Make Your Dinner Even Healthier With This Salmon and Blueberries Recipe

Salmon With Blueberry
By Be Well Health Coach Laura Kraber

On everyone’s list of nutrient-dense superfoods, wild salmon is packed with high quality protein, beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, and essential minerals and vitamins including B6, B12, D, iron, phosphorous and selenium.

Salmon’s omega-3 fatty acids provide protective benefits through their ability to regulate and lower inflammation in the body. Increasing the dietary intake of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, can decrease the incidence of many chronic diseases that involve inflammatory processes, such as heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, and autoimmune disorders. Salmon consumption supports heart health by keeping the blood from clotting excessively, and relaxing and dilating the arteries. When eaten two to three times per week, salmon offers protection from heart attack, stroke, arrhythmia, high blood pressure and high triglycerides.

With its impressive nutritional profile, wild salmon gets bonus points for its delicate flavor, versatility, and easy preparation. For a super-quick meal, I simply spread a thin layer of mustard and sliced lemon on top of a salmon filet and bake at 375° for about 15 minutes, depending upon the filet’s thickness. If I’m planning ahead, I might instead marinate my salmon filet in a mixture of sesame oil and wheat-free tamari sauce in the fridge for a couple hours and then sauté it in a skillet with broccoli florets or snowpeas and fresh, grated ginger. For the ultimate superfood duo that looks beautifully colorful on the plate, I make this roasted salmon with pan-fried blueberry sauce:

Roasted Salmon with Blueberries (Serves 4)


  • 1½ to 2 pounds filet of wild salmon, such as Sockeye Salmon
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pint of fresh blueberries (you can use approx. 2 cups of frozen blueberries instead)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Lightly oil a baking sheet or oven-safe dish with one tablespoon of the olive oil.
  • Lay the salmon on the baking sheet or dish and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.
  • Roast the salmon for 6 – 8 minutes, until tender and flaky.
  • Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small pan and sauté the garlic lightly, for 1 – 2 minutes.
  • Squeeze the juice of half of the lemon into the pan and add the blueberries.
  • Smash the blueberries with a fork or potato masher and stir gently.
  • After 3 – 4 minutes, add the finely chopped rosemary and season to taste with sea salt and pepper.
  • Continue to let the sauce simmer until salmon is ready. (Sauce can be made ahead and reserved.)
  • Serve the salmon topped with blueberry sauce, with the remainder of the lemon sliced into wedges, on the side.
Posted by on Jul 14, 2015 | 1 Comments

11 Clues You’re Eating Too Many Carbs


Although, it’s quite debatable whether carbohydrates are essential for human nutrition, for most people, they’re the fuel their body runs on. For some folks, going on an extreme lo-carb or no-carb diet, causes them to have barely enough energy to hoist a coffee cup in the morning. At the opposite end of the scale, the folks who over-do it on carbs, even the good ones, end up having a negative impact on things like mood, weight, energy, digestion, immunity and more. In my practice, I would say most people (but not all) seem to eat more carbs than their metabolism can handle.

How to locate the healthy middle ground? Listen to your body and learn what it needs. Granted it can be challenging at first to have to pay such close attention, but with practice, your body will teach you how to truly nourish it – not just mindlessly feed it.

To start the process of listening to and interpreting what your body really needs, take this simple Carb Quiz, answering “yes” or “no” to each one, and track your responses: 

  1. Do you gain weight easily when your diet includes a lot of “healthy” carbs such as whole grains, legumes, fresh fruit?
  2. Do you feel tired or sleepy shortly after consuming carbohydrates?
  3. Do you feel foggy-headed after meals?
  4. Do you frequently crave sweets?
  5. Do you frequently crave starchy foods?
  6. Do you have a difficult time controlling how much sugar or carbs you eat?
  7. Does your weight fluctuate easily?
  8. Do you have dramatic energy ups and downs throughout the day?
  9. Do you feel light-headed or irritable when you’re hungry?
  10. Do you tend to gain weight in your face and around your abdomen, more so than on your hips and thighs?
  11. Do you turn to sweets or carbs when you’re feeling anxious, tired, or depressed?

If you answered “yes” to three or more of these questions, you may be eating more carbs than your system can handle or process efficiently. To combat the negative effects, your first order of business is to cut out the sweet and starchy “white” and refined foods. If you’ve already done that, take it a step further. Try cutting back or avoiding all grains, including whole grains, legumes, as well as high-sugar fresh fruits. If you must have a treat, a small daily amount of low-sugar berries like blue berries may be okay for you – but you’ll have to monitor how your body reacts to know for sure. (more…)

Posted by on Jul 13, 2015 | 1 Comments

19 Natural Sunscreens You Can Trust: A Consumer Guide

This article originally appeared on
Written By Liz Thomson

Does searching for natural sunscreen make you sweat? On the hunt for protection that doesn’t leave you greasy or glaring white? Tired of the kids running for cover when it’s time to apply sunscreen? Our helpful guide to choosing the safest natural sunscreen products that are also a pleasure to use makes buying this summertime staple a breeze.

Mineral Sunscreens Past & Present

Mineral sunscreens of the past may have protected us from UV damage, but boy were they a nightmare to use. The greasy, sticky, white mess they left behind was a deal breaker for many. Weighing the benefits of a safer sunscreen with the damage to car seats, bathing suit, and anything else it came in contact with, left most siding in favor of the chemical stuff.

Times have changed though, and it is a new day for natural sunscreens. Mineral sunscreens today are lightweight, easy to use, non-greasy, and invisible on the skin. And of course, they’re highly effective too.

The Problem with Chemical Sunscreens

How bad are chemical sunscreens, really?

Common chemical sunscreen ingredients, like oxybenzone and octinoxate, accumulate in the body and are linked to hormone disruption, cell damage, and allergic reactions. Most chemical sunscreen products also contain other synthetic emollients, preservatives, and fragrance ingredients, adding to the toxic load.

Where mineral sunscreens create a physical barrier on top of skin and reflect UV rays, chemical sunscreens absorb UV radiation. This means UVA rays, the type responsible for more serious damage, reach deeper layers of skin.

Sunscreen Regulations & Restrictions – What You Need to Know

The FDA has placed certain restrictions on labeling and sale of some sunscreen products. The terms “waterproof” and “sunblock” may not appear on product labels. A product marked as “Water Resistant” must state how long a user can expect to get the declared amount of SPF protection while swimming or sweating, either 40 or 80 minutes.

More research is being done on the health risks and effectiveness of spray and powder form sunscreens thought to be possible inhalation risks. For now, we advise staying with creams, lotions, butters, and stick sunscreens.

Nanos have also become a source of concern with mineral sunscreens. In attempt to eliminate the white cast from mineral sunscreen ingredients, manufacturers began using a much smaller form of zinc and titanium dioxide, known as nanoparticles. This tiny particle size was effective in decreasing the ghostly white film, but they may also be more easily absorbed by the body with potential to form an accumulation risk.

Beyond SPF – Why Numbers Don’t Tell the Whole Story

You’ve probably seen the term “Broad Spectrum” on sunscreen labels. What does it mean? Broad Spectrum refers to a product’s ability to protect against both UVA (rays that cause more serious damage, like skin cancer) and UVB (rays responsible for sunburn) rays. Products that provide protection against both types of rays and have an SPF value of 15 or higher may be labeled “Broad Spectrum”. Products that carry an SPF value of 2 to 14 may not be labeled “Broad Spectrum”.

It is important to choose your SPF wisely. A higher number is always better, right? Not really. Protection over SPF 50 is negligible and the FDA has concerns that these super high numbers (SPF 100, really?!) tend to give consumers a false sense of safety. The bottom line: Don’t waste your money on sky high SPF.

How to Calculate an SPF That’s Right for You

  • Fair skin — can stay in the sun 10 minutes before burning
  • Olive skin — can stay in the sun 15 minutes before burning
  • Dark skin — can stay in the sun 20 minutes before burning

Multiply the SPF by the number of minutes you can stay in the sun before burning. For example: (SPF) 20 x 10 (Fair skin) = 200 minutes (amount of time you can stay in the sun before burning if you have Fair skin and use an SPF of 20).

How to Decipher the Environmental Working Group’s Annual Sunscreen Guide

The EWG Annual Sunscreen Guide is out for this year and it includes several of the products we have listed below. They review a much larger number of sunscreens (1,700 this year!) in effort to weed out those who “offer inferior sun protection or contain worrisome ingredients”. This year they call out Neutrogena in particular as not living up to its safety claims. This is one example of a brand that has been marketing mineral sunscreen as a way to garner the attention of health savvy consumers.

EWG gives each sunscreen on its list a hazard ranking. It is important to remember that not all sunscreens on the EWG list are nontoxic. For example, Bull Frog Ultimate Sheer Body Sunscreen SPF 30 received a rank of “2” (“1″ is the safest) but it contains synthetic ingredients Organic Authority doesn’t consider safe. Remember to check each ingredient when choosing a sunscreen from the EWG list.

All of the products in our natural sunscreen guide are free from harmful ingredients including chemical sunscreen agents. We fill you in on details and price for each product to help get you prepared for a safe and fun summer. (more…)

Posted by on Jul 10, 2015 | 1 Comments

Feeling Sad?
Probiotics May Give You the Mood Boost You Need

Probiotics and Mood
New and exciting research is revealing a strong connection between our mood and the various bacteria that live within our intestines. This is certainly a sobering notion. Think of it: the bacteria living within the digestive system are, to some degree, involved in determining whether we are happy, sad, anxious or even depressed.

In a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal, Brain, Behavior and Immunity, researchers in the Netherlands explored the idea that changing the array of gut bacteria by giving a multispecies probiotic supplement could have an effect on mood. The study provided the probiotic for a 4-week period to 20 healthy individuals, none of whom had a mood disorder. A similar group of 20 individuals received a placebo over the same period. At the conclusion of the study, both groups underwent an evaluation to determine their reactivity in terms of cognitive function to sad mood. This is a fairly standard research tool that assesses depression.

The researchers demonstrated a significant reduction in the degree change in terms of cognitive reactivity to sad mood in the group receiving the probiotic in comparison to placebo:

 … which was largely accounted for by reduced rumination and aggressive thoughts.

And the authors concluded:

These results provide the first evidence that the intake of probiotics may help reduce negative thoughts associated with sad mood. Probiotics supplementation warrants further research as a potential preventive strategy for depression. (more…)

Posted by on Jul 09, 2015 | 1 Comments

The Summer Kale Salad Recipe To Make Right Now

Kale Salad Recipe
Photo by Patryce Bak

By Be Well Health Coach Katrine van Wyk

I developed this recipe for the rooftop baby shower for my son. I knew it was going to be a big crowd on a hot day, so I went for something refreshing, healthy and satisfying. I don’t know about you, but I always get peckish at a party and hardly ever find a good-for-me option I can munch on. This is it.

Ingredients – Vegan, Paleo, GF

Serves 2

  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Sprinkle of Himalayan sea salt
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 peach, pit removed, sliced
  • ½ jicama, cut in small cubes
  • ⅓ cup toasted hazelnuts


  1. Add the kale to a bowl and pour over it the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt.
  2. Roll up your sleeves and massage the kale with your hands until it softens and gets a bright, dark green.
  3. Add the avocado and massage that in, too.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients, finishing with a sprinkle of the hazelnuts

Jicama Booster

Jicama is one of sweet potato’s relatives. It has a bright white flesh and brown skin. Eaten raw, it’s crispy and refreshing and perfect in slaws, salads, or just sliced. It also has a high water content, making it perfect for juicing. Nutritionally, it contains plenty of fiber and vitamin C yet is low in calories.

This recipe is from Best Green Eats Ever by Katrine van Wyk.

Posted by on Jul 07, 2015 | 1 Comments

The Secret Vitamin For Heart And Bone Health

Vitamin K2

A few very well publicized studies showed that calcium supplements may be bad for one’s heart. This has lead scores of consumers to abandon their calcium supplements out of fear that they are damaging their cardiovascular systems.

There are two important truths to this scenario: First, this decision is not necessarily protecting one’s heart – rather, it is putting their bone health at risk. Second, people can confidently continue to take their calcium supplements provided they are consuming enough Vitamin K2 and magnesium daily.

Bone health, similar to cardiovascular disease, are not problems reserved for aging populations. Like the heart and the blood vessels, the health of our bones is something we usually do not think about until a problem arises—such as a hip fracture—and just like the cardiovascular system, it may be too late to make any real impact.

The one thing most people will do to support their bone health is take Vit D and calcium supplement, which is a sensible thing to do as our bodies cannot produce calcium on its own, and Vit D and calcium play a major role in many of the body’s systems. But too much calcium in the body left unattended can have a negative effect, such as depositing in the arteries and blood vessels causing calcification or kidney stones to name just a few. This calcification contributes to atherosclerosis – hardening of arteries which can lead to blockages, heart attacks and strokes.

Fortunately there is a solution to this problem – vit K2.This became the motivation for my new book, “Vitamin K2: The Missing Nutrient for Heart and Bone Health,” because I feel it is imporatnt that patients and health care professionals understand how Vitamin K2 can help us achieve optimal cardiovasculatr and bone health, and that there is robust scientific evidence supporting it. (more…)

Posted by on Jul 06, 2015 | 0 Comments

What Is Bentonite Clay And How To Reap The Benefits

Bentonite Clay
By Be Well Health Coach Katrine van Wyk

Bentonite Clay is an ancient natural remedy. It is actually a mineral rich volcanic ash! It can be used both internally to help heal and detox, and externally to rejuvenate the skin, draw out impurities and help clear up acne and other skin conditions.

Did you know that many of the toxins in our body are positively charged toxins? Bentonite clay uses a negative ionic charge to attract, capture and absorb these toxins! Pretty cool stuff.

How To Use:

Internally: Drink 1 tbsp bentonite clay diluted in 8 ounces of water once a day to aid detoxing.

Externally: Mix the clay with water or Apple Cider Vinegar and apply as a face mask for 20 minutes. You can also use it in a bath and footsoak! I recommend trying the brand Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay.

Posted by on Jul 03, 2015 | 6 Comments

How Food Additives Are Landing On Our Plates

Food Additives

Do you know that food companies can decide for themselves which additives are safe?

It’s time to look into how new ingredients get from the food industry’s lab to your dinner table. Thousands of these additives now exist in our food supply.

Additives are added to our food to improve their texture, taste, appearance or extend their shelf life. The approval of these additives have to go through the FDA which regulates 80% of our nation’s food supply. According to the FDA, “there are thousands of ingredients used to make foods. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains a list of over 3000 ingredients in its data base.”

But a legal loophole exists, where ingredients that are labeled GRAS (generally recognized as safe) get a free pass through the regulatory system. It means that companies can determine on their own that what they’re adding to our food is safe. It expedites the process. Then it is up to the company to inform the FDA if they want to.

Think about that for a minute. Think about it in relation to the tobacco industry or the auto industry or any other industry. What if the car companies had the ability to determine that their products were safe without oversight?

How in the world did we let this happen?


Posted by on Jul 02, 2015 | 0 Comments

Healthy Strawberry Shortcakes Recipe That Is Firework Worthy

Strawberry Shortcake

Can a 4th of July dessert really help you feel fuller longer and prevent you from going back to the picnic table for seconds? This one can. Powered by healthy fats and a good amount of protein, this strawberry shortcake can even be a breakfast meal. Almond flour packs the same nutrition as whole almonds. Almonds are high in vitamin E, help control blood sugar, have a healthy amount of unsaturated fats, contain proteins that help support brain health, and, of the many things they do, almonds are loaded with minerals that help support bone health. So in honor of Independence Day, let’s go red, white, blue and almond with this fresh take on strawberry shortcakes.

Strawberry Shortcakes
Yield: 6

Shortcakes Ingredients

• 1/4 cup grass fed butter, room temperature
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 tablespoon maple syrup
• 2 eggs
• 2 cups almond flour
• 1/2 cup arrowroot
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• pinch sea salt


• Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
• In a mixer whip together butter, vanilla extract and maple syrup until light and fluffy.
• Beat in 1 egg at a time.
• Add the almond flour, arrowroot, baking soda and sea salt. Mix until well combined.
• Refrigerate the dough for 20 minutes.
• Scoop mixture into 6 balls. Shape into biscuit shape about 1 inch thick and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
• Bake for 15 minutes or until shortcakes are golden brown.
• Let cool. (more…)

Posted by on Jun 30, 2015 | 0 Comments

10 Hidden Sources of Endocrine Disruptors – And How to Avoid Them

Personal Care Products

One sobering fact of modern life: endocrine (hormone) disruptors are everywhere. Occasional contact wouldn’t be a major concern but the trouble is, most of us come into contact with them multiple times in a day. Many of these toxins either block or promote estrogen and other hormones, so either way, they throw off your hormonal balance. They can affect the way these hormones function in your body, causing numerous problems that many people mistakenly attribute to stress, aging or just normal aches and pains.

How big a role do toxins play in our everyday ills? It’s hard to find good information about how exactly these chemicals affect us because most of the current research has focused only on individual toxins. The problem is, we’re being exposed to thousands of toxins, not just one, and we don’t know for certain how they interact or what their long-term impact is on our endocrine systems. Even if no one knows for sure, we can make some educated guesses.

As a physician, I can tell you that I am seeing more and more young women with breast cancer—a disease that used to be almost completely confined to women over fifty. My theory is that because these young women have gotten such massive exposure to endocrine disruptors – starting in the womb – they are now struggling with hormone-related problems that used to take decades to develop.

I don’t want to stress you out or frighten you unduly, but I do want to focus on what you can do to protect yourself from the common chemicals and toxins known specifically as “endocrine disruptors.” Here’s where they hide – and what to do about them:

1. Personal Care Products

Cosmetics, moisturizers, shampoos, and conditioners often contain ingredients that disrupt your hormonal balance. To reduce exposure, switch to cleaner, greener personal products, and reduce use in general. Consider wearing less makeup or going without on weekends. Try shampooing less often or cutting your brew to half-strength by adding water to the shampoo bottle – or take it a step further by joining the “no-‘poo” (as in no-shampoo) movement.

2. Drinking Water

Atrazine, arsenic, and perchlorate are three endocrine disruptors that pervade many communities’ drinking water supplies. Reduce contaminants by filtering drinking water with a high-quality filtration system, like those from Aquasana. Also, add water filters to all of your home faucets, including the bath and shower – you absorb disruptive chemicals through your skin (as well as by drinking them) so it’s better not to bathe in them!

3. Canned Foods

Many food cans are lined with BPA, a common endocrine disruptor. To side-step BPA, steer clear of canned foods or, if you must buy them, look for cans marked “BPA-free.”  The Environmental Working Group recently released a report on BPA in canned food, listing which brands are the best and worst players.

4. Conventionally Farmed Fruits and Vegetables

Pesticides, herbicides, and industrial runoff turn even healthy produce into endocrine disruptors. Access cleaner food by shopping for local and organic produce at your nearest farmer’s market.

5. Conventionally Farmed Meat, Poultry, and Dairy Products

These commercial foods contain disruptive antibiotics, hormones, and industrial chemicals. To reduce exposure, look for organic, grass-fed, and free range products from small or local farms that are committed to raising animals using methods that are healthier for both the animals and the humans who consume them. (more…)

Posted by on Jun 29, 2015 | 2 Comments