07
Jun

6 Simple and Healthy Breakfast Ideas

healthy breakfast ideas

By Be Well Health Coach Amanda Carney

There is a big reason why breakfast has long been referred to as the most important meal of the day—the food you eat in the morning will influence your energy levels, cravings, emotions, and clarity throughout your day and can even affect how you sleep that night!

Incorporating nutrient-dense foods for breakfast, such as healthy fats, good-quality proteins, and colorful vegetables, will provide a sense of balance and satiation, encouraging you to continue making healthy choices all day.

Unfortunately, we live in a culture that is always on the go, which often causes us to reach for something quick, processed, and packaged for breakfast. These foods cause inflammation, spike our blood sugar, and drain our energy, leaving us searching for our next “fix” of sugary foods and caffeinated beverages to keep this false sense of energy up and prevent a sugar crash.

But it doesn’t have to be this way! Although you may not have the time to cook a lavish breakfast, we encourage you to plan ahead and take just a few minutes each morning to feed your body something healthy and nourishing.

Here are six simple breakfast ideas that can help you feel more balanced, energized, and sustained throughout your day.

Smoothie

Quite possibly our favorite breakfast options, shakes and smoothies allow you the opportunity to get in an abundance of healthy foods and nutrients first thing in the morning, and you have the flexibility to create a flavor that you love!

We recommend incorporating a leafy green or greens powder for nutrients, a good-quality protein powder for sustained energy, and healthy fats to keep you feeling full and satisfied. If using a blender is too much for you each morning, simply mix up a vanilla or chocolate protein powder with unsweetened nut milk and chia seeds.

Looking for smoothie recipes? Here are some of our favorites.

Nut and Seed Cereal

Although boxed cereal is not something we typically recommend at Be Well, we do suggest making your own cereal-like breakfast using nuts, seeds, and other nutrient-dense foods.  Loaded with healthy fat, fiber, and protein, a simple seed cereal can go a long way.

To make, just combine your choice of nuts and seeds (usually about ½ cup total) into a small bowl, mixing in some unsweetened coconut, cinnamon, and fresh fruit. Top with an unsweetened almond or coconut milk, and voila! You have a nutrient-dense breakfast cereal that can be enjoyed in minutes.

Hard-Boiled Eggs

Here at Be Well, we love our eggs, and if eggs are something that agree with you, they are a wonderful breakfast option. Eggs in any form are great, but if you have limited time in the morning, make a half dozen of hard-boiled eggs for the week ahead. It’s the perfect time-saver without compromising breakfast quality.

Enjoy a hard-boiled egg alongside half an avocado over leafy greens, like arugula, or on top of a slice of Paleo Breakfast Bread. (more…)

Posted by on Jun 07, 2016 | 0 Comments
06
Jun

Q and A With Dr. Jason Fung About His Book The Obesity Code…Unlocking The Secrets Of Weight Loss

Obestity

Dr. Lipman: You say in your book that obesity is not from eating too many calories or expending too few. Can you explain?

Dr. Fung: Obesity is often considered a problem of excessive calories. This caloric obsession has been indoctrinated into all of us since we were children. Too many calories in, too few calories out, or some combination is what we believe leads to weight gain and obesity. If it were indeed true that excess calories leads to weight gain, then the solution is simple: Reduce calories eaten. This has formed the standard dietary advice of the last 50 years. And it has failed spectacularly. Obesity rates have skyrocketed upward despite continual exhortations to cut calories. So, the proof is in the pudding. This advice does not work.

The other major strategy has been to increase exercise. Total calorie expenditure is not simply exercise, but includes basal metabolism. However, basal metabolism is not under conscious control, so it is assumed to be stable. In fact, the basal metabolic rate may increase or decrease up to 40% depending upon many factors, but one major one is caloric intake. But here once again, this advice has failed us.

Exercise comprises a very small proportion of our daily calorie expenditure. Let us assume basal metabolism of 2,000 calories per day. Walking for 45 minutes might burn 100–150 calories. If you’ve ever watched the calorie counter on your treadmill, you’ve probably already noticed how few calories are actually burned. This means that 95% of caloric expenditure is not related to exercise.

This is not to say that exercise is not important. There are many health benefits. However, weight loss is not one of them. Diet comprises 95% of the solution, with only 5% being exercise. So worrying about that 5% while largely ignoring the 95% is not a winning strategy.

If excess calories were indeed the cause of obesity, then it should also be easy to induce obesity. Experimental overfeeding studies have been performed since the 1960s, all with the same result. Deliberate overfeeding did not cause long-term weight gain. As soon as the force-feeding problem was finished, participants would spontaneously stop eating until they returned to their original weight.

So, it is clear that giving extra calories does not cause weight gain, and reducing calories does not cause weight loss. This was emphatically demonstrated in the Women’s Health Study, a huge, ambitious study of almost 50,000 women. They reduced their daily calorie intake by more than 300 calories per day. Over seven years of the study, they did not even lose a single pound!

The problem is that calorie excess is not the ultimate cause of weight gain. If you overeat, you will spontaneously reduce your intake and increase energy expenditure until you lose the weight. The opposite is true too. If you try to simply reduce your calories, then you will become hungry, and your basal metabolism will fall until you stop losing weight and start to regain it. This has been known for over 30 years and is the reason why a simple calorie reduction strategy is doomed to fail. (more…)

Posted by on Jun 06, 2016 | 1 Comments
03
Jun

How to Get Your Body Ready for Pregnancy

Pregnancy

By Be Well Health Coach Katrine van Wyk

If you’re in a position in which you can plan and prepare for pregnancy, there’s so much you can do to optimize both your chances of getting pregnant and your own nutrients to nurture a healthy baby with ease. When it comes to fertility and pregnancy, there are a lot of things that feel out of our control but how you treat your own body and what you eat are in your control. Give yourself time to prepare and allow space in your life, both emotionally and physically.

Here’s how to start preparing for a happy and healthy pregnancy:

Cleanse

If you haven’t done any kind of cleanse or detox before, I’d recommend doing one  several months (three to six months depending on what your health and lifestyle are like currently) in advance of trying to get pregnant. Get rid of processed foods, sugar, and alcohol, and add in lots of nourishing, anti-inflammatory foods. We are all exposed to toxins daily, and over time they accumulate in our body. When you’re pregnant, these stored toxins—as well as toxins you’re exposed to during pregnancy—get distributed through maternal-fetal transfer to your growing baby, too, so it’s important to do what you can in advance to minimize this exposure. If you plan to do an extensive detox, it’s recommended to do so at least six months in advance of getting pregnant so that these toxins are no longer circulating in the bloodstream.

In addition to a proper diet, supplementation can help the body process and get rid of toxins. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that supports the liver process and removes these toxins. Herbs such as turmeric (or curcumin, which is the active compound in turmeric) and milk thistle, which can be found in the Be Well Cleanse Shakes, are some of my favorites to use during a detox. Milk thistle has long been used for its liver-supporting properties, and turmeric is one of the most potent anti-inflammatory herbs available..

You might also want to try a more structured, but short plan such as the Be Well Cleanse,  which removes pro-inflammatory foods, includes lots of fresh, whole foods, and addresses one major underlying cause of inflammation and hormonal imbalance: the microbiome. (more…)

Posted by on Jun 03, 2016 | 0 Comments
02
Jun

Can Junk Food Be Addictive?

Food Addiction
The idea that a person can be addicted to food has recently gotten more support from science. Here, I look at how eating certain kinds of food could be driving people to make further poor food choices.

On the third episode of Doctor in the House, the D’Arcy family orders four chicken meals, seven burgers, five large fries, and four large sugary drinks—just for one single meal. Eighteen-year-old Brandon often eats like this two or three times per day.

After they finish eating, the father, Russ, complains of not feeling full after his large meal: “Anyone who eats burgers and fast food knows that after 10 minutes you’re hungry again!”

Unfortunately, this picture is all too common. People are often blamed for not making better choices, but I don’t think that blame is helpful. Most people are aware that what they are eating is not good for their health. The majority of people  I treat have actually tried stopping—they just find it very difficult to do so.

I don’t think that this is just a willpower issue.

Can Someone Actually Be Addicted to Junk Food?

This fantastic paper published by Professor David Ludwig puts forward evidence that suggests that, yes, fast food may be addictive. Many believe that there are potential problems with labeling certain types of food as “addictive.” Food is fundamentally needed for survival—this is very different from classic addictive habits such as drug taking or smoking.

I would argue, however, that highly processed junk food is not essential to survival.

However, I do think that this concept could explain, in part, a lot of the poor food choices that people are making these days. Let’s remember that a lot of chronic diseases that are growing in prevalence—such as diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease—are in large part lifestyle driven. So, as well as our food choices making us sick, what if the types of food we are eating are actually causing us to eat more and more of the same kinds of food?

When patients eat processed junk food, they can overeat. Is it possible to overeat real, whole food? Can you eat a whole plate of cauliflower or a whole plate of apples? (more…)

Posted by on Jun 02, 2016 | 0 Comments

6 Smart and Simple Points on Vitamin D

Vitamin D
Vitamin D. It’s the cornerstone of good health, so it’s mind-boggling to me how often vitamin D levels are overlooked or given short shrift by primary-care physicians. Numerous studies have shown a link between vitamin D deficiency and devastating health problems, many of which might well be avoided if we paid more attention to filling the D-gap. If your doc gives you the brush-off when you ask him or her to measure your vitamin D level, then you need to take charge. Educate yourself, get tested (or test yourself), and then work with your doc to develop a plan to get your D up to an optimal level. Your continued health may depend on it!

1. So What’s the Big D Deal?

Vitamin D is what many call the sunshine vitamin, but it’s actually a steroid with hormone-like activities that regulate the functions of over 200 genes and is essential for our growth, development, and ongoing health. A small amount of it comes from the food we eat, and some of it our bodies are able to synthesize from sunshine—but billions of us are falling short, particularly those of us who spend most of our days indoors and out of the sun. And though it might not seem like a big deal, vitamin D deficiency is considered by many experts to be an under-the-radar epidemic that’s laying the groundwork for numerous serious diseases, including cancer. Because vitamin D is involved in supporting essential functions like immunity and cancer prevention, as well as neurological, cardiovascular, and bone health, it’s easy to see just how dangerous falling short can be!

2. Roughly 40%–75% of Us Are Vitamin D Deficient

An estimated 1 billion people on the planet are vitamin D deficient, and many can be found right here in the northern parts of the U.S. These include:

  • People with indoorsy lifestyles—those who spend most of their time indoors with little exposure to sunlight.
  • Northern souls—those who live in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • Darker-skinned people are frequently vitamin D deficient, because they need more sun to get the same amount of vitamin D as fair-skinned people.
  • Cover-uppers—those who keep skin “protected” with clothes head-to-toe, or slather themselves in sunscreen, preventing the sunlight exposure needed for the skin to synthesize and produce vitamin D.
  • Older folks have thinner skin and reduced ability to produce vitamin D, so the 50+ set is more vulnerable to deficiency.
  • Overweight/obese people and those with excess body fat.
  • Gastric bypass patients and/or those with gut problems, whose guts may not be able to absorb enough vitamin D.
  • Pregnant women, whose needs are greater.

(more…)

Posted by on May 31, 2016 | 1 Comments
27
May

4 Superfood Boosters You Need Now

Superfood Boosters

By Be Well Health Coach Jackie Damboragian

If you don’t already know about these superfoods, my recommendation is to get them in your pantry ASAP!

These versatile foods are great added to smoothies or tossed into a salad. Here’s what you’re missing out if you don’t give them a try.

Bee Pollen

Bee pollen is considered an incredibly nourishing food because it’s so nutrient dense—it’s rich in B vitamins, protein, folic acid, and readily available amino acids. Bee pollen is energizing and immune boosting, and it can help to treat seasonal allergies when taken daily. It’s best to buy local bee pollen, which you can find at your farmers’ market. Bee pollen is delicious by the spoonful, added to smoothies, or used as a topping for yogurt.

Flax Seeds

Flax seeds are rich in plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber. They can aid in weight loss, improved digestion, and hair, skin, and nail health. It’s best to eat them ground in order to absorb their nutrients. Once they’re ground, which you can either purchase that way or do at home, keep them in the fridge to maintain their freshness. Ground flax seeds are a good smoothie booster and can be sprinkled over meals for added benefits. Two tablespoons a day of ground flax seeds can also help to reduce hot flashes in menopausal women.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are a powerhouse food, originally used by Aztec warriors, who, as legend has it, would sustain all day with a single tablespoon! They are loaded with fiber, minerals, antioxidants, and protein. They can help with digestion, especially constipation. Due to their unique ability to swell once added to water, they can help you stay fuller longer—ultimately aiding in weight loss.

Check out this chia seed pudding recipewhich is great for breakfast or as a snack or healthy dessert.

Hemp Seeds

Well known as a great plant-based protein source, hemp seeds are also packed with healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Like flax and chia seeds, hemp seeds can help with digestion and aid in weight loss. Here’s a great smoothie with hemp seeds, and this lemon hemp kale salad is sure to please!

Posted by on May 27, 2016 | 0 Comments

5 Things Your Doctor Isn’t Telling You About Your Autoimmune Disease and How You Can Reverse It

Autoimmune Disease

If you’re one of the 50 million Americans who suffer from an autoimmune disease, I want to tell you, as a functional medicine physician who specializes in treating autoimmune patients and as someone who has battled an autoimmune disease myself, that the most important thing to know about autoimmune diseases is that they can be reversed.

Contrary to what most conventional doctors say, an autoimmune diagnosis does not mean resigning yourself to debilitating symptoms that get worse and worse over time, or settling for a lifetime of harsh medications.

Your autoimmune disease didn’t happen overnight. Sure, you may have a genetic predisposition toward autoimmunity. However, we now know about epigenetics and that our genes are not static; they can be turned on and off by environmental and lifestyle factors.  I work with my patients to find the root cause of their autoimmunity by uncovering the environmental and lifestyle factors that turned on these genes.  After treating thousands of patients with autoimmunity and other chronic health conditions, I have found that by addressing five common environmental and lifestyle factors we can restore the balance of the immune system and often reverse autoimmune disease.

Here are the five strategies I use personally, and with all of my patients, to address the root causes of autoimmune disease, restore balance to the immune system, and help get people off medications, get symptom free, and reverse their disease.

Heal Your Gut

Your gut is your gateway to health. It houses 80% of your immune system (source), and without a healthy gut it is nearly impossible to have a healthy immune system.

In fact, we now know that having a leaky gut is one of the primary causes, and probably even a prerequisite, for developing an autoimmune disease. If your gut has become leaky it means the tight junctions that usually hold the walls of your intestines together have become loose, allowing undigested food particles, microbes, toxins, and more to escape your gut and enter your bloodstream, causing a huge rise in inflammation that triggers or worsens any autoimmune condition.

Fortunately, the cells in your gut turn over very quickly, so you can heal your gut in as little as 30 days, by following functional medicine’s 4R Program:

  • Remove the Bad. Remove inflammatory foods, toxins, and stress that damage your gut, as well as gut infections from yeast, parasites, or bacteria.
  • Restore the Good. Replenish enzymes and acids necessary for proper digestion.
  • Reinoculate with Healthy Bacteria. Make sure you have plenty of friendly bacteria to support your immune system.
  • Repair the Gut. Provide the nutrients and amino acids needed to build a healthy gut lining.

(more…)

Posted by on May 26, 2016 | 0 Comments
24
May

Seasonal Recipes That Will Make You Thrive

Seasonal Recipes

Coming out of 10 years of chronic illness has made me look at life in a different way. I’ve realized that things happen for us, not to us; something new comes into our lives or something happens to make us change. For me it was Lyme disease, PCOS, hypothyroidism, leaky gut, and so much more. When I had to cut out gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, and corn, I thought my life was ending but I learned that we can come out of any struggle in our life on the other side of it and prove to ourselves that we can not only survive, but thrive.

This salad makes me feel like I’m thriving. It’s packed with whole, fresh ingredients—lots of protein, healthy fats, and fiber. I love making this for my clients for dinner and then serving leftovers in lettuce wraps the next day!

Springtime Spinach Quinoa Salad (Serves 4)

  • ½ cup dry quinoa
  • 3 Tbsp. raw walnuts (chopped or whole)
  • 2 Tbsp. raw macadamia nuts (chopped or whole)
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 1 large English cucumber, diced
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. avocado oil (or extra-virgin olive oil)
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 ½ tsp. fresh lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp. dried cherries or cranberries

Directions:

Cook quinoa according to package directions. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350℉.

Place the raw nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10–12 minutes or until they are golden brown and fragrant. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, spinach, cucumber, and cabbage. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, oil, crushed red pepper flakes, sea salt, and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the quinoa mixture and toss to combine. Add the cilantro, lemon zest, and cherries; toss again and serve. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.

Tiny tweaks can lead to big changes in your life, and I’m living proof. When I had to cut out inflammatory foods, I was lost. I was chronically ill and had no idea how to create flavor with my food without feeling deprived. But I started adding in new foods and making small changes that made my taste buds jump for joy. That’s what this salad is all about. The toasted buckwheat and almond butter add the perfect touch of crunch and natural sweetness without needing a processed salad dressing. (more…)

Posted by on May 24, 2016 | 1 Comments

6 Tips for Your Healthiest Summer Skin Ever

Summer Skin

Keeping skin healthy and youthful looking is the desire that’s launched thousands of skin and so-called beauty products. But if you really want skin to glow this summer and beyond, skip the chemical-laden, endocrine-disrupting lotions and potions and instead focus on putting nature’s bounty to work for you.

Eating fresh, wholesome foods will not only help you get the radiant skin you’re after this summer, but also provide many other health benefits—you’d be crazy not to indulge! All those nutrient-rich foods will help enhance your skin’s appearance, boost its wrinkle-fighting ability, and protect against skin cancer. Summer is coming—here’s how to get your skin ready for it now:

1. Be A Summertime Green Machine

The more fresh (preferably organic) leafy greens you can incorporate into meals, the more resilient your skin will be. Go heavy on nutrient-dense leafy greens because they’re loaded with antioxidants, including lutein and zeaxanthin, which research indicates are beneficial not only for overall skin health but also for their protective effects against the sun’s damaging UV rays. Remember, however, that eating more anti-inflammatory greens supports skin health—it’s not a hall pass to roast yourself for hours in the sun without sunscreen.

So, how much leafy green goodness do you need? Just a 1 cup serving of spinach, Swiss chard, or kale a few times a week will do the trick. No veggie stand nearby? Then fill the antioxidant gap by adding a scoop of powdered greens to your morning smoothie or your water bottle to sip on throughout the day.

2. Feed Your Skin Good Fat

Another way to improve skin health and help make it more sunshine-ready is to ditch sugar and processed foods. Also, lighten up on coffee, which can leave skin looking dull and dehydrated. Instead, eat lots of fresh, whole produce to maximize nutrients at every meal—and be sure to make room for good fats.

A skin-savvy summer plate will include good fats to hydrate and nourish your skin (and the rest of you) with fatty acids, which help protect against sun damage and skin cancer. Delicious, skin-supporting options include:

  • Avocados: A tasty, creamy, and rich source of healthy fatty acids.
  • Chia Seeds: Tiny seeds, big benefits. Packed with inflammation-taming omega-3s, they help tame hunger, too.
  • Coconut Oil: A spoonful in your morning smoothie adds medium-chain fatty acids and saturated fats to help fuel the formation of new skin and prevent sun damage.
  • Olive Oil: A staple of the Mediterranean diet and a heart-healthy fat with anti-cancer effects.
  • Fatty Fish: Wild salmon and sardines come complete with omega-3 fatty acids to help keep inflammation in check and protect skin from damage and skin cancer. Not a regular fish eater? You can still reap many of its benefits by supplementing with krill oilwhich contains astaxanthin to support skin health and helps protect against the UV damage that leads to sagging and wrinkles.

(more…)

Posted by on May 23, 2016 | 0 Comments
20
May

Mindset for Maintenance: Getting Clean and Staying There

maintenance
A gentle cleanse, like the Be Well Cleanse, is based on whole food meals and detoxifying smoothies and herbal supplements, not starvation. Cleaning up your diet and removing inflammatory foods based on the Cleanse diet allows your body to focus on rejuvenation, instead of repair, and can increase your energy, leaving you feeling revitalized. Glowing skin, fabulous moods, happy thoughts, and clearer thinking are all common results from the many groups that I’ve led through the Be Well Cleanse. However, sustaining this eating style and level of well-being can be a challenge once your cleanse is over.

A shift in thinking and behavior post-Cleanse is necessary to maintain healthy habits and continue to feel your best. After asking dozens of our clients for their insight and advice, we have compiled our best recommendations and tips for you.

Ready to feel your best even after the cleanse? Here are 5 ways to shift your thinking to stay clean and feel great during the Cleanse phase and beyond:

1. Progress, not perfection:  Everyday life is stressful, and even my most well-intended clients find perfection difficult to attain. Who wants to be perfect, anyway? It’s often a set-up to NOT be perfect, and go off the rails. Don’t sweat it if you miss your morning smoothie, or your Monday run or barre class. Make it work as best you can and keep going. Make your next choice the right one.

2. Savor your food:This approach is tried and true, which is why I love it.  When you focus on the amazing produce and delicious whole foods options at your disposal, you won’t think twice about ditching parmesan cheese or other trigger foods that wreak havoc on your body. Go for variety, and be sure you love what you eat.

3. Baby steps…and sips: Hydration is key to long-term success both during the Cleanse and after for appetite control, brain functioning, energy, and overall health. But it can be daunting to get your daily dose if you think of it in terms of number of glasses, right?  Begin to drink water early in the day, and keep it steady until late afternoon, or very early evening, so that you’re not up all night.  On busy days, I keep my portable water bottle filled. When I’m at home, a good rule of thumb I follow is to drink one glass of water every hour. (more…)

Posted by on May 20, 2016 | 0 Comments