Sunday, February 26, 2017

Is Intermittent Fasting Right For You?

Our bodies were built for periodic cycles of "feast and famine".  Fasting has a number of health benefits, including improved cardiovascular health, gene repair, longevity and reduced cancer risks.  When we are always eating (feast mode) our body forgoes much of its repair and rejuvenation programming.  This is done primarily while we sleep.  While it might seem that to "starve" our bodies over a long term fasting cycle is a good idea, it is actually the opposite.  We begin to store "fat", thinking we are in the "famine" mode.  However, intermittent fasting mimics the cycles between feast and famine, which produces a number of biochemical benefits and helps our bodies operate.

Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting:
*Normalizes insulin and leptin sensitivity, which boosts mitochondrial energy.
*Normalizes ghrelin levels (also known as the hunger hormone).
*Promotes HGH (human growth hormone) production.
Research has shown fasting can raise HGH in women by 1300%, in men by 2000%. HGH is plays an important role in health, fitness and slowing the aging process.  HGH is also a fat-burning hormone, which explains why Intermittent fasting is so effective in weight loss.
* Lowers Triglycerides and reduces Oxidative stress.

Most people think they cannot go without eating for very long.  One of the easiest, most effective and safe ways to fast is the 16/8 fast.  Using your sleep cycle as the kick start, finish dinner around 6 pm and don't eat anything until mid-morning (10 am).  Of course don't forget to keep drinking your water!  You can also have tea or coffee but try to limit the sugar, so that insulin and leptin sensitivity can work properly during the fast.  According to Dr. Amy Shah, women need only fast every other day for the best results.  Read more on that here.

While Ayurveda recommends that everyone should go for 12 hours without eating between dinner and breakfast for optimal health, intermittent fasting can be done once a week or one weekend per month.  Of course, this is all depends on  if you are in good physical health to do so and you know your predominant "dosha", which you can read more about in this article by Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary.  Dr. Chaudhary has written a well respected book called The Prime, which I am anxious to read.  

Remember that the digestion process takes up a lot of your body's attention and energy.  When we are constantly eating and digesting, we have less time and resources to focus on maintenance and repair.  A body that is healthy and working efficiently makes it easier to lose weight and keep it off.

Please do your own research and consult your trusted health care practitioner before making any dietary changes

Have a great week.
Be kind.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The New Comfort Foods

All over the world when people are going through a stressful period or feeling nostalgic we reach for comfort food.  Something that maybe our parents or grandparents would feed us when we were feeling down.  The only problem is most comfort foods are characterized by its high caloric, high carbohydrate level and its simple preparation.  Which means its probably not the best thing to eat when you are feeling down.  

According to experts at Pinterest they see comfort foods moving in a lighter direction.  And with more than 4 billion food and drink "pins" they should know.  Things like lettuce instead of bread on sandwiches, cauliflower "rice", spiralized zucchini or spaghetti squash instead of pastas.  Even Jackfruit in place of pork, beef and chicken.  One of the fastest growing comfort foods is the Buddha Bowls, which are healthful, colorful, nutritious and easy to make.  Buddha bowl pins shot up more than 200% last year, making it one of 2017's top food trends.

Here are a few "comfort food" recipes we have listed on the blog:
The most requested is Baked Mac-n-"Cheese".
For breakfast:  Vegan Hash Brown Casserole.
Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies  (Don't eat too many! A lot of sugar).

 If you are looking for comfort food because you are stressed out there are other options than pigging out on food.  Go for a walk, get outside, exercise, meditate.  Here are 2 articles which might help: 

It is very easy to become overwhelmed with all the crazy things going on in the world today.  

"Receive hope and courage when a great dilemma is present, for the solution must also be... commit to being the solution."  Guru Singh

Have a great week. 
Be kind. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sustainable/Eco Friendly Lifestyle

The world is changing very quickly and we are being bombarded everyday with many toxic chemicals in the food we eat, the cleaning products we use and even the air we breathe.  Thankfully some governments, businesses and individuals around the world are beginning to take actions to going more green.  From opting for alternative energies such as wind, hydro and solar power and switching to lower emission transportation uses, making life more environmentally friendly simply makes sense.  Denmark's wind power generates 140% of its electricity leaving enough to send to Germany, Sweden and Norway.  In Vancouver, B.C. its goal was to be entirely powered by clean energy by 2050- not just electricity, but transportation and heating as well.  The city adopted a goal of 50% sustainable mode share by 2020- half of all trips in the city would be taken by walking, biking or transit rather than autos.  They hit the target in 2015!  Watch the video here. 

We can decrease the amount of toxins we consume through eating, cleaning and
even through the air we breathe in our homes by making some small changes.

*Food Choices- Buy organic: apples, grapes, potatoes, spinach and cucumbers are very high in pesticide residues.  Some food with low pesticide residue are avocados, pineapples, organic corn, cabbage (a great probiotic), eggplant and cauliflower.  See the full list here.

*Cleaning Products-There are many natural products you can use for all the cleaning around the house.  By using these you have reduced the amount of toxins your body is exposed to. White vinegar with lemongrass or wild orange essential oil will clean all your counter tops, bathrooms and leave a clean fresh aroma throughout the house (mix equal parts white vinegar with water and add 10-20 drops of essential oil into a spray bottle).  You can use the same mixture in cleaning your toilets by pouring into and leaving it while you clean the rest of the bathroom.  Then brush and flush.

*Laundry- Ditch the dryer sheets!  Instead, use Woolzies, available online, at Whole Foods, Target etc.  These wool balls last for 1000's of loads and when used with a few drops of essential oil, make your clothes smell awesome, and with no toxins!

According to the author of The Brain Wash, here are the seven most common chemicals found in dryer sheets and their effect on the central nervous system:

1. Alpha-Terpineol causes central nervous system disorders. Can also cause loss of muscular coordination, central nervous system depression, and headache.

2. Benzyl Alcohol causes central nervous system disorders, headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, central nervous system depression, and, in severe cases, death.

3. Camphor on the US EPA’s Hazardous Waste list. Central nervous system stimulant, causes dizziness, confusion, nausea, twitching muscles, and convulsions.

4. Chloroform on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list. Neurotoxic and carcinogenic.

5. Ethyl Acetate on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list. Narcotic. May cause headaches and narcosis (stupor).

6. Linalool causes central nervous system disorders. Narcotic. In studies of animals, it caused ataxic gait (loss of muscular coordination), reduced spontaneous motor activity, and depression.

7. Pentane causes headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, and loss of consciousness. Repeated inhalation of vapors causes central nervous system depression.

Those Woolzies are looking like a wise choice, aren't they?! 

*Air Cleaning- House plants are one of the easiest ways to clean up the quality of the air we breathe in our homes.  Plants like Bromeliads, Dracaenas, Spider Plants and Jade Plants are the top "cleaners".  Removing up to 80% of toxins from the air.  Also by using an Essential Oil Diffuser instead of candles or air fresheners, you are reducing more toxins from the air you breathe. 

*Drink Water-And not from a plastic bottle!  Invest in a "Swell" bottle: they keep your water cold up to 24 hours and liquids hot for 12 hours.  They are beautifully crafted and have multiple design options available.  Kris wanted me to say that if there are any Lilly Pulitzer fans reading, you can purchase a Lilly Print Swell Bottle at your local Starbucks (if you're lucky enough to find them in stock), and beginning February 28, you can purchase them online at

We use ours every day!

If our day-to-day actions are more environmentally friendly we not only help the environment, but we can benefit financially, physically and mentally as well.
Have a great week.
Be kind.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Forgotten Fiber...

Did you know that only 3% of Americans are meeting the RDA intake of fiber?   That means 97% aren't eating enough!  Fiber is something our body needs, but never digests or absorbs it.  We need two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble.  Soluble dissolves in water and helps to slow down digestion and lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels.  Citrus, whole fruit, carrots, peas, oats and barley are some examples of foods that are rich in this type of fiber.  Insoluble is NOT digested and is responsible for moving food through our systems, which in turn helps prevent constipation and more importantly, colon cancer.  Whole grains, as well as nuts, seeds, potatoes, beans and cauliflower, are rich in insoluble fiber.  Whole plant foods are the only natural source of fiber.  Eating plenty of  rich high fiber foods is the number one way to lose weight, lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  Simply put, processing food strips out the fiber!  Refining grains like rice removes the outer coat of the grain (the fiber rich part of whole foods).  Even pulp free fruit juices lose most of their fiber in processing, so just eat an orange instead! 

 Remember, you can't put the original healthy fiber back in stripped foods.  Fiber supplements are lacking in vital nutrients, vitamins and minerals.  The only way to make sure you're getting the fiber you need is to eat whole plant foods.  For men under 50 the recommended daily allowance is 38 grams; over fifty, 30 grams.  Women over fifty need 25 grams; under fifty, 21 grams.  To make sure you are getting enough is simple: avoid processed foods, and stick to plant-based whole foods.

*Eat more beans.
*Choose whole grains.
*Don't peel your fruit (apples, peaches etc).
*Eat more veggies (they all contain fiber).
*Snack smart (whole fruit, raw veggies, nuts and seeds)/
Drink a lot of good quality water.

For more on fiber, read this article by Dr. Michael Greger.


We have now been blogging for six years!  In the past two years, we have tried to post something new every week. Thank you to those of you who have just started reading and those who have been with us since the beginning.  We hope that our content has been useful.

In closing, I strongly urge you to get a copy of  Superlife by Darin Olien.  I have read this book numerous times and consider it to be my "Health Bible".   Darin explains in an easy to understand way how our bodies work and what we need to do to live a "super life".

Have a great week.
Be kind.