Be Well Kitchen: Shredded Chicken and Napa Cabbage Salad Recipe

Shredded Chicken Salad
By Be Well Health Coach Katrine van Wyk From Her Book “Best Green Eats Ever”

Photo by Patryce Bak

This salad is inspired by my favorite Vietnamese salad. It is simple, without too many crazy ingredients, yet it tastes so exotic and delicious. The secret is in the dressing…

Ingredients (Serves 4 – Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-Free)

  • 1-1/2  cup chicken – use leftovers from a rotisserie or roast chicken, or some sliced, grilled chicken breast
  • 1 head Napa cabbage, washed well and sliced into strips
  • ½ red or orange pepper
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/3 cup cilantro leaves
  • 3 spring onions
  • 1/3 cup cashews, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds


  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 chili, seeds removed, thinly sliced (optional – add just to your own spice preference)
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tsp coconut sugar or syrup


  1. Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a bowl or jar and set aside.
  2. With your fingers, shred the chicken into bite sized pieces or, if you’re using grilled breasts, slice the breasts thin. Drizzle the chicken with ¼ cup of the dressing and set aside.
  3. Cut up your salad ingredients and add them to a large mixing bowl. Pour the remaining dressing over and toss everything together well.
  4. Add in the chicken and chia seeds. Give it another toss and serve.
Posted by on Mar 05, 2015| 0 Comments

A Pediatrician Shares Some Invaluable Lessons For Parents


This article initially appeared on

After 25 years practicing pediatrics, and caring for thousands of children, I’ve noticed some patterns that offer me a deeper vision of health. I’d like to share some of those invaluable lessons with parents.

1. Growth and Development Are Not a Race

These days we’re in such a rush to grow up. In our mechanized, post-industrial world of speed and efficiency, we’ve forgotten that life is a process of ripening. To get good fruit, you need to nourish strong roots. Pay attention to the ground that supports your child’s life: Go for a walk with your child, eat with your child, play together, tell him a story about your experiences as a child.

2. Creating Family Traditions Encourages Strong Roots and a Healthy Life

This takes time and practice. Personal traditions are sacred because they promote exchanges that strengthen bonds of love and intimacy and build the kind of confidence that will carry your child through this world.

3. We Grow in Cycles

There is a rhythm and pulse to each child’s life— sometimes fast and intense, sometimes slow and quiet. Just as each spring brings a renewed sense of appreciation for life, each stage of a child’s life is a time of new discovery and wonder. After all, learning is not just a process of accruing information. It’s the process of transforming our ideas, and sometimes this requires forgetting in order to see with fresh eyes. Some children will take a step backward before making a giant leap forward.

Growing in cycles means that we don’t get just one chance to learn something. The same lesson will offer itself up to us again and again as we pass through the seasons of our lives. There is deep forgiveness in this way of understanding childhood, which I find takes the pressure off parents to “get it right” the first time.

4. Encouragement Is Not the Same as Indulgence

We are not in the business of raising little kings and queens. Kings don’t do well in our society. Recent studies have shown that indulgence actually weakens your child’s powers to survive, deflating motivation and diminishing feelings of success.

Encouragement means putting courage in your child, not doing things for him. Create a supportive context that will open up a path without pushing your child down it. Unconditional love is the scaffolding that encourages your child to take chances, to experiment, and to fail without judgment. Sometimes being an encouraging presence in your child’s life means standing a little off in the background, there to offer a compassionate hand when circumstances call for it, but trusting in his innate ingenuity.

There is spaciousness in encouragement. Indulgence, on the other hand, limits freedom by inflating a child’s sense of entitlement and reducing the patience needed to work through obstacles when he doesn’t instantly get his way. Indulgence leads to small-minded thinking.

5. Pushing Your Buttons is a Spiritual Practice & Children Are Our Spiritual Teachers

You don’t need an expensive spiritual retreat to become enlightened. Your little sage-teacher is right in front of you, offering you true wisdom free of charge!

Children watch our every move when they’re little, studying our inconsistencies as they try to figure out this crazy world. And they will call you on it. When a child pushes your buttons, remember: They are your buttons, not hers. Take the time to listen to what your child is trying to teach you. One of the secrets of parenthood is our willingness to transform ourselves out of love for our child. When you’re willing to look at your buttons, you open up a deeper self-awareness that is transformative for both you and your child.

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Posted by on Mar 03, 2015| 0 Comments

12 Tips for Your Next Digital Detox

Digital Addiction

Hunched over the laptop after work? Phone tucked under your pillow at night? Glued to the Ipad on the train in the morning? You might be a good candidate for a digital detox. Even if you don’t get twitchy when your gadgets start running out of juice, and aren’t troubled by eyestrain, headaches or neck problems, it still might be time for a digital diet. By periodically unplugging, you can start reclaiming the real life experiences that all those gadgets steal from us daily, albeit with our full permission. Sure, cutting digital consumption may sting a bit at first, but reconnecting with the people and things in life that really matter will allow your body, soul and mind to soar far higher than another peek at the long-range weather forecast ever will. Sound interesting? Willing to give it a whirl? Here’s where to start:

Cut the Cord and Reboot on National Unplugging Day, March 6, 2015!

Try this digital detox crash course: go cold turkey! Join like-minded folks everywhere who will be unplugging their digital devices for The National Day of Unplugging (NDU) – and hopefully not sharing the news digitally until after the fact. For the uninitiated, the NDU is a 24-hour power-down period that will last from sundown to sundown, starting the evening of Friday, March 6. Inspired by the traditional notion of the Sabbath, or day of rest, NDU participants will pledge to carve out at least this one day to unwind, unplug, relax, reflect, get outdoors, and connect with loved ones.

Bring in the Cavalry

If you, or perhaps those close to you, feel you may be on the verge of crossing into digital addiction, don’t get testy, get help. In the past year or two, an entire industry has emerged to help the over-connected dial-down their digital reliance. There are digital detox courses and camps, books and seminars, and even facilities with treatment programs akin to those originally designed for substance abuse. Yes, all that connectivity can come at a high price, but a least now there are help and treatment options, as well as apps (!) to help cut the digital cord – to a point we presume.

Send in the Clowns

As you start warming up to the idea of digital detoxing, you’ll need to re-learn how to entertain yourself without the glow of a screen. Or take a step the Zen direction and learn how to not entertain yourself at all. Instead, learn how to be still and quiet the mind. Meditation, without the help of an app, is a great way to clear your head, as is simply “spacing out.” Refresh your brain by giving it a few moments throughout the day to wander, to take in the surroundings and appreciate where you are in the moment in the real world, not the digital one.

Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

In the evenings, saying “lights out” – and actually meaning it – has never been more important. You simply must create a nightly digital sundown to support your physical and mental health. Think screens before bed aren’t really that big a deal? Harvard researchers would tell you otherwise: they recently found that those infernal machines we love so much can disrupt melatonin production, sleep quality and mood. Consequently, our constant connectivity can cause us to sleep less and poorly which over time can encourage the development of a host of life-altering health problems. To help your body achieve the rest it needs, embrace the darkness – as in detox nightly, simply by banishing all electronics from the bedroom.

Free Your Mind, the Rest Will Follow

How to give your brain, eyes, wrists and fingers a much-needed rest? Step away from the blue-light-beaming screen and go old school: pen and paper every now and then! It may seem strange at first, but doing so will give your exhausted faculties a workout different from what they’ve grown accustomed to – and may help develop a few new neural pathways to boot. Make notes, doodle during dull meetings, write a love song or start sketching – whatever moves you. Using pen and paper instead of feverishly typing and tapping can help liberate body and soul, giving you a sense of physical and mental freedom the digital world cannot.

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Posted by on Mar 02, 2015| 0 Comments

Our Favorite Natural Deodorants

Underarm Deodorant

By Be Well Health Coach Katrine van Wyk

The quest to find the best (or even just a good) natural deodorant is ongoing here at the Be Well offices. We all want to avoid the nasty chemicals found in most conventional deodorants, but we also want to smell fresh and feel clean and dry!

Before we get into our favorite options, let’s just review some of the ingredients to AVOID when you’re in the deodorant aisle.


This metal is used in deodorants to inhibit your pores from releasing perspiration – that’s why it’s called anti-perspirant! Aluminum will stay in the body, accumulates over time and has been linked to breast cancer in some studies.

Propylene Glycol

Did you know that this common ingredient in so many beauty products was developed as an anti-freeze? It is a common skin irritant and allergen and should be avoided.


This is a petrochemical, meaning it’s derived from petroleum, and found in pretty much all conventional cosmetics. It has many names including propyparaben, mineral oil, paraffin oil etc. Parabens are endocrine disruptors.


This anti-bacterial chemical often found in soaps and hand sanitizers is also an endocrine disruptor, even when only used in a low dose.

If you’re curious if the deodorant you’re using is safe, check it out in the Skin Deep Database by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Here are some of the Be Well Coaches favorite natural deodorants. Please let us know what yours is!


I use Crystal roll-on deodorant – the Lavender & White Tea scent. I love it! I’ve used it for years. I do carry it with me just in case, but I rarely have to re-apply unless it’s after a workout or something. I’ve tried a few other natural deodorants in the past, but none of them ever seemed to work well. Once I found this I’ve never had any reason to switch! I like the roll-on aspect of it too.

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Posted by on Feb 27, 2015| 8 Comments

Why You Should Put Olive Oil On Everything

Olive Oil

Reprinted with permission from Organic Authority.

There are plenty of olive oil benefits. But this latest one may surprise you.

Olive oil is prized for its good fats that support heart and brain health. A good grassy, fruity olive oil is also valued for its incredibly rich and robust flavor. But can it also offer protection against the damage caused by genetically modified foods? A new study says yes.

Research has found GMOs, along with the pesticides and herbicides used on genetically modified crops, can cause a number of health problems including developmental and reproductive issuesmetabolic disorders and DNA damage. They’ve even been linked to cancer.

But in the latest study, published in the journal Nutrients, rats fed a diet of GMO soybean oil and extra virgin olive oil showed less DNA damage to their spleens from the GMO soybean oil than those not given the olive oil.

“We can conclude that adding EV olive oil to the diet of rats appears effective in inhibiting oxidative damage and may act as a protective agent against chronic diseases such as liver fibrosis, hyperlipidemia and diabetes,” the researchers noted.

“In addition, EV olive oil may also have a protective function against carcinogenic processes. Further clinical studies are therefore required to determine whether the observations observed in our study translate to human conditions and illnesses,” they added.

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Posted by on Feb 26, 2015| 2 Comments

The Matcha Tea Advantage:
5 Reasons to Drink Matcha

Matcha Tea
By Be Well Health Coach Laura Kraber

Despite its numerous and much publicized benefits, green tea was not a habit I readily adopted. I never liked the grassy taste, and I preferred the tangible buzz that black tea provides. My whole attitude towards green tea turned around when I tried a matcha latte. Frothy and delicious with a powerful kick of energy, one cup of matcha made me a green tea convert.

As opposed to steeping your tea leaves, Matcha is made from blending the finely ground tea leaves into hot water to make a beautiful, vibrantly green, chlorophyll-rich beverage. Add steamed milk (dairy, almond, cashew or coconut) and you have a delectable hot beverage that is energizing and calming at the same time.

Of course there is a beautiful Japanese matcha tea ritual which involves special bowls and bamboo whisks, but I do just fine making my matcha in a cup with my trusty battery-powered milk-frother from IKEA (instructions below).

5 Reasons to Love Matcha

1. Energy Enhancer

Because the caffeine content is so low, a cup of green tea is rarely a realistic substitute for that morning cup of joe, nor does it function as any kind of reliable pick-me-up. Matcha, however does offer a significant dose of caffeine — 40 to 70mg depending upon type and amount used. A cup of Matcha provides a jolt of energy that lasts longer than the typical coffee buzz. Without the jitteriness or irritability that coffee can impart, Matcha’s sustainable energy is smooth and consistent.

2. Mood Improver

With generous amounts of the amino acid L-Theanine, matcha can put you in a good mood. Because it is grown in the shade, matcha contains up to 5 times more of the calming neurotransmitter L-Theanine than regular green tea. L-Theanine activates the brain’s alpha waves, resulting in a feeling of calmness; combined with matcha’s caffeine content, the drink offers sustained calm alertness.

3. Antioxidant Powerhouse

Rich in the EGCG antioxidant, which helps to prevent cell degeneration and premature aging, one cup of matcha has the antioxidant equivalent of 10 cups of regular green tea.

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Posted by on Feb 24, 2015| 1 Comments

An Interview With My Good Friend and Colleague, Dr. Christiane Northrup About Her New Book, Goddesses Never Age

Godessses Never Age

FL: What prompted you to write Goddesses Never Age?

CN: Like my earlier books, Women’s Bodies Women’s Wisdom and The Wisdom of Menopause, I wrote Goddesses Never Age after a fairly long period of introspection, action, and research. The material for Goddesses Never Age was born out of the ashes of my divorce at midlife, and my subsequent desire to reinvent myself. At the time I was confronted with the cultural belief that my best years were behind me, and that women over the age of 50 aren’t as desirable or attractive. I realize this all sounds melodramatic, but I was concerned that I would never find love, that I would be alone forever.

What I found was that there is indeed vibrant life after the age of 50, and to get to the light at the end of the tunnel I first had to exhume my old beliefs and expose them to the light of day. And then set out to prove that a new way of living was possible! Along the way, I realized that I was certainly not alone in my fears—or in my hopes and dreams. So I wrote Goddesses Never Age to give women and men of all ages a different perspective on what it can mean to grow older.

FL: I know that the word “aging” bothers you. Why it that? Is it true that you’ve asked all the people who have worked on the book and the book launch not to use the word aging?

CN: Words have potent biological effects on our bodies. And we co-author each others’ biology by how we talk to each other. The word “aging” is virtually synonymous with decline and deterioration—both of which are not inevitable. I’m asking everyone, including the wonderful people I work with, to be cognizant of the language they use, since their words often represent their subconscious beliefs.

It’s very important that we make the distinction between growing older and aging. It’s possible to grow older without decline. Growing older is simply the opportunity to move through space and gain value and wisdom. Culturally, we have a belief that chronic degenerative diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis are inevitable after the age of 50. These conditions are, by and large, related to lifestyle, and have little to do with chronological age. Hence I use the phrase I learned from Mario Martinez, PhD, and author the Mind Body Code: Getting older is inevitable. Aging is optional. Let’s not make them synonymous!

FL: I hear you’ve declared 2015 the Year of the Ageless Goddess. How do you celebrate the Year of the Ageless Goddess, and how can men celebrate too?

CN: When we celebrate how far we’ve come, what we’ve learned, and begin to dream about a wonderful future, we celebrate agelessness. You also celebrate by realizing that it’s possible to become biologically younger by the end of the year. Our bodies replace all their cells approximately every seven years. And as you have seen in your practice, biological age—the age of our tissues—can be very different from chronologic age—the age on our driver’s license.

Research on healthy people, age 100 and over, finds that they are future oriented and hate being around “old people” (which simply means those who focus on negativity and their aches and pains). These centenarians live in subcultures of wellness, not disease, which is another way to celebrate.

I also suggest that we celebrate by following a passion that we’ve always wanted to develop. Learn a new language or movement strategy. Smile at yourself in the mirror each morning. Get regular foot rubs. That’s just for starters. And of course I suggest reading Goddesses Never Age as a great way to celebrate—for both men and women!

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Posted by on Feb 23, 2015| 2 Comments

How to Ease Constipation on a Paleo Diet


One of the most common complaints we hear from patients on a paleo diet is an increase in constipation. Regular elimination is critical for gut health, no matter what diet you follow. This common side effect of the paleo diet can be combated with a few simple strategies.

Pay Attention To Your Water and Salt Intake

Often times when a paleo diet is adopted, the total number of carbohydrates being consumed drops. This causes a diuretic effect which accounts for the immediate weight loss experienced within the first few days of a paleo diet. This is commonly referred to as “water weight” but is more accurately named natriuresis.  Natriuresis is the process by which salt and water are excreted by the kidneys.  When insulin spikes, salt is retained by the kidneys.  If few carbohydrates are consumed, there are fewer insulin spikes which means that the kidneys are not being signaled to retain salt, thus salt is being excreted. Water follows the salt in excretion, and a loss of “water weight’ ensues.  While this water loss can look impressive on a scale, it is a major contributing factor in constipation because less water is available to travel through the gut.  Focusing on increasing your water consumption is the key to combating this water loss and decreasing constipation.

Don’t Forget Salt

While some people note that salt causes their blood pressure to increase, this intake is usually in the form of refined salt, MSG, and sodium from processed foods in a Standard American Diet.  When following a paleo diet, those processed sources of sodium are removed from the diet. This decrease in sodium consumption and thus free sodium in the body can contribute to constipation via a second mechanism. The mechanism that is responsible for this effect is a sodium pump in the muscular lining of the gut.  When there is not enough sodium available, the gut does not contract as effectively causing gut motility and elimination to slow down.  A simple fix for this problem is to season your food at each meal.  Using Himalayan sea salt is a great way to maintain this critical electrolyte balance and help ease constipation.

Magnesium Can Help

Taking a magnesium supplement is a fantastic way to help ease constipation on the paleo diet. Magnesium helps to relax the intestinal smooth muscle and also pull water into the gut, encouraging easier motility. Taking magnesium citrate before bed can help ease constipation by morning.

Remember your Prebiotics and Probiotics

The health of the gut microbiome is critical for proper elimination.  If you are transitioning to a paleo diet, taking a probiotic supplement (like the Be Well Probiotic Powder) can improve your gut health and elimination.  Also, including prebiotic foods that are high in soluble fiber, such as cruciferous vegetables, sweet potatoes, leeks, onions and garlic is critical to feeding the healthy bacteria.  Another addition that can help is fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, Kombucha, and kimchi.  By implementing these simple strategies you can stop constipation and start thriving on a paleo diet.

Posted by on Feb 20, 2015| 1 Comments

Be Well Kitchen:
Orange Cashew Quinoa with Fresh Cilantro


Quinoa Salad

This flavorful dish is Cleanse friendly and makes for a great fall meal!

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • Juice of 1 fresh orange
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh orange zest
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • pinch chili powder, optional


  1. Rinse quinoa and cook according to package directions. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork; cover and set aside for 10 minutes then transfer to a large bowl.  In a small bowl, mix honey with orange juice and drizzle over quinoa; gently toss to combine. Set aside covered for 10 minutes to soak.

  2. Mix in cilantro, cashews, orange zest, scallions, salt and pepper. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add chili powder, if desired. Gently toss to combine and serve.
Posted by on Feb 19, 2015| 0 Comments

Studies Show Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Cancer and Heart Disease

Vitamin D

Reprinted with permission from Experience Life Magazine.
Written by: Maggie Fazeli Fard

The studies, which looked at data on more than one million people, confirmed previously reported evidence of the risks associated with vitamin D deficiency.

Two new studies indicate that low levels of vitamin D are linked to cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses — but only one offers enthusiastic support for supplementation in pill form.

Both studies, published this month in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), were meta-analyses of earlier research that looked at the relationship between various illnesses and vitamin D levels, as well as whether taking a daily D supplement had a positive impact on health.

The studies, which looked at data on more than one million people, confirmed previously reported evidence of the risks associated with vitamin D deficiency:

Inadequate vitamin D levels can increase your risk of dozens of serious health problems, including cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, asthma, Alzheimer’s disease, and even the common cold and influenza. And apparently, nearly all of us are at risk of vitamin D deficiency …

“Ninety-five percent of Americans are deficient in vitamin D — that’s how big the problem is,” says John J. Cannell, MD, who heads the nonprofit Vitamin D Council. “It’s very difficult to overstate the seriousness of the situation.” —“The Vitamin D Debate” (Experience Life, December 2011)

One of the studies found that adults with lower levels of vitamin D in their blood had a greater mortality risk; they also had a 35 percent increased risk of death from heart disease, and 14 percent increased risk of death from cancer.

This study also looked at supplementation. The researchers found that middle-aged and older adults who took vitamin D3 had an 11 percent reduction in overall mortality compared to those who didn’t take the supplement. D3 is the type of vitamin D produced by the body in response to sun exposure and is also found in a few foods, such as wild salmon and shiitake mushrooms. (There was no apparent benefit to supplementing with another form of the vitamin, D2, the researchers found.)

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Posted by on Feb 17, 2015| 4 Comments