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Nutrition Tips

Escape the Plague

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Escape the Plague

The flu is hitting hard this year and unless you can talk the boss into letting you work in quarantine, there seems to be no escape from the inevitable. Or is there? Arm yourself with a strong immune system and get ready to evade the plague.  Here are five foods you can add to your diet to naturally boost your immune system and have you ready to fight back! 1) Yogurt and fermented foods. Kefir, sauerkraut, and kombucha are filled with naturally occurring probiotics aka healthy bacteria.  How is bacteria going to keep you healthy? Well, this particular bacteria is considered a “good guy,” lining the walls of the digestive tract, and is your first defense in fighting  off the “bad guys.” Higher levels of good bacteria means an increased response of white blood cells in reaction to an intruder. Be sure you pick dairy that is unsweetened and choose krauts and pickles that have been brined, not pickled.

2) Homemade soup. Homemade soups are an age-old remedy for a reason: stocks are nutritious concentrates of bone and vegetable minerals, and once made into a soup, salty broths actually work to thin and break down mucus.  Pack them full of garlic, onions and ginger — all natural anti-microbials — and add shiitake mushrooms, known for their deep immune stimulation.

3) Red peppers. We’ve all heard that citrus contains vitamin C, which is why many people stock up on orange juice when they are sick. But what they don’t know is that this sugary drink is working against them, when they could be getting twice as much vitamin C from red peppers.  A half-cup of red bell peppers contains one and half more vitamin C than the daily requirement, plus they work wonders to protect your skin, which is your first line of defense. Studies show that vitamin C can reduce the length and severity of a cold, so snack away on raw bell peppers throughout the flu season.

4) Orange you glad you’re healthy? Pumpkins and sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. Experts have long known that vitamin A plays a big role in fighting infection and maintaining mucosal integrity.  Vitamin A also helps the cells communicate and create a better defense.

5) Surf and turf. Both beef and oysters are among the foods highest in zinc, along with lamb, pumpkin seeds, spinach, and crab. Zinc deficiencies, which leave you open to infection, are often seen in those with high stress, so go ahead and slurp down a dozen oysters after work.  And when you pick up that steak, remember, always choose organic and free range wherever possible.

*Bonus*

Immune boosting supplements should be thought of as two categories of defense: deep immune support and viral attacks.

Preventative: Take herbs like echinacea, reishi mushrooms and astragalus on the daily for deep immune stimulation.

Corrective: Once your sick you need to directly attack the bug that got you down. Try elderberry syrup, silvercillian, viral attack or kick ass immune as a natural anti viral/microbial.

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Increase Brain Power through Nutrition

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Increase Brain Power through Nutrition

Eat protein for breakfast. Eggs, not oatmeal, give your brain the good fat it needs to function properly. Eggs will also help you boost your metabolism while keeping insulin levels low. That means more fat burning and less fat storing. Don’t like eggs? Try organic breakfast sausage and sautéed spinach or protein powder in a yummy shake.Keep your desk stocked.  By loading up your workspace with quick and healthy snacks, you can spend your time finishing that big project rather than daydreaming about the next meal. Shoot for protein and good fats for maximum brainpower: almond butter, apples, nuts, celery sticks, Lara Bars, string cheese, organic turkey jerky, fresh berries, Greek yogurt, etc. Skip carb loading lunch. Too many carbohydrates at lunchtime will leave you with a bad case of afternoon slumps. Carbohydrates of all kinds create a spike in your insulin and a crash in your blood sugar. If you plan on getting anything done after lunch, go for a lunch loaded up on lean meats, veggies, and less than a cup of whole grains or beans. Green caffeine boosts concentration. While one cup of coffee in the morning will get you going (followed by plenty of water, of course), it is not ideal for your digestion or your stress hormones. Try replacing your afternoon joe with a cup of green tea, which is proven to aid in concentration, boost the metabolism, and work to keep you looking young and vibrant. Eat more fat. While not all fats are created equal, healthy fats will bring better blood flow to the brain and improve mood and memory function. Omega 3’s are the closest thing to a miracle food for the mind, so stock up flax seeds, fish oils, coconut butter, avocado, and wild salmon. Add herbs to your diet.  Supplements like ginkgo, ginseng, and rosemary will improve your mental abilities.

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Love your liver

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Love your liver

Life is hard on the liver, no way around it! No matter how much you take care of yourself, your liver is working over time.  This is a product of our increasingly busy world. Whether you have weekends packed with dinner parties, a stressful work life or simply living and being in this increasingly toxic environmental,  it is the liver takes the brunt.

More than ever, we need to support our liver.  This will aid the body in flushing our bodies of the toxins used beauty products, ingested chemicals, overloaded stress hormones and bad cholesterol.  The liver is also where estrogen metabolism occurs. Detoxifying the liver will help to balance hormones levels, and lower your chance of chronic disease.  If the liver is over-worked or clogged the body will be unable to rid itself of dangerous toxins and they will instead circulate the body and over stimulate the genes. The largest contributors to liver overload are poor diet, excessive alcohol, drugs, and toxic chemicals.  Support your liver with a good detoxifying diet and bi-yearly cleanses.

Symptoms of liver impairment

  • Hormonal Imbalances
  • Immune dysfunction
  • Mood swings, (anger and irritability), depression
  • Poor concentration (foggy brain)
  • Constipation and/or light-colored stool
  • Jaundice
  • Lack of appetite or nausea
  • Rash on back
  • Bloated stomach.
  • Abnormal metabolism of fats
  • Blood sugar problems
  • Recurrent headaches (including migraines)
  • Overheating of the body (especially face and torso).
  • Digestive problems

• EXTERNAL SIGNS

Brownish spots and blemishes on the skin (pruritus), excessive sweating, skin rashes, red palms and soles (which may also be itchy and inflamed), coated tongue, bad breath, acne rosacea, dark circles under the eyes, offensive body odor, red swollen itchy eyes, and flushed facial appearance or excessive facial blood vessels. Tenderness/ aches on right side of body

 

Liver supporting foods

1. Garlic

Just a small amount of this pungent white bulb has the ability to activate liver enzymes that helps your body flush out toxins. Garlic also holds high amounts of allicin and selenium, two natural compounds that aid in liver cleansing.

2. Grapefruit

High in both vitamin C and antioxidants, grapefruit increases the natural cleansing processes of the liver. A small glass of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice will help boost production of liver detoxification enzymes that help flush out carcinogens and other toxins.

3. Beets and Carrots

Both extremely high in plant flavonoids and beta-carotene, eating both beets and carrots can help stimulate and improve overall liver function.

4. Green Tea

This liver-loving beverage is chock-full of plant antioxidants known as catechins, a constituent known to assist the livers overall functions. Green tea is not only delicious, it’s also a great way to improve your overall diet. Learn more about the benefits of green tea.

5. Leafy Green Vegetables

One of our most powerful allies in cleansing the liver, leafy greens can be eaten raw, cooked or juiced. Extremely high in plant chlorophylls, greens literally suck up environmental toxins from the blood stream. With their distinct ability to neutralize heavy metals, chemicals and pesticides, these cleansing foods offer a powerful protective mechanism for the liver.

Try incorporating leafy greens such as bitter gourd, arugula, dandelion greens, spinach, mustard greens and chicory into your diet. This will help increase the creation and flow of bile, the substance that removes waste from the organs and blood.

6. Avocados

This nutrient-dense super-food helps the body produce glutathione, which is necessary for the liver to cleanse harmful toxins. Recent studies indicate improved liver health when avocados are eaten regularly.

7. Apples

High in pectin, apples hold the chemical constituents needed for the body to cleanse and release toxins from the digestive tract. This, in turn, makes it easier for the liver to handle the toxic load during the cleansing process.

8. Olive Oil

Cold-pressed organic oils such as olive, hemp and flax-seed are great for the liver, when used in moderation. They help the body by providing a lipid base that can suck up harmful toxins in the body. In this way, it takes some of the burden off the liver in terms of the toxic overload that many of us suffer from.

9. Whole Grains

Grains, such as brown rice, are rich in B-complex vitamins, nutrients known to improve overall fat metabolization, liver function and liver decongestion. If possible, do not eat foods with white flour instead try eating whole wheat alternatives.

10. Cruciferous Vegetables

Eating broccoli and cauliflower will increase the amount of glucosinolate in your system, adding to enzyme production in the liver. These natural enzymes help flush out carcinogens, and other toxins, out of our body which significantly lowers our risk of cancer.

11. Lemons & Limes

These citrus fruits contain very high amounts of the vitamin C, which aids the body in synthesizing toxic material into substance that can be absorbed by water. Drinking freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice in the morning helps stimulate the liver.

12. Walnuts

Holding high amount of the amino acid arginine, walnuts aid the liver in detoxifying ammonia. Walnuts are also high in glutathione and omega 3 fatty acids which support normal liver cleansing actions. Make sure you chew the nuts well (until they are liquefied) before swallowing.

13. Cabbage

Much like broccoli and cauliflower, eating cabbage helps stimulate the activation of two crucial liver detoxifying enzymes that help flush out toxins. Try eating more kimchi, coleslaw, cabbage soup and sauerkraut.

14. Turmeric

The liver’s favorite spice. Try adding some of this detoxifying goodness into your next lentil stew or veggie dish for an instant liver pick-me-up. Tumeric helps boost liver detox, by assisting enzymes that actively flush out known dietary carcinogens.

 

 

 

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Party like a nutritionist:                5 healthy-eating tips to help you survive the holidays.

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Party like a nutritionist: 5 healthy-eating tips to help you survive the holidays.

* Pre-party with healthy snacks so you do not arrive hungry! Think fibrous vegetables and good fats.   (Carrots & hummus/ avocado, apples & almond butter/ string cheese.) * Channel your inner holiday sprite! Holiday drinking can double calories. Try a mixer with two ounces wine, club soda and a splash of cranberry juice. Nurse that baby into the night!

* Be colorful! Build a balanced dinner plate. Start at the salad bowl and work from there, keeping your plate full of bright colors and avoiding the dull-colored foods (they tend to be the worst ones for you.)

Eat mindfully! Careful not to get so caught in the excitement that you take down the dessert tray. Take time to chew and set your fork down between each bite.

* Brace yourself! On party days keep your calories low. Have a smoothie for breakfast, a salad for lunch and plenty of healthy snacks so you don't arrive hungry.

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Fatty Boo-Bat-ies: Tips for a Healthy Halloween

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Fatty Boo-Bat-ies: Tips for a Healthy Halloween

For both kids and adults Halloween is the gateway into the holiday eating season. It marks the beginning of the many celebrations to come, and with it our hard earned health and weight loss goes out the window.  Many of our holiday festivities are centered around eating which is arguable the best and worst of traditions.  Halloween in particular, sabotages our weight because of the high amounts of sugar we consume.  And as much as I love a tiny witch knocking on my door, I can't help but feel that I am working against my own values when I stock their buckets (and my own pantry) with sweets. Now I don't want to be the house on the block known for giving out weird kale treats (or do I..?), but I do think there are healthier options for our trick-or-treaters. Here are a few ideas to help you and your neighbors be a little less sugar crazed.

    • If you have kids of your own, try to keep the focus on the spirit of Halloween. Play dress up and make creative costumes, carve pumpkins, decorate your house and yard, play games, build a haunted house, tell ghost stories, and have parties with friends.
    • Don't over buy trick-or-treat candy! Running out is okay, I promise.  Every house on the block (including your own) will have more candy then they know what to do with. And that extra Halloween candy that is enticingly left out on the counter, will undoubtedly sabotage your health plans.
    • Give toys: false teeth, temporary tattoos, stickers, bouncy balls, plastic spiders and rats, Halloween pencils and erasers, hair clips, and bracelets.
    • Offer healthier treats: instant coco mix, graham cracker cookies, 100% juice boxes, fruit leather, air-popped popcorn packs, box raisins, natural fruit snacks, and trail mix.
    • If you do buy candy opt for the smaller versions: Hershey's kisses, tootsie rolls, etc.
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A Toast to San Francisco Summers: Stay Hydrated!

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A Toast to San Francisco Summers: Stay Hydrated!

When the sun comes out in San Francisco, the city takes notice. The sunscreen and sandals come out, and the sidewalk cafes and running paths get packed. But often something important is forgotten: water intake. Especially when active, water consumption must go up with rising temperatures. The old “8 glasses per day” prescription is no longer one-size-fits-all. Especially if you are running on a dedicated exercise schedule, the recreational athlete should have between 10-15 glasses of water a day. Benefits of increased fluids for athletes include maintained energy during exercise, lower heart rate, body temperature control, improved blood flow to muscles for quick recovery, lowered muscle cramps, and improved athletic performance. Tips on monitoring your hydration needs

Peek at your pee: Check the color of your urine to determine if your body is getting adequate flushing power. The darker the pee, the more dehydrated you are.

Hydrate before and after exercise: Drink 16 oz of water two hours before activity and the another 8-16oz fifteen minuets right before exercise. Afterwards, drink 16-24oz per pound of loss water weight.

Weigh yourself: Do this before and after exercise to monitor fluid loss. If you weigh less after exercise, you didn’t get enough to drink. If you weigh more, then you’ve had too much. Weighing the same (or slightly less) after exercise, shows that you are an effective hydrater.

Avoid stimulants: Sugar and caffeine are dehydrators. Avoid sodas, fruit juice and coffee, especially around exercise sessions. If you have a sweet treat or an afternoon Americano, follow it up with double the amount in water.

Electro-charge your workout: Sports drinks are specially formulated with electrolytes and carbohydrates to help replace the salts lost in sweat. These electro-charged replacements are ideal for activities lasting longer then an hour. For a more nutritious spin on sports drinks check out the natural brands such as Recharge, Kul Fuel, unsweetened coconut water, or consider making your own!

Recipes!

Electrolyte Sun Tea: In 3 gallons water add 4 cups lime juice, 2 cups honey, 1/2 cup sea salt, 1/2 gallon sun tea (with your choices of herbs: hibiscus, peppermint, tulsi, or lemon balm.) *Mix sugar and salt in warm water to dissolve. Add the remainder of the ingredients and allow at least one hour in the sun. Serve over ice.

Energy Water: In 1 quart water add ¼ tsp sea salt, ¼ tsp baking soda, 2 Tbs honey, 1 tsp.

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Pre-workout energy boosters

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Pre-workout energy boosters

Wondering what to eat before and after you workout? The mantra is: carbohydrates for energy, and protein for recovery! Try to eat carbohydrates before, and protein after a workout to help maximize your efforts. 

Carbohydrates, stored in your body as glycogen, are the main source of muscle energy, and will help you train stronger and longer.  Amino acid-rich protein, when eaten 30 minutes after exercise (your "anabolic window"), will help repair and build muscles.
You're probably familiar with sports bars and protein shakes, but for today, let's look at a more nutritious, whole- foods approach:
PRE-WORKOUT
Oatmeal: Oatmeal is a low-glycemic carbohydrate, meaning that it releases energy slowly to the muscles.
Tip: Make a large batch the day before and reheat. We like ours with coconut milk, chia seeds, and cardamum.
Bananas and Almond butter: An update on a childhood favorite, almond butters often have less additives and hydrogenated oils then its popular cousin peanut butter, and are rich in the good, essential fatty acids. Bananas are the perfect compliment, a carbohydrate-rich fruit high in potassium to prevent muscle cramping.   Tip: We like almond butter on a brown rice cracker with bananas sliced on top.
 
POST-WORKOUT
Kiefer: a high-protein dairy drink full of good bacteria to help your body digest and build strong immune function.
Tip: Go for plain varieties and sweeten it yourself. Try 1 cup of plain Kiefer, a dash of cinnamon and 1/2 Tbs of ground flax seeds.
Hardboiled Eggs:  Eggs are the unsung heros of the balanced eater, as just one egg has six grams of protein.
Tip: Cook a half-dozen eggs at the start of the week, and have them on stand-by for a quick snack. For energy rich eggs, try 1-2 chopped hardboiled eggs with a handful of arugula, dash of flax-oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
Remember, the mantra: carbohydrates for energy, and protein for recovery! Building  strength and loosing weight shouldn't stop after boot-camp is over. Let your food be your ally. Remember, the mantra: carbohydrates for energy, and protein for recovery!
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