03
Jul

What Is Bentonite Clay And How To Reap The Benefits

Bentonite Clay
By Be Well Health Coach Katrine van Wyk

Bentonite Clay is an ancient natural remedy. It is actually a mineral rich volcanic ash! It can be used both internally to help heal and detox, and externally to rejuvenate the skin, draw out impurities and help clear up acne and other skin conditions.

Did you know that many of the toxins in our body are positively charged toxins? Bentonite clay uses a negative ionic charge to attract, capture and absorb these toxins! Pretty cool stuff.

How To Use:

Internally: Drink 1 tbsp bentonite clay diluted in 8 ounces of water once a day to aid detoxing.

Externally: Mix the clay with water or Apple Cider Vinegar and apply as a face mask for 20 minutes. You can also use it in a bath and footsoak! I recommend trying the brand Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay.

Posted by on Jul 03, 2015 | 0 Comments

How Food Additives Are Landing On Our Plates

Food Additives

Do you know that food companies can decide for themselves which additives are safe?

It’s time to look into how new ingredients get from the food industry’s lab to your dinner table. Thousands of these additives now exist in our food supply.

Additives are added to our food to improve their texture, taste, appearance or extend their shelf life. The approval of these additives have to go through the FDA which regulates 80% of our nation’s food supply. According to the FDA, “there are thousands of ingredients used to make foods. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains a list of over 3000 ingredients in its data base.”

But a legal loophole exists, where ingredients that are labeled GRAS (generally recognized as safe) get a free pass through the regulatory system. It means that companies can determine on their own that what they’re adding to our food is safe. It expedites the process. Then it is up to the company to inform the FDA if they want to.

Think about that for a minute. Think about it in relation to the tobacco industry or the auto industry or any other industry. What if the car companies had the ability to determine that their products were safe without oversight?

How in the world did we let this happen?

(more…)

Posted by on Jul 02, 2015 | 0 Comments

Healthy Strawberry Shortcakes Recipe That Is Firework Worthy

Strawberry Shortcake

Can a 4th of July dessert really help you feel fuller longer and prevent you from going back to the picnic table for seconds? This one can. Powered by healthy fats and a good amount of protein, this strawberry shortcake can even be a breakfast meal. Almond flour packs the same nutrition as whole almonds. Almonds are high in vitamin E, help control blood sugar, have a healthy amount of unsaturated fats, contain proteins that help support brain health, and, of the many things they do, almonds are loaded with minerals that help support bone health. So in honor of Independence Day, let’s go red, white, blue and almond with this fresh take on strawberry shortcakes.

Strawberry Shortcakes
Yield: 6

Shortcakes Ingredients

• 1/4 cup grass fed butter, room temperature
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 tablespoon maple syrup
• 2 eggs
• 2 cups almond flour
• 1/2 cup arrowroot
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• pinch sea salt

Directions

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
• In a mixer whip together butter, vanilla extract and maple syrup until light and fluffy.
• Beat in 1 egg at a time.
• Add the almond flour, arrowroot, baking soda and sea salt. Mix until well combined.
• Refrigerate the dough for 20 minutes.
• Scoop mixture into 6 balls. Shape into biscuit shape about 1 inch thick and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
• Bake for 15 minutes or until shortcakes are golden brown.
• Let cool. (more…)

Posted by on Jun 30, 2015 | 0 Comments

10 Hidden Sources of Endocrine Disruptors – And How to Avoid Them

Personal Care Products

One sobering fact of modern life: endocrine (hormone) disruptors are everywhere. Occasional contact wouldn’t be a major concern but the trouble is, most of us come into contact with them multiple times in a day. Many of these toxins either block or promote estrogen and other hormones, so either way, they throw off your hormonal balance. They can affect the way these hormones function in your body, causing numerous problems that many people mistakenly attribute to stress, aging or just normal aches and pains.

How big a role do toxins play in our everyday ills? It’s hard to find good information about how exactly these chemicals affect us because most of the current research has focused only on individual toxins. The problem is, we’re being exposed to thousands of toxins, not just one, and we don’t know for certain how they interact or what their long-term impact is on our endocrine systems. Even if no one knows for sure, we can make some educated guesses.

As a physician, I can tell you that I am seeing more and more young women with breast cancer—a disease that used to be almost completely confined to women over fifty. My theory is that because these young women have gotten such massive exposure to endocrine disruptors – starting in the womb – they are now struggling with hormone-related problems that used to take decades to develop.

I don’t want to stress you out or frighten you unduly, but I do want to focus on what you can do to protect yourself from the common chemicals and toxins known specifically as “endocrine disruptors.” Here’s where they hide – and what to do about them:

1. Personal Care Products

Cosmetics, moisturizers, shampoos, and conditioners often contain ingredients that disrupt your hormonal balance. To reduce exposure, switch to cleaner, greener personal products, and reduce use in general. Consider wearing less makeup or going without on weekends. Try shampooing less often or cutting your brew to half-strength by adding water to the shampoo bottle – or take it a step further by joining the “no-‘poo” (as in no-shampoo) movement.

2. Drinking Water

Atrazine, arsenic, and perchlorate are three endocrine disruptors that pervade many communities’ drinking water supplies. Reduce contaminants by filtering drinking water with a high-quality filtration system, like those from Aquasana. Also, add water filters to all of your home faucets, including the bath and shower – you absorb disruptive chemicals through your skin (as well as by drinking them) so it’s better not to bathe in them!

3. Canned Foods

Many food cans are lined with BPA, a common endocrine disruptor. To side-step BPA, steer clear of canned foods or, if you must buy them, look for cans marked “BPA-free.”  The Environmental Working Group recently released a report on BPA in canned food, listing which brands are the best and worst players.

4. Conventionally Farmed Fruits and Vegetables

Pesticides, herbicides, and industrial runoff turn even healthy produce into endocrine disruptors. Access cleaner food by shopping for local and organic produce at your nearest farmer’s market.

5. Conventionally Farmed Meat, Poultry, and Dairy Products

These commercial foods contain disruptive antibiotics, hormones, and industrial chemicals. To reduce exposure, look for organic, grass-fed, and free range products from small or local farms that are committed to raising animals using methods that are healthier for both the animals and the humans who consume them. (more…)

Posted by on Jun 29, 2015 | 0 Comments

6 Simple Ways to Create a Healthier Lifestyle

Hiking
For many of the patients that I see, getting healthy feels like a chore or drudgery. They may need to change their diet because their blood pressure is too high or they are overweight, but they are dreading making changes.

Instead of thinking about getting healthy as a chore, I invite you to think of it as an exploration. You can absolutely have fun while getting healthy!

Here are some ideas:

If you are a chef or love to cook:

Take on the challenge to cook delicious healthy recipes.

If you are a restaurant-goer:

Make a goal to find the 5 best grass-fed beef dishes or gluten-free pastas in your city.

If you are seeking more sensuality in your life:

Take a pole-dancing class and overcome inhibitions while getting in shape.

If you are an adventurer:

Plan a big hiking trip that will require you to get in shape for the expedition.

For the romantic:

Hop on a bike and take a ride at sunset.

For the music-lover:

Put your earbuds in and take a walk around your favorite part of the city.

Have fun while getting healthy. This is what truly leads to joyful, sustainable change. The best part is, that your friends and loved ones will also want to join you for the ride!

Posted by on Jun 26, 2015 | 0 Comments

The Upside of Downtime

Downtime
Reprinted with permission from Experience Life Magazine.
Written by Heather Rogers

The scientific case for doing nothing more often — and its surprising rewards.

In the mid-1980s, physician and author Victoria Sweet, MD, was doing her internal-medicine residency at San Francisco’s Kaiser hospital. She worked 110 hours a week, getting time off only every fourth night, after a 34-hour shift. It was then that Sweet discovered the necessity of a little idleness.

A committed nonsmoker, she started taking “cigarette breaks.” Instead of lighting up, she’d go out, sit with the sun on her face, and breathe.

Sweet went on to incorporate such timeouts into her medical practice. After a patient’s exam, she would retreat to her office for a few minutes and do nothing, allowing the patient’s words and her own thoughts to float in her mind. She’d jot down notes, then go back to the exam room with fresh ideas about a diagnosis and treatment.

“You can’t think without space,” says Sweet, now an associate clinical professor of medicine at the University of California–San Francisco and author of God’s Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine.

“If you’re always doing something,” she says, “there’s no way to get anything new into your mind; there’s no way to reach new conclusions.”

Still, taking a few minutes to stare out the window and daydream can seem an impossible indulgence — or a total waste of time. Our society prizes busyness. We’re encouraged to be “on” as often as we can.

Indeed, a 2014 study by University of Virginia and Harvard psychologists found that 83 percent of participants said they spent zero time “relaxing or thinking,” although 95 percent had pursued some kind of leisure activity.

All that busyness can exhaust the nervous system. And neuroscientists are discovering it can kill our ability to be productive and creative, hobbling us at work and in our personal lives. We’re learning that empty time isn’t so wasteful after all, even if it’s just a few moments here and there.

Here’s more on how and why to carve out some do-nothing space for yourself. (more…)

Posted by on Jun 25, 2015 | 0 Comments

Be Well Kitchen: Amie’s Detoxifying Arugula Salad with Pears and Lemon Basil Drizzle

Detoxifying Salad

This is a great salad to enjoy this spring. Arugula is a cruciferous veggie (part of the broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprout family) and is one of the best detoxing veggies you can eat!

Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Grain, Sugar-Free

Serves 4

  • 4 cups packed baby organic arugula (such as Earthbound Farm)
  • 2 pears, thinly sliced or diced
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped raw walnuts
  • 2 tsp. dried cranberries or dried cherries
  • Pinch fresh lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh basil
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, combine arugula, pears, walnuts, cranberries and lemon zest.

In a small bowl, whisk oil, lemon, garlic, basil, sea salt and pepper. Season to taste. Drizzle over arugula mixture and toss to combine. Serve.

Posted by on Jun 23, 2015 | 0 Comments

4 Good Reasons To Be Very Wary Of Statins

Statins

Statins are prescribed to nearly one-fourth of all American adults based on the outdated notion that lowering cholesterol levels is the way to prevent cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, for the overwhelming majority of statin users, the drugs don’t even cut heart disease risk—but instead can actually boost risk for a variety of other diseases, many of which will then need additional drugs to “control,” bringing with them their own set of risks and side-effects. To say the least, statins are anything but a cure.

So what to do when your doc wants to put you on a statin? If your numbers are borderline or you don’t have any major cardiac risk factors, your first response should be “not so fast, partner.” Unless you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease, have had a heart attack or stroke, or have a family history of early heart attack or death, you probably don’t need a statin at all. So, don’t let the doc put you on one simply to cover their arse, ‘cus statins won’t cover yours.

Always remember, you are the client, the boss, the owner of your body and although your doctor’s heart might be in the right place, don’t immediately sign on for a drug that may be an unnecessary, ineffective and potentially dangerous treatment for a problem you don’t have – and here’s why:

Statins Make You Feel Old and Tired Before Your Time

Muscle pain, inability to concentrate, memory problems, and general brain fog are common side effects, which many doctors will brush off as ‘normal’ consequences of statin use. Easy for them to say! If the muscular and cognitive issues weren’t enough, statins also increase diabetes risk, so any of these three chronic problems that we commonly attribute to aging—aches and pains, mental decline and diabetes— may actually be the statins doing a number on you! What other ‘normal’ side-effects might you be expected to tolerate? How about:

  • Reduced energy
  • Lack of interest in activity
  • Increased fatigue after exercise
  • Erectile dysfunction and reduced ability to achieve orgasm
  • Memory loss and/or confusion, Alzheimer’s-like symptoms
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Digestive problems: nausea, gas, diarrhea, constipation
  • Rash or flushing
  • Hunger
  • Increased risk of cataracts

(more…)

Posted by on Jun 22, 2015 | 3 Comments

The Top 4 Reasons to Avoid Trans Fats

Cholesterol
By Be Well Health Coach Laura Kraber

Although Crisco appeared on American grocery store shelves as early as 1911, the popularity of hydrogenated vegetable oils, or trans fats, including margarine and shortening, soared between the 1950s and the 1980s, as the demonization of saturated fats consumed the medical establishment. To fight heart disease and lower cholesterol, food manufacturers were advised to replace the saturated fat in their products with the supposedly healthier type of fat – trans fat, or hydrogenated vegetable oil. Unfortunately, our health suffered as trans fats flooded our food products, and traditional foods such as butter were replaced by margarine during this disastrous dietary experiment.

What Are Trans Fats?

Trans fats are made through “hydrogenation” – hence their technical name, “partially hydrogenated oil.” The hydrogenation process converts a liquid oil into a shelf-stable solid fat through adding hydrogen atoms to the oil. This transformation allowed home cooks and food companies to remove lard and butter from recipes and substitute the a non-animal-based fat that offered the same spreadability, texture, and shelf life that real foods such as butter and lard provided. Finally, in the late 1990s, research revealed the dangers of trans fats and public awareness and FDA labeling requirements followed in the early 2000s.

Dangers of Trans Fats

Ironically, trans fats are far more dangerous to heart health than the saturated fats they were designed to replace:

  1. Trans fats raise the LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) and lower the HDL (“good” cholesterol).
  2. Through increasing the production of pro-inflammatory prostaglandin E2 hormones, trans fats increase overall inflammation in the body, contributing to arthritis, allergies and auto-immune disorders.
  3. Trans fats decrease insulin sensitivity, which can lead to blood sugar disregulation and type 2 diabetes.
  4. Through raising levels of apolipoprotein A, trans fats increase cardiovascular health risks.

(more…)

Posted by on Jun 19, 2015 | 1 Comments

Naturally Shield Your Skin From the Sun With Food

Sunny Day at the Beach

A safe sunscreen (like zinc oxide) is your best bet when it comes to protecting your skin from harmful UV rays. But did you know that you can increase your skin’s resistance to damage, aging, and even cancer with certain healthy foods?

Plants have their own built-in protection against the damaging effects of the sun. When you eat foods that come from these plants, you consume those protective compounds, which helps boost your skin’s ability to protect itself.

Science Indicates Foods Can be Skin Protective

According to the University of Maryland Medical System, eating certain foods can help reduce your risk of skin cancer. Though we don’t yet have scientific tests that have measured and compared various foods and their ability to protect the skin, research has shown that antioxidants in many of these foods may offer protection.

A study published in 2010 came to similar conclusions, though it added that food nutrients can protect not only against skin cancer, but photo-oxidative damage that leads to skin aging. Scientists noted that antioxidant vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, in addition to essential fatty acids, have demonstrated protective properties. They added that the presence of these nutrients in the traditional Greek-style Mediterranean diet may have contributed to the low levels of melanoma there, despite the population’s exposure to high levels of solar radiation.

“The increasing incidence of skin cancer despite the use of externally applied sun protection strategies,” said Niva Shapira, lead author, “alongside research showing that nutrients reduce photo-oxidative damage, suggest nutritional approaches could play a beneficial role in skin cancer prevention.”

Some of the Best Choices

Though many foods may offer sun protection, below are a few of those with the most promise so far, though we’re always finding out about new super foods.

1. Apples: Surprised? A Japanese study actually found that apple polyphenol extracts, particularly flavonids called “procyanidins,” inhibit skin cancer in mice. Another polyphenol, quercetin, protected DNA from human skin cancer cells.

2. Green Tea: Yes, it’s a beverage, but it’s got powerful antioxidants. The University of Maryland Medical Center says it contains polyphenols, potent antioxidants that have shown in studies to help prevent skin tumors from starting or growing. (more…)

Posted by on Jun 18, 2015 | 2 Comments