Be Well Kitchen: Harvest Vegetable Soup

Harvest Soup

By Be Well Health Coach Laura Kraber

As we settle into the cooler months of fall, a nourishing pot of soup simmering on the stove is a perfect way to welcome the season.  Soups and stews are ideal for evenings when busy fall schedules preclude sit-down family dinners: keep the soup warm, and its ready to eat when you are. Paired with a salad or side dish, a hearty soup makes a great dinner or is easily transported to work in a thermos for lunch.

Take advantage of what’s available at your farmer’s market and feel free to substitute ingredients according to what you have on hand or what looks good at the market. For deep nourishment, keep your homemade bone broth in the freezer to use as a base for your soups. If you don’t have bone broth on hand, an organic chicken or vegetable stock adds flavor and serves as broth.

Harvest Vegetable Soup (4 Servings)

  • 2 tablespoons grass-fed butter or coconut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium or zucchini or yellow squash, diced
  • 3 tomatoes, 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, chopped, or 1 container of Pomi chopped or crushed tomatoes (750 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves (or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme)
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary (or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme)
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the butter or oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until fragrant and translucent. Add the garlic, sweet potatoes, zucchini and herbs, and saute until golden brown. Once vegetables have softened and brown, after about 10 minutes, add the canned tomatoes and broth and simmer for about 20 – 30 minutes.

Season the soup with salt, and black pepper, to taste.

Posted by on Oct 08, 2014| 0 Comments

5 Simple Things Healthy People Do Every Day

Couple Exercising
By Be Well Health Coach Courtney Blatt

1. Include Greens at Every Meal

You will reap tons of health benefits from eating a variety of green foods. They happen to be the most nutrient-rich form of carbohydrate available to us in a natural form. They’re anti-inflammatory, cancer fighting and bone boosting, to name a few benefits. While incorporating greens at every meal might sound difficult, it’s quite easy with a little direction. Try adding leafy greens (such as spinach) to a breakfast smoothie, have a green juice at lunch and saute your favorite leafy green for dinner.

2. Get Exercise

We all know physical activity is great for our health, but also helps you feel better. It will clear your mind, take care of stress and give you energy. Doesn’t matter what you do, just keep trying different activities until you find things you like and it will quickly become part of your daily routine.

3. Plan Ahead

We live complicated and busy lives. As a health coach and mother of two little ones, people ask me how I find time to support healthy habits. Planning ahead is the key. It’s the the most effective discipline to leading a more vibrant and productive life. Plus, planning ahead significantly lowers your stress levels, which increases your happiness. Map out your weekly schedule on Sunday nights and include time for things like grocery shopping, cooking and classes you want to take at the gym.

4. Keep a Consistent Sleep Schedule

One common complaint we hear in the Wellness Center is fatigue. Most people are busier than ever, have erratic schedules and are starved for sleep. This causes a disruption to our internal body clocks which can lead to a number of health issues. Try creating a routine by getting to bed the same time each night. Start to wind down by shutting off your electronic devices 30 minutes prior to sleeping. You’ll be surprised how much this helps your overall wellness!

5. Make Time for Yourself

Give yourself time each day to do something you love, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Start by creating a list of 10-15 activities that make you happy. Make a pledge to do at least one thing from the list each day and it will change your life for the better.

Posted by on Oct 07, 2014| 3 Comments

Interview With Holli Thompson About Her New Book “Discover Your Nutritional Style”

Discover Your Nutritional Style

Dr. L: Its clear that you not only feel passionate about the process of one’s unique discovery, but that your understanding comes from a deep expertise. Can you say more about this?

Holli: One of the core beliefs and guiding principles in my practice is that food has a profound effect on how we feel long after we are done eating. Not only this, but every person is different and thrives on a unique diet.

Like you (and with you for that matter), I have worked with clients of varying degrees of health and circumstances from all around the world. This provided me the tangible proof of the profound ways each person’s diet impacts their life. I wanted to provide people with a beautiful, easy to “digest” and light-hearted guide for trying to live a healthier life without unnecessary restrictions and the overwhelm that can come along with a new dietary regime. 

Dr. L: And so “Discover Your Nutritional Style” was born! You bring up some hard to swallow truths in a gentle and fun way. Want to speak to that?

Holli: I am a big believer that people need to go through the journey of discovery of their personal “Nutritional Style” and then use it to design a diet and life they love. But yes, there are certain facts we need to hear (but often prefer to ignore), such as the fact that there are some foods everyone needs and others everyone would do better to avoid. I call them Bad Boys and Serial Killers. I don’t hold back when discussing this topic in my book.

Dr. L: How do you keep food and nutrition fun and fluid while raising children and also running a business?

Holli: Well, I am a big fan of optimizing each season of the year in order to make the most out of every day. This allows you to magically and deliciously add flavor and pizzazz to everything you eat, even making a pitcher of water feel like an indulgence. When you make healthy-living essentials a priority, not a requirement, living a healthier, cleaner lifestyle becomes instantly more approachable and accessible, to everyone.

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Posted by on Oct 06, 2014| 0 Comments

4 Foods That May Be Messing With Your Digestion

Alcohol
By Be Well Health Coach Jenny Sansouci

When it comes to digestive issues, it may seem like you’ve tried everything and you’re still experiencing discomfort. If that’s the case, one or more of these very common foods may be affecting your digestion. If you consume these things frequently, it could be helpful to remove them for a period of time and see if your symptoms clear up!

Nuts

We all love the convenience of snacking on nuts, the miracle of being able to bake grain-free treats with almond flour, and the decadence of nut butters. But nuts are hard for your body to break down, so if you overdo it, it can really take a toll on your digestion. Nuts are notoriously difficult to digest and can leave you feeling constipated, gassy and bloated if you have too many. If you’re a constant nut-eater and your digestion feels off, try a nut-free stint and see if things start to run more smoothly.

Eggs

Eggs are another one of those foods I’d never want to say is unhealthy – I think eggs can be the perfect food for people with a healthy digestive tract. They are packed with protein and are super convenient to eat.  For some people, though, they can be a great source of digestive distress. The problem arises if you have leaky gut – which means foods you eat can permeate your gut lining and enter your bloodstream. In this case, eggs can be a problem, as the protein in egg whites can sneak through your intestinal wall and cause stomach issues. If you have any type of digestive distress (bloating, gas, stomach aches etc) after eating eggs, try taking them out for a week or two and see if you feel better. To heal your gut lining, try GI Support.

Alcohol

Alcohol is one of those things that can cause digestive issues, but it’s often overlooked because it’s become such a daily habit for so many people. Alcohol can wreak havoc on your gut flora, killing off important bacteria that are necessary for healthy digestive function. This can cause stomach cramps, bloating, loose bowel movements and general digestive distress (not to mention it often goes hand-in-hand with poor decision-making around food). To rebalance your gut, try cutting out alcohol and adding in a good probiotic.

Coffee

Ah, everyone’s beloved coffee. Coffee is one of those things that nobody ever wants to take a break from because it’s so addictive. For many people, coffee isn’t a problem, but for people with chronic digestive issues it’s definitely something worth looking at. Drinking coffee can disrupt the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, which is needed to digest food. Undigested food is associated with all kinds of digestive issues, including gas, IBS and bloating. Coffee can also irritate the stomach lining and lead to digestive discomfort like cramps, constipation, acid reflux and heartburn. If you’re a constant coffee drinker and you experience any of these digestive symptoms, try switching to yerba mate or green tea for your caffeine buzz.

Posted by on Oct 03, 2014| 2 Comments

USDA Busts the Myth That GMOs are “Needed” to Feed the World

Food Supply and Food Wasted

This article was orginally published on blogs.prevention.com.

A new report out of the USDA says that Americans throw away 133 billion pounds of food every year, or 31 percent of the total amount of available food. That’s over 4,200 pounds of food a second.

At the same time, the biotech industry says that we need genetically engineered crops to feed the world.

Need?

They must have not seen the most recent report out of the USDA that says that in the United States, 31 percent—or 133 billion pounds—of the 430 billion pounds of the available food supply at the retail and consumer levels went uneaten.

That is enough to almost feed the population of Texas.

The estimated value of this food loss was $161.6 billion using retail prices. For the first time, the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) estimated the calories associated with food loss: 141 trillion in 2010, or 1,249 calories per capita per day.

Do we need food, patented by chemical companies to withstand their chemicals, to feed the world?  Or do we need to figure out a smarter distribution model so that less real food goes to waste?

The USDA report can’t come as good news to the chemical companies peddling the PR story that we need GMOs to feed the world. It has been part of their positioning not only to farmers, but also to their shareholders.

Their position to shareholders and the public has been a posturing that without their products, we risk a global food shortage. It’s a smart marketing strategy as it creates demand for the chemical industry’s genetically engineered products, not only the genetically engineered seeds, but also the portfolio of weed killers, insecticides, fertilizers and other chemicals required to grow them.

But with the report out of the USDA, it appears that this PR spin is more likely to be more fear mongering by the chemical industry in an attempt to drive product adoption and increase revenue opportunities in the face of growing consumer rejection of these products.

Read the Whole Article

Posted by on Oct 02, 2014| 98 Comments

Be Well Kitchen: Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup
By Be Well Health Coach Jackie Damboragian

Now that Fall is officially here, I’m excited to transition into the cooler months by nourishing myself with all the delicious foods this season provides. One of my favorite fall vegetables is squash — they are fantastic roasted, stuffed, sautéed, pureed, and steamed. For those that crave sugar, incorporating sweet veggies such as butternut squash can help reduce your sugar cravings. This recipe is really simple, but the flavors of the squash and coconut milk compliment themselves so well that it doesn’t take much to make this one tasty soup!

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash (2 to 3 pounds), peeled, seeded and chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 6 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoon of unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • optional: dried tarragon

Directions:

Peel and chop the squash. Heat up the coconut oil on high in a large soup pot. Add in the onions and sauté about 6 minutes, until the onions soften and become translucent. Add in the broth and squash and a couple pinches of salt. Bring to a boil then turn heat down and let simmer for about 20 minutes, until the squash is soft. Using either an immersion blender or regular blender, blend the soup until all of the squash is pureed. Add in the coconut milk and stir. Taste and add in salt and pepper to your liking. When serving, top each bowl of soup with a sprinkle of tarragon.

Happy Autumn!

Posted by on Oct 01, 2014| 2 Comments

How to Stop Overeating

Overeating
By Be Well Health Coach Kerry Bajaj

We’ve all had those days when you feel endlessly hungry and no matter what you eat, it’s not enough. If you’re overeating on a regular basis, here are some tips to help you feel more satiated and put an end to overeating.

1. Eat More

So many people don’t eat all day, and overeat at night. It’s something I hear so often working with patients. Don’t go down that road! Even if you’re busy, you need to make it a priority to eat. If you are trying to lose weight, don’t make the mistake of restricting your eating so much that it will backfire later. Protein shakes are an easy breakfast. Eat lunch, even if it’s a quick bowl of soup. Keep snacks at your desk at work — some trail mix or nuts will give you a boost in the afternoon.

2. Eat Whole Foods

Our bodies recognize whole foods as real food. Whole foods are full of vitamins and minerals that help us feel satiated. When we eat processed foods that are full of chemicals, our body gets confused and stays hungry because it’s still searching for nutrients. Remember – the shorter the ingredient list, the better!

3. Eat Healthy Fats

Healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, almond butter, coconut butter, grass-fed butter, salmon, sardines, nuts and seeds are great for satiety. Even some dairy sources like full-fat yogurt or goat cheese can be good to incorporate in your diet. Olive oil on a salad will help you to absorb more nutrients from your leafy greens. As Dr. Lipman always says, “Fat doesn’t make you fat! Sugar makes you fat.”

4. Fill Up On Fiber

Fill your plate with lots of vegetables, and think of everything else — the protein, grains, fats — as your condiments. Eat a high volume of fiber-packed veggies and you will feel more satisfied. Another trick I’ve discovered is to add a LOT of chia seeds to my my morning smoothies: I add anywhere from ⅛ to ¼ of a cup of chia seeds, which are packed with fiber and omega 3 fatty acids. This makes me feel full all the way through the morning, and helps digestion too.

5. Include Bitter Flavors

Tickle your taste buds with bitter flavors, which can often help to cut through cravings for sweets. Sauerkraut and kimchi are a great way to bring in more bitter flavors.

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Posted by on Sep 30, 2014| 0 Comments

5 Ways to Get Your Powdered Greens

Powdered Greens

Green Powder Power

My patients are a fascinating lot, I am continually learning from them. They never fail to surprise me not only with their questions and insights, but also the creativity they bring to trying to turn a lifetime of hard living into a healthful one. Recently, I was talking with a patient about adding powdered greens to supplement his diet. He was eating a fair amount of greens, but still falling short. He needed to fill the gap to get his digestion function back on an even keel and help tamp down the inflammation that was eroding his health. Initially he’d been resistant to the idea – he didn’t like the taste, didn’t have the time, didn’t see the need, traveled a lot, had a hang nail, and so on. Eventually, he saw the (green) light and decided to give powdered green drinks a shot. Fast forward a few weeks and he’d become a green-powder fanatic, calling it his “Popeye Powder.” His health made a U-turn for the better and he felt more energetic, clear-headed and a few pounds lighter as well. And he came up with some creative ways to work green powder and green drinks into his day despite his earlier protestations. Here are a few of his ideas, plus a few of my own, on how to put greens to work for you – no more excuses:

1.) Straight, No Chaser: The classic green powder drink is a simple one, just a scoop plus water or coconut water (per package instructions). Shake it well and bottom’s up. Cool water is fine, but if you’re just getting into green drinks, try making yours with super cold water and plenty of ice. If the greens don’t fully dissolve to your liking, try whisking them with a coffee foamer for a few seconds.

2.) Morning Glory: The hands-down easiest place to slip in some greens? Your morning smoothie.  Not only will it boost the nutrient content, but you’ll be starting your day with roughly the equivalent of 3 – 4 of your daily fruit and veg servings already checked off the list. If you’re more of a morning yoghurt fan, add green powder to a mix of almonds, walnuts, fresh fruit and cinnamon. At lunch, sprinkle powder on your salad or blend into your salad dressing. Keep in mind though, green powder, be it drink or mix-in, is intended to supplement your daily dose of veggies and fruit, not replace them, so be sure to eat enough veggie and fruit servings throughout the day.

3.) Tiny Bubbles: After lunch, to prevent the afternoon slump and Starbucks run, have some soda pop – but make it with green powder. Mix up a green drink with club soda or seltzer and sip through the afternoon to keep energized. Mixing tip: put a scoop of green powder in glass, then very slowly add soda to keep the concoction from expanding too rapidly and spilling over the top of the glass. 

4.) Gym Dandy Green Lemonade: For a green drink with a bit more flavor, try adding lemon juice, plus a touch of stevia or raw honey to the mix. Headed for a tough workout? Add a scoop or two of ribose to your drink to sip during your workout for extra energy, and afterwards to aid recovery and muscle repair.

5.) Green Immuni-tea: Combine the health benefits of iced or room temperature roobios tea with a green drink and you’ll help make your body a considerably less hospitable environment for cold viruses and bad bacteria to take hold. Many of my patients, particularly the frequent travelers, report that when they feel they’re on the verge of coming down with a cold or flu, they’ll bolster immunity with an extra scoop or two of green powder in a glass of iced (or not hot) roobios tea (plus a little extra sleep!). It can often save their day!

So how much to take? It depends somewhat on how many greens you’re already getting from your diet every day, but in general, as a supplement, one daily 9 gram serving of green powder offers significant benefit for most adults. But check with your doc first, particularly if you have allergies to grasses, take prescription medications or any have contraindications. Another tip? Try to take your powdered greens earlier in the day so they don’t interfere with your ability to fall asleep when it’s time to turn in for the night.

For more “greens-spiration,” check out my Love Your Leafys post – to learn more about the amazing power of greens.

Posted by on Sep 29, 2014| 4 Comments

10 Ways To Eat Healthy On A Budget

Eating Healthy on a Budget

By Be Well Health Coach Amanda Carney

Eating healthy doesn’t always need to be expensive – with some guidance and a little bit of planning, you can be eating healthfully while saving money!  Here are the top 10 ways you can reduce your grocery bill without sacrificing your health:

1. Shop in the Bulk Section

Nuts, seeds, grains, dried fruits, beans, lentils, flours – these are some of the wonderful whole foods that you can find in the bulk section at many health food stores.  Because these goodies come without fancy packaging and attractive labels, they are typically cheaper than the pre-packaged versions you can find on the shelves.  And as an added bonus, by bagging your own food, you get to decide how much (or how little) you take home with you!

2. Pack Your Own Lunch

If you’re eating out for lunch everyday it’s likely adding up, and there’s a good chance you aren’t getting the nutritious meal you deserve.  Eat healthier AND save money by packing your own lunch!  Getting your meal together the night before can be a great way to save time in the morning.  Try our Vegetable Stir Fry, which travels great!

3. Buy Local and In Season

Locally grown produce and high quality meat doesn’t have to travel far to reach the consumer, which usually means it’s available for a lower price .  Shopping at a farmers market or joining a CSA, a farm collection or a food cooperative are great ways to get fresh, local produce and good quality animal protein with a reduced price tag.  Use Local Harvest to find what is available in your area.

4. Cook Once, Eat Twice!

What better way to stretch your dollar then by cooking once and enjoying a meal 2 or 3 times!?  When planning for a meal, prepare extra and set it aside for lunch or dinner the next day.  If you prefer more variety in your diet, use spices and herbs to create a different flavor.  Check out some of our favorite pantry staples to spice up your meals!

5. Learn the “Clean 15” and “Dirty Dozen”

The Environmental Working Guide created The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 to help consumers shop smart and save money when buying organic produce.  As you might already know, organic foods are usually more expensive, and although the extra money is going towards a good cause (and preventing you from ingesting toxic chemicals and fertilizers), you can reduce your grocery bill by knowing which fruits and vegetables are best to buy organic, and which are ok to buy conventionally grown.  Check out Dr Lipman’s post on Choosing Fruits and Vegetables to learn more.

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Posted by on Sep 26, 2014| 1 Comments

The Microbiome-Health Connection

Microbiome

Reprinted with permission from Experience Life Magazine.
By Pamela Weintraub

An out-of-whack microbiome — the community of bacteria, viruses, protozoa and fungi that live in our bodies — can spell disaster for our health. Here are just a few conditions that can result.

Sinusitis. Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS), characterized by inflammation of the nasal passages, accounts for more than 500,000 emergency room visits a year in the United States alone. It can cause congestion, fatigue and depression. It’s also been linked to asthma, meningitis and aneurysms. Recent evidence suggests that a depleted microbiome in nasal passages may be at the root. A team from the University of California, San Francisco, compared nasal passages of 10 CRS patients with 10 healthy people, finding far less diversity in the microbiomes of the CRS group overall; overgrowth of a single organism, Corynebacterium tuberculostearicum, was implicated in the disease. Another experiment depleted mice microbiomes by treating them with antibiotics for seven days; later, treated and untreated mice were exposed to Corynebacterium tuberculostearicum. Only those with the treated, depleted microbiomes had symptoms of sinusitis.

Infant immune deficits. Breast-fed babies obtain microbes from mother’s milk, an elixir that ends up enhancing early microbial colonization of the gut. This enriched microbiome, in turn, alters the expression of genes involved in immunity, conferring enhanced resistance to pathogens — an advantage that formula-fed infants, with less diverse microbiomes, do not possess.

Type 2 diabetes. An international team of scientists found that a specific pattern of intestinal microbes can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, a metabolic disease that prevents the body from properly utilizing sugar for energy. The pattern can serve as a biomarker, enabling those at risk to alter diet to prevent onset of disease.

Asthma. Scientists at the University of British Columbia in Canada showed that antibiotics given to mice early in life permanently shift the mix of bacterial organisms in the gut, disrupting the immune system and the inflammatory response throughout life. Higher risk of allergic asthma is a result. (Presumably, this is something that microbiome therapy could, at some future date, correct.)

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Posted by on Sep 25, 2014| 6 Comments