Archive for December, 2013

Four Natural Ways to Cleanse Your Liver

1.      Warm Lemon Water

Kick-start the day with a half glass of warm lemon water. In Chinese medicine sour tasting foods have long be used to promote strong liver health. Remember, this isn’t lemonade, so don’t add any sweeteners. Just purified water and a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice!


2.      Avocados

Avocados are a great natural way to help protect your liver and can actually help boost your livers ability to cleanse itself. Avocados contain a high amount of glutathione-producing compounds; glutathione is the most powerful antioxidant in the body (ten times more powerful than Vitamin C). It neutralizes free radicals, boosts the immune system and detoxifies the liver. Try adding an organic avocado to your next meal and start reaping the benefits of its liver cleansing properties immediately.


3.      Turmeric

Turmeric not only protects the liver from damage, but also supports the regeneration of affected liver cells. It also encourages natural bile production and helps to keep the body toxin-free. Be sure to use fresh turmeric as ground or dried turmeric can often contain mold and won’t hold the same active medicinal properties. Most Middle Eastern or Asian grocery stores will carry fresh turmeric.


4.      Garlic

Garlic contains essential amounts of sulfur compounds that activate enzymes in the liver responsible for flushing out toxins from the body. Garlic also contains the nutrient selenium, which is widely known to help protect the liver from toxins. Add some thinly sliced cloves of garlic to your cooking or if you’re game simply swallow a few sliced pieces in the same way that you would a supplement tablet.


New Study Negates Weight Management Claims of Artificial Sweeteners

New Study Negates Weight Management Claims of Artificial Sweeteners

The featured study, published in the January 2013 issue of the journal Appetite was done by a Brazilian research team with the Faculty of Medicine of the Federal University do Rio Grande do Sul. Rats were fed plain yogurt sweetened with either aspartame, saccharin, or sugar, plus their regular rat chow, for 12 weeks.


“Results showed that addition of either saccharin or aspartame to yogurt resulted in increased weight gain compared to addition of sucrose, however total caloric intake was similar among groups,” the researchers write.


The reason for the similar calorie consumption between the groups was due to increased chow consumption by the rats given artificially sweetened yoghurt. This type of compensation has been found in previous studies as well, indicating that when your body gets a hit of sweet taste without the calories to go with it, it adversely affects your appetite control mechanisms, causing increased food cravings. The authors concluded that:

“Greater weight gain was promoted by the use of saccharin or aspartame, compared with sucrose, and this weight gain was unrelated to caloric intake. We speculate that a decrease in energy expenditure or increase in fluid retention might be involved.”


You Actually Gain Weight by Using “Artificial Sweeteners


A 2010 scientific review published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine(YJBM) discussed the neurobiology of sweet cravings and the unexpected effect of artificial sweeteners on appetite control. It cites several large scale prospective cohort studies that found positive correlations between artificial sweetener use and weight gain, which flies in the face of “conventional wisdom” to cut calories in order to lose weight. For example:

“The San Antonio Heart Study examined 3,682 adults over a seven- to eight-year period in the 1980s. When matched for initial body mass index (BMI), gender, ethnicity, and diet, drinkers of artificially sweetened beverages consistently had higher BMIs at the follow-up, with dose dependence on the amount of consumption. Average BMI gain was +1.01 kg/m2 for control and 1.78 kg/m2 for people in the third quartile for artificially sweetened beverage consumption.


The American Cancer Society study conducted in early 1980s included 78,694 women who were highly homogenous with regard to age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and lack of preexisting conditions. At one-year follow-up, 2.7 percent to 7.1 percent more regular artificial sweetener users gained weight compared to non-users matched by initial weight… Saccharin use was also associated with eight-year weight gain in 31,940 women from the Nurses’ Health Study conducted in the 1970s.”


Experiments have found that sweet taste, regardless of its caloric content, enhances your appetite. Aspartame has been found to have the most pronounced effect, but the same applies for other artificial sweeteners, such as acesulfame potassium and saccharin.


The reason why glucose or sucrose (table sugar) tends to lead to lower food consumption compared to non-caloric artificial sweeteners is because the calories contained in natural sweeteners trigger biological responses to keep your overall energy consumption constant. This was again evidenced in a study published last year, which concluded that:

“The results support the hypothesis that consuming non-caloric sweeteners may promote excessive intake and body weight gain by weakening a predictive relationship between sweet taste and the caloric consequences of eating.”


In essence, real sugar allows your body to accurately determine that it has received enough calories, thereby activating satiety signaling. Without the calories, your appetite is activated by the sweet taste, but as your body keeps waiting for the calories to come, sensations of hunger remain.


“Human research must rely on subjective ratings and voluntary dietary control. Rodent models helped elucidate how artificial sweeteners contribute to energy balance. Rats conditioned with saccharin supplement had significantly elevated total energy intake and gained more weight with increased body adiposity compared to controls conditioned with glucose. Saccharin-conditioned rats also failed to curb their chow intake following a sweet pre-meal…


Increasing evidence suggests that artificial sweeteners do not activate the food reward pathways in the same fashion as natural sweeteners… Lastly, artificial sweeteners, precisely because they are sweet, encourage sugar craving and sugar dependence… Unsweetening the world’s diet may be the key to reversing the obesity epidemic,” the YJBM review states.


That last statement is probably the most accurate conclusion there is. Americans in particular are addicted to the flavor sweet, which appears to trigger a complex set of biological systems, pathways, and mechanisms that in the end leads to excess weight gain whether that flavor comes loaded with calories or not.

8 Reasons you’re having difficulties sleeping

Between finals, grad school applications, work, and volunteering I’m a walking zombie.  Here are 8 reasons you might not be sleeping effectively and some easy strategies to help you get back on track!

1)    You aren’t getting to bed early enough

The closer to 10pm that you can get to sleep, the better! Human growth hormone (hGH) production spikes at 10pm, Midnight, and 2am, so if you are going to sleep consistently past 10pm, you’re missing a key window and doing yourself a huge disservice, increasing the likelihood of waking up fatigued, and quietly sabotaging your fat loss or muscle gain efforts!

Strategy: Challenge yourself to get to bed by 10pm at least 3 times this week. Notice the difference you feel the next day. It might be just the motivation you need to make a new habit!


2)    You are too stressed

Are you in a job you hate? Has a relationship gone bad? Financial issues? Chronic stress leads to huge increases in cortisol, which among many other things,increases inflammation, and actually suppresses the release of melatonin, a hormone vital to getting proper rest.

Strategy: Practice stress reduction techniques regularly! Whether it’s meditation, yoga, prayer, breathing exercises, painting, going for a walk, or really anything else that you find lowers your stress, make a point to actively de-stresseveryday.

BONUS Tip: Work towards identifying the real cause of your stress and take bold action to remedy the situation over time.


3)    You’ve fallen victim to the screen

Cell phones. Tablets. Laptops. Gameboys. (…AnyTetris fans out there?) Our bodies are meant to work in harmony with the natural rhythm of the day. When we expose ourselves to bright lights at night, our bodies get confused!

Strategy:Try just one day this week to put all bright lights and screens down by 9pm. No email. No Facebook. No Netflix. No Candy Crush.No Tinder. (Yes. I said it.) Grab that book you’ve “been meaning to finish,” curl up on a chair, and as soon as those eyes start drooping, give in and head straight to bed! Notice how you feel the next day.


4)    You are drinking too much caffeine

Making Starbucks runs in the morning, after lunch, and on the way home from work? Having too much caffeine throughout the day can have a real impact on how quickly you can get to sleep at night.

Strategy: Gradually wean yourself off of the caffeine. Start simple. If you currently drink 3 coffees a day, move to just 2. A week later, move to one.  Eventually, you might be able to cut the caffeine entirely! Also watch out for when you are consuming caffeine. Having it in the morning is obviously not as bad as having your latte two hours before bed.


5)    You need a new pillow

Strategy: If you find yourself waking up with a stiff neck, sore shoulders, or lower back pain, consider exploring and investing in a nice pillow. It can make HUGE difference in your sleep quality!


6)    You are in your own head

How many times when we “try to go to sleep” do we end up sitting in our bed for 45 minutes thinking about how badly we want to go to sleep? All the while, each passing minute gets us angrier and more frustrated!

Strategy: If you find yourself in this common situation, I always recommend my clients get a distraction. Search the Apple or Droid app store for any number of simple 10 min guided meditation or “white noise” apps! 


7)    You are exercising too close to bedtime

I hesitate to list this one for two reasons. First, kudosto you for actually finding the time to workout! Two, I’ve seen people for whom working out before bed actually helps them get to sleep earlier. That said, for many, this is a big no-no.

Strategy: Try working out early in the morning. If that’s just not possible, try earlier in the evening. If that’s still not possible, try taking a cold shower before bed after you’ve hit the gym. I’ve seen this help tremendously with a lot of people, myself included!


8)    You are waking up at the wrong time

Our bodies work on the circadian rhythm (rise with the sun, rest with the sunset) and are best suited to wake up just after REM sleep. A typical sleep cycle lasts 90 minutes. Wake up at the wrong time in the cycle, particularly during deep sleep or mid-dream (i.e. REM) sleep, and even if you got your recommended 7+ hours of shuteye, you might still wake up feeling like a groggy zombie!

Strategy: Get the Sleep Cycle app and try it out.  [It’s $Free.99] For me, I found out after a month of use, that I consistently wake up and feel my best after about 7 hours and 20 minutes of sleep. So now, I always set my alarm for 7 hours and 25 minutes. (It usually takes me no more than about 5 minutes to fall asleep these days).  To be fair, there is some debate on whether apps and devices like these arejust placebo or not, but from my own experience, it certainly worked for me!



Fast Food Kills

Fast Food Kills

Check out this link to a slide show that shows many reasons how and why fast food will kill you. 

Health benefits of Vitamin C

May lower blood pressure
Boosts immune system
Fights cataracts
Lowers risk of stroke
Natural anti-histamine
Removes lead toxicity 


Foods high in Vitamin C

Orange juice


Green pepper

Red pepper

Red cabbage

Tomato juice





1. Hydrate.

Before doing anything else each day, I consume 24 – 36 ounces of purified water with one of two things:

▪   Sole. This super simple pink himalayan salt solution supplies the body with 84 essential ionized minerals, normalizes blood pressure and facilitates cleansing.

▪   Fresh squeezed lemon. Lemon is very alkalinizing, helps digestion, stimulates the bowels, potent diuretic, clears skin, freshens breath and jazzs up otherwise plain old water.

After my big jar of water, I typically enjoy a warm mug of purified water with 1 tablespoon of raw, local honey.


2. Practice tongue scraping. 

Tongue scraping is an Ayurvedic practice that clears toxins from the tongue, helps remove coating on the tongue that leads to bad breath, helps eliminate undigested food particles from the tongue, enhances the sense of taste, promotes overall oral and digestive health, and increases your awareness of your state of health.


3. Pay attention to your lymph. 

I previously wrote about keeping your lymph free and flowing, but here are some great ways to make your body’s detox system function at its peak:

▪   Body Brushing. It’s worth the few extra minutes this takes, because it leads to increased lymphatic circulation, smooth, glowing skin and diminished cellulite.

▪   Lymph massage. While you can treat yourself to a lymph massage by a therapist, there are many videos and articles that can instruct you on self-massages you can do at home.


4. Remember alkalinity.

When I’m ready to eat, I go for an alkalizing, remineralizing green juice. This is a given for anyone seeking a detox or cleanse. Fresh-pressed juices are instantly infused into our bodies, giving us deep hydration, minerals, chlorophyll and nutrients while giving our digestive organs a bit of a vacation. Also, by extending the time between meals, you’re promoting better digestion and facilitating the cleansing process.


5. Detox 

Whether I’m on a full blown fast or a mini-cleanse I always incorporate lots of goodies that help my body clear out toxins quickly. They can be in the form of herbs, spices, essential oils or supplements. Depending on your choice, this can be simple or a bit more thorough — start by adding simple things like lemon to your water, and turmeric or ginger to your foods and fresh-pressed juices.


6. Oxygenate. 

Use breathing exercises, such as yogic breathing, to practice controlling and focusing on the breath. One style is called kapalabhati, and a few of its many benefits are that it:

▪   Generates heat in the body to dissolve toxins and waste.

▪   Clears out the stale, residual air in the lungs and saturates the cells with oxygen and lifeforce energy.

▪   Releases large amounts of carbon dioxide and toxins, thereby purifying the body.

▪   Strengthens the diaphragm, the heart and the entire nervous system.


7. Use castor oil rubs.

 One of the most underrated detox practices! Commonly known as that gross, thick stuff that our parents were probably given as a child, the benefits of castor oil when applied to our body are so much more than anyone could ever expect! Topical application improves lymphatic flow, relieves chronic fluid retention, releases tight muscles and promotes detoxification. I typically apply it before bed or working out at least once per day.


8. Take probiotics.

Known as the go-to cure for stomach ills, probiotics enhance the immune system and aid digestion. Their action as a digestive aid helps play a part in detoxification and cleansing by breaking down substances in the gut. Besides helping digestion, this allows the body to perform at its peak.

While this list is in no way exhaustive of all things detox, these eight practices are my mainstays and offer a great foundation to start adding to your daily routine.


I saw this article on Facebook and decided to share it. Enjoy!

Mentally strong people have healthy habits. They manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in ways that set them up for success in life. Check out these things that mentally strong people don’t do so that you too can become more mentally strong.

1. They Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves

Mentally strong people don’t sit around feeling sorry about their circumstances or how others have treated them. Instead, they take responsibility for their role in life and understand that life isn’t always easy or fair.

2. They Don’t Give Away Their Power

They don’t allow others to control them, and they don’t give someone else power over them. They don’t say things like, “My boss makes me feel bad,” because they understand that they are in control over their own emotions and they have a choice in how they respond.

3. They Don’t Shy Away from Change

Mentally strong people don’t try to avoid change. Instead, they welcome positive change and are willing to be flexible. They understand that change is inevitable and believe in their abilities to adapt.

4. They Don’t Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control

You won’t hear a mentally strong person complaining over lost luggage or traffic jams. Instead, they focus on what they can control in their lives. They recognize that sometimes, the only thing they can control is their attitude.

5. They Don’t Worry About Pleasing Everyone

Mentally strong people recognize that they don’t need to please everyone all the time. They’re not afraid to say no or speak up when necessary. They strive to be kind and fair, but can handle other people being upset if they didn’t make them happy.

6. They Don’t Fear Taking Calculated Risks

They don’t take reckless or foolish risks, but don’t mind taking calculated risks. Mentally strong people spend time weighing the risks and benefits before making a big decision, and they’re fully informed of the potential downsides before they take action.

7. They Don’t Dwell on the Past

Mentally strong people don’t waste time dwelling on the past and wishing things could be different. They acknowledge their past and can say what they’ve learned from it. However, they don’t constantly relive bad experiences or fantasize about the glory days. Instead, they live for the present and plan for the future.

8. They Don’t Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over

Mentally strong people accept responsibility for their behavior and learn from their past mistakes. As a result, they don’t keep repeating those mistakes over and over. Instead, they move on and make better decisions in the future.

9. They Don’t Resent Other People’s Success

Mentally strong people can appreciate and celebrate other people’s success in life. They don’t grow jealous or feel cheated when others surpass them. Instead, they recognize that success comes with hard work, and they are willing to work hard for their own chance at success.

10. They Don’t Give Up After the First Failure

Mentally strong people don’t view failure as a reason to give up. Instead, they use failure as an opportunity to grow and improve. They are willing to keep trying until they get it right.

11. They Don’t Fear Alone Time

Mentally strong people can tolerate being alone and they don’t fear silence. They aren’t afraid to be alone with their thoughts and they can use downtime to be productive. They enjoy their own company and aren’t dependent on others for companionship and entertainment all the time but instead can be happy alone.

12. They Don’t Feel the World Owes Them Anything

Mentally strong people don’t feel entitled to things in life. They weren’t born with a mentality that others would take care of them or that the world must give them something. Instead, they look for opportunities based on their own merits.

13. They Don’t Expect Immediate Results

Whether they are working on improving their health or getting a new business off the ground, mentally strong people don’t expect immediate results. Instead, they apply their skills and time to the best of their ability and understand that real change takes time.