A Conversation with Arianna Huffington:
The Sleep Revolution

The Sleep Revolution

What led you to write The Sleep Revolution?

As I went around the world talking about my last book, Thrive, I found that the subject people wanted to discuss most—by far—was sleep: how difficult it is to get enough, how there are simply not enough hours in the day, how tough it is to wind down, how hard it is to fall asleep and stay asleep, even when we set aside enough time. And since my own transformation into a sleep evangelist, everywhere I go, someone will pull me aside and, often in hushed and conspiratorial tones, confess, “I’m just not getting enough sleep. I’m exhausted all the time.” Or, as one young woman told me after a talk in San Francisco, “I don’t remember the last time I wasn’t tired.” By the end of an evening, no matter where I am in the world or what the theme of the event is, I’ll have had that same conversation with any number of people in the room. And what everyone wants to know is, “What should I do to get more and better sleep?” So I decided I wanted to take a fuller look at the subject because it’s clear that if we’re going to truly thrive, we must begin with sleep. It’s the gateway through which a life of well-being must travel. From the moment we’re born until the moment we die, we’re in a relationship with sleep. I wrote The Sleep Revolution to examine this ancient, essential, and mysterious phenomenon from all angles, and to explore the ways we can use sleep to help regain control over our out-of-kilter lives.

Why are you so passionate about the power of sleep?

For one thing, sleep is something we all have in common – it’s one of humanity’s great unifiers. It binds us to one another, to our ancestors, to our past, and to the future. No matter who we are or where we are in the world and in our lives, we share a common need for sleep. And right now, we’re in a sleep crisis.

At the same time, in the last four decades, science has validated much of the ancient wisdom about the importance of sleep. We’ve made incredible discoveries about all the things going on in our brains and our bodies while we’re sleeping, and these findings have fueled a sleep renaissance, in which the power of sleep to profoundly affect virtually every aspect of our lives is beginning to be recognized.

You say that sleep deprivation is the “new smoking.” How so?

Unfortunately, the comparison is apt, both in terms of the dangers and our attitude. Everywhere you turn, sleep deprivation is glamorized and celebrated, from “You snooze, you lose” to highly burned out people boasting, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” The combination of a deeply misguided definition of what it means to be successful in today’s world—that it can come only through burnout and stress—along with the distractions and temptations of a 24/7 wired world, has imperiled our sleep as never before.  

What do we lose when we lose sleep?

It’s a long list. To name just a few things we lose, there’s creativity, memory consolidation, our ability to learn and solve problems, our ability to manage stress and anxiety, and a well-functioning immune system. Yet the myth persists that we can do our jobs just as well on four or five or six hours of sleep as we can on seven or eight. It’s a delusion that affects not only our personal health but our productivity and decision making. In other words, we may not have as many good ideas as we would have otherwise had, we may not be as able to come up with creative solutions to problems we’re trying to address, or we may be short-tempered or waste a day (or day after day, or year after year) going through the motions. And in some occupations—in our hospitals, on our highways, or in the air—lack of sleep can be a life-or-death matter.

An Australian study found that after being awake for seventeen to nineteen hours (a normal day for many of us!), we can experience levels of cognitive impairment equal to having a blood alcohol level of .05 percent (just under the legal limit in many US states). And if we’re awake just a few hours more, we’re up to the equivalent of 0.1 percent—legally drunk. (more…)

Posted by on Apr 11, 2016 | 0 Comments
08
Apr

The Be Well Team’s Sleep Routine

Sleep Routine

With our patients’ 24-hour lifestyles, sleep often takes a backseat. But when they skimp on sleep, they not only feel extra tired but they are also speeding the aging process, driving weight gain and increasing risk for diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular problems. While a sleep strategy can be very individualized, here’s how the Be Well team conquers the almighty sleep routine.

“It’s important for me to unwind after a long day. My nighttime routine actually starts in the morning when I make my bed. There is something about climbing into a made bed at night that makes me feel taken care of. In the evening, I’ll often take a hot bath or, if it’s late, a quick hot shower. The heat and the water guarantee relaxation, and my body feels fresh and clean before bed. I also use an oil wash on my face with a warm washcloth to soothe my skin and cleanse my pores. After, I put on something soft and light, so it feels as if I am wearing my sheets. Then, I open the bed that I made for myself earlier in the day. Several times a week, I’ll also open my Headspace app for a meditation that guides me off to sleep.”
– Health Coach Alexandra Samit

“I typically have a cup of Traditional Medicinals Chamomile Tea to ease into a restful mode. I also put some lavender essential oil at the bottoms of my feet, at my temples and inner wrist, which is very calming and relaxing as well. And then it’s off to bed!
– Health Coach Jackie Damboragian

“I like doing some gentle restorative yoga and stretching in the evening – and yes sometime I’ll do it WHILE watching TV which is not ideal – but rather TV and stretching than just TV! Every night before bed I drink a cup of warm calming tea. Some nights it’s an herbal night blend with chamomile and some nights it’s a magnesium tea made with Natural Calm. Magnesium is a mineral that is naturally relaxing and helps put my body in a state of rest. I always cleanse my face and remove make-up and grime from the day before bed. I like using an oil cleanser such as the Beautycounter Nourishing Cleansing Balm, and then I apply Pai’s Rosehip Oil. I also take some  flower essences, specially designed for me, before bed and meditate for a few moments.
– Health Coach Katrine van Wyk

“After washing my face and brushing my teeth, I usually make a cup of tea and head to bed, where I light a candle and do some reading or writing.  This simple practice helps me transition into a more relaxed state and get ready for good quality sleep.”
– Health Coach Amanda Carney (more…)

Posted by on Apr 08, 2016 | 1 Comments

Salt Of The Earth – Why I Love Salt

Salt

People’s obsessions can be anything from shoes to cars. Most of us have something we collect, treasure, research, admire or lust after. My obsession is with skin and finding ingredients in nature that enhance, repair, heal and protect it.  I get giddy over things we have in our cupboards that can transform skin. I love to find the latest “skin miracle” at my local grocery store. I love when there is easy access for everyone to be able to indulge and use these ingredients. I have to admit there are very few people I can call and share my excitement. Most of my friends do not understand being shaken with delight over something like salt. It seems basic, but salt is simply amazing!

Not all salt is the same and not all salt provides the same skin loving results. Salt is generally produced one of three ways: deep-shaft mining, solution mining or solar evaporation.

Evaporating seawater produces real sea salts. This process leaves different trace mineral and elements depending on where the seawater is from. There are a wide variety of sea salts available. These include everything from salt harvested off the coast of France, Israel and Pacific sea salts. All offer a different mineral makeup and all have different properties that are good for skin.

Table salt is mined from underground salt deposits. It is more heavily processed and also contains an additive to prevent clumping. The processing of table salt eliminates minerals and elements that are beneficial for skin.

Salts from deep shaft mining or solution mining such as Epsom or Himalayan salts can also have a unique mineral component beneficial for skin and bath soaks.

All salts are not created equal when it comes to skin. For this reason when I teach DIY classes, I only use pure salts with a mineral and trace element content that have a desired outcome I am looking for in the product we are making. One simple way I like to illustrate the difference between the make up of salts is to have my students taste a grain of (pure with no additives) dead sea salt (do not do this at home if it has scent or there are additives in it) and a grain of pure sea salt. The flavor speaks volumes on how different the mineral make up of salt can be.

There are so many beneficial uses for salt it would be impossible to list them all.  Here are a few that illustrate just how awesome salt can be. When used as a bath soak they do everything from help heal psoriasis and eczema, to help regulate the activity of more than 300 enzymes, flush toxins, relieve stress and revive you. Additionally some research has shown that children with autism have a deficient detoxification pathway that uses sulfate to get rid of toxins, and the pathway can get clogged when there is not enough sulfate. Bathing in Epsom salt helps raise sulfate levels in the body, which can get the detoxification pathway flowing again.

When used as a scrub salt gently cleanses pores and exfoliates. Exfoliating is imperative for healthy, youthful, glowing skin. Dead skin cells not only clog pores they also make your skin look dull lackluster and can make our appearance age. When you exfoliate, you remove the outer layers of dead epidermis (skin) cells, which also speeds up the skin renewal process, allowing smoother, healthier skin cells and reduced wrinkles. (more…)

Posted by on Apr 07, 2016 | 1 Comments
05
Apr

Fresh Green Smoothie for Allergy Sufferers

Smoothie For Allergy Sufferers

The weather has finally begun to warm up and all around us nature is waking up in full glory after its winter slumber. It’s the prettiest time of the year, however, if you are an allergy sufferer, it can also be a cruel time of year. So load up on foods rich in Quercetin, a mild natural antihistamine found in many foods including apples, blueberries and kale. To get the full impact, combine them in a fresh, delicious green smoothie.

Green Apple Blueberry Kale Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet Be Well Sustain Protein powder
  • 1 cup non-dairy, non-soy milk
  • 1 green apple, cut up into chunks
  • ¼ cup blueberries
  • 1 cup kale (centre stalk removed)
  • ¼ avocado
  • 1 teaspoon Be Well Probiotic powder
  • 4 ice cubes

Directions:

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.

For more advice on beating spring allergies, read 6 Ways to Combat Spring Time Allergies by Dr. Frank Lipman.

Posted by on Apr 05, 2016 | 0 Comments

6 Ways to Combat Spring Time Allergies

Combat Spring Time Allergies

Even though some of us are still experiencing the last flakes of winter, calendar-wise, Spring is officially here. Blades of grass are starting to poke through the soil, willow trees are beginning to show their colors, and yes, allergies are coming into bloom as well. While spring is the time of reawakening and rebirth, for allergy sufferers, the season can be one of allergy medication-induced grogginess and lethargy – but it doesn’t have to be. There are a number of steps you can take to take the edge off of springtime allergies without spending the season in a HAZMAT suit. Here are a few tips to try:

1. Know When the Tide Is High

If pollen makes spring miserable for you, limit exposure during prime time. Use pollen counts as a guide and adjust your outdoor activities accordingly. For example, if you’re an outdoor exerciser, keep in mind that many plants and grasses release pollen in the morning, while others release in the late afternoon, so early afternoon might be your best bet. Another time to try going out is right after a long rain shower, after Mother Nature’s washed much of the pollen out of the air. Consider trading outdoor workouts, gardening or chores for indoor ones on hot, dry, breezy days when there’s more pollen blowing around – and right into your nasal passages. If it’s really bad, and you have to be outside, wear a facemask (like the AllergyZone N95) to put a physical barrier between your nose, mouth and airborne allergens.

2. Boost Immunity – And Don’t Fill Up on Allergens

How you fuel your body during allergy season makes a big difference. In the springtime, redouble efforts to fill up on fresh, whole, health-sustaining foods to help boost immunity, tame inflammation and keep your gut healthy and resilient. Other allergy-fighting food for thought:

  • Go heavy on vitamin A and C-rich greens, plus onions and garlic to get a dose of quercetin – all of which will help curb the release of those pesky histamines that make eyes and noses run.
  • Ditch the classic health-eroders that throw off the gut’s bacterial balance and weaken the immune system.
  • On the must-ditch-list: processed foods, gluten, wheat, dairy, sugar and genetically modified foods.
  • Strengthen your immune system and lighten your allergen load with a 2-week elimination diet, to eliminate the most common allergens from your diet.
  • If your allergies are low-grade (as in, not life-threatening), consider a little exposure therapy and try incorporating local honey, laced with a bit of local pollen, to help inoculate your system over time.
  • If you have issues with ragweed, then steer clear of chamomile, milk thistle, wormwood, goldenseal, echinacea and dandelion, which can make allergy symptoms worse.
  • Boost immunity with a gut-fortifying probiotic.
  • Try Natural Allergy Support, our non-drowsy, natural blend of allergy-tamers, including tinofend, nettle leaf, quercetin and vitamin C.

(more…)

Posted by on Apr 04, 2016 | 0 Comments

Spring Pea Toasts w/Radish & Lavender

spring pea toasts

How I love Spring, the colors… the atmosphere, sigh! These gorgeous pink, purple and green flowers I had inspired me to create some killer toasts with the very same colors. The taste is so refreshing and it’s SO easy to put together. Whether you just want to treat yourself to a beautiful breakfast or snack… or you’re entertaining for the Queen of England, I’ve got you covered with these babies. All you need are: Peas, lemon and tahini to make the base, I realize not everyone has lavender and I was one of those people up until like a month ago, but ever since I spent the $10 on Amazon to get a bag of it, I think my culinary street cred went up at least 20 points. Just sayin’ — buy yourself some, it’s just fancy as frick. And radishes?! They’re everywhere right now. I was lucky enough to find these tiny French ones, but good ol’ regular radishes will do just fine. The toast is up to you, whatever you normally use. And voila… you have yourself a gorgeous appetizer or dish you can feel proud of.

spring-pea-toast-2

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • dash salt & pepper to taste
  • toppings: 3 radishes (French or regular) & culinary lavender
  • 2-3 slices bread (gluten-free or otherwise), toasted

(more…)

Posted by on Apr 01, 2016 | 0 Comments

Wireless Wake-up Call

A Silicon-valley engineer turned technology health advocate, Jeromy Johnson discusses our attachment to technology and the health hazards such an addiction may hold.

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Posted by on Mar 31, 2016 | 0 Comments

Morning Fuel Smoothie

Morning Fuel Smoothie
By Be Well Health Coach Jackie Damboragian

For those allergic or sensitive to nuts–or if you just want to try something new–here’s a great smoothie recipe for you to give a morning boost.

Sunflower seed butter is high in healthy fats, thyroid supportive selenium, and trace minerals like magnesium that support all of the bodies functions. It’s a great alternative to nut butters and can be found in health food stores – be sure to read the label and make sure you get one that is unsweetened. Combine that with our new upgraded Cleanse Shake, antioxidant packed blueberries and phytonutrient rich spinach and you’ve got yourself a super nutritious breakfast or snack!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cleanse Shake packet
  • 8 ounces of unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 large handful of baby spinach
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened sunflower seed butter
  • 1/2 cup organic frozen blueberries

Directions:

Blend and enjoy!

Posted by on Mar 29, 2016 | 0 Comments

3 Banned-in-Europe Foods Americans Need to Rethink and Eat Smarter

Banned in Europe

Meat, dairy and poultry. They’re on millions of American plates every day and most people don’t give ‘em a second thought, because our food supply, according to the FDA, is perfectly safe. Or is it? Those of us in the wellness community would likely disagree! Our food isn’t quite as healthy or wholesome as they’d have us believe. In fact, many of our staple foods in the U.S. contain ingredients and undergo chemical treatments that are banned in other parts of the world because of mounting health concerns. As a physician dedicated to sustainable wellness, these bans certainly set off a few alarms – and it’s why I advise my patients to re-think what they’re eating every day, to choose foods that will help them feel and be well. Here are three common foods to re-think – and healthier ways to enjoy them:

1) Dairy Products That Beat Up Your Belly

Got milk? If so, then you may also have gut issues. You may have a chronically upset stomach, acid reflux and heartburn, or an adverse reaction to milk sugars or the milk protein casein, which some scientists believe may be carcinogenic. There’s the problem of factory-farmed cows pumped up with antibiotics leading to antibiotic resistance in humans. There are also concerns over the use of banned-in-Europe growth hormones rBST and rBGH which may disrupt the endocrine system. Given the daily digestive problems milk can trigger, not to mention the subtle long-term health issues, ditching milk and dairy altogether is for many people a quick and simple way to tame the gut and cool inflammation. What to drink instead? Try switching to organic, non-GMO-certified nut milks. Keep in mind though, many commercial brands contain the thickener carrageenan which can also trigger gastrointestinal inflammation – so look closely at the ingredients. The fewer on the label, the better.

BE WELL Workaround: The best way to get your milk – make your own homemade nut milks. Barring that, look for organic versions that are carrageenan-free.  Click here for a list of carrageenan-free milk and dairy alternatives. If you feel you just have to drink cow’s milk, buy from a local producer at the farmer’s market or a source whose milk is organic, full-fat, hormone and antibiotic-free.

2) Processed Meats, With a Side of Slime

Supermarket ground beef, processed burgers, so-called ‘all-beef’ hot dogs and sausages – if you knew what was in ‘em, you’d likely lose your appetite. Among the most unappetizing ingredients? ‘Pink slime,’ the filler made from simmered beef trimmings (aka waste) and treated with ammonia to make it ‘safe’ to eat. Back in 2012, when the foul ingredient was outed by an ABC News exposé, consumption of the stuff took a nose-dive in the U.S. – score one for consumers! Wisely, The European Union banned it altogether, but our own FDA did not, so for those of us in the States, it’s still a case of buyer beware. Turns out, as beef prices have risen, pink slime has quietly been making a comeback in supermarket meat products, so all I can say is leave processed meat where you found it. (more…)

Posted by on Mar 28, 2016 | 1 Comments

What’s In Your Kids’ Favorite Snack Food?

Favorite Snack Food
By Be Well Health Coach Courtney Blatt

As a mom of two small kids and a health coach, I’m pretty mindful of what I feed my children. Now that they’re both in school, I have a lot less control over what they eat and a lot of the food they get outside the house is junk. The problem starts with our food industry. Food companies use deceiving marketing and nutrition buzzwords like natural, whole grain and antioxidant so we believe we’re buying something healthy. If you look at the ingredients of these “healthy” foods, it seems as if there are little to no regulations for these claims.  

As part of Nutrition Awareness Month, I decided to investigate some of the more common snack foods. Many of them are laced with toxic ingredients such as GMOs, food dyes and even petroleum. Check out what’s lurking in some of the foods we feed our children:

1. Goldfish Crackers

These cute little crackers are a staple in preschools and pantries across America. So how can they be so terrible? To sum it up, they’re full of chemicals made in a laboratory. Let’s start with the ‘cheddar cheese.’ It’s not organic which means the cows were raised on genetically modified grains. Unbleached enriched wheat flour means the nutrients were stripped out so it’s no longer a whole grain offering very little nutritional benefits. How about the vegetable oils? Unlike olive or coconut oils that are extracted from pressing, vegetable oils are made in a very unnatural way. The oils are heated to unsafe temperatures, oxidized and then treated with petroleum solvents. If you chose the rainbow flavor, they’re also adding several different food dyes. Yikes! A great alternative is Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies. They are organic, non-gmo, made with real cheese and naturally colored.

2. Yogurt

Yogurt seems like a healthy choice.  It’s a simple dairy product with a good dose of probiotics and healthy for your child’s growing bones, right? Sadly, most yogurt sold in the store is highly processed and full of added sugar. Furthermore most dairy products are loaded with hormones and antibiotics that can interfere with your child’s own hormones.Yogurts marketed specifically to children, particularly the “fun” go-gurts in tubes are super high in sugar, artificial dyes, along with a host of other chemicals I can’t pronounce. Read the label and you’ll see they often contain high-fructose corn syrup, artificial flavorings, and artificial colors. If you’re going to eat yogurt, look for plain whole milk yogurt made from grass-fed cows and add a little raw honey and berries to sweeten!

3. Cereals

Most cereals, particularly those marketed towards children have little to no nutritional value. The box may claim to include “whole grains” but adding some whole grain flour doesn’t actually qualify. Start by reading the ingredient list. Can you pronounce each of the items? Second, take a look at the sugar content.  How many different names for sugar can you spot? If you’re going to feed your child cereal, choose one with less than 5 ingredients on the label and less than 7 grams of sugar per serving. Purely Elizabeth is a great choice as it’s low in sugar and made with real ingredients.   (more…)

Posted by on Mar 25, 2016 | 1 Comments