Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How to Reinvent Your Body This Summer

This summer, I'm engaging friends, family and colleagues in reinventing their body by making practical use of the major breakthroughs and new research in the field of well-being. In three months, starting now, we can achieve the following:
1. Through lifestyle choices we can up-regulate our genes and thereby change the activity and expression of almost 500 genes so that they decrease the likelihood of heart disease,
inflammation, autoimmune disorders, and several types of cancer (See a study on changes in prostate gene expression in men undergoing an intensive nutrition and lifestyle intervention here)
2. Remodeling our brain through the deeper understanding of how we can quiet the reactive brain through self-awareness, principally, observing our reaction instead of reacting; optimizing the emotional brain for self regulation and homeostasis by cultuvating the emotions of love, compassion, joy, and equanimity; enlivening the cerebral cortex through self-reflection, meditation, curiosity, imagination, insight, intuition, creativity and conscious choice-making.
3. Create a daily program that focuses on restful sleep, restful awareness through meditation, daily exercise, healthy food with the highest concentration of phytochemicals, social engagement and healthy relationships.
4. Focus on other aspects of well-being including community well-being, financial well-being, and career well-being.
The goal is to reinvent the body through the following conceptual shifting insights:
  1. Your body is a process not a structure.
  2. Your body is an energy and information field.
  3. Your genes are not deterministic (with certain exceptions). You can turn your genes on and off; and you can lengthen your telomeres, and you can change your brain structure.
  4. You can change your relationship with time.
  5. Awareness is the key to transformation and reinventing the body.
~powerful words from Deepak Chopra

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Three Ways Yoga Can Improve Your Career

Three ways yoga can improve your career
We've all heard about the benefits of yoga for reducing stress, but can it directly benefit your career?
The founder and principal teacher of Adore Yoga, Nikola Ellis, says yoga has the potential to improve your confidence and performance in the workplace – and not just because it makes you feel less stressed.
Traditional yoga and yoga therapy uses different practices to address psychological issues, as well as the physiological, changing the way our bodies move and how we perform in a high-pressure work environment.
  1. Be more powerful
    What you do with your body can influence your mindset - and this directly affects your behavior and outcomes in the workplace.
    For women, the benefits of performing strong, powerful poses has been amply demonstrated by Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy, who noticed that the reticent body language of female MBA students corresponded to their lower levels of engagement in the 'hands on' components of the program, when compared to their male counterparts.
    Cuddy ran a study that showed that 'power positions', similar to yoga's Warrior poses, can change our brain chemistry and behavior in a way that creates stronger engagement, confidence and performance.
    This, says Ellis, is what yoga has been doing for centuries. Working with students in private sessions up to groups of no larger than six can help people prepare for a challenging day ahead or that important pitch or meeting by using physical poses and breathing practices that are designed to create stability, strength and power, allowing people to stand their ground in the office and keep their minds calm.
    Yoga helps to steer people towards the outcomes they want, rather than being reactive to a pressured environment.  In yoga we move people's body in a way that changes how they feel and then that allows them to move forward with confidence.
  2. Be better at decision-making
    Yoga ensures that our decision-making is based in reality and helps us to be more mindful.
    "Our decisions are often informed by past experiences or projections that rely on a flawed understanding of the situation," says Ellis. "Yoga teaches you to be mindful of every moment, taking your perceptions off 'auto-pilot' so that your decisions are based on a real-world understanding, rather than assumptions or reactive triggers."
    Yoga teaches us to pay attention to how our thoughts are affecting our body and our breath. It's through this process of continually watching ourselves and picking up on our own behavior patterns that yoga can teach us to become present and not to react to someone in a work environment by projecting past experiences into the future.
  3. Become a better leader
    The practice of yoga requires us to work on our 'edge', which Ellis describes as "the place where we fully challenge and extend ourselves, yet remain calm and comfortable". Constantly working along this edge, yoga teaches us how to continually challenge ourselves while staying controlled.
    Here's how we achieve and sustain peak performance. When we work with yoga, the idea is that it doesn't matter what poses you are doing, you take yourself to a point where it's challenging and sometimes to a place you didn't think you could go.
    "In a work environment we need decision-makers who are not afraid and who are able to challenge themselves in new ways and push themselves right up to that edge, but know when to pull themselves back before the challenge turns into unmitigated risk."
    Yoga teaches self-discipline and self-control which are key to good leadership.  "A leader is like a parent," says Ellis. "You cannot have low self-awareness to inspire confidence, trust and inspiration and that's exactly what yoga teaches."
    ~Thanks Briana Everett

15 Ways to Enjoy Hemp Seeds

Hemp Hearts raw shelled hemp seedsLately there’s been a lot of buzz about raw, shelled hemp seeds, and their health benefits and cool culinary uses.
Hemp has an incredible nutritional profile (omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, iron, magnesium, 11 grams of protein…)  that can help people fill holes in their diet.  But, how to eat them?  Here are 15 easy ways to get down with hemp seeds. 
On top of salads, or in my vinaigrettes. In chia seed spread for sandwiches. Smoothies.
Great to add to anything. On top of avocado. Veggies. Easy to make hemp milk too.
With pasta sauce! They add nuttiness to the dish. 
On top of brown rice. 
- Add to yogurt! Keep in fridge.
Add it to cauliflower for mock mashed potato. Salad dressing with garlic, olive oil, lemon, honey. Add to oatmeal in the morning. Or to homemade granola!
- For an easy lunch, I sprinkle extra virgin olive oil over greens and top with hemp hearts. 
- Use them in my chia seed pudding. Super power, delicious!
- Sprinkle on protein pancakes just before flipping to the second side.
- Add them to quinoa flakes, I also sprinkle on almond or coconut yogurt for a yummy and nutritious snack.
- Great in a kale salad, dressed with extra-virgin olive oil/lemon. 
~Thanks Wellness Wire

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Many Benefits of Coconut Oil

One of my absolute favorite additions to my natural medicine cabinet is COCONUT OIL: organic, virgin coconut oil.
trader joes coconut oilYou’ll see arbitrary language on coconut oil labels. The main thing to look for is virgin, or cold pressed.  Here is what Trader Joe’s says: “To make our Organic Virgin Coconut Oil our supplier starts with freshly harvested coconuts that are de-husked and grated. Then, when the meat of the coconut is still fresh, it’s cold pressed and filtered to remove any remaining pieces of the fruit. That’s the process. Nothing more. Some coconut oil is extracted using high heat, chemicals and even bleach. Not ours. Producing the oil in this more pure, natural way, we are able to retain the nutrients, flavor characteristics and aromas of fresh coconuts. Use Organic Virgin Coconut Oil in cooking – it stands up to relatively high heat and imparts a distinctive flavor – in salad dressings, for baking, and even as a moisturizer for dry skin. It’s true! It will fluctuate from a liquid to a solid state, depending on the temperature at which it’s stored, so don’t be surprised when you see liquid in a jar that’s been stored in a hot pantry.”
Coconut oil, in it’s raw form is solid. It has a very low melting point, at 76 degrees…..if you put some in your hand, it will melt almost instantly. We’ve been programmed to think that solid fats are BAD for us. It’s time to stop believing that myth. Coconut oil is a superfood that should be included in everyone's daily diet. There are many scientific studies that demonstrate the benefits of coconut oil.

The many, many, many benefits of coconut oil:

1. Coconut oil consists primarily of medium-chain fatty acids, which are metabolized very differently from long-chain fatty acids in partially hydrogenated oils, corn oil, canola oil, soybean oil, safflower oil. These oils are stored as fat if not burned right away, whereas coconut oil is burned rather than stored. Long-chain fats take longer to digest and tend to be stored as fat that is difficult to get rid of. Medium-chain fats, on the other hand, are immediately broken down into fatty acids, and tend to be burned for energy.
2. Coconut oil increases metabolic rate. If you combat fatigue on a daily basis, you may notice an increase in body temperature and a temporary increase in blood pressure when you begin to consume coconut oil. That is the result of the increased metabolic rate as the medium-chain fatty acids are burned. Since you’ll be more energetic, you’ll feel more like exercising and more fat will be burned.
3. Coconut oil slows down body fat storage. Because more of your dietary fat is metabolized for energy, the rate at which your body stores fat slows down drastically when you replace other dietary ftas with coconut oil. The process is dynamic and quick. When you’ve been consuming coconut oil for a while, you’ll see a difference. Fat stores are dynamic. Every day, your body releases the fatty acids it has stored and replaces them with new fatty acids it receives. So, your body turns over fat every 2-3 weeks. Most of us tend to keep putting on a little more than we’re taking off. However, this has more to do with the partially hydrogenated soybean oils in our diet and less to do with the saturated fat. By elminating the trans fats tends to stabilize weight. When the majority of your fat comes from coconut oil, you body will tend to take off more than it puts on. This can happen without changing any other aspect of your diet or exercise regimen. People have reported losting 20 lbs. in 6 months with no changes other than replacing trans fats and long chain fats with coconut oil. With a healthy diet and exercise, results can be much faster than that.
4. Coconut oil is antimicrobial. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which is an important triglyceride that further breaks down and kills bacteria and viruses. It also contains caprylic acid, which kills fungus. Therefore, coconut oil is useful in preventing and treating:
  • athletes foot
  • candida and vaginal yeast
  • intestinal parasites
  • bacteria on and in the skin
  • sinus infections
  • drug resistant bacteria
  • respiratory infections such as pneumonia
5. Coconut oil is good for brain health and offers great promise for Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia .  A woman, Dr. Mary Newport, after failing to get treatment for her husband’s dementia, discovered that coconut oil contained natural medium-chain triglyceride (MCT), the same substance was used in a drug trial her husband failed to qualify for. So, she gave her husband 1 tbsp. of coconut oil twice a day for a month and a half and saw him almost completely recovered.

More of the many benefits of coconut oil:

  • Protects against cancer and HIV and other infectious diseases
  • Kills bacteria and parasites like tape worm and liver flukes
  • Eases acid reflux, aids in proper bowel function
  • Lowers incidence of hemorrhoids
  • Heals and relieves intestinal problems
  • Soothes earaches
  • Deals with symptoms connected with prostate enlargement
  • Strengthens the liver and protects against degeneration
  • Reduces incidence of epileptic seizures
  • Reduces joint and muscle inflammation
  • Eases neuropathies and itching from diabetes.

Even more of the many benefits of coconut oil:

  • Kills bacteria causing urinary tract infections, gonorrhea, gum disease, staphylococcus, MRSA…
  • Destroys fungus causing candida
  • Kills viruses causing flu, infectious disease, typhoid...
  • Relieves gallbladder disease
  • Enhances proper bowel function and lowers incidence of hemorrhoids when oil is consumed
  • Relieves and heals intestinal disorders, ulcers, colitis, IBS, and Crohn’s disease
  • Stabilizes blood sugar and insulin production
  • Eases neuropathies and itching from diabetes
  • Protects against osteoporosis and reduces problems from cystic fibrosis
  • Enhances pancreatic function and enzyme production
  • Improves magnesium and calcium absorption, promoting stronger bones
  • Reduces joint and muscle inflammation, supporting repair of tissues
  • Regulates thyroid function
  • Protects against cancers of colon, breast, and digestive tract
  • Medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) protect against development of Alzheimer’s disease
  • MCFA strengthen heart and circulatory system protecting against artherosclerosis and heart disease
  • Prevents oxidation of fatty acids
  • Provides antioxidants to fight free radicals slowing aging and degenerative diseases such as arthritis
  • Relieves symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Reduces incidence and intensity of epileptic seizures
  • Stabilizes female hormones reducing hot flashes and vaginal dryness during menopause
  • Strengthens the liver and protects against degeneration.

Topical uses for coconut oil:

  • Forms a chemical barrier on skin to protect and heal infections.
  • Topical applications relieve pain and swelling from hemorrhoids.
  • Moisturizes and softens dry skin.
  • Reduces bags, puffiness and wrinkles under eyes.
  • Lessens occurrence and appearance of varicose veins.
  • Preps skin before shaving.
  • Mixed with baking soda, coconut oil makes an effective toothpaste.
  • Soothes sunburned skin and promotes healing of burns and blisters.
  • Heals psoriasis and eczema lesions.
  • Stops pain, burning, and itching of bug and snake bites.
  • Prevents itching from poison ivy, oak, and sumac.
  • Promotes firm skin tone, preventing age spots, sagging and wrinkles.
  • Removes makeup easily.
  • Heals nail fungus under finger and toenails.
  • Prevent nosebleeds by applying light film inside nostrils.
  • In combination with cornstarch and baking soda, coconut oil makes an effective deodorant.
  • Makes an excellent massage oil, a natural personal lubricant, and great sunscreen.
  • Conditions hair, prevents split ends, reduces frizz, controls flaky scalp and dandruff.
  • Removes scars and stretch marks.
  • Repairs cracked, sore, dry nipples from nursing.
  • Heals diaper rash and removes cradle cap on babies.

~Thank you Penny Sue Mueller!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Comparing Green Juice vs. Green Powder

“Eat more greens” used to be a simple directive, but these days, there are lots of ways to get your daily dose of kale.  When we tapped our virtual Rolodex of nutritionists to ask them which is best, they all joined in a resounding chorus of “Eat them whole!” 
But everyone has days when they’re just too busy to make a salad or when fresh veggies are nowhere to be found. Even on good days, it’s hard to fit in all of those servings, so it’s often nice to supplement with a cold-pressed juice or a greens powder packet.
But, just how virtuous are we being, we wondered? And how does green juice stack up against green powder? We sorted through the nutritional facts—and assumptions—with help from superstar nutritionists, and came away with some surprising findings. Here’s what you need to know…
Drinking fresh juice is like giving yourself a nutrient shot. Since the veggies are partially digested, your body can soak them up quickly.
“The fibrous parts of the plants have been removed, and the cell walls are broken down allowing the enzymes that our bodies produce to easily act on these nutrients,” says Amy Shapiro, a registered dietican and founder of Real Nutrition NYC.
Your body should also easily process fine powders, although studies have shown that they may not retain some of the important enzymes needed for absorption. Some brands say their process has effectively preserved them, but there’s really no way to confirm this claim.
Amazing Grass
Veggies are fabulously fibrous, but breaking them down into powder or juice can interfere with that.
“Green powders have minimal, if any, fiber because the amount of the product consumed is so small and concentrated,” says Shapiro, so you shouldn’t really consider powders a source for fiber. (Amazing Grass Green Superfood, for example, has just 2 grams per serving.)
Juices that are cold-pressed or made using traditional centrifugal juicers are mostly stripped of their fiber. But juicing at home allows you to preserve the pulp.
On the other hand, blenders like the Vitamix pulverize the greens, retaining the pulp, so you get your juice AND keep the fiber. I use my Vitamix daily, best investment ever (check ebay for used/oldies - they are warhorses and never wear out!!)!
Powders generally have less calories than juices (around 30), compared to 200 and up in juices.
But while those are mainly “good calories” from produce that the body needs, sugar can be an issue with juice if its light on greens and high in fruit.
“An 8 ounce serving of fruit-and-green juice contains about 130 calories and 22 grams of sugar (can of coke has 39 grams)—equivalent to about 4.5 teaspoons of added sugar,” says Shapiro.
And, says, Dr. Kalanick, “The fruits especially become more of a blood sugar mess when we remove the fiber.” Note to those who have sugar sensitivities and hypoglycemic mood swings! Be very wary of sugar content in bottled juices! (It's the first place I look.)
Not all juices and powders are created equal. Dr. Kalanick recommends choosing a powder that’s at least 50 percent organic and was processed with protection from UV light, heat, and moisture (which ensures that the chlorophyll and nutrient content is maintained). You should also avoid brands that have a lot of ‘fillers” such as lecithin, fibers, whole grasses, pectin, rice bran or flax.
Freshness matters too. “It is best to drink a fresh juice immediately after making because as soon as it’s made it begins to lose certain nutrients,” says Shapiro. And quality powders are raw and dehydrated, so they should be stored in cool, dry places to prevent mold or nutrient loss from light and heat exposure.
Juices have lots of variety, and if the greens taste is too much for you, you can add (a little!) fruit, ginger, or lemon. Even celery and cucumber can help.
Powders vary. We’ve had awful sweet versions, awful bland versions, and also those that taste pretty damn good. (Some of our faves include those with goji berry, pomegranate, and other red fruit extracts.)  But even the best don’t compare to the super-fresh taste of a good juice.
Juice, heavy on greens—and made in a Vitamix for the fiber with the plant-based nutrients.
Dr. Kalanick offers this summary: “My recommendations would be: whole, fresh organic greens at every meal (yes, even breakfast). Next up would be a fresh greens-only juice or, if mixed with fruit, have it with a protein-based meal to keep blood sugar even. Have a high quality, organically-sourced greens powder for those days when you just weren’t able to get all those veggies in or are on the road.” 
~Thanks Lisa Elaine Held

Blog Archive