Travel Tips: Stay Healthy on the Plane

Air Travel
By Be Well Health Coach Kerry Bajaj

When you think about it, flying in a metal bird at 500 miles per hour is quite an unnatural state for our bodies to be in. We run into all sorts of problems at high altitude, like dehydration, lack of circulation, and lack of healthy food options.

But with a little planning, it is possible to stay healthy on the plane! Here are some of my favorite tips:

1. Bring Your Food

Packing a meal is a much better bet than hoping you’ll find something healthy at the airport. I stopped by Whole Foods before a recent flight and picked up veggie sushi, apples, nuts and dark chocolate. You can bring an ice pack to keep your food cool.  Since they rarely offer meals on domestic flights these days, you might as well pack a healthy picnic lunch.

If you have a very long journey ahead, you can at least pack your first meal to get off to a good start.

2. Eat Light

Airplane travel is sedentary. Since you’re sitting still for hours on the plane, you don’t need a heavy, hard-to-digest meal. Raw fruits and veggies are great. I like apples, bananas, avocado and carrots.

3. Pack a Treat

I associate travel with vacation and indulgence. Instead of picking up a Frosty from Wendy’s at the airport, chocolate covered pretzels or a huge bag of M&Ms, pack your own travel treat. My favorite is the Emmy’s Organics Lemon Ginger Macaroons. The Starbucks at the airport might have a bar made by 2 Moms in the Raw.

4. Hydrate

Airplane travel is incredible dehydrating! I always try to have a green juice at home on the day of departure. I bring a glass water bottle to the airport, so I can fill it after getting through security. I avoid alcohol and caffeine on the flight, as they are dehydrating. Dr. Lipman’s Sustain protein shakes are great for travel, as they come in convenient individual packets and can make a quick healthy “meal” on your flight. You can also bring a packet of Greens powder to add to a bottle of coconut water for a quick and hydrating nutritional boost.

5. Recover

To beat jet lag, there are a few tips to explore:

  • Homeopathic jet lag pills by Boiron (look at Whole Foods or a pharmacy or health food store)
  • Check out this article about fasting during your flight to beat jet lag
  • Set your watch to the time of your destination when you start your flight
  • Try to get sunlight when you arrive at your new destination. Experiencing sunrise and sunset can also help your body adapt to the new environment faster.
  • Eat seasonal and local foods as much as possible when you arrive in a new place.

Have safe and healthy travels!

Posted by on Jul 22, 2014| 0 Comments

Interview with Chris Kresser, About His Excellent New Book “Your Personal Paleo Code”

Your Personal Paleo Code

Your Personal Paleo Code:
The 3-Step Plan to Lose Weight, Reverse Disease, and Stay Fit and Healthy for Life

Dr L: What is the Paleo diet?

Chris: The Paleo diet emphasizes foods humans are biologically adapted to eat—such as meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds—and excludes foods that have only recently (on the evolutionary timescale) become available, such as grains, legumes, industrial seed oils, and refined sugar.

Dr L: How is your book different from other Paleo books?

Chris: While most Paleo books exclude all foods that weren’t consumed during the Paleolithic era, I argue that some agricultural foods—such as dairy products, potatoes and other nightshade plants, and even certain grains—are healthy when well-tolerated by the individual. I also stress that there’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach when it comes to nutrition, and that the key to succeeding with any dietary approach (including Paleo) is personalizing it to meet your unique needs.

Dr L: What’s your personal story? What led you to the Paleo movement?

Chris: I became ill while traveling in Asia in my early twenties and struggled for more than a decade to recover my health. Along the way I discovered Paleo and it was the turning point in my recovery.

Dr L: What can we learn from our ancestors and people who still follow a traditional diet and lifestyle?

Chris: Studies of contemporary hunter-gatherers suggest they are largely free of the chronic inflammatory diseases that have become epidemic in the industrialized world. They have far fewer modern illnesses—like metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, obesity, some cancers, and autoimmune disease—and they are superior in every measure of health and fitness, including blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, body mass index, waist-to height ratio, oxygen consumption, vision, and bone density. Comparative studies have shown that these remarkably healthy traditional cultures have certain dietary and lifestyle principles in common. By emulating these principles, we can regain our health.

Dr L: But didn’t cavemen die young? Why should we emulate their ways?

Chris: It’s true that our Paleo ancestors had average life spans shorter than ours today. However, these averages don’t factor in challenges largely absent from modern American lives: high infant mortality, violence and accidents, infectious diseases, and lack of medical care. Studies suggest that when these factors are considered, our ancestors had life spans roughly equivalent to our own. Even more important, they reached these ages without any signs of the chronic inflammatory and degenerative diseases that we consider to be normal in developed countries, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, gout, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers.

Dr L: Why was agriculture “the worst mistake in human history”?

Chris: Hunter-gatherers practiced “the most successful and longest-lasting lifestyle in human history,” according to scientist and author Jared Diamond, and were all but guaranteed a healthy diet because of the diversity and nutrient density of the foods they consumed. Once humans switched to agriculture and became more sedentary, our species’ naturally robust health declined. For example, in places where agriculture was adopted, tooth decay and anemia due to iron deficiency became widespread, average bone density and height decreased, and infant mortality increased.

Read the Whole Article

Posted by on Jul 21, 2014| 1 Comments

Top 6 Gluten-Free Pastas

Zucchini Noodles
By Be Well Health Coach Jackie Damboragian

Gluten is an inflammatory food that we recommend taking out of one’s diet. When we advise patients and clients to eliminate gluten, there is often quite a sadness when they realize that they can’t have their beloved comfort foods such as bread and pasta!  Have no fear … gluten-free pasta is here!

Not all gluten-free pastas are created equal, but below are my top picks, they rank high for flavor, texture and clean ingredients. Pasta can be a quick and easy way to throw together dinner in a pinch – I like to add a ton of veggies, either sauteed or roasted and have it along with a delicious, big green salad. Most of these pastas you can find at your local health food store, unless otherwise noted.

1. Zucchini Noodles –  The healthiest and lightest gluten-free pasta option, zucchini noodles are a delicious option when the pasta craving sets in. All you need is a spiralizer and you’ll be able to whip these up in no time. Many people enjoy this pasta raw but you can have it a bit warmed up as well.

2. Spaghetti Squash – The first time I had this I couldn’t believe the way the squash falls out looking just like pasta! After having it once, I was hooked. It has quite a neutral flavor and pairs well with a protein such as chicken or fish.

3. Tolerant Foods – Loving their red lentil penne! Packing a protein punch, this pasta has a hearty flavor and delicious taste.

4. Explore Asian – This brand has two varieties that I really enjoy – black bean spaghetti and mung bean fettuccine. These pastas are made of just beans and water and are great with any sauce that you would use with regular pasta such as marinara and pesto.

5. Capello’s –  Not only gluten-free but completely grain free as well, this is a favorite of Dr. Lipman and his wife Janice! For those on a Paleo diet, this pasta is Paleo approved too. As of now, Capello’s is mostly available online where you can order it by the case.

6. Grain-based Pasta – For those skeptical about gluten-free pasta, Tinkyada is the perfect transition one to try. Made from brown rice, the texture is most similar to regular pasta and pairs well with all sauces. I’ve actually tricked people using this pasta. ;) Another great grain-based pasta is Andean Dream Pasta, made out of quinoa and rice flour.

When you eat these options instead of regular pasta it’s much easier on your digestion and doesn’t weight you down. Test them out and let us know how it goes!

Posted by on Jul 18, 2014| 0 Comments

Beware of Chemicals in Your Feminine Care Products

Feminine Hygiene

Some products have a sort of “halo” around them. We just expect they’ll be made in such a way that we can feel comfortable using them on a daily basis.

Most women consider feminine care products to be in this category. They come near some of the most intimate and fragile parts of our bodies, so surely they’re made of safe ingredients, right?

According to a recent report from Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE), not necessarily. Here’s more, and why you’ll want to be cautious about which products you choose in the future.

What the Report Says

Called “Chem Fatale,” the report notes that some feminine care products—including tampons, pads, douches, wipes, and sprays—may contain potentially toxic chemicals that have been linked with health problems. 

A 2002 study, for example, found small but detectable levels of dioxins (potential carcinogens) in tampons and other sanitary products. Many feminine care products have heavy fragrances, which are made up of unknown chemicals. Feminine wipes can also contain a number of preservatives, including parabens and quaternium-15, that can be irritating to skin and increase risk of contact dermatitis.

Women are often in the dark when it comes to the ingredients in these products, however, because of current regulations. Pads and tampons, for instance, are considered “medical devices,” which means companies don’t have to disclose any of the ingredients they use in them. Other feminine care products, like sprays and wipes, are regulated as personal care products, which means companies can keep fragrance ingredients secret, as well.

Read the Whole Article

Posted by on Jul 17, 2014| 2 Comments

Be Well Kitchen: Egg & Garlic Soup Recipe

Garlic and Egg Soup

By Be Well Health Coach Jenny Sansouci

Recently I experienced the wonder of cracking an egg directly into boiling soup. It was a miraculous experience and now it’s one of my favorite things to do. Adding an egg to a vegetable soup is a nourishing way to get some protein and add heartiness. This soup is very simple to make and includes lots of garlic, which is antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal – it will supercharge your immune system!

Ingredients (serves 1-2)

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ cup spinach
  • ¼ avocado
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Drizzle of hot sauce

Boil the cloves of garlic in the water for about 10 minutes or until the garlic has softened. Blend water/garlic mixture in blender and put back on stove on low. Crack the egg(s) into the soup and stir until the egg is fully cooked. Remove from heat and add spinach and chopped avocado. Top with drizzles of olive oil and hot sauce.

Have you ever cracked an egg into soup? Let us know what you think!

Posted by on Jul 16, 2014| 2 Comments

5 (More) Reasons to Quit Sugar

By Be Well Health Coach Laura Kraber

As a health coach, I’m often asked how many grams of sugar per day are considered acceptable.  I like to repeat Dr. Lipman’s “sugar is the devil” warning as I advise clients to keep sugar out of their diet, period. While we all know that sugar is not a health food, given our sugar-saturated culture, it’s all too easy to compare ourselves favorably to those around us who are snacking on sweet treats, ordering desserts, or drinking juice every day. 

Given how ubiquitous sugar is in restaurant meals and packaged foods, it takes real effort to completely eliminate sugar from our diet.  So, the next time that you’re faced with a tempting treat, remember these key detrimental effects of sugar on your body:

1. Blood Sugar Regulation

Sugar consumption directly impacts the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels and can lead to insulin resistance, hypo-and hyperglycemia, pre-diabetes and diabetes. Uncontrolled blood sugar also can cause damage to blood vessels, impacting the health of the heart, kidneys, nerves, and eyes.

2. Immune System Suppression

Sugar suppresses the immune system through decreasing activity in immune system cells that attack bacteria.

3. Mineral Balance

Sugar inhibits mineral absorption, depriving the body of key minerals necessary for health, and depletes the body of magnesium, which is required for proper functioning of every single cell in the human body and essential for calcium absorption and utilization.

4. Brain Health and Mood

If you’ve read David Perlmutter’s incisive critique of carbohydrates and sugar on brain health, “Grain Brain” you already know that sugar has powerful effects on mood and long-term brain health. Additionally, since B vitamins are required to metabolize sugar and carbohydrates, sugar consumption can lead to deficiencies in the mood-boosting B-complex vitamins.

5. Skin Health

Sugar binds to proteins and fats in the body during digestion to create “advanced glycosylation end products” or AGES, which are free radicals that reduce collagen and elastin in the skin, ultimately causing wrinkles and loss of skin elasticity.

Posted by on Jul 15, 2014| 0 Comments

10 Foods You May Think Are Healthy, But Aren’t (Part 2)

Frozen Yogurt

In my earlier post, we looked at the first five so-called health foods that are often mistaken as good for you, but in actuality are anything but. As even those who are knowledgeable about nutrition can be fooled by hard-to-decipher labels, slick marketing campaigns or mom’s out-of-date advice leftover from childhood, here’s the remaining not-so-favorite five unhealthy foods, often mistaken for the good stuff:

6. Say No to Faux Butter, Chemical Spreads and Margarine!

No matter what your momma told you, margarine isn’t a health food – and might be better used as floor wax than a foodstuff. Though you may have grown up thinking that yellow glop was healthier than butter, those man-made spreads, sprays and faux-butter substitutes are filled with cheap, processed vegetable oils, fillers and artificial ingredients, all of which can take a serious toll on your heart and arteries. Worse, they don’t even taste good! So what’s the point of eating them? Instead of faux, switch to real, grass-fed, organic butter. It’s delicious, satisfying and full of good fats. It’s also a good source of health-enhancing conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which helps protect against cancer and encourages muscle growth, plus vitamins A, D and E, all of which are essential to good health. To read more about butter’s surprising benefits, click here.

7. Fish From the Farm Can Do You Harm

Everybody knows that fish is a good way to get your protein and good fats. Problem is, we’re often not eating the right stuff, which is wild fish, preferably pole-caught. Instead, most people eat factory-farmed fish, meaning fish that is raised by an industry whose sole mission it is to produce more fish quicker, faster, larger and cheaper. Raised in cramped, filthy tanks and pens, factory-farmed fish are prone to illness, which necessitates feeding them drugs, antifungals and/or pesticides to encourage survival till harvest time. With a life like that, it’s easy to see why these stressed-out, drugged-up, poorly fed creatures make an unhealthy meal – even more so when the fish is then processed, battered, fried, rolled in breadcrumbs, frozen and shipped to market. Compared to their wild-fish counterparts, farmed fish deliver roughly 20% less protein, twice as much inflammation-boosting omega 6 fatty acid, fewer omega 3’s and nutrients – so I say leave those fish down on the farm. Instead, choose certified wild fish whenever possible, or look for fish from smaller-scale, artisanal or boutique-style fish farms, which practice sustainable and eco-friendly techniques.

8. Grab a Diet Coke….And Pour it Down the Drain

If you’re still drinking diet soda, you might want to have your head examined, and perhaps a bone-density test while you’re at it. Diet drinks are foul-tasting, man-made chemical cocktails, devoid of nutrition, full of sodium and made with artificial colors that only a mad scientist could love. They’re also loaded with anything-but-natural sweeteners, which have been shown to have an appetite-triggering effect – so you’re likely to eat more, not less! Need another reason to kick the can? Diet sodas undermine health: according to a University of Minnesota study, just one diet soda a day was associated with a 36 percent increased risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes. And other studies have established a link between diet cola use and bone density loss. My advice? Drop the pop, both diet and sugared, and switch to water, or teas like rooibos, hibiscus or green, all of which deliver wonderful health benefits – and taste great too!

Read the Whole Article

Posted by on Jul 14, 2014| 2 Comments

A Patient Story: Autoimmunity, Inflammation and the Be Well Cleanse

Megan McGrane
By Be Well Health Coach Kerry Bajaj

Over the past year, we have been working with a patient Megan McGrane who was suffering from autoimmune disorders and inflammation. By changing her diet and adding in some key supplements, she was able to reduce the severity of her symptoms, see improvement in her bloodwork, and have her inflammatory markers return to normal values. Here is her story:

1. Please tell us what symptoms you were experiencing before you came to the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center?

I have been experiencing symptoms related to my autoimmune disorders for years. I have Reynaud’s Disease, Gluten Intolerance, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and Psoriasis. Over a 6 month period leading up to my visit to the wellness center in 2013, I had been experiencing worsening symptoms such as fatigue, frequent headaches, daily body aches, GI upset, bloating, and hand redness/pain related to Reynaud’s.

I was a Division I College Volleyball All-American and have a very active lifestyle as a Physician Assistant. I started to notice that these symptoms were finally getting to a point that they were really affecting my lifestyle and my ability to be active. I had seen a rheumatologist who found that my inflammatory blood markers were elevated beyond the normal range. She had advised me to return in 6 months for a follow-up check of my bloodwork but there was no mention of how to decrease the ongoing inflammation in my body. It was at that point that I realized I needed to make a big change in order to alter the course of my autoimmune disorders. 

2. What had you previously done to relieve your symptoms?

I had been eating a vegetarian diet for about two years with very little animal products like eggs or dairy. I ate a lot of greens, fruits, vegetables, lentils and whole grains like quinoa, steel cut oats, and wild rice.  I exercise daily, do hot vinyasa yoga, and have a regular meditation practice. My supplements at that time consisted of a daily multivitamin and fish oil.  I thought I was on the right track, but my health was still suffering, and the proof was in my blood work as well.

3. What plan did you and Dr. Lipman come up with?

After I left my rheumatologist appointment, I ordered the Cleanse online and made an appointment with Dr. Lipman. I met with him and his team for about two hours at my first appointment and we reviewed my health and lifestyle in depth. I had started cleansing before my first appointment and was encouraged with the first few days of progress.

The plan he devised consisted of morning shakes plus daily probiotics, and supplements to support the gut, immune system and bring down inflammation. I also went grain-free and legume-free in addition to my gluten-free regimen. I did the Be Well Cleanse for about 3 weeks but kept up the regimen for months with daily shakes and Cleanse-approved foods. 

4. Please share about your experience following this protocol.

I felt like going on a Cleanse was a daunting idea. The Be Well Cleanse made cleansing simple and straightforward without feeling like I was going hungry. The first day or two, I had a mild headache as I cut out coffee. My job is very active, I spend 12 hours on my feet, and I never felt weak or depleted on the Cleanse but saw my energy increase steadily as I followed program. The real key for me was removing inflammatory foods such as grain, legumes, and sugars that I had previously relied on in my diet, switching to a “paleo” diet. Although I was eating healthfully I was still inflaming my body with legumes and grains. When I removed those food groups, adding in protein was important for me to reach adequate protein and calorie intake, and also helped give me great energy.

I still follow the basic premise that Dr. Lipman and I worked on at that first appointment. We have tweaked it over the past few months as I have needed more support for inflammation but I have stuck to the grain-free, legume-free, sugar-free, nutrient dense diet religiously since my first cleanse.

Read the Whole Article

Posted by on Jul 11, 2014| 6 Comments

The Healing Power of Sleep


Reprinted with permission from Experience Life Magazine.

New science shows that sleep is essential to our mental and physical health — and most of us aren’t getting enough.

By Pamela Weintraub

Jason Karp is a successful hedge-fund manager and restaurateur with a close-knit family and a deep respect for work-life balance. Today, his world is cruising along quite nicely. More than a decade ago, though, he was in near-constant overdrive — and dangerously close to crashing.

Karp graduated at the top of his class at Wharton business school. He was the youngest person to make partner in his elite financial firm. He had a great deal of ambition and a nearly unquenchable thirst for knowledge.

After teaching himself to speed-read, he spent long evenings consuming history, philosophy, literature and science. In an effort to absorb even more, Karp trained himself to forgo sleep. He cut back from his usual seven nightly hours to just two or three. Sometimes he wouldn’t go to bed at all, staying up to read or work instead.

“It was like something out of Icarus, where someone thinks he has a gift and takes it too far,” the 36-year-old recalls.

Karp was especially fascinated with the subject of neuroscience. And ironically, the more he stayed up late learning about the inner workings of his brain, the more he noticed that his sensory perception was beginning to erode.

“Within three months I was seeing double,” Karp says.

Eventually, Karp was diagnosed with keratoconus, a progressive degeneration of the cornea that can necessitate a corneal transplant.

At the time, it never occurred to Karp or his doctor that his vision problems could be traced to his lack of sleep.

With his vision deteriorating, Karp began reading even more furiously, staying up longer and focusing on health-related literature. Soon his prostate region pulsed with pain and a urologist suspected testicular cancer. His hair fell out in clumps, his skin broke out in a rash and his cortisol levels were so high that at one point a doctor told him he doubted Karp would live to see his 40th birthday.

“I fell into a deep depression,” Karp recalls. “I lived in terror because I thought I was dying.”

Finally, Karp came across an obscure bit of research that drew a link between the skin disorder eczema and the keratoconus that was threatening his vision. The article prompted Karp to remember that his rash appeared after he’d stayed awake for 48 hours straight: “I naively thought if I could make the rash go away, I could make the keratoconus go away, and I wondered if I could do it through sleep and better diet.”

It took months for Karp to retrain himself to sleep, but once he did, the rash disappeared. Then his vision returned — even though an ophthalmologist had told him it probably never would. His prostate pain subsided. Six months after returning his sleep pattern to normal, every single malady, disorder and disease had disappeared. “I cured myself through sleep and better diet,” Karp says.

Sleep, new research reveals, is a master regulator of health. A sleep deficit or disruption can create wide-ranging havoc, compromising our immune system, causing inflammation, and damaging our genes. Losing just an hour of sleep a night increases risk of cancer, heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

Lack of sleep can also lead to memory loss, negatively affect people’s reflexes and decision-making skills, cause hearing loss and psychiatric disease, and impede sexual function.

And it’s not just people who suffer from sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea who have to worry, says James Maas, PhD, a recently retired Cornell scientist and one of the world’s foremost sleep researchers. He says at least seven out of 10 Americans aren’t getting enough sleep and they’re at risk for serious health problems, as well.

“People devalue sleep and are completely unaware of what happens to them when they have a deficit,” Maas says. “As a society we are so habituated to low levels of sleep that most of us don’t know what it feels like to be fully alert and awake.”

We treat sleep like a “tradable commodity,” adds University of Chicago sleep researcher David Gozal, MD, sacrificing it for work, entertainment or some other lifestyle choice. In large part, he believes, we do this because it can take months or even years for a disease caused by sleep deficit to fully emerge.

In the meantime, everything from our health to our relationships to our sense of wonder gets diminished. “Sleep is the food of the brain,” says Gozal. And a great many of us aren’t just hungry for sleep, he notes. “We are starving.”

Read the Whole Article

Posted by on Jul 10, 2014| 0 Comments

Be Well Kitchen:
Homemade Coconut Milk Recipe

Coconut Milk

By Be Well Health Coach Jackie Damboragian

I’ve been using a lot of coconut milk lately – in smoothies, as a creamer in tea and coffee, in curry dishes and more. I only use the canned coconut milk, which is less processed than the boxed variety, but still has its downfalls as many of the cans have BPA in the lining. (Native Forest brand is one BPA-free exception!)

When I realized how much I was going through and how much healthier the homemade variety is, I decided it was time to try to make my own. Coconut Milk is a source of healthy fats, and a delicious base for smoothies, sauces and ice cream! As you will see below, you heat the water, which helps to bring out the fat, and makes the milk creamier.


  • 1.5 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 4 cups warm water


  • Heat water, but don’t bring it to a boil. 
  • Combine warm water and shredded coconut in the blender and blend on high for 1-2 minutes. 
  • Using a nut milk bag, or cheesecloth, pour the milk into another container straining out the pulp. Squeeze the pulp through the bag to get out any remaining liquid.
  • Store coconut milk in airtight containers in the refrigerator, it will keep for 3-4 days.
Posted by on Jul 09, 2014| 0 Comments