Healthy Food Delivery At Your Door

By Be Well Health Coach Jackie Damboragian

In an ideal world, we’d all cook our food from scratch. But the reality is, for most of us, that doesn’t happen everyday. When we’re working with patients in the office, we hear a lot of them say that the fast paced NYC lifestyle impacts their time and bandwidth to not cook any of their meals at all. The problem with this is that most restaurants use poor quality oils, such as soybean and canola oils, and use low quality ingredients, such as non-organic meats and farm raised fish.  If you’re just transitioning to a cleaner diet or on the Be Well Cleanse, using a food delivery service can be quite helpful, especially for those with a busy schedule. Even if it’s to fill some gaps (just knowing your lunch will always be healthy), the option can be valuable when you’re trying to eat well and there aren’t many other options around. Below you’ll find some of our national and local faves.

National Meal Delivery

Pete’s Paleo: High-quality meal delivery that focuses on protein, veggies and healthy fats. You can choose from as little as five meals a week up to the family plan. They have a vegetarian option too.

Premade Paleo: Offers a wide variety of meal and snack delivery, all made from high-quality ingredients. Delivers in a BPA free flash frozen package.

Green Chef: Certified organic, Green Chef is the high quality version of Blue Apron. With customizable meals options such as vegetarian, omnivore, carnivore, pescetarian, gluten-free, and paleo, this is a great option for anyone wanting to prep less but also be able to assemble and cook meals at home.

Local Delivery in NYC

Food Matters NYC: Chef Tricia Williams, who created all the recipes for Dr.Lipman’s new book, 10 Reasons You Feel Old and Get Fat , is our go-to recommendation for our NYC clients. Her food is high quality, sourced from organic, fresh and locally grown food and is gluten free.

Provenance Meals: All of the meals are also gluten, dairy and sugar free. You can place an a la carte order or choose one of their pre-bundled options. They source from local vendors and use organic ingredients.

Again, the meal delivery services can be a great option for Be Well Cleansers. Check out the 2016 Spring Cleanse Workshop starting May 9th for extra support in reaching your goals and eating clean as your embark on the Cleanse journey.  

Posted by on Apr 29, 2016 | 0 Comments

What the Label Claims on Cosmetics Really Mean?

Label Claims

When it comes to cosmetics, similar to packaged food, we see labels like “natural” and “organic” that make us think it’s the healthiest option. Surprisingly, these labels legally mean nothing. Due to major loopholes in federal law, cosmetics can be labeled “natural,” “organic,” “green,” “non-toxic,” and nearly any other word that comes to mind without containing ingredients that accurately meet those descriptions. Here’s the “definition” of these terms so you know when you are shopping cosmetics.


For years, the “natural” sector has been the fast growing part of the $200 billion cosmetics industry. It remained strong even during the recession in 2008. You’ve probably noticed the increase in natural brands, and natural claims. Clearly, consumers are looking for natural products.

But what does “natural” actually mean? Well, it can mean something…or nothing at all. For the companies who are backing their natural claims, it may mean that a certain percentage of their ingredients are mineral or plant-based (they came from a plant and are not synthetic), and that they are using post-consumer recycled packaging to reduce their environmental footprint. There are several different certifying bodies that companies can submit their products to in order to show their commitment to natural (Natural Products Association, NaTrue, BDIH and EcoCert among them). These standards have a lot of overlap, but some are more strict regarding the percentage of natural ingredients, or their restricted substances lists. Most of them take the safety of ingredients into account to some extent, but the source of an ingredient—e.g. if it came from a plant—doesn’t de facto mean that we know if it is safe for use on our bodies day after day.

For some companies, “natural” is merely a marketing claim, and they aren’t concerned with backing up their claims in a meaningful way. These guys are “greenwashing.” Learn more about UL Environment’s “seven sins of greenwashing” here.


If you’re familiar with the term “organic” from the food industry, you know it means that the crop in question was grown without the use of toxic fertilizers and pesticides, and in a way that conserved natural resources and promoted biodiversity. In the food industry, “organic” actually means something. In cosmetics, not so much.

Since cosmetics are virtually unregulated, companies are allowed to toss around the term “organic” when the products or ingredients are, in fact, not. The only way to know that “organic” actually means “organic” is to look at the product’s ingredient list, and to verify which ingredients have been certified organic by a credible organization, like the USDA or Oregon Tilth.

If the entire product has a USDA Organic seal on it, you know that the products has achieved the “gold standard” for organic certification in the cosmetics industry. (more…)

Posted by on Apr 28, 2016 | 1 Comments

Avocado, The Amazing Healthy Fat


I am always looking for ways to help my muscles recover more easily. In addition to supplementation, I get asked what foods will help promote these results. Recently, many of my patients have also expressed concern about hair growth, nail strength and dry skin.  Avocados can help with all of this, and that’s why they’re so popular in the wellness world!

These beautiful and creamy fruits are packed with folate and vitamins B5, B6, K and E, which all help support the healthy growth of hair, skin, and nails. In addition, avocados are loaded with good fats and omega 3’s, both of which help reduce inflammation in the body.

I always recommend avocados for daily smoothies, especially post workout, as they are a good source of electrolytes with their high doses of potassium, magnesium and calcium. This makes them a great alternative to popular, sugary sports drinks and other fruits. Just adding a quarter to a third of an avocado can make your daily smoothie deliciously creamy and green, without all the extra sugar.

To give my patients and readers inspiration, here is the recipe for one of my top post workout smoothies:

Supergreen Superfood Smoothie


  • 1 packet of Be Well Sustain Protein powder
  • 1 cup almond milk (or non-dairy non-soy milk)
  • 1 Tablespoon Be Well MCT Oil
  • 1 kiwi
  • ½ cup spinach
  • ½ cup kale
  • ¼ avocado
  • ⅓ Tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 ½ teaspoons spirulina
  • Ice


  • Be Well L-Glutamine (You can use the powder of 2 capsules.)
  • ½ – 1 packet of Stevia, if you prefer your smoothie on the sweeter side

For those of you who have not yet ventured into the world of smoothies, try my savory guacamole! It’s a great addition to most meals and a satiating, healthy snack! Just grab a big bowl and mix together the ingredients listed below, one at a time, and enjoy! (more…)

Posted by on Apr 26, 2016 | 1 Comments

5 Things to Know About Inflammation


In my practice, and in my book 10 Reasons You Feel Old and Get Fat…And How YOU Can Stay Young, Slim, and Happy!, I talk a lot about the day-to-day habits that can make or break your health. At the top of the health-breakers list is inflammation. It’s a word my patients become quite familiar with as we work together to tame it. And now people outside wellness circles are also starting to hear about it a lot more too. Trouble is, most of them don’t really understand much about inflammation or just how destructive it is. You could say everybody’s talking about inflammation, but what are they doing about it? Hopefully, they’re learning to take steps to prevent it. To help you do that, here’s a topline on what chronic inflammation is all about and why it’s essential to tame it.

It’s A Killer You Can’t See Coming

When most people think inflammation, they think of the acute kind that shows itself as a bit of swelling or redness – a kind of physical calling card for those minor injuries we don’t usually need to worry much about. Chronic inflammation, however, is considerably more worrisome – and there aren’t necessarily any visible signs that let you know it’s ‘flame-on.’ Instead, you may start to experience warning symptoms like an uptick in allergies, gut problems (bloating, constipation, IBS, etc.) or joint pain.

It Sets The Stage For Disastrous Diseases

A primary culprit behind so many health problems, chronic inflammation has been linked to an increased risk for many of the diseases we fear most, including cancer, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. It’s also thought to play a significant role in neurological problems like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and even mental illnesses like depression and schizophrenia. These are “worst case” diseases, so it’s easy to see why it’s so important that we do whatever we can to tame chronic inflammation.

It’s What Happens When Your Immune System Goes Rogue

Acute inflammation is your body’s natural response to injury. When injury occurs, your immune system kicks into gear to repair the damage. It sends a flurry of chemicals and inflammatory cells to the injured region to protect the vulnerable area and get the healing under way. In time, you’re virtually good as new. With chronic inflammation though, an out-of-balance, over-revved immune system keeps the flow of chemicals coming and tissues – healthy or otherwise – wind up living in a perpetually agitated state. Why worry? Those constantly circulating inflammatory hormones bring with them an increased risk for plaque build-up in the arteries, arthritis, compromised bone health, high blood pressure and heart disease, to name a few.

It’s About The ‘Leaks’ In Your Gut

Most often, chronic inflammation is the result of an immune system imbalance – so if we can redress that and reduce inflammation, we can cut the risk for long-term health problems and help ease many of the low-grade ills you may be experiencing. In my practice, usually the first step is to get the gut into better, healthier, more balanced shape. As the gut is home to most of your immune system, if it’s unbalanced, the rest of you will be too. How do the wheels come off? One of the most common ways is via what we in the wellness community call “leaky gut syndrome”, triggered by alcohol, food sensitivities (eg gluten), certain medications (eg NSAID’s), low grade gut infections (eg yeast, bacteria and parasites) and even chronic stress. These cause damage to the lining of gut or the tight links between the cell wall, letting proteins and bits of bacteria into the bloodstream, setting off an inflammatory response throughout the body. These inflammatory particles called ‘cytokines’ run amok throughout the system, setting off a variety of responses that may include everything from skin disorders, digestive problems and migraines to fatigue, anxiety and mood swings. (more…)

Posted by on Apr 25, 2016 | 0 Comments

How To Include More Local and Seasonal Foods In Your Life

Seasonal Foods

By Be Well Health Coach Katrine van Wyk

In honor of Earth Day I wanted to share some practical, every-day tips for how you can make a difference – in yours and your family’s health, in your community and for the greater good of the planet over all.

Did you know that seasonal produce can grow without too much added human assistance such as pesticides and genetical modification? When you choose an in-season fruit or vegetable you are more likely also getting a cleaner product. The toxic compounds used in industrial farming can contaminate the water and soil and also our health. Because seasonal food is more likely to also be locally produced it reduces the load on our environment. There is no need for cross-county transportation or so called “food mileage.” Seasonal produce is also more like to have been picked when it’s actually ripe which means it both tastes a lot better (hello summer tomatoes!) and has a higher nutritional value. Pretty cool stuff.

So, how can you go about including more local and seasonal foods?

Get In On a Local CSA

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a wonderful way to both support the local farmers in the important work that they do and guarantee a steady stream of seasonal produce for you and your family. The fun part is that you get to discover new foods that you may not have even seen before, broaden your nutrient intake and satisfy your taste buds and creativity. I love how CSA’s create communities around food that encourage us to share our knowledge, ask questions and engage in our own local environment. Check out Local Harvest to find a CSA in your area.

Frequent Your Local Farmer’s Market

Make it part of your weekend family time to go to the farmers market together. It’s such a great way for kids to see and learn about where their food comes from. Stock up on produce, eggs and local grass-fed meats from farms near where you live. Even if you live in a busy concrete jungle, visiting the farmers market can offer you some connection to the earth, the rhythm of nature and the local ecosystem that you’re a part of.

Keep in mind that although I generally recommend choosing organic whenever possible, many small family farms cannot afford to go through organic certification yet still follow very natural and healthy growing practices. So, when shopping at the farmer’s market you don’t have to be as careful about finding the “organic” produce as you are when shopping at the supermarket.

Want to know what’s in season right now, check out the directory at Sustainable Table.

Online Farm to Consumer Services

If you’re someone who prefers shopping from the comfort of your own home – there are still ways to buy seasonal foods and support local farmers! More and more online companies are offering services where you can place your order from local farms online and either have it delivered or go pick up at a local drop-off facility. Farmigo is a great option and if you’re in the Bay Area check out Good Eggs.

Posted by on Apr 22, 2016 | 0 Comments

Psoriasis – A Gut Related Disorder


Modern medicine is clearly vested in what I like to call the Las Vegas mentality. We’ve all heard that “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” and it seems that, as it relates to medicine today, we still tend to look at illness as being uniquely related to the body system that is affected. For example, autism is thought to represent a brain disorder having to do with the development and functionality of that organ. This is despite the ever-increasing research that demonstrates significant gut abnormalities associated with this disorder. Further, a recent study has shown that giving children with asthma increased amounts of dietary fiber leads to significant improvement. This study clearly challenges the notion that asthma is specifically a lung related disorder.

Psoriasis is a skin disorder and has been described as the most common autoimmune condition in the United States. It is thought that as many as 7.5 million Americans suffer from this condition with more than 120 million people worldwide having this disease.

By and large, because psoriasis is a condition that affects the skin, the therapies that have traditionally been employed have been topical, meaning they’ve been applied to the area affected. However, newer treatments are targeting the immune system as it is recognized that psoriasis is a manifestation of overactivity of the immune system, as is seen in other autoimmune conditions like Type I diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. The consequence of the immune system issues in these diseases? Inflammation.

But the question that must be asked centers on the actual cause of the enhanced immune activity in these, and other, autoimmune conditions, rather than simply focusing on turning down the immune system.

Compelling new research from Spain demonstrates that the answer to this question may, in fact, lie within the gut. These researchers have demonstrated higher levels of a specific chemical, LPS, in the blood of patients with psoriasis who also have metabolic syndrome, an ever increasing situation here in America characterized by excess body fat, high blood sugar, elevated blood pressure, etc.

LPS happens to be a chemical that makes up part of the cell membrane of a large number of bacteria that live within the gut. Finding elevated LPS levels in the bloodstream is an indication of two things. First, it means that the gut has become permeable or leaky, which has allowed the LPS to get into the bloodstream. Second, it means that the process of inflammation has been enhanced as LPS acts as a powerful switch, turning on the inflammatory cascade.

What I found most compelling about the study was the fact that even when the skin condition improved using phototherapy, again a treatment based exclusively on dealing with the skin, the elevation of the LPS did not change. What this means is that the phototherapy was basically treating the smoke while the fire was being ignored. The fire is the inflammatory cascade brought on by this LPS chemical that leeches its way into the bloodstream because the gut is permeable.

So, you might then ask, what causes the gut to become permeable in the first place? Several important factors should be considered to answer this question. First and foremost, understand that it is the role of various probiotic bacteria to maintain the integrity of the gut lining. When the balance of bacteria within the gut is threatened by such things as overuse of antibiotics, or even dietary choices, the ability of the good bacteria to maintain the gut wall lining is challenged. In addition, it is known that gliadin, a protein found in gluten, may also threaten the integrity of the gut lining.

So this is an interesting research study that again helps us broaden our perspective in terms of a disease process. There’s a clear relationship between this skin disorder and events going on in the gut. Once again, this is more evidence that clearly defines the important role of our gut bacteria in maintaining health.

Posted by on Apr 21, 2016 | 1 Comments

Maca Cinnamon Chocolate Smoothie Bowl

cinnamon chocolate smoothie bowl

Spring has been unusually cold, and the chilly temps have us craving something sweet and nurturing. This  thick, creamy, chocolaty smoothie bowl really hits the spot (without the guilt).

Like other smoothie bowl recipes, this requires a little bit of prep the night before to create a really thick base in the morning; from there, it’s as simple as making a standard (yet extra delicious) smoothie.

Maca Cinnamon Chocolate Smoothie Bowl (Serves 1)


  • 1 packet Be Well Sustain protein powder
  • 1 cup almond milk (or non-dairy, non-soy milk of choice)
  • 3 Tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon cocao powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2  teaspoon maca
  • 1/ 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 Tablespoon cashew butter
  • 2 ice cubes


  • Raspberries
  • Banana
  • Coconut Flakes
  • Cashew butter
  • Chia seeds


In a bowl, stir 3 Tablespoons chia seeds into the almond milk, mix well.

Leave to soak overnight in the fridge.

In the morning, place all ingredients (except toppings) into a blender and blend well. The mixture will be very thick.

Scoop into a bowl. Top with berries, banana, coconut flakes, a drizzle of cashew butter and sprinkle with chia seeds.

Posted by on Apr 19, 2016 | 0 Comments

15 Fast Fixes To Fight Inflammation

Fight Inflammation

Inflammation – it’s the starting point for so many life-altering conditions and diseases. It’s also avoidable, yet every day millions of Americans prime themselves for health disasters – like cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and many auto-immune diseases by making choices that unwittingly promote chronic inflammation.

Chronic inflammation is the result of an immune system imbalance. If we can redress that, we can cut the risk for the aforementioned long-term health problems and help ease many of the near-term low-grade ills – like skin disorders, joint pains, digestive problems, migraines, anxiety and mood swings – that many people experience as a result of inflammation.

One of the most common ways is via what we in the wellness community call ‘leaky gut syndrome,” triggered by alcohol, food sensitivities (eg gluten), certain medications (eg NSAID’s), low grade gut infections (eg yeast, bacteria and parasites) and even chronic stress. These cause damage to the lining of gut or the tight links between the cell wall, letting proteins and bits of bacteria into the bloodstream, setting off an inflammatory response throughout the body.

As grim as inflammation may be, there is some good news – which is that you have the power to stop it, and in so doing, protect yourself from a litany of health problems for years to come. Here’s my preventive prescription – 15 start-them-today fixes to help you fight inflammation and win:

1. Eliminate Processed Foods

If it comes in a box or a bag, or has more than 2 or 3 ingredients in the label, it’s a processed, made-in-the-lab ‘Franken-food’ which will deliver little if any nutritional benefit and will most likely be loaded with gluten, sugar, trans fats and other irritants that can trigger an immune response – and chronic inflammation.

2. Fill Up On Fresh, Real Food

Eating fresh, local or organic produce is one of the easiest, healthiest things you can do to curb chronic inflammation. The more variety the better, to better feed the good bacteria that keep the gut lining strong, preventing leaks and inflammation.

3. Dig Into The Inflammation Coolers

In addition to fresh produce, eat other foods that help cool inflammation instead of processed foods, which have the opposite effect. Among my flame-taming favorites: wild salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies and extra virgin olive oil.

4. Go Heavy On Spices

Not only do spices add more flavor to your food, they also deliver an anti-inflammatory boost as well, so apply liberally and enjoy. Topping the spicy list of inflammation coolers: turmeric, ginger, rosemary and basil.

5. Nourish Your Gut With Bone Broth

Bone broth is full of gelatin and collagen, which soothes the intestinal tract and helps heal leaky gut. The gelatin and collagen also support your joints and bones, and reduce inflammation throughout your body. And it is so easy to incorporate into your diet as a base for soups and stews.

6. Break Up With Advil, Motrin – And Alcohol

If you’re one of those people popping a few ibuprophen every day to manage aches and pains, or knocking back a few glasses of wine a night, you’re also throwing off the delicate bacterial balance in your gut, undermining the integrity of your gut wall, and setting yourself up for chronic inflammation. Innocuous as over-the-counter ‘anti-inflammatory’ meds or alcohol may seem, their damage is real, so the less you consume the better. (more…)

Posted by on Apr 18, 2016 | 0 Comments

Shopping Wisely: 6 Healthy Swaps at the Grocery Store

Healthy Swaps
By Be Well Health Coach Laura Kraber

Even when we are doing our best to make smart choices when food shopping, it is difficult to resist well-designed packaging, clever advertising and nutritious-sounding product descriptions. As we know, packaged food is a huge business and the food industry has become expert at convincing us to buy expensive and attractive items which appear healthy.

Always take a moment to read the ingredient list before you purchase anything in a package. Whether it is hidden sugar, toxic oils such as soybean and canola oil, or high levels of sodium or refined carbohydrates, beware of the following popular foods, and check out our suggestions for healthier alternatives—either purchased or homemade.

Salad Dressings

Store-bought salad dressings seem convenient but are usually loaded with sodium and sugar to make them taste good (especially the low-fat ones). Although brands may claim that they are made with olive oil, olive oil, often, is just one of the oils on the ingredient list and may constitute only a small percentage of the dressing, with the cheaper and and more inflammatory sunflower, safflower, canola or soybean oil making up the bulk of the bottle.

Healthy Swap: If you’re going to buy a dressing, try Tessa Mae’s 100% olive oil dressings with gluten free options and no refined sugars. Or, save your cash and whip up your own salad dressing with balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar combined with extra-virgin olive oil in a 3:1 ratio. Add minced garlic or shallot, fresh herbs, or mustard for a delicious flavor.

Vegetable Chips and Crisps

Whether they are made with organic corn, snap peas, root vegetables or are shaped as triangles, chips, or straws, crunchy vegetable snacks are not as healthy as they seem. Just as a fruit rollup or fruit leather is not the same as real fruit, veggie chips and crisps are not the same as eating your vegetables, as much as the ads may try to convince you otherwise. The first ingredient is typically potato or rice flour followed by corn starch and vegetable oil. Most vegetable chips offer few nutritional benefits other than the carbohydrate content and the fat from cheap vegetable oils. (more…)

Posted by on Apr 15, 2016 | 0 Comments

The Cortisol Curve

Cortisol Curve
Reprinted with permission from Experience Life Magazine.
Written By Elizabeth Millard

This “stress hormone” is essential for energy and health, but when it’s out of balance, you are, too. Learn how to manage cortisol to keep inflammation, cravings, and belly fat at bay.

Cortisol has a bad reputation.

Commonly known as the “stress hormone,” it’s produced, in part, by the adrenal glands when we’re under pressure and perceive a threat. The pituitary gland determines how much hormone the adrenals should release to help us fight or flee.

This alarm system works beautifully — until it doesn’t.

In today’s fast-paced culture, many of us are overworked, underrested, and under pressure from too many obligations, and the alarm never stops.

It’s this state of chronic agitation that triggers cortisol function to run amok, contributing to a host of problems: insomnia, excess belly fat, anxiety, and extreme fatigue, to name just a few. It’s no wonder cortisol has gotten a lot of bad press in the health media.

Yet without it we’re helpless.

The hormone isn’t produced solely in response to stress; chronic stress just puts it into overdrive. Normal levels are critical for maintaining steady energy throughout the day. And cortisol orchestrates the performance of other key hormones, like estrogen, testosterone, and thyroid.

Functional-medicine practitioner Sara Gottfried, MD, author of The Hormone Reset Diet, calls cortisol the “control system” for hormones. “It’s getting your blood pressure up only when it needs to be up,” she explains. “It raises your blood sugar only when you most need it. It modulates your immune system.”

Optimally performing cortisol follows a pattern called the “cortisol curve.” In a healthy curve, cortisol is high in the morning and tapers off through the day and evening — like a slow-release energy pill that wears off just in time for bed.

But when we’re chronically stressed, the body releases cortisol at all hours. The curve turns into a roller coaster, and excess cortisol causes us to develop a hair-trigger response to stress. This can lead to adrenal exhaustion. (more…)

Posted by on Apr 14, 2016 | 0 Comments