Thursday, August 27, 2009

Healthy Summer Smoothies and Coolers

There's still some summer left, which means there's still time for post-morning-jog smoothies, poolside parties, and fun in the sun. For those who want to keep things healthy as well as fun, here are three of my favorite recipes for summer smoothies and coolers.

These recipes are from New Earth and, having tried them all, I can say that they are truly tasty, not to mention healthy. Enjoy!

Summer Soother
1 can frozen lemonade
1 can water
1 heaping tbsp smoothie mix
Mix and serve over ice.

Zippy Cocktail
Spicy or original V8® 100% Vegetable Juice, 46 oz
1 tsp dill
1 Tbsp grated onion (or 2 tsp dry)
¼ tsp Mrs. Dash
1-3 capsules algae (depending upon your preference)
Chill and serve.

Festive Cooler
2 cups filtered water
1 tsp powdered algae blend
¼ to ½ cup cranberry lemonade (organic sweetened with agave and grape)
Shake or stir and enjoy. This drink looks great in wine or martini glasses for a party, or in a water bottle when you are on the go at the gym, pool, or just out and about.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Do You Need a Brain Gym?

These days you can work out at a gym without breaking a sweat ... you just have to work out at a brain gym rather than a regular gym. And lots of people are! With the baby boomer population aging, the healthcare community is now dedicating more resources than ever to brain health and mental clarity.

A 2006 study conducted by the National Institutes of Health indicates that doing certain brain exercises can improve reasoning and memory. In the past, hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities have used brain games and other mental exercises to help the elderly or those suffering from brain damage maintain and improve brain function.

Now the concept of a brain gym has moved into the mainstream. There are workout facilities dedicated solely to keeping the brain healthy, such as the Mind Spa Mental Fitness Center in Florida, as well as regular gyms that have added special brain gym facilities, such as Nifty After Fifty in California. Memberships run about $50 per month, and many members report being satisfied with the results, despite the significant price tag.

Do-It-Yourself Brain Health
If you're not ready to cough up $50 a month to join a brain gym, never fear. There are things you can do at home to keep your brain healthy and active. Here's a list of 7 of things to ponder:
  1. Play brain games at home on the AARP website
  2. Feed your brain with blue-green algae with cell wall removed, one of the only nutrients proven to pass through the blood-brain barrier and nourish the brain
  3. Socialize with friends: studies show that people with active social lives have reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's and dementia
  4. Do cognitive exercises: a study at Duke University indicates that performing cognitive tasks that create new associations in the brain will keep your mind sharp. These include getting dressed in the dark, putting your watch on the opposite wrist, or brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand.
  5. Moderate your drinking: heavy drinking (14 or more alcoholic drinks per week) shrinks your brain, so drink less for a healthier brain.
  6. Dance! Studies indicate that physical exercises requiring coordination, such as dancing, preserve brain cells and reduce the risk of Alzheimer's.
  7. Do good: volunteering is an excellent way to stay sharp mentally. Volunteers experience lower levels of stress as well as increase their cognitive and communication skills, all of which gives the brain a boost.
Most of all, enjoy life! After all, what good is a healthy brain if you can't enjoy it?

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Missing Link in Nutritional Supplements

When I counsel people about nutritional supplements, I find that people often have the complaint, "Nothing is happening!" They report this after taking the supplements for a few weeks or a few months. I almost always find this amusing because they are experiencing what I call "the missing link."

The Missing Link
What's the missing link? When it comes to nutritional supplements, the missing link is what people "miss" when they look at what's changed about their health. Most people notice when something positive occurs, such as an increase in energy or a better mood. What they fail to notice, though, are the health challenges that are no longer present (i.e., the ones that are now missing). Those are the missing links.

When I counsel people about nutrition, I have them complete an intake form listing all of their health complaints and issues. As the weeks go by, I also have people journal about any changes they notice about their health. Some of these include the effects of toxins leaving their body -- such as bad breath, skin eruptions, and even diarrhea -- while others are more positive, including more stamina and mental clarity.

When someone tells me that their new supplements and nutritional regimen are having no effect, I ask them to review their intake form to see if they can identify any missing links. Most of the time, people are surprised to realize that many of their previous health complaints are no longer present.

A Case in Point of the Missing Link
For instance, I recently counseled one lady who felt her program wasn't working. She had started a nutritional program that included high-quality blue-green algae, enzymes, acidophilus, and bifidus. I thought it unlikely that these powerful nutritional supplements were "doing nothing." Upon reviewing her intake form, she realized that she no longer suffered from weekly headaches, and that her back pain was greatly reduced. It may seem odd that she didn't immediately realize such a change in her health, however her experience is fairly typical. She, like many of us, was so busy every single day that she didn't notice much about her health unless a symptom was so painful or annoying that it interfered with her daily routine. She was aware of a headache when she had one, but failed to notice the lack of one. Interesting, isn't it?

The Moral of the Missing Link
The moral of this story is that before you begin a new health regimen, take stock of your current health. Take pen and paper, and do a mental review, starting at the top of your head and ending at the bottom of your feet. For instance, starting with your head, jot down whether you have headaches, eye strain, hearing problems, mental confusion, sinus congestion, teeth sensitivity, skin problems, or poor-quality hair. Do this kind of careful review for each area of your body.

As you start your new health regimen, whether it be taking supplements or engaging in a new exercise program, journal about any changes you notice. These could include changes in your weight, mood, skin condition, bowel movements, ability to sleep at night, or daily energy level. After a few weeks or months, go back to your intake form and compare your health before and after. You maybe surprised at what you discover. You may find a missing link or two.

In addition to helping you clarify how your new health regimen may or may not be helping you, this process also helps you be more aware of your physical and mental health in general. Awareness is always the first step to good health, so engaging in this process on a regular basis is a good idea. Think of it as your own brand of health insurance!

Free Health Consult
I regularly consult with people who are interested in improving their health through the use of high-quality organic whole foods. For a free consult, please visit our web form.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lose Weight by Eating Like the Asians or the French

Get this:

The farmers in our country produce enough food for every man, woman, and child to eat 3,800 calories per day.

That is about twice the number of calories that the average person should consume to stay healthy!

Along with the massive number of available food choices and the ability to "super size" just about any meal, it's a wonder that we Americans still manage to fit into our clothes (actually, many of us don't because we are morbidly obese).

As Americans we face the problem of overabundance. Not only do farmers overproduce food for this country, but our current lifestyle and culture push people toward being overweight. In this country, eating out is perceived as both a social pleasure and a sensual reward. Americans work hard and play hard, and we reward ourselves by overeating. It's not considered rude to overeat. How many of us had grandmothers who kept trying to feed us more and more food? In this country, food is love -- the more food, the more love.

The Asian and French Difference
In contrast, in Asian and French cultures, good cuisine isn't about quantity, it's about quality. Have you ever been to a Japanese restaurant and been served a beautifully-arranged plate of food? The focus is on presentation, and the food that is served is almost always pleasing to the eye. Whereas Americans delight in a plate overflowing with steak and potatoes, Asian and French chefs offer dishes with a lot of "white space."

In addition, in these cultures children are often taught to eat only to 70% of capacity because it is considered rude to overeat (and loosening your belt after a heavy meal is definitely not acceptable social behavior).

The Asian Focus on Live Foods
Finally, the Asian culture has a much stronger focus on "live" foods than the American culture. Asians consume a great deal of marine algae and seaweed, as well as enzymatically live foods, such as fermented soy products. Studies show that blue-green algae, for instance, keeps people slim because it possesses a great deal of fiber, helps cells detoxify, and best of all, keeps people in a good mood (which prevents emotional eating).

If you want to lose weight, consider viewing food from the viewpoint of the Asians or the French: feast your eyes on food, not your mouth. Focus on foods that are beautifully presented in modest quantities, rather than large heaping piles of food that will last but an instant on your lips, but an eternity on your hips!

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