09
Aug

11 Healthy Ways to Satisfy Pregnancy Cravings

Pregnancy Cravings
By Be Well Health Coach Katrine van Wyk

Pregnant and craving ice cream, cheeseburgers, or sushi? The best way to prevent pregnancy cravings is to eat a nutrient-dense diet, which will ensure that your own nutrient needs are met, as well as your growing baby. But, if your cravings are getting the better of you, try these 11 nutritious and totally satisfying swaps:

If You Crave: A pint of ice cream
Try: Chia pudding or sheep’s-milk or coconut yogurt

If you’re craving ice cream, your body might want some healthy fats. Try creamy full-fat yogurt made from either sheep’s milk, goat’s milk or coconut. Sheep and goat’s milk are generally better tolerated and easier to digest than cow’s milk. Chia pudding is another yummy, creamy treat that might hit the spot. Chia seeds are loaded with healthy fat, filling fiber and can even help combat constipation.

If You Crave: A hot cup of coffee
Try: Bone broth

It might sound strange, but if you’re craving something warm and comforting in the morning, try bone broth, which is high in gut-healing collagen and rich in minerals too! Get creative and add spices and herbs to customize it, such as turmeric, fresh cilantro, lemongrass, ginger and black pepper. Check out Brodo: A Bone Broth Cookbook for endless ideas.

If You Crave: A fast-food hamburger
Try: Grass-fed beef wraps

Burger cravings are common during pregnancy and can be a sign you need a bit more iron. Instead of succumbing to the drive-thru window, make some quick patties out of grass-fed meat — rich in vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) — and wrap them in some Boston lettuce or collard greens leaves with your favorite toppings (I love avocadoes!) and condiments.

If You Crave: French fries
Try: Baked sweet potato fries

Ditch the starchy white potatoes fried in industrial vegetable oils and go with a more nutrient-rich option. Cut your sweet potatoes into sticks, toss with coconut oil and sprinkle on Celtic or Himalayan Sea Salt. These salts are full of important trace minerals that you and your baby need.

If You Crave: Pizza
Try: A gluten-free wrap topped with tomato sauce and goat cheese, sheep’s milk feta or buffalo mozzarella

If you’re feeling ambitious, you could try making a gluten-free cauliflower crust. But, for a quick fix, take a gluten-free wrap, brush it with olive oil, top with crushed tomatoes and your choice of toppings, and sprinkle on some sheep’s milk cheese, goat cheese or buffalo mozzarella. Pop it in the oven for a few minutes and enjoy with a big arugula salad! (p.s. These Capello’s pizzas are not a bad option either.) (more…)

Posted by on Aug 09, 2016 | 0 Comments
08
Aug

Some Tips on How to Juice Smarter

Juicing
To juice or not to juice, that is the question. While some say juicing is the second coming, I say it’s a trend that’s best embraced lightly. Although it might surprise you, I think of a tall glass of fresh-pressed veggies and fruit as an occasional treat — like an indulgent dessert — rather than an everyday lifestyle choice.

As with most quick-fix health crazes, there are always at least a few downsides to consider, so here’s some food for thought to help you consider how to juice smarter — or whether to do it at all:

Your Juice Is a Sugar Bomb

Most bottled juices have enough sugar to stand toe-to-toe with a can of Mountain Dew. It doesn’t matter if they’re organic and refrigerated or conventional and off the shelf. Juices made from fruit as well as veggies like beets and carrots can add up to liquid dessert that can send you on a blood-sugar roller coaster. Granted, with some very fresh, minimally processed juiced drinks, you’ll get some quickly absorbed nutrients, but the sugar spikes and troughs that come with the package aren’t worth the ride.

Juicing Is a Fiber-free Zone

Juiced fruits and veggies are virtually fiber-free — all that good fiber gets left behind in the base of the juicer and tossed out. That’s a problem because fiber helps boost gut health and facilitates waste removal. Although some think of juicing as a digestive aid, many people on juice cleanses often have a problem with constipation!

You’re Going to Get Hungry – Quick

OK, so we’ve established your juice has a ton of sugar and not a lot of fiber. It’s also missing fat and protein, both of which are key to feeling satiated. Without fat, protein and fiber to fill your belly and signal to the brain that you’re done eating, you’re going to get mighty hungry, mighty fast.

Your Juice Doesn’t Have Long to Live

How fresh is that bottled juice? The ‘sell-by’ date will certainly give you a clue, but it’s not going to tell you how potent the nutrients in the bottle still are. Unfortunately, the nutrients that you hope to imbibe with every sip start degrading the moment they are exposed to light and air. In other words, if that drink has been sitting on your desk all afternoon, you may be getting far fewer antioxidants than you think.

Lots of Food…But Not a Lot of Juice

Not to get up on a soap box, but taking an armload of food that could feed a small family and pulverizing it down to liquid form is, to say the least, wasteful. To be a bit kinder to the earth, you might want to consider eating the majority of your produce instead of juicing it.

BE WELL SOLUTIONS

In a perfect world, I’d say lay off the juices and eat as much whole food as possible. However, if decide you are going to drink a juice, below are some tips to follow:

Make it yourself! That way, you can control the ingredients, portion size, sugar content and freshness. When juicing, be sure to:

  • Skip high-sugar fruits (e.g., pineapples, mangos, bananas, etc.).
  • Go heavy on greens.
  • Use lemons, limes, green apples, ginger, mint and turmeric to add guilt-free flavor.
  • Keep in mind that juicing for weight-loss or detox is not a healthy approach, nor is it sustainable. Instead, try an elimination diet or try our nutrient-rich, no-starvation-required Be Well Cleanse.

If you’re buying an off-the-shelf juice drink, read the label:

  • Check how many servings there are per bottle. Some bottles have two to three servings, and you can wind up drinking far more sugar than you intended.
  • Check the grams of sugar per serving. If it’s more than 6 grams, skip it altogether or cut some of the juice with seltzer or water.
  • Check the grams of fiber. Many bottled juices — even the high-end organic ones — have none at all, which is bad news for your body, particularly if you’re trying to keep blood sugar stable.
  • Be sure the drink is made with certified organic, minimally processed ingredients.

If you’re ordering at a juice bar, be sure to:

  • Look for organic ingredients, so your drink is as free of chemical pesticides as possible.
  • Ask the barista not to sweeten your drink with fruit juices like apple, orange, grape, etc.
  • If you prefer a sweeter drink, add a little stevia or touch of raw honey.

To blend up a healthy, green ‘juice’ at home, try this delicious Green Juice ‘Mojito’ recipe.

Posted by on Aug 08, 2016 | 0 Comments
05
Aug

10 Ways to Stay Young, Slim and Happy This Summer

young, slim and happy
By Be Well Health Coach Amanda Carney

As you continue to enjoy the warm summer days, we want to make sure you are supporting your healthiest and happiest self!  Pulling from Dr. Lipman’s most recent book, 10 Reasons You Feel Old and Get Fat…and How You Can Stay Young, Slim and Happy, we created 10 tips you can use to be well all summer long:

1. Eat Local Produce

There is an abundance of beautiful vegetables and fruits this time of year, and your farmers’ market can be a great place to both find all your favorites and learn about new local goodies!  Don’t forget to ask your farmer about their growing practices — even though they might not be officially certified organic, many vendors follow organic farming practices.

2. Avoid Summer Crap

The summer months are often filled with BBQs, picnics, trips to the beach and other warm weather festivities.  And although these social events are wonderful opportunities to connect with friends and family, they are often accompanied by foods that aren’t so wonderful for your health. Instead of leaving it up to chance, bring your own healthy dish so you know for certain there will be something for you to eat.

3. Keep Your Microbiome Happy

The health of our gut determines the health of our body, and although this tip is one you want to practice all year long, we encourage you to consider the ways you can support a happy, healthy gut during the summer months. One of the key ways to do this is to maintain a healthy microbiome. Eating an abundance of fermented foods, leafy greens, and fresh produce is a great way to keep your microbial ecosystem balanced. Additionally, avoiding processed foods, sugars and antibiotics (unless necessary) will help keep your good bacteria flourishing.

4. Eat More Healthy Fats

We love our healthy fats, and that doesn’t change during the warm, summer months! Good fats are necessary for brain function, hormone balance, maintaining a healthy weight and to keep you feeling satiated! Some of our summer favorites are guacamole, chia seed pudding, cooking with coconut oil and grilling high-quality animal proteins.

5. Enjoy the Great Outdoors

Now is the time to take advantage of the weather and get outside! Whether you go for a walk, a hike or a run, or take part in a fun outdoor exercise class, this is the time of year to spend as much time outdoors as you can. Not only does it feel great to breathe the fresh air, but you also benefit from getting natural vitamin D from the sunshine. (more…)

Posted by on Aug 05, 2016 | 0 Comments
04
Aug

Five Facts About Pesticides on Fruits and Vegetables

Pesticides
A version of this article was originally published on www.healthychild.org.

A healthy diet is packed with vegetables and fruit, but some of your family’s favorites may contain startling amounts of harmful pesticides.

Farmers spray pesticides on crops to kill weeds and insects, and residues linger on fruit and vegetable skins all the way to your kitchen — even after you wash them.

In the 2016 edition of its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, EWG breaks down the latest research on pesticide levels in produce, and how you can make smart choices for your family. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Eating foods with traces of pesticides is bad for your health – especially for kids.

Although the full scope of the threat is not yet known, research confirms that pesticide exposure can harm us in serious ways. Pesticides damage our brain and nervous system, disrupt our hormones and contribute to cancer.

In developing children, especially, pesticide exposure can contribute to neurological problems, which impair learning, memory and attention.

Kids eat more food than adults relative to their size, and are less capable of processing chemicals that enter their small bodies. Both factors make them especially vulnerable to the hazardous effects of these chemicals.

2. Some fruits and vegetables have a lot of pesticide on them. Others aren’t so bad.

And you might be surprised which are which. In the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, EWG names the fresh fruits and veggies that contain the highest and lowest amounts of pesticides.

EWG analyzed data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, whose tests revealed traces of at least one pesticide on nearly 75 percent of fruit and vegetable samples tested in 2014.

Topping the Dirty Dozen list this year are strawberries, followed by apples, nectarines, peaches, celery and grapes. On the Clean Fifteen list, heart-healthy avocados take the No. 1 spot. (That’s especially good news for babies, since avocados make an excellent early solid food.) (more…)

Posted by on Aug 04, 2016 | 0 Comments
02
Aug

Treat Your Gut with Foam Rolling

Banish Bloat
Efficient digestion is the key to radiant health. Unfortunately, many of us experience bloating, constipation, and belly discomfort — all signs of a sluggish or stressed digestive track. When digestion is slow and imbalanced, we have problems with elimination — which is a key way our bodies flush out toxins — and disease thrives. Even common colds and skin issues can be traced back to imbalances in the gut.

Luckily, foam rolling offers an amazing tool for improving digestive function by helping the body move food through the intestines and improving circulation to the belly area. Foam rolling can also regulate and enhance digestion by decreasing stress and calming the sympathetic nervous system.

Check out the following foam roller video sequence, which will help stimulate the abdominal organs while also increasing the efficiency of elimination, thus relieving constipation and helping to minimize bloating, tension and stress in the belly.

YouTube Preview Image

Foam rolling will help bring a deeper sense of awareness to your belly and its needs — namely, real food! Through foam rolling, we will find ourselves making better nourishment choices, craving less sugar, and choosing foods that truly give us life force (or chi), and bring a deeper sense of balance, harmony, and well being. Here are a few eating tips to enhance digestion: (more…)

Posted by on Aug 02, 2016 | 0 Comments
01
Aug

How to Build a Healthier Breakfast

Breakfast
Breakfast. Whether it’s your favorite meal of the day or the one you care about the least, breakfast is your chance to front-load your system with the vitamins and nutrients you need to power through the day. Do it wrong, however, and you’ll be a nutritionally compromised zombie – sleepy, hungry, moody and ill-equipped to tackle the day.

And, unfortunately, most people are doing it wrong, filling up on junky, low-fuel, high-sugar breakfasts that give rise to hunger pangs, mood swings and cravings before they even get to the office. Sound familiar? Don’t worry. I’ve put together a list of the most common breakfast mistakes to avoid — plus a bunch of energizing, healthy Be Well breakfast solutions to start your day off right:

WHAT TO AVOID:

Throw Out the Cereal Bowl

Just about every person over the age of 10 knows that Lucky Charms make a lousy breakfast, but what about the healthier-sounding ones like granola, muesli or “All-bran”? Sorry cereal lovers, they’re not much better. Most of these options are packed with sugar and carbs and come up short on protein and healthy fats. The result? Most people wind up feeling hungry soon after eating. Adding insult to injury, most cereals are made from genetically modified crops that have been treated with carcinogenic pesticides and include preservatives like endocrine-disrupting BHT and suspected carcinogen BHA. My advice? Don’t fill your belly with this crap.

Step Away From the Muffin

If you pit the average homemade muffin against the massive ones on sale at your local breakfast or coffee place, you can’t help but notice the David vs. Goliath disparity. The ingredients are problematic too: sugar, refined flours, trans fats, genetically modified ingredients, pesticides, preservatives, etc., and barely a scrap of anything nutritious. Think of the average store-bought muffin as essentially a giant piece of unfrosted birthday cake — hardly an energizing way to start the day.

Don’t Hit the (Juice) Bottle

I’m a big proponent of cleanses and detoxes — done right — but I’m not a big fan of bottled juice cleanses because most provide little (if any) fat, fiber or protein to fill you up. Even the ones that may have valuable nutrients deliver a big dose of sugar, which means blood sugar and insulin spikes. Another cause for concern? Consumers assume their bottled, ‘healthy’ pressed juices contain just one serving, when more often than not, they contain two servings. The upshot? When people drink a full bottle, they’re taking in twice as much sugar — anywhere from 20 to 30 grams..

Give Your Momma’s Pancakes the Boot

You may not want to hear this, but traditional pancakes are, in no uncertain terms, a nutritional nightmare. We’re talking a perfect storm of genetically modified ingredients, sugar, refined carbs, gluten, factory-farmed eggs and milk — all topped with a healthy dose of maple-brown-tinted high-fructose corn syrup. Virtually devoid of protein, fiber or good fats, this nutrition-free carb-bomb is the reason you’re starving, lethargic and cranky an hour or so after eating a stack. Even as a special treat, pancakes are a bad, energy-sapping breakfast idea, so grow up, and let ‘em go.

WHAT TO EMBRACE:

OK, so once you take pancakes, muffins, cereal and juices off the menu, you may be wondering, “What in the world am I going to eat for breakfast?!” Glad you asked because at Be Well, we have tons of ideas on how to build amazing and energizing breakfasts. Here are seven options — a week’s worth of breakfast meals! — to get you started on the better breakfast path:

1) Paleo Egg ‘Muffins’

Make a dozen at a time and freeze for a delicious, portable breakfast any time. Pack two ‘muffins’ in a travel container, add some greens, black beans and sliced avocado in another, and you’re out the door. At the office, warm the muffins in the microwave for 30 seconds and voila, breakfast is served. (more…)

Posted by on Aug 01, 2016 | 0 Comments

How to Let Stress Roll Off Your Back — Literally!

stress
It’s no surprise that so many people feel stressed out. We’re living in a hyper-connected world where we’re always “on,” and multi-tasking is the new normal.  Add in the constant fear-mongering by our ratings-driven news media and the fact that paying the bills is an increasingly difficult goal for many, and it’s little wonder that stress is on the rise.

According to the American Institute of Stress (who knew we had one?!) some 44 percent of Americans feel more stressed than they did five years ago, and 1 in 5 experience extreme stress.  In fact, the AIS estimates that stress causes 60% of all human illness and disease and that 3 out of 4 doctor’s visits are for stress-related ailments. (Stress also costs the nation about $300 billion in medical bills and lost productivity every year.)

Called ‘the silent killer’, stress is increasingly recognized by Western medicine as a major contributor to some of the most persistent and chronic diseases of our time — think heart disease, cancer, obesity, and depression.

In my private practice, I see the results of stress on a daily basis.  Many of my clients literally ‘trap’ stress in their bodies, and it manifests itself as poor posture, persistent pain, tension, thickness, bloating, and even excess weight.  But there is a solution. I’ve developed techniques based on my one-on-one work with clients that help them to get their bodies back in alignment and reduce these symptoms — and the good news is you can do this at home with just a foam roller. What I’ve seen is that once the physical symptoms are alleviated, people often are able to reduce the stress that caused those symptoms in the first place.  

As I like to say, when you align your body, you also align your mind and heart. (more…)

Posted by on Jul 29, 2016 | 0 Comments
28
Jul

It’s Time To Wind Back The Harms Of Too Much Medicine And, Instead, Prescribe Food.

The Big Fat Fix
It may be hard to believe, but poor diet now contributes to more disease and death than physical inactivity, smoking and alcohol combined. We have been consuming sugar, refined carbohydrates and industrial vegetable oils as never before, with devastating consequences for public health. In the UK alone, type 2 diabetes and obesity have cost the National Health Service (NHS) more than £20 billion.

The good news, though, is that relatively simple changes in diet can rapidly reduce your risk of disease. As I tell my heart patients, adopting a Mediterranean diet after a heart attack is a more powerful life-saving tool than taking aspirin or statins or even having a stent inserted.

It’s time to wind back the harms of too much medicine and, instead, prescribe food. Four tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil daily, a handful of nuts, lots of vegetables and quitting sugar are just some of the daily prescriptions I outline in The Big Fat Fix, a documentary film I just made. The film shows how simple lifestyle changes can have a dramatic impact.

Dr. David Unwin, for instance, has managed to save £45,000 in diabetes medications through a simple message to patients: Cut out the sugar and other refined carbohydrates from your diet, and your blood glucose levels will improve. If this was adopted across all GP practices in England, it could save £423 million in diabetes medications alone.

The brutal fact is that the increasing burden of chronic disease will not be solved by even more conventional medicine. Sir Bruce Keogh, the medical director of NHS England, has pointed out that one in seven NHS treatments (including operations) should never have been carried out in the first place. A “more medicine is better” culture lies at the heart of this, exacerbated by financial incentives within the system to prescribe more drugs and carry out more procedures.

The harms of over-medication are now colossal. According to Peter Gotzsche, the co-founder of the Cochrane Collaboration, a highly regarded network of independent researchers, prescription drugs are actually the third most common cause of death across the world after heart disease and cancer.

In other words, the 1 billion NHS prescriptions that are handed out every year are an appalling waste. But what should concern us most is the considerable harm to the public.

A version of this article was previously published in The Times on Friday, July 22nd.

Download The Big Fat Fix here.

There will be a screening in NYC on Tuesday, August 2nd, 6-8PM, at MagnoSound Theater, 729 7th Ave., at 49th St.

Posted by on Jul 28, 2016 | 0 Comments

Over-Medicated Me

Over-Medicated

By Be Well Health Coach Anne Markt

Whenever I tell people I used to be on eight different types of medication, they immediately look shocked.  I think it comes from the fact that I’m 5 feet tall and petite. From the outside, I don’t look like I’d be a candidate for that many meds.

A couple years after college, I started the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s Health Coach Training Program.  I loved wellness and planned to use it as a skill outside of performance to help others achieve greater wellbeing.  Little did I know, it was the start of my own journey through self-healing.  

One day, while having a practice session with a fellow coach, she looked over my health history and asked, “Why are you taking so many medications at your age?”  All it took was that one question from a fresh perspective to wake me up. The thought hadn’t even crossed my mind before. My doctors told me to take them, so I took them. Or I had convinced myself that I needed to continue them or else chaos would ensue. But in that moment, I realized there was no actual “need” for the meds. They had simply become a psychological comfort and crutch over time.

It was in that moment that I decided to make it my goal to be off all the medications within the year I was taking the program. I became instantly curious to know what my body would be like without them. I never knew my baseline since I was always taking something.  And in the process of cutting them out, I would see if they were actually assisting me or not.

Some meds were easier to cut out then others, like the medicated face creams I used to ward off acne. Since I was 11 years old, I had been applying each morning and night.  That’s when I experienced my first transformation.

In college, I started going through facial oil-blotting sheets like packs of chewing gum. I could fill two to three sheets in one sitting, and you could see the light reflecting off my greasy forehead in most photos. I had always assumed I had oily skin by nature.  Turns out I had abused those face creams and dried my skin out so much that my body overcompensated by producing more oil to protect me. Once I cut the creams, my skin returned to normal and I’ve never had to “blot my face” for a picture since. (more…)

Posted by on Jul 26, 2016 | 3 Comments
25
Jul

4 Foods That Stress You Out—and 12 Foods to Tame Stress

Stress Foods
Stress. We’ve all got it, and most of us would love to have a lot less of it. While there are many healthy ways to combat it—starting with meditation and regular exercise—how you eat plays a big role in how well you manage stress. For example, those times when life is crazy busy or things are tough at work or home, are you feeding your body or are you feeding the release of more stress hormones?

When we’re stressed, both adrenaline and cortisol go to work, signaling your body to restock energy supplies regardless of whether you’re depleted or not. The result? You tend to feel hungry more frequently and answer the call with more food than you may actually need. Add to that cortisol’s ability to encourage fat storage, not enough exercise, and some poor food choices—like the ones outlined below—and you’ve got a recipe for rapid weight gain and a host of serious health problems down the road.

What follows is a list of stress-boosting foods to avoid and the stress-tamers you should always have within easy reach, particularly when times are tough:

The Stress Stimulators

1. Sidestep anything that calls itself an energy or coffee drink. When you’re stressed out, the last thing your body and brain needs is a dose of caffeine, with or without a side of high fructose corn syrup. While a grande latte or Red Bull may give you the initial lift you’re looking for, you also get the inevitable crash, which leaves you feeling agitated and down. Drink more throughout the day to help you push through, and by the time bedtime rolls around, you’ll be exhausted, irritable, struggling to fall asleep—and even more stressed.  

2. Lay off sweet stuff and baked goods. Tempting as it may be to hit the cookie jar, sweets will give you a quick energy surge at the cost of insulin resistance and weight gain. When you’re stressed, the overproduction of stress hormones, combined with unhealthy food choices, helps pile on pounds by feeding the bad bacteria in your gut at the expense of the good. This gut imbalance can help trigger a vicious cycle of weight-boosting cravings and belly troubles that should make you think twice before “rewarding” yourself with a visit to the local cupcake shop.

3. Skip the processed foods. While there are numerous familiar reasons to drop processed foods, here’s one more: They’re very good at increasing stress hormone levels. In addition to bad fats, chemicals, and factory-farmed, virtually nutrient-free ingredients, processed foods are loaded with cortisol-boosting sodium and sugar, which, as outlined above, is not what you should be feeding your brain and belly when stressed. Much as you may crave them when you’re stressed-out, processed foods and simple carbs, like chips or pretzels, push cortisol levels up and mood down.

4. Hold the highballs. After a long, hard, stressed-out day, a cold beer or fancy cocktail may be high on your let’s-unwind-quick menu. Granted, a light buzz may be exactly what you think you need, but, in reality, drinking alcohol is counterproductive for stress-management, as it stimulates the release of more stress hormones, putting your system under additional strain. Alcohol also has a depressive effect on mood, which can further exacerbate the stress pile-on.

The Stress Soothers

Trade your coffee and energy drinks for:

  • Tea: Hot or cold, a cup or two of black, white, green, or red tea will give you a light caffeine lift, minus the crash, plus a healthy serving of good-for-you antioxidants. Drink your tea straight, without milk, which can reduce absorption of tea’s antioxidants.
  • Green juice: To revive, re-energize, and replenish your energy reserves, mix a high-quality greens powder with water for a jitter-free, nutrient-rich energy boost.

(more…)

Posted by on Jul 25, 2016 | 1 Comments