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:


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


Environmentally safer
Wild sourced ingredients
Environmentally sound harvested ingredients

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Posted by on Sep 04, 2014| 1 Comments

From The Be Well Kitchen: Gluten-Free Crêpes

Gluten Free Crepes

By Be Well Health Coach Laura Kraber

Crêpes were a quick and delicious breakfast staple in our household for years. Made with ingredients that are usually on hand in any kitchen, crêpes require only flour, eggs, milk and butter. Conveniently, this easy pancake can be adapted for breakfast, lunch or dinner, depending upon the filling – sautéed spinach and Parmesan for lunch or cherry preserves for a breakfast treat.

When our family went gluten-free, making crêpes without wheat flour was my very first experiment in recipe re-invention. My son and I both received a diagnosis of Celiac in 2011, and re-creating family favorites for the table was my way of accepting this disease into my life.  As with many recipes, the secret here is butter.

Gluten-Free Crêpes

Makes 4 – 5 thin crêpes, depending upon pan size

  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ cup brown rice flour or Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose GF flour (or GF flour of your choice)
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 TBSP melted butter (grass-fed, such as Kerry Gold brand) plus extra for the pan
  • dash of vanilla
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 TBSP honey (optional)

Beat the eggs thoroughly; gradually add both flours until a thick paste is formed. Slowly mix in the milk and melted butter. Add the vanilla, salt, and honey, if using. Beat until all the lumps are gone and let rest for a few minutes while you heat a small pat of butter in the pan. Holding the pan at an angle, pour a small amount of batter into the hot pan and swirl to coat into a thin layer. When slightly browned, flip and cook on the other side. Add grated cheese, cooked vegetables or other savory items and roll up for a lunchtime treat, or top with sliced fruit, jam, or chocolate shavings for a dessert or breakfast treat.

Posted by on Sep 03, 2014| 3 Comments

A Conversation with Terry Wahls, M.D.,
Author of “The Wahls Protocol”

The Wahls Protocol

The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine 
By Terry Wahls, M.D. and Eve Adamson

Q: When were you diagnosed with MS and what were your symptoms?

A: I was diagnosed in 2000, but in retrospect I was having symptoms as early as 1982, with episodes of severe face pain and problems with my vision. In 2000, I began stumbling and had a foot drop, which is what lead to the diagnosis. It only got worse from there, for a long while.

Q: What sort of care did you received between your diagnosis and 2007 when you took matters into your own hands? What was your state of health then in 2007?

A: I had taken Copaxone, one of the so-called “ABC drugs” most frequently prescribed for MS.  When my MS transitioned to secondary progressive MS (this is a common occurrence, meaning I would no longer have periods of recovery, but instead, a steady decline), I took several cycles of mitoxantrone, which is also used to treat some cancers.  Next, I took Tysabri when it became available, but stopped it after two cycles because Tysabri was pulled from the market.  Then I took Cellcept, which is typically used to suppress the rejection of transplanted organs. I’ve certainly had my share of MS medication!

I also experienced what many others experience—declining mobility. When I could no longer sit in a standard chair, I needed to fully recline in a zero gravity chair. I used the tilt recline wheelchair to get around the hospital and clinic. I could still walk short distances with two canes but I had total fatigue disability. I also endured severe brain fog, constantly losing things like my car keys, my cell phone and my daily planners.

Q: How did you come up with your protocol? And where did the discovery come from?

A: It was definitely a journey, marked by many milestones, but triggered by the intense desire not to leave my family saddled with my disability. I was determined to find an answer not yet available to the public. I researched intensively than begin to experiment on myself—first by starting the Paleo diet, then by extensive study I developed a specific vitamin and supplement routine. Next, I dove into the exploration of Functional Medicine, and then I began to experiment with electrical stimulation of muscles. Finally, I developed my own system which pulled what I believed were the most useful elements from all those other methods, combined with everything else I had learned in my personal research and experimentation, into a new way of eating, living, moving, and thinking. The result was something entirely new—and something that had a profound effect on my health, mental state, and mobility.

Q: As a physician, have you received criticism from others in your field for your work/research in functional medicine?

A: When I first started talking to the public and to my colleagues about my experience, I was told that one case (meaning mine) is only one case, and therefore cannot be extrapolated to the general public. Also, there is always some general skepticism about anything new, especially when it seems to have a ‘holistic’ aspect. However, I knew my method could help others, so I was determined to prove it. The chair of medicine encouraged me to do a clinical trial and helped me find senior scientists to mentor me.  I wrote the research protocol and secured the funding to begin the trial, which has been exactly what the scientific community needed to give credence to my protocol.  We present our research at the College of Medicine research week.  My colleagues see the preliminary data, watch the videos, and have been steadily more impressed and supportive.

Read the Whole Article

Posted by on Sep 02, 2014| 1 Comments

Brain Magic

First, Keith Barry shows us how our brains can fool our bodies — in a trick that works via podcast too. Then he involves the audience in some jaw-dropping (and even a bit dangerous) feats of brain magic.

Posted by on Aug 29, 2014| 0 Comments

5 DIY Natural Face Masks

Avocado Face Mask
By Be Well Health Coach Jackie Damboragian

Treating yourself to a face mask is a nice way to relax, rejuvenate and nourish your skin. Unfortunately, most of the commercial face masks are laden with not-so-great chemicals and harsh ingredients. These all-natural masks are super easy to make and a great way to bring that spa feeling into your own home!

Raw Honey

The enzymes in raw honey eat up dead skin cells and reveal your most smooth and supple skin. It’s great for people with sensitive, normal or combination skin.


Apply honey to skin.
Leave on for 15 minutes.
Rinse off with warm water.


The healthy oils in the avocado soothe and moisturize dry or sensitive skin.


Mash up about half an avocado in a small bowl.  For combination skin, add a squeeze of lemon or lime (about 1 teaspoon) and mix it together.
Slather on and let your skin soak up the moisture for about 10 minutes.
Remove with warm water and a washcloth.


The enzymes in pineapple make it into a wonderful exfoliator, eating up all the dead skin cells.  The bromelain in pineapple offers anti-inflammatory properties.


Use the inside of the rind of a freshly cut pineapple or small pieces of freshly cut fruit.
Apply to dry skin, avoiding the eyes.
Leave on for 5-7 minutes
Rinse with warm water.
*If pineapple is too acidic, strawberries are a wonderful, gentler substitute.

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Posted by on Aug 28, 2014| 3 Comments

What to Drink When you Give Up Soda

Watermelon Juice
By Be Well Health Coach Kerry Bajaj

It used to be that there was nothing I loved more than a refreshing can of Diet Coke on a hot summer day. Now, I would never touch the can of chemicals.

If you haven’t given up soda yet, this might convince you. A 2007 study funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute found that one daily soft drink (diet OR regular) is associated with:

  • A 48% increased risk of metabolic syndrome, a key predecessor of heart disease and diabetes
  • A 31% greater risk of becoming obese;
  • A 30% higher risk of having a larger waist line;
  • A 25% higher risk of developing high blood triglycerides or high blood sugar;
  • A 32% greater risk of having low levels of good cholesterol;
  • A trend toward an increased risk of high blood pressure.

I know it can be hard to give up the soda habit, and it’s really important not to trade soda for other unhealthy drinks like Gatorade, Red Bull or Crystal Light. Here are some ideas of healthy and refreshing drinks you can enjoy instead of soda:

Fizzy Drink Options

1. Club soda with a splash of juice, lemon or lime.

2. Agua Fresca: Puree about 3 cups of watermelon (or canteloupe, strawberries or mango) and strain the pulp. In a pitcher mix the strained fruit puree with 1.5 cups of water, the juice of 2-3 limes and stevia to taste.

3. Kombucha is a great fizzy, festive alternative to soda. You can get it in many flavors, and it has good bacteria that can help your digestion, instead of harmful chemicals.

4. Virgin Mojito: Pour some club soda with lime, mint and stevia to sweeten. Enjoy over ice.

5. Mineral Water like San Pellegrino or Mountain Valley Spring Water is another refreshing choice for when you want something bubbly.

Cool & Hydrating Options

6. Coconut Water is great for replacing electrolytes on hot summer days.

7. Green Juice: Have a green juice over ice for a refreshing snack. This Mojito Green Juice recipe has lime and ginger for a nice tangy kick.

8. Protein Shake: A protein shake can be a small meal and a refreshing drink, all in one. I love a Sustain shake spun through the blender with some almond milk, ice and cinnamon.

9. Homemade lemonade with fresh lemons, water, and some honey. Or herbal iced tea is great too!

10. Almond Milk Horchata: Here’s a simple recipe for paleo horchata that uses almond milk, raw honey, cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg. (I would use less honey than what the recipe calls for.)

And of course, don’t forget about good old-fashioned water too! You should aim to have half of your body weight in ounces of water each day.

Posted by on Aug 26, 2014| 4 Comments

The Scoop on Fluoride

Drinking Water

Have you ever heard of Fluoridigate? If so, you are one step ahead of me!

“FLUORIDEGATE is a new documentary that reveals the tragedy of how government, industry and trade associations protect and promote a policy known to cause harm to our country and especially to small children who suffer more than any other segment of the population. While their motivation remains uncertain, the outcome is crystal clear: it [fluoride] is destroying our nation!”

Now, those are not my words, but the words of the people behind this documentary. I am not one for sensationalized messaging or shock therapy. I like to take in all of the food and nutrition information (some true and some not so true) and make sense of it for you (and for me). So this is what I gleaned from this somewhat overbearing film: Have you ever thought about why public water is fluoridated? Or why companies like Poland Spring sell fluoridated water in cute bottles. Does your toothpaste contain fluoride or not? And to what extent is fluoride necessary in overall health and wellness?

Perhaps I can shine a little light….

What is Fluoride

Fluorine containing compounds are called fluorides. Oddly enough, fluorine is a highly toxic gas but at the same time very small amounts are necessary for the health of most organisms. That being said, the way you get the fluorine needed is through fluoride that is found in dental products like toothpaste and fluoride treatments as well as drinking water (where the fluoride is often from industrial by-products). Other not so commonly considered sources of fluoride are: processed beverages and foods (that use fluoridated water), pesticide residues typically found in grape products, dried fruit, dried beans, cocoa powder and walnuts; tea drinks (tea leaves absorb fluoride from soil, particluarly old tea leaves); pharmceuticals such as the commonly used anti-biotic cipro; teflon pans and the environment (especially in and around heavy industry).

Why is Fluoride Used

The use of fluoride is best understood with a little history lesson.  In a nutshell, in the early 1900’s researchers were trying to understand the cause of “mottled tooth enamel” called the Colorado Brown Stain (which was later called fluorosis). By 1933, the focus shifted to the relationship among fluoride concentrations, fluorosis and tooth decay. The conclusion—there was a widespread fluoride deficiency thus fluoridation of water became a public health policy of the US Public Health Service in 1951 and by 1960 the majority of the US was adding fluoride to the water supply.
While fluoridation continues to be dental science’s main weapon against tooth decay, there is tremendous controversy about its prevalence in drinking water (and more).

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Posted by on Aug 25, 2014| 8 Comments

10 Cleanse-Friendly Condiments

Turmeric and Cinnamon
By Be Well Health Coach Jenny Sansouci

When you’re on the Be Well Cleanse, you don’t have to sacrifice flavor. We wouldn’t do that to you! We love delicious food, and we know you can clean out your system while still enjoying lots of delicious foods and condiments.

While you may be cutting out gluten, sugar and dairy, there are plenty of herbs, spices and condiments you can use to delight your palate and make you forget you’re even detoxing. While all herbs and spices are cleanse friendly, here are a few of our favorite condiments that will pack your Cleanse recipes with delicious flavor.


We love all kinds of mustard, especially dijon mustard – but make sure there’s no sugar added. It’s great in salad dressings, on top of vegetables, and especially spread on top of avocado slices with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Coconut Aminos

This is a great coconut-based replacement for soy sauce! Since soy is cut out completely on the cleanse, use coconut aminos instead. You won’t even miss the soy.

Tessemae’s Dressings

Conventional salad dressings and ketchups usually contain sugar or corn syrup. These dressings are all either unsweetened, or sweetened with dates or honey. Be sure to check out their ketchup and hot sauces!

Coconut Oil

This is our favorite oil for cooking. It can withstand a higher heat without breaking down, and has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. It also adds an incredible flavor to any dish – sweet or savory! Try it.


Turmeric is the ultimate anti-inflammatory spice. It’s incredible in any savory dish, especially a stir-fry packed with lots of veggies. Be sure to pair it with black pepper, which greatly enhances it’s healing effects.


Cinnamon is fantastic for balancing blood sugar levels, which makes it a great spice to add to any meal. It can bring a slight sweetness to foods, so add it to your shakes or sprinkle it on top of berries for a healthy dessert.

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Posted by on Aug 22, 2014| 0 Comments

Be Well Kitchen:
Peppered Chia Roasted Chickpeas Recipe

Roasted Chickpeas

I love creating recipes to share with my clients that are made from simple ingredients and can be whipped up in 30 minutes or less. I spend a lot of time in my kitchen, but for those on a busy schedule, it’s much easier to eat healthy when you have straightforward, easy-to-make recipes on hand. My Peppered Chia Roasted Chickpeas are made from five simple ingredients, most of which you probably already have in your kitchen.

All you need to make this yummy treat is drain and rinse a can of organic chickpeas. Toss them with coconut oil, chia seeds, sea salt and pepper — make sure the chickpeas are coated evenly and then transfer them to a rimmed baking sheet, then pop the tray in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the chickpeas are golden brown. Let them cool for 10 minutes and your peas will be ready to eat!

These Roasted Chickpeas are great as a snack, a salad topping, or a way to add flavor to a salad, pasta dish or stir-fry. Best of all, they can be stored in the fridge for up to 10 days so you have a great go-to ingredient so you always have a healthy choice when you’re feeling hungry.

Peppered Chia Roasted Chickpeas (Serves 2)

  • 1 (15-oz.) BPA-free can organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp. organic coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp. whole or ground organic chia seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine chickpeas with coconut oil, chia seeds, sea salt and pepper; toss to evenly coat chickpeas.
  3. Transfer chickpeas to a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Store chickpeas in a container for up to 10 days in the refrigerator. Use chickpeas as a snack or add to salads, stir-fries or pasta dishes.

Posted by on Aug 21, 2014| 0 Comments