Our Favorite Natural Deodorants

Underarm Deodorant

By Be Well Health Coach Katrine van Wyk

The quest to find the best (or even just a good) natural deodorant is ongoing here at the Be Well offices. We all want to avoid the nasty chemicals found in most conventional deodorants, but we also want to smell fresh and feel clean and dry!

Before we get into our favorite options, let’s just review some of the ingredients to AVOID when you’re in the deodorant aisle.

Aluminium

This metal is used in deodorants to inhibit your pores from releasing perspiration – that’s why it’s called anti-perspirant! Aluminum will stay in the body, accumulates over time and has been linked to breast cancer in some studies.

Propylene Glycol

Did you know that this common ingredient in so many beauty products was developed as an anti-freeze? It is a common skin irritant and allergen and should be avoided.

Parabens

This is a petrochemical, meaning it’s derived from petroleum, and found in pretty much all conventional cosmetics. It has many names including propyparaben, mineral oil, paraffin oil etc. Parabens are endocrine disruptors.

Triclosan

This anti-bacterial chemical often found in soaps and hand sanitizers is also an endocrine disruptor, even when only used in a low dose.

If you’re curious if the deodorant you’re using is safe, check it out in the Skin Deep Database by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Here are some of the Be Well Coaches favorite natural deodorants. Please let us know what yours is!

Jenny

I use Crystal roll-on deodorant – the Lavender & White Tea scent. I love it! I’ve used it for years. I do carry it with me just in case, but I rarely have to re-apply unless it’s after a workout or something. I’ve tried a few other natural deodorants in the past, but none of them ever seemed to work well. Once I found this I’ve never had any reason to switch! I like the roll-on aspect of it too.

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Posted by on Feb 27, 2015| 1 Comments

Why You Should Put Olive Oil On Everything

Olive Oil

Reprinted with permission from Organic Authority.

There are plenty of olive oil benefits. But this latest one may surprise you.

Olive oil is prized for its good fats that support heart and brain health. A good grassy, fruity olive oil is also valued for its incredibly rich and robust flavor. But can it also offer protection against the damage caused by genetically modified foods? A new study says yes.

Research has found GMOs, along with the pesticides and herbicides used on genetically modified crops, can cause a number of health problems including developmental and reproductive issuesmetabolic disorders and DNA damage. They’ve even been linked to cancer.

But in the latest study, published in the journal Nutrients, rats fed a diet of GMO soybean oil and extra virgin olive oil showed less DNA damage to their spleens from the GMO soybean oil than those not given the olive oil.

“We can conclude that adding EV olive oil to the diet of rats appears effective in inhibiting oxidative damage and may act as a protective agent against chronic diseases such as liver fibrosis, hyperlipidemia and diabetes,” the researchers noted.

“In addition, EV olive oil may also have a protective function against carcinogenic processes. Further clinical studies are therefore required to determine whether the observations observed in our study translate to human conditions and illnesses,” they added.

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Posted by on Feb 26, 2015| 2 Comments

The Matcha Tea Advantage:
5 Reasons to Drink Matcha

Matcha Tea
By Be Well Health Coach Laura Kraber

Despite its numerous and much publicized benefits, green tea was not a habit I readily adopted. I never liked the grassy taste, and I preferred the tangible buzz that black tea provides. My whole attitude towards green tea turned around when I tried a matcha latte. Frothy and delicious with a powerful kick of energy, one cup of matcha made me a green tea convert.

As opposed to steeping your tea leaves, Matcha is made from blending the finely ground tea leaves into hot water to make a beautiful, vibrantly green, chlorophyll-rich beverage. Add steamed milk (dairy, almond, cashew or coconut) and you have a delectable hot beverage that is energizing and calming at the same time.

Of course there is a beautiful Japanese matcha tea ritual which involves special bowls and bamboo whisks, but I do just fine making my matcha in a cup with my trusty battery-powered milk-frother from IKEA (instructions below).

5 Reasons to Love Matcha

1. Energy Enhancer

Because the caffeine content is so low, a cup of green tea is rarely a realistic substitute for that morning cup of joe, nor does it function as any kind of reliable pick-me-up. Matcha, however does offer a significant dose of caffeine — 40 to 70mg depending upon type and amount used. A cup of Matcha provides a jolt of energy that lasts longer than the typical coffee buzz. Without the jitteriness or irritability that coffee can impart, Matcha’s sustainable energy is smooth and consistent.

2. Mood Improver

With generous amounts of the amino acid L-Theanine, matcha can put you in a good mood. Because it is grown in the shade, matcha contains up to 5 times more of the calming neurotransmitter L-Theanine than regular green tea. L-Theanine activates the brain’s alpha waves, resulting in a feeling of calmness; combined with matcha’s caffeine content, the drink offers sustained calm alertness.

3. Antioxidant Powerhouse

Rich in the EGCG antioxidant, which helps to prevent cell degeneration and premature aging, one cup of matcha has the antioxidant equivalent of 10 cups of regular green tea.

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Posted by on Feb 24, 2015| 0 Comments

An Interview With My Good Friend and Colleague, Dr. Christiane Northrup About Her New Book, Goddesses Never Age

Godessses Never Age

FL: What prompted you to write Goddesses Never Age?

CN: Like my earlier books, Women’s Bodies Women’s Wisdom and The Wisdom of Menopause, I wrote Goddesses Never Age after a fairly long period of introspection, action, and research. The material for Goddesses Never Age was born out of the ashes of my divorce at midlife, and my subsequent desire to reinvent myself. At the time I was confronted with the cultural belief that my best years were behind me, and that women over the age of 50 aren’t as desirable or attractive. I realize this all sounds melodramatic, but I was concerned that I would never find love, that I would be alone forever.

What I found was that there is indeed vibrant life after the age of 50, and to get to the light at the end of the tunnel I first had to exhume my old beliefs and expose them to the light of day. And then set out to prove that a new way of living was possible! Along the way, I realized that I was certainly not alone in my fears—or in my hopes and dreams. So I wrote Goddesses Never Age to give women and men of all ages a different perspective on what it can mean to grow older.

FL: I know that the word “aging” bothers you. Why it that? Is it true that you’ve asked all the people who have worked on the book and the book launch not to use the word aging?

CN: Words have potent biological effects on our bodies. And we co-author each others’ biology by how we talk to each other. The word “aging” is virtually synonymous with decline and deterioration—both of which are not inevitable. I’m asking everyone, including the wonderful people I work with, to be cognizant of the language they use, since their words often represent their subconscious beliefs.

It’s very important that we make the distinction between growing older and aging. It’s possible to grow older without decline. Growing older is simply the opportunity to move through space and gain value and wisdom. Culturally, we have a belief that chronic degenerative diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis are inevitable after the age of 50. These conditions are, by and large, related to lifestyle, and have little to do with chronological age. Hence I use the phrase I learned from Mario Martinez, PhD, and author the Mind Body Code: Getting older is inevitable. Aging is optional. Let’s not make them synonymous!

FL: I hear you’ve declared 2015 the Year of the Ageless Goddess. How do you celebrate the Year of the Ageless Goddess, and how can men celebrate too?

CN: When we celebrate how far we’ve come, what we’ve learned, and begin to dream about a wonderful future, we celebrate agelessness. You also celebrate by realizing that it’s possible to become biologically younger by the end of the year. Our bodies replace all their cells approximately every seven years. And as you have seen in your practice, biological age—the age of our tissues—can be very different from chronologic age—the age on our driver’s license.

Research on healthy people, age 100 and over, finds that they are future oriented and hate being around “old people” (which simply means those who focus on negativity and their aches and pains). These centenarians live in subcultures of wellness, not disease, which is another way to celebrate.

I also suggest that we celebrate by following a passion that we’ve always wanted to develop. Learn a new language or movement strategy. Smile at yourself in the mirror each morning. Get regular foot rubs. That’s just for starters. And of course I suggest reading Goddesses Never Age as a great way to celebrate—for both men and women!

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Posted by on Feb 23, 2015| 0 Comments

How to Ease Constipation on a Paleo Diet

Constipation

One of the most common complaints we hear from patients on a paleo diet is an increase in constipation. Regular elimination is critical for gut health, no matter what diet you follow. This common side effect of the paleo diet can be combated with a few simple strategies.

Pay Attention To Your Water and Salt Intake

Often times when a paleo diet is adopted, the total number of carbohydrates being consumed drops. This causes a diuretic effect which accounts for the immediate weight loss experienced within the first few days of a paleo diet. This is commonly referred to as “water weight” but is more accurately named natriuresis.  Natriuresis is the process by which salt and water are excreted by the kidneys.  When insulin spikes, salt is retained by the kidneys.  If few carbohydrates are consumed, there are fewer insulin spikes which means that the kidneys are not being signaled to retain salt, thus salt is being excreted. Water follows the salt in excretion, and a loss of “water weight’ ensues.  While this water loss can look impressive on a scale, it is a major contributing factor in constipation because less water is available to travel through the gut.  Focusing on increasing your water consumption is the key to combating this water loss and decreasing constipation.

Don’t Forget Salt

While some people note that salt causes their blood pressure to increase, this intake is usually in the form of refined salt, MSG, and sodium from processed foods in a Standard American Diet.  When following a paleo diet, those processed sources of sodium are removed from the diet. This decrease in sodium consumption and thus free sodium in the body can contribute to constipation via a second mechanism. The mechanism that is responsible for this effect is a sodium pump in the muscular lining of the gut.  When there is not enough sodium available, the gut does not contract as effectively causing gut motility and elimination to slow down.  A simple fix for this problem is to season your food at each meal.  Using Himalayan sea salt is a great way to maintain this critical electrolyte balance and help ease constipation.

Magnesium Can Help

Taking a magnesium supplement is a fantastic way to help ease constipation on the paleo diet. Magnesium helps to relax the intestinal smooth muscle and also pull water into the gut, encouraging easier motility. Taking magnesium citrate before bed can help ease constipation by morning.

Remember your Prebiotics and Probiotics

The health of the gut microbiome is critical for proper elimination.  If you are transitioning to a paleo diet, taking a probiotic supplement (like the Be Well Probiotic Powder) can improve your gut health and elimination.  Also, including prebiotic foods that are high in soluble fiber, such as cruciferous vegetables, sweet potatoes, leeks, onions and garlic is critical to feeding the healthy bacteria.  Another addition that can help is fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, Kombucha, and kimchi.  By implementing these simple strategies you can stop constipation and start thriving on a paleo diet.

Posted by on Feb 20, 2015| 1 Comments

Be Well Kitchen:
Orange Cashew Quinoa with Fresh Cilantro

19
Feb

Quinoa Salad

This flavorful dish is Cleanse friendly and makes for a great fall meal!

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • Juice of 1 fresh orange
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh orange zest
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • pinch chili powder, optional

Directions

  1. Rinse quinoa and cook according to package directions. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork; cover and set aside for 10 minutes then transfer to a large bowl.  In a small bowl, mix honey with orange juice and drizzle over quinoa; gently toss to combine. Set aside covered for 10 minutes to soak.

  2. Mix in cilantro, cashews, orange zest, scallions, salt and pepper. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add chili powder, if desired. Gently toss to combine and serve.
Posted by on Feb 19, 2015| 0 Comments

Studies Show Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Cancer and Heart Disease

Vitamin D

Reprinted with permission from Experience Life Magazine.
Written by: Maggie Fazeli Fard

The studies, which looked at data on more than one million people, confirmed previously reported evidence of the risks associated with vitamin D deficiency.

Two new studies indicate that low levels of vitamin D are linked to cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses — but only one offers enthusiastic support for supplementation in pill form.

Both studies, published this month in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), were meta-analyses of earlier research that looked at the relationship between various illnesses and vitamin D levels, as well as whether taking a daily D supplement had a positive impact on health.

The studies, which looked at data on more than one million people, confirmed previously reported evidence of the risks associated with vitamin D deficiency:

Inadequate vitamin D levels can increase your risk of dozens of serious health problems, including cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, asthma, Alzheimer’s disease, and even the common cold and influenza. And apparently, nearly all of us are at risk of vitamin D deficiency …

“Ninety-five percent of Americans are deficient in vitamin D — that’s how big the problem is,” says John J. Cannell, MD, who heads the nonprofit Vitamin D Council. “It’s very difficult to overstate the seriousness of the situation.” —“The Vitamin D Debate” (Experience Life, December 2011)

One of the studies found that adults with lower levels of vitamin D in their blood had a greater mortality risk; they also had a 35 percent increased risk of death from heart disease, and 14 percent increased risk of death from cancer.

This study also looked at supplementation. The researchers found that middle-aged and older adults who took vitamin D3 had an 11 percent reduction in overall mortality compared to those who didn’t take the supplement. D3 is the type of vitamin D produced by the body in response to sun exposure and is also found in a few foods, such as wild salmon and shiitake mushrooms. (There was no apparent benefit to supplementing with another form of the vitamin, D2, the researchers found.)

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Posted by on Feb 17, 2015| 4 Comments

Cauliflower Power:
4 Things It Does Amazingly Well

Cauliflower

When most of us were kids, the sight of cauliflower on our plates usually inspired grimaces, followed by covert attempts to pass it to the dog when mom wasn’t looking. Recently I was speaking with one of my patients who was in the midst of transitioning to a healthier diet. She mentioned that she had just re-discovered cauliflower which she’d avoided for years, but now had “fallen in love” with – which of course was music to my ears. (I love it when patients get excited about veggies!) In fact, my wife Janice and I, with our interest in health-sustaining foods, have also recently reconnected with cauliflower and are always on the look-out for tasty ways to enjoy it. Among our favorites: cauliflower rice to accompany curries and stews, and creamy cauliflower soup that’s a meal in itself. Not only are cauliflower-centric dishes delicious, but they’re nutrionally sumptuous as well. To follow are 5 reasons why I encourage you to put more cauliflower in your life  – preferably 2-to-3 servings a week – and enjoy every bite:

1. Cauliflower Takes Direction Well

Versatility, thy name is cauliflower! Roast it, grill it, mash it, rice it, puree it, stir-fry it.  Smother it in healthy, healing spices like curry, fennel, black pepper and turmeric, snack on it raw or serve it up old school, simply steamed. No matter how you prepare it, cauliflower is a mealtime culinary champ. Just about the only thing cauliflower doesn’t do well is dessert.

2. Cauliflower is Inexpensive and Available Virtually Everywhere

Whether you’re on a budget or not, cauliflower fills out your plate with lots of wonderful nutrients and fiber at a very reasonable price. The average 3 lb. head of fresh cauliflower, will set you back roughly $3 – $4, making it a pretty good deal per pound. You can also eat the leaves and stalks so there’s minimal waste to boot. Another plus: the Environmental Working Group has cauliflower on its “Clean 15” list, so it’s not imperative that you buy organic – the offerings from the local farmers’ market or supermarket will work just fine. No time to chop? Take a shortcut: many recipes work equally well using super-convenient frozen, bagged cauliflower.

3. Cauliflower Brings Loads of Nutrition to the Table

There are so many good things packed into a head of the often over-looked cauliflower, you might even call it a secret superfood. Just look what’s going on with this amazing cruciferous veggie which, by the way, has been linked in numerous studies to lowered cancer risk. Cauliflower’s got:

  • Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients to help keep your heart and brain healthy
  • High levels of vitamin C and K, and beta-carotene to help keep immunity strong
  • Significant amounts of folate and fiber to support digestive health
  • And loads of other wonderful phytonutirents, those valuable compounds in plants that help combat disease

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Posted by on Feb 16, 2015| 2 Comments

Choosing Healthier Chocolate

Chocolate Chips

This Valentine’s Day, if you’re looking to treat your loved ones (or indulge yourself) in some good quality chocolate, here are some wonderful, healthier options to enjoy for dessert.

Lily’s Chocolate

I’m a big fan of Lily’s dark chocolate chips for baking. They are fair trade, non-GMO and sweetened with stevia. Lily’s also make make delicious chocolate bars in an assortment of flavors.

Eating Evolved

Another wonderful healthy chocolate company is Eating Evolved. They have a assortment of amazing products I love, that are made with organic fair-trade certified cacao and sweetened with maple sugar. My most favorite product is their mint coconut butter cups. Try them all!

Wei of Chocolate

Organic, fair trade, vegan, gmo-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free and delicious! These chocolates are infused with spices and flower remedies for a truly healing chocolate experience.

Don’t forget to check out our healthy Valentine’s Day recipes from some more deliciousness from years’ past as well!

Heart Healthy Recipes for Valentine’s Day

Chocolate Mousse with a Chili Pepper Kick

Enjoy!

Posted by on Feb 13, 2015| 2 Comments

John Oliver on Marketing to Doctors

John Oliver does it again. This video is smart, hilarious and very important — it is a MUST watch. Drug companies spend $4 billion a year marketing directly to consumers, and $24 billion a year marketing to health care providers. John Oliver — and many others (including myself) — have some issues with that!  Please watch and share your comments.

Posted by on Feb 12, 2015| 2 Comments