Be Well Kitchen:
Arugula and Strawberry Salad Recipe

Arugula and Strawberry Salad

It’s finally Spring on the East Coast, the days are longer, the sun is warmer, blossoms are out and the farmer’s markets are brimming with springtime produce.

It’s the perfect time of year to start thinking salads again and one of our favorites is a simple arugula and strawberry salad. It looks pretty on the plate and the juxtaposition of sweet and peppery will make your taste buds very happy.

Since it’s a very casual recipe, quantities are not specific, go with what looks right, you can’t go wrong. Here’s what you need:

Ingredients:

  • Fresh Arugula leaves – washed
  • Fresh Strawberries – washed, hulled and cut into quarters or halves
  • Extra virgin olive oil – about ½ to 1 Tablespoon
  • Balsamic vinegar – about ½ to 1 Tablespoon
  • Pinch sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

If you’d like to make it more “fancy,” add the following:

  • A little goat cheese – crumbled
  • Thinly sliced red onion
  • Organic cooked edamame
  • Lightly toasted almonds

Toss together in a salad bowl and enjoy.

Posted by on Apr 10, 2014| 0 Comments

5 Tips for Glowing Skin

Glowing Skin
By Be Well H>ealth Coach Jenny Sansouci

“Your skin looks great!” The compliment we all love to hear. The reason we all appreciate that compliment so much is probably because our skin is literally a mirror image for how well we’re taking care of ourselves. What’s going on internally is reflected in our skin, so if our skin is glowing, it means we’re really nurturing and nourishing ourselves! Clearing up the skin starts within, and here are 5 things you can do to give your skin that healthy glow we all crave.

1) Sweat

Sweating is an awesome way to release toxins through your skin to keep it healthy and glowing. You’ll open up your pores and get rid of any impurities, which will leave your skin smoother and softer. Whether you’re doing some type of exercise that makes you sweat (my preference is hot yoga) or sweating it out in a sauna or steam room, your skin will truly love you for it.

2) Hydrate

When you’re doing a lot of sweating, you need to do extra hydrating, too! The skin loves moisture, so drinking water is important to avoid dryness. As far as how much to drink, basically you want your urine to be fairly clear most of the time. I suggest carrying a water bottle with you all day long and drinking water throughout the day. If you’re sweating a lot, drink more! My goal is always 3 liters a day, usually it’s more like 2.

3) Ditch the Sugar and Coffee

Sugar and coffee can be very dehydrating for the skin, which can make you look tired and dull. Both sugar and coffee can also lead to baggy eyes and dark circles. One of my nutrition teachers would refer to the baggy eyed look as “sugarface” — the way you look the morning after consuming a lot of sugar! Cutting the sugar and swapping your coffee for green tea will make your skin happy.

4) Eat Fat

Yep, I said it! Eat more fat for beautiful skin! Healthy fats, not the altered fats that you’d find in fried foods or processed products. I’m talking about the nourishing, natural fats from foods like avocado, coconut and olives. These healthy fats will keep your skin supple, moist and glowing.

5) Take a Hair-Skin-Nails Supplement

There are certain nutrients that can support skin elasticity, provide UV protection and anti-inflammatory support. All of these are very important when it comes to having radiant skin! The Be Well Hair/Skin/Nails supplement contains powerful antioxidants and vitamins to help skin cell regeneration and combat free radicals that damage the skin.

Taking these steps to nourish your body can have a huge impact on your skin! What healthy skin tips have worked for you? Let us know in the comments!

Posted by on Apr 09, 2014| 1 Comments

Miracles Now Interview with New York Times Bestselling Author Gabrielle Bernstein

Miracles Now

Tell us about your new book, Miracles Now.

I love this book and I’m so psyched to share it with you. Miracles Now helps readers lessen stress and find peace—FAST! I handpicked 108 techniques to combat our most common problems—from addiction and anxiety to burnout and resentment. The exercises are inspired by some of my greatest spiritual teachings. Throughout the book, I offer up spirit-based principles, meditations and practical tools to help readers bust through blocks to live with more ease. I break down each technique Spirit Junkie style—with meditations, assessment questions and step-by-step guidance—while incorporating lessons from the metaphysical text A Course in Miracles and Kundalini yoga. This book is meant for the busy, stressed person who simply wants to feel better fast.

How is Miracles Now different from all of your other books?

Each of my books has a unique format but a shared intention, which is to offer readers tools for releasing all the blocks to their true happiness and peace. Miracles Now shares that core intention through 108 short exercises that can be done anywhere, any time. This book is less self-reflective and more action oriented. I want it to put people into practice immediately so they can experience Miracles Now!

What made you write this book?

I write my books based on what I feel my readers need. I realized that so many people have packed schedules and lots to do, but they want to carve out a little time each day to create positive change and find peace in ways that are easy to follow and put into practice. In addition, I continuously witnessed my audience members and social media followers ask me for more practical tools to release their stress and boost their moods. People want to get to work and they want to feel better fast. This book is my response to that call.

The higher purpose of this book is to contribute to a greater global change. I believe that when more and more people begin to feel better, the positive collective energy supports the energy of the world. I believe that it is our collective energy that can save the world. This is the higher purpose for Miracles NowI reinforce the book’s mission in its introduction, excerpted below:

Right now we’re in a special and powerful position, because the world is having a spiritual awakening. When energy speeds up there is no space for playing small, and nothing can remain hidden. At some point all lies are brought to the surface and truth comes forth no matter how hard we try to hide it. Cynics are filling the yoga studios and the spiritual choir is growing larger. There is a massive call for more lightworkers, and now is our time to rise up and bring more positivity to the world. When the masses begin to vibrate with an energy of love, the world will no longer be a container for war, violence and lies.

Read the Whole Article

Posted by on Apr 08, 2014| 0 Comments

Puffs: A Healthful Baby Food or Just Clever Marketing?

Puffs

Cheerios have long been a popular first finger food for babies; their size and shape make them a perfect snack for new eaters eager to practice the emerging pincer grasp. Sometime around the beginning of the twenty-first century, some genius invented the “baby puff” and boom: a whole generation of toddlers will never hold a Cheerio between dimpled thumb and forefinger. In my own extended family, these snacks have become so popular that my nephew’s first word was…you guessed it…“puff!”

While most of us probably know that Cheerios aren’t nearly as healthful as they claim to be, we are hopeful about puffs. Might they be the miracle food all parents yearn for—portable and mess-free, appealing to young eaters, AND full of vegetables, whole grains, and nutrients? Like most convenient parenting choices, puffs are, heartbreakingly, too good to be true.

What’s Wrong with Puffs?

  • Extrusion. All puffs on the market are produced through a process called extrusion, which involves mixing grains with water and–through high temperatures and pressure–forcing them through a tiny hole to give them their desired shape, be it a cornflake or a puff. This process compromises the integrity of the grains’ nutrients, breaks the bonds of fatty acids, inactivates enzymes, increases the glycemic index of the food, and often lowers the vitamin and mineral content. If you want to know more about the problem with extruded grains, check out Sally Fallon’s illuminating article, “Dirty Secrets of the Food Processing Industry.”
  • White grains. Many puffs are made of mostly white rice or other non-whole grains. If you’re buying puffs for your baby, opt for varieties whose first few ingredients are whole grain flours or at least brown rice flour, although brown rice often contains high levels arsenic so should also be limited.
  • The myth of the “green puff.” Yes, the puffs your baby is enjoying are a lovely emerald color, bringing to mind broccoli, kale, and spinach. And indeed, veggie puffs do contain powdered broccoli, powdered kale, and/or powdered spinach. Unfortunately, these powders lack all the fibers of real veggies, and the nutrients from powdered vegetables may not be absorbed by the body the same way nutrients from whole vegetables are. Plus, as we’ve just established, the puff is comprised mostly of grains, often white ones, so the nutritional punch of the veggie powder is probably negligible.
  • Lecithin. Puffs often contain lecithin made from either soy or sunflower seeds. Hexane, a petroleum-based neurotoxin and air pollutant, is commonly used to separate vegetable oil from seeds. Lecithin of all kinds should be avoided unless it is organic, which means it is entirely free of hexane residue. For this and other obvious reasons, always choose organic puffs.
  • Sugar. Don’t just watch for the actual S-word–you’ll more likely see “evaporated cane syrup” or some such euphemism. Even “fruit juice concentrate,” a popular puff-sweetener, is only marginally better than regular old white sugar. 
  • Packaging. While puffs all now come in BPA-free canisters, all plastic potentially contains hormone-disrupting chemicals.

The Bottom Line on Puffs

Ideally, babies would eat only whole foods when they are learning to enjoy finger snacks–raspberries, small hunks of baked squash or banana, or cubes of avocado would all make good choices. Unfortunately, these foods are messy and not nearly as convenient as puffs, making them a lousy substitute when you need snacks for the car or park. My kids don’t like them, but freeze-dried fruits are a convenient and more healthful alternative to puffs, so give them a try. Also check out my company’s Chief Health Officer’s ever-popular blog post, 10 Ways to Get Your Kids Off Junk Food and Demanding Vegetables for inventive but easy healthful snack ideas. As for puffs, I’m not going to promise my babies won’t ever eat them, but I’ll no longer be fooled into thinking that a tube of extruded, mostly white grains tossed with sugar and a bit of kale powder, is as good for my 6-month-old as a nice steaming bowl of kale (was I the only one hoping that was the case?).

Posted by on Apr 07, 2014| 0 Comments

7 Things You Need to Know About Fermented Foods

Sauerkraut

Recently, fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi have been making news, even though they are, in fact, anything but new – fermented foods have been around for thousands of years. For people living without modern medicine and refrigeration, fermentation has always been not only a simple means of food preservation, but also a way to imbue foods with health-promoting properties, an essential tool for maintaining the gut health. Over the course of the last century however, fermented foods fell off most dinner plates, their medicinal effects wiped out by pasteurization, resulting in a dead-on-arrival food supply, stripped of the live bacteria the gut needs to stay in balance. Fortunately though, there is a deliciously easy fix for this modern problem: incorporate more probiotic, fermented foods into your diet and put those live, good-for-you organisms back where they belong – in your gut! Here’s a food-for-thought introduction to the health-boosting power of the fermented foods and how to get more of them into your daily diet: 

1. Fermented Foods Help Fight Off Disease

It’s estimated that roughly 70% – 80% of your immune system is in your gut. Feed it poorly and your gut will be left with few defenses, easily overwhelmed by bad bacteria, wide open to disease-triggering inflammation and plagued by gastro-intestinal ills like IBS-type symptoms (i.e., gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, etc.). In your weakened state, you may also be more susceptible to colds and flu. But, if you introduce good bacteria into the gastric mix via fermented foods, you’ll enable your gut to crush opportunistic invaders and disease-triggering inflammation, long before they can gain the upper hand. Simply put: A healthy, balanced gut can send illness packing. 

2. Fill ‘er Up, Twice a Day

To fortify your gut, start incorporating small servings of fermented foods, once or twice a day. Toss fermented veggies like beets or sauerkraut into salads; enjoy them on their own; as a side dish or, if you’re feeling adventurous, consider adding a spoonful or two to your morning smoothie. I like adding a few fermented beet slices and a splash of beet juice to my berry smoothies, particularly on those days when I feel like my gut needs a boost.

3. Fermented Foods Can Save You Cash

Foods you ferment yourself can last for months, so there’s less waste, which helps save money in the long run. If you’re not the DIY type, commercially produced or store-bought fermented foods will also have a long, preservative-free shelf life, so they’re a pretty good deal too, even with the higher price. And did we mention that fermented foods also add great taste, nutrition and healthy bulk to every meal – so there’s less need to buy or eat insulin-spiking, low-nutrient filler foods like pasta, bread or potatoes.

4. They’re Alive – And They’re Busy

Fermented foods don’t just lounge around your belly doing nothing, they’re active! After you eat them, those bacterial armies get to work, helping to balance your gut bacteria and stomach acids; releasing enzymes to help ease and improve digestion – and make it easier for your body to extract and absorb more nutrients from the foods you eat. Another pleasant side effect of all that activity? Less constipation and easier elimination, drug and stimulant-free.

Read the Whole Article

Posted by on Apr 04, 2014| 2 Comments

Be Well Kitchen: 3 Simple Dry Rub Spice Recipes

03
Apr

Spices and Spoons

I am always exploring ways to make it easy to prepare meals, and one of the simplest tricks is make a batch of different spice rubs that can used on fish, meat or chicken. Rubs can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to 6 months (remember to date the container) so don’t be afraid to double or triple the recipe.

Rubs can be spicy or “herby” and are a great way to impart flavor to foods. You can also turn them into a marinade by mixing some of the spice rub with a little extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice (these should be used right away).

To use the rub, simply rub the spice mix onto your food until it is lightly coated, cook right away or it can sit for a few hours covered in the fridge until you are ready to cook.

You will need about 1 1/2  to 2 teaspoons of dry spice rub for every pound of meat, fish or chicken.

Recipes:

All-Purpose Spice Rub Recipe: Makes about 3 Tablespoons

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 3 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 3 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)

Blend well and store in an airtight container in the fridge

Cajun Spice Rub Recipe: Makes about 5 Tablespoons

  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoon paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon mustard powder
  • 1 Tablespoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Blend well and store in an airtight container in the fridge

It’s nice to rub a little extra virgin olive oil onto the fish, chicken or meat before using the rub.

Read the Whole Article

Posted by on Apr 03, 2014| 1 Comments

6 Foods People Think Are Healthy But Aren’t

Whole Wheat Bread
By Be Well Health Coach Jenny Sansouci

There are a lot of foods out there that people eat because they think they are a healthy choice. Here are a few that are not as healthy as you might think!

Soy Milk

Soy milk is a highly processed product. The soybeans are heated at high temperatures and acid washed in aluminum tanks, so the aluminum may be transferred into the soy milk. Almost all soy in America is genetically modified, and is grown with high levels of pesticide contamination. Processed soy in general has been shown to disrupt endocrine and thyroid function and may negatively affect hormones as well. If you do choose soy, choose a fermented option like tempeh or miso. Read more about the downside of soy.

Granola

Although it may look and sound healthy, most granola on the market is loaded with corn syrup or sugar. Your best bet? Make your own granola at home with gluten free oats and sweeten it with raw honey or pure maple syrup. Or try this delicious raw muesli recipe!

Agave

Agave nectar has become such a trendy sugar substitute, but the truth is that most agave in the US is highly refined in a process similar to making high fructose corn syrup. Agave is high in fructose, which can contribute to insulin resistance and obesity. Read more on agave. Instead, choose more natural sweeteners like raw honey, maple syrup or dates.

Fruit Juice

With the juicing craze in full swing, people everywhere are guzzling bottles of fruity juices – which is like liquid sugar to the body. If you’re going to drink juice, go for the green ones with minimal fruit. Your best bet is to make it at home or get it from a fresh juice bar! Check out this mojito green juice recipe.

Frozen Yogurt

Frozen yogurt is another one of those foods that pretends to be healthy when it’s usually a big heap of sugar, dairy, artificial sweeteners and chemicals. Next time you’re at your local fro-yo place, ask to see the ingredients list. You’ll probably be shocked! Learn more about the sneaky ingredients in frozen yogurt. Still in need of a frozen treat? Check out our favorite healthy smoothie recipes!

Whole Wheat

Even for people without celiac or a diagnosed “gluten sensitivity,” wheat can be a big trigger for digestive distress, skin issues, immune system suppression and inflammation in the body. Dr. Lipman says “I believe there is no greater drain on one’s energy and trigger for inflammation than gluten.” Read more. Curious to know if removing gluten would help you feel better? Give it up completely for 2 weeks and see if your condition improves. I promise, it’s not as hard as it sounds! Here’s a week’s worth of gluten-free meal ideas.

What are some other foods people think are healthy but really aren’t? We’d love to hear your input!

Posted by on Apr 02, 2014| 16 Comments

Letting Go of Your Fear of Fats

Nuts
By Be Well Health Coach Laura Kraber

For the last several decades, we have dutifully heeded the advice of doctors and health experts regarding limiting dietary fats. Compared to our parents and grandparents, our consumption of fats is dramatically lower, and dramatically different ­— thanks to dubious inventions such as margarine and canola oil.

Only recently has the medical establishment reversed its prohibition of saturated fats and debunked the 1950s hypothesis that saturated fat causes heart disease. But the ideas we grow up with can be hard to dislodge. Most of us have been drinking skim milk since we were kids and choosing non-fat and low-fat options wherever we find them.

To change our script, it is helpful to remember the important role that fats play in the human body – as building blocks of our cell membranes, precursors to our hormonal system, and essential for the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A,D,E, and K.  Additionally, fats provide long-burning energy, modulating the entry of glucose into our cells so we don’t need to eat as frequently. This is why foods high in fats such as nuts and avocados make great snacks. Fats give us a feeling of satiety, and we are less likely to reach for a sugary treat when we incorporate healthy fats into our diet.

Fats are genuinely confusing — Omega 3 vs. Omega 6? Saturated vs. unsaturated? Here are a few simple rules to guide you:

  • Avoid low-fat and non-fat food products such as yoghurts and salad dressings. Food manufacturers typically add sugar or other unhealthy additives to make up for the loss of flavor from removing the fat. Not to mention that you won’t get the satisfaction that full fat food offers, nor the benefits for vitamin absorption.
  • Strive to balance your omega-3 and omega-6 fats: we need both types but most of us are getting many more omega-6s in our diet due to our high consumption of vegetable seed oils in packaged foods such as crackers, cookies, chips and restaurant food.
  • Consume foods rich in omega-3s to reduce inflammation throughout your body; take krill or fish oil capsules, and eat more salmon, sardines, flax seeds, walnuts,grass-fed beef and eggs from pastured chickens.
  • Avoid highly refined, processed seed oils such as soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil and canola oil, which are produced through chemical processes using harsh chemicals such as hexane. Avoiding these oils is yet another reason to minimize or eliminate packaged foods.
  • Incorporate healthy oils into your diet,such as coconut oil, olive oil, ghee or butter from grass-fed cows

Here at Be Well, we’re loving adding a tablespoon of MCT Oil to shakes and smoothies in the morning for a good dose of healthy fats. Here’s a great recipe for a Chocolate Whey protein smoothie that includes MCT Oil, chia seeds and avocado — all great sources of healthy fats to fuel your day!

Posted by on Apr 01, 2014| 1 Comments

The Pursuit of Healthiness

Pilar Gerasimo

None of the positive changes we hope to make as a society can be sustained without the energy and resilience of a whole lot of healthy, vital people.

By Pilar Gerasimo, Founding Editor, Experience Life

I have often remarked that one of the best things about editing Experience Life is hearing back from our readers that the magazine is making a difference for them as they pursue a healthier way of life. I also love hearing that they appreciate the conscious choice we’ve made to be different from a great many other health-and-fitness magazines.

I think a lot of that difference comes from our relentless, passionate pursuit of what we see as the most central truths about health, and what it really takes to become and stay healthy in a less-than-healthy society.

Every day, our whole team is noticing and talking about this stuff: the things that complicate or obstruct our own healthy choices; the support systems and insights that really help; the stories from families and friends who are struggling to get healthier; what we can do, write, research and share that will help them stay strong and determined.

Over the past few years, we’ve gotten some wonderful affirmations for our efforts in this area. One I’m especially proud of: A Folio award for my Manifesto for Thriving in a Mixed-Up World — the tear-out chapbook that ran as part of my larger feature: “Being Healthy Is a Revolutionary Act: Renegade Perspectives for Thriving in a Mixed-Up World.” (Both the feature and manifesto are available at RevolutionaryAct.com.)

Perhaps more than any other award, I think this one reflects of our magazine’s whole underlying “tell the truth” ethic, and our zeal for sparking a healthy revolution on a grand scale.

Read the Whole Article

Posted by on Mar 31, 2014| 0 Comments

6 Reasons to Put Infrared Saunas On Your Must-Do List

Sauna

Saunas. They’re relaxing, rejuvenating and can even feel a little indulgent. But did you know a regular sauna routine is also a very pleasurable way to enhance health? As you’re probably aware, I’m a big believer in engaging in as many good-for-you activities as possible, and saunas, particularly infrared saunas, are high on the good-for-you-to-do list. Why infrared? Because its radiant heat is known to penetrate the skin more deeply than traditional saunas, better aiding in a number of restorative body processes. Here are just a few ways infrared saunas can benefit your body – and why I encourage many of my patients to make them part of their health-supporting routines:

1. You’ll flush out toxins

Saunas, infrared or otherwise, make you sweat. Sweating helps flush out toxins from the body and in so doing reduces its toxic load. With infrared saunas, the sweating is deeper and more profuse, enabling your body to excrete a higher percentage of toxins than with a conventional sauna. Infrared saunas are also a great alternative for those who don’t like high temperatures or need to avoid them for medical reasons. The gentler heat of infrared saunas runs roughly 20 – 60 degrees lower, making them easier to tolerate. But no matter which type you choose, remember to get the OK from your doctor first before diving into a regular sauna routine 

2. Blood pressure will lower and muscles will unwind, without a pharmaceutical assist

You don’t have to sit in an infrared sauna hours for on end to reap the benefits. For most people, all that’s needed is a few 15-20 minute sessions a week. During your sauna, as you sweat, you’ll be stimulating better flood flow and circulation throughout your body. That increased circulation will help lower blood pressure, and make you feel good all over, relaxing tight muscles and easing minor aches and pains to boot. If you’re troubled by muscle or joint pain, or more chronic conditions like arthritis, infrared heat from the sauna can provide drug-free pain relief, reducing stiffness and inflammation.

3. Cut a cold or flu off at the pass

Feeling like you’re on the verge of getting sick? Then head to the nearest infrared sauna as early as possible. Why? Because the infrared’s radiant heat will stimulate circulation, rev up the production of white blood cells and rally your immune system’s response to invaders. All that action will make your body a much less hospitable environment for germs to grow – and a great place for them to die. Even if you’re not on the verge of coming down with something, remember that infrared saunas, and the increased circulation that comes with regular use, are also great for speeding muscle recovery too.

4. Look younger, no “beauty” creams required

Infrared saunas offer a wonderful bonus for the skin: they help improve skin tone and reduce signs of aging by stimulating better circulation, blood flow and increased collagen production – all of which improve the look of your skin. The increased circulation, elimination of toxins and flushing out of cellular debris enhance overall skin health, giving it a more radiant appearance, without a trip to Sephora!

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Posted by on Mar 28, 2014| 3 Comments