7 Ways To Boost Your Energy Naturally

Yerba Mate
By Be Well Health Coach Katrine van Wyk

You deserve to go through your day feeling full of energy, enthusiasm and vitality. Sadly, that’s not how many of us feel most of the time. With busy schedules, demanding jobs and the expectation of always being available and on life can be exhausting! Here are some tips for boosting your energy levels TODAY.

1. Exercise

Sweating, moving the body, and getting the heart pumping (aka exercise) is a great way to boost both your mood and energy. The body releases feel-good hormones in response to the exercise making you feel energized and happy. In addition, regular exercise improves your endurance and muscle strength, which help you go about your day with ease. And because exercise helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently to distribute oxygen and nutrients to your body, you’ll feel more energized.

2. Drink a Green Juice

I think of green juice as my daily IV vitamin shot. Because all the fiber is removed in a juice, the nutrients from the vegetables get distributed quickly to the cells. Green vegetables are also full of chlorophyll, a potent antioxidant that supports cleansing. Try a green juice instead of a coffee next time you’re in a slump and see how it makes you feel!

3. Get Downward

Both invigorating and restorative, yoga can have tremendous benefits on your energy, helping recharge your batteries and move energy (prana) through your body. In particular, poses that turn you upside down or elevate the legs higher than your torso help energize your body and mind. By draining fluids from the legs and flushing the head and organs with fresh blood, these upside-down poses leave us feeling invigorated! I once heard that 15 minutes of lying with your legs up the wall is as restorative as a 2 hour nap – I can’t scientifically prove it – but it sure feels great.

4. Green and White Tea + Yerba Mate

Swap out coffee for something a little less stimulating. Sure – you may still want a bit of caffeine in the morning or afternoon to help you stay focused and sharp, but coffee is acidic, depleting and can contain too much caffeine for many of us. Green and white tea are better options that still contain some caffeine, yet are easier on the body and adrenals. Yerba mate is another option. This brew has been a South American favorite for centuries. Interestingly it contains compounds that have been found to have a relaxing effect on smooth muscle tissue and yet a stimulating effect on myocardial (heart) tissue, improve mood and increase mental energy!

Read the Whole Article

Posted by on Nov 11, 2014| 0 Comments

7 Things You Need to Know When Your Doc Says Your Cholesterol Is Too High

Cholesterol Test

And 10 Tips to Manage it Better

Getting a blood result with a high total cholesterol, for most people, unfortunately means that their doc’s about to follow it with “Here’s a prescription for Lipitor.” This is because the medical profession is obsessed with lowering your cholesterol because of misguided theories about cholesterol and heart disease. Why would we want to lower it when the research actually shows that three-quarters of people having a first heart attack, have normal cholesterol levels (1), and when data over 30 years from the well-known Framingham Heart Study showed that in most age groups, high cholesterol wasn’t associated with more deaths? In fact, for older people, deaths were more common with low cholesterol (2).  The research is clear – statins are being prescribed based on an incorrect hypothesis, and they are not harmless. They can have lots of unpleasant and health-damaging side effects, including muscle pains, increased abdominal fat, mental fogginess and increased diabetes risk. So I encourage you to question the status quo, especially when the statin prescription feels like a doctor’s knee-jerk response. Ask how necessary a statin really is and if perhaps your cholesterol concerns can be addressed in a healthier, drug-free way.
So, here’s what you need to know when your doc sits you down for a cholesterol talk:

1. Your Doctor May be Basing Your Diagnosis on Data That’s a Half-century-old

Hard to believe but today’s mainstream thinking on cholesterol is largely based on an influential but flawed 1960s study which concluded that men who ate a lot of meat and dairy had high levels of cholesterol and of heart disease. This interpretation took root, giving rise to what became the prevailing wisdom of the last 40+ years: lay off saturated fats and your cholesterol levels and heart disease risk will drop. This helped set off the stampede to create low-fat/no-fat Frankenfoods in the lab and launch the multibillion-dollar cholesterol-lowering drug business in hopes of reducing heart disease risk. Did it work? No. Instead of making people healthier, we’ve wound up with an obesity and diabetes epidemic that will wind up driving up rates of heart disease – hardly the result we were hoping for.

2. Pssst. Guess what? You Actually Need Cholesterol

For decades we’ve been sold the story that dietary cholesterol is bad and that it gets into your bloodstream and clogs your arteries. This view has affected what we eat, what we worry about, what drugs we take and it has become the main focus of preventive medicine in Western medicine. The problem is, this depiction of cholesterol as this artery clogging-fat is totally oversimplified and actually false.  And the notion that your total cholesterol number needs to be low is not only downright wrong, it’s dangerous too. Cholesterol helps make key hormones, synthesizes vitamin D, it is an essential component of cell membranes and we need it for brain and nerve function. It is needed for many functions in the body and is essential for life! And we now know that elevated cholesterol is not the cause of heart attacks – so don’t fall for that line.

3. Your “Numbers” Measure Cholesterol, But Really How Bad Is It?

The dirty little secret is that what’s measured on your standard cholesterol test or “lipid profile” tells the doc very little about the actual state of your health. The typical lipid profile test simply estimates how much total cholesterol, HDL (high-density lipoprotein), LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol and triglycerides are in the blood. It doesn’t tell us a thing about the cholesterol’s very important particle size – as in, how much of that LDL number is made up of the more benign “large particle” fluffy kind and how much is the more troublesome small particle kind. Both the OK stuff and the gnarly stuff get lumped in together under a big, old, non-specific LDL umbrella – making the average cholesterol test, at best, woefully inadequate and imprecise. Consequently, you may have blood teeming with the less alarming large particle LDL, and still get signed up for a statin. And with the new controversial – and in my book dangerous – “wider net” guidelines proposed by American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, expect that to happen a lot more. The new guidelines will make an estimated additional 15 million more adults (plus a few kids as well) “eligible” to take statins in an effort to drug down their numbers, regardless of what type of LDL they have. Bad news for people, good news if you’re buying drug company stock.

4. Insist That Your Doctor Dig Deeper

If your doc is saying your cholesterol is too high, get a second opinion, not necessarily from another doctor, but from another, more detailed test than the standard lipid profile. If you have a family history of heart disease or other risk factors getting a more complete picture is even more vital. Press your doctor to review and assess the other often overlooked but possibly more important factors that can shed a brighter light on your unique situation – namely tests which look at hs-C-reactive protein, particle sizes of the LDL cholesterol (sometimes called NMR Lipoprofile), Lipoprotein (a) and serum fibrinogen. These measurable physical clues will help fill in a few more pieces of the puzzle, and enable you and your doctor to develop a more customized program to help manage your risk, with or without cholesterol drugs. If your doc’s not interested in looking under the medical hood, then it may be time to switch to a new mechanic.

Read the Whole Article

Posted by on Nov 10, 2014| 10 Comments

5 Ways to Make Space in Your Life

By Be Well Health Coach Laura Kraber

In a culture that extols achievement and equates being busy with being important, dialing down and prioritizing “life” as opposed to “work” is not always easy. When we find that our days are spent enduring a schedule of non-stop obligations, or, even worse, suffering from stress-related ailments and exhaustion, it is time to re-think our choices.

The Eleven Eleven Wellness Center is located in the heart of the achievement-oriented, “cult of busy” world of New York City. Almost daily we meet with patients who are struggling with stressful, over-committed lifestyles that leave them little room for replenishment or renewal, let alone sleep, exercise, and time with friends and family.

Learn to appreciate yourself minus your achievements and successes. Pay attention to how you feel when you have a bit of time on your hands: many of us keep ourselves constantly engaged in order to avoid feeling lonely, unfulfilled or unimportant.

Sometimes the tweaks and adjustments we make are simply not enough and our jobs demand more than we can give. When our bodies rebel through illness, stress symptoms, or just general exhaustion, it is usually a sign that something in our life must change. Start by modifying habits, re-thinking choices, and eliminating obligations  and see how far you can go to reduce commitments. Here are 5 simple guidelines to help you decompress your days.

Schedule Downtime

Create pockets of time in your schedule so you can take a few moments to journal, meditate or simply contemplate your day, your feelings, and your goals. Go for a 15-minute walk in the park; browse a bricks-and-mortar bookstore; sip a cappuccino at a café, and enjoy your own company and your own thoughts.

Build in Transition Time

Don’t assume that every task and every meeting will go exactly as planned and according to schedule – by padding your schedule with 10 – 20 minutes of extra time before and after important meetings or obligations, you have the breathing space to get to know your client a little better, or work extra on the task that you are enjoying, or deal with the inevitable unforeseen setback, when a 1 hour task ends up taking 90 minutes or the traffic is worse than expected.

Read the Whole Article

Posted by on Nov 07, 2014| 0 Comments

Stress Ages Your Skin—Tips to Keep that Youthful Glow

Youthful Glow

We all know that too much stress is bad for our health. A 2012 study, for example, found that stress increases risk of depression, heart disease and infectious diseases, and increases inflammation throughout the body—which, by the way, increases skin aging, as well.

When we’re stressed, we’re also less likely to eat right, get enough sleep, or stick with our exercise routines. That affects our overall health, but also our appearance. The skin fails to get the nutrients it needs to repair itself. You can tell by that inconvenient acne eruption or psoriasis flare up.

It’s hard to escape stress completely, however, so the best approach is to take steps that will help your skin to resist the negative effects of stress.

How Stress Affects Skin

People with compromised skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea know that stress can trigger uncomfortable and embarrassing flare-ups. But even people without these skin conditions will note the affects of stress on their skin.

Dermatologist Flor A. Mayoral, MD, FAAD, spoke at the American Academy of Dermatology’s SKIN Academy in 2007, and had this to say: “In treating hundreds of patients over the years with skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis, I have seen firsthand how stress can aggravate the skin and trigger unexpected flare-ups that, in effect, create more stress for patients.”

When you’re dealing with stress, your body releases the stress hormone—cortisol—into your bloodstream. This causes an increase in oil production, which can lead to oily skin, acne, and rashes. A study in the January 2001 Archives of Dermatology found that stress had a negative effect on the barrier of skin, resulting in water loss and a reduced ability for the skin to repair itself. Stress can also increase hair loss and brittle, peeling nails.

Methods to Help You Cope

How can you reduce the effects of stress on your skin? First of all, try to use coping techniques like exercise, meditation, calming music, and more to reduce your stress levels. In addition to that, increase your attention to your skin with these methods to help you reduce your risk of acne, flare-ups, and other issues.

  1. Avoid hot showers and baths. They strip your skin of moisture. Use lukewarm instead and moisturize immediately after your shower.
  2. Wear sunscreen. Though sun exposure can be helpful for some skin conditions, it can also cause flare-ups and increase the look of aging. Wear sunscreen even in the winter.
  3. Eat a healthy diet. Your skin really reflects your diet. During the holidays, do your best to continue to eat healthy foods like leafy greens, fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats like olive oil.
  4. Get enough sleep. Sleep helps recharge your body and make it more resilient to stress. Lack of sleep shows up as those ugly circles under your eyes. Try to stick to a regular bedtime and do something relaxing beforehand like yoga or aromatherapy.
  5. Keep your hands away from your face. Bacteria from your hands can stimulate an acne outbreak, especially when you’re stressed. Read the Whole Article
Posted by on Nov 06, 2014| 0 Comments

From the Be Well Kitchen:
Spiced Cauliflower Rice Recipe

By Be Well Health Coach Amanda Carney

This warming dish is a great addition to any meal and is a wonderful substitute for grains. You can dress down the “spiced” by leaving out the cumin, turmeric and ginger for a more simple and versatile variety.

You Will Need:

  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 heaping tablespoon grass fed butter
  • ½ cup yellow onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste


Rinse cauliflower and slice into big pieces.

Using a cheese grater, grate cauliflower into a coarse texture so it resembles rice.  You can also use your food processor and simply pulse until desired texture is reached.

Heat the butter in a pan over medium heat and add garlic and onion, cooking for a few minutes – until fragrant.

Add in grated cauliflower and spices, and continue to cook for another 4-5 minutes, until heated throughout.

Season with salt and pepper.

Serve alongside your favorite animal protein (good quality animal protein, of course) or toss with some delicious veggies for the perfect stir-fry.

Posted by on Nov 04, 2014| 0 Comments

The Healing Gifts of Sound

Healing Sounds

Whether we are conscious of it or not, sound surrounds us virtually every moment of the day. There are good sounds – ones that soothe, calm, heal, energize or simply make us smile – and those which have the opposite effect, stressing both body and mind – think sirens, jackhammers, lawnmowers and so on. With its power to create both positive and negative responses throughout the body, it’s important to be conscious of the types of sound we’re exposing ourselves to every day.

As a sustainable wellness practitioner and life-long world music fan, I believe one of the simplest, most important gifts you can give yourself is the gift of music. Why? Because listening to all those “good” sounds enhance and support health. It’s also one of the easiest ways out there to help yourself feel great, which is why I encourage everyone to enjoy multiple doses of musical medicine. Here are a few thoughts on the power of sound to keep in mind as you move – and groove – through your day:

It’s Only Natural – You’ve Been Rocking the Beat Since Before You Were Born

The first sensory organ to develop in the womb is the ear. The first sense to become functional is hearing, beginning at about four and a half months before birth. From that primordial point onward, the inner ear spends its time transforming soundwaves into electrical impulses which go to the brain and stimulate emotional responses. From sounds that soothe and calm to those that agitate and excite, sound, and more specifically music, connects us to our most primal, emotional aspects of ourselves, no language skills required.

Sounds Good to Me, But Hold Off on the Heavy Metal

Carefully selected music and sounds can have powerful therapeutic benefits, lowering heart rate, slowing respiration, decreasing blood pressure, reducing muscle tension and increasing feelings of well-being. In general, classical, new age, instrumentals, nature sounds and music with binaural beats (those frequencies which help calm and balance brain wave activity) tend to deliver the most soothing effects. However, music taste is personal so feel free to develop your own playlist as studies indicate that just about any music that you love will offer benefits. I would however suggest limiting heavy metal or aggressive music to the treadmill, particularly if your larger mission is to heal and calm the body in your off-hours.

Music Moves You From the Inside

In addition to making you want to sway, dance or just tap your feet, there are numerous other ways the body responds to sound – and they’re all good. According to noted musicologist and author Don Campbell, physiological and psychological reactions include: slowed down brain wave activity; increased endorphin levels; better regulation of stress-related hormones; pain control; boosted immunity; improved digestion; altered perception of time and space – and enhanced romance and sexual feelings. Understood in this way, we start to realize the amazing power of sound and music and how easily we can harness it to enhance our health.

Read the Whole Article

Posted by on Nov 03, 2014| 0 Comments

Are Cosmetics Really Toxic?
What We Need To Know To Understand
What We Are Putting On Our Bodies

Buying Cosmetics

With all the recent press on both the health and safety of our personal care products as well as the limited FDA regulations on labeling them, the average consumer is both disillusioned and concerned. This consumer is however helping to create the necessary change needed for the cosmetic industry.

Cosmetic sales are projected to reach 9.9 billion dollars in the US by 2016. And the largest contributor to this growth will come from products touting “natural” and “organic”. This section in particular has boomed in the past ten years. Small companies “known” for producing all natural products are quickly being gobbled up by large firms, from Shiseido’s acquisition of Bare Essentials to Clarins’ acquisition of the French organic brand Kibio. These two examples are only the most recent in a slew of acquisitions. Additionally with Johnson’s & Johnsons announcement that they are removing certain chemicals from their baby products by end of 2013 and then, do to the positive feedback from that announcement adding the removal of a “host of potentially harmful chemicals, like formaldehyde, from it’s line of consumer products by the end of 2015”, even the biggest players in the cosmetic industry are vying for a place in the natural market. With Johnson’s & Johnsons positive feed back both Wal-Mart and Proctor & Gamble made similar announcements. What this shows is that the market for natural skincare products is gaining momentum, and mainstream companies want a piece of it.

Just as exciting chemists and raw ingredient suppliers are trying to keep up with all the natural demands. This year, the Society Of Cosmetic Chemists had a holistic symposium at their annual convention. I was honored that they choose me as the keynote speaker addressing and representing the natural/green beauty market. I was excited to have this topic be the center of the convention as this is a big step for mainstream chemists to recognize the need and pull in their industry to have authentic natural alternatives. These chemists and cosmetic industry executives know, in order to keep current and offer what their customers and consumers are after and to grow their business they will have to know how to formulate natural products, understand what this new consumer wants and where this sector of the industry is going. With the projections in sales for the natural sector being the fastest growing part of the personal care industry, they cannot afford to miss out. Natural cosmetics is a topic I am so passionate about, I was thrilled to be the keynote speaker for The Society Of Cosmetic Chemists as the natural industry representative. It is an honor to be the voice of what is truly natural, how to formulate natural, what the consumer looking for and how to meet their demands in a sea of miss information. The prospect of lecturing to the most influential chemists and executives is both exciting and groundbreaking for clean cosmetics. The power the consumer (and non stop media attention) has driven to the cosmetic industry is proof that consumers can, and do make change.  The impact is just beginning and we have a lot of work in an effort to keep the momentum up.

Read the Whole Article

Posted by on Oct 31, 2014| 1 Comments

Be Well Kitchen: Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

By Be Well Health Coach Jackie Damboragian

This time of year, I love pumpkin everything. Most of the pumpkin foods I love are rather indulgent, like my favorite… pumpkin pie. This smoothie helps to ease a sweet tooth and satisfies my pumpkin pie craving, without weighing me down.


  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or any non-dairy milk)
  • 1/4 cup organic canned pureed pumpkin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tbsp Be Well Fiber
  • 1 tsp real maple syrup
  • 4 ice cubes


Blend & Enjoy!

Posted by on Oct 30, 2014| 0 Comments

Conquering Constipation

Yoga Pose for Constipation
By Be Well Health Coach Kerry Bajaj

If you are dealing with constipation, you should start with the basics: eat a whole foods diet, avoid processed foods, and drink lots of water. Often doing a Cleanse and taking a good probiotic is helpful.

However, if you have tried all this and still can’t get things moving, here are some other tools we use at the Wellness Center.

1. Magnesium

Taking magnesium at night can be very helpful. Dr. Lipman recommends a high dose of 1000 to 1500 mg of magnesium. Not only will it help with constipation, but it also helps to calm down the nervous system and give you a good night’s sleep. We’ve had great results with the Liquid Calcium Magnesium by Integrative Therapeutics. Many of our patients also like the Natural CALM by Natural Vitality, which is easy to find at Whole Foods or a health food store.

2. Triphala

Triphala can be a lifesaver too. This Ayurvedic herbal supplement has a gentle cleansing and detoxifying effect on the body, but without causing irritation in the colon. This is not like other laxatives that can be depleting and cause cramping–instead it has strengthening and gentle properties.

3. Increase Fats

One trick that can be really helpful is to increase the fats in your diet. Some ideas to increase your healthy fats: add a tablespoon of coconut oil to your morning smoothie, have avocado in your salad, use olive oil and lemon as a salad dressing, take fish oil  supplements and/or eat fatty fish like salmon and sardines.

Chia seeds have omega 3 fatty acids and lots of fiber which can be great for digestion. You could try simply adding a tablespoon of chia seeds to your glass of water, or you could add them to a smoothie as well.

4. Yoga Poses for Constipation

Certain yoga poses, especially the twists, are known to aid detoxification and stimulate digestion. You can try this Seated Twist and here’s a good roundup of yoga poses for constipation.

Read the Whole Article

Posted by on Oct 28, 2014| 3 Comments

Interview with Kathie Swift About Her New Book “The Swift Diet”

The Swift Diet

Dr. L:  It seems like every month brings us the latest, greatest diet book. Why contribute to the glut?

Kathie:  Believe me, I’m as tired of these magic formula for losing weight as anybody: “eat this number of calories or this ratio of carbs/fats/protein for Phase 1, then for Phase 2…” Almost nobody can follow these formulas for very long. Writing The Swift Diet was for me a chance to celebrate the importance of healthy whole foods, especially vegetables, fruits and legumes. I’m translating the nutritional science onto the plate. The book was also an opportunity to look at both weight-loss and digestive health through the lens of the gut, emphasizing the role of the bacteria that live there. These bacteria, called the gut microbiome or the microbiota, are necessary for digestion – we couldn’t break down plant fiber without them — but they influence so many other aspects of our being: our immune function, our hormones, even our moods! The more we learn, the more we appreciate that in health, all roads go through the gut!

Dr. L:  What inspired you to take this approach?

Kathie: In the past couple of years, the research on the microbiota has gone through the roof. The old view of bacteria fixated on a relatively few invaders from the outside world that could make us sick. Now we’re learning that weight control and a smoothly functioning digestive system, the two areas that I’m focusing on, depend on a harmonious relationship between our human cells and the bacteria that live inside us. This dovetails perfectly with my experience as a clinical nutritionist for the past thirty years. So many of my clients with digestive problems – IBS-type symptoms, GERD, you name it – were also struggling with their weight. And visa versa. In The Swift Diet, I write that they’re two sides of the same coin – Irritable Bowel and “Irritable Weight.”

Dr. L:  So how does the bacteria in your gut influence your weight?

Kathie: We know now that weight gain or loss can’t be reduced to simply “calories in/calories out.” Just as important as the number of calories we take in is how these calories interact with the body, including the microbiota. Scientists are still working out the precise mechanisms but one major way that a poorly chosen diet can drive up weight is through inflammation, a root cause of so many diseases. When we’re not eating enough plant fiber – vegetables, fruit, legumes — we’re not feeding the friendly bacteria in our system which in turn support the health of the lining of the gut. When those bacteria decline in number, that lining can grow porous, a condition called “leaky gut syndrome.” That opens the door for unfriendly bacteria to enter the bloodstream triggering inflammation. That can cause digestive upset inside the gut but it can also cause system-wide problems, like insulin resistance which promotes fat storage and weight gain. This isn’t an esoteric corner of microbiology anymore. A major new study in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet lists disruptions in the microbiota as one of the likely major drivers of obesity worldwide.

Dr. L:  So dietary fiber is a key way to address weight and digestion?

Kathie: That’s right. The fiber superstars are the “non-starchy vegetables,” an umbrella term that covers a huge number of veggies: leafy greens, broccoli and cauliflower, asparagus, artichoke, the list goes on and so. But the plant-fiber roll call doesn’t stop there. We’ve got the so-called “starchy vegetables” like sweet potatoes and acorn squash; fruits, especially the berries; legumes like chickpeas and black beans; so-called “pseudo-grains” like quinoa and buckwheat. I call these foods the “MicroMenders” because the fiber in them helps mend the microbiota. The fiber takes up a lot of space in the gut and it slows down the release of glucose into the bloodstream, both of which help control and curb appetite. But these good foods are good in so many different ways. They’re also rich in disease-fighting vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients and they’re generally low in calories.

Read the Whole Article

Posted by on Oct 27, 2014| 0 Comments