, but it tastes great too, “with its slight tropical scent and creamy consistency, coconut oil has become the most used ingredient in my pantry.” After experimenting with a few of the 77 recipes in the book, it may become one of the most used ingredients in your kitchen as well!

We’re happy to share two of our favorite recipes from Cooking with Coconut Oil, below. Join us on Facebook tomorrow for an opportunity to win your own copy of the book. 

Zucchini Pancakes

Zucchini Pancakes

Zucchini is a wonderful vegetable (botanically speaking, though, it’s actually a fruit!). Not only is it packed with folate, potassium, manganese, and vitamin A, but it is useful in savory and sweet recipes. One of my favorite foods as a kid was a chocolate zucchini loaf made by my aunt. I have found, though, that most people prefer their zucchini in savory dishes and cooked. I could eat it raw any day of the week, but some people find it bitter or not overly pleasant. Making it into pancakes, however, seems to appeal to even the pickiest of consumers. In the peak of summer, when zucchini takes over your garden, making these as often as possible is a good way to keep up with their overabundance.

Yield: 10–12 pancakes

Ingredients: 

  • 1 pound zucchini (about 3 medium zucchinis)
  • 3 eggs
  • Sea salt and fresh-cracked pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp–1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or grated
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives or spring onions
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour

Directions:

  1. Grate the zucchini on the largest side of a box grater or in a food processor. Squeeze out the excess moisture and place in a bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Stir into the grated zucchini.
  3. In a nonstick pan, melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat. (If you don’t think you will be able to put the whole batch of pancakes in the pan at one time, preheat your oven to 300°F and put a baking pan on one of the racks to hold the first batch while you cook the remainder.)
  4. Add the remaining ingredients to the zucchini-egg mixture.
  5. Scoop out some of the batter and place in the hot oil. Continue until the pan is full, with enough room to flip the pancakes. Cook each pancake for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to oven for holding or onto plates for serving. Serve immediately. 

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Posted by on Apr 15, 2014| 0 Comments

7 Dirty Little Secrets about GMOs that Impact Everyone

GMO Pepper

Transparency is sexy.  Misleading people, not so much.

Americans are waking up to how our food is made and quickly realizing that are food supply has been polluted with ingredients we didn’t even know existed. Some companies like Chipotle are getting in front of this and telling consumers how their food is being made.  Others are having an allergic reaction to labeling.

If you had no idea that ingredients, labeled by the EPA as pesticides, are hiding in your food, you’re not alone.

Seven dirty little secrets about GMOs that impact everyone from farmers to families to the financials of our economy:

1. Shh, Don’t Mention the Food Waste

“We need this technology to feed to world” is the marketing cry of the big chemical companies.  In truth, they do need this technology to feed the expectations of shareholders, but it turns out that more than one-third of the food produced in the world goes to waste. That amounts to 1.3 billion tons every year, costing us economically.  In this country alone, we throw away 96 billion pounds of food every year, or 27 percent of the total amount of available food. That’s 3,000 pounds of food a second. With the United Nations on record saying that we need more than just genetically engineered food tools in the toolbox, it appears what we also need is a smarter distribution model to address this waste.

2. Forget Big Tobacco, it’s Big Razor’s Playbook

Gillette will practically give away the razor to get people hooked on buying the razor blade.  It’s a smart strategy for chemical companies, too.  They offer the genetically engineered seed at a discount, then get farmers on the hook for buying the chemicals and suite of chemical products required to make their seeds grow. Pesticide application is up 527 million pounds since the introduction of these genetically engineered crops.

3. EPA now Regulates this Genetically Engineered Corn as a Pesticide

Seriously, if you had the choice on your kitchen table or at a BBQ between a corn regulated by the EPA as a pesticide and one that wasn’t, which would you choose?  No brainer.  We should know which one is the pesticide and which foods it is going into.

4. Pouring on the Pesticides

The latest analysis shows that genetically engineered crops have driven up overall pesticide use across the country, contributing to a 527 million pound increase in herbicide use between 1996 and 2011. And last year alone, genetically engineered crops used 20 percent more pesticides on average than non-GE crops. Who pays for that?  Farmers and the people that eat them.  Who benefits?  The chemical companies selling the seeds engineered to withstand these increasing doses.  It goes straight to the bottom line and into the bank.

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Posted by on Apr 14, 2014| 1 Comments

CLUCK U:
5 Things You Need to Know About Chicken

Chickens

Though America still eats more meat than any virtually other country in the world, consumption at home has been on a downward slide for the past several years. Concerns about factory farming methods and its environmental impact; animal welfare; potential health risks as well as the Meatless Monday movement, all have helped fuel the slide. And while some have cut out meat altogether, many people have simply swapped cows for chicken, thinking it a healthier or earth-friendlier option. Not surprisingly, the switchover to chicken has increased demand and the poultry industry has answered the call, in a way that’s anything but healthy for man or bird. In short, chicken’s got problems – and if you’re a poultry-eater, so do you. Let’s break it down:

Factory-farmed Chicken – It’s For The Birds

Factory-farmed chicken, aka Big Chicken, is the stuff of nightmares: over-stuffed coops, floors covered with excrement and thousands of live animals packed so tightly they’re barely able move, much less engage in comfort behaviors like pecking, wing-stretching or simply walking. The result: stressed-out chickens with reduced immunity to the illnesses that rip through over-crowded facilities. The sick birds (and often the well ones) receive multiple courses of antibiotics, traces of which eventually wind up in our bodies, and over time contribute to antibiotic resistance. In short, nothing good is happening down on the ol’ Big Chicken farm.

Factory-farmed Chicken Poisons People and the Environment

The U.S. raises roughly 10 billion chickens a year, which generate billions of pounds of excrement annually. While some is used as fertilizer, there’s literally tons more waste, which, no matter how well-managed, still tends to “spillover,” contaminating air, land and water. And poultry processing is pretty tough on people too. Workers face daily exposure to the toxic chemicals used to clean and disinfect poultry, which often trigger severe respiratory problems, sinus troubles, rashes and burns. If that weren’t enough, poultry production is also indefensibly and insanely wasteful: it’s estimated that it takes roughly 700 gallons of water and 6 pounds of grain to produce just 1 pound of chicken meat. Is this any way to spend our precious resources?

What the Cluck? Your Chicken’s Going to China – And Back

In what must be one of the looniest pieces of legislation ever, late this past August, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, perhaps thinking everyone was on vacation and wouldn’t notice, cleared the way for your birds to go on an all-expense paid trip from the U.S. to China and back. In China the chicken will be cooked, packaged, and then shipped back to the U.S for sale. Given China’s questionable track record on food safety, this seems like one of the most wasteful and potentially dangerous chicken-processing schemes ever devised. I urge you to fight back by refusing to buy pre-cooked, ready-to-serve or heat ‘n eat, processed chicken products – no matter how much the kids protest!

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Posted by on Apr 11, 2014| 3 Comments

Be Well Kitchen:
Arugula and Strawberry Salad Recipe

Arugula and Strawberry Salad

It’s finally Spring on the East Coast, the days are longer, the sun is warmer, blossoms are out and the farmer’s markets are brimming with springtime produce.

It’s the perfect time of year to start thinking salads again and one of our favorites is a simple arugula and strawberry salad. It looks pretty on the plate and the juxtaposition of sweet and peppery will make your taste buds very happy.

Since it’s a very casual recipe, quantities are not specific, go with what looks right, you can’t go wrong. Here’s what you need:

Ingredients:

  • Fresh Arugula leaves – washed
  • Fresh Strawberries – washed, hulled and cut into quarters or halves
  • Extra virgin olive oil – about ½ to 1 Tablespoon
  • Balsamic vinegar – about ½ to 1 Tablespoon
  • Pinch sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

If you’d like to make it more “fancy,” add the following:

  • A little goat cheese – crumbled
  • Thinly sliced red onion
  • Organic cooked edamame
  • Lightly toasted almonds

Toss together in a salad bowl and enjoy.

Posted by on Apr 10, 2014| 0 Comments

5 Tips for Glowing Skin

Glowing Skin
By Be Well H>ealth Coach Jenny Sansouci

“Your skin looks great!” The compliment we all love to hear. The reason we all appreciate that compliment so much is probably because our skin is literally a mirror image for how well we’re taking care of ourselves. What’s going on internally is reflected in our skin, so if our skin is glowing, it means we’re really nurturing and nourishing ourselves! Clearing up the skin starts within, and here are 5 things you can do to give your skin that healthy glow we all crave.

1) Sweat

Sweating is an awesome way to release toxins through your skin to keep it healthy and glowing. You’ll open up your pores and get rid of any impurities, which will leave your skin smoother and softer. Whether you’re doing some type of exercise that makes you sweat (my preference is hot yoga) or sweating it out in a sauna or steam room, your skin will truly love you for it.

2) Hydrate

When you’re doing a lot of sweating, you need to do extra hydrating, too! The skin loves moisture, so drinking water is important to avoid dryness. As far as how much to drink, basically you want your urine to be fairly clear most of the time. I suggest carrying a water bottle with you all day long and drinking water throughout the day. If you’re sweating a lot, drink more! My goal is always 3 liters a day, usually it’s more like 2.

3) Ditch the Sugar and Coffee

Sugar and coffee can be very dehydrating for the skin, which can make you look tired and dull. Both sugar and coffee can also lead to baggy eyes and dark circles. One of my nutrition teachers would refer to the baggy eyed look as “sugarface” — the way you look the morning after consuming a lot of sugar! Cutting the sugar and swapping your coffee for green tea will make your skin happy.

4) Eat Fat

Yep, I said it! Eat more fat for beautiful skin! Healthy fats, not the altered fats that you’d find in fried foods or processed products. I’m talking about the nourishing, natural fats from foods like avocado, coconut and olives. These healthy fats will keep your skin supple, moist and glowing.

5) Take a Hair-Skin-Nails Supplement

There are certain nutrients that can support skin elasticity, provide UV protection and anti-inflammatory support. All of these are very important when it comes to having radiant skin! The Be Well Hair/Skin/Nails supplement contains powerful antioxidants and vitamins to help skin cell regeneration and combat free radicals that damage the skin.

Taking these steps to nourish your body can have a huge impact on your skin! What healthy skin tips have worked for you? Let us know in the comments!

Posted by on Apr 09, 2014| 1 Comments

Miracles Now Interview with New York Times Bestselling Author Gabrielle Bernstein

Miracles Now

Tell us about your new book, Miracles Now.

I love this book and I’m so psyched to share it with you. Miracles Now helps readers lessen stress and find peace—FAST! I handpicked 108 techniques to combat our most common problems—from addiction and anxiety to burnout and resentment. The exercises are inspired by some of my greatest spiritual teachings. Throughout the book, I offer up spirit-based principles, meditations and practical tools to help readers bust through blocks to live with more ease. I break down each technique Spirit Junkie style—with meditations, assessment questions and step-by-step guidance—while incorporating lessons from the metaphysical text A Course in Miracles and Kundalini yoga. This book is meant for the busy, stressed person who simply wants to feel better fast.

How is Miracles Now different from all of your other books?

Each of my books has a unique format but a shared intention, which is to offer readers tools for releasing all the blocks to their true happiness and peace. Miracles Now shares that core intention through 108 short exercises that can be done anywhere, any time. This book is less self-reflective and more action oriented. I want it to put people into practice immediately so they can experience Miracles Now!

What made you write this book?

I write my books based on what I feel my readers need. I realized that so many people have packed schedules and lots to do, but they want to carve out a little time each day to create positive change and find peace in ways that are easy to follow and put into practice. In addition, I continuously witnessed my audience members and social media followers ask me for more practical tools to release their stress and boost their moods. People want to get to work and they want to feel better fast. This book is my response to that call.

The higher purpose of this book is to contribute to a greater global change. I believe that when more and more people begin to feel better, the positive collective energy supports the energy of the world. I believe that it is our collective energy that can save the world. This is the higher purpose for Miracles NowI reinforce the book’s mission in its introduction, excerpted below:

Right now we’re in a special and powerful position, because the world is having a spiritual awakening. When energy speeds up there is no space for playing small, and nothing can remain hidden. At some point all lies are brought to the surface and truth comes forth no matter how hard we try to hide it. Cynics are filling the yoga studios and the spiritual choir is growing larger. There is a massive call for more lightworkers, and now is our time to rise up and bring more positivity to the world. When the masses begin to vibrate with an energy of love, the world will no longer be a container for war, violence and lies.

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Posted by on Apr 08, 2014| 0 Comments

Puffs: A Healthful Baby Food or Just Clever Marketing?

Puffs

Cheerios have long been a popular first finger food for babies; their size and shape make them a perfect snack for new eaters eager to practice the emerging pincer grasp. Sometime around the beginning of the twenty-first century, some genius invented the “baby puff” and boom: a whole generation of toddlers will never hold a Cheerio between dimpled thumb and forefinger. In my own extended family, these snacks have become so popular that my nephew’s first word was…you guessed it…“puff!”

While most of us probably know that Cheerios aren’t nearly as healthful as they claim to be, we are hopeful about puffs. Might they be the miracle food all parents yearn for—portable and mess-free, appealing to young eaters, AND full of vegetables, whole grains, and nutrients? Like most convenient parenting choices, puffs are, heartbreakingly, too good to be true.

What’s Wrong with Puffs?

  • Extrusion. All puffs on the market are produced through a process called extrusion, which involves mixing grains with water and–through high temperatures and pressure–forcing them through a tiny hole to give them their desired shape, be it a cornflake or a puff. This process compromises the integrity of the grains’ nutrients, breaks the bonds of fatty acids, inactivates enzymes, increases the glycemic index of the food, and often lowers the vitamin and mineral content. If you want to know more about the problem with extruded grains, check out Sally Fallon’s illuminating article, “Dirty Secrets of the Food Processing Industry.”
  • White grains. Many puffs are made of mostly white rice or other non-whole grains. If you’re buying puffs for your baby, opt for varieties whose first few ingredients are whole grain flours or at least brown rice flour, although brown rice often contains high levels arsenic so should also be limited.
  • The myth of the “green puff.” Yes, the puffs your baby is enjoying are a lovely emerald color, bringing to mind broccoli, kale, and spinach. And indeed, veggie puffs do contain powdered broccoli, powdered kale, and/or powdered spinach. Unfortunately, these powders lack all the fibers of real veggies, and the nutrients from powdered vegetables may not be absorbed by the body the same way nutrients from whole vegetables are. Plus, as we’ve just established, the puff is comprised mostly of grains, often white ones, so the nutritional punch of the veggie powder is probably negligible.
  • Lecithin. Puffs often contain lecithin made from either soy or sunflower seeds. Hexane, a petroleum-based neurotoxin and air pollutant, is commonly used to separate vegetable oil from seeds. Lecithin of all kinds should be avoided unless it is organic, which means it is entirely free of hexane residue. For this and other obvious reasons, always choose organic puffs.
  • Sugar. Don’t just watch for the actual S-word–you’ll more likely see “evaporated cane syrup” or some such euphemism. Even “fruit juice concentrate,” a popular puff-sweetener, is only marginally better than regular old white sugar. 
  • Packaging. While puffs all now come in BPA-free canisters, all plastic potentially contains hormone-disrupting chemicals.

The Bottom Line on Puffs

Ideally, babies would eat only whole foods when they are learning to enjoy finger snacks–raspberries, small hunks of baked squash or banana, or cubes of avocado would all make good choices. Unfortunately, these foods are messy and not nearly as convenient as puffs, making them a lousy substitute when you need snacks for the car or park. My kids don’t like them, but freeze-dried fruits are a convenient and more healthful alternative to puffs, so give them a try. Also check out my company’s Chief Health Officer’s ever-popular blog post, 10 Ways to Get Your Kids Off Junk Food and Demanding Vegetables for inventive but easy healthful snack ideas. As for puffs, I’m not going to promise my babies won’t ever eat them, but I’ll no longer be fooled into thinking that a tube of extruded, mostly white grains tossed with sugar and a bit of kale powder, is as good for my 6-month-old as a nice steaming bowl of kale (was I the only one hoping that was the case?).

Posted by on Apr 07, 2014| 0 Comments