From The Be Well Kitchen:
3 Ingredient Paleo Pancakes

Paleo Pancakes
By Be Well Health Coach Jenny Sansouci

When I first heard about these pancakes, I thought – there’s no way this will be like actual pancakes. With no flour, milk, sugar or grains at all…what will these taste like? Turns out they are even better than “real” pancakes, and incredibly easy to make! With only 3 ingredients, you really have no excuse not to swap out your pancake recipe for this one. They fluff up perfectly, and are a serious crowd pleaser. Even the most die-hard pancake lovers will be shocked when you tell them the ingredients. The best part? No post-brunch food coma!

3 Ingredient Paleo Pancakes

Makes about 4-6 decent sized pancakes

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 tbsp almond butter

Recipe adapted from Ultimate Paleo Guide

Instructions:

Mash up banana in a large bowl. Add eggs and almond butter and whisk until the mixture forms a thick batter. Pour batter onto a pan with coconut oil or grass-fed butter, just as you would with regular pancakes. Flip when they begin to brown.

Top with berries. Enjoy!

Posted by on Sep 17, 2014| 0 Comments

Are Cholesterol and Saturated Fat Your Friends?

Bacon and Eggs

This article originally appeared on www.naturallysavvy.com

For decades we’ve been told to eat less cholesterol and saturated fat because they can cause or contribute to heart disease. Recently, however, these recommendations have been thrown out the window by some experts while the so-called real culprit—carbohydrates—are tossed to the lions.

So, are cholesterol and saturated fat your friends while whole-grain bagels and organic quinoa are your enemies? Before you decide to make burgers and steaks a regular part of your diet or become distressed because you are a vegetarian or vegan, let’s take a closer look at what is being reported.

A growing number of studies, including a March 2014 meta-analysis of 76 reports, have indicated that people who ate higher amounts of saturated fat did not experience more heart disease than individuals who ate less of the fat. They also have suggested that reducing your saturated fat and keeping your cholesterol levels low (less than around 180 mg/dL) do not help prevent heart disease and obesity. In fact, according to a 2013 study published in the British Medical Journal, lowering these two figures can actually raise your risk for both conditions.

Read more about cholesterol

This and other research findings were fodder for a recently published book called “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet” by Nina Teicholz, a health journalist. Teicholz emphasizes that the mantra to reduce saturated fat and cholesterol because they can cause heart disease is out of key—in more ways than one. In fact, since publication of research in Circulation by Ancel Keys in 1963, which stated that saturated fat is a big no-no for health and the heart, the public has been urged by the medical realm to lower its intake of foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol.

Keys went on to publish follow-up articles on his work. A problem is that Keys reported only on selected countries; that is, only seven of the 22 he surveyed (which is why the study is referred to as the Seven Countries Study). When the data from all of the countries are considered, the conclusion was that people who ate more saturated fat actually had a lower risk of heart disease.

The result, according to Teicholz and some researchers, is that the public has turned in a big way to carbohydrates, especially refined carbs and simple sugars. This detour from fat to processed carbs has resulted in runaway inflammation and disease, including heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, obesity, and more.

That’s because when you replace saturated with more carbs, especially refined white flour and white sugar carbs, you nourish and support insulin resistance, raise triglyceride levels, lower good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, HDL), and encourage obesity, according to an American Journal of Clinical Nutrition report.

Another well-known study that focused on cholesterol and heart disease is the Framingham Heart Study, which started in 1948 and has continued to this day. A little known fact about the findings of this study is that the more saturated fat and cholesterol people consumed, the lower their cholesterol levels. Since three-quarters of your cholesterol is produced by your liver, which is influenced by your insulin levels, it makes sense that you would want to manage your refined carbohydrate intake and keep insulin levels under control.

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Posted by on Sep 16, 2014| 2 Comments

3 Simple Reasons to Kiss Your Sweeteners Goodbye

Artificial Sweeteners

Sugar – the less of it we eat, the healthier we all will be. At last, people are starting to get the message that too much sugar is bad for your health. And while it’s great that millions of sweet-tooth junkies are ditching sugar, they’re switching to non-caloric, artificial sweeteners, swapping one bad habit for another. So, if you’re hooked on the powdered white stuff, it’s time to make a change. Ideally, your daily dose of sweetness should come from the naturally-occurring sugars found in some whole, organic, unprocessed foods, not from synthetic sources or processed foods. Ultimately, the fix is a simple one: eat healthy and the too-much-sugar-in-the-diet problem will disappear. Easier said than done, but if you’re one of the millions reaching for the fake stuff, it’s quitting time because, whether you know it or not, those artificial alternatives are wreaking havoc with your weight, your appetite, hormones and even your brain. What follows are the 3 simple reasons why you’ve got to kick those sweeteners – you know, the ones in the cute little pink, yellow and blue packages – today.

1. Artificial Sweeteners Contribute to Weight Gain, Not Loss

If you’re using artificial sweeteners to lose weight, you’re probably barking up the wrong tree. While that package of Splenda, Equal or Sweet ‘n Low may dump fewer actual calories into your morning coffee, there’s little research to support that idea that the modest caloric savings will actually contribute much to your weight-loss efforts. However there are multiple large-scale studies over the last 30 years which have repeatedly found that artificial sweetener users gained more weight or had higher BMI’s than those who didn’t use them. More recently, another study came to a similar conclusion, reporting that rats fed artificially-sweetened foods gained more weight than those who dined on sugar-sweetened foods. Simply put, the taste of sweet, be it artificial or actual sugar, appears to play a significant role in increasing appetite, making it counter-productive for anyone who is looking to maintain or lose weight.

2. Artificial Sweeteners Trigger Cravings

If the weight-gain connection isn’t enough to put you off, how about the idea that artificial sweetener use seems to increase junkie-like cravings? Here’s the deal: your old pals Equal, NutraSweet, Pure Via, Splenda, Sugar Twin, Sweet ‘n Low or Truvia and virtually all the popular, non-caloric sweeteners have one thing in common: they’re significantly sweeter than sugar. Now logically, you’d think all that sweetness would enable you to use less or eat a smaller amount of an artificially-sweetened product. But guess what? These super-sweeteners seem to have the opposite effect, in part by flooding your taste-buds with sweet, dulling them to the taste, pushing your sweetness threshold ever higher, while never actually the craving. This also sheds more light on the weight-gain issue as well. The idea is that the super-sweetness of the artificial stuff interferes with the release of satiety hormones, slowing your body’s ability to send signals to the brain that you’ve had enough, which leads to overeating and increased calorie intake, without you even realizing it. You could liken it to rapidly downing a few shots of vodka – it takes fifteen minutes or so for your body to catch up and send the signals that you’re drunk and by then, it’s time to take away the keys.

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Posted by on Sep 15, 2014| 3 Comments

6 Signs You’re Eating Too Much Sugar

Sugar Cravings
By Be Well Health Coach Jenny Sansouci

1. You’re Fatigued

If you’re constantly tired and reaching for your next pick-me-up, chances are you’re on a blood sugar rollercoaster. When we’re tired, we often reach for even more sugar to counteract the fatigue, which leads to a cycle of sugar-fueled highs and lows. If you decide to cut out sugar, give your body a few days to adjust – and then you’ll begin to feel your energy levels even out. Boost your energy naturally.

2. You Have Sugar/Carb Cravings

Sugar is extremely addictive, and the more of it you eat, the more you crave. If you’re constantly on the hunt for something sugary throughout the day, your body and brain are probably hooked on the sweet stuff. You’ll find that the less sugar you eat, the less you’ll crave it. When you cut out refined sugar and artificial sweeteners, you’ll reduce your sugar cravings and begin to realize how sweet fruit is! Tips for sugar cravings.

3. You Have Skin Issues

Sugar can wreak havoc on your skin – causing acne, dryness and overall skin imbalances. Your skin is a mirror of what’s going on inside your body, so the inflammation that sugar causes on the inside will show up on the outside. If you have pesky skin issues that won’t go away, examining your sugar intake could be a smart idea. Check out these tips for glowing skin.

4. You’re Depressed or Anxious

Sugar is one of the biggest contributors to mood disorders like depression and anxiety. There’s a reason they call it the “sugar blues” – sugar can put you on a rollercoaster of emotions that can be hard to get off of until you make a commitment to give up the sweet stuff. In addition to depression and anxiety, you may experience brain fogginess and stress. You’ll feel your mood lighten when you begin to lay off the sugar. Enhance your mood with food.

5. You Get Sick A Lot

Sugar suppresses the immune system – so it impairs your body of its ability to fend off stress and chronic illness. If you’re always “coming down with something” or frequently taking over-the-counter drugs for the common cold, chances are your diet – particularly your sugar intake – could be the culprit. A cleanse that puts you on an elimination diet can help your immune system tremendously!

6. You’re Overweight

You probably know by now that fat doesn’t make you fat — sugar does! A diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates can definitely keep on the extra weight. If you’ve been trying to lose weight by eating a low fat diet, but still including sugars and other carbohydrates, it’s not helping your cause. Try cutting out the sugar and even most of the grains for a couple of weeks and see if it makes a difference. Sugar can also wreak havoc in the gut, which hinders weight loss too. Learn more about your gut and weight loss.

Ready to say goodbye to sugar? 20 Ways To Get Sugar Out Of Your Life

Posted by on Sep 12, 2014| 0 Comments

Are Fecal Transplants the Future of Medicine?

Fecal Transplants

This article originally appeared on organicauthority.com

Fecal transplants are real, and yes, technically a medical thing.

A relatively new technology designed to help battle C. diff, the most common hospital-contracted illness that’s extremely difficult to treat with antibiotics, fecal transplants hold some promising results.

“Doctors, health officials, researchers, and entrepreneurs have begun to see the potential of fecal transplants to treat not just C. diff, but perhaps a multitude of ailments, from irritable bowel syndrome to chronic constipation,” reports Mother Jones.

As a new, and never-going-to-be-not-gross procedure, fecal transplants are gaining acceptance as a legitimate treatment. The MIT-formed nonprofit OpenBiome, collects and sells “screened” stools for procedures such as treating C.diff, Mother Jones explains. “With more than 70 hospitals around the United States using their stool to treat patients, it’s currently the largest of a family of nonprofit stool banks, having shipped more than 840 treatments to 87 hospitals in 30 states and the District of Columbia.”

But the FDA hasn’t fully regulated fecal matter yet; it’s currently receiving a drug class regulation until a final rule is issued. There are questions as to just how it should be classified, handled and distributed moving forward. OpenBiome says it should be classified like tissue (blood or organs), while others see it more as a drug or vaccine of sorts. “Regulating poop as a drug would subject it to a higher standard of safety tests by submitting it to clinical trials and generate data which could benefit the entire field,” explains Mother Jones. “But critics of that approach say it will limit the supply of this therapy to companies that can afford to undergo the trials.”

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Posted by on Sep 11, 2014| 1 Comments

From the Be Well Kitchen:
Our Favorite Cleanse Shake Recipes

Favorite Smoothies
By Be Well Health Coach Kerry Bajaj

If you’re doing the Be Well Cleanse and looking for some tasty shake combos, look no further! When I do the Cleanse, I often make a smoothie for my breakfast shake, so that it’s a bit more filling. Then I have the other 2 shakes with just water or almond milk.

If weight loss is an important goal for you, we recommend skipping out on the smoothies and keeping the shakes simple by mixing them up with water, almond milk or coconut milk.

For all of these, simply add ingredients to the blender, blend and enjoy!

Be Well Coach Laura Kraber

1 Cleanse shake
8 oz almond or hemp milk
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix (or cinnamon)
3 drops liquid stevia
Ice

Note: no blender needed for this one!

Be Well Coach Jennifer Mielke

1 Cleanse shake
½ pear
¼ cup blueberries
8 oz coconut water
Ice

Be Well Coach Kerry Bajaj

1 Cleanse shake
8 oz almond milk
Hefty dash of cinnamon
½ tbsp almond butter (optional)
½ tsp cocoa powder (optional)
Lots of ice

Tastes like a milkshake!

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Posted by on Sep 10, 2014| 2 Comments

How Traditional Treatments For Hyperpigmentation Are Actually Causing More Damage to Your Skin

Facial Cream

As women in the beauty industry one of the biggest complaints that our customers express to us is chronic hyperpigmentation, or those unsightly dark spots that remain on the skin after a breakout is long gone. It seems that women are becoming more concerned about the aftermath of a bad breakout rather than the breakout itself. There has been much information circulating about acne and how to treat it, fight it, and prevent it but there seems to be little information on how to stop the discoloration of the skin surrounding the area of devastation. In response to this we’ve put together some practical solutions for those seeking to heal those pesky dark spots, and some tips on how to prevent them in the first place.

Hyperpigmentation is a darkening around an area on the skin and is caused by several factors, but most commonly an increase of melanin. Melanin is a complex group of insoluble pigments which contribute to the coloring of skin, nails, hair and eyes. Some ethnic groups produce higher amounts of melanin and are more prone to experience hyperpigmentation than others, especially after a bout with acne and sun exposure. Some people may also experience hyperpigmentation due to certain conditions such as Celiac Disease, mercury poisoning, smoking and Addison’s Disease. Pregnant women are also likely to experience patchy discolorations called Melasma due to an increase of melanin during pregnancy. The instances of hyperpigmention are definitely on the rise so, how do we prevent it from happening in the first place.

One of the simplest methods of prevention is to diligently wear sunscreen daily and to reapply as as needed while spending time outdoors. There is a myth that people with darker skin do not need sun protection because their skin will not burn as quickly as those with lighter skin. The truth is: UV rays do not discriminate. As a matter of fact, UV light stimulates melanin activity and breaks down the DNA of surrounding tissue and inflamed areas of the skin of all people. This is what often causes the dark spots on your face after your acne has healed. However, UV light isn’t the only culprit. Often times in an attempt to rid our skin of blemishes many of us put our faces through the ringer. We use chemical laden “treatment” lotions or creams that can actually cause more harm than good; or we may over-exfoliate to slough off dead skin cells, but this actually increases inflammation and exacerbates hyperpigmentation as a result. It is best to be gentle to your skin and remain patient and consistent while treating mild to severe discoloration. Products with Vitamin-C and Vitamin-E contain potent antioxidants that seem to work well on chronic hyperpigmentation.

The bottom line, to prevent hyperpigmentation we must stop punishing our skin with harsh acne treatments that simply thin the skin’s protective layers and make it more susceptible to trauma and further discoloration. While it is tempting to seek out drastic measures promising a quick fix, acid peels and other harsh treatments are huge contributors to hyperpigmentation. As an alternative, try natural acids such as, kojic acid, lauric acid, amino acids or ascorbic acid which are found in natural ingredients such as rice, coconut oil, olive oil and citrus fruits. Enzymes are also a gentle way to exfoliate skin cells without the damage of extreme exfoliants (with rough ingredients such seeds, walnut shell or plastic microbeads), which can cause tearing and micro-abrasions on already damaged skin. A few more of our favorite natural skin healing choices are raw honey which is good for cleansing , as well as products that contain bromelain, an active enzyme found in pineapple and papaya extracts. Licorice root has also been shown to be extremely helpful in gently lightening discoloration especially when due to pregnancy related Melasma. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Dermatology in 2000 found that 70 percent of the participants experienced skin lightening effects when licorice root extract was applied topically to areas of Melasma over the course of four weeks.

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Posted by on Sep 09, 2014| 0 Comments

5 Reasons to Home-Cook Your Way to an Instant Health Upgrade – And 5 Tips on How To Do It

Home Cooking

Need a quick health fix? Then look no further than your kitchen – it’s there you’ll find the real fountain of health. If you are looking to get health issues under control, your kitchen is an excellent place to start. Here are 5 reasons I urge everyone to bypass the boxes, pass on prepared foods, retreat from restaurants and make your kitchen your go-to source for sustainable health:

1. Home Cooked Meals Are Nutrient Powerhouses. McDonalds? Not So Much

Now I’m not saying that all restaurant food will short-change you nutritionally, but most fast food, “family style” and “casual” restaurants will. For them, it’s not about your health, it’s about their profits. To maximize them, the cheapest ingredients possible are used in order to “pass the savings on” to you. As a result, your meals’ inexpensive ingredients will come at a high cost to your health, consisting mostly of raw materials from large-scale industrial farms and feed lots, where GMO crops, nutrient-depleted soil, pesticides and antibiotics are the order of the day. Hardly the ideal nutritional environment and not very appetizing either. Whereas, when you make your own meal with fresh, local and/or organic ingredients, each bite delivers loads of bio-available, health-supporting nutrients.

2. Home Cooking Puts Money in Your Pocket

Not to sound like your Depression-era grandpa, but dinner out once a week plus a few deli lunches is akin to lighting money on fire. Douse the flames by getting into a home cooking groove, which will also deliver the added benefit of leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. Cutting back to just one or two dinners out a month and brown-bag lunches can save you roughly $2,000 -$4,000 a year, which healthfully-speaking, could be better spent on fresh, local produce, grass-fed meats and dairy from the farmers’ market. You could also use it for a CSA (community supported agriculture) membership, which will give you exclusive access to deliveries of fresh, local, seasonal produce, no supermarket required. For a list of over 4,000 CSAs visit LocalHarvest.com.

3. Cooking at Home Gives You Control

Sure, restaurant meals are fun and leave you without a sink full of dishes, but you have to keep in mind that even the best restaurants, may be using unhealthy oils or slipping in scoops of extra sugar and salt. At home, you’re in control. You’re in charge of portion size and what does or doesn’t get slipped onto your plate. When you’re your own top chef, you guarantee that there will be no surprises, weird additives or allergens that can make you fat or ill.

4. Cooking at Home Sets a Good Example

Cooking at home is a great lesson for the kids and a wonderful opportunity to bond over a shared activity. It’s also an opportunity to teach them an important life skill. Cooking isn’t a mysterious activity that just somehow happens – good food is a hands-on affair, where creativity and imagination can make playing with food fun (and for some, a career). The lesson of self-reliance is the meal that lasts forever, so let’s get cookin’! 

5. Closer-to-home-cooking Should be Your Fallback

If you are going to eat out, your best nutritional bets are closer-to-home-cooked, organic and farm-to-table style restaurants, which use more nutritionally-dense, fresh, local and organic ingredients to make your meal. Keep in mind though, too much of even a good thing can still hit wallets and waistlines hard, so make dining out a rare treat, not your default setting.

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Posted by on Sep 08, 2014| 0 Comments

5 Reasons to Skip the Skim Milk

Organic Milk
By Be Well Health Coach Jenny Sansouci

From skinny lattes to fat free frozen yogurt, skim milk is seen everywhere as the milk of choice for health conscious people – but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only is skim milk the opposite of delicious, it’s actually not a healthy choice at all. Here’s why you should ignore the skim milk advertising, get off the fat-free bandwagon, and forget everything you think you know about skim milk.

1) Skim milk about has twice the amount of sugar as full fat cream. When you take out the fat, you add sugar to make up for it, and don’t we all know by now that fat doesn’t make you fat…sugar does? This means if you’re buying skim milk to manage your weight, you’re making a mistake.

2) Skim milk is totally devoid of nutritional value. The vitamins (A, D, E and K) in milk are fat soluble, which means they need fat in order to be absorbed by the body. Also, calcium absorption is enhanced by Vitamin D, but the Vitamin D needs fat, so skim milk breaks the entire chain of absorption and becomes nutritionally empty. It’s basically like drinking sugar water.

3) Saturated fat (which is removed to create skim milk) has satiating, blood sugar stabilizing effects. Fats slow the release of sugar into your bloodstream. Eating a low-fat diet that makes up for the fat by adding more sugar can lead to blood sugar issues like diabetes and hypoglycemia. Contrary to popular belief, lowfat does NOT mean healthier!

4) The dairy industry often adds skim milk powder to skim milk. Skim milk powder processing causes the cholesterol in the milk to be oxidized – and oxidized cholesterol can lead to buildup of plaque in the arteries. Cholesterol that naturally occurs in food is not something to worry about, but oxidized cholesterol can cause inflammation in the body and contribute to heart disease.

5) Because skim milk is a highly processed, “altered” food, it can leave you feeling unsatisfied and experiencing cravings for something more. Our bodies thrive on whole foods, the way they are found in nature. Eating a diet full of high quality protein and healthy fats from whole foods can prevent the ups and downs and cravings that come from eating fat-free foods that are “missing something.

While we’re not advocates of dairy as a health food in general, if you are going to choose to eat or drink dairy products it’s important to choose full fat, organic dairy that comes from grass-fed cows that haven’t been treated with hormones. Either way, do not to be tricked by skim milk marketing. Skim milk is not a health food!

Posted by on Sep 05, 2014| 5 Comments

Understanding Misleading Cosmetic Labels Claims – What To Watch For

Reading Cosmetic Labels

The world is hard enough to migrate without adding, “what’s in your personal care products” to the list of concerns. We teach our children to trust their teachers, doctors while shying away from people they do not know. It is a complicated message to have both trust and skepticism and know where and when to draw the line.

While we navigate the complex issues in life, it is really ridiculous to add skin care into the mix of untrustworthy. This clearly has to change. This is truly one “issue” we should not have to question. We should be able to go into a store and know that what a label says is accurate. We should be able to get all the information we want in an easy accessible, reliable and understandable form about what we are putting on (in) our bodies and soaking in. This should not be a daunting task. However until we have regulations and or a universal seal/certification (such as CCOF in the food industry), in place, the consumer has to be armed with proper information and until then treat cosmetic products as strangers.

Things You Can Do

Choose products in brands that have a mission that is in line with your beliefs. Take the unfamiliarity out of the equation and get to know the brand you are slathering on and soaking in. Call and ask any questions you have, read each label, and call again! Any company should be proud to stand behind their products and provide you with the information you are after.

Become aware of the catch phrases that can confuse you on the label such as:

A

100% Natural
Organic
Eco friendly
All natural ingredients
Nontoxic
Vegan
Paraben free
Does not contain XXX ingredient
Contains organic ingredients

B

Environmentally safer
Earth-friendly
Wild sourced ingredients
Environmentally sound harvested ingredients
Green
Sustainable

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Posted by on Sep 04, 2014| 1 Comments