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CD’s of the Year For 2014


At the end of every year I put out 2 CD’s of my favorite tracks. This year, on the first CD there is a mix of my favorite new songs of this year from around the world. The 2nd CD, “The Covers”  contains some beautiful cover versions by various artists doing covers of some classic songs. Hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Best of 2014

Best of 2014

1) Dar um Jeito (We Will Find a Way)

On Spotify or On I-Tunes

2) De Graca

On Spotify or On I-Tunes

3) Clic Clic

On Spotify or On I-Tunes

4) Rumba So Yo

On Spotify or On I-Tunes

5) Agoya

On Spotify or On I-Tunes

6) Unbelievers

On Spotify or On I-Tunes

7) Dirty Paws

On Spotify or On I-Tunes

8) Mr. Tembo

On Spotify or On I-Tunes

9) Reggae Got Soul

On Spotify or On I-Tunes

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Posted by on Dec 22, 2014| 0 Comments

All Dairy Is Not Created Equal

Dairy Milk
By Be Well Health Coach Katrine van Wyk

Dairy is one of those topics that come up a lot here at the Wellness Center. Many of our patients discover that their digestion or skin is irritated by dairy consumption and end up avoiding it all together. Others find that raw milk or goat and sheep’s milk is fine for them, but that other dairy products still irritate them. There’s no doubt that when it comes to dairy everyone is different, and your tolerance can change over time. For example, if you have any auto-immune issues, leaky gut or a dysbiosis you might have to avoid dairy altogether until you’ve resolved the underlying issues. Because most dairy products available at the market today are very different from the dairy our grandparents drank (much like in the case of wheat and gluten!) many people also find themselves intolerant to it. There also seems to be a correlation between gluten intolerance and dairy intolerance. We tend to see a link between skin issues, especially acne, and dairy consumption, so if that’s you, try avoiding dairy for a couple of weeks and see if there’s any improvements.

Because this is such a confusing, heated and frankly quite controversial topic, let’s just dive in and see what all the terms mean and what all your options are. There are lots and pro’s and cons to sift through so bare with me!

Lactose Intolerance

Lactose is the sugar found in milk and is what a lot of people find themselves intolerant to it. As it turns out, a significant percentage of the population stop producing lactase – the enzyme needed to digest lactose in milk – at a certain age (all babies produce lactase in order to digest breast milk) and will therefore experience a lot of discomfort when consuming conventional, pasteurized dairy products. But, did you know that raw milk actually contains lactase – that enzyme I mentioned that helps you digest lactose? That’s right. Unfortunately pasteurization destroys all those enzymes, which means many of us (those of us who don’t produce our own lactase anymore) can tolerate raw dairy, but not pasteurized.

Interestingly, some populations who have been exposed to dairy for a long time, such as Scandinavians, have a much higher likelihood of also producing lactase and tolerating dairy just fine.

Grass Fed, Organic, Hormone Free – What’s What!

If you choose to eat dairy, it is always ideal to get dairy from pastured, grass-fed cows who have eaten the food they’re meant to eat (grass!) and been grazing outside in the sunshine. The sun is essential for the cow to produce enough vitamin D, which also ends up in the milk you drink. And the diet full of grass makes the milk higher in nutrients – especially the essential Omega 3 fatty acids.

As with any ruminant that is fed grains (ie corn), it will get sick from that diet and most of the time be treated with antibiotics. Also, most milk-producing cows today are given genetically-engineered growth hormones ( rBGH or rBST), designed to increase the cow’s milk production. Those antibiotics and growth hormones will also end up in the milk you drink.

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Posted by on Dec 19, 2014| 5 Comments

A Report Highlights Rampant Misleading Marketing Efforts by Leading Yogurt Brands

Yogurt Containers

This article originally appeared on OrganicAuthority.com

A new report released by organic advocacy group, The Cornucopia Institute, highlights rampant misleading marketing efforts by leading yogurt brands in the industry.

The report points to major yogurt makers including Dannon, Yoplait and Chobani of turning yogurt—a longtime health food—into little more than junk food loaded with artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and emulsifiers.

Entitled, “Culture Wars: How the Food Giants Turned Yogurt, a Health Food, into Junk Food, The Cornucopia Institute’s report accuses agribusiness of capitalizing on “yogurt’s historic, well-deserved healthful reputation while simultaneously adulterating the product, sometimes illegally, to gain competitive advantage and popular appeal,” the group said in a statement.

Among the report’s findings, the group notes many major yogurt brands selling fruit-flavored yogurt varieties that often contain no actual fruit, but include “total sugars that rival those in candy bars,” the group said. Other yogurts that did not contain sugar contained high levels of artificial sweeteners including aspartame (NutraSweet®).

Other controversial ingredients include artificial colors linked to behavioral issues in children and carrageenan, “a bioactive ingredient derived from seaweed, [which] has been linked in published research to serious gastrointestinal inflammation and disease,” the group notes.

It also tested the probiotic counts in many of the yogurt brands using the industry campaign of including Live and Active Cultures, finding that many organic brands not participating in the campaign had higher levels of healthy probiotics.

“What is most egregious about our findings,” Mark A. Kastel, Codirector of The Cornucopia Institute said in the statement, “is the marketing employed by many of the largest agribusinesses selling junk food masquerading as health food, mostly aimed at moms, who are hoping to provide their children an alternative, a more nutritious snack. In some cases, they might as well be serving their children soda pop or a candy bar with a glass of milk on the side.”

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Posted by on Dec 18, 2014| 0 Comments

Be Well Kitchen:
Roasted Root Veggie Hash Recipe

Roasted Root Vegetables
By Be Well Health Coach Amanda Carney

This simple yet flavorful dish is perfect for this time of year, and can be a great addition to any holiday party!


  • 2 cups carrots, rinsed and diced
  • 1 large winter squash, peeled and diced (kabocha, butternut, red kuri, acorn, delicata, etc.)
  • 2 cups parsnips, rinsed and diced
  • 1 large sweet potato, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • Sea salt and fresh black pepper for sprinkling
  • Optional ingredient: 2-4 teaspoons dried herbs for sprinkling (thyme, rosemary and/or oregano)


  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Prepare all veggies.
  • Place chopped veggies in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil until all are thinly coated and sprinkle with sea salt and fresh black pepper.  Optional – sprinkle with dried herbs until lightly coated.
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper (to save time cleaning up) and place all veggies on baking tray.
  • Roast for 30-45 minutes, mixing every 15 minutes, until all veggies are tender.
  • Season with additional sea salt, black pepper and/or herbs if necessary.
  • Serve and enjoy!
Posted by on Dec 16, 2014| 0 Comments

10 Interesting Articles in 2014

10 Articles

Here are 10 articles from 2014 that I found especially interesting. There are 3 articles about the microbiome and the bugs in our gut. The most fascinating one is the research showing that the bugs in our gut may be driving our appetite, cravings and moods, driving us to eat what they want. I had to include the important piece from Men’s Journal, on how every time you walk into a physician’s office, you run the risk of overtreatment. This is essential reading if you haven’t seen it yet! There are also articles on some unusual beneficial effects of exercise and the detrimental effects of sitting too long. And obviously I had to include posts about the benefits of fat and the evils of sugar.

1. Science Daily 

It sounds like science fiction, but it seems that bacteria within us may very well be affecting both our cravings and moods to get us to eat what they want.

2. NY Times

Being physically active may encourage beneficial germs to thrive in your gut, while inactivity could do the reverse.

3. NY Times 

Study of Organic Crops Finds Fewer Pesticides and More Antioxidants

4. The Age

A British professor’s 1972 book about the dangers of sugar is now seen as prophetic. Then why did it lead to the end of his career?

5. Men’s Journal

Every time you walk into a physician’s office, you run the risk of overtreatment: Tests you don’t need, medications that are ineffective (or dangerous), procedures that cause more problems than they solve. In many cases the best thing for your health is to do nothing.

6. The Daily Beast

Everything You Know About Fat Is Wrong

7. Huffington Post

8 Ancient Beliefs Now Backed by Modern Science

8. The Salt 

Another reason to avoid artificial sweeteners…..seems like they alter our Gut Microbes and raise the risk of Diabetes.

9. Psychology Today

Sitting for hours on end isn’t just bad for your waistline and physical health, as has been well-documented in recent years. Turns out, according to new studies, extensive sitting also undermines your emotional well-being.

10. Fast Company

Scientific evidence shows that we can teach our brains to feel more compassion, both for others and ourselves.

Posted by on Dec 15, 2014| 0 Comments

How To Keep Your Health On Track During The Holidays

Healthy Holidays
By Be Well Health Coach Courtney Blatt

The holiday season is here, which means parties, sugary treats, cocktails and lots of added stress. It’s meant to be the most joyful time of the year, but instead we typically overextend ourselves and our health gets neglected. The good news… with a bit of mindfulness, you can manage to enjoy yourself this holiday season while keeping your health on track.

1. Plan Ahead

Holidays are supposed to be the most joyful time of year, but it’s often the most stressful. There are endless to-do lists, crazy in-laws, traveling and chaotic schedules. Sometimes it can leave us feeling depressed and irritable. One of the simplest ways to avoid this is to plan ahead. You know it’s coming, so decide to take action this year. Make a schedule. Map out when you plan to shop for presents, wrap gifts, bake or anything else you may have to do. The moment you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a glance at the calendar to calm your nerves and remind yourself how you have everything under control.

2. Keep a Regular Eating Schedule

As a general guideline for meals, I suggest sticking with a lean protein, green vegetable and healthy fat.  This is even more important during this season as it will keep you from grazing and starve the sugar cravings. Start your day with a protein smoothie or a vegetable omelette. Have soup or a salad for lunch and add a side of greens to your dinner. If you’re at a holiday party, you can follow this same rule. I always make sure to eat a light meal before a party so I don’t overindulge.

3. Nourish Your Body With Healing Foods

It’s cough, cold and flu season and with so much happening, energy levels are often depleted. This is why it’s so important to fuel your body with healing foods. It’s a perfect time of year for nutrient dense soups and bone broth. Bone broth is full of minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, and glucosamine in a form the body can absorb easily.

4. Get Ahead of Stress

We all know stress is coming with the holidays, so it’s best to get ahead of it by including some simple techniques each day.

  • Take five minutes at the start and end of your day to meditate. It will ground you, help keep you stay centered and remind you what the holidays are really about.

  • Find some time during the day to practice restorative yoga. It’s the perfect antidote to holiday stress. It allows your body to rest, recover and recalibrate. My favorite pose is Reclining open chest pose as it brings me into such a restful state.

5. Let Go of Family Drama

I love reconnecting with family over the holiday but boy can they push my buttons sometimes. What is it about in-laws or your crazy aunt that can trigger anxiety?  Even when you prepare to avoid conflict or drama, it still might show up. Step back and think about the big picture.  You don’t need to let the silly little family drama get you down. Instead, just respond with love and allow it to diffuse the situation.

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Posted by on Dec 12, 2014| 0 Comments

Avoid These 7 Mistakes to Maintain Glowing Skin This Winter

Glowing Skin in Winter

Dry, winter air can wreak havoc on skin. Not only does it steal moisture away, it can lead to tiny cracks in the surface, lowering skin’s ability to protect against free radical damage. In fact, if you’re not careful, you can suffer accelerated aging over the winter months.

With a few changes to your skin care routine, you can avoid the damage and keep your skin looking healthy and vibrant during these winter months. Avoid these seven mistakes, and step up your nourishing and moisturizing care.

1. Licking Your Lips!

We do it without thinking about it. Our lips get dry and our tongues naturally respond. This is horrible for our skin. Not only does the saliva evaporate, taking the moisture with it, it also contains enzymes that help digest your food—think “break down.” These enzymes do the same to the thin, fragile skin on your lips, so you end up with drier, more chapped lips than before you licked them.

Instead: Keep lip balm with you always, and use it whenever you feel the urge to lick. Make sure you choose a product without petrolatum ingredients, as they can cause long-term dryness. Look for bee’s wax, honey, shea butter, natural oils, and aloe. Want something that will heal, nourish, and repair all at the same time? Give our award-winning Restorative Skin Balm a try for soft, kissable lips all winter long.

2. Forgetting Sunscreen

When the clouds are out and the day is gray, we tend to forget about applying sunscreen. After all, we can’t see the sun! But remember, even when you can see it, it’s still there. In fact, winter sun can be even more dangerous, as UVA rays still come through, and they’re the ones most responsible for aging and skin cancer.

Instead: Protect with a safe product like zinc oxide every day!

3. Using Your Summer Skin Care Routine

Winter came suddenly for many of us this year. That means we didn’t get time to adjust. If you’re still using your summer products and routine, it’s time to reevaluate. The skin naturally needs more moisture in winter, as the air is drier and tends to steal more hydration from the skin. If you don’t respond to this change in needs, your skin will end up dry, dull, and damaged for your holiday get-togethers.

Instead: Ask yourself: what does my skin need? Increased moisture is the most common requirement. You may want to change your lotion to a cream, and consider liquid foundation over powder. You may also want to change up your cleanser from a gel or lotion to a more cream-based formula. If you haven’t already, add an anti-aging serum to pump up the hydration. Your skin should feel soft, smooth, and comfortable. If you notice tightness, dryness, or itchiness, something is off and you need to try something else.

4. Putting Anything on Flaky Skin

I know, we try to cover it up, but it just doesn’t work. Any type of foundation, even liquid, will just call attention to the damaged skin. If you notice flakes, it means two things: 1) you’re not exfoliating enough, 2) your moisturizer isn’t working.

Instead: We usually suggest exfoliating one-to-two times a week, but in the winter, that may not be enough. If you notice flaky skin, go ahead and exfoliate—just make sure you’re using a gentle product. Avoid nut-based and plastic-based scrubs, as these cause damage and irritation that can lead to redness and acne breakouts. Instead, look for Dead Sea mud or clay, papaya and other natural enzymes, oat ingredients, fruit-based ingredients, gentle acids, and essential oils. Then make sure that your moisturizer is giving your skin what it needs. An added serum (as noted above) may be the perfect solution. Moisturizing masks can also be a lifesaver.

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Posted by on Dec 11, 2014| 0 Comments

Homemade Holiday Gifts:
5 Be Well Kitchen Favorites

Energy Bites
By Be Well Health Coach Laura Kraber

Holiday gift season is upon us! Show your love with healthy, homemade treats that you can whip up in your kitchen in an hour or less. Invite a friend or enlist your kids to help so you can easily make double recipes and check off everyone on your list.

Invest in fancy ribbons, mason jars or pretty tins for a boutique-worthy presentation – healthy and homemade can be elegant, too! Double bonus: your healthy gift may create a spark of food-health awareness in your gift recipients and inspire healthier eating in their future.

1. Sweet and Spicy Roasted Pecans

Chock full of minerals, fiber, and powerful anti-oxidants, pecans make a healthful treat during the holidays. Great for party snacks and as gifts, these roasted nuts are easy to prepare. If you prefer almonds, walnuts or other nuts, feel free to substitute or create a blend of different nuts.

  1. Preheat oven to 275° F
  2. In a skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of pastured butter or coconut oil; once melted, stir in 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
  3. In a bowl, blend 1 teaspoon each of chopped fresh thyme and rosemary, 1½ teaspoons sea salt, ½ teaspoon of freshly ground pepper, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
  4. Pour 1 pound of pecan halves into the butter-syrup pan and stir gently to coat.
  5. Distribute pecans onto a large baking sheet and bake for approximately 20 minutes, until toasted; stir every five minutes or so.
  6. Once lightly browned, remove pecans from oven and sprinkle with herb blend and let cool before packing into jars.

2. Savory Sea Salt

Almost daily, I rely on a favorite sea salt and herb blend which I use for everything from sautéed chicken breasts to roasted vegetables to salad dressing. For meats, vegetables, soups, and eggs of all kinds, salt blends make flavoring foods easy and delicious. This year, I’m ordering sweet little jars from Mountain Rose and packaging up my special blend; you can also buy herbs and spices from Mountain Rose for one-stop shopping. My recipe couldn’t be easier: For a large batch, I combine ½ cup Maldon Sea Salt Flakes with 5 teaspoons of “Herbs du Provence” and chop lightly in a food processor or mortar and pestle, leaving some chunkier salt flakes. Other scrumptious salt blends you may want to try include:

  • Fennel Saffron Salt: ½ cup Maldon Sea Salt with 3 teaspoons fennel seeds and ½ teaspoon saffron threads
  • Citrus Rosemary Salt: ½ cup Maldon Sea Salt with 2 teaspoon each of dried lemon zest, dried orange zest and dried rosemary
  • Lime Chile Salt: ½ cup Maldon Sea Salt with 2½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, 3 teaspoons dried lime zest, and 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Note: To make dried citrus zest, peel the citrus, avoiding the white pith, and slice into thin pieces; spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 25 – 30 minutes in a 200°F oven.

3. Chocolate, Fruit and Nut Energy Bites

Earlier this year, we featured this recipe in our review of Elizabeth Nyland’s Cooking with Coconut Oil. Wrapped up in wax paper in a fancy tin or box, these delectable treats make a wonderful gift. Find the recipe here.

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Posted by on Dec 09, 2014| 0 Comments

7 Simple Strategies to Reduce Holiday Stress

Holiday Relaxation

‘Tis the season to be jolly – or is it? With all the stresses of the season headed towards us like a runaway (toy) train, now’s a good time to take a step back and put together a plan to help navigate the next few weeks so this year you won’t collapse in a stressed-out heap. Here are some thoughts and gentle reminders on how to manage the season, with more joy and less stress:

1. Eat Wisely and Well

As in, yes, even though there are lots of holiday treats on offer, you really do need to think of your body as a temple. Over doing it with big doses of alcohol and sugar will weaken your ability to fight off winter ills at exactly the time your exposure is peaking. So instead of weakening the castle walls, remember to fortify them at every meal, with the goal of keeping optimal levels of nutrients coursing through your veins throughout the season. To do that, start with a morning Smoothie to fill up on good fats, protein and phytonutrients.  Eat or drink plenty of greens, fill up on protein and healthy fats, and snack on low-sugar fruits like blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. Eat mindfully and consciously just as you would during the non-holiday season, and always have a healthy snack before going out to parties to cut cravings and limit the temptation to over-indulge. 

2. Be Kind to Your Body – And Give It a Rest

The holidays are a marathon. To finish strong, you’ve got to treat your body in ways that will support health and allow for rest, repair and relaxation. At this time of the year, gift yourself with a weekly body tune-up, be it a massage, steam room session or sauna time at the gym. All will to reduce stress, relax muscles and boost circulation in a quiet, cell phone-free environment, so your brain gets a break too! If you’re short on time, you can also try this DYI massage when you get home at night: dig out a few tennis balls and treat yourself to an ultimate foot massage or try a neck and shoulder release to help soothe aches and release tension. Another simple, stay-healthy tip: don’t cut corners on sleep –it’s a non-negotiable if you plan to stay well through the holidays. If you’re going to be out late frequently, try to arrange it so that at least every other night you’re hitting the hay at close to the usual time. Keeping a somewhat normal schedule will help keep your defenses strong – three or four late nights in a row won’t.

3. Take Your Brain on Vacation

Every day, step off the holiday merry-go-round for a few minutes to quiet your mind and boost well-being to boot. Be it a 5-minute yoga or meditation moment in the morning, a sunny park bench (soak up a little vitamin D!) or a church pew for a few moments in the afternoon or an evening group meditation, turning down the noise in and outside of your head will help keep stress levels from boiling over. To unwind at home, instead of a glass of wine, try doing 15-minutes of Restorative Yoga. Think of it as a vacation for mind and body, and one you can enjoy as often as needed, no reservations required.

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Posted by on Dec 08, 2014| 0 Comments

Three Myths You Need To Know About Autoimmune Disease

Autoimmune Disease

Being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease can be overwhelming.  While you may have many questions about treatment and how to manage you condition, a few myths can complicate the full picture. Let’s dispel a few myths about managing your autoimmune disorder.

Myth 1: Your Diet Has Nothing to do With Your Illness

Conventional medicine will tell you that you have an autoimmune disease simply because your immune system is over reactive. What is often left out of the picture is that your diet can be making your symptoms worse. Chronic gut inflammation, food sensitivities, low-grade gut infection and toxic chemicals in our diet are thought to be related to our increased incidence of autoimmunity. Addressing gut dysfunction and food sensitivities are critical aspects of healing and thriving with autoimmune diseases.

Myth 2: You Are Destined for a Life of Illness and Disability

Statistics show that autoimmune disorders are one of the top causes of disease and disability in young women today. However, that does not have to be the case for you.  By finding a functional medicine practitioner and a trusted medical team you can approach your autoimmune disease to treat your entire body, mind and spirit.  A multifaceted approach that includes diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes can not only give you symptomatic relief but also change your outlook on your diagnoses and health.

Myth 3: Prescription Medications Are Your Only Hope

Often times patients believe that prescription medications are their only hope in relieving symptoms associate with their diagnoses.  While prescription medications can be necessary in cases of severe autoimmunity, supplements like probiotics, vit D, turmeric and omega-3 fatty acids can decrease the inflammation and aid your immune system.  Taking nutrients to heal the lining of your gut and finding supplements to support your current therapies can help ease your autoimmune inflammation.  Mind-body interventions such as yoga, meditation, and acupuncture are also wonderful in treating symptoms associated with autoimmune disease.

Finding a health practitioner to help you approach you autoimmune disorder with a variety of methods such as your diet, your stress level, sleep habits, and reducing your toxic exposures can be key to unlocking restored health and wellness.

Learn more about functional medicine at the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center (What is Functional Medicine?) and how functional medicine can help you with your autoimmune disease (7 Reasons Why Functional Medicine Rocks).

Posted by on Dec 05, 2014| 4 Comments