26
Aug

Spice of Life

Spices
By Be Well Health Coach Anne Markt

Most of know that eating fresh whole foods is good for us, but it can be hard to come up with new and exciting flavor combinations. Rest assured, eating whole foods never has to be bland or boring. Instead of using store-bought condiments (which are usually chock full of sugar and additives) to jazz up your meal, why not explore the wonderful world of spices?

Spices add both flavor and nutritional value to your meals — and they are Cleanse-friendly to boot! Here are some of my favorites spices, and some recipes to get started.

Garlic

I think of garlic as nature’s antibiotic — so if you feel an illness coming on, be sure to use it widely. I like it use it in veggie stir-fries, on roasted chickens, or simply sauteed with a little organic spinach and extra-virgin olive oil. It can also be used in dry-rub spice blends.

Ginger

This powerhouse spice is a strong anti-inflammatory that can reduce nausea and boost your immune system. I love having a cup of ginger tea before I eat to get my digestive juices flowing. It’s also wonderful in a green smoothie or as a component to so many dishes, including this Spicy Spinach and Mushrooms recipe.

Turmeric

A powerful anti-inflammatory, turmeric can be used to make tea — I find turmeric tea to be a soothing drink before bed — or in any number of cooked dishes, including this Indian-inspired vegetable curry. I also supplement with curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, in order to maximize the health benefits. Try our Be Well Curcumin Supplement, in addition to trying your hand at cooking with turmeric. (more…)

Posted by on Aug 26, 2016 | 0 Comments
25
Aug

Superband Strong

Superband
Written by Jennifer Blake, RKC
Reprinted with permission from Experience Life Magazine.

This total-body superband workout comprises four supersets, each including two exercises performed back to back. Complete all the assigned rounds in each superset before moving on to the next. Rest as needed at the end of each round. Use light- or medium-resistance bands; if maintaining good form is challenging, reduce the resistance or perform fewer reps.

SUPERSET A: LEG-STRENGTH FOCUS

Complete three rounds of the superset.

Superband Squat

Superband-2
  • Loop a superband around your waist and then cross the loop like an X in front of you. Step on the loop, feet shoulder width apart.
  • Squat down, aiming to get your thighs parallel to the floor. Keep your chest up and weight evenly balanced across your feet. Don’t let your knees cave inward.
  • Stand up, and repeat for 10 to 12 reps.

Superband Lateral Side-Walks

Superband-3
  • With the superband in the same position, bend your knees and lower down into a quarter-squat.
  • Without rocking or using momentum, take a small step to the side with your left foot, then follow with your right. That’s one rep.
  • Complete 5 to 8 reps in one direction before repeating in the other direction.

SUPERSET B: UPPER-BODY PUSH-PULL FOCUS

Complete three rounds of the superset. Both moves can be performed standing or in a kneeling or half-kneeling position.

Superband Chest Fly

Superband-4
  • Loop a band around a sturdy anchor at chest level.
  • Face away from the anchor, grasping one end of the band in each hand.
  • Raise your arms out to the sides, parallel to the floor and shoulder height. Step away from the anchor so there is tension on the band. Keep a soft bend in the elbows and assume a split stance.
  • Reach your arms to the front, touching your fists together. Extend your arms back to their start position and then bring them forward again, halfway. Return to start to complete one rep. Repeat for 8 to 12 reps.

(more…)

Posted by on Aug 25, 2016 | 0 Comments
23
Aug

Do GMOs Feed the World? Not Exactly

GMO
The biotech industry wants you to believe that their products — namely, their genetically engineered seeds and the portfolio of industrial agrochemicals needed to grow them — are essential to feeding the world.

It’s a great talking point, often repeated, but is it true?

When you look at the data of how GMOs are used, it turns out that GMOs are actually used to fuel cars, create processed foods, and feed animals in the United States.

The world? Well, that part isn’t exactly true.

GMOs are now present in 80 percent of conventional processed food in the U.S., often in the form of genetically modified corn, which is used to make high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), glucose and dextrose, starch, corn oil, beverage alcohol, industrial alcohol, and fuel ethanol.

Amazingly, the USDA boldly states: “Government programs have been instrumental in the development of the HFCS markets.” In other words, our taxpayer dollars are hard at work making processed foods. Corn crops receive enormous subsidies and financial aid. Veggies? Less than 1 percent.

What about those animals? Seventy percent (70%) of U.S. soybeans and 48 percent of U.S. corn go into livestock, poultry, and fish feed through commercial and on-site feed productions. Bonus fact: Those same animals now account for 80 percent of antibiotic use in the U.S.

Basically, any animal products not certified USDA organic or Non-GMO verified are very likely to be the product of GMO-fed animals.

And, what about the alternative fuel in our cars? Well, 28 percent of U.S. soy goes into fuel production and about 40 percent of U.S. corn production goes to make ethanol. According to Forbes, “With more than 60 nations having biofuel mandates, the competition between ethanol and food has become a moral issue. Groups around the world oppose biofuels because they push up food prices and disproportionately affect the poor.”

In 2000, according to Forbes, which cites a report from Iowa State University, “over 90 percent of the U.S. corn crop went to feed people and livestock, many in undeveloped countries, with less than 5 percent used to produce ethanol. In 2013, however, 40 percent went to produce ethanol, 45 percent was used to feed livestock, and only 15 percent was used for food and beverage.” (more…)

Posted by on Aug 23, 2016 | 0 Comments
22
Aug

DIY Beauty: An Interview With Skin Care Expert Deborah Burnes

Skin care
Are your skincare products toxic? If you live in the U.S. and buy commercial personal-care products, the answer is most likely “yes.”

Unlike the European Union, which has banned more than 1,300 chemicals from cosmetics that may be linked to endocrine disruption, cancer, and reproductive problems, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has only banned 11 ingredients. As The New York Times editorial board noted last week, “that shocking discrepancy makes clear how far behind the United States is in this area.”

That’s the bad news. The good news? You can create all-natural skin care products at home without looking too far past your pantry. In her new book, Natural Beauty Skin Care: 110 Organic Formulas for a Radiant You!, skincare expert Deborah Burnes, founder of Sumbody Skin Care, creates eco-friendly recipes for everything from shampoo to face masks to moisturizer. I decided to ask her a few questions about how — and why — we should make our own personal-care products, and here’s what she had to say:

Why should someone choose natural skin care products over the products offered at both drugstores and high-end cosmetics counters?

You can control the quality and make sure you are not being exposed to toxic ingredients. Also, you will have a product that is at its peak — as opposed to most store-bought items, which can sit on shelves for months before being purchased.

You’ll also save money. For example, you can make almost all of the scrubs you find in stores at home, using easily accessible ingredients like avocado oil and used coffee grounds.

Lastly, you’ll be helping the environment. Mass-produced body products can contain toxic chemicals that contribute to pollution problems, and they are often manufactured in containers that don’t break down over time. By making your own, you can control the ingredients — and use reusable, earth-friendly containers.

What are some essential tools to have on hand when making your skin care products?

One of the best things about homemade skin care? You probably already have all of the tools you need in your kitchen! Here’s what you need:

  • Bowls (metal or glass bowls are recommended; wood can hold bacteria)
  • Cheesecloth
  • Grater
  • Measuring cups
  • Pots
  • Spatulas
  • Spoons
  • Funnels
  • Whisk
  • Hand mixer
  • Ice tray
  • Coffee grinder
  • Mini chopper or food processor

A mini slow cooker, too, will make your life easier, and cut down considerably on the time it takes to create these products. It’s best to have one devoted especially to your DIY products. (more…)

Posted by on Aug 22, 2016 | 1 Comments
19
Aug

Be Well Success Story: “I wish I had done this for myself sooner”

Be Well Cleanse
By Tammy Green, as told to Katrine van Wyk

I’ve been a self-professed health nut for most of my life. I practiced ballet for years and then turned to running, and I was a vegetarian for a long time. The problem? Even though I was eating my vegetables and staying very active, I wasn’t feeling great! My weight was creeping up despite all of my efforts, and I wasn’t sleeping well. My mood was also swinging up and down throughout the day, and I developed digestive issues.

I went to several doctors to ask about why I was so tired, and I was told it was just my age and stress. One doctor even told me to “drink more wine.” Because these doctors chalked it up to stress, I would endure periods where I would try to ignore it, block it out, or just pretend it was not happening.

Before the Be Well Cleanse, I really thought I knew everything there was to know about health, but the Cleanse opened my eyes to what’s really possible. Gosh — I wish I had done this for myself sooner! Although I did personal health research for years, it took finding Dr. Lipman’s books and website to begin to craft a better diet for myself and start the healing process.

I did two rounds of the Be Well Cleanse (so, 28 days total), and I took my cleanse seriously! I added in nightly detox baths, made my own almond milk, and even did a few enemas. I also added in some clean meat like organic chicken and organic turkey as well as wild fish — and added in bone broth too!

After the 28 days, it was hard to even believe the world of difference I felt. My digestive issues vanished. I didn’t experience any inflammation anymore, and I’ve just noticed such a newfound clarity. The brain fog that plagued me was gone!

Maybe best of all? I am sleeping through the night — a miracle on its own! My tired raccoon eyes are gone, and I wake up rested and refreshed in the morning. I went from the last one up in the house to the first one up. Because I am no longer crabby in the morning — or fighting to stay awake all day — I am more productive and happier, which obviously affects my family.

Also, I used to suffer from hay fever, and now I can breathe better. And I have a ridiculous amount of energy. (more…)

Posted by on Aug 19, 2016 | 0 Comments
18
Aug

Cupping May Be Trendy, But It’s Not New

Cupping
Although everyone’s been talking about cupping lately, thanks to the round purplish spots swimmer Michael Phelps sported last week at the Rio Olympics, it’s nothing new. Cupping, a therapy familiar to Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners, was used in ancient Greek, Egyptian and Middle Eastern cultures.

What is Cupping?

In cupping, special cups made from glass, silicone, or bamboo are applied on different parts of the body by creating a form of suction via a flame or a pump. There are three different types of cupping: dry cupping, which is the most popular technique, moving cupping (which involves applying massage oil so the cups can glide over the affected area), and wet cupping (which involves drawing a patient’s blood with the cups after a small incision has been made).

Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners use cupping to help mobilize blood flow to tissue and lymph, thereby improving Qi (energy) flow, pulling out toxins, and treating respiratory diseases such as the common cold, pneumonia, and bronchitis. Many people in Western medicine use cupping as a part of soft tissue therapy and treatment.

Personally, I have had a lot of success using cupping — especially as a soft-tissue modality for lymphatic issues, soft-tissue injuries, aches, and pain. I’ve also had success using cupping to reduce stress and respiratory diseases in my clients.

Benefits of Cupping

The health benefits of cupping, as I’ve experienced them, are many. Here is a list of some conditions cupping can help alleviate:

  • Reduces stress
  • Decreases muscle ache
  • Helps sedate the nervous system
  • Decreases joint pain
  • Helps fight allergies
  • Improves digestive disorders
  • Improves colds
  • Lessens anxiety
  • Improves skin conditions
  • Reduces fever
  • Helps with cellulite
Posted by on Aug 18, 2016 | 0 Comments
16
Aug

Just Breathe

Breath
It feels so good to be cared for.

As babies we are dependent on others for comfort, and a nourishing meal or a bath or a good nap is enough to turn any day around.

But, as adults, it’s a little harder to bounce back. We’re busy with responsibilities. We’re overwhelmed. And, when anxieties arise, a good meal or a bath or a nap isn’t always possible! But there is something that is always possible, something that we can do to calm ourselves, anytime, and anywhere. And it’s something that we’ve been doing since the day we were born.

Breathing

Conscious breathing has the power to soothe. It reduces our anxiety in just moments. The breath has physiological effects on our bodies and brains, and, if we know how to use it, we can calm ourselves with care.   

Victorious Breath

I first discovered the breath in yoga. It may sound silly to say that I discovered my breath when I’ve always had it, but it’s true. As part of the yoga practice, we’re not only instructed on how to move through the poses, but how to breathe as well.

After all, it’s not really yoga if there is no breath!  

When I started yoga, I was unaware that the breath had so much importance. I was new to exercise, and it was all I could do to focus on where to put my arms and my legs, how to twist my torso, and where to place my gaze.

But soon I became more aware. In every practice, the instructor provides specific instructions on how and when to breathe. And it’s a special kind of breathing, too. It’s called Ujjayi, or Victorious Breath, and it’s done throughout the practice. One movement, one breath. That’s yoga.

To breathe like this, we’re supposed to constrict the backs of our throats and seal our lips, so the air goes in and out of our noses. This kind of breath makes the sound of the ocean, and, like the ocean itself, it’s meditative. The instructor tells us when to inhale and when to exhale and even reminds us to breathe when a difficult pose makes us hold our breath.  

The breath is nature’s way of quelling anxiety. After a practice, regardless of what transpired earlier in the day, the day is no longer as it was! How is this possible? And how does it work for everyone in the practice, especially when none of us are exactly the same, and none of our days are exactly the same, either?

The Gut-Brain Connection

The breath works, no matter who we are, because it activates the vagus nerve, the longest nerve of the autonomic nervous system. It runs from the brain, through the neck and chest, right down to the abdomen, literally linking our minds with our guts. This nerve controls the parasympathetic nervous system, making it responsible for the body’s relaxation response, as opposed to its stress response. When the vagus nerve is activated, a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine is released, delivering calming messages throughout the body.

All this happens with just a few conscious inhales and exhales. And that’s good to know when we’re anxious or feeling out of control, for our breath is always at hand. It’s what lets us care for ourselves. And that’s why it’s works for everyone. It’s universal.  

Breathing intentionally does more than just calm the mind. When the vagus nerve is activated, not only does it relax our brain waves, but it also helps our hearts beat at healthy rates, reduces pain and inflammation, and consolidates our memories. Directly connected to the gut, it also regulates chemical levels in our digestive systems, so that we can process food and derive the proper nutrients from our meals. (more…)

Posted by on Aug 16, 2016 | 0 Comments
15
Aug

Feel-Good Foods for Your Liver

Liver
The liver is the largest internal organ we’ve got, but few of us pay it any mind until we’ve got a serious health problem. While we’re busy ignoring our liver, it’s busy managing hundreds of bodily functions, including supporting metabolism, controlling blood sugar, and regulating fat storage.

One of its biggest jobs? Breaking down everything you put down your gullet and deciding whether something is a nutrient to be absorbed or a toxin to be sent on a one-way trip out of your body.

Don’t Beat Up Your Liver

The problem? If you ‘feed’ your liver a steady diet of junk food, alcohol, and prescription and OTC drugs, it can get overwhelmed with toxins and have problems processing nutrients. The answer? Instead of bombarding your liver with toxins it has to work overtime to eliminate, simply feed it well. Instead of waiting until your doc says you have a serious liver problem, show your liver some love now — and it will return the favor.

How to Nourish Your Liver

In addition to laying off the bad stuff, be sure to supply your liver with a steady stream of nutrient-dense, plant-based foods, good fats, and high-quality animal protein. Make the produce aisle your second home (preferably in the organic section) or hit up the farrmers’ market and look for foods that support optimal liver function. Here are a few of my favorite detoxifying, liver-lovin’ foods:

Fermented Foods

Sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and other fermented foods are loaded with good bacteria, which, in addition to their immunity-boosting powers, also help usher out heavy metals.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Broccoli and cauliflower contain glucosinolates, which aid in the removal of toxins from the body.

Sea Vegetables

Sea veggies like nori, dulse, and kelp contain detoxifying alginic acids that absorb and remove toxins from the digestive tract.

Dark Green Leafy Vegetable

Leafy greens like spinach, arugula, kale, and dandelion greens contain plant chlorophylls which help remove chemicals, pesticides, and heavy metals from the bloodstream. (more…)

Posted by on Aug 15, 2016 | 2 Comments
12
Aug

Find Your Tribe — and Nourish Your Life

Community
Summertime! My favorite time of year. I still remember being a kid on the last day of school and having the whole summer stretched out in front of me. Now as a working mother of two, I’m constantly balancing responsibilities with the pull of summertime fun.

When life gets a bit harried, or my diet hasn’t been as clean as I know it could be, resetting my body with whole foods and a short detox program is my go-to reboot. In fact, I believe so much in the power of real food that I started a company, Provenance Meals, that makes clean eating easy for busy New Yorkers by delivering prepared meals that are 100 percent gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free.

And, yet, sometimes I forget that nourishment in other areas of life is as important — if not more — than the vitamins and minerals going into my body. Beyond focusing on healthy movement and getting a good night’s sleep, I think we need to focus more on community and personal enrichment — especially in this modern world where we’re all so focused on our digital devices.

Here are my three suggestions to nourish your life:

1. Find your tribe

Ask yourself what inspires or interests you and get involved. Find Meetups in your area, help out at your children’s school, take a regular fitness class, or grow veggies in a community garden. Over time, you’ll see familiar faces, find common goals, and cultivate a community of like-minded folks.

2. Prioritize Relationships

It’s too easy to be too busy in this life. But positive relationships and social interactions are the foundation for happiness and when we neglect those relationships, our wellness is affected. Some things I do as a mom, a wife, friend, and employer is to have dinner with my family at least three times per week, exercise with a girlfriend, schedule face-to face meetings for work, and always look forward to date night with the hubs. Put it on the calendar and don’t flake!

3. Keep Learning

While summer vacation was fantastic as a kid, now I love learning throughout the entire year. To me, learning is growing. Have a goal, whether it’s organizing your finances, decluttering your home or learning a new skill. When I am focused on learning, I find the distractions of social media and email much less interesting.

Posted by on Aug 12, 2016 | 0 Comments
11
Aug

Can Summer Grilling Cause Cancer?
10 Tips to Reduce Toxic Exposures

Grilling
Outdoor grilling is a much-anticipated ritual of summer. The smell of grilled vegetables, fish, and meats wafting through the evening air is enough to inspire any of us to disconnect from our screens and take it easy.

However, did you know that grilling can also create toxic compounds that have been linked to adverse health effects ranging from headaches and respiratory irritation to many forms of cancer?

For example, when meats are cooked at very high temperatures HCAs, or heterocyclic amines, form. Other cooking methods produce these chemicals as well, but grilling often produces charred edges that typically contain HCAs in their purest form. Studies have linked exposure to these chemicals with increased risk of cancers, such as colorectal, breast, prostate, pancreatic, lung, stomach, and esophageal.

Additionally, when the juices and fat from meat drop onto hot surfaces and create smoke, PAHs, or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, form, which are then deposited on the surface of the meat. These chemicals are thought to be a human carcinogen, and have been linked to both autoimmune thyroid conditions and lower birth weight in babies of exposed mothers.

Lastly, petroleum-based lighter fluids can emit VOCs, or volatile organic compounds. While not all VOCs are necessarily harmful, they have been linked to a wide range of adverse health effects, from respiratory tract irritation and headaches to kidney damage and cancer.

Did you lose your appetite? Don’t worry: You don’t need to retire your grilling utensils just yet. If you incorporate the below 10 tips on how to reduce toxic exposures, you can continue enjoying the fire-roasted flavor of summer grilling!

1. Avoid “Well Done” Burgers and Steaks

Cooking meats until they are well done poses two issues: By maximizing the cooking time, meat is exposed to high temperatures for longer (creating more HCA-laden char), and there is a greater opportunity for fat and juices to drip off (creating PAH-contaminated smoke). In 2005, a study from the National Cancer Institute found that “very well done meat was positively associated with prostate cancer risk.”

2. Get Informed About Marinades

Marinades with acidic elements, such as wine, vinegar, or lemon juice, prevent PAHs from sticking to cooked meats. Marinades that contain sugar, such as barbecue sauce, should only be used in the last few minutes of grilling, as they encourage charring. In fact, years ago, a study found that using barbecue sauce caused an increase of toxic chemicals that are formed during the grilling process.

3. Trim the Fat

Trimming meats will reduce the amount of fat that will drip into the grill, which forms PAH-contaminated smoke. This will reduce toxicity of your meats!

4. Use a Drip Rack, or Wrap Foods in a Foil Packet

Wrapping foods in a packet serves a similar purpose to trimming the fat: Less fat, juices, and smoke will contaminate meat with PAHs.

5. Turn the Meat Often

Scientific studies have found that continuously flipping the protein over high heat can reduce the formation of HCAs, in comparison to simply leaving meat on the heat source. (more…)

Posted by on Aug 11, 2016 | 0 Comments