Saturday, October 20, 2012

Just Breathe...

As a yoga teacher, I am very aware of the benefits of deep breathing. Few of us realize that our normal pattern of breathing is very shallow, and unless we make a conscious effort, we rarely completely inflate (or deflate) our lungs. The good news is you don't have to attend a yoga class to experience the effects of deep breathing. You only need the awareness, and the intention to take a few minutes out of your day to breathe. It's as simple as sitting or lying comfortably, and breathing in through your nose and expanding the belly (really the lower lobes of your lungs) with your breath. You will feel your abdomen rise as you do so. Next, you will feel the breath fill your lungs between your ribs. Lastly, allow your breath to fill your upper chest before exhaling through the nose, and engaging the abdominal muscles to squeeze out the stale air as the navel moves towards the spine. Try to match the length of your exhalations to the length of your inhalations.

When you practice deep breathing, you are sending a message to your autonomic nervous system that all is well, you are safe. This downregulates the production of stress hormones by the adrenal glands-adrenalin and cortisol-which are also fat storage hormones (part of the "fight or flight" response). When you consider that stress also contributes to anxiety, elevated blood glucose and blood pressure, muscle tension and impaired immunity, you will see that you have many good reasons to take a few minutes at least once a day to just breathe...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Knee Pain

I recently heard from a credible resource that every 1 pound of extra weight we carry exerts an extra 4 pounds of pressure on the knee joint. No wonder we have so many people suffering from pain, not to mention the number of prescription drugs and surgeries performed-all with their associated side effects. Isn't it reassuring to know that managing our weight, without fad diets, is possible? Once again, nutrition can be the solution. Whole foods, healthy meal replacements and high quality supplements to support the joints and reduce overall inflammation are readily available.Procosa is my choice for joint support. It is vegetarian, and contains patented Meriva, a bioavailable curcumin complex. Let these be your first line solution, and turn to the prescription medications and surgeries only as a last resort.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Metabolic Testing

I'm excited to announce that I've added another tool to further my mission of improving health and vitality through simple, sustainable changes that lead to long term good health! Check out my page METABOLIC TESTING, and read about the simple test that will ensure you consume the right foods for your particular metabolism. You'll lose weight, have more energy, and protect yourself from degenerative disease.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Artificial Sweeteners Make You Fat

Do you know where your prescription drugs come from?

Here's a little known fact: The number of drugs manufactured outside the US has doubled between 2001 and 2008, and currently nearly 40% of all drugs taken by Americans come from overseas. Alarmingly, almost 80% of the active pharmaceutical ingredients used to make our drugs come from abroad-mainly China and India.

So, it's buyer beware. But, how are we to know? The FDA does regulate this process, but is woefully understaffed, and the result is the foreign drug manufacturers are not held to the same high standards as US producers.

Fake, ineffective chemotherapy drugs and tainted, potentially lethal drugs (like Heparin that killed several people 3 years ago), are part of our new reality.

Other than urging our government to take action and step up the inspection of foreign manufacturing facilities, we can become proactive in taking care of our health so that we minimize our need for prescription medications, no matter where they are manufactured or how pure they may be. Let's not forget that even the best manufacturing processes can't eliminate the potential side effects of prescription drugs.

Taking action in the form of small, sustainable lifestyle changes, beginning with good nutrition, will go a long way in disease prevention, and minimizing or eliminating the need for potentially contaminated or ineffective prescription drugs.

reference:, Feb. 2012

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Artificial Sweetner Makes Me Fat?

Here are 2 great reasons to give up diet soda and any food or drink with artificial sweetener (including those new "healthy weight loss shakes" with a 90 day challenge):

1. The sweet taste of artificial sweetener may trick the brain and result in a misguided insulin response, causing excess insulin to be released into the blood stream. Insulin is our fat storage hormone.

2. Artificial sweeteners are recognized as toxins by our body. Often the body walls off toxins in fat cells to protect itself. That translates into-more fat!

And, if you need just one more reason-we don't know the real long term effects of artificial sweeteners on our health. Names to look out for are Saccharin (Equal), Aspartame, and Sucralose (Splenda).

 Here are a couple of alternatives that I enjoy: Club soda with lemon and lime; Perrier with lime and a splash of pomegranate juice for an anti-oxidant  punch!

If you're looking for a healthy meal replacement shake, try Usana's Nutrimeal sweetened with natural fructose. Combined with fiber, protein and healthy fats, it's the perfect natural low-glycemic food.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Knowledge is power...avoiding common toxins in food storage, cooking and drinking containers.

  1.  The PTFE in Teflon cooking pans releases toxic fumes and particles when used at high cooking temperatures. Consider switching to cast iron or a ceramic nonstick pan.
  2. Microwaving, harsh detergents, and prolonged contact with fatty foods and oils damage plastic containers, causing dangerous chemicals, like dioxins, to be released in food. For the same reason, avoid covering dishes with plastic wrap when heating food in the microwave. Consider replacing them with glass containers to store and reheat food.
  3. Plastic water bottles and the lining of canned foods may contain BPA, a potent chemical which can mimic estrogen. Consider using a stainless steel water bottle, glass baby bottles, and fresh or frozen instead of canned foods. If you must use a plastic bottle, look for one with the number 5 on the bottom.
  4. Styrene in styrofoam, according to the EPA, is a suspected carcinogen and toxic to the GI and respiratory system, and the kidneys. Even eggs packed in styrofoam absorb these toxins! Knowing this, you can easily avoid styrofoam plates, cups and containers.
      Source: THE HEALTHY HOME by Dr. Myron and Dave Wentz

Friday, January 6, 2012

12 Nutrition Swaps for 2012

1. Breadcrumbs to Seeds                                                                                           How to: Opt for sesame seeds, chopped pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds instead of breadcrumbs to coat chicken and fish.                                                                 HealthyPayoff: Get the crunch you crave but with more healthy fat, fiber and protein.

2. Brown Rice to Cauliflower                                                                                      How to: Pulse fresh cauliflower in a food processor until it resembles rice. Steam or sauté it and enjoy it how you would use brown rice.                                                                         Healthy Payoff: Yes brown rice is healthy, but cauliflower rice has only 30 calories per half-cup vs. brown rice's 110 calories. Plus the cauliflower version has 50 percent more fiber.                                                                                                                   

3. Spaghetti Noodles to Zucchini Ribbons                                                                   How to: Using a vegetable peeler or spiralizer (available online for about $30), make zucchini resemble spaghetti strands.                                                                                     Healthy Payoff: A cup of zucchini pasta has one-sixth the calories of cooked whole grain pasta (28 versus 174 calories per cup) and meets half your day's vitamin C requirement.

Personal note: Spaghetti squash works nicely here.    

4. Romaine to Kale                                                                                                                                    How to: Chop kale into small one to two inch pieces and massage in a healthy salad dressing (using your hands). The chopping and hand massage tenderize the raw kale and make it a great salad base.                                                                                                              Healthy Payoff: Kale provides more vitamin A, C, E, K and iron than romaine. 

5. Chicken to Beans                                                                                                        How to: For every one ounce of chicken in a recipe, swap in 1/4 cup of canned beans that have been rinsed and drained (this removes 40 percent of the sodium).                                   Healthy Payoff: Beans provide more fiber and folate (B vitamin), and three times more iron. 

6. Lasagne Noodles to Eggplant Slices                                                                                         How to: With a knife or mandolin, slice eggplant lengthwise into 1/4" slices to resemble lasagna noodles. Use in place of some or all of the noodles in your favorite recipe.                       Healthy Payoff: Each noodle swap saves you about 50 calories (16 calories per eggplant slice vs 64 calories per noodle). Plus you get more heart healthy potassium and three grams more fiber with the eggplant version.

7. Pretzels to Nuts                                                                                                                               How to: Keep one-ounce portioned bags of your favorite nuts in your purse, briefcase, office drawer and glove compartment. What's one ounce?? Answer: 23 almonds, 14 walnut halves, 19 pecan halves, 49 pistachios, 18 cashews or 28 peanuts.                                              Healthy Payoff: Get a crunchy, savory snack with more protein, healthy fat and fiber.

8. Whole Grain Bread to Sprouted Whole Grain Bread                                                  How to: Usually you'll find sprouted bread (and English muffins) in the frozen section of the grocery store. Most grocers have it, so ask if you can't find it.                                       Healthy Payoff: Your body can absorb more minerals such as iron and zinc from sprouted breads. Plus sprouted varieties may be easier to digest and cause less bloat.

9. Whipped Topping to 2% Greek Yogurt                                                                                          How to: With a fork, stir Greek yogurt until creamy. Use a dollop on French toast, mixed berries or pie in place of whipped topping. Note: The 2 percent yogurt variety is worth the extra calories for a creamier texture and less acidic taste than fat-free versions. Plus milk fat contains "CLA" -- a healthy compound that may promote fat burning and muscle building for exercisers.                 Healthy Payoff: These are about the same number of calories, but the yogurt has three times more protein, about 30 times more calcium and also contains good bacteria to promote healthy digestion and immunity. 

10. Oil to Nut Seed Butter (for salad dressing)                                                                 How to: Instead of oil, use natural peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower seed butter or tahini (sesame seed paste) as the base of your salad dressings. Note: Below is a quick recipe for lemon-tahini dressing.                                                          
Healthy Payoff: A dressing using nuts and seed butters contains healthy fats (just like an oil-based dressing), but you'll get extra fiber and minerals such as copper, calcium, magnesium and iron.

Lemon-Tahini Dressing (makes about 1 cup)

10 tablespoons water

5 tablespoons tahini

4 tablespoons lemon juice

One-half tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 teaspoon honey

1 clove garlic, minced

Sea salt and pepper, to taste (about one-half teaspoon each)

11.High Fiber Cold Cereal to Oatmeal                                                                                             How to: Instead of pouring a bowl of cold cereal, make half a cup of rolled oats with one cup of water (or your favorite milk) in the microwave for two to three minutes. Or consider making a big batch of steel-cut oats in the crockpot & freeze it in individual portions.                              Healthy Payoff: Even though the healthy cold cereal you eat may be high in fiber, it is "dry" and contains only 2 percent water whereas a bowl of oatmeal is a whopping 84 percent water. What does this mean? More water = more fullness and appetite control through the morning and even into the afternoon. 

12. Butter to Avocado                                                                                                                      How to: When you are baking, substitute some or all of the butter with pureed avocado. It may tint your baked goods a subtle green color, but it won't impact the flavor. Note: Start out swapping only 1/3 of the butter and increase gradually until over time you find the perfect swap amount for your recipe.                                               
Healthy Payoff: One tablespoon of avocado puree has 75 percent fewer calories than butter (23 vs. 100 calories) and contains healthier fat, fiber, folate (B vitamin), vitamin K, vitamin C and potassium. 

Author: Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD,CSSD,LDN