Expand your heart with green foods

Anyone who has taken a cooking class with me, knows I'm in love with green foods. They are my warrior ingredients whether I'm teaching about detoxification, weight loss, cancer, brain health, or gut health. Recently, I discovered a whole new reason I steer toward eating so many greens. The color green reflects the qualities of LOVE: openness, expansiveness, nurturing, compassion, abundance. The impact of color in our diet and the way it influences our health comes from the work of one of my nutritional sheroes, Dr. Deanna Minich. I'm knee, or I should say heart, deep into her new course Rainbow Food and Supplements. After 15 years studying nutrition she is rocking the way I look at color in our diet. In light of spring, let's look at the color green or what she refers to as our "LOVE system". 

 

Take a minute to reflect on how GREEN foods make you feel.

 

Think about how you feel when you work in your garden or take a walk in nature. Taking in the color green through your senses fills your heart with peace, and gives you a sense of being alive and in harmony with life. Similarly, eating green foods can have a strong sensation in the heart center. Some people claim that green foods makes them feel more vital. Others, have a hard time consuming green vegetables. There is no right or wrong feeling here. It is simply good information for your relationship with the LOVE system. 

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What Should You Feed Dogs and Cats for Their Health and The Planet?

Pets bring unconditional love and immense joy to many families. They also consume nearly 1/3 of the animal products in the United States — creating what is, for many people, an ethical and environmental dilemma. What’s the answer? Can dogs be vegan or vegetarian? Can cats be plant-based? Or must they eat meat to survive?

I grew up with cats. The sound and warm vibration of my beloved Popo purring in my lap is one of the happiest memories of my childhood.

Companion animals teach us about unconditional love and devotion, and they often bring out the very best in us humans.

Now, studies are showing that having a companion animal can be good for us, too.


How Dogs and Cats Can Improve Our Health

It’s no secret that children often love pets. But recent research has taken it a step further.

Children raised with pets are less likely to become asthmatic, more likely to be kind to other children, and more likely to have healthy self-esteem once they reach their teens.


Researchers are also finding that having pets positively influences children’s physical and emotional development and even their scholastic achievement.

But it’s not only children who can benefit from a loving relationship with a furry friend. One of the most celebrated “pet studies” was undertaken by Erika Friedmann and her co-workers at the University of Pennsylvania.

They found an unmistakable association between pet ownership and extended survival in patients hospitalized with coronary heart disease.

Those patients who had pets at home were far more likely to survive — even after accounting for differences in the extent of heart damage and other medical problems.

In 1991, the medical value of pets became unexpectedly apparent to researchers who were conducting the Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial. They were studying the effects of two pharmaceutical drugs (encainide and flecainide) on men who had had heart attacks and were now experiencing irregular heartbeats.

Paradoxically, the drugs were found to cause an increase in cardiac deaths. At the same time, however, it was noted that those patients who had dogs were only one-sixth as likely to die during the year of the study as those who did not have dogs.

Can you imagine what would have happened if the drugs rather than the dogs had been shown to cause a six-fold decrease in deaths?

The drugs might be prescribed for every heart attack patient in the world with an irregular heartbeat. And drug companies would be spending hundreds of millions of dollars telling physicians and the public how great the drugs were.

But because the loyalty and loving friendship of a dog cannot be bottled and sold, there has been no such publicity campaign. And most people to this day do not realize how much healing can be found in loving relationships — including ones with companion animals.


But There’s A Shadow Side, Too

man feeding dog

No offense to Fido or Buddy, nor to Leo or Cleopatra, but there are also shadows to pet ownership. It’s worth taking a fair look at them to round out the picture.

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Is Coconut Oil Good For You?

I get this question a lot! Mostly, when discussing cooking oils. So here are my thoughts on coconut oil. Yes, it is a saturated fat, it is actually one of the few found in the plant-kingdom, and a significant percentage of that saturated fat is composed of Lauric acid, which is (comparatively speaking) quickly and easily metabolised as a very good energy source.

This means you are likely to burn the kind of saturated fat found in coconut oil for fuel rather than pack it away as fat, provided you are sufficiently active and it isn’t digested along with something high in sugar to supersede & hijack your metabolism first. An example of this would be vegan treats such as cheesecake where coconut oil is mixed with lots of maple or date syrup and nuts to create the dairy-free cheesecake filling.

Coconut oil is the optimal oil to cook with — if you are going to cook with oil — due to the fact that it holds up (meaning it does not oxidize) better than other oils at high temperatures (translation – less free radicals). It is immune boosting, has anti-infection properties and some studies suggest it aids with the absorption of certain vitamins and other nutrients like beta-carotene and some amino acids.

That said I use coconut oil very rarely in my cooking. In fact, I rub more on my skin than I consume in my diet!

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Yoga Eating Principles

You may have noticed since your yoga practice has become more regular that you naturally find yourself gravitating toward a type of diet that gives you nourishment, energy, lightness, and flexibility. A yogi diet is a balanced way of eating that ancient yogis believed had a huge influence not only over your physical wellbeing, but also over your thoughts, and ultimately your emotional and spiritual wellbeing. With continued awareness about the body through yoga you may find that vegetarian foods become a natural choice. This way of eating helps you maintain that same energized, light feeling you achieve through yoga.


Eat ‘life-force’ in abundance

Like all living organisms in the universe the foods we eat possess qualities and energies that affect our mind, body and soul. Yogic food is known as ‘sattvic’, which simply means ‘pure essence’. These foods are considered abundant in ‘prana’, the universal life force that gives energy to all beings in both the plant and animal kingdoms. When you eat a pure diet the food and life-force found in these foods bring you physical strength, a good mind, health, and longevity. They calm, purify and lead to a peaceful mind in control of a fit body, with a balanced flow of energy between them leading to a peaceful state where higher consciousness becomes accessible. Enabling you to keep an open mind to possibilities, think more positively and be far more kind to others and ourselves.

Eating a sattvic diet means you get to enjoy the plant kingdom in its total abundance. Whole, real foods, found in their natural state dance together on your plate, offering their vibrancy to you. Foods, which are pure, light, soothing and easily digested, become your staples. There are whole grains beautifully arranged around lots of olive oil and vegetables. There are fresh fruits and natural sugars scattered through meals offering us the taste of sweet in perfect proportions, handfuls of nuts and seeds to bring texture and healthful benefits, nothing is too stimulating nor is it boring, this way of eating is vegetarian food alchemy in its most beautiful form.


Maintain a consist energy flow

A Yogi In A Pool
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Can You Eat Too Much Avocado?

The once-humble avocado has infiltrated almost every meal of the day: we’re spreading it on toast, using it to make chocolate mousse, and chucking it into our smoothies to make it extra thick and creamy. If you’re like most people, you’re probably eating more avocado than ever before. But as your scooping out (or ordering) that buttery, green goodness you may have stopped to ask yourself, how much avocado is too much?


You might think all that healthy fat means it’s always a healthy choice. But is it? Therein lies the conundrum. We're told that avocados are super good for us, with a balanced amount of monounsaturated, saturated, and polyunsaturated fats that help you absorb fat-soluble vitamins (like vitamin K, A, D, and E) from your food and leave you feeling full and satiated. They contain B vitamins (super important for methylation) and vitamin E, which helps with collagen production and retaining moisture in your skin. They help keep your brain healthy and your immune system strong. Gosh, hand me guac!

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The Magic of Prebiotics

"All disease begins in the gut"  ~ Hippocrates

 

The discovery of the microbiome and the functions of all the microbes within our body has been equally as important as the discovery of the human genome.  The microbiome protects us against germs, breaks down food to release energy, and produces vitamins. When it comes to supporting gut health, much of the emphasis has been placed on probiotics, the good bacteria known to have specific benefits on the digestive tract.

 

An imbalance in the good and bad bacteria in the digestive system can show up in a wide array of systemic conditions, including hormonal issues, metabolic dysfunction, depression, cognition, even some cancers. It is recommended we take probiotic supplements, eat yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and sourdough bread to flood the GI tract with good microbes. However, for these bugs to function optimally in our favor, they need to feed on substrates called prebiotics. 

 

Think of prebiotics as fertilizer for our microbiome. They are what probiotics feed on; in fact, we cannot fully digest these dietary fibers without good bacteria. Prebiotics and probiotics live in symbiosis. We need good bacteria to utilize the fiber we get from food and we equally need prebiotics to maintain the balance of good and bad bacteria in the GI tract. Research has shown that in healthy individuals, the more prebiotic foods we eat, the more good bacteria can proliferate, including Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, L. reuteri, bifidobacteria, and certain strains of L. casei or the L. acidophilus-group.1

 

Most commonly we think of prebiotic foods to include onions, garlic, jerusalem artichokes, asparagus and plantains. But there are many more prebiotic foods to include and enjoy on a daily basis. Think polyphenols, the magical bioactive compounds found in a colorful, plant-rich diet. Polyphenols are found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, and olive oil. Prebiotics also include herbs, cacao, sea vegetables, green tea, raw honey, and colostrum. 

The greatest health benefit from including more prebiotic foods is better digestion*. As the gut bacteria metabolizes these undigested fibers, they produce short chain fatty acids (SCFA), which play a critical role in colon health. One of the SCFA's, butyric acid, protects the health of the intestinal lining. Others regulate electrolytes which are important for proper digestions, produce bowel movement, and prevent diarrhea.

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13 Wonderfully Healing Drinks You Should Be Sipping — Especially When You’re Sick

Wondering about the best thing to drink when sick? Drink these comforting, healing beverages when you’re sick to boost your immune system and get well again quickly.


The weather may be dreary, but you’re feeling cheery… until, suddenly, sickness strikes. The soreness in your throat. The achy feeling in your body. The extreme lack of energy. Even your mood turns sour.


As the signs of sickness set it, you may be tempted to lay on the couch and feel bad for yourself. And yes, you do need rest (and a good dose of zzzzzzs). But why not use this as an opportunity to take care of your health?


Choosing healthy, fresh, whole plant foods may be the best way to care for your body in its time of need. And doing your best to prevent illness before symptoms hit is always a good idea.


But when you’re unwell, the right healing beverages may help ease your woes and even end your illness. (Even if you don’t feel like drinking them.)



What Should You Be Drinking When You’re Sick?


You’ve probably heard it before. When you’re sick, you need to drink plenty of fluids.


It’s true. You want your body to be well-hydrated so it can fight off germs.


But it is possible, though not very likely, to drink too much water or other liquids. So you shouldn’t be downing buckets of water — or even guzzling gallons of green tea. (Flooding your body with fluid won’t actually flush out the bugs.)


It’s true that most people don’t drink enough water. But as in so many things, the answer is balance. Even when you’re well, drinking too many fluids can overwhelm your kidneys and liver, making it harder for them to get rid of toxins.


Instead, you may want to drink a little more than the often recommended eight glasses of fluid throughout the day (and pay attention to your body). Doing this should help you get what you need without going overboard.


You may not feel like drinking anything. (If so, I get it. In college, I ended up in the ER from dehydration when I got the flu.) But you really do need to drink a good amount of fluids when you’re sick.



Do Hot Liquids Ease Cold and Flu Symptoms?


Hot liquids, like a warm cup of tea, are said to clear up congestion — but is this true?


The answer is yes. Researchers at the Common Cold Center at Cardiff University in Britain investigated this claim. Their results supported the belief that hot drinks can provide helpful relief for most cold and flu symptoms.


The hot drinks provided immediate and sustained relief from a runny nose, coughing, sneezing, a sore throat, chilliness, and tiredness. On the other hand, the same drink at room temperature only provided relief from a runny nose, coughing, and sneezing.


Best Thing to Drink When Sick? 13 Easy Healing Beverage Ideas

woman holding mug


No liquid will magically make your symptoms disappear in a snap. But these libations are good for your body and won’t cause nasty side effects (like you need that). And they can help revive your spirits, too.


When I’m feeling under the weather, I typically don’t want to make complicated foods and drinks. So these suggestions are not only healthy and comforting but also quick and easy, too. Try these home remedies for cold and flu and see if they help you.

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Cutting Through the Confusion About a Heart Healthy Diet

When it comes to the healthiest diet for your heart, there's a lot of confusing information about which foods protect and which ones promote heart disease. Much of the heart healthy food debate stems from outdated dietary guidelines and inconclusive scientific studies. While outdated, the common dietary intervention is based on the idea that dietary cholesterol and saturated fats promote high cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease. This idea is known as the diet-heart hypothesis.

This hypothesis, which has been around since the 1940's, was such a game changer in the medical community at the time, that a low-fat, low-cholesterol, and high carbohydrate diet became gospel for preventing and treating high cholesterol and heart disease.  But there are many flaws with the diet-heart hypothesis. According to the president, Sylvan Lee Weinberg, of the American College of Cardiology, these recommendations may have lead to the unintended consequences of obesity, lipid abnormalities, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome (1). 
 


Dietary cholesterol and saturated fat are not the enemies

 

I'll never forget sitting in a nutrition lecture when I was in culinary school and my teacher told us she reversed her high cholesterol by eating 9 eggs a day! How could that be since eggs are high in cholesterol and saturated fats?  In fact, research has shown that egg consumption is not associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cardiac mortality in the general population (2). Many studies have emerged since the diet-heart hypothesis that indicate dietary cholesterol has little impact on blood cholesterol levels. About 25% of the population, known as "hyper-responders", show a slight increase in their blood cholesterol levels in response to dietary cholesterol, but even in this group their blood cholesterol levels are not clinically significant.  

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Why the Global Rise in Vegan and Plant-Based Eating Isn’t A Fad (600% Increase in U.S. Vegans + Other Astounding Stats)

Get an overview of vegan statistics from around the world. See why so many people are going vegan — from athletes to celebrities to everyday people. The rise of plant-based diets is here to stay. 


Diets that limit or exclude meat, dairy products, and eggs used to be on the fringe and were seen as fads. Identifying as vegetarian, vegan, or plant-based was often viewed as weird or extreme — more the domain of hippies and activists than of large numbers of everyday people.


Until recently, references to vegan eating in the mainstream media were often negative. And meat-free food options weren’t universally available or appetizing. But now, all that is changing.


Much of the world is trending towards plant-based eating — and this global shift could be here to stay.


Millennials are central drivers of this worldwide shift away from consuming animal products. But the plant-based movement is bigger than any one generation. Everyone from celebrities to athletes to entire companies including Google and countries as big as China are supporting the movement to eat more plant-bView image on Twitterased foods.


Plant-based eating may not be entirely mainstream yet. But it’s becoming more accepted every day. And this trend is having far-reaching impacts.



Vegan Statistics: Incredible Signs the Global Demand for Plant-Based Foods Is Rising


First of all, according to a forecast report by restaurant consultancy group Baum + Whiteman in New York, “plant-based” will be the food trend of 2018. The report also anticipates that plant-based foods will become the new organic.


In addition, Nestlé, the largest food company in the world, predicts that plant-based foods will continue to grow and … this trend is “here to stay.”

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Eat What You Love and Love What You Eat

Many years ago, my boyfriend (at the time) and I were invited to dinner at the home of his friends. The conversation was good, but no matter how much I tried, I just couldn’t enjoy the food on my plate. What struck me about this meal was its emptiness. It was devoid of joy and bland in flavor and vitality.

 

The couple that had kindly asked us into their home was accustomed to an all-American diet, but a doctor had recently told the husband he needed to make a change. So, the cupboards were stripped of snack foods and the fridge was filled with “health foods,” such as turkey bacon, egg whites, and low-fat cream cheese.

 

This couple wanted to be healthy, but they didn’t know how to change their habits. So, they chose poor substitutes for the foods they were accustomed to eating, and they assumed that eating healthy foods meant that they would forever be relegated to dull meals. There was no joy in the food because they felt no joy in this new way of eating.

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5 Supplements to Help Vegetarians and Vegans (and Everyone!) to Thrive

No matter how healthy your diet is, many modern eaters are lacking in essential nutrients. If you want to thrive on a plant-based diet, consider these supplements for vegetarians and supplements for vegans. 


Whether for health, ethical, or environmental reasons, hundreds of millions of people are basing their diets around plant foods.


A whole food, plant-centered diet offers tremendous advantages, including reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, dementia, and many other ailments, according to research.


But due to the realities of our modern times, a large number of plant-based eaters aren’t getting specific nutrients from plant foods. And failure to get these nutrients can cause serious consequences.


Many people think a healthy diet should supply all the nutrients you need for optimal health. And that is basically true.

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The Real Deal On Plant Proteins

"But where will I get my protein from?"

If I had a pound for every time I was asked that question from patients toying with the idea of switching to a vegan or vegetarian diet, I would’ve bought my tesla by now! Fear around whether a plant-based diet provides enough protein and where to actually source it from seems to be the number 1 reason people don’t make the switch or do it very poorly.


Indeed, protein is an essential nutrient, absolutely critical not just in building and repairing muscle tissue, but in the maintenance of a wide array of important bodily functions. But does it matter if our protein comes from plants rather than animals?

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The End of Alzheimer’s

You know I’m not pushy, right? Well, here and now I’m climbing up on my soapbox and asking you to read Dr. Dale Bredesen’s new book The End of Alzheimer’s.  And why would I ask you to read about a disease we regard with such fear, even horror? Because for the first time, there’s good news about Alzheimer’s disease. There’s hope.


As Dr. Bredesen explains in the intro to his book, “Let me say this as clearly as I can: Alzheimer’s disease can be prevented, and in many cases its associated cognitive decline can be reversed.”


This is precisely what he and his colleagues have shown in peer-reviewed studies that have been published in leading medical journals, based on 3 decades of research on the neurobiology of Alzheimer’s in his lab and case studies with real people. The first ever scientific study showing the reversal of cognitive decline in 9 out of 10 patients with Alzheimer’s disease or its precursors was published in the journal Aging in 2014, based on a sophisticated personalized protocol called ReCODE, for reversal of cognitive decline. And not only did it achieve a reversal in cognitive decline, but it allowed patients to sustain the improvement. 


The journal Aging has shared that this 2014 article has had the greatest impact of any article they’ve ever published. And no wonder. Not only is the diagnosis and inevitable (until now) decline of Alzheimer’s tragic for the individual, but also for their family; and soon for the nation and the world, as a tsunami of Alzheimer’s patients could bankrupts Medicaid and Medicare and overwhelms long-term care facilities in the foreseeable future as our population ages. But…

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Putting the person back in personalized nutrition

Joan, a 60 year old woman and cancer survivor originally came to me looking for help with weight loss. As you'll read in her account of our time together, we dove into much more than what she was eating.

 

GATHERING THE STORY

In our initial session I listened to Joan's story and learned that underneath her weight woes, there were much deeper issues to tap into.   My priority with whomever is in front of me is to consider the person's whole story, from birth to present day. We spend time looking at the Wheel of Health in order to see what area of living needs the most attention. Then we create a health plan together, rather than place a cookie cutter agenda upon the client. Oftentimes one sees a healthcare provider and the practitioner is focused on the immediate situation, disregarding the lifetime of events that make up who we are as a whole being. Lifestyle Medicine peels back the layers of who we are in order to feed the body vital nutrients that support our physical, mental, and psycho spiritual selves. 

 

THE CALM™ DIFFERENCE

My CALM™ program is an approach in educating and experiencing.  The education is about understanding the relationship between the body and inputs from the environment, diet, stress, lifestyle, etc. The experiencing is using various tools (food, movement, mindfulness, communication, affirmations, supplements, oils) to move out of disease and sense greater health from the inside out.  I learned Joan is a skilled cook, has an awareness of healthful ingredients, and made clear she did not want to give up the pleasure of food. We created a plan together that included more attention to meal planning, food journaling, exercises in awareness of behavior, and supplementation.  Here, she describes what worked from our sessions together.

 

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Fast Food Health Risks That Will Shock You

Today, the majority of people in most of the developed world get more than half their calories from processed, fast, and fake foods. The fast food health risks are shocking. And it’s only getting worse.


The global fast food market is growing. And the demand for packaged foods is predicted to increase as well.


Industrialized food industry giants like KFC, Nestlé, and McDonald’s are aggressively expanding in developing nations and getting people hooked, in places such as Brazil,GhanaChina, and India, where obesity and other health issues are becoming an epidemic.


Fast and processed foods are common today. But they may be more destructive for our health and for society as a whole than you ever imagined.

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What You Need to Know About GMOs and Glyphosate

Are you concerned about the safety of the food you eat and feed to others? I know I am, which is why I’m so glad I had the opportunity to sit down with Institute for Responsible Technology founder and GMO activist Jeffrey Smith.


Jeffrey shared with me some critical new developments related to genetically engineered foods and glyphosate, which is the primary active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup.


In the following video, we discuss the main problems with genetic engineering, the dangers of glyphosate, new genetic engineering technologies, and what you can do to protect yourself and your family.

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Body Dysmorphia


In this week’s vlog, I answer a question from a former Boot Camper about body dysmorphia and explain how it relates to your Bright Line Eating journey. 

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What No One Tells You About Weight Loss

How People from 103 Countries Lost and Kept Off Over 300,000 Pounds

The statistics are grim. Billions of people, including more than 2/3 of Americans, are overweight or obese. More than 108 million people in the United States are on a diet. The average dieter makes three or four attempts each year. But less than 1% of these attempts lead to sustained and successful weight loss.

Is there any other domain in which so many people are trying so hard with such miserable results?

Imagine sending your kid off to college – and then learning that the graduation rate at the college is less than 1%. Would you blame your kid? Or would you blame the college?

The weight loss industry is raking in tens of billions of dollars feeding off of people’s misery. But, despite all the slick sales pages and fancy marketing, when you look at the actual results it’s generating, it’s been an abject failure.

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Mindfulness and Your Diet

To thrive on the level of the body requires the support of an optimal functioning physical system. For that, proper diet is required and that means a diet that is suited to your unique needs, situation and location. If you live in the tropics and do hard labor your diet will be quite different from someone living in a polar region who is sedentary. If you are tall and thin naturally, or if you are short and stout your requirements may be different. The same holds true for age and activity levels. Does eating seasonally feel good to you? And your philosophy will affect your diet; are you a carnivore or vegetarian? Some people tolerate caffeine and alcohol and some don’t. Some people can eat late at night and sleep well and others can’t. You are unique.

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Canada’s Surprising New Proposed Health Guide Favors Plant-Based Foods and Ignores Industry Input

The Canadian government has released a new draft of their food guide, which has some surprising and exciting recommendations, including favoring whole, plant-based foods and suggesting that dairy and meat products should have a smaller role in our diets. 

With its new recommendations for healthy eating, it seems like the Canadian government is actually listening to what the public wants and focusing on the latest science.

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