10 Ways a Humidifier Improves Your Health, Skin, and Household This Winter

Winter air is dry air. Humidifiers put moisture back into the air, which can create a lot of benefits for you and your family.

A 2013 study, for example, showed that increasing humidity levels to 43 percent or above significantly reduced the ability of airborne viruses to cause flu infections. In fact, in a low humidity environment, 70-77 percent of viruses could transmit the disease through coughs, but when humidity was increased to 43 percent or more, that number dropped to only 14 percent.

An earlier 2009 study showed similar results, with humidity limiting the transmission of the influenza virus.

Getting a humidifier may help you avoid getting sick this winter, but it can also give you softer, more glowing skin, and even help preserve your real wood furniture.

10 Benefits of Using a Humidifier

  1. Reduce risk of infections. Viruses and bacteria can’t travel as well in moist air. A humidifier could mean the difference between getting the flu this winter and remaining healthy.
  2. Softer, more vibrant skin. Cold, dry air saps moisture from your skin, which causes all kinds of problems, including dryness, dullness, flaking, and accelerated aging. A humidifier can help prevent all these damaging effects, and help you maintain that glowing, vibrant look for all your holiday parties and get-togethers.
  3. Comfortable sinuses. You know that dry, tight feeling you get in your nose in the winter? Even if you don’t have a cold (it’s worse when you do), winter air can dry out your sinuses, lowering your resistance to bacteria and viruses. Sleep with a humidifier and wake up with a more comfortable nose—and throat!
  4. Faster healing times. Say you do end up with a cold, a sinus infection, or the flu. A humidifier will shorten your suffering. Keeping your nasal passages and your throat moist will help you heal faster, and will reduce symptoms like coughing and sneezing.
  5. Healthier houseplants. Plants help pull toxins out of the air. But they can suffer in dry, winter air. Have you noticed that the soil is dryer than usual? Are the leaves looking droopy and sick? A humidifier can help keep your houseplants healthy—which helps keep you healthy, too! Read the Whole Article
Posted by on Jan 08, 2015| 2 Comments

3 Simple Recipes for a Nourishing Lunch

Salmon Avocado Salad
By Be Well Health Coach Laura Kraber

To avoid the afternoon energy dip that a carbohydrate-rich meal often imparts, my favorite lunch includes lots of protein and healthy fats and few grains or legumes, if any. In the middle of a busy day, I turn to recipes that require 10 minutes or less of prep or cook time. Because these meals are so easy and satisfying, I keep my fridge and pantry stocked with the following ingredients to ensure an expedient and nourishing lunch:

  • Pastured Eggs
  • Canned wild salmon, packed in water
  • Canned sardines, packed in water
  • Pre-washed salad greens such as arugula, baby kale, or a greens blend
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Lemons
  • Avocados
  • Vinegars
  • Mustard
  • Fresh or dried herbs such as parsley, thyme, rosemary, basil

The following recipes are adaptable to your tastes and the ingredients you have on hand. Double the recipe for two servings or to make tomorrow’s lunch as well as today’s. These salads can be served on top of pre-washed salad greens for a hearty salad, or wrapped up in collard greens or cabbage leaves for a non-grain wrap. They can also be used as filling for a sandwich if you have grain-free (or gluten-free) bread available.

1. Top Choice for Omega 3’s: Sardine Salad

The omega-3 fat DHA is a primary component of neurons and essential for a healthy brain. DHA has been shown to support brain function and improve memory and symptoms of ADHD. To significantly increase your daily omega-3 intake through food, opt for a generous serving of sardines. Packed in water, sardines offer excellent nutrition and are easily stored and prepared.

Recipe:

For a single serving, mix half a can of sardines with the juice of half a lemon, a tablespoon of olive oil and a small amount of whatever vegetables you have on hand, such as celery, carrots, cucumber or peppers, to taste. Chop in half an avocado, add chopped parsley (or other herb) and mound on top of salad greens.

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Posted by on Jan 06, 2015| 1 Comments

Take Charge of Your Health – With The New Health Rules !

The New Health Rules

Happy New Year to all – and Happy New You!

Tis’ the season of resolutions, of changes big and small. Time to brush up on your healthy living skills – and perhaps learn a few new ones. To help you do that, I’m kicking off 2015 with the January 6 publication of my new book, The New Health Rules: Simple Changes to Achieve Whole-body Wellness. It’s my personal compendium of integrative health’s wisest mantras.

Inspired by the needs of my time-pressed patients and their fast-paced lives, co-author Danielle Claro and I have assembled 100+ of my most memorable integrative health tips and paired them with more than 80 lush photographs. Presented in a beautifully illustrated package, The New Health Rules features bite-sized, easy-to-implement pearls of wisdom and gentle reminders on how to eat, sleep, breathe, move and think your way to a healthier, happier and more energetic life, for example:

  • Don’t fear fat. Coconut oil, avocados, and meat from grass- fed animals all contain healthy natural fats, which your brain and body need to function optimally.
  • If you eat cows, make sure they eat grass. In other words, know what went into the meat before it goes into you!
  • Get 15 minutes of sunshine a day. You’ll boost vitamin D, mood and immunity in minutes.
  • Stop this egg-white omelet nonsense. Yolks are packed with satiating nutrients so put them back on your plate and feel fuller longer.
  • Curb sugar cravings. Eating less sugar reduces your risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes so the sooner you taper off, the sooner your risk will drop.
  • If you learn only one yoga pose…….let it be supta badha konasana.
  • Break up with bread.…….and over a 100 more tips

And the coolest thing about The New Health Rules? That it’s not some old school, put-you-to-sleep health textbook. It’s a snappy, entertaining digest-sized read that will enchant, engage and enlighten, no matter where you are on your health journey.

Here is a sneak peek of 2 pages to give you an idea of how the book is laid out.  Click on the photos if you would like a larger image.

One Yoga Pose
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Posted by on Jan 05, 2015| 2 Comments

How To Get Your Loved Ones Healthy

Family health
By Be Well Health Coach Courtney Blatt

I coach many different types of patients in my own practice and here at the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center. Helping loved ones get healthy is the most challenging. Why is it so hard for us to accept advice from those who have our best interest at heart? Often people use food and certain habits to deal with underlying emotions. The truth is you can’t get anyone to do anything they don’t want to. The desire and readiness have to come from within. Here are five ways to help get them inspired.

1. Don’t Badger, Judge, Preach or Nag

No matter what benefits you’re getting from being healthy, no one will be able to see it because they’re blinded by your attitude and behavior. It will only create more distance and rebellion. Love them, encourage them and support them. Most importantly, be patient until they find a path to a healthy lifestyle on their OWN. It’s the most difficult thing to do but it’s the only way really help.

2. Getting Healthy is Contagious

In the practice here at Eleven Eleven Wellness, many of our patients are women who come for help to feel better. Once they do, often their husbands and other family members follow. The best thing you can do to inspire others is live a healthy lifestyle and allow them see the joy you’re experiencing.  It’s also beneficial to talk about how you’ve dealt with some of your own struggles and other benefits that may not be visible. Perhaps it’s how you kicked your sugar addiction or got started with an exercise regime.

3. Suggest Professional Support

If you see your loved one interested but they don’t know where to start, suggest a health coach or an online support program. Enlisting a third party removes the emotional element and allows them to take ownership. A coach can help them create a vision, get unstuck and develop a personalized plan of small, sustainable changes.

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Posted by on Jan 02, 2015| 0 Comments

10 Top Music Videos of the Year

Here are 10 great YouTube music videos from this year. With the World Cup this year in Brazil, I had to start with this catchy song by Santana and Wyclef. Next up is one of my favorite videos of the year, a catchy song that took Africa by storm. I had to include this beautiful version of Rodriguez’s “Sugar Man” by Dave Matthews because of my emotional attachment to it. As Dave points out before he sings the song, we all grew up in South Africa in the 70′s on this song. It was only South Africans (and Australians) who knew about Rodriguez until the documentary “Searching For Sugar man” was such a hit last year. Michael Franti’s powerful call for peace between police and communities is very moving and then there are always the Playing For Change peeps who make the most wonderful videos. The last few are videos of some of my favorite songs of the year. Hope you enjoy these and a Happy Healthy New Year to you.

Santana and Wyclef – Dar um Jeito – We Will Find a Way
(The Official 2014 FIFA World Cup Anthem)

Eddy Kenzo - Sitya Loss

Dave Matthews Band – Sugar Man

Michael Franti – Spearhead- Same As It Ever Was (Start Today)

Playing For Change – Guantanamera

Playing For Change- Reggae Got Soul

Playing For Change– What’s Going On

Hozier – Take Me To Church

Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks

Sam Smith – Stay With Me

Posted by on Dec 31, 2014| 2 Comments

Be Well Kitchen: Swiss Chard Quinoa Recipe
With Cherries & Hazelnuts

Swiss Chard

This dish is one of my favorites to serve at a dinner party — it’s easy to prepare, yet impressive to share with guests.  Your plate will be full of beautiful colors, thanks to the Swiss chard and cherries. And best of all, it’s bursting with flavor, from lemon to basil to the surprising range of spices. Enjoy!

Ingredients (Serving for 4)

  • 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 ½ tsp. dried basil
  • 4 slices gluten-free whole grain bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup red or white quinoa
  • 2 cups finely chopped Swiss chard
  • 1 tsp. organic honey
  • 1/4 tsp. curry powder
  • ¼ tsp. coriander seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. dried cherries, chopped
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped hazelnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder

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Posted by on Dec 30, 2014| 2 Comments

Why You (Usually) Shouldn’t Treat a Fever

Two Girls With Fever

I grew up in a home without Tylenol, Motrin, or even aspirin in the medicine cabinet. My mother, a holistic health coach, never gave her kids fever-reducing medications when we were sick, and instead relied upon treatments that ranged from spoon-feeding us daikon-radish tea to placing warm onions over our ears.

Mom maintained that fevers serve an important function in the body’s immune response–and thus they should not be suppressed. At the time, conventional medical wisdom held that there was no downside to administering Advil or Tylenol as soon as the thermometer’s reading went about 98.6 degrees, so our pediatrician probably thought my mother was a crazy sadist.

As with so many things that she believed in the ‘80s (that margarine is worse for you than butter; that ear infections could often heal without antibiotics; that artificial sweeteners won’t help you lose weight, to name a few), time has vindicated her position: these days, pediatricians say that most fevers should indeed be left untreated.

Now a mother myself, I too am judicious with fever-reducing drugs when my own children are sick. If my boys are willing to just lie around, breastfeed (in the case of the baby), read books, or watch TV, I usually don’t a give them anything–even as their fevers climb into the 103-range.

4 Reasons to Let a Fever Run Its Course

These are the reasons I don’t usually give medication when my kids have fevers:

  1. Medicine masks symptoms. When kids are feverish, they usually lie still, eat very little, and take frequent naps. When we treat a fever, the child feels better and will often run around, play, and eat. While of course it always heartens me to see my sons feeling better, intuition tells me that they should rest more and move about less while fighting a virus. Perhaps our bodies even know that digestion requires lots of energy, and the appetite is suppressed in an effort to conserve resources.  Moreover, if we artificially lower the fever, how can we know when a child can return to school? I recently was at the playground with a mother who said her daughter was “so sick an hour ago, but after Tylenol she wanted to come outside to play!” As this little girl coughed all over my son, I wished this mom had skipped the Tylenol, or at least kept the child inside after the medication took effect.
  2. No medication is without side effects. I worry about the long-term consequences of frequent doses of children’s pain and fever medication. Recalls have made parents skittish, and some studies suggest a possible link between acetaminophen and autism, asthma, and—when taken during pregnancy–ADHD. In addition, these medications—whether in liquid or chewable candy form—are full of artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives, ingredients that I try to avoid giving my children even when they are feeling well.
  3. The fever helps the body heal. As I’ve already said, I think fevers are great for forcing otherwise active kids to rest when they need it most. But it seems a fever’s role in fighting illness is even more direct: evidence shows that fever is beneficial to the healing process, triggering the immune response and preventing viruses and bacteria from replicating. One study showed that flu sufferers who suppressed their fevers with medications were sick for more than three days longer than those who took no medication.
  4. Fever reducers contribute to the spread of flu. Many well-meaning parents administer medication and then take their less symptomatic—but still highly contagious–kids out to public places, where they no doubt infect others. Moreover, recent studies suggest that artificially lowering a fever in flu patients increases viral shedding, meaning more flu is spread via infected coughs and sneezes. Researchers posit that in an average flu season, fever-reducing medications could lead to tens of thousands of extra flu cases, and at least a thousand flu deaths in North America alone.

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Posted by on Dec 29, 2014| 8 Comments

Book Review and Anti-Inflammatory Recipes
From The Grain Free Family Table

The Grain Free Family Table

By Be Well Health Coach Laura Kraber

In the introduction to her new book, The Grain Free Family Table, author Carrie Vitt  shares the inspiring story of her sudden and debilitating health crisis and the nutrition-based path to healing which restored her health. Diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and struggling to detox heavy metals from her body, Carrie embarked on a strict, grain-free diet, following the recommendations of her nutritionist. Over time, Carrie’s health gradually improved, and she ultimately reversed her auto-immune disease.

Our experience with autoimmune patients at the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center has taught us that healing takes time, and diligence and patience are required. Lowering overall inflammation and healing the gut’s intestinal barrier is essential for recovery from autoimmune disorders. As Carrie describes in her book, working with a practitioner who has experience with anti-inflammatory dietary protocols and supplement regimes is extremely helpful. Restful, adequate sleep and stress reduction are also crucial for recovery.

With recipes targeting all members of the family, including grain-free versions of kid favorites such as chicken nuggets and grilled cheese sandwiches, Carrie offers us the keys to her powerful healing protocol in the form of her satisfying recipes that make “special” diets delicious. I was especially intrigued by her technique of using grass-fed gelatin (such as Great Lakes brand), for baked goods as a protein-rich binding agent to improve the consistency of grain-free baked goods (see recipe below).

Although not a strict Paleo, Carrie includes instructions for adapting all of her recipes for Paleo/dairy-free diets, if the recipe contains dairy. The book is a great holiday gift for your Paleo or grain-free friends and family, and we are happy to share two of our favorite recipes from The Grain Free Family Table.

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Posted by on Dec 26, 2014| 0 Comments

One More Reason to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

The brain uses a quarter of the body’s entire energy supply, yet only accounts for about two percent of the body’s mass. So how does this unique organ receive and, perhaps more importantly, rid itself of vital nutrients? New research suggests it has to do with sleep.

Posted by on Dec 24, 2014| 1 Comments

Be Well Kitchen:
Roasted Brussels Sprouts Recipe

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
By Be Well Health Coach Kerry Bajaj

Brussels sprouts are part of the Brassica family of vegetables, which includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kale. The brassicas are wonderful to include in your diet anytime, and especially when you are doing a detox. They are rich in phytochemicals, and are celebrated for supporting liver detoxification and their anticarcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties. Brussels sprouts in particular are full of fiber and vitamins C, E, A and K. They have chemicals that are believed to play a role in keeping the body’s DNA intact and functioning properly. In the cookbook Brassicas, they are referred to as “the emeralds of the food world.”

This recipe is one of my holiday favorites, and really highlights the subtle sweetness of Brussels sprouts. It’s easy to make and is always a big hit!

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of brussels sprouts
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375. If you’re using Brussels sprouts off the stalk, take them off. Wash the sprouts.
  2. Chop sprouts until they are a uniform size, leaving the small ones whole and possibly cutting the larger ones into quarters.
  3. Boil Brussels sprouts for 5 minutes and pat them dry.
  4. Place Brussels sprouts in roasting pan and pour in olive oil and vinegar and stir until sprouts are coated well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Roast for 20 minutes. Add chopped walnuts and roast for 5 more minutes until walnuts are browned.
  6. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and enjoy!
Posted by on Dec 23, 2014| 0 Comments